The 29th G1 Climax finally comes to an end!
Switchblade! Golden Star! Only one can win the G1 Climax and that Wrestle Kingdom 14 contract for an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match!
- Six Man Tag: Bullet Club VS Kenta, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI; Bullet Club wins.
- Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr; Suzuki-Gun wins.
- G1 Climax 29 Finals: Kota Ibushi VS Jay White; Ibushi wins and earns the Wrestle Kingdom 14 title match contract.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene for this epic G1 Climax Finals!
A new chapter will be written! Five weeks brings 20 down to two! The Golden Star returns to the finals, fueled by his commitment to NJPW! Kota Ibushi would drop to Kenta to a shocking 0-2 start, but would rally back with seven straight wins, including defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi in a G1 Climax 28 rematch and the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Kazuchika Okada, to take the A Block! Meanwhile, Jay White would struggle in his own run, going 0-3. But The Switchblade would still take six straight, becoming Jon Moxley’s first defeat in NJPW and denying Tetsuya Naito his destiny. Ibushi and White meet 1v1 for the first time ever, but White took a cheap shot on Ibushi’s bad ankle. Does Ibushi stand a chance of winning the G1? Can he even stand at all?
Six Man Tag: Guerrillas of Destiny & Bad Luck Fale VS Kenta, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI!
Mr. Takeover joins Chaos’ Stone Pitbull and Headhunter against Bullet Club’s Firing Squad! Will Kenta be a wild card in helping Ishii and Hashi defeat the Rogue General and the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions?
There’s a lot of trash talking as the referee tries to get the teams to sort out. Hashi calms Kenta and Ishii down and volunteers. Bullet Club gives a Low Sweet and Fale steps up. The bell rings and the match begins!
Fale and Hashi circle and tie up. Fale knees low fast, then puts Hashi in an open corner. Fale climbs up but the ref reprimands him. Fale backs off, but tries a sucker punch! Hashi ducks and throws forearms in return! Hashi whips but Fale blocks with pure strength! Fale whips Hashi into the corner but Hashi dodges. Hashi comes back to hit a corner clothesline, then he whips Fale to ropes. Fale reverses but Hashi dropkicks and blockbusters! Fans cheer as Hashi clubs Fale and throws forearms. Hashi runs but Tama Tonga gets cheap shots in. Tama grabs Hashi and Fale runs in, but Hashi dodges to send Fale into Tama! Hashi then runs, only to get run over! Fale sucker punches Ishii before he stomps Hashi.
Fale drags Hashi up and to the Bullet Club corner. Tag to Tonga Loa, and Bullet Club mugs Hashi. The referee reprimands them, he sees Tama holding Hashi down. Loa SLAPS Hashi before he scoop slams him. Tama tags in and slingshot elbows in and is feeling good! Tama taunts Kenta then drags Hashi up. Tama snap suplexes Hashi to a corner, TWO! Tama drags Hashi up to tag Fale back in. Bullet Club mugs Hashi then Fale steps on Hashi. And again! And again, as he runs the ropes for an elbow drop! Cover, TWO! Hashi survives that super heavyweight elbow, but Loa tags in. Loa and Fale stand on Hashi’s ribs! Bullet Club is having fun hurting Hashi while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns to Hashi being let back up. Loa tags Tama before lifting Hashi high in a waistlock. Tama springboards, flying foraerm German Suplex! Cover, TWO! Ishii rushes in and coaches Hashi up but Tama tells him to get back. Tama turns around into Hashi’s forearms! Tama punches low but Hashi breaks free. Hashi kicks, Tama catches it, and then Tama ducks the spinning heel kick! Tama laughs at Hashi before dragging Hashi up. Tama calls for the brain buster, but Hashi counters with his own suplex, into a neckbreaker! Both men are down and fans rally up. Hashi hot tags to Ishii, Tama gets to Loa. Loa and Ishii collide again and again, but Ishii staggers. Loa runs and rams Ishii but Ishii comes back on the rebound. Loa rebounds to get run over!
