SmackDown is going big! Kofi Kingston must run the gauntlet against five heavy hitters if he wants his WWE Championship opportunity! Can he do it?!
- Sasha Banks & Bayley VS The IIconics; The IIconics win.
- Gauntlet Match: Kofi Kingston wins and will challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania.
- Kofi Kingston VS Daniel Bryan; Bryan wins and is no longer facing Kofi Kingston at Wrestlemania.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Miz is here!
The Hollywood A-Lister is in a foul mood after the beating Shane O’Mac gave him after losing at Fastlane. Miz simply skips the introductions to get to footage of last week. Shane declares himself THE Best in the World, and says the reason he beat down Miz was because he was sick and tired of helping others. Shane feels he was born to be Best in the World, so he will only ever do things for himself now. He didn’t challenge Miz, he’s ordering Miz to have a Wrestlemania match so Shane can give another Best Beating in the World.
Back to present, The Miz says that for over 10 years he was focused solely on the Road to Wrestlemania. “But at what cost?” He’s taken advantage of people, taken shortcuts and sacrificed all his friendships. That’s what Wrestlemania means to The Miz, but that’s how important his friendship with Shane was. Fans cheer Miz on and he thanks them for that. Miz says it was all to prove to his father that there is something he could be proud of his son for. Papa Miz finally said he was after becoming tag team champion, and it was thanks to Shane. Shane said that it was his own dream to be a tag team champion, and Miz wanted to do that for Shane. People actually said, “Watch yourself.” There were warnings about Shane that “behind the scenes”, he’s a little different.
Miz refused to believe them, but then Shane proved them all right. Shane attacked Miz in front of Papa Miz. “What kind of human being would do that?” And then Shane went after Papa Miz! Miz has to live with that memory. Miz was helpless at Fastlane. Shane is a “vile, disgusting human being”, just like his father, Vince. Shane wasn’t born Best in the World, he was born The Worst. If Shane thinks he’s so special just because he has money and power, he’s not! The McMahons own this company, but they don’t own Miz! They don’t own Kofi, either! Miz wasn’t born privileged, he was born for burgers at his dad’s restaurant. People said he wasn’t going to be anything, but Miz found his way through the real world and has become the Most Must-See WWE Superstar ever! And he did it on his own!
No one can deny Miz’s work ethic. Miz works harder than everyone else to prove that hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t put in the work. Miz is a proven success story and is proud of it! He didn’t just get this love and respect, he earned it! And right here, right now, he has earned it! Fans cheer more to prove he’s right. “You Deserve It!” “You’re darn right I do.” As for Shane, Miz feels he deserves the one thing he finally earned all on his own: an ass whooping at Wrestlemania! Miz drops the mic, and fans are fired up behind him. Will Miz drop Shane on the Grandest Stage of Them All?
The Boss & Hug Connection are here!
Sasha Banks & Bayley promised on Raw that they’d be here, and not even the beat down Nia Jax & Tamina put on them will change that! They confront Peyton Royce & Billie Kay in a match, after the break!
Sasha Banks & Bayley VS The IIconics!
SmackDown returns as Billie & Peyton make their entrance. But as they walk out to the ring, they’re surprised! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions have finally come to SmackDown! But they look strange and small and scared in The IIconics’ ring. Like kids whose parents buy a way into an Ivy League school. They even went back to NXT to feel important, but it didn’t work. And now they’ve been chased off their own turf, and have no other choice to face the best team in the WWE! They saved the best for last, and the last will be… IICONIC! Strike the pose. Sasha & Bayley are not bothered nor impressed, and we finally have this match.
Teams sort out and Billie starts against Bayley. They tie up and Billie powers Bayley to the corner. Tag to Peyton but Bayley escapes the IIconics. Peyton and Bayley circle but Indianapolis is on Bayley’s side. They tie up and Peyton knees low. She clubs and stomps Bayley down then swings on Sasha! Bayley hits Peyton back with big forearms. Bayley whips but Peyton bails out, only to have Sasha after her. Peyton gets back in but Bayley knocks her down. Cover, TWO! Bayley drags Peyton up and tags in Sasha. The Boss & Hug double whip and again, assisted dropkick knocks Peyton down! Peyton tags in Billie and Billie talks trash, only to run into a drop toehold! Sasha drags Billie up and tags Bayley in. The Boss & Hug crisscross and throw Billie back. Bayley adds the sliding clothesline, cover, TWO!
But wait, is that Lacey Evans? The Sassy Southern Belle struts her stuff but distracts both Bayley and Billie. Bayley elbows Billie but Peyton tags in. Bayley doesn’t see it, the IIconics double team! Cover, TWO! The champions are in trouble while we go picture in picture.
Peyton elbows away on Billie then wraps on a chinlock. Peyton thrashes Bayley around but Bayley endures. Bayley powers her way up and fights out, but Peyton bumps her on buckles. Peyton runs in but into an elbow. She tries again but gets boots. Bayley runs out but into Peyton’s spinning heel kick! Cover, TWO! Peyton drags Bayley over and tags in Billie. The IIconics double wrench, kick, and mule kick Bayley down. Billie stomps Bayley then goes after the face! The referee reprimands Billie but she drags Bayley back to her corner. Tag to Peyton and the IIconics choke Bayley on the ropes. Peyton tops it off with a kick, then drags Bayley up. Bayley fights back with body shots but Peyton whips her away. Bayley goes up and over and rolls Peyton, TWO! Peyton tackles Bayley out of the ring to prevent the tag!
