It’s night two of AXS TV’s coverage of NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018! The Aerial Assassin, Will Ospreay, defends his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against The Time Splitter, Kushida, to revive their epic rivalry! Plus, Suzuki-Gun and Los Ingobernables de Japon take their feud to a new level with a TEN MAN TAG!
This review of Wrestling Dontaku 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.
- 10 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Suzuki-Gun; LIJ wins.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Kushida; Ospreay wins and retains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS review what led to tonight’s matches.
Will Ospreay took the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship back in a rare Fatal 4 Way at Wrestle Kingdom. The Aerial Assassin has defended and retained the title time and again against his WK opponents Hiromu Takahashi and Marty Scurll in separate 1v1 matches. But now he wants to prove he didn’t win by luck. Ospreay called out Kushida, and Kushida accepted. The overall series is still in Kushida’s favor, but can Ospreay has proven he can win. Can he prove it again?
10 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Suzuki-Gun!
This feud has been growing from the IWGP Junior Tag to the Heavyweight Tag to the very prestigious Intercontinental Championship. Can the entirety of LIJ overcome El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemura, Killer Elite Squad AND Suzuki himself all at once?
We join this war of Tranquilo and aggression as the Ticking Time Bomb crawls towards his corner. Hot tag and Naito is in. Naito runs and hits Kanemaru with the kick, then sweeps to swing in the dropkick. Fans fire up for Naito as he brings Kanemaru back up. Suzuki runs in and prevents Destino, but then Sanada grabs Suzuki for Skull End. But then KES run in and grab Sanada. Sanada fights them off and EVIL clotheslines Davey Boy Smith Jr. out. EVIL also dumps Lance Archer out, and then Bushi returns to intercept Desperado. Sanada and Bushi coordinate to double slingshot out onto KES and Desperado!
Suzuki goes after Naito in a corner with forearms, then whips, but Naito comes back with a flying forearm! Kanemaru runs in but is fed to EVIL’s mule kick. Naito enziguris Kanemura, than EVIL hits a clobbering clothesline. Naito drags Kanemaru up, and hits Destino!
Cover, LIJ wins!
Winners: LIJ, Naito pinning
Suzuki-Gun goes down in 5v5 warfare, and Suzuki himself is furious. Suzuki threatens Young Lions with physical violence, especially with a chair. He comes close to using that chair on LIJ.
Young Lions manage to pull Suzuki away, so they suffer his wrath instead. Suzuki leads his team away while Naito’s team celebrates in the ring. But as LIJ makes their own way out, someone from the crowd jumps Naito!
This masked man beats down Naito, and puts him into railings! They make their way back to the ring, and the masked man even uses the railings as weapons on Naito! Naito is hit over and over with right hands, and his attacker reveals himself. It’s CHRIS JERICHO!!
Y2J returns to NJPW, and hits Naito with a Code Breaker! Jericho was #AlphaClub when going against Kenny Omega, and now he’s #ListaIngobernablesdeJericho! Jericho rains down rights on Naito, then stomps and kicks him. Referees and Young Lions rush the ring but Jericho lashes out at the young wrestlers. Jericho leaves Naito and the Young Lions down in the ring, but then grabs the ring bell! Jericho takes aim but the referees try to stop him. They don’t, as Jericho SMASHES Naito’s face with the bell!
Jericho holds the bell up triumphantly while Naito bleeds on the mat. Referees repriman Jericho, and LIJ finally return. Young Lions barricade Jericho from Naito while Naito’s team checks on him. Jericho slaps the Young Lions out of the way, but because Naito is still stirring, Jericho goes after him more! LIJ rushes the ring and they run Jericho off. Jericho throws a chair at the ring! Then he throws Young Lions around into railing and railing around into Young Lions. However, Jericho has done more than enough to his new target. Will Naito be in good enough shape to defend his Intercontinental Championship? Let alone go after Jericho for revenge?
Naito, with crimson mask of blood, manages to stand, and then CHUCKS the stretcher away. Despite the damage done by Jericho, the Uncontrollable Charisma still has fire in his heart. He even pulls a page out of Suzuki’s book and beats up a Young Lion by whipping him into railings! Can Naito stay Tranquilo when he goes after Jericho for revenge?
Chris Jericho shouts “You see what happens, Naito!?” This is what happens when a “piece of sh*t” angers Jericho. “You hear me, Naito?!” Jericho storms his way through the halls, throwing whatever he can grab. He even busts his way through a dividing wall just to keep going forward. “You see what happens, New Japan?!” Jericho storms his way out of the arena and threatens the camera men before getting into his taxi. He promises Naito that he’s coming for him, before the taxi drives off.
As for Naito, he has to sit down. “Man, that was intense.” Naito can tell Jericho’s challenge is “crystal clear.” Naito doesn’t really know much about Jericho, but he’s famous, right? For someone that famous to get that worked up, Naito must’ve really gotten to him, huh? Jericho’s actions prove how valuable Naito is. “It’s all good.” Jericho scores a perfect 100 with Naito. But NJPW is Naito’s home, and Japan is Naito’s turf. If Jericho thinks he can do what he wants and leave without a scratch, he’s wrong. Jericho “summoned the courage to make the first move.” But that doesn’t mean thing will turn out well for him. Naito will teach him that personally. As bad as Naito looks right now, will he make Jericho look even worse after their actual match?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS Kushida!
The Time Splitter leads the series against the Aerial Assassin, but he still lost the title. Ospreay wants to prove to the world that Junior Heavyweights belong, and that he belongs at the top of the Junior Heavyweight Division. Who will win this newest rematch in this epic feud?
The belt is shown and the bell rings, but the two rivals hear the fans already dueling with chants. Kushida and Ospreay circle and tie up, and Ospreay powers Kushida to the ropes. Kushida turns it around but Ospreay turns it back. Ospreay honors the ropebreak, but is on his guard. The fans applaud as the two circle again. They tie up, Kushida rolls after the legs but Ospreay keeps him off. They tie up, and Kushida gets a wristlock. Ospreay reverses but Kushida reverses back and brings Ospreay down to the mat. Kushida wrenches the arm and wrist but Ospreay stands up. Ospreay spins and breaks to snapmare but Kushida goes right back to the wrist. Kushida wrenches but Ospreay rolls and kip-up, only for Kushida to again get the wrist.
Ospreay’s shoulders and neck are still badly hurt from his match with Marty Scurll, and it shows as he screams in pain. He still stands up and snapmares, and anticipates Kushida’s reversal to snapmare again. Kushida reverses again, so Ospreay snapmares again, but Kushida still gets back to the wristlock. Ospreay endures but Kushida backslides then rolls Ospreay to a chinlock. Ospreay endures as Kushida pulls back. They stand up, and Ospreay powers out. Kushida runs Ospreay over, then runs again, but Ospreay gets up and things speed up. Kushida hip tosses but Ospreay kips up and dropkicks. The dropkick misses but Ospreay avoids the kick to the arm. Ospreay rolls and handsprings, but Kushida hands off the headscissors to Red Shoes! Kushida then lines it up, and kicks Ospreay’s ribs!
Ospreay rolls out of the ring but Kushida pursues. Ospreay leads Kushida around the corners, then lurks behind a camera man. Kushida moves the camera man, and narrowly avoids Ospreay’s rolling kick, only to turn around into Ospreay’s boot! Ospreay takes tme to check his arms, then whips Kushida. Kushida reverses but Ospreay jumps the railing. Kushida runs over, but Ospreay forearms him away. Ospreay uses the railings to springboard, but he flies into Kushida’s armbar!
Ospreay endures, but it won’t matter if he taps because they’re outside the ring. Kushida holds on until Red Shoes counts him. He lets go at 4, and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Kushida puts Ospreay back in the ring. Ospreay crawls to the other side but Kushida runs in and dropkicks him in the arm! Ospreay screams in pain, but Kushida keeps on him with a hammerlock against the mat. Kushida stands on then stomps the hammerlock, covers, TWO, into a short-arm scissors. Kushida pulls on the arm, but Ospreay resists. Ospreay moves it to a cover, TWO and Kushida keeps the scissors. But Ospreay uses his legs for the ropebreak, so Kushida lets him go. Fans applaud while Kushida backs off. Kushida brings Ospreay up but Ospreay hits back with body shots. Ospreay backs Kushida up but Kushida gives Ospreay a buckle shot! Ospreay gets out to the apron, and Red Shoes checks on him in regards to his neck and shoulders. Kushida walks over but Ospreay kicks at him from the mat.
Ospreay kicks, crawls, then kicks, but then Kushida is all over him with a facelock. Ospreay screams as Kushida shifts to a half camel clutch, and Ospreay comes within seconds of tapping, but Red Shoes has Kushida let go over concerns of a choke hold. Kushida stalks Ospreay to a corner, then snapmares him into a chinlock. Kushida wrenches Ospreay back, squeezing the neck. Ospreay gets up to his feet, then pries his way out enough to fight with back elbows. Ospreay runs, but into a chinlock. He snapmares Kushida off for his own chinlock, but Kushida reverses back into his chinlock. Ospreay endures again while fans rally. Kushida does a headstand to put more weight, then falls to put more torque. Kushida does it again, but Ospreay doesn’t quit.
