The tour begins in Beppu!
The tour begins and Hiroshi Tanahashi gives Zack Sabre Jr. a rematch for the Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship! Does ZSJ win his belt back?
Coverage of Destruction in Beppu 2019 will be as broadcast by AXS TV
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: The Guerrillas of Destiny VS Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI; The Guerrillas of Destiny win and retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
- Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Zack Sabre Jr; ZSJ wins and becomes the new RPW British Heavyweight Champion.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS set the scene for the start of Destruction!
The Royal Quest Rev-Pro crossover is revisited as the rivalry of Ace and Submission Master goes one more round! Zack Sabre Jr. retained at G1 Supercard but shockingly lost “the bloody belt” in his home country. Now he’s determined to take it all back as NJPW returns home! ZSJ stakes his future on this fifth showdown with Hiroshi Tanahashi in 2019, but will he get back the gold for the glory of Britain?
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: The Guerrillas of Destiny VS Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI!
Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa have been on a roll as the top tag team in NJPW, but Chaos has wanted payback on them and all of Bullet Club for a long time. Can the Stone Pitbull and Head Hunter get even by taking away those titles?
NJPW on AXS jumps into things as Hashi stomps away on Loa. Hashi drags Loa up to tag in Ishii. CHaos whips Loa corner to corner then Ishii whips Hashi in for a CHOP! Hashi feeds Loa to Ishii’s forearm, then runs, only for Loa to boot him down. Loa uppercuts and whips Ishii to a corner, then drags Hashi up. Loa whips Hashi in at Ishii, then runs in, but misses completely! Chaos double back suplexes Loa down! Loa is right up to clothesline them both! Beppu cheers as Loa brings Ishii up. Loa tries but can’t powerbomb lift Ishii. Loa clubs on Ishii’s back, but Ishii starts powering up! He back drops Loa! Loa is up again, but the boot is blocked. Ishii forearms but Loa gives it back. Both men throw forearms back and forth, faster and faster! Beppu rallies as neither man slows down. Loa rocks Ishii then throws more forearms, but Ishii stays standing! Ishii headbutts back!
Ishii runs, Loa dodges, but Ishii dodges, too. They both run and it’s Loa’s clothesline that takes Ishii down! Tama returns and GoD whip Ishii to throw hands and a bulldog! Loa leg drops, but Hashi breaks the cover! Tama tosses Hashi out while Loa drags Ishii up. Loa powerbomb lifts for the sit-out bomb! Cover, TWO!? Ishii survives and Beppu cheers! Loa grins as he keeps his focus. He drags Ishii up and scoops, but Ishii slips out to enziguri! Loa blocked enough of it, but Hashi dropkicks his legs out! Hashi brings Loa in, DDT! But Loa just gets angry! Hashi chops and kicks but Loa stays up. Code Breaker to Ishii’s German Suplex! Ishii waits for Loa to rise, and Hashi brawls with Tama. Loa sits up, but he wants a time out. Ishii won’t give it, he runs to LARIAT Loa down! Cover, TWO!!
Ishii roars as he brings Loa back up. Suplex, but Loa knees free! Loa swings into Ishii’s spin, but Loa scoops. Ishii slips out again, spins, but Loa clotheslines. It does nothing so Loa throat chops. Loa runs into a powerslam! Loa is up to SPEAR Ishii! Both men are down but Beppu fires up! Tama and Hashi return to their corners, hot tags bring them in! Hashi dodges Tama to CHOP, but Tama follows him on the run. They both evade and redirect, Gun Stun! Not enough of it, though, and Tama whips for Hashi to huricanrana! Tama gets to a corner, but Hashi fires up. Loa slides in to SPEAR Hashi to the corner! Tama runs in but misses the splash. Ishii hits Tama with a corner clothesline! Loa boots Ishii! Hashi swings on Loa but Loa dodges. Loa swings but Hashi dodges. Hashi kicks, Loa catches it, but Hashi comes back with the spinning heel kick! Tama runs in to spin Hashi around, Tonga Twist facebuster! Ishii runs at Tama, but Tama spins him around. Ishii spins back, suplexes, but Tama slips out! Another Tonga Twist!
