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Mitchell’s NJPW Summer Struggle Results & Report! (8/29/20)

FINALLY! Jingu Stadium!

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NJPW Summer Struggle

NJPW finally reaches the end of the Summer Struggle!

The special return event from NJPW wraps up in the biggest way possible! KOPW 2020, the Double Championships and more, all in Jingu Stadium!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Master Wato VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru; Kanemaru wins.
  • KOPW 2020 Fatal 4 Way Finals: El Desperado VS Toru Yano VS SANADA VS Kazuchika Okada; Yano wins and is the current KOPW 2020 Trophy Holder.
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Minoru Suzuki; Suzuki wins and becomes the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Taiji Ishimori; Ishimori wins and becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: The Dangerous Tekkers VS The Golden Aces; The Dangerous Tekkers win and retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
  • IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championships: EVIL w/ Dick Togo VS Tetsuya Naito; Naito wins and becomes the new IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Champion.

PLAY BY PLAY

Master Wato VS Yoshinobu Kanemaru!

The Way of the GrandMaster has been a hard road, mostly because of having to deal with the many henchmen in Suzuki-Gun. Can Wato overcome and prove he belongs?

The bell rings and fans are fired up already. Kanemaru kicks low, headlocks tight, but Wato powers out and things speed up. Wato hurdles and back elbows to back and sobat! Wato keeps on Kanemaru with kicks and a whip corner to corner, but Kanemaru puts Wato on the apron. Wato hits back, springboards in, but into Kanemaru’s dropkick! Fans have to cheer that impressive aim but then rally up for Wato. Kanemaru drags Wato up to throw out, then he whips Wato into railing! Kanemaru hops the railing to guillotine leg drop! Wato is down, Kanemaru catches his breath and returns to the ring. A ring count begins and climbs to 10 of 20 before Wato stands. Wato is in at 12 but Kanemaru scoops him into the Tree of Woe!

Kanemaru toys with Wato, then runs in to basement dropkick! Wato is still stuck and the ref works to free him but Kanemaru laughs at Wato. Kanemaru drags Wato up to club him hard on the back! Kanemaru drags Wato into a Camel Clutch! Fans rally, Wato pries at the hold and scoots back to get a ropebreak! Kanemaru lets go of Wato to stomp him down! Kanemaru eggs Wato on and Wato hits forearms! Kanemaru rakes the eyes! The ref reprimands but Kanemaru drags Wato up. Kanemaru throws a strong European Uppercut, then whips corner to corner. Kanemaru runs in to BOOT! Kanemaru brings Wato out, Wato hits back but Kanemaru rakes the eyes! Kanemaru runs, but into Wato’s leaping kick!

Fans fire up as Wato grits his teeth. Wato fires up, aims from a corner, and runs to DYNAMIC DROPKICK! Kanemaru tumbles out of the ring, Wato runs and FLIES with the tornillo PLANCHA! Direct hit and the fans are fired up again. Wato drags Kanemaru up, puts him in, and the fans rally as Wato hits a SPRINGBOARD UPPERCUT! Wato keeps going, he runs to the corner to monkey flip Kanemaru! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Wato keeps going, brings Kanemaru up to wrench and trap the arms. Kanemaru fights out of the Mouse Trap, and dropkicks Wato down hard! Fans cheer as both men are down, and rally up as the two stir. Kanemaru sits up, scowls as he brings Wato up for a scoop and slam!

Kanemaru goes to the top rope, but has to land out of his moonsault as Wato moves! Wato elbows and KICKS back! Wato runs, but the ref is a shield! Wato pushes the ref aside, Kanemaru tilt-o-whirls but Wato blocks the victory roll. Kanemaru kicks Wato back, drags Wato up and scoops to the dragon sleeper, INVERTED DDT! Kanemaru paces as the fans rally up again. Kanemaru has his whiskey, but Wato ducks to BOOT! Wato dodges to SPINNING ROUNDHOUSE! Fans fire up as Wato drags Kanemaru back up, MOUSE TRAP DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Kanemaru escapes the trap but Wato fires up more!

Wato waits for Kanemaru to rise to fire off the strike fest! QUESTION MARK KICK! INVERTED BOMB! Kanemaru is down but Wato drags him to the drop zone. Kanemaru revives and rolls Wato up! Kanemaru wins!!

Winner: Yoshinobu Kanemaru, by pinfall

Was Kanemaru playing dead? Wato is furious, but despite being called the GrandMaster, he is still very much a young wrestler. Will Wato learn a lot from this loss?

 

KOPW 2020 Fatal 4 Way Finals: El Desperado VS Toru Yano VS SANADA VS Kazuchika Okada!

One of the most unique concepts, certainly in NJPW’s history, has been a big success already, and it takes its next big step! Desperado can use his finishers again, Yano doesn’t have to kick out at one, and Sanada can win by more than just submission, but it could still feel like 3v1 for the Rainmaker. Will Okada win his own concept to become the tentative Mr. KOPW 2020?

But as Okada finishes up his entrance, Sanada and Desperado jump Yano! The bell rings to get this on record as Okada tries to help. Sanada and Desperado club and double whip Okada to a corner. Desperado elbows, Sanada adds his own. Yano wants them to wait a minute! Yano gets it. And he apologizes to Okada as he runs in to add his own elbow! But then Yano rolls Okada up! Sanada and Desperado stomp the cover apart and Okada gets away. Sanada and Desperado start shoving each other, their momentary alliance over already. Yano pulls Desperado’s mask to throw him down! Sanada whips Yano, Yano holds the ropes and taunts. Sanada runs at Yano but Yano dumps Sanada out!

Okada clubs Sanada, and he wants Yano to fly in a combo move! Yano fires up, builds speed, but Desperado drags him out! Okada clubs Sanada, throws him in and Desperado clubs Yano down. Okada elbows Sanada on the back, Okada kicks Desperado as he comes in, and now Sanada and Okada work together. They double whip and double elbow Desperado down, then set him up for a basement dropkick sandwich! The fans like what they’re seeing as Okada offers an LIJ fist bump! But it’s to fake Sanada out and Okada kicks low! Okada snapmares, cranks on a chinlock, and now Yano returns. Yano again apologizes for what he did earlier, and he’s exposed a corner.

Yano whips Sanada corner to corner to the safe corner and adds a back elbow. Okada adds his, feeds Sanada to Yano’s atomic drop, then they trip Sanada to catapult him into the bare buckles! Okada lifts Sanada, REVERSE NECKBREAKER! Cover, but Yano pulls Okada off. Yano covers while apologizing, Okada stomps him! The fans cheer as Yano asks what the heck. Okada says it doesn’t matter that they’re both Chaos! And now these two brawl! Okada hits, Yano responds, and fans rally up. Okada rocks Yano, but Yano cradle counters, TWO! Yano apologizes again but Desperado clobbers Okada! Desperado rakes Yano’s eyes, whips him but Yano stops himself before hitting bare buckles. Desperado runs in but Yano drop toeholds him into those buckles!

Yano rolls Desperado, Sanada breaks it! Yano kicks Sanada, Yano whips but Sanada reverses and Yano gets the bare buckles! Sanada trips Yano up, and puts him in Paradise! Fans cheer as Sanada goes corner to corner, but Okada is there to defend Yano. Okada wants them to go 1v1 so Sanada obliges. They brawl, Okada throws a EuroUpper but so does Sanada. Yano asks they not forget about him as Sanada whips Okada. Okada dodges to elbow Sanada down! The fans fire up with Okada, Okada brings Sanada up to whip him to a safe corner. Sanada goes up, out and springboards in! Okada dodges, scoops but Sanada reverses to dragon sleeper! Okada flails, moves around, scoops again, but Sanada fights out. DRAPING MAGIC KILLER! Cover, TWO!

Okada survives but Sanada keeps his cool. Also Yano is still stuck. Sanada brings Okada up for a backbreaker, then he goes to the corner. Sanada moonsaults but lands on his feet as Okada evades! Okada shotguns Sanada and Sanada falls on Yano, freeing him from the Paradise Lock! Yano flops out of the ring, Sanada and Okada are alone. Sanada elbows Okada away, Quebrada to the dragon sleeper! Okada hammers away but Sanada cranks on the hold! SKULL END! Desperado climbs up and leaps, FROG SPLASH onto them both! Desperado kicks Sanada out and drags Okada up. Guitarra del ANGEL! Cover, TWO!! Okada survives but Desperado isn’t done there! Desperado drags Okada up, underhooks, but Okada resists Pinche Loco to back drop! Desperado gets up first and rakes Okada’s eyes!

Desperado runs, Okada dropkicks him down! Okada gets the arm, DEEP IN DEBT! Desperado endures, grabs at the ref, but Okada yanks him away! The ref is down, Deep in Debt is still on! But Yano attacks from behind, rolls Okada up, YANO WINS!?!

Winner: Toru Yano, by pinfall (tentative Mr. KOPW 2020)

It was a LOW BLOW! Yano used a low blow on Okada! Yano apologizes to Okada while he accepts the trophy! Will the Producer, of all people, be the first-ever Mr. KOPW by the end of the year?

 

NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Minoru Suzuki!

The Dragon welcomes all comers, and now he has to deal with the Meanest Man in the World! Who wins this match that will surely redefine the term, “slug fest?”

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this battle finally happens!

The two want to fight but the ref has them wait for the bell. When the bell rings, these two fire off! Suzuki boots, forearms but Shingo is right there with him. Suzuki fires off several forearms but Shingo hits back with a Polish hammer! Shingo whips, Suzuki reverses and wrenches on a facelock. Shingo counters with a suplex! Fans cheer but Suzuki bails out. Shingo pursues and whips him into the barriers! Shingo drags Suzuki up, jabs and CHOPS against the post over and over and over! Suzuki stumbles away, Shingo puts him in the ring but Suzuki throws haymakers! Suzuki drags Shingo into a draping triangle hold! The ref counts, Suzuki lets go at 3 to run and BOOT Shingo off the apron! Shingo hits railing but Suzuki is right on him again.

Suzuki whips Shingo into railing! And then brings him around to whip into more railing! The ref reprimands but Suzuki takes his time punching away on Shingo. Suzuki boots Shingo, pushes the ref away and SLAPS Shingo! Suzuki laughs as he hits Shingo harder! Suzuki knees low, brings Shingo around to ram him into more railing! The ring count begins, Suzuki gets in at 4 of 20. Suzuki watches Shingo stagger about and goes back out to throw him into more railing! Suzuki puts Shingo in the ring, fans cheer as this match continues properly. Suzuki stomps Shingo but Shingo grits his teeth. Suzuki stands Shingo up and chops him, talking trash at the same time!

Suzuki chops and ROCKS Shingo, then snapmares to KICK Shingo in the back. But Shingo scowls as he eggs Suzuki on. Suzuki keeps kicking, Shingo wants more! Suzuki kicks, Shingo fires up to CHOP! Suzuki CHOPS, Shingo CHOPS, repeat! Shingo gets the edge, Suzuki catches a chop to knee low! Suzuki runs, but into an elbow! JAB and LARIAT! Both men are down but Suzuki is smiling! Suzuki heads to ropes while fans rally up. Shingo runs into the corner, blocks Suzuki’s boot and corner clotheslines! Shingo whips corner to corner to hit another clohtesline! SNAP SAIDO! Cover, TWO! Shingo stays fired up as the fans continue to rally. Shingo toys with Suzuki now, but Suzuki laughs as he throws forearms!

