Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (5/1/20)
It’s May Day Night SmackDown!
SmackDown makes one last push towards MITB!
Money in the Bank is almost here! Otis and Mandy both go for the final spots on SmackDown’s side! Will they be the one and only couple competing at WWE’s corporate headquarters?
- Daniel Bryan VS Baron Corbin; Bryan wins, by disqualification.
- Sheamus VS Leon Ruff; Sheamus wins.
- Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Mandy Rose VS Carmella; Carmella wins and advances to the Women’s MITB match.
- The New Day VS The Forgotten Sons; The Forgotten Sons win.
- Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Dolph Ziggler VS Otis Dozovic; Otis wins and advances to the Men’s MITB match.
PLAY BY PLAY
Daniel Bryan VS Baron Corbin!
The GOAT and the Wolf King are both in the Men’s MITB, but this fight is more than just a sampler. The Artist Collective helped Corbin crack Drew Gulak with the scepter, so this is to avenge Bryan’s ally!
Before the match, Bryan has a mic. “It’s no secret that I love what I do. I love this.” And at this point in Bryan’s career, what he loves most is talking new challenges, overcoming new obstacles and trying new things. That’s why he’s so excited to be in the most unique MITB ever! Because this time it’s not about being in this ring, but being in WWE HQ. And this time, six men and six women all fighting at the same time, from the ground floor to the rooftop! They are risking it all to grab the briefcase, because inside is a championship contract for a match anytime, anywhere. And that’s wild.
Bryan has wrestled in a lot of weird and wild places, from Western bars to gas stations to pawn shop parking lots. But this will be the first time he’s been in an office building. Bryan doesn’t know the rules or etiquette. What about the elevator? What about catering? Will there be fines for breaking something? Does Vince McMahon have actual dinosaur bones in his office? Who knows! But we all get to find out, and that is exciting. But there’s another thing he’s excited about: the opportunity. No one knows more about the opportunity MITB brings than Bryan.
Nine years ago, Bryan couldn’t even get booked on SmackDown. And then, Bryan became Mr. MITB and cashed in on The Big Show to become World Heavyweight Champion! Bryan as a WWE Champion was thought to be impossible. MITB was the pivotal moment in his WWE career. That spawned the Yes Movement, YestleMania, and that fighting for your dreams means your dreams fight for you! So yes, Bryan is excited. But he’s also a bit sad. Bryan was hoping that his coach and good friend, Drew Gulak, would be there alongside him. He was hoping Gulak could have the chance to create his own great opportunity. But King Corbin and his new cronies ruined that. So Bryan wants Corbin to get out here and they can settle this now!
Corbin appears and says Bryan needs to be careful calling out a king. Bryan knows Corbin’s “kind” makes Bryan’s “kind” suffer. Just look as footage from last week plays, showing that sneak attack, victory, and extra brutality. Corbin says that felt good. And he says Bryan should just stop dreaming. Because that’s all this is: a dream. Bryan surely didn’t forget there are other former MITB winners. Corbin vows he will stand above all, as King Money in the Bank. Well is he going to squander that opportunity like last time? There have been 23 MITB winners, and Corbin is only one of four to “completely blow it.” How does that happen!? You can just surprise someone with the cash-in! And then Corbin blew it. That doesn’t make him a king, that makes him a loser.
Corbin warns Bryan that he better watch it before he ends up like Gulak and Elias. Things changed since their respective MITB wins. Bryan was young and hungry, but now he’s tired and desperate. Bryan hired Gulak as a coach. Corbin was strong when he won in the past, and now he’s even stronger and smarter. And he’ll prove it, right now! Corbin gets in the ring, but this match begins after the break.
SmackDown returns with the bell, and Corbin circles with Bryan. They tie up, Corbin powers Bryan to ropes, but lets up as the ref reprimands. Bryan and Corbin go again, and Corbin powers Bryan to a corner. The ref counts but Bryan turns things around. Bryan lets off at 4, but Corbin calls for a test of strength. They tie up, Bryan rolls and wrenches and then KICKS Corbin in the leg. Corbin walks it off and they tie up again. Corbin powers Bryan to a corner again, but throws body shots and forearms. The ref reprimands but Corbin just glares at him. Bryan kicks away on the leg then trips Corbin up. Corbin gets back up to knee low, then run. He runs Bryan over with a shoulder, and gloats that Bryan has no chance. Things speed up and Bryan dropkicks the leg out! Bryan kicks Corbin while he’s down, then goes after the leg again.
Corbin clubs Bryan but Bryan gives him a dragon screw! Bryan twists the knee then kicks the thigh. Bryan kicks then wrenches the leg to a kneebar! Corbin shouts and gets the ropebreak. Bryan lets go and dares Corbin to bring it. Corbin gets up, hobbles a bit, and now Bryan is after the other leg. Corbin catches Bryan into a facelock, and shifts back to a chinlock. Bryan slips out and has a hammerlock. Bryan gets the legs in a lock and pulls! Corbin endures the modified deathlock but then Bryan stomps the knee! Bryan kicks away on the leg but Corbin blocks one. Corbin trips Bryan and mounts for some ground ‘n’ pound! Bryan gets a guard up but Corbin stands him up. Corbin ROCKS Bryan with the right hand. Corbin walks off the bad leg and taunts Bryan again. “You’re a disappointment, just like your coach!” He punches Bryan down again then pulls him into a camel clutch.
Corbin says Bryan is washed up and doesn’t have it anymore as he elbows away on Bryan’s neck. Bryan grits his teeth as he punches back! Bryan kicks the legs and has Corbin cornered! The ref counts bu Bryan fires off until 4. Corbin headbutts low! Corbin bumps Bryan off buckles then hoists him up top. Bryan throws forearms but Corbin DECKS him! Bryan tumbles down to the floor and Corbin goes out after him. Corbin hammerlocks to throw Bryan into the post! Bryan is down as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Corbin grinds Bryan down with a double wristlock. Bryan endures and fights his way up. He goes to ropes and the ref calls for the break. Corbin throws body shots as he keeps the hammerlock on! Corbin lets up at 4 but glares at the ref. Bryan gets up and goes for a leg, but Corbin blocks to gut wrench! Bryan slips out, crucifix roll up, TWO! Corbin runs into a school boy, TWO! Corbin CLUBS Bryan then whips him to a corner. He runs corner to corner but Bryan dodges. Corbin slides out and in to LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Corbin grows frustrated with the ref, but he goes back to taunting Bryan. Corbin forearms and elbows but Bryan gives body shots in return. Corbin KNEES Bryan down, and stalks him to a corner. He wraps an arm around the ropes to pull, then lets go at the count of 4. Corbin keeps on the bad arm with a CLUBBING forearm to the back!
Bryan gets to his feet but Corbin clubs him again. The ref reprimands Corbin as he pulls on hair, but Corbin clubs Bryan again. Corbin whips Bryan corner to corner, but Bryan goes up and over. Corbin goes out but Bryan DIVES to intercept! They hit barriers but Bryan puts Corbin in. Bryan goes up top, and hits the missile dropkick! Bryan grits his teeth as he KICKS Corbin’s leg! And again! And again! Corbin hobbles about but Bryan shows no mercy. Corbin blocks a kick but Bryan rolls and gets a takedown to the ANKLE LOCK! Bryan drags Corbin from ropes, sets the foot up to STOMP! And then BUZZSAW! Cover, TWO!! Corbin survives but Bryan tries again, TWO! Another try, TWO! Corbin doesn’t go down but Bryan doesn’t let up. Bryan kicks the bad leg as Corbin crawls. Bryan uppercuts Corbin into a corner, then runs corner to corner to dropkick! And again, but gets DEEP SIX! Cover, TWO!!
