Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (12/20/19)
The SmackDown Before Christmas is here!
It’s a Holly Jolly SmackDown!
But will it be the best time of the year? Daniel Bryan surprised Bray Wyatt with his return at TLC, will Bray have a surprise for him in return? Plus, The New Day take on Sami Zayn’s “liberated” in a non-title challenge!
- Miracle on 34th Street Fight: Heavy Machinery VS The Revival; Heavy Machinery wins.
- Carmella VS Sonya Deville; Carmella wins.
- The New Day VS Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Sami Zayn; The New Day wins.
- Dana Brooke VS Bayley w/ Sasha Banks; Bayley wins.
- Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Lacey Evans w/ Dana Brooke; Double Count-Out.
- Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler VS The Miz & Daniel Bryan; Miz & Bryan win.
PLAY BY PLAY
TLC was… strange.
Bray Wyatt was himself from Firefly Fun House, but Miz didn’t care. Miz went after him with fire and fury, but all Bray did was laugh and encourage the violence. And in the end, Bray ended the fun and games, and The Fiend told him what to do next. Bray brought out his hammer, but someone came to play. It was DANIEL BRYAN! Trimmed back but unleashed, Bryan came within moments of breaking Bray before Bray slipped away in the shadows. The Yes Movement is back, but what happens next?
Daniel Bryan is here!
Fans are happy to see Bryan for the holidays! Bryan goes right to the ring and gets the mic. He hears the fans cheer for him and he says it’s great to be back in Brooklyn! People have been asking what happened and where he went, and Bryan isn’t really sure. Bryan just remembers The Fiend tearing hair from his face. When Bryan came to and fixed himself up, he actually didn’t notice the beard and hair missing. What was missing was the “brand.” For some reason, things didn’t feel lacking, but when he got home, it was the first time his daughter hadn’t seen him without all that hair. She cried, because all she knew was that Bryan. But Bryan knew himself. “Because what I saw in that mirror was the main who had never main-evented WrestleMania,” who fought for everything he’s gotten, and that man is the man who appeared on TLC and kicked Bray Wyatt’s ass!
Bray likes to talk about changing his victims, and he’s succeeded. But Bryan vows to change Bray, too. Bray says he can’t feel pain, well let’s see if we can prove him wrong! Bryan waits but it’s The Miz who appears instead. The A-Lister tells Bryan that what happened to Bryan was awful, but Bray personally attacked and infiltrated his family. Bray is a sick monster, and it wasn’t even about winning at TLC, it was about protecting his family. “Something that Bray Wyatt will never have.” All Bray has is that title. Miz vows to take what Bray cherishes! But wait, here comes Baron Corbin! Fans boo the Wolf King as he walks out on stage with a mic of his own. Corbin asks what’s wrong. A scary doll showed up in his new happy home? Maybe if Miz’s daughter had more of Maryse’s genes, she wouldn’t be so afraid.
And as for Bryan, “boo hoo hoo,” Birdie was scared because Daddy came home looking like Baby Yoda. But talking about his “Brand”? His brand is failure. Unlike Corbin’s. He defeated Kurt Angle in his last match at WrestleMania, won King of the Ring, and then defeated Roman Reigns at TLC. Corbin cues up the footage of his court celebrating with him over Roman Reigns, with looped audio of the winning announcement. So it doesn’t matter what personal issues they all have with The Fiend, Corbin wants that title. By virtue of victory over Roman, Corbin is the next man in line. For that matter, not only have Miz and Bryan failed as WWE superstars, they’ve failed as fathers. The mics drop, and both Bryan and Miz walk up on Corbin. But Ziggler gets in and blindsides Bryan! Then SUPERKICKS The Miz! Ziggler feeds Bryan to END OF DAYS! The Wolf King and his squire soak up the heat from Brooklyn as they leave Miz and Bryan down and out. But will they regret it on the road to the Royal Rumble?
Miracle on 34th Street Fight: Heavy Machinery VS The Revival!
