Time to strap in and take off!
Before blasting off in Houston, SmackDown lays down the law in Dallas! Daniel Bryan and Bray Wyatt make their Strap Match official!
- Six Man Tag: Roman Reigns & The Usos VS Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode; Reigns & The Usos win.
- Bliss-Cross VS Fire & Desire; No Contest.
- Elias & Braun Strowman VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro w/ Sami Zayn; Elias & Strowman win.
- Kofi Kingston w/ Big E VS John Morrison w/ The Miz; Morrison wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Roman Reigns & The Usos VS Baron Corbin, Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode!
SmackDown just went from zero to 60 in six seconds! That’s because six men with a lot of history and animosity are starting us off with a main event level match! Will the Samoan Bloodline overthrow the tyrannical Wolf King? Or will they be forced to bow down before the Royal Rumble?
Tensions run high but the trios sort out. Fans boo Corbin as he holds up his scepter but Roman glares at him the entire time. We start with Jey and Ziggler, and they tie up. Ziggler puts Jey in a corner but lets up at the ref’s count. Ziggler gets a cheap shot elbow in and then headlocks. Jey headlocks back but Ziggler powers out. Jey runs Ziggler over with a shoulder and Dallas fires up! Jey CHOPS Ziggler towards the corner and tags in brother Jimmy. The Usos work together to double elbow and elbow drop on Ziggler. Cover, TWO! Ziggler scrambles away to the King’s corner and tags in Roode. The GLORIOUS One circles with Jimmy and tie up. Jimmy wristlocks and wrenches but Roode pulls hair.
Roode knees Jimmy in the corner and stomps him down. Fans rally with “UCE! SO!” but Roode keeps on Jimmy. Jimmy uppercuts and CHOPS back! And again! Jimmy whips corner to corner but Roode puts Jimmy on the apron. Jimmy has a fall but then Ziggler RAMS him into steel steps! That was almost a ZigZag into the steel! The ref restores order, and Jimmy’s knee seems to be the real injury. Medics hurry out to check on Jimmy while Roman and Jey stay close. Roman and Jey want them to check his head as much as they do his leg, but the main thing is, Jimmy is now out of the match. Fans cheer in encouragement, but it seems this Six Man just became a Handicap match. We’ll see more after the break.
SmackDown returns and it does seem to be 3v2 now as Ziggler grapples with Roman. Fans rally for Roman ash e puts Ziggler on the ropes. Roman lets up and Ziggler takes advantage with a kick! Ziggler throws haymakers but Roman counter punches! Roman drags Ziggler up to tag in Jey. The Bloodline mugs with headbutts then Jey cravats to a snapmare. Jey runs to drop a falling headbutt! Cover, TWO! Jey keeps focus as Ziggler gets to ropes again. Ziggler elbows back then brings Jey to the corner. Tag to Corbin, and the Wolf King mugs Jey with body shots. Fans boo but Corbin tells them to shush. Corbin throws big hands but Jey throws uppercuts! Jey rocks Corbin to a corner then runs in to whip. Corbin reverses but Jey stops himself. Corbin slides out then in, but Jey ducks the lariat to uppercut again!
Jey heads up top and leaps, but Corbin gets under. Jey rolls, but turns around into DEEP SIX! Cover, TWO!! Jey survives and Roman is right in Corbin’s face. The ref backs Roman down, this has to wait until Roman’s legal. Corbin drags Jey up and over to throw out of the ring. Fans rally for Roman as Corbin talks trash. This keeps everyone distracted from Ziggler’s cheap shots on Jey. Corbin tags Roode and Roode rams Jey into the LED apron! Roode puts Jey in then keeps between him and Roman. Roode stomps Jey’s hands then turns him around for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Roode keeps on Jey as fans rally, and Ziggler tags in. Roode-Dolph mug Jey and stomp him down, then Ziggler jumps to drop an elbow. Cover, TWO!
Ziggler keeps Jey away from Roman and tags in Corbin. The mugging continues as Corbin drives elbows into Jey’s shoulders. Tag to Roode and Ziggler applauds while fans shout, “Corbin Sucks!” Roode whips Jey into the corner but Jey uses that to hit the King and his court! Jey kicks, Roode blocks, but the dragon whip comes around! Both men are down and Dallas is thunderous! Jey crawls but Corbin is lurking! Corbin trips Roman before the tag! And then rams Roman into steel steps and barriers, and even dumps him into the crowd! The Bloodline is in danger as we go to break.
SmackDown returns again as Corbin and court keep Jey isolated. They have Jey in the ring and fans boo hard as ever. Corbin whips Jey corner to corner but Jey reverses to send Corbin into the post! Both men are down now but Roman is still recovering. Ziggler and Roode coach Corbin on as he crawls, but fans go nuts as Roman returns! Corbin grabs Jey, but Jey still makes the tag! Corbin tags right out to Ziggler, but Roman runs roughshod over Ziggler and Roode! Roman whips, Ziggler reverses, but Roman hits a leaping lariat! Fans are fired up as Roman gives Ziggler the point-blank corner clotheslines! Roman goes all the way to 10 and then runs to BOOT Ziggler down! Roman goes to a corner and hears the fans getting even louder. Roman aims at Ziggler, locks ‘n’ loads, but Roode gets in to distract. Corbin attacks Roman from behind!
SUPERKICK from Ziggler! Cover, TWO!! Roman lives and Corbin is furious! Ziggler is freaking out, too, but he quickly refocuses to bring Roman up and throw him out. Ziggler distracts the ref so that Roode and Corbin can stomp away! The King and his court get away with that one, and Ziggler goes out to fetch Roman. Ziggler drags Roman up and puts him back in the ring, and then drops another elbow. Cover, TWO! Roman still lives, but Ziggler rakes his eyes! Tag to Corbin and Corbin stomps Roman down. Corbin drags Roman up and knees low, then runs to DECK Roman with that right hand. Corbin mocks Roman’s posing as fans boo and jeer. Corbin then rains down rights on Roman over and over and over.
The ref reprimands Corbin but Corbin tags out to Roode. Roode winds it up, “GLORIOUS~!” Roode kicks, but Roman rolls him up! TWO and a dead lift for a POWERBOMB! And Jey has returned! Roman and Roode crawl for their corners as fans rally up. But now Ziggler trips Jey to deny the tag and throw him into barriers! And then back the other way! And then across the desk! Roode tags to Corbin as Ziggler flips the desk hood on Jey. Corbin throws big hands on Roman, then body shots in the corner. The ref backs Corbin off but Corbin says not to touch him. Tag to Ziggler and Ziggler smiles as he brings Roman up and out for a neckbreaker. Cover, TWO! But Roman surviving only means taking more damage.
Ziggler backs off to tune up the band. Fans boo and jeer because Ziggler’s no Heartbreak Kid. Roman rises, Ziggler comes over, SUPERMAN PUNCH instead! Corbin and Roode can’t believe this! And more than that, here comes JIMMY! Bad leg or not, Jimmy wants back in! Hot tags and Jimmy rallies on Roode! Mule kick, uppercut and Samoan Drop! Fans are fired up and the “UCE! OH!” echoes out. Jimmy uppercuts then DIVES onto Corbin! Corbin goes over the desk and Jimmy hits Roode again. Uppercut for Ziggler, Jimmy climbs up, big crossbody! Cover, but Corbin gets in to break it just in time! Corbin reels Jimmy in but Jimmy escapes, SUPERMAN PUNCH for Corbin! Roman wants after Corbin now, and he gets to throw BIG uppercuts!
Roman keeps on Corbin all around the ring and throws him out into the crowd! Falls Count Anywhere comes a few days early with this! Roman throws a trash can into Corbin! Roode is still down in the ring as Roman beats down Corbin in front of the fans. They end up going by the stage and to the back. Jimmy uses his one good leg to climb, but Ziggler anchors it. Jimmy shoves Ziggler away, Jey LEAPS from the desk! Ziggler is down but Roode climbs up to intercept Jimmy! Jimmy headbutts Roode away and adjusts, for the USO SPLASH! Cover, the Usos and Roman win!!
Winners: Roman Reigns & The Usos, Jimmy Uso pinning
The Bloodline has this on lock down! The court got put in the Uso Penitentiary, but will Roman put Corbin in the dog house in Houston? Where in the arena will that match even end?!
WWE Backstage is going to be huge in Miami!
Not only with the entirety of The New Day be there with Renee Young and Booker T, but so will Roman Reigns! Will the Big Dog be feeling #GOODT after the Royal Rumble?
Michael Cole welcomes Lacey Evans to the stage!
The Sassy Southern Belle is here ahead of her SmackDown Women’s Championship match with Bayley in Houston, and fans are happy to see her. To look back at how this all started, Lacey simply questioned the leadership tactics of Bayley and Sasha Banks. But why did she do that? Lacey says it’s because they’re just bullies disrespecting the other women. Lacey learned early on to stand up, not be intimidated, and that’s what she did. Michael was able to talk with Lacey more about her “rough upbringing” growing up. Is that one of the reasons Lacey challenges the bullies? Lacey does admit that her upbringing wasn’t the best. Her father suffered and worked hard against addiction and depression and eventually lost that battle. That is something that Lacey deals with and uses as motivation to show the world that it doesn’t matter what hand you were dealt. You can play the game and do what you want in life.
And Lacey isn’t done by far. The hardest part of being in this position is knowing what the bullies are doing, what this world is coming to, and knowing that she has even this chance to set a proper example. She made it, there is nothing that you can’t do if you set your mind to it. That is why Lacey joined the Marines to prove part of her message, and then she eventually came to the WWE. One thing about Bayley and Sasha that Lacey must keep in mind: questioning their leadership, becoming champion would mean being the leader herself. What kind of leader will Lacey be? An inspirational one that pushes through and accomplish goals. Lacey will show not what she’s been through but what everyone else has been through doesn’t hold you back.