Corbin is frustrated, but he rains down hands on Bryan. Bryan reaches up and gets a leg, to roll Corbin to a HALF CRAB! Corbin gets the ropebreak fast and drags himself to the apron. Bryan goes out to STOMP away on the apron! Corbin flops down, Bryan builds speed and DIVES! But Corbin catches him! Bryan kicks the bad knee, then BUZZSAWS! Corbin throws a LADDER at Bryan! DISQUALIFICATION!
Winner: Daniel Bryan, by disqualification
Corbin is furious, but what else is supposed to happen using a ladder in a non-ladder match? Corbin puts the ladder and Bryan in the ring and says this is on the ref! He drags Bryan up, reels him in, but Bryan slips out! Bryan drags Corbin down onto the ladder for the YES LOCK!! And with a clawing hand on Corbin’s face! But Nakamura appears to KINSHASA! The Artist Collective saves Corbin as Cesaro RAMS Bryan with the ladder! The King of Strong Style and Swiss Cyborg help the Wolf King again, and Corbin brings Bryan to the stage. Corbin throws Bryan into ladders! Bryan’s body bowls them all over and he’s stuck in the wreckage! Will Corbin fulfill his proclamation of reigning as King in the Bank?
Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss talk backstage.
We can’t hear what they’re saying, but it seems he’s admiring her jacket. She seems to compliment his tattoos, and offers him a merchandise shirt. He uses it to wipe the sweat from his brow and beard and then hands it back before heading to the ring.
SmackDown returns with BRAUN!
The Monster Among Men and his WWE Universal Championship head to the ring, and he grabs a mic. “Last week, we took a trip down memory lane with my past with the Wyatt Family.” But the past is the past. Bray Wyatt can give Braun “gifts” all he wants, but at MITB, Braun- Is interrupted by The Firefly Fun House! Bray waves hi to the fireflies and to Braun. Tonight, Bray has something very special in store for us all. It’s story time! Tonight’s is a true story, called “The Black Sheep.” Oooh~! Yowie wowie.
Once upon a time, there was a black sheep. And he looked… A lot like Braun! He was big, smelled funny, but was stronger than every other animal on the farm. A good shepherd, who was smart, handsome, and had a ton of sweet muscles, noticed the black sheep wandering all alone. The shepherd took the sheep in, raised him and taught him well. In return, the black sheep guarded the farm. They had a lot of fun together. But the black sheep selfishly left in search of greener pastures. The black sheep didn’t say thank you, or even good-bye. He didn’t even leave a note. This made the shepherd very sad. “Why did you leave me?” the shepherd cried. After everything he did for the sheep! But the cries fell on deaf ears. And eventually, the rest of the animals abandoned the shepherd, too. The shepherd was all alone. To make matters worse, the government put a lien on the shepherd’s property! The farm was lost! Then reptilians came in and took over, because that’s what they do. The end.
Well that was a sad story, don’t you agree? But let’s come up with a happier ending! One where the shepherd finds the black sheep, and reminds him of his mistakes. The shepherd will take away what makes the sheep happy. Then the shepherd will take the sheep to the slaughter house! And then- Braun says there is no “and then.” Braun is done with Bray’s puppets and Firefly Fun House. If Bray has something to say, then come to the ring and say it face to face. Bray just smiles and waves good-bye instead. The games are almost over. Who wins when the story is finally finished?
WWE and Make-A-Wish celebrate 40 years of granting wishes.
But they’re not done. Help them make many more wishes come true by donating today.
Sheamus VS Leon Ruff!
The Celtic Warrior continues to weed out the weak, but he also continues to be annoyed by the mere mention of Jeff Hardy. Will Sheamus make sure everyone knows who to respect around here?
The bell rings and Ruff keeps his distance from Sheamus. He then comes back with a dropkick, but Sheamus stays up. Ruff tries again but Sheamus swats the dropkick away! Sheamus whips Ruff but Ruff holds ropes to kick back. That didn’t do much, either, and Ruff swings into Sheamus’ arms. Ruff elbows Sheamus again and again but Sheamus just eggs him on! And then gives him an IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Ruff shouts in pain as Sheamus holds him up, and hits ANOTHER! Sheamus is having fun giving Ruff a third, and then he tosses Ruff aside. Sheamus watches Ruff manage to stand up, and then drags him right up onto the apron! “Welcome to SmackDown!” He clubs away with the Bodhrain! Ruff flops to the floor as the ref reprimands Sheamus. Sheamus drags Ruff back in and sets him in a corner. Sheamus aims from across the way and waits for Ruff to stand. BROGUE! Cover, Sheamus wins.
Winner: Sheamus, by pinfall
That wasn’t just rough for Ruff, that was torture. Will be Sheamus continue to devastate superstar after superstar? He goes by Michael Cole and asks about Jeff Hardy. Well, there will be more about Jeff Hardy, as part four of the Hardy mini-doc is up next.
SmackDown presents the Jeff Hardy Story, Part 4: The Comeback.
April of 2019, Hardy’s knee was a serious injury. He would be out for roughly six months, and just as he and brother Matt were SmackDown Tag Team Champions. But in the end, it was a blessing in disguise. Hardy worked to improve day by day, and was ready to be back. WWE Backstage had Hardy’s first on-air appearance, and a huge update on his condition! Hardy was officially cleared, and hopped back on the bicycle. Hardy has plenty of ideas for what he can do with the time he has left. This 2020 version of Hardy will have something to do in the WWE.
Hardy feels very blessed after all those dark days. He vows to do his very best in life, because this is the only one you get. All those iconic and extreme moments were just the beginning. Hardy has yet to get back this year, but he vows to do it better than ever before. He loves the fans who have stuck by him the whole way. “This is what I was born to do.” Hardy is ready, are you? Because his true return to SmackDown is next week!
Sheamus is not impressed. He tells Cole that if Hardy will be here next week, “so will I.” The Celtic Warrior wants to “welcome” the Charismatic Enigma, but how warm will that welcome be?
Backstage interview with Otis Dozovic and Mandy Rose!
The Dozer and his “sweet peach” each have qualifying matches for the MITB “corporate ladder” match. Otis goes up against romantic rival, Dolph Ziggler, and the last time they fought was WrestleMania. Does Otis plan on bringing that same winning strategy here tonight? Otis won once, he’ll do it again. It’s all about the MITB contract. Not just for him, but for Mandy, too. Mandy says her former best friend, Sonya Deville, hurt her. But this is about looking forward, not back. Carmella is a former SmackDown Women’s Champion and former Ms. MITB. But if Mella thinks she’ll moonwalk all over Mandy, she has another thing coming. Mandy and Otis vow to win those contracts, because the risk is worth the reward. But with those qualifiers coming up, Mandy gives Otis a good luck kiss. “Oh yeah~!” Will Dozer steamroll his way through the Show-Off? Will the Golden Gift be on her way to cashing in?
Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Mandy Rose VS Carmella!
We heard Mandy’s thoughts, but now it’s about action! Will Mella again be money at Mandy’s expense?
SmackDown returns as Mandy makes her entrance. The bell rings and Mandy circles with Mella. They tie up, Mandy headlocks and hits a takedown. Mella fights back and headscissors free. Mandy pops free with a kip-up, and avoids the leg sweep. Mella back hands and snapmares, then jumps over the sweep to moonwalk away. Mandy keeps her cool as she and Mella circle again. Mella gets around to a waistlock then shifts to a headlock. Mandy powers out, things speed up as Mandy hurdles and Mella leaps. Mella FABULOUS KICKS Mandy down! Cover, TWO! Mella keeps on Mandy with an armlock and grinds Mandy down. Mandy fights her way up and throws forearms. Mandy scoops and slams Mella down! Cover, TWO! Mandy keeps Mella down with a chinlock and leans on her. Mella endures and fights her way up, but here comes Sonya!
