NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2018 continues as The Ace once again puts up his Wrestle Kingdom IWGP Heavyweight Champion contract on the line! Will he keep it?
This coverage of King of Pro Wrestling will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found at http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- EVIL VS Zack Sabre Jr w/ Taka Michinoku; No Contest.
- Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship Contract Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White w/ Gedo; Tanahashi wins and retains the Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship contract.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!
Hiroshi Tanashi is still the owner of the Wrestle Kingdom contract after an intense battle with long-time rival with Kazuchika Okada. It was the first win The Ace had over The Rainmaker in four years, but the celebration was cut short by The Switchblade, Jay White! White called his shot at the contract based on how he beat both Tanahashi and Okada in the G1 Climax. This is also fueled by White losing to Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 12, so White wants to make sure Tanahashi doesn’t even go. Will Tanahashi get back at White for everything as of late? Or will he #BreathewiththeSwitchblade?
But first, Los Ingobernables de Japon continues its war with Suzuki-Gun. The King of Darkness has lost to the Submission Master in recent tag team matches, but they once again go 1v1 to settle things. Will Darkness Fall? Or will ZSJ make Evil #JustTapOut?
EVIL VS Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Taka Michinoku!
As is standard for Taka accompanying Zack, Taka makes the introductions. “Welcome to Zack Sabre Time.” This is a special singles match, and who is gonna win? “Zack!” Who!? “Zack!” Yes, your winner will be the man who can finish with any lock, anywhere, anytime. It will be “the man who possesses the deadly Zack Driver”. It will be the man that “when he locks on a submission, no matter who you are, you Just Tap Out!” He is the master of all pro-wrestling, he is ZSJ, he is Zack Sabrrrre, JUNIOR! Taka also adds “This is NOT Evil”, because “Everything is NOT Evil”. So Evil, c’mon over here! With that, Evil makes his entrance, accompanied by servants of darkness.
But wait! Before Evil can enter the ring, one of his servants attacks him! Because it was CHRIS JERICHO in disguise! Jericho wears the IWGP Intercontinental Championship around his waist, so there’s no doubting who it is. Jericho drags Evil up and throws him into barriers! Evil flounders as Jericho stomps him and chokes him with camera cables. Jericho throws Evil into the apron, then into the ring. ZSJ lets Y2J keep on Evil with a rain of rights. Fans rally for Evil but Jericho whips him corner to corner for a big clothesline! Jericho then gives Evil a Code Breaker! And yes, off comes the mask so that everyone can see his face. ZSJ is rather amused to see Jericho laying Evil out, makes things easier for him.
Jericho picks up his IWGP Intercontinental Championship belt, and aims at Evil. Evil staggers to his feet, and turns around into a belt smash! Jericho holds up the title, then looms over Evil as he flexes. Evil already wanted after Jericho for what he did to Naito, but will Evil be able to get revenge for himself?
Jericho leaves and referees check on Evil. ZSJ wants his match with Evil, but the referees tell him they can’t have it if Evil is hurt. ZSJ circles like a vulture as medics check on Evil. The medics say this match must be called off! Fans don’t like it, but understand after what happened. ZSJ doesn’t like it, and goes after the medic who made the call! He wrangles the man down with a double wristlock, then goes after the Young Lion trying to stop him! ZSJ tells the referee to leave or he’ll be next. The referee backs off and ZSJ starts kicking away on Evil. Then he puts him into the coil lock and pulls on the arm. ZSJ adds insult to injury with all his different holds, but here comes Naito!
Naito attacks ZSJ with the fury meant for Jericho, and they start brawling! Naito and ZSJ trade forearms, then ZSJ gives European Uppercuts. ZSJ whips but Naito reverses into a tornado DDT! Naito sees ZSJ roll out and regroup with Taka and builds speed. Taka and ZSJ panic, expecting a dive, but Naito instead rolls and Tranquilos! ZSJ is furious but Taka calms him down. ZSJ is denied his match but LIJ is denied retribution on Y2J. Who will get what they want first? And who will regret ever starting the fight?
