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Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (4/23/18)

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The Beast returns to Raw! And just days before his Universal Championship Steel Cage Match at the Greatest Royal Rumble, will he and his Advocate have something to say about The Big Dog getting one more shot at the title? Plus, all the aftermath of the Superstar Shake-Up, such as Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn having jobs!!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Elias VS Bobby Roode; Elias wins.
  • The Ascension VS WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt; Hardy & Wyatt.
  • Titus Worldwide VS Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre; Ziggler & McIntyre win.
  • Chad Gable VS Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh; Gable wins.
  • Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman; Lashley & Strowman win.
  • Baron Corbin VS No Way Jose; no contest.
  • The Miztourage VS Finn Balor & Seth Rollins; Balor & Rollins win.
  • 10 Woman Tag: The Riott Squad, Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Ember Moon & Natalya; Ruby, Liv, Sarah, Alexa & Mickie win.

PLAY BY PLAY

WWE and Raw dedicate the episode to Bruno Sammartino.

To honor the life of the Hall of Fame “Living Legend”, a moment of silence with ten tolls of the bell. Bruno was truly one of the greats, if not THE greatest. He will be missed.

 

The Beast comes to St. Louis!

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman are both back on Raw for episode 1300! The Advocate waits for the boos to die down before he speaks for the “still reigning, defending, undisputed” Universal Champion. Heyman supposes people are raining down their anger because they assume Heyman will gloat. They must think he’s here to say “We Told You So!” Or that they’re here to talk like they did when Lesnar conquered The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Streak, or when Lesnar took Cena to #SuplexSuplexSuplexCity, or when Lesnar takes out every “wannabe tough guy who doesn’t understand” that “this is real” or that no one in the locker room stands any more of a chance than members of the WWE Universe. Heyman doesn’t give predictions, he gives spoilers, and “Lesnar does not gloat, Brock Lesnar conquers!”

But Heyman gloats! Heyman gloats that Lesnar used non-PG elbows to bust Roman open and then took Roman Reigns to Suplex City, used multiple F5’s, and left Roman a heap of trash at the biggest Wrestlemania of all time! “And none of this means anything to Brock Lesnar.” Lesnar does not dwell on the past, even when we’re only talking a couple weeks. Lesnar looks to the future, especially when that future is this Friday, in Saudi Arabia, at the Greatest Royal Rumble, craving to be in a UFC fight, goes to be “locked inside of a cage with Roman Reigns.” Heyman notices the fans genuinely cheering for Roman.

But being in a cage wasn’t Roman’s idea, so Heyman tells the world: “Brock Lesnar pinned Roman Reigns, WWE had no choice”, so now Lesnar signed a “big fat contract” that he earned, but WWE wants the title at #GRR. What does Lesnar say to that? “Well, Roman Reigns is breathing, give me Roman Reigns.” Lesnar wanted a fight for the title, in a cage! The odds are stacked against Roman even more now than at Wrestlemania! So here’s the spoiler: Roman steps into the greatest cage fighter ever, so this Friday, Lesnar will “shred Roman Reigns, piece by piece, limb from limb”! Roman will only return to America in boxes as a former WWE superstar and just another victim! But speaking of, here comes Roman!

The Big Dog stares right down at Lesnar. Lesnar simply chuckles back at him, shaking his head. Lesnar thinks Roman doesn’t want any of him, but Roman marches down the ramp to prove him wrong. The WWE Universe is itching to see these two fight, and Lesnar seems pleasantly surprised to see Roman getting into the ring. Roman has a mic, but he takes a moment to stare at the title. Lesnar notices him staring at it, and taunts him with it. Roman says Heyman is right, he isn’t sure how he’s getting back. But he knows this: “I’m coming home with that title. And you can believe that.” He drops the mic, and takes his leave. This fight will happen Friday in Arabia and a cage. Can the Big Dog finally best The Beast?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.”

The Drifter is in St. Louis, but he’s immediately interrupted!

Elias VS Bobby Roode!

The GLORIOUS One interrupts, wanting the spotlight on him over The Drifter. Will Roode make good on his first 1v1 match on Raw? Or will Elias make him pay and #DriftAway for the interruption?

The bell rings, the two tie up, and Elias puts on a headlock. Roode powers out but Elias runs him over. Elias speeds things up but Roode runs him over with an elbow. Roode chops Elias in a corner, then stomps and chops again. Roode chops Elias, Elias forearms back then chops, too. Elias puts Roode in a corner but Roode turns that around for another chop. Roode whips corner to corner but Elias reverses, only to run into Roode’s elbow. Roode goes up but has to jump over Elias, legs buckling a bit. He still gets Elias with the atomic drop and dropkick, cover, TWO.

Roode keeps on Elias with the armlock, bringing him to the mat. Elias works his way up, Roode wrenches the arm. Roode wrenches the arm again but Elias rocks him with a right! The Drifter chops Roode against ropes then whips, but Roode goes for the DDT. Elias gets away so Roode clotheslines him out. GLORIOUS Pose as we go to break.

Raw returns, and Elias puts Roode in a corner. Roode ducks the forearm to chop Elias again. Elias is reeling from that shot, so Roode gives him another. Roode whips but Elias kicks him back to then club him in the back. Elias throws Roode into a post! The referee checks on Roode while Elias catches his breath. Elias sits Roode up for a nerve hold, we go picture in picture to plug the Greatest Royal Rumble’s Casket Match of Rusev VS The UNDERTAKER. Roode endures the hold and works his way up to his feet. He hits Elias but Elias hits back so it’s a brawl now. Elias gets Roode in a corner and stomps a mudhole into him! He tops it off with a running stomp, then rams Roode’s chest into the apron edges. He adds a running knee to the head, covers, TWO.

Elias grows frustrated but he keeps on Roode. He mocks GLORIOUS while wrapping Roode into a chinlock. Fans rally for Roode and Roode powers up. Elias wrangles him down but Roode stands again. Elias brings Roode down again, but fans chant for Roode. Roode gets a second wind and back suplexes Elias down! Both men are down, but stirring. Roode gets to a corner while Elias walks over. Elias swings but Roode counters, then chops and whips. Elias reverses but Roode runs him over. Roode rallies with forearms and a corner clothesline into a neckbreaker. Roode’s firing up with the fans while he climbs up top. He takes aim and flying clothesline takes down Elias!

Roode winds it up for GLORIOUS Pose! He kicks but Elias back drops, sunset flip, TWO! Elias knees low and puts Roode in a corner, but Roode knees him away. He hops up, GLORIOUS Blockbuster! Elias rolls out to prevent the cover, which fans boo and jeer. Roode doesn’t care, he goes out to fetch Elias. He puts Elias in the ring but Elias hotshots ROode off the top and rolls him up, Elias wins!

Winner: Elias, by pinfall

The Drifter was crafty with that performance, and he ruins Roode’s first 1v1 match. Will Elias truly put on a spectacular performance in the 50-Man Royal Rumble match? Or will Roode turn things around and make this Friday the most GLORIOUS Royal Rumble ever?

 

WOKEN Matt Hardy speaks.

“I have spoken to the Oracle”, and the future is clear. They will PROCURE the Raw Tag Team Championships! But first, they must visit the Wasteland. Bray Wyatt says that without darkness, there is no light. And together, this WOKEN Yin-Yang will cast a shadow that covers the world. “RUN!”

 

The Ascension VS WOKEN Matt Hardy & Bray Wyatt!

Konnor & Viktor are back on Raw thanks to the Superstar Shake-Up, but now they must face the #DeleterOfWorlds just days before the Expedition of Gold takes on The Bar for the Raw Tag Team Championships. Will they be rendered OBSOLETE already?

The bell rings and Hardy starts against Viktor. They tie up, Viktor gets the headlock but Hardy powers out. Hardy sees Viktor’s cartwheel, and says that was WONDERFUL~!

The fans and Wyatt agree, but then Viktor swings on Hardy. Bray scares Viktor, Hardy hits the Russian leg sweep. Hardy then tags in Brya, and together they hit Viktor with the leg drop and back senton. Bray goes for the yurinagi but viktor slips out. Viktor tags in Konnor, who clubs Brya, but then runs into the turn-around lariat! Bray tags in Hardy and feeds Konnor to the boots. Hardy says “DELETE! DELETE!” but Konnor denies the twist. Viktor tags in and the Ascension mug Hardy in their corner.

Viktor tags Konnor back in and they mug Hardy with combination strikes. Konnor drops a big elbow and covers, TWO. Tag to Viktor for a first drop and cover, TWO. Viktor keeps Hardy down while fans rally, and Hardy uses a jawbreaker to break out. Tag to Bray, and Bray rallies on Viktor with palm strikes and uppercuts. Bray wipes Konnor out then runs Viktor over with the body check! Bray prepares his Spider-Walk! Tag to Hardy and a feed to the Side Effect, TWO. “DELETE! DELETE!” Hardy brings Viktor up but Konnor saves him. Bray gets Konnor with Sister Abigail! Hardy tags him in, and brings Viktor up, they combine for a draping Twist of Fate! Cover, #DeleterOfWorlds win!

