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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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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Rampage Results & Report! (2/3/23)

The Elite are on a Rampage!

Published

on

Is The Elite in for a tune-up or trap game tonight?

Though they plan to defend the AEW World Trios titles on Dynamite, Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks defend the titles against The Firm here on Rampage! Will they overlook Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy and get caught?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • AEW World Trios Championships: The Elite VS Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy; The Elite win and retain the titles.
  • Swerve Strickland w/ Mogul Affiliates VS Brian Pillman Jr; Swerve wins.
  • Saraya & Toni Storm VS The Renegade Sisters; Saraya & Storm win.
  • Rush w/ La Faccion Ingobernable VS Christopher Daniels; Rush wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

AEW World Trios Championships: The Elite VS Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy!

Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks accepted the challenge of the upstart Top Flight & AR Fox, but then they also accepted the challenge of The Firm’s All Ego! Will The Elite’s ego cost them in their very first defense? Or will they still keep their date with Fox, Dante & Darius for Dynamite?

The bell rings and the trios sort out. Dayton chants, “THE! ELITE! THE THE ELITE!” Nick Jackson starts against Isiah Kassidy, they circle, and they tie up. Nick wrenches to a wristlock, Kassidy rolls and handsprings to wrench and wristlock back. Nick uses ropes to flip through and wrench back to hit a headlock takeover. Kassidy headscissors, Nick kips free, but Kassidy hits a headlock takeover. Nick headscissors, Kassidy kips free, things speed up and Kassidy wheelbarrows to arm-drag! Kassidy kips up, but Nick blocks the chop to knuckle lock. Nick CHOPS, goes up and up, “LUCHA LIBRE~!” and arm-drags!

Kassidy staggers up into another arm-drag, and Nick has the armlock! Fans cheer but Ethan is furious. Nick wrenches Kassidy, tags Matt, and the Bucks double whip to bait Kassidy into a GUTBUSTER, to the NECKBREAKER BACKBREAKER COMBO! Fans fire up with the Bucks, and Matt points to Kenny. Fans fire up, and Matt tags in Omega! Hardy tags in and he circles with Omega. They tie up, break, and then go again. They break, go again, then Hardy headlocks. Omega powers out but Hardy runs him over. Things speed up but Hardy fakes out the hurdle! Hardy kicks low, reels Omega in, TWIST- NO, Omega powers out!

Omega runs in at the corner but Hardy dodges, and the V-Trigger hits buckles! Hardy reels Omega in, but Omega fights the Side Effect! Hardy staggers, Omega runs in but Hardy sends him out! Omega hurries back up but Hardy BLASTS him off the apron! Omega hits railing, Stokely laughs at him, and then Hardy goes up the corner! Omega stands up, but Ethan leaps to CLOBBER Omega! Ethan gives Hardy a thumbs up, he did that so Hardy wouldn’t have to risk himself. Ethan puts Omega in the ring, Ethan apparently snuck a tag that not even Hardy noticed. Ethan drags Omega up to scoop and SLAM him!

Fans boo but Ethan tells the Bucks to kiss this. Ethan drags Omega up, throws haymakers, and then has Omega in the corner. Ethan has Hardy and Kassidy hold Omega in place, then Ethan runs to BLAST the Bucks off the apron! Fans boo more but Ethan runs in, into Omega’s BOOT! Omega is free, he goes up and over Ethan to hot tag Nick! Ethan runs in, Omega dodges and the Bucks DOUBLE GAMANGIRI Ethan back! Nick then tags Matt while Omega RANAS Ethan! The Bucks double kick, Nick runs and Matt gives him the boost to RANA Ethan! Ethan hurries to tag Hardy, he runs in but into DOUBLE DROPKICKS!

Ethan shouts for Kassidy to do something, so Kassidy springboards, but the Bucks get clear to double elbow! They wheelbarrow and lift Kassidy, Omega runs in, WHEELBARROW KOTARO KRUSHER! Kassidy flounders out of the ring while the fans fire up with the Elite. Hardy returns but Omega sets up Ethan and Kassidy. Matt runs in to WRECK Ethan and Kassidy with a dropkick! Matt then holds the ropes for Nick to FLY and take them out! But Matt Hardy kicks Matt Jackson low and reels him in! TWIST- NO, NORTHERN LIGHTS! Matt Jackson starts up the Polar Express, but Ethan saves Hardy!

Ethan swings, but into a NORTHERN LIGHTS! Fans fire up with Jackson as he has Hardy for haymakers! And stomps! Jackson runs, Ethan trips him up but Jackson BOOTS Ethan! Hardy catches Jackson for a SIDE EFFECT! Cover, TWO! Hardy drags Jackson over and tags in Ethan. Ethan stomps Matt Jackson, going after the legs. Ethan talks trash on Dayton then brings Matt around for a BACKBREAKER! Fans boo but Ethan soaks up the heat as Rampage goes picture in picture.

Ethan drags Matt up, bumps him off Kassidy’s boot, then tags Kassidy in. Ethan and Kassidy mug Matt, Kassidy stomps away, then lets off as the ref counts. Kassidy drags Matt back up, tags Hardy, and they mug Matt Jackson now. Hardy brings Jackson around to fire forearms and elbows! Then Hardy has Jackson under the bottom rope, for a ROPE GUILLOTINE! Kassidy gives thumbs up as Hardy covers, TWO! Hardy drags Jackson up, bumps him off Ethan’s boot, and then tags Ethan in. Ethan and Hardy mug Jackson, abut Jackson fights back with haymakers! Rampage returns to single picture as Jackson backs Ethan down!

Matt Jackson runs but into a BOOT! Ethan BLASTS Omega and taunts Nick. Fans boo but Ethan drags Matt Jackson over to tag Hardy back in. Hardy drags Jackson up, bumps him off buckles and shouts “DELETE! DELETE!” Fans chant along, and Hardy goes through all three levels! Hardy grabs Jackson’s legs, and YANKS him into a POWERBOMB! Cover, but Nick breaks it! The ref reprimands but Nick backs off. Hardy drags Matt Jackson to the drop zone, goes up the corner, but then Ethan tags in! Fans boo as Ethan ruins Hardy’s good time. Ethan then copies Hardy’s stuff, but leaps into a SUPERKICK!

Fans rally as Ethan and Matt are down! Hot tag to Omega! Fans fire up as Omega goes up top to CROSSBODY Ethan! Kassidy runs in, to get a POLISH HAMMER! POLISH HAMMER for Ethan! Omega spins but Ethan dodges to kick low! Ethan whips, Omega reverses and fireman’s carries! “YOU! CAN’T! ESCAPE!” ROLLING SENTON, and the MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up as Omega drags Ethan up into a half nelson. Ethan fights the full nelson, RAMS Omega into the corner, and Kassidy tags in. Kassidy and Hardy run to BLAST the Bucks while Ethan fires off back elbows on Omega!

Ethan whips Omega corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines! Kassidy adds a SPLASH, Hardy adds a clothesline! Hardy sets up, Ethan whips Kassidy, FIRM IN MOTION INTO DOUBLE SUPERKICKS!! Ethan is shocked to see what happened, but he runs into a SNAP DRAGON! Hardy runs in, kicks low, but Omega turns Twist into full nelson! Hardy elbows free, runs, and DOUBLE LARIATS take both men down! Nick goes up, but so does Kassidy! STEREO SWANTON BOMBS!! Nick takes out Hardy while Kassidy takes out Omega! Then Kassidy runs in, dodges Nick and goes up to FLYING COMPLETE SHOT!

