We’ve made it through a month of tournament action, 9 match days each, and we’ve come to the culmination of all this work! Kota Ibushi vs SANADA for the G1 Climax 30!
Aside from the main event, we’ve got the first official match of Will Ospreay’s new faction. Shingo and Suzuki look to collide for their rubber match, so we’ve got a tag match to wet the whistle.
There are also a lot of interesting possible stories depending on who wins the other matches. Perhaps challengers for the 6 Man belts appear? Maybe EVIL or KENTA make their challenge towards Naito since they beat him in the round robin?
Let’s get down to it!
- Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, DOUKI, El Desperado & ZSJ) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano): DOUKI wins via Zack Mephisto @10:34 – ** ½
- LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki): Hiromu wins via Time Bomb @11:54 – *** ¼
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jeff Cobb, Juice Robinson & Master Wato w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, KENTA & Jay White): Tanahashi wins via Texas Cloverleaf @9:12 – ***
- Great-O-Khan & Will Ospreay w/Bea Priestley vs Kazuchika Okada & SHO: Ospreay wins via Figure Four @12:36 – *** ½
- Darkness Club (EVIL w/Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi) vs LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI): EVIL wins via Scorpion Deathlock @14:14 – ***
- G1 Climax 30 Finals: SANADA vs Kota Ibushi: Ibushi wins via Kamigoye @35:12 – ****
Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, DOUKI, El Desperado & ZSJ) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano)
Taichi actually wants to start, and handpicked Ishii; and we all know Ishii isn’t one to back down from a fight. This start really embodies the shift Taichi has taken as of late. He’s more serious, showing more of the Kawada style that we once expected, and not the character driven heel stuff Taichi was infamous for, for about a decade or so.
As for the match, it follows the normal multiman methodology. Each person gets time to come in and do a few things, nothing really overly surprising or noteworthy until the end. HASHI was starting to build some steam and show that fighting spirit that he’s been reinvigorated by, but Suzuki-Gun decided that wasn’t the story they were telling. After the usual everyone runs in and clears out spots, Dangerous Tekkers are still standing and hit Zack Mephisto on HASHI, then drape DOUKI over him.
🏆🍁G1 CLIMAX 30 FINAL🍁🏆
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 18, 2020
DOUKI doesn’t have many pinfall victories in New Japan, and him being a Junior Heavyweight covering a Heavyweight; it’s just an interesting look. DOUKI seems to have issued a challenge for the 6 man titles, so at least we have something for those belts going toward Power Struggle.
LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki)
As we can expect, there’s bad blood everywhere in this match; and a lot of short tempers. Suzuki goes after Shingo immediately to show the bloodlust and need for the impending rubber match; while Hiromu and Kanemaru take control of the ring with Hiromu trying to prove something. Remember, Hiromu and BUSHI lost the Jr Tag tournament to Kanemaru and Desperado, so Hiromu has been on a bit of a losing streak.
Hiromu doesn’t get too much revenge since Suzuki takes a pot shot and gives Kanemaru the advantage. When Kanemaru brings in Suzuki, Suzuki mostly toys with Hiromu, even going as far as applying a Boston Crab for disrespect. Hiromu gets the tag into Shingo and he comes in hot, like we all expected. He takes it to both Suzuki-Gun members and then focuses on Suzuki himself.
They trade, they goad at each other, Shingo removes the athletic cuff and trainers tape from his banged up right arm, and they keep going at it. Forearm shivers, Tenryu Elbows, lariats, a Gotch Style Piledriver attempt but Shingo wriggles free hits the Death Valley Driver, Suzuki no sells and PK’s Shingo as they both fall to the mat looking for tags.
Kanemaru and Hiromu lock up in the crazy Junior way of fast strikes, inventive counters and a lot of intensity. Kanemaru brings Suzuki in for a tandem spot, which gets punctuated by a PK to Hiromu’s back from Suzuki and a Bakatare Sliding Kick from Kanemaru; Deep Impact follows the double team, but Shingo breaks it up. After Suzuki and Shingo brawl on the outside, Shingo and Hiromu do their own tandem move. Which amusingly, Shingo charges Hiromu and Irish Whips him into the corner against Kanemaru, and Hiromu has this wild happy look in his eyes. So it was just good amusement, Shingo goes back to Suzuki, Kanemaru tries to cheat with the whiskey bottle, but Hiromu gets away from it, Death Valley Driver in the corner, Time Bomb.
This sets up nicely for the NEVER Openweight rubber match and could also imply that Hiromu and BUSHI will be challenging for the Junior tag belts.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jeff Cobb, Juice Robinson & Master Wato w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, KENTA & Jay White)
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) October 18, 2020
So this was more of a fun style tag match. There are a lot of threads that can be pulled at in this match, but it just seemed like most of the wrestlers were having fun. Jay White starts bullying Wato a bit, even going as far as to mock Tenzan’s Mongolian Chops, to which Tenzan makes sure to retaliate when the referee isn’t looking.
Funnily enough, they didn’t play on the NJPW Strong story between KENTA and Jeff Cobb, they focused more on KENTA and Tanahashi. Juice was more of his goofy self in this match, Cobb actually looked more like a powerhouse catching and tossing a few Bullet Club members into one another.
Most of us could tell from his inclusion, that with Gedo in the match, he was going to eat the pin. We get Juice’s punch combination, Wato hit a nice Tornillo, Gachimuchi Sault from Cobb and the Texas Cloverleaf makes Gedo tap out.
Wrestle Kingdom 15 is announced as a 2 day event again! January 4 & 5, 2021!
Great-O-Khan & Will Ospreay w/Bea Priestley vs Kazuchika Okada & SHO
Body language is fun in the introductions. O-Khan comes out doing his gimmick, Will motions behind him to summon Bea and they walk out like smug posh royalty. Whereas SHO and Okada walk out somber, Okada just stares at the ring, SHO puts his mouth guard in, and once they get in, they rush O-Khan and Ospreay. Okada is pissed, and SHO is more than happy to help Okada with this problem.
This had a great dynamic of showing off O-Khan and getting across Ospreay’s new persona/faction identity. O-Khan started again SHO, and SHO was dominated early. We saw both O-Khan and Ospreay just beat on him, double team him, hell Bea got involved a few times for a triple team. SHO managed to scrap away some space and bring Okada in, and that was more like a chance to go even.
