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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: Dominion 2018, Part 1 & 2!

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AXS TV speeds up their NJPW coverage by giving us two hours of Dominion! In Part 1, it will be both the NEVER Openweight and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight titles on the line! Then in Part 2, it’ll be the IWGP Tag Team and Intercontinental Championships. Will Los Ingobernables de Japon win or lose those precious titles?

 

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

Gifs courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Part 1 – NEVER Openweight Championship Triple Threat: Hirooki Goto VS Michael Elgin VS Taichi w/ Miho Abe; Elgin wins and becomes the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
  • Part 1 – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Hiromu Takahashi; Hiromu wins and becomes the new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion.
  • Part 2 – IWGP Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS The Young Bucks; The Young Bucks win and become the new IWGP Tag Team Champions.
  • Part 2 – IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito VS Chris Jericho; Jericho wins and becomes the new IWGP Intercontinental Champion.

PLAY BY PLAY

NJPW and AXS TV review what has led to Part 1!

The Best of the Super Juniors 25 had a 5.5 Star finale with The Ticking Time Bomb defeating the new Bone Soldier, Taiji Ishimori. Hiromu has faced Will Ospreay in the past, but the Aerial Assassin has had an amazing 2018 as he’s defeated Marty Scurll, Kushida and Hiromu both all at once and individually. They go one more time, will Ospreay retain? Or will Hiromu explode and shock the world?

Meanwhile, Chaos’ Fierce Warrior, Hirooki Goto, has retained his NEVER Openweight title time and time again, but in 1v1 matches. Now he has two challengers in the Unbreakable Mike Elgin then the Sliest Wrestler in the World, Taichi. A rare triple threat for the title, will Goto overcome this new challenge? Or will he be dethroned to crown a new NEVER king?

 

NEVER Openweight Championship Triple Threat: Hirooki Goto VS Michael Elgin VS Taichi w/ Miho Abe!

The ego of Taichi sparked the anger of the Fierce Warrior, and so without hesitation, Goto decided he would face both men to prove his dominance. Has Goto gotten himself over his head? Or will he rise to the challenge he put on himself?

Taichi, ever the dramatic one, waits to take his cape and mask off until the other two men already removed their extra gear. The bell rings and we begin. Fans are already loud for the champion as he approaches his challengers. But then Goto and Elgin realize Taichi is the real problem maker here, so they go after him. Taichi gets to ropes for safety, so they back off. Elgin and Goto both dare Taichi to come back. Taichi does, and the three circle. But again, Taichi finds himself against them both so he leaves the ring. There are no count outs so he doesn’t have to worry about losing this way. Goto and Elgin tie up, and that’s when Taichi rushes back in! He rolls Goto, but Elgin breaks that cover.

Elgin whips Taichi, but Taichi slides out. Taichi relaxes while Goto and Elgin brawl with big forearms and elbows. Elgin and Goto go back and forth while Taichi paces about. Goto gets a headlock but Elgin powers out. They collide with shoulders, and neither man backs down. Elgin shouts for Goto to bring it, so Goto runs. They collide again with no change, so Taichi rushes in again. But he runs into kicks from both men, and then a double whip. He holds ropes to bail out again, having a laugh at the other two. Taichi brings Miho Abe over, and she serves as a perky distraction for a moment. Elgin shakes it off to waistlock Goto, but Goto standing switches. He elbows out while the referee has Miho climb down. Elgin runs, but Goto follows, only for Elgin to enziguri! Fans applaud for that athleticism.

Elgin suplexes but Goto slips out to a waistlock. Elgin standing switches but Taichi returns. Taichi runs in but Goto evades so the boot goes into Elgin. Elgin goes out while Goto kicks Taichi. Goto runs but into Elgin’s shoulder. Elgin slingshots over but Taichi kicks him. Goto grabs Elgin, but Elgin boots Taichi away to then standing switch and shove Goto at Taichi. Goto collides with Taichi and Taichi staggers to ropes. Elgin lifts Goto but Goto fights out to standing switch and shoves Elgin at Taichi. Taichi kicks Elgin, then Goto clubs Elgin. Then they both roundhouse Elgin down! Taichi smirks, wanting to make this the partnership now. Goto says no with a slap, a kick, and a snap suplex onto Elgin! Then another snap suplex, and Goto goes back to Elgin.

Goto tries but can’t suplex Elgin up and over, but Elgin lifts and gordbusters Goto onto Taichi! But Goto makes that a cover, so Elgin has to break it up. Elgin drags Goto up while Taichi rolls away. Elgin chops Goto, then gives a big forearm. He whips Goto corner to corner, but misses his corner attack. Goto goes after Taichi but Taichi dodges to hit Elgin with a corner clothesline. Goto runs back in, Taichi dodges again, so Goto hits Elgin. Taichi runs into a kick, but reverses the whip. Elgin puts Goto on the apron, then side steps Taichi to send Taichi into Goto! Goto goes down, Elgin German Suplexes Taichi! Elgin holds on while fans applaud and Miho grows concerned.

Elgin brings Taichi up, but Taichi grabs ropes. But Elgin ignores the ropebreak to bring Taichi backward into a double chicken wing. Taichi resists and stomps Elgin’s foot, then ducks Elgin’s lariat. Taichi enziguris Elgin! Elgin is dazed and down to his knees. Taichi brings Elgin back up, but Elgin drops down to resist the lift. Goto returns and drags Taichi out of the ring. Taichi rakes the eyes, but he and Goto still brawl. Elgin sees his opening, and FLIES!

Big Mike bowls both Goto and Taichi over, but we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Elgin walks over to Taichi. Miho begs he not, but Elgin doesn’t care. He puts Taichi in the ring and the fans rally. Elgin aims at Taichi and runs in corner to corner for a big clothesline. He goes again, but runs into a boot. Goto returns and hits a saido suplex on Elgin. Goto runs but misses Taichi. Taichi kicks in return, then runs for a big lariat. Cover, TWO! Off comes the pants! Taichi aims at Goto, but Goto catches the kick into a fireman’s carry and Ushigoroshi! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Goto keeps his focus. Goto drags Taichi up, and hoists him onto the top rope. Goto climbs up to join Taichi, but Elgin comes in and clubs Goto. Elgin yanks Goto down, then climbs up after Taichi. Goto clubs Elgin and SUPER back suplexes Elgin down!

Goto goes back to Taichi, clubs away then brings Taichi up. Taichi resists, but he rakes the face, too. Goto headbutts back, but Elgin returns! Elgin climbs up, sunset flips in, Tower of Doom!! Taichi hits with a lot of momentum off that superplex, and he writhes all the way to the opposite end. Elgin stands and fires up as he has his pick of the two. He goes for Taichi, brings him up, and throws him out of the ring. Elgin targets Goto, but Goto meets him for clotheslines. They collide but stay standing! They try again, but another solid collision. One more time, but Goto swats Elgin’s arm away. Goto runs, but Elgin swats his arm away. Elgin throws forearms from both sides, then spins, but Goto fireman’s carry.

Elgin dodges to try the full nelson, but Goto breaks free. In that case, Elgin shovels Goto onto his shoulders! Electric Chair with Bridge! TWO!! Elgin can’t believe it, but he won’t lose his focus. Elgin drags Goto back up, but Goto resists the driver or bomb Elgin wants. Goto back drops Elgin, then runs in at the corner. Goto blocks one boot but not the other. Elgin boots, then SUPERKICKS, then enziguri, but Goto ducks that one. Goto runs, but his clothesline only staggers Elgin. Elgin fires up but Goto headbutts him. Goto lifts Elgin, spin to another Ushigoroshi! He keeps going, GTR Forward! Cover, TWO!! Elgin survives, but Goto is not deterred.

Taichi’s back, and he’s back to using Miho as a tool. She’s in the ring, but the ref spots her. Goto grabs Elgin for the dragon sleeper, but Taichi has grabbed his mic stand! Taichi smashes Goto in the head, then Elgin! Miho exits and Taichi gets away with it. Taichi laughs at his own brilliance while fans rally for Goto and Elgin. Taichi fires up and aims at Goto. Goto staggers, into a SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO!! And Taichi is shocked! But he still grins as he targets Goto again. Goto sits up, for the buzzsaw! Then, the chicken wing cradle, but Elgin returns to deadlift Taichi up for a Buckle Bomb! Elgin keeps going on Taichi, and sees Goto in another corner. Elgin bombs Taichi onto Goto! Then gives Taichi a sit-out powerbomb!

Cover, Elgin WINS!!

Winner: Michael Elgin, by pinfall; NEW NEVER Openweight Champion

Big Mike gets a big win on two big names! Elgin becomes the 18th champion ever, and the titles first Canadian! And fittingly, Taichi is the one to lose, as he goaded both Goto and Elgin into this match. Elgin and Goto stand face to face, knowing this isn’t truly settled until they face 1v1. Where and when will these two get their desired showdown to prove who is truly worthy of that title?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Hiromu Takahashi!

The Ticking Time Bomb won the 25th Best of the Super Juniors tournament to earn this newest chance at the Aerial Assassin’s title. But between the broken win on his trophy and his track record against the Aerial Assassin, does he have a chance at truly becoming the Best of the Junior Heavyweight Division? Or will Ospreay’s stellar roll through 2018 blow up in shocking fashion?

The belt is shown and the fans rally behind Hiromu. The bell rings and we begin. Ospreay runs and boots Hiromu, and they ignite into a forearm brawl back and forth! Ospreay backs Hiromu down, sweeps the legs, but runs into an overhead throw! He hits the buckle hard, then goes to the apron. Hiromu runs, but Ospreay holds on against the flying sunset powerbomb. Ospreay hops down to bring Hiromu over to the ramp. He suplexes, but Hiromu slips out to a waistlock. Hiromu tries to German Suplex Ospreay off, but Ospreay slips down and out. Ospreay trips Hiromu and Hiromu hits the ramp. Ospreay then gets up, gets a running start, and FLIES!!

The Aerial Assassin was like a missile as he hits Hiromu down! Hiromu is lucky it was just a graze or that could’ve been even worse. The referee checks on both men, but both men are okay to continue. Ospreay takes some time to pull up the floor mats! The 20 count reaches 10 as Ospreay brings Hiromu over for double underhooks. Hiromu resists, and Ospreay realizes the count is climbing, so he ditches this dangerous idea to put Hiromu back in the ring. Ospreay brings Hiromu up but Hiromu chops away. Ospreay kicks back then puts Hiromu in a corner for a running European Uppercut. He sweeps the legs again, and this time hits his corner to corner dropkick! Cover, TWO, but Ospreay keeps his cool.

Fans still chant for Hiromu but Ospreay points out he’s the champion here. Ospreay brings Hiromu up for a EuroUpper, then another. Hiromu falls, but Ospreay wraps his arm in a hammerlock while going for the other arm. Hiromu endures being bent back into the armlock recliner! It’s a cover, ONE, but Ospreay is still confidently calm. Hiromu gets out of the ring, clutching his shoulder now. The 20 count returns, but Ospreay pursues. Ospreay clubs the bad shoulder, then whips Hiromu into railing. Ospreay stalks Hiromu, and drags him back up. He pulls Hiromu into a post!

Ospreay puts Hiromu into the ring, then drags him back up. Ospreay goes after the arm with the shoulder breaker. Hiromu rests against ropes but Ospreay is on him again. Ospreay pulls the arm through the ropes to wrench it, then kicks Hiromu in the back. The champion is in control while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and Ospreay brings Hiromu back up for a snapmare. Ospreay puts Hiromu in a seated abdominal stretch and also pulls back on the arm. Fans rally for Hiromu, and Hiromu stands up to fight back. Ospreay gives Hiromu a forearm, then whips, but Hiromu dodges to headscissor Ospreay! Hiromu stands while Ospreay goes to a corner. Hiromu runs in, clothesline and roll to the basement dropkick. Ospreay rolls out, but Hiromu is on the apron for the flying John Woo dropkick! Hiromu hits Ospreay down, and Ospreay’s shoulder tape has come completely off. They go back into the ring, and Hiromu climbs up top. Hiromu hits the flying senton! Cover, TWO!

