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

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

 

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

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

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

PLAY BY PLAY

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Minoru Suzuki VS Tetsuya Naito!

The Most Tranquilo Man in NJPW

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

And the Meanest Man in NJPW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cover, Naito wins!!

Winner: Naito, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion

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

Red Shoes raises Naito’s hand.

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

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

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

 

Backstage interviews.

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

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

 


 

My Thoughts:

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

My Score: 8.7/10


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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE Monday Night Raw Report! (8/13/18)

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Raw Cover image

This Raw before the Slam of Summer, we shall see the Red Roster’s Tag Team titles DEFENDED between The B Team, The Revival and THE DELETERS OF WORLDS!

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Ember Moon w/ Ronda Rousey VS Alexa Bliss w/ Alicia Fox & security; Ember wins, by disqualification.
  • Baron Corbin VS Tyler Breeze; Corbin wins.
  • 2v1 Handicap: Kevin Owens & Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh VS Finn Balor; rescheduled as…
  • Kevin Owens & Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh VS Finn Balor & Braun Strowman; Finn & Strowman win.
  • Bobby Lashley VS Ricky Roberts; no contest.
  • Raw Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: The B-Team VS The Revival VS The Deleters of Worlds; The B Team wins and retains the Raw Tag Team Championships.
  • Six Man Tag: The Authors of Pain & Mojo Rawley VS Titus Worldwide & Bobby Roode; Roode & Titus Worldwide win.
  • Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad; Ruby wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Rowdy Ronda Rousey heads to the ring!

The Baddest Woman on the Planet is ready for Summerslam, and the first woman of commentary, Renee Young, is here tonight, too. The fans in Greensboro, North Carolina, give her a standing ovation. Ronda brings up the tragedy of losing Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, father to Natalya. “Any loss is heartbreaking, but to lose a father,” a pillar of strength in a hostile world, “we have to face the fact that our fathers have been raising us to be the pillars of strength for our families when they’re gone.” Ronda encourages Natayla to stay strong. Everyone in the WWE loves Natty, including the WWE Universe. Natty was the first person to welcome Ronda. Ronda will be the first to defend her. Alexa Bliss cheated to win over Natty time and again. “But this Sunday at Summerslam”, Ronda vows to be the NEW Raw Women’s Champion!

And speaking of beating Alexa, welcome the new opponent for her tonight, Ember Moon! Yes, the Prophecy of Flame steps up to take the Queen of Hart’s place. The War Goddess is ready for this big opportunity against The Goddess, but speaking of, here she comes! She has Crazy Like a Fox with her as she runs down Ronda making friends. Ronda will need her friends, because her good times are at an end. Alexa is tired of the people Ronda kisses up to. Don’t boo, you’re the bandwagoners saying Alexa’s match is a “foregone conclusion.” But Ronda’s had three matches while Alexa has had five title reigns. Alexa vows to prove Ronda is the over-hyped rookie she is. Summerslam won’t be a triumph but a humiliation. Alexa is also sick and tired of hearing about Ronda, Ember, and those dumb looks on their faces. Alexa mocks Ronda’s mean face.

The champ is also sick of being the only woman not protected. Roman Reigns gets kicked out to protect a main event, but Ronda can sit ringside to do the same. They have six days, so Alexa is taking no chances. She went to the only fair authority figure, Constable Corbin. The Constable agrees to personal security! Alexa’s reinforcements come out as Alexa warns Ronda to be careful around her highly-trained task force. Ronda wouldn’t dare do anything during a match, but is this just another way for Alexa to get away with Goddess knows what?

 

Ember Moon w/ Ronda Rousey VS Alexa Bliss w/ Alicia Fox & security!

The War Goddess stands on one side of the human wall while Alexa stands on the other. Ronda goes to be in Ember’s corner, but that’s when Alexa strikes! She hits both Ronda and Ember, then laughs at her opponents. Ronda gets mad, but the security guards protect Alexa. The referee warns Ronda, but Ronda goes after the guards! She throws three of them out, the fourth one just runs away. Alicia is Alexa’s last line of defense, but that doesn’t work either! Rowdy Ronda has control of the ring, but the battle of goddesses still has to happen. Can Ronda keep her cool while so close to her prey?

Raw returns and ALexa hides behind the referee. She then sucker kicks Ember and wrenches the arm. Ember rolls and reverses to flip Alexa. Ember wrenches the arm in a grounded hammerlock, but Alexa reaches up for headscissors. Alexa brings Ember to the mat, but fans rally up for Ember. Ember pops out then arm-drags Alexa around. She wrenches Alexa’s arm while we go picture in picture. Alexa stands up and reverses to a headlock. Ember endures, even as Alexa grinds harder. Ember tries but can’t power out at first. She gets out the second time, then runs Alexa over with a shoulder. She flips Alexa up but Alexa trips Ember to slap her. Alexa runs, but into a headscissor! Ember sweeps the leg, then runs to sliding shot Alexa. Cover, TWO!

Ronda keeps Ember focused while Alexa rolls out of the ring. Alexa takes her time catching her breath, but sees Ronda on the other side. Ember hits Alexa with a baseball slide dropkick! Ember puts Alexa into the ring, but Alexa scrambles away. Alexa grabs ropes and shoves Ember away. Ember comes back to snapmare hard into a chinlock. Alexa endures the grind but pulls hair. Ember pulls hair back, but Alexa pries her way out to wring Ember’s arm. Alexa drags Ember up and dropkicks her back. Ronda and fans rally up for the War Goddess, and she enziguris Alexa out of the ring. Alexa staggers away and Ronda glares on while we go to break.

Raw returns and Alexa kicks Ember in the face. Ember rolls Alexa, TWO, and Alexa turns the swinging neckbreaker into a slam. Alexa adds Insult2Injury, then covers, TWO! Alexa puts Ember in a chinlock but Ronda still coaches Ember up. Ember endures the grind, as well as Alexa’s mocking. She stands up as Ronda rallies the fans. Ember jawbreakers out but Alexa runs her over. Cover, TWO, and it’s back to the chinlock. Alexa grins as she grinds down the other Raw rookie. Fans rally for Ember but Alexa laughs as she tells Ronda this will be her Summerslam. But Ember gets up and arm-drags Alexa off. Ember rolls her, TWO! Alexa dropkicks Ember down and covers, TWO! She tries again, TWO. Another, TWO! Ember makes it her own, TWO, and Alexa rocks Ember with a right.

