Can grudges be settled before the Rumble?
All roads lead to Houston, but there’re stars shining in Dallas! With all the animosity between them, can Rey Mysterio ascend and take the United States Championship away from Andrade in a Ladder match?
- WWE United States Championship Ladder Match: Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio; Almas wins and retains the WWE United States Championship.
- Aleister Black VS ???; Aleister wins.
- Drew McIntyre VS Randy Orton; No Contest.
- Becky Lynch VS Kairi Sane w/ Asuka; Lynch wins.
- Raw Tag Team Championships: The Viking Raiders w/ Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens VS Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy w/ The Authors of Pain; Rollins & Murphy win and become the new Raw Tag Team Champions.
- Matt Hardy VS ???; Erick Rowan wins.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Bollywood Box Office Flop: Mojo Rawley VS The Singh Brothers; Rawley retains the WWE 24/7 Championship.
- Mixed Tag: Rusev & Liv Morgan VS Bobby Lashley & Lana; Lashley & Lana win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Seth Rollins is here!
And he leads the Authors of Pain and Buddy Murphy to the ring! The Monday Night Messiah feels great after he and his team won the first-ever Fist Fight match, with a lot of help from his newest “disciple.” Fans boo as Rollins gets a mic to say, “Wait a minute. I want you guys to know something.” Rollins wants us all to know that we’ve played a small part in making Rollins the man he is today. Fans boo but without all of us, there is no Monday Night Messiah. “So from the bottom of my heart, I just want to say, ‘thank you.'” Thank you for believing in him and supporting him. Thank you for the faith placed in Rollins to lead us into the future and make Raw the premier program in the WWE. “For all of that, I am forever in your debt.”
But there is someone Rollins must thank specifically. Last week, Murphy “opened his eyes!” Murphy embraced fate! When the Architects of Pain were in their darkest hour, Murphy was brave enough to rise up and stand “firmly etched on the right side of history.” Rollins cues up a video recap of that very night. The AOP ambushed Big Show but got ambushed back with kendo sticks. Kevin Owens went Tony Hawk and Samoa Joe went all out, but Rollins asked for help from Murphy. And indeed, Murphy helped Rollins. Things would turn around in Rollins’ favor, and his team won the match. And they might just win the war for Raw.
Back in the present, fans boo as Rollins introduces “the newest disciple,” Buddy! Murphy! And just in time, because Kevin, Joe and Show were going to pull a fast one on progress. “But their plan failed.” And why did it fail? “Because the future is inevitable.” This is fate, destiny and determinism “at it’s finest!” And now, this is a crucial time for everyone. Everyone must decide what kind of people they want to be. Everyone in the locker room needs to decide! The battle lines have been drawn. “What kind of people do you want to be? Because either you’re with us, or you’re against us.” Those who are against- Here comes Kevin Owens! Rollins is not happy to see him but Kevin isn’t alone. Here comes Samoa Joe!
“He talks too much, huh?” Kevin gets Rollins gloating about getting rid of Big Show. That was no easy task, be proud. But the problem is now, Big Show will be back eventually. And even bigger than that is you didn’t get rid of Kevin and Joe! Kevin is pretty sure the good people of Kansas agree when Kevin says, “We have had just about enough of hearing your stupid voice.” Kevin suggests that we do less talking, more fighting! Rollins says that if they want to fight, they can fight! But not right now. No, they need to decide on a proper time and proper place. Joe asks Kevin if his eyes deceive him. Joe looks at the ring and sees a self-proclaimed messiah, but he hears a “typical, lame, lawyer’d-up, ass-hat!” Rollins asks the “gentlemen” to please remain calm.
Rollins is very forgiving, it is in his nature. But the AOP, not so much. If Joe and Kevin are so determined for a fight 4v2, then there’s not much left to say but, “Come on down and dance with destiny!” Rollins tosses his mic aside but Joe says a side-effect of being an ass is that listening skills go down. Joe said “we,” but that didn’t mean just these two. “Come on out, boys!” THE VIKING RAIDERS! The Raw Tag Team Champions are here to bring the raid! Joe, KO and the Vikings rush the ring and the brawl is on! Rollins bails out so that leaves things at 4v3! Akam gets a STUNNER! Murphy gets an URENAGE! Rollins’ forces regroup at the ramp, but this war is far from over!
Rollins and team regroup.
Rollins vows they will fix this. Charly Caruso asks them about being caught off guard. Rollins says they were not caught off guard. Joe and Kevin hid behind those “neanderthals.” So here’s a challenge! The Raw Tag Team Championships are on the line tonight! And it’ll be the new disciple, Murphy, and Rollins. AOP seem a bit stoic that it isn’t them challenging, but they accept Rollins’ decision. Will Rollins once again become a tag team champion?
WWE United States Championship Ladder Match: Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Rey Mysterio!
A main-event worthy match is OPENING tonight’s episode! El Idolo believes he is the better role model for the Latino community, and that the King of Lucha Libre is not a good father figure to his own son, Dominic. But will Mysterio prove all of that wrong by climbing over Almas and up the ladder to take the title back?
Raw returns as el campeon makes his entrance with La Muneca. The belt is already high overhead as introductions are made. The bell rings and we begin this literal escalation of the grudge!
Mysterio and Almas both bail out to go for ladders. Mysterio fakes ALmas out and DROPKICKS the ladder into Almas’ chest! Then runs on the apron for a seated senton! But Almas blocks it to swing Mysterio into barriers! Almas gets a ladder in the ring and then puts Mysterio in. Almas drags Mysterio up to put on the top rope backwards. Almas clubs Mysterio’s back as fans rally. Mysterio fights Almas back, but Almas clubs him again. Almas climbs up now that Mysterio faces forward, but Mysterio just holds on to deny the suplex! Mysterio fights and turns Almas around, then climbs up, for a SUPER STEINER onto the ladder! That was a scary one! Vega is panicked as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Almas tries to whip but Mysterio holds ropes. Almas kicks low but Mysterio kicks back. Mysterio throws elbows and forearms then whips, but Almas reverses. Almas runs but Mysterio ducks, Almas tumbles up and out! Almas shakes out the cobwebs as Mysterio brings a ladder around. Mysterio climbs up top to LEAP onto Almas! The seated senton hits this time! Almas and Mysterio slowly get up and head for the ring. Mysterio puts Almas in then stalks behind. Vega coaches Almas up but Mysterio kicks out the legs. Mysterio runs in but is put on the apron. Mysterio punches then springboards for another seated senton! Then a springboard moonsault, but Almas catches him! Mysterio slips out, shoves Almas at the ladder, but Almas stops himself. Only for Mysterio to headscissor Almas into the ladder! The ladder almost falls on Mysterio!
Both men are safe but down as fans rally up. Vega shouts at Almas but Mysterio fetches a new ladder. This is a much taller ladder but Mysterio places a short one by Almas to baseball slide dropkick into him! Almas is out and Mysterio has a ladder up! It’s just right for the height of the belt. Mysterio climbs as Almas slowly rises. Almas gets in to grab at Mysterio and pull him down. Mysterio turns to fight and jump, but Almas catches him for a suplex! Uno amigo! Almas suplexes again, Dos Amigos! Almas gets up a gain, to suplex Mysterio on the ladder! Tres Amigos is painful this time.
Almas drags the short ladder up to make a bridge. Almas drags Mysterio up but Mysterio fights back! They brawl between the ropes, Mysterio enziguris! Almas forearms back, but Mysterio climbs up to join Almas. Almas and Mysterio fight, the steiner is blocked! Almas brings Mysterio up again, to POWERBOMB ONTO THE LADDER! Veega cheers but both men are down as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and now there are two ladder bridges. Almas shoves Mysterio to a corner but Mysterio boots back! Mysterio climbs up but Almas clubs him down. Almas uses a crucifix lift, but Mysterio fights free to headscissor Almas out of the ring! Mysterio hurries to the ladders and finds space to climb. Almas hurries back in and climbs up the opposite side. Mysterio reaches but Almas clubs him away from the belt! Mysterio hits back but Almas bumps Mysterio off the top rung. Almas gut wrenches Mysterio onto his shoulder, for a Gory Especial! Mysterio fights out, to SUNSET BOMB Almas onto the ladder!! Both men crash and burn and fans lose their minds! Vega is beside herself with panic as Mysterio somehow rises from the wreckage! And dropkicks Almas onto ropes, to dial it up! 619 hits! Almas flies out of the ring!
Kansas is thunderous as Mysterio climbs the ladder! He’s almost there, but Almas somehow returns! Almas moves the ladder, Mysterio hangs from the hinge! Almas grabs at Mysterio and brings him down, but Mysterio manages to headscissor through! Mysterio wobbles while Almas shakes out more cobwebs. Mysterio throws Almas out high and hard! Mysterio hurries to adjust the ladder and climb up again! But Vega climbs?! She won’t let Almas lose, even if she has to block Mysterio’s path. She SLAPS Mysterio! Almas attacks from below, then climbs up behind him. Almas hammerlocks, SUPER LA SOMBRA THROUGH THE LADDER!! Even Vega is shocked! But who is left to climb and take the title?!
Almas drags himself up and out of the wreckage, then to the good side of the ladder. Vega shouts for him to get going, and he takes the title down!
Winner: Andrade Almas; still WWE United States Championship
In the end, La Muneca helps El Idolo remain El Campeon! But they’re not done here! They want to destroy Mysterio once and for all, and that involves peeling the floor mats away! Almas dumps Mysterio out and brings him to the exposed concrete. Hammerlock, but wait! The fan with the Mysterio mask… IS HUMBERTO CARRILLO! Humberto is back and brawling with Almas!! Referees separate them and Almas runs away! Ultimo Ninja checks on Mysterio, but the damage was done. Almas has the title and has dispatched Mysterio, but will it be the rise of Carrillo now?
WWE and Raw honor the life and message of Martin Luther King Jr.
Long live the dream.
Aleister Black VS ???
The Embodiment of the End has moved on from the Aussie Juggernaut, but now he is looking for someone new to pick… a fight… with him. Will he continue to win right into the Royal Rumble?
The bell rings, and his opponent runs into a BLACK MASS! Cover, Aleister wins!!
Winner: Aleister Black, by pinfall
That was perhaps the fastest win on Raw in years! Maybe even ever! Will it be that easy to make 28 other men and The Beast to #FadeToBlack in Houston?
Brock Lesnar is here!
This makes three weeks in a row for The Beast and Paul Heyman on Raw! They go to the ring and Heyman gets a mic to give his usual introduction. Fans of course boo. But Heyman says he is not only a “soothsayer of the spoiler,” he is the Advocate for the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World, BRRROCK! LESNARRR! And as such, Heyman is having a “crisis of conscience” because the entire WWE Universe takes what Lesnar does “for granted.” Heyman comes out, gives his spoilers, Lesnar delivers “the impossible,” and fans go, “Of course he did that, he’s Brock Lesnar!” Heyman says something like Lesnar enters the Royal Rumble match first and then win, and fans just go, “Of course he will, he’s Brock Lesnar.” Don’t boo, that’s expected.
But Heyman wants us to understand how unprecedented this is. This match is about one man starting. In this case, it’ll be Lesnar. And then there’s entrant #2 who fights Lesnar. Whether Lesnar eliminates “that pretender the throne” or not before #3, 4 etc. etc. to #30. Whoever gets eliminated when, there will be however many people thrown over the top and both their feet hit the floor. And Lesnar has vowed that those 29 other “contracted challengers” will go over the top and hit the floor with both feet until only The Beast stands victorious! But why? Because it’ll get even better. The winner of the Rumble then gets to choose which champion he wants to face in the main event of WrestleMania. And so Lesnar has deemed that there is not one person in the locker room worthy of main-eventing Mania or any PPV against Lesnar.
Well wait. Who do the fans think they are to boo Lesnar? Fans boo anyway. Do the fans really believe there is anyone in the WWE or anywhere that is worthy of facing Lesnar? They apparently do. Name him! And we’ll wait. Ricochet appears?! The One and Only has a mic to say, “Listen, man, look. Week after week you come out, and these words spew out of your mouth.” And it is a lot. Ricochet has also heard whispers and concerns. Some guys are afraid to step into the Rumble match with Lesnar. But every time Ricochet jumps off a top rope or do a dive, that might be the last time. So “afraid” is not in Ricochet’s vocabulary. Then you got your education here in Wichita. Heyman explains it: Lesnar is hungry, Ricochet is lunch meat. “Take yo’ ass and go on back to that locker room before you get hurt.”