“Mandy, bestie! Don’t worry, I’m here. I’m just supporting you, don’t get distracted. Keep wrestling, keep doing your thing. You go, girl.” It’s just nostalgic for Fire & Desire. Or does Mandy not remember? Sonya gave Mandy her MITB opportunity, out of the kindness of her heart! Yeah it sounds stupid, but live and learn. Mella fights out but Mandy shoves her away, and Mandy scoops Mella for a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Sonya keeps going on about how Sonya helped Mandy climb up the ladder that year, and yet Mandy still lost! That’s unbelievably embarrassing. Though not more than losing to Mella here in a minute. Mandy keeps on Mella, whips her to a corner, but Mella LARIATS back! Sonya says this is not pretty. But she’ll shut up now and watch.
Mandy drags Mella up but Mella throws forearms! Mella bumps Mandy off her boot, and then hops up to huricanrana! Mandy DECKS Sonya and Sonya wants to pick a fight. “Karma’s a bitch, bitch, bring it on!” Mella FABULOUS KICKS Mandy down again! Cover, Mella wins!!
Winner: Carmella, by pinfall (advances to the Women’s MITB match)
Sonya’s “prediction” came true. Mission accomplished for the Gladiator Gal, but now she adds on with knees and hammering hands! “You think you’re better than me?!” Sonya says she will RUIN every aspect of Mandy’s life, and even her face! She throws Mandy out and says she is done being in the shadows! She throws Mandy into a post, then into the steel steps! Mandy sits up, to get a SHINING WIZARD into steps! Referees bring Sonya away as she shouts, “I will END you, Mandy!” Sonya was always the fire in Fire & Desire, is her rage about to burn Mandy to the ground?
Otis checks on Mandy in the trainer’s area.
She has quite the bruise on her leg from Sonya’s attack, but she assures Otis she’ll be okay. Otis gives her and the trainer privacy to check the rest of the leg, but the fire inside is building. Ziggler comes by to ask if she’s okay, but Otis doesn’t say a word. What will this do to the Dozer’s mental state when MITB is on the line?
The New Day VS The Forgotten Sons!
AWWWW~ people at hooome~! The SmackDown Tag Team Division has a new aggression now that Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake are in it. The savages savagely beat down Big E and Kofi Kingston last week, but will they be able to do that again now that the champs know what’s coming?
The teams sort out, but here come The Miz and John Morrison! It seems the former SmackDown Tag Team Champions want to watch this match up close, and they join commentary. As for the match, Cutler starts against Big E and the bell sounds.
Cutler and Big E tie up, go around, and Big E puts Cutler in a corner. Cutler turns things around but Big E turns it back. They go around more, Cutler waistlocks but Big E pries free and throws Cutler down! Kofi tags in and Big E snapmares Cutler for the Penalty Kick! Cover, ONE! Miz & Morrison avoid answering Cole’s questions while Kofi keeps on Cutler with an arm wrench. Cutler throws a forearm and tags in Blake. Blake kicks and bumps Kofi in a corner. He throws elbows and drags Kofi out. Kofi puts Blake in the corner and stomps away! The ref backs Kofi off but Kofi goes corner to corner to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Kofi keeps on Blake and whips, but Blake throws Kofi by his hair! Tag to Cutler and Cutler stomps away on Kofi. Tag to Blake and they double lift. Kofi slips out but Blake sends Cutler at Kofi. Kofi throws Cutler out and dodges Blake, tag to Big E!
Big E grabs Blake for an overhead suplex! And then another! Blake flounders up into Big E’s belly2belly! Big E has Blake on the apron, and clubs away with forearms. Cutler runs over but Big E back drops him! Big E goes after Blake, with the APRON SPLASH! Big E shouts “I thought we told you!” as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns as Kofi wrenches and yanks Cutler’s arm. Kofi tags in Big E and runs to leap frog Big E for a senton on Cutler! Big E covers, TWO! Miz says the New Day don’t look or act like champions, they’re more like cartoon characters. Big E stalks Cutler on the outside and around the way. Cutler gets in, tags in Blake, but Big E runs Blake over. Cutler knees Big E out of the ring! And Blake DIVES to ram Big E into the barriers! Blake puts Big E in and hits a springboard knee drop! Cover, TWO! Blake pushes Big E around then stands on him at the ropes! The ref counts, Blake backs off, but he drags Big E up to tag in Cutler. They double whip and double SPINE BUSTER Big E! Cover, TWO! Cutler drags Big E up as Miz & Morrison sing their praises. Cutler clubs Big E in the corner but Big E elbows back!
Big E throws body shots but Cutler throws some back. Cutler fires off against the ropes but lets up at 4. Tag to Blake and they bring Big E up for a double BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Big E toughs it out but Blake drops knees on Big E’s back. Blake clamps on a chinlock as Miz and Morrison start up their “Hey hey! Ho ho!” Big E powers Blake into buckles and is free. Blake grabs the singlet and uses that to bring Big E into the corner! Blake rams shoulder sin and stomps away! The ref backs Blake off but Blake runs in, into the URINAG-E! Both men are down and Kofi fires up. Big E and Blake crawl to their corners, hot tags to Cutler and Kofi! Kofi springboards and ax handles Cutler down! Then rallies with chops and a dropkick! Kofi runs to leaping lariat! He gives Cutler the NEW~ DAY~ Boom Drop!
Kofi aims from the corner and claps, but Blake distracts. He takes Blake out but Cutler catches him for a butterfly backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Kofi survives but Cutler keeps on him. Cutler puts Kofi on the top rope of an open corner and climbs up to join him. Miz and Morrison brag about how they made the SmackDown Tag Division better just by reuniting while Kofi throws hands on Cutler. Kofi headbutts Cutler down and adjusts. He leaps, but Cutler gets under. Cutler comes back, into DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!! Kofi grows frustrated as he can’t keep Cutler down. Cutler rolls to his corner and elbows Kofi away. Blake tags in then climbs up. Cutler BACKSTABBERS, to Blake’s MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO!! The double impact wasn’t enough and the Sons can’t believe it! But Cutler tags back in and Blake powerbomb lifts. Kofi escapes, baits Blake in and dumps Cutler out! Big E tags in and Kofi builds speed, Big E helps Kofi FLY! Direct hit on both Sons!
Kofi puts Cutler in and Big E scoops. But Blake distracts as Kofi tags in! Blake saves Cutler, but Big E CLOBBERS him for it! Cutler trips up Kofi at the same time, only for Big E to throw him out. Big E runs but misses as Cutler moves! Big E hits the floor, and then Ryker drags him up. The ref is busy with Kofi and Blake as Ryker POSTS Big E! Blake comes around the way as Kofi hits Cutler with a splash! Kofi rains down rights but Blake tags in! Cutler carries Kofi out as Blake gets in, powerbomb to the knees! Blake drags Kofi back up, Cutler goes up top, MEMORY REMAINS!! Cover, Forgotten Sons WIN!!
Winners: The Forgotten Sons, by pinfall
Miz & Morrison chant “You Deserve It!” Do they mean the defeat for The New Day? Or are they kissing up to the Forgotten Sons so that there is no beef between them? Either way, the savages have a win over the SmackDown Tag Team Champions! Will they cash it in for MITB?
Backstage interview with Tamina.
After the Sassy Southern Belle took advantage of Bayley and Sasha Banks being on different wavelengths, Tamina took advantage of Bayley being out of sorts with a SUPERKICK! Since her return, she has been a force of nature, and now she is challenging for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. Is there nothing, not even The Boss, that can stop her? Well considering it took four women to eliminate her at WrestleMania, Tamina is up for the challenge. She is not intimidated by “bratty, disrespectful mean girls” pretending to be role models. But speaking of Sasha, she comes over to try and make peace with Tamina. They were Team BAD, Sasha made her main roster debut standing by Tamina’s side. Tamina helped Sasha more than she could ever imagine, so that is why Sasha will never forget her kindness. Tamina has a match with Bayley, another great friend of Sasha’s. But Sasha and Tamina can carry themselves as the strong, proud kickass women they are! There’s no need for name calling and cheap shots.