Alexa mocks Ronda more, then toys with Ember. Ember fires up, and roars! Ember rallies with rights and kicks, and knocks Alexa down with an enziguri! She hits a back elbow, then climbs up. Alexa stops her, but ends up in a tornado suplex! Cover, TWO! Alicia gets on the apron, but Ronda yanks her off! Ronda sends Alicia into barriers, but Alexa attacks Ronda! Alexa puts Ronda into barriers, then goes back to Ember. She brings Ember up, but Ember powers out for a pop-up gutbuster! Ember climbs, ECLIPSE!! Cover, but Alicia breaks the pin.

Winner: Ember Moon, by disqualification

Alicia goes after Ember, and boots her down. But Ronda returns, and throws Alicia! And again! AND AGAIN! Alicia retreats and regroups with Alexa. Ronda is all riled up, will Alexa regret ever talking down to her?

 

Raw reviews the fallout between Beast and Advocate.

When Paul Heyman told everyone Brock Lesnar refused to make his obligated appearance, Kurt Angle declared Lesnar the “worst Universal Champion of all time.” Heyman agreed, but it was a last ditch effort to save himself. Angle was moments from getting rid of both Heyman and Lesnar, but Lesnar made his appearance. Lesnar then asked if Angle and Corbin had problems with him. Before they could answer, Lesnar would F5 Angle! Corbin backed down to the scarier man, but then Lesnar went after Heyman! Lesnar wanted Heyman to get a good look at Angle, but he also gave Heyman a good look at the Tyrant he really was.

Renee Young relates the interview with Heyman last week. Heyman said that this Lesnar would be truly unstoppable. But then, after cameras cut away, he actually suggested there was one way for Roman Reigns to survive, with a simple “Unless…” But the Advocate wouldn’t finish his thought. He would leave, leaving us all wondering, “Unless what?” Heyman keeps things close to the vest, but can The Big Dog figure out the Beast’s weakness on his own?

 

Angle and Corbin argue.

Angle doesn’t appreciate Corbin going over his head again. Who cares what Angle wants? Stephanie approved these matches, so these matches are going to happen. But then Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre appear. Where’s Seth Rollins? Rollins had a PR tour and travel issues, but he will be here for the contract signing. Ziggler & McIntyre sure hope so. But for now, they’ll have to wait for the Kingslayer’s arrival. Is this going to be another rough night for the Raw GM?

 

Baron Corbin VS Tyler Breeze!

The Lone Wolf went to Stephanie McMahon to make this match happen, but without even telling Angle what he’s up to. Just days before his grudge rematch with Finn Balor, will this abuse of power come back to bite Corbin?

Prince Pretty is his “hand-picked” opponent, but given how Corbin has treated shorter, lighter superstars, is he just picking on him? The bell rings, and ties up with Tyler. He pushes Tyler to a corner, but then Tyler wrenches his arm. Corbin wrenches back but Tyler pushes him away. Corbin comes back with a big back elbow, then puts Tyler in a half-nelson. Fans boo Corbin while Tyler endures. Corbin grins as he trash talks the Fashion Police officer, but Tyler stands back up. Corbin throws him to ropes, but Tyler kicks back! Tyler runs and dropkicks Corbin out of the ring! Corbin catches Tyler off the apron, to throw him into the barriers! Corbin mockingly applauds, then drags Tyler up and into the ring. Fans rally for Tyler, but Corbin stomps him out. Corbin rocks Tyler while fans duel, “Let’s go Corbin!” VS “Corbin sucks!”

Corbin soaks in the heat, then stomps Tyler out. Fans boo and jeer while he trash talks them back. Corbin elbows Tyler in the face, then puts him back in the half-nelson. He thrashes Tyler around with the chinbar added. Tyler endures and stands up again, only for Corbin to throw him down. Fans continue to boo Corbin, but Corbin just embraces it. But Tyler kicks him back from the mat, then clothesilens him out! Tyler then slingshots but misses completely. Corbin picks Tyler up, but Tyler slips out to enziguri Corbin back! Corbin gets in the ring, Tyler hurries after. Tyler shoulders in, then slingshots up and over. He runs, but into DEEP SIX! COver, Corbin wins!

Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall

The Lone Wolf finishes his appetizer, but will he be smiling when he gets the Extraordinary Finn for his main course?

Corbin speaks.

“Wow, I’m good!” That was just a small taste of what he’ll do to Finn at Summerslam. But now it’s Finn’s turn to show us what he can do. His opponent: The Modern Day Maharaja, Jinder Mahal! Mahal is a proxy for Corbin in height and weight, will Corbin’s plan of showing size matters work out? Corbin knows Finn fancies himself as a star, so perhaps he’ll be able to handle two? Let’s make it a Handicap Match, with another opponent, and a friend of Corbin’s: Kevin Owens! The Prizefighter is getting himself a warm-up, too, as he has Braun Strowman and the Money in the Bank briefcase ahead of him in Brooklyn. Can Finn prove he’s Extraordinary tonight?

 

2v1 Handicap: Kevin Owens & Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh VS Finn Balor!

“The Little Engine That Can’t” has a tall task ahead of him, but he has the Greensboro branch of Balor Club on his side! He grins at Corbin, but here comes Angle! Corbin isn’t happy as angle gets the classic ovation of “You Suck!” Angle explains that while Stephanie approved this match, Angle can still make his own matches. He’s not cancelling but adding to this match to make it a 2v2 tag match! Finn’s partner: BRAUN!!

Kevin Owens & Jinder Mahal w/ Sunil Singh VS Finn Balor & Braun Strowman!

Kevin may want to get his hands on the MITB briefcase, but he and Mahal are gonna #GetTheseHands first! And Greensboro joins in the Monster’s mantra as Strowman dares either opponent to step up. The bell rings and Finn starts against Mahal. They tie up, and Mahal puts Finn in a corner. Mahal shows a punch, but keeps his inner peace as he honors the break. Mahal gets a waistlock then wristlock, and brings Finn to a knee. Finn rolls and reverses, but Mahal reverses back. Mahal puts his weight on Finn, but Finn kips up. Mahal knees Finn low, then brings Finn back down. Finn endures the headlock, they stand back up, and Finn powers out. Mahal runs him over, then embraces the heat. Things speed up, sunset flip and Finn dropkicks! Finn steadies himself, but Mahal powers him to the corner.

