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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 NXT Report! (4/25/18)

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Johnny Wrestling called out the NXT Champion, and the NXT Champion replied. Tonight, Johnny Gargano’s first match back is for the championship! Will he finally achieve his dream? Or will Aleister make Gargano #FadeToBlack? Plus, Adam Cole defends his North American Championship for the first time against Oney Lorcan!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • NXT North American Championship: Adam Cole VS Oney Lorcan; Cole wins and retains the North American Championship.
  • Heavy Machinery VS Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss; Heavy Machinery wins.
  • NXT Championship: Aleister Black VS Johnny Gargano; no contest.
  • Aleister Black VS Eric Young w/ SAnitY; Aleister wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Undisputed Era is here!

The NXT Tag Team Champions, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong–who stands in for the injured Bobby Fish–and the inaugural NXT North American Champion, Adam Cole BAYBAY are back at Full Sail. If they weren’t cocky before, they are now that they’re one man and one title stronger. Cole takes to the mic while fans chant “Undisputed! Undisputed!” They relish in this moment, and all this gold. “This is exactly what happens when you back the Undisputed Era into a corner.” Since first coming here, the Undisputed Era has been held back by NXT to prevent something like this from happening, and yet here we are. Fish speaks, saying “It’s no secret.” WarGames threw them to the wolves, and New Orleans tried the same. “But what you fail to realize” is that the Undisputed Era has been one step ahead. Look no further than these four “dripping in NXT championship gold.”

Strong speaks and fans cheer. He knows everyone wants to know “Why, Roddy, Why?” Strong isn’t the kind to pat himself on the back, that’s what his friends are for. For once, Strong did something for himself. He made the best decision of his career! Sure he could’ve won the titles with Pete Dunne, but Dunne would’ve turned on Strong in the end. Dunne only cares about the WWE UK Championship. But not the Undisputed Era. They take bullets for each other, and in that triple threat tag, Strong had an epiphany: Roddy VS The World, but why fight alone? Now they fight together to take over NXT! Kyle speaks, “We are done being backed into a corner.” It doesn’t matter what management tries, they can’t be stopped! “This is the Era of the Undisputed”, and they’re leaving everyone else in the dust.

Cole speaks again to say they’ll all prove it. Cole will defend his title tonight against Oney Lorcan, “right freakin’ now.” And on his own! He won this title on his own, so he’ll defend it that way. Just like his NXT Tag Team Champions. Honestly, he doesn’t need help beating Lorcan. Cole asks the others to find a seat and a drink to watch Cole at work. Their time is now, they will forever #ShockTheSystem! Cole is confident as ever, but will it cost him against the Boston Brawler in a matter of minutes?

 

NXT North American Championship: Adam Cole VS Oney Lorcan!

While the inaugural champion has confidence to spare, the #Starkiller never backs down from a fight! Can Lorcan shock Cole by taking that belt from him in his first title defense?

Fans duel between Cole and Lorcan. The bell rings and the two circle. Cole’s ribs are still heavily taped from TakeOver: New Orleans. He ties up with Lorcan, and moves to an arm wrench. Fans sing for “Oney~ Oney Oney Oney~” while he reverses and gets the waistlock. Cole hurries to ropes, and Lorcan lets go, so Cole kicks him low and puts him in a headlock. Lorcan powers out but Cole shoulders him down. The ribs slow Cole down but he still runs. Things speed up and Lorcan catches Cole into an abdominal stretch. Cole gets another ropebreak, then gets out of the ring. Fans applaud while Cole walks it off. The ref begins a count and Lorcan waits. Cole rolls into the ring, only to roll right back out.

Lorcan pursues him this time, and sees Cole’s ambush coming. Lorcan shoulders into Cole’s bad ribs, then drags Cole over. He wants to suplex Cole out but Cole resists for good reason. Cole enziguris Lorcan down! Lorcan gets to a corner, and Cole stomps a mudhole into him. Cole backs off at the ref’s count of 3, but Lorcan is still swinging. Cole kicks him down then hammers away. Fans cheer and jeer while Cole snapmares Lorcan. Cole digs his knee into Lorcan’s back while putting on a chinlock. Fans rally and Lorcan feeds off that energy. Lorcan works his way up and out, hitting those bad ribs with body shots. Cole still gets Lorcan up in a fireman’s carry, and hits the ushigoroshi!

Cole doesn’t cover, his ribs bother him too much. He instead catches his breath in a corner while fans cheer hm on. Lorcan stirs and Cole comes back. Lorcan throws body shots, Cole hits back, but Lorcan stands up to give European Uppercuts and chops. He whips Cole to the ropes and catches those bad ribs with a kitchen sink knee. Cole collapses but Lorcan fires up. Lorcan runs for a big EuroUpper, then the running Blockbuster!

Cover, TWO! But Lorcan fires up more while Cole gasps for air. Fans duel while Cole gets to ropes. Lorcan comes up behind and puts him in the waistlock, but Cole holds the ropes. Cole standind switches and shoves Lorcan, but Lorcan comes back with a EuroUpper on the rebound! He keeps going, but Cole is ready with the bicycle boot. Cole then goes to suplex Lorcan, but Lorcan suplexes him first, and hangs him up on the ropes. Cole tumbles to the floor, and fans rally for him. Lorcan climbs up and takes aim, but Kyle returns, a medic in tow!

Strong is also there, and Kyle throws up the X. With the referee focused on Cole and Kyle, Strong drags Lorcan out of the ring, for an apron back suplex!

He puts Lorcan in the ring, then “checks” on Cole, who is now “okay.” Cole sees Lorcan is vulnerable, Last Shot shining wizard!

Cover, Cole wins!

Winner: Cole, by pinfall; still North American Champion

So much for not needing the Undisputed Era’s help in retaining. Cole clutches his title, while Strong and Kyle stomp Lorcan out! The referee rings the bell more and more, but that doesn’t stop them from beating down poor Lorcan. But Danny Burch comes out to rescue his tag team partner!

Burch throws hands on Strong and O’Reilly, and even headbutts. But one SUPERKICK from Cole stops that! He then has Strong and O’Reilly finish off Lorcan and Burch, Strong gives Lorcan the knee strike while Kyle gives Burch the Ax ‘n’ Smash! Fans are a mix of cheers and jeers, but the Undisputed Era only care about having the titles. Will anyone be able to stop them from taking over all of NXT?

 

Heavy Machinery VS Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss!

Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic were having their tiebreaker tag team match with the Blue Chip Boys a few weeks ago, up until NXT’s newest tag team, The War Raiders, ran all four of these men over. The rubber is given a second chance, can one of these teams finally settle the score?

Tucker starts against Moss at the bell. They tie up, Tucker gets a headlock but Moss powers out. Tucker runs Moss over with a shoulder, Tino comes but Tucker ducks under for Otis to bulldoze Tino down. Tino and Moss both swing on Otis and Tucker, but Heavy Machinery ducks to then run them over with shoulders in stereo! Heavy Machinery flexes but the Blue Chip Boys make this a brawl. Otis throws Tino out while Tucker knees Moss. Tucker whips Moss and throws him with a back drop! He scoops Moss and tags in Otis, and Otis runs to the ropes. Tino returns with a leaping crossbody, but Otis catches him with ease! Tucker and Otis then ram Moss and Tino back against back, then stand on them while posing.

The referee counts, and they step off while the fans chant “Steaks and Weights! Steaks and Weights!” Tucker goes back to the corner while Otis ducks Moss’ forearm to give forearms of his own. Otis whips Moss but Moss holds ropes to club Otis. It only riles Otis up, and Otis throws haymakers. Tino returns only to get punched down, but Moss lifts Otis for a big back suplex! Moss glares at Otis as he throws right hands of his own. The referee warns Moss, but Moss brings Otis up. Tino tags in and Moss whips him in for the big forearm smash. Moss adds the shoulder tackle, Tino covers, TWO. Fans chant “Tino Sucks! Tino Sucks!” but Tino brushes it off to throw body shots on Otis.

Tag to Moss for another whip, but Otis puts Tino on the apron. Otis side steps Moss, so that shoulder tackle sends Tino flying into barriers! Otis tags in Tucker and Tucker rallies on Moss. Tucker even hits Moss with a dropkick! Tucker throws hands then whips Moss to a corner, only to run into Moss’ boot. Moss crawls towards Tino, but Tino leaves Moss high and dry!?

