SmackDown keeps things going even after Wrestlemania with a Tag Team Championship match! Will the Usos put the Hardy Boyz on #Lockdown?
- Six Man Tag: Aleister Black, Ricochet & Mustafa Ali VS Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev w/ Lana & Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega; Black, Ricochet & Ali win.
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: The IIconics VS ???; The IIconics win and retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos VS The Hardy Boyz; The Hardy Boyz win and become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
- Six Man Tag: The New Day VS Drew McIntyre & The Bar; The New Day wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Don’t you dare be sour! Clap for the NEW WWE World Champion, and feel~ the power~! The New Day leads the way for KOFIMANIA! Fans have their signs up proudly as Kofi Kingston high-fives fans on the way into the ring. And the ring is ready for a celebration with a balloon rainbow and plenty of pancakes! SmackDown gives us a quick slideshow to show how Kofi endured, won, and celebrated Wrestlemania Sunday to finally have this title. And fans let him know, “You Deserve It!” Big E wants to make sure everyone knows that finally, a man who made millions of fans cry tears of joy, a man who is clearly an A+ Player with extra credit, broke his foot off between the cheeks of the evil vegan, Daniel Bryan, to become the W, W, E, World, Heavyweight, CHAMPION~!!
Xavier speaks to Brooklyn. Ya bois the NEW~ DAY~, went to Raw in an effort to make even more history. Talking about that split E hit? Fans want “One More Time!” and E gives it to us! But no, that wasn’t it. Big E meant how Kofi was this close to becoming DUAL champion, much like The Man, Becky Lynch! And as much as fun as it would’ve been, there is nothing like being home on the Blue Brand! The New Day is known for shenanigans, crude humor, a lot of booty stuff, but that’s not happening tonight. Tonight is a celebration! They will celebrate the career of the man who is their friend and brother, Kofi Kingston! Fans cheer again as Xavier thinks back to Kofi’s debut. Following Kofi’s career was incredible. Xavier’s own debut and his meeting Kofi the first time, it was meeting a hero.
And what makes it even more special, they bonded together to dig their way up here! They reshaped culture and history together! Wrestlemania saw it happen again when Kofi won. So on behalf of The New Day and everyone in this arena and WWE Universe, “We love you, and congratulations!” Kofi is at a loss for words. But this moment right here “wasn’t supposed to happen”. It wasn’t in the cards, yet here we are! Kofi gives a very special shout out to his family right in the corner. Orion, Kai, and Mrs. Kingston, Chichi, they are Kofi’s inspiration to be the best husband, father and role model possible. He loves them so much, but here comes The Bar! Cesaro & Sheamus ruined Raw’s main event, now they’re raining on the parade!
Sheamus says Kofi owes them for saving him last night. Seth Rollins was mopping the floor with him and they kept Kofi from losing that title. Fans tell The Bar what they think of them, but Sheamus tells them and Kofi that the reality was Kofi was going to lose that belt within 24 hours! And not just because Kofi is a B+ Player, but because he didn’t have The New Day to help him. So here’s a proposal: Kofi and The New Day have a Six Man Tag with The Bar. Okay fine, but they don’t have a third man. Oh but they do. They made a friend while on Raw. But there will be plenty of time to prepare for The Bar and… DREW! The Scottish Terminator joins forces with the Swiss Cyborg and Celtic Gladiator! Will this pumped up Bar be enough to break The New Day?
Six Man Tag: Aleister Black, Ricochet & Mustafa Ali VS Shinsuke Nakamura, Rusev w/ Lana & Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega
The Dutch Destroyer & King of Flight didn’t win tag titles on Wrestlemania Weekend, but there’s always next time. For now, they combine with the Beacon of Light to take on the Rockstar, the Brute and El Idolo! Which trio takes back major momentum after WrestleMania?
SmackDown as the King of Strong Style makes his entrance to join his team. The bell rings and Nakamura starts against Ricochet. Fans still sing Nakamura’s theme as he kicks, knees and wrenches Ricochet around. Ricochet spins and wrenches back to a hammerlock to a snapmare. Crucifix cover, TWO! Ricochet keeps on Nakamura but Nakamura breaks free to fire off a strike fest. Nakamura whips but Ricochet rolls off his back. Ricochet handsprings and headscissors to then dropkick Nakamura down! Cover, ONE! Ricochet wrenches but Nakamura kicks to catch Ricochet with the heel. Tag to Rusev and Rusev stomps a mudhole into Ricochet. Both Lana and Zelina cheer their team on as Ricochet rocks Ricochet on the ropes.
Tag to Nakamura, and they combine for a draping knee to suplex! Almas tags in and adds a basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Almas stands Ricochet for a CHOP! Tag to Rusev and they mug Ricochet. Tag to Nakamura and he adds on to the mugging. Nakamura wrenches Ricochet’s head in a facelock, then drags him down for knees to the ribs. Nakamura puts the facelock back on but fans rally up. Ricochet stands but Nakamura squeezes tighter. Ricochet fights back but Nakamura knees low. Tag to Rusev and he stalks Ricochet to stomp him. Rusev whips but Ricochet holds ropes, then dodges Rusev to hit a neckbreaker! Fans rally as Ricochet and Rusev crawl, hot tag to Ali! Ali rallies and dodges Rusev for a flapjack dropkick! Tag to Aleister and now Aleister stomps away. Tag to Ricochet and he throws hands.
Aleitser tags back in, and the NXT duo whip Rusev to kitchen sink to basement dropkick! Rusev bails out but Aleister intercepts Almas with a boot. Aleister hits Nakamura, too, then fakes everyone out! He, Ali and Ricochet all sit down in the ring as we go picture in picture.
Fans cheer for Aleister and team as things sort back out. Zelina and Lana are both upset as their team regroups. Ali tags in and waits for someone to return. Rusev runs in but back out to troll Ali. Ali keeps his head on a swivel as Almas also fakes him out. Rusev and Nakamura dare Ail to “C’MON!” but Ali avoids the cheap shot knee only to get a roundhouse! Cover, TWO! Rusev keeps on Ali and tags in Almas. They mug Ali with forearms and kicks. Almas taunts Ali before he wrenches him to a shoulder breaker and clubbing forearms. He brings Ali to the ropes for a hanging armbar! Nakamura tags in and stomps Ali. He drags Ali into a Fujiwara Armbar! Ali endures so Nakamura shifts to a knee drop! Tag to Rusev and they mug Ali more.
Rusev clubs Ali down then drags him up for haymakers. Lana and Zelina cheer as Rusev stomps and clubs Ali out at the ropes. Ali gets up to punch back and starts backing Rusev down. Ali leaps but Rusev catches him! Tag to Nakamura, enziguri to spinebuster! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura drags Ali up for another armlock but Ali endures. Fans rally and Ali fights his way up. Almas tags in and clubs Ali down. Almas drags Ali up for a CHOP against ropes! Rusev applauds then tags in. Rusev whips and catches Ali into a bearhug as we return to single picture.
Fans rally as Ali endures the squeeze and thrash. Rusev squeezes tight but Ali gets free, only to get a clobbering clothesline! Rusev hits Ricochet and Aleister down to leave Ali isolated! Fans boo but Lana and Zelina cheer. Rusev puts Ali in the corner and taunts him to tag before hitting a corner splash. Ali gets to an open corner, Rusev runs in but Ali elbows him away. Ali hops up, flying tornado DDT! Both Ali and Rusev crawl for their corners, hot tags to Almas and Aleister! Aleister rallies on Almas then fires off a strike fest! Sweep to sliding knee! Aleister nips up and fans fire up as Aleister hits the quebrada! Cover, but Rusev and Nakamura both break it! Ricochet springboards to dropkick them both out!
Ricochet aims and slides, but then dodges Rusev to moonsault off barriers! Nakamura KINSHASAS Ricochet from behind! BLACK MASS sends Nakamura back down! But almas rolls Aleister, TWO!! Boot to elbow! But Ali tags in! Ali dodges Almas to hit a REVERSE-RANA! Almas is down and Ali heads up, 450 splash! Cover, Ali and team win!
Winners: Ali, Aleister & Ricochet, Ali pinning
The Light, Flight and Black win, but RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!! The Viper ruins everyone’s celebration and even shocks himself. Randy Orton gets back up from losing to AJ Styles, but then Kevin Owens gives Rusev a STUNNER!? The Prizefighter won’t be outdone, but what will he do next? The Superstar Shake-Up is also coming, where will anyone end up when it’s all over?
Backstage interview with The Usos.
Jimmy & Jey are ready to defend their titles again so soon after winning a Fatal 4 Way at Wrestlemania. But before that, congrats to Kofi Kingston! Wrestlemania came and went, but one thing remains the same: The Usos still have the tag titles. But for the first time, they feel the need to win. The Usos need to win against the Hardy Boyz. The SmackDown Tag Team Championships are second to proving who is the better brother tandem. No, it’s about proving who is the better team in all of WWE History! The Usos welcome Jeff & Matt to the #UsoPenitentiary, but will it simply be rendered OBSOLETE?
R-Truth & Carmella are in the ring!
