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Mitchell’s WWE NXT Results & Report! (1/22/2020)

Does Lee make Strong #BaskInHisGlory?

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NEW NXT Coverage

Will the North American Championship be Undisputed or Limitless?

After powering through a smashed ankle, Keith Lee has rage fueling him towards the title! Will Roderick Strong reach his limits against the Limitless One?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2020 Semifinal: The Undisputed Era VS Grizzled Young Veterans; Grizzled Young Veterans win and advance to the finals.
  • Toni Storm VS Io Shirai; Storm wins, by disqualification.
  • Finn Balor VS Joaquin Wilde; Balor wins.
  • Shotzi Blackheart VS Shayna Baszler; Baszler wins.
  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2020 Semifinal: The Broserweights VS Imperium; The Broserweights win and advance to the finals.
  • NXT North American Championship: Roderick Strong VS Keith Lee; Lee wins and becomes the new NXT North American Champion.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2020 Semifinal: The Undisputed Era VS Grizzled Young Veterans!

Tonight, the Undisputed Era looks to once again #ShockTheSystem! Roderick Strong has his title defense later tonight, but Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish look to take one step closer to another incredible achievement. But can they get to the finals against James Drake & Zack Gibson? Or will they SOON be recognized as the team that lost so close and yet so far from the cup?

Fans troll Liverpool’s Number One almost immediately with “If you hate Gibson, shoes off~!” Gibson starts against Kyle and they tie up. Gibson wristlocks and wrenches but Kyle drop toeholds to a takedown and headlock. Gibson gets up and powers Kyle to a corner. Gibson looks to back off, but he slaps Kyle! So Kyle turns it around and gives Gibson forearm after forearm! Kyle fires off shot after shot after shot, then even some kicks before the ref reachs a count of 4! Kyle whips Gibson corner to corner but Drake uses his body to save Gibson from buckles. Gibson blocks Kyle’s kick and then clobbers him with a clothesline! Tag to Drake and the GYV mug Kyle in the corner. Drake throws forearms and chops then whips Kyle corner to corner. Kyle reverses, Drake goes up and out to shoulder back in. Cole and Strong distract Drake long enough for Kyle to grab a leg for a Dragon Screw!

Tag to Fish and Fish sweeps the other leg to make Drake crash and burn! Fans rally for the Undisputed Era as Fish puts Drake in the ring. Cover, TWO, but Fish keeps close. Fish throws big knees and then snapmares. Fish slingshot sentons down! Cover, TWO! Fish has Drake trapped in the Undisputed corner with forearms and kicks. The ref counts, Fish tags to Kyle. Kyle adds kicks and forearms of his own and even a boot. Tag back to Fish, and reDRagon double snap suplexes Drake down! Cover, TWO but barely. Fish drags Drake up to a back suplex! Cover, TWO but with more strength this time. Fish throws body shots to keep Drake in the Undisputed corner, and boots him back. Tag to Kyle but Drake starts hitting back! Kyle kicks Drake’s leg then grabs it for a shin breaker! Kyle elbows the knee then sweeps the leg! There’s no mercy in this dojo! Kyle covers, TWO, but brings Drake up to grab the leg again.

Kyle lifts but Drake slips out of the shin breaker to sunset flip! Kyle rolls right out to grab the leg again, but Drake shoves Kyle at the GYV corner. Kyle swings on Gibson but turns into a jawbreaker from Drake! Tag to Gibson and Gibson clotheslines Kyle down. Gibson swings on Fish but Fish gets clear, and Gibson turns around into kicks from Kyle. Kyle fires off strikes and sweeps the leg! Gibson wobbles around but Kyle whips. Gibson reverses, headlocks and then tags Drake. Gibson whips Kyle, Drake dropkicks a leg out, then Gibson adds his own dropkick! Drake uses Gibson as a step stool, Mayhem in Motion dropkick takes out Fish! Fans say “You Still Suck!” as NXT goes to break.

NXT returns as Gibson keeps Kyle trapped in the corner. Cole distracts Drake before he runs in at Kyle, and Kyle puts Drake up and onto Gibson’s shoulders. Kyle sweeps Gibson’s legs and both Grizzled Young Veterans fall down! Fans rally as Kyle crawls for his corner, but Drake gets in to drag Kyle back. Tag to Gibson and Kyle manages a tag to Fish! Fish rallies on GYV with elbows and kicks! Drake ducks one kick but not the other. Fish boots Gibson then EXPLODERS Drake into Gibson! Gibson gets to an open corner and Fish runs in, but to get an enziguri. Gibson hops up and leaps, TICKET TO RIDE! But Fish grabbed a leg! KNEEBAR! Gibson flails and endures, Drake helps him reach the Ropebreak! Fish lets go to DECK Drake! Gibson hobbles up but into a Samoan Drop!

