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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (5/8/18)

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SmackDown will address the Backlash low blows!

The first SmackDown after Backlash promises to address the double count-out draw between the Phenomenal One and King of Strong Style in their WWE Championship match. What will GM Paige have to say about the double low blows? Plus, THREE Money in the Bank Qualifiers, featuring The Miz, Daniel Bryan, and Charlotte Flair!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Jeff Hardy VS The Miz; Miz wins and joins the Men’s MITB Ladder Match.
  • Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte wins and joins the Women’s MITB Ladder Match.
  • Cesaro w/ Sheamus VS Xavier Woods w/ The New Day; Cesaro wins.
  • Becky Lynch VS Mandy Rose; Mandy wins.
  • Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Daniel Bryan VS Rusev w/ Aiden English; Rusev wins and joins the Men’s MITB Ladder Match.

PLAY BY PLAY

SmackDown General Manager, Paige, heads to the ring!

The Glampire believes Backlash was a smashing success where we witnessed the first singles victory for the returning Daniel Bryan! Fans agree, that was good. We saw the surprise victory from Carmella the SmackDown Women’s Champion. And then there’s the WWE Championship and what happened between Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles. The match was going to be an instant classic until both men started using low blows that neither could recover from. Paige didn’t foresee that happening, but she says we’ll hear from both men later on.

As for Money in the Bank, there will be two ladder matches: one for the men, and one for the women, with superstars from both brands. Those who climb up the ladder to grab the briefcases will bring those contracts back to their brands. Therefore, SmackDown needs to put up the best, which brings us to the qualifying matches, starting right now!

 

Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Jeff Hardy VS The Miz!

The Charismatic Enigma is still WWE United States Champion after vanquishing The Viper, while the A-Lister is NOT the Intercontinental Champion after losing to The Architect. Both are decorated champions, but only one great superstar will make it into the Ladder Match!

The bell rings and the fans are rallying with Hardy. He and Miz circle, tie up, and Hardy gets the headlock. Miz powers out but Hardy runs him over. Miz backs off to a corner while fans cheer for Hardy. Hardy and Miz circle again, fans rallying, and they tie up for Miz to get the waistlock. Hardy gets the standing switch, but Miz switches back to a wristlock. Miz wrenches but Hardy reverses the hold. MIz powers out, but Hardy runs him over and splashes down, TWO. Hardy runs but Miz trips him up. Hardy clubs away on Miz but Miz gets out of the ring. However, Hardy follows for Poetry in Motion! Deja vu to Backlash, and Hardy puts Miz into the ring. Hardy climbs up, takes aim, but Miz scrambles to the opposite corner. Miz catches his breath while we go to break.

SmackDown returns, and Hardy is in control of Miz with arm-drags, into an armlock. Miz gets to his feet and pulls Hardy’s hair. Miz backs Hardy tot he ropes then whips, then arm-drags, but Hardy arm-drags Miz through to an armbar. Hardy wrenches the arm but Miz stands up. Fans rally for Hardy but Miz punches his way out of the hold. Miz punches Hardy more, then whpis again, but Hardy kicks him away. Jawbreaker countered by a knee, then Miz drops Hardy with a boot. Cover, TWO, but Miz keeps his cool. Miz sits Hardy up and drives in a knee, then puts on a chinlock. Fans continue to rally for Hardy, and Hardy stands up. Hardy fights out then throws a hand but Miz counters with the A-List combination! Cover, TWO.

Miz looks up at the briefcase, the goal he is after for a second time. He keeps on Hardy with punches, then back to the knee in the back. Miz pulls on Hardy’s arms while fans duel between them. Hardy endures the half-surfboard, and fights his way out. Miz throws back, but then slips out of the back suplex. Hardy denies the Finale, then runs but Miz throws him out. Miz runs but misses the wrecking ball. Hardy swings again, but Miz lifts and sits Hardy on the barriers. Miz catches his breath while mocking the fans. He swings on Hardy but misses, Hardy headbutts Miz back. Hardy stands, then LEAPS off the barriers!

Both men go down while the ring count climbs up. The count reaches 6 by the time Hardy stands. He put Miz in at 7, then counters punches with punches. Hardy kicks, whips but Miz reverses, only for Hardy to run him over. Atomic drop to takedown, then a leg-splitting leg drop! Dropkick on top, cover, TWO! Hardy keeps his cool, then gets to his feet. He calls for the Twist, then waits for Miz to stand. Hardy kicks, but Miz denies the Twist. Miz goes for a backslide, but Hardy resists. They stand back up, Hardy tries to bring Miz over, but then flips over MIz to hit the Twist of Fate! Hardy hurries to climb up top, but Miz rolls away again. Hardy runs over but Miz kicks him back, then gives him the neckbreaker to the apron!

The referee checks on Hardy while we go picture in picture. Miz catches his breath in the ring, but Hardy is okay to continue. A ten count begins, and reaches five before Hardy stirs. Hardy drags himself up but the count’s at 8. He beats it at 9, and it surprises Miz. Miz thought he had this, so he boots Hardy out of frustration. Cover, TWO, and Miz argues with the ref. Miz runs and boots Hardy again, then again! Cover, TWO, and Miz is furious.

Miz thinks on what to do next while Hardy stands up. Miz runs, misses the third boot, Hardy rolls him pu, TWO, A-Lister lariat in the corner! Now Miz climbs up, jumps and hits the ax handle. He wants his finish, and circles Hardy on the mat. Hardy stirs and slowly stands, but denies the Finale! Miz goes after the legs, but Hardy counters with a small package, TWO! Miz grabs Hardy in a sleeper hold! Hardy fades to a knee while Miz squeezes tight. Hardy feeds off the fans’ energy while we go single picture, and hits the jawbreaker!

Both men are sitting down, catching their breath. Miz hits Hardy, Hardy hits back. They brawl up to their feet, and Hardy gets an edge. Miz swings but misses, into the Russian leg sweep and leg pin, TWO. Miz crawls to ropes but Hardy is upon him. He gets a cheap shot in, then back to the sleeper, but Hardy runs around to pull Miz into buckles. Hardy elbows back, then climbs up, Whisper in the Wind! Cover, TWO! Hardy checks his teeth while Miz stirs. The champion gets the fans fired up, then goes for the twist, but Miz denies it again. Miz ends up on the apron, grabs for the hair, but Hardy hotshots him back. Hardy baseball slide dropkicks Miz to the barriers, then takes aim to slingshots over for a senton!

Fans fire up with Hardy again as he puts Miz back in the ring. Hardy climbs up top, taking off his shirt. He takes aim, but Miz trips him up! Miz climbs up now, but Hardy resists. Hardy hits back with clubbing forearms and sends Miz down with a sunset flip powerbomb! TWO!! Hardy can’t beileve Miz survived that one. Miz rolls his way to a corner again, but fans are loving this match. Hrady comes over, but Miz boots the Hardiac away. Miz runs in, TWIST– Fin– roll up! TWO, but the mule kick from Hardy puts Miz in a corner. Hardy hits the Hardiac Arrest! Hardy keeps going, Twist of Fate! He climbs up once again, with fans firing up with him. Hardy aims, SWANTON BOMB! Cover, TWO!? GHOST PIN, MIZ WINS!!

Winner: The Miz, by pinfall; qualifies for the Men’s MITB

What a twist ending from the A-Lister! Miz returns to the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, which he has won before. Will the sequel be better than the original with a win over Finn Balor, Braun Strowman and five other top superstars?

 

The Bar meets backstage.

Sheamus is eating Lucky Charms to cheer him up after his loss last week. Cesaro thought he had him, too, but then Xavier Woods slipped through his claws. It was those darn Muppets, Kofi and Big E, outside the ring. It’s always 3v2 with The New Day. Though Cesaro feels he would’ve done better. Really? Really? Then try facing Woods tonight and see! Cesaro accepts, because no one makes the fool out of The Bar. Wait, waht’s in Cesaro’s bags? PANCAKES!? That’s not funny, Sheamus. Because now there’s pancakes in HIS bag! Will the New Day pay for this pancake prank?

