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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (7/3/18)

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While there’s still two weeks left, SmackDown is gaining speed towards Extreme Rules! First, Team Hell No is promised to kick off the show now that they’ve reunited AND been granted a shot at The Bludgeon Brothers’ tag team titles. Then, The Phenomenal AJ Styles will take on MC Artiste as a warm-up before Rusev Day!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • WWE United States Championship Independence Day Open Challenge: Jeff Hardy VS ???; Hardy wins and retains the WWE United States Championship.
  • Asuka VS James Ellsworth w/ Carmella; Double Count Out.
  • AJ Styles VS Aiden English w/ Rusev; Styles wins.
  • Becky Lynch VS Peyton Royce w/ Billie Kay; Becky wins.
  • The Usos VS Team Hell No; Team Hell No wins, keeping their SmackDown Tag Team Championship match against The Bludgeon Brothers at 2v2.

PLAY BY PLAY

Renee Young welcomes us to SmackDown!

And she welcomes to the ring, Kane & Daniel Bryan, Team Hell No!

The Big Red Machine has indeed returned, and he did so by saving his frenemy from the Bludgeon Brothers, Harper & Rowan. After five years, these two are back together and are set to challenge Harper & Rowan for their SmackDown Tag Team Championships at Extreme Rules! Their reunion and the “Hug Felt Around the World” made headlines. They’ve been successful despite their dysfunction, but that’s the beautiful part. Sometimes they fight, sometimes they hug, but they always deliver and are unstoppable! Kane and Bryan fought blindfolded and arms tied behind backs, and even fought The Shield in a TLC Match. They even graduated from Anger Management with Honors. Kane & Bryan have been through Hell, but they are back and better than ever!

But why did Kane come back? Well, Bryan has a bit of a temper. When he was attacked a couple weeks ago, Kane knew Bryan would get himself in trouble. Whether Bryan realizes it, he always has a demon watching over him. Well maybe not always. Bryan is excited to have Kane back and vows they will become the NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions! Fans chant “YES! YES!” because they hope so, too. But when Kane said he has always watched over Bryan, that’s not exactly true. The last time they were in the ring together, it was as opponents. But as friends. Were they? Kane tried to end Bryan’s career. Well everyone wants to win. Kane tombstone’d Bryan three different times, outside of a match!

Kane wants to keep things focused on the present, not the past. If they are to win against Harper & Rowan, they need to focus on what unites them. But, Kane tried to kidnap Brie… “Tried”. They’ve had their differences, but Kane has always had Bryan’s back. No he hasn’t. Yes he has. No… Yes… No…! Yes…! NO. YES. NO! YES! Repeat. The Usos appear?!

Jimmy & Jey knew this was gonna happen. The Big Red Machine and #SweetBeats D-Bry, back in the tag team division. The tag team division just got hot! Remember when those two were the hottest team? Hell Yeah. But also argued a lot. Hell Yeah. And then the “YES YES” shirts versus the “NO NO” shirts. Hell Yeah! Is everyone excited for them to be back as a team? Hell Yeah! Do they deserve an opportunity at the titles? Hell NO!! Because The Usos know a lot has changed in five years. They’ve got SmackDown #OnLock, welcome to the Uso Penitentiary! Paige gave these two a shot at Extreme Rules just because they hugged!? The Usos have been hugging since they were two years old. They hug now! As a matter of fact, bring it in three more times. There, that’s four hugs, which is four more title shots!

That’s not what hugs mean. But if the Usos disagree, why don’t they come in and fight Hell No right now? Kane speaks up, because “what Daniel means” this is a team consideration and will get back to them. Kane doesn’t think he’s ready? Or is it that Kane thinks Bryan is the weak link?! Bryan has done so much since Kane was last here! But here comes GM Paige!

She didn’t mean to interrupt, but as GM, the Glampire has the obligation to do what’s right for the WWE Universe. Therefore, Team Hell No will face Harper & Rowan for the titles. But they do need to prove themselves, against the Usos in the main event! By the way, Jimmy & Jey, if you two win, you’ll be added to the match for a Triple Threat Tag! Fans are the ones who love that the most! Will the Penitentiary #LockDown Hell No and another chance at the Bludgeon Brothers? Or will Kane & Bryan say #HellNo to that?

 

Jeff Hardy speaks.

“The bald eagle is a powerful, aerial beast, soaring on thermal convection currents” with eyes able to spot prey up to two miles away. It is also a symbol of America’s ferocity, so as we celebrate this great nation’s independence, Hardy will carry this other symbol with great pride. “I am in search of my next prey.” And in exchange, he offers up the symbol. The challenge is now open! Who will accept!?

 

Asuka speaks.

“Men, women. Sexist pig!” It doesn’t matter who she faces. She makes them all feel pain! James Ellsworth will not be ready for Asuka! Is the Empress of Tomorrow going to kick off Ellsworth’s head before coming after the FABULOUS Princess’ throne?

 

WWE United States Championship Independence Day Open Challenge: Jeff Hardy VS ???

The Charismatic Enigma must still wait for the King of Strong Style to recover. But he will not sit quietly, for he hungers for challengers. And on the eve of Independence Day, the champion faces… The Hollywood A-Lister, The Miz! The Miz was a WWE US Champion in the past, can he bring it back around again?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin! Miz and Hardy circle while fans rally up already. They tie up, and Miz knees low. Miz clubs Hardy to a corner, then stomps away. He brings Hardy up, whips and goes for a hip toss, but gets a jawbreaker from Hardy. Hardy kicks low and goes for the Twist, but Miz pushes out. Miz runs in but misses, then hits the mat while Hardy goes up. Miz manages to stop Hardy, then climb up. Hardy resists the superplex to knock Miz down. Hardy readjusts, but Miz rolls away. Miz catches his breath while we go picture in picture.