Fans still rally for Hiromu, and he looms over Ospreay. Hiromu brings Ospreay up for a fireman’s carry, but Ospreay slips out. Ospreay waistlocks but Hiromu hits back with back elbows. Hiromu whips but Ospreay reverses. They both run, but Ospreay runs into a pop-up sit-out powerbomb! High stack cover, TWO! Hiromu was so close, but he won’t lose focus yet. Hiromu stands and stalks Ospreay to a corner. He chops Ospreay, then chops again, but Ospreay fires up. Hiromu digs his fingers into Ospreay’s face! He breaks up at 4, then whips Ospreay corner to corner. Ospreay enziguris back, then hits with an elevated 619! Ospreay goes to a corner and springboards in for a flying clothesline!

Direct hit, but Ospreay doesn’t cover yet. He stands up, making sure his neck and shoulders are good. He aims at Hiromu, but Hiromu avoids the spin kick. Hiromu runs at Ospreay, but Ospreay catches him into a dragon sleeper! Ospreay lifts Hiromu but Hiromu slips out. Hiromu shoves Ospreay but Ospreay stops himself, only to run into a boot. Hiromu grabs Ospreay in the hanging triangle! The referee counts but Ospreay breaks out to kick Hiromu down. Ospreay runs, and FLIES with the Sasuke Special! Direct hit! Ospreay stands up and brings Hiromu over. They go back into the ring, and Ospreay brings Hiromu up. Dragon sleeper, inverted suplex to side slam! Cover, TWO!

Fans rally for Hiromu but Ospreay vows to finish this. Ospreay runs, springboards, but into a German Suplex! Fans rally for Hiromu again while both men are down. Ospreay sits up first, but Hiromu rolls towards ropes. Hiromu and Ospreay sit up on their knees, and Hiromu gives a forearm first. Ospreay hits back, but so does Hiromu. They glare at each other as they hit again and again. They stand up as they fight, but start to stagger. Hiromu shouts for Ospreay to get up, so Ospreay hits back. The forearm brawl continues, and Hiromu gives shots from both sides. Ospreay gives one big shot and Hiromu is rocked. But Hiromu SUPERKICKS, then runs, only for Ospreay to hit his flip kick.

Ospreay enziguris but Hiromu ducks under to then waistlock. Ospreay standing but Hiromu breaks free, then Hiromu ducks the hook kick to get the German Suplex! But Ospreay stands to flip kick again, and hit that enziguri, to Reverse-Rana! But then Hiromu stands and wants his own, only for Ospreay to slip out and give Hiromu another Reverse-Rana! Ospreay keeps going, bringing Hiromu up in the double underhook. He lifts, but Hiromu sunset flip powerbombs first!

The fans are all fired up, even though neither man stands. Both men stir, and Ospreay gets to ropes. Hiromu follows and joins him on the apron. They both stand up, and Hiromu grins as he gives Ospreay a forearm. Ospreay hits back, but so does Hiromu. Ospreay gives another shot, but Hiromu gives many more in return. Hiromu lifts Ospreay but Osprey slips back into the ring to hook kick Hiromu! Ospreay climbs up and brings Hiromu over, to deadlift SUPERPLEX! But he rolls through, to hang Hiromu up on the top rope. Ospreay climbs again, and aims at Hiromu, for a Burning Star Press! But he isn’t done there, he goes back up again. Ospreay aims, Red Arrow! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay is shocked he hasn’t won while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Ospreay stands back up. Ospreay brings Hiromu up, double underhooks, but Hiromu fights out. Hiromu ends up on the top rope and kicks Ospreay away. Hiromu then turns and leaps for a Destroyer piledriver! Ospreay stands up but is out on his feet, so Hiromu drags Ospreay down into the triangle hold! Hiromu pulls on Ospreay, squeezes Ospreay, but Ospreay fights up and deadlifts Hiromu into a bomb! But Hiromu holds on! Fans are thunderous as the two fight, Hiromu squeezing and Ospreay fading. Ospreay gets another lift, and makes it a package driver!

Hiromu only sits up from being out cold. Ospreay sits up while the referee checks on Hiromu. The fans are thunderous, but the Robinson Special hits! Ospreay wants it, so he runs and springboards, but Hiromu shoves him to the apron. HIromu runs, and leaps over to sunset powerbomb Ospreay near the open patch of ground! Ospreay surely regrets moving some of those aside. Hiromu puts him in the ring, then brings him up, fireman’s carry to Time Bomb! Cover, TWO!? Ospreay survives?! Hiromu can’t believe it, but fans are still thunderous for him.

Hiromu stands and has Ospreay up again, but Ospreay pops out of the swing to roundhouse Hiromu! Then, hook kick! Hiromu fires up and swings, but Ospreay deflects and counters with a heel kick! Hiromu is out again, but Ospreay won’t leave it at this. Ospreay drags Hiromu up, double underhooks, but Hiromu arm-drags into a triangle! Ospreay endures as Hiromu squeezes. Another deadlift, but Hiromu reverses into the D Driver!!

Hiromu crawls away, but he’s not done. Fireman’s carry, Death Valley into the corner! Fans are at a fever pitch as Hiromu brings Ospreay up, for another Ticking Time Bomb!!

Cover, Hiromu WINS!

Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion

He’s done it! Hiromu has prove himself THE Best of the Super Juniors by dethroning the Aerial Assassin! This is only his second reign with this title, but it means so much more to have won it after all the hard fought matches. Now he brings back both the BoSJ trophy and the Jr. Heavyweight Championship belt home to Los Ingobernables. How long will Hiromu be able to say he is the best of the best of the Jr. Heavyweight Division?

Hiromu Takahashi: The BEST Junior Heavyweight in NJPW

 

Backstage interviews.

Will Ospreay pats himself on the back over putting up a good fight, but he isn’t done just yet. He’ll walk out with his head held high. Don’t count Ospreay out of NJPW just yet.

Hiromu Takahashi says it was a long battle, but he got the upper hand. He rests with his trophy and belt and says it’s no mistake. His is now the strongest Jr. heavyweight in the world. He’s the face of the division. No, of ALL of NJPW! Will Hiromu’s stock continue to rise? Or will Ospreay be back to blow him up in return?

 

NJPW and AXS TV review what has led to Part 2!

Los Ingobernables de Japon is under attack from all sides, and their championship belts are the primary targets. Chris Jericho made his return to NJPW in shockingly violent fashion when he suddenly attacked Tetsuya Naito from the crowd! Y2J would bash Naito open with the ring bell, and make the newly minted IWGP Intercontinental Champion bleed. Ever Tranquilo, Naito brushed it off and dared Jericho to face him in the ring for said title. Both men are charismatic but dangerous, who will come out the true alpha with a title in their hands?

Meanwhile, The Young Bucks have done all there is to do as a tag team, at least within the Junior Heavyweight Division. Motivated by their desire to match The Golden Lovers, Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega, Matt & Nick Jackson put on weight to qualify as Heavyweights and now go for new gold! However, LIJ’s King of Darkness and Cold Skull have fought hard against bigger men and won. This is a first-time encounter for NJPW, will the Superkick Party add yet another set of tag titles to the collection? Or is the party over now that they’re in new waters?

 

IWGP Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS The Young Bucks!

The long-standing staples of the Bullet Club have had tag titles from ROH, PWG and NJPW’s Junior Heavyweight Division at one time or another, and sometimes even all at the same time. They are even two-thirds of the current NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Championship trio. But now they want to prove they can do it bigger and better than before! Will they check off the heavyweight tag titles for the first time? Or will LIJ’s menacing duo show the Matt & Nick what it truly means to be heavyweight wrestlers?

Tiger Hatori is the referee, and he raises the belts to signify this is officially for the titles. He checks each them, then has them go to their corners. Nick and Sanada start for their teams. Fans are behind Sanada as he circles with Nick, but there are plenty of fans chanting “The! Elite! The the Elite!” for the Bucks. Nick and Sanada tie up, and Sanada gets the headlock. Nick powers out but Sanada runs him over. Things speed up and Sanada jumps over and over Nick until Nick holds ropes to stop himself. Nick runs and throws Sanada with tilt-o-whirl headscissors! Sanada gets up but Nick chops him to then “lucha libre~” arm drag Sanada. Nick dropkicks Sanada, then fires up as Sanada backs off.

Tag to EVIL and Matt, but Nick stays in to drop toehold Evil for Matt’s slingshot leg drop. The Bucks see Sanada come in, and double hip toss him for double dropkicks. Fans applaud for the Bucks as Matt goes after Evil. Evil rakes Matt’s eyes, then coordinates with Sanada. They double suplex, but Nick saves his brother for them to double kick. Nick runs and Matt pops him up for the double missile dropkick. Both Sanada and Evil go down and out, but the Bucks take aim. Nick jumps up and FLIES onto them. Nick brings Evil back into the ring for Matt. Matt brings Evil up to whip, but Evil holds onto ropes. Matt tries again but Evil holds on so Matt clubs him. The whip goes through this time, but Evil holds the ropes on the other side.

Matt runs in, but into Evil’s boot. Evil runs out but misses, yet still gets Matt with the sidewalk slam! Nick runs in, but into a drop toehold. Sanada adds a baseball slide and sends Nick out. Sanada exits while Evil goes to Matt. He puts Matt on the outside, then whips Matt into the railings. Matt’s bad back is a target, and Evil keeps on it. Evil puts Matt back in the ring, stands on him for a cover, ONE. Tag to Sanada, and Sanada drags Matt up for a whip. Sanada runs Matt over with a back elbow, then standing moonsault. Cover, TWO. Tag to Evil, and Evil brings Matt back up for a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, but Evil keeps on Matt with a chinlock while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns and Evil has Matt in that chinlock. Matt feeds off rallies from the fans and fights his way out. Matt runs but into double chops. Evil leaps for the back senton but Matt gets clear. Matt reaches for Nick but Sanada clobbers him down and throws him out first. Sanada slingshots but misses, and Matt hurries to his corner as fast as he can. Evil intercepts by taking Nick out, but then he runs into a hip toss from Matt. Matt wants to tag but there’s no one there. Nick slowly recovers while Evil runs in at Matt. Matt boots but Evil blocks, only for him to miss the spinning clothesline and get Nick’s kick! Fans rally and Matt crawls back towards his corner.

Hot tag to Nick, who rallies on LIJ with those swift kicks! Nick gives Sanada the shining wizard in the corner, then hits the bulldog-clothesline combo! Fans fire up again, and Nick sees Sanada on the apron. Nick runs to triangle jump dropkick Sanada down, then gets a running start. He aims at Evil, but Evil ducks the Penalty Kick to send that into the post! Evil sweeps the legs out and Nick hits apron before tumbling to the floor. Nick clutches his foot, but Evil is on him and that leg. Evil laces the leg in the railing to kick and jam it. Nick hobbles to the ring but Evil is on him. Evil grabs the leg but Nick shoves him away.

Nick gets up, brings Evil around and in comes Matt. Matt SUPERKICKS, but Evil dodges to send that into Nick! Sanada returns and throws Matt out again. Sanada & Evil target Nick but Nick fights back with forearm sand elbows. Nick runs but into a mule kick, front kick and Evil runs. Nick SUPERKICKS Evil, but it’s with the bad foot! And Evil comes back with a clothesline! Cover, TWO, but Evil calls to end this. Evil brings Nick up with Sanada, but Matt returns. Nick headscissors out of Magic Killer to throw Sanada, and Matt dropkicks Evil down. Matt goes after Sanada and hoists him onto the top rope. The Bucks regroup and climb up to join Sanada. Nick is sluggish with that bad foot, and now Evil returns! Evil makes it a Tower of Doom!