“Brooklyn, make some noise!” What’s up?! Well what’s up is that The Man, Becky Lynch, is the Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champion! Kofi Kingston is the WWE World Champion! And at Wrestlemania, not only did the FABULOUS Truth put on the World’s Largest Seven Second Dance Break, Carmella beat Andre the Giant in the Royal Rumble match! Uh, no, Truth, no. It was the Women’s Battle Royal. Same thing, right? But to think, just a year ago, Carmella was Ms. Money in the Bank and cashed in to become champion. But then she lost the title only to gain a friend. A friend that reminds her to let loose and have fun. Let’s not get emotional, but she couldn’t have done it without Truth. And wining the Women’s Battle Royal is her first step to bigger and better.
But wait, here comes Samoa Joe! The WWE United States Champion retained after beating Rey Mysterio in under a minute, but he wants another fight! R-Truth gives him that fight, and rocks him with a calf kick! Truth misses the scissor kick and ends up in a Coquina Clutch! Joe has the sleeper on tight, but instead throws Truth out of the ring. Joe demands a mic and he gets one. “What stands before you is a man who destroyed Rey Mysterio in under 60 seconds at Wrestlemania!” So that is a warning that Joe might take even less time to beat up anyone else. The Shake-Up is coming, will Joe soon be a threat to Raw like he is to SmackDown? But wait, here comes BRAUN! This isn’t just anyone else! This is the Monster Among Men!
The Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner goes right at Joe and hits a corner splash! Joe boots Strowman away, and grabs on for a Coquina Clutch! But Strowman powers out! And scoops Joe for a- No, Joe escapes by the skin of his teeth! Will Joe end up on Raw? Will Strowman end up on SmackDown? Either way, will we see this battle of titans happen for that United States title down the line?
The IIconics are here!
Billie Kay & Peyton Royce say high to Strowman on their way out, but he just ignores them. But that’s okay, the NEW WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here to put those titles on the line already! Who will they defend against after the break?!
What’s in the box?
And what in the world is that creature?! Is this some kind of harbinger of doom?
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: The IIconics VS ???
SmackDown returns and Billie & Peyton take a moment to speak. “Two nights ago at Wrestlemania~, we defied all odds.” The IIconics emerged with these titles! Now when people win titles, they talk a lot about being fighting champions. But the IIconics don’t just talk, they walk, wink wink. And they’ll defend these titles anytime, anywhere, against any team! So tonight, they’ve arranged their first defense to be against the best team in Brooklyn! Ladies & Gentlemen, with an undefeated record of 45-0, it is Karissa & Kristen, the Brooklyn Belles! Peyton & Billie are honored to be facing such a prestigious team. While the challengers have a bright future, Peyton’s & Billie’s future will always be… IICONIC! Strike the pose. Will Peyton & Billie be the 1 in 45-1? Or will they end up the shortest reigning tag champions in those titles’ short history?
Teams sort out as the titles are raised, and we begin with Billie and Karissa. They tie up and Billie knees and clubs Karissa down then tags in Peyton. They double kick her down then strike their poses! Paige watches from backstage as Peyton throws hands on Karissa. Tag to Billie and Billie hotshots into Peyton’s heel kick! Billie drags Karissa up and puts her in the corner for IIconics mudhole stomps. Tag to Peyton and she grinds her boot into Kristen’s face. Tag back to Billie and they double whip Karissa at Kristen. Kristen tags in and she dodges Billie to hit Peyton! Kristen rolls Billie up, TWO!! Billie boots Kristen, then tags in Peyton. Peyton rolls Kristen to Billie for the wheelbarrow half nelson, Peyton rams in her knee! Cover, The IIconics win!
Winners: The IIconics, Peyton Royce pinning; still WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions
Brooklyn’s best fall to Peyton & Billie! The IIconics start a streak of their own, but how long will it last?
Backstage interview with Paige.
What’s she doing back on SmackDown? Well other than being the SmackDown after Mania, this is also the SmackDown before the Superstar Shake-Up. Paige just wanted a look at the new WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. That was an impressive match against the… Brooklyn Belles, was it? But here’s a little secret. Next week, Paige will bring an impressive tag team of her own. Bye for now. Wait, Paige is leading another women’s tag team?! Who will be joining the Glampire on Superstar Shake-Up SmackDown?
Shane McMahon is here!
The Best in the World slowly walks out to the ring, having survived Falls Count Anywhere against The Miz at Mania. What will he have to say about that match after the break?
SmackDown returns and Shane stands in the ring with the World Cup trophy. We review the Falls Count Anywhere with a slideshow ending with that insane superplex off the camera tower! But Shane only won because he was on top of Miz after the fall to the spare platform below. Even so, he manages his million dollar shuffle. Shane reviews the amazing night we’ve had so far and the amazing week in all. Next week only continues that as we go to Superstar Shake-Up. But he wants to reflect on Wrestlemania. There were huge moments like Seth Rollins becoming the NEW WWE Universal Champion. Kofi Kingston became the NEW WWE World Champion. And of course, Becky Lynch is now both Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champion.
But why did over 80 thousand people jam into MetLife Stadium? Why did millions and millions of people watch? They all wanted to see Shane beating The Miz. Fans boo because that’s not true. But Shane says Miz is in the rear view, and not even here in Brooklyn tonight because he’s tending to Papa George. Shane wants to talk about that for a second. Papa Miz had the audacity to hop into the ring, and it shocked Shane. Papa Miz put his dukes up and stepped to Shane. Shane realized how serious Papa Miz was when he managed to get Shane in the eye. Fans tell Shane “You Deserve It!” But Shane says Papa George deserved getting beat up. And that 68-year-old backed potato and his son got what was coming to them. They found out Shane is who he says he is: The Best in the World.
But on that subject, Shane gets ring announcer Greg Hamilton to give him that proper introduction. Shane couldn’t help but notice the lack of enthusiasm from a moment ago. It wasn’t quite like that amazing Wrestlemania one. What’s going on, Greg? Well, Greg has fans threatening him over that introduction. Well, this is Brooklyn, that stuff happens. But this is also the best city in the world. And why? Because the Best in the World lives in Brooklyn. So Greg, forget about one thing. Forget about the people doing anything to him. He has to worry about Shane doing something to him. So get this right, okay? With conviction and pride. Okay? Okay. Frame it with trophy and… “Ladies and Gentlemen, introducing: The BEST, in the Woooor-” No not good enough. Give us the Mania one. No, no, damn it!
Shane wants Greg to step out with him as he keeps trying. “Best in the-” No, you’re choking, Greg. C’mon. C’mon! It’s still not good enough for Shane. Greg isn’t trying hard enough. Is he crying? No…! “The Best, in the W-” Okay, Greg, last chance. Or else there will be consequences. Shane knows he has another one in him. Don’t be nervous. Let it rip! “Introducing: The BEST, in the WOOOOOOOORLD~!” SHAAAANE! McMAAAAHON~! There it is. Fans boo Shane bullying poor Greg. Shane lets Greg go about his business then finally takes his leave. But will The Miz return to finally deflate that million dollar ego?
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos VS The Hardy Boyz!
Jimmy & Jey. Matt & Jeff. Two brother tandems that have done so much in tag team wrestling, and especially on SmackDown! But now, they finally meet and battle to be the very best! Will The Usos put The Hardys on #Lockdown? Or will The Hardys DELETE the Usos’ reign?
SmackDown returns as the Usos make their entrance. The belts are raised and the bell rings, but the teams stare down before sorting out. Jey starts with Matt and we begin! Matt and Jey tie up and go around, but Matt wrenches Jey to a shoulder breaker. Fans chant “DELETE! DELETE!” as Jeff tags in. The Hardys double whip, elbow and hit the fist drop and senton combo! Jeff covers, TWO! Jeff keeps on Jey but Jey powers him tot he corner. Jimmy tags in and hits a running uppercut! Jimmy CHOPS Jeff but Jeff kicks and wrenches back. Tag to Matt and Matt hops up to drop an ax handle on Jimmy’s arm. Matt drags Jimmy up for another wrench but Jimmy fights out. Jimmy headbutts Matt a few times but Matt haymakers back.
Matt whips but Jey tags in. The Usos reverse and combine for an assisted Samoan Drop. Jey covers, TWO! Jey drags Matt up and out of the ring then Jimmy gets a cheap shot in. Jimmy backs off while Jey goes out to give Matt an uppercut. Jey throws Matt right into barriers! The ring count begins while Jey trash talks, but Matt hits back! They brawl at 5 and Jey puts Matt in at 7. Jey keeps between Matt and Jeff to tag in Jimmy. The Usos mug Matt then Jimmy uppercuts Matt to a corner. Jimmy whips Matt corner to corner hard and Matt bounces off buckles. Jey tags in and the Usos coordinate for the backbreaker ax handle! The Usos stare Jeff down while we go picture in picture.
Fans rally up for Matt as he crawls, but Jey stays between him and Jeff. Jey drags Matt up to a facelock but Matt endures. Matt fights out but Jey clubs him back. Jey back suplexes Matt down and Matt gets to a corner. Tag to Jimmy and the Usos double whip Matt corner to corner. Matt hits the buckles hard face first, then crumbles to the mat. Fans rally for Matt but Jimmy just grins. Jimmy taunts Matt to tag Jeff but then stomps his hand. Jimmy drags Matt up but Matt counter punches! But Jimmy kicks low and scoops, only for Matt to slip out. Matt kicks and DDT’s Jimmy down! Both men are down and fans rally up as they crawl for their brothers. Hot tags to Jeff and Jey!
