Tonight’s SmackDown promises to be BIG with Lana VS Zelina Vega for the first time ever, and The Usos VS The Bar in the tag title contenders tournament!
All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter
- SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Tournament: The Usos VS The Bar; The Bar wins and advances to the finals.
- Zelina Vega w/ Andrade “Cien” Almas VS Lana; Zelina wins.
- Carmella VS Charlotte Flair; Charlotte wins and joins the SmackDown Women’s Championship match at Summerslam.
PLAY BY PLAY
Renee Young introduces Becky Lynch!
The Lass Kicker is the new #1 Contender to the SmackDown Women’s Champion after pinning the champ herself last week. Now the inaugural champion has a chance to become champion once again at Summerslam! Renee interviews Becky about finally being back in the title scene. “When you wait so long for something, sometimes you doubt that it’s ever gonna happen.” Becky had those doubts, but knew that if she kept going, she’d get back. She has some disheartening facts, though: she hasn’t been champion since September 2016, and hasn’t had a match for the title since Wrestlemania 33. Becky kept thinking what it means to be SmackDown Women’s Champion, and it is the honor and excitement and pressure of having a target on your back. Becky wasn’t born to be champoin, she earned becoming a champion.
Come Summerslam, it will be Becky’s honor to win, and then go to WWE Evolution as THE SmackDown Women’s Champion! But speaking of, here comes the current champion, Carmella! She wants everyone to stay calm, this isn’t what they think. Normally Carmella makes excuses, like how James Ellsworth getting fired distracted her. But that’s not the case this time. Carmella admits Becky won fair and square to earn her chance. In fact, Carmella was so focused that she only just got to think about WWE Evolution. Carmella was thinking how to win, and then she was hit by a tidal wave: they’ll be part of the All Women’s PPV. They’ll represent every woman who has ever been in the WWE. That made Carmella’s skin crawl, because she’s failed as a representative. They need to build each other up. She was just jealous, because Becky’s always been a step ahead.
From NXT where they said Carmella was only ever going to be a valet, but Becky encouraged her to keep going. Then Becky was SmackDown’s #1 female draft pick! And Carmella was The last pick. Carmella was the afterthought. The fans have always loved Becky. Fans cheer Becky even now. But the WWE Universe doesn’t think Carmella is deserving. Carmella is close to crying, because she tries so hard to tune it all out. Fans still chant “You Suck!” at her even now. There’re legends who even think she should just go away! Carmella is exhausted from it all.
But she puts on a brave face and tells herself she’s as deserving as anyone. Becky is deserving. Carmella having this match with someone she’s looked up to, she can’t be more excited. She is ready to kill it and prove everyone wrong with Becky. So Carmella simply wishes Becky good luck. She offers her hand, but out comes James Ellsworth!? Not! Carmella attacks in the distraction with a blindside attack and a FABULOUS Kick! Carmella even fetches a chair! She drags Becky over, but here comes Charlotte! The Queen of Flair returns to save her friend! She boots the chair away, then throws Carmella with an exploder! The Princess is down while the Queen helps Becky up. Charlotte shouts at Carmella as she retreats. No more crocodile tears or underhanded tricks, will Carmella survive the Straight Fire?
The Usos speak.
Jimmy & Jey has everything from top to bottom coming through them. Usos, Bar, the thumbs. They have an idea: shine up the thumbs, turn them sideways again, and stick them straight up yo’ candy– Whoa, hold on, PG13. They were just trying to get their ROck on. Well time to get their Uso on, because the Uso Penitentiary is open, and next!
Carmella complains to Paige.
Did the GM not see what Charlotte did to her?! Carmella has beaten Charlotte twice, and yet she has no respect for Carmella! But Paige tells her how Carmella actually fooled her into thinking she was respectful. Carmella should be ashamed. Sorry for not being a role model like Paige. But there is one thing Carmella is that Paige won’t ever be again: champion! This title isn’t going anywhere. Fine, let’s go there. Paige will teach Carmella what it’s like to be a real champ. The odds are always stacked against a champ, but a champ finds a way to overcome them. Carmella will face Charlotte tonight, and if Charlotte wins, the title match becomes a TRIPLE THREAT! Now go get ready, and “good luck”. Will Carmella have anything but that tonight?
SmackDown Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Tournament: The Usos VS The Bar!
Both teams are former tag team champions, but must go through this tournament for a shot at the Bludgeon Brothers. Who will advance to face the awaiting New Day in the final round?
Awwwww Tampa! Don’t you dare be sour, because the New Day joins commentary, and feel~, the power~! Big E, Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods want to be front row to see who their competition will be. In fact, they have their own announce desk, stacked with pancakes!
The bell rings and Sheamus starts against Jey. Jey gets a waistlock but Sheamus fights out with elbows. Sheamus gives European Uppercuts then whips Jey corner to corner. Jey stops himself then gives Uso uppercuts. Jey runs and dropkicks Sheamus out. Cesaro keeps Sheamus from rushing back into the ring while we go picture in picture.
The Usos wait while Cesaro calms Sheamus down. The New Day seem to be taunting The Bar from commentary. Sheamus tags Cesaro and Cesaro circles with Jey. They tie up, and Cesaro gets a headlock. Cesaro grinds Jey’s head, but Jey powers out. Things speed up, and Jey runs Cesaro over with a back elbow. Jey powers Cesaro to the corner and Jimmy tags in. Jimmy taunts Sheamus before giving Cesaro a forearm smash. Jimmy brings Cesaro up into an armlock, then a shoulder breaker. Tag to Jey, who flies in for double ax handles. Jey wrenches but Cesaro pulls hair. Cesaro has Jey on the ropes, but Sheamus gets a cheap shot in. Cesaro tags Sheamus, and Sheamus drops a knee on Jey. Sheamus drags Jey up into the Bar’s corner for body shots and EuroUppers.
Tag to Cesaro for Super Saiyan Kicks! Cover, TWO, so it’s back to the chinlock. Fans rally and Jey gets up. He reaches but Cesaro brings him over. Tag to Sheamus and The Bar stomps away on Jey. Sheamus drags Jey up for beats of the Bodhrain. He then shoves Jey down, and tags Cesaro. Cesaro fetches Jey and puts him back in. Cesaro climbs up and hits ax handles as we return to single picture. Cover, TWO!
Cesaro puts the chinlock back on. Fans rally up for the Usos, New Day admit either team would be a great opponent next week. Jey fights out but Cesaro keeps him from Jimmy. Jey throws hands, but Cesaro won’t let go. Cesaro tags Sheamus and Sheamus kicks Jey down. The Bar whip for the Bar lariat, then cover. TWO, but Sheamus drops another knee. He drops another knee, then wraps Jey up in a keylock. The New Day like the look of that move. Fans rally up for Usos, and Jey fights his way up. Sheamus rams in knees to keep him down. Jey gets up again, but Sheamus throws him down by his hair. Sheamus puts more weight on Jey. The fans rally up, “Uce! O!”