Ricochet thinks he’ll stay. This Sunday, the Rumble is Ricochet’s only ticket to Mania, and he isn’t afraid to fight for it. Ricochet sees what happens to those who challenge The Beast, but Ricochet isn’t afraid. In fact, Ricochet isn’t afraid to get in the ring with Lesnar now! Heyman says he warned Ricochet, but Ricochet says that he is not afraid to challenge Lesnar to a fight, right now! Lesnar laughs, then walks past Ricochet. Ricochet asks what’s wrong. Is Lesnar scared? Lesnar stops leaving, and gets back in the ring. Lesnar LOW BLOWS Ricochet! Lesnar laughs more as he picks up a mic to say, “Not scared.” Lesnar takes his belt and goes home, unafraid. But will that ego only get him in trouble when having to outlast 29 other superstars?
Backstage interview with Randy Orton!
The Viper has heard that Drew McIntyre is on par with him as a favorite to win the Rumble. McIntyre is a hell of a guy, hell of a talent with hell of a future, and one hell of a chop. But on par with Orton? No. That’s impossible. You can’t be on par with someone who can strike out of nowhere with the three most dangerous letters in sports entertainment. And Orton might just spell it out for McIntyre, because their match is next!
Drew McIntyre VS Randy Orton!
The Scottish Stud and the Viper are both dangerous, and they’ll have to be in order to survive the Royal Rumble with The Beast. But which man survives the other tonight just days before going into Houston?
Raw returns as McIntyre makes his entrance. The bell rings and Orton circles with McIntyre. They tie up, go around, and Orton puts McIntyre in a corner for McIntyre to turn it around. The ref counts and the two separate at 4. McIntyre allows Orton to exit the corner, and then they tie up again. Orton headlocks, McIntyre pries out to a headlock of his own. Orton powers out but McIntyre runs him over with a shoulder. McIntyre flexes while Orton gets out. Orton takes his time catching his breath but McIntyre eggs him on. Orton returns from the steel steps and circles with McIntyre again. They tie up, McIntyre headlocks, but fans rally for Orton. Orton powers out and then follows to run McIntyre over with a shoulder!
McIntyre is up fast and in a huff while Orton rests in a corner. The two approach and then McIntyre lifts Orton to put him in a corner! McIntyre stomps and punches and stomps again, to then CHOP! Orton is a bit stunned, and McIntyre whips him corner to corner. Orton comes back with a clothesline! Then he clotheslines McIntyre out! Orton goes out to back suplex McIntyre onto the barriers! And again! McIntyre hobbles away and Orton stalks behind him. Orton gets McIntyre a third time but McIntyre fights out. McIntyre shoves Orton into a post! McIntyre refreshes the count and glares, and then runs at Orton. Orton evades and the CLAYMORE hits the timekeeper! The referee hurries out to check on the timekeeper, but McIntyre just shrugs. McIntyre stalks Orton more as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns again and McIntyre looms over Orton in the ring. Fans fire up as McIntyre climbs to the top! McIntyre wants Orton to stand, and Orton does rise. Orton turns around but dropkicks McIntyre out of the air! Both men are down now and a standing count begins. Orton and McIntyre stir at 3, then slowly sit up. Orton stands at 6, but McIntyre punches first. McIntyre eggs Orton on so Orton kicks and European Uppercuts. McIntyre kicks and clubs and now we have a brawl! Haymaker for haymaker, back and forth, fast and furious! Orton uppercuts but McIntyre CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Orton eye pokes. McIntyre is seething and BOOTS Orton! But Orton puts McIntyre on the apron! Orton has McIntyre in the ropes, DRAPING DDT!
Fans fire up as Orton hears the voices! McIntyre rises, but he denies the RKO! Glasgow Kiss headbutt! Orton is down again and McIntyre gets to a corner. “Get up, Randy, you son of a b*tch…” McIntyre puts Orton in a corner for the overhead suplex! Cover, TWO! McIntyre drags Orton up, to dead lift suplex! McIntyre shows off with a kip up! McIntyre aims from a corner and fans are divided. But they still count down with McIntyre, “Three! Two! One!” But McIntyre runs into the spinning powerslam! Cover, TWO! Orton keeps his cool as McIntyre crawls away. Orton has McIntyre in a corner and then on the top rope. Orton throws some haymakers before he climbs up top. They’re on the very top, for the SUPERPLEX! Orton doesn’t cover after that impact, he flops out of the ring!
And here come the OC! They go after McIntyre for his part in last week’s Tirple Threat! McIntyre fights back! He slugs it out with Gallows but Styles chop blocks! The OC stomp McIntyre 3v1, but here comes Orton with a chair! Chair shots for the Good Brothers, but Styles bails out! CLAYMORE for Anderson! Chair shot SMACK for Gallows! Orton and McIntyre run off the Club! Will there be a price to pay should Orton and McIntyre encounter Styles, Gallows and Anderson in the Rumble? Orton also looks at McIntyre while holding the chair, but drops the chair. There is still a lot to be settled between these two, but Orton commends McIntyre for being “a tough son of a b*tch.” McIntyre takes the compliment, and the RKO!! The Viper is still the Viper. Will Orton strike like that on 28 other men and The Beast?
McIntyre gets a mic to say, “Randall Keith Orton…” Wow full name. Wait, get McIntyre a mic that works. The crew replace that one with another. “I should’ve Claymored you. Randy, look at me. That one is on me. Wichita, that’s why they call it the RKO outta nowhere.” But McIntyre promises that won’t happen again. Because Sunday, McIntyre prays that they end up in the Rumble at the same time. This Claymore won’t come outta nowhere, McIntyre promises to kick Orton’s head off his shoulders. McIntyre will win the Rumble and finally, finally main event WrestleMania! McIntyre has the last word tonight, but will he have a say in how things go in Houston?
Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair!
The Queen was the one to eliminate the most competitors last year, how confident is she about this year’s Women’s Rumble? Always confident, and always prepared. But then Becky Lynch walks in. Well that was one thing she wasn’t prepared for now or last year. Charlotte was eliminated by someone who wasn’t supposed to be in the match. But Charlotte is ready this time. The question is: are the other 29 ready to face her?
Becky Lynch VS Kairi Sane w/ Asuka!
The Man already let us know she’s here by teasing Charlotte. But will she show us all she’s ready for Asuka when facing her tag partner, the Pirate Princess?
Raw returns and fans chant for Becky as she says “The Man has come around to Kansas!” Last week, Asuka came around and actually did Becky a favor. Spraying that mist actually got Becky to see things clearly. Asuka might be doubting herself this time, which is why she won’t face Becky head-on, and Becky is facing Asuka’s partner here tonight. Asuka won last year, but who won in the end? Because Becky went to make history all around the world, while Asuka went on to YouTube making soup. Asuka can blind Becky and break her bones, but Becky is going to collect on that last debt. And Becky knows now that Asuka can’t beat her anymore! With that, the Kabuki Warriors make their entrance, and this proxy match begins!
Becky and Kairi circle and Kairi says, “Kiss this!” Kairi laughs but Becky SLAPS her out of the ring! Becky builds speed to wreck Kairi with a dropkick! Asuka lurks close but Becky backs her off. Kairi chop blocks Becky’s leg! Kairi gets back in the ring and drags Becky up by her hair. The ref backs Kairi off, Asuka uses Kairi’s parasol to SMACK Becky on the leg! The Man is down with a charlie horse as we go to break!
Raw returns again and Kairi clamps onto Becky with a straitjacket stretch. Becky endures and fans rally up while Asuka sits on the post to watch. The ref sees that and tells her to get down. Asuka says she’s not in the ring so it’s okay. Becky fights her way up out of the hold, and then she jawbreakers out of the hold! But Kairi ax kicks then runs, into a calf kick! Asuka coaches Kairi up and Kairi is mad with Becky. Kairi slaps Becky, Becky forearm back. They brawl on their knees back and forth, Kairi fires off angry forearms! Becky gives them back! Becky runs, into Kairi’s forearm! Asuka likes that, but she doesn’t like Becky’s lariat! Becky rallies, Kairi dodges, but Becky leaps for forearms!
Fans fire up with Becky while Asuka coaches Kairi. Kairi dodges and runs back in, but Becky puts her on the apron. Kairi headbutts Becky away then climbs up top. Kairi leaps, flying Kabuki elbow! Cover, TWO! Becky lives and the Kabuki Warriors are annoyed. Kairi roars, ready to end this. Kairi throws a back hand but Becky back kicks! Becky kicks Kairi then wraps on for an inverted DDT! Kairi is down in the drop zone and Becky climbs up, Becky makes sure Asuka watches the Man’s Leg Drop! Cover, TWO! Kairi survives and Asuka coaches her up, but the Disarm-Her clamps on! Kairi powers up and slips into a O’Conner Clutch! TWO! Becky kicks low and suplexes, but Kairi counters with a DDT! Cover, TWO!
Becky gets out, Kairi builds speed, Kairi is put on the apron. Becky kicks as Kairi shoulder sin then bumps her on buckles. Jump Kick sends Kairi down! Then Becky hits a Straight Fire Forearm from the apron! Becky puts Kairi back in, and then she DECKS Asuka off the top! Fans fire up but Kairi runs in. Becky dodges, forearms and BECKSPLODERS! Back kick to Disarm-Her! Kairi taps, Becky wins!
Winner: Becky Lynch, by submission
Asuka hits a Shining Wizard on Becky! Asuka is furious as she puts on the ASUKA LOCK! Becky is trapped but Asuka still lets go, to BUZZSAW! Asuka is still furious but she took The Man down. Kairi bows to her empress and senpai. Will Kairi also be calling Asuka “champion” after Sunday?
WWE and Raw pay tribute to Rocky Johnson.
The Soul Man debuted in 1964, making an instant impact with physique and athleticism. He joined the WWE in 1982, and joined Tony Atlas as the “Soul Patrol” and became the first-ever African-American world tag team champions. Rocky would marry and have a son, Dwayne Johnson. Rocky trained his son and debuted Rocky Maivia as a tribute to both parts of his family’s heritage. And in the end, his sown would be the one to induct Rocky into the WWE Hall of Fame. Rocky proudly paved the way for wrestlers of all colors, and he will be celebrated for generations to come.
The Kabuki Warriors regroup.
But Sarah Schreiber comes by to interview them. Is this the kind of champion Asuka wants to be known as? What is she talking about?! Becky will lose “easy peasy” and then Asuka-nee will be Raw Women’s Champion! “At the Royal Rumble, Becky is NOT READY for Asuka!” The Kabuki Warriors laugh into the night, but will The Man have the last laugh in Houston?
Raw Tag Team Championships: The Viking Raiders w/ Samoa Joe & Kevin Owens VS Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy w/ The Authors of Pain!
Erik & Ivar turned out to be new allies for Samoa Joe and Kevin Owens, but now the Monday Night Messiah wants to punish them for choosing the wrong side of destiny. Will it be destiny for Rollins to once again become a tag team champion? Or is the only thing more inevitable than destiny be the raid?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and Rollins starts with Erik. Erik backs Rollins down and Murphy tags in. Rollins and Murphy hug, and then Murphy turns around into Erik’s shotgun knees! Erik roars in Murphy’s face then puts him in the corner. Tag to Ivar, and Ivar scoop slams Murphy. Erik scoop slams Ivar onto Murphy! Murphy bails out and regroups with Rollins, but the AOP distract the Vikings. So Kevin and Joe take them on! There’s a brawl in the ring and out of the ring! AOP and Joe-KO go into the crowd! The tag title match continues after the break!
Raw returns and Erik fights out of Rollins’ chinlock. But Rollins puts Erik in the corner and throws hands! Tag to Murphy, but Erik fights back. Murphy and Rollins mug Erik to whip him corner to corner. Rollins whips Murphy in but Murphy is TOSSED out! Erik dumps Rollins out to join him, but Erik crawls to his corner! Murphy and Rollins trip up Ivar and throw him into barriers! Rollins goes after Erik, but it’s Murphy who SUPERKICKS and knees Erik down! Big suplex then a tag to Rollins, who climbs up top. Frog Splash hits! Cover, TWO! Erik survives and Rollins is shocked! Rollins focuses and tags Murphy back in. The disciple looms over Erik but fans rally for the Vikings. Murphy drags Erik up but Erik throws hands. Murphy hits back with a strike fest, but the knee misses, Erik hits Ace Ten Mao!
Both men are down and Ivar has returned! The fans fire up as Erik crawls, hot tag to Ivar! Rollins also tags in, but Ivar runs him over! Sidewalk slam and a SPLASH for Murphy! Ivar roars and fans fire up again. Ivar goes corner to corner but Rollins dodges. Rollins runs into a seated senton! Ivar cartwheel LARIATS Murphy! Tag to Erik and Kansas is thunderous again! The Vikings drag Murphy up, and feed him to- No! Rollins denies the experience, but the Vikings knock Rollins and Murphy out of the ring. And then they build speed, to DOUBLE DIVE! The titanic topes hit! Erik puts Murphy in, tags Ivar, and then focus on Murphy. Murphy gets THOR’S HAMMER! Cover, but Rollins breaks it!