Except that’s what Bayley attempts right now! Only to be CAUGHT by Tamina! Sasha attacks and it’s 2v1! They RAM Tamina into a road case and send her rolling! But Lacey Evans comes in to get at Sasha! Now things are even, and refs rush in to stop the fighting! The Boss and the champ want after the Lady and the Samoan steamroller just as badly as they do! But all of this will have to wait until MITB!
Sonya Deville finds Dolph Ziggler backstage.
Sonya wishes she was there to see the look on Otis’ face when Ziggler asked about Mandy. She knows she hurt Mandy, but she vows to keep hurting her. And Ziggler will do the same to Otis. Ziggler agrees, he will hurt Otis. People think they know Ziggler. They think they’re watching a movie where Ziggler’s the bad guy. But he and Sonya know better. Just because they know how the world actually works doesn’t make them the villains. But Ziggler gets it. Fans cheer on Otis because they see themselves as him. They see themselves sitting on the couch with him, drinking a beer and watching the game. The fans think they’re witnessing greatness.
But Ziggler and Sonya know “guys like that don’t ever really win.” Guys like Otis get sympathy likes and participation awards. Guys like Otis start to believe heart actually matters more than skill or hard work. Maybe they get moral victories, but if you want real winners, “you are looking at it right here.” Ziggler vows to do what he does best, and that is win. Then he will go on to become Mr. MITB, again, and cash-in, again, to become world champion, again. After Sonya is done hurting Mandy, champion Ziggler will be there to make her feel better. Sounds like a plan to Sonya. But the first step is right here. Will the Show-Off show up and show Otis the door? Or will he be shown the floor thanks to the Compactor?
SmackDown announces big matches for next week!
In the last episode before MITB, it will be a Six Man Tag match! King Corbin has the Artist Collective while Daniel Bryan has Drew Gulak! But who will join Bryan and Gulak as the third man in taking on this new royal court?
Then, after the furious confrontation backstage, Bayley and Banks are going to put up or shut up against Lacey and Tamina! Who gains some last minute momentum before the SmackDown Women’s Championship match and climbing the corporate ladder?
And though not a match, this is still big: Bray will accept Braun’s challenge to speak face-to-face! What happens when the Monster Among Men and his “maker” are finally in the same ring again?
Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifier: Dolph Ziggler VS Otis Dozovic!
SmackDown returns as Ziggler makes his entrance. The bell rings and Otis BULLDOZES Ziggler down! Ziggler bails out right away, but Otis dares him to come back. Ziggler crawls around the way and gets on the apron, but he dodges Otis fast. He gets a leg but Otis clubs and claws at Ziggler. Otis throws Ziggler off, then drags him up to suplex! Otis holds Ziggler up for a count of 10 before slamming him down! Cover, TWO! Otis keeps on Ziggler but Ziggler mule kicks back. Ziggler throws haymakers to back Otis down, then he brings Otis towards a corner. Otis blocks the buckle bump to give the buckle bump! Otis stands on Ziggler’s back at the ropes but lets off at 4. Ziggler crawls, Otis drags him up and scoops for a BIG slam! Cover, TWO! Otis looms over Ziggler but Ziggler kicks and punches back! Ziggler headbutts Otis, then leaps! But Otis catches the legs to HOSS TOSS him into buckles!
Otis watches Ziggler on the apron, and Ziggler flops to the floor. Otis goes out to fetch Ziggler and puts him back in the ring. Ziggler crawls but Otis won’t let him get away. Otis reels Ziggler in for a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Ziggler flounders but Otis runs corner to corner. Ziggler dodges to POST Otis! Otis tumbles out and Ziggler hurries after him. Ziggler RAMS Otis into barriers! The ref starts a count but Ziggler flounders back to the ring. Ziggler leaves Otis behind and wants the count to finish this. Otis drags himself over at 5 but SmackDown has to go to break.
SmackDown returns again, and Ziggler rakes Otis’ eyes! The ref reprimands but Ziggler bumps Otis off buckles to then scrape his face on the ropes! Ziggler stops but comes back with haymakers. He bumps Otis off buckles then again. But Otis blocks to elbow Ziggler away. Otis blindly staggers into kicks and punches and a dropkick! Ziggler continues to hit Otis and dropkicks again! Otis leans on ropes but flops to the mat. Ziggler stomps and digs his boot into Otis. The ref counts and Ziggler lets up at 4. Ziggler digs his fingers into Otis’ face as part of the camel clutch, then changes to the sleeper hold. Otis endures as Ziggler leans on him. Otis gets a second wind and fights his way up. He throws hands but Ziggler gets around to hop on again! But Otis rams him into buckles! Ziggler holds on but Otis throws him off.
Otis blindly staggers about but Ziggler kicks him low. This powers Otis up! Otis headbutts Ziggler and starts pumping into the HAYMAKER! Otis starts rallying, and then he runs corner to corner. Ziggler elbows back, but Otis RAMS him into buckles! Ziggler is down and Otis has a target! Otis hits the Caterpillar, but no elbow as Ziggler rolls away. Otis gets Ziggler at the ropes and drags him up. Ziggler hotshots Otis away! Ziggler runs, but no Famouser as Otis throws him off. Again Ziggler rakes the eyes, then leaps to ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!? Otis survives but Ziggler is too exhausted to be shocked. Ziggler and Otis both go to opposite ends and slowly stand up. Ziggler looks up at the briefcase as he tunes up the band. Otis stands and Ziggler takes his shot, but no superkick! FALL AWAY SLAM! Ziggler is in the drop zone again, and here comes the CATERPILLAR ELBOW! Cover, Otis wins!!
Winner: Otis Dozovic, by pinfall (advances to the Men’s MITB match)
The Dozer does it! He downs Dolph and heads to Titan Towers! Will Otis demolish the competition as he climbs the corporate ladder?
A really good episode for SmackDown tonight with a lot of great story progress. Bryan had a really good promo to open the show and he officially confirms for us that both Men’s and Women’s MITB will happen simultaneously, truly making it the most unique match WWE has ever done. I am really going to love this year’s MITB just on that alone. Corbin and Bryan have a good match, but of course it sets up a Six Man for next week. That third man has to be Elias, it just makes sense. With Corbin in the MITB match, clearly his and Elias’ payoff is Extreme Rules in some kind of No DQ match. That’s fine by me, because it definitely means Corbin is not winning MITB. Otis’ story has been great, and his match with Ziggler was almost like that match Otis had with Tommaso Ciampa in NXT back in 2016. Otis winning is great, too, because he is red hot and will definitely do some damage inside Titan Towers. The men’s half of this is so hard to call but that’s what makes it exciting.
The developments in the Women’s Division tonight were really good. Sonya costs Mandy so that they can have their first match against each other at MITB. And I’m pretty sure this will just be the first of many with how Sonya vows to ruin Mandy’s life. That feud could go to SummerSlam, honestly. Meanwhile, we got a real good brawl with Lacey, Tamina, Sasha and Bayley, and their tag match next week will be a good go-home. Mella being in the MITB gives the women’s side of it another veteran, but I don’t see her winning. My money’s definitely on Raw, and on Asuka. I feel like Bayley still needs proper story with Mella and Sasha before that title changes hands, and it just works better for Raw if Asuka can strike at Becky Lynch or whoever at a moment’s notice. Of course, with the two matches now becoming one, anything could happen.
Bray and Braun had a decent segment together, but it treads similar ground to the very first time Bray made his challenge. We’re getting that face-to-face next week, and I hope it goes similarly to the segment Bray had with Cena before WrestleMania. Braun probably won’t be shaken, but him getting angry is good enough. I just fear Strowman is the transitional champion to Bray’s second reign and an eventual story with Roman Reigns. Lastly, and perhaps the biggest thing, is The Forgotten Sons got that non-title win over The New Day. I’m not sure about them getting the push so soon, but I don’t think they’ll win the titles. The part I do like is Miz & Morrison wanting to avoid a fight with the “savages,” it’s an interesting layer to the story. The go-home will confirm what kind of tag title match we’re getting, but I’m thinking what really comes out of it is Miz & Morrison being forced to face the Forgotten Sons to get back to the titles.