Hashi is up but Tama hits Hashi with a satellite DDT! Tama calls for Loa and they both go up top on opposite corners. The GoD leap, headbutt to splash! Cover, TWO!?! How does Hashi survive? Beppu rallies up but the Guerrillas look to end this. They drag Hashi up, but Ishii disrupts the attack! Ishii gets caught but fights free, only to end up in an elevated Tongan Twist! Tama stomps Ishii out and goes back to Hashi. GoD get him this time, with Guerrilla Warfare! Cover, TWO?!? Is Hashi indestructible? Fans are fired up for him but he’s in bad shape. Loa goes to a corner and Tama holds him up, for the SEPAR! Tama hits another corner splash, then suplexes Hashi up. But Ishii dumps Loa off the top! Hashi rolls Tama to the Butterfly Lock! Tama endures, Ishii keeps Loa out, but Loa gets away. Loa goes after Hashi but Ishii gets him in a sleeper and body scissors! Dual submissions for Chaos, but it’s Tama who is legal. Tama yanks Red Shoes down!
With no ref to call the submission, Hashi lets go, and Jado gets in! Jado swings, but Hashi blocks it! And headbutts Jado, to SMACK Jado with his own kendo stick! Jado gets out, and Hashi SUPERKICKS Loa. Loa stays up and wants more. Hashi SUPERKICKS, but it still isn’t enough. Loa runs at Hashi but gets sent into Ishii’s headbutt! Tama hits Ishii, blocks Hashi’s superkick, but Hashi denies Gun Stun! Tama swings Hashi around for another try, but Hashi tosses the Gun Stun into Ishii’s arms! POWERBOMB! Hashi heads the meteora! Cover, Loa breaks it in time!! Ishii throws Loa out and Hashi fires up with Beppu. Hashi runs, AX BOMBER for Tama! But he’s not done there, fisherman BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Tama survives and now Kenta appears! With bleached blonde hair, the betrayer has his eyes locked on Hashi. Hashi sees Kenta and Tama rolls him up! With tights! Guerrillas of Destiny win!!
Winners: The Guerrillas of Destiny, Tama Tonga pinning; still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
And now Kenta attacks Hashi! Young Lions try to pull him off but Kenta will not be stopped! Kenta stomps away until he is satisfied. Will Chaos only want more revenge on Bullet Club after being screwed out of more titles?
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Zack Sabre Jr!
Royal Quest was meant to be a heroic homecoming for the Submission Master, but the Once in a Century Talent took the title that perhaps means the most to him. Now they will have a rematch where roles are reversed. Will Tanahashi do what ZSJ couldn’t and retain the title in his home country? Or will the British Heavyweight Championship return home already?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this Royal Quest rematch begins, after the break!
NJPW on AXS returns as Red Shoes finishes his check of both men. They’re clean and the bell rings for this match to finally begin. Beppu is strongly behind the Ace as he and ZSJ circle. They approach and feel out this fifth match-up in a year. They know each other so well, after all. Tanahashi shoots in and gets ZSJ’s legs to bring him down. ZSJ resists but Tanahashi floats over to a headlock, only for ZSJ to catch him in a headscissors. ZSJ then pops out and floats over to go after Tanahashi’s arms. Tanahashi gets up and brings ZSJ back down but ZSJ slips away. Fans cheer as the two men have a stand-off and start again.
ZSJ and Tanahashi feel out another grapple, and then shoot in. ZSJ has the arm, wrenches on it, and gets a wristlock. Tanahashi resists and slips through to reverse the wristlock. ZSJ rolls but Tanahashi brings him back down. ZSJ gets up, rolls again, slips through but Tanahashi still puts the wristlock on ZSJ. Fans cheer as ZSJ rolls, bridges, spins and wrenches, but Tanahashi reverses again. Tanahashi keeps on the wrist but ZSJ arm-drags. Tanahashi holds on to bring ZSJ down, but ZSJ headscissors. Tanahashi slips away and fans cheer again. Fans rally up as the two reset. Tanahashi and ZSJ tie up, and ZSJ brings Tanahashi in to stand on his hands. ZSJ wrenches one hand, then grabs the other, to get around to the back. ZSJ digs elbows and knuckles into Tanahashi’s shoulders before putting on the half surfboard. Tanahashi endures and stands up, attempting to turn the hold around, but ZSJ grinds his forehead in to keep Tanahashi down.