Erik grabs Rollins but Rollins PELES! Ivar leg lariats! Murphy is up, he elbows Ivar back then hops up. Ivar uppercuts Murphy first! Ivar climbs up to join Murphy, and fans fire up, but Murphy fights back! Murphy sunset flips but Ivar holds on! Rollins tags in to PELE Ivar! Murphy tucks Ivar in, SUPERKICK! Then together with Rollins, DOUBLE POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Ivar lives and Rollins is shocked again! Rollins tags Murphy in and they work together again. Double whip but Ivar breaks the line! Ivar handsprings to double back elbow! Fans fire up, hot tag to Erik! Erik wants Ivar to get up top! Erik lifts Murphy all the way up, POWERBOMB! Ivar climbs, but Rollins shoves him down! Ivar crashes and burns from apron to ground! Erik swipes at Rollins but Rollins gets away. Murphy KNEE TRIGGERS!
Murphy wants after Erik but the ref keeps him back. Rollins APRON CURB STOMPS!! Cover, Murphy & Rollins WIN!!
Winners: Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy, Murphy pinning; NEW Raw Tag Team Champions
The inevitable has come! The Architect and his Juggernaut have gold! The Authors of Pain return to celebrate with them. Is this only the beginning of destiny for the Monday Night Messiah’s faction?
Rollins and his team celebrates!
He told them they’d do it! Congratulations are in order, but what does this mean tot hem? It represents the new beginning! Rollins’ words are coming to life! Murphy was fighting Aleister but now he fights the good fight. When you join the Monday Night Messiah, you reap the rewards! But now, the Royal Rumble will cement their dominance when Rollins wins the Rumble back-to-back! For now, they party! But will the party come to an end in Houston?
It’s the Monday After the Weekend Update.
Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford are back in the studio, and have tonight’s top stories. BRRROCK LESNARRR is going to enter the Royal Rumble first, while Heyman is the first entrant into this year’s all you can eat shrimp contest. Shrimp going to go extinct! That’s no prediction, that’s a spoiler.
Tonight is a new segment called Take Your Corner. Dawkins is sick of reboots! Party of Five, Lizzie McGuire, Gossip Girl? There is nothing new from network television! WWE has seven hours of network programming, and every single second is new and original content! Well, except for Miz and Morrison. Dawkins plays it off and moves to a new corner: he LOVES reboots.
With the Royal Rumble this Sunday, we have a correspondent live in Houston! R-Truth is there in the Minute Maid Park stadium. Texas is huge! There’s also the space center. And while he’s wearing a jacket now, it’s Celsius degrees and Texas is known for being humid. No… Truth stop talking about Houston, talk from Houston. Is Truth entering the Rumble at 420th? Can he at least tell us how it feels to take an F5? It “H-U-R-T’Z”, hurtz. Hmm…
The WWE Universe ship Mandy x Otis. And if she’s conflicted, here’s a preview of what’s awaiting her. Cue the montage of the truffle shuffle! And the Caterpillar!
This has been the Monday After the Weekend Update. Here’s to getting ALL the Smoke in Houston!
Matt Hardy VS ???
Hardy is back again, but will it be WONDERFUL~?
Raw returns as Hardy’s opponent turns out to be Erick Rowan! Will Hardy be prepared for a fight with the Big Redwood?
The bell rings and Hardy gets around behind Rowan to throw big hands. Rowan puts Hardy in a corner but Hardy boots back! Hardy hops up and leaps, but into Rowan’s arms! Hardy sunset flips but Rowan drops big elbows! Then a splash! Fans boo Rowan but Rowan drags Hardy up. Hardy throws hands but Rowan throws Hardy out. Hardy holds on but Rowan BOOTS Hardy off the apron! Rowan goes out to drag Hardy up. “You want to see something, Matt?!” Hardy resists but Rowan brings Hardy to the cage! Rowan clubs Hardy down and then checks on his pet. Rowan reaches in but gets bit again! Rowan slams the cage on the steel steps! “BAD!”
But Hardy hops on to throw hands! Rowan throws Hardy down, then BODY CHECKS him! The ring count climbs and Rowan puts Hardy in the ring. Rowan drags Hardy up, bloody IRON CLAW SLAM! Cover, Rowan wins!
Winner: Erick Rowan, by pinfall
Rowan conquers a former champion, then goes back to his pet. Will the pet continue to bite the hand that feeds? Will Rowan dismantle 29 other men in the Royal Rumble?
Backstage interview with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe!
What is next for them after Rollins and Murphy took the tag titles and are in the Rumble? Those two winning the tag titles is a problem they can take care of later. As for the Rumble, that’s interesting. Kevin has nothing in common with Rollins, until now. Because Kevin’s entering the Rumble, too! And Kevin will do everything he can to win, but mostly to make sure Rollins doesn’t. Joe is all for transparency, because he is also entering the Rumble match. This is the epitome of “every man for themselves,” but when it comes to Rollins, they will stay united. But if they’re the last two, Joe will go through him. A mutual respect and understanding, but will Joe and KO keep their priorities in mind?
Backstage interview with WWE 24/7 Champion, Mojo Rawley!
Mojo took advantage of Truth after Lesnar’s attack, but Mojo vows to be a “different” 24/7 Champion. This title has been carried by cowards that flee. But here comes Samir Singh? Because Sunil goes to roll him up! But Mojo is too big and strong for that. Mojo THROWS Samir aside, then drags Sunil up to fireman’s carry and TOSS into trunks! Mojo just busted the Bollywood Boys’ blockbuster! Will this be a new era in the 24/7 Championship?
Mixed Tag: Rusev & Liv Morgan VS Bobby Lashley & Lana!
There has been twists and turns and a truckload of drama in this love triangle turned square. But finally, we get some fighting inside the squared circle! Will the Bulgarian Brute and LIVing Karma finally get revenge on the Ravishing Russian and her “hawt hawt boyfriend”? Or will Lana and the Rocky Mountain Machine finally put both of her jilted lovers behind them?
Before the match, Lana grabs a mic to say “Rusev Day is cancelled.” And all her Bobby and Lana ever wanted was… Could the fans shut up!? They’re trying to share their beautiful and inspirational love, yet no one cares! It’s not their fault that they’re all “low rent, bottom feeder pathetic losers.” Lana and Lashley have finally accepted that fans are all jealous of their endless love story of the Millennium. They’ve accepted that they’ll have to suffer through all of the fans’ ugliness in huddled masses of disgrace and disrespect. Lana is not even sure what to say or do. They just want a simple THANK YOU! Now, do it. Chant, “Thank You, Bobby! Thank You, Lana!” The fans boo instead. Well whatever, Lana is so excited that Lashley will again prove his dominance over her stupid ex, Rusev! And Lana will get her hands on the self-serving, coattail riding Liv Morgan! This twisted love story finally has an ending(?) after the break.
Raw returns once more, and Rusev and Liv finally make their way out to the ring. Liv rishes at Lana but the Lana goes to the apron. Lana stays away so Liv chases her down! They go around the ring, and then in the ring, and then Lana clobbers Liv down! Lana shouts she’s the best in the world! Fans boo but Liv LARIATS Lana down! And again! Liv dropkicks Lana to a corner, and then runs in with a big back elbow! Liv pulls Lana but Lana holds the ropes. The ref backs Liv off, Lana ROUNDHOUSES! Cover, TWO! Lana tries again, ONE! Lana brings Liv up to snap suplex, then cover, TWO! Lana taunts Rusev to his face then pie faces Liv. “What, Liv? What?!” Lana slaps Liv, Liv SLAPS Lana! Double clotheslines take both women out!
Fans rally, hot tag to Rusev! Lashely runs in but Rusev rallies! Rusev ducks, lifts and Samoan Drops! Fans fireu p with Rusev as he runs corner to corner for a splash! And overhead suplex! Rusev roars and he stalks “Bob” as fans rally. But Lana swipes at Rusev. Rusev and Lana wag fingers, but then Rusev dodges! Lana almost gets hit by Lashley, but Rusev rolls Lashley up! TWO, and Lana gets a cheap shot in! DOMINATOR! Cover, but Liv breaks it! Lana goes after Liv but Liv throws her out instead! Lashley checks on his wife, but then Liv enziguris! ROUNDHOUSE from Rusev! Rusev glares as he powers up, but Lana gets back in to anchor Rusev’s feet! The ref reprimands, Lashley SPEARS!! Cover, Lashley & Lana win!
Winners: Bobby Lashley & Lana, Lashley pinning
Chaos in the ring benefits the newlywed couple! Lana boasts and brags all the way up the ramp, but will she and Lashley come close to winning their respective Rumble matches?
This was a really good go-home to Raw, until the main event. I’ll just go ahead and say that, on top of adding an Erick Rowan filler squash on poor Matt Hardy, that is not how Raw should’ve ended. But at the same time, I can see why all the better matches went first: those matches were more deserving of time so that the matches could breathe, so that means putting them on earlier. Of course, that gives us a disappointing ending where Lana and Lashley find a way to win again, which probably means this rivalry might continue past the Rumble. Ugh. The match itself was chaotic but maybe not in a good way, and Lana’s promo before just drove home that this is only meant to irritate us for Vince’s own amusement. Also, Rowan again getting “bit” for effect, wow…
I did like them giving us a quick “defense” of the 24/7 Championship. Mojo Rawley is not the first to get away from somewhere still champion, but he was certainly the most vicious defender yet. If we get some actual brawls for this title, that will help revitalize the 24/7 Championship story. Whoever needs a bit of screen time better be up for a fight with Mojo. I wonder if Aleister would give it a try. His squash filler was just so he can get screen time without making a new rivalry before the Rumble. I expect him to go after someone or something after the Rumble sorts things out. The WWE United States Championship can still have multiple contenders, especially with Elimination Chamber coming up.
The Ladder Match tonight was incredible, Almas and Mysterio really went all out. That very first ladder spot was scary, though, even Jerry Lawler was worried for Almas’ neck. Almas retaining made sense, and what a great surprise for Humberto Carrillo to return here! Carrillo is an obvious contender, so we’re halfway to a Chamber match. Maybe throw in Buddy Murphy, even after what we saw tonight. At this point, put Orton and McIntyre in assuming they don’t win the Rumble. Orton and McIntyre had a great match tonight, even with the OC attacking. Actually, sub out Murphy to put in Styles in the Chamber so he can settle things with Orton and McIntyre at the same time. They’ll all have a great showing in the Rumble, and again my personal wish is McIntyre Claymore kicking Lesnar out, but Vince probably won’t let that happen. I am oddly happy that a lot of this is hard to predict, that always makes pro-wrestling more fun.
Becky VS Kairi was a pretty good match, especially with Asuka’s involvement. Asuka sitting on the post to watch the match was new, but I like it. Asuka should do that more for Kairi’s singles matches. Becky still wins because she needs the momentum, but Asuka stands tall after beating Becky up so she can also go in strong. Asuka and Kairi had a really good promo after, even if I don’t perfectly understand Japanese. This will definitely add to the intensity of the Raw Women’s Championship match, but I wonder if this is the moment Paige chooses to get revenge. If Paige can neutralize Kairi, that can make things even for Becky and Asuka. But I still can’t tell who really wins this, which again, makes it all the more fun.
Ricochet getting in Lesnar’s face was pretty good. We got good promos out of him and Heyman, and Lesnar’s one-liners are pretty good. Probably still written by Heyman. The way Lesnar is going after these guys, and Heyman now framing the Rumble the way I expected, i.e. Lesnar just wrecking one person after another, I hope this means at some point, a lot of people actually gang up on Lesnar. It probably won’t work, but it’s what Lesnar deserves after everything he’s been doing. Of course, the other stories going into this, like Orton-McIntyre-Styles or Rollins and his enemies, those will all keep the 29 others divided so Lesnar can take advantage, too. The biggest surprise of tonight is that it wasn’t AOP VS Viking Raiders for the tag titles. I feel like that telegraphs no one on Raw is winning the Rumble to challenge Lesnar outright, and things will shift so that Rollins & Murphy VS Joe & Kevin becomes a tag title match.
My Score: 8.2/10
Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (3/6/21)
A Dark Dozen before Revolution!
It’s a bonus Dark before AEW Revolution!
AEW Revolution is coming, but there is still some Dark to get through! Will the Murderhawk Monster be rolling into that Face of the Revolution Ladder match?
- The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon; The Natural Nightmares win.
- Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake; Chuck wins.
- Penta El Zero M VS Azriel; Penta wins.
- Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler; Archer wins.
- Ricky Starks & Brian Cage w/ Hook VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol; win.
- Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick; Evans wins.
- The Gunn Club VS M’Badu & D3; wins.
- Thunder Rosa VS Tesha Price; Rosa wins.
- Bear Country VS Ryzin & Cameron Stewart; Bear Country wins.
- Preston Vance & Alan Angels w/ The Dark Order VS LaBron Kozone & Vary Morales; Vance & Angles win.
- Tay Conti VS Leila Grey; Conti wins.
- The Sydal Brothers VS Chaos Project; The Sydal Brothers win.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon!
Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal, but so are the Brazilian V8 and “Pretty” Peter! Who builds some momentum before running into the Revolution?
The teams sort out, Bononi starts with Dustin, and they circle. Fans rally for Dustin but PPA tells them to shut up. Bononi and Dustin tie up and Bononi shoves Dustin to a corner. Dustin comes back to headlock but Bononi powers out. Dustin rams Bononi but Bononi stays up and shakes his head. Dustin runs again, he dodges Bononi’s clothesline to ROCK him with an uppercut! Dustin wrenches and puts Bononi in the corner, QT tags in and Dustin whips QT in to forearm smash! QT feeds Bononi to Dustin’s POWERSLAM! Fans fire up as QT ROCKS Bononi, whips him, but Bononi reverses. QT holds ropes, BOOTS Bononi, but Avalon gets a cheap shot in!
Bononi then stomps away on QT at the ropes! Tag to Avalon, they mug QT, and Avalon CHOPS! Avalon clubs QT to the other corner, wrenches and whips him corner to corner, and QT bounces off buckles. Avalon stomps QT but fans rally up. Bononi tags in, they mug QT again, but QT hits back! Bononi knees low and throws hard back elbows! Bononi dares QT to reach for Dustin, but QT throws body shots. Bononi throws elbows but QT handsprings for a NEURALIZER! Bononi staggers and Avalon tags in to drag QT from Dustin. QT boots Avalon away and hot tags to Dustin! Dustin dodges Avalon and rallies with clotheslines! Dustin whips and back drops Avalon!
Bononi gets in to kick low, then he whips Dustin. Dustin stops and uppercuts Bononi! Dustin CLOBBERS Bononi, and gets Avalon with a POWERSLAM! Dustin drags Avalon up but Bononi clubs him! QT gets in to ROCK Bononi with haymakers! Bononi knees low, throws QT out, but Dustin clotheslines Bononi out! Dustin dodges Avalon to hit a BULLDOG! Cover, Dustin & QT win!
Winners: The Natural Nightmares, by pinfall
The Natural is fired up because he and the Gift are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal! But will they win it and become contenders?
Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake!
The Kentucky Gentleman and Freshly Squeezed will be in for a fight with the Superbad and Best Man! But first, can Chuck get through a scrap with Scrap Metal?
The bell rings, Chuck and JD circle and tie up, and JD puts Chuck on the ropes. The ref calls for the break, JD goes to chop but Chuck dodges! Chuck and JD reset, tie up, and Chuck waistlocks. JD pries free to a keylock but Chuck goes to hook a leg. JD blocks that but Chuck wrenches through and gets a headlock. JD powers out and throws Chuck to a corner, then runs in. Chuck dodges, hits an arm-drag and grinds JD down. JD fights up, fans rally, and JD pulls air to whip Chuck away. Chuck comes back and JD runs him over! Things speed up, Chuck hurdles over and arm-drags JD again! JD gets up but Chuck dropkicks him out! JD is frustrated, but Chuck goes out to pursue.
Chuck goes around the way, but JD pops him up against ropes to DECK him! JD takes a moment while the ref and Cassidy check on Chuck. JD then drags Chuck up to bump him off buckles and ROCK him with a right! JD puts Chuck in, and drops a senton! Cover, TWO! JD stomps Chuck to ropes, chokes him against the ropes, but lets off as the ref counts 3. JD brings Chuck up to CHOP him, then stalks him as he crawls. JD stomps Chuck’s fingers, throws haymakers then whips, and clotheslines to a falling headbutt! Cover, TWO! JD drags Chuck into a chinlock and digs his knee in. Cassidy rallies the fans and Chuck fights back with body shots.
Fans rally, JD shoves Chuck and atomic drops to a SHOTGUN BOOT! Cover, TWO! JD gets annoyed, drags Chuck up and CHOPS him! Chuck grits his teeth and CHOPS back! And CHOPS again! JD fires up but Chuck ducks to CHOP again! Chuck whips, JD reverses but Chuck reverses back to feed him SOLE FOOD! Chuck runs and BOOTS JD down! Fans fire up, Chuck drags JD up and whips but JD goes up and over. JD runs in but into a Sexy Chuckie Knee! Chuck gets JD for an URENAGE! Chuck double guns, Cassidy kinda double guns, and Chuck goes up top to MOONSAULT! JD moves and elbows Chuck away!
JD hops up top and leaps for a FLYING LEG LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Chuck lives but JD is right on him with a POINT-BLANK LARIAT! Cover, TWO! JD grows frustrated but fans fire up. JD goes to the corner, gives a thumbs down and climbs up. Chuck shoves him down onto his scrap metal! Chuck drags JD back for a SUPER AWFUL WAFFLE!! Cover, Chuck wins!
Winner: Chuck Taylor, by pinfall
That was a big win for the Kentucky Gentleman! But then Penelope Ford struts out on stage? And KIP SABIAN attacks from outta nowhere! Chuck goes after Kip but Miro grabs Chuck for a cobra clutch! Miro thrashes Chuck while Kip chokes Cassidy! Chuck fades out and Miro throws him down! Fans boo but Miro gets a mic. “Wake up, Charles! You’re not done.” He splashes water all over Chuck, and Miro tells him today is a day to learn. Chuck should’ve come talk to Miro like a man, but he ran to the office like a little boy! Chuck could’ve been something but now he’s just wasting their time!
Miro is better than Chuck and Cassidy, he should be AEW World Champion, but they’re taking up his precious time! Miro doesn’t need to be answering notes to make matches! So for that, Chuck is going to see his little friend get what Chuck will get at Revolution! Kip drags Cassidy up, Miro gives the shin kicks, then a BEST KICK! Cassidy is in a daze as he’s down on the stage! Miro tells Chuck will get twice as bad on Sunday! Will Miro & Kip break the Best Friends for good?
Penta El Zero M VS Azriel!
The third point of the Death Triangle is back! And though he’ll surely want revenge on Kenny Omega and his Biz Cliz, he’s going into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match! Will Cero Miedo strike fear into everyone with his Dark return?
The bell rings and Penta circles with Azriel. They tie up, Penta shoves Azriel, and then gets him to a half nelson, spin, hammerlock and a trip. Penta rolls Azriel but Azriel kips up to arm-drag Penta! Penta arm-drags back, then runs. Azriel bypasses but Penta CLUBS him and CHOPS him! Penta swaggers over, CHOPS Azriel in the corner, then whips him to ropes. Penta SPINEBUSTERS, but Azriel headscissors and swings to throw Penta away! Things speed up, Azriel rolls back but into a PENALTY KICK! Penta and fans fire up, and Penta swaggers as he stalks Azriel to a corner. Penta KICKS out a leg! Azriel clutches the knee, but Penta drags him up to put him against ropes.
Penta lets off to CHOP Azriel down! Penta drags Azriel up, whips him but Azriel dodges and RANAS! Azriel arm-drags again, and dropkicks Penta to a corner! Azriel runs but into a SUPERKICK! Azriel runs back in but misses, and Penta goes for a monkey flip but Azriel puts him on the top rope. Penta blocks Azriel’s haymaker, Azriel blocks the boot, and then Azriel DECKS Penta off the top! Penta goes to the floor, Azriel builds speed and FLIES! Direct hit and Azriel fires up! Azriel goes to the ring, puts Penta in and climbs back up, to leap INTO A SUPERKICK! Penta looms over Azriel, drags him up, and clubs him on the back.
Penta shouts CERO MIEDO in his face, runs, but Azriel knees him in the ropes! Azriel whips, knees Penta again, then whips for another knee! Azriel whips to wrench and knee again. Azriel wraps Penta into a cobra clutch for a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Azriel grits his teeth, goes to the top rope, and FROG SPLASHES, onto knees! Penta drags Azriel up, pump handle half nelson for the PACKAGE DRIVER! Cover, TWO!?! Azriel survives and Penta can’t believe it! Penta drags Azriel back in, CERO MIEDO for the true package. Azriel slips out, Penta mule kicks and runs, SPRINGBOARD DESTROYER!!
But Penta isn’t done there, he’s going to make Azriel pay! DARK ARMBAR!!! Cover, Penta wins!
Winner: Penta El Zero M, by pinfall
Not only is Penta building momentum, he’s proving his edge is as sharp as ever! Will Penta do even worse to the others in order to become the Face of the Revolution?
Big Swole speaks!
“There’s a word going around that Big Swole is ‘underutilized.’ Nah, I’m under valued! I’ve scratched and clawed through Crohn’s Disease to become a contender. And when I did, I was met, nah, nah, I was slapped in the damn face with a tournament announcement for something that I have already earned!” Swole knows that the rankings are reset every year, but she was 38-hot about this! SO much, she took time off. And she kept thinking, “It doesn’t matter. The results of the tournament doesn’t matter. But it does.”
Swole is genuinely happy for Ryo Mizunami, and she’ll encourage everyone to watch as the “number one contender” takes on Hikaru Shida. And then whoever is champion after Revolution, congratulations! You’re a champion in debt! They owe Swole, and you don’t wanna owe Swole! Swole will “fight errybody and they momma to get what’s mine!” After Revolution, payment is due, and Swole’s price is gold! No more playing around, Swole’s going after the top spot! But will it be the Full Metal Warrior or Aneki that will be facing the REAL #1 contender?
Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler!
The Murderhawk Monster is also heading into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match, and is ready to remind AEW that #EverybodyDies! Will the Southern Savior be no different in the Dark?
The bell rings and Archer circles with Skyler. They tie up, and Archer throws Skyler right down and kicks him to a corner. Archer bumps Skyler off buckles, ROCKS him with a forearm, then digs his knee into Skyler’s head. The ref counts, Archer lets off, but he drags Skyler up to CLUB him back down! Archer sits Skyler up to CLUB him again, and then paces around. Skyler gets up but Archer choke grips. Skyler pulls Archer’s hair, kicks a leg, then fires off forearms! Skyler CHOPS away on Archer but he doesn’t flinch! Skyler kicks a leg, headlocks, but Archer powers him to a corner. Archer runs in, Skyler dodges, runs back in and uppercuts! Skyler runs and hits another uppercut!
Skyler wants the hat trick but Archer BOOTS him down! Archer then runs to DERAIL Skyler! Fans fire up as Archer dares Skyler to get up. Skyler crawls, Archer puts him in a corner and runs in to back elbow! And then again! And then again! Archer pushes Skyler aside to talk to the camera that this will be nothing compared to Sunday. Archer turns around, Skyler hits back, but Archer DECKS him! Archer drags Skyler up for a full nelson SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Skyler actually survives and Archer applauds him. Archer drags Skyler back up, and TWO HAND SUPLEXES Skyler to a corner!
Skyler flounders up, Archer runs in, but Skyler boots him! Skyler hops up top but Archer ROCKS him with an uppercut! Archer drags Skyler out in the inverted crucifix, for the BLACKOUT BOMB!! Cover, Archer wins!
Winner: Lance Archer, by pinfall
Jake gets a mic and says, “Lance, what have you gotten us into?” Six men, one is a mystery, but does it really matter? Jake likes surprises, don’t you? That’s what she said. But you put five men in the ring with Archer, and one of them being Cody Rhodes, Jake and Archer want to make him scream in pain. But how horrible, his wife is pregnant! That makes Jake weep. But what doesn’t bother Jake is taking what they thought was theirs and making it his! Archer takes the mic to say AEW will either give it to them, or they’ll take it. It has been a LONG year since debuting in AEW, and the TNT Championship was always meant to be his.
Archer is very, very happy Cody is in the match, because Archer is going to take Cody’s daughter’s daddy away from her. There will be no Daddy’s Little Girl. And all the other bodies in the ring, get in Archer’s way, he dares you! Nothing will stop Archer from taking the brass ring, putting Darby in pain like he’s never felt before, and becoming the rightful TNT Championship! Archer doesn’t care if you’re qualified or a random surprise, #EverybodyDies! Will the Murderhawk Monster be the Face of the Revolution?
Ricky Starks & Brian Cage w/ Hook VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol!