My Score: 8.4/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/19/23)
The semifinals are here!
The New Japan Cup 2023’s Final Four!
Four is bad luck in Japan, but these four are grateful to be in the New Japan Cup semifinals! David Finlay VS Tama Tonga, Sanada VS Mark Davis, who will win to go for it all?
- Shota Umino & Oskar Leube VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita; Shota & Oskar win.
- Six Man Tag: Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Ryohei Oiwa VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi & Team Strong Style VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Jeff Cobb & Kyle Fletcher; Cobb & Fletcher win.
- Shingo Takagi & BUSHI VS Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan; Henare & Khan win.
- YOH & Lio Rush VS Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi; Naito & Hiromu win.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances to the finals.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA VS Mark Davis; Sanada wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga w/ Jado VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
The Good Bad Guy settled things with Bullet Club, but fate has intervened to have him face the NEW leader! Will Tama get past Finlay and into the finals? Or will the Rebel take over everything?
The bell rings and the fans rally up. Tama and Finlay circle, Tama claps to get the fans going more, and then he ties up with Finlay. They go around, Tama puts Finlay on ropes, but he lets off slowly as the ref calls break. Fans applaud and the two reset. They circle, fans rally up for Tama, and the two tie up again. Tama powers Finlay back but Finlay turns it around to have Tama on the ropes. The ref calls the ropebreak again, Finlay lets off slowly, but then swings on Tama! Tama dodges, then hits a headlock takeover! Tama grinds Finlay down, but Finlay keeps his shoulders up. Finlay fights to his feet, powers out, then slips around to headlock!
Tama powers out, hurdles, drops, then DROPKICKS Finlay down! Finlay bails out while fans fire up! Tama storms up to the ropes and slingshots but Finlay slides in! Tama lands on the apron, Finlay storms up but Tama ROCKS him with a forearm! Tama hurries in, and he arm-drags Finlay around! Finlay blocks the next, whips, but Tama reverses. Tama hurdles, but gets caught to a fireman’s carry! HOTSHOT, then BIG back suplex! Fans applaud, that was a good sequence, but Tama crawls to a corner. Finlay stalks Tama, drags him up, and UPPERCUTS him! Finlay whips corner to corner hard and Tama bounces off buckles! Finlay covers, TWO!
Fans rally but Finlay stomps Tama’s hand! Tama clutches that hand, but Finlay fishhooks his face! The ref reprimands, Finlay lets off, and Finlay says that was the nose, not the eyes. The ref doesn’t believe him. Finlay throws Tama out! Gedo tells the ref to leave Finlay alone, but the ref reprimands Gedo for getting on the apron. Finlay drags Tama up to RAM him into railing! No Man’s Land disappears as the railing go back! Finlay rains down fists, but fans rally up for Tama. The ref reprimands Finlay but he drags Tama up and puts him in the ring. Finlay covers, ONE!! Tama is hanging tough but Finlay is amused.
Finlay digs his knee into Tama’s face, he wants the ref to Too Sweet but the ref says no thanks. Finlay drags Tama up, whips him hard into the corner, and Tama bounces off buckles again! Fans rally while Finlay taunts them, “You think Tama’s getting to the finals?” Finlay stomps Tama, then springboard stomps! The ref reprimands, but Finlay clamps on with a cobra clutch. Finlay thrashes Tama around but Tama endures. Gedo tells Tama to give up but Jado coaches Tama to hang tough. Fans rally, Tama fights up and throws hands, but Finlay CLUBS him down! Finlay stomps and elbows Tama, but the ref counts.
Finlay lets off, he brings Tama up to whip corner to corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Finlay! Fans fire up but Gedo is mad! Jado coaches Tama, Gedo coaches Finlay, but Tama is the first to stand. Tama roars, CLOBBERS Finlay, and ELBOWS him! Tama whips, Finlay reverses but Tama CLOBBERS Finlay again! OFF COMES THE VEST! Finlay goes to a corner, Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then clinch, for an EXPLODER! Finlay scrambles away and out of the ring, but Tama PLANCHAS! Direct hit this time and the fans fire up! Tama slides into the ring to let the ring count handle Finlay.
Finlay sits up at 5 of 20 so Tama goes out to fetch him. Tama puts Finlay in, stalks him to a corner, and Finlay wants mercy, but gets body shots instead! Tama whips Finlay out and then back into the corner, runs in, but Finlay elbows him away! Finlay storms up, but into a scoop! Finlay slips free to CHOP BLOCK! Tama writhes and clutches his knee but Gedo is loving this! The ref checks on Tama but Tama refuses to let this stop him. Finlay storms up on Tama to sit him up, “Look at this beautiful face!” CROSSFACE FOREARM! Gedo likes those, so Finlay sits Tama up again, to CROSSFACE FOREARM!
Finlay drags Tama up again, and he fires off MORE crossface forearms! Fans rally for Tama but Finlay looms over him. Finlay drags Tama up by his hair, sits him up, and BLINDSIDER LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Tama is still in this and Finlay is annoyed. Finlay paces around while Tama slowly rises. Finlay drags Tama up, gut wrenches and Canadian Racks, but Tama slips free! TONGAN TWIST!! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Fans rally as Tama and Finlay stir. Both men crawl over to each other, and Tama ROCKS Finlay with a forearm! Finlay ROCKS Tama right back! Finlay eggs Tama on and Tama sits up.
Tama ROCKS Finlay with another forearm, but Finlay ROCKS Tama again! Tama growls, he and Finlay sit up again. Tama ROCKS Finlay, Finlay ROCKS Tama, repeat! They throw forearms as they slowly stand, and they speed up as the fans rally! Finlay gets the edge, Tama fires off a strike fest! Finlay rebounds but into SRC!! Tama goes to a corner, fans fire up as he climbs, and Tama aims! SUPREME FLOW!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Jado and Tama rally the fans by pounding the mat. Finlay drags himself up with the ropes, Tama runs in, GUN- NO! Finlay rolls Tama, with tights! TWO!! GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again!
Finlay drags Tama up with a dragon sleeper, inverted suplex, OSAKA STREET CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up while Finlay grows frustrated. Finlay aims as Tama rises, Jado warns Tama of what’s coming, but Finlay runs in, into a KNEE! Tama SUPER- NO, Finlay dodges to DEEP SIX!! Tama staggers up, into a SPEAR!! Cover, TWO!!! Tama survives and Gedo is furious! Finlay argues the count but the ref says that was all fair. Fans rally back up, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. “X marks the spot!” Finlay drags Tama up but Tama is deadweight. Finlay still hauls Tama up, suplexes, but Tama slips free!
Tama rolls Finlay, ties up the legs, and he has a SHARPSHOOTER!! Finlay endures and fans fire up! Tama sits deep on the hold, Finlay flails and fights forward! Finlay claws at the mat, but Tama goes deeper! Finlay fights back up, crawls and reaches out, but Tama drags him away again!! Finlay shouts in pain but he hasn’t given up yet! Another fight forward, and Finlay gets the ROPEBREAK! Tama lets go and Finlay writhes in pain, but the fans rally up again. Tama drags Finlay up, hooks an arm, but Finlay fights and RAMS Tama into a corner! And again and again and again! The ref counts, Finlay lets off and staggers away.
Tama runs in, but Finlay fights off the DDT! IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Finlay gut wrenches to a CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Finlay is beside himself but Tama survives again! Fans are thunderous for Tama but Finlay is right on him. Suplex and- NO, Tama fights, wrenches, but Finlay ROCKS him! But Tama cradles!! TWO!!!! Finlay escapes but the SUPERMAN PUNCH hits! BLOODY SUNDAY!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Finlay barely survives but Tama just pounds the mat. Finlay rises up, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks, spins Tama, suplexes, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again and ROCKS Tama!