As payback for past weeks, both teams want to end this in the most brutal way possible! Will Tucker Knight & Otis Dozovic steamroll their way through the holidays? Or will Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson be #TopGuys for Christmas?
Before the match, Cathy Kelley interview Tucker and Otis. Heavy Machinery are upset Sami Zayn rejected the ham. Ham is a mouthful of joy! But the big man with a big heart plans to rebound with a win, and both he and Tucky will spread holiday joy. Snowmen, reindeer, socks over the fireplace, Christmas is COMIIIN’! Whoa wait, is that Mandy Rose? She’s his Secret Santa, so she got him… HAM! Merry Christmas, Otis. He gets a kiss, too!? Well if that isn’t reason to celebrate, what is?
The bell rings and the Revival make fun of the Santa costumes. They kick and punch but Heavy Machinery hits back. They brawl against the ropes, The Revival double whip, but Heavy Machinery reverses. The Revival kick back but run into double back drops! Heavy machinery march a la the Bushwhackers and then belly bump Dawson down! Otis drags Dash in but Dash hotshots. Dawson throws Tucker into steel steps! Then the Revival lift and throw Tucker into the desk! The Revival see the appetizers and decide to force feed Santa Dozer some cookies! Dawson dumps the presents and then throws one into Otis’s face! The Revival take a table and position it. They bring Tucker over, to DOUBLE SUPLEX! But Otis saves Tucker and runs the Revival over!
Fans fire up with Otis as he puts Dash on the table. Otis heads to the apron and takes off the jacket. But Dawson uses a fire extinguisher! They position the table, to DOUBLE POWERBOMB Otis down! The Revival are laughing all the way as we go to break.
SmackDown returns and the brawl is on the ramp! Tucker gets SMASHED with a gift box! The Revival drag Tucker up but Tucker fights with big hands! Tucker stomps Dash then goes after Dawson. Dawson uses the Santa costume as a weapon and then goes to suplex. Tucker too big, he suplexes Dawson onto the ramp! Dash surprises Tucker with a box to the back! Oh there’s something in there! Dash has a BOWLING BALL! He lines up the shot while Dawson holds Tucker, not a strike but a split to the shin! The Revival won’t spare Tucker, either, as they put him back in the ring. Dash becomes Santa and brings a tree into the ring! The tree is set up in the corner with care, and Dawson suplexes Tucker over there. Dash fires up and Dawson whips him in, but Tucker misses! Dash gets nothing but tinsel to the face!
Tucker hip tosses Dawson down and out! Tucker hurries out after Dawson but Dawson hits low. Dash and Dawson use the fire extinguisher to the gut! They throw Tucker over the desk, and down goes the ham! Well, sorry, Mandy, your gift went to waste. Dawson picks the meat up and taunts Otis with it before throwing it down! Otis is MAD!! Otis throws hands! But a candy cane kendo stick SMACKS him on the back! Otis just powers up as Dash smacks away! Otis scoops Dash to FALL AWAY SLAM into the presents! Otis goes after Dawson in the ring and starts rallying. Otis whips and back drops Dawson down! He drags Dawson up and throws him overhead now!
Fans fire up with Otis as Dawson is in the drop zone! Otis looks for something, and finds a special sack. It isn’t full of presents, it’s full of LEGOS! Dash runs in but gets run over, and then Otis scoops Dawson! Fans fire up as he slams Dawson on the Legos! Dash hits back and climbs up, but Otis Electric Chairs him! Dawson runs over but gets scooped! Otis Electric Chair Fall Away Slams the Revival! Splash into the tree, and Dawson is down again! CATERPILLAR ELBOW! Otis isn’t done with Dawson, Tucker comes ni, COMPACTOR! Cover, the Heavy Machinery wins!!
Winners: Heavy Machinery, by pinfall
The holidays will be merry and bright now! There’s still plenty of good ham left, it’s a Christmas miracle! Will Blue Collar Solid be having a Happy New Year, too?
Otis encounters Mandy backstage.