Team Taz keeps trying to take the fight to Sting and Darby Allin but they keep getting checked. The Street Fight is coming, will the #AbsoluteMachines use the Fashionable Hombre and Fire of the Sun for a warm-up before Revolution?
The teams sort out, Starks starts with Fuego and circle. Fans rally for Fuego as he ties up with Starks but Starks waistlocks to slam him down! Starks brags that he didn’t even take the chains off, but Fuego fights up. Fuego reaches back, and flying-mares! Fuego mule kicks, runs but Starks scoops for a BIG back suplex! Starks strikes a pose, drags Fuego up, and suplexes. Cage tags in during the delay, then takes the hand-off into a stalling suplex! Cage holds Fuego up for a count of 10 before slamming him down! Fans boo but Cage soaks up the heat. Cage drags Fuego up, whips and CLOBBERS him with an elbow!
Cage drags Fuego back up, scoops him and uses Fuego for bicep curls. Fans boo but Cage tosses Fuego, only for Fuego to hot tag Fashion! Fashion runs, lariats, but Cage stays up! Cage runs, Fashion dodges to kick, kick and leap, into a SLAM! Fuego runs in but into a FLAPJACK! Starks gets in to SPEAR Fuego inside-out! Cage mule kicks, suplexes Fashion and holds him up, for a DRILL CLAW!! Cover, Team Taz wins!
Winner: Ricky Starks & Brian Cage, by pinfall
And it was that easy! But of course, things will be very different at Revolution. Will the #AbsoluteMachines take the sting out of the Icon and the Relentless?
Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick!
The Hybrid2 are going into the Casino Tag Battle Royal, but the mouthier half is tuning up on his own. Will Evans win for both him and Angelico so they can be contenders?
The bell rings and Evans circles and ties up with JSP. Evans wrenches to a wristlock, then shifts through to drop toehold. Evans floats to a facelock, JSP fights his way up, and JSP back drops free! Evans gets a headlock but JSP powers out, only for Evans to run him over! Things speed up, JSP hurdles then drops to dropkick! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as JSP runs in and uppercuts Evans! JSP snapmares and runs to PENALTY KICK! And DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO! JSP grows frustrated already but he drags Evans up to uppercut! JSP whips Evans to a corner, Evans handsprings through and comes back to SCREW HIGH KICK! Fans boo but Evans is pissed with JSP.
Evans drags JSP up, throws big knees, then wrenches JSP to a whip, and BIG gamangiri! STANDING SKY TWIST! Cover, TWO! JSP survives but sputters to a corner and Evans is after him. Evans throws haymakers, wrenches and whips, but JSP reverses to run in and uppercut! JSP rolls and runs back in, but Evans sends him into buckles! Evans somersaults back to a Pele, then drags JSP down to a KIMURA! JSP clasps hands to resist and the two move around. JSP gets a ropebreak with his foot! Evans lets go and drags JSP up but JSP mule kicks, front kicks and enziguris, but Evans ducks the buzzsaw, only to get the second! Cover, TWO!!
JSP fires up, fans rally with him, and he drags Evans up to ROCK him! JSP whips Evans to ropes, Evans holds ropes to stop, and then Evans boots JSP to go to the apron. Evans kicks JSP low, slingshots up and over and backslides to then bridge! TWO, and Evans can’t believe it! JSP fireman’s carries to GO TO KICK! And then a FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!! Evans survives and JSP is shocked! Fans fire up as JSP goes to a corner. JSP climbs up top, but Evans hurries to jump up behind! SPIDER GERMAN! Evans sits back up and adjusts to leap, 630 SENTON! Cover, Evans wins!
Winner: Jack Evans, by pinfall
Evans from the Heavens came crashing down on JSP and has the momentum! But will it help TH2 become THE #1 contenders?
The Acclaimed drop another new single!
“Ladder match, ladder match, make the haters sadder match! All the fans cheering for me, ‘Get up on the ladder’ match! Ladder match, ladder match, quiet down the chatter match. Going for the gold but you know my name is Platinum Max! Ladder match, battle raps, creatin’ all these bets like my kids, call ’em Cabbage Patch. They wanna beat me, they gonna need a magic act. Cody’s only it it cuz he’s got big leagued by the Shaq Attack. Facts are facts, Platinum Max, damn Cody how you not embarrassed? Tony Khan’s the Biden, you just Kamala Harris. Yep, vice-president. So what if fans are never rootin? Cody’s the office, he’s no Face of the Revolution!
“Speaking of faces, we got Penta, yo, this guy is frontin’. He’s wearin’ paint and a mask, must be hidin’ somethin’. Why you scared, man? What happened to the Cero Miedo? Platinum Max, I rock the ice and you got cero fuego! Scorpio, I read your horoscope and then died of boredom. If you won the title shot, you’d trade it for a pair of Jordans. I ain’t scared of Lance, choke him with ponytail. I am with the Acclaimed, Platinum Max, I’m the holy grail!
“Ladder match, ladder match, make the haters sadder match! Say a little prayer like their name is Burt Bacharach. Think you gotta chance, man? I gotta laugh at that. Going for the gold but you know my name is Platinum Max!” Once again, Catser is dropping bars, but will Platinum not get the gold as easily?
The Gunn Club VS M’Badu & D3!
Billy’s boys are teaming up as a duo again, but against the Nigerian Warrior and Prince of Roma! Will the Gunn Club still be hitting the mark on behalf of the Nightmare Family?
The teams sort out, and after rock-paper-scissors, Austin starts with D3. They circle, tie up, and D3 waistlocks. Austin headlocks free, but D3 wrenches out. Austin gets a hammerlock, D3 spins through and whips but Austin goes up and over. Things speed up and Austin trips D3 to then hit a Throwback! D3 hurries and tags M’Badu in! Austin is wary but he ties up with M’Badu. M’Badu shoves Austin away and Colten tags in. Colten and M’Badu tie up, and they’re in a deadlock so they break. They go again, M’Badu gets the arm but Colten wrenches back. COlsten ducks the haymaker and runs, then slips out of the scoop. Things speed up. Colten hurdles and dropkicks M’Badu!
Tag to Austin, Colten whips him and to uppercut M’Badu! Austin keeps going, but M’Badu catches him for a POWERSLAM! Cover, ONE!! Tag to D3, he clubs away on Austin, then eggs him on. Austin throws body shots but D3 uppercuts and neckbreakers! Austin flounders, D3 puts him in the corner. D3 kicks Austin’s ribs, tags in M’Badu, and they mug Austin. M’Badu fires up, runs corner to corner and SPLASHES! Austin staggers and swings but is probably seeing double. Austin falls over, M’Badu covers him, ONE!! M’Badu tags D3, they drag Austin up and double whip.
Austin holds ropes, kicks M’Badu but he runs into D3’s slingblade, to counter it into a BACKBREAKER! M’Badu runs in but Austin dumps him out, hot tag to Colten! Colten rallies on D3 with big clotheslines! M’Badu tags in but Colten dodges to neckbreaker! Fans fire up with Colten as he runs and SPLASHES D3! Then SPLASHES M’Badu! Then scoops D3 for a tilt-o-whirl SLAM! M’Badu whips but Colten throws him out and Austin dropkicks him down! The Gunn Brothers double whip D3, for the 3:10 TO YUMA! Cover, the Gunn Club wins!
Winners: The Gunn Club, by pinfall
Whether just two or the whole trio, the Gunns are shooting on all cylinders! Will they and Papa Gunn be sharp towards some kind of title opportunity?
Thunder Rosa VS Tesha Price!
La Mera Mera didn’t get to accomplish her 2021 resolutions in the AEW Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament, but there’s still time! She’s going to get her shot at Britt Baker in the Revolution Buy-In, will Tesha be paying the price of admission?
The bell rings and Rosa circles with Price. They tie up, go around, and Rosa gets around to waistlock. Price sits down, pries at the hold and tells the ref to go away and stop bothering her. Rosa rolls Price to a lateral press, TWO! Rosa has a full nelson, Price fights up and pries free to arm-drag Rosa! Fans rally as Price feels proud of herself. She and Rosa circle, approach, and Rosa kicks low to CHOP hard! Rosa has Price in a corner, CHOPS her again, and then stands her up to bump off buckles. Rosa whips but Price blocks so Rosa ROCKS her! Price still reverse the whip to kick low and roar at Rosa. Price runs, goes up the ropes and flying arm-drags Rosa away!
Price runs, Rosa dodges and comes back for a hard arm-drag to a lateral press, TWO! Rosa whips, Price reverses but Rosa rolls her and shotguns her down! Fans fire up while Price is furious, but Rosa is on her with BIG forearms! Rosa whips corner to corner, Price goes up but Rosa catches her to an ELECTRIC CHAIR DROP! Cover, ONE!! Price survives but Rosa has her right into a CROSSFACE! And then the Rings of Saturn! With a leg hook! Price endures, tells the ref to shut up, but Rosa rolls her around to a cover, TWO! Rosa drags Price up, elbows her in the corner and elbows her again, to then run corner to corner, only for Price to dodge!
Price goes around the way to handspring KICK Rosa! Rosa avoids the bulldog to SNAP GERMAN! Rosa fires up and fans follow her. Price staggers up, Rosa runs in at the corner and A-List Lariats! Rosa dumps Price down to hit a SWINGING METEORA! Price panics, Rosa has her on ropes for the BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!! Price is showing what she’s worth but Rosa just runs again. Price drop toeholds Rosa into ropes! Price is shrieking as she goes to the apron and ROCKS Rosa with a forearm! Cover, TWO!! Price is furious but Rosa fires off fast hands! Rosa scoops for the THUNDER DRIVER! Cover, Rosa wins!
Winner: Thunder Rosa, by pinfall
The Thunder rolls into Revolution! Will she and Riho be able to shut the Dentist’s mouth once and for all?
Bear Country VS Ryzin & Cameron Stewart!
Bronson & Boulder are rolling as of late, and they’re ready to roll right into that Casino Tag Battle Royal at Revolution! Will this match be but a speedbump on their road to the top?
The teams sort out and Ryzin starts against Bronson. They circle, approach but Ryzin dodges and laughs at Bronson. Bronson grabs his finger and bends it! Ryzin throws haymakers but Bronson just smirks. Bronson tosses Ryzin to a corner, fires off body shots and clubbing forearms! Bronson fires up and fans fire up with him! Bronson whips Ryzin and hits a SPINEBUSTER! Ryzin sputters as Bronson runs but Ryzin gets away to tag out to CMS! CMS runs in but Bronson CLOBBERS him! Bronson runs and drops a BIG bear elbow! Bronson drags CMS up, CLUBS him, then has him in the corner to tag Boulder.
Boulder drags CMS up, TOSSES him to the open corner, then throws big back elbows and clubbing clotheslines! Boulder whips corner to corner, CMS rebounds into a BIG back drop! Boulder drags CMS back up, puts him in the corner and tags Bronson. Bronson whips Boulder in to SPLASH CMS! Boulder feeds CMS to Bronson’s elbow! Fans fire up and Bronson feeds off it as he looms over CMS. Bronson drags CMS up, CMS fights back with body shots, but Bronson blocks the whip. Bronson whips CMS, Ryzin tags in, CMS sunset flips and Ryzin runs in! CMS avoids the worst and both he and Ryzin kick Bronson. They double whip, but Bronson breaks through, and Boulder CLOBBERS CMS & Ryzin!
Fans fire up as Boulder lines up CMS and Ryzin for a DOUBLE SCOOP SLAM! Boulder makes sure they stay stacked as he tags in Bronson. Bronson climbs up, Boulder Electric Chair lifts him, and they hit the BEAR COUNTRY SPLASH! Double cover, Bear Country wins!
Winners: Bear Country, by pinfall
But wait! Here comes Bunny Allie! That can only mean the “wolves” aren’t far behind! And here they are! Blade BLINDSIDES Boulder, Butcher ambushes Bronson, and they beat the Bears down with CHAIRS! They SMACK and SMACK and SMACK away on Bronson & Boulder, and Bunny laughs more like a hyena! Blade digs his foot into Boulder’s face while Butcher gets in Bronson’s face! The “wolves” sit Boulder up for Bunny to slap and slap and stomp! Referees rush out to stop this, but the damage has been done! Blade tells the Bears to do themselves a favor and stay off Revolution! But will The Butcher & The Blade still find themselves lost in Bear Country soon enough?
Preston Vance & Alan Angels w/ The Dark Order VS LaBron Kozone & Vary Morales!
Number 10 didn’t make it into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match, but he and Number 5 can still climb up the tag team rankings! Will they be rolling strong with the rest of the Dark Order going into Revolution?