Hardy waits for Miz to return, because Miz will have to if he wants the belt. Miz slides in but slides out, so Hardy pursues. They go back in and Miz is there to stomp Hardy out. Miz backs off at 4, and Hardy staggers to the ropes. Miz is on him with a sleeper hold, but Hardy fights back. Hardy goes to run but Miz yanks him down by his hair. The ref reprimands Miz, but Miz just stalks Hardy for the low boot. he misses, Hardy rolls up, TWO. Hardy kicks low, but Miz again escapes the Twist. Miz slips back out of the ring to catch his breath again. Hardy waits, but again Miz baits him into cat and mouse. Miz runs, and catches Hardy with knees. Miz throws Hardy back out, then runs to try the wrecking ball. Hardy dodges, then clobbers Miz with a haymaker.

Hardy catches his breath against the announce desk, then climbs up to the apron. He fires the fans up before leaping onto Miz with a lariat! Hardy refreshes the count, then bounces Miz off the announce desk several times! When he’s done, he puts Miz back in the ring. Cover, TWO! Hardy keeps on Miz with a chinlock. Miz endures, stands up and powers out. Miz gets Hardy with the kitchen sink knee, then takes his time catching his breath. We return to single picture as Miz mocks the DELETE. He brings Hardy back up, and goes to bump him off buckles. Hardy turns it around to bump Miz in one corner, then another, then another. Hardy gets all four corners and gives Miz more and more buckle bumps! Miz is down, and fans chant “DELETE! DELETE!” Miz knees Hardy then low boots! Cover, TWO!

Miz keeps on Hardy with a knee and half surfboard. Fans rally for Hardy as he endures the stretch. Hardy powers up to his feet, then fights against the hold. Hardy turns it around on Miz, but Miz turns it back around and brings Hardy to his knees. Fans rally again, and Hardy powers up again. Hardy turns the hold back around once more, but Miz kicks low. Miz swings but Hardy counters and hits back. Hardy gives more haymakers, then a kick, then a whip. Miz reverses, but Hardy hits back with forearms. Hardy atomic drops, and leg-splitting leg drops on top! Dropkick added, cover, TWO! Hardy whips Miz but Miz kicks him away. Miz runs but is dumped outside. Hardy builds speed and hits the baseball slide! Miz hits barriers, but Hardy isn’t done. DELETE leaping attack, but Miz sends him into barriers!

Hardy is down while the count begins. Miz drags Hardy up while we go to break.

SmackDown returns as both Miz and Hardy slowly stand in the ring. Hardy hits Miz with the spinning back kick, but both men are down again. Fans rally for Hardy as he and Miz brawl on their knees. They go back and forth, and brawl as they stand up. Hardy gets the edge, but Miz counters to the full nelson. Hardy throws him off and hits a corner clothesline. Miz sits down, here comes the Hardyac, but Miz kicks it away. Miz runs out, but into the Twist- No, full nelson, but Hardy rolls! TWO, DDT from Miz! Cover, TWO! Miz gets up, runs in, and hits the A-List clothesline. Hardy staggers out while Miz climbs up. Miz leaps, but Hardy gets under. Hardy elbows back, then Whisper in the Wind! Cover, TWO!

Hardy isn’t sure what to do now, but he doesn’t lose hope. He takes off the shirt and calls for the Twist. Miz stands, Hardy kicks low but Miz again denies the Twist. He rolls Hardy, but feet on the ropes! The referee spots it and stops the count! Miz thinks he’s won, but the referee points out he saw Miz was cheating. Miz protests but runs into Twist of Fate! Hardy climbs up, SWANTON BOMB! Cover, Hardy wins!

Winner: Jeff Hardy, by pinfall; still WWE United States Champions

The second open challenge for the champion, and the champion is still the same. Hardy keeps his momentum red hot, will he be able to keep it going all Summer? Or will someone shut him down before the Fall?

 

James Ellsworth speaks.

Men are the superior specimen. Men have stronger muscles, bones are tougher, brains are bigger–especially his. Women aren’t ready for Asuka, but he’s all man. The Battle of the Sexes when he puts Asuka in her place. #MellaisMoney, and #EllsworthisExquisite. Generalizing aside, is this “man” really ready for one of the most dangerous women in WWE today?

 

Byron Saxton is in the ring.

As everyone in America knows, July 4th is Independence Day. But tonight, the New Day has requested time for a special something: The Inaugural 3rd of July Pancake Eating Contest! Therefore, welcome the Patriots of Positivity! Awwwwww~ Omaha! Don’t you dare be sour, clap for your four-time champs, and feel~ the power~!

Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods bring out patriotic pancakes that are red, white and blue, then hit the ring. Byron makes the introductions for Kofi Kingston and his long list of accolades, as well as “the Doctor of Defenestration” Xavier Woods and the abridged version of Big E’s intro. Five minutes on the clock, and the rules are as follows: they will each have that time to eat as many pancakes as possible. They must swallow all the pancakes and NOT throw up. Big E has red, Xavier has white and Kofi has blue. “New Day, are you ready!?” YES!! WWE Universe, are you ready!? YES!! Then… GO! The New Day shoves pancakes into their mouths, but then the lights go out! Why? Because SAnitY is here!