They stand up again, and Ospreay fights out, but Kushida roundhouses the bad arm! Kushida whips but Ospreay manages a reversal. Kushida handsprings, but Ospreay evades and somehow manages his own handspring. Ospreay hits the handspring enziguri! Both men are down, but Kushida rolls out of the ring. Fans rally while Ospreay stands. Ospreay gets himself going, and manages the Sasuke Special!
The two collide and go down, but fans applaud. Red Shoes checks on them, and they both are okay to continue. Ospreay stands up first and brings Kushida into the ring. Fans applaud while Ospreay springboards and hits the flying clothesline. Cover, TWO! Ospreay’s shoulders still bother him, but he gets himself up again. He goes over to Kushida, dragon sleeper but Kushida turns it around into a cravat. Ospreay breaks free and roundhouse kicks Kushida in the chest. Kushida staggers to a corner, and Ospreay hits a running back elbow. Ospreay sweeps the legs then runs corner to corner for a BIG hesitation dropkick! Kushida rolls away, but Ospreay fires up, and hits a standing shooting star. TWO, and Ospreay grits his teeth as he works on his neck and shoulders.
Ospreay stands up and jams his shoulders, then calls for his standing finisher. He drags Kushida up and butterfly underhooks, but his shoulders just won’t let him. He clubs Kushida to keep him down, then tries again. Ospreay gets Kushida up but Kushida breaks free. Kushida swings, Ospreay catches him into a full nelson but Kushida breaks free again. Ospreay swings the hook kick but Kushida ducks, to PELE Ospreay in return! Kushida runs, but into the dropkick flip. Ospreay enziguris but Kushida ducks, so Ospreay slides under. Kushida copies that, then rolls Ospreay for the Hoverboard! Ospreay quickly waistlocks out of it, and German Suplexes Kushida down! Ospreay can’t keep the bridge with those bad shoulders, but both men are down as we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Ospreay gets to a corner. Red Shoes checks on him, but he won’t end this match here. Kushida also gets up, and fans rally for them both. Ospreay stands up, and he circles Kushida. He kicks Kushida in the chest, but Kushida dares him to do more. Ospreay kicks, then kicks again, but Kushida catches the leg, so Ospreay clubs away on Kushida’s back. He even peels of Kushida’s tap to kick and stomp and hammer away on it more. Ospreay runs but Kushida follows for the handspring rolling kick! Ospreay hangs halfway out of the ring, then slumps to the apron. Kushida joins Ospreay out there, and they stand up.
Both men teeter on the edge, and Kushida throws a forearm. Ospreay throws a forearm, but Kushida comes back with another. Ospreay forearms again but Kushida fires off several. Kushida backs up and runs over, but barely grabs the ropes in time to deny Ospreay the apron complete shot! They stand back up and Kushida elbows Ospreay. Ospreay elbows Kushida, then boots him off the apron. Kushida staggers, but then somersaults back to DDT Ospreay off the apron!!
Ospreay goes down but Kushida himself is down from exhaustion. Red Shoes checks on Ospreay, but somehow Ospreay is good to continue. Red Shoes starts the 20 count and it reaches 10 before Kushida sits up. It climbs past 15 when Kushida gets in, but Ospreay only just comes to. Ospreay hurries to his feet and into the ring at 19! Kushida springboards and huricanranas Ospreay down! Cover, TWO!! And Kushida can’t believe it. Kushida gets up and fires up, as do the fans. He drags Ospreay up and around to a cravat for stiff knees. Kushida kicks out the arm, then runs in again, but Ospreay throws the tilt-o-whirl and Kushida hits the mat!
Both Ospreay and Kushida are slow to get up, but Kushida is up first. Ospreay runs in for a helluva kick! Then he hoists Kushida up onto the top rope, and tucked in for Cheeky Nandos SUPERKICK. Ospreay gives another SUPERKICK, then a flurry of endless SUPERKICKS! Kushida slumps down to the mat, but Ospreay positions him before climbing up. Ospreay takes a moment to steady himself, then jumps for the Air Assassin imploding 450!
But he can’t make the cover right away, he’s too sore. Kushida saves himself with a ropebreak. Ospreay fires up and stands up, and waits for Kushida. Ospreay takes aim, and hits the Robinson Special! But Ospreay isn’t done there, as he gets up and springboards, but Kushida catches him into the Hoverboard! Kushida wrenches on that arm with the double wristlock, then again. Ospreay endures, reaches, but Kushida sits on him. Ospreay manages to slip out and gets a hand on the ropes, but Kushida rolls him away! The Hoverboard is on all over again, but Ospreay keeps fighting. Kushida stomps Ospreay’s head as he wrenches the arm. Ospreay refuses to give up, and works a new angle out of the hold. He reaches for ropes, but Kushida shifts and rolls, and goes for Back to the Future. Ospreay denies, dodges and runs for a blockbuster DDT!
Both men are down again, but fans rally for them. Ospreay and Kushida stir, and brawl with forearms on their knees. The KT tape comes off, and the forearms fly fast and furious! Both men slump down, but then Kushida springs up and eggs Ospreay on. They go again, on their feet, then Ospreay roundhouses. Ospreay kicks and kicks and kicks, but Kushida kicks and kicks and kicks back. They get forehead to forehead with angry trash talk, and start up the forearm fight all over again. Ospreay unleashes a strike fest then dodges the fastball, to go for the full nelson. Kushida breaks free, but the hook kick connects! Ospreay runs, but into the fastball! Kushida falls back from exhaustion, but then gets himself back up. Kushida works on his neck while Ospreay stirs on the mat.
Fans cheer as Kushida thinks of what else to do. Kushida drags Ospreay up just to stomp him out. Yet Ospreay grins?! And he flips Kushida off. So Kushida turns Ospreay over for more stomps! Kushida gives one big stomp, then runs in for a dropkick to the back! But Kushida keeps going, as he drags Ospreay up to the top rope with him. Kushida fisherman hooks, but Ospreay escapes, to springboard for a SUPER CUTTER!
But Ospreay isn’t done, he butterfly underhooks and lifts, into the Stormbreaker!!
Cover, Ospreay wins!
Winner: Ospreay, by pinfall; still IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion
Even with a bad neck and shoulders, the Aerial Assassin overcomes one of his greatest rivals. We go to break while both men are tended to.
NJPW on AXS returns once more.
Kushida is helped away while Ospreay stands back up. Chaos’ Aerial Assassin raises his belt, successful in his third defense.
But the lights dim, and “He is Back.” Bullet Club? Bone Soldier?! But wait, it’s Tama Tonga who comes out instead.
Tama Tonga heads to the ring, cutting Ospreay’s celebration short. Tama Tonga takes the mic, and says “Amazing…” He wants Ospreay to get up, but he’s really just distracting Ospreay from what’s creeping up behind! Bone Soldier IS here, and when Ospreay turns around to see him, he strikes! Bone Soldier, if this is THE Bone Soldier, beats Ospreay down then brings Ospreay up, for a suplex gutbuster!
Ospreay goes down and the crowd is silent as Tama Tonga tells him, “You been having a bit of luck” with the lightweights. Ospreay stepped over Kushida, and even The Bullet Club’s Villain, Marty Scurll. But that luck runs out. “There was an idea to bring somebody into this Club and turn that gold into diamonds.” Ladies and gentlemen, Bullet Club’s diamond: the NEW Bone Soldier, Taiji Ishimori!!
Ishimori drops the persona and reveals quite the “amazing” specimen! This is only the beginning of a new day for Bullet Club. Will the three-time GHC Junior Heavyweight Champion take away the title from the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion? Or can Ospreay recover and end the Bullet Club’s revival before it starts?
A great and practically infamous pair of moments were featured in this episode. LIJ wins, but it was all for the shock appearance of Chris Jericho. Jericho ups the personal heat with that attack, and I was really surprised by the amount of blood on Naito’s face. This Intercontinental Championship match will happen at Dominion 2018, literally tonight at Midnight PST for America, at least for those with NJPW World. If this were any other promotion, they might have made this match No Disqualifications, but NJPW can do a lot with just the standard rules. I’d say there’s no way Jericho would take that title given his relationship with other promotions, but who knows, NJPW could shock the world with a title change.
The Junior Heavyweight Championship of Ospreay VS Kushida, their sixth time facing off 1v1, is an instant classic given all the story between both each other and Ospreay’s neck issues. Ospreay guts it out just ahead of the Super Juniors, and what a time for the character of Bone Soldier to return, only to be unmasked as Taiji Ishimori of Pro-Wrestling Noah and Impact Wrestling fame. Ishimori has been champion in both those promotions as well as AAA Lucha Libre, but in present time we already know Ishimori loses to Hiromu Takahashi in the finals of the Super Juniors. Either way, Ishimori can still make his own run at the Junior Heavyweight Champion after Dominion, regardless of who holds the belt.
