SmackDown prepares for the last stop on the Road to Wrestlemania! Will any shenanigans go down during Daniel Bryan’s & Kofi Kingston’s contract signing?
- Johnny Gargano w/ Tommaso Ciampa VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus; cancelled for…
- The Bar VS The Hardy Boyz; The Hardy Boyz win.
- WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS ???; changed into…
- WWE United States Championship Triple Threat: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio; Truth wins and retains the WWE United States Championship.
- Aleister Black & Ricochet VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev w/ Lana; Black & Ricochet win.
- Kevin Owens & Kofi Kingston VS Daniel Bryan & Rowan; Owens & Kingston win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Stephanie and Shane McMahon open SmackDown!
The New Daniel Bryan and Erick Rowan are already in the ring for tonight’s contract signing. In just under two weeks, Bryan will defend his WWE Championship at Fastlane. And the challenger is a veteran of 11 years with incredible charisma and high-flying ability. We flashback to that day in 2008 when he debuted, and then have a montage of all the amazing Royal Rumble survivals. This man has also been a multiple-time Intercontinental Champion, a United States Champion, and of course a historic WWE Tag Team Champion alongside the New Day.
This man has been overlooked but no longer! Two weeks ago, fate smiled upon this man when he was a last-minute substitute for a Gauntlet Match and lasted over an hour, while eliminating Daniel Bryan. He also lasted about as long in the Elimination Chamber, where he brought Bryan to his limits. And even last week, this same man defeated the WWE Champion in a star-studded Six Man Tag. And now, for the first time ever, this same man has a 1v1 chance at the world championship, that man is Kofi Kingston! Awww~ Charlotte, North Carolina! Feel~ the power~ as The New Day accompanies the #1 contender to the ring! Fans chant for Kofi as he slings pancakes and hits the ring. Big E gives Stephanie and Shane big hugs, and Xavier Woods plays Francesca loud and proud! Kofi even takes an extra lap to high-five the fans!
Kofi jumps in the ring and grabs a mic to recount the 11 years. All he’s ever wanted was a chance, and after 11 long years, “it’s happening, BABYYYY~!” This moment would not be possible if not for his brothers, the NEW~ DAY~! Fans tell Kofi, “You Deserve It!” Kofi admits none of this would be possible if not for the Tweets, the letters, the sky-writing and smoke signals from the WWE Universe wanting this to happen! At Fastlane, Kofi vows to do what everyone has wanted him to do for a very long time. Kofi stares Bryan down as he says he will beat Bryan, and finally become WWE Champion. Bryan is stoic as Kofi drops the mic and takes a seat. Shane asks Bryan sign the contract first. Bryan does, and passes the contract over. Kofi signs, but here comes Vince McMahon!?
The Chairman walks to the ring and applauds. Vince knows Kofi is extraordinary, but before this signing is finished, he wants to personally say how he appreciates everything Kofi has done these 11 years. “Truly remarkable, truly.” However, as the chairman, Vince feels he needs to give us the biggest attraction possible. Therefore, Vince is making another executive decision: he’s replacing Kofi. WHAT?! Vince says there is someone more deserving. Fans boo and The New Day is livid as Vince says this man is more qualified than Kofi, too. Vince presents the new #1 contender: Kevin Owens! The Prizefighter is back already!? Kevin walks down the ramp and fans aren’t sure what to make of this. The New Day does, though: this is an outrage!
Kevin walks into the ring, sits at the table, and even though Big E and Woods protest, there is nothing Shane or Stephanie can do about Vince’s decision. Fans chant for Kofi but Kofi can barely watch as Kevin signs the contract. The New Day leaves the ring, completely beside themselves. And Bryan seems to smirk. The fans still support Kofi but is there anything that can be done?
Kevin Owens talks with Stephanie and Shane backstage.
He knows they had nothing to do with Vince’s decision, and weren’t even expecting it, but Kevin is just glad to have his talents recognized. The New Day’s reaction aside, did they notice Bryan’s smug reaction? Yes, of course. Well Kevin, despite his great position already, simply asks to team with the equally deserving Kofi Kingston against Bryan and Rowan. Tonight? Yes, tonight. Stephanie and Shane will consider it. Kevin is thankful for even that much. Will Kevin’s odd request be granted? Will Kofi even accept it?
Johnny Gargano w/ Tommaso Ciampa VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus!
The Bar lost to the duo formerly known as DIY last week, but by the skin of Ciampa’s and Gargano’s teeth. However, Johnny Wrestling and the Psycho Killer are back again and ready for more! Will Gargano be able to beat the Swiss Cyborg 1v1? Or will The Bar even the score-
Wait a minute! That’s not DIY! That’s Team XTreme! Matt Hardy returns and is alongside his brother, Jeff, here in Carolina! And now it’s a tag match!
The Bar VS The Hardy Boyz!
Was this another executive decision by The Chairman? Either way, Matt and Jeff are here, will they DELETE an unprepared Cesaro & Sheamus?
The teams sort out and Cesaro starts against Brother Nero at the bell. Jeff and Cesaro tie up and Cesaro gets a wristlock. Jeff kicks and wrenches back then clubs Cesaro’s arm. He tags to Matt and Matt climbs up to drop an ax handle! Matt wrenches to shoulder breakers as he shouts “DELETE! DELETE!” Cesaro hits back, then European Uppercuts Matt to the corner. Tag to Sheamus and Sheamus throws body shots. Sheamus throws haymakers, too, then knees Matt low. Sheamus whips Matt but Matt kicks back. Matt throws big haymakers then tags Jeff. The Hardys whip and elbow Sheams down, senton and fist drop combo! Cesaro runs in but into the leg splitting double leg drops! The Bar bails out as the Hardys combing, SUPER Poetry in Motion! We go picture in picture while The Hardys stand tall.
Matt chants “DELETE! DELETE!” with the fans while Jeff puts Sheamus into barriers. Jeff puts Sheamus in the ring for a kick to the corner. Jeff whips corner to corner but Sheamus reverses. Sheamus runs into boots, and Jeff goes up, only for Cesaro to trip him up! Jeff tumbles down to the ground but the referee keeps Matt back. Sheamus tags Cesaro and Cesaro fetches Jeff into the ring. Cesaro hops up and mocks the Hardy finger point before dropping the leg. Cover, TWO! Tag to Sheamus, and The Celtic Gladiator drags Jeff up. Jeff throws hands but runs into an elbow! Sheamus and Cesaro do the Fusion Pose, then they mock the Delete. Jeff crawls but Sheamus catches him! Sheamus drags Jeff all the way back. Jeff fights out with a jawbreaker!
