Raw kicks of its 2019 in epic fashion! A talk show premiere, a Tag Title Lumberjack Match, and the returns of John Cena, Brock Lesnar AND Hulk Hogan!
- Six Man Tag: Finn Balor, Seth Rollins & John Cena VS Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush; Cena, Balor & Rollins win.
- Raw Tag Team Championships Lumberjack Match: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival; Roode & Gable win and retain the Raw Tag Team Championships.
- Elias VS Baron Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Mixed Tag: Mahalicia w/ The Singh Brothers VS Apollo Crews & Ember Moon; Crews & Moon win.
- Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Nia Jax w/ Tamina; Banks wins and will face Ronda Rousey for the title at the Royal Rumble.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose VS Seth Rollins; Ambrose wins and retains the WWE Intercontinental Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
WWE mourns the loss of “Mean” Gene Okerlund.
A fight breaks out backstage!
Bobby Lashley attacks Seth Rollins for the beating The Architect gave him on last week’s Raw! Security and superstars pull the two apart but it doesn’t stop the fighting! Rollins and Lashley fight up gorilla and towards the stage, for it to spill out onto the stage! Rollins and Lashley brawl more, and even OFF the stage! Lashley staggers to his feet but throws security aside, only for Rollins to FLY onto him! Rollins hammers away but referees join the superstars in pulling them apart. Lashley tosses Rollins back onto the stage, but Rollins is quickly pulled away. Fans want to “Let Them Fight!” but Lio Rush talks sense into Lashley.
John Cena is Raw!
The Cenation is back, and is fired up as he makes his way down the ramp. Cena hits the ring and picks up a mic as fans both cheer and jeer. “For those watching around the world, welcome to Orlando, Florida! Welcome to Monday Night Raw! And welcome to the Road to Wrestlemania!” That fight was all about Wrestlemania. Rollins knows it, Cena knows it, fans know it. You either step up or get left out. Cena isn’t going to be left out of the plans this year, which means he’ll step up right now. Everyone knows that on the Road to Wrestlemania, there is one match anyone can go after the main event! And that is THE Royal Rumble match. “In life, nothing is handed to you.” Cena plans on earning his ticket, because he officially enters the Rumble!
However, Drew McIntyre appears! The Scottish Terminator stares Cena down from the stage and tells Cena “I have waited for this moment for years. Years!” Unlike everyone else, McIntyre doesn’t care who Cena shares his bed with, or doesn’t. McIntyre doesn’t care about that stupid haircut or what Cena does in Hollywood. What McIntyre cares about is those 16 world championship reigns. That Cena has main-evented multiple Wrestlemanias, and that Vince Mcmahon says Cena is the Greatest of All Time. And why is that? Because McIntyre actually agrees. Cena is the GOAT! What’s his point?
If Cena has been watching, McIntyre has a reputation for taking out some greats. Cena can check with The Shield on that. No, wait, McIntyre broke them. Check with Ziggler- No, McIntyre destroyed Ziggler. Then call Kurt Angle, and he will tell McIntyre what he’s capable of. McIntyre humiliated and tapped Angle out to his own ankle lock! McIntyre tells Cena to look at him. He is the most dangerous man in the WWE, and now he targets Cena. Cena feels good after how Raw started. And now this makes Cena sad. Because McIntyre’s just saying the same thing everyone else does. Cena had to leave, to force everyone to come up with different promos. What makes McIntyre different than them? McIntyre says they were all talk, “I’m gonna bloody show you!” McIntyre is ready to fight, Cena is ready to fight, but Lio Rush says there’s a situation?
Rollins has gone CRAZY! Rollins attacked him and Lashley “viciously”, and claims Rollins attacked Lashley. It’s not their fault Rollins can’t get a rematch with Dean Ambrose. Lio threatens legal action! “This show is officially cancelled until somebody does something about Seth Rollins!” Speaking of, Rollins attacks Lashely!! The brawl is back on, on the ramp! And Ambrose appears to join the fight! Cena helps Rollins, but McIntyre goes after Cena for himself! Ambrose and Lashley beat up Rollins then hit Cena. McIntyre helps Ambrose with Cena, but here comes Finn Balor! Finn goes right at McIntyre with a slingblade! Then he clotheslines McIntyre out, and FLIES onto everyone!! Chaos returns, but we go to break!
Six Man Tag: Finn Balor, Seth Rollins & John Cena VS Dean Ambrose, Drew McIntyre & Bobby Lashley w/ Lio Rush!
Holla holla! Raw returns as Cena puts Lashley in a headlock. Lashley powers out but Cena grabs the ropes. Lashley runs in but misses, and then things speed up. Cena runs Lashley over with a lariat and tags in Finn! Finn climbs while Cena wrenches the arm. Finn drops ax handles and then wrenches Lashley. Lashley knees low, and drags Finn up for a fast scoop slam! Lashley stares Cena and Rollins down, then tags in Ambrose. Fans chant “Lashely Sucks!” as he and Ambrose mug Finn. Ambrose grinds Finn into the ropes, but backs off at 4. Ambrose runs but into arm-drags! Finn has Ambrose down, but Ambrose gets up and fights out.
Ambrose whips but Finn reverses. Ambrose sunset flips but Finn rolls through to dropkick! Cover, TWO! Finn grabs Ambrose but Ambrose powers him to the corner. Tag to McIntyre and McIntyre throws hands and CHOPS Finn! McIntyre stalks Finn and drags him up in a deadlift suplex! Cover, TWO! McIntyre eggs Finn on, but Finn counter punches! They brawl and McINtyre knocks Finn down. McIntyre stomps Finn, then taunts Cena. McIntyre tags in Lashley and they mug Finn in the corner. Lashley drives elbows into Finn then wraps on a chinlock. Fans rally for Finn and Finn feeds off the energy. Lashley elbows Finn down, then tells the fans to hush. Fans boo instead.
Lashley scoops Finn but Finn slips out. Finn reaches for his corner but Lashley keeps him away. Finn throws forearms but Lashley whips Finn into the corner. lashley runs into boots, and FInn fights his way out. Fnn runs but into a tackle to the open corner! Lashley rams his shoulder n over an dover, then tags Ambrose in. Ambrose stomps Finn in the corner, but backs off at 4. Ambrose whips Finn corner to corner, and hits a forearm smash. The Lunatic says his team is the “dream team”, and he whips Finn corner to corner again. Finn boots Ambrose but runs into another forearm, only to PELE! Fans fire up as both men head for their corners. Hot tag to Cena!
Cena rallies with those famous shoulder tackles! Then the spin-out powerbomb, and Five Knuckle Shuffle! Cena lifts but Ambrose tags to McIntyre. The AA hits but so does the Glasgow Kiss! McIntyre staggers from the impact, too, but covers. TWO, and we go to break!
Raw returns and Ambrose grinds his forearm into Cena’s face. Ambrose backs off, and Cena counters the sucker punch from Lashley! Cena dropkicks Ambrose down, and fans fire up again. Ambrose and Cena head for their corners, hot tag to McIntyre! McIntyre clobbers Cena then throws hands and chops. Cena hits back with heavy hands, but runs into a spinebuster! Jackknife cover, TWO! McIntyre puts Cena in their corner and tags in Lashley. Lashley stomps Cena then drags Cena up for a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO! Cena survives but Lashley flexes. Fans boo as Lashley sucker punches Rollins! But Cena gives Lashley an AA! Lashley and Cena crawl, tag to Ambrose! Ambrose puts Cena in a sleeper! Cena flails and Ambrose drags him away.
Ambrose wrangles Cena down with body scissors. Cena endures as fans rally up. Cena rolls around and gets free of the scissors. He reaches for his corner, but first pries his way out of the hold. Cena knees low, then headbutts and throws hands. Cena runs but into Ambrose’s knee. Ambrose drops an elbow on Cena and Cena rolls out of the ring. Ambrose goes out to drag Cena up and throw him into steel steps! Cena is down as the count rises, and we go to another break.
Raw returns again and Ambrose snapmares Cena to stomp him out. Cover, TWO, but Ambrose puts a chinlock on. Cena endures as fans slowly build to a rally. Cena gets up and Ambrose becomes a backpack, but Cena still takes steps towards his corner. Rollins and Finn reach out but Ambrose rakes Cena’s eyes! Ambrose boots Rollins, but turns into a clothesline from Cena! Both men are down and fans rally up again. Cena crawls for his corner, and tags in Finn! Finn boots and rallies on Ambrose, then hits McIntyre! Finn hits Ambrose with forearms, then the elbow drop DDT! Lashley runs in but gets a Slingblade! Ambrose wants Dirty Deeds but Finn counters to double stomps! Finn blasts Ambrose to a corner with the dropkick! He heads up top! COUP DE GRACE!
But CLAYMORE from McIntyre! The referee reprimands McIntyre but he just grins because he saved the match for his team. McIntyre reaches out to Ambrose as Ambrose crawls. But Rollins returns to his corner! Ambrose hurries, but so does Finn! Hot tags to McIntyre and Rollins! Now The Architect rallies! Rollins jumps over McIntyre to then enziguri! Rollins runs corner to corner but is put on the apron. He springboards onto Ambrose and Lashley! Rollins keeps moving, springboards over McIntyre. McIntyre kicks low and reels ROllins in, but ROllins slips through to Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO!! Rollins keeps his focus as he fires up with Orlando. Orlando already chants it, so Rollins stomps along, “Burn It Down!”