Fish has Gibson in a drop zone and goes up top, MOONSAULT FLOP! Gibson tags Drake and Gibson powers Fish to the corner. Drake comes in, GRIT YOUR TEETH DROPKICK! Then Gibson lifts Fish in a suplex, Helter Skelter! Cover, TWO!! Fish survives and fans tell GYV, “You Still Suck!” Drake drags Fish over, tags Gibson, and Drake gut wrenches. But FIsh slips out and shoves GYV into each other. Fish boots Gibson and dumps Drake. Kyle flying knees Drake from the apron! Fish misses Gibson and Gibson waistlocks. Kyle tags in as Fish bucks Gibson off, then coordinate, CHASING THE DRAGON! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally up as Kyle tags Fish. Kyle drags Gibson up as Fish runs, but Gibson fights Kyle off! Drake also gets in, no Total Annihilation for reDRagon.

Drake tags in, Gibson grabs Fish for Drake to enziguri! Then Gibson feeds Fish to Drake’s scoop, only for Kyle to boot Gibson down! Fish slips off Drake as Kyle Ax and SMASHES Gibson! Drake SUPERKICKS Kyle but Fish ROCKS Drake. Drake hits back and we have a heavy hitting brawl! Full Sail is on the Undisputed Era’s side as Fish kicks and Drake knees. Kyle tags back in, Fish ducks Drake, and then reDRagon double pop-up kick! Kick sandwich! Fans fire up with reDRagon as they drag Drake back up. But wait! Is that Imperium!? While Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner are in the other semifinal match, all of Imperium will face all of the Undisputed Era at Worlds Collide! As such, Walter, Alexander Wolfe and the aforementioned Barthel & Aichner are now on the NXT balcony to make their presence known!

Cole and Strong dare them to come down and fight, but Gibson drags Fish out! Drake scoops Kyle, TICKET TO MAYHEM!! Cover, GRIZZLED YOUNG VETERANS WIN!!

Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans, James Drake pinning; advance to the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Classic Finals

A Ticket to Mayhem turns out to be a ticket to the finals! Will Gibson and Drake SOON be recognized as the inaugural NXT UK tag team to win this amazing tradition? As for Undisputed Era and Imperium, will there be consequences for these actions?

 

NXT looks at the ripper year Rhea Ripley had.

Becoming inaugural NXT UK Women’s Champion. Leading her team to victory in the first ever Women’s WarGames. Leading her Team NXT to victory at Survivor Series the very next night. And now, becoming our NEW NXT Women’s Champion by dethroning the Queen of Spades, Shayna Baszler. Memories that will last a lifetime. But speaking of memories, a blast from the past wants to strike! Toni Storm is proud of Rhea, but one memory Rhea left out is losing the NXT UK Women’s Championship to Toni. And then Toni kept it in the rematch. So now, Toni promises to do the same thing for this women’s championship. Challenge accepted, and when Worlds Collide, only one force of nature stands tall!

 

“The world is talking about Shotzi Blackheart.”

The Evolve star has come to NXT, and she already made an impact when she eliminated Shayna Baszler from the #1 Contender’s Battle Royal. But that’s just Shotzi being Shotzi. She knows how to #TCB, “Take Care o’ Business.” Predictable isn’t in her vocabulary. You can’t out-crazy Shotzi. If that was a statement, then wait for what happens 1v1 tonight.

 

Toni Storm VS Io Shirai!

The Lightning From Down Under wants to strike twice, but that’s easier said than done. And even with the Riptide on the horizon, she wants to take on the Evil Genius of the Sky! Is Toni getting ahead of herself? Or is she only picking up speed heading for Houston?

The bell rings and Toni circles slowly with Shirai. This Mae Young Classic rematch ties up, goes around the ring, and Toni headlocks. Shirai trips Toni and twists the leg with a toehold. Toni works her way up and around and pries free to get a headlock of her own. Toni gets the take down, but Shirai headscissors back. Toni goes up and around to pop out and offer Shirai a hand. Shirai refuses it, but Toni avoids the slap. Toni avoids the clothesline to give slaps and a kick, but the boot is blocked. Shirai runs to handspring but Toni gets clear, only for Shirai to dropkick her down! Shirai shows off with a kip up and fans fire up! Shirai talks trash but Toni blocks the buzzsaw. Things speed up, Toni redirects to dropkick Shirai back. Toni keeps going to BOOT Shirai now! Cover, TWO!