Tama roars, but Finlay fires off a flurry of forearms! Finlay spins, into a HEADBUTT! GUN- NO, Backslide! Deadlift TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!
Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Even El Phantasmo has to give old rival Finlay credit on that one. Gedo gets the mic to make the announcement official: The Rebel wins, and he just beat the NEVER Openweight Champion! Finlay will take the EFF over everything! Gedo needs the Rebel, Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel! But will the Rebel get what he wants in the tournament finals?
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA w/ Just5Guys VS Mark Davis w/ The United Empire!
New team, new look! The Cold Skull is looking sharp, but will he still bring about a Skull End? Or can Dunkzilla conquer the Cup on behalf of the United Empire?
The bell rings and the fans rally up as Davis and Sanada circle. Davis eggs Sanada on but Sanada feels things out. They keep circling, tie up, and Sanada headlocks. Davis powers out, Sanada RAMS shoulders, but neither man falls! Sanada ducks Davis’ chop, gets an arm and wrenches, but Davis whips Sanada away! Davis CHOPS this time, and Sanada is stinging. Davis whips, Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Sanada whips, Davis cartwheels, then scoops and SLAMS! And SENTONS! Fans fire up while Sanada bails out, but Davis goes out after Sanada. Davis brings Sanada up to whip him into railing!
Sanada drops to his knees, but Davis drags Sanada up to ROCK with a forearm! Great-O-Khan is on commentary and he waves the glowstick in praise. Davis puts Sanada on the apron to CLUB and KNEE and CLUB again! Davis gets space, fans rally up, and Davis runs in to KNEE LIFT Sanada into the ring! Crowns up and the Empire high-fives. Davis gets in the ring while Sanada sputters. Davis knees for the cover, TWO! Davis clamps onto Sanada’s arm but Sanada endures. Fans rally, Sanada fights up to his feet, and he throws forearms! Sanada wrenches but Davis DECKS him! Davis drags Sanada up but Sanada waistlocks!
Davis fights free of the hold, CHOPS Sanada to the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Davis runs in but Sanada dodges the splash! Sanada reels Davis in to back suplex, but Davis turns it into a CROSSBODY! Davis drags Sanada back up and back suplexes, but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada hits the BIG back suplex! Both men are down but their teams coach them while the fans rally up. Sanada kips up, and then he fires up! Sanada DROPKICKS Davis, Davis stays up, so Sanada DROPKICKS! And dropkicks, but misses this time! Davis runs, but Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Then he DROPKICKS Davis out of the ring!
Sanada takes aim and PLANCHAS! Direct hit and down goes Davis! Sanada stares down the Empire, but then he encourages the fans to get louder. The fans oblige and Sanada likes that. Sanada may have a new haircut but he is still Sanada. Sanada puts Davis in the ring, drags him up to fireman’s carry, but Davis fights it! Davis fireman’s carries now, but Sanada fights it! Only for Davis to rise up again! Sanada fights more, gets to the apron, and he counter punches! Sanada slingshots, but Davis HOTSHOTS him! And then TRIANGLE JUMP FOREARMS! Sanada falls, and Davis DIVES?!? Direct hit into the railing!
Fans fire up as No Man’s Land disappears again! Red Shoes checks both men, they’re both okay to continue, but their teams argue about territory. The ring count starts, Davis drags Sanada up at 7 of 20. Davis puts Sanada in at 10 of 20, aims from the corner and climbs up! Sanada rises, Davis FLYING SHOULDERS him down! Cover, TWO! Sanada is still in this but Davis keeps his cool. Davis drags Sanada up, but Sanada blocks the lift! Sanada throws down elbows, but Davis CHOPS him! Davis whips, Sanada goes up and out and springboards in to MISSILE DRPOKICK! Davis stays up!?
Davis swings, misses, and Sanada CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! But Davis KNEES low! Davis back suplexes but Sanada KNEES free! Sanada runs, into a LARIAT! Davis hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up and rally as Sanada survives. Davis drags Sanada by a leg, says it’s time to end this! But Sanada kicks Davis away, so Sanada JABS him down! Davis gets the legs, YANKS Sanada up, but Sanada rolls through! Sanada fireman’s carries to T K O!! Cover, TWO!! Davis is still in this, but Sanada goes up top! ROUNDING BODY- NO, Sanada has to roll through as Davis moves! Davis scoops to POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO!!
Davis drags Sanada up, wrenches and torture racks, but Sanada slips free! Sanada ELBOWS Davis, QUEBRADAS and has the dragon sleeper! Davis snapmares free to clothesline in the corner! Sanada falls over and fans fire up! Davis climbs the corner, goes to the very top, and DIVING SPLASH, but he FLOPS as Sanada moves! Sanada goes up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto the knees!! Davis cradles Sanada, TWO!!! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Davis rises first, drags Sanada up, and fans rally up. Davis swings, but Sanada blocks the forearm to fire UPPERCUT after UPPERCUT!
Sanada spins, into JAB! But he still ROLLING ELBOWS! Davis ENZIGURIS!! Sanada is down and Davis fires up! Fans rally, Davis throws off the elbow pad! Davis waits, Sanada rises up, Davis keeps moving, LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!?! Sanada survives and fans fire up again! Davis stalks Sanada to the corner, then runs side to side, SLIDING FOREARM! Davis shouts “DEAD!” and he drags Sanada up into the torture rack! But Sanada slips free again! O’Conner BRIDGE!! TWO!?! Davis escapes by nanoseconds! Sanada storms up, but Davis trips him! Davis has the legs, Close Your Eyes and Count to F@#$!!! Cover, TWO!?!?!? HOW?!?!?
The fans, the Empire and Just5Guys are all going nuts! Davis roars, he wrenches, torture racks, but Sanada slips free again! SIDEWINDER DDT!!! Cover, SANADA WINS!!!!
Winner: Sanada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Davis drove the Cold Skull into the ground, but then Sanada did it back to him! Will Davis find his singles success another time?
Wait, David Finlay and Gedo make his way back out to the ring to see the other finalist in person. Gedo gets the mic to say they just want to give Sanada words of support. Gedo tells Sanada to do his best, because in Nagaoka, Finlay’s gonna beat his face in with the shillelagh, and throw him out of the ring like trash! “See You Next Time, Just Five Losers!” Gedo and Finlay leave, having copied and mocked Sanada’s catchphrase and his new team. Sanada gets the mic to say, “Oi, Finlay! And the people of Gunma. I promise I will beat Finlay on Tuesday, and come back here as the New Japan Cup winner.” Fans applaud that! Sanada then tells Gedo and Finlay to get outta here.
Finlay and Goto leave, flipping Sanada off over their shoulders. Sanada says this debut with J5G is a day he’ll never forget. Fans applaud that, and the mic is handed over to Taka Michinoku. Taka says, “Soon enough, it’ll be us who changes the scene here in NJPW! JUST! FIVE! GUYS!!” The Cold Skull is red hot, but will that heat bring him through to win it all?
A great semifinals for the New Japan Cup! Both matches were awesome stuff, and though Tama came close, I figured Finlay would win. He has been winning since his Heel turn and joining the Bullet Club, but he hasn’t quite won the Club over, yet they can’t really deny him, either, because he’s now in the finals of the tournament. The big things in Sanada VS Davis were Sanada’s new look, and that he buries that piledriver. But similarly to Finlay, Sanada’s getting a push because of the big change in allegiance, and now they’re both in this great match for the finals that honestly could go either way.
Gedo as booker does love to push the guys he backs as a manager, but Finlay’s story could be more about controlling Bullet Club than getting the title. And Sanada has openly stated he sees Okada as a rival and Okada reciprocated, so revisiting that now, with Sanada and Okada both having changed ever so slightly, we could get an awesome match for the world title.
My Score: 9/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/18/23)
It’s lights out, but for who?
Who rounds out the Final Four?