Moss can’t believe Tino is ditching him! But Tucker still hits Moss with a corner splash and trapped arm overhead suplex. Tucker gives Moss another corner splash and Otis tags in. Otis picks up Moss and Tucker runs, for the Compacter!

Cover, Heavy Machinery wins!

Winners: Heavy Machinery (Tucker & Otis), Otis pinning

One way or another, this rivalry ends. Tino dumped Moss but Heavy Machinery crushed him. Will this lead to big things for the big powerhouse duo? And will Moss get payback on the selfish Sabbatelli?

Heavy Machinery speaks.

Tucker calls out the War Raiders! “You think you can attack us from behind and make a name for yourselves?” Heavy Machinery is going to raid every buffet to take all the steaks, and raid all the gyms to lift all the weights. Fans agree, chanting “Steaks and Weights!” But Tucker & Otis want to know if War Raiders are man enough to stand face to face with them. Heavy Machinery is coming for war! Will Hanson & Rowe be ready to wage war with these bulldozers?

 

The Queen of Spades reigns with an iron fist.

The problem is, it only means the rest of the NXT Women’s Division looks to rebel against her. SAnitY’s Nikki Cross still wants the NXT Women’s Championship by any means necessary, while Aliyah has nothing nice to say about Shayna Baszler. If only she had a famous friend to ride the coattails of. The Pirate Princess is even with Shayna at 1-1, which means she knows the key to defeating. “It’s a secret.”

Dakota Kai is interviewed in regards to Shayna Baszler.

The Captain of Team Kick already knows how cruel Shayna can be, given her arm injury. And when it comes to the most recent incident involving the sadistic submission sorceress, Dakota does not feel comfortable talking about it. She’d rather just forget about it. And to make matters worse, Bully Baszler walks in.

The NXT Women’s Champion dares Dakota to look her in the eye. And when Dakota does, Baszler mocks Dakota’s sacrifices to live the dream. Because the reality is, a women’s division run by Shayna is Dakota’s nightmare. Baszler leaves, and Dakota is still shaken. Can Dakota, or anyone, work up the courage to put Shayna in her place?

 

Three more women of NXT speak up against Shayna Baszler.

Lacey Evans has been through worse than “a bully with a bad attitude.” She vows to be the legitimate role model that is the face of NXT. Vanessa Borne thinks she can beat Shayna, and when she gets the chance, she’ll get the title. Mrs. Wrestling, Candice LeRae, has what Shayna doesn’t have: heart. Shayna may have counters for submissions, but she doesn’t have a counter for Candice. Who will be the first woman to go toe to toe with the Queen of Spades for the title?

 

NXT Championship: Aleister Black VS Johnny Gargano!

The saying goes, “Ask and you shall receive.” Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling asked for another chance at the title, and the Dutch Destroyer honored his request. At the same time, Gargano is the only man to pin Aleister, albeit in a Fatal 4 Way. Can Gargano do the same now that it’s 1v1? Or will he simply #FadeToBlack?

But before the champion appears, the Psycho Killer does! And he ambushes Gargano all over again!

Tommaso Ciampa hammers away on Gargano at the ramp! He won’t let go of the grudge between him and his former friend! He drags Gargano from the ramp and throws him into the announce desk! Mauro, Percy and Nigel clear out as Ciampa storms over. Ciampa clears the top of the desk, then drags Gargano atop it. He clubs away on Gargano before climbing up to join him. He drags Gargano up, and shouts, “You think I’m done?!” Ciampa vows Gargano will never be rid of him! Ciampa lifts Gargano, preparing a reverse neckbreaker, but Gargano fights out! Gargano fights back, and SUPERKICKS Ciampa! Ciampa sits down, then hurries away from the desk. But that doesn’t stop Gargano, he LEAPS at Ciampa!

Gargano topples Ciampa and then hammers away with both hands. Fans cheer for “Johnny Wrestling!” as he bounces Ciampa’s head off the ramp. Ciampa shoves Gargano away but Gargano rushes right back. Gargano throws more haymakers on Ciampa, but Ciampa stops him with a low blow kick! Ciampa checks his eye while Gargano gasps for air. Ciampa shoves Gargano away, but the fans troll Ciampa with “You Tapped Out! You Tapped Out!” He doesn’t care, he has Gargano vulnerable on stage. Ciampa takes aim, and uses the Psycho Knee to ram Gargano’s head into the LED wall!

Referees check on Gargano while telling Ciampa to leave. Ciampa takes his time standing up, and walks towards the back, only to go back for more! He drags Gargano up, and jumps off the stage with an Air Raid!!

Both Ciampa and Gargano crash into the spare tables on the side, covered in spare production equipment! Ciampa doesn’t care that his head hurts, so long as as he leaves Gargano in the wreckage. He finally leaves Gargano, and Candice comes out to check on her husband. Referees call for medics while Ciampa stares down from the stage. Fans boo and jeer the Psycho Killer while medics carefully pull Gargano from the debris. They also chant “Johnny Wrestling!” in support, but the damage is done. Gargano groans in pain while the medics swiftly but carefully put him on the backboard. Candice is there to comfort and calm Gargano while the medics put the neck brace on him. They strap Gargano into the board and bring the stretcher over.

The medics carefully lift Gargano up and set him on, fans applauding the fact Gargano is still conscious and breathing. Candice holds Gargano’s hand while the stretcher is wheeled to the back. They make it backstage and Candice tells Gargano to relax. Gargano won’t stop fidgeting as he passes by the other NXT superstars. Kassius Ohno also assures Gargano he’ll be okay as the stretcher is turned around to go head first. Aleister Black watches the stretcher be loaded into the ambulance.

Candice rides with Gargano in the back. The ambulance pulls out of Full Sail, and Ciampa, atop a production truck, waves good-bye. Has the Psycho Killer finally gotten rid of Gargano for good?

Aleister Black still goes to the ring.

The Embodiment of the End won’t be having an NXT Championship match with Johnny Wrestling tonight, but he grabs a mic to speak. “Tommaso Ciampa, by eliminating my competition–” But wait! The champion is interrupted by SAnitY!

Eric Young leads Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain down to the ring, where they flank Aleister on two sides. Eric speaks, saying that “Johnny Gargano provided hope. Chaos took away that hope tonight.” And out of the chaos, SAnitY will find greatness. So then SAnitY is looking for the title? Yes? “Then let’s do this!” Fans like the sound of that!

Aleister Black VS Eric Young w/ SAnitY!

The bell rings and this is official, but not for the title. Will the erratic Eric capitalize on a chaotic situation? Or will Aleister take his frustrations towards Ciampa out on him?

Aleister and Eric circle, then tie up. Eric wrenches the arm and brings Aleister to his knees. Aleister rolls and reverses the wristlock, then ducks the clothesline to waistlock and roll Eric to the mat. Eric stands up and grabs ropes for the break. Eric muddies the break with a back elbow, then picks the leg to go after Aleister’s head and shoulder. Aleister reaches and flails while fans rally for him. Aleister stands up and rolls Eric, ONE, and Aleister runs, only to run into Eric’s back elbow! Eric covers, ONE, so he stomps and drops elbows on the champ. Cover again, TWO, but Eric runs, only to run into Aleister’s sleeper hold! Eric powers out and shoves Aleister, but Aleister stops his momentum to sweep Eric’s legs!

Eric rolls out of the ring but Aleister runs, only to springboard back for the cross leg landing. Fans applaud while Eric grins. SAnitY regroups, and a ring count begins. Eric returns to the ring, then suddenly kicks at Aleister, but Aleister leans back to kip-up! Aleister arm-drags Eric, then puts him in an armlock. Eric endures as Aleister pulls on the shoulder. Eric stands up and pushes Aleister to ropes to then ram in a shoulder and throw forearms. He lifts Aleister but Aleister slips, only for Eric to hit him with another back elbow. Eric throws a punch but Aleister traps that arm, to then ram in a knee into Eric’s ribs. Aleister gives more strikes, topping it off with the knee strike!