Jey fights up with haymakers and uppercuts! Sheamus knees low then brings Jey up. Jey slips out, dodges from the corner and Sheamus hits post! Fans rally again, hot tags to Jimmy and Cesaro! Jimmy rallies, mule kick to uppercut. Jimmy dodges Cesaro for the Samoan Drop! Cover, TWO! Cesaro blocks a kick but gets a dragon whip enziguri! Jimmy fires the fans up, then runs corner to corner, but Cearo bails out. Jimmy changes plans and FLIES! Sheamus saves Csesaro, but Cesaro still gets a SUPERKICK! Jimmy climbs up while Cesaro enters the ring, crossbody! Cover, TWO! Jimmy is surprised, but he keeps on Cesaro. He drags Cesaro up but Cesaro shoves him away. Jimmy uppercuts Cesaro, then climbs up, but Cesaro shoves him down! Jimmy hits barriers while we go to break.
SmackDown returns and The Bar climb up to the top rope. Jey saves Jimmy by dragging Sheamus down. Jimmy fights Cesaro off with headbutts, then adjusts for a corkscrew senton! Both men are down while the New Day are having so much fun watching. Fans rally up as Cesaro and Jimmy brawl with uppercuts. Jimmy chops, but his kick is blocked. Cesaro rocks him with a EuroUppercut, and Sheamus tags in. Sheamus picks Jimmy up in White Noise position, and Cesaro springboards, but Jey SUPERKICKS him down! Sheamus shoves Jey out but Jimmy rolls him up. TWO, SUPERKICK! Tag to Jey, Uso Splash! Cover, but Cesaro breaks it just in time! That was so close, the New Day are shocked for everyone.
All four men are down, but Jey and Cesaro get up. Cesaro runs at Jey but gets hip tossed out! Jey tags Jimmy, and they each take a corner. They both aim at Sheamus, but Cesaro UPPERCUTS Jey! Jimmy gets knees! Cover, THE BAR WINS!!
Winners: The Bar, by pinfall; advance to the tournament finals
What a way to return to the ring! The Swiss Cyborg & Celtic Gladiator survive the Uso Penitentiary! Now they will face The New Day next round for THE #1 contender spot. The Bar dare The New Day to meet them in the ring now, and the New Day obliges. All five men stand in the ring and trash talk, but the Bar decides to wait a week. Will Cesaro & Sheamus set the bar against the longest reigning tag team champions in WWE history?
Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair.
How does it feel to have a chance back into the title scene? This wild night gets wilder. Charlotte was just covering Becky’s back, but Carmella’s mouth gives Charlotte this chance. Charlotte didn’t even think she’d be going to Summerslam this year. Carmella rubs it in that she’s “won” twice. Charlotte vows that she’s going to take back the throne, WOO~!
Samoa Joe heads to the ring.
The Destroyer faces the Phenomenal One at Summerslam for the WWE Championship. He made it official when he signed the contract after ambushing AJ Styles in the ring. Granted, Paige still had him planned as the #1 contender, but he wanted to prove just how dangerous he can be. Joe takes a seat and a mic to call out Styles. What Joe did last week was just a message, and Styles is more than familiar with Joe’s way of communicating. No hard feelings, because truth be told, Joe respects Styles. Truth be told, Joe respects this House AJ Styles Built, and that Styles made the WWE Championship THE championship in WWE. Joe respects the grind and sacrifice Styles has made. Styles puts everything behind being champion. He put it in front of even being with his family.
Joe finds that funny, because of how Styles talked about looking his daughter in his eyes and encouraging her to be anything she wants to be. But Joe has known Styles a long, long time. The fact is, Styles is barely home long enough to hug his daughter, let alone look her in the eyes. The truth is, Styles feels much more comfortable on the road than being a husband to his wife. Joe understands the sacrifices. Styles put being champion in front of everything, even if it means failing as a father. Joe knows it hurts, but he’ll make Styles’ sacrifice worth it when Joe takes it all away! The fans will be chanting for Styles, but his family will be cheering for Joe. Because after Joe tears this house down and puts Styles to sleep, the family will have daddy back, but Joe will be champion.
Jeff Hardy heads to the ring!
The Charismatic Enigma has become the target of the returning Viper, from the low blow stomp at Extreme Rules to the gruesome ear gauge attack. “The US Championship is more than a title to me.” It’s part of Hardy’s life force, his fifth eye that revitalizes him and heightens his sense of purpose. It also strengthens his bond with the WWE Universe. When Shinsuke Nakamura took it, a part of Hardy went with it. Hardy wants to beat Nakamura and take it back. However, there’s something almost as important: beating the hell out of Orton! Hardy calls out The Viper, because it’s time to fight! And Orton appears!
The Apex Predator steadily makes his way to the ring and Hardy is ready to DELETE! But Nakamura gets him from behind! Nakamura throws knee after knee into Hardy while Orton stalks around them. Nakamura takes aim, Hardy stands, KIN- No, Orton stops Nakamura in his tracks. The Viper stares the King of Strong Style down, and fans chant “RKO! RKO!” But then Orton gives Nakamura permission? KINSHASA! Then Orton gets in Nakamura’s face again. This rivalry is indirectly renewed but Hardy is the one taking the hits. And speaking of Hardy, Orton locks eyes on him now. Orton hypes up the fans and prepares to strike. Hardy slowly stands up, but Orton instead trips him. Orton trolls the fans more than anything as he instead stomps every bit of Hardy into the mat.
Hardy is gasping and groaning but Orton drags him up from the apron. Orton pulls him through the ropes, for the draping DDT! The referees try to get Orton to stop, but he doesn’t. He drags Hardy out on the apron, and gives a draping DDT to the floor! Orton still isn’t done! He clears the announce desk and drags Hardy up and over there. The vicious Viper of old has returned as he rams Hardy’s head into the table top, then rains down rights. The referees can’t stop Orton as he tears Hardy’s arm sleeves and shirt away. Orton even takes his Team Extreme necklace!
Orton adds one last insult to injury as he pours water all over Hardy’s face, rains down more rights, then wipes away the paint Hardy painstakingly applied. “Enigma? You’re a waste.” Orton glares at the WWE Universe, who he blames for putting Hardy above him. He leaves Hardy gasping and sputtering. What more will the Legend Killer turned Killer Legend do to finally end the Enigma?
