It’s a high stakes Monday Night Raw!
Drew McIntyre reveals his stipulation, THREE teams battle to face The Street Profits, and the Raw Women’s Championship is on the line!
- Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Triple Threat: The Viking Raiders VS Ricochet & Cedric Alexander VS Angel Garza & Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega; Garza & Almas win and will face The Street Profits for the titles at SummerSlam.
- Nia Jax VS Shayna Baszler; Double Count Out.
- WWE 24/7 Championship VIP Invasion: Shelton Benjamin w/ The Hurt Business VS R-Truth; Benjamin retains the WWE 24/7 Championship.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Shinobi Strike: Shelton Benjamin w/ The Hurt Business VS Akira Tozawa w/ ninjas; Benjamin retains the WWE 24/7 Championship.
- Mustafa Ali VS Bobby Lashley w/ The Hurt Business; Lashley wins.
- Raw Women’s Championship, No Champion’s Advantage: Asuka VS Sasha Banks; Banks wins by count-out and is the Raw Women’s Champion.
- Buddy Murphy VS Humberto Carrillo; Murphy wins.
- Drew McIntyre VS Dolph Ziggler, McIntyre’s Choice; McIntyre wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Raw opens with Randy Orton!
The Viper, the Apex Predator, the Legend Killer, heads to the ring. He added the World’s Largest Athlete, The Big Show, to his list of victims in their Unsanctioned Match last week, but it seems he isn’t done. Orton grabs a mic to say, “For 20 years, I’ve been here in the WWE. For 20 years, I’ve been called many names.” He was also the youngest world champion and has won that title 12 more times. He has had his part in some incredible tags teams, as well. From Legacy to The Authority, and let’s not forget Evolution. When Orton thinks of the greats the industry has given us, you think Steve Austin or The Rock, but they can’t hold a candle to his resume! Or to his longevity, his consistency, or his accomplishments! Orton has done what he wanted, when he wanted, and to whoever the hell he wanted, and that will not change!
But something is missing. Orton hasn’t been able to put his finger on it as of late. But he woke up this morning and it hit him like a ton of bricks. What he needs and desires is to become WWE World Champion once again! That means Orton needs to bring Drew McIntyre into the conversation, but comparing their resumes would be a short conversation. McIntyre was The Chosen One, but about 10 years ago, he had his head so far up his ass, he chose to get himself fired! That said, McIntyre did fight and claw his way back. He came to NXT, showed hunger and ambition and hustle. He also has Orton’s respect. Orton saw WrestleMania, when McIntyre beat Brock Lesnar for the title. And not only that, he did it in quick fashion.
But Orton talks to McIntyre directly here. McIntyre has a problem. That problem is that he has what Orton wants. And when Orton wants something, he tends to take it in the biggest way possible, in the biggest environment possible! Orton wants to have that WWE World Championship match at SummerSlam! The crowd loves the sound of that! And when Orton RKO’s McIntyre and takes McIntyre’s title to put on his shoulder, “you will never see it coming.” The Apex Predator has called his shot! Will McIntyre give it to him?
Nia Jax heads to the ring!
The Irresistible Force doesn’t wait for Orton to be all the way up the ramp to make her return to Raw! She tunes out the crowd booing her as she gets a mic. “I heard Randy just talking right now, waking up and wanting to be WWE Champion. And I know exactly how Randy feels.” Nia woke up and wanted to be Raw Women’s Champion. Last time she had her shot against Asuka, she was “screwed” by a referee. And when she went for the rematch, Charlotte Flair butted in line. But has anyone seen Charlotte since? Nope! Now Sasha Banks has her match with Asuka, but Nia wants to make sure- Shayna Baszler interrupts!
The Queen of Spades storms to the ring and stands in front of Nia, holding a mic of her own. “Nia, nobody gives a damn what you want.” Nai laughs and then SUCKER PUNCHES Shayna! Nia throws Shayna around, clubs away but Shayna hits back with kicks! Referees rush out to stop this brawl! Shayna and Nia egg the other on, are we getting a fired up opener?
Raw returns to the Street Profits!
Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins are fired up for what’s coming next! “Your WWE Raw Tag Team Champions are very excited to join you all tonight.” They’re here to watch the #1 contender’s tag match for their titles! But as Ford woke up, had his PB & J, he realized there’s something they need to do. Dawkins is excited, too! They’re going to do ring announcing! The first team, a team that if Thor had them in Wakanda, Thanos would have never snapped his fingers! Destiny is behind the Viking Profit brothers, THE Viking Raiders! Erik and Ivar make their entrance and the Profits introduce the next team. These two ride together, fly together and ALWAYS bring the smoke! These fly boys, Ricochet and Cedric “The Sports Entertainer” Alexander!
The fast and furious duo make their entrances, but there’s still one more! The Profits know we’re all excited! Last but not least, the least favorite telenovela, the frenemies that Vega cannot keep control of! And Garza, look. Charly ain’t looking for an angel on her shoulder, she’s wanting a viking adventure! It’s El Idolo y El Latino en la casa, Andrade Almas and Angel Garza!
Raw Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Triple Threat: The Viking Raiders VS Ricochet & Cedric Alexander VS Angel Garza & Andrade Almas w/ Zelina Vega!
This is a lot to say, but there’s also a lot to do! Which two men will take on Dawkins and Ford at the biggest show of the summer?
But before the bell, Garza and Almas sucker punch the Vikings! Erik and Ivar fall out but Ricochet and Alexander go after Almas and Garza! Almas and Garza throw them out, too, and off come the tearaway pants! Garza throws those pants at Dawkins and talks trash to the champs, but the Profits don’t back down. The Raw Tag Team Division is about to explode but Raw the show goes to break.
Raw returns and Alexander has Ivar in a headlock. Ivar powers out., Alexander slides under but Ivar rolls off his back! Ivar tosses Alexander to a corner, Alexander dodges but then Ivar goes up and over! Alexander springboards, comes back, escapes the scoop and dropkicks Ivar! Ivar comes back to run Alexander over! Oh, and by the way, Vega’s team is deciding to let things play out while they relax by the barriers. Alexander tags in Ricochet, they handspring and enziguri Ivar to a headscissor, then double dropkick! The Profits dig the innovation, but Erik tags in. These four stand off, but then realize Almas and Garza are outnumbered. They head over!
Almas and Garza try to escape but they’re caught! Almas gets mugged by the Viking Raiders while Garza is 2v1 against Ricochet and Alexander! Alexander and Ricochet double whip and double elbow Garza down then kick him to a corner. The Raiders give Almas a scoop slam, then human weapon Ivar slam! The crowd fires up while Ricochet CHOPS Garza! Alexander CHOPS Garza, then Almas is put in for the atomic drop and HAYMAKER! Snap suplex and Penalty Kick! Then they feed Garza to the Viking Raider’s pop-up springboard CLOTHESLINE GERMAN SUPLEX! But then Ricochet dropkicks Ivar and Erik DECKS Alexander! Erik and Ricochet circle but Almas clobbers Erik!
Almas and Ricochet stand off but Almas has him wait. Almas suggests teaming up on Erik! Ricochet throws hands on Erik and Almas joins in! They double mudhole stomp Erik in the corner, double whip him corner to corner, then Almas runs in to KNEE Erik! Ricochet leaps to uppercut Erik, snapmare to a cover, but Almas drags him off! No alliance survives the pinfall attempt, and though Almas “apologizes,” he CLOBBERS Ricochet! Ivar returns, turns Almas around and blocks punches to give punches! Ivar whips, Almas reverses but Ivar reverses back to pump handle FALL AWAY SLAM! Scoop to sidewalk slam! Basement splash! The crowd fires up with the “Love Splash” as Ford puts it.
Ivar runs into the corner but gets buckles. Almas runs in but gets a seated senton! Garza SUPERKICKS Ivar but Erik CLOBBERS Garza! Erik gives Garza an EXPLODER! Erik whips, Garza reverses, Erik goes up and over and rolls to shotgun knee Garza back! The Vikings have control as Raw goes to another break.
Raw returns again and Garza and Almas are stomping away on Erik on the outside! Garza SUPERKICKS Ivar down, then they both drag Ivar up for clubbing forearms. They double whip Ivar hard into barriers! Almas and Garza drag Alexander up to whip him into barriers, too! Ricochet is down by the steel steps but Almas has Erik in the ring. CIEN SHADOWS! Cover, TWO!! Erik survives to keep the Vikings alive! Vega is furious but Almas looms over Erik. Almas brings Erik up but Erik breaks free to ROCK him! Tag to Ricochet and Garza, Ricochet fires off first! Ricochet rocks Garza, runs in to CHOP! Ricochet whips corner to corner, then rams into Garza, bumps him off a buckle and BOOTS him away! Ricochet springboards for a flying clotheslines! Standing shooting star! Cover, TWO!!
Ricochet keeps his cool as he tags in Alexander. They drag Garza up, double whip but Garza reverses to SUPERKICK Ricochet! Alexander BOOTS Garza down! Ivar returns, cartwheels and CLOTHESLINES! Almas boot feints to ELBOW! Erik gives Almas Ace Ten Mao! The crowd is thunderous as Erik spots the group outside. Erik runs but into Garza’s enziguri! Vega rallies for her team as Garza clubs everyone else down. Ivar climbs up top and SENTONS onto them all! Almas hurries to get Alexander in and Garza, too! Garza drags Alexander up, WING CLIPPER!! Cover, Garza and Almas win!!
Winners: Angel Garza & Andrade Almas, by pinfall (NEW #1 Contenders to the Raw Tag Team Championships)
The Profits don’t mind, that was a wild show. Will it be even wilder now that it’s SummerSlam official?
Almas and Garza get in the Profits’ faces about taking those titles, and look to be leaving, only to sucker punch the Profits! The contenders stomp the champions down and make a mess of the desk, but the Profits run them off! Garza shouts about a “new era,” but what will it take for him and Almas to dethrone Dawkins and Ford?
Nia Jax VS Shayna Baszler!
The Irresistible Force and Queen of Spades were after each other earlier tonight and get to fight it out now! Who moves into position to meet the winner of Asuka VS Sasha?
The ref tries to keep these two back until the bell but that’s not so easy! Shayna almost knees through the ref into Nia, so the bell rings and this goes off! Shayna and Nia club and kick and knee each other back and forth, but Nia gut wrenches Shayna to put her on the ropes! Shayna holds on but Nia shoves her down to the floor! Nia hurries after Shayna but Shayna ROUNDHOUSES! Nia stays up!! Nia powers after Shayna, bumps her off Plexiglas, but doesn’t hear the ring count. She slams Shayna into more Plexiglas, the count reaches 10!!
A draw brought on by fury but the fight continues! Shayna clubs away, Nia trips her up and kicks her, then shoves her into more railing. Security tries to stop this but they get thrown around, too! Nia throws Shayna into the ring, security stands between them, until Shayna puts one in the KIRAFUDA KLULTCH! Head of security tries to reason with them, but he gets pinball’d between them! Shayna goes down and Nia rips the mans shirt off! Nia throws him around more, he blindly flails as the shirt is stuck over his head, and Nia kicks him out of the ring. Shayna wants back in but referees swarm. Nia BLASTS them all off the apron! Shayna gets back up but Nia shouts, “I’m not scared of you!” The rest of the Raw roster should be scared of both these women! Will they ever get to fight it out fully?
