SmackDown prepares for the Royal Rumble in the biggest ways! Rey Mysterio VS Andrade Almas, 2 out of 3 Falls! Who gains momentum while breaking the tie?
- Naomi VS Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville; Rose wins.
- The Miz w/ Shane McMahon VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus; Cesaro wins.
- Mustafa Ali VS Samoa Joe; Joe wins.
- Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Rey Mysterio VS Andrade Almas; Mysterio wins, by disqualification.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Man starts off SmackDown!
Becky Lynch prepares for her shot at the Empress of Tomorrow at the Royal Rumble PPV, but she’s here in Wichita to say that there’s nothing more than she likes than being in the ring fighting. But The Man has something to say first. It wasn’t too long ago that no one paid attention to Becky. But now everyone has an opinion on who and what she should be. Becky will say this: the only thing The Man should be doing is main-eventing Wrestlemania! Fans agree with that! And she’ll slap the heads off anyone and everyone who gets in her way. That journey starts on Sunday, against Asuka. Becky’s watched Asuka clean out NXT, steamroll the main roster, and is undoubtedly one of the best. “But I’m better.”
Becky reminds us that Asuka never beat Becky for the title. And the fact that isn’t eating her up tells Becky something. The others have warmed themselves on the fire Becky lit, but things change at the Rumble. Becky has dethroned a Queen, and will break the Empress! Becky will walk through fire and brimstone- But speaking of the Empress, here comes Asuka! Asuka stands across the ring from Becky and holds up the belt. She tells Becky in Japanese that she’s not intimidated by the talk. Fans duel as these two argue, but here comes Charlotte! The Queen is going to be in the Women’s Rumble, but she has a mic to tell both Becky and Asuka tonight that “As much as I’m enjoying this, and excited for your match this Sunday”, nothing will be better than her throwing out 29 other women to win the Rumble.
And then the choices she’s got on her plate. Ronda VS Sasha, but Sasha’s someone Charlotte’s beaten so many times, and has beaten the Hell out of Ronda via “Ken” the kendo stick. Then Asuka VS Becky, Charlotte broke the Empress’ Streak, and “The Man” may have gotten her the last few months, but Charlotte has owned the division for four years. And Charlotte IS the Main Event! Charlotte lets out a “WOO~” but Asuka fires off on Becky! A brawl goes down in the ring and Charlotte watches in amusement. Fans cheer but referees come out to break this fight up! Fans want to “Let Them Fight!” and they do fight, but security comes out to try their hand. It’s no good, Becky gets after Asuka now! Asuka throws Becky into barriers then stomps away! The brawl continues, and Becky throws Asuka over the announce desk!
Referees and security reprimand Becky but she uses her own jacket to whiplash Asuka over and over! The Lass Kicker stands tall, to then clobber Asuka back down! Fans are thunderous as Becky finally backs off. Asuka gets up and is furious, but she’ll have to wait for Sunday to settle things. With this level of fire inside both of them, which woman will blaze a trail down the Road to Wrestlemania?
The brawl continues backstage!
Asuka caught up to Becky and the fight again has to be pulled apart! Will these two even make it to Phoenix?!
Naomi VS Mandy Rose w/ Sonya Deville!
The Glow found out about the Golden Goddess trying to seduce and humiliate her husband, but she threw down in the hotel room. This fight finishes in the ring, will Naomi make Mandy #FeeltheGlow in the strongest way? Or will Mandy dim the lights instead?
Naomi doesn’t wait for the bell! She charges through Sonya and gets right at Mandy on the ramp! She throws Mandy into the apron then into the ring. Naomi wants to keep going, but Mandy SLAPS her! The bell rings and now things are official as Naomi fires off slaps of her own! She tops it off with a backhand and Mandy rolls out. Mandy regroups with Sonya while we go picture in picture. Sonya helps Mandy catch her breath and Mandy returns. Naomi is right on Mandy but Mandy puts Naomi in the corner. Mandy stomps a mudhole then backs off at the count of 4. Naomi gets up and SLAPS Mandy! Naomi snapmares and runs for the sliding lariat! Leg drop cover, TWO! Naomi keeps on Mandy with an armlock while Mandy checks her nose.
Naomi wrenches and Mandy endures. But Naomi rubs Mandy’s face into the mat, then pulls her hair before stomping her back down. Mandy checks her nose again as Naomi scoops and slams her. Naomi runs and drops the splits! Cover, TWO! But Naomi doesn’t let up, she’s right back on Mandy with a facelock. They stand up and Naomi whips. Mandy reverses but Naomi slides and shoulders back in. Sonya runs in but gets a kick, Mandy blasts Naomi with a knee! Mandy drags Naomi up and in and covers, TWO! Mandy keeps on Naomi with a rain of right hands! She drags Naomi up for a thrashing chinlock, but now Naomi endures. Naomi fights her way up but Mandy reels her in. Naomi dodges and rolls Mandy up, TWO! Jawbreaker as we return to single picture!
Naomi roundhouses Mandy, then runs for lariats and elbows! Mandy clotheslines Naomi back down then covers, TWO! Mandy glares at Naomi as she stomps her back down. She kicks Naomi to the ropes then chokes her against them. Mandy lets up at 4 while fans boo and jeer. Mandy drags Naomi up for forearms in a corner, but backs off at 4 again. Naomi boots back, and hits the enziguri! She kicks Mandy while she’s down, then stands her up for forearms of her own! Mandy shoves Naomi away, but Naomi come back to hit a huricanrana! Mandy staggers about and Naomi runs, but is put on the apron. Naomi hits Mandy away, but Sonya anchors feet. Mandy takes advantage by shoving Naomi into the post! Cover, Mandy wins!
Winner: Mandy Rose, by pinfall
The duo formerly known as Absolution works together for victory! However, the Royal Rumble is always every superstar for themselves. Will Sonya be willing to help Mandy then? Will Mandy go into business for herself? Or will Naomi get back at both of them with an elimination?
Rey Mysterio speaks.