Kevin tags in and they mug Finn in the corner. Kevin stomps away, then rams knees into Finn’s back. He puts Finn in an armlock, but fans rally up for Finn. Finn reaches but Kevin brings him back down to the mat. Kevin stomps Finn, but Finn pushes against Kevin. Kevin knees low, then whips Finn to the corner. he mugs Finn more, then tags Mahal. Mahal keeps on Finn, then snapmares him for knees. Mahal drags Finn back and tags Kevin. They split the wishbone, and Finn crawls to a corner. Kevin whips Finn, but Finn boots back. Finn dodges, then tags Strowman! Kevin quickly tags Mahal, and Mahal gets blasted! Kevin runs away, Strowman puts Mahal in the ring. Mahal wants mercy, but Strowman wo’t give it. Mahal unleasehs, but gets chopped down! Strowman takes aim and kicks Mahal in the ribs.

Strowman puts Mahal in a corner, and whips him corner to corner. Then he runs in for a big corner splash. He puts Mahal down, then spots Kevin. Kevin cowers away, so Strowman headbutts and runs Mahal over. He then clubs Mahal down with one hand! Strowman tags Finn, and he becomes Strowman’s weapon for the scoop slam senton! Cover, TWO! Finn brings Mahal up, gets a jawbreaker but gives a dropkick! Finn builds speed, but Kevin trips him up. Strowman chases Kevin off! Kevin regroup with Mahal, Finn FLIES on them both! The Man and the Monster are in control while we go to break.

Raw returns and Finn fights his way out of the half-nelson. Mahal brings him back down, and puts more weight on him. Finn gets up again and fights with forearms. Mahal shoves and kicks Finn down, then tags in Kevin. Mahal anchors Finn while Kevin drops an elbow. Kevin drops more elbows, then rains down rights. Kevin taunts Strowman, then goes back to Finn with a knee and chinlock. Finn endures the bend and stretch while Strowman chomps at the bit. We go picture in picture while Finn fights out again. Kevin knees lo, but his back senton gets knees! Hot tag to Mahal, who denies Finn a tag to Strowman. Mahal runs and drops knees, cover, ONE. Mahal puts Finn back in a half nelson, but Finn endures. Finn gets out but Mahal shoves him back. Finn fights his way out, but his tag is denied again.

Mahal puts him in a corner, Finn boots him away. Finn throws Mahal out, then crawls for Strowman! Mahal gets to Kevin to tag, and Kevin stops Finn. Finn fires off forearms on Kevin, but Kevin whips him. Slingblade! Hot tags to Mahal AND Strowman! The Monster rallies on Mahal with shoulders, then hits Kevin, too. Fans are all fired up as Strowman runs Sunil AND Kevin over! He then returns, but misses the buckles. Mahal hits him with a knee, but then runs into a scoop MONSTER SLAM! Strowman covers, Strowman & Finn win!

Winners: Finn Balor & Braun Strowman, Strowman pinning

The Monster in the Bank carries the Extraordinary Man through this tall task, but he has his own challenge ahead of him. Can Strowman keep from losing in any way so that he doesn’t lose his briefcase to Kevin? Speaking of Kevin, Strowman chases him to the backstage area! Corbin strikes with End of Days on Finn! Fans boo and jeer, but Corbin gets the last laugh. Will he get one more over on Finn in Brooklyn?

 

Angle talks with Stephanie on the phone.

Ziggler & McIntyre check in on Rollins’ status. Is Rollins scared after that beating from last week? Though it’s done wonders for them! If Rollins doesn’t show up to sign, there’s no Intercontinental Championship match. What a shame. Angle promises Rollins will be here. Fine, but Ziggler wants to double check that contract to make sure Angle didn’t let something fall through the cracks. Wait they misspelled Ziggler. What? Gotcha! They leave, but will Rollins arrive in time?

 

“Ladies and Gentlemen”, Ricky Roberts!

Greensboro’s own cowboy says his favorite musician in the entire world is THE Elias! He may not be as good as the Drifter, but one day he will. He’ll be so good, he’ll be in the Country Music Hall of Fame. And when that day comes, Elias himself will come to Ricky and tell him, “Hello, I am Elias.” The Drifter himself is here! And Elias wonders what he’s looking at. Get his stool. A staffer sets the stool out for Elias to sit on. Elias doesn’t understand what’s going on, but there’s only one Drifter and you’re looking at him. But Elias knows Ricky’s a fan, so is he big enough to go to WWE Shop to buy a copy of Walk With Elias/What Would Elias Do? bracelet? Just $5! Is he that big of a fan? Ricky nods “Yes”, so Elias wants Ricky to humiliate Bobby Lashley.

Elias wants the WWE Universe to understand how insane his life has been. He’s sold out Madison Square Garden, he’s got a hit album at the top of the charts, and this Saturday, he’ll have a concert in the Gramercy Theatre. Then Summerslam will be his greatest performance yet, because of the universal truth that WWE really stands for “Walk With Elias!” Elias has a song for us tonight, and admits he’s a harsh critic of the public. He only speaks the truth, and says Tar Heels are a strong people. They’re a resilient people. Because it must take “unmatched strength” to wake up here knowing they live in a pile of garbage. But before he can run down the Tar Heels more, Elias is interrupted by Bobby Lashley!

Bobby Lashley VS Ricky Roberts!

The Alpha Male takes on the would-be cross between Elias and the Honky Tonk Man. This guy needs a new shtick, WWE already has a no-talent clown who claims to play guitar. Ricky bashes his guitar on Bobby, and that only pisses Bobby off! Bobby whips Ricky, into a SPINEBUSTER! Ricky’s feeling the Bobby Lashley Blues, but will Elias be feeling the same very soon?

 

The B Team crunches the numbers.

They have a triple threat coming, but Curt Axel wants Bo to “B Positive.” It’s hard to when their odds are lower than usual. But their odds are always low. Yes, but against two teams at the same time, this is a 33.3333% chance of winning! Bo checked, double checked, and even got mathematicians to help. They’re in trouble. Axel says math didn’t get them where they are now, teamwork did! The B Teamwork has given them the best run of their lives, so it’s time to run for their lives! Can Bo & Axel keep themselves from B-ing DELETED!?