Lacey also sets an example for daughter, Summer Evans, who is also a fighter. We now review footage of about a month ago, Sasha VS Lacey, and it spilled to the outside, right in front of the Evans family. Summer shouted at Sasha and even growled, but Sasha mocked her for it. Lacey seeing that for herself, she is angry. But she is proud that Summer stood up to a bully. That was very brave. What others didn’t see is when later, Lacey had to comfort her crying daughter that this is her job. Sasha took advantage of having Summer nearby, and Summer is so worried for her mother. Lacey put Sasha on the shelf, and she’ll put Bayley- Bayley attacks Lacey first! The bad bad bully is pulled away by referees but Bayley mocks her, “Where’s your daughter now?!” Lacey gets up with teeth grit and eyes burning. Will Lacey make Bayley pay in interest for that one?
Backstage interview with Carmella and Dana Brooke!
The FABULOUS Princess and Ms. Flex Appeal are both declaring for the Women’s Royal Rumble. “It’s time to rumble, baby!” They’re ready, and Mella is the odds on favorite. After all, she did win the Women’s WrestleMania Battle Royal, and she is the original Ms. Money in the Bank to also successfully cash in and become champion. So don’t get it twisted, #MellaIsMoney. But Dana points out that everyone knows her Wikipedia. This year, every woman has a chance to swing for the fences. Friend VS friend, foe VS foe, every woman for herself. Dana may be a huge underdog, but she knows her worth and what she’ll have to do to win.
Wait, Lacey is after Bayley already! She’s throwing her off equipment trunks and then into ladders! Security hurries over, and even Dana and Carmella stop Lacey. But then Lacey takes off a shoe and uses it on Bayley! SmackDown goes to break, but will the chaos end?
Bliss-Cross VS Fire & Desire!
The Goddess and her crazy bestie got the better of Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, and that was even with Otis Dozovic there to save his “sweet peach” from certain disaster. But now that things are going to be 2v2, will Alexa and Nikki keep things rolling? Or will Mandy and Sonya make big moves towards the Women’s Rumble?
Before the match, SmackDown shares a moment between Mandy and Sonya backstage. Mandy apologized to Sonya for the distractions, but Sonya lets it slide. It was silly to have gotten Otis involved. In the end, their team is Fire & Desire, not Fire & Desire & Dozer. That’d be weird. But anyway, things seemed to have been smoothed over. Will they stay that way?
The teams sort out and Alexa starts against Sonya. They circle, tie up, and Sonya waistlocks to slam Alexa down. But wait, Bayley and Lacey run down the ramp!? This is getting out of hand! They spill into the ring and get caught up in the match!
Alexa and Nikki fight on Lacey’s side while Fire & Desire do what they can to help Bayley! This might even be what the Women’s Rumble looks like. Bayley decks Alexa and bails out, but the referees have to separate the others. Fans want to “Let Them Fight!” as Alexa and Nikki catch up to Bayley. Order is restored somehow, but will it just take off again once we’re in Houston?
Elias encounters Braun Strowman backstage.
The Drifter and the Monster Among Men are a duo to take on Team Sami, up next!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
“Brothers and Sisters, the Royal Rumble is upon us.” Thirty men enter, only one can win. That one faces the World or Universal Champion at WrestleMania. Elias vows to put his heart and soul into winning, so he has just one question for Dallas: “Who wants to Walk With Elias?!” Dallas does! Elias has a song titled Texas Dream, so please clap along.
“This year’s Rumble, starts with The Beast. Luckily for you, it’ll end with me. So good-bye Seth, Messiah you ain’t. Good-bye, Randy Orton, Rey and Ricochet. Before this next part, I need someone to help me sing. So please welcome the Monster Among Men to the ring!” BRAUN makes his way out now, and Elias makes it clear that it is every man for himself. Strowman wasn’t ready for this, but Elias felt it’d be a special treat to do a duet. Dallas, do you want to hear Strowman sing with Elias? “YES! YES! YES!” Well there you have it. So Elias offers Strowman his mic. Neither man is one to disappoint the fans, so Strowman gives it a go. Elias plays and Strowman counts himself in. But then Team Sami interrupts!
Elias & Braun Strowman VS Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro w/ Sami Zayn!
The Monster will #WalkWithElias as they both look to get their hands on Team Sami! Will one man also earn himself that sought after WWE Intercontinental Championship match while they’re at it?
The teams sort out and Cesaro ties up with Elias. Elias headlocks, shifts to a hammerlock, but Cesaro reverses to then rabbit punch Elias in the head. Cesaro throws European Uppercuts and haymakers, then whips Elias to the ropes. Elias blocks the hip toss to scoop and long dart Cesaro into buckles! Elias clotheslines and fans fire up. Elias wrenches Cesaro and then goes to the corner. Elias starts his rendition of Old School, with the METEORA mix! Elias brings Cesaro up but Cesaro whips him to the corner. Elias hits Shinsuke and then throws forearms, but Shinsuke gets in. This distracts so that Sami can swipe at Elias and Cesaro and LARIAT him! Cesaro throws Elias out and distracts the ref so that Shinsuke can ROUNDHOUSE Elias! Strowman runs in to run Shinsuke over! Sami goes running for the hills as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as Cesaro grind Elias down in a chinlock. Elias fights his way up but is put in the Team Sami corner. Elias boots Cesaro back then elbows Shinsuke. Elias fights more but Cesaro whips him back in. Elias goes up and boots Cesaro back! Both men are down and crawling for their corners, but Cesaro drags Elias away. Elias boots Cesaro away but Shinsuke tags in! Shinsuke clobbers Elias and taunts Strowman. Cesaro gets in and BOOTS Strowman down! But then Elias throws Cesaro out! Elias ducks one kick but not Shinsuke’s second! Shinsuke aims from the corner, “YAO~!” But Elias KNEES Shinsuke down first! Both men are down again, and Strowman returns! Hot tag to the Monster Among Men!
Strowman rallies with big shoulders and elbows to run Shinsuke and Cesaro over! Shin is in a corner, Strowman corner splashes! And TOSSES Shinsuke to the other corner, for another corner splash! Then Strowman CLUBS Shinsuke down! Fans fire up with Strowman and Sami panics. Strowman runs in but misses, Shinsuke roundhouses! Shinsuke hops up, flying knee! Tag to Cesaro and Cesaro cravats Strowman. Together, Team Sami throws Strowman into a post! And then hits a Double Russian Leg Sweep! Penalty Kick! Cover, TWO! Strowman survives but Cesaro hits a basement EuroUpper! Cover, TWO! Sami protests but it’s really just a distraction so Shinsuke can fetch a chair! But Elias comes running around the way to push Shinsuke into a post! Elias hits Cesaro, Strowman scoops Cesaro for the MONSTER SLAM!
Tag to Elias, and he goes up top for the MACHO ELBOW! Cover, Elias and Strowman win!
Winners: Elias & Braun Strowman, Elias pinning
It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win! The Drifter gets some momentum into the Rumble, but will it help him when The Beast will be present? And will Strowman ever get that title match with the King of Strong Style?
Big E oils up!
And a lot… He even has an oiling assistant get his legs! Kofi Kingston can’t even. But Kofi knows Big E’s motto: “If ya boy is greasy, eliminating can’t be easy!” Big E hugs his oil boy bye, but then says he realizes the Rumble is Sunday. Tonight is about Kofi going 1v1 with John Morrison! AKA the Prince of Parkour who thinks he can back flip to where he was 8 years ago. It’s one thing to make a big return, that’s easy. It’s another thing to back it up. And backing up what one does is the expertise of who? Who who who? The NEW~ DAY~! They’ve been backing up their tag title reigns, and after handling some bidness, it’s on to Houston! Kofi loves this time of year, he is excited for the countdown! It don’t matter what number the New Day comes out, the Power of Positivity is on their side! Time to climb that mountain one more time together. And do it for ya boy, Xavier Woods! Why? BECAUSE~ New! Day Rocks!
Backstage interview with Baron Corbin!
The Wolf King insists he is not concerned losing in the Six Man Tag. He went toe-to-toe with Roman out there and didn’t back down. What is Kayla Braxton doing Sunday? Probably asking more stupid questions. What is Corbin doing Sunday? Facing Roman in Falls Count Anywhere where he will embarrass Roman with the beating of a lifetime. Corbin will use every inch of Minute Maid Park, and will make that handcuffing and dog-food smearing look like child’s play. “Roman Reigns will not make the Royal Rumble match.” But Corbin will, and vows to win to then crown himself the NEW Universal Champion.
SmackDown runs The Royal Rumble by the numbers.
“The prize: a world championship opportunity at WrestleMania. The challenge: outlasting 29 other superstars, eliminating your opponents by tossing them over the top rope so that both feet hit the floor.” Success lies in the numbers. In the 32 years, from 1988 to tonight, 1070 total competitors have entered. That is 6596 FEET. The longest spent in a single rumble for the men was Daniel Bryan at one hour and 16 minutes, while the women has Natalya at just over 56 minutes. The most important thing about a Rumble is to do everything you have to in order to survive. A literal highlight reel of Naomi, John Morrison and Kofi Kingston shows you just how creative one can be to avoid the floor like lava. Others just have a hard time getting into the ring. Santino Marella was the one-second wonder, and Titus O’Neil was Titus World SLIDE~!
But Houston’s Minute Maid Park will host a historic Rumble in itself. Because for the first time ever, the reigning, defending, undisputed WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World, The Beast, BRRROCK, LESNARRR will enter as number one. Back in 2003, Lesnar won the Rumble as just a rookie. Now he is a veteran and dominant as ever. Only seven have won multiple Rumbles, with Stone Cold Steve Austin being the only one with three. Furthermore, entering as number one has very slim odds of winning it all. Will Lesnar turn Houston into Suplex City? Or will this most competitive field to date change that? Three brands, two matches, one night. Time’s up. Are you ready to rumble?
“Three weeks ago, the Celtic Warrior returned to SmackDown to exterminate the disease spreading vermin that have infested my home.” Chad Gable was the loudest little rat he could find, and he Brogue kicked Shorty G upside-down. But that sneaky rodent bit back. To Gable, Sheamus says, “Good for you, little fella.” Enjoy yourself while you can. Because Sunday, Sheamus won’t make the same mistake. This Sunday, Sheamus finishes what he started. “And like a rat out of hell”, Gable will be gone before the morning comes.
Kofi Kingston w/ Big E VS John Morrison w/ The Miz!
AWWWWW~ Dallas~! Don’t you dare be sour! Watch two of the greatest Rumble acrobats compete just days before entering that iconic match! Will there be iconic moments from both men on Sunday? What about iconic moments here tonight?
