Merry Christmas and Happy SmackDown! As a gift to us all, The Bulgarian Brute challenges the King of Strong Style for the United States Championship!
- Mustafa Ali VS Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega; Ali wins.
- 8 Man Tag: The Usos & The Club VS The Bar & SAnitY; The Usos & The Club win.
- Jeff Hardy VS Samoa Joe; Joe wins, by disqualification.
- WWE United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura VS Rusev w/ Lana; Rusev wins and becomes the new WWE United States Champion.
PLAY BY PLAY
It’s a Holly Jolly SmackDown!
It’s the best time of the year~! It may be cold but there’s also gold, and a FABULOUS cup of cheer! Yes, “Truthy Claus” and “Carm-Elf-a” bring out presents for all! Truth & Carmella go to the ring and Truth welcomes us to a very special Christmas SmackDown. Truth was up all night delivering presents to the good boys and girls of the WWE Universe, with the help of his lovely elf. And on their way back, they just had to stop by as a present to themselves. That, and the reindeer were tired. Everyone knows Dasher and Dancer, Jermaine and Tito, Lil’ Michael and Randy- Truthy Claus, let’s move on to a CAROL BREAK~! Carol’s here? No, songs! Oh…! Hit it! Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle All the Way!
But wait, here comes Krampus! Er, Daniel Bryan! The WWE Champion says that as champion, he accepts that instead of spending time with family, he has to be in this “cesspool” of a city. But he will not accept legitimizing the “farce” of Truthy Claus. Fans may not realize this, but Truth isn’t the real Santa. “Fickle! Fickle!” Bryan shames Truth, Carmella and the fans. But he’s not here for them, he’s going to expose the real Santa Claus! Bryan understands why fans love Santa. He’s the personification of materialism. But all that gets anyone is the loss of half of the coral reef! And islands of roaming garbage! People just want more and more, so we only end up with more and more trash!
Does Truthy Claus know what else happens? The glaciers melt and the sea levels rise so that there won’t be a North Pole or Santa Claus! Truth thinks Bryan is one “angry little elf.” Bryan sees they’re just laughing it off. That should be expected, because Truth’s career is itself a “tired old joke.” Maybe, but Bryan better watch out, better not cry. Because Truthy Claus is going to the Royal Rumble. As the winner of Mixed Match Challenge, he’ll be Number 30. And maybe, just maybe, after Truth wins, he’ll take that title from Bryan and be the last one laughing. If Bryan is still champion by then. Bryan asks a legitimate question: how will Truth win when he can’t even count to 30? Oh he can count to 30. But he only needs to count to 7 for the DANCE BREAK!
But Bryan chop blocks Truth! And then Bryan drags Truth to a post and slams his leg into it! He kicks over a tree then slams Truth’s legs into the posts more! Carmella tells Bryan to stop but Bryan just throws gift boxes. Bryan stalks Truth to chop block him again! “You want jokes?!” Here’s a Heel Hook! Fans boo and jeer while Truth endures the twisting. Truth taps but it doesn’t matter, Bryan doesn’t let go until he’s satisfied. Carmella goes to comfort Truth but Bryan grabs Truth for stomps! Referees rush the ring but Bryan keeps going with another Heel Hook! Bryan finally lets go so that he can hold his title up high. Will Bryan ruin Christmas for everyone in the WWE Universe? Or is his comeuppance coming in the New Year?
Mustafa Ali VS Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega!
The Beacon of Light pinned the New Daniel Bryan in last week’s tag team match alongside AJ Styles, but El Idolo wants to prove Ali can’t beat him. Will Almas & Vega give us all a Tranquilo Navidad? Or will Ali give them the gift of defeat?
The bell rings and Almas dropkicks Ali right away! Almas stomps a mudhole into Ali then backs off to sneer. Almas stands Ali up to CHOP him then scoop slam him. He sits Ali up for the shotgun dropkick while fans boo. Almas scoops Ali up for a back suplex, then brings him up again to a corner. He gives Ali another sharp CHOP, but Ali hits back with haymakers. Ali backs Almas down but Almas knees low. Almas whips Ali corner to corner but Ali goes up and over. Ali runs and headscissors Almas down! Ali elbows Almas away, then hops up, but Vega distracts. Almas shoves Ali over and out! Fans boo while Almas catches his breath. Vega talks trash while we go picture in picture.
Ali writhes on the outside but Almas comes out to fetch him. Vega talks trash the entire time Almas drags Ali up. Almas snake eyes Ali on the apron, then puts him back in the ring. Cover, TWO! Almas keeps his cool and brings Ali up again. He whips Ali to a corner, then blocks the boots. He turns Ali sideways for the draping backbreaker to clubbing forearm! Cover, ONE! Ali still has heart but Almas slams his arms down. Almas kicks Ali while he’s down, then puts on an armlock. Ali endures the stretch and the knee in his back. Ali gets up and fights back, but Almas knees low. Almas wrenches the arm to a back suplex, but Ali makes it a crossbody! TWO, and Almas clobbers Ali with a clothesline! Cover, TWO! Almas grins and tranquilos as he’s rather amused now.
Almas puts Ali in a corner for another CHOP! He runs in but turns Ali sideways again. Ali fights back and boots him away. Ali throws hands but Almas hits back. The two brawl back and forth, and they even trade chops! Almas swings but Ali dodges to flapjack dropkick him! Ali fires up while Almas gets to a corner. Ali whips Almas but Almas reverses, only for Ali to slip out and send Almas into buckles. He roundhouses Almas back, and we return to single picture as he hits the somersault facebuster! Cover, TWO! The Heart of 205 Live keeps his focus, but Almas gets a waistlock. Ali bucks, kicks and SUPERKICKS Almas off, but Almas ducks the next kick to hit the back elbow! Cover, TWO!! Almas and Vega are both frustrated with Ali’s resilience.
Almas drags Ali over to a corner and wants to go around, but Ali dropkicks him in return! Ali climbs, but Almas trips him up! Ali’s in the Tree of Woe, and gets the double stomps! Cover, TWO!! Ali lives and Almas is shocked! Almas fires himself back up and drags Ali to his feet. He suplexes Ali up top, then gives him another CHOP. Almas climbs and Ali fights him off. Almas wishes a “Merry Christmas!” but Ali fights back. Ali adjusts, for a sunset flip powerbomb! But Almas lands on his feet! Almas runs in but misses Cien Knees! Ali runs in for a tilt-o-whirl DDT! Almas is in the drop zone and Ali hurries up top! 0-5-4!! Cover, Ali wins!!
Winner: Mustafa Ali, by pinfall
The Beacon of Light continues to shine on SmackDown! A victory over the current WWE Champion and now one on a former NXT Champion, Ali is racking up the resume on the main roster. Will Ali soon find himself under the spotlight of a title match?
Samoa Joe speaks.
“How’s it going, Jeff?” He’s sure the Hardy Family enjoyed the holidays. It must be nice to make up for forgotten memories, or the ones that Jeff destroyed. But Joe is glad to have Hardy in the ring tonight. Joe is concerned about Jeff. Jeff says he’s strong, but there was this look in his eye. It was the look of a man looking for a place to “park his desires.” Joe is the new addiction. But he’ll cure Jeff of his pain and anger, so that the obsession will fade away, “along with everything else around you.” It’s for Hardy’s own good.