Rollins aims, mule kick but McIntyre back elbow.s McIntyre as Rollins but Cena gets McIntyre with an AA! Lashley SPEARS Cena! SUPERKICK to Lashley from Rollins! And then Rollins drags McIntyre back into the ring. Rollins hurries to SUPERKICK McIntyre down! Rollins heads up top, for the Frog Splash! But it flops as McIntyre rolls away! Ambrose tags in to go after his hated enemy. Ambrose underhooks but Rollins rolls up to CURB STOMP!! Cover, Rollins and team win!!
Winners: John Cena, Finn Balor & Seth Rollins, Rollins pinning
The Architect wins it for his dream team, and all three men roll on towards the Royal Rumble match! Will Rollins earn himself an Intercontinental Championship match along the way?
But wait, everyone can see Triple H talking with the Boss & Hug Connection. HHH seems to be talking with Sasha Banks & Bayley about their WWE Women’s Tag Title aspirations, but Rollins goes in search. Will Rollins want a straight answer out of HHH about his title predicament?
Rollins finds HHH, and slaps him!? “I want Dean Ambrose, I want the Intercontinental Title, and I want it tonight.” HHH gives Rollins the match, and yes, it’ll be tonight. And it’ll be Falls Count Anywhere. “Welcome back.” The Architect gets the match he wanted, but will he get the revenge he wants on The Lunatic?
WWE and Raw honor the life of “Mean” Gene Okerlund with a 10 Bell Salute.
Hulk Hogan is Raw!
The Immortal One was one of Gene Okerlund’s closest friends, and their interviews together were some of the most memorable from wrestling history. The Hulkster is here now to honor Mean Gene in person. Orlando gives Hulk a great ovation as he says “Now let me tell you something, brother!” But Hogan gets serious, letting us know that making an in-character entrance because that’s how Gene would’ve wanted it. Gene loved to entertain, especially the WWE Universe. So now, let’s have a look at some of his greatest moments! Hogan cues up the tribute video for Gene, which includes some of the greatest wrestling icons of all time.
“Hulkamania would never have gotten as big as it did without Gene Okerlund.” Hogan, Savage, Warrior, Flair, you name them, he’s talked to them. “If one day I’m called up to the big house, I want you to bury me face down. And then all of my critics can kiss my ass!” Mean Gene will forever be missed. Hogan says Gene was one of a kind, and speaks on behalf of everyone who has even anything to do with WWE, “we love you, my brother.” Gene may not be in the ring, but he’s in our hearts. Orlando claps, “Thank you, Mean Gene!” Hogan wants them to keep going, then asks them what to do? They want that. “Well let me tell you something, Mean Gene!”
Hogan knows Gene is with the angels on them big white clouds, putting the greatest matches together, like Randy Savage & Ultimate Warrior VS Roddy Piper & Mr. Perfect! And Andre the Giant is the guest referee! Gene’s probably breaking up fights between Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby Heenan, too! Those weights are clanging and banging, but Gene doesn’t have to get so swole. He’s got Moolah and Mae Young! Mean Gene, there’s one last question to ask all the Maniacs: “What you gonna do when Mean-Gene-o-mania runs wild on you, brother?!”
Raw Tag Team Championships Lumberjack Match: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable VS The Revival!
The rest of the Raw Tag Division surrounds the ring as the GLORIOUS Duo takes on Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder in this escalated rematch! Why are the #TopGuys getting another? Because there was some controversy as to who was the legal man for The Revival. Now with the Lumberjacks ringside to be witnesses, will Dash & Dawson get a fair finish to this title fight?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and we begin with Roode and Dash. Dash and Roode tie up, and Dash gets a headlock. Roode powers out but Dash runs him over. Cover, ONE, but Dash gets Roode with a headlock takeover. Roode headscissors but Dash pops out, and then Roode gets a headlock. Dash powers out but things speed up, and Roode wants the DDT! Dash gets away, but rolls out to where Heath Slater & Rhyno are waiting! They scare Dash back in, and Roode rolls Dash up! TWO, but Roode wrenches the arm. Dash pushes Roode to the Revival’s corner, tag to Dawson. Dawson runs into Roode’s arm-drag, and then Roode tags Gable. Gable takes the hand-off to wrench Dawson. Dawson reels Gable into a lariat!
Dawson puts Gable on the top rope with a rebound suplex but Gable slips out. Gable waistlocks and rolls for a cover, TWO! Gable springboards for a crossbody cover, TWO! Things speed up and Gable arm-drags Dawson. Dash tags in but Gable headscissors Dawson. Then he headscissors Dash! Tag to Roode, and the Glorious Duo double whip the Revival into double back drops! The Revival bail out but the Lucha House Party force them back in. Gable & Roode clothesline them back out, so the Lucha House Party go to bring The Revival back up. The Ascension back The Revival up and back the Lucha House Party off. Slater & Rhyno back LHP up, but Roode helps Gable FLY onto The Revival! LHP help put Dash in, Roode covers, TWO!
Roode keeps on Dash with an arm wrench and he tags in Gable. Gable climbs to ax handle the arm. Gable hits Dawson for good measure, but Dash pulls Gable’s hair. Tag to Dawson, things speed up but Dash kicks Gable and Dawson hangs Gable out to dry! Gable tumbles out, Rhyno and The B-Team help him back in. Dawson covers, TWO! The title continues after the break.
Raw returns as Dash pulls Gable’s hair to keep him from Roode. Dash whips but Gable arm-drags! Gable reaches but Dash again keep shim back. Gable breaks free, hot tag to Roode! Roode rallies, but Dawson tags in. Roode still gets Dawson with an exploder! Then he gives one to Dash! Roode fires up and so does Orlando. Roode tackles Dawson in a corner then knocks Dash off the corner. He clotheslines Dawson out and the lumberjacks put him back in. Roode gives Dawson a spinebuster! Cover, TWO! Gable returns and Roode tags him in. The Glorious Duo coordinate but Dawson hits Roode away. But Gable leaps over and waistlocks Dawson, for Roode to add a blockbuster to the German Suplex! Bridging cover, but Dash makes it in time!
Dash throws Roode to a post, then puts Gable on the top rope. Gable brings Dash out with bodyscissors! Gable climbs up top, and leaps at Dawson! But Dawson rolls through, TWO!! Dawson runs but into a waistlock. Dash tags in, Chaos Theory hits, but Dash frog splashes onto the bridging Gable! Cover, TWO!! Gable survives and all four competitors are down. The lumberjacks watch anxiously as Dash and Gable slowly stand up. Dash has Gable in the Electric chair, and tags in Dawson. Gable throws Dash with headscissors, but Dawson leaps for a sunset flip! TWO, and Gable trips Dawson up for a jackknife. TWO as Dawson lifts up. Dawson wants a backslide but Gable goes for his own. The two duel and roll to some kinda cover, TWO!
Gable goes for another backslide but has to dump Dash to the apron. Dash saves Dawson but Roode trips Dash! Dawson cradles but Roode rolls it to favor Gable! But Dawson’s leg is on the ropes! The Glorious Duo win!?
Winners: Bobby Roode & Chad Gable, Gable pinning; still Raw Tag Team Champions
But the lumberjacks do serve as witnesses, they all saw that! Is this some kind of conspiracy? Or is it just bad officiating? Will the Revival get a third chance at the titles over this controversy?
Raw takes another look at the coming new faces.
Lars Sullivan is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before! Who will be the first to suffer a Freak Accident?
Lacey Evans vows to use her Woman’s Right to clear out and clean up the Women’s Division, while maintaining her manners.
They’re COMIIIN’! Heavy Machinery will use the power of #SteaksAndWeights to bring the good times and the big fights to the Tag Team Division.
“You wanna play? Play with Nikki!” The Loony Lass has no fear, there’s only chaos. Nikki Cross is on her way, who wants to play?
And of course, last but certainly not least is the #TopOnePercent. The Best Here, the Best There, the Best Everywhere is prepared to rack up #VictoryAfterVictory no matter where he ends up.
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
The Drifter comes to Orlando, plays his guitar, and reflects over his 2018. Elias weeps over the level of stardom he’s reached and the speed at which he reached it. He dropped an album, sold out Madison Square Garden, and has been all over the world. And now it brings him here to Orlando. There is a universal truth that follows him everywhere, and that is that WWE truly stands for “Walk With Elias!” Orlando knows it and it fires Elias up. Now if you thought 2018 was great, it will be nothing compared to 2019. Because on January 27th, he will walk into Chase Field, be in front of 40 thousand, and he will win the Royal Rumble match!
But as much as Elias enjoys his successes, he enjoys the failures of one Baron Corbin. Corbin was GM, running Raw into the ground and cancelling all Elias’ performance. Corbin’s a joke. Elias hasn’t forgotten any of Corbin’s wrongs, and has a song about it. But Corbin interrupts! Fans boo but Corbin claims he’s here to help because he tells Elias to stop. No one can endure another mind-numbing performance. Just like the WWE Universe, Elias has no idea what it’s like to be in such a respected and high-stress position as GM. After everything Corbin did for Elias, Elias should respect him. Everyone should respect and admire Corbin!
But that’s the problem: no one understands, so they disrespect him. They’d probably like it if he disappeared, huh? “Yes!” Well that’s not happening! Corbin’s entering the Rumble, and will actually win to main event Wrestlemania! Elias put his stool and guitar away, how about they– Elias tells Corbin to stop talking and shut his mouth! Their match is now, who will gain some major momentum towards the Royal Rumble?