The teams sort out and Vance starts with the Ring Warrior, Kozone. They circle, Kozone goes for a leg but Vance avoids the grip. Vance nods, knowing this is serious. They tie up, Kozone headlocks and throws punches! Kozone runs but into an elbow. Vance dodges the back hand to ROCK Kozone back. Vance whips, Kozone reverses but the pounce isn’t enough to knock Vance over! Vance hip tosses, but Kozone comes back to ROLLING ELBOW! Kozone gloats but Vance BOOTS him down! Vance lets Kozone tag Morales in as he tags in Angels. Angels runs Morales over, things speed up, and MOrales follows to run Angels over!
Things keep moving, Angels drop but the hip toss is blocked to a headscissors! Morales dodges Angels but Angels headscissors back! Morales arm-drags, Angels arm-drags, but the dropkicks cancel out! Much respect between the teams, but then Morales tries to ambush! Angels was ready, he dropkicks Morales down and gets upset with Morales. Angels climbs up to rain down lefts. They count, and Angels makes sure to top it off at five! Tag to Vance, he whips Angels in to clothesline Morales, then scoops Morales, SHOTGUN FALL AWAY COMBO! Fans fire up as Vance looms over Morales. Vance brings Morales up to suplex and stall, for a count of 10!
Morales staggers to a corner, Vance whips him corner to corner then runs in to clothesline! Vance whips back the other way, but Morales boots back this time! Morales hops up to flying missile dropkick! Hot tags to Kozone and Angels! Angels rallies on Kozone, then dodges to enziguri! Angels kips up while Kozone staggers to ropes. Angels says, “This is gonna suck!” CROSSBODY against the ropes! Angels then DIVES to take out Morales! Fans fire up with Angels as he goes back to Kozone, dodges him and fireman’s carries! SAMOAN DRIVER! Cover, but Morales breaks it! Vance gets in and hits Morales with a SPINEBUSTER!
Vance tosses Morales, Angels tags him in, and they give Kozone the WING SNAPPER to the hammerlock, INVERTED RAINMAKER! Cover, The Dark Order wins!
Winners: Preston Vance & Alan Angels, by pinfall
Whether it’s 5 & 10, 3 & 4, or the OG, Uno & Stu, the Dark Order is ready to dominate the Casino Tag Battle Royal! Will the AEW World Tag Team Championships #JoinDarkOrder one way or another?
Tay Conti w/ Negative One VS Leila Grey!
The Brazilian Blackbelt could not overcome the Native Beast in the Women’s Title Eliminator Tournament, but she can always fight her way up the rankings! Will the stop the #UnstoppableDanger in Grey’s Dark debut?
The bell rings and Conti circles with Grey. They tie up, Grey pushes Conti away and shows off her dance moves. Conti and Grey tie up again, Conti headlocks and grinds Grey down. Conti shifts around, wrenches the arm, but Grey throws Conti by her hair! Conti kips up to wrench and hammerlock and get the headlock back! Grey stomps Conti’s feet, gets the headlock in return, but Conti powers out. Conti kicks and BOOTS, then waistlocks Grey. Grey back hands but Conti ducks that to throw Grey around! Conti sits Grey up to KIKCK her in the chest, then KICK her again! COnti even blows a kiss, but Grey ducks the buzzsaw, only to get the HEEL KICK!
Grey bails out, Conti pursues while Negative One trolls Grey. Conti throws forearms on Grey, puts her in the ring, and pursues. Grey swings but Conti counter punches! Conti whips Grey to a corner, runs in but Grey dodges and Conti POSTS herself! Grey KCIKS away on Conti, then digs her boot in! The ref counts, Grey lets off to snapmare Conti and Negative One is having a fit! Grey runs to basement dropkick! Cover, ONE!! Grey drags Conti up, “You think you’re better than me?!” Grey pie faces Conti, Conti CHOPS her! Conti throws forearms, throws Grey around with sayanagi once, twice, three times!
Conti whips but Grey reverses, but Conti goes to the apron and Grey gets buckles! Conti climbs, leaps over, and runs back in to BOOT Grey! And KNEE! Conti drags Grey out to the HAMMERLOCK DDT! Cover, Conti wins!
Winner: Tay Conti, by pinfall
Conti stays strong in the absence of her best friend, Anna Jay, and celebrates with Negative One! Will they manage to convince more members of the AEW roster to #JoinDarkOrder?
The Sydal Brothers VS Chaos Project!
Two more teams who are entering the Casino Tag Battle Royal are battling it out for final momentum! But will Matt & Mike be able to overcome the Original Death Dealer and SNAKEMAN in this Dark main event?
The teams sort out, Mike starts with Serpentico and they circle. Fans rally up, Serpentico and Mike approach, but Luther attacks! Matt gets in but Serpentico clubs him down! Luther clubs Mike, then whips Serpentico, but both Sydals go Matrix! Then the Sydals double dropkick Chaos Project down! The Sydals double whip Serpentico to drop toehold and basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Mike throws EuroUppers, then tags in Matt. Serpentico is on the ropes for the DRAPING DOUBLE STOMPS! Mike scoops Serpentico for the SNAP SIDEWALK SLAM! Cover, TWO! Matt stomps Serpentico, throws his knee in, but Serpentico throws body shots. Serpentico runs, into an elbow!
Tag to Mike, and they set Serpentico up again for more DRAPING DOUBLE STOMPS! Mike snapmares Serpentico, and hits a STANDIN MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Serpentico flounders and Luther shrieks but Mike CHOPS Serpentico. Mike throws a headbutt, whips but Serpentico reverses. Luther gets a cheap shot but Mike kicks him back! Serpentico scoops, Mike sips out to scoop and MICHINOKU DRIVER! Cover, TWO! Mike CLUBS Serpentico, whips him corner to corner, then runs in only to be put on the apron. Mike blocks the forearm but Luther anchors his feet! Serpentico hotshots Mike and then Luther THROWS him into railing!
The ref reprimands Luther and Matt hurries over but Luther puts Mike in. Serpentico runs for an ax handle drop! Cover, TWO! Serpentico drags Mike up, tags Luther in, and they mug Mike. Luther chokes Mike on the rpoes, the ref counts and Luther throws Mike down at 4. Luther stomps Mike, whips him into the corner and throws a hip check! Tag to Serpentico, and Luther whips him in for a splash! Serpentico is fired up but Luther SPLASHES him and Mike! Then Luther BOWLS Serpentico into Mike! Serpentico rains down rights on Mike, then drags him up. Fans rally, Luther tags in and Chaos Project mugs Mike again.
Luther snap butterfly suplexes and drops a knee on Mike. Tag to Serpentico while standing on Mike’s head! Serpentico is again use as the weapon, ATOMIC LEG DROP! Luther pushes Serpentico to run and BULLDOG SPLASH him onto Mike! Cover, TWO!! Serpentico drags Mike over to tag Luther in. Luther stomps Mike, kicks him to ropes, then brings him up again. Luther CLUBS Mike, snapmares him down and clamps on a chinlock. Mike endures, fights up, and throws body shots. Mike runs but Luther BOOTS him down! Luther just drags Serpentico in, he feeds Mike to Serpentico, to then run, LARIAT to Serpentico to force the DDT! Cover, TWO!
Luther drags Mike up and puts him in a corner. Luther stomps Mike, throws haymakers, then tags in Serpentico officially now. Luther scoop slams Mike, then scoop slam SENTONS Serpentico onto Mike’s knees! Mike saves himself but Luther stomps him down! Luther drags Mike up, Mike slips out of the back suplex to dodge and hot tag! Matt rallies with big kicks on Chaos Project! SOBAT for Luther, WINDMILL for Serpentico! Matt brings Serpentico around to scoop, FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Serpentico survives but Matt keeps close. Matt drags him up but Serpentico fireman’s carries back! Matt fights free, Luther runs in, but gets the JAWBREAKER SLICE COMBO!
STANDING MARIPOSA for Serpentico! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up, Matt reels Serpentico into the Russian Leg Sweep, and COBRA CLUTCH STRETCH! Luther CLOBBERS Matt! Mike runs in but Luther swings on him. Matt SUPERKICKS to the splits! Matt and Mike coordinate, Mike climbs but Serpentico fights free to avoid the cartwheel! Matt KNEES and ROUNDHOUSES Serpentico, Mike joins in, they DOUBLE LIGHTNING SPIRAL!! Cover, the Sydals win!
Winners: The Sydal Brothers, by pinfall
Lightning doesn’t strike twice, but it does strike twice over! Will Matt & Mike make major waves in the tag team battle royal? Will they become contenders in the blink of a third eye?
Mitchell’s New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/6/21)
New Japan Cup, day 2!
Will the Rainmaker redeem himself in the New Japan Cup?
Kazuchika Okada vows that it is time he returns to the top of NJPW! But this is only round ONE of the 2021 New Japan Cup! Can he make it to the end?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki; Suzuki wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA; Kenta wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi; Takagi wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire!
Tetsuya Naito lost in the first round of the NJCUP, Bushi couldn’t win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but Sanada is still in the running! Will LIJ be a powerful obstacle in the way of Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay?
But as soon as LIJ gets in the ring, the Empire attacks! Cobb throws Bushi out while Ospreay goes after Sanada, and Khan keeps Naito in the ring to revisit their recent NJCUP match. The bell rings, Khan drags Naito around but fans rally up. Khan clamps onto Naito with a chinlock but also adds his claw into it! Sanada sends Ospreay into railing while Naito and Khan brawl with forearms! Khan ROCKS Naito then Mongolian Chops him at the ropes. Naito reverses the whip to atomic drop, Bushi dropkicks the legs out and Naito basement dropkicks! Fans cheer and Naito grabs Khan’s ponytail! Naito drags Khan around by it, fans rally up and Khan grabs the ropes.
The ref counts, Naito lets off but tags Sanada in. Sanada climbs up and drops ax handles on the ponytail! That still tweaks Khan’s head and fans fire up again. Sanada drags Khan up while Ospreay protests, and Sanada headlocks to punch Khan down. Sanada throws haymakers, brings Khan up for clubbing elbows, then tags in Bushi. Bushi clubs Khan, drags him up by the ponytail, and bumps him off buckles. Bushi CHOPS Khan, puts Khan’s leg on ropes and dropkicks the leg out! Cover, TWO! ans rally, Bushi drags Khan around and tags in Naito. Naito clubs Khan, drags him up and cravats for a standing neck wrench. Khan endures, reaches for the Empire, but Naito keeps him away.
Khan throws body shots but Naito throws an elbow, into a standing katagatami! Khan kicks a leg out and drags Naito down! Cobb and Ospreay attack Sanada and Bushi! They brawl on the outside, Naito gets a ropebreak but Khan holds on! Khan cranks on the hold, the ref reprimands and counts, and Khan lets go at 3. Brawling continues outside but Khan drags Naito around to stomp away on the leg! Naito clutches his knee and fans rally up, but Khan drags him up first. Khan tags Cobb in, the Empire mugs Naito, and Cobb gives Naito a headbutt! Naito ends up in a corner, Cobb whips him out to whip him back in hard! The Empire likes that and Cobb scoops Naito to carry him around.
Cobb taunts LIJ by holding Naito out to them, but then throws in knees! Cobb puts Naito in the Empire corner, tags in Ospreay, and then sets Naito up for Ospreay’s DRAPING DOUBLE STOMPS! Ospreay BOOTS Sanada, Cobb RAMS Naito back into the corner, and Ospreay digs his boot in. The ref reprimands and counts, Ospreay lets off to throw haymakers and more stomps! Ospreay digs his knee in, the ref reprimands and counts, but Ospreay lets off again. Ospreay snapmares and wraps Naito up in a chinlock. Ospreay grinds Naito down, fans rally up, and Naito endures. Khan keeps ropes away from Naito but the ref reprimands.
Ospreay drags Naito away, cranks on the chinlock then shifts to a facelock. Khan tags in, and Mongolian Chops Naito on the back! Khan drags Naito up for more Mongolian Chops! Khan mockingly asks what’s wrong and he eggs Naito on. Fans rally, Naito throws haymakers and forearms! Khan knees low, whips, but Naito reverses to tornado, only for Khan to block the DDT! Naito fights out of Khan’s grip, elbows him, then spins him for a neckbreaker! Both men are down and fans fire up! Naito sits up but Khan follows. They both go to their corners, hot tags to Sanada and Ospreay! Sanada rallies, whips but Ospreay reverses, only for Sanada to reverse back and RANA!
