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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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(NOAH) WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.10 ~16TH NOVEMBER 2018

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Another wonderfully in depth recap of this week in Pro Wrestling NOAH. How is the Global League going? Let’s see what else has been going on in NOAH.





CURRENT TOUR RECAP
NOAH were in Hiroshima on the 12th November; Hiroshima is a city of mixed emotion for NOAH, for some it is home, but for the promotion as a whole it has sad associations, as Mitsuharu Misawa died there in 2009.

Hitoshi Kumano, (a local bear), took charge of fundraising for the Heavy Rain Fund (Hiroshima was hit badly earlier in the year by floods, and the mascot got yelled at by Mitsuya Nagai). Nagai was wound up by Naomichi Marufuji as well, who held the ropes open for him, a tactic which served to wind Kenoh up too. It was also the event where Kotaro Suzuki got his win over HAYATA, and sat on the ropes holding the belt up to both Daisuke Harada and HAYATA. Kotaro Suzuki later said that HAYATA bought out his trump card in the previous match (“the Headache”), and so he bought out his too, and that he would be no match for him with his own number of various maneuvers which he would bring out in the title match. They had their final match before the championship match on the 17th in Osaka, and they will both go into the match with one victory each over the other in the build up for the challenge.

Fan support is very much on the side of HAYATA (who is not NOAH born unlike Suzuki who is seen as an outsider, despite being NOAH born) to bring the championship home.

Mitsuya Nagai clashed with Naomichi Marufuji, and was chopped to shreds. Marufuji said he looked like a “boiled octopus” afterwards. Katsuhiko Nakajima would dismiss Nagai as “small fish” on the 14th, but Nagai would break through the dark cloud on the 16th when he ended the winning streak of Kohei Sato.

Despite his fluke win and spazz out victory celebration against Takashi Sugiura, Kaito Kiyomiya suffered two defeats in a row; the first being against Atsushi Kotoge on the 14th and Cody Hall on the 16th. Kotoge, however, has been on a roll and defeated Go Shiozaki on the 16th.

In a rare moment on the 14th, Masa Kitamiya and Kenoh shook hands. Kitamiya said that he did it to acknowledge that he and Kenoh (who lost to him) had practically fought to the death for the win, and that he didn’t trust wrestlers who had no ambition. Speaking of Kenoh, during the huge tag on the 16th November, his victory over

Marufuji seemingly wasn’t enough, and he decided to get his face again.

Marufuji (now with both shoulders needing athletic support) just looked tired and like he’d had enough.

The show on the 16th November was a shift in the league; Kohei Sato, Kazusada Higuchi and Go Shiozaki had their perfect records beaten by Mitsuya Nagai, Mohammed Yone and Atsushi Kotoge, and Nakajima avenged his loss against Quiet Storm in Global League 2017.

As Global League is beginning to heat up, everyone is talking about not letting anymore victories slip through their fingers, but of course, not all matches can go to a draw, and someone has to lose. There can only be two finalists, and ultimately one winner.

Full recap of Global League 2018 so far, can be found here.

Noah will be back on Saturday 17th November at the Edion Arena in Osaka, (gong sounds at 18.30).

NEWS

THE EVOLUTION OF KENOH 
The upcoming “Wrestlers Directory” 2018 (basically a guide to who is who, what, and where in 2018) was previewed and Naomichi Marufuji and Kenoh were profiled with their changing looks over the years. 

Kenoh made the following comments about his entry:

  • His 2009 picture is ugly
  • Like all trainees, he debuted with a shaved head. Says he didn’t used to cut it, and its awkward to look at it, says he didn’t think he had any money to cut it.
  • It doesn’t really translate well, but Kenoh says he cut his hair in 2012 because it had been long for long enough. In another rough translation he says that he looks like a child of badboy parents, who has been forced to pose.
  • Kenoh said about his expression that it doesn’t change, because in his every day life, he does not laugh a lot.
  • In 2015, Kenoh says that “I admired him and went blonde, but I can no longer say I have the aspiration to be like him” (he is talking about Morishima, who very sadly, has let a lot of people down, including Kenoh).

