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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: Sakura Genesis 2018!

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AXS TV and NJPW go all out to bring you a THREE EPISODE MARATHON to cover the entirety of Sakura Genesis! The biggest event of Spring features a star-studded line up, such as Will Ospreay VS Marty Scurll, The Golden Lovers VS Cody & Hangman Page, and Okada VS Zack Sabre Jr for THE IWGP Heavyweight Championship!

 

This review of Sakura Genesis 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • 8 PM EST, Part 1 – Six Man Tag: Suzuki-Gun’s Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Suzuki- Gun wins.
  • Part 1 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Marty Scurll; Ospreay wins and retains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
  • 9 PM EST, Part 2 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: Suzuki-Gun VS Roppongi 3K VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Suzuki-Gun wins and retains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
  • Part 2 – The Golden Lovers VS Bullet Club’s Cody & Hangman Page; Cody & Hangman win.
  • 10 PM EST, Part 3 – IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada w/ Gedo VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku; Okada wins and retains the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS set the stage for Part 1!

The Aerial Assassin is a two-time champion, and has already reestablished himself by turning away Hiromu Takahashi, and even the legendary Jushin Thunder Liger. However, The Villain, Ospreay’s archnemesis, Marty Scurll, has come back for more. Ospreay finally overcame Scurll in a Fatal 4 Way that also involved Hiromu and Kushida at Wrestle Kingdom 12. But both Ospreay and Scurll know that when it’s 1v1, Scurll has Ospreay’s number. Can Ospreay finally “break the curse” and retain the title?

 

Six Man Tag: Suzuki-Gun’s Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!

We jump into this match already in progress, as the Man with the Worst Personality in the World and his heavy hitters take on the Tranquilo One himself, and his IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.

Sanada jumps over Lance Archer, then again, then dropkicks him down. Sanada keeps on Archer with a slingshot plancha! Suzuki coaches his men back up while the fans rally for Sanada. Sanada springboards and flies, but Davey Boy Smith Jr. catches him into a Northern Lights! Bridging cover, TWO, and Davey is frustrated. He drags Sanada up, prepares a powerbomb, but Sanada fights his way out. Sanada whips but Davey reverses, but Sanada tumbles to the apron, then springboards back in for the missile dropkick! Down goes Davey and fans applaud. Sanada and Davey crawl for their corners, and hot tags to Archer and EVIL.

EVIL sees Archer coming and dodges him to then give him a bulldog. EVIL adds on a big back senton, then fires up the fans as he runs in at Archer. Archer goes to boot but EVIL blocks that, only for Archer to duck his discus and run in for the side splash. Archer puts EVIL up top, then carries him out in reverse cruficix position, but Naito dropkicks his legs out. Suzuki rushes in and goes right at Naito! They go to the outside and Naito is whipped into the barriers. EVIL kicks Archer’s leg, then runs, but into a scrapbuster! Archer goes to tag but Naito gets back at Suzuki by putting him into barriers.

Sanada comes in to go after Archer, but Archer puts him in a corner. Archer runs in but misses, Sanada runs and hits the elbow, then EVIL hits the clothesline. Naito wants back in but Suzuki drags him back out. They brawl outside, and Suzuki goes after the leg with the Achilles lock. Meanwhile, EVIL hoists Archer up with Sanada, but Davey stops them from hitting Magic Killer by throwing Sanada with a German Suplex! EVIL kicks Davey, then runs, but into the lift. Archer returns to add the splash! Archer covers, Sanada breaks it! Naito breaks free of Suzuki but Suzuki still pursues. Davey brings Sanada up in the powerbomb, and Archer adds on, for the KILLER BOMB!!

But Sanada isn’t legal, it’s EVIL. They go after him while Naito fights to get back in the ring. EVIL fights KES off, handing Davey’s boot to Archer to then mule kick Davey. Archer grabs EVIL, EVIL breaks free but Archer spins him around, they give EVIL the Killer Bomb! Cover, Suzuki-Gun wins!

Winners: Suzuki-Gun (Suzuki & KES), Archer pinning

A big win for Suzuki-Gun over LIJ, but a bigger win for KES over the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Archer & Davey even raise the belts as if those already belong to them. Will this win give rise to new #1 contenders? And will those contenders prove to LIJ that #EverybodyDies?

Naito speaks.

“Hey you, the self-proclaimed ‘King of Pro Wrestling’.” Yes, he means Suzuki. Suzuki refers to the IWGP Intercontinental championship as his “treasure”. But it doesn’t look that way to Naito. To Naito, “the belt even seems like it wants to get away from you,” Suzuki. The belt shined brighter “when I used to throw it around.” The wannabe King of Pro-Wrestling just wants to be close to Naito. Naito understands, but why doesn’t Suzuki just express his feelings? “King! King! Please ascend to the ring, and let us hear your thoughts.”

Suzuki decides to take Naito up on that, and returns to the ring while Naito lounges on the mat. Suzuki picks up the mic to respond. “Oi, you little punk.” Who the hell does Naito think he’s talking to? This is THE Minoru Suzuki. The undisputed king of pro wrestling. “Sprawled out like that, the look suits you.” Naito relaxes even more, but Suzuki thinks “a liar and a con-man like you should be groveling on the ground.” Naito doesn’t sweat Suzuki’s threats. Suzuki tells all the “assholes gathered here at Ryogoku”, and especially Tetsuya Naito, that he and Suzuki-Gun are NUMBER ONE.

Suzuki goes to leave, kicking a Young Lion just because he can, but Naito picks the mic back up. “King! King!” Suzuki seems to be feeling rather irritable. At times like these, remember this phrase. You know the one. “Tranquilo! Chill out.” Now Suzuki is pissed! He throws chairs and a table at the ring, and at Young Lions. He then storms out, title in hand, but Naito is Tranquilo as ever. Will his disrespect of the “king” cost him some limbs?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Marty Scurll!

Familiar foes from across the pond have both come to the Land of the Rising Sun. The Aerial Assassin has never defeated the Villain 1v1, especially when a title is on the line. Can Ospreay finally break that curse? Or will his second reign end already?

Scurll takes a moment to carefully bestow his umbrella to one of the Young Lions, then Red Shoes makes sure neither man has anything hidden on them. The bell rings and we begin. Ospreay and Scurll circle, fans dueling between them. They tie up, Scurll gets around to the waistlock but Ospreay gets the switch. Scurll rolls and spins to reverse and trip Ospreay, but Ospreay kicks out. The fans applaud the early stand-off while the two circle again. They tie up, Scurll has a facelock but Ospraedy slips out to a hammerlock takedown. Scurll stands, rolls and spins, then gets Ospreay in the wristlock. Ospreay uses the ropes to flip, then snapmares Scurll, but Scurll gets the wristlock back.

Scurll knows he’s in Ospreay’s head, but Ospreay reverses the hold. Scurll spins, brings Ospreay to the mat and double wristlock covers, but Ospreay bridges up. Ospreay catches Scurll’s body and pushes up and onto Scurll’s shoulders. Ospreay sunset flips but Scurll rolls through to grab the leg. Scurll goes for the ankle lock but Ospreay turns over to break free and bring Scurll to the mat with a headlock takeover. Scurll headscissors, but Ospreay pops out, and roles reverse, but Scurll pops out. It’s another stand-off and the fans love it. Ospreay and Scurll circle again, keeping an eye on the other. They tie up again, Scurll gets the headlock. Ospreay powers out but Scurll runs him over. Scurll flaps his wings and fans echo “Woop Woop!”, but then Scurll gestures “up yours!”

Scurll runs, but Ospreay lies flat, which Scurll knew he would. Scurll grabs him in a chicken wing roll that ends up in the chicken wing hold! Ospreay arm-drags out, then runs, springboards but misses. He keeps moving, handspring arm-drag then whip, but Scurll headscissors. Ospreay cartwheels through, then swings a kick, tries a moonsault, swings another kick, but Scurll evades them all to make it to a corner. Fans applaud, but Ospreay just glares a hole through Scurll. Scurll wants a time out? There’s no time-outs in wrestling. In that case, Scurll fires himself up and has the fans rallying while he circles with Ospreay.

They tie up, Scurll kicks low then clubs hard on Ospreay’s back. He chops Ospreay, then kicks him. Scurll mocks the fans, then whips Ospreay but Ospreay dodges to headscissors and dropkick Scurll down. Scurll ends up outside the ring, and fans fire up again. Ospreay builds speed, but Scurll sees through the feint, and trips Ospreay up during the handspring. He grabs the fingers, but Ospreay shoves him away. Scurll returns but Ospreay kicks him down, to then handspring for the Sasuke Special! Down goes Scurll, but that move took a bit out of Ospreay, too.

They both slowly stir, and Ospreay stands up first. Scurll scurries away but Ospreay catches up and chops him. Scurll still wants that time out but Ospreay kicks him in the leg. Ospreay puts Scurll in the ring, but Scurll grabs his nose. Scurll tweaks the nose, then turns Ospreay around for a draping neckbreaker! Ospreay tumbles down and out, then Scurll builds speed, to SUPERKICK from the apron! Fans “Woop Woop!” while Scurll flaps, and we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns and Scurll chops Ospreay against the barriers. Scurll clubs Ospreay, then throws him into barriers. Red Shoes says to bring this back into the ring. Scurll obeys, but then goes after Ospreay on the apron. They both enter the ring now, and stalks Ospreay. Scurll wrenches Ospreay’s neck, then brings him backwards for a neck-cracker. He stomps Ospreay, then brings him up for a scoop slam against the ropes. Ospreay is hurting from neck to legs now as he gets back on the apron. Scurll walks over, then drags Ospreay up and through the ropes. Scurll has Ospreay elevated, and hits the draping DDT. Cover, TWO, but Scurll keeps on Ospreay with a palm strike to the neck.

Scurll drags Ospreay up into the torture rack, bending his back with every jump. Ospreay endures, but Scurll tosses him at a corner for inverted snake eyes, then a DDT! Cover, TWO, and Scurll argues with Red Shoes. He keeps his cool, and stalks Ospreay to the ropes. Scurll stands Ospreay up in powerbomb position, but it’s just for a neck-jamming jump. He brings up the wincing Ospreay for powerbomb lift, but it’s for the Gory Special! Scurll bends Ospreay but Ospreay slips out and rocks Scurll with a forearm. Ospreay throws antoher forearm but Scurll pushes him to a corner. Scurll runs into Ospreay’s boot and Ospreay goes to the apron. Ospreay slingshots but Scurll catches him, into a rope slingshot guillotine!

Scurll grins while Red Shoes checks on Ospreay. Ospreay clutches his neck while Scurll walks over. Scurll stomps Ospreay, then grinds him into buckle pads. Scurll snapmares Ospreay into a chinklock and neckwrench. Ospreay tries to pry his way out, so Scurll takes those arms and makes a straitjacket stretch. Fans rally and Ospreay fights his way up, but Scurll bends him back again. Ospreay rolls through and reverses the straitjacket onto Scurll! Scurll backs Ospreay to a corner, then arm-drags out, but Ospreay uses that momentum to handspring. Scurll lets Ospreay roll off his back, but misses the clothesline, and Ospreay handsprings for the enziguri! Both men are down, and fans applaud.

Scurll gets to a corner while Ospreay drags himself up by ropes. Fans duel, “Ospreay!” “Woop Woop!” Ospreay runs in at Scurll in the corner, hits the running European Uppercut, then sweeps the legs. He runs again, but Scurll dodges. Scurll runs but into another enziguri. Ospreay runs, and hits the elevated 619! Scurll staggers but stays standing, Ospreay brings him down with a springboard clothesline! Ospreay adds the standing shining star, covers, TWO. Fans duel more as both men crawl. Ospreay stands in a corner, then climbs up, but Scurll stops him with a grip on the nose.

Scurll climbs up but Ospreay slips down and tucks Scurll in. Scurll sticks his feet out but Ospreay pushes them up, Cheeky Nandos SUPERKICK to German Suplex! Ospreay fires up, and takes aim at Scurll, but runs into the EuroUpper. Scurll runs, but Ospreay sets him back on the corner. Scurll avoids Cheek Nandos this time, and hits a tornado DDT to roll through, but Ospreay counters his suplex with a stunner! Both men are down again as fans rally. Fans duel again while Ospreay stands up. Ospreay walks over to Scurll and throws strikes. He calls for the cutter, but Scurll grabs his fingers! Scurll hushes the crowd, but Ospreay breaks free.

Ospreay runs to ropes, but fakes Scurll out! Scurll’s dropkick hits nothing, Ospreay jackknife covers, TWO as Scurll bridges. They spin around, and Scurll wants a backslide, but Ospreay resists. Scurll goes for the chicken wing, but Ospreay elbows his wawy out. Scurll still has Ospreay, for the pumphandle into brainbuster! Cover, TWO, and Scurll is shocked. Fans duel again while Scurll catches his breath. Scurll walks over and brings Ospreay up, for shoves and slaps. Ospreay ducks, Scurll denies the full nelson, but Ospreay hits the wrap-around heel kick. Ospreay runs, but into the roaring elbow. Scurll runs and clotheslines Ospreay upside-down! Cover, TWO, and Scurll is in disbelief while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Scurll and Ospreay brawl on their knees. Scurll clubs Ospreay’s neck and bounces him off the mat. He brings Ospreay up, turns him around, but Ospreay resists to backslide! TWO, and Ospreay sends Scurll to the apron. Scurll holds on and “skins the cat”, but into piledriver position! Scurll still pulls Ospreay to the outside with him, and gives Ospreay a Tombstone to the ground! Ospreay clutches his neck while Scurll checks his own knees. Red Shoes checks on Ospreay, but Ospreay wants to continue. The ring count begins, and reaches 14 before Scurll stands and puts Ospreay in. Cover, TWO, and Scurll is again shocked. Scurll keeps on Ospreay, with a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Scurll grows frustrated with Ospreay’s endurance.

Scurll kicks Ospreay’s shoulder, then clubs his neck. Ospreay is in pain but he also fires up. Ospreay hits back, rocking Scurll. Scurll gives a forearm, Ospreay gives one back. They go back and forth, hitting harder and harder, faster and faster! Scurll gets an edge but Ospreay boots him. Ospreay runs, but he falls for the feint! Scurll kicks out a leg, then runs, but into Ospreay’s flip-kick and enziguri! Ospreay runs, Scurll follows, but Ospreay catches him into a sit-out powerbomb! But Ospreay can’t cover, from the pain in his own body. Ospreay instead gets himself to a corner while Scurll sits up. Ospreay hits the Robinson Special! He isn’t done, he calls for the cutter. He runs, springboards, but Scurll dumps him down! Scurll rests in the ring while Ospreay is down on the ground.

Ospreay reaches the apron while fans rally. Scurll runs onto the apron, but Ospreay counters him with a boot! Ospreay drags Scurll up, and wants to suplex, but Scurll resists. Scurll enziguris Ospreay, and takes a moment to catch his breath. He stands up, lifts Ospreay, but Ospreay slips out and shoves Scurll away. Scurll runs back in, but Ospreay catches him into a SPANISH FLY!!

But Ospreay’s head hits the apron! The double edged Spanish Fly takes them both out. Red Shoes checks on them both, but especially Ospreay. Ospreay is bleeding from a sizable gash, but he doesn’t want anyone stopping this match. The 20 count reaches 11 before either man even stands up. It hits 15 as Ospreay gets in, but Scurll slumps back down! He springs up at 18, but Ospreay is ready with a corkscrew shooting star! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay roars with fury and rage as he stands up. He drags Scurll up, suplex onto the top rope, and rocks Scurll with a kick. Ospreay then goes to a corner, climbs up high, and goes for the Burning Star! But Scurll avoids it! Ospreay hits nothing, and Scurll takes aim from the corner, SUPERKICK to the back of the head! Cover, TWO!! We go to break while Scurll shakes his head.

NJPW on AXS returns, and Scurll sits up the bleeding and dazed Ospreay. Scurll glares at his rival, and gives him a slap. Scurll aims, kicks, but Ospreay blocks it! Ospreay roundhouses in return, but Scurll suplexes him into the chicken wing crossface! Ospreay rolls to a cover, TWO, to Scurll’s, TWO. Scurll swings but Ospreay dodges, and hits the OSCUTTER!!

