Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (12/23/19)
It’s the Raw Before Christmas!
Will Seth Rollins ruin Rey’s reign right before the holidays?
It’s the Raw Before Christmas, and in a United States title defense, Rey Mysterio looks to deny Seth Rollins’ dominance! Does The Architect take the championship home as a gift to himself?
- No Disqualifications: Kevin Owens VS Mojo Rawley; Kevin wins.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Christmas Tree Trickery: R-Truth VS Akira Tozawa; Tozawa wins and becomes the new WWE 24/7 Champion.
- Bobby Lashley w/ Lana VS Cedric Alexander; Lashley wins.
- Zack Ryder w/ Curt Hawkins VS Drew McIntyre; McIntyre wins.
- Aleister Black VS Deonn Rusman; Aleister wins.
- Buddy Murphy VS Joeasa; Murphy wins.
- Tony Nese VS Ricochet; Ricochet wins.
- Charlotte Flair VS ???; Flair wins.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Ho Ho Hold-up: Akira Tozawa VS R-Truth VS Santa Claus; Santa wins and becomes the new WWE 24/7 Champion.
- Six Man Tag: The OC VS Randy Orton & The Viking Raiders; The OC wins.
- Erick Rowan VS Travis Horn; Rowan wins.
- WWE 24/7 Championship to All, and To All A Good Night; Santa Claus VS R-Truth VS Akira Tozawa; Truth wins and becomes the new WWE 24/7 Champion.
- Rusev VS ???; Rusev wins.
- WWE United States Championship: Rey Mysterio VS Seth Rollins w/ The Authors of Pain; Mysterio wins by disqualification and retains the WWE United States Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
Kevin Owens is here!
The Prizefighter returns from being stomped out backstage by Seth Rollins and the Authors of Pain. There is an irony to this as Kevin accused Rollins of working with the AOP before, but according to Rollins, it was only because of those accusations that Rollins decided to work with them. Perhaps in the end, it is Kevin’s own fault he was caught 3v1 against them. But that was then and this is now, and Kevin has a mic. “You’re gonna have to bear with me because there’s a lot on my mind,” and Kevin has a lot to say. But before he can say anything more, Mojo Rawley appears! And Mojo says that the first thing from Kevin should be an explanation for the “nonsense” with the steel pipe. Kevin hates to disappoint, but he wasn’t even going to bring that up.
Mojo says Kevin needs a reality check. Does Kevin know what his problem is? Kevin says he’s got about 7 problems. But he hears Mojo is smart. If Mojo is so smart, then he should explain quickly because Kevin is impatiently waiting for their No Disqualifications match! Mojo says Kevin isn’t tough. Everyone is tough with a steel pipe, but this No DQ match will help him out. But it won’t be a Merry Christmas for Kevin. It won’t be the Owens family around their tree opening presents. Kevin says Mojo needs to stop talking so they can get to it already! Both men toss the mics aside, and we begin!
No Disqualifications: Kevin Owens VS Mojo Rawley!
The bell rings and Mojo runs in, only for Kevin to throw forearms! Mojo knees low then runs but Kevin runs him over with an elbow! Mojo bails out, Kevin CANNONBALLS from the apron! And fans are all fired up with the Prizefighter as he takes Mojo “for a ride,” into barriers! Kevin leaves Mojo alone to get things from the ring. He brings out chairs and puts them in the ring, one after the other. Kevin also goes looking around the way, brings more chairs out, then gets the TABLE! Fans are happy to see that! Kevin puts the table in the ring and sets it up. But Mojo returns to SMACK Kevin down! Mojo jams Kevin with the chair more then puts the table out of the ring. Fans aren’t happy to see that.
Mojo runs at Kevin but gets an elbow. Kevin runs but into a fireman’s carry, BODY SLAM on the chair pile! Cover, TWO! Mojo taunts Kevin and rains down hands. Mojo sits a chair up and then another, then jams Kevin with a third! Mojo chokes Kevin with a fourth chair and SMACKS him on the back! “That sucks, right?” Mojo completes the chair square and puts Kevin on the top rope, but Kevin resists! Kevin throws body shots but Mojo forearms in return. Mojo tries again but Kevin still holds on! Kevin throws more hands, headbutts Mojo back then rakes the eyes! Mojo hops down and grabs Kevin by his face, to THROW Kevin onto the chair square! Cover, TWO!! Mojo can’t believe Kevin survives! Mojo stalks Kevin to a corner and pushes him around. Mojo runs side to side, into a SUPERKICK! Kevin climbs up top, SWANTON! Cover, TWO!!
Kevin grits his teeth as he gets a chair for his own. But Kevin realizes there’s something better, and he goes back for the table! Kevin puts the table in and hurries to set it up. The table is ready but Mojo fireman’s carries! Kevin slips out, to give Mojo a STUNNER! Kevin drags Mojo up, pop-up POWERBOMB THROUGH THE TABLE! Cover, Kevin wins!
Winner: Kevin Owens, by pinfall
No rules and no hesitation, Kevin gets a win to vent some frustration! But Kevin gets his mic back to say he’s still in a fighting mood! He dares Seth Rollins and the AOP to show themselves. He knows they want to jump him backstage and beat him down again, but maybe they can do it in front of the good people so we can enjoy it! Calling them out may be a bad decision, but making bad decisions is part of Kevin’s charm. Kevin insists they beat him down, and he isn’t leaving until they do! Rollins and the AOP are watching backstage, and decide to take Kevin up on his offer. They march to gorilla while we go to break!
Raw returns as Rollins makes his entrance!
Kevin waits in the ring as The Architect leads the way for Akam and Rezar. Kevin has a chair, too, but Rollins keeps things calm. He has Akam and Rezar stay on stand-by while he joins Kevin in the ring. And Rollins tells Kevin they’re even. Kevin needs to come to the “right side” of this. Fans want Kevin to fight Rollins but Rollins says they should ignore the fans and shake hands. Kevin SUPERKICKS Rollins instead! But before he can get his chair back, the AOP beat him down! Rollins is up and he has them back off so he can get his stomps in. Rollins throws off the jacket and lines up his shot. Kevin gets up, and tackles Rollins! The AOP again hammer Kevin down with heavy hands, and even dribble his head off the mat.
“What’s your problem, Kev?!” Rollins shouts. Then he CURB STOMPS Kevin! Fans boo as Rollins storms off with the AOP behind him. Kevin is bloody and battered, but forces himself to get up and out of the ring. He refuses the help of the referee and makes it to the back. Is this just one battle in the war for Raw?
R-Truth was touring New York City!
It was just this past weekend that the WWE 24/7 Champion was strolling along, singing Christmas carols. He was looking for a sign. Is he on time? He asks a random citizen where he can go for the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Christmas tree lighting. He can’t find it, though. Um, this is all in Japanese. Also it isn’t The Rock Christmas tree lighting, it’s the Rockefeller Christmas tree. And it’s been lit for weeks. Oh…! Then why was he invited to come here? Someone rolls him up!! Akira Tozawa?! And the ref counts three!
Winner: Akira Tozawa, by pinfall; NEW WWE 24/7 Champion
The Stamina Monster takes the title in New York City! Truth now chases Tozawa, but who will be dreaming of a championship Christmas by the end of the night?
Bobby Lashley w/ Lana VS Cedric Alexander!
The Rocky Mountain Machine and Ravishing Russian are now engaged to be married, and they’re planning for a New Year’s Eve wedding! Will Lashley give Lana an early Christmas present by winning?
Raw returns as the #EbonyLion makes his entrance. The bell rings and Lashley circles with Alexander. They tie up, Lashley wristlocks but Alexander rolls and handsprings to break free. Alexander headlocks as fans chant for Rusev, but Lashley body slams Alexander down. Lana smiles as Lashley throws Alexander at a corner. Alexander blocks the buckle bump but Lashley blocks back. Lashley throws haymakers and whips Alexander corner to corner. Alexander goes up and over and then dodges to throw a BIG right hand! But Lahsley just gets mad. Lashley kicks but is blocked into an elbow! Alexander runs, things speed up, handspring headscissors throws Lashley, dropkick sends him out!
Lana grows worried as Alexander slingshots. He fakes Lashley out then mule kicks from the apron! Then MOONSAULTS! Lashley falls and fans fire up! Alexander gets back in the ring but Lana has a mic to say “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” She’s sorry, but who does Alexander think he is? Does he not get that next week, it is THE most important day of her life? Her beautiful fiance has to marry her. Have some respect! Lashley can’t show up all bruised and messy when literally, they have to focus on their vows! Lana is having her wedding live on Raw next week! Everyone is invited, you’re welcome. But here’s an idea: let’s just do a classic Greco-Roman style match. That’s brilliant! Yes, a regular wrestling match. Lana is the most ravishing and brilliant woman has an amazing idea, fans love her, don’t they? They don’t. But no one loves her as much as Her Bobby. Is this really happening? We’ll know after the break.
