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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (4/16/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh VS ???; Jeff Hardy wins and becomes the new WWE US Champion.
  • Bayley VS Sasha Banks; no contest.
  • Heath Slater & Rhyno VS The Authors of Pain; the Authors of Pain win.
  • Tag Team Eliminator: The Revival VS WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt; Hardy & Wyatt win and will face The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championships at the Greatest Royal Rumble.
  • Ember Moon VS Mickie James; Ember wins.
  • Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville VS Natalya; Natalya wins.
  • Breezango VS The Bar; Breezango wins.
  • 10 Man Tag: The Miz, Miztourage, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman & ???; Balor, Rollins, Lashley, Strowman & Roode win.

PLAY BY PLAY

Raw General Manager, Kurt Angle, heads to the ring.

The Hall of Fame Olympic Gold Medalist welcomes Hartford to the show and to the Superstar Shake-Up. There will be new faces and big surprises, Angle promises. But before he can continue, Sunil Singh walks out to introduce the WWE United States Champion, who is now on Monday Night Raw! Yes, it is the Modern Day Maharaja, Jinder Mahal!

Mahal enters the ring to tell Angle “Congratulations” on the “greatest decision” of Raw. Raw is truly the A-Show, but now, Mahal wants to know why he was brought here via such low class means. Angle welcomes Mahal to the roster, but points out there was no such agreement. Mahal says he already proved he’s better than everyone SmackDown, and says he’s already better than everyone on Raw. Angle isn’t sure about that, but Mahal says “This is my kingdom”, and he expects the same perks as Brock Lesnar. Fans tell Mahal, “You Suck!”, but not in the nice way they tell Angle. Mahal demands respect!

Angle wants Mahal to email his list of demands instead. Sunil agrees, he can send it right now. “Kurt.Angle@NoFreakinWay.com”. SmackDown isn’t Raw, you settle things in the ring here! If Mahal wants to prove he’s better, prove it! But Mahal doesn’t just think it, he knows it. Then maybe someone will step up to prove him wrong! It’s an open challenge for the United States Championship!!

 

WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh VS ???

The one to answer the challenge is… JEFF HARDY! The Charismatic Enigma is ready to get extreme with the Modern Day Maharaja! Can Hardy grab up a title just a week after returning to action?

The bell rings and the match is real. Hardy and Mahal circle, Mahal knees low. Mahal keeps on Hardy with stomps in a corner, then talks trash in Punjabi. Fans cheer for Hardy and Hardy fights back. Hardy puts Mahal in a corner then whips him corner to corner for the forearm smash. He clubs Mahal down, then snapmares Mahal for a dropkick. Mahal knees back and elbows Hardy down before talking more trash. Mahal whips Hardy, Hardy holds ropes and boots Mahal back, then dropkicks Mahal out of the ring. Hardy takes aim and hits a wrecking ball dropkick before going to the apron. Hardy takes aim again for a flying lariat! The challenger and champion both go down while we go to break.

Raw returns to see Mahal in control now. He has Hardy grounded with the half-nelson chinbar. Fans rally for Hardy while he endures the bend and wrench. Hardy wills his way to his feet and fights out but Mahal kicks out a leg to bring Hardy back down. Hardy feeds off the rally again, and fights out with a jawbreaker. Mahal staggers back, Hardy runs in but Mahal hotshots him off the top. Mahal drops springboard knees, then grinds one into Hardy’s chest and throat. The referee counts, Mahal backs off at 4 to embrace the heat. Hardy gets to the apron while Mahal takes aim, Mahal hits a clobbering haymaker! Mahal mocks the fans for liking Hardy, then grins as he watches Hardy slowly stand up.

Fans tell Mahal he sucks again, but Mahal keeps focus on Hardy. Hardy stands up and shoulders back in a couple times. Hardy hotshots Mahal in return, then gets back up to the top rope. Mahal trips him up before he can do anything. Mahal climbs up to join Hardy and stands him up. Hardy resists and fights back, sending Mahal down with an elbow. Hardy stands up, for Whisper in the Wind! Both men are down but stirring. Fans rally again while Mahal gets to ropes. Sunil distracts but gets a dropkick for it! Hardy fights Mahal back, but Mahal reverses the whip, only for Jeff to knock him down and hit the leg-splitting leg drop! Dropkick added, cover, TWO! Hardy keeps focus as he kicks, but Mahal denies the Twist. Mahal gets a kick for it, but then clobbers Hardy with a knee, ROPEBREAK!

