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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: New Japan Cup 2018 Semifinals!

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AXS TV’s coverage of the 2018 New Japan Cup continues! Juice Robinson will take on Hiroshi Tanahashi while Zack Sabre Jr. takes on Sanada. Will The Ace of NJPW continue his triumphant return from injury over the Flamboyant up and comer? Will it be the Cold Skull or the Technical Wizard who will #JustTapOut?

 

This review of The New Japan Cup 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Juice Robinson VS Hiroshi Tanahashi; Tanahashi wins and advances to the finals.
  • Zack Sabre Jr. VS Sanada; ZSJ wins and advances to the finals.

PLAY BY PLAY

AXS TV and NJPW review the action to this point.

Juice Robinson upsets Unbreakable Big Mike while the Once in a Century Talent survives Bullet Club’s Underboss. Meanwhile, Sanada silenced the Sublime Master Thief, and ZJS did as Taka Michinoku said: he made Kota Ibushi #JustTapOut. They are the final four, who will overcome who in order to fight for THE New Japan Cup’s title shot opportunity?

 

Juice Robinson VS Hiroshi Tanahashi!

It’s Taguchi Japan VS Taguchi Japan as young and old battle to take that last step to the finals. Will The Flamboyant or the Ace be the first to qualify for the coveted title opportunity?

We cut to both Juice and Tanahashi down on the ground outside the ring. Juice drags himself up to his feet with the help of barriers. He rallies the fans while he goes over to Tanahashi. Juice puts Tanahashi in the ring at the count of 9, then fires up before climbing to the top rope. Juice takes aim, but Tanahashi hits the ropes to trip him up! Tanahashi catches his breath under the bottom rope while Juice tumbles down to the mat. Now Tanahashi climbs, but Juice returns the favor, barreling into Red Shoes and the ropes to trip Tanahashi up! Tanahashi tumbles down now, and fans rally while they recover from crotch damage. They stir while Red Shoes checks on them. Tanahashi stands, followed by Juice.

Tanahashi throws a forearm, but Juice shakes it off to give one back. They trade more forearms, each daring the other to hit harder. The pace quickens as they continue back and forth. Tanahashi adds a European Uppercut, but Juice gives a chop! Tanahashi teeters so Juice chops him again. Juice gives a third, then fireman’s carry, but Tanahashi blocks the gutbuster to go after the leg! Grounded dragon screw! Fans rally for Tanahashi as he goes after the legs again. Juice crawls to ropes and gets the break. Tanahashi lets go, but then stomps the legs. He drags Juice up and whips, but Juice reverses. Tanahashi blocks the leg lariat to hit another dragon screw! Tanahashi goes back to the legs, and turns Juice over for the Texas Cloverleaf!

Juice endures the bending and pulling, and reaches for ropes. Tanahashi looses a bit of his grip, and Juice gets the ropebreak! Fans applaud Juice’s heart, but Tanahashi is still in control. He stomps the legs more, then dares Juice to stand. Juice starts, Tanahashi runs, but Juice gets Tanahashi with the full nelson slam! Cover, TWO! Juice has evened the playing field while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Juice stands and fires up. He runs, and clotheslines Tanahashi down! Cover, TWO! Juice keeps his cool but the fans are on Tanahashi’s side. Tanahashi stirs but Juice is up again. Juice waits for Tanahashi, then prepares the chicken wings. He turns Tanahashi but Tanahashi shoves Juice, then dodges a clothesline to hit a slingblade! Cover, TWO, but so close! Tanahashi keeps going, climbing up top again. Juice stands and rocks Tanahashi with a left hook! Tanahashi teeters on top while Juice catches his breath. Juice slowly climbs up to join Tanahashi, and prepares the superplex, but Tanahashi resists. Tanahashi hits back and headbutts Juice down.

Tanahashi fires up while Juice stands back up, flying crossbody! But a roll through from Juice, TWO!! Juice can’t believe how close he was. Both men are down, tired from this no-time-limit match. They crawl to each other, Juice gets the facelock. He lifts Tanahashi in the suplex, but Tanahashi comes down and hits a swinging neckbreaker! Tanahashi doesn’t end it there, he brings Juice back up for a second! Then a– No, Juice blocks the third neckbreaker by hitting a suplex gutbuster!

Cover, TWO!! Even closer, but still not enough. Fans duel now between Juice and Tanahashi. Juice thinks on what to do, and he goes to a corner. He slowly makes his way up while Tanahashi stands, Juice hits a flying crossbody of his own! Juice is all fired up as he goes back to the corner and up again. Juice hits a frog splash! Cover, TWO!? But how?! Juice argues with Red Shoes, that couldn’t have been two! Fans are thunderous for Tanahashi while Juice grows frustrated.

Juice drags Tanahashi up, chicken wings, and the turn, but Tanahashi uses all his strength and turns it back around! But then Juice turns it further around! Tanahashi slips his arms out to go for a full nelson, but Juice breaks free. Juice elbows Tanahashi, but Tanahashi catches him with a left hand. Juice gives a left hand back, but Tanahashi gives another. Tanahashi grabs Juice in the full nelson, for the Dragon Suplex!

Tanahashi climbs up top again. He hits High Fly Flow to Juice’s back!

But that’s not all, Tanahashi goes back up again! High Fly Flow to Juice’s front! Cover, Tanahashi wins!

Winner: Tanahashi, by pinfall

The Ace stays alive in the tournament! Juice gave it his all, but it wasn’t enough to stop this Once in a Century Talent. Who will meet Tanahashi in the finals?

 

Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Taka Michinoku VS Sanada!

One of NJPW’s best submission wrestlers, if not already THE best, has an arsenal of holds with which he can torture his opponents. However, the Cold Skull of Los Ingobernables de Japon only needs one. Who will make who #JustTapOut to then meet The Ace in the New Japan Cup Finals?

Taka Michinoku again speaks before the match. “The New Japan Cup Tournament 2018 semifinals…” Zack Sabre Jr. VS Sanada, who wins? Fans cheer “Zack!” And who wins it all? “Zack!” Who takes the New Japan Cup? The man who can finish anyone with any lock anywhere. The man with unlimited submission holds. And the man who already beat Naito and Ibushi, the Submission Master, ZSJ, Zack Sabre Jr! And anyone who gets in his way, will give up and #JustTapOut! Let’s begin this semifinal match. Sanada, “C’mon over here!”

The bell rings, and we begin this no-time-limit match. Sanada and ZSJ circle, feeling each other out. They tie up, but ZSJ gets away from Sanada’s grip. They go again, and ZSJ gets the armlock takedown. He wrenches the wrist but Sanada stands up. ZSJ spins around to keep that wrist control, and brings Sanada back down. He shifts to a headlock and wants the armlock but Sanada reaches with his legs to get the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go and Sanada stands back up. They circle again, tie up, but now Sanada gets wrist control. Sanada wrenches ZSJ but ZSJ rolls, only to be brought down. Sanada shifts to a keylock but ZSJ rolls around to stand up. ZSJ grabs Sanada’s head but Sanada brings ZSJ back down to the mat.

