It’s the SmackDown After WrestleMania!
SmackDown has new champions in Braun Strowman and Bliss-Cross! But there’s no time to rest, the Kabuki Warriors want their titles back! Are Alexa and Nikki ready for the rematch?
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bliss-Cross VS The Kabuki Warriors; Bliss-Cross wins and retains the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
- Tucker Knight VS Dolph Ziggler w/ Sonya Deville; Ziggler wins.
- The Forgotten Sons VS Lucha House Party; The Forgotten Sons win.
- Sheamus VS Cal Bloom; Sheamus wins.
- Braun Strowman VS Shinsuke Nakamura w/ The Artist Collective; Strowman wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
SmackDown opens with BRAUN!
The Triple Crown Monster Among Men is here with his WWE Universal Championship! Goldberg is a living legend, but not even he could keep Strowman down on the Greatest Stage of Them All. Of course, Strowman had to hit Goldberg with more than anyone else he’d faced before, but he still got these hands on the title. “There’s an old saying: When opportunity knocks on the door, you answer it.” Strowman answered and knocked the door off the hinges! Spear after spear after spear wasn’t enough. Goldberg is a WWE Hall of Famer for a reason, but Strowman refused to stay down. And now Strowman is our Universal Champion! To have it happen at WrestleMania makes that his greatest moment in his career, but now his moment is being interrupted.
Shinsuke Nakamura heads to the ring, and without Sami Zayn or Cesaro. The King of Strong Style goes to the ring with a mic but Strowman asks what he wants. “You said when opportunity knocks, you better open the door.” Well Nakamura is knocking on the door! Strowman, say, “Who’s there?” Like a joke. Well Nakamura is here, knocking on the door. He heard all the talk about the WrestleMania Moment. But the last time we saw Strowman, he LOST! Strowman tells Nakamura to shut up because no one tuned in to hear him talk. How about Strowman knock-knock the crap out of Nakamura?
Be careful what you wish for. Because Nakamura remembers an old Japanese saying: The weak are the meat, and the strong eat. Well here’s a proverb that works in any language: Nakamura will #GetTheseHands! But then Cesaro appears outta nowhere! Strowman knocks Cesaro out of the ring but Nakamura ROUNDHOUSES him! Strowman staggers but stays up as Nakamura and Cesaro head to the back. Will the Artist Collective take another title from Strowman?
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bliss-Cross VS The Kabuki Warriors!
The Goddess and Loony Lass brought these titles back to SmackDown after an epic showdown with Raw’s Asuka and Kairi Sane! But now, the Empress of Tomorrow and the Pirate Princess want their treasure back! Will Alexa and Nikki have the shortest reign in these titles’ young history? Or are they ready for the rematch?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and the teams sort out. We begin with Kairi going right at Alexa with a dropkick! Kairi rains down angry rights and then puts Alexa in the corner. Tag to Asuka and Asuka hits Nikki while Kairi stomps Alexa. Asuka returns to stomp Alexa and dig her heels in. Tag to Kairi and the Kabuki double suplex. Alexa resists and throws forearms! But that’s 2v1 and she gets thrown down by her hair! Asuka and Kairi take a moment to boast before Kairi stalks Alexa at the ropes. Kairi pulls ALexa’s hair while also choking her on the ropes. The ref counts and Kairi lets up to club Alexa on the back. Kairi whips but Alexa arm-drags to a cover, TWO! Alexa SLAPS Kairi so Kairi throws hands. The two brawl, Kairi stomps feet, then drags Alexa over.
Asuka tags in and she again hits Nikki first. Kairi stomps Alexa down then Asuka adds stomps of her own. Asuka talks trash in Japanese while digging her heels in again. The ref backs her off but Kairi tags in. The Kabuki double whip Alexa for a flurry of kicks! Camel clutch basement dropkick! Kairi mocks Alexa while sitting on her for a cover. TWO, but Kairi tags in Asuka. Kairi drags Alexa up but Alexa dropkicks back! Kairi flops out of the ring but Asuka hops down to regroup with her. Alexa runs and wrecks Kairi with a dropkick, but then Asuka wrecks Alexa with a hip attack! Kairi laughs while Asuka hops on commentary. “Yes! I’m on commentary! YES!”
