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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (7/24/18)



SmackDown cover image

SmackDown heats things up towards Summerslam! Will Becky Lynch defeat Carmella in a non-title match to then earn a title match? And who will face AJ Styles?


All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter



  • Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rusev w/ Lana; Almas wins.
  • R-Truth VS Samoa Joe; Joe wins.
  • Asuka VS Billie Kay w/ Peyton Royce; Asuka wins.
  • Carmella VS Becky Lynch; Becky wins and will challenge Carmella for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Summerslam.
  • SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Tournament: The New Day VS SAnitY; The New Day win and advance to the finals.


A limousine arrives. Who is in it?

It’s The Miz! And Mrs! Yes, the It Couple is back on SmackDown, but that’s not all. Here comes Monroe Sky! The It Family walks into SmackDown as part of their celebration for the Miz And Mrs premiere, complete with a premiere party!


Randy Orton heads to the ring!

The Viper returned at Extreme Rules after Shinsuke Nakamura “defeated” Jeff Hardy, only to add on to the damage. Orton would then attack Hardy during the United States Championship rematch to give the Charismatic Enigma an even worse beating! He promised to explain why, and he’s heard all the theories of the WWE Universe. It’s not unfinished business from the past, it’s not the SmackDown Top Ten. Do we want to know why? “Because of you.” Orton blames the WWE Universe for not appreciating him busting his ass for 16 years. When Orton began his career, who is around now that was then? No one! Orton is WWE’s one constant! He set the table for this generation, yet he gets no respect. Orton doesn’t get the respect he deserves, and why is that?

Is it because he doesn’t flail his arms like some idiot? Is it because he doesn’t change the color of his merch just to rob the fans of their money? Maybe it’s because he competes all year long and not just for Wrestlemania. Or maybe because he doesn’t risk his life doing high spots! Orton isn’t an indie darling, and he isn’t someone who stole a “sweet” hand gesture. He didn’t pay his dues, he learned at the foot of the legends while paying his dues in front of millions! Orton has done everything, from Legend Killer to Viper, but he’s learned how the real legend killer is: “Each and every one of you.”

But Orton won’t let us beat him, he is THE Legend. He will destroy those fans put on a pedestal, starting with Jeff Hardy. Hardy isn’t here tonight, and after Orton is done with him, he’ll never return. Orton vows to end Hardy’s career. Hardy’s career has its twist and turns, but Orton only cares about this final chapter. Call him what you want, but from Apex Predator to Viper to Legend Killer, the only real name he’s ever needed are the three most devastating letters in wrestling: R K O. He drops the mic and takes his leave, but will he fulfill his mission of eliminating Hardy?


SmackDown recaps the historic announcement.

Nights like last night on Monday Night Raw happen thanks to everyone, from the male superstars to female superstars to the WWE Universe. In another first-time-ever, WWE announced the first-ever All Women’s PPV event, WWE Evolution! This moment is built on the passion and work of the Women’s Division and the WWE Universe that supports it. Mark your calendars for October 28th to see the fruition of this Women’s (R)Evolution.


Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rusev w/ Lana!

An argument between the strong women standing beside El Idolo and the Bulgarian Brute has stemmed into a match. Which man will prove themselves the better man in this first ever encounter?

The fans are strongly behind Rusev Day while the bell rings. Rusev corners Almas, then backs off. They circle but Almas kicks low. Almas puts on a headlock, but Rusev suplexes. Almas lands on his feet and speeds things up, but Rusev runs him over. Rusev runs and things speed up again, and Rusev anticipates Almas’ backdrop. Rusev throws him at the ropes, but Almas goes tranquilo, with Vega joining in underneath!

Almas has to bail out when Rusev rushes him. Rusev slips out the side and chases Almas into the ring. Almas kicks but Rusev blocks to clobber him down! Rusev keeps on Almas as fans chant “Rusev Day!” He suplexes, covers, ONE. Rusev brings Lana up to join him in a Rusev Day chant. Almas meanwhile slips out to rest his back while Vega barks orders, and we go picture in picture.

Vega tells Almas to get back in the ring while Lana gives Rusev a high-five. Almas returns but Rusev is on him with stomps. Rusev drags Almas around for an elbow drop, then another elbow on the run. Almas crwals to a corner but Rusev stalks him. Rusev whips him corner to corner, but misses and runs into a post! Almas capitalizes with the hanging armbar! Almas lets go at 4, then stomps Rusev to a corner. He stomps a mudhole, then walks it off at 4. Almas comes back for more stomps, but teh ref backs him off. Almas doesn’t stay back for long, as he pulls on Rusev’s arm through ropes. He then dropkicks Rusev out of the ring, and Vega says to keep on him. Almas obeys but walks into Rusev’s kick! They brawl on the outside and end up back inside to keep brawling.