8 Man Tag: The Usos & The Club VS The Bar & SAnitY!
Last week, Jimmy & Jey took on the Good Brothers to prove a point of why they’ve been on TV while Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson haven’t. But then another team that hasn’t had much time to shine decided to jump in. Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain want their turn, but for now they’ll team with the SmackDown Tag Team Champions to turn away two other worthy contenders. Will Cesaro & Sheamus be able to coexist with such a chaotic crew? Or will the Uso Penitentiary be #TooSweet for Christmas?
SmackDown returns as The New Day appears?! Fresno, feel~ the power~ as Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E make their way to the ring in Christmas attire and stacks of flapjacks. They sit at their commentary table, after taking the time to mess with Corey Graves, and then The Bar make their entrance. Teams sort out and we begin with The Celtic Gladiator and Machine Gun Abs Anderson.
Sheamus powers Anderson right to a corner, and has him on the top rope. Anderson fights him off and CHOPS him back. Anderson whips but Sheamus reverses, only for Anderson to kick him back. Sheamus kicks Anderson and tags in Cesaro, but Ceasro gets a spinebuster! Tag to Jey Uso, for a fast hip attack! Cover, ONE! Jey wrenches Cesaro and brings him over to tag in Jimmy. Jimmy climbs and ax handles Cesaro’s arm. Cesaro knees back and tags in Wolfe. Wolfe hammers Jimmy and Big Damo tags in. SAnitY mug Jimmy and Damo scoops Jimmy. Jimmy slips out to chop Damo, but Damo shoves him. They collide, and Young distracts. Jimmy turns around into the Divide! Fans boo and jeer while we go to break.
SmackDown returns and Damo wrenches Jimmy’s neck. Fans rally up and Jimmy fights up. The New Day know all of SAnitY is insane but also unsanitary. Damo runs Jimmy over and tags in Wolfe. Wolfe stomps and moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Wolfe drags Jimmy over to tag in Sheamus. Sheamus pulls Jimmy against the ropes for Beats of the Bodhrain! He goes fast to get 10, then drags Jimmy in with a chinlock. Fans continue to rally and Jimmy gets a jawbreaker! Sheamus staggers but hits Jey! He turns around into the dragon whip enziguri! Sheamus staggers to tag Cesaro, and Cesaro boots Anderson. Cesaro shoves Jimmy but Jimmy hits Damo! Samoan Drop! Both men are down but crawling, hot tags to Wolfe and Gallows!
Big LG rallies with lariats and a roundhouse! He uppercuts Sheamus, then runs at Wolfe for a splash! Gallows pumphandle slams Wolfe and covers, but Damo breaks it. Anderson this Damo with a flying neckbreaker! Cesaro rocks Anderson with a European Uppercut! Gallows throws Cesaro out but runs into Wolfe’s boot. Sheamus tags in and knees Gallows! Fireman’s carry and tag to Cesaro, A-Swiss-ted White Noise! Cover, but the Usos break it! SUPERKICK for Damo! SUPERKICK for Wolfe! And double SUPERKICKS for Young! BROGUE for Jimmy but SUPERKICK for Sheamus! Jey runs at Cesaro but gets a flapjack EuroUpper! Gallows YAKUZA kicks Cesaro, tag to Anderson! Magic Killer! Cover, The Club & Usos win!
Winners: The Usos & The Club, Karl Anderson pinning
The Club pin one half of the SmackDown Tag Team Championships! After all this time off, have Gallows & Anderson just won themselves a title shot for the New Year?
The Cruiserweight Division congratulates Mustafa Ali.
THE Brian Kendrick, Akira Tozawa and of course, Cedric Alexander all give Ali big props on winning over Daniel Bryan. But someone not of 205 Live greets him. If Shelton Benjamin is giving Ali congrats, that’s big. But then Daniel Bryan attacks Ali from behind!! The WWE Champion refuses to be shown up, but the Cruiserweights and Benjamin back him off. Only for Bryan to come back for more! Bryan says Ali doesn’t deserve to be on the main roster, has this attack just sidelined Ali from it?
It’s a special Christmas Edition of Miz TV!
The Most Must-See WWE Talk Show and its Hollywood A-Lister host, The Miz, are in Fresno for this “Mizmas” episode, with the World Cup trophy in the ring. And what better way to close out 2018 than with the Best in the World, and Miz’s co-bestie, Shane McMahon! Shane O’Mac heads to the ring and Fresno is excited to see him. He thanks them for the ovation and wishes them a Merry Christmas. Miz asks if Shane saw his match last week. Yes, it’s very impressive. But that’s not what this is about, is it? Nope! Tell us about the McMahon Family’s plan for a fresh start! Well they’re finally listening to the fans. Fans want new stars, they’re on the way. New match-ups, that’s already happening. New opportunities, that’s always been SmackDown’s way. But now fans will help shape the narrative.
Miz for one thought Shane was perfect as Commissioner. SmackDown didn’t suffer like Raw did with Baron Corbin because they had Paige. Oh, here’s a question. No, Miz shouldn’t. Nevermind. No, speak your mind, Miz. Well alright, new WWE, Miz will do it. There are four members of the McMahon Family so Shane doesn’t have to do everything. How about finally joining The Miz in becoming the #BestTagTeamintheWorld?! Shane reminds Miz they’ve talked about this before. And he was pretty sure this interview was about the new direction of the company. It is, but also, “one for them, one for me.” Miz won his Mixed Tag Match against the FABULOUS Truth, with a new partner. So what does Shane say? Shane says Miz was successful. And? And what?
Okay fine. Miz has been begging to be Shane’s tag partner, and fans think it’s because Miz is sucking up. That’s not it. Miz wants to team with Shane because of his dad. Miz is a Grand Slam Champion, with multiple times in just about everything, and is a Mr. Money in the Bank. Yet Mr. Mizanin has never said he was proud of Miz. Miz won at WRESTLEMANIA! All Mr. Mizanin said was “You should thank The Rock for helping you.” Whether it’s in the ring or out, Miz wonders, “Will this be enough for him?” And it’s always “No.” Until Best in the World. Miz’s dad goes, “Wow! Shane is something else!” Usually his dad loves the aerial superstars, but what was it about Shane? Shane is a man without fear, and fights for what he believes in!
And maybe that’s how Miz could finally get through to his dad. Miz believes it, too, that he and Shane could be a great team. Just give Miz a chance. Why is he even asking? Shane has much more important things to do. He’s so sorry to drag Shane into this. But Shane did say about putting opportunities in the hands of the fans, right? So maybe, this isn’t up to Miz and Shane. This is up to the fans. Fans like the sound of that! What does WWE Fresno think? Do they want the #BestTagTeamintheWorld?! “YES! YES!” Miz offers Shane a handshake. Shane hears the fans cheering, and says that Miz’s speech really resonates with him. “You better not screw me, or there’s gonna be major consequences. Let’s try this.”
It’s official! Shane and Miz, Best in the World, as a team! Even Miz has to do the “YES! YES!” fingers. Will this team take the world by storm? Perhaps even the titles?!
Rusev and Lana speak.