Raw Tag Team Championship Triple Threat: The B-Team VS The Revival VS The Deleters of Worlds!

In a match of three teams, only one team may hold the Championships of the Raw Tag Team Division! WOKEN Hardy & Bray Wyatt wish to bring the titles back to their Yin & Yang while the #TopGuys want to #SAYYEAH to their first main roster reign. With these teams closing in, can Bo Dallas & Curt Axel hope to still B champions after this?

Raw returns as The Revival make their entrance. The “undefeated” champions make their entrance, we have our introductions and the belts are raised. Per triple threat tag rules, two men start, and that’s Dash Wilder against Bo Dallas. They tie up, Bo rolls Dash, TWO. Dash puts Bo in his corner, Scott Dawson tags in and they mug Bo. Dawson puts Bo in the open corner and chops hard! Bo is reeling but Dawson is on him with a snap suplex. Cover, ONE, but Dawson is on Bo with a handful of hair. He brings Bo over, tags to Dash, but Bo fights back! The numbers are too much, but Bo elbows Dash down from the whip. Hardy tags in and rallies on Dash. He gives Dash DELETE DELETE buckle bumps! Hardy throws off his shirt, then DELETES Dash with a corner clothesline.

Dash pushes out of the bulldog, but gets the Side Effect! Cover, TWO! Hardy hits Dash with a rope attack, then hops up to give Dash a flying elbow. Hardy chants “DELETE! DELETE!” with the fans, but Dawson tags in. Dash grabs hardy, Hart Attack from The Revival to honor The Anvil. Cover, TWO, but Dawson keeps on Hardy at the ropes. The referee backs him off, but Dawson comes back to chop and club Hardy down. Dawson brings Hardy up and whips him to the corner. Hardy boots back, but gets clobbered down. Tag to Dash for the leg drop weapon. Cover, TWO, and we go to break.

Raw returns, and Dash has Hardy in an armlock. Fans rally and Hardy fights his way back. He elbows Dash at the ropes, and hits a headlock drop! Dawson tags in to intercept, but gets tossed aside! Wyatt tags in and rallies on Dawson, Body Check! Fans fire up with Wyatt as he corner splashes and urenages Dawson. Then one for Dash! Wyatt sees Bo come in, that’s three urenage! Axel gest in and denies a fourth, but then he ends up in buckles. Wyatt grabs Axel, Dawson leaps for a sunset flip on Wyatt, causing Wyatt to throw Axel with a German Suplex! TWO, and Wyatt rocks Dawson. Dash shoves Wyatt out, then builds speed to DIVE! Into an APRON Urenage! But then Bo flies and hits Wyatt!

Everyone but Hardy is down, but Hardy isn’t going to be left out. Fans rally with “DELETE! DELETE!” and he climbs up. Dawson returns to stop him, then climbs up to join him. The others gather nearby, Hardy SUPERPLEXES Dawson onto them! All six men are down but fans are sure “This is Awesome!” The referee can’t count anyone out, but he makes sure they all return into the ring. Wyatt, Hardy and Dawson are up first. Wyatt goes after Dawson and they go into the ring. Hardy follows, but has to take care of Bo first. Wyatt chops Dawson, but Axel tags in. Dawson and Dash get caught but fight out. SHATTER MACHINE! But Axel is legal and throws Dawson out! Cover, B Team wins!!

Winners: The B Team, Axel pinning; still the Raw Tag Team Champions

The “undefeated” B Team keep rolling as they choose the right time to strike. They have the belts this close to Summerslam, when will their Cinderella story end?

 

The B Team celebrate.

They pass by Roman Reigns and promise him and everyone, don’t sleep on the B Team! Roman has his own title hunt to worry about, and he heads to the ring after the break.

 

Ziggler & McIntyre go back to Angle.

The contract proves Angle plays favorites. Ziggler points out a particular section that Rollins gets a corner man. Yes, because Ziggler has McIntyre. They could take it out, but that means McIntyre would be banned from ringside. Ziggler accepts the terms, but he just “hopes” Rollins shows.

 

Roman Reigns heads to the ring!

Greensboro welcomes The Big Dog with the standard mixed reaction, but as usual, he’s not bothered by it at all. That’s because Roman has one more chance, and perhaps his last chance, at defeating The Beast. The Conqueror has become The Tyrant, but that only makes Roman more resolute. Roman speaks, “Leave this place better than I found it.” That’s what Roman tells himself every time, but the truth is, he can’t do it with Lesnar still here. Therefore, Lesnar needs to leave! Fans like the sound of that. Roman is sick of Lesnar from talking to hearing about him, “so it ends this Sunday at Summerslam!” And Roman finally gets his Universal Championship, to send Lesnar back to the UFC to find his head stuck up Dana White’s ass.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman.” And not to copy SmackDown, “It’s a New Day, Yes it Is!” But also, to lock something else down, the Usos are the future of WWE’s Tag Team Division. And the other future of a division is none other than the #1 contender, Roman Reigns! Roman isn’t sure what to make of this. He welcomes the former Advocate to the Beast into the ring to see what Heyman’s up to next. Heyman says this is Roman’s week. Why wait until Sunday to make history? Roman can make history right here and right now.

If Roman saw that interview footage, he knows Heyman Roman can’t defeat Lesnar “unless”. And that “unless” is having Heyman tell you Lesnar’s “dirty big secrets.” Heyman can do that for him. Roman thinks he can beat Brock, but with Heyman, Roman will know he can win. That’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler! Heyman offers his hand, fans want Roman to take it, but Roman says Heyman doesn’t understand. Roman knows the plan, because he won in Saudi Arabia. Lesnar wouldn’t have gotten out the cage without Roman spearing him through it. And it would’ve ended much sooner if Heyman didn’t interfere. “Guilty as charged.” Heyman has no excuses, but hopefully the sins of this father won’t be visited on his children.

But that’s the past, Heyman talks about the future! Heyman sees next week, Raw after Roman slays the Beast, the two of them side-by-side and Heyman introduces himself to say he’s the Advocate to the “reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, ROMAN! REIGNS!!” Fans still seem okay with that, but Roman still doesn’t. He knows Heyman is trying, but it’s not good enough. Heyman will understand better than anyone, Roman was groomed for this. His father taught him how to swim with the sharks, and how to recognize those who are drowning. Heyman is drowning, and not worth saving. “Good luck on your future endeavors.”