Fans applaud as Aleister hoists Eric to the top rope. Big Damo distracts the ref while Wolfe rushes Aleister, but Aleister elbows him away. However, this gives Eric the opening to grab Aleister for the hangman’s dragon sleeper!

The referee catches this, and Eric lets go at the count of 4. Eric then jumps to drop an ax handle on Aleister. Cover, TWO! Eric double ax handles away on Aleister then covers again, TWO! Fans rally for Aleister while Eric drags him up, for the stiff neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, and now Eric grows frustrated. He drags Aleister up for a chinbar, but fans build to a rally. Aleister fights up and out, but runs into a back drop! Cover, TWO, but Eric puts Aleister right into a chinlock clutch. He stretches Aleister back while he fans rally again. Aleister stands up again but Eric clubs him back down. Eric runs, but into Aleister’s boot! Aleister runs, Eric back drops him but Aleister sunset flips to a cover, TWO! Eric clobbers Aleister with a haymaker! But Aleister rebounds off the ropes for the bicycle knee!

Both men go down but the fans applaud. The fans build back to a rally while SAnitY is angry and concerned. Eric and Aleister stir as a ten count begins. It reaches 5 before either man stands. Eric walks over but Aleister fires off punches first. Aleister bobs and weaves, and counters with several kicks to then rally with elbows. Aleister sweeps the legs, runs to strike with another knee! The champion is all fired up, and runs corner to corner to hit Eric with a forearm smash. He whips Eric out and back into the corner, to then springboard for the Quebrada!

Cover, TWO! Aleister won’t slow down, though. He brings Eric up but Eric powers him to a corner. Eric runs back in but Aleister goes up and over, then runs to roll off Eric’s back. Aleister tilt-o-whirls to catch Eric in a combination crucifix-octopus stretch!

Eric endures the unique hold, and pops out to hoist Aleister up for a Death Valley Driver!

Cover, TWO! And Eric can’t believe it! He prepares his elbow and climbs up top. Aleister stirs, and revives to club Eric. Eric hits back but Aleister climbs up to brawl with him. Eric punches Aleister off, but Aleister ducks under the missile dropkick. Aleister then side steps Eric to send him into the corner, but Eric tumbles to the apron. Eric sees Aleister coming and shoulders back in. He then slides under and runs back over, into BLACK MASS!!

Cover, Aleister wins!

Winner: Aleister, by pinfall

But the flood gates open as Wolfe & Dain rush the ring! Aleister ducks Wolfe to give him Black Mass! Big Damo scoops Aleister, but Aleister slips out, for a third Black Mass! The Dutch Destroyer pulls off a hat trick to wreck the wild trio! It wasn’t the match he wanted, but Aleister still stands tall. Will Aleister get revenge on Ciampa for what he did to Gargano? Will Gargano be able to return to do it himself? Or will Mr. Blackheart leave them both down and out to finally have his moment?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A great episode of NXT and again, almost a full hour. The Undisputed Era gives a great opening promo, each of them on point with their lines. Oddly enough, Strong had a point about Pete Dunne tending to be a backstabber. That and his frustrations over losing seem to be why he turned. The swerve on Cole not wanting/needing help from the others was actually pretty smart, too. Cole knows his ribs are still banged up, and did look to be in trouble, so in kayfabe, Kyle and Strong were likely waiting for the first moment Cole ended up outside of the ring. Dunne returns next week to take on Strong as he promised, this could lead to another WWE UK Championship match to at least tease the possibility the Undisputed Era members all having titles.

The tiebreaker of Heavy Machinery VS Sabbatelli & Moss was pretty good as a match, and better as setting up story. Tucker & Otis want revenge on Hanson & Rowe, that’ll be a fun match with all four big men barreling into each other. Moss and Tino can themselves move into a program, and I’d imagine with Tino being the traitor (and with fans always chanting “Tino Sucks!”) Moss makes the turn to Face. Depending on who Moss becomes without Tino, he could rise up in the ranks and–after a lot of big names clear out–be a contender for the North American Championship.

The booking of the NXT Women’s Division has been brilliant. Shayna plays the bully so well, and even Dakota plays scared victim well. The promos from the other women were great, but honestly, of the six that spoke, only Nikki Cross or Kairi Sane have even been booked as challenges for Shayna. Candice LeRae is still new to being on NXT TV, so she can make a case for herself, but Lacey, Vanessa and Aliyah haven’t really gained much ground in the Division. Then the entire final segment was great, even with Ciampa demolishing Gargano. This extends their story probably to the next TakeOver, for an even more savage blow-off that brings them both to the main roster. Aleister gives SAnitY their good-bye moment, as well as a great match with Eric Young. Aleister VS Ciampa makes for a great feud while Gargano “recovers”, maybe even for the title.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Report! (4/24/18)

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Tonight, one man will earn the opportunity at Cedric Alexander’s Cruiserweight Championship in Saudi Arabia! But only by getting through a Gauntlet Match! Will it be a former champion like Kalisto or TJP, or a first-time hopeful like Drew Gulak, Tony Nese or Mustafa Ali that stands tall at the end?

 

All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contenders Gaunlet Match: Kalisto wins and will face Cedric Alexander for the Cruiserweight Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble.

PLAY BY PLAY

Drake Maverick outlines tonight’s Gauntlet Match.

Only five of the best superstars on the 205 Live roster will compete in “the most grueling” match for a chance at the Cruiserweight Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Drew Gulak vows to continue his quest for a #Better205Live. He will defeat any and all opponents and make them tap out. Tony Nese knows Gauntlets require stamina, which is perfect for the Premier Athlete. Kalisto says he’ll take that first step towards being a two-time champion! Inaugural champion TJP says he could “get up of the couch” and make the best tap out. No one will stop “The Best of All Time” from bringing the title back to where it all began. Mustafa Ali knows he was close to being Cruiserweight Champion at Wrestlemania. No matter the hand he’s dealt, he won’t fold. One of these five will survive the Gauntlet, who will meet Cedric Alexander in Saudi Arabia?

 

WWE Cruiserweight Championship #1 Contenders Gaunlet Match!

Buddy Murphy would have been #1 Contender already if not for both his sneak attack on the champion, and not making weight to be part of the Cruiserweight Division. However, his loss will be someone else’s gain. This Gauntlet is going to go all night, and by the end, we will have a challenger for Cedric Alexander! First up are…

Mustafa Ali! The Beacon of Light draws Number One but that doesn’t bother him. Ali will go for as long as it takes to earn another Cruiserweight Championship match.

His opponent will be… TJP! The “Cruiser-Great” and inaugural (New Era) Cruiserweight Champion is Number Two, is it already game over for Ali?

TJP already trash talks Ali as he makes his way into the ring. He clearly feels he should’ve just been made the #1 contender, but he doesn’t mind showing why he deserves that right. The bell rings and we begin.

Mustafa Ali VS TJP!

The two circle, then tie up. TJP puts Ali on the ropes but he honors the break with a dab. Ali doesn’t like the swagger, so he wrenches TJP’s arm. He wrenches and brings TJP down but TJP stands back up, to then roll and reverse to a drop toehold. TJP puts Ali in a facelock and loops an arm for the float over, TWO. Ali arm-drags TJP down to an armlock. TJP spins again to whip, but Ali wrenches TJP’s arm again. Ali puts TJP back in the armlock, but TJP pulls hair. He puts Ali in a corner then whips corner to corner, but Ali goes up and over. Ali handsprings back but only to run into TJP’s shoulder.

TJP runs and things speed up, TJP catches Ali into a dragon’s lair pin! ONE into Ali’s crucifix, ONE to TJP’s standard cover, ONE again. Ali sweeps TJP’s legs for another cover, ONE and TJP returns the favor. ONE as Ali bridges out and runs. He cartwheels over TJP, TJP sunset flips but Ali rolls through. TJP guards when Ali shows a punch, so Ali rolls behind him. TJP doesn’t know where Ali went, until Ali dropkicks him in the back! Fans applaud and Ali dabs to mock TJP. TJP gets mad and kicks, but Ali blocks to give a kick of his own! TJP falls out of the ring but hurries back in, only to run into Ali’s flapjack dropkick. This sends TJP back out, and he decides to stay out when he sees Ali ready to strike.