Sasha protests but Peyton talks trash. Peyton fetches Bayley and puts her in the ring. Peyton kicks Bayley then tags Billie. The IIconics double knee Bayley down then Billie wraps on an armlock. Billie grinds her forearm into Bayley’s face but fans rally up. Bayley powers her way up but Billie wrangles her down by her ponytail! Billie pulls on Bayley’s arm then rakes the face! The ref reprimands her again but Billie stops at 4. Bayley powers up again but Billie throws her into a post! Tag to Peyton and the IIconics feed Bayley boots. Billie clotheslines Bayley down on the apron, then Peyton puts Bayley in the Motorcycle Stretch! Peyton stops at 4 and grinds in a boot. Bayley pushes Peyton away and crawls for her corner! She shoves Peyton away but Billie tags in.
Billie grabs Bayley and whips, but Bayley hits Peyton! Both Bayley and Billie throw each other down by their hair! Hot tags to Peyton and Sasha! The Boss rallies on Peyton with clotheslines and dropkicks. She blocks Peyton’s kick to give her a kick. Sasha runs corner to corner for the meteora, then throws her out for a flying meteora! Cover, but Billie breaks it. Sasha throws Billie out but Peyton rolls Sasha, TWO! Backslide from Sasha, TWO! Sasha SLAPS Peyton, then trips Billie! Peyton grabs Sasha to throw her but Sasha swings around for kicks! Sasha puts Peyton in, slingshot but Billie disrupts. Bayley runs in but Billie boots her down! Peyton rolls Sasha, Billie helps on the backside! The IIconics win!!
Winners: The IIconics, Peyton Royce pinning
SmackDown’s best friends work together to steal a win from Raw’s best friends! Are the IIconics now on the fast track to a title match at Mania?
Backstage interview with Rey Mysterio.
The King of Lucha Libre has a huge announcement. He brings in his son, Dominic, and Rey is glad to have him here for this announcement. After having pinned Samoa Joe last week in the tag team match, Mysterio now challenges Samoa Joe for the WWE United States Championship! How does Dominic feel about this? Well Joe is just a bully, but his dad will do what he always does: bring a championship home! With Dominic front row for that match, will Mysterio make his son proud?
The Kevin Owens Show returns!
The Prizefighter brings back his hit WWE talk show, and it’s new and improved! New graphics, an improved wardrobe, but the tie is a bit tight. The Road to Wrestlemania has been a bumpy one, and what is usually KO-Mania is now KOFI-Mania! Kevin will be watching Kofi Kingston run the gauntlet and then watch his WWE Championship match very closely. But another match everyone wants to see is for the Raw Women’s Championship. Therefore, his guests tonight are two of those superstars. First, The Man, Becky Lynch! Indianapolis is glad to see her! And second, The Queen, Charlotte Flair! Fans aren’t as pleased to see Charlotte, but that doesn’t really matter to Charlotte.
Charlotte and Becky take their seats in the ring and Kevin thanks them for being here. Kevin knows better than most that sometimes friendships just go… wrong. No one gets under your skin like a best friend, right? Right! Things have been said, and KO has cue cards so he can quote these. Ronda Rousey isn’t anyone’s friend here, but Ronda has called Becky a “joke”. That the WWE could make it a 2v1 and she’d still win. Ronda said- Oh no, can’t say that, that’s disgusting. Well just last night, Ronda attacked security and her own husband had to intervene. Well Ronda isn’t here but Charlotte is. Kevin has quotes that Charlotte says Becky will be back to carrying her bags by Summerslam. But then Becky said that Charlotte and Ronda are the “Chosen Ones”, and The Queen was simply shoehorned in.
The point is, these two have said a lot back and forth, and Kevin speaks for the WWE Universe when he says, “Nobody really wants to see you guys talk anymore.” But on the KO Show, it’s #FightOwensFight! No wait that’s not it for tonight. Tonight is #FightBeckyFight! And #FightCharlotteFight! What do they think about that? Charlotte and Becky stand up and Charlotte grabs a mic. “I would beat the holy HELL out of Becky!” And Becky, before you respond, let Kevin get out of the way. Becky responds with FISTS! They fight over the table! Fans love these two throwing fists back and forth. Charlotte gets Becky down but Becky turns it around! They spill out of the ring and Charlotte rams Becky into the apron. And then the barriers! Referees appear but fans want to “Let Them Fight!”
Becky returns the favor by throwing Charlotte into the announce desk! Security hurries out to pull these two apart. Charlotte hits one of them! Becky throws another! And then they’re back after each other! Security keeps trying to stop them but Becky and Charlotte have hold of each other. They again break free of the referees and security to scrap their way back to the announce desk. Reinforcements come and Becky takes the ring. If this is what it’s like with just these two, will the arena be enough for them and Ronda?
Backstage interview with AJ Styles.
The Phenomenal One has a grudge match with Randy Orton coming at Wrestlemania! And by his own words, Orton was built by the WWE. What does Styles think he has that can beat Orton? Well Orton is third-generation, 6’5″ and 250, but just as agile as anyone. Orton isn’t just good, he’s great. It’s why Orton is a multiple time champion. Orton is a first round draft pick and Styles is a walk-on. But look at him now. Styles may not have all those advantages, and this may be Orton’s House, aka this is home field advantage. But Styles isn’t coming to build, he’ll look to tear the house down! And Styles also wishes Kofi good luck against Orton in tonight’s gauntlet.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan head to the ring!
The Planet’s Champion awaits a contender at Wrestlemania, but he has some words about that, after the break.
SmackDown returns as Bryan picks up the mic. “Injustice.” Kofi Kingston being in this gauntlet match is an injustice, in Bryan’s opinion. Because Kofi Kingston doesn’t deserve an opportunity for the title. Bryan knows what it’s like to be against a stacked deck, to be against the Authority! And despite the delusion, this has not happened to Kofi. Kofi was chosen to replace Mustafa Ali in the Elimination Chamber. He was hand-picked out of the Tag Team Division for an opportunity he did not earn. Granted, in the Elimination Chamber, Kofi fought his heart out, but he also lost! Kofi has earned NOTHING! Because unlike Bryan, Kofi is a B+ Player. But that’s okay for the fans, because B+ is “good enough”! That should be on a shirt! Sell it with pancakes, Booty O’s and other crap no one needs to buy! But B+ is NOT good enough.
