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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (4/2/18)

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All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Bayley VS Sonya Deville w/ Absolution; Bayley wins.
  • Finn Balor VS Seth Rollins; Rollins wins.
  • Goldust VS WOKEN Matt Hardy; Hardy wins.
  • Heath Slater w/ Rhyno VS Elias; Elias wins.
  • Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Dana Brooke & Asuka; Dana & Asuka win.

PLAY BY PLAY

Johnathan Coachman welcomes Atlanta to Raw!

Wrestlemania is this Sunday, and we’re near the end of the road. Coach sets up the face-off conference of the star mixed tag match, and introduces the Raw Commissioner, Stephanie McMahon, as well as the COO, Triple H!

Then, he introduces the Raw GM, Kurt Angle–who gets the classic “You Suck!” chant–and of course, the Baddest Woman on the Planet, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey!

Everyone is in the ring now, and sit on their respective sides of the table. The fans chant, “Ronda Rousey! *clap clap clapclapclap*” Coach thanks the four for joining this face-off, and moves things to the Social Media Q&A. HHH speaks up, because he has a Q for Angle. “It’s a shame, really”, everyone chanting for Ronda, because the fans want to like her, but it’ll all be gone after Sunday. And it’ll all be Angle’s fault. “Intensity, Integrity, Intelligence”, an Olympic Gold Medalist with a broken freaking neck, yet it seems that third I of Intelligence doesn’t hold true. This right here is a prime example: they have Ronda Rousey, one of if not THE biggest signing to WWE, yet Angle ruins it by setting her up for “an embarrassment” at Wrestlemania. HHH has to know, “Why?”

Angle replies, but Ronda speaks up now. She asks the Authority why they were so two-faced. Stephanie excuses Ronda, she doesn’t understand how things work. But they’ll polish her up after they rebuild her from the beating on Sunday. Stephanie moves things to the questions, but Ronda says this was the format: she asked a Q, where’s the A? Stephanie plays along, saying they signed Ronda because she’s a star. Fans want to see Ronda in the WWE, and she is “best for business.” However, things work like this: HHH asked a question, Angle works for Stephanie, Angle messed Ronda up already, so what is there to misunderstand? Angle and Ronda work for the Authority, “so who they Hell do you think you are?” Angle takes it from here: “She’s Ronda Friggin’ Rousey.” An Olympic Medalist, UFC Champion, and come Wrestlemania, the one who makes Stephanie tap out.

Coach fails to cool things off as HHH asks Angle why he’s so confident. Yeah, she’s “Ronda Friggin’ Rousey”, with entire divisions built around her. In the WWE, that means nothing. Ronda’s dream of coming here compares nothing to how the WWE is Stephanie’s life, HHH’s life, “from beginning to end.” In this ring, The authority knows the rules, but Ronda has no idea what’s coming. The “massive learning curve” and the rules made by the Authority makes this “a forgone conclusion.”

Coach again tries to steer things to questions. “How important it is for you to win at Wrestlemania? And if you do, how will it impact eh future of the WWE?” Stephanie says it won’t be if, but when. And when the Authority wins, it’ll show that any uprising will end up with the bosses taking action to shut it down, and everyone will learn to #RespectAuthority. “How does Angle feel about teaming with Ronda Rousey?” Whether in the ring, cage, octagon, Ronda is the baddest woman, and she’ll prove it when Stephanie taps out.

And finally, an open question: “Any final thoughts before you head to Wrestlemania?” Stephanie says that this is all on Ronda for choosing this. Ronda will lose, her first ever match at Wrestlemania, to Stephanie. And we all know how Ronda handles losses. “Nice jacket, by the way.” Ronda replies with, “Steph, are you right or left handed?” Stephanie is right-handed. Ronda wanted to make sure Stephanie can still sign checks, even after she rips an arm off. Fans like the sound of that. Coach wraps things up with the photo op. Nothing like boxing or UFC, this will be classy and professional. The photographers come in and everyone moves to the front of the tables. Coach wishes everyone luck as he moves aside.

HHH and Angle come face to face, and Stephanie glares at Ronda. The gentlemen shake hands, but the ladies… Stehpanie offers, but when Ronda refuses, Stephanie trash talks. They get face-to-face, but Angle keeps the peace, only for HHH to attack from behind! Ronda gets HHH, but Stephanie body slams Ronda through a table! Stephanie says that’s for before, and the rest will be at Wrestlemania. “You’re not so tough.” The Authority stands tall after being underhanded, but will they regret their actions when the gloves are off?

 

Bayley VS Sonya Deville w/ Absolution!