Fans boo and jeer while TJP catches his breath. The referee counts and Ali waits for TJP. Ali stops waiting and slips out to go after TJP. TJP slips back in but Ali grabs his foot. TJP uses that to hotshot Ali into the ropes! Then he wraps Ali up in a rope-assisted Octopus Stretch!

Ali shouts in pain while the referee counts. TJP lets go at 3, but then he hits Ali with a wrecking ball dropkick! Ali falls to the floor, but TJP drags him back up into the ring. Cover, TWO, but TJP keeps his cool. He brings Ali up while Dasha Fuentes interviews Cedric Alexander backstage.

She knows the Cruiserweight Champion is paying close attention to this Gauntlet match, because he’ll be defending his title against the winner this Friday. But is Buddy Murphy and that ambush of his still on Alexander’s mind? Alexander says Murphy made a statement with that attack, but he also made “the biggest mistake” when he couldn’t make weight. When Murphy does return, Alexander promises to make a statement of his own. But of course, Murphy’s loss makes for “a hell of an opportunity” for the five men in the Gauntlet. If the winner of this match brings their A Game at Greatest Royal Rumble, then Alexander has his work cut out for him. But this is the #AgeofAlexander, he’ll be ready.

While the interview happens, TJP puts Ali in a corner and grinds a boot into Ali’s throat. TJP backs off at the ref’s count, but toys with Ali. He snapmares Ali and hits the slingshot senton, then covers. ONE, but TJP keeps on Ali with a half-surfboard stretch. Ali endures while fans build to a rally. Ali stands up and works to turn TJP, but TJP turns Ali back to bring him to his knees. TJP shifts from surfboard to straitjacket, and bends Ali all the way back against his knees. Ali endures while fans rally again, and rolls over to make it a double wristlock cover. TWO, and TJP yanks Ali into the ropes! Ali snaps back into TJP’s Russian leg sweep and prawn hold cover. TWO, but TJP turns that into a Koji clutch!

Ali endures again while fans rally. He rolls TJP as best he can, but TJP breaks the hold. Ali hits back, giving TJP both an overhand and backhand chop. TJP hits back with a spinning back kick, then whips Ali into a corner. Ali goes up and over then runs, throwing TJP with a headscissors. Ali rallies on TJP, whips but TJP reverses to send him into a corner. TJP runs in but Ali slips out to the apron, and he hits back with a roundhouse. TJP staggers while fans fire up. Ali slingshots in, somersault facebuster! Cover, TWO!

Ali keeps his cool, and stands up over TJP. He brings TJP up for a suplex but TJP slips out. TJP shoves Ali to a corner and Ali bounces off buckles. Ali staggers back into TJP’s double chickenwing, but Ali reverses the Dodon Buster into a victory roll! TWO, and TJP gets to a corner. TJP goes up and over but Ali side steps, only to run into TJP’s back elbow. TJP hops up but Ali rocks him with a palm strike. Ali climbs up to join TJP, but TJP pushes him away! Ali lands on his feet, but TJP’s missile dropkick goes after the knee, flipping Ali onto his back. TJP grabs Ali for the Kneebar!

TJP gets the grapevine! Ali endures while fans rally. He reaches for the ropes as he shouts in pain. He drags himself and TJP over and gets the ropebreak. Fans cheer the heart of the Heart of 205 Live, but TJP holds on until 4 in the count. TJP grabs Ali’s leg but Ali holds onto the ropes, even as Ali stands back up. TJP yanks Ali off the ropes but Ali fights back with haymakers, so TJP carries Ali into a corner! Ali clubs TJP to get him off his leg, and TJP staggers away. TJP runs in and blocks Ali’s boot to go back after the bad leg, but Ali shoves him away with the good leg. Ali hops up and launches himself for a flying tornado DDT! Fans applaud while Ali crawls over. He positions TJP then climbs up top, for the 0-5-4!

It hits, Ali covers, he eliminates TJP!

Elimination: TJP

The “Cruiser-Great” is done for the night, but this was just the beginning for the Beacon of Light. Ali has only minutes to rest before his next opponent comes out. Number Three into the Gauntlet is… A familiar foe, in Drew Gulak!

Mustafa Ali VS Drew Gulak!

Ali knows all too well how Gulak loves to torture an opponent’s joints and his knee is an easy target. Will the self-proclaimed BEST submission specialist in all of the WWE grind Ali into dust?

Gulak taunts Ali as he hobbles around, cornering Ali as he goes for the leg. Ali dodges and rolls Gulak up, TWO, but Ali keeps on Gulak with clubbing forearms. Gulak powers Ali up and throws him legs first at the ropes! Ali rolls out of the ring, clutching his bad leg. Gulak won’t give him time to recover as he goes out to fetch him, but he still walks into Ali’s drop toehold! Gulak hits the ground and both men are down as the referee counts. Ali manages to stand up and put Gulak back in the ring. He climbs up but Gulak goes to intercept, onto to get punched away. Ali leaps for the crossbody! But Gulak rolls through to a Half Crab! He works to turn Ali but Ali pushes him away.

Gulak runs back but into a small package, TWO, and Gulak clobbers Ali with a clothesline! Cover, TWO, but Gulak grins as he looms over the exhausted Ali. Gulak drags Ali around by that bad leg, and stomps it every so often. Ali writhes in pain, but Gulak keeps going as he puts Ali’s leg on the rope and stands on it. Gulak’s weight bends that knee a bad way, and even tortures the ankle. We go picture in picture for a Greatest Royal Rumble plug while Gulak drags Ali up for a chop. Ali falls back, Gulak sits him up and pulls on that bad leg. Gulak grinds a forearm into Ali’s face while stretching that leg all the way back.

Ali endures, and reaches up to claw at Gulak’s face. Ali pops out of the hold and fights back with body shots. Gulak chops back, then shoves Ali to flapjack him on the rebound. Ali’s leg takes part of the hit, Gulak covers, TWO. Gulak stays on that leg with the knee wrench. He shouts for Ali to give up, then drops an elbow before he grapevines the knee wrench. Gulak digs his elbow into Ali’s knee while he again shouts for Ali to give up. Ali endures the pain while keeping this from becoming a cover. The fans rally, and Ali fights back with haymakers. Gulak keeps on the knee but Ali clubs away, so Gulak shifts to stomping that leg. Gulak then dragon screws the leg, and Ali writhes again. Cover, TWO, but Gulak keeps his cool.

Gulak drags Ali up but Ali hits back with body shots and forearms. Ali gives more forearms, but Gulak scoops him. Ali slips out and shoves Gulak to ropes, but Gulak catches Ali’s huricanrana and turns it into a Half Crab! Gulak drags Ali away from the ropes, so Ali is stranded as he endures the pain. Ali manages to roll but Gulak rolls him back. Ali stands up and enziguris Gulak down! Fans rally while Ali gets to a corner. Ali drags himself up with the ropes, Gulak runs in, but Ali slips out and roundhouse kicks him away. Fans fire up and Ali rolls in, but Gulak counters the facebuster into a powerbomb! Matchbox cover, TWO, but Gulak puts the Half Crab back on. Ali endures the pain all over again as Gulak sits all the way down. Gulak tortures Ali by adding in an armlock!

This crab is part Bow ‘n’ Arrow, but Ali does not give up. Fans rally and Ali fights for the ropes. He reaches, and gets the break! Gulak lets go while the fans applaud, he’s growing frustrated. But Gulak keeps on Ali, dragging him up again to bounce him off buckles. Gulak asks Ali if he’s “had enough”, but when Ali doesn’t answer, he bounces Ali off more buckles. Gulak knows Ali likes flying, so he puts Ali on the top rope. He uses the top rope to wrench that bad knee, but Ali ear-claps Gulak back! Ali adjusts while Gulak steadies himself. Ali bumps Gulak off buckles now, then drags him back up for a hangman’s half crab!

Gulak gets a taste of his own medicine, but lets go at the ref’s count of 4. Gulak tumbles out of the ring and to the floor. Ali adjusts, but Gulak is upon him already. Ali punches Gulak back down to then FLY!