And no matter how much the fans chant for Kofi, which they do now, it won’t change the fact that Kofi lost a gauntlet match, that he lost the Elimination Chamber, and he lost the handicap match at Fastlane! But awwwww~ Indy~! Don’t you dare be sour, clap for your world famous five-time champs, and feel~ the power~! Because The New Day is here! Kofi Kingston is here to fight for his right at the world title! Big E and Xavier Woods give him final encouragement as the gauntlet finally begins!
The fans are fired up for Kofi Kingston as he starts against The Bar! It will be one at a time, but who is first? We find out after the break.
Kofi Kingston VS Sheamus w/ Cesaro!
SmackDown returns and Kofi starts the gauntlet against the Celtic Gladiator! Kofi and Sheamus circle and tie up. Sheamus puts Kofi in the corner and grinds him into buckles. He backs off at 4 but comes back to do some more. Kofi puts Sheamus in the corner, then they circle again. Sheamus goes for a leg but Kofi gets a waistlock. Sheamus gets a ropebreak and Kofi lets up. The rest of the New Day watch backstage, because they’ve been barred from ringside. Fans taunt Sheamus but he knees Kofi and gets a headlock takeover. Cover, TWO, but Sheamus tries again. TWO, and Kofi works to make a pin on Sheamus. The two stand up and Kofi pries his way out of the hold. Kofi hammerlocks Sheamus back as fans cheer.
Sheamus endures the hammerlock and works his way up. He elbows and reverses the hammerlock. Kofi works his own way to a reversal, then kicks Sheamus. Sheamus arm-drags but Kofi holds on to make it a cover! ONE, but Kofi keeps on the arm. Sheamus powers his way up and whips Kofi off. Kofi goes up and over and arm-drags Sheamus back into the armlock! Sheamus keeps his shoulders up as Kofi works to make it a cover. Kofi gets the cover, ONE, but Kofi keeps the arm. Sheamus forearms Kofi away then runs in, but Kofi dumps him out. Kofi runs and FLIES! The Trust Fall takes out Sheamus! Kofi and fans fire up while Cesaro glares. Kofi puts Sheamus back in but keeps his eyes on Cesaro. Sheamus knees Kofi on the way back in! Cesaro applauds while Kofi falls over.
Sheamus drags Kofi up for Beats of the Bodhrain! He gives about half a dozen before punch Kofi down. Cesaro laughs and applauds while Sheamus looms over Kofi. Fans rally up and Kofi slips out of the back suplex. Kofi heel kicks Sheamus down! Kofi has to catch his breath before kicking Sheamus more. He stomps Sheamus against ropesbut lets up at 4. Sheamus yanks Kofi into ropes then chokes him against them. Sheamus backs off but Cesaro gets a cheap shot in! Cover, TWO! Sheamus keeps his cool as he drags Kofi to the center of the ring. Sheamus drops a knee and covers, TWO! He wraps Kofi up in a chinlock, but fans rally as Kofi endures. Kofi powers up and fights out, but runs into Sheamus’ elbow! Kofi is in trouble while we go to break.
SmackDown returns as both Sheamus and Kofi slowly stand up. Sheamus is on Kofi but Kofi CHOPS Sheamus! Kofi bobs ‘n’ weaves and CHOPS away on Sheamus! Kofi dropkicks Sheamus down then speeds things up for a leaping lariat! Fans fire up as Kofi hits the Boom Drop! Kofi takes aim from the corner and points at the Wrestlemania sign. Sheamus stands and Kofi spins, but he’s caught! Kofi powers out of the Cloverleaf and boots Sheamus away. He hops up and up and hits a crossbody! Cover, TWO! Sheamus survives but Kofi keeps his cool. The Bar regroups but Kofi drags Sheamus back in. Sheamus yanks Kofi into the ropes! Irish Curse Backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Kofi lives but Sheamus goes for the legs. Sheamus gets the Cloverleaf! Kofi endures and fans rally up again! But Kofi flips and rolls Sheamus, TWO!! Sheamus knees Kofi hard! Cover, TWO!!
Both men are down but stirring, this first round already taking so much out of Kofi. Sheamus gets to the corner while The Usos join The New Day in watching, as well as eating pancakes. Sheamus fires up and takes aim at Kofi. He drums his chest while Kofi slowly stands. Sheamus runs out but misses, roll up! TWO!! TROUBLE IN PARADISE! Cover, Kofi ELIMINATES Sheamus! The first one is down, and now Mustafa Ali and the Hardy Boyz are part of the Team Kofi viewing party. But immediately Cesaro European Uppercuts Kofi in the back!
Kofi Kingston VS Cesaro w/ Sheamus!
Cesaro covers, TWO! Kofi survives that sneak attack but Cesaro keeps on him with EuroUppers! Cover, TWO! The Swiss Cyborg throws haymakers and body shots in the corner. He gives more EuroUppers, but the ref gets him to let up. Cesaro gut wrench throws Kofi and covers, TWO! Cesaro goes right after the leg in an inverted Half Crab! Kofi endures as fans rally up. Kofi turns and shoves Cesaro away! Cesaro comes back and whips Kofi corner to corner. Kofi boots Cesaro and hurries up the corner. Cesaro is on Kofi again with haymakers. Kofi counter punches from the other side of the ropes, then springboards, but into a catch! Tilt-o-whirl backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Kofi survives again and we go picture in picture.
