SmackDown needs NEW tag team champions!
After the Hardy Boys revealed Jeff’s serious injury, they had to vacate the titles! Who from the SmackDown Tag Division will Shane McMahon simply hand the belts to?
- Mustafa Ali VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega; Ali wins, by disqualification.
- Vacated SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan & Rowan VS The Usos; Bryan & Rowan win and become the new SmackDown Tag Team Champions.
- Ember Moon & Carmella VS Fire & Desire; Fire & Desire win.
- WWE Championship Triple Threat: Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods VS Sami Zayn VS AJ Styles; Kingston wins and retains the WWE Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
AJ Styles returns to SmackDown!
That’s right, the Phenomenal One is using the Wild Card Rule already! Vince McMahon introduced a way for SmackDown superstars to be on Raw and Raw superstars to be on SmackDown all to take the thunder out of Roman Reigns’ defiance. And as such, Styles grabs the mic as fans chant his name to say, “Oh God how I missed you!” But the Wild Card Rule is in effect, so “if you’re brave enough and you’re fast enough”, you can crossover as one of the four allowed to crash the other brand. And Styles was sure as Hell gonna be the first. Because this is STILL the House that AJ Styles Built! Except the second Wild Card is Sami Zayn! Somehow Sami survived being crushed by a garbage truck compactor.
Sami says he’d rather be somewhere else than surrounded by a bunch of “Kentucky Fried Hillbillies.” But Sami knew Styles would use the Wild Card, so Sami had to do it, too, to call Styles out on his toxicity! Wait, Styles’ nose is burning. It’s great that Sami survived but he smells like a giant foot. He should’ve showered first. Yes, make fun of Sami over smell. He did shower, but it doesn’t come out that easily! But this is classic deflection because- The New Day appears! Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods are both back at 100%, and fans are excited to see them. Y’all are gonna come out and have a party without ya boys, the New~ Day~?
Styles, please don’t talk about your architectural contributions. They get it! He likes to say his catchphrase, but the fact is, Styles doesn’t live here anymore. So what Kofi wants to know is, what is he doing here tonight? Well didn’t Styles see Kofi on Raw last night? He figured he’d return the favor, “champ”. Xavier quotes Ice Cube and says check yo-self before you wreck yo-self. Kofi IS the Champion now. And Styles came all the way over here to stand in this ring, when Kofi just came from Raw to be in this ring. So what is Styles gonna do about it? Sami speaks up, because he sees where this is going. Kofi isn’t going to do what we think eh’s going to do, is he? Offer Styles a championship match tonight? Seriously!?
Listen to Sami. He loves Kofi, so he’s going to tell Kofi the truth when no one else will: the people are not happy for you. He got a taste of their affection but now he’s caught in the trap of pleasing them! Kofi doesn’t need to give anyone a title match, but Sami is the one more deserving. These people deserve a WWE Champion who will tell them the truth, “whether they want to hear it or not!” Wait, wait, wait. Kofi has a question for Sami. What’s that smell? “Take A Shower!” Yes, because honestly, he smells like a 10th grade sock drawer. Sami has Kofi all wrong. Kofi defended against Daniel Bryan to show that Wrestlemania was NOT a fluke!
And Kofi considers himself a fighting champion, so as such, he’ll put the title up again, against either of them! It won’t matter, because the result will be Kofi still the W, W, E, World, Heavy, Weight, CHAMPION~! Who will step up under the Wild Card Rule to challenge Kofimania? Or will it be both?!
Kevin Owens speaks.
“If you’re wondering why I didn’t kick off this episode of SmackDown Live as advertised”, it’s because it’s Kevin’s birthday! He meant to open the night but then he realized he didn’t want to deal with this crap. That’s good news for Kofi but the good news ends at Money in the Banke when Kevin takes that title. Happy Birthday to Kevin, but will he really get himself the best present possible in two weeks?
Mustafa Ali VS Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega!
The Beacon of Light and El Idolo are both representing SmackDown in the Men’s Money in the Bank ladder match, but it was Ali who stood tall last week. Will Almas stay tranquilo and get himself some momentum? Or will Ali continue to shine all the way to that golden opportunity?
SmackDown returns with a closer look at Ali. “Even in the darkest of times, we have to search for the light.” Sometimes the light seems too far away, but as long as you still see it, you must fight. The MITB briefcase will be the brightest of lights, seemingly out of reach, but Ali vows to fight until he takes it in his hands. He will take back the opportunity he lost, but will it be so easy? Almas makes his entrance, and Zelina has a mic. La Muneca tells everyone that in two weeks, much like the Kentucky Derby was, thousands will gather to watch MITB in hopes of watching thoroughbreds at their peak. But unlike the Derby, there is only one thoroughbred in the WWE: El Idolo!
Almas takes the mic for his own and says that he will win the MITB Ladder match. Then he’ll be El Senor Dinero in el Banko! And Ali, “amigo”, will just be envious of Almas’ success. Almas drops the mic and gets in the ring to begin the match.
Almas and Ali tie right up, and Almas puts Ali in a corner for a CHOP! But then Ali SUPERKICKS back! Almas bails out but Ali runs, but sees Almas slip in. Ali kicks Almas out hard, then runs out to meet him. Almas puts him in the timekeeper’s area but Ali hits back. Vega blocks Ali’s path and Almas trips Ali up! We go picture in picture as Ali crashes and burns!
Almas checks his chin but he’s okay. He soaks up the heat as he fetches Ali from the timekeeper’s area. Almas throws Ali into barriers then gets in the ring. Almas soaks up the heat then goes back out to fetch Ali for a CHOP! He puts Ali back in and covers, TWO! Almas puts Ali in a half camel clutch and pulls back hard. Fans rally and Ali endures. Vega barks orders but Ali powers his way up and out. Almas knees low then scoops. Ali slips out and boots Almas from a corner. Ali slips out and roundhouses Almas down! He takse aim and slingshots in for a facebuster! Cover, TWO! Vega is frustrated as Ali keeps on Almas. Ali suplexes but Almas slips out and shoves. Almas hip tosses Ali into buckles! Cover, TWO!
Almas keeps his cool while he catches his breath. Vega keeps him on Ali, and Almas stomps away. Almas drops elbows on Ali’s back, then stomps more. Ali fights back with body shots then whips. Almas reverses but Ali tilt-o-whirls, only to get a facebuster! Cover, TWO! Vega is furious but Almas drags Ali over to a drop zone. Almas climbs up but Ali moves. Almas goes after him with an arm stretch, digging a knee into Ali’s back. Fans rally and Ali fights his way up. We return to single picture as Almas scoop slams Ali hard. Almas climbs and gets to the top, but Ali intercepts with forearms! Ali climbs but ALmas shoves him down, only for Ali to hop up fast! SUPER SPANSIH FLY! But Ali bounces away from a cover!
Vega is concerned for Almas as both men slowly sit up. Fans rally for Ali and Ali stands, only for Orton to attack!
