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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (3/20/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Shinsuke Nakamura VS Rusev w/ Aiden English; Nakamura wins.
  • Baron Corbin VS Tye Dillinger; Corbin wins.
  • Charlotte Flair VS Natalya; Natalya wins.
  • Jimmy Uso w/ Jey VS Harper w/ Rowan; Harper wins.
  • Naomi & Becky Lynch VS The Riott Squad; Naomi & Becky win.

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SmackDown flashbacks to the night Daniel Bryan retired.

He wrestled for 16 years, and was grateful to the WWE. “It is with a heavy heart and the utmost sadness” that he had to officially announce his retirement. But now, Bryan is medically cleared for competition! And an outpouring of love, support and excitement came from everyone, ranging from superstars to celebrities to fans.

Daniel Bryan is here!

Dallas greets the SmackDown General Manager with an incredible ovation of “YES! YES!” and even “Welcome Back! Welcome Back!” Bryan hears their chants, and thanks them all. But he moves things from joy to sadness, as Shane McMahon was attacked. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn aren’t here yet, so for now, Bryan will talk about something else. Two years ago, Bryan’s forced retirement was one of the toughest days of his life. But Bryan focused on gratefulness. He admits he was depressed, that he was angry, that he was being kept from doing what he loves, but he stayed focus on being grateful. He has much to be grateful for. From his family, to friends, to “the best fans in the world”, but especially his “beautiful wife”.

Through all his struggles, Brie was there supporting him. She let him know it was okay to fight for a dream. Brie encouraged him to see specialists, and Bryan did. Each new review encouraged them to see another, and another. Fans chant, “Thank You, Brie!” Every specialist that cleared Bryan encouraged him to keep going. Bryan fought his way back, even when he wanted to quit. Brie kept him in the fight for his dreams, because if you fight for your dreams, you dreams will fight for you! “Every hard thing seems impossible until it becomes real.” Bryan got the WWE to review his case, and they sent him all over the country to meet the best of the best. And every specialist said one thing: “You are cleared.” Fans chant “YES! YES!” once again in hearing this great news.

“There was a time when being cleared to compete in a WWE ring seemed impossible. But now it is real.” Bryan has many thanks, such as to the WWE and the doctors. They looked at him as a person and not a wrestler. They gave Bryan that second look and cleared him. Bryan thanks the WWE Universe, in Dallas or at home, for the support through all of this. Every week, all the “YES!” Chants, or “Daniel Bryan!” or “You Deserve It!”, Bryan thanks them for that. And lastly, Bryan thanks Brie, because she’s supported him more than anyone else can imagine.

Now to the fun stuff. Bryan doesn’t know when or where it’ll be that he returns to the ring– Fans want Wrestlemania!

Is that a good idea? “YES! YES!” Bryan vows that even if it isn’t Wrestlemania, he will return to the WWE ring for competition! It’s only a matter of time, where and who against will it be?

 

Daniel Bryan talks with Charles Robinson backstage.

Robinson congratulates Daniel Bryan, but reports that Kevin & Sami aren’t here yet. When they arrive, let Bryan know. Dolph Ziggler comes over to congratulate Bryan, and to say he can’t wait to beat him. Bryan says Ziggler can try. Is the Show-Off a potential return opponent for the Goat?

 

Shinsuke Nakamura VS Rusev w/ Aiden English!

The King of Strong Style beat the Bulgarian Brute back at Fastlane, but Rusev is back for more! Can Nakamura maintain momentum this close to his WWE Championship match with AJ Styles? Speaking of Styles, he’s ringside on commentary to keep an eye on things.

The bell rings and the two circle. Rusev gets the arm wrench and wristlock while fans duel back and forth. Nakamura uses the ropes to flip and reverse the hold, but Rusev turns that around into a headlock takeover. Nakamura headscissors back, but Rusev pops out. They circle again, feeling each other out, but Nakamura gets a quick kick in on Rusev. Nakamura laughs, then dodges to say “C’MON!”

Rusev runs in but into the knee. Nakamura kicks, Rusev kicks, then Nakamura forearms and Rusev forearms. Nakamura fires off but Rusev put shim in a corner. Rusev kicks the inner thighs, whips and then knocks Nakamura over with the heel kick. Cover, TWO, but Rusev keeps his cool while we go picture in picture.

Rusev stalks Nakamura, dragging him up to stomp his ribs. Rusev reels Nakamura into a clothesline, then drives an elbow into Nakamura’s shoulders. He backs up to kick Nakamura stiff in the back, then cover, TWO. Rusev keeps his cool but Nakamura fires back, only to run into Rusev’s back elbow. Rusev wags a finger “No no no” before wrapping Nakamura in a chinlock. Nakamura endures the squeeze on the mat, and slowly works his way up. Rusev squeezes and stretches Nakamura, but Nakamura responds with a jawbreaker! Nakamura runs but into Rusev’s boot, then Rusev stomps Nakamura’s head. Rusev drops an elbow, then another elbow, then another, and covers, TWO. Rusev glares at Nakamura, then drags him up to the ropes to choke him. He backs off at the ref’s count, then brings Nakamura up for a back suplex. Cover, TWO, so back to the chinlock it is.