Whether or not the Huggable One has a friend in the Legit Boss anymore, she isn’t going to let the Gladiator Gal go through her without a fight. With the inaugural Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal just up ahead, who will gain some final momentum before arriving in New Orleans?

The bell rings and the two circle. Bayley is wary of Absolution nearby, but that leaves her open to a kick to the leg. Sonya taunts Bayley, then circles again for another kick. Sonya goes for Bayley’s leg again but Bayley hops over and boots her back. The two battle over a backslide, Sonya whips but Bayley goes up and over to get a headlock takeover. Sonya stands up and powers out, but things speed up and Bayley ducks the elbow to whip. Sonya reverses but Bayley crossbodies! Bayley keeps on Sonya with another headlock, and turns Sonya’s counter into a takedown. Sonya keeps her shoulders up and stands up again, using the ponytail to take Bayley to a corner. She drives in shoulders while Absolution cheers, but the fans jeer.

Bayley counters Sonya’s run with a flapjack to buckles! Bayley hops up but Sonya yanks her off, so Bayley elbows her away. She hops up again and flies, but the arm-drag is blocked into a body check.

Cover, TWO, but Bayley keeps on Sonya with an arm wrench. Paige says “This is OUR House!” but Bayley has Sonya in a standing armbar. Sonya endures the wrench, then hits back with haymakers. Sonya whips but Bayley reverses, big corner clothesline! Bayley tugs, Sonya holds ropes so Bayley has to let go, sucker punch from Sonya and a roundhouse take Bayley down! Sonya trash talks Bayley while we go to break.

Raw returns to Sonya grinding Bayley in a bodyscissors. Bayley fights out as the fans rally, and she starts ramming Sonya’s head into the mat! She breaks free, runs, but into a spinebuster! Cover, TWO, but Sonya keeps on Bayley with knees to the chest. She runs, sliding knee into Bayley! Cover, TWO, and frustration grows for Absolutoin as a whole. Sonya stalks Bayley, toying with her. Bayley pushes back while fans rally again, but Sonya kicks away on Bayley’s stomach. Bayley dodges, but Sonya is upon her again, only for Bayley to counter! She punches and forearms away on Sonya, then rallies with lariats. Bayley puts Sonya in a corner for a mudhole stomping and a rain of hands. She goes to the outside, climbs up, and jumps for the crossbody!

Bayley keeps moving, running knee to Sonya’s head! Cover, TWO! Absolution bails Sonya out, but Bayley just exits the ring anyway. The referee keeps Paige and Mandy back, but Sonya knees Bayley back. Bayley counters the throw, and then hangs Sonya up with the hotshot! Cover, TWO, but Mandy is lurking. Bayley kicks her away but Sonya kicks her down, gutwrench cradle, TWO! Sonya kicks, Bayley ducks and rolls her up, Bayley wins!

Winner: Bayley, by pinfall

But Absolution pounces! Mandy hammers away, joined by Sonya. Here comes Sasha! The Boss tackles Mandy then fights off Sonya. Sasha throws Mandy out but Sonya is on her again. Bayley helps now, throwing Sonya out. The Raw Horsewomen stand tall, and the fans are loving it, but Sasha wants Bayley to raise her hand? Bayley won the match, not Sasha! Sasha gets in Bayley’s face so Bayley fights back! She rains rights but Sasha comes back, and so does Absolution! Mandy and Sonya club away, then a roundhouse for Bayley, Golden Driver for Sasha! The “friends” are down, will they be able to get up in time for the battle royal?

 

Raw takes a look at Asuka’s Streak.

October 7th, 2015: it began. For over two years, 908 days, the Empress of Tomorrow has racked up 265 wins, not one loss. She’s conquered 35 women, eight of them former champions, and all submitting to her Asuka Lock. Asuka knows nothing but winning in both NXT and WWE. The only reason she isn’t still NXT Women’s Champion is because she had to vacate the title when she came to Raw. She is a Sole Survivor and a Royal Rumble Winner in the same year, and she won the inaugural Women’s Rumble. Unlike any wrestler before her, she heads for Wrestlemania against SmackDown Women’s Champion, The Queen of Flair, Charlotte! Will the Streak live on through the Grandest Stage of Them All?

 

 

Finn Balor VS Seth Rollins!

The Extraordinary Man and the Architect are both going after The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship in a Triple Threat, but they first want to settle things between each other. Can the inaugural Universal Champion notch another win over the former world champion? Or will “Seth Freakin’ Rollins” get even this close to becoming a Grand Slam Champion?

However, The Miz is also here to keep an eye on his contenders from commentary! New baby Monroe will have to watch daddy watch Finn VS Rollins.