Almas stomps Rusev down, then goes after the arm. Rusev endures, which frustrates Vega. Rusev hits back, to Lana’s liking, but Almas brings Rusev back down in the armlock. Almas wrenches on that arm, but Rusev powers his way back up. He pushes Almas down and gets a ropebreak. Almas lets go and Rusev backs off to a corner. Almas is on him with chops! El Idolo whips but Rusev reverses, only to run into a back elbow and inverted tornado DDT! Cover, TWO, but Almas goes back after the arm. Almas sits on the armlock whiel we return to single picture. Rusev hits back again with sharp chops and clubbing forearms. He arm-drags out and throws more hands. Rusev blocks to counter punch, then punches more. Almas knees low, then runs, but into a roundhouse! And another!

Rusev runs in corner to corner for a big shoulder tackle. He keeps going for the spin kick! Fans fire up for Rusev while Vega panics. But Rusev runs into Almas’ boot! Almas runs, but into a pop-up knee and another roundhouse! Cover, TWO! Rusev isn’t frustrated yet, because he can tell Vega is afraid for Almas. Fans rally up and Rusev stomps his feet. Rusev takes aim, but ALmas dodges the kick to chop! That only angers Rusev! Almas slaps him, which only makes it worse. Rusev fires off elbows! Rusev shoves Amlas but gets a boot. Almas goes for the DT but Rusev denies it. Almas runs for the feint to elbow! Rusev is down, Vega is shouting “KNEES!” but it’s a MACHKA KICK instead! Rusev can’t cover, he’s too tired. A 10 count begins while fans rally up.

Lana and Vega shout at their men, but then shout at each other. The ladies get into it, Vega SLAPS Lana! LANA CRUSH with that tackle! Aiden English appears to stop this cat fight! But he only ends up sandwiched in the middle, knocking Lana down! Rusev questions what’s going on, and English does his best to explain. Almas takes advantage, HAMMERLOCK DDT! Cover, Almas wins!

Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas, by pinfall

El Idolo benefits from The Drama King’s mistakes! If there wasn’t reason for Rusev to be upset with English before, there is now. Can English ever make it up to Mr. & Mrs. Machka? Or can he consider his friendship with them a thing of the past?


R-Truth gets a pep talk.

His first match since Wrestlemania, and it’s against Samoa Joe. Tye Dillinger saw what happened to himself last week, right? Oh, no, he passed out first. But The Perfect Ten says Truth doesn’t need a bed or a pillow, because he ain’t going to sleep. He’ll give Joe the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth in their match! But will that be enough to stay free of the Destroyer’s clutches?


Lana and Aiden English argue.

English did what he did for their sake, but they aren’t taking his calls! Enough! Maybe neither English nor Lana is good for Team Rusev Day. Rusev has put his foot down, but what’s going to happen to his holiday?


R-Truth VS Samoa Joe!

You could get with this, or you could get with that, but do you really want a match with the Samoan Submission Machine? Truth has no choice but to take one. Does he have a chance of surviving Joe’s wrath?

The bell rings and Joe goes right at Truth! He gives knees and elbows, but Truth ducks the clothesline to calf kick! Truth runs in for a BIG splash! Truth keeps going, and hits the spinning elbow! Joe is rocked while Truth is fired up, but he misses the scissor kick. Joe headbutts, but then misses in a corner. Truth runs in, to Joe’s yurinagi! Joe grabs Truth, Coquina Clutch! Truth taps, Joe wins!

Winner: Samoa Joe, by submission

Joe holds on until he says Truth has had enough. The Destroyer destroys another opponent in another quick match. With the WWE Championship #1 Contender not yet named, is Joe on GM Paige’s short list to face AJ Styles?


Backstage interview with Asuka.

The Empress of Tomorrow is just one of many excited for WWE Evolution in October. She’s so ready for this! But tonight, Billie Kay learns she’s NOT ready for Asuka. Will one half of the IIconics find themselves kneeling before the Empress once again?


Asuka VS Billie Kay w/ Peyton Royce!

This isn’t the first time the Empress and the IIconics have met, given their time in NXT together. But given Asuka is no longer undefeated, will this latest encounter still go the way as all the others have?

The bell rings, and Billie is just as confident as Carmella that she’s better than Asuka. But that only angers Asuka, as she grabs Billie’s arm. Billie knees low then arm-drags Asuka. Cover, ONE, but Billie rakes and claws Asuka’s face! Billie pushes Asuka around, but Asuka only gets mad again. Billie gets scared, and runs, but only for Asuka to dropkick her! Asuka whips for the opp-up knee, then runs for the Shining Wizard! Cover, TWO! Peyton calls Billie over, but she can only hold on while Asuka gets an ankle lock! Asuka reels Billie in for a waistlock but Billie bucks her off. Billie’s boot misses, but Asuka’s kicks down! Buzzsaw! Cover, Asuka wins!