The Bucks are bombed while Sanada is superplexed! All four men are down from soreness and exhaustion, but Evil is first to rise. Evil goes after Nick, but Nick hits back with forearms. Evil kicks Nick, then fisherman, but Nick slips out to retaliate with a tornado roundhouse! Again, the bad leg slows Nick down, but fans rally up. Nick and Evil crawl, hot tags to Matt and Sanada. Sanada and Matt brawl back and forth, but Matt hits a spinning back kick. Matt whips Sanada to a corner but Sanada elbows out, to then quebrada. He wants the inverted DDT or even Skull End, but Matt reverses to Sliced Bread. Not for the impact, but for the Tombstone lift! Nick lines it up, but Evil yanks him down!

Sanada reverses, dragon sleeper! Matt snapmares out then trips Sanada, but Evil returns. Matt trips Evil, and goes for the Sharpshooter! The Cease is on, but Sanada says Desist with his Skull End! But Nick comes in with a flying stomp! Everyone separates, going to different corners. Fans rally up while Matt and Sanada stir. Sanada tags Evil, and Evil runs in at Matt. Matt boots but it’s blocked into the discus clothesline. Evil lifts Matt in a fireman’s carry, sit out Widowmaker! Cover, TWO!! Evil is shocked, but he keeps his focus. He slashes the throat and brings Matt up. Matt reverses the STO into a Tombstone position. Nick tries, but that bad ankle gives out! Evil turns the Tombstone position around, and Sanada flies in to copy the Meltzer Driver! Perhaps call it the Ingobernables Driver?

Cover, but Nick breaks it! Sanada tosses Nick out, and Evil says it’s time to finish it their way. He lifts Matt up and Sanada helps for the Magic Killer! Cover, but Nick returns to break the cover again! Sanada again throws Nick out, then slingshots over to plancha Nick down! Both men crash and burn, and Evil drags Matt up. Matt slips out of the STO to backslide, TWO! Even Evil thought that was three. Evil walks into a jawbreaker, but Sanada tags in. Sanada runs and gets the dragon sleeper! He wrenches Matt back, then feeds him to Evil’s mule kick. Sanada adds the knee lift, then Evil runs but into Matt’s clothesline!

Sanada dropkicks Matt down then dropkicks Nick off the apron. He goes back to Matt as fans fire up. Sanada puts on the dragon sleeper, but Matt flails and reaches, so Sanada swings Matt around and around! He puts Matt down, climbs up top, MOONSAULT! Sanada lands on his feet when Matt evades, Matt SPEARS Sanada! Evil clobbers Matt, then blocks the superkick. Evil smacks the bad ankle, then stalks Nick. Matt saves Nick from the STO, and they both SUPERKICK Evil!

Sanada runs in, dodges superkicks, tumbles to the outside and springboards! The Bucks SUPERKICK him out of the sky! But that’s not all, Matt and Nick coordinate. Matt brings Sanada up in fireman’s carry, Nick climbs up, rolling senton, 450 splash and moonsault, More Bang for Your Buck! Cover, The Young Bucks win!!

Winners: The Young Bucks, Matt Jackson pinning; NEW IWGP Tag Team Champions

Success! The greatest tag team in the world gets even greater with this victory! Even with Matt’s bad back and now Nick’s bad ankle, they found a way to win. With heart enough for any heavyweight, will the Young Bucks dominate just like they did in the Jr. Heavyweight Division?

 

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito VS Chris Jericho!

After his defeat at the hands of Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12, Chris Jericho vowed to never return to NJPW. However, he did not keep this vow, for at New Year’s Dash, he would ambush Tetsuya Naito! Naito didn’t understand why. In fact, Naito claimed to not know a thing about Jericho aside from being in an old Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Of course, Jericho didn’t win that tournament. That disrespectful ignorance is why Jericho is so angry with Naito, and Jericho claims to know how Naito truly feels behind that facade. It’s Tranquilo VS Crazy, what will win the day and the title?

But Jericho isn’t going to wait for the bell, circles around and attacks Naito from behind! Jericho drags Naito up and takes the cape off. They start brawling, but Jericho gets the edge as he backs Naito down into railings and even the crowd! The ring announcer warns fans to get back as Jericho attacks Naito with the railing itself! Jericho smacks Naito but Naito hits back. Jericho pulls Naito’s suit jacket over his head to then wail away with uppercuts, like a scrum on the ice in hockey. Then Jericho snap suplexes Naito to the bare concrete! Jericho even uses a camera tripod as a weapon.

Red Shoes reprimands Jericho, but Jericho just shoves him down! Jericho confiscates the timekeeper’s table and brings it over. He sets it up against railing, then goes back to Naito. They brawl more, but Jericho gets the edge, to then powerbomb Naito through the table!!

Fans are shocked at the brutality, but Jericho is far from done with Naito. He eggs Naito to get up out of that wreckage. Jericho even takes over a camera to get a good shot of Naito while he flips him off. He gives the camera back and kicks Naito amid the wreckage, even using the wreckage against Naito. Jericho doesn’t let up, but Naito doesn’t give up. They brawl a bit more, but Jericho gets the edge again. Jericho brings Naito around behind commentary and over to the other timekeeper’s table, to DDT him right down on the wood! The table doesn’t give, so that impact is solid. Red Shoes wants Jericho to stop, but Jericho makes sure he autographs the program notes before continuing.

Jericho drags Naito back up and back to ringside. This match is apparently starting now that Jericho puts Naito in the ring. Jericho shouts at Red Shoes to make it official, so Red Shoes has no choice but to signal for the bell. Fans rally for Naito as Jericho covers, ONE. Jericho rains right hands down on Naito, then taunts the fans and Naito. Jericho helps Naito finish undressing while also giving him more right hands. Fans rally for Naito, but Jericho just flips them all off. Jericho toys with Naito, slapping him around. Naito hits back with haymakers, but Jericho knees back, tigerbomb backbreaker! Then, LIONSAULT! Cover, TWO!

Jericho keeps his cool while fans rally for Naito. Jericho stands on Naito to grind his heel into the champion’s neck. Then Jericho chokes Naito against the ropes. Jericho stops at 4, but then grinds his boots into Naito more. He backs off at 4 to embrace the heat. Jericho drags Naito up, then chops him through the dress shirt and vest. He pushes Naito around, calling him a “piece of sh*t”. Naito hits back with haymakers, but Jericho rakes the eyes. Jericho whips Naito corner to corner hard, and Naito rolls with back pain. Jericho drags Naito up for another corner to corner whip and another hard impact. Naito writhes more while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns, and Jericho looms over Naito. He drags Naito up by his hair, but Naito hits back with haymakers and elbows. Jericho trips Naito and turns him over, for the Walls of Jericho! Naito gets the ropes, but Jericho holds on until 3. Jericho walks around while fans rally for Naito. He stomps and grinds his boot into Naito, but then tells Red Shoes to “shut your mouth” about the rules. Naito spits on Jericho! He’s defiant as ever, but that only angers Jericho more. Jericho runs but into Naito’s tackle and fists! Naito tackles Jericho again for even more fists. Naito runs in a third time but Jericho back drops him, only for that to turn into a neckbreaker across Naito’s knee. He keeps going and dropkicks Jericho in the back!

Naito takes off the vest and runs to boot Jericho in the corner, sweep the legs, and swing in for another dropkick. They both go to the apron now, for an apron neckbreaker! Jericho clutches his neck, but Naito keeps going with a draping neckbreaker to the floor! Naito, bloody in one eye, takes off the shirt and the pants, he’s finally ready for this match. He even uses the pants to choke Jericho! Jericho got away with a lot, so Naito sees it as fair play. Naito brings Jericho up and whips him into railing. Naito drags Jericho back up to ram him into railings again. As he backs off for space, Naito looks at the table wreckage from before. And he gets a wicked idea.

Naito brings the table piece over and SMACKS Jericho with it! That piece breaks even more, but Naito decides to use the bigger piece to SMACK Jericho again! Naito brings Jericho up and they fight behind commentary again. Naito brings Jericho back to that timekeeper’s table, for a piledriver!

That table stays solid again, so things are even between Naito and Jericho. Naito drags Jericho up and back to ringside. They go back in, and Naito climbs up. Naito aims, and jumps for a missile dropkick to Jericho’s back. Naito’s spirit is restored as he poses in the ring. The fans rally for Naito as he runs in, but Jericho boots him away. Jericho climbs up but Naito fires off haymaker after haymaker. Naito climbs up to throw more punches, then SUPER Steiner, but Jericho blocks! Jericho hops down, driving Naito’s head into the mat, then goes into Walls of Jericho! Naito endures as Jericho sits down and bends him back. Jericho shouts at Naito, but Naito doesn’t quit.

Fans rally again, and Naito powers up to reach for ropes. Jericho drags Naito away from ropes,  Naito curls and fights back with right hands. Jericho slaps Naito out, then catapults Naito into a corner. But Naito uses that to climb up! Naito kicks Jericho away, then turns around for a flying huricanrana! Naito uses the ropes to help in a tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! Fans rally while Naito sits up. Naito staggers, that bleeding eye bothering him. He drags Jericho up, and hammerlocks one arm, but Jericho fights out with the other. Jericho swings but Naito waistlocks and lifts, only for Jericho to victory roll through it. Jericho goes from that to the legs, and he tries to turn Naito over for Walls! Naito ends up back in the signature Crab variation, but won’t give up.

Naito reaches, fades, but gets a second wind. Fans rally and Naito brings himself around. Naito slowly but surely gets closer to the ropes, and gets the ropebreak! Jericho insists Naito tapped out, but Red Shoes insists Naito didn’t. Jericho runs in but is flapjack’d for a hotshot. Naito then German Suplexes Jericho! No bridge, but Naito comes back in for the tilt-o-whirl. Jericho counters into a cover, TWO! Enziguri from Naito! Then Naito tries again, but has to club away to keep Jericho in place. Jericho chops, Naito SLAPS. Naito runs in, DESTINO! But Naito can’t make the cover, and Jericho crawls towards ropes. Cover, ROPEBREAK. Naito is too sore to be frustrated, he just sits up again.

Now Naito bleeds from the other cheek, but it’s nothing compared to what Jericho did to him. He and Jericho slap each other back and forth. Jericho hits Naito more, but Naito dares him to keep going. Jericho does, but then Naito just slaps him down. Naito chokes Jericho in the ropes, and spits on him again. He whips Jericho, but Jericho reverses. Naito leaps, but into a Code Breaker!

Jericho covers, TWO! Both men are so tired and sore already, but this match must continue. Fans rally up for Naito again, but it’s Jericho who sits up first. Jericho hits Naito, and Naito hits Jericho. They go back and forth with haymakers and forearms. They stand up but keep hitting. Naito hits three haymakers, then runs, but into a back elbow. Jericho runs, LIONSAULT, but onto knees! Enziguri, then hammerlock for GLORIA! But Naito’s not done there! He drags Jericho up, wrenches and tilt-o-whirls, but Jericho slips out of Destino, and in one swift motion he pushes Red Shoes and low blows Naito with a mule kick! Jericho gives another Code Breaker! Cover, Jericho WINS!!

Winner: Chris Jericho, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion

The Best in the World at What He Does is an IWGP Intercontinental Champion for the first time in his career! Though, according to Jericho, he’s a 10-time Intercontinental Champion because he’s counting his nine WWE Intercontinental Championship reigns. But whether one, nine or ten, whether by hook or by crook, Y2J conquers the leader of LIJ! We go to break while things are sorted out.

 

NJPW on AXS returns…

Jericho has his hand raised, and the announcement is made. He stands up and drops elbows and fists on Naito! Jericho isn’t a very classy winner, because the second he gets the belt in his hands, he uses it to attack Naito! Red Shoes reprimands Jericho, but Jericho ignores him as he celebrates. Jericho then takes off his leather belt from his pants, and makes it into strap to whip Naito with over and over. This is insult to injury, but also some injury on top. Evil rushes out to fight Jericho off his LIJ leader! Jericho hits Evil with that leather fist but Evil clobbers Jericho down with a clothesline! Evil grabs the leather belt to whip at Jericho, but Jericho gets away with his championship belt.