Okada struggled against O-Khan a bit, between his size and his interesting nearly feral Mongolian style. Mongolian Chops, Mongolian Shoteis, just great power and an old school Killer Khan vibe. Will on the other hand was very much the opportunistic shitty heel , coming in with a Pip Pip Cheerio on Okada, which stings. Stings because when Okada went Balloon Crazy and started doing his Scooby Dooby Doo Crossbody, it was because of Ospreay, sure it was his own naivety thinking Pip Pip Cheerio was just silly words, but that move meant a lot as how Ospreay initiated contact with Okada.
SHO was begging for a tag, so Okada obliged, since SHO has his own revenge to seek. And boy did SHO come out swinging on Naito. This feels even more like a family break up than EVIL leaving LIJ. Sure Naito and Hiromu were sad and hurt by the betrayal, but Okada and SHO are pissed at the insolence. Ospreay proved to be selfish and belligerent; so you could see it more as Okada failed him, and that fueled the Rainmaker.
However, since we’re establishing a new faction, they aren’t going to lose. Ospreay starts to fight back against SHO, even after gorgeous triplicate German Suplexes ( drei freunde if you will). Will places SHO’s right leg in the ropes, hits a Rolling Elbow and just drops him backwards, torqueing the tied up knee. Bea makes her presence felt again, and Dragon Screws SHO’s caught leg. All of this was to weaken the leg so Will could apply the Figure Four, as O-Khan used the Iron Claw Slam on Okada again, leaving a scene of carnage in their wake as SHO taps out.
Plays nicely into the Tag League coming up, but hopefully they don’t rush an Okada vs Ospreay match. I’d rather see some space build up between the two after the tag league.
Darkness Club (EVIL w/Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi) vs LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)
So the outcome may be a little obvious, but the story here is interesting. Naito Is teamed with probably the most loyal member of LIJ, against two people who betrayed him. Yujiro not only betrayed Naito when he kicked him out of CHAOS and No Limit, but Yujiro also betrayed CHAOS to join Bullet Club to cost Okada the championship. Then we get EVIL who amusingly went through Okada and betrayed Naito to join Bullet Club. So many of the players are the same, and Naito is in the running with Okada on who is the true Sting of New Japan.
Yujiro and Naito start off, and even though Naito does seem to be superior, Yujiro steps up his effort a little. This match did a good job at showing Yujiro with a modicum of dedication, and EVIL being a little less boringly heel in the match. Yes we all expected BUSHI to eat the pin, but the fact EVIL won with the Scorpion Deathlock and just held it, even while Naito tried to break it, sent a message.
Then after the win, Togo jumps Naito, EVIL hits Everything is Evil, and poses with the belts. So I guess the first defense that Naito will have to make, is against EVIL.
G1 Climax 30 Finals: SANADA vs Kota Ibushi
Masahiro Chono comes out to thank the fans and hype the G1, the winningest competitor in regards to G1 Finals. Makes sense to bring him back, but given the fact that Ibushi has a chance to be a back to back winner, and the only other 2 people to do that were Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and they’re both on this show…seems a little sus.
This match started off very slow, but it was still intriguing. It was a feeling out portion that also felt like Ibushi was testing the limitations of his heavily bandaged leg. For about half of the match, it felt like they were both trying to wrestle the other person’s match, and it made for a weird yet compelling dynamic. Yes, there were a few sloppy spots like Ibushi not getting down far enough when ducking SANADA’s Dropkick to he got bonked in the head by SANADA’s arms, or just general footing issues during transitions, but the story made the match length feel much shorter.
SANADA stood up and swung with Ibushi more than you would expect someone to, when the opponent has such a huge target on their left leg. It took SANADA far too long to start aiming for the bad leg, and at that point, Ibushi was adjusting his offense. Ibushi went for the Golden Triangle Moonsault, SANADA moved, tried a low sliding Dropkick across the apron, but Ibushi jumped and landed a double foot stomp in SANADA’s chest for the effort.
Ibushi was starting to get things moving, but SANADA catches him with 2 Magic Screws and a Pop-up Cutter, before missing the second Moonsault and crashing into Ibushi’s knees. SANADA had one last gasp with a gorgeous Japanese Leg Clutch, but Ibushi literally got the shoulder up at 2.999. Ibushi hits a V-Trigger and a normal Kamigoye, but SANADA kicks out. Time to drop the knee pad, Exposed Knee Kamigoye, and Ibushi is the 3rd back to back winner in G1 history!
During post-match interview, Jay White tells him he’s got to defend the rights against him at Power Struggle.
Overall Score: 7/10
Well a fairly interesting but overall luke warm finish to a decent but not great tournament. The show suffered from obvious finishes, but at least they were done well and did build some interest for some angles. SANADA coming up short AGAIN, is probably going to lead to something bigger for him in 2021. He surpassed his old G1 top mark by 2 wins, he’s been a finalist in the two main singles tournaments NJPW has, but he can’t seem to win.
I’m pretty sure Will’s group is going by The Empire, though it should be Diablo Loco; and that looks impressive enough. One has to assume there will be a third male member added soon, maybe Robbie Eagles for BOSJ. Either way, at least that is interesting, especially given the Stardom tie with Bea and the multiple name drops. I don’t think it’s leading to a women’s division proper, but this could be a catalyst to help exposure for the brand.
Lastly, Jay challenging at Power Struggle is interesting. 2020 has been an odd year, Bullet Club has a lot of claims to Naito’s titles and we could see Ibushi lose the briefcase to Jay on November 7th. That would also add to the odd up and down year Ibushi has had, and possibly give some fuel to rumblings before of wanting to split up Tanahashi and Ibushi. We just need Tanahashi and Ibushi to challenge Dangerous Tekkers once more, fail and have Ibushi snap. Since, unless they put the belt back on EVIL (let’s not and say we did), having Jay play the Wrestle Kingdom foil is a lot better than Ibushi since Naito won’t really be a strong heel in Tokyo.
So yeah, it was an alright show, a bit too predictable and the Finals was sloppy even if the story it told did help the 30+ minutes go by quickly.
(NOAH) NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.182 ~ 8TH AUGUST 2022
After a rare live stop in the UK for HAYATA (which Hisame was present for), she informs us of all the NOAH happenings leading towards the N-1 Victory!
HAYATA defends the GHC Junior against Shuji Kondo in Japan and Chris Ridgeway in England
In a brutal match which combined speed vs strength, and technical ability vs psychological warfare, HAYATA succeeded in defending the title against Shuji Kondo in the main event of DEPARTURE 2022 on the 5th August. It was by no means an easy fight, Kondo possessed the size and the strength that HAYATA did not, and so HAYATA had to find a way round him, which he did by too capitalizing on the element of surprise, which was the strategy that Shuji Kondo was also aiming for. In the end, he won by The Headache after 19 minutes and 3 seconds. Backstage, HAYATA said that since he was fighting Chris Ridgeway on the 7th July, why not make it a title match?