“2006, I was in the Royal Rumble match for over an hour.” He used every trick he had to survive. His speed got the better of bigger competitors. His training gave him the stamina to never slow down. And his will to keep fighting shocked the world. This Sunday, Rey looks to repeat history. But tonight is about respect as he faces Andrade Almas again. Almas took a shortcut to win, but now he won’t have La Muneca ringside. The playing field is even, and Almas will learn that in order to gain respect, he has to earn it. Who will earn massive momentum towards this year’s Royal Rumble match?
The Miz meets with Shane McMahon.
Is he ready? He’s ready. The Most Must-See Superstar takes on the Swiss Cyborg up next!
The Miz w/ Shane McMahon VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus!
The #BestTagTeamintheWorld challenges The Bar for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships on Sunday, and the Hollywood A-Lister looks for a singles sweep leading into it! He got the better of the Celtic Gladiator on Shane O’Mac’s birthday, and Shane even got to give Sheamus a Coast2Cake dropkick. Can Miz gain his team more momentum tonight? Or will Cesaro save the champs from going 0-2 against 1/3rd Best in the World?
The bell rings and Sheamus distracts right away so Cesaro can blast Miz with big European Uppercuts! Cesaro does not let up on the EuroUppers until the ref counts 4! Cesaro then deadlift gut wrenches and tosses Miz! The Swiss Cyborg taunts Shane then drags Miz up for a headlock. Miz powers out and things speed up, but Miz gets caught into a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Cesaro keeps on Miz with a whip but Miz reverses. Miz runs, blocks the boot and kicks the leg against the ropes! Miz backs off, but runs back into another EuroUpper. Cesasro dumps Miz but Miz sunset flips to the Figure Four! Miz has Cesaro in the legendary leg lock but he heads for the ropes. Sheamus helps Cesaro get the ropebreak, then helps him escape the ring.
Miz goes for the wrecking ball dropkick, but gets another EuroUpper for it! The Bar is fired up but Shane keeps Sheamus in check while we go to break.
SmackDown returns and Miz fights out of a headlock. Cesaro throws hands but Miz counter punches! Miz backs Cesaro down with rights and lefts, then kicks! Miz goes corner to corner for a dropkick! He keeps going and hits another dropkick! Miz wants a hat trick, and hits the A-List lariat! Fans fire up and Shane applauds while Sheamus panics. Miz climbs up but leaps into another EuroUpper! Cesaro has feet on the ropes but Shane stops that! Sheamus come around and runs Shane over! Miz rolls Cesaro, TWO! Cesaro swings but into a full nelson. He elbows out of the Finale and puts Miz on the ropes. Cesaro chokes, Sheamus gets a cheap shot! Gotch Neutralizer!! Cover, Cesaro wins!
Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall
But Shane comes back with a vengeance on Sheamus! Cesaro goes after Shane but gets those same fast hands! Shane shoves Cesaro into a post, then clocks him again! Fans are riled up for Shane as he clears off the announce desk! Shane puts Cesaro on top then climbs up high. Fans are anticipating Shane’s trademark madness, but Sheamus shoves Shane down at the barriers! Sheamus drags Miz up to throw him into a post, then The Bar mugs Shane! Cesaro feeds Shane to a BROGUE!! Fans boo and jeer as The Bar stomp away on Shane, but Miz shields Shane with his body. Miz gets clubbing hands and then dragged over to the table.
Cesaro scares off the referee while Sheamus drags Shane up. The Bar work together, to body slam Shane through Miz and the table!! Fans lose their minds over this, but does this mean Shane & Miz will lose out on those titles?
Mustafa Ali speaks.
The Beacon of Light was meant to face the Destroyer in a match last week, but the Destroyer decided to destroy Ali before the bell ever rang! Joe left Ali for dead, but Ali being a former Chicago police officer, he doesn’t back down so easily. Ali learned that eyes tell the whole story. Joe gave Ali a beating and kept asking “Do you understand?!”
Ali understands, but it wasn’t the punching and post tosses that told him. It was Joe’s eyes. And those eyes said Ali wasn’t worthy. Those eyes said Ali was just an example being made. Those eyes said Ali was nothing in Joe’s eyes. But now Joe will have to look into Ali’s eyes and see a man with no fear. It will be a light so bright the darkness has nowhere to hide. Ali’s eyes say he can win. But will his body back up what his eyes are saying?
Vince McMahon sees what happened to his son.
He watches backstage as referees and medics help Shane and Miz get up. Somehow Shane and Miz are okay after what The Bar did, but Vince can’t worry about them right now. He has to keep the peace between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles in their face-to-face encounter, next!
Vince McMahon heads to the ring!
Wichita greets The Chairman with an ovation as he enters. He’ll hold his thoughts to himself about what just happened to Shane, but he’s sure that tag title match will be incredible. And that brings him to the two most passionate and athletic superstars on SmackDown having their own title match on Sunday. First, the challenger and former champion, The Phenomenal AJ Styles! Styles makes his entrance, and fans give him an ovation. Then, the champion himself, “The New” Daniel Bryan! Fans boo this time for the man who killed the Yes Movement.
But Bryan doesn’t stand in the ring, despite this being a “face-to-face.” Bryan claims this is a trap, and refuses to step into a ring with the “sociopath”, the same man who slammed Bryan into a bunch of “animal carcasses” last week. Bryan’s too embarrassed to stand in the same ring as a man who pandered to the people. He had a vision of the future of AJ Styles once again being WWE Champion. It is an ignorant future, an impotent future and an illiterate future! AJ Styles cannot be allowed to have the title, because he uses it for fame and fortune. Bryan uses it for the “greater good”! Greater good? Is that “Greater good” Bryan acting like a jackass?
This behavior is why the fans want Styles to be their champion. He makes them laugh and cheer and jump around, but he doesn’t make them think or feel guilty when they should feel guilty every day of their lives! Bryan doesn’t care about their feelings, because he’s not the “People’s Champion”, he’s the Planet’s Champion! The planet doesn’t need Styles, it needs Bryan to use this platform to be its voice. If the planet had a voice, it’d be shouting for Bryan to shut up. Styles doesn’t remember Bryan pedaling a bike here. He probably got on a plane to get here. There’s a word for that: fickle. Fans echo “Fickle!” at Bryan. And Bryan talks of being embarrassed? That’s not the feeling. It’s fear.