Seth Rollins meets with Buddy Murphy backstage.
Is Murphy with him? Murphy asks Rollins if Dominik is showing up. Rollins says he is, because people like Dominik can’t get out of their own way. Rollins tells Murphy not to worry. “The greater good will move forward. And tonight, it’s gonna be different. Trust me.” Does the disciple have faith in his Monday Night Messiah? Does Rollins have something planned for the son of Mysterio?
Mark Henry talks with Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair!
The World’s Strongest Man surely shares wisdom with these young and hungry superstars.
Seth Rollins heads to the ring!
The Monday Night Messiah leads his disciple out as the crowd boos. Murphy hands Rollins a mic for him to speak. “At Extreme Rules, I defeated the legend, Rey Mysterio.” Last week, Rollins defeated Aleister Black. The Monday Night Messiah is on a roll and should be in a great mood, but he’s not. He will tell us why: “Because Dominik Mysterio is here tonight and plans to confront the Monday Night Messiah.” This seems to be a recurring theme. Every time the greater good takes two steps forward, someone stands in the way and “we are forced to take a step backwards.” The ugliness in all of this is the fact that someone gets hurt every time! Kevin Owens broke his ankle at WrestleMania. We know what happened with Rey Mysterio. And last week, Aleister continuing to be a thorn in Rollins’ side injured his arm.
This is not how Rollins wants things to be. He doesn’t want to be a person that hurts peoples. That is not who the Monday Night Messiah is. The last time Dominik said he was coming to confront Rollins, he jumped Rollins from behind and things escalated. Rollins vows tonight is different. Rollins doesn’t want Dominik to hide in the shadows and ambush him. He doesn’t want violence, he wants this done the right way. Rollins has a soft spot in his heart for the Mysterio family. So to avoid confrontation, Rollins asks Dominik to come to the ring and confront him face to face, man to man, to talk this out. “Dominik, I know you’re here, so please. Don’t be afraid. Come into my ring, and please do this the right way.”
Dominik appears on stage, mic in hand. Rollins asks Dominik to join him in the ring. He promises not to hurt Dominik. The crowd chants things and Rollins tells them to stop putting ideas in people’s heads. Dominik walks down the ramp and Murphy holds the ropes open. Rollins says that’s fine, Dominik can say what he has to say. It doesn’t have to be the way it’s been. Dominik goes up the steel steps and walks through the ropes. Rollins understands why Dominik has been here, and that Rey is doing better, but there’s something Dominik needs to get off his chest. Rollins says he is a benevolent men. If it is not possible for Dominik to say how he feels, Rollins is here for him. If Dominik needs any guidance, Rollins is here with open arms.
Dominik steps closer, to tackle Rollins! Murphy drags Dominik off but Dominik hits him back! Rollins stomps Dominik down! Rollins and Murphy stomp until Dominik falls out of the ring, but Murphy goes after Dominik with forearms! Rollins stomps Dominik more! Clearly the promise has been broken as Rollins and Murphy double whip Dominik into barriers! They stomp him more! Then they bring him up to whip him into more barriers! “What is wrong with you?!” Rollins drags Dominik up, he and Murphy whip him into the announce desk! The crowd boos as Rollins looms over Dominik, but then Rollins stares at the steel steps. Rollins looks at Dominik, then the steps. “This isn’t my fault! This isn’t my fault! He asked for this!” Rollins didn’t want it to come to this!
Aleister leaps in out of nowhere! Aleister knocks Rollins down but Murphy is after him! They go after his bad arm, and slam it against the apron! Rollins throws Aleister into barriers! And into more barriers! Murphy drags Aleister up but Aleister pushes him away, so Murphy KNEE TRIGGERS him down! Murphy stomps away on Aleister but Rollins moves him aside. Rollins drags Aleister to the ramp, to CURB STOMP him down! Murphy and Rollins loom over Aleister, and again stare at steel steps. “You know what you have to do, Murphy!” What? What does Murphy have to do? Rollins asks if Murphy is “in this for real!” This is for the greater good! And then he SLAPS Murphy! “Think about what this man has done to you!” The constant losses! Do what you have to do!
Murphy drags Aleister up and over to the steel step! Rollins shouts to do it, Murphy pushes Aleister’s eye into the steel steps!! The referees get Murphy and Rollins to stop but the damage has been done! Rollins congratulates Murphy, but they’re not done. “Find the kid!” They want to go after Dominik again! But Dominik has a kendo stick and he starts swinging! He SMACKS and SMACKS and SMACKS until the stick breaks!! Rollins and Murphy run for their lives as Dominik keeps going! The rage is boiling over and Rollins feels the pain! Will Dominik get revenge for his father? Has Aleister suffered the same fate as the King of Lucha Libre?
R-Truth meets with Mustafa Ali backstage.
Truth heard Ali is the guest in the MVP Lounge. The VIP Lounge, but yeah, close enough. Truth wonders if Ali is after that 24/7 Championship. No, he’s got a match with Bobby Lashley, that’s his focus. Oh okay, good. Truth is hoping to get his baby back. Well alright. Truth says he’ll keep his eyes on “Mufasa,” though. What? Truth being Truth aside, will the Beacon be ready for anything and everything the Hurt Business might throw at him?
Raw returns to the VIP Lounge.
MVP and The Hurt Business are already in the ring, and that can only mean one thing: Big things poppin’, little things stoppin’. Sit back, relax and enjoy the view, because the VIP Lounge is for people like them, people who are better than you. Last week, MVP tried to celebrate with the boys over his “victory” at Extreme Rules, where he became “the real WWE United States Champion.” But things didn’t go the way he planned, but he got to meet someone he’d never met before. Someone who was gone for about 7 months. Where he’s been and what he was doing doesn’t matter to MVP. MVP does want to help this young man “see the light,” though. Welcome to the lounge, Mustafa Ali!
Ali goes to the ring but skips the velvet ropes as he joins everyone in the ring. MVP welcomes Mustafa to the VIP Lounge, and wants to give him a sample of “the good life.” This is where made men congregate, make good decisions, and good things happen. And where you make wrong decisions, you become “dissatisfied clients” of The Hurt Business, much like Ali’s friends, Ricochet and Alexander. “Dissatisfied,” huh? Like the stock holders of the Hurt Business after Ali and his friends put them out of business. Those guys must’ve been unhappy. But do you know who is happy? Ali! He’s happy to be back, to be on Raw, and to finally climb the ladder! He stands on the couch as he says he will finally become champion! A real champion.
Oh like MVP, the real US Champion, right? Of course that’s what Ali meant. MVP sees wonderful things for Ali, and they can still happen, if he makes the right decisions. And that comes down to spending time with the right people. Ali tells MVP to stop the proposal. Just because MVP brainwashed two meat heads to do what he wants, it won’t work on Ali. Ali has always thought for himself, and always will. MVP says Ali obviously isn’t thinking very clearly. He does realize that he is 1v1 with the Rocky Mountain Machine and CEO of the Hurt Business. MVP does want to help out here.
Apollo Crews went down this same path, and right now, he’s at home on the couch watching Raw. Ali can join them in the VIP Lounge, or he can sit at home like Apollo. Ali can be a champion, or chum in the water for predators. It’s his call. Ali’s call is still no. He doesn’t care what the proposal is, what MVP is forcing Ali to do. Ali then spots R-Truth and decides to “reconsider.” Truth TACKLES Shelton Benjamin out of the ring! Cover, TWO!! The Hurt Business surrounds Truth but he slips through the ring and hops the ropes! Truth lives to try another day, but will Ali have to suffer in his place?
Mustafa Ali VS Bobby Lashley w/ The Hurt Business!
Raw returns and the bell rings. Ali circles with Lashley, but is wary of MVP and Benjamin on the outside. Lashley dares Ali to “cross the line.” Ali steps over the line and gets in Lashley’s face, only for Lashley to shove him down! Ali gets up to fire off forearms! Lashley shoves him again then LARIATS Ali inside out! Lashley drags Ali up to TOSS him across the way! Ali flounders, Lashley takes aim as the crowd rallies, and Lashley runs to RAM Ali into a corner! Lashley stands on Ali at the ropes but lets up at 4 to loom over him. Lashley drags Ali up to throw elbows in the corner over and over! The ref counts, Lashley stops at 4 again to DECK Ali with a right!
Lashley drags Ali up, whips him to ropes, to flapjack and SLAM Ali down! Lashley drags Ali up again just to DECK him with another right! MVP and Benjamin tell Ali this is what he gets as Lashley brings Ali up again. Ali resists so Lashley throws him to a corner to fire off! Lashley grinds his boot in, the ref counts, and Lashley lets up at 4. The crowd rallies for Ali but MVP continues to talk trash. Lashley drags Ali up into a stalling suplex! He walks around and slams Ali down at 10! Wait! Akira Tozawa slips out from under the ring to roll up Shelton Benjamin!? Cover, TWO!! Benjamin glares at Tozawa, as does MVP. Benjamin tosses Tozawa into barriers! MVP BOOTS a ninja sidekick, then Benjamin OVERHEAD suplexes the next! Ninja 3 runs but Lashley runs him over!
Lashley hauls the third ninja up to then fireman’s carry and POST him with authority! But Ali DIVES out to take Lashley down! Lashley is against the barriers as Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and Lashley chokes Ali against ropes and clubs away with forearms! The ref counts, Lashley lets up but MVP is there to tell Ali this is what he gets. Lashley drags Ali up, pushes him against ropes again, but lets up at 4. Ali flounders to a corner but Lashley is on him with a whip to ropes. Ali kicks back but Lashley clamps on! Lashley trophy lifts but Ali slips off to shove him into a corner. Lashley puts Ali on the apron but Ali slingshots, into a FOREARM! Ali crashes and burns but the ref keeps the Hurt Business back. MVP claims to be helping Ali, fanning him with his hands. Lashley goes out to whip Ali and POST him! Ali flies almost as far as Ninja 3!
Lashley looms over Ali, drags him up and whips him into barriers! The ring count reaches 5, Lashley leaves Ali behind and MVP keeps telling Ali this is because of his decision. Lashley goes back out, puts Ali in and covers, TWO! Lashley elbows away on Ali’s shoulders then clamps on with a claw. Ali endures, the crowd rallies up, but Lashley leans on him. The crowd rallies harder, Ali fights up and throws hands, but Lashley shoves, follows and LIFTING COMPLETE SHOT! Cover, TWO!! Ali still lives but Lashley tries again, TWO! Lashley keeps his cool as he looms over Ali again. Ali crawls and climbs up Lashley’s leg, but Lashley scoops him to a trophy lift! Ali slips out and knees back!