Cesaro looms over Kofi as he clutches his back and gasps for air. Cesaro drags Kofi up for another backbreaker, then bends Kofi across his knee. Kofi endures and fights his way out with ax handles. Cesaro lets Kofi go but brings him back around for haymakers. Cesaro knees Kofi into ropes but Kofi fires back, only to get a BIG EuroUpper! Kofi collapses but Cesaro drags him onto the apron. Cesaro slams Kofi’s chest on the apron! Then he catapult guillotines Kofi into the bottom rope! And he drags Kofi in for an elbow drop! Cover, TWO! Kofi continues to survive but Cesaro keeps his cool. Cesaro stalks Kofi but Kofi hits back with haymakers! Kofi whips while we return to single picture. Cesaro reverses but Kofi crossbodies Cesaro down! Cover, TWO!
The viewing party is joined by R-Truth and Carmella while Cesaro gives Kofi another backbreaker. Cesaro bends Kofi across his knee again, but Kofi refuses to quit. Kofi fights out again, then starts kicking. Cesaro blocks one kick for a takedown, into the Swiss Swing! Kofi goes around and around and around maybe a dozen times before Cesaro shifts to a Cloverleaf of his own! Kofi endures the hold all over again, and drags himself towards ropes. Cesaro drags Kofi away and sits down deep! Kofi grits his teeth while fans rally up. Kofi finds room to turn and climbs his way up Cesaro’s body. Cesaro makes it a suplex! Cover, TWO!!
Cesaro says Kofi’s never going to get that title match. Cesaro tries to turn Kofi over but Kofi grabs a leg. Kofi and Cesaro fight against each other, and Cesaro shifts to a Lion Tamer take on the Crab. Kofi uses his free leg to kick free, but Cesaro just gets him in Gotch position. But Kofi back drops out! And hits SOS!! Cover, Kofi ELIMINATES Cesaro! Kofi sweeps The Bar, but now he has the Big Red to deal with!
Kofi Kingston VS Rowan!
The right hand man of the Planet’s Champion storms to the ring, ready to pick apart what’s left of Kofi. Kofi gets to a corner, checks his laces and catches his breath. This third round begins and Kofi goes right at Rowan! Rowan shoves Kofi away to run him over with a lariat! Rowan puts Kofi in a corner for a double CHOP! And clubbing forearms, before going corner to corner for a big splash! Rowan tosses Kofi out then follows behind to crossbody Kofi down! Kofi barely stirs but Rowan drags him up for headbutts. Rowan refreshes the ring count before whipping Kofi into barriers! Rowan tells fans to get out of his way as he whips Kofi to their side!
Fans boo as Rowan gets a steel chair! Rowan SMACKS Kofi!! He ELIMINATES himself! It seems Rowan was only in this match to hurt Kofi, because he keeps going! Rowan lifts Kofi for a big bearhug, then rams him into the post! And tosses him into the timekeeper’s area! The viewing party, which ash added Heavy Machinery, are all furious over this! This is probably why The New Day was barred from ringside! Rowan clears off the announce desk, then clamps on the claw, IRON CLAM SLAM through the desk!! Fans boo and Kofi’s friends are beside themselves after the completely one-sided destruction. But the Gauntlet doesn’t end here, because up next: the WWE United States Champion, Samoa Joe! Does Kofi stand a chance of surviving the Samoan Submission Machine?
SmackDown returns again, and Kofi fights out of Joe’s neck wrench. Kofi staggers up but Joe runs him over with an elbow! The viewing party, which has now added Nikki Cross, are all fired up for Kofi even as Joe jabs and knees him to a corner. Joe drags Kofi up for more fast hands and elbows. The referee backs Joe off but Joe soaks up the heat from the fans. Joe drags Kofi up to make him look at the Wrestlemania sign. Joe mocks Kofi’s dreams before punching him to the other side of the ring. Kofi CHOPS back! And punches and kicks! Kofi backs Joe down then whips but Joe reverses. Joe hits the back elbow and PELE! Kofi flops onto the ropes but Joe drags him into a cover, TWO!
Joe says Kofi should just let this end, or else it’ll end in more pain. Joe drags Kofi up for a neck wrench, trapping one arm behind him. Fans rally for Kofi and he escapes to swing wild on Joe. Kofi runs but Joe flips him over with a clothesline! Cover, TWO! Kofi survives but he might still be out. Joe drags Kofi up into a modified cobra clutch. Fans and friends won’t give up on Kofi, so Kofi doesn’t give up, either. Ricochet joins the other superstars in cheering Kofi. Kofi fights free but runs back into a sleeper! He jawbreakers back! Joe staggers back but Kofi runs into the urenage! Cover, TWO! Kofi is proving to be superhuman, but Joe is his super villain right now with another neck wrench.
Kofi fights up and out again, but Joe headbutts. Joe suplexes but Kofi slips out, and trips Joe up! Kofi runs in but misses in the corner, Joe CHOPS his back! Joe puts Kofi up top, Muscle Buster roll through! Kofi ELIMINATES Joe!! He has gotten through four, and just has one man left! But that man is perhaps the most dangerous of all, because it’s The Viper, Randy Orton! Not that Joe is done with Kofi! He puts on the Coquina Clutch against the ropes! No one can help Kofi as he fades out. Referees go after Joe and get him to let Kofi go, but the damage is done.
Kofi Kingston VS Randy Orton!
The viewing party try to will Kofi back up, but The Viper is on his way to pick the bones. Is this gauntlet going to be over thanks to the three most dangerous letters in pro-wrestling?
SmackDown returns again, and Orton throws Kofi into barriers. Orton mocks the fans as he drags Kofi up. “He ain’t your guy, trust me.” Orton whips Kofi but Kofi reverses and sends Orton into steel steps! Kofi somehow has more to give as he drags himself to the ring. The ring count begins but Orton and Kofi both get in at 4. EC3 has joined the viewing party as Orton bumps Kofi off buckles. Orton throws EuroUppers into Kofi over and over. He stomps away on Kofi, picking him apart, then scrapes his laces on Kofi’s face. Orton drags Kofi around to stomp Kofi more. Cover, TWO, but Orton grins. Orton grabs Kofi’s hair and drags him up into the chinlock. Kofi endures and fans build to another rally.