He apologizes to her about ruining her gift, and regrets having it in harm’s way. But Mandy isn’t upset, she gives him a hug. But, he is all sweaty… That makes her dress a mess. No good deed goes unpunished, it seems.
The Revival complains.
“Look at all this garbage.” Dawson doesn’t mean Brooklyn, but what’s around the ring. This is what this tag division is? A Miracle on 34th Street? Ladder Match? Legos? This is their life now? It is a JOKE at their expense! Just what happened to good ol’ fashioned tag team wrestling? That’s the problem! “Wrestling” is gone, this is the “Sports Entertainment” world! But Elias heads out, playing a Christmas tune. And he asks Brooklyn, “Who Wants to Walk With Elias?!” He understands The Revival is upset, but he puts those feelings into a song. “We’re the best tag team,” that’s all you ever say. But the best would be if they just went away. Died a thousand deaths and coming up short. Grandma watched them and now she’s on life support. They want to be #TopGuys, front and center. Well they’ll have to make a big change, like Kaitlin Jenner. Merry Christmas, boys. Elias jingles all the way
Sami Zayn finds Braun Strowman.
He was looking for the Monster Among Men. Turns out, he is Strowman’s secret Santa. He’s doing that? Yes, oddly. He and his teams wondered what to get him, but Strowman is fed up with Sami’s months of messing with him and hating on the fans. NO that was just social commentary! But Shinsuke and Cesaro come in to reinforce Saim. Sami keeps the situation calm, but Strowman is in no mood. If they want to give him a gift, give him a shot at the Intercontinental Championship. A great idea! But not tonight, because of the tag team match. Sorry about that, Strowman. But Sami will check his list and check it twice and see if there’s an opening. Okay, off we go to the North Pole. Tell Kris Kringle hi then.
Carmella VS Sonya Deville!
The Fabulous Princess and the Gladiator Gal both want to move up in the SmackDown Women’s Division for the holidays, but only one can win tonight! Who wins themselves some momentum for Christmas?
SmackDown returns as Sonya makes her entrance. The bell rings and Carmella circles with Sonya. They tie up, Sonya knees low and snapmares, sliding wizard! Cover, TWO! Carmella gasps as she gets to ropes but Sonya is on her. Sonya stops choking at 4, but goes for a different choke. The ref backs Sonya off, Carmella SLAPS Sonya. Sonya kicks low then gets in Carmella’s face. “Who do you think you are?!” Sonya kicks away in the corner, then backs off. Carmella elbows back then boots. Carmella hits a big clothesline and fires up! Sonya waistlocks and throws Carmella but she lands and slides under to FABULOUS Kick! And another! Carmella gets Brooklyn in it as she brings Sonya up for a Complete Shot! Into Code of Silence! Sonya taps, Carmella wins!!
Winner: Carmella, by submission
Mella is money, and wins big for the holidays! Will the Fabulous Princess have a title opportunity waiting for her in the New Year?
Awwww~ Brooklyn! Clap for your 7-time champs, and feel~ the power~! The New Day heads out and meets Carmella on the way out. Big E and Kofi Kingston are ready to have another match so soon after TLC’s incredible Ladder match. Will they win big again here tonight?
They say change is good for the soul. SmackDown changed, but not for the good. When Sheamus left, he took the soul with him. And all that was left were cowards and crybabies. In Sheamus’s absence, this house of warriors and temple of titans has become sad, soft and small. Sheamus is back, and it’s time to change SmackDown again. The Celtic Warrior is coming and ready to do battle for the soul of SmackDown!
The New Day VS Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Sami Zayn!