Toni keeps her cool as she brings Shirai up. Toni throws European Uppercuts as fans rally and duel. Shirai ends up in a corner but Toni gives more EuroUppers. Toni waistlocks and lifts but Shirai elbows back. Toni holds on, so Shirai runs forward to jump through ropes. Toni gets a hotshot in the process, and Shirai comes back to Drive-By Dropkick! The Big Dog would be impressed. Fans stop dueling because they realize they like “Both These Girls! Both These Girls!” Shirai gets in the ring and stalks behind Storm. Cover, TWO, but Shirai keeps her cool. Toni crawls to a corner but Shirai stomps a mudhole into her. Shirai drags Storm up to CHOP! Toni gets to another corner, Shirai CHOPS again! Shirai grins as she stalks Storm to a third corner.

Shirai stomps Storm more then chokes her on the ropes. The ref backs Shirai up at 4, but Shirai clamps onto Toni for a modified camel clutch. Toni endures, fans rally up, and Toni snapmares free! But Shirai runs her right over with a shoulder. Shirai drags Toni up for big forearms but Toni gives them back. Now we have a brawl going back and forth, but Shirai grabs a headlock! Shirai brings Toni down right away, but fans rally back up. Toni fights her way up and throws some body shots. Shirai gives her forearm after forearm then throws her down by her hair. Cover, TWO! Shirai is frustrated but still in control as we go to break.

NXT returns as Shirai has Toni in a crossface! Fans rally as Toni rolls back to cover, TWO! Shirai grabs Toni but Toni standing switches. Toni lifts but Shirai victory rolls through to then double STOMP Toni down! Toni gasps as she goes to a corner but Shirai is on her with more stomps. The ref counts as Shirai grinds both feet into Toni, but Shirai swings up to hit the meteora! Shirai laughs as she gets space. Shirai runs in corner to corner but into a BOOT! Toni hops up and over Shirai to then roll, waistlock and GERMAN SUPLEX! Toni fires up now and keeps moving, basement lariat! Cover, TWO! Shirai survives and Toni perhaps remembers how hard that MYC2 win was.

Toni underhooks and lifts but Shirai fights out of Storm Zero. Shirai forearms and SHOTEIS! Shirai runs but into a LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Shirai survives again but fans rally up more. Toni drags Shirai up but Shirai ducks the lariat to ghost pin! TWO, and Shirai BUZZSAWS! Toni is dazed and Shirai runs, 619 IS BLOCKED! Toni keeps Shirai on the ropes to dropkick her out! Toni then builds up speed to DIVE into Bianca Belair’s forearm!? The EST comes outta nowhere!

Winner: Toni Storm, by disqualification

Bianca is the #1 Contender thanks to her Battle Royal win, but it’s Storm getting the Worlds Collide shot. That clearly doesn’t sit well with Bianca, and she SPEARS Toni down! Bianca rains down hands from all sides then DECKS Shirai! Bianca double chicken wings Toni for her own version of the GLAM SLAM! Bianca whips her hair back ‘n’ forth and says kiss this, but here comes RHEA! The NXT Women’s Champion spots her TakeOver: Portland challenger and heads down the ramp. Bianca dares Rhea to throw down, and they do! Bianca gets Rhea down but Rhea turns things around! Shirai springboards in to missile dropkick Rhea out! Then Shirai dodges Bianca to send her out, and then ASAI MOONSAULTS onto them both! Fans are thunderous, but Toni DIVES in on Shirai! The Storm stands tall this close to Worlds Collide, but will she come away with a new #ShinyShiny?

 

Backstage interview with The Undisputed Era.

Cole, Fish, O’Reilly and Strong are all riled up by Imperium, but Cathy Kelly still asks their mindset. If it wasn’t for Imperium, the Undisputed Era would be headed to the Dusty Cup finals! There is no clearer picture. The Undisputed Era made a statement in Blackpool, not Imperium. But Cole refocuses the team on Roderick Strong retaining his North American Championship against Keith Lee. Imperium will pay in Houston, because the UE is #DrapedInGold. But will it stay that way?

 

Ilja Dragunov speaks on Finn Balor.

“Finn, I heard you’ve been watching me.” Everything Finn said is right. But the one thing Finn missed is that Ilja is driven. Driven to beat him! Ilja will throw 1000 strikes and bring the sky crashing down. When Ilja wins, everyone will believe that Ilja is not Finn, he is UNBESIEGBAR. The invincible will not miss.