Elias VS Baron Corbin!
The bell rings and Corbin circles with Elias. They tie up and Elias gets a waistlock. Corbin backs Elias down but Elias dodges to chop and chop and chop! Corbin knees low then whips Elias to a corner, but Elias goes up and over. Elias mule kicks Corbin then clotheslines him out of the ring! Elias builds speed to wreck Corbin with a dropkick! Fans fire up as Elias climbs up top. Elias falls right onto Corbin! “Who Wants to Walk With Elias?!” Orlando does, but we’re going to break.
Raw returns and Corbin has Elias in a half nelson. Elias fights out but Corbin knees low. Corbin runs but Elias sends him out, only for Corbin to come back and throw Elias over the ropes. Corbin blasts Elias off the apron, then mockingly applauds as fans rain down boos. The referee counts but Corbin goes out to fetch Elias. Corbin rams Elias into barriers, then puts him back in the ring. Corbin continues to mockingly applaud, but Elias hits back! Elias chops and whips but Corbin slides out. Corbin slides back in and clobbers Elias with a clothesline! Cover, TWO! Corbin is furious and tells the ref “You Suck!” Fans tell Corbin he sucks, but Corbin drags Elias up for a rain of right hands. Fans troll Corbin with chants of “You Got Fired!” as Corbin climbs. Corbin leaps, into Elias’ leaping knee!
Elias and Corbin get to opposite corners, and Elias grits his teeth as he drags himself up. Elias runs and hits Corbin with an elbow, then rams in a right hand. He drags Corbin up to whip but Corbin reverses. Elias runs out to clothesline Corbin down! Elias stomps and punches away on Corbin in the corner! The ref backs Elias off as Elias roars. Elias hits Corbin in the corner again, then hauls him up in an Electric Chair! Corbin slips out but Elias runs, to reel Corbin in for a swinging neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Elias keeps his cool as he heads up top. Elias leaps for the Macho Elbow, but rolls through as Corbin evades. Corbin throws Elias at the ref, then rocks him with a right! Corbin throws Elias into the post! Then End of Days! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The Lone Wolf mockingly applauds again as he rubs his victory in the fans’ faces. Corbin wins this match, but can he win the Royal Rumble on his road to redemption?
Dean Ambrose speaks.
“What is this world coming to?!” HE tries to keep his promise to the ungrateful fans. Ambrose never liked Six Man Tags, anyway. Ambrose is the only man he trusts. He is the Moral compass and the last line of defense against “that mad man”, Seth Rollins. Do the fans not think it hurts Ambrose to fight Rollins? Ambrose lost everything to “bring balance back to WWE.” If Rollins wins, it’s game over for everyone! But Ambrose won’t let that happen. If Ambrose has to do it in the ring, on stage, or getting in line for hot dogs, Ambrose vows to end this tonight. Ambrose vows to burn Rollins down, but will he be the one burned?
BRAUN is Raw!
The Monster Among Men returns from elbow surgery and is ready for his WWE Universal Championship match at The Royal Rumble! And knowing that The Beast is in the building, Strowman wants to be here to meet him. Strowman picks up a mic as fans chant “Get These Hands!”, but then decides this isn’t time to talk. He dares Brlock Lesnar to appear! But of course, Paul Heyman makes his introductions, from backstage. The Advocate for the “reigning, defending, undisputed Universal Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar”, says he knows that The Monster in the ring is looking for a face-to-face confrontation.
But Heyman gives Strowman some education. Heyman knows how much hype has gone behind this encounter, but the lesson is “card subject to change.” That change is this confrontation, and for Strowman’s benefit. Because if Lesnar came down to #GetTheseHands, he wouldn’t have an opponent left at the Rumble, just another victim. Let this be a lesson learned. Strowman doesn’t need to thank Heyman, but Heyman will still say “you’re welcome.” And Lesnar smirks as he takes his leave. But Strowman tells the “Beastie Boy” that he’s waiting in this ring, for Lesnar. Lesnar considers his options. Is that all? Well unless Lesnar wants to hide with Heyman… Fans chant “Get These Hands!” and Strowman says he’s in Lesnar’s ring. Why doesn’t Lesnar get in Strowman’s face like Heyman said would happen?
Is that all Strowman’s got? Lesnar doesn’t have to do anything, because he’s the champion. Strowman asks Brock if Heyman’s ass is every jealous of all the crap that comes out of Heyman’s mouth. Lesnar chuckles at that one. Strowman hears “Blah blah blah, Lesnar is afraid of Strowman. Blah blah blah, Lesnar doesn’t want to be face to face with the Monster Among Men.” Strowman’s right here while Lesnar hides on a screen like a coward. Lesnar should thank Paul because otherwise, Lesnar wouldn’t be making it to The Rumble. “Because everybody in here knows what happens when you Get These Hands!” Lesnar decides to test Strowman, even to Heyman’s surprise! Lesnar goes to gorilla, then out on stage!
Beast and Monster stare down as Lesnar heads down the ramp. Lesnar circles the ring, but doesn’t enter. He goes back up the ramp, even as fans boo. Strowman tells Lesnar to turn around, but Heyman laughs as Lesnar takes back his belt. Strowman promises that the Rumble will see him crowned new Universal Champion! The Beast and Advocate are confident now, but who will have the last laugh when this rematch finally happens?
#Mahalicia is in the ring!
Jinder Mahal says that before he obliterates Apollo Crews, please join him in finding tranquility. “Captain” Alicia Fox leads the way with Shanti. Wait, wait, that’s not quite right. Mahal calls out all the fans who do not chant along. Where is this? Right, Orlando. Yuck! Fans boo as Mahal says they do not deserve his tranquility! But before he can continue to rant, out come their opponents!
Mixed Tag: Mahalicia w/ The Singh Brothers VS Apollo Crews & Ember Moon!
The Shenom and the rising star join forces as each of them are on great rolls as of late. Mahal, Fox, Ember and Apollo are all in their respective Rumble matches, who will win big to gain momentum on the Road to Wrestlemania?
The bell rings and the men start. Mahal and Apollo tie up and Mahal powers Apollo to a corner. Mahal throws his shoulder in but then says Shanti. He whips Apollo corner to corner but Apollo goes up and over to handspring and also use Shanti. Things speed up and Mahal throws Apollo to ropes, only for Apollo to crossbody on the rebound! Cover, TWO! Apollo tilt-o-whirls to try a crucifix pin, TWO! Mahal runs into a dropkick! Apollo drags Mahal up but things speed up again. Apollo hits a leaping back elbow, then kips up to raise the roof. Because he now raises Mahal! Mahal slips away to tag in Foxy. Apollo clotheslines Mahal out to then slingshot out onto him and the Singhs!
Meanwhile, Moon and Foxy enter, and Ember blasts Foxy with a dropkick! Then springboards for a crossbody! Ember roars and runs in to handspring forearm smash! She has Alicia in the target zone, climbs up, and hits the Eclipse! Cover, Moon & Crews win!
Winners: Apollo Crews & Ember Moon, Moon pinning
The War Goddess brings victory to her team, and now both she and Apollo roll on towards The Rumble! Will 2019 be their year to main event Mania?
It’s the premiere of A Moment of Bliss!
The Goddess, Alexa Bliss, walks out on stage to her “set”. She appreciates the ovation from Orlando. They don’t have much going on as a city, but that changes tonight. Orlando goes down in history as the site of her show’s premiere. She demands coffee. Her assistant comes out and serves Alexa in her special cup. She dismisses the assistant rather dismissively, then cues up the highlight reel of Ronda Rousey’s 2018. From Ronda’s debut at Royal Rumble to her first match at Wrestlemania to all the media appearances in between, Ronda has been a big hit with everyone. Alexa gives the Baddest Woman on the Planet her introduction, and out comes the Rowdy Raw Women’s Champion! Orlando is excited to see Ronda, but Ronda isn’t as excited to see Alexa.
Alexa and Ronda take their seats, and Alexa asks Ronda about her 2018, and what’s next for her in 2019. Ronda hears out the fans cheering for her, and Ronda admits 2018 was extraordinary. As champion, Ronda looks forward. Ronda wants to be someone everyone can be proud of, and that means chasing her limits down with a vengeance. There is one woman that pushes everyone she faces to their limits. This woman has more athletic ability in her pinkie finger than Charlotte Flair does in her entire body. A woman who has more great stories than Becky Lynch. A woman that makes Ronda’s admiration for this business look like nothing. That is the unsung hero of Raw, Sasha Banks! Alexa is rather surprised to hear that name come up. Wasn’t she talking about Alexa?
Nia comes out, making gag noises. Cue the romcom music, right? Should they let Ronda and Sasha have a date? Girl crush, anyone? Or is Ronda forgetting about someone? She and Ronda have unfinished business. Nia is all about “new year, new me.” Rollins gets a rematch, what about Nia? When and where? But here comes The Boss! Sasha smiles as she’s honored to be named by Ronda. It is better to look forward and not back. Sasha is looking forward to a title match with Ronda. Because it will be Sasha’s pleasure to teach Ronda how to lose with class and dignity. Nia refuses to accept Sasha ignoring her. Nia won’t just rip Sasha’s face off, she’ll break her face. Get to the back of the line.