Down goes Gulak! Fans chant for Ali while he clutches his leg. Ali drags Gulak up and into the ring, but Gulak is ready, he chop blocks the leg out! Ali collapses, and Gulak drags him back up for the dragon sleeper, but Ali slips around to roll Gulak! TWO, but Ali uses the momentum to hop up and jump back for another flying tornado DDT! Gulak flounders into a drop zone, and Ali hurries back up top. That bad leg slows him down, and then it gives out. Ali still tries, but Gulak springs up to shove Ali off! Ali hits the steel steps on the way down!

The referee checks on Ali, but he is out. Gulak doesn’t care, he drags Ali up and into the ring. He doesn’t go for a cover, either, but for the GuLOCK!

The referee has no choice, he has to call it. Gulak eliminates an unconscious Ali.

Elimination: Mustafa Ali

Fans boo and jeer but Gulak wants his hand raised in victory. He hasn’t won the Gauntlet yet, but he does have some revenge, because he eliminated the man who eliminated him in the Cruiserweight Championship Tournament. However, Number Four in the Gauntlet is… TONY NESE!

Drew Gulak VS Tony Nese!

The Premier Athlete skips the self-indulging and storms his way right down to the ring. Gulak got his payback, can Nese get his?

Gulak rushes Nese the second he’s in the ring but Nese is ready! Nese takes Gulak down and hammers away with left hands! Gulak gets away but only for a moment as Nese drags him back in and stomps him out. Nese doesn’t let up, he drags Gulak up and puts him in a corner for body shots. Nese whips corner to corner and then back drops Gulak! The Premier Athlete fires up and stomps Gulak more. He drags Gulak up but Gulak hits back with body shots and chops of his own. Gulak swings but Nese handsprings to evade, then mule kicks Gulak. Nese hits a knee lift to roundhouse to leg sweep, but Gulak rolls out of the ring. That doesn’t stop Nese, Nese runs and FLIES!

Down goes Gulak again, and the fans fire up with Nese. Nese says Gulak wanted this, then he throws Gulak into barriers. He drags Gulak back up and throws him into more barriers. Nese resets the ring count, then fetches Gulak. He puts Gulak against the apron to give him a sharp chop. Nese gives Gulak more chops as he says Gulak started this when he turned on Nese months ago. Nese then takes aim, and throws Gulak over the announce table, right into Vic’s chair. Fans want “One More Time!” Nese resets the count first, then drags Gulak up to his feet. Nese backs up, and throws Gulak into the side of the announce desk now.

Fans still want more, but the referee insists they bring this back to the ring. Nese obeys, and puts Gulak in the ring. He drags Gulak up, daring him to keep fighting. Gulak hits back, so Nese runs him over! Nese stomps Gulak more, roaring with rage. He drags Gulak up, but Gulak throws Nese out to the apron. Nese wobbles, but he avoids Gulak to kick him back. Gulak falls down and Nese goes to a corner, and he springboards for the triangle moonsault! Gulak gets out of the ring but Nese lands on his feet, to then slide out and rock Gulak with a roaring left forearm! Fans fire up for Nese as he drags Gulak up and into the ring again.

Nese toys with Gulak a bit, then sits him up in the corner. While Nese says Gulak isn’t on Nese’s level, Gulak grabs Nese’s beard! Nese stomps a mudhole into Gulak in return, then runs for the Premier Kneese!

Nese drags Gulak out of the corner, but that’s not enough for Nese. He puts Gulak back in the corner, and brings down the knee pad. Nese says Gulak deserves this, then he runs, but Gulak evades! No second Premier Kneese, but there is a second GuLOCK!

Gulak has Nese trapped! Nese flails, then taps!

Elimination: Tony Nese

Gulak lets him go, and Nese shouts in frustration. Nese’s thirst for vengeance got the better of him, and now he’s out of the Gauntlet match! The fans rub it in by chanting “You Tapped Out!” as he makes his exit. But now we know who is the last man into the Gauntlet: KALISTO!

Drew Gulak VS Kalisto!

The Lucha Dragon is a former Cruiserweight Champion, and is in the best position to win. Will he keep his focus and bring the #LuchaHouseParty to Saudi Arabia?

Kalisto rushes the ring but Gulak slips out. Gulak rests against the announce desk, but Kalisto wants to get going. The fans chant “Lucha! Lucha!” with Kalisto while Gulak clears his head. Kalisto dares Gulak to get back in, and Gulak does, at his own pace. Kalisto rushes him again, and Gulak slips out of the ring again. Gulak walks around the ring while the referee keeps Kalisto in it. Gulak lets the ring count climb to 6 while he recovers. He returns at 7, but then slips back out the second Kalisto runs at him. Fans boo and jeer but Gulak doesn’t care. Gulak slides in but then back out, continuing to frustrate Kalisto.

Gulak returns this time, and now he rushes Kalisto, but Kalisto’s ready with a dropkick! Kalisto follows Gulak out this time to keep the fight going. He Listo kicks Gulak against the barriers! Fans echo “Lucha! Lucha!” while Kalisto stands Gulak up for another Listo kick. Kalisto reenters the ring then dropkicks Gulak back down, then builds speed to DIVE! But Gulak turns it into a slam!

Kalisto crashes and burns into barriers while Gulak gets away. Gulak rests against the LED apron while the referee checks on Kalisto. Kalisto is okay to continue, so a new ring count begins. Gulak leaves Kalisto to the mercy of the count while Dasha Fuentes interviews Tony Nese.

The Premier Athlete is clearly furious, how does he rebound from this? He has no words, and simply leaves, seething. Meanwhile, the count climbs, and Kalisto finally stirs. Kalisto beats the count at 9.5! Gulak keeps on him with elbows to the head, and he even rips the tail of Kalisto’s mask. Gulak stomps on Kalisto, showing neither respect nor mercy to the luchador. He rakes at the mask’s eyes, then puts Kalisto in the dragon sleeper. Kalisto slips out and gets to the ropes for safety. Gulak stalks Kalisto, then drags him up again. Gulak snap suplexes Kalisto, covers, TWO. But Gulak isn’t frustrated, he just grins and laughs it off. He stomps Kalisto and then clubs away with crossface forearms. He forces Kalisto down to a cover, ONE, so Gulak puts a chinlock on.

Kalisto endures, and fans rally with “Lucha! Lucha!” chants. Kalisto fights up and out with body shots, but Gulak knees low. Gulak walks into Kalisto’s boot, then Kalisto spins things around to headscissor throw Gulak down. Gulak gets to a corner then side steps, but Kalisto responds with a SUPERKICK! Kalisto hops up for a tornado DDT, but Gulak blocks that to hang Kalisto up on the ropes. Kalisto bounces off and down, and Gulak gets a third GuLOCK!

Kailsto flails and reaches with his legs, so Gulak drags him up. Gulak lifts Kalisto, but can’t get Kalisto up. He keeps trying, but Kalisto uses that to sling Gulak forward into buckles! Gulak is dazed, Kalisto stands up, and hits the Salida Del Sol!

Cover, Kalisto wins!!

Winner: Kalisto, by pinfall

The Lucha Dragon wins the Gauntlet! He will face Cedric Alexander at the Greatest Royal Rumble for the Cruiserweight Championship! And to join in on the celebration, it’s the rest of Lucha House Party, Lince Dorado & Gran Metalik.

And speaking of the Cruiserweight Champion, Cedric Alexander is still here, and he makes his way out on stage.

The Soul of 205 Live applauds for Kalisto, but he signals that he won’t give the belt up so easily. Lucha House Party is confident their leader will bring the Cruiserweight Championship back from Saudi Arabia, will the #AgeOfAlexander end already?

 


 

My Thoughts:

An incredible night of action, and it was all in one match! The Cruiserweight Division has been on a hot streak ever since January and there’s no signs of slowing down. Just about everything in this was spot on, especially with the action. Ali and TJP starting was a great combination, and with Ali going over, it makes you think he might pull off the miracle of lasting the entire night. However, it feeds his title chase story to go down in the second round. Gulak really builds his aggressive Heel points with going for submission over pin. It also perfectly works towards story that Nese only fails because he wanted to punish Gulak over beat him.