Suzuki whips and BOOTS Shingo in the corner, then snapmares to Penalty Kick! Cocky cover, ONE! Shingo grimaces but Suzuki grins as fans rally. Suzuki toys with Shingo now, giving him toying kicks. Shingo gets up to ROCK him with a right! Shingo has to chuckle now as Suzuki throws a forearm. Shingo gives it back and Suzuki nods. Suzuki throws another forearm, Shingo fires them back and the fans fire up as this gets fast and furious! Suzuki gets an edge, but Shingo gives forearms from all sides! Shingo ROCKS Suzuki and eggs him on, but Suzuki ROCKS Shingo back! Shingo wobbles, stands back up, so Suzuki ROCKS him again! Suzuki runs, into another back elbow.

Shingo runs, into a boot! Suzuki runs, Shingo clohteslines on the ropes. Shingo runs, dodges the boot, but Suzuki dodges the lariat to get the sleeper hold! Suzuki spins Shingo around but Shingo back drops out of the piledriver! Suzuki ducks the sliding lariat, Suzuki boots but Shingo comes back, only to be spun back into the sleeper! Suzuki wraps on tight but Shingo endures. The fans rally up, Suzuki cranks tighter and Shingo starts to fade! Shingo gets his second wind, but Suzuki squeezes it out of him! Suzuki spins Shingo, Gotch hold, but Shingo kicks against the driver! Shingo fireman’s carries, Death Valley Driver! Both men are down but Jingu is fired up!

Shingo and Suzuki stir, Shingo rises first but Suzuki follows. Shingo fires himself up, runs, PUMPING BOMBER! Cover, TWO!! Suzuki survives but Shingo keeps his cool. Shingo shouts and drags Suzuki up but Suzuki’s like dead weight. Shingo winds up but Suzuki boots, and boots, and boots! Suzuki tries for another but Shingo slips up under it, pump handle and lift, MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO!?! Suzuki survives and Shingo can’t believe it! The fans fire up again as Suzuki and Shingo rise. Shingo pump handles to torture rack, but Suzuki escapes Last of the Dragons to HEADBUTT Shingo from behind! And then from the front! Shingo eggs Suzuki on and Suzuki HEADBUTTS him down!

Suzuki dares Shingo to rise, SLAPS Shingo from all sides over and over with fast palm strikes, then keeps Shingo standing to keep going! But Shingo JABS and HEADBUTTS outta nowhere! Shingo runs, Suzuki follows and gets around, only for Shingo to still torture rack! Suzuki fights out, gets a sleeper hold on, then spins Shingo. Shingo spins through to LARIAT! Suzuki stays up, Shingo LARIATS again! Suzuki powers up to stay up but Shingo LARIATS him again! Shingo runs, into a dropkick! Both men are down and the fans are fired up again! Suzuki rises as fans rally, but Shingo gets head to head with him. They headbutt on the mat, throw forearms back and forth, then Shingo keeps Suzuki up to ROCK him again!

Suzuki ROCKS Shingo back, eggs Shingo on, and Shingo ROCKS him back! Suzuki smiles again as he ROCKS Shingo with another forearm. Suzuki eggs Shingo on, Shingo ROCKS him back! Both men are on wobbly legs but Suzuki ROCKS Shingo again. Shingo ROCKS Suzuki back. Suzuki bluntly headbutts Shingo! Shingo drops to a knee, Suzuki scowls but Shingo headbutts back! They go back to forearms back and forth, fans rally up, and Suzuki just keeps hitting Shingo! Shingo hits back but Suzuki ROCKS him again. And again! Suzuki just CLOBBERS Shingo with that forearm! Sleeper hold!! Shingo flails, fades, fans rally up but Suzuki spins Shingo around! Shingo gives a nod to his late mentors as he Gotch lifts for the PILEDRIVER!! Cover, Suzuki wins!!

Winner: Minoru Suzuki, by pinfall (NEW NEVER Openweight Champion)

The Dragon has lost his treasure! Suzuki triumphs and takes the title for his own! With what it took out of Shingo, what will it take for anyone to take the title from Suzuki?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi VS Taiji Ishimori!

The Ticking Timebomb couldn’t get revenge on the King of Darkness, but he sure isn’t about to let the Bone Soldier pile on. Will Hiromu have “fun” sending Bullet Club a message?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this rematch a long time coming begins!

Taiji boots the bad arm right away! He dodges Hiromu’s back hands, boots again then throws forearms! Hiromu forearms back and we have a brawl already! Taiji throws more forearms, runs but sees Hiromu drop down. Taiji stops to bring Hiromu up and whip but Hiromu reverses to follow. Taiji stops, dodges, and tilt-o-whirls, but Hiromu stops it part way! Hiromu powers up, Taiji slips off to waistlock, Hiromu standing switches and German Suplexes, but Taiji lands on his feet! Taiji dodges Hiromu, comes back, tilt-o-whirl takedown on the arm! Hiromu gets out, clutching his bad arm, but Taiji goes up and MOONSAULTS! Direct hit on the outside as fans fire up. Taiji gets in commentary’s face before putting Hiromu in.

Taiji climbs up and aims at that bad arm! 450 SPLASH ON THE ARM! Hiromu writhes, Taiji grabs the arm, rolls Hiromu and gets the YES LOCK! But Hiromu gets the ropebreak! Taiji lets go and smiles, knowing he has Hiromu right where he wants him. Hiromu walks around the way but Taiji follows. Taiji CLUBS Hiromu on the bad arm, wrenches the arm to a hammerlock and clubs it again. Taiji puts Hiromu in, drags him up to a corner and climbs up to wrap the arm around the ropes! Hiromu clubs Taiji while the ref counts, and Taiji stops at 3. Taiji CHOPS Hiromu, then CHOPS him again! Taiji whips Hiromu corner to corner, Hiromu slides out and it’s a cat ‘n’ mouse game! Hiromu comes back to SUNSET FLIP, but Taiji lands on his feet out of the bomb!

Taiji forearms then hammerlocks the bad arm to POST it! Hiromu falls, clutches the arm and the ref checks on him. The ref tells Taiji to stay back but Taiji refuses, and he puts Hiromu back in. Cover, ONE!! Taiji is upset with the count but he sneers as he looms over Hiromu. The fans rally up, Taiji kicks Hiromu but Hiromu chops back. And chops again, but it doesn’t bother Taiji. Taiji kicks, runs but into Hiromu’s huricanrana! Hiromu stands, runs corner to corner at Taiji, and corner clotheslines! Hiromu snapmares Taiji to basement dropkick him out of the ring! Fans fire up as Hiromu takes off the shoulder tape! Hiromu goes to the apron for a FLYING JOHN WOO! The dropkick sends Taiji into railing!

A ring count begins as both men are down on the outside. Hiromu is up, drags Taiji around and puts him in. Hiromu drags Taiji up, suplexes for the Falcon Arrow! Cover, TWO! Hiromu grows frustrated but he focuses on getting his arm moving. Taiji is in the corner, Hiromu runs corner to corner and clotheslines! Hiromu runs corner to corner again but Taiji follows to dropkick Hiromu down! Taiji keeps moving, but he runs into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! But Taiji lands on the ropes?! Hiromu hurries to get Taiji into the fireman’s carry, but Taiji pops up, POISON RANA!! Hiromu flounders, Taiji runs, but into another OVERHEAD! And this time he crashes into buckles! Both men are down, fans fire up again as both stir.

Hiromu is up first, drags Taiji up to a fireman’s carry, DYNAMITE PLUNGER! Cover, TWO!! Taiji survives but Hiromu keeps his focus as fans cheer. Hiromu fireman’s carries again, Taiji slips off but Hiromu blocks the knee. Taiji deflects the clothesline, boots, then runs, but Hiromu clotheslines at the ropes! Hiromu runs, Taiji reels him in, GERMAN SUPLEX! Hiromu is up!? Hiromu GERMANS Taiji! Both men rise, Taiji and Hiromu fire up to collide with clotheslines! Neither falls, Taiji runs but into a LARIAT! Hiromu can’t cover, he’s too exhausted! Fans build back to a rally as Hiromu rises. Hiromu fires himself up, fans clap along, and he drags Taiji to a suplex. Hiromu lifts, BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!!

Taiji survives again but Hiromu keeps his focus. Hiromu drags Taiji back up and fans rally. Hiromu dragon sleepers, lifts, but Taiji slips out to go after the bad arm! Hiromu resists, swings punches but Taiji ducks them. Hiromu wheelbarrows to a COMPLETE SHOT! Fans fire up again, Hiromu drags Taiji back up to the dragon sleeper and suplex, but Taiji slips out! Taiji gut wrenches, to the CIPHER UTAKI! But Taiji can’t cover, because now HE is too exhausted! Fans rally as Taiji goes to a corner. Hiromu stirs but Taiji rises. Taiji aims from the corner as Hiromu sits up. Hiromu stands, Taiji hits the tilt-o-whirl takedown to the YES LOCK!! Hiromu endures as Taiji cranks back on his neck and shoulder! Hiromu moves around, reaches, and gets the ROPEBREAK!

Taiji lets go in frustration but Hiromu isn’t done yet. Taiji takes aim, drags Hiromu up, but no Bloody Cross as Hiromu arm-drags out! Hiromu swings Taiji around, Taiji blocks the huricanrana to BUCKLE BOMB! But Hiromu rises up!! Taiji KNEES him, Hiromu SUPERKICKS! Hiromu runs, into Taiji’s LARIAT!! Both men are down again and the fans are thunderous! Taiji drags Hiromu up, the fans rally but Taiji goes for Bloody- NO! Fireman’s carry, CORNER DEATH VALLEY! Hiromu fires up again, drags Taiji back up to a fireman’s carry, and swings for TIMEBOMB!! Cover, TWO!?! Taiji survives and Hiromu is raging!

Hiromu uses that rage to power up and drag Taiji up again. Dragon sleeper, lift, and TIMEBOMB- No! Taiji fights through to INVERTED BLOODY CROSS!! Then Taiji drags Hiromu into the YES LOCK!! Hiromu flails, kicks, but Taiji just rolls him away from the ropes! The Yes Lock is on even tighter! Hiromu TAPS, Taiji wins!!

Winner: Taiji Ishimori, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)

The Timebomb has been defused! Bullet Club has even more gold now! Taiji mocks Hiromu with the belt that was just his before leaving. Will Bullet Club conquer the night with Evil and Naito still in the main event?

 

IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: The Dangerous Tekkers VS The Golden Aces!

It was only back in July that Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. won these titles off Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi, but they made it feel like much longer with all the taunting they’ve done. But now, Dominion is revisited, and the Golden Aces have another chance! Will Ibushi and Tanahashi truly put the “golden” back in their team name?