Raw returns and no, there is no traditional style match happening. Alexander CHOPS away on Lashley, perhaps motivated to bruise Lashley because of Lana’s “brilliant” idea. Alexander whips but Lashley reverses, Alexander goes out to the apron to enziguri Lashley down! Lashley flounders out of the ring, Alexander goes around the way to Penalty Kick Lashley down! Alexander drags Lashley up and against the apron to throw big forearms! Alexander drags Lashley up but Lashley rocks him with a right! Fans still chant for Rusev as Alexander dropkicks Lashley! Lashley puts Alexander on the apron but Alexander BOOTS back! Alexander steps in, gets caught and shoved for a LARIAT! Lana cheers but fans boo. Lashley grinds his foot into Alexander’s face, then whips him to a corner to RAM his shoulder in! And neckbreaker on top! Cover, TWO!
Now Lana is annoyed that Alexander is still in this match. Lashley grinds Alexander down with a chinlock, but Alexander endures. Fans rally up and Alexander fights to his feet. Alexander fights and CHOPS back! Then runs, but Lashley follows, for a LIFTING Complete Shot! Cover, TWO! Alexander still lives, but Lashley shows no mercy. Lashley throws hands, then blows a kiss to Lana. Lashley grinds his foot into Alexander more but lets up at the count of 4. Lashley drags Alexander up to scoop and SLAM him down! Then Lashley goes up to the ropes, just to blow a kiss to the fans. Lashley flexes but fans boo, Alexander dropkicks the legs out! Lana is seething as Alexander dodges Lashley in a corner. Alexander enziguris again, then springboards for a flying clotheslines! Lashley bails out but Alexander runs, to DIVE! Direct hit with the Low-pe!
But Alexander isn’t done, he runs again, to FLY! Tope conjilo takes Lashley down! Alexander puts Lashely back in, runs, handspring, NEURALIZER! Cover, TWO!! Lana is relieved, but Lashley is rocked. Alexander glares at Lashley as he rises and gives a big kick to the ribs. Alexander runs, Lashley scoops and flips him, for the twisting Dominator! Lashley wants Alexander to stand while he takes aim. Alexander does stand, but he dropkicks the Spear down! Now Lashley is in the corner, Alexander dropkicks in the face! Fans fire up for Alexander as Lashley wobbles to his feet. Alexander springboards again, but Lashley dodges. Lashley picks up and SLAMS Alexander! Then SPEARS him down! Cover, Lashley wins!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by pinfall
Lana cheers her hot, hot fiance and celebrates in the ring with him. Will they be celebrating their wedding with a New Year’s Honeymoon?
Backstage interview with Seth Rollins and AOP.
What is Rollins hoping to achieve with his “constant acts of brutality” on superstars, such as Kevin Owens? Whoa, whoa, what? What is he doing? He went out there to extend an olive branch of forgiveness, and Kevin kicks him! So what is Kevin doing picking a fight ever week? Rollins storms off in a huff with Akam and Rezar in tow. But what will these actions accomplish as Raw heads for the New Year?
Raw catches up with the 24/7 Championship chase in New York!
The Stamina Monster starts running out of energy, and keeps his head on a swivel. But he doesn’t check the statues! Truth and the referee sneak up from the fountain, and they’ve cornered him! ‘Tis the season! Oh no, they knock someone’s hot dog out of their hand. Tozawa blames Truth! Truth says that was Tozawa’s fault. Well sorry, pal, Truth is hungry for the title! The chase leaves the man without his meal, but will Truth be feasting on another reign?
Zack Ryder w/ Curt Hawkins VS Drew McIntyre!
The Broski might have wished he got Christmas week off. Will the Scottish Terminator make sure Ryder gets New Years to Valentine’s Day off with a Claymore?
The bell rings, McIntyre and Ryder tie up and McIntyre powers Ryder to a corner. McIntyre wants Ryder to do something, so Ryder shoves him. McIntyre slaps Ryder, Ryder SLAPS back! McIntyre hammers Ryder down then stomps him down. McIntyre whips, Ryder holds ropes and dumps McIntyre out to wreck him with a dropkick! But McIntyre LARIATS right back! Hawkins is worried for his bro as McIntyre RAMS Ryder into barriers, then apron, then barriers again! McIntyre dumps Ryder back in the ring, gets in and overhead suplexes him! Hawkins coaches Ryder up but McIntyre looms over him. Ryder jawbreakers back! And kicks and forearms, but McIntyre DECKS Ryder! McIntyre whips Ryder to a corner but Ryder knees back. Ryder hops up, but leaps into a POWERBOMB!
McIntyre aims from the corner as Ryder rises. McIntyre runs out, CLAYMORE! Cover, McIntyre wins!
Winner: Drew McIntyre, by pinfall
The Scottish Psycho barely broke a sweat. He has the ref raise his hand in victory, will 2020 be the Year of McIntyre? Hawkins gets in but McIntyre throws him out! Then gives Ryder a FUTURE SHOCK DDT! McIntyre is merciless! Hawkins runs in to fight back, but he gets a Glasgow Kiss headbutt and a CLAYMORE of his own! McIntyre gets himself a mic and says, “That was fun, wasn’t it?” It was for him, at least. Are Ryder and Hawkins having fun? These two can’t really answer, but McIntyre knows them well. They’d say, “yes, we’re having fun. You’re a big inspiration to us. You’re equally wise as you are jacked, and obviously you’re an incredible wrestler.” McIntyre doesn’t like ass-kissing but he’ll allow it.
This is McIntyre’s definition of fun. He won’t talk about being the future, he’ll get to the point. “2020 belongs to Drew McIntyre!” Can anyone refute that as we head for the Royal Rumble?
Becky Lynch is here!
The Man has a lot going for her, but she still wants to prove she’s worthy of that Raw Women’s Championship. She’s been wanting to collect on a debt, and that’s against the Empress of Tomorrow. Becky hears the fans cheering for her as she gets a mic. “I’ve had some things on my mind lately.” She addressed it last week, but if there is one thing she has learned, she is so much better when she takes things into her own hands! That is what she is doing here tonight. Becky has become the face of this company, but this company is trying to shelter her. Becky doesn’t give a DAMN what the company wants! She stayed quiet for too long. The Man VS The Empress needs to happen! And Becky is not taking “No” for an answer.
Becky is willing to go to some dark places to remind herself of who she truly is. If Asuka has forgotten who she is, Becky wants to remind her that she is the one woman to truly beat Becky fair and square. The Man has come around to collect on this last debt, so what is Asuka’s answer? The Kabuki Warriors appears! Asuka laughs as she introduces herself and Kairi in Japanese. But then in English, does Becky remember TLC? The Kabuki Warriors are still the champions! Then back in Japanese, Asuka talks trash about how TLC was their biggest victory. Then, “Asuka Two Belts.” Oh is that so? The Raw Women’s Championship on the line, huh? Name the time and the place! In case Asuka didn’t understand, Becky gives it back in Japanese! The challenge has been accepted, but when and where will we see this epic rematch?
Aleister Black VS Deonn Rusman!
The Embodiment of the End prepares for a rematch from his show-stealing match with Buddy Murphy! But will it be a nightmare before Christmas tonight for Aleister’s opponent?
The bell rings and Rusman is all fired up already. Rusman runs but into a leg sweep! Then a boot to a KNEE TRIGGER! Aleister is ice cold as he lifts Rusman with a foot. BLACK MASS! Cover, Aleister wins!
Winner: Aleister Black, by pinfall
Rusman will likely wake up on Christmas Day after that. Will Aleister make Murphy #FadeToBlack all the way to the New Year?
But speaking of, Buddy Murphy meets Aleister on his way down the ramp. Murphy says anything Aleister can do, he can do faster.
Buddy Murphy VS Joeasa!
The bell rings and Murphy offers his opponent a handshake. Joeasa takes it, but Murphy uses it to reel him in for a KNEE TRIGGER! Aleister glares at Murphy as he lifts Joeasa with a foot. A direct message if there ever was one, then MURPHY’S LAW! Cover, Murphy wins!
Winner: Buddy Murphy, by pinfall
Aleister heads for the ring, will he demand they have their rematch for Christmas?! The two stand face to face, fans are fired up, but Aleister offers a handshake of his own. Murphy grins, and just bumps Aleister on his way out. But then he turns back around, for a BLACK MASS! Murphy should’ve just taken the handshake. Aleister sits with Murphy, will we see this again next week?
Backstage interview with Rey Mysterio!
Ahead of his first-time-ever match with Rollins, the King of Lucha has been looking forward to this. He believes Rollins is one of the best wrestlers on Raw. Mysterio wants to defend against the best. But Rey VS Rollins for the title will be the match that always has an asterisk. Because it isn’t just Rey and Rollins, the AOP will be ringside. And those three are running around like they own WWE. When they attacked Mysterio, they made the mistake of not finishing it. Because as long as Mysterio can get up, he will make the AOP watch Rollins take a 619, and Mysterio walking away still United States Champion. Mysterio kisses the title for luck, but will he be kissing it good-bye?
Tony Nese VS Ricochet!