Fans rally as ZSJ wrenches more and Tanahashi fights back up. ZSJ keeps Tanahashi down with a foot on Tanahashi’s leg. Tanahashi endures as ZSJ digs his head into the back. Tanahashi still gets up and still works to reverse the hold. ZSJ tries to hold him back, but Tanahashi gets the surfboard turned around! Now ZSJ endures and works on escaping. He stands and turns, but Tanahashi turns it back. Tanahashi wrenches hard, but ZSJ bridges and spins to make it a straitjacket! Tanahashi endures as ZSJ pulls back, head against Tanahashi’s neck. Tanahashi powers up to turn the straitjacket onto ZSJ! ZSJ sits down as he endures Tanahashi leaning on him. ZSJ gets up and goes around to wriggle out of the jacket. ZSJ walks to the corner as fans cheer this chess game.
Tanahashi waits for ZSJ to come back. Fans rally up again as the two circle. The two tie up and go around, and ZSJ puts Tanahashi in a corner. ZSJ keeps Tanahashi in the corner until Red Shoes reprimands him, so he lets up. To then EuroUpper Tanahashi hard! ZSJ whips Tanahashi corner to corner but Tanahashi elbows back, to then springboard crossbody! Tanahashi arm-drags ZSJ then chop blocks a leg! Fans fire up as Tanahashi looms over ZSJ. He grabs a leg and drops an elbow on it. Tanahashi wrenches the knee and then ties ZSJ up in a Butterfly Leglock. ZSJ endures and works to counter attack. He grabs Tanahashi’s arm but Tanahashi pressures the legs. Tanahashi stands and uses height alone to torque the legs! But ZSJ grabs the ropes, and Tanahashi lets go.
ZSJ slips out of the ring to catch his breath but Tanahashi dares him to come back. ZSJ takes his time, checks his legs, but Tanahashi rushes over. ZSJ gets back and wants Tanahashi to back off. Red Shoes has Tanahashi give ZSJ space. ZSJ slowly returns but Tanahashi draws too close. Tanahashi “nicely” holds the ropes open. ZSJ kicks barriers in frustration, not letting Tanahashi make a mockery of him. ZSJ grabs a chair from commentary and swings, but the Young Lion takes it away from him. So ZSJ goes after him! He puts the poor guy in a Kimura, but Tanahashi saves the Lion by throwing ZSJ into railing. Tanahashi puts ZSJ in the ring and fans cheer. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper but that only upsets Tanahashi. As do the rest of those EuroUppers! Tanahashi rocks ZSJ with one of his own! Then he drops a senton, into an armbar! ZSJ wants to rip the arm as he sits up! But they’re in the ropes, so ZSJ has to let go of the mounted armbar. He holds on to 4 then finally gets off.
ZSJ catches his breath then comes back to keylock and STOMP the arm! Tanahashi writhes but fans rally behind him. ZSJ paces around Tanahashi and gives him toying kicks. Tanahashi gets up and gets mad, and the two start brawling. Tanahashi gets an edge, spins ZSJ around, but ZSJ spins to Fujiwara armbar! Tanahashi endures as ZSJ bridges back on that arm. Fans rally and Tanahashi moves around, but ZSj gets between him and ropes! And adds a crossface! But Tanahashi twists to get the ropebreak. Both men back off and catch their breath while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns and ZSJ crawls over to Tanahashi. ZSJ digs his chin into Tanahashi’s shoulder before wrenching on the arm. ZSJ hammerlocks it with his feet to CRANK on the arm! ZSJ eggs Tanahashi on before going after him again. Tanahashi resists but ZSJ still gets the arm to wrench. Tanahashi forearms, but ZSJ wrenches again. Another forearm, another wrench! Tanahashi forearms free but ZSJ kicks the arm! ZSJ whips but Tanahashi hits flying forearms to knock ZSJ down! Fans fire up as ZSJ gets to a corner. Tanahashi throws forearms then whips corner to corner. ZSJ reverses but Tanahashi dropkicks the legs out! Tanahashi gets his bad arm moving while ZSJ clutches his bad leg. ZSJ gets up but Tanahashi runs in. Tanahashi blocks the boot to Dragon Screw! Tanahashi drags ZSJ back up to scoop and slam him into a drop zone, then goes up, for a somersault senton! Cover, TWO!