Asuka talks trash to Nikki in Japanese but Nikki jumps on the desk with her! The two scrap, but Alexa trips up Asuka! Asuka hits hard as she falls! Then Nikki LEAPS onto Asuka! Kairi shouts for Asuka-nee as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Asuka wrenches Nikki’s arm over and over. Nikki fights back with forearms but Asuka throws her down by her hair. Asuka tags Kairi and they keep Nikki from Alexa. They double whip and Kairi runs in for a big forearm! Asuka runs in to hip attack! Nikki is down and Kairi covers, TWO! Kairi toys with Nikki now as she slaps her around and kicks her on the mat. She brings Nikki up to club her down, then Alabama lifts. Nikki sunset flips, ONE! Nikki crawls but Kairi drops an elbow! Cover, TWO! Kairi drags Nikki around while laughing at Alexa. Kairi brings Nikki over, wrenches the hair, then tags in Asuka. The Kabuki mug Nikki and Asuka stomps her down. Asuka runs in but Nikki elbows back! Nikki hits Kairi then boots Asuka! Asuka chokes Nikki and throws in knees!
Asuka runs in but Nikki rolls her up! TWO, and Nikki scurries towards Alexa. Asuka anchors a foot and reels Nikki in. Nikki fights the German Suplex off to BULLDOG! Hot tag to Alexa! Kairi tags in but the Five Foot Fury rallies, slaps, ROCKS and dropkicks Kairi! Alexa is fired up as she drops knees, then handsprings. Insult2Injury misses at the last second, and Kairi SPEARS Alexa down! Cover, TWO! Kairi grows frustrated and she argues with the ref. She then smiles as she brings Alexa back up. Alexa ROCKS Kairi again, and brings her over to tag in Nikki. Bliss-Cross have Kairi but Asuka ROUNDHOUSES Alexa down! Kairi’s back hand knocks Nikki down! Nikki runs in but misses in the corner! Asuka tags in and she’s after Nikki! Nikki resists but Asuka still brings her over to Kairi. KABUKI DOOMSDAY! ARMBAR!!
Nikki flails, moves around, gets a cover, TWO! Asuka gets Nikki in the ASUKA LOCK! Alexa attacks but Kairi gives her a BLOCKBUSTER! Kairi fires up with Asuka-nee and they tag. Kairi goes back up and says this will end it! InSANE Elbow misses! Nikki decks Asuka then dodges Kairi to tag in Alexa! Alexa ducks the back hand to boot Kairi. Alexa grins as she hits her DDT! But Asuka drags Kairi out of the cover! Nikki leaps, but into a KNEE! Asuka helps Kairi but Alexa is up top! Alexa gives a SUPER TWISTED BLISS to them both!! The Kabuki go down in a heap but Alexa puts Kairi in. Alexa heads back up, but Kairi moves. Nikki tags in as Alexa blocks a kick. Alexa ROCKS Kairi, Nikki hits THE PURGE! Cover, Bliss-Cross win!!
Winners: Bliss-Cross, by pinfall (still WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions)
The best friends fend off the Joshi royalty! Will they keep this second reign going through the Spring into the Summer?
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
The Drifter is back and is grateful for letting him into our homes. He is in a good mood after putting an end to King Baron Corbin. He’s sure we do, as he got all our messages. Elias has a song titled, “Walk With the King,” but wants us to first turn the volume up. Then Elias begins to play and sings, “WrestleMania, everybody can sing~! Elias, he came and dethroned the king~.” IF you doubted him, he doesn’t blame you at all. From this very perch, he took a hell of a fall. Just like Simba, he returned. For a new king, the people yearned. Look to the horizon, what do you see? Elias says it’s Money in the Bank and that briefcase. It’ll be a guitar case when he becomes champ. Then the world will sing, “Walk With Elias!”
SmackDown looks back on the romance of Otis and Mandy Rose.
A scheme cooked up by Mandy’s own friend, Sonya Deville, and the Show-Off, Dolph Ziggler, was exposed! Mandy cut ties with Sonya and Ziggler, but they together worked to cheat Otis during the WrestleMania match. But then Mandy would stand by her man and go after Sonya! She also screwed Ziggler and Otis got the win! The Dozer gets the win and the girl, and all is right in Otis’s world!
