Andrew’s Ratings & Analysis: AJPW New Year Wars: Day 2
In preparation for Wrestle Kingdom, enjoy a little All Japan coverage and the true Ace of Japan, Kento Miyahara!
In preparation for Wrestle Kingdom, enjoy a little All Japan coverage and the true Ace of Japan, Kento Miyahara!
So even if Day 1 was a little underwhelming, you know the energy is different when the top title is on the line.
Jake Lee gets another shot at the Triple Crown Championship and we finally get a new Junior Heavyweight Champion after 7 months of reverence to Atsushi Aoki.
Let’s see how the card shakes out when it’s building to a Kento match!
- Dan Tamura & Masayuki Mitomi vs Izanagi & Utamaro: Izanagi wins via Kick Combination @6:40 – ** 1/4
- Hokuto Omori, Takao Omori, Sushi & Atsuki Aoyagi vs Jun Akiyama, Masanobu Fuchi, Rising HAYATO & Osamu Nishimura: Fuchi wins via Small Package @10:25 – ***
- Yuma Aoyagi, Ryoji Sai, Danny Jones & Ayato Yoshida vs Zeus, KAI, Naoya Nomura & Yoshi-Tatsu: Aoyagi wins via End Game @11:25 – *** 1/4
- Kagetora, Black Menso-re & Nasahiro Takanashi vs Koji Iwamoto, Fumnori Abe & Francesco Akira: Akira wins via Slingshot Cutter @9:30 – ***
- Shigehiro Irie & Lucas Steel vs Shuji Ishikawa & Yusuke Oakda: Steel wins via Sitout Side Chokeslam @11:00 – *** 1/2
- Vacant Junior Heavyweight Championship: Susumu Yokosuka vs Hikaru Sato: Susumu wins via Jumbo no Katchi! @19:50 – **** – TITLE CHANGE!!!
- Triple Crown Championship: Jake Lee vs Kento Miyahara (c): Kento retains via Shutdown Suplex Hold @31:05 – **** 1/2
Dan Tamura & Masayuki Mitomi vs Izanagi & Utamaro – Much like the first day, we open with good energy and a solid match. Dan got to try his hand mostly against Izanagi, with Utamaro picking his spots. Much like most Japanese promotions, if the young boy does a lot of the heavy lifting, he’s going to crumble under the weight. Dan had a desperation Roll-Up that seemed to just annoy Izanagi, Thrust Kick, High Kick and Round Kick put the young wrestler away.
Hokuto Omori, Takao Omori, Sushi & Atsuki Aoyagi vs Jun Akiyama, Masanobu Fuchi, Rising HAYATO & Osamu Nishimura – Still a very odd realization that Sushi is the former Akira Raijin aka Kiyoshi (during his TNA run in the World Elite stable). Everyone got some time to shine, Omori and Nishimura had a short back and forth, HAYATO had a few moments against Hokuto and Aoyagi, but the match picked up when Sushi got tagged in. He thought he’d get Fuchi, but Akiyama got tagged in and poor Sushi had no chance. So we saw a lot of prat falls, poorly executed moves (for comedic purposes) and Akiyama toying with him. Akiyama softened up Sushi so Fuchi could do a few of his signature Scoop Slams, Backdrop and Small Package had Fuchi going over with Sushi looking like the comedic joke he’s supposed to. So this was fun, a decent enough match, but entertaining for the comedic reasons.
Yuma Aoyagi, Ryoji Sai, Danny Jones & Ayato Yoshida vs Zeus, KAI, Naoya Nomura & Yoshi-Tatsu – KAI got subbed into this match after we learned that Suwama was injured during the tag match (sacroiliac joint contusion). So we see Zeus is alright, maybe the match was called short yesterday for Suwama’s sake. It’s interesting to note that Zeus and Sai are on opposite sides, merely a day after losing the tag titles. So not sure if it’s just undercard randomness, or if this means that team is done for the near future.
This was pretty standard, until Zeus and Yuma got tagged in. They wrestled the bulk of the second half of the match, and this was really a huge moment for Yuma. As I’ve stated in previous articles, he’s really the only former member of NEXTREAM to not really break out or ascend to that next level. He showed some resolve and got the visible tap out from Zeus, who is a former Triple Crown champion and a proven main eventer. A great win and great moment for Yuma.
Kagetora, Black Menso-re & Nasahiro Takanashi vs Koji Iwamoto, Fumnori Abe & Francesco Akira – This was a fun and fast paced Junior trios match. Menso-re is hit or miss between his comedy elements and actual wrestling, but he held his own decently. Kagetora and Fuminori Abe had a wonderful exchange that saw quick transitions, frenetic attacks from both, and an energy level that has been missing from the All Japan Junior Division for some time. Takanashi and Iwamoto had a decent exchange early on as well, but Abe and Kagetora stole the match. Akira came in however and made fairly short work of Menso-re with some solid striking and a Slingshot Cutter. Akira continues to stay poised for a potential push this year, and I hope with how well Abe has looked the last two days; they plan on using him throughout the year.
Shigehiro Irie & Lucas Steel vs Shuji Ishikawa & Yusuke Oakda – I always appreciate when they don’t mute Shuji’s entrance music since he comes out to Metallica’s Battery. Yusuke also seems to have parted his hair in a way to resemble Suwama, which is amusing since Yusuke is the youngest member of Evolution and Suwama is Shuji’s Violence Giant tag partner.
The match itself had great action, Okada was trying to prove himself since he’s still the youngest member of the stable. Irie had great moments including a very cool Cannonball onto Shuji’s back while he was draped on the ropes. Steel and Shuji went back and forth in a power battle, which helped legitimize Steel since they’re equivalent height. Okada tried to pick up the pace and finish what Shuji started, but Steel was just too big and strong, even while Okada was trying to focus the legs. The South of Heaven style Chokeslam gives Steel’s team the win. I think Izanagi spoke for the winning team and challenged Violence Giant for the tag titles, but my Japanese ain’t the best, so I guess we’ll wait and see.
Vacant Junior Heavyweight Championship: Susumu Yokosuka vs Hikaru Sato – So the tournament for the new Junior title brings us here, to the final two. Hikaru Sato, the close friend of Atsushi Aoki and Susumu Yokosuka, the Dragon Gate outsider.
This was an impressive match. It started off methodically, but each wrestler turned it up and we got a hell of a bout. Stiff strikes and great ground transitions from Sato, while Susumu brought his own speed and violence, peppered with Suplexes. Both men fought with a lot of heart and it’s hard to really put it into words. Susumu won after a couple of his Jumbo no Katchi! lariats. Great stuff.
-After the match Izanagi, Black Menso-re, Francesco Akira and Fuminori Abe run out to challenge. Susumu allows the crowd to help dictate his first defense, and they choose Akira.
1月3日(金)後楽園ホール 11:30 開始
小中高生立見 ¥1,000https://t.co/8PYZZ4dNF5#ajpw #ajpwtv pic.twitter.com/rorPRZWHus
— 全日本プロレス/alljapan (@alljapan_pw) January 2, 2020
Triple Crown Championship: Jake Lee vs Kento Miyahara (c) – This is Jake’s second attempt at the Triple Crown championship in less than 9 months and his 4th singles match against Kento in the same span of time (finals of Champion Carnival and Royal Road tournaments). Jake managed to win the Royal Road Tournament, but he’s come up short when it really counts. Can he over come the Triple Crown demon that is Kento Miyahara?
Both men start off quickly aiming for the head. Moments where they’d usually give respite for a little gloating or mocking are quickly met with a kick in the face. There isn’t quite the level of disdain that Jake had in his last match, but both men are trying to create openings by striking early and often in the earlier portions of the match.
After a Big Boot from Jake knocks Kento to the floor from the turnbuckle, his countenance changes a bit. Apron PK, and the sarcastic side comes out a little as he mimics the count on the outside with a big grin on his face. He breaks the count to put Kento on the apron, pick his face up to the crowd and then raise a knee into his chin. Kento does manage to turn the tide with an Apron Piledriver, which sets up for a Blackout, and when he goes for a second Blackout, Jake catches it and kicks him in the face for his troubles.