Winner: Asuka, by pinfall

The Empress is back up with that win. With Carmella still champion, and Becky poised to be the #1 contender, when and where will Asuka get her chance to reign once again?


Shinsuke Nakamura speaks.

Jeff Hardy was so close, but the King of Strong Style is still United States Champion. “Jeff, do you hear me?” Poor guy, he’s been bitten by a Viper. But Nakamura warns Orton, too, that Nakamura bites back.


SmackDown General Manager, Paige, is in the ring!

She starts by saying she has so much fun being the GM for the blue brand. She’s also very excited for the chance her women have at stealing the show at WWE Evolution. And she’s also excited because she’ll get to see Hall of Famers, Trish Stratus and Lita, return alongside the other superstars of past, present and future! Plus, we’re riding into the biggest show of the summer: Summerslam. So it’s time for her to announce the newest challenger for THE WWE Championship, and its owner, AJ Styles! The Phenomenal One makes his entrance and joins Paige in the ring.

Fans cheer for Styles, and Paige encourages her champion to soak it in. Styles lets the fans know they’re awesome, and wants to tell them that as a husband and father, when he heard about WWE Evolution, the first person he thought of was his daughter. “Baby, you want it bad enough, go out and get it” because there’s nothing she can’t do. Styles is proud to work for this company.

And speaking of being proud, Styles is proud to defend the most prestigious title in both the WWE and the entire world of wrestling, at the event of the summer, Summerslam. Summerslam was the event that built the foundation of the House that AJ Styles Built, when he and John Cena burned the house down and where he and Kevin Owens had an amazing match of their own. With that said, Styles signs the contract. So who is his opponent? Drum roll please. Styles will face… James Ellsworth!?

The Chinless Wonder reintroduces himself: J to the Izames, E to the Izworth, #EllsworthIsExcellence. And he’s gonna tell the Phenomenal One and the WWE Universe that the real reason he’s back is that title. After all, Ellsworth has beaten Styles three times! And like they say, the fourth time’s the charm. No, no one says that. Well they will after Ellsworth wins again. Styles is shocked and scared, Ellsworth can tell. Ellsworth will make it quick with a wham bam, hot damn, new champ at Summerslam! Paige corrects Ellsworth. “Just stop it.” What’s he even doing out here? He’s a joke. A joke? No, Paige, you’re the joke! What is she even saying with that accent? And her wardrobe.

Now now, we don’t make fun of people around here. Well he does. Just look at her, she’s pale as a ghost! Paige gets serious now as she walks up to him. She’s got two words for him. No, not “Suck it”. “YOU’RE FIRED!” Ellsworth just got McMahon’d by Paige! Security, take him away! Fans chant “Yes! Yes!” as Ellsworth is hauled away, kicking and screaming. Paige walks with security all the way to the exit as they carry the cranky Ellsworth. They set him down in front of the door, and Paige kicks him through it!

But wait, Samoa Joe attacks in the ring! He puts Styles in a Coquina Clutch!! Styles is out cold, and Joe signs his name! Was he who Paige was going to name? Or has he just made himself the #1 contender on his own? He throws the table down on Styles, but will this declaration stand?


Samoa Joe encounters Paige backstage.

Paige wanted Joe to be Styles’ opponent because he’s unpredictable, but not like this! Well too bad, that is Joe being unpredictable. Paige’s plan was pedestrian, but Joe plans to be Phenomenal. Paige is beside herself as JOe storms off. But Carmella comes in and protests Ellsworth being fired. If Mella is Money, buy a new boyfriend. Hate on Carmella all you want, but she’s still SmackDown’s Women’s Champion. And it’ll stay that way all the way to Evolution. This marquee match with Becky Lynch? Not gonna happen. Carmella’s beaten Charlotte twice and Asuka twice, so Becky’s next.

Carmella VS Becky Lynch!

The FABULOUS Princess is fired up after losing her lap dog, but will she get burned up by the Lass Kicker’s straight fire? And if so, will Becky take this momentum all the way to a Summerslam championship rematch?

The bell rings, and the two circle. Becky lunges in and gets a waistlock, to then arm-drag Carmella. She wants her submission but Carmella freaks out. Carmella gets the ropebreak, and Becky lets go. They circle again, and Becky wants another try. Carmella rolls her up. TWO, so she throws a strong right hand and then throws Becky down. Cover, but Becky slips out. Things speed up and Becky hits Carmella with a flying forearm. Carmella bails out but Becky pursues, with an apron forearm! Down goes Carmella, but Becky brings her back up. Carmella crawls away and back out the ring, then dodges the dropkick to throw Becky into barriers! The Princess is in control while we go picture in picture.