Ziggler and Sonya barge out into the arena.
They both yell at commentary. They haven’t heard from Mandy all week and are upset. Ziggler defends there was doctored footage in that hacker’s “reveal.” They just want the best for Mandy. But here comes Tucker to retort! “Dolph, I’m sorry, I can see you’re busy,” but clearly he is still smitten with Otis’s kitten. Here’s some pictures Ziggler deserves to see. Couples that work out together stay together. Bananas are great potassium, by the way. Otis and Mandy are a bit busy, but Tucker is here to settle things on his end. Will Tucky bulldoze Ziggler to add on to Ziggler’s woes?
Tucker Knight VS Dolph Ziggler w/ Sonya Deville!
SmackDown returns with the bell. Ziggler rushes Tucker but gets huge hands! Sonya talks trash and Tucker gets distracted, but he manages to deny the Zigzag. Tucker POSTS Ziggler then stomps him all around. Tucker drags Ziggler up for a BIG suplex! Cover, TWO! Tucker goes after Ziggler at the ropes with clubbing forearms. Ziggler elbows back hard then leaps, but is caught! Tucker catapults Ziggler into buckles! Tucker is fired up as Ziggler flops out of the ring. Sonya coaches Ziggler up but Tucker goes out after him. Tucker CLUBS Ziggler on the back and then brings him to commentary. Tucker bounces Ziggler off the desk before refreshing the count. “You wanna use steps, huh?!” He’ll give it back, as he whips Ziggler into them!
The ref counts again as Tucker pulls the steps apart. Tucker refreshes the count at 5 then goes after Ziggler. But Ziggler rakes Tucker’s eyes! Sonya kept the ref distracted so Ziggler gets away with that. Ziggler leaps, but the Zigzag is TOSSED onto the desk!! Sonya is in shock as Ziggler writhes and crawls. Tucker grins as he catches his breath. Tucker fetches Ziggler as the ring count passes 5 and puts him in the ring. He brings Ziggler up, whips him and scoops,m for a BIG spinning powerslam! Cover, TWO!! Tucker keeps his cool while Sonya is at a loss for words. Tucker drags Ziggler back up but Ziggler throws body shots. Ziggler bobs ‘n’ weaves but Tucker LARIATS him down! Tucker demands Ziggler get up, and then he hits a springboard crossbody! Cover, TWO!! Ziggler survives and Tucker grows frustrated.
Ziggler gets up and superkicks, but Tucker blocks it. Tucker spins Ziggler, but Ziggler baits him into the post! SUPERKICK! Cover, Ziggler wins!
Winner: Dolph Ziggler, by pinfall
The Show-Off survives a furious freight train in Tucker. Will Ziggler and Sonya be able to make contact with Mandy and “patch things up?” Or is it beyond the point of no return for them both?
SmackDown presents a new episode of The Dirt Sheet.
The Miz and John Morrison are here and still the SmackDown Tag Team Champions. It may be hard times for the world, but the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century have good news. Morrison retained their titles, and the first person to do that in history. Miz is the first person in history to retain his title from the couch. WrestleMania 36 was the most talked about and most watched WrestleMania! #ThatsGoodNews. Otis finally kissed a girl! But then Mandy’s mom had to watch it happen. That’s…? The Undertaker is back and he buried AJ Styles, literally! Reminds Morrison of a recurring nightmare he has. Footage of the Boneyard Match plays, and Miz realizes he had the same nightmare. But it was Styles getting kicked down a grave and not them. #ThatsGoodNews.
There’s a NEW Universal Champion in Braun Strowman! And he’s on almost every show! That’s way better than the other champions. #ThatsGoodNews. Speaking of previous champions, did Miz see the Firefly Fun House match? OF course! It was weird and John Cena is just gone. After all this time, all that “You Can’t See Me” crap came true. #ThatsGoodNews. But the best news, the hit single, “Hey Hey!” hit the top of the charts! And these two know what fans want: a live performance! The music plays as “MC M-I-Z” and “Johnny Drip Drip” start rapping. Miz ‘n’ Morrison! Hey hey! Ho ho! But the best(?) WWE rap is interrupted by The Usos!