“B*tch, what line?!” Sasha sees a ring, so why don’t they have a #1 contender’s match? Sasha doesn’t hear Nia’s answer, she heads to he ring. Nia refuses to do this on Sasha’s time, but will management make it time? Find out after the break!
Raw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Nia Jax w/ Tamina!
Management did make this match, and now the Irresistible Force must put up or shut up against The Boss! Who is going to the Rumble as Ronda’s next challenger?
Raw returns with the bell, and we can see that each superstar has their allies ringside. Sasha and Nia circle and tie up. Nia shoves Sasha but Sasha comes back with forearms. Nia knees low then grabs Sasha by the chin. Sasha SLAPS Nia, then leads her on a game of cat ‘n’ mouse. Sasha goes under the ring to come out the other side. Tamina warns Nia and Nia catches Sasha’s crossbody. Sasha slips out but Nia whips her at he ring. Sasha swings around to kick Nia, then runs to wreck her with a dropkick. Nia stays standing so Sasha knees her on the way back in. Sasha dropkicks Nia down then covers, TWO! Sasha runs and rolls to get a guillotine on Nia! Nia stays standing, and powers out to a suplex! Both women are down and Bayley grows concerned.
Nia stands first and drags Sasha to her feet. She whips Sasha to a corner, then squashes her with a splash. Nia soaks up the heat as she says she’s front of the line. Nia drags Sasha up to put her in a corner. She runs in but Sasha dodges. Sasha runs back in but Nia puts her on the apron. Sasha knees Nia back, but Nia runs Sasha over and out of the ring! Tamina goes after Sasha but Bayley goes after Tamina! Tamina throws Bayley into barriers! Sasha goes after Tamina, but Nia comes out to grab Sasha. Nia fireman’s carries and then trophy lifts Sasha around. She throws Sasha onto the spare trunk! Nia and Tamina laugh as Nia returns to the ring. The ring count climbs past 5 as Sasha crawls back towards the ring. Sasha gets up and runs, to beta the count at 9.5!
Nia drags Sasha around in the ring, then picks her up for a sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO!! Sasha survives and the Samoan Dynasty is frustrated, but we go to break.
Raw returns and Nia tortures Sasha in the torture rack. Sasha endures and fights out with elbows. Nia puts Sasha down but Sasha goes after the arm! Nia shoves Sasha off but Sash fires back kicks. Sasha jawbreakers then baits Nia into a corner. Nia misses and Sasha hits her with a big bulldog! Sasha keeps moving, meteora! Cover, TWO! Sasha keeps going, shining wizard! Cover, TWO! Sasha doesn’t give up as she climbs up top. Sasha leaps, SUPER Meteora! Cover, TWO! Nia survives but Sasha puts her in the Bank Statement crossface! Nia powers her way out as she lifts Sasha up. Sasha sunset flips through but Nia stays on her feet. Nia prepares her first and punches, but the Facebreaker hits the mat! Sasha runs, tilt-o-whirls, and gets the guillotine, only for Nia to pop her into the Samoan Drop!
But Sasha rolls away! Nia crawls to a cover, ROPEBREAK! Sasha survives and Tamina is frustrated for Nia. Nia drags Sasha back up by her hair, then tells her to stay down as she tosses her to a corner. Nia runs in for another splash, then soaks up the heat. She scoops Sasha into the fireman’s carry, then climbs up top. Sasha slips out but Nia kicks her away. Nia adjusts, but Sasha is on her with forearms. Sasha climbs up, but Nia gets her in the fireman’s carry again. Samoan Drop to the buckles! Sasha falls out of the ring and Nia grins. But Nia won’t leave her out there as she puts her back in the ring. Nia covers, TWO!! Tamina is furious and Nia is seething, but Sasha still lives.
Nia glares as Bayley rallies the fans behind Sasha. Nia drags Sasha up for a headbutt, then runs, but Sasha avoids the leg drop! Sasha drags herself up with ropes as Nia comes over. Sasha boots Nia away, then dodges her. Nia hits buckles, but Tamina goes after Sasha. Bayley dropkicks Tamna, then throws her into barriers! Bayley stomps Tamina out, and Sasha dumps Nia out. Nia climbs back up and both women are on the apron. Sasha baits Nia into the post! Nia staggers on the apron, and Sasha gets up to huricanrana Nia into the apron! But Sasha crashes and burns on the ground, leaving them both worse for wear. Sasha forces herself up and pushes Nia into the ring. Sasha slingshots and rolls Nia into the crossface! Nia endures, but taps! Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission; will face Ronda Rousey at the Royal Rumble
It’s #BossTime for the title in Phoenix! Will Sasha do in 2019 what no one could in 2018 and stop the Baddest Woman on the Planet?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose VS Seth Rollins!
The Lunatic burned a bridge when he betrayed The Architect months ago. And since then, he’s tried to ruin Rollins’ life, all in the name of atonement for past sins. Will Ambrose atone for his own sins at the hands of his former friend? Or will he finish his mission and put Rollins out of the Intercontinental title’s misery?
As Ambrose makes his entrance, Rollins attacks! Rollins doesn’t want to wait for this fight as he brings the fight to Ambrose! They go to the ring but then Rollins throws Ambrose into barriers. Rollins throws hands then puts Ambrose in the ring. The ref can finally ring the bell, but then Ambrose bails back out. Rollins pursues because there are no boundaries to this match! Rollins tackles Ambrose then rains hands! He puts Ambrose back in the ring only to clothesline him right out. And then Rollins DIVES! And rolls Ambrose up! TWO, and Ambrose goes running. Rollins gives chase to clothesline Ambrose into the crowd! Rollins hops the barriers and chases Ambrose up the side. He throws hands and Ambrose staggers about. Rollins bounces Ambrose off an equipment case!
Rollins rains down rights but Ambrose shoves him away. Ambrose retreats around behind commentary and then behind the stage. Rollins follows and the two fight backstage. Cameras do what they can to keep up as these two fight. Rollins throws Ambrose into a ladder! And he has a shovel!? Rollins swings but misses. Ladders fall as Ambrose retreats again. Rollins catches up to throw more haymakers, then bounces Ambrose off trunks. He throws Ambrose into spare rafters, then lines up a shot. Rollins pushes the rig, but Ambrose gets away! Rollins chases Ambrose up onto trunks and the two brawl! Ambrose clubs Rollins but Rollins shoves him into the wall. Rollins glares at Ambrose, as he lifts for a bomb. Ambrose fights out to throw Rollins onto the trunks! Cover, TWO!
Ambrose glares down at Rollins as he asks “Is this what you wanted?” Ambrose throws a ladder at Rollins, then covers. TWO, and this match continues after the break!
Raw returns once again, and the two have now ended up among the fans on the stairs! Ambrose grinds his fingers into Rollins’ face, trying to pry Rollins’ jaw apart! Rollins gets free of the grip and fires of CHOP after CHOP! Rollins haymakers and chops Ambrose step by step back down the stairs. They end up by the railing and Rollins tosses Ambrose over. Rollins then LEAPS and tackles Ambrose down! Cover, TWO! Ambrose survives, but retreats as he asks for a timeout? Rollins won’t give him one, and throws him into the railing. Fans chant “Burn It Down!” for Rollins as he punches Ambrose right in the nose! Rollins brings Ambrose back to ringside, and keeps pursuit around the corner. Rollins haymakers and hammers Ambrose, then whips him into barriers.
Ambrose shoves Rollins away, and grabs a chair! Ambrose jabs the chair into Rollins’ ribs, then SMACKS him on the back! Cover, TWO! Ambrose tosses the chair aside and fans say “We Want Tables!” Rollins crawls as Ambrose exposes the bare concrete. It’s just like the night Ambrose started this dark mission. Ambrose rains down rights on Rollins to keep him down, then says “For old time’s sake.” He drags Rollins over to the exposed floor, and underhooks Rollins. Rollins counters with a back drop, onto the concrete! Ambrose writhes and clutches his back while Rollins stands back up. Rollins puts Ambrose in the ring, but Ambrose rolls back out. Ambrose pokes Rollins’ eyes! Ambrose climbs up while Rollins blindly feels around. But Rollins still gets up top, to SUPERPLEX! Roll through to Buckle Bomb! And SUPERKICK!
Rollins fires up with Orlando as he stomps, “Burn It Down!” Rollins runs, CURB STOMP!! But Bobby Lashley appears to attack Rollins! Lashley lifts and tackles Rollins into barriers! And then again! The Rocky Mountain Machine makes Rollins pay for last week with a belly2belly suplex! Fans chant “Lashley Sucks!” but Lashley doesn’t care, he just wants revenge. Lashley puts Rollins in the ring so that he can gut wrench and hit the Dominator! Lashley aims at Rollins as Rollins slowly staggers to his feet. He SPEARS Rollins, and then leaves him prey to Ambrose. Ambrose crawls to a cover, Ambrose wins!
Winner: Dean Ambrose, by pinfall; still WWE Intercontinental Champion
The Lunatic should give a massive assist to Lashley & Lio for that attack. Rollins no longer has a claim to the title, but now he must suffer more at the hands of Lashley. Lio puts a table in the ring for Lashley, and helps him set it up. Lashley then drags Rollins up, and SPINEBUSTERS Rollins through the table! The Almighty Lashley leaves Rollins down in the wreckage, but will Rollins rise from the ashes to burn Lashley down?