But Ospreay can’t cover! Both men are down while Red Shoes checks on Ospreay. Between the neck and the blood, Ospreay is in a bad way. Fans rally, but Ospreay is still moving slow. Scurll gets at him first, and brings him up for a piledriver! Cover, TWO!? Scurll undoes his hair in frustration, and looms over Ospreay. Ospreay reaches up, but Scurll grabs that hand and the fingres, to SNAP them. Then the other hand SNAP, then mule kick. STOMP STOMP STOMP to the head!! Scurll will not stop, but neither does Red Shoes, out of respect for Ospreay’s wishes. Scurll brings Ospreay up, for the chicken wing, but Ospreay barely has the energy to even resist.

Ospreay reaches, but Scurll goes after that bad hand! Ospreay doesn’t tap, he just uses his legs for the ropebreak. Fans applaud his heart, and Scurll has no choice but to let go. Fans rally again, and Scurll racks his brain for ideas. He drags Ospreay up again but Ospreay holds the ropes. Scurll gets Ospreay to let go, and then gives him a neckbreaker driver! But he won’t stop there. Scurll picks Ospreay up, wants another Tombstone, but Ospreay fights out to stunner again! Ospreay runs in, Scurll alley-oops, but Ospreay lands on the corner to then jump for another Oscutter! Cover, Ospreay wins!!

Winner: Ospreay, by pinfall; still IWGP Jr. Heavweight Champion

Somehow, someway, the Aerial Assassin retains! Medics quickly attend to that head wound and neck, as well as Scurll’s own body. Ospreay finally did break the curse, the Villain no longer holds power over him. With this, will Ospreay truly become the best Junior in NJPW?

Ospreay speaks.

“Before I go see the doctor, I just want to quickly something” to Kushida. The Time Splitter is ringside on commentary, so he hears Ospreay. Ospreay beat Hiromu and Scurll 1v1, but he needs to prove his wins aren’t flukes. Ospreay wants Kushida one more time for the championship. “Yes or no?” Kushida thinks, and says yes! Ospreay’s championship offer has been accepted, will the Aerial Assassin be able to sweep his rivals 3-0? Or will Kushida take back the title?

Who is the top Junior in NJPW?

 

Backstage interviews.

Scurll is pissed by the idea that a Junior has to “upgrade” to the Heavyweights. Ospreay is the Jr. Champ, talking about gaining weight and moving up. Scurll is proud to be part of the Junior Heavyweight Division, the best division in the world. This match tonight proved that.

Ospreay himself says that he is literally giving his blood, his body and his passion to make the Jr. Heavyweight Championship prominent. That is why he challenged Kushida, who has four victories over him. Ospreay won once, but wants to prove he can do it again. The Aerial Assassin vows to prove he’s the best Junior in NJPW. And the doubters will see the lengths he goes to, to establish his title as THE title.

Kushida is sure he’s “the only guy suited for this battle.” He had to accept, seeing the look in Ospreay’s eyes. It is an honor for the champion to call him out, so he thanks Ospreay for that. But he apologizes for bringing this up, but he lost to the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada. That’s why Kushida can’t let Ospreay be champion forever. The Time Splitter and Aerial Assassin will meet for a sixth time! Can Ospreay repeat his victory? Or will Kushida turn the tide back towards him?


NJPW and AXS set the stage for Part 2!

It’s all about tag team action this time. The Golden Lovers reunited after The American Nightmare made it clear to the Cleaner that he wants to be the one true Bullet Club leader. Honor Rising saw Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi best the Allied Forces of Cody & Marty Scurll, then outlasted The Young Bucks in an extreme showdown at Strong Style Evolved. Cody refuses to admit defeat, or admit that Bullet Club is anything but “fine”. He turns to The Problem Solver, Adam Page, for another tag team show down with Omega & Ibushi.

But first, Suzuki-Gun’s IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemura, defend those titles in a triple threat tag against previous champions, Sho & Yo, as well as LIJ’s Hiromu & Bushi. It is a complete rematch from NJPW’s 46th Anniversary show, will it also be a repeat performance for the Rogue Luchador and Heel Master?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: Suzuki-Gun VS Roppongi 3K VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!

El Desperado & Kanemaru found a way to cheat all their opponents out of the titles at the 46th Anniversary Show, but now they’re all back to do it again. Will the shining RPG3K take those titles back? Or will LIJ grab their first junior tag titles?

The fight starts even before the bell as RPG3K rush LIJ, then dropkick Suzuki-Gun down. Sho & Yo run to DOUBLE FLY!

RPG3K return and take down LIJ again. They have control of the ring, then Sho fetches Desperado. He feeds him to Yo and the bell rings to finally start this match. Yo stomps away on Desperado, then Sho adds on. Desperado begs for some mercy, but no such luck. RPG3K double whip but Desperado reverses. He chops Sho but Yo comes back, and Sho helps Yo headscissor Desperado down. Sho runs Desperado over, then RPG3K double dropkick Kanemaru back out. Yo brings Desperado up, and RPG3K double suplex him down. Cover, Hiromu breaks it up, so Sho goes after him. Desperado rolls away, and Rocky Romero hops up to trash talk Hiromu. Hiromu breaks free of Sho & Yo to chase Rocky! Rocky gets away into the crowd, but Desperado goes after RPG3K again.

RPG3K club him down then whip again, but Bushi tags in. RPG3K double elbow Desperado down, but Bushi boots Sho. Yo covers but Desperado isn’t legal. Bushi uses his shirt to choke Yo, that isn’t legal either! Hiromu throws Desperado while Yo grabs ropes. The referee counts but Bushi holds on until 4. Bushi tags in Hiromu, and Hiromu goes after Yo with a stiff chop. Hiromu chops Yo into the LIJ corner, then tags in Bushi. Bushi gives chops of his own, then stalks Yo to another corner for more chops. Bushi snapmares and kicks Yo, then tags Hiromu back in. They keep the others out while chopping Yo. Hiromu whips Yo corner to corner, hits a corner clothesline, then rolls Yo out for the basement dropkick. Cover, TWO, but Hiromu stomps on Yo.

Tag to Bushi, and LIJ double whip Yo for a double hip toss into Tu Lo Sabes. Cover, TWO, but Bushi drags Yo into an STF. Desperado wipes out Hiromu, then enters the ring to kick Bushi. Bushi swings but misses, and Desperado puts Bushi in the Suzuki-Gun corner. Kanemaru tags in via Bushi, then Desperado throws Bushi out. Suzuki-Gun goes after Yo together with corner to corner whip. Kanemaru hits a back elbow, Desperado hits a clothesline. Desperado drops Yo with a back suplex, then Kanemaru adds a basement dropkick. Cover, TWO, but Kanemaru keeps on Yo with a camel clutch. Kanemaru drops it to boot Bushi down, then stomps Yo down. Kanemaru scoop slams Yo and we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Kanemaru toys with Yo. He brings Yo up, suplexes him down, cover, ONE. Kanemaru knocks Hiromu off the apron, then whips Yo, but Yo reverses into an enziguri! Kanemaru stomps Yo down, and brings him up in a half-surfboard, but Yo dropkicks him away. Yo tags to Sho, and Sho rallies on Kanemaru. Sho whips Kanemaru but Kanemaru reverses. Things speed up again, Sho dropkicks Kanemaru down. Sho sees Desperado coming, and gets him with a spinebuster! Sho takes aim from a corner, and runs at Kanemaru for a big corner clothesline. He gets a waistlock but Kanemaru fights with elbows. Kanemaru grinds Sho’s eyes, then runs, and fakes out the dropkick into a Boston Crab.

Bushi comes in, Kanemaru lets Sho go. Kanemaru ducks the enziguri but is hit with the heel kick. Hiromu uses Kanemaru to tag back in, and whips Sho, but Sho reverses, so Hiromu uses that for his dropkick on Kanemaru. Sho runs Hiromu over, but Bushi kicks Sho. Bushi puts Sho in a corner and whips him corner to corner, but Sho puts him on the apron. Sho sweeps the legs and runs side to side, to blast Bushi with a basement dropkick. Hiromu rushes Sho but Sho spears him down! Sho crawls to his corner and tags in Yo. Yo dropkicks Hiromu, and again, but Bushi comes back. LIJ whip Yo but Yo reverses and sends them into each other. Yo dragon screws Bushi, then whips Hiromu, but Hiromu reverses to a back elbow.

Yo staggers, but rewinds on the rebound to run Hiromu over with forearms. Fans rally for RPG3K as Yo brings Hiromu up. Yo suplexes but Hiromu slips out, to kick Yo and whip him. Sho tags in while Yo reverses, and RPG3K give Hiromu a drop toehold to dropkick. RPG3K bring Hiromu up and suplex him onto Sho’s shoulder. Yo runs, and they combine for the slam and cutter. Kanemaru slips in and breaks the cover. Kanemaru kicks Yo, but Yo dumps Kanemaru out. Yo slingshots for the plancha and takes Kanemaru out. Sho deadlifts Hiromu and gives him the German Suplex. Sho holds on but has to let go as Bushi runs in. Bushi gets caught but fights back, yet Sho still gives him a German Suplex.

Sho fires up as he grabs Hiromu again. Hiromu fights and gets free, but Sho rocks him back. Sho runs, but into Hiromu’s SUPERKICK. Bushi adds the enziguri, then returns to his corner. Rocky rallies for Sho, but Bushi grabs him and puts him in the ring. Hiromu stomps away on Rocky! Sho shields his manager, so he just takes stomps for him. Hiromu drags Sho up and gives him a forearm. Hiromu runs, but into double knees from Sho & Yo! Yo takes out Bushi, then Sho feeds Hiromu to Yo’s back elbow. Hiromu staggers into Sho’s backstabber, which feeds Yo’s dropkick.

RPG3K fire up, and fans follow, but Kanemaru and Desperado rush in! Yo SUPERKICKS the beer out of Kanemaru’s mouth while Sho standing switches with Desperado. Hiromu SUPERKICKS Yo, then latches on to Sho. Bushi flies in, for a Sunset DOUBLE GERMAN!

Fans love it as LIJ stand tall. Hiromu pops Kanemaru up into a powerbomb, and Bushi keeps Yo out. Bushi runs, and DIVES into Yo! Then Hiromu brings Sho up, fireman’s carry, for the Time Bomb slam!

Cover, TWO!? Hiromu is shocked, but also smiling. He brings Sho up again, and rams Sho into a corner with a Death Valley Driver. Hiromu fires up and brings Sho up one more time. He swings Sho for an even strong Time Bomb slam! Cover, but Kanemaru yanks the referee out of the ring and right into barriers. Desperado clobbers Bushi with a belt, then drags Sho up as Kanemaru puts the ref back in the ring. Desperado double underhooks, and swings out for Pinche Loco!

Cover, Suzuki-Gun wins!

Winners: Suzuki-Gun (Desperado & Kanemaru), Desperado pinning; still IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions

More low down dirty tactics help Desperado & Kanemaru win. What will it take for these teams, or any team, to dethrone this devious duo?

 

The Golden Lovers VS Bullet Club’s Cody & Hangman Page!

Bullet Club is (not) fine, but you wouldn’t know it looking at these two teams. What started with a single Cross Rhodes to the Cleaner has escalated into a Bullet Club Civil War and a fight for leadership. Will Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi keep on a roll? Or will #TeamCody finally get on the board?

Fans already chant for “Golden Lovers!” before the bell, which annoys Cody. Cody sees Kenny and Ibushi throw their shirts to the crowd, so wants to do the same. However, instead of throwing his shirt to a fan, he just throws it to Hangman. The teams sort themselves out, and Omega dares Cody to start. Cody takes Omega up on that challenge, and the bell rings. Fans rally for Omega as he circles with Cody. They tie up and push each other around, then break. They circle again, but Cody sucker punches at Ibushi. Ibushi avoids it, but Cody has to avoid Kenny now. Cody goes all the way out into the crowd, which the fans boo and jeer.

Omega waits for Cody, and Hangman helps Cody return to ringside. Cody slips into the ring, but then tags out to Hangman. Omega is disappointed, but Hangman gets his attention with some trash talk. They approach each other, but Hangman kicks low, then clubs Omega in the back. Hangman throws a haymaker, Omega gives it back, so Hangman puts on a headlock. Omega powers out but Hangman runs him over. Hangman runs, Omega keeps pace, but Hangman chops him. Hangman whips and Cody gets a cheap shot in. Omega swings on Cody, then dumps Hangman out onto him! Omega slingshots and takes them both out! He puts Hangman back in the ring, then fires the fans up. Omega climbs up top, then flies for a crossbody.

Tag to Ibushi, and Cody rushes in, only to get chops and haymakers. The Golden Lovers grab an arm each, and Cody knows what that’s for. Cody resists, and Hangman comes in to clobber Ibushi and Omega. Hangman chops Ibushi, then whips him, but Ibushi reverses. Things speed up as both Golden Lovers leap over Hangman. Ibushi gets a roundhouse in, then Omega adds the leap frog bulldog. Hangman rolls out of the ring, and Cody is on the other end. Omega fires the fans up, and he and Ibushi take their places. They call for it, and run corner to corner, but Cody and Hangman see the Cross Slash coming and intercept! They drag the Golden Lovers down, to then back suplex, but Ibushi slips out of his to huricanrana Hangman down!

Meanwhile, Cody grabs himself a chair and waits for Omega. Omega runs over, and Cody throws the chair into his face! Hangman runs Ibushi over on his end, and then regroups with Cody while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and Cody stomps away on Ibushi. He swiftly kicks Ibushi in the face, then grinds a knee into his chest. Cody brings Ibushi up for a right hand, then stomps in a corner. Cody tags Hangman, and Hangman grinds his boot into Ibushi’s face. Ibushi crawls for his corner but Hangman blocks his path. Hangman haymakers Ibushi, then grinds a forearm into Ibushi’s face at the ropes. He uses the ropes to hotshot Ibushi and tweak the arm. Cover, but Red Shoes already sees it’s a ropebreak. Hangman tags in to Cody, and Cody drops the ax handle. Cody stomps Ibushi more, then goes after that arm. He even bites the fingers! Cody grimaces as he puts Ibushi in a headlock. Cody punches Ibushi out of the headlock, then tags Hangman back in. He holds Ibushi down for Hangman to stomp.

Hangman toys with Ibushi, but that only riles Ibushi up. Ibushi throws punches, Hangman throws in a knee. Hangman whips but Ibushi reverses, only for Hangman to catch him into a fireman’s carry. Ibushi fights his way out, shoves and dropkicks Hangman down. Ibushi hot tags Omega, and Omega rallies on Hangman. Cody climbs up and leaps, but Omega gets him with a body shot. Omega clobbers Hangman with a spinning double ax handle, then covers, TWO. Fans rally for Omega as he brings Hangman up to the fireman’s carry. “You Can’t Escape!” Rolling senton, but Cody intercepts Omega as he climbs. Hangman climbs up, and brings Omega down with a SUPER neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!

Hangman tags Cody, and Cody taunts fans before throwing hands. Cody punches Omega, then gives him a little kiss on the forehead before stomping in a mudhole. Omega fights back, but Cody keeps him grounded. Cody brings Omega up for an arm wrench, and a shoulder breaker. He brings Omega over and tags in Hangman, and Hangman kicks Omega in the ribs. Hangman deadlift pumphandles Omega for the Fall Away bridge. TWO, so Hangman tags back to Cody. Cody sits Omega up for stomps, then snapmares him for a kick. He puts Omega in a butterfly stretch, going after neck and shoulders. Omega reaches and flails, and gets the ropebreak.

Cody throws Omega out of the ring, then follows out to fetch a table from under the ring. Hangman helps, but Omega fights his way out. Omega tries to suplex but Cody blocks while going for his own suplex. Omega wins the suplex war and throws Cody down on the ground. He fires himself back up but Hangman is there, and he scoop slams Omega on the folded table! Then Ibushi comes in, only to get scoop slammed, too! Hangman looms over them both, then stands the table up. The dent Omega’s and Ibushi’s bodies made is visible as Hangman brings Omega back up. Hangman sets Omega up on the table while Cody climbs high. But it’s at this moment that The Young Bucks appear. They want to know what Cody’s thinking.