Jericho confiscates a commentary headset to shout “You see that, Naito? And who the Hell are you?” Jericho is talking about Evil there, and promises that if Evil butts in again, he’ll see what happens, too. Y2J takes his belt away with Evil looking on. Jericho reigns now, but will Evil bring his “tenth” reign to an early end?

 

Backstage interviews.

Evil helps Naito to the back, but sets him down a moment. Evil speaks for them. “Hey, Jericho. You messed up this time, you son of a bitch.” Is that Evil’s way of saying he wants to fight Jericho for the title next?

Jericho himself kicks his way into his press conference. He knocks the chair and the beer away so that the reporters can focus on the blood on Jericho’s hands. “This is the blood of Naito and the blood of Chris Jericho. Because two men just beat the sh*t out of each other” in one of Jericho’s toughest matches ever. Naito is an excellent wrestler, Jericho will admit that. But Jericho says that this win means he’s here to stay! Jericho is champion, and he takes that seriously. Naito didn’t like the title, so it works out since Jericho wants to keep it, “from now until the moment I lose it.” He vows to eat, sleep, go to the bathroom, all with this title nearby. No one believed Jericho could do it, but he did. This is the Reign of Jericho, Drink It in, Man. And choke on it.

 


 

My Thoughts:

With the G-1 Special 2018 fast approaching, it makes sense for AXS to show two hours of Dominion coverage tonight to catch up a bit. Obviously this isn’t all of it, either, as there’s definitely Okada VS Omega left to show. That’ll be next week, for a two hour special what with that match lasting 70+ minutes. But the four they showed tonight were all astounding, with shocking title changes. I didn’t think Elgin would win against Goto and Taichi, but it happened and it was impressive. Hiromu Takahashi truly deserves to be Jr. Heavyweight Champion, he’s on such a roll both with the Japanese crowd and around the world. Same goes for the Young Bucks winning the Heavyweight Tag titles, because they’re the most popular and talented tag team around.

Jericho VS Naito was crazy good with the entire attack before the match. Jericho has always been great at transforming his personality and style into new, fresh ideas, and this more vicious Heel of his is great. He really had the fans hating him and rooting for Naito, but in the end, Jericho uses all the tricks in the book and wins. On the surface, it looks like LIJ is down in the dumps aside from Hiromu. Evil & Sanada lose their tag titles, and Naito loses his IC title, but Evil is the one to come out and defend Naito from Jericho. Perhaps these losses are for everyone in LIJ to move up. Naito can worry about the world title while Evil goes after Jericho, Hiromu can defend his Jr. Heavyweight title, and perhaps Bushi joins Sanada as a heavyweight. Either that, or they go for the NEVER Openweight titles.

My Score(s): Part 1 – 8.7/10; Part 2 – 8.8/10; Overall – 8.8/10


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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE NXT Report! (7/18/18)

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Who will challenge the Queen of Spades for her NXT Women's title?

The EST goes down with injury, so the odds go up for Mrs. Wrestling, the Pirate Princess and the Loony Lass to win and challenge the NXT Women’s Champion!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Dakota Kai VS Lacey Evans; Lacey wins.
  • Kassius Ohno VS Rick Ramirez; Ohno wins.
  • NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Triple Threat: Candice LeRae VS Nikki Cross VS Kairi Sane; Kairi wins and will challenge Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dakota Kai VS Lacey Evans!

The Captain of Team Kick has gotten over her fear, but that doesn’t mean she’s gotten past being looked down on. Will the Lady of NXT use her Woman’s Right to knock Dakota out of the Women’s Division? Or will Dakota kick Lacey to the curb?

The bell rings and Lacey starts by mocking Dakota’s kicks. She then pie-faces Dakota, so Dakota trips her up and jackknife covers. ONE but Dakota throws Lacey around with arm-drags. Dakota runs and dropkicks Lacey, then whips her into a corner. Lacey reverses but Dakota goes up and over to then slip up and around for a roll up. TWO, but Dakota keeps on Lacey with a snapmare and kick! Dakota runs, for another kick! Cover, TWO! Lacey flounders to a corner but Dakota takes aim. Dakota runs Around the World, but misses! Lacey retaliates with her own kick, then sets Dakota up in the Tree of Woe. She ties Dakota in with the tag rope! Dakota is trapped but Lacey backs off at 4, to come back with the swinging bronco buster. Dakota is freed but Lacey mocks her while she’s on the mat.

Lacey watches Dakota crawl to ropes, then says “What’re you gonna do? Nothing.” Dakota stands while Lacey mocks the kicks. Lacey throws Dakota down to stomp her out. Fans boo and jeer as the Model Soldier covers. TWO, and Lacey gets frustrated. Lacey drops knees into Dakota’s back, then pulls her up by her hair. The ref reprimands her, and Dakota kicks back. Dakota rolls Lacey, TWO. Dakota kicks but Lacey blocks, takedown and gut punch! Lacey yanks Dakota around for an elbow drop. She keeps on that leg with a deathlock, then pulls on Dakota’s head and neck. Lacey pulls Dakota back, then slaps her on the side. Dakota endures while fans rally up. Lacey grimaces, then grinds her chin into Dakota’s head for added attack. She switches to her forearm across Dakota’s face, but stops at 4. Fans keep rallying for Dakota, and Dakota pries her way out.

Lacey comes back with a kick, then grinds Dakota back down in the arm-half of a surfboard. She grinds Dakota into the mat, then drops knee after knee into the back. Dakota refuses to quit, and fans rally up again. Dakota fights her way out with her legs, but Lacey pulls harder with full extension of her leg. Lacey uses both feet, but Dakota stands up to make it a cover! TWO, and Lacey kicks away on Dakota’s back. Dakota endures the stretching and bending, so Lacey just slingshots her down. Lacey sits for a cover, TWO. She drags Dakota up, then over to ropes to give her a knee and a sweep. Lacey slingshots out for more stomps. She literally walks all over Dakota, then salutes herself. Dakota rolls in but Lacey slingshots for the elbow drop.

Cover, TWO! Lacey grows further frustrated, and makes Dakota pay for it with stomps. Lacey climbs up, but her moonsault flops! Dakota grits her teeth and drags herself up. Fans fire up for her as she aims at Lacey. Lacey hits hard with that body shot, but Dakota kicks and kicks and kicks back! Dakota takes aim as Lacey crawls away. Kiwi Around the World! Then ANOTHER! Dakota scrapes her foot on Lacey’s face over and over, then gives the boot wash! Cover, TWO!!

Lacey makes sure her jaw is still there, but Dakota is on her again. Dakota’s kick misses, and Lacey pumphandles to a scoop slam! Lacey can’t cover, because her face hurts too much. Dakota slowly stirs while Lacey drags herself back up. Fans fire up again, and Dakota scorpion kicks! Dakota runs but into a drop toehold. Lacey grabs the leg and ducks the enziguri to hit the Woman’s Right! Cover, Lacey wins!

Winner: Lacey Evans, by pinfall

That’s all it takes for things to go the Model Soldier’s way. Then she gets in Dakota’s face, shouting “You will NEVER be a lady! I AM a lady!” Lacey wins big, but with the contenders match tonight, how long will she have to wait for her chance at the NXT Women’s Championship?

 

Backstage interview with Ricochet.

The One and Only lost to the Undisputed Era a couple weeks ago in a Six Man Tag with Mustache Mountain. Mustache Mountain then lost to the Undisputed Era 2v2 with the NXT Tag Team Championships on the line. Ricochet speaks up there. It’s no secret he doesn’t like the Undisputed Era, but he knows they’re still fighting champions and will defend those belts again. In fact, the Undisputed Era loves to do just that. Except for Adam Cole, who barely defends his North American Championship. Ricochet was this close to being the NAC, but Cole stole it out from under him. Cole hides behind his title and his team, everyone knows it. But Ricochet will not stop until he gets 1v1 with Cole, and then you’ll see the next NXT North American Champion.

 

The Street Profits return!

And they return home, too. They ball on the court. “You dust yourself off, you get back up.” That’s how Deangelo Dawkins & Montez Ford do. They’re motivated by what The Mighty did to them the last time they faced off. They won’t fall for those tricks again. The #CurseofGreatness is on its way back, will they give Shane Thorne & Nick Miller the payback they deserve?

 

NXT Media catches up with EC3.

The Top One Percent made his entrance just as Velveteen Dream was celebrating a win, what was that about? Just a “non-friendly reminder” that EC3 isn’t about to forget the betrayal at the Royal Albert Hall tag match against Ricochet & Aleister Black. It also means EC3 is always watching. A fan wants a selfie, EC3 is nice enough to give it to him. EC3 gets a compliment and gives a compliment back. He even gives away a free EC3 t-shirt, just like the one on sale at the WWE Shop! EC3 doesn’t need this guy’s money, he’s already rich.

But then The Finest, Kona Reeves, comes along. He admits that random “dirtbag” is right, EC3 has a really nice outfit. Custom? Yes. Of course, yes. But it’s not The Finest. But that watch, sick watch. Just not The Finest. And that tan, that’s real good. Though, Kona’s is all natural. Yes, okay, we get it, it’s not The Finest. But look at him with those glasses covering up those “dead, creepy eyes” while wearing the buy-one-get-one suit, and is that cubic zirconium? How many arcade tickets did it take to get that chain? If Kona is gonna banter, bring your “A” Game or else EC3 will chew you up, spit you out and feed you to his cats! Do you understand him?

The Finest should just fight the Top One Percent. Do it, fight him. Fight him, fight him. Kona doesn’t want to. Yeah, because he knows he’d get a Top One Percent beating! EC3 leaves The Finest behind, but only now does Kona man up. Kona was thinking they’d be the Finest Friends, but now they’re worst enemies. Who will put their money where their mouth is with a win?

 

NXT takes a look at Aleister VS Ciampa.

The Embodiment of the End makes his opponents #FadeToBlack, but the Psycho Killer has darkness in his heart. The champion defeated the Leviathan the same night Ciampa brutalized and cheated his former friend out of victory. “And now you have something that I want.” Aleister believes how you deal with adversity is what makes you a champion. Ciampa believes that in Aleister’s case, the belt makes the man. Ciampa got to main event two TakeOvers in a row, but wants the “boy” to be careful waht he says. He then took his shot with a sneak attack and draping DDT.

Aleister says that Ciampa may see himself as a devil, but Ciampa knows nothing of the devil on Aleister’s back. Ciampa brushes that off as smoke and mirrors. He promises to snuff out the mystique like a candle. Aleister tells Ciampa he’s lost and confused, but Ciampa has his path to the title. Whose darkness will envelope the other to take the NXT Championship for their own?

 

Kassius Ohno VS Rick Ramirez!

The Knockout Artist returns! He hasn’t had the best string of matches lately, but that won’t slow him down. Will he get back on track tonight against an impressive looking prospect?

The bell rings and fans are behind Ohno as he approaches Rick. They circle, and Rick gets a waistlock. Ohno standing switches and tosses Rick down. Ohno barrels in with the discus! Cover, Ohno wins!

Winner: Kassius Ohno, by pinfall

That was fast! Ohno looms over Rick, as if he didn’t want to do what he just did to the younger wrestler. Will this be the first of many wins that help Ohno get back towards the NXT Championship?

 

The Undisputed Era speaks.

The NXT Tag Team Championships are back where they belong. Was there any doubt. Just look at them! North American, Tag Team and Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, they might as well be champions of the world! The loss to Seven and Bate no longer counts. Cole asks if they want to hear a joke. Sure. “Ricochet.” He talks smack about being so close to being a champion. “This close, this close”, who talks like that? They don’t speak loser. Cole is a champion and Ricochet isn’t. But Cole is a fighting champion, because when you anger the Undisputed Era, you’ll regret it. Ricochet needs to back off before he gets hurt. And that’s Undisputed. Will Cole keep Ricochet frozen out of the North American Championship scene? Or will GM William Regal have something to say about it?