Winners: WOKEN Hardy & Bray Wyatt, Wyatt pinning

The Yin-Yang of WOKEN & Wyatt comes for the titles, as do The Bar, though The Bar is no longer on Raw. Will Cesaro & Sheamus be DELETED in Arabia? Or will they be responsible for robbing the Red Roster of their tag titles?

 

It’s the premiere of The Sami & Kevin Show!

The Underdog and Prizefighter sit at their brand new desk to introduce the WWE Universe to their talk show. The new hottest maybe-weekly show in WWE, because “a huge void” was created when The Miz was moved to SmackDown. But who better to step up than these two? And who better in history than one of them to win the Greatest Royal Rumble? Why is it called that? The seven titles on the line. Nope. Lana gave Rusev permission to take on the Undertaker. Nope. That they’re going to win the Rumble. Yep! So make sure you have the day off to watch Sami & Kevin prove themselves the most dominant of all the WWE superstars. Watch them prove why Stephanie McMahon chose them to be the “crown jewels” of Raw.

Those comments probably rub their guest the wrong way. But tonight is about new beginnings, so they have a song for their guest. “You Suck! You Suck!” Yes, that’s for the Olympic Gold Medalist and Raw General Manager, Kurt Angle!

At least when the fans sing it, they mean it nicely. Angle joins Kevin & Sami in the ring, but they realize they don’t have a chair for him. Kevin produces a lawn chair from under the desk. “Nothing but the finest, boss.” But to get to business, how was their song? Don’t quit your day jobs, boys. Kevin understands Angle is a bit bitter, things got off on the wrong foot. And Kevin would be uncomfortable if his boss had his manhood in a jar. But they’re just poking fun. Sami & Kevin note the “outright conspiracy” they just finished with on SmackDown, which is why they took matters into their own hands. Or in Kevin’s case, own head, when he headbutted THE Vince McMahon down.

But then, either Stephanie either really appreciates their talent, or really dislikes Angle. Angle doesn’t blame Stephanie for being bitter, because he’s the reason Ronda Rousey injured Stephanie’s arm. Kevin and Sami caution Angle not to speak out of turn, he has his kids to worry about. All five of them. No, all six. It isn’t five? Sami checks his notes. Oh right, he forgot Jason Jordan. Though, so did Angle. But enough about the past, on to the future. Tonight, Angle will give Sami & Kevin the opportunities to maximize their potential. What’s that gonna look like? Angle “appreciates” the treatment and will repay them with something at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Because Angle and Daniel Bryan will both be in the 50-Man Royal Rumble, and Chris Jericho! And just about everyone else these two “endeared” themselves towards.

But for tonight, Kevin & Sami take on Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman! The Alpha Male and the Monster Among Men are going to take on the #YEPMovement! Will the first episode of the Sami & Kevin Show be the last?

 

Seth Rollins encounters The Miztourage backstage.

Bo Dallas & Curt Axel know they said good-bye to Miz and hello to their futures. They’re going to #BURNITDOWN with Rollins! He’s going to be their new leader in a NEW Shield! So long as they have the Architect.

Rollins admits they’re on the right track, but it’s gonna be a hard “no”. Will Bo & Axel find what they need to keep riding high?

 

Titus Worldwide VS Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre!

After not only rejecting their proposal but also steamrolling them in a blindside attack, The Show-Off and the Scottish Stud take on The Real Deal and his top client in a tag match for revenge. Can Titus & Apollo #MakeItAWin against the returning duo after how well Ziggler & McIntyre worked together last week?

The bell rings and Ziggler starts with Titus. Titus puts Ziggler right into a corner, and he chops and stomps away. Tag to Apollo and Titus feeds Ziggler to Apollo’s clothesline. Apollo hits the standing moonsault, TWO, but he keeps on Ziggler. He shoves Ziggler but Ziggler holds ropes. McIntyre tags in and Ziggler runs Apollo over. The Celtic Colossus brings Apollo up for chops in the corner, then furious right hands. McIntyre tosses Apollo across the way, then counters the boot with a back elbow. Ziggler tags in while McIntyre carries Apollo in the inverted Alabama Slam. Ziggler SUPERKICKS Apollo before the whiplash slam! McIntyre blasts Titus down just because, then Ziggler tags him back in. They bring Apollo up, CLAYMORE ZIG ZAG!! Cover, Dolph & Drew win!

Winners: Ziggler & McIntyre, McIntyre pinning

The Show-Off and Stud win their first match together, and with an aggressive dominance rarely seen.

In-ring interview with the winners.

Both men showed up last week, and Ziggler said things would be different. Why did he bring McIntyre with him? Everyone can tell why! Day one, no one watched Ziggler’s back, but McIntyre has his back now. McIntyre is dangerous, and he speaks for himself by saying that they’re both dangerous to a “soft” locker room with no fire or ambition. It makes him sick! These two are what superstars look like, speak, and back up their words. Trust McIntyre when he says times are changing, and though he’s not what WWE wants, he’s the reality check it needs! “We don’t give a damn about stealing the show, because this right here IS the show!” Ziggler & McIntyre look to turn the heat up on everyone in the WWE, who will be next to get that reality check?

 

Kurt Angle likes what he sees from Ziggler & McIntyre.

But he’s visited by Chad Gable, another Shake-Up addition. He won’t disappoint Angle, and Angle knows that. How’s Jason? Getting better, but this trade was for Gable as a singles competitor. Gable agrees, he will scratch and claw– Mahal interrupts to protest last week’s last-minute title match. And then Jeff Hardy goes to SmackDown!? But Mahal vows to get that title back, so he insists he goes back to SmackDown when it happens. That latter part isn’t happening. Mahal threatens calling Stephanie, but Gable says Mahal should learn respect. Mahal recognizes Gable, he’s the little boy who won with Strowman at Wrestlemania. Gable shoves, but Angle keeps the peace and says they settle this in the ring! Gable is ready, and so is the Modern Day Maharaja.

 

Chad Gable VS Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh!

Just days before the “former and future” United States Champion takes on Jeff Hardy, he looks to tune up with the Olympic medalist newly added to Raw. Will he show his strength before taking on the Charismatic Enigma in Arabia? But before even the bell, Sunil distracts so that Mahal can blindside Gable off the steps!

The Maharaja grins as he drags Gable up and throws him into the barriers! Mahal does not respect Gable as he puts him in the ring, then stomps a Maharaja mudhole into him. The referee backs him off to check on Gable, then reprimands Mahal for his actions. Gable won’t let this stop him, he wants the match to happen. The bell rings, and Gable dodges Mahal to fire back. Mahal shoves him but Gable comes right back for a big takedown. Gable gets the waistlock but Mahal pushes him off to then kick him right in the face!

Mahal looms over Gable as he drags him up. He toys with Gable while fans cheer. Mahal lifts but Gable crossbodies to counter! Cover, TWO, but Mahal gets dumped out of the ring. Gable goes to the outside but Mahal runs him over. Mahal is in control while we go to break.

Raw returns, and Mahal still controls Gable with a half clutch. Fans rally and Gable works his way out. Mahal brings him back down to a knee, but Gable keeps scratching and clawing his way up. Gable fights back but Mahal knees low to then suplex Gable over. Cover, TWO, but Mahal keeps on him with clubbing ax handles and stomps. Fans cheer Gable and Gable fires back with forearms. Gable runs but into a big lariat from Mahal! Mahal drags Gable back up to whip him hard into a corner! He gives Gable crossface punches and elbows, then puts him in a chinlock. Gable endures and fights his way up again as fans cheer. Gable throws body shots but runs into a big elbow.

Mahal drags Gable over and chokes him on the ropes. Mahal backs off at the ref’s count, then drops springboard knees on Gable’s chest. But Gable boots Mahal away! Gable rallies and hits the rolling kick! Gable goes after the leg with knee wrench after knee wrench, then a dragon screw. He yanks and stretches Mahal’s leg, and Sunil panics. Gable kicks that leg but Mahal knees back. Mahal lifts Gable but Gable fights out. Mahal bucks Gable off and hotshots him on the rope, to then hit a running knee! Fans boo while Mahal grins and stalks Gable. He wants his finish but Gable blocks and uses corners to roll back into a cover! GABLE WINS!

Winner: Gable, by pinfall

The Maharaja is furious but he is now the loser in Gable’s biggest victory! If Gable can #ScratchAndClaw like this, will he one day be wrestling for a singles championship?

 

Backstage interview with The Riott Squad.

Sarah Logan, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott made an impact by interrupting Bayley VS Sasha Banks. Are they sending a message to those two? It wasn’t just for the “frenemies” but all of Raw’s Women’s Division. The Squad aren’t here to be role models, but to disrupt. Sarah knows scared animals are easy prey, and right now, the Raw Women’s Division is full of scared animals. And if anyone gets in their way, they get the same treatment. They’re “equal opportunity agitators”, and like a can of tear gas, the Squad will make everyone drop to their knees, crying and begging for help. “Just the way we like it.”

 

Samoa Joe speaks.

Though no longer part of Raw, he and Roman Reigns will still have a match at Backlash. The Samoan Destroyer heard Roman Reigns vow to return to America as Universal Champion. He has his own prediction: he might not even have an opponent at Backlash. Joe knows that as history shows, Lesnar will conquer The Big Dog and bury him in the desert. If Roman does become the champion, will Samoa Joe simply take that belt from him shortly after?