Cody argues with them, but Omega slips off the table in that time. Matt & Nick Jackson still talk with Cody, but refuse to shake his hand. Cody goes back to Omega, and puts him in the ring. He tags in, and goes after Omega with a kick. Omega hits back with haymakers and chops, then whips, but Cody reverses. Omega dodges but Hangman gets in a cheap shot now. Cody hits the dropping uppercut, then runs, but Ibushi gives a cheap shot. Omega drops Cody with a kick, that busts Cody open! Both men crawl for their corners, but Hangman just skips the tag to tag out Ibushi. Hangman powers Omega to his corner and gives chops and shoulders.

Cody stands up and runs but into boots. Omega fights out and over, tag to Ibushi! Ibushi springboards to missile dropkick Cody. He hits Hangman for good measure, then whips Cody corner to corner. Cody reverses but Ibushi gets him with a huricanrana. Ibushi kicks Cody in the chest, then catches his breath while Omega comes in. Omega carries Cody, “You Can’t Escape!” Senton, shooting star, and consecutive moonsaults! Double cover, TWO. Cody’s face is a crimson mask while Ibushi kicks Hangman back out. Fans chant for the Golden Lovers as they push Cody out of the ring. Omega and Ibushi take positions again, and this time hit Cross Slash!

Fans fire up with Omega & Ibushi while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns to Omega putting Cody in the ring. Ibushi joins them, and fires off a strike fest. Omega lifts Cody, and uses a powerbomb to feed Cody to Ibushi’s German Suplex! The Golden Lovers see Hangman come in and throw him back out, then return to Cody. Omega and Ibushi position Cody, and climb up together. They take aim together, but Hangman runs in again. Hangman gets kicks for his trouble, but he’s saved Cody. Cody gets clear of the double springboard missile dropkicks, then throws Omega out. Ibushi gets a waistlock but Cody elbows him away. Cody throws Ibushi with an X-Plex, then covers, TWO.

Fans rally for Ibushi, but Cody tags in Hangman. Hangman stalks Ibushi, and brings him up. Ibushi fights off Hangman and Cody, sending Cody out. He boots Hangman away, but Hangman catches Ibushi into a fireman’s carry. Omega returns, but Hangman sees him coming. Hangman kicks Omega and dumps Ibushi, to then use Omega for the dropsault! TWO, and Hangman grows frustrated. He drags Ibushi and signals the end. He lifts Ibushi up, but Ibushi fights back. Ibushi lifts Hangman up but Hangman slips out, and Cody comes in to give Ibushi a Hammerlock DDT! But Omega has Cody in his sights, and hits a V-Trigger! Hangman swings but misses, and Omega throws him with a snap dragon suplex! Omega fires up, and aims at Hangman, “BANG!” He runs but into the powerslam from Cody!

Ibushi kicks Cody, then standing moonsault, but onto knees! Hangman hurries to German Suplex Ibushi, with the bridge, TWO! Everyone is down from exhaustion, but Hangman gets up and tags Cody in. Cody goes over to a corner and climbs while Hangman brings Ibushi up. Omega stops Cody, but Cody pushes him away. Ibushi throws Hangman out then PELE kick to Cody! Omega sees the table, and grabs Cody. Omega brings Cody over in Electric Chair position, but Cody fights his way out of that. But then Ibushi hops up to try and German Suplex Cody! Cody holds on to Omega, and then Hangman grabs Ibushi. Cody dumps Omega and aims at Ibushi, for a springboard missile dropkick Doomsday! Cover, TWO!!

Cody glares through his own blood, then signals to Hangman. Cody hits Omega with the Beautiful Disaster, but Omega holds on. Hangman boots Omega down, to fall through the table!!

Omega is wrecked through the hard wood, and bleeds from a cut on his back. Hangman signals the end, slingshot, but Ibushi dodges Buck Shot to DOUBLE PELE! Ibushi goes after Cody, sit-out powerbomb! TWO!? Fans rally and Ibushi stands up. He drags Cody back up, holding both arms, but Cody dodges Kamigoye. Cody wants Cross Rhodes but Ibushi fights back with knees to the head. Cody grabs that leg and uses it to suplex Ibushi over, but Ibushi lands on his feet to German Suplex Cody down! Ibushi fires up, brings the knee pad down, and sits Cody up again. Hangman grabs that leg to anchor Ibushi, then Cody rolls Ibushi with tights held! Bullet Club steals the win!!

Winners: Bullet Club (Cody & Hangman), Cody pinning

The American Nightmare gets the better of Golden Lovers and finally gets a win in this Civil War. Ibushi goes for revenge, but Hangman clobbers him down. Hangman stomps away on Ibushi, then Cody drags Ibushi up while Omega can only watch. Bullet Club mugs Ibushi with haymakers, but that’s not enough for Cody. Cody brings in a chair! Omega manages to stop Cody before he strikes, then goes after Cody with that chair. He swings on Cody and Hangman but they both get away. Omega checks on his friend while Cody and Hangman retreat. The fans are on the Golden Lovers’ side, even after they lost. This Bullet Club Civil War is far from over. Which side will be left standing at the end?

 

Backstage interviews.

The Golden Lovers have to sit down, their bodies are aching. Omega apologizes for not being much help at the end. He can’t believe the lost like that. “Everyone was counting on us to win.” Omega apologizes, but this won’t be the end for them. They’re back in sync, and will work harder to win next time.

As for Cody, he asks the room, “Do you know what being a wrestler is?” The definition is all kinds of screwed up. Some people thing it’s “bullshit chain-wrestling”, hold to hold. That’s not it. Wrestling is everything. Wrestling is bloody, like what Cody has on his face. Cody just gave his blood for Bullet Club. He designed new logos for the Bullet Club. “Why the Hell am I the bad guy in this narrative!?” Hangman agrees. The blood and sweat coming from Cody, “that’s leadership.” Cody is the leader, Kenny is a fool. Will Hangman’s words remain true the next time these forces collide?


And finally, NJPW and AXS set the stage for Part 3!

This main event match of Sakura Genesis 2018 is all about The Rainmaker defending his title against the 2018 New Japan Cup winner! Kazuchika Okada has reigned as champion for a historic 651 days, and has defended that title 10 times. With a win here, he would tie the record set by The Ace, Hiroshi Tanahashi. However, Suzuki-Gun’s Technical Wizard won the cup by going through Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Sanada, and Tanahashi himself, all with submission based victories.

With the right to challenge a top champion, Mr. ZSJ is going right for the very top! Will Okada move towards history with an 11th successful defense? Or will the Submission Master make his own by being only the second man ever to make Okada #JustTapOut?

 

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada w/ Gedo VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku!

As always, Taka Michinoku asks the crowd questions. “IWGP Heavyweight Championship, Kazuchika Okada VS Zack Sabre Jr. Who’s going to win?!” It’ll be the man who can get anyone anywhere with any lock. The man who used unlimited holds to defeat Naito, Ibushi, Sanada and Tanahashi, and take the New Japan Cup. The Man who will FORCE Okada to tap. When Zack catches you in a submission, #JustTapOut! He is the Submission Master, he is ZSJ, he WILL be IWGP Heavyweight Champion, he is Zack Sabre Jr! So then, Okada, “C’mon over here!” After some clean up of the Okada dollars, Red Shoes does his check while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns with a ring of the bell. Fans are already thunderous as ZSJ and Okada circle. They slowly approach, then back off. They tie up, and Okada brings ZSJ down, but ZSJ slips out and around. ZSJ goes for a number of facelocks, then rolls Okada around. ZSJ shifts to legs but Okada grabs at him, so ZSJ goes after the arm. He puts Okada on his back with a headlock, and traps an arm. Okada endures, and uses a headscissors to counters. ZSJ slips out easily and casually walks it off. Okada and ZSJ circle again while fans rally. They tie up, Okada drops to get the wristlock, but ZSJ grabs at the chin. ZSJ bends and brings Okada around but Okada gets the wristlock. ZSJ rolls and escapes, and they again circle. Okada keeps his guard up, but ZSJ still gets the headlock.

ZSJ shifts and traps on arm, then chinbars before going for the other arm. He has a modified abdominal stretch, then shifts to ghost pin, ONE but ZSJ keeps hold of Okada’s arms. ZSJ floats and rolls to another cover, TWO, and it’s a stand off. Okada and ZSJ reset and circle again while fans rally. They tie up, and push shoulder to shoulder. Okada bends ZSJ back with superior strength, but ZSJ bridges to avoid the cover. Okada sweeps the legs but ZSJ bridges again. Another sweep and another bridge, and ZSJ spins around to a wristlock. ZSJ wrenches the arm, but Okada rolls and trips ZSJ up. Okada goes after the leg with a shinlock, but ZSJ puts a facelock on Okada. Okada steps over on the toehold, but ZSJ hooks a leg around. ZSJ brings Okada around for an armbar, but Okada clasps hands.

ZSJ works to pry those hands apart, but Okada rolls him to a cover. ONE, and ZSJ lets go. They both spring up, and fans applaud this stand-off. The two circle again, tie up, and ZSJ brings Okada into a cravat. ZSJ wrenches the neck, but Okada reverses. ZSJ reverses back to the cravat, and brings Okada to his knees. Okada endures, goes to break free, but ZSJ sees it coming and manages to get the cravat back on. Okada arm-drags but ZSJ holds on, so Okada tries a scoop slam. ZSJ counters with a cravat takedown, but Okada gets back to his feet. They go against the ropes, so ZSJ has to let go. He doesn’t break clean as he digs elbows into Okada’s neck.

Okada ties ZSJ up in the ropes, and looks to chop ZSJ, but instead gives ZSJ a pat on the shoulder and head. ZSJ grabs that hand and makes Okada regret that. He goes to stomp the hammerlock but Okada gets clear. Okada drop toeholds ZSJ into a modified STF and surfboard combo!

ZSJ finds himself in a rare situation of being stuck in a submission. Okada shifts around, and goes from that hold to the Cloverleaf! ZSJ resists the turn over and grabs a leg. He gets a heel hook, and wrenches it deep. Okada endures as ZSJ twists and twists, but then rolls his way out the hold and to a waistlock. ZSJ stands up but Okada brings him back down. Okada loops himself around, and brings ZSJ into a trapped-leg calf killer! ZSJ endures the hold, and rolls back to chinbar Okada into the trapped-arm armlock. Okada rolls that around to a cover, TWO as ZSJ has to let go. ZSJ backs of but fans applaud while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns again as Okada and ZSJ catch their breaths. Okada and ZSJ circle again, getting pointers from their corner men. They tie up, forehead to forehead, and Okada gets wrist control. He brings ZSJ to his knees, but ZSJ stands up and rolls back to reverse the pressure. ZSJ brings Okada to his knees now, but Okada powers ZSJ over. Okada grabs a leg and wrenches the ankle, but ZSJ rolls and pries his way out to get a headlock. ZSJ gets the takeover but Okada counters with headscissors. ZSJ moves around and pops out to go after Okada’s ankle again. Okada endures the wrenching while fans rally. Okada works his way up and out but ZSJ catches him into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow stretch. ZSJ pulls back but Okada pops out to a cover, ONE, and Okada rocks ZSJ with a running European Uppercut!

Michinoku coaches ZSJ up but Okada is upon him. Okada whips but ZSJ comes back to catch him in an abdominal stretch. Okada hip tosses out, and brings ZSJ back up in a cobra clutch. ZSJ slips around to a hammerlock. Okada reverses to the cobra clutch, but ZSJ again counters to a top wristlock. Okada reverses but ZSJ reverses again, to the abdominal stretch. ZSJ has the cobra twist variant, then adds a chinbar, then a half straitjacket. Okada falls to his knees but also to the ropebreak. ZSJ lets him go, rather annoyed by this. ZSJ walks around, then toys with Okada, kicking his arm. He brings Okada up for a EuroUpper of his own, then another.

ZSJ brings Okada out and digs knuckles into the neck. He brings Okada down for a half crab, and leans way back before stomping the back of the leg. ZSJ walks around again while Okada clutches his leg. ZSJ comes back for the toehold, then goes after the other leg with a heel hook. Okada endures, but ZSJ shifts to a standing step-over, and uses his own legs to TWIST Okada’s! ZSJ casually walks around while Okada writhes in pain. ZSJ toys with Okada again, but Okada hits back with forearms and elbows. Okada stands and hits another elbow, but ZSJ hits back with another EuroUpper. ZSJ runs, and catches Okada’s dropkick into the STF! He bends Okada sideways with it, but Okada endures.

Okada crawls for ropes but ZSJ traps an arm. Gedo shouts for Okada, and Okada keeps trying, but ZSJ traps him into an inverted triangle hold! Okada keeps reaching, and ZSJ can’t get a leg into the hold before the ropebreak. ZSJ has to let go, and Gedo rallies the fans behind Okada. Okada stirs, but ZSJ toys with him again. Okada dares ZSJ to hit him, so ZSJ does, with a EuroUpper. ZSJ gives another, but Okada stays up. They both stand up, and ZSJ gives another EuroUpper, but Okada boots him back. Okada throws forearms, then a EuroUpper of his won, but ZSJ gives a EuroUpper back. ZSJ whips but Okada reverses, only to run into ZSJ’s back elbow. ZSJ runs out but into a flapjack! Both men are down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns again as fans rally for Okada and ZSJ. Both men slowly sit up, with their corner men leading the charge. They stand, and Okada rallies on ZSJ. Okada whips, ZSJ reverses, but Okada blows past him. ZSJ dodges Okada, but runs into a boot! He goes down while Okada catches his breath. Okada takes aim from across the way, runs in for the back elbow, then kicks and hits a DDT. ZSJ goes to the apron, but Okada is on him. Okada thrusts a shoulder out but ZSJ catches him into a draping Octopus! Red Shoes calls for the break, and ZSJ lets go at 4. ZSJ drags Okada back up, but Okada rocks him with a forearm. Okada goes to suplex, but ZSJ counters with a wristlock. ZSJ makes Okada hit himself, but then Okada hits ZSJ with his free arm!

Okada boots ZSJ off the apron and down to the floor. Then he goes out to fetch ZSJ, and brings ZSJ around to whip him into barriers, then boot him over them. Okada has people clear out, and he FLIES over the barriers to bowl ZSJ over into chairs! Fans fire up for Okada while he stands over ZSJ. He drags ZSJ up as the ring count begins. They return at 9, and Okada stalks ZSJ at the ropes. He whips ZSJ, then picks him up for a spinebuster. Okada jackknifes and rolls through, but ZSJ uses that to get his Octopus! ZSJ brings Okada to the mat for another take on the triangle hold. Okada endures as ZSJ goes after the wrist and fingers. Okada crawls but ZSJ knows to get a leg this time. ZSJ puts one leg in a stretch muffler, while maintaining the figure four facelock.

Okada reaches blindly, and manages a ropebreak. ZSJ lets go, growing annoyed. Michinoku coaches him up and ZSJ stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ digs elbows and knuckles in here and there, then sits on the hammerlock, to then TWIST it. Gedo coaches Okada up, but ZSJ stands on that arm and then Okada’s face. ZSJ drags Okada up, and gives him a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs corner to corner, but Okada gets clear. Okada hoists ZSJ up but ZSJ kicks him away. ZSJ jumps, and grabs Okada in a guillotine! Okada powers his way out, but ZSJ just climbs around to a backpack sleeper hold. ZSJ climbs around again, and back to the guillotine, and adds the hammerlock. Okada powers out, and hits the reverse neckbreaker!

Both men fall but fans fire up. Okada stands and scoop slams ZSJ, but those arms slow him down as he goes to a corner. He climbs up, jumps, but ZSJ catches the elbow into an armbar! Okada rolls it but ZSJ rolls more, but Okada manages a ropebreak before ZSJ can finish the Disarmer. ZSJ is exasperated, but he does get up first. He kicks Okada, but Gedo and the fans rally. Okada hits back, but those arms are aching. ZSJ wants Okada to hit him more, then hits back. Okada hits ZSJ, then ZSJ hits Okada. ZSJ throws EuroUpper after EuroUpper, but Okada doesn’t flinch. Okada fires off forearms, then a boot, but ZSJ blocks that and retaliates with another EuroUpper. Okada staggers but comes back out with a blasting dropkick!