ZSJ rolls around and stands up while grinding a forearm into Sanada’s face. He rolls and bends to reverse the wristlock back onto Sanada. Sanada rolls and spins and even cartwheels to then throw ZSJ with an arm-wringer. Fans applaud this impressive exchange while both men go to corners. Both Sanada and ZSJ work to get feeling back into their arms as they circle again. Sanada calls for a test of strength and ZSJ accepts. Sanada brings ZSJ to his knees with the knuckle lock, but ZSJ turns it around on him. ZSJ brings Sanada to his knees but Sanada turns it back. It becomes a double knuckle lock, but ZSJ uses that to stand back up. He and Sanada go shoulder to shoulder, both trying to find a point of leverage.

Sanada brings ZSJ down to the mat and it’s a cover, TWO as ZSJ bridges. ZSJ moves around and pries himself out of the knuckle locks to then trap one of Sanada’s arms and wrench the other. ZSJ shifts that into a double armlock, and even uses his chin to keep the top arm back.

Sanada endures but ZSJ rolls him over to a cover, TWO as Sanada manages to sit back up. ZSJ again shifts around for a seated motorcycle stretch, and digs his forehead between Sanada’s shoulders. Sanada works to stand up but ZSJ holds on. Sanada uses his power to turn the hold onto ZSJ! ZSJ endures the stretch and stands up, but he doesn’t have the pure strength to turn Sanada. Sanada adds a boot into it and pulls back on ZSJ. ZSJ stands to try the rotation again, but Sanada still powers him down. ZSJ works at it a third time, and manages the turn, only for Sanada to turn it all the way back. With power not working, ZSJ uses agility as he flips and kicks Sanada off the hold. Sanada kip-ups, then throws ZSJ out of the ring.

Sanada builds speed, but tumbles to the apron when ZSJ gets clear. Now Sanada shows off his agility as he tumbles back into the ring. ZSJ grows frustrated, and even threatens a young lion at ringside. Michinoku calms ZSJ down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and ZSJ takes a good part of the 20-count to compose himself. He gets back in at 18, and circles with Sanada again. ZSJ won’t tie up with Sanada yet, he needs a few more seconds. When they do tie up, Sanada uses another double knuckle lock to bring ZSJ to his knees. Sanada even brings ZSJ down to his elbows. ZSJ rolls back and reverses the knuckle locks, then wraps Sanada up in a straitjacket. ZSJ brings Sanada down to his knees, but Sanada reverses the hold with a double arm-drag. Sanada bends ZSJ back with the straitjacket, but ZSJ stands up. He reverses the hold but Sanada uses another arm-drag to reverse it back. ZSJ uses a foot to pry out of the straitjacket, but Sanada pulls ZSJ right back into it.

ZSJ ducks under and uses the arms in a pumphandle flip and he puts Sanada back, but Sanada still flips the hold back onto ZSJ! Michinoku coaches ZSJ, ZSJ stands and bends back to spin and put Sanada back, but Sanada uses yet another arm-drag to put ZSJ back in it. Fans applaud this back and forth while ZSJ stands. ZSJ shimmies the arms down, thereby slipping out of the straitjacket entirely. He then hits Sanada with a EuroUpper, but runs into Sanada’s headscissors! ZSJ gets out of the ring, but Sanada slingshots onto him!

They both go down with the slingshot dive, but Sanada is up first. He checks his wrists while ZSJ rests against the barriers. Sanada fetches ZSJ and puts him in the ring. Fans applaud while Sanada enters from the other side. He goes back to ZSJ and rocks him with a right forearm. He stands ZSJ up for another, and waits while ZSJ checks his face. ZSJ stands up and hits back with a EuroUpper and a kick, but Sanada blocks to then go for the Paradise Lock. ZSJ resists at every turn, and brings Sanada down into an armbar! Sanada rolls it and goes for the dragon sleeper! ZSJ scrambles out of that to then Pele kick Sanada’s arm, then Pele kick the other arm! Sanada gets to a corner for safety, but ZSJ walks over. ZSJ simply stands on Sanada’s shoulders and face to toy with him.

Red Shoes has ZSJ back off, and Sanada slips out of the ring. Sanada takes time to recover his arms. He returns at 10, but ZSJ is on him and those arms in a seated hammerlock. ZSJ goes after the free arm and bends it from fingers to wrist. He shifts it to a crucifix cover, TWO, but ZSJ maintains the almost Rings of Saturn style hold. Sanada endures as ZSJ rolls him around more, into a cradle-like cover, but Sanada gets the ropebreak thanks to his legs. ZSJ is annoyed, but he backs off while Sanada rests in the corner. Fans rally while Sanada stands. Sanada chops ZSJ over and over, but ZSJ kicks the arm. ZSJ runs, Sanada jumps, but ZSJ catches his leg and brings him down a la flapjack. ZSJ then slips right into a grapevine leg and arm lock.

Now ZSJ shifts to a Disarmer, and bends the fingers and wrist before standing up for a hammerlock twist. Sanada writhes while ZSJ walks around. Red Shoes determines Sanada is okay to continue, so ZSJ goes right after the arms again. He twists the wrist and even the elbow. Fans rally while Sanada resists, and Sanada gives ZSJ a forearm. ZSJ wrenches the arm but Sanada hits him again. Sanada keeps hitting ZSJ then whips corner to corner, but ZSJ ducks the boot. ZSJ headbutts the stomach and gives another EuroUpper before running again. Sanada jumps over a couple times then dropkicks ZSJ down! Sanada puts the dazed ZSJ into the Paradise Lock! ZSJ protests being humiliated, but that doesn’t stop Sanada from dropkicking him out of Paradise!

Sanada stands again while ZSJ clutches his bottom. ZSJ resists the saido suplex, and gets the arm before giving another EuroUpper. Sanada staggers, but still lifts ZSJ in the fireman’s carry, only for ZSJ to bring him down with an armbar. ZSJ keeps going, but Sanada gets the ropebreak. This submission showcase continues after we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns one more time as ZSJ stands back up. He walks around while fans rally for Sanada. ZSJ kicks Sanada’s arms, and even toys with him, but Sanada makes him pay with big forearm shots. Sanada whips but ZSJ blocks the hip toss, right into the abdominal stretch! Sanada endures while the fans rally for him, and he reverses the hold onto ZSJ! ZSJ pries his way out to then put the hold back on to Sanada. Sanada turns it back, but ZSJ turns it back again, and they go around and around until Sanada shoves ZSJ away. Sanada then grabs ZSJ for a big back suplex! Cover, TWO! Sanada hurries to a corner, MOONSAULT, but he lands on his feet as ZSJ evades. They run at each other, but ZSJ knocks Sanada over with the EuroUpper.

ZSJ runs again, Penalty Kick! Both men are down from exhaustion, but ZSJ gets himself moving again. ZSJ doesn’t cover, he bends Sanada’s arm back for the hammerlock stomp! Sanada clutches that arm, but ZSJ goes after the other for another hammerlock stomp. ZSJ catches his breath while Sanada writhes in pain. ZSJ toys with Sanada as he kicks the shoulders. He goes after one arm in another Disarmer, then gives it another hammerlock stomp. Sanada gets to a corner, but ZSJ dares him to fight. Sanada throws a forearm, then another, but ZSJ gives back EuroUppers. ZSJ whips but Sanada tumbles to the apron to then springboard for a missile dropkick!