Chris Jericho rampages backstage.
Much like after his confrontation with Tetsuya Naito, Jericho throws anything he can get his hands on and tosses it at whoever is around. He slaps a Young Lion to the floor, then asks “You see what happens? You think it’s bullsh*t, don’t you?” Well that’s life. The IWGP Intercontinental Champion has returned to NJPW and Ryogoku. Evil gets in Y2J’s business, has to call him out over the title, and this is what he gets. “The greatest, most dominant Intercontinental Champion of all time in any country, worldwide.” It doesn’t matter if it’s America, Canada, Australia or “this sh*thole,” Japan. Evil didn’t get his match tonight, but he will get his match in Osaka, NJPW Power Struggle, for the title! Does that sound good? “Evil: Dead.”
Zack Sabre Jr. has something to say about the incident.
“Oi, Jericho, mind your own business.” ZSJ didn’t need any help beating up Evil. He didn’t fly all the way here for a No Contest. ZSJ doesn’t have a problem with Y2J, so long as Y2J stays on his boat. But also, Naito sure took his sweet time getting out there. Where was he when Jericho started beating down Evil? What a “good friend”. Maybe Bushi should take lead in LIJ so Naito can retire or something.
Evil and Naito have their own response.
“You son of a bitch, Jericho!” Evil can barely walk but he forces himself to head to the back. Naito figures Jericho just has too much time on his hands. As for Naito himself in all this, he’s been saying it a long time: He wants after ZSJ. Naito already “smashed up the King for him”, meaning Minoru Suzuki. Getting a chance to redeem himself for past losses should be his reward. “So, Mr. Zack Sabre Jr, please do me the honor.” He humbly waits a reply. Adios! Will there be a collision course of LIJ, ZSJ and Y2J in the near future? Who will come out the victors in such a battle?
Wrestle Kingdom 13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship Contract Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Jay White w/ Gedo!
The Ace only lost to one man during the G1 Climax 28, and that was The Switchblade. However, that one loss alone gives the young Jay White the impression that he should be the one heading for the Tokyo Dome, not the man who won the G1 Climax 28 Finals. White waited until Tanahashi had tired himself out against Kazuchika Okada in Kobe to strike again. Now in the Ryogoku Sumo Hall, White looks to end the Once in a Century Talent once and for all! Who wins and walks away with the title match contract in his hands?
The briefcase is opened and the contract is presented to White and Gedo for verification. Fans already cheer “Go Ace!” as both men put their jackets aside. This epic match finally begins, after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns and the bell rings. White bails right out, and fans boo. White and Gedo act like it isn’t a problem, but obviously the trolling begins early. Tanahashi waits patiently as White takes his time returning. The two circle, fans rally for Tanahashi, and the two tie up. They push each other back, but Tanahashi gets White to the ropes. White turns things around, and lets go for the ropebreak. But then Gedo distracts Tanahashi, allowing White to clobber The Ace from behind! White stomps away as fans boo, and Tanahashi slips out of the ring. White follows to chop Tanahashi against barriers, then whip him into others! Togi Makabe seems to catch White’s attention, so White gives him a dirty bird before chopping Tanahashi again.
White brings Tanahashi over and whips, but Tanahashi reverses to send White into barriers! Tanahashi then runs in to blast White with a dropkick! White goes over the railing and into the front row! Tanahashi fires up but then Gedo hits him in the back! Red Shoes reprimands Gedo, but Tanahashi gives Gedo a kick to the gut! Tanahashi puts Gedo in the ring, but Gedo begs for mercy. But this keeps Tanahashi from seeing White return, to chop block Tanahashi in the leg! White mocks the air guitar, then goes after the leg. Tanahashi writhes but White gives the leg a toehold screw to the mat. White plays air guitar on Tanhashi’s leg before giving him another leg screw. White then drags Tanahashi’s leg out onto the apron, to slam it on the edge!