Raw 2019 finally begins, and it feels like that “fresh start” is starting to really take effect. I really expected Hogan’s tribute to Mean Gene to open the show, but it really worked to open with something else instead. Hogan’s tribute to Gene itself was really well done. He managed to keep it about Gene, the video itself was incredible (as many WWE video packages are), and that closing in-character bit was actually just right for this. Whether this was just WWE/Vince wanting any reason to bring Hogan back or what, that’s a subject for someone’s opinion article, and everyone’s feelings over Hogan, good or bad, this was still a well-done moment in time.
As for how Raw did start, it was great. Lashley and Rollins fighting, it bleeding into the Cena VS McIntyre tease, and then escalating to bring in Finn and Ambrose for a great Six Man Tag, it was a very good flow to me. If anything, this Six Man Tag should be seen as a framework for how things are going to be for Wrestlemania. Cena VS McIntyre can make a great match for both guys, and would be even bigger if it was at Mania. This really becomes #MondayNightRollins as he does double duty, both the Six Man and a great Falls Count Anywhere with Ambrose. I’m a little disappointed Lashley didn’t wait until after the match to attack, but I suppose this is the only way to put a period on Rollins VS Ambrose.
But that’s good for Finn, as I suspect he’ll get a title program with Ambrose next. Since Finn doesn’t outright look like he’ll get a Universal Championship shot, even with the Royal Rumble match coming, Finn getting another chance at a different title looks good to me. The Universal Championship spot wasn’t quite what it should’ve been. Both in reality and in kayfabe, Lesnar doesn’t get face to face with Strowman, the first disappointment. The second disappointment was that Strowman didn’t give the best lines to egg Lesnar on. The lines directed at Heyman were pretty good, but Strowman could’ve done better insulting Lesnar. But the part that did seem to plan was that Lesnar would keep his distance, to keep his cocky aura while also making it plausible that he is afraid. I just really hope that Strowman wins, it’s the only way this Fresh Start will be real.
The Raw Tag Team Championships story is actually alright now. The lumberjack stipulation worked well this time because now there are eyewitnesses to the controversial finish that helps Roode & Gable win. With three weeks until the Rumble, I’d expect at least one more tag match to settle this, and I would think with The Revival winning. The Revival win and take on any number of teams on the road to Mania, and then Roode and Gable can either try again or go their separate ways for them to try for a title match via the Royal Rumble. Roode and Gable each joining the Intercontinental Championship scene would be great for them and for Raw.
Raw’s new talk show had a decent first episode, but it’s not like the focus was on the talk show. Ronda naming Sasha was quite surprising, but I suppose it’s really only Sasha or Bayley left. Sasha VS Nia was great, even though it was sloppy, and totally teases some Sasha & Bayley VS Nia & Tamina for the Raw half of the WWE Women’s Tag Titles story. Ronda VS Sasha will be good, too, and I would love if Bayley got her turn with Ronda at either Elimination Chamber or Fastlane. That way Ronda VS Becky makes a great finale for Ronda’s (first) series with the NXT Horsewomen at Wrestlemania, and we worry about Horsewomen VS Horsewomen and such going towards Summerslam and hopefully Evolution 2019.
My Score: 8.5/10
Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Results: New Japan Cup 2019 Part 1!
The 2019 New Japan Cup begins!
NJPW begins the 2019 New Japan Cup! Who among Tetsuya Naito, Kota Ibushi, Zack Sabre Jr. and EVIL will move on to the second round?
Coverage will be as broadcast by AXS TV
Find gifs on http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL; ZSJ wins and advances to the second round.
- Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi; Ibushi wins and advances to the second round.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene to kickoff the 2019 New Japan Cup!
Spring brings the best in the world in this special single elimination tournament! Only one man will win the right to challenge the IWGP Heavyweight Champion in Madison Square Garden!
The first round has already seen a bit of action, with NJPW standards, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi, advance, but others falling victim to upsets. Juice Robinson lost to Chase Owens while Sanada overcome Hirooki Goto. The biggest surprises perhaps came from the biggest men losing to the Junior Heavyweights when Bad Luck Fale and Hiroyoshi Tenzan lost to Will Ospreay and Ryusuke Taguchi respectively. But tonight, two of the most anticipated matches take the spotlight! The rivalry of the last year takes the stage again as EVIL and Zack Sabre Jr. face off once again! Plus, Kota Ibushi returns from injury to battle Tetsuya Naito in a G1 Climax rematch! The Golden Star looks to be the comeback kid while the Uncontrollable Charisma wants to be a historic dual champion! Only one can make their dream come true tonight!
Zack Sabre Jr. VS EVIL!
Taka Michinoku welcomes everyone to Zack Sabre Time, and asks who everyone thinks will win this year’s New Japan Cup. Well it’ll be the man who won last yer’s winner, the Submission Master and British Heavyweight Champion! So Evil, you’ll #JustTapOut! C’mon over here! The King of Darkness responds to being called out, and we begin the next chapter of this already storied rivalry!
The bell rings and fans cheer Evil on as he circles with ZSJ. They slowly approach and Evil knees low. Evil headlocks but ZSJ tries to power out, only for Evil to hold on tighter. Evil gets the headlock takeover but ZSJ works for a headscissor counter. He can’t get it so he stands up. ZSJ spins through and arm-drags Evil off, but Evil headscissors him. Evil squeezes and ZSJ endures. ZSJ finds his way up and pops free, then dares Evil to come on. ZSJ headbutts and headlocks but Evil powers out and runs him off! Fans cheer as Evil waits for ZSJ to return. Taka keeps ZSJ calm as he gets back up. ZSJ and Evil circle again, and Evil calls for a test of strength. ZSJ accepts and they grapple, and Evil gets the double knuckle locks.
Evil brings ZSJ to his knees but ZSJ reels him to reverse. ZSJ hammerlocks but Evil switches to his own, but ZSJ switches back, and so on. ZSJ spins and drops to get the takedown but Evil pushes him away. Evil avoids the Penalty Kick but ZSJ ducks the clothesline. Evil blocks ZSJ’s boot to chop and senton! But ZSJ gets his knees up and reels Evil into an armbar! Evil stacks for a cover, TWO! ZSJ still has the arm, but Evil gets the ropebreak. ZSJ lets go but comes back for more. He cranks Evil’s arm back then stomps the hammerlock. ZSJ also kicks Evil in the chest and stomps his legs. ZSJ ties the legs up in a figure four and pulls hair. The referee reprimands ZSJ but ZSJ stays on the arm with pulling fingers and twisting the arm.
ZSJ uses the hammerlock to turn Evil for a cover, TWO! Evil tries to get feeling in his arm but ZSJ kicks him in the back. ZSJ looms over Evil and gives his bad arm toying kicks. ZSJ kicks Evil again, but Evil grabs the kick! Evil hands the foot to Red Shoes before he mule kicks ZSJ down! The 2018 cup winner is down while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Evil brings ZSJ up for forearms. Evil puts ZSJ in a corner then whips him corner to corner. ZSJ stops himself and comes back, but for a sidewalk slam! Fans fire up with Evil as he drags ZSJ back up. Evil suplexes ZSJ up and over then covers, TWO! Evil keeps his cool as he brings ZSJ up again. ZSJ blocks the fireman’s carry and goes after the arm with a double wristlock. Evil powers through but ZSJ slips out to a full nelson. Evil endures the hold and breaks free! He headlocks and knees ZSJ right down! Evil stalks ZSJ to a corner and headlocks, but ZSJ denies the bulldog into the abdominal stretch! They go around and around and Evil puts it on ZSJ! ZSJ endures and pries the arm off, to Pele it!
ZSJ gives Evil European Uppercuts in the corner! He goes corner to corner but Evil follows for a clothesline! Evil runs but ZSJ follows, only for Evil to see him coming and clothesline him again! Cover, TWO! Evil drags ZSJ right up, fireman’s carry, Darkness Falls! Cover, TWO! Sabre survives but Evil has more where that came from. Evil drags ZSJ up and slashes the throat. But ZSJ victory rolls! TWO and Evil has it on ZSJ, TWO!! ZSJ wants a backslide but Evil powers it around, backslide on ZSJ! TWO, Penalty Kick! Both men are down, and fans cheer for Evil while Taka coaches ZSJ. ZSJ goes right at Evil to keylock stomp the arm! ZSJ kicks at it but Evil only gets angry. Evil stands and ZSJ throws EuroUppers, but those only make Evil stronger. He CHOPS ZSJ off his feet!
Evil stands ZSJ up for another chop, but ZSJ stands on his feet. ZSJ gives Evil a shoulder breaker, but Evil gives one back! Evil spins but into a EuroUpper. ZSJ runs but Evil goes sideways, ZSJ catches the clothesline into an Octopus Stretch! He drags Evil down and he cranks back! Evil endures as ZSJ twists him all around! ZSJ has one arm trapped and the other arm back, but Evil uses a leg for the ropebreak! ZSJ lets go but he comes back to dig his elbow into the back. He grabs Evil’s arm and twists it in his legs! ZSJ Penalty Kicks Evil down again! ZSJ catches his breath while Red Shoes checks on Evil. Evil sits up but uses Red Shoes as a shield! Evil mule kicks ZSJ again, then drags him up, to place on Red Shoes! Magic Killer!!