 

The Miztourage talk to someone.

They know what you’re thinking: Miz is on SmackDown, but so were the Good Brothers. Therefore, the NEW Balor Club can be with them! Finn wasn’t thinking this. But, this would be #TooSweet!

Right? Right? Thanks, but no thanks. And don’t do the hand thing. Strike two for Bo & Axel, but is the third time the charm?

 

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman!

As usual for the #YEPMovement, they’ve put their foots in their mouths, and now they must make their Raw 2v2 debut against two massive stars! Can Sami & Kevin survive a match with the Dominator and Abominable Strowman?

Fans chant “Get These Hands!” as all four men enter the ring. Kevin & Sami talk it out, and they both escape the clutches of Lashley and Strowman. They talk it out again, but end up flanked on both sides, so they escape into the ring. Sami & Kevin are extremely wary, and time it so that they slip out as Strowman and Lashley enter, only to fall for Strowman’s & Lashley’s trick. Strowman grabs them both, throws Sami into a barrier then feeds Kevin to Lashley! Lashley spins Kevin around into a neckbreaker, then hits a corner clothesline. He keeps moving, giving Kevin a big spinebuster! Fans are all fired up for the duo of dangerous individuals. Lashley rocks Kevin with a right hand then a shoudler tackle in the corner. He drives elbows into Kevin, then grinds a boot into him. Sami protests but Kevin can’t get away.

Lashley keeps on Kevin, whips him to ropes, but Kevin kicks him away. Kevin drags Lashley to his corner and Sami tags in. Sami throws hands on Lashley, mocking him before giving a chop. Lashley hits back, then snap suplexes Sami down. Cover, ONE, but Lashley keeps on Sami in a corner with back elbows. Lashley runs corner to corner but into a boot! Sami brings Lashley back over and Kevin tags in, and now Kevin throws hands. Kevin mugs Lashley in the corner, then tags Sami back in.

They both whip Lashley but Lashley kicks Sami and throws Kevin out. Lashley lifts Sami up onto his shoulder, snake eyes on a buckle. Lashley runs and crossbodies, TWO. Sami scurries to a corner but gets a shoulder tackle from Lashley. Lashley runs but Kevin holds the ropes down to dump Lashley out! Kevin adds a back senton, he and Sami are in control while we go to break.

Raw returns to Sami bumping Lashley off buckles and giving him a sharp chop. Sami chops again, taunting Bruan as he walks across the way. Sami runs back at Lashley, but into Lashley’s belly2belly suplex! Both men are down but crawling for their corners, hot tag to Kevin and he stomps Lashley before he tags Strowman! Kevin throws hands and stomps, and goes for the back senton, but Lashley’s knees meet him. Kevin tags in Sami, and now Sami stops Lashley from tagging Strowman. Sami puts Lashley in a chinlock, but Lashley carries Sami on his back. Sami brings Lashley to his knees, but Lashley powers out with a sidewalk slam!

Both men are down again, fans are at a fever pitch, but Kevin trips up Strowman! Lashley can’t tag out, but that only pissed Strowman off. Strowman stomps his way back to the apron, Lashley fights out of the enemy corner, and hot tag to Strowman! The Monster hops down and runs around the corners to bulldoze Kevin!

Then he gets in the ring to do the same to Sami! And then he hits Kevin again! And Sami, again! Strowman won’t stop, he goes after Kevin with a dropkick! The fans are thunderous for the Monster Among Men, but Sami bails and runs away, except Lashley catches up to him. Lashley brings Sami back and feeds him to Strowman for a big clubbing forearm. Strowman clotheslines Sami in the corner, and fans chant “Get These Hands!”

Sami finds himself trapped, Strowman tags Lashley in before tossing Sami. Lashley brings Sami up, for the delayed suplex slam!

Tag back to Strowman, and Strowman gives a thumbs down. He drags Sami up onto his shoulder, for the MONSTER SLAM! Cover, Strowman & Lashley win!

Winners: Lashley & Strowman win, Strowman pinning

Dominant and destructive, Lashley and Strowman dismantle Kevin & Sami. For the sake of ever having a chance at winning, everyone else in the Raw Tag Team Division better hope these two don’t stay a team.

 

Baron Corbin VS No Way Jose!

The Lone Wolf makes his Raw debut after the Superstar Shake-Up, will it bring the #EndofDays to the Fighting Fiesta already?

Corbin speaks. “C’mon, man. You didn’t think I would see through your little plan?” The conga line is just an excuse to have back-up to jump him. He knows Jose just wants to have fun, but Corbin’s idea of fun is ruining other people’s fun. He is on Raw to be a champion, so Jose isn’t even on his level. This match won’t happen so long as Jose has that “group of freaks” with him.

No Contest

Corbin leaves, but Jose responds. “Just because Baron Corbin doesn’t want us to have fun doesn’t mean the party has to stop!” Hit the music! The conga line starts up again, but as it reaches the ramp, Corbin returns to ambush Jose!

The Lone Wolf ignores the boos and jeers as he kicks Jose while he’s down. Corbin even puts Jose into the LED wall face first. He boots Jose down again, then embraces the heat as he hits Jose with a choke slam backbreaker! Corbin ruins the fun like he promised, but will it earn him opportunities like he wants?

 

Alexa Bliss brings us a Public Service Announcement.

The Goddess of Raw says “Bullies thrive on silence.” If you see someone bullying someone else, speak up. It’s not worth staying silent. Alexa remembers hanging out with Nia Jax back when they were friends, and this “sweet old homeless lady” approached them. The woman was starving, so Alexa gave her food. But Nia took the food away and ate it all down. Alexa will never forget the look of horror on that woman’s face, or the sounds of Nia laughing and chewing, while Alexa stood there and did nothing. She’ll have to live with that for the rest of her life. Alexa wants Nia Jax’s teammates to stand up in tonight’s main event, and Alexa can finish it at Backlash when she gets the title back. “And this has been, your Moment of Bliss.” Will anyone really fall for Alexa’s blatant lies?

 

The Miztourage VS Finn Balor & Seth Rollins!

The Extraordinary Man and the Architect both rejected the ideas of teaming with Bo Dallas & Curt Axel, so now they’ll have to team up together to beat them in the ring. However, Finn and Rollins will be opponents Friday in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match, joined by The Miz and Samoa Joe of SmackDown. Can Finn & Rollins keep on the same page to then work to keep the IC Title on Raw?

Finn and Bo start and circle. They tie up, Bo gets the headlock, but Finn powers out, only for Bo to run him over. Bo gloats while Finn stands up. Bo tags Axel with a “Shield fist bump”, and Axel circles with Finn. They tie up, headlock but Finn powers out again, only for Axel to run him over, too. Axel puts up Too Sweets now, then ties up with Finn again. Finn gets a waistlock but Axel elbows out. Axel whips Finn but Finn reverses, Axel sunset flips but Finn rolls through to dropkick Axel. Cover, TWO, and Finn wrenches Axel’s arm. Bo distracts Finn and Axel forearms him down. Axel clubs Finn at the ropes and chokes him, then tags Bo for Bo to drop a knee. Cover, TWO, so Bo drops more knees. Cover, TWO, so Bo puts Finn in the chinlock.

Fans rally for Finn, as does Rollins, and Finn stands up. Bo wrangles him back down to the mat, but Finn endures the squeeze. Finn stands up and reaches for Rollins, but has to jawbreaker Bo first. Bo shoves Finn and rocks him with a forearm on the rebound, but Finn gets Bo with the Pele! Both men go down, fans rally, and hot tags to Rollins and Axel. Rollins springboards to clothesline Axel, then keeps going, slingblade! Rollins throws Axel into Bo, then clotheslines Axel out. The Miztourage regroups but Rollins builds speed to DIVE!

Rollins takes out Axel and gets him back into the ring. He kicks Axel from a corner then hops up for the blockbuster. Rollins keeps going as the fans fire up, stomping the mat to “Burn It Down!” Bo runs in, but into Rollins’ SUPERKICK! Axel kicks low but Rollins rejects the Perfect Plex to mule kick and CURB STOMP! Tag to Finn, Finn climbs up while Rollins slingshots onto Bo! Finn takes aim at Axel, COUP DE GRACE! Cover, Balor & Rollins win!

Winners: Balor & Rollins, Balor pinning

With the Miztourage taken care of, these two can now focus on THE Miz and Samoa Joe in Saudi Arabia. Four stars compete for one title in a Ladder Match, who will climb up to bring that title back to the states?

 

Natalya gives a pep talk to “her” team.

 

The Queen of Harts is ready to teach the Riott Squad, as well as Alexa Bliss and Mickie James, a lesson for being bullies. Ember adds that they’ll leave those five looking over their shoulders. Nia says mocking her is bad for your health. But the not-so best friends are a bit tense around each other still. Will there be dysfunction or victory for this team of five?

 

10 Woman Tag: The Riott Squad, Alexa Bliss & Mickie James VS Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, Ember Moon & Natalya!