Tanahashi writhes but White isn’t done with that leg as he elbows it against the apron. White slams the leg again, then tells Red Shoes to leave him alone. White drags Tanahashi to a corner and slings the leg into the post! Tanahashi shouts in pain while fans boo White. White distracts Red Shoes while Gedo uses the WK13 contract briefcase to smack Tanahashi’s leg! Gedo grins as he gets away with it, and White covers. Red Shoes says no to the cover, he knows something is up. White drags Tanahashi around and goes for a half crab. Tanahashi fights with his good leg and kicks White away. Fans rally and Tanahashi fights back with body shots.
Tanahashi runs in but White dumps him out. White again distracts Red Shoes, thinking Tanahashi has hit the floor. But Tanahashi instead boots Gedo away while skinning the cat! White sees Tanahashi and goes after the leg with elbows! Then he puts the foot on his shoulder for a knee jacker! Tanahashi writhes again while White looms over him. White stands on the bad leg and fans boo. White drags Tanahashi onto the ropes and bends him back. He gives forearms to the back but Red Shoes counts. White stops at 3, but then just comes back to do it again. He stops at 4 this time, then stomps Tanahashi’s calf. Fans continue to rally but Tanahashi is down. White taunts Tanahashi now, and brings him around by his hair.
White stands Tanahashi up, snapmare and a slap! Fans boo the disrespect, but White doesn’t care. White waits for Tanahashi to stand, but Tanahashi fires forearms! White kicks the bad leg and Tanahashi staggers away. Tanahashi dodges White in the corner, and catches White’s boot to give him a dragon screw! Finally some offense, and it evens things as far as legs. Both men slowly stand, and Tanahashi throws more forearms. He puts White in the corner, then scoop slams him into the drop zone. Tanahashi hops up, second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps on the leg, and gives it a grounded dragon screw! He wants both legs, and goes for the Cloverleaf! White resists and crawls, and gets the ropebreak! Tanahashi lets White go but the fans rally again.
Tanahashi grabs the legs again and pulls on White. White kicks him in the shoulder, but Tanahashi holds on. White kicks him in the bad leg, and Tanahashi lets go. Tanahashi staggers as White stands. Tanahashi comes back, and White uses a saido suplex to throw him over and out! The Ace is down and out while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as White fetches Tanahashi. White throws Tanahashi backwards into railings, then throws him again. He throws Tanahashi a third time as he shouts and eggs him on. White puts Tanahashi in the ring, then hobbles around to go looking under the ring. White finds himself a folding chair, his favorite item. Red Shoes won’t allow this, but they’ve gone this way before during the G1. As Red Shoes and White argue, Tanahashi gets White’s leg and dragon screws him between the ropes! White tumbles to the floor, but Tanahashi gets moving. Tanahashi climbs up and camera crews get out of the way, for the High Fly Flow crossbody! It hits, but it’s double edged considering the bad leg. Even so, fans are fired up for The Ace!
Tanahashi is up and puts White back in the ring. Tanahashi feels the energy of the fans, and gets moving, but runs into a chop! He keeps moving, but gets another chop! Tanahashi actually seems more annoyed than hurt, but he turns around into White’s complete shot! Then White deadlifts Tanahashi for a German Suplex! Both men are down but fans rally again. White sits up and glares at Tanahashi with wild eyes. They grind foreheads and then stand. White gives a forearm, Tanahashi gives one back. White gives another forearm, but Tanahashi gives another back. The fans fire up while White staggers, but White comes back for another forearm. Tanahashi gives a forearm, then another, then another. He fires body shots but White kicks low.
Tanahashi still hits back, body shot after shot then a EuroUpper! He turns around but into White’s strike fest! Tanahashi comes back with a palm strike! And then another palm strike! White grabs Tanahashi’s hair, but Tanahashi gives him a third palm strike! White wobbles, Tanahashi runs, but White catches him! Tanahashi slips out of Blade Runner and gets a full nelson, but White breaks that to elbow. White swings, but Tanahashi gets a half nelson that he uses to spin White around. White slips out of the facelock, reels Tanahashi in and around, but Tanahashi again slips out. Tanahashi swings but White counters, only for Tanahashi to slip out again, to a waistlock. White breaks free of that, and both men give forearms! Both men are rocked but stay standing, and fans applaud that incredible exchange.