Both men are down again, but fans rally once more. Okada and ZSJ stir, and both Gedo and Michinoku coach up their man. Okada runs in but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs, but into the fireman’s carry. ZSJ slips out and goes for the Fujiwara, but Okada rolls, only for ZSJ to gives another EuroUpper. Zack tries another EuroUpper but Okada counters to a backslide. ZSJ slides off that, then blocks the Rainmaker into a kimura. Okada fights that but then ZSJ kicks the arm, and then a Pele. Okada still dropkicks ZSJ in the back, then whips ZSJ to dropkick him down from the front. Fans fire up, and Okada hits a Tombstone! Okada calls for the finish, but ZSJ grabs an arm! ZSJ brings Okada down into the hammerlock, then the other arm for the stretch! Okada endures, resists, and rolls out, to wring out.

ZSJ ducks the Rainmaker and flips Okada with the double wristlock, for the European Clutch! TWO!! And ZSJ is stunned! Okada gets the Tombstone position, but ZSJ slips out again. ZSJ uses a double leg takedown and underhook to roll Okada for another EuroClutch, TWO!! Penalty Kick! We go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns once more to thunderous fans. Michinoku coaches up ZSJ while Gedo coaches up Okada. ZSJ goes after Okada’s arm with headbutts, then gives Okada a forearm. Okada gives a forearm back, but ZSJ kicks that bad arm. Okada sits up, and now they both kick each other in the chest. They kick and kick, then ZSJ SLAPS Okada. ZSJ brings Okada up for a smack to the head, then runs, but Okada dropkicks him down! Okada drags ZSJ up, wristlock wring out, but ZSJ counters with an armbar takedown! ZSJ wants the Article 50 cross armbreaker, but Okada resists with clasped hands. Okada reaches but ZSJ gets extension. Okada tries to redo his hands but ZSJ reels him into a triangle hold. ZSJ binds Okada, but Okada endures.

Okada stands up, and deadlifts ZSJ, but the torture on that arm bring Okada back down. Red Shoes asks Okada how he feels, but Okada endures. Fans keep rallying while Okada fades, but Okada gets a second wind! Okada deadlifts ZSJ, but ZSJ lets go, only to take a lariat! Both men go down, and fans keep cheering. Okada sits up, still holding onto ZSJ’s wrist. He brings ZSJ up, for another lariat. Gedo is feeling it as Okada brings ZSJ up. Okada wrings him out, but ZSJ ducks and waistlock to the Octopus! ZSJ bends and stretches Okada all over, and wants both arms to complete his Hypernormalisation, but Okada resists! Okada pops out, flips ZSJ around, JUMPING Tombstone! But that’s not all, Okada wrings ZSJ out for THE Rainmaker!!

Cover, Okada wins!

Winner: Kazuchika Okada, by pinfall; still IWGP Heavyweight Champion

He has done it! Okada has tied Tanahashi’s record for defenses in a single reign! Okada has won his 11th title defense match, but it took so much out of him. Gedo and Michinoku both check on their man, with ice packs and medical attention. The challenger leaves the ring, and the champion has his hand raised.

Gedo speaks.

“Oi, I have one thing to say.” Zack Sabre Jr CAN’T make the Rainmaker tap out. Wanna know why? “He’s on a whole ‘nother level!” That felt good to say. Okada has tied the record for defenses. There’s a new record in sight, but just one problem. He has no one to fight! Even though they have no chance of winning, Gedo wonders if there’s anyone who wants to stop Okada from setting a record. Is there? Fans want to see if there is, too. Fans suggest Tanahashi himself! Okada takes the mic to say he has three things to say, but then Tanahashi appears!

The Ace is here in person, and he steps into the ring. He takes the mic while fans chant “Go Ace!” Tanahashi tells Okada that he did a good job. And congratulations on tying the record for title defenses. “It’s taken me a long time, but I am finally back, face-to-face with you.” Tanahashi thanks the fans for their support. But you see, “you can search around the globe, and the next challenger…” Sorry, he messed up, let him start over. You could search around the world and not find a challenger, besides Tanahashi! The tables have turned, because this time, Tanahashi breaks Okada’s streak. The Ace lets the champ have the ring, and the match is made.

Okada speaks, “I wanna say three things.” First, Zack Sabre Jr’s holds really were on a different level. And facing ZSJ made him even stronger. Second, what’s Tanahashi been up to? He got hurt, came back, repeat, lose a title and be only runner-up in New Japan Cup. How lame. Okada won’t bother calling him Tanahashi, he’s OLD Tanahashi. Third, there’s actually a third. This win today ties Old Tanahashi’s record of consecutive defense victories, and he’s grateful for that. NOT. Because now he will beat Tanahashi to make it 12! Then 13, 14, 15, all the way to 100. Okada will be the 100-victories IWGP Champion. He knows he sounds hasty, but he vows that “as the greatest champion” of NJPW, Okada will make it rain. He defends titles, sets records, and makes it rain! The Rainmaker lets the golden streamers flow, will he truly be NJPW’s Mr. 100?

 

Backstage interviews.

ZSJ admits Okada is really strong. Okada is the best, for now. But ZSJ vows to win the G-1 and then beat Okada, because he is the best wrestler in the world. He swears it.

Okada speaks on Tanahashi accepting the challenge, saying “It’s fine by me.” He hasn’t had a match with Tanahashi so far in this title run, so it makes sense to have it be them. They’re both tied at 11, not that the number is important. But if the number is what motivates Tanahashi, then Okada will accept. But who was it that stopped Tanahashi? Hint: the Rainmaker. So we already know how this ends. In order to see if he’s worthy of setting the record, Okada must get through the man that preceded him. Can Okada use The Ace as a stepping stone? Or will Tanahashi become a record eight time champion?

 


 

My Thoughts:

Three hours of NJPW in a row like that, a great move for AXS. This wasn’t every match on the Sakura Genesis card but it was all the best ones. We only saw part of that Six Man Tag, but it was really good and really builds onto this story of Suzuki-Gun VS LIJ. Killer Elite Squad is making a move for those IWGP Heavyweight Tag titles that EVIL & SANADA hold, and their match-up could go either way. Naito VS Suzuki is great just on story, given the clashing personalities. Ospreay VS Scurll, aka RIP Ospreay Part 1 given that Spanish Fly apron spot, was great. Great story for Ospreay to finally win, and he’s clearly working on getting through all his rivals and all the best Juniors 1v1 to boost the status of the division.

Part 2 having two full matches is great, we get everything that the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Triple Threat had, which still had Suzuki-Gun winning. If there was another talented Jr. Tag Team around, they could go up to Fatal 4, but there isn’t one so it’ll have to be about who gets Desperado & Kanemaru all to themselves. Golden Lovers VS Cody & Hangman was great, with plenty of story behind it and happening in the match itself. Familiarity between them all helped, and I was surprised that Cody-Hangman won, but not how. Cody gets meta, saying he doesn’t know why he’s the Heel in this, yet he does the Heel things, which just proves why he’s a genius Heel.

Part 3, just the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, is all you really need. Okada and ZSJ, with Michinoku and Gedo ringside, was amazing. The corner men do their part in adding story with their coaching and reactions. Okada surprisingly keeps pace with ZSJ in submission and technical wrestling, but as I had figured with New Japan Cup, the secret to Okada winning this was using his strength and strikes. The Rainmaker’s namesake is booked so strong, but Okada still used three of them anyway to be fair. ZSJ is still a star, and will still be a the top one day. Then setting up Okada VS Tanahashi, that’s going to be incredible, too, and quite possibly establish Okada as the best ever for NJPW.

My Score: 8.5/10 (part 1), 8.5/10 (part 2), 9/10 (part 3); overall: 9/10


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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Road Results & Report! (7/4/22)

We’re in the homestretch!

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New Japan Road 2022

NJPW is turning the corner towards the finish line!

While America celebrates its independence, NJPW has fireworks of their own! Will two Aces trump Bullet Club’s Bone Soldier Reborn & Fang Revived?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Minoru Suzuki VS Kosei Fujita; Suzuki wins.
  • TAKA Michinoku VS Satoshi Kojima; Kojima wins.
  • Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Ryohei Oiwa; Honma & Makabe win.
  • Six Man Tag: Yuji Nagata, Clark Connors & The DKC VS Suzuki-Gun; Suzuki-Gun wins.
  • Six Man Tag: Chaos VS House of Torture; Chaos wins.
  • 10 Man Tag: Alex Zayne, Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; LIJ wins.
  • KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Taiji Ishimori & KENTA; Taiji & Kenta win.

PLAY BY PLAY

10 Man Tag: Alex Zayne, Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada VS Los Ingobernables de Japon!

The Sauce was part of yesterday’s winning combination in the main event, and now the table is set for a bigger meal! Will he, Six or Nine, the Stone Pitbull and the Rainmaker have their fill? Or will Bushi, Sanada, Hiromu, Takagi y Naito be the ones having a fiesta before the G1?

LIJ first bumps and the teams sort out, we have Sanada and Ishii to start. Fans rally at the bell, “SA-NA-DA!” “I-SHI-I!” They tie up, Sanada wrenches to a wristlock but Ishii throws a body shot. Ishii wrenches to a hammerlock but Sanada switches it onto Ishii. Ishii switches it back, but Sanada switches again to then get a headlock. Ishii powers up and out, then avoids the boot. Sanada avoids the lariat but Ishii avoids another boot. Sanada gets around to waistlock and shove Ishii to a corner, then runs in. Ishii dodges but then Sanada dodges, and Sanada kicks. Ishii blocks that, spins Sanada to a waistlock, but Sanada throws elbows.

Ishii ducks the elbow but Sanada ducks a forearm to waistlock Ishii. Ishii swings elbows but Sanada ducks then trips Ishii. Sanada wants Paradise but Ishii kicks Sanada away. Sanada gets up but Ishii trips him! Ishii tries to steal Paradise but Sanada kicks him away! Fans applaud the exchange as the two stare down. Fans rally again, “SA-NA-DA!” “I-SHI-I!” They tie up again, Sanada waistlocks and shoves but Ishii holds ropes. Ishii runs in but into another waistlock. Ishii switches and shoves Sanada but Sanada holds ropes. Sanada runs in but Ishii avoids the basement dropkick. Sanada avoids the Penalty Kick and dropkicks!

Ishii stays up but runs into a forearm! Sanada runs, but Ishii runs him over! Fans fire up and the Stone Pitbull drags up Cold Skull. Ishii bumps Sanada off buckles and tags in Okada. Okada CLUBS Sanada, scoops him and SLAMS him, then goes to the apron. Slingshot senton! Fans applaud and Okada drags Sanada up. Okada CLUBS Sanada again, and again, then whips him to ropes. Sanada reverses and Bushi hits Okada at the ropes! Okada’s team protests but Sanada dropkicks Okada’s leg out! Fans rally up while both men are down. Sanada tags Naito and he kicks and CLUBS away on Okada.

Naito whips Okada corner to corner, runs in to JUMP KICK! Leg sweep and swinging dropkick! Combinacion Cabron! Naito strikes his pose and fans applaud. Naito drags Okada up, turns him around, but Okada fights off the neckbreaker. Okada kicks low to DDT! Fans rally up again as Okada drags Naito up. Tag to Taguchi and Wato comes in to knock down Hiromu. Taguchi CLUBS Naito, drags him up and gives him a point blank hip attack. Six or Nine double whip Naito to double drop toehold! And roll to double basement dropkick! Taguchi sees Bushi coming, Six or Nine double back elbow, double uppercut and DOUBLE SOBAT!

The ref reprimands but Six or Nine go back after Naito. They double whip him corner to corner, Taguchi CORNER HIPS! Taguchi then sets up for WATO IN MOTION! Wato sets up for HIP IN- NO, Naito dodges and Taguchi hits buckles! Hiromu uses Wato as a step, TIMEBOMB IN MOTION! Naito then kicks Wato and throws him out while Hiromu keeps after Taguchi. Hiromu and Naito double whip Taguchi but he ducks the clothesline. Taguchi jumps, but into a DOUBLE ATOMIC DROP! Naito then gets a boost from Hiromu to TORNADO DDT! Hiromu takes out Zayne and Ishii while fans fire up.

LIJ goes after Okada and the rest while Naito SPANKS Taguchi! And again! And again! Naito drags Taguchi up and tags in Takagi. LIJ mugs Taguchi with a DOUBLE SPANK! And a DOUBLE SPANK again! Takagi then reels Taguchi in for a BIG atomic drop! Taguchi staggers about, but Takagi throws knees against the ropes. The ref reprimands and Takagi lets off. Fans rally up for “TA-KA-GI!” “TA-GU-CHI!” while Taguchi flops over. Takagi brings Taguchi up and whips him to ropes, to KNEE him hard against them! Takagi reels Taguchi in to suplex high and hard! Cover, TWO! Taguchi is still in this and fans rally as Takagi drags him up.

Takagi YANKS and wrenches an arm, then tags in Bushi. LIJ go after Taguchi’s ass again with more spanks! Taguchi writhes but Bushi keeps him from his team. Bushi bumps Taguchi off buckles, stomps and CHOPS him, then brings him around to kick. Bushi goes up and missile dropkicks! BUSHIROONI! Fans rally up and Bushi stands on Taguchi’s face. Taguchi flails and Bushi covers, ROPEBREAK! Naito swats the foot away, Bushi covers again, TWO! Bushi CLUBS Taguchi down before he can get to his corner, and he stomps Taguchi’s ass! Bushi FISHERMAN- NO, Taguchi slips out! But Bushi kicks low!

Bushi runs, Taguchi jumps, but into another atomic drop! Bushi SPANKS Taguchi again! Bushi whips but Taguchi reverses to HIP ATTACK! Fans fire up while both men are down! They crawl for their corners, hot tags to Zayne and Hiromu! The Sauce rallies on LIJ, fires off elbows on Hiromu, then SOBATS! Zayne runs for the SOMERSAULT AX KICK! Direct hit and Hiromu flounders to a corner! Fans fire up and Zayne runs in corner to corner to back elbow! Zayne puts Hiromu up top but Naito runs in! Zayne sends Naito into Hiromu! Zayne then uses Naito as a boost to DRAGON RANA Hiromu off the top!

Fans fire up more and Zayne rolls Naito up to EDDY GORDO KICK! Fans rally and Zayne sees Hiromu regrouping with Sanada and Bushi. The ref is reprimanding those three and Zayne wants the ref to move. The ref doesn’t hear him so Zayne shrugs and builds speed! Zayne FLIES over the ref to wipe out LIJ! Fans are fired up and Zayne fetches Hiromu. Zayne puts Hiromu in, stalks him, then brings him up. Zayne wrenches and scoops, BAJA BLAST! Cover, TWO! Okada DECKS Takagi and has Zayne carry on. Fans rally up, “HI-RO-MU!” “AL-EX ZAYNE!” Zayne drags Hiromu up, wraps him up, but Hiromu fights the straitjacket.

Hiromu swings but into a spin. Hiromu catches Zayne’s clothesline and spins, then jumps up, but Zayne blocks the rana takedown! Zayne throws Hiromu away, but Hiromu wheelbarrows to COMPLETE SHOT! Fans fire up while both men are down! Hiromu and Zayne stir, crawl for their corners, and Zayne hot tags Wato! The Way of the Grandmaster fires up as he brings Hiromu up. Hiromu fights the waistlock and elbows free. Hiromu blocks the kick, and the punch, but not the ELBOW! Wato runs, but into an elbow! Hiromu runs, into a dropkick! Wato fires up and fans fire up with him! Wato BUZZS- NO, Hiromu blocks the kick to a DRAGON SCREW!

Fans rally and Hiromu crawls for his corner. Hot tag to Takagi, and the Dragon says here it comes! Takagi runs in at Wato, blocks the boot and clotheslines! Takagi suplexes, Wato fights it, but Takagi turns it into a swinging neckbreaker! Cover, Okada breaks it! Okada coaches Wato and fans rally up. Takagi brings Wato up to throw elbows! Takagi then runs to SLID- NO, Wato dodges to BOOT and whip! Takagi reverses, but Wato RANAS! Taguchi knocks Naito and Bushi down, then Zayne and Wato double whip Takagi. Wato runs in but is put on the apron. Takagi does the same to Zayne, but Taguchi HIP ATTACKS!