Both men are exhausted and mostly throwing haymakers at this point. Kento with the German Suplex and Blackout, Jake hit his Giant Killing Backdrop, but only for two. It was just last ditch efforts from both, but Jake got caught with a Blackout after Kento countered the Backdrop, and that was the opening Kento needed to slap on the Shutdown Suplex, and make his 9th successful defense.
-Afterwards Yuma Aoyagi looked to be helping Kento put the championship on, but Suplexes him and basically finishes the complete fracture of NEXTREAM. Perhaps Yuma was sick of living in Kento’s shadow and wanted to prove that he could take the next step. But he definitely made his presence felt.
Overall Score: 8/10
Now this show was pretty damn good throughout! Undercard matches set up for the final two since we saw Akira pick up a few quality pinfalls, and now he was the crowd’s choice for number one contender. Plus, coming off his big submission over Zeus, Yuma turns on Kento and throws his hat into the main event scene. Also I think Shuji got challenged for the tag titles, so we got great matches and feuds to build up.
This was a great show to prepare me for New Japan action, as well as, a great show to move All Japan into 2020. The only slightly negative aspect of this day, is regarding Jake Lee. After coming up short twice in a short time span, and having a growing losing record against Kento; how does he rebound? You could follow these stories at www.Ajpw.tv for all the quality All Japan Pro Wrestling.
Expand your puroresu horizons. No better place to start than the company that’s nearly as old as New Japan, with as storied of a legacy.
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Andrew’s IMPACT Sacrifice Results & Match Ratings: 3.24.2023
Well damn, 24 hours changes everything! Josh is injured and has to vacate the World title! Mickie is also injured but she’s making her announcement during the show. How does IMPACT salvage their two main title pictures at Sacrifice?
Well hot damn, a lot of news popped up in less than 24 hours. So Josh Alexander tore his triceps; so he has to vacate the World Title and he’s being replaced by Steve Maclin in the 6 man match. Mickie James apparently also has an injury, but they are going to turn it into a segment on the show instead of a straight up vacating.
Now from a story perspective this sucks since I loved the Maclin/Alexander segment last night. That’s just me being selfish since I wanted to see that build and Maclin get the big win he deserves. Now he’ll be facing Kushida for the vacated title at Rebellion, and even if Maclin wins it will feel a little flat. Here’s to hoping that when Josh returns from injury they can find a way to bridge the time lost and keep the story going eventually.
.@MeanGiaMiller caught up with @FrankieKazarian and #RichSwann to talk about @Walking_Weapon's unfortunate injury and @SteveMaclin replacing him as their partner TONIGHT at #Sacrifice! #CountdownToSacrifice pic.twitter.com/jdnqk6BLN9
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) March 24, 2023
- Speedball Mike Bailey vs Jonathan Gresham: Bailey wins via Reverse Figure Four – *** 3/4
- Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs Brian Myers: Hendry retains via Standing Ovation – ***
- Gisele Shaw w/Jai Vidal & Savannah Evans vs Deonna Purrazzo: Deonna wins via Venus de Milo – *** 1/4
- Kenny King w/Eddie Edwards vs PCO: PCO wins via Straight Right Chair Punch – *** 1/4
- X Division Championship: Lince Dorado vs Trey Miguel (c): Trey retains via Cradle – *
- IMPACT Tag Team Titles: TMDK (Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito) vs Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) (c): Bullet Club retains via ABC 1-2-Sweet – ****
- Busted Open Match: Bully Ray vs Tommy Dreamer: Bully wins – ** 1/2
- Time Machine (Kushida, Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) vs Rich Swann, Frankie Kazarian & Steve Maclin: Kushida wins via Hoverboard Lock – ****
Speedball Mike Bailey vs Jonathan Gresham
With the injuries in the main event, I could definitely see one, or both of these guys; fast tracked into the title scene after Rebellion. And I don’t think anyone would really be mad at that.
A quick tit for tat start, no one really gets any advantage. Just a few quick counters and takeover attempts. They both pause to take in chants from the crowd and then lock up again. Collar and Elbow tie up, they don’t release and both roll one another under the rope and out of the ring. There is an early moment where while he’s against the ropes he pokes Speedball in the eye and then apologizes. So things go back to a technical face vs face, but it could be a precursor.
Technical catch wrestling continues. Wrestling one another down, trying to get positions for small submission picks or limb attacks, but nothing is sticking yet. Gresham does manage to an Indian Deathlock, and then a Reverse Figure Four that Gresham conveniently can’t untangle so the referee has to do it and Bailey is pissed. Gresham tries to explain it, but Bailey lights him up, Gresham falls out of the ring, Golden Triangle Moonsault and now the aggression is starting to pick up. Hamstring Kicks and Chops from Bailey, but Gresham baits the attack and trips up Bailey before attacking the left knee with a grin on his face. Bailey is grounded for a while and Gresham keeps trying to twist off his leg. Eventually some Up Kicks break the submission attempt but Gresham wrestles him down again into a Bow and Arrow Trailer Hitch kind of move. Since Bailey has Tanahashi next week, Gresham must be trying to make Bailey’s knees equal. Good Guy Gresham.
Bailey starts stringing some offense together, but a few Low Dropkicks ruins Bailey’s base and causes him to face plant and the offense is going nowhere. Gresham even goes for the pinfall by trying to hyper extend the leg he’s been working on. Strikes continue to trade, Gresham tries to shoot the half but Bailey kicks off, Hamstring Kick again, Gresham Kips Up but clutches the leg a little, a chance for Speedball but Gresham cradles him to the ground and locks in a Figure Four. Speedball eventually rolls to the apron, Gresham tries to continue the stretching but Bailey kicks him into the post, sweeps the leg and Moonsault Double Knees right on Gresham’s head; Bailey went full Billy Kidman with his offense.
Bailey and Gresham continue to jockey for position on the outside, it looks like it might be a double count out. Gresham gets in at 9, Bailey gets in right at the 10 and the referee allows the match to continue. Some quick offense, Tornado Kicks to the corner, Ultima Weapon misses, Gresham goes for the Figure Four again but Speedball reverses it and Gresham taps pretty quick.
Backstage segment with Brian Myers, Moose joins and says he’ll help him beat Hendry – but then Santino shows up! He tells Moose he’s dumb and just stooged himself out, so he’s banning him from ringside. Who would’ve thunk it, the comedy character brings the logic.
Digital Media Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs Brian Myers
Myers powders after a few early bumps and then Hendry follows him. Hendry is definitely not fighting with “champion’s advantage”, as is the way for babyfaces. Myers tries to fight back on the floor but a Scoop Slam leaves Myers on the receiving end. Hendry has to roll in to reset the 10 count and Myers catches him.
A few quick attacks, Roster Cut attempt but Hendry gets the goozle on. Standing Ovation attempt but Myers slips it, Chop Block, and continues to hammer down on Hendry. Myers with a Falcon Arrow and a bunch of slightly arrogant offense until he goes for the Crossbody, gets caught again, Sack of Shit, and Hendry is back on the offensive. Pop Up Power – no, slips and a Running Spear from Myers for a 2 count. Myers hits the top rope but Hendry cuts him off, Myers pushes him off, launches and Hendry hits the RKO mid move! Throws Myers into the ropes, Standing Ovation, and Hendry retains!
So Mickie addresses her injury, it seems she broke a rib during the tag match. They are allowing Mickie to hold on to the title until Rebellion. Either she defends it in a 3 way versus Jordynne and the winner of the 4 Way at the Multiverse United show or Jordynne will face the winner of the 4 Way for the vacated title.