Just as there was a star-studded 10-Man tag last week, this week brings us the best of the Raw Women’s Division. Will the Goddess and her new best friend work well with Ruby, Liv & Sarah to defeat the Huggable One, Legit Boss, Irresistible Force, Prophecy of Flame and Queen of Harts?

The teams sort out and Liv starts against Sasha. Liv mocks Sasha before dodging her and tagging in Sarah. Liv and Sarah club away on Sasha, then #CountryStrong grinds her forearms into Sasha’s face. Fans boo and jeer while the Squad applauds. Sarah knees Sasha but Sasha kicks back. Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she still knees Sarah down to then swing in with wrecking ball meteora! Cover, ONE, but Sasha keeps on Sarah with an armlock. Sarah stands up and fights out, then tags Liv back in. Sarah stomps on Sasha, then Liv whips her to an open corner. Sasha boots Liv away but Liv Matrix leans under, only for Sasha to get her on the return. She sits Liv down and slaps her down, covers, ONE.

Sasha wrenches Liv’s arm and brings her over to tag in Ember. Ember takes Liv and wrenches her onto the mat. Cover, ONE, but Ember whips Liv into a corner. Ember handsprings for a heavy forearm, then springboards for the crossbody. Cover, TWO, and Liv rolls out of the ring. The Squad goes over but Ember beats them to Liv with a DIVE!

Sarah & Ruby try to save Liv, but the War Goddess and her team have control while we go to break.

Raw returns and now Sarah is in control of Sasha. Fans rally but Sarah trips up Sasha to keep on top of her with that cobra clutch. Sasha endures the thrashing while the fans rally, and she wills herself up. She fights out but Sarah catches her just short of the tag. Sarah hammers on Sasha but it’s Mickie who tags in. Mickie stomps and grinds a boot into Sasha, then drags her out for another chinlock. Fans keep the rally going, we go picture in picture for another Greatest Royal Rumble commercial advertising the rematch of Lesnar VS Reigns. Sasha feeds off fan energy and jawbreakers out again, only to run into Mickie’s knee. Mickie puts Sasha back in the chinlock, but fans won’t stop rallying for Sasha.

Sasha fights out again, but Mickie knees low. Mickie whips Sasha corner to corner, but Sasha goes up and over. She tumbles to her corner but Mickie stops her short. Sasha rocks Mickie with a right, and tags in Natty! Natty rallies with a discus clothesline, the more clotheslines. Snap suplex to Mickie, then another! Natty keeps going, snapmare and runs on Mickie to dropkick her down. She even gets the takedown into the Sharpshooter! Mickie endures the legendary hold, reaching for ropes, but Sarah chop blocks Natty down!

Natty lets go of the hold and the referee checks on her, but Mickie gets away to her corner for safety. Natty wills herself up even on a bad leg, and she tags out to Bayley, but Mickie still kicks Natty down! Bayley and the others show concern, and the referee calls for medics.

The action continues and Mickie tags out to Ruby, but Bayley is ready for her! Bayley rallies with a back suplex, then whips. Ruby holds ropes and breaks free, to hit Bayley with an STO! Cover, TWO, but Ruby puts Bayley into a chinlock. Medics check on Natty’s knee while fans rally for Bayley. Mickie talks trash about Natty staying on SmackDown, but Bayley fights her way up and out. Ruby hops on to be a backpack, but Bayley just backs her into the corner. Nia tags in, Bayley throws Rub off and Nia throws Ruby all around. She squashes Ruby in a corner, then lifts her up to throw her down!

Nia drops the leg, all the others break the cover! Chaos ensues and no one is left in the ring. Nia gets an idea, MAJOR apron splash!! All the women of Raw are down!!

Micke recovers first, and helps fan off Alexa. Natty manages to stand on the other end, but Mickie pounces with another dropkick! Mickie has some strange vendetta with Natty as she stomps and stomps, so here comes RONDA!! Rowdy Rousey scares Mickie off, but then Mickie attacks HER from behind! That’s a mistake, seeing how Ronda glares at her.

Mickie tries to smile it off, but Ronda is upon her! Ronda puts Mickie in the armbar, Mickie taps, but this match ends because of interference.

Disqualification; Riott Squad, Alexa & Mickie win

Though Natty’s team loses, Ronda is the winner in the end as she makes Mickie pay for what she did to Natty. Ronda helps Natty to the back, will the Queen of Harts be able to recover from what Mickie did to her?

 


 

My Thoughts:

This first Raw after the Shake-Up was pretty good, even with it also being a go-home to Greatest Royal Rumble. The opening tribute to Bruno was perfect, and it’s great they already have a Network special to go right after Raw. Heyman gives another good promo while Roman keeps it very short and sweet, though perhaps a bit shoe-horned in. Roode not giving Elias even time to introduce himself was brilliant, but then it was somewhat logical Elias would win the match. It’s a good move to have a program between these two to tide themselves over while the IC and US titles work themselves out. We obviously know The Ascension are never being a winning tag team again.

For that matter, there was a lot more tag team stuff tonight than usual, I almost feel like Raw could become the Tag Team show while both singles titles go to SmackDown. SmackDown gave them Breezango and The Ascension, and then with Ziggler & McIntyre winning, as well as Kevin & Sami, the Raw Tag Team Division is bigger than usual But I don’t think WWE would really do that, so each show is gonna have one of the mid-card belts. I just can’t be sure if Raw keeps the IC and SmackDown the US, or they trade. Speaking of Kevin & Sami, their match with Lashley & Strowman was great, even when Sami & Kevin lose. Lashley’s a beast, Strowman’s truly a monster, and one way or another, both of them should be holding gold by the time we get to SummerSlam.

Gable also proves he’s capable of a singles title run with his match against Mahal. If IC and US titles swap, Gable could be first in line to take that US title from Mahal, unless titles trade back with Backlash. Corbin is still Corbin, even on Raw. Like Roode and Elias, a Corbin-Jose program can help to tide them over until we’re past Backlash. The Miztourage searching for a new leader is interesting, and can have all kinds of possibilities with the end result. Personally, I want Bo to join Bray down the line.

And the Women’s 5v5 tag was really good, and it seems if it isn’t Absolution VS Natty & Ronda, it’ll be Mickie and Alexa(?) in their place. I’m sure Nia will retain at Backlash to move on to Sasha, Bayley or even Ember. Though, even with the addition of Ronda, this tag match shows Raw’s half of the Women’s Division is still shallow, hopefully they get more women in the next round of call-ups.

My Score: 8.5/10


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MLW Fusion Ratings and Results: 5/25/2018

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Well the coverage for MLW Fusion goes back to me this week! With the Cavaliers having their backs against the wall, and Christopher Platt being a busy man, I’ll take the hot tag since we all know he’s the workhorse of the duo.

So let’s see what kind of show they build around their first ever televised World Championship match.

Opening segment sees Shane ‘Swerve’ Strickland pulling up with Barrington Hughes, Salina de la Renta confronts him, says the car isn’t the only thing rented and walks off. Barrington Hughes scream “Bruja” and explains it means witch, while Strickland jokes and says ” More like b-” cuts off the word and goes to the intro package.

 

Santana Garrett vs Chelsea Green

So apparently Garrett is undefeated since debuting in MLW last October, but you can’t really see why. Chelsea/Laurel Van Ness has some exposure and has proven to be able to put on some solid matches, this wasn’t one of them.

Every transition looked slow and like they were obviously waiting for each other. Even the Laurel Van Ness “transformation” seemed rushed and wasn’t exactly explained well by the announce team.

A few slow transitions, attempts at big looking spots just fell flat. We got a lot of Chelsea getting across her character, but match wise, this was a waste of 10 minutes.

Winner: Garrett via Arm Twist Spike DDT

Rating: * 1/2

Team Filthy promo package explaining what happened two weeks ago with Jimmy Havoc.

 

Prize Fight Open Challenge: Simon Gotch vs Danny Santiago

So apparently it’s if the person lasts 5 minutes, they get…250 – 250 dollars. No extra zeros, just two hundred and fifty dollars.

The Capoeira white belt Santiago, got his first kick caught and countered into an Exploder Suplex. Game over man.

Team Filthy are supposed to be douchey heels and this fits them perfect. In they style of the stereotypical 80s antagonists, they mock Santiago and saunter off.

Winner: Simon via Gotch Piledriver

Rating: N/A (Squash Match)

Kaci Lennox finds MJF for an interview but he finds out that Joey Janela and Aria Blake used his locker room for implied smoking, drinking and sex. So MJF freaks out like a poorly acted typical rich white boy and huffs off saying they’ll hear from his lawyer.

 

MLW Heavyweight Championship: Pentagon Jr w/Salina de la Renta vs Shane Strickland

Holy Christ, Salina has a Mariachi band enter the ring before Shane’s entrance to play the Mexican national anthem.The crowd looks a combination of amused and confused…but it’s definitely unique.

There’s a couple nice spots i the match I’ll go over since it was actually a fairly long match for TV. Pentagon ties Swerve up with the camera cables on the apron, hitting a variety of knife edge and Kobashi style chops. The referee is giving both men a lot of leeway throughout the match, so it’s nice to see the implication that it will end in the ring.