My Score: 8.5/10
Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (1/18/21)
Will Raw be on fire tonight?
Will Alexa Bliss have a twisted surprise for the Raw Women’s Champion?
She gave Randy Orton a taste of his own medicine, but she might be hungry for something more! Will Alexa be ready for Asuka and earn herself a shot at the title?
- Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce; Charlotte wins.
- Xavier Woods VS Mace w/ Retribution; Mace wins.
- Mandy Rose w/ Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax; Baszler wins.
- Ricochet VS AJ Styles w/ Omos; Styles wins, Ricochet is NOT in the Men’s Royal Rumble.
- Six Man Tag: The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle & The Lucha House Party; The Hurt Business wins.
- Jeff Hardy VS Jaxson Ryker w/ Elias; Hardy wins, by disqualification.
- Asuka VS Alexa Bliss; Bliss wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
“Now is the time.”
Martin Luther King Jr’s dream lives on, but only if we live it. Do not judge by the color of one’s skin, but by the content of their character. We will reach the promised land together. #LongLiveTheDream.
Randy Orton speaks.
“There is a saying that people who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes. Ashes of the one responsible for their affliction.” Orton wears a mask to cover his burned face. “The voices in my head have never been louder. Encapsulating my every thought, just like this mask encapsulates my face.” Orton held Alexa Bliss’ fate in his hands, yet showed a side of himself he didn’t know he had: compassion. Orton rewatches the footage for himself. The hatred he had for himself needed to be redirected, and he was ready to make Triple H “like a lamb to the slaughter, until she interrupted.”
It was only just last week that HHH was shockingly spirited away so that Alexa could throw a literal FIREBALL at Orton! “And now look at me. LOOK AT ME! This is the damnation I receive for showing compassion? I haven’t been able to sleep because every time I close my eyes, all I see is that ball of fire hurtling towards my face.” Orton seethes as he says “that inescapable feeling of the fire burning my flesh will never go away.” Whatever compassion was in him, it left with that inferno. Orton wears this mask to not only protect himself, but to shield everyone else from the horrors that he endured.
Orton watches himself from last week flail and writhe as he clutched his face in pain. “Despite the agony I felt that would mortify a lesser man, I consider myself… lucky.” Orton came away with just first degree burns and not much worse. He could’ve been disfigured forever! But Orton doesn’t blame Alexa. He blames THE FIEND! Orton already sent him straight to Hell. “There’s no doubt The Fiend is responsible for this. Alexa was merely the vehicle. And I know exactly what The Fiend wants. He wants to stop me from achieving the inevitable.” That is to say, winning the Royal Rumble again, going back to WrestleMania, and becoming a world champion.
Orton is sure everyone else in the locker room loved seeing his face burn, “knowing that their biggest threat may have just been eliminated from competing in the Royal Rumble match. But you could chop off all my limbs and it wouldn’t stop me from winning this year’s Royal Rumble match. Because despite my sickening affliction, I vow to remain in the Royal Rumble match. I can only compete as long as I can tolerate the pain, but the funny thing is… I enjoy the pain. It fuels my every move.” Orton has a match! Orton wants everyone to thank The Fiend when he burns their dreams to ashes and goes on to main event WrestleMania! He lights the match, watches it burn, then blows it out. Will this new, even darker Orton extinguish 29 other lights before going back to the Grandest Stage of Them All?
Ric Flair arrives at the ThunderDome, with Lacey Evans!
Lacey wants to hear some Four Horsemen stories but Charly Caruso comes over to ask about this “relationship” first. Lacey says that’s so nasty. This isn’t TMZ. This is beneath Charly! Charly is compelled to ask because Ric helped Lacey beat Charlotte Flair, his own daughter! Lacey says to show respect to the 16-time world champion, and a living legend. But to answer the question, there’s a reason Ric is the Dirtiest Player in the Game. He was just living up to that name. As far as the relationship goes, Lacey is simply learning from the greatest man to ever step in the ring. Now, they are going to go watch Peyton Royce knock the nasty Queen of her throne.
Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce!
But speaking of dirty, Peyton attacks Charlotte from behind at the ramp! They brawl, referees hurry to separate them but this match is going to happen, after the break!
Raw returns and the bell rings and Charlotte tackles Peyton to a corner! Then stomps away on her! The ref backs Charlotte off but she goes right back for more! She RAMS Peyton, RAMS her again, but Peyton sends Charlotte into buckles to fire stomps back! The ref counts, Peyton stops at 3 and brings Charlotte out to hammer away. Charlotte trips Peyton, gives some ground ‘n’ pound, then tackles her to ropes! They spill out of the ring and Charlotte CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Charlotte puts Peyton in but Peyton rolls out the far side. Charlotte pursues but Peyton kicks back, only for Charlotte to CLUB her, and bounce her off the desk!
Charlotte stalks Peyton around the way, they go back in the ring, then back out the ramp side. Another CHOP, CHOP and CHOP into the post! Peyton shoves Charlotte into the post, then into the ring! Cover, TWO! Charlotte is still in this but Peyton drags her around to drop elbows. Peyton puts on a thrashing chinlock but Charlotte endures. Charlotte fights up, arm-drags free, and CLOBBERS Peyton! Charlotte looms over Peyton, drags her up and bounces her off buckles. Charlotte bends Peyton against ropes, lets go at 3, and brings Peyton around for another buckle bump! Peyton dodges, Charlotte hits buckles, and Peyton throws Charlotte down by her hair! Cover, TWO!
Peyton is frustrated but she kicks Charlotte down and around. She pushes Charlotte to ropes, bumps her off buckles in return, then digs her boot into Charlotte’s face! The ref counts, Peyton lets off and bumps Charlotte off more buckles. Peyton whips corner to corner, Charlotte goes up and out to shoulder back in! Slingshot and roll up, TWO, but Charlotte ROCKS Peyton with a right! Charlotte blocks boots, has Peyton in the ropes, DRAPING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! But now Ric makes his entrance?! Ric swaggers on stage and Charlotte is annoyed, because here comes Lacey in one of Ric’s robes!
Charlotte is confused as ever, but Peyton catches her with the HEEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Peyton is furious that Charlotte survives and Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Peyton goes to buckle bump but Charlotte blocks to CHOP! And O’Conner roll, TWO! Charlotte goes into buckles but she dodges to send Peyton back into buckles! Both women are down and Peyton crawls away. Charlotte gets up, checks her nose, and then goes after Peyton. Peyton jawbreakers, whips, but Charlotte holds ropes to KICK back! Peyton dodges to HEEL KICK back! Peyton runs but Charlotte puts her on the apron, but Peyton SCORPION KICKS! Peyton goes up, leaps, but Charlotte gets under! Peyton turns around into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Cover, TWO!
Charlotte watches Peyton go to the apron, runs in and BOOTS her down! Charlotte dares Lacey to do something again, but no, Lacey stays in the back this time. Peyton drags herself up as the ring count is 8 and is in at 9, but gets stomped by Charlotte! Charlotte puts Peyton’s leg on the rope, then drops a knee, only to miss! Peyton mule kicks then hobbles away from her back hurting. She dodges Charlotte’s clothesline to elbow, kick and HEEL KICK, to then ENZIGURI! Cover, TWO!
Peyton is furious and she drags Charlotte up to suplex. Charlotte slips out to CHOP BLOCK the leg! Knee breaker after knee breaker, Charlotte shows no mercy! Charlotte steps through, Figure Four, to FIGURE EIGHT! Peyton taps, Charlotte wins!
Winner: Charlotte Flair, by submission
But she doesn’t let go! She wants Peyton to suffer on behalf of Lacey! Charlotte finally does let Peyton go, will Peyton even be able to team with Lacey now? Will anyone want to?
Matt Riddle crosses paths with The Hurt Business.
Riddle just wants to say hi but MVP doesn’t want to hear it. Does he wear this same lame outfit on the streets? Of course. Riddle lives his life free and untethered. And unkempt, it seems. Uncalled for, bro. But Riddle will take the high road. Of course he will. Riddle just wants to say he admires how nice they all dress. MVP is like Gordy Gecko, then there’s “Ceddy the Cheddy,” and Benjamin spending the Benjamins. And of course, who would ever call Lashley “Slobby Bobby.” Lashley handles this and the others head out.
Lashley tells Riddle that if it were him, he actually likes the flipflops. But he heard they’re bad for your feet. What? No they’re not. Lashley STOMPS one of Riddle’s feet, and says that proves his point. Riddle says Lashley will see this foot later, right up his ass! Will The Bro and his “brochachos” make the Hurt Business pay in their 3v3 later tonight?