Tanahashi keeps going, but ZSJ dodges to waistlock. Tanahashi switches, and twists ZSJ up in the Octopus! But ZSJ drops to tip Tanahashi over. Tanahashi holds on and pulls on ZSJ more. ZSJ works to grab his hands, but Tanahashi grabs that arm. ZSJ uses his long leg for a ropebreak! Tanahashi lets go and gets the fans fired up. ZSJ goes out but Tanahashi climbs up. ZSJ gets away from that corner, but Tanahashi hops down to slide! The dropkick is caught into a hanging kneebar! Red Shoes counts and ZSJ lets go, but goes for an ankle lock on the apron! Red Shoes counts and ZSJ lets up. ZSJ just jumps on Tanahashi for a hanging armbar! Again, Red Shoes reprimands and counts, but ZSJ lets go at 4. Tanahashi rolls away and ZSJ argues with Red Shoes, but fans are rallying. Tanahashi gets ZSJ in the ropes, Dragon Screw! And a dropkick! And another Dragon Screw! ZSJ falls but Tanahashi goes after his legs, for a Cloverleaf!
ZSJ resists by holding onto a leg, and he drags Tanahashi into a triangle hold! Tanahashi endures and powers up. Tanahashi stomps ZSJ’s head, pops free, and has the Cloverleaf again! ZSJ pops around to go for the arm again, amrbar! Tanahashi grips to resist, but ZSJ keeps pulling. Tanahashi holds on as tight as he can, but ZSJ keeps pulling. Tanahashi gets up and around to get his own armbar! ZSJ hurries to get up and relieve pressure, but Tanahashi keeps him down! ZSJ slips up and around to get an arm scissor, and goes after the other arm. They scramble around, and ZSJ gets the fingers to pull that arm way back! ZSJ keeps hold of the arm but Tanahashi reaches with a leg. ZSJ gets that leg, too! ZSJ has Tanahashi in a Bow ‘n’ Arrow pretzel! ZSJ digs his chin in but Tanahashi pops out to a ropebreak! ZSJ has no choice but to let go.
ZSJ keeps his cool as Tanahashi sits up. ZSJ grabs Tanahashi’s hair to bring him up for EuroUppers. Tanahashi gives them back, and ZSJ wobbles. ZSJ uppercuts, but Tanahashi forearms. Tanahashi fires more off, but ZSJ headbutts the chest! Fans fire up again and ZSJ brings Tanahashi up, only for Tanahashi to fire off! ZSJ backslides but Tanahashi slips out, SLINGBLADE! Tanahashi fires up, runs, and hits a Sling-DOG! ZSJ is in the drop zone, and Tanahashi climbs up. Tanahashi leaps for a High Fly Flow to the back! Then he hammerlocks an arm, to lace up the legs. Tanahashi wants to make ZSJ submit to this modified Cloverleaf! ZSJ endures being bent and twisted, but he still pops out to get a ropebreak. Tanahashi lets go out of exhaustion more than anything.
Fans rally again as Tanahashi stomps and eggs ZSJ on. ZSJ gets up, Tanahashi runs, but ZSJ jumps on for a guillotine! ZSJ pulls hard on Tanahashi’s head, but Tanahashi stays standing. Tanahashi powers ZSJ off for a Twist ‘n’ Shout! But Tanahashi keeps on ZSJ, for another! Tanahashi refuses to let go, but ZSJ scoops for the ZACK DRIVER! But he can’t cover, he’s so tired! Fans are thunderous as both men stir. Tanahashi sits up while ZSJ goes to ropes. ZSJ heads over and both men stand. ZSJ uppercuts, and again! And again! But Tanahashi fires just as many back! ZSJ wobbles but Tanahashi keeps throwing uppercuts. Tanahashi keeps on ZSJ and ZSJ staggers. ZSJ gives many EuroUppers back, then blocks the punch to PELE the arm! Tanahashi clutches his bad arm as he falls back, but fans rally up again.