The Premier Athlete and the King of Flight are each one-of-a-king athletes! Each one is a blend of strength, speed and stamina, but only one can win for the holidays!
The bell rings and the two circle. Ricochet rolls Nese, TWO, but Ricochet headlocks. Nese powers out, Ricochet goes up and over but so does Nese! Nese goes Matrix, mule kicks but is blocked! Ricochet spins and kicks Nese to then CHOP him. Ricochet whips, Nese reverses but Ricochet rolls off the back. Ricochet rolls again, handsprings and headscissors then dropkicks! Cover, TWO! Nese gets to ropes and pokes Ricochet in the eye! Then the bulldog hotshot! Triangle moonsault! Cover, TWO! Ricochet survives but Nese is on him with clubbing forearms! Nese even puts on the body scissor squeeze! Ricochet endures and fans rally up. Ricochet fights free but Nese gets a facelock. Ricochet keeps fighting, Nese shoves, but Ricochet hits a forearm!
Ricochet keeps moving and rallies with more forearms. Ricochet huricanranas Nese to a corner, then runs in corner to corner. Shoulder ram and a buckle bump, big kick rocks Nese! Ricochet springboard, but Nese SHORYUKENS! Ricochet crashes and burns, Nese brings down a knee pad, but he runs into a SUPERKICK! Ricochet ripcords, RECOIL! Cover, Ricochet wins!
Winner: Ricochet, by pinfall
Ricochet rebounds from the gauntlet match, and rolls on as we head through the holidays! Will Ricochet make even bigger leaps and bounds once we’re in the New Year?
The 24/7 Championship chase in NYC continues!
Tozawa finds a Christmas tree farm, and finds a place to hide! He nestles into the pine needles just as Truth and the ref arrive. Truth shouts that Tozawa has no idea what it’s like being 747 7/11 24/7 European Champion. There’s a lot of running. Did he go that way? No, he has to be here still. Tozawa sneaks out and heads out again! Just where will this holiday high speed pursuit go next?
Charlotte Flair VS ???
The Queen looks to rebound herself after losing at TLC. Will Charlotte get back on track for the holidays?
Raw returns and Charlotte’s opponent is Chelsea Green of NXT! Chelsea has already gotten a reputation for aggression and energy in NXT, but will she silence Charlotte in her Raw debut?
The bell rings and Charlotte circles with Chelsea. They tie up and go around, and Charlotte puts Chelsea in the corner. Charlotte backs off but Chelsea goes right at her. They tie up and Charlotte arm-drags Chelsea away before hitting a kip up. Fans echo the “WOO~!” as Charlotte and Chelsea tie up again. Charlotte wrenches Chelsea to a wristlock, but Chelsea gets a ropebreak. The ref has them separate but Charlotte grins. Chelsea shoves so Charlotte SLAPS! Charlotte stomps a mudhole into Chelsea but lets up at the ref’s count. Chelsea kicks the leg out then rolls Charlotte into buckles! And STOMPS her in! Cover, ONE!
Chelsea keeps on Charlotte then basement dropkicks hard! Chelsea chokes Charlotte on ropes but lets up at 4. Chelsea shoves Charlotte down for a cover, ONE! Chelsea wraps on a chinlock and thrashes Charlotte around. Charlotte fights her way up, but Chelsea wrangles her down. Charlotte rights her way up again, throws body shots, then throws counter punches. Charlotte CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS, then reels Chelsea in for a scoop. Chelsea slips out but Charlotte standing switches. Chelsea elbows free then runs, into a BOOT! Charlotte gets the leg, Figure Four to Figure EIGHT! Chelsea taps, Charlotte wins!
Winner: Charlotte Flair, by submission
The Queen gets that rebound victory, but had to work for it against the new star from NXT. Will Charlotte work harder to get back on top of the Women’s Division?
Raw checks back in with the 24/7 Championship chase.
A corner Santa Claus gets caught up in it! He says there should be no fighting during the Christmas season! Truth and Tozawa fist bump, and Santa is proud. He has a gift for them. Actually, Truth, yours is in Santa’s sleigh. But don’t worry, Tozawa, you’re gift is right here. BLAM! Santa hits Tozawa and covers him! Santa wins!!
Winner: Santa Claus, by pinfall; NEW WWE 24/7 Champion
And now he heads back to the North Pole! Santa runs off just before Truth returns. Santa’s sleigh has a boot on it! Truth realizes what happened, and says they have to work together to get Santa! Will this be naughty or nice?
Liv Morgan speaks.
“When you seek affirmation from someone other than yourself, you give that person all the power.” Liv’s done that before. She was young, impressionable and “typical.” But now, it is up to her to decide who Liv really is. She is anything but typical.
Six Man Tag: The OC VS Randy Orton & The Viking Raiders!
“The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” as the saying goes. And when The Viper was being beat down by AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson all at once, Erik & Ivar evened the numbers. Now things will be fair and square, 3v3! Will the three most dangerous letters join the raid?
Raw returns and Anderson starts against Ivar. They circle and tie up, and Anderson headlocks. Ivar throws Anderson off and to a corner. Anderson is wary of Ivar’s strength now as they tie up again. Anderson gets another headlock and holds on tighter. Ivar powers out and fireman’s carries but Anderson slips out to waistlock. Ivar bucks him off then runs him over! Ivar drags Anderson up and tags Erik. Anderson is fed to a takedown and a waistlock slam! Erik glares at Gallows and Styles before going back to Anderson. Erik brings Anderson back to the corner and tags in Ivar. The Raiders give Anderson big knees back and forth! Ivar covers, TWO! Anderson crawls to a corner and kicks back, but Ivar uppercuts Anderson down.
Ivar drags Anderson up to throw elbows but Anderson kicks again. Anderson chops but Ivar kicks and scoops. Erik tags in, Ivar slams Anderson. Then Erik scoop slams Ivar onto Anderson! Cover, TWO! Erik clamps right on to Anderson’s arm and grinds him down. Anderson endures and fights his way up, but Erik wrenches and reels him in for shoulder rams. Anderson knees low but can’t get away so he throat chops! Tag to Gallows and Gallows ROCKS Erik with a right, into Anderson’s neckbreaker! Gallows is in to ROUNDHOUSE Erik down! Gallows scrapes Erik out of the ring, and distracts the ref for Styles to go after him with kicks! The ref doesn’t see it, starts a ring count, but Erik gets in at 3. Gallows is on Erik and throws uppercuts! Gallows then has Erik in the OC’s corner for big body shots! Gallows rocks Erik with another uppercut!
Tag to AJ Styles and he stomps a mudhole into Erik. Styles lets up at the count of 4 then taunts Orton. Orton mocks the Too Sweet, Erik fights out of the OC corner! But Styles kicks him down! Erik anchors one of Styles’ feet but Styles chokes him on the ropes. Anderson gets a cheap shot in, then Styles has Erik in another corner. Styles CHOPS Erik then snapmares him to drop a knee! Cover, TWO! Styles keeps his cool as he drags Erik up and over. Tag to Anderson and the OC mug Erik. Snapmare and chinlock and Anderson grinds Erik down. Erik endures and fans rally up. Erik gets to his feet and fights out with elbows, but walks into a SPINE BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Erik lives but Anderson tags Styles. The OC whip Erik to ropes but Erik throws Anderson out! Erik ROCKS Styles with a right and both men are down!
Fans build to a rally as Erik and Styles crawl. Hot tags to Gallows and Orton! Fans fire up as the Viper rallies on the OC! Orton has Gallows o the apron and pokes his eyes! Then brings him between the ropes, only for Gallows to send Orton out! Orton lands on his feet, but his bad knee gives out! Orton is down and the OC surround him, but the Raiders come over to keep them away. Orton writhes while Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Gallows stomps away on Orton’s bad leg! He lets up at the ref’s count of 4 to drag Orton up for another kick! Fans rally for Orton as Gallows stomps a mudhole into him. Gallows drags Orton back and tags in Styles. Styles kicks the leg himself then drops an elbow on it. Styles kicks the leg but Orton hits back. Styles just stomps him down! Orton crawls but Styles keeps him away from the Raiders. Styles brings Orton up and suplexes, but Orton blocks! Orton manages a suplex of his own! Both men are down and fans are rallying. Hot tags to Anderson and Erik! Erik rallies with big forearms for all, then he headbutts Anderson’s forearm! Erik THROWS Anderson overhead! Then again!
Tag to Ivar and the War Beard rallies on Gallows with shoulder bumps and a sidewalk slam! BASEMENT CROSSBODY! Fans fire up as Erik tags back in. Styles runs into a SPINE BUSTER into the corner! Then gets a hip attack spine buster! Anderson gets THOR’S HAMMER! Cover but Gallows breaks it! Gallows boots but Ivar dodges with a cartwheel, and comes back with a clothesline! Styles runs in to PELE Ivar! Styles slips out of Ace Ten Mao to PELE Erik! But Orton tags in! Styles didn’t see it because he whips Erik to ropes. Dropkick rocks Erik, but Orton gets in, no RKO! Orton puts Styles on the apron,d rags Styles in but Anderson saves Styles from the DDT! RKO for Anderson! Gallows denies the RKO, PHENOMENAL FOREARM!! Cover, The OC win!!