Raw returns as Lucha House Party checks with Riddle.
Is he going to be okay for the match? Riddle says when he was in high school, his cousin ran his foot over with his truck, and Riddle was still able to go to prom. He’ll just tape it up. If he says so…
Xavier Woods VS Mace w/ Retribution!
Here he goes again on his own! Mustafa Ali says this is their time to strike. Kofi Kingston at home with a broken jaw isn’t enough, Ali wants to break his spirit, and that’s by breaking one of his most beloved friends! Ali prays Kofi can’t compete or even be in Elimination Chamber or WrestleMania. Then Kofi will feel what Ali did just one year ago! Will this revenge a long time coming be carried out by the menacing monster at Ali’s command?
Ali shouts at Woods about Kofi being a coward. Woods DECKS Ali for that and the ref has to keep Retribution back! Woods is ready for a fight but Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and the bell rings! Woods circles with Mace but is cornered! Mace keeps Woods from getting away but Woods CHOPS back, only for Mace to shrug it off. Woods and Mace go again, Woods CHOPS and fires off hands but Mace shoves him away. Woods kicks low, climbs up and throws more hands but Mace shoves him away again. Mace catches Woods with both hands and brings him out to center for a CHOKE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Woods survives but Mace choke grips Woods again and dead lifts him to shove him to a corner! Mace runs in to elbow Woods down! Ali mocks Woods’ pain as Mace whips Woods and KNEES him in the back! Mace looms over Woods, covers, TWO!
Mace sits Woods up, pries on fingers and then clamps on for a neck wrench! Woods endures, Mace fish hooks Woods’ mouth, and Ali says Kofi doesn’t need to worry. Woods will break his jaw and be right next to Kofi tomorrow. Woods bites Mace’s hand! Woods mule kicks, CHOPS away, then kicks low to CHOP and CHOP again! Mace ROCKS Woods with the uppercut! Mace whips, Woods dodges and ducks to dropkick a leg out! Woods keeps on Mace with haymakers and elbows! Mace shoves Woods away but Woods CLUBS him! Mace shoves Woods but runs into a boot! HONOR- NO! Choke grip! Woods fights the grip, gets free, and ENZIGURIS!
Mace flops out of the ring but Ali shouts at him to get back in. Mace goes up, but Woods baseball slides under Mace to hit Ali! Woods hits Mace off the apron again but Ali tells them they stop this. They’re going to shut Woods down! Mace gets in, the other members run distraction, Woods SUPERKICKS but runs into a BOOT! Mace drags Woods back up, fireman’s carries, and SWINGING AIR RAID CRASH! Cover, Mace wins!
Winner: Mace, by pinfall
Retribution wins again, and Ali stands over Woods. “Tell Kofi, Retribution says, ‘Get well soon.'” Ali and his cohorts are laughing now, but will Kofi make a comeback to shut them up?
Backstage interview with Asuka.
She’s been invited to Alexa’s Playground, what does she expect? Asuka honestly doesn’t know. But after seeing her set Orton on fire, Asuka hopes it isn’t Alexa’s dark side.
It’s the WrestleMania Report!
It’s Hank E. Panki, totally not Triple H, and Anita Reelman, totally not Stephanie McMahon. Don’t question it. But they’re sending it over to the weatherman, Sunny McCloud. Nope, it’s Roman Reigns, and there is no weatherman. Roman sits at the rightful place as Head of the Table. He’s not going to play along. But if they were, Paul Heyman is sure someone would say, “The extended forecast-” Paul, no. Just give it to them straight. Heyman says Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium will be the home of WrestleMania 37! Wow, big news! It’s going to be buck wild this April! And how great that they get to host WrestleMania again, for the first time.
But some real breaking news in sports, “Hailey Mary” and not Sasha Banks has the exclusive! But then an assistant makes sure she got the report about how WrestleMania is coming back to AT&T Stadium for 2022. Uh, y-yes, now she does! Now shoo. But you heard it here first! WrestleMania 38 will be right here in Texas! It doesn’t get much bigger than that! Dropping exclusives like it’s hot! And what a spectacle! Hank’s a spectacle. Rawr. But now, to Huge Kantseeme for entertainment news! Hugh? Hello? We can’t see him. It’s totally not John Cena! They love it when he does that. And you know what Huge loves? LA!
CUT! When Cena- er, uh, Hugh, says that, it sounds so fake. Um, Hugh, we’re live… Okay, he’ll try again. “Y’know what else I love? LA! That’s right, Hollywood!” Who doesn’t love drama? Cue zoom. Here’s some drama: WrestleMania is going Hollywood in 2023! PLOT TWIST! Thanks, Hugh, but you got a bit carried away. It will be in SoFi Stadium, or as Anita likes to call it, “So FINE Stadium.” Nothing like a good giggle. And that wraps things up for the WrestleMania Report. And we’re good. Phew! HHH and Stephanie take off the “costumes” and are pretty sure no one realized it was them all along. But yes, WrestleMania is all set for the next THREE YEARS! Who will make it to each of them? Will you be there?
Raw presents… Alexa’s Playground…!
Alexa goes to her swing and welcomes us back. She is so excited we’re all here, but before we get started, she wants to address The Viper in the room. “Randy, last week, I was just coming out here to talk to you. Y’know, clear the air. And then, things got a little… heated!” Alexa laughs at her own joke and says if Orton needs some sunblock, just let her know. But either way, good to see he’s feeling okay. Now to tonight’s very special guest! Alexa is so excited to invite her opponent, the Women’s Tag Team and Raw Women’s Champion, ASUKA! Asuka makes her entrance, and joins Alexa on the swings. Alexa says no, that’s not her seat. Oh, okay…
Is Asuka okay? Yes, yes! Asuka is okay. Sorry, Alexa wasn’t talking to her. Oh, okay. Asuka says she’ll just stand over here by the slide… They giggle, and Asuka more nervously than Alexa. Alexa knows they have a match tonight but for now, let’s have fun! Alexa has breaking news! It’s big news! Should she tell them or do you want to, invisible friend? Okay, she’ll say it. Alexa is entering the Women’s Rumble! Asuka wishes Alexa good luck. But wait. If Alexa wins the Rumble match and Asuka is still champion, then they might face off at WrestleMania! Asuka says that would be her honor! And Asuka is a big fan of Alexa’s! Really? Yes! Thank you, that’s so sweet! Well of course! YOWIE WOWIE~!
Alexa doesn’t like Asuka saying that. Asuka hopes Alexa still wants to have fun. Let’s dance! It’s Asuka’s theme, but Asuka still dances. Alexa doesn’t want that. Alexa says STOP IT! Asuka’s music stops and Asuka is a bit startled. Alexa’s friend says something and Alexa says they’re right. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. If Alexa had done something differently, he’d still be here… Asuka says it’ll be okay. Asuka tries to explain in Japanese, and then says The Fiend’s still here. “Do NOT say his name!” Alexa then gets a smile as she waves at the rocking horse. Asuka is spooked and leaves the ring. Alexa switches to the rocking horse, but will she flip the switch when the bell rings?
Backstage interview with The Miz and John Morrison.
Can they give us a hint at what they have in store for Goldberg tonight on The Dirt Sheet? Oh, she wants to know? Of course Sarah wants to know! “I WANT THE SCOOP~!” NO! No spoilers. Tune in like everyone else. But what Miz will say is that what is in store will definitely be controversial. Controversy creates cash, much like the Money in the Bank. CHACHING!
Raw hears from Jeff Jarrett!
Double J has a prediction for Drew McIntyre VS Goldberg for the WWE World Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV. Jarrett knows both men, but he quotes his old buddy, Toby Keith. The hook goes, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m good once as I ever was.” That will be the story of the Rumble, because we’ll see Goldberg’s Spear, Jackhammer and win for a NEW WWE World Champion! Will McIntyre deny that prediction when the match actually happens?
Mandy Rose w/ Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax!
While the #SexyMuscleFriends go to the ring together, the Queen of Spades gives fair warning backstage. “Last week, I made Mandy Rose tap out, and then I threw Mandy Rose out of the ring like an empty can of White Claw.” She promises to do the same thing tonight, and then everyone the Women’s Rumble better watch out because she’ll do the same to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s Charlotte, Bayley, or even her own tag team partner. Nia is surprised by that, but it IS every woman for themselves. Nia says she’s been the one carrying the team, but will Shayna prove she can do bad all by herself after the break?
Raw returns and Nia joins commentary as the bell rings. Mandy and Shayna tie up, Mandy shoves Shayna then trips her up with a leg. Shayna gets up, Mandy waistlocks, rolls Shayna up, ONE! Shayna kicks Mandy’s legs out, KNEES her down then covers, TWO! Shayna drags Mandy around and clamps on with a neck wrench. Mandy endures and Dana coaches her up. Shayna drives an elbow into Mandy’s face! Shayna CLUBS Mandy, Mandy hits back but Shayna CLUBS and KICKS her around! Shayna throws forearms, drags Mandy up for knees, then snapmares to KICK her again! Cover, TWO!