Gisele Shaw w/Jai Vidal & Savannah Evans vs Deonna Purrazzo
Deonna starts off angry, Gisele is getting rocked early, they go through a few rope running counter cradles and slides but its just early counter wrestling. Gisele manages to surprise Deonna going for an Armbar, but Deonna counters it, tries the Venus de Milo but Shaw powders. Deonna hits the Baseball Slide, starts beating on Gisele but she slides back in to distract the referee while Savannah clocks Deonna.
Triplicate European Uppercuts from Gisele keep her very comfortably in control. Another distraction to the ref and Savannah swings and connects with Deonna again. Deonna tries to fight from the corner, Gisele grabs Deonna’s feet drapes her across the ropes and drops both knees on Deonna. Gisele drives her knee into Deonna’s shoulder blades and goes for the Chin Lock. Deonna tries to power out, Gisele stifles it a little, but Deonna catches her with a Twisting Neckbreaker. Slow start to the strike exchange but it slowly picks up, Deonna with a beautiful spot of a no look Back Kick right to Gisele’s stomach, Running Knee Lift into the Russian Leg Sweep for 2. Deonna Pump Kick, Gisele Superkick, Deonna bounces off the ropes, Flatliner into Koji Clutch, but Gisele slides back a little to turn it into a pinfall to break the submission.
Both women have wrist control and just swing at each other. Deonna gets the best, one big swing but Gisele ducks it, catches Deonna in Shock and Awe (Backbreaker into Flatliner). Denouement attempt, Deonna grabs at the arm for the Fujiwara attempt but Gisele fights it off. Venus de Milo gets locked in and Deonna holds it a little longer to make a point.
Savannah attacks Deonna afterwards, but Tasha Steelz music hits. Tasha tries to play nice like she’s here to help Savannah, then cheap shots her, fights off Jai with a Tornado DDT kicking off of Savannah. Okurr on Jai and Tasha cleans house and babyfaces herself.
Kenny King w/Eddie Edwards vs PCO
Kenny comes out in an Honor No More shirt, which is a nice way to play into the story.
Eddie tries to get PCO’s attention and then Kenny attacks him right as the bell rings. PCO turns things around shortly, Eddie keeps trying to find angles to give Kenny ambush spots but PCO keeps fighting back. PCO stalks Eddie on the outside and Kenny hits a beautiful Tornillo, then a Scoop Slam as he mocks the whole Frankenstein gimmick. PCO rolls in and Kenny John Woo’s him into the corner and starts Bootwashing his face to talk smack. PCO fires, goozle and just throws Kenny out of the ring.
PCO kicks Kenny from getting back in the ring, looks to do his Senton but “short circuits”. So PCO does a Senton to the wrong side of the ring, crashing but popping right back up, and it apparently helped correct the issue. So Senton onto Kenny, throws him back in, Kenny tries the Eddy Gordo kick but PCO just barrels over him. PCO drapes Kenny in the corner, Codebreaker, into the back of the head Guillotine Leg Drop and now PCO pulls him to the apron.
Here we go, Deanimator attempt – but Eddie cuts him off, PCO kicks him back into the cameras, Kenny gets up and an Iconoclasm bouncing off the apron of the ring! Kenny throws him into the steps, rolls in, things he’s all but won…yet PCO beats the 10 count. “He’s Not Human” chant starts, Frog Splash from Kenny and PCO kicks out and fires at 2. Eddie throws a Kendo stick in the ring to distract the referee from Kenny using a chair. Kenny hits PCO once, PCO shakes it off and has a gameplan. So he actually helps keep the referee distracted to bait in Kenny for another chairshot attempt, but PCO just punches through the chair and knocks out Kenny.
Maclin, Kaz and Rich have a backstage segment. It perfectly shows the story beats of Maclin being annoyed that he put in all this prep and recon on Josh just for the opponent to be flipped. Typical tumultuous team members vibe, but Maclin gets his story beats across beautifully.
Can #RichSwann and @FrankieKazarian trust @SteveMaclin? #Sacrifice pic.twitter.com/TcEZ79IWkC
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) March 25, 2023
X Division Championship: Lince Dorado vs Trey Miguel (c)
Okay Lince comes out in a bathrobe with some cringe ass “Lucha Lit” gimmick. I…hate it. This is probably the first time ever that I want Trey to win. Cause Dorado is cringe as hell. In a game of them both sucking, I’ll pick the style of trash that I can tolerate more…which is Trey.
Lucha counter wrestling with flips over trips and that stupid ass Mirrored Dropkick Spot. I also don’t love the Lince doing the cat mannerisms, but Puma King and a few others have done that…so I guess its more tolerated in Lucha. This whole match has been a little paint by numbers boring Lucha where the moves are done just to pop the crowd but not to actually accomplish anything.
Diving whatever moves they accomplish nothing. Its really hard for me to care about flippy trash matches. Lince hits 2 of the 3 step Moonsaults, but Trey of course no sells and dodges the third, Tiger Wall Kick, but Trey stumbles a little for the Enzuigiri, Trey also hits a sloppy Outside In Tiger Feint…its just sloppy spots for spots sake. I would probably be more entertained if I had Runescape fired up on a different tab. This is just a waste of space, much like both “wrestlers”.
Lince hits a Avalanche Frankensteiner, into a Shooting Star Press but Trey powders. Lince tries that bounce off the corner with his legs spot, but its sloppy. Another sloppy Tiger Feint from Trey, Slingshot Sunset Bomb for 2. These are just stupid moves for stupid sake. Lince tries to cut off Trey from a rope run with a Big Boot but mostly misses, makes the whole cut off exchange look stupid. Trey with a flash cradle during the cut offs for pinfall. Eww…this was garbage.
IMPACT Tag Team Titles: TMDK (Shane Haste & Bad Dude Tito) vs Bullet Club (Ace Austin & Chris Bey) (c)
It is nice to see a variation of TMDK back together. I also enjoyed Tito called Ace and Bey the “Mini Bullet Club” since they’re the juniors heavyweights.
Tito and Bey start off, Bey is trying to show off his speed, Tito gets across the power though. Tito kinda looks like a young Scott Steiner, and he literally tosses Bey back into his corner. Ace tags in, tries to do something but Tito is just too strong. Haste gets tagged in for some flashy yet effective offense. Ace finds something with the Triangle Victory Roll, Bey blind tag, cheap shot on Tito, Russian Leg Sweep + Low Sweep combination into some Click Click Boom. So Bullet Club is showing very nice Junior style synergy. Haste is very loud and animated, so he’s a great one to have eating the offense. Especially when they do their Back Rake goof spot.
Haste finally maneuvers things to tag Tito in, and Haste hands off Ace to Tito and Tito hits a Standing Blue Thunder Bomb. Tree of Woe, Bey tries to come in to break up the spot but the referee is distract, Tito steps up and stands on the groin, nice homage to Petey Williams. We are in Canada. Announce team almost sets up too much meme fodder, and then Rehwoldt steers into it. Rehwoldt said Bey was trying to rush into to get Tito off…paused for a second, which you know Hannifan gave him a look. So then they just pivot to everyone in TMDK being like Australian Sex Pistols. Very clever misdirection.
The match is fun, Bey gets the hot tag, clocks everyone, Haste tries a Lariat, Bey ducks that, flies onto Tito on the outside, comes back in, Tornado Fameasser for 2. Bullet Club goes for a Torture Rack/Triangle Kick combo, but Haste gets out of it. Tito gets tagged in and he start to look like Steve Williams with the Doctor Bomb for 2. Tito hits a big battering ram Dive on Bey to clear him out. Haste Falcon Arrow, Tito Froggy Splash, but Bey breaks it up.
Tito starts getting ping ponged between the two Juniors, Torture Rack/Triangle Kick combination, for 1-2-3? – no Haste comes in the referee says it was in time to stop the 3 count. Tito charges and a beautifully times Superkick + Spinning Back Heel Kick on Tito. He’s dazed, ABC 1-2-Sweet! Bullet Club retain!