Jeff rallies and whips but Jey reverses, only for Jeff to forearm him down. Jeff hits the atomic drop and leg-splitter leg drop! Cover, TWO! We return to single picture as Jeff stalks Jey. Jeff kicks but Jey denies. Jey kicks but Jeff blocks, only to get the dragon whip! Tag to Jimmy but Jeff sends Jey out. Jimmy kicks, uppercuts and whips but Jeff reverses. Jimmy stops himself and mule kicks Jeff back to climb up and copy Whisper in the Wind! But he misses! Jeff does it right with his Whisper in the Wind! Cover, TWO!! Tag to Matt and the Hardy Boyz coordinate for Poetry in Motion! Jimmy staggers into a Side Effect! Cover, TWO! Matt takes off the shirt and drags Jimmy up.
Tag to Jeff but Jimmy spins out of the Twist of Fate to SUPERKICK! Jeff rolls Jimmy, TWO! SUPERKICK! Tag to Jey! USO SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! Jeff survives and fans are fired up! The Usos are beside themselves but they coordinate again. Tag to Jimmy and the Usos go to a corner each. Fans know “This is Awesome!’ as both men climb. But Matt anchors Jey. Jey sends Matt down and adjusts, but Jeff dodges the Double Uce!! Tag to Matt and he goes right at Jimmy, Twist of- Jimmy denies but Jeff tags back in. Matt blocks the kick to finally hit the Twist of Fate! Jeff climbs, SWANTON BOMB!! Cover, The Hardys win!!
Winners: The Hardy Boyz, Jeff pinning; NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions
They’re now EIGHT-TIME WWE Tag Team Champions in their illustrious careers! Kayla Braxton comes in to interview and congratulate Matt and Jeff, but wait, is that… LARS SULLIVAN!? The Leviathan made his main roster debut by destroying Kurt Angle’s happy farewell, is he about to harm the Hardys?
Matt and Jeff don’t back down, they bring the fight! Lars shoves them away, then clubs them both down. He throws Matt out then drags Jeff up for a FREAK ACCIDENT! Then Matt returns, only to get a spinning powerslam! Fans boo and jeer but Lars isn’t done! Lars climbs up high, and gives Matt the flying headbutt! Lars leaves these tag team legends down and out, who else will be leveled by the Leviathan?
The Man returns to SmackDown!
Becky Lynch already paid a visit to Raw, but now she returns home wearing the blue belt while carrying the red. As with Raw, SmackDown relives the Winner Takes All Triple Threat. Ronda, Charlotte and Becky pulled out all the stops, and in the end, it was Straight Fire that pinned the Baddest Woman on the Planet to become the first-ever dual women’s champion! Fans sing Becky’s theme and she hears the voices of angels. But what a week, huh? She did exactly what she said she would, and she overcame both Ronda and Charlotte in the main event! And now she’s the Champ-Champ, #BeckyTwoBelts! Fans chant along with that one. Now that sounds like cause for celebration. She tried that on Monday, but let’s see how that went.
What Becky means is, as she was on her way out, the Sassy Southern Belle would interrupt. Lacey Evans didn’t take The Man seriously as she struck with the Woman’s Right! Becky hit back, and a brawl was on! The Model Soldier managed a tactical retreat. Lacey’s punch quickly reminded Becky she has two big targets on her belts. Shake-Up or not, Becky’s pulling double duty. There’s a tsunami of challengers is coming, but Becky says “Bring on every last one of them!” Becky wants to make this the most talked-about run in all of WWE. If Becky has to beat every woman in the world and sleep with one eye for the rest of her life, she will. She’s walked through Hell to get these titles, she’ll become a Redheaded Devil to keep them. Who will be first to step up to The Man and her two thrones?
But here comes Lacey again! That was a true sucker punch Woman’s Right this time! Fans still cheer for Becky while Lacey sneers at her from atop the ramp. Lacey brushes herself off and takes her leave again, but did she just put a target on her back bigger than Becky’s?
Six Man Tag: The New Day VS Drew McIntyre & The Bar!
#KOFIMANIA almost became bigger than big, but Cesaro & Sheamus “saved” him from The Architect taking the world title from him. However, Kofi, Big E & Xavier Woods don’t see it that way, and accepted this main event match. Will the power of positivity be enough to defeat the Swiss Cyborg, Celtic Gladiator and Scottish Terminator?
SmackDown returns with both teams in the ring, but then Sami Zayn appears? The Underdog from the Underground returned last night on Raw only to lose against Finn Balor in an Intercontinental Championship match. And now, as fans sing his song, Sami says “You’re not worth it.” Sami doesn’t like the WWE Universe anymore, and takes his leave. With that, the bell rings and we begin the match with Sheamus and Woods!
Sheamus tackles Woods to a corner and puts him no the top rope. He throws hands then whips Woods corner to corner but Woods goes up and over. Woods speeds things up to rock Sheamus with a forearm and mule kick. Woods forearm smashes Sheamus in the corner then tags in Big E. Big E runs out to ram his shoulder into Sheamus. Kofi tags in to slide and double stomp Sheamus down! Cover, TWO! Kofi keeps on Sheamus then tags in Woods. Woods hops up to drop an ax handle on the arm. Woods wrenches but Sheamus powers him to the other side. He lets up at 4 but Cearo hotshots Woods. Sheamus clotheslines Woods out then tags McIntyre. McIntyre drags Woods up for an Inverted Alabama Slam on the desk!! Woods goes down and McIntyre mocks him while we go to one last break.
SmackDown returns and Big E tags in! Big E rallies on Cesaro with belly2belly suplexes! Then he swivels those hips and builds up speed for the Big Splash! Fans clap along as Big E stalks Cesaro. Sheamus returns but Big E knocks him down. Big E puts Cesaro on the apron and builds up speed, only to run into Cesaro’s knee! Cesaro climbs up and leaps, crossbody but Big E rolls through, TWO! Big E scoops Cesaro but Cesaro scrambles out. Cesaro boots Big E then tags Sheamus. Sheamus rocks Big E with a knee and Cesaro climbs, A-Swiss-ted White Noise! Cover, but Woods breaks it! Cesaro goes after Woods but Woods sends him out. Sheamus gets Woods for the Irish Curse backbreaker! Fans boo as Sheamus fires up and aims from the corner. Sheamus runs but into a big lariat!
Both Big E and Sheamus are down but Kofi returns. Kofi tags in and hits Sheamus with a crossbody on the back! Fans fire up with Kofi as he aims from the corner. Kofi sees Cesaro and boots him first, then runs to FLY onto him! Kofi hurries back up and kicks Sheamus back. Sheamus staggers and Kofi aims again. Kofi spins but Sheamus ducks the Trouble into a lift! But Kofi powers out and things speed up, Trouble in Paradise on the run! Cover, The New Day wins!
Winners: The New Day, Kofi Kingston pinning
The WWE World Champion and his best friends are victorious! They celebrate with Kofi’s sons yet again, and even his wife, because #KOFIMANIA is running wild! Will The New Day still be SmackDown blue? Or will the Superstar Shake-Up send them to be red on Raw?
It’s hard to say if the SmackDown After Wrestlemania was better than the Raw After Mania. At the very least, SmackDown ended better than Raw did. We had a great opening with The New Day to finally take the time to celebrate Kofi’s career. However, even this is “ruined” by The Bar to give McIntyre his SmackDown debut. The resulting Six Man Tag match, while short, was great and ended how it should have. There’s a lot of teasing during the Superstar Shake-Up that the New Day could end up separated, but I can’t be sure that happens. They’re still one of the hottest teams in WWE, but at the same time, it would be an interesting development if Kofi was stuck on his own for a year. McIntyre on SmackDown is a good idea, though, as Raw is going to run out of space for him.
Of course, it seems like at least one monster is coming to SmackDown, too. Samoa Joe brawling with Braun Strowman was great, and I would love to see Strowman finally get a singles title in a monstrous match with Joe. Lars Sullivan attacked both Matt & Jeff Hardy, making this seem more like he’s a legend killer than someone after belts. Wherever Lars ends up, I’m thinking he’ll go after a belt after all, so perhaps he’ll be on Raw for the Intercontinental or even Universal Championship. As for The Hardys VS Usos themselves, it was a great match and great to see The Hardys win titles again. If they have those titles, they have to be staying on SmackDown, right? Though this could also be a courtesy win to make sure the Hardys had those belts on their resumes before one or both brothers finally retires.
Teddy Long would be proud of all the tag team matches tonight. The opening Six Man Tag was great, any of those six could end up anywhere and be fine, if not better off than they are now. Orton and Owens did great surprise attacks, and personally I hope they stay on SmackDown, they’ve been staples of it long enough that it’d be too much for them to leave. The IIconics had a title defense, but obviously it was a glorified squash. It’s still good exposure for the Brooklyn Belles wherever they end up, but also a quick and easy first defense for Peyton & Billie. They won’t need to worry about the Shake-Up because those titles are cross-brand, but I’m really hoping they defend against Paige’s new team. And I’m hoping that team is the Sky Pirates, because I literally can’t see another team showing up.