 

NXT looks at the 21st century Vikings, the War Raiders.

Hanson & Rowe have come, and “the raid has begun.” Their warpath has already steamrolled Heavy Machinery and made The Mighty fall. “There’s no secrets, there’s no tricks, it’s the same story everywhere we go!” From Japan to Mexico to the UK and all over the United States, they’ve been tag team champions. Back in 2014, they were on opposite sides of a tournament. They were in the business 10 years each before this, without ever meeting, but in that first encounter, they “beat the snot” out of each other. There is no respect greater. And then they thought, what if they took that fight to everyone else? And thus, one of the most powerful tag teams was born!

This alliance changed their lives forever. Through blood, sweat and tears, respect was earned around the world. Rowe & Hanson shocked, destroyed, and dominated ever since. Their inspiration was the Viking culture that took what they wanted when they wanted. They embodied that in every promotion they ever competed in, and there’s no one on Earth who can stop them. In fact, it was only a motor cycle wreck that could’ve ended Rowe’s life that stopped them. His arm was rebuilt, and he overcame fear. With that behind them, no one can overcome these two. They bring that same spirit to NXT now, and defy expectations. Rowe has strength beyond his size, while Hanson has agility beyond his. They’ve earned the right to raid NXT’s Tag Team Division, and they’ve only just begun. “We take gold, we break EVERYONE!” The war is here, who can hope to survive?

 

Velveteen Dream sets the scene.

The Experience hears it. He hears the people buzzing about what the next experience will be. TakeOver: War Games, the people and Aleister Black said his name. Philadelphia, Dream had a knockout performance. New Orleans, the Dream rose to unimaginable heights. Chicago, a MOTY candidate to say the least. And come Brooklyn, the spotlight will still shine on Dream.

 

NXT Women’s Championship #1 Contender Triple Threat: Candice LeRae VS Nikki Cross VS Kairi Sane!

This was meant to be a Fatal 4 Way, but Bianca Belair is unfortunately not medically cleared to compete. Her bad luck becomes good luck for the other three, who go from having a 25% chance to a 33% chance of winning. Will it be a rematch between The Queen of Spades and Mrs. Wrestling, the Loony Lass of SAnitY, or the Pirate Princess?

Nikki is rocking in a corner while fans cheer her on. But then Shayna Baszler makes her presence known, and Nikki smiles with wild eyes. Nikki waves at Shayna as the champion joins commentary. The bell rings and we begin.

Kairi and Candice aren’t sure what to make of Nikki, but then she blasts out of the corner at the two of them! Candice sends her into Kairi then rolls Nikki up, TWO. Kairi rolls Candice, TWO and Nikki rolls Kairi. TWO, and Candice throws Nikki with an arm-drag. Kairi arm-drags Candice, but then Nikki runs in again and crossbodies Kairi! Candice runs in but Nikki puts her on the apron. Candice hits Nikki away, but then Kairi runs in, and Nikki sends her into Candice! Kairi dodges Nikki to give double chops while fans duel between all three of them. Kairi keeps on Nikki in a corner, chop after chop after chop, then she runs in. Nikki dodges Sliding D to swing Kairi sideways! Kairi hits the post, and Nikki grins.

Candice gets back in the ring, builds speed, and DIVES on Nikki! Nikki seemed to welcome that. But Candice isn’t done, she builds speed again, but runs into Nikki’s elbow! Nikki puts Candice under the apron skirt and–after snuggling up to her like a kitten–clubs away on Candice’s back! Shayna says she doesn’t care who wins, she’s beaten all of them at least once. Nikki rams Candice off the apron while fans duel again. Nikki thrashes and grinds Candice into the mat, then hooks the nose. Cover, TWO, but Nikki keeps on Candice with a Rings of Saturn! Candice rolls but ends up in a crucifix, TWO!

Nikki puts Candice on the top rope and into a Tree of Woe for manic mudhole stomps! Kairi comes in and SPEARS Nikki! But Kairi goes after Candice with the Woe Stomps! Cover, TWO! Kairi keeps on Candice with the Anchor Lock! She bridges back and bends Candice, but Nikki breaks it up. Nikki hops on Kairi with a psycho sleeper hold, but Candice dropkicks them both down! Candice crawls after Nikki and chops away. She fires off furious htis from both sides, then runs in for a back elbow. She CANNONBALLS onto Kairi! Candice drags Kairi up while fans chant “NXT! NXT!” Nikki goes after Candice on the outside, for an inverted DDT on the ramp! Candice hits steel, and Nikki crawls away, only for Kairi to hit a flying kabuki elbow! “This is Awesome!” but Shayna is not amused.

Kairi stands first, all fired up, and she puts Nikki in the ring. Kairi prepares that elbow as she climbs up top. Nikki hits Kairi first, then climbs up to fight her on the top rope. Kairi fights back, but Candice returns to add on! TOWER OF DOOM!!

All three women are down but the fans are fired up to a fever pitch. Kairi gets to ropes while Nikki and Candice slowly sit up. Candice hits Nikki, but Nikki hits back. Kairi comes over while those two brawl, and then joins in with her own forearms. Nikki hits Kairi, but Candice hits Nikki. Nikki hits back but Kairi does, too. They all stand, Candice ducks and sends Nikki at Kairi. Candice enziguris Nikki, but Kairi backhands Candice! Kairi goes at Nikki but Nikki headbutts. Candice grabs them both, DDT and Complete Shot, 2-for-1! Candice springboards, LIONSAULT! Cover, but Nikki drags her off by the hair! Nikki gives Candice a draping, swinging neckbreaker!! Candice hits the floor while Nikki fires up.

Nikki goes at Kairi in the ring, but she takes her time letting the madness take over. She drags Kairi up, and hits a back suplex. She drags Kairi up again, for another! Then another! Nikki gets a hat trick but she’s not done yet. She grins as she drags Kairi up one more time. Nikki has the fisherman, but decides to up the ante! They go to the top rope again, but Candice crawls back in. Nikki stomps Candice then drags her up, small package! TWO! Nikki kicks but is blocked into the Unprettier! LIONSAULT! INSANE ELBOW! KAIRI WINS OUTTA NOWHERE!!!

Winner: Kairi Sane, by pinfall; challenges Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV

The Mae Young Classic finals are revisited once more, as this will be the tiebreaker between Pirate Princess and Queen of Spades. This rematch will mean so much more with the title on the line, who finishes the series with the gold?

 


 

My Thoughts:

What a great NXT! Not much time was wasted getting to the opening match, and it was really good. Lacey has really improved during her time as this Lady of NXT character, and she gets a surprising win over Dakota. As said earlier, Lacey will have to wait a bit before challenging the NXT Women’s Champion, but she will definitely reach that some day. Dakota will, too, even though she’s currently jobber to the stars. Good promos from Ricochet and the Undisputed Era, as well as videos from the Street Profits, EC3 and Kona Reeves. I am so excited EC3 is going to face Kona and more certainly beating him, in both the ring and in gimmick.

That War Machine/Raiders video package was great, and it drives home the point that those two are aimed right at the NXT Tag Team Championships. That makes for more great ROH-in-NXT action that will certainly please the fans. Ohno surprises with that extra fast squash of “Rick Ramirez” who has Rayne on his pants. I wouldn’t mind if this leads to either an edgier or even full Heel Ohno, he needs something that either brings him up to title contention or finally to main roster. The Aleister-Ciampa package was also great, as was Dream’s stylized video promo. The NXT Championship match is going to be great, as will Dream VS anyone in Brooklyn. Then the Women’s Triple Threat was incredible, and just when I thought Candice was getting her shot, Kairi literally comes in outta nowhere. Shayna VS Kairi 3 is going to be great and can go either way.

My Score: 8.5/10


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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Report! (7/17/18)

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Can the Man of the Hour overcome a former Cruiserweight Champion?

Akira Tozawa is a former Cruiserweight Champion, but can he keep up with the ultra-fast Man of the Hour, Lio Rush, in their first-ever encounter?

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • TJP VS Noam Dar; TJP wins.
  • Drew Gulak w/ Jack Gallagher & THE Brian Kendrick VS Danny Garcia; Gulak wins.
  • Akira Tozawa VS Lio Rush; Rush wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Drake Maverick reviews last week’s Cruiserweight Championship match.

The Japanese legend, Hideo Itami, put up a fight against the #AgeOfAlexander, but the Soul of 205 Live was tougher than even Itami expected. But not one to rest on his laurels or take it easy on himself, Cedric Alexander wants yet another challenger on this road to Summerslam. GM Maverick promises to address the state of the Cruiserweight Championship before the night is through. Who will Maverick choose to put before the champion as summer heats up?

Meanwhile, conflict is settled in the ring as the 23 Year Old Piece of Gold gets to main event against the Stamina Monster. Is the Man of the Hour ready for prime time as he goes up against a former champion? Though, Lio wonders what has Akira done lately? And before all of this, we open with the “Cruiser-Great” taking on the returning Scottish Supernova in a rematch from that surprisingly quick defeat a couple weeks ago! Can TJP get back the loss Noam Dar gave him? Or will Dar make it a quick 2-0 on the FilAm Flash?

 

TJP VS Noam Dar!

As he makes his way out to the ring, the inaugural (New Era) Cruiserweight Champion speaks to Wilkes-Barre. “What a treat!” Maverick lets TJP know who his opponent is beforehand. He’s feeling so spoiled getting his entrance music and ring gear of his choice, too! It’s like Christmas! Okay not really, because if it were, he’d be getting his chance at the title. Instead, he’s a “curtain jerker” in the “diaper storm” town of “Wilkes-Boring”. Do the people here admit they’re from here? Or do they pretend they’re from Philly? But TJP gives Dar credit for coming back from his knee injury. At least this match will be twice as handsome than TJP wrestling a local. But this comeback story will be just a comeback sentence. TJP is the one constant in this Division because he is still the best technical wrestler today. Dar makes his entrance, and we begin.

TJP rushes Dar but Dar sees it coming. Dar sweeps the legs out, then aims for his finisher, but TJP scrambles out of the ring. TJP takes his time recovering, but then Dar leaps in outta nowhere! Dar rocks TJP with a right, then a left. TJP is floundering as Dar puts him in the ring. Dar ducks and then tosses TJP, covers, TWO. Fans are behind Dar as he brings TJP up for another left. Dar whips TJP but TJP gose Spider-Man to then slide under and waistlock. Dar standing switches but TJP switches back. TJP trips up Dar but Dar resists. Dar pries free but TJP rolls Dar around for an armbar. Both men fight for control, and Dar slips free! He wants an STF but TJP gets the ropes.

Dar lets TJP go, but TJP gives him a kick. Dar rushes in but is sent into the ropes, then TJP springboards for the wrecking ball dropkick! TJP takes his time going over to Dar, then quickly runs him into buckles. TJP keeps going, throwing shoulders and elbows in the corner. He brings Dar up for a boot into Dar’s throat. Maverick watches backstage and disapproves of TJP’s attitude. TJP backs off at the ref’s count, but Dar comes back at him with a kick and a forearm. TJP European Uppercuts Dar down, then brings Dar up again. He scoop slams Dar fast, then slingshot sentons. Cover, TWO, but TJP keeps his cool.

Dar gets to a corner but TJP is on him again. TJP Northern Lights then rolls through to hammerlock an arm and go for more limbs. Dar resists, but TJP gets the other arm and pulls on it. Dar endures as TJP wrenches and pulls the wrist and fingers. He gets around with his legs for a ropebreak, and TJP lets him go again. TJP brings Dar up but Dar throws elbows from both sides. TJP gives Dar a swift elbow of his own, then whips Dar. Dar comes back with a backslide, TWO! And TJP goes for the armbar! Dar tries to get to ropes, so TJP changes it up with an Indian Deathlock. TJP grabs at arms to then shift into the hammerlock, and he YANKS on that opposite arm!