Nakamura endures more squeeze while we go single picture again. He fights out with elbows, but Rusev responds with a knee. Rusev whips, but Nakamura dodges, to hit the dynamic dropkick! The fans rally while Styles looks on intently. Nakamura strike fests and kicks Rusev in the chest. Rusev blocks one but gets the other, and gets to a corner. Nakamura gives an elevated Good Vibrations, then sets Rusev up top for the Top Shelf knee! Nakamura fires up and aims at Rusev, but Rusev drop toeholds! Accolade barely escaped, but that roundhouse! Cover, TWO! English is furious in Rusev’s place, but Rusev himself keeps his cool. Rusev stomps the mat and prepares himself. He thrusts in but Nakamura swings, swings, but brings Rusev into a takedown! Cover, TWO, and Rusev tries his own, TWO. Nakamura gets another cover, Nakamura wins! Even Styles grins there.

But English attacks! Team Rusev Day stomp and stomp Nakamura, like they did to Styles last week. Styles watches, like Nakamura did last week, then slowly prepares to help. However, Nakamura fights Rusev Day off by himself! Seems Nakamura didn’t need Styles to help him out. Will the Rockstar be in better shape then the Phenomenal One come Wrestlemania?

 

SmackDown looks at Championship VS Streak.

The Queen of Flair is the SmackDown Women’s Champion, but the Empress has a streak as long as it is dominant. “No one is ready for Asuka!” Charlotte herself is preparing backstage when Natalya comes along. Natty knows Charlotte is scared. What is she babbling about? The clock is ticking, it is only a matter of time the Queen bows down. No, Charlotte is excited because this will be her biggest challenge yet. Natty is better than both of them! She should be the one facing Charlotte! Asuka is only undefeated because she hasn’t faced Natty. Well if Natty wants to prove that, they’ll have a match tonight. Fine by the Queen of Harts. Will Natty put her money where her mouth is? Or will Charlotte get some easy momentum headed towards Wrestlemania?

 

AJ Styles find Nakamura backstage.

Nakamura assures Styles he didn’t need his help. Styles saw that. Okay but one more thing. Styles knows, Nakamura says he’ll beat Styles at Wrestlemania. Styles needs to be more confident. But yes, Nakamura will win, with a #Knee2Face.

 

Baron Corbin VS Tye Dillinger!

The Lone Wolf and Perfect 10 have both declared for the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, but who will gain momentum towards it here 1v1?

The bell rings, Tye gets a waistlock but Corbin backs him to a corner. Tye gets a headlock and holds on even as Corbin tries to power out. Corbin lifts but Tye holds on. Tye tries to snapmare but Corbin won’t go down, so Tye gives forearms. He whips but evades Corbin’s kick to chop, Corbin clobbers Tye down! Corbin drags Tye up and rock him with a right forearm, and Tye staggers to ropes. Corbin throws Tye into a buckle, then backs off to run back in. Tye evades, Corbin slides out and in but into Tye’s boot!

Tye clotheslines Corbin out, and then goes to the apron to jump. Corbin catches him by the throat, lifts but Tye slips out. Tye mule kicks Corbin then puts him back in the ring. Tye hops up, flies, but the crossbody turns into End of- No, Tye manages to counter by going limp and slipping out. Corbin throws Tye all the way out of the ring, then goes out to rock him with a right. Corbin reels Tye in, NOW End of Days! Cover, Corbin wins! Can the Lone Wolf finally take advantage of opportunities by becoming a two-time Battle Royal winner?

 

Charlotte Flair VS Natalya!

SmackDown’s Queen of Flair and Queen of Harts do battle once again to see if catty Natty really can beat the Women’s Champion.

The bell rings and Charlotte lets out a “WOO~” before tying up with Natty. Natty gets the wristlock but Charlotte arm-drags her, and meow, those claws come out. They tie up again as fans rally, and Natty gets the wristlock again, but Charlotte spins around and puts the lock back on Natty. Natty shows her agility to reverse and then get he takedown. She rolls over Charlotte but Charlotte reverses to a headlock. Natty goes back to the wristlock, then rolls up, TWO. Natty tells the fans to shut up, they just “WOO~!” at her. Charlotte lunges in and get a waistlock slam, cover, TWO. Charlotte gets another takedown, cover, TWO, and Natty kicks low. Natty clubs Charlotte, then whips her to a corner, but Charlotte goes up and over to roll Natty back with a bridge, TWO!

Things are still technical and scrappy as Charlotte pushes Natty for another cover, TWO. Charlotte drives in an elbow, then goes to a neck wrench before shifting to a headscissors hold. She throws Natty around in that hold three times before covering, TWO. Natty kicks low again, then tells the fans to shut up. She whips Charlotte but Charlotte goes up and over to shoulder in and dive for a roll, TWO. Stiff neckbreaker to big boot, and Natty bails out of the ring. Charlotte styles and profiles while we go to break.

SmackDown returns to Natty now in control with an abdominal stretch. The fans rally and Charlotte works her way out, but Natty turns that to a backslide. Charlotte slides off and boots Natty down again. She runs at Natty in a corner but Natty elbows back. Natty tries to boot back but Charlotte takes that leg and puts it on the ropes. Charlotte springboards to drop a knee on it, but Natty evades and Charlotte’s knee goes into the mat. Natty throws Charlotte against the buckles, then embraces the heat. She stomps a mudhole into Charlotte, then tells the ref to shut up about the count. Natty drags Charlotte up and out for a snapmare, then runs over her, but Charlotte kip-up to lariat! Both women are down from exhaustion, but Charlotte drags herself up to her feet.