Busted Open Match: Bully Ray vs Tommy Dreamer
This is a First Blood Match for anyone who doesn’t know, and Dreamer comes out with an ECW Championship Belt.
Chair duel to start things, ECW replica belt to the face of Bully Ray. Dreamer grabs a soda from a fan, Muta mist on Bully, tries to shove the can into his skull for early blood but no. Bully crotches Dreamer on the guardrail and then picks a fight with Darren McCarty who’s in the crowd. Darren McCarty was the enforcer for the Detroit Red Wings, so its very old school letting the ex sports guy play. Bully also has a great spot where he pulls out a step ladder, then asks the referee to hold it, does the Jimmy Snuka pose and goes for a Splash and misses. Bully gets to rile up AEW and WWF fans all in one spot. Good old school heat. Corny, but good.
Dreamer gets a bag of tacks, Bully fights off the Piledriver, gets the cheese grater but Dreamer hits the Bionic Elbow as a counter. Cheese grater with Dreamer, Dreamer charges, Bully pulls the referee in the corner, so ref bump. Dreamer eventually makes contact with the cheese grater, but there’s no referee and Bully has his back to the camera, so it slow rolls the result nicely. Good Hands hit the ring, on with a towel to see if he can blot the bleeding before the ref comes to.
Bully hits Tommy with pocket tacks instead of pocket sand. Tries to drive Dreamer’s face into the tacks and then Elbow it further down but Dreamer moves. Dreamer grabs the grater again, Bully tries to beg off, screams he’s sorry and now tries to guilt Tommy with his family is going to see this. Dreamer actually stops and then Bully hits him in the balls. Bully busts open Tommy with the tacks, the Good Hands slide in Tommy as the referee comes to, so the referee only sees Dreamer bleeding. Its a solid old school Hardcore match but it was definitely a little too plodding and corny.
Yuya Uemura tries to make the save, then Darren McCarty jumps the railing. This really has turned into ECW, Bully gets a mic, asks him if he really wants to fight and tells security to let him go. LOL – a literal Hockey Fight. McCarty gets the best of things, Good Hands mug him from behind. Triple Powerbomb McCarty through the table.
Scott D’Amore’s music hits! Scott starts stripping like he’s Ric Flair. Bully calls down Scott, but Scott has backup. He calls Rino, Heath, Gresham, Baily and Joe Hendry. Good Hands try to attack Scott…Scott stops him…and HITS A CANADIAN DESTROYER! Can this lead to a Lethal Lockdown match? Team D’Amore versus Team Bully? Give me that…give me some Lethal Lockdown now!
Time Machine (Kushida, Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) vs Rich Swann, Frankie Kazarian & Steve Maclin
Shelley and Swann start off, and its just a bit of chain wrestling. They both have Hammerlocks, Headlocks, and just twist around to try and find an angle. Shelley speeds things up a little, Shoulder Tackle, rope run, Swann goes down and Shelley puts on the brakes to sink in a quick STF but Rich grabs the rope. Kaz and Sabin tag in and we get some Battle of the Futures nostalgia.
Back and forth, Up and Over, Sabin with the Arm Drag into the Top Wristlock. Kaz fights through, a little more quick counters and fun stalemate spots as they are all having fun with each other. Kushida tags in and points to Maclin. Kaz slaps Maclin’s chest and we all know Maclin isn’t a fun loving babyface like Kaz and Swann, so the tone should start to change. Kushida starts by starting Grounded ala Inoki vs Ali, then manages to trip up Maclin and keep the mat wrestling going, but Maclin finally gets back to hit feet and can finally use his size and power to his advantage. Shelley blind tag, Time Splitters PK to the Arm combo.
Shelley keeps on the arm that got kicks with the Arm Wringer and then a few quick shots to the damaged arm. Kaz makes the blind tag after Maclin uses the middle rope into Shelley’s throat. Kaz and Rich with a little Hip Toss tandem stuff for a near fall on Shelley. But the tone of Rich and Kaz is definitely much different. Shelley fights his way out of the enemy corner, Time Machine triple team, Single Leg Crab, Camel Clutch, Sliding Dropkick from Sabin onto Rich. Kaz is trying to police too much of Maclin’s motion, typical team that doesn’t get along stuff. Rich driven into Kaz in the corner, triple Dropkicks from all of Time Machine.
Kushida tags in, stares down Maclin and then Maclin picks up and throws Rich to Time Machine because you can tell he’s frustrated getting policed with all of his moves. MCMG hold Rich, Kushida hits the Baseball Slide on the restrained wrestler and Kushida does the little Liger spin around pose/taunt and stares down Maclin. Shelley starts with the joint manipulation, and Swann is just getting torn apart. Swann in the Tree of Woe, Sliding Dropkick to Swann’s face, and then the Triple Baseball Slide. Sabin tags in with the Octopus Hold on Rich which he rolls into a pinfall, but Rich kicks out. You hear Maclin say “All you have to do is tag me bitch” – which proves that Maclin is trying to be a team player in his own way.
Rich fights out of the triple team, and chooses to tag in Kaz. Kaz hot tag, exchanges with Sabin which turns into the Guillotine Leg Drop through the ropes, Kaz is taking out everyone right now. Two Springboard Leg Drops…and now a third as all of the Time Machine offense is stopped. Sabin blind tag though gives Time Machine some momentum. Rich tries to come in, gets rocked, Maclin charges, Sabin grabs him and Tornado DDT sends Maclin to powder. Missile Dropkick/Flatliner on Kaz for 2.
Cradle Shock counter, rolling tag to Rich. Avalanche Headscissors, Rich goes to the top rope, Maclin tags himself in, but Time Machine gets rolling. Dragon Screw from Kushida with the Mutoh pose afterwards. Maclin and Shelley are legal, and going back and forth. Double Arm Breaker from Shelley after Kaz tries to get involved. Maclin gets some offense back in, Caught in the Crosshairs form Maclin, Maclin tags in Kaz, Kaz tags Rich, tandem attacks, Cutter form Rich into a 450…1-2-Kushida Kicks out! Swann goes for Phoenix Splash but misses. Flying Armbar from Kushida, triple Submission spot, but Maclin gets out of his and breaks Kushida’s submission. Maclin stares down Time Machine, hits the ropes and gets eaten alive by tandem attacks.
Time Machine goes for a Double Shiranui Tower, but it gets broken up. Outatime lands on Kaz. Sliced Bread lands on Swann. Tanaka Punch blocked, Maclin eats Shell Shock, Sabin gives Kushida a rolling start to throw him onto Maclin like a Spider Monkey and sink in the Hoverboard Lock. Maclin taps relatively quick, which is strategic to not risk injury.
Overall Score: 7/10
Talk about a show that no one knew what the hell to expect! Josh vacating the belt means that things had to change with fairly short notice. Mickie’s implications of either a Triple threat or she’ll hand over the belt to the winner if she’s not cleared is something you don’t see too often. But when it comes down to the card, the show was relatively good. Trey & Lince was hot garbage, and Busted Open was what we all kind of expected. Was it a bit more entertaining with some of the ECW nods? Sure. But it was just a spectacle and honestly Scott D’Amore hitting the Canadian Destroyer made that all worth it.
OH CANADA! @ScottDAmore CANADIAN DESTROYERS @TheJasonHotch and Windsor EXPLODES! #Sacrifice pic.twitter.com/iqqpiH0tMZ
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) March 25, 2023
The tag and six man matches were the best stuff on the card, and sets the stage decently well for storylines into Rebellion. I’m not joking though, if we don’t get Team D’Amore vs Team Bully in a Lethal Lockdown…the salt will pour. Don’t let the Canadian Destroyer spot be for naught! Oh – and put the damn belt on Maclin!
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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (3/24/23)
It’s a family feud!
Wrestling really does have more than one royal family.
While Cody Rhodes is back on SmackDown to take on Ludwig Kaiser, Dominik Mysterio plans on confronting in his entire family in Las Vegas! Will Rey finally snap on his son?