SmackDown returns and Sami’s team make their entrance. The teams sort out and Kofi begins against Nakamura. Nakamura dodges to hit Big E! Kofi throws hands but Nakamura throws a strike fest. Kofi ducks a forearm to kick away then whip. Nakamura reverses, Kofi goes up and dropkicks Nakamura down! Cover, ONE! Kofi drags Nakamura up, whips but Cesaro tags in. Nakamura sends Kofi into a EuroUpper! BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO! Cesaro looms over Kofi and stomps away. Cesaro gut wrenches Kofi up to throw him! Cover, TWO! Cesaro keeps on Kofi with a chinlock and traps an arm. Kofi endures the neck wrench but Cesaro shifts to the other side. Kofi fights his way up, Kofi elbows out, but Cesaro tags Nakamura. Nakamura takes the hand off to wrench and kick Kofi down.
Nakamura drags Kofi up to a facelock but Kofi fights his way up. Nakamura shifts to a sleeper hold, but Kofi fights with elbows. Nakamura knees low then suplexes, but Kofi lands on his feet! Hot tag to Big E! Big E overhead suplexes Nakamura and clobbers Cesaro! Another supelx for Nakamura! Then the belly2belly! Fans fire up and Big E swivels those hips. Big E runs for the BIG SPLASH! Fans clap along, “New! Day Rocks!” Big E stalks up behind Nakamura but Nakamura elbows out. Nakamura swings a kick but hits the second! Nakamura runs corner to corner, into the Urenag-E! Cover, but Cesaro barrels in! Sami is proud of his guys as Cesaro rocks Kofi with a right. Kofi monkey flips Cesaro out! Then FLIES with the Trust Fall!
Sami distracts and Nakamura ROUNDHOUSES Big E! And BOOTS! Nakamura kicks Big E out but the ref keeps him in. Cesaro LARIATS Big E behind the ref’s back! Nakamura goes out to fetch Big E and drags him back into the ring. Nakamura positions Big E on the apron for a knee lift! Sami and Cesaro applaud and high five while Big E flops back out. Nakamura whips Big E into steel steps! Big E flounders and flops as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Cesaro knocks Big E down. He brings Big E up to whip corner to corner, but Big E tosses Cesaro out! Fans fire up as Big E crawls, but Sami gets Cesaro back up. Cesaro goes after Big E and drags him away, but Big E pushes Cesaro back! Tag to Nakamura, and Nakamura hits Kofi down! Big E runs into a boot, Nakamura hops up for a flying knee! Nakamura unzips and takes aim, “YAO~!” Big E rises, but he LARIATS Nakamura down! Fans fire up as Kofi returns to the corner and Sami is in shock! Big E crawls, but so does Nakamura. Hot tags to Cesaro and Kofi! Kofi springboards in to ax handle and rally with forearms! Dropkick but Cesaro ducks the lariat. Cesaro whips, Kofi goes up, flying huricanrana! DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!! Cesaro survives and Sami is relieved, but Kofi drags Cesaro up.
Kofi runs, leaping lariat hits this time! Kofi runs for the NEW~ DAY~ Boom Drop! Fans fire up as Kofi aims from a corner. Cesaro rises, Kofi spins, but no Trouble in Paradise, POP-UP UPPERCUT! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura and Big E return, Big E sends Nakamura out. Cesaro runs in but gets clothesline’d out! Kofi builds speed, Big E helps him FLY! Kofi takes out both men! Kofi puts Cesaro in, climbs up top, crossbody! Cover, TWO!! Sami is losing his mind as Kofi drags Cesaro up. But Nakamura trips Big E! Cesaro rolls Kofi, TWO, but into the SWISS SWING! Around and around they go, for a count of 10! Then DOUBLE STOMPS of his own! Cover, TWO!! Kofi survives and Sami is furious! Cesaro drags Kofi up and reels him in while Nakamura keeps Big E down. Kofi back drops, Cesaro lands on his feet. Cesaro swings but Kofi spins through, inside cradle! THE NEW DAY WINS!