Backstage interview with Becky Lynch.
How does the Lass Kicker feel about her best friend, Charlotte, possibly being added to the SmackDown Women’s Championship match? Becky’s happy that Charlotte is back and knows Charlotte has a big opportunity. If Charlotte wins, the match becomes a Triple Threat. The math calls for Becky to shift from emotion to logic. Becky is excited Charlotte’s back, but not for this. She knows she can win against anyone 1v1, but what does that mean about tonight’s match? Becky never roots against her best friend, but will her best friend get in her way?
Zelina Vega w/ Andrade “Cien” Almas VS Lana!
La Muneca and the Ravishing Russian got into it both in an argument and in a cat fight last week, but the distraction would coast the Bulgarian Brute against El Idolo. The arguments would continue online, and that forced GM Paige to give these women a chance to settle things in the ring. Will Lana be the best, Lana Number One? Or will Vega be as Trainquilo as her client and keep the duo undefeated?
The bell rings and the two circle. Vega rolls and Tranquilos already. Lana dares her to fight, but Vega fights when she’s ready to fight. In the meantime, Lana shows off her flexibility, but Vega shoves her. Lana shoves back, so Vega shoves her again. Now it’s a scrap! Vega gets away, but Lana dares her to return. El Idolo coaches Vega up while we go picture in picture.
Lana waits while Vega calms herself down. Vega slowly returns, and ties up with Lana agani. Lana gets a wristlock and whips but Vega reverses. Vega runs into headscissors and a heel kick. Lana bulldogs Vega down! Cover, TWO, and Vega scrambles away again. Lana stalks her to ropes but ends up in the ropes with a yank. Vega chokes Lana but backs off at the ref’s count. Vega yanks Lana back, then embraces the heat. She even pats herself on the back. She drags Lana up for a seated dragon sleeper. Lana endures and powers up, but Vega wrangles her back down. Lana refuses to quit as she works against the hold. We return to single picture as Vega holds on. Lana stands up but is thrown down again. Vega goes back to her dragon sleeper while fans rally for Lana.
The two stand up and Lana fights out with body shots. Vega throws her down again, then sits her up for a new chinlock. Lana stands so Vega hops on for a backpack sleeper. Lana backs Vega into buckles but Vega holds on. Another bump gets he r to let go, but then Vega throws Lana into buckles. Vega pump kicks Lana, then copies Almas with the CIEN KNEES! Cover, TWO! Vega is furious, but Almas tells her to keep it together. She brings Lana back up, and wants the hammerlock DDT, but Lana back drops Vega off! Lana rallies and fans fire up! She kicks low, Machka Neckbreaker! Lana-roonie! Then knees to the back on the ropes! Cover, TWO!
Lana grimaces down at Vega, and brings her up to whip her in a corner. She hits a back elbow, then whips again. Vega reverses but runs into another elbow. Lana hops up but Almas copies Vega by distracting. Lana still kicks Vega away, so Almas tries again. Aiden English gets Almas! But Vega rolls Lana up with tights! Vega wins!!
Winner: Zelina Vega, by pinfall
Now English has messed Lana up! Whether it’s Mr. or Mrs. Machka, it’s always MC Artiste trying too hard to help. Will Aiden English ever get it right on Rusev Day?
The Bludgeon Brothers speak.
Harper & Rowan are all smiles. If Cesaro & Sheamus want to set The Bar, they’ll gladly break it. And they’ll positively shatter The New Day. No one escapes at Summerslam, because no one can. Who will face the bludgeoning in Brooklyn?
Aiden English apologizes to Lana.
She wants to be left alone. Rusev needs his space but English thought he was doing the right thing. The right thing is to leave. Rusev comes storming by, and English disappears. Rusev asks if Lana is okay. He should’ve been out there instead. Lana knows Rusev needs to figure out his problem, but yeah, Lana could’ve used him out there. Now everyone is mad at everyone else. Will the Machka household be okay after this?
Daniel Bryan heads to the ring!
The Goat got one over on The Miz last week with his edited Miz & Mrs trailer, but the Miz got one over on Bryan with the fake baby. Now Bryan is here to address his long-standing archenemy in the WWE. Bryan makes sure to plug WWE Evolution, and lets us know he’s proud of his wife, Brie Bella. Brie was in the ring in that infamous 30 second match when #GiveDivasAChance. Both Bryan & Brie have fought for the respect of themselves and their peers, so this PPV is a “huge step forward.” But that said, when taking two step forwards, it seems like there’s one step back. And yes, he means that baby doll fake-out.
Watching that back, Bryan is bothered. For two years, Miz taunted, trolled and baited Bryan all because Bryan couldn’t compete. Miz thought he was safe, but then Bryan was cleared. That wall came crumbling down around Miz, so what did he do to further protect himself? He brought his wife, and what we thought was Miz’s own child. Why? To build one last line of defense, because if they were to ever get in a real fight, Bryan would destroy Miz. Fans agree with that. Bryan calls The Miz out to prove him wrong. Bryan would love nothing more than to punch Miz right in the face!
But Miz communicates via titantron. Miz thought Bryan would’ve learned as GM that this isn’t the indies or a high school gym. Miz is an elite talent, you have to earn a match. Call his manager, because he’s on location for more Miz & Mrs, the highest rated reality show in seven years! Just wait to see tonight’s second episode where they throw the best baby shower ever. And if there’s any doubt, Miz has security to keep fans from getting near him. Who cares about his pretentious lifestyle? Bryan wants a fight, but Miz just being somewhere else only proves Bryan right: Miz is “nothing more than a coward.”
Miz is a coward? He’s a coward? “YES! YES!” The last time Bryan said that, Miz was on Talking Smack, and what did Bryan do when Miz countered him? Bryan walked away! All Bryan really wants is an endless conflict to further Bryan’s career! Miz has carried Bryan ever since the original NXT reality show! But that’s the difference: Bryan is about passion, Miz is about fame. But Miz’s dream of sports entertainer to movie star, has been done by better men than Miz. Miz is not going to be The Rock. Heck, he won’t even be John Cena! And no one will remember Miz is a great wrestler, because he’s too soft. But if Miz insists on a big stage, talk to that manager, walk off the set and fight Bryan… at Summerslam!
This cycle continues. Bryan creates sympathy, get people to cry, repeat. When is Bryan going to accept reality? The Yes Movement is over, Team Hell No is over, everyone has moved on so why can’t Bryan? Let the contract expire so that you can go entertain everyone in gymnasiums. Everyone is annoyed with Bryan. Why can’t he quietly go away? All people see when they look at Bryan is a crying baby. Many crying babies. Miz has the final word, but who will be the one crying like a baby should these two have that grudge match?