- Cody Rhodes VS Ludwig Kaiser w/ Giovanni Vinci; Cody wins.
- Rey Mysterio VS LA Knight; Knight wins.
- WrestleMania Women’s Tag Team Showcase Qualifier: Lacey Evans & Xia Li VS Shotzi Blackheart & Natalya; Shotzi & Natalya win and advance to WrestleMania.
- “Butch” Pete Dunne w/ The Brawling Brutes VS GUNTER; Gunther wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Cody Rhodes VS Ludwig Kaiser w/ Giovanni Vinci!
The American Nightmare is back on SmackDown, looking to stay razor sharp for his match with the Tribal Chief. But will he get more than just a tune-up from the Impeccable German? Or will Kaiser keep the mat sacred?
The bell rings and the two circle. Fans rally up for “CODY! CODY!” Ludwig eggs Cody on, they tie up, and they’re in a deadlock. Cody powers Ludwig to a corner but Ludwig turns it around. Ludwig lets off, but throws a body shot! Ludwig whips, Cody reverses and reels Ludwig in to suplex! Fans fire up as Cody keeps Ludwig in the air, before the GOURD BUSTER! But wait, here comes Paul Heyman. Cody is distracted by the Wise Man, Ludwig waistlocks, but Cody trips Ludwig to then SHINING WIZARD! Ludwig bails out while Cody glances back at Heyman. Fans continue to rally for Cody while SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Cody staggers over to Ludwig. Ludwig UPPERCUTS then COMPLETE SHOTS! Cover, TWO! Ludwig scowls, and he rains down fists in a headlock! Fans boo but Ludwig lets off. Ludwig clamps onto Cody with a chinlock, then CLUBS him down. Fans boo as Ludwig goes outside to drag Cody to the corner, but Cody YANKS Ludwig into the post! Cody goes out to CHOP Ludwig, ROCKS him, and then CHOPS him against the announce desk! Cody rains down fists and fans fire up! Cody puts Ludwig back in the ring, runs and springboards, but Ludwig trips him up and YANKS him down!
Heyman is stoic as Ludwig sits Cody up to PENALTY KICK! Cover, TWO! Cody scowls but Ludwig looms over him. Ludwig pie faces Cody, drags him up but Cody ROCKS Ludwig and JABS and throws a body shot. Ludwig throat chops in return! Ludwig CHOKES Cody on the ropes, the ref counts and Ludwig lets off. Fans boo, but Vinci gets a cheap shot! Cover, TWO! Ludwig clamps back on with a chinlock. Cody endures, fans rally up, and Cody fights up to his feet. Ludwig throws Cody down by his hair! Fans boo more as Ludwig paces around and taunts Cody. Ludwig rains down more fists, then scrapes Cody’s face!
Ludwig runs to BASEMENT UPPERCUT! Cover, TWO! Heyman is still stoic as Cody drags himself to ropes. Ludwig kicks the ropes to jam Cody’s arm! Ludwig drags Cody up to UPPERCUT! Cody ROCKS Ludwig with forearm after forearm! Ludwig JAWBREAKERS! Ludwig throws body shots and stomps in the corner, whips corner to corner, then runs in, but Cody puts him on the apron! Cody ROCKS Ludwig, and BEAUTIFUL DISASTER KICKS Ludwig down! Fans fire up and Heyman is upset now. Ludwig staggers up into a kick, and Cody reels Ludwig in! Cody hooks the arms, but now SOLO SIKOA appears!
Fans boo as the Bloodline approaches, but Ludwig CHOP BLOCKS Cody’s leg! Solo and Heyman stay at the ramp as Ludwig goes out. Cody throws hands, whips, but Ludwig reverses and sends Cody crashing into steel steps! Fans boo but Cody drags himself up, and SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Cody throws hands on Ludwig. Ludwig headlocks, Cody powers out and things speed up, but DOUBLE LARIATS take both men down! Solo & Heyman are now ringside as fans rally up. Vinci coaches Ludwig but Cody sits up first. They stand, Cody throws a body shot but Ludwig throws a haymaker. Cody throws a forearm, Ludwig gives it back, they go shot for shot, back and forth, faster and faster, and fans fire up! Ludwig kicks low, whips, but Cody reverses to then follow and CLOBBER Ludwig! Cody kicks, RHODES UPPERCUT! Cody then baits Ludwig, goes up and over in a corner, and POWERSLAMS! Cover, TWO!
Solo is stoic, Heyman smiles, but then Vinci throws in his track jacket. The ref gets that out of the way, but misses the HIGH LOW COMBO from Imperium! Cover, TWO!! Cody survives and Ludwig is surprised. Ludwig shouts “NEIN!” and runs in to UPPERCUT, GAMANGIRI and HALF HATCH SUPLEX! Ludwig goes up top, leaps, but into a dragon sleeper! But Ludwig drops to victory roll! TWO, and Cody dodges Ludwig to springboard, CODY CUTTER! Fans fire up as Cody stares down Heyman & Solo! Cody waits on Ludwig, reels him back in, CROSS RHODES!! Cover, Cody wins!
Winner: Cody Rhodes, by pinfall
The Impeccable German was less than perfect, and he loses to the American Nightmare! But Cody watches Solo get up on the apron and Heyman has the mic. Heyman has Solo stand down, and then tells Cody, “You’re owed an apology. And since I’m the Wise Man of the Bloodline, may I? I am going to be the one to deliver that apology to you.” The ring announcer did a lousy job. She must be from Vegas. Fans boo and Heyman acts surprised. But Heyman will do the honors. “Ladies and gentlemen! Your winner… and still challenger for the reigning! Defending! Undisputed! WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion, Roman Reigns… Cody! RRRRHODES!”
Fans are torn but Heyman says this is the very same Cody Rhodes that sees his Road to WrestleMania with a giant pothole in front of him that happens this Monday Night Raw, when Cody goes one versus one against… SOLO! And if, and isn’t that a big “if,” IF Cody survives Solo, then it’s not the Road to WrestleMania. All roads lead to Roman Reigns, who will be here live on SmackDown next Friday to see Cody one final time face to face. Heyman tosses the mic to Cody and he catches it. “Is that what we’re doing, Mr. Heyman? Are you moving the goal posts for me? Another thing you did, you interrupted them while they were singing the song.
“And now, you wanna move the goal posts and move ’em right here, huh? Am I expected to say ‘No?’ Oh, it’s six days out from the biggest match in the history of my family, I should probably say no, right? WELL, I probably shouldn’t have wrestled with half my body hanging off, and I still beat Seth Rollins! So when it comes to you,” he says as he points at Solo, “undefeated and as good as you are, like I said last week. You’re. Not. Ready!” Fans chant that, then Cody continues.
“And as for the champion, Roman Reigns. After Solo finds out that he’s not ready, at WrestleMania on April 2nd, your boy, Roman Reigns, the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, will find out the same thing. He is not ready, either!” Cody throws the mic back and Heyman misses it! Will everything about this homestretch to Hollywood be a nightmare for The Bloodline?
BREAKING NEWS for WrestleMania!
The very first match of night one on Saturday, April 1st will be… AUSTIN THEORY VS JOHN CENA! The United States Championship will set the pace for the weekend, will The Now find that he’s not ready, either?
Charlotte Flair is here!
Vegas fires up as The Queen heads to the ring. The SmackDown Women’s Champion has her pyro then gets the mic to tell Las Vegas, “We are just eight days away from WrestleMania! Fourteen times. Fourteen time world champion. And I can tell you, that was not built on fear, insecurities or nepotism. The same three things have been used against me by everyone, and I mean everyone, since I started in this business.