The fans rally, and both women approach each other. Charlotte gives out those Flair chops! She whips Natty to the corner, then chops again! Charlotte’s exploder suplex throws Natty at the ropes, and she walks over, but Natty yanks her into the buckles! Natty spins, but into another boot! Charlotte goes for the legs but Natty scrambles away, then evades in a corner. Natty runs in but is caught into backbreaker and buckle shot! Natty gasps while Charlotte brings herself up to her feet. Charlotte climbs up, but Natty springs up to trip her up! Natty carries Charlotte, for a spinning powerbomb!

Cover, TWO! Both women are down again, barely moving. Natty finally gets up, and she goes for the legs, for the Sharpshooter! Charlotte endures, reaches and crawls for ropes, to get the ropebreak. Natty kicks her to the apron, then guillotine catapults her into the ropes.

Natty staggers up, as does Charlotte, Natty discus lariats Charlotte down! Cover, TWO! Natty brings Charlotte up, Charlotte cradle counters, TWO. Charlotte gets the takedown, but Natty shoves Charlotte out. Natty comes out running but Charlotte runs her over with a SPEAR! Charlotte brings Natty up and in, and finally into the Figure Four! Natty endures, slapping Charlotte. Natty rolls things but Charlotte keeps it going, and then Charlotte brings Natty tot he apron for a hanging Figure Four! The referee has them break it up, but Charlotte isn’t done yet. She climbs up, but Natty intercepts again. They brawl while Natty climbs up, and Natty grabs Charlotte, for a SUPERPLEX! Natty can’t move for the cover, out comes CARMELLA!!

Ms. Money in the Bank brings her own ref, and the briefcase! But Charlotte revives! She boots Carmella down! Natty rolls Charlotte, Natty wins!! No cash in for Carmella, but no win for the SmackDown Women’s Champion, either! Was this a conspiracy or just perfect timing for Natty? And all that aside, can Charlotte refocus to be ready for Asuka?

 

Jimmy Uso w/ Jey VS Harper w/ Rowan!

After the utter devastation The Bludgeon Brothers brought upon The New Day and the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, obviously the Usos would want some semblance of revenge. Can Jimmy do it when it’s just him and just Harper? Or will the story be the same for the stoic behemoths of the Blue Brand?

Before the match, the Usos speak. “Check this out.” At Fastlane, Usos VS New Day, battling it out to be the champions. “One of the hottest rivalries renewed.” Another instant classic to determine who goes on to Wrestlemania. Until the Bludgeon Brothers got involved. Harper & Rowan weren’t just after titles, but they were out to give out beatings. Jey is all banged up, but it’s okay because the Usos still have the belts. The Usos don’t know how to back down, they only know how to survive. They only know is how to go hard and be “the best damn tag team the WWE has ever seen!”

Three weeks away, they’re not standing down. Nine years in the game, and you think you can take just take away what they’ve worked so hard to get? It doesn’t matter if the Usos are 100%, 90%, 80, 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20. It doesn’t matter, you get in the ring, it’s #LockDown! Welcome to the Uso Penitentiary! Harper & Rowan appear while we go picture in picture.

The Bludgeon Brothers take their time entering the ring. Harper hops up onto the apron and stares Jimmy down. The two circle, but Jimmy slips out of the ring. Harper follows, with Rowan behind him, and they stalk Jimmy regroups with Jey to lead them around. Jimmy reenters the ring, to hit Harper as he hops up. Jimmy runs, but Harper knocks him back, to then get in the ring and throw Jimmy out. Harper leaves the ring again to rock Jimmy with a stiff chop and uppercut. He rips Jimmy’s shirt off before giving him another uppercut, then another. Jimmy gets to a corner but Harper is upon him, a palm grinding into Jimmy’s jaw. Harper chops Jimmy, then chops him again, but Jimmy hits back with an uppercut and chop of his own.

Jimmy backs Harper down, then whips but Harper reverses to hit a corner uppercut. Harper throws Jimmy down, then stalks him to a corner. Fans rally, but Harper chops Jimmy again. Harper runs in for a side splash, but fans keep rallying for the Usos. Harper runs but Jimmy ducks and Harper tumbles down and out. Jey stays clear while Jimmy comes out, but Harper shoves him back. Harper runs but a drop toehold sends him face first into the LED, breaking a panel! Jimmy builds speed but Rowan is on the apron to stop him.

Harper returns, but Jimmy kicks Rowan and dragon whips Harper. Rowan is incensed, but Jey SUPERKICKS Harper, Jimmy SUPERKICKS, cover, TWO!? Jimmy is shocked but he doesn’t lose focus. He runs but into Harper’s SUPERKICK. Harper lifts Jimmy but Jimmy slips out, and boots Harper away. Jimmy climbs up, Harper sweeps his legs, and then climbs up to smack Jimmy’s face off the top of the post. Harper backs away to take aim from the corner, big spinning lariat! Harper covers, Harper wins for the Bludgeon Brothers. With great dominance and durability even 1v1, who can hope to defeat Harper & Rowan as a team?