For a moment, I thought Gulak would win it all, but eliminating three men would be too much too soon for him. But since Nese’s revenge is still unsatisfied, they can continue their rivalry instead. Kalisto wins as the last man so that it doesn’t really hurt Gulak’s rankings. The Greatest Royal Rumble is partially filler when it comes to the Cruiserweight Championship, so Kalisto is the choice for the best in-ring action without doing any real harm when Alexander retains. The real title program will be Alexander VS Murphy at Backlash, as Murphy could easily return as soon as next week.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (4/24/18)

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Daniel Bryan and The Miz are finally on the same brand again! As such, the Hollywood A-Lister will have the Goat on the SmackDown premiere of Miz TV. Will these two be able to keep from fighting this close to the Greatest Royal Rumble? Plus, Charlotte and Carmella will sign the contract for their Backlash rematch!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Asuka & Becky Lynch VS The IIconics; The IIconics win.
  • Jimmy Uso w/ Jey VS Rowan w/ Harper; Jimmy Uso wins.
  • Jeff Hardy VS Shelton Benjamin; rescheduled as…
  • Randy Orton VS Shelton Benjamin; Benjamin wins.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English VS AJ Styles & The Good Brothers; Nakamura, Rusev & English win.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE and SmackDown dedicate tonight to Bruno Sammartino.

 

It’s the SmackDown premiere of Miz TV!

The Hollywood A-Lister comes to the Blue Brand because of the Superstar Shake-Up and special request of former General Manager, Daniel Bryan. Miz also looks to take back the Intercontinental Championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble this Friday in the Fatal 4 Way Ladder Match. But as for tonight in Louisville, he shushes them before demanding they welcome him back! Then he begins the Most Must-See WWE Talk Show properly and declares he makes SmackDown THE Show, but “there’s something missing.” That’s the title he held, that his guest gave up three years ago and Miz vows to win for a record ninth time when he defeats Seth Rollins, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. That title is THE most coveted title in all of the WWE thanks to Miz!

But that’s Friday. Tonight is Tuesday, and this is the moment the world’s been waiting for. Tonight’s guest is a man who threatened to punch Miz in the face. Fans like the sound of that. Miz blames this man for getting Talking Smack cancelled, and then demanded Miz be brought to SmackDown just to get his hands on him. “And quite frankly, I’m surprised.” Miz welcomed his first child into the world, and locking eyes with her for the first time, he knew he had to be a better man. All of Miz’s anger and bitterness towards Daniel Bryan “melted away”. Odd that Bryan isn’t the same after his daughter was born.

But Bryan and Miz still have a lot in common, from being fathers to being television stars to being “masterful, in-ring technicians”. But a major difference: Miz has changed to be a better man. If Bryan still wants to punch him, then he can come on out and do it. Miz and Louisville both want Bryan to come out and do it, but Bryan doesn’t appear. Instead, Big Cass appears!

The Human Skyscraper walks out, dressed in a fresh new suit, and enters the ring. Miz asks what Cass is here for. There’s no guest, so Cass volunteered to be the guest. They take a seat, and Miz says he was going to interview Daniel Bryan. Cass says no one cares about Bryan. Cass got injured and worked 24-7 to get back asap. The day he does, so does Daniel Bryan. But all anyone cares about is “Daniel Bryan this, Daniel Bryan that.” No one cared about Cass! Cass lives in the shadow of an “ordinary little man”. Miz understands Cass is mad, but if he’s trying to help with Bryan, Miz doesn’t need it. Cass tells Miz that “not everything is about you”.

Miz takes offense to that. Does Cass know who he is? Miz is a Grand Slam Champion, first-ballot Hall of Famer, and has main-evented ‘Mania! Wrestling is a what-have-you-done-lately business, and all Cass has done is hobble around! Then maybe Cass should shut Miz’s mouth. Fans would like to see that. Miz says this isn’t about them, this is about Dnaiel Bryan. Damn right! That average Joe who should be laying tile or taking out trash, Bryan is out here spewing trash to the fans. Reach for the stars, achieve dreams, but too bad, because “you are all a bunch of Joe Schmoes.” Cass used to be small and pathetic and weak, “it sucks!” He was bullied and pushed around, until he got sick and tired of it. Cass grew and grew, to be 7 foot tall and someone who beat up those who got him.

Bryan reminds Cass of his weak former self, that’s why Cass hates him! But Cass didn’t need to go to indies, to Japan, to Europe, and you know why? Because Cass is tall, smart and handsome. That makes Cass valuable, a star, and makes him money! Yet, he’s in the shadow of Daniel Bryan? “Not for long.” Cass will make sure Bryan goes back to where he belongs: “on the shelf, beaten, battered, bruised, and retired.” Bryan will never cast a shadow over anyone again. Cass mocks “Yes! Yes!” then drops the mic. The big man had big words for the little Goat, will he be able to back it up should he and Bryan meet in the ring?

 

Speaking of Daniel Bryan…

He’s been attacked! The former GM and champion is down, in need of medics and trainers. Will he be okay to compete? And who attacked him? Though, it might not be that hard to guess…

 

Asuka & Becky Lynch VS The IIconics!

Peyton Royce & Billie Kay may have cost Charlotte Flair her SmackDown Women’s Championship, but the Queen is busy going after her throne. That leaves the Empress and the Lass Kicker to take care of the Iconic Duo for her. Will Peyton & Billie have a #TrulyIIconic in-ring debut? Or are they not ready for Asuka and Straight Fire?

Before the match, the IIconics praise themselves for their looks. The camera loves Billie. No it loves Peyton. It loves both of them! But Becky stuck her nose where it doesn’t belong. Peyton impersonates Becky now, “Where are my lucky charms?” Spot on again! But then she teams with the nosy Empress of Tomorrow. Tomorrow? Fact check: if Charlotte beat Asuka and took the Undefeated Streak, and then the IIconics ended the Queen’s title reign, that makes them better than Asuka!

Science and math, it just makes sense. Empress of Tomorrow is now the Empress of Yesterday. Peyton & Billie are the future, but the future is interrupted!

The match begins with picture in picture as Asuka starts against Billie. Asuka has the fans on her side as they circle and tie up. Asuka wrenches Billie’s arm but Billie stomps a foot to then reverse the wrench. However, Asuka uses the ropes to acrobatically reverse back. Billie pulls Asuka’s hair but Asuka snapmares. Billie gest away, but narrowly avoids the roundhouse! Asuka teases her, to then hip attack! Asuka taunts Peyton then yansk on Billie’s arm. She brings Billie over and tags in Becky, Becky climbs up for teh ax handle. Becky kicks Billie then knocks her down with a calf kick. Billie bails out while Becky and Asuka fire up. Becky goes to the apron and hits Billie with a forearm, but Peyton comes over to attack. Becky bounces her off the apron, and then Asuka adds a sliding knee!

Asuka high fives Becky before Becky puts Billie back in the ring. Billie drops an elbow but misses, Becky waistlocks. Billie bucks Becky off and runs her over, but Becky arm-drags her back. Becky has Billie in the armlock, and even gives her a noogey. Tag to Asuka and Asuka kicks away at the leg. Asuka mule kicks but Billie grabs shorts to then yank Asuka down by her hair! Billie tags Peyton and Peyton keeps on Asuka. She slaps Asuka but that only riles Asuka up. Asuka grins but Peyton is afraid, and she should be, as Asuka unleashes strikes. Peyton reverses the whip but Asuka hits with the hip attack! We return to single picture as Asuka tags Becky back in.

Becky grabs Peyton but Peyton throws her down by her hair. Cover but Becky slips uot for teh Oklahoma roll, TWO. Becky kicks Peyton and whips but Peyton reverses again. Becky dodges to knock Peyton down with a forearm. Fans fire up for Becky, Becky misses her forearm in the corner but still gets the jump kick. She throws Peyton with a Becksploder! Peyton tags Billie but Billie runs into the drop toehold. Becky drags Billie up but Billie throws Becky down with an arm wringer. Billie chokes Becky at the ropes, then Peyton gets a cheap shot! Cover, ONE, but BIllie tags in. The IIconics work together on Becky’s arm, using the ref’s count to their advantage. Tag back to Billie while fans rally for Becky. The IIconics isolate Becky and put her in an armlock, but fans rally for the former champion.