Both men are down again. Michinoku coaches ZSJ up while fans rally for Sanada. Both men get to opposite corners. They run at each other again, ZSJ gives another EuroUpper. Sanada lifts ZSJ in a fireman’s carry, but ZSJ slips into a guillotine! Then the hoverboard armlock! But Sanada uses more power to work out of the hold, and spins ZSJ to the dragon sleeper! He swings ZSJ around, but ZSJ spins back around to give Sanada the arm snap! ZSJ stands, then runs, but into the roll-up and the dragon sleeper. Sanada lifts with the inverted suplex, but ZSJ slips out and under for the double leg takedown. ZSJ hops forward for the chicken wing roll and bridge back! TWO, into Skull End!

Michinoku shouts for ZSJ to resists. Sanada goes to completely lock it in, but ZSJ slips out and around to get that bridge again! TWO!! ZSJ can’t believe he didn’t get it. Sanada gets him with a EuroUpper of his own! Fans rally again while ZSJ is reeling. Sanada brings him up, fireman’s carry, but ZSJ slips to a backpack sleeper, then climbs around to the front, for a triangle hold! He brings Sanada down to the mat, and grabs the free arm for an armbar. Sanada endures, but he’s fading. He uses a last gas to deadlift ZSJ up, powerbomb position to fireman’s carry to the TKO!

Cover, TWO!! Sanada grows frustrated with ZSJ but the fans are thunderous. Sanada stands and feeds off the crowd. ZSJ stands but Sanada has the double chicken wing, and hits tiger suplex! TWO, but he keeps going. Sanada hits ZSJ with a backbreaker, then hurries to a corner, for the MOONSAULT! But into ZSJ’s knees! Then the triangle! ZSJ drives his elbows into Sanada’s head then adds a keylock to the triangle. Sanada reaches but fades. He tries once more to deadlift, but ZSJ just shifts things to the coil lock. ZSJ wants the Rings but Sanada reaches. Sanada can’t, and ZSJ puts him in a hold very much like what he used on Kota Ibushi!

Sanada endures, reaches with his legs, but now ZSJ grabs those for a Bow ‘n’ Arrow modification. ZSJ headbutts Sanada’s ribs, then pulls back. Sanada verbally quits, ZSJ wins!

Winner: ZSJ, by submission

The only reason Sanada didn’t tap out was because the Technical Wizard had both arms trapped. And again, Michinoku asks, “Zack Sabre Jr. VS Sanada, who won?” And he knows everyone knows who ZSJ’s opponent in the finals will be. It may be Hiroshi Tanahashi, but it doesn’t matter who it would be. You step to ZSJ, “Just Tap Out!” So who will win between Tanahashi and Zack Sabre Jr? Who will win the New Japan Cup 2018? You’re already looking at the 2018 New Japan Cup Champion, the man who can finish anyone with any lock, anytime, anywhere. The man who knows unlimited holds. And the man who defeated Naito, Ibushi and now Sanada, the Submission Master, ZSJ: Zack Sabre Jr! Will Michinoku’s predictions come true again in the final round?

 

Backstage interviews.

ZSJ admits Sanada’s Skull End is a “good submission”, but not against the Submission Master’s 7822 different submissions. By ZSJ’s count, he only used about five or six in that match. And for Tanahashi, a living legend, ZSJ makes sure he knows “all legends must die.” Tanahashi is held together by hair spray and athletic tape. ZSJ wants to put the Ace out of his misery. The cup will be ZSJ’s, as will Okada’s IWGP Heavyweight title. Confident as ever, will the Technical Wizard force Tanahashi to #JustTapOut?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Another great pair of matches. I thought there’d be more of Juice VS Tanahashi, but since both matches went pretty long, there probably wasn’t a way to fit them both into one hour, with commercials. What we did see of Juice VS Tanahashi was still really good, and Juice is slowly making gains in the heavyweight division. But as Juice is not there yet, Tanahashi goes over to be one of this year’s finalists.

Then ZSJ VS Sanada, from start to finish, was so great with the submission holds as the way to tell the story. ZSJ is touted as the Submission Master, the best of all submission users, but Sanada gave him quite the challenge. But because Sanada played ZSJ’s game, he ends up losing. ZSJ builds a lot of momentum defeating Ibushi and two members of LIJ on the way to the finals, and we get a great story going into the finals: Tanahashi has a grudge against Suzuki-Gun, especially Minoru Suzuki, and now tries to get to Minoru through his protege.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Results & Report! (9/24/18)

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After being ambushed and screwed out of a championship match, The Revival returns to get revenge and the Raw Tag Team titles from McIntyre & Ziggler!

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Finn Balor w/ Bayley VS Jinder Mahal w/ Alicia Fox; Finn wins.
  • Six Woman Tag: The Bellas & Natayla VS The Riott Squad; The Riott Squad wins.
  • Chad Gable w/ Bobby Roode VS Konnor w/ Viktor; Konnor wins.
  • Raw Tag Team Championships: Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler VS The Revival; McIntyre & Ziggler win, and retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
  • Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush VS Elias w/ Kevin Owens; Lashley wins, by disqualification.
  • Nia Jax w/ Ember Moon VS Alicia Fox w/ Mickie James & Alexa Bliss; Nia Jax wins.
  • Six Man Tag: The Shield VS Baron Corbin & ???; The Shield wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Baron Corbin greets the returning Raw Commissioner, Stephanie McMahon!

And it’s her birthday! Corbin begins singing for her, but then Triple H exits the limousine, too. Corbin promises everything is set up for her in her office and offers to lead the way. Stephanie tells Corbin that whatever she has to say to and about Corbin, she can say in front of everyone in the WWE Universe. HHH says this must be awkward for Corbin, so he’ll just leave. Stephanie says she thought Corbin could do the job Kurt Angle couldn’t. Corbin tries to make excuses but she cuts him off by saying she expected him to make good decisions, the right decisions. Was Corbin putting himself in a match for the WWE Universal Championship a good decision?

Corbin admits that was too much, but The Shield keep provoking him. They’re running wild. So then he admits he has no control over the show? Mistakes can be tolerated, but excuses aren’t. If Corbin wants to get the Shield in line, grab two tag partners and settle this in the ring. Otherwise, Angle might be back from “vacation” sooner than anticipated. What is the Lone Wolf to do about the Hounds of Justice? Speaking of…

The Shield heads to the ring!

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns are going to be back in action as the full trio here in tonight’s main event! But that means there’s a couple hours for Constable Corbin to find compatriots to fight one, if not THE, most dominant trio in WWE History. At the same time, it will be quite the chance for The Shield to warm-up before Super Show Down’s showdown with The Pack. But as for right this moment, The Shield hears Denver out on their ovation before speaking.

“What you are looking at are the three workhorses of WWE.” Ambrose knows they’ve lost battles here and there, but they’ve never lost the war, because they’re still standing. Roman says their resumes would take all day to read. But the fact is, they can lift up two title belts. The championships are the keys to the kingdom, and everyone should want them. It’s why Brock Lesnar came back, it’s why Baron Corbin put himself in title matches, because the titles will change your life. But the only men that deserve championships are the ones in this ring right now. Rollins says that Raw is and will always be about being the best. That’s what The Shield are. Braun Strowman wanted power so bad, he’s recruited a “pack of jackasses”.