Orton grinds and squeezes as tight as he can, but Kofi refuses to give up. Kofi stands up and powers out of the hold! He throws body shots and forearms, and then CHOPS Orton off his feet! Orton stands but Kofi CHOPS him down again. Kofi dropkicks but Orton deflects. Orton stomps away on Kofi, then drags him up. Orton puts him in the corner and rains down punches. He throws more EuroUppers, and is basically toying with Kofi now. Orton whips but Kofi reverses. Orton dodges, but Kofi denies the RKO! TROUBLE IN PARADISE!! Orton is down but far away! Kofi crawls for the cover, but Orton rolls out of the ring. Kofi feels his title shot slipping away as we go to one last break.
SmackDown returns once again, and Orton punches away on Kofi on the top rope. Orton throws EuroUppers, then climbs up to join him. Kofi throws body shots back then clubs away! Kofi knocks Orton down then adjusts, big crossbody! But Orton rolls through, TWO!! Orton kicks low and puts Kofi through the ropes. Orton gives Kofi a draping DDT! And now The Viper hears the voices in his head. Orton stalks Kofi as Kofi slowly stands. Kofi rolls up the RKO!! KOFI WINS!!
Winner: Kofi Kingston, by pinfall; NEW #1 Contender to the WWE Championship
HE DID IT!! Kofi did the impossible, and now he has a chance! The New Day celebrates with Kofi Kingston! But wait, Vince McMahon is here?! The Chairman congratulates Kofi Kingston on this victory. Kofi IS going to Wrestlemania! As long as he can defeat just one last man. WHAT?! Big E, Woods, please leave or else Kofi forfeits the opportunity. And Kofi, good luck.
Kofi Kingston VS Daniel Bryan!
Kofi has to defeat the champion to prove he can beat him at Wrestlemania?! Bryan is picking the bones even more than anyone tonight, can Kofi hope to win?!
The bell rings and Bryan fires off kicks on Kofi in the corner! Fans chant “NO! NO!” but Kofi kicks back! Kofi whiops but Bryan reverses to knee Kofi down. Bryan puts Kofi on the top rope and in a Tree of Woe. Bryan gives Kofi more No Kicks in the Tree! Then he sits Kofi up for a SUPER BACK SUPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Kofi still lives! But Bryan goes after him with the Lebell Lock! Bryan wrenches back as hard as he can, but Kofi moves around, ROPEBREAK! Bryan lets Kofi go, but comes back with more No Kicks! Kofi takes kick after kick after kick, then ducks the buzzsaw! SOS!! Cover, TWO!! Kofi barely got that move off, but both he and Bryan are down. Kofi crawls and Bryan stalks over.
Bryan kicks and kicks then runs corner to corner for the dropkick! And another! And then a roll up!! TWO, and Kofi is exhausted. Bryan runs into an uppercut, but disrupts Kofi’s jump! Bryan drags Kofi up for stomp after stomp after stomp! Fans boo and chant “NO! NO!” as Bryan aims at Kofi. Bryan hits the KNEE PLUS!! Cover, Bryan wins!
Winner: Daniel Bryan, by pinfall; no longer faces Kofi Kingston at Wrestlemania
The New Day storm back out but Bryan gets away. Kofi’s dream was just crushed, is it dead for good?
While Raw spun its wheels to stay put, SmackDown actually hits the gas to accelerate. They advertised the gauntlet would open, but it was actually good they saved it for last. The Miz gives a great Face promo and he really gives some passion to this coming match with Shane. Bayley & Banks VS IIconics was a great match, and it was actually a good move for the Heels to cheat and win. Now we’ll surely have that Triple Threat/Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships. Also it was a good move for The IIconics to finally say WWE Women’s Tag Team Division. With two weeks and four shows left, hopefully this escalates where the IIconics will confront the Divas of Doom and/or the Samoan Dynasty, or vice-versa, across both Raw and SmackDown.
It was great to see Kevin Owens brings his talk show back while Miz is busy with Shane. And it was great for him to be self-aware about setting up a fight and needing to get out of the way. That was a great brawl between Charlotte and Becky to keep things going on SmackDown, but I don’t see this changing anything in the Raw Women’s Championship Triple Threat. Becky will win, Ronda will leave either on her own or by “suspension”, and we go from there. Kevin himself might not have anything for Mania unless he wants to resort to the Andre the Giant Battle Royal. Rey Mysterio VS Samoa Joe is official, and it will be great just on the action. Having Dominic ringside will be interesting, but the match can go either way to me.
Another amazing Gauntlet Match, but of course Kofi was going to make it to the end. He really impresses lasting this long, and then still having a match with Bryan. This puts some serious heat on Vince and Bryan for further screwing Kofi over. I’m pretty sure something happens that gets us Bryan VS Kofi in the last two weeks we have. It will either be something that compels Vince to change his mind, or angers Bryan into giving Kofi a match. The New Day wrecked four tag teams already, they should really turn it up and just wreak havoc for the first hour until Vince shows up and gives in. At this point, it’s the only thing I can see because Kayfabe Vince doesn’t seem to care otherwise.
My Score: 8.5/10
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)
Mitchell’s WWE NXT Results & Report! (7/17/19)
Who is the first to challenge the champ?
The NXT Champion returns to Full Sail, BAYBAY!
After making some stops on his Championship Celebration Tour BAYBAY, Adam Cole finally returns home! And he’s even daring to put the NXT Championship on the line tonight! Who steps up to the challenge?
- Matt Riddle VS Arturo Ruas; Riddle wins.
- NXT Breakout Tournament: Bronson Reed VS Dexter Lumis; Reed wins and advances to the next round.
- Apollo Crews VS KUSHIDA; KUSHIDA wins.