Ishii runs at Fale with a leaping forearm, but bounces off! Ishii is shocked while Fale is just mad. Fale storms in and throws hands. Ishii ducks, kicks and tries to suplex. But Fale is too big! Fale scoops and slams Ishii down, then bails out. Loa tackles Ishii to a corner! Then runs corner to corner for a big clothesline! Loa keeps moving and hits another clothesline! Loa mocks the Pitbull, but fans rally up. Loa drags Ishii up, scoops, and hits a running slam! Cover, TWO! Ishii survives but Loa just smirks. Tag to Tama and GoD double whip Ishii. Body shot, uppercut, but Gun Stun is denied! Ishii gives Loa a German Suplex! Ishii is down but crawling towards the corner. But Kenta doesn’t want the tag!? Kenta hops off the apron and Ishii is angry. But Tama hits a corner splash! Then feeds Ishii to a double SPEAR from Fale and Loa!
Tama climbs up high and leaps with a splash! Hashi gets in and braeks the cover! Loa attacks Hashi while Kenta just watches. Hashi reverses the whip and lariats Loa down! GUN STUN gets a glancing blow and Tama throws Hashi out. Ishii is up, GUN STUN countered into a slam! Fale runs at Ishii and whips him to a corner. Ishii dodges and kicks, and suplexes Fale! Fale rolls out of the ring and fans are thunderous. Ishii LARIATS Tama! Kenta runs in to attack Ishii!? The Psycho Knee hits the Stone Pitbull square! As does GO TO SLEEP! Kenta betrays Chaos and lets Tama cover. Bullet Club wins!
Winners: Bullet Club, Tama Tonga pinning
Hashi goes after Kenta, but he’s got Fale and the Guerrillas on him right away! Bullet Club even fights off the LA Dojo Young Lions! Kenta grabs a mic to speak, even as fans boo. But wait, Shibata runs in! And DECKS Kenta! Shibata rams and BOOTS Kenta in the corner! Fans are losing their minds as The Wrestler is throwing forearms on Kenta! Shibata forearms Tama away to then hammer away on Kneta. Loa runs in but even he gets a big forearm! BOOT for Fale! Shibata runs corner to corner for the basement dropkick! Then he drags Kenta into the sleeper hold! Fans are at a fever pitch, but Jado SMACKS Shibata! And Kenta gets Shibata with his own sleeper! Jado SMACKS Shibata in the stomach!
Shibata fades out and Kenta runs to Penalty Kick!! Despite everything Shibata was just doing, he’s NOT an active wrestler, nor cleared to compete! But Tama SMACKS away with Jado’s kendo stick and chokes Shibata out! Kenta adds insult to injury as he sits on Shibata with Shibata’s own signature cross-legged pose. Bullet Club has a new member in #FangRevived! Tama’s cryptic Tweet is confirmed! What happens to NJPW now that Bullet Club has added this treacherous snake to the arsenal?
NJPW Media Backstage Interview
Bullet Club is feeling good as they arrive. This is a beautiful day, because it is Bullet Club Day! Actually, every day is Bullet Club Day, but this is an extra special day. They told the world they had recruited a “high caliber athlete.” Who is that? It’s “one of the greatest, if not the best” in this generation, KENTA! When Tama came to Japan, Kenta was dominant. Tama respects Kenta, who was brave enough to “go abroad and try something new.” But now Kenta is back, so thank God he’s back on Bullet Club’s side! They can use his energy, his vengeance, and the determination to prove Kenta wasn’t a fluke. Bullet Club is going to help Kenta reach the very top of his game! They closed out the G1 with a bang, huh? What a feeling. To think the fans were booing that. Shibata must’ve been happy he got cheered like that. He should thank Kenta for that. But today is a new beginning. Keep your eyes on Kenta, he’s just getting started.
As for Shibata, he wants to know what Kenta was saying. The reporters inform him, and Shibata’s response: “Do you know what I went through for that guy?” How much it took to get Kenta into NJPW? Kenta doesn’t understand a thing. But whatever. Shibata will let Kenta find his own path with his new buddies. When and where will Kenta face the consequences of turning on The Wrestler?
Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr!