The second GHC Junior title match (and HAYATA’S 5th defense) took place at The Portland Centre in Nottingham only about (and maybe not even) forty-eight hours after defending against Kondo. WrestleCarnival (the promotion hosting the title match), followed NOAH’s traditions by playing the theme music for the title and showing the gallery of champions. For the newer fans, each belt, even the newer GHC National, have their own title music. Ridgeway vs HAYATA was STINGER vs STINGER with the atmosphere of the venue changing radically to a NOAH show. The match was a vicious technical fight, with very much Yoshinari Ogawa psychology (not just submissions, but amazing reversals i.e. Ridgeway catching HAYATA mid flight and turning the move into an ankle lock), which was very much Match Of The Year quality. HAYATA succeeded in defending the title with The Headache. Afterwards, they shook hands.
You will be able to view the match on WrestleUniverse in due course.
Yoshiki Inamura Fire Festival
Yoshiki Inamura’s summer peaked when finishing the highest in his block, he went on to the Fire Festival 2022 finals against Daisuke Sekimoto. Sekimoto has been both a tag partner and a rival of Inamura, and so this was Inamura’s chance to both show him how much he has grown and also overcome a senior. Sadly, Inamura was not successful in his attempt.
The GHC Junior Tag Championship: A tale of a stolen belt, duct tape and a sneak win
While HAYATA was defending his belt against Shuji Kondo and then heading off to face Chris Ridgeway, Yoshinari Ogawa had his own championship problems, as Eita is still parading around with the GHC Junior Tag belt. Eita is even going to far as to proclaim himself as the GHC Junior Tag Champion, have official pictures taken with the belt, and say all his singles matches in DragonGate were championship matches. No wonder at DEPARTURE 2022, Yoshinari Ogawa came out looking grim and holding a chair which he swung at Perros Del Mal De Japon. Kotaro Suzuki, who was at ringside seconding, was taped to the corner post by Yuya Susumu and Kai Fujimura, as Ogawa chased Eita around over the belt.
Kotaro was later freed from his duct tape prison, and used as a missile by NOSAWA Rongai, as he still had his arms taped down. The match was “won” by young Kai Fujimura, who Ogawa threw over NOSAWA, after he dodged thanks to Eita showboating with the belt, and who had hit NOSAWA in the face. Ogawa once again was not successful in getting his tag belt back, as after a tug-of-war over it, Eita ran off.
Due to Visa issues, Timothy Thatcher was announced by Naomichi Marufuji, to have pulled out of the N-1 VICTORY 2022. Marufuji admitted that there were seniors to take his place, himself included if he so wished (he didn’t because of just coming back from a knee operation), but he wanted to see NOAH’s younger generation take that slot, and therefore a match was arranged between Kinya Okada and Yoshiki Inamura at DEPARTURE on Friday 5th August. If anyone was going to have that slot, Kinya Okada vowed it would be him. He and Yoshiki Inamura were the same age and contemporaries, both from the same class and the same generation of NOAH, but whereas Inamura seemed to have all the advantages – Fire Festival, title matches, and even main evening, Okada (whose career had suffered from a couple of early injuries), was in the opening match and losing constantly. This was his chance to catch up and fought like never before, and overcame his friend/rival. Kinya Okada will therefore enter this years N-1 VICTORY 2022 in Timothy Thatcher’s place (B Block). His first match will be on August 11th against Masakatsu Funaki.
As Governor of Ishikawa Prefecture, Hiroshi Hase usually makes an appearance when NOAH are in town. Normally his participation involves opening the show, presenting a gift to the winner of the main event (etc), but on the 31st July he not only chopped Kendo Kashin, and chugged beer with Kazuyuki Fujita, and made Keiji Mutoh a tourism ambassador for the region (Naomichi Marufuji fulfils the same role for Saitama), he also said he would like to take part in Keiji Mutoh’s retirement road, although at first he didn’t think he would be able to as he didn’t think the people of the prefecture would approve. Hase, who has been retired since 2018, admitted he needed to get back in the ring and do some training. NOAH have announced nothing as of yet.
Kenoh has named his double knee attack moonsault, “Enrin”, which basically means flaming circle. He says that flames are a good look for him. The name was chosen following a public poll on Kenoh’s twitter
Following an appearance by El Hijo Del Santo in NOAH and Kenoh as usual squaring up to him, (plus a very funny shoving spot behind Tadasuke as he talked to the camera), it appeared that El Hijo Del Santo issued a challenge to Kenoh, over his belt. Kenoh said that had never heard any belt by that name, except in boxing, but would be happy to take him on, anytime and anywhere.
Naomichi Marufuji returns, dates in America
Naomichi Marufuji made his return to NOAH at DEPARTURE 2022, teaming with Go Shiozaki and Takashi Sugiura against Daiki Inaba, Masato Tanaka and Satoshi Kojima. The match (despite it’s N-1 fight between Sugiura, Shiozaki, Tanaka and Kojima), was won by Go Shiozaki. On the 28th August, he will go to New York to face Eddie Kingston at House of Glory Wrestling. There will also be a further date in America in November for King of The Indies 2022.
Tadasuke has been injured with nasal bone fractures, and will therefore miss (probably) the next three NOAH shows, which includes Osaka and Hiroshima, places very special to him.
KENTA revealed in his autobiography, “Footsteps”, that his ring name was very almost “Camel Kobayashi”. This was because he was teased by his seniors as they thought he looked like a camel, and it was Naomichi Marufuji, who suggested the name! KENTA says that it was because of this nickname that Satoru Asako defeated him with the Camel Clutch, although this was not a move he usually did.
ELSEWHERE IN NOAH
– Mohammed Yone described Funky Express as “this little old man army”. Saito told him that most definitely did not describe him. They might be aging. He wasn’t.
– Eita apparently said he was the “GHC Junior” champion by mistake once
– Shuhei Taniguchi actually trusted a Kendo Kashin handshake. Think about that for a moment.
– Naomichi Marufuji said that after drinking with Mitsuharu Misawa, they were both so drunk they each paid the taxi driver, so he got two fares. Takashi Sugiura said that Kinya Okada and Daisuke Harada, both have a tendency to wander off when drunk.