Styles stood across from many men and has seen that look in their eyes, too. Bryan is afraid of what will happen at the Royal Rumble. Bryan should be afraid. He’s corrupted himself just to have the title. But what happens when he no longer has that title? What will Bryan have left? “Nothing.” Bryan quotes Carl Sagan, but Vince insists he get in the ring. Fans say “YES! YES!” but Bryan knows Vince obviously doesn’t want to listen. The Baby Boomers are the greatest parasites of this world! These fans bow down to Vince, but they don’t realize that Vince’s entire generation just takes and takes but never gives back! They BOW to Vince for it! It’s like Vince just pulled this incredible illusion to conceal the economic debt, but fans are satisfied with social media garbage.
Meanwhile, Vince hordes the wealth and power! Vince has created such an environment where someone like Styles can be a hero! Damn it, Bryan, get in the ring! Styles knows Vince advertised a face-to-face, but that doesn’t mean it has to be in a ring. Styles chases Bryan on the outside! And catches him! Styles throws haymakers then throws Bryan into barriers! Bryan scampers away but Styles keeps on him, throwing him into steel steps! Styles puts Bryan in the ring, takes aim, and springboards, but Bryan uses Vince as a shield! Styles aborts but gets the Knee Plus for it! Fans boo as Bryan takes the belt and retreats. The New Daniel Bryan won’t have anywhere to run at the Rumble, will the real AJ Styles get that belt back?
R-Truth and Carmella talk about their respective Royal Rumble matches.
Truth is excited to be Mr. 30 and book his trip to face the Phenomenal AJ Styles or the New Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania. So not the Universal Champion Brock Lesnar? Brock Lesnar’s champion? No, Truth does not want to go to Sioux Falls City. No it’s Suplex City. Same thing. But Truth wouldn’t mind trying the Cruiserweight Champion, Bobby Murphy. No it’s Buddy Murphy. And there’s a weight limit to that Division, Truth. Oh so he’s fat? No he’s just not 205! As for Carmella, she encounters Charlotte. Charlotte thinks she’s just going to waltz her way into the Rumble and Mania? She wasn’t even in last year’s. This isn’t’ just any match, it’s a tornado. You gotta keep a head on the swivel and hold onto the ropes. Plus, Carmella’s Ms. 30, the #GatekeeperinGucci. No one gets through her.
Charlotte tells Carmella it’s fine to be confident. Being 30th is an advantage, but Charlotte is Charlotte. And with a trip to Mania on the line, the match isn’t a tornado, Charlotte is. Who will survive their respective Rumble matches to headline the Greatest Show in Sports Entertainment?
Mustafa Ali VS Samoa Joe!
The Beacon of Light said his peace, but The Destroyer’s expression says it all for him on his way out. This match will finally happen, who will send the biggest message this close to the Royal Rumble?
SmackDown returns as Ali makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two circle. Ali and Joe approach and Joe throws those swift jabs! Joe stomps Ali in the corner, then grinds his boot in. He scrapes Ali out of the ring, then pursues while trash talking. Joe stand Ali for a CHOP, and Ali staggers to the ramp. Joe drags Ali up and says Ali still doesn’t understand. He throws Ali at the post but Ali hops up to fly back for a crossbody! Ali keeps on Joe with fast hands, and both men get in the ring. Ali dropkicks Joe down, then throws haymakers! The ref counts and backs Ali off, but Joe CHOPS Ali off his feet! Joe drags Ali up and headbutts him back down.
Joe drags Ali up by his hair to then throw into buckles. He runs but misses, Ali forearms him away! Ali slingshots but into throat chops! Ali crashes and burns, we go picture in picture. Joe leaves Ali down and out while a ring count climbs. But Joe then goes out to fetch Ali with a grin, and drags him up for roundhouses. Joe paces around Ali like a shark with blood in the water before putting Ali back in. He rains down rights and stomps on Ali, still smirking. He sits Ali up into an arm surfboard and digs a knee into Ali’s back. Ali endures and powers up to fight out! He runs, but into Joe’s elbow! Joe glares down at the dazed Ali before covering, TWO! Ali lives but Joe is just annoyed. Joe drives his elbow into Ali’s head, then looms over him menacingly.
Joe puts Ali in a corner and gives more jabs and elbows. He stops at 4, but Ali crawls after Joe. Joe says Ali asked for this, and throws hands, but Ali counter punches! Ali backs Joe down then whips, but Joe reverses. Joe runs in for the back elbow and Pele! Ali goes down, Joe covers, TWO! Joe grows further annoyed, but he just smirks as he looks down at Ali. He drags Ali up for a neck wrench, but Ali endures again. Fans rally up and Ali powers up. Ali fights back but Joe knees low and backs Ali down. Joe whips corner to corner but Ali slips out to hit back. Ali slingshots for the facebuster! But he’s too tired to cover! Fans rally up as the ref counts. Both men stir and stand.
Ali ducks the punch to dropkick Joe back! And another dropkick sends Joe out. Ali builds speed to DIVE! Direct hit! Joe staggers but Ali pursues, but Joe puts him in the timekeeper’s area. Ali returns with a leaping crossbody! He tackles Joe down and rains down rights! Ali drags Joe up but Joe shoves him into the ring. Joe returns but Ali kicks and SUPERKICKS, and SUPERKICKS again! Joe staggers, Ali leaps, tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! Ali can’t believe Joe lives, but he doesn’t’ give up. He drags Joe over to a drop zone and climbs up. Joe trips Ali up, then drags him into the Coquina Clutch! Ali flails but Joe drops down with the body scissors! Ali taps, Joe wins!
Winner: Samoa Joe, by submission
But Joe won’t let go until Ali falls asleep! Joe sends his message to Ali and the other 28 superstars entering the Men’s Rumble. Will Joe destroy the entire field? Or will there be a shining light in his way?
The New Day do Royal Rumble research.