Mahal still grins, he is confident he has Hardy where he wants him. He stalks Hardy while fans rally again. Mahal drags Hardy up, in position, but Hardy fights back, victory roll cover! TWO! Mahal kicks Hardy right down! TWO, and Mahal can’t believe it! Fans keep rallying as Mahal drags Hardy up again. Mahal lifts Hardy, gutbuster drop but a cover! TWO! TWIST OF FATE!! Hardy keeps going, he climbs up, and hits the SWANTON BOMB! Cover, Hardy wins!!

Winner: Hardy, by pinfall; NEW WWE United States Champion

The rosters get a shake-up, but so does the US Championship! Hardy completes the Grand Slam with this acquisition! With Hardy the Champion of the United States, has he rendered Mahal OBSOLETE?!

 

Backstage interview with Jinder Mahal.

He blames Angle for setting him up to fail! But at the Greatest Royal Rumble, Mahal wants his rematch to get that title back! And if Angle tries something like that, he’ll show them all why Mahal is…

No Way Jose’s conga line comes through. The Fighting Fiesta wants Mahal to put a smile on that face. Then he invites Renee to join the party. Will Mahal get his revenge on Hardy and Angle in Saudi Arabia?

 

Bayley VS Sasha Banks!

The bond between the Huggable One and the Legit Boss is fracturing, will this 1v1 rematch break things once and for all? On top of that, will one of them end up going to SmackDown via the Shake-Up?

The bell rings and Bayley tries to work things out with words first. But Sasha doesn’t want to hear it, she kicks and whips Bayley. Bayley elbows back but slips, Sasha takes advantage by throwing her down. Sasha toys with Bayley then slaps her! Sasha wristlocks then goes acrobatic but Bayley throws her down to then throw her out. Bayley then builds speed to hit a wrecking ball huricanrana! Sasha goes down while we go to break.

Raw returns to see Sasha holding Bayley down in a straitjacket stretch. Bayley endures then works her way up and out while the fans rally. She powers Sasha back into a corner and the buckles, then throws Sasha off. Sasha goes after an arm but Bayley whips her off, so Sasha hits a back elbow. Sasha runs but into Bayley’s back drop! Bayley’s arm slows her down but she still throws Sasha to the apron for the hotshot. Sasha gets to a corner, Bayley hits the shoulder, then rolls back for the wacky waving back elbow. She rolls Sasha then hops up but Sasha barely gives her time. Bayley retaliates with the tornado inverted DDT, cover, TWO! Bayley looms over Sasha but Sasha kicks her away, then throws her out of the ring.

Sasha catches her breath while Bayley climbs up to return, Sasha rocks Bayley with a big knee then swinging meteora! Sasha puts Bayley back in the ring then climbs up, flying meteora! Cover, TWO! The Boss keeps her cool, she’s faced Bayley enough to know what she’s made of. Bayley flounders but Sasha asks, “You think you’re better than me?!” Sasha is better than Bayley! She slaps Bayley, Bayley slaps back, and it’s a brawl! They go back and forth, fast and furious, and fans love it! The brawl goes all over the ring, Sasha rocks Bayley with a knee, then more double knees! Cover, Bayley reverses, but Sasha puts on the Bank Statement!! Bayley reaches, endures, but then out of nowhere, it’s the Riott Squad! The Squad has made the move to Raw!

No Contest

Fans boo, they just ruined this great match! But they don’t care, they make a statement with Sarah’s Pop-UP Headbutt and Liv’s leaping code breaker!

The Squad then goes after Bayley, feeding her to Ruby’s Riott Kick! Whether or not Sasha and Bayley are still friends, this cohesive unit has come to shake things up thanks to the Shake-Up!

 

Heath Slater & Rhyno VS Authors of Pain!

The One Man Band & ManBeast are ready for another rough and tough challenge to get even with Akam & Rezar! But seeing as how they didn’t fare so well last time, can they hope to do any better this time?

Slater & Rhyno take the fight to the AoP! They dump Rezar out then gang up on Akam, then back off to their corner. The bell rings and Slater goes right after Akam. Slater tags in Rhyno, Rhyno keeps the fight on Akam. Rhyno tags Slater and Slater jumps up for the flying ax handle. But then Slater runs into the flapjack hotshot! Akam tags Rezar, who bum rushes Slater off his feet. Rezar hammers away on Slater, then drags him up to tag in Akam. They lift Slater up, for the double gutbuster! Cover, TWO! Akam bounces Slater off the mat then tags in Rezar. Rezar drags Slater up, taunts Rhyno, but Slater slips out and tags Rhyno in!