The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and Taichi mocks Tanahashi’s muscular reveal while he takes off the cloak. The teams sort out, and we start with the Maestro, and despite Tanahashi really wanting to, Ibushi!

Fans rally right from the bell, Ibushi waits, and Taichi slowly circles with him. They approach, but Tanahashi points out ZSJ getting in! Ibushi kicks ZSJ down and then Tanahashi jumps in! The Aces go after Taichi together with clubbing forearms, then they double elbow ZSJ down. The Aces whip Taichi, double elbow him, Tanahashi drops an elbow, Ibushi corkscrew splashes! The Aces shake hands and drop elbows together! The fans fire up for the air guitar! Ibushi tags Tanahashi in and Tanahashi dares Taichi to stand. Taichi does, Tanahashi does and hits leaping forearms! Tanahashi DECKS ZSJ, but Taichi DANGEROUS SAIDOS! ZSJ DECKS Ibushi while Taichi covers, TWO!!

ZSJ digs his heels into Ibushi but Taichi toys with Tanahashi. Tanahashi rolls to the apron but Taichi pushes him off. ZSJ throws EuroUppers on Ibushi, Taichi drags Tanahashi up and scoops him, snake eyes on the railing! Tanahashi is down right in front of commentary, Taichi drags him back up, ZSJ keeps beating Ibushi up as Taichi chokes Tanahashi on the rails! Red Shoes reprimands, Taichi keeps going but Ibushi turns things around on ZSJ! The ring count begins as ZSJ whips Ibushi into railing. The count reaches 10 of 20 as Taichi whips Tanahashi into railing. The count is 15, Taichi puts Tanahashi in at 16, just to bring him back out and whip into more railing!

Taichi takes his time fetching Tanahashi, and chokes him with camera cables! Taichi mocks Tanhashi, Ibushi rushes over but ZSJ drags Ibushi away in a sleeper! The ring count begins again, reaches 10 of 20 again as the Tekkers do whatever they want to the Aces. The count is 15, Taichi puts Tanahashi in at 16, but keeps him in this time for a cocky cover. Red Shoes refuses, he saw everything that happened. Taichi drags Tanahashi up to bump him off buckles. Tag to ZSJ, ZSJ drags Tanahashi into a full nelson, then spins him for a cravat. ZSJ cranks on the neck, then uses his legs to CRANK the neck! Cover, TWO!

ZSJ keeps close to Tanahashi and tags in Taichi. Tanahashi endures the chinlock with the boot digging in! Taichi kneels on Tanahashi’s chest, but he stops to tell Ibushi to stay back. ZSJ and Taichi now have reverse roles in cranking Tanahashi’s neck while digging in boots. Red Shoes reprimands, ZSJ stops but Taichi cranks a little longer. Fans rally for Tanahashi but Taichi tags ZSJ. ZSJ drags Tanahashi around by his ears, hooks the face, then wraps on a straitjacket stretch. The fans rally, Tanahashi fights up, pries free of the hold, and turns it around on ZSJ. ZSJ turns it back, drags Tanahashi down, and CRANKS his neck again!

Taichi tags in, he kicks Ibushi off the apron, then toys with Tanahashi. Fans rally up and Tanahashi gets angry with every toying kick. Taichi talks trash, Tanahashi throws forearms! Taichi chokes Tanahashi to the corner! Red Shoes reprimands, Taichi stops, and whips Tanahashi corner to corner but Tanahashi reverses. Tanahashi blocks the gamangiri, hops up and leaps, crossbody! Both men are down and the fans fire up. Tanahashi and Taichi rise, crawl, hot tag to Ibushi! Ibushi blasts ZSJ off the apron, boots Taichi and whips, SPINNING POWERSLAM! PLANCHA onto ZSJ! The fans fire up as Ibushi keeps moving, standing shooting star! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps his cool as he soaks up the cheers from the fans.

Ibushi drags Taichi up, full nelsons, but Taichi breaks free and elbows back. Taichi waistlocks, but Ibushi blocks the saido and elbows free. Taichi back KICKS, talks trash and then front KICKS! Ibushi just brushes that off to KICK back! Has Ibushi flipped the mean streak switch? Taichi stays standing, fans cheer as Taichi kicks back. Ibushi KICKS! Taichi shakes it off, kicks again, but Ibushi grits his teeth to KICK! GAMANGIRI outta nowhere! ZSJ DECKS Tanahashi and now Taichi has Ibushi to himself. Off come the pants! Taichi aims from the corner, but Ibushi blocks the superkick to back KICK! Taichi BOOTS, Ibushi keeps going, Taichi ROUNDHOUSES! But Ibushi ROUNDHOUSES back! Both are down and fans fire up!

The two stir as fans rally, Ibushi and Taichi crawl, hot tags to Tanahashi and ZSJ! Tanahashi blocks a boot to DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi stomps ZSJ to the apron, puts the leg through the ropes, for a DRAGON SCREW! Fans fire up as ZSJ writhes and Tanahashi grabs the legs. Tanahashi gets the Cloverleaf but ZSJ gets to the ropes. Tanahashi lets go fast, waits for ZSJ to rise, and runs, but ZSJ counters Sling Blade to a backslide! Tanahashi resists, the two struggle but that bad leg hurts ZSJ’s chances. Taichi DECKS Ibushi then BOOTS Tanahashi! The Tekkers drag Tanahashi up to finish him! Red Shoes reprimands as Taichi chicken wings, but Ibushi missile dropkicks ZSJ down! Ibushi has Taichi, Tanahashi gives him the DRAGON SCREW!

Ibushi and Tanahashi now target ZSJ as they did a couple days ago, and he gets the DRAGON SCREW! Fans are thunderous as Ibushi takes care of Taichi. Tanahashi aims at ZSJ, but ZSJ counters Sling Blade to the arm scissors! ZSJ gets the other arm for Yes, I’m Far Away From Home!! Tanahashi endures as ZSJ keeps shifting, twisting and pulling!! Ibushi and Taichi are busy on the outside, ZSJ adds a leg! Tanahashi endures so much pain, Ibushi stares down at ZSJ. Ibushi pries Tanahashi free, wants to blast ZSJ but Taichi runs in with the metal fingers! Ibushi KICKS the hand away! V-TRIGGER for ZSJ! BOOT for Taichi! The Aces give Taichi the GOLDEN BLADE!!

Fans are thunderous as the Aces drag ZSJ up, GOLDEN BLADE!! Tanahashi is feeling the electricity, Ibushi keeps Taichi down with a PLANCHA! Tanahashi is up top, for the ACES HIGH crossbody! Then he goes back up, HIGH FLY FLOW!! But ZSJ moves!! It flops, and the Tekkers bring Tanahashi up, for ZACK MEPHISTO! Cover, the Dangerous Tekkers win!!

Winners: The Dangerous Tekkers, by pinfall (still IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)

ZSJ and Taichi SURVIVE against the Aces! Ibushi is in shock that things turned around so suddenly. Will the Golden Aces find a way back to the titles? Or have the Tekkers shut them out for good?

 

IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championships: EVIL w/ Dick Togo VS Tetsuya Naito!

Speaking of Dominion revisited, the King of Darkness won the New Japan Cup, betrayed his friends in Los Ingobernables de Japon and joined up with The Spoiler and Bullet Club! His reign has defined the Summer Struggle, but will the Uncontrollable Charisma change it all back?

The introductions are made, but as Evil drops the Intercontinental belt at Red Shoes’ feet, Dick gets in Naito’s face. Naito kicks and throws him out! Fans cheer that, but Evil BELT SHOTS Naito with the heavyweight title! Evil was one step ahead and now he stomps Naito on the outside! The bell rings so this is on record, and Evil chokes Naito on the railing. Evil CLUBS Naito, then stomps him around. Fans are silently upset as the Bullet Club Low Sweet. Evil grins at the cameras but fans start to rally up for Naito. Evil drags Naito up and whips him into railing! Dick taunts Naito as Evil looks around for things. Evil has a pair of chairs! Evil puts one chair around Naito’s head and has the other one. Everyone knows Naito loves baseball, so Evil gives Naito a HOME RUN!

Naito writhes and Evil paces, and Evil poses as he stands on Naito. Evil eggs Naito on, gets back in the ring, and Red Shoes reprimands. Dick gets away with standing on Naito! Fans rally for Naito but Evil unties the blue corner’s buckle pads. Bullet Club loves that corner. Red Shoes starts a ring count, Naito stirs at 7. Dick taunts Naito but Naito stands at 11 of 20. Naito stands at 13, hobbles over at 15, takes a second and is in at 18! Evil stomps Naito down right away, then whips him into the bare buckles! Naito falls down, screaming in pain, but Evil just stands on him with a cocky pin. Red Shoes refuses to count but Evil is fine soaking up the heat. Fans rally, the app users cheer for Naito and boo Evil, but Evil brings Naito up.

Naito throws body shots but Evil whips him back into the bad corner! Naito writhes again but Evil mocks his pain. Fans rally, Evil drags Naito into a chinlock. Naito endures, even as Evil digs his knee in. Naito fights up, fans rally, Naito throws body shots. Naito runs, Evil dodges and Dick trips Naito up! Evil cools off but fans build to another rally. Naito stirs, Evil just soaks it all up. Evil drags Naito up, spins him for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Evil grows upset with Red Shoes, and the fans continue to rally for Naito. Evil paces, pretends like he can’t hear them, then drag Naito back up. Evil suplexes but Naito blocks! Fans rally more, Naito keeps blocking suplexes, and now Naito tries a suplex! Evil blocks, gets Naito up and over but Naito slips out to waistlock.

Evil elbows him away, whips Naito but Naito reverses, tornado but no DDT! Evil kicks the legs out, runs, but into Naito’s shotgun dropkick! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Naito and Evil stir as the rally continues. Naito sits up, Evil follows, and Naito throws haymakers and kicks. Naito clubs, whips, but Evil reverses. Evil swings on Naito but Naito ducks to baseball slide Dick! Fans cheer that, then Naito boots Evil to huricanrana! Evil gets to a corner, Naito runs and hits the rocket kick! COMBINACION CABRON! Naito poses as fans fire up again. Naito drags Evil up, turns him and hits a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Fans keep rallying as Dick coaches Evil.

Naito rises, brings Evil up with him, then swings him to a backbreaker and wraps on Pluma Blanca! Evil endures but Dick has a chair! Red Shoes reprimands, checks on Evil at the same time, but Naito lets go so he can swing on Dick. Dick gets away, Naito goes back to Evil but Evil kicks low. Naito blocks, Evil gets around and pulls hair! Naito breaks free, kicks but Evil blocks and hands it off to Red Shoes, and Evil mule kicks low! Evil grins and nods as he catches his breath. Naito rises as the fans rally again, and Naito gets to a corner. Evil runs corner to corner, Naito boots but is blocked! Evil turns Naito sideways, has him on the ropes, DRAPING STOMP! Evil soaks up the heat while Naito clutches his head.