Matt Jackson shouts “YOU’RE DEAD!” and he SUPERKICKS Kassidy! Ethan runs in, blocks a kick and spins Jackson to ROUNDHOUSE! and then deadlift POWERSLAM! But V-TRIGGER outta nowhere!! All six men are down and the fans are thunderous! A standing count begins, “This is Awesome!” and Omega crawls to hot tag Nick! Nick storms in to CLUB Kassidy. Kassidy throws a forearm, but Nick hits back! They go back and forth with heavy shots, but Kassidy gets the edge! Nick staggers, but he ROUNDHOUSES back! Nick whips, Kassidy reverses and SPIN KICKS! Nick goes to a corner, Kassidy runs in, but Nick dodges!

SHINING WIZARD! GAMANGIRI! FOREARM! BULLDOG! The Elite regroup and they aim at Kassidy, only for Hardy and Ethan to drag Omega and Matt Jackson out! They’re sent into railing hard, and Kassidy runs to hit a DESTROYER!! Nick flounders to a corner, Hardy sets up again! PARTY IN MOTION! Ethan & Kassidy put Nick up top, DOUBLE ICONOCLASM! And then a feed to the TWIST OF FATE!! Kassidy covers, Matt Jackson breaks it!! Ethan storms in, he gets Matt Jackson up, but he slips off the Ego’s Edge and Omega V-TRIGGERS Ethan down! Hardy throws Omega out!

Hardy runs in, Jackson moves, Hardy BLASTS Ethan! Hardy is shocked and he hurries to check on Ethan. Kassidy TOSSES Matt Jackson out, but Nick springboards in! CUTTER?!? Kassidy covers, TWO!!! Kassidy almost wins this on his own because Hardy and Ethan distracted with Ethan’s jaw. Nick tags Omega while Kassidy calls to his team. Hardy hurries over but Omega V-TRIGGERS Kassidy down!! Omega drags Kassidy away, tags Matt in and then Matt tags Nick. Jackson BLASTS Hardy, Omega Electric Chair Lifts Kassidy! ONE WINGED ANGEL!! Into B T E TRIGGER!!! Cover, The Elite wins!

Winners: The Elite, by pinfall (still AEW World Trios Champions)

This was no trap game, but this was far more than a tune-up! The Elite are red hot now, will they melt the Coldest Tag Team in the Game this Wednesday?

 

Backstage interview with Ricky Starks.

Lexi Nair is with The Absolute, and she brings up the Jericho Appreciation Society throw down the Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet challenge. Starks sorta got what he asked for, so what’s the plan? Starks says, “I can tell you it wasn’t a plan for us to match here,” in reference to his shirt and her whole ensemble both being a light khaki. But Starks admits he puts his foot in his mouth, something he’s known to do around here. But that’s okay, because if that is how Starks gets at Chris Jericho, then that is what he’s going to do. If that is the way to beat Jericho, to get out of the “Web of Jericho” that he has entangled himself in, that is what Starks will do.

“I am no stranger to having the deck stacked against me, because I always find a way. Parker, Daddy Magic, Sammy, Danny, it doesn’t matter. Because in El Paso, Texas, I am gonna to prove exactly why I am Absolute. And when I do get my way, Chris, I am going to embarrass you. And I am going to beat you, again.” Starks is ready for everything the JAS is going to throw at him, but will that still get him the win?

 

Team Triple J speaks.

Jay Lethal tells the others, “Right now, we are riding high. But the Screen Actors Guild and AEW, they’re trying to rain on our parade by distorting on the camera Sonjay’s Golden Globe. I tell you what, just like last week, when we embarrassed the Best Friends and Danhausen, we proved that in the ring, we can’t be matched! And I bet right now, Paul Walter Hauser is sitting at home without a Golden Globe, wishing that he had better friends.” Jeff Jarrett says, “I bet Mr. Walter Hauser wishes he never ever stepped foot in the Kia Forum! Because what happened the last time? I bet he’s wishing he never went on The Late Late Show with James Corden!”

But Best Friends respond!

Danhausen is upset that he got smashed in the head with a Grammy! No, it was a Golden Globe. But keep going, this is good energy. Yes! Danhausen was “decimating” their giant, Satnam Singh, and then he was caught off guard by a GOLDEN GLOBE! That was bad. So YOU will be cursed if it happens again! It shouldn’t happen again, right? It shouldn’t. Danhausen says it WON’T happen again! But when and where will we see the sequel to this showdown of friends and enemies?

 

Swerve Strickland w/ Mogul Affiliates VS Brian Pillman Jr!

For whatever reason, second generation wrestlers get on Swerve’s nerves. He can’t get after The Natural just yet, but he’s settling for #FlyinBrian41 here tonight! Will BPJ use his homefield advantage to stop the Mogul? Or will Dayton be “Whose House?” “SWERVE’S HOUSE!”

The bell rings and Swerve circles with BPJ. They tie up, go around, and BPJ powers Swerve to a corner. Swerve pushes back and wrenches to a wristlock. BPJ rolls, cartwheels, handsprings and headstands, but Swerve pushes him down to turn BPJ over to a ghost pin! TWO, BPJ gets up but Swerve is after him. BPJ whips Swerve to a corner, Swerve goes up and over and O’Conner Rolls, then Eddy Gordo RANAS, but BPJ rolls through to stand back up. Fans cheer the technical exchange. BPJ and Swerve tie up again, Swerve pulls BPJ’s hair and puts him in the corner. BPJ turns things around, and he swings, only for Swerve to duck.

Swerve whips BPJ but BPJ rolls, handsprings and kangaroo kicks! Swerve checks his nose while fans rally up. Swerve runs in, BPJ dodges, things speed up and BPJ hurdles to drop. Swerve handsprings over, things keep moving, but BPJ steps on Swerve! Fans fire up as BPJ asks, “Whose House?” “BRIAN’S HOUSE!” But Swerve takes off his necklace to wrap around his fist as he ROCKS BPJ with a sucker punch! Fans boo, Swerve whips, but BPJ reverses and DROPKICKS! Swerve bails out, BPJ builds speed, and fans fire up as BPJ WRECKS Swerve with a dropkick! BPJ hurries away from Trench & Boudreaux while Rampage goes picture in picture.

BPJ grins while Swerve is furious. Boudreaux & Trench help Swerve stand up. BPJ talks some smack but Swerve has his guys stand down. Swerve goes up the steps and into the ring, and he ties up with BPJ. Swerve kicks BPJ, ROCKS him with a right, then swings, but misses in the corner! BPJ CHOPS, ROCKS, and wrenches before he whips corner to corner. BPJ runs in to clothesline, CHOP, and NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridging cover, TWO! BPJ rallies the fans while Swerve grits his teeth. BPJ storms up but Swerve gets around to JAM the leg! BPJ falls over and clutches the knee while Swerve taunts Dayton.

Swerve stands on BPJ’s leg, throws down fists, then kicks him around. Swerve stands BPJ up, BPJ throws hands, but Swerve KICKS the leg out! Swerve goes to the corner, goes up, and he taunts the fans before the FALLING UPPERCUT! Swerve swaggers and smirks at all the fans before he goes back to BPJ. Swerve kicks the leg, grinds an arm, and Rampage goes to break.

Rampage returns as BJP and Swerve fire forearm after forearm at each other! BPJ CHOPS, CHOPS, then SLAPS! Swerve staggers, BPJ grabs at him, but Swerve brushes that away to ROCK BPJ with a haymaker! BPJ staggers to a corner, Swerve storms over, but he blocks a boot! Swerve brings BPJ out, slips around that leg and hits a BACKBREAKER! BPJ staggers, Swerve SLAPS him, but BPJ SUPERKICKS! And LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Swerve survives but BPJ fires up! Fans rally as BPJ fireman’s carries. Swerve fights free, and he SLAPS away on BPJ’s back. BPJ snapmares, Swerve blocks the superkick and he mule kicks the bad leg!