White hits Tanahashi, then again. He whips but Tanahashi reverses, into a swinging neckbreaker! But Tanahashi doesn’t let off, he brings White back up, for another swinging neckbreaker! He still holds White, and brings him up again, but White gets a swinging suplex! Both men are down, but White flounders to a corner. Fans rally up for Tanahashi, and he slowly sits up. White grabs him, only to get a third swinging neckbreaker! Tanahashi runs, and hits the slingblade! But he sees Gedo getting on the apron, so he knocks him off with a forearm smash! White gets Tanahashi but Tanahashi slips out, full nelson to Dragon Suplex! With a bridge! TWO!! So close yet so far from finishing this, but Tanahashi keeps moving. Tanahashi gets up top, and waits for White to stand. High Fly Flow crossbody!
But Tanahashi keeps going! He’s back up top, High Fly Flow splash! Cover, but Gedo drags Red Shoes out! Gedo won’t let his new protege lose yet. He also lurks with brass knuckles! Gedo gets in and goes right at Tanahashi, but Tanahashi dodges to counter with a palm strike! But then White gets Tanahashi with the low blow! Everyone’s down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns once more, and White crawls his way to the chair he found earlier. White stands up with it, and sees Tanahashi sit up. White goes to swing, but Tanahashi gives him a low blow in return! Both men are down, feeling the pain, but Tanahashi gets up first. Tanahashi takes that chair of White’s, sets it down, and scoop slams White on the chair! Then he goes up top, for a High Fly Flow! But White moves, so Tanahashi belly flops on the chair! Tanahashi writhes with the pain in his ribs as White grabs the chair for his own again. White grits his teeth, and throws the chair in Tanahashi’s face! But where’s Red Shoes? White shouts for Gedo to get the ref, and Gedo forces Red Shoes in, ice pack and all.
White drags Tanahashi up, calling for the end. Blade Runner countered into a small package! Tanahashi wins!!
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi, by pinfall; still holds the WK13 IWGP Heavyweight Championship match contract
For all the dirty tricks White used, it was a pure wrestling counter that defeated him! The Ace still heads for the Tokyo Dome, but the Switchblade won’t stand for it! He stomps away on Tanahashi, then fights off any of the Young Lions that try to save him. White grabs that leg and stomps away on it, then gives it another leg screw! Gedo says White should finish this, so White drags Tanahashi back up. But before he can hit Blade Runner, The Rainmaker appears! Okada runs White and his former manager out of the ring and fans are thunderous! However, Gedo distracts Okada on the opposite end, so that White can attack from behind! But Okada still fights White off! So Gedo attacks! But it does nothing! Okada throws hands on Gedo!
Gedo shouts for White to help, but it’s Jado who appears. Jado, being Gedo’s former tag partner and therefore a Chaos member, wants to keep the peace between former friends. Gedo clings to Jado for safety, and Jado has Okada back away. Fans aren’t sure what to make of this, but then the Firing Squad appears? Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa, Bad Luck Fale and Taiji Ishimori saunter out here and flank the ring. What are they doing out here when this is a Chaos issue? The Bullet Club’s splinter cell enters the ring, and White starts to get anxious. White wants things to settle down, but Taiji and Fale grab Jado and Gedo! They’re making it as if they’re on Okada’s side? They want Okada to get his shots in on Gedo?
Okada isn’t so sure, and neither are the fans. But Okada thinks it over, and he does run to build speed. Only for Tama Tonga to get him with a Gun Stun!! They’re not on Okada’s side, but on Gedo’s! As was Jado, it seems. And now, Gedo, Jado and the Firing Squad stomp away on Okada! White throws Young Lions and whoever else around on the outside before joining the others in the ring. Gedo and the others let White pick up Okada, and he gives a Too Sweet at the end of his throat slash, before hitting Blade Runner! Fans boo this new alliance, especially as they Low Sweet. The Bullet Club theme hits, but is that what this alliance will be now? Or will it be something far more dangerous?