And they ambush from behind! Young, Wolfe & Dain toss each member of the New Day around, and then throw Big E and Kofi out. They pick up Woods, and throw him into the legs of the table! Big Damo throws Big E into steps, while Young chokes Woods on the ropes. Damo isn’t done, he tosses Big E over the announce desk! Young holds Woosd to watch Wolfe feed Kofi to Damo’s Divide! And finally, the table is set back up so that they can bring Woods over. Damo bounces Woods’ face off the table, and he and Wolfe hold Woods for Young’s flying elbow drop through the table!!

Anarchy annihilates this inaugural pancake eating party, will SAnitY turn this into the Summer of Chaos?

 

Asuka VS James Ellsworth w/ Carmella!

It’s a Battle of the Sexes for a new generation as the Empress of Tomorrow looks to get payback at the “Exquisite” Ellsworth for the Money in the Bank screw job he helped the FABULOUS Princess pull. Will Ellsworth’s comments earlier tonight be his famous last words?

And to add fuel to the fire, Carmella makes sure to make her own entrance separate from Ellsworth to then trash talk the Empress. She joins commentary while Ellsworth does some last stretches. Ellsworth then rolls up his sleeves and asks for the bell. The bell rings, he pumps up, but Asuka shoves him down! Ellsworth gets out of the ring, but Carmella orders him back in. He obeys, but runs into strikes from Asuka! Ellsworth retreats again, but Carmella angrily orders him to man up. He takes off his shirt, “mans up”, and circles with Asuka. He gets a waistlock, but Asuka elbows out to then throw palm strikes from all sides!

Asuka back kicks, fireman’s carry, and spins around! She dumps a dizzy Ellsworth down, and he’s close to throwing up. Asuka SLAPS him! And then backhands him! Ellsworth escapes again, but Asuka pursues! They run into the crowd! Asuka chases the lankly Ellsworth, but the ring count reaches 10!

Double Count Out

But wait, they come back! And Asuka gets in arms length, only for Carmella to shove Asuka down! The Princess trash talks Asuka, then drags Ellsworth away. Granted, Ellsworth is wearing his wrestling trunks, but it’s clear Carmella still wears the pants in this relationship. Will Asuka get her revenge on them both when Extreme Rules comes around?

 

Kane and Bryan meet backstage.

Bryan has diagrams for tonight’s match? No, there’s no time for that. They need to get on the same page. Kane needs to apologize. For what? Bryan reveals those papers are a timeline of all the times Kane mistreated Bryan! Kane stops Bryan’s list of grievances, and apologizes. For which one? For them all. They’re like brothers. But, Kane set his brother, Undertaker, on fire once. Well, he knows what that means! The Usos are at the top of their game. One mistake, Hell No loses. When they’re united, no one can stop them! It doesn’t matter if it’s been 5 or 50 years, they’ve created a fire no one can extinguish. And then, they will be tag team champions. Now, is Bryan ready for the Usos? “YES! YES!”

 

AJ Styles VS Aiden English w/ Rusev!

The Bulgarian Brute earned his first shot at a world title in the Gauntlet Match a few weeks back, and did his best to be respectful to the Phenomenal WWE Champion. However, MC Artiste wasn’t so respectful, and got a haymaker for it. Now the Drama King looks to show Styles isn’t as phenomenal as advertised. Will English perform a symphony of sorrow for Styles? Or will Styles roll on towards an extreme Rusev Day?

Styles speaks before the match, saying that at Extreme Rules, he will defend against someone bigger and stronger. “But what else is new?” That’s what makes it fun, right? Styles likes proving people wrong. Rusev said he’ll break down the House that AJ STyles Built, and take that belt away. What does he think this is? A rental property? Now, Rusev is a Super Athlete, but he’s not Phenomenal. Before Styles can say more, Rusev & English appear! Rusev doesn’t care how phenomenal Styles is, he hasn’t faced “this Rusev.” This Rusev has his first WWE world title opportunity, and it’s going to be on Rusev Day. Rusev meant what he said about breaking down the door and evicting Styles to move in to the House that Styles Built.

English, what day are they moving in? Rusev Daaaay~! Rusev leaves the ring to English and the bell rings. But one last thing. English ambushes Styles! Never mind then. English stomps Styles, then brings him up for more while we go picture in picture.

The referee backs English off while Styles gets out of the ring. English waits, but only a moment. He goes out to attack Styles, but Styles puts him into barriers. English clubs Styles back, and both men go into the ring. English has Styles in a corner and fires away. He whips Styles corner to corner, and Styles hits buckles hard. English drags Styles up for more haymakers, but Styles chops back! Styles backs English down, throws haymakers, then whips. English reverses but Styles clubs him again. Styles kicks English down, then brings him up for forearms. He waistlocks but English switches. Styles bucks English but English holds on by the waistband to then club Styles in the back again. English hits a swinging neckbreaker, covers, TWO!

English keeps his cool as he drags Styles up. He knees low, then pushes Styles for another kidney shot. He goes again and hits another shot while we go single picture. Fans duel between Styles and Rusev Day, and Styles elbows back. Styles throws hands and kicks, then runs, but into a kick from English. English suplexes Styles up, but Styles gets on the apron. Styles shoulders in, slingshots up and over, but into a full nelson slam! Cover, TWO! Rusev coaches English as English puts Styles in a chinlock. Fans rally up for Styles but they still duel. Styles fights back, bobs and weaves, for the Phenomenal Blitz! English goes down, and Styles adds the sliding forearm! English gets to a corner, but Styles is on him with a corner clothesline to Ushigoroshi!