Swerve aims from the corner as BPJ clutches his knee. BPJ stands but the bad leg gives out! And then the HOUSE CALL!! Cover, TWO!?! BPJ survives and Swerve is fuming! Dayton fires up but Swerve drags BPJ up. Swerve bumps BPJ off buckles, hoists him up top, then climbs up after him. BPJ throws body shots in return, then climbs up to HOTSHOT Swerve away! Trench distracts BPJ, BPJ runs him off, and the ref is busy with Trench, allowing Boudreaux to trip BPJ up! Fans boo, but Swerve hurries to go out after BPJ and drag him up! Fireman’s carry, APRON DEATH VALLEY DRIVER!!

Swerve hurries up a corner and BPJ sits up, for the KILL STOMPS!! Cover, Swerve wins!

Winner: Swerve Strickland, by pinfall

Mogul Affiliates comes through for their leader, Swerve takes out a second generation star! #HoodiesUp, and the big men stand Swerve up. Trench feeds BPJ to Boudreaux’s LARIAT! Then Swerve brings out the necklace, but here comes DUSTIN RHODES! The Natural has a TURNBUCKLE CROSSBAR! Dustin uses that to run off Mogul Affiliates, but this war has only just begun. Will Dustin prove to Swerve that being second generation doesn’t make him better, but that being better makes him better?

 

The House of Black speaks.

Malakai says, “There was a saying that reads, ‘Assumptions are a poison that create unrealistic expectations.’ And what is the poison that you people created? The assumption that Eddie Kingston was going to join the House. No, the House does not want Eddie, and Eddie does not want The House. The House did what it always does, and what its mission has been since the beginning: prove that every human being on this planet, no matter how true of heart, is corruptible. And it takes the smallest push into the right direction to peel off the layers of virtue and let that venom of hate grow.

“There is no forgiveness for people like you and me, Eddie. And like Cain did to Abel, you do what you can’t help but do, because it is your nature. It is the balance of who you are in this world. Because no man is ever truly…” The Mad King has begun his descent, will there be no going back now that he has begun to #FadeToBlack?

 

Saraya & Toni Storm VS The Renegade Sisters!

Speaking of a descent, the Revolution and the Lightning have stooped to shocking lows as of late, all in the name of showing the AEW homegrown talent that they, the outsiders, know what is best for business. But will they continue to do whatever they want to the AEW Women’s Division? Or will Charlette & Robyn be just the renegades to fight The Revolution?

The teams sort out and after a rock-paper-scissors game that goes nowhere, Robyn steps up to Storm. Storm doesn’t seem to take Robyn seriously but Robyn eggs her on. Robyn and Storm tie up, go around, and end up against ropes, in a corner, and then to more ropes. Storm lets off to pie face Robyn. Robyn ROCKS Storm! And again, and again, and then she CHOPS! Robyn whips, Storm reverses but Robyn ducks, only to run into Storm’s THESZ PRESS! Storm rains down fists, then she drags Robyn up. Storm puts Robyn in the ropes, CHOKES Robyn, then argues with the ref so Saraya can CHOKE Robyn, too!

The fans boo as Saraya fires off knees on Robyn! Storm sucker punches Charlette! Storm runs to HIP ATTACK Robyn off the apron! Fans are torn while Robyn lands on the floor. Storm and Saraya bring Robyn up to RAM her into steel steps! And then into the railing! The ref has to keep Charlette back, and Saraya says Charlette is crazy! Storm drags Robyn up and puts her in the ring to then drag her over. Tag to Saraya, they mug Robyn, and Saraya short arm LARIATS! And again! And again! Fans boo but Saraya smiles and soaks it all up. Saraya drags Robyn up, tells fans to shut up, but Robyn waistlocks.

Saraya elbows free, whips Robyn to a corner, SHINING WIZARD! Fans boo but Saraya just revels in it. Saraya snapmares and SHINING WIZARDS again! Cover, TWO!! Robyn survives but Saraya drags Robyn up. Robyn RAMS Saraya into a corner, but it’s the enemy corner! Storm tags in, she and Saraya mug Robyn, and then Storm snap suplexes Robyn down! Cover, TWO! Robyn is hanging tough but Storm clamps on a full nelson. Fans rally as Robyn endures and fights up. Storm thrashes Robyn around, but Robyn fights up and breaks the nelson! Only for Storm to throw her down by her hair! Fans boo and the ref reprimands, but Storm just scowls.

Storm kicks Robyn around, toying with her, but Robyn gets mad. Robyn ROCKS Storm! Robyn eggs Storm on so Storm hits back! Robyn ROCKS, CHOPS and repeat! Storm swing, Robyn dodges and ENZIGURIS! Fans fire up as both women are down! Storm a nd Robyn crawl, hot tag to Charlette! Charlette rallies on Storm and Saraya! SPLASH in the corner! Charlette rallies the fans with “GET! YOU! SOME!” Charlette runs in, but Storm SHOTGUNS her down! Charlette flounders to a corner, Storm runs in, SWEET HIP MUSIC! Storm brings Charlette up for Saraya to YAKUZA KICK! STORM ZERO!! Cover, Storm & Saraya win!

Winners: Saraya & Toni Storm, by pinfall

The outsiders win, but they’re not done! Saraya brings out cans of spray paint! Toni CLOBBERS Robyn, Saraya chases the ref out of the ring, and they start spraying the Renegades! They put big green L’s on the Renegades, will they continue to hand out those L’s to the AEW Women’s Division?

 

Adam Cole speaks.

“There is nothing that I love more than professional wrestling. And I have worked harder every single day than I ever have in my entire life. Because for me, I thought my dream was dead. And when your dreams die, your hope dies. I never, ever lost hope, because I refused to let anybody or anything stand in my way of getting back inside that squared circle. And I have no idea who my first opponent will be when I return, but I can promise you this: You are going to get the best damn pro-wrestler on the planet. And his name…” ADAM COLE, BAYBAY! AEW Revolution is the target, will Adam Cole make it all about the boom?

 

Mark Henry welcomes us back to Rampage.

The World’s Strongest Man says, “Before former ROH Champion, Rush, faces Bryan Danielson this Wednesday, he will face former ROH Champion, Christopher Daniels tonight on Rampage.” The Fallen Angel tells El Toro Blanco, “Your reputation precedes you, but I am not intimidated by reputation. And I’m not a stepping stone for anyone, Rush.” But Rush tells Daniels, “You have never faced anybody like Rush.” Rush continues on in Spanish, then says in English, “Just remember: if you mess with the bull, you get the horns.” Mark Henry then says, “It’s TIME! For the main event!” Will Rush be rolling into El Paso and his battle with the American Dragon? Or will this be the rise of the Fallen Angel?

Rush w/ La Faccion Ingobernable VS Christopher Daniels!

The bell rings and fans rally for the Fallen Angel. Daniels and Rush circle, tie up, and Daniels waistlocks. Rush switches, Daniels switches back but Rush sits. Daniels holds on for a moment but Rush switches back. They stand, Daniels shifts to hit a headlock takeover. Rush headscissors, Daniels pries free to trip Rush to a cover, ONE! The two stand off and fans cheer. Rush and Daniels reset to circle again. They tie up, Rush wrenches and YANKS the arm, then wrenches to CLUB the arm. Rush YANKS the arm but Daniels uses ropes to flip through and arm-drag Rush away! Rush stands up, sidesteps, but Daniels blocks the hip toss!

Daniels tries but now Rush blocks the hip toss. Rush swings but Daniels blocks the haymaker to hit a NECKBREAKER! Daniels then CLOBBERS Rush! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Daniels drags Rush up and CLUBS him. Daniels whips Rush to ropes to calf kick him out! Daniels then builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit at the ramp and fans fire up as Rampage goes picture in picture.