Shayna is back on Mandy with the neck wrench. Mandy fires up, throws body shots but Shayna throws her down by her hair! Shayna clamps onto Mandy again, pulls on arm arm for a half straitjacket, then stands on the arm! It’s a new take on the ARM STOMP! Dana checks on Mandy but Shayna tells her to back off. Mandy rolls Shayna up, TWO!! Mandy runs Shayna over but shakes out the bad arm. Mandy ducks a kick and uses the good arm to lariat over and over! And hit a FLAPJACK! Mandy manages a kip up, runs in and powers Shayna to a corner! Mandy fires off forearms, the ref backs her off but Mandy comes back to throw more forearms and even stomps!
The ref counts, Mandy backs off but Shayna gets around to KICK the bad arm! Shayna wrenches that arm, but Mandy fires off forearms with the other! Mandy pulls Shayna’s hair but Shayna twists the arm! KEYLOCK TAKEDOWN! KIRAFUDA KLUTCH! Mandy taps, Shayna wins!
Winner: Shayna Baszler, by submission
The Queen of Spades took care of this by herself, just as she said she would! Nia says Mandy almost had her, but Shayna argues it wasn’t even close. But Dana sneaks up and dropkicks Nia into Shayna, and they both hit post! The Flex Appeal gets away with Mandy, and they aren’t out of the running yet! Will one of these women win the Women’s Rumble to go after the Raw Women’s Championship?
Shayna and Nia argue backstage.
Shayna says that was Nia’s fault for getting involved but Charly Caruso comes by to ask about them not getting along. Well they’ve never really gotten along, even as champions. But meanwhile, the current champions, Charlotte has her daddy issues and Asuka is being creeped out by Alexa, are they really getting along? In fact, now is the perfect time to get that rematch for the titles! Nia says that’s actually a good idea. They go off to find management, will they regain the gold before getting into the Rumble?
Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair.
Before discussing the tag titles, how uncomfortable was it for her to see Lacey wearing one of Ric’s robes? Ever since stepping foot in the ring, people accuse her of living off her family name. Now there is literally a woman draping herself on Ric’s arm, begging for her 15 minutes of fame, and living off the name! Charlotte knows that Lacey is just using Ric to get to her. But Charlotte’s been learning from Ric her entire life. She just never went down that path. Maybe Charlotte needs to rethink things, because one person can only take so much trash. Lacey may have one of Ric’s robes, but she will never has Charlotte’s crown.
Adam Pearce talks with Ricochet.
We know that there are superstars who need to earn their way into the Rumble match. And this match is perfect timing. A win can go a long way towards opportunities. Ricochet is just glad to have this opportunity. Maybe this is the start to his road to WrestleMania. But then AJ Styles comes by and says it’s funny that Pearce is talking about opportunities. Who would take advice from Pearce, who just literally ran away from the Universal Championship? Yes, he would’ve lost, been embarrassed, but at least he’d have his dignity. Look at Ricochet. Ricochet is going to lose, but he’ll lose with dignity.
Ricochet says Styles has selective amnesia, like 50 First Dates. What’s he talking about? Well, Drew Barrymore’s character couldn’t remember a thing past a certain date because- Styles knows the movie! It’s in his top ten, right next to The Notebook. What’s he talking about here tonight? Ricochet’s point is that Styles has forgotten about TLC when he got embarrassed- Hey! That was The Miz’s fault! Well all Ricochet knows is that Styles will need more than a seven foot giant by his side to prove Ricochet doesn’t belong in the Rumble. The One and Only heads out to the ring, but will he be better than Phenomenal once again?
Ricochet VS AJ Styles w/ Omos!
Styles hangs back long enough to tell Pearce that he doesn’t like him anymore. And when he doesn’t like someone, Omos doesn’t like someone. Omos literally looks down on Scrap Daddy, but what will Pearce do about it, after the break?
Raw returns and Styles makes his entrance. The bell rings, Styles and Ricochet circle, tie up, and Styles powers Ricochet to a corner. The ref counts, Styles lets off and Ricochet circles with him again. They tie up, Styles headlocks, Ricochet tries to power out but Styles holds on tight. Styles grinds Ricochet down, Ricochet rolls to a cover, ONE and Styles holds on. They get up, Ricochet tries to power out again but Styles still holds on. Ricochet makes it a cover again, ONE! Ricochet throws body shots, powers out this time but blocks Styles’ kick to hit an arm-drag! Ricochet whips, Styles gets around to backslide, but Ricochet rolls through. Styles reels Ricochet in but Ricochet trips him up to jackknife bridge! TWO, and Styles tilt-o-whirls to a sunset flip, TWO!
Styles wants the Clash but Ricochet pops free to get around and roll him up, TWO! Ricochet dodges, runs, and headscissors! Styles pops up but into a RANA! Styles is back again, Ricochet rolls and handsprings to headscissor again! Styles is dizzy and flounders, into a dropkick! Ricochet talks some smack to Omos as Styles flounders out. Ricochet runs, slides, but Styles catches him, only for Ricochet to still headscissor him! Ricochet is getting fired up, but Omos glares at him from around the way. Ricochet puts Styles in and follows, but Styles runs in. Ricochet sends Styles out, slingshots, but Omos catches him!
The ref warns Omos to set Ricochet down, and Omos DROPS Ricochet! Ricochet is down but not out yet, and Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and Styles drags Ricochet up to bump him off buckles. Styles scoops Ricochet for a RUNNING BACKBREAKER! Ricochet writhes but Styles paces around. Styles sits Ricochet up to dig a knee in and clamp on with the chinlock. Ricochet endures, fights his way up and throws body shots. Jawbreaker! Styles staggers, but he dodges to waistlock and GERMAN SUPLEX! Ricochet lands on his feet! Ricochet dodges Styles, runs and tilt-o-whirls for the DDT! Both men are down and Omos stares as fans clap on their screens. Ricochet gets to ropes and uses them to get up, and he counter punches Styles then fires off strikes! DISCUS LARIAT! Cover, TWO!!
Ricochet is frustrated but Omos is relieved as Styles survives. Ricochet fireman’s carries but Styles fights out. Ricochet mule kicks a leg then back flips into the DEAD LIFT GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO! Ricochet grows further frustrated but he watches Styles stand. Ricochet runs out from the corner but Styles dodges. Styles runs in, Ricochet elbows back, QUEBRADA into a LARIAT! Styles gets Ricochet up, SNAP BRAIN BUSTER!! Cover, TWO!! Styles fireman’s carries Ricochet for USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO! Omos says it’s alright but Styles is still surprised Ricochet survives!
Styles goes to a corner, goes to the apron, and takes aim. Styles springboards, but Ricochet hits the RECOIL!! Both men are down, Ricochet crawls to the cover, TWO!! Styles survives and Ricochet is beside himself! Ricochet goes to the corner, climbs up top, but Styles trips him up! Ricochet lands hard on his stomach and flops to the apron! Omos coaches Styles as Ricochet drags himself up. Styles goes to the corner, brings Styles up, but Ricochet hotshots! Ricochet aims, slingshots, but into Styles’ suplex, that rebounds off the ropes! Into the STYLES CLASH!!! Cover, Styles wins!
Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall
Now that was a PHENOMENAL way to win a match! But once again, Styles denies another entry into the Rumble, will he continue to eliminate superstars before they ever get in?
Raw presents The Dirt Sheet!
The Miz and John Morrison are in the ring and Morrison welcomes us. When you want to enjoy a top tier steak dinner, you’ve gotta be ready to pay the bill. And Miz says tonight is the biggest edition of Dirt Sheet ever. It will be extra dirty because tonight’s guest is someone who everyone knows and loves, someone who was a childhood hero to many adults, and could be a hero to an entirely new generation if he defeats Drew McIntyre for the WWE World Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV! Welcome the biggest guest in Dirt Sheet history, one of the most intimidating men to ever step inside the wrestling ring, the legendary WWE Hall of Famer, it’s GOLD~ BERG!
Goldberg makes his entrance and both Miz ‘n’ Morrison are excited. Wait a minute, that’s GILLBERG! And he still gets hurt by those sparklers. Morrison and Miz can’t believe “Goldberg” is more massive than before. Now, the Rumble will be one of the most important matches in his career, it’ll be like Godzilla VS King Kong! How has he been preparing? Well first, he bashes his head into the wall because he’s so pumped up. The adrenaline is flowing, the veins are hyped and he’s foaming at the mouth! There’s smoke coming out of his nose and fire out of his ass! Okay just be careful not to hit a ring post. And careful with those chairs, they’re not cheap.