The all-star duo of the century reunites once more to take on the meanest tag team in the world! Will Rainmaker and Ace make up for their losses in the G1 against the King of Pancrase and the Submission Master? Or will they #JustTapOut?
The teams sort out and Tanahashi starts against ZSJ. Fans are already on Tanahashi’s side with the bell. They circle and feel out the grapple. ZSJ waistlocks but Tanahashi standing switches to a full nelson. ZSJ slips out and spins around but Tanahashi switches with him to get the headlock. ZSJ spins through to a keylock but Tanahashi resists and actually bridges ZSJ. ZSJ spins and reverses to a double wristlock to bring Tanahashi down for headscissors. ZSJ squeezes tight and pushes up to crank the neck. Then he drops back down to keep Tanahashi grounded. Tanahashi works his way up to a headstand, and bridges, only for ZSJ to dig knuckles into ribs. The referee reprimands ZSJ but Tanahashi works around to roll ZSJ over. Tanahashi pops out to get the Bow ‘n’ Arrow! But ZSJ pops out to a cover, ONE!
Tanahashi throws ZSJ with a headlock takeover, but ZSJ works up and around to his feet. ZSJ powers out and runs in, but gets an elbow. Tanahashi hops up for a second rope crossbody! Fans fire up as Tanahashi hits Suzuki for good measure. Okada comes in to help Tanahashi whip ZSJ and elbow him down. Suzuki protests but Okada just punches him off the apron. Tanahashi leaps to drop an elbow, but ZSJ catches it into an armbar! Suzuki has Okada in a hanging armbar, but the ref counts him. Suzuki lets go while Tanahashi gets a ropebreak. ZSJ holds on as Suzuki sends Okada into barriers! ZSJ drags Tanahashi up while Suzuki laces Okada’s arm through the rails! ZSJ drags Tanahashi out to do the same on the other side! Red Shoes has a hard time keeping up with both crafty wrestlers.
ZSJ gives Tanahashi a European Uppercut and gets back in the ring while Okada starts brawling with Suzuki. The ring count begins on Tanahashi, and Suzuki ROCKS Okada. Tanahashi climbs up at 10 of 20 and in at 11. ZSJ is on Tanahashi with a hammerlock stomp! Suzuki returns to the corner to tag in. Suzuki stands on Tanahashi’s head until Tanahashi pushes him away. These familiar foes start throwing forearms, and Suzuki ROCKS Tanahashi. Suzuki kicks Tanahashi over then kicks Okada off the apron! Suzuki sneers before going back to Tanahashi with a snapmare. Suzuki digs his knee into Tanahashi’s back while pulling the arms back. ZSJ tags in and he grabs a leg! Armbar and leglock on Tanahashi, then switch so that they keep the holds! And then switch to opposite sides! Red Shoes counts and Suzuki-Gun finally lets up on Tanahashi. Tanahashi crawls for his corner while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as ZSJ drags Tanahashi up by the arm. ZSJ wrenches deep but Tanahashi forearms free! Tanahashi keeps throwing forearms but ZSJ hits back. ZSJ whips but Tanahashi reverses into a standing abdominal stretch! ZSJ switches and they go around, ZSJ getting the stretch on Tanahashi now. Fans rally as Tanahashi endures. Tanahashi slips around to reverse the hold back on ZSJ! ZSJ pries free and gets a leg, but so does Tanahashi! Tanahashi Dragon Screws ZSJ’s leg! Both men are down and fans rally up. Hot tag to Okada! Okada throws forearms then whips, but ZSJ reverses. Okada dodges the boot to elbow ZSJ down! Budokan fires up with Okada as he elbows Suzuki off the apron. Okada goes to ZSJ in the corner with a whip. He hits a big back elbow, then drops ZSJ with a DDT! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally up as Okada drags ZSJ to his feet. Okada scoops and slams ZSJ to then go up top. Okada leaps, but has to roll through as ZSJ dodges. ZSJ runs in but is caught in the Alabama lift. But ZSJ reverses it into an Octopus! Only for Okada to power through back to Alabama position. But ZSJ fights free to wrench and Pele the arm! Tag to Suzuki, and he runs at Okada in a corner for a helluva boot. Then he snapmares Okada down for a Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO! Suzuki sits Okada up for a basement boot! Suzuki grabs an arm and hammerlocks it to grab the other arm! Suzuki wrenches the arm but Tanahashi runs in to kick at Suzuki. Suzuki just takes the shots as he tortures Okada’s arm. Tanahashi keeps kicking but Suzuki just gets annoyed. Suzuki leans into Tanahashi’s forearms before giving back a knee!