Daniels drags Rush up and into the ring, hurries up the corner, but Jose distracts! Daniels AX HANDLES Jose down! But Rush DECKS Daniels with a sucker punch! Daniels flops out of the ring and Rush distracts the ref so “Perro Peligroso” can attack! Preston Vance holds up the Ingobernables fist, then he POSTS Daniels! Vance even CHOKES Daniels with the stolen masks of luchadors Vance has beaten outside of AEW! Vance gets away with all this as Rush goes out after Daniels. But then Vance distracts the ref so that Rush can beat down Daniels! Rush drags Daniels around the way to throw him into railing!

Rush throws knee after knee into Daniels against the railing while Jose hurries to get the bright green cable! Rush throws down fists, Jose throws the cable over, and Rush holds it up. Rush then gathers some slack, to LASH Daniels! And then CHOKE him with it! Daniels can only cough and sputter because Vance is still in the ref’s face! Rush lets Daniels go, then drags him up to put him in the ring. Jose gives Rush some water to refresh himself, then Jose shows off just one of the many fat stacks MJF gave LFI on Dynamite. Rush uses the fat stack to fan himself off, then gives it to Vance. Rush then gets in the ring to CHOP Daniels!

Rush whips Daniels corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines! Then he sits Daniels down to rain down forearms! The ref reprimands and counts, Rush lets off at 4. Jose beats the apron like a drum and Rush runs corner to corner, to fake Daniels out on the Bull’s Horns! Daniels lets his guard down, and Rush KICKS him in the face! Daniels clutches his jaw while Rush rolls back to tranquilo. Rush then drags Daniels up to throw him out, and of course Vance is right on Daniels! Vance CHOPS Daniels while Rush distracts the ref. Vance puts Daniels back in, Rush stands on Daniels with a cocky cover, ONE!

Rush is annoyed but he stomps away on Daniels. Rampage returns to single picture as Rush pretends to take Daniels’ head and kicks it into the crowd. But then he KICKS Daniels in the side! Daniels goes to the apron, fans boo, but Rush kicks him to the floor. Rush again distracts the ref, and Vance uses the fat stack of cash to SLAP Daniels! Vance then makes it rain on Daniels, and stands him up to CHOP him down! Fans boo as Jose also makes it rain on Daniels. Vance puts Daniels in the ring, Rush drags Daniels up and throws body shots. Rush tosses Daniels back out, and then “apologizes” to the ref as a way to distract him!

Jose and Vance stand Daniels up, Jose chicken wings Daniels’ arms, and Vance runs in. Daniels moves, the BOOT takes out Jose! Fans fire up, Vance is shocked, and Daniels POSTS Vance! Daniels throws Jose into the ring then goes around the way. Rush is distracted by his assistant being where he shouldn’t be, and Daniels slips in to roll Rush up! TWO!! Rush escapes, but Daniels baits him into the corner. Daniels dodges, ENZIGURIS, and fans fire up! Rush staggers, Daniels runs in and LARIATS Rush! And CHOPS! And wrenches to a BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Rush survives but Daniels fires back up!

Daniels drags Rush up, CLUBS him again and again, then runs, but Rush follows! CHOP! CHOP! But Daniels swings! Rush dodge to SUPERKICK! Rush roars, swings, but into a fireman’s carry! DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! But into a KOJI KLUTCH!! Rush endures, Vance drags Rush’s leg to the ROPEBREAK! Fans boo but Daniels lets Rush go all the same. Daniels knows it was that damn dog, but Rush rolls Daniels up! WITH TIGHTS! TWO, and Rush swings again, but into the URENAGE! Daniels points to the corner and fans fire up! Daniels goes up, for the BEST MOONSAULT EVER onto knees!!

Rush OVERHEAD Belly2Belly suplexes Daniels into the corner! Rush makes sure Daniels sits up, and then he stomps away with both feet! Fans boo, Rush stomps around then runs corner to corner, BULL’S HORNS!! Cover, Rush wins!

Winner: Rush, by pinfall

Though it was a valiant effort, Christopher Daniels fought a 3v1 the entire time, he had no chance of winning out. Will Bryan Danielson also have no chance against those odds? Or will the American Dragon find a way to slay El Toro Blanco?


My Thoughts:

A really good Rampage here. The trios titles opening was quite the surprise, but it was a great match. The Firm looked good, but of course they also had the story of Ethan stealing the spotlight from his own teammates every chance he could. As such, The Elite win, and now we’re going to get a stacked episode of Dynamite. The trios titles, the tag titles, and eliminator matches for the women’s world title and men’s world title. Of those, I’m fairly confident The Elite retain their titles, that would only be their second defense and they have got to be heading to AEW Revolution with these belts. No idea who they’d face then, though.

Plenty of good promos again. Starks responding to the JAS gauntlet didn’t necessarily add anything, he’s of course going to find his way through. Malakai’s promo was equally good but it effectively established what’s going on with the story of House of Black and Eddie Kingston. Triple J and Best Friends are definitely going to have another match, and as I said before, I hope Paul Walter Hauser gets involved to avenge Triple J stealing his Golden Globe. And great new promo from Cole, though it doesn’t necessarily add anything more. Cole is surely going to be part of the Revolution card, and whoever he faces is going to put Cole over but in a very good match.

Really good match out of Swerve VS BPJ, but of course that as a Heel leading a faction, Swerve wins because his guys help out. But it also made sense for Dustin to show up and run the Mogul Affiliates off. As I sensed on Dynamite, Dustin is surely going to team up with BPJ and Brock Anderson against Mogul Affiliates in a Six Man Tag. And as AEW seems to struggle establishing new team names, I’m assuming Brian Pillman Jr. and Brock Anderson are gonna be “Lineage” (stylized LineAGE) as a sort of AEW version of Legacy. I say that cuz LineAGE was on BPJ’s tights. Dustin can also join LineAGE if he wants, and maybe LineAGE can get going in the Trios Division.

The Renegade Sisters got a good showing against Storm & Saraya, but of course they also lost to Storm & Saraya. And I suddenly had inspiration seeing Saraya & Storm spray paint big green L’s on the Renegades. Will Saraya & Storm be like The Outsiders, Nash & Hall, and they get an NWO moment at Revolution? The “third woman” will be someone who is currently Face and seems like they’re on AEW’s side. It probably won’t be Shida, she doesn’t seem to like how Saraya & Storm are going. But with Saraya & Storm wearing green and using green paint, and Ruby Soho having green hair, I wonder if Ruby is pushed to the point where she ends up seeing things Saraya’s way.

Still disappointing that Mark Henry’s segment is being trimmed down more and more, but I’m thinking it’s to give more time to the main event match. But this main event was a great main event, even though I just knew Daniels would lose. Rush VS Bryan will be great stuff, and I am sure Bryan will look close to losing because of Jose and Vance getting involved, but surely Bryan will find a way to win.

My Score: 8.6/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (2/3/23)

What is the State of the Bloodline?

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Roman Reigns responds to what happened at the Royal Rumble.

Though he is still Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, the Tribal Chief is without Jey Uso and without the Honorary Uce. What will Roman Reigns do about the Bloodline’s situation?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament Finals: Braun Strowman & Ricochet VS Imperium; Braun & Ricochet win and will challenge The Usos for the titles next week.
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair VS Sonya Deville; Charlotte wins and retains the title.
  • The Brawling Brutes VS The Viking Raiders w/ Valhalla; The Viking Raiders win.
  • Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifier Fatal 4 Way: Shotzi Blackheart VS Shayna Baszler VS Zelina Vega VS Natalya; Natty wins and advances to the Raw Women’s Championship Elimination Chamber match.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Bloodline arrives.

Kayla Braxton is already on the scene as Jimmy Usos, Solo Sikoa, Paul Heyman and the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns, exit the vehicle. Kayla wants a word on Jey Usos’ status after what we saw on Saturday, but Roman doesn’t give an answer. Heyman, however, says, “What a cold-blooded question from such a warm-hearted lady.” But at this time, the Bloodline will neither confirm nor deny Jey’s status within the group. But thanks for wearing black and red for them. The Wise Man heads out with the Head of the Table, what will Roman himself have to say later on tonight?