Carmella VS Charlotte Flair!
The Queen of Flair kept the Princess of Staten Island from beating up Becky, so Carmella ran her mouth to the Glampire Manager. Paige didn’t take too kindly to anything Carmella did or said, so she upped the ante on her SmackDown Women’s Championship match. Can Charlotte turn this first night back into a golden opportunity?
Before the match, Renee interviews Carmella. Carmella is obviously aware of the situation she’s in, but her math and fashion sense are both Fabulous. Carmella wants Becky 1v1 because Carmella knows she can win. And despite what Becky says, Carmella knows she is cheering against Charlotte tonight.
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, and Charlotte powers Carmella to a corner. She honors the break but Carmella turns it around. Carmella ducks the chop to then moonwalk away. Becky watches backstage as the two tie up again. Carmella gets a headlock but Charlotte lifts her up. Carmella gets a headlock takedown but Charlotte goes for a Figure Four. The champ gets away and Charlotte says it was close. Carmella disagrees as they circle again. They tie up and Charlotte gets a headlock. Carmella powers out but Charlotte runs her over. Fans “WOO~” as Charlotte styles and profiles. Carmella swings but gets rolled up into Charlotte’s Web, TWO. Charlotte throws Carmella up and over, and Carmella rolls out of the ring. Charlotte slingshots but misses! Carmella throws her into the LED apron then into barriers! The Princess has control while we go to break.
SmackDown returns once more, and Charlotte hits ax handles on Carmella. Now she chops away as only a Flair can! Carmella runs into a back suplex! Charlotte kips up and walks over Carmella. She goes up top, but her Moonsault gets boots! Carmella gets on Charlotte to throw her out! Carmella shouts for a count out and the ref counts. Charlotte stirs at about 4 but Carmella kicks her back out at 6. The count restarts, but Carmella uses that to kick. Charlotte blocks it but misses her boot, and gets tilt-o-whirl headscissor’d into the barriers! Carmella throws Charlotte into the timekeepers area! She returns to the ring and shouts for a count! The ref counts and Charlotte slowly crawls out of the timekeeper’s area. She gets to the ring at 9! Carmella is on her with furious hands, going after the ribs!
Becky continues to watch backstage. Carmella wraps a chinlock on Charlotte, but fans rally up. Charlotte feeds off the energy, but Carmella throws and thrashes her back to the mat. Charlotte reaches as fans rally up again. Carmella hops on as a backpack but is powered into buckles. Charlotte frees herself, but Carmella throws her into buckles in return. Carmella glares at Charlotte as she stalks her. Carmella boots Charlotte, but Charlotte boots back! Cover, TWO! Charlotte grows frustrated, but she easily brings Carmella up. Carmella slips out but Charlotte rolls her up, ONE! Figure Four, but Carmella gets a quick ropebreak. Charlotte baseball slides Carmella into barriers. Charlotte climbs a barrier, for an ASAI moonsault! She hits Carmella then fires back up.
Charlotte puts Carmella in, then stalks her for NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, TWO!! Becky can’t be sure what she feels with that one. Charlotte herself is shocked Carmella survived, but that’s what a 1v1 match means. Charlotte runs but into a kick! She still gets Carmella down, but Carmella package counters! TWO, FABULOUS KICK!! Cover, TWO!? Carmella can’t believe that didn’t do it! The champ thinks on what else she can do. She steals the Figure Four! But gets caught into Charlotte’s Figure EIGHT! Carmella taps, Charlotte wins!!
Winner: Charlotte Flair, by submission; joins the SmackDown Women’s championship match at Summerslam
Becky is again conflicted, but Charlotte is elated! Three women fight over one title, who makes the best of it in Brooklyn?
This isn’t saying much, but SmackDown was much better than last night’s Raw. There was more talking than wrestling but almost everything had something important to contribute and was entertaining. Opening with Becky and Carmella was great. Carmella may not be the best in the ring, but she did really good on the mic with that fake emotional confession of her insecurities and all that. Using Ellsworth’s theme as a distraction was clever, too. Great to see Charlotte back, and WWE is doing great setting up their own “friends on the rocks” story with her and Becky now that they’re both going after the title. However, I am sensing it will cost them both the title and Carmella holds it until Hell in a Cell in September. But as I’ve been saying. I’d love to see #TeaGenerationX VS #LegitHuggable at WWE Evolution for the Women’s Tag Titles.
That tag team match of Usos VS The Bar was incredible. That was approaching the level of a tag team championship match already. The Bar winning was done well with a sudden reversal of things, and The Bar VS New Day will be a nice, fresh match-up. We didn’t get enough of this match up before The Bar inexplicably disappeared from TV. I actually hope The Bar wins so that we get a completely fresh match for Summerslam, and I hope both The Bar and Bludgeon Brothers stay Heel so that WWE will actually do something else that’s fresh. Samoa Joe’s message to AJ Styles was definitely personal, and pure gold. I thought we were getting Orton VS Hardy tonight, but Orton and Nakamura beating down Hardy was actually better. I’m still sensing a Triple Threat for the US Championship.
Vega VS Lana was pretty fun, and I hope this means Vega will throw her name into the Women’s Division full time so that there’ll be more women to fight for the singles title. At the same time, it does a great job of feeding the overall Rusev Day story. I still don’t want Team Rusev Day to break up, but it’s much more organic to have it happen because English is failing to of help rather than Lana driving a wedge between them. Also I want a Mixed Tag of Rusev-Lana VS Almas-Vega before then. And while Joe’s promo was gold, so was the back and forth between Bryan and Miz. They both got great shots in (especially Bryan’s lines about Rock & Cena), but it really means a lot for Miz to get the last word because Bryan likely gets the win.
My Score: 8.5/10
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling Uncaged Ratings & Review
With the tag titles changing hands last week, do we see more changes with Impact Wrestling Uncaged?
With the tag titles changing hands last week, do we see more changes with Impact Wrestling Uncaged?
The pseudo-PPV atmosphere is sure to bring in more consistent viewership, but they’re in an interesting spot. Taya and Tessa are really the only two credible Knockouts unless Gail comes out of retirement (since Rosemary, Su and Jordynne are in the same storyline), so we’ll probably see this get extended somehow. As for the other title match, The Machine has a lot of support and wrestling fans all know the money is in the chase. So I could see Cage getting “screwed” again, but I’d much rather see Cage with the title.
So let’s get hype for the show with a video package of the returning Reno Scum!