Rhyno goes after Rezar but Rezar reverse the whip. Rhyno keeps moving and takes Rezar off his feet! He also hits Akam, then shoulder tackles Rezar in a corner, belly2belly! Cover but Akam breaks it. Slater runs in but gets thrown out hard, Rezar clobbers Rhyno again before tagging Akam. Akam brings Rhyno up, for the Last Chapter! Cover, AoP win!

Winners: The Authors of Pain, Akam pinning

Their story of ruthless aggression continues without much difficulty, who will be the first team to even tire out the AoP?

 

It’s Time for Miz TV!

The Most Must-See Talk Show in WWE and its Most Must-See host recap the great Shake-Ups already happened. But this next one will be a “seismic shift”, because the newest members will be… Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens! What?! But they were fired! Kevin & Sami still hit the ring and they celebrate with The Miz. And Hartford still welcomes them fondly.

“Standing before you is the finest collection of talent ever assembled in one place.” This is bigger than the nWo! Between The Miz, Kevin & Sami, there’s more talent than the Dream Team or even The Avengers! And no one will hold these superstars back, because together, they will change the landscape of the WWE to make Monday Night Raw in their image! They will put the entire locker room on notice because– Wait, Kurt Angle comes out to address this.

Angle says Miz has no control around here, plus Kevin & Sami lost their match last week. Kevin points out a certain email that was just set, and bottom line: things have changed. Sami takes care of reading the email for Angle, in printed form, too. “Kurt, in light of recent events” and in the light of Angle’s “emotionally motivated decisions”, a certain someone reconsidered his decision. Sami & Kevin proved they belong on Raw, and letting them walk away is a mistake of “epic proportions”. Therefore, Angle was overruled, and now Sami & Kevin have Raw Superstar Contracts. Who is it that overruled him?

Stephanie McMahon! The Commissioner and Angle’s boss! Yep. So then, Sami & Kevin are officially back on Raw and no one can do a thing about it? YEP!!

Seems Angle’s world is crumbling around him. No, Angle is just surprised Stephanie had time to write a letter, with her around-the-clock rehab after Rousey ripped her arm off. “But what’s done is done.” Angle has no choice but to welcome them to Raw. But say good-bye to the Miz. Oh, right, that’s why Angle came out here. Shane McMahon and Paige called, Bryan wanted Miz to come over to SmackDown. Fans really like the sound of that! Miz raises his hand to shut mouths, and says Angle can’t do that! But Angle did. DOes Angle have any idea he did? Because now SmackDown will be THE Show! Miz and the Miztourage will make SmackDown the Most Must-See show of WWE! Wait, who said you and the Miztourage? Miztourage stays on Raw!

But as a going away present, it’ll be a 10 Man Tag: Miz, Miztourage, Kevin & Sami VS Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman & another Raw debut. “We’re gonna miss you, Miz.” It’s a star-studded tag team match, but who is that mystery partner teaming with Team Balor?

 

Bray Wyatt speaks.

“Hartford. I knew you’d come~!” And it is WONDERFUL~! Woken Hardy & Wyatt are here~!

 

Tag Team Eliminator: The Revival VS WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt!

The #TopGuys have their work cut out for them going up against this yin-yang of bizarre and baffling superstars. The Bar watch this from commentary, wanting to know first hand who wins this match to face them for the titles at Greatest Royal Rumble. Will the Expedition for Gold go the way the “Deleter of Worlds” wish?

The bell rings and Hardy starts with Scott Dawson. They circle, feel things out, and Dawson backs Hardy to their corner. Tag to Dash and Dash punches on Hardy. Hardy reverses and gives DELETE buckle bumps to Dash in the open corner. Hardy laughs but runs into a back elbow. Dash runs out but into a hip toss. Hardy tags in Wyatt, and Wyatt boots Dash right in the head. Wyatt stalks Dash, but Dawson bails him out of the Sister Abigail. Dash goes after Wyatt, then runs, but Wyatt’s Spider-Walk freaks Dash out.

Hardy also spooks Dash, Dash runs into an uppercut. Wyatt tags in Hardy, they double whip Dash into double elbows. Back senton and leg drop, then Hardy gets Dawson as he comes in. Wyatt suplexes Dawson onto Dash, “That was Wonderful~!” The fans applaud while The Revival regroups on the outside.