Winners: The OC, Styles pinning
The Original, Official and ONLY victory that matters! Will Styles and the Good Brothers make the holidays as Too Sweet as this?
Raw catches up with Santa Claus!
The jolly 24/7 Champion jogs as fast as he can with the title in hand, but he’s getting tired. Luckily for him, a horse-drawn carriage is there. Santa climbs aboard, the driver has his horse start going, and Santa just gets away from Truth and Tozawa! Wait, there’s another carriage! Truth and Tozawa hop on and tell the driver, “After that Santa!” This, well, not high speed chase, goes down the road, but Santa says to stop. Truth and Tozawa also stop, and the foot chase is on again! “Bad reindeer!” Truth is pulling up the rear, but will he back on top again in time for Christmas?
Erick Rowan speaks to his precious pet.
“Hey, hi~! Got you a little present! Yes, a toy!” It’s a clothespin. But Erick just loves how cute this little critter is. But he’s also hungry. Erick promises to get him something after his match. Just what does this thing eat though?
The Street Profits are in the Christmas mood.
The season of giving and love, we are just a week away from the “precious and beautiful ceremony” between Lashley and Lana. And yet they still haven’t got their invitations. Angelo Dawkins doesn’t even wanna go to that wedding. But he does want to hit up that bachelor party! Bobby, hit yo boys up! This is live TV, Dawkins, relax. And furthermore, we just saw Rowan talking to his pet in the pin. Is Dawkins at all curious about what’s in there? Fam, you crazy? No one wants to know what’s under there. It could be anything. Anything? Anything! A squirrel, a rabbit, or even a Komodo dragon gonna breathe fire! Dawkins, Komodo dragons aren’t dragons… But speaking of fire, time for the catchphrase! Those four special words, “We Want the Smoke!” Will the Profits get the smoke for Christmas?
Erick Rowan VS Travis Horn!
Big Redwood already seems to have his most precious possession with him wherever he goes these days. But what could he possibly want for Christmas other than his little critter’s safety?
Raw returns and Horn has a peace offering: a candy cane. Rowan takes the candy, but keeps his eyes on Horn. But Horn is slowly exiting the ring. Is Horn going to run away to survive into the holidays? Or is he… Wait, Horn has even more candy canes, and he says he just wants to offer one to Rowan’s hungry little precious. Horn slowly walks over, but Rowan CLOBBERS him down! The candy canes go flying and then Horn is sent flying into the LED apron! But then Rowan exposes part of it, to SLAM Horn onto that edge! Rowan puts Horn in the ring and runs to BODY CHECK Horn down! Rowan is seething and clamps on the Iron Claw, for a SLAM! Rowan tells his pet it’ll be okay, and he Iron Claw SLAMS Horn again! Cover, Rowan wins!
Winner: Erick Rowan, by pinfall
Will no one learn not to question what is in the cage? But in the end, Rowan does give the pet one of the candy canes. When will Rowan’s warpath lead him to something shinier to show his pet?
Raw keeps running with Santa Claus!
Santa is running out of steam as he reaches the Lincoln Center. He takes a breather at the steps, but Truth and Tozawa have caught up! Santa falls over, Truth shoves Tozawa away to cover Santa! Truth wins!
Winner: R-Truth, by pinfall; NEW WWE 24/7 Champion
And the 25th reign of R-Truth is in time for the 25th of December! Tozawa wants after Truth already, but referee John Cone who has had enough! He’s been chasing after these guys all over New York, and it is TOO COLD! He’s going home for the holidays! Santa says Truth and Tozawa are both getting coal for Christmas, then walks off. Truth says no one wants anymore of Michael Cole. But with no referee, he and Tozawa can’t fight for the title. Well, it is Christmas. How about a truce and they go find that big apple everyone talks about? How do you say Merry Christmas in Japanese? It’s still “Merry Christmas.” Heh, Tozawa’s funny. But these two head out together to celebrate the holidays.
Rusev VS ???
The Bulgarian Brute gets to have a little bit of snow on Rusev Day! And a fan is very forward wishing to be Rusev’s “Hawt Hawt Girlfriend.” Rusev is flattered but it’s time to Machka!
Raw returns and Rusev has the mic. He was so surprised to see snow indoors! Second, he has mixed emotions after TLC. Was he screwed over in that Tables match? Yes he was. Is he upset about it? Yes, he is. But is he going to do something about it? “You’re damn sure I will!” But is Rusev upset that Lana is getting married to the “hawt hawt” Bobby Lashley? No! That will be the best day of his life! That’s because the best punishment “Bob” could have is being married to Lana! Rusev is single but not alone! Lana’s wedding is still on RUSEV DAY! But first, Rusev’s opponent, No Way Jose, makes his way out, conga line in tow! Will the fiesta be festive after this?
The bell rings and Rusev ties up with Jose. They go to a corner but Rusev lets up. JOse dodges the punch to do some salsa. Rusev wants to run at Jose but Jose pop, lock and CHOPS. It doesn’t really do anything but upset Rusev. Jose wants Rusev to forgive but Rusev just hits a MAHCKA KICK! Cover, Rusev wins!
Winner: Rusev, by pinfall
Rusev helps Jose up to show it is no hard feelings. In fact, he starts pop locking, and doe a RUSEVROONI! Or is it a SpinaRusev? But now, Rusev wants in on the party! He joins Jose’s conga line, and gets a kiss from one of the single ladies! And another! Rusev is a ladies man once again! Will Rusev be celebrating all the way into 2020?
Another backstage interview with Seth Rollins.
The match for the United States Championship is up next. What does this golden first-time-ever mean to him? “Right now, Charly? Right now?” Rollins vows to beat Mysterio, win the United States Championship, and then establish dominance on Raw. So if she doesn’t mind, he needs to finish preparations. Rollins has Akam and Rezar follow him to gorilla, but will the AOP be factors in this historic main event?
WWE United States Championship: Rey Mysterio VS Seth Rollins w/ The Authors of Pain!
A first-time-ever match marred by the looming threat of Akam and Rezar. But even so, Mysterio vows to keep this run going while Rollins always looks to #BurnItDown! Who leaves here to have a golden Christmas?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this merry main event begins!
Mysterio goes right at Rollisn with kicks and fists, but Rollins hits back! Rollins stomps a mudhole into Mysterio then backs off at the ref’s count. Mysterio boots back, runs but Rollins follows to SLINGBLADE! Cover, ONE, but Rollins drags Mysterio right up. Snapmare and crucifix cover, TWO! Rollins reels Mysterio in to suplex, but Mysterio slips out and waistlocks. Rollins wrenches out and ROCKS Mysterio with a right! Fans boo Rollins as he taunts Mysterio. Rollins stomps Mysterio around then bumps him off buckles. Mysterio staggers but Rollins rocks him with another right. Rollins whips Mysterio but Mysterio wheelbarrows and victory rolls, TWO! Mysterio tilt-o-whirl headsicssors!
Rollins shoves but Mysterio kicks back! Rollins puts Mysterio on the apron but Mysterio headsissors back. Rollins ends up on the ropes, Mysterio dials it up but Rollins ducks. Rollins RAMS Mysterio into the post! Then Rollins slides Mysterio out of the ring! Mysterio is at the AOP’s feet as we go to break.
Raw returns once more, and Rollins has Mysterio down with a hammerlock. Mysterio fights up but Rollins clubs him down. Rollins throws Mysterio into buckles, then drags him up for a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Rollins is right on Mysterio with a rear bearhug and squeezes tight! Fans rally for Mysterio and he fights up. Mysterio stomps Rollins’ feet but Rollins clubs him down again. Rollins whips Mysterio at a corner but Mysterio goes up and over to headscissor Rollins out of the ring! Fans rally and Mysterio builds speed, to slide and SUNSET BOMB Rollins into the barriers! The ref checks but Rollins is okay to continue. Mysterio stirs as the ring count climbs. Mysterio puts Rollins in the ring and slingshots, to springboard seated senton! Then springboards for a moonsault, but he’s caught! Rollins pops Mysterio up, but Mysterio tornado DDT’s! Cover, TWO!!
Mysterio keeps focus as he brings Rollins up. Mysterio whips, Rollins reverses, Mysterio springboards into Rollins’ arms! For a BUCKLE BOMB! Then a SUPERKICK! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Mysterio saves himself and Rollins is shocked! Rollins gets up and stomps “BURN! IT! DOWN!” Mysterio rises, Rollins runs, but no Curb Stomp! Mysterio slides under, rolls and huricanranas Rollins back onto ropes! Dial it up, 619! Mysterio hurries up top but Rezar ATTACKS!