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
- Knockout’s Championship Street Fight: Tessa Blanchard vs Taya Valkyrie (c) – Taya retains via Double Footstomp through Table – *** 3/4
- ‘All Ego’ Ethan Page vs Willie Mack: Mack wins via Stunner – ** 1/2
- Elimination 4v4: Team Impact (Fallah Bahh, Sami Callihan, Eli Drake & Eddie Edwards) vs Team AAA (Puma King, Psycho Clown, Hijo del Vikingo & Aerostar): Team AAA 4-3 – *** 3/4
- Fatal 4 Way Impact World Championship: Killer Kross vs Moose vs Johnny Impact (c) vs Brian Cage: Johnny retains via Starship Pain on Moose – *** 1/4
Both women come out with throwback shirts. Tessa comes out with the old school Four Horsemen shirt and Taya comes out in her Perros de Mal shirt (old Triple A stable she was in with Perro Aguayo Jr). This match was a little awkward at times, and the first table they had ” La Wera Loca vs Diamond” painted on, didn’t break after two spear attempts. Really good hardcore style action, with chairs, insults, ring posts and another table. Definitely more of a brawl than wrestling, but after the table didn’t break the subsequent spots seemed to be a little off. Still a solid match, entertaining to watch, good way to start off the Uncaged show. Dios perdona, los perros no.
After a quick promo with Team Impact, Scarlett joins Melissa during the commercial break moment and she’s barely dressed and her and Melissa start doing squats. I mean they’re doubling down on sex sells, and I’m not even mad.
Mack and Page was a solid match. Good brawling, Willie’s agility outlasted Page’s strikes. One would assume the winner should be closer to an X Division title shot at least. So it should be interesting where this leads.
Killer Kross follows that with his typical chilling, slightly unhinged promo, and damn it was well done.
The interesting thing about the commercial break stuff tonight is Melissa doing live interviews with different people. It’s kinda neat, like extra content.
Team Triple A has a clap back promo after the commercial, which says the Cup is staying in Mexico. If memory serves, Team Triple A beat Team TNA in the first World X Cup, so I’m curious if they’ll pull from that for a storyline.
Sami Callihan calls out Swann one more time, Swann throws the shirt at Callihan, so a fight ensues. Swann gets the best of things momentarily, but an eye gauge allows Sami the opening to toss Rich around a little, Piledriver him on the stage and then Powerbomb him off the stage through a table. So I guess Sami will get the X Divison shot, but might have to go through Willie Mack first in the following weeks before Rebellion.
A lot of fun fast paced action, good dives, good strikes, nice story telling and only one slip so far from Aerostar. Eli Drake is the first one eliminated by Puma King because he tries to tell Eddie to not use the kendo stick, but tries to use it himself, Eddie catches him and takes his stick back, then pushing Eli. So one Gedo Clutch later, Eli is eliminated by pinfall. Fallah Bah eliminates Vikingo after a Twisted Running Powerslam. Aerostar eliminates Bahh after a Crucifix Pin when Bahh misses the Banzai Drop. Boston Knee Party from Eddie eliminates Aerostar. Piledriver from Sami eliminates Puma King. Two on one advantage with Sami and Eddie against Psycho Clown. Eddie hits a Boston Knee Party lays out Psycho Clown, but Sami pushes Eddie off and tries to steal the spotlight, only a two count, Psycho Rolls Up Sami for the pinfall elimination. Eddie has Psycho on the ropes, but Eli returns, takes Kenny the Kendo Stick and distracts Eddie. Then he hits Eddie to give Psycho a shot to hit a Backstabber, followed up the La Magistral for the victory. So Impact kinda played themselves, but it was a damn good match with a lot to unpack.
Melissa finally returns after a few commercial breaks off, with Sami Callihan and David Crist. This was ridiculous but great. Just erratic idiocy, they steal Melissa’s sandals at some point, David sings “Hey there Samuel” and Sami does a pitch like a dating service while Melissa is getting her sandals. So dumb, but great.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
Small promotional video package for Reno Scum. Returning to Impact for the first time since the first wave of GFW “invasion” (nearly 2 years).
A quick little moment with Dark Allie, Su Yung and Rosemary, followed by a commercial with Melissa and KM & Fallah Bahh. Very funny, Melissa plays off the wrestlers well. She needs to stick around since she’s got a nice personality and seems to work well with most of the guys.
Scarlett with a weird video package, her in a bed, a little moan and showing cleavage is her formula. So if it ain’t broke, I’m not gonna fix it, shut up, stop judging me!
LAX joins Melissa before the main event and the Latina comes out in her. She’s more animated that usual, very fun and entertaining. She even busts their chops a little, but they take it in stride and seem to enjoy each other’s company.
Since the match starts with only about 12 minutes before time limit the match wasn’t going to be a technical masterpiece, but for what it was it was fun. It was more of a brawl, since there were 3 bigger guys. Kross had a bunch of moments looking like a beat, Cage looked like a million bucks hitting the Drill Claw on both Moose and Kross. But Johnny pulled the opportunistic thing, and while Kross and Cage were tied up, Johnny pulls Moose to the corner, barely hits Starship Pain and sneaks in a pinfall before Cage finishes the Drill Claw + pin on Kross. So Johnny retains while looking like a punk, and the crowd wanted nothing to do with him. Terminator claps most of the match.
.@MrGMSI_BCage had the World Championship right within his fingertips once again…
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) February 16, 2019
Overall Score: 7.5/10
Solid solid show from start to finish. Tessa and Taya got things kicked off well, Melissa doing backstage interviews as the Twitch commercial break stuff was great. World Cup match was fun and set up a few storylines for the Impact stars while Team Triple A got the home field advantage win. Main event was a little disappointing to be honest. Johnny has worn out his fan support both in Mexico and on Twitch chat. Granted yes, I’m hopeful this is building towards a big blow off at Rebellion, maybe with Cage going over and Austin Aries returning, but I guess we’ll have to see.
Also from the main event, we see some cracks in the Moose and Kross alliance, so that could definitely be an interesting match in the near future.
So yeah, we have a lot to chew on moving into TV tapings for the shows leading up to Rebellion, but from a completely playlist mentality view point, Cage got screwed. Brian Cage better be getting this damn title soon, or I want him to put Don Callis through the announce table.
Now the weekly Twitch viewers portion:
- Week 1: High – 10,350 / Low – 8,500
- Week 2: High – 8,000 / Low – 6,500
- Week 3: High – 8,500 / Low – 7,900
- Week 4: High – 7,100 / Low – 5,300
- Week 5: High – 7,450 / Low – 5,650
- Uncaged: High – 9,000/ Low – 8,000
Well it looks like people just need a reason to tune in. Not only was this week mostly main event talent, but since the event had was named, I feel like people just expected better quality. So still no record breaking high, but solid numbers throughout the entire show.