SmackDown returns as Morrison and Miz make their awesome entrances. Miz has a mic to speak on last week. Morrison made his in-ring return after being away from the WWE for 8 long years. How did the fans celebrate it? High-five? Blow off the roof like they would for everyone else? No, they booed. Miz doesn’t get why. Is it because Morrison is still associated with The Miz, and that The Miz has changed? Miz says he hasn’t changed, he’s still himself. Just watch Miz & Mrs. have its season two premiere after NXT! It is a winner, Miz is a winner, Morrison is a winner! Morrison will keep winning, and could even win the Rumble because “WE are officially entering the Royal Rumble.” So whether it is the Prince of Parkour of the Most Must-See Superstar, Houston will be… AWESOME! As awesome as Miz makes it sound, will this match be positively awesome?
The bell rings and Morrison circles with Kofi. They tie up, Morrison puts Kofi in the corner and then gives him a shove. Kofi shoves back, and Morrison swings hands. Kofi blocks,s wings kicks and avoids kicks. The fans like the exchange as the two tie up again. They go around, Morrison puts Kofi in a corner and whips him corner to corner. Morrison runs in, monkey flips, but Kofi lands on his feet! Kofi grins and runs back in, monkey flips and Morrison FLOPS! Miz says that’s okay, just a misstep. Kofi whips, Morrison stops himself and then sends Kofi out. Morrison builds speed to FLY! Kofi gets out of the way and Morrison manages to combat roll through. Kofi bounces and lifts off to senton onto Morrison! Fans fire up with Kofi as he puts Morrison back in the ring. Miz gets up close as he coaches Morrison, and Morrison shoves Kofi into the post! Tensions run high as we go to break.
SmackDown returns again and fans rally for the New Day as Kofi kicks back at Morrison. Kofi gets up but Morrison is on him with EuroUppers. Morrison whips Kofi corner to corner, then runs in. Kofi slips out to kick back then slide under. Kofi sunset flips but Morrison slips out to Shining Wizard hard! Morrison goes up, Starship Pain FLOP! Kofi gets to the apron and climbs up as fans rally again. Morrison stands, Kofi’s springboard ax handle takes him down! Kofi rallies with big chops and a dropkick! Kofi runs but into a mule kick. Morrison whips Kofi corner to corner but Kofi goes up, up and around to huricanrana! Morrison gets up and runs into Kofi’s DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO! Kofi keeps his cool and Big E coaches him up. Kofi Penalty Kicks Morrison and then fires up! Dallas fire sup with him and the NEW~ DAY~ Boom Drop!
Kofi goes to a corner and fans fire up even more. They clap along with Kofi as he aims at Morrison. Morrison rises, ducks under and HEEL KICKS the Trouble in Paradise down! Cover, TWO!! Morrison came so close and Miz insists that was three. Morrison drags Kofi back up and around, but Kofi swings on him. Morrison ducks the punch to put Kofi up top. Morrison throws big hands and climbs up, but Kofi hits back. Kofi headbutts Morrison down and Morrison tumbles into the ref! Miz checks on the ref, or rather distracts him, so that Morrison can poke Kofi in the eyes! Morrison then climbs up for a SUPER SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!! Kofi survives and Miz can’t believe it! Fans rally for Kofi but Morrison kicks him while he’s down.
Morrison throws more hands to wobble Kofi as fans start to duel. Kofi catches Morrison, SOS! Cover, TWO!! Morrison survives and shocks Kofi now! Kofi stalks Morrison but Morrison trips him up. Morrison high stack covers, and uses the ropes! But Big E stops that just in time! Kofi KICKS Morrison right from the mat! Miz shoves Big E! Big E glares and chases Miz around the way, then Kofi gives Miz Trouble in Paradise! But Morrison clobbers Kofi into the drop zone! STARSHIP PAIN!! Cover, Morrison wins!
Winner: John Morrison, by pinfall
That’s a 2-0 sweep for the Shaman of Sexy over the seven-time tag team champions! Will this earn Morrison and Miz an awesome SmackDown Tag Team Championship opportunity as we head for WrestleMania?
Michael Cole presides over the Universal Championship contract signing!
The special stipulation that Daniel Bryan himself wanted is a Strap Match! There will be a literal leather strap tying champion and challenger together, and there will be no disqualifications or count-outs, only a pinfall or submission ends the match. First out, the challenger, Daniel Bryan. Dallas is happy to see the Yes Movement return! And of course, we now welcome the champion, Bray Wyatt. But first, Firefly Fun House! Bray is apparently trying to fax something. He realizes he’s a bit late. He’s trying to send the final copy of the contract, but it’s so hard getting this thing to work. Welp, maybe this is a blessing in disguise? Why would Bryan willing tie himself to “him?” It’s MADNESS. But Bray calls customer service real quick.
Yes, hello. Yes, English or Ancient Sumerian please. Bryan interrupts the call by saying Bray needs to “cut the crap.” Bray is sick, but he can at least show up to sign the contract. That’s not nice, Bryan. Bray is not sick. He’s never been better! As for Bryan’s request, Bray’s attorney, Mercy the Buzzard (yes he has his license) has advised Bray to stay in the Fun House. Enough! Bryan finally sees through the charades and the games, Bray living in his fantasy world. But Bray just runs away from everything. From his past, his mistakes, but now there will be nowhere to run because the strap will tie them together. There’s nowhere to run or hide. Wait, mistake? YOWIE WOWIE, that was the word of the day! YAY~! Because this is all about Bryan’s mistakes, not Bray’s. Bryan never did learn his lesson from that betrayal. Bryan is a liar, and now he will pay. One other thing, it won’t be Bray, it’ll be him. So he should sign the contract.
That’s right! The lights go out, and when they return… IT’S THE FIEND! Red lights and all! The Fiend takes the other end of the strap, and the brawl is on! The Fiend uses the Mandible Claw to smother Bryan! The Fiend yells and shouts as he suffocates Bryan, then hits SISTER ABIGAIL. The Fiend rips at Bryan’s shirt and bares Bryan’s back. The Fiend measures a length of the strap to LASH Bryan on that back! This is what Bryan chose, and now he’s paying for it! The Fiend laughs as he unties himself from Bryan so that he can sign the contract. But then he thinks about it, and doesn’t want to use the pen. He STABS his own hand to draw blood!! This contract is now a blood oath that they will settle things with the strap. Fans chant, “You’ve Got Issues!” but The Fiend sets the contract down by Bryan’s side before disappearing. Will Bryan regret making this deal with the demented? Or will Bryan finally help us all wake up from this nightmare?
This was a really good go-home episode! And with very few matches. The Six Man Tag was an incredible way to open the episode, and I really like that use of Jimmy “injuring” his leg to come back at the right moment. While I want this rivalry to end with Corbin and Roman, I would love if Roman and the Usos stuck together more closely after this. The Bloodline should have its own opportunity to be a golden trio with the tag titles and I’m going to assume the Universal title. Corbin does good at talking some post-loss smack, so I’m thinking he loses at the Rumble to further humiliate him. But please, let it end there. Please no Dog Food Match, I can’t stress that enough. Lacey’s promo was pretty good, again this Face turn is as I was expecting her to go in NXT. Bayley’s attack and the brawl was great. It got in the way of the women’s tag but that actually made it better, because that’s just how much Bayley and Lacey hate each other.
I really liked the tag match of Elias & Strowman VS Team Sami. Letting Elias get the cover works, because it keeps Strowman and Nakamura even. I just hope we get that Intercontinental Championship at Elimination Chamber, not Super Showdown. I can’t see this stretching to Mania, that’s too long from now. The New Day had a great promo, Morrison VS Kofi as the main event match was great, and it doesn’t seem we’re getting the tag title match at the Rumble. I hope we get it at the Chamber, because again, Mania is just too far away. There needs to be one match now, and then maybe they can bring it to Mania in a rematch or something. The title contract segment was great, because of the swerve. Granted, it seemed pretty obvious The Fiend was going to be the persona defending the title, but The Fiend appearing and beating Bryan up like that was good. The blood signing was freaky but perfectly within The Fiend’s character. That Strap Match is going to be brutal, I can’t wait.
My Score: 8.6/10
Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (1/18/21)
Will Raw be on fire tonight?
Will Alexa Bliss have a twisted surprise for the Raw Women’s Champion?
She gave Randy Orton a taste of his own medicine, but she might be hungry for something more! Will Alexa be ready for Asuka and earn herself a shot at the title?
- Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce; Charlotte wins.
- Xavier Woods VS Mace w/ Retribution; Mace wins.
- Mandy Rose w/ Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax; Baszler wins.
- Ricochet VS AJ Styles w/ Omos; Styles wins, Ricochet is NOT in the Men’s Royal Rumble.
- Six Man Tag: The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle & The Lucha House Party; The Hurt Business wins.
- Jeff Hardy VS Jaxson Ryker w/ Elias; Hardy wins, by disqualification.
- Asuka VS Alexa Bliss; Bliss wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
“Now is the time.”
Martin Luther King Jr’s dream lives on, but only if we live it. Do not judge by the color of one’s skin, but by the content of their character. We will reach the promised land together. #LongLiveTheDream.
Randy Orton speaks.
“There is a saying that people who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes. Ashes of the one responsible for their affliction.” Orton wears a mask to cover his burned face. “The voices in my head have never been louder. Encapsulating my every thought, just like this mask encapsulates my face.” Orton held Alexa Bliss’ fate in his hands, yet showed a side of himself he didn’t know he had: compassion. Orton rewatches the footage for himself. The hatred he had for himself needed to be redirected, and he was ready to make Triple H “like a lamb to the slaughter, until she interrupted.”
It was only just last week that HHH was shockingly spirited away so that Alexa could throw a literal FIREBALL at Orton! “And now look at me. LOOK AT ME! This is the damnation I receive for showing compassion? I haven’t been able to sleep because every time I close my eyes, all I see is that ball of fire hurtling towards my face.” Orton seethes as he says “that inescapable feeling of the fire burning my flesh will never go away.” Whatever compassion was in him, it left with that inferno. Orton wears this mask to not only protect himself, but to shield everyone else from the horrors that he endured.