Winner: Rey Mysterio, by disqualification; still WWE United States Champion
Akam YANKS Mysterio down and throws him into barriers! The Authors of Pain prevented Rollins from losing fair and square, and they wreck Rey by throwing him into the LED! Fans boo and jeer as Rezar drags Mysterio up. The AOP SLAM Mysterio into barriers! Rollins hobbles over and tells AOP to drag Mysterio up the ramp. “Teach him a lesson!” They head to the stage, and to commentary! Only Samoa Joe stays put as the AOP clear off the desk. Joe asks them what they’re going to do about him sitting there. The AOP throw Mysterio into the Christmas trees then glare at Joe. Joe says that if he gets up, it isn’t to move, but to fight. Joe stands, fans fire up, but Rollins has the AOP stand down. “He’s not who we’re here for.”
Rollins wants Joe to calm down, but the jacket’s coming off! Rollins tells Joe this is about Mysterio, not him. Joe settles down, but Rollins sicks the AOP after him! The brawl is on 2v1, and Rollins says “It didn’t have to be like this.” The beating continues, but Mysterio rises from the trees, only to get a CURB STOMP! Rollins then has AOP “finish it,” DOUBLE CHOKE SLAM THROUGH THE DESK!! The Architects of Pain stand tall over what they just tore down. Will they continue to brutally force Raw to bend to their will?
For being a prerecorded Raw filmed right after last week (so that the wrestlers could be spared working the week of Christmas) this was a decent episode. Not the best, and could’ve been better in many ways, but still good for cramming it in after last week’s episode. We all knew about the Lana x Lashley wedding for the New Year’s Eve episode was coming, so of course Lashley would have a match to give Lana the opportunity to announce it. They’re really piling on the cringe with this as Lana interrupts the match to blab on about the wedding and making a demand of the wrestlers. Rightfully, the request was rejected, but of course Lashley wins. Alexander and Lashley had a good match, but it is a shame that Alexander is the fodder in this match.
Rusev’s match with Jose was alright, it was mostly so Rusev would get a win and have some fun, too. And I would actually hope they just have Rusev tease messing up Lana’s wedding just to drive her crazy and expose that behavior to Lashley, so that Lashley ruins things by having a change of heart. Ricochet VS Nese was alright, but of course Ricochet wins. McIntyre brutalizing the Major Bros was pretty fun. I really hope McIntyre gets a title in 2020, he really deserves it. I did like that we got the stuff between Aleister and Murphy. It was good to have Murphy try to one-up Aleister, only to get a Black Mass for it. Also I’m starting to think that their opponents were the same person, just in different ring gear. All “Deonn Rusman” had to do was take off those pants and reveal his red tights to be “Joeasa.” But that aside, Aleister VS Murphy for the New Year’s Eve episode will certainly be a highlight that night.
The highlight from tonight was the story of the 24/7 Championship. I was hoping for something pretty big for Christmas as well as Truth’s 25th reign, and we more or less got that here. It’s great that Tozawa was chosen to do this chase around New York. He is the Stamina Monster, and they surely did do a lot of running the night they recorded all those segments. I wonder if Santa Claus with the glasses was the guy with the hot dog that they bumped into. That would make for a hilarious twist, but also great motivation for him wanting to take that title. There wasn’t as much fanfare when Truth took the title back at the end, but it was great that John Cone just quit on them. I hope we get something even bigger for New Year’s. In fact, with New Year’s being on Wednesday, can we finally get this title to go to NXT?
Charlotte VS Chelsea Green tonight wasn’t bad for Green’s Raw debut. Green and Deonna Purrazzo both had Raw matches, so I wonder what this means for their WWE careers as they barely started on NXT. Becky and Asuka had a quick promo showdown but it was pretty cool for Becky to use some Japanese given she spent time there in her career. That match better happen at Royal Rumble, since last year we got this for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. And at this point, I could see things going either way. Either Asuka still beats Becky because she’s that good, or Becky finally settles the score which is good story. The Six Man Tag was a good match, and it’s actually good that the OC won so that the story keeps going towards the Royal Rumble. I expect another Raw Tag Team Championship match for Raiders VS Good Brothers at the Rumble, too.
The story meant to dominate the night was okay. Kevin and Mojo have a good No Disqualifications match, that’s just good story blending. Rollins has good Heel promos tonight, but their main event match was trimmed down in time because of all the filler, like Rowan wrecking another jobber. Rollins VS Mysterio was on its way to being a really good match, but the disqualification wasn’t a bad thing either. Mysterio keeps the title and gets beat down, but then Joe’s Face turn begins tonight with both his commentary and his actions. I thought Street Profits were going to step up to help Kevin or even Mysterio, but it seems Kevin and Mysterio might be getting some help from Joe now. That will make for a great Six Man Tag on the way to the Rumble, perhaps even the first Raw of the New Year on 1/6/2020 to give it some buzz.
My Score: 8.1/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/19/23)
The semifinals are here!
The New Japan Cup 2023’s Final Four!
Four is bad luck in Japan, but these four are grateful to be in the New Japan Cup semifinals! David Finlay VS Tama Tonga, Sanada VS Mark Davis, who will win to go for it all?
- Shota Umino & Oskar Leube VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita; Shota & Oskar win.
- Six Man Tag: Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Ryohei Oiwa VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi & Team Strong Style VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Jeff Cobb & Kyle Fletcher; Cobb & Fletcher win.
- Shingo Takagi & BUSHI VS Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan; Henare & Khan win.
- YOH & Lio Rush VS Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi; Naito & Hiromu win.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances to the finals.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA VS Mark Davis; Sanada wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga w/ Jado VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
The Good Bad Guy settled things with Bullet Club, but fate has intervened to have him face the NEW leader! Will Tama get past Finlay and into the finals? Or will the Rebel take over everything?
The bell rings and the fans rally up. Tama and Finlay circle, Tama claps to get the fans going more, and then he ties up with Finlay. They go around, Tama puts Finlay on ropes, but he lets off slowly as the ref calls break. Fans applaud and the two reset. They circle, fans rally up for Tama, and the two tie up again. Tama powers Finlay back but Finlay turns it around to have Tama on the ropes. The ref calls the ropebreak again, Finlay lets off slowly, but then swings on Tama! Tama dodges, then hits a headlock takeover! Tama grinds Finlay down, but Finlay keeps his shoulders up. Finlay fights to his feet, powers out, then slips around to headlock!
Tama powers out, hurdles, drops, then DROPKICKS Finlay down! Finlay bails out while fans fire up! Tama storms up to the ropes and slingshots but Finlay slides in! Tama lands on the apron, Finlay storms up but Tama ROCKS him with a forearm! Tama hurries in, and he arm-drags Finlay around! Finlay blocks the next, whips, but Tama reverses. Tama hurdles, but gets caught to a fireman’s carry! HOTSHOT, then BIG back suplex! Fans applaud, that was a good sequence, but Tama crawls to a corner. Finlay stalks Tama, drags him up, and UPPERCUTS him! Finlay whips corner to corner hard and Tama bounces off buckles! Finlay covers, TWO!
Fans rally but Finlay stomps Tama’s hand! Tama clutches that hand, but Finlay fishhooks his face! The ref reprimands, Finlay lets off, and Finlay says that was the nose, not the eyes. The ref doesn’t believe him. Finlay throws Tama out! Gedo tells the ref to leave Finlay alone, but the ref reprimands Gedo for getting on the apron. Finlay drags Tama up to RAM him into railing! No Man’s Land disappears as the railing go back! Finlay rains down fists, but fans rally up for Tama. The ref reprimands Finlay but he drags Tama up and puts him in the ring. Finlay covers, ONE!! Tama is hanging tough but Finlay is amused.
Finlay digs his knee into Tama’s face, he wants the ref to Too Sweet but the ref says no thanks. Finlay drags Tama up, whips him hard into the corner, and Tama bounces off buckles again! Fans rally while Finlay taunts them, “You think Tama’s getting to the finals?” Finlay stomps Tama, then springboard stomps! The ref reprimands, but Finlay clamps on with a cobra clutch. Finlay thrashes Tama around but Tama endures. Gedo tells Tama to give up but Jado coaches Tama to hang tough. Fans rally, Tama fights up and throws hands, but Finlay CLUBS him down! Finlay stomps and elbows Tama, but the ref counts.
Finlay lets off, he brings Tama up to whip corner to corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Finlay! Fans fire up but Gedo is mad! Jado coaches Tama, Gedo coaches Finlay, but Tama is the first to stand. Tama roars, CLOBBERS Finlay, and ELBOWS him! Tama whips, Finlay reverses but Tama CLOBBERS Finlay again! OFF COMES THE VEST! Finlay goes to a corner, Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then clinch, for an EXPLODER! Finlay scrambles away and out of the ring, but Tama PLANCHAS! Direct hit this time and the fans fire up! Tama slides into the ring to let the ring count handle Finlay.