Lashley kicks, reels Ali in, Canadian rack for the DOM- NO! Ali lands on his feet and goes to a corner! Lashley runs into a BOOT! Ali goes up, leaping DDT!! The crowd fires up as Ali drags himself to the outside. MVP shouts at Lashley to get up but Ali climbs a corner. Ali aims, leaps, 450 but has to roll through! Lashley comes back, blocks the arm-drag to the ALMIGHTY FULL NELSON! Ali taps, Lashley wins!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by submission
The Hurt Business makes up for the Six Man defeat and is back up this week. Will anyone be able to survive their run in with this powerful trio?
Backstage interview with Dolph Ziggler!
The Show-Off prepares for his match with Drew McIntyre, but still has no hints as to what McIntyre’s match type will be. But it doesn’t matter. Ziggler’s waited this long to figure things out, we’ve heard Orton say he’s figured things out. Ziggler vows to make Orton wait a little longer, he’ll be the one going to SummerSlam for a world title match. But does Ziggler stand a chance when McIntyre could choose anything for their stipulation?
Bayley and Sasha Banks head to the ring!
#BayleyDosStraps is again by The Boss’ side as we’re moments away from settling the score from Extreme Rules! Bayley grabs mics for the two of them as the crowd boos. Ssaha says, “Nobody likes a bully. And there is no bigger bully than Stephanie McMahon!” Stephanie is forcing Sasha to defend “her” title against Asuka for one reason and one reason only: Stephanie is jealous of Sasha! Jealous of them! Not because they have all the titles, but because they run the whole company! NXT, SmackDown, Raw, these two ARE the show! But being the role models that they are, they stand against injustice and do what needs to be done!
That is why when Asuka spit her gross green mist in that ref’s face, Bayley ran in to check on him. Then Sasha covers Asuka, and Bayley did what anyone would’ve done in counting the pin. But the bottom line is that they’ve done what they said. They said they’d hold all the gold, and they did. They said they’d make history and change the game, and they did. Tonight is no different! Time to end the charade and tap out “The Empress of Nothing.” But speaking of, here comes Asuka, with Kairi Sane right behind her! The Kabuki Warriors get in the ring, Kairi whispers some things to Asuka, and then she runs Bayley out of the arena! The Empress and the Boss are all alone as Raw goes to break!
Raw Women’s Championship, No Champion’s Advantage: Asuka VS Sasha Banks!
Raw returns as the introductions are made. The title is raised, and we finally settle who is THE Raw Women’s Champion!
Asuka and Sasha circle, tie up, and Sasha spins to elbow Asuka back. Sasha runs but Asuka drops down. Sasha jumps over, dropkicks but Asuka dropkicks back! Asuka runs at Sasha in the corner to hip attack! Asuka kicks and kicks and stomps but backs off at 4. Asuka drags Sasha up, snapmares and KICKS her in the back! The crowd rallies as Asuka kicks Sasha more and more. Sasha ducks, rolls Asuka, but Asuka comes back with a shining wizard! Cover, TWO! Asuka keeps her cool as she brings Sasha back up. Asuka whips, Sasha holds ropes and boots back! Sasha runs but into a takedown! Asuka has the arm but Sasha resists the Fujiwara and rolls, into an ARMBAR!
Sasha endures and rolls around but Asuka rolls with her. Sasha gets the ropebreak with a leg and Asuka lets up fast. Asuka says she is the champion, but she runs into buckles! Sasha blocks the kick to hotshot the leg! The crowd boos as Sasha gets back in and runs corner to corner. Sasha blocks boots, turns Asuka for the draping BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO! Sasha stomps Asuka’s legs then drags her around for a Boston Crab! Asuka endures as Sasha drops to a Half Crab and sits in deep! Asuka crawls, the crowd rallies, but Sasha shifts to STOMP the knee! Sasha taunts Asuka, drags her around again and steps through for a toehold, but Asuka kicks her out of the ring! Sasha is furious and says this is disrespectful! She wants out, her titles and all! But the ref reminds her that count outs will lose it, too!
Sasha throws one belt in, but has the other! Sasha tries to pull an Eddie Guerrero! But Asuka pretends Sasha hit her already! The ref takes the belt back, tries to sort out who did what, and Asuka ROUNDHOUSES Sasha down! The Empress roars as Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and both women slowly rise. Sasha hobbles over but Asuka hits back. Asuka throws hands, whips but Sasha reverses to dropkick the bad leg out! Sasha gives the leg a DDT! Then she drags Asuka to a cover, TWO! Sasha still has the leg and wraps it up for a standing toehold. The crowd rallies as Asuka endures and Sasha cranks harder. Asuka kicks free with her good leg but Sasha stomps the bad one. Sasha has Asuka in a corner and digs her boot in. The ref counts, Sasha lets up at 4, to put the leg around the ropes! Sasha pulls, stops at 4, but comes back again. Asuka kicks from the mat but Sasha stomps the legs down. Sasha drags Asuka up and says she IS the champion. Asuka SLAPS her! And throws fast hands!
Asuka shoves, pop-up KNEE! Sasha goes down but the bad leg slows Asuka down. Asuka gets up, runs at Sasha, but Sasha ducks the hip attack to kick from below! Sasha runs to slide and trip Asuka up! Sasha drags Asuka out and around and clubs the leg on the apron! And then smash the knee! Sasha catches her breath before going in and covers, TWO! The crowd rallies, Sasha kicks Asuka! Sasha soaks up the heat while she mocks Asuka. Sasha runs, basement meteora! Cover, TWO!! Sasha has the leg for the HALF CRAB! Asuka endures as Sasha sits deep again, and even gets an arm! Sasha bites the fingers as the ref is busy asking Asuka. Asuka endures, powers up and kicks free again.
Sasha laughs as she has Asuka in a corner. Sasha wraps the leg around the ropes and clubs away! The ref counts, Sasha stops at 4, then runs side to side, into an elbow! Asuka saves her leg but has to take a moment to get it moving. Asuka runs to body scissor takedown into a KNEEBAR! It’s a cover, ONE, Sasha scrambles around but Asuka makes it an ANKLE LOCK! Sasha reaches for ropes, Asuka brings her away, but Sasha gets up to roll! Asuka goes into buckles and both women are down. Asuka checks her nose while Sasha hobbles up. Sasha runs corner to corner, double knees! She shoves Asuka down to hop up. “I’m not gonna slip this time.” Sasha leaps, into a CODE BREAKER! Both women are down again as the crowd fires up!
A standing count begins, both women stir at 4. Asuka and Sasha sit up at 6 and get to their feet at 8. Asuka throws furious palm strikes from all side! Sasha ducks the back hand, puts Asuka in a corner and O’Conner rolls, TWO! Sasha goes up but Asuka kicks the legs out! Asuka drags Sasha by that leg back into the Ankle Lock, then a trapped leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka hobbles up, runs and HIP ATTACKS! Cover, TWO!! Sasha survives but Asuka shakes her head. Asuka shouts SHE is the champion, and crawls over to Sasha. Asuka drags Sasha up, hoists her up top, then climbs up to join her. Sasha fights back and the two brawl! Sasha headbutts Asuka down! Sasha adjusts, leaps, FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO!!
BANK STATEMENT!! Sasha has her crossface, Asuka scrambles around but Sasha shouts, “I NEED this title!” Asuka doesn’t care, she drags herself over to ropes but Sasha pushes off! Only to end up in the ASUKA LOCK! Sasha throws Asuka out hard! The ring count begins but Asuka is standing at 3. Sasha runs to slide but Asuka dodges! Asuka fires off forearms but Sasha spins around to hit a SHIN BREAKER to the announce desk! Sasha leaves Asuka behind and at the mercy of the ring count! Asuka clutches her leg as the count reaches 5! Asuka forces herself to crawl and stand at 8, 9, and jumps in at 9.9!! Sasha can’t believe it! Sasha argues with the ref, but then turns her attention to Asuka. “I’M the Raw Women’s Champion!” She is Two Belts Banks! But Asuka rolls her up!! TWO!! BANK STATEMENT!!
Asuka endures, Sasha cranks back, but Asuka crawls around. Sasha changes sides! She turns Asuka away from ropes but Asuka grabs a food to roll Sasha! ANKLE LOCK! Sasha screams, flails, gets up, rolls again! But Asuka goes up and comes back to missile dropkick! But wait! Bayley is beating Kairi down backstage! Bayley throws Kairi into the garage door! Asuka tries to focus on Sasha, SNAP GERMAN! Asuka clamps onto Sasha as Bayley keeps throwing the Pirate Princess around! “You think you can jump me?!” Asuka is too distracted, she drops Sasha! Kairi shouts for Asuka and Asuka can’t help it! She runs to the back!! But what about the title?! The ring count hits 10!!!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by count-out (NEW Raw Women’s Champion)
Asuka runs Bayley off, but she’s already lost it all! #TwoBeltsBanks is real! Bayley joins Sasha and the Golden Role Models really are #DoubleDoubleChampChamps! Have they truly taken over?
Raw returns to Charly Caruso by the Doctor/Trainer room.
There is no word on Kairi’s condition but the Golden Role Models come in to brag about the match! “I did it! I did it!” Sasha and Bayley run off to celebrate, and Asuka comes out a moment later. What is the word on Kairi? Asuka shouts in furious Japanese! Should Sasha and Bayley be afraid of what she’ll do to get her revenge?
WWE mourns the loss of Regis Philbin.
A household name and daytime television host, Regis was also a big fan of the WWE. From hosting WWE events to having WWE icons as guests on his show, he was a big part of sports entertainment. WWE will always remember his charm and passion for life.
Buddy Murphy VS Humberto Carrillo!
The disciple fell to a new level of depravity to match his Monday Night Messiah. But Ultimo Ninja makes his return to seek revenge for not only Rey Mysterio, but Aleister Black and himself! Will Carrillo make Murphy pay for what he and Rollins have done?
The bell rings and Murphy tackles Carrillo to a corner! Murphy rams his shoulder and stomps away! The ref backs Murphy off but Murphy brings Carrillo out to bump off buckles. Murphy CHOPS and CHOPS, but Carrillo pushes Murphy to CHOP back! Carrillo CHOPS more, throws big forearms and whips but Murphy reverses. Carrillo ducks, dodges and springboard back elbows! Carrillo bumps Murphy off buckles, stomps away but lets up at the ref’s count. Carrillo whips Murphy but Murphy holds ropes to put Carrillo on the apron. Carrillo shoulders back in, slingshots up and over and ducks to springboard enziguri! Murphy bails out, Carrillo DIVES! Murphy crashes into barriers and the crowd fires up with Carrillo!
Carrillo bumps Murphy off the apron again and again then puts him in the ring. Carrillo climbs but Murphy anchors him. Carrillo clubs Murphy but Murphy SHOVES Carrillo down! Murphy lets the ring count climb while he catches his breath. Carrillo stirs at 4, but Murphy goes out to drag Carrillo up. Murphy shoves Carrillo into barriers, puts him back in the ring, and KCIKS him hard in the back! Cover, TWO! Murphy looms over Carrillo as the crowd rallies for Carrillo. Murphy shoves him into ropes to forearm him hard in the back! Murphy clamps on a chinlock and grinds Carrillo down. Carrillo endures, fights up and powers Murphy to a corner. Carrillo breaks free, but runs into a boot! Murphy whips Carrillo to a corner but Carrillo elbows back!