Orton watches himself from last week flail and writhe as he clutched his face in pain. “Despite the agony I felt that would mortify a lesser man, I consider myself… lucky.” Orton came away with just first degree burns and not much worse. He could’ve been disfigured forever! But Orton doesn’t blame Alexa. He blames THE FIEND! Orton already sent him straight to Hell. “There’s no doubt The Fiend is responsible for this. Alexa was merely the vehicle. And I know exactly what The Fiend wants. He wants to stop me from achieving the inevitable.” That is to say, winning the Royal Rumble again, going back to WrestleMania, and becoming a world champion.
Orton is sure everyone else in the locker room loved seeing his face burn, “knowing that their biggest threat may have just been eliminated from competing in the Royal Rumble match. But you could chop off all my limbs and it wouldn’t stop me from winning this year’s Royal Rumble match. Because despite my sickening affliction, I vow to remain in the Royal Rumble match. I can only compete as long as I can tolerate the pain, but the funny thing is… I enjoy the pain. It fuels my every move.” Orton has a match! Orton wants everyone to thank The Fiend when he burns their dreams to ashes and goes on to main event WrestleMania! He lights the match, watches it burn, then blows it out. Will this new, even darker Orton extinguish 29 other lights before going back to the Grandest Stage of Them All?
Ric Flair arrives at the ThunderDome, with Lacey Evans!
Lacey wants to hear some Four Horsemen stories but Charly Caruso comes over to ask about this “relationship” first. Lacey says that’s so nasty. This isn’t TMZ. This is beneath Charly! Charly is compelled to ask because Ric helped Lacey beat Charlotte Flair, his own daughter! Lacey says to show respect to the 16-time world champion, and a living legend. But to answer the question, there’s a reason Ric is the Dirtiest Player in the Game. He was just living up to that name. As far as the relationship goes, Lacey is simply learning from the greatest man to ever step in the ring. Now, they are going to go watch Peyton Royce knock the nasty Queen of her throne.
Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce!
But speaking of dirty, Peyton attacks Charlotte from behind at the ramp! They brawl, referees hurry to separate them but this match is going to happen, after the break!
Raw returns and the bell rings and Charlotte tackles Peyton to a corner! Then stomps away on her! The ref backs Charlotte off but she goes right back for more! She RAMS Peyton, RAMS her again, but Peyton sends Charlotte into buckles to fire stomps back! The ref counts, Peyton stops at 3 and brings Charlotte out to hammer away. Charlotte trips Peyton, gives some ground ‘n’ pound, then tackles her to ropes! They spill out of the ring and Charlotte CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Charlotte puts Peyton in but Peyton rolls out the far side. Charlotte pursues but Peyton kicks back, only for Charlotte to CLUB her, and bounce her off the desk!
Charlotte stalks Peyton around the way, they go back in the ring, then back out the ramp side. Another CHOP, CHOP and CHOP into the post! Peyton shoves Charlotte into the post, then into the ring! Cover, TWO! Charlotte is still in this but Peyton drags her around to drop elbows. Peyton puts on a thrashing chinlock but Charlotte endures. Charlotte fights up, arm-drags free, and CLOBBERS Peyton! Charlotte looms over Peyton, drags her up and bounces her off buckles. Charlotte bends Peyton against ropes, lets go at 3, and brings Peyton around for another buckle bump! Peyton dodges, Charlotte hits buckles, and Peyton throws Charlotte down by her hair! Cover, TWO!
Peyton is frustrated but she kicks Charlotte down and around. She pushes Charlotte to ropes, bumps her off buckles in return, then digs her boot into Charlotte’s face! The ref counts, Peyton lets off and bumps Charlotte off more buckles. Peyton whips corner to corner, Charlotte goes up and out to shoulder back in! Slingshot and roll up, TWO, but Charlotte ROCKS Peyton with a right! Charlotte blocks boots, has Peyton in the ropes, DRAPING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! But now Ric makes his entrance?! Ric swaggers on stage and Charlotte is annoyed, because here comes Lacey in one of Ric’s robes!
Charlotte is confused as ever, but Peyton catches her with the HEEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Peyton is furious that Charlotte survives and Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Peyton goes to buckle bump but Charlotte blocks to CHOP! And O’Conner roll, TWO! Charlotte goes into buckles but she dodges to send Peyton back into buckles! Both women are down and Peyton crawls away. Charlotte gets up, checks her nose, and then goes after Peyton. Peyton jawbreakers, whips, but Charlotte holds ropes to KICK back! Peyton dodges to HEEL KICK back! Peyton runs but Charlotte puts her on the apron, but Peyton SCORPION KICKS! Peyton goes up, leaps, but Charlotte gets under! Peyton turns around into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Cover, TWO!
Charlotte watches Peyton go to the apron, runs in and BOOTS her down! Charlotte dares Lacey to do something again, but no, Lacey stays in the back this time. Peyton drags herself up as the ring count is 8 and is in at 9, but gets stomped by Charlotte! Charlotte puts Peyton’s leg on the rope, then drops a knee, only to miss! Peyton mule kicks then hobbles away from her back hurting. She dodges Charlotte’s clothesline to elbow, kick and HEEL KICK, to then ENZIGURI! Cover, TWO!
Peyton is furious and she drags Charlotte up to suplex. Charlotte slips out to CHOP BLOCK the leg! Knee breaker after knee breaker, Charlotte shows no mercy! Charlotte steps through, Figure Four, to FIGURE EIGHT! Peyton taps, Charlotte wins!
Winner: Charlotte Flair, by submission
But she doesn’t let go! She wants Peyton to suffer on behalf of Lacey! Charlotte finally does let Peyton go, will Peyton even be able to team with Lacey now? Will anyone want to?
Matt Riddle crosses paths with The Hurt Business.
Riddle just wants to say hi but MVP doesn’t want to hear it. Does he wear this same lame outfit on the streets? Of course. Riddle lives his life free and untethered. And unkempt, it seems. Uncalled for, bro. But Riddle will take the high road. Of course he will. Riddle just wants to say he admires how nice they all dress. MVP is like Gordy Gecko, then there’s “Ceddy the Cheddy,” and Benjamin spending the Benjamins. And of course, who would ever call Lashley “Slobby Bobby.” Lashley handles this and the others head out.
Lashley tells Riddle that if it were him, he actually likes the flipflops. But he heard they’re bad for your feet. What? No they’re not. Lashley STOMPS one of Riddle’s feet, and says that proves his point. Riddle says Lashley will see this foot later, right up his ass! Will The Bro and his “brochachos” make the Hurt Business pay in their 3v3 later tonight?
Raw returns as Lucha House Party checks with Riddle.
Is he going to be okay for the match? Riddle says when he was in high school, his cousin ran his foot over with his truck, and Riddle was still able to go to prom. He’ll just tape it up. If he says so…
Xavier Woods VS Mace w/ Retribution!
Here he goes again on his own! Mustafa Ali says this is their time to strike. Kofi Kingston at home with a broken jaw isn’t enough, Ali wants to break his spirit, and that’s by breaking one of his most beloved friends! Ali prays Kofi can’t compete or even be in Elimination Chamber or WrestleMania. Then Kofi will feel what Ali did just one year ago! Will this revenge a long time coming be carried out by the menacing monster at Ali’s command?
Ali shouts at Woods about Kofi being a coward. Woods DECKS Ali for that and the ref has to keep Retribution back! Woods is ready for a fight but Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and the bell rings! Woods circles with Mace but is cornered! Mace keeps Woods from getting away but Woods CHOPS back, only for Mace to shrug it off. Woods and Mace go again, Woods CHOPS and fires off hands but Mace shoves him away. Woods kicks low, climbs up and throws more hands but Mace shoves him away again. Mace catches Woods with both hands and brings him out to center for a CHOKE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Woods survives but Mace choke grips Woods again and dead lifts him to shove him to a corner! Mace runs in to elbow Woods down! Ali mocks Woods’ pain as Mace whips Woods and KNEES him in the back! Mace looms over Woods, covers, TWO!
Mace sits Woods up, pries on fingers and then clamps on for a neck wrench! Woods endures, Mace fish hooks Woods’ mouth, and Ali says Kofi doesn’t need to worry. Woods will break his jaw and be right next to Kofi tomorrow. Woods bites Mace’s hand! Woods mule kicks, CHOPS away, then kicks low to CHOP and CHOP again! Mace ROCKS Woods with the uppercut! Mace whips, Woods dodges and ducks to dropkick a leg out! Woods keeps on Mace with haymakers and elbows! Mace shoves Woods away but Woods CLUBS him! Mace shoves Woods but runs into a boot! HONOR- NO! Choke grip! Woods fights the grip, gets free, and ENZIGURIS!
Mace flops out of the ring but Ali shouts at him to get back in. Mace goes up, but Woods baseball slides under Mace to hit Ali! Woods hits Mace off the apron again but Ali tells them they stop this. They’re going to shut Woods down! Mace gets in, the other members run distraction, Woods SUPERKICKS but runs into a BOOT! Mace drags Woods back up, fireman’s carries, and SWINGING AIR RAID CRASH! Cover, Mace wins!
Winner: Mace, by pinfall
Retribution wins again, and Ali stands over Woods. “Tell Kofi, Retribution says, ‘Get well soon.'” Ali and his cohorts are laughing now, but will Kofi make a comeback to shut them up?
Backstage interview with Asuka.
She’s been invited to Alexa’s Playground, what does she expect? Asuka honestly doesn’t know. But after seeing her set Orton on fire, Asuka hopes it isn’t Alexa’s dark side.
It’s the WrestleMania Report!
It’s Hank E. Panki, totally not Triple H, and Anita Reelman, totally not Stephanie McMahon. Don’t question it. But they’re sending it over to the weatherman, Sunny McCloud. Nope, it’s Roman Reigns, and there is no weatherman. Roman sits at the rightful place as Head of the Table. He’s not going to play along. But if they were, Paul Heyman is sure someone would say, “The extended forecast-” Paul, no. Just give it to them straight. Heyman says Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium will be the home of WrestleMania 37! Wow, big news! It’s going to be buck wild this April! And how great that they get to host WrestleMania again, for the first time.