Finlay sits up at 5 of 20 so Tama goes out to fetch him. Tama puts Finlay in, stalks him to a corner, and Finlay wants mercy, but gets body shots instead! Tama whips Finlay out and then back into the corner, runs in, but Finlay elbows him away! Finlay storms up, but into a scoop! Finlay slips free to CHOP BLOCK! Tama writhes and clutches his knee but Gedo is loving this! The ref checks on Tama but Tama refuses to let this stop him. Finlay storms up on Tama to sit him up, “Look at this beautiful face!” CROSSFACE FOREARM! Gedo likes those, so Finlay sits Tama up again, to CROSSFACE FOREARM!
Finlay drags Tama up again, and he fires off MORE crossface forearms! Fans rally for Tama but Finlay looms over him. Finlay drags Tama up by his hair, sits him up, and BLINDSIDER LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Tama is still in this and Finlay is annoyed. Finlay paces around while Tama slowly rises. Finlay drags Tama up, gut wrenches and Canadian Racks, but Tama slips free! TONGAN TWIST!! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Fans rally as Tama and Finlay stir. Both men crawl over to each other, and Tama ROCKS Finlay with a forearm! Finlay ROCKS Tama right back! Finlay eggs Tama on and Tama sits up.
Tama ROCKS Finlay with another forearm, but Finlay ROCKS Tama again! Tama growls, he and Finlay sit up again. Tama ROCKS Finlay, Finlay ROCKS Tama, repeat! They throw forearms as they slowly stand, and they speed up as the fans rally! Finlay gets the edge, Tama fires off a strike fest! Finlay rebounds but into SRC!! Tama goes to a corner, fans fire up as he climbs, and Tama aims! SUPREME FLOW!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Jado and Tama rally the fans by pounding the mat. Finlay drags himself up with the ropes, Tama runs in, GUN- NO! Finlay rolls Tama, with tights! TWO!! GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again!
Finlay drags Tama up with a dragon sleeper, inverted suplex, OSAKA STREET CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up while Finlay grows frustrated. Finlay aims as Tama rises, Jado warns Tama of what’s coming, but Finlay runs in, into a KNEE! Tama SUPER- NO, Finlay dodges to DEEP SIX!! Tama staggers up, into a SPEAR!! Cover, TWO!!! Tama survives and Gedo is furious! Finlay argues the count but the ref says that was all fair. Fans rally back up, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. “X marks the spot!” Finlay drags Tama up but Tama is deadweight. Finlay still hauls Tama up, suplexes, but Tama slips free!
Tama rolls Finlay, ties up the legs, and he has a SHARPSHOOTER!! Finlay endures and fans fire up! Tama sits deep on the hold, Finlay flails and fights forward! Finlay claws at the mat, but Tama goes deeper! Finlay fights back up, crawls and reaches out, but Tama drags him away again!! Finlay shouts in pain but he hasn’t given up yet! Another fight forward, and Finlay gets the ROPEBREAK! Tama lets go and Finlay writhes in pain, but the fans rally up again. Tama drags Finlay up, hooks an arm, but Finlay fights and RAMS Tama into a corner! And again and again and again! The ref counts, Finlay lets off and staggers away.
Tama runs in, but Finlay fights off the DDT! IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Finlay gut wrenches to a CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Finlay is beside himself but Tama survives again! Fans are thunderous for Tama but Finlay is right on him. Suplex and- NO, Tama fights, wrenches, but Finlay ROCKS him! But Tama cradles!! TWO!!!! Finlay escapes but the SUPERMAN PUNCH hits! BLOODY SUNDAY!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Finlay barely survives but Tama just pounds the mat. Finlay rises up, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks, spins Tama, suplexes, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again and ROCKS Tama!
Tama roars, but Finlay fires off a flurry of forearms! Finlay spins, into a HEADBUTT! GUN- NO, Backslide! Deadlift TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!
Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Even El Phantasmo has to give old rival Finlay credit on that one. Gedo gets the mic to make the announcement official: The Rebel wins, and he just beat the NEVER Openweight Champion! Finlay will take the EFF over everything! Gedo needs the Rebel, Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel! But will the Rebel get what he wants in the tournament finals?
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA w/ Just5Guys VS Mark Davis w/ The United Empire!
New team, new look! The Cold Skull is looking sharp, but will he still bring about a Skull End? Or can Dunkzilla conquer the Cup on behalf of the United Empire?
The bell rings and the fans rally up as Davis and Sanada circle. Davis eggs Sanada on but Sanada feels things out. They keep circling, tie up, and Sanada headlocks. Davis powers out, Sanada RAMS shoulders, but neither man falls! Sanada ducks Davis’ chop, gets an arm and wrenches, but Davis whips Sanada away! Davis CHOPS this time, and Sanada is stinging. Davis whips, Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Sanada whips, Davis cartwheels, then scoops and SLAMS! And SENTONS! Fans fire up while Sanada bails out, but Davis goes out after Sanada. Davis brings Sanada up to whip him into railing!
Sanada drops to his knees, but Davis drags Sanada up to ROCK with a forearm! Great-O-Khan is on commentary and he waves the glowstick in praise. Davis puts Sanada on the apron to CLUB and KNEE and CLUB again! Davis gets space, fans rally up, and Davis runs in to KNEE LIFT Sanada into the ring! Crowns up and the Empire high-fives. Davis gets in the ring while Sanada sputters. Davis knees for the cover, TWO! Davis clamps onto Sanada’s arm but Sanada endures. Fans rally, Sanada fights up to his feet, and he throws forearms! Sanada wrenches but Davis DECKS him! Davis drags Sanada up but Sanada waistlocks!
Davis fights free of the hold, CHOPS Sanada to the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Davis runs in but Sanada dodges the splash! Sanada reels Davis in to back suplex, but Davis turns it into a CROSSBODY! Davis drags Sanada back up and back suplexes, but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada hits the BIG back suplex! Both men are down but their teams coach them while the fans rally up. Sanada kips up, and then he fires up! Sanada DROPKICKS Davis, Davis stays up, so Sanada DROPKICKS! And dropkicks, but misses this time! Davis runs, but Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Then he DROPKICKS Davis out of the ring!
Sanada takes aim and PLANCHAS! Direct hit and down goes Davis! Sanada stares down the Empire, but then he encourages the fans to get louder. The fans oblige and Sanada likes that. Sanada may have a new haircut but he is still Sanada. Sanada puts Davis in the ring, drags him up to fireman’s carry, but Davis fights it! Davis fireman’s carries now, but Sanada fights it! Only for Davis to rise up again! Sanada fights more, gets to the apron, and he counter punches! Sanada slingshots, but Davis HOTSHOTS him! And then TRIANGLE JUMP FOREARMS! Sanada falls, and Davis DIVES?!? Direct hit into the railing!
Fans fire up as No Man’s Land disappears again! Red Shoes checks both men, they’re both okay to continue, but their teams argue about territory. The ring count starts, Davis drags Sanada up at 7 of 20. Davis puts Sanada in at 10 of 20, aims from the corner and climbs up! Sanada rises, Davis FLYING SHOULDERS him down! Cover, TWO! Sanada is still in this but Davis keeps his cool. Davis drags Sanada up, but Sanada blocks the lift! Sanada throws down elbows, but Davis CHOPS him! Davis whips, Sanada goes up and out and springboards in to MISSILE DRPOKICK! Davis stays up!?
Davis swings, misses, and Sanada CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! But Davis KNEES low! Davis back suplexes but Sanada KNEES free! Sanada runs, into a LARIAT! Davis hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up and rally as Sanada survives. Davis drags Sanada by a leg, says it’s time to end this! But Sanada kicks Davis away, so Sanada JABS him down! Davis gets the legs, YANKS Sanada up, but Sanada rolls through! Sanada fireman’s carries to T K O!! Cover, TWO!! Davis is still in this, but Sanada goes up top! ROUNDING BODY- NO, Sanada has to roll through as Davis moves! Davis scoops to POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO!!
Davis drags Sanada up, wrenches and torture racks, but Sanada slips free! Sanada ELBOWS Davis, QUEBRADAS and has the dragon sleeper! Davis snapmares free to clothesline in the corner! Sanada falls over and fans fire up! Davis climbs the corner, goes to the very top, and DIVING SPLASH, but he FLOPS as Sanada moves! Sanada goes up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto the knees!! Davis cradles Sanada, TWO!!! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Davis rises first, drags Sanada up, and fans rally up. Davis swings, but Sanada blocks the forearm to fire UPPERCUT after UPPERCUT!
Sanada spins, into JAB! But he still ROLLING ELBOWS! Davis ENZIGURIS!! Sanada is down and Davis fires up! Fans rally, Davis throws off the elbow pad! Davis waits, Sanada rises up, Davis keeps moving, LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!?! Sanada survives and fans fire up again! Davis stalks Sanada to the corner, then runs side to side, SLIDING FOREARM! Davis shouts “DEAD!” and he drags Sanada up into the torture rack! But Sanada slips free again! O’Conner BRIDGE!! TWO!?! Davis escapes by nanoseconds! Sanada storms up, but Davis trips him! Davis has the legs, Close Your Eyes and Count to F@#$!!! Cover, TWO!?!?!? HOW?!?!?