Wait, Drew McIntyre is here?! Miz and Morrison are surprised most of all! Wait, that’s not even close. That’s an impersonator with a wig! And he has a tiny toy sword! “That’s the ‘Clayless,'” says Samoa Joe. Miz and Morrison give Drew “Mockingtire” roll in, and the Dirt Sheet just keeps getting bigger! Mockingtire says he is here to meet his opponent face to face. Let’s not get into fisticuffs, Dirt Sheet is classy. Use your words. Does Mockingtire have anything to say to Gil- er, Goldberg? “I’m gonna kick yer ass back to 1998, and then I’m gonna go home and eat some haggis!”
Whoa, c’mon, the Scottish accent is more like this, mate. Are they going to cut and go again? NO IT’S LIVE! Morrison, where did you find this guy? New Jersey… No, the best actors are from New York, LA and Cleveland! Cleveland?! What? Because of Miz! But now this show is a train wreck! What are they even doing? Gillberg? Really? Miz, you’re making this awkward. Oh HE’s making this awkward?! This was MORRISON’S stupid idea! It’s a GREAT idea! It’s comedy gold! Pff, it’s not even comedy silver! Gillberg speaks up and does his crazy Goldberg face. Oh shut up! And let’s just do the thing.
“Hey, John~!” “Yeah?” “Is Goldberg going to lose at the Royal Rumble?” Of course! CORRECT! But is Drew McIntyre also going to lose at the Rumble? Duh. CORRECT! But how can that be? Because The Miz will cash in his MITB contract. COOOOOOOOOOOORRECT! “You are looking at the future WWE Champion, because I’m the Miz! And III’M! NEXT!” Miz is finally getting serious, but will he make the real Goldberg and McIntyre the butt of his joke?
Six Man Tag: The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle & The Lucha House Party!
The WWE United States Champion put the hurt on The Bro both last week in their title match, but also earlier tonight just to bully him. But will the Golden Lynx and King of the Ropes help Riddle rebound while also getting themselves an opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Championships?
Raw returns as Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik make their entrance, followed by Riddle. Alexander insists he start and Metalik starts with him. Alexander kicks low, clubs away on Metalik then talks trash. Alexander throws forearms and puts Metalik in a corner to whip corner to corner., Metalik boots back, runs and slings but into a back suplex! Metalik lands on his feet, dodges but Alexander dropkicks! Alexander says that’s how you do it, but MVP says don’t talk about it, just do it. Alexander doesn’t want to tag and he CHOPS Metalik! He scoops Metalik to a backbreaker! Alexander stares Benjamin down as he lifts Metalik again, but Metalik slips out to get to his corner and tag in Lince!
Metalik boots Alexander away, Lince jumps in and gets a boost for the FLYING RANA! Lince clubs away on Alexander, wrenches, but Alexander ROCKS him with a right! Alexander CLUBS Lince, and now he wants a tag, only for Benjamin and Lashley to let him handle this. Alexander turns around into CHOPS! Lince QUEBRADAS! Cover, TWO!! Alexander narrowly escapes but Lince clubs away! Lince gets the arm, Alexander fights up and pulls the mask! Alexander puts Lince on the ropes, throws body shots, and Benjamin tags himself in. The tag champions glare at each other, then Benjamin circles with Lince. Lince rolls Benjamin, TWO, Benjamin CLOBBERS Lince!
Benjamin puts Lince in a corner, whips him corner to corner hard, and storms over to cover, TWO! Tag to Lashley, the Hurt Business whip and double shoulder Lince down! Lashley throws Lince to a corner, fires off haymakers, then bumps Lince off buckles. Alexander tags himself in and drags Lince up for forearms. Benjamin tags himself in and MVP wants his guys to stop arguing. Benjamin keeps Lince in the corner and he fires off haymakers and stomps. Lince tries to fight out but Alexander tags himself back in. Alexander whips, Lince handsprings, GOLDEN REWIND! Both men are down, MVP says this is what happens!
Alexander drags Lince from his corner in time, and tags Benjamin in. The tag champions argue again, and then Benjamin shoves Alexander right out of the ring! MVP keeps Alexander back, Lashley tags in, but Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Alexander is on Lince with an armlock. Metalik and Riddle rally for Lince as he endures and fights up. Lince clubs but Alexander WRINGS his arm out! Cover, TWO! Alexander smothers Lince with a chinlock and reaches out for a tag. Lashley takes it and he drags Lince up to bring him around for a scoop and SLAM! Lashley asks why Alexander has a problem but MVP says to worry about that later. Lashley tags Benjamin, Benjamin drags Lince around and TOSSES him across the way! Benjamin drags Lince back up, snap suplexes, then takes his time looming over Lince. Alexander tags himself back in and Benjamin contains his frustration.
Alexander bumps Lince off buckles, fires off hands, but lets off at the ref’s count of 4. Alexander hoists Lince up top, throws hands, but Lince throws them back! Alexander staggers, Lince adjusts and leaps, BIG crossbody! Lince bounces off the cover but both men are down! The fans clap on their screens, hot tags to Riddle and Benjamin! The Bro spins Benjamin around for a PELE! Kip up and forearm smash! Riddle runs to DECK Lashley, then he forearms Benjamin again! Benjamin holds off the suplex to throw knees, then a powerbomb lift. Riddle fights out, ROUDNHOUSES then Penalty Kicks, only to miss! Benjamin rolls, Riddle rolls through, FINAL FLASH! Cover, TWO!
MVP panics as Riddle goes up, FLOATING BRO FLOPS! MVP shouts as Riddle crawls, hot tag to Metalik! Metalik springboards to crossbody! Then he brings Benjamin up to knuckle lock and CHOP! Metalik goes up, up and RANA! Metalik runs, wheelbarrows but Benjamin SLAMS Metalik down! Alexander tags in again, for a BRAIN BUSTER! Alexander gets fired up but Lashley tags himself in. Lashley runs past Alexander to DECK Riddle, then SPEAR Metalik! But Lashley isn’t done, he puts on the HURT LOCK! Metalik taps, The Hurt Business wins!
Winners: The Hurt Business, by submission
Lashley sees Alexander and Benjamin arguing again, but Riddle CLOBBERS Lashley! Riddle gets away because the Hurt Business isn’t on the same page! Will they be able to pull things together to keep the gold in their possession?
Elias talks with Jaxson Ryker backstage.
After the miscommunication last week, The Drifter hopes he and Ryker don’t misunderstand each other this time. When Elias told Ryker not to help him, he didn’t mean it, he was being subtle. Ryker took it literally, signals got crossed. Signals? This isn’t Thomas the Tank Engine, this is Monday Night Raw! This is the WWE! And WWE stands for #WalkWithElias. That Ryker understands. Now Ryker did not walk with Elias last week. But tonight, when they take on Hardy again, what is Ryker’s mission? To finish what Elias started, embody the Universal Truth, and beat Hardy until he accepts the truth. Good. They head out, and Ryker double checks. Is Elias not helping in the match or “not” helping in the match? Just go…
Drew McIntyre speaks!
He’s still asymptomatic for COVID and is feeling stronger than ever. But he’s still at home. He had a good laugh at Gillberg and the mini-McIntyre “with the body of a melted candle.” But the WWE is like the circus, with a little bit of everything for everyone. There are clowns like Miz ‘n’ Morrison, then the lions like McIntyre. And sometimes, the lions eat the clowns. McIntyre promises to see them again really soon.
But that wasn’t reality. The reality is, the championships aren’t given. But they can be taken, and in McIntyre’s case, it could be at a Spear or Jackhammer’s notice. McIntyre respects Goldberg, but he won’t hold back to keep his title. McIntyre never misses. He will be prepared, focused and intense. That same intensity he saw in Goldberg’s eyes. Not the kind in the delusions he had or the words Goldberg put in McIntyre. McIntyre means the intensity when he insulted Goldberg. That look was the real Goldberg!
McIntyre suggests Goldberg bring that guy to the Rumble because that’s what the title deserves. If he doesn’t, McIntyre will eat him alive in two minutes. But if Goldberg wants to try again, McIntyre will be back on Raw next week! Will there be thunder and lightning from these two titans even before the Rumble?
Jeff Hardy VS Jaxson Ryker w/ Elias!
The Charismatic Enigma knew The Drifter’s thumb was not broken last week, and he made sure Elias did not get away unscathed. But while Elias had a helping hand in Ryker’s win over the living legend, will they not get away with it again?
The bell rings and Ryker runs in but Hardy dodges him! Hardy puts Ryker in a corner, rams his shoulder in over and over, but Ryker turns things around to throw body shots! The ref counts, Ryker bumps Hardy off buckles then watches him flounder around. Ryker toys with Hardy, Hardy hits back but Ryker CLUBS him down! Ryker drags Hardy up, puts him in the corner and whips him corner to corner. Hardy goes up, mule kicks back then headscissors Ryker to ropes! Ryker flounders up but Hardy rallies with forearms! Atomic drop, leg splitting leg drop! Basement dropkick and a splash added on, cover, ONE!