Winner: Mustafa Ali, by disqualification
But Orton isn’t just after Ali, he wants Almas! Vega saves Almas and ALmas kicks Orton back. Ali adds a kick of his own! The Viper is reeling but Ali is grinning. Ali says he doesn’t fear Orton, and fans are thunderous. Ali superkicks but Orton blocks. Orton goes for the RKO but Ali shoves Orton into Almas! Ali fires off forearms, then runs, into a pop-up RKO! Almas springboards, but into an RKO! That’s two but it really only takes one. Will Orton combine his three most dangerous letters with four others to becoming Mr. Viper in the Bank?
SmackDown takes a look at the Evolution of The Big Dog.
From FCW to NXT to The Shield to winning the Royal Rumble, Roman Reigns had a fast rise in just five years. He took on The Game, took the crown for his own, and reigned over his Roman Empire, even going through one of the greatest, John Cena! Roman even added his name to the short list of those who have defeated The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Of course, his run wasn’t without struggle, as he’s gone back and forth with The Beast, Brock Lesnar. Roman took the Universal Championship from Suplex City, but then in October of 2018, Joe Anoa’i had to reveal the truth: Leukemia was back. Roman gave up his title and fought a different fight.
Fans poured out genuine concern for The Big Dog’s genuine life or death battle, but in a miraculous four months, he was back! And then in the Superstar Shake-Up, The Big Dog would make the Blue Brand HIS Yard with a Superman Punch heard around the world! Roman does what he wants when he wants, because he’s home.
Shane McMahon returns to SmackDown!
As promised, The Best in the World is back and heads for the ring to make his major announcement. Who will he crown with those vacant SmackDown Tag Team Championships? Find out after the break!
SmackDown returns as Shane is booed by the fans. Shane wishes to digress from his business for just a moment to note how Miz brutally attacked him like a coward. Miz did it not with his hands but a steel chair. “What type of human being hits another human being with a steel chair?” Miz’s actions were deplorable. Oh sorry, this is Kentucky, he’ll dumb it down. Miz was disgusting. But he didn’t get the job done, either. Just like he won’t at MITB, because Shane will emerge victorious just like at Wrestlemanian. And your winner will be The Best in the World!
Now to the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. The titles were vacated because Jeff Hardy cannot compete after what Lars Sullivan did to him. But what to do? Shane kept thinking, “Who would be worthy to be SmackDown Tag Team Champions?” He looked up and down the roster and it was just staring right back at him. So Shane introduces said worthy tag team… Daniel Bryan and Big Red Rowan! They’re apparently a tag team, so they qualify. The Planet’s Champion and his intellectual equal shake Shane’s hands and then Shane hands them the titles. But The Usos are here! The Wild Card Rule allows Jimmy & Jey to say “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Whoa!”
Whoa whoa back to them. What’re they doing here? Uh, well this is Roman’s Yard and he lets his cousins slide in when they want. Plus brilliant daddy Vince, they got the Usos Wild Rule! So SmackDown is STILL the Usos Penitentiary! And Shane, The Usos worked too damn hard for the titles to be handed out. But they’re worthy. Last time they checked, titles have to earn that. The New Day: earned it. The Bar: earned it. Hardy Boys: earned it. The Usos: earned that. But damn, Shane, even he and Miz earned those when beating the Usos. So knowing the value and prestige of those titles, he’s just gonna hand them to “Spongebob and Patrick”?! Either way, put them on the line so they can get #LockDown!
Fans want to see it, Shane seems to understand that. He can’t wait to see it! He’ll enjoy it, and this match will happen, right now! Because Shane will enjoy seeing Bryan and Rowan kick the Usos back to Raw empty-handed. Will Bryan and Rowan earn being champions? Or will a Raw team own SmackDown’s belts?!
Finn Balor speaks.
“Hello from Bray, County Wicklow!” Obviously the Intercontinental Champion is home visiting family, but he assures us that he’s still focused on MITB. Finn vows to climb, win, and cash-in. Then he’ll do extraordinary and become a dual WWE Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Champion. Finny Two Belts has a nice ring to it.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: Daniel Bryan & Rowan VS The Usos!
We return as the teams sort out. The fans are strongly behind the Usos as Jimmy starts against Bryan with the bell. They circle and tie up. Jimmy gets the arm and wrenches, but Bryan rolls through and bridges to reverse. Bryan wrenches Jimmy to the mat but Jimmy gets up and powers Bryan back. Jey tags in and hits Bryan with a forearm. Jey covers, TWO! He keeps on Bryan with a whip corner to corner hard. Bryan hits the buckles hard and Jey tags to Jimmu. The Usos whip and elbow Bryan down to drop double elbows. Cover, ONE, and Bryan scrambles to Rowan. Rowan tags in and circles with Jey. Jey counter punches Rowan and throws chops, but Rowan shoves him to BOOT him down!
Rowan drags Jey back up and scoops with one arm to slam Jey down. He drops a big splash, cover, TWO! Rowan keeps on Jey and bumps him off buckles. He throws hands and headbutts on Jey but the ref counts. Rowan backs off to tag Bryan in. Rowan clubs Jey and then whips Bryan in for a dropkick! Jey gets a Big Red splash and Bryan covers, TWO! Bryan stomps Jey at the ropes while fans rally up. Bryan grabs both arms for a double chicken wing into a stretch. He steps through for a partial motorcycle stretch. Bryan grinds Jey into the mat but Jey powers up. Rowan tags in and stomps Jey. Rowan brings Jey aruond to drive his knees into Jey’s back. He then shifts to a neck wrench but Jey endures. Fans rally up and Jey fights up, only for Rowan to hit Jimmy!
Jey uppercuts Rowan then Bryan then boots Rowan. He builds speed but Rowan body checks Jey! Rowan roars while we go to break.
SmackDown returns and Jey runs corner to corner, only for Bryan to dropkick his legs out! Bryan grins as he looms over Jey. Jey sits up to get No Kicks from Bryan. Bryan goes for the buzzsaw, but Jey ducks and waistlocks. Bryan standing switches but Jimmy tags in to SUPERKICK! Cover, TWO! Jimmy can’t believe it, but he keeps his focus as he crawls to a corner. Jimmy climbs and leaps, but the splash gets knees! Bryan turns it into the Lebell Lock! Jimmy endures as Bryan pulls back hard, then rolls him away! Jimmy keeps fighting, and rolls Bryan to a cover! TWO, SUPERKICK! Bryan goes down but so does Jimmy! Louisville is thunderous as both men crawl for their corners. Hot tags to Rowan and Jey!