And similarly, The Man won’t have to worry about the Shake-Up, because she has both belts now. Becky clearly has more with Lacey Evans, but I’m hoping that after the Shake-Up and we know which women end up where, we see The Man really going all out. She can have an opponent for the Raw Women’s Championship and one for the SmackDown Women’s Championship and pull a double-header at a big PPV like SummerSlam. Becky pulling a reverse Chris Jericho to defend twice and retain both to be the Undisputed Women’s Champion, officially or unofficially, will be an even greater accomplishment that I’m sure she’s up to and deserves to try.
My Score: 8/10
Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (3/6/21)
A Dark Dozen before Revolution!
It’s a bonus Dark before AEW Revolution!
AEW Revolution is coming, but there is still some Dark to get through! Will the Murderhawk Monster be rolling into that Face of the Revolution Ladder match?
- The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon; The Natural Nightmares win.
- Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake; Chuck wins.
- Penta El Zero M VS Azriel; Penta wins.
- Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler; Archer wins.
- Ricky Starks & Brian Cage w/ Hook VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol; win.
- Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick; wins.
- The Gunn Club VS M’Badu & D3; wins.
- Thunder Rosa VS Tesha Price; wins.
- Tay Conti VS Leila Grey; wins.
- Bear Country VS Ryzin & Cameron Stewart; win(s).
- Preston Vance & Alan Angels w/ The Dark Order VS Labron Kozone & Vary Morales; win.
- The Sydal Brothers VS Chaos Project; win(s).
PLAY BY PLAY
The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon!
Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal, but so are the Brazilian V8 and “Pretty” Peter! Who builds some momentum before running into the Revolution?
The teams sort out, Bononi starts with Dustin, and they circle. Fans rally for Dustin but PPA tells them to shut up. Bononi and Dustin tie up and Bononi shoves Dustin to a corner. Dustin comes back to headlock but Bononi powers out. Dustin rams Bononi but Bononi stays up and shakes his head. Dustin runs again, he dodges Bononi’s clothesline to ROCK him with an uppercut! Dustin wrenches and puts Bononi in the corner, QT tags in and Dustin whips QT in to forearm smash! QT feeds Bononi to Dustin’s POWERSLAM! Fans fire up as QT ROCKS Bononi, whips him, but Bononi reverses. QT holds ropes, BOOTS Bononi, but Avalon gets a cheap shot in!
Bononi then stomps away on QT at the ropes! Tag to Avalon, they mug QT, and Avalon CHOPS! Avalon clubs QT to the other corner, wrenches and whips him corner to corner, and QT bounces off buckles. Avalon stomps QT but fans rally up. Bononi tags in, they mug QT again, but QT hits back! Bononi knees low and throws hard back elbows! Bononi dares QT to reach for Dustin, but QT throws body shots. Bononi throws elbows but QT handsprings for a NEURALIZER! Bononi staggers and Avalon tags in to drag QT from Dustin. QT boots Avalon away and hot tags to Dustin! Dustin dodges Avalon and rallies with clotheslines! Dustin whips and back drops Avalon!
Bononi gets in to kick low, then he whips Dustin. Dustin stops and uppercuts Bononi! Dustin CLOBBERS Bononi, and gets Avalon with a POWERSLAM! Dustin drags Avalon up but Bononi clubs him! QT gets in to ROCK Bononi with haymakers! Bononi knees low, throws QT out, but Dustin clotheslines Bononi out! Dustin dodges Avalon to hit a BULLDOG! Cover, Dustin & QT win!
Winners: The Natural Nightmares, by pinfall
The Natural is fired up because he and the Gift are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal! But will they win it and become contenders?
Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake!
The Kentucky Gentleman and Freshly Squeezed will be in for a fight with the Superbad and Best Man! But first, can Chuck get through a scrap with Scrap Metal?
The bell rings, Chuck and JD circle and tie up, and JD puts Chuck on the ropes. The ref calls for the break, JD goes to chop but Chuck dodges! Chuck and JD reset, tie up, and Chuck waistlocks. JD pries free to a keylock but Chuck goes to hook a leg. JD blocks that but Chuck wrenches through and gets a headlock. JD powers out and throws Chuck to a corner, then runs in. Chuck dodges, hits an arm-drag and grinds JD down. JD fights up, fans rally, and JD pulls air to whip Chuck away. Chuck comes back and JD runs him over! Things speed up, Chuck hurdles over and arm-drags JD again! JD gets up but Chuck dropkicks him out! JD is frustrated, but Chuck goes out to pursue.
Chuck goes around the way, but JD pops him up against ropes to DECK him! JD takes a moment while the ref and Cassidy check on Chuck. JD then drags Chuck up to bump him off buckles and ROCK him with a right! JD puts Chuck in, and drops a senton! Cover, TWO! JD stomps Chuck to ropes, chokes him against the ropes, but lets off as the ref counts 3. JD brings Chuck up to CHOP him, then stalks him as he crawls. JD stomps Chuck’s fingers, throws haymakers then whips, and clotheslines to a falling headbutt! Cover, TWO! JD drags Chuck into a chinlock and digs his knee in. Cassidy rallies the fans and Chuck fights back with body shots.
Fans rally, JD shoves Chuck and atomic drops to a SHOTGUN BOOT! Cover, TWO! JD gets annoyed, drags Chuck up and CHOPS him! Chuck grits his teeth and CHOPS back! And CHOPS again! JD fires up but Chuck ducks to CHOP again! Chuck whips, JD reverses but Chuck reverses back to feed him SOLE FOOD! Chuck runs and BOOTS JD down! Fans fire up, Chuck drags JD up and whips but JD goes up and over. JD runs in but into a Sexy Chuckie Knee! Chuck gets JD for an URENAGE! Chuck double guns, Cassidy kinda double guns, and Chuck goes up top to MOONSAULT! JD moves and elbows Chuck away!
JD hops up top and leaps for a FLYING LEG LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Chuck lives but JD is right on him with a POINT-BLANK LARIAT! Cover, TWO! JD grows frustrated but fans fire up. JD goes to the corner, gives a thumbs down and climbs up. Chuck shoves him down onto his scrap metal! Chuck drags JD back for a SUPER AWFUL WAFFLE!! Cover, Chuck wins!
Winner: Chuck Taylor, by pinfall
That was a big win for the Kentucky Gentleman! But then Penelope Ford struts out on stage? And KIP SABIAN attacks from outta nowhere! Chuck goes after Kip but Miro grabs Chuck for a cobra clutch! Miro thrashes Chuck while Kip chokes Cassidy! Chuck fades out and Miro throws him down! Fans boo but Miro gets a mic. “Wake up, Charles! You’re not done.” He splashes water all over Chuck, and Miro tells him today is a day to learn. Chuck should’ve come talk to Miro like a man, but he ran to the office like a little boy! Chuck could’ve been something but now he’s just wasting their time!
Miro is better than Chuck and Cassidy, he should be AEW World Champion, but they’re taking up his precious time! Miro doesn’t need to be answering notes to make matches! So for that, Chuck is going to see his little friend get what Chuck will get at Revolution! Kip drags Cassidy up, Miro gives the shin kicks, then a BEST KICK! Cassidy is in a daze as he’s down on the stage! Miro tells Chuck will get twice as bad on Sunday! Will Miro & Kip break the Best Friends for good?
Penta El Zero M VS Azriel!
The third point of the Death Triangle is back! And though he’ll surely want revenge on Kenny Omega and his Biz Cliz, he’s going into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match! Will Cero Miedo strike fear into everyone with his Dark return?
The bell rings and Penta circles with Azriel. They tie up, Penta shoves Azriel, and then gets him to a half nelson, spin, hammerlock and a trip. Penta rolls Azriel but Azriel kips up to arm-drag Penta! Penta arm-drags back, then runs. Azriel bypasses but Penta CLUBS him and CHOPS him! Penta swaggers over, CHOPS Azriel in the corner, then whips him to ropes. Penta SPINEBUSTERS, but Azriel headscissors and swings to throw Penta away! Things speed up, Azriel rolls back but into a PENALTY KICK! Penta and fans fire up, and Penta swaggers as he stalks Azriel to a corner. Penta KICKS out a leg! Azriel clutches the knee, but Penta drags him up to put him against ropes.
Penta lets off to CHOP Azriel down! Penta drags Azriel up, whips him but Azriel dodges and RANAS! Azriel arm-drags again, and dropkicks Penta to a corner! Azriel runs but into a SUPERKICK! Azriel runs back in but misses, and Penta goes for a monkey flip but Azriel puts him on the top rope. Penta blocks Azriel’s haymaker, Azriel blocks the boot, and then Azriel DECKS Penta off the top! Penta goes to the floor, Azriel builds speed and FLIES! Direct hit and Azriel fires up! Azriel goes to the ring, puts Penta in and climbs back up, to leap INTO A SUPERKICK! Penta looms over Azriel, drags him up, and clubs him on the back.