Sheamus tags Cesaro and Cesaro gets Jeff for a Swiss Swing! Cesaro brings Jeff around and around a dozen times, then puts on the Sharpshooter! Jeff endures but Matt clobbers Cesaro to save him. The ref reprimands Matt while Cesaro tags Sheamus. Sheamus puts Jeff on the apron for Beats of the Bodhrain! Sheamus goes all the way to 10 before inverted suplexing Jeff in! Cover, TWO! The Bar grows frustrated but Sheamus keeps on Jeff with a chinlock. We return to single picture as fans rally up for Jeff. “DELETE! DELETE!” echoes out as Jeff fights back. Jeff reaches but Sheamus keeps him from Matt. Sheamus tags Cesaro and Cesaro stomps Jeff. The Bar double whip and Bar Lariat Jeff down! Cover, TWO! Jeff shows his toughness and fans rally up. Cesaro knees Jeff then boots Matt! Tag to Sheamus and they whip Jeff to a corner.
Jeff fights back with elbows, then climbs, Whisper in the Wind gets two for one! Everyone else is down but Matt is back on the corner! Jeff crawls but so does Sheamus, hot tags to Cesaro and Matt! Matt rallies with haymakers then DELETE bumps on buckles! Fans fire up with Matt as he runs back in for a clothesline, but bulldog denied! Side Effect hits! Cover, TWO! Matt hops up and leaps for a big elbow! Cover, TWO! Matt keeps his focus as he calls for the Twist. But Sheamsu returns, so Matt hits him back out. Matt wants the Twist but Cesaro pushes Matt into ropes! Sheamus hits the knee! Roll up, TWO!!
Sheamus tags in and Cesaro climbs up. Jeff intercepts Cesaro with a Twist of Fate! Matt rolls Sheamus, TWO! Matt hits HIS Twist of Fate! Tag to Jeff, who throws his shirt off! SWANTON BOMB! Cover, The Hardy Boyz win!
Winners: The Hardy Boyz, Jeff pinning
With so much madness going on, this match came outta nowhere, but the Hardys take advantage! Will Matt and Jeff take the SmackDown Tag Division back by storm?
Aleister Black & Ricochet react to The Hardy Boyz being back.
Imagine a match of the Dutch Destroyer and King of Flight against those tag legends. But the Ravishing Russian walks in. Can they help her? Lana just doesn’t see what the fuss is all about. Ricochet’s nothing special and Aleister is rather ordinary. They’re not former US Champions or veterans. They’re just two men who will be crushed. Lana must not have watched Raw, because they beat the Raw Tag Team Champions. But the best thing about those who say Ricochet’s nothing special is the look on their face when he proves them wrong. The look on Lana’s face will be priceless when Rusev realizes he can’t crush what he can’t catch.
And Aleister says that Lana fears the unknown. The only thing she needs to know is what’s written on his skin. To translate, Rusev & Nakamura will #FadetoBlack. Lana leaves speechless, will she be just as stunned silent after their tag match?
R-Truth and Carmella head to the ring!
What’s up?! Word is Truth is going to revive the United States Championship Open Challenge, after the break!
The newest WWE Hall of Fame inductee: Honky Tonk Man!
One of the greatest WWE Intercontinental Champions of all time, he’s cool, he’s cocky, and he’s b-b-b-b-b-b-bad! And now, he’s getting an HoF ring!
WWE United States Championship Open Challenge: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS ???
SmackDown returns and Truth says the truth is, ever since he was “a wee, wee little tyke”, he’s wanted to be just like his hero, John Cena. So just like Cena, Truth will continue the tradition of this championship open challenge. And that open challenge starts… When? Right after the Seven Second Dance Break~~! Truth and Carmella shimmy and shake, and the challenge is answered by El Idolo! Andrade Almas and Zelina Vega march right out to the ring, but Rey Mysterio intercepts him and gets in the ring! Almas follows after, but Truth says they all need to calm down. Can’t we all just get along? Truth has a dilemma now. He doesn’t know who he’s supposed to face right now!
In moments like this, Truth says, What Would John Cena Do? Cena would make it a Triple Threat. Really? “Damn, he brave.” Truth was thinking of saying “No thank you” to both, but for John, he’ll do it! Truth takes a big risk putting the title up against both El Idolo and the King of Lucha Libre, can he come out of this still the champion?
WWE United States Championship Triple Threat: R-Truth w/ Carmella VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio!
The title is raised and we begin this huge match! Almas dropkicks Mysterio right away, but Truth hits Almas back. Truth runs but Almas dodges the scissor kick to boot Truth back. Mysterio springboards and huricanranas Almas out! Mysterio runs at Truth but slides under, Truth comes back with the spinning elbow! Cover, TWO! Truth and Mysterio get up, and Truth runs, only to be put on the apron. Almas grabs Truth for a powerbomb to the ground! Mysterio wrecks Almas with a dropkick, then runs to SLIDE, into Almas’ dropkick! All three men are down while we go to break.
SmackDown returns and Truth goes after Almas on the top rope. Truth has Almas in an Electric Chair, and Mysterio springboards, SUPER Huricanrana! Vega is shocked as Mysterio covers, TWO! Carmella coaches up Truth while Vega shouts to Almas. Mysterio kicks Truth but Truth elbows back. Truth runs but so does Mysterio, double crossbodies cancel out! Fans fire up as all three men slowly get to corners. Almas targets Mysterio, CIEN KNEES! Then he aims at Truth, but Truth dodges! Truth counter punches Almas and then whips. Almas reverses but Truth runs him over! Truth does the splits then hits the kick! Carmella fires up with Truth as he runs corner to corner, for a big splash! Then a spin-out powerbomb, a la Cena!
Speaking of Cena, Truth says “You Can’t See Me!” Then the Five Knuckle Shuffle! Cover, TWO! Truth keeps his cool as he fireman’s carries Almas. But Vega disrupts that, until Carmella trips her up! Almas throws Truth into a post! Mysterio springboards for a seated senton, then keeps moving to tilt-o-whirl Almas onto ropes! Mysterio dials it up, 619 misses! Almas shoves, but runs into a boot. Mysterio runs but runs into the boot feint to elbow! Cover, TWO!! Almas grows frustrated, but he stays on Mysterio. He drags Mysterio up and whips, but Mysterio boots back. Mysterio springboards, but is caught! Truth returns to waistlock Almas, but Mysterio slips out and dropkicks them both onto ropes! Mysterio dials it up, 619 to Almas! Truth rolls Mysterio!! Truth wins!!
Winner: R-Truth, by pinfall; still WWE United States Champion
Truth gambles and wins big! All because he did it like Cena! Will Truth keep on rolling down The Road to Wrestlemania?
As for Mysterio, Almas attacks him from behind! Hammerlock, La Sombra is denied! Mysterio dials it up but Vega helps Almas bail out. El Idolo and The King have a lot left to settle between them. Who will stand tall on their own Road to Wrestlemania?
Charlotte Flair heads to the ring!