Heyman seems a bit beside himself, but admits Roman is right. He’s drowning with knowledge learning from his teenage years, riding with Afa & Sika. Heyman says Sika taught Heyman something he teaches all his family. Roman learned it in Samoan, and Heyman repeats it in Samoan. Roman seems to understand, but is still confused. Heyman wants to make this simple. He presents an Agreement in Principle. He wants Roman to look it over, then think it over, and answer him at Summerslam. Roman takes a look at it now, but then Heyman maces Roman!! Roman is reeling and gagging from the intense pepper spray, while Heyman storms off. Why, Heyman, Why!? This is why: BROCK LESNAR IS HERE!! The Beast has a blinded Big Dog on a silver platter, and tees off with knees!

Roman does all he can to cover up but it doesn’t matter, Lesnar gets him down on the mat. Lesnar looms over Roman, and puts him in a guillotine choke! Roman can’t see, and now he can’t breathe! Heyman holds onto the Universal Championship, his master plan having worked perfectly. Lesnar lets Roman go, because Roman is out cold. Greensboro is a thunderous mix of cheers and jeers as Lesnar takes his belt back. The Beast and Advocate are ruthless as ever, because Lesnar goes back for more! Lesnar waits as Roman slowly sits up, and then picks him up, for the F5!! Fans want that “One More Time!” but Lesnar has had his fill for the night. Is Lesnar once again guaranteed to retain? Or will Roman recover and harness his rage to finally rip the belt from The Beast’s hands?

 

Six Man Tag: The Authors of Pain & Mojo Rawley VS Titus Worldwide & Bobby Roode!

Akam & Rezar have #KillerInstinct just like the former Hype Man, while The Real Deal and his rising star feel it’d be GLORIOUS to team with the former US Champion. As these two rivalries fuse in one match, which side will come out with momentum towards Summerslam?

Akam and Apollo Crews start, and Akam puts the star in a corner to then whip him corner to corner. Apollo goes up and over to then dropkick Akam. He wrenches an arm but Akam forearms Apollo down. Akam puts on a headlock, Rezar tags in, Apollo is fed to a boot. Rezar covers, TWO, but he keeps on Apollo with a neck wrench. We go picture in picture while Apollo endures. Apollo gets up but Rezar thros him down. Rezar trwash talks, then tasg in Akam. The AoP combine for an atomic drop and roundhouse. Cover, TWO, but Akam keeps on Apollo with another neck wrench. We go single picture as fans rally for Apollo. Apollo is put in a corner, but he dodges Akam to then enziguri him down. Hot tag to Mojo, and he blasts Titus down!

Mojo drags Apollo up and backs uplexes, but Apollo slips out to tag in Roode! Roode fires off on Mojo, then climbs up for a flying clothesline. He hits Rezar, too, then corner clotheslines Mojo. he whips but Mojo reverses. Mojo runs into a boot, then a GLORIOUS Blockbuster! Cover, but Rezar breaks it. Titus collides and clotheslines Rezar out, but Mojo hits him from behind. Mojo turns around, GLORIOUS DDT! Cover, Roode & Titus Worldwide win!

Winners: Roode & Titus Worldwide, Roode pinning

Is this the begging of a GLORIOUS new signing to Titus Brand? Or will the AoP rewrite the ending so that they conquer the veteran team?

 

Roman Reigns gets his eyes cleaned.

The Big Dog’s eyeballs are burning, but the medics quickly work to flush the pepper spray out. Will Roman be in any shape to even leave on his own?

 

WWE and Raw pay tribute to the late Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart.

The WWE Universe and all of the wrestling world is saddened by this sudden loss. He started as a power lifter, but then got Stu Hart’s attention. Jim trained at the Dungeon, and then married Ellie Hart to become part of the family. Then came the founding of the Hart Foundation, with Bret Hart as his partner. Bret’s technique and Jim’s power helped them dominate the Tag Team Division and connect with the fans. Bret confirms Jim was just as fiery as his on-air persona. Jim had pride in his own accomplishments, but has even more pride in his daughter, Natalya. Ronda gave her support to Natty earlier, but may the entire Neidhart family be supported by our thoughts and prayers.

 

Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Ruby Riott w/ The Riott Squad!

The Boss & Hug Connection looked to beat Sarah Logan & Liv Morgan again last week, but the Squad Leader made a surprise return! Ruby helped her team win, but is she ready for #BossTime in her return to in-ring action?

Raw returns as the Squad makes its entrance. We see their video message to the “best friends”. It’s easy to get along when things are going right, but the Squad wants to see if that bond withstands a Riott. The bell rings and Sasha ties up with Ruby. They go around and Sasha wrenches but Ruby throws a strong forearm. Ruby taunts Sasha, but runs into a hip toss. Sasha runs but Sarah swipes at her. Sasha still rolls Ruby up, ONE, but she gets an armlock. Sarah & Liv coach Ruby up, and Ruby grabs hair. Sasha wrenches to get her to stop, but Ruby grits her teeth. They stand up and Ruby fights with body shots. She whips Sasha but Sasha throws her to ropes. Ruby rolls Sasha up, TWO, and Bank Statement is on! Ruby scrambles and gets a ropebreak.

Sasha lets Ruby go, and Ruby rolls out. Sasha runs, but misses her baseball slide. Ruby’s kick is blocked, Sasha gives her a knee. The Squad distracts Sasha, and Ruby yanks her into steps. Then Ruby Mule Kicks the steps while Sasha’s hand is inside! The Squad mocks her pain while the referee helps Sasha get free. Ruby drags Sasha up and in, then covers. ONE, but Ruby keeps her cool as she kicks the bad arm. Ruby kicks Sasha more, and soaks in the heat. She drags Sasha up and wrenches that wrist. Sasha rolls her up, TWO, backslide now. ONE, and Ruby stomps the bad hand! Ruby mule kicks Sasha down, covers, TWO. Ruby grows frustrated, but she still looms over Sasha. She stomps Sasha, then drops a knee on the bad arm. The Squad leader is in control while we go to break.