Evil catches his breath and grins while he, ZSJ and Red Shoes slowly get up. ZSJ gets to a corner as Taka coaches him up. Evil runs in for a big clothesline! Evil roars and fans fire up as Evil drags ZSJ up to the top rope. He climbs up to join ZSJ, for a SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Sabre survives again but he clutches his own shoulder now. Evil stands and slashes the throat! He drags ZSJ up, spins him around but ZSJ slips through to scoop. Evil escapes but ZSJ standing switches. ZSJ rolls Evil back but the European Clutch is blocked! Evil wants a Half ‘n’ Half but ZSJ resists. ZSJ reaches for ropes but Evil shifts to a German Suplex! Evil takes aim, but ZSJ kicks the clotheslines away once, twice, but not the third time! Cover, TWO!! Fans are thunderous after that close call!
Evil roars and drags ZSJ up again. He spins ZSJ around but ZSJ slips around and hops up! Sleeper to victory roll to EuroClutch, to EVERYTHING- Is Octopus! ZSJ drags Evil down, Napalm Death! Evil is stuck, Evil taps! ZSJ wins again!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission; advances to the second round
The 2018 New Japan Cup winner keeps on winning! ZSJ has a cup winning streak, will it continue all the way to the finals?
Tetsuya Naito VS Kota Ibushi!
This match feels almost too soon in the tournament! The leader of Los Ingobernables and the Golden Star could both have both made their way to the finals, but now only one of them will move on! Will Ibushi’s comeback lead him all the way to New York? Or will the IWGP Intercontinental Champion move towards being a historic dual champion in NJPW?
Fans love both stars so they’re naturally divided at the bell. Naito and Ibushi stare down as the cheers are thunderous. They start circling and then approach to tie up. Naito gets a headlock but Ibushi spins out for a keylock. Ibushi headlocks now but Naito punches out. Naito pulls hair and pushes Ibushi and things speed up. Ibushi hurdles Naito then again, but Naito ducks the kick and moonsault. Naito arm-drags but Ibushi headscissors, and the two break! Naito even hits Tranquilo. Fans cheer while Naito decides to roll out of the ring. Naito takes his time returning, telling Ibushi to relax. Ibushi doesn’t give Naito a choice, but then Naito escapes Ibushi to tease him about taking time. Ibushi returns but Naito is on him with kicks and elbows.
Naito whips but Ibushi reverses, but Naito grabs ropes. Naito dumps Ibushi out then sweeps the legs. He slingshots and dropkicks Ibushi down, a new take on his Cabron Combo. Naito has control while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito whips Ibushi into railing. Naito drags Ibushi up and brings him around the way, to whip him into more railing! Fans cheer Naito but also show concern for Ibushi as Naito whips him into railing a third time! Naito brings Ibushi around the railing and bounces him off the desks. Red Shoes tells Naito to bring things back to the ring but Naito bounces Ibushi off wood again. Naito leaves Ibushi behind and rests in the ring. Ibushi crawls his way back as the ring count begins. The count passes 5 of 20 as Ibushi stands. Ibushi returns ringside at 10 and hops in at 11. Naito is on Ibushi with a whip and big elbow, then a swift basement dropkick! Naito poses more while Ibushi writhes.
Fans cheer for Ibushi and Naito spits at them. Naito stomps Ibushi and drags him up into a cravat neck wrench. Ibushi endures as Naito cranks hard. Ibushi fights out with body shots but Naito elbows him down. Naito then brings Ibushi around for a neckbreaker and casually covers, TWO! Ibushi’s bad neck is a target and Naito keeps on it. Naito brings Ibushi up but Ibushi breaks free. Ibushi throws forearms but Naito just smirks. Ibushi throws more but Naito elbows him around the side. Naito throws more elbows into the neck and Ibushi slumps against the ropes. Naito toys with Ibushi but Red Shoes reprimands him. He whips but Ibushi reverses and dodges to whip back. Ibushi dropkicks Naito right down! Both men fall into each other but Ibushi’s up first.
Ibushi drags Naito up for a strike fest! Naito blocks the kick to kick the knee, but still runs into a roundhouse! Ibushi standing moonsaults! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as he drags Naito up again. Naito resists the German suplex and gets the standing switch. Ibushi throws elbows to break free. Ibushi runs in but Naito boots him from the corner. Naito runs out but into a huricanrana! Fans fire up while Naito bails out of the ring. Ibushi fires up with the fans and goes to the corner. Naito knows it’s coming and stops the Golden Triangle! Naito drags Ibushi out for a draping neckbreaker to the apron! Ibushi falls to the floor and Red Shoes checks on him. He’s somehow okay to continue and drags himself into the ring.
Naito is waiting again, and runs out from a corner, shotgun dropkick! Then he drags Ibushi up to the top rope and out for another draping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi survives and Naito is surprised, but we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Naito drags Ibushi back up. Naito ties Ibushi up but Ibushi fights out with his free arm. Naito clubs Ibushi in the neck then hits a German Suplex, but Ibushi lands on his feet! Ibushi kicks but Naito ducks to enziguri! Naito whips but Ibushi reverses only for Naito to come back with flying forearms, only to be caught into a snap German! Both men are down but the fans fire up! Naito and Ibushi stir as fans duel. Red Shoes checks and they’re both okay to continue. Ibushi and Naito grit their teeth as they sit up. They head for each other and start throwing forearms. Ibushi hits, Naito hits, repeat. They slowly stand but the brawling continues.
Ibushi hits but Naito comes back. The two stare down and Ibushi throws a forearm. Naito throws one back, so Ibushi gives another. They start picking up speed and now they’re just swinging wild! Ibushi fires off many palm strikes but Naito throws slaps. Ibushi runs but into Naito’s spinebuster! Naito drags Ibushi up and to the top rope again. Naito climbs up behind Ibushi and fans anticipate something dangerous. Ibushi holds on so Naito clubs away. Naito stands Ibushi up, but Ibushi grabs at Naito’s leg. Ibushi turns around and trips Naito up! Naito manages to stay on the apron, but Ibushi stalks him from above. Ibushi drags Naito up while standing on the ropes. Ibushi lifts but Naito fights out! Naito slaps away on Ibushi’s face, then brings Ibushi in, TOMBSTONE on the apron!!
Naito puts Ibushi in the ring then drags him up again. Hammerlock and underhook, GLORIA! Cover, TWO!? Ibushi still lives but Naito isn’t fazed. Naito drags Ibushi up again, arm wrench and tilt-o-whirl, but into Ibushi’s own PACKAGE TOMBSTONE!! Cover, TWO!? Now Naito survives and shocks everyone! Fans duel as Naito and Ibushi drag themselves to opposite corners. Naito runs at Ibushi but into a roundhouse! Ibushi brings Naito in but Naito spins out for a tornado DDT! Naito aims at Ibushi and runs in, into a clothesline!! Ibushi drags Naito up and to a lift, SIT-OUT LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives again but Ibushi is too tired to be frustrated. Ibushi drags Naito up and grabs both hands, but Naito dodges Kamigoye, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!?!
Fans are thunderous as this match continues! Naito staggers up and drags Ibushi to his feet. Wrench and tilt-o-whirl but Ibushi slips out to roundhouse! Ibushi gives a shout out to the King of Strong Style as he aims from a corner. Naito sits up, BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO?!? Ibushi can NOT believe Naito survived again! But Ibushi vows to finish this, double underhook, Butterfly Driver! But he’s not done there, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; advances to the second round
It took so much, but Ibushi makes it through the opening round! Naito’s dream is denied for now, what will it take for him to become the first-ever dual Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion in NJPW history? As for Ibushi, he advances only to take on Zack Sabre Jr. next! Will Ibushi break ZSJ’s streak in the New Japan Cup? Or will he #JustTapOut?
Ibushi takes the mic and thanks Naito for that amazing match. “In 2019, in NJPW, I’ll show you a new version of Kota Ibushi.” Ibushi vows to go all the way and win! Will everyone else in the tournament, let alone Jay White, take this to heart?
Wow, what a great opening to the tournament! At first, I thought it was a bit of a shame that this will be it for the first round, no Okada or Tanahashi, but seeing they had matches with slightly less important opponents (sorry, Mike Elgin), the two matches we got were much more worthy of airtime. Evil VS ZSJ is again an incredible match, and it makes a lot of sense for ZSJ to win. While Sanada is in the tournament, too, he and Evil are still strongly in the Heavyweight Tag Team Division. ZSJ has a great New Japan Cup win streak story to tell, and it’ll make a loss, should one come, all the more exciting if it’s in the later rounds. ZSJ going for back-to-back tournament wins on top of a huge title match is great, but I can’t be sure the chances of it happening.
Naito VS Ibushi was a really great match, and it’s not just kayfabe saying this match could’ve been a logical tournament finals choice. Naito’s story of becoming a dual champion could’ve propelled the tournament to some interesting places, but at the same time, it doesn’t have to be told in the tournament. Ibushi is in NJPW to stay so it means a lot more that he gets a push in the tournament. He already has a hard road ahead of him if the second round pits him against ZSJ, but perhaps a Kota Ibushi that can get through such big names, much like ZSJ did in last year’s tournament, can be a Kota Ibushi that defeats Jay White in Madison Square Garden.
My Score: 8.8/10
Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (3/16/19)
Zack Sabre Jr. continues his journey in ROH!
Ring of Honor Wrestling Television, Episode 391
It’s ROH 17th Anniversary weekend, but the action keeps on rolling! The Submission Master returns, will he make Rocky Romero #JustTapOut?
- Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes; Young & The Briscoes win.
- The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys; The Bouncers win.
- Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead; Rayne wins.
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero; ZSJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Shinobi Shadow Squad VS Silas Young & The Briscoes!
Cheeseburger leads Ryan Nova and Eli Isom into battle! Will their fighting spirits combined be enough to overcome the Last Real Man and #DemBoyz?
The bell rings and Isom begins against Jay Briscoe. Isom is no stranger to taking on former ROH World Champions, this could be his third upset on one already. They tie up and Jay waistlocks. Isom standing switches and throws Jay down but Jay reverses to a facelock, but Isom slips away. Fans applaud the Future of Honor keeping up with Jay. Jay and Isom circle again and Jay keeps Isom guessing on the grapple. Jay reels Isom in for a headlock, but Isom powers out, only for Jay to run him over. Things speed up and Isom kicks Jay. Isom runs but sees Jay follow. Jay fakes Isom out and kicks him down. Jay tags Mark and The Briscoes mug Isom. Mark suplexes but Isom slips out and shoves Mark. Mark turns around into Isom’s arm-drag!
Isom tags in Nova and Nova hops up for ax handles. Nova wrenches the arm but Mark rolls through. Mark breaks free but Nova dodges and fires off strikes. Nova wrenches and tags in Cheeseburger! Burger climbs up to drop his own ax handle. Burger wrenches but Mark pushes him away. Mark rushes at Burger but Burger crawls under and kicks him away. Burger speeds up but Jay stands in his way. Mark rocks Burger with a shotgun dropkick! Silas and the Briscoes take control as we go to break.
ROH returns and Silas taunts Burger to stand, only to stomp him down. Fans rally up for Burger and he throws body shots on Silas. Burger fires forearms but Silas shoves Burger for the backbreaker clothesline on the rebound! Silas drags Burger over and tags in Mark. Mark drops an elbow then drags Burger up. Mark suplexes and holds Burger up for a few seconds before dropping him down. Fans rally but Mark puts Burger in a camel clutch. Burger endures while Jay and Silas taunt him. Mark fish hooks Burger but lets up at 4. Mark blasts Nova but the ref keeps Isom from going after Mark. But he misses Mark biting Burger! Mark gets away with it then CHOPS Burger in a corner! Mark whips corner to corner but Burger dodges! Burger dodges Silas and Jay, too, hot tag to Isom!
Isom dropkicks Mark to his corner where Jay tags in. Silas runs at Isom but Isom puts him on the apron and dropkicks him down! Jay goes after Isom with a waistlock but is bucked off. Isom pops Jay up to a fireman’s carry! Nova intercepts Mark and DIVES on Silas! Air Raid Crash from Isom to Jay! Cover, TWO!! Isom almost had another former world champion caught! Isom keeps going but Jay blocks the suplex. Jay fights back but Isom throws his own forearms. Isom runs but into Jay’s fireman’s carry. Jay hits the Spicolli Driver while Mark climbs up! FROGGY-BOW! Jay covers, TWO!? Isom survives and The Briscoes are shocked!
The ref tells Mark to go to the corner but the Briscoes ignore him. #DemBoyz work together to finish this, double underhook but Isom fights out. Isom pushes Jay into Mark then kicks, suplex to brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! Another close call but Isom keeps his focus. Isom and Jay stand as fans rally up. Isom throws forearms and elbows then an enziguri. Jay staggers and Jay runs, but SUPERKICK for Jay! High-Low combo for The Briscoes! Mark keeps Burger out while Jay hits his Jay Driller! Cover, The Briscoes & Silas win!
Winners: Silas Young & The Briscoes, Jay Briscoe pinning
The Shinobi Shadow Squad struggles in the Six Man Tag Division against such accomplished opponents. Will it be the Last Real Man and Dem Boyz who move on towards the titles instead?
Rhett Titus speaks.
“Willie Mack, I heard you had plans to take the NWA National Title and defend it in every state across America.” Well Willie, plans change, because the Fittest is looking to take that belt and bring it with him on the Flex Express. Will Rhett’s own plans have to change after facing The Mack next episode?
The Bouncers VS Brian Johnson & Joe Keys!
The literally biggest team in the ROH Tag Team Division takes on two other Future of Honor stars. With physiques like theirs, JK and The Number One were hoping for sunny beaches and “beautiful baby dolls”, but instead got “busted up broads and their beer-swilling bozos”! Well that’s no way to talk about the fans or beer! The Bouncers make their way out with plenty of drinks, and Brian Milonas takes the mic. He and The Beer City Bruiser are here to kick ass and drink beer! Will they do just that against these rude rookies?
The Code of Honor is still upheld between the teams, and we start with Bruiser and Keys. Keys shows off his body while teasing Bruiser about the beer belly. Bruiser admits Keys wins the body building, but Bruiser has the fans as they chant “Beer! Beer!” along with him. Keys calls for a test of strength and Bruiser isn’t sure he’s serious. Keys shoves Bruiser and tells him to take it serious. Bruiser accepts the test, and SLAPS Keys off his feet! Keys gets up and kicks but Bruiser catches it. Bruiser spins Keys for an atomic drop. Keys gets to a corner but covers up from Bruiser’s punch. So Bruiser CHOPS instead! And CHOPS, and CHOPS! Fans cheer for more but Keys turns around to protect his chest. So Bruiser CHOPS his back! Keys scrambles to his corner and tags in Johnson.
Johnson fires off on Bruiser but Bruiser shoves him to run him over! Bruiser drags Johnson up but Johnson powers him to the corner. Keys anchors Bruiser’s feet and Johnson gets a sucker punch! Johnson stomps away in the corner then tags in Keys. Keys stomps Bruiser now but lets up at 4. Keys chops Bruiser back then goes to scoop. Bruiser’s too big for that, so Keys gives a European Uppercut. Johnson tags in and rams in his own uppercut. Johnson and Keys work together for a double scoop slam! Cover, ONE, and with power! Bruiser reaches for Milonas but Keys tags back in. Keys stomps Bruiser down then puts Bruiser back in the corner. Keys throws EuroUppers then gestures at Milonas. He runs in for a splash but Bruiser dodges! Keys hits buckles and both men are down!
Fans rally up as Bruiser crawls for his corner. Johnson shouts to Keys, and Keys tags him in. Johnson grabs Bruiser’s feet but Bruiser still gets to Milonas! The Mastodon rallies on both Future of Honor stars! Fans fire up as he pounces Keys out of the ring, then squashes Johson in a corner. Milonas whips Johnson corner to corner for another splash, then scoops. Johnson slips out and shoves Milonas away. Johnson dodges the clothesline but gets a pop-up spinebuster! Keys attacks Milonas from behind but Bruiser gets Keys. Bruiser whips Keys and Milonas gives Keys a pop-up spinebuster! The Bouncers say bottom’s up and grab Johnson. Milonas climbs and Bruiser holds Johnson up, draping leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers win!
Winners: The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning
They kicked ass, now they drink beer! Will the Bouncers find their way to the ROH World Tag Team Championships and drink to a title reign?
Madison Rayne speaks.
“Thunder Rosa, you think that you and Holidead can come into ROH and control the narrative and call the shots?” Here’s the reality: the Twisted Sisterz are the opposite of what the Women of Honor stand for. The Queen Bee vows to make a statement, but will it go the way she hopes?
Willie Mack speaks.
The inaugural NWA National Champion is all about making history, and he makes history with ROH next week. He’ll defend his title in all 50 states, and is already on number 5. If Rhett Titus wants to stay fit, then he better get ready for a fight!
Madison Rayne w/ Sumie Sakai VS Thunder Rosa w/ Holidead!
As The Queen Bee alluded to, The Twisted Sisterz have done what they want to who they want since joining the Women of Honor Division, including the Ray of Sunshine. Now Sumie stands beside Madison, will they put the trouble-makers in their place?
Madison doesn’t wait for the bell, she goes right at Thunder Rosa! She tackles Rosa down and the bell has to ring as she fires off right hands. Rayne puts Rosa in one corner then runs her all the way to the other. She bumps Rosa off a third then hits a sliding lariat. Rayne runs Rosa over with a shoulder and fires up while Rosa regroups with Holidead. Rayne doesn’t give Rosa much time to regain composure, she goes right out and rocks her with a right! She puts Rosa back in while Sumie keeps her eyes on Holidead. Rayne runs Rosa over with a clothesline but notices Holidead egging Sumie on. Rayne runs and wrecks Holidead with a dropkick! Sumie and the fans cheer Rayne on but Rosa hits Rayne back!
Rosa fetches Rayne and rams her into the apron. She then CHOPS Rayne against the apron, before shoving her into the ring. Rosa stomps Rayne then covers, TWO! Rosa drags Rayne up and bumps Rayne off the buckles. She stomps a mudhole into Rayne but backs off at 4. Rosa snapmares Rayne and kicks her sharp on the back. Holidead wants another so Rosa kicks Rayne again. Rosa runs and dropkicks Rayne in the back, covers, TWO! Sumie coaches Rayne up while Rosa mockingly applauds. Rayne throws body shots but Rosa clubs her down. Rosa scoops and slams Rayne down, then applauds herself. Rosa runs side to side for a BIG leg drop! Cover, TWO! The Queen Bee is in trouble while we go to break.