The Queen is in her namesake city and Flair Country is happy to see her. Charlotte knows, like everyone else knows, that Raw got a little too rowdy as Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey had another brawl, resulting in Becky being arrested. The Baddest Woman on the Planet put it on Stephanie McMahon to get Vince to make the right decision, and then dropped the title in the ring. The Queen says it’s not often that she gets to simply witness history. She saw that Fastlane got “even better” with Kevin Owens replacing Kofi Kingston to take on Daniel Bryan. That was almost as important a change as when Vince “anointed Your Queen to save the main event of Wrestlemania”! Charlotte knows why Vince did it, even as fans chant for “Becky! Becky!” She says Vince did it because Charlotte stays in her lane.
“Unlike the criminal, Becky Lynch, and the quitter, Ronda Rousey”, Charlotte does what she’s told and always delivers. From media to charity to live events to the main event, Charlotte is the gold standard. Ronda throws away the title Charlotte proudly defended. Charlotte knows what Becky and Ronda were thinking, because it’s so simple. “They fear me.” Fear makes people do irrational things. Becky fears Charlotte will expose her as the fraud she really is, and Ronda fears that Charlotte will beat her down like she did at Survivor Series. Charlotte fears nothing, and a true champion fears no one. Ronda had her opinions on what a true champion is. Footage plays from November that Ronda talked about being the “best in the world on your worst day.”
Charlotte and Ronda finally agree because Ronda said it herself. But the difference is that Charlotte would never quit, and would never lay down a title. Because Charlotte is The TRUE Champion! That’s why on next Monday’s Raw, Charlotte will be there so Vince can crown the new Raw Women’s Champion as “someone who deserves it: Your Queen, Charlotte Flair!” Charlotte points at the Wrestlemania sign, but will she really be walking in as champion?
Aleister Black & Ricochet VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev w/ Lana!
The Embodiment of the End once again joins forces with The One and Only. They were victorious over The Revival, but will they make the Bulgarian Brute and King of Strong Style #FadetoBlack? Or will Rusev and Nakamura MACHKA the Dutch Destroyer and King of Flight with a #Knee2Face?
SmackDown returns as the teams sort out. Nakamura starts against Aleister and they circle. Nakamura tests Aleister with kicks then puts him against the ropes. The King of Strong Style taunts Aleister with his ab rest but Aleister turns it around. Aleister backs off but swings a kick! Nakamura dodges it and struts around. Nakamura shouts “C’MON!” and Aleister rushes him! He dodges, but so does Aleister. Aleister rolls off Nakamura’s back, then dodges Nakamura’s roundhouse by sitting down and crossing the legs. Nakamura tries again but Aleister dodges, kips up and arm-drags Nakamura to an armlock! Nakamura gets up but Ricochet tags in. Ricochet and Aleister double whip and then drop toehold to a dropkick! Cover, ONE, but Ricochet keeps on Nakamura with an arm wrench.
Ricochet yanks on Nakamura’s arm but Nakamura kicks out a leg! Nakamura tags in Rusev and Rusev stomps Ricochet to a corner. Rusev stomps a mudhole into Ricochet but backs off at 4. Ricochet flounders to ropes but Rusev is on him with haymakers. Rusev toys with “Ricky” then tags in Nakamura. They both stomp Ricochet then mug him with roundhouses. Fans chant “USA! USA!” as Nakamura grinds Ricochet with a facelock. Ricochet endures while Lana mocks his pain. Nakamura rams his knees in then tags in Rusev. Rusev kicks Ricochet now and then drags Ricochet up for a big suplex! Cover, TWO! Rusev stays between Ricochet and Aleister as he looms over him. Rusev whips Ricochet to the corner but runs into a boot! Ricochet fights his way out, then up and over, hot tags to Nakamura and Aleister!
Aleister rallies on the Rockstar, sweep to knee! Aleister handsprings and fires up, but Rusev stands in his way. Nakamura dynamic dropkicks Aleister right out! Tag to Rusev and Rusev runs Aleister over! The Brute roars while we go picture in picture.
Lana cheers for Rusev as he looms over Aleister. Rusev puts Aleister in and covers, TWO! Rusev stays between Aleister and Ricochet as he stomps Aleister to the ropes. Big elbow drop and Rusev toys with Aleister. Tag to Nakamura and Rusev hoists Aleister up for Nakamura’s Top Shelf Knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura keeps on Aleister with a chinlock. He digs a knee into Aleister’s back as he shifts to a modified cobra clutch. Aleister flails and fights up, but Nakamura knees low. Nakamura stomps Aleister then tags Rusev in. Rusev drags Aleister up to the ropes and chokes him with a full straddle! Rusev backs off at 4 but Lana SLAPS Aleister! The ref checks on Aleister while fans boo and jeer. Rusev drags Aleister up to kick him against the ropes!
Rusev circles Aleister before stomping his hand! Aleister crawls to a corner, his feet up in a guard. Rusev taunts to “rookie”, and counter punches with big haymakers. Rusev stomps Aleister then drags him back up for a bearhug! Aleister endures the squeeze while fans build to a rally. Aleister drives elbows into Rusev’s head and breaks free! He throws haymakers on Rusev but Rusev shoves to clobber Aleister! Rusev drags Aleister up and lets the fans cheer for Aleister. Rusev back suplexes but Aleister makes it a crossbody! Both men are down but fans fire up. Hot tag to Ricochet! Ricochet rallies on Rusev, and even headscissors him to a corner! Ricochet rams a shoulder in then boots Nakamura down. He swing kicks Rusev away, then springboards for a flying uppercut! Standing shooting star! Cover, TWO!
Lana is furious but Ricochet keeps going. He puts Rusev in a drop zone and climbs up, but Rusev gets clear of the Phoenix Splash! Ricochet rolls through and dodges the Machka Kick, to leap for a crossbody! Rusev catches it for a big urenage! Cover, TWO! Rusev grimaces as Ricochet survives. Rusev roars that he hates the rookies! He stomps Ricochet, but Ricochet slips out the back. Ricochet forearms but Rusev haymakers. Tag to Nakamura and they double whip Ricochet. Ricochet stops himself, elbows Nakamura away then dumps Rusev out. Tag to Aleister! Aleister helps Ricochet FLY and hit Rusev! Aleister gets Nakamura but Nakamura fights him off. Nakamura hits the reverse exploder! Nakamura takes aim, but runs into BLACK MASS! Cover, Aleister & Ricochet win!
Winners: Aleister Black & Ricochet, Black pinning
Another big win for this high-flying and hard-hitting combination! Will Aleister and Ricochet be an unlikely tag team sensation on the main roster?
Backstage interview with AJ Styles.
The Phenomenal One wants to say he’s happy to hear Roman Reigns is in remission. A truly great thing, but on to how Styles is without something to do on the Road to Wrestlemania. this might be the first time he’s ever been in a slump. Styles says there’s nothing anyone else can say he hasn’t already thought. Anything less than perfection is a disappointment. Styles’ standards are what push him to be his best. But he’ll admit he’s not at his best, and that’s what allowed Daniel Bryan to become WWE Champion. Styles could’ve stopped Bryan, but he failed. For now. It took Styles a long time to even reach the WWE, and nothing was ever handed to him. Styles will stop listening to critics, pick himself up, dust himself off and step up to keep this the House that AJ Styles Built.