They watch the many saves of Kofi Kingston’s career. Kayla Braxton comes in to ask them about The New Day going every man for himself. Everyone asks this question! Tom Phillips, Renee Young, Mike Rome, now Kayla? Is Tony Chimel gonna ask next? He does! Chimel, be gone! Be gone, Chimel! “Every man for himself”, but that doesn’t matter to The New Day. When one of them wins, they all win! Now, they’ll dog walk erryone, but Kofi wonders if this is the year he can’t save himself. Woods and Big E keep Kofi’s chin up, and Kofi gets an idea. He has a new idea! But he’s not telling you, Kayla. Kayla, no no no. What will Kofi do to keep himself in the Rumble this time? Will this finally be the year he actually wins?
Best 2 out of 3 Falls: Rey Mysterio VS Andrade Almas!
The King of Lucha Libre and El Idolo have gone back and forth, and now they’ll settle things in the main event before the Royal Rumble! Without Zelina Vega, can Almas stay tranquilo? Or will Mysterio show Cien how it’s done?
The bell rings and we begin the first fall. Almas and Mysterio approach and Almas fires of kicks and punches. He whips and elbows Mysterio down, then drags Mysterio up for a shove. Mysterio kicks back then runs again, but into a torture rack. Almas swings but Mysterio makes it an arm-drag! Mysterio aims at Almas on the outside for a flying huricanrana! Almas is down and we go to break!
SmackDown returns again, and Almas looms over Mysterio. Almas whips but Mysterio reverses, only to be put on the apron. Mysterio shoulders in then swing kicks Almas away. Almas is dazed while Mysterio catches his breath. Mystiero springboards for the seated senton! He keeps moving to springboard again but into a dropkick! Cover, TWO! Almas keeps his cool as he drags Mysterio back up. Almas hammerlocks but Mysterio slips out to sunset flip DESTROYER! Cover, TWO! Mysterio keeps calm and heads to a corner. He hops up as Almas crawls over, flying wheelbarrow to victory roll, but Almas counters! TWO, and Almas puts Mysterio on the top rope. Mysterio adjusts but Almas trips him up! Almas climbs now, but Mysterio trips him up!
Mysterio goes to the outside, CHOPS Almas, then climbs up to join him. Almas fights Mysterio then gets a fireman’s carry. Mysterio stops Almas, then adjusts to SUPER- No, the Steiner is blocked to a SUPER SIT-OUT POWERBOMB!! Cover, Almas gets the first fall!
Almas – 1; Mysterio – 0
But this is just the first! The second fall begins, but both men have already given so much. Fans know “This is Awesome!” as both men catch their breath. Almas stands while Mysterio leans on the ropes. The ref gives the signal, and Almas kicks Mysterio. Powerbomb lift, rebound, another sit-out! Cover, TWO!! Mysterio survives this bomb, but Almas just fires himself up. Almas drags Mysterio up for another bomb, but Mysterio pops through for another DESTROYER!! Cover, Mysterio gets the second fall!
Almas – 1; Mysterio – 1
Things are tied up faster than a hiccup, and now it all comes down to this third and final fall! Both men are down and catching their breath, so we go to one last break.
SmackDown returns once more, and Mysterio dodges Almas in the corner! Almas crashes and burns from corner to floor! Mysterio recovers in the ring while Almas is down and out. Mysterio takes aim, builds up speed, and slides, but into the facelock! Almas drags Mysterio out but Mysterio shoves him into barriers. Mysterio adds an enziguri, but the 10 count climbs. Mysterio returns to the ring at 6, but he’s not gonna leave Almas alone. Sliding sunset bomb into the barriers! Mysterio drags himself away from Almas and gets himself some water. Fans are loving this as Mysterio returns to Almas. He puts Almas in the ring then takes aim from the apron. Fans fire up as he springboards, West Coast Pop! Cover, TWO!! Almas lives but both he and Mysterio are exhausted.
Fans rally up with chants of “619!”, and Mysterio goes to Almas at the apron. Almas drags Mysterio into the draping armbar! Almas lets go at 4, and fans boo as Almas fires himself up. He goes after Mysterio, and throws him into buckles hard. Almas soaks up the heat, and even shimmies like Latino Heat, as he drags Mysterio up. He throws Mysterio at the corner again but Mysteiro stops himself. Mysterio puts Almas on the apron but Almas forearms him back. Almas shoulders in but into Mysterio’s knee. Mysteiro slingshots for another sunset flip powerbomb, but Almas back flips through! Mysterio rolls up but into a bomb to the post! ALmas puts Mysterio in fast, drags him up, hammerlock DDT! Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Mysterio survives and Almas cannot believe it! Almas grits his teeth while fans rally for Mysterio again.
Almas goes after Mysterio’s arm with a Fujiwara! Mysterio endures and rolls around, but Almas holds on. Almas brings Mysterio back down but Mysterio refuses to quit. Mysterio drags himself over but Almas drags him away! Almas adds leverage with his legs but fans cheer Mysterio on. Mysterio keeps moving, rolls through, but Almas pushes for a cover. ONE, and Mysterio springs up to the ropes. But Almas trips him up, only for Mysterio to make it a roll up! TWO, and Almas quickly puts Mysterio up on his shoulders. Mysterio hits a reverse-rana! He crawls to a cover, TWO! Both men are exhausted, but Mysterio forces himself back tot he apron. Springboard huricanrana puts Almas on the ropes! Mysterio dials it up, 619 connects! But wait, Samoa Joe!? He apron bombs Mysterio!!
Winners: Rey Mysterio, by disqualification
Mysterio gets the second fall but not the way anyone wanted! But Joe isn’t just after him, he goes right after Almas, too! He throws Almas right into the post, then goes back to Mysterio on the outside. Joe puts Mysterio in the ring, and drags him into the Coquina! Mysterio can’t tap, he’s got nothing left! Joe lets Mysterio go and demands a microphone. “I told you people I came here to make a statement!” And what he just did is exactly what he’ll do to 24 other Rumble entrants. “Because my name is Samoa Joe”– RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!! The Viper returns after being gone for weeks! Randy Orton is another of the Rumble participants, is he going to be the one in Joe’s way?