YOSHIKI INAMURA ADDED TO THE NOAH ROSTER PAGE 
At the moment there is not too much information on him apart from his birthday (November 18th 1992), his height and weight, blood type and birthplace (Otawara City in Tochigi Prefecture), date of debut and finisher. His finisher isn’t anything special at the moment, and doesn’t have a special name, being listed only as a “tackle”.

He doesn’t have a Twitter account yet.

CHRISTMAS AT MUSCLE GRILL
Naomichi Marufuji’s current restaurant MUSCLE GRILL in Tokyo will be having a Christmas party on the 22nd December. Naomichi Marufuji, Hi69, Tadasuke, Atsushi Kotoge and Junta Miyawaki will be attending, but obviously this depends on whether or not they manage to stay injury free.

Event is now full.

HAJIME OHARA IN CHINA
Hajime Ohara has missed some Noah dates as he is training the Eastern Hero Athletes in Shanghai, and also when they visit the Noah dojo in Saitama. Ohara is known to be a very strict trainer with a lot of emphasis on health and well-being, which goes further than working out as he is a big advocate for healthy eating and avoiding alcohol (although he does seem to have a weakness for cake); he has banned smoking during training sessions, forbidding his students to smoke while on breaks.

NOAH IN 2019 
Noah have announced the dates for “Navigation for The Future 2019”. The tour will run from January 6th to Friday, February 1st. They have also announced their (provisional) Korakuen Hall schedule for 2019.

TAKESHI MORISHIMA UPDATE
There has been no real news following Morishima’s arrest earlier in the month, but further sad details have come to light about his behavior prior to the arrest and his living circumstances.

Morishima it seems was (and is) homeless and without any form of income, and was begging for drinks, even using the tactic of asking to drink with the bar staff as it meant he would be given free drinks.

The management company who were sponsoring his return had originally put him up in an apartment, which they paid the rent for. The deal was that Morishima would concentrate on his return, however, Morishima didn’t do this, and preferred alcohol to training. The President of the company, seeing that Morishima wasn’t giving anything in return despite repeated requests for him to change his ways, eventually lost his patience and told Morishima to pack up and leave.

Morishima, seemingly unconcerned about this, told him flippantly that he was drinking in Shinjuku, and if he wanted the keys, he should come and get them.

GHC BELT NEWS

  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
  • GHC Junior Champion: Kotaro Suzuki
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Naomichi Marufuji & Akitoshi Saito
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69

The winner of Global League 2018 will earn the right to challenge Takashi Sugiura for the GHC Heavyweight title, if he himself wins, Sugiura says that he will nominate Masato Tanaka as his challenger.

Kotaro Suzuki will defend the GHC Junior Heavyweight title against HAYATA on the 17th November at Edion Arena, Osaka.

The GHC Heavyweight Tag titles have not had a challenger as of yet, and probably won’t until after Global League wraps up. Mitsuya Nagai has hinted that he may challenge, but Saito said that he will not be granted a title shot. Katsuhiko Nakajima was asked if he was going to challenge after the Global League match with Saito, and said cryptically, he was “in the mood for shopping” (i.e., shopping around to see what deal is best).

The GHC Junior Tag Championship will be challenged for by Koji Kanemoto and Hiroshi Yamato on the 25th November at Korakuen Hall. Seiya Morohashi has also challenged for them, his partner at this time is as yet unknown, but it is thought it will either be TAMURA or Kouki Iwasaki.