Taguchi, Zayne and Wato coordinate, HIP AND DOUBLE KICK COMBO! Taguchi stands Takagi up for Wato’s FLYING UPPERCUT! Cover, Hiromu breaks it! Taguchi throws Hiromu out and fans rally up. Wato goes back to a corner while Takagi snarls. Wato goes after Takagi, but he can’t scoop Takagi! But Takagi can scoop Wato! Wato fights free, CLUBS Takagi, but Takagi just shrugs. Wato runs, but into Takagi’s ELBOW! JAB! YUKON LARIAT! Fans fire up and Takagi brings Wato up, to SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Wato survives but Takagi points to the camera. There’s still more! “OI! OI! OI!”

Fans rally up and Takagi brings Wato up again. Pump handle but then Okada gets in. Takagi BOOTS Okada, JABS, but Okada FLAPJACKS Takagi! Naito runs in but into an uppercut. Okada whips but Naito avoids the dropkick to basement dropkick! Ishii runs in to run Naito over! Sanada fireman’s carries Ishii, to throw him into the dragon sleeper! Ishii slips out to suplex but Sanada slips out to ROCK Ishii! Sanada spins but into Ishii’s SUPLEX! Takagi PUMPING BOMBERS Ishii! Wato dodges to SCREW HIGH KICK! Wato waistlocks and HIGH ANGLE GERMAN SUPLEXES! Bridging cover, TWO!!

Wato is shocked but the fans fire up! Wato brings Takagi up, wrenches and hooks him, but Takagi fights the Mouse Trap. Takagi fireman’s carries but Wato CRUCIFIX DRIVERS! Cover, TWO! BUZZ- NO, Takagi ducks the kick! Takagi waistlocks but Wato elbows free and SOBATS! Front kick and SUPER- NO, Takagi blocks and shoves Wato, to pop-up DEATH VALLEY! Then Takagi runs to PUMPING BOMBER! Cover, TWO!! Wato survives and fans fire up! Bushi DIVES to take out Zayne! Takagi fires up and drags Wato back up. Pump handle and lift, MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, LIJ wins!

Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, by pinfall

The Dragon slays the Grandmaster, but he shows his respect with a pat on the chest. Wait, Taguchi tries to Iron Claw and maybe even Stink Face Hiromu! And Ishii stares down with Sanada. But with LIJ victorious, will their heavyweights take over the G1 Climax? Or will the Stone Pitbull have something to say about all that?

 

KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Taiji Ishimori & KENTA!

Speaking of that winning combination, the Time Splitter and the Once in a Century Talent are sticking together in a rematch with the Bone Soldier & Fang Revived! Will it only take a pair of Aces to win again? Or can the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion turn things around before the end of the New Japan Road?

Tanahashi shows off the muscles, and again fans are impressed. Taiji shows off his, too, though, to see who is better. The teams sort out and Kushida starts against Taiji for one more preview of their title match. They circle and fans rally. They tie up, Kushida goes low but Taiji uses that to waistlock. Kushida rolls and brings Taiji down then floats. Taiji resists the lateral press but Kushida goes after his legs. Kushida digs a knee in, throws down a palm strike, then tries for a press. Taiji moves around, gets Kushida’s arm but Kushida headscissors to counter. Kushida pushes up to put on the pressure, but Taiji moves around.

Taiji ties up Kushida’s legs then headstands to pop free. Fans applaud the opening exchange as the two reset. They feel out a knuckle lock, then Kushida KICKS a leg! And again! Kushida keeps his leg guard up as Taiji moves around. Kushida goes after a leg but Taiji pushes him away. Kushida jumps on to body scissor, then he knuckle locks and wrenches an arm. Kushida wrenches, full nelsons, spins Taiji and hammerlocks to then flying-mare! Kushida chinlocks but Taiji slips out to wrench and cover, ONE! Fans applaud as the two stand off again. Taiji backs away to his corner and Kenta tags in.

Kushida goes to his corner and he tags Tanahashi in. Fans rally “LET’S GO, ACE!” as Tanahashi and Kenta circle. Kenta starts up his own clap rhythm and fans follow along. The clapping duels between them, but the “LET’S GO, ACE!” wins out. Kenta is annoyed so he steps out to the apron. Fans clap for Kenta to try and get him back into this. Kenta steps back in slowly, but Tanahashi starts up “LET’S GO, ACE” again. Kenta tries even harder to get his clapping going, the dueling continues, and Tanahashi dares Kenta to come at him. They circle, but then Kenta uses ropes as defense. Tanahashi backs away and Kenta returns.

Kenta and Tanahashi finally approach, but Kenta again backs away to ropes. Tanahashi decides to join Kenta in the ropes. Tanahashi tells Kenta to get serious, and the two return to center. They approach and Kenta kicks low! Kenta headlocks and grinds Tanahashi down. Tanahashi pries the headlock open and turns it around onto Kenta! Fans applaud and now Kenta endures. Kenta powers up but can’t power out as Tanahashi holds tight. Tanahashi grinds the headlock but Kenta pulls hair! Red Shoes reprimands but Tanahashi pulls Kenta’s hair! They both end up in a corner and Red Shoes counts. Tanahashi lets go to throw body shots!

Tanahashi whips corner to corner, Kenta reverses to uppercut! Kenta whips Tanahashi corner to corner now, but runs into an elbow! Tanahashi goes up to CROSSBODY! Fans rally as Tanahashi air guitars. Tanahashi brings Kenta over, tag to Kushida, and Tanahashi feeds Kenta to Kushida’s HOTSHOT! Kushida drags Kenta up, wrenches the arm and hits an ELBOW BREAKER! Things speed up but Kenta CLOBBERS Kushida and DECKS Tanahashi! Taiji gets in to throw Kushida out while Kenta whips Tanahashi hard into railing! Tanahashi drops in a heap while Taiji throws hands on Kushida.

Kushida hits Taiji back while Kenta rains down fists on Tanahashi! Taiji rakes Kushida’s eyes while Kenta stomps Tanahashi. Taiji puts Kushida in, CHOKES him, but Red Shoes reprimands. Kenta gets in to claw Kushida’s eyes! Red Shoes reprimands but Kenta drags Kushida away to whip hard into the corner. Tag to Taiji, and they both dig their boots into Kushida. Red Shoes counts and they let off. Fans rally for “KU-SHI-DA!” as Taiji drags Kushida up. Taiji wrenches an arm, CLUBS it, then CLUBS it again. Taiji YANKS the arm, wrenches again, then snapmares Kushida to WRING the arm out!

Kushida writhes but Taiji smirks. Kushida CHOPS Taiji, but Taiji eggs him on. Kushida CHOPS again, but Taiji CHOPS back. Taiji CHOPS Kushida at the ropes, Kenta HOTSHOTS the arm! Red Shoes reprimands but Taiji says it is in return for what they did to Kenta. Taiji stands on Kushida’s hand then stomps Kushida’s head! Tag to Kenta, he drags Kushida back from Tanahashi. Kenta stomps the bad arm, then snapmares Kushida for a KICK! Kenta stares Tanahashi down then covers, ONE! Fans rally, Kenta tells them to shut up. Kushida throws body shots and forearms but Kenta knees low. Kenta whips, Kushida handsprings to BACK ELBOW!

Fans fire up and Kushida rolls, hot tag to Tanahashi! Tanahashi drags Kenta up to fire off fast hands! Taiji gets in to CLUB Tanahashi! Red Shoes reprimands but Tanahashi SHOTEIS Taiji down! Taiji bails out and Tanahashi whips Kenta to a corner. Tanahashi runs in to SHOTGUN! And then HALF HATCH SUPLEX! Fans fire up and Tanahashi waits on Kenta to rise. Tanahashi runs, but Kenta sends Tanahashi out! Tanahashi skins the cat, but he has to BOOT Taiji away. Kenta SHOTGUNS Tanahashi down! Fans rally up while Taiji stomps Tanahashi. Kenta RAMS Kushida into railing and stomps him down!

Taiji drags Tanahashi up while Kenta DDTs Kushida to the floor! Taiji rakes Tanahashi’s eyes, then he goes after Kushida with haymakers. Kenta kicks Tanahashi while he’s down, puts him in the ring, then covers, TWO! Kenta wraps on a headscissor squeeze! Fans rally while Tanahashi endures, and he reaches out with a leg. Kenta squeezes tighter but Tanahashi gets the ROPEBREAK! Taiji swats the foot away but Red Shoes saw that. Red Shoes wants Kenta to let go but Kenta thrashes around. Red Shoes makes Kenta let go, and he drags Tanahashi over. Kenta whips Tanahashi into bare buckles!

Kenta CLAWS at Tanahashi’s shoulders! Kenta tags Taiji and Taiji hops up onto the top rope. Fans rally as Kenta stands Tanahashi up. Taiji jumps, to CLAW Tanahashi’s back! Tanahashi grits his teeth while he drops to the mat. Fans rally up and Taiji drags Tanahashi back up. Taiji reels Tanahashi in, to CLAW his back again! Red Shoes reprimands but Taiji smirks. Taiji drags Tanahashi up to wrench and whip into the bare buckles again! Tanahashi clutches that shoulder as he falls over but the fans still rally behind him. Taiji drags Tanahashi up but Tanahashi fires off body shots. Taiji KNEES low and CLAWS Tanahashi’s back again.

Tag to Kenta, he CLAWS Tanahashi, but Tanahashi CLAWS Kenta back! Fans rally, but Kenta DECKS Kushida to deny the tag! Kenta throws haymakers but Tanahashi fires up! Fans fire up with Tanahashi as he powers up. Kenta runs, BOOTS, but Tanahashi stays up! Kenta BOOTS again but Tanahashi kicks, into a DRAGON SCREW! Kenta has the bad leg, turns Tanahashi over, STF! Tanahashi endures and fans rally, but Kushida barrels in to break the hold! Taiji throws Kushida out, then goes out after him while Kenta keeps on Tanahashi. Kenta RAMS Tanahashi into Red Shoes! Then he DDTs Tanahashi down!

Taiji whips Kushida into railing while Kenta searches under the ring. Kenta brings out a crutch! Kenta aims at Tanahashi, wanting revenge for being put on the shelf. But Tanahashi dodges the crutch to hit a SLINGBLADE! Fans fire up while both men are down! Taiji hides the crutch while Red Shoes returns. Fans rally, both men stir, and they head for their corners! Hot tags to Taiji and Kushida! Kushida climbs up to FLYING AX HANDLE! And KICK and KICK and KICK the arm! Kushida whips, Taiji reverses, but Kushida FLYING FOREARMS! Taiji gets up but Kushida wheelbarrows and victory rolls, STOMP 182! Cover, TWO!

Kushida rains down palm strikes on Taiji! Kushida then gets an arm, wrenches and ELBOW BREAKERS! PENALTY KICK to the arm! Kushida whips and hip tosses into the ARMBAR Tanahashi intercepts Kenta for the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF! Fans rally while Bullet Club endures double submissions! Taiji fights around, rolls and gets the ROPEBREAK! Kushida and Tanahashi let Taiji and Kenta go, and Tanahashi kicks Kenta out. Kushida drags Taiji up as the fans rally. Kushida hammerlocks but Taiji fights free. Taiji ROCKS Kushida, but Kushida dropkicks the bad arm! Kushida keeps moving, tilt-o-whirl, but Taiji blocks!

Taiji powers up to CIPHER UTAKI! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi was late but Kushida survives on his own. Kenta attacks Tanahashi and throws him back out. Fans rally up for “KU-SHI-DA!” while Kenta fires off haymakers on Tanahashi. Kenta throws Tanahashi at the stage, and then brings him backstage! Taiji has Kushida all alone and says BANG! Taiji drags Kushida up, half hatch, but the bad arm holds him back! Kushida KICKS the arm, but Taiji hits MYSTICO! And BONE LOCK!! Kushida endures, flails, fans rally, but Taiji pulls back! KUSHIDA TAPS, TAIJI WINS!

Winner: Taiji Ishimori & Kenta, by submission

The Bone Solder just made the Time Splitter tap out! Kenta and Tanahashi still brawl, clearly wanting to start their G1 battle now! But with Kushida losing momentum, is this a sign he’s not quite up to speed yet? As for Taiji, he gets the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship back on, and gets the mic.

“I won! HAH! Kushida! I said I would put you to the test, and you failed. You want to challenge me? You’ve got to be kidding me. You thought you could just show up and beat me? Don’t take me so lightly, bastard. Let me say this: You’re a long way from the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship!” Taiji asks what Kushida has to say about that. Nothing? Then go home! Kushida does head backstage, clearly upset with himself more than anything. Taiji says we don’t know who is really challenging for the belt now.

“But I will defend this belt all over and prove that I am the definitive Junior Heavyweight Champion. In the end, the most important, most important, MOST IMPORTANT thing…! Oi, look at me. I’ll show you greatness and strength. It’s Reborn!” The Bone Soldier shoots down the Time Splitter, but will time only tell if Kushida can get back to the title?


My Thoughts:

Another good event for NJPW with just one more to go tomorrow. Chaos winning against House of Torture this time could just be to even out the math going into their NEVER Openweight Six Man title match. It’s still hard to tell how much NJPW puts into their go-home math, so maybe Chaos’ Goto, Hashi & Yoh still win those titles off Evil, Yujiro & Sho like I predicted yesterday. The 10 Man Tag was a lot of fun, and it seems Zayne has good chemistry with Taguchi and Wato if they ever wanted to be NEVER Openweight Six Man champions. But LIJ wins again to show they’re all going into the G1 Climax with great momentum.

The tag match main event was great stuff, but I had a feeling it would even out between Kushida and Taiji. The G1 takes center stage so it’s going to be some time before the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship match happens. Both guys will be 100% rested by then so there won’t be any doubts or excuses (in kayfabe) as to who wins and loses that match.

My Score: 8.4/10


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Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (7/4/22)

Happy Independence Day, America!

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WWE Raw 2022

Let’s see if there’s fireworks after Money in the Bank!

Liv Morgan became Ms. MITB, and then cashed in on the SmackDown Women’s Championship! Who will Bianca  Belair defend her Raw Women’s title against at SummerSlam?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Rey & Dominik Mysterio VS Finn Balor & Damian Priest; Rey & Dom win, by disqualification.
  • The Miz VS AJ Styles; Styles wins.
  • Bianca Belair & Liv Morgan VS Carmella & Natalya; Bianca & Liv win.
  • Seth Rollins VS Ezekiel; Rollins wins.
  • Six Man Tag: Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits VS (Austin) Theory & The Alpha Academy; Lashley & The Profits win.
  • Gunther w/ Ludwig Kaiser VS R-Truth; Gunther wins.
  • No Holds Barred: Asuka VS Becky Lynch; Becky wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Life. Liberty. The Pursuit of happiness.

We hold these truths to be self-evident. Now we celebrate the way only the WWE can! Be ready for the Big Time, hang out with your bros, and get ready to break the bank for this must-see Fourth of July Raw!

 

Welcome the NEW WWE United States Champion, Bobby Lashley!

San Diego is fired up to see that the All Mighty has gold again! Lashley is happy to see the fans, too, and he gets a mic to say, “I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time. And it couldn’t be a more fitting night than tonight to say this. Welcome to Monday Night Raw!” Fans chant for “BOBBY! BOBBY!” and Lashley says, “America’s Independence Day holds a very special place in all of our hearts.” Fans chant for “USA! USA!” and Lashley says he couldn’t be more proud to be here in front of the fans as the NEW United States Champion! But let’s not get it twisted. It isn’t the title that makes the man, it is the man that makes the title.

Lashley says that to say this, and please pay attention: “There is not another man in any division or any promotion that can beat me for this United States Championship.” But then (Austin) Theory has to make his way out. The former champion and new Mr. Money in the Bank has a mic of his own to tell Bobby, “Why do you get to kick off Monday Night Raw? Everybody’s been on the edge of their seats since Saturday, just waiting to hear from Mr. Headline himself, ME!” Sure, Lashley got his victory, but the world is talking about the YOUNGEST Mr. MITB in WWE History! Fans boo because that’s not true.