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Beginning in Sapporo Part 2!
Who leaves Sapporo with the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles?
NJPW continues in Sapporo with two HUGE tag team matches! The Rainmaker and The Ace look for further revenge while EVIL & SANADA defend their tag titles!
This coverage of New Beginning in Sapporo will be as aired by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found courtesy of http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki; EVIL & SANADA win and retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
- Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale; White & Fale win.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene!
The Ace is once again IWGP Heavyweight Championship after dethroning The Best Bout Machine at Wrestle Kingdom 13! But the record-setting 8-time champion has a very determined challenger in The Switchblade. Jay White has Gedo and the Bullet Club by his side, and now has his title match in Osaka! But before then, Hiroshi Tanahashi will look to slow White down with the help of his old rival, Kazuchika Okada! Will this amazing tag team be able to defeat White and Bad Luck Fale? Or will it only be a sampling of the Cutthroat Era’s coming?
And before that, Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Heavyweight Tag Team Champions broke even with their challengers in singles competition. Now it is time to face off for the titles! Can the two-time Tag League and Two Time Tag Champions be able to overcome the Undisputed British Tag Team Champions? Or will Suzuki-Gun have two tag titles around their waists? That match is now!
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: EVIL & SANADA VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki!
Why wait for bells when you just wanna fight? Suzuki and ZSJ go right at Evil & Sanada as they enter the ring! ZSJ stomps Evil while Suzuki mugs Sanada on the outside. Red Shoes holds the belts, but Suzuki gets one to choke Sanada with it. Suzuki whips Sanada but Sanada reverses to send Suzuki into railing! Evil and ZSJ end up the leg men and brawl while the introductions are made. Evil whips ZSJ and goes to hip toss, but ZSJ counters to an abdominal stretch. ZSJ denies a counter but Evil still hip tosses out! Tag to Sanada, and LIJ go after ZSJ together. Double whips, clothesline, back senton! Cover, TWO! ZSJ rolls away but Sanada stalks him to a corner. Cold Skull whips ZSJ corner to corner but ZSj goes up and over. He fakes Sanada and rolls him up, TWO!
Sanada knees and whips ZSJ but ZSJ denies the dropkick. ZSJ misses the Peantly Kick, and Sanada trips him up! Sanada gets ZSJ in the Paradise Lock, but ZSJ slips out and toys with him. ZSJ kicks Sanada, but Sanada knees back. Sanada whips but ZSJ reverses. Suzuki gets a cheap shot and gets Sanada in a hanging armbar! ZSJ hits Evil just because. Suzuki lets Sanada go then goes after Evil. ZSJ keeps on Sanada and Suzuki mugs Evil. Suzuki brings Evil out to the crowd to bowl him through chairs. Suzuki laughs as he rams Evil with the railing. Then he throws chairs onto Evil! ZSJ twists Sanada around for a modified Octopus, then he hammerlock stomps an arm! Suzuki searches under the ring while ZSJ gives Sanada a shoulder breaker. Suzuki has a folding chair to jab Evil in the head!
The ring count passes 17, but Sanada manage to make it in at 19.5! ZSJ is on Sanada with an arm bar, to hammerlock, then digs his elbows into Sanada’s spine. ZSJ pulls back on Sanada’s free arm from wrist to elbow for another hammerlock. He makes it a buttefly of sorts, then a cover, TWO! ZSJ drags Sanada over and tags in Suzuki. Suzuki takes Sanada and wrenches, but then ZSJ wrenches, and they keep passing Sanada for wrenches. ZSJ boots the arm and then Suzuki boots the arm. Sanada clutches that tortured arm but Suzuki goes after it more against the ropes. REd Shoes counts but Suzuki lets go at 4. Suzuki toys with Sanada now, but Sanada hits back. Suzuki just laughs again and throws forearms back. They go back and forth, but Suzuki hits hard. The champs are in trouble while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns while Suzuki taunts Sanada. Sanada does sit up but Suzuki’s right on him with fast forearms. Suzuki kicks but Sanada dragon screws, only for Suzuki to counter into an armbar! ZSJ hits Evil to keep him away, but Sanada resists the arm. Suzuki gets the arms apart and has Sanada at full extension! Sanada flails while ZSJ keeps Evil down with his own armlock! Suzuki pulls as hard as he can, but Sanada gets a ropebreak with his feet. Suzuki holds on to slam the arm on the mat. Tag to ZSJ and he hands the wrench off to ZSJ. ZSJ hammerlocks and tweaks Sanada’s arm. ZSJ sits down on the arm to practically triangle it! Suzuki keeps Evil at bay with an armbar on the ropes! ZSJ shifts his weight into a modified Labell meets Rings of Saturn!
Suzuki tortures Evil on the apron but Red Shoes can’t do anything about that while he watches ZSJ and Sanada. Sanada shifts again and gets another ropebreak via feet. Suzuki keeps on Evil with body shots while ZSJ lets Sanada go. ZSJ dares Sanada to stand, and then rock shim with a European Uppercut. Sanada returns the EuroUpper, but his arms are hurting. ZSj shoulder breakers, then catches the leap frog for a flapjack! Penalty kick is CAUGHT! Dragon Screw! Suzuki runs in and gets a dragon screw, too! Fans rally for LIJ as Evil tags in! The King of Darkness rallies on ZSJ! He scoop slams ZSJ hard, then rocks him with forearms. Evil whips but ZSJ reverses, only for Evil to run him over!
Fans rally as Evil drags ZSJ up. ZSJ kicks but Evil blocks it to elbow the knee. ZSJ grabs the arm but Evil counters to a shoulder breaker! Evil blocks another kick, Fisherman Buster! Cover, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as fans fire up again. He drags ZSJ up again and turns him, but ZSJ turns and suplexes Evil! Then the neck twist! Both men are down from exhaustion, but they still come back for more. ZSJ wants revenge for Sapporo Part 1 as he throws EuroUppers. Things speed up and each man dodges the other, but then ZSJ runs into Evil’s lariat! Evil drags ZSJ up, fireman’s carry, but ZSj reverses to a Pele! ZSJ kicks then sweeps the legs! Both men are down again but Suzuki returns. Suzuki tags in and goes right at Evil with forearms.