 

SAnitY is coming.

And they’re bring CHAOS!! Will SmackDown be prepared for the Merchant of Mayhem, the Beast of Belfast and the Ax Man?

 

Backstage interview with Shinsuke Nakamura.

The King of Strong Style is not cleared for competition after last night’s match. Is the issue between him and Styles over? “No. Speak English.” We all know he speaks English, that’s not going to work. Yes he did speak English, but he forgot how. Then is there anything he would like to say while he IS speaking English? “AJ Styles nuts. But so am I. We are not finished.” In that case, when will he and the champion settle this championship grudge?

 

Carmella speaks.

“I beat Charlotte Flair!” She beat Charlotte Flair, again! Now it’s party time! But, not in a city like Baltimore, ew. Carmella will go to London, and next week it’ll be a #RoyalMellabration. And the Royal Family isn’t invited. And neither is Ric Flair, or his daughter, who she beat!

 

Superstars speak on MITB.

Imagine this: seven superstars down, one ladder, one man standing and one MITB briefcase. Tye Dillinger knows that may not add up to a championship, but that does add up to a perfect 10. Naomi meanwhile says that she won the inaugural Wrestlemania Women’s Battle Royal and was a former champion. She vows to climb up and snatch down the contract to then snatch the champion bald, whoever she may be.

 

Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce w/ Billie Kay!

While The Princess of Staten Island did beat The Queen of Flair fair and square, the former champion has a chance here tonight to make her way back. Can Charlotte get payback on the IIconics who cost her the title in the first place, and then climb a ladder to be the #QueenintheBank?

Billie & Peyton say that while Charlotte loss, she is still an inspiration. Billie’s uncle has always had a horrible stutter, but seeing the look on Charlotte’s face after losing, it sent him into hysterical laughter! He laughed an hour straight, tears streaming down his face while he fell off the couch. But it also cured his stutter! So Billie thanks Charlotte for that. Because that look, “the pain, the agony”, they want to bottle it and make it a fragrance. “Disappointed by Charlotte.” Peyton can imitate that. Oh come on, she’s not that good. Peyton tries, but it’s only funny when Charlotte does it. Then how about Peyton makes Charlotte do that face again now! That MITB contract belongs to the future, and #TheFutureisIIconic.

Peyton enters the ring, the match begins, and she circles with Charlotte. Fans “WOO~” for Charlotte as she ties up with the Venus Flytrap, then powers her to a corner. Charlotte gives Peyton a swift shot, then dares Peyton to come back for more. Peyton goes from one corner to another while Billie checks on her. Charlotte catches Peyton into a waistlock and slam, then brings her up for another. Peyton elbows her way out, then kicks, but Charlotte spins her around for a chop! Charlotte scoops Peyton for the exploder! Fans rally for Charlotte while she throws Peyton out and we go to break.

SmackDown returns, and now Charlotte is down on the ground outside the ring. Peyton drags Charlotte up and into the ring while Billie cheers her own. Peyton puts Charlotte in a chinlock and thrashes about. Fans rally for Charlotte as she endures. Charlotte works her way up and jawbreakers out of the hold. Peyton blocks the chop, then slips out of the suplex, to throw Charlotte head first into buckles! She then drags Charlotte to a cover, TWO, and Billie is furious for her. Peyton hammers away on Charlotte, then bumps her off a buckle before grinding her boot right into Charlotte’s chin. Billie cheers while Peyton uses ropes for her modified motorcycle stretch. Peyton lets go at 4, then stalks Charlotte. She drives in a knee, then bounces Charlotte off the mat. Peyton drops elbows, then puts on another chinlock.

Fans rally for Charlotte again while she endures. Charlotte stands up but Peyton hits her first. Peyton whips but Charlotte kicks her back, then hits a neckbreaker. Charlotte catches her breath while Peyton holds her head. Both women slowly stand, then Peyton swings but Charlotte counters with foerarms. Charlotte gives more and more forearms, but Peyton knees low. Peyton whips but Charlotte reverses, then chops Peyton! Charlotte chops and chops again, and again, and again, dropping Peyton down.

The fans fire up while Chalrotte struts and chops Peyton down again. Charlotte stalks Peyton, then goes to boot, but Peyton dodges. Peyton kicks but misses, Charlotte rolls her up with the bridge, TWO. Charlotte gives Peyton a big back suplex, then kips up! Charlotte grabs the legs but Billie saves Peyton, only for Charlotte to slingshot down on Billie! Peyton hits a neckbreaker on Charlotte! A ring count begins, and Peyton drags Charlotte up and in. Peyton covers, TWO, and she’s furious. Charlotte elbows her away, then again. Billie hotshots Charlotte, Peyton heel kicks! Cover, TWO!? The IIconics are furious, and Billie argues with the referee. Peyton stands up and goes after Charlotte with a knee, but Charlotte rolls her up, TWO. Charlotte dodges in the corner, and boots Peyton down!

Fans fire up while Charlotte climbs. Charlotte MOONSAULTS, but onto Peyton’s knees! Small package, TWO! Peyton hits a knee, covers, TWO! The IIconics are at a loss for how Charlotte is still in this. Peyton glances at the briefcase while standing up. She stalks Charlotte, then brings her up. Fans rally for Charlotte, and Charlote reverses into a SPEAR! Cover, TWO, and now Charlotte grows frustrated. She goes for the legs, but Peyton rolls her, TWO. Charlotte rolls again, TWO, into the Figure Four! And Figure Eight! Peyton taps out, Charlotte wins!

Winner: Charlotte, by submission; qualifies for the Women’s MITB

The Queen gets back on track with this win, and enters the second-ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match. Can Charlotte take that contract and get sweet revenge on the inaugural Ms. MITB with her own cash-in?

 

Backstage interview with Daniel Bryan.

Has he had time to recover from Big Cass’ sore loser attack? Well let’s not forget why Cass attacked him: Bryan made Cass tap out. But as for tonight, Bryan is a former Mr. MITB, and he cashed in here in Baltimore. Bryan will fight, will climb up, and prove that the bigger they are, the faster they tap. Can Bryan beat the Bulgarian Lion to enter this year’s Money in the Bank match?

 

More superstars speak on MITB.

The Gold Standard, Shelton Benjamin, made this match famous, so he vows to finally win the opportunity no one is giving him. His highlights are all over this match type, and the best is yet to come. As for the Empress of Tomorrow, Asuka wants to climb up, grab the contract, and cash in on Carmella. “No one is ready for Asuka”, and certainly not armed with that briefcase.

 

Cesaro w/ Sheamus VS Xavier Woods w/ The New Day!

Awwwww, Baltimore~! The brains of the outfit beat the Celtic Gladiator last week, with some help from his friends. Will the Swiss Cyborg have better luck that his teammate? Or will The Bar be swept by the Power of Positivity?

The bell rings and Woods circles with Cesaro. They tie up, Woods gets the waistlock and headlock, but Cesaro reverses Woods to toy with him. The fans chant “We Want Pancakes!” which only annoys Sheamus & Cesaro. Big E makes it rain flapjacks, but then Cesaro swipes at him to stop. Woods goes after Cesaro but the ropes are in the way. Cesaro then slips around to tie up with Woods. Woods still gets a headlock but Cesaro reverses it. Woods powers out but Cesaro runs him over. Cesaro says “No Pancakes!” then runs, but Woods leaps up. Cesaro catches him but Woods slips around to a waistlock. Woods is bucked off but runs back, dodges, then tilt-o-whirl headscissors Cesaro down!

Woods goes after Cesaro in a corner with body shots, but Cesaro turns things around. Cesaro honors the break, for a second. Woods fires back on him, but Cesaro shoves him at the ref to clobber him in the back! The Bar boast while Woods writhes at the ropes. Cesaro deadlift gutwrenches Woods and throws him! We go picture in picture while Cesaro stalks Woods. The New Day coach Woods up, but Cesaro is upon him. Cesaro grabs some pancakes that were lying around, and crumbles them up! He tosses the crumbs, but WOods fires back with haymakers. Woods runs, but into a big flapjack from Cesaro! Cesaro covers, TWO, so he drags Woods over to choke him on the ropes. Sheamus takes a selfie with that, but Big E backs him off.