Tanahashi returns to the ring, and goes to his rival, and seemingly only ally in this new fight. Will Tanahashi be able to hold onto his Wrestle Kingdom contract at this rate? Will Okada keep control of Chaos in this state? Or can they turn the tide before they’re swept under?
The Bullet Club comes through, and wonders if the world is tilting. Because he feels the shift towards their side of things. “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, dogs, cats and children of all ages,” Tama Tonga presents Jay White. White says this was “inevitable.” White met Fale way back in London in 2014, and since then, it was inevitable that White would end up with these guys. It was never going to be White and the #BCElite, Kenny Omega and such. “What is that ripoff sh*t?!” No, the #OGBC is where White belongs, and they’re going to take the Club back to its roots. “Get used to these faces, we’re taking over.” They have like minds, like attitudes and like aggressions! Switchblade joins the Brotherhood, the Firing Squad, the BC OG’s!
Tanahashi meanwhile stops to say “Here it is. My ticket tot he future.” Is Tanahashi a relic of the past? Is his time so long ago? “It needs to be said, there is a future for everyone.” No matter your age, no matter your job, “everyone deserves a future.” Tanahashi didn’t come back to stay who he was before. He came back to keep pushing forward! So please understand, and stick with him until the Tokyo Dome.
Alliances have been made, battle lines have been drawn and goals have been set. When the dust settles come January 4th, 2019, who will be standing atop NJPW as THE IWGP Heayvweight Champion? Who will be standing as THE top faction? Or will there be no one left standing at all?
An incredible hour for NJPW as part two of three for King of Pro Wrestling. I did not expect the opening match to end up in a no contest, but it was a great surprise for Jericho to show up and go after Evil. I knew Evil was going to go after Jericho for the title, but Naito going after Zack Sabre Jr. is a good addition to this story. Naito VS ZSJ will be a great rematch, then clearly Evil VS Jericho will be great. Naito will likely win, as the leader of LIJ should stay strong. However, I don’t really feel Evil will win, as it’d seem odd if he was the only member of LIJ to have a belt, but I’m betting he’ll get really close.
Tanahashi VS White was great, and all the attempts at cheating were well done given Gedo’s presence. Tanahashi wins but this new alliance of White, Gedo and Firing Squad is a crazy development. It adds a new layer to the Chaos civil war White was starting against Okada as well as the Bullet Club civil war that’s continued since the G1 Special in San Francisco. I don’t think this’ll cause Chaos and Bullet Club Elite to join up to stop White and Tama Tonga, but it should.
My Score: 8.6/10
Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)
And you thought last week was big!
205 Live doubles down on historic matches!
Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!
- Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
- Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.
PLAY BY PLAY
205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.
It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.
The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!
How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?
The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!
Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!
Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!
Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!
Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!
The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?
The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!
Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.
Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.
Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!
Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!
Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!
Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?
A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.
Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.
My Score: 8/10
Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)
Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?
Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!
SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!
- Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
- Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
- Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
- Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
- Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.
PLAY BY PLAY
Roman Reigns heads to the ring!
The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.
But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!
But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.
But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.
Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?
Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.
Sami Zayn heads to the ring!
He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?
SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!
Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!
The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?
As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.
Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.
Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!
Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!
Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall
Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?
Billie finds the Squad backstage.
She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?
Daniel Bryan is here!
And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!
“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!
Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!
The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?
Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!
SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!
Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”
Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!
Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall
Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?
Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!
It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?
SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!
Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!
Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission
Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?
Roman Reigns sits in his private room.
Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!
Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!
Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.
Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!
Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!
Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)
And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?
Kevin Owens speaks.
“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.
And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.
But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.
The Street Profits have a basket.
Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!
Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?
Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!
The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?
SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!
But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?
Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!
Winner: Bianca Belair
Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.
Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.
Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?
Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!
SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.
Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?
Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!
Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?
Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?
Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!
Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!
Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!
Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?
A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.
But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.
The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.
Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.
And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.
My Score: 8.5/10
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