 

Sunil Singh introduces Jinder Mahal.

Or in other words, the “next United States Champion” and Modern Day Maharaja. The WWE announced a United States Championship Triple Threat with Mahal, former champion Bobby Roode, and current Champion, Randy Orton. The fans boo and jeer, but Mahal says they’re just hypocrites. Mahal has sacrificed everything for a moment on the Grandest Stage. He reminds us that “a man of my wealth” could be vacationing anywhere in the world. And a “man of my looks and physique” could be the biggest star in Bollywood. Yet, Mahal chose to restore the WWE Championship to prestige and make SmackDown the show. People should worship him! Americans claim to want change, yet all they care about is the status quo with men like Randy Orton and… Bobby Roode appears!

The GLORIOUS Roode says the only hypocrite here is Mahal. As for no respect, “respect is a two way street.” And Mahal doesn’t deserve any respect. What Mahal deserves come Wrestlemania is Roode beating him and winning back the United States title. And when Roode does, “it’s going to be absolutely–” Randy Orton appears!

Yes, the Grand slam Champion! Mahal, shut up. He doesn’t understand why no one respects him, or why when people think of the greatest champions, he’s not included. It’s actually rather obvious, really: without the help of his stooges, Mahal sucks. The fans agree, they chant “You Suck! You Suck!” at Mahal. Mahal takes off his coat, but throws Sunil Singh at Orton! Mahal runs away, Orton gives Sunil the draping DDT! Orton prepares those voices, but Roode takes Sunil for the GLORIOUS DDT! He tries one for Orton, Orton tries to reverse to the RKO but Roode pushes away. Mahal slinks near the ring but they’re both ready for him. The fans chant “RKO! RKO!” but this will wait for Wrestlemania. Who will be THE United States Champion after these three meet on the Grandest Stage of Them All?

 

Naomi & Becky Lynch VS The Riott Squad w/ Ruby Riott!

The Glow and the Fire look to get back on track after a few defeats as of late. Meanwhile, Ruby’s #KentuckyStrong and #LivStrong compatriots want to look strong going into the Women’s Wrestlemania Battle Royal. Who will get the edge here tonight?

The bell rings and Sarah Logan starts against Naomi. They tie up and Sarah picks Naomi up to bring her to the Squad’s corner. She tags in Liv Morgan and they double whip Naomi, only for Naomi to slide under and kick them both. Liv ducks a kick and a kick and a kick, but not that knee. Naomi covers, TWO, so Naomi tags in Becky. They double whip and double hip toss Liv down. Becky mule kicks and European Uppercuts Liv to then go after her at the ropes. Liv kicks back then whips but Becky reverses. Liv yanks Becky into buckles and tags in Sarah, Ruby looking on with a grin as Becky’s head is bumped off Sarah’s boot. The Squad mudhole stomp Becky, then Sarah runs to hit Becky with a stiff sliding knee. Cover, TWO, but Sarah stays on her with a half straitjacket.

The fans rally for Becky, even as Sarah thrashes her around. Becky fights up to her feet and arm-drags out, but Sarah intercepts her tag to slam Becky down. Sarah brings Becky up but Becky throws Sarah out over the top rope. Becky crawls but Ruby helps Sarah get back in, and Sarah runs to knock Naomi off the apron. Sarah drags Becky back, then single leg deadlift, but Becky reverses into the Disarm-her!

Liv comes in, Rear View from Naomi! Sarah taps, Becky & Naomi win! The Fire and the Glow light up, can one of them carve their names in history at Wrestlemania?

 

Daniel Bryan learns of Kevin & Sami arriving.

He has his assistant tell them to meet him in the ring. What will happen on the other side of the break?

 

Daniel Bryan returns to the ring.

The SmackDown GM waited all night for this. They’re here, so he asks Kevin & Sami come to the ring to join him. Sami & Kevin do come out, and are excited from knowing the news of the day.

They weren’t sure about coming, since Shane McMahon wasn’t. Then they got the news! Daniel Bryan is cleared for competition! Kevin & Sami raced here, but got pulled over by Walker Texas Ranger for speeding. They talked their way out of it, because “everyone’s dumber in Texas.” But they’re here now to share the moment and it feels great. Sami & Kevin wouldn’t miss this for the world. He supported them day one. He understood them when no one else did. When the rest of SmackDown’s roster hated them, he stood up for them. When Shane had a grudge against them, he was fair. And now, Bryan gets to return to in-ring competition! Good things happen to good people.

Raw VS SmackDown, A-Show VS B-Show? The show that has Kevin, Sami and Bryan is the DREAM Show! In fact, that sounds like a dream team. The fans say “NO! NO!” and Bryan appreciates the idea, but that’s not what this meeting is for. It’s about the assault they committed on Shane last week after Shane said he would take an indefinite leave of absence and step down from being Commissioner.

Sami & Kevin can’t help but laugh. They think that was funny? Kevin admits they got carried away, and Sami admits that looks extreme, but we all know Shane deserves it, right? Bryan says they can’t act like this is something small. That attack was a big deal. They understand what they did, right? Bryan knows they’re the very best of this generation, and when Shane said Bryan lived vicariously through them, he was right. They’ve known each other for 15 years. But they assaulted their boss.