Cesaro keeps on woods, but Woods chops and body shots back. Cesaro knees low, then gives body shots of his own. He brings Woods out for more, then wrenches the arm. Cesaro whips and catches Woods into an abdominal stretch. He grinds an elbow into Woods’ ribs, but Woods endures. We return to single picture as fans rally for Woods. Woods fights out, but Cesaro hits back. They brawl with chops back and forth, then Cesaro hits a right jab. Woods kicks back, then kicks a leg out to knee Cesaro in the head. Woods runs in but Cesaro puts him on the apron. A kick sends Cesaro reeling, then Woods slingshots for a springboard kick!

Cover, TWO, and Sheamus is relieved. The fans rally again, and Woods powers up. He runs but Cesaro rolls to the apron. Cesaro hotshots WOods away, then lifts, but Woods slips out. Woods hops for the wheelbarrow, but Cesaro shove shim away. Woods keeps moving, wheelbarrow facebuster! Cover, TWO! The New Day keep coaching Woods, and Woods makes his way to a corner. Woods climbs up but Sheamus distracts. Woods chases him off, but Cesaro rolls up! Feet on the ropes but Kofi stops that! Woods rolls, TWO, Shining Wizard! Sheamus protests while Woods climbs, but Big E uses pancakes to get Sheamus’ attention. Sheamus jumps at Big E, misses, Kofi LEAPS and takes Sheamus out! Woods finally takes aim and springboards, but into a big European Uppercut! Cover, Cesaro wins!

Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall

The numbers game goes the wrong way for the New Day, and now they’re even with The Bar in singles competition. Woods is 1-1, how will Kofi and Big E fair against Cesaro & Sheamus?

 

Backstage interview with AJ Styles.

The Phenomenal One still has a major welt from Backlash’s championship match. He’s not cleared to compete, either, and knows Nakamura said they’re not done. Styles admits he sank to Nakamura’s level. He doesn’t want to fight like that, but he will if the title is on the line. How convenient Nakamue now speaks English again. Styles doesn’t’ care when, why or where, but if Nakamura has the… guts to fight him again, Styles will finish him. This is the House that AJ Styles Built, what will he do to defend it?

 

A twisted scene of broken WWE action figures…

The teams of the SmackDown Tag Team Division, namely. The Bludgeon Brothers say they have their own toys. “So please, come play with us.” “We’re waiting.” TO DESTROY! Who will step up to the SmackDown Tag Team Champions and face their own personal doomsday?

 

Becky Lynch VS Mandy Rose!

The duo formerly with Paige in Absolution must now strike out on their own without her help. Mandy says that she and Sonya can be in the MITB match, but then the Glampire comes over. Remember, Absolution is dead. Yes, they know, but they realize that Paige isn’t their mommy. She can desert them, but they will never break up. Then that’s awkward to bring this up… Sonya, you’re barred from ringside. What?! Does God’s Greatest Creation have what it takes to take on the Lass Kicker alone?

The bell rings, and Mandy ties up with Becky. She gets the waistlock but Becky throws her off. Becky dares the rookie to bring it, then arm-drags Mandy out of the ring. Mandy takes her time regrouping, but Becky is right on her. Mandy rocks Becky with a right, then puts Becky in a corner for a mudhole stomp. She whips Becky corner to corner then drops her with a dropkick. Mandy stalks Becky and hits the big knee strike, cover, TWO. Mandy keeps on Becky with a thrashing chinlock, but fans rally for the inaugural SmackDown Women’s Champion. Becky stands up and fights out, but Mandy throws her down by her hair.

Mandy taunts Becky then gives another strong right, but Becky gives as good as she gets. Becky gets an edge, then brings Mandy to the mat. Mandy slips away to the ropes, but still gets thrown with a Becksploder! Becky hits the jump kick but Mandy throws her into the ropes, roll up, Mandy wins?!

Winner: Mandy, by pinfall

Whether that was beginner’s luck, Becky being in a slump, or a legitimate upset, a win is a win. Can the golden half of the duo formerly known as Absolution earn herself a chance at the MITB match?

 

Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Match: Daniel Bryan VS Rusev w/ Aiden English!

The Goat won his return-to-PPV match at Backlash, but Big “bully” Cass beat him down for it. Will the Goat still have enough to defeat the Bulgarian Lion and make his return to Money in the Bank?

MC Artiste, Aiden English, already has the fans chanting for “Rusev Day! Rusev Day!” Baltimore~, more like Balti-less, cuz Orioles and Ravens don’t impress. But don’t stress, will Bryan win? No, DB will wish he was still GM, and when the Lion climbs the ladder, you’ll know that today is… RUSEV DAAAAAAY~~!

The bell rings and Rusev circles with Bryan. They tie up while fans duel, and Bryan rolls to wristlock Rusev. Bryan wrenches the arm into a hammerlock, but Rusev elbows out. Rusev runs to run Bryan over, but then things speed up and Bryan toeholds Rusev into half the surfboard. Bryan goes for the arms, but instead stomps those knees. Bryan kicks out an arm, then starts up kicks on the shoulder. Rusev is reeling while Bryan grabs his arm again. Bryan wrenches but Rusev scoops and slams! Rusev kicks Bryan but Bryan gets to ropes. Bryan dumps Rusev out of the ring, then builds speed, to DIVE! But Rusev catches and tosses Bryan over the desk! The Bulgarian Brute is in control while we go to break.

SmackDown returns, and Rusev suplexes Bryan up and over. Rusev takes his time while the fans duel between “Rusev Day!” and “Let’s go Bryan!” He even toys with Bryan in a corner. He whips Bryan corner to corner, but Bryan goes up and over to then build speed and run Rusev over with a lariat! Bryan fires up while Rusev gets to a corner. Fans chant “YES! YES!” while he runs in for a dropkick. He keeps going, for a second dropkick. Bryan kicks away on Rusev, then lifts him up to the top. Bryan climbs up, throws punches, then hits a SUPER Steiner! Fans continue to chant “YES! YES!” while Bryan stands back up.

Bryan goes over to Rusev and gives his YES Kicks. Kick after kick, then the buzzsaw misses. Rusev trips Bryan but Bryan slips away, only to be caught. Rusev swings but Bryan rolls him up, TWO. Roundhouse from Rusev! Cover, TWO, and English is frustrated for Rusev. Fans duel again, but Rusev stands up and says, “Rusev! MACHKA!” He stomps Bryan, then prepares the Accolade, but his bad wrists stop him. He can’t put on his hold, but Bryan brings him down for his! YES Lock, but ropebreak. Bryan lets go, and the two stand up. Rusev swings, misses, and Bryan retaliates with a kick. Bryan kicks and kicks, but Rusev kicks back. Rusev German Suplex but Bryan lands on his feet for the buzzsaw! Rusev goes down, and Bryan fires up with “YES! YES!”

English bails Rusev out, but Bryan just runs and wrecks them both with the dropkick! Then he aims at Rusev, Meteora off the apron! Bryan puts Rusev in the ring, then climbs up top, for the missile dropkick! Bryan is sore himself, but he still kips up. He takes aim at Rusev from the corner, everyone chanting “YES! YES!” with him. Bryan runs, but into a pop-up knee! Rusev MACHKA Kick! Cover, Rusev wins!!

Winner: Rusev, by pinfall; qualifies for the Men’s MITB

The Lion slays the Goat, and is now going to make the match a RUSEV in the Bank Ladder Match! Will Rusev Day triumph and grab that contract? And who else will join him, Jeff Hardy, Finn Balor and Braun Strowman as the weeks go by? As for Bryan, fans still love him, even if he lost. Bryan hoped he’d make another great run towards the top, so where does he go from here?