What a great SmackDown go-home! We have another opening talk segment, but it was to great effect with Charlotte coming out to stake her claim, and then we get that awesome brawl. It was great to have the return from commercial have even more brawling, it really boosts the heat between Becky and Asuka. I’ve been talking about a Triple Threat at Mania, but it really is a shame if it’ll be at the expense of Asuka. The title match will be great, but a part of me wouldn’t mind if Asuka retained and Becky found a different way to go after Ronda. And with hyping Charlotte and Carmella for the Women’s Rumble, I bet Charlotte wins after all to complete the Triple Threat.
Naomi VS Mandy was a surprisingly good match, but that recap package, I feel like this entire story has been about paralleling USA Network’s original reality show, Temptation Island. Ugh. Things like this are why it’ll be better for SmackDown to get on Fox. But as for this story, it’s probably not over since Mandy and Sonya had to cheat. Naomi might find herself a tag team partner to go against them both, and even be part of the Women’s Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match, and that will serve as the blow-off.
Vince McMahon’s presence was better used here than on Raw. He helped the show transition from the great Miz VS Cesaro and subsequent beat down into the champion-challenger face-to-face. With the beating The Bar gave Miz and Shane, I’m really hoping Miz and Shane win the belts. It’s not burying The Bar but pushing the Miz-Shane story further. I almost don’t want them to fight each other now, Miz and Shane are doing pretty good together, but it might still happen. And then things can truly be freshened up in the SmackDown Tag Division so a team like SAnitY or Heavy Machinery can come into prominence. Then the Styles-Bryan face-to-face was good, with Bryan’s newest Eco-Heel promo and Vince just not having any of it. Bryan gets away while standing tall, I wonder if that means Styles wins.
Ali VS Joe was good, but naturally Joe won. Ali is talented, and he had a great video promo a la his 205 Live promos, but he’s just not at the level to defeat Joe yet. Mysterio VS Almas was incredible, but Joe attacking at the end was both awful and perfect. Mysterio VS Almas can’t settle just yet, not on a go-home, and Joe makes himself a real threat for the Rumble. But wow, what a great way for Orton to return! RKO Outta Nowhere is classic and effective. I don’t really want Orton to win the Rumble, but there were rumors of Orton VS Styles at Mania. Even if Rollins wins to give us Finn VS Rollins 2, Orton can still find a way through Elimination Chamber or Fastlane. It’s not really the match I want, but it might be coming after all.
My Score: 8.5/10
NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.187 ~ 29TH SEPTEMBER 2022
Keiji Mutoh continues his Retirement tour and bringing out faces from the past! NOAH has a new champion! Interesting inter-promotional battles on the horizon as well!
Kaito Kiyomiya is the new GHC Heavyweight Champion, nominates Kazuyuki Fujita as challenger
Following provocation by Kenoh not only saying that he was going to be the one to inherit Keiji Mutoh’s Shining Wizard and the memory of Keiji Mutoh himself (and the outright claim that Kiyomiya would simply forget about Mutoh once Mutoh had retired, which Kiyomiya didn’t even bother responding to), Kenoh went one step further at their last pre match on the 19th September by pulling Keiji Mutoh’s pose, kissing his hand, putting it to Kiyomiya’s lips and then exploding it. Kiyomiya erupted in fury at this, it was far more than any verbal provocation of Kenoh’s, which I guess he has learned to ignore over the years. They fought for the GHC Heavyweight in Nagoya on September 25th, with Kiyomiya emerging victorious following a modified Shining Wizard. As Kenoh left it was like a spell was broken. Kenoh went backstage and muttered about Kiyomiya being the company favorite and in his interview the day after winning the title, Kiyomiya said nothing about Keiji Mutoh. Mutoh as we know had been a focus of both Kiyomiya and Kenoh leading up to the title match.
Back in the ring, Kiyomiya called out his next opponent. Kazuyuki Fujita. Fujita came to the ring, carrying a can of beer which he swigged from. Getting in the ring he circled Kiyomiya and took off his t-shirt. Kiyomiya said that he was expecting a fight, but Fujita did something that no other NOAH wrestler had (or perhaps would) do, and that was to throw himself at Kiyomiya and then make nuzzling motions against his head, while he licked the belt. Kiyomiya pushed him off, and Fujita retaliated by pouring beer over his head.
Kiyomiya screaming that he hated beer was met with Fujita toasting him from the ramp and yelling “Kampaiii” (“cheers”) after a fight had broken out, and Kiyomiya threw him from the ring.
Backstage, Kiyomiya said his reason for nominating Kazuyuki Fujita as his challenger was that he had never been defeated for the GHC Heavyweight. Fujita had to give up the belt due to Coronavirus. It has been a recurring theme of most of the GHC Heavyweight champions since Go Shiozaki, that Fujita has been the man to beat in order to cement yourself as champion. Kiyomiya was picking up that torch.
As for Fujita, he played it as if he was a Casanova and had been asked out on a date by warning Kiyomiya that when you experience Fujita, you can never go back because you were never going to be the same. He was going to “make it a night to remember”. He sipped his beer, and licked his lips afterwards.
Title match has been set for NOAH’s return to Ariake on the 30th October.
STINGER lose, NOAH Junior Regulars win, enter Tadasuke (with a chair)
Following a period of brutal attacks on Seiki Yoshioka (by the end of the match he could hardly use one side of his body) and a title challenge where Atsushi Kotoge was bloodied up, The NOAH Junior Regulars emerged victorious and bought the tag titles home to their unit. They had very little time to celebrate their win and put ice on their wounds, when Tadasuke burst in and attacked Atsushi Kotoge with a chair while Hi69 beat up on the already incapacitated Seiki Yoshioka. Tadasuke (wild grin on his face) got on the microphone and made a challenge for the tag titles. Then Tadasuke wiped the blood from Kotoge that had got on his hands on his hair, leaving red streaks in the peroxide. Tadasuke was even waving the bloodied seat of the chair, which had detached during the attack, around backstage.
Title match will be on the 30th October when NOAH return to the Ariake complex.