TOUR TIDBITS

  • Atsushi Kotoge drinks “Revolutionary Coffee”
  • Naomichi Marufuji sat on a wet bench wearing thin grey pants…
  • There was a cat at the hotel in Ehime, much to YO-HEY’s delight
  • Kaito Kiyomiya appears to be being fitted for tailored suits (long gone are the days of the oversize one thank god)
  • Daisuke Harada celebrated his 32nd birthday on the 13th November (President Uchida did not even know it was his birthday!), and Yoshiki Inamura will celebrate his 26th birthday on November 18th, Takashi Sugiura bought him an early birthday cake and a small party was held at a restaurant Inamura had been taken out to by his seniors.
  • Shu Nishinaga said Ally (the ring announcer) “whined like a child” for udon noodles.
  • Naomichi Marufuji says he was disturbed by mosquitoes, in November, which woke him up at 2.30am
  • Kenoh apparently went jogging in the Imperial Palace Gardens in Kyoto (a fan who saw him, thought he was a blonde delinquent fleeing the law before it was discovered it was Kenoh)

KING SHAMELESS CORNER 
After weeks of silence. Takashi Sugiura is back, posting a picture of Masao Inoue holding an ice cream cone with white foam in it and labeling it “mood” and photographing erotic looking food.

I’ll leave it to your (and his) dirty imagination as to what exactly he meant by oysters being “erotic”…

BROADCASTS
The final night of Global League, 25th November, will be broadcast at 6pm on Saturday 8th December
The event on the 12th December, will be broadcast on the 15th December
The event on the 16th December, will be broadcast on the 22nd December

This is more than usual, and all seem to be going out on a weekly basis. This makes me wonder if the network are trying something out.

LINKS
K-FORCE: music inspired by Katsuhiko Nakajima
ARTICLE: “Traces to Nowhere: the tragic story behind the Takeshi Morishima arrest”
News article on Takeshi Morishima’s drunken and chaotic life
Enjoy what I do? Help me do it full time.
IPW are the official vendors of Noah merchandise, please click here for shop
English translation of “Heir to the Ark” (Naomichi Marufuji’s biography) ~ work in progress





Enjoy the Pro Wrestling NOAH content? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Part 3!

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NJPW King of Pro Wrestling

NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling continues with an epic Triple Threat for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship! Can Kenny Omega defeat both Kota Ibushi AND Cody?




This coverage of King of Pro Wrestling will be as broadcast by AXS TV.

Gifs can be found at http://frentique.tumblr.com/

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody; Omega wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.




PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!

The Golden Lovers reunited and it feels so good. But Kenny Omega felt even better after finally becoming the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! Omega promised his best friend a shot at the title. Omega and Kota Ibushi battled in the G1 Climax 28, and it would be the Golden Star who shined bright. However, The American Nightmare suggested something even more epic than just Golden Lover VS Golden Lover. Cody interjects himself into this match for a Triple Threat for the top title in NJPW. Will this match make the Golden Elite stronger? Or only serve to tear them apart all over again?

 

IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega VS Kota Ibushi VS Cody!

The Best Bout Machine, the Golden Star and the American Nightmare have all had their differences, but now they’re all on the same side. Or are they? Cody already has the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, on top of the NWA Worlds Championship and even a part in the ROH World Six Man Tag Team Championships. Perhaps Cody is just adding to his collection. Of course, he’ll have to get through both Golden Lovers to do it. Who will come out of this epic match as the best heavyweight in all of NJPW?

The three men make their entrances, the introductions are made and the belt is presented. Red Shoes does his check, and the match begins after the break.

NJPW on AXS returns as the three friends shake hands and hug to prove this is respectful. The bell rings and the three circle. They keep their eyes on each other, and Omega ties up with Cody first. Cody ties up with Ibushi at the same time, but he fights both Golden Lovers. Cody throws Ibushi out hard and focuses on Omega. He gets a headlock and Omega powers out. Cody runs Omega over, then things speed up. Cody slides under, kicks and drops for the uppercut. Omega bails out as Ibushi comes in. Ibushi and Cody tie up, and Cody gets a headlock. Ibushi powers out, Cody runs him over but Ibushi kips right up. Things speed up again and Ibushi dropkicks Cody down. Cody bails out and Ibushi builds up with the fans. Ibushi runs but Omega stands in his way.