“Hold up, hold up, hold up.” Out of respeck, they were going to let that finish, but nope! They want to talk Peewee Herman? Ol’ Peewee has WAY more street cred than Miz and Morrison combined! How dare they! The champs were spreading good news and the Usos have to go and bring downer energy. Morrison defended the titles and won, so why are the Usos here? Because the last time they checked, Miz and Morrison are both tag team champions. They both have to defend the titles! Well that wasn’t the match, Uce! Morrison sees that the Usos are trying to drive a wedge between them, but news flash! Morrison has Miz’s back and everyone gets Morrison’s front. Miz got hurt, is still hurt, and still can’t compete. See you two later!
But awwwwww~ people at home~! Don’t you dare be sour! Here comes the New Day! Kofi Kingston and Big E see the arguing going on and points out the Usos weren’t the only ones in that SmackDown Tag Team Championship match. “Y’all ain’t Lil’ Boosie on Instagram.” The WrestleMania match didn’t go as planned, so how about this? One half of each team competed on WrestleMania, so perhaps the other halves should compete in their own Triple Threat for the “adorable, kissable, lickable” titles? What part of “not cleared” does no one understand?! The New Day is here to say that after talking with WWE management, Fox executives, Martha Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Lil’ Wayne, Lil’ Kim AND Freddie Prinz Jr. on a huge Zoom call turned happy hour… NEXT WEEK! Jey Uso VS The Miz VS Big E in a SmackDown Tag Team Championship Triple Threat! HOLLA HOLLA!!
The Forgotten Sons VS Lucha House Party!
Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake & Jaxson Ryker have come to SmackDown! Will they make sure Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik remember them forever?
The teams sort out and Cutler starts against Dorado. They tie up and Cutler powers Dorado to a corner to fire off hands. He CHOPS then throws body shots. Cutler whips Dorado and elbows him hard against the ropes. Tag to Blake and the Sons mug Dorado with body shots. Blake pushes Dorado into a corner with forearms and grinds them in. Blake whips Dorado but Dorado dodges to springboard and moonsault! Tag to Metalik and he gets a boost for the falling splash! Cover, TWO! Metalik wrenches then tags Dorado back in. Dorado drops ax handles on Blake then wrenches him. Dorado clamps onto the arm but Blake turns things around. Tag to Cutler but Dorado fights back.
Cutler kicks low and underhooks for a butterfly backbreaker! Cutler pushes Dorado at ropes then forearms him hard in the back! “Ain’t no party like a Forgotten Party!” He chokes Dorado on the ropes then tags in Blake. The Sons double backbreaker Dorado down! Cover, TWO! Blake drops knees then clamps on a chinlock. Dorado endures and fights back. Blake clamps a hammlerlock on and throws chops and elbows and uppercuts! Dorado flounders against ropes but hops over Blake! Blake ends up outside but he tags Cutler in. Cutler whips but Dorado hits the GOLDEN REWIND! Blake tags in but so does Metalik! Springboard crossbody! Metalik whips but Blake reverses. Blake dodges the handspring but not the springboard!
Metalik runs the ropes and leaps to missile dropkick! Cover, but Cutler breaks it! Dorado CHOPS away on Cutler but Cutler TOSSES Dorado out! Metalik SUPERKICKS Cutler but Blake rolls him up! TWO and Metalik enziguris! Metalik handsprings but Blake catches him., Blake suplexes, Metalik lands on his feet, but Blake LARIATS! Tag to Cutler, and the Sons combine, for MEMORY REMAINS!! Cover, The Forgotten Sons win!
Winners: The Forgotten Sons, by pinfall
What won’t be forgotten is that their debut was a success! Are we looking at the future of the SmackDown Tag Team Division?
Bliss-Cross celebrate their victory backstage.