The bell rings, Rollins circles with Finn, and then they tie up. Rollins gets the waistlock but Finn the standing switch and they go around with hammerlocks. Rollins gets a headlock, then an arm-wrench but Finn tries to counter. Finn ends up on the mat, but kip-up and wrenches to an arm-drag takedown. Rollins headscissors, Finn pops out, Rollins headlocks, Finn headscissors, Rollins pops out, and the two stand up in a stand-off. Fans applaud while Finn grins, and the two circle again. They tie up but Finn goes low for the leg. He gets Rollins to a hammerlock, snapping back to wrench it. Rollins works his way out, Finn wrenches the wrist. Rollins rolls and handsprings but Finn powers out, only for Rollins to run him over. Finn gets to ropes but Rollins headlock takeover, grinding Finn to the mat.

Finn makes it a cover, TWO, but Rollins holds on. They stand up, Finn powers out and arm-drags Rollins back down to the armlock. They stand up again, Rollins whips but Finn reverses. Rollins rolls over and shoulders Finn down. Things speed up, Finn arm-drags, and they stand-off again. Rollins and Finn are still evenly matched while we go to break.

Raw returns to Rollins whipping but Finns reversing. Rollins sunset flips but Finn rolls through to dropkick. Finn wrenches Rollins fights out. Finn hits back and Rollins gets mad. Rollins shoves, Finn shoves back. They both glance at the Wrestlemania sign, and a brawl breaks out! They go back and forth with wild rights, then Rollins knees. Rollins throws Finn out tot he floor, then follows him out to chop him against the barriers. He puts Finn into the apron while the ring count starts, continuing with throwing Finn into barriers. Fans are fired up as Rollins puts Finn back in the ring. Finn fights back, throwing Rollins out. Finn dropkicks Rollins down, then from the apron, he Penalty Kicks Rollins down!

A Finn Flex and then Finn brings Rollins back into the ring. Cover, ONE, and Miz enjoys this long showcase. Finn kicks Rollins in the back, covers, ONE. Rollins gets to a corner but Finn gives him a chop, then another chop. Finn stalks Rollins, whips him corner to corner, running- No, buckle shot! Rollins hops up, blockbuster! Cover, TWO, but Rollins keeps his cool. He drives elbows right into Finn’s forehead, then puts him in a chinlock. Rollins squeezes and grinds Finn down, we go picture in picture to plug Shinsuke VS Styles. Finn gets up but Rollins wrangles him right back down. He endures the squeeze, then works his way up to his feet. Finn pries his way out but Rollins turns it into a neckbreaker! Finn gets to the apron but Rollins goes outside and takes aim. Rollins boots Finn back into the ring!

Cover, TWO! Rollins keeps frustration at bay, but Finn hits back. They go back and forth with chops, then Rollins suplexes but Finn slips out, only for Rollins to elbow him away. Finn in a corner, he boots Rollins back. Finn rallies with forearms, then whips but Rollins reverses, only for Finn to hit another. The fans fire up, Finn chops Rollins in the corner again. Corner to corner, Rollins boots Finn away. Rollins hops up but Finn yanks him off! Finn tries the 1916 but Rollins rolls him up, TWO! Finn goes again, elbow DDT! Cover, TWO! And Finn can’t believe it!

Finn gets up and to a corner, fans firing up for him. He takes aim at Rollins, runs out, but Rollins denies the slingblade to hit HIS slingblade! Finn gets out of the ring, Rollins builds speed, and DIVES! Direct hit! Both men are down on the outside, we go to break.

Raw returns as Finn fires up, and hits his slingblade! He runs again, but into a SUPERKICK!

Miz says this is the best match he’s seen all year while Rollins reaches for a cover, TWO! The fans declare, “This is Awesome!” Finn flounders to a corner while Rollins staggers to his feet. Rollins runs in for the forearm smash, then another but Finn dodges to swing kick him down! Finn climbs up, but Rollins sits him down! Rollins climbs up to join Finn, slowly preparing the superplex, but Finn resists. Finn fights back with clubbing forearms. Rollins goes down again, Finn adjusts, but Rollins returns, for the SUPERPLEX roll through but Small Package! TWO!! Rollins can’t believe how close that was, and drags Finn back up. Finn revives again but Revolution Knee! Cover, TWO!? Miz loves this!