Theory says he had the odds stacked against him. It was hard work at MITB. Fans chant “You Suck!” and Lashley makes sure Theory knows it’s for him. Theory says shut up. He was in there with seasoned veterans, former MITB winners, but made it happen! Theory does have to admit, Lashley had him in the first half. But just like Michael Jordan or Tom Brady, Theory shined brighter than ever in the clutch! And Theory climbed up of the ladder and grabbed the briefcase to prove to the world that he can do this #ALLDAY! Lashley says he thought Theory was actively trying to become an arrogant jackass. But he was wrong, this is just second nature to Theory.

Did Theory ever think that he was gifted an opportunity he didn’t deserve just because Lashley shattered that fragile ego into a million pieces? But hey, if Theory wants another trip to the Hurt Lock, here it is! Theory says that Lashley will get a chance and fail to do so in their Six Man Tag. But Lashley, Theory sees him, Lashley sees Theory, and Theory just makes it happen. Theory always makes things happen. But the way Theory sees it, he’s going straight to the top! And y’know what? Theory was informed today that at SummerSlam, he gets a rematch to take back HIS United States Championship!

Boo all you want, fans, this is just the start! Theory knows Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns fight for the Undisputed Universal Championship one last time, one last match, Last Man Standing. They will beat the hell out of each other from one side of the stadium tot he other. And whoever is the last man standing, they go A-Town Down! At only 24 years old, Theory cashes in his contract and walks out the unified, undisputed, unquestionable, GREATEST CHAMPION in WWE history! Fans boo and Lashley says, “You forgot the If part of your whole plan. If you make it to SummerSlam! Because just like you said, it is Independence Day, and these people deserve some fireworks!”

Lashley throws down the mic, Theory tosses the case at him! Theory ROCKS Lashley then CLUBS away on him with the briefcase! Fans boo as Theory keeps hitting Lashley over an dover until the locks on it break! Theory goes back for one more, but Lashley blocks! And CLOBBERS Theory, to then MILE HIGH SPINEBUSTER!! Theory grabs the case and scrambles away while he can still move! Will Lashley end up clamping the Hurt Lock onto Theory later tonight and make him the youngest failed Mr. MITB in history?

 

Backstage interview with The Mysterios!

Megan asks if Rey & Dominik have a response to the inflammatory comments made by The Judgement Day? Dom says that what Finn said was both disgraceful and disrespectful. There is no one in this business Dom would rather learn from than El Jefe, his father, Rey Mysterio. Rey reminds everyone that he and Dom are the first and only father-son tag team champions in WWE history. They must be doing something right then. As far as tonight, it has been ten YEARS since Rey’s been back in San Diego to wrestle, and this is Dom’s first. And because this is their house, they’re going to teach Finn & Priest to respect 619!

Rey & Dominik Mysterio VS Finn Balor & Damian Priest!

San Diego is all fired up to have their hometown heroes live and in person! The music plays and the Mysterios watch the ramp, but the Judgement Day attack from behind! They stomp the Mysterios down, then throw them out! Raw goes picture in picture while fans boo the Prince and the Punishment!

Rey gets up and throws off his shirt. Dom gets up and does the same, and the Mysterios regroup. The Judgement Day wait on the hometown heroes, and Rey gets in the ring. The bell rings, Finn kicks Rey and bumps him off buckles. Finn fires off body shots, tags Priest, and Priest stands Rey up to ROCK with a right hand! Rey falls over, Priest stomps him then CHOKES him on the ropes! Priest lets off as the ref counts, then he KICKS Rey around. Priest bumps Rey off buckles, tags Finn back in, and the Judgement Day mug Rey. Finn brings Rey out to knee but Rey throws body shots. Rey runs and slides to SOBAT!

Rey KICKS Finn more, then runs, only for Finn to CLOBBER him! Cover, TWO! Finn clamps onto Rey with a chinlock and grinds him down. Rey endures, fights up, but Finn knees him low. Finn CHOPS Rey in a corner, whips him corner to corner hard, and soaks up the heat as Rey falls to the mat. Finn drags Rey up, whips him corner to corner hard again, and Rey writhes. Finn stalks Rey, kicks him at the ropes, stomps him into the corner, and digs his boots in! The ref counts, Finn lets off, and Finn stands Rey up to whip him corner to corner again. Raw returns as Rey hits buckles but Rey hits Finn back! Rey tilt-o-whirl RANAS Finn away!

Hot tag to Dom! Dom dropkicks Finn, then arm-drags him around! Dom runs in at the corner but Finn kicks low. Finn bumps Dom off buckles, but Dom dodges the chop! Dom knuckle locks, CHOPS, and goes up and up to FLYING ARM-DRAG! Finn gets to his corner and tags Priest but Dom doesn’t back down. Priest kick slow, CLUBS Dom, then ROCKS him with a forearm! Priest whips Dom to ropes but Dom holds ropes. Dom elbows Priest, dodges the haymaker and whips Priest to dropkick him! Priest comes back but Dom dumps him out! Tag to Rey and he SEATED SENTONS Priest down! Fans fire up while Finn freaks out!

Rey puts Priest in, Finn runs over but Rey BOOTS him! Rey slingshots, but Priest DECKS him out of the air! Priest drags Rey up, bumps him off buckles and throws body shots. Tag to Finn, Finn stomps Rey and brings him out to scoop. Rey slips off and ENZIGURIS! Hot tag to Dom! Dom goes up top to CROSSBODY! Dom DECKS Priest, then CLOBBERS Finn! Dom whips, Finn reverses but Dom holds ropes again. Dom drop toeholds Finn to ropes! Priest hurries to tag in as Dom dials it up! Priest intercepts the call and drags Dom out, to TOSS into barriers! The Judgement Day is back on top as Raw goes picture in picture again!

Dom writhes while Priest looms over him. Priest drags Dom up, scoops him and hits SNAKE EYES off the apron! Dom flounders and Priest hauls him back up and in. Priest stares Rey down then gest in the ring. Priest drags Dom up to tag Finn. Priest scoop SLAMS Dom for Finn to SLINGSHOT STOMP! Finn paces around as he soaks up the heat, then he goes back for Dom. Finn drops elbow after elbow, then covers, TWO! Dom is still in this but Finn clamps on a chinlock. Dom endures as Finn grinds him down. San Diego rallies for Dom and he fights up, only for Finn to throw him down by his hair!

Tag to Priest and the Judgement Day mugs Dom against ropes. Priest stands Dom up, whips him into the corner, then taunts Rey. Priest runs in to back elbow Dom! Tag to Finn, the Judgement Day mugs Dom again, then Finn snapmares and KICKS! Cover, TWO! Finn drags Dom up by his hair and throws down elbows while staring down Rey. Rey coaches Dom but Finn clamps the chinlock back on. Dom endures again while the fans rally up. Dom fights to his feet, throws elbows, and Raw returns to single picture. Dom reaches for Rey but Finn throws knees. Finn whips but Dom kicks him, and SLING-DOGS!

Fans fire up as Dom and Finn crawl for their corners. Hot tags to Priest and Rey! The King of Lucha rallies with dropkicks to the legs! And then KICKS the leg! Rey whips but Priest blocks! Priest whips Rey to a corner but Rey goes up, only to get caught. TORNADO DDT COUNTER! Cover, TWO!! Priest survives but Rey hurries to a corner. Rey climbs up but Priest gets him first! Rey RAMS into Priest, GAMANGIRIS, then climbs back up. SEATED SENTON! Cover, Finn breaks it! Dom gets in o SUPERKICK Finn! Dom and Rey regroup, Dom runs in but Priest BOOTS him! Rey gets a boost from Dom to SUPER RANA Priest! Cover, TWO!!

Rey keeps cool and he calls the shots. Rey dropkicks Priest to the ropes and dials it up! Fans want it, but Priest BOOTS Rey down! Still no call connecting, and Priest ROUNDHOUSES Dom for good measure! Priest drags Rey up, fireman’s carries, and he tags in Finn. WASTELAND SLAM from Priest, Finn is up top and COUP DE- NO, Rey dodges! Rey dropkicks legs out and Finn is on ropes! Priest gets in but Dom dropkicks and Rey drop toeholds! Dial it up, DOUBLE 619!! Fans fire up and Rey climbs up, gives some Latino Heat! FROG SPLASH onto knees! Finn covers, TWO!! Rey survives and Finn can’t believe it!

But Priest throws a chair in! The ref is upset, he stops that from happening. But Finn gets another chair, only for Dom to have it! Finn shoves Dom down, but Rey flops! Talk about Latino Heat! The ref sees this, and he assumes just what Rey wants him to! The Judgement Day is DISQUALIFIED!!

Winners: Rey & Dominik Mysterio, by disqualification

Finn is furious! Rey & Dom give true tribute to Eddie Guerrero and the fans love it! Will The Judgement Day ever live this one down? Do they have something to learn from Mysterio?

 

Backstage interview with The Miz.

Megan asks Miz what his reaction was to Logan Paul calling him out. “Proud.” Really? Yes. Miz is proud because he loves confidence, outlandish statements and headline grabbing. That is what Logan Paul does on his social media and podcasts. It is how he has his fanbase! But Logan surrounds himself with Yes Men and Yes Women who do what he says. Out there, it’s successful. But here in the WWE, it’s a different animal. It will humble you. Miz knows. He was on The Real World. But he doesn’t want Logan to make the same mistakes Miz did. Miz is a nice guy! Logan, retract your statement and accept Miz’s offer. They will be a success, they will be Undisputed Tag Team Champions!

But if Logan doesn’t, Miz will be relentless! He will make Logan earn everything, and Logan will be humbled! Speaking of which… Last week, Miz basically quite against AJ Styles. Uh, quit? He had two matches last week! If anyone is quitting, tapping out or being pin, it is Styles! Miz doesn’t take to sophomoric jokes. As in, his tiny- NO! Don’t say it, Megan. Miz will show everyone that he has COLOSSAL, MASSIVE, GIGANTIC, AMERICAN BALLS! He is the Miz! And he’s… AWESOME! But will Miz back up his words with actions? Or will this be another phenomenal win for AJ Styles?

 

The Street Profits host a party in the parking lot!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to their Fourth of July Extravaganza Bonanza Cookout! They got burgers, ribs, dogs, beverages, corn on the cob and cornholing! Enjoy America’s 246th Birthday! But just like Montez Ford’s shoulder on Saturday, the USA is up! And WE! WANT! SHOOOOOSH! The Alpha Academy crash the party, and Chad Gable says this is typical. How can the Profits be partying after losing at MITB? And spare them the excuses. Shoulder up or not, a loss is a loss. And just like everyone else, The Profits think this holiday is about parties and fireworks and eating food. Pathetic!

But Master Gable has a history lesson in an annotated version of the Declaration of Independence. So please, shoosh! A thank yew. Gable begins reading but Ford intercepts. “These truths to be self-evident. That every man and woman has the right to shut Chad Gable up!” That doesn’t say that! SLAP! Gable is upset but Otis says not to disrespect an American Olympian! And Otis says he can eat TWENTY of those hotdogs without breaking a sweat! Whoa, whoa, whoa. First off, if you’re talking about American heroes, Ford served as a US Marine. Second, Otis is looking at the THREE-TIME Hotdog Eating Champion in Dawkins! THREE! Otis says he can suck ’em down like Coca Cola!

Whoa, okay, hold on. Idea! HOTDOG EATING CONTEST! Otis says no problem! He’ll take Dawkins down! There’s going to be a hotdog eating contest before their Six Man Tag match later? Hopefully there won’t be any upset stomachs tonight…

 

The Mysterios are backstage, when the Judgement Day attacks again!

Finn & Priest are sore losers! Finn TOSSES Rey over trunks while Priest SMACKS Dom off some! Finn gets a ladder, Priest scoops Dom, and they LAWN DART Dom into the ladder! Refs and security rush in but Finn tells them it is over when Finn says it’s over! Priest tells Rey that nothing will save him or Dom except giving in. Will the Mysterios made made to side with the Judgement Day?

 

The Miz VS AJ Styles!

Raw returns as The Miz makes his entrance. The bell rings and Miz rushes in, but Styles blocks the kick! Styles headlocks, Miz powers out but Styles runs Miz over. Styles runs but fakes Miz out to KICK him while he’s down. Styles then snapmares Miz to KICK him again! Styles drags Miz up to CHOP him in a corner, then whips him corner to corner. Miz reverses, Styles comes back but Miz kitchen sink knees! Miz bumps Styles off buckles, fans boo but Miz throws haymakers. Miz whips Styles to ropes but Styles turns knee into roll-up! TWO, and Styles dropkicks Miz back down! Styles clotheslines Miz out of the ring, too!

Fans fire up and Styles throws up the Too Sweet. Styles slingshots to FOREARM Miz down! Styles is fired up as Raw goes picture in picture. Styles drags Miz up and puts him in the ring. Styles stalks Miz but Miz slips out again. The ring count climbs, is Miz going to run away again? Styles goes out to chase him down! Miz gets back in the ring and KICKS Styles as he slides in! Miz digs his boot into Styles’ face, springboard stomps him, then soaks up the heat. Styles sits up but Miz KICKS him! And KICKS! Miz fishhooks Styles’ face, then clamps on a chinlock. Styles endures, fights up, and throws elbows to get free.

Styles swings but into Miz’s A-LIST COMBINATION! Cover, TWO! Miz flexes and fans boo. Miz paces around, flexes more but fans still boo. They taunt him about his “TINY BALLS!” Miz goes back to Styles and says he has MASSIVE balls! But Styles ROCKS him with haymakers! Styles whips Miz corner to corner, Miz reverses, and Styles hits hard, chest first! Miz hurries to cover Styles, TWO! Miz is annoyed but he drags Styles up to bump him off buckles. Miz KICKS and throws haymakers on repeat. The ref reprimands, Miz runs corner to corner, but only into buckles! Miz falls, clutching his legs, and Raw returns to single picture.

Fans rally as Styles and Miz stir. Miz is back in the corner, he hobbles out but Styles throws hands! Styles fires off the Phenomenal Blitz, topping it off with a LARIAT! And SLIDING FOREARM! Fans fire up and Styles runs in at the corner, to hit a BIG clotheslines! then a fireman’s carry to an USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO! Styles is frustrated but fans rally up behind him. Miz wants mercy but Styles storms up on him. Miz YANKS Styles into buckles! Miz gets up, runs corner to corner, but into a clinch! Styles rolls Miz but Miz rolls through to BASEMENT DDT! Cover, TWO! Miz is frustrated but he glares at Styles as he stirs.

Miz drives knees into Styles’ leg. Miz steps through, Styles kicks Miz away! Styles is in a corner, Miz runs in but into BOOTS! Styles is on the apron, he springboards, PHENOMENAL FOREARM! Cover, Styles wins!

Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall

Big or small, Miz’s nuts didn’t help against Styles’ guts! But wait! CIAMPA attacks! Why is the Blackhearted Tommaso Ciampa after Styles on Miz’s behalf? Ciampa POSTS Styles, then brings down his kneepad! Styles flounders back into the ring, for the PSYCHO- NO, Styles dodges the knee to PELE! And PELE again! Styles reels Ciampa in, but Miz gest the full nelson! SKULL CRUSHING FINALE!! Miz gets the last word against Styles thanks to his Guardian Psycho! Will Ciampa watch out for the Hollywood A-Lister against Logan Paul, too?

 

Liv Morgan is here!

And after becoming the new Miss Money in the Bank, she cashed in on Ronda Rousey, and became the NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion! San Diego is fired up to see her have this moment, “You Deserve It!” Liv is already emotional as she has the mic, but she keeps it together to say thank you, “but WE deserve it!” Liv is so proud to be standing here as our NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion! “All of my dreams finally came true, all thanks to one unbelievable night at Money in the Bank. To outclimb six of the greatest female competitors in WWE, in the hardest battle of my life. But do you guys know what got me through that? All of you guys!”

The fans have stayed with Liv on this journey every single step of the way, and she thanks us for that. We believed in her when she feels like she gave us nothing to believe in, and yet we still stayed with her. Liv is so excited now, and she wants us to know that we gave her the confidence she needed to win MITB and cash-in on the very same night, to defeat Ronda Rousey and become the NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion! “Saying that out loud, it literally, it takes my breath away. So I hope you guys understand that this? This isn’t just for me. This championship, this is for ALL OF US!” But then here comes Natalya!