“Fear. What is fear? Fear is a lack of understanding. It’s ignorance. This business wasn’t built on fear. This business was built on respect! Rhea Ripley, I don’t fear you. I respect you! The only thing that I fear is my own potential. I respected Nikki and Brie. I respect Sasha, Bayley, Becky, Trish, Ronda, Asuka, Natty! I respected all of them! Insecurities. Damn right I have insecurities! Are you really ‘whatting’ me? This is important to me so listen. Insecurities, damn right I have them. And I have built this house on every brick that all of you have thrown at me! For the last seven YEARS! Lastly, nepotism.” Fans “WOO~!”
“That’s right, Vegas. I love my dad. And I will never apologize for continuing the greatest legacy in sports entertainment! And whether you like it or don’t like it, you better learn to love it, because diamonds are forever, and so is Charlotte Flair. WOO~!” The Queen is fired up, but will she be able to hold her throne at WrestleMania?
Rey Mysterio VS LA Knight!
The King of Lucha Libre, the headliner of this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class, has been pushed and pushed and pushed by his punk of a son, and the Mega Star was one big mouth too far! Will Rey be able to shut up the obnoxious jerk that isn’t Dominik? Or will things only get worse for Rey on the Road to WrestleMania Weekend?
SmackDown returns and Knight makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two circle. Knight chases Rey but Rey dodges and fires off hands! Knight shoves Rey away, but Rey slides under and dropkicks Knight to a corner. Rey runs in but Knight fights off the monkey flip. But Rey avoids the elbow drop! Rey runs in, and now he MONKEY FLIPS! Knight staggers up,. Rey KICKS Knight to a corner, and then rains down fists! Fans count all the way to TEN, then Rey gives us some Latino Heat. Rey runs, but Knight FLAPJACKS him down! Knight stomps Rey, stomps him to ropes, but the ref counts.
Knight lets off, “YEAH!” Then he bumps Rey off a buckle. Knight throws hands, JABS Rey, then digs his boots in. The ref counts, Knight lets off at 4, and Knight brings Rey up. Knight shoves Rey into the corner, Rey bounces off buckles, and into the NECKBREAKER! Knight spells it out, “L! A! KNIGHT! YEAH!” Cover, ONE!! Knight is annoyed and he throws fists down. Knight keeps on Rey, throws hands, then he bumps Rey off buckles. Fans rally and duel, but Knight whips Rey to ropes. Rey ducks ‘n’ dodges then tilt-o-whirls to RANA! Knight flounders out of the ring and fans fire up!
Rey runs, WRECKS Knight with a dropkick, then he builds speed. Rey SLIDES to SPLASH! Fans fire up for that one, and Rey stalks Knight to CLUB him! Rey puts Knight in the ring, climbs up and shoulders in! Then he GAMANGIRIS Knight away, climbs the corner, but here comes Dom! Dom said he’d ruin the fun, and Knight trips Rey up! Rey tumbles to the mat, but Dom doesn’t care. Fans boo as Dom walks down the ramp while SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Knight stomps away on Rey again. Knight drags Rey up but Rey throws hands! Rey fires off but Knight knees low! Knight scoops, Rey slips off and rolls Knight up, to then dropkick! Fans fire up while Knight scrambles around. Knight goes after Rey, Rey slips under and runs, but into a BOOT! Cover, TWO! Dom paces at ringside, and Knight sits Rey up to KNEE him in the back! Knight drags Rey up, back suplexes high and hard, then dusts off his hands. “YEAH!” Knight grins as he stands over Rey, then he pulls on the mask. The ref reprimands, Knight whips Rey to ropes, but Rey ducks ‘n’ dodges!
Rey CROSSBODIES, but Knight catches him for a POWERSLAM! Dom smirks while Knight spells it out again. “L! A! KNIGHT! YEAH!” But Rey avoids the elbow drop! Rey and Knight slowly stand up, Rey goes to ropes and Knight storms over, but into an elbow! Rey springboards, wheelbarrows and BULLDOGS! Dom is annoyed but Rey goes to the apron. Rey climbs up, SEATED SENTONS! And Rey keeps moving, SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY! Cover, TWO! Knight is still in this but Rey brings him up to whip him to ropes. Knight reverses, kicks low and back suplexes, but Rey lands on his feet! Tilt-o-whirl, but Knight blocks to a BACKPACK SLAM! Cover, TWO!
Knight grows frustrated but he drags Rey back up. Fans rally for “619! 619!” as Knight scoops, but Rey turns slam into DDT! Rey then dropkicks Knight onto the ropes! Fans fire up, Rey dials it up, 619 BLOCKED by Knight! Knight grins, lifts Rey up, but Rey RANAS free! Rey redials, but Dom trips him up!! Fans boo and Rey is furious! He can’t believe Dom is doing this now, but Knight rolls Rey up! KNIGHT WINS!!
Winner: LA Knight, by pinfall
Dom smiles because he just screwed his dad over. Dom gets the mic and tells, “Jefe… You gonna give me what I want? Huh? C’mon. C’mon Or are you gonna run away? Or are you gonna finally be a man and face me at WrestleMania?” Dom pushes Rey, and Rey brings down the straps. To wag his finger, “No.” Dom says, “That’s right. Walk away like you always do. Hey, mom. How does it feel to be married to such a pathetic loser? A coward who can’t even stand up to his own son?” Fans boo but then Dom points out the rest of the family. He asks if mom knew she married a deadbeat.
She did, because here’s why. She sat there every night while Rey abandoned Dom, sot hat makes her no better! His sister steps up now, and Dom asks Aalyah what she’s gonna do about it. She’s too stupid to understand this. Mom Angie snatches the mic from Dom but Dom snatches it back to tell her to shut up! Rey storms back over and fans fire up! Dom dares Rey to do something, and Rey DECKS Dom!! Dom is shocked but Vegas is thunderous! Rey tells Dom that Dom pushed him to do this. Rey doesn’t wanna do this but Dom gave him no choice! You do not disrespect your mother like that! That is Rey’s wife!
Dom wanted a fight at Mania? Then he’s on!! Fans are thunderous again as Rey says, “I’ll see you at WrestleMania, son.” Dom scurries away, having gotten what he wanted like the brat he is. But will Dom come to regret everything he’s done these past few months?
WrestleMania Women’s Tag Team Showcase Qualifier: Lacey Evans & Xia Li VS Shotzi Blackheart & Natalya!
The Model Soldier teams with The Predator to take on the Wild Child and the Queen of Harts! Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez are watching ringside, who will they see join them in this Fatal 4 Way tag team showcase?
The teams sort out, Shotzi and Lacey start. Fans rally as Shotzi and Lacey circle, then Shotzi gets around to a waistlock. Shotzi ripcords, wrenches and wristlocks but Lacey throws Shotzi by her hair! Cover, TWO! Lacey drags Shotzi up and fans rally as Lacey whips her to the corner. Lacey RAMS into Shotzi, tags Xia, and then mocks the fans. Xia stomps Shotzi, brings her up to CHOP, then taunts Natty. Xia runs in to KNEE and ELBOW Shotzi, then reels her in for an EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Natty rallies the fans behind Shotzi but Lacey tells them to shut up. Xia bumps Shotzi off buckles and tags in Lacey.
Lacey mocks the fans, then runs to headstand and BRONCO BUSTER! Lacey drags Shotzi up, snapmares and then dribbles Shotzi’s face off the mat! Cover, TWO! Fans rally but Lacey drags Shotzi up. Shotzi throws hands, kicks but Lacey blocks to trip her up! Lacey then sucker punches Natty! Fans boo but Shotzi rolls Lacey up! TWO and Shotzi ENZIGURIS Lacey down! But Natty is still off the corner so Shotzi has to BOOT Lacey away! Shotzi runs but Lacey CLOBBERS her! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up but Lacey tags Xia. Lacey & Xia drag Shotzi up, double whip but Shotzi KICKS Xia and JAWBREAKERS Lacey!