Takashi Sugiura and Satoshi Kojima, NOAH’s most dysfunctional tag team, win the GHC Heavyweight tag titles
It must be said that with the combined efforts of Satoshi Kojima and Hideki Suzuki, we almost have our Sugi back.
At the press conference/title match signing, Sugi and Kojima appeared dressed in suits and wearing dark glasses. They looked something between The Men In Black and “Dangerous Detectives” (as Tokyo Sports called them which stems from a Japanese TV show). Hideki Suzuki was on form, not only mistranslating Timothy Thatcher and stating at one point that Thatcher said he came to Japan to “beat you up” and being rude to a journalist for being overfamiliar with his “punk mouth”, the highlight of the press conference was his long close up stare at Sugi, who was trying not to laugh.
The dysfunctional team won the titles in Nagoya on the 25th September, and despite their falling out during the match, Sugi actually gave Kojima a proper handshake. Then they went back to squabbling backstage over Kojima talking on the mic when it was Sugi who got the win. No challengers have come forward as of yet.
HAYATA retains the GHC Junior, Ninja Mack makes his long awaited challenge
It had been an emotional match for YO-HEY, and for fans. Cutting out the aerial techniques that had characterized their earlier matches, both he and HAYATA demonstrated how much they had both evolved by concentrating on a more NOAH based ground attack with submissions. YO-HEY might have failed in the challenge, but he had at least gotten one win over HAYATA in the pre-match. He knew the title match would be different and he would need to level up, and afterwards he reflected and said he would start from rock bottom in order to make his next challenge. What fans had noticed that while things had changed between them, some things were the same, such as YO-HEY coloring his hair, his tongue (and even his boxer shorts) purple, which is HAYATA’s color, and HAYATA not speaking as much as he has done in previous title challenges, as he is content to let YO-HEY talk. After the match, Ninja Mack came to challenge. HAYATA accepted by saying, that he was “finally interested in the belt” and acknowledging him as challenger. Title match will of course be on the 30th October. But HAYATA is not immediately going into a fallout match with Ninja Mack at NOAH’s next event on the 30th, but is having a tag match against YO-HEY.
Keiji Mutoh’s Retirement Road
Keiji Mutoh has been very busy.
– 23rd September: Great Muta appears in AEW
The Great Muta made a surprise appearance in AEW to rescue Sting, who had been tied to a chair by Darby Allen. Muta came to the ring, advanced on Sting and then turned and spat green mist into the face of Allen and then reunited with Sting. Keiji Mutoh announced that Sting would attend Muta’s retirement on the 22nd in Yokohama, but has not said in what capacity, although it is assumed that they will tag. Regarding any further appearances in America, Mutoh said he didn’t think it was likely, but did warn that The Great Muta may pop up somewhere as you never knew where he would turn up next.
– 25th September: Keiji Mutoh Retirement Road: Love Forever 2
Keiji Mutoh teamed with his junior Kazuyuki Fujita to take on Mutoh’s classmate, Masakatsu Funaki and Katsuhiko Nakajima, who Mutoh has known since he was a boy, and still calls affectionately “Katsuhiko”. Nakajima said he was going to break up this class reunion, and while Mutoh did get kicked (Nakajima smirked and said it was fun when Mutoh later complained his leg still hurt) but it was Fujita who got the worst of it. During the match, Nakajima pulled out Mutoh’s Space Rolling Elbow. Mutoh was initially not pleased, but then he became very happy to see it and said that he thought that “Katsuhiko” did it because he had some small measure of feeling for him. I think had Nakajima been a more acrobatic wrestler, Mutoh might have handed it to him. Mutoh won the match with The Shining Wizard, pinning Nakajima. This was Mutoh’s farewell to Nagoya, his classmate, his junior and Nakajima.
– 26th September: Hiroshi Tanahashi comes to the press conference and a tag match is announced
Hiroshi Tanahashi presented 38 roses to Mutoh when he came to the press conference. Each rose symbolizes a year of Mutoh’s career. Mutoh joked that he should have laid them at his feet, as had happened in boxing recently. Tanahashi said he wasn’t good at ad-libbing, and then introduced himself as “one of the greatest New Japan talents in the past one hundred years”. During the press conference, a tag match was announced. New Japan’s Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Honma Tomoaki will team together against the team of Naomichi Marufuji, Keiji Mutoh and Keiji Mutoh. This will take place on the 30th October. Mutoh has not given up hope of appearing one final time in the New Japan ring.
– 16th October: A new match is announced
NOAH announced that due to fan demand, Keiji Mutoh will be appearing in Fukuoka. He will tag with Ninja Mack and Satoshi Kojima against Naomichi Marufuji, HAYATA and Jack Morris. Satoshi Kojima is of course connected to Mutoh through All Japan and New Japan, Naomichi Marufuji has wanted a match against Mutoh (he will be tagging with him as we know on the 30th October) and HAYATA has been a big fan of Mutoh for a while, as he has influenced a lot of his style and persona. HAYATA thinks of himself and The Great Muta as “The Phantom Team”. Muta doesn’t like to speak and HAYATA said, neither does he.
Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima head overseas
Naomichi Marufuji and Katsuhiko Nakajima will appear for Evolution Pro Wrestling in New York for their anniversary show on November 12th. Marufuji’s match is yet to be announced, but Nakajima will take on Josh Alexander. Alexander has said he wonders how Nakajima is going to kick after he snaps his ankle. They will also appear at King of Indies in San Francisco on November 19th.
NOSAWA vs Katsuhiko Nakajima (and Kenoh)
After being beaten up by Katsuhiko Nakajima who gave him some pretty stiff soccerball kicks outside the ring at Korakuen Hall recently, (although he would tell you that Nakajima tried to beat him up), NOSAWA Rongai has been on a quest to face Nakajima in a match. Then he threw in Kenoh, so it could be himself and Eita versus Kongoh. Hideki Suzuki told him that he was probably going to die, but NOSAWA has taken no notice and kept on with his demand. His demand has not been met because rather than facing Nakajima and Kenoh, NOAH have booked him against rookies Yasutaka Yano and Kai Fujimura. NOSAWA thinks he is having to go through some kind of trial.