Liv is surprised to see the Queen of Harts here, but Natty is smiling. “Liv, there’s one person here that you should be thank, and that’s me. I am the only reason, and I mean only reason, why you were able to cash in your MITB contract. That’s because I destroyed Ronda Rousey’s knee with the most dangerous submission in the WWE, the Sharpshooter.” Natty gets in the ring with Liv to say that while she’d like a thank you, she’d much rather have that SmackDown Women’s Championship! Liv says okay, but she feels like Natty is having a hard time accepting her loss. But since Liv is the new champion, it makes total sense that Natty would come after this giant target.

But since they’re both on SmackDown, if Natty really, really wants her chance, you know where to find her. But wait! Is that Carmella? Mella wants someone to explain to her why either of them are here? This may be about red, white and blue tonight, but this is Raw. So these two can take their “blue brand butts” back to SmackDown where they belong. Fans boo and Mella is honestly shocked that these two can even share a ring. If Liv came between Mella and the Raw title, she would smack her down just like she did Bianca Belair. Did you see that? It was so good. But no worries, Nat, there’s still time.

So Natty and Liv can take their business to Friday so the spotlight can be on Mella, the next Raw Women’s Champion. Um, didn’t she have enough? After all, all eyes were on Mella when she lost. But if Mella really wants Liv to go, make her go. That gives Mella an idea. Natty, you thinking what she’s thinking? Then okay! They’ll both make Liv leave! Liv fires off hands first! But that’s 2v1! They put Liv in a corner and stomp away, but here comes BIANCA BELAIR! The Raw Women’s Champion gets in, RAMS into Mella, then slingshots to fire off! The champions turn things around on Natty and Mella! Liv tosses Natty, Bianca DECKS Mella, and now Adam Pearce hurries out!

Pearce says it seems everyone wants to fight, so he officially gives these four a match! It will be Bianca & Liv VS Mella & Natty, and that is NOW! Will the RawEST Women’s Champion and the newest SmackDown Women’s Champion stand their ground and turn back the Most Beautiful and the BOAT?

Bianca Belair & Liv Morgan VS Carmella & Natalya!

Raw is picture-in-picture while the teams sort out. Natty tells fans to shut up, and Mella steps up against Bianca. Fans chant for “E S T!” as the bell rings and the two circle. Mella tells fans to shut up, then she ties up with Bianca. They go around, Bianca headlocks and grinds Mella, but Mella pulls hair. The ref reprimands, but Bianca hits a takeover. Bianca grinds Mella down but Mella headscissors back. Bianca kicks but can’t get free until she kips up. Mella is upset but Bianca eggs Mella on. They circle again, tie back up, and Mella waistlocks. Bianca switches, Mella elbows free, then headlocks Bianca.

Mella grinds, Bianca fights up as fans rally, and Bianca powers out to run Mella over! Mella scrambles away and tags in Natty. Natty wants Liv so Bianca obliges. Liv tags in and she circles with Natty. They tie up, Natty hits a headlock takeover but Liv headscissors. Natty kips free, and the two reset. Liv brushes herself off while Natty mockingly applauds. Liv kicks low, headlocks, and hits a takeover. Natty headscissors, Liv kips free, and the two reset again. Tags back to Bianca and Mella, and they go again. Bianca kicks low, bumps Mella off buckles, and Raw returns to single picture as Bianca headlocks.

Mella powers out, Bianca handsprings over and says kiss this! Things speed up, Bianca hurdles, but Mella drop son the roll! Cover, TWO, Bianca waistlocks and O’Conner Rolls! ONE, Bianca goes up the corner to say kiss this! Mella runs in, Bianca goes up and over to dropkick! And kip up! Fans fire up and Bianca tags Liv. The champs work together, Bianca whips Liv in to body block! Cover, TWO! Liv hurries after Mella but Mella tags in Natty. Natty runs in to trip Liv, float to a facelock, but Liv slips out to hammerlock and headlock. Natty powers out, Liv elbows her away. But Natty rebounds and SIT-DOWNS, then basement dropkicks! Cover, TWO!

Natty keeps on Liv but Liv wheelbarrows to victory roll! TWO, Liv dropkicks Natty down! Cover, TWO! Liv taunts Mella, whips Natty to ropes, but Natty reverses and Liv hits ropes chest first hard! Cover, TWO! Natty CLUBS Liv, SLAPS her, but Liv SLAPS back! It’s a brawl! Fans fire up, Natty hoists Liv up but Liv kicks and sunset flips! ONE, Natty has the legs! SHARPSHOOTER! Liv endures, reaches for Bianca, Bianca uses her hair as a lifeline! The ref reprimands but Liv has made it to the corner! Bianca tags in, then taunts Natty! Natty swings on her but gets run over! Bianca dropkicks Natty then reels her in! POWER- NO, RANA from Natty!

Bianca ducks the discus to BOOT Natty, then reel her in! Bianca suplexes, but Mella runs in! Bianca BOOTS Mella, but Natty gets free of the suplex to get the legs! Bianca kicks her away but Mella sneaks a tag! Bianca suplexes Natty again for the stalling suplex and SLAM! Natty scurries away, Bianca pursues, FABULOUS KICK into the post! Mella smiles and taunts Bianca while Raw goes to break.

Raw returns and Mella has Bianca down in a chinlock. Mella laughs as she leans on the hold but Bianca endures. Fans rally up and Bianca fights to move around. Mella shakes her head and become a backpack, but Bianca still stands! Bianca brings Mella around for a BACKBREAKER! Hot tag to Natty and she CLOBBERS Bianca! Natty drags Bianca away, bumps her off buckles, and fires off stomps! The ref counts, Natty lets off, and Bianca fights back! She hits Mella, BOOTS Natty, then dodges Natty to send her out! Fans fire up as Bianca crawls, but Natty gets back in! Natty gets a leg but Bianca leaps to tag Liv!

Liv dodges Natty, DECKS Mella, kicks Natty and ENZIGURIS! Fans fire up with Liv and she runs in at Natty in the corner, SHINING WIZARD! Liv shoves Natty to run and FLYING CODE BREAKER! Cover, Mella breaks it! Mella talks trash on the new champ but Liv hits a CODE BREAKER on her! Natty hits a DISCUS! Cover, Bianca breaks it! Mella throws Bianca out and leaps, but into Bianca’s arms! Bianca aims but Mella slips off to POST her! Liv KNEES Mella, Natty rolls Liv! TWO, but Natty has the legs! SHARP- NO, Liv kicks Natty to ropes, ObLIVion!! Cover, Liv and Bianca wins!

Winners: Bianca Belair & Liv Morgan, by pinfall

The champions stand tall! Another great moment for the livliEST champions in WWE today, will they both move on to have the hottEST SummerSlams ever?

 

Raw returns to the cookout!

Otis and Gable talk hotdog eating strategy while other superstars, like Shelton Benjamin, “Doudrop” Piper Niven and others enjoy their meals. Veer Mahaan is even here. Cedric Alexander & Mustafa Ali decide to have a little fun with the Lion of India. Alexander leans over and taps Veer on the left shoulder, but then he and Ali both go to the right so that no one is there. And then they snatch his food! Veer is furious and he chases them down! MVP tells Omos that the takeaway from MITB is this: It took three former world champions and three future world champions to gang up on Omos because he is literally the biggest threat here!

Dana Brooke rushes in, but she’s being chased down by the usual 24/7 Championship hunters. Omos looks that way, and Reggie bumps into him! Not again! Omos TOSSES Reggie into the trash! The Profits see that and say, “SHEESH!” Then Zeke is here and says it is so beautiful here. The party is bumping, he is all Zeked Up. When he and his brothers were kid, they got into pie eating contests all the time. Really? Who won? Uh, well, let’s just say no one. Zeke would “Zeke” the pie all over the floor, Elrod would throw up after seeing that, then Elias would throw up after seeing that. A real barforama.

But anyway, isn’t it about time for the hotdog eating showdown? Hopefully the results are better than him and his brothers. But then the ketchup misfires all over Seth Rollins’ lace shirt. Zeke apologizes and dabs it off with the hotdog bun. Oh, there’s some in Rollins’ beard… Rollins glares at Zeke, but then laughs it off? The Profits and Zeke laugh with him, but then Rollins gets mad again. Rollins tastes the ketchup then heads off. Whoa, Seth is Zekeing out. Seth Zekein’ Rollins here. But Zeke is worried. Will the Visionary burn him down?

 

A cryptic video plays.

A church and candles. A gold medal, a license plate, some colorful armbands, a pair of taped-up glasses. Do you think you know who this is?

 

Seth Rollins VS Ezekiel!

Raw returns and Elias’ younger brother makes his entrance. The bell rings and Rollins fires off on Zeke for the ketchup! Zeke covers up but Rollins stomps away on him in the corner! The ref counts, Rollins lets off, and then he drags Zeke up to CHOP him! Zeke staggers away but Rollins bumps him off buckles. Rollins whips Zeke but Zeke reverses. Rollins tumbles up, back, and into a GERMAN SUPLEX! Rollins bails out and Zeke hurries after him! Rollins hurries back in, Zeke chases after, but Rollins HOTSHOTS Zeke off ropes! Rollins then turns Zeke for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!

Rollins is annoyed but fans rally for Zeke. Rollins ROCKS Zeke with haymakers and forearms, then has Zeke in a corner. Rollins CHOPS, then whips corner to corner, but Zeke goes up and MULE KICKS Rollins away! Just like his brother! Zeke runs in to CHOP and fire off body shots and forearms! The ref counts but Zeke fires off more! Zeke whips, then FLAPJACKS Rollins! Rollins staggers up, into a CHOP! Zeke trophy lifts, but Rollins slips off to shove. Zeke tosses Rollins out to the floor! Zeke hurries after Rollins again but Rollins kicks low. Rollins snarls, runs in, but Zeke trophy lifts him to TOSS him into the timekeeper’s area! Zeke roars as Raw goes picture in picture!

Zeke takes a moment to catch his breath, then he gets in the ring. Zeke goes back out to fetch Rollins, stomping him before bringing him around. But Rollins POSTS Zeke! Rollins gets in the ring, lets the ring count climb, and Zeke gets in at 7 of 10! Rollins is annoyed, he drags Zeke up and turns him, for a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Rollins clamps on with a chinlock, then shifts to a neck wrench. Rollins twists Zeke’s head but Zeke endures and reaches for ropes. Zeke fights up as fans rally, and Zeke throws elbows. Zeke is free, he runs, but Rollins follows to SLINGBLADE! Cover, TWO!

Rollins huffs and puffs while Zeke goes to a corner. Rollins talks smack to the fans then runs corner to corner, but Zeke puts him on the apron! Rollins HOTSHOTS Zeke, then springboards, to FLYING KNEE! Cover, TWO! Zeke is still in this and Rollins is frustrated. Rollins argues the count but the ref says it was fair. Rollins looms over Zeke, hearing the fans chanting for Elias’ brother. Rollins drags Zeke up and suplexes, but Zeke blocks! Raw returns to single picture as Zeke keeps fighting, to then suplex Rollins back! Both men are down and fans rally again. Rollins runs in but Zeke CLOBBERS Rollins!

Zeke starts to rally, he ducks a haymaker to lift Rollins for a FALL AWAY SLAM! Rollins flounders to a corner and Zeke runs in, STINGER SPLASH! Zeke keeps moving, STINGER SPLASH to the back! Then an Electric Chair Lift! Rollins slips off, runs, but into a SPINEBUSTER! High stack, TWO! Zeke is a bit frustrated and he has to catch his breath. Zeke aims at Rollins from across the way, runs in again, but no splash! BUCKLE SHOT! Rollins then goes up the corner to leap and- JUMP KNEE from Zeke! Cover, TWO! Zeke keeps going, he hits a FISHERMAN SCREW! Cover, TWO!! Rollins survives and Zeke can’t believe it!

Zeke drags Rollins to the drop zone and he climbs up top. Fans fire up, but Rollins ROCKS Zeke first! Rollins throws more haymakers, then he climbs up after Zeke. Rollins brings Zeke around, but Zeke shoves Rollins away! Zeke adjusts but Rollins is right back up! Zeke fights Rollins again, slips under to get the Electric Chair, SPIN-OUT BOMB!! Cover, TWO!! Rollins survives again, and Zeke is learning why Rollins is a Grand Slam Champion. Zeke drags Rollins up, fans continue to rally, and Rollins kicks low. Rollins hits a ROLLING ELBOW, but Zeke ROCKS Rollins again. Rollins ROCKS Zeke, Zeke ROCKS Rollins back!

Rollins ROCKS Zeke, Zeke ROCKS Rollins, we go faster and faster and fans fire up! Zeke CHOPS and forearms but Rollins HEABUTTS! ROLLING- NO, roll-up! Cover, TWO! Zeke hurries to cradle, TWO! Rollins ROLLING ELBOWS Zeke, then gives him the DREAM- NO, Zeke backslides! TWO!! CURB STOMP OUTTA NOWHERE!! Cover, Rollins wins!

Winner: Seth Rollins, by pinfall

What a Freakin’ Zekein match! Rollins gets revenge for his ruined wardrobe, but will this help him get back up towards a title in time for SummerSlam? Will Elias and Elrod be there for their brother to cheer him up?

Wait, Rollins turns to look at Zeke again. Rollins isn’t done with Zeke and aims from the corner! But Riddle hits an RKO outta nowhere!! The Bro gets his own revenge! Will Rollins have to worry about The Stallion before moving on to the gold?

 

Raw returns to the cookout!

The hotdog eating contest is red hot as Dawkins and Otis chow down. It’s hard to say who is in the lead, but when time is up… AKIRA TOZAWA wins! His 48 dwarfs Otis’ 23 and Dawkins’ 22! Gable says there’s no way! No way some little guy beat his tree trunk! Otis say she doesn’t feel so good. But Theory says the Academy has to hold it together, the Six Man Tag is coming up. See you all in the ring. Gable says he can just get some Pepto. But will that be enough to settle Otis’ upset stomach before having to go toe-to-toe with the All Mighty?

Six Man Tag: Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits VS (Austin) Theory & The Alpha Academy!

The Rocky Mountain Machine is the NEW United States Champion, while Ford & Dawkins were almost Undisputed Tag Team Champions. Will Lashley help the Profits get back up and get after those titles again? Or will the youngest Mr. MITB ever be taking an extra special selfie here tonight?

Raw returns and the Profits make their entrance. Theory makes his entrance next, followed by the Academy. The teams sort out and Dawkins starts against Theory. They circle, tie up, and Theory headlocks. Dawkins powers out, but Theory runs him over and flexes at Lashley. Fans boo but Theory just soaks it up. Theory and Dawkins circle again, tie back up, and Dawkins waistlocks. Theory elbows free, throws haymakers, then whips corner to corner. Dawkins reverses and runs in to CYCLONE SPLASH, then ENZIGURI! Dawkins covers, ONE!! Dawkins keeps on Theory but Theory powers him to the corner and Otis tags in.

Fans chant “We Want The Smoke!” but Otis clubs away on Dawkins, to then short arm LARIAT! Tag to Gable, he drags Dawkins up to get a leg and DRAGON SCREW! Then Gable stands Dawkins back up, for another DRAGON SCREW! Gable YANKS the leg, then says “A Thank Yew~!” Gable brings Dawkins up but Dawkins fires hands! Gable keeps Dawkins from his corner but Dawkins sunset flips. Gable rolls through to get an ANKLE LOCK! Dawkins rolls through to get free! Tag to Ford! Ford GAMANGIRIS Gable, goes right up and CROSSBODIES! Ford keeps going, sidestep and follow to a LARIAT! STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!

Tag to Dawkins, Otis runs in and the Profits dump him out. Theory rushes in, into Lashley’s COMPLETE SHOT! Lashley and Ford get Theory and Gable, for double stalling suplexes! They both salute as veterans of the US Armed Forces, for a DOUBLE SLAM! Fans fire up and Dawkins runs to get a boost and FLY onto Theory and the Academy! Fans fire up with the #AllMightyProfits as Raw goes picture in picture!