 

SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament Finals: Braun Strowman & Ricochet VS Imperium w/ GUNTHER!

The Monster of All Monsters and the King of Flight were last minute substitutes, but they made the most of their opportunity! Will they take over that SmackDown Tag Division right as the Usos’ partnership is in question? Or will it be Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci secure victory and make Der Ring General proud?

The teams sort out and Braun starts against the Pride of Italy. They circle, tie up, and Braun shoves Vinci away! Braun flexes and roars but Vinci talks strategy with Ludwig. They tag, Ludwig talks some trash but Vinci rushes in! Braun stays up from the chop block, he shoves Ludwig away, kicks Vinci out of the ring, and then DECKS Ludwig on the return! Imperium regroups outside and Braun dares them to bring it. Gunther talks strategy with his soldiers, a ring count starts, and fans rally up for Braun. Braun tags to Ricochet as Ludwig gets back in and they circle. They tie up, Ricochet waistlocks and headlocks.

Ludwig powers up and out, but Ricochet rolls off his back to dropkick him down! Ricochet throws forearms but Ludwig DECKS Ricochet! Ludwig drags Ricochet back up but Ricochet hits a JAWBREAKER! Ricochet brings Ludwig up but Vinci takes a swipe! Ricochet gets distracted and Ludwig CLOBBERS him with a EuroUpper! Braun is upset, he runs in around the way to CLOBBER Vinci! Braun stares Gunther down and Gunther backs away. Braun dares Gunther to try something now, but Ludwig DIVES! Only for Braun to catch him! Ludwig tries to fight free, but Vinci goes up and up and CROSSBODIES to wipe Braun out!

Fans rally for Braun while Gunther has Imperium regroup. The Monster and the high-flyer are in trouble as SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns and Braun CLUBS Vinci. Braun scoops Vinci, Vinci slips free and POSTS Braun! Ludwig tags in, they have Braun stuck in the corner, and they DOUBLE DROPKICK! They push Braun in to cover, TWO! Gunther is frustrated but Ludwig rains down fists. Tag to Vinci, Imperium mugs Braun, and Vinci CLUBS away on Braun’s back. Vinci facelocks and grinds the hold but Braun fights up! Fans rally as Braun powers his way over a step at a time, and he TOSSES Vinci away! Hot tag to Ricochet, he springboards to CROSSBODY Ludwig! Ricochet runs to RANA Vinci, then he runs to RAM him in the corner!

Ricochet bumps Vinci off buckles, kicks him away, and springboards for a FLYING LARIAT! Ricochet keeps moving, STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO! Gunther is still worried as Ricochet has the fans rallying behind him. Ricochet brings Vinci up, fireman’s carries, but Vinci slips off to CLUB Ricochet and POST him! Ludwig tags in, they set Ricochet up like Braun, but Ricochet dodges! The dropkicks take Vinci out! Ludwig rushes in, Ricochet dodges to handspring and back elbow! Ludwig flounders to the corner, Braun runs in to BLAST Vinci away! Braun has Ricochet build speed, and gives him a boost to FLY! Direct hit and down goes Imperium!

Fans are thunderous, Ricochet is roaring, and Gunther is furious! Ricochet tells Gunther to back off, this is Imperium’s fight. Gunther shoves Ricochet, and the ref saw it! The ref EJECTS Gunther! Fans love it as now this is a fair fight! Gunther is fuming but Braun dares him to try something more. Ricochet gets in the ring but Vinci grabs at him! Ricochet kicks Vinci away but Ludwig is after him in the ropes! Ricochet shoves Ludwig away, but Ludwig and Vinci HIGH-LOW on the rebound! Cover, TWO!! Ricochet survives and Braun is shocked, too, as SmackDown goes to break!

SmackDown returns again and Ludwig brawls with Ricochet! Ricochet gets the edge, runs, but Ludwig UPPERCUTS! Ludwig whips, Ricochet reverses to V-TRIGGER! Ludwig wobbles, Ricochet fires off fists, and the ref counts. Ricochet roars as he lets off at 4, but Ludwig turns things around! Vinci tags in and springboards to CROSSBODY! PENALTY KICK from Ludwig! DOUBLE DROPKICKS to Braun! Vinci covers Ricochet, TWO! Ricochet is hanging tough and Imperium grows frustrated. Vinci drags Ricochet up, Ludwig tags in then climbs the corner, but Ricochet back drops Vinci! Ricochet drags Ludwig down to GAMANGIRI!

Ricochet brings Ludwig back up and reels him in to suplex but Ludwig slips out. Ludwig whips Ricochet to the corner, runs in, but blocks the kick! Tag to Vinci but Ricochet elbows Vinci away! Ricochet ROCKS Ludwig, ENZIGURIS, and goes up! But Ludwig GAMANGIRIS! ROCKET LAUNCH into the BRAINBUSTER!! Cover, Braun YANKS Vinci outta the ring! Fans are thunderous and Braun fires up! Ricochet stirs as the fans rally up and Braun reaches out. Vinci crawls in, both men go for their corners, hot tags to Ludwig and Ricochet! Braun rallies on Ludwig with big shoulder tackles! And a TOSS across the way!

Vinci runs in, springboards, but bounces off Braun’s body! Braun rips off his shirt but Ludwig UPPERCUTS! Braun LARIATS on return! “THAT’S IT!” Braun drags Ludwig up, reels him in, and fans fire up for the MONSTER BOMB!! Tag to Ricochet and he goes up onto Braun’s shoulders! MONSTROUS SWANTON!! Cover, Braun & Ricochet win!

Winners: Braun Strowman & Ricochet, by pinfall (NEW #1 contenders to the SmackDown Tag Team Championships)

Imperium belittled them as “sideshow circus freaks,” but these freaks are going to challenge the Usos next week! Will this be the perfect time to strike down the historic reign of Jimmy & Jey?

 

Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair.

Kayla is with The Queen, saying the world is buzzing with the Women’s Royal Rumble match winner, Rhea Ripley, choosing her as her WrestleMania opponent. But how does Charlotte feel? Charlotte says Mania will be epic. But tonight, she’s focused on Sonya Deville. “You cannot overlook someone who is as persistent as Sonya.” Sure, she complained to get here, but we’re in Carolina! And- Oh, here comes Sonya now. Sonya says Charlotte must mean they’re in Flair Country! “WOO~!” Yeah? Or more like, Hicksville, No Man’s Land, the middle of nowhere where no one wants to be, including Sonya herself.

But Sonya won’t let that stop her. She’s here for one reason and one reason only: The SmackDown Women’s Championship. And then it’ll be Sonya VS Rhea at Mania. Because Hollywood needs a star, and Sonya is a star! Charlotte chuckles and Sonya asks what’s so funny. Charlotte won’t be laughing when Sonya beats her in the ring. Charlotte says to leave this trash talk for the ring. Sonya says fine, she’ll see her in the ring. Will the Queen still have her crown after taking on the Jersey Deville?

 

SmackDown shares footage of WWE superstars at the LA Coliseum.

Just last night, in partnership with Fox Sports and NASCAR, The New Day and Rey Mysterio were with Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and the official Clash at the Coliseum branded stock cars. However, The Judgment Day’s Dominik Mysterio, Finn Balor & Damian Priest had to crash the fun. Dom says this isn’t about celebrating Rey again, “hanging out with this old guy in pajamas.” Waltrip got upset but the New Day stepped in. Show some respect to the two-time Daytona winner. Finn says that’s the past! They’re with Ross Chastain, the current NASCAR champion! Waltrip tells Dom to be more respectful, but Dom knows what this is about.