Carrillo climbs up, Murphy trips him up and clubs his back! Murphy brings Carrillo off the corner, runs corner to corner, but into a SUPERKICK! Both men are down and the crowd rallies up! Murphy and Carrillo stir and head for each other. Carrillo gabs at Murphy but Murphy pushes him back. Carrillo ROCKS Murphy with that right! Murphy ROCKS Carrillo back! Carrillo and Murphy throw heavier forearms, Murphy unleashes the strike fest! He kicks but misses, ducks one but not the second! Carrillo aims at Murphy, goes corner to corner but is put on the apron. Carrillo enziguris back hard! Murphy is down, Carrillo goes up, missile dropkick to the back! Cover, TWO!! Murphy survives and Carrillo grows frustrated.
Carrillo has Murphy in another drop zone and goes back up. Carrillo sees Murphy on the apron so he hops down to join him. Carrillo drags Murphy up, Murphy pushes back but Carrillo BOOTS Murphy! Carrillo fireman’s carries but Murphy fights back. Murphy is in the ring, he forearms Carrillo’s back again. Carrillo elbows back, climbs up again, and leaps into a KNEE! Pump handle, MURPHY’S LAW!! Cover, Murphy wins!!
Winner: Buddy Murphy, by pinfall
The disciple takes down another dissenter to the greater good, having gone further down the dark path Seth Rollins is leading him on. Will Murphy become an even more pivotal part to the future Rollins envisions?
Mark Henry talks with Drew McIntyre backstage.
The World’s Strongest Man imparted wisdom to Ruby Riott and Bianca Belair, so surely he has something for the WWE World Champion. Does it have anything to do with McIntyre’s stipulation choice for the rematch with Ziggler?
Drew McIntyre VS Dolph Ziggler, McIntyre’s Choice!
When the leader of Claymore Country gave the Show-Off this choice, we all had to wait until Extreme Rules to learn what the stipulation was. Ziggler made things as one-sided as he could with his choice and yet McIntyre still won in the end. Will McIntyre return the favor or be as fair as he can now that tables have turned?
Before Ziggler enters, McIntyre grabs a mic to address something else: the comments made by Randy Orton. “It’s official. At SummerSlam, it will be Drew McIntyre VS Randy Orton for the WWE Championship.” The crowd likes the sound of that! But McIntyre says he won’t stand here and pretend he has the pedigree Orton has, the list of titles Orton does, because no one does. And Orton is on fire right now, taking everyone out, and is the absolute biggest threat right now. But if you think McIntyre is an underdog, McIntyre hopes that’s what Orton is thinking. Please underestimate McIntyre, because Lesnar did and got his ass kicked in under five minutes! RKO outta nowhere? McIntyre will see it, and Orton will see the Claymore coming, too!
Now, to Ziggler! McIntyre has quite the stipulation in store! Ziggler makes his entrance now to make sure he hears this. McIntyre played head games no one cares about, talks about someone else before Ziggler arrives. Ziggler gave McIntyre time out of being a gentleman, so what is it? McIntyre says Ziggler is right, he did learn something from Ziggler. Ziggler’s actions were inspiring! McIntyre did the same thing. Use chairs to beat him down, try to crush his windpipe or crash him through a table again. But the only difference now, McIntyre gets to play by Extreme Rules, too! And he DECKS Ziggler! Extreme Rules all the way after Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and the bell rings on this truly extreme rematch. Ziggler pokes McIntyre’s eyes! Ziggler hurries out but McIntyre stops him as he gets a chair. McIntyre takes the chair for his own but Ziggler SUPERKICKS McIntyre! Then POSTS Him! Then again! Ziggler throws McIntyre into Plexiglas, then back into the post! But McIntyre stops himself to elbow Ziggler down! The crowd is thunderous already as McIntyre CHOPS Ziggler against the barriers. McIntyre POSTS Ziggler now, then brings him up to scoop. McIntyre LAWN DARTS Ziggler into Plexiglas! Ziggler flops down but is somehow okay to continue and McIntyre chuckles to himself.
McIntyre brings out a kendo stick! McIntyre takes aim at Ziggler and SMACKS him! Ziggler writhes and McIntyre SMACKS him again! That was with just one hand! McIntyre brings Ziggler up, chokes him with the kendo stick, then Russian leg sweeps Ziggler into Plexiglas! “Tell me how it feels! Having fun? Because I’m having a great damn time!” Then McIntyre SMACKS Ziggler again! McIntyre digs the bamboo into Ziggler’s mouth, then POSTS him! Ziggler clutches his jaw but McIntyre won’t let up. McIntyre drags Ziggler up to a fireman’s carry and dumps him in the ring. McIntyre throws chairs in a la ECW! One almost hits the ref!
McIntyre keeps adding chair after chair, calling this a party! And of course, he adds a table! The crowd is loving this as McIntyre CHOPS Ziggler again! McIntyre sets the table up in a corner, then stands on Ziggler’s hand as he grabs for a chair! Ziggler screams in pain before McIntyre SMACKS him with the chair! McIntyre aims again, Ziggler begs for mercy, and then LOW BLOWS!! McIntyre seethes, having fallen for that one again. Both men are down but the crowd rallies up. McIntyre rolls out of the ring, does his best to walk it off, but Ziggler pursues with his own kendo stick! Ziggler SMACKS and chokes McIntyre in return! McIntyre endures the bamboo in his teeth but Ziggler lets up to SMACK his leg!
McIntyre hobbles away in a hurry but Ziggler grins as he SMACKS again! Ziggler digs the stick into McIntyre’s eyes and nose! Ziggler scrapes McIntyre’s face as he moves the stick off, then gives him the Russian Leg Sweep into barriers in return! “How does it feel, Drew?!” Ziggler grabs the kendo stick again, but McIntyre blocks the strike! McIntyre SMACKS Ziggler’s leg! But Ziggler comes back to kick the legs out! Ziggler headlocks, McIntyre powers out and puts Ziggler on the apron! Ziggler leaps, into McIntyre’s arms! McIntyre runs and RAMS Ziggler through the timekeeper’s area!! Both men are down as Raw goes to one more break!
Raw returns once again and McIntyre crawls out of the wreckage. Ziggler stirs and starts to drag himself around ringside, but McIntyre is already upon him! McIntyre drags Ziggler back up, puts him in the ring, and takes a moment to breathe. Ziggler kicks the ropes to jam McIntyre up! McIntyre shoves Ziggler, Ziggler kicks on the return but McIntyre clobbers him! McIntyre whips and OVERHEAD suplexes! McIntyre does it again, corner to corner! Ziggler almost crashes into chairs! McIntyre climbs up, takes aim, and hits the falling ax handle! McIntyre keeps himself from crashing into the table and kips up! He has a wild grin as he drags Ziggler up. NO Future Shock, Ziggler kicks to FAMOUSER!
Both men are down but the crowd gets loud again. McIntyre drags himself up the ropes as Ziggler flounders to a corner. Ziggler climbs up, but McIntyre stops him! McIntyre CHOPS Ziggler then climbs up to join him. McIntyre throws haymakers and watches Ziggler flop around. McIntyre drags Ziggler up for a SUPERPLEX! But the impact is so strong, McIntyre can’t make the cover. McIntyre grits his teeth and goes to the corner. He fires up as he watches Ziggler stir. Ziggler stands, and ZIGZAGS the Claymore away! Cover, TWO!! Both men slowly rise again, flounder around, and Ziggler gets a chair. McIntyre is back in a corner, Ziggler aims but gets a CLAYMORE through the table!! Cover, McIntyre wins!
Winner: Drew McIntyre, by pinfall
The Scottish Stud just crushed the Show-Off! McIntyre stands tall with the WWE World Championship in hand, but RKO OUTTA NOWHERE!! Despite McIntyre’s confidence, Orton made good on his promise that he wouldn’t see it coming! The Viper puts the belt around his own waist as he stands over McIntyre. Will Orton stop McIntyre’s run and again be on top of the WWE? Or has he only angered McIntyre to the point of kicking the Viper’s fangs down his throat?
Another really good episode of Raw, a lot of great energy, and going by Kairi Sane’s tweet from before the end of the night, the true curtain call for the Pirate Princess. I did not expect a lot of what happened in the Raw Women’s Championship match, and certainly not that it would be before the main event. Asuka VS Sasha was epic, even better than their Extreme Rules PPV match, but another dirty finish, though not nearly as direct. Bayley beating down Kairi to the point we didn’t even get a medical update is clearly how they’re writing Kairi off so she can return home to Japan. Asuka loses the title but is going to come for revenge in the most powerful way. This of course seems to put the Bayley VS Sasha build on an even longer build, but that will surely make it even greater. Perhaps WWE is also biding time until fans can be live to react to things.
Shayna and Nia had a great interaction, and in a vacuum, a count out draw is fine to prolong their own battle. This is a great way to move past not having Charlotte Flair for Nia to go after, and can build Shayna back up in not just the fans’ eyes but also in Vince’s eyes. Vince “desperately” wants new starts, maybe he’ll finally use his eyes to see he has some right here. The Triple Threat Tag match was incredible, but I would’ve kept it as tornado the whole time, not just for the middle when it was “allowed” to be chaotic. Garza and Almas were the clear choices, they and Profits are going to have a really good match with a better build than what I remember the WrestleMania Raw Tag Team title match getting. And honestly, it could go either way, as Almas and Garza have been title worthy for weeks.
The segments with The Hurt Business were great, especially with throwing in all the 24/7 Championship shenanigans. Mustafa Ali is doing great already subbing in for Apollo Crews, he had a great match with Lashley, but naturally The Hurt Business stands tall as a unit. At a certain point, titantron Stephanie McMahon needs to speak up and A) bring up the on-again-off-again 30-day defense rule on Apollo, B) tell MVP he is NOT the real champion, C) officially vacate the WWE United States Championship and D) put that big shiny belt literally up for grabs in a SummerSlam ladder match so WWE can make it up to Ali for MITB and have him win the title. Then when Apollo does return, he and Ali can put on an incredible match to see if Ali has “truly earned” that title.
The Monday Night Messiah story reached a new level tonight. Murphy “gouges” Aleister’s eye and gets a win over Carrillo to reach a new level in his own right, but Dominik beating the crap out of him and Rollins was incredible. Admittedly, Murphy should’ve had his match first. The order of things would’ve worked a little better, because why wouldn’t Dominik have returned to get at Murphy? Dominik might have his first match at SummerSlam, that is amazing! And with them mentioning Rey Mysterio is recovering, I wonder if he’ll get to be there for Dominik. Orton calling out McIntyre was expected from last week, and therefore we all should’ve expected that RKO. The Extreme Rules match we got tonight was great stuff, and of course McIntyre wins, only to get hit by Orton. McIntyre VS Orton is going to be great, given what glimpses we got months ago, and honestly could go either way because it’s Randy Orton!