As for Corbin, “the world’s largest substitute teacher”, he has a problem with The Shield. He’s to get a couple of partners to show everyone who’s the boss. Well The Shield is here now, they can show how big of a problem they are right NOW! Baron Corbin appears and does his best to laugh it all off. Corbin lets everyone know that tonight is Stephanie’s birthday. And he’s not going to let Raw erupt into madness like it has these last few weeks. Corbin puts his foot down tonight. Because he and his partners are going to rag doll The Shield while impressing Stephanie. Corbin and his partners will expose the Shield as “a bunch of selfish individuals.” No one likes The Shield, and that includes The Pack! Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre all walk out, microphones in hands.

Fans still chant “Get These Hands!” for the Monster Among Men as he stares at The Shield. Strowman hopes Roman shines that belt up real nice, because he wont’ be wearing it for much longer. As for the entire Shield, there are cracks already forming, and then they’ll implode all over again. Super Show Down will be two against four, and it’s not about Corbin. Rollins points out the bad math, maybe they need to brainstorm together on this. Strowman wants them to check the mat with Ambrose, because perhaps Ambrose sees the light. The Shield needs Ambrose but he doesn’t need The Shield. Two years ago, on SmackDown, Ziggler was there when Ambrose was WWE World Champion all by himself. Ambrose had fire in his eyes, but now his brothers have everything and he has nothing.

Rollins and Roman shrug this off, but McIntyre uses his brutal honesty to point something out. Ambrose pushed Mcintyre to his absolute limit, that was a close match. McIntyre wants Ambrose to look him in the eyes. The Shield does not appreciate Ambrose, and Ambrose deserves more. Ziggler wants “Disposable Dean” to realize something. Rollins asked Ambrose to help him in order to fight Ziggler. And then Roman needed Ambrose to stop the Monster in the Bank’s cash-in. What has Ambrose gotten in return for any of that? Nothing. Rollins: champion. Roman: champion. Ambrose: chump. Ziggler even uses Rollins’ interruption as a reason Ambrose isn’t needed. Ambrose goes down and how long does Rollins wait to replace him with Jason Jordan? And did they even communicate while Ambrose was out?

Ziggler points out another thing. Ziggler & McIntyre are Raw Tag Team Champions. Strowman can beat Roman for the Universal Championship. So maybe Ambrose becomes Intercontinental Champion with them? Think about it, because it’s all true. But Roman tells Ziggler to shut up with all this already. The fans aren’t here to watch people talk. They’re here to watch The Shield whoop The Pack’s ass. Strowman leads the charge but Corbin keeps the peace. This is not happening like this. Fans chant “YES! YES!” but Corbin stands firm. The tag team champions have their match but Corbin and his partners will “spoil your little reunion before it even begins.” The matches have been set, but will The Shield stay unified? Or will Ambrose give in to the mind games?

 

Finn Balor w/ Bayley VS Jinder Mahal w/ Alicia Fox!

Raw plugs the Mixed Match Challenge as the Extraordinary Man goes 1v1 with the Modern Day Maharaja while their partners are in their corners. Can Finn score points for Team B ‘n’ B before tomorrow night’s MMC? Or will Alicia’s #InnerCrazy rub off on the man of peace?

The bell rings and fans chant “Too Sweet! Woop Woop!” Mahal puts Finn in a corner then throws heavy hands and stomps. Mahal scoops and slams Finn, then grins as he looms over the inaugural Universal Champion. He puts on a chinlock and Finn endures as Bayley and the fans rally. Mahal drives his knees into Finn, then grinds on a headlock. He gets the headlock takeover, but Finn works against it. They stand up and Finn powers out, only for Mahal to run Finn over. Mahal wraps the chinlock back on, but fans still rally with Bayley. Finn stands and powers out again. This time, Finn ducks and dropkicks Mahal! Finn clotheslines Mahal out, then builds speed to FLY! Direct hit! Finn flexes while we go to break.

Raw returns and Finn fights out of a waistlock. Mahal knees low then whips to then kick Finn down. Fans chant “Jinder Sucks!” but Mahal tunes it out as he chokes Finn against the ropes. Mahal drops springboard knees then grinds a knee into Finn’s ribs. He drags Finn up for a standing abdominal stretch. Finn endures while fans rally again. Mahal drives in elbows, then pulls on Finn more. Finn works against the hold and pops out, only to get a knee to the ribs. Mahal throws a haymakers, then sunset flips, but Finn rolls through to dropkick Mahal down! Both men get to opposite ends, and Finn boots Mahal away. Finn dodges Mahal to hit him down with forearms. Finn gets the takedown then the double stomps!

Fans fire up with Finn as he runs into the corner for the chop! He whips but Mahal reverses. Finn goes up and over but get a kick! Mahal hops up but Finn swing kicks him down! Finn climbs up and aims at the drop zone. Mahal springs up but Finn jumps over him to come back with a slingblade! Finn takes aim, but Sunil Singh trips him up! Mahal rolls Finn up, TWO! Mahal kicks low, then elbows Finn down. He runs but Bayley trips Mahal up now! Alicia protests but fans are on Bayley’s side. Foxy and the Huggable One come face to face. Alicia swings but Bayley counter punches! Sunil looks to defend Alicia’s honor but gets a Bayley2Belly! Finn rolls Mahal, Finn wins!

Winner: Finn Balor, by pinfall

The Extraordinary Man takes the win and helps his team gain ground for the Mixed Match Challenge. Will this be a preview of the future? Or will #Mahalicia turn things around? One thing is for sure, Mahal takes his frustrations out on Sunil. They go into the ring, and with Alicia cheering him on, Mahal roughs Sunil up more. Mahal calms himself, and forces Sunil to go along. They chant “Shanti~”, but will this partnership be anything but stable?

 

Six Woman Tag: The Bellas & Natayla VS The Riott Squad!

After Ruby, Sarah & Liv ruined the Queen of Harts answering Ronda Rousey’s open challenge, these three former Diva’s Champions team up to show the new generation how it’s done! Can Natty, Nikki & Brie win before the Squad #StartaRiott?

Raw returns and the Juvenile Delinquent, Liv Morgan, starts against “Fearless” Nikki. They tie up and Nikki throws Liv. Liv comes back with a Thesz Press and then fast hands. Liv kicks Nikki then runs, but Nikki follows to run her over with a shoulder. Nikki drags Liv up for a hammerlock backbreaker. Cover, ONE, but Nikki keeps on Liv by grabbing some hair. Tag to Brie and the Bellas work together to double leg sling Liv. Cover, TWO, but Nikki drags Liv up. Brie gives Liv some Yes Kicks for the Squad. Fans chant “YES! YES!” with every kick, then Brie covers Liv. TWO, but barely. Brie drags Liv up and around, but Liv powers Brie to the Squad’s corner. Tag to Ruby and Sarah helps Liv get out. Ruby stomps a mudhole into Brie, then drags her up into a headlock.

Ruby throws Brie with a headlock takeover but fans chant “Brie Mode!” Brie endures and then makes the hold a cover. Sarah distracts so the ref is late to the count. ONE and Ruby maintains the lock. They stand up as fans rally again. Brie fights back with body shots, but Ruby reverses a whip. Ruby runs into an elbow, Brie hops up to hit the missile dropkick! Ruby gets to ropes, but Brie Mode knee takes her out! Cover, TWO, but Brie keeps on Ruby. She suplexes but Sarah helps Ruby. Nikki comes in but so does Liv, so Natty comes in. It’s a TRIPLE suplex in favor of Natty & The Bellas! The Squad regroups while fans cheer on the veterans. But Brie goes out to fetch Ruby. She puts Ruby in but gets blasted back out. The Squad takes control while we go to break.