Carmella trash talks the fans while going back into the ring. She waits on the 10 count while Becky stirs. Becky slowly stands, but staggers over. She beats the count at 9 but Carmella is on her with hammering fists! Cover, TWO, and Carmella is frustrated. She wraps Becky in a thrashing chinlock, then slows down to grind Becky into the mat. Becky gets up but Carmella wrangles her back down! Carmella squeezes and wrenches Becky’s neck, but Becky fights back again. Becky shoves Carmella but Carmella comes back with a tilt-o-whirl headscissor! Carmella runs at Becky in the corner but misses, and gets Becky’s jump kick instead. Becky then picks up Carmella, but Carmella slips out to bring Becky down by her hair. Cover, TWO, but Carmella slaps Becky around while we return to single picture.

Carmella grinds Becky’s face into the mat while she screams “I’m the champion! Not you!” She kicks Becky, but Becky hits back! Both women are down, but fans rally up. They both stand, and they brawl with big forearms. Carmella fires off a few, but Becky fires off even more! Becky headbutts and lariats Carmella. Becky rallies, mule kicks and European Uppercuts! She grabs Carmella, but Carmella counters to a complete shot! Cover, TWO! Carmella drags Becky up by her hair, and brings her over to a corner. She climbs up, but Becky counters the tornado DDT with a Becksploder! Becky runs in but is put on the apron. She knocks Carmella away, then climbs up, but Carmella trips her up. Carmella comes back, SUPER STEINER! Cover, TWO!

Carmella can’t believe Becky’s still in this, but she keeps her eyes on the inaugural SmackDown Women’s Champion. She throws in her kick but Becky deflects it, to then go after the arm. Carmella sends Becky into buckles, then rolls up, with ropes! TWO!! Becky manages to deny the cheat! And Carmella is furious, to say the least. Carmella stalks Becky more, but that kick is denied again. Becky hits the enziguri! Both women are down again, but Becky is getting up. Becky climbs up top, but misses the leg drop! FABULOUS Kick! Cover, TWO!! Now Carmella is really shocked. She drags Becky over, but ends up in the Disarm-Her!! Carmella taps, Becky wins!!

Winner: Becky Lynch, by submission; will challenge Carmella for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at Summerslam

“Becky Balboa” has done it! She’s beaten the champ here tonight, and now she has a chance to do it all again, for the title. Will Brooklyn bring the Blue Brand’s belt back to Becky?


The Bludgeon Brothers speak.

Harper & Rowan know four team will fight, but there will be no winner. Only punishment. These four teams can destroy each other, but they will all face the same fate: “A bludgeoning!”

SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Tournament: The New Day VS SAnitY!

Awwwww~ Indiana! Don’t you dare be sour, clap for world famous four time champs, and feel~ the power~! This rematch of positivity and chaos will send one team into this mini-tournament’s finals, but which team will it be?

The Usos are on commentary now, as they will be in this tournament. Their opponents, The Bar, return next week for their match, but Jimmy & Jey look to scout future opponents already.

Xavier Woods & Big E represent New Day while Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain represent SAnitY. Woods and Wolfe start and tie up. Wolfe gets a headlock, but Woods powers out. Wolfe runs Woods over, then runs again. Woods speeds things up and slides under to hit a roaring elbow! Cover, ONE, but Woods keeps on Wolfe. He wrenches the arm, then whips Wolfe, but Wolfe reverses. Wolfe runs into a boot, but Eric Young distracts. Woods Honor Rolls, but into a German Suplex! Wolfe tags in Big Damo, and sets Woods up for a big boot. The Beast of Belfast drags Woods up but Woods fires off haymakers. Damo shoves him to SAnitY’s corner but get a mule kick. He still picks Woods up for the Wasteland slam to big back senton! SAnitY has control while we go to break.

SmackDown returns and Damo has Woods on the top rope. He climbs up to join Woods, but Woods resists. Woods fights back, clubbing away on Damo’s big back! Damo staggers away, and Woods hits a big missile dropkick! Fans rally up while both men crawl for their corners. Hot tags to Wolfe & Big E! Big E throws Wolfe with an overhead suplex, then another, then a side belly2belly! Big E swivels those hips, then runs, but Eric Young disrupts the splash. Kofi flies in, but gets caught by Damo! Woods suddenly barrels in with a cannonball off the steps! Down goes Damo, but Big E runs into a boot from Wolfe. Wolfe and Young coordinate, but Young isn’t part of this match! Kofi pushes Young down, then Woods tags Big E! Big E scoops Wolfe, Woods up top, MIDNIGHT HOUR! Cover, The New Day wins!

Winners: The New Day, Woods pinning; advance to the tournament finals

Positivity wins over chaos this time, but now things get serious. The Usos approach the ring, but Sheamus & Cesaro make their return now! The Celtic Gladiator & Swiss Cyborg speak. Did you miss them? Because they didn’t miss anyone here. But they did miss being champions. The Bar vows to beat the Usos, then The New Day, then Harper & Rowan at Summerslam. Because they don’t just set the bar, they ARE the Bar! Will the in-ring return of the former Raw Tag Team Champions turn into the first step to becoming SmackDown Tag Team Champions?