Winners: The New Day, Kofi by pinfall
But Sami’s team won’t stand for it! They stomp and kick the New Day while they’re down, but Sami comes in to calm them down. And then get his own shots in! 3v2 and Sami laughs, but here comes BRAUN! The Monster Among Men storms down the way, Sami bails out, but Nakamura and Cesaro run at Strowman. Strowman throws hands but Cesaro hotshots him! Nakamura kicks Strowman but Strowman BOOTs back! Strowman ROCKS Cesaro with a right, then splashes Nakamura in the corner! Fans want the victory lap, Strowman obliges! He steamrolls Cesaro, then gets back in to corner splash Nakamura! Scoop, but Sami saves Nakamura and retreats! Fans boo and Strowman dares someone to #GetTheseHands! But will Strowman get the title match he wants?
Miz talks with Daniel Bryan.
Miz didn’t get to say this, but given how Bryan saved his life, “Thank you,.” Bryan says he went after Bray for himself, not for Miz. But both men are fathers, so Bryan says “You’re welcome.” As humans, they still don’t like each other. Tonight is about working together against Corbin and Ziggler. After that, every man for himself against the nightmare that is Bray Wyatt.
Dana Brooke VS Bayley w/ Sasha Banks!
Ms. Flex Appeal put the challenge out on social media, the SmackDown Women’s Champion accepted. Will this rematch go the same way? Or can Dana get a win and put herself in position for a title match?
SmackDown returns as Dana makes her entrance. The bell rings and Bayley circles with Dana. They tie up, go around, and Bayley puts Dana in a corner. Bayley lets up to throw a sucker punch! Then bump Dana on buckles. Sasha talks trash as Bayley snapmares and sliding lariats! Cover, TWO, but Bayley keeps on Dana. Dana throws hands then runs, but has to somersault over Bayley. Bayley runs but Dana hip tosses and boots Bayley down! Cover, TWO! Dana drags Bayley up but Bayley throws her down by her hair! Bayley rams her knee into Dana in the corner! Then stomps a mudhole into her! Cover, TWO! Bayley is annoyed with Dana but trash talks her. “Are you stupid?!” Dana throws hands but Bayley snap suplexes her down. Cover, TWO!
Bayley drags Dana up and Sasha taunts Dana with the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Bayley chokes Dana on the ropes but lets up at 4. Bayley then wraps on a chinlock and grinds Dana down. Dana endures and fans rally up but Bayley thrashes Dana around. Dana still fights her way up and fights back. Dana is free but Bayley ducks the swing to back suplex. Dana lands on her feet and BOOTS Bayley back! Dana dodges to enziguri! Bayley is down, Dana climbs up! Dana SWANTON BOMBS! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Dana is angry, she drags Bayley up for lariat after larait! Dana whips Bayley to a corner, handsprings in for a back elbow! Then Dana gets moving, dodges a clothesline and runs Bayley over! Fans fire up with Dana as she handsprings for the splash! Cover, TWO!! Sasha is relieved but Dana is determined. Dana powerbomb lifts but Bayley slips out. Bayley flapjacks Dana off buckles! Then headlock DRIVER! Cover, Bayley wins!
Winner: Bayley, by pinfall
The Boss & Smug connection celebrate together and stand over Dana. Will Bayley and Banks continue to bully and talk down to the rest of the women of SmackDown? But wait, here comes Lacey Evans! The Sassy Southern Belle stands up to Bayley and Banks, and they bail out! Lacey grabs a mic to talk to Sasha. “Where’re you going, sweetheart?” Sasha is no boss, she’s a Legit Bully with no backbone. Lacey was raised to never let bullies win, so she challenges Sasha to a match here tonight! Maybe Lacey can make Sasha a #LegitLoser. Looks like we’ll be seeing this match happen up next!
Sasha Banks w/ Bayley VS Lacey Evans w/ Dana Brooke!
SmackDown returns and the match begnis. Sashas goes to slap but Lacey powers her to a corner. Lacey bounces Sasha off the buckles over and over! Lacey backs off at 4 but Sasha yanks her into buckles! And then returns those bumps! Sasha grinds Lacey’s face in but lets up at 4, to meteora! Cover, TWO! Sasha puts Lacey in another corner to stomp a mudhole in. She lets up at 4 but comes back to bring Lacey out by her hair. Sasha suplexes Lacey down then covers, ONE! Sasha goes after an arm, but Lacey endures and works her way up. Fans rally and Lacey arm-drags free, but Sasha dropkicks Lacey down! Sasha pushes Lacey against ropes then snapmares Lacey for a basement meteora! Cover, TWO! Sasha circles Lacey while Bayley talks trash.