But some real breaking news in sports, “Hailey Mary” and not Sasha Banks has the exclusive! But then an assistant makes sure she got the report about how WrestleMania is coming back to AT&T Stadium for 2022. Uh, y-yes, now she does! Now shoo. But you heard it here first! WrestleMania 38 will be right here in Texas! It doesn’t get much bigger than that! Dropping exclusives like it’s hot! And what a spectacle! Hank’s a spectacle. Rawr. But now, to Huge Kantseeme for entertainment news! Hugh? Hello? We can’t see him. It’s totally not John Cena! They love it when he does that. And you know what Huge loves? LA!
CUT! When Cena- er, uh, Hugh, says that, it sounds so fake. Um, Hugh, we’re live… Okay, he’ll try again. “Y’know what else I love? LA! That’s right, Hollywood!” Who doesn’t love drama? Cue zoom. Here’s some drama: WrestleMania is going Hollywood in 2023! PLOT TWIST! Thanks, Hugh, but you got a bit carried away. It will be in SoFi Stadium, or as Anita likes to call it, “So FINE Stadium.” Nothing like a good giggle. And that wraps things up for the WrestleMania Report. And we’re good. Phew! HHH and Stephanie take off the “costumes” and are pretty sure no one realized it was them all along. But yes, WrestleMania is all set for the next THREE YEARS! Who will make it to each of them? Will you be there?
Raw presents… Alexa’s Playground…!
Alexa goes to her swing and welcomes us back. She is so excited we’re all here, but before we get started, she wants to address The Viper in the room. “Randy, last week, I was just coming out here to talk to you. Y’know, clear the air. And then, things got a little… heated!” Alexa laughs at her own joke and says if Orton needs some sunblock, just let her know. But either way, good to see he’s feeling okay. Now to tonight’s very special guest! Alexa is so excited to invite her opponent, the Women’s Tag Team and Raw Women’s Champion, ASUKA! Asuka makes her entrance, and joins Alexa on the swings. Alexa says no, that’s not her seat. Oh, okay…
Is Asuka okay? Yes, yes! Asuka is okay. Sorry, Alexa wasn’t talking to her. Oh, okay. Asuka says she’ll just stand over here by the slide… They giggle, and Asuka more nervously than Alexa. Alexa knows they have a match tonight but for now, let’s have fun! Alexa has breaking news! It’s big news! Should she tell them or do you want to, invisible friend? Okay, she’ll say it. Alexa is entering the Women’s Rumble! Asuka wishes Alexa good luck. But wait. If Alexa wins the Rumble match and Asuka is still champion, then they might face off at WrestleMania! Asuka says that would be her honor! And Asuka is a big fan of Alexa’s! Really? Yes! Thank you, that’s so sweet! Well of course! YOWIE WOWIE~!
Alexa doesn’t like Asuka saying that. Asuka hopes Alexa still wants to have fun. Let’s dance! It’s Asuka’s theme, but Asuka still dances. Alexa doesn’t want that. Alexa says STOP IT! Asuka’s music stops and Asuka is a bit startled. Alexa’s friend says something and Alexa says they’re right. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. If Alexa had done something differently, he’d still be here… Asuka says it’ll be okay. Asuka tries to explain in Japanese, and then says The Fiend’s still here. “Do NOT say his name!” Alexa then gets a smile as she waves at the rocking horse. Asuka is spooked and leaves the ring. Alexa switches to the rocking horse, but will she flip the switch when the bell rings?
Backstage interview with The Miz and John Morrison.
Can they give us a hint at what they have in store for Goldberg tonight on The Dirt Sheet? Oh, she wants to know? Of course Sarah wants to know! “I WANT THE SCOOP~!” NO! No spoilers. Tune in like everyone else. But what Miz will say is that what is in store will definitely be controversial. Controversy creates cash, much like the Money in the Bank. CHACHING!
Raw hears from Jeff Jarrett!
Double J has a prediction for Drew McIntyre VS Goldberg for the WWE World Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV. Jarrett knows both men, but he quotes his old buddy, Toby Keith. The hook goes, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m good once as I ever was.” That will be the story of the Rumble, because we’ll see Goldberg’s Spear, Jackhammer and win for a NEW WWE World Champion! Will McIntyre deny that prediction when the match actually happens?
Mandy Rose w/ Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax!
While the #SexyMuscleFriends go to the ring together, the Queen of Spades gives fair warning backstage. “Last week, I made Mandy Rose tap out, and then I threw Mandy Rose out of the ring like an empty can of White Claw.” She promises to do the same thing tonight, and then everyone the Women’s Rumble better watch out because she’ll do the same to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s Charlotte, Bayley, or even her own tag team partner. Nia is surprised by that, but it IS every woman for themselves. Nia says she’s been the one carrying the team, but will Shayna prove she can do bad all by herself after the break?
Raw returns and Nia joins commentary as the bell rings. Mandy and Shayna tie up, Mandy shoves Shayna then trips her up with a leg. Shayna gets up, Mandy waistlocks, rolls Shayna up, ONE! Shayna kicks Mandy’s legs out, KNEES her down then covers, TWO! Shayna drags Mandy around and clamps on with a neck wrench. Mandy endures and Dana coaches her up. Shayna drives an elbow into Mandy’s face! Shayna CLUBS Mandy, Mandy hits back but Shayna CLUBS and KICKS her around! Shayna throws forearms, drags Mandy up for knees, then snapmares to KICK her again! Cover, TWO!
Shayna is back on Mandy with the neck wrench. Mandy fires up, throws body shots but Shayna throws her down by her hair! Shayna clamps onto Mandy again, pulls on arm arm for a half straitjacket, then stands on the arm! It’s a new take on the ARM STOMP! Dana checks on Mandy but Shayna tells her to back off. Mandy rolls Shayna up, TWO!! Mandy runs Shayna over but shakes out the bad arm. Mandy ducks a kick and uses the good arm to lariat over and over! And hit a FLAPJACK! Mandy manages a kip up, runs in and powers Shayna to a corner! Mandy fires off forearms, the ref backs her off but Mandy comes back to throw more forearms and even stomps!
The ref counts, Mandy backs off but Shayna gets around to KICK the bad arm! Shayna wrenches that arm, but Mandy fires off forearms with the other! Mandy pulls Shayna’s hair but Shayna twists the arm! KEYLOCK TAKEDOWN! KIRAFUDA KLUTCH! Mandy taps, Shayna wins!
Winner: Shayna Baszler, by submission
The Queen of Spades took care of this by herself, just as she said she would! Nia says Mandy almost had her, but Shayna argues it wasn’t even close. But Dana sneaks up and dropkicks Nia into Shayna, and they both hit post! The Flex Appeal gets away with Mandy, and they aren’t out of the running yet! Will one of these women win the Women’s Rumble to go after the Raw Women’s Championship?
Shayna and Nia argue backstage.
Shayna says that was Nia’s fault for getting involved but Charly Caruso comes by to ask about them not getting along. Well they’ve never really gotten along, even as champions. But meanwhile, the current champions, Charlotte has her daddy issues and Asuka is being creeped out by Alexa, are they really getting along? In fact, now is the perfect time to get that rematch for the titles! Nia says that’s actually a good idea. They go off to find management, will they regain the gold before getting into the Rumble?
Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair.
Before discussing the tag titles, how uncomfortable was it for her to see Lacey wearing one of Ric’s robes? Ever since stepping foot in the ring, people accuse her of living off her family name. Now there is literally a woman draping herself on Ric’s arm, begging for her 15 minutes of fame, and living off the name! Charlotte knows that Lacey is just using Ric to get to her. But Charlotte’s been learning from Ric her entire life. She just never went down that path. Maybe Charlotte needs to rethink things, because one person can only take so much trash. Lacey may have one of Ric’s robes, but she will never has Charlotte’s crown.
Adam Pearce talks with Ricochet.
We know that there are superstars who need to earn their way into the Rumble match. And this match is perfect timing. A win can go a long way towards opportunities. Ricochet is just glad to have this opportunity. Maybe this is the start to his road to WrestleMania. But then AJ Styles comes by and says it’s funny that Pearce is talking about opportunities. Who would take advice from Pearce, who just literally ran away from the Universal Championship? Yes, he would’ve lost, been embarrassed, but at least he’d have his dignity. Look at Ricochet. Ricochet is going to lose, but he’ll lose with dignity.
Ricochet says Styles has selective amnesia, like 50 First Dates. What’s he talking about? Well, Drew Barrymore’s character couldn’t remember a thing past a certain date because- Styles knows the movie! It’s in his top ten, right next to The Notebook. What’s he talking about here tonight? Ricochet’s point is that Styles has forgotten about TLC when he got embarrassed- Hey! That was The Miz’s fault! Well all Ricochet knows is that Styles will need more than a seven foot giant by his side to prove Ricochet doesn’t belong in the Rumble. The One and Only heads out to the ring, but will he be better than Phenomenal once again?
Ricochet VS AJ Styles w/ Omos!
Styles hangs back long enough to tell Pearce that he doesn’t like him anymore. And when he doesn’t like someone, Omos doesn’t like someone. Omos literally looks down on Scrap Daddy, but what will Pearce do about it, after the break?
Raw returns and Styles makes his entrance. The bell rings, Styles and Ricochet circle, tie up, and Styles powers Ricochet to a corner. The ref counts, Styles lets off and Ricochet circles with him again. They tie up, Styles headlocks, Ricochet tries to power out but Styles holds on tight. Styles grinds Ricochet down, Ricochet rolls to a cover, ONE and Styles holds on. They get up, Ricochet tries to power out again but Styles still holds on. Ricochet makes it a cover again, ONE! Ricochet throws body shots, powers out this time but blocks Styles’ kick to hit an arm-drag! Ricochet whips, Styles gets around to backslide, but Ricochet rolls through. Styles reels Ricochet in but Ricochet trips him up to jackknife bridge! TWO, and Styles tilt-o-whirls to a sunset flip, TWO!
Styles wants the Clash but Ricochet pops free to get around and roll him up, TWO! Ricochet dodges, runs, and headscissors! Styles pops up but into a RANA! Styles is back again, Ricochet rolls and handsprings to headscissor again! Styles is dizzy and flounders, into a dropkick! Ricochet talks some smack to Omos as Styles flounders out. Ricochet runs, slides, but Styles catches him, only for Ricochet to still headscissor him! Ricochet is getting fired up, but Omos glares at him from around the way. Ricochet puts Styles in and follows, but Styles runs in. Ricochet sends Styles out, slingshots, but Omos catches him!