– When Kenoh was looking for a name for his moonsault, Naomichi Marufuji suggested “New double knee attack moonsault”. Kenoh didn’t even bother to respond.
– When Kaito Kiyomiya was teaming with El Hijo Del Santo and Ultimo Dragon, he and Alejandro did a double over the top rope somersault. This is not a usual Kiyomiya move, and he said he was inspired by his seniors.
– A TikTok account craze has swept NOAH. Pretty much everyone except STINGER and Kongoh it appears have created an account.
– Tadasuke’s camera corner was interrupted by a scuffle in the background between Kenoh, Kaito Kiyomiya, El Hijo Del Santo, Ultimo Dragon and Alejandro.
– Kaito Kiyomiya has a new feature on his YouTube channel, “Kiyo’s Kitchen” (I get the impression that “Kiyo” is his nickname within NOAH).
EVENT RECAPS AND POST MATCH INTERVIEWS
- Midsummer Clash 2022 (Ishikawa Industrial Exhibition Hall No.3, Sunday July 31st)
- Sunny Voyage 2022 (Act City Hamamatsu, Saturday July 30th)
- DEPARTURE 2002 (Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Friday 5th August)
- GHC Heavyweight Champion: Kenoh
Challenger: Winner of the N-1 VICTORY 2022
- GHC Junior Champion: HAYATA
- GHC Heavyweight Tag Champions: The Sugiura Army (Hideki Suzuki & Timothy Thatcher)
- GHC Junior Tag Champions: STINGER (Chris Ridgeway & Yoshinari Ogawa)
Challengers: Perros Del Mal De Japon (Eita & Kotaro Suzuki), Postponed, replacement date to be advised. Chris Ridgeway says he will be back in Japan soon.
- GHC National Champion: Masakatsu Funaki
THIS WEEK IN NOAH
NOAH will hold the press conference for the N-1 VICTORY 2022 at 4pm JST on Wednesday 10th August. This will be live and free to view as it will be streamed on YouTube.
- N-1 VICTORY 2022
Thursday, August 11th
Start time: 16:00 JST
Venue: Yokohama Budokan
Saturday, August 13th
Start time: 17:30 JST
Venue: EDION Arena Osaka 2nd Stadium
Broadcast: WrestleUniverse (Live)
Notes about broadcasts
– WrestleUniverse will have English commentary for all nights.
Unless you are living in Japan or have a VPN you know is compatible with ABEMA, please do not subscribe to the service. For fans living outside of Japan, a subscription to WrestleUniverse would be better as they show more NOAH shows than ABEMA, and usually the events get uploaded very quickly. ABEMA broadcasts are only in Japanese, you can only watch them live, and this is the only NOAH they show. They do not broadcast old shows as these belong to Samurai TV.
HAYATA UK APPEARANCES
Saturday, August 13th: HAYATA – PROGRESS Wrestling (Sheffield)
Sunday, August 14th: HAYATA – PROGRESS Wrestling (Newcastle)
I am informed that PROGRESS have their own streaming service, but I am unsure as to whether the matches will be put on WrestleUniverse.
BIRTHDAYS AND ANNIVERSARIES
Wednesday, August 10th: Yasutaka Yano (22)
Friday, August 12th: Junta Miyawaki debut anniversary (5)
AKITOSHI SAITO’S N-1 EVALUATION
Akira Taue complains of someone snoring, he thinks it was probably Yoshinari Ogawa, but Mitsuharu Misawa admits it may also have been him.
PICTURE CREDITS: House of Glory (Naomichi Marufuji & Eddie Kingston), myself (HAYATA)
GIF taken from WrestleUniverse
Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (8/8/22)
It’s a golden Monday night!
Can Ciampa conquer the All Mighty?
Raw kicks off the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament, AND sees Bobby Lashley defend the US Championship against Tommaso Ciampa! Who reaches golden glory in Cleveland?
- Seth Rollins VS Angelo Dawkins w/ Montez Ford; Rollins wins.
- Ezekiel VS Kevin Owens; No Contest.
- Rey Mysterio
w/ Dominik MysterioVS Finn Balor w/ The Judgement Day; Finn wins.
- Vacated WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament, Opening Round: Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky w/ Bayley VS Tamina & Dana Brooke; Kai & Sky win and advance to the next round.
- WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley VS Tommaso Ciampa w/ The Miz; Lashley wins and retains the title.
- 2v1 Handicap Match: Omos w/ MVP VS Andrea Guercio & Spencer Slade; Omos wins.
- Dolph Ziggler VS Chad Gable w/ Otis; Ziggler wins.
- No Disqualifications: AJ Styles VS The Miz; Styles wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament Bracket is here!
Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky are of course a team, and they’ll be taking on Tamina & Dana Brooke! Then Asuka teams with Alexa Bliss to take on Nikki A.S.H. and “Doudrop” Piper Niven, Raquel Rodriguez teams with Aliyah against Shotzi & Xia Li, and in quite the surprise, NXT’s Nikkita Lyons & Zoey Stark will be taking on Natalya & Sonya Deville! Who will make it to the finals to be the NEW WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions?
Bayley, Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky head to the ring!
The Role Model leads #CobraKai and the Evil Genius out here in The Land, and The Land boos them after all the cheap shots they’ve been taking. Bayley, Kai & Sky all get mics and Bayley says, “DING DONG~!” Fans boo but Bayley says c’mon, she hasn’t seen them in forever and this is what she gets? But Bayley, Kai & Sky are all excited to see your dumb, smiling faces! Trust her when she says they don’t wanna be here, either, but the fans need them. The fans are watching to see what these three do to salvage this division. Kai says, “Like crash SummerSlam and shake everyone up?” “Exactly!”
The fans can’t honestly sit here and say they enjoy watching Becky Lynch play dress-up every week. But they cheer! But they can’t honestly like that “champion” in Bianca Belair. But they cheer again! Bianca would be nothing without Bayley! And that’s why last week, they had to make a statement. For all the fans! First, they took care of stupid Becky’s shoulder, then they lit a fire under every single woman in the locker room, for the fans! These three are bringing back what’s been missing. Sky says it’s the hunger! Yes! The division needs to be hungry for more! But Bayley doesn’t blame the locker room. They’re just like the fans: sheeple who don’t know how to ask for more.