The Golden Lovers talk but Cody goes after them both! Cody throws hands on Ibushi, then whips. Ibushi reverses and the Golden Lovers work together, roundhouse to Kotaro Krusher. Ibushi covers but Omega yanks him off. Omega covers but Ibushi yanks him off. Omega apologizes and says “Dozo (go ahead)”. Ibushi covers, TWO! Omega knew that would happen. He and Ibushi stand up but Cody knocks them into each other! Cody suplexes Omega and tosses him! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up while Cody fetches Ibushi on the outside. Cody suplexes Ibushi for the gordbuster! Cody goes back to Omega in the ring but Omega throws body shots. Omega runs but into the kitchen sink knee! Cody covers, ONE! Cody goes back to Ibushi, and suplexes Ibushi. Ibushi slips out and fires forearms. Ibushi whips Cody into railing, then runs in, only to be tossed up and over!

Cody leaves Ibushi behind, but Omega is ready with a kick and haymakers. Omega backs Cody to a corner, then chops. Omega whips corner to corner but Cody reverses and back drops Omega. Cover, TWO! Cody keeps his cool while fans rally up. Ibushi stirs in among the chairs while Cody springboards at Omega. Omega ducks under then huricanranas Cody on the return! Cody bails out and Omega fires up. The Terminator Drums begin, and Omega builds speed, to FLY! Omega gets just enough of Cody, and then puts him back in the ring. Fans rally for everyone as Ibushi returns. The Golden Lovers work together again. Omega says Cody, “You Can’t Escape!” Rolling senton, Ibushi shooting star, Omega moonsault, but then Omega grabs Ibushi for an electric chair! Ibushi slips out, and is just disappointed in his friend.

Cody watches as Omega apologizes, but this time Ibushi is ready. Ibushi elbows Cody away, but then Omega kicks Ibushi low. Omega whips Ibushi but Ibushi reverses. Ibushi runs in, but Omega goes up and over. Omega runs at Cody but Cody goes up and over, to then get Omega in the spinning powerslam! Cody runs at Ibushi but Ibushi goes up and over to hit Cody with a powerslam! Then the moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, focusing on Ibushi. All three men slowly sit up, and Ibushi brings Cody up. Cody pokes Ibushi’s eyes, then kicks Omega. Cody wants to work together with Omega, “We’re friends, too!” Omega admits that’s true, and they double suplex Ibushi. But then Cody rolls Omega up, TWO! Omega gets mad and the two start shoving. Then they start brawling! Cody SUPERKICKS, but runs into a chop!



Omega wants a snap dragon but Cody breaks free. Cody trips Omega and puts on a Figure Four! Omega slaps Cody, so Cody punches back. It’s a brawl inside the Figure Four, but Cody gets an edge. Omega gives it back, but here comes Ibushi! He kicks Omega, but Omega makes it an ankle lock! The submissions are linked, but Ibushi gets free. Ibushi then kicks Cody. He kicks at Omega, Omega ducks but Ibushi moonsaults! Cover, Cody breaks it while breaking his lock. The three men are still very even while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and Ibushi is the first to stand. Cody is next so Ibushi goes after him. Ibushi whips Cody corner to corner but Cody goes up and over to roll up. Ibushi rolls through, misses the kick but moonsaults, onto knees! But then Cody walks into a Snap Dragon Suplex! OMega brings Ibushi up, Aoi Shoudou! Cody comes back but misses the Beautiful Disaster. Omega gives Cody another Snap Dragon, then he takes aim. BANG, Omega runs, but Ibushi intercepts with a missile dropkick! Cody hits Ibushi with one of his own, then he drags Ibushi up. Cody gives Ibushi an arm wrench and DDT, covers, TWO! Fans rally up again but Cody keeps his cool. Cody shows off his stamina by doing push-ups and flexing. He then drags Ibushi up again and clubs away on the arm.