A big Mexican Destroyer on the apron is what we’re greeted with after the second commercial break and the match starts to pick up there. Swerve kicks out of a Pentagon Driver and Feat Factor, but the back half of the match was mostly dominated by Pentagon. Out of frustration, Salina gives Pentagon a chair and it seems like the referee will let it play. It looked like Pentagon was going for a Superplex into the opened chair, but Swerve blocked him and knocked Pentagon down.

They tease the spot that ended their Wrestle Circus match of a Swerve Stomp onto a seated Pentagon, but Pentagon counters it with a Powerbomb. Salina’s usual stoicism finally breaks and she jumps on the apron after Strickland kicks out again. This leads to the “Oops” moment for heels, and Pentagon hits Salina with the Red Mist when Shane moves out of the way, giving Strickland the opening to barely sneak out a win.

Winner: Strickland via Swerve Stomp

Rating: *** 1/2

 

Not a bad show at all, even if the match ratings aren’t through the roof, the storytelling and character development was solid. The main event was hurt by two commercial breaks and the ending sequence went a little too long. But that’s all nit picking.

All in all, as a television product, MLW Fusion is showing every week that they have enough characters to appeal to different demographics. I know personally MLW has already surpassed ROH in my personal book of what I will go out of my way to make time for. Major League of Wrestling baby!


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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: Wrestling Hi no Kuni 2018!

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AXS TV’s coverage of NJPW takes one step closer to THE Wrestling Dontaku event with the “Land of Fire”. Fittingly, two red hot feuds will burn up the ring with titles on the line! The IWGP Tag Team Champions defend against Killer Elite Squad, while THE Minoru Suzuki looks to teach Tetsuya Naito some respect.

 

This review of Wrestling Hi no Kuni 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • IWGP Tag Team Championships: Los Ingobernables de Japon’s EVIL & SANADA VS Suzuki-Gun’s Killer Elite Squad; LIJ wins and retains the IWGP Tag Team Championships.
  • IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Minoru Suzuki VS Tetsuya Naito; Naito wins and becomes the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion.

PLAY BY PLAY

AXS TV and NJPW review the build to tonight’s matches.

Two factions are the focus of two major feuds over two major titles in NJPW! The Man with the Worst Personality finds the Tranquilo Testuya Naito as little more than a nuisance. Suzuki treats the Intercontinental Championship belt far better than Naito did, will he beat Naito down to keep it from him? Meanwhile, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. go after Sanada and the recovered EVIL for the IWGP Tag Team Championships, to finally give the world a rematch from Wrestle Kingdom. Will EVIL & Sanada stay Tranquilo? Or will KES prove that #EverybodyDies?

 

IWGP Tag Team Championships: Los Ingobernables de Japon’s EVIL & SANADA VS Suzuki-Gun’s Killer Elite Squad!

We come into this heavyweight tag match part way, as Archer and Davey Boy bring EVIL up and around. They go for Magic Kiler, and hit it! Cover, TWO?! The fans cheer but Davey and Archer are both shocked and furious. They drag EVIL up again, and try for the Killer Bomb, but Sanada springboards and dropkicks for the save. Sanada runs into a tilt-o-whirl, then inverted crucifix lift, but Sanada slips out to put Archer in the dragon sleeper. Archer reverses so that he has the dragon sleeper, but as Archer lifts, Sanada slips out back into his. Davey headbutts Sanada to break the hold, then whips him to a corner. Sanada stops himself from going into exposed buckles, then moonsaults into grabbing Davey in the dragon sleeper!

Sanada feeds Davey to EVIL’s mule kick, then adds a kick while EVIL runs. EVIL runs Davey over with a clothesline, cover, TWO. Sanada dropkicks Archer away, and LIJ fires up with the fans. They lift Davey, and steal Magic Killer!

Cover, but Archer drags the ref out! Archer boots Sanada, but Evil kicks Archer, only to run into the spinning side slam. Red Shoes is slowly recovering, but Archer uses this time to fetch a chair from under the ring. Archer brings it in the ring, wedges it in the bare-buckle corner, then goes to EVIL. He brings EVIL up but Sanada rushes over. Archer goes to double choke slam but they both elbow out. Archer runs but LIJ send him into the chair!

LIJ drag Davey up and they have more chairs now. EVIL puts a chair on Davey’s neck, and uses the other chair to SMACK it! Davey flounders as he gasps, but EVIL lifts him, for the Darkness Falls! Cover and Red Shoes returns to count, TWO! Sanada returns, and he slingshots to take Archer out. EVIL grabs Davey, STO! Cover, LIJ wins!

Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA), EVIL pinning; still IWGP Tag Team Champions

The champions retain in what was clearly a brutal contest. Their championship reign continues, what will it take to dethrone the Cold Skull and Prince of Darkness?

 

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Minoru Suzuki VS Tetsuya Naito!

The Most Tranquilo Man in NJPW

The leader of Suzuki-Gun defends his title against the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon. While he was champion, Naito did all he could to disrespect the belt itself, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to be champion. Will he be able to stay Tranquilo while going up against The Man with the Worst Personality in the World?

And the Meanest Man in NJPW

Red Shoes shows Naito the belt while Naito removes his unnecessary clothing. This undressing in itself annoys Suzuki. Naito finishes, and the bell rings. Fans chant for Naito as he casually walks to test his knees. Naito and Suzuki circle, approach, but then Naito backs off. He circles with Suzuki again, and Suzuki swings test kicks. Naito fakes lunging in, and backs off with a grin. Suzuki goes after Naito with kicks, then whips, but Naito reverses. Naito throws Suzuki out, then runs, to Tranquilo! Suzuki is pissed, and gets in the ring, but Naito slips out. Suzuki builds speed, to copy Tranquilo! Naito brushes the taunting off, but doesn’t enter the ring just yet. He paces around the outside, with Suzuki watching him the entire time. Naito rolls into the ring, to then roll back out.

Naito gets on the apron and Suzuki rushes over, but Naito sweeps the legs. He drags Suzuki out and whips him right into barriers. Naito whips Suzuki to the barriers on the other side, then kicks and clubs away on him. They go back in the ring, and Naito brings Suzuki up for the snapmare and headscissors. Suzuki endures as Naito wrenches his neck. Naito squeezes, but Suzuki keeps it from being a cover. Suzuki won’t quit so Naito covers, TWO. Naito stomps and kicks Suzuki, then toys with him. Naito fakes a punch to then club, but Suzuki just gets mad. He toys with Suzuki more, but Suzuki boots him down. Suzuki dares Naito to get back up as he goes to the ropes. Naito chooses not to, so Suzuki returns the toying kicks.

Naito sits up with every kick, a smile on his face. Suzuki drags Naito up, and Naito goes after the eyes! Naito spits on Suzuki, then throws hands. Suzuki eggs Naito on, so Naito whips him corner to corner. Naito runs in but Suzuki puts him on the apron. Suzuki blocks Naito’s punch and catches it into a hanging triangle! Red Shoes counts, and Suzuki lets go at 4. Suzuki then goes to the apron, and Penalty Kicks Naito down. Fans applaud while Suzuki goes down to drag Naito up, and whip him into barriers! Naito hits hard, and tumbles over to the outside. Suzuki barges through the gate and then rips apart the hard plastic railings to SMACK Naito with it!

Then Suzuki throws a chair down on Naito! Then another! Suzuki apparently takes offense at one of the young lions, and boots said young lion into the crowd! Red Shoes tells Suzuki to bring this back to the ring. Suzuki uncovers Naito, to then wrap and wrench his arm in other railings. Red Shoes reprimands Suzuki, then argues with him! Suzuki releases Naito while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns to Suzuki prowling outside the ring. Suzuki drags Naito up and over to the ring, but Naito fights back. The 20 count passes 15, but Suzuki knees Naito low to reenter the ring. Naito reenters at 19, saving the match. Suzuki drags Naito up for a kick to the back, then scowls at the fans cheering for Naito. He kicks Naito in the chest, but fans only cheer stronger. Suzuki kicks and kicks, and kicks again. He scowls but Naito still sits up. Suzuki drags Naito up into a cravat hold, then snapmares for another kick tot he back. Cover, TWO, and fans applaud. Suzuki goes after an arm now, twisting the wrist and fingers in all directions, then down to the elbow for a mounted hammerlock. Suzuki grabs a leg to add a Half Crab into it.

Naito is bent in all directions, but doesn’t give up, so Suzuki lets him go to stomp him out. Suzuki toys with Naito, but Naito keeps grinning. Suzuki brings Naito up for a knee to the chin, but Naito keeps smiling. Naito takes another stiff knee, but sits up again. Suzuki actually welcomes that. Naito stands up and chops Suzuki, but Suzuki kicks back. Naito rakes the eyes, and spits, but Suzuki clubs him back. Suzuki knees then whips but Naito reverses and runs Suzuki over. Naito adds a dropkick, brings Suzuki up for a neckbreaker, then poses. Fans rally for “Naito! Naito!” as he brings Suzuki up. He whips Suzuki to a corner then sets the legs sideways, for a draping neckbreaker! Naito keeps going with a standing neckbreaker, then adds another dropkick to the back.