The New Japan Cup is getting closer to the end! Shota VS Finlay, Goto VS Tama, who will join Mark Davis and Sanada in the semifinals?
- Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita VS Oskar Leube & Ryohei Oiwa; ZSJ & Fujita win.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Aaron Henare & Kyle Fletcher; Henare & Fletcher win.
- Six Man Tag: Team Strong Style VS Bullet Club; Team Strong Style wins, by disqualification.
- Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS The House of Torture; The United Empire wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Chaos wins.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto VS Tama Tonga; Tama wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
The Roughneck took The Mighty’s Front Man to the limit and then won, but now he funs into Bullet Club’s newest leader. Will #SHOOTER be the one shot down? Or will another one bite the dust as Shota brings about a paradigm shift?
The two get face to face and start shoving. Red Shoes backs them off, the bell rings and the forearms start flying! Fans fire up as they go faster and faster, and Shota gets the edge! Shota fires off in the corner, but Finlay turns things around, only to miss! Shota fires off more, and even shoves his dad aside! Shota fires off knees and he CLUBS Finlay, then ROCKS him with a forearm! Fans fire up with Shota, and he brings Finlay up. Finlay throws forearms in return, whips, but Shota reverses to ELBOW Finlay down! Shota keeps moving to BASEMENT DROPKICK! Fans fire up again while Finlay checks his chin.
Shota kicks at Finlay, stomps him, but Finlay eggs him on. Shota stomps, Finlay throws a body shot, but Shota just BOOTS Finlay into the corner! Finlay kicks back from below, and even SPITS at Shota! Shota doesn’t flinch, so Finlay steps to him. Shota DECKS Finlay, then digs his boots in! Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Shota lets off at 4 and talks trash. Shota stomps Finlay, stands him up and CLUBS him! Finlay goes to ropes, Shota ROCKS him with another forearm. Fans rally, Shota ROCKS Finlay again, and then whips Finlay to ropes. Finlay reverses to TACKLE Shota to the apron! And then all the way into railing!
Gedo likes that as Finlay RAMS Shota in again! Finlay taunts Red Shoes, then throws hands on Shota. Finlay smacks Shota off the apron, follows him around the way, and claws at Shota’s face! Finlay ELBOWS Shota down, Red Shoes reprimands, but Finlay claims it was just the nose. Finlay stomps Shota around on the ramp, going after the limbs. The ring count starts and Finlay drags Shota up at 6 of 20 to put in at 8. Fans applaud and Finlay paces. Finlay stomps Shota down, gives him toying kicks, but Shota sits up with a frown. Finlay UPPERCUTS Shota in the back, but Shota doesn’t budge!
Finlay gets in Shota’s face, then DECKS him! Finlay stands Shota up to UPPERCUT! Shota goes to a corner, Finlay HEADBUTTS then stomps away! Red Shoes reprimands as Finlay digs a knee in. Red Shoes counts, Finlay lets off at 4 and talks more trash. Fans rally up as Finlay brings Shota out. Finlay taunts the fans, “This is your boy?” Shota stands to ROCK Finlay! Shota hits back! Finlay CLUBS Shota down! Shota writhes but Finlay covers, ONE! Finlay clamps onto Shota with a cobra clutch to grind him down. Fans rally and Shota endures. Finlay shakes his head and pulls harder on the hold, but Shota still endures.
Shota fights up, Finlay knees him low and then again, and again. Finlay whips, Shota reverses to scoop, TOSS and UPPERCUT! Fans fire up while Finlay sits up in a daze. Shota storms up on Finlay, whips him to a corner, then runs in to UPPERCUT! Shota FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Not quite perfect so Finlay escapes, but Shota keeps his cool. Shota kicks Finlay but Finlay gives a body shot. Shota kicks and kicks and CLUBS Finlay, then brings him up. Finlay fights the clinch with elbow after elbow after elbow! Finlay runs, into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up and Finlay bails out!
Shota hurries out to the apron, Finlay stands and Shota CANNONBALLS onto him! Fans fire up with Shota again as he shakes the railing! Shota drags Finlay back up, puts him in the ring, and fans rally behind Shota. Shota aims, to slingshot DDT! Finlay writhes but Shota wants him to stand. Fans rally, but Finlay blocks the kick, and he spins Shota around, only to swing into Shota’s clinch. Finlay fights free, then he clinches back, IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans rally but Gedo argues the count. Red Shoes says that was a fair count, so Finlay drags Shota up.
Finlay makes Red Shoes watch as Finlay CROSSFACE FOREARMS Shota! And again! Gedo likes that so Finlay gives more CROSSFACE FOREARMS! Finlay then sits Shota up to BLINDSIDE LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans fire back up! Finlay argues the count but Red Shoes defends it was fair. Finlay kicks Shota around, waits on him to rise, and the fans rally. Shota stands, ducks the lariat, and EXPLODERS! Fans fire up again while both men are down! Red Shoes checks both guys and they slowly stir. They go forehead to forehead, and Shota throws a forearm! Finlay throws it back!
Finlay eggs Shota on, Shota ROCKS Finlay! Shota eggs Finlay on, so Finlay ROCKS Shota! Shota ROCKS Finlay again, so Finlay ROCKS Shota again! They go forearm for forearm, fans rally and the two stand. The forearms keep going, back and forth, faster and faster! Finlay UPPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS again! Shota roars and UPPERCUTS in return! And again! Finlay rebounds into another UPPERCUT! Shota UPPERCUTS, and UPPERCUTS! Fans fire up but Finlay throat chops! And throat chops again! Finlay fires off HEADBUTT after HEADBUTT, then he rains down fists!
Red Shoes reprimands, those are closed fists! Finlay lets off and claims palms but Red Shoes can tell. Fans rally for Red Shoes as he argues with Finlay. Finlay goes back to Shota, but Red Shoes has him stay back to check. Shota is still in this, but Finlay thinks he’s won by knockout. Shota grabs at Finlay’s foot, so Finlay gut wrenches to a Canadian rack! But Shota slips free to CROSS RHODES! Shota holds on, he drags Finlay up, CROSS RHODES! Shota drags Finlay up again, SAVING GRACE! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but fans are thunderous behind Shota! Shota aims from a corner, runs in, but Finlay LARIATS!
Shota stands, but into a SPEAR! Cover, TWO!! Shota survives and Finlay is shocked! Finlay drags Shota up to gut wrench, CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Shota survives again and the fans are thunderous! Finlay scowls at Red Shoes and argues the count, but the count is still fair. Fans rally behind Shota, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. Finlay slashes his throat and he drags Shota back up. Suplex to- NO, Shota cradles! TWO!! Finlay escapes, and ROLLING ELBOWS! Shota staggers to a corner and Finlay hoists him up top. Finlay climbs up after Shota, fires off forearms, then brings Shota up.
Shota throws body shots to stop the superplex! Finlay fires forearms and HEADBUTTS! Finlay brings Shota up again, but Shota SUPER GOURD BUSTERS first! Shota then hurries down and runs in, SWINGING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Shota roars and the fans are thunderous again! Shota picks Finlay up but Finlay fights free. Shota kicks low, underhooks, but Finlay powers him back. Shota sends Finlay into buckles! And then TORNADO DDTS! Roll through to the pick-up, SNAP BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Shota roars! Fans rally behind Shota and he aims from the corner again.
Gedo shouts at Finlay but the fans rally up. Finlay rises, Shota underhooks, but Finlay fights the lift! Finlay stomps the leg! And then HEADBUTTS Shota down! Gedo says Finlay’s got it! Suplex, but Shota fights free! ENZIGURI! Finlay rebounds, but swings into hooks! Finlay fights the backslide to backslide, but Shota rolls through! Finlay suplexes, Shota slips free, backslide and underhooks! Finlay spins Shota around, suplexes, TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!
Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
Another hard-fought battle, and The Rebel comes out on top! Finlay stands on Shota to add insult to injury, then he throws Shota out to just add more insult! Gedo makes the official announcement that Finlay won, and then he says what Finlay did to Shota will happen to everyone else! “Okada! Okada! Are you listening? The Rebel’s coming for you! The Rebel is taking the eff over everything! I need the Rebel, the Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel!” Will Finlay be unstoppable until he has taken everything?
New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto w/ Yoshi-Hashi VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!
The Fierce Warrior and the Good Bad Guy have both had their run-ins with the United Empire, and they both came out on top to make it this far. But there’s only one spot left in the semifinals, who is the final of the final four?
The bell rings and fans rally up as the two circle. Goto and Tama tie up, Goto powers Tama back, but Tama breaks free. They reset, tie up again, and Tama powers Goto back. Goto turns things around to put Tama on the ropes, and Red Shoes calls the break. Goto lets off with pats on the shoulder and fans applaud. Tama and Goto circle again, tie up, and Tama headlocks. Tama grinds the hold, but Goto powers out. They RAM shoulders, but Tama keeps moving. They RAM shoulders again, both men egg each other on, so Goto runs. Goto dodges the lariat to run Tama over! Fans fire up while Tama staggers up.
Goto whips Tama corner to corner, runs in but into an elbow! Tama runs in but into a hip toss! Tama avoids the elbow drop, headlocks, but Goto powers out, only for Tama to FLYING SHOULDER TACKLE! But now Goto avoids an elbow drop and fans fire up for the standoff! Goto and Tama circle again and fans rally back up. They tie up, Goto headlocks, and Goto grinds the hold. Tama powers up but Goto holds on tighter. Tama fights up, powers up again, but still can’t power out as Goto just holds tighter! Goto grinds the headlock more, but Tama fights up to throw body shots. Tama powers out this time, and things speed up.
Tama hurdles, but Goto counter a hip toss with a hip toss! Tama goes to ropes, Goto runs in, but Tama dumps Goto out to the apron! Tama swings but Goto counter punches! But then Tama GUN STUN STUN GUNS Goto down! Goto falls to the floor and Tama waits on the ring count. Goto stirs at 5 of 20, fans rally and Hashi coaches Goto up. Goto sits up at 12 of 20, but we past 15 before he stands! Goto slides in at 18! Fans applaud, but Tama drags Goto up to COHP! Tama whips, DROPKICKS and covers, TWO! Tama keeps cool as he looms over Goto. Tama brings Goto up, then CLUBS him in the chest again and again!
Fans rally while Tama paces around. Tama drags Goto back up, snap suplexes and covers, TWO! Tama clamps onto Goto with a chinlock and grinds him back down. Fans rally as Goto endures, but Tama brings Goto down to the mat. Goto kicks and flails, fights his way back up, and he throws body shots. Tama CLUBS Goto on the back, then ROCKS him with a forearm! And then another! Goto scowls but Tama eggs him on. Tama ROCKS Goto again, but Goto snarls. Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Tama then runs, but Goto blocks the boot! Goto throws the foot down but Tama ROCKS him with another forearm!
Goto blocks another boot, waistlocks, but Tama elbows free! Tama runs, Goto follows and LARIATS Tama down! Fans fire up while both men are down! Tama crawls to a corner but Goto is right on him. Goto whips corner to corner and runs in to MURAMASA! Then SAIDO! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Tama survives, and Jado coaches him up. Goto brings Tama up but Tama fires body shots and low headbutts! Tama whips, Goto reverses and he runs Tama over! Fans fire up as Tama bails out, and Goto hurries to PLANCHA! Direct hit and both men go down at the railing! Fans fire up as both men stir.
The ring count starts but Goto is already up at 2 of 20. He drags Tama up at 5, but Tama is deadweight so Goto stomps him. The count passes 10, Goto drags Tama back up at 13. Goto puts Tama back in at 15 and fans applaud. Goto fires up and fans rally behind him. Goto climbs up a corner, but Tama ROCKS him first! Tama throws another forearm, but Goto hits back! Goto ELBOWS Tama in the head, but Tama throws body shots. Tama ROCKS Goto, climbs up and CLUBS Goto on the back. But Goto throws body shots and forearms! Tama and Goto fire off back and forth, and Tama gets the edge! Tama stands Goto up for the SUPERPLEX!
Fans fire up while both men are down again! Red Shoes checks, both men stir, and the fans rally up again. Goto crawls to a corner but Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Goto hangs tough and the fans rally up. Tama drags himself up with the ropes, and he storms over to Goto. Tama stands Goto up but Goto throws a forearm! Tama throws a forearm right back! Goto drops to a knee, but he grits his teeth. Goto stands up to ROCK Tama with a forearm! Tama shakes that off to ROCK Goto right back! Goto ROCKS Tama! Tama ROCKS Goto! The forearms go back and forth again!
Fans fire up as Tama fires off a strike fest! Tama whips, Goto reverses, fireman’s carries and USHIGOROSHI! Both men are down and Tama clutches his neck. Goto roars and fans fire up with him! Goto drags Tama up, dragon sleepers, but Tama throws hands from below! Goto blocks that, spins Tama around, but Tama fireman’s carries! SRC! Tama flounders but finds his way over to the corner! Tama goes up, for the SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Goto is still in this, but fans fire up with Tama! OFF COMES THE VEST! Tama watches Goto stir, and Tama pounds the mat. Fans clap along and build back up.
Goto rises, Tama runs in, GUN- NO, Goto blocks! Goto shoves, runs, Tama redirects but Goto follows! Tama dodges and runs, GUN- NO! Goto blocks, then deflects the boot! But Tama jumps, VELENO! Both men are down after the satellite DDT and the fans are thunderous! Tama rises first, the fans rally back up, and Tama takes aim from the corner. Goto flounders, rises, and Tama rushes in, GUN- NO, Goto puts him in the corner! DRAPING SHOUTO!! But Goto’s too tired to make the cover! Fans rally up again and Goto rises. Goto roars and Tama rises, BUZZSAW! Goto then drags Tama back up to fireman’s carry!
USHI- NO, Tama flips through! But Goto still blocks Gun Stun! Goto drags Tama back up, spins him around, but Tama SUPER FOREARMS! BLOODY SUNDAY!! Cover, TWO!?! Goto survives Tama’s shoutout to The Prince, but Tama roars! Tama drags Goto up, underhooks, but Goto fights the lift! Goto wrenches and HEADBUTTS! And then LARIATS!! Fans fire up as Tama goes flipping through the air! Goto roars and gathers all his strength! BUZZSAW!! And then another dragon sleeper! G T- NO!! Tama blocks to a backslide but Goto holds that off! Tama HEADBUTTS, and GUN STUNS!!! Cover, TAMA WINS!!
Winner: Tama Tonga, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
The NEVER Openweight Champion bests one half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions! The Fierce Warrior misses out on the final four, will he and Hashi simply regroup to focus on the tag titles for the Spring?
As for Tama, he shakes Goto’s hand to show respect, and the two hug it out. Goto raises Tama’s hand in victory, then lets him have the ring. Tama gets the mic to say, “HAMAMATSU~!” Fans cheer and Tama continues in Japanese,
“Really, thank you so much! Goto-san. That was amazing, thank you.” Fans cheer the respect shown, and Tama asks that everyone please keep supporting him! A short and sweet message from the Good Bad Guy, will he go all the way until he has his hands on the Cup?
Another really good night for the New Japan Cup, though not as shocking and wild as yesterday’s. Shota VS Finlay went about as expected in that Finlay goes over, but I am still impressed that Finlay is a Heel that doesn’t cheat to win. He didn’t need Gedo to do things for him here, Finlay just outdid Shota. And then we got a great main event where I was rather surprised that Tama won out. I thought Goto was going to go strong to the finals to put over the other side of the bracket. Instead, Tama gets a great win here and he’ll get to face Finlay next week, in a great rework of Tama taking on the Bullet Club.
My Score: 8.7/10
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