Sasha gives toying kicks and laughs, but Brooklyn boos. Sasha stalks Lacey to a corner and bumps her off buckles again. Sasha stomps another mudhole then grinds her boot in again. She lets up at 4 and says that she and Bayley are the leaders! Lacey BOOTS back! Lacey runs and knees Sasha low, then whips her to a corner. Sasha reverses and runs in, but Lacey slips out to send Sasha into buckles. Sasha goes to throw a shoulder but Lacey knees back. Sasha goes to the apron but her kick is blocked! Lacey throws Sasha down, then swinging dropkicks Sasha down! Lacey backs Bayley off before going after Sasha. Lacey throws Sasha all around the way, but sees Bayley coming! Sasha uses the distraction to strike! Sasha bounces Lacey off the post then into barriers! Sasha drags Lacey up and gives her knees as the Evans family glare at her. Sasha CLUBS Lacey down right in front of Lacey’s daughter! But the ring count passes 10!
Sasha doesn’t care, she keeps beating Lacey down and mocks Lacey’s daughter! Lacey’s daughter wants after Sasha, but Lacey gets Sasha herself! Bayley runs in but gets pushed down. Dana pulls Lacey away but Lacey still throws Sasha down! Lacey wants after both Bayley and Banks but Dana keeps a cooler head. Fans want to “Let Them Fight!” but Bayley and Banks head out. Will things be settled after the holiday season?
Baron Corbin & Dolph Ziggler VS The Miz & Daniel Bryan!
The unlikeliest of allies come together to shut up the Wolf King and his Show-Off squire. Will the A-Lister and the Yes Movement be able to coexist for just one match?
The teams sort out, but Miz and Bryan are arguing. So instead, they just brawl with Corbin and Ziggler! Miz dumps Corbin out and Bryan starts with Ziggler by default. Bryan gives Ziggler plenty of Yes Kicks! But then Miz tags in to give Ziggler some It Kicks! Bryan gets in to intercept Corbin with a dropkick! And now, for the first time ever, stereo Yes/It Kicks! They kick and kick and kick, and BUZZSAW! Corbin and Ziggler bail out while fans fire up with Miz and Bryan! “YES! YES! YES!” as we go to break.
SmackDown returns once more, and Corbin throws hands on Miz in a corner. Corbin brings Miz up for a back suplex but M iz slips out! Hot tag to Bryan! Bryan brawls with Corbin, Corbin whips but Bryan goes up and over and speeds up to lariat! Fans fire up with Bryan as he runs corner to corner, dropkick! Bryan keeps going, another dropkick! Bryan still keeps going, but runs into DEEP SIX! Cover, TWO! Corbin is frustrated with Bryan, he tags to Ziggler. Ziggler scrapes his boot on Bryan’s face then scrapes Bryan’s face on ropes. The ref counts and Ziggler backs off to mock the fans chanting for Bryan. Ziggler drops an elbow and covers, TWO! Ziggler keeps Bryan anchored but Bryan throws haymakers! Bryan crawls but Ziggler drags him away, to then sucker punch Miz! Miz is angry but the ref keeps him back. This allows Corbin and Ziggler to mug Bryan in their corner!