Suzuki returns to Okada while Tanahashi slumps away. Okada fires off forearms and uppercuts, but Suzuki knees him, too. Suzuki has a front guillotine, then spins Okada around into piledriver position. But Okada counters into Alabama position, Air Raid Crash neckbreaker! Fans rally up as both men are down. Both men crawl for their corners, hot tags to Tanahashi and ZSJ! Tanahashi blocks another kick but ZSJ fights off the dragon screw. They start throwing hands but Tanahashi has the edge. ZSJ dodges to EuroUpper, but Tanahashi throws a big palm strike! Tanahashi runs, but into the Iron Octopus! Tanahashi endures as ZSJ pulls on the arms. Tanahashi powers out and has the leg, but ZSJ gets the arm again! Tanahashi still fights, and turns it into Twist ‘n’ Shout! Tanahashi runs and hits a big Slingblade! Cover, but Suzuki breaks it!
Okada goes after Suzuki and tosses him out. Tanahashi heads up top while Okada keeps Suzuki against barriers. Tanahashi is up top, High Fly Flow gets knees! And ZSJ has a Triangle Hold! Tanahashi flails and reaches, and bridges to a cover! TWO as ZSJ lets go! ZSJ hits a stiff Penalty kick! Fans are fired up as both men are down. Okada and Suzuki return to their corners, hot tags to Okada and Suzuki! Okada shotgun dropkicks Suzuki into the corner! Then he brings Suzuki out for a scoop slam! Okada heads up top, keeping to his formula. Macho Elbow hits! Fans fire up with the RAINMAKER POSE~! Okada drags Suzuki up, wristlocks but Suzuki elbows free. Okada just stares Suzuki down and they start brawling with big forearms! Neither backs down. In fact, Okada dares Suzuki to give him another.
Suzuki obliges and then dares Okada to do the same. Okada hits back but Suzuki hits harder! Okada returns the forearm but Suzuki keeps egging him on. Suzuki has a wild grin as Okada’s forearms do nothing to him. Suzuki’s one forearm ROCKS Okada again. Okada falls to his knees but fans rally up for him. Okada stands, Suzuki whips but Okada reverses. Suzuki holds ropes to deny Okada his dropkick! Okada sits up to get the Penalty Kick! Suzuki drags Okada up in a sleeper hold! Then spins him around, Gotch, but Tanahshi hits a Slingblade! Then a Slingblade for ZSJ! Tanahashi slingshots out to take down ZSJ! Okada has Suzuki with a dropkick to the back! Okada drags Suzuki back up, whips but Suzuki reverses. Suzuki follows, slides around, sleeper hold! But Okada spins out to ripcord, but Suzuki dodges to get the sleeper back!
Suzuki has the Gotch hold, but Okada manages a back drop! But Suzuki is right up to boot Okada! Okada rebounds but his boot is countered. Tilt-o-whirl from Suzuki?! Into the sleeper hold! ZSJ intercepts Tanahashi with a flying guillotine! Suzuki has Okada fading out! Then spins him for the Gotch, PILEDRIVER! Cover, Suzuki-Gun wins!!
Winners: Suzuki-Gun, Minoru Suzuki pinning
The Meanest Man in the World pins the IWGP Heavyweight Champion! And ZSJ chokes Tanahashi out just because! Is the G1 snub not going to matter now? Suzuki grabs a mic to tell Okada, “They wouldn’t even let me into the G1, and you lost to me? How embarrassing.” Suzuki stomps Okada until he’s out of the ring, and ZSJ shoves Tanahashi out, too. “I’ll put it simply for all of you.” If you put Suzuki in a match with “that group of playmates,” this is what happens. Okada, listen to this next part before you run home. To Okada and ALL of NJPW! “The IWGP Heavyweight Belt… GIVE IT TO ME!” Don’t try to wriggle out of it this time, either! Suzuki will never run away. He is the KING of pro-wrestling. Suzuki tells Budokan, “Suzuki-Gun, Ichiban!” Will the King of Pancrase be number one in NJPW?