The fans, the Empire and Just5Guys are all going nuts! Davis roars, he wrenches, torture racks, but Sanada slips free again! SIDEWINDER DDT!!! Cover, SANADA WINS!!!!
Winner: Sanada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Davis drove the Cold Skull into the ground, but then Sanada did it back to him! Will Davis find his singles success another time?
Wait, David Finlay and Gedo make his way back out to the ring to see the other finalist in person. Gedo gets the mic to say they just want to give Sanada words of support. Gedo tells Sanada to do his best, because in Nagaoka, Finlay’s gonna beat his face in with the shillelagh, and throw him out of the ring like trash! “See You Next Time, Just Five Losers!” Gedo and Finlay leave, having copied and mocked Sanada’s catchphrase and his new team. Sanada gets the mic to say, “Oi, Finlay! And the people of Gunma. I promise I will beat Finlay on Tuesday, and come back here as the New Japan Cup winner.” Fans applaud that! Sanada then tells Gedo and Finlay to get outta here.
Finlay and Goto leave, flipping Sanada off over their shoulders. Sanada says this debut with J5G is a day he’ll never forget. Fans applaud that, and the mic is handed over to Taka Michinoku. Taka says, “Soon enough, it’ll be us who changes the scene here in NJPW! JUST! FIVE! GUYS!!” The Cold Skull is red hot, but will that heat bring him through to win it all?
A great semifinals for the New Japan Cup! Both matches were awesome stuff, and though Tama came close, I figured Finlay would win. He has been winning since his Heel turn and joining the Bullet Club, but he hasn’t quite won the Club over, yet they can’t really deny him, either, because he’s now in the finals of the tournament. The big things in Sanada VS Davis were Sanada’s new look, and that he buries that piledriver. But similarly to Finlay, Sanada’s getting a push because of the big change in allegiance, and now they’re both in this great match for the finals that honestly could go either way.
Gedo as booker does love to push the guys he backs as a manager, but Finlay’s story could be more about controlling Bullet Club than getting the title. And Sanada has openly stated he sees Okada as a rival and Okada reciprocated, so revisiting that now, with Sanada and Okada both having changed ever so slightly, we could get an awesome match for the world title.
My Score: 9/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/18/23)
It’s lights out, but for who?
Who rounds out the Final Four?
The New Japan Cup is getting closer to the end! Shota VS Finlay, Goto VS Tama, who will join Mark Davis and Sanada in the semifinals?
- Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita VS Oskar Leube & Ryohei Oiwa; ZSJ & Fujita win.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Aaron Henare & Kyle Fletcher; Henare & Fletcher win.
- Six Man Tag: Team Strong Style VS Bullet Club; Team Strong Style wins, by disqualification.
- Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS The House of Torture; The United Empire wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Chaos wins.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto VS Tama Tonga; Tama wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
The Roughneck took The Mighty’s Front Man to the limit and then won, but now he funs into Bullet Club’s newest leader. Will #SHOOTER be the one shot down? Or will another one bite the dust as Shota brings about a paradigm shift?
The two get face to face and start shoving. Red Shoes backs them off, the bell rings and the forearms start flying! Fans fire up as they go faster and faster, and Shota gets the edge! Shota fires off in the corner, but Finlay turns things around, only to miss! Shota fires off more, and even shoves his dad aside! Shota fires off knees and he CLUBS Finlay, then ROCKS him with a forearm! Fans fire up with Shota, and he brings Finlay up. Finlay throws forearms in return, whips, but Shota reverses to ELBOW Finlay down! Shota keeps moving to BASEMENT DROPKICK! Fans fire up again while Finlay checks his chin.
Shota kicks at Finlay, stomps him, but Finlay eggs him on. Shota stomps, Finlay throws a body shot, but Shota just BOOTS Finlay into the corner! Finlay kicks back from below, and even SPITS at Shota! Shota doesn’t flinch, so Finlay steps to him. Shota DECKS Finlay, then digs his boots in! Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Shota lets off at 4 and talks trash. Shota stomps Finlay, stands him up and CLUBS him! Finlay goes to ropes, Shota ROCKS him with another forearm. Fans rally, Shota ROCKS Finlay again, and then whips Finlay to ropes. Finlay reverses to TACKLE Shota to the apron! And then all the way into railing!
Gedo likes that as Finlay RAMS Shota in again! Finlay taunts Red Shoes, then throws hands on Shota. Finlay smacks Shota off the apron, follows him around the way, and claws at Shota’s face! Finlay ELBOWS Shota down, Red Shoes reprimands, but Finlay claims it was just the nose. Finlay stomps Shota around on the ramp, going after the limbs. The ring count starts and Finlay drags Shota up at 6 of 20 to put in at 8. Fans applaud and Finlay paces. Finlay stomps Shota down, gives him toying kicks, but Shota sits up with a frown. Finlay UPPERCUTS Shota in the back, but Shota doesn’t budge!
Finlay gets in Shota’s face, then DECKS him! Finlay stands Shota up to UPPERCUT! Shota goes to a corner, Finlay HEADBUTTS then stomps away! Red Shoes reprimands as Finlay digs a knee in. Red Shoes counts, Finlay lets off at 4 and talks more trash. Fans rally up as Finlay brings Shota out. Finlay taunts the fans, “This is your boy?” Shota stands to ROCK Finlay! Shota hits back! Finlay CLUBS Shota down! Shota writhes but Finlay covers, ONE! Finlay clamps onto Shota with a cobra clutch to grind him down. Fans rally and Shota endures. Finlay shakes his head and pulls harder on the hold, but Shota still endures.
Shota fights up, Finlay knees him low and then again, and again. Finlay whips, Shota reverses to scoop, TOSS and UPPERCUT! Fans fire up while Finlay sits up in a daze. Shota storms up on Finlay, whips him to a corner, then runs in to UPPERCUT! Shota FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Not quite perfect so Finlay escapes, but Shota keeps his cool. Shota kicks Finlay but Finlay gives a body shot. Shota kicks and kicks and CLUBS Finlay, then brings him up. Finlay fights the clinch with elbow after elbow after elbow! Finlay runs, into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up and Finlay bails out!
Shota hurries out to the apron, Finlay stands and Shota CANNONBALLS onto him! Fans fire up with Shota again as he shakes the railing! Shota drags Finlay back up, puts him in the ring, and fans rally behind Shota. Shota aims, to slingshot DDT! Finlay writhes but Shota wants him to stand. Fans rally, but Finlay blocks the kick, and he spins Shota around, only to swing into Shota’s clinch. Finlay fights free, then he clinches back, IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans rally but Gedo argues the count. Red Shoes says that was a fair count, so Finlay drags Shota up.
Finlay makes Red Shoes watch as Finlay CROSSFACE FOREARMS Shota! And again! Gedo likes that so Finlay gives more CROSSFACE FOREARMS! Finlay then sits Shota up to BLINDSIDE LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans fire back up! Finlay argues the count but Red Shoes defends it was fair. Finlay kicks Shota around, waits on him to rise, and the fans rally. Shota stands, ducks the lariat, and EXPLODERS! Fans fire up again while both men are down! Red Shoes checks both guys and they slowly stir. They go forehead to forehead, and Shota throws a forearm! Finlay throws it back!
Finlay eggs Shota on, Shota ROCKS Finlay! Shota eggs Finlay on, so Finlay ROCKS Shota! Shota ROCKS Finlay again, so Finlay ROCKS Shota again! They go forearm for forearm, fans rally and the two stand. The forearms keep going, back and forth, faster and faster! Finlay UPPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS again! Shota roars and UPPERCUTS in return! And again! Finlay rebounds into another UPPERCUT! Shota UPPERCUTS, and UPPERCUTS! Fans fire up but Finlay throat chops! And throat chops again! Finlay fires off HEADBUTT after HEADBUTT, then he rains down fists!
Red Shoes reprimands, those are closed fists! Finlay lets off and claims palms but Red Shoes can tell. Fans rally for Red Shoes as he argues with Finlay. Finlay goes back to Shota, but Red Shoes has him stay back to check. Shota is still in this, but Finlay thinks he’s won by knockout. Shota grabs at Finlay’s foot, so Finlay gut wrenches to a Canadian rack! But Shota slips free to CROSS RHODES! Shota holds on, he drags Finlay up, CROSS RHODES! Shota drags Finlay up again, SAVING GRACE! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but fans are thunderous behind Shota! Shota aims from a corner, runs in, but Finlay LARIATS!
Shota stands, but into a SPEAR! Cover, TWO!! Shota survives and Finlay is shocked! Finlay drags Shota up to gut wrench, CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Shota survives again and the fans are thunderous! Finlay scowls at Red Shoes and argues the count, but the count is still fair. Fans rally behind Shota, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. Finlay slashes his throat and he drags Shota back up. Suplex to- NO, Shota cradles! TWO!! Finlay escapes, and ROLLING ELBOWS! Shota staggers to a corner and Finlay hoists him up top. Finlay climbs up after Shota, fires off forearms, then brings Shota up.