The ref warns Omos to set Ricochet down, and Omos DROPS Ricochet! Ricochet is down but not out yet, and Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and Styles drags Ricochet up to bump him off buckles. Styles scoops Ricochet for a RUNNING BACKBREAKER! Ricochet writhes but Styles paces around. Styles sits Ricochet up to dig a knee in and clamp on with the chinlock. Ricochet endures, fights his way up and throws body shots. Jawbreaker! Styles staggers, but he dodges to waistlock and GERMAN SUPLEX! Ricochet lands on his feet! Ricochet dodges Styles, runs and tilt-o-whirls for the DDT! Both men are down and Omos stares as fans clap on their screens. Ricochet gets to ropes and uses them to get up, and he counter punches Styles then fires off strikes! DISCUS LARIAT! Cover, TWO!!
Ricochet is frustrated but Omos is relieved as Styles survives. Ricochet fireman’s carries but Styles fights out. Ricochet mule kicks a leg then back flips into the DEAD LIFT GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO! Ricochet grows further frustrated but he watches Styles stand. Ricochet runs out from the corner but Styles dodges. Styles runs in, Ricochet elbows back, QUEBRADA into a LARIAT! Styles gets Ricochet up, SNAP BRAIN BUSTER!! Cover, TWO!! Styles fireman’s carries Ricochet for USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO! Omos says it’s alright but Styles is still surprised Ricochet survives!
Styles goes to a corner, goes to the apron, and takes aim. Styles springboards, but Ricochet hits the RECOIL!! Both men are down, Ricochet crawls to the cover, TWO!! Styles survives and Ricochet is beside himself! Ricochet goes to the corner, climbs up top, but Styles trips him up! Ricochet lands hard on his stomach and flops to the apron! Omos coaches Styles as Ricochet drags himself up. Styles goes to the corner, brings Styles up, but Ricochet hotshots! Ricochet aims, slingshots, but into Styles’ suplex, that rebounds off the ropes! Into the STYLES CLASH!!! Cover, Styles wins!
Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall
Now that was a PHENOMENAL way to win a match! But once again, Styles denies another entry into the Rumble, will he continue to eliminate superstars before they ever get in?
Raw presents The Dirt Sheet!
The Miz and John Morrison are in the ring and Morrison welcomes us. When you want to enjoy a top tier steak dinner, you’ve gotta be ready to pay the bill. And Miz says tonight is the biggest edition of Dirt Sheet ever. It will be extra dirty because tonight’s guest is someone who everyone knows and loves, someone who was a childhood hero to many adults, and could be a hero to an entirely new generation if he defeats Drew McIntyre for the WWE World Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV! Welcome the biggest guest in Dirt Sheet history, one of the most intimidating men to ever step inside the wrestling ring, the legendary WWE Hall of Famer, it’s GOLD~ BERG!
Goldberg makes his entrance and both Miz ‘n’ Morrison are excited. Wait a minute, that’s GILLBERG! And he still gets hurt by those sparklers. Morrison and Miz can’t believe “Goldberg” is more massive than before. Now, the Rumble will be one of the most important matches in his career, it’ll be like Godzilla VS King Kong! How has he been preparing? Well first, he bashes his head into the wall because he’s so pumped up. The adrenaline is flowing, the veins are hyped and he’s foaming at the mouth! There’s smoke coming out of his nose and fire out of his ass! Okay just be careful not to hit a ring post. And careful with those chairs, they’re not cheap.
Wait, Drew McIntyre is here?! Miz and Morrison are surprised most of all! Wait, that’s not even close. That’s an impersonator with a wig! And he has a tiny toy sword! “That’s the ‘Clayless,'” says Samoa Joe. Miz and Morrison give Drew “Mockingtire” roll in, and the Dirt Sheet just keeps getting bigger! Mockingtire says he is here to meet his opponent face to face. Let’s not get into fisticuffs, Dirt Sheet is classy. Use your words. Does Mockingtire have anything to say to Gil- er, Goldberg? “I’m gonna kick yer ass back to 1998, and then I’m gonna go home and eat some haggis!”
Whoa, c’mon, the Scottish accent is more like this, mate. Are they going to cut and go again? NO IT’S LIVE! Morrison, where did you find this guy? New Jersey… No, the best actors are from New York, LA and Cleveland! Cleveland?! What? Because of Miz! But now this show is a train wreck! What are they even doing? Gillberg? Really? Miz, you’re making this awkward. Oh HE’s making this awkward?! This was MORRISON’S stupid idea! It’s a GREAT idea! It’s comedy gold! Pff, it’s not even comedy silver! Gillberg speaks up and does his crazy Goldberg face. Oh shut up! And let’s just do the thing.
“Hey, John~!” “Yeah?” “Is Goldberg going to lose at the Royal Rumble?” Of course! CORRECT! But is Drew McIntyre also going to lose at the Rumble? Duh. CORRECT! But how can that be? Because The Miz will cash in his MITB contract. COOOOOOOOOOOORRECT! “You are looking at the future WWE Champion, because I’m the Miz! And III’M! NEXT!” Miz is finally getting serious, but will he make the real Goldberg and McIntyre the butt of his joke?
Six Man Tag: The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle & The Lucha House Party!
The WWE United States Champion put the hurt on The Bro both last week in their title match, but also earlier tonight just to bully him. But will the Golden Lynx and King of the Ropes help Riddle rebound while also getting themselves an opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Championships?
Raw returns as Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik make their entrance, followed by Riddle. Alexander insists he start and Metalik starts with him. Alexander kicks low, clubs away on Metalik then talks trash. Alexander throws forearms and puts Metalik in a corner to whip corner to corner., Metalik boots back, runs and slings but into a back suplex! Metalik lands on his feet, dodges but Alexander dropkicks! Alexander says that’s how you do it, but MVP says don’t talk about it, just do it. Alexander doesn’t want to tag and he CHOPS Metalik! He scoops Metalik to a backbreaker! Alexander stares Benjamin down as he lifts Metalik again, but Metalik slips out to get to his corner and tag in Lince!
Metalik boots Alexander away, Lince jumps in and gets a boost for the FLYING RANA! Lince clubs away on Alexander, wrenches, but Alexander ROCKS him with a right! Alexander CLUBS Lince, and now he wants a tag, only for Benjamin and Lashley to let him handle this. Alexander turns around into CHOPS! Lince QUEBRADAS! Cover, TWO!! Alexander narrowly escapes but Lince clubs away! Lince gets the arm, Alexander fights up and pulls the mask! Alexander puts Lince on the ropes, throws body shots, and Benjamin tags himself in. The tag champions glare at each other, then Benjamin circles with Lince. Lince rolls Benjamin, TWO, Benjamin CLOBBERS Lince!
Benjamin puts Lince in a corner, whips him corner to corner hard, and storms over to cover, TWO! Tag to Lashley, the Hurt Business whip and double shoulder Lince down! Lashley throws Lince to a corner, fires off haymakers, then bumps Lince off buckles. Alexander tags himself in and drags Lince up for forearms. Benjamin tags himself in and MVP wants his guys to stop arguing. Benjamin keeps Lince in the corner and he fires off haymakers and stomps. Lince tries to fight out but Alexander tags himself back in. Alexander whips, Lince handsprings, GOLDEN REWIND! Both men are down, MVP says this is what happens!
Alexander drags Lince from his corner in time, and tags Benjamin in. The tag champions argue again, and then Benjamin shoves Alexander right out of the ring! MVP keeps Alexander back, Lashley tags in, but Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Alexander is on Lince with an armlock. Metalik and Riddle rally for Lince as he endures and fights up. Lince clubs but Alexander WRINGS his arm out! Cover, TWO! Alexander smothers Lince with a chinlock and reaches out for a tag. Lashley takes it and he drags Lince up to bring him around for a scoop and SLAM! Lashley asks why Alexander has a problem but MVP says to worry about that later. Lashley tags Benjamin, Benjamin drags Lince around and TOSSES him across the way! Benjamin drags Lince back up, snap suplexes, then takes his time looming over Lince. Alexander tags himself back in and Benjamin contains his frustration.
Alexander bumps Lince off buckles, fires off hands, but lets off at the ref’s count of 4. Alexander hoists Lince up top, throws hands, but Lince throws them back! Alexander staggers, Lince adjusts and leaps, BIG crossbody! Lince bounces off the cover but both men are down! The fans clap on their screens, hot tags to Riddle and Benjamin! The Bro spins Benjamin around for a PELE! Kip up and forearm smash! Riddle runs to DECK Lashley, then he forearms Benjamin again! Benjamin holds off the suplex to throw knees, then a powerbomb lift. Riddle fights out, ROUDNHOUSES then Penalty Kicks, only to miss! Benjamin rolls, Riddle rolls through, FINAL FLASH! Cover, TWO!
MVP panics as Riddle goes up, FLOATING BRO FLOPS! MVP shouts as Riddle crawls, hot tag to Metalik! Metalik springboards to crossbody! Then he brings Benjamin up to knuckle lock and CHOP! Metalik goes up, up and RANA! Metalik runs, wheelbarrows but Benjamin SLAMS Metalik down! Alexander tags in again, for a BRAIN BUSTER! Alexander gets fired up but Lashley tags himself in. Lashley runs past Alexander to DECK Riddle, then SPEAR Metalik! But Lashley isn’t done, he puts on the HURT LOCK! Metalik taps, The Hurt Business wins!
Winners: The Hurt Business, by submission
Lashley sees Alexander and Benjamin arguing again, but Riddle CLOBBERS Lashley! Riddle gets away because the Hurt Business isn’t on the same page! Will they be able to pull things together to keep the gold in their possession?
Elias talks with Jaxson Ryker backstage.