G1 Climax 29 Finals: Kota Ibushi VS Jay White!
Both men struggled, but both men found a way to overcome and become the best in their respective blocks. A Block and B Block finally collide! Ibushi has already beaten Okada in their G1 encounter, but White has already proven he can be IWGP Heavyweight Champion once. Whose determination will carry them through to the very end?
Despite White promising he wouldn’t bring Gedo out, it was all a sham. That, and he now has all of Bullet Club ringside! But Ibushi has the fans solidly on his side. Red Shoes says that even before the match, Bullet Club is EJECTED!! White and Gedo try to reason with him, but Red Shoes has had enough of Bullet Club’s antics as of late. Gedo negotiates, and he is allowed to stay, so long as he stays strictly by the blue corner. But the rest of Bullet Club is gone from ringside. White’s plan is foiled, the bell finally rings, and the G1 Climax Finals truly begins!
White dares Ibushi to do something, knowing full well what he did to Ibushi’s ankle. But then White bails out to talk with Gedo, specifically staying by the blue corner as promised. White dares Ibushi to come out and get him but Ibushi stays inside, daring White to fight. White returns and the two circle. Fans are of course still on Ibushi’s side and it annoys White. White and Ibushi stare down then tie up. Ibushi manages to push White to ropes, but he honors the ropebreak with pats on the shoulder. But then he avoids White’s sucker punch kick! Only for Gedo to swipe at him! White gets Ibushi’s bad leg but Ibushi has the ropes, so Red Shoes backs White right off. Red Shoes confronts Gedo, and finally EJECTS Gedo! White and Gedo try to reason with Red Shoes again but Red Shoes has drawn the line. Ibushi grabs White and puts him back in the ring!
Ibushi dodges, kicks and whips White. White reverses but Ibushi comes back with a flying enziguri! White bails out but Ibushi gets him right back in, for a dropkick! Fans fire up with Ibushi while White bails out again. Ibushi takes aim, runs to the corner, but White stops the Golden Triangle with a chop block! Ibushi is caught in the corner, and White pulls the bad leg against the crossbars! Red Shoes reprimands White and White lets up. White drags Ibushi up to whip him into railing! White stomps Ibushi and puts his leg through railing to pull on the bad ankle! Fans boo and Red Shoes again reprimands White. White lets up, then drags Ibushi to the ring. White puts Ibushi in, only to swing Ibushi’s leg into the post! Fans boo again as White slams Ibushi’s leg on the apron. White gets in the ring and flexes but fans still boo.
White drags Ibushi up and snap suplexes him down. Ibushi clutches the bad leg but White is on it with a grounded dragon screw. Cover, ONE! Fans rally but White is on Ibushi. Ibushi fires forearms first, but White CHOPS him down. White drags Ibushi up for another snap suplex. Ibushi’s bad leg continues to take the worse landing, but then White Half Hatch suplexes Ibushi into buckles! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Ibushi guts it out. White toys with Ibushi, wanting him to stand up. Ibushi slowly stands, and throws forearms on White. White knees low then runs, Ibushi leaps up, but White counters the huricanrana into a takedown and grounded dragon screw! White says, “No, no, no,” he’s too smart for Ibushi. White watches as Ibushi rolls and crawls to the corner. White runs in, but blocks the good leg’s boot. He grabs the bad leg, but Ibushi enziguris with the good leg!
Ibushi hobbles after White but White kicks the bad leg. Ibushi still jumps for a Snap-Rana! Fans rally up as White goes to a corner now. Ibushi grits his teeth and runs back in, only to get a boot. White runs, but into a powerslam! Ibushi hops on one leg for a moonsault! Cover, TWO! Fans continue to rally and Ibushi continues to fight through the pain. White slowly gets up but Ibushi drags him up. Ibushi fires off a strike fest, and manages a roundhouse to standing moonsault! Now Ibushi says, “No, no, no,” he’s too tough for White. Ibushi flips again, but White gets clear of the moonsault knee drop! Ibushi’s knees smash ring mat! White catches his breath while Ibushi clutches his legs. White stands and grins before he drags Ibushi up for a fast DDT!