Hardy grabs Dash but Dash pulls his hair. Hardy fights his way out but Dawson tags in. They double lariat Hardy down, then Dawson stomps away and drops elbows on Hardy. Dawson gives punches right to the forehead, “Delete that!” He brings Hardy up for a clobbering clothesline, then cover, ONE. Dawson keeps on Hardy with a chinlock, but fans rally for Hardy. Hardy stands up and fights back, but Dawson pulls hair and punches Hardy down. Dawson trash talks Wyatt, Wyatt slithers in, but Dash and Dawson still get shots in on Hardy. Cover, TWO, and The Revival grows frustrated. Tag to Dash, they double headbutt Hardy. Wyatt rallies the fans while Dash tags Dawson. Dawson whips Hardy, Hardy boots back, Side Effect! Both men are down but crawling. Hot tags to Dash and Wyatt!

Wyatt rallies on Dash, turn-around lariat wipes Dash out! A throat chop and uppercuts have Dash in the corner, then Wyatt knocks Dawson down. Wyatt goes corner to corner for the clothesline, then he slams Dash with a yurinagi! Fans cheer, and Wyatt gives us another Spider-Walk! Tag to Hardy, Sister Abigail for Dawson, then an assisted Twist of Fate to Dash! Cover, Hardy & Wyatt win!

Winners: Deleter of Worlds, Hardy pinning; will face The Bar at Greatest Royal Rumble

With these forces of light and darkness fighting on the same side, do the Celtic Gladiator & Swiss Cyborg stand a chance of becoming Raw Tag Team Champions again? Or will the Expedition of Gold have its first true success in Saudi Arabia?

 

The Bar talks strategy.

They’ve never seen a weirder looking tag team than Wyatt & Hardy. That is, until just now. The Fashion Police are on Raw! Tyler Breeze & Fandango see The Bar, and as their first assignment, they’re here to ask Sheamus if he has a permit for the Mohawk. And these outfits just clash all over. They write up Sheamus & Cesaro, then move on. The Bar is furious! Who else will be cited for crimes against fashion now that Breezango is in a new precinct?

 

Raw looks back to last week’s “Rousey After Mania” moment.

After defeating The Authority at Wrestlemania, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey appeared on the Raw After Mania. Stephanie tried to make up for everything but Rousey saw through the lies. Rousey went right after Stephanie’s arm, and again put it in the armbar!

In present, Rousey talks with Angle about everything she’s been through to get here. Angle says that’s the beginning. Rousey surprised everyone, but Stephanie surely has something planned. Oh, here’s a nice surprise for everyone, it’s Natalya! She’s now on Raw! A training buddy of Rousey’s, the Queen of Harts is a great addition to the Women’s Division. Natty is excited for this fresh start to show she’s the Best There is, The Best There was, and the Best There Ever Will Be. Or at least, second best. Now adding Natty to the mix, the Raw Women’s Division gets even more competitive!

 

Nia Jax joins commentary for this coming match.

The Irresistible Force will watch this upcoming match alongside the Goddess to see how the newest addition to the Division does against the Six-Time Women’s Champion. Or, she would be, but it seems Alexa Bliss opts not to appear.

 

Ember Moon VS Mickie James!

The Prophecy of Flame Eclipsed a former Raw Women’s Champion last week, can she do it again to an even more accomplished former champion in #KickieJames?

The bell rings and the two circle. Mickie gets the headlock, but Ember breaks out and reverses to a wristlock. Mickie cartwheels and forearms but Ember sweeps the legs. Ember keeps on that arm, but Mickie headscissors. Ember pops out but Mickie rocks her with a right! Mickie kicks Ember while she’s down, then whips, but Ember tumbles through to arm-drag Mickie. Ember dropkicks Mickie down then runs into a corner. Mickie evades but Ember elbows back. Ember climbs up but Mickie yanks her off! Cover, TWO! Mickie keeps on Ember with a half-nelson.

Alexa joins via video call to explain she’s not on commentary because she just learned Nia is out there. She won’t sit next to a bully, and she won’t be hurt about it all over again. Alexa refuses to give a bully satisfaction. Ember fights out while Nia says Alexa is twisting words. Mickie won’t let Ember go, and knees her low. Ember reverses but Mickie elbows her down. Cover, TWO, but Mickie keeps on Ember with knees to the spine. Mickie puts Ember in a chinlock, but Ember fights up and out again. She goes to clothesline but Mickie hits a neckbreaker. Cover, ONE, another try, ONE again. Mickie grows frustrated with Ember, but Ember slaps back and headscissors Mickie down. Mickie comes back but Ember mule kicks and knees her away. Ember reverses Mickie into a forearm of her own, then goes for a suplex.

Mickie blocks but misses her kick, Ember doesn’t miss. Now Ember hits the half-hatch suplex and roars with a kip-up! Handspring forearm brings Mickie down, and Ember goes up top. Ember takes aim, ECLIPSE!!