Rollins gets to a corner, climbs up, takes aim, then jumps, but the frog splash hits knees! TWO!! Even The Miz is shocked. Finn gets to his feet while Rollins rolls and slumps out of the ring. Finn goes to that apron, Penalty- No, Rollins brings him up, deja vu, but Finn fights out to SLINGBLADE! Blasting dropkick! Finn avenges his Summerslam injury and puts Rollins back in the ring. He climbs up again, takes aim again, and jumps, but rollins rolls away. Mule kick, Curb- No, a shove and a roll, TWO, roll back, CURB STOMP!! Rollins wins!!

Winner: Rollins, by pinfall

The Architect finally gets one on the Extraordinary Man. Miz stands up on the commentary table so that everyone gets a good look at his Intercontinental Championship. Will Miz keep a hold of that title to become the longest reigning IC Champion ever? Will Rollins take it away to become a Grand Slam Champion? Or will Finn turn his momentum around and make that title #TooSweet?

 

Raw reviews the saga of Lesnar VS Reigns.

The Beast won the WWE Universal Championship a year ago at Wrestlemania off THE Goldberg. Ever since then, the “reigning, defending, undisputed” champion would remain such even after taking on Kane, Samoa Joe, Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns. Roman meanwhile had to take the long road back to Wrestlemania, winning the Elimination Chamber #1 Contender’s match. He vows he’s telling the truth about being able to beat Lesnar. He also told the truth on how Lesnar doesn’t care or respect anyone in the WWE, from employees to management to fans. At the same time, Roman said he doesn’t want Vince McMahon to disrespect him. Vince would suspend Roman for his comments, but Roman didn’t care, he kept coming to work.

However, this would also backfire. Roman fought off U.S. Marshals, only for Lesnar to take advantage of the handcuffs! Lesnar savagely beat the collared Roman, both with German Suplexes and with a chair. Battered and bruised, Roman would still man up to get in Lesnar’s face and even take another beating. Roman got his licks in, but Lesnar still got the better of him. With Wrestlemania on the horizon, can Roman return to get his revenge?

 

Paul Heyman talks “Brocktagon” with someone on his phone.

However, Kurt Angle walks over to talk with The Advocate. He tells Heyman as the GM, that the most important part of ‘Mania is keeping the main event intact. Heyman agrees, but asks how this is any different than any other night? He’ll say nice things about Roman and tell Lesnar to save it for Sunday. Angle wants to make sure Heyman doesn’t instigate anything between the two men where they might get hurt. Heyman just laughs. Angle is worried about Lesnar getting hurt? Yes, because they both want to hurt each other period! Just don’t do anything of the sort, Heyman. Heyman promises not to, but he’s still chuckling to himself. Will there be any last attacks before the ‘Mania match?

 

The Bar head to the ring.

The Swiss Cyborg & the Celtic Gladiator are set to face The Monster Among Men for the Raw Tag Team Championships, but it doesn’t matter to them who Braun Strowman gets as a partner. “Because as big as you are or as strong as you are, it’s still a tag team match.” Strowman will have to tag his partner in at some point, and they need to be on the same page, including plans B, C, D, etc, but it won’t matter because they’ll never be a real team or real tag team champions. But then Strowman appears!

The fans chant “Get These Hands!” for Strowman as he walks onto the stage. “If you’re trying to say that I don’t play well with others, than you’re right.” Strowman says that management made it clear he has to have a partner, and he got one! They were just talking, and his partner doesn’t appreciate what these “clowns” were saying. In that case, that partner should come out and tell The Bar to their faces! “Don’t worry, he will, under one stipulation: he wants a match with one of you!” A match against the mystery partner? The fans like the sound of that! And The Bar can’t pass this opportunity up. The mystery partner will get his match! “Good. I’ll go get him.” Strowman warns them, though, “he’s a lot like me, just a little different.”

Strowman disappears into the back while The Bar discusses what to do, and then Strowman returns. Wearing glasses and a shirt!

“My brother’s Braun, I’m Brains! And I’m about to come out there and knock yours out of your heads!” “Brain” Strowman heads to the ring, and Sheamus volunteers Cesaro. But reveal! It’s just Braun! And he fights them both! He throws Cesaro off and punches Sheamus, but Sheamus saves Cesaro to BROGUE Strowman! The Bar has numbers on their side as they hammer away, but Strowman just shoves them both away! He runs Sheamus over and throws Cesaro again! The Bar retreats to regroup but Strowman wants more! Does Braun really have a partner to team with? And if he does, will that team break The Bar on Sunday?

 

Goldust speaks.

The Bizarre One says it’s “skill against skill alone – Princess Bride”. Those were Andre the Giant’s words, and Goldust vows to win his Memorial Battle Royal to put his name on the gold statue. Then HBO will make a documentary about him, so that the world will never forget the name “Goldust”.

But WOKEN Hardy responds!