After the miscommunication last week, The Drifter hopes he and Ryker don’t misunderstand each other this time. When Elias told Ryker not to help him, he didn’t mean it, he was being subtle. Ryker took it literally, signals got crossed. Signals? This isn’t Thomas the Tank Engine, this is Monday Night Raw! This is the WWE! And WWE stands for #WalkWithElias. That Ryker understands. Now Ryker did not walk with Elias last week. But tonight, when they take on Hardy again, what is Ryker’s mission? To finish what Elias started, embody the Universal Truth, and beat Hardy until he accepts the truth. Good. They head out, and Ryker double checks. Is Elias not helping in the match or “not” helping in the match? Just go…
Drew McIntyre speaks!
He’s still asymptomatic for COVID and is feeling stronger than ever. But he’s still at home. He had a good laugh at Gillberg and the mini-McIntyre “with the body of a melted candle.” But the WWE is like the circus, with a little bit of everything for everyone. There are clowns like Miz ‘n’ Morrison, then the lions like McIntyre. And sometimes, the lions eat the clowns. McIntyre promises to see them again really soon.
But that wasn’t reality. The reality is, the championships aren’t given. But they can be taken, and in McIntyre’s case, it could be at a Spear or Jackhammer’s notice. McIntyre respects Goldberg, but he won’t hold back to keep his title. McIntyre never misses. He will be prepared, focused and intense. That same intensity he saw in Goldberg’s eyes. Not the kind in the delusions he had or the words Goldberg put in McIntyre. McIntyre means the intensity when he insulted Goldberg. That look was the real Goldberg!
McIntyre suggests Goldberg bring that guy to the Rumble because that’s what the title deserves. If he doesn’t, McIntyre will eat him alive in two minutes. But if Goldberg wants to try again, McIntyre will be back on Raw next week! Will there be thunder and lightning from these two titans even before the Rumble?
Jeff Hardy VS Jaxson Ryker w/ Elias!
The Charismatic Enigma knew The Drifter’s thumb was not broken last week, and he made sure Elias did not get away unscathed. But while Elias had a helping hand in Ryker’s win over the living legend, will they not get away with it again?
The bell rings and Ryker runs in but Hardy dodges him! Hardy puts Ryker in a corner, rams his shoulder in over and over, but Ryker turns things around to throw body shots! The ref counts, Ryker bumps Hardy off buckles then watches him flounder around. Ryker toys with Hardy, Hardy hits back but Ryker CLUBS him down! Ryker drags Hardy up, puts him in the corner and whips him corner to corner. Hardy goes up, mule kicks back then headscissors Ryker to ropes! Ryker flounders up but Hardy rallies with forearms! Atomic drop, leg splitting leg drop! Basement dropkick and a splash added on, cover, ONE!
Hardy keeps his cool and watches Ryker stand. Ryker blocks the kick but not the spinning back kick! Hardy runs in to corner splash, then he whips corner to corner, only to miss. Ryker runs back in and CLOBBERS Hardy! Elias likes that as Ryker covers, TWO! Ryker drops ax handles on Hardy again and again, then rains down right hands! The ref counts, Ryker lets off, and he drags Hardy up to back suplex! Cover, TWO! Ryker drags Hardy into a chinlock and grinds him down! Hardy endures, fights up and throws body shots to then jawbreaker free! Kick and TWIST OF FURY! Hardy throws off his shirt, climbs up top, but Elias again interferes! The ref saw it this time, that’s a disqualification!
Winner: Jeff Hardy, by disqualification
Ryker is a bit upset, didn’t they agree Elias was not going to help? Elias thought they agreed he was “not” going to help, aka he would. But it doesn’t matter as Hardy WRECKS Elias with a dropkick! Ryker is after Hardy again but gets another Twist! He powers out, Hardy dodges but runs into a SCRAPBUSTER! Elias gets in to stand tall with Ryker, and it looks like this issue is not over. What will it take to finally get Hardy to #WalkWithElias?
Asuka VS Alexa Bliss!
The encounter earlier tonight was eerie and scary, but now the Empress and Lil’ Miss Bliss will battle it out! Will Asuka be able to shrug off the chill up her spine? Or will she be burned by the darkness lurking inside Alexa?
The bell rings and Alexa smiles as she and Asuka circle. They tie up, go around, and Asuka wrenches to a wristlock. Alexa rolls, wrenches back, but Asuka moves around to spin, wrench and wristlock again. Alexa steps through, slips through and headlocks. Asuka fights out, pushes Alexa and then follows to run her over! Asuka has fun now as she dances around, but then she runs, Alexa trips her up, and Alexa Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Alexa sits and smiles and Asuka runs in, but Alexa ducks the kick to roll her up! TWO, and Asuka fires off palm strikes, body shots and a BACK HAND! Asuka shoves, pop-up KNEES Alexa down, then SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, TWO!
Asuka keeps cool as Alexa is smiling about getting hit. Asuka sits Alexa up and says no more fun, she wants her lock! Alexa resists the armlock and chinbar, pries free, but Asuka wrangles her back down. Alexa fights again, gets up, and gest to ropes! The ref calls for the break and Asuka lets off fast. Alexa is outside, Asuka runs and slides but Alexa gets under. Alexa gets in the ring, and then the screens start to change? The lights are going down! What is this warped circus music?! Raw goes to break while things get creepier!
Raw returns once more and Alexa is standing there, but has transformed! Her makeup, hair, outfit, it’s all different! Asuka is as confused as we are as to how she did this! Asuka circles but Alexa doesn’t budge. Alexa watches Asuka then finally takes a step. They circle slowly, commentary doesn’t even want to talk too loudly. Asuka swings a back hand but Alexa easily avoids it! And the same for the roundhouse kick! Alexa deflects Asuka’s strikes, ducks one kick but not the mule kick! Asuka runs but into a shoulder! Alexa’s stoic as Asuka rolls out of the ring. Asuka is getting mad and she gets back in the ring. The two circle again, Asuka blocks Alexa’s punch, POP-UP KNEE!
Alexa staggers to a corner, Asuka runs in, but Alexa does the SPIDER WALK! That’s just like Bray Wyatt! Alexa stands upright, wipes some blood from her mouth, and then just stares at her hand. Asuka waits on Alexa, but Alexa wants to grab at Asuka! Asuka fights off the Mandible Claw! Alexa kicks, Asuka blocks, waistlock but Alexa elbows out! And DECKS Asuka! Cover, TWO!! This dark side of Alexa’s that Asuka was talking about is stoic again as she paces about. Asuka shakes out the cobwebs as she sits up, but Alexa walks over to look at her in the eyes. Alexa lifts Asuka up by her chin, Asuka ROUNDHOUSES! And BACK HANDS! ANOTHER ROUNDHOUSE!!
Asuka fires up, drags Alexa up but Alexa grabs Asuka and smirks! SISTER ABIGAIL!! Cover, Alexa wins!!
Winner: Alexa Bliss, by pinfall
Alexa just pinned Asuka!! And then in a flash, she’s back to her bubbly side! “Let me in!” She spoke with The Fiend’s voice!! Maybe Asuka was right, he IS still here! But if she truly #LetHimIn, will there be any stopping her on the road to WrestleMania?
A really good episode tonight! For starters, less strange copy-paste from last week, and they did continue with stories that got started last week to great effect. I am a little saddened that it seems we’re no longer doing Ricochet VS Retribution if only for now, but I do like how they shifted to make Retribution’s story work against The New Day. They had Ali bring back things that happened all the way back in 2019 when #KofiMania happened for WrestleMania 35. I hope we get Ali VS Kofi out of this, on top of New Day VS the various combinations of Retribution. Ricochet VS AJ Styles was a great match, perhaps one of the most creative ways to get someone into the Styles Clash, and it is interesting that Styles is the gatekeeper to the Men’s Rumble on Raw.
Charlotte VS Peyton was a very good showing for Peyton, even though she loses. They aren’t overdoing things with Lacey and Ric just yet, so it isn’t exactly cringeworthy. Though, the endgame is clearly Lacey using Ric just to get at the tag titles. Shayna beats Mandy Rose down again, but it was pretty good for Dana to get the better of her and Nia. Nia and Shayna want a tag title match and that probably happens on the go-home to the Rumble. I can see the distractions for Charlotte getting the better of the #QueensOfTomorrow, and the titles going back to Nia and Shayna, but there could still be dysfunction on the other end that changes that around.
Dysfunction is also growing in the Hurt Business, and while it’s a bit early, they are acting it out very well. Alexander is too fired up and thinking he’s the one winning everything, but it was a good move for Lashley to take over the match and put this away for the team. LHP is doing a lot with also having their part in the Dusty Rhodes Classic on NXT, but I think that means they can fall back on one show if they’re losing in the other. And I would think Riddle is getting another match for the US Championship, but perhaps after the Rumble. Hardy VS Ryker was better than last week, but the story is still something that they’re clearly trying to force more Elias and Hardy stuff.
The Dirt Sheet having Gillberg and a fake McIntyre was actually a great twist. It was goofy in the right way, and it was made even better with Miz getting serious to top it off. I suppose he does have a point that he can cash in again, or rather “actually” this time, against McIntyre and Goldberg, but that seems like an even worse idea than at TLC if you go by Goldberg’s kayfabe rankings. McIntyre had a good response promo, and it’s great to know he’ll be back already. I don’t expect him and Goldberg to throw hands, but I bet there will be a tease of Goldberg getting hit with a Claymore or McIntyre getting hit with a spear. And Goldberg should prioritize Spear so that he doesn’t have to risk lifting then dropping McIntyre.
The related stories of Orton, Fiend and Alexa just got even more interesting. Orton has an apparently medical lucha mask now, adding a new layer to how creepy he’s being lately. It’s like he’s becoming The Fiend after having burned The Fiend alive in a twisted version of the Santa Clause. And at the same time, Alexa has inherited The Fiend’s powers, too. She really creeped Asuka out, and that’s not so bad, because while Asuka can be scary, Alexa is being a different kind of scary. Giving Alexa her own transformation was a great twist, and this Alexa could probably take the Raw Women’s Championship.
And to be fair, it would be better if we got Asuka VS Twisted Bliss Alexa at Rumble because it’d be a lot for Alexa, even this new form of hers, to win the Rumble when there are many great contenders from both Raw and SmackDown. Bayley and Bianca are a strong rivalry from SmackDown and one of them probably deserves to win so they can challenge Sasha Banks.