Dar writhes while TJP catches his breath. TJP drags Dar back up, then suplexes. That’s one amigo, and he makes the second amigo a back suplex. Cover, TWO, but TJP goes right at the legs. It’s another deathlock variation, and TJP grabs at Dar’s arms again. TJP wrenches Dar’s arm from elbow to wrist, but fans rally up for Dar. Dar fights out of the hold and small packages, TWO! Dar runs in but TJP goes up and over, only to miss his crossbody! TJP and Dar slowly stand up, but Dar runs into a boot. TJP goes up but Dar sweeps the legs again! Dar takes aim, and he fires off a throat chop, headbutt and EuroUpper to TJP! TJP gets to a corner, but Dar runs in with the back elbow and suplex! Cover, TWO!

Dar works to keep focus as fans rally up again. He drags TJP up, but TJP fireman’s carry! Dar slips out but TJP elbows back. TJP runs, but Dar sweeps the legs once again. TJP staggers up but ducks one lariat, only to get the other! Cover, TWO! Dar gets up again, he still wants that finishing kick. TJP sees it coming again and manages to roll out of the way. Dar walks over but gets caught into a small package! TWO! TJP fireman’s carry but Dar slips out again. Dar runs into a drop toehold that sends him into ropes. TJP goes for but misses the wrecking ball to get a basement dropkick from Dar! Dar fetches TJP on the outside, but TJP throws him into barriers.

TJP drags himself up to the apron but Dar is there quickly. Dar wants a suplex but TJP resists. TJP hops down and sweeps Dar’s leg! Dar clutches that leg, and fights TJP off. Dar crawls away but TJP gets back up and in. The referee checks on Dar, but TJP doesn’t care, he chop blocks the leg! TJP shows no mercy as he stomps away on the leg. He drags Dar up to throw him to the apron. TJP keeps stomping Dar, then Half Crabs him through the ropes! He lets go at 4, and Maverick still doesn’t approve. TJP gets back in the ring and stalks the crawling Dar. He stands on the bad leg to torture Dar, then puts on the Knee Bar! Dar taps, TJP wins!

Winner: TJP, by submission

The Cruiser-Great tortures Dar by holding on after the bell, but lets go so he can boast about the ring. His attitude may not be so great, but has TJP earned that big opportunity like he’s been demanding?

 

205 Live takes a closer look at Alexander VS Itami.

The Don from Nihon demands respect, whether he deserves it or not. The Soul of 205 Live worked way too hard for way too long to earn that Cruiserweight Championship. It wasn’t about what Itami thinks he deserves, but Alexander adding Itami’s legend to his own legacy. The best striker in the Cruiserweight Division gave Alexander’s body bruise after bruise, but the agility and aerial attacks evened the playing field. Itami was merciless with those hands and feet, but Alexander would not die. All it took was the right opening to hit the Lumbar Check for Alexander to win #AndStill be the Cruiserweight Champion. The Age of Alexander continues, who will be the next challenger added to the legacy?

 

Mustafa Ali speaks.

“They told me it was dangerous. They said it was impossible.” The Beacon of Light means the No Disqualification match he had with Buddy Murphy two weeks ago. Ali admits it was dangerous, but he didn’t quit. He found a way to win, because he was fighting for millions. Ali vows to fight all the way until he’s Cruiserweight Champion. How long and how hard will his fight to the top be?

 

Drew Gulak w/ Jack Gallagher & THE Brian Kendrick VS Danny Garcia!

If Alexander is the Soul and Ali is the Heart, then perhaps the Philly Stretcher is the Brain of 205 Live. The self-proclaimed best submission specialist in WWE today looks to build more momentum for his Ungentlemanly Alliance tonight. Will the smartest Cruiserweight in the room be named the next challenger to the title?

Kendrick gives Garcia a handshake hello before he and Gallagher exit the ring. The bell rings, and Gulak clobbers Garcia right away! Gulak drags Garcia up for a STIFF back suplex, then into the GuLOCK! Garcia fades, Gulak wins!

Winner: Drew Gulak, by submission

The best and most dangerous submission specialist proves his word tonight with a fast and furious finish. But Gulak isn’t done, as he wishes to speak.

“Well you can’t always get what you want, but if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need.” Gulak isn’t a big fan of “the rock ‘n’ roll” but Mick Jagger had a point there. The 205 Live Universe has been subjected to two years of “unworthy champions. But not anymore!” They’ll have the champion they need in Drew Gulak. And speaking of, that Danny Garcia reminds him of Alexander. Not physically, but in spirit, because when you step to Gulak, you WILL tap out. Will Gulak grind the rest of the Cruiserweight Division into dust in his pursuit of giving us all a #Better205Live?

 

Backstage interview with Tony Nese & Buddy Murphy.

The Cruiserweight Juggernaut lost his cool with Lucha House Party spinning their matracas last week, and that cost the Premier Athlete his match. Murphy just doesn’t like losing, but the luchadors were the wrong guys in the wrong place at the wrong time. He doesn’t regret what he did, just that Nese didn’t get to properly showcase himself. Nese can defeat a former champion on Kalisto. And Kalisto knows better than anyone that he was going to lose. But Nese is willing to give Kalisto a chance to prove him wrong. In fact, next week can be a match where the teammates are left behind to settle this 1v1. Will Nese and his eight abs be enough to show the Lucha Dragon who is worthy of moving up the ranks?

 

Akira Tozawa VS Lio Rush!

The Man of the Hour told the Stamina Monster that, at least from his perspective, the former champion hasn’t done much since losing that belt. Of course, Tozawa pointed out Lio hasn’t done all that much in just showing up in the Cruiserweight Division, either. Who will make something of this first-ever encounter of high-speed superstars?

The bell rings and “AH! AH!” echoes out already. Lio admits, the people love Tozawa. He circles and approaches Tozawa, but then backs off. They feel things out, but Lio always keeps just out of reach. Tozawa keeps chasing, but Lio is just playing with him as he gets to the ropes. Lio then rushes and gets a headlock. Tozawa powers out but Lio goes up and over. Tozawa tries to trip him up but Lio sees it all just in time to change direction. Lio keeps things moving, then counters Tozawa’s whip with a springboard huricanrana! Lio grins at Tozawa while lounging on the top rope. Maverick watches this, too, and is slightly amused with Lio’s swagger. Tozawa rushes Lio but Lio bails out. Lio takes a breather but Tozawa chases him down!

They go around the ring and back in, but Tozawa dodges Lio now. Lio sunset flips but Tozawa rolls through, to Penalty Kick! Tozawa has Lio now as he hits the screaming back senton! Tozawa copies the lounging to show anything Lio can do, he can do better.

Lio runs in but gets a chop for it! Tozawa chops Lio again, then stalks him to the ropes. Lio throws Tozawa out then fires off hammering hands. The referee backs Lio off, but Lio handspring kicks Tozawa down! Lio wants time to recover, “Count him out!” Lio swaggers about in the ring, though his chest is still stinging. Tozawa gets up at 6 and in the ring at 8, but Lio is on him with more hammering hands. Lio toys with Tozawa as he stomps away in a corner. They look like Tozawa’s shouting stomps. Tozawa hits back with body shots, but Lio stomps Tozawa down again.

Lio grins as he says Tozawa’s done already. He drags Tozawa up, suplexes him down, then covers. ONE, but Lio just grins. Lio kicks Tozawa while he’s down, then drags him up. Tozawa hits back, and now it’s a brawl of forearms. Lio gets some in, but Tozawa hits back. Tozawa runs but Lio runs Tozawa over with an elbow! Lio drops an elbow, then another, taunting Tozawa every time. The fans “AH! AH!” for Tozawa but Lio wraps on a chinlock. Tozawa feeds off the “AH! AH!” and stands back up. Tozawa hits Lio but Lio hits back. They brawl again, hitting each other back and forth. Tozawa chops, chops, feints, then jabs! But Lio saw it coming! Lio fires off a strike fest, but his kick is blocked. Tozawa flips Lio but Lio lands on his feet, only to get that jab!

Tozawa kicks, swings, slides under, and hits the kick. Lio is rocked all the way out of the ring. Tozawa builds speed to DIVE! The Tozawa Torpedo hits Lio right into the desk! Then they go back in the ring. Lio flounders while Tozawa climbs, for a missile dropkick! Cover, TWO! Tozawa is surprised by the young upstart, but he isn’t done. Fans rally up and Tozawa feeds off the energy. Lio crawls to a corner but Tozawa pursues. Tozawa brings Lio up but Lio kicks again. Tozawa catches the kick, but Lio SLAPS the mouth piece out of him! Lio runs in, but into a saido suplex! Tozawa climbs up, “AH! AH!” from the fans at a fever pitch.

But Lio gets out of the ring. Tozawa goes to dive again, but Lio ducks, so Tozawa aborts the launch. Tozawa pursues Lio directly, but Lio throws him at steps. Lio gets away while Tozawa stops himself. Tozawa grabs at Lio, rocking him with a right. Lio staggers, comes back, but misses the shoulder tackle to get a kick. Lio goes down, Tozawa goes up. But Lio trips Tozawa up! Tozawa hits buckles, and now Lio climbs. FINAL HOUR FROG SPLASH! Cover, Lio wins!!

Winner: Lio Rush, by pinfall

He came to collect, and collect he did! The Man of the Hour gets the upset victory to add a big name to his short undefeated streak in the Cruiserweight Division. Will Lio make the entire Division, and the Cruiserweight Champion, #FeelTheRush soon enough?

 

Drake Maverick meets with Cedric Alexander.

Everyone heard from the 205 Live GM that there would be answers as to who is next for the champion to face. So who is it? Maverick has thought it over all night. Just look at tonight’s show! The best talent in the WWE is right here in 205 Live. That said, Maverick has narrowed it down based on each man’s “overall body of work” in the Division. Therefore, next week, Drew Gulak VS Hideo Itami VS TJP VS Mustafa Ali, Fatal 4 Way #1 Contender’s match! Alexander likes the sound of that. May the best man win. Who will be that best man to best the other three and go on to face the Cruiserweight Champion?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A very good episode of 205 Live from top to bottom. TJP VS Dar was great with TJP showing off those technical skills again. I figured he’d get the win this week to even things with Dar. Dar is fine, because he’s still promised a United Kingdom Championship match, so the Cruiserweight Division isn’t as crucial for him right now. Ali has a great promo and Gulak makes quick work of his jobber. Learning that these three plus Itami will be in a Fatal 4 next week is great, because all four options make for a great match with Alexander. All four men have had a match or two with Alexander in the past, but I don’t doubt the possible rematches will be even better than the originals.

Buddy Murphy & Tony Nese already take an interesting turn in their teaming together as Nese insists he doesn’t need a corner man to face Kalisto. I would hope Murphy honors the agreement so that there isn’t reason for this duo to break up already. And whether Nese wins or loses, the muscular pals going against Lucha House Party in tag team matches should be good to bolster the idea of a Cruiserweight Tag Division. Though, if they get a third guy on their side, I’m starting to think it’ll be a Trios Division. Then the main event, Lio VS Tozawa, was very good for their first time out, but with neither man at the championship level yet, I expect a rematch to give this feud plenty of fire.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (7/17/18)

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Will Hardy reclaim his title on SmackDown tonight?

After a low blow got Shinsuke Nakamura the win, SmackDown GM Paige wants to make it right by giving Jeff Hardy his rematch tonight! Will Hardy get revenge?

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • AJ Styles VS Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega; Styles wins.
  • Becky Lynch VS Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville; Becky wins.
  • Samoa Joe VS Tye Dillinger; Joe wins.
  • Kofi Kingston w/ The New Day VS Eric Young w/ SAnitY; Young wins.
  • WWE United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura VS Jeff Hardy; Hardy wins by disqualification, Nakamura retains the WWE Untied States Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

Jeff Hardy heads to the ring!