But if you can’t find the answers you’re looking for, ask better questions! So here’s a question for all the idiots out there: “How am I the only one to realize what a lethal weapon Iyo Sky is? How am I the only person in this whole damn building who realized the benefits of bringing in someone like Dakota Skai?” Okay, yes, she said it wrong, big whoop! Shut up so she can think, dummies! They’re upsetting Bayley, but imagine how mad these two are? They’ve been boiling this whole time! Fans boo, Bayley gets mad, but Kai has her calm down. Bayley doesn’t have to tell them anymore. Kai & Sky will show them in this tag title tournament tonight and win it!
But wait! Here comes Alexa Bliss! AND Asuka! The Fury and the Empress are going to be in that same tournament, so this seems to be a reminder. But here comes BIANCA, too! The RawEST Women’s Champion walks down to the ring with Alexa and Asuka and they get mics, too. Alexa says, “Yeah, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves.” Fans chant for the EST, and Alexa tells Dakota & Iyo that they’re not winning. If they win tonight, guess who they’ll face next? Alexa Bliss & Asuka!! And after what they pulled last week, there’s more incentive to beat the hell out of them and win the titles.
And Bianca tells Iyo they’re not done, either. Bianca IS hungry, and she’s ready to finish what they started last week. But if we’re playing the numbers game, the three of them have no problem dealing with Bayley’s three right now. Oh pipe down. Bayley knew this would get them all worked up. But Bayley calls the shots. They can do 3v3 where it counts, which isn’t here in Cleveland! The Six Woman Tag can happen at Clash at the Castle! Bianca looks to Alexa and Asuka, and challenge accepted! Okay, then! But while Bayley is trying to keep control, Bianca says tonight, she’ll lose it! And the brawl is own! Bianca fires off on Bayley, Asuka throws Kai out while Alexa is after Iyo!
Fans fire up as things spill out of the ring, and then into the crowd! Bianca throws knees on Bayley but refs rush out to break up the others. Bayley hits back, Iyo SMACKS Alexa off the desk! Then Iyo goes after Bianca! Asuka rushes after Iyo, but then Kai rushes after Asuka! Alexa gets on the barrier to CROSSBODY everyone!! Fans are fired up as Alexa drags Kai up to fire off forearms! Officials and management rush out now, will this chaos subside after the break?
Seth Rollins VS Angelo Dawkins w/ Montez Ford!
The Visionary already burned it down with Montez Ford, but now he takes on the other half of the Street Profits! Will Rollins sweep the series? Or will the #CurseOfGreatness take down the Architect?
The bell rings and fans rally as the two circle. They tie up, Rollins headlocks, but Dawkins powers up and out. Rollins wrenches to mule kick, but Dawkins avoids the Curb Stomp! Dawkins and Rollins circle, tie up, and Dawkins headlocks. Rollins powers up and out, things speed up and Rollins hurdles, but Dawkins handsprings! And DROPKICKS! Cover, ONE, but Dawkins wrenches to a wristlock, then YANKS the arm. Dawkins grinds the arm but Rollins pulls headbands to whip Dawkins to ropes. Dawkins hurdles then FLYING ELBOWS! Ford mocks Rollins’ short temper, then Dawkins POUNCES Rollins over the desk! Fans are fired up as Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and Rollins has Dawkins down with an armlock. Dawkins fights up but Rollins wrenches. Dawkins ROCKS Rollins with forearm after forearm, then he whips Rollins to a corner. Dawkins runs in, into a BUCKLE SHOT! Rollins catches his breath but Ford is right there coaching Dawkins. Rollins kicks Ford away! Ford gets mad and gets a chair! Ford gets in the ring, the fans are fired up, but the ref has Ford stay back! Ford lets go of the chair and the ref throws it out, but he still has to keep Ford from hitting Rollins. The ref EJECTS Ford! And Rollins laughs while the fans boo. “Bye bye~!”
Rollins grins and laughs as he soaks up the heat from the fans, but Dawkins is up to clothesline Rollins up and out! Fans fire up, Dawkins builds speed, and he FLIES! Direct hit at the ramp and the fans are thunderous! Dawkins puts Rollins in, scoops him, PUMP HANDLE FALL AWAY SLAM! Dawkins then runs to CYCLONE SPLASH! And ENZIGURI! Then the underhooks for the SILENCER! Cover, TWO!! Rollins survives and Dawkins can’t believe it! Fans fire up as Dawkins scoops but Rollins slips off to O’Conner Roll! TWO, Rollins comes back to turn Dawkins, DREAM SMASHER ELBOW! Rollins then runs, but Dawkins dodges!
Dawkins rolls Rollins up, but Rollins rolls through! Dawkins dodges again, SKY HIGH BOMB!! Cover, TWO!?! Rollins survives and Cleveland is losing their mind! Rollins flops out of the ring and Dawkins snarls. Dawkins goes out and runs in around the way, but is sent into steel steps! Rollins gets in the ring, Dawkins pursues, but the CURB- NO, Dawkins dodges again! SKY- NO, Rollins wrenches and WRINGS the arm, then underhooks! PEDIGREE!! Cover, Rollins wins!
Winner: Seth Rollins, by pinfall
The Visionary couldn’t hit his favorite, but wait! Here’s the CURB STOMP!! Ford rushes back out but the damage to Dawkins is done! Rollins runs off, having swept the Profits. Will he face the consequences? Or just head off towards the title?
The Mysterios talk backstage.
Dominik helps Rey prepare for Finn Balor, but in walks Edge! Rey’s cool but Edge can tell Dom’s heated up. Edge has their backs, because what happened last week with that Spear was an accident. Are they cool? Dom’s cool. But then he shoves Edge! Rey calms Dom down, it was an accident! Rey’s known Edge for 20 years, he’s like family! Rey’s known Dom for 25! How can Rey take Edge’s side?! Dom storms off but Rey assures Edge he’ll talk with Dom about this. Is it going to be harder to forgive the Rated R Superstar than expected?
Backstage interview with The Miz & Tommaso Ciampa.
The Hollywood A-Lister and the Psycho Killer are here after Ciampa’s phenomenal win last week to become Bobby Lashley’s challenger tonight. Does he feel tonight is the night? Miz points out the use of “phenomenal,” and asks if Kevin Patrick couldn’t think of another word. Miz says there is nothing phenomenal about someone who sides with a hack like Logan Paul! But who had the last laugh? Ciampa! And Ciampa says people always talk about overcoming adversity. When you want something you believe in, believe in Ciampa! Who believed in Ciampa? The first-ever US Champion, Harley Race! That man trained Ciampa and made him into the man he is today.