Suzuki clutches his neck and head while Naito stands. Naito digs his heel into Suzuki as he poses. Suzuki swats him away and sits up, eyes wild with anger. Suzuki stands up, and grins with Naito, to then unleash body shots. He whips Naito corner to corner and boots him, then snapmares to Penalty Kick. And another! And another! Cover, TWO, but Suzuki keeps his focus. Now Suzuki grinds his heel into Naito’s face, then stands him up. Naito suddenly hits a tornado DDT! Suzuki clutches his neck again, but both men are down. They slowly stand up, and Suzuki dares Naito to hit him. Naito does, so Suzuki gives back. Naito gives a forearm, so Suzuki winds up for one of his own. Suzuki staggers Naito with that one, but Naito comes back with a chop.

Suzuki gives another strong forearm, and Naito staggers again. Naito chops again, but Suzuki gives another sharp forearm. Suzuki wants Naito to keep hitting him, so Naito chops again. Suzuki rocks Naito with another forearm, and Naito sits down. Naito shakes the cobwebs out while Suzuki trash talks. Naito chops, Suzuki forearms. Suzuki gives more forearms, then whips, but Naito hits a leaping forearm! Naito stands up, runs in, but Suzuki blocks the kick to go after the knee. Suzuki runs but into an atomic drop, and Naito hits the kick. Suzuki sits down, and Naito hits the swinging dropkick!

Naito gets up and drags Suzuki to his feet. Suzuki knows Naito is bringing him to the top rope, so Suzuki grabs Red Shoes! Naito gives up on the lift, and Suzuki shoves Red Shoes away. Naito tries again, and climbs up to the top with Suzuki. Suzuki grabs Naito’s leg for a hanging heel hook!

Naito endures as Suzuki uses gravity to help pull that knee. Red Shoes recovers and counts, Suzuki lets go at 4, but the damage has been done. Naito clutches his knee while Red Shoes checks on him. Suzuki returns and stomps the knee. Red Shoes wants Suzuki to back up, but Suzuki argues with him again. Suzuki won’t let up, he stomps the knee even as Red Shoes checks. Suzuki stands on the bad knee, but Naito won’t give up. Fans rally for Naito, and Red Shoes backs Suzuki up. Naito rolls to ropes and Red Shoes checks on him, but Suzuki just grins as he looms over them. Suzuki kicks the bad leg, then stomps it, toying with Naito like a cat with a mouse. Naito sits up and Suzuki kicks him more.

Naito crawls but Suzuki moves Red Shoes aside to bring Naito up. Suzuki kicks and kicks, then wraps the leg into a kneebar! Naito endures, but Suzuki has it grape-vined. Suzuki even traps the far leg while twisting the heel. Naito screams in pain but Suzuki only makes it worse. Naito drags himself and Suzuki over, and gets the ropebreak! Suzuki lets go, but he comes right back. He kicks Naito’s leg, then drops elbows on it. Suzuki goes into the Figure Four! Naito endures the legendary hold, but fans rally for him. Suzuki puts as much pressure on the legs as he can, but Naito refuses to quit. Naito rolls and drags towards ropes, screaming in pain, and gets another ropebreak. Suzuki lets go again, but he has complete control as we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and Suzuki throws Naito’s bad leg onto the mat. Suzuki toys with Naito again, but Naito slowly stands. Naito goes to kick, but Suzuki blocks and lifts him, only for Naito to turn it into a DDT! Suzuki and Naito stand, Naito enziguris Suzuki to a corner. Naito hobbles over, climbs up, and turns Suzuki around for the inverted tornado DDT. Cover, TWO! Fans fire up with Naito, and Naito drags Suzuki back up. Naito wrenches the arm, and tilt-o-whirls, but Suzuki slams him down and puts the Kneebar back on! Suzuki even manages a headlock in it!

Naito reaches with his one free limb, but Suzuki shifts back to just the kneebar. Naito drags them both around again, but Suzuki breaks to drag him away. Suzuki puts the kneebar back on, and now Naito is stranded. Naito sits up, but Suzuki uses a leg to sit him back down. Naito goes back towards ropes but Suzuki stands with an ankle lock to drag him away. Suzuki drops down to grape-vine, and we’re back to the kneebar. Red Shoes checks on Naito, but Naito keeps conscious. Suzuki laces his legs into a figure four, then goes after the heel hook. Fans rally for Naito as Naito sits up and shouts at Suzuki. Naito drags himself around again, but Suzuki lets go to drag him back! Suzuki returns to the kneebar all over again.

Naito won’t give up, even though Suzuki wrenches and twists his leg in all directions. Naito grabs Red Shoes to keep himself from tapping. Suzuki goes for the heel hook, but Naito uses that opening to roll and roll, to the ropebreak! Suzuki lets go again, and fans continue to rally for Naito. Naito slowly stirs, but Suzuki is waiting for him to stand. Suzuki drags Naito up and gives body shots and quick palm strikes even. Then he grabs Naito in a sleeper hold! Naito flails and reaches, but Suzuki keeps him away. Red Shoes checks, and Naito is fading. They sit down, but fans aren’t giving up on Naito. Naito turns a bit purple as Red Shoes checks on him more. Naito revives, and uses that second wind to stand. Suzuki spins him around, but Naito uses that spin to spin Suzuki into a neckbreaker!

Both men are down now, both tired and sore from this battle. Fans rally for Naito again, but Suzuki is stalking him with that sinister grin. Suzuki brings Naito up, but Naito strikes first with slapping palm strikes! Naito staggers Suzuki, but keeps slapping! Sweat flies off Suzuki with every shot, but then Suzuki kicks Naito’s leg out. Suzuki drags Naito up into the sleeper again, then goes to judo throw him. Naito lands on his feet, and lifts Suzuki into a brainbuster! Fans fire up and Naito hobbles over. He brings Suzuki up, wrench and tilt-o-whirl, Destino!

Cover, Naito wins!!

Winner: Naito, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion

Tranquilo prevails as Naito defeats Suzuki! Naito has the title back, but his body went through so much to do it. Naito’s team comes out to celebrate the night with him. LIJ now has two titles under their possession with EVIL & SANADA retaining their titles. Suzuki is helped out of the ring while we go to break.

Red Shoes raises Naito’s hand.

The new champion is clearly too exhausted and sore to celebrate properly. Suzuki himself is too sore and tired to go past ringside. Hiromu Takahashi helps Naito, and Naito has a proper moment of his hand held up high. Suzuki staggers up to his feet and shoves the young lions away. He doesn’t want their help, even if he’s falling against railings and such. Back in the ring, Naito staggers to his feet, mic in his hand.

“Buenas Noches, Kumamoto!” Naito knows “it’s been about two years and five months since New Japan had an event in Kumamoto.” It’s been a long time since fans here saw LIJ. This premium pro-wrestling experincing was enjoyable, yes? Fans cheer to confirm. Naito knows that two years ago, “something terrible happened here in Kumamoto.” Many people bear the scars. So Naito has to tell them, that it is important to not give up. But the desire and will to change and the courage to take the first step is also important. that’s why LIJ uses pro-wrestling to inspire everyone to have that courage. Fans applaud in appreciation for that.

Naito continues to say that the next time they’re in Kumamoto, they can expect “an even better version of LIJ!” In other words, “until we meet again, Tranquilo! Chill out.” Naito thanks all their fans for their support, and this is the finale of tonight’s event. Furthermore, they will do their victory chant. Please shout with them to your heart’s content! “EVIL, Bushi, Sanada, Hiromu, and Naito, we are… Los Ingobernables de Japon!” With more gold in their possession, is it only a matter of time before they are THE top faction in NJPW?

 

Backstage interviews.

Suzuki staggers around, and a young lion still tries to assist him. “Well, well, well…” Suzuki says this is only the beginning for him and Naito. “Don’t think you’ll get off so lightly.” He then staggers back out, knocking part of the set over on purpose.

Naito comments that today’s title match comes about a year after he and the Intercontinental Championship “broke up.” But now, they’re “back together.” Naito’s feelings haven’t changed, he still has “no use for this belt.” And the same goes for the title. But until next time, hasta luego. Is Naito only champion so that he can say he’s better than Suzuki? And will Suzuki come back to take back the belt Naito doesn’t even like?

 


 

My Thoughts:

This was another great hour of action, with really only one-and-a-half matches. I do wish we got a bit more of LIJ VS KES, but the ending is naturally the best part. EVIL & SANADA make a great duo, as do Archer & Davey Boy, but LIJ is so strong that it might take more than just 2v2 to defeat them. Hiromu & Bushi have been on the other end of this same LIJ VS Suzuki-Gun battle, but it might only be a matter of time for them to take the Jr. Tag Team Championships. Suzuki VS Naito is rightfully the meat of the show, though, and the story between them was a great part of it. Naito was rebellious as ever, but he shows he has grit and guts. Naito leading LIJ has made it one, if not the, top group, and I’m sure more great things are yet to come.

My Score: 8.7/10


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Mitchell’s Ring of Honor Report! (5/19/18)

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ROH WRESTLING TELEVISION, Episode 348

Two major matches worthy of Pay-Per-View, but ROH TV brings them to you for free! First, The Franchise, Jay Lethal, looks to settle with Punishment Martinez. Can Lethal make up for his previous loss? Then, a huge Six Man Tag of SoCal Uncensored VS The Bullet Club’s Cody, Page & Scurll with possible title implications!