Dom says Rey must want to race like they did back in the day when Dom was beating Rey at go-carts! Rey says if Dom wants to get spanked like when he was a kid, sure! Clint said they had two cars right here, so why not race for real? Get on the track and settle this! Everybody got real hyped for that, so Rey and Dom suited up. Waltrip hyped Rey up, and Chastain hyped Dom up. Rey and Dom got in the driver’s seats, put on the steering wheels and helmets, and Waltrip said, “Gentlemen! And the Judgment Day, I guess. Start! Your! Engines!” BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGITY, and they’re off! Dom took an early lead but Rey was hot on his tail!

Dom was even talking trash, asking if anyone had a booster seat for Rey! And where’s the NOS? But Rey says Dom’s driving is as fake as his teardrop tattoo! Dom still had the lead, and said he learned this from his cellmate who was a getaway driver. Rey said the only “getaway driving” Dom’s ever done is in video games! Lap after lap, Dom holds onto the lead, until Rey makes a move! “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” They’re neck and neck, but Rey takes it at the checkered flag! And in the end, that’s what matters! The New Day celebrated with Rey, but Dom says Rey had to have cheated! Things got tense, the pit crews had to break this up! Will nothing but a fight settle this family dysfunction?

 

SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair VS Sonya Deville!

The Queen reigns again, but the Pride Fighter says that’s an injustice. Will Sonya bring about her own form of justice and equality to SmackDown? Or will this home game in Flair Country be a big win on the Road to WrestleMania for Charlotte?

SmackDown returns and Charlotte makes her entrance. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who Rhea faces in Hollywood!

The bell rings and fans rally behind Charlotte already with “WOO~!” after “WOO~!” Sonya and Charlotte circle, feel things out, then tie up. Charlotte arm-drags Sonya, runs her over, then stands over her. Charlotte eggs Sonya on, “Where’s the trash talking now?” Sonya stands up, she and Charlotte tie up, and Charlotte waistlocks to SLAM Sonya down. Charlotte pushes Sonya to a press, ONE! Sonya stands but Charlotte wrenches an arm. Sonya pulls hair but the ref reprimands. Sonya wrenches, wristlocks, but Charlotte cartwheels to wrench back. Charlotte whips, Sonya reverses, but Charlotte goes up and out!

Charlotte BOOTS Sonya from the ropes, goes up top, and fans fire up as Charlotte leaps! CROSSBODY! Cover, ONE!! Sonya is out but Charlotte says that was still close. Charlotte runs in but only gets buckles! Sonya runs in but is put on the apron. Charlotte ROCKS Sonya, stands her up, and wrenches, but Sonya throws Charlotte by her hair! Sonya mocks the “WOO~!” but fans boo, and SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns as Charlotte sits up, into a KICK from Sonya! And another! Sonya mocks the “WOO~” again, fans boo some more, but Sonya runs in, only for Charlotte to roll her up! TWO, and Sonya ROUNDHOUSES Charlotte back down! Cover, TWO! Charlotte survives but Sonya clamps on a chinlock. Sonya thrashes Charlotte around, says she can do this all day, but fans rally as Charlotte endures. Charlotte fights up, snapmares free, and then blocks forearms to give forearms! Sonya ROCKS Charlotte, but Charlotte blocks buckle bump to give buckle bump! Sonya staggers away, Charlotte stomps up, but Sonya kicks out a leg!

Sonya runs, Charlotte ducks the lariat and CLOBBERS Sonya! And again! Charlotte CHOPS and CHOPS and CHPOS! Fans “WOO~!” but Sonya swings, into a back suplex! Charlotte kips up and fans fire up! Charlotte runs in at the corner, but blocks boots! Charlotte ROCKS Sonya, climbs up and drops a knee on the knee! Sonya flounders, Charlotte runs to BOOT her down! Cover, TWO!! Sonya survives but Charlotte is actually amused. Sonya goes to ropes, Charlotte storms up and reels her in. Sonya holds ropes, elbows free, then whips, but Charlotte reverses! Sonya tumbles out to the apron, avoids the boot and HOTSHOTS the leg!

Sonya slides in, runs in and BOOTS Charlotte down! Cover, TWO!! Sonya can’t believe it! Sonya fumes while Charlotte crawls to a corner. Charlotte drags herself up, Sonya run sin but into a BACKBREAKER! But Sonya avoids the boot! Sonya KCIKS Charlotte, goes up the corner, and FLYING KNEES Charlotte down! Cover, TWO!!! Sonya is furious, but she drags Charlotte to center. Sonya stomps the leg, grins, and goes ‘WOO~!” Sonya steps through, Charlotte turns figure four into cradle! TWO!?!? Sonya escapes by nanoseconds! Fans boo but Charlotte storms up, only for Sonya to send her into buckles!

Sonya runs, into a LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Charlotte drags Sonya to a drop zone, goes up top, and fans fire up for the MOONSAULT! Sonya BOOTS her back! And rolls her up! FEET ON THE ROPES! TWO!!! The ref reprimands but Charlotte still escapes! Sonya steps through, Charlotte kicks free of the figure four! Sonya comes back, sunset flips, but charlotte rolls through! Charlotte has the legs, “WOO~!” Figure Four, to FIGURE EIGHT!! Sonya taps, Charlotte wins!!

Winner: Charlotte Flair, by submission (still SmackDown Women’s Champion)

Sonya was so close and yet so far! But that is how good Charlotte Flair is now that she’s back on top! What will it take for even The Eradicator to take this title off Charlotte at WrestleMania?

 

The Bloodline sits in their private room.

Roman asks Jimmy, “Where’s your brother?” Jimmy doesn’t know. Jimmy didn’t talk to Jey? Haven’t heard from him. Roman isn’t sure if it’s just him, but don’t you find that disrespectful? Jey not only walks out, but he doesn’t care enough to communicate. It’s one thing to walk away, but to not hear from him for a whole week… Plus, don’t the Usos have a title match next week? “We don’t walk out on our obligations.” Roman can’t understand this. So he asks again: Has Jimmy talked to Jey? And Jimmy will say it again, he hasn’t heard from Jey. But Jey will be there, Jimmy has faith in him. But they all know Jey. He just needs time to cool off.

Roman repeats, “He’ll be there. he’ll be there for you. What about all of us? He gonna be there for the entire Bloodline? Huh? Solo, have you talked to your brother?” Jimmy says if he hasn’t heard from Jey, Jey isn’t talking to nobody, Uce. Nobody has heard from Jey. Roman says they don’t understand the urgency that is needed right now. Roman calls upon the Wise Man. “Yes, My Tribal Chief.” “Is it not WrestleMania season?” “It is WrestleMania Season, My Tribal Chief.” Then you ain’t gonna find Jey on the couch. Go find him now! Jimmy and Solo get up and head out. Will Main Event Jey be found at all tonight?

 

The Brawling Brutes VS The Viking Raiders w/ Valhalla!

“Butch” and Ridge the Fridge are going to avenge Sheamus against Erik & Ivar! Will the Bruiserweight and Yorkshire Grit be the ones to bring Ragnarök to the Vikings? Or will they end up just like the Celtic Connection?

SmackDown returns and the Vikings make their entrance. The teams sort out and Dunne starts with Ivar. They tie up, Ivar puts Dunne in a corner, but he lets off quickly. Dunne fires forearms but Ivar throws body shots and fast hands! The ref counts, Ivar lets off again, but then Ivar whips Dunne out to send him back into the corner hard! Dunne falls, Ivar drags him to the corner and tags in Erik. Erik whips Dunne into the corner, runs in, but into boots! Dunne brings Erik around, ties him up, and has an abdominal stretch, but he bends the fingers! Dunne powers Erik to the corner, fires forearms, and tags in Ridge.