Three years ago to the day, Harley paced away. Tonight, Ciampa dedicates his win to the King, Harley Race! And, and, AND, with Harley looking down on him, and with the Miz in his corner, Ciampa will truly make this his moment. When he steps foot in that ring and Lashley looks into his eyes, Lashley will feel Ciampa’s sacrifice, and Lashley will realize that he has already lost. Will Ciampa’s blackheart finally beat with gold again?
Ezekiel VS Kevin Owens!
Once again, the younger brother of Elias is taking on the Prizefighter, and even though Kevin claims he’s over his obsession, this will be quite the test. Will Kevin focus on the fight and not Ezekiel’s identity? Or will he #ZekeOut all over again?
The bell rings and Kevin rushes Zeke! Kevin fires off forearms, maybe that obsession has rekindled already! Kevin stomps away in the corner, Zeke slips out but Kevin goes out to POST him! And the RAM him into the desk! And then again, making the desk move! Zeke crawls, Kevin drags him up and reels him in! Fans fire up for the APRON POWERBOMB!! Kevin’s mean streak has returned and Zeke writhes! The ref is calling this match, Zeke can’t continue!
Kevin gets in the ring and looks down on Zeke while medics are rushed out to the ring. They bring a stretcher and board! Kevin laughs at the destruction he has wrought, but is this going to be the last time we see Zeke?
Rey Mysterio VS Finn Balor w/ The Judgement Day!
The King of Lucha and the Prince go another round, and things are even more tense after what happened at SummerSlam and last week on Raw. Will Rey finally end things with the Judgement Day? Or will he face the punishment for resisting?
Finn gets a mic to say, “Edge thinks we should fear him. Rey Mysterio thinks that we should fear him. Those two can’t even get on the same page! Poor little Dominik Mysterio’s already abandoned both of them! The Judgement Day isn’t afraid of anyone! Y’know why? Because fear isn’t real. Fear is a product of your imagination. But danger is real! Danger is very real! And Rey, tonight, you’re going to find out that I am danger!” Priest tells Edge that to be clear, if he wanted to, he could lay Edge out. But in two weeks, the WWE is in Toronto. Edge hasn’t wrestled on Raw in Canada in 12 years!
So here it is! Priest is officially challenging Edge, 1v1! The Rated R Superstar VS The Punisher! If Edge still has a set, then he and Priest can end this! Edge may have started the Judgement Day, but in Toronto, in front of Edge’s family and friends, the Judgement Day ends Edge! What will Edge say about that challenge? As for Rey, he can’t seem to find Dominik anywhere. Well, Edge’s offer still stands, especially after being called out. Rey says he knows Dom, Dom will come to his senses. Well, okay then. Go get ’em! Rey goes it alone for now, but will he be alone in the end? We find out, after the break.
Raw returns and Rey makes his entrance. And though Rey waits, there’s no Dom. Rey goes to the ring and gets in alone. The bell rings and Fin kicks Rey low! Finn bumps Rey off buckles, fires off body shots, then brings Rey around to bump off more buckles. Finn throws more body shots, bumps Rey off more buckles, then CHOPS him! Fans “WOO~!” then Finn whips Rey corner to corner. Rey reverses, ROCKS Finn then bumps him off buckles. Finn staggers, Rey bumps him off more buckles! Rey ROCKS Finn again, bumps him off more buckles, then fires off more haymakers. Rey whips corner to corner, Finn reverses, but Rey elbows him way.
Rey runs and tilt-o-whirls to headscissor Finn out! Fans fire up and Rey WRECKS Finn with a dropkick! Rey then goes to the apron, for a FLYING SEATED SENTON! Fans fire up and Rey KICKS Finn in the leg. Rey puts Finn in the ring, climbs up the corner, and leaps to SEATED SENTON again! Fans fire up while Finn flounders, but Rey runs in, Finn pops him up but Rey RANAS Finn into buckles! Finn flounders, Rey whips him to ropes, but Finn reverses. Rey ducks and springboards, but Finn avoids the crossbody! Rey crashes down and Finn snarls as he runs in and KICKS Rey in the side! Finn stomps Rey, then springboard stomps him again and again!
Finn lets off as the ref counts but only Priest applauds. Finn drags Rey up, clamps on and ROCKS him with forearms in the back! Finn runs but Rey rams into him! Rey slingshots to sunset flip, TWO! Rey kicks low but Finn hits back, ELBOW DROP DDT! Cover, TWO! Finn is annoyed but he stalks Rey. Finn drags Rey up, suplexes, then holds on for Uno Amigo! Fans boo as Finn smirks and Dos Amigos! Finn then gets back up, mocks Latino Heat, but REY suplexes Finn back! Fans fire up while Finn goes to ropes. Priest coaches Finn, but Rey dodges the haymaker to fire off shots! Rey whips, Finn reverses but Rey kicks back!
Rey CLOBBERS Finn, whips him to ropes, but Finn reverses to kick and run, sunset flip! But Rey rolls through to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up and Finn flounders to a corner. Rey storms over, RAMS into Finn, then climbs up. Rey rains down fists, but Finn turns it around into an Electric Chair! But Rey turns that into a wheelbarrow BULLDOG! Cover, TWO! Rey is frustrated as Finn survives that counter. Rey dropkicks Finn to ropes and dials it up, but Priest takes the 619 for Finn! Finn grabs Rey’s mask and RAMS him into the post! Rey is down on the outside while Raw goes to break!
Raw returns again and Finn has Rey up top. Rey fights the superplex, fans rally up, and Rey throws body shots! Rey CLUBS Finn, then sunset flips, but Finn holds on! So Rey YANKS him down! Finn hits buckles, Rey runs in but Finn still scoops! Rey arm-drags Finn away! Rey then runs and SLIDES to SUNSET FLIP BOMB Finn into barriers! Fans fire up, but Priest creeps over. Rey stares him down, puts Finn in the ring, but Priest taunts Rey about where Dom went. Rey gets on the apron, he GAMANGIRIS Finn away, but then Finn staggers into the ref! Pries trips Rey in the distraction! Fans boo, but here comes Edge!
Edge runs down the ramp to TACKE Priest into the steps! And then BOOT him over the barriers! Edge and Priest fight in front of the fans and Finn is shocked! Finn hurries to YANK Rey up, but Rey lands on his feet to mule kick and hop on, CODE RED! Cover, TWO!! Finn escapes and Rey can’t believe it! Finn and Rey stand, they throw haymakers back and forth, over an dover, and fans fire up! Rey KICSK and KICKS and ENZIGURIS! Finn ends up on ropes, Rey dials it up! But Finn LARIATS Rey down! Finn fires up and aims from a corner to SHOTGUN Rey into the corner! Rey falls into the drop zone and Finn climbs up!