 


 

My Thoughts:

As Raw did last night, SmackDown did great in making up for Backlash while transitioning to MITB. Though I’m a little disappointed we still haven’t seen SAnitY or Almas yet, but maybe their debuts next week will have major impact on the PPV. We do get a great opener in Hardy VS Miz, and that was an amazing surprise for Miz to win that way. Miz is proving that while he isn’t the best technical wrestler, he is definitely deserving of the world title scene. Carmella’s celebration next week will surely be interrupted by any number of the women who will join the MITB match. And Charlotte-IIconics is a great match in itself, and Charlotte winning could set up a great story of karma, with Carmella losing the title because of Charlotte cashing in.

Woods-Cesaro is a great match, and they did great to book Cesaro winning as a surprise. Now we get a tag team match where the winning team sends one person to the Men’s MITB match. New Day winning would be crazy if they somehow decide to Free Bird Rules the briefcase to then Free Bird Rules the singles title they take. At the same time, The Bar might not be so willing to do that, and this could lead to a potential break up. I did NOT see Becky losing so quickly to Mandy. This losing streak of hers could be a way to turn her without any particular superstar to go after.

Rusev winning was another big surprise, but it makes sense when A) he’s super over, and B) Bryan can’t risk a concussion in that ladder match. Plus, Bryan might still have Cass to worry about, the same way Styles still has Nakamura to get through. They have time to build the WWE Championship match up even more, which is good because Nakamura is a genius for “not knowing English.” I hope that when the time comes, the decision is either a Last Man Standing match or a Ladder match of their own, so that there is one true winner in the end.

My Score: 8.5/10

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Sendai Girls BIG SHOW in Sendai Results & Review (10/14/2018)

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It’s been a few months since I’ve done Sendai Girls and it looks like I have some stuff cleared up and it gives me time to cover their latest show, BIG SHOW in Sendai.

Last time we covered them, Hamada was stripped of the title due to drug possession and a match between DASH Chisako and Chihiro Hashimoto, and I was gonna cover that show but too much stuff happened and I was unable to watch it in time. Hashimoto would defeat DASH to win back the vacant title and it was like she never lost it. We got another stacked show and a new title added to the promotion, so expect something to happen.

Let’s find out and…dive right in.

 

Tag Team Match
Ami Sato & Mei Suruga vs. Mikoto Shindo & Mio Momono

Review: Our opening bout is a tag team match with Ami Sato and Mei Suruga taking on Mikoto Shindo and Mio Momono. We got Mio and Mikoto from Marvelous while Mei is from Gatoh Move to give us a promising opening tag bout. Will the girls from Marvelous get the win or will it go to Ami and Mei?

The match went pretty much how you would expect it to go with a short but very standard tag match with all four of these women just showcasing what they can do. If I had to pick one that would stand out in the match, it would have to be Mio since she’s the one that probably did the most in the match so it was easier to give her more of the credit than the others. Ami though has gotten better from the last couple of times I’ve seen her working and she still has a long way to go if she wants to be considered a future star, but the potential is there. Not a whole lot to talk about the match as Mio would try to get the win with a Diving Crossbody with Ami kicking out at two as Mio quickly turned it into a Fujiwara Armbar. Ami wouldn’t tap out as Mio tried to pin her again with a Crucifix but Ami kicked out again and Mio turned it into another submission hold as Ami tapped out.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half

 

Six Man Tag Team Match
Aiger, Alex Lee & Sakura Hirota vs. Hikaru Shida, KAORU & Riho

Review: We now have a six-man tag match with most of the women being freelancers for this bout. Since Aiger is involved in the match, then there’s no doubt that there will be mostly comedy involved in the match since that’s what all of her matches on Sendai Girls have been so far. Which of these two teams will win?

I really don’t know how to describe this match right here. It was a comedy like I expected it to be with Aiger being involved for the majority of the match with Riho and KAORU, but it did start out entertaining with Aiger holding onto KAORU’s shoulders while behind like as if she was a ghost, even the referee was playing along with it but the whole comedy bit of the match dragged on a little bit longer than anticipated and ruined the momentum of it. We didn’t get to see much of Hikaru, Alex, and Sakura in the match due to it being relatively short around six minutes. Anyway, Sakura would hold Hikaru in place for Aiger to spit her ghost magic but Hikaru ducked for Sakura to take the blows and KAORU would Big Boot Sakura down. Hikaru would hit a Running Knee Strike on Sakura to get the win for her team.

Rating: Tony Schiavone

 

Tag Team Match
DASH Chisako & Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Millie McKenzie & Rhia O’Reilly

Review: We have another tag match here with DASH Chisako and Hiroyo Matsumoto teaming up this time as the two will take on Millie McKenzie and Rhia O’Reilly. Both Millie and Rhia are freelancers in the UK wrestling scene and they make their way over to Sendai to take on Sendai’s crowd favorite and one of the top Japanese freelancers around. Will DASH and Hiroyo win or will the UK girls take the victory?

This match was much better than the previous two that were on the show. I’m sure people know of Millie due to her relationship with Pete Dunne, but this is my first time seeing her wrestle and I was fairly impressed with her ability and what she can do in the ring here. I liked the combination of both of these teams here since they both worked well with their styles and just had a nice flow in their match here. DASH is someone who I do hope one day wins the big one in Sendai Girls since she only won the tag titles in Sendai, so I think it’ll be nice to see her win the world title at least once during her career and she actually is good in the ring while also being a favorite of the crowd. Not much to say about Hiroyo because most of us know how great she is in the ring and she still proved it here even when she wasn’t in the match a lot. Rhia though I didn’t see too much of here in the match, she’s an interesting one and someone to possibly keep an eye on if you’re into the UK women’s scene. Around eight minutes of solid wrestling, DASH would go to the top rope after having Millie down on the mat as Rhia would climb to the top with DASH to try and Superplex her, but Hiroyo would sneak up behind Rhia to catch her into a Powerbomb while DASH hits her Frogsplash onto Millie as she picked up the win!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter

 

Sendai Girls Junior Title Match
Ayame Sasamura vs. Manami

Review: Sendai has introduced a new title into the promotion instead of just the Tag Team and World titles, this time we have the Junior Championship. From what I can gather, their Junior Championship is pretty much the equivalent version of Stardom’s Future of Stardom Championship where it’s for people for a younger age and/or little years of experience. They held a tournament for the title and our two finalists are Ayame Sasamura, representing K-DOJO and Manami. Who will become the first Junior Champion?

I think it’s safe to say that Manami has improved from the times that I’ve seen her perform in the ring and she’s only fourteen years old with about a years worth of experience under her belt, Meiko knows how to train her students and she could be her star pupil when she’s eighteen. I haven’t seen much of Ayame since I don’t really follow K-DOJO, but she did pretty well here from how I’ve seen her perform in this match. This match was surprisingly more technical than I anticipated it to be and they did a great job giving us that type of match while making it interesting with the experience they have under their belt.

The match is about ten minutes and that’s actually a pretty fair time length for the newbies since they’re still growing and there’s so much you could do in that short amount of time and most of the time, it can turn into a great story. While Ayame had probably the most control of the match, Manami would get the shine near the ending of the bout where you see her resiliency and never give up attitude as she would try to get the quick roll-up victory over Ayame but she kicked out. Ayame would catch Manami in for an STO but Manami would kick out of it in time and Ayame would try it again but would have Manami’s arm around her neck when she slammed her down as she goes for the pin and we have our first champion crowned! Ayame is officially the first Junior Champion of Sendai Girls and she’s earned this victory while Manami had a great showing in the match that she could potentially claim that title soon if she keeps it up. Solid work from both of these women.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half

 

Tag Team Match
Aja Kong & Meiko Satomura vs. Hana Kimura & Mika Iwata

Review: We got one more tag match before the main event as we have Meiko Satomura teaming up with Aja Kong to take on Hana Kimura and one half of the Sendai Girls Tag Team Champions, Mika Iwata. If you guys remember, Mika and Hana fought on the first show I covered for them on April 19th and they had a solid match with a mutual respect for each other, but now it looks like that they’ll be teaming up this time to take on these two legends. How will Mika and Hana’s partnership fair against Meiko and Aja?