Jey kicks Rowan then climbs. Jey leaps but into Rowan’s arms! Rowan pops Jey up but Jey slips out to dodge and kick away! Jey runs again, tags Jimmy, but Roawn grips Jey’s head. Jimmy SUPERKICKS! Jey SUPERKICKS! DOUBLE SUPERKICKS!! Jey DIVES onto Bryan and Jimmy climbs! USO SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! Rowan somehow survives! Jimmy and Jey regroup and tag. They each take a corner, because if one wasn’t enough, maybe two more can do it. But Bryan shoves Jimmy down! Jey runs and SUPERKICKS Bryan! But Rowan runs at Jey! Jey dumps Rowan out and Jimmy returns, both Usos DIVE! But are caught! Jimmy gets the Knee Plus! Rowan throws Jey around and into the ring! SUPERKICK for Rowan! SUPERKICK for Bryan! But then IRON CLAW SLAM for Jey! Cover, Rowan & Bryan win!!
Winners: Rowan & Daniel Bryan, Rowan pinning; NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions
Shane’s picks still pull it off! But at least they earned the titles. Will Bryan and Rowan switch these belts out for organic and sustainable versions? Or will another team rise up to take the belts away before then?
SmackDown presents a new episode of Firefly Fun House!
Bray Wyatt’s back, everybody! Now today is going to be a very special day. But, what’s going on with Mercy the Buzzard? Burp~! What’s he got there? Nothin’. C’mon, man, we’re all friends here. Back off, Bray, he said it was nothin’. What is he trying to hide? None yo’ damn business, Abby! Now go back to sleep, you old hag. Bray keeps the peace between the pals and wants to see what the fuss is about. He reaches in but Mercy snaps at him. Bray grabs… RAMBLING RABBIT?! Or what’s left of him… Mercy hated that rabbit. The rabbit was trying to force his world views on Mercy. Oh boy… It’s perfectly okay to express yourself. Whether it’s painting a painting, flying a kite, or ripping a rabbit to shreds. They can forgive him just like Bray was forgiven. In fact, Mercy should be rewarded! Does he mean…
Yes! Picnic time! And remember, Fireflies. He’ll always light the way, you just have to let him in. Bye~! See you next time~!
SmackDown returns to Shane in the ring, again.
And this time, he has the MITB briefcases. He wants to get this done as quickly as possible, because he has more important things to do. But he has important information to bring up about the MITB ladder matches. This PPV only comes around once a year, and one man and one woman will ascend the ladders to have an almost guaranteed title reign. These are some of the most brutal and physical matches, but, MIZ ATTACKS! Miz doesn’t care about the Wild Card Rule, he’s after Shane! Miz throws Shane around and punches him up the ramp! Shane is rolling and begging for mercy, only because he has no getaway car around. Miz shows no mercy, but here come The B-Team!
Curt Axel & Bo Dallas save Shane, continuing to be Shane’s new henchmen. But MIz fights off the former Miztourage and throws them at the WWE Universe! Only for Shane to SMACK Miz with a chair! Shane is again a hypocrite but he’ll never admit it. He gives Miz ANOTHER chair shot to the back! Shane leaves Miz down and out here, but will he be able to do the same when there’s a steel cage around them?
Bryan and Rowan walk and talk backstage.
They’re now the Planet’s Tag Team Champions! Just gotta change out the titles. But the #BlueCollarSolid Heavy machinery boys “congratulate” them. While eyeing the belts. Bryan and Rowan don’t take Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic seriously, but will they when they meet in the ring?
Ember Moon & Carmella VS Fire & Desire!
The War Goddess, the FABULOUS Princess and Mandy Rose are going to be in the Women’s MITB match, but they look to gain momentum in tag action! Will Sonya Deville stay humble and help her good friend? Or will they both be Eclipsed by the Shenom and Money Mella?
SmackDown goes picture in picture while superstars make their entrances. Teams sort out and we start with Sonya and Mella. We go single screen as Sonya knocks Carmella down. SOnya talks trash then whips, but Carmella dodges and tilt-o-whirls to a headscissors! Carmella clotheslines then covers, ONE! She keeps on Snoya but Sonya shoves. Carmella boots Sonya and hits Mandy, but Sonya SPEARS Carmella! Cover, TWO! Sonya tags Mandy and they mug Mella. Mandy taunts Carmella but gets a jawbreaker! Tag to Ember! Ember hits Sonya then dropkicks Mandy! She mule kicks, front kicks and forearms Mandy down! Ember scoops and gives Mandy a Fall Away Slam!
Fans fire up with Ember as she runs corner to corner for a big back elbow! She keeps moving, springboard crossbody! Cover, but Sonya breaks it up. Carmella gives Sonya a FABULOUS Kick but Mandy gives Carmella the Golden Knee! Ember enziguris Mandy out, then builds speed to DIVE! Sonya takes the hit for Mandy! Mandy gives Ember a knee! Mandy puts Ember in and underhooks to the Golden Driver! Cover, Fire & Desire win!
Winners: Fire & Desire, Mandy Rose pinning
Sonya was selfless again, and that allows Mandy to win for the team! But wait, here comes Paige! And she has #JoshiRoyalty in tow. They congratulate Fire & Desire. Paige represented them back when they “used to mean something”. But Paige traded up to Asuka and Kairi Sane, who will rip through the Women’s Tag Division. And they start next week, with Mandy and Sonya. We get the match-up we’ve been waiting for! Who leaves London in pole position towards those Women’s Tag Team Championships?
Backstage interview with Matt Hardy.
Given the news of his brother Jeff’s injury, and then the beating after, Matt went through a heartbreaking night. However, Jeff’s surgery was successful, and he’ll surely be back better than ever. But for now, R-Truth comes by to tell Matt something. But he forgot. Was it about the loathed Leviathan, Lars Sullivan? That’s why he forgot. He didn’t want to remember. But for real, Lars is vicious and unlike anyone they’ve seen. Lars’ hands are like bear traps: you get caught, you get got. Yes, Lars is a monster, and he’s right there!! Matt is ready to fight, but Lars headbutts Truth!
Matt fires off but Lars throws him into the restroom! Lars then goes back for Truth, and not even that tackle does anything! Truth still tries, but Lars pops him right up to powerbomb him through a table! The Leviathan strikes again, is there any hope for the other superstars?
Aleister Black speaks.
“For anyone who’s been rejected by those whose acceptance and affirmation should be instinctual; who dealt with the sins of the father and the mother; the marks they left upon us and the marks that we left upon ourselves, I arrogantly sit before as both your wrath and your salvation. And to my opponents, I must apologize for my over-propensity to prevail. Prevail at your expense. For you are the embodiment of the sins of which I speak. And now that I have revealed this part of myself, I must ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness for my own sins. Sins that I will seek absolution for, in the form of victory. Victory that I shall take from you.”
WWE Championship Triple Threat: Kofi Kingston w/ Xavier Woods VS Sami Zayn VS AJ Styles!
The fighting champion won’t just get one but two opponents tonight, all thanks to the Wild Card Rule! Will Kofimania survive the Phenomenal and the critical? Or will someone else take this title to MITB against Kevin Owens?
SmackDown returns again as introductions are made. The belt is raised, and we finally begin this Wild Card Rule main event!