But in walks Randy Orton. The Viper says this isn’t AJ Styles’ house. Orton then leaves, but will he be back to strike outta nowhere?
Lacey Evans walks out to the ring!
The Model Soldier again “classes up” the show by simply appearing. Lacey leaves again, but when will she spend an extended time on screen?
Kevin Owens & Kofi Kingston VS Daniel Bryan & Rowan!
There’s very little positivity left after the title match was stolen from Kofi by Vince McMahon’s executive decision. However, can Kofi put that aside long enough to win tonight’s main event match? Or is this going to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back?
SmackDown returns as Bryan and Rowan make their entrance. The teams sort out and Kofi starts against Bryan. Fans are strongly behind Kofi and Bryan tags out to Big Red. Rowan circles with Kofi and they tie up. Rowan shoves Kofi down and gloats in his strength. Fans boo and Kofi keeps calm. Kofi and Rowan circle and tie up again, and Rowan scoop slams Kofi hard. Fans boo again while Bryan applauds. Kofi dodges and fires off kicks on Rowan in the corner! Kofi runs but gets run over! Rowan roars and Bryan applauds but Kevin tags in. Kevin circles with Rowan and starts throwing fast hands! Rowan runs Kevin over, too! Kevin kicks back and CHOPS. He throws forearms and chops but Rowan turns things around. Rowan runs into a boot, but then dropkicks Kevin down! Cover, ONE!
Rowan brings Kevin over and Bryan tags in. Bryan kicks Kevin then whips. Kevin reverses and things speed up, Kevin runs Bryan over! Fans actually cheer the Prizefighter as he bumps Bryan off buckles. Kevin throws body shots, then tags Kofi in. Kevin snapmares Bryan down for Kofi to Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO! Kofi throws forearms on Bryan and whips but Bryan reverses. Kofi grabs ropes and dumps Bryan out. He tags Kevin in? Kofi wants Kevin to prove what he can do, and Kevin actually FLIES! Kevin mildly impresses Kofi while we go to break.
SmackDown returns again and Rowan puts Kofi in the ring. Rowan covers, TWO! Fans rally for Kofi as Rowan drives knees into Kofi’s back again and again. Rowan wraps Kofi into a chinlock and Bryan shouts for Rowan to “grind him down!” Rowan shifts to a neck wrench, but Kofi fights his way up. Kofi throws hands but Rowan shoves and runs him over! Fans boo as Rowan drags Kofi up into a pumphandle. Rowan lifts and gives Kofi a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Rowan tags in Bryan for Bryan to snapmare Kofi and stand on his face! Bryan then drags Kofi up, but Kofi fights back with body shots. Bryan rocks Kofi with a European Uppercut! “You see that?!” Bryan pulls Kofi against the ropes then backs off at 4 to dropkick him down! The referee reprimands Bryan, but he goes out to dropkick Kofi all the way down!
Tag to Rowan, and Rowan fetches Kofi. Rowan scoops and slams Kofi to the ground! Fans tell Rowan and Bryan “You Suck!” but Rowan just scoops and puts Kofi in the ring. Cover, TWO! Rowan stomps Kofi then runs to drop a big splash! Cover, TWO! Rowan wraps Kofi up in another chinlock and then shifts to the knuckle vice. He squeezes Kofi’s head, then rakes the eyes! Kofi gets to ropes but Rowan drags him back over. Rowan lifts Kofi to the Canadian rack, then rams him into buckles! Bryan tags in and Rowan hits Kevin for good measure! Kevin protests but Bryan throws hands on Kofi. Bryan climbs up to join Kofi, then SUPERPLEXES Kofi! Cover, TWO! Kofi still lives but Bryan tries another cover, TWO! Bryan drags Kofi up for a wristlock and twists the arm.
Kofi hits back with haymakers! But Bryan kicks and back suplexes. Kofi lands on his feet and rolls Bryan, TWO, into the LaBell Lock! Bryan pulls Kofi back but Kofi scrambles to get the ropebreak! Bryan lets go and drags Kofi back up to bump off buckles. He gives No Kicks to Kofi in the corner, then runs corner to corner, for a big dropkick! Bryan keeps going for a second dropkick! Bryan goes again, but gets double stomps! Kofi and Bryan are down and crawling for their corners. Hot tag to Kevin! Kevin rallies on Bryan with CHOPS and forearms! He whips Bryan and tosses him with a back drop! Kevin runs in for a big corner clothesline, then hops up for a missile dropkick! Kevin hits Rowan back then drops a senton on Bryan! He boots Rowan out then aims at Bryan in a corner. CANNONBALL!
But Rowan’s back, and grabs Kevin by the head! Kevin fights out and dumps Rowan out. Rowan is up fast, but a SUPERKICK sends him back down! Pop-Up Powerbomb on Bryan! TWO!! Kevin can’t believe it, but fans know “This is Awesome!” Kevin climbs up high, but Rowan yanks him down! Rowan throws Kevin over the announce desk! And then he tears the desk cover off! Kofi slingshots onto Rowan but is caught! Kofi slips out to shove Rowan into the post! Then Kofi climbs up top to LEAP for a Trust Fall! Kofi wipes Rowan out but Bryan puts Kevin in the ring. Bryan takes aim, runs out, but misses in the corner! Kevin hits a STUNNER! Cover, Kevin and Kofi win!
Winners: Kevin Owens & Kofi Kingston, Owens pinning
The Kevin Owens Show returns already as Kevin gets the pinfall on the world champion! Can Kevin do it again when it’s 1v1? Will Kofi ever get his fair shot at the title?
A pretty wild but pretty fun episode of SmackDown. It was very surprising to see the contract signing open the night, but the moment Vince McMahon came out, it was pretty clear why. Vince copy and pastes the idea from the Raw Women’s Championship for the WWE Championship, yet far less justified in kayfabe. In a vacuum, it puts way more heat on Vince and some instant heat on Kevin Owens. But because we’re already getting this with Ronda, Charlotte and Becky, it seems a bit lazy. Speaking of Charlotte, her promo tonight was good, and it makes sense she just assumes she will be given the title since she was simply given the match. I’m pretty sure this move will prompt protest from Ronda, and she might even end up a challenger in the inevitable Triple Threat because of that.
Another crazy thing is that we didn’t get Gargano VS Cesaro tonight. That match would’ve been amazing, but The Bar VS Hardy Boyz was a great surprise, a great match, and a great win for Matt & Jeff. Ricochet & Aleister continue to win, too, in a great match with Nakamura & Rusev. It seems WWE might be trying to bolster their main roster tag divisions again, to further appease The Revival’s disgruntled feeling. I can’t be sure if Aleister and Ricochet will really stay a team, but they’re doing pretty well so far. I’m sure we can get Gargano VS Cesaro next week as the Fastlane go-home, and more DIY on either show once we’re past Wrestlemania Weekend.