The Golden One seeks the same prize, to join the pantheon of giants! Hardy vows to be the one honoring the Humongous Wonder #8, and all others will be OBSOLETE! As for tonight, it shall be the Bizarre One who is scheduled for DELETION!

 

Goldust VS WOKEN Matt Hardy!

Raw returns to this match already in progress as Hardy puts Goldust back in the ring. He rocks Goldy with a haymaker, then whips, but Goldust drops down for the uppercut. Goldust breathes in and hisses at Hardy, but Hardy says that was, “WONDERFUL~!” He applauds, and the fans applaud with him. Hardy ducks a punch to give a punch then whips. Goldust boots back, then puts Hardy into a post. Goldust goes to the outside and mocks Hardy before rocking him with another uppercut. He stomps on Hardy in the ring, then drags him up but Hardy hits back with body shots. Hardy runs, but into a spinebuster! Cover, TWO, but Goldust keeps on Hardy.

Goldust hammers away on Hardy, then takes another deep breath, only for Hardy to throw haymakers. Hardy forearms then “DELETE!” buckle bumps Goldust over and over from top to bottom. Hardy backs off, then says “DELETE!” before running in for the corner clothesline. Goldust denies the bulldog, but runs into a Side Effect! Cover, TWO! Hardy continues the “DELETE!” but Goldust pushes off and powerslams! Cover, TWO! Goldust gets to a corner and climbs up, to take a deep breath and jump, but misses the elbow! Hardy gets up and kicks, Twist– Roll up! TWO! Goldust kicks, drops down but Hardy hits him first. Then, Twist of Fate! Cover, TWO!

Winner: WOKEN Hardy, by pinfall

The WOKEN Wisdom rolls on towards the Memorial Battle Royal, and Hardy tells the statue of the Wonder #8 that he will “PROCURE! PROCURE!” a spot on the plaque. Will Hardy make Andre the Giant proud during the Wrestlemania kickoff?

 

Alexa Bliss & Mickie James speak.

They look cute in their selfie cam. The Goddess tried this once with Nia, but the phone broke. Not surprising, she has a face for radio. And Nia gets an exclusive interview? Maybe she’ll start blubbering. Emphasis on blubber. But when Alexa beats Nia, Nia will blubbering in her blubber. #EW! Will The Goddess suffer the wrath of the Irresistible Force in their Raw Women’s Championship match?

 

JOHN CENA is here!

Atlanta sings “John Cena Sucks~!” for him as he heads for the ring. The Face that Runs the Place didn’t get a response from The Undertaker on a Wrestlemania Match last week, even during a No Disqualification match with the Deadman’s Brother of Destruction, Kane. Cena hears the fans chant, “Undertaker!”, and admits he was wrong. In that they’re out of time and there’s still no answer. Cena was wrong to think there was no response, because silence means “no”. Fans might be upset, but not Cena. Cena did what Cena could to get Taker to do something, but ready or not and Wrestlemania is around the corner. He’ll go fired up like all the fans. Fans have asked about a match, but Cena is going as a fan, too.

Michael Cole even told Cena “that’s stupid, just enter the Battle Royal. Or be Braun’s partner,” or any number of things. Cole hasn’t done his research, Cena won’t do that because he lost the Rumble, the Chamber, and at Fastlane, so just entering another match takes a spot from a full-time spot from someone who earned it. Going against Taker was a last chance moment for them both! It’d be a match where no one’s spot is taken, just two “larger than life” superstars fighting it out. One year ago today, Cena’s life changed, shout-out to Nikki Bella. Everyone reads the news about Cena’s career. He’s fed off the energy of the fans, and maybe this year is the right time for a change.

Fans still chant, “Undertaker!” Hopefully Taker hears that. But Cena will say this now: he’s going as a fan, and he’s “damn proud of it.” Cena is proud to sit and watch the “most amazing Wrestlemania card of all time”, even without him. Daniel Bryan is back where he belongs, and Cena is proud of him for it. Cena is proud to watch the greatest in-ring performer get the moment he deserves, AJ Styles defends the WWE Championship. He’s even proud that Wrestlemania will be on Rusev Day! Elias will do stuff, but Cena does know what WWE stands for. Cena is proud of all the Women’s Division matches, because they continue to prove success is not based on gender. “So ladies and gentlemen,” Cena is damn proud to be a fan!