But Styles won’t cover there, he brings English up for the Clash. English counters, but gets countered back, Calf Crusher! English endures the pain, but he taps! Styles wins!

Winner: AJ Styles, by submission

But Rusev strikes! He drags Styles out to then throw him into the post! MACHKA KICK! English may have failed to win, but the Bulgarian Brute is still softening up Styles for himself. He puts Styles in the ring, for the Accolade! Styles doesn’t tap, but he does fade out. Will this happen again at Extreme Rules to crown a new WWE Champion?

 

The IIconics speak.

Selfie cam! Smile! Or, no, game face. Peyton Royce vows to expose Becky Lynch as a has-been sidekick who deserves to be kicked to the side. The IIconics are beautiful from all angles, but they have a nasty side, too. Peyton will do her best to hurt Becky, and that will be something to smile about.

 

Carmella reprimands Ellsworth.

But then Paige finds them. She likes this vibe, using a man to protect her title. But Ellsworth can’t run away for long, he has a rematch with Asuka. And since he’s “such a ladies man”, he’ll make his wildest dreams come true. Imagine: the ring is surrounded by all the women of SmackDown. Yes, it’ll be a Lumberjack match! Ellsworth claims to be ready for Asuka, but will he be ready for the entire SmackDown Women’s Division?

 

Becky Lynch VS Peyton Royce w/ Billie Kay!

The Lass Kicker already has a win over one-half of the Iconic Duo, but can she get the sweep?

The bell rings and the two circle. Peyton powers Becky to a corner then rams her shoulder in again and again. Becky dodges to hip toss Peyton down. Billie swipes at Becky but Peyton runs in. Becky rolls Peyton, ONE. Becky knees low then whips Peyton to a corner. Peyton puts Becky on the apron but Becky shoulders back. Billie distracts Becky but Becky gets her to back down. Becky climbs up but Peyton intercepts! Fireman’s carry, rolling Death Valley! Cover, TWO! The IIconcis are furious, but Peyton keeps on Becky with knee strikes. Peyton glares down at Becky as she kicks her around. Fans rally for Becky, but Peyton puts her in a standing abdominal stretch. Becky endures, pops out and snapmares Peyton down.

Peyton crawls to ropes an drop toeholds Becky into them. She chokes Becky on the ropes, but backs off at 4. Becky crawls but Peyton is on her with a snapmare and seated abdominal stretch. Becky endures while fans rally up again. She and Peyton stand, Becky rolls, TWO. Becky headbutts low, then again. Peyton dodges the third to shove Becky. Becky narrowly avoids the heel kick, then blocks the next kick into a Becksploder! Fans fire up as Becky kicks. Becky whips but Peyton holds ropes. Peyton kicks, but then runs into a kick from Becky. Becky runs in but gets boots. Peyton hits a knee on the run, then drags Becky up again. Scoop to the fireman’s, but crucifix into Disarm-her! Peyton taps, Becky wins!

Winner: Becky Lynch, by submission

And there’s the #IIconicSweep for the Lass Kicker! Becky is straight fire as of late, can she burn a path straight to the title?

 

Shinsuke Nakamura speaks.

The King of Strong Style wonders why Hardy paints his face. Is he a clown? Is he insane? Or is Hardy just ashamed? Extreme Rules, Nakamura vows to strip away everything, from pride to honor to the United States Championship!

 

The Usos VS Team Hell No!

Two tag teams that have dominated their respective runs in the Tag Team Division are set to collide! Kane & Bryan will still have their shot at Harper & Rowan for the titles, but can they keep the Uso Penitentiary from going extreme?

The bell rings and Bryan starts against Jimmy. The two circle and tie up, and Jimmy gets a headlock. Bryan powers out but Jimmy runs him over. Jimmy runs but Bryan drop toeholds into the leg half of the surfboard. Bryan grabs the arms, and brings Jimmy up all the way! He then drops Jimmy down to tag in Kane. Bryan holds Jimmy for Kane to boot! Kane brings Jimmy up for his uppercut, then stomps a mudhole in the corner. Tag to Bryan, and Kane whips Bryan in for a dropkick. Bryan brings Jimmy up but Jimmy gets him tot he Uso corner. Tag to Jey and Jey forearms Bryan. Jey then runs, but Bryan meets him with a dropkick! Bryan tags Kane, and the Big Red Machine brings Jey up for a scoop slam. Kane drops the elbow, but misses.

Jey tags Jimmy, and Jimmy climbs up. Jimmy leaps, but into Kane’s grip! Jey, too, and Kane pushes both Usos out! The Usos drag Kane out to beat him down, but Bryan comes in. Bryan misses Jey and gets an uppercut from Jimmy. Jey runs, builds speed and DIVES on Kane! Jimmy does the same, to DIVE on Kane! Kane goes down, and the Usos have control while we go to break.

SmackDown returns once more, and Bryan backs Jimmy down with haymakers. Jimmy whips Bryan corner to corner but Bryan goes up and over. Things speed up and Bryan takes Jimmy down with the leaping lariat. Bryan runs in for the corner dropkick, then kicks away. Bryan stops at 4, then hoists Jimmy up top. He climbs up to join Jimmy, and just manages the SUPER Steiner! Bryan fires up again, and gives Jimmy proper YES Kicks! He kicks and kicks, then goes for the buzzsaw, but misses. Jimmy shoves and Bryan ends up on the apron. Bryan fights off Jey, but gets Jimmy’s Dragon Whip kick! Bryan goes down, and Jimmy tags Jey. Jey runs over to Bryan to run him over with a clothesline.