Sami keeps his eyes on Kofi and Styles as he goes back and forth. Fans still taunt him to “Take A Shower!” but Sami finds himself cornered by both Styles and Kofi. Sami claims they’re going to work together against him, but Styles roundhouses Kofi! Styles then fires off on Sami with haymakers. Sami bails out and Kofi kicks Styles back. Kofi throws forearms then whips corner to corner. Styles reverses but Kofi goes up and dropkicks him down! Cover, ONE! KOfi keeps on Styles with a Penalty Kick! Then a rebound splash! Cover, TWO! Sami returns and he goes right after Kofi. Kofi dropkicks Sami back! Sami bails out again and Styles tackles Kofi to a corner!
Styles rams his shoulder in and then CHOPS Kofi. He stalks Kofi to scoop and give him a backbreaker! Sami returns but gets haymakers from Styles. Styles kicks Sami and CHOPS him in a corner. Styles leaves Sami behind but Kofi rolls Styles up! TWO, and Kofi mule kicks Styles. Kofi throws headbutts then whips Styles corner to corner. Styles reverses but Kofi boots back. Kofi gets on the top rope and leaps, crossbody to Styles’ back! Cover, TWO!! Styles survives somehow but Sami clobbers Kofi from behind. Sami throws haymakers on Kofi while Styles flounders to a corner. Sami throws Kofi into a corner to whip him at Styles. He then runs at them both but Kofi clotheslines Sami down! Saim gets up and Styles clotheslines him back down!
Kofi and Styles brawl, but Styles gives the Phenomeal Blitz. Kofi avoids the clothesline to give one of his own! Fans fire up as Kofi hits the New Day Boom Drop! Styles crawls away while Kofi aims from a corner. But Sami trips Kofi up! Styles slingshots but Sami avoids him to trip him up! The Underdog from the Underground is on control while we go to one more break!
SmackDown returns once more, and Sami has Kofi all alone. Fans taunt Sami about taking a shower but he toys with Kofi. Kofi CHOPS back, but Sami kicks low. Sami runs, but Kofi drops down then jumps up, into a sit-out powerbomb! Cover, TWO! Sami grows frustrated and Styles slowly crawls into the ring. Sami goes after Styles with haymakers and chops. But Styles hits back with hands and stomps! Fans fire up with Styles as he whips, but Sami holds the ropes. Sami rakes Styles’ eyes! Sami hops up and leaps for a tornado DDT! Cover, but Kofi is right there to break it! Sami stands first and gets after Kofi. They brawl and Sami tackles Kofi to a corner for body shots. Sami puts Kofi up but Kofi fights back. Kofi whips but Sami reverses, only for Sami to run into Kofi’s swing kick!
Kofi climbs again, but Sami rocks him with a right! Sami climbs up top, and gives Kofi a SUPERPLEX! But Sami has to crawl to the cover! TWO as Kofi survives! Sami and Styles slowly stand and lock onto each other. Sami throws hands on Styles then hoists him up top. Fans rally for Kofi while Sami climbs to join Styles. Styles slips out and trips Sami up! Styles throws a BIG haymaker, then hoists Sami up top. Now Styles climbs to join Sami, for a SUPER STEINER! Styles goes after Kofi now with a fireman’s carry and a fast Ushigoroshi! Kofi and Sami end up int he same corner but Styles goes after Sami. Styles whips but Sami reverses, but gets a back elbow. Styles hops up and moonsaults.
Kofi runs in but Styles kicks him. Styles has them both, but Kofi slips through, SOS DDT combo!! But no one can cover! Louisville loves this and are fired up behind Kofi! Kofi crawls to a corner and staggers over to Styles. Styles stands and they brawl with big haymakers. “This is Awesome!” as Kofi and Styles trade kicks, too. Kofi walks into a boot, but throws another haymaker. He throws more and Styles staggers away. Kofi keeps on him but Styles ducks to PELE! Kofi flounders to a corner but Styles slowly goes to the opposite end. Styles stands and runs corner to corner, but Kofi puts him on the apron. Styles hits Kofi back then prepares, but Kofi trips up his springboard! Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise! Styles crashes down outside the ring!
Xavier rallies the fans, but wait, what is Kevin Owens doing here?! He said he was staying away! Xavier fights back but still gets thrown into the apron! And again! And then the steel steps! Kofi is furious but Sami gets Kofi with a BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Kofi survives the screw job! Sami keeps his cool as he stalks Kofi. He brings Kofi back up, Blue Thunder Bomb again! Cover, TWO!! Kevin and Sami are both frustrated that Kofi stays alive. Sami looms over Kofi then hauls him up, for a THIRD Blue Thunder Bomb! Cover, TWO!?! How is Kofi still in this?! Sami isn’t sure what to do, so he takes aim from the corner. Kofi crawls to the other end, and Sami runs in, to Trouble in Paradise!! Cover, Kofi wins!!
Winner: Kofi Kingston, by pinfall; still WWE Champion
The Prizefighter storms off, disappointed he couldn’t end Kofimania. Styles himself has to go back to Raw without a title while Kofi continues to live the dream! Will Kevin have a better chance at ending Kofi’s reign in person?
Ringside interview with Kofi Kingston.
Is Kevin Owens in Kofi’s head with all these sneak attacks? No, Kevin is not in Kofi’s head, but he is in for a world of hurt! Kofi will make Kevin pay for everything he’s done to The New Day to this point! Will Kofi prove to Kevin that he is truly a worthy champion?
As always, SmackDown manages to salvage what Raw does! Given Vince’s desperate Wild Card Rule, SmackDown still makes the best of it by bringing back AJ Styles. I don’t know if I would’ve brought Sami with him, but this does tease that Sami VS Styles might be a post MITB rivalry that could easily change Styles Face again. Now obviously, we got zero explanation as to how Sami is okay after the garage truck, but oh well. The Triple Threat was incredible, even with Kevin trying to screw Kofi. But that would’ve been expected even if Kofi was just facing one opponent tonight. For that matter, Kofi is really putting in the work this week, but we’ve seen he can do it with gauntlet matches and Elimination Chamber. This is only going to make Kofi VS Kevin at MITB all the better.
However, there was still something SmackDown could’ve done with the Wild Card Rule that would’ve made way more sense in story! Bring Miz over officially and then he and Roman can settle things with Shane or whoever Shane puts up as henchmen. Miz attacking Shane tonight was a good choice, obviously, though he might be in “violation” of the “rule”. Maybe Raw will do that match when Roman uses the Wild Card Rule, or doesn’t. I’m just thinking we’re still going to get Miz and Roman VS Team Shane at some point, it would just make sense. Instead, we get a video package for Roman, albeit a great one. We also get another great promo from Aleister, but I want to see him have matches already. A perfect Aleister is Tweener, but he’ll be Face by default, which is also fine.