But he’ll take one second to apologize. Cena did everything from in-ring to social media, and he knows the fans did, too. From Dallas to Detroit to Cleveland and Atlanta– Wait, have they really even tried yet? They haven’t? Can Atlanta get loud enough? The fans sure try. “Sounds like Atlanta is about as serious as a Dallas warm-up.” They gotta give way more than that. Make some noise to summon the Undertaker! Atlanta gives it their all, but still not enough. “Hotlanta, you gotta listen to me!” If they want lightning, be the thunder! Shout so they hear you all the way to Death Valley! The fans try a third time, giving 110%, but still nothing. They chant “Undertaker!” once more to see if it’ll work. It echoes out over and over, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Fans turn to boos.

“Hear that, Undertaker?” Four weeks straight, the WWE Universe pours its heart out, yet you don’t do a thing. Cena isn’t upset with Wrestlemania, but he’s upset with Taker. Ignore Cena, fine. But ignore the fans? “You are a dead man walking.” Taker, it’s obvious he left his hat in the ring, but he left his balls at home. Harsh words again, but still no response. And fans turn to chanting for Cena. Cena leaves it at that, because he’s out of ideas. Why is it that Taker won’t respond? Will Taker ever show himself again?

 

Roman Reigns is in the locker room!

Kurt Angle meets with him and says that with no Cena VS Taker, he hopes Roman won’t ruing another ‘Mania match. Heyman agreed to keeping the peace, but Roman doesn’t believe it. Is Lesnar even here? Yes! Then Roman is not going anywhere. Roman has respect for Angle, so he’ll hear Heyman out. But everything for the last year and the last six years Lesnar has disrespected everyone else, Roman will be ready the moment Lesnar says anything stupid. Angle can take the peace treaty back to the pawn shop where he pawned those gold medals. Roman is riled up, will he be able to contain himself when he meets The Beast?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter is back, and as he plays his guitar, he asks Atlanta as he always asks the crowd, “Who Wants to Walk with Elias?!” Atlanta seems very positive about that. Elias has the keys to life, and if you want to save your soul, know that in your heart and with every fiber of your being, WWE means “Walk With Elias”! He’s in Atlanta, but how is this “hellhole of a dump” the last stop before ‘Mania? If Elias was in charge, they’d be in a city that matters. But that’s fine, he’ll be leaving after tonight to put on the greatest performance of a lifetime. For now, silence cell phones, hold applause and shut mouths while he sings.

“I’m Just One Man!” Wait, that’s Slater.

Heath Slater w/ Rhyno VS Elias!

The One Man Band wants payback for when Elias not only defeated Rhyno but also ambushed him afterward. They tie up, but Eilas powers Slater to a corner. Elias gives body shots and shoulders, then chops Slater sharp. Elias whips and runs SLater over, but the faens rally with “Heath’s Got Kids!” Slater dodges in a corner, then jabs and haymakers on Elias. Slater whips but Elias reverses, only for Slater to knee him down. Heel kick, too! Slater brings Elias up, but Elias rocks him with a jumping knee! Elias keeps gonig, Drift Away! Cover, Elias wins!

Winner: Elias, by pinfall

Swift but stiff, the Drifter gets his hand raised for another win. What is this performance he speaks of for Wrestlemania? And will it really be as amazing as he makes it out to be?

 

Braun Strowman encounters Curt Hawkins backstage.

What a coincidence! Hawkins saw what happened out there, and was wondering if Strwowman would pick him. What’s his win-loss record? Umm… Not great, but that’s fine! Strowman can be his big break! Strowman throws Hawkins through a wall!

“There’s your big break.” In other words, he’s not picking Hawkins. But who will Strowman pick for a partner?

 

Exclusive interview with Nia Jax.

After finding out how two-faced The Goddess was, the Irresistible Force will get revenge in a Raw Women’s Championship match. She sits down with Renee Young, who sympathizes with how “hurt and devastated” she must be. Nia says that emotionally, she felt like she was back to growing up as a kid. But she’s learned that you just need to respect and honor yourself, and ignore what others say about you. You should respect your God-given abilities and seize opportunities. The other women respect and admire Nia and her accomplishments, but Nia has been so down on herself. She can’t believe she thought someone like Alexa was her friend. Alexa said many hurtful things, like how Nia is a “desperate, needy, gullible loser”.

Those comments hurt, but Nia reminded herself, “I don’t take that sh*t.” She’s different, but she loves herself. This is what God and her mama gave her, so she should never feel sorry about that. Alexa is like all the other haters who said she shouldn’t, couldn’t and wouldn’t make it in the WWE. Nia says this directly to Alexa now: “You’re nothing but an insecure little girl.” The little fly is gonna get squashed like a bug! Can Nia win not just for herself but for every person who has ever been mistreated based on their appearance?

 

Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Dana Brooke & Asuka!