Kane can only watch as Jey stalks Bryan. Jey chops Bryan then puts him in the ring. He drags Bryan up for a scoop slam, then more stomps. Jey tags in Jimmy, and the Usos stomp away on Bryan. Jimmy runs in for the hip attack! Cover, TWO! Jimmy keeps on Bryan with a chinlock. Fans rally for Bryan as Bryan reaches for his corner. Jimmy holds on and even hops on, but Bryan still walks forward. He and Kane reach out for each other, but Jimmy throws Bryan down by his hair. Jimmy tags Jey, and Jey climbs up. Jimmy brings Bryan up, backbreaker to ax handle chop! Jey tags Jimmy back in, and the Usos split the wishbone. Jimmy brings Bryan up, whips him, but Bryan dodges to build speed, double crossbodies take them both out!

Fans rally up as both men crawl for their corners. Hot tags to Jey and Kane! Kane rallies on Jey, whips and boots him down. Kane hits a corner splash, then the sidewalk slam. Cover, but Jimmy breaks it. Kane uppercuts Jimmy away, but Jey dropkicks Kane out. Kane is back on his feet, but Jimmy DIVES! Only for Kane to send him into barriers. Jey tries but runs into a right hand. Kane gets back in the ring, and stalks Jey with choke slam on deck. He grabs Jey by the throat, but Jey fights out. Jimmy tags in, SUPERKICK! Kane only staggers, but the Usos see Bryan. Bryan flies in, but into double SUPERKICKS! The Usos see Kane, SUPERKICKS! Cover, TWO!

Jimmy is surprised, but he and Jey tag again. Jey and Jimmy climb up opposite corners, aiming for Kane. Double UCE– Into double hands! Kane feeds Jimmy to the KNEE PLUS, CHOKE SLAM for Jey! Cover, Team Hell No wins!

Winners: Team Hell No, Kane pinning

YES YES YES, Hell No wins. But Bryan wants Kane to mean it when he celebrates. Kane does it strong, and then they hug it out!

But wait, here come the Bludgeon Brothers. Harper & Rowan, armed with their hammers, take a good hard look at their lone challengers. No more celebrating, because doom is on the horizon. Will Team Hell No be brought into their own tag team apocalypse? Or will they introduce Harper & Rowan to hellfire, brimstone and a lot of heart?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A pretty solid SmackDown, and certainly in comparison to last night’s Raw. The opening segment made a lot of sense, other teams should be upset that Kane & Bryan get a shot at the titles already without really earning it. Granted, the Usos have had their own chances, but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t earn another like Paige put out there tonight. The main event was a great match, and given Kane’s hoss monster style, his ring rust didn’t really show compared to the faster Bryan and Usos. With this win, Team Hell No earns their shot, but that buzzkill appearance by Harper & Rowan definitely assures this match is going to be great on physicality alone.

Hardy and Miz put on a great match, but of course Hardy keeps the title to face Nakamura at Extreme Rules. I think Nakamura’s little bite at the screen was a reference to that dog attacking. It’s rather serendipitous, really, because now their match can happen at the PPV rather than on TV. That pancake eating contest becoming a SAnitY raid was actually brilliant. Now we’ll get the hottest trio in a long time against the hit NXT trio, because why not? Ellsworth VS Asuka did not go how anyone hoped, but that’s okay, we’ll get even bigger and better satisfaction next week in that Lumberjack match. Styles VS English went as expected, but I hoped Rusev was going to stay Face in this feud. Granted, Heel Rusev has always been his strongest persona, but Face VS Face is so rare in WWE I wish they’d give it a try.

Becky VS Peyton was at a very fast pace, but that was for the sake of time. Great to see Becky on this roll, but with her going up against single members of duos, I’m expecting something to happen that calls Charlotte to the rescue, and we get #TeaGenerationX taking on The IIconics and/or Mandy-Sonya for a right at Women’s Tag Team Championships. Essentially, the Women’s Divisions will parallel each other in some way again, and we get one Raw team and one SmackDown team for the inaugural champions. The Four Horsewomen going 2v2 against each other would be pretty cool, but at the same time, Bayley & Sasha have their own feud to worry about first. Maybe it’ll be two members of Riott Squad against Becky-Charlotte instead, which will still be fun.

My Score: 8/10


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Andrew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Red Stars Ratings & Review: Day 7 & 8

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We get another combined article because of the way Stardom likes to stagger matches in this tournament.

Day 7 actually didn’t have any Blue Star matches at all, so now the articles will be titled a little differently. I need that Rick and Morty clip about getting your shit together and direct it at Stardom booking. Oh wait, I can!

via GIPHY

 

So with that established, I guess we should look at the matches to come. Tam is eliminated but still has 3 matches to go. So she can go from a measly 2 to a respectable 8 if she can put a few wins together. Utami and Rachael however are still very much in the thick of things, and even face one another on Day 8.

Let’s find if anyone else gets eliminated, or if we continue to have the top half stay alive.

 

Day 7

Rachael Ellering vs Tam Nakano

Rachael’s promo is fake and over enthusiastic, whereas Tam’s was realistic and a little bubbleheaded. So it’s really hard for me to ever connect to Ellering’s promos, cause she’s not convincing and her matches thus far have been…umm…shall we say, sub par. So sadly Tam seems to be in the plucky underdog role this year and always getting close with not much of a pay off. So let’s she if she picks up a win to play spoiler, or continues to come up short.