 

Finn Balor VS Joaquin Wilde!

But speaking of The Prince, he is in action just days away from the incredible crossover dream match at Worlds Collide! Are things about to get rrrreeeal wild in Full Sail?

The bell rings and Balor ties up with Wilde. Balor forearms Wilde in the back then slams Wilde down. Balor kicks Wilde while he’s down and looms over him at the ropes. Balor stomps Wilde and again, then springboard stomps over and over, saying Wilde just represents Dragunov, Gargano “and anybody else who wants it!” Balor CHOPS Wilde at the corner then stalks him to another corner. Balor CHOPS, whips Wilde corner to corner then CHOPS again! Fans are fired up with the Prince as he whips corner to corner again. Balor runs into a boot and Wilde gets moving. But Wilde runs into a dropkick! Balor takes aim from a corner, SHOTGUN Dropkick blasts Wilde into buckles! Wilde is down and Balor goes up. COUP DE GRACE! But Balor doesn’t cover there, he wants to send a message. “When you come at Finn, you better not miss!” BLOODY SUNDAY! Cover, Balor wins!

Winner: Finn Balor, by pinfall

Too easy and too sweet for Balor, but will he be leaving Dragunov with the bitter taste of defeat in Houston?

 

Backstage interview with Shayna Baszler!

The Queen of Spades returned only for her plans to be spoiled by new girl Shotzi Blackheart. Shotzi thinks she made a statement, but she only ended her career here before it started. Rhea says she’s a nightmare, but nightmares give way to reality. And the reality is that Shayna isn’t going anyway. If Shayna has to go through every woman in that locker room to become #ShaynaThreeTime, then she’ll do it. Does the road to redemption run through Shotzi?

 

Shotzi Blackheart VS Shayna Baszler!

A lot of words have been said about this match, but actions will speak far louder. Will Shotzi shock Shayna again? Or will she simply succumb to the Submission Magician?

The bell rings and fans duel already. Shotzi and Shayna circle and tie up. Shayna gets the facelock and then gets Shotzi down, to pat her on the head. Shotzi shrugs the mocking off and circles with Shayna again. Shotzi waistlocks but Shayna wristlocks to sweep the legs. Shayna pats Shotzi’s head again but Shotzi slaps the hand away. Shotzi avoids the Penalty Kick but Shayna blocks a kick from Shotzi. Shotzi rolls to bring Shayna down and then grabs the ankle, but Shayna grabs the ankle of Shotzi. Shayna trips Shotzi to get the headlock and then shift to a mounted armlock. Shotzi moves around so Shayna shifts to a toehold. Shayna rolls Shotzi to get the arm again and tortures the wrist! Shotzi endures as Shayna twists and bends her arm. Shotzi spins and gets up to get the ropebreak. Shayna adds on until the count of 4 and lets go.

Fans rally for Shotzi but Shayna runs in. Shotzi dumps Shayna out, just like the battle royal elimination! Things speed up now, Shotzi uses teh ropes to bounce back and elbow Shayna. Then swing kick her back! Shotzi hops up the ropes to springboard but Shayna gets under and dump Shotzi out! Payback for the battle royal. But Shayna goes out to fetch Shotzi, lifting her to flapjack on the apron! Shayna puts Shotzi on the apron to club away with both hands! And KNEE Shotzi right back into the ring! Shayna stalks up behind Shotzi and throws her at the ropes to clobber her from behind. Shayna covers, TWO, and Shotzi gets to ropes. Shayna brings Shotzi around by her arm and facelocks. Shotzi clubs back but Shayna whips her. Shotzi ROCKS Shayna with a right, then more! Shayna ducks the kick and wants the Kirafuda, but Shotzi throws her into buckles! Shotzi runs in, shining wizard to DDT!

Shayna is dazed and fans are rallying up. Shotzi grits her teeth and aims from the corner to run Shayna over with a clothesline! Shotzi keeps going but Shayna clips her with a clothesline of her own! Shayna whips Shotzi but Shotzi slides under to enziguri! And then the question mark kick! Shayna wobbles, Shotzi SLING-DOGS! Shayna is on the ropes, Shotzi is moving, CANNONBALL! Shayna is down now and Shotzi heads up top. But Shayna springs up to ROUNDHOUSE Shotzi first! Shayna goes out to the apron and brings Shotzi up, but Shotzi blocks the suplex. Shotzi fights back and cravats, to SLICED BREAD ON THE APRON!! The Queen of Spades is down and fans are fired up for Shotzi! Shotzi pushes Shayna into position then heads back up top. SUPER SENTON into the KIRAFUDA!!