“Today is a big day.” Not just because it’s Christmas, but because it’s Rusev’s Birthday! Happy Birthday to Rusev! And as his gift to us, he’ll become the handsome new United States Champion. And it won’t just be Christmas or Rusev’s birthday, but the best Rusev Daaaaay~ ever! Will Rusev’s gift be golden and bright when he faces Nakamura tonight?
Jeff Hardy VS Samoa Joe!
The Charismatic Enigma has put his past behind him, but The Destroyer wants to dig it all up to throw in his face. Will Joe regret trying to give Hardy a blue Christmas?
The bell rings and fans rally as Hardy circles with Joe. They tie up and Joe puts Hardy in a corner. Joe tries a sucker punch but Hardy ducks it to fire off haymakers! Hardy keeps on Joe with shoulders, but backs off at 4. He calls to “DELETE! DELETE!” but Joe scrapes Hardy’s face on ropes! Joe jabs Hardy but dares him to get up each time. Joe elbows Hardy down, then drags him up for more. Hardy hits back with kicks, and the spin back kick! Joe staggers to a corner, Hardy gives him a Hardyac Arrest! Cover, Ropebreak! Hardy stomps Joe at the ropes, then stops at 4. He runs back in to club away but the ref backs him off. Hardy runs but into Joe’s elbow! Joe takes control back while we go picture in picture.
Joe looms over Hardy before covering, TWO! He sits Hardy up for elbow after elbow to the neck, then drags Hardy up and around. Joe puts him in a corner for CHOPS! He also jabs away on Hardy, then drags him up. Hardy hits back with elbows and haymakers. Hardy gets Joe off his feet and stomps him at the ropes. He clubs Joe to a corner then throws more hands. Hardy climbs up to give corner punches. Hardy gets all 10 then says DELETE as he drops a leg on Joe’s neck! Cover, TWO! Hardy keeps on Joe with a jawbreaker. Joe staggers to ropes and Hardy runs n to dropkick him in the back. Hardy bumps Joe on buckles as we return to single picture.
Hardy stomps a mudhole into Joe, but stops at 4. He whips but Joe reverses, to back elbow and Pele! Cover, TWO! Hardy still has life but Joe keeps his cool. Joe drags Hardy up and around to bump him off buckles. He throws in knees, then puts on an abdominal stretch. Hardy endures being pulled sideways, and endures Joe’s elbow digging into the ribs and hip. Fans rally up and Hardy pries his way out but Joe rolls him up. TWO, and Joe clobbers Hardy down. Joe drags Hardy up again to snapmare him into a neck wrench. Hardy endures while Joe twists. Fans rally and Hardy gets a second wind. Hardy fights back and whips, but Joe reverses. Hardy comes back with forearms! Atomic drop, leg-splitting leg drop! Dropkick added, cover, TWO!
Hardy catches his breath while refocusing himself. “DELETE!” echoes out but Joe denies the Twist. Joe shoves Hardy but gets an elbow. Then Whisper int he Wind! Cover, Ropebreak! Joe is a ring general as always and he denies Hardy victory. Both men stand but Hardy ducks a chop. Twist of Fate hits! Joe is in the drop zone so off comes Hardy’s shirt. Hardy climbs up top, takes aim, but Joe rolls away. Hardy hops down to slingshot and dropkick Joe! Joe staggers while Hardy goes to the apron. The apron dive takes Joe out! Hardy gets up and stomps Joe against the barriers. Hardy doesn’t stop with the knees and feet, and the referee has to pull him off!
Winner: Samoa Joe, by disqualification
Hardy’s rage boiled over, but he doesn’t care about a loss. He throws Joe over the announce desk! Hardy climbs up but Joe yanks him off! COQUINA CLUTCH!! Joe’s trap works and he chokes Hardy out behind the desk. Fans boo and jeer but Joe holds on until he’s sure Hardy’s out cold. The Destroyer seethes with a wild eyed glare as he looms over Hardy. Will Joe become a demon himself as he tries to use Hardy’s inner demons to ruin him?
Shinsuke Nakamura speaks.
“The Total Diva has asked for gold for Christmas.” But Rusev’s been too naughty this year. All he’s getting is a #Knee2Face! The King of Strong Style looks to be Rusev’s personal Grinch, but will Rusev MACHKA in the clinch?
The Usos talk backstage.
The Club got the pin but that means their teams got the win. SmackDown’s still #OnLock! Jimmy gonna go find Naomi and they’ll all meet up later. Merry Christmas, Uce! But wait, Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville find Jimmy under the mistletoe. Uh, no thanks. Jimmy doesn’t know what he’s missing. Oh Naomi has that! She runs right at Mandy, but Jimmy keeps her back. Naomi is ready to snatch a golden goddess bald! Jimmy says Naomi doesn’t need to worry, he’s better than that. But uh, how about they use the mistletoe? Big kisses and Merry Christmas.
WWE United States Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura VS Rusev w/ Lana!
The champion believes the United States of Nakamerica has no worthy contenders, but contenders have still lined up. Now it is the Super Athlete’s opportunity to regain the glory of his undefeated rookie season! Will Rusev & Lana be celebrating a very Merry Rusev Day Christmas? Or will Nakamura continue his reign long into 2019?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and fans are fired up as we begin! Nakamura and Rusev tie up and Rusev puts Nakamura against the ropes. Nakamura turns it around, and he uses his old ab rest to taunt Rusev. Rusev shoves and then haymakers Nakamura! Rusev runs but into a boot! Only to come back with a shoulder! Cover, ONE, and fans are dueling. Rusev whips Nakamura to a corner and hits corner clothesline after clothesline. He drags Nakamura out for a scoop, but Nakamura wraps on a triangle! Rusev breaks free and Nakamura is all smiles. Nakamura says “C’MON!” to Rusev while we go to break.
SmackDown returns to see Nakamura give Rusev some Bad Vibrations. He puts on a cravat and grinds Rusev down, but Rusev endures. Fans continue to duel while Nakamura snapmares. Nakamura jumps but Rusev avoids the knee drop! Rusev quickly suplexes Nakamura up and over! Rusev stalks Nakamura and brings him up for a deadlift half-hatch suplex! He keeps on Nakamura with a back suplex, and covers, TWO! Rusev doesn’t lose focus, he stays on Nakamura with stomps. Nakamura gets to a corner but Rusev rams his shoulder in. Fans duel again, and Rusev whips Nakamura corner to corner. Nakamura dodges to roundhouse Rusev in the back. He puts Rusev up top for the Top Shelf Knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura tries again, TWO!
Nakamura keeps on Rusev with sharp kicks to the back. Rusev grits his teeth as he gets up. Nakamura rams in knees, and Rusev goes to ropes. Nakamura chokes Rusev on the ropes then kicks and kicks and kicks! The ref backs Nakamura off while fans boo and jeer. Nakamura goes back to Rusev but Rusev throws body shots back. Rusev throws haymakers and whips, but Nakamura knees him again. Rusev tumbles to the apron and Nakamura stomps him out there! Nakamura lets off at 4, and Lana coaches Rusev up. Nakamura drags Rusev up for a cobra clutch, but Rusev pries at the hold. Fans duel and Rusev headbutts Nakamura in a cravat! Rusev swings but Nakamura swings around to an armbar! Then a triangle! Rusev makes it a cover, TWO, and he’s free!