Raw returns, and Ruby tortures Sasha’s bad arm. Fans rally behind Sasha as she endures. Sasha gets up but Ruby shifts to a keylock. Sasha keeps getting up and brings Ruby to a cover, ONE. Ruby still has the arm, and she slams Sasha’s arm into the mat. The Squad cheers their leader on, and Ruby wrenches Sasha’s wrist again. Ruby says Sasha’s friendhsip with Bayley is a joke. Sasha fires off chop after chop, then acrobatically arm-drags Ruby away! Ruby comes back, misses, til-o-whirl to a takedown. Sarah distracts and ruby whips, but Sasha elbows Ruby away. Sasha runs to DIVE onto Sarah! She hurries up and in, but Ruby is ready. Sasha still knees her back, but then Liv yanks Sasha down! Bayley protests, but then runs Liv over with a lariat. Sasha gets back up, but Ruby kicks her again. Roll up, Ruby wins!!

Winner: Ruby Riott, by pinfall

Her return is a success, with help from her friends. Can the Boss & Hug Connection survive with the Squad back at full power?

 

Corbin shows Angle that time is running out.

Angle has production staff check, but there’s no sign of Rollins yet. One of Raw’s biggest matches, and it might not happen because Angle waited this long. Stephanie won’t be happy. This isn’t a Constable problem, this is a GM problem. they can’t wait any longer. Angle has no choice but to go tot he ring. Will Rollins be here to join him?

 

Kurt Angle is in the ring!

Before he brings out the champion and challenger for the Intercontinental title, he wants to address Heyman’s and Lesnar’s actions. Roman is still good for Summerslam, but Angle won’t punish Lesnar. Roman will kick Lesnar’s ass to bring that title back to the show each week where it belongs! Lesnar is the worst champion of all time!

But here comes a current champion who does show up. Ziggler walks to the ring, followed by his Scottish Terminator. Rollins isn’t here, just call it. Do they look like they were born yesterday? Angle wasn’t going to suspend Lesnar no matter what, but he can’t afford to lose this title match. If Roman can’t stand, Angle might just prop Roman himself just to protect his job. Angle wanted them to wait, they would’ve been introduced. Sure sure. But does Ziggler have to defend or not? If not, he could do a stand-up set. Angle gives Rollins his intro, but nothing happens. He tries again, but still nothing.

This is over, Angle knew Rollins wasn’t going to arrive. But considering the beatings, Rollins’ “travel issues” could just be a way to stay far away from them. Rollins was a great champion, emphasis on “was”. There’s nothing you can google, Rollins couldn’t figure them out, so he quit. This might be a surprise, but McIntyre & Ziggler respect Rollins. Their alliance was to destroy complacency. If they’re fortunate to be up here, that’s when the hard work begins! Many think getting here is “making it”, but Rollins doesn’t think that way. Rollins fought to prove he’s the best, so these two worked that much harder to be that much better. Rollins was the Architect of his own downfall! He made the classic mistake of pushing himself for the fans.

Rollins busted his ass, for the WWE Universe! It’s a one-way street because Ziggler has been there. The fickle audience loves #BurnItDown, but they also loved #StoleTheShow. It’s all meaningless, because the second fans feel slighted or bored, because it happened with Ziggler. It’ll happen with Rollins, too, and the next guy and the next guy, and it’s all because of the fans! “It’s easy to be around for the fun times, but where the Hell were you for the hard times?” And for the first time in Ziggler’s career, he has someone who actually has his back. And not some mooch, no! The Scottish Psycho eggs Ziggler on to outdo himself to keep that title for the betterment of the company and the world of wrestling!

But Ziggler doesn’t care about the fans, the other wrestlers, or stealing a show. Ziggler & McIntyre do what they want, and take it all! So forego the formality, just hand the contract over and it can be officially Rollins’ forfeit. Angle hesitates, fans chant “Burn It Down!” but the contract is handed over. Ziggler signs on the dotted line, so that’s one half of this. Now where’s Rollins? Here he is!

The Kingslayer is fashionably late, and apologizes. Especially since we had to sit through Ziggler’s therapy session. Rollins hasn’t been completely honest, he was here for awhile already. But he wanted to wait for Ziggler to sign because he might have changed his mind. The truth is, Rollins had travel issues, just not his. And that clause about a corner man to match McIntyre, well… That’s there for a particular reason. Rollins is always stuck 2v1, so the Scottish Psycho better be ready for a LUNATIC FRINGE! Dean Ambrose is back! McIntyre is furious as he throws the table out. He and Ziggler stand their ground as the Shield Brothers rush the ring! And it’s a brawl! Ambgrose throws Ziggler out, SUPERKICK to DIRTY DEEDS for McIntyre! Fans are thunderous over this reunion! Rollins signs his half, and it’s official! Can the Lunatic help Rollins get his title back?

 


 

My Thoughts:

 


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G1 Climax 28 Ratings and Joint Review

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Well we have reached the end of the road. G1 Climax 28, Grand Finals night.

Hiroshi Tanahashi won the A-ce Block and Kota Ibushi won our hearts…and…well…the B Block. Both have some history facing each other, and both are known to be more than competent wrestlers, so we’re looking at a great match.

Now it should be noted that Mathew and I will do this article jointly, similarly to how we did the Finals of the Champion Carnival.Also in an amusing turn of events, we both predicted this finals, but we’re rooting for the other’s block winner.

So if Tanahashi wins that would make me a perfect 3-0 in the tournaments we’ve covered, for the eventual winner coming from my block ( Marufuji won Champion Carnival, Masato Yoshino won King of Gate).

With that, I’m okay being wrong if Tanahashi wins. So let’s get to the show.

 

Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin & Tomoaki Honma vs Yuji Nagata,  Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino

Average match, glad to see Honma again, but nothing special – Mathew

Yeah, basically what Mathew said, basic match, nothing super impressive. It is nice to see Honma back for his technically third match since returning from injury. But this was just a standard Young Lion opening match.

Winner: Makabe via King Kong Knee Drop

Rating: **

 

Toa Henare vs Bad Luck Fale

This was a glorified squash match. Henare got in a good headbutt, but this just went quick.

Henare dead – Mathew

Winner: Fale via Bad Luck Fall

Rating: *

 

Taichi & Iizuka vs Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI

Taichi got introduced and they kept cutting off his music with Iizuka’s music, so that messed up his singing idol gimmick.  Iizuka doesn’t come out with Taichi, and instead jumps the CHAOS members form behind.

The match was fine, if anything it proves that Taichi would’ve been a better addition to the G1 than YOSHI-HASHI, since HASHI eats the pin.