Shotzi claws and flails as she endures the hold, but she’s caught! Wait, she gets around and to her base! But Shayna just wrangles her back around and clamps on tighter! Shotzi taps, Shayna wins!

Winner: Shayna Baszler, by submission

But Shayna wants to make Shotzi suffer! Shotzi is passing out! Shayna lets go when she’s satisfied, but this is just an appetizer for her. Will she soon be feasting on the rest of the NXT Women’s Division as she heads back for the title?

 

Team Kick’s break-up sent shockwaves through the NXT Universe.

“June 1st, 2017. From that day,” she and Dakota Kai were best friends. Close as sisters, even. Dakota was there for Tegan when she was doing rehab. When they were in the WarGames cage together, they were so excited to be Team Kick at TakeOver. But then, it changed. Dakota says Tegan is not as good as she thinks she is. Being snubbed for WarGames, Dakota wanted Tegan to support her, but she didn’t. Tegan got in the contender’s battle royal because she saw Dakota advertised. But then Dakota bowed out just so she could stick it to Tegan. Dakota doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. Dakota says Tegan deserves it, but Tegan says Dakota deserves getting hurt right back. These two are going to kick things up to another level when they finally face off next week!

 

Backstage interview with Angel Garza!

El Latino is in la casa but he’ll be in a Fatal 4 Way in Houston. The pressure is on, but how is he preparing for such a big defense? When you’re as good as Garza, you feel no pressure. It doesn’t matter which two stars NXT UK puts up, Garza will beat them AND Swerve. Swerve’s House? No, it’s El Campeon’s Casa. And Garza proves it when Worlds Collide.

 

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2020 Semifinal: The Broserweights VS Imperium!

Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne surely surprised a lot of people when they became a team for this NXT tradition. And they perhaps surprised many more by winning their first match out. But can they continue to surprise us by taking on such an experience and established team as Aichner & Barthel?

The teams sort out and Aichner starts against Dunne. They rush at each other, Aichner headlocks but Dunne headscissors. Aichner pops out, they tie up again, roles reverse but Dunne pops out of the headscissors. They stare down and fans fire up! Aichner and Dunne back up and Barthel tags in. Barthel and Dunne tie up, Barthel wrenches to a hammerlock, then trips Dunne by a leg. Dunne grabs back for a headlock but Barthel bridges over! Barthel floats back to the hammerlock and then chinbars Dunne. Dunne wrenches out but Aichner tags in. Barthel whips Dunne and Aichner arm-drags Dunne down! Aichner grinds on the arm but Dunne endures. Dunne gets up but Aichner wrenches and yanks the arm. Aichner headlocks, Dunne powers out and things speed up. Aichner manages to hurdle Dunne but Dunne CLOBBERS Aichner!

Fans are thunderous for the Bruiserweight as he tags in the Bro. Dunne wrenches Aichner and holds him down to help with Riddle’s standing corkscrew senton! Dunne adds a basement dropkick then Riddle covers, ONE! Riddle Penalty Kicks Aichner then drags Aichner up for a gut wrench suplex! Aichner tags Barthel but Riddle welcomes him with another gut wrench! Riddle hits a Broton, onto knees! Barthel throat chops Riddle and has him in a corner for mudhole stomps and punches. Fans boo Barthel but Riddle CHOPS! And CHOPS! And throws big forearms. Barthel pushes then elbows Riddle int he leg. Riddle boots Barthel down, tags to Aichner and Dunne! Dunne boots Aichner then hops up to dropkick a leg out! Barthel runs in, but into a German Suplex! And buzzsaw! Aichner Germans but Dunne lands on his feet to kick Aichner in the back! Dunne hits a Crucifix DRIVER! Cover, TWO!

Aichner flounders to a corner while fans are fired up. Dunne runs in but Aichner puts him on the apron. Aichner runs in but Dunne moonsaults off the apron to wipe Barthel out! Aichner runs into a kick, and an apron X-PLEX! But Walter looms close, rubbing in that he has the United Kingdom Championship. The ref backs Walter away, but Barthel EuroUppers Dunne into steps! Aichner RAMS his knee into Dunne! Imperium takes over as NXT goes to break.