I don’t get what’s going on in Hana Kimura’s head right now and I say this because when I see her wrestle in Sendai or Wrestle-1 with her cheer leading gimmick, she does amazing work and gives us better performances but gives us the exact opposite of that whenever I see her in Stardom like she’s not even trying there anymore. In Stardom, I think she only had one solid match against Hazuki but the rest is just forgettable and I just don’t get why she just switches off there while she does better in the other two promotions, it’s just annoying.

Can we call this a match? I mean, we could but it felt like it was just more of a beat down since that is what Mieko and Aja pretty much do in this match by destroying both Hana and Mika here while they get very little offense in the bout. It’s not that it’s a bad thing either since you have Hana and Mika getting sympathy from the crowd and whenever they do get to hit a big move like Hana being able to hit Aja with a Brainbuster, the crowd gets really into it right after and you need those types of reactions for fans to get behind you. Aja may be almost fifty years old, but she has proven that she can still beat the daylights out of you despite her age and still throws a mean punch when she wants to while also knowing to give her opponent that moment to get a shine in the match. For Hana and Mika teaming up here in the match, they had an interesting chemistry while Mika is also another one who I consider one of Sendai’s best and a future World Champion down the road if she sticks around with the company. Mika would get momentum into the match with her Superkicks to both Meiko and Aja but it wouldn’t last too long as Meiko had to give them a little history lesson as to why Meiko can still destroy you without a second thought as she hits Mika with the Death Valley Driver and pins her for the victory while both Hana and Mika put up a valiant effort. Solid story and great wrestling, nothing more you can ask for.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Sendai Girls World Title Match
Chihiro Hashimoto (c) vs. Cassandra Miyagi

Review: We got our main event for the evening as we have Chihiro Hashimoto defending her championship against Cassandra Miyagi. On September 15th, Chihiro and Mika would defeat Cassandra and Heidi to win the Sendai Girls Tag Team Championships and now it looks like Cassandra is looking to get revenge by taking the World Championship away from her. Will Chihiro retain the title and solidify herself as the ace of the company or will Cassandra win the big one finally?

Cassandra is definitely a top heel of the company and she has proven that tonight in the main event. I’m used to seeing her in tag team matches since she is a former tag champ but I haven’t seen her in one on one action until now and it showed me how great she actually is in the ring here. She was able to dominate the champion while making each other look strong at the same time and was even crisp with her moveset whenever she needed to do something from a strike or a power move, she knew when to hit it and execute it. Cassandra was able to generate enough heat in the match by making Chihiro feel vulnerable during the match as if Cassandra had her number in the match and would even spit black stuff into her face to get more of those heel tactics in there and even staying on top of her opponent to make sure she didn’t have a single advantage into the match.

It’s usually the main events of these Sendai Girls shows that make you enjoy the company a lot more like once you get past the weak undercard of the show and watch it all the way through to the end, the last 2 or so matches give you a very nice reward and it’s worth it. I enjoyed this match from top to bottom with the level of intensity from Cassandra, Chihiro showing why she’s the companies top star, the story and chemistry they shared in the ring. Cassandra looked like she had Chihiro beat when she lands the Tombstone for a two count and would quickly get up for the Swanton Bomb as she connects for another two count, Chihiro is not ready to quit just yet. Chihiro starts to finally get some momentum into the match with various Clotheslines and some German Suplexes to get the behemoth dazed until she was able to hit her German Suplex Hold and retains the title!

I was honestly kinda hoping for Cassandra to win the match here since her performance felt like it would be a great time to finally win the belt and have a nice dominating reign, but it looks like Chihiro is still at the top. However, that doesn’t mean you should count Cassandra out because she’s proven that she’ll be a key player. While Chihiro was putting a promo in the ring, Sendai would get an unexpected visit by none other than the World of Stardom Champion and your glorious Prime Minister, Kagetsu! That’s right, Kagetsu made a surprise return to Sendai Girls as she made her way to the ring and I don’t know the exact translation, but it seems like Kagetsu has talked about how she’s no longer the same Kagetsu that Sendai used to remember as she evolved during her time in Stardom while the Sendai roster appeared to be talking down on our Prime Minister. Meiko would have some words with Kagetsu and it appears as if she would challenge Kagetsu to a match here at Stardom at a later date. I hope the match happens before the end of the year and could be a classic way to close the year out. Get hyped!

Rating: Bruce Prichard and three quarters

 

Overall: While the first two matches were a bust, the show would slowly increase in quality with the last two matches stealing the show with a great main event and a surprise return to close it all off. I don’t know when we’ll get Kagetsu vs. Meiko, but I cannot wait.

Favorite Match: Chihiro Hashimoto vs. Cassandra Miyagi

Least Favorite Match: Aiger, Alex Lee & Sakura Hirota vs. Hikaru Shida, KAORU & Riho

Score: 7/10

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Takeshi Morishima: Traces To Nowhere

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Takeshi Morishima was arrested on November 4th in Kabukichō, Tokyo for punching a taxi driver and breaking his cheekbones, in a row over fare.

Fare he didn’t have by the way, which came to about 18,000 yen. It wasn’t just a case of him leaving his wallet at home, he had deliberately gotten a cab without it.

Details later emerged about Morishima’s disturbing state of mind and sequence of behavior leading up to the event, but we need to look further back to see the roots of the problem.

The majority of wrestlers enter the dojo system very young; usually about seventeen or eighteen. The rules are they must be healthy in body and mind, and have a High School Diploma. They usually go from the closed world of High School sports, into the cloistered world of the dojo. They go straight from their parents houses too. In the dojo they devote themselves to training, and they are only allowed out perhaps for an hour or so on a Saturday, and then perhaps only to a local convenience store, and if there are enough people to wait in the dojo on the seniors, they may even be allowed out to the cinema.

Nightlife, drinking, women, socializing, are all forbidden, and in many ways they are like Geisha, they wait on their elders and the people of their own age they do meet, they find they have little in common with, unless they too are in wrestling.

In the dojo their days are regimented, and even when they make their debuts and are allowed a little more freedom, their lives are still controlled and although they don’t have the cooking\cleaning\waiting on senior in the dojo schedule anymore or knocking on doors in the morning in hotels to get hungover, bruised, battered, and exhausted wrestlers out of bed, they have tours and promotional duties, and people are on hand to tell them where they should be. The same thing happens with touring bands, some people get so used to it, they wind up taking their families shopping at 4am; some people go from tour to tour, never going home.

The lucky ones (and this is most of them) adjust well to their freedom, some marry and have a support network of partners and children or else family, others leave and still stay in the wrestling business in some way, they become trainers, start their own promotions, promote events, open restaurants, write books.

Others do not adjust (although it is rare), and very sadly Takeshi Morishima seems to have been one of these people, who did not, although he did try to get some experience for life after wrestling, it doesn’t seem to have lasted long (and the company no longer exists).

It also didn’t help that he seemed to be pathologically lonely, and came from a small fragmented family, who he didn’t seem particularly close to, which is why in later years he clung to Kenoh, whom he used to call at midnight to chat. Kenoh always said that Morishima was a generous person, who never let him pay for anything. Morishima’s kindness was such that when he made his debut, he bought young Hitoshi Kumano a steak dinner.

Kenoh credits him with teaching him how to live as a wrestler, and it is a shame that Morishima could not ultimately take his own advice.

In 2016, Takeshi Morishima started his downward spiral, probably caused by a depressive condition and burnout (he was an active wrestler and had corporate duties as well following the shake up after Misawa’s death), but maybe there was an underlying condition as well that emerged at that time. His diagnosis of diabetes hit him hard its true (and Kenoh said he cried bitterly, both in the ring and outside of it), and his mental health deteriorated under the shock of being advised to retire, but at the same time he was posting odd things on social media, like rambling crazy statements about things which made no sense. Wrestling was all he had ever known, aside from High School Judo.