They’re the first two-time champions in these belts’ history, they’re basically the best ever. Nikki feels unstoppable! Alexa does, too. Carmella and Dana Brooke come over to congratulate them on the win. But Carmella and Dana didn’t get to be part of WrestleMania, sot hey were hoping to make up for lost time. Could they have a match for the titles next week? Um… Yeah… Here’s the thing. Just because they missed out on Mania doesn’t mean they can just “jump the line.” Well, okay, but didn’t Bliss-Cross just say they’re unstoppable? Nikki is excited but Alexa wants to talk this over. They go off to the side and talk, and then come back. Nikki accepts the challenge! Mella and Dana are very excited, but Alexa says Nikki needs decaf. Will the second reign still be cut short?
Sasha Banks and Bayley head to the ring.
The Boss may not be SmackDown Women’s Champion, but she helped her best friend keep the title! Bayley continues her longest reign in SmackDown history and is still united with Sasha. They have a lot to say, but we’ll have to wait until after the break.
SmackDown returns and Bayley says, “Just look at us!” Three weeks ago, “that annoying, jealous Paige” tried to ruin WrestleMania and their friendship with that huge elimination match. But Paige failed! Anyone that thinks can touch Byaley, YOU CAN’T! Bayley has beaten everyone! But in her humble opinion, Bayley’s greatest moment yet was defying all odds as WrestleMania! How did she do that? Because she- no, she and Sasha are the best. They are the ultimate role models! So to all the sheep that thought things were going to go the other way, here’s two words for you: Screw you! The ignorant masses will never understand their friendship. No woman from past, present or future can-
Well speaking of the present, Tamina heads right to the ring! The Daughter of Superfly immediately intimidates the “role models.” They try to talk her down with compliments. Bayley isn’t sure why she’s here, but she’s happy Tamina is here. They want to compliment her performance. Tamina tells them to shut the hell up! Bayley didn’t beat Tamina at Mania. No one beat her. It took all four other superstars to eliminate her from that match! So “Ms. Role Model” needs to lead by example and take Tamina on 1v1 for the title. Bayley and Sasha laugh that off. Sorry, Tamina, you may have just come back “from whatever coconut shell you’ve been hiding in,” but there is a pecking order! You don’t just step up and make demands!
Bayley “holds” Sasha back, but says that as a role model, she will be fair. Tamina’s challenge is accepted, but it only happens IF Tamina beats The Blueprint, Bayley’s best friend, Sasha Banks! Tamina accepts the counter offer. But uh, Sasha, your bestie just screwed you. Is Boss Time going to end when up against the Samoan steamroller?
Sheamus VS Cal Bloom!
The Celtic Warrior returns to SmackDown to continue his purge of the “vermin” on this roster. Will he be able to clear out the weak and prove himself worthy as we head for Money in the Bank?
The bell rings and Sheamus goes right after Bloom with clubbing forearms! He whips but Bloom whips back. Bloom throws kicks and hands then whips,. Sheamus reverses and runs Bloom over with an elbow! Sheamus stomps Bloom at the ropes but the ref backs him up. The Celtic Warrior stands Bloom up to put him on the ropes. He throws Ten Beats of the Bodhrain! Bloom flops to the apron as Sheamus finally lets him go. Sheamus smirks as Bloom crawls back in. Bloom turns around into a BROGUE!! Cover, Sheamus wins!
Winner: Sheamus, by pinfall
Motivated and menacing, will Sheamus make minced meat of those put in his way back to Money in the Bank?
SmackDown begins a retrospective of Jeff Hardy.
Chapter one: the rise. Jeff gets flashbacks to his start alongside his brother, Matt, as he watches his daughters jump on the trampoline. The Hardy boys would jump around and run all over. Jeff felt like Sting howling and shouting. Then the Hardy Boys had their debut. They vowed to do something, anything, to get people to remember them. Christian notes that they were fans living out the dreams. Soon, Team X-Treme had kids dressing up like them the way they dressed up as their favorites.
But more than anything, Jeff loved pushing the envelope of risky moves. Jumping off of ladders onto tables, onto other ladders, but always onto opponents. Hardy wrestles matches like they’re his last, and yet he’s not done yet. He hopes to keep this dream going to the next level. What next level is there for the already incredibly accomplished Charismatic Enigma?
In two weeks, SmackDown plays the game.