Hardy keeps his cool and watches Ryker stand. Ryker blocks the kick but not the spinning back kick! Hardy runs in to corner splash, then he whips corner to corner, only to miss. Ryker runs back in and CLOBBERS Hardy! Elias likes that as Ryker covers, TWO! Ryker drops ax handles on Hardy again and again, then rains down right hands! The ref counts, Ryker lets off, and he drags Hardy up to back suplex! Cover, TWO! Ryker drags Hardy into a chinlock and grinds him down! Hardy endures, fights up and throws body shots to then jawbreaker free! Kick and TWIST OF FURY! Hardy throws off his shirt, climbs up top, but Elias again interferes! The ref saw it this time, that’s a disqualification!
Winner: Jeff Hardy, by disqualification
Ryker is a bit upset, didn’t they agree Elias was not going to help? Elias thought they agreed he was “not” going to help, aka he would. But it doesn’t matter as Hardy WRECKS Elias with a dropkick! Ryker is after Hardy again but gets another Twist! He powers out, Hardy dodges but runs into a SCRAPBUSTER! Elias gets in to stand tall with Ryker, and it looks like this issue is not over. What will it take to finally get Hardy to #WalkWithElias?
Asuka VS Alexa Bliss!
The encounter earlier tonight was eerie and scary, but now the Empress and Lil’ Miss Bliss will battle it out! Will Asuka be able to shrug off the chill up her spine? Or will she be burned by the darkness lurking inside Alexa?
The bell rings and Alexa smiles as she and Asuka circle. They tie up, go around, and Asuka wrenches to a wristlock. Alexa rolls, wrenches back, but Asuka moves around to spin, wrench and wristlock again. Alexa steps through, slips through and headlocks. Asuka fights out, pushes Alexa and then follows to run her over! Asuka has fun now as she dances around, but then she runs, Alexa trips her up, and Alexa Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Alexa sits and smiles and Asuka runs in, but Alexa ducks the kick to roll her up! TWO, and Asuka fires off palm strikes, body shots and a BACK HAND! Asuka shoves, pop-up KNEES Alexa down, then SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, TWO!
Asuka keeps cool as Alexa is smiling about getting hit. Asuka sits Alexa up and says no more fun, she wants her lock! Alexa resists the armlock and chinbar, pries free, but Asuka wrangles her back down. Alexa fights again, gets up, and gest to ropes! The ref calls for the break and Asuka lets off fast. Alexa is outside, Asuka runs and slides but Alexa gets under. Alexa gets in the ring, and then the screens start to change? The lights are going down! What is this warped circus music?! Raw goes to break while things get creepier!
Raw returns once more and Alexa is standing there, but has transformed! Her makeup, hair, outfit, it’s all different! Asuka is as confused as we are as to how she did this! Asuka circles but Alexa doesn’t budge. Alexa watches Asuka then finally takes a step. They circle slowly, commentary doesn’t even want to talk too loudly. Asuka swings a back hand but Alexa easily avoids it! And the same for the roundhouse kick! Alexa deflects Asuka’s strikes, ducks one kick but not the mule kick! Asuka runs but into a shoulder! Alexa’s stoic as Asuka rolls out of the ring. Asuka is getting mad and she gets back in the ring. The two circle again, Asuka blocks Alexa’s punch, POP-UP KNEE!
Alexa staggers to a corner, Asuka runs in, but Alexa does the SPIDER WALK! That’s just like Bray Wyatt! Alexa stands upright, wipes some blood from her mouth, and then just stares at her hand. Asuka waits on Alexa, but Alexa wants to grab at Asuka! Asuka fights off the Mandible Claw! Alexa kicks, Asuka blocks, waistlock but Alexa elbows out! And DECKS Asuka! Cover, TWO!! This dark side of Alexa’s that Asuka was talking about is stoic again as she paces about. Asuka shakes out the cobwebs as she sits up, but Alexa walks over to look at her in the eyes. Alexa lifts Asuka up by her chin, Asuka ROUNDHOUSES! And BACK HANDS! ANOTHER ROUNDHOUSE!!
Asuka fires up, drags Alexa up but Alexa grabs Asuka and smirks! SISTER ABIGAIL!! Cover, Alexa wins!!
Winner: Alexa Bliss, by pinfall
Alexa just pinned Asuka!! And then in a flash, she’s back to her bubbly side! “Let me in!” She spoke with The Fiend’s voice!! Maybe Asuka was right, he IS still here! But if she truly #LetHimIn, will there be any stopping her on the road to WrestleMania?
A really good episode tonight! For starters, less strange copy-paste from last week, and they did continue with stories that got started last week to great effect. I am a little saddened that it seems we’re no longer doing Ricochet VS Retribution if only for now, but I do like how they shifted to make Retribution’s story work against The New Day. They had Ali bring back things that happened all the way back in 2019 when #KofiMania happened for WrestleMania 35. I hope we get Ali VS Kofi out of this, on top of New Day VS the various combinations of Retribution. Ricochet VS AJ Styles was a great match, perhaps one of the most creative ways to get someone into the Styles Clash, and it is interesting that Styles is the gatekeeper to the Men’s Rumble on Raw.
Charlotte VS Peyton was a very good showing for Peyton, even though she loses. They aren’t overdoing things with Lacey and Ric just yet, so it isn’t exactly cringeworthy. Though, the endgame is clearly Lacey using Ric just to get at the tag titles. Shayna beats Mandy Rose down again, but it was pretty good for Dana to get the better of her and Nia. Nia and Shayna want a tag title match and that probably happens on the go-home to the Rumble. I can see the distractions for Charlotte getting the better of the #QueensOfTomorrow, and the titles going back to Nia and Shayna, but there could still be dysfunction on the other end that changes that around.
Dysfunction is also growing in the Hurt Business, and while it’s a bit early, they are acting it out very well. Alexander is too fired up and thinking he’s the one winning everything, but it was a good move for Lashley to take over the match and put this away for the team. LHP is doing a lot with also having their part in the Dusty Rhodes Classic on NXT, but I think that means they can fall back on one show if they’re losing in the other. And I would think Riddle is getting another match for the US Championship, but perhaps after the Rumble. Hardy VS Ryker was better than last week, but the story is still something that they’re clearly trying to force more Elias and Hardy stuff.
The Dirt Sheet having Gillberg and a fake McIntyre was actually a great twist. It was goofy in the right way, and it was made even better with Miz getting serious to top it off. I suppose he does have a point that he can cash in again, or rather “actually” this time, against McIntyre and Goldberg, but that seems like an even worse idea than at TLC if you go by Goldberg’s kayfabe rankings. McIntyre had a good response promo, and it’s great to know he’ll be back already. I don’t expect him and Goldberg to throw hands, but I bet there will be a tease of Goldberg getting hit with a Claymore or McIntyre getting hit with a spear. And Goldberg should prioritize Spear so that he doesn’t have to risk lifting then dropping McIntyre.
The related stories of Orton, Fiend and Alexa just got even more interesting. Orton has an apparently medical lucha mask now, adding a new layer to how creepy he’s being lately. It’s like he’s becoming The Fiend after having burned The Fiend alive in a twisted version of the Santa Clause. And at the same time, Alexa has inherited The Fiend’s powers, too. She really creeped Asuka out, and that’s not so bad, because while Asuka can be scary, Alexa is being a different kind of scary. Giving Alexa her own transformation was a great twist, and this Alexa could probably take the Raw Women’s Championship.
And to be fair, it would be better if we got Asuka VS Twisted Bliss Alexa at Rumble because it’d be a lot for Alexa, even this new form of hers, to win the Rumble when there are many great contenders from both Raw and SmackDown. Bayley and Bianca are a strong rivalry from SmackDown and one of them probably deserves to win so they can challenge Sasha Banks.
My Score: 8.3/10
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling Hard to Kill Results & Match Ratings: 1.16.21
Three title matches, the return of Decay, Barbed Wire Massacre and a main event with Kenny Omega. Impact Wrestling’s Hard to Kill definitely sounds like it’s got a little bit of everything. Check out how it went!
So the news that made many people cry a few days ago, was that Alex Shelley would be out of the main event. He went out of his way to film a response/promo/apology so fans knew it was something non-pandemic related, so that was an effort that wasn’t necessary, though appreciated.
Aside from losing it’s “Dream Match” luster, we get Moose as a replacement, which could really work for the cold calculated persona he’s taken on after his EC3 encounter. We also get to crown Knockouts Tag Team champions for the first time in seven and a half years. Let’s also not forget, this could end up being Taya’s swan song from Impact, so we should expect a good match but no Wera Loca victory.
Let’s see if we get any surprises!