He left NOAH under a cloud, and vanished for three years. In the three years he was missing he bounced from job to job, concert security, bouncer, bartender, pizza maker, deliveryman for fast food, luggage porter, flower-shop employee, the list goes on.

In July 2018 he announced out of the blue that he was returning to wrestling, and he would hold his comeback event at Korakuen Hall in October on his 40th birthday, which he would call “GENESIS”. It was later announced that the main event would be himself versus Takashi Sugiura (NOAH’s GHC Heavyweight Champion). He didn’t look comfortable being there, his body language showed how nervous he was, he spoke with his eyes shut and brushed hair out of his face, he mumbled. Afterwards he practically fled the arena and got into a waiting car and collapsed against the seats. A feature with BATTLEMEN served to highlight how fragile he was.

“GENESIS” was never going to happen, and maybe that was for the best.

On the 10th September, Morishima was rushed to hospital after suffering severe pain in his feet, which was later diagnosed as “septic arthritis” (a condition diabetics are susceptible to) and he underwent emergency surgery. The event was called off and it was announced it would be rescheduled at a later date.

No replacement date was ever announced, as it seemed Morishima’s behavior was becoming not just erratic, but dangerous. When he appeared at “Flight” a few weeks before his hospitalization, fans expressed concern at his behavior, Kenoh (it seemed) was also worried by it, but Takashi Sugiura was angered by it and blasted him for being rude as to go so far to plug his own event, make a challenge to him and then leave.

It’s sadly true. Morishima, didn’t stay around for the aftershow party (although Kenoh had hoped he would), but left to drink with Takeshi Rikio and post comments like “I am not interested in Uchida’s NOAH, I am only interested in Misawa’s NOAH”.

An odd comment to make for a man who had been invited to a 20th anniversary for someone he had a rocky relationship with about a promotion he had arranged to fight the champion of.

After the cancellation of the event, everything went quiet on Morishima, and people assumed that aside from the “naked drinking with DDT” (usual wrestler antics that no one takes much notice of), that he had gone back to training for his eventual return and rehabbing from surgery.

His odd behavior of turning up at Puro Weekly unannounced and in a Halloween Mask, and then posing with an issue, raised eyebrows, but the people of Kabukichō told a different story.

After his arrest it was discovered that Morishima had spent the days, not training, but drunk and wandering around the district, telling everyone he was “a star”. It was later revealed that he would take a taxi to the district, and then ask people in the bars and any wrestlers he recognized who where there, for money for the taxi. This led to several establishments banning him due to the harassment of their patrons, and, as his behavior was less than exemplary, he soon gained a reputation as a mean drunk.

Housing also appeared to be an issue for him at this time (he used to have a beautiful apartment during his NOAH days and he kept a box of candy when he settled down to watch films), but now it seemed he was virtually homeless, sleeping at the homes of people he had known for a few hours, one time even as a live in employee in a restaurant he worked in. He also used to go and visit indie promotions and beg money from the younger wrestlers, at one time making them collectively cough up 500 yen for his taxi, whom he had left waiting outside while he sat and watched the show.

There were days when he couldn’t even change his clothes.

On the night in question, he came into “The Stanley Bar” which is run by professional wrestler, Naoshi Sano, and tried to borrow money from him. The store manager told him that Mr. Sano wasn’t there, and as he cleaned the store, Morishima made strange comments to him like “I’m a pro wrestler, and your sweeping the floor”, playing with his phone, playing with the mail that had come to the store and eating sweets. In the past he had begged for drinks, only having what amounted to £10.00 or $12.00 in his pocket.

He left saying something like he had a few sweets left, and would be back with friends. During his visit, he apparently grabbed the managers arm, and left a huge bruise.

It is proposed that Morishima took a taxi, and drove around looking for people who he could beg fare off. The driver, realizing that the fare was already very high, stopped the cab and told him to pay, and that is when the row broke out.

Morishima claims he was not drinking; but his reputation is against him, and the manager of “The Stanley Bar” says he has never seen him sober.

News on Morishima has gone very quiet since his arrest, but I don’t think that prison would be the right choice, and neither would giving him his freedom. Morishima needs to be court ordered somewhere to deal with his issues. NOAH offered to help him once, and he wouldn’t take it.

He is only going to get help if he has no other choice, left to his own devices, he is like Takashi Sugiura says, “a child”.

The reaction from the puro world has been one of disappointment, on NOAH’s side, Naomichi Marufuji has said that for his own sake and that of society, Morishima needs to sort himself out. Old friend, Makoto Hashi (long retired and making a good living as a physiotherapist), said that Morishima needs to make a choice as to what he wants to do, he needs to grow as a person, and not as a wrestler.

And that has been Morishima’s problem; he has never managed to escape his own celebrity. It would have been far better for him that when he came back, he announced that he was returning as a trainer, any number of promotions would have snapped him up immediately, who wouldn’t want to say that they had been trained by Takeshi Morishima, who was once known as “NOAH’s Monster” and was one of the greatest and most memorable Ring of Honor champions, who holds the distinction of being the only Japanese one? It would have given him an income, he could have lived at the dojo, his food would have been prepared for him by the trainees, he would have eaten healthily (another bonus as the trainees are fed on dishes high in protein) and he would have had a support network in place of old friends, and people to talk to and importantly, look out for and after him.

But now sadly with this assault charge and odd behavior, who is going to want to be in the ring with him, let alone be trained by him, if he is capable of bouts of temper which seriously injure members of the public?

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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Part 2!

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NJPW King of Pro Wrestling

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2018 continues as The Ace once again puts up his Wrestle Kingdom IWGP Heavyweight Champion contract on the line! Will he keep it?

 

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

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

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • EVIL VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku; No Contest.
  • Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship Contract Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White w/ Gedo; Tanahashi wins and retains the Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship contract.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!

Hiroshi Tanashi is still the owner of the Wrestle Kingdom contract after an intense battle with long-time rival with Kazuchika Okada. It was the first win The Ace had over The Rainmaker in four years, but the celebration was cut short by The Switchblade, Jay White! White called his shot at the contract based on how he beat both Tanahashi and Okada in the G1 Climax. This is also fueled by White losing to Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 12, so White wants to make sure Tanahashi doesn’t even go. Will Tanahashi get back at White for everything as of late? Or will he #BreathewiththeSwitchblade?

But first, Los Ingobernables de Japon continues its war with Suzuki-Gun. The King of Darkness has lost to the Submission Master in recent tag team matches, but they once again go 1v1 to settle things. Will Darkness Fall? Or will ZSJ make Evil #JustTapOut?

 

EVIL VS Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Taka Michinoku!

As is standard for Taka accompanying Zack, Taka makes the introductions. “Welcome to Zack Sabre Time.” This is a special singles match, and who is gonna win? “Zack!” Who!? “Zack!” Yes, your winner will be the man who can finish with any lock, anywhere, anytime. It will be “the man who possesses the deadly Zack Driver”. It will be the man that “when he locks on a submission, no matter who you are, you Just Tap Out!” He is the master of all pro-wrestling, he is ZSJ, he is Zack Sabrrrre, JUNIOR! Taka also adds “This is NOT Evil”, because “Everything is NOT Evil”. So Evil, c’mon over here! With that, Evil makes his entrance, accompanied by servants of darkness.

But wait! Before Evil can enter the ring, one of his servants attacks him! Because it was CHRIS JERICHO in disguise! Jericho wears the IWGP Intercontinental Championship around his waist, so there’s no doubting who it is. Jericho drags Evil up and throws him into barriers! Evil flounders as Jericho stomps him and chokes him with camera cables. Jericho throws Evil into the apron, then into the ring. ZSJ lets Y2J keep on Evil with a rain of rights. Fans rally for Evil but Jericho whips him corner to corner for a big clothesline! Jericho then gives Evil a Code Breaker! And yes, off comes the mask so that everyone can see his face. ZSJ is rather amused to see Jericho laying Evil out, makes things easier for him.