Raw returns and Sarah slams Brie down in a cobra clutch. Fans rally for Brie and she works her way up against the hold. Brie arm-drags out but Sarah rocks her down with a forearm. Sarah then drags Brie over to tag Ruby in. Sarah catapults Brie into Ruby but Brie hits back! Ruby comes in to kick Brie, then puts on a cravat. Brie stands up but Ruby wrenches harder. Brie powers her way towards her corner but Ruby throws in a knee. Ruby hits Nikki but then comes back for double facebusters! Both women are down and fans rally up. Natty reaches, as does Sarah. Hot tag for Sarah and she runs at Natty. Natty hits her first, then Brie gets the tag!

Natty rallies on Sarah with lariats, then she hits Ruby for good measure. German Suplex throws Sarah, then the discus lariat takes her down. Cover, but Ruby breaks it! Ruby sees Nikki return and they tie up. Ruby knees Nikki back out, but Natty rolls Sarah. TWO, and Sarah kicks low. Ruby returns but Natty whips Sarah. Tag, Natty goes after Sarah, but Ruby is legal! Ruby SUPERKICKS Natty, then gets her up for the RIOTT Kick! Cover, The Squad wins!

Winners: The Riott Squad, Ruby pinning

Even with Liv going down, the Squad makes their teamwork count! Can the Bellas recover from this loss in time to team with Ronda in Melbourne? Or will Super Show Down #StartARiott too?

 

The Raw superstars are on stage for a special Connor’s Cure announcement.

Stephanie McMahon and HHH are also in the ring for their part in this moment. September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, and the WWE is proud to play their part in honoring Connor Michalek. “Together, we have raised over two and a half million dollars” and helped over 200 families with everything they need during these trying times. This campaign is all about the stars of tomorrow and the fight of their lives. The WWE superstars have all had the honor and privilege of meeting these stars, such as The Super Destroyer, Diva Supreme and Lele the Unstoppable. These children have the passion and determination that defines being a superstar. In this fight, everyone gets stronger together, so WWE gladly introduces their new tag team partner in this fight.

Hyundai’s Hope on Wheels campaign commemorates the stories of these children with a special hand-print paint job. The superstars shared gifts and encouragement with those in the fight. WWE and Hyundai hope that together, we can end cancer. Please join the fight in anyway you can.

Stephanie and HHH introduce the Hope on Wheels ambassadors, who are not only surviving but thriving in this fight. Welcome Carter and Elizabeth to the stage! Denver gives a standing ovation to their own Connor’s Cure superstars as they and Hyundai’s Zafar Brooks join HHH and Stephanie in the ring. HHH knows not only are Carter and Elizabeth survivors, but they’re also the coolest kids he’s met. Elizabeth shows off her dance skills as HHH knows these two are champions. And champions need something to show for it, right? That means Carter and Elizabeth get their own Universal and Raw Women’s Championships! Denver knows “You Deserve It!”

Chris and Elizabeth have their hands raised in victory, and Zafar thanks WWE for the great recognition of two great young heroes. Hyunda is so proud to partner with WWE and Connor’s Cure in this fight to save lives. Because together, they will put the smackdown on pediatric cancer. But this work is hard and expensive, so Hyundai has something to give WWE. On behalf of Hyundai America and Hope on Wheels, Connor’s Cure will receive a donation of… $200000! Big prizes, big money and big smiles all around in this noble cause!

 

Dolph Ziggler talks to Dean Ambrose.

Ambrose is almost ready to tear his head off, but Ziggler just wants to talk. Ziggler said the truth earlier. Where was The Shield when Ambrose almost died from his staph infection? Ziggler was there when Ambrose did it all, but The Shield doesn’t care. But tonight, when going up against Corbin and his guys, Ambroes could just do nothing. Ambrose doesn’t have to turn, he just has to give The Pack the signal. They’ll do the rest. Will Ambrose listen to Ziggler?

 

Chad Gable w/ Bobby Roode VS Konnor w/ Viktor!

The Olympic medalist is ready to #WWBRD: What Would Bobby Roode Do? And that’s to be… GLORIOUS! Konnor hoped Gable was going to walk away while he had the chance. But not even a mentor will save him from being run over in the street by this semi-truck from the Wasteland!

The bell rings and Konnor clubs away on Gable. He throws haymakers then whips Gable hard into buckles! Cover, TWO, but Konnor keeps on Gable with a chinlock. Konnor thrashes Gable around but Roode coaches Gable up. Gable gets up but gets brought back down. Konnor puts his weight on Gable but Gable still gets up. Gable hits back but is put in a corner. Konnor throws back elbows, then hoists Gable up top. Gable reels him into the hanging armbar! Gable lets go at 3, then climbs up again to missile dropkick Konnor’s legs out. Konnor glares and gets up, but things speed up. Gable runs Konnor over with the leaping lariat! Then the rolling kick! Gable gets the German Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!

Gable climbs up top now, for a moonsault! But he lands on his feet when Konnor evades. Things speed up again and Konnor runs Gable over with his full body! Konnor reels Gable up, Canadian backbreaker to the dominator slam! Cover, Konnor wins!!

Winner: Konnor, by pinfall

A rare victory for The Ascension comes through singles competition! Gable is left in the Wasteland, but are he and Roode still going to be strong as a tag team?

 

Backstage interview with Triple H.

While the Connor’s Cure donation and belt presentation was great, what are The Game’s thoughts on The Undertaker’s announcement from last week? Stephanie wants him to ignore the question, but HHH says it’s fine. What does HHH think about Taker accusing him of going corporate? If Taker’s worried about a suit, then he’s already lost. They’re not fighting in suits or in a board room. And “taking my soul”? HHH sold his soul a long time ago. “Anybody that is honest with themselves can feel it in the air.” When it comes to Taker, “the end is near.” The Game gives his final word on this, but will the #LastTimeEver go his way?

 

Raw Tag Team Championships: Drew McIntyre & Dolph Ziggler VS The Revival!

The pair of wild dogs hold the belts because they defeated The B-Team, but also because they took out Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder to take their spot. Will the Show-Off and Scottish Psycho regret angering these two #TopGuys? Or will the Shatter Machine be shattered by a Claymore?

Raw returns as the belts are raised and the bell rings. Dawson starts against Ziggler and they circle. They tie up and Ziggler puts Dawson in a corner. Ziggler backs off but then gives a shove. Dawson chops Ziggler off his feet! Ziggler gets to his corner before circling with Dawson again. Dawson wrenches the arm and tags in Dash for the hand-off. but Ziggler powers Dash back and tags in McIntyre. McIntyre keeps Dash in the corner then bumps him off buckles. McIntyre chops Dash off his feet, then tags to Ziggler. Ziggler mugs Dash and has him in an open corner. Ziggler backs off to run in but misses. Dash back suplexes Ziggler down! Dash drags Ziggler over and tag to Dawson so they can stomp away on the arm.