 

All images courtesy of the Fite.TV app and streaming service

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Jay Lethal VS Punishment Martinez; Lethal wins.
  • Shane Taylor VS Joey “Diesel” Daddiego; no contest.
  • Six Man Tag: SoCal Uncensored VS The Bullet Club’s Cody, Hangman Page & Marty Scurll; Bullet Club wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Jay Lethal VS Punishment Martinez!

ROH’s Franchise Player wants to get back to the top, but to do that, he seeks to undo the losses he’s suffered. First up is the Reincarnation of the Purple Mist, the monstrous Martinez. Martinez has heard of Lethal’s “agenda”, but he has one, too. “And that’s to leave you laying at my feet again when I take you South… of Heaven.” Can Lethal avenge his loss and take another step towards the ROH World Championship?

Martinez doesn’t wait for a bell, he rushes right at Lethal! Lethal dodges Martinez’s boot, then the clothesline, to clothesline Martinez out of the ring. The bell sounds, and fans chant for Lethal. Lethal builds speed and Martinez hops up to the apron, but Lethal dropkicks him right back off! Lethal keeps going, and DIVES!

Martinez hits barriers but Lethal gets back in, to DIVE again! Lethal keeps going, he gets the Trinity! But he’s not done, he gets a fourth! And a fifth! And a sixth! The fans in Pittsburgh are thunderous as Lethal returns to the ring once more, for lucky number seven! Fans chant “Lethal! Lethal!” and the Franchise soaks it all up. Martinez clutches his leg on the ground while Lethal catches his breath. Lethal fetches Martinez into the ring, then goes after that bad leg with kicks. Lethal goes after the leg with elbow drops and wrenching, then kicks away at it. Martinez limps to a corner but Lethal bumps him off buckles. Lethal chops Martinez, but Martinez shoves him away to then clobber with a discus clothesline. Martinez evens things up while we go to break.

ROH returns and Lethal goes after Martinez’s leg again. Lethal DDT’s the foot, then covers, ONE. Martinez checks his knee but Lethal puts him in a corner. Lethal uses the ropes to wrench the leg, but backs off at 4. Lethal stomps away on the leg, but Martinez rocks him with a right. Martinez tries to turn things around, but Lethal comes back with haymakers and chops. Martinez glares at Lethal, so Lethal goes after the leg again. Lethal brings Martinez out via that leg, then chops again, but Martinez still glares. Lethal elbows the knee, then goes around, for the Figure Four, but Martinez powers him away. Martinez manages to stand but Lethal is on him again with body shots. Lethal clubs Martinez, but Martinez rocks him back with an uppercut and a stiff right.

Martinez runs in for the back elbow, then hits the spinning clothesline and roaring right. He drags Lethal up, then drops him with a sidewalk slam. Cover, TWO. Fans rally for Lethal, but Martinez drags him up. Martinez whips, but Lethal kicks him away, only for Martinez to fire back with the spinning roundhouse. The bad knee keeps Martinez from making the cover, and fans rally up for Lethal. Martinez gets up and limps over to Lethal, then goes to a corner. He climbs up, but Lethal stands up to trip him up. Lethal clubs that knee while positioning Martinez, then runs to dropkick the knee. Lethal climbs up now, but Martinez resists the superplex. Martinez powers out and ear claps Lethal back. Martinez knocks Lethal down with a right, then slowly adjusts, for the flying windmill kick!

The bad knee makes that move a tad double-edged, but Martinez still covers, TWO! Martinez keeps his cool while he stands up. He drags Lethal up, then whips, but Lethal dodges to then catch Martinez into a facelock. Martinez blocks the suplex, but Lethal keeps trying. Lethal gets Martinez up, up, and over! Fans applaud while both men are down from exhaustion. Martinez stands first while we go to another break.

ROH returns again, and Lethal gets the Figure Four! Martinez endures the pain while fans chant “Tap! Tap!” Martinez reaches, drags himself, and gets the ropebreak. Lethal lets go, but then kick that bad leg. He brings Martinez up, then handsprings, but into a full nelson throw! Martinez runs and curb stomps Lethal down! Cover, TWO! Martinez is surprised, but fans chant for Lethal. Martinez drags Lethal up again, then hoists him to the top rope. He rocks Lethal with a right, then hobbles around before climbing up. Fans rally again, but Martinez grabs Lethal’s throat. Lethal fights back, going after the leg. Martinez tries again, but Lethal keeps fighting back. Lethal bumps Martinez’s head right off the buckle, and fans fire up. Lethal adjusts, and leaps for Hail to the King!

Cover, TWO! Lethal is surprised, but he keeps his cool. Lethal stands up first and kicks Martinez, then again. Martinez kicks back, then lifts Lethal in a torture rack. The leg gives out and Lethal slips off. Lethal trips Martinez, and goes for the Figure Four again! But Martinez clutches Lethal’s throat. Lethal breaks free, and dodges one punch. Martinez spins, but his leg gives out again. SUPERKICK from Lethal! Then, handspring for the Lethal Injection!

Cover, Lethal wins!

Winner: Lethal, by pinfall

The Franchise gets even with Martinez and crosses off one name from his list. Who will Lethal look to go after next on his #RoadBacktoGlory?

 

The WOH Champion has her first challenger.

Sumie Sakai won the inaugural Women of Honor Championship Tournament to then become THE inaugural Women of Honor Champion. However, the returning Jenny Rose made it clear that she wants to be Sumie’s first opponent as champion. Sumie doesn’t want to fight Jenny, because they’re friends, but if it’s over the title, she will. Sumie wants this to be a friendly bout, but Jenny doesn’t seem so concerned about that. The ROH WOHC is on the line next week, will the inaugural champion stay champion by the end?

 

Shane Taylor VS Joey “Diesel” Daddiego!

Joey D returns to ROH! “Everybody has to get up and go to work everyday. Some of us just work that much harder than everybody else.” And if Joey does that here in ROH, it won’t matter who he’s up against, he can run through them! However, the Notorious Hitman isn’t just anyone. Taylor has made it his mission to expel all the dead weight from ROH so that he can get that money. Which man’s mission will destroy the other’s?

The bell rings and Taylor swings on Joey. Joey ducks, and throws body shots. Joey bobs and weaves on Taylor, but he can’t lift him. Taylor clubs Joey and rocks him with a stiff forearm. Taylor catches Joey, then trash talks him before giving him the sit-out choke slam bomb! He adds on a body splash, then covers, TWO! And Taylor is shocked. Joey gets to a corner, and fans rally up for him. Taylor is slightly amused now, and runs in, but misses the cannonball! Joey gets up, and throws hands on Taylor. Joey shows why he’s a Golden Gloves winner, but Taylor shoves him away. Taylor misses, but Joey connects! Joey tries to lift Taylor again, and does! He slams Taylor with the Daddiego Valley Driver!

Cover, TWO! Taylor rolls away but Joey follows him out. Joey comes running in, but the Drive-by Dropkick is intercepted by the One Hitter Quitter! Taylor drags Joey up and throws him into barriers. Taylor rocks Joey with another OHQ, then puts Joey into another barrier. The referee checks on Joey, but Taylor dares Joey to get up again. Taylor throws his own body shots and right hands, then sits a chair up. He sits Joey in the chair, then gets another chair. Taylor grins, and sits that other chair down. Taylor says he gave Joey a chance, before ramming forearm after forearm into Joey’s face. He sets Joey across the two chairs, with bad intentions in mind. Taylor backs off, and climbs up onto the apron, for a FLYING SPLASH!

Pittsburgh is thunderous after that. Joey is somehow conscious and moving, but the referees insist Taylor stay back. Taylor takes a ref, and Choke Slams him!!

That’s money down the drain for the Hitman. But Taylor doesn’t seem to care, as he threatens the other ref to keep this match going. The referee seems unwilling, so Taylor threatens him. A security staff rushes out to try and talk Taylor down, but Taylor only takes him and throws him in an exploder. Taylor sees another security staff, and hits him with the choke slam bomb! The third security staff tries but only gets the sit-out driver, the same move Taylor used on Ryan Nova. Taylor is a monster, but this match is over.

No Contest

Is there anyone in ROH who can stop the rampage of the Notorious Shane Taylor?

 

Cody & Brandi Rhodes speak.

Cody’s ready. He is ready for tonight’s main event, as Bullet Club’s “Luxury Trio” take on SoCal Uncensored. And after they win, Cody has some news. It’s a secret, it’s a surprise, and he knows Scurll isn’t around, but… Well maybe Brandi can say what it is. Nevermind, Cody… No, Brandi. Nevermind, Cody goes ahead and says it: “At Best in the World, I am going to be taking my rematch against the ROH World Champion, Dalton Castle.” Cody compliments Brandi on a “good job”. Mr. & Mrs. American Nightmare are smiling now, but will The Villain be smiling when he hears the news?

 

ROH’s Enforcer has gone too far.