Evil goes out to the apron and drags Naito up. Evil fireman’s carries but Naito blocks by holding ropes! Naito elbows and clubs Evil, Red Shoes tells Dick to back off, but Evil rakes Naito’s eyes! Red Shoes reprimands, Evil stops but fireman’s carries again. Naito fights out and sweeps the legs! Naito drags Evil around, DRAPING NECKBREAKER! Both men are down on the ground and fans cheer! Dick checks on Evil as the fans rally back up. Naito rises and a ring count begins again. Dick gets Evil some water, but Naito rises at 10 of 20. Naito drags Evil up, puts him in at 14, and fans cheer that this is continuing.

Naito gets up, drags Evil up to the top rope, and Naito climbs up to join him. Naito fires off forearms then steadies himself, SUPER STEINER! Cover, TWO! Evil lives but Naito keeps his cool. Naito drags Evil up, hammerlocks and hooks, but Evil resists! Evil fights out, Naito CLUBS him on the back then stomps him. Naito gives toying kicks to Evil as he eggs him on. Evil grins as he stays down, it seems he’s learned from Jay White. Naito keeps kicking Evil, drags him up and whips, but Evil reverses and redirects into the bad corner! Naito hits the buckles and falls again, but the fans slowly build to another rally.

Evil and Naito slowly rise, Evil aims at Naito in the white corner, and hits a BIG corner clothesline! Evil hoists Naito up top, climbs up to join him, and fans are silently worried as Evil stands up. Evil stands Naito up, for a SUPERPLEX! Naito sits up but flops right over! Cover, TWO!! Evil is furious and so is Dick, but Naito still lives! Evil drags Naito back up, fireman’s carries, DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO!?!? Naito survives and shocks Evil! Fans rally for Naito but Evil drags Naito back up. Evil slashes the throat, spins Naito around, but Naito denies the STO! Naito waistlocks, Evil rams Naito back into the bad corner! Evil whips, Naito reverses, TORNADO DDT! Both men are down but the fans fire back up.

Naito rises slowly, but Evil follows. Naito and Evil are in opposite corners but Naito runs for the rolling heel kick! Naito hammerlocks, hooks and lifts, GLORIA! But Naito doesn’t bother covering out of that, he stalks Evil and drags him up in the corner. Naito climbs, brings Evil in, TORNADO INVERTED DDT! Cover, TWO!! Evil lives but Naito isn’t deterred! Fans cheer as Naito drags Evil back up. Naito wrenches, but Evil rakes eyes! No Destino as Evil shoves Naito and gets in Red Shoes’ face. Dick SMACKS Naito with a chair!! EVERYTHING- NO! Naito denies Evil his favorite and ELBOWS him back! Fans cheer as both men lean on each other to stand. Naito fires off more elbows, both men fall to their knees again, but Naito gets up to fire off even more elbows.

Naito swings one more elbow, Evil waistlocks and shouts to Dick! Naito switches and shoves Evil into Dick! Naito kicks, whips but Evil reverses, and uses Red Shoes as a shield! Naito stops himself and that causes his leg to buckle! Both men are down again but the fans rally again. Evil pushes Red Shoes into the bad corner?! The bare buckles hurt Red Shoes and he asks what the hell! But this is so Dick can get in unrestrained! Dick stomps Naito, the app fans boo and jeer but Dick soaks up the heat. Dick drops an elbow on Naito and then has Naito set up for Evil. Evil drags Naito up, he and Dick give Naito MAGIC KILLER! Evil drags Naito around, but here comes BUSHI! Bushi won’t let this go and he dropkicks Evil down!

Bushi DECKS Dick and tells Naito to stay in this. But Gedo is here! Gedo goes after Bushi’s eyes! He insults Bushi and knocks him out of the ring! Gedo RAMS Bushi into barriers while Evil grabs more chairs. Evil aims at Naito as the fans rally. Naito kicks Evil first! Dick uses the SPOILER GARROTE! Dick chokes Naito, Evil JAMS Naito with the chair! But here comes SANADA! Sanada dropkicks the chair into Evil! And he dropkicks Dick, then fireman’s carries for the TKO! Gedo gets in to get a BOOT! CODE BREAKER! Gedo flounders out, Bushi and Sanada DOUBLE PLANCHA onto Gedo and Dick! LIJ keeps the Bullet Club stooges away so now it’s just Evil and Naito all alone! Fans are thunderous as Naito and Evil stir.

Evil and Naito slowly rise, and Naito dodges Evil to enziguri! Naito whips, Evil reverses but Naito hits leaping forearms! Naito aims from a corner, runs, tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO!! Cover, TWO!! Evil survives but Naito still isn’t done. Naito drags Evil up, wrenches, tilt-o-whirl but no Destino as Evil grabs Red Shoes! Evil mule kick LOW BLOWS Naito!! Evil runs, and LARIATS Naito!! Cover, TWO!!! Naito survives and Evil is furious! Evil seethes while the fans rally up again. Evil hobbles and wobbles but he slashes the throat. Evil drags Naito up, spins him around, but Naito elbows out of Everything. Evil still tries, Naito spins him, reels him in, escapes and flips over, but Evil falls so whatever Naito wanted, it was more like a sloppy DDT!

Both men slowly rise, Naito basement enziguris! Naito fires himself up, drags Evil back to his feet, but blocks the low blow! Red Shoes reprimands, Naito elbows and SLAPS! Scoop, VALENTIA! Naito drags Evil back up, tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO!! Cover, Naito wins!!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Champion)

The Double Championship returns to Naito! Jingu is thunderous with this victory for LIJ over Bullet Club! Naito stands tall as he makes history by becoming a two-time double champion, as he was the one to start NJPW on this path. Naito is given a mic to speak to the fans both at Jingu and at home.

“Buenos noches, JINGU STADIUM~!” 21 years since NJPW has been here, and Naito is honored to have been part of this midsummer night main event. How did they like it? The fans cheer because they loved it! To win in Jingu Stadium, with everyone watching around the world, and those here enduring the heat, he thanks you for being part of it! But of course, with times being what they are with the pandemic and shut downs, we have endured, to see a bright light at the end of the tunnel! Let’s all overcome together!

Naito says that this is the end of the Summer Struggle, and though fans live aren’t allowed to shout even with masks on, he still wants to do the LIJ tradition from the heart. This is the best way to end the finale of Summer Struggle, especially in Jingu. “BUSHI! SANADA! HIROMU! TAKAGI! Y Naito! NOSOTROS, Los Ingoberrrrrrnableeees~! DE! JA! PON!!” The fans cheer and the fireworks begin! A perfect end to a powerful summer! Naito poses under the lights and the fireworks, this image alone might inspire young fans into becoming wrestlers the same way seeing wrestling in this stadium inspired him. Will Naito continue to blaze his trail in NJPW history now that he has both belts back?


My Thoughts:

What an incredible ending to Summer Struggle, and just an incredible event all its own! Wato and Kanemaru even put on a good match so there was no skipping anything! Kanemaru playing possum was both brilliant veteran work but also some confusing story telling, because I honestly thought he just landed safely out of Wato’s move for a second there. But it works to show Wato still has a ways to go, so there’s clearly going to be more with him going against Suzuki-Gun. Suzuki-Gun came out on top tonight overall, with Suzuki having a great match with Shingo and winning the Openweight title, and then to my surprise, Dangerous Tekkers retaining the tag titles. They pulled the rug right out from everyone at the end there with ZSJ and Taichi getting Tanahashi that quickly with the combo move. I’m starting to wonder if Ibushi still turns on Tanahashi, just as the Tekkers tried to do all this time.

The KOPW Fatal 4 Way was a lot of fun, I didn’t expect Yano to be stuck in the Paradise Lock that long but it did great to keep some lightheartedness in that match. And while I expected Okada to lose his own invention, I could not have foreseen it being Yano who came back around to win! This is the one thing Suzuki-Gun didn’t win tonight, and I was hoping Sanada would get it, but I’m not disappointed that it’s Yano. KOPW is going to have every match be a special stipulation as put forward and voted on, I’m just as curious as commentary about what Yano will come up with. And that was another thing not even really part of the show but great on NJPW as a company, they got English commentary going live with Japanese commentary!

I pretty much got the Junior Heavyweight and Double Championship matches backwards in my predictions Thursday. I thought NJPW would give us more feel good moments, but Hiromu losing and Golden Aces losing set us up for the happy ending of Naito winning! Hiromu and Taiji have a great match and of course the arm comes into play. Naito and Evil was incredible stuff, and it was great to finally have LIJ guys even things with Bullet Club. Sanada and Bushi take care of Dick and Gedo, but I almost thought that would lead to Naito losing so Evil can take on the rest of LIJ in his reign. We could still get stories like that, where Evil and Sanada face off as former tag partners and tag champions.

As for Naito, he wins because he vows to do double duty by defending each title individually. That is very daring, and it might even become a major thread in New Japan Road tour before we get to G1 Climax 30 in the Fall. The dates for G1 Climax were posted and wow, 19 events within 30 days from 9/19 to 10/18. That really jams a lot into a little time, but the G1 is mostly about the Heavyweight Championship. Maybe whoever isn’t in the G1 can take Naito on for the Intercontinental Championship just so Naito stays active.

My Score: 9.4/10


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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (1/25/21)

Will the Empress still reign?

Published

on

Coverage Raw 2021

Raw is revving up towards the Royal Rumble!

The Royal Rumble is this Sunday, but a lot could change right before it! Will Asuka still be Raw Women’s Champion after a rematch with twisted Alexa Bliss?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax; Charlotte wins, by disqualification.
  • Six Woman Tag: Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax & Lacey Evans; Flair, Rose & Brooke win by count out, but restarted, Jax, Baszler & Evans win by pinfall.
  • Slapjack w/ Retribution VS Xavier Woods; Woods wins.
  • Sheamus VS John Morrison w/ The Miz; Sheamus wins.
  • 2v1 Handicap Match: The Miz & John Morrison VS Sheamus; The Miz & Morrison win.
  • R-Truth VS AJ Styles w/ Omos; Styles wins and Truth is NOT in the Royal Rumble match.
  • United States Championship Opportunity Gauntlet Match: Matt Riddle VS The Hurt Business; Riddle wins and will challenge Bobby Lashley for the title.
  • Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka VS Alexa Bliss; Bliss wins by disqualification, Asuka retains the title.

PLAY BY PLAY

Drew McIntyre is back!

The WWE World Champion is healthy and ready for his match this Sunday at the Royal Rumble PPV! McIntyre has the mic, and he says it feels so good to be back on Raw! McIntyre thanks the fans for their get-well wishes all over social media. The outpouring of support means the world to him. McIntyre was lucky with the COVID symptoms. He’s 100% now and will be for the Rumble, but he’ll dedicate his match to those dealing with COVID. We will get through this together.

But speaking of being sick, McIntyre would have to be out of his mind if he took Goldberg lightly at all. McIntyre watched Goldberg since McIntyre was a teen. Goldberg came out of nowhere and rose to the top, running through opponent after opponent, 173-0 to then defat Hulk Hogan for the championship! Then he went through The Rock, the rest of the WWE, and then just disappeared. The last thing to go in a heavyweight fighter is their power. Goldberg returned the exact same animal he’s always been, set a new streak, and has beaten every new champion he’s faced! But McIntyre vows to END the new streak! This Sunday, McIntyre is STILL going to be WWE World Champion!