Penta shouts CERO MIEDO in his face, runs, but Azriel knees him in the ropes! Azriel whips, knees Penta again, then whips for another knee! Azriel whips to wrench and knee again. Azriel wraps Penta into a cobra clutch for a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Azriel grits his teeth, goes to the top rope, and FROG SPLASHES, onto knees! Penta drags Azriel up, pump handle half nelson for the PACKAGE DRIVER! Cover, TWO!?! Azriel survives and Penta can’t believe it! Penta drags Azriel back in, CERO MIEDO for the true package. Azriel slips out, Penta mule kicks and runs, SPRINGBOARD DESTROYER!!
But Penta isn’t done there, he’s going to make Azriel pay! DARK ARMBAR!!! Cover, Penta wins!
Winner: Penta El Zero M, by pinfall
Not only is Penta building momentum, he’s proving his edge is as sharp as ever! Will Penta do even worse to the others in order to become the Face of the Revolution?
Big Swole speaks!
“There’s a word going around that Big Swole is ‘underutilized.’ Nah, I’m under valued! I’ve scratched and clawed through Crohn’s Disease to become a contender. And when I did, I was met, nah, nah, I was slapped in the damn face with a tournament announcement for something that I have already earned!” Swole knows that the rankings are reset every year, but she was 38-hot about this! SO much, she took time off. And she kept thinking, “It doesn’t matter. The results of the tournament doesn’t matter. But it does.”
Swole is genuinely happy for Ryo Mizunami, and she’ll encourage everyone to watch as the “number one contender” takes on Hikaru Shida. And then whoever is champion after Revolution, congratulations! You’re a champion in debt! They owe Swole, and you don’t wanna owe Swole! Swole will “fight errybody and they momma to get what’s mine!” After Revolution, payment is due, and Swole’s price is gold! No more playing around, Swole’s going after the top spot! But will it be the Full Metal Warrior or Aneki that will be facing the REAL #1 contender?
Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler!
The Murderhawk Monster is also heading into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match, and is ready to remind AEW that #EverybodyDies! Will the Southern Savior be no different in the Dark?
The bell rings and Archer circles with Skyler. They tie up, and Archer throws Skyler right down and kicks him to a corner. Archer bumps Skyler off buckles, ROCKS him with a forearm, then digs his knee into Skyler’s head. The ref counts, Archer lets off, but he drags Skyler up to CLUB him back down! Archer sits Skyler up to CLUB him again, and then paces around. Skyler gets up but Archer choke grips. Skyler pulls Archer’s hair, kicks a leg, then fires off forearms! Skyler CHOPS away on Archer but he doesn’t flinch! Skyler kicks a leg, headlocks, but Archer powers him to a corner. Archer runs in, Skyler dodges, runs back in and uppercuts! Skyler runs and hits another uppercut!
Skyler wants the hat trick but Archer BOOTS him down! Archer then runs to DERAIL Skyler! Fans fire up as Archer dares Skyler to get up. Skyler crawls, Archer puts him in a corner and runs in to back elbow! And then again! And then again! Archer pushes Skyler aside to talk to the camera that this will be nothing compared to Sunday. Archer turns around, Skyler hits back, but Archer DECKS him! Archer drags Skyler up for a full nelson SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Skyler actually survives and Archer applauds him. Archer drags Skyler back up, and TWO HAND SUPLEXES Skyler to a corner!
Skyler flounders up, Archer runs in, but Skyler boots him! Skyler hops up top but Archer ROCKS him with an uppercut! Archer drags Skyler out in the inverted crucifix, for the BLACKOUT BOMB!! Cover, Archer wins!
Winner: Lance Archer, by pinfall
Jake gets a mic and says, “Lance, what have you gotten us into?” Six men, one is a mystery, but does it really matter? Jake likes surprises, don’t you? That’s what she said. But you put five men in the ring with Archer, and one of them being Cody Rhodes, Jake and Archer want to make him scream in pain. But how horrible, his wife is pregnant! That makes Jake weep. But what doesn’t bother Jake is taking what they thought was theirs and making it his! Archer takes the mic to say AEW will either give it to them, or they’ll take it. It has been a LONG year since debuting in AEW, and the TNT Championship was always meant to be his.
Archer is very, very happy Cody is in the match, because Archer is going to take Cody’s daughter’s daddy away from her. There will be no Daddy’s Little Girl. And all the other bodies in the ring, get in Archer’s way, he dares you! Nothing will stop Archer from taking the brass ring, putting Darby in pain like he’s never felt before, and becoming the rightful TNT Championship! Archer doesn’t care if you’re qualified or a random surprise, #EverybodyDies! Will the Murderhawk Monster be the Face of the Revolution?
Ricky Starks & Brian Cage w/ Hook VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol!
Team Taz keeps trying to take the fight to Sting and Darby Allin but they keep getting checked. The Street Fight is coming, will the #AbsoluteMachines use the Fashionable Hombre and Fire of the Sun for a warm-up before Revolution?
The teams sort out, Starks starts with Fuego and circle. Fans rally for Fuego as he ties up with Starks but Starks waistlocks to slam him down! Starks brags that he didn’t even take the chains off, but Fuego fights up. Fuego reaches back, and flying-mares! Fuego mule kicks, runs but Starks scoops for a BIG back suplex! Starks strikes a pose, drags Fuego up, and suplexes. Cage tags in during the delay, then takes the hand-off into a stalling suplex! Cage holds Fuego up for a count of 10 before slamming him down! Fans boo but Cage soaks up the heat. Cage drags Fuego up, whips and CLOBBERS him with an elbow!
Cage drags Fuego back up, scoops him and uses Fuego for bicep curls. Fans boo but Cage tosses Fuego, only for Fuego to hot tag Fashion! Fashion runs, lariats, but Cage stays up! Cage runs, Fashion dodges to kick, kick and leap, into a SLAM! Fuego runs in but into a FLAPJACK! Starks gets in to SPEAR Fuego inside-out! Cage mule kicks, suplexes Fashion and holds him up, for a DRILL CLAW!! Cover, Team Taz wins!
Winner: Ricky Starks & Brian Cage, by pinfall
And it was that easy! But of course, things will be very different at Revolution. Will the #AbsoluteMachines take the sting out of the Icon and the Relentless?
Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick!
The Hybrid2 are going into the Casino Tag Battle Royal, but the mouthier half is tuning up on his own. Will Evans win for both him and Angelico so they can be contenders?
The Gunn Club VS M’Badu & D3!
Billy’s boys are teaming up as a duo again, but against the Nigerian Warrior and Prince of Roma! Will the Gunn Club still be hitting the mark on behalf of the Nightmare Family?
Thunder Rosa VS Tesha Price!
La Mera Mera didn’t get to accomplish her 2021 resolutions in the AEW Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament, but there’s still time! She’s going to get her shot at Britt Baker in the Revolution Buy-In, will Tesha be paying the price of admission?
Mitchell’s New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/6/21)
New Japan Cup, day 2!
Will the Rainmaker redeem himself in the New Japan Cup?
Kazuchika Okada vows that it is time he returns to the top of NJPW! But this is only round ONE of the 2021 New Japan Cup! Can he make it to the end?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki; Suzuki wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA; Kenta wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi; Takagi wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire!
Tetsuya Naito lost in the first round of the NJCUP, Bushi couldn’t win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but Sanada is still in the running! Will LIJ be a powerful obstacle in the way of Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay?
But as soon as LIJ gets in the ring, the Empire attacks! Cobb throws Bushi out while Ospreay goes after Sanada, and Khan keeps Naito in the ring to revisit their recent NJCUP match. The bell rings, Khan drags Naito around but fans rally up. Khan clamps onto Naito with a chinlock but also adds his claw into it! Sanada sends Ospreay into railing while Naito and Khan brawl with forearms! Khan ROCKS Naito then Mongolian Chops him at the ropes. Naito reverses the whip to atomic drop, Bushi dropkicks the legs out and Naito basement dropkicks! Fans cheer and Naito grabs Khan’s ponytail! Naito drags Khan around by it, fans rally up and Khan grabs the ropes.
The ref counts, Naito lets off but tags Sanada in. Sanada climbs up and drops ax handles on the ponytail! That still tweaks Khan’s head and fans fire up again. Sanada drags Khan up while Ospreay protests, and Sanada headlocks to punch Khan down. Sanada throws haymakers, brings Khan up for clubbing elbows, then tags in Bushi. Bushi clubs Khan, drags him up by the ponytail, and bumps him off buckles. Bushi CHOPS Khan, puts Khan’s leg on ropes and dropkicks the leg out! Cover, TWO! ans rally, Bushi drags Khan around and tags in Naito. Naito clubs Khan, drags him up and cravats for a standing neck wrench. Khan endures, reaches for the Empire, but Naito keeps him away.
Khan throws body shots but Naito throws an elbow, into a standing katagatami! Khan kicks a leg out and drags Naito down! Cobb and Ospreay attack Sanada and Bushi! They brawl on the outside, Naito gets a ropebreak but Khan holds on! Khan cranks on the hold, the ref reprimands and counts, and Khan lets go at 3. Brawling continues outside but Khan drags Naito around to stomp away on the leg! Naito clutches his knee and fans rally up, but Khan drags him up first. Khan tags Cobb in, the Empire mugs Naito, and Cobb gives Naito a headbutt! Naito ends up in a corner, Cobb whips him out to whip him back in hard! The Empire likes that and Cobb scoops Naito to carry him around.