Bully Ray came into this company as a welcomed addition, whose experience and wisdom in the business was an asset. However, Bully has let his personal opinion grow into a grudge against all the “young boys” coming in. Bully crossed a line when he assaulted then terminated two young stars last week, and Cheeseburger came out to tell him to his face, “You’re a piece of sh*t.” Cheeseburger would get a choke slam for it, but Joe Koff would step up next. Koff was warned but still kept Bully around, and now he knows. Koff terminated Bully as the Enforcer, but Bully decided to come out of retirement! Will Bully take his grudge into the ring? Will Cheeseburger be able to get retribution?

 

Is the Bullet Club really Fine?

The Young Bucks were almost ROH World Tag Team Champions again, but The Briscoes resorted to chair shots and beat downs to retain. However, the beating went on longer than expected, as Bullet Club members were slow to respond. Hangman Page ran into an ambush, as did Flip Gordon. Scurll was a no show, and Cody showed up too late to be of use, as he also got a beating. #DemBoyz are still champions, will they soon conquer all of ROH?

 

Six Man Tag: SoCal Uncensored VS The Bullet Club’s Cody w/ Bernard the Business Bear, Hangman Page & Marty Scurll!

To add to the question “Is Bullet Club Fine?”, the three members of this #LuxuryTrio don’t even arrive together. The American Nightmare, his Problem Solver and his Villain are the more unified combination of Bullet Club, but can they hold it together to defeat a truly cohesive Almighty Daniels, Heavy Metal Rebel and California Closer?

The true ROH World Six Man Tag Champions, despite what The Kingdom thinks

Fans chant for Bullet Club as the teams sort out. Cody and Scorpio Sky start, and they tie up at the bell. Scorpio gets behind but Cody wrenches Scorpio’s arm into a shoulder breaker. Scorpio gets to the ropes, and Cody honors the break with a cartwheel. Fans applaud and Cody grins. Cody and Scorpio tie up again but Scorpio kicks low and snap suplexes Cody down. Fans boo and jeer, and Cody kicks back for the falling uppercut. Cody wrenches the arm, then suplexes Scorpio up. Cody shows off some strength, and fans fire up as he gordbusters Scorpio down. The Bullet Club is doing fine so far while we go to break.

ROH returns, and Daniels has Scurll trapped in the headscissors. However, Scurll headstands, and claps his legs together as fans “Woop! Woop!” for him. Scurll pops out and pats Daniels’ head before strutting away. Daniels is furious but the fans are thunderous for the cheeky Villain. Fans chant “Marty! Marty!” but Daniels doesn’t want ot hear it. Scurll winds up and… Tags to Hangman! Fans chant “Hangman! Hangman!” but Kaz wants in. Daniels tags, and this old grudge returns. Kaz rushes at Hangman but Hangman arm-drags him, then hip tosses him. Hangman goes for legs but Kaz shoves him away. Kaz arm-drags Hangman, then hip tosses him, but now Hangman shoves Kaz away. Hangman gets the headlock takeover, but Kaz the headscissors, Hangman pops out. Kaz gets the takeover, Hangman just misses the headscissors, but the fans applaud this stalemate.

Hangman and Kaz start throwing hands! They speed up, fast and furious, and fans love it. Hangman gets the edge, but turns into a forearm. Kaz runs, but into Hangman’s roaring elbow! Hangman and Kaz run and collide with clotheslines, but neither falls. Kaz runs in but Hangman dodges to take out Scorpio. Hangman then turns Kaz around, scoops him up, but has to drop him as Daniels runs in. Hangman kicks Daniels, then uses him for the Dropsault! TWO, but Hangman keeps his cool. Hangman tags to Cody, Cody springboards in for the missile dropkick. Fans chant “Cody! Cody!” and he teases Kaz. Cody kicks low, then whips but Kaz kicks low. Kaz then hits Hangman just because, and dodges Cody from the corner. Cody puts Kaz on the apron, then back elbows Kaz. Cody goes for the Beautiful Disaster, but Kaz ducks and the kick goes into Scurll!

Scurll goes down and Daniels grabs Cody for a Blue Thunder Bomb. Kaz rains down rights, then brings Cody into the SCU corner. Tag to Daniels, and Daniels whips Cody into a calf kick. The one and only ROH Grand Slam Champion chokes Cody on the mat with both hands. He lets up at 4, then tags to Scorpio. Scorpio lifts Cody into a backbreaker, then covers, TWO. Scorpio scrapes Cody’s face then tags back to Daniels. Daniels and Scorpio double whip Cody corner to corner, then Daniels hits the forearm smash. Daniels hoists Cody up to the top rope, then gives a palm strike. Kaz adds a bicycle kick, then Scorpio the SUPER Steiner. Daniels covers, TWO, but puts Cody in a chinlock while we go to one last break.

ROH returns once again, and fans rally for Cody. Daniels has Cody in a facelock, but Cody fights his way over to his corner. Daniels knees low, then hits Hangman for good measure. Scurll hits Daniels back, but Daniels and Cody hit with double clotheslines. Both men are down and fans rally for Cody. Cody and Daniels crawl, hot tags to Scorpio and Scurll! The Villain rallies, throwing hands and stomps in a corner. Scurll stomps a serious mudhole, and the fans are loving it. Kaz comes in, and kicks low. Kaz mocks the wing flaps, but falls for the feint. Scurll kicks Kaz out of the ring, but Scorpio clubs Scurll. Scorpio runs, but into a drop toehold from Cody, Scurll adds a basement dropkick. Hangman adds the standing shooting star, and fans fire up all over again.

Scurll takes aim at Scorpio, goes to the apron, SUPERKICK. Scurll slips into the ring but Daniels tosses him out, to then hit the Arabian Press moonsault. But Cody climbs and FLIES! Cody wipes them out but then Kaz slingshots for the huricanrana. But Hangman hits the Shooting Star tackle! Bullet Club regroups, but Scorpio FLIES! Scorpio wipes them and even Kaz out, but that isn’t the end. Daniels climbs up, but Cody pursues. They brawl up top, and Cody resists Daniels’ attempts, to then SUPERPLEX Daniels onto everyone else!!

Everyone goes down but the fans are thunderous once again. Fans chant “ROH! ROH!” while the Villain crawls after the Fallen Angel. The ring count climbs high, and luckily it’s a 20 count. The count passes 13 but no one is back in the ring. It reaches 18, but only now does anyone stand. They all get in at 19.5! Scurll fires up, and stands with Daniels. Daniels and Scurll go back and forth with haymakers, then Scurll hits a European Uppercut. Scurll takes Daniels’ fingers and… Eye poke from Daniels, then an STO!

Daniels fires up whiel fans jeer, but he ends up in Hangman’s powerbomb. Hangman rushes at Kaz, but Kaz puts him on the apron to then slingshot cutter. Kaz rushes Cody, but Cody goes up and over to then hti the spinning powerslam. Cody spots Scorpio, but runs into a shoulder, and a slingshot cutter of Scorpio’s. Scorpio rocks Scurll with a knee lift, but finds himself reeled into a pumphandle brainbuster. Scurll fires up and calls for the end. He gets the fans worked up, does the spin and “Chicken Wing!” But Scorpio backs Scurll into buckles. Daniels returns, as does Kaz. Hangman tags in before The Addiction double whip Scurll. Scurll dodges The Addiction, and Hangman gets a Double Buckshot!

Scorpio catches Hangman into a cradle, TWO. Scorpio kicks low but misses the other kick, and ends up in Cody’s “Din’s Fire” vertabreaker!

Hangman jackknifes Scorpio up into the Rite of Passage!

Cover, Bullet Club wins!

Winners: Bullet Club (Cody, Scurll & Page), Page pinning

Bullet Club is fine enough to win, but the SCU are sore losers, and they attack from behind with Scurll’s umbrella in a low blow on Page! Daniels clobbers Cody on his own, but Scurll returns to take his umbrella back and use it. However, he swings at Daniels, who dodges, and hits Cody!!

Bullet Club is left in a state of shock as ROH goes off the air. Will Bullet Club be fine after being left speechless?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A great hour of action for ROH, everything was entertaining and important to story. Lethal VS Martinez was a great opening, and definitely had story and action worthy of a PPV. Lethal wins to keep that mission of his alive, and if it’s about making up for losses, I hope that means he goes after Silas Young, and even goes after the ROH World TV title as part of it. Great to see Joey Diesel back, but wow was it to make him a sacrifice to Taylor. Taylor ups his Monster Heel status with everything, but still great for Joey that he was still moving after that chair splash spot. Joey might be Taylor’s true opponent in this story of his, and another go would be fun to watch. Good plugs for Briscoes, Bully and WOH, can’t wait to see what’s next for those.

The Bullet Club is (Not) Fine story continues to grow and evolve between both ROH and NJPW. This tension between Cody and Scurll over wanting the World Championship is great stuff, and the Six Man Tag really played on that. The Six Man Tag was a great match in itself, but adding the story element of Cody accidentally kicking Scurll, paralleled by Scurll accidentally hitting Cody, made it even greater. Hangman continues to rise as a star, but the real story will be whether Cody and Scurll come to blows over challenging Dalton Castle. My guess would be that they do, and winner moves on to challenge Castle. Or it ends up a Triple Threat and that in itself brings Cody and Scurll to blows, which could cost them both the title.

My Score: 8.5/10


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