My Score: 8.8/10
Mitchell’s NJPW 49th Anniversary Results & Report! (3/4/21)
Will there still be a Double Champion?
NJPW’s Anniversary kicks off the New Japan Cup!
After the year we wish never was, NJPW triumphantly celebrates their 49th anniversary! And to spice things up, there will be New Japan Cup matches, too! Who takes an early first step towards what is still the IWGP Heavyweight Championship?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- 10 Man Tag: Bullet Club VS Taguchi Japan; Bullet Club wins.
- Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Chaos; Chaos wins.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Jeff Cobb VS Satoshi Kojima; Cobb wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tetsuya Naito VS Great-O-Khan; Khan wins and advances.
- IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championship: Kota Ibushi VS El Desperado; Ibushi wins and retains the titles.
PLAY BY PLAY
10 Man Tag: Bullet Club VS Taguchi Japan!
Jay White leads his faction into battle, feeling pumped up after having dealt with the Stone Pitbull! But will #KingSwitch, the Bone Soldier, Crown Jewel, Fang Revived and King of Darkness be able to trump the Funky Weapon, FinJuice and HenarACE?
The Bullet Club Low Sweet, while Taguchi Japan low fist bumps. Fans cheer as the teams sort out, and Henare starts against White. They circle, fans rally up already, and then White asks Bullet Club if Henare is serious. Henare fires up, he and White tie up and Henare powers White to a corner. The ref calls for the break, Henare lets off but White pokes him in the eye! White kicks and throws haymakers then stomps Henare in the corner. White CHOPS, whips but Henare reverses. White slides out, plays a cat ‘n’ mouse, then tags in Kenta. Henare wants White to man up but White hides behind the other Bullet Club members.
Henare tags out to Juice and fans rally as Juice flips Kenta off. They circle, tie up, and Juice powers Kenta to ropes. The ref calls for the break Kenta turns things around and he pulls on Juice’s hair! The ref counts, Kenta lets off but he headlocks. Juice powers out, but Kenta pulls hair to reel him back in! Juice gets mad, throws body shots, and powers out. Things speed up, Juice hurdles but Kenta kicks him! And KICKS, and KICKS! Juice blocks the third kick to unleash “JUICE!” Jabs! Kenta throat chops before the Left Hand, but he runs into Juice’s atomic drop! Russian Leg Sweep and BIG senton! Cover, TWO!
Juice sees Dick creeping and spits at him. They talk trash, Tanahashi and Taguchi get in and they scoop slam Kenta! Taguchi Japan stomps away on Kenta! The ref reprimands, Bullet Club protests, and Tanahashi stays in and drags Kenta up. Tanahashi fires off strikes but runs into a cheap shot from White! Taguchi and Henare want in but the ref keeps them back. Kenta and White mug Tanahashi, and now Bullet Club stomps away on Tanahashi! The teams back off again, Kenta tags White in and White stomps Tanahashi’s legs. White stomps the left, then the right, then tags Evil. Evil drags Tanahashi up, reels him in and has the cobra twist! Bullet Club makes the chain to the railing!
Taguchi Japan protests as Tanahashi endures but Bullet Club gets away with it all! Evil lets Tanahashi go to cover him, TWO! Bullet Club protests the count but fans cheer. Chase tags in, fans rally with “LET’S GO, ACE!” but Chase YANKS Tanahashi’s leg! Tag to Ishimori and Bullet Club mugs Tanahashi more. Ishimori stomps Tanahashi, digs his boots in, but Tanahashi fires forearms back! Tanahashi hits every member of Bullet Club but Ishimori kicks low! Ishimori whips, Tanahashi reverses but Ishimori handsprings, but into Tanahashi’s waistlock! Ishimori fights free with elbows, kicks a leg, then runs but misses the dropkick! Tanahashi gets a leg for a GROUND DRAGON SCREW!
Both men are down and fans rally up, hot tags to Chase and David Finlay! Finlay rallies, Chase reverses the whip but Finlay uppercuts him down! Finlay blasts the Bullet Club corner then runs in at Chase to uppercut! Chase staggers, Finlay hops up and hits a flying uppercut! Cover, TWO! Fans rally again and Finlay drags Chase up. Chase fights off the Side Effect but Finlay dodges the knee! Chase bucks off the O’Conner to JEWEL TRIGGER! Tag to Evil, he drags Finlay up, but Finlay kicks. Evil blocks, hands the kick to the ref, but then Finlay blocks Evil’s kick! Finlay throws the foot down to hit a neckbreaker!
Fans fire up, hot tag to Taguchi and he unleashes his team! They go after the rest of Bullet Club as Taguchi climbs and leaps! But Evil catches him to EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, BULLET CLUB WINS!!
Winners: Bullet Club, by pinfall
Taguchi snatches defeat from the jaws of victory! White rubs it in that Evil wins, but will Bullet Club make such easy work of things in the New Japan Cup?
Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Chaos!
Sanada, Bushi and Shingo Takagi take on Kazuchika Okada, Sho and Tomohiro Ishii before they all jump into the New Japan Cup! Will LIJ get in the way of the Rainmaker rising back up? Or will Okada, High Voltage and the Stone Pitbull be leading the charge into the opening round?
The trios sort out, and Okada starts with the Dragon as a preview of their NJCUP match! Fans rally, “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Okada and Takagi circle, tie up, and Okada manages to power Takagi to ropes. The ref calls for the ropebreak, Okada lets off, and fakes the chop to pat Takagi’s shoulder. Takagi forearms back! Takagi CLUBS Okada and stomps him down! Takagi drags Okada, CHOPS him, but Okada blocks the boot to give a boot! Okada bumps Takagi off buckles, throws elbows, then tags Ishii in. Takagi gets clear, and Ishii wants the Cold Skull! Takagi tags Sanada and fans rally with “SA-NA-DA!” “I-SHI-I!” They tie up, Sanada wrenches to a wristlock but Ishii throws body shots.
Ishii wrenches to a wristlock, Sanada wrenches back but Ishii throws a forearm! Ishii deflects the boot, swings a clothesline but Sanada gets to a waistlock. Ishii elbows out, swings into another waistlock, but Ishii switches, only for Sanada to elbow out. Sanada whips Ishii to a corner, runs in but Ishii dodges. Ishii runs back in but Sanada dodges! Sanada runs in but into a boot, only to boot back! Sanada swings into a waistlock, Ishii ducks the elbow to ROCK Sanada! Ishii runs, but Sanada hurdles, hurdles and dropkicks! Fans fire up and Sanada encourages them to get louder. Fans clap “SA-NA-DA!” as he brings Ishii up and uppercuts him.
Sho runs in, Sanada boots him, then boots him again! Sanada whips but Sho CLOBBERS Sanada! Bushi runs in, boots Sho but Sho elbows back. Sho runs, Bushi dodges and RANAS! Okada DECKS Bushi, Takagi runs Okada over! Takagi and Ishii ram each other over and over then go forehead to forehead. They throw forearms, Ishii whips but Takagi reverses. Bushi trips Ishii and Sanada basement dropkicks! LIJ goes after Chaos on the outside while Sanada stomps Ishii. Fans rally as Ishii eggs Sanada on. Sanada stomps him more but Ishii dares him to keep going. Sanada does keep going, tags Bushi, and Bushi takes his shirt off to choke Ishii with it!
The ref counts, Bushi hits a neckbreaker! Cover but Okada breaks it! Takagi throws Okada back out, Bushi tags Sanada. Bushi DECKS Sho, Sanada drags Ishii up and hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans still rally as Sanada drags Ishii up to a fireman’s carry. Ishii slips off, shoves Sanada but Sanada elbows back. Sanada Quebrada but Ishii gets under, only to run into the fireman’s carry! Sanada slings Ishii into a dragon suplex, but Ishii slips free! Ishii catches Sanada to a spin and suplex, but Sanada slips out to dragon sleeper! Ishii spins through to hit the suplex! Fans fire up as both men are down! Hot tags to Takagi and Okada!
Okada dodges to fire off forearms, whip but Takagi reverses, only for Okada to elbow him down! Okada fires up and he whips Takagi corner to corner. Okada elbows Takagi, kicks low and DDT’s! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Takagi and Okada throw forearms back and forth, faster and faster! Okada ROCKS Takagi, EuroUppers, and whips Takagi corner to corner. Takagi reverses, runs in but blocks the boot. Takagi eggs Okada on to push harder, but then he CLOBBERS Okada! Takagi whips corner to corner, hits another clothesline, then runs, into Okada’s catch! Okada has the MONEY CLIP!
Takagi slips free, arm-drags and elbows Okada to JAB and power up! Okada BOOTS Takagi down! Fans fire up as both men head for their corners again! Hot tag to Sho! Sho runs in at Takagi to clothesline! Sho whips, Takagi reverses but Sho reverses back to kick and kick and kick! But Takagi blocks to elbow the leg! Sho forearms, runs but Takagi clotheslines at ropes! Takagi runs and runs Sho over! Fans fire up, Takagi tags Bushi and he climbs up to missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Bushi dropkicks a leg, and SPIKES Sho with a DDT! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Bushi drags Sho back up and reels him in to wrench and hook Sho up.
Sho resists the lift and Ishii runs in to run Bushi over! Sanada dropkicks Ishii, Okada BOOTS Sanada! Takagi blocks a boot to JAB and LARIAT! Fans rally up with “OI! OI! OI!” and LIJ whips Sho. Sho SPEARS Takagi down! Bushi clubs Sho, Sho avoids the Fisherman Screw and the enziguri to dead lift GERMAN SUPLEX! Fans fire up with Sho as he waits for Bushi to stand. Sho runs to LARIAT! Sho drags Bushi up, Okada is after Takagi on the outside, and Sho hits the SHOCK ARROW! Cover, Chaos wins!
Winners: Chaos, by pinfall
High Voltage is building up power! Will this help him build up towards the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship? Will Okada be ready for the Dragon in the first round?
Speaking of coming match-ups, Ishii and Sanada stare down, then start brawling with forearms and CHOPS! The ref breaks this up and the two part ways, for now. Will either of them be able to walk away from their coming confrontation in the Cup?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Jeff Cobb VS Satoshi Kojima!
The United Empire was shocked to have been beaten by the King of Cozy Style and Hiroyoshi Tenzan at Castle Attack! But the Hawaiian Hulk has a chance at redemption while also going for the gold! Will Cobb take Kojima on a Tour of the Islands before kicking him out of the tournament?
The bell rings and fans rally as Kojima and Cobb stare down. They slowly approach, tie up, and Cobb gets around to a waistlock. Kojima pries free, wrenches, but Cobb facelocks and cranks on the head! Kojima gets to ropes, Cobb lets off clean, but then gives Kojima a shove. Fans cheer as the two circle and tie up. Kojima headlocks, Cobb powers out but Kojima rams him with a shoulder. Cobb stays up so Kojima runs and rams him again. Cobb still stays up, and Kojima tries a third time. Kojima still can’t knock Cobb over, and Cobb kicks low to run. Kojima dodges, and finally runs Cobb over! But Cobb is right up to run Kojima over!