The HHH 25th Anniversary Celebration comes to Fox!
But next week, SmackDown prepares for Money in the Bank!
Qualifying matches for the respective Men’s and Women’s MITB Ladder matches begin! For the men, it will be Daniel Bryan VS Cesaro! And for the women, it will be Naomi VS Dana Brooke! Who takes the first step towards climbing up to a golden opportunity?
Braun Strowman VS Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Cesaro!
A challenge came knocking, and the call was answered! Will the Triple Crown Monster make sure Nakamura only #GetsTheseHands? Or will the Swiss Cyborg be a factor in the King of Strong Style gaining ground in the title hunt?
The bell rings and Strowman rushes Nakamura. Nakamura gets clear, as does Cesaro, and Nakamura gives testing kicks. Strowman stays up so Nakamura throws body shots. Strowman withstands those, and stays clear of Nakamura’s kicks to then BOOT him down! Nakamura gets to a corner and Cesaro coaches him up, but Strowman headbutts Nakamura back. Strowman whips Nakamura corner to corner hard! Nakamura clutches his back but Strowman THROWS him across the ring! Strowman says Nakamura bit off more than he can chew getting in the ring with him! Strowman smashes Nakamura off his knee then throws him out of the ring. Cesaro checks on Nakamura but Strowman goes out to pursue. Cesaro says he was just watching. Nakamura tries to sucker punch but Strowman ROCKS him!
Strowman puts Nakamura in the ring then glares at Cesaro. Cesaro stays back and Nakamura knees Strowman off the apron! Nakamura goes out and runs at Strowman, but is TOSSED onto the barriers! The Monster stands tall as SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns once more as Strowman has Nakamura in a corner. He whips Nakamura corner to corner hard then FLAPJACKS him! Strowman bumps Nakamura off buckles then corner splashes him! Strowman scoops but Nakamura fights out. Nakamura swings one kick but hits the second! Nakamura tumbles into the ref, but that’s just to keep him from seeing Cesaro SHORYUKEN Strowman! And Nakamura adds the dynamic dropkick! Cover, TWO!! Strowman survives and the Art sit Collective is furious! Nakamura wraps on a chinlock and squeezes tight. Strowman endures and powers out, to sidewalk slam Nakamura down! Strowman is free and Nakamura is gasping. Nakamura is in the corner but gets another corner splash! Cesaro distracts but Strowman DECKS him! Nakamura BOOTS but Strowman LARIATS!
Strowman watches Nakamura go outside, and decides to take a lap! Strowman bulldozes Nakamura down! He puts Nakamura back in before he BLASTS Cesaro over barriers! Strowman goes back to Nakamura but Nakamura KNEES him down! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura is furious as he goes to a corner. HE runs at Strowman but Strowman scoops! MONSTER SLAM!! Cover, Strowman wins!
Winner: Braun Strowman, by pinfall
The Triple Crown Monster is only building up speed now that he’s Universal Champion! Is there any man in the WWE today that can survive the #StrowmanExpress?
Wait, Firefly Fun House interrupts! Bray Wyatt presents “The History of John Cena and Bray Wyatt.” Hold on, he needs to rewrite history. He makes it all caps. The Fiend defeated Cena and made him disappear. We really can’t see him now! But hey, Braun! Bray congratulates him, and is so happy for him. The old Bray whispers but no, that was a long time ago. Strowman’s surely learned his lesson b now. The Black Sheep of the Wyatt Family was given a home. And yet, he turned his back on them all. He turned his back on his creator. But Bray can forgive Braun now, right? Mercy won’t, because Strowman’s too big. Abby says Strowman is gross. Huskis says Strowman smells worse than a swine sphincter. Ramblin’ Rabbit likes Strowman. Oh shut up.
But if the puppets aren’t going to, Bray will. If Strowman says he’s sorry, that is. “I’m not playing these games, Bray.” Well, guess Strowman is busy about getting hands rather than manners. But Bray taught Strowman so much, why stop now? The lesson for today is sharing. Because Braun has something Bray wants back. It’s that thing on his shoulder. The Universal Championship. “As one circle closes, another begins again.” Bray brought Strowman into this world, so he’ll be the one to take him out. Bye~~! See you soon~! Strowman says that before Bray goes, he does want to say that any time Bray wants, he will #LetHimIn. Bye~! Strowman may not be playing Bray’s game, but he is willing to throw it all in Bray’s face. When will the dark past become a darker future for these two?