Becky reaches while enduring a new armlock. She gets up but Billie knees low to whip her back into the IIconic corner. Billie taunts Asuka, but Becky boots her away. Becky fights out of the corner, double clotheslines bring Becky and Billie down. Fans rally again, hot tags to Peyton and Asuka! Asuka rallies with hip attack to Billie then a dropkick Peyton! She keeps going, blocking Peyton’s kick into an ankle lock! Peyton hops to Billie, but Becky breaks them up, then Asuka throws Peyton with a German Suplex!

Asuka runs to hip attack Peyton again. Tag to Becky, Becky and Asuka double whip Peyton for double hip toss, sliding enziguri and leg drop! Billie returns but then runs away, so Becky brings Peyton up. Peyton shoves Becky into Asuka, but Becky fights back with forearms and uppercuts. Becky whips corner to corner but Peyton puts her on the apron. Becky fights both IIconics off, but Peyton still sends her into the post. Roll up AND ropes, the IIconcis win!

Winners: The IIconics (Peyton & Billie), Peyton pinning

An #IIconicUpset with this win! The best friends from down under bring down two great former champions, will there be something great in the future for “the future”?

 

Backstage interview with AJ Styles.

Renee Young sees he’s in a good mood. Well why wouldn’t he be? Three days from The Greatest Royal Rumble and a rematch with Shinsuke Nakamura. But for right now, he’s happy because Shane McMahon gave him the chance to soften Nakamura up. Though, the con artist has Rusev Day backing him up. Is it a handicap match? No, Styles is lucky to have back-up of his own. Who? Oh, it’ll be #TooSweet. A major main event has been made, and it shouldn’t be too hard to guess who the Phenomenal One will have on his side.

 

Zelina Vega & Andrade “Cien” Almas speak.

“This is the only brand we’re worried about.” El Idolo, a third generation superstar and a former NXT Champion, Almas has the talent while Vega has the schemes. And Vega vows he will show the world why he deserves the spotlight.

 

The Usos talk backstage.

They’re preparing for a return from last week, but Naomi comes in to talk with her husband. Before she says anything, Jimmy wants her to promise she won’t end up ringside like last week. She is not, and she will not apologize, either. She was genuinely concerned. But does she trust him? Yes, of course. She loves him, but she saw “nothing” in the eyes of Harper & Rowan.

This may be their life, but Naomi has a bad feeling, and wants him to trust her. He knows, but don’t worry, Jey has his back both tonight and Friday. Jimmy says he’ll take care of Rowan, and gives Naomi a kiss for good luck. Will luck be enough going up against the Bludgeon Brothers?

 

Jimmy Uso w/ Jey VS Rowan w/ Harper!

As Jimmy told Naomi, he and his brother will take on these Bludgeon Brothers for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in Saudi Arabia. Tonight is about gaining momentum towards that match, but will Jimmy end up coming to a screeching halt running into the Red Lamb of Doom?

The bell rings and Rowan dropkicks Jimmy down! Rowan clubs him down, then headbutts him down. Rowan chokes Jimmy against the ropes, Harper gets a cheap shot in! Jimmy is thrown to the apron while Jey goes after Harper, but misses his flying attack. Harper boots Jey down, but Jimmy dumps Rowan out. Jimmy builds speed and DIVES, but Rowan catches him to then scoop him. Jimmy slips out to put Rowan into the post! Rowan staggers and Jimmy climbs up, flying crossbody! Cover, TWO! Jimmy mule kicks and climbs up again, but Rowan shoves him off! Jimmy hits barriers face first. Rowan rolls out and comes around the corner to run Jimmy over! Rowan roars while fans boo and jeer.

The ref counts, Rowan puts Jimmy in the ring at 4. Rowan himself returns and drags Jimmy up. Fans rally for the Usos, but Rowan scoops Jimmy again. Naomi comes out in full entrance! Her #GlowTime distracts Harper & Rowan, SUPERKICK from Jey to Harper! Jey puts Harper into steel steps, and Jimmy dropkicks Rowan! Jimmy rolls him up, Jimmy wins!

Winner: Jimmy Uso by pinfall

Now the Usos can thank Naomi for helping even the score! However, Naomi won’t be in Arabia for the Greatest Royal Rumble. Will the Usos be able to survive when they have only themselves against the Bludgeon Brothers?

 

Renee Young presides over the SmackDown Women’s Championship contract signing.

Backlash will be where the title is defended in a rematch from Carmella’s Ms. Money in the Bank cash-in. The champion is introduced, but she snatches the mic to delay Charlotte’s introduction. “That is so disrespectful.” Fans echo “WOO~!”, to which Carmella also takes offense. Carmella is being introduced first? “In what world is it acceptable” to bring out champion before challenger? This isn’t Charlotte’s kingdom, it’s Carmella’s. So before it gets boring out here, Carmella has something to address: “I’m your champion. You’re booing me because none of you will ever know what it’s like to be a champion”. Carmella gave us a #Mellabration, played a FABULOUS highlight reel, but no one gave her an ovation.

But since she’s the champ, she’s going to play that highlight reel again. And this time, she demands they show her the respect she deserves! That means they will stand up and cheer for her. Play it!!

The same highlight reel does play, recapping Carmella’s Ms. Money in the Bank victory she managed “all by herself”. When it ends, the only one standing up to applaud is Corey Graves. Everyone else boos and jeers. Carmella is not accepting that, so she’s going to play that highlight reel again. And this time, the WWE Universe better stand up and cheer! The highlight reel plays again, but Charlotte interrupts with her entrance.

The former champion sits down while the current champion runs the title in her face. Renee wants Carmella to be professional but that’s not happening. Now that they’re both present, they can sign the contract. Fans “WOO~!” while Carmella continues to taunt Charlotte from across the table.

Charlotte keeps her cool, takes the pen, and signs her name. Then she gives out a proper “WOO~!” Carmella stands up and sticks the belt in her face again, so Charlotte slams Carmella’s face on the table! Then kicks the table over on Carmella! Renee leaves the ring while Charlotte brushes herself off. The Queen dumps the Princess down, but can she take the throne back at Backlash?

 

Backstage interview with…

Well, it was supposed to be Shinsuke Nakamura, but Aiden English answers the knock on the door. The Drama King says they’re not doing interviews. The trio of Rusev Day and the Rockstar are hush-hush about their Six-Man Tag, will they be able to work together against The Club?

 

Jeff Hardy VS Shelton Benjamin!

The Charismatic Enigma defeated the Gold Standard last week, in Hardy’s return to SmackDown. However, one match is not enough for Benjamin, who is a former United States Champion himself. Will Benjamin tie things up this close to Hardy’s title defense against Jinder Mahal? Or will Hardy go 2-0 already?

But wait, in return for the surprise last week, The Viper arrives while Hardy makes his entrance. Randy Orton, who is still promised a United States Championship match in his own right, decides to return the favor in full by taking this match from Hardy, too.

Randy Orton VS Shelton Benjamin!

The bell rings and Orton circles with Benjamin. They tie up, Benjamin powers Orton to a corner, but honors the break. Hardy watches ringside now as Benjamin goes for Orton’s leg. Orton gets to a corner for the break, and Benjamin backs off. The two circle again, tie up, and Benjamin gets a headlock. Orton powers out but Benjamin shoulders him down. Benjamin runs but Orton jumps over. Orton kicks but Benjamin blocks, Benjamin kicks but Orton blocks, and Orton ducks the dragon whip kick. Benjamin denies the RKO just in time, and the two circle again. Benjamin knees low then throws haymakers and stomps. The referee backs him off, Orton kicks back and throws European Uppercuts. Orton rocks Benjamin but drags him through the ropes, but Benjamin hotshots Orton back!

Benjamin brings Orton through ropes now, for a kick after kick after kick. He tops it off with a knee strike while we go picture in picture. Orton slowly stirs, but Benjamin fetches him. Benjamin bounces Orton’s head off the table, then stares Hardy down before throwing haymakers. Benjamin resets the count but Orton climbs up, only to get rocked with another knee! Orton falls to the floor, and Benjamin lets him be at the count’s mercy. Orton slowly drags himself up again, beating the count at 8. Benjamin is right on him with stomps, then drags Orton up into a chinlock. Orton endures the squeeze, slowly working his way up to his feet.