The Charismatic Engima is feeling very, very sore after Extreme Rules in Pittsburgh. He got beat, but not the way he or the WWE Universe would’ve wanted. The King of Strong Style made sure to get a quick low blow while the referee’s back was turned, then gave Hardy a #Knee2Face. Hardy lost his title, but gets a chance to win it back later tonight. But for right now, Hardy speaks to Wilkes-Barre, who is happy to see him.

“I may look like Jeff Hardy. I may make an entrance like Jeff Hardy and wear face paint like Jeff Hardy. But I do not feel like Jeff Hardy. I feel like something’s missing. I feel incomplete. My heart… is BROKEN!” Hardy isn’t United States Champion anymore after what Nakamura did to him. Nakamura continues to prove “he is the embodiment of moral turpitude.” That’s a fancy way of saying he’s just a jackass! Nakamura uses a low blow because that’s the only way he can win. Hardy wasn’t thinking clearly Sunday, but now he’s mega clear. And Hardy wants to make sure Nakamura feels pain, to make Nakamura OBSOLETE, and to take back the United States Championship! But until then, enjoy SmackDown! Hardy is ready for Nakamura, but what about Nakamura being ready for him?

Backstage interview with Shinsuke Nakamura.

His response to Hardy is “Jeff Hardy is a sad clown.” He wears the paint to hide his tears. Nakamura cries his own crocodile tears over Hardy losing his title, because now it’s Nakamura’s title! That is a reason to smile. Smile, Renee, smile. Okay… And tonight, Nakamura gives everyone a reason to smile. He’ll make the clown cry. God Bless America.

 

AJ Styles VS Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega!

SmackDown is STILL the House that AJ Styles Built, because The Phenomenal One is STILL WWE Champion after a stellar match with the Bulgarian Brute. But after an encounter with Vega backstage, the Champ that Runs the Camp is willing to give El Idolo a go in the ring. Will Almas shock Styles with a major upset victory? Or will Styles show Almas that he’s not quite phenomenal yet?

The bell rings and we begin. They tie up, and Almas gets a waistlock. Styles works to get out but Almas arm-drags Styles down. Almas eggs Styles on, and they circle again. Styles gets a waistlock now, but Almas pries his way out to a shoulder breaker and standing switch. Almas arm-drags Styles again and confidently dusts himself off. They go again, Styles gets another waistlock. Almas elbows out then puts on a headlock. Fans rally for Styles as he powers Almas to a corner. Almas dirties the break with that kick. Almas gets a headlock again, and Styles can’t power out. Styles rolls it, ONE, and Almas grinds Styles on the mat. They stand up again and Styles fights out. Styles pwoers out of the hold and things speed up. Almas Tranquilo while Styles goes for a dropkick. The mind games begin while we go picture i picture.

Almas stays on the apron to embrace the heat, but Styles gets him with a sweep of the legs. Styles throws Almas into barriers, then puts him back in the ring. Alma sis up and ready, and he gets Styles with the back elbow. Almas runs in for a knee into the corner, then covers. TWO, but Almas keeps his focus. He drags Styles up for a forearm that floors Styles. Almas stomps away as Vega commands. Styles chops back hard, but Almas throws more strikes into him. Almas whips corner to corner, but Styles dodges and Almas tumbles out! El Idolo hits the floor, but Styles hits him with a slingshot forearm! Almas checks his jaw while Styles drags him up. They go into the ring, and Styles brings Almas up. Almas kicks but Styles blocks to dragon screw! Almas rolls out but Styles follows.

Vega stands in Styles’ way, and Almas gets Styles with a sucker punch! Almas chops Styles, then walks off the damage before putting Styles in. Almas chops Styles more, then brings Styles up for an arm-lock. Styles endures while Vega coaches Styles on. Styles gets up, fights out with forearms, then gets Almas with a wheelbarrow facebuster! Both men are down and Vega is upset. Almas and Styles stir, then stand up. Styles throws hands while blocking Almas, then clobbers him as we go single picture. Sliding forearm! Then a corner clothesline! He lifts Almas but Almas dropkicks him down. Both men are down again, and Vega coaches Almas while fans are behind Styles. Styles fires off the Phenomenal Blitz, but Almas stops it short. Almas throws elbows from both sides, then turns Styles sideways for the draping backbreaker and elbow drop DDT! Cover, TWO!

Vega grows frustrated for Almas, but Almas keeps his cool. He stomps a mudhole into Styles, then throws more elbows. Almas hoists Styles up top but Styles throws hands back. Almas triangle dropkicks Styles! Then he dumps Styles down, preparing the knees. He runs corner to corner, but into the USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO! Styles is a bit surprised by Almas, but he gets up again. He brings Almas up for the Clash, but Almas powers Styles to the apron. Styles knocks Almas away, then springboards, but Almas disrupts it with an elbow! Almas gets over to Styles and positions him. He climbs up top while fans rally up for Styles. Almas moonsaults, but Styles rolls, standing moonsault follows through! Cover, TWO!! Vega is beside herself with how close that was.

Fans are fired up as both men slowly stand. Almas grabs Styles, but Styles slips out of the suplex to enziguri! Almas staggers to a corner, but he boots Styles back. He climbs up and drags Styles with him, but Styles PELE! Styles climbs up to join Almas, and quickly adjusts, but Almas trips him up. Tree of Woe STOMPS! Vega wants him to finish, CIEN KNEES!!

Cover, TWO!! Almas was that close to pinning the champ! But Almas refocuses as he brings Styles up. styles blocks the DDT, Calf Crusher! Almas taps, Styles wins!

Winner: AJ Styles, by submission

The Phenomenal One found a fight in El Idolo, but he finds a way to win out! Almas stands back up, but before Styles has a chance to respond, Almas and Vega leave. Is this just the first of many matches between these two? Who will step up to be Styles’ new #1 contender come Summerslam?

 

Aiden English meets with someone backstage.

MC Artiste apologizes. To Lana. She must be so angry with him for the mistake he made. That was Rusev’s moment, and English ruined it. So please, talk to Rusev for him. Lana confirms Rusev is angry and disappointed, but needs his space. Why did he come to Lana about an apology? English needs to think hard and long if he’s what’s best for Rusev. English says he’s always had Rusev’s best interests in heart. He owes so much to Rusev, so he just wants a second chance. Don’t we all deserve that? Lana will take that into consideration. Will an apology passed on through the Ravishing Russian be enough for Rusev to forgive English?

 

Becky Lynch VS Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville!

The Lass Kicker defeated the Gladiator Gal last time, but can God’s Greatest Creation get even for the duo formerly known as Absolution?

The bell rings and Becky ties up with Mandy. Mandy gets the wristlock but Becky reverses to her own. Mandy gives Becky a right, then runs, but misses the knee. Becky kicks then whips, but Mandy reverses. Becky dodges for the jump kick. Sonya distracts but Becky swipes at her. Mandy runs in and blocks the second jump kick to yank Becky down. Mandy covers, TWO, and she’s shocked. She bounces Becky’s face off the mat, then puts Becky in a corner. Mandy gives Becky stomps, then embraces the heat. She drags Becky up and Becky fights back. Mandy clubs away on Becky, then suplexes her over. Float over to cover, TWO. Mandy drags Becky up and puts Becky in a standing chinbar. Fans rally for Becky as she fights her way out. Mandy whips her then dropkicks her, then hits the big knee! Cover, TWO!

Mandy keeps on Becky with heavy rights, then covers again. TWO, and Mandy grows frustrated. She drags Becky up, and back into that standing chinbar. Fans rally up again, and Becky pries her way out again. Mandy reels Becky in but Becky reverses to roll her up, TWO. Becky boots Mandy, then rolls Mandy up again, TWO. They run, and Becky hits double forearms and a calf kick. Becky fires up with the fans, and throws Mandy with a Becksploder! She grabs the arm, Disarm-Her right away! Mandy taps, Becky wins!

Winner: Becky Lynch, by submission

That’s another win and another arm taken, Becky gets an Absolution Sweep! Becky speaks to Wilkes-Barre and the WWE Universe, thanking them for their support. Winning feels good, it feels “freakin’ great!” Becky says she’s been waiting, patiently and impatiently, but has never stopped working as hard as she can for the fans. But this is her just getting started. Hear that, Carmella? Straight Fire is coming for you. Becky Balboa needs to become SmackDown Women’s Champion again! What do the fans think? “YES! YES!” With Becky burning up the competition like she has, will she be given a Summerslam championship opportunity?

 

SmackDown GM Paige likes what she sees.

Carmella is with her as they watch Becky. The WWE Universe cheered her, which Carmella doesn’t normally hear. They love Becky! Yeah well people love British accents, but Carmella just finds they give her a headache. Speaking of headaches, how is her boyfriend, James Ellsworth, doing? Ew, he’s not her boyfriend And she doesn’t care, so moving on. Carmella has beaten Carmella and Asuka twice, so she wants another FABULOUS Mellabration. Paige loves parties, and will throw the biggest party of all for her. If she wins against Becky Lynch next week. No, she’s not defending her title already. Don’t worry, it’s not for the title. But if Becky does win, then they’ll have a title match at Summerslam!

 

R-Truth checks in with Tye Dillinger.

Is he ready? Yeah, he’s good. C’mon, are you ready? Is this one of those motivational speeches? Tye doesn’t need it. Truth can’t hear you. Okay! Yes, Tye gets his shot at Samoa Joe. Good talk! Wait, no, Truth was talking to someone on the phone. He wouldn’t have told Tye to take on Joe! But the Perfect 10 is, next!

 

Samoa Joe VS Tye Dillinger!

The Perfect 10 got a perfect blindside from Samoa Joe while cameras were to commercials last week. The Destroyer doesn’t respect Tye much at all, but he’ll have to take this match now. Will Joe come to regret what he did? Or will he put Tye to sleep all over again?

The bell rings and Tye fires off furious hands and feet on Joe! He backs off at 4, and Joe gets out of the ring. Joe drags Tye out to join him but Tye shoves him to the announce desk. Tye barrels Joe into the desk, then into barriers. He fires off more hands, then bares his knee to ram it into Joe’s face. Tye won’t back down, but then Joe throws him into a post! Joe drags Tye up and into the ring, then throws those swift jabs. Joe whips Tye into a corner, hits a back elbow and the Pele! Tye drops while Joe asks him, “Is this what you wanted?” Joe drags Tye up but Tye denies the Coquina. Joe makes him pay with swift kicks, then gets the Coquina Clutch! Tye flails but fades fast! Joe wins!

Winner: Samoa Joe, by submission

The Destroyer is not someone you want to anger. Tye showed courage but Joe showed everyone what they can expect if they get on his bad side. Will Joe carve a path of destruction to a title in time for Summerslam?

 

The Miz holds a memorial service for Team Hell No.

Daniel Bryan & Kane failed to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships from the Bludgeon Brothers at Extreme Rules, but that was mostly because Harper & Rowan attacked backstage before the match. Details aside, pallbearers bring out Kane’s mask on a mannequin head. The four of them quietly go out to the ring, Miz shaking hands of “mourning” fans.

Miz takes the masked mannequin head and sets it on a pedestal. He picks up the mic and speaks. “Thank you all for being here tonight.” Miz is as saddened as they are, but we are all gathered here not to discuss the real news, Miz & Mrs. debuting in a week. No, that’s not what tonight is about, even though Miz was also in the MLB Legends & Celebrities All-Star Game, on the winning American League team and the game’s MVP. Tonight is about paying respects to “two of the worst friends ever”. In the words of N*Sync, Bye Bye Bye Team Hell No. They were polar opposites yet were once tag team champions. That was five years ago. But even so, their unlikely friendship inspired unity around the world, until Kane tombstone’d Bryan three consecutive times.