This was a pretty good SmackDown that didn’t feel as subdued as Raw did this week. There were still recaps but they weren’t as extensive as on Raw. Of course that’s probably just the math of a two hour show versus a three hour show. But we got plenty of original content that was all pretty good. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship rematch was good, but it was clearly just a way to clear out Kabuki Warriors from the contender’s list for now. Another bad sign that Kairi Sane is leaving the WWE to go back to Japan and Stardom, but not a guarantee. I appreciate that it is Nikki’s over-excitement already getting her and Alexa into random matches, but I highly doubt Mella and Dana win the titles. When are the IIconics coming back?
Bayley and Sasha had a good promo, and Tamina had a good part to play in it. Tamina has legitimate claim for a title shot for MITB, but I don’t see her winning. Well, she could beat Sasha next week to take a similar path to Lacey Evans. But I feel like MITB might already be set up for another same-night cash-in from Ms. Money in the Bank. Especially if it’s The Boss in the Bank. Sasha could lose to Tamina, qualify for the MITB match, win that, then cash in on whoever. It would be obvious yet so fitting that Sasha cashes in on Bayley after helping her screw Tamina over. Sasha is getting her Grand Slam at some point, so why not just do it here?
I did not think The Forgotten Sons would move over to SmackDown. Also, no one who watched NXT regularly would think they “dominated” that brand. But while they wrestled Heel against Lucha House Party, I wonder if we’ll finally get that faction of them and Lacey Evans that only the NXT house show circuit got to see. Forgotten Sons were using patriotism to go Face, so it wouldn’t take much for them to do that on SmackDown. But it’ll be awhile before they’re tag title contenders. Miz & Morrison had a good promo, and I like the idea of a Triple Threat that flips things around from WrestleMania. Miz VS Big E VS Jey will be a lot of fun even if it isn’t with ladders, but I’m thinking Miz finds a way to win.
Ziggler rebounds with a win off Tucker, but I liked that Tucker used pictures of Otis and Mandy to stick it back to Ziggler. Sonya and Mandy are set to have a face-to-face next week, I’m very confident in saying that will lead to a Mixed Tag Match as we head for MITB. And speaking of, while MITB had to cancel its date with Baltimore, it obviously is not going to be cancelled. It’ll be another Empty Arena PPV, even if a miracle happens in regards to the pandemic, and all the qualifying matches will be good original material for both SmackDown and Raw. I don’t think it’ll happen this year, but I hope MITB adds NXT so that even the NXT Championship is prey to the cash-in. With WWE basically being confined to one central location, crossover is the way to go that will help it outdo the competition.
I like that WWE is giving Jeff Hardy this multi-part retrospective, but it definitely gives the feeling that Jeff might be winding down towards the end. At least, in the WWE. If brother Matt Hardy is any indication, there is always life outside the WWE, but Jeff still might have one big push inside it. Sheamus glaring at commentary as they talked about Jeff makes me think that’s where the story is going for both Celtic Warrior and Charismatic Enigma, and that might be a decent match. Strowman VS Nakamura was a decent match but of course Strowman was winning. And I am so excited to see that we’re going with Strowman VS Wyatt to start off. There’s so much already in this story, not even factoring in how Goldberg took the title from Bray. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
My Score: 8.3/10
Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.
There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!
- Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
- United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
- House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
- KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
- 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
- TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
- G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼
Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.
Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.
United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata
So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.
Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!
This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.
House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.
Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.
KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi
So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.
Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.
Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.
Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.
5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr
This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.
Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.
WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!
TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi
Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!
Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.
Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!
G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada
So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.
Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.
Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.
Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.
Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.
Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.
Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.
Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!
We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.
Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
- Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
- Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
- Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
- Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾
The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.
Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice
Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.
Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.
This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.
There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.
Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:
This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.
The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James
Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.
Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.
Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel
The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.
So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.
Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.
Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.
Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.
Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.
Overall Score: 5/10
Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.
I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.
When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.
So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!
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