Theory and the Academy stir while Ford rallies the fans. A ring count climbs, so Ford goes out to AX HANDLE Gable! Ford puts Gable in, keeps him from his corner, but Gable powers Ford back. Otis tags in, the Academy whip and CLOBBER Ford! Otis flexes at Lashley, Gable says, “A Thank Yew!” Otis drags Ford up, CLUBS him hard on the back, then looms over him. Otis stands on Ford’s back at the ropes! The ref counts, Otis steps off, and Gable gets cheap shots in! So does Theory! “A Thank Yew!” Otis drags Ford up to whip him hard into a corner! Otis HEADBUTTS Ford down, then CHOKES him on ropes!

The ref counts, Otis lets off at 4, but now Theory CHOKES Ford! Theory gets away with it as Gable tells fans to SHOOSH. Otis stomps Ford, drags him over, and tags in Theory. They mug Ford, Theory brings Ford up to snap suplex, then he floats to a cover. TWO but Theory clamps on with a chinlock. Ford endures, even as Theory leans on him. Ford fights up, Theory knees him low, then whips him hard into a corner! Corner clothesline and a tag to Otis, and Otis taunts Ford. Otis brings Ford up to CLUB him down, and Raw returns to single picture as Otis hoists Ford up. FALL AWAY SLAM! Ford flounders while Otis flexes.

Fans boo but Otis takes a moment to settle his stomach. Otis SPLASHES Ford in the corner, drags him over to the corner, and tags in Theory. They mug Ford, Theory snapmares and stomps Ford! Cover, TWO! Theory clamps on with another chinlock but Ford endures. Fans rally, Ford grits his teeth and fights up again, but Theory knees him low. Theory taunts, but Ford wrenches out to DDT Theory down! Gable rushes in but Ford throws him out! Ford reaches out but Gable trips Dawkins to deny the tag! Theory then keeps Ford from Lashley while Dawkins chases Gable. Otis CLOBBERS Dawkins in front of commentary!

Fans boo but Theory and the Academy have control. Theory drags Ford up, taunts Lashley, and back suplexes. Ford lands on his feet, dodges Theory, hot tag to Lashley! Theory runs away to tag Gable! Lashley TOSSES Gable! And runs him over! Lashley rallies while Theory winces, and Lashley TOSSES Gable to a corner. Lashley run sin but Gable elbows him, Gable runs in, into a LIFTING COMPLETE SHOT! Lashley DECKS Otis, Theory runs away gain. Dawkins POUNCES Theory over the announce desk! Lashley is surprised, too! Lashley nods, then scoops Gable to hit a POWERSLAM! Cover, Otis breaks it!

But that splash hurt Otis’ gut! Ford gets in, runs in but Otis TOSSES Ford! Otis CLOBBERS Dawkins with an elbow, but Lashley SPEARS Otis down! Ford is up, FROM THE HEAVENS!! Otis flounders out, Gable rolls Ford! CHAOS THEORY!! Gable dodges Lashley, gets him for an EXPLODER, and then heads up top! MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!! Lashley survives and Gable is upset with the count. Gable stalks Lashley, waistlocks, but Lashley bucks him away. Lashley dodges to SPEAR Gable down! Cover, Lashley and the Profits win!

Winners: Bobby Lashley & The Street Profits, by pinfall

A mighty win for a mighty champion! Will this momentum help Lashley defeat Theory again? Will the Profits be able to cash in on a rematch of their own? As for Otis, he staggers into the ring, and BARFS UP HOTDOGS! Everyone is disgusted and shocked, will Gable’s number one guy be feeling more like number two?

 

Backstage interview with Becky Lynch.

But Becky tells Megan that no one gives a damn about anything but Big Time. Becky isn’t sharing spotlights just because Otis ate one too many hotdogs. Is Becky upset about her loss at MITB? Or just about tonight’s No Holds Barred? Becky IS upset, her body is broken to bits, and she is mad as hell. Ever since Asuka came back, anything that could go wrong has gone wrong! Becky shouldn’t have had to fight her way into a Triple Threat at Hell in a Cell, she should’ve just had a 1v1 rematch, but she still did. She shouldn’t have had to fight her way into the MITB Ladder match, but she did! And y’know what that makes her? A fighter!

Asuka can try and ruin Becky’s life, but No Holds Barred means no disqualifications, no restrictions, and NO holding back on Asuka as Becky makes her way back to HER Raw Women’s Championship! So Becky IS ready for Asuka, but Asuka isn’t ready for No Holds Barred Becks!

 

Uncle Sam is here?

Oh, it’s Uncle TRUTH! He waves to the fans as he goes to the ring, and he’s going to give us a real Fourth of July Celebration! What will that look like? We find out, after the break.

Raw returns and Truth says let’s get the USA chants going! “U S A!” “WHAT?” “U S A! U S A!” Truth likes that. Now, WWE Universe, allow him to introduce himself. He is the one, the only, UNCLE SAM! Uh, sure. Truth says that today is his favorite holiday. “Today, we celebrate our Independence Day! Now, now, now. As we all know from the movie, Independence Day, today we are here to honor those brave American heroes saved the Earth from the alien invasion back in 1996! Will Smith! Jeff Goldblum! And we can’t forget our favorite American hero, Vivica A. Fox. As we honor them, I would like to read my favorite passage from the Constitution. ‘Welcome ta Earf! BOP!'”

But wait, that ominous music! It’s LUDWIG KAISER! Imperium is here on Raw and Ludwig says if Truth is done with this ridiculous charade, he would like to introduce us to “a man who is actually worthy of celebration! Stand and pay respect to YOUR WWE Intercontinental Champion… DER RING GENERAL…! GUNTHER!!” And with that, the Intercontinental Champion invades Raw! Gunther storms up to the ring with Ludwig at his side. Truth gets the “U S A!” chants going, but Gunther steps up to “Uncle Sam,” to SLAP the wig off his head! The ref has Gunther back up, and this is a match now!

Gunther w/ Ludwig Kaiser VS R-Truth!

The bell rings, Truth tries to adjust his wig, but Gunther BOOTS him down! Gunther drags Truth up to CLUB him down, stomp him down, then egg him on. Gunther drags Truth up again but Truth fires off forearms! Fans fire up as Truth throws knees then runs, but the scissor kick misses! LARIAT! Gunther drags Truth up, reels him in, GENERAL BOMB!! High stack, Gunther wins!

Winner: GUNTHER, by pinfall

The Intercontinental Champion dominates Truth, making even Raw sacred! Will

 

Backstage interview with Alexa Bliss.

Sarah asks what her reaction to her friend, Liv, cashing in on Ronda Rousey and becoming champion. Well, just like last week, Alexa says she has no friends. But she is still happy for Liv. We all knew Liv would be champion one day. But Alexa realized it has been way too long since she held something other than Lily. Becky and Mella want Bianca, but maybe we need some Twisted Bliss. And imagine if Lily got a matching toy belt so they can go around together. Asuka walks in and pokes fun at Alexa. Alexa isn’t next to face Bianca, it will be Asuka after she beats down Becky in the main event! Alexa isn’t so sure, but who wins that race to the title match in Tennessee?

 

No Holds Barred: Asuka VS Becky Lynch!

The Empress of Tomorrow and Big Time Becks have been going back and forth for months, from Hell in a Cell to Money in the Bank. But now, with SummerSlam on the horizon, both of them agree this has to end! Who survives this fight when there’s nothing to hold them back?

Becky gets things started already, as she brings out a table! Becky’s ready to get extreme, will things only escalate from here? We find out, after the break.

Raw returns and Becky’s even brought out chairs and made a pile of them! Asuka makes her entrance and not only is she wearing a Jason Voorhees mask, she’s got a trash can! Becky is wary as Asuka brings that can into the ring, and then rushes her with a chair! Asuka stomps the chair down, the bell rings, Becky dodges the can but then Asuka CHUCKS it at her! SLIDING KICK! Cover, TWO!! Becky survives but Asuka stomps her down. Asuka then takes Becky’s chair to SMACK her with it! Asuka goes out and fetches more of those chairs Becky brought, but Becky kicks Asuka back. Becky wedges a chair in a corner, though that proves rather troublesome.

Asuka runs in with a chair! Becky blocks the shot, but Asuka then BACKHANDS Becky down! Asuka fires up, sets the chair up, and she drop toeholds. Becky catches herself from hitting the seat and throws Asuka at the chair. Asuka stops herself, mule kicks Becky, but Becky gets her chair from the corner. Becky resets the chair, but Asuka kicks her into it! Asuka brings Becky around but Becky blocks the suplex! Becky whips Asuka, Asuka reverses, but Becky  hurdles the chair! Asuka uses the chair to go up and SHOTGUN Becky into the corner chair! Asuka then headlocks to BULLDOG Becky off the standing chair!

Becky goes to the apron but Asuka hurries after her. Asuka fires off fists but Becky blocks the German Suplex! Becky elbows Asuka, Asuka tries a powerbomb! Becky clings desperately to the ropes, then she stomps Asuka on the apron! And then APRON LEG DROP! Asuka flops down but Becky drags her up. BECKSPLODER onto the chair pile! Becky then hurries to clear off the announce desk! Fans fire up as Becky takes a chair to SMACK Asuka on the back! Asuka JAMS Becky from below, and hurries after Becky. Asuka runs in, HIP ATTACK into a chair and through barriers!! Fans lose their minds while Raw goes picture in picture!

Asuka grits her teeth and rises up. Asuka fires up, drags Becky up and puts her back in the ring. Cover, TWO! Becky bails out again but Asuka pursues. Becky gets a kendo stick and SMACKS Asuka with it! And again! And again! Becky soaks up the heat while Asuka crawls, and then Becky SMACKS her again! Asuka kicks low, but Becky blocks the suplex. Becky throws body shots, but Asuka RAMS her into steel steps! Asuka uses the kendo stick to SMACK Becky now! And again, and again! And again! Becky scrambles over the barriers to get away but Asuka pursues! Fans get an even closer experience as they brawl!

Becky hip drops Asuka, flexes, and fans fire up as Becky CLUBS Asuka along the way. Asuka ROCKS Becky with a stack of cups!? Asuka fires off forearms on Becky, then kicks and SOBATS her back to ringside. Asuka tosses Becky over barriers, but then Becky mule kicks Asuka down. Becky puts Asuka in the ring, looks under the ring, and brings out another table! But then she says no more tables, she puts the chairs in the ring! But Asuka WRECKS Becky with a dropkick! Asuka puts Becky in, brings the last few chairs in, only for Becky to WRECK her back! Becky drags Asuka up and in while fans chant for the table.

Becky pulls the chair from the corner out and sets it on Asuka. Then another chair, SMACKS the chair into Asuka’s chest! Becky has Asuka covered in chairs before she climbs up. But Asuka gets up to JAM Becky! Asuka makes sure the chair pile is nice and big, then she goes up after Becky! SUPERPLEX onto the chair pile!! Becky and Asuka are both down but they’re somehow both okay to continue. Asuka covers, TWO!! Becky survives and “This is Awesome!” as the two brawl on their knees! They go forearm for forearm, and Asuka dribbles Becky off the chairs! Asuka gets her trash can back, and she puts it on Becky! To KICK Becky over!

Asuka sits Becky up to KICK and KICK and KICK! And punch and BACKHAND! Becky somehow stays up, Asuka drums the top then goes up top! Asuka leaps to missile dropkick Becky down! Cover, TWO!! Becky survives being canned and smashed, but Asuka has the fans fired up for the table! Asuka goes out, brings out a table from below the ring, but Becky attacks her first! The table leans against the ring while Becky RAMS Asuka into steel steps. Becky puts this table in the ring and she throws the trash can out. Becky sets up the table but Asuka CLUBS her down! Asuka CLUBS Becky more but Becky throws body shots. And then a CHAIR SHOT!

Becky finishes setting up the table, but Asuka clamps on with an ASUKA LOCK!! Becky RAMS Asuka into buckles, gets free, but Asuka puts her outside! Asuka DECKS Becky, goes out after her, and then puts her back in. Asuka goes looking under the ring again, and she brings out… An umbrella? A Kabuki style umbrella! Asuka brings that in to SMACK, but Becky blocks! Asuka kicks, GREEN MIST! But the umbrella blocks most of it! Asuka still ROUNDHOUSES Becky down! Cover, TWO! Asuka puts Becky on the table and fans fire up as Asuka climbs! But Becky ROCKS Asuka first! Becky has an Electric Chair Lift but Asuka fights back!

Becky puts Asuka back on the corner, goes up with her, SUPER MANHANDLE SLAM through the table!!! Cover, Becky wins!!

Winner: Becky Lynch, by pinfall

This was a Big Time No Holds Barred battle, and in the end, Becky was ready for Asuka! She is fired up now that she’s back on top, but will she get back to the very top before the summer is over?


My Thoughts:

After the disappointing ending to a great PPV this weekend, Raw After MITB turned out great through and through! I will say, it was interesting to see some SmackDown stars show up here, but I suppose that just makes this episode feel even bigger. Gunther’s whole thing on RawDown has been about “I’m the foreigner Heel, I don’t like Americans, hate me for that reason,” so him beating up Truth while Truth cosplays Uncle Sam made sense in that context. Gunther is going to dominate for a long time, so this did help build some Heel heat that he had to go and ruin the fun just so he could get a win.

And in the case of Liv Morgan showing up, this was so we could all celebrate and she could give her first promo as champion before fully moving over to SmackDown. Liv & Bianca VS Natty & Mella was a very good match, and it’s clear what the plans for SummerSlam are. Mella isn’t giving up on the Raw title, and Natty wants another shot at the SmackDown title now that it isn’t Ronda as champion. Both matches will be good for SummerSlam, but I would think that both champions retain. Bianca beat Mella already, I don’t see her losing the second time. And Natty makes for a solid first defense for Liv to fully establish herself.

Good stuff out of Mysterios VS Judgement Day, and a great tribute to Eddie Guerrero with how that match finished. But of course Judgement Day attacked them backstage to keep this feud going. Combine that with the cryptic videos that are about Edge, I wonder if Edge and Rey join forces again after years and years, and they have an awesome tag match against Finn & Priest at SummerSlam. Miz had a good promo to try and reason with Logan Paul, but you can bet it won’t affect Logan at all. Styles VS Miz happening again was okay, it still turned out to be a really good match, and it seems if Logan isn’t going to join Miz, Ciampa is more than open to the idea. Maybe we get Miz & Ciampa VS Styles & Logan at SummerSlam to settle everything at once.

Good ol’ WWE giving us another classic holiday themed party. Good reason for everyone to be around and interacting with each other, such as the 24/7 Division running through and Reggie getting tossed by Omos again. Alexander & Ali working together to prank Veer could just be for laughs or it could be WWE’s goofy way of starting a feud between them. Either way, we need the Heart & Soul of 205 Live to reunite as a tag team to give more teams for the Undisputed Tag Team Champions to face. It was pretty clever for the cookout to also give us motivation behind Rollins VS Zeke, which turned out to be a great match. Rollins wins, of course, but I like that Riddle got the better of him. They’re definitely going to be a SummerSlam match since neither is Mr. MITB.

And speaking of that dumb move from MITB, Theory did a decent job of cutting a promo as Mr. MITB. Of course Theory wants his US Championship back to follow in Rollins’ footsteps from when Rollins was dual world and US Champion. We got a great six man, and great to see the Faces win as they all move towards SummerSlam. I’d hope Theory doesn’t win the US title back, Lashley deserves to reign longer than four weeks. And Theory should really focus on his cash-in, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Theory takes a count-out loss to stay healthy. But of course there had to be barf tonight. The second the hotdog eating contest was a thing, I knew this was going to end up like Titus O’Neil on Thanksgiving after losing to Cesaro and his swing.

I’m actually glad Asuka interrupted Alexa Bliss before she just repeated what she said last week. Asuka VS Becky was a great No Holds Barred match, though it might’ve had a rough start as the two tried to make things work when that chair just wouldn’t stay in the corner. I really liked that Asuka brought out the umbrella, it was a partial callback to Kabuki Warriors with Kairi Sane, and it worked out to be a shield to the mist, though the timing was a bit off. Becky still ended up a bit green, but the finish was great stuff. Becky is back, and I suppose Mella getting the SummerSlam match isn’t a given. We’re almost getting an exact replay of last year if Becky were to take Mella’s spot from her on the show, who knows what happens.

My Score: 8.5/10


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