I’m a little disappointed that we were hyped for Usos but then didn’t get Usos, but perhaps the time constraints caused their segment to be scrapped. That might also be moved to next week for the go-home, to further hype the Usos VS Miz & Shane rematch. The United States Championship Open Challenge was a lot of fun, and it was great to see R-Truth copy John Cena’s moves. Truth retains but the match does a lot to keep the Almas VS Mysterio story alive. Chances are there will be a big multi-man match for the US title at Wrestlemania, and it’d be pretty great if Truth finds a way to retain again. Or if Mustafa Ali returns in time, he can take the title in a match with him, Truth, Almas, Mysterio and maybe even two others.
Clearly Orton VS Styles is still going to happen, that was made clear by Orton basically questioning everything Styles said in his promo. And while Kevin VS Bryan is happening at Fastlane, that doesn’t mean Kofi won’t get his shot. The tag team main event was a great match, too. The story was obvious and well-done, and both Kofi and Kevin were strong in this match. Kevin currently occupies an odd space that by default is Tweener. He’ll be cheered as Face against Bryan but likely booed as a Heel against Kofi. In fact, Kevin VS Kofi should happen in the go-home to really get some hype and heat going, since that’s apparently what WWE wants for this story. I’m confident Bryan retains, especially with Rowan ringside to get involved. And even if Kevin wins, hopefully Kofi goes to Wrestlemania, wins, and finally get the grand slam he deserves.
My Score: 8.5/10
Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (7/13/19)
The Kingdom, Jay Lethal and The Bouncers in a big Six Man main event!
ROH Wrestling Television, Episode 408
Manhattan Mayhem is on the horizon, and so is a major ROH World Championship match! But before Matt Taven and Jay Lethal face off 1v1, they bring allies to the ring for a truly massive Six Man Tag match!
- Proving Ground: Rhett Titus VS Shane Taylor; Taylor wins.
- WOH World Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival: Stella Grey VS Jenny Rose VS Angelina Love VS Tasha Steelz; Steelz wins and will challenge Kelly Klein for the title at Summer Supercard.
- Six Man Tag: The Kingdom VS Jay Lethal & The Bouncers; Lethal & The Bouncers win.
PLAY BY PLAY
ROH looks back to Best in the World.
The Peacock faced Rush’s brother, Dragon Lee, and beat him using Rush’s moves! The Best of 3 Series’ third match saw the K I N G topple the Franchise Player! And the Villain Enterprises expanded to include an army! A FLIP Army! The Allure used every trick up their sleeves to beat the Pretty Badass and American Joshi, but were confronted by Maria Manic! Manic didn’t get her hands on Mandy Leon or the Beautiful People, so she ran roughshod over security! And most shocking of all, Matt Taven didn’t need to resort to anything underhanded to down the Hawaiian Juggernaut!! How can anyone hope to stop Taven’s #PurpleReign now?
Kenny King joins ROH commentary for this opening contest.
Coming off a big victory over THE Jay Lethal, the K I N G wants to see what his old friends are up to.
Proving Ground: Rhett Titus VS Shane Taylor!
The Fittest returns to in-ring action to show that Strong Beach physique. But will physique be enough to survive the Notorious Hitman and ROH World Television Champion?
Rhett wants to shake hands with his former Rebellion brother, but Taylor SPITS on the Code of Honor! Rhett just uses it as body oil. The bell rings and the 10 minute time limit starts counting down. All Rhett has to do is survive the 10 minutes, and he gets a future shot at the title!
Fans rally as the two circle. Taylor shoves Rhett down and taunts him as he stands up. Rhett comes back to waistlock, but Taylor standing switches. Rhett powers his way out, but gets caught in a full nelson! Taylor grins but Rhett powers out of the nelson! Taylor headlocks but Rhett powers out to headlock back. Rhett grinds but Taylor powers out and runs Rhett over! Taylor wants Rhett to stop playing, and scoops him up. Rhett slips out and dropkicks Taylor back! Rhett grins and flexes, but then he tries to fireman’s carry, and Taylor is too much. Taylor spins Rhett, misses one way but hits the clothesline on the other! ROH goes to break as Taylor dares Rhett to get up.
ROH returns and Rhett wrecks Taylor with a dropkick. Rhett shows off his core strength with leg raises, but Taylor pulls him down to ROCK him with that One Hitter Quitter! Taylor drags Rhett up and into the ring to put him on the apron. Taylor climbs up, to drop the leg! He laughs and taunts Rhett as he CHOPS the chest! Rhett gasps for air while he crawls to a corner. Taylor climbs in and throws another big right! Rhett forearms Taylor back! Rhett backs Taylor down but Taylor blocks and reverses the whip to rock him again! Taylor yanks Rhett up but Rhett lands on his feet! Rhett rocks Taylor back with a JAB!
Rhett is in the corner again, and dodges Taylor as he runs in, to give him back a splash! And a BOOT! Then side to side for another! Rhett keeps moving to boot again! Fans fire up with The Fittest as he fireman’s carries Taylor again! For a Samoan Drop! Cover, TWO! Rhett keeps his cool as Taylor goes to a corner. Rhett runs corner to corner but his boot is blocked! Taylor shoves Rhett back to KNEE him in the face! Cover, TWO!! Rhett survives and now Taylor is frustrated. Taylor toys with Rhett but Rhett SLAPS him back! Taylor pie faces but Rhett CHOPS and forearms away! Rhett fires off forearm after forearm but Taylor bobs ‘n’ weaves to HEADBUTT! Cover, Taylor wins!
Winner: Shane Taylor, by pinfall
Rhett fell short of proving himself worthy, and the ROH World TV Champion continues rolling on. Kenny gives Taylor his due props, but goes to check on Rhett in the ring.
“I’m searching for the words, man, to describe what I just saw out of you right now.” The word is, “disgusting.” King is disgusted by Rhett. What happened to him? ROH stuck them together and they fought, they scratched and they clawed and became one of the best teams ever, the All Night Express. They beat The Briscoes, the Young Bucks, Roderick Strong, Tyler Black, you name them. “What the hell happened to you?!” Rhett fails a Proving Ground match because he only proved that while he has the body of a god, he has the “heart of a b*tch.” There’s no fight left in Rhett! If Kenny was Joe Koff, he’d rip up Rhett’s contract on the spot!
Rhett’s family and pregnant wife are here, yet he embarrasses them!? Does Rhett think it’s okay that the reason his son won’t look him in the eyes is because daddy’s a coward?! Rhett gets mad, and that’s what Kenny wants to see! Show him something! But when Rhett doesn’t, Kenny is the one who gets mad. Is the Titus family really proud of that?! Because the Rhett Kenny King knew was a man, not this “punk ass b*tch.” Will these fighting words light a fire in the Fittest? Or does the K I N G have a point?