She drags Mickie to a cover, Ember wins!

Winner: Ember, by pinfall

The #Shenom is victorious, showing she is already ready for this main roster level of competition. Will Nia have to worry about Ember Moon rising up to challenge her in the near future?

 

Kevin & Sami talk backstage.

This 10-Man match is a rocky start to their return to Raw. They need to take Strowman out first. But what about the mystery man? This could be a lion’s den, but Angle doesn’t even give them time to prepare! If they wanted to be treated like this, they could’ve stayed on SmackDown with Shane!

Speaking of Shane, Miz would like a heads up on how Shane is these days. Is Miz serious? Shane is the worst! Miz knows that part, but what about how Shane will treat him? Let’s not worry about that, focus on this match first. Right, of course. Though, Miz should also focus on his Miztourage. “Mourn tomorrow, focus today.” These five should ignore the talk of monsters and mysteries, and more on Miz’s Raw Finale. They need to make it #MustSee! Will that motivation be enough for these five to win against a top tier collection of talent on the other team?

 

Dolph Ziggler is here!

The Show-Off returns to Raw! A lot of things are the same and a lot of other things stayed the same. He still steals the show, and is sure the best wrestler to ever walk that aisle! But one thing that’s changed is… Titus Worldwide comes out?

Titus welcomes Ziggler to Raw! And yes, a lot of things have changed. Such as the brand known as Titus Worldwide~! Titus hands Ziggler his card, aka he’s recruiting Ziggler to the team. They can go next level, both in and out of this ring. Ziggler is a multi-platform star. And if he joins Titus Worldwide, they can conquer the world. That’s nice, Titus, thanks for the offer and interruption. But what Ziggler was going to say, was the change he mentioned, is that Ziggler isn’t here alone. DREW MCINTYRE!?

He attacks Apollo and Titus from behind! NXT’s Scottish Stud and Ziggler both throw Titus into the post! And the fans lose their minds, as Ziggler SUPERKICKS Titus! Ziggler gives Apollo to McIntyre to rain down rights! Fans chant for McIntyre while Ziggler stands Apollo up for the combination Claymore Zig Zag!!

The Show-Off and the Stud shut down Titus Worldwide! What will they do to the rest of Raw?!

 

Roman Reigns heads to the ring.

The Big Dog didn’t win the WWE Universal Championship at Wrestlemania, but he gets one more shot inside a Steel Cage Match! As for tonight, with fans both cheering and jeering, Roman says he’s here, but Lesnar isn’t. Roman will face Lesnar again, but it won’t happen like it did at Wrestlemania. He vows to leave Lesnar in that cage and return as the full-time Universal Champion. But with the Shake-up happening, he will get this out of the way now. Except he won’t, with Samoa Joe appearing.

The Destroyer interrupts like he did last week to tell Roman, “You come out here and you’re so quick to brag about showing up for work”. But Joe noticed something: Roman doesn’t brag about getting the job done. Because Roman hasn’t gotten it done, and never will. Joe says the cage match isn’t with a normal man, but with The Beast, the beast that beat Roman every time they’ve met in the ring. He almost feels sorry, but doesn’t, because Roman still doesn’t realize his place. Roman gets beat again and again, but he won’t learn until someone puts him down “for good”. Joe brings that sweet mercy, because at Backlash, Joe will put the Big Dog to sleep, once and for all. But if Roman wants to talk about what he’ll do, Joe will show everyone what Lesnar has done to Roman.

We relive both Wrestlemanias 31 and 34 and every moment in between with a highlight reel of Lesnar dominating Roman Reigns 1v1. Roman brushes that off, because Roman wants to see what Joe’s “lazy, fat ass can do.” Joe heads to the ring, but stops short. He’ll do this on his time, which will be at Backlash. Though, on the other hand… Joe turns back around and marches to the ring, only to still wait for Backlash. The Destroyer doesn’t sweat Roman Reigns, but Roman doesn’t sweat Joe. Which man will prove themselves superior when the co-branded Backlash comes? And will Roman finally be Universal Champion when it does?

 

Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville VS Natalya!

The Gladiator and God’s Gift are now flying on their own while Paige is now SmackDown General Manager. But without Paige’s guidance, how will Mandy do against such an experienced opponent as the Queen of Harts?