Suzuki whips Evil corner to corner and boots him. He snapmares and Penalty Kicks! Cover, TWO! Evil barely escapes, but Suzuki toys with him now. Suzuki throws haymakers, then boots, but Evil hands it off to Red Shoes! Evil SUPERKICKS Suzuki down! Tag to Sanada! Sanada whips but Suzuki reverses. Sanada tumbles, springboards, but into Suzuki’s sleeper! ZSJ hits Evil again, and then helps Suzuki corner to corner train on Sanada! Snapmare, DOBULE Peanlty Kicks! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives that string of attacks, but Suzuki stomps him down. We can hear someone throw the other into railing while Suzuki hammers away on Sanada in the corner. Red Shoes backs Suzuki off, but Suzuki runs back in. Sanada dodges, and Evil returns for a corner clothesline! He feeds Suzuki to Sanada’s back suplex!
Evil hits ZSJ and now LIJ has Suzuki isolated! They call for the finish and fans are thunderous! Evil lifts Suzuki, but ZSJ stops Magic Killer. Suzuki rolls Sanada into an Ankle Lock! ZSJ has Evil in the Octopus! Suzuki shifts to a kneebar! Sanada endures teh grapevine’d move, and Suzuki even grabs an arm! Sanada grabs Red Shoes to keep himself from tapping! ZSJ has shifted Evil into a grounded twist! Neither LIJ can get free as Suzuki shifts the position of his kneebar! Sanada endures, as does Evil. Fans cheer LIJ on, but Suzuki just twists the ankle harder! Sanada uses one last gas to get the ropebreak! Suzuki lets Sanada go, to come back for a sleeper. And then ZSJ Penalty Kicks! Suzuki also Penalty Kicks! Cover, but Evil breaks it in time!
Suzuki-Gun drags LIJ up but LIJ fights back! Suzuki wants his piledriver, and ZSJ wants his, but Evil and Sanada deny those, for Darkness Falls and TKO in stereo! LIJ fires up as they go after Suzuki again. MAGIC KILLER!! Cover, but ZSJ breaks it just in time! Sanada grabs Suzuki and Evil gets ZSJ. Skull End, but ZSJ counters the STO! Evil counters back, EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! And then for Suzuki, True Skull End, but Suzuki slips through! Sleeper, Gotch hold, but Evil saves Sanada! Everything is countered, but the Sleeper is escaped. MAGIC KILLER AGAIN!! Sanada climbs while Evil takes ZSJ out, Moonsault! Cover, LIJ wins!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, Sanada pinning; still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
The King of Darkness and Cold Skull are still golden! Suzuki-Gun’s quest to have two different companies’ tag titles has not worked out, it’ll be back to the drawing board for them. However, will Evil & Sanada now have a claim to the British Heavyweight Tag Team Championships?
Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale!
The Rainmaker and The Ace have fought hard over the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and the claim to being the best one ever, but now they are united in making sure the Switchblade does NOT become champion! Will this all-star alliance succeed against the new Bullet Club leader and his Underboss underling?
White refuses to let this dream team have their photo op. He insists he is the historic wrestler everyone should take pictures of, not the old generation. Tanahashi and Okada bite their tongues and bide their time, they’ll get at White after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns and White starts against Tanahashi. Fans are strongly behind The Ace but White just chuckles. They circle and Gedo can be heard shouting “You’re stupid!” at commentary. White lunges but Tanahashi stays away. They tie up and go around, and Tanahashi manages to power White to a corner. White turns it around, but backs off, only to get the leg! White grins as he shows how easy he could’ve gone after the bad leg. He backs off but tries a sucker punch! Tanahashi dodges and headlocks, and he grinds White down. White gets up but can’t power out of Tanahashi’s grip. Tanahashi grinds White down again but White fights out with body shots. White powers out this time, but Tanahashi fakes him out to get him back in the headlock!
Tanahashi grinds White on the mat but White powers back up. White again can’t power out so he pulls hair! Tanahashi pulls White’s hair in return! Tanahashi throws body shots then whips, but White reverses. White runs into an elbow, Tanahashi springboard crossbodies! Tanahashi air guitars and tosses it out. He brings White over and tags Okada. Okada and Tanahashi whip White and double elbow him down. Okada back sentons, then Tanahashi somersault sentons. The dream team shake hands and drop double elbows! Fans are loving this already! Okada drags White up and fans are thunderous for him. He snapmares White and then hits a running basement dropkick! Okada drags White up but White powers him to the corner. Tag to Fale, but Okada gets away.
Okada and Fale circle and tie up. Fale shoves Okada but Okada’s right back with hammering hands! Okada whips but Fale reverses and whips Okada hard into buckles! Fale looms over Okada then stomps him down. Fale drags Okada up and talks trash, so Okada hits back. Okada runs and handsprings over the back drop! He wants a sleeper and hops on as a backpack. Fale endures then drops back! Okada lets Fale go, and White attacks Tanahashi! White goes after Tanahashi on the outside and throws him into barriers! Okada bails out but Fale gives chase. Fale throws Okada into barriers, too! White chokes Tanahashi with camera cables! White says he IS the next champion! Fans boo while Fale takes a towel and chokes Okada with it. It was an Okada Dollar towel, too!
White keeps on Tanahashi in the front row with Euro Uppers. White takes apart barriers to throw the railings onto Tanahashi. He buries Tanahashi while the ring count climbs. Then White scoops slams a Young Lion onto Tanahashi! Fale chokes Okada on the ropes in the ring. Red Shoes backs Fale off, but he comes back to drag Okada up and dump him out. White goes right at Okada by ramming him into the apron and then the railing! And then the apron again, and then the railing! White rams Okada into the apron once more, then throws forearms. Red Shoes finally spots this and reprimands White. White plays innocent as he puts Okada back in the ring. Fale tags White in, and White soaks up the heat.
White runs corner to corner for a huge Euro Upper, and then suplexes Okada into the buckles! Cover, TWO!! Somehow Okada escapes! White takes his frustrations out on Tanahashi, then returns to Okada. White grinds his forearm into Okada’s face, then puts on a Half Crab. Fans rally up for Okada and Okada crawls for ropes. White pulls harder but Tanahashi comes it go after White. Fale throws Tanahashi out, and then tags back in. Fale goes after Okada’s leg with stomps. Okada hits back and clubs Fale. Okada hops on for a guillotine, but Fale simply puts Okada in the Bullet Club corner. Fale stomps a mudhole into Okada then tags White. White drags Okada up for a CHOP! White follows Okada to the open corner, then tells Tanahashi this CHOP is for him.