And the one thing Bryan really can’t understand is, they’d won. Shane admitted to everything, and gave them a 1v1 match at Wrestlemania! Imagine back to ten years ago, if they were told this was going to happen. Not only did Shane do that, but also, he was leaving! Bryan was in their corner to run this show, yet they still went and did that. Shane was right, and Bryan doesn’t want to do this but… Bryan was fired twice, and came back better. Sami & Kevin can learn and grow, so as much as Bryan hates having to do this, but… “You’re Fired.”

The fans chant “YES! YES!” as Kevin & Sami get what they deserve. Bryan says they won’t be gone forever, just for now. He’s sorry, but he has to. He offers a handshake good-bye, which Sami accepts. Bryan offers it to Kevin, Kevin accepts it. They go to leave, but Kevin attacks!! Kevin roars as Sami rains down rights and lefts! Deja vu to last week, #Kami goes after Bryan, but Bryan fights back! He pushes Kevin to a corner and unloads kicks! Then Sami comes in for a sleeper, but Bryan slips around for a German Suplex! Dropkick fro Kevin! Dropkick for Sami!

Another for Kevin! Another for Sami! Bryan is back! And fans chant “YES! YES!” as Kevin takes the YES Kicks!

Sami returns to clobber Bryan, and fans boo. Referees try to stop this but Sami keeps going. He drags Bryan up,  SUPERKICK from Kevin. Kevin holds Bryan up, and shouts for Sami to “DO IT!” Sami runs in, HELLUVA KICK! Bryan goes down, the fans say “You Suck! You Suck!” Kevin and Sami look down at Bryan as he tries to stand, and Kevin punches him down again. They bring Bryan out of the ring and to the floor, and Sami feeds Bryan to the APRON POWERBOMB!! Bryan goes down in a heap, and the fans boo and jeer while Kevin roars in rage. Kevin & Sami finally leave while a stretcher comes out. The fans remind them “You’re Still Fired!” but will there be consequences beyond that for them? And what will this mean for Bryan’s in-ring return after taking all that damage?

 

My Thoughts:

This was quite the episode of SmackDown. Things were a bit copy & paste of last week with some edits, but it was all in good taste of the stories building. Nakamura taking on Rusev, winning, then actually fighting them off, all without Styles, was a great flip from last week when he bailed Styles out. There should be a Styles-Nakamura VS Rusev Day tag match before we get to ‘Mania, it’s completely logical. Corbin VS Dillinger was a bit filler, but still great to see Dillinger back on TV. Clearly WWE wants us to anticipate a possible repeat win for Corbin, which will likely mean he doesn’t repeat. Would be great if Dillinger wins, battle royals are perfect for giving someone a big boost in the card.

The Women’s Division did pretty good tonight. Charlotte VS Natty was incredible, but their matches always are. Carmella pulling off a cash-in swerve not-swerve was incredible. I’d like to think Carmella was being in it for herself and Natty took advantage as opposed to a plan between the two. Carmella still has chances, but this could foreshadow how she tries it again at ‘Mania. As for the tag match, that was a bit weaker, but good for Becky to get the win. Maybe Becky can use the Women’s Battle Royal to boost her back up to the top. The Tag Team and US Championship segments were also good, helping set up some great stuff for ‘Mania, and especially next week’s tag team of Orton-Roode VS Mahal-Singh. Given how Orton pointed out Mahal sucks when he’s without the Singhs, I’d hope they win to prove it.

Great to hear the news reported again on air, and Bryan was genuinely emotional sharing the reality of it all. There was so much speculation in the hours leading up to tonight, and Ziggler gave a nice tease. However, it’s clear the first thing for Bryan in-ring has to do with Kevin & Sami. I did not expect Bryan to “fire” them, and I really didn’t expect them to attack like that. They did almost as much as they did to Shane, but obviously they couldn’t go that hard on someone who just got cleared. This does kinda make you wonder just how long he really was cleared, or why he was finally cleared. But chances are, Bryan & Shane VS Kevin & Sami is where this is heading. After that, the sky’s the limit for Bryan because of how red hot over he still is with fans.

My Score: 8/10


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Andrew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Red Stars Ratings & Review: Day 7 & 8

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We get another combined article because of the way Stardom likes to stagger matches in this tournament.

Day 7 actually didn’t have any Blue Star matches at all, so now the articles will be titled a little differently. I need that Rick and Morty clip about getting your shit together and direct it at Stardom booking. Oh wait, I can!

via GIPHY

 

So with that established, I guess we should look at the matches to come. Tam is eliminated but still has 3 matches to go. So she can go from a measly 2 to a respectable 8 if she can put a few wins together. Utami and Rachael however are still very much in the thick of things, and even face one another on Day 8.

Let’s find if anyone else gets eliminated, or if we continue to have the top half stay alive.

 

Day 7

Rachael Ellering vs Tam Nakano

Rachael’s promo is fake and over enthusiastic, whereas Tam’s was realistic and a little bubbleheaded. So it’s really hard for me to ever connect to Ellering’s promos, cause she’s not convincing and her matches thus far have been…umm…shall we say, sub par. So sadly Tam seems to be in the plucky underdog role this year and always getting close with not much of a pay off. So let’s she if she picks up a win to play spoiler, or continues to come up short.