NXT returns as Dunne fights up out of Barthel’s armlock. Barthel shoves Dunne to a corner to rock him with another EuroUpper, an enziguri, and a DDT! Barthel hops up and watches Dunne rise. Barthel leaps, to get DECKED by a forearm! Both men are down but fans rally up. Dunne and Barthel crawl, hot tag to Aichner who intercepts Dunne. Barthel helps out, too, and they double wrench to whip Dunne. Dunne stumbles on the corner and Imperium stomps away on him. Aichner drags Dunne up and whips Dunne, but Dunne reverses to enziguri! Fans rally as Dunne crawls, hot tag to Riddle! The Bro rallies on Imperium with kicks and forearms! Riddle PELES Barthel! Forearm and BROSPLODER for Aichner! Forearm and BROSPLODER for Barthel! Broton onto Aichner! Broton onto Barthel! Penalty Kick for Barthel and a dead lift FISHERMAN BUSTER for Aichner!

Tag to Dunne, the Broserweights focus on Aichner with stomps to the hands! They both shrug, and Buzzsaw Final Flash combo! Cover, TWO!! Tag to Riddle and they go after Aichner again. Fireman’s carry but Aichner slips out to shove Riddle into Dunne! Then Riddle into the post! Tag to Barthel and Riddle ends up upside-down, Imperium meets at the corner! Double dropkicks and cover, TWO! Riddle lives but Barthel drags him up. Barthel talks trash then tags Aichner, and Imperium both talk trash. Riddle DOUBLE FLASHES! Tag to Dunne and Dunne DECKS Aichner! Barthel tags in, Dunne dodges to step off Aichner, but into a waistlock! Barthel uses a wheelbarrow and Aichner goes up top, FLYING DDT! Cover, but Riddle breaks it with a knee! Fans are loving this as all four men are down.

Riddle drags Barthel up but Barthel throws Riddle out. Tag to Aichner and Barthel whips Dunne. Dunne reverses and runs in but Barthel puts him up top. Barthel uppercuts then tosses Dunne to Aichner. But Dunne Guillotines and Kimuras out of the suplex! Riddle intercepts Barthel into an ANKLE LOCK! Double submissions from the Broserweights!! Walter shouts at his men as Barthel gets to the ropes. Barthel crisscrosses and knees Riddle, but runs into a FINAL FLASH! Aichner powers Dunne off but Dunne lands on his feet to ROCK Aichner with a right. Aichner hits back with a CHOP, kick and EuroUpper! Enziguri from Dunne, tag to Riddle. Aichner BOOTS Dunne then runs, into DOUBLE SPEARS! Riddle is all fired up as Dunne SPEARS Barthel! JACKHAMMER! Cover, TWO!?! Imperium survives and Walter sighs in relief.

But Riddle won’t let up here. “This is Awesome!” as Riddle climbs up top. But Aichner trips Riddle up and turns him around. Riddle and Aichner trade CHOPS, then Aichner climbs up. But Dunne tags in and Riddle shoves Aichner down. But Barthel shoves Riddle off the top, into Aichner’s BRAIN BUSTER! Dunne returns but into the SPINE BUSTER and PENALTY KICK! Imperium takes Riddle but no EuroBomb as Riddle headscissors Aichner and GERMAN SUPLEXES Barthel! FINAL FLASH again for Aichner, then BOMB to FINAL FLASH! Tag to Dunne, fireman’s carry, BROSERWEIGHT TO SLEEP! Cover, Broserweights WIN!!

Winners: The Broserweights, Pete Dunne pinning; advance to the 2020 Dusty Rhodes Classic Finals

Un-BRO-lievable! Riddle and Dunne are heading to the Dusty Cup finals! Will this magnificent makeshift team make good against the Grizzled Young Veterans? Speaking of, Gibson and Drake come back out to speak to their opponents. “It looks like that we have our Dusty Classic Finals.” Grizzled Young Veterans VS Riddle & Dunne, “the jokers, joint manipulation,” the Broserweights. Whatever these two dweebs think they are, Gibson tells Dunne that the “neckbeards” are the ones to think he’s the best out of NXT UK.

But the truth is, Dunne is the most selfish! Every time GYV tried to take the next step in their careers, Dunne was a roadblock. But now, that changes. Next week, GYV take Dunne and Riddle out to take the trophy back to Liverpool. Before Drake can add on, Riddle takes his mic to use for his own. “Bro… I don’t even know what you really said, but it was something about manipulating joints.” Then Riddle lost focus, tuned out and day-dreamed. Fans chant, “Riddle’s Gonna Smoke You!” Dunne says while Riddle was in the clouds, GYV was reminding us that every single time they stepped to Dunne, they lost. And that doesn’t change next week! The Broserweights will walk out with the trophy, “bro.” Ultimatums have been issued, but who will be the ultimate NXT tag team in 2020?

 

NXT North American Championship: Roderick Strong VS Keith Lee!