Cobb taunts LIJ by holding Naito out to them, but then throws in knees! Cobb puts Naito in the Empire corner, tags in Ospreay, and then sets Naito up for Ospreay’s DRAPING DOUBLE STOMPS! Ospreay BOOTS Sanada, Cobb RAMS Naito back into the corner, and Ospreay digs his boot in. The ref reprimands and counts, Ospreay lets off to throw haymakers and more stomps! Ospreay digs his knee in, the ref reprimands and counts, but Ospreay lets off again. Ospreay snapmares and wraps Naito up in a chinlock. Ospreay grinds Naito down, fans rally up, and Naito endures. Khan keeps ropes away from Naito but the ref reprimands.
Ospreay drags Naito away, cranks on the chinlock then shifts to a facelock. Khan tags in, and Mongolian Chops Naito on the back! Khan drags Naito up for more Mongolian Chops! Khan mockingly asks what’s wrong and he eggs Naito on. Fans rally, Naito throws haymakers and forearms! Khan knees low, whips, but Naito reverses to tornado, only for Khan to block the DDT! Naito fights out of Khan’s grip, elbows him, then spins him for a neckbreaker! Both men are down and fans fire up! Naito sits up but Khan follows. They both go to their corners, hot tags to Sanada and Ospreay! Sanada rallies, whips but Ospreay reverses, only for Sanada to reverse back and RANA!
Sanada dropkicks Cobb away, then blocks Ospreay’s boot to trip him! Sanada ties Ospreay up in Paradise! Fans fire up as Sanada encourages them to get loud. Sanada runs in and dropkicks Ospreay out of Paradise! Cover, ONE!! Fans rally for “SA-NA-DA!” as he drags Ospreay up. Sanada fireman’s carries, Ospreay elbows free and waistlocks, but Sanada resists the lift. Sanada elbows free, runs in but Ospreay puts him up top! Ospreay tucks him in, for CHEEKY NANDOS! Ospreay hurries and tags in Cobb! Cobb runs corner to corner to LEAPING back elbow! Cobb scoops Sanada, pops him up into the suplex, holds him up, but Sanada reverses to snap suplex!
Fans fire up again as Cobb goes to a corner. Sanada crawls and hot tags Bushi! Bushi runs corner to corner but Cobb dodges. Cobb runs in, Bushi slips out and swing kick shim away! Bushi goes up, missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Cobb runs back at Bushi but into a basement dropkick to the legs! Bushi basement DDT’s and covers, TWO! Fans rally and Bushi brings Cobb up. Cobb throws forearms, whips Bushi to a corner, then runs in, but Bushi dodges! Naito rocket kicks and leg sweeps, COMBINACION CABRON! LIJ whips Cobb, Sanada elbows and snapmares, for a TRIPLE BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!
Naito dropkicks Khan down but Ospreay drags Sanada out. Bushi has Cobb, but no Fisherman Screw! Ospreay hits PIP PIP CHEERIO on Bushi! Sanada dropkicks Ospreay, but Khan BOOTS Sanada! Naito dropkicks Khan’s legs out, then dodges Cobb, only for Cobb to LARIAT him! Cobb goes back to Bushi as fans rally up. Bushi kicks, Cobb blocks then ducks the enziguri but not the mule kick! Bushi runs in, but the Code Break is blocked and popped to a GERMAN SUPLEX! Cobb drags Bushi up, reels him in and hits a TOUR OF THE ISLAND! Cover, the Empire wins!
Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall
The Hawaiian Hulk is building up power and momentum towards his NJCUP battle with Evil! The Dominator is also already in, and the newly deemed “Global Kingpin” Ospreay has his battle tomorrow, March 7th! Will the entire United Empire advance towards the finals?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki!
These two have been warming up in tag matches and finally get to throw down 1v1! Will Everyone’s Kokeshi be able to knock the Meanest Man in the World out of the tournament? Or will Suzuki brutalize and leave him behind while going for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
The bell rings and fans rally up already. Suzuki and Honma stare down, but then Honma shoves and CHOPS! And CHOPS! Suzuki CHOPS, Honma CHOPS, it’s a CHOP fight! Fans rally as the CHOPS fly harder and faster! Neither man is backing down, but Honma does get the edge! Honma CHOPS and CHOPS then DOUBLE CHOPS! Suzuki eggs Honma on, Honma CHOPS and then scoops Suzuki to slam him! Honma fires up and runs, but Suzuki dodges the kokeshi! Honma gets mad and tries again, but again Suzuki dodges! Suzuki gives toying kicks to Honma and fans rally up. Suzuki throws knees and forearms and Honma goes to a corner.
Suzuki throws body shots, whips him corner to corner but Honma reverses. Honma runs in but Suzuki boots him. Suzuki slips to the apron, and catches Honma’s arm to a DRAPING ARMBAR! The ref counts, Suzuki lets go at 3 and then drags Honma out to join him. Suzuki whips Honma into railing! Suzuki slaps Honma then throws forearms and elbows! Suzuki puts Honma’s head through railings and pulls him back against the top bar! The ref reprimands and counts but Suzuki stops at 3. Fans rally but Suzuki puts Honma in a cravat! Suzuki grinds Honma down, the ref reprimands but Suzuki holds on until the ref counts. Suzuki stands Honma up and RAMS him into railing!
Suzuki digs his knuckles into Honma’s eyes! Commentary is really close to the action but Suzuki leaves Honma behind as the ring count climbs. The count is already 10 of 20 as the fans rally. It passes 15, Honma stands at 18 and gets in at 19.5! Suzuki drags Honma into a facelock, then shifts to a chinlock stretch! Suzuki digs a knee into Honma’s back as he pulls him back! Fans rally as Honma endures, and Honma fights, only for Suzuki to crank harder on the hold! Honma reaches with feet and gets the ropebreak! Suzuki lets go and eggs Honma on. Suzuki gives Honma more toying kicks but Honma rises as fans rally again.
Honma throws forearms but Suzuki laughs them off. Suzuki eggs Honma on then ROCKS him! Honma wobbles, Suzuki ROCKS him again! Honma wobbles and falls over! Suzuki runs to PENALTY KICK! Honma stays seated up!? Suzuki PENALTY KICKS again but Honma just gets stronger! Suzuki runs, Honma blocks the kick, elbows it, but swings into Suzuki’s grip! Honma spins through and gets Suzuki for a DDT! Fans rally up as both men slowly rise. Honma reels Suzuki in but Suzuki throws elbows, only for Honma to power through and hit the back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up and Honma CHOPS Suzuki to a corner!
Honma CHOPS more, and more, and then whips Suzuki corner to corner. Honma runs in to back elbow then hit a BULLDOG! Honma fires up to hit the KOKESHI! Fans fire up again as Honma dares Suzuki to get up. Suzuki rises, Honma runs, but Suzuki ducks the lariat to waistlock! Honma counters with a facelock, but Suzuki wrenches the arm! Suzuki ducks Honma’s haymaker, back hand, and fires off SLAPS! And kicks and clubbing elbows! Honma falls over again but Suzuki brings him back up. Suzuki reels Honma in as fans rally up, and that only angers Suzuki more. Suzuki Gotch holds but Honma resists the lift! Suzuki powers through but Honma flails his legs!
Honma powers up to back drop Suzuki over! Suzuki gets up and he looms over Honma. Suzuki gives more kicks but Honma eggs him on! Fans rally as Suzuki stomps but Honma growls. Suzuki fires off slapping palm strikes and big forearm shots but Honma just gets stronger! Honma ROCKS Suzuki with a right! Suzuki comes back to palm strike, but Honma POINT-BLANK KOKESHIS! Both men are down again and fans fire up! Honma rises, drags Suzuki up and throws more forearms! Honma has Suzuki in the corner but now Suzuki eggs Honma on. Suzuki leans into the forearms as Honma throws them, no guard at all! Honma headbutts!
But Suzuki roars, so Honma throws more forearms in the corner! The ref wants Honma to let off but Honma ROCKS Suzuki again! Honma clubs Suzuki at ropes, brings him up to the top rope backwards, then clubs him more. Honma climbs up behind Suzuki and fans rally up. Suzuki resists, throws elbows, then cravats Honma to grind him down! Fans still rally but Honma ends up tumbling to the apron! Suzuki adjusts, brings Honma up, but Honma RISING KOKESHIS! Suzuki falls, fans fire up and Honma climbs! Honma leaps for a FLYING KOKESHI! Cover, TWO! Suzuki survives but fans rally for Honma!
Honma drags Suzuki by a leg, and hooks him up with the step-over deathlock! Suzuki resists the crossface but Honma still tries. Honma gets an arm in it for a chicken wing STF! Suzuki endures, Honma shifts to a cover, TWO! Fans rally again as the two stand. Honma brings Suzuki around to scoop but Suzuki slips out to get the sleeper hold! Honma snapmares Suzuki away and throws a LARIAT! Suzuki stays up with pure anger, and he eggs Honma on! Honma runs and LARIATS, but again Suzuki stays up! Suzuki ROCKS Honma with a palm strike, Honma wobbles, but he powers up! Suzuki SMACKS him again, Honma staggers back, but he powers up to ROCK Suzuki in return!