- Decay (Rosemary & Crazzy Steve) vs Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb: Steve wins via King Kill 33 @8:55 – * ½
- Old School Rules Match: Violent by Design (Joe Doering, Eric Young & Deaner) vs Tommy Dreamer, Rhino & Cousin Jake: EY wins via Piledriver @9:55 – ** ½
- Knockouts Tag Team Title Finals: Fire & Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Nevaeh & Havok: Kiera wins via Face the Music @8:40 – *** – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton vs Matt Cardona: Cardona wins via DQ @2:30 – N/A
- X Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey: Manik retains via Ole Cradle @13:50 – *** ½
- Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) w/Kimber Lee & Susan vs Taya Valkyrie w/ Decay: Deonna retains via Venus de Milo @11:40 – *** ¼
- Ethan Page vs The Karate Man: Karate Man WINS…Fatality – 200 Stars
- Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Eddie Edwards: Eddie wins via Diehard Flowsion @18:50 – *** ¾
- Moose, Rich Swann &Chris Sabin vs Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows: Kenny Omega wins via One Winged Angel @20:30 – ****
During the last few moments of the Countdown, Madison Rayne officially retired from wrestling and from Impact Wrestling. Not sure how long she’ll stay a house wife, but good for her. She did great to actually prove to people she was a decent wrestler since her run during the WOH tournament, she was a fun commentator, so good for her.
Decay (Rosemary & Crazzy Steve) vs Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb
The weird thing about this match was the dynamic between who was involved and what went on. Crazzy Steve showed a very high work rate in this match, with his strikes and moves looking fantastic. But Rosemary got exposed a bit on still being less than 100% with the knee and generally sloppy on a lot of spots.
Kaleb and Tenille definitely tried to add comedy and their quirky personalities, but the fact that we saw a lot of sloppiness, Steve working his ass off and just comedy spots or gimmick spots too often; this was a giant mess of a match. It also didn’t help that D’lo and Striker are still getting used to each other, so the announcing was distractingly bad.
It can only get better from here!
Old School Rules Match: Violent by Design (Joe Doering, Eric Young & Deaner) vs Tommy Dreamer, Rhino & Cousin Jake
This starts the same way every Tommy Dreamer match starts, with a brawl and weapon use. This wasn’t a terrible match, but it’s really not anything worth going deeply in to. EY did the flair corner to top rope spot, which ended with Dreamer hitting him with a cookie sheet. We had a Tower spot in the corner, with Joe Powerbombing a Suplex, and it landed right into Dreamer’s face.
Doering got to look like a beast when the entire team took the chairs to him, and he still fought back, ending up in control. Dreamer introduced tacks, then we saw the Signature/Finisher spam which ends with EY breaking up the pinfall and hitting Cousin Jake with the Piledriver.
Again, decent enough, but nothing really special.
Knockouts Tag Team Title Finals: Fire & Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Nevaeh & Havok
Oh, Brian Hebner is back for this match. Slightly surprising.
Kiera and Tasha try to start fast, but the bigger women over power the smaller team and throw them around a little bit. Havok beats up on both of them, Neavaeh comes in to keep up the momentum, but eventually Tasha and Kiera start making a comeback. We see Fire and Flava go for a lot of quick spots, fast tags and trying to spin around the larger women, but they just get taken for a ride more often than not.
It’s not until Kiera hits a High Round Kick, followed by Tasha with the Springboard Neckbreaker actually takes Havok off her feet. Nevaeh tries to make a save and get things back on track, but Tasha picks her leg, Havok gets wiped out after a great Super Kick from Kiera, Tasha and Kiera use some tandem attacks on Nevaeh, then Tasha slows down Havok as Kiera hits Face the Music and we have new Knockouts Tag Team Champions!
Ace Austin comes out to declare himself into the X Division Triple Threat to make it a 4 way! D’Amore comes out, says he can have a match, just not the title match. Matt Cardona comes out.
Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton vs Matt Cardona
Ace tries to go at Cardona before the ring jacket is off, but Cardona absorbs some offense and then fires back a bit. Fulton gets in the way quite often during this match, so the finish is a little telegraphed. But right as Cardona starts building momentum; Fulton slides in to cause the DQ.
Decent enough way to protect Ace and give Cardona quick win.
X Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey
Rohit went after Manik to try and prove his point that it’s TJP. Bey seemed dead set on finding a way to win, and as we expected in an X Division match; there were a lot of spots, but they all made sense. Rohit does manage to take off the mask, but TJP painted his face under the mask, so it still throws off Rohit. TJP strings together a few moves, goes for the Mamba Splash, but gets caught by Bey with a Cutter. Bey then hits a Double Art of Finesse, but his brief moment of not knowing who to pin, caused the pinfall breakup.
Rohit almost won the title back after his call back to hitting his Tiger Knee after a Mamba Splash but Bey kicked out. Haymakers get thrown, Rohit hits the Dragon Stomp on Bey, and looks to finish things, but TJP slides in for the style of Cradle he’s used a bit lately, and retains his title after a fun, hard fought match.
Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) w/Kimber Lee & Susan vs Taya Valkyrie w/ Decay
Early on all of the seconds get kicked out, with the beauty of the situation being that Susan pulls out her phone and says she’s filming the whole thing. So Susan, really may be a middle aged transformation of Su Yung. Susan might as well be named Karen.
EVERYBODY has been ejected from ringside.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 17, 2021
As we focus on the actual match, Deonna starts slowly picking apart Taya. Going after her left arm, then her left knee and just trying to apply submission and weaken different limbs. Taya was able to push back and have her own submission attempt moment. Taya went for an STF, but the submission game isn’t her wheelhouse.
Deonna was able to pick her apart, counter a pinfall attempt and keep Taya grounded long enough to work in some holds. The normal Fujiwara didn’t get her submit, so Venus de Milo followed up and Taya verbally submitted.
Ethan Page vs The Karate Man
Since this is cinematic or at least green screen, I won’t rate this as a real match. But it was amazingly entertaining. Dragon Ball Z references, Karate Kid, and Mortal Kombat references, it was just amazing.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 17, 2021
Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Eddie Edwards
Interesting pacing to get across the familiarity, twisted respect and love for punishment between these two. We saw Barbed Wire Tables, Chairs, Baseball Bats, Kendo Sticks and even an…N64 Controller!
Sami took a ton of punishment, but the story was basically playing with Eddie’s emotions to bait him into bad dives, and openings for Sami to move out of the way, or sneak in a barbed wire shot. Eddie hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on a barbed wire chair, Sami hit an Avalanche Piledriver through a barbed wire table, but none of this was enough. If anything, the Piledriver just pissed Eddie off.
Going for the callback that started it all, Sami tries to hit a Barbed Wire Chair into Eddie’s face with a Barbed Wire Bat, but Eddie hits a low blow to get a moment. Sami tries to bring himself up with a chair, Eddie hits the Boston Knee Party, then the Diehard Flowsion for the win!
Eddie hasn’t hit that Flowsion in a long time. I did appreciate Sami paying homage to Cactus Jack and Striker acknowledging Jun Akiyama and Mitsuharu Misawa on commentary though.
Moose, Rich Swann &Chris Sabin vs Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows
The early onset is interesting. Karl Anderson and Chris Sabin start off and there’s some solid technical counter wrestling, and it’s fast paced action. Moose and Gallows come in to do a big boy showdown which worked fairly well, where Swann and Omega had a brief lockup before the Brothers come in to start heeling it up.
We get a lot of Japanese tag stylings, from the triple team that Team Impact pulls off, to the way the Club breaks up any type of momentum with their own train attacks into the corner. Moose looked amazing in this match. He went toe to toe with everyone, pulled off great moves like a Standing Moonsault, leaped to the top rope for a Spanish Fly and was a really good teammate, regardless of his issues with Rich Swann. Hell Swann and Moose even hit a Doomsday Device variant together. Small aside, I did like seeing Chris Sabin pull off Cradle Shock, which just doesn’t happen often enough anymore.
Omega almost has the match one on Rich, but the only one able to break it up was Moose, and he did so. Omega went into V-Trigger spamming mode to wipe out Moose, rock Rich and then a One Winged Angel won the match for the Bullet Club former members.
Overall Score: 6.75/10
Well this started off pretty bad, but at least it built upwards. The main even had a lot of fun wrinkles which increased the storytelling, psychology and overall enjoyment of the show. Hell even when Callis nearly jumped into the ring to break up a pin on Kenny was a good little nugget.
As I said in the weekly coverage, this is probably Taya’s final match, or at least one of the last, especially since they logically moved Rosemary back to Decay with Crazzy Steve. Eddie and Sami had a hell of blood feud and it was nearly cathartic. Let’s also not overlook the fact that Tasha and Kiera actually won the Knockouts Tag titles. I almost thought they wouldn’t win just because they are so charismatic and attractive without the titles, where Havok and Nevaeh don’t exactly have electric personalities. But I’m ecstatic that Kiera finally has a title in Impact!
With the pretty awful start for the wrestling and the commentary, which put the show behind the eight ball; but it did recover fairly well. Not nearly as good as Genesis, but it managed to keep the stories rolling and end on an interesting note. A pretty good show after all was said and done.
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