Any sane person would’ve thought that was the end. But “Hell No” it wasn’t, because Bryan made the same mistake by reuniting with Kane. But then Harper & Rowan destroyed them, and Team Hell No is six feet under. Everyone, please stand up and join Miz in a moment of silence. Miz raises his hand, but fans do not respect the moment of silence. Do they want to be treated like children? Now give him silence. Miz will wait as long as it takes. Fans do not quiet down, they chant “YES! YES!” Okay, that’s a good point, that was a better choice.

But one final note: Miz told you so! Miz told everyone how this would end, in the middle of this ring, and he was proven right! He’s also right about the “bogus hero”, Daniel Bryan! Bryan was never, ever an amazing wrestler, just a glory hound obsessed with impossible goals. Bryan threw a Hail Mary to stay relevant. It wasn’t about tag titles, it was so Bryan could roll out his greatest hits. News flash: no one’s buying the album. And as said as this whole thing has been, Bryan is the saddest. Bryan may not want to accept it, but he knows the truth. The truth: Bryan’s return has been a bust! Every week is another week Bryan destroys his own legacy, and no one will tell him. Miz will tell Bryan that his days of headlining are over! Bryan’s career is as dead as Team Hell No!

But here comes Bryan to respond! From behind! Bryan throws forearms on Miz then on the pallbearers! Miz gets away but Bryan isn’t done. Bryan tips over the pedestal and the pictures, to join in the “YES! YES!” chant. Knee Plus for the pallbearer!

Miz smirks at the angry Goat, but will Miz be smiling after Bryan gets done with him?

 

The New Day is fired up.

SAnitY? More like Unsanitary! Kofi Kingston prepares to get payback on the erratic Eric Young in the ring tonight!

Kofi Kingston w/ The New Day VS Eric Young w/ SAnitY!

The power of positivity wasn’t enough in Pittsburgh to keep the high-flying veteran from going through a table. Can positivity do better against the forces of chaos in Wilkes-Barre?

The bell rings and Young circles with Kofi. They tie up, and they push each other around the ring. Kofi gets a waistlock but Young gets the armlock. Kofi rolls and spins around to reverse it, but Young reverses it back. They go to a corner and Kofi dodges Young to kick the leg. Kofi grins at the fuming Young then dropkicks him down. Cover, TWO. Kofi gets a headlock then waistlock, but Young turns him around to club him down. Young drops more elbows, then haymakers. He has Kofi in a corner as he drives in more elbows. Kofi stands but Young runs, but Kofi sweeps the legs. Kofi gets back up, springboards and ax handles Young down. Young flounders up but is clothesline’d out. SAnitY regroups while we go picture in picture.

Kofi and the New Day rally up with the fans, and Woods plays the trombone. Kofi fakes Young out, but Young waits for Kofi to back up. Young returns but bails out again as Kofi draws near. They go again and Young shoulders in then slides under. Kofi throws him back out! Young dodges the baseball slide to bounce Kofi off the apron. He puts Kofi in, then covers, TWO. Young drives more elbows into Kofi then runs him over, then things speed up. Kofi hits a back elbow and covers, TWO! Young gets up and backs Kofi into a corner, then gets a cheap shot as we go single picture again. He runs back in but Kofi dodges. Young hits buckles, but he sweeps Kofi’s legs. The New Day glare at Wolfe & Dain while Young puts Kofi on the apron for clubbing forearms.

The New Day coach Kofi but he gets a kick while he’s down. Young catapult guillotines Kofi on the ropes, then covers, TWO. Young drags Kofi up for a stiff neckbreaker. Cover, TWO, but Young keeps on Kofi with a neck wrench. Kofi endures the twist, and fans rally up for him. He stands and fights back, then throws haymakers. Young throws a knee, then drags Kofi up for a buckle bump. Young throws a stiff right, then climbs up for a hanging dragon sleeper! He lets go at 4 and embraces the heat before leaping at Kofi. Kofi dropkicks Young down! Woods rallies the fans with his trombone. Kofi stands and rallies with double chops. He dropkicks Young down, then hits the leaping ax handle. He’s all fired up now, for the “New Day~!” Boom Drop!

Kofi calls for the finish, but Young dodges Trouble in Paradise to roll him up! TWO! Young is whipped to a corner but he tumbles up and out, only for Kofi to SUPER Belly2Belly suplex! Cover, TWO!! Young bails out to regroup with SAnitY, but Kofi builds speed to FLY! He leap frogs the ref to wipe out all of SAnitY!

Woods coaches Kofi up as he puts Young in. SOS! Cover, TWO! Frustration creeps in a bit but Kofi runs in at Young. Young dodges the splash, but Kofi swing kicks back. Kofi climbs, but Wolfe climbs up. BIg E gets him, but Dain is a distraction. Woods SUPERKICKS Dain while Kofi goes after Young. Young ducks under, but Kofi rolls, TWO! Dain throws Woods into Kofi! Wheelbarrow neckbreaker from Young! Cover, Young wins!

Winner: Eric Young, by pinfall

Give an assist to the anarchy on the outside, but a win is a win. SAnitY won as a team, and their fearless leader won 1v1. Will the trio of turmoil throw the SmackDown Tag Team Division into utter chaos?

 

WWE United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura VS Jeff Hardy!

It was a blow below the belt that brought victory to the King of Strong Style, and the Killer of Legends, Randy Orton, only added insult to injury with his return. But now, the BROKEN Enigma has his rematch courtesy of the Glampire Manager honoring his request. Will the painted visage of Jeff Hardy be smiling with a victory tonight? Or will he fall to more tricks from the nefarious Nakamura?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and the bell rings. Hardy unleashes upon Nakamura! Nakamura shoves him away then gets a waistlock. Hardy saw the low blow coming, he won’t let Nakamura get away that easy. Hardy stomps Nakamura in a corner to almost copy Bad Vibrations. Nakamura bails out but Hardy LEAPS onto him and into the barriers! He puts Nakamura back in, then climbs up, but Nakamura scrambles away. No Swantons yet, but Hardy has the champ reeling while we go to break.

SmackDown returns, and Nakamura has Hardy down on the mat. Nakamura toys with Hardy as he slowly stands. Nakamura kicks away on Hardy, but Hardy catches on, only to get the enziguri. Cover, TWO, but Nakamura tires again. TWO, and again, TWO. Nakamura grimaces, but then digs a knee in for a chinlock. He digs his fingers into Hardy’s chin, but Hardy works his way up and out. Hardy elbows out, but Nakamura throws him down by his hair! Nakamura drags Hardy back up, then bumps him off buckles. He mocks the DELETE hands, then gives Hardy truly Bad Vibrations! Nakamura backs off to then come back with stomps. He drags Hardy up while fans rally for Brother Nero. Nakamura squeezes Hardy with the facelock but Hardy fights back. Nakamura denies the lift, then grinds Hardy to the mat.

Fans keep cheering for Hardy, and Hardy fights back with body shots. Nakamura knees and snapmares, but misses the knee drop! Hardy fires up with DELETE, then gives Nakamura buckle bumps in one corner, another corner, and a third corner. He goes for the fourth and completes the set. Hardy brings Nakamura out for a jawbreaker, then runs for a splash. Cover, TWO! Hardy gets the fans going again but Nakamura throat chops! Nakamura back suplexes but Hardy slips out to Russian leg sweep and leg trap cover! TWO, but barely! Hardy gets to ropes and drags himself up. Off comes the shirt, and he ax handles Nakamura. Nakamura denies the Twist, then heel kicks Hardy in the head! Hardy is out, but Nakamura hurries to give him an apron knee strike! Hardy slumps down while we go to break.

SmackDown returns once more, and Hardy fights out of a sleeper. Nakamura kicks him then whips him, but Hardy elbows back. Hardy haymakers and boots, then climbs up, WHISPER IN THE WIND! Cover, TWO! Hardy keeps his cool as he and Nakamura stand. He throws hands on Nakamura, then kicks. He whips but Nakamura reverses, only for Hardy to knock him down. Hardy hits the atomic drop and the leg splitting leg drop, then dropkick! Cover, TWO! Hardy slowly stands up again, DELETE echoing out. He kicks and prepares but Nakamura denies the twist again. Hardy still gets the spinning back kick! He climbs up, Hardyac countered with boots. Nakamura hoists Hardy up, for the Top Shelf Knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura drags Hardy up, but Hardy denies the suplex with elbows. Hardy reaches for ropes but Nakamura gives him a backstabber! Sliding Wizard, TWO!

Nakamura can’t stand it. He is frustrated with Hardy as he rams in knees to shoulders and ribs. Nakamura goes to a corner and takes aim, but Hardy sees it coming! Slingblade! Hardy hurries up top, but Nakamura trips him up. Nakamura kicks Hardy in the face and Hardy drops down. Nakamura takes aim again, fires it up… But Hardy gets the Twist of Fate!

Hardy hurries back up, takes aim… SWANTON!! Cover, but RANDY ORTON drags Hardy out!?

Winner: Jeff Hardy, by disqualification; Nakamura retains the United States Championship

And Orton isn’t done with Hardy, either! He throws Hardy into steel steps, then asks Hardy “Do you want to know why I’m doing this?!” Orton keeps ramming Hardy into steel steps, then gives him European Uppercuts and forearms. Nakaura is the one most in shock over this turn of events. Orton clears the steps but Hardy fires back! Orton rakes Hardy’s eyes, then throw shim into the other steps! The Viper drags Hardy over to the first set, and stomps Hardy’s head!!

Hardy is down and Nakamura is confused as anyone as to why. Orton asks Hardy again “You wanna know why? You’re gonna have to wait to find out.” Then he pulls at the open earlobe!! Referees try to get Orton to stop, but he won’t! He throws hardy over the announce desk! Security has to come out now to keep Orton back. But Orton won’t stay back! He clears off the top of the desk to drag Hardy onto it. Orton rains down rights, then drags Hardy out for the draping DDT! Referees and security tell Orton get out of the arena. Orton leaves, but not because they told him to. Those voices in Orton’s head are violent as ever, but will there be hell to pay for what he’s done?

 


 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown redeems the main roster after the off-target Extreme Rules and filler Raw. Almas VS Styles was a sudden but amazing opener, and it really helps TV-only fans understand how great Almas is in the ring. Styles still wins because it’s too soon for Almas to defeat the WWE Champion. Joe wins against a very game Tye, which furthers my confusion as to why the advertised this before just to delay it. SmackDown plans to announce what Styles has in store for him at Summerslam, so I’m betting Joe is at least one superstar named as contender. Bryan and The Miz are likely, too, and it can also be part of their own story against each other. That “memorial” was a great segment in itself, too, so this is going to be the summer blockbuster Miz has been looking for.

Becky continues to win, and with her match against Carmella next week, I think we’re getting that championship match we were expecting months ago. If Ellsworth stays out during this time, Becky might actually get that belt back so that she can be the one going up against Asuka and Charlotte down the line. Kofi VS Young was great, and being the Heels, SAnitY wins thanks to distraction and number games, something The New Day were masters of when they were Heels. They already had a Six Man Tag, but maybe another one will decide who challenges the Bludgeon Brothers at Summerslam. English groveling to Lana worries me. They were teasing a Rusev Day break-up, and it might be coming back around. Vince can never let us have nice things, can he?

Hardy VS Nakamura was great, so it’s fine we got the six-second screw-job last night. Nakamura’s Heel game is strong, but I’m liking the idea that Hardy is becoming more and more Broken. His promo implied it, and after the beating Orton gave him, I’d love if next week we got the full Brother Nero. Nakamura’s reactions to Orton have also been great, and Orton saying we’re going to learn why he’s doing this is something to look forward to for next week. Hardy is still dealing with leg problems, so this either gives him a few weeks to be away from the ring and recover, or we just turn it up a notch and we get Hardy VS Orton before getting a Triple Threat for the title at Summerslam.

My Score: 8.5/10


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