The bell rings, they tie up, and Natty rolls Mandy, ONE. Mandy shoves Natty, then slaps her. Natty headlocks  Mandy but Mandy headscissors. Natty trips Mandy and throws fast hands. Mandy manages to bail out, but Natty pursues. Natty goes after Mandy but Mandy slips back out of the ring, BIG knee from around the corner! Mandy puts Natty in the ring now, covers, TWO. Natty gets to a corner but Mandy is upon her with a mudhole stomp. Mandy backs off but comes back for more, then brings Natty up for a snap suplex. Cover, TWO, but Mandy keeps on Natty with clubbing forearms. She wrenches Natty into a standing abdominal stretch. Sonya taunts Natty but Natty endures.

Natty finds her way out and then throws Mandy down. Natty slaps Mandy back for earlier, then shoves Mandy. Mandy ducks the discus but ends up in the takedown! Natty goes for the Sharpshooter!

It’s in deep and she has nowhere to go, Mandy taps!

Winner: Natalya, by submission

But then Sonya pounces! She goes after Natty with muay thai knees, then feeds her to Mandy for them both to club down. But out comes Rousey! The Rowdy One won’t let her friend be bullied, she backs Absolution right out of the ring.

Absolution decides to go for the big prize, and Sonya steps to Rousey. Rousey is ready for Sonya’s moves, and takes her down with a clubbing STO! The Baddest Woman on the Planet makes sure her friend is safe. Will Absolution have to worry about their place on Raw without the Glampire to back them up?

 

Baron Corbin joins Raw!

The Lone Wolf is another of the Shake-Up trades made from SmackDown to Monday Nights. He is a former United States Champion, Mr. Money in the Bank and an Andre the Giant Battle Royal Winner. Will he bring the #EndOfDays to the Raw roster the way he did on SmackDown?

 

Breezango VS The Bar!

This match is a result of the Celtic Gladiator & Swiss Cyborg taking offense to the Fashion Police saying their outfits were an offense to fashion! Before taking on WOKEN Hardy & Bray Wyatt in two weeks, can The Bar make sure Tyler Breeze & Fandango have a rough Raw debut?

The bell rings and Cesaro starts with Fandango. They circle, but Fandango confiscates one of the Bar’s jackets. Cesaro protests but Fandango tries it on. Cesaro attacks him all the same, but Fandango powers out of the headlock, only for Cesaro to run him over. Things speed up again, Cesaro sunset flips over Fandango, Fandango wobbles then swivels those hips. Fandango hits a leg drop covers, TWO. Tag to Breeze but Cesaro shoves him away. Breeze dodges Sheamus but not Cesaro’s pop-up European Uppercut! Cesaro tears Breeze’s shirt, then tags in Sheamus. Sheamus brings Breeze up to mug him in the corner. Cesaro gets a cheap shot in, but Fandango protests. Fans say Sheamus, “You Look Stupid!” Breeze fights back but Sheamus powers him back, tag to Cesaro for Super Saiyan Kicks!

Cesaro covers, TWO. Cesaro keeps on Breeze with a chinlock, but Breeze works up to his feet. Sheamus tags in and the Bar whips Breeze for the Bar Lariat. Sheamus puts Breeze into a new chinlock, making him pay for the mockery backstage. Fans rally, and Breeze breaks free with a jawbreaker, only for Sheamus to clobber him down! Sheamus also hits Fandango for good easure, tag to Cesaro for the backbreaker elbow drop! TWO!? Cesaro is furious! He lifts Breeze up, but Fandango trips Sheamus! Sunset flip, BREEZANGO WINS!!

Winners: Breezango, Breeze pins

The Fashion Police sneak out the win! It’s a major upset as Breeze & Fandango defeat former Raw Tag Team Champions, does this get the Fashion Police near those titles in their own right?

 

Backstage interview with Elias.

The Drifter is in Hartford, but chose not to perform tonight. After all the big shows and major venues, he realized something: he’s not small time anymore. He does only the big cities. Hartford doesn’t matter. For that matter, Bobby Lashley doesn’t matter. Elias has become the biggest star in the WWE, Lashley doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near him. He should just worship Elias with the fans. But if Lashley ever does interrupt Elias again, Lashley will learn that WWE really stands for, “WALK WITH ELIAS!” Elias won’t perform for the fans, but he can tell Renee is a big fan. He is willing to give her a private show. No, there’s no time. That doesn’t matter to him. Renee cuts him off, and sends it back to ringside. Will Elias really be Mr. Big Time over the Alpha Male, Bobby Lashley?

 

10 Man Tag: The Miz, Miztourage, Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman & ???

It is a star-studded main event for Miz’s “Raw Finale”, with the A-Lister, his cohorts, and the #YEPMovement going up against the Extraordinary Man, the Architect, the returning Alpha Male, the Monster Among Men and…

THE GLORIOUS ONE, Bobby Roode!