Jericho picks up his IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt, and aims at Evil. Evil staggers to his feet, and turns around into a belt smash! Jericho holds up the title, then looms over Evil as he flexes. Evil already wanted after Jericho for what he did to Naito, but will Evil be able to get revenge for himself?

Jericho leaves and referees check on Evil. ZSJ wants his match with Evil, but the referees tell him they can’t have it if Evil is hurt. ZSJ circles like a vulture as medics check on Evil. The medics say this match must be called off! Fans don’t like it, but understand after what happened. ZSJ doesn’t like it, and goes after the medic who made the call! He wrangles the man down with a double wristlock, then goes after the Young Lion trying to stop him! ZSJ tells the referee to leave or he’ll be next. The referee backs off and ZSJ starts kicking away on Evil. Then he puts him into the coil lock and pulls on the arm. ZSJ adds insult to injury with all his different holds, but here comes Naito!

Naito attacks ZSJ with the fury meant for Jericho, and they start brawling! Naito and ZSJ trade forearms, then ZSJ gives European Uppercuts. ZSJ whips but Naito reverses into a tornado DDT! Naito sees ZSJ roll out and regroup with Taka and builds speed. Taka and ZSJ panic, expecting a dive, but Naito instead rolls and Tranquilos! ZSJ is furious but Taka calms him down. ZSJ is denied his match but LIJ is denied retribution on Y2J. Who will get what they want first? And who will regret ever starting the fight?

 

Chris Jericho rampages backstage.

Much like after his confrontation with Tetsuya Naito, Jericho throws anything he can get his hands on and tosses it at whoever is around. He slaps a Young Lion to the floor, then asks “You see what happens? You think it’s bullsh*t, don’t you?” Well that’s life. The IWGP Intercontinental Champion has returned to NJPW and Ryogoku. Evil gets in Y2J’s business, has to call him out over the title, and this is what he gets. “The greatest, most dominant Intercontinental Champion of all time in any country, worldwide.” It doesn’t matter if it’s America, Canada, Australia or “this sh*thole,” Japan. Evil didn’t get his match tonight, but he will get his match in Osaka, NJPW Power Struggle, for the title! Does that sound good? “Evil: Dead.”

Zack Sabre Jr. has something to say about the incident.

“Oi, Jericho, mind your own business.” ZSJ didn’t need any help beating up Evil. He didn’t fly all the way here for a No Contest. ZSJ doesn’t have a problem with Y2J, so long as Y2J stays on his boat. But also, Naito sure took his sweet time getting out there. Where was he when Jericho started beating down Evil? What a “good friend”. Maybe Bushi should take lead in LIJ so Naito can retire or something.

Evil and Naito have their own response.

“You son of a bitch, Jericho!” Evil can barely walk but he forces himself to head to the back. Naito figures Jericho just has too much time on his hands. As for Naito himself in all this, he’s been saying it a long time: He wants after ZSJ. Naito already “smashed up the King for him”, meaning Minoru Suzuki. Getting a chance to redeem himself for past losses should be his reward. “So, Mr. Zack Sabre Jr, please do me the honor.” He humbly waits a reply. Adios! Will there be a collision course of LIJ, ZSJ and Y2J in the near future? Who will come out the victors in such a battle?

 

Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship Contract Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White w/ Gedo!

The Ace only lost to one man during the G1 Climax 28, and that was The Switchblade. However, that one loss alone gives the young Jay White the impression that he should be the one heading for the Tokyo Dome, not the man who won the G1 Climax 28 Finals. White waited until Tanahashi had tired himself out against Kazuchika Okada in Kobe to strike again. Now in the Ryogoku Sumo Hall, White looks to end the Once in a Century Talent once and for all! Who wins and walks away with the title match contract in his hands?

The briefcase is opened and the contract is presented to White and Gedo for verification. Fans already cheer “Go Ace!” as both men put their jackets aside. This epic match finally begins, after the break.

NJPW on AXS returns and the bell rings. White bails right out, and fans boo. White and Gedo act like it isn’t a problem, but obviously the trolling begins early. Tanahashi waits patiently as White takes his time returning. The two circle, fans rally for Tanahashi, and the two tie up. They push each other back, but Tanahashi gets White to the ropes. White turns things around, and lets go for the ropebreak. But then Gedo distracts Tanahashi, allowing White to clobber The Ace from behind! White stomps away as fans boo, and Tanahashi slips out of the ring. White follows to chop Tanahashi against barriers, then whip him into others! Togi Makabe seems to catch White’s attention, so White gives him a dirty bird before chopping Tanahashi again.

White brings Tanahashi over and whips, but Tanahashi reverses to send White into barriers! Tanahashi then runs in to blast White with a dropkick! White goes over the railing and into the front row! Tanahashi fires up but then Gedo hits him in the back! Red Shoes reprimands Gedo, but Tanahashi gives Gedo a kick to the gut! Tanahashi puts Gedo in the ring, but Gedo begs for mercy. But this keeps Tanahashi from seeing White return, to chop block Tanahashi in the leg! White mocks the air guitar, then goes after the leg. Tanahashi writhes but White gives the leg a toehold screw to the mat. White plays air guitar on Tanhashi’s leg before giving him another leg screw. White then drags Tanahashi’s leg out onto the apron, to slam it on the edge!

Tanahashi writhes but White isn’t done with that leg as he elbows it against the apron. White slams the leg again, then tells Red Shoes to leave him alone. White drags Tanahashi to a corner and slings the leg into the post! Tanahashi shouts in pain while fans boo White. White distracts Red Shoes while Gedo uses the WK13 contract briefcase to smack Tanahashi’s leg! Gedo grins as he gets away with it, and White covers. Red Shoes says no to the cover, he knows something is up. White drags Tanahashi around and goes for a half crab. Tanahashi fights with his good leg and kicks White away. Fans rally and Tanahashi fights back with body shots.

Tanahashi runs in but White dumps him out. White again distracts Red Shoes, thinking Tanahashi has hit the floor. But Tanahashi instead boots Gedo away while skinning the cat! White sees Tanahashi and goes after the leg with elbows! Then he puts the foot on his shoulder for a knee jacker! Tanahashi writhes again while White looms over him. White stands on the bad leg and fans boo. White drags Tanahashi onto the ropes and bends him back. He gives forearms to the back but Red Shoes counts. White stops at 3, but then just comes back to do it again. He stops at 4 this time, then stomps Tanahashi’s calf. Fans continue to rally but Tanahashi is down. White taunts Tanahashi now, and brings him around by his hair.

White stands Tanahashi up, snapmare and a slap! Fans boo the disrespect, but White doesn’t care. White waits for Tanahashi to stand, but Tanahashi fires forearms! White kicks the bad leg and Tanahashi staggers away. Tanahashi dodges White in the corner, and catches White’s boot to give him a dragon screw! Finally some offense, and it evens things as far as legs. Both men slowly stand, and Tanahashi throws more forearms. He puts White in the corner, then scoop slams him into the drop zone. Tanahashi hops up, second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps on the leg, and gives it a grounded dragon screw! He wants both legs, and goes for the Cloverleaf! White resists and crawls, and gets the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets White go but the fans rally again.

Tanahashi grabs the legs again and pulls on White. White kicks him in the shoulder, but Tanahashi holds on. White kicks him in the bad leg, and Tanahashi lets go. Tanahashi staggers as White stands. Tanahashi comes back, and White uses a saido suplex to throw him over and out! The Ace is down and out while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as White fetches Tanahashi. White throws Tanahashi backwards into railings, then throws him again. He throws Tanahashi a third time as he shouts and eggs him on. White puts Tanahashi in the ring, then hobbles around to go looking under the ring. White finds himself a folding chair, his favorite item. Red Shoes won’t allow this, but they’ve gone this way before during the G1. As Red Shoes and White argue, Tanahashi gets White’s leg and dragon screws him between the ropes! White tumbles to the floor, but Tanahashi gets moving. Tanahashi climbs up and camera crews get out of the way, for the High Fly Flow crossbody! It hits, but it’s double edged considering the bad leg. Even so, fans are fired up for The Ace!