Rusev runs but is put on the apron. He hits Nakamura back, then lines it up. Rusev tries to suplex Nakamura to the outside, but Nakamura breaks free and dropkicks Rusev down! Nakamura leaves him out there while we go to one more break.
SmackDown returns again, and Nakamura rams knees into Rusev’s ribs and shoulders! Lana and the fans continue to rally but it’s hard for her to watch her husband take those knees. Nakamura drops one, covers, TWO! Rusev is gasping but he still lives. Nakamura toys with him, then grabs him in a facelock. Rusev gets up and they go around, but Nakamura rams in more knees. Nakamura grinds Rusev down to the mat, but Rusev gets a second wind. Rusev stands and powers Nakamura off with a toss! Both men are down but stirring. Rusev runs into more knees! Nakamura kicks and kicks, but Rusev blocks one. Rusev roars and clobbers Nakamura with lariat after lariat! He whips Nakamura for a splash at the ropes, then scoops Nakamura for standing knees. Rusev throws Nakamura with a Fall Away Slam!
Nakamura rolls to a corner but Rusev tackles him with a shoulder. Running heel kick! Cover, TWO! Rusev feels he’s getting closer, and keeps his focus. Fans give him strength as they cheer for “Rusev Day!” Rusev scoops but Nakamura slips out. Nakamura fires off strikes, but runs into a pop-up knee! And roundhouse! Cover, TWO!! That was the closest yet! Rusev grows frustrated, but Lana keeps him in this. Rusev looms over Nakamura, but Nakamura slips away from the Accolade. Nakamura gets out but Rusev pursues, and throws him into barriers! Rusev brings Nakamura around to throw him at the timekeeper’s area. He puts Nakamura back in but Nakamura spins to kick Rusev back! Nakamura throws Rusev into steel steps! Nakamura bounces Rusev off the announce desk and then puts him in the ring.
However, Nakamura refreshes the count so he can guillotine knee drop Rusev’s neck on the apron! Nakamura then climbs up top, for a flying knee! Rusev is reeling while Nakamura aims from the corner. Nakamura wants it, he runs in, but into a MACHKA KICK!! Cover, TWO!! That was the closet yet for Rusev! Rusev fires up again and fans fire up with him! Rusev wants to CRUSH, and he goes for the Accolade. Nakamura sunset flips and gets the triangle! Rusev stays standing but Nakamura throws hands. Rusev fades and Nakamura keeps it from being a cover. Fans cheer Rusev on and Rusev gets a third wind for a deadlift powerbomb! Rusev is free, and has another shot! He runs in, but Nakamura sends him into a post! Roll up, TWO!! Point blank knee! Cover, TWO!? Rusev lives!?
Fresno says “This is Awesome!” but it’s far from over! Nakamura aims again, and Rusev slowly stirs. Nakamura runs at Rusev, but dodges the Machka Kick! Rusev gets a kick, but then CLOBBERS Nakamura! The Bulgarian Brute stomps the mat, aims, MACHKA KICK!! Cover, Rusev wins!!
Winner: Rusev, by pinfall; NEW WWE United States Champion
It’s a GOLDEN Rusev Day Christmas!! Rusev has the United States Championship back, and everyone celebrates! Will this Christmas birthday wish
AJ Styles meets with Vince McMahon.
Vince wants to get to know the Phenomenal One. What’s his name? Who is he? Uh, AJ Styles… A two-time WWE Champion, and SmackDown is the House that AJ Styles Built. Yes, but then, why didn’t Styles compete tonight? Why was Bryan the one raising hell here? Vince doesn’t get this. This “New” Daniel Bryan is around, but where is the “real” AJ Styles? Superstars come and go, winning titles, earning money and then becoming complacent. Vince knows that’s not Styles. Because Styles is like Vince. Styles a darkness in his heart and a tormented soul. Vince wants to see that unleashed. If Styles can harness all of that, and uses it to go after anyone and everyone in that ring, Vince sees great things for Styles. “That animal is begging to get out.” And that animal is eating Styles alive.
Styles wants to use it and Vince wants to see it, yeah! Vince slaps Styles, so Styles punches Vince!! Styles’ rage has been unleashed, just like Vince wanted. Vince grins, because he’s just fine. But will Vince come to regret unleashing the Phenomenal Animal?
A pretty great Christmas SmackDown right here. Again, like Raw Before Christmas, this was recorded after last week’s SmackDown so SmackDown wasn’t really live this time. And if that wasn’t clear, just listen to how WWE upped the volume on the crowd and piped in extra noise to make it seem like the fans weren’t tired after five hours of WWE programming (since 205 Live is still filmed on Tuesdays, too). But a tired crowd didn’t take away from the quality of anything.
First, I like the tease from R-Truth that he’s gonna win the Royal Rumble and challenge Daniel Bryan. That seems very unlikely but it’d be crazy if it happened. Bryan of course ups his Heel heat with beating up Truth, defaming Christmas and Santa, and then going after Mustafa Ali backstage. Ali VS Almas was great, and Ali goes over to keep himself riding high, but I can already see people going “Oh no, Almas is buried!” Almas fans should take a hint from him and tranquilo. This “fresh start” only just started, so Almas has time to recover.
Especially now that there is a new and Face United States Champion! I am so glad that Rusev VS Nakamura was given time to breathe, and it’s great that Rusev won. I know the audio was played with but I’m sure the fans live in attendance were thrilled to see Rusev holding a title again. No rematch clause means Nakamura moves on, and Rusev VS Almas (with Lana and Vega perhaps interacting) will be great for SmackDown’s 2019. I’m just torn that while Rusev shouldn’t lose right away, Almas needs to get something for him to stay afloat. Maybe it will be controversial with Vega and Lana being a distraction or even interfering, and that costs Rusev the title. Either way a series between these two would be great, and maybe even throw Nakamura in because he’ll want revenge.
The only real downside to such a tired crowd was that Miz’s great promo was all but wasted. Miz wanting his dad’s approval as a pro-wrestler has been known for some time, especially after Miz And Mrs. debuted on USA. It was a really well delivered speech and that’s because of the bit of truth he put into it. And it’s totally something Shane McMahon would understand given the decades of kayfabe with Vince. Shane and Miz might join the SmackDown Tag Team Division as soon as next week’s New Year’s Day SmackDown. There’s a chance they’ll still face each other at Wrestlemania, but there’s half a chance they make it to Mania to fight for those titles. I’m up for it either way.
Hardy VS Joe was pretty good, too, and clearly not over, either. Maybe they’ll have a proper blow-off like a No Disqualification match or something similar so that neither has to hold back. Maybe a Last Man Standing, or if WWE was really daring, bring back the I Quit Match for this. If Joe wants to truly destroy Hardy, that would be the way to go. I really like that The Club got the win in their 8 Man Tag match. Gallows & Anderson should definitely get the tag title match with The Bar, but I’m not sure WWE will give them those titles yet. The Club being another team to have held both Raw and SmackDown titles would be great for them, and they deserve it, but it’s hard to tell if Vince is letting go of his bias against things that aren’t his original product.