COUP DE- NO, Rey rolls and runs to RANA Finn back onto ropes! Rey redials, but Rhea is carrying Dom out like a sack of potatoes! Rhea makes Rey look at Dom, but then Finn drags Rey into a dragon sleeper! 1916!! Finn goes up top, COUP DE GRACE!! Cover, Finn wins!
Winner: Finn Balor, by pinfall
Edge and Rey forgot about Rhea the Eradicator! Will the Judgement Day do just as they say and destroy Edge and the Mysterios?
Backstage interview with Tamina & Dana Brooke.
These two are a team together in the Women’s Tag Team Championship tournament, and that means Dana could be a Double Champion. And she needs a partner to get there. She’s defended her 24/7 Championship a lot, with her biggest challenger being Tamina. So together, they- Wait, Bayley, Sky & Kai walk in. Bayley wants Dana to relax, these three aren’t going to beat her up to take that title. They have their eyes set on belts that suit them. And the Women’s Tag Team Championships suit them because Bayley was the first one to hold them! Not that Dana would know about that.
But Tamina does. So keep yapping, Bayley, and Tamina will take her and her friends out of the tournament right now. Kai tells Dana, “See you out there.” Iyo Sky says in both Japanese and English, “I don’t like you.” Will Dana & Tamina not like what’s coming in the opening match of this tournament?
Vacated WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament, Opening Round: Dakota Kai & Iyo Sky w/ Bayley VS Tamina & Dana Brooke!
#CobraKai & the Evil Genius have both been NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions, though not together. But they’re taking on a duo where only one of them has had a tag title reign of their own. Will it be easy for Kai & Sky to take control? Or will the Flex Appeal & Daughter of Superfly shut them down right out of the gate?
The teams sort out, Dana starts with Kai and fans rally up. Kai and Dana circle, tie up, and Dana waistlocks. Kai pries at the hold, switches around, but Dana headlocks back. Kai powers out, but Dana blocks a hip toss to hip toss Kai! Then handsprings to BOOT Kai down! Cover, ONE, but Dana drags Kai up with a facelock. Kai endures the squeeze, pries out again but DOUBLE FOREARMS hit! Tamina tags in, and she eggs Kai on. Fans rally with Dana for “TA-MI-NA!” Kai rushes in but Tamina SWATS her, then ROCKS her! Then again! Then she DECKS Sky! Bayley protests but Tamina dodges and kicks Kai to then suplex high and hard!
Kai bails out and Sky hurries over. Tamina tags Dana and Dana climbs up, for a SUPER CROSSBODY! Direct hit at the ramp and fans fire up with Dana! Bayley creeps over but then Dana stares her down. Bayley says that’s fine, Kai & Sky don’t need her. Dana doubts that, and Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Kai has Dana down in a motorcycle stretch. Dana endures and the fans rally up, but Kai shifts to a chinlock, Dana uses that to JAWBREAKER free! Dana then runs, dodges, rolls Kai up, TWO! Kai KICKS Dana down! Cover, ONE!! Kai is frustrated but she drags Dana up to tag Sky. Kai & Sky double whip, then BOOT, and COMPLETE SHOT to an AX KICK and BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO! Dana survives the onslaught but Bayley says she is proud of her team. Sky whips Dana in to the corner, runs and CROSS CHECKS her! Sky stomps a mudhole, trips Dana up, then digs her boots in!
The ref counts, Sky swings up for a DROPKICK! Cover, TWO! Tag to Kai, Kai clamps on with a chinlock and grinds Dana down. Fans rally, Dana fights up but Kai throws her by her hair! Cover, TWO! Bayley coaches Kai but fans chant, “Bayley Sucks!” Bayley says no she doesn’t! Kai drags Dana up but Dana shoves her away and pops her up, POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO!! Kai survives that one and Bayley is relieved. Kai and Dana crawl for their corners, but Kai drags Dana away! Tag to Sky and she runs around to stay between Dana and Tamina. Dana leaps, Sky catches her, but Tamina reaches out for the tag!
Fans fire up as Tamina dribbles Sky off buckles! Then runs to LARIAT! Fans fire up, Kai gets in but gets a SUPERKICK! Tamina back body blocks Sky then fires off elbows! Cleveland fires up with Tamina as she whips Sky. Sky reverses, Tamina ducks the roundhouse but not the HEEL KCIK! Sky fires off forearms, then a SHOTEI! But Tamina SUPERKICKS! Sky rebounds into a SAMOAN DROP! Cover, Kai breaks it! Dana drags Kai up but Kai throws Dana out! Dana drags Kai out with her and ROCKS her! Dana runs in, but Bayley saves Kai from the handspring attack! Dana hits barriers! Sky SHOTEIS Tamina up top, then climbs up after her!
Sky fires off forearms on Tamina, Kai sneaks in a tag. Tamina BOOTS Kai down, HEADBUTTS Sky off the ropes, and then Tamina stands up to SUPERFLY! But she even catches Sky’s boots! But Kai returns with a SCORPION KCIK! And a BOOT! Tag back to Sky, and she goes up for the OVER THE MOONSAULT!! Cover, Kai & Sky win!
Winners: Iyo Sky & Dakota Kai, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
Bayley raises her team’s hand in victory! But now, who will they meet in the semifinals? We’ll have to wait for Alexa & Asuka VS Nikki & Piper.
Backstage interview with Kevin Owens.
Kevin Patrick hurries after KO to ask him just why he brutally assaulted Ezekiel. Oh, he wants a comment? Well first comment, if KP ever runs up on KO like that again, he’ll drop KP harder than that powerbomb. Second, why did he do it? Because unlike that idiot who doesn’t know who he is, KO knows who he is! He’s KEVIN OWENS! And Kevin Owens may have been gone, but there are more eyes on this show than before, and tonight was KO reminding everyone in the back and watching at home that this is still the Kevin Owens Show!
Also, it’s of note that Piper & Nikki apparently crashed their rental car? What exactly happened there?
Trainers check on Dominik.
Rhea Ripley truly brutalized him, is it clear to him now that Edge isn’t the one to worry about?
WWE remembers the legacy of the WWE United States Championship.
Narrated by John “Bradshaw” Layfield. “America. A country built on opportunity deserves a champion that upholds its great legacy. A legacy of greatness is painted in red, white and blue.” Harley Race, Sgt. Slaughter, Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Scott Hall, JBL, Eddie Guerrero, John Cena, just to name a few. Ricky Steamboat was a proud champion, as were Booker T, Kofi Kingston, and now Bobby Lashley. “The United States Championship has helped shape the careers of 20+ Hall of Famers, and will continue to do so well into the future of the WWE.” And that new chapter starts NOW!