Cody whips but Ibushi counters. Cody dodges to DIVE onto Omega! But then Ibushi runs, Golden Triangle stopped by Cody’s clubbing forearm. Cody drags Ibushi out, but Omega stops the Cross Rhodes. Cody shoves Omega away, then goes back to Ibushi. Ibushi kicks Cody away, Omega grabs Cody to powerbomb through the announce desk! Cody writhes amid the wreckage, but Ibushi jumps on Omega with a corkscrew moonsault! All three men are down on the outside! Ibushi is up first and he brings Omega up with him. Cody crawls out of the wreckage but Ibushi puts Omega in the ring. Ibushi takes aim, but he sees his friend can barely stand. He ditches the springboard, to look Omega in the eyes. Ibushi dares Omega to bring it on, and Omega fires himself up. The Golden Lovers tie up!

They break, they tie up again, then it’s a brawl of forearms! Omega hits, Ibushi hits, repeat. Omega staggers a bit but he still hits back. Ibushi staggers a bit but he hits back. Omega boots back, and Ibushi takes a moment to wipe his mouth. Ibushi boots, and Omega boots back. Ibushi boots again, and Omega checks his ear. Omega runs in but gets a boot, then a strike fest! Ibushi kicks but Omega blocks to CHOP. Omega then hits a Snap Dragon! Ibushi sits up but Omega is on him. BANG, but Ibushi is ready, only for Omega to kick away his clothesline. Omega wants another Kotaro Krusher but Ibushi slips out the back. Ibushi wants a German Suplex but Omega lands on his feet! V-Trigger blocked, but it comes back!

Ibushi still swings on Omega but Omega dodges. Ibushi dodges back, only to run into another V-Trigger! POISON-RANA! But Ibushi pops right up! To CLOBBER Omega! Both Golden Lovers are down, sore and dazed. Cody has returned to the apron while The Young Bucks can only watch on with intense focus. Ibushi stirs, and fans rally up. He says he’ll end it, and he climbs up top. Cody comes over to shove Ibushi down! Cody climbs up now but has to kick Omega away. Omega staggers, Cody hops, and hits a Destroyer! Cover, TWO!! Omega survives, and now Cody grows frustrated. Cody stands again, and waits for Omega to stand. Omega does, and Cody wants Dinn’s Fire. Omega slips out of it, heel kick tot he back of Cody’s head! Cody slumps in a corner, and Omega runs in, V-Trigger to the back!

Cody is hurting but Omega doesn’t stop. Omega hauls Cody up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Omega wants a full nelson, but Ibushi can be seen crawling in. Cody resists and fights back, but Omega clubs him back. Ibushi gets in and creeps over. Cody sends Omega down, but Ibushi’s right up! Omega pulls Ibushi down, climbs up, but Ibushi kicks Omega in the back! Ibushi drags Omega up, scoops, and goes to lawn dart, but Omega slips out. Omega kicks, powerbomb lift, and buckle bumps him into Cody’s back! Cody ends up in a Tree of Woe now, as Omega gives Ibushi a Death Valley Driver! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives, but Cody’s still stuck. Omega says BANG, and gives Ibushi a V-Trigger. Then electric chair, but Ibushi slips out to inverted suplex, Lawn Dart into Cody! Everyone’s down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns again as the three men finally stir. Cody gets to the apron while Ibushi stands. Ibushi goes after Cody, wanting to German Suplex him back in. Omega sees this, hops up the other side, to then springboard to add a powerbomb to Ibushi’s German Suplex! Omega gets up while the other two are down, and he has two targets now. Fans rally up as he double guns, double BANG! He goes for Ibushi first, V-Trigger hits! Then to Cody, V-Trigger hits! Omega keeps on Cody with the electric chair, but Cody spins around and out, and he powerbomb lifts Omega. Cody throws Omega, and Ibushi uses that for his German Suplex! That’s usually a Golden Lovers move! Ibushi covers, but Cody breaks. Omega rolls away while Cody keeps on Ibushi with right hands. Cody then hits Omega with the Beautiful Disaster!