Decent match, Miho Abe is gorgeous, HASHI needs to go away, and what does this all mean for Taichi? – Mathew

Winner: Taichi via Last Ride Powerbomb

Rating: ** 1/4

 

Cody & Hangman Page vs Juice Robinson & David Finlay

Cody’s first match since San Francisco, so he can’t really lose, can he?

Juice took the hand wrapping off before the match started, and wasn’t shy about throwing hands. Finlay did his usual thing, where it’s never quit enough to get the job done. Page blind sided Juice with a Buckshot Lariat, before everyone started wiping each other out with signatures. Cody finishes the match, countering the Pulp Friction into a Vertebreaker.

Solid match, everyone pulled their weight, except for Finlay. Cody decided to cut in line for the US Title, rude. – Mathew

Winner: Cody via Vertebreaker

Rating: ** 1/2

 

NEVER 6 Man Tag Team Championships: Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga & Taiji Ishimori vs Marty Scurll & The Young Bucks

Decent match, felt more like an ROH match than New Japan. Not really sure how I feel about Taiji’s first belt being this one, but the blatant disregard for the belts at the end was fantastic. – Mathew

This wasn’t supposed to be a title match, but Tama talked some smack and Matt Jackson asked the President to make it official. So even though the Tongans are one wrong move away being suspended, now they get a title shot.

When we get down to the match, it was paced out like most ROH Trios matches, and never really got out of that gear. We saw a few more Super Kicks than usual, but a bunch each man’s signature moves. Double Sharpshooter into Chicken Wing spot popped the crowd pretty hard.

Tama makes the blind tag, so when the Bucks go for the Meltzer Driver on Taiji, the giant cluster happens. Tama slinks off into the corner to draw less attention, but eventually lands the Gun Stun for the win.

Winner: Tama via Gun Stun

Rating: ***

 

Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr vs Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & Bushi

Well the drama between these clubs goes back a few months when Suzuki and Naito had their match for the Intercontinental belt.  This is just being furthered along by Zack Sabre ruining Naito’s chances to win the G1 Climax. So this should be entertaining.

Before the bell rings, Suzuki-Gun jumps Los Ingobernables de Japon and they spill to the outside. Naito and Suzuki have a chair based stand off and from there on we get the usual multi-man match. Each person comes in, does their thing, but with the tempers flaring.

The match ends with SANADA dodging Kanemaru’s Whiskey Mist and slapping on the Skull End while the rest of the members are on the outside going crazy.

Bit of a cluster, sloppy at points but it told a story and did what it needed to. Young Lion Lives Matter – Mathew

Winner: SANADA via Skull End

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Jay White, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Kenny Omega, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi

Jay hasn’t played well with SHO and YOH, but how will he fair with Ishii and Yano? On the flip side, Omega could use a little momentum after 3 straight singles losses, included a singles loss to Ishii.

Entertaining, Pieter’s dance was the best part, but did a good job at what it was supposed to do. – Mathew

Like Mathew said, at one point in the match all six men are in and the Bullet Club members do the Row Boat spot, but Yujiro asks Pieter to come in an help. So she decides to get in the middle of all six men and urge them along by spinning and dancing all sexy. Yujiro gets infatuated first which allows Ishii to roll of the ring, and the rest of the men just stop and stare at Pieter. Kenny decides to be the party pooper and slap sense into his teammates and escort Pieter out of the ring.

Aside from that, we had a few good spots with Omega/Owens doing a Superkick/Pump Kick combo on Ishii, and good team work on both ends. Eventually Owens and Ishii are alone in the ring, Owens goes for the Package Piledriver, fails and gets a Vertical Drop Brainbuster for his troubles.

Winner: Ishii via Vertical Drop Brainbuster

Rating: *** 1/2

 

Kushida, Rey Mysterio & Pro Wrestler Sengokuenbu vs Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH

We have the debut of an unknown samurai wrestler from the Sengoku (Warring States) period of Japan. Time traveler, or just a big fan, he makes his appearance to help out Rey Mysterio and Kushida against the CHAOS members.

Best tag match on the show, everyone delivered, very entertaining. Sengokuenbu was the highlight, now we just need to figure out who he could be. Give us Mysterio vs Liger already, dammit! – Mathew

The match saw a lot of all three guys getting in good offense, a tease for a Double 619, that Okada stopped with his picture perfect Dropkick. But stereo Tope con Hilos at the end, set up Mysterio to get YOH into position for the 619 and West Coast Pop, to pick up the pinfall.

Nothing crazy happened during or after, just a good ole fashioned fun match with no storyline implications, just entertainment.

Winner: Mysterio via 619

Rating: *** 3/4

 

G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

So these two have put on some great matches in the past. Does Ibushi avenge his loss at Power Struggle 2017? Does the Ace have one more run left in him? Enough hyperbole, time to find out.

I thought the match was just simply incredible. The story of the match, the intensity and emotion of it all really delivered to give us the perfect way to end the G1 Climax overall. It showed Ibushi is on another level compared to his previous runs in New Japan and can be everything they look for if he ever signs a fucking contract! Tanahashi winning is the right call in my opinion and I really hope he’ll be the one that breaks the WK curse and beats Omega for the championship, he definitely deserves that one final run.- Mathew

Mathew’s sentiment is right on the level with mine. But we also saw some fantastic spots in this match. Ibushi countered a Sliding Dropkick from Tanahashi on the apron, and Double Footstomped perfectly on his chest, a quickly snapped off Avalanche Frankensteiner as well as his new Double Knees Moonsault. Tanahashi was in usual form also, with a couple Short Arm Slingblades mixed in with two Twist and Shout Neckbreakers.

Throughout the match, the story and struggle was painted plainly on both men’s faces. Ibushi kept trying to hold back his emotions, until the spirit of Shinsuke Nakamura overcame him. A few antagonistic kicks to the head, mixed with two or three Bomaye Knees from different angles. Hell Ibushi even hit his Outside-In Deadlift German Suplex on Tanahashi, but only for 2 counts.

Tanahashi had a hauntingly similar sequence to the Power Struggle match, but instead of 2 High Fly Flows, this time it took 3 for Tanahashi to finish the job. A momentous occasion of course, but it should be noted that Kota never hit the KamiGoye. For those who don’t know, KameGoye means “Beyond God”, and he named it such because of Tanahashi. It was the move he was going to use to finally surpass God, and God, to Kota Ibushi, is Tanahashi.