The Goddess and #KickieJames look to give the Raw Women’s Champion momentum going into her match, but what good will it do when the Statistician has the undefeated Empress on her side?

Dana starts against Alexa, assuring Asuka her Streak won’t be tanked in this tag match. Alexa doesn’t even take Dana seriously, but they tie up and Dana gets the wristlock. Dana keeps Alexa away from Mickie, as well as the ropes, so Alexa stomps her foot. Alexa gets the wristlock but Dana reverses it back. The fans chant “Biscuit Butt” at Alexa but she forearms her way out of the hold. Alexa whips but Dana reverses, handspring back elbow in the corner! Dana fireman carry, but Alexa slips out to reel her into a kidney punch. Tag to Mickie, and the mean girls mug Dana with a kick. Mickie wristlocks and hammerlocks Dana, but Dana slips around to roll up, TWO. Fans want Asuka, so Mickie taunts the fans as she hits Dana. Dana hits back, then pushes Mickie to a corner.

Dana rams in shoulders, then lets up long enough to whip her corner to corner. Another handspring but Mickie dodges and boots Dana down! Asuka coaches Dana up but has to stay back. Mickie stomps and kicks Dana more, toying with her even. She brings Dana up, fans keep cheering for Asuka, and Dana scoop slams Mickie down! Dana runs, but handsprings onto knees! Mickie poses and embraces the heat while we go to break.

Raw returns once more to Mickie holding Dana down in a chinlock. Asuka rallies the fans and Dana feeds off their energy to bump her way out of the hold. She runs but Mickie yanks her down by her hair! Mickie puts Dana back in the hold, Dana endures. Dana sits up, the fans rally but Mickie thrashes. Dana still stands up and fights out, then runs, but into the kitchen sink knee! Mickie drags Dana over, tags Alexa, and Mickie whips Alexa in for the slap! Alexa toys with Dana, kicking her while she’s down, then stomping skateboard style. Cover, TWO, but Alexa keeps on Dana with another chinlock. Dana continues to endure, Asuka still rallying for her. Dana fights up and out again, but Alexa knees back. Alexa wants a tag, but Dana suplexes her!

Both women are down, crawling for their corners. Hot tags to Mickie and Asuka! The Empress rallies with a flurry of strikes. Mickie runs, but into the pop-up knee! Asuka unleashes kick after kick, then runs to hip attack Alexa down! Mickie bails out but Asuka goes after her with an apron sliding kick!

Asuka curses her out in Japanese, then puts Mickie back in the ring. Mickie hits the Mick Kick! Cover, TWO! Another, ONE, and Mickie throws frustrated hands. Mickie calms down to climb up top, but Asuka gets under her to put on the Asuka Lock! Mickie is trapped, reaching for ropes, but she taps! Asuka & Dana win!

Winners: Dana & Asuka, Asuka by submission

But Alexa pounces! She and Mickie won’t let her get out of this unharmed. Dana returns but she’s only caught in a 2-on-1 DDT!

But then NIA appears! The Brutal Beauty runs to the ring, Alexa runs away but gets caught! Mickie saves Alexa again, but Nia just throws her off with one arm, to squash her in a corner. Then fireman’s carry, Samoan Drop! Nia put down Alexa’s newest bestie, will she crush Alexa once and for all at Wrestlemania?

 

Kurt Angle finds Heyman & Lesnar backstage.

Where are they going? To the ring, obviously. Heyman will be positive about Roman Reigns. The Beast and his Advocate continue on their way out, will this last Raw before ‘Mania finish with fury?

 

Paul Heyman & Brock Lesnar head to the ring!

Atlanta becomes Suplex City as they walk out, but other WWE superstars are used to form a barrier between the ring and the ramp. Heyman begins with introductions, but that extra security is a bit distracting.

Just because Angle got emasculated when he failed to help Ronda Rousey, this is clearly overcompensation. He thinks he has control over Roman Reigns? The only one with control is the “reigning, defending, undisputed” Universal Champion, BROCK LESNAR! “It’s true, it’s damn true.” And Heyman hereby promises to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” And the truth is, the last time Wrestlemania was in New Orleans, Heyman gave us a promise that Lesnar would break Undertaker’s Streak. Fans booed then, they boo now, but it wasn’t a promise, it was a spoiler alert. It happened, and Lesnar & Heyman laughed at the doubters.