Cody fires up, and he goes outside to search under the ring. He doesn’t find what he wants on that end, though. He goes around the other side, and he finds a table! Cody brings it out and sets it up, but Omega has come after him. Omega clubs Cody but Cody bounces him off the wood. Cody goes back to Ibushi in the ring, and brings Ibushi up. He clubs away on Ibushi, and prepares a powerbomb. Ibushi resists, so Cody clubs him more. Cody gets Ibushi up for a Canadian rack, but Ibushi slips out. Omega returns to springboard, but Cody shoves him down! Omega falls through the table! At least it broke…

As for Cody, he just grins. He goes to a corner and climbs up. Cody aims at Ibushi, but Ibushi stops him with a forearm. Ibushi climbs up and has fans on his side. Ibushi hits the SUPERPLEX! But small cradle from Cody! TWO, and Cody springboards, only to get Ibushi’s kick! Ibushi brings Cody up, powerbomb lift, Golden Star sit-out! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his focus, but now Omega emerges from the wreckage. Cody resists as Ibushi brings up his wrists, then he dodges Kamigoye! Cody reels Ibushi in, but ends up in a straitjacket suplex! Bridging cover, but Cody keeps one shoulder off. Ibushi rolls around and brings Cody up, Kamigoye!! Cover, but Omega blocks Red Shoes’ hand! Omega keeps this match going, to Ibushi’s frustration. Omega tries to reason with him, but Ibushi just tunes him out. And then chops him!



Ibushi fires off palm strikes from all sides, so Omega has no choice but to hit back. Cody returns, but his chop doesn’t bother Ibushi at all. Ibushi CHOPS Cody and he’s down and out again! Omega fires off on Ibushi, but Ibushi just needs one strike to get back. They go back and forth with those palm strikes, but Ibushi kicks. Omega grabs the other leg, but Ibushi brings Omega around for a mount. Ibushi makes it a cover but Omega keeps his shoulders up. So Ibushi just starts the ground ‘n’ pound! Omega does his best to cover up but Ibushi finds openings. Omega hits back but Ibushi keeps hitting harder. Now Ibushi uses closed fists, Red Shoes reprimands that. Ibushi keeps going but Red Shoes brings Ibushi away. Red Shoes tries to talk sense into Ibushi, but Ibushi just gives Omega a knee! Ibushi covers, TWO!!

Omega survives, and Ibushi grows frustrated. Ibushi drags Omega up, but Cody drags Ibushi out! Cody goes after Omega now, Cross Rhodes! Cover, TWO as Cody gets out the way of those flying double stomps! Ibushi crushes Omega, and Cody throws Ibushi out. Cody goes back to Omega, waiting for him to stand. Omega does, Cody hits another Cross Rhodes!! Cover, TWO?! Omega survives by some sheer force of will! Ibushi slowly return, but Cody stands first. Cody kicks Ibushi down, then drags him up and in. Cody lifts Ibushi, and hits Dinn’s Fire!! Cover, but Omega breaks it just in time! Cody’s infuriated now, and he decides to “borrow” a chair! He realizes what he’s doing, and drops the chair. Fans applaud that, but then Omega decides to use his IWGP US title belt! But then he reconsiders it again.

Cody tosses the belt to Nick Jackson, and picks up the chair again! He brings the chair in and aims at Ibushi, but Omega shields his friend. Cody stomps Omega instead, and prepares the chair! Ibushi grabs it and takes it away. Then he roundhouses Cody down! Omega gives Ibushi a POISON-RANA! And the Butterfly Wings!! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi survives and flounders about, but Omega reloads. BANG, V-Trigger! Electric chair lift, ONE-WINGED ANGEL!! Cover, Cody is too late, Omega wins!!

Winner: Kenny Omega, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion

Omega apologizes profusely to his friend he did the most damage to. The Best Bout Machine still has his belt, but what of his best friends? We’ll see after the break.



NJPW on AXS returns…

Matt & Nick Jackson help check on Ibushi. Omega signals for water while ice packs are brought in. Matt fetches the water and helps refresh Ibushi. Omega holds Ibushi’s hand, in hopes Ibushi is okay. Ibushi finally stirs, which is a huge relief to Omega. Cody helps Omega bring Ibushi up slowly and carefully. Omega also signals for the mic. He receives the mic and his belt, and Red Shoes raises his hand to make the victory official. Cody leaves the ring for the moment while Omega speaks. “Just a moment. I’ll wait until Ibushi can stand up.” Fans applaud such honor, respect and compassion from the champion. Omega tells Cody that he should be in here, too. They’re all a team, so stand with them.