Paige meets with The It Family backstage.

Miz wants to know about the babysitter Paige promised. She presents Sin Cara! He wears a mask. Well, yeah, he’s a luchador. In that case, Miz is going to introduce the “cutest baby ever” to the WWE Universe. Yes, Monroe Sky will join her parents in the premiere party! Guess Sin Cara got those diapers for nothing now…


The Miz & Mrs Premiere Party begins!

The It Family heads to the ring to celebrate their new reality show, which debuts on the USA Network after SmackDown tonight. The bouncers let them through the velvet rope, and the It Parents carefully bring Monroe Sky through the ring ropes. Miz calmly welcomes the WWE Universe to the most must-see moment in history. Last week, we mourned the passing of Team Hell No, but this week, we celebrate Miz & Maryse! Miz has been so lucky to share the spotlight with his beautiful wife and mother of the century, Maryse herself. Maryse thanks Miz, and with WWE Evolution on the horizon, “let’s face it,” it all started with her. This evolution continues because of the premiere episode of Miz & Mrs. If you think you know comedy, drama and entertainment, you haven’t seen anything yet.

The WWE Universe should be honored to be in the presence of the stars, especially the “little scene stealer”, the infant who has already accomplished more than Daniel Bryan, THE Monroe Sky! The fans chant for baby Monroe, but she’s fallen asleep, hearing the name Daniel Bryan. Please be quiet. They don’t stay quiet, and that upsets Miz. But that’s fine, let’s skip to a special sneak-peek of the series! The trailer plays, and it also recaps Miz’s early WWE career. The time he came off very awkward and obnoxious, especially while trying to court Maryse. And let’s not forget all the times he’s lost…

Daniel Bryan appears on the titantron! Wow, that show looks great! But that footage, sorry, Bryan didn’t mean for that to happen. Bryan says he’s sorry. No wait, why is he saying it back here? He should say it in the ring! So here comes Bryan! Security stops him at the velvet rope, but Bryan fights his way through! He knocks one guy down, then throws the other into barriers. Bryan throws the other guard into barriers, then gently unhooks the velvet rope. He heads into the ring, but Miz & Maryse beg he not do this with Monroe in the ring. But then surprise! It was a doll the entire time! Miz boots Bryan then drops him with a Skull Crushing Finale!

Miz knew Bryan was going to try to steal his spotlight! It always has to be about Bryan! But yes, this was the greatest ruse ever. That baby wasn’t Monroe, but an actor! Miz would never bring his real daughter to a city like Indiana. If you want to see the real Monroe Sky, watch Miz & Mrs, because it will be… AWWWWESOOOME~! The reality show premiers in mere seconds, but will Miz’s real reality be ruined when Bryan comes back for more revenge?



My Thoughts:

SmackDown not only did better than Raw (again) but it went by so fast! Part of that is the picture-in-picture commercial coverage, which is something Raw could try to use for at least their main events. There was also just a lot done better here. Their relating of the All-Women’s PPV news was done better, as it was integrated into Asuka’s promo, the IIconic’s selfie video, and even that argument Paige and Carmella had after Paige fired Ellsworth. Raw’s flaw was overdoing the use of a recap package without really bringing any of the women in to react to it, so SmackDown learned from that. Asuka wins to get back on track while she heads for WWE Evolution like most of the women. Billie & Peyton still do great in their role, too, but obviously they’ll come into play more with the coming Women’s Tag Division.

Randy Orton gives a good but standard Heel promo for just after a turn. He blames the fans and the superstars we like more than him, but we all can be sure Orton will do better in the ring with Hardy than on the mic. Nakamura seems to want in on this, too, so I’m still sensing a Triple Threat for the United States Championship at Summerslam. Rusev VS Almas was a solid opener, but now we see a logical way for Rusev Day to question if they’re keeping English around. I can’t be sure if English going solo or joining someone else is the better choice, but at least it won’t be Rusev turning on him and kicking him out.

Ellsworth does great in making us all want him to go away, and that’s what happens as he gets “fired”. Joe’s attack on Styles was great, Joe VS Styles will be great. I just hope Ellsworth doesn’t interfere as his revenge. Or that if he does, Joe makes sure to choke him out before he can do anything to ruin the finish. I’m glad Becky wins this match tonight, and I hope she wins at Summerslam in an even better match. Though, if I’m to get my WWE Four Horsewomen Tag Title match at WWE Evolution, I guess she’ll have to drop it to someone on the way, such as to Asuka in Hell in a Cell. I hope The New Day wins the tournament to get another go against Harper & Rowan to win the belts back. My alternate would be The Bar, because they haven’t faced Harper & Rowan.