The Savior of the Backbreaker has had run-ins with the Limitless One in the past, but Lee has only grown stronger since. Will Strong finally #BaskInHisGlory? Or will this title stay Undisputed?

The introductions are made, fans sing for Lee and the belt is raised as this amazing main event begins!

Strong and Lee circle and then Strong gets a leg. Lee pries Strong right off, but Strong SLAPS Lee. Lee just scowls as he DECKS Strong! Lee has Strong in a corner for big body shots and forearms. Lee throws Strong around then CHOPS again. Strong staggers away but the boot is blocked. Lee DECKS Strong again! Strong kicks low but Lee THROWS Strong across the way! Lee shows Grizzly Magnum but Strong bails out right away! The Undisputed Era is there as Strong’s corner men as NXT goes to break.

NXT returns again as Lee blocks Strong’s whip with pure strength. Lee whips Strong and hurdles him! Things keep moving, Lee crossbodies Strong down! Fans are fired up as Strong bails out again. The Undisputed Era regroups again but Lee heads out to fetch Strong. Lee bumps Strong off the apron but the Undisputed Era looms close. Lee CLUBS Strong on the apron to send a message to them. The Undisputed Era barks at Lee, and this distracts him so Strong can dropkick the legs out! Strong then dropkicks Lee again to knock him down! The UE coach Strong as he goes after the leg and brings it to the steel steps. Strong slams the leg against the side, and then puts it on a step, to STOMP!

Lee writhes in pain and Strong moves the steps. Strong refreshes the count before bringing Lee over. Strong wedges the foot in place and KICKS the steps! The steps nutcracker that ankle and Lee hobbles into the ring. Strong covers, ONE but Strong is back on the ankle with stomps. Leg DDT and cover, ONE! Lee has strong arms but Strong is after that leg again. Strong has a modified toehold, almost a Half Crab, but fans rally as Lee endures. Lee powers up with his arms, but Strong pulls him from ropes. Lee pushes Strong away but Strong comes back for a grounded Dragon Screw! Lee can barely stand on that bad leg, but he won’t let this take him out of the match. Strong kicks the bad leg then drags Lee up. Lee throws body shots but Strong throws more forearms. Strong puts the leg on the ropes to springboard drop on it! Fans boo but Strong just does it again, only for Lee to launch Strong out of the ring!

Strong wobbles up and gets back in, going after the leg again. Strong uses his Ankle Lock to torture Lee, but Lee refuses to quit. Lee uses his good leg to push and push until Strong lets go. Lee hobbles over but Strong boots, enziguris and forearms! The forearm train begins! Left, right, left, but then Lee swings on Strong. Strong ducks it to clobber Lee from behind! Both men are down as we go to another break.

NXT returns once more as Lee manages to scoop and POWERSLAM Strong down! Cover, TWO!! Strong survives but Lee manages to stand on the bad leg. Fish talks trash but Lee tunes him out to go after Strong. Lee scoops again but Strong slips out this time. Strong runs, dodges but still gets a MOUNTAINOUS SPINE BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Strong survives again and the Undisputed Era is relieved. Strong bails out to regroup with them again and fans boo. Lee rises and rolls out after Strong. Lee puts Strong in the ring but he still keeps his eyes on the rest of the UE. Cole distracts the ref, Fish sweeps Lee’s legs on the apron! Strong hits a DDT! Cover, TWO! Lee will not be screwed over like that! Strong drags Lee up as fans rally, and Lee throws body shots. Strong clubs Lee, Lee hits back. They throw hands, but then Strong kicks the leg, so Lee HEADBUTTS! Both men fall and a standing count begins.

Fans rally up as Lee rises. Strong rises, too, but Lee stands first. Lee sees Strong struggling so Lee heads up top! Strong chop blocks the leg! And then climbs up behind Lee, preparing to shout out Kurt Angle. But Lee fights back and sends Strong down! Lee adjusts but Strong gets back up to club the leg. Strong is back up, has Lee for the SUPER OLYMPIC SLAM! Cover, TWO!! And Lee has Strong in his arms! Strong elbows back but Lee tosses him aside. Fans sing for Lee as he and Strong rise again. Strong knees but it’s blocked, GRIZZLY MAGNUM! Lee fires up, runs and POUNCES Strong out onto reDRagon! Cole is in shock as Lee comes out to fetch Strong. Lee puts Strong in as fans chant “MAMMA MIA!” Lee fires up again, runs again, and LARIATS Strong inside-out! Cover, TWO!! Strong survives but Lee won’t stop here.