Sanada dropkicks Cobb away, then blocks Ospreay’s boot to trip him! Sanada ties Ospreay up in Paradise! Fans fire up as Sanada encourages them to get loud. Sanada runs in and dropkicks Ospreay out of Paradise! Cover, ONE!! Fans rally for “SA-NA-DA!” as he drags Ospreay up. Sanada fireman’s carries, Ospreay elbows free and waistlocks, but Sanada resists the lift. Sanada elbows free, runs in but Ospreay puts him up top! Ospreay tucks him in, for CHEEKY NANDOS! Ospreay hurries and tags in Cobb! Cobb runs corner to corner to LEAPING back elbow! Cobb scoops Sanada, pops him up into the suplex, holds him up, but Sanada reverses to snap suplex!
Fans fire up again as Cobb goes to a corner. Sanada crawls and hot tags Bushi! Bushi runs corner to corner but Cobb dodges. Cobb runs in, Bushi slips out and swing kick shim away! Bushi goes up, missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Cobb runs back at Bushi but into a basement dropkick to the legs! Bushi basement DDT’s and covers, TWO! Fans rally and Bushi brings Cobb up. Cobb throws forearms, whips Bushi to a corner, then runs in, but Bushi dodges! Naito rocket kicks and leg sweeps, COMBINACION CABRON! LIJ whips Cobb, Sanada elbows and snapmares, for a TRIPLE BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!
Naito dropkicks Khan down but Ospreay drags Sanada out. Bushi has Cobb, but no Fisherman Screw! Ospreay hits PIP PIP CHEERIO on Bushi! Sanada dropkicks Ospreay, but Khan BOOTS Sanada! Naito dropkicks Khan’s legs out, then dodges Cobb, only for Cobb to LARIAT him! Cobb goes back to Bushi as fans rally up. Bushi kicks, Cobb blocks then ducks the enziguri but not the mule kick! Bushi runs in, but the Code Break is blocked and popped to a GERMAN SUPLEX! Cobb drags Bushi up, reels him in and hits a TOUR OF THE ISLAND! Cover, the Empire wins!
Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall
The Hawaiian Hulk is building up power and momentum towards his NJCUP battle with Evil! The Dominator is also already in, and the newly deemed “Global Kingpin” Ospreay has his battle tomorrow, March 7th! Will the entire United Empire advance towards the finals?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki!
These two have been warming up in tag matches and finally get to throw down 1v1! Will Everyone’s Kokeshi be able to knock the Meanest Man in the World out of the tournament? Or will Suzuki brutalize and leave him behind while going for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
The bell rings and fans rally up already. Suzuki and Honma stare down, but then Honma shoves and CHOPS! And CHOPS! Suzuki CHOPS, Honma CHOPS, it’s a CHOP fight! Fans rally as the CHOPS fly harder and faster! Neither man is backing down, but Honma does get the edge! Honma CHOPS and CHOPS then DOUBLE CHOPS! Suzuki eggs Honma on, Honma CHOPS and then scoops Suzuki to slam him! Honma fires up and runs, but Suzuki dodges the kokeshi! Honma gets mad and tries again, but again Suzuki dodges! Suzuki gives toying kicks to Honma and fans rally up. Suzuki throws knees and forearms and Honma goes to a corner.
Suzuki throws body shots, whips him corner to corner but Honma reverses. Honma runs in but Suzuki boots him. Suzuki slips to the apron, and catches Honma’s arm to a DRAPING ARMBAR! The ref counts, Suzuki lets go at 3 and then drags Honma out to join him. Suzuki whips Honma into railing! Suzuki slaps Honma then throws forearms and elbows! Suzuki puts Honma’s head through railings and pulls him back against the top bar! The ref reprimands and counts but Suzuki stops at 3. Fans rally but Suzuki puts Honma in a cravat! Suzuki grinds Honma down, the ref reprimands but Suzuki holds on until the ref counts. Suzuki stands Honma up and RAMS him into railing!
Suzuki digs his knuckles into Honma’s eyes! Commentary is really close to the action but Suzuki leaves Honma behind as the ring count climbs. The count is already 10 of 20 as the fans rally. It passes 15, Honma stands at 18 and gets in at 19.5! Suzuki drags Honma into a facelock, then shifts to a chinlock stretch! Suzuki digs a knee into Honma’s back as he pulls him back! Fans rally as Honma endures, and Honma fights, only for Suzuki to crank harder on the hold! Honma reaches with feet and gets the ropebreak! Suzuki lets go and eggs Honma on. Suzuki gives Honma more toying kicks but Honma rises as fans rally again.
Honma throws forearms but Suzuki laughs them off. Suzuki eggs Honma on then ROCKS him! Honma wobbles, Suzuki ROCKS him again! Honma wobbles and falls over! Suzuki runs to PENALTY KICK! Honma stays seated up!? Suzuki PENALTY KICKS again but Honma just gets stronger! Suzuki runs, Honma blocks the kick, elbows it, but swings into Suzuki’s grip! Honma spins through and gets Suzuki for a DDT! Fans rally up as both men slowly rise. Honma reels Suzuki in but Suzuki throws elbows, only for Honma to power through and hit the back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up and Honma CHOPS Suzuki to a corner!
Honma CHOPS more, and more, and then whips Suzuki corner to corner. Honma runs in to back elbow then hit a BULLDOG! Honma fires up to hit the KOKESHI! Fans fire up again as Honma dares Suzuki to get up. Suzuki rises, Honma runs, but Suzuki ducks the lariat to waistlock! Honma counters with a facelock, but Suzuki wrenches the arm! Suzuki ducks Honma’s haymaker, back hand, and fires off SLAPS! And kicks and clubbing elbows! Honma falls over again but Suzuki brings him back up. Suzuki reels Honma in as fans rally up, and that only angers Suzuki more. Suzuki Gotch holds but Honma resists the lift! Suzuki powers through but Honma flails his legs!
Honma powers up to back drop Suzuki over! Suzuki gets up and he looms over Honma. Suzuki gives more kicks but Honma eggs him on! Fans rally as Suzuki stomps but Honma growls. Suzuki fires off slapping palm strikes and big forearm shots but Honma just gets stronger! Honma ROCKS Suzuki with a right! Suzuki comes back to palm strike, but Honma POINT-BLANK KOKESHIS! Both men are down again and fans fire up! Honma rises, drags Suzuki up and throws more forearms! Honma has Suzuki in the corner but now Suzuki eggs Honma on. Suzuki leans into the forearms as Honma throws them, no guard at all! Honma headbutts!
But Suzuki roars, so Honma throws more forearms in the corner! The ref wants Honma to let off but Honma ROCKS Suzuki again! Honma clubs Suzuki at ropes, brings him up to the top rope backwards, then clubs him more. Honma climbs up behind Suzuki and fans rally up. Suzuki resists, throws elbows, then cravats Honma to grind him down! Fans still rally but Honma ends up tumbling to the apron! Suzuki adjusts, brings Honma up, but Honma RISING KOKESHIS! Suzuki falls, fans fire up and Honma climbs! Honma leaps for a FLYING KOKESHI! Cover, TWO! Suzuki survives but fans rally for Honma!
Honma drags Suzuki by a leg, and hooks him up with the step-over deathlock! Suzuki resists the crossface but Honma still tries. Honma gets an arm in it for a chicken wing STF! Suzuki endures, Honma shifts to a cover, TWO! Fans rally again as the two stand. Honma brings Suzuki around to scoop but Suzuki slips out to get the sleeper hold! Honma snapmares Suzuki away and throws a LARIAT! Suzuki stays up with pure anger, and he eggs Honma on! Honma runs and LARIATS, but again Suzuki stays up! Suzuki ROCKS Honma with a palm strike, Honma wobbles, but he powers up! Suzuki SMACKS him again, Honma staggers back, but he powers up to ROCK Suzuki in return!
Suzuki throws a forearm, Honma returns it, and again! Fans rally as these two pick up speed again! Suzuki laughs as things get faster, and he ROCKS Honma, to then ROCK him again! Honma wobbles around and staggers to a knee! Honma stands as fans rally, but Suzuki ROCKS him a third time! Honma wobbles and Suzuki seethes, but the two keep going! Forearm for forearm, Honma wobbles and stumbles about again but he comes back to palm strike. Suzuki ROCKS Honma, and again, and then palm strike! Suzuki gets Honma in the SLEEPER! Fans rally as Honma manages to stay standing! Honma turns red and Suzuki squeezes tighter!
The ref checks, the hand drops once! The hand drops twice, but Suzuki turns Honma around! Gotch hold, but Honma’s second wind helps him resist! Suzuki KNEES Honma, and reels him in, but Honma makes it a GANNOSUKE CLUTCH! Cover, TWO!! Honma runs into palm strikes and haymakers! GOTCH PILEDRIVER!! Cover, Suzuki wins!!
Winner: Minoru Suzuki, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
Honma gave it his all, but in the end, it wasn’t enough! Will Suzuki take the Cup and then the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA!
The Flamboyant One and Fang Revived are back in Japan in time for the Cup! But who moves on towards the next round and faces Suzuki?
The bell rings and Juice has fans rally up. Juice and Kenta circle, tie up, and Juice uses leverage to power Kenta to ropes. The ref calls for the break but Kenta turns things around and pulls Juice’s hair! Kenta brings Juice into a headlock, Juice powers out but again Kenta pulls hair. Kenta grinds the headlock but Juice powers up to power out, only for Kenta to again get the hair. Kenta grinds Juice down and talks trash, but Juice throws body shots. Juice powers out but Kenta rams him with a shoulder. Juice stays up, Kenta eggs him on but then pulls Juice’s hair. Juice powers up to back suplex high and hard! Fans fire up as Juice drops the back senton! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally as Juice keeps cool. Juice drags Kenta up, JABS, CHOPS, and whips him to a corner. Juice wrenches, whips corner to corner, and then runs in to clothesline Kenta down! Fans fire up with Juice as he runs corner to corner again, but Kenta bails out before the cannonball. Kenta walks around the way, the ref keeps Juice in, but Kenta grabs the ring bell! Finlay tries to tell the ref as Juice storms over, but Kenta CRACKS Juice with the ring bell! Kenta gets in to drop knees on Juice’s head and then dig knuckles into the eye! The ref counts, Kenta lets off at 3 and Juice gets to ropes. Kenta goes after Juice to choke him and claw his eyes!
The ref counts, Kenta stops at 3, and Juice checks his eye. Kenta drags Juice up to throw him out of the ring, and then he pursues. Kenta drags Juice up and whips Juice hard into railing! Juice slumps down and Kenta digs his face into railing! The ref reprimands, Kenta stops and Juice crawls away. Fans rally up but Kenta traps Juice’s head in between the gate and railing! Kenta squeezes tight but stops as the ring count starts. Kenta drags Juice up at 7 of 20 and puts him in at 10. Kenta stomps Juice, throws haymakers, but Juice gets up! Kenta throws more haymakers then rakes at Juice’s eye! Juice gets to a corner, the ref reprimands and warns Kenta.
Fans cheer the ref while Kenta drags Juice up. Kenta headlocks and punches Juice, then scrapes Juice’s face on ropes! The ref counts and Kenta lets off. The ref checks Juice’s eye while Kenta makes up his mocking clap rhythm. Kenta boots Juice down then clamps on a facelock. Kenta grinds Juice down but fans rally up. Juice fights up, fights out, but Kenta claws Juice’s eyes! Kenta runs but Juice hits a SPINEBUSTER! Fans fire up as both men are down! Kenta gets to a corner, Juice rises and runs in, but Kenta boots him away! Juice fires up, runs back in and clotheslines! Juice whips Kenta corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines again!
Juice keeps moving to LEAPING LARIAT Kenta down! Fans fire up and Juice watches Kenta rise. Juice pumps up and fans clap along. Juice JABS, JABS, JABS, then powers up, but Kenta claws his eyes! Juice claws Kenta’s eyes in return! The ref reprimands, Juice headbutts Kenta to a corner! Juice runs in but Kenta boots him! Kenta hops up, reels Juice in and hits a tornado hotshot! Kenta climbs up while Juice staggers, and he hits a FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Cover, TWO! Kenta clamps onto Juice’s arm but Juice flails and gets the ropebreak! It’s not Game Over yet! Fans rally, Kenta drags Juice up and reels him into a waistlock.
Juice elbows free, runs, but Kenta BOOTS him! Kenta runs but into Juice’s boot! Juice fires up and runs, but Kenta sends him out! Kenta runs to BOOT Juice off and at the railing! Kenta goes out to fetch Juice and drags him up. Kenta goes to bump Juice off the timekeeper’s table but Juice blocks to bump Kenta! Juice powers up but Kenta dumps him up and over onto the timekeeper’s table! Fans rally but Kenta drags the table aside to get Juice up. Kenta rains down rights, the ref has him back off and Kenta goes back to ringside while Juice slowly rises. Kenta climbs the corner?! Juice hurries to stop him with a body shot and a headbutt! Juice has a target and he grabs Kenta!