ROH hears from Kelly Klein.
“Women of Honor has some of the best women wrestling has to offer right now, and I love it.” That means the Gatekeeper will defend her title against some of the best women around. Maria Manic has Kelly’s attention, and Kelly is ready for that match. Kelly’s even excited to fight Tasha Steelz, the Allure, Stella Grey or Jenny Rose as she defends her world title. Who makes it out of the contender’s match first in line for a fight with the Pretty Badass?
ROH looks back to June 29th.
Jay Lethal vowed to work twice as hard as before, “whip the crap out of Matt Taven,” and become a THREE-TIME ROH World Champion! But Taven told him that in New York City, July 20th, we will all finally see that we are living in “The Time of Matt Taven.” Taven is the King of ROH, because heee’s Matt Taven, and he was #BorntoRule! But then, Alex Shelley returned!
Shelley was careful not to say he retired from ROH. Let’s pretend he has a card in his hand that is known as the “veteran’s card.” And let’s say there’s a hole punched for every year he’s contributed to the industry. That’s 17 holes. Shelley’s fingerprints are all over the world of wrestling, so now he plays his card. Shelley expects to be respected! And it won’t matter who walks out of Manhattan, Shelley just wants his shot to prove to them, him, and the world that he still has #TalentonLoanfromGod! Who will the returning revolutionary meet after mayhem goes down in Manhattan?
WOH World Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival: Stella Grey VS Jenny Rose VS Angelina Love w/ The Allure VS Tasha Steelz!
While only one of the Beautiful People is in this match, it is no surprise that she still has her friends by her side. Angelina Love leads the way as Velvet Sky helps Mandy Leon and their fluffy mascot, Foxxy, into the ring. But the spotlight quickly moves to the Garden State Goddess, little gritty Grey, and the American Joshi. With Kelly Klein watching on commentary, who grabs a huge victory and earns a Summer Supercard showdown?
But before the bell rings, Velvet grabs a mic to tell Jenny she doesn’t belong here, that Stella doesn’t belong here, and Tasha- She doesn’t even know who Tasha is, actually, but she doesn’t belong here, either. The only woman in the ring that matters is the Allure’s Bada$$, Angelina Love, the TRUE #1 Contender! Angelina proved herself already when she pinned Kelly at Best in the World. Win-loss records leave out a lot, and Kelly knows Angelina didn’t need to cheat that night to win. But talking aside, the other three competitors uphold the Code of Honor, but don’t even worry about Angelina. The bell finally rings, and Jenny goes right at her!
Stella and Tasha fight while Jenny rains down rights on Angelina! Angelina and Jenny roll out of the ring and Angelina kicks back. Jenny forearms but Angelina kicks again. Stella whips Tasha but Tasha runs Stella over. Tasha brushes herself off and runs, but Stella keeps up. Tasha and Stella trade hip toss blocks while Angelina and Jenny trade apron bumps. Stella rolls Tasha but Tasha arm-drags back. Stella arm-drags Tasha now, but Angelina kicks Jenny away. Angelina is on Stella with a sleeper, but Stella kicks Tasha away. Angelina throws Stella down by her hair, and The Allure cheers her on as she whips Stella into a corner. Stella runs into Tasha, then Angelina dropkicks them into each other. Angelina throws Stella out and runs, but into Jenny’s SPEAR! Cover, TWO!
Tasha throws Jenny out fast and stares down with Angelina. Tasha flexes but it doesn’t impress Angelina. Angelina ties up with Tasha to a headlock. Tasha powers out but Angelina runs her over. Things speed up and Tasha shows agility to hip toss Angelina down! Fans fire up as Tasha whips. Angelina reverses and scoops to a spinning sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Tasha fires forearms back and whips, but Angelina reverses. Tasha goes up and over and rolls, to drop toehold Angelina down. Angelina gets clear of the basement dropkick but Tasha gets clear of the elbow drop. The two stare down as fans cheer.
Tasha eggs Angelina on, and the two start trading forearms. Tasha gets an edge and fires off! She runs but Mandy trips her up! A Fatal 4 Way means no disqualifications, but the referee tells the Allure they’re EJECTED! Mandy is upset and Velvet just shrugs it off as they take Foxxy with them. Angelina is a bit more concerned now that she’s all alone as ROH goes to break.
ROH returns and Tasha waistlocks Angelina. They roll to a cover, TWO! Stella throws Tasha out to roll Angelina, but Jenny breaks it. Jenny kicks Stella out to then La Magistrol Angelina, TWO! Jenny stays on Angelina in a corner for a back elbow and whip. Angelina reverses but Jenny dodges to send Angelina into the post! Jenny dropkicks Stella back out and goes out to join her. They start trading hands, but Tasha slingshots out to take them both down! Fans fire up but now Angelina climbs up top. Angelina LEAPS to crossbody them all down! This is the top tier talent Kelly has wanted to see. But speaking of, Angelina dares Kelly to come closer. Kelly heads closer to the ring, and stares Angelina down the whole way. But this keeps Angelina seeing Jenny, Stella and Tasha all get back in the ring.
Jenny clubs Angelina, and has help from Stella! They DOUBLE POWERBOMB Angelina down! But then Tasha double clotheslines Jenny and Stella down! Fans fire up behind the Boricua Badass as she fireman’s carries Stella. Stella fights out and drags Tasha into a sleeper hold clutch! Angelina kicks Jenny then hits a complete shot, to the Koji Klutch! Side-by-side submissions, but which one puts their victim out first!? Jenny and Tasha endures, and Jenny reaches for a ropebreak! The ref counts and Angelina lets her go. Meanwhile, Tasha sits up, and Angelina kicks Stella off her! Jenny kicks Angelina down, then goes to Tasha for a German Suplex! Jenny kicks Stella for a snap suplex! She runs at Angelina but gets the Botox Injection! Angelina covers, but Stella breaks it!
Stella scoops but Angelina slips out and shoves, Botox Injection for Stella! Tasha throws Angelina out to get Stella with a CUTTER! Cover, Tasha wins!!
Winner: Tasha Steelz, by pinfall; NEW #1 Contender to the WOH World Championship
Angelina ain’t happy about it, but the Boricua Badass got the better of her fair and square, okurrr? Can Tasha make it a one and done when it comes to title matches? Or will Kelly still be the champion when she leaves Toronto?
But wait, the lights drop down. And a rather creepy little video plays. Dolls sit in a line, but a hand reaches out to take the man. To chew him up and spit him out! Because the MANEATER is here! And Maria Manic has appeared behind Tasha and Angelina! Angelina saw this once before, she gets away again. But Tasha shows no fear! Security hurries to keep this fight from happening, but Maria just manhandles them like she did at Best in the World! She takes one and tosses him from the ring, then clotheslines another! But she slaps the third around to then put him in the torture rack! And then she dumps him out onto the other two! The fourth man gets the double hand choke slam! Maria Manic made mince meat of five grown men, but is she going to devour the entire WOH Division?