Dawson wrenches Ziggler’s harm, Hammerlock Northern Lights! TWO, but Dawson keeps his eyes on McIntyre. Tag to Dash and they whip Ziggler for the slingshot shoulder! Cover, TWO! The Revival are close, but they keep on Ziggler with chops! Dash whips Ziggler into a corner, but runs into a back elbow. Ziggler runs out but the satellite DDT is denied! Dash goes for a Rings of Saturn type, but Ziggler reaches for ropes with his legs. Ziggler endures while Dash wrenches back. Dash drags Ziggler back to the center but Ziggler counters to a cover, TWO! Ziggler holds ropes on the whip so Dash crossbodies out with him! Both men are down but Dawson and McIntyre keep each other at bay while checking on their partners. Dash stands and runs at Ziggler, but runs into steel steps! Both men are down again while Dawson and McIntyre cheer their teammates on.

Ziggler drags himself into the ring, followed by Dash. McIntyre tags in to stomp away on Dash. He then deadlift suplexes Dash up and over! Cover, TWO! The champions are in control while we go to break.

Raw returns and Dash jawbreakers out of Ziggler’s sleeper hold. Dash crawls but Ziggler anchors him from the tag, but Dash still gets it! Dawson rallies with jabs and haymakers on Ziggler! He whips Ziggler but Ziggler dodges, only to get a calf kick! Dawson hits McIntyre for good measure before he chops Ziggler. He dropkicks McIntyre then whips. Ziggler reverses but Dawson counters back for a butterfly bomb! Cover, TWO!! Dawson drags Ziggler up and over to his corner to hoist him up top. Dawson chops then climbs up, and Dash tags in. SUPERPLEX, then FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO as McIntyre narrowly breaks it. McIntyre chases Dash but misses, chopping the corner post! Then tornado DDT from Dash takes him down!

Fans fire up with the #TopGuys while Ambrose watches backstage. Ziggler packages Dash but TWO! Back slide from Dash, TWO! Ziggler kicks low but Dash counters the famouser by falling! Dash Electric Chairs and Dawson tags in, DOOMSDAY DEVICE! Cover, TWO!? How!? The Revival borrow a legendary finisher yet don’t finish this?! Dawson stomps Ziggler while fans know “This is Awesome!” Tag to Dash and The Revival work together. They hoist Ziggler up but Ziggler slips out to tag McIntyre. McIntyre runs Dash over then hits Dawson. McIntyre goes after Dash on the top rope with a chop, then tosses Dawson back out. Dash jumps but is caught, Dawson dropkicks it over! Cover, TWO, and McIntyre headbutts Dash. McIntyre boots Dawson, then tags in Ziggler. The Pack work together, Claymore Zigzag! Cover, McIntyre & Ziggler win!

Winners: McIntyre & Ziggler, Ziggler pinning; still Raw Tag Team Champions

The strength and speed may not have been enough, but the aggression was, the champions are still part of The Pack. Will they and Braun Strowman break The Shield in Melbourne? Or will their mind games continue to fall on deaf ears?

 

Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.

The Drifter is in Denver, as the “breath of life in an otherwise lifeless world.” Elias speaks the truth, and the truth his, Denver doesn’t deserve his performance. He passes things on to “a man I can have a conversation with”, and his tag partner for Super Show Down. They will take on Bobby Lashley and 16-time champion who knows that WWE really stands for. Yes, it’s John Cena. But right now, Elias introduces the host of the Kevin Owens Show, Kevin Owens himself! The Prizefighter heads to the ring and applauds his personal in-house band. Kevin thanks him for the introduction and admits he is Elias’ biggest fan. Kevin is honored to team with Elias against the super team of Lashley–pictured being powebomb’d against the apron–and yes, the most decorated champion in the WWE today, the same man Kevin beat his first night on the main roster!

But that’s at Super Show Down, let’s talk about last week, with Lashley and Lio rush. Elias refuses to look let alone talk to Denver. Kevin will talk for them both. Lio Rush is now Lashley’s hype man, but also talked trash on Kevin. Unprovoked! Kevin is generous, though, because he wants to know more about Lio. So Kevin offers Lio the grandest stage in the WWE, this show! The Man of the Hour appears, and sees Kevin and Elias. He thanks them for this invite, but Kevin wants Lio to join them in the ring. Lio doesn’t even need to jump and flip and all that, just walk here. Lio says that he and Lashley made those two look like fools. Kevin is here wanting to make up for that embarrassment. Lio is the 23 year old piece of gold, he’s young but not dumb. He’ll stay right here.

Elias promises, they have the booster seat all set up. Lio “lvoes” the jokes, but Lio knows there’s someone else who loves a good laugh. He is the Rocky Mountain Machine, who looks like money because he is money. The heavyweight that’s back to dominate has a match with The Drifter, it’s Denver’s own Bobby Lashley! Will the Dominator make the Drifter #DriftAway in the Mile High city?

Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush VS Elias w/ Kevin Owens!

Raw returns and Lashley stares Elias down as we begin. They circle and fans are on Lashley’s side. They tie up and Lashley shoves Elias to a corner. Elias composes himself while Lashley waits for him. They circle again and Lashley gets a waistlock and slam. Elias slithers away but Kevin coaches him up. Elias and Lashley tie up and Elias gets a waistlock. Lashley gets the standing switch then throws Elias down again. Lashley brings Elias up and bumps him off buckles. He throws hands then stomps, then climbs up for corner punches! Elias stops him at 2 and gets a headlock takeover. Lashley makes it a cover, ONE, and Elias holds on.

Fans rally and Lio coaches his client up. Lashley stands and fights out. He whips Elias but Elias knees him back. Elias runs but Lashley shows off his agility as he jumps over Elias. Lashley runs Elias over, then whips him corner to corner. Elias goes up and over then runs, but into Lashley’s crossbody! Lashley runs in for the corner clothesline, then finishes off those corner punches. He gets all 10, then scoops Elias for the sidewalk slam. Cover, TWO! Elias crawls to a corner but Lashley keeps his eyes on him. Lashley runs in corner to corner but into boots. Elias hops up, but Lashley catches him! Then he hoists him up, only for Elias to slip out and chop block the leg! Elias leg-DDT’s the foot into the mat, and Kevin coaches Elias up again.

Elias stalks Lashley and clobbers him at the ropes! He stomps away but backs off at 4. Kevin trash talks as Elias drops a big knee on Lashley. Elias drags Lashley over to a post and slings the leg against it! Lio coaches Lashley on but Elias slings the leg into the post again. Elias drags Lashley to a cover, ONE! Elias grows frustrated but he keeps on Lashley with stomps.  He drags Lashley out for a knee drop on the knee. Then Elias ties up the legs in the deathlock, and Lashley endures while Elias adds chops. Denver rallies for their hometown hero and Lashley fights back with haymakers. Lashley frees himself but Elias goes after him again. Elias stomps the bad leg, then yanks on it. He covers, TWO!

Elias keeps his cool and dares Lashley to stand. Lashley fights back with body shots, then back elbows. Lashley gets going with lariats, and he clotheslines Elias out. Kevin coaches Elias but Lashley comes out to pursue. Lashley bumps Elias off the barrier, then again. The ring count climbs but Lashley puts Elias in at 3. Elias runs and blasts Lashley in the leg! The Drifter has control while we go to break.

Raw returns and Elias has Lashley in the Half Crab. Lashley manages the ropebreak and Elias lets him go. Elias comes back to stomp the bad leg out, but only Kevin enjoys it. Elias drags Lashley back up but Lashley throws him out. Kevin coaches Elias back in but Lashley catches Elias into a complete shot! Both men are down but stirring. Denver rallies for Lashley as he and Elias stand. Elias and Lashley brawl with back and forth haymakers. Elias jabs but Lashley throws clubbing hands. Lashley kicks then runs to clobber Elias down. Fans fire up and Lashley suplexes Elias. Somehow that bad leg holds up for the stalling suplex! Lashley can’t make the cover, but he stands first. Lashley runs and SPEARS Elias out of the ring! They hit the apron then the floor in that double-edged attack!