I have no clue what it is about most of Rachael’s matches, but they are hard to watch. Rachael’s Pump Kick that she over uses never looks impactful, she doesn’t take or sell offense well, and it’s just a schlog. This match was no different.

Tam’s kicks are usually crisp, but they hit awkwardly and slowly. Tam even went for a bottom rope assisted Back Body Drop, but Rachael’s foot cause the middle rope and it just looked sloppy. Tam still sold her back, while Rachael focused it, so that was good.

We also see a decent barrage at the end of the match with some false finish rollups, Rachael’s Bossman Slam and then Ellering finally finishes this with the Fallaway Powerbomb.

Winner: Ellering via Fallaway Powerbomb

Rating: * 1/2

 

Kagetsu vs Kimber Lee

Kimber always has this oddly endearing way of cutting a promo. She talks fairly slowly (the way people do when you’re speaking a language people might not understand), which I find ridiculous, but she says all the correct babyface things. Kagetsu however has a skull mask on her head, pops up into frame and just starts talking casually about things. She just wants to end the match, eat some good food and head to Osaka. It’s casually dismissive of Kimber, but not cruel, perfect tweener kind of temperature.

Kagetsu takes the early advantage and does the cocky heel thing by throwing Kimber to the outside. Hazuki and Sumire get in a few cheap shots before rolling her back in. Kagetsu takes a drink of water and then we get her water spit/mist spot. Which I’m still not sure why that isn’t a disqualification, but I like it, so I’m not questioning it.

After the initial cockiness, Kimber takes advantage of Kagetsu taking her foot of the gas and puts together some offense. A few well placed kicks and suplexes lead to the Swanton Bomb attempt, but Kimber misses. After a little more struggle, Kagetsu eventually hits a Chokeslam and then enough of the Oedo Coaster to get the pinfall.

Not Kagetsu’s best work, but it was a fairly short match and Kimber isn’t positioned as a threat in this tournament.

Winner: Kagetsu via Oedo Coaster

Rating: *** 1/4

 

Day 8

Kimber Lee vs Tam Nakano

The opening promos are pretty low energy for both women. Kimber talks about being eliminated but fighting for herself and Tam tries her best to psych herself up. The lack of points is effecting both of these women. Who will get the ball moving to end on a high note?

Not a bad match, just fairly short. Given that all of the Grand Prix matches have a 15 minute time limit, even the longer ones are a little short. Both women utilize a fair amount of kicks and flexibility in their offense, so the mirror aspect was on full display.

Kimber does her split spot, Tam goes for a Buzzsaw Kick, but Kimber blocks it and tries to sweep the leg, but Tam does a split and they both start throwing forearms from the split position. Kimber hits a kick combination first, which drops Tam but only for two. In her opening promo Tam put some emphasis on not wanting to lose to kicks, since those are kinda her thing.

Maintaining advantage, Kimber goes to the top rope but Tam shows some fight. Eventually hitting the Avalanche Snapmare and going up for her Diving Idol Knee, for only a near fall. After a few more close calls, Kimber catches Tam coming off the ropes for a Brain Buster, pulls her to a corner and lands the Swanton Bomb for the pinfall.

Valiant efforts in all her matches, but Tam really can’t catch a break.

Winner: Kimber via Swanton Bomb

Rating: ** 1/4

 

Rachael Ellering vs Utami Hayayshishita

Well, ya know I’m usually overly disinterested in whatever Rachael’s been doing, but this match was a little different. She basically got to play the heel since she was being very tough on Utami and showing some personality while arguing with the referee. So when it comes down to Rachael’s involvement, it wasn’t the thing that brought the match down, for a change.

However, after the initial burst from Rachael and the playing up a few strikes on the outside, the match never kick it into another gear. It basically was treading water for the last half. Signature moves were hit, Utami landed her Sleeper Hold takeover into the Coquina Clutch, but Rachael got out of it. I’m guess the high point was supposed to be Rachael hitting a Superplex, but nothing felt important, desperate or impressive.

The match ends just as Utami cinches in an Inside Cradle, but the time expires. All of the draws in this tournament are a little off putting.

Winner: Time Limit Draw

Rating: ***

 

Red Stars Standings:

Kagetsu 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Rachael Ellering 4-1-1 (9 Points)
Jungle Kyona 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Utami Hayashishita 3-1-2 (8 Points)
Konami 3-3 (6 Points) – Eliminated
Kimber Lee 2-4 (4 Points) – Eliminated
Tam Nakano 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated
Natsuko Tora 1-5 (2 Points) – Eliminated

 

Thoughts:

You know Stardom, you know what happens when you make Tam look good but don’t give her wins? Nothing happens, it’s actually decent story telling and could set up for a big upset of Kagetsu on the Finals day. So as much as the fan in me hates watching Tam come up short (Naito fans around the world know that feel), her determination and the storyline wrinkles could pay off later.

As for the two days…meh? Nothing stood out and these really just felt like matches to set up for the final swerve. These kind of days happen in all tournaments, it just hit really hard in these four matches. I just really really hope Rachael doesn’t win Red Stars.


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Mathew’s Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix Blue Stars Results & Review: Day 8

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So tomorrow is the last day of the Five Star Grand Prix where we will have our final four matches and the final match on the same day but we got two matches left to cover before we go to the final day.