Cobb drags Kojima up, CLUBS him, and has Kojima in a corner. Cobb rams his shoulder, whips Kojima corner to corner then runs in but Kojima dodges! Kojima CHOPS, CHOPS, then fires off the machine gun CHOPS! Fans fire up, Kojima tops it off with one last CHOP, then whips Cobb again. Kojima runs in to forearm Cobb and throw him down! Kojima climbs up but Cobb clubs him first! Cobb lifts Kojima but Kojima slips off, only for Cobb to RAM him into the other corner! Cobb rams again and again, then reels Kojima in for a LARIAT! Fans rally for “KO-JI-MA!” as Cobb drags him back up. Cobb headbutts Kojima and Kojima flops down!
Cobb toys with Kojima, drags him back up, and DROPKICKS him down! Cobb takes his time with the cover, TWO! Fans rally up again but Cobb brings Kojima up to throw forearms. Kojima forearms back, Cobb returns the forearm, then knees low. Cobb whips, elbows Kojima down and covers, ONE! He covers again, TWO! GACHIMUCHI MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!! Cobb is angry with the ref but the ref says his count was fair. Cobb kicks Kojima to a corner, slaps him around, then CHOPS him! And CHOPS! Cobb unleashes his own machine gun CHOPS! Cobb pushes Kojima around, whips him corner to corner, then runs in to forearm smash!
Cobb rolls Kojima and heads up top!? But Kojima CLUBS him first! Kojima climbs up to join Cobb, fans rally up, but Cobb resists the superplex. Cobb throws body shots, Kojima headbutts him back! Kojima CLUBS Cobb, brings him up, and hits a SUPERPLEX! Fans fire up even more as Cobb writhes and Kojima rises! Kojima SHINING WIZARDS Cobb out of the ring! Fans fire up as Kojima takes aim and PLANCHAS?! But Cobb catches him, and KNEES him in the ribs over and over, to then SLAM him down! Fans fire up as Cobb gets back on the apron. Kojima sweeps the legs! Cobb hits the apron, Kojima gets up and fires up as he reels Cobb in! APRON DDT!
Cobb is stuck upside-down but then flops to the floor. The ref starts the ring count, but Kojima drags Cobb up at 6 of 20, and puts him in at 10 of 20! Kojima climbs up top, and hits the MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Cobb survives but Kojima just focuses his power. Kojima drags Cobb up to fire off forearms and a ROLLING ELBOW! Kick and DDT! Fans rally more as Kojima brings Cobb in for a cravat. Cobb powers out to thrash Kojima around and hit a GERMAN SUPLEX! Cobb and Kojima go to opposite corners, and Cobb runs in corner to corner, to hit the leaping back elbow! Kojima staggers into a scoop, and Cobb RAMS him into a corner!
Kojima avoids Oklahoma Stampede to COZY CUTTER! Fans fire up as Cobb slowly rises. Kojima is on him and brings him up to suplex! COZY BRAINBUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Cobb still lives but Kojima isn’t done yet! Cobb blocks him from taking off the armband! Kojima throws haymakers, whips Cobb, but Cobb reverses to reel Kojima in, ATHLETIC PLEX! Gut wrench and POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Kojima survives and fans fire up again! Cobb grits his teeth, drags Kojima up and whips him, to scoop and TOUR- NO! Kojima slips out but his lariat is blocked! Cobb runs, into the LEFT LARIAT! Cover, TWO!
Kojima keeps his cool and he throws off the armband! Kojima runs but into a SUPERKICK! Kojima stays up but Cobb JABS him, and copies the armband toss, only to run into the COZY LARIAT! Fans are thunderous as Kojima powers up and runs, but into a TOUR OF THE ISLANDS!! Cover, Cobb wins!!
Winner: Jeff Cobb, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
There was nothing cozy about that, but it was snug! Will Cobb continue on from here to conquer the Cup on behalf of the United Empire?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tetsuya Naito VS Great-O-Khan!
The Uncontrollable Charisma couldn’t take back the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, and the Dominator couldn’t take the NEVER Openweight Championship for the glory of the United Empire! But will one of these two redeem themselves and head for the coming IWGP world title?
Khan is patient as Naito takes off his elaborate entrance attire, so Naito takes his time. Naito then mocks Khan’s pose and the bell rings. Fans rally as Naito and Khan slowly circle. Khan sits down to use a leg guard against Naito, but Naito keeps his distance. Khan corners Naito, but lets off as Red Shoes calls for the ropebreak. Khan whips Naito, Naito grabs ropes and boots Khan. Naito throws Khan out, builds speed, but then rolls and mocks Khan’s pose again! Fans cheer that and even Khan laughs at Naito’s bravado. Khan returns, Naito rushes him and kicks him low! Naito clubs Khan, snapmares and wraps on a chinlock.
Khan endures, Naito grinds him down more, and then pulls back on the chinlock. Khan fights up, Naito grinds harder, but Khan throws body shots. Naito grinds further still but Khan pulls hair! Naito CLUBS Khan and stomps him for that! Naito pulls Khan’s ponytail, CLUBS him, then runs, into a hip toss! Khan wants the katagatami! Naito scrambles around and gets the ropebreak with a foot! Red Shoes counts, Khan holds on until 4. Fans rally as Naito bails out but Khan pursues. Khan drags Naito up, SLAPS him on the back, then pursues him around the way. Khan CLUBS Naito and whips him HARD into railing! Naito flops over and Khan grins as he walks over.
Khan stands on Naito’s head, mockingly asks what’s wrong, then stomps Naito. Khan puts Naito in, covers, ONE! Fans rally up but Khan drags Naito around to a gut wrench. Khan suplexes Naito hard, then covers, TWO! Fans rally up, Khan taunts Naito and follows him to ropes, then drags him up. Khan puts Naito in the corner to CLUB him on the back, then Khan sits on Naito’s head! Khan laughs but Red Shoes counts. Khan stands up at 3, to pull Naito’s arms back! Red Shoes counts again, Khan hops off at 3 and brings Naito out of the corner. Khan taunts Naito and kicks him, then he talks trash to Naito’s fans. Fans rally up, Khan digs Naito’s face into his boot!
Naito fights up, throws body shots, but Khan knees low. Khan runs but into Naito’s shotgun boot! Both men are down but fans fire up! Naito rises first, brings Khan up by his ponytail and whips him to ropes. Naito elbows Khan down then basement dropkicks him! Naito whips Khan to a corner now, rocket kick and sweep, COMBINACION CABRON! Fans fire up as Naito does his pose, then mocks Khan’s pose! Khan gets up but Naito has his ponytail again. Naito brings Khan around but Khan fights out of the neckbreaker. Khan swings but into a spin for the neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Naito drags Khan back up.
Naito cravats and cranks Khan’s neck, but Khan gets to a corner. Red Shoes calls for the break, Naito lets off to throw elbow after elbow in! Naito gets the cravat neck wrench again, but Khan throws body shots. Khan whips and BOOTS Naito inside-out! Both men are down again and fans rally! Khan slowly rises, Naito crawls, but Khan drags Naito up for Mongolian Chops! And more Mongolian Chops! Khan whips Naito to ropes, Naito leaps but is caught to a bearhug! Naito fights free, Khan knees low and whips, but Naito reverses to tornado, only for Khan to turn the DDT into a TOSS! Naito clutches his bad knee and Khan storms over.
Khan grabs the leg to stomp away on it, then YANK the leg! Naito crawls to a corner, fans rally up and Khan stalks Naito again. Khan drags Naito to the corner and ties up the legs around the post! Red Shoes reprimands and counts and Khan lets go at 4. Khan goes around the way to look under the ring, and he brings out a chair! Red Shoes tells Khan no but Khan pushes Red Shoes away, to SMACK Naito’s leg against the post! Naito flops down and Khan taunts the fans. Khan has the chair again, sits Naito up and brings him around to the ramp. Naito fights back but Khan clubs and kicks him down! Khan has the chair again, sits it up, and has Red Shoes move aside.
Khan laughs at Naito as he drags him over, has the leg, and gives him a SHIN BREAKER to the chair! Naito clutches the leg and Khan paces around as fans rally up. Khan pretends he can’t hear the fans so they get louder. Khan leaves Naito behind and waits as Red Shoes checks on Naito. Naito is okay to continue so the ring count starts. The count is 10 of 20 before Naito sits up with the bad leg. Naito still doesn’t get up until 15 of 20! Naito hobbles, but gets in at 19.99!! Khan is right after the bad legs with a modified deathlock! Naito grabs at Khan but Khan clamps harder with the iron claw on the bad knee! Khan drags Naito up for an IRON CLAW SLAM! Cover, TWO!!
Naito survives but Khan drags him around by the leg, for a CALF KILLER! Naito endures, fans rally but Khan thrashes the leg around! Naito powers up but Khan pulls back as far as he can! Naito starts to fade but Khan lets him go to clamp onto the knee with the claw. Khan drags Naito back up but Naito turns that into a SATELLITE DDT! Fans fire up as both men are down! Naito slowly rises, Khan drags himself up in the corner, but Naito manages to run in. Naito blocks Khan’s boot to throw back elbows! Naito stands Khan up with his ponytail to throw more elbows! Khan flops over, fans cheer, but Naito isn’t done there.
Naito drags Khan up by his ponytail again for more back elbows! And more back elbows! Naito hops up, reels Khan in, for ESPARANZA! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally up as Naito drags Khan back up. Naito reels Khan in for a hammerlock but Khan resists Gloria! Naito CLUBS Khan, pulls him up by the ponytail, then hammerlocks again. Khan still resists, clubs Naito in return, but Naito throws those back elbows again! Khan catches one for an atomic FACEBUSTER! Fans fire up as both men are down again. Khan drags Naito up and reels him in for an INVERTED EXPLODER! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives but he clutches his leg again. Khan grits his teeth as he gets up again.
Khan strikes his pose and clamps his claw onto Naito’s face! Khan drags Naito up but Naito throws back elbows. Khan claws Naito’s eyes! ELIMI- NO! Naito fights out but Khan kicks his legs out! Khan clamps on again, but still no Eliminator! Naito comes back to DESTINO!! Both men are down, fans are thunderous, and Naito rises! Naito drags Khan up, wrenches, but Khan elbows him. Naito throws more elbows back, wrenches, but Khan still elbows free. Khan kick the bad leg but Naito ENZIGURIS! Tilt-o-whirl but Khan blocks and throws Naito off! Naito elbows, Khan dodges the enziguri and LARIATS! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives but Khan gets the leg for a STANDING KNEEBAR!