Tanahashi is up and puts White back in the ring. Tanahashi feels the energy of the fans, and gets moving, but runs into a chop! He keeps moving, but gets another chop! Tanahashi actually seems more annoyed than hurt, but he turns around into White’s complete shot! Then White deadlifts Tanahashi for a German Suplex! Both men are down but fans rally again. White sits up and glares at Tanahashi with wild eyes. They grind foreheads and then stand. White gives a forearm, Tanahashi gives one back. White gives another forearm, but Tanahashi gives another back. The fans fire up while White staggers, but White comes back for another forearm. Tanahashi gives a forearm, then another, then another. He fires body shots but White kicks low.

Tanahashi still hits back, body shot after shot then a EuroUpper! He turns around but into White’s strike fest! Tanahashi comes back with a palm strike! And then another palm strike! White grabs Tanahashi’s hair, but Tanahashi gives him a third palm strike! White wobbles, Tanahashi runs, but White catches him! Tanahashi slips out of Blade Runner and gets a full nelson, but White breaks that to elbow. White swings, but Tanahashi gets a half nelson that he uses to spin White around. White slips out of the facelock, reels Tanahashi in and around, but Tanahashi again slips out. Tanahashi swings but White counters, only for Tanahashi to slip out again, to a waistlock. White breaks free of that, and both men give forearms! Both men are rocked but stay standing, and fans applaud that incredible exchange.

White hits Tanahashi, then again. He whips but Tanahashi reverses, into a swinging neckbreaker! But Tanahashi doesn’t let off, he brings White back up, for another swinging neckbreaker! He still holds White, and brings him up again, but White gets a swinging suplex! Both men are down, but White flounders to a corner. Fans rally up for Tanahashi, and he slowly sits up. White grabs him, only to get a third swinging neckbreaker! Tanahashi runs, and hits the slingblade! But he sees Gedo getting on the apron, so he knocks him off with a forearm smash! White gets Tanahashi but Tanahashi slips out, full nelson to Dragon Suplex! With a bridge! TWO!! So close yet so far from finishing this, but Tanahashi keeps moving. Tanahashi gets up top, and waits for White to stand. High Fly Flow crossbody!

But Tanahashi keeps going! He’s back up top, High Fly Flow splash! Cover, but Gedo drags Red Shoes out! Gedo won’t let his new protege lose yet. He also lurks with brass knuckles! Gedo gets in and goes right at Tanahashi, but Tanahashi dodges to counter with a palm strike! But then White gets Tanahashi with the low blow! Everyone’s down while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns once more, and White crawls his way to the chair he found earlier. White stands up with it, and sees Tanahashi sit up. White goes to swing, but Tanahashi gives him a low blow in return! Both men are down, feeling the pain, but Tanahashi gets up first. Tanahashi takes that chair of White’s, sets it down, and scoop slams White on the chair! Then he goes up top, for a High Fly Flow! But White moves, so Tanahashi belly flops on the chair! Tanahashi writhes with the pain in his ribs as White grabs the chair for his own again. White grits his teeth, and throws the chair in Tanahashi’s face! But where’s Red Shoes? White shouts for Gedo to get the ref, and Gedo forces Red Shoes in, ice pack and all.

White drags Tanahashi up, calling for the end. Blade Runner countered into a small package! Tanahashi wins!!

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; still holds the WK13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship match contract

For all the dirty tricks White used, it was a pure wrestling counter that defeated him! The Ace still heads for the Tokyo Dome, but the Switchblade won’t stand for it! He stomps away on Tanahashi, then fights off any of the Young Lions that try to save him. White grabs that leg and stomps away on it, then gives it another leg screw! Gedo says White should finish this, so White drags Tanahashi back up. But before he can hit Blade Runner, The Rainmaker appears! Okada runs White and his former manager out of the ring and fans are thunderous! However, Gedo distracts Okada on the opposite end, so that White can attack from behind! But Okada still fights White off! So Gedo attacks! But it does nothing! Okada throws hands on Gedo!

Gedo shouts for White to help, but it’s Jado who appears. Jado, being Gedo’s former tag partner and therefore a Chaos member, wants to keep the peace between former friends. Gedo clings to Jado for safety, and Jado has Okada back away. Fans aren’t sure what to make of this, but then the Firing Squad appears? Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa, Bad Luck Fale and Taiji Ishimori saunter out here and flank the ring. What are they doing out here when this is a Chaos issue? The Bullet Club’s splinter cell enters the ring, and White starts to get anxious. White wants things to settle down, but Taiji and Fale grab Jado and Gedo! They’re making it as if they’re on Okada’s side? They want Okada to get his shots in on Gedo?

Okada isn’t so sure, and neither are the fans. But Okada thinks it over, and he does run to build speed. Only for Tama Tonga to get him with a Gun Stun!! They’re not on Okada’s side, but on Gedo’s! As was Jado, it seems. And now, Gedo, Jado and the Firing Squad stomp away on Okada! White throws Young Lions and whoever else around on the outside before joining the others in the ring. Gedo and the others let White pick up Okada, and he gives a Too Sweet at the end of his throat slash, before hitting Blade Runner! Fans boo this new alliance, especially as they Low Sweet. The Bullet Club theme hits, but is that what this alliance will be now? Or will it be something far more dangerous?

Tanahashi returns to the ring, and goes to his rival, and seemingly only ally in this new fight. Will Tanahashi be able to hold onto his Wrestle Kingdom contract at this rate? Will Okada keep control of Chaos in this state? Or can they turn the tide before they’re swept under?

 

Backstage interviews.

The Bullet Club comes through, and wonders if the world is tilting. Because he feels the shift towards their side of things. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dogs, cats and children of all ages,” Tama Tonga presents Jay White. White says this was “inevitable.” White met Fale way back in London in 2014, and since then, it was inevitable that White would end up with these guys. It was never going to be White and the #BCElite, Kenny Omega and such. “What is that ripoff sh*t?!” No, the #OGBC is where White belongs, and they’re going to take the Club back to its roots. “Get used to these faces, we’re taking over.” They have like minds, like attitudes and like aggressions! Switchblade joins the Brotherhood, the Firing Squad, the BC OG’s!

Tanahashi meanwhile stops to say “Here it is. My ticket tot he future.” Is Tanahashi a relic of the past? Is his time so long ago? “It needs to be said, there is a future for everyone.” No matter your age, no matter your job, “everyone deserves a future.” Tanahashi didn’t come back to stay who he was before. He came back to keep pushing forward! So please understand, and stick with him until the Tokyo Dome.

Alliances have been made, battle lines have been drawn and goals have been set. When the dust settles come January 4th, 2019, who will be standing atop NJPW as THE IWGP Heayvweight Champion? Who will be standing as THE top faction? Or will there be no one left standing at all?

 


 

My Thoughts:

An incredible hour for NJPW as part two of three for King of Pro Wrestling. I did not expect the opening match to end up in a no contest, but it was a great surprise for Jericho to show up and go after Evil. I knew Evil was going to go after Jericho for the title, but Naito going after Zack Sabre Jr. is a good addition to this story. Naito VS ZSJ will be a great rematch, then clearly Evil VS Jericho will be great. Naito will likely win, as the leader of LIJ should stay strong. However, I don’t really feel Evil will win, as it’d seem odd if he was the only member of LIJ to have a belt, but I’m betting he’ll get really close.

Tanahashi VS White was great, and all the attempts at cheating were well done given Gedo’s presence. Tanahashi wins but this new alliance of White, Gedo and Firing Squad is a crazy development. It adds a new layer to the Chaos civil war White was starting against Okada as well as the Bullet Club civil war that’s continued since the G1 Special in San Francisco. I don’t think this’ll cause Chaos and Bullet Club Elite to join up to stop White and Tama Tonga, but it should.

My Score: 8.6/10

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