Lee heads up top again, stares the Undisputed Era down, then MOONSAULTS! But he FLOPS as Strong gets clear! Strong has the Ankle Lock again! And GRAPEVINES! Strong even adds heel stomps while Fish mocks Lee from the apron. Lee crawls and claws and drags himself and Strong, to the ROPEBREAK! Strong holds on until 4 before sparing Lee. Strong shouts for Lee to stay down, but Lee refuses. Fans chant, “You Suck, Roddy! You Suck!” Lee stands, Strong CHOPS him. And forearms, and CHOPS. Lee DECKS Strong with one left! Then fireman’s carries, but Cole distracts. So Lee DECKS Cole, Fish and O’ReillY! STRONG KNEE! Strong runs, to PSYCHO KICK! Cover, TWO!! Strong keeps moving, but into the fireman’s carry! BIG BANG SLAM! Cover, KEITH LEE WINS!!

Winner: Keith Lee, by pinfall; NEW NXT North American Champion

Bask! In his! GLORY!! The Limitless One finally reached the title summit! The Undisputed Era is no longer #DrapedInGold, is their time coming to a close?

But wait, there’s still one more thing to deal with. Imperium returns! And they stand 4v4 against the Undisputed Era in the ring! It goes off!! The eight men brawl as a preview of Worlds Collide! Walter has Cole but gets a BOOT! The superkick is blocked, and the CHOP flips Cole upside-down!! The Undisputed Era go to save their leader but the Imperium soldiers do the same for the Ring General! Security floods the ring but fans want to “Let Them Fight!” But they will fight, in Houston! Which faction proves their brand is superior?

 


 

My Thoughts:

I am almost speechless at how great this episode was. This was a great go-home to Worlds Collide, even though obviously NXT will have parts in the Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumbles on Sunday. Finn got a great tune-up out of Joaquin Wilde, Shotzi puts up a hell of a fight against Shayna even in losing, and I love the blending of the NXT Women’s Championship stories. Bianca is understandably upset that someone else is getting a title shot first, but she should also be happy to let Toni beat up Rhea, and even take advantage of whoever wins in Houston. Either way, great stuff, but with Toni standing tall, the math says she won’t win.

Tonight’s Dusty Rhodes Classic semifinals were amazing! Imperium being a distraction so Undisputed Era loses is a good way of keeping the Era strong while keeping them out of the finals. The Broserweights are just incredible, even after only two matches. Imperium also didn’t need to be in the finals if they’re going against the Undisputed Era for Worlds Collide, and also if they’re going to go after the NXT UK Tag titles. Broserweights VS GYV is going to be incredible, and I honestly won’t be upset with either result. But I am very happy with the main event’s result tonight. Keith Lee finally gets a title and it was in an TakeOver worthy match. I know they wanted the giffable spot of Strong being Pounced out of the ring onto the Era, but it didn’t quite go as well as they’d hoped. But Lee winning that title is great heading for Portland and WrestleMania. The brawl of Imperium and Undisputed Era was great, too, a real solid go-home tradition right there.

My Score: 9.3/10


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Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)

And you thought last week was big!

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Coverage 205 2021

205 Live doubles down on historic matches!

Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
  • Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.

PLAY BY PLAY

205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.

It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.

The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?

 

Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!

How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?

The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!

Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!

Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!

Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!

Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?

 

Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!

The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?

The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!

Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.

Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.

Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!

Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!

Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!

Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)

These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?


My Thoughts:

A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.

Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.

My Score: 8/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)

Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?

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Coverage SmackDown 2021

Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!

SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
  • Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
  • Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
  • WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
  • Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
  • Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
  • Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.

PLAY BY PLAY

Roman Reigns heads to the ring!

The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.

But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!

But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.

But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.

Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?

Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.

 

Sami Zayn heads to the ring!

He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?

SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!

Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!

The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?

As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.

Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!

SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.

Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!

Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!

Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall

Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?

 

Billie finds the Squad backstage.

She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?

 

Daniel Bryan is here!

And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!

“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!

Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!

The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?

Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!

SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!

Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”

Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!

Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall

Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?

 

Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!

It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?

SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!

Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!

Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!

Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission

Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?

 

Roman Reigns sits in his private room.

Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?

 

WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!

Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!

Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.

Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!

Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!

Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)

And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?

 

Kevin Owens speaks.

“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.

And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.

But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.

 

The Street Profits have a basket.

Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!

Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?

 

Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!

The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?

SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!

But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?

Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!

Winner: Bianca Belair

Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.

 

Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.

Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?

 

Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!

SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.

Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!

Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall

The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?

 

Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!

Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?

Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?

Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!

Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!

Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!

Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?


My Thoughts:

A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.

But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.

The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.

Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.

And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.

My Score: 8.5/10


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