Khan claws Naito’s face to keep him down but fans rally as Naito reaches for ropes! Khan shifts to get a TRUE KNEEBAR! Naito endures as Khan shouts at him! Khan clubs and CHOPS Naito, pulls the leg, but Naito refuses to quit! Naito grabs at Red Shoes but Khan gets the other leg and gator rolls around! FIGURE FOUR KNEEBAR!! Naito fights towards ropes as Khan thrashes about! Naito grabs Red Shoes, reaches again, but Khan keeps pulling on the legs! Naito rolls and rolls but Khan still holds on! Naito reaches, flails, fans are rallying as hard as they can, but Naito can only grab at Red Shoes! Red Shoes calls it, Khan wins!!
Winner: Great-O-Khan, by referee stoppage (advances to the next round)
He’s won, but Khan won’t let go! Young Lions run in to pry Khan off Naito, but then Khan attacks the Young Lions! Khan STOMPS Naito’s bad leg, and mocks Naito’s pose! Khan talks trash right to Naito’s face then gives the bad leg one last stomp! Will Khan brutalize all of his opponents on the way to the finals?
IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championship: Kota Ibushi VS El Desperado!
Speaking of the coming IWGP world title, the Golden Star God could be the first man to hold that new belt. But that’s only if he gets past the Junior Heavyweight Double Champion! Will Ibushi ascend to a new level in NJPW history? Or will it be the Rogue Luchador holding more gold than any wrestler in the world today?
The introductions are made, Ibushi’s belts are raised, and a rematch from almost eight YEARS ago happens for even greater stakes!
Fans rally as Ibushi and Desperado stare down. They circle, feel out the grapple, and tie up. Desperado gets around to a waistlock but Ibushi backs into ropes. They honor the break, and fans cheer as the two reset. Fans rally for “I-BU-SHI!” as he and Desperado tie up. Ibushi gets a leg, brings Desperado down but Desperado facelocks. Ibushi slips to a waistlock, Desperado switches, but Ibushi has his arm. Desperado tries to get free but Ibushi rolls and wrenches to a wristlock. Desperado reaches for ropes but Ibushi keeps him away. Desperado rolls, spins and wrenches back, and fans cheer the technical exchange. Ibushi rolls, trips Desperado and gets a toehold.
Desperado tries to hold him off with forearms, but Ibushi shifts inside the leg guard. Ibushi goes for a lateral press but Desperado slips right out to facelock and snapmare. Ibushi avoids the lateral press, Desperado still facelocks then waistlocks. Ibushi pries free, wrenches, wristlocks then hammerlocks. Desperado works on his reversal, he drops and rolls and gets the wristlock back. Fans cheer this exchange as Desperado hammerlocks. Ibushi elbows then drop toeholds, then floats to a chinlock. Desperado rolls to slip out the back and get the hammerlock back. Ibushi stands, slips out to hammerlock, but Desperado steps through the ropes then back in to wrap Ibushi’s arm on the ropes.
Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Desperado kicks the rope to jam the arm! Ibushi fires forearms back, then eggs Desperado on. Desperado roars and shows haymaker but stomps Ibushi’s foot! Desperado runs but into a KICK! Ibushi sees Desperado bail out and fans rally up. Ibushi goes out after Desperado, drags him up and whips him into railing! Desperado sputters as he slumps down, but Ibushi brings him back up. Ibushi puts Desperado in, but Desperado goes to scoop him! Ibushi CLUBS Desperado down, scoops him and SLAMS him down! Cover, ONE!! Ibushi keeps on Desperado with another chinlock.
Fans rally, Desperado endures, throws clubbing shots up at Ibushi but Ibushi shifts to a headscissor necklock. Desperado endures, moves around, kicks his way around but Ibushi gets the leg for a cover! TWO, and Desperado scrambles to ropes. Ibushi stands on Desperado at the ropes, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi are there to protest on Desperado’s behalf, so Ibushi lets off. Desperado glares up at Ibushi defiantly so Ibushi stands him up to forearm! Desperado forearms back but Ibushi eggs him on. Desperado throws more and more forearms but Ibushi says he needs ot hit harder! Desperado does, but Ibushi BOOTS him right down! Cover, ONE!!
Fans rally as Ibushi KICKS and KICKS and KICKS Desperado around! Desperado ends up in a corner, fans rally and he comes back with forearms! Ibushi still eggs Desperado on, so Desperado keeps hitting him! Desperado forearms over and over, but Ibushi BOOTS him again! Desperado comes back with forearms, Ibushi just leans into them! Ibushi backs Desperado down that way then BOOTS him to the corner! Ibushi drags Desperado up, whips him corner to corner, but Desperado reverses and runs in. Desperado blocks Ibushi’s boot, puts it on the ropes, then dropkicks the other leg! Fans cheer as Desperado gets the leg for a DRAGON SCREW! Ibushi falls over and fans rally up again.
Ibushi grits his teeth as he crawls but Desperado is after the bad leg! STRETCH MUFFLER! Ibushi gets the ropebreak, Red Shoes counts as Desperado thrashes, but Desperado still lets go at 3. Fans rally as Ibushi clutches the leg. Desperado stomps the leg, but Ibushi glares back at him! Desperado stomps the leg, reels Ibushi in, but no Guitarra as Ibushi gets free! Ibushi’s leg jams, Desperado runs, but into the POWERSLAM! Ibushi somersaults to the corner but Desperado dropkicks him out! Ibushi hits the floor and fans fire up! Desperado watches Ibushi on the outside, takes aim and builds speed, to DIVE! The somersault tope hits!
Fans fire up more as Desperado drags Ibushi up and into the ring! Desperado reels Ibushi in, GUITARRA DE ANGEL! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives and Desperado grows frustrated but the fans fire up again. Desperado stands, stomps Ibushi’s bad leg, but Ibushi eggs him on. Desperado grabs the legs, Ibushi kicks him but Desperado stomps the leg again. Desperado drops knees on the knee! Desperado grabs the leg, steps through but Ibushi BOOTS him away! Ibushi slowly rises, and avoids Desperado’s basement dropkick to DOUBLE STOMP him down! Fans fire up while both men are down! Ibushi gets up and kicks Desperado.
Desperado sits up so Ibushi gives him toying kicks and fast palm strikes! Desperado wobbles but he forearms back. Ibushi forearms, Desperado rolls him up, to get the STRETCH MUFFLER! Fans fire up as Ibushi endures again! Desperado gets the arm for NUMERO DOS! Ibushi reaches with his free arm, moves around but Desperado drags him away from ropes! Desperado pulls as hard as he can on the hold but Ibushi fights his way around to the ropebreak! Desperado lets go mostly out of his own exhaustion and fans rally again. Desperado looms over Ibushi, drags him up, and reels him in to underhook the arms. Ibushi resists the lift, powers up and has Desperado tucked in!
Desperado fights desperately and avoid the Bastard Driver! Fans fire up as Ibushi hobbles up and Desperado runs in, but into another DOUBLE STOMPS! Ibushi still counters Desperado but the damage to his leg makes that a little more double-edged! Ibushi rises and he kicks at Desperado again. Desperado talks trash as he gets up but Ibushi kicks him. Desperado CHOPS, Ibushi forearms, repeat! CHOP, forearm, but then Desperado kicks the bad leg! Ibushi ROCKS Desperado, KICKS him in the chest, but Desperado eggs him on! Ibushi KICKS again! Desperado gets forehead to forehead with Ibushi but Ibushi fires off a strike fest!
Desperado blocks the kick to GUITARRA DE LA MUERTE! Cover, TWO! Desperado hurries right to a corner and climbs up! FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! Kanemaru & Taichi coach Desperado and fans are thunderous! Desperado drags Ibushi up, underhooks the arms, but again Ibushi blocks! Ibushi powers against the underhooks but Desperado knees low. Ibushi back kicks, dodges Desperado’s straight right to SHOTEI! And V-TRIGGER! KENNY~! But then ROUNDHOUSE meets LOCO MONO!! Fans are thunderous as both men go down!! Ibushi stirs but Desperado stands first. Desperado fires up, the fans respond and he drags Ibushi up. Underhooks for PINCHE-
NO! Ibushi fights out to wrench and LARIAT! Ibushi fires up and fans respond in kind! Ibushi gets Desperado up, reels him in, and lifts, for a LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!! Desperado lives but Ibushi vows to end it! Ibushi grits his teeth, gets Desperado’s wrists and sits him up. Desperado wrenches through to ES EL CULERO! Cover, TWO!!! ROUNDHOUSE from Ibushi hits clean! Ibushi sits Desperado up again, KAMI- NO! ROLL UP, but to the STRETCH MUFFLER!! And he puts it on tight! Then gets NUMERO DOS SUPREME! Ibushi endures but he is caught! Desperado holds on as hard as he can but Ibushi refuses to give in!
Ibushi pries an arm free, reaches, but Desperado rolls him from ropes! Ibushi make sit a cover, TWO!! KAMIGOYE!!! Cover, TWO!??!?! Ibushi can’t believe Desperado still lives! Ibushi gets the wrists again, for ANOTHER KAMIGOYE!!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall (still IWGP Double Champion)
Desperado showed Ibushi he is a “different animal” from eight years ago, but it wasn’t enough to end the Golden Star God’s run! Can anyone stop Ibushi from being THE champion in NJPW?! But Ibushi is a gracious champion, and he shows respect to the Rogue Luchador. Desperado shows it back and they shake hands! Will Desperado at least continue on to define the Junior Heavyweight Division?
After catching his breath and having both belts presented back to him, Ibushi gets the mic. “This wasn’t about proving who’s the strongest between heavyweights and junior heavyweights. Desperado, oi. Thank you.” Fans cheer the respect Ibushi shows, but Ibushi says there are so many great wrestlers in the Junior Heavyweight Division. Ibushi is up for taking on any challenger and he truly means that. Ibushi won’t change his mind. “When these two titles are unified, I’ll show what awaits.” And then he asks Hiroshi Tanahshi and Jushin Liger for their blessing.
Ibushi will truly take on any challenge from anyone. When these titles are unified, he will take them “to the highest global stage.” Fans cheer that idea as Ibushi again says he will never betray them, never quit and never lose. Ibushi thanks the fans, and drops as he drops to his knees as he drops the mic. Will Ibushi help NJPW reach the world once he is truly THE IWGP World Heavyweight Champion?
A great event right here, especially to kick off the New Japan Cup. Apologies to Suzuki-Gun fans, I seem to keep skipping their matches because they’re always beating up Young Lions. However, I am surprised, Suzuki-Gun lost and Douki takes the pin from Hirooki Goto. Though, I’m not surprised that Douki lost it for them, that is his role. The 10 Man was ridiculous because Taguchi gets in just to lose it for his team. I have a feeling that will feed right into Evil’s first match in the NJCUP, since he has a bye into the next round starting on 3/11/21. The Six Man was a lot of fun, too, and it was big for Sho to get the win since he’s not in the tournament. He can move up and challenge Desperado for the Junior Heavyweight Championship while Hiromu is hurt.