We go single picture again as Benjamin keeps on the squeeze. Fans rally for Orton and he fights back with body shots and headbutts, but Benjamin gets the dragon whip kick! Cover, TWO, but Benjamin keeps on Orton with a new chinlock. Orton works his way up again, reaching for ropes. He stands up and back suplexes Benjamin down! Orton is free of the hold and catches his breath while Benjamin rolls to ropes. They both stand up, Orton begins to rally with clotheslines. He dodges Benjamin and hits the spinning powerslam! Benjamin rolls to ropes, Orton brings him out, and hits the draping DDT!

Orton hears the voices in his head while fans fire up. Benjamin slips out of the ring, and Orton comes out to fetch him, bouncing him off the table. Hardy sees where Orton is going with Benjamin and clears out, not wanting trouble. Orton back suplexes Benjamin on the table instead!

They return into the ring, and Hardy watches a bit closer now, but a masked man chop blocks Hardy’s bad leg! Orton sees that man running away, but that man ends up cornered by security. The masked man goes into the ring, and Orton pulls the mask off to reveal Sunil Singh! Orton knows what to do with him: RKO! But Benjamin creeps up on Orton, PAY DIRT! Cover, Benjamin wins!

Winner: Benjamin, by pinfall

The Gold Standard pins the #1 Contender, while the current champion is limping. Will Hardy be ready for Mahal in Arabia? Will Benjamin find himself in line for that title should it stay on SmackDown?

 

The New Day feasts backstage.

They celebrate the launch of The Book of Booty, and toast with a glass of Booty-O’s! But then The Bar interrupts… Cesaro & Sheamus ruin the New Day’s appetites. But don’t worry, The Bar will win the Raw Tag Team Championships and go back to Raw. The New Day celebrate that! Well because obviously, the SmackDown Tag Division doesn’t stack up. They don’t just set the bar– No! Go away! Stop! “WE ARE THE BAR!” And they take pancakes away!

 

AJ Styles reunites with the Good Brothers.

The Club is back together! And it’s #TooSweet!

 

SAnitY is coming.

They vow to bring chaos and pain. “Fighting it is useless.” Who will fall to the anarchy Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain bring to SmackDown?

 

Backstage interview with Daniel Bryan.

Any update on his injury? Just some precautions for his shoulder, but he’ll be good to go for the Greatest Royal Rumble. He’s come back from worse. What happened? He got blindsided by a cowardly 7 foot man. But Paige made it official, Bryan VS Cass at Backlash. Bryan’s going to take everything on head-on, and after winning the Greatest Royal Rumble itself, he’ll show Cass that “everyone is the same size when you’re on the mat and tapping out.”

 

Samoa Joe speaks.

“Nothing and no one is safe.” That goes for the Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins. Joe will use ladders to end “Seth Freakin’ Rollins”, The Miz, and Finn Balor. The title is already his, and then he’ll enjoy watching Brock Lesnar massacre Roman Reigns in a cage. And if by a miracle, Roman survives to become Universal Champion, Joe will take that title, too.

 

Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev & Aiden English VS AJ Styles & The Good Brothers!

A reunion that’s #TooSweet goes up against a tough team in the King of Strong Style, the Bulgarian Lion & The Artiste. Can the Phenomenal One lead The Club in a victory for their SmackDown return?

The bell rings and Styles starts with Nakamura as a preview of their rematch. But after circling with Styles, Nakamura tags out to English. Styles just rocks Nakamura anyway before throwing English in. He tags Gallows and Gallows fires body shots on English. Gallows tags in Anderson and he keeps up the mugging, then tag to Styles for the low forearm. Styles tags in Gallows and Gallows gives a big back elbow to English before tagging Anderson back in for the jump kick. Rusev runs in but into a mule kick, then the boot! The Club controls the ring already, #TooSweet while we go to break.

SmackDown returns and Rusev runs into Anderson’s uppercut. Anderson tags in Styles and Styles gives Rusev the Phenomenal Blitz! He hits English but Nakamura avoids it. Styles slingshots but Nakamura evades, Rusev hits the MACHKA Kick! Rusev tags English in and English stomps on Styles. The referee backs English off and Styles flounders, but English is on him again with knees and stomps. English puts Styles in a chinlock, but fans duel while we go picture in picture. Styles stands up but English throws him down for more stomps. English brings him up and tags in Nakamura, Nakamura gives a body shot to the ribs. Nakamura puts Styles in a corner for knees to ribs, then Good Vibrations. Nakamura then snapmares to a cover, TWO.

We return single picture as Nakamura goes after the legs. He sits Styles up and kicks him back down, then drags him over to tag in Rusev. Rusev kicks Styles in the ribs, then scoops Styles and slams him down. Rusev runs for the elbow drop, cover, TWO. Fans rally for The Club, Rusev tags in English to whip him in for the back elbow. English feeds Styles to Rusev’s kick, English covers, TWO. English keeps on Styles with a chinlock, and sings mockingly that “He’s not going anywhere~!” The fans still rally for The Club and Styles fights his way up and out. English clubs Styles back, but runs into a dropkick! Both men are down, crawlign for their corners, hot tag to Rusev but he runs into the PELE! Styles crawls and tags in Gallows!

Gallows rallies on Engilsh with big lariats, then fires up for a big corner splash. Roundhouse rocks English, then Gallows pumphandle slams him down. Headbutt drop on top, cover, but Rusev breaks that. Anderson comes in but is sent into the post! Gallows clothesliens Rusev out but English tags in Nakamura. YAKUZA Kick for English but Nakamura chop blocks and KINSHASA to Gallows!

Cover, Nakamura wins for his team!

Winners: Nakamura, Rusev & English; Nakamura pinning.

But Styles finally gets at Nakamura! They brawl, the Phenomenal Blitz is blocked by a LOW BLOW! Nakamura takes aim at Styles, but Anderson jumps into the KINSHASA for Styles! The Machine Gun bites the proverbial bullet, but Nakamura kicks Styles back down before adding insult to injury. Nakamura drags Anderson up while Styles watches, and Nakamura shouts “C’MON!” He backs up, takes aim, and hits Anderson with another KINSHASA!! Nakamura mocks Styles’ concern for his friend, and has sent a vicious message to the champion. The Rockstar wants that WWE Championship, and he will give anyone and everyone a #Knee2Face to get it. Can Styles get revenge on Nakamura at the Greatest Royal Rumble?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A pretty good SmackDown, but holy crap there were too many commercial breaks. Ignoring that, this was itself a good go-home for Greatest Royal Rumble. Opening with Miz TV and the surprise guest of Big Cass was pretty good, and Cass seems to have improved in his promo skills. Finding Bryan beat up already was no surprise, and this Bryan VS Cass feud is already gearing up to be good. The IIconics give another great promo, and they have a really good match with Becky & Asuka. Their win was a nice surprise, and at least it was dirty so that Becky & Asuka aren’t really weakened by it. Between the various teams on both shows, it feels like WWE is gearing up to bring us that Women’s Tag Team Division and Championships. It’d probably have to be co-branded, but that works since all PPV’s are being co-branded now.

I like Naomi further involving herself in the story between Usos and Bludgeon Brothers, it is logical given the real life relationship of her and Jimmy. However, we know she won’t be able to help in the tag title match in Arabia, mostly because it’s in Arabia. Bludgeon Brothers will likely retain, and then they can move on to The New Day, or a new addition to SmackDown like SAnitY or the Good Brothers. Carmella was brilliant as a Heel in the contract signing segment, and Charlotte’s response was perfect. Whether or not there was more to be had, this still worked out for both sides.

It was pretty clever for Orton to return the favor on Hardy and snipe his match, and that match was pretty good. I didn’t think Sunil Singh would show up to go after Hardy but it makes sense given Mahal’s MO. Like Gable on Raw, Benjamin gets a someone surprise win, so either one is set up for a US Title shot once we all know which show has it. I like Nakamura’s new take on his theme, and the backstory that he had it done because he was sick of fans singing along. The Six Man Tag was a great main event, The Club finally looks capable in the ring. Nakamura stands tall in strong Heel fashion, he might get that belt at GRR.

My Score: 8.5/10


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