ROH hears from Rush.
El Toro Blanco is “sick and tired” of Dalton Castle. Rush whooped The Peacock in 15 seconds. But if Castle wants to mess with his familia, well perro, the bull is going to end him for good! Rush didn’t come to ROH to play, he came to become the best! “Nothing happens unless I say so.” When and where will this grudge match happen? Mass Hyteria on July 21st! A wild weekend is coming for ROH, who survives the mayhem and hysteria on the way to the Summer Supercard?
Six Man Tag: The Kingdom VS Jay Lethal & The Bouncers!
Matt Taven vows to prove he’s the king, while TK O’Ryan and Vinnie Marseglia vow to show who are the real elite tag team wrestlers in ROH. But they’ll have to prove it with actions, not words, as they take on their rivals all at once! Will the Franchise Player gain major momentum towards Manhattan when he sides with former foes in Brian Milonas & The Beer City Bruiser?
But given the apparent collusion involving Kenny King and timekeeper Amy Rose, Jay Lethal asks that she take her leave. Amy obliges, not wanting to be a source of controversy for this main event. The Kingdom then make their entrance, and ROH takes another break.
ROH returns and Lethal starts against the Horror King. The bell rings and they tie up right away! Vinnie powers Lethal to a corner but the ref backs him off. Vinnie throws a forearm but Lethal gives it back and we have a brawl! Lethal starts backing Vinnie down but Vinnie knees low and puts Lethal in a corner. Vinnie chops but Lethal CHOPS right back. They trade more CHOPS, and Vinnie wants Lethal to give him more. Lethal CHOPS Vinnie like he wants, but Vinnie just trash talks and knees low. Vinnie runs but misses in the corner, Lethal hip tosses and cartwheels to dropkick! Vinnie hurries to the Kingdom’s corner and tags to TK. Brian “Brawler” Milonas tags in and ties up with the Sassy Wild Horse.
Milonas shoves TK all the way back to his corner! TK runs back out but skids to a stop as Milonas towers over him. TK says he wants Lethal? Milonas gives TK what he wants, but he does tag Lethal a bit hard. Lethal shakes it off and ties up with TK. TK headlocks but Lethal powers out, only for TK to run him over. TK runs and runs Lethal over again, but things speed up. Lethal hurdles but his hip toss is blocked to TK’s own hip toss. Lethal boots TK back but runs into an elbow. TK runs but into that hip toss and cartwheel dropkick! Lethal has gotten two Kingdom members with that, and then tags in Bruiser. Taven tags in and Bruiser dares him to bring the fight. Taven has Bruiser calm down, and fans chant “Melvin! Melvin!” But again, The Kingdom wants Lethal.
Taven wants Lethal and even offers a free shot. Bruiser says Taven’s too scared to fight a real man. Taven just wants Lethal, and again gives a free shot. Lethal tags in but he sees the sucker punch coming. The two fire off haymakers and CHOPS on each other! Lethal whips but Taven reverses, but Lethal gets under TK at the ropes. Vinnie rushes at Lethal on the outside but Lethal dodges to CHOP! TK jumps but Lethal punches him out of the air, only for Taven to wreck Lethal with a dropkick! Taven drags Lethal up and throws him into railing, then The Kingdom attacks like piranha! The Bouncers protest but The Kingdom put Lethal in. Taven stomps and chokes Lethal to then tag in Vinnie. The Kingdom mugs Lethal with stomps then Vinnie rains rights down. Fans duel as ROH goes to one more break.
ROH returns once again, and The Kingdom continues to mug Lethal. Taven stomps Lethal down then drags him up to put in the Kingdom’s corner. Taven CHOPS Lethal then tags in Vinnie. Vinnie tags in TK, and the two whip Lethal. Lethal reverses to whip Vinnie, but TK waistlocks him. Lethal boots Vinnie then slips out of TK’s suplex. He ducks them both to tag in Bruiser! Bruiser rallies with the power of “BEER! BEER!” He punches Taven, uppercuts Vinnie, and uppercuts TK! Bruiser brings TK in for the sidewinder DDT! Cover but Vinnie breaks it! Vinnie fish hooks Bruiser but Bruiser bites the fingers. Oh but wait, Bruiser can’t bite, “I ain’t got no teef!” Bruiser brings TK up but TK CHOPS! TK kicks low and DDT’s Bruiser! But Milonas tags in to rally on The Kingdom! He even back drops Taven!
Milonas falls back to senton on Taven! Vinnie runs but gets flattened with a crossbody! Cover, but Taven breaks it! Taven fires off strikes on Milonas, but Milonas powers Taven to a fireman’s carry. TK leaps but into Milonas’ arms! Milonas gives them a Fall Away Samoan Drop combo! Fans fire up with the Mastodon, but also for Lethal as he DIVES onto Vinnie! Lethal gets back in to DIVE onto TK! And of course, he runs and DIVES onto Taven! The trifecta has been completed! Vinnie runs in to fight with the Bouncers, and whips Bruiser, but Bruiser reverses. TK tags in before Vinnie gets fed to the Scrapbuster! TK climbs and leaps, but into Bruiser’s arms. Milonas sandwiches TK with Bruiser, and it even sends Bruiser stumbling. But Bruiser comes back while Milonas climbs, and it’s the Last Call leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers and Lethal win!
Winners: Jay Lethal & The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning
The winner of Guerrillas of Destiny VS The Briscoes in the ROH World Tag Team Championship match at Manhattan Mayhem better watch out, because some big competition is meeting them at Mass Hysteria. Who will The Bouncers get to toast with on the 21st?
But wait, Taven doesn’t let Lethal go, and gives him CLIMAX to the floor!! The Bouncers hurry to Lethal’s side as The Kingdom retreats. Taven raises the title, but will he still be holding onto the gold after Manhattan Mayhem?
A pretty good go-home with major developments for a busy weekend coming up for ROH. Not only is Manhattan Mayhem on Saturday, July 20th, but now there’s another event on July 21st with this “Mass Hysteria” in Lowell, Massachusetts. Of course, this is all on top of ROH TV finally referencing Best in the World, but the usual mess was mostly ironed out. Rush has a solid promo, and his grudge match with Castle will surely be longer and better than the shocking 15 second squash at G1 Supercard. What’s odd is that while Kenny King beat Lethal at BitW in their Best of 3, he’s doing a story with Rhett Titus next? Lethal’s using his contractual rematch, sure, but is this story with Rhett going to delay Kenny’s shot at Taven more? Is Rhett going to turn so that we more or less get an All Night Express reunion? It is both intriguing yet confusing as to what is going on here.