Ibushi goes to a corner and White runs in, big EuroUpper! Knee-jammer! White shoves Ibushi out for a Blade Buster twisting suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Ibushi but White is on him first. White wants the inverted figure four but Ibushi pushes him away. Ibushi kicks from the mat and gets away from White. Ibushi jumps over the chop block to double stomp White’s back! Fans continue to give Ibushi life as he goes back to White. Ibushi scoops but White resists. White fights back, stomping the bad foot! Ibushi still kicks with the good foot! Only to walk into the Complete Shot and deadlift German! But White can’t bridge, so Ibushi is spared for the moment. White hobbles over to Ibushi and drags him up to the top rope. White goes after the bad leg again then he CHOPS Ibushi back.
White climbs up, but Ibushi fights White off! White hammers away on Ibushi’s leg and even rakes the eyes! White tries again, from the very top rope, for SUPERPLEX! The Switchblade drags Ibushi up and wants the fisherman, but Ibushi manages to counter to a PACKAGE TOMBSTONE! Both men are down but the fans are loving this! Ibushi rises first, and throws a forearm from his knees. White sits up to return the favor. Ibushi forearms again, but White again returns it. They continue to go back and forth, even as they stand up. Ibushi rocks White, but gives him more forearms. White falls to the mat, and fans fire up as Ibushi sits White up. White hits big body shots and a strike fest! BIG lariat! But Ibushi sits up!? Only to run into a massive urenage! White drags Ibushi up, fisherman lift, KIWI KRUSHER! Cover, TWO!!
Ibushi survives but White grabs his arm. White slashes the throat and drags Ibushi up, but Ibushi slips around to a roll-up. White rolls out and blocks the knee! Half nelson but Ibushi standing switches to use the Half ‘n’ Half first! Both men are down but Ibushi is rising. Fans fire up as Ibushi drags White up. Ibushi scoops White again but White fights free, only to get a mule kick. But White throws Ibushi into Red Shoes! And a low blow uppercut! Typical Jay White. And with no referee to keep order, Gedo comes out with a big smile on his face. Gedo throws a chair to white! White chop blocks Ibushi back down before he gets the chair. Gedo holds Ibushi’s leg for White to SMACK it! And SMACK it! Ibushi is clutching his ankle while Gedo gets away with the chair. White grabs the leg for another grounded dragon screw! And then, the inverted figure four, #TTO!
Ibushi endures as Gedo puts Red Shoes in the ring! Red Shoes slowly revives as White has Ibushi trapped! But fans rally up and Ibushi crawls towards ropes! White wrenches and bridges as hard as he can but Ibushi holds onto Red Shoes to avoid tapping out. Ibushi powers his way forward, even with White’s weight on his legs, for the ROPEBREAK! White holds on until Red Shoes counts, and fans boo again. Ibushi clutches his leg while Gedo is hiding from Red Shoes. White drags Ibushi up but Ibushi keeps hold of the rope. Red Shoes checks on Ibushi, but Ibushi refuses to quit over this. Ibushi drags himself up and White is right on him! Ibushi resists the sleeper suplex and hits a PELE on one good leg! Both men are down again, but Ibushi sits up first. Ibushi roars and fans fire up with him. Ibushi scoops White, and heads for a corner, to LONG DART! White crashes down and is dazed while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns, and Ibushi drags White up from the apron. Fans know what Ibushi wants here, but so does White. White resists the waistlock but Ibushi still lifts him up! DEADLIFT SUPER GERMAN! Cover, TWO!! White survives but Ibushi won’t give up here. Ibushi stands and drags White back up. White resists the powerbomb lift, even as Ibushi tries again and again. White clubs away at the bad ankle, then throws a SLAPPING palm strike! That just flipped Ibushi’s switch! White starts to laugh but Ibushi SLAPS him back! And SLAPS and SLAPS and SLAPS! Ibushi kicks White to a corner then throws more slapping strikes! White can only cover up as Ibushi kicks him. Red Shoes backs Ibushi off, but Ibushi dares White to man up!