McIntyre says he’s fired up and wants to start things right, but here comes The Miz and John Morrison. Miz says this Sunday IS the Royal Rumble, and McIntyre VS Goldberg will be one for the ages! WWE’s Godzilla VS King Kong! Two of the hardest hitting monsters of all time! But when something that big happens, there tends to be consequences… What might those be? Well, at the very least, one or both of them, by the end, could end up injured! Oh no~! Then what would happen? Well we can’t give that away. Oh c’mon! Well okay. “Hey, John~! Whichever superstar is left standing by the end of that match will be?” A sitting duck! CORRECT!

And then these two hit the ring. CORRECT! And then they beat the hell out of whoever is champion! COOOOOORRECT! And then, Mr. Money in the Bank, will cash-in, and all you’ll hear is… “The winner, and NEW WWE World Champion… THEEEE MIIIIIZ~!” But here comes Goldberg! McIntyre waits as the pyro goes off, and out steps the Icon himself! No faking it with Gillberg this time, Goldberg storms his way to the ring with a mic of his own! Challenger stares down champion and says, “You. Me. Sunday. You’re next.” Miz and Morrison like that and then egg the two on. But that only gets Goldberg and McIntyre glaring at them.

McIntyre and Goldberg drag Miz and Morrison into the ring! SPEAR for Miz! CLAYMORE for Morrison! Then back to staring the other down! McIntyre raises the belt, but will Goldberg be raising it after the Rumble?

 

Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair!

The Royal Rumble is Sunday, but she’s going 1v1 with Shayna Baszler for the first time! If there’s one thing Charlotte does well, it’s performing under pressure. Shayna should bring that invisible crown, because it’s one thing to say you’re a queen, it’s another to be one. Charlotte loves defying odds, and she’s always willing to bet on herself, #MsWrestleMania. So the “situation” with Lacey Evans and her father won’t cause an issue? Charlotte says she’s seen her dad in a lot of dark places, this might be his darkest. Charlotte knows Lacey’s intentions. It’s one thing to have the last name Flair, it’s another to carry the weight of that name. But for now, Charlotte focuses on Shayna.

Charlotte Flair VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax!

While the Empress of Tomorrow is busy with Lil’ Ms. Bliss, the Queen will see how ready the Queen of Spades is this close to their WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship rematch! Will Shayna be rolling towards the huge Sunday double header she has planned for herself?

The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Charlotte headlocks, but Shayna pries out to wrench and whip. Charlotte reverses, runs in but blocks a boot to give an elbow! Charlotte spins Shayna around into the ropes, elbows her down, then runs to dropkick Nia down for good measure! Shayna rushes in to get the sleeper! Charlotte rams Shayna into buckles, throws her off, then BOOTS her down! Charlotte gets the legs, Figure Four but Shayna fights it off! They move around, NIA drops a leg!!

Winner: Charlotte Flair, by disqualification

The challengers mug Charlotte! Charlotte fights back but here come Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose! The Sexy Muscle Friends fight Shayna and Nia off of Charlotte! Shayna kicks Mandy’s leg but Charlotte CLOBBERS Shayna! But here comes LACEY EVANS! Lacey brawls with Charlotte and it is chaos as Raw goes to break!

 

Six Woman Tag: Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax & Lacey Evans!

Raw returns, and battle lines have been drawn! Will the Queen and Sexy Muscle Friends get payback together against the troublemakers?

Mandy starts with Lacey and the two circle. They tie up, Lacey pulls hair, but lets off as the ref counts. Lacey does the strut but Mandy gets the arm. Mandy wrenches and yanks but Lacey uses a leg to pry free and wrench back. Mandy gets around to headlock, throw Lacey down and keep her down. Lacey pulls hair again, then headscissors free. Lacey copies the “WOO~!” but Mandy kicks free. Mandy headlocks again, Lacey powers out but things speed up. Mandy KICKS Lacey while she’s down! Mandy headlocks again, shifts around, and tags in Dana. They bring Lacey around to double suplex! Dana covers, TWO!

Dana keeps on Lacey with a whip and runs her over with a shoulder! Dana flexes, covers, TWO! Dana keeps Lacey away from her corner with a whip and hip toss! Handspring and stomp! Cover, TWO! Dana grows annoyed, she drags Lacey back over and tags in Charlotte. Lacey scrambles away to tag Shayna! Shayna and Charlotte continue where things left off, Charlotte blocks a kick to run and baits Shayna into buckles! But Shayna dodges the splash to fire off fast hands! Shayna KICKS the leg, but Charlotte avoids the knee to CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP! Charlotte scoops and EXPLODERS Shayna to then kip up! Charlotte swipes at Lacey but goes after Shayna.

Charlotte brings Shayna over, tags in Dana, and Dana tags Mandy. Snapmare and double handspring BOOT! Mandy covers, ONE! Mandy drags Shayna back up, tags Dana in and they stomp away in the corner! Dana CHOPS and Charlotte lets out a “WOO~!” Dana CHOPS again, then tags in Charlotte. Charlotte and Shayna scrap, Charlotte CLUBS Shayna down then whips her to a corner. Shayna reverses but Charlotte tumbles up and out to then hit back with forearms! Charlotte KNEES Shayna through the ropes then drags her to the floor! Shayna hits the steps on the way down and hurries away. Nia checks on her teammate but the ring count is climbing! Shayna shoves Charlotte in at 8 but can’t get in herself, she’s COUNTED OUT!

Winners: Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke, by count out

The Queen managed to get in the heads of her opponents and it cost them! Will it be this easy when it’s Charlotte and Asuka VS Shayna and Nia?

Raw returns, and it is NOT over! Adam Pearce had this match restart over commercial, and now Nia is throwing Dana around! Dana BOOTS then kicks low to throw forearms! Dana runs, Nia reels her in but Dana throws elbows! Dana handsprings and headscissors to throw Nia into a corner! Dana runs and handspring sin to back elbow! Dana keeps moving, but Nia CLOBBERS Dana! Cover, TWO! Nia drags Dana over and tags in Lacey. Lacey gets in Dana’s face and knocks her down, but the ref reprimands. Lacey drops down for a cover, TWO! Lacey stomps Dana in frustration, drops knees on Dana’s hand, then digs her into the ropes! The ref counts and Lacey lets off.

Lacey taunts Charlotte, tags Shayna, and they mug Dana in the corner. Shayna fires off body shots, snapmares Dana and KICKS her in the back! Shayna covers, TWO! Shayna has Dana’s arm, twists the wrist and STOMPS the arm! Nia tags in and goes after the arm with a cobra clutch! Dana endures as Nia smothers her then thrashes her around! Nia brings Dana up but Dana throws more elbows! Dana pushes but Nia pushes back, and Nia blocks the huricanrana! Dana manages to sunset flip but Nia breaks free, but Dana avoids the sit down! Hot tag to Mandy and Lacey! Mandy dodges Lacey to DECK Shayna, then Mandy fires off, and FLAPJACKS!

Mandy fires up, picks Lacey up and powers her to a corner! Mandy fires off forearms, the ref counts but Mandy runs to give Lacey a KNEE FROM A ROSE!! Cover, but Shayna breaks it! Charlotte SPEARS Shayna! Nia CLOBBERS Charlotte! Nia drags Lacey to the corner to tag in! Nia aims at Mandy, Lacey drags Charlotte out but Charlotte glares. They run into the empty ringside area and Dana tags in! Nia still runs in but only gets POST! Dana manages to hit the ROLLING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Nia survives but Dana heads up top! But Nia drags her off with a ROCKET LAUNCHER TOSS!

Nia snarls and drags Dana up again, into a lift, for a CHOKE SLAM!! And a LEG DROP! Cover, Nia’s team wins!

Winners: Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler & Lacey Evans, by pinfall

Count out, controversy, whatever it is, that’s all the past now! Nia and Shayna are rolling towards the Royal Rumble, will they leave tag team champions as well as a Women’s Rumble winner?

 

Raw shares a WWE Network Exclusive from last week.

After Retribution’s Mace beat Xavier Woods, Mustafa Ali had a message. “Kofi, Xavier, people love watching you because you are their escape from reality.” But retribution is the reminder of reality! So get well soon, Kofi.

And in a message from earlier today, Ali answers Kofi’s burning question of why Retribution is after The New Day. To have the audacity to ask that! Kofi’s greatest moment came from Ali’s worst! KofiMania happened at Ali’s expense. That was Ali’s spot in the Elimination Chamber and it could’ve been Ali’s moment at WrestleMania! Ali feels the New Day took everything from him, so will he try to take everything from them?

Slapjack w/ Retribution VS Xavier Woods!

Raw returns as Woods makes his entrance. Woods is in no mood after having faced Ali’s allies twice already. The bell rings and Woods shotgun dropkicks Slapjack down! Woods throws hands, CHOPS Slapjack to a corner, then CHOPS him more! Woods whips corner to corner then back drops Slapjack high and hard! Slapjack flounders but Woods is on him. Slapjack throws Woods to the apron but Woods forearms back! Slapjack KNEES Woods, ROCKS him with a right, then slingshots out then in for an ELBOW DROP! Cover, TWO! Slapjack digs Woods’ face into the mat, then stomps him down!

Slapjack stomps Woods more, digs his face into the mat more, then stomps him again! Slapjack goes to a corner, hops up and leaps, but Woods avoids the stomp! Woods shoves Slapjack then blocks punches to give punches! And CHOPS! And CHOPS again! Woods fires off over and over, whips but Slapjack reverses, only for Woods to tilt-o-whirl to a Russian Leg Sweep! Woods fires up again before he dodges and LEG LARIATS! Woods whips, Slapjack reverses and UPPERCUTS! Woods boots back, and hits the HONOR ROLL! Cover, TWO!! Slapjack survives and Ali has T-Bar make a move.

Woods sees T-Bar coming but Slapjack rolls Woods, only for Woods to SHINING WIZARD! Cover, Woods wins!!

Winner: Xavier Woods, by pinfall

Mace chases Woods, but Woods gets out, only for T-Bar to BOOT Woods! T-Bar puts Woods back in and Retribution surrounds him! Ali says to “SHUT HIM DOWN!” T-Bar and Mace give Woods a DOUBLE CHOKE BOMB! Ali gets Slapjack up to get a chair and Slapjack does as ordered. T-Bar and Mace sit Woods up and Slapjack hands the chair to Ali. Ali scowls and demands Woods look at him. Ali raises the chair up, but he smirks as he spares Woods. Ali takes a seat and has Reckoning fetch him a mic.

“All this talk about wanting to be King of the Ring, but man, do you sure look like a peasant right now.” But like a real king, ALI will show mercy. “And for that, you are going to do exactly what I say. You are going to deliver a message to Kofi Kingston.” Tell Kofi that Ali heard the sad news that Kofi won’t make it to this year’s Rumble. But tell Kofi not to fear, “a replacement has been found. And his name is Mustafa Ali!” The tables have turned, and now the Beacon is ready to shine.