Though given that surprise ending segment, he still likes Styles. Vince would only let a superstar he likes punch him in the face. This concept of unlocking Styles’ darkness, something past even being a Heel, is an interesting choice of direction. Perhaps the “Real” Styles will try to get ahead of other contenders and go after Bryan again. Styles VS Ali would be great to see on the way there, and perhaps maybe even the entire locker room just to see how the “Real” Styles would face them compared to the supposed fake one.
My Score: 8.3/10
AJPW Dream Power Series 2019 Results & Review (3/19/2019)
Mathew shows us some power! AJPW puts together a card that could rival anything all year. Does it live up to the expectations?
Mathew shows us some power! AJPW puts together a card that could rival anything all year. Does it live up to the expectations?
Welcome back to AJPW! We’re gonna talk about the last big show before this year’s Champions Carnival coming up in early April as we have a few title matches in this show that I couldn’t resist wanting to cover it.
We got some dealing with revenge along with one trying to make history. How’s this year’s Champions Carnival gonna shape up?
Let’s find out as we…dive right in.
- 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
- 1 Star: Vince Russo
- 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
- 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
- 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
- 5 Stars: Jim Cornette
Six Man Tag Team Match
Atsuki Aoyagi, Danji Tamura, & Hokuto Omori vs. Evolution (Atsushi Aoki, Hikaru Sato, & Yusuke Okada)
Review: Our opening contest is a six-man tag team match with our young lions, Atsuki Aoyagi, Danji Tamura, and Hokuto Omori taking on three members of Evolution, Atsushi Aoki, Hikaru Sato, and Yusuke Okada. Going up against three people from the junior division is a fair start to have them all fight each other in this tag bout and a better view of how the young guys are doing. Will Evolution school the young boys or will they somehow get one of the biggest wins in their starting careers?
As I’ve said, this match is mostly to showcase our future talent as they fight the vets of the game in the junior division. I do gotta admit that these three have definitely improved in the ring as they’re shaping up to be some of All Japan’s finest students. Evolution held off on their own and I’m glad they were their opponents for this match since they’re very easy to work with. Another thing I loved about the match is that they had a good amount of time instead of just being less than five minutes like how most matches will do. Yusuke and Hokuto are in the ring now and Yusuke would hit him with a Brainbuster for a two count and would quickly apply a Boston Crab onto him and Hokuto struggles to get to the ropes and once he does, Yusuke pulled him back in and would lock it in more as he would tap out to give Evolution the victory in a solid match.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a half
Six Man Tag Team Match
Jun Akiyama, TAJIRI, & Ultimo Dragon vs. Black Menso-Re, Masanobu Fuchi, & Takao Omori
Review: We got another six-man tag team match here as Jun Akiyama, TAJIRI, and Ultimo Dragon will be taking on Black Menso-Re, Masanobu Fuchi, and Takao Omori. It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen Ultimo Dragon wrestling in All Japan, so I’ll never complain to see him in the ring. This is another match with the vets and Manso-Re for being a punching bag as it’ll most likely be a comedy style match. Which one of them will win?
Menso-Re starting with Ultimo Dragon as he wanted him first, but TAJIRI would slap Menso before the bell would ring and we would kick it off right now. They would do a little bit before Jun and Takao get tagged in, but we all care about TAJIRI and Fuchi getting tagged in now as Fuchi would try to get his hands on him. TAJIRI would be the sneaky heel with leaving the ring to sit with the crowd so he could avoid contact in the match. TAJIRI would get back in the ring only to tag in Ultimo as the crowd would just boo TAJIRI. Fuchi would do his antics with the punch to the forehead as the crowd eats it up but everything would backfire on Fuchi as he would miss a Dropkick to make the crowd boo Ultimo which is a shocker. Ultimo would kick Fuchi and attempt an Asai DDT but Fuchi would turn it around to a Backslide as Ultimo would kick out. Both TAJIRI and Jun would both make Fuchi miss a Dropkick and taunt him right after to make the crowd boo them. Ultimo would get Fuchi in the La Magistral and he gets the win for his team in a rather entertaining match.
Rating: Tony Schiavone and a quarter
Tag Team Match
NEXTREAM (Yoshitatsu & Yumi Aoyagi) vs. Sweeper (Jake Lee & Ryouji Sai)
Review: Our next match here is a tag team match as NEXTREAM members, Yoshitatsu and Yuma Aoyagi will be taking on members of Sweeper, Jake Lee and Ryouji Sai. Since Naoya is no longer Yumi’s partner, he’s gonna be paired off with Yoshitatsu this time around. Since all four of them are in the Champions Carnival, a win for either of them would give them some momentum leading to the tournament. Which one of these two teams will win and what will be the future payoff?
It seems like Yoshitatsu has a little gripe with Jake Lee in this match as he seems to be disgruntled when he was in the ring with him, especially when Jake would just best him during the first sequence with the chaining. Ryouji and Yuma are in the ring now and Ryouji with a series of kicks in the match and have him in a submission before Yoshi would break the hold and just stared at Jake again. Yuma is really growing out on his own as an individual and you can see that when he’s not partner with Naoya. Yuma would have Jake in a Headlock but Jake would attempt a Backdrop Driver as Yuma flipped it into a Crossbody as Jake kicked out at two. Once Jake kicked out, Yuma would try to turn the pin into a European Clutch as Jake kicked out at 2 as even the referee was shocked by this. Yuma would run into him as Jake kneed him in the face and hits him with a Backdrop Driver as he pinned Yuma for the victory.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and a quarter
Six Man Tag Team Match
Atsushi Maruyama, KAI, & Zeus vs. Bomber (Dylan James & Joe Doering,) & Francisco Akira
Review: We have another six-man tag team match taking place as Atsushi Maruyama, KAI, and Zeus team up to take on Dylan James, Joe Doering, and Francisco Akira. KAI recently failed at Dragon Gate to win the Open the Twin Gate Championships, so he could at least try to win for his team but I think Zeus has a lot on his plate when it comes to their opponent since Dylan James and Joe Doering are a strong team to beat and wants to try and look powerful leading into the Carnival. Which one of these two teams will win the match?
Zeus and Dylan would charge at each other right away to test their strengths with also some chops and a test of strength as the two appear to be evenly matched, which is no surprised. KAI gets tagged in and he calls Joe to get tagged in since he wants to fight him as Dylan honors that request and lets Joe have a turn on the fun. Joe would start to make him regret that decision as he had the upper hand on him at first but KAI would hit a few Dropkicks on him but Joe still wouldn’t go down as he tackled him and went for an Elbow Drop before KAI moved and quickly tagged in Atsushi. The juniors get a turn on the fun as Francisco showed more of his impressive ability. One problem I had with the match was that the last few minutes are incredibly sloppy with Atsushi missing most of his kicks to Joe in the corner, Francisco slipping on his Moonsault to the outside, which he thankfully caught himself and redid it again. The finish would be with Joe hitting Atsushi with the Powerbomb and it looked like he got knocked out as he took the pinfall despite his shoulder being kinda up, so it looked botched but the referee still has a job to do as Joe just left the ring and walked to the back possibly frustrated.