White gets up and hobbles up to Ibushi. They go forehead to forehead, and White slaps, only for Ibushi to immediately SLAP him down! Fans are thunderous for Ibushi as he drags White back up. But White dragon screws outta nowhere! White drags Ibushi back up, but Ibushi point-blank LARIATS! Ibushi has White up in the powerbomb, sit-out LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! White still lives but Ibushi has more to give. Ibushi goes to the corner, “YAO~!” But White drops down to avoid Ibushi’s shout out to the King of Strong Style. Ibushi tries but White is dead weight on purpose. Red Shoes reprimands White but White laughs and eggs Ibushi on. White uses Red Shoes as a shield, so that Red Shoes doesn’t see Gedo run in! But Ibushi ducks Gedo’s attack to ROUNDHOUSE Gedo back out! But then White hits the SLEEPER SUPLEX! Only for Ibushi to stand right up! BOMAYE to the back!
White and Ibushi are both down, and Red Shoes realizes Gedo is here. Red Shoes tells Rocky Romero to help get Gedo out. Rocky does as asked and Ibushi sits up! Ibushi aims at White, “YAO~” for another BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO!?! White survives but barely! Ibushi still has one more move up his proverbial sleeve. He stands White up with the wristlocks but White kicks the ankle. Ibushi kicks back but White knocks Ibushi over. Ibushi throws forearms from the floor, then roars. White just kicks the leg more, but he gets a ROUNDHOUSE from the good leg! Ibushi has wild eyes as he ROUNDHOUSES White again! Ibushi drags White up, wristlocks, but White counters to BLADE RUNNER!! But he can’t cover, he’s too exhausted! White crawls over, but he doesn’t cover?! White has Ibushi’s arm, drags him up, reels Ibush in cross-armed, but Ibushi resists! Ibushi headbutts White!
Ibushi still has the wrists, straitjacket German Suplex! But he holds on and turns White over, KAMIG- SNAP HALF ‘N’ HALF! White has Ibushi again, for another Sleeper Suplex! And then another cross-arm lift, BRAINBUSTER! But White won’t end it there, he drags Ibushi right back up, but Ibushi spins out of Blade Runner for a V-Trigger! Then he tries again, but White slips out! White wants Blade Runner but Ibushi standing switches and hits another V-Trigger! And another! And finally, with both wrists, KAMIGOYE!! Cover, TWO!?!? Just what helped White do that?! But Ibushi shows no mercy, KAMIGOYE AGAIN!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall; wins the G1 Climax 29
The Golden Star makes a dream come true! It took so much out of him, but Ibushi has completed a historic Triple Crown. Ibushi has won Best of the Super Juniors, the New Japan Cup, and now the G1 Climax! He is presented with the G1 trophy and banner, and then the microphone to speak to Budokan.
“The G1 tournament has made this the most important month of my life.” Last year, he lost in the finals. But a year later, he would still make it to the finals. And this time, he won, so he is very happy. Ibushi says it is thanks to the efforts of all 20 wrestlers in the G1. He may be repeating himself, but avenging his loss is awesome! Fans cheer and chant his name once again. Ibushi wants to continue building NJPW to be bigger and bigger, together with everyone. It may not be his place, but he earned this closing speech, so he wants to say this now. NJPW and all of pro-wrestling will be huge! This is a new era for NJPW! Please come along with them, and thank you for everything! See you again at the next G1!
With that, Ibushi walks around the ring to reach a hand out to all the fans cheering. He shakes hands with commentary, the timekeepers, then returns to the ring to once again hold up the trophy and banner as streamers fly! Is the Golden Star Era going to truly take over NJPW at Wrestle Kingdom? Will Ibushi still meet The Rainmaker for the title? Or will someone else take Okada’s place in Tokyo?