As if the team wasn’t spectacular enough, it becomes GLORIOUS with the former NXT and United States Champion joining in! Does Miz’s team have a hope of winning at this rate?

The teams sort out on their corners, the bell rings, and it comes down to Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins starting. They circle, and Kevin suddenly clubs and stomps away on Rollins. He gets Rollins into an open corner as he rams in knees. He whips corner to corner but Rollins gives Kevin a buckle shot. Rollins springboards for the flying clothesline! Rollins throws Kevin out, then takes aim to slingshot over! He knocks Owens down but his team comes to his side. It’s a stand-off between both teams as we go to break.

Raw returns once more to see Curt Axel in control. Rollins powers out of the headlock and things speed up, Rollins dropkicks Axel down. Tag to Roode and he snap suplexes Axel up and over. Cover, TWO, but Roode keeps on Axel with a wristlock. Tag to Finn, Finn climbs up and hits the falling ax handle. Finn wrenches Axel’s arm but Axel hits back. Finn reverse the whip and rolls through the sunset flip for the dropkick. Cover, TWO. Fans want Strowman, so Finn brings Axel over, but Axel powers him back to his corner. Kevin tags in and throws hands on Finn, then tags to Bo for mudhole stomps. Everyone in that corner gets a cheap shot in, then Bo gives more body shots. Tag to Miz, Miz adds stomps, then Kevin gets a cheap shot in.

Miz just taunts Finn with the flex, then boots Finn down. Cover, TWO, so Miz puts Finn in a chinlock. Fans rally for Finn and Finn fights up and out. Miz still gets his A-List combination, backbreaker to neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, but Miz keeps his confidence. Tag to Sami, Sami body shots Finn. Finn ends up in a corner and evades Sami to tag in Lashley! Big Lashley rallies as he throws Sami over head then hits clothesline and shoulder tackles in the corner. Lashley lifts Sami in the torture rack but has to deal with Kevin and Axel first.

Sami comes back with rights, then runs, but Lashley shows off agility as he jumps up and over. Lashley lifts Sami and holds him up there! Then brings him down hard. Miz runs in, he gets lifted and thrown onto the others! Fans are all fired up for the Dominant One while we go to break.

Raw returns one more time, to see the two teams arguing on the outside while Kevin puts Rollins in the ring. He rains down crossface punches then puts Rollins in a chinlock. Rollins endures the squeeze while his team rallies the fans. Kevin holds on tight, but Rollins starts working his way up. Kevin throws him down and hits the back senton, TWO. He won’t let Rollins get away, though, and drags him back to tag in Miz. Miz stomps Rollins, then rips him into his corner. He stomps away, but then Rollins fights his way out! Miz kicks low, DDT! Cover, TWO, and Miz grows frustrated. He keeps on Rollins, and knowing where he’s headed, he starts up the YES Kicks! Fans chant, “NO! NO!” each time, but Miz goes for the buzzsaw. Rollins rolls him up instead, TWO, but he gets a big back suplex.

Both men are down, Rollins takes the long way around. Miztourage take out Lashley and Finn! Roode and Strowman chase them off but they miss the tag. Rollins slips out, PELE to Miz! Rollins and Miz crawl again, fans rallying, but Strowman stops Kevin & Sami! Hot tags to Axel and Roode! Roode rallies on Axel, then hits Bo just because. He gives Axel a corner clothesline and whip corner to corner, then a neckbraeker. Roode climbs up top and takes aim, for the flying clothesline! Then he gets the fans into it, winds it up, GLORIOUS Pose! Kick, but Axel denies the DDT. Roode boots him away, hops up, and hits the GLORIOUS Blockbuster!

Cover, but Bo breaks it. Bo goes to throw Roode but Roode throws Bo, Axel chop blocks! Tag to The Miz, and he goes for the legs. Roode small package counters, TWO, but Roode clotheslines Miz down. Fans fire up, they know who is there. Hot tag to Strowman! And Miz is afraid. Miz runs but Strowman pursues, runs over Kevin and still wipes out Miz! Strowman rocks Sami with a right, but Miz stomps away. Miz runs, but into a big paw, and the deadlift choke slam! Fans are all fired up, Strowman throws Bo and Axel into a corner. He runs in but misses them to hit the post.

Miztourage beat down on Strowman, but Finn makes the save. Slingblade to Bo, but Axel throws him out. Rollins clotheslines Axel out, builds speed and dodges Sami to DIVE! Roode gets Sami with the GLORIOUS DDT! SUPERKICK from Kevin! Lashley comes in, blocks Kevin’s kick and gives Kevin a SPINEBUSTER! Miz throws him out, then goes after Strowman. Miz runs in for dropkicks a la Bryan, but runs into a dropkick from Strowman! The Miztourage return to the corner and Miz heads their way, but they leave Miz high and dry.