Rating: Eric Bischoff
World Junior Heavyweight Title Match
Koji Iwamoto (c) vs. Kotaro Suzuki
Review: Our first title match of the show is Koji Iwamoto defending his Junior Heavyweight Championship against Kotaro Suzuki. The two fought each other in the A Block of the Junior Battle of Glory Tournament where Kotaro defeated Koji in the match but would eventually fail to win as Koji would actually be the one to win it all. Koji decided to defend the title against Kotaro since it was only fair due to him winning the match and wants to avenge that loss. Will Koji be able to retain his title again or will Kotaro get the upper hand on him again?
Kotaro showed no mercy to the champion as fought him to the outside and Slingshots him into the turnbuckle post and DDT’s him face first into the mat as you hear the loud thud and damage has been done to Koji. Kotaro has beaten Koji before so he knows what he has to do to try and defeat him again as he worked on Koji’s neck a bit during the match and gets the heat from the crowd. I know Kotaro is a Freelancer and is mostly at NOAH right now due to being a champion there, I hope he does stick around a little bit longer since I feel like the division could really use him as he’s a very talented individual. Koji would try to outrun him after he dodged him to the outside and it appeared as if Kotaro would botch but he quickly caught himself and dived to the outside to land on Koji, getting the better of him again.
Koji would finally be able to get a comeback as he hits an STO onto the ring apron to knock Koji down and most of the time, he would try to hit the Koko no Geijutsu but Kotaro would hold his ground to make sure he wouldn’t hit it but Koji would be able to deliver a German Suplex and a Dragon Suplex. Kotaro would land a few punches before Koji tried to hit the move again, but Kotaro would hold his ground again and kick his leg out to work on his neck before landing Gory Bomb Special and tops it off with the La Magistral for the pin and Koji would kick out various times whenever Koji would try to roll out of it and was so close to having a new champion. Koji would just use this time to hit a couple of STO’s in a row to weaken him down a bit. Koji would go for it again but he catches him for a Back Suplex to save himself a bit. Kotaro would now hit not one but two Excaliburs onto him to try and end it as Koji would somehow kick out of it again. It all came down to his as Koji would attempt the Koko no Geijutsu again as Kotaro would stop himself to pin him for a two count and they both would spin around as Koji would hit it this him but he picked him up to hit the Koko no Geijutsu properly this time and pins him to retain the title! After the match, various people from the junior division would come out and it looks like they all want a shot at the Junior Heavyweight Championship but Koji would have to pick one of them to be his opponent. It does look like, however, that Koji doesn’t have a clear opponent right now as he left the ring but I guess we’ll see soon.
Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters
World Tag Team Title Match
Strong BJ (Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi) (c) vs. Violence Giant (Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama)
Review: Our next title match for this show is Strong BJ defending their titles against the team that they defeated them for, The Violence Giant. Strong BJ defeated them on January 13th to win the titles and after they retain their titles on the February 24 show, Violence Giant requested a rematch to bring the titles back home on their turf this time instead of the BJW show. If it’s anything like their previous match, it’s sure to be hard hitting and a not miss. Will Strong BJ remain on top or will Violence Giant bring the belts back home?
Shuji and Daisuke would be the ones to start off our match here with an incredible display of power as the two were unable to budge and they would tag in their respective partners. Suwama and Yuji were both also very hard-hitting as they would now fight outside of the ring as these two teams are making it personal. Strong BJ has been doing great work during this rivalry with the Violence Giant and they would even give Suwama a big beatdown but the former ace would even try his best to fight them off, even when he was on the corner and would kick Yuji to show his fighting spirit. Suwama would hit a Dropkick to save himself for a little bit and would tag in Shuji for the hot tag and Shuji does indeed come in hot with his Lariats, knees, anything he can throw along with the kitchen sink.
Yuji would brawl with Shuji to deliver some chops while Shuji would give him a couple of forearms and a headbutt to try and daze him but Yuji is pumped up and slams him down with a few Lariats. Once Yuji would hit another Lariat to Shuji, he would kick out at one that time around before getting hit with another one with a two count. What’s it gonna take to take Shuji down for good? Yuji would get to the top rope to hit the Splash and it looks like this could be it but Suwama would break the pinfall to save his partner. Strong BJ would have them up for the Torture Racks but they would get down for Suwama to hit a Back Suplex while Shuji hits a Dragon Suplex. Shuji is alone with Yuji again and would hit another Dragon Suplex and a Running Knee to get him out for another two count, he was so close! Shuji would pick Yuji up real quick for the Fire Thunder and goes for the pin as Daisuke breaks the pinfall this time around as Suwama would get Daisuke out of the ring. Shuji knew what he had to do to try and end it as he hits the Giants Slam and pins Yuji to win back the titles! Hell of a match and definitely topped their previous encounter at BJW. I would love to see Violence Giant get a fair and dominating run with this reign, can’t wait to see where this goes now.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a half
— 全日本プロレス/alljapan (@alljapan_pw) March 14, 2019
Triple Crown Championship
Kento Miyahara (c) vs. Naoya Nomura
Review: This is our third title match and the main event of the show as we have Kento Miyahara defending his Triple Crown Championship against former NEXTREAM member, Naoya Nomura. On the February 24th show, Naoya Nomura would defeat Dylan James in a singles match and Kento Miyahara would have his second successful title defense against Suwama. After Kento would defeat Suwama, Naoya would come in to make the challenge to his stablemate and announce his departure from the NEXTREAM group in the process, leading him to also vacate the All Asia Tag Team Championship with Yuma Aoyagi. Kento is now 30 years old and while it’s his third title defense in this run, this will be his first time defending it while no longer in his twenties. If Kento can defeat Naoya, he’ll be the champion leading into the Champions Carnival and won’t defend the title until the tournament is over. Will Kento be able to retain it once again or does Naoya pull the surprise victory?
Kento came in here with a plan since he knew what he was gonna do to Naoya once he challenged him to this match, he didn’t wanna go easy on him despite being former teammates but he wants to see how badly Naoya wants the spotlight on him. They were fairly matched during the lock-up part of the match and they would start to fight outside for a little bit as Naoya would get Kento down as he taunts him when he got back in the ring. Naoya would hit him with a big forearm before going onto the apron to jump and Kento catches him with a knee and has him right where he wants him now. This is where Kento would just attack him with a few Headbutts as Naoya would try to deliver one to him but Kento gives him multiple ones as a counterattack and this is why you don’t mess with the champion.
Naoya would eventually make a comeback after being kicked around by Kento as he quickly got up to charge at him with a shoulder tackle and you can hear that too. He would hit a few more along with another forearm to the face as he goes for the Brainbuster but Kento would struggle to make sure he didn’t hit it and has Naoya over the ropes but wait, Naoya grabbed his leg to pull him over as he attempted a Death Valley Driver onto the apron as Kento jumped off to hit a Blackout. The two would be on the turnbuckle and Naoya gets behind him to attempt a German Suplex as Kento struggles, but Naoya would slam Kento’s head on the post and gets off the turnbuckle to hit the German Suplex as both men are down. Naoya would go to the top rope to hit the first Splash as Kento kicked out but Naoya would quickly get up again to hit one more as Kento still kicked out.