ELSEWHERE IN NOAH
– Hideki Suzuki has hinted that perhaps Takashi Sugiura might like to get back online.
– Yoshiki Inamura and YO-HEY continued their guild, despite the fact that YO-HEY said someone attacked and burned their castle down. A picture was taken of YO-HEY and Inamura playing the game, with YO-HEY seated cross legged on Inamura, who was doing a bridge in the ring. We have seen Inamura used as a weight, but is he now used as furniture?
– NOAH’s Director, Narihiro Takeda, wrote on a NOAH Note that he would like for Darby Allin to come to NOAH one day.
– Tadasuke got a match thrown out by ripping off Alejandro’s mask. Tadasuke did not care, and did not even respond when Alejandro asked if he wanted a mask for himself?
– Daiki Inaba had his long awaited singles match with Katsuhiko Nakajima, but failed to revenge himself for Nakajima’s behavior in W-1. Nakajima even went for the cocky pin by grinning and leaning on Inaba.
– There was usual chaos at the NOAH Junior Space sessions as Daisuke Harada is not there to take control. Atsushi Kotoge seems to be the main culprit, forgetting to invite Seiki Yoshioka in and at one time even failing to press record.
– It’s probably best that Daiki Inaba, who apparently likes to be in the nip backstage, was not present when NOAH was at Differ. It was bad enough that Sugi used to wander around naked…
– Mitsuharu Misawa wrote in a diary entry for 2006 about filming an advert for THE LEAVE, and having to sing first thing in the morning while they were filming. Probably due to the fact that he had a problem with his throat anyway, was a heavy smoker and had taken “so many chops and kicks” to it in his career, he said he sounded very hoarse.
EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH PROMOS
SUNNY VOYAGE – September 19th
N-INNOVATION – September 21st
GRAND SHIP 2022 IN NAGOYA/KEIJI MUTOH RETIREMENT ROAD – September 25th
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kaito Kiyomiya
Challenger: Kazuyuki Fujita, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
- GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
Challenger: Ninja Mack, [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: KojiSugi (Satoshi Kojima & Takashi Sugiura)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: The NOAH Junior Regulars (Atsushi Kotoge & Seiki Yoshioka)
Challengers: Kongoh Juniors (Tadasuke & Hi69), [Muto Retirement Road] ABEMA presents Ariake Gaisen-THE RETURN-PRO-WRESTLING LOVE FOREVER . 3 ~TRIUMPH~ Sunday 30th October, Ariake Arena, Tokyo
- GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
Challenger: Masa Kitamiya, SUNNY VOYAGE 2022 – Friday September 30th (Bandaijima Multi-Purpose Square Ogama)
(This event will not be broadcast live, but hopefully this match will be shown via Instagram)
THIS WEEK IN NOAH
– Friday, October 7th
STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Time: 18:30 JST
Broadcast: WrestleUniverse/ABEMA (live)
– Saturday, October 8th
STAR NAVIGATION 2022 – Korakuen Hall, Tokyo
Time: 18:30 JST
Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (live)
Note about broadcasts
Unless you are living in Japan or have a VPN you know is compatible with ABEMA, please do not subscribe to the service. For fans living outside of Japan, a subscription to WrestleUniverse would be better as they show more NOAH shows than ABEMA, and usually the events get uploaded very quickly. ABEMA broadcasts are only in Japanese, you can only watch them live, and this is the only NOAH they show. They do not broadcast old shows as these belong to Samurai TV.
BIRTHDAYS & ANNIVERSARIES
Wednesday, 5th October: Keiji Mutoh debut anniversary (38)
Wednesday, 5th October: Seiki Yoshioka debut anniversary (14)
“Taka & Satoshi” reveal a “dangerous detective” look, mischievous Suzuki is a reckless interpreter, the GHC tag signing ceremony is thrown into chaos by bizarre question and answer between the two teams
With thanks to: Metal NOAH
GIF taken from WrestleUniverse & NOAH Official YouTube
Picture credit: YO-HEY & NOAH.co.jp
Andrew’s IMPACT Wrestling Results & Match Ratings: 9.29.2022
Bound for Glory is 8 days away, but Victory Road just happened. What kind of show do we get with some fallout and penultimate hype?
Victory Road just happened, but Bound for Glory is like 8 nights away? You know I forgot that it was such a quick turn around. That makes tonight weird, since there’s some fallout, but then there’s gonna be a lot of table setting for Bound for Glory.
This episode could be awful. The last week or so haven’t exactly set the world afire, so I’m curious if the highlight really is just gonna be the Monster’s Ball with Masha and Allie Katch.
*insert joke about possibly gagging and balls and Swinger’s Dungeon*
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) September 30, 2022
- Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey w/Juice Robinson) vs Trey Miguel & Laredo Kid: Bullet Club win via Finesse & Fold – **
- IMPACT Digital Media Championship: Brian Myers (c) vs Crazzy Steve: Myers retains via Roster Cut – ** 1/2
- Delirious vs Black Taurus: Black Taurus wins via Destination Hellhole – ** 1/4
- PCO & Vincent vs Rich Swann & Heath: Rich wins via Phoenix Splash – ** 1/4
- Pick Your Poison: Monster’s Ball Match: Masha Slamovich vs Allie Katch: Masha wins via Russian Death Device – *** 1/2
Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey w/Juice Robinson) vs Trey Miguel & Laredo Kid
I don’t think I could care less about this match if I tried. Trey and Laredo are worthless. Laredo has eaten so many terrible losses and Trey is just bad. If the BC Juniors don’t win…I will really question the booking.
My biggest takeaway early is the commentary tries to put over Trey “turning heads”. No he doesn’t, he is legitimately hard to watch and everything that Will Ospreay did wrong in his early career; is basically Trey, but with less personality. Oh did you expect play by play? They isolate Laredo, decent tandem attacks, when Trey comes in it’s bad offense typical Cruiser garbage with laughable facials and body language.