What didn’t make sense is using Wild Card Rule on Usos. They gave a great promo and had a great match with Bryan and Rowan, but why not elevate a true SmackDown team in this tag title segment? Though, it’s good to see A) Bryan wants organic belts like I figured and B) Heavy Machinery is moving up after them anyway. Given this new #BlueCollarSolid part of their characters, they’re the perfect tag team foil to Bryan’s anti-industry, anti-consumerism etc gimmick. Ali VS Almas was a great match, even with Orton disqualifying it. Orton stands tall this time because, well, he’s Orton. I would love if we got a Triple Threat or Fatal 4 Way of the SmackDown entrants either next week or as the go-home.
And I should’ve have been surprised that an advertised Six Woman Tag turns into a 2v2 tag instead, but I wasn’t. Perhaps something kept Bayley and Charlotte from being on the show, since they weren’t even there backstage. The match was also a short one, which also should’ve surprised me but not with how Vince has been treating tag team wrestling for both men and women. At least we’re getting Paige’s old team VS her new team like I was hoping for. Pretty sure Kairi and Asuka take the win to then go after the IIconics at MITB. Maybe Bayley and Charlotte have their own segment next week to revisit Charlotte ruining Becky VS Bayley from last week. Granted, we already got a Bayley VS Charlotte match, but perhaps another one would make for a good go-home match.
My Score: 7.9/10
Mitchell’s ROH Results & Report! (7/13/19)
The Kingdom, Jay Lethal and The Bouncers in a big Six Man main event!
ROH Wrestling Television, Episode 408
Manhattan Mayhem is on the horizon, and so is a major ROH World Championship match! But before Matt Taven and Jay Lethal face off 1v1, they bring allies to the ring for a truly massive Six Man Tag match!
- Proving Ground: Rhett Titus VS Shane Taylor; Taylor wins.
- WOH World Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival: Stella Grey VS Jenny Rose VS Angelina Love VS Tasha Steelz; Steelz wins and will challenge Kelly Klein for the title at Summer Supercard.
- Six Man Tag: The Kingdom VS Jay Lethal & The Bouncers; Lethal & The Bouncers win.
PLAY BY PLAY
ROH looks back to Best in the World.
The Peacock faced Rush’s brother, Dragon Lee, and beat him using Rush’s moves! The Best of 3 Series’ third match saw the K I N G topple the Franchise Player! And the Villain Enterprises expanded to include an army! A FLIP Army! The Allure used every trick up their sleeves to beat the Pretty Badass and American Joshi, but were confronted by Maria Manic! Manic didn’t get her hands on Mandy Leon or the Beautiful People, so she ran roughshod over security! And most shocking of all, Matt Taven didn’t need to resort to anything underhanded to down the Hawaiian Juggernaut!! How can anyone hope to stop Taven’s #PurpleReign now?
Kenny King joins ROH commentary for this opening contest.
Coming off a big victory over THE Jay Lethal, the K I N G wants to see what his old friends are up to.
Proving Ground: Rhett Titus VS Shane Taylor!
The Fittest returns to in-ring action to show that Strong Beach physique. But will physique be enough to survive the Notorious Hitman and ROH World Television Champion?
Rhett wants to shake hands with his former Rebellion brother, but Taylor SPITS on the Code of Honor! Rhett just uses it as body oil. The bell rings and the 10 minute time limit starts counting down. All Rhett has to do is survive the 10 minutes, and he gets a future shot at the title!
Fans rally as the two circle. Taylor shoves Rhett down and taunts him as he stands up. Rhett comes back to waistlock, but Taylor standing switches. Rhett powers his way out, but gets caught in a full nelson! Taylor grins but Rhett powers out of the nelson! Taylor headlocks but Rhett powers out to headlock back. Rhett grinds but Taylor powers out and runs Rhett over! Taylor wants Rhett to stop playing, and scoops him up. Rhett slips out and dropkicks Taylor back! Rhett grins and flexes, but then he tries to fireman’s carry, and Taylor is too much. Taylor spins Rhett, misses one way but hits the clothesline on the other! ROH goes to break as Taylor dares Rhett to get up.
ROH returns and Rhett wrecks Taylor with a dropkick. Rhett shows off his core strength with leg raises, but Taylor pulls him down to ROCK him with that One Hitter Quitter! Taylor drags Rhett up and into the ring to put him on the apron. Taylor climbs up, to drop the leg! He laughs and taunts Rhett as he CHOPS the chest! Rhett gasps for air while he crawls to a corner. Taylor climbs in and throws another big right! Rhett forearms Taylor back! Rhett backs Taylor down but Taylor blocks and reverses the whip to rock him again! Taylor yanks Rhett up but Rhett lands on his feet! Rhett rocks Taylor back with a JAB!
Rhett is in the corner again, and dodges Taylor as he runs in, to give him back a splash! And a BOOT! Then side to side for another! Rhett keeps moving to boot again! Fans fire up with The Fittest as he fireman’s carries Taylor again! For a Samoan Drop! Cover, TWO! Rhett keeps his cool as Taylor goes to a corner. Rhett runs corner to corner but his boot is blocked! Taylor shoves Rhett back to KNEE him in the face! Cover, TWO!! Rhett survives and now Taylor is frustrated. Taylor toys with Rhett but Rhett SLAPS him back! Taylor pie faces but Rhett CHOPS and forearms away! Rhett fires off forearm after forearm but Taylor bobs ‘n’ weaves to HEADBUTT! Cover, Taylor wins!
Winner: Shane Taylor, by pinfall
Rhett fell short of proving himself worthy, and the ROH World TV Champion continues rolling on. Kenny gives Taylor his due props, but goes to check on Rhett in the ring.
“I’m searching for the words, man, to describe what I just saw out of you right now.” The word is, “disgusting.” King is disgusted by Rhett. What happened to him? ROH stuck them together and they fought, they scratched and they clawed and became one of the best teams ever, the All Night Express. They beat The Briscoes, the Young Bucks, Roderick Strong, Tyler Black, you name them. “What the hell happened to you?!” Rhett fails a Proving Ground match because he only proved that while he has the body of a god, he has the “heart of a b*tch.” There’s no fight left in Rhett! If Kenny was Joe Koff, he’d rip up Rhett’s contract on the spot!
Rhett’s family and pregnant wife are here, yet he embarrasses them!? Does Rhett think it’s okay that the reason his son won’t look him in the eyes is because daddy’s a coward?! Rhett gets mad, and that’s what Kenny wants to see! Show him something! But when Rhett doesn’t, Kenny is the one who gets mad. Is the Titus family really proud of that?! Because the Rhett Kenny King knew was a man, not this “punk ass b*tch.” Will these fighting words light a fire in the Fittest? Or does the K I N G have a point?
ROH hears from Kelly Klein.
“Women of Honor has some of the best women wrestling has to offer right now, and I love it.” That means the Gatekeeper will defend her title against some of the best women around. Maria Manic has Kelly’s attention, and Kelly is ready for that match. Kelly’s even excited to fight Tasha Steelz, the Allure, Stella Grey or Jenny Rose as she defends her world title. Who makes it out of the contender’s match first in line for a fight with the Pretty Badass?