That ending segment with the premiere party was great. I could tell all along Miz didn’t bring out Monroe Sky, so I’m glad they used the fake baby as a way to punk out Bryan. I still feel the baby they had just before coming out was Monroe Sky, but who can say. Miz VS Bryan needs to happen at Summerslam, it just makes sense. And even just watching a few minutes of Miz & Mrs, you get a great sense of the real Miz & Maryse, so I wouldn’t be surprised that he turns Face after Bryan makes him tap out. Miz can then go up against Heels like Nakamura or even Almas, to finally give us that Strong Styles VS Soft Style we were hoping for a year ago when Bryan was still GM, just with the Face-Heel dynamics reversed.

My Score: 8.5/10



The Chairshot Match Of The Year Final Match Pool



How did the last week of voting pan out for Second Chance and November? Only one way to find out. Take a look at our 12 MOTY matches and let’s see where Andrew’s 5 votes are going.

Last week was our final vote to round out the 12 matches in the Match of the Year pool.  Since we love Top 5s here, the idea will be for everyone to whittle the 12, down to their 5 favorite, and then we get our final 5 to vote on.

Let’s see what matches we have in our MOTY Pool:

  • January – NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas(c)
  • February – New Beginning in Osaka IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs SANADA
  • March – NJPW Strong Style Evolved: Golden Lovers vs Young Bucks
  • April – NXT Takeover NOLA NXT Championship: Andrade Almas(c) vs Aleister Black
  • May – WWE Backlash Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins(c) vs The Miz
  • June – NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada(c) vs Kenny Omega
  • July – G1 Climax 28: Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii
  • August – G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi
  • September – All In NWA Championship Match: Cody vs Nick Aldis(c)
  • October – Evolution SmackDown Women’s Title Last Woman Standing Match: Becky Lynch(c) vs Charlotte
  • November – NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship Match: Velveteen Dream vs Tommaso Ciampa (c)
  • December/Second Chance – Impact Wrestling Redemption World Championship Triple Threat: Fenix vs Austin Aries (c) vs Pentagon Jr

Now as you can see, the overall list has some decent balance. Five from New Japan and WWE, along with 2 outlier matches. So it’s not heavily tipped one way or the other.

For the rest of this article I’ll just list out my 5 picks from this list, and then we can get to everyone’s votes.


5. NXT Takeover WarGames II NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Velveteen Dream

This makes my Top 5 from our MOTY pool because this was just a good combination of all things wrestling. Solid wrestling, homages, callbacks, high suspense moments, big crowd reactions…just everything. Sure it might not have been a work rate master piece, but there’s more to wrestling than work rate.


4. NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Kenny Omega

This was almost a given since it already won Tokyo Sports Best Bout, which marks the fifth year in a row Okada was involved in the Best Bout, and the first time since Kenta Kobashi and Mitsuharu Misawa that the same pairing won back to back. Though it wasn’t the best of their four matches in my opinion, you can’t overlook the storyline ramifications.

We saw this match finish off the ascent of Kenny Omega, as well as, send Kazuchika Okada into some goofy balloon loving spiral. Love or hate the Elite, this story had a lot of attention and was told pretty damn well.


3. All In NWA Championship: Cody vs Nick Aldis (c)

In a similar vein to the Okada/Omega match, this had a lot of story significance. Cody challenging for all of the World Championships he could was one, him trying to be the first second generation wrestler to capture the NWA Championship was another and of course, the emotions tied with Dusty was the one most of us cared about.

As I said when I reviewed All In, this match was a love letter to his father. Yes it was a very old school southern style match. Obvious blade jobs, a goofy possible knock out for the DDP pop, Brandi putting herself in the way of a move to protect her husband, this was all love. It was a match I think most old school fans would enjoy, and unless you really need flips or work rate, this match evoked some emotion out of most watchers.

This is wrestling.


2. NXT Takeover Philly NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade Almas (c)

An early contender that still holds up nicely. This was the first match since Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura to really just blow me away. They both turned it up, the double knees into the post looked brutal and the whole thing was a great culmination of Andrade’s character.

It was after this match, most of us were sold that he figured it out and would be huge. Now we just have to hope Vince sees it too.


1. G1 Climax 28 Finals: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi

It’s not often we get a match where one of the competitors considers the other one God. Ibushi and Tanahashi have immense respect for each other, and they also have an undeniable chemistry. Ibushi gets a lot labels as a “flippy shit” wrestler, but he sells wonderfully and knows how to tell a story in the ring.

On top of Ibushi’s athletic prowess and overall wrestling ability, we couple that with Tanahashi’s masterful pacing and his own artistic way of building a match…this was just poetry in motion. It definitely helps this is my personal number 1 match all year, so of course I was ecstatic that it made The Chairshot MOTY pool. Beautiful match.



If you didn’t partake much in the match votes leading up to this pool, now’s you’re chance to make your voice heard. Vote for your Top 5, and then we can have the final vote starting next week, for our second Chairshot MOTY. Our first ever vote went to, NJPW Dominion IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada (c).