Just typical crap with Trey. Were there some cool high spots? Sure. Do I care? NOPE.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) September 30, 2022
IMPACT Digital Media Championship: Brian Myers (c) vs Crazzy Steve
Steve starts with some of his quirky mat wrestling, Arm Wringers into Drop Toe Holds and face biting. It shocked Myers early, but he takes a small shortcut and starts trying to slow down the psycho from Decay. Steve bounces off the ropes and Myers does his sliding trip move before commercial.
Back from commercial, Snapmare from Steve and the neck twister into some corner offense of Hip Attacks and Sentons for 2. Myers dodges King Kill 33, lands a few pot shots, Implant DDT for 2. Into the corner, face bite, Upside Down, after the rope break Myers grabs the referee to block Steve. Eye Poke, Roster Cut, AND STILL…
Simple, but entertaining. Plus it continues Myers’ arrogant, full of himself for absolutely no reason persona. Oh and he offers up an Open Challenge for Bound for Glory. Maybe Bobby Fish? Someone new? Could be interesting.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) September 30, 2022
Delirious vs Black Taurus
Delirious is between gibberish and Stone Cold early on while they’re just trading shots. Delirious twists the Nose Ring…in the mask…and Taurus sells it momentarily before stomping the foot and decking him. This is just a weird match. I mean we all know Delirious is weird, but he’s not all comedy; and Taurus is supposed to be legit-ish.
Admittedly, with the exception of Victory Road, it has been years since I’ve watched a Delirious match. So the level of ridiculousness has hit Toru Yano levels, especially after the 10 count Leg Drops. Taurus powders, comes back in, Shoulder Tackle, Blackhole Backbreaker into a Samoan Drop. As soon as Taurus looks in charge, Delirious throws together a combo, eats a Headbutt and then Destination Hellhole.
Sheesh okay after 2 interview segments we get to Honor No More’s victory celebration segment. Just a lot of talking and inaction, so this just goes to feed that weird feeling I had coming into the show because of the timing. Eddie does the usual thing where hates on PCO and accuses him of being the weak link, which is a smart story angle since the fans tend to like PCO’s gimmick and this makes him more sympathetic to casual observers.
Oh good Taven is talking now. Wait did I just say that? DAMN YOU IMPACT! Made me like Matt Taven. Maria stirs the pot a little saying that Eddie is a better wrestler than Josh and Moose…by the implications.
Thank God, Josh Alexander finally breaks up the segment with…more talking. Okay never mind. Jesus since the end of the Delirious match it was like 15 minutes before Josh finally charged the ring and threw down a bit with Honor No More. Rich Swann and Heath make a bit of the babyface save for Josh, but the numbers are still on Honor No More’s side. Oh MCMG come down in a tracksuit and dress clothes! Someone wasn’t ready to be doing a run in.
PCO & Vincent vs Rich Swann & Heath
Well isn’t that convenient that four of the men in the donnybrook were supposed to be in a match anyway.
Rich uses his quickness to try and stay ahead of PCO, but PCO cuts him off in the corner into the Corner Hung Codebreaker, then the leaned against the ropes Leg Drop thing. Vincent throws together a T-Bone Suplex into a Flatliner and keeps the vibes flowing on Rich Swann.
PCO clears out Heath, but PCO’s hand gets stuck in the ropes. Vincent eats a flip kick and the Phoenix Splash while PCO and Heath are brawling on the outside after the rope issue with PCO.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) September 30, 2022
Pick Your Poison: Monster’s Ball Match: Masha Slamovich vs Allie Katch
Haymakers and Headbutts start things off as they both hit the ropes and lay out one another with dual clotheslines. Trash can lid duel, Masha gets first contact, but Allie blocks and returns 3 shots. German Suplex from Masha into whipping her with a chain, some choking and then general pulling with the chain in Katch’s mouth or around her eyes. Katch claws at Masha’s eyes to try and get some space.
Headbutts and Biting from Masha as Allie tries to power out of a Bow and Arrow. More chain choking…I’m not sure if this is a wrestling match or BDSM prep at the moment. Ahh Masha needs more Cowbell but Allie cuts her off with a trash can lid. Allie tries a Piledriver through a door, but Masha turns it into an Air Raid Crash into the opposite corner.
Commercial break, and Allie is getting choked again. Spots get a little redundant, slams, chokes, and blood. OHHH – it’s a “Use the Door” chant. I thought it was – nah – I won’t say what I thought it was. Chairshot from Masha misses, but a Snap Suplex from Masha onto the chair gets some usefulness. Straight Right to the gut and an Axe Kick allows Masha to hit the Death Valley Driver onto the propped up chair. Masha goes back to biting after it was only 2. Allie cuts off Masha going to the top, Superplex onto the trash can lid, into a Death Valley Driver through the door – but Masha kicks out.
Allie tries a Piledriver on the apron a few times, but Masha blocks. Masha tries for the Release German to the floor but Allie holds on. Dazed strikes, bites and then a Russian Leg Sweep through the table lays both out for a short time. Masha grabs a black bag, it’s gotta be tacks for Monster’s Ball. Masha eats a few tacks for good show, picks up Allie but Allie fights. Piledriver into the tacks from Allie, only 2. Allie opens a trash can, and empties a bunch of cut up soda cans. Hits Masha with the can, Masha fires, Spinning Heel Kick and then Russian Death Device into the pile of tacks and cans.
Overall Score: 6.25/10
The main event was pretty good, maybe even a little better than I gave it credit for; I’m just sick of seeing some crazy hardcore match so often from Impact. It feels like its weekly, and that’s too damn much. Trey is terrible, and that’s a hill I’m willing to die on. He sells poorly, he doesn’t tell a story with his wrestling and he looks like an idiot pretending to be something he isn’t; and that’s talented.
Myers is fine with his classic delusional heel style, Delirious gave a bit of a rub to Taurus so I’m guessing he’s probably next up in the X Division. But a straight 15 minutes of interviews and talking is just too damn much especially when the surrounding wrestling isn’t very good or hearty enough to help people tolerate talking time.
I do however love Joe Hendry. So…yeah. There’s always some quirky gimmicks that just resonate well with me, and this is gorgeous.
All in all, decent enough; though next week could be a real banger of a Go Home.
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