 

Matt Riddle finds R-Truth backstage.

Truth says he heard something. The Hurt Business is throwing a surprise party for him! How does he know that? Well it was Truth’s birthday last week, but he heard about a special VIP Lounge tonight! He’s getting 24 carrots! Well that makes sense as Capricorn, sign of the goat. BAAAH~! Now, don’t spoil the surprise! The secret is safe with Riddle, bro. Wait, someone got their wires crossed. Will Truth be sorely disappointed when the VIP Lounge isn’t what he thinks?

 

The Hurt Business heads to the ring!

The WWE United States Champion, Bobby Lashley, is going to be in the Men’s Royal Rumble this year, but his associates will be taking on Matt Riddle later on in a unique contender’s match challenge. But first, the VIP Lounge is decked out in black and gold as MVP says the BIGGEST things are popping, the littlest things are stopping, so relax and enjoy the view because the VIP Lounge is for people better than you. And MVP is stoked to see Bad Bunny is going to be at the Rumble and knows the after party will be lit! Lashley wanted this meeting for something important, MVP addresses the match with Riddle. Riddle may be brain dead but he is crafty. Let us not lose focus on that task in hand, Cedric Alexander.

Now, to Lashley’s business. “Sometimes you have to believe in somebody else’s belief in you.” Look at them! They all look good! Raw Tag Team and United States Championships. They believed! And more importantly, the beauty is that they’ve only just begun. So true. Benjamin says that looking at their individual accomplishments, it is hard to think that only a year ago- Alexander says that the Hurt Business is on a roll, thanks to MVP! Lashley says they collected some “outstanding debts,” to present something to represent their appreciation. It is only fitting that while these three are dripping in gold. MVP should have some gold, too. They present to him… #THB, the Hurt Business gold chain!

MVP tries it on, and loves it! It is not often that MVP is at a loss for words, but he doesn’t have any. Alexander takes credit working with the designer. Benjamin says Alexander doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But here comes R-Truth! PARTY~ TIME~! What?! Why!? Stop the music!! Truth says it is weird that the guest of honor isn’t on the list but sometimes it happens. He is NOT on the list! Truth says it is rude to eavesdrop, but he heard about this surprise party! Truth’s birthday was last week, but better late than never. No, this has NOTHING to do with Truth! This is all about MVP! Really? THB: Truth, Happy Birthday. And where the carrots at?

No, Truth. Just stop. Wait, dance break? Lashley says Truth is right. They’ve been so busy, Lashley forgot it was Truth’s birthday. And to make it up to him, they do have something for him, in the ring. MVP remembers now! Yeah, here we go. Oh wait, the other Raw superstars come out to go after the 24/7 Championship! They bust down the velvet rope, Tucker Knight rolls Truth up but Humberto Carrillo pushes him off. Lashley RAMS Carrillo into barriers! Gulak gets a haymaker, Lashley CLOBBERS Tucker and Benjamin throws Drew Gulak into steel steps! But Matt Riddle gets in to give MVP a FINAL FLASH knee! Riddle gets away but the Hurt Business tells him he’ll still pay! Will the Bro put the hurting on the Hurt Business from top to bottom?

 

R-Truth talks with Adam Pearce.

Truth “hides” but he asks about Royal Rumble opportunities. Truth wants to prove he can enter the MITB match and win! No, Truth, no… AJ Styles and Omos come over. Styles understands what Truth is really talking about. And being the nice guy Truth is, benevolent even, he’ll help Truth out. Styles is benevolent? Truth is a Capricorn! Sigh… Pearce arranges a match between Truth and Styles, and they accept! Truth says if Styles is benevolent, Truth is a Capricorn, and Omos must be a Taurus. Truth had a Ford Taurus, it broke down and… Well anyway, will Truth be able to prove he is worthy of the Rumble with just days left to get in?

 

Sheamus VS John Morrison w/ The Miz!

The Fella saw the Guru and A-Lister get blasted by McIntyre and Goldberg earlier, and figured why not get in on the fun? Will Sheamus use Morrison as a great warm-up before entering the Men’s Rumble this Sunday?

Raw returns as the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century make their entrance. The bell rings, Sheamus and Morrison circle and tie up and Sheamus puts Morrison on ropes. The ref counts for the break but Sheamus lets off at 4. Morrison holds his jaw from that Claymore earlier, but gets around to waistlock. Sheamus throws Morrison down to get the arm. Morrison fights around to another waistlock, then shifts up to a chinlock. Sheamus fights up as Morrison moves around, and Morrison knees low! Sheamus blocks the knee to drop Morrison then cover, ONE! Sheamus facelocks but Morrison fights up, only for Sheamus to wrench to a hammerlock.

Sheamus cranks on the arm, wrangles Morrison down, shifts to a double wristlock but Miz cheers Morrison on. Morrison fight sup but Sheamus throws him over to add a headscissor squeeze. Morrison kicks free, shifts to a lateral press, ONE! Sheamus facelocks again, Morrison fights up and powers out, but Sheamus runs Morrison over! Sheamus runs, Morrison goes to hip toss but Sheamus blocks! Morrison avoids the counter clothesline to O’Conner roll, TWO! Sheamus avoids the Penalty Kick to roll Morrison up, TWO! Sheamus clamps back onto the arm, Morrison fights up and puts Sheamus in a corner. The ref counts for the break, Sheamus lets Morrison go but Morrison ROCKS and KICKS Sheamus!

Morrison fires off on Sheamus, KICKS him again, then stalks him to the other corner. Morrison whips, Sheamus reveres but Morrison kicks back! Morrison runs, into a BACK DROP! Sheamus looms over Morrison, kicks him while he’s down, then kicks him again! Sheamus drags Morrison back up, throws a BIG EuroUpper, then keeps on Morrison with heavy body shots! Sheamus clamps onto the arm again, grinds Morrison down, but Miz rallies up with the “Hey hey! Ho ho!” Morrison wrenches, kicks, and shifts around to ROUNDHOUSE! Morrison grounds ‘n’ pounds but Sheamus shoves him away. Morrison deflects the leg guard to spin over Sheamus and and KICK him back down!

Morrison stomps Sheamus around, has him on the ropes, then whips him corner to corner. Sheamus reverses, then shoulders into him at the corner! Sheamus rains down rights, drags Morrison up and hits an IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Sheamus keeps his cool as he goes to a corner. Miz gets on the apron, the ref backs him off, but Sheamus stops the sneak attack from Morison! Sheamus goes up, leaps, but Morrison dropkicks him out of the air! Morrison KNEES Sheamus to the apron! Morrison has the leg on the ropes and pulls! The ref counts, Morrison stops at 4, then wrecks Sheamus with a baseball slide!

Miz creeps closer but Morrison KICKS Sheamus in the leg! The ring count climbs, Morrison puts Sheamus back in and has the leg. Morrison DRAGON SCREWS Sheamus, covers, ONE!! Morrison keeps on that leg for elbow drops to the knee! Sheamus fights back but Morrison shifts around again for more ground ‘n’ pound! Then a standing toehold to a KNEEBAR! Sheamus endures, Miz likes the aggression but Sheamus throws haymakers to get Morrison away! Morrison stalks Sheamus to a corner and drops an elbow on the leg! Morrison keeps on the leg and has a toehold to bend the leg!

Sheamus endures again, reaches for ropes but throws elbows into Morrison’s head! And then stomps him! Sheamus stomps until Morrison lets him go! Both men stand slowly, and Sheamus clobbers Morrison with ax handles! Sheamus runs in to clothesline Morrison at the corner, then TOSS him across the way! Sheamus hobbles over, fireman’s carries, but Morrison elbows free! CHOP BLOCK to the leg! Sheamus stays up but Morrison springboards! Sheamus manages to catch Morrison, swing him, and SLAM him! Cover, TWO!! Sheamus grits his teeth as he gets the bad leg moving.

Morrison crawls, Sheamus gets the legs and stomps Morrison’s stomach, to then tie up the legs! Sheamus turns Morrison, Morrison resists but Sheamus kicks him into the CLOVERLEAF! Morrison endures, crawls and gets the ropebreak! Sheamus lets go at 4, Miz checks on Morrison but Sheamus hobbles over. Morrison hotshots back! Morrison hurries back in but into a KNEE! Morrison flops into the fireman’s carry, and WHITE NOISE! Cover, Sheamus wins!

Winner: Sheamus, by pinfall

The Miz protests! If Sheamus wants to prepare for the Rumble, he has to keep his head on a swivel! Miz challenges Sheamus to a handicap match, and Sheamus ACCEPTS! Will Sheamus be able to beat both members of the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century in one go?

2v1 Handicap Match: The Miz & John Morrison VS Sheamus!

Raw returns and the bell rings. Sheamus brawls with BOTH Miz and Morrison! Sheamus is on Miz but Morrison hops on Sheamus! Sheamus throws Morrison out over the top rope a la the Rumble, but Miz runs in! Sheamus elbows Miz away, fireman’s carries, but Morrison CHOP BLOCKS Sheamus! BASEMENT DDT! Cover, TWO! Morrison KNEES Sheamus down, Miz adds stomps, and they mug Sheamus at the ropes! Morrison and Miz double snapmare and then set Sheamus up for the BOOT, SHINING WIZARD and STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Double cover, TWO!

Miz and Morrison stalk Sheamus to ropes, he kicks them back, but Miz stomps Sheamus down! Miz digs his boot in, lets off as the ref counts, but Morrison drags Sheamus up with a chinlock. Sheamus elbows free, ROCKS Miz, but Morrison ROUNDHOUSES and clotheslines Sheamus out! Miz WRECKS Sheamus with a dropkick! Miz stands Sheamus up for Morrison to FLY out and take down! Miz and Morrison drag Sheamus back up, then throw him into the barriers! Morrison adds a HEEL KICK! Miz adds a BOOT! Sheamus flounders back up but Miz and Morrison drag Sheamus around the way to put in the ring. Miz climbs and Morrison sets Sheamus up, FLYING AX HANDLES!

Miz and Morrison put Sheamus in a corner but Sheamus blocks the buckle bump! Sheamus hits Miz back, Morrison KICKS and ROCKS Sheamus! Miz adds a mudhole stomp, then Morrison digs his knee in! The ref reprimands, Miz and Morrison drag Sheamus up and KICK, ROCK and repeat! Miz whips Morrison in but Sheamus throws Morrison out! Sheamus CLOBBERS Miz! Both men are down but Sheamus grits his teeth. Sheamus gets up and glares at Miz. Sheamus rallies with big ax handles on Miz! Morrison returns but gets a scoop SLAM! Miz staggers into a fireman’s carry, ROLLING SENTON onto Morrison!