Cody, though reluctant, knows Omega won’t “talk on the mic until all the Elite members can stand together,” so he joins them again. “Okay, Ibushi, whenever you’re ready, we’ll stand up and close it out.” Ibushi sits up, and Omega takes that to mean he’s good. “Everyone, let’s all stand, not as the Bullet Club, but as The Elite.” Was this the first time the fans here have seen a triple threat? Perhaps for some. Well he won’t ask individually, but did they like it? Were they entertained? Yes, they were. It is thanks to the fans that this match became a reality. And thanks to NJPW, for that matter.

Of course, any other organization could try, but they can’t do it like them, in Elite Style. So he again expresses his appreciation. And finally, the Tokyo Dome main event is set, huh? There’ll be a press conference soon enough, so there isn’t much else to say. Therefore, “I must bid you adieu.” Omega hugs Ibushi, who now stands on his feet. Omega hugs Cody, because he also loves Cody and his dog. And of course, Omega hugs the Bucks, he loves them, too. And not to forget the Elite who aren’t here, he loves them, too. So good bye, and good night- Wait, Hiroshi Tanahashi is here?! The Ace and his Wrestle Kingdom 13 contract now stand ringside. Tanahashi joins Omega in the ring.

Omega tells Tanahashi, “we’re both pretty tired. So if you have something to say, this is your chance.” Omega hands Tanahashi the mic as fans chant “Go Ace!” Tanahashi tells Omega, “Kenny-kun, I’m angry.” About what? “Everyone was clapping, but don’t forget this is NJPW.” Guess he’ll be the one to tell Kenny, “your time is up.” This will be settled at the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi drops the mic but Omega picks it up. Omega is sure that the Tokyo Dome would chant “Go Ace”, but this is still Ryogoku. And here, it’s good bye and good night, BANG! Omega shrugs off Tanahashi’s cryptic ultimatum, but will he be able to shrug off Tanahashi’s wrestling? Or is Tanahashi predicting an end to start the New Year?

Backstage interviews.

Cody notes that last year, Cody surprised Ibushi with a challenge for the Dome. No one likes to lose, but Cody swallowed his pride for friendship. It still leaves a bad taste, but Cody is excited for the future. You’re not supposed to make friends in wrestling, but here they are. Is Ibushi okay? Yeah, just sore. They’ll get him ice. Ibushi shakes Cody’s hand then the Bucks’. The Elite will support their leader. “Then after that, buckle up.” No one in the Elite knows what the future holds, but they know they’ll face it together. Omega has his match for Wrestle Kingdom, but where will the rest of The Elite end up?



My Thoughts:

An incredible hour for NJPW and AXS, and it’s great that it was just the Triple Threat. There is so much of wrestling today where The Bullet Club’s Elite are the center of it, from what stories they all have in NJPW and ROH to who WWE eagerly wants to have for themselves. It was very fitting for Cody after all the action to say that 2019 could be a wild ride that still isn’t 100% certain, and we’re seeing that now in real-time with talks of all the contracts for The Elite. Whatever this insanely over collection of wrestlers chooses, I know their fans will follow, regardless of reaction.

As for the match in question tonight, it truly was epic. This probably gives whatever was the best triple threat ever a run for its money. It went the distance of 43 minutes, and it made everything count. The Golden Lovers working together, Cody using them against each other physically, and then eventually Omega and Ibushi having no choice but to fight each other, just brilliant stuff. And what makes it all even better is that at the end of the match, they’re all still friends. They remember the point of the match, they understand each other’s positions, and they know to stick together because they’re stronger together. Omega wins and now Omega VS Tanahashi is pretty much finalized. If Tanahashi ends up winning, then his line tonight will be true because it likely means Omega is going elsewhere. Only time will tell.

My Score: 8.8/10



Did Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, and Cody Rhodes deliver for NJPW? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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