I have no clue what it is about most of Rachael’s matches, but they are hard to watch. Rachael’s Pump Kick that she over uses never looks impactful, she doesn’t take or sell offense well, and it’s just a schlog. This match was no different.

Tam’s kicks are usually crisp, but they hit awkwardly and slowly. Tam even went for a bottom rope assisted Back Body Drop, but Rachael’s foot cause the middle rope and it just looked sloppy. Tam still sold her back, while Rachael focused it, so that was good.

We also see a decent barrage at the end of the match with some false finish rollups, Rachael’s Bossman Slam and then Ellering finally finishes this with the Fallaway Powerbomb.

Winner: Ellering via Fallaway Powerbomb

Rating: * 1/2

 

Kagetsu vs Kimber Lee

Kimber always has this oddly endearing way of cutting a promo. She talks fairly slowly (the way people do when you’re speaking a language people might not understand), which I find ridiculous, but she says all the correct babyface things. Kagetsu however has a skull mask on her head, pops up into frame and just starts talking casually about things. She just wants to end the match, eat some good food and head to Osaka. It’s casually dismissive of Kimber, but not cruel, perfect tweener kind of temperature.

Kagetsu takes the early advantage and does the cocky heel thing by throwing Kimber to the outside. Hazuki and Sumire get in a few cheap shots before rolling her back in. Kagetsu takes a drink of water and then we get her water spit/mist spot. Which I’m still not sure why that isn’t a disqualification, but I like it, so I’m not questioning it.

After the initial cockiness, Kimber takes advantage of Kagetsu taking her foot of the gas and puts together some offense. A few well placed kicks and suplexes lead to the Swanton Bomb attempt, but Kimber misses. After a little more struggle, Kagetsu eventually hits a Chokeslam and then enough of the Oedo Coaster to get the pinfall.

Not Kagetsu’s best work, but it was a fairly short match and Kimber isn’t positioned as a threat in this tournament.

Winner: Kagetsu via Oedo Coaster

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Day 8

Kimber Lee vs Tam Nakano

The opening promos are pretty low energy for both women. Kimber talks about being eliminated but fighting for herself and Tam tries her best to psych herself up. The lack of points is effecting both of these women. Who will get the ball moving to end on a high note?

Not a bad match, just fairly short. Given that all of the Grand Prix matches have a 15 minute time limit, even the longer ones are a little short. Both women utilize a fair amount of kicks and flexibility in their offense, so the mirror aspect was on full display.

Kimber does her split spot, Tam goes for a Buzzsaw Kick, but Kimber blocks it and tries to sweep the leg, but Tam does a split and they both start throwing forearms from the split position. Kimber hits a kick combination first, which drops Tam but only for two. In her opening promo Tam put some emphasis on not wanting to lose to kicks, since those are kinda her thing.

Maintaining advantage, Kimber goes to the top rope but Tam shows some fight. Eventually hitting the Avalanche Snapmare and going up for her Diving Idol Knee, for only a near fall. After a few more close calls, Kimber catches Tam coming off the ropes for a Brain Buster, pulls her to a corner and lands the Swanton Bomb for the pinfall.

Valiant efforts in all her matches, but Tam really can’t catch a break.

Winner: Kimber via Swanton Bomb

Rating: ** 1/4

 

Rachael Ellering vs Utami Hayayshishita

Well, ya know I’m usually overly disinterested in whatever Rachael’s been doing, but this match was a little different. She basically got to play the heel since she was being very tough on Utami and showing some personality while arguing with the referee. So when it comes down to Rachael’s involvement, it wasn’t the thing that brought the match down, for a change.

However, after the initial burst from Rachael and the playing up a few strikes on the outside, the match never kick it into another gear. It basically was treading water for the last half. Signature moves were hit, Utami landed her Sleeper Hold takeover into the Coquina Clutch, but Rachael got out of it. I’m guess the high point was supposed to be Rachael hitting a Superplex, but nothing felt important, desperate or impressive.

The match ends just as Utami cinches in an Inside Cradle, but the time expires. All of the draws in this tournament are a little off putting.

Winner: Time Limit Draw

Rating: ***

 

Red Stars Standings:

Kagetsu 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Rachael Ellering 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Jungle Kyona 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Utami Hayashishita 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Konami 3-3 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Kimber Lee 2-4 (4 Points) – Eliminated
Tam Nakano 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated
Natsuko Tora 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated

 

Thoughts:

You know Stardom, you know what happens when you make Tam look good but don’t give her wins? Nothing happens, it’s actually decent story telling and could set up for a big upset of Kagetsu on the Finals day. So as much as the fan in me hates watching Tam come up short (Naito fans around the world know that feel), her determination and the storyline wrinkles could pay off later.

As for the two days…meh? Nothing stood out and these really just felt like matches to set up for the final swerve. These kind of days happen in all tournaments, it just hit really hard in these four matches. I just really really hope Rachael doesn’t win Red Stars.


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Mathew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Blue Stars Results & Review: Day 8

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So tomorrow is the last day of the Five Star Grand Prix where we will have our final four matches and the final match on the same day but we got two matches left to cover before we go to the final day.

This show is for people that didn’t have their six matches before the final day and we’re using this to make sure they’re all caught up to speed and we can see who has a chance to make it and who doesn’t. I know it says day 8 in my headline but I had no matches on the seventh day, so I decided to just skip it and go where I have my actual matches. So who wins these two matches?