Suzuki throws a forearm, Honma returns it, and again! Fans rally as these two pick up speed again! Suzuki laughs as things get faster, and he ROCKS Honma, to then ROCK him again! Honma wobbles around and staggers to a knee! Honma stands as fans rally, but Suzuki ROCKS him a third time! Honma wobbles and Suzuki seethes, but the two keep going! Forearm for forearm, Honma wobbles and stumbles about again but he comes back to palm strike. Suzuki ROCKS Honma, and again, and then palm strike! Suzuki gets Honma in the SLEEPER! Fans rally as Honma manages to stay standing! Honma turns red and Suzuki squeezes tighter!
The ref checks, the hand drops once! The hand drops twice, but Suzuki turns Honma around! Gotch hold, but Honma’s second wind helps him resist! Suzuki KNEES Honma, and reels him in, but Honma makes it a GANNOSUKE CLUTCH! Cover, TWO!! Honma runs into palm strikes and haymakers! GOTCH PILEDRIVER!! Cover, Suzuki wins!!
Winner: Minoru Suzuki, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
Honma gave it his all, but in the end, it wasn’t enough! Will Suzuki take the Cup and then the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA!
The Flamboyant One and Fang Revived are back in Japan in time for the Cup! But who moves on towards the next round and faces Suzuki?
The bell rings and Juice has fans rally up. Juice and Kenta circle, tie up, and Juice uses leverage to power Kenta to ropes. The ref calls for the break but Kenta turns things around and pulls Juice’s hair! Kenta brings Juice into a headlock, Juice powers out but again Kenta pulls hair. Kenta grinds the headlock but Juice powers up to power out, only for Kenta to again get the hair. Kenta grinds Juice down and talks trash, but Juice throws body shots. Juice powers out but Kenta rams him with a shoulder. Juice stays up, Kenta eggs him on but then pulls Juice’s hair. Juice powers up to back suplex high and hard! Fans fire up as Juice drops the back senton! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally as Juice keeps cool. Juice drags Kenta up, JABS, CHOPS, and whips him to a corner. Juice wrenches, whips corner to corner, and then runs in to clothesline Kenta down! Fans fire up with Juice as he runs corner to corner again, but Kenta bails out before the cannonball. Kenta walks around the way, the ref keeps Juice in, but Kenta grabs the ring bell! Finlay tries to tell the ref as Juice storms over, but Kenta CRACKS Juice with the ring bell! Kenta gets in to drop knees on Juice’s head and then dig knuckles into the eye! The ref counts, Kenta lets off at 3 and Juice gets to ropes. Kenta goes after Juice to choke him and claw his eyes!
The ref counts, Kenta stops at 3, and Juice checks his eye. Kenta drags Juice up to throw him out of the ring, and then he pursues. Kenta drags Juice up and whips Juice hard into railing! Juice slumps down and Kenta digs his face into railing! The ref reprimands, Kenta stops and Juice crawls away. Fans rally up but Kenta traps Juice’s head in between the gate and railing! Kenta squeezes tight but stops as the ring count starts. Kenta drags Juice up at 7 of 20 and puts him in at 10. Kenta stomps Juice, throws haymakers, but Juice gets up! Kenta throws more haymakers then rakes at Juice’s eye! Juice gets to a corner, the ref reprimands and warns Kenta.
Fans cheer the ref while Kenta drags Juice up. Kenta headlocks and punches Juice, then scrapes Juice’s face on ropes! The ref counts and Kenta lets off. The ref checks Juice’s eye while Kenta makes up his mocking clap rhythm. Kenta boots Juice down then clamps on a facelock. Kenta grinds Juice down but fans rally up. Juice fights up, fights out, but Kenta claws Juice’s eyes! Kenta runs but Juice hits a SPINEBUSTER! Fans fire up as both men are down! Kenta gets to a corner, Juice rises and runs in, but Kenta boots him away! Juice fires up, runs back in and clotheslines! Juice whips Kenta corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines again!
Juice keeps moving to LEAPING LARIAT Kenta down! Fans fire up and Juice watches Kenta rise. Juice pumps up and fans clap along. Juice JABS, JABS, JABS, then powers up, but Kenta claws his eyes! Juice claws Kenta’s eyes in return! The ref reprimands, Juice headbutts Kenta to a corner! Juice runs in but Kenta boots him! Kenta hops up, reels Juice in and hits a tornado hotshot! Kenta climbs up while Juice staggers, and he hits a FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Cover, TWO! Kenta clamps onto Juice’s arm but Juice flails and gets the ropebreak! It’s not Game Over yet! Fans rally, Kenta drags Juice up and reels him into a waistlock.
Juice elbows free, runs, but Kenta BOOTS him! Kenta runs but into Juice’s boot! Juice fires up and runs, but Kenta sends him out! Kenta runs to BOOT Juice off and at the railing! Kenta goes out to fetch Juice and drags him up. Kenta goes to bump Juice off the timekeeper’s table but Juice blocks to bump Kenta! Juice powers up but Kenta dumps him up and over onto the timekeeper’s table! Fans rally but Kenta drags the table aside to get Juice up. Kenta rains down rights, the ref has him back off and Kenta goes back to ringside while Juice slowly rises. Kenta climbs the corner?! Juice hurries to stop him with a body shot and a headbutt! Juice has a target and he grabs Kenta!
Kenta rakes Juice’s eyes and clubs him down! Juice staggers away, Kenta goes to the apron and leaps, into Juice’s arms! Juice moves Kenta around, fireman’s carries, and DEATH VALLEY DRIVERS Kenta to the floor!! Fans fire up as both men slowly stir. The ring count begins again and reaches 10 of 20 before Juice puts Kenta in. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in, and lifts, for a RUNNING POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO! Kenta survives and but Finlay coaches Juice up. Juice fires up and brings Kenta up. Juice chicken wings and turns Kenta, but Kenta rolls Juice up! TWO, and Juice runs at Kenta, only to be put on the apron!
Kenta drags Juice through the ropes for a DRAPING DDT! Fans rally and Kenta rises first. Kenta goes to one corner, Juice is in the other. Kenta runs in to JUMPING BOOT! Kenta keeps moving, HESITATION DROPKICK! Kenta climbs up the corner while Juice is down, but Juice avoids the double stomps! LEG LARIAT! Both men are down, fans rally up again! Juice and Kenta stir, and Juice stands first! Juice drags Kenta but Kenta gets the arm! Juice rolls out of the hold but Kenta BOOTS him! Juice fires up, Kenta blocks the clothesline but Juice ducks the back hand! Juice fireman’s carries Kenta to the JUICE BOX! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives and Juice is beside himself!
Fans rally up and Juice gets to his feet. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in and chicken wings, but Kenta slips through to fireman’s carry! Juice fights off to chicken wing and turn, but Kenta slips out again to fireman’s carry! GO TO- NO! Juice blocks and rolls Kenta up, TWO!! Juice powers up but Kenta blocks the left Hand to BACK HAND! Kenta fires off palm strikes over and over, but he swings into the chicken wing! Kenta elbows out, but the back hand is caught! Juice swings, Kenta ducks, but the RIGHT HAND O’ GOD hits! Juice drags Kenta up, chicken wings and turns, but Kenta slips out again! Kenta drags Juice down, hooks up the arm and gets the crossface! GAME OVER!!
Juice endures, moves around, but Kenta cranks way back! Juice taps, Kenta wins!!
Winner: Kenta, by submission (advances to the next round)
And it was indeed Game Over for the Flamboyant One! Will the Fang Revived sink his teeth into Suzuki next round?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi!
The Rainmaker said at Castle Attack that it’s about time he returns to the top of NJPW! But in his way is the Dragon! Will Takagi end Okada’s road back to redemption already? Or will Okada slay the dragon and head back for the gold?
The bell rings, and fans rally up already for “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Okada gets the clap-clap-clap-stomp going already while he stays back in the corner. Takagi is patient, and he waits as Okada steps forward. They circle, feel out the grapple, but Okada backs off to focus. They tie up right away, Okada powers Takagi to ropes, and Red Shoes calls for the break. Okada lets off and fakes the chop to pat Takagi. Takagi ROCKS and CLUBS and CLUBS Okada back! Fans cheer as Takagi toys with Okada. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada fires off forearms and elbows! Okada reels Takagi into a headlock, but Takagi throws body shots. Takagi powers out, rams Okada but both men stay up!
Fans cheer as Okada runs, and he rams Takagi! Takagi stays up and eggs Okada on. Okada runs, rams Takagi, then drop toeholds on the rebound to elbow drop Takagi’s back! Okada is after Takagi at the ropes, brings him up and throws forearms. Takagi goes to a corner, Okada heads over and throws back elbows. Okada throws more elbows, then brings Takagi around for a neckbreaker! Cover, ONE! Okada keeps his cool, clamps onto Takagi with a chinlock, and digs his knee into Takagi’s back. Takagi fights up, gets a ropebreak with a foot, and Okada lets go quickly. Okada keeps close, brings Takagi up and elbows him again.