Ridge runs side to side to forearm smash! Ridge keeps going, and he runs Erik over with a shoulder! Ridge drags Erik up but Erik wrenches out to ROCK him with a forearm! Erik suplexes but Ridge is too big for that! Ridge suplexes Erik up and over! Tag to Dunne, then Ridge clobbers Erik! Dunne BOOTS Ivar, and then the Brutes have Erik for DOUBLE BEATS OF THE BODHRAIN! They go to 7 before Dunne just fires off furiously! Erik flops down, Dunne stomps him off the apron, then he PLANCHAS! Erik gets clear, but Dunne stares “Valhalla” Sarah Logan down. Erik RAMS Dunne into barriers, then CLOBBERS him! Fans boo but SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns again and Dunne pries his way out of a sleeper at the ropes! He SNAPS Erik’s fingers! Valhalla is shocked, Erik runs in, but Dunne goes up and over! Tag to Ridge, and he EXPLODERS Erik! Erik is back up, but he swings into another EXPLODER! Ridge blocks haymakers to throw HEADBUTTS, and then an OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Ridge roars, “FIGHT NIGHT!” but runs into a KNEE! Tag to Ivar, Ridge CLOBBERS Erik but Ivar kicks low! Ivar reels Ridge in, lifts him up, but Ridge powers up and Alabama Lifts Ivar! ALABAMA SLAM!! Cover, TWO!! Valhalla is relieved as the War Beard survives!

Ridge snarls, he waistlocks Ivar but Ivar backs him into a corner. Ivar fires elbow after elbow, but Dunne tags in to ENZIGURI! Dunne runs in to BOOT Ivar! Erik tags in, he runs but into an ENZIGURI! Dunne runs, but into a LARIAT! ACE TEN MAO! Cover, ONE?!?! Tag to Ivar, and Ivar climbs. Erik hands Dunne off to Ivar, but Ridge drags Erik out! Erik RAMS Ridge into barriers! Dunne fights the slam, rains down elbows, and then SUPER STEINERS Ivar away! Cover, TWO!! Ivar survives and Valhalla breathes easy again. Dunne goes up top to MOONSAULT! But Ivar catches Dunne!! Ivar deadlifts Dunne, but Dunne slips into a SLEEPER!

Ivar RAMS Dunne into buckles, Erik tags in and Erik CLOBBERS Dunne! Ivar goes out, Ridge runs in, but into a HEEL KICK! Ivar tags back in, the Vikings have Dunne, and Valhalla nods. RAGNARÖK!! Cover, the Vikings win!

Winners: The Viking Raiders, by pinfall

The Brutes could not stop the brutality of Erik & Ivar, the raid continues on! Will the Viking Raiders be waiting on the other side of next week’s tag title showdown?

WAIT! Here comes Drew McIntyre and Sheamus! The Celtic Connection are back on their feet, and they brawl with the Vikings on the stage! Sheamus tackles Erik, McIntyre throws Ivar into railing! The forearms fly, and Sheamus RAMS Erik into a girder! McIntyre runs and RAMS Ivar into the LED screen! Ivar staggers, McIntyre BOOTS him down! Fans fire up as Sheamus & McIntyre stand tall! Will they turn the tides in this battle on the Road to WrestleMania?

 

Bray Wyatt sits in his rocking chair.

Like us, he was surely watching back the highlights of the Pitch Black Match from the Royal Rumble. But then Uncle Howdy walks over! He and Bray look at the camera together, does this mean they’re on the same side after all?

 

Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifier Fatal 4 Way: Shotzi Blackheart VS Shayna Baszler VS Zelina Vega VS Natalya!

As we learned on Raw, there will be a Women’s Elimination Chamber to name Bianca Belair’s WrestleMania opponent! Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross and Asuka are automatically in given their performance in the Women’s Rumble match. Raw will hold its own Fatal 4 on Monday, but who qualifies for the fifth spot here on Friday Night SmackDown?

SmackDown returns and the Queen of Harts makes her entrance, with the Wild Child, Queen of Spades and La Muneca already waiting. The bell rings and Natty rushes Shayna. Natty dodges Shayna’s haymaker, Shotzi ROCKS Shayna with a right, and then Natty fires off on Shayna. Vega rushes Shotzi but gets a kick. Natty bumps Shayna off buckles and stomps a mudhole! Shotzi throws Vega out, then goes after Shayna, even pushing Natty outta the way! Shotzi has her own bone to pick with Shayna, but then Natty throws Shotzi away. Natty stomps Shayna out of the ring, Shotzi rolls Natty up! TWO, Shotzi headlocks but Natty powers out.

Shotzi runs Natty over, fans fire up and Shotzi runs, but Vega trips her up! Vega drags Shotzi out, THROWS her to the barriers, then laughs as she goes into the ring. Vega and Natty tie up, Vega gets around to roll Natty up, TWO! Vega KICKS from below, covers, TWO! We see Liv and Raquel are here watching backstage, already representing SmackDown in the Elimination Chamber. Vega drags Natty up but Natty ROCKS Vega! Natty scoops Vega but Vega slips off and pushes her away. Vega then tilt-o-whirls, and hits a CODE RED! Cover, Shayna kicks it apart! Shayna gut wrenches Vega to a SLAM!

Shotzi returns, Shayna gets around and hooks Shotzi up, BACKBREAKER! Shayna grabs Shotzi’s arm and stands on her head. Shotzi flails, fans boo, but Natty CLUBS Shayna down! Natty drags Shayna up, throws her to the apron, and runs in. Shayna avoids the shoulder to KICK Natty! Vega trips Shayna but Shayna CLOBBERS her for it! Shayna gets back in, and KNEES Natty down! Shayna grins as she covers, TWO!! Natty survives that nasty knee that once broke her nose, and Shayna soaks up the heat from the fans while SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns again and Shayna pulls on Shotzi’s arm in a top wristlock. Shotzi fights up and fires body shots but Shayna DECKS her! Shayna stands on Shotzi’s arm, but she avoids the stomp! Roll up, ONE, but Shotzi BOOTS, KNEES and ROLLING ELBOWS Shayna, to then QUESTION MARK KICK! Shayna ends up on ropes, Shotzi runs to SENTON! Shayna bails out, Shotzi DIVES to take her out at the ramp! Fans fire up but Vega goes up top! Vega SUPER MOONSAULTS onto Shotzi and Shayna! All three are down, Natty hurries out to DECK Vega! Natty puts Shotzi in, runs and trips Shotzi, to the SHARPSHOOTER!

Fans fire up as Shotzi endures, but Vega hits a BULLDOG on Natty! Shotzi chicken wings Vega to TIGER SUPLEX! But Shayna reels Shotzi in for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Shayna then drags Vega up into the KIRAFUDA KLUTCH!! Vega flails, but she’s fading! Natty runs in, Shayna drops Vega to duck the discus! KIRAFUDA for Natty!! But Natty throws Shayna out of the ring! Natty hurries to get Vega for the SHARPSHOOTER!! Vega taps, Natty wins!!

Winner: Natalya, by submission (advances to Elimination Chamber)

The Queen of Harts is going to be the hometown hero in Montreal! But will that help her take the golden ticket to Hollywood?

 

Roman Reigns still waits in his private room.

Heyman apologizes to the Tribal Chief. Jey’s phone goes straight to voicemail. Heyman wants to say more, but he holds his tongue. Jimmy and Solo return, and they also say they got nothing. A big fat zero. Roman sighs. “I just don’t understand. Of all the times of year for this to happen. We were doing so good. No problems, no hiccups.” Roman says they know how much he has on his plate. That they understand “the stress and the burden of this position.” He feels like he’s being pulled in two different directions, and spread too thin. He loves them, and is sorry for speaking tot hem the way he did.