Kento would eventually hit him with a Blackout at full force and hits him with a German Suplex for another two count. Kento looks like he’s going for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold as Naoya would kick his knee out and hit him with a Spear and the two are down again. Kento would hit another Blackout on the back of his head and tries the German Suplex Hold once again as Naoya would still kick out at two as Kento is starting to get concerned with what he has to do now. Kento tried the Shutdown German Suplex Hold again as Naoya broke out of it and picked him up Fisherman style and dropped him on his head and picked him up for the Death Valley Driver as Kento fought him off but Naoya would hit him with a flurry of forearms to daze him and hits the Spear with the roll-up as Kento kicked out at two again! Naoya picked him back up but Kento would go back to delivering the Blackouts and it looks like Naoya is all out of fight as Kento finally hits the Shutdown German Suplex Hold to get the pinfall victory and his third successful title defense. Great match and a very impressive showing to Naoya but Kento is just still better than him right now. Kento will now officially be the Triple Crown Champion leading into the Champions Carnival. Three defenses down, eight more to go.
Rating: Bruce Prichard and a quarter
Overall: I thought it was a very solid show from top to bottom but the last three title matches were what sold it to me. I would highly recommend that you look out for those matches if you can find them online or subscribe to the streaming service and if you’re not already subscribed, what the hell is wrong with you? Get on that!
Favorite Match: Strong BJ (Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi) vs. Violence Giant (Shuji Ishikawa & Suwama)
Least Favorite Match: Jun Akiyama, TAJIRI, & Ultimo Dragon vs. Black Menso-Re, Masanobu Fuchi, & Takao Omori
Mitchell’s WWE NXT Results & Report! (3/20/19)
Triple H addresses an NXT Championship dilemma!
NXT sees the return of HHH, but under sad circumstances. The Game will address Tommaso Ciampa’s injury, and what happens with his precious championship!
- NXT Championship Contenders Fatal 5 Way: Ricochet VS Adam Cole VS Aleister Black VS Velveteen Dream VS Matt Riddle; Cole wins and will face Johnny Gargano for the vacated NXT Championship at TakeOver: New York.
PLAY BY PLAY
Triple H opens NXT!
Full Sail is happy to see The Game, but he comes out holding the NXT Championship. HHH goes to the ring and also picks up a mic. He takes a moment to hear the fans chant for him and NXT before getting to business. “From those cheers, I don’t have to remind you of just how special this place is.” The building, the environment, the fans. “NXT is something special.” It is here in NXT and the ring that “dreams can become possibilities.” For some, the dream starts in NXT. For others, it takes a long time, maybe years of scratching and clawing, going up and down a road, just to get to this ring. But in reality, for every superstar, their dream can end at any moment.
HHH was going to announce the main event of TakeOver: New York, an epic years in the making, of Johnny “Wrestling” Gargano VS Psycho Killer, Tommaso Ciampa. But the reality has made that impossible now. Ciampa’s dream is on hold, because he needs neck surgery. That surgery has taken place, and now Ciampa must relinquish the title. But the beauty of NXT is that when one dream ends, another begins. And that new dream begins right here! Gargano continues his dream and he WILL compete for the NXT Championship! But against who? We find that out tonight! Five men step into this ring! Ricochet VS Adam Cole VS Aleister Black VS Velveteen Dream VS Matt Riddle!
Those five men fight for an opportunity to live a dream in New York, on the biggest stage yet, and compete for the title against Gargano. It will be decisive in New York, 2 Out of 3 Falls! The winner will walk out the NEW NXT Champion! A major match of former, current and future champions, but who will have a match with Gargano to determine NXT’s future?
Backstage interview with various superstars.
The Finest thinks Cathy Kelly was waiting for him. But since he showed up, what is his reaction to the big news tonight? Well tonight’s main event will be great, but Kona Reeves knows it won’t be The Finest. The Forgotten Sons appear next, and they don’t care about tonight’s main event. They are more concerned with next week’s main event, because in case people have already forgotten, they’re in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic FINALS! Aleister Black & Ricochet need to not forget Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake are coming. They hope one of those two win, so that they’ll be too focused on something else. Then it’ll be that much easier for the Forgotten Sons to go on and win the NXT Tag Team Championships. Then no one will forget them ever again.
NXT Media shares Tommaso Ciampa’s trip to Birmingham, Alabama.
This is not the first time Ciampa has been to the WWE’s preferred surgical facility. Ciampa has had one knee and both shoulders, but now the neck leaves him no choice but to have another surgery. The pressure on his spinal cord could paralyze Ciampa, so this is not just for his career, but for his life as he knows it. There are various bone graftings and now it’s just about time. When and where will the greatest sports entertainer in NXT make another return?
NXT’s contenders speak.
The King of Flight and the Embodiment of the End are one of the most unexpected duos in the tag team division. They work together because they expect the best from each other. But there’s no misunderstanding, it will be every man for himself tonight.
Velveteen Dream is already the NXT North American Champion, but he wants the biggest spotlight possible. The way he sees it, tonight’s Fatal 5 Way will be #DreamOver. And when Dream wins it all, then Dream will just be the first ever dual champion, on the grandest stage in NXT history.
The Original King of Bros is still undefeated, and is stoked to have such a big opportunity so soon. Riddle worked his ace off to get here, and nothing will stop him from going to NXT TakeOver: New York and becoming the new NXT Champion, bro.
Adam Cole says he is the one who makes history in NXT, and no one is more deserving! The inaugural North American Champion wants to be the first to also have the top title. He takes on four of the best to then go to the Barclays Center. That’s the very place Cole made his debut and held that title high above his head. He’ll do it again, when the announcement is made that he is the new NXT Champion! And that is Undisputed!
Backstage interviews with The Sky Pirates.
Io Shirai & Kairi Sane are very excited for tonight’s main event to see who goes to TakeOver. And speaking of, they’re both going, too, because they’re in a Fatal 4 Way for the NXT Women’s Championship. Are they concerned the title and their friendship will get in the way? Not at all! May the best woman win! Io and Kairi both want the title, and will fight each other if they need to. “Gurl, uh-uh!”
Bianca Belair knows this isn’t her business, but this shouldn’t be a Fatal 4. Shayna got in the way and kept Bianca from beating Io. And this doesn’t have anything to do with the little pirate! But now it does, so in New York, The EST will run through both of them to become the new NXT Women’s Champion. No one can do anything about it, because she still feels Un-De-Fea-Ted. Io holds Kairi back while Bianca takes her leave. Whether it’s Bianca, Kairi or Io, will there be a new Women’s Champion alongside a new NXT Champion in New York?
NXT Championship Contenders Fatal 5 Way: Ricochet VS Adam Cole VS Aleister Black VS Velveteen Dream VS Matt Riddle!
The One and Only, Panama City Playboy, Dutch Destroyer, Patrick Clark Experience and Original Bro wage war like NXT has never seen! Johnny Wrestling awaits, who moves on to challenge him for the vacant throne?
The fans are already fired up for “All These Guys!” as the bell rings. Cole goes after Aleister than Ricochet while Riddle chases Dream. Riddle originally wanted after Dream for the North American title, so why not have that out here? Dream has other ideas as he throws Riddle into barriers then gets back in the ring. Aleister and Ricochet work together against Cole then Dream. Ricochet clotheslines Cole out but Cole drags Ricochet out. Dream rolls ALeister, TWO! Riddle returns but Dream throws him back out. Aleister waistlocks but Dream throws him off. Dream runs into Aleister’s boots then Aleister hops up. Aleister leaps but Dream gets under. Dream lifts Aleister but Aleister slips out. Aleister sweeps but Dream jumps over and rolls through! Aleister slips out again to cradle, TWO!