Okada snapmares and runs to then basement dropkick Takagi out of the ring! Fans fire up, Takagi gets annoyed and the ring count begins. Takagi takes his time, and gets back up on the apron at 9 of 20. Okada keeps his distance but then Takagi dares Okada to come out after him. Takagi continues to take his time, and the count restarts. Okada gets impatient, Takagi gets on the apron but draws Okada in to drag him out! Takagi bumps him off apron, and again, then whips Okada, only for Okada to reverse and send Takagi into railing! Okada reels Takagi in, puts him on the apron, but Takagi fights off to RAM Okada into railing! And then RAM him into the apron!
Takagi fireman’s carries to SNAKE EYES Okada off the apron, and then kick to DDT! Fans fire up and Takagi flexes as he looms over Okada. The ring count starts again, Takagi drags Okada up and puts him in the ring. Takagi slingshots to STOMP Okada! Takagi digs his knee into Okada, then stands on him, but steps off as Red Shoes counts. Takagi kicks at Okada, drags him up and throws forearms into the back! Takagi whips and KNEES Okada against ropes, then runs to run Okada over! Fans fire up with Takagi and they clap “TA-KA-GI!” “O-KA-DA!” again. Takagi drags Okada up, suplexes, and drives Okada down hard! Cover, TWO!
Takagi clamps onto Okada with a chinlock and grinds him down. Okada endures, fans rally up, but Takagi shifts. Okada fights up, throws body shots to fight free, but Takagi DOUBLE CHOPS him down! Takagi mockingly asks what’s wrong and eggs Okada on. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada throws forearms back! Takagi ROCKS Okada with one! Takagi brings Okada up, Gory Especial, but Okada fights it! Okada gets the arm for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi powers Okada to a corner and is free, then runs but into a BOOT! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Fans rally as Takagi and Okada stir. Okada stands first and fires off forearms.
Okada whips, Takagi reverses but Okada ducks and ELBOWS Takagi down! Okada fires up and the fans fire up, too! Okada whips Takagi to a corner, runs in and elbows him, then kicks to DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his focus while fans continue to rally. Takagi gets to ropes, then a corner, and Okada storms over. Okada hoists Takagi up top, but Takagi boots him away! Takagi runs but into an uppercut! Okada runs but into the elbow! JAB! LARIAT! Takagi fires up and the fans fire up, too! Takagi drags Okada up again, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Takagi is copying Okada’s style and LARIATS him down again!
Takagi scoops and slams Okada and goes to a corner, also formula Okada! For the FALLING ELBOW! Takagi keeps moving and mocks the Rainmaker pose, to then double gun flex! Takagi drags Okada up, wristlock ripcords but Okada stops the steal with a BOOT! Okada fires forearms, throws EuroUppers, but Takagi blindside LARIATS! Takagi runs, but into a FLAPJACK! Both men are down again and fans are thunderous now as the two stir! Okada sits up, Takagi follows and the two go forehead to forehead. Okada forearms, then again, but Takagi fires up to forearm back! Okada eggs Takagi on so Takagi hits again! They go back and forth, faster and faster and fans rally up!
Takagi gets the edge, ROCKS Okada, and brings him back around to whip. Okada reverses but Takagi holds ropes to avoid the dropkick! Okada avoids the sliding lariat, but Takagi gets Okada in a fireman’s carry! Okada slips off, Takagi elbows him away, blocks the boot and clotheslines! Takagi runs, Okada catches him for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi fights out, Okada goes to backslide, but Takagi counters to NOSHIGAMI! But Takagi can’t make the cover! Fans rally up, Takagi crawls over, and fires himself back up. Okada slowly rises, Takagi runs but into the dropkick! Okada gut wrenches to a TOMBSTONE! Okada gets the arm for MONEY CLIP!
Takagi endures and fans rally up again. Okada cranks on the hold but Takagi reaches with his legs, and gets the ropebreak! Okada lets go quickly and both men are down again. Fans rally up, Okada stands first, and he hobbles over to Takagi. Okada drags him up, scoops and slams him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs slowly and Takagi hits him first! Takagi climbs up, clubs away on Okada’s back, then talks some smack as he drags Okada up. Okada resists but Takagi gets him up for the SUPERPLEX! The fans are thunderous again as both men writhe from that impact! Takagi rolls over towards Okada, sits Okada up, and hits a SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!
Fans cheer but Takagi grits his teeth. Takagi gets the fans rallying with “OI! OI! OI!” Takagi gets up, runs again, but Okada ducks the lariat to backslide! Takagi rolls through, Okada reels him in but Takagi avoids Rainmaker to pump handle! MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO?!? Okada survives and Takagi can’t believe it! Fans are thunderous as Takagi catches his breath. Takagi drags Okada back up, reels Okada in and pump handles again. Okada clubs free of that but Takagi POINT-BLANK LARIATS! Fans rally, Takagi kicks at Okada then drags him back up. Takagi gives Okada forearms from all sides, then ROCKS him!
Okada leans against ropes, Takagi whips but Okada reverses and dropkicks! Okada grabs at Takagi’s arm and gets the MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures, fights up, but Okada gut wrenches for the SPINNING TOMBSTONE! Back to MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures as Okada squeezes tight! Takagi fights up again, reaches out for ropes, but Okada drags him back to a back2backbreaker! And back to the MONEY CLIP! Takagi is turning red and is fading as Okada squeezes as tight as he can! Red Shoes checks on Takagi, the hand drops once. But Takagi gets a second wind now and he powers towards ropes, starts to fade again, but still gets a ropebreak! Okada lets go and fans are thunderous again!
Okada catches his own breath while he stands up. Okada grabs at Takagi but he resists. Takagi throws body shots but Okada stomps Takagi down. Takagi grits his teeth and rises, but Okada SHOTGUNS him! Takagi’s right up to LARIAT! Okada stays up!? Okada gets Takagi’s wrist, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Okada is going to show Takagi how it’s done as he brings Takagi up, but swings into a full nelson! Okada breaks free, catches Takagi for a spin but Takagi swats the discus! Takagi ripcords, PUMPING RAINMAKER!! Cover, TWO!!! Okada survives and the fans are electric! Takagi gets to a corner, fires himself up by smacking the padding, and then aims at Okada.
Okada rises as Takagi runs in, to PUMPING BOMBER! But Takagi isn’t done, he pump handle fireman’s carries, but Okada slips off! Okada ducks the back hand to back drop, and sit on Takagi! Cover, TWO!! Takagi stays close to Okada and brings him up, but Okada gut wrenches again! Takagi fights free, and hits a BACK SUPLEX BACKBREAKER! That was rough, even for Takagi! Fans rally up again, Takagi drags Okada up and runs, for MAX PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Takagi can’t believe it but this is the Rainmaker fans have come to know! Takagi fires up and drags Okada back up to the pump handle fireman’s carry.
Okada fights free again, ripcords, but into the pump handle! LAST OF THE DRAGONS!!! Cover, Takagi wins!!!!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
This is almost unbelievable! Okada called his shot at Castle Attack, but falls in the first round!! The Dragon slays Okada, and the Rainmaker’s return to the top stops already! What does this mean for the rest of Okada’s 2021? Takagi gets the mic to speak! “Ota Cityyy~!” It feels really good to have won. But seriously, that was a tough match! Takagi hopes everyone enjoyed the match, and Takagi tells Okada that he’s one tough opponent. But the winner here is Takagi.
Takagi can tell NJPW is entering a new era, and Kota Ibushi is the champion after the 49th Anniversary. Takagi thinks the world title is going to be pretty awesome. But in the NJCUP, Takagi vows to make this his time! Ibushi better be ready to defend that new belt against Takagi! Will the “Pumping Maker” be heading for the top now that he’s beaten one of the best in the world?
A great event, especially the NJCUP matches. The Empire keeps winning in solid Six Man Tags, and with Cobb finishing it off. Cobb is going to build momentum all week until he faces Evil on 3/11, that’s a given. Ospreay has momentum for his match, too, but it’d be a great twist if he lost to Tenzan after getting a big head. Honma VS Suzuki was really good, perhaps a touch better than Kenta VS Juice, but maybe it was just all the brawling and wobble selling. I figured Suzuki would win, and it makes sense for Kenta to win against Juice. Just something about pacing felt better in Honma VS Suzuki.
Okada VS Takagi is probably match of the week, and is so far leading the way as best match of the opening round. It’s going to be really hard to beat that, especially because Takagi won! I really thought there was going to be a moment for Okada to turn things around, but that’s huge for Takagi to win. Takagi also has a lot of guts for copying the Rainmaker formula, but I wonder if this is some kind of Okada seal of approval that Takagi won here. Takagi VS Goto is going to be another great match given their NEVER Openweight Championship matches in the past, but I would think Takagi keeps winning until the semifinals now. The Suzuki VS Kenta winner faces Takagi on 3/16, Takagi can totally beat Kenta but Suzuki is a harder choice. But if there’s a chance we could get Takagi VS EVIL, I hope NJPW gives us that.
My Score: 9.3/10
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