Miz has no Miztourage, and Strowman is ready! Miz senses the danger he’s in, but he can’t get away! Strowman steamrolls him then scoops him, for the MONSTER SLAM!! Cover, Strowman’s team wins!

Winners: Balor, Rollins, Lashley, Strowman & Roode, Strowman pins

The first half of the Superstar Shake-Up is over, and it was already a huge success! Miz goes to SmackDown, and knows what waits for him there. Will he be able to turn things around when he goes over to the Blue Brand? And who will come out on top with the shifting landscape of the Red Brand?

 


 

My Thoughts:

What an awesome Raw, and this first night of the 2018 Superstar Shake-Up feels a lot better than last year’s did. Most of the SmackDown stars sent to Raw didn’t have major stories to worry about so they made nice, clean jumps. Opening with Mahal moving to Raw while champion, then losing to Jeff Hardy in an incredible match, could foreshadow quite a few things. Rollins might go to SmackDown with his Intercontinental Championship, or Miz wins that title back to bring it with him since we learned he was the first superstar being sent to SmackDown. The Riott Squad makes it so that we still have no resolve to the story of Bayley and Sasha, so I’d imagine Bayley and Sasha stay where they are. Absolution had an interesting moment with Rousey and Natalya, so Mandy and Sonya might not be joining Paige on SmackDown, either.

The Authors of Pain dominate again while WOKEN & Wyatt win to face The Bar, who just got shocked by The Fashion Police. Ziggler and McIntyre really surprise everyone with showing up together and doing what they did to Titus Worldwide, but I’d expect those two to want singles titles for themselves rather than tag, even though that Claymore-ZigZag combo is awesome. Either way, Raw’s Tag Team Division is getting a bit crowded, so they might be giving SmackDown the teams that lost, aka The Revival, Titus Worldwide and even inaugural SmackDown Tag Team Champions, Heath Slater & Rhyno. Samoa Joe continues to verbally dominate Roman Reigns on the mic, but assuming Roman wins the Universal Champion, what are the chances Joe wins it off Roman? Fans would love it, but WWE doesn’t always give fans what they love.

That main event was great, though. Interesting to have both GLORIOUS Bobby and Dominator Bobby on the same show. The best part of the match might’ve been Miztourage ditching Miz. Without Miz in charge, maybe Bo will finally go Wyatt and join Bray to eventually turn on Hardy, and we can get Hardys VS Wyatts in a Brothers of DELETION event. Again, Rollins might be headed to SmackDown in order to even out title counts. If he doesn’t, that has to mean Miz wins the title back. At the same time, Strowman hasn’t established a new story just yet, he might be headed to SmackDown. If so, getting the pin on Miz tonight is a great way for both men to say good-bye to Raw. Of course, Balor’s been wearing blue lately, maybe he’s pitching for Balor Club joining Styles. That’d be cool, if Nakamura also gets a team.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)

And you thought last week was big!

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Coverage 205 2021

205 Live doubles down on historic matches!

Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
  • Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.

PLAY BY PLAY

205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.

It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.

The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?

 

Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!

How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?

The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!

Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!

Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!

Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!

Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?

 

Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!

The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?

The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!

Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.

Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.

Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!

Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!

Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!

Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?


My Thoughts:

A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.

Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)

Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?

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Coverage SmackDown 2021

Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!

SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
  • Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
  • Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
  • Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
  • Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
  • Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.

PLAY BY PLAY

Roman Reigns heads to the ring!

The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.

But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!

But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.

But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.

Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?

Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.

 

Sami Zayn heads to the ring!

He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?

SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!

Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!

The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?

As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.

Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!

SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.

Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!

Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!

Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall

Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?

 

Billie finds the Squad backstage.

She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?

 

Daniel Bryan is here!

And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!

“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!

Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!

The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?

Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!

SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!

Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”

Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!

Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall

Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?

 

Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!

It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?

SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!

Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!

Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!

Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission

Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?

 

Roman Reigns sits in his private room.

Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!

Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!

Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.

Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!

Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!

Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)

And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?

 

Kevin Owens speaks.

“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.

And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.

But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.

 

The Street Profits have a basket.

Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!

Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?

 

Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!

The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?

SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!

But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?

Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!

Winner: Bianca Belair

Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.

 

Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.

Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?

 

Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!

SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.

Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!

Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall

The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?

 

Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!

Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?

Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?

Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!

Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!

Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!

Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?


My Thoughts:

A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.

But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.

The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.

Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.

And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.

My Score: 8.5/10


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