Kenta rakes Juice’s eyes and clubs him down! Juice staggers away, Kenta goes to the apron and leaps, into Juice’s arms! Juice moves Kenta around, fireman’s carries, and DEATH VALLEY DRIVERS Kenta to the floor!! Fans fire up as both men slowly stir. The ring count begins again and reaches 10 of 20 before Juice puts Kenta in. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in, and lifts, for a RUNNING POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO! Kenta survives and but Finlay coaches Juice up. Juice fires up and brings Kenta up. Juice chicken wings and turns Kenta, but Kenta rolls Juice up! TWO, and Juice runs at Kenta, only to be put on the apron!
Kenta drags Juice through the ropes for a DRAPING DDT! Fans rally and Kenta rises first. Kenta goes to one corner, Juice is in the other. Kenta runs in to JUMPING BOOT! Kenta keeps moving, HESITATION DROPKICK! Kenta climbs up the corner while Juice is down, but Juice avoids the double stomps! LEG LARIAT! Both men are down, fans rally up again! Juice and Kenta stir, and Juice stands first! Juice drags Kenta but Kenta gets the arm! Juice rolls out of the hold but Kenta BOOTS him! Juice fires up, Kenta blocks the clothesline but Juice ducks the back hand! Juice fireman’s carries Kenta to the JUICE BOX! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives and Juice is beside himself!
Fans rally up and Juice gets to his feet. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in and chicken wings, but Kenta slips through to fireman’s carry! Juice fights off to chicken wing and turn, but Kenta slips out again to fireman’s carry! GO TO- NO! Juice blocks and rolls Kenta up, TWO!! Juice powers up but Kenta blocks the left Hand to BACK HAND! Kenta fires off palm strikes over and over, but he swings into the chicken wing! Kenta elbows out, but the back hand is caught! Juice swings, Kenta ducks, but the RIGHT HAND O’ GOD hits! Juice drags Kenta up, chicken wings and turns, but Kenta slips out again! Kenta drags Juice down, hooks up the arm and gets the crossface! GAME OVER!!
Juice endures, moves around, but Kenta cranks way back! Juice taps, Kenta wins!!
Winner: Kenta, by submission (advances to the next round)
And it was indeed Game Over for the Flamboyant One! Will the Fang Revived sink his teeth into Suzuki next round?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi!
The Rainmaker said at Castle Attack that it’s about time he returns to the top of NJPW! But in his way is the Dragon! Will Takagi end Okada’s road back to redemption already? Or will Okada slay the dragon and head back for the gold?
The bell rings, and fans rally up already for “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Okada gets the clap-clap-clap-stomp going already while he stays back in the corner. Takagi is patient, and he waits as Okada steps forward. They circle, feel out the grapple, but Okada backs off to focus. They tie up right away, Okada powers Takagi to ropes, and Red Shoes calls for the break. Okada lets off and fakes the chop to pat Takagi. Takagi ROCKS and CLUBS and CLUBS Okada back! Fans cheer as Takagi toys with Okada. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada fires off forearms and elbows! Okada reels Takagi into a headlock, but Takagi throws body shots. Takagi powers out, rams Okada but both men stay up!
Fans cheer as Okada runs, and he rams Takagi! Takagi stays up and eggs Okada on. Okada runs, rams Takagi, then drop toeholds on the rebound to elbow drop Takagi’s back! Okada is after Takagi at the ropes, brings him up and throws forearms. Takagi goes to a corner, Okada heads over and throws back elbows. Okada throws more elbows, then brings Takagi around for a neckbreaker! Cover, ONE! Okada keeps his cool, clamps onto Takagi with a chinlock, and digs his knee into Takagi’s back. Takagi fights up, gets a ropebreak with a foot, and Okada lets go quickly. Okada keeps close, brings Takagi up and elbows him again.
Okada snapmares and runs to then basement dropkick Takagi out of the ring! Fans fire up, Takagi gets annoyed and the ring count begins. Takagi takes his time, and gets back up on the apron at 9 of 20. Okada keeps his distance but then Takagi dares Okada to come out after him. Takagi continues to take his time, and the count restarts. Okada gets impatient, Takagi gets on the apron but draws Okada in to drag him out! Takagi bumps him off apron, and again, then whips Okada, only for Okada to reverse and send Takagi into railing! Okada reels Takagi in, puts him on the apron, but Takagi fights off to RAM Okada into railing! And then RAM him into the apron!
Takagi fireman’s carries to SNAKE EYES Okada off the apron, and then kick to DDT! Fans fire up and Takagi flexes as he looms over Okada. The ring count starts again, Takagi drags Okada up and puts him in the ring. Takagi slingshots to STOMP Okada! Takagi digs his knee into Okada, then stands on him, but steps off as Red Shoes counts. Takagi kicks at Okada, drags him up and throws forearms into the back! Takagi whips and KNEES Okada against ropes, then runs to run Okada over! Fans fire up with Takagi and they clap “TA-KA-GI!” “O-KA-DA!” again. Takagi drags Okada up, suplexes, and drives Okada down hard! Cover, TWO!
Takagi clamps onto Okada with a chinlock and grinds him down. Okada endures, fans rally up, but Takagi shifts. Okada fights up, throws body shots to fight free, but Takagi DOUBLE CHOPS him down! Takagi mockingly asks what’s wrong and eggs Okada on. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada throws forearms back! Takagi ROCKS Okada with one! Takagi brings Okada up, Gory Especial, but Okada fights it! Okada gets the arm for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi powers Okada to a corner and is free, then runs but into a BOOT! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Fans rally as Takagi and Okada stir. Okada stands first and fires off forearms.
Okada whips, Takagi reverses but Okada ducks and ELBOWS Takagi down! Okada fires up and the fans fire up, too! Okada whips Takagi to a corner, runs in and elbows him, then kicks to DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his focus while fans continue to rally. Takagi gets to ropes, then a corner, and Okada storms over. Okada hoists Takagi up top, but Takagi boots him away! Takagi runs but into an uppercut! Okada runs but into the elbow! JAB! LARIAT! Takagi fires up and the fans fire up, too! Takagi drags Okada up again, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Takagi is copying Okada’s style and LARIATS him down again!
Takagi scoops and slams Okada and goes to a corner, also formula Okada! For the FALLING ELBOW! Takagi keeps moving and mocks the Rainmaker pose, to then double gun flex! Takagi drags Okada up, wristlock ripcords but Okada stops the steal with a BOOT! Okada fires forearms, throws EuroUppers, but Takagi blindside LARIATS! Takagi runs, but into a FLAPJACK! Both men are down again and fans are thunderous now as the two stir! Okada sits up, Takagi follows and the two go forehead to forehead. Okada forearms, then again, but Takagi fires up to forearm back! Okada eggs Takagi on so Takagi hits again! They go back and forth, faster and faster and fans rally up!
Takagi gets the edge, ROCKS Okada, and brings him back around to whip. Okada reverses but Takagi holds ropes to avoid the dropkick! Okada avoids the sliding lariat, but Takagi gets Okada in a fireman’s carry! Okada slips off, Takagi elbows him away, blocks the boot and clotheslines! Takagi runs, Okada catches him for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi fights out, Okada goes to backslide, but Takagi counters to NOSHIGAMI! But Takagi can’t make the cover! Fans rally up, Takagi crawls over, and fires himself back up. Okada slowly rises, Takagi runs but into the dropkick! Okada gut wrenches to a TOMBSTONE! Okada gets the arm for MONEY CLIP!
Takagi endures and fans rally up again. Okada cranks on the hold but Takagi reaches with his legs, and gets the ropebreak! Okada lets go quickly and both men are down again. Fans rally up, Okada stands first, and he hobbles over to Takagi. Okada drags him up, scoops and slams him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs slowly and Takagi hits him first! Takagi climbs up, clubs away on Okada’s back, then talks some smack as he drags Okada up. Okada resists but Takagi gets him up for the SUPERPLEX! The fans are thunderous again as both men writhe from that impact! Takagi rolls over towards Okada, sits Okada up, and hits a SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!
Fans cheer but Takagi grits his teeth. Takagi gets the fans rallying with “OI! OI! OI!” Takagi gets up, runs again, but Okada ducks the lariat to backslide! Takagi rolls through, Okada reels him in but Takagi avoids Rainmaker to pump handle! MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO?!? Okada survives and Takagi can’t believe it! Fans are thunderous as Takagi catches his breath. Takagi drags Okada back up, reels Okada in and pump handles again. Okada clubs free of that but Takagi POINT-BLANK LARIATS! Fans rally, Takagi kicks at Okada then drags him back up. Takagi gives Okada forearms from all sides, then ROCKS him!
Okada leans against ropes, Takagi whips but Okada reverses and dropkicks! Okada grabs at Takagi’s arm and gets the MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures, fights up, but Okada gut wrenches for the SPINNING TOMBSTONE! Back to MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures as Okada squeezes tight! Takagi fights up again, reaches out for ropes, but Okada drags him back to a back2backbreaker! And back to the MONEY CLIP! Takagi is turning red and is fading as Okada squeezes as tight as he can! Red Shoes checks on Takagi, the hand drops once. But Takagi gets a second wind now and he powers towards ropes, starts to fade again, but still gets a ropebreak! Okada lets go and fans are thunderous again!
Okada catches his own breath while he stands up. Okada grabs at Takagi but he resists. Takagi throws body shots but Okada stomps Takagi down. Takagi grits his teeth and rises, but Okada SHOTGUNS him! Takagi’s right up to LARIAT! Okada stays up!? Okada gets Takagi’s wrist, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Okada is going to show Takagi how it’s done as he brings Takagi up, but swings into a full nelson! Okada breaks free, catches Takagi for a spin but Takagi swats the discus! Takagi ripcords, PUMPING RAINMAKER!! Cover, TWO!!! Okada survives and the fans are electric! Takagi gets to a corner, fires himself up by smacking the padding, and then aims at Okada.
Okada rises as Takagi runs in, to PUMPING BOMBER! But Takagi isn’t done, he pump handle fireman’s carries, but Okada slips off! Okada ducks the back hand to back drop, and sit on Takagi! Cover, TWO!! Takagi stays close to Okada and brings him up, but Okada gut wrenches again! Takagi fights free, and hits a BACK SUPLEX BACKBREAKER! That was rough, even for Takagi! Fans rally up again, Takagi drags Okada up and runs, for MAX PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Takagi can’t believe it but this is the Rainmaker fans have come to know! Takagi fires up and drags Okada back up to the pump handle fireman’s carry.
Okada fights free again, ripcords, but into the pump handle! LAST OF THE DRAGONS!!! Cover, Takagi wins!!!!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
This is almost unbelievable! Okada called his shot at Castle Attack, but falls in the first round!! The Dragon slays Okada, and the Rainmaker’s return to the top stops already! What does this mean for the rest of Okada’s 2021? Takagi gets the mic to speak! “Ota Cityyy~!” It feels really good to have won. But seriously, that was a tough match! Takagi hopes everyone enjoyed the match, and Takagi tells Okada that he’s one tough opponent. But the winner here is Takagi.
Takagi can tell NJPW is entering a new era, and Kota Ibushi is the champion after the 49th Anniversary. Takagi thinks the world title is going to be pretty awesome. But in the NJCUP, Takagi vows to make this his time! Ibushi better be ready to defend that new belt against Takagi! Will the “Pumping Maker” be heading for the top now that he’s beaten one of the best in the world?
A great event, especially the NJCUP matches. The Empire keeps winning in solid Six Man Tags, and with Cobb finishing it off. Cobb is going to build momentum all week until he faces Evil on 3/11, that’s a given. Ospreay has momentum for his match, too, but it’d be a great twist if he lost to Tenzan after getting a big head. Honma VS Suzuki was really good, perhaps a touch better than Kenta VS Juice, but maybe it was just all the brawling and wobble selling. I figured Suzuki would win, and it makes sense for Kenta to win against Juice. Just something about pacing felt better in Honma VS Suzuki.
Okada VS Takagi is probably match of the week, and is so far leading the way as best match of the opening round. It’s going to be really hard to beat that, especially because Takagi won! I really thought there was going to be a moment for Okada to turn things around, but that’s huge for Takagi to win. Takagi also has a lot of guts for copying the Rainmaker formula, but I wonder if this is some kind of Okada seal of approval that Takagi won here. Takagi VS Goto is going to be another great match given their NEVER Openweight Championship matches in the past, but I would think Takagi keeps winning until the semifinals now. The Suzuki VS Kenta winner faces Takagi on 3/16, Takagi can totally beat Kenta but Suzuki is a harder choice. But if there’s a chance we could get Takagi VS EVIL, I hope NJPW gives us that.
My Score: 9.3/10
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