ZSJ aims from the corner, Penalty Kick is blocked! Tanahashi dropkicks the other leg out! Then he stands ZSJ up. ZSJ pops out of the full nelson but not the straitjacket! Straitjacket German, bridging cover, TWO!! But Tanahashi wants the full nelson again. ZSJ rolls through, Euro Clutch, but Tanahashi rolls to the Japanese Clutch! TWO, ZSJ rolls Tanahashi but Tanahashi rolls him back! TWO, and both men back off. They both run in, go around fighting for the cobra twist, and Tanahashi gets it! Only for ZSJ to roll Tanahashi up! ZSJ WINS!!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by pinfall; NEW RPW British Heavyweight Champion
Another sudden victory between these two, and it is the Submission Master who wins with a pinfall! He has his title back and has stunned Beppu! ZSJ is a historic four-time British Heavyweight Champion, and we’ll hear from him after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns as ZSJ takes up the mic.
“Sit down, dickheads.” The British Heavyweight Champion is talking! Tanahashi, thanks, but ZSJ kindly takes the title back. “Oi, I said before: Strong Style is dead.” And ZSJ just buried it! He pinned Tanahashi! ZSJ has been the British Ace for over a decade, and now he’s coming for Japan! IWGP blah blah blah. ZSJ vows to be the FIRST Triple Crown Champion! He’ll be the first ever British IWGP Heavyweight Champion, then throw the Intercontinental Championship away. Long Live Sabreism.
NJPW Media Backstage Interview
ZSJ strolls in and says one thing is rightfully back in place: his belt. He’s been the best for a decade, and this belt proves it. Wait, where is his chair? If he was Japanese, there’d be a table, beers and confetti. “This is an absolute piss tank, even by NJPW standards.” Someone gets him a chair. Is this how they treat champions of other companies? Well when ZSJ wins THE IWGP Heavyweight Championship and NJPW changes, there will be tables! Oh, well, they get him a table after all. Then excuse him. Any idiots have questions? No? ZSJ asks himself questions, then.
“How is it to be the greatest British wrestler of all time? How would you describe your style?” ZSJ is a unique blend of catch-as-catch-can and martial arts. He is 100% organic technique. Tanahashi is one of the greatest of all time, but ZSJ beat him. ZSJ amazes himself sometimes. But will ZSJ truly keep his word and make history in NJPW?
A pretty good hour for NJPW on AXS, and a good portion from Destruction in Beppu. We got part of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag title match, and that was all we really needed to see to know they are really trying to make Hashi look good. Fans seem to love him for whatever reason, but I don’t think he’s believably this tough. And it didn’t really help that Kenta had to distract him for GoD to win. GoD should’ve finished him off sooner than that but they want the story to be what it is. Ishii was NEVER Openweight Champion before Kenta, so I would hope he gets an eventual rematch with Kenta, because I fear they’ll want to make Hashi the next challenger. I don’t think Hashi would win even if he challenged Kenta, but Hashi being hard for Kenta to beat is like saying the Mad Hatter could actually fight Batman to a draw. It just doesn’t work, no matter how you try and frame it.
The British Heavyweight Championship rematch was great, certainly on par with the previous matches between ZSJ and Tanahashi. Tanahashi losing makes sense, since ZSJ is more involved with Rev-Pro. Tanahashi is at least in the history books as a champion for Rev-Pro, and ZSJ now has a stronger legacy by beating Tanahashi to get another reign in. The big surprise is ZSJ staking his claim to becoming the next NJPW Triple Crown Champion. In NJPW, that means IWGP Heavyweight, IWGP Intercontinental and NEVER Openweight Championship. Tetsuya Naito is the only man to have done it, but his IWGP Heavyweight title run wasn’t all that memorable. ZSJ is likely counting his Rev-Pro title towards it, because he didn’t even mention Kenta and the NEVER Openweight title. Either way, a major claim but ZSJ is on the rise, so he might be able to get one of those other titles on the road to Wrestle Kingdom 14.
My Score: 8.7/10
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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