Jimmy says not to worry about it. Roman says he needs them. He needs them to be as strong as they ever were. Because if they’re not, there is no more #WeTheOnes. Wise Man had catering sent to the bus, it’s a whole bunch of sushi, steaks, etc. It’s good stuff. They can go to the bus and eat up while Roman goes to the ring to handle business. He needs them with him. They understand? Yeet. Then enjoy. He’ll catch up with them later. Jimmy says okay, and has Solo tag along. What will Roman say about Sami, Jey and the Bloodline as a whole? We find out, after the break.

 

BREAKING NEWS for next week!

On top of the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, we will see a Fatal 4 Way match to name a #1 contender to the Intercontinental Championship! Rey Mysterio VS Madcap Moss VS Karrion Kross VS Santos Escobar! Who will win to go after Der Ring General?

 

Roman Reigns heads to the ring.

Paul Heyman is the only one to accompany the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion as his reign now reaches 887 DAYS! Roman lifts the belts for the pyro, then continues to the ring. As it stands, Roman Reigns will headline WrestleMania against the American Nightmare, the Men’s Rumble Winner, Cody Rhodes, but even that seems to be secondary to what is going on within The Bloodline. Roman and Heyman stand in the ring, and Roman lifts the belts again for the second round of pyro. Heyman then hands Roman a mic while fans chant, “SAMI! SAMI!” Roman lets that settle down before he says, “Greenville, South Carolina… ACKNOWLEDGE ME!”

Fans are still rather torn between cheers, jeers, and the chant of “SAMI! SAMI!” Roman was going to ask them who they want him to talk about, but it’s obvious. Roman says he’d rather sit here and talk about Cody Rhodes. “Y’know, the guy that won the Royal Rumble, the #1 contender. Someone who actually deserves my attention. But you simple folks have reduced me to talking about the past.” Fans boo, then start up the “SAMI! SAMI!” again. Roman says fine, if they want to hear about Sami, he’ll talk about Sami. “But remember, there’s two sides to every story, so you’re gonna hear mine.” Fans boo, they already don’t like that.

Roman says that in order to hear his side of the story, “we’ve gotta go all the way back to WarGames.” Heyman remembers when Roman looked Sami in his eyes that Roman saw everything he needed to see. “Would you like to know what I saw that night? I saw greed. I saw the same thing that I see in everybody that I ever interact with in my life nowadays. If a restaurant was lucky enough to have me, when I walk in, the hostess, the people in the kitchen, the waitress, the waiter, they all say the same thing. ‘I want this.’ It’s not, ‘Tribal Chief, it’s great to see you.’ No, it’s ‘What can I do for you, like I haven’t already done enough?'”

So Roman does the same thing for Sami, he gives Sami the opportunity of a lifetime, and Sami just uses him, the Bloodline and the Island of Relevancy! “No different than each and every one of you, because you all want, want, want. You can never give back, huh?” BUT THEN SAMI ATTACKS!! Sami came outta the crowd in a hoodie but it’s clear as day that’s him! Sami rains down furious fists and fans are loving it! Sami tears off the hoodie to reveal his new Sami Zayn shirt! Roman staggers up, Sami fires off, but Roman throws knees in return! Roman stomps Sami down, fans boo, but Roman shakes out the stars.

Roman tells Heyman to get a chair, so Heyman gets a chair. Heyman hands the chair to Roman, but Sami is back up! Sami SPEARS Roman?!?! Fans are thunderous as Sami hits Roman with his own move! And then Sami looks down at the chair. Fans are chanting for “SAMI! SAMI!” and Sami swings! Roman avoids the chair shot and retreats up the ramp! Sami shouts in the mic, “ROMAAAN!! You’re wrong about me. I never wanted anything from you. I never wanted anything from you!! Until now. I want something from you now, and I’m gonna take it. Because I am coming after you and the WWE UNDISPUTED UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!”

Fans are going nuts, and Roman is flabbergasted! But then Jimmy SUPERKICKS Sami down! Solo and Jimmy mug Sami! Fans boo but Roman grins as Solo rains down HEADBUTTS! Solo stands Sami up, SAMOAN SPIKE!! Sami sputters but the Bloodline isn’t done with him! They sit Sami in the corner, rain down fists, and then they put the chair around Sami’s head! They’re gonna Riddle him! Solo runs in, but Roman stops him!? Roman looks down on Sami and says, “You want something, huh? You want something from me?” Roman takes the chair away, and fans are chanting “WE WANT JEY! WE WANT JEY!”

Roman tells Sami to listen to that. The fans want Jey, but Roman doesn’t have Jey because Sami broke up the Bloodline. The Right Hand Man isn’t here because of Sami! Sami was given the keys to the kingdom, the invitation to the Promised Land, and Sami repays them by breaking up the family! Sami will get what he wants, but Roman will get what he wants. Sami and Roman will be in Montreal at the Elimination Chamber! Sami broke up Roman’s family, so Roman will break Sami in front of his family! Sami’s parents, wife, kids, friends, relatives, everyone he’s connected to! They will see what happens when you mess with Roman’s family! “I’ll see you soon!”

Sami is still down, fans still chant for him, but then they boo as Roman takes the belts back. If this is what Sami wants, then this is simple to Roman! This isn’t a dream, this is reality! Sami should’ve just stayed in the Bloodline. Roman lifts the titles over Sami, will this be what we see in Montreal in just two weeks?


My Thoughts:

This was a great SmackDown to follow the Royal Rumble! For one, it flew by, though that could be because of the recap packages and only the four matches. I did like the bit we got out of Bray and Uncle Howdy, though it was rather short. The NASCAR racing segment was cheesy like a lot of pro-wrestling corporate synergy stuff is, but it continues to further the plot point that Dom will just get in Rey’s face anywhere and everywhere. With Rhea wanting after Charlotte, it is obvious that the rest of Judgment Day will move over to SmackDown with her, they will have a new feud with Rey, and New Day might even back Rey up for some really good Six Man Tags.

Speaking of Charlotte, she and Sonya had a decent promo before their match, which logically wasn’t the main event because it was a given Charlotte would win. Even so, Sonya looked strong in that match, just not strong enough. And great move having the Women’s Fatal 4 be the “main event” as far as matches. Shotzi, Shayna, Vega and Natty are all great talents, and it makes sense to give Montreal their hometown hero of Natty in the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. Personally, I would’ve given the nod to Shayna, she would be just as good in the match, and if she were to move over to Raw, she could still have great matches against Bianca Belair and others past Mania.

The Brutes VS Viking Raiders was a really good tag match, but of course the Vikings were gonna win that. And given that, of course Drew & Sheamus were gonna get after them. I don’t know if it’s gonna be in a Donnybrook or a Viking Rules match, but we need one of those at Elimination Chamber for the blow-off of McIntyre & Sheamus VS Erik & Ivar. They need to go wild and just beat each other down. I also like the news of the Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender’s Fatal 4. Rey, Moss, Kross and Escobar is a great field, but I can’t be sure who faces Gunther. Well, outside of Moss. I don’t see him pulling out a win there, but at the same time, Rey and Kross might cancel out. Escobar VS Gunther so that we could get Legado Del Fantasma VS Imperium would be really cool.

Speaking of Imperium, great opening tag to finish the SmackDown Tag Title tournament. Braun and Ricochet getting after Gunther to get him ejected was good stuff, and of course Braun & Ricochet as the Faces win. Their story ties into the Bloodline dysfunction, and the promos from The Bloodline was good stuff. Jey is MIA and radio silent, which is still a big part of things. Roman again had to walk back his anger in order to keep Solo and Jimmy on his side, and then Roman had a great promo to close the night, along with Sami’s blindside attack. Sami wanting the titles is a natural move, but I have a feeling Sami loses in Montreal to really put heat on Roman. As much as we all love Sami, as great as Sami truly is, Roman VS Cody got a really good Mania Hollywood graphic, WWE’s not changing that.

My Score: 8.8/10


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