Will New Japan end up winning this year also?

What are your Top 5 out of these 12? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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The endless well of NOAH knowledge, Hisame, bring us updates and news leading up to NOAH’s final show of the year, Great Voyage in Yokohama Vol.2.



Tokyo Sports announced their nominations for their annual end of year awards. NOAH have not been included since 2016 when Katsuhiko Nakajima won “The Fighting Spirit Award” and Naomichi Marufuji won “Best Bout”.

Although Takashi Sugiura was a runner up nominee in “Outstanding Performance”, this went to Naomichi Marufuji (who has won “Best Bout” in 2006, 2008 and 2016, “Outstanding Performance” in 2006, “Best Tag Team” (with KENTA) in 2003, and “Newcomer Award” in 1999). 

Kaito Kiyomiya has won his first award for “Fighting Spirit”.

Kaito Kiyomiya, being Kiyomiya, at first couldn’t believe it. He thought he had either been nominated for “Best Newcomer”, despite having debuted three years ago, or that someone was joking.

IPW have announced that YO-HEY is the second NOAH wrestler to compete in their Junior Heavyweight Championship Tournament on Tuesday 15th January 2019 in Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.
Tickets can be bought here

YO-HEY said when RATELS were due to come over in 2018 that he was excited as this would be his first time in England, and he wanted to meet Mr. Bean.

Yes. I guess a man described as a “childish buffoon who brings various unusual schemes and contrivances to everyday tasks” would get on very well with YO-HEY.

Expect another two NOAH names to (hopefully) be announced.

NOAH wrestlers have been announced for “Power Hall Year End Special” on December 28th.

Masa Kitamiya and Kaito Kiyomiya will be in “Timeless Masterpeice” (main event) teaming with Riki Chosu & Tatsumi Fujinami (Kitamiya) and NOSAWA and Kasai (Kiyomiya)

Katsuhiko Nakajima will be in a four man tag and renew his rivalry with Takuya Nomura in “Ultimate Collision”

Heisei Ishingun will reunite (Akitoshi Saito and AKIRA)

Hakata Stalene has been closed for renovation until March 2019. There is some concern that when it reopens it will not be used for puro, which will be not only disaster for the local residents, but promotions who come to the area too.

YO-HEY & HAYATA will be appearing in Kushinbo Kamen’s New Year Produce on the 28th December, and they recorded this video message.
Question: how can someone covering their face by a hood, STILL look SO PHOTOGENIC?


NOAH wrapped up a short (compared to the frenetic pace of last year) “Winter Navigation 2018”. Sadly due to the snowy weather rolling into the provinces (and I think as one fan said, not having a streaming service which severely impacts as people don’t sometimes know what is going on), attendances have not been good with only one night in five being sold out.

Go Shiozaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima announced that they have split from “The Super New Generation Army” and stand as a team called “The Mid Generation” as they both debuted in 2004; so despite being part of the “Golden Era”, they stand now in the era between the vets and the younger heavyweights. This makes more sense for both of them, Shiozaki in particular who was in a grey area being too old for the younger heavyweights and too young for the veterans.

I think this was probably always NOAH’s intention to have them break away from the others at some point, especially now Kiyomiya is not so dependent on Shiozaki and needs less input. The GHC Heavyweight tag championships that Shiozaki has held recently have been for him to get other people (Kotoge & Kiyomiya) over in the heavyweight division, so this is one is for him to enjoy with a partner who certainly needs no favors.

Although the two are far too green to be involved in any storylines (as much as NOAH has them) or heated feuds, Kinya Okada and Yoshiki Inamura are slowly building into a feud, with Inamura refusing to shake hands with Okada the second time he lost to him and leaving the ring. Looking at the size of them, these two are going to be ultra heavyweights one day. 

Due to injury, Chinese athlete, Chang Yufeng, has been pulled from the NOAH cards and is working ringside duties. This means that Lin Dong-Xuan has had his first singles matches and faced Tadasuke on the 9th in the resulting card shake-up.

None of the champions or their challengers have managed to directly get the win over each other in any of the pre-matches.

Yuji Hino made a definite impact (a Kotoge shaped impact) when Shiozaki and Nakajima clashed with himself and Taniguchi in their one and only pre-match by giving him “The Fucking Bomb”. Hino (whom Nakajima has called The Hooligans “pet pig”) has not been in NOAH due to his schedule since the 9th December. Nakajima says he will “silence his noisy oinking” at “Great Voyage in Yokohama Vol.2”

Hino then went on to insult most of The Hooligans (aside from KAZMA SAKAMOTO and Mitsuya Nagai). He’s probably not going to take well to being called names either.