ROH looks back to June 29th.
Jay Lethal vowed to work twice as hard as before, “whip the crap out of Matt Taven,” and become a THREE-TIME ROH World Champion! But Taven told him that in New York City, July 20th, we will all finally see that we are living in “The Time of Matt Taven.” Taven is the King of ROH, because heee’s Matt Taven, and he was #BorntoRule! But then, Alex Shelley returned!
Shelley was careful not to say he retired from ROH. Let’s pretend he has a card in his hand that is known as the “veteran’s card.” And let’s say there’s a hole punched for every year he’s contributed to the industry. That’s 17 holes. Shelley’s fingerprints are all over the world of wrestling, so now he plays his card. Shelley expects to be respected! And it won’t matter who walks out of Manhattan, Shelley just wants his shot to prove to them, him, and the world that he still has #TalentonLoanfromGod! Who will the returning revolutionary meet after mayhem goes down in Manhattan?
WOH World Championship #1 Contender’s Four Corner Survival: Stella Grey VS Jenny Rose VS Angelina Love w/ The Allure VS Tasha Steelz!
While only one of the Beautiful People is in this match, it is no surprise that she still has her friends by her side. Angelina Love leads the way as Velvet Sky helps Mandy Leon and their fluffy mascot, Foxxy, into the ring. But the spotlight quickly moves to the Garden State Goddess, little gritty Grey, and the American Joshi. With Kelly Klein watching on commentary, who grabs a huge victory and earns a Summer Supercard showdown?
But before the bell rings, Velvet grabs a mic to tell Jenny she doesn’t belong here, that Stella doesn’t belong here, and Tasha- She doesn’t even know who Tasha is, actually, but she doesn’t belong here, either. The only woman in the ring that matters is the Allure’s Bada$$, Angelina Love, the TRUE #1 Contender! Angelina proved herself already when she pinned Kelly at Best in the World. Win-loss records leave out a lot, and Kelly knows Angelina didn’t need to cheat that night to win. But talking aside, the other three competitors uphold the Code of Honor, but don’t even worry about Angelina. The bell finally rings, and Jenny goes right at her!
Stella and Tasha fight while Jenny rains down rights on Angelina! Angelina and Jenny roll out of the ring and Angelina kicks back. Jenny forearms but Angelina kicks again. Stella whips Tasha but Tasha runs Stella over. Tasha brushes herself off and runs, but Stella keeps up. Tasha and Stella trade hip toss blocks while Angelina and Jenny trade apron bumps. Stella rolls Tasha but Tasha arm-drags back. Stella arm-drags Tasha now, but Angelina kicks Jenny away. Angelina is on Stella with a sleeper, but Stella kicks Tasha away. Angelina throws Stella down by her hair, and The Allure cheers her on as she whips Stella into a corner. Stella runs into Tasha, then Angelina dropkicks them into each other. Angelina throws Stella out and runs, but into Jenny’s SPEAR! Cover, TWO!
Tasha throws Jenny out fast and stares down with Angelina. Tasha flexes but it doesn’t impress Angelina. Angelina ties up with Tasha to a headlock. Tasha powers out but Angelina runs her over. Things speed up and Tasha shows agility to hip toss Angelina down! Fans fire up as Tasha whips. Angelina reverses and scoops to a spinning sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Tasha fires forearms back and whips, but Angelina reverses. Tasha goes up and over and rolls, to drop toehold Angelina down. Angelina gets clear of the basement dropkick but Tasha gets clear of the elbow drop. The two stare down as fans cheer.
Tasha eggs Angelina on, and the two start trading forearms. Tasha gets an edge and fires off! She runs but Mandy trips her up! A Fatal 4 Way means no disqualifications, but the referee tells the Allure they’re EJECTED! Mandy is upset and Velvet just shrugs it off as they take Foxxy with them. Angelina is a bit more concerned now that she’s all alone as ROH goes to break.
ROH returns and Tasha waistlocks Angelina. They roll to a cover, TWO! Stella throws Tasha out to roll Angelina, but Jenny breaks it. Jenny kicks Stella out to then La Magistrol Angelina, TWO! Jenny stays on Angelina in a corner for a back elbow and whip. Angelina reverses but Jenny dodges to send Angelina into the post! Jenny dropkicks Stella back out and goes out to join her. They start trading hands, but Tasha slingshots out to take them both down! Fans fire up but now Angelina climbs up top. Angelina LEAPS to crossbody them all down! This is the top tier talent Kelly has wanted to see. But speaking of, Angelina dares Kelly to come closer. Kelly heads closer to the ring, and stares Angelina down the whole way. But this keeps Angelina seeing Jenny, Stella and Tasha all get back in the ring.
Jenny clubs Angelina, and has help from Stella! They DOUBLE POWERBOMB Angelina down! But then Tasha double clotheslines Jenny and Stella down! Fans fire up behind the Boricua Badass as she fireman’s carries Stella. Stella fights out and drags Tasha into a sleeper hold clutch! Angelina kicks Jenny then hits a complete shot, to the Koji Klutch! Side-by-side submissions, but which one puts their victim out first!? Jenny and Tasha endures, and Jenny reaches for a ropebreak! The ref counts and Angelina lets her go. Meanwhile, Tasha sits up, and Angelina kicks Stella off her! Jenny kicks Angelina down, then goes to Tasha for a German Suplex! Jenny kicks Stella for a snap suplex! She runs at Angelina but gets the Botox Injection! Angelina covers, but Stella breaks it!
Stella scoops but Angelina slips out and shoves, Botox Injection for Stella! Tasha throws Angelina out to get Stella with a CUTTER! Cover, Tasha wins!!
Winner: Tasha Steelz, by pinfall; NEW #1 Contender to the WOH World Championship
Angelina ain’t happy about it, but the Boricua Badass got the better of her fair and square, okurrr? Can Tasha make it a one and done when it comes to title matches? Or will Kelly still be the champion when she leaves Toronto?
But wait, the lights drop down. And a rather creepy little video plays. Dolls sit in a line, but a hand reaches out to take the man. To chew him up and spit him out! Because the MANEATER is here! And Maria Manic has appeared behind Tasha and Angelina! Angelina saw this once before, she gets away again. But Tasha shows no fear! Security hurries to keep this fight from happening, but Maria just manhandles them like she did at Best in the World! She takes one and tosses him from the ring, then clotheslines another! But she slaps the third around to then put him in the torture rack! And then she dumps him out onto the other two! The fourth man gets the double hand choke slam! Maria Manic made mince meat of five grown men, but is she going to devour the entire WOH Division?
ROH hears from Rush.
El Toro Blanco is “sick and tired” of Dalton Castle. Rush whooped The Peacock in 15 seconds. But if Castle wants to mess with his familia, well perro, the bull is going to end him for good! Rush didn’t come to ROH to play, he came to become the best! “Nothing happens unless I say so.” When and where will this grudge match happen? Mass Hyteria on July 21st! A wild weekend is coming for ROH, who survives the mayhem and hysteria on the way to the Summer Supercard?