Shota throws body shots to stop the superplex! Finlay fires forearms and HEADBUTTS! Finlay brings Shota up again, but Shota SUPER GOURD BUSTERS first! Shota then hurries down and runs in, SWINGING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Shota roars and the fans are thunderous again! Shota picks Finlay up but Finlay fights free. Shota kicks low, underhooks, but Finlay powers him back. Shota sends Finlay into buckles! And then TORNADO DDTS! Roll through to the pick-up, SNAP BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Shota roars! Fans rally behind Shota and he aims from the corner again.
Gedo shouts at Finlay but the fans rally up. Finlay rises, Shota underhooks, but Finlay fights the lift! Finlay stomps the leg! And then HEADBUTTS Shota down! Gedo says Finlay’s got it! Suplex, but Shota fights free! ENZIGURI! Finlay rebounds, but swings into hooks! Finlay fights the backslide to backslide, but Shota rolls through! Finlay suplexes, Shota slips free, backslide and underhooks! Finlay spins Shota around, suplexes, TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!
Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
Another hard-fought battle, and The Rebel comes out on top! Finlay stands on Shota to add insult to injury, then he throws Shota out to just add more insult! Gedo makes the official announcement that Finlay won, and then he says what Finlay did to Shota will happen to everyone else! “Okada! Okada! Are you listening? The Rebel’s coming for you! The Rebel is taking the eff over everything! I need the Rebel, the Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel!” Will Finlay be unstoppable until he has taken everything?
New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto w/ Yoshi-Hashi VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!
The Fierce Warrior and the Good Bad Guy have both had their run-ins with the United Empire, and they both came out on top to make it this far. But there’s only one spot left in the semifinals, who is the final of the final four?
The bell rings and fans rally up as the two circle. Goto and Tama tie up, Goto powers Tama back, but Tama breaks free. They reset, tie up again, and Tama powers Goto back. Goto turns things around to put Tama on the ropes, and Red Shoes calls the break. Goto lets off with pats on the shoulder and fans applaud. Tama and Goto circle again, tie up, and Tama headlocks. Tama grinds the hold, but Goto powers out. They RAM shoulders, but Tama keeps moving. They RAM shoulders again, both men egg each other on, so Goto runs. Goto dodges the lariat to run Tama over! Fans fire up while Tama staggers up.
Goto whips Tama corner to corner, runs in but into an elbow! Tama runs in but into a hip toss! Tama avoids the elbow drop, headlocks, but Goto powers out, only for Tama to FLYING SHOULDER TACKLE! But now Goto avoids an elbow drop and fans fire up for the standoff! Goto and Tama circle again and fans rally back up. They tie up, Goto headlocks, and Goto grinds the hold. Tama powers up but Goto holds on tighter. Tama fights up, powers up again, but still can’t power out as Goto just holds tighter! Goto grinds the headlock more, but Tama fights up to throw body shots. Tama powers out this time, and things speed up.
Tama hurdles, but Goto counter a hip toss with a hip toss! Tama goes to ropes, Goto runs in, but Tama dumps Goto out to the apron! Tama swings but Goto counter punches! But then Tama GUN STUN STUN GUNS Goto down! Goto falls to the floor and Tama waits on the ring count. Goto stirs at 5 of 20, fans rally and Hashi coaches Goto up. Goto sits up at 12 of 20, but we past 15 before he stands! Goto slides in at 18! Fans applaud, but Tama drags Goto up to COHP! Tama whips, DROPKICKS and covers, TWO! Tama keeps cool as he looms over Goto. Tama brings Goto up, then CLUBS him in the chest again and again!
Fans rally while Tama paces around. Tama drags Goto back up, snap suplexes and covers, TWO! Tama clamps onto Goto with a chinlock and grinds him back down. Fans rally as Goto endures, but Tama brings Goto down to the mat. Goto kicks and flails, fights his way back up, and he throws body shots. Tama CLUBS Goto on the back, then ROCKS him with a forearm! And then another! Goto scowls but Tama eggs him on. Tama ROCKS Goto again, but Goto snarls. Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Tama then runs, but Goto blocks the boot! Goto throws the foot down but Tama ROCKS him with another forearm!
Goto blocks another boot, waistlocks, but Tama elbows free! Tama runs, Goto follows and LARIATS Tama down! Fans fire up while both men are down! Tama crawls to a corner but Goto is right on him. Goto whips corner to corner and runs in to MURAMASA! Then SAIDO! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Tama survives, and Jado coaches him up. Goto brings Tama up but Tama fires body shots and low headbutts! Tama whips, Goto reverses and he runs Tama over! Fans fire up as Tama bails out, and Goto hurries to PLANCHA! Direct hit and both men go down at the railing! Fans fire up as both men stir.
The ring count starts but Goto is already up at 2 of 20. He drags Tama up at 5, but Tama is deadweight so Goto stomps him. The count passes 10, Goto drags Tama back up at 13. Goto puts Tama back in at 15 and fans applaud. Goto fires up and fans rally behind him. Goto climbs up a corner, but Tama ROCKS him first! Tama throws another forearm, but Goto hits back! Goto ELBOWS Tama in the head, but Tama throws body shots. Tama ROCKS Goto, climbs up and CLUBS Goto on the back. But Goto throws body shots and forearms! Tama and Goto fire off back and forth, and Tama gets the edge! Tama stands Goto up for the SUPERPLEX!
Fans fire up while both men are down again! Red Shoes checks, both men stir, and the fans rally up again. Goto crawls to a corner but Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Goto hangs tough and the fans rally up. Tama drags himself up with the ropes, and he storms over to Goto. Tama stands Goto up but Goto throws a forearm! Tama throws a forearm right back! Goto drops to a knee, but he grits his teeth. Goto stands up to ROCK Tama with a forearm! Tama shakes that off to ROCK Goto right back! Goto ROCKS Tama! Tama ROCKS Goto! The forearms go back and forth again!
Fans fire up as Tama fires off a strike fest! Tama whips, Goto reverses, fireman’s carries and USHIGOROSHI! Both men are down and Tama clutches his neck. Goto roars and fans fire up with him! Goto drags Tama up, dragon sleepers, but Tama throws hands from below! Goto blocks that, spins Tama around, but Tama fireman’s carries! SRC! Tama flounders but finds his way over to the corner! Tama goes up, for the SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Goto is still in this, but fans fire up with Tama! OFF COMES THE VEST! Tama watches Goto stir, and Tama pounds the mat. Fans clap along and build back up.
Goto rises, Tama runs in, GUN- NO, Goto blocks! Goto shoves, runs, Tama redirects but Goto follows! Tama dodges and runs, GUN- NO! Goto blocks, then deflects the boot! But Tama jumps, VELENO! Both men are down after the satellite DDT and the fans are thunderous! Tama rises first, the fans rally back up, and Tama takes aim from the corner. Goto flounders, rises, and Tama rushes in, GUN- NO, Goto puts him in the corner! DRAPING SHOUTO!! But Goto’s too tired to make the cover! Fans rally up again and Goto rises. Goto roars and Tama rises, BUZZSAW! Goto then drags Tama back up to fireman’s carry!
USHI- NO, Tama flips through! But Goto still blocks Gun Stun! Goto drags Tama back up, spins him around, but Tama SUPER FOREARMS! BLOODY SUNDAY!! Cover, TWO!?! Goto survives Tama’s shoutout to The Prince, but Tama roars! Tama drags Goto up, underhooks, but Goto fights the lift! Goto wrenches and HEADBUTTS! And then LARIATS!! Fans fire up as Tama goes flipping through the air! Goto roars and gathers all his strength! BUZZSAW!! And then another dragon sleeper! G T- NO!! Tama blocks to a backslide but Goto holds that off! Tama HEADBUTTS, and GUN STUNS!!! Cover, TAMA WINS!!
Winner: Tama Tonga, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
The NEVER Openweight Champion bests one half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions! The Fierce Warrior misses out on the final four, will he and Hashi simply regroup to focus on the tag titles for the Spring?
As for Tama, he shakes Goto’s hand to show respect, and the two hug it out. Goto raises Tama’s hand in victory, then lets him have the ring. Tama gets the mic to say, “HAMAMATSU~!” Fans cheer and Tama continues in Japanese,
“Really, thank you so much! Goto-san. That was amazing, thank you.” Fans cheer the respect shown, and Tama asks that everyone please keep supporting him! A short and sweet message from the Good Bad Guy, will he go all the way until he has his hands on the Cup?
Another really good night for the New Japan Cup, though not as shocking and wild as yesterday’s. Shota VS Finlay went about as expected in that Finlay goes over, but I am still impressed that Finlay is a Heel that doesn’t cheat to win. He didn’t need Gedo to do things for him here, Finlay just outdid Shota. And then we got a great main event where I was rather surprised that Tama won out. I thought Goto was going to go strong to the finals to put over the other side of the bracket. Instead, Tama gets a great win here and he’ll get to face Finlay next week, in a great rework of Tama taking on the Bullet Club.
My Score: 8.7/10
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