This show is for people that didn’t have their six matches before the final day and we’re using this to make sure they’re all caught up to speed and we can see who has a chance to make it and who doesn’t. I know it says day 8 in my headline but I had no matches on the seventh day, so I decided to just skip it and go where I have my actual matches. So who wins these two matches?

Let’s find out and…dive right in.

 

Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Kelly Klein vs. Natsu Sumire

Review: It’s pretty clear that Sumire is pretty much eliminated and even if she does win this match and her last one, the fact that Mayu would hold the tiebreaker over her if she lost today and won tomorrow, but would still be out if Momo won on the final day since she’d have nine points while Sumire would still have eight if she won both and wouldn’t matter, but she has been one of the highlights of this tournament due to her personality flourishing a lot more here and the fans loving her more and more. Sumire in her pre-match interview seems to be more focused on her bust size and even talked about the supplements she’s been taking for a couple weeks now and is disappointed that there’s been no change in her results just yet and hopes to provide progress updates. Kelly is her opponent tonight and if Kelly does win here, she’ll be in the top spot of the standings and would have a strong chance of winning. Can Kelly win again or will Sumire ruin it for her?

Once again, Sumire made the match fun when it was needed due to it not being the best bout in the tournament here but they did work with what they got, even if it was as pretty standard as they come. Kelly did an okay job in the match as well and probably my least favorite outing of her in the Grand Prix and she just wanted to dominate Sumire. Sumire was mostly doing her antics that you would see in her matches with the false handshakes, cradling them up when they least expect it, and just whipping them. It looked like Kelly was going to go for the win here and when she ran the ropes, Kagetsu kicked her in the back to stun her long enough for Sumire to grab the Oedo Tai sign so she could hit Kelly with it, but Kelly moved out of the way causing the sign to bounce off the ropes and hit Sumire instead in which it gets turned around for Kelly to hit the Fireman’s Carry Slam for the victory and she’s now in first place.

Rating: Tony Schiavone

 

Grand Prix Blue Stars Match
Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

Review: A win here is very crucial for Mayu Iwatani if she wants to tie it up with Kelly, otherwise she would be eliminated from the tournament and her opponent, Hazuki would take the top spot with nine points and potentially win the whole thing if things work out in her favor. The last time the both of them fought one on one was around February during the ROH Women of Honor tournament and Mayu would come out the winner of that match and Mayu wants to beat her again to show she’s on a whole different level now. Who will take the top spot of the standings, Mayu or Hazuki?

Hazuki is in my top 5 wrestlers of Stardom right now and this match here with Mayu just solidified my statement for this claim. This whole tournament, she has been one of the most consistent wrestlers in her matches with her sequences being on point, her moves are crisp, and how to handle a match lately has been outstanding that she should be under peoples radar. Hazuki right away was being aggressive with Mayu before the bell even rang when she attacked her from behind and kept rolling her up which failed, but she kept on the attack by throwing her around into chairs on the outside and even destroyed Mayu’s arm during the whole match and not holding back on her, I love this side of Hazuki.

This match is one of my favorites in my block next to Hazuki/Momo still being my favorite one, but this one was still pretty damn close with their chemistry in the ring together gave us a special match and it’s not even their last one for their block. They told a great story in the ring, executed everything almost flawlessly, seeing a more aggressive side of Hazuki in her previous two matches, and Mayu selling it all to make it look more dangerous than it probably is, but they were just on point with everything together. Hazuki was pulling out all the stops with having her in the Crossface, working on her arm, stiff Dropkicks and a Codebreaker, but it still wasn’t enough to take Mayu out as she hits the Dragon Suplex Hold and gets the victory to tie first place with Kelly Klein. After the match, she told the crowd that she was now in first place and hopes the crowd will still support her as she looks to win it all at the final.

Rating: Bruce Prichard

 

Overall: Can’t really give it a fair assessment due to only having two matches with one being average and the other one being great, but the average of it was solid enough. I’m glad to see that all three of my picks are in the top 4 of potential winners and excited for the last day since it’s stacked.

Favorite Match: Hazuki vs. Mayu Iwatani

Score: 6/10

Blue Stars Standings:
Mayu Iwatani: 4-2 (8 Points)
Kelly Klein: 4-2 (8 Points)
Momo Watanabe: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Hazuki: 3-2-1 (7 Points)
Nicole Savoy: 3-3 (6 Points)
Jamie Hayter: 2-4 (4 Points)
Saki Kashima: 2-4 (2 Points)
Natsu Sumire: 2-4 (4 Points)

Now that we have our final standings before the final show tomorrow, we see that our top 4 people that could still win this are Mayu Iwatani, Kelly Klein, Momo Watanabe, and Hazuki. We’re gonna break down the final card for tomorrow and see who has a real chance and how can it be done.

  • Mayu Iwatani vs. Momo Watanabe
  • Hazuki vs. Natsu Sumire
  • Kelly Klein vs. Nicole Savoy
  • Saki Kashima vs. Jamie Hayter

Here is how these four can win.

Mayu Iwatani: Defeat Momo Watanabe and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.

Momo Watanabe: Defeat Mayu Iwatani and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein.

Kelly Klein: Defeat Nicole Savoy

Hazuki: Defeat Nicole Savoy, Momo Watanabe defeats Mayu Iwatani, and Nicole Savoy defeats Kelly Klein

If Momo and Hazuki do win their matches and Kelly loses, these two will be in a tie and it’ll be interesting to see who gets the final spot since they did tie it up in their outing, interesting direction if that’s the case.