Speaking of the tournament, the first matches tonight were both great stuff. It just seemed natural for Cobb to beat Kojima, but it was quite the surprise for Khan to win. Naito’s struggles as of late would’ve made it seem like he was going to overcome, but now he’s on a different path. We could end up with Empire VS Empire but it’s likely Evil beats Cobb next round to take Khan on in the round after that.
Then we get an incredible match out of Ibushi VS Desperado. Of course Ibushi wins, Desperado can’t have five belts on him right now (he holds onto Kanemaru’s tag belt just cuz) and Ibushi really could lead NJPW into a new era where Heavyweight & Intercontinental titles fuse their lineage into the new IWGP WHC. With bonds building between NJPW, AEW and other companies, it would work out so amazingly well if Ibushi was top champion and Kenny Omega is still AEW World Champion for them to clash as truly two of the best in the world.
My Score: 9.2/10
Andrew’s NJPW 49th Anniversary Results & Match Ratings: 3.4.2021
Castle Attack set a low bar, but at least set up a historic main event with Desperado and Ibushi! New Japan Cup first round matches also start today!
Well now, where to begin. After a disappointing Castle Attack series, I definitely can’t say I’m coming into this show with high expectations.
We get a revenge match of sorts, since El Desperado has an agenda, to try and erase the memories of when he was awful at wrestling. The final defenses of the Intercontinental and Heavyweight championships take place as well. OH – and let’s not forget that the New Japan Cup is officially starting today.
There are enough things here to peak interest, I just have to hope they execute at least half of this well.
Here’s to hoping.
- Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, DOUKI & Zack Sabre Jr) vs Tomoaki Honma, Master Wato, Gabriel Kidd & Hirooki Goto: Goto wins via GTR @10;39 – **
- Bullet Club (Jay White, KENTA, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens) w/Gedo & Dick Togo vs Toa Henare, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson): EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @7:39 – * ½
- LIJ (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Tomohiro Ishii): SHO wins via Shock Arrow @9:13 – ***
- New Japan Cup: Satoshi Kojima vs Jeff Cobb: Cobb wins via Tour of the Islands @11:50 – *** ½
- New Japan Cup: Great O-Khan vs Tetsuya Naito: O-Khan wins via Referee Stoppage @20:20- *** ¾
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) vs El Desperado: Ibushi retains via Kamigoye @20:36 – **** ¼ – Unification of IWGP Intercontinental & Heavyweight Championship!!
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, DOUKI & Zack Sabre Jr) vs Tomoaki Honma, Master Wato, Gabriel Kidd & Hirooki Goto
So it’s Suzuki-Gun versus a throw together assortment of other people in the New Japan Cup. With that description, it doesn’t seem like the ragtag group has much of a real chance. Honma starts off with Suzuki, which helps to give Honma some quality opponents so far this year. Gabe Kidd wants in to mix it up a bit with Suzuki and then immediately go after ZSJ. The English battle will be a thing in the Cup, but Kidd is a Young Lion so he’s probably not winning much.
So DOUKI and Wato aren’t in the Cup this year, since there are no Juniors, but I suppose we always need fall guys in multi-man matches. Whichever side wins, the Junior will most likely eat the pin. But after a little hectic back and forth, Taichi and Goto finally mix it up with real wrestling moves. Goto tries to work over Taichi, but Taichi gets an advantage and locks in the Stretch Plum for a while.
DOUKI is the legal man though, so he comes back in and starts peppering Goto, but then we have another hectic breakdown, which leaves DOUKI and Goto straight up. Goto hits the Ushigoroshi, then the GTR, and DOUKI eats the pin.
So there we go, the Junior ate the pin, but the thrown together assortment won.
Bullet Club (Jay White, KENTA, EVIL, Taiji Ishimori & Chase Owens) w/Gedo & Dick Togo vs Toa Henare, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson)
This has a similar set up to the first match, however, many of these guys have teamed together before thanks to Hontai allegiances or Taguchi Japan. This will probably be similar where the Junior will eat the pin.
Henare calls out Jay immediately, and Jay doesn’t immediately tag out. He fakes like he will, but then they decide Henare is an easy opponent so Jay starts imposing his will. As soon as Henare almost gets some momentum, Jay runs him around, slides back in the ring and tags in KENTA.
The Hontai group gangs up on KENTA, we get a lot of typical things during this match. Some hectic moments, a lot of quick bursts for feuds and then when Taguchi gets the tag he tells his team to go wipe out the Bullet Club extras. Taguchi goes for a Springboard, but EVIL catches him, hits the Everything is Evil and the match is done.
This suffered from a level of predictability and the fact the design was very similar to the first match. Jay, Juice and a few other personality aspects were cute, but this isn’t really interesting.
LIJ (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Tomohiro Ishii)
Shingo and Okada kick the match off, and this is a preview to the opening round match that could easily be a finals to any tournament any year. SANADA and Ishii have a little bit of a back and forth, then the Juniors come in. Even though this will have a similar outcome, it benefits from everyone in this match being an interesting high card draw, so their actions are just easier to get invested in.
Things get a little crazy, then we get back to SANADA versus Ishii and there’s a lot of countering signature moves, which helps to motivate the crowd and sow the seeds for their first round matchup. Ishii gets space with a Vertical Suplex, Okada and Shingo come in for some great foreshadowing. Shingo gets great fire, Okada references how he beat him in the G1 with the Money Clip attempt, and there’s just a lot to like about their interactions. SHO gets tagged in from Okada, so that gives us some glimmers of SHO and Shingo’s past, and now we lead towards the end of the match with both Juniors coming in.
Signature spam, SHO wipes out Shingo with a Spear, focuses on BUSHI and we’re almost done. SHO hits a very Shingo-esque Pumping Bomber to lay out BUSHI, then hits the Shock Arrow, and the CHAOS squad wins!
There is a video announcement of Wrestle Grand Slam in the Tokyo Dome and Yokohama Baseball Stadium in May.
New Japan Cup: Satoshi Kojima vs Jeff Cobb
Cobb and Kojima go after each other in angry power style. Kojima gets a small advantage, but Cobb cuts him off heading for the Elbow, then starts taking over. Cobb pulls out the old Gachmuchi-Sault, then he goes to insult Kojima by hitting Machine Gun Chops, and even motioning to go for the Kojima Elbow.
Kojima fires up, Superplexes Cobb off the top rope and strings some offense together. Cobb does manage to catch Kojima mid plancha and try the power game, but Kojima proves he’s not washed yet and turns the tide rather quickly with a DDT into the apron. Kojima hits his Elbow drop and keeps the momentum rolling.
Cobb has moments to break the momentum with a Deadlift German, and then he blocks Kojima from taking the Elbow pad off for the Cozy Lariat. Spin Cycle from Cobb, Doctor Bomb, and only a near fall for Cobb. Kojima counters the Tour of the Islands, they start swinging Haymakers, Kojima gets mocked a few times from Cobb, Kojima looks to end things with the Cozy Lariat, but Cobb manages to catch Kojima and barely hit Tour of the Islands.
Damn good match.
New Japan Cup: Great O-Khan vs Tetsuya Naito
A fun clash of everything here. Early on Naito mocks O-Khan, even to the point where O-Khan acknowledges the rib and guffaws in a sarcastic way. We get unbridled aggression from O-Khan after that, and Naito is reeling for a while. O-Khan nearly has Naito choked out, but her goes to try and end things with his power, and Naito finally finds a way back in.
Combinacion Cabron, Swinging DDTs, Cravats and Back Elbows gave Naito a brief shining moment, but when O-Khan tosses him, Naito lands on the bad knee, and that becomes O-Khan’s new focus. A Cloverleaf with the ring post, a chairshot and a Kneebreaker on a steel chair gives us a near count out victory for O-Khan. Once Naito limps back in, O-Khan applies the Claw to the bad knee, then lifts Naito up and just drops him like garbage. Another submission attempt by O-Khan as he goes after the bad knee with a single leg scissor.
Naito puts a stop to this when O-Khan tries to lift him and Naito shifts for a DDT. Naito peppers in Elbows in the corner, limps to the middle rope for the Diamond Dust, and tries to get O-Khan up for Gloria, but he gets dropped. O-Khan lands a Reverse Powerslam, attempts the Eliminator, but eats some elbows. Reapplication, Naito kicks away, again an attempt for the Eliminator, but Naito wiggles away and hits Destino, but can’t cover the bigger man.
Naito tries Destino with the Arm Wringer, O-Khan fights, 2 more times same thing, then O-Khan avoids Destino, hits a Lariat and goes for the Knee Bar in the dead center. Gator roll turns into a modified Figure Four, killing the injured knee of Naito as the crowd tries to rally Naito! Every time Naito tries to get out, O-Khan repositions and sinks in deeper. Red Shoes makes the decision to stop the match since Naito couldn’t really move from his spot.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match: Kota Ibushi (c) vs El Desperado
This was a proving ground for Desperado. After his challenge, not only did Ibushi tell him he sucked in their first meeting 7 years ago, he echoed the sentiment; so with Hiromu on the shelf for 6 months, Desperado has something to prove.
Early on, you can see the slight dynamic adjustment where Ibushi takes a bit of Nakamura styles by goading Desperado, kicking at him insultingly and just big brothering him. Despy gets irritated and starts accelerating his aggression. We see Despy dig much deeper into his bag of tricks, a few dives, Guitarra de Angel and Guitarra de la Meurta attempts, he nearly countered a Kamigoye attempt with El Es Culero.
The beauty of the game plan was that Despy went after Ibushi’s legs, mainly because he’s such a great striker, but it of course helps to weaken him for Numero Dos (modified Stretch Muffler). Despy had great spots of anger, Ibushi showed some visible desperation, and the counter roll dodging Kamigoye and locking in Numero Dos looked like a great near fall for Despy. Taichi and Kanemaru also didn’t interfere and played the role of actual seconds.
Ibushi manages to rattle Despy with a normal Kamigoye, and then dropping the kneepad won Ibushi the match. A really good main event after 2 great starting matches to the New Japan Cup.
Overall Score: 7.75/10
The main event left a lot of great questions. Tanahashi being on Japanese commentary, looking disapproving and being genuinely upset with the unification is a great possible story. Ibushi staying next to Despy and having a respectful moment between the two was nice. Taichi being the last one to leave the situation since he went back to get Despy’s belts and glared at Ibushi. Some may be thinking Ibushi-Gun is on the horizon, but I’m hoping this means Taichi could become an IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. Give the Holy Emperor, the number one Black Saint, give him the big belt…cowards.
Other takeaways are obviously O-Khan’s big upset. Naito’s knee injury being Tanahashi levels of debilitating that it costs him a make via referee concern. Cobb barely scraping by Kojima is great to keep Kojima looking like a real threat if he does get on more dance in the G1. Not really sure how to feel about a Cobb versus EVIL match, but it’s good for Cobb to get some forward momentum. O-Khan sets himself up for either Yano or Fale, so that’s another head scratcher depending on who wins on 3.5.
All in all, I’m glad the second half of this show did its job and actually showed some good matches, good story building and psychology. After the terrible Castle Attack, it’s nice to say the New Japan Cup has started off strong at the very least.
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