Ziggler tags Corbin and there’s more mugging against the ropes. Corbin drags Bryan up to throw in a big knee. Corbin mocks the Yes Movement fingers then stomps Bryan down. Corbin grinds a foot into Bryan’s face but lets up at 4. Tag to Ziggler, and they mug Bryan more. Ziggler grins as he mocks Bryan. “Get to Miz! Reach! Reach!” Ziggler throws haymakers on Bryan in the corner then headbutts. Tag to Corbin, Corbin runs corner to corner and clotheslines Bryan down! Corbin throws forearms on Bryan then drives elbows into the shoulder and chest. Corbin clamps on a half nelson chinbar, but Bryan endures. Fans rally up but Corbin throws him into a corner. Corbin puts Bryan up top but Bryan fights back! Bryan leaps to missile dropkick Corbin down! Fans fire up as Bryan and Corbin tag to Miz and Ziggler!
Miz fires off with fists and kicks in the corner! Then runs corner to corner for the A-List Lariat! Miz BOOTS Corbin then slides under Ziggler to roll him up, TWO! Kick and basement DDT! Cover but Corbin is right there to break it. Corbin whips but Miz reverses, FINALE! Miz sees Ziggler coming but still gets the satellite DDT! Cover, TWO!! Ziggler aims to superkick but Miz catches him! Figure Four Leglock is on! Ziggler endures, Bryan has a KNEE PLUS for Corbin! Ziggler taps, Bryan and Miz win!!
Winners: The Miz & Daniel Bryan, Miz by submission
But breaking news! The Miz and Bryan will face Corbin again, in a Triple Threat! The winner will face Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble! And, oh no…! The lights are going out! Bray’s laughter fills the air to give us all a little nightmare before Christmas. Will it be a nightmare in the New Year, too, when one man has a match with The Fiend?
A pretty good holiday SmackDown episode here, all things considered. The women didn’t really get the time I expected, with Carmella VS Sonya being really short. It’s great in kayfabe for Carmella to beat an MMA user that quick, but it just wasn’t what either deserves. Dana VS Bayley was good, Lacey VS Sasha was better, if mostly for getting the family involved. Obviously Lacey’s daughter was playing along but she got into it and wasn’t about to cry or anything. I would expect a tag match of Bayley & Banks VS Lacey & Dana for the final episode of 2019 next week, and that helps bring us towards Bayley VS Lacey for the title at Royal Rumble. And while Lana is so cringe worthy on Raw in that love triangle, I actually don’t mind this little tease of Mandy Rose taking a liking to Otis. Her gift of ham and a kiss made for great motivation in the Christmas themed Street Fight, but also it makes for a sweeter story of beauty and beef rather than a selfish woman ruining her husband’s life out of spite.
Speaking of that Street Fight, it was a lot of fun, but I do like how The Revival was fed up. This is a good work shoot of perhaps how they feel being underutilized in the tag team division, which as others will point out, isn’t being utilized as well as it could be. Elias again pushes the edge with his song, but it is hard to say if anyone’s getting upset yet. Not sure where any of this is heading, but these quick hit ‘n’ run songs are at least entertaining in some way. The Revival themselves still have that Harlem Heat idea in the back pocket, I hope we get that. The New Day VS Cesaro & Nakamura was a great match, and naturally Strowman helped to fight back. I really do hope we get that Intercontinental Championship match between Nakamura and Strowman before we get to the Rumble, but I honestly have no idea who should win that. Strowman needs a singles title badly, but Nakamura badly needs to hold onto one. Either way, a match between these two needs to feel amazing or else neither result feels right.
The story of the night, Miz and Bryan both wanting after Bray but Corbin wanting after the title, was done rather well tonight. It all just makes sense to blend these together, and even the holla holla tag match worked out. Bryan and Miz did great together, and it’s rather unique that The Miz won using the Figure Four. I don’t think Miz has won with that very often, for one. Also, I wonder if it was an audible with time running down for Ziggler just to tap out. I thought we were going to get a Triple Threat tonight but we’re getting it for the big 2019 finale so that’s good. Pretty sure it has to be Daniel Bryan winning so he and Bray can settle things at the Royal Rumble. Plus, I would think Roman wants payback for that TLC screwjob, and we didn’t even get a hint of it here tonight. But, maybe have them settle it as part of the Rumble itself, not yet another match between them.
My Score: 8.3/10
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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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