- NXT Championship: Adam Cole VS ???; No Contest.
PLAY BY PLAY
Matt Riddle VS Arturo Ruas!
Bro… NXT brings some Evolve as the Original Bro takes on the Brazilian Tiger! Both men had great wins during the Evolve 10th Anniversary Special, but who will win what is surely going to be a fight?
The bell rings and Riddle fist bumps Ruas to show this is still respectful. They test each other with jabs and kicks, but they keep their space. Riddle goes for a leg but Ruas sprawls. Riddle gets the waistlock and slam, but Ruas switches on the mat. Ruas rolls Riddle and wants a sleeper but Riddle rolls out to switch with Ruas. Fans rally and cheer for the Bro as he scrapes Ruas off his leg. Riddle and Ruas approach and Ruas tries some hands. Riddle throws them back then powers Ruas to a corner. The ref counts but Ruas turns things around, only for Riddle to hop on! But Ruas powers out to a slam! Ruas goes for the arm but Riddle holds tight. Ruas CHOPS Riddle but Riddle rolls to go for Ruas’ arm! Riddle gives back the CHOP as he works on the grip.
Ruas rolls and slips out to then get a facelock. Riddle pops out and gets his hands up, and fans cheer again. Ruas tries his capoeria stance but Riddle fires through it. Riddle has a leg but Ruas trips him up! Riddle gets the ropebreak and Ruas lets go. The two get up again and the dukes are up. Riddle tries kicks but so does Ruas. Riddle just gets Ruas with his foot! Ruas shrugs it off and tackles Riddle! But Riddle has the leg guard and elbows. Ruas tries palm strikes but Riddle gets away. Riddle comes back with hands, but misses his kick to block Ruas’ and boot Ruas down! Ruas kicks from the mat then trips Riddle up! Ruas rains down hands but Riddle heel kicks back, FINAL FLASH KNEE! Riddle rains the rights, Ruas can’t defend himself! The ref calls it!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by stoppage
Ruas gets #Broverwhelmed by Riddle, but Riddle doesn’t get to celebrate long! Someone attacks from behind! They wear a hoodie so we can’t see who they are as they stomp Riddle out! But then the hood comes off, it’s KILLIAN DAIN! And he drops big sentons on Riddle! The Beast of Belfast throws Riddle out of the ring hard, then goes out to run him over! Dain rains down rights, then throws him by his hair! Riddle crawls to retreat but Dain keeps on him with stomps. Dain CLUBS Riddle then kicks him into the apron. Dain clobbers Riddle over and over, and drops a fourth senton! Fans boo the Belfast barbarian as he rains down more rights.
Dain hauls Riddle up to throw him to the stage. Riddle crawls but Dain kicks him while he’s down. Dain runs and drops a fifth senton, and they both crash through the floor!! Dain promised to take everything from everyone, is Riddle just the first victim?
The NXT Tag Team Champions, the Street Profits, have a special edition of #StreetTalk!
This very special edition is rather quiet as they talk about the fact that, while the titles say the Street Profits are the champs, there are others that think the belts are theirs. Dawkins and Fords know Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are the ones running around trying to own the place. They disrespect the Profits. Nah, fam. These titles are serious. If the Profits weren’t serious, how did they win the ladder match? How did they win period? But if reDRagon wants to see the smoke, come see them. The Profits will still be the champs, “and that… is undisputed.” Will the Profits burn O’Reilly & Fish when they finally go 2v2?
NXT shares fan footage from Saturday.
Marina Shafir had only just pulled into the parking lot, when Mia Yim attacked! The Head Baddie in Charge gave one of the MMA Horsewomen a taste of their own medicine as she beat Marina down, and then SLAMMED the door shut on her! Is this going to get Shayna Baszler’s attention?
NXT Breakout Tournament: Bronson Reed VS Dexter Lumis!
The opening round of this inaugural tournament wraps up with perhaps the most physically imposing men of the field. First is the menacing maniac hailing from an “undisclosed location,” whose thousand yard stare into your soul might be reason enough not to fight him. Second is the bar brawler from Australia’s Black Forest, who welcomes anyone to test his Australian Strong Style. Who joins Angel Garza, Jordan Myles and Cameron Grimes in the semifinals?
Lumis frames Reed like a picture but Reed looks to crush Lumis with his hand. They tie up and Reed headlocks Lumis. Lumis pulls hair then powers out. Reed runs Lumis over but Lumis is right up! That surprises Reed, but he swings a clothesline. Lumis ducks and runs but Reed follows to run Lumis over! Reed scoops Lumis but Lumis slips out, shoves and elbows Reed out of the ring. Lumis then runs to FLY! But Reed gets free, only for Lumis to land on his feet!? Reed dodges Lumis to crossbody Lumis down! Fans fire up for this as Reed drags Lumis up. Reed puts Lumis in the ring and stands him up, but Lumis throat chops. Lumis whips and trips Reed into ropes! Reed gasps for air but Lumis rains down rabid rights. The eerily stoic Lumis is now fired up as he stomps Reed around.
Lumis frames the picture and pulls on Reed’s ears. The ref reprimands Lumis so he shifts to a neck wrench. Fans rally up and Reed fights up, but Lumis throws him back down. Lumis drops ax handles and elbows, then puts the neck wrench back on. Fans rally again and Reed endures. Lumis licks Reed?! Perhaps he wants a taste of Reed’s pain. But Reed only gets mad and fights his way up. Reed throws forearms but Lumis knees low. Lumis runs but into Reed’s powerslam! Both men are down as Lumis clutches his ribs. Lumis is up but Reed follows to rally with forearms and elbows. Reed whips and back drops Lumis high and hard! Lumis leans on the ropes, Reed runs and bounces Lumis off the ropes, and runs him over with his full body! Cover, TWO!