NJPW Media Backstage Interview
As tired as Ibushi is, he is able to celebrate. “How brutal the G1 would be…” Ibushi was waiting for it for a whole year. “And somehow, I managed to seize it.” Ibushi worked so hard to take the cup. Now he understands. Ibushi thought he knew, but he was just pretending. He is incredibly happy. Can they tell? “It is the absolute best.” Ibushi repeats “the best” as he hands out beers for a toast. He makes sure everyone has one. “Okay, let’s do this!” All together, CHEERS! Ibushi chugs down the Miller and again says he’s incredibly happy. He thanks the fans for their support. Will Ibushi take this win all the way to the top of NJPW?
It may be a couple weeks late, but what a great end to the G1 Climax on AXS! We got the major plot points from the finale event, too. Kenta joining Bullet Club was a big surprise, even though it was clear something was up from him not starting and then ditching the tag. While Guerrillas of Destiny and Jay White have had a good run coming out of the lackluster non-end to the feud with The Elite, the rest of the Bullet Club hasn’t done much. With Kenta in there, and Fale looking legit again, they could make another run for having a lot of gold in their ranks. Meanwhile, Okada’s dance card before Wrestle Kingdom grows even longer. Sanada has a shot because he finally beat The Rainmaker, Ibushi would’ve had a claim whether or not he won tonight, and now Minoru Suzuki is after him!
Okada-Tanahashi VS Suzuki-Gun was a great match! Suzuki winning while ZSJ went after Tanahashi sets up some great title feuds with ZSJ perhaps putting his Rev-Pro title on the line out of arrogance. Suzuki’s story comes full circle, having not been in the G1 but earning a shot the old fashioned way, and it works as a replacement since Ibushi is going to have his shot because of the G1 Climax win. Sanada also has history with Suzuki, so the insane chance of Cold Skull taking the title off Okada to then defend it against Suzuki would make for an interesting lead into Wrestle Kingdom. Ibushi VS White was also a great match, and Ibushi winning was just the right call on so many levels. White has such Heel Heat, the fans would not want him to win. Ibushi is so over the fans would not want him to lose. And Ibushi dedicated himself to NJPW and that’s legit, so NJPW is giving him the push for that reason. It all came together for the Golden Star tonight.
At the same time, Ibushi will have to defend his contract like a title in itself, and you can imagine Bullet Club will want that. Kenta beat Ibushi in the very first round, so there is grounds for Kenta to want a shot. That would make for a great match, and another great test for Ibushi’s character to make it through his own string of challengers to parallel Okada. As for White, he beat both Moxley and Naito, who are both champions right now. Sadly we heard Moxley has an elbow infection, but hopefully it isn’t so serious as to keep him out of action in NJPW. Naito can still defend his title against White to keep his story of his dual championship destiny going. And of course, Naito VS Ibushi for the third time in 2019 can still happen somehow, perhaps even contract for title so that somehow someone potentially could become dual Intercontinental and Heavyweight Champion.
My Score: 9.5/10
Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)
And you thought last week was big!
205 Live doubles down on historic matches!
Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!
- Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
- Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.
PLAY BY PLAY
205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.
It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.
The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!
How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?
The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!
Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!
Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!
Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!
Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!
The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?
The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!
Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.
Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.
Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!
Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!
Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!
Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?
A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.
Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.
My Score: 8/10
Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)
Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?
Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!
SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!
- Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
- Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
- Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
- Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
- Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.
PLAY BY PLAY
Roman Reigns heads to the ring!
The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.
But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!
But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.
But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.
Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?
Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.
Sami Zayn heads to the ring!
He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?
SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!
Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!
The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?
As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.
Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.
Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!
Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!
Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall
Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?
Billie finds the Squad backstage.
She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?
Daniel Bryan is here!
And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!
“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!
Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!
The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?
Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!
SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!
Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”
Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!
Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall
Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?
Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!
It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?
SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!
Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!
Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission
Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?
Roman Reigns sits in his private room.
Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!
Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!
Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.
Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!
Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!
Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)
And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?
Kevin Owens speaks.
“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.
And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.
But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.
The Street Profits have a basket.
Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!
Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?
Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!
The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?
SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!
But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?
Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!
Winner: Bianca Belair
Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.
Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.
Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?
Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!
SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.
Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?
Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!
Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?
Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?
Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!
Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!
Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!
Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?
A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.
But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.
The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.
Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.
And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.
My Score: 8.5/10
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