Kevin chases Lio! Lio is too quick for Kevin to catch, but then Kevin runs into Lashley! The referee sees that, and it costs Elias the match!

Winner: Bobby Lashley, by disqualification

Kevin is further upset with Lio now. Lio leads him on another chase, then uses the barriers to leap over him. Lio is trapped but slips into the ring to then run around. Elias still grabs Lio and yanks him in! But Lashley drags Elias out and gets in there to save Lio from Kevin’s powerbomb. Lashley throws hands on Kevin and Kevin is in retreat. The Prizefigther and Drifter have time to regroup, but can they prepare for Lashley and Cena?

 

Drew McIntyre encounters Seth Rollins backstage.

The Architect brings up some truth for the Terminator. McIntyre is the one being used by Ziggler and Strowman. Strowman doesn’t care about anyone but himself. And Ziggler is a weak link as it is, riding McINtyre’s coattails since they both returned. Why is Ziggler getting the Intercontinental Championship opportunities and not McIntyre? McIntyre has literally carried Ziggler at times. But before pointing fingers at The Shield, you should really take a look in the mirror and think about who is being used by who in The Pack. Rollins leaves McIntyre with some things to think about. Yet McIntyre tells Ziggler not to worry. Is that the truth? Or will the truth set one man free from his team?

 

Nia Jax w/ Ember Moon VS Alicia Fox w/ Mickie James & Alexa Bliss!

The Irresistible Force and the Prophecy of Flame have become united against Raw’s very own Mean Girls. Ember knew when The Goddess and crew dared her to find a partner, she had to get the Game Changer. Plus Nia loves getting under Alexa’s skin. Ms. Crazy like a Fox has the Mixed Match Challenge to worry about tomorrow, but will she even make it there after facing Nia?

The bell rings and Alicia is wary of Nia. She circles Nia while staying close to the ropes. Nia waits for Alicia to come out, and grabs her around the throat. Alicia breaks free but then gets tossed to a corner! Nia gives her a corner splash then another toss! Alicia slips out to regroup with Alexa and Mickie, so Nia stays back. But then Ember cannonballs onto Mickie! Nia comes out to fetch Foxy and put her in the ring. Alicia kicks Nia as she returns, then hits a swinging neckbreaker. Cover, TWO! Alicia keeps on Nia but fans rally for Nia. Alicia puts on a sleeper hold but Nia stands up, only to get knees. Fans rally for Nia more and Nia stands all the way up! She backs Alicia into buckles and breaks free. Alicia boots Nia quick, then kicks her down. Cover, TWO!

Alicia keeps on Nia with forearms, then she trash talks. She runs but into the fireman’s carry! Nia marches it out then hits the Samoan Drop! Cover, Nia wins!

Winner: Nia Jax, by pinfall

The Game Changer nominee won this one, will she win the award at the People’s Choice Awards? Will Alicia snap back to face Mickie & Lashley tomorrow night?

 

McIntyre and Ambrose encounter each other.

Each man has been approached by the other’s friend, but why? McIntyre has theories. Four Man Shield, the unstoppable force. Or perhaps he’s scared that McIntyre said the truth. Maybe they should have checked up on Ambrose. Or maybe they need a replacement. Or maybe McIntyre is overreacting. It’s not like Rollins has ever stabbed anyone in the back before. Oh wait. McIntyre leaves, and now the web of lies is truly tangled. Who will free themselves from the doubts and questions?

 

WWE and Raw look closer at the #LastTimeEver.

“Two of the all-time greats to ever step inside the ring” have one final rematch to settle the “unfinished business” left between them. They’ve battled for years, and we thought the era was over. But now, for Super Show Down in Melbourne, Australia, the majority of WWE legends and hall of famers bet on The Undertaker. However, Shawn Michaels chose his friend Triple H, and the Deadman claims it’s out of a personal grudge. HBK promised he stayed retired out of respect, but Taker accuses him of being afraid. Taker promises to put HHH down again, and for good. But HHH responded, saying Taker lost his powers long before losing the streak. Those were Taker’s last moments of greatness, and blames HHH & HBK for it. Both men are convinced the other is blinded by ego, but now they’ll have back-up! Will this last time ever truly end it all?

 

Six Man Tag: The Shield VS Baron Corbin & ???

The Lunatic, the Architect and The Big Dog unite once again for a 3v3 match! They’re confident they’ll go through any three men, especially The Pack at Super Show Down. But who has Stephanie’s personally appointed constable and interim GM found to be his partners? We’ll find out after the break!

Raw returns and Corbin makes his entrance. He is still smugly confident, which must mean he got some good partners. He wants Denver to applaud The Shield and their Monday Night Raw reunion. But this might be the last time they’re seen together. The break-up is coming, which is why half the roster was beating down the door to join Corbin. Corbin went with the cream of the crop, two men who have been decimating superstars since showing up. Yes, it is the Authors of Pain! Akam & Rezar, with Drake Maverick accompanying them, join the Lone Wolf and head down the ramp. Will the Book of Pain write the Last Chapter on The Shield?

But then Braun Strowman and The Pack come out to watch, just as they promised. They brought their own chairs, but just to be their ringside seats. Strowman, Ziggler & McIntyre become fans as the match begins. Corbin starts against Ambrose, and they circle and tie up. Ambrose gets a wristlock to hammerlock, and he brings Corbin tot he mat. He makes it a cover, ONE. Ambrose has a waistlock but Corbin reverses out to a headlock. Ambrose powers out  then drop toeholds! He has Corbin in the Queen Angelito leglock and then crossface punches him. Ambrose tags in Rollins and the two double suplex Corbin over. Cover, TWO, but Corbin gets away to his corner. He tags in Akam, and we have a first-time-ever encounter.

They tie up and Rollins gets a waistlock. He shifts to a headlock but Akam lifts him. Akam powers out and runs Rollins over with a shoulder! Akam trash talks before scooping. Rollins slips out and boots Akam away. Ambrose tags in but so does Rezar. The double whip leads to double shoulders on Akam, but Rezar runs them both over with his own shoulders! Rezar trash talks as he scoops Ambrose. Ambrose escapes and hot tags to Roman! We get another first-time-ever as The Big Dog and the Albanian Assassin stare down. Neither man backs down, and Rezar even seems to taunt Roman. Fans are thunderous as Roman throws uppercuts. Rezar shoves and they collide with shoulders. Rezar powers Roman to a corner for shoulders into the ribs!

The referee backs Rezar off at 4, but Rezar keeps on Roman with a fireman’s carry. Roman fights out and uppercuts Rezar again. Roman lifts Rezar but that’s a big man. Rezar escapes and shoves to swing. Roman dodges and comes back with the leaping lariat! Yet Rezar stands right back up! Roman is surprised by the younger star, and now all six men get face to face in the ring. The referee can’t keep the peace, it’s a brawl!