Reed keeps going and drags Lumis up for a suplex. Lumis slips out to back suplex Reed! And then kips up to a leg drop! Cover, TWO! Lumis keeps his cool and goes to a corner while Reed is down. Lumis climbs up top, frames the picture, and leaps, to flop! Reed lifts Lumis for a back suplex SLAM! The straps come down and now Reed climbs!? Reed leaps, SUPER SPLASH! Cover, Reed wins!
Winner: Bronson Reed, by pinfall; advances to the second round
Australian Strong Style advances! Will he continue to make a big splash when he goes up against Cameron Grimes next?
Tyler Breeze has a new NXT photoshoot.
Prince Pretty finishes up and Cathy Kelly asks for an interview. Breeze agrees, so long as they walk and talk. Cathy walks with Breeze about losing to Roderick Strong. Well the thing about NXT now is that it’s good to have someone watching your back. So Breeze either adapts or- The Forgotten Sons walk in and can’t believe there’s another “blast from the past.” But Steve Cutler tells Breeze this isn’t the old NXT, this is not the Tyler Breeze Show. This is the NXT where real men compete.
Breeze is a man, check the beard. But yeah, Breeze hasn’t been here awhile, but good to see Cutler and Wesley Blake are still stuck here. And didn’t Jaxson Ryker used to be Buddy Murphy? The Forgotten Sons say Breeze’s jokes are why he’s never been taken seriously. Ryker is a savage, and Breeze has never faced a man like him. Well guess what? Breeze has seen everything he needs. Will Breeze still be gorgeous after a going against the Gunner?
The #EvilGenius will return to action next week!
Io Shirai’s new entrance, new look and new attitude came with the simple message: “I don’t need anyone.” Will this new attitude be what she needs to make it back to the top? Her return match against American Ninja Warrior, Kacy Catanzaro, will test that theory!
Apollo Crews VS KUSHIDA!
The Time Splitter is still undefeated in NXT, and he is willing to take on anyone and everyone from within the WWE! Now SmackDown’s rising star returns to Full Sail to test the Super Junior, will Kushida’s streak continue?
Full Sail “Welcome Back!” Apollo as he heads to the ring. The bell rings and Apollo shakes hands with Kushida to show this is a respectful match. The two circle and tie up, and Apollo gets out of Kushida’s grip. Apollo comes back to get the waistlock and throw Kushida down. Kushida works his way up and around to waistlock and facelock. They roll around and Kushida holds on to then float all over Apollo, back to a gator roll and cover, TWO! Apollo ducks the Penalty Kick just in time, and Kushida lets him know how close it was. Fans duel as the two circle and tie up again. Apollo headlocks but Kushida powers out, only for Apollo to run him over. Things speed up and Apollo shows his agility, but so does Kushida! They keep moving and Apollo dropkicks Kushida right down!
Apollo strikes a pose before he wrenches and whips Kushida corner to corner. Apollo hits a corner clothesline then whips again, but Kushida slides out. Kushida plays cat ‘n’ mouse to then handspring heel kick Apollo down! Apollo is down but Kushida goes out to fetch him. Kushida puts Apollo in, then goes after the arm. Kushida headbutts the shoulder then runs, but into a pop-up gutbuster! Both men are down and fans rally up. Apollo stands to drag Kushida up, then suplexes and holds Kushida up for over 20 counts! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps on Kushida with a chinlock and thrashes him about. Kushida endures and fans rally up.
Kushida stands, fights back, then runs, but into Apollo’s elbow! Apollo drags Kushida back up to throw haymakers. Apollo throws hands in the corner then whips Kushida corner to corner again. He hits a big splash then a big overhead suplex! Cover, TWO! Apollo drags Kushida up again for forearms, backing Kushida down to a corner. He whips Kushida corner to corner agian but misses the splash this time! Kushida throws forearms back! Apollo mule kicks, runs to a corner, but Kushida catches his headscissors to KICK Apollo down! Fans rally as Kushida gets up first.
Kushida forearms Apollo at the ropes but Apollo reverses the whip. Kushida handsprings to back elbow Apollo down! Apollo is in the corner, Kushida runs in, but Apollo boots Kushida away. Apollo runs but into Kushida’s hip toss! Kushida cartwheels and dropkicks to add on! Apollo gets to a corner as fans fire up with Kushida. Kushida goes to the apron to kick Apollo out of the corner! Then step-in springboards in for a tornado DDT! Cover, TWO! Kushida drags Apollo up and wrenches the arm to a shoulder breaker. Kushida runs and slides under to kick away on the arm. Apollo catches the kick, then blocks the takedown counter! He fireman’s carries but Kuhisda slips out to a waistlock. Apollo standing switches, but Kushida elbows free. Kushida runs into a BOOT! Cover, TWO!
Kushida survives but Apollo drags him up for a deadlift German Suplex! But Apollo holds on for a second, a la the Gold Medalist, Kurt Angle! The third German is a release, and leads to a standing shooting star! Cover, TWO!! Kushida survives again and Apollo is shocked. Full Sail is thunderous for “Both These Guys!” as Apollo stands Kushida up again. Apollo trophy lifts but Kushida slips out. Kushida catches Apollo to give him a buckle shot! Then Kushida springboards, huricanrana but Apollo rolls through, TWO!! Kushida Peles but Apollo enziguris! Both men are down and fans are loving “NXT! NXT!” for this match.
A standing count begins and Apollo slowly sits up. Apollo gets up at 4 to go to the apron. Apollo then climbs, but Kushida hurries over. Kushida stops Apollo with a forearm, then throws more as he climbs. Apollo gives forearms back, and the two start trading. Apollo sends Kushida down, but Kushida is up to handspring heel kick Apollo back! Kushida climbs up and stands Apollo, for a SUPER ARMBAR TAKEDOWN! Apollo flails and works his way up to his feet. He drags Kushida but Kushida rolls Apollo away, SAKURABA LOCK! Apollo endures the kimura but taps out, Kushida wins!!