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Joe’s CMLL Results & Review (9/17/2018)

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CMLL Coverage
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CMLL Arena Puebla Show Monday

El Asturiano and Black Tiger vs Espiritu Maligno and Fuerza Chicana

Maligno and Asturiano start out the match exchanging arm drags. Maligno is bare foot so Asturiano while having him in a hold bites his feet. Not very hygienical. Tiger and Chicana make their way in trading holds. Tags are made briefly and they pick up the pace but Chicana and Tiger come back in soon after to continue the faster pace. Maligno misses a splash and Tiger gets him in a surfboard stretch for the submission, then Asturiano pins Chicana with a hurricanrana pin combo. First Fall: El Asturiano pins Fuerza Chicana with a hurricanrana.

Black Tiger hits a monkey flip on Maligno to start the round and then hits a pose. Asturiano and Chicana are in to follow. He ends up feigning a dive to the outside. Maligno and Chicana start to get heat on the other team by double teaming both guys when they get the chance. Malingo hits a baseball slide to Asturiano in the corner and then they get both of them in submissions. Some elaborate stretches. Second Fall: Espiritu Maligno submits El Asturiano with a submission hold.

Third round starts with Asturiano being double teamed. Maligno hits a drop kick on him sending him out bringing in Black Tiger to get doubled. All four are in the ring now exchanging chops. Maligno gets Asturiano in a Gory Guerrero special into a pinning combination for the pin. The Chicana gets Black Tiger in a single leg boston crab for the win. Third Fall: Fuerza Chicana submits Black Tiger with a single leg boston crab.

Winners: Espiritu Maligno and Fuerza Chicana

Oro Jr, Super Astro Jr, and Tigre Rojo Jr vs King Rocker Jr, El Malayo, and King Jaguar

King Jaguar and Oro Jr start off with some chain wrestling, exchanging holds. They meet a stale mate and King Rocker come in and continue to exchange holds and chain wrestle. Tigre Rojo and Malayo come in and pick up the pace. Malayo gets Rojo in the corner to get an advantage on him, but it doesn’t work out. Oro Jr and Rojo hit a combo neck breaker on Malayo. Super Astro hits him with a dive for a pin. Tigre Rojo gets King Jaguar in an arm bar for the first fall. First Fall: Tigre Rojo Jr submits King Jaguar with an arm bar.

King Rocker starts the second fall with Oro jr and Oro gets him to the outside and then hits a pose. Astro comes in there next with Malayo. Astro gets him to the outside and then feigns a dive and hits an elaborate pose. After that Rojo and Jaguar come in and he too gets Jaguar to the outside and feigns a dive. Finally Rocker and Malayo are working over Tigre Rojo. Once they dispose of him they start to triple team Astro Jr. Jaguar hits a big baseball slide dive on Astro. Oro Jr gets hit with a basement drop kick to the hit by King Rocker for the second fall. Second Fall: King Rocker pins Oro Jr with a basement drop kick.

Oro and Rocker start out in the third round. This becomes a triple team attack soon. It doesn’t last for long and Oro Jr, Astro, and Rojo go for dives but they get dodged and then it becomes a brawl. They exchange spots and go for pins that get broken up. Astro hits a top rope headbutt on Malayo and pins him. Oro hits a power slam on Rocker and then Tigre and him do a double team move where Rojo flips Oro onto Rocker for the pin. Third Fall: Oro pins Rocker while being flipped by Tigre Rojo.

Winners: Oro Jr, Super Astro Jr, and Tigre Rojo Jr

Guerrero Maya, Fuego, and Stigma vs El Sagrado, Misterioso, and Tiger

Interesting note, the Arena Puebla is called Temple of Pain in translation. They should do Lucha Underground out of here. Maya and Misterioso start out in the match, and as they exchange holds and perform some mat wrestling, I’d like to point out how hype Fuego’s entrance is. After they go to a stale mate Sagrado and Stigma come in. They don’t last long and Fuego and Tiger get in there and pick up the pace.

Tiger irish whips Fuego into his corner and this causes his teammates to come in and triple team Fuego for a moment. Fuego’s teammates come in to confront. Fuego makes a come back and gets Tiger to the outside and then a brawl breaks out on the outside. After that Maya starts to get triple teamed. Misterioso hits a weak drop kick bringing Maya to the outside then hits a pose, but Fuego rolls him up. First Fall: Fuego rolls up Misterioso.

The second round is started with Stigma getting triple teamed. After they dispose of Stigma to the outside, Maya comes in to try his hand but the numbers are too much. El Sagrado hits an elbow drop for the second fall. Second Fall: El Sagrado hits an elbow drop on Guerrero Maya for the pin.

Maya starts the fall getting triple teamed but made a come back by hitting everyone with a tilt-a-Whirl back breaker. After that Stigma and Fuego came and hit middle rope dives. They all start to exchange spots now, one at a time. Fuego hits his matrix bridge spot and then hits a dive. Stigma hits a big hurricanrana on Misterioso. Tiger and Stigma start to exchange chops.

Eventually Tiger hits a big power bomb. Fuego hits a big victory roll on Misterioso and the ref takes forever to go for the count and Sagrado breaks it up. Misterioso hits a reverse power slam and Fuego breaks up the pin and then he hits a big dive. Stigma hits a pinning combination on on Sagrado and Maya hits a spring board, shoulder block on Tiger for the win. Third Fall: Guerrero Maya hits a shoulder block on Tiger for the win.

Winners: Guerrero Maya, Fuego, and Stigma

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