ROH returns and Rosa toys with Rayne. Rayne throws forearms back and enziguris! Rosa falls over and Rayne covers, TWO! Holidead is relieved but Rayne keeps on Rosa. Rosa throws Rayne down by her hair, then drags her up for chops. Rosa whips Rayne corner to corner then runs in for a big back elbow! She snapmares Rayne to a cover, TWO! Fans rally for Rayne but Rose wraps on a chinlock. Rayne endures and fights her way up, but Rosa throws her back down. Cover, TWO! Rosa grabs Rayne for more chops, then does a little salsa to show off. She whips but Rayne reverses and things speed up, Rayne SPEARS Rosa down! But Rayne is also down and a standing 10 count begins.
The count reaches 5 as both women sit up. Rosa grabs Rayne and brings her up but Rayne fires forearms! Rayne dodges Rosa and rallies with more forearms. Rayne fires up and goes corner to corner but Rose catches her! Rosa puts Rayne on the top rope but Rayne boots her back. Rayne leaps for the crossbody! Both women are back up, Rayne ducks a kick to give an enziguri! Cover, TWO! Rayne keeps on Rosa with a waistlock. She wrings Rosa out but Rosa goes to swing. Rayne adjusts and gets around Rosa again for a dragon sleeper. Rosa elbows out and brings Rayne up into the Gory Especial, and spins around for the facebuster! Cover, TWO!! Rayne survives and the Twisted Sisterz are shocked!
Rosa is furious as she drags Rayne right up onto her shoulder! Rosa spins but Rayne slips out for the Rayne Drop! Cover, Rayne wins!
Winner: Madison Rayne, by pinfall
The Queen Bee wins outta nowhere and gets revenge on behalf of Sumie Sakai! Will Rayne and others teach the Twisted Sisterz a lesson about being Women of Honor?
Team Coast2Coast speaks.
“We were gone for a very long time, but for good reason.” Shaheem Ali and Leon St. Giovanni were “rediscovering” themselves. But now C2C is better than ever and will take on the best in the world! Their return is next week against Jay Lethal and Jonathan Gresham, will Chocolate Man and the Human Rocket be ready for the Franchise and the Octopus?
Zack Sabre Jr. VS Rocky Romero!
The partnership of ROH and NJPW is on display as the Submission Master returns! But not only that, the player-coach of Roppongi 3K makes his own return! Will Rocky make a run in ROH for gold? Or will he #JustTapOut?
ROH returns with the bell! Fans cheer Rocky on as he circles with ZSJ. Rocky keeps away from ZSJ’s grip and then they approach. ZSJ still gets Rocky down with a headlock but Rocky keeps up with his reversals. ZSJ gets free but both he and Rocky smirk as they circle again. They tie up again and ZSJ gets the arm. He cranks on it to get Rocky to the mat. Rocky endures the wristlock and ZSJ grinds a knee in. Rocky gets to his feet but ZSJ wrenches and arm-drags Rocky back down. Fans cheer ZSJ’s technique as he twists and pulls Rocky’s arm. Rocky spins through and gets up to dropkick ZSJ out of the ring! ZSJ is frustrated already as he kicks the railing. Rocky waits for ZSJ as he catches his breath.
ZSJ returns and circles with Rocky. They tie up and ZSJ gets a leg. He trips Rocky and stands on his feet. ZSJ twists the leg around and then ties the legs up so he can go after Rocky’s neck with a wrench. But he also hooks the face so the ref counts. ZSJ lets up at 4 to bring Rocky into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow. Rocky pops out to a cover, TWO! Fans applaud as Rocky and ZSJ circle again. Rocky and ZSJ approach and Rocky gets ZSJ’s leg now. Rocky waistlocks but ZSJ wrenches to a switch. ZSJ wrenches again and brings Rocky to his knees. ZSJ brings Rocky further down as he mounts the arm to pull back. Fans applaud while Rocky endures the pair of knuckle locks.
Rocky and ZSJ go shoulder to shoulder but ZSJ gets the cover. TWO so ZSJ tries again. TWO as Rocky brings up the shoulder, so ZSJ pushes it down. Rocky bridges this time, and then anticipates ZSJ hopping on with a monkey flip! It’s a double cover, but Rocky rolls back, only to get caught into ZSJ’s armbar! Rocky rolls and shifts but ZSJ slips out to a hammerlock. Fans applaud this continued exchange as Rocky reaches back for ZSJ. Rocky leaps and snapmares but ZSJ headbutts back. ZSJ snapmares but Rocky handsprings through to dropkick him down! Rocky brings ZSJ up for a chop then a cravat. ZSJ endures but Rocky snapmares. ZSJ responds with his own snapmare, but then Rocky snapmares back. They go snapmare for snapmare, but then ZSJ shoves Rocky down for a neck crank! Rocky writhes while we go to one last break.
ROH returns once again as Rocky manages a ropebreak while in a modified Bow ‘n’ Arrow. ZSJ reluctantly lets go, and waits for Rocky to sit up. ZSJ clamps on a half straitjacket, then digs in elbows and knuckles to get the full. Rocky endures as fans rally up. Rocky feeds off the energy but ZSJ does his best to keep Rocky down. The two struggle against each other, and ZSJ digs a knee in to keep the straitjacket. Rocky stands and spins the straitjacket around but ZSJ spins it back on. ZSJ brings Rocky back down then flips him over, but Rocky uses that to reverse the hold! Rocky has ZSJ but ZSJ breaks free to throw a EuroUpper. ZSJ whips but Rocky elbows back. Rocky springboards for a tornado DDT! Both men are down but fans rally up.
Another standing count begins and Rocky sits up at 3. ZSJ follows and grabs Rocky first. Rocky dodges and huricanranas! Things speed up, Rocky springboards again for a crossbody! Cover, TWO! Rocky toys with ZSJ, then starts slapping him around. ZSJ EuroUppers then grabs a leg. Rocky misses the first enziguri but not the rewind! Fans fire up with Rocky as he runs corner to corner to start the Forever Clotheslines! He gets one, then another, but runs into a boot! ZSJ runs but into Rocky’s leaping knee, only to make it an STF! Rocky is caught, and ZSJ shifts sides! Rocky drags himself around and manages a ropebreak! ZSJ lets Rocky go and catches his breath. Now ZSJ toys with Rocky as he stomps him around. ZSJ kicks but Rocky gets mad. ZSJ pie faces so Rocky SLAPS away!
Rocky knees and hauls ZSJ up to the top rope. Rocky runs corner to corner for a top shelf knee! ZSJ falls to the apron but Rocky checks his shoulder first. Rocky brings ZSJ up but ZSJ resists the suplex. ZSJ goes after the arm but Rocky throws forearms. Rocky shoulders in but gets caught into an Octopus through the ropes! ZSJ lets go at 4 then shoves Rocky away. Rocky dropkicks ZSJ on the return! Rocky throws forearms and CHOPS, then ties ZSJ up in the ropes. He goes to the side and springboards for a guillotine missile dropkick! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives and Rocky is exhausted. Fans build to a rally for Rocky as he brings ZSJ up. Rocky throws forearms on ZSJ then eggs him on. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper, but Rocky comes back for fast hands. Rocky kicks and runs for a Sliced Bread! Cover, TWO!
Rocky drags ZSJ up again and wants more, but ZSJ escapes Sliced Bread 2 for the standing abdominal stretch! Rocky reaches but ZSJ rolls him away, then around, Hurrah! The double wrist-clutch octopus is on and Rocky taps quickly! ZSJ wins!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission
The Submission Master brings in Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last. Will ZSJ’s first year in ROH be golden sooner rather than later?
Another ROH PPV, another disconnect between it and their television episodes. This episode, as all episodes are, was clearly recorded long before the PPV as nothing that happened at the PPV affects this episode’s events. For those who didn’t see the ROH 17th Anniversary, make sure to check here for the full card results. But for those who did, you know The Briscoes lost the the ROH World Tag Team Championships to Villain Enterprises, yet Jay & Mark still had the belts here. And all this makes it strange for commentary to vaguely reference the PPV when it hadn’t happened for them yet. The Six Man Tag they had was only okay, so I don’t see why it couldn’t have been three other Heels going against Shinobi Shadow Squad to get the spotlight instead.
In fact, seeing as how more Future of Honor stars were brought on for this episode, I’m starting to think that’s what episodes like this should be about. ROH Future of Honor stars can appear, get some television exposure, and take the card in place of literally anyone involved on the PPV card. And of course, facing Future of Honor stars meant an easy win for The Bouncers, who might finally be moving up now that they’re Faces. Meanwhile, Rhett Titus’ new gimmick is like if Lex Luger and Val Venis fused, but then the combination was slightly diluted. But Rhett VS Mack, even non-title, sounds fun. Pretty sure Mack wins that, but bringing NWA and its new championship into the fold of ROH’s many partnerships also sounds great.
Rayne VS Rosa was a good match, and I’m sensing this is building to something more. I’ve said before that having the Twisted Sisterz in WOH must mean Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the horizon, and it would be pretty big if Sumie Sakai joins Rayne in competing for those. I don’t think Rayne & Sumie would be the inaugural champions, that really should be the Twisted Sisterz given their resumes. But Sumie one day becoming a tag champ to be the first woman to have both the WOH World and Tag Team Championships would be a great thing for her own career. ZSJ VS Romero was a good match, and clearly ZSJ is set to dominate to at least a World Television Championship level. ZSJ VS Jeff Cobb would be great for the sheer difference in styles, but we know it’ll have to wait until after G1 Supercard.
My Score: 8/10