Winner: KUSHIDA, by submission
An incredible battle brings Apollo and Kushida to their limits, but it is the Super Junior’s streak that continues! How long will it take the Time Splitter to fight for a title?
Backstage interview with Keith Lee.
The Limitless One moves into his second year in NXT beginning, but what are his feelings towards his tenure here? “Tenure” makes Lee think of “progress,” but what progress has he made with his stop-and-go momentum? Lee has been here a year now, but what is the real keyword? Opportunity. Opportunities were supposed to be set at his feet, but… It feels more like Lee has been passed over. There is the Breakout Tournament, but why wasn’t that here when Lee arrived? And now there’s this new guy, Damien Priest, and he’s all the buzz. But maybe Lee should change the narrative. Maybe Lee should be the one that replaces Priest in everyone’s conversations. Will Limitless #LiveForever against the Archer of Infamy?
NXT Championship: Adam Cole VS ???
He’s back, BAYBAY! Adam Cole’s victory lap finishes with Full Sail, and he’s promised a title defense just for the fun of it. Cole picks up a mic to say, “For the past few weeks, I’ve been traveling all across the globe on the BAYBAY Championship Tour.” What he did is to show the morons what a true champion is. He showed us what true power is! And while he’s been gone, the Undisputed Era has been taking care of business. There is now an #UndisputedPowerSwitch in NXT, but Cole is a fighting champion. Anyone, anytime, anywhere! And that starts tonight! And against… Johnny Gargano?!
A video of Gargano plays, from when he shared the NXT Championship belt with the aspiring wrestlers in Cleveland. It was such a surreal moment for those young stars, and so… “Twan Tucker, c’mon down!” And he’s here in NXT! Cole says it’s good to see him again. Hopefully Twan realizes this is the opportunity of a life time. And he promises this will just be the two of them, no Undisputed Era around. This is a fair chance to slap the taste out of Cole’s mouth. Oh so it’s just Cole and Twan? Too bad, because Twan didn’t come alone! Twan brought JOHNNY GARGANO!! Cole is in shock as Johnny Wrestling storms out and past Twan, to brawl with Cole! Gargano rallies, blocks a superkick and gives a SUPERKICK! Then one from the apron!
Gargano chases Cole and throws hands as they go around the outside. Cole throws Gargano into railing and retreats up the stands, but Gargano still chases him down! Gargano rains down hands and Full Sail is thunderous! Gargano CHOPS and punches Cole against the railing, then pushes him back to ringside. Cole keeps retreating, but Johnny Badass keeps coming. But Cole elbows Gargnao back! Cole whips but Gargano reverses to send Cole through barriers! Gargano hops on to rain down hands and bounce Cole off the floor! Referees rush out to drag Gargano away. Cole stands tall with his title, until Gargano FLIES off the stage!!
Referees go after Gargano again but he still goes after Cole! They end up in the ring, Cole kicks low to run, but gets a SUPERKICK! And then the DIY style, into GargaNO Escape! Cole taps, but it doesn’t matter right now, Gargano wants to hurt the cocky champ! Referees pry at the grip around Cole’s neck, but Gargano lets go when he’s satisfied! Gargano defended the honor of The Land, but will he bring the title back in yet another match with Adam Cole, BAYBAY?
NXT GM William Regal responds to this chaotic ending!
As seen on WWE’s YouTube, Regal sees things between Adam Cole and Johnny Gargano will not be over so easily. So his choice is to give Gargano and Cole another Best 2 Out of 3 Falls, but where Gargano chooses one stipulation, Cole chooses another, and if need be, Regal chooses the third. In other words, NXT brings back the Three Stages of Hell!! What will Gargano and Cole choose to do to each other in order to finally, decisively, and indisputably end this feud?!
WOW that was an incredible episode for NXT! We waste little time getting to hard hitting action as Arturo Ruas makes his debut (ignore when he was Adrian Jaoude) and against Matt Riddle. It was great to see legit MMA-trained wrestlers give us just samples of what they can legitimately do, and what a great choice to make this a TKO, referee stoppage win as opposed to a pin or submission. It really ups Riddle’s power, which he’ll need after Big Damo destroyed him. It was a great spot to have them break the stage, but it was easy to see the exact panel on the stage they were going to break. I’m reminded of old cartoons, where you could tell if something was about to move because it was slightly different in shade. That aside, Dain VS Riddle is going to be awesome!
We got an awesome “fan filmed” section where Mia Yim went off on Marina Shafir. I’m surprised they didn’t have a response promo from Shayna, but we can definitely get that next week. If anything, Mia might do something like this to Jessamyn Duke so Shayna will have no one in Toronto. Meanwhile, Io Shirai’s Heel persona starting her in-ring journey is going to be great, but I’m sure this all leads to her and Candice LeRae for at least the “post” TakeOver episode. Reed VS Lumis was a pretty solid opening round finale, and both guys got great shine. The second round is going to be even greater with Garza VS Myles and Grimes VS Reed. Street Profits gave us a quiet but strong promo, solidifying that Toronto will feature all parts of Undisputed Era to either make or break the #drapedingold prediction.
Kushida VS Apollo, WOW! This is the Apollo we’ve been wanting to see back in the ring, but the main roster doesn’t use him nearly enough. Kushida keeps rolling, so he’ll definitely be primed for a title match after Toronto onto Chicago for Survivor Series weekend. And the announcement of Cole having a title match on NXT TV set up expectations, such as a ridiculous squash, what we got was so much better! Twan let Gargano go right after Cole and their brawl all over the arena was great. And now hearing that we’re getting the (not officially named) return of Three Stages of Hell, this is going to give us the truly decisive and truly over-the-top finale to this saga between Gargano and Cole. There are any number of things the three falls can be, and you know they’re doing all three falls, Toronto is going to be insane.
My Score: 8.6/10