Six Man Tag: The Kingdom VS Jay Lethal & The Bouncers!
Matt Taven vows to prove he’s the king, while TK O’Ryan and Vinnie Marseglia vow to show who are the real elite tag team wrestlers in ROH. But they’ll have to prove it with actions, not words, as they take on their rivals all at once! Will the Franchise Player gain major momentum towards Manhattan when he sides with former foes in Brian Milonas & The Beer City Bruiser?
But given the apparent collusion involving Kenny King and timekeeper Amy Rose, Jay Lethal asks that she take her leave. Amy obliges, not wanting to be a source of controversy for this main event. The Kingdom then make their entrance, and ROH takes another break.
ROH returns and Lethal starts against the Horror King. The bell rings and they tie up right away! Vinnie powers Lethal to a corner but the ref backs him off. Vinnie throws a forearm but Lethal gives it back and we have a brawl! Lethal starts backing Vinnie down but Vinnie knees low and puts Lethal in a corner. Vinnie chops but Lethal CHOPS right back. They trade more CHOPS, and Vinnie wants Lethal to give him more. Lethal CHOPS Vinnie like he wants, but Vinnie just trash talks and knees low. Vinnie runs but misses in the corner, Lethal hip tosses and cartwheels to dropkick! Vinnie hurries to the Kingdom’s corner and tags to TK. Brian “Brawler” Milonas tags in and ties up with the Sassy Wild Horse.
Milonas shoves TK all the way back to his corner! TK runs back out but skids to a stop as Milonas towers over him. TK says he wants Lethal? Milonas gives TK what he wants, but he does tag Lethal a bit hard. Lethal shakes it off and ties up with TK. TK headlocks but Lethal powers out, only for TK to run him over. TK runs and runs Lethal over again, but things speed up. Lethal hurdles but his hip toss is blocked to TK’s own hip toss. Lethal boots TK back but runs into an elbow. TK runs but into that hip toss and cartwheel dropkick! Lethal has gotten two Kingdom members with that, and then tags in Bruiser. Taven tags in and Bruiser dares him to bring the fight. Taven has Bruiser calm down, and fans chant “Melvin! Melvin!” But again, The Kingdom wants Lethal.
Taven wants Lethal and even offers a free shot. Bruiser says Taven’s too scared to fight a real man. Taven just wants Lethal, and again gives a free shot. Lethal tags in but he sees the sucker punch coming. The two fire off haymakers and CHOPS on each other! Lethal whips but Taven reverses, but Lethal gets under TK at the ropes. Vinnie rushes at Lethal on the outside but Lethal dodges to CHOP! TK jumps but Lethal punches him out of the air, only for Taven to wreck Lethal with a dropkick! Taven drags Lethal up and throws him into railing, then The Kingdom attacks like piranha! The Bouncers protest but The Kingdom put Lethal in. Taven stomps and chokes Lethal to then tag in Vinnie. The Kingdom mugs Lethal with stomps then Vinnie rains rights down. Fans duel as ROH goes to one more break.
ROH returns once again, and The Kingdom continues to mug Lethal. Taven stomps Lethal down then drags him up to put in the Kingdom’s corner. Taven CHOPS Lethal then tags in Vinnie. Vinnie tags in TK, and the two whip Lethal. Lethal reverses to whip Vinnie, but TK waistlocks him. Lethal boots Vinnie then slips out of TK’s suplex. He ducks them both to tag in Bruiser! Bruiser rallies with the power of “BEER! BEER!” He punches Taven, uppercuts Vinnie, and uppercuts TK! Bruiser brings TK in for the sidewinder DDT! Cover but Vinnie breaks it! Vinnie fish hooks Bruiser but Bruiser bites the fingers. Oh but wait, Bruiser can’t bite, “I ain’t got no teef!” Bruiser brings TK up but TK CHOPS! TK kicks low and DDT’s Bruiser! But Milonas tags in to rally on The Kingdom! He even back drops Taven!
Milonas falls back to senton on Taven! Vinnie runs but gets flattened with a crossbody! Cover, but Taven breaks it! Taven fires off strikes on Milonas, but Milonas powers Taven to a fireman’s carry. TK leaps but into Milonas’ arms! Milonas gives them a Fall Away Samoan Drop combo! Fans fire up with the Mastodon, but also for Lethal as he DIVES onto Vinnie! Lethal gets back in to DIVE onto TK! And of course, he runs and DIVES onto Taven! The trifecta has been completed! Vinnie runs in to fight with the Bouncers, and whips Bruiser, but Bruiser reverses. TK tags in before Vinnie gets fed to the Scrapbuster! TK climbs and leaps, but into Bruiser’s arms. Milonas sandwiches TK with Bruiser, and it even sends Bruiser stumbling. But Bruiser comes back while Milonas climbs, and it’s the Last Call leg drop! Cover, The Bouncers and Lethal win!
Winners: Jay Lethal & The Bouncers, Brian Milonas pinning
The winner of Guerrillas of Destiny VS The Briscoes in the ROH World Tag Team Championship match at Manhattan Mayhem better watch out, because some big competition is meeting them at Mass Hysteria. Who will The Bouncers get to toast with on the 21st?
But wait, Taven doesn’t let Lethal go, and gives him CLIMAX to the floor!! The Bouncers hurry to Lethal’s side as The Kingdom retreats. Taven raises the title, but will he still be holding onto the gold after Manhattan Mayhem?
A pretty good go-home with major developments for a busy weekend coming up for ROH. Not only is Manhattan Mayhem on Saturday, July 20th, but now there’s another event on July 21st with this “Mass Hysteria” in Lowell, Massachusetts. Of course, this is all on top of ROH TV finally referencing Best in the World, but the usual mess was mostly ironed out. Rush has a solid promo, and his grudge match with Castle will surely be longer and better than the shocking 15 second squash at G1 Supercard. What’s odd is that while Kenny King beat Lethal at BitW in their Best of 3, he’s doing a story with Rhett Titus next? Lethal’s using his contractual rematch, sure, but is this story with Rhett going to delay Kenny’s shot at Taven more? Is Rhett going to turn so that we more or less get an All Night Express reunion? It is both intriguing yet confusing as to what is going on here.
The Women’s Fatal 4 was a great match, and what a great surprise to see the younger Tasha Steelz getting this chance. I thought it was going to be Angelina Love, but at the same time, even Angelina Love seems like an odd choice from out of The Allure. But I suppose with now women’s tag titles in ROH (yet?) all three could try going after Kelly in turn. And then we got to see Maria Manic at the same time tonight, that was a great way to debut! The Maneater will surely be a contender, and a monster for the Allure to worry about while they’re each taking turns against Kelly Klein. Kelly’s promo is obviously to put the company over, but for just the WOH Division in a vacuum, it is definitely heating up now with an addition like Manic.