The Women’s Fatal 4 was a great match, and what a great surprise to see the younger Tasha Steelz getting this chance. I thought it was going to be Angelina Love, but at the same time, even Angelina Love seems like an odd choice from out of The Allure. But I suppose with now women’s tag titles in ROH (yet?) all three could try going after Kelly in turn. And then we got to see Maria Manic at the same time tonight, that was a great way to debut! The Maneater will surely be a contender, and a monster for the Allure to worry about while they’re each taking turns against Kelly Klein. Kelly’s promo is obviously to put the company over, but for just the WOH Division in a vacuum, it is definitely heating up now with an addition like Manic.
And to end the show, we get a really good Six Man Tag, and obviously the goal for The Kingdom was to do as much as they could to Lethal so it’ll be easier for Taven in Manhattan. I am still disappointed the timing kept Jeff Cobb from becoming ROH’s top guy, but I again reference that the G1 Climax and Cobb going back and forth just wouldn’t be good for him or ROH. Lethal might as well dethrone Taven, joining Adam Cole as the only other three-time champ. Then we could get Lethal VS King 4 within a span of a few months, and maybe that story (which has an interesting twist with how it involves timekeeper Amy Rose) is what gives King his first world title reign, and makes him an ROH Triple Crown winner. Then we can circle back to King VS K I N G, Grand Slam Taven VS Triple Crown Kenny for the One True King of Honor!
My Score: 8.2/10
Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 5 A Block
KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?
KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?
Shmoxley in the opening tag team match means we should start off fun. Tanahashi and Sabre are in the battle of, well, someone needs to get at least a point out of that.
Then we’ve got Ospreay and Ibushi who are banged up but most likely still going to be psychopaths in the ring. Let’s get ready for the carnage, I mean, no…I meant carnage.
- Shota Umino & Jon Moxley vs Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura: Shooter wins via Fisherman Suplex Hold @5:45 – ***
- Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb & YOSHI-HASHI vs Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson: YOSHI wins via Butterfly Lock @9:30 – ** 1/4
- Tomoaki Honma, Ren Narita & Toru Yano vs Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @8:50 – ** 1/2
- BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi vs Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @8:35 – ** 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs Lance Archer: Kenta wins via Game Over @12:00 – ***
- A Block: SANADA vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @18:10 – **** 1/4
- A Block: Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Double Legged Cradle @10:15 – ** 1/2
- A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Triangle Counter Pin @13:55 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye Knee @27:15 – **** 3/4
Moxley and Ishii start off trying to kill one another. This is a great opener and the respective Young Lions have to pull their veteran off as to not incur a disqualification. The Young Lions then take the bulk of the match and Shota has definitely picked up a few mannerisms from Moxley that we slowly see him unlocking. This may be our evolution of Shooter, but for an opening match this was very fun and the fact Moxley and Ishii just want to fight added for a neat dynamic.
Juice and Cobb are both respectful Gaijin faces, so not a lot of heat for this match. Plus YOSHI-HASHI was in it, so I could’ve downed a few Valium and been more invested in staring at a wall. Pork Chop Sandwiches later, and YOSHI-HASHI wins with that awful Butterfly Lock. Great…I can now taste colors.
So Yano wanted to get him a piece of the Jay White on the down turn, but Jay tried to still play the calculating heel. Honma put in a bit of decent work but Narita was obviously the one sent out to eat the pin. Narita held his own against Yujiro and Chase, but Chase eventually stopped playing with his feud and hit the Package Piledriver to tie things up in a nice little bow.
Shingo took a hell of a beating in this match. Kanemaru played random interference and Taichi took Shingo to the woodshed. Naito also continued his distaste of Taichi and Suzuki while being a little protective of Shingo at points. Now being the unabashed fanboy of Shingo, yet also a subscriber to Holy Emperor weekly, I’m very torn about this whole thing. The match played up the G1 tensions and the LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun tensions very well, but my heart knows not which to root for.
Lance is a good foot taller than KENTA and that was the story of the first 75% of this match. Lance was shrugging off the strikes of our returning striker. KENTA was getting effectively crushed, until Lance pushed the anime comeback button and said “You’re fucking Hideo! That’s who you are! HIDEO!” – which prompted the anime comeback in KENTA. KENTA managed to even lift Lance for a few things, but relied heavily on the dropkicks and strikes. He couldn’t quite pull off the Go 2 Sleep, so he went to his Crossface submission, Game Over. And boy howdy, it was game over! (I will see myself out after that)
EVIL and SANADA have this brotherly rivalry in LIJ. Being former 2 time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions, familiarity is obvious. SANADA starts off the match quickly and this is definitely a match of quick bursts when the one gets an advantage. I guess they are transitioning SANADA away from the Paradise Lock since this is the second match where he had it mostly on, but “something happened” and the opponent gets out of the move. We get a bunch of great back and forth, but something that continues to plague SANADA is his limited moveset when it gets down to crunch time. EVIL pulled out a plethora of tricks, including using the referee as an anchor for the Magic Killer. Whereas, SANADA sticks to Dragon Sleeper variants, into Skull End attempt or a Moonsault. With how over SANADA is, I really expect him to start getting more crunch time maneuvers. EVIL wins and quickly wants to bury the hatchet by extending the LIJ fist bump. SANADA bumps fists, and all is fine in our ungovernable world.
Fale tends to have Okada’s number in tournaments, and he starts off by attacking him in the back and dragging him out. So we get a typical Bullet Club brawl with heel tactics and ref bumps, but Okada perseveres. Okada is able to lift Fale a few times, but can’t hit the Rainmaker, and wins via the wrestling move he tends to fall back on, the Double Legged Cradle.
Well both Tanahashi and Sabre come into this match 0-2, so there’s a level of desperation that both bring to the table. Sabre wrestled circles around Tanahashi, and Tanahashi just tried to keep up for most of the match. After countering the High Fly Flow, Sabre locks in a Triangle Arm Bar, but Tanahashi floats over for the bridging pin counter. The Ace finally has 2 points!
There have been well known injuries for both of these men, and they played into the story of the match well. Focusing on each other’s injuries, calling back to their Wrestle Kingdom match and just a generally high energy and high impact match. Watching this match, you have to assume one of them will die with their style, but it is damn entertaining. Everyone expected this to be a great match and it delivered.
Overall Score: 8/10
Well we had a lot of good storylines and matches that mostly paid off. Lance Archer has been doing great work, Fale and Okada was at least somewhat entertaining and the cripple fight in the main event was fantastic. The inner faction turmoil was now squashed, so we can have a nice tournament while The Ace gets a few points over the petulant British child.
So great show, great entertainment, and generally a good time. I can only hope the B Block carries equal weight.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 3-0 (6 Points)
- KENTA: 3-0 (6 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-1 (4 Points)
- EVIL: 2-1 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 0-3 (0 Points)