The Celtic Warrior is seething as he sees Miz go to the apron. Sheamus stands Miz up to give him Beats of the Bodhrain! But Morrison comes over, only to miss! And now Morrison gets Beats of the Bodhrain! Sheamus shoves Morrison down, climbs up the corner, and as Miz and Morrison regroup, Sheamus LEAPS! SUPER DOUBLE FLYING CLOTHESLINES!! Sheamus drags Miz back into the ring, aims from a corner, fires himself up, and Miz stands up. Morrison anchors a foot, Miz hits the A-LIST LARIAT! Sheamus throws off the full nelson, ducks the Flying Chuck and BROGUES Morrison! SKULL CRUSHING FINALE OUTTA NOWHERE!! Cover, Miz and Morrison win!!

Winners: The Miz & John Morrison, by pinfall

Beat down as they were to start the night, and as beat up as Sheamus was from his match with Morrison, this battle was much harder than just a normal 2v1! But in the end, the two beat the one just six days from the Royal Rumble! Will Miz leave with the WWE World Championship thanks to his MITB contract? Or will he have double the chances going into WrestleMania?

 

Lacey Evans “trains” with Ric Flair.

She talks waistlock counters and Ric shows her the ways. Seems innocent enough, but Charlotte Flair walks in and walks over. Lacey, leave. Lacey does, staying away from Charlotte as best she can. Ric says that just because Charlotte is a big star now, doesn’t mean there isn’t room enough in the dressing room for both. If someone wants some tips from Ric, he’ll give it. He’ll always be him. Always be himself, huh? The man who spent all his money on everyone but his family? Charlotte isn’t the villain here. When she was young, this was “cute.” Charlotte is the only one protecting Ric. He’s going from legend to an old man. She isn’t afraid to say it, either.

The tension mounts, but Charlotte takes a step back. But Lacey is still there, and she SUCKER PUNCHES Charlotte! Then kicks her into the wall! Ric hurries over to check on Charlotte, but Lacey wants him to move on. Will Lacey pay for playing father against daughter soon enough?

 

R-Truth VS AJ Styles w/ Omos!

Truth wants to bring the 24/7 Championship to Money in the Bank! Too bad it’s Rumble season first. But will Truth still get in on the big time event when he’s up against a phenomenal gatekeeper?

The bell rings and Styles sees Truth busy with his knee pads, so he stomps and kicks him to a corner! Styles whips Truth corner to corner hard and Truth bounces off buckles! Styles taunts Truth, brings him up and throws haymakers. Truth ROCKS Styles back! Styles kicks Truth’s leg, grabs it to elbow the knee, then kick it! Styles runs in at Truth in the corner but Truth ROCKS him again! Truth runs, but into a BACKBREAKER! Styles says this is what he’ll do to 29 other men in the Rumble! Styles whips but Truth reverses and sends Styles out a la the Rumble! Styles is pissed, he gets in and drop toeholds Truth hard!

Truth checks his nose, but then he looks up to see Omos looming over him! And Omos is still on the floor level! Styles argues with the ref but Truth goes to a corner. Truth puts Styles on the apron, Styles springboards back in but Truth avoids the forearm to hit a SPIN OUT BOMB! A la his “childhood hero,” John Cena! YOU CAN’T SEE ME~! Five Knuckle Shuffle!! And the- No, Styles avoids the scissor kick! Truth fireman’s caries but Truth slips out to get the CALF CRUSHER! Truth taps, Styles wins!

Winner: AJ Styles, by submission

Another would-be Rumble entrant is denied! Is Styles going to have an even easier time in the Rumble match itself?

 

Alexa Bliss speaks.

She’s on her swing as she sings “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.” Alexa says last week was so much fun! And did “he” see what Randy Orton’s face looked like after what they did? The fireball that sent Orton writhing and rolling left him burned, and Alexa laughs at the idea that it’s an improvement. “For the record, I just wanted to have some fun with Asuka in my Playground, but she didn’t want to play nice.” Asuka just tried to make Alexa happy by saying “he” is still here, but Alexa didn’t take kindly to that. “But… neither did I.” Alexa pulled some trickery of her own, and became the dark side that Asuka feared we’d see. Alexa won the match, which is why she has her title opportunity tonight.

Did you like the magic trick? “He” taught it to her. And a lot of other things, actually. She can’t wait to see “him” again so she can say thanks. But tonight, Alexa can win herself a shiny new toy in the Raw Women’s Championship. And just like last week, Alexa won’t play nice. Now she sings “Ring Around the Rosies.” Will it be ashes to ashes for Asuka’s title reign tonight?

 

United States Championship Opportunity Gauntlet Match: Matt Riddle VS The Hurt Business!

The Bro has come close to taking the title off the Chief Hurt Officer, but the chase is never done! Can he get through Shelton Benjamin, “Prime” Alexander and Montel Vontavius Porter to earn another shot at Bobby Lashley’s gold?

Raw returns and the Hurt Business make their entrance. The first one to take Riddle on is… the Gold Standard!

Matt Riddle VS Shelton Benjamin!

The bell rings and Riddle rushes Benjamin only to miss the knee! Riddle fires off hands, kicks and forearms to put Benjamin in a corner! Riddle runs side to side to forearm smash! Then side to side, but Benjamin gets around to waistlock! Riddle throws elbows but Benjamin GERMAN SUPELXES! Riddle lands on his feet! Riddle spins Benjamin around to PELE! Benjamin ducks the Penalty Kick, blocks the Final Flash and SPINEBUSTERS Riddle down! High stack, TWO! Riddle survives an early exit but Benjamin lifts Riddle to the corner! Benjamin clubs away on Riddle then STEP UP KNEES Riddle out of the ring!

The ref counts as Riddle is down on the outside, but Benjamin drags him up and in. Benjamin clinches, throws knees, then scoop slams! Cover, TWO! Benjamin keeps Riddle from ropes with a seated cobra twist. Riddle endures, fights up as MVP taunts him, and he throws body shots! Riddle gets free to throw forearms, then he runs but into a kitchen sink knee! Cover, TWO! Benjamin grounds ‘n’ pounds, circles him and KICKS him! Benjamin drags Riddle up, Riddle blocks the suplex and throws more body shots but Benjamin clubs and KNEES Riddle back down! Cover, TWO!! Riddle is still in this and defiantly glares at MVP!

MVP wants Benjamin to stop playing with Riddle and Benjamin brings Riddle into a chinlock. Riddle endures even as Benjamin has a rear bearhug. Riddle fights up, pries free to go after the arm, and gets a GUILLOTINE! Benjamin drops, Riddle shifts around, but Benjamin fights up to suplex free! Riddle knees free of the suplex! Alexander distracts, Riddle swipes at him, but Benjamin runs in! Riddle switches to an O’Conner roll but Alexander distracts! But Benjamin reverses as Alexander argues too long! The plan backfires and Benjamin is furious! MVP tells Alexander to help but doing NOTHING! But Riddle goes up and victory rolls Benjamin, to ELIMINATE him!!

Matt Riddle VS MVP!

MVP tells Alexander to stop and let him handle business. Benjamin and Alexander argue and MVP is busy telling them to stop! The bell rings, Riddle rolls MVP up to a KNEEBAR!! MVP TAPS, Riddle ELIMINATES him!! Alexander and Benjamin blame each other, but now it’s down to “Prime” Alexander to end this! Will the young lion make up for his mistakes by solving the Riddle?

Matt Riddle VS Cedric Alexander!

Raw returns as Alexander RAMS Riddle into the corner! Alexander digs his shoulder in and KICKS Riddle while he’s down, but MVP and Benjamin aren’t happy with him. Alexander snapmares Riddle to a cover, TWO! Alexander and Riddle throw forearms, Riddle ROCKS Alexander but runs into another kitchen sink knee! Alexander fireman’s carries for a GUTBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Alexander keeps on Riddle with an armlock and a knee in Riddle’s back. Riddle endures, fights up and slips free to CHOP! Riddle fires forearms, has Alexander in the corner for KICK after KICK, then he runs to forearm smash! Riddle keeps moving but Alexander dropkicks Riddle down hard! Cover, TWO!

Benjamin and MVP tell Alexander to stay focused and he says he’s got this. Alexander drags Riddle into a standing cobra twist, but Riddle endures again. Riddle moves around, gets to the ropebreak, but Alexander counts along before he lets go at 4. Alexander then digs his knee into Riddle at the ropes, but lets off as the ref counts. Cover, TWO! Alexander covers again, TWO! Alexander has the rear bearhug and squeezes tight. Riddle endures, throws elbows over and over and is free! Alexander shakes out the cobwebs, but Riddle fireman’s carries him, only for Alexander to make it a DDT! Cover, TWO!! Riddle survives and MVP coaches Alexander to finish this.

Alexander drags Riddle into a chinlock but Riddle fights his way over to ropes again. Riddle fights up, fights back with body shots and forearms and fast hands! Alexander boots but Riddle spins him around for a PELE! Riddle kips up, runs in and forearm smashes! Then another! Then a BROSPLODER! Riddle grits his teeth as he runs, but Alexander dodges the PK, the moonsault, and gets knees up for the Broton! MVP tells Alexander to capitalize and Alexander gets up. Alexander brings Riddle up, throws body shots, but Riddle fires off fast hands! Alexander ducks a kick to give a kick, but Riddle gets him taunting, GERMAN SUPLEX!

MVP is annoyed as Riddle drags Alexander up, only for Alexander to BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! MVP is furious as Alexander slowly gets up. Alexander rains down furious fists on Riddle, stomps him down, then grabs an arm to stomp Riddle unguarded! Alexander goes to a corner, climbs up top, and LEAPS, but the Frog Splash misses! Riddle comes back, flying takedown to a TRIANGLE HOLD! Alexander stays up, dad lifts and POWERBOMBS! But Riddle has the Triangle again! Alexander fights up, Riddle slips out, but Alexander pump handles! Riddle makes that a victory roll, RIDDLE WINS!!

Winner: Matt Riddle, by pinfall (NEW #1 Contender to the WWE US Championship)

The Bro breaks through to get another shot! And Benjamin laughs at Alexander for failing. But as Riddle goes up the ramp, Lashley ATTACKS! Lashley clobbers Riddle then puts Riddle in the HURT LOCK! Riddle is a ragdoll before Lashley finally throws him down! The Hurt Business still stands tall, but will the Rocky Mountain Machine be able to focus on the Men’s Rumble when Riddle awaits on the other side?

 

Edge is here!

The Rated R Superstar says 2020 taught all of us that you can’t sleep on tomorrow. If you have a dream, you have to fight for it every day. “Tomorrow is not guaranteed.” Sometimes you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself up and keep walking forward. But bear with him, okay? About 10 years ago, after WrestleMania 27, Edge was the world Heavyweight champion, on top of the world. And within a week, he had to give up the title, and his career, “the only career I’ve ever wanted. My dream.” Edge will never forget when he told his mom that he was going to be a wrestler. She said he should just go do it.

But those simple words were the jet fuel that lit the fire inside to make him fight for nine years to get back to his dream! And then at Backlash 2020, Randy Orton tore Edge’s triceps and gave him another reminder that everything you hold dear can be torn away, just like that. “But you can’t live in that space. You gotta fight.” Edge knows what his mom would say. “Just go do it.” So with that in mind, Edge is entering THIS YEAR’s Royal Rumble! He knows it won’t be like last year, because the stakes are higher! The window closes more and more every day so Edge needs to win, main event WrestleMania, and finally take back what he never lost!