Kotaro Suzuki said something to the effect that Daisuke Harada walked in and took the seat he had left empty. Harada said this untrue as he came here from Osaka Pro, and that no one wants his damn seat anyway, they all have their own. Harada said he cannot afford to lose in Yokohama, after all, much more is on the line than just the belt.
Suzuki’s last comment before the title match is that people should cheer for Harada (who he called “truly my puppet”) because he was going to crush him and take everything from him.

Hajime Ohara hinted that there is a mini generational war going on among the juniors with Minoru Tanaka and Hi69 having the tag belts, and Kotaro Suzuki having the GHC Junior. There was tension between The Backbreakers and the GHC Junior Tag Champions at the match signing with Kumano and Tanaka squaring up. 

Minoru Tanaka likened the title match in Yokohama to be like a barbecue with butter falling into the fire, and told Hajime Ohara on the last night that he was the “burnt scum” of it when Ohara sarcastically told him to enjoy the taste of his barbecue.

Takashi Sugiura and Kaito Kiyomiya continued to stalemate, with Sugiura telling Kiyomiya that he had better bring his energy to Yokohama. In a post match promo on the 12th he said that he was going to “win a way that he cannot stand up” either by knockout, pin or referee stop.


  • GHC Heavyweight Champion: Takashi Sugiura
  • GHC Junior Champion: Kotaro Suzuki
  • GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima
  • GHC Junior Tag Champions: Minoru Tanaka & Hi69

All titles will be challenged for on the 16th December at “Great Voyage in Yokohama Vol.2”

Kaito Kiyomiya will challenge for the GHC Heavyweight
Daisuke Harada will challenge for the GHC Junior
Yuji Hino & Maybach Taniguchi will challenge for the GHC Heavyweight Tag
The Backbreakers (Hajime Ohara & Hitoshi Kumano) will challenge for the GHC Junior Tag

~ President Uchida told Katsuhiko Nakajima that “I don’t kick people, and laugh” when discussing teams for Masao Inoue’s bowling tournament
~ Atsushi Kotoge got his cape back that Yoshinari Ogawa threw into the audience at Korakuen Hall
~ YO-HEY had planned to go buffo to use the dojo tanning machine, but unsurprisingly, December is too cold and the dojo doesn’t have much in the way of either heating or air-con, and he apologized for the inconvenience of his not getting naked. Please let that be the end of his story.
~ Atsushi Kotoge started waving The Hooligans flag around (they had left it behind), his cloak also broke and Kumano took a secret picture of him fixing it.
~ Naomichi Marufuji has been able to start very light training. Makoto Hashi (old dojo friend from the AJPW days) has been helping him with physiotherapy (he trained as one when he retired from NOAH), and they talked of old times during the rehabilitation sessions.
~ Everyone in NOAH has a nickname, Kinya Okada’s is apparently “Oka-chan”
~ Atsushi Kotoge was scolded for timekeeping by Go Shiozaki and then Takashi Sugiura for taking too long rushing around the hall
~ This was apparently Tadasuke’s first time in a NOAH  ring against Takashi Sugiura (he showed “amazing power” when he lariated Sugiura according to a fan)
~ Kinya Okada gave a post match interview for his debut, he says he admires everyone, but he has no hero. He wants to be his own wrestler.
~ Hitoshi Kumano has picked up a nasty looking black eye during the last three days of “Winter Navigation 2018”.
~ The top of Kinya Okada’s head and hair vanished on the entry screen into the blue background due to a glitch, making him look like one of the “Coneheads”.
~ Kaito Kiyomiya celebrated his third anniversary in wrestling on the 9th December
~ Masao Inoue told Quiet Storm not to chop him as “it hurts as its cold”.
~ Kaito Kiyomiya really likes tomatoes (says he will be the only person eating them at a buffet, his fridge is full of them, ate them at an interview instead of an apple).
~ Hi69 celebrated his 37th birthday on the 12th December.
~ Katsuhiko Nakajima has had a new t-shirt released…

He’s been good this week. Expect that to change after he’s had to behave himself at Yokohama.

The event on the 7th December, will be broadcast on the 15th December
The event on the 16th December, will be broadcast on the 22nd December


English translation of Naomichi Marufuji’s biography “Heir to The Ark
(Chapters 1 and 2 are complete, 3 is currently ongoing)

Review of “Anything is possible ~ The Eddie Edwards Story

“I have been with Noah for eighteen years, I have worn the belt and carried Noah” ~ mini interview with Takashi Sugiura. 
“I will change the scene with the win on the 16th December” ~ interview with Kaito Kiyomiya 
“I will not be beaten” ~ Kaito Kiyomiya pledges generation change by taking the GHC 
“Come At Me You Bastards” ~ Kenoh’s column (December 2018) 

Image credit ~ NOAH GHC


With Yokohama being the last big event; how will the landscape shake up? Let us know on social media @theCHAIRSHOTcom and always remember to use the hashtag #UseYourHead!

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