Not quite there yet for Kota, but words can’t adequately describe how amazing this match was.

Winner: Tanahashi via High Fly Flow

Rating: ******

Thoughts:

Tanahashi wins his third G1 Climax, and the winner comes from my block for the third time this year! Yes I know I picked Ibushi, but being wrong there, still kinda paid off. The match was tremendous, the undercard built like a normal New Japan show. So now we get to see when and where Jay White will challenge Tanahashi for the contract, and if Kazuchika Okada might make a challenge.

Even though all previous contract winners have lost at Wrestle Kingdom, we might finally see something change. Maybe Tanahashi wins, maybe he loses it before the big show. Guess we’ll just have to sit back and find out.


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Andrew’s MLW Fusion Ratings & Review: 8/10/2018

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Well I missed last week’s MLW Fusion episode, but Chris Platt did a fantastic job with his review.

After Battle Riot the stories are now facing towards War Games. Team Strickland versus Team Callihan should start building nicely. So let’s see what else they’ve got in store.

 

Leon Scott vs Barrington Hughes

Leon Scott starts rocking Barrington Hughes with some stiff strikes, before Hughes catches him with an Uranage. After that, he hits the ropes for an Elbow Drop, going for the pin, but Sawyer Fulton and Sami Callihan interfere for the DQ.

Winner: Hughes via DQ

Rating: N/A

Kotto Brazil comes out for the save, at the same time challenging Sami Callihan. Callihan gets riled up, Kotto hits a Dropkick followed by a Tope con Hilo into all the Death Machines.

 

Kotto Brazil vs Sami Callihan

Brazil had some decent offense on the outside before the bell, but after getting a Missile Dropkick countered into a Powerbomb from Callihan, the match starts. It should be noted that the only reason the match starts is because Sami intimidates the referee and tells him to ring the bell.

This was more of a match than anyone expected. Callihan was taking him lightly early, even insisting the ref give the standing 10 count instead of inflicting more pain. But Kotto got in some great moments of offense. A Body Scissors Vicotry Roll, Code Red and a few different Dropkicks gave him quite a few near falls. The match ends when he attempts an Avalanche Frankensteiner but Callihan holds him, and counters it into a Middle Rope Jacknife Powerbomb.

From that point, he nails the Get Out of Here and the match is done. Kotto gave him a hell of a fight, but Callihan was just too much.

Winner: Callihan via Get Out of Here

Rating: *** 3/4

Teddy Hart and New Hart Foundation promo, getting across the fact they don’t like “Jabroni Fake News” websites.

Kaci Lennox backstage interview with Konnan regarding the situation with Salina de la Renta. Low Ki approaches him and implies that he shouldn’t try to do what he did in other companies.

 

Falls Count Anywhere MLW Middleweight Championship Match: Joey Janela w/ Aria Blake vs MJF

Right off the Konnan interview we see Janela with a referee walking around backstage, and he finds MJF in a bathroom, beginning the match.

They work down some steps and into the bar area with some awkward spots and strikes. Janela gets the advantage at some point but MJF smartly uses Aria Blake as a human shield to swing the momentum. After the commercial break Janela lands a Double Footstomp from the apron through a chair on MJF’s chest.

Janela shares a swig of beer with a fan and then takes MJF up the ramp to finish the match. After countering a move from MJF with a Back Body Drop, he asks Aria for a kiss before ending the match. Aria plays a little coy, but then clocks Janela with a bottle, helping MJF retain. So Janela gets screwed and well…I guess MJF does too, just a different kind.

Winner: MJF via Aria Blake heel turn hitting Janela with a bottle

Rating: ** 1/2

Sami Callihan backstage promo revealing the 4th member of his War Games team, Jimmy Havoc. Havoc plays a little hardball telling him he’s “gotta sell him”, but a few jokes about Mexico and an agreement to go to the bar for some Stella Artois leads us to believe he’s as good as in.

Team Filthy and Stud Stable have words that seem to lead to Tom Lawlor accepting a Dojo Fight. 

Going back to Konnan, Rey Fenix and Pentagon come out with their contracts. Konnan asks him if they saw what he said, and they rip up their contracts and walk off laughing with Konnan.

Kevin Sullivan has words with Brian Pillman Jr after seeing what the Hart Foundation was saying.  Sullivan is trying to steer Pillman away from Davey Boy and Teddy, but Brian says they understand the pressure that he’s under so he respects them.

 

John Hennigan vs Teddy Hart

Teddy Hart being back in a full time promotion is definitely something. Not sure what, since he tends to be unpredictable, but it’s kind of nice. Hennigan is under another name in another promotion, so this should be good.

Both guys play to the crowd often, and the crowd is split. But it should be mentioned that this is the most alive I’ve heard the crowd since the debut episode. Teddy hits some crazy moves nearly immediately as he counters Hennigan trying to bring him back in from the apron, into a Twisting Cutter. You saw both guys trying their damnedest since the winner of this match gets a shot at Low Ki next week.

A Code Red into a Top Turnbuckle Assisted Canadian Destroyer, gives Hart a near fall. After that he goes for a few Springboard Moonsaults, but Hennigan eventually gets the knees up and begins his flurry. He pulls off the Sliding Middle Rope German Suplex, right into Starship Pain for only 2. Hennigan then tries Countdown for Impact (That Parkour Elbow Drop), but misses. Hart hits a violent looking Lung Blower, followed by a Top Rope Twisting Asai Moonsault and then a Middle Rope Asai Moonsault, again only for 2.

Each competitor has had words with the referee during this match, but Hart shoots Hennigan into the corner to get it reversed. Hart tries to pop over Hennigan possibly for a Victory Roll or Code Red again, but Johnny sits down and hooks a Double Leg Cradle to steal the win.

Winner: Hennigan via Double Leg Cradle

Rating: **** 1/4

 

Thoughts:

Really good wrestling and enough story telling to keep me happy. This type of episode is the perfect balance in my opinion. Moved along 3 big stories with Konnan, Team Filthy and War Games. As well as telling stories in matches with Aria Blake’s heel turn, Kotto’s heart and Teddy Hart’s road to redemption.

This was probably my favorite episode of MLW Fusion to date, damn good job.


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