Ambrose sends Corbin out, Rollins sends Akam out and Roman takes care of Rezar. The Shield holds down the Yard, but The Pack feels the need to get a closer look. They pick up their chairs and head down the ring. But that’s when Corbin and AoP pounce! They clobber The Shield and put Ambrose and Rollins into barriers. Roman is in the ring, Choke Slam Breaker from Corbin! Cover, TWO!! The Shield is in trouble while we go to break.

Raw returns once more, as Roman lifts Corbin for the Samoan Drop! Fans fire up as both men crawl for their corners. The Pack is right at the runway in their seats as both men hot tag! Akam and Rollins come in but Rollins rallies on both AoP. Rollins boots Akam then jumps over him to enziguri! He goes to suplex but Akam too strong. Akam suplexes but Rollins slips out. Rollins back elbows then hops up to blockbuster! Cover, TWO! Fans stay hot for Rollins as he stomps “Burn it Down!” Rollins aims at Akam but Maverick distracts! Corbin holds the ropes and Rollins tumbles out! Ambrose protests but Corbin tags in. Corbin drags Rollins up to put him into barriers! He then whips Rollins into more barriers, and lets AoP mug him! The Shield protest but the referee keeps them back.

Corbin fetches Rollins and puts him in the ring. He tags to Rezar, and he lets Rezar drags Rollins up for a neck wrench. Rollins endures as Rezar twists him. Fans want Dean to tag in and Rollins stands up. Rezar powers him to the corner and Akam tags in. Akam and Rezar combine for the sidewalk stomp slam! Cover, TWO! Akam chokes Rollins on the ropes, but backs off at 4. Corbin gets a cheap shot in before Akam wraps on a chinlock. Fans rally and hope Ambrose gets the tag. Rollins stands and jawbreakers out. Akam blasts him down with a back elbow! Tag to Corbin and he drags Rollins up to punch him back down. Corbin repeats and repeats the punch. Then he blasts Roman down. Ambrose comes in but the ref holds him back. Corbin taunts Ambrose, but Rollins slingblades him down!

Corbin and Rollins are down but Akam runs in. Rollins sends him out, but then Akam trips Ambrose! But then Roman goes after Akam! Rezar saves Akam by putting Roman into steel steps! Maverick likes what he sees from his behemoths as they give Roman the LAST CHAPTER! The Pack like that, too. Corbin lifts Rollins but Rollins sunset flips, TWO! DEEP SIX! Cover, TWO!! The Constable grows frustrated, he thought he ended this. But his team still has control with Rollins isolated in the ring. Corbin drags Rollins over to tag in Rezar. Rezar tags Akam and the AoP work together again. But Rollins headscissors Rezar out and then SUPERKICKS Akam out of the air! Rollins heads for his corner, and it’s Ambrose waiting! Tag to Corbin, but Rollins slips out of the suplex. Tag to Ambrose!

Denver is thunderous as Ambrose fires off on Corbin. Corbin reverses the whip but Ambrose rallies with lariats. Ambrose whips and gives Corbin the kitchen sink knee. Ambrose keeps going for the corner forearm smash. Corbin pushes Ambrsoe away, Deep Six countered, small package! TWO! Ambrose dodges then clotheslines Corbin out! The AoP regroup with Corbin, but Ambrose wrecks them all with the dropkick! Maverick freaks out as Ambrose puts Corbin in. Ambrose climbs up top, but Akam trips him up! Ambrose still fights Corbin off, and then dodges. Corbin slides out, slide sin, but misses, jumping neckbreaker! Ambrose hurries up top again, for the lunatic elbow! cover, but BOTH AoP break it up!

The AoP coordinate on Ambrose, but Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Rezar! Akam kicks Roman out but then Rollins throws Akam out. Curb Stomp on Corbin! Then DIVE on Rezar! Ambrose kicks Akam out, and Rollins DIVES again! Ambrose gets Corbin with Dirty Deeds! He kicks Rezar out, tags to Roman and DIVES! Roman howls, SPEAR on Corbin! Cover, The Shield wins!!

Winners: The Shield, Roman Reigns pinning

It was truly a team effort for the House of Justice! The Pack are actually impressed, but it’s not over yet. Rollins and Roman stand together but Ambrose is literally caught in the middle. Which side does he choose? Shield or Pack? Ambrose stands, and stands with his brothers! The Shield is not breaking, no matter what Strowman and his cronies say. Will they be able to stand tall again in Australia? Or will unity matter against the dogs of war standing against them?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Raw finally gets back on track after doing too much building for too many things. This episode was 95% focused on Super Show Down, with 5% on the Mixed Match Challenge. Finn VS Mahal gets to be the opener, which is good for both of them. And Finn wins, which is good for him. But I feel like this just points out how having the second Mixed Match Challenge now is too much for WWE to be doing for the Fall. I would’ve been much happier with this if they waited until they were past this log jam of Hell in a Cell to Super Show Down to Evolution to Crown Jewel. Mixed Match Challenge should be purely a Spring to Summer event.

That aside, the Super Show Down centered build was much better than anything Raw has done lately. Corbin kissing up to Stephanie for her to counter and scold him was good. The Pack trying to play on Ambrose’s pride almost telegraphed the turn wasn’t coming, but I liked that Rollins played it back, to tease a possible turn from the Heel side of things. It doesn’t seem like a turn is coming, only because it’d be too obvious now, but sometimes WWE does stuff that’s just too obvious. The main event with Corbin and Authors of Pain was great, and it finally got AoP away from destroying jobbers so that everyone can understand how good Akam & Rezar really are. I’m still hoping that once Shield VS Pack is done, AoP go after the tag titles regardless of who holds them.

The Raw Tag Title match tonight was great. For just a moment, I really thought The Revival had it. That would’ve been a great twist to compound onto Rollins saying McIntyre has been carrying Ziggler. As for The Revival, they’re still a great team, but maybe going to SmackDown would help them get titles. The audible on the scheduled Brie VS Ruby match was actually rather welcomed, and I liked that The Squad won. There was some strange miscommunication as Liv Morgan was reportedly taken to the back, yet was clearly still ringside selling injury. Ronda VS Ruby is next week, that should be fun, but I’m surprised The Squad hasn’t tried to turn Ronda against The Bellas in a way The Pack is working on Ambrose.

Konnor winning over Chad Gable was rather surprising, but I suppose it’d have to happen if they want to already make Roode-Gable a story of a strained tag team. I don’t know why Roode and Gable were teamed together, Gable would’ve been better off as a singles guy maybe going to 205 Live. Roode and Lashley would’ve been better, even if their shared first name would’ve been odd. And while the story of Kevin, Elias, Lashley and Lio is pretty fun, I doubt it’ll lead to Lio being a serious Raw competitor, possibly with Lashley as his tag partner. This feels like another thing WWE is doing that’s too much at such a busy time in their calendar. If Cruiserweights aren’t going to be properly integrated onto Raw, then don’t bother.

Nia squashing Alicia was pretty fun, and I’m hoping this is further sign that WWE wants a Women’s Tag something or other. Sasha Banks is hurt but that doesn’t keep The Boss & Hug Connection from eventually being a tag team championship duo. If they’re out of commission come whatever title opportunity we see at Evolution, perhaps it’ll fall to Nia & Ember or the Riott Squad to be the inaugural champions, assuming Raw would get them first. Of course, Stephanie McMahon runs Raw and always seems to put herself over when it comes to WWE’s women, so it just seems obvious one of her teams would get belts first.

My Score: 8.5/10


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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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