Xia waistlocks Shotzi, Lacey storms up, but Shotzi slips free and the WOMAN’S RIGHT takes out Xia!! Lacey is furious, but Shotzi whips her out of the ring! Shotzi swings on Lacey, Lacey counter punches, but Natty is back! Natty BOOTS Lacey, then Shotzi DIVES to take Lacey down! Fans fire up as Shotzi hurries back in and tags Natty! HART ATTACK! And then the SHARPSHOOTER! Xia taps, Natty & Shotzi win!
Winners: Shotzi Blackheart & Natalya, by pinfall (advance to WrestleMania)
Two hearts and a lot of fire, these two make it through! But wait, here come Ronda & Shayna! Shayna says, “Look at all the history in the ring right now! I mean, each single one of those women has a reason to want to get revenge on us, right? Let’s look. Broken hand, broken nose, broken arm, broken spirit. What do you say we uh… Give them the opportunity tonight?” Fans fire up as the Baddest Women on the Planet step up, but then Ronda says, “Wait, Shay-Bayz. I’ve got a question for you. How many times have we sold out this exact arena?” A couple times. And what about this entire town? A couple more times.
And how much did they appreciate it? ZERO TIMES! These two have given Vegas more than it deserves, so never again! And certainly not tonight. Shayna agrees with that. But lucky for the others, or maybe unlucky, these two are here to let them know, they’re in the tag team showcase! WrestleMania may be taking place in Hollywood, but the stakes just got raised like here in Vegas! Who wins when the odds are not in their favor?
Drew McIntyre heads to the ring.
Vegas fires up as the Scottish Warrior, Celtic Warrior and Der Ring General are about to converge for a contract signing! The Triple Threat for the Intercontinental Championship isn’t until WrestleMania, but will things break down on SmackDown?
SmackDown returns and Adam Pearce is in the ring to welcome us to this contract signing. But before he can introduce McIntyre, Sheamus and the Brawling Brutes make their way out! “Las Vegas, what’s the crack?” Sheamus says everyone’s been asking why he’s so mad at McIntyre. Imagine this: imagine working 15 YEARS of your life to achieve a particular goal; now imagine telling your best friend about that goal, only for him to go behind your back to try and steal it away from you. Imagine that friend being someone you let sleep and live on your couch, that you brought to his first training session in this business!
McIntyre rolls his eyes as Sheamus has said a lot of this before. Sheamus says, “Now imagine getting the opportunity to smash that person’s face in on the Grandest Stage of Them All, because they’re nothing but a backstabbing-” McIntyre says, “Imagine shutting up for a second. Every week, you run your mouth, you try to give me this guilt trip, trying to make me feel bad. And if it’s not on SmackDown, it’s on social medial with your little gifs and memes you create, blow up my Twitter like a teenage girl. It’s embarrassing, mate!”
McIntyre says last week, they were in this ring, proving why they are the most physical superstars in the WWE! They beat the hell out of each other! And afterwards, they should’ve been in the bar, laughing about it. That’s what they did in the old times. But now, Sheamus is so sensitive, he has this temper, that Sheamus can’t separate personal and business. Sheamus says McIntyre made this personal! McIntyre has a lot he’d love to say but he’ll stick to facts. And the facts are: McIntyre has beaten Sheamus, and he KNOWS he can beat Gunther. And history has shown that Sheamus can’t. Fans fire up as the two stare down.
Pearce has both men stand down because in order to get to WrestleMania, he needs three signatures on the contract. So how about we get the first two taken care of now? McIntyre takes the pen, signs his part, and then hands things over to Sheamus. Sheamus takes another pen, he signs his part, and then McIntyre throws his pen to the crowd as a free souvenir. And here comes GUNTHER! Gunther storms right into the ring, he gets right in Pearce’s face, and he tells Pearce to justify this decision. Justify why Gunther is in a match where the other two can pin or submit the other and Gunther still loses his title. Justify it! JUSTIFY IT!!
Pearce has Gunther calm down now, and Gunther signs his part. Is Pearce happy now? Whatever he has to do to defend HIS title at WrestleMania will be justified. Gunther will beat McIntyre. He will beat Sheamus. And if he has to, he’ll beat up Ridge and- What is Dunne looking at him like that for? DUNNE JUMPS THE TABLE TO GET AT GUNTHER!! Fans go wild as Butch goes wild! Ridge drags Dunne away, Gunther TOSSES the table! Gunther gets in Pearce’s face and Gunther wants a match! Pearce says okay, just calm down! Is Der Ring General about to break the Bruiserweight?
“Butch” Pete Dunne w/ The Brawling Brutes VS GUNTER!
SmackDown returns, and Gunther has Dunne on the ropes. Dunne pulls on Gunther’s ears! Then CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! Dunne runs, but into a BOOT! Gunther drags Dunne up, scoops and SLAMS him, then sits him up to PENALTY KICK! Dunne kicks back from below! Dunne forearms, CHOPS, SLAPS and then jumps on for a a DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! Gunther throws body shots and then shifts Dunne around into a BUTTERFLY SUPLEX! Fans fire up while Gunther paces around Dunne. Gunther kicks Dunne in the side, he taunts Sheamus, then he stomps Dunne down.
Gunther brings Dunne up but Dunne throws body shots! Dunne forearms, but Gunther CHOPS Dunne off his feet! Even McIntyre is feeling that one. Gunther drags Dunne up, and CHOPS him right back down! But Gunther holds onto the wrist and he brings Dunne up again. Gunther CHOPS Dunne inside-out! Gunther still holds the wrist and he gives toying kicks to Dunne while taunting Sheamus. Gunther ripcords, but Dunne uses that for a TRIANGLE HOLD! Gunther CHOPS Dunne down, into a BOSTON CRAB! Dunne endures, Sheamus and Ridge coach Dunne, and Dunne fights, only for Gunther to shift to an STF!
Dunne still endures, even as Gunther bends him back. Dunne pries free, wrenches the arm and bends the fingers! Gunther pulls hair, then CHOPS Dunne down! Gunther drags Dunne back up but Dunne ENZIGURIS! And ENZIGURIS again! Gunther wobbles, blocks the third enziguri and deadlift GERMAN SUPLEXES! Dunne goes to a corner, Gunther hauls him up onto the top rope to CHOP! Gunther climbs up and he STANDS on Dunne! Dunne endures and the ref counts, Gunther lets off and Dunne tumbles to the floor! Sheamus checks on Dunne, Gunther stands tall, and SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Gunther has Dunne on the ropes. Gunther taunts Sheamus, but Dunne catches his Beats of the Bodhrain! Fans fire up as Dunne bends the fingers, and SNAPS them!! Gunther staggers away, Dunne runs in to fire forearms! GAMANGIRI! Gunther staggers, Dunne goes up and fans chant for the “BRUISERWEIGHT! BRUISERWEIGHT!” as Dunne DOUBLE STOMPS the arm! Dunne waistlocks, but Gunther switches and puts on a SLEEPER! Dunne drops down, but powers up and he pries at the hold! Gunther holds on tight, Dunne reaches for ropes, and fans rally up, ROPEBREAK!
Gunther SLAPS the arms down, GERMAN SUPLEXEs, but Dunne lands on his feet! BUZZSAW! Gunther bails out and McIntyre smirks. Dunne goes to the apron but Gunther avoids the moonsault! Gunther CHOPS Dunne, and Dunne tumbles onto the desk! Gunther turns around to see Sheamus and McIntyre, but Dunne runs in! Gunther sends him into McIntyre! Gunther BOOTS Dunne into the ring! But Dunne STOMPS the hands and BUZZSAWS Gunther! Fans fire up, but McIntyre is on the apron! Sheamus drags McIntyre down! GLASGOW KISS from McIntyre! Ridge goes after McIntyre but McIntyre POSTS him!
Sheamus KNEES McIntyre down! Dunne runs in at Gunther, into a LARIAT!! Gunther drags Dunne up, scoops for the LAST SYMPHONY!! Cover, Gunther wins!!