And to end the show, we get a really good Six Man Tag, and obviously the goal for The Kingdom was to do as much as they could to Lethal so it’ll be easier for Taven in Manhattan. I am still disappointed the timing kept Jeff Cobb from becoming ROH’s top guy, but I again reference that the G1 Climax and Cobb going back and forth just wouldn’t be good for him or ROH. Lethal might as well dethrone Taven, joining Adam Cole as the only other three-time champ. Then we could get Lethal VS King 4 within a span of a few months, and maybe that story (which has an interesting twist with how it involves timekeeper Amy Rose) is what gives King his first world title reign, and makes him an ROH Triple Crown winner. Then we can circle back to King VS K I N G, Grand Slam Taven VS Triple Crown Kenny for the One True King of Honor!
My Score: 8.2/10
Andrew’s G1 Climax 29 Ratings & Analysis: Night 5 A Block
KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?
KENTA, Lance Archer and Kazuchika Okada are setting the early A Block pace! Something’s gotta give. Who comes out undefeated?
Shmoxley in the opening tag team match means we should start off fun. Tanahashi and Sabre are in the battle of, well, someone needs to get at least a point out of that.
Then we’ve got Ospreay and Ibushi who are banged up but most likely still going to be psychopaths in the ring. Let’s get ready for the carnage, I mean, no…I meant carnage.
- Shota Umino & Jon Moxley vs Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura: Shooter wins via Fisherman Suplex Hold @5:45 – ***
- Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb & YOSHI-HASHI vs Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji & Juice Robinson: YOSHI wins via Butterfly Lock @9:30 – ** 1/4
- Tomoaki Honma, Ren Narita & Toru Yano vs Jay White, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @8:50 – ** 1/2
- BUSHI, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi vs Taichi, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @8:35 – ** 1/2
- A Block: KENTA vs Lance Archer: Kenta wins via Game Over @12:00 – ***
- A Block: SANADA vs EVIL: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @18:10 – **** 1/4
- A Block: Bad Luck Fale vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Double Legged Cradle @10:15 – ** 1/2
- A Block: Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi: Tanahashi wins via Triangle Counter Pin @13:55 – *** 3/4
- A Block: Kota Ibushi vs Will Ospreay: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye Knee @27:15 – **** 3/4
Moxley and Ishii start off trying to kill one another. This is a great opener and the respective Young Lions have to pull their veteran off as to not incur a disqualification. The Young Lions then take the bulk of the match and Shota has definitely picked up a few mannerisms from Moxley that we slowly see him unlocking. This may be our evolution of Shooter, but for an opening match this was very fun and the fact Moxley and Ishii just want to fight added for a neat dynamic.
Juice and Cobb are both respectful Gaijin faces, so not a lot of heat for this match. Plus YOSHI-HASHI was in it, so I could’ve downed a few Valium and been more invested in staring at a wall. Pork Chop Sandwiches later, and YOSHI-HASHI wins with that awful Butterfly Lock. Great…I can now taste colors.
So Yano wanted to get him a piece of the Jay White on the down turn, but Jay tried to still play the calculating heel. Honma put in a bit of decent work but Narita was obviously the one sent out to eat the pin. Narita held his own against Yujiro and Chase, but Chase eventually stopped playing with his feud and hit the Package Piledriver to tie things up in a nice little bow.
Shingo took a hell of a beating in this match. Kanemaru played random interference and Taichi took Shingo to the woodshed. Naito also continued his distaste of Taichi and Suzuki while being a little protective of Shingo at points. Now being the unabashed fanboy of Shingo, yet also a subscriber to Holy Emperor weekly, I’m very torn about this whole thing. The match played up the G1 tensions and the LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun tensions very well, but my heart knows not which to root for.
Lance is a good foot taller than KENTA and that was the story of the first 75% of this match. Lance was shrugging off the strikes of our returning striker. KENTA was getting effectively crushed, until Lance pushed the anime comeback button and said “You’re fucking Hideo! That’s who you are! HIDEO!” – which prompted the anime comeback in KENTA. KENTA managed to even lift Lance for a few things, but relied heavily on the dropkicks and strikes. He couldn’t quite pull off the Go 2 Sleep, so he went to his Crossface submission, Game Over. And boy howdy, it was game over! (I will see myself out after that)
EVIL and SANADA have this brotherly rivalry in LIJ. Being former 2 time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champions, familiarity is obvious. SANADA starts off the match quickly and this is definitely a match of quick bursts when the one gets an advantage. I guess they are transitioning SANADA away from the Paradise Lock since this is the second match where he had it mostly on, but “something happened” and the opponent gets out of the move. We get a bunch of great back and forth, but something that continues to plague SANADA is his limited moveset when it gets down to crunch time. EVIL pulled out a plethora of tricks, including using the referee as an anchor for the Magic Killer. Whereas, SANADA sticks to Dragon Sleeper variants, into Skull End attempt or a Moonsault. With how over SANADA is, I really expect him to start getting more crunch time maneuvers. EVIL wins and quickly wants to bury the hatchet by extending the LIJ fist bump. SANADA bumps fists, and all is fine in our ungovernable world.
Fale tends to have Okada’s number in tournaments, and he starts off by attacking him in the back and dragging him out. So we get a typical Bullet Club brawl with heel tactics and ref bumps, but Okada perseveres. Okada is able to lift Fale a few times, but can’t hit the Rainmaker, and wins via the wrestling move he tends to fall back on, the Double Legged Cradle.
Well both Tanahashi and Sabre come into this match 0-2, so there’s a level of desperation that both bring to the table. Sabre wrestled circles around Tanahashi, and Tanahashi just tried to keep up for most of the match. After countering the High Fly Flow, Sabre locks in a Triangle Arm Bar, but Tanahashi floats over for the bridging pin counter. The Ace finally has 2 points!
There have been well known injuries for both of these men, and they played into the story of the match well. Focusing on each other’s injuries, calling back to their Wrestle Kingdom match and just a generally high energy and high impact match. Watching this match, you have to assume one of them will die with their style, but it is damn entertaining. Everyone expected this to be a great match and it delivered.
Overall Score: 8/10
Well we had a lot of good storylines and matches that mostly paid off. Lance Archer has been doing great work, Fale and Okada was at least somewhat entertaining and the cripple fight in the main event was fantastic. The inner faction turmoil was now squashed, so we can have a nice tournament while The Ace gets a few points over the petulant British child.
So great show, great entertainment, and generally a good time. I can only hope the B Block carries equal weight.
Block A Standings:
- Kazuchika Okada: 3-0 (6 Points)
- KENTA: 3-0 (6 Points)
- Lance Archer: 2-1 (4 Points)
- EVIL: 2-1 (4 Points)
- SANADA: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Hiroshi Tanahashi: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Will Ospreay: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Bad Luck Fale: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Kota Ibushi: 1-2 (2 Points)
- Zack Sabre Jr: 0-3 (0 Points)