Let’s find out and…dive right in.

 

Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Kelly Klein vs. Natsu Sumire

Review: It’s pretty clear that Sumire is pretty much eliminated and even if she does win this match and her last one, the fact that Mayu would hold the tiebreaker over her if she lost today and won tomorrow, but would still be out if Momo won on the final day since she’d have nine points while Sumire would still have eight if she won both and wouldn’t matter, but she has been one of the highlights of this tournament due to her personality flourishing a lot more here and the fans loving her more and more. Sumire in her pre-match interview seems to be more focused on her bust size and even talked about the supplements she’s been taking for a couple weeks now and is disappointed that there’s been no change in her results just yet and hopes to provide progress updates. Kelly is her opponent tonight and if Kelly does win here, she’ll be in the top spot of the standings and would have a strong chance of winning. Can Kelly win again or will Sumire ruin it for her?

Once again, Sumire made the match fun when it was needed due to it not being the best bout in the tournament here but they did work with what they got, even if it was as pretty standard as they come. Kelly did an okay job in the match as well and probably my least favorite outing of her in the Grand Prix and she just wanted to dominate Sumire. Sumire was mostly doing her antics that you would see in her matches with the false handshakes, cradling them up when they least expect it, and just whipping them. It looked like Kelly was going to go for the win here and when she ran the ropes, Kagetsu kicked her in the back to stun her long enough for Sumire to grab the Oedo Tai sign so she could hit Kelly with it, but Kelly moved out of the way causing the sign to bounce off the ropes and hit Sumire instead in which it gets turned around for Kelly to hit the Fireman’s Carry Slam for the victory and she’s now in first place.

Rating: Tony Schiavone

 

Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

Review: A win here is very crucial for Mayu Iwatani if she wants to tie it up with Kelly, otherwise she would be eliminated from the tournament and her opponent, Hazuki would take the top spot with nine points and potentially win the whole thing if things work out in her favor. The last time the both of them fought one on one was around February during the ROH Women of Honor tournament and Mayu would come out the winner of that match and Mayu wants to beat her again to show she’s on a whole different level now. Who will take the top spot of the standings, Mayu or Hazuki?

Hazuki is in my top 5 wrestlers of Stardom right now and this match here with Mayu just solidified my statement for this claim. This whole tournament, she has been one of the most consistent wrestlers in her matches with her sequences being on point, her moves are crisp, and how to handle a match lately has been outstanding that she should be under peoples radar. Hazuki right away was being aggressive with Mayu before the bell even rang when she attacked her from behind and kept rolling her up which failed, but she kept on the attack by throwing her around into chairs on the outside and even destroyed Mayu’s arm during the whole match and not holding back on her, I love this side of Hazuki.

This match is one of my favorites in my block next to Hazuki/Momo still being my favorite one, but this one was still pretty damn close with their chemistry in the ring together gave us a special match and it’s not even their last one for their block. They told a great story in the ring, executed everything almost flawlessly, seeing a more aggressive side of Hazuki in her previous two matches, and Mayu selling it all to make it look more dangerous than it probably is, but they were just on point with everything together. Hazuki was pulling out all the stops with having her in the Crossface, working on her arm, stiff Dropkicks and a Codebreaker, but it still wasn’t enough to take Mayu out as she hits the Dragon Suplex Hold and gets the victory to tie first place with Kelly Klein. After the match, she told the crowd that she was now in first place and hopes the crowd will still support her as she looks to win it all at the final.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Overall: Can’t really give it a fair assessment due to only having two matches with one being average and the other one being great, but the average of it was solid enough. I’m glad to see that all three of my picks are in the top 4 of potential winners and excited for the last day since it’s stacked.

Favorite Match: Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

Score: 6/10

Blue Stars Standings:
Mayu Iwatani: 4-2 (8 Points)
Kelly Klein: 4-2 (8 Points)
Momo Watanabe: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Hazuki: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Nicole Savoy: 3-3 (6 Points)
Jamie Hayter: 2-4 (4 Points)
Saki Kashima: 2-4 (2 Points)
Natsu Sumire: 2-4 (4 Points)

Now that we have our final standings before the final show tomorrow, we see that our top 4 people that could still win this are Mayu Iwatani, Kelly Klein, Momo Watanabe, and Hazuki. We’re gonna break down the final card for tomorrow and see who has a real chance and how can it be done.

  • Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Hazuki vs. Natsu Sumire
  • Kelly Klein vs. Nicole Savoy
  • Saki Kashima vs. Jamie Hayter

Here is how these four can win.

Mayu Iwatani: Defeat Momo Watanabe and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.

Momo Watanabe: Defeat Mayu Iwatani and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.

Kelly Klein: Defeat Nicole Savoy

Hazuki: Defeat Nicole Savoy, Momo Watanabe defeats Mayu Iwatani, and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein

If Momo and Hazuki do win their matches and Kelly loses, these two will be in a tie and it’ll be interesting to see who gets the final spot since they did tie it up in their outing, interesting direction if that’s the case.