Winner: Gunther, by pinfall
Der Ring General used his enemies against each other, but The Fella stands back up. They both look at the WrestleMania sign, but Sheamus gets out of the way! CLAYMORE hits Gunther!! Fans fire up as Sheamus and McIntyre stare down now, will either of these men come away the NEW Intercontinental Champion in Hollywood? Or will Gunther use them against each other then like he did tonight?
The Street Profits are fired up backstage.
Montez Ford says that Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat is bound to be a banger. But he says there’s one thing bigger than that. Angelo Dawkins asks what, and Ford says THEIR tag team showcase. Alpha Academy, Viking Raiders, Braun Strowman & Ricochet, but wait. What do they have in common? Ford motions to the top of the head. Oh, right. They’re “smooth operators~.” But then Braun & Ricochet walk in. Real funny, guys. Y’all got jokes, huh? They got a problem with bald men? They don’t have a lot of room to talk, Dawkins is thinning up top. Whoa, fam, c’mon. Just jokes! Just playing. Well no one’s laughing.
Dawkins is just saying, Braun & Ricochet aren’t much of a tag team. Oh, well, we’ll see who’s playing when Ricochet & Braun show up and the other three teams fool around and find out. They want ALL that smoke. Well, okay, okay. Everyone is fired up for WrestleMania, but who wins the tag team showcase at the Showcase of the Immortals?
It’s the SmackDown return of the Kevin Owens Show!
And as such, Kevin Owens himself is headed to the ring. His guest will be Sami Zayn, but what will the Prizefighter and Great Liberator have to say about their coming Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship match? We’ll see, after the break.
SmackDown returns one more time and Kevin has his set and his mic. He thanks the ring announcer for the introduction, and then welcomes us back to the KO Show. Now please welcome his guest, tag team partner, friend and brother, the one and only Sami Zayn! Sami makes his entrance and the fans fire up again. Sami gets a mic and Kevin says, “Yeah, so I did it right? The way you wanted. It worked out?” Sami asks what Kevin means. Well, he brought Sami out with the big introduction like he wanted. It was good, right? Sami says he didn’t want a big introduction, this is Kevin’s show, and Sami’s the guest.
Yeah, but earlier, Kevin suggested they come out as co-hosts but Sami said they should make separate entrances so the fans can hear both of their songs and cheer for both of them. Which really means Sami wanted his own pop. Sami says he did not, but Kevin says it’s fine, the fans love him! Kevin gets it. Fans do cheer for “SAMI! SAMI!” Kevin sits, Sami asks if they need to spill more backstage secrets, or can they just get to business? Yeah, of course. Sami says more than anyone, he’s been going non-stop about taking down Roman, the Usos, the Bloodline. And even Sami has lost sight of the fact that, does Kevin realize what they’re on the verge of doing?
“After all these years, from where we started, from nothing, staring together in Montreal all those years ago, we are on the verge of winning the WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championships! We are on the verge of doing that together, at WrestleMania! And not just any WrestleMania. This year, I don’t know what it is, but WrestleMania feels different this year.” Kevin says that’s right. And it isn’t lost on him. He knows what they can accomplish. But Sami is right, WrestleMania does feel different this year. Which is why Kevin brought Sami out here. Kevin has something for Sami.
Now, remember a few months ago, after Roman gave Sami that Honorary Uce shirt, that Kevin said Sami needed a new one. Kevin has one, it’s a KO-Mania Goes Hollywood shirt. That’s great! Well yes, but this is the back of it. Kevin does KO-Mania every year. But this year is different. This year isn’t about KO-Mania. “This year, there is only one person who took WWE by storm, who caught fire like no one else. There’s only one person that people can look at and say, ‘That guy has been the MVP of the WWE for the last 12 months,’ and that person is you,” Sami. Fans chant “MVP! MVP!” and Sami is rather touched.
Kevin says this year, it isn’t KO-Mania. It’s about the other side of the shirt. Kevin hands it over, Sami turns it around, and he sees… WrestleZAYNIA!! Sami’s all fired up now! Kevin shows that he’s been wearing one the whole time! Sami loves it! He throws off his shirt to put on the new shirt! Sami wants a hug but Kevin says no, one hug a year. Aw what the heck? THEY HUG! But then THE USOS attack!! They blindside KO & Sami from the crowd side, and then Jimmy rains down fists on Kevin while Jey rains down fists on Sami! Fans boo while the Usos clear the ring of the chairs. DOUBLE SUPERKICKS for Kevin!
Jey drags Sami up, whips him to ropes, and the Usos hit ONE AND DONE!! The fans boo more but Kevin gets up with a steel chair! The Usos run for it, telling KO & Sami that they’re going down! Kevin beats an armchair with the steel chair, but Sami tells the Usos that they’re not getting away with this one. Will Jimmy & Jey ruin the first ever WrestleZaynia? Or will KO & Sami be the ones to finally stop the ones?
A great episode for SmackDown here, especially with the story developments. For one, great closing moment we just saw with a great KO Show. I love that we got a positive swerve where Kevin gave Sami a shirt that had a WrestleZaynia logo on it. But I should’ve figured the Bloodline would do something, and the Usos technically stand tall here. That math would suggest the Usos are losing at WrestleMania, and we finally get so much in that moment, from vindication for Sami to the WWE Grand Slam for Kevin. We also got a really good match out of Cody VS Ludwig that Cody of course wins, and a really good promo segment right after for Cody and Heyman. The Bloodline is definitely desperate to hold onto everything, but that could be what brings them down.
Fairly big news with Theory VS Cena opening WrestleMania Night One. I’ve said before that it just feels like Theory is gonna win, since Cena doesn’t need the US title, and isn’t gonna be sticking around long enough to do anything with the US title. So if Theory wins the first match of the weekend, I could see him boasting, bragging and partying the entire weekend until he is just insufferable and annoys someone into challenging him for that title on the Raw After Mania. And then a pretty good promo from Charlotte, and I did like her calling out the “WHAT” chants here. Stone Cold Steve Austin is timeless, but lemming fans throwing out “WHAT” just to throw out ‘WHAT” are what? Stupid, that’s what. A) Show respect and pay attention. B) Come up with something of your own.
Really good match from Rey VS Knight, but of course Dom distracts to cost Rey. But biggest of all from that segment, the moment fans have wanted for the last few weeks now: REY DECKS DOM! And now we’ll get Rey VS Dom, and Dom sold all the emotion after that perfectly. He was upset, but there was also the fear and realization that comes with seeing something he thought would never happen actually happening. His dad is gonna whoop him, because Dom will only have Priest by his side while Finn prepares for Edge and Rhea prepares for Charlotte. And Legado can make a heroic move by countering Priest so that Rey VS Dom has a fair finish.
Good promo from Profits, Braun & Ricochet to put some tension between those teams going into the men’s Fatal 4. Good tag match qualifier for the women’s Fatal 4, and it was good weaving of stories that Shotzi & Natty win. Shayna & Ronda get that “first round bye” right into the match, but it does work because all four Faces want payback on them. It might not even matter who the fourth team is (though I’m sure it’ll be a team from Raw), Ronda & Shayna are probably gonna tear into them all to win and essentially be #1 contenders to the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
And there was just so much great stuff in the Intercontinental Championship contract signing. Sheamus brought back the same stuff he said when he and McIntyre had their 1v1 feud last year but that makes sense, it is how people can be when they argue with friends and family. I feel like McIntyre was tempted to Steiner Math because this is a Triple Threat, and he knows he can beat Sheamus. Gunther was also great, and I love that “Butch” Dunne went right after Gunther over their NXT UK past. Gunther VS Dunne was great stuff to have just for the hell of it, but of course there was the usual misunderstanding shenanigans that helped Gunther win.
If Gunther somehow retains at Mania, can we have HHH get Trent Seven back in WWE so we can have British Strong Style VS Imperium for the Summer? There were fans in Vegas who remembered Dunne for being Dunne and not for being a sidekick, and all fans deserve to see that Dunne alongside Tyler Bate and Trent Seven.
My Score: 8.8/10
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