And Wrestlemania, back in New Orleans, “the only two beings that hold a Wrestlemania victory over the Undertaker” collide for the title. Everyone acts like Roman is fated to dethrone Lesnar this year as if that’s the spoiler. To tell the truth, you should respect Roman’s talent, his family bloodline, his victories and his “badassery”, but the truth is, Wrestlemania Sunday, 4/8/18, in New Orleans, Lesnar will F5 Roman and pin him in the ring “1-2-3”. That’s not a promise or a prediction, that’s a spoiler. Heyman says an unfortunate truth that accidents happen. If Lesnar were to injure himself hurting someone else, then this will be the last time you see Lesnar on Raw. Heyman will save the good-byes for later, but he’ll dispel something “out of character” for Lesnar. Lesnar’s persona built since 2002, his dominance and lack of respect, is all true!

If anything, his persona is held back, because Lesnar feels no one anywhere is worth even holding his jockstrap. No one has the money or the power to hold Lesnar anywhere. Roman’s only choice is to accept defeat, because he has no other option! “So here’s how it goes.” Roman wants a victory party? No, he’ll go home to his wife and kids and fathers, uncles and cousins and admit he got beat, victimized and conquered by BROCK LESNAR. The truth is, Roman isn’t a Big Dog and this isn’t his Yard, he’s just another notch on the belt. That is to say, “you’re just Brock Lesnar’s b*tch.” But Roman Reigns appears!

Roman walks up to the wall of Raw superstars, but they won’t let him go. They’re full-timers, standing up for the part-time “bastard”? Just think about it guys. They do think about it, and even discuss it. From The Bar to Titus Worldwide to the Revival, they stand aside.

Roman walks right down the ramp, and Lesnar dares him to do something. Lesnar wants Roman to think about this real hard, but fans are actually on Roman’s side. Roman walks up the steel steps, and gets in the ring. Lesnar puts the belt down, and the two circle. The tension mounts, but Lesnar slips out of the ring, retrieving his belt in the process. Lesnar and Heyman saunter around the ring, Roman keeping his eyes on them. That gets Lesnar to get a chair, just like last week. Lesnar brings that chair in with him, but Roman doesn’t flinch.

The two circle again, Heyman saying Lesnar should “Victimize him!” but SUPERMAN PUNCH! And another! And another! Roman reloads while Lesnar flounders, a FOURTH Superman Punch! Lesnar slowly stirs, going for the chair again, SUPERMAN PUNCH Number Five!

Roman picks up the belt, and holds it up over The Beast. Fans duel while Roman stares up at the sign, but then Lesnar revives to F5 Roman!!

The Beast gets his belt back as he exits the ring. Lesnar survives five Superman Punches tonight while Roman manages to move after one F5. What will it take for one of these men to decisively defeat the other and be Universal Champion?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Tonight’s Raw is not how a Wrestlemania Go-Home Raw should go. The first hour was the peak and then it dropped off a cliff somewhere. The opening face-off for the Mixed Tag match was really good, Ronda came off much more comfortable talking trash with Steph. The Authority standing tall just seemed like 50-50 booking to try and keep everyone even until the match. We know Ronda wins, obviously. Bayley VS Sonya was good, and there was good character stuff with Bayley, Sasha and Absolution to center Bayley VS Sasha as the story of the Women’s Battle Royal. Finn VS Rollins 3 was Match of the Night, by a long shot. Miz watching and being an almost Face made it even more fun for the TV audience, this is definitely going to be a showstealer regardless of who wins.

The Tag Team Championship segment was ridiculous, both in a good and in a bad way. Braun’s brother “Brain”, great little pun but it’s just foolish for Strowman to play jokes when he doesn’t have to. Him throwing Hawkins through a wall was great, though. But then to follow this up with only part of Hardy VS Goldust, Alexa doubling down on being WWE’s Goddess of Mean Girls, and then Cena NOT getting Taker just killed the energy of the night. Cena did great as always, and then set up for American Badass Taker by saying “dead man walking,” as that was one of Taker’s other themes during that phase, but it was just a string of disappointments. Elias also winning a quick filler match didn’t do much for anyone, other than make it seem even more like he’s Strowman’s partner (to my personal dismay).

It felt like things picked up in the third, but that was too late. Nia’s interview and her victim angle can go either way. Yes, she seems emotionally weak by letting things get to her like they did, but at the same time, she’s becoming the Face that represents any and everyone who has ever been bullied just on looks. The Women’s Tag was a good segue, and of course Asuka wins to keep her Streak. Nia gets another triumphant moment running Alexa off, so I’d hope Nia goes over, a “You Deserve It!” chant would really fit her crowning moment. The closing was rather good, too, all things considered. Heyman has another great promo, Roman gets the locker room and some fans on his side, but Lesnar keeps up being the dominant Heel. This ending was far better than the infamous tug-o-war over the belt, so give it that.

My Score: 7.5/10


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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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