If you have a dream, you need to fight to make it a reality. Edge will fight with every fiber of his being and every breath left in his body, to make the farfetched dream come true. Now, if you’ve been with him on this ride from The Brood to right now, Edge has to try. A world without dreamers and fighters is a much less magical place. Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Edge thinks he can. Will he be right come the Rumble?

 

Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka VS Alexa Bliss!

The Empress of Tomorrow may be an intimidating superstar, but even she was spooked by the darkness on display last week. Will she be able to face her fears as she again faces the Fiend’s best friend? Or are we about to witness a new reign of terror?

The introductions are made, the Raw Women’s title is raised, and this crucial main event begins!

Asuka and Alexa circle, Alexa has fun teasing Asuka, but they approach, only for Asuka to avoid Alexa’s grip. They try again, and Alexa gets around to waistlock. Asuka elbows out hard, throws Alexa to a corner, then throws her across the ring! Asuka stomps Alexa down, the ref counts and Asuka lets off, to go after Alexa’s arm. Asuka grinds Alexa to the mat, Alexa just grins and shakes her head. Alexa fights up as she endures, but Asuka kicks and stomps the arm to keep her down! Alexa gets back up, throws body shots, kicks and CLUBS Asuka back! Alexa whips Asuka to a corner, Asuka goes up to leap and missile dropkick!

Asuka fires up, keeps moving, but the hip attack misses! Alexa KICKS Asuka out of the ring, and the tricks begin again! There’s a rocking horse in the ring and Alexa rides it with a big smile while Raw goes to break!

Raw returns and the rocking horse is gone as Asuka stomps and kicks Alexa in a corner. Asuka lets off just a moment before stomping Alexa again! Asuka whips, Alexa reverses but Alexa runs into an elbow! Asuka goes up and leaps but the missile dropkick misses! Alexa hits Insult2Injury! Cover, TWO! Alexa drags Asuka up to bump her off buckles, then stomps away! The ref counts, Alexa stops at 4 to then dig her boot into Asuka. The ref counts, Alexa lets off at 4 again, and she drags Asuka up to snapmare. Alexa wraps on a chinlock and grins as she leans on the hold. Asuka endures, fights up, elbows back but Alexa throws Asuka by her hair! Cover, TWO!

Alexa plays annoyed but she wraps Asuka back into the chinlock. Alexa smiles again as she smothers Asuka but Asuka endures. Asuka fights up, fights free, but Alexa whips her to ropes. Asuka holds ropes and ROUNDHOUSES back! Both women are down as Asuka gasps for air and Alexa shakes out the cobwebs. Alexa smirks as she looks at Asuka, and runs in, only for Asuka to dodge, follow and run Alexa over! POP-UP KNEE! Asuka runs corner to corner to HIP ATTACK! Mule kick and a GERMAN SUPLEX! Alexa flounders up into the SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, TWO! Asuka grits her teeth while Alexa still smiles on the mat.

Asuka drags Alexa up, bumps her off buckles, and stomps her down! Asuka runs corner to corner but whose music is that? Wait, Alexa has transformed back into… Is this the REAL Alexa?! She cries while clutching her arm and begging for mercy! This is the same trick she used on Nikki Cross, but is it just a trick? Alexa doesn’t seem to understand where she is or why she’s here. Asuka still runs in but Alexa sends her into buckles! Alexa still seems to be herself but she goes to a corner… And the screens start freaking out! And when the lights come up, it’s DARK ALEXA!!! She’s doing the spider walk!! Asuka is at a loss for what’s going on, but she runs back in!

Alexa blocks and deflects, just like last week! POP-UP KNEE hits, but Alexa just shakes it off!! Asuka gets a takedown! ASUKA LOCK! Alexa scrambles up to fight it off! Alexa grabs Asuka’s jaw! MANDIBLE CLAW!!! Asuka endures, but RANDY ORTON is here! He took off the mask to show his burnt face! RKO TO ALEXA!!!

Winner: Alexa Bliss, by disqualification (Asuka retains the Raw Women’s Championship)

The Viper strikes Alexa down, showing he has no fear and no mercy for The Fiend’s little friend! But will costing Alexa the title be only the beginning of Orton’s revenge?


My Thoughts:

I really hopes this go-home episode was going to go better, but a lot of this just ended up a bit of a grind. We got a good segment out of McIntyre returning healthy and Goldberg showing up, and beating up Miz ‘n’ Morrison as part of it, and that was about all we could expect out of it since Goldberg and McIntyre aren’t going to get physical with each other. Sheamus VS Morrison was a good match, and so was the Handicap Match, but having both of those tonight just felt like a couple weeks ago with all the doubling up. “Hey, you just had a match, but how about having a match with me now?!” This technically muddies the math for the Rumble and the MITB cash-in, but either way, I don’t see Miz coming away with the title or the Rumble ticket to Mania, perhaps saving his cash-in for Mania.

There was a clumsy restart with the Six Woman Tag that kinda hurt it, but I suppose it still turned out alright. Nia and Shayna go in strong to the Women’s Tag Team Championship match, but that match will determine how strong Nia and Shayna each go into the Women’s Rumble. Charlotte’s better segment was with Ric and Lacey. It escalates the story a bit more, and clearly sets up more Charlotte VS Lacey for post-Rumble, tag titles or not. Asuka had her own part tonight, but she almost seemed more a set piece for setting up the next step in Alexa’s story with The Fiend and Orton. I will say that everything Alexa was doing in that match, from being spunky Alexa to “Goddess” Alexa to extra scary Alexa saved the episode, as did Orton hitting an RKO, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Mustafa Ali had good promos, Woods VS Slapjack was alright, but I’m hoping Kofi can make it back to get things going towards a full New Day VS Retribution feud. The VIP Lounge segment was almost right, but I’m a bit disappointed MVP didn’t get the 24/7 Championship off of R-Truth tonight. It was good for Riddle to get his shot in on MVP but I was still hoping we’d get titles for all the Hurt Business members. The Gauntlet match was alright, definitely better story with the dysfunction in the Hurt Business growing. But the time used to basically replay ALL of Orton’s package last week took from the match being on equal footing with the story. Riddle wins the gauntlet but doesn’t stand tall, all to muddy the math again, but I feel like the third time will be the charm for Riddle to get the US Championship.

Hearing from Edge was great, and his promo was great in itself. And I’m pleasantly surprised that Edge is getting back with another Royal Rumble return. I don’t think he’ll win, but it’d be a great way for him to get back into things if he eliminates a good handful.

My Score: 8/10


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NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.119 ~ 24TH JANUARY 2021

A former King of Pancrase and Triple Crown champion steps up to challenge for the GHC National title at Budokan! NOAH shaping up for their biggest event in a decade! 

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A former King of Pancrase and Triple Crown champion steps up to challenge for the GHC National title at Budokan! NOAH shaping up for their biggest event in a decade!

NEWS

Hajime Ohara tests positive for COVID-19

It was announced on the 22nd January that Hajime Ohara had tested positive for Covid after a routine PCR test. The Osaka card was changed with YO-HEY filling in for him. Ohara has not shown any symptoms of fever, cough or loss of taste so far, and temperature taken on the morning of the 24th January was normal. Ohara is isolating at home, and true to form is studying (he was taking an online English class), and and eating nutritiously. He is determined to be back to NOAH for The Budokan.

In Osaka, the roster paid tribute to him, with YO-HEY making the Muy Bien sign, and Naomichi Marufuji finishing his promo (tantrum) with “Muy Bien”.

Kenoh from Murakami to Masakatsu

In a match that lasted only nine minutes and forty seconds, which was really for how long it needed to last, Kenoh defeated Kazunari Masakatsu for the GHC National title in Osaka on the 23rd January 2021. The match started off somewhat MMA style, and went to mat wrestling. Kenoh got his own back on Murakami for felling him with a closed fist, by doing the same, but this seemed to only make Murakami mad and he unleashed a volley of kicks and punches on Kenoh. After a brief loss of temper, Kenoh came to his senses and realized that he was going to have to take Murakami down, and he did it by using the sleeper hold, which caused the referee to stop the match.

Almost immediately after the match had finished, Masakatsu Funaki made his challenge. He simply pointed at the belt and asked Kenoh to be his next challenger. Kenoh accepted the challenge, and set it for the Nippon Budokan (12th February 2021), but backstage rather than scream abuse about his opponent, he actually said that he was it was exciting and he was looking forward to it. Murakami he said he had also enjoyed the match with, although he admitted to being scared by him.

Masakatsu Funaki seemed to have a few different reasons for challenging; he had the image of being a champion alongside Mutoh, Kenoh was not something he had experienced before, and he felt that the time was now to do it. He was also complimentary about Kenoh, saying that he was “in his thirties and riding high”. Funaki makes the third MMA fighter to have challenged Kenoh.

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

Event recap: HIGHER GROUND 2021 (January 23rd, Edion Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium)

Post match interviews: HIGHER GROUND 2021 (January 23rd, Edion Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium)

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

~ Atsushi Kotoge admitted some jealousy of Daisuke Harada.

~ Mohammed Yone did some catering for the roster on the way home from Osaka.

~ Naomichi Marufuji won the chop challenge against Go Shiozaki, then got annoyed at it being pointed out that he beat Shiozaki in the challenge, but wasn’t the one to make the pin and win the match. Pointed out that HE was the senior to them, and would take both their belts, “so I can enter last and show them off”. And then walked off.

~ Takashi Sugiura says he aims to create a new record, and become the GHC Heavyweight Champion at the age of 50, however if Keiji Mutoh defeats Go Shiozaki for it, he will do it when he is 60.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

ALL the titles, except the GHC Heavyweight Tag, have been challenged for and the matches will take place at The Budokan. Fans are hoping that Katsuhiko Nakajima and Masa Kitamiya will challenge, especially as they are teaming together against Takashi Sugiura (Kazushi Sakuraba is absent) on NOAH’s last show before The Budokan, on the 31st January.

 

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

Sunday 31st January: “HIGHER GROUND 2021” (11.30am JST, Korakuen Hall.)

BROADCASTS

NOAH’s 23rd January show from Osaka will be available to view on WRESTLEUNIVERSE on Tuesday 26th January. The GHC National title match, and the main event were streamed live through Periscope.

The 31st January event at Korakuen Hall has not had broadcast details announced yet.

LINKS

“Parasyte” Kazunari Murakami’s plan to take over the REIWA Ark

“For us, The Budokan is the beginning rather than the “Return” ~ Interview with Yoshiki Inamura

Kazushi Sakuraba has an astonishing determination to “become the Takako Tokiwa” of the Pro Wrestling World

Pro Wrestling Casebook ~ a shock ran through Michinoku, when Kenoh announced he was joining Noah (2013)

“Aiming to become the GHC Champion, in the year of my 60th birthday” ~ Takashi Sugiura

GIF taken from Noah’s Periscope

Match graphic taken from the Official NOAH Twitter

 


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