Fans continue to rally as White snapmares Okada into a chinlock. Okada feeds off the energy and fights out with body shots. Okada runs but into White’s back elbow! Cover, TWO! White keeps on Okada with another chinlock. Okada endures while Tanahashi and the fans rally up again. Okada gets up and fights back again, but White clubs him down. White puts Okada in a corner and whips corner to corner, but Okada reverses. Okada runs into White’s boot. White runs but into a flapjack! Both men are down but stirring while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns once more, and Okada crawls for his corner. Hot tag to Tanahashi! White stands and The Ace fires off forearms on him! Tanahashi whips but White reverses, only for Tanahashi to forearm him down! Tanahashi dropkicks Fale then goes after White again. He scoop slams White into a drop zone, then hops up. Second rope somersault senton hits! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his cool while fans rally up again. Tanahashi waits for White to stand then runs, but he runs into a CHOP! But he keeps going, only to run into another CHOP! Tanahashi still shakes it off, but runs into a waistlock. He elbows out but White chop blocks the bad leg! White catches his breath as he looms over Tanahashi.
White scoops Tanahshi but Tanahashi fights out. Tanahashi waistlocks but WHite standing switches to a saido suplex! Both men are down but White tags out to Fale. Fale corners Tanahashi and throws big body shots. Then he throws bit clubbing forearms! He taunts the fans and they boo back as he drags Tanahashi up. Fale whips corner to corner then runs in, but misses! Tanahashi waistlocks, but Fale’s too big for a German Suplex! Fale fights out of the waistlock, then suplexes Tanahashi. Okada saves Tanahashi, and then they double suplex Fale together! Fans rally up again and Tanahashi crawls, but he dropkicks White first! Hot tag to Okada!
The Rainmaker forearms and whips Fale, but Fale reverses. Okada hits Fale then hits the DDT! Okada kips up and fans fire up again! He drags Fale up and manages a scoop slam! Okada winces just a moment before climbing up top. Fale gets under and Okada rolls through. Okada runs back but into a Samoan Drop! Fale hits a big splash! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but White goes after Tanahashi! White puts Tanahashi into railing while fans cheer Okada on. Fale aims, grabs Okada, but the Grenade is denied with a dropkick! Okada wants to lift Fale!? Fale reverses but Okada slips out. Okada runs but gets run over! Both men are down but Tanahashi returns to the corner. Hot tags to Tanahashi and White!
The Ace and Switchblade each dodge each other. White trash talks Tanahashi but the brawl is on! Tanahashi hits, then White hits, repeat. They build up speed back and forth, then White throws several. Tanahashi gives them all back, but White kicks out the bad leg. White whips but Tanahashi reverses. Tanahashi dodges and slingblades White down! Cover, TWO!! Okada hits Fale then tells Tanahashi to finish this. Tanahashi gets the Cloverleaf but White rakes the eyes! White kicks Tanahashi away while Fale puts Okada into barriers. Tanahashi dragon screws White! Fale runs in but Tanahashi blocks, hands off to Okada and Okada dragon screws! Tanahashi returns to White, running, but Gedo swipes him! White gets Tanahashi with a Complete Shot to German Suplex! Bridging cover, TWO!!
Fans are thunderous again as White slashes the throat. He drags Tanahashi up into position, and Fale chases Okada. Okada saves Tanahashi then has to fight off Fale. Fale rebounds, Tanahashi slingblades him down! White rocks Tanahashi, but Okada dropkicks him down! The dream team have each other’s backs! And they both power up to combine forces! Gut wrench to TOMBSTONE! Hand off, to STYLES CLASH! Tanahashi rolls White, for Okada’s elbow! Fans are at a fever pitch, but Gedo distracts Tanahashi. Fale attacks Tanahashi and dumps him off the top rope! Red Shoes reprimands Gedo but it’s too late. Okada leaps but into the Grenade! Fale corner splashes Tanahashi, and gives him a Grenade! Fale crushes Tanahashi with his boot while White crawls over. White has Fale stand down so he can finish Tanahashi.
White drags Tananashi up, fireman’s carry, Death Valley Driver! Cover, TWO!? Tanahashi survives but White isn’t done. He slashes the throat, drags Tanahashi, but ends up in Twist ‘n’ Shout! Fale whips Tanahashi but Tanahashi reverses to another Twist ‘n’ Shout! Red Shoes keeps Gedo out of the ring, but White gets a chair in the distraction! White swings but misses, Tanahashi slingblades White down! Tanahashi sees Fale coming, and manages a German Suplex! Gedo is in, but his brass knuckles miss to get a slap! White SMACKS Tanahashi from behind! Fans boo as White gets away with it. Dragon screw to the mat! And another! And then an inverted Figure Four! Okada wants to get in but Fale drags him back out. Tanahashi endures while Okada fights Fale off. So Gedo drags Okada out! Fale SPLASHES Okada! Fale lifts Okada, Bad Luck Fall!
Tanahashi still endures as White wrenches and pulls as hard as he can on the hold! Fale keeps his eyes on Okada while Tanahashi reaches and flails. Tanahashi taps, White and Fale win!!
Winners: Jay White & Bad Luck Fale, White by submission
The unthinkable has happened! The Switchblade has made the IWGP Heavyweight Champion tap out! Is the Cutthroat Era inevitable?
White picks up the belt and the mic to address Sapporo. White looks down at Tanahashi and says, “I told you that I would beat you and take this belt from you.” People think it’ll be a shock when White wins, but it will not be! White’s already beaten Tanahashi and everyone NJPW has to offer. And he made Tanahashi submit! Gedo rubs it in, but can The Ace pull off a miracle in Osaka?
White says “You can give it multiple names.” Call it Tanahashi is White’s “b*tch”, you can call it TGU: Tanahashi Gave Up. No, TTO: Tanahashi Tapped Out. That’s what the inverted figure four will be! Put it everywhere! #TTO!
Tanahashi responds by saying he used his knee as bait. White took that bait, but he wasn’t as big of a fish as Tanahashi expected. Is The Ace putting on a brave face? Or are he and his reign in more trouble than he knows?
A really great hour for NJPW, especially with big tag team matches. Evil & Sanada VS Suzuki & ZSJ was great because they knew how to play up all the story from the many, many matches all four men have had in the past. I honestly was surprised Suzuki-Gun lost, I thought they were going to end up double champions. But LIJ has been red hot, hence why they are all champions at this point, so it makes sense to keep that hot streak going. LIJ probably won’t lose those tag titles for a long time from what I can tell. No other heavyweight tag team looks strong enough right now.
Then in the special tag match for the main event, the dream team of Okada and Tanahashi had some really good chemistry with each other, and there was plenty of story to fuel this match, too. I’m a bit surprised White won, but NJPW doesn’t really use the kind of math a company like WWE would. WWE’s math would put it that White winning now means he won’t win the title in their New Beginning Osaka match, but NJPW isn’t so back and forth like that. White’s on his own hot streak, and literally has Gedo by his side, so Osaka might be the night we all Breath with the Switchblade.
My Score: 8.5/10