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Joe’s CMLL Results & Review (9/17/2018)

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CMLL Coverage
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CMLL Arena Puebla Show Monday

El Asturiano and Black Tiger vs Espiritu Maligno and Fuerza Chicana

Maligno and Asturiano start out the match exchanging arm drags. Maligno is bare foot so Asturiano while having him in a hold bites his feet. Not very hygienical. Tiger and Chicana make their way in trading holds. Tags are made briefly and they pick up the pace but Chicana and Tiger come back in soon after to continue the faster pace. Maligno misses a splash and Tiger gets him in a surfboard stretch for the submission, then Asturiano pins Chicana with a hurricanrana pin combo. First Fall: El Asturiano pins Fuerza Chicana with a hurricanrana.

Black Tiger hits a monkey flip on Maligno to start the round and then hits a pose. Asturiano and Chicana are in to follow. He ends up feigning a dive to the outside. Maligno and Chicana start to get heat on the other team by double teaming both guys when they get the chance. Malingo hits a baseball slide to Asturiano in the corner and then they get both of them in submissions. Some elaborate stretches. Second Fall: Espiritu Maligno submits El Asturiano with a submission hold.

Third round starts with Asturiano being double teamed. Maligno hits a drop kick on him sending him out bringing in Black Tiger to get doubled. All four are in the ring now exchanging chops. Maligno gets Asturiano in a Gory Guerrero special into a pinning combination for the pin. The Chicana gets Black Tiger in a single leg boston crab for the win. Third Fall: Fuerza Chicana submits Black Tiger with a single leg boston crab.

Winners: Espiritu Maligno and Fuerza Chicana

Oro Jr, Super Astro Jr, and Tigre Rojo Jr vs King Rocker Jr, El Malayo, and King Jaguar

King Jaguar and Oro Jr start off with some chain wrestling, exchanging holds. They meet a stale mate and King Rocker come in and continue to exchange holds and chain wrestle. Tigre Rojo and Malayo come in and pick up the pace. Malayo gets Rojo in the corner to get an advantage on him, but it doesn’t work out. Oro Jr and Rojo hit a combo neck breaker on Malayo. Super Astro hits him with a dive for a pin. Tigre Rojo gets King Jaguar in an arm bar for the first fall. First Fall: Tigre Rojo Jr submits King Jaguar with an arm bar.

King Rocker starts the second fall with Oro jr and Oro gets him to the outside and then hits a pose. Astro comes in there next with Malayo. Astro gets him to the outside and then feigns a dive and hits an elaborate pose. After that Rojo and Jaguar come in and he too gets Jaguar to the outside and feigns a dive. Finally Rocker and Malayo are working over Tigre Rojo. Once they dispose of him they start to triple team Astro Jr. Jaguar hits a big baseball slide dive on Astro. Oro Jr gets hit with a basement drop kick to the hit by King Rocker for the second fall. Second Fall: King Rocker pins Oro Jr with a basement drop kick.

Oro and Rocker start out in the third round. This becomes a triple team attack soon. It doesn’t last for long and Oro Jr, Astro, and Rojo go for dives but they get dodged and then it becomes a brawl. They exchange spots and go for pins that get broken up. Astro hits a top rope headbutt on Malayo and pins him. Oro hits a power slam on Rocker and then Tigre and him do a double team move where Rojo flips Oro onto Rocker for the pin. Third Fall: Oro pins Rocker while being flipped by Tigre Rojo.

Winners: Oro Jr, Super Astro Jr, and Tigre Rojo Jr

Guerrero Maya, Fuego, and Stigma vs El Sagrado, Misterioso, and Tiger

Interesting note, the Arena Puebla is called Temple of Pain in translation. They should do Lucha Underground out of here. Maya and Misterioso start out in the match, and as they exchange holds and perform some mat wrestling, I’d like to point out how hype Fuego’s entrance is. After they go to a stale mate Sagrado and Stigma come in. They don’t last long and Fuego and Tiger get in there and pick up the pace.

Tiger irish whips Fuego into his corner and this causes his teammates to come in and triple team Fuego for a moment. Fuego’s teammates come in to confront. Fuego makes a come back and gets Tiger to the outside and then a brawl breaks out on the outside. After that Maya starts to get triple teamed. Misterioso hits a weak drop kick bringing Maya to the outside then hits a pose, but Fuego rolls him up. First Fall: Fuego rolls up Misterioso.

The second round is started with Stigma getting triple teamed. After they dispose of Stigma to the outside, Maya comes in to try his hand but the numbers are too much. El Sagrado hits an elbow drop for the second fall. Second Fall: El Sagrado hits an elbow drop on Guerrero Maya for the pin.

Maya starts the fall getting triple teamed but made a come back by hitting everyone with a tilt-a-Whirl back breaker. After that Stigma and Fuego came and hit middle rope dives. They all start to exchange spots now, one at a time. Fuego hits his matrix bridge spot and then hits a dive. Stigma hits a big hurricanrana on Misterioso. Tiger and Stigma start to exchange chops.

Eventually Tiger hits a big power bomb. Fuego hits a big victory roll on Misterioso and the ref takes forever to go for the count and Sagrado breaks it up. Misterioso hits a reverse power slam and Fuego breaks up the pin and then he hits a big dive. Stigma hits a pinning combination on on Sagrado and Maya hits a spring board, shoulder block on Tiger for the win. Third Fall: Guerrero Maya hits a shoulder block on Tiger for the win.

Winners: Guerrero Maya, Fuego, and Stigma

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