Dream runs into Aleister’s boot! Aleister runs but Cole trips and drags him out. Cole swings but gets Aleister’s kick! Aleister clibms up but Dream sends him back down. Ricochet mule kicks and whips Dream but Dream reverses. Ricochet rolls off the back and handsprings to headscissor and dropkick! Dream bails out but Riddle’s back. Riddle gut wrenches Ricochet, then holds on to do it again! And again! Full Sail is thunderous for the “Bro!” but Cole is after him. Riddle standing switches but gets an enziguri from Cole. Cole stomps a mudhole, then hits his pose BAYBAY! ALeister attacks but Cole reverses. The Unexpected Duo work together, leg sweep and standing moonsault! Cole gets away, and now the tag team phenomenons face each other. They shake hands and circle. But Cole disrupts it by shoving Ricochet into Aleister!
Aleister falls out and Cole stomps away on Ricochet. Cole hits a neckbreaker then covers, TWO! Cole keeps Riddle out with a right hand then goes after Ricochet. He snap suplexes and covers, TWO! Ricochet just escapes, but Cole boots Aleister back out! Cole drags Ricochet up for a big back suplex! Cover, TWO! Another close call but Cole can’t put Ricochet away. Cole goes after Dream but Dream shoulders in. Ricochet somersault shotgun dropkicks Cole! Dream knees Ricochet out then throws heavy hands on Cole. Dream whips but Cole reverses, only for Dream to slide out. Cole runs over but gets an uppercut! Dream climbs up and ax handles Alesiter out.
Dream tosses Cole out then climbs, to LEAP for a big ax handle! He puts Cole in fast and climbs back up. Purple Rain- Riddle gets Dream with a German! Aleister kicks but Riddle reverses! Riddle wants and gets the BroMission!! But Dream breaks it with a falling elbow! Dream stalks Riddle as fans fire up again. Dream tosses Riddle out and turns his attention to Aleister. Aleister fires off a strike fest, sweep to knee! Cole returns but Aleister is ready, two-for-one quebrada! Aleister roundhouses Dream, covers, TWO! Dream survives but Aleister keeps going. Aleister lifts Dream with his foot, but Cole drags Aleister out by the other foot. Cole sends Aleister into steel steps! Cole returns to the ring, only to meet Riddle. They were going to fight to see who contends for the North American title, so now they have it out!
Riddle gets the edge with open palm CHOP after CHOP! Cole stomps Riddle’s bare foot! But his superkick is caught, Riddle gets Cole in a Bromission! But again Dream breaks it up with a leaping ax handle! Dream haymakers Riddle but Riddle ROCKS Dream with that right! Cole hits Riddle now, but Riddle hits back. Dream, Riddle and Cole brawl on their knees in a triangle of strikes. They slowly stand, throwing big hands, forearms and uppercuts. Riddle CHOPS Dream, Cole BOOTS Riddle, Dream SUPERKICKS Cole! Ricochet returns, rolls and PELES Dream down! Cole SUPERKICKS Ricochet but Riddle KNEES Cole! Aleister returns and fires off with Riddle, double roundhouses take them both out! All five men are down and Full Sail reaches a fever pitch!
Ricochet staggers up and goes after Riddle. He puts the Bro in the drop zone then climbs up. Fans hope they “Fight Forever!” as Cole intercepts Ricochet. Cole climbs up to join Ricochet, but Ricochet resists. Dream adds on, climbing up to join them. They brawl and Aleister staggers over. Riddle follows, and they’re all on the second rope! It’s a Double Russian Leg Sweep SUPERPLEX! All five men are down again and fans know “This is Awesome!” The referee checks on everyone in turn and they’re all okay to continue. Fans build to a rally as the five slowly stir. Cole, Riddle and Ricochet bail out while Dream meets Aleister. Dream and Aleister trade haymakers on their knees. Aleister fires off hand after hand but Dream powers him to a corner. Aleister boots Dream away then hops up, Meteora!
Dream’s up but gets a roundhouse and a German! But Riddle sentons the bridge! Riddle drags Aleister up in a deadlift Fisherman Buster! Cradle, but Cole breaks it! Cole drags Riddle up but Riddle fires off fast hands! Riddle misses, gets a SUPERKICK, and Last Ride brainbuster! Cover, but Ricochet breaks it! Ricochet drags Cole up but Cole breaks free. Ricochet fakes Cole out for a boot and an ax kick! He keeps going, fireman’s carry but Cole rakes eyes! SUPERKICK to the front, SUPERKICK to the back! Cole brings the knee pad down but misses the Last Shot Wizard to get a Reverse-Rrana! Cole rolls all the way out and Ricochet can’t believe it. But Ricochet also sees a prime target, and FLIES with the Sasuke Special! Ricochet wipes Cole out but hurries to get back up.
Dream returns to the ring but so does Riddle. The would-be North American Championship showdown happens as Riddle throws chops. Riddle swings up and around Dream’s clothesline to powerbomb, but Dream slips out! Dream wants but Riddle denies the Sidewinder, to wring Dream out for a Bro Trigger! Riddle reels Dream into the BroMission! Dream flails but Cole yanks the ref out! No Disqualifications, but plenty of consequences as Riddle BOOTS Cole! Riddle turns around into BLACK MASS! Aleister turns around into Dream Valley Driver! Dream hurries to the top rope, but Ricochet’s right up for a SUPER STEINER onto Aleister and Cole! Ricochet hurries up for his own, SHOOTING STAR onto Riddle! Cover, but LAST SHOT!! Cole covers, Cole wins!!
Winner: Adam Cole, by pinfall; will face Johnny Gargano for the NXT Championship
You never see the shot that takes you down! Cole came outta nowhere, and now he’s going to New York City! Will Cole finally make the NXT Championship #Undisputed? Or will Gargano once again become Johnny Champion?
I’m going to call this episode a one match classic, because how else would you describe it? First it is unfortunate for Ciampa to again be out with an injury, and an injury as serious as the neck, so I’m sure I speak for everyone by saying get well soon, Psycho Killer. But HHH had such a great speech to open the night, and it is very true, this became a massive opportunity for another superstar to move up. The five men chosen were the right choices, and this made for an amazing Fatal 5 Way.
However, it makes a lot of sense for this to be Adam Cole’s night. Aleister & Ricochet are not only busy on the main roster, but they’re in the Dusty Rhodes Classic finals, where I would think they defeat the Forgotten Sons and move on to the War Raiders. It wouldn’t be very good to give those two double duty on TakeOver Friday and possibly something on Mania Sunday. Then Velveteen Dream VS Matt Riddle can and will still happen, and that is going to be great. It would’ve been too epic if Dream was trying for both titles, even if it’s Wrestlemania Weekend. Gargano VS Cole is going to be great and really could go either way, but I feel that since Gargano VS Ciampa was the plan, Gargano might’ve won that title to have his triumphant victory on the biggest WWE weekend of the year.
My Score: 8.6/10
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