My Score: 8.3/10
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling Hard to Kill Results & Match Ratings: 1.16.21
Three title matches, the return of Decay, Barbed Wire Massacre and a main event with Kenny Omega. Impact Wrestling’s Hard to Kill definitely sounds like it’s got a little bit of everything. Check out how it went!
So the news that made many people cry a few days ago, was that Alex Shelley would be out of the main event. He went out of his way to film a response/promo/apology so fans knew it was something non-pandemic related, so that was an effort that wasn’t necessary, though appreciated.
Aside from losing it’s “Dream Match” luster, we get Moose as a replacement, which could really work for the cold calculated persona he’s taken on after his EC3 encounter. We also get to crown Knockouts Tag Team champions for the first time in seven and a half years. Let’s also not forget, this could end up being Taya’s swan song from Impact, so we should expect a good match but no Wera Loca victory.
Let’s see if we get any surprises!
- Decay (Rosemary & Crazzy Steve) vs Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb: Steve wins via King Kill 33 @8:55 – * ½
- Old School Rules Match: Violent by Design (Joe Doering, Eric Young & Deaner) vs Tommy Dreamer, Rhino & Cousin Jake: EY wins via Piledriver @9:55 – ** ½
- Knockouts Tag Team Title Finals: Fire & Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Nevaeh & Havok: Kiera wins via Face the Music @8:40 – *** – TITLE CHANGE!!
- Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton vs Matt Cardona: Cardona wins via DQ @2:30 – N/A
- X Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey: Manik retains via Ole Cradle @13:50 – *** ½
- Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) w/Kimber Lee & Susan vs Taya Valkyrie w/ Decay: Deonna retains via Venus de Milo @11:40 – *** ¼
- Ethan Page vs The Karate Man: Karate Man WINS…Fatality – 200 Stars
- Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Eddie Edwards: Eddie wins via Diehard Flowsion @18:50 – *** ¾
- Moose, Rich Swann &Chris Sabin vs Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows: Kenny Omega wins via One Winged Angel @20:30 – ****
During the last few moments of the Countdown, Madison Rayne officially retired from wrestling and from Impact Wrestling. Not sure how long she’ll stay a house wife, but good for her. She did great to actually prove to people she was a decent wrestler since her run during the WOH tournament, she was a fun commentator, so good for her.
Decay (Rosemary & Crazzy Steve) vs Tenille Dashwood & Kaleb
The weird thing about this match was the dynamic between who was involved and what went on. Crazzy Steve showed a very high work rate in this match, with his strikes and moves looking fantastic. But Rosemary got exposed a bit on still being less than 100% with the knee and generally sloppy on a lot of spots.
Kaleb and Tenille definitely tried to add comedy and their quirky personalities, but the fact that we saw a lot of sloppiness, Steve working his ass off and just comedy spots or gimmick spots too often; this was a giant mess of a match. It also didn’t help that D’lo and Striker are still getting used to each other, so the announcing was distractingly bad.
It can only get better from here!
Old School Rules Match: Violent by Design (Joe Doering, Eric Young & Deaner) vs Tommy Dreamer, Rhino & Cousin Jake
This starts the same way every Tommy Dreamer match starts, with a brawl and weapon use. This wasn’t a terrible match, but it’s really not anything worth going deeply in to. EY did the flair corner to top rope spot, which ended with Dreamer hitting him with a cookie sheet. We had a Tower spot in the corner, with Joe Powerbombing a Suplex, and it landed right into Dreamer’s face.
Doering got to look like a beast when the entire team took the chairs to him, and he still fought back, ending up in control. Dreamer introduced tacks, then we saw the Signature/Finisher spam which ends with EY breaking up the pinfall and hitting Cousin Jake with the Piledriver.
Again, decent enough, but nothing really special.
Knockouts Tag Team Title Finals: Fire & Flava (Kiera Hogan & Tasha Steelz) vs Nevaeh & Havok
Oh, Brian Hebner is back for this match. Slightly surprising.
Kiera and Tasha try to start fast, but the bigger women over power the smaller team and throw them around a little bit. Havok beats up on both of them, Neavaeh comes in to keep up the momentum, but eventually Tasha and Kiera start making a comeback. We see Fire and Flava go for a lot of quick spots, fast tags and trying to spin around the larger women, but they just get taken for a ride more often than not.
It’s not until Kiera hits a High Round Kick, followed by Tasha with the Springboard Neckbreaker actually takes Havok off her feet. Nevaeh tries to make a save and get things back on track, but Tasha picks her leg, Havok gets wiped out after a great Super Kick from Kiera, Tasha and Kiera use some tandem attacks on Nevaeh, then Tasha slows down Havok as Kiera hits Face the Music and we have new Knockouts Tag Team Champions!
Ace Austin comes out to declare himself into the X Division Triple Threat to make it a 4 way! D’Amore comes out, says he can have a match, just not the title match. Matt Cardona comes out.
Ace Austin w/Madman Fulton vs Matt Cardona
Ace tries to go at Cardona before the ring jacket is off, but Cardona absorbs some offense and then fires back a bit. Fulton gets in the way quite often during this match, so the finish is a little telegraphed. But right as Cardona starts building momentum; Fulton slides in to cause the DQ.
Decent enough way to protect Ace and give Cardona quick win.
X Division Championship: Manik (c) vs Rohit Raju vs Chris Bey
Rohit went after Manik to try and prove his point that it’s TJP. Bey seemed dead set on finding a way to win, and as we expected in an X Division match; there were a lot of spots, but they all made sense. Rohit does manage to take off the mask, but TJP painted his face under the mask, so it still throws off Rohit. TJP strings together a few moves, goes for the Mamba Splash, but gets caught by Bey with a Cutter. Bey then hits a Double Art of Finesse, but his brief moment of not knowing who to pin, caused the pinfall breakup.
Rohit almost won the title back after his call back to hitting his Tiger Knee after a Mamba Splash but Bey kicked out. Haymakers get thrown, Rohit hits the Dragon Stomp on Bey, and looks to finish things, but TJP slides in for the style of Cradle he’s used a bit lately, and retains his title after a fun, hard fought match.
Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) w/Kimber Lee & Susan vs Taya Valkyrie w/ Decay
Early on all of the seconds get kicked out, with the beauty of the situation being that Susan pulls out her phone and says she’s filming the whole thing. So Susan, really may be a middle aged transformation of Su Yung. Susan might as well be named Karen.
EVERYBODY has been ejected from ringside.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 17, 2021
As we focus on the actual match, Deonna starts slowly picking apart Taya. Going after her left arm, then her left knee and just trying to apply submission and weaken different limbs. Taya was able to push back and have her own submission attempt moment. Taya went for an STF, but the submission game isn’t her wheelhouse.
Deonna was able to pick her apart, counter a pinfall attempt and keep Taya grounded long enough to work in some holds. The normal Fujiwara didn’t get her submit, so Venus de Milo followed up and Taya verbally submitted.
Ethan Page vs The Karate Man
Since this is cinematic or at least green screen, I won’t rate this as a real match. But it was amazingly entertaining. Dragon Ball Z references, Karate Kid, and Mortal Kombat references, it was just amazing.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 17, 2021
Barbed Wire Massacre: Sami Callihan vs Eddie Edwards
Interesting pacing to get across the familiarity, twisted respect and love for punishment between these two. We saw Barbed Wire Tables, Chairs, Baseball Bats, Kendo Sticks and even an…N64 Controller!
Sami took a ton of punishment, but the story was basically playing with Eddie’s emotions to bait him into bad dives, and openings for Sami to move out of the way, or sneak in a barbed wire shot. Eddie hit a Blue Thunder Bomb on a barbed wire chair, Sami hit an Avalanche Piledriver through a barbed wire table, but none of this was enough. If anything, the Piledriver just pissed Eddie off.
Going for the callback that started it all, Sami tries to hit a Barbed Wire Chair into Eddie’s face with a Barbed Wire Bat, but Eddie hits a low blow to get a moment. Sami tries to bring himself up with a chair, Eddie hits the Boston Knee Party, then the Diehard Flowsion for the win!
Eddie hasn’t hit that Flowsion in a long time. I did appreciate Sami paying homage to Cactus Jack and Striker acknowledging Jun Akiyama and Mitsuharu Misawa on commentary though.
Moose, Rich Swann &Chris Sabin vs Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows
The early onset is interesting. Karl Anderson and Chris Sabin start off and there’s some solid technical counter wrestling, and it’s fast paced action. Moose and Gallows come in to do a big boy showdown which worked fairly well, where Swann and Omega had a brief lockup before the Brothers come in to start heeling it up.
We get a lot of Japanese tag stylings, from the triple team that Team Impact pulls off, to the way the Club breaks up any type of momentum with their own train attacks into the corner. Moose looked amazing in this match. He went toe to toe with everyone, pulled off great moves like a Standing Moonsault, leaped to the top rope for a Spanish Fly and was a really good teammate, regardless of his issues with Rich Swann. Hell Swann and Moose even hit a Doomsday Device variant together. Small aside, I did like seeing Chris Sabin pull off Cradle Shock, which just doesn’t happen often enough anymore.
Omega almost has the match one on Rich, but the only one able to break it up was Moose, and he did so. Omega went into V-Trigger spamming mode to wipe out Moose, rock Rich and then a One Winged Angel won the match for the Bullet Club former members.
Overall Score: 6.75/10
Well this started off pretty bad, but at least it built upwards. The main even had a lot of fun wrinkles which increased the storytelling, psychology and overall enjoyment of the show. Hell even when Callis nearly jumped into the ring to break up a pin on Kenny was a good little nugget.
As I said in the weekly coverage, this is probably Taya’s final match, or at least one of the last, especially since they logically moved Rosemary back to Decay with Crazzy Steve. Eddie and Sami had a hell of blood feud and it was nearly cathartic. Let’s also not overlook the fact that Tasha and Kiera actually won the Knockouts Tag titles. I almost thought they wouldn’t win just because they are so charismatic and attractive without the titles, where Havok and Nevaeh don’t exactly have electric personalities. But I’m ecstatic that Kiera finally has a title in Impact!
With the pretty awful start for the wrestling and the commentary, which put the show behind the eight ball; but it did recover fairly well. Not nearly as good as Genesis, but it managed to keep the stories rolling and end on an interesting note. A pretty good show after all was said and done.
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