WWE United States Championship: Bobby Lashley VS Tommaso Ciampa w/ The Miz!
The All Mighty wants to be a fighting champion to prove he is the greatest, and he has perhaps found his greatest challenger. The Blackheart wears Harley Race’s iconic robe to the ring, but will it bring him to prominence? Or will the Rocky Mountain Machine make Ciampa feel the pain inside the Hurt Lock?
Raw returns as Lashley makes his entrance, and he’s wearing gold on his tights as well as around his waist. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who carries this great championship in The Land!
Ciampa fires off on Lashley at the bell! Ciampa whips, Lashley reverses but Ciampa slide sunder. Things speed up, but Lashley runs Ciampa over! Lashley drags Ciampa up, suplexes, and holds Ciampa up for 10 before the SLAM! Lashley paces around but Miz calls Ciampa over. Ciampa gets to a corner for Miz to give him advice, but Lashley bumps Ciampa off buckles. Lashley climbs up to rain down fists, but Ciampa trips Lashley up! Lashley still elbows Ciampa away, then throws elbows in the corner. Lashley warns Miz to watch himself, and Lashley runs, Ciampa swings, misses, then leaps into Lashley’s arms!
Lashley pops Ciampa around, Ciampa slips out and CHOP BLOCKS! Miz coaches Ciampa to keep on him and Ciampa stomps Lashley, then CHOPS him! And CHOPS again! Lashley just gets up with a scowl on his face! Lashley blocks a kick to ELBOW Ciampa down! Fans fire up as Lashley takes aim, but Ciampa bails out! Ciampa and Miz regroup to talk strategy, and then Miz gets on the apron to distract. But Lashley knows that trick, and he turns around to DECK Ciampa off the apron! Lashley fireman’s carries Ciampa, but Miz blocks his path to the post! So Lashley TOSSES Ciampa into the Miz! Fans fire up as Lashley stands tall and Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Ciampa is taking of the cover off a crossbar! Ciampa then stomps away on Lashley, rains down fists, and drops a HEADBUTT! Cover, ONE!! Ciampa clamps onto Lashley with a chinlock, and he grinds Lashley down into an almost Bully Choke! Fans rally, Lashley endures and fights up, but Ciampa leans on him. Lashley pries at the hold but Ciampa knee slow. Ciampa runs, Lashley runs him over! And again! And then RAMS into him at the corner! Lashley lets off to clothesline, then he runs side to side to RAM in again! Ciampa sputters and fans fire up but Miz coaches Ciampa. Lashley whips corner to corner, Ciampa BOOTS back!
Lashley staggers, Ciampa swings but into a kick! Lashley gut wrenches, CLIFFHANGER! Cover, TWO!! Ciampa survives and Miz breathes again. Miz coaches Ciampa more but Lashley trophy lifts him! Then brings him into position, but Ciampa turns powerslam into REVERSE DDT! Fans fire up while both men are down! Ciampa crawls to a cover, TWO! Lashley stays in this and Miz is sweating. Ciampa CLUBS Lashley, Lashley ROCKS Ciampa. Ciampa ROCKS Lashley, Lashley ROCKS Ciampa! Ciampa forearms, Lashley fires off fists, but Ciampa kicks a leg out! FRONT DDT! Cover, TWO!
Miz argues the count but the ref says it was fair. Ciampa drags Lashley up, underhooks him, but Lashley powers out and dodges, to SPEAR!! Cover, but again Miz helps with the ROPEBREAK! The ref misses it like last week, but Lashley didn’t! Lashley glares at Miz, and then here comes AJ STYLES! Styles CLOBBERS Miz and runs him off into the crowd! Fans fire up as things are truly 1v1, and Lashley goes back to Ciampa. CRADLE!! TWO!! Ciampa hurries to a corner, pulls at the buckle pad, and it comes loose! Lashley gets Ciampa for a COMPLETE SHOT! Fans fire up with Lashley, he stalks Ciampa, but wait! Miz returns!
Miz slides in, slides out, but Styles is after him again! They scramble out of the ring, Lashley clamps onto Ciampa, but Ciampa RAMS him into the bare steel! And then the POST! PSYCHO KNEE!! Cover, TWO?!!? Lashley survives and shocks Ciampa! Fans fire up again and Ciampa drags Lashley up. Ciampa underhooks, but Lashley fights the lift! Lashley fireman’s carries and pops Ciampa into the nelson, but Ciampa drags Lashley down! GargaNO Escape!! Shout out to Ciampa’s greatest friend and rival, and Lashley is enduring the hold! Lashley rolls it around, drags Ciampa right up, and into a POWER- NO, Ciampa slides off again!
Ciampa tosses Lashley out of the ring, and gets Lashley with WILLOW’S BELL!! Cover, TWO!?!? Lashley survives again and Cleveland is thunderous! Ciampa stalks Lashley, “This is Awesome!” as Lashley BLOCKS the knee! MILE HIGH SPINEBUSTER!! Lashley drags Ciampa up, HURT LOCK!!! Ciampa flails, reaches out, but he TAPS! Lashley wins!!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by submission (still WWE United States Champion)
Ciampa tried every trick in the book, but he could not derail the Rocky Mountain Machine! Will nothing stop Lashley from making the US Championship the mightiest of all?
Omos and MVP walk in backstage.
The Nigerian Giant is back, and he is going to the ring! Who will soon fall from the top of this mountain of a man’s two hand slam?
Raw shares the footage from backstage.
Miz and Styles brawled from ringside to gorilla, and officials rushed in to stop it! So because of this confrontation, Styles VS Miz is signed for action later tonight! And it will be NO DISQUALIFICATIONS! Will Styles get a phenomenal win? Or will Cleveland be AWESOME?
2v1 Handicap Match: Omos w/ MVP VS Andrea Guercio & Spencer Slade!
The Nigerian Giant is so big, he’s taking on two of Cleveland’s own at the same time! Will these mere mortals wish they’d signed up for a different night?
The bell rings and Guercio & Slade rush Omos together! But Omos TOSSES Guercio, SHOVES Slade, then he CLOBBERS Slade! Omos drags Guercio up and into the ring from the floor! Omos then runs in, but Slade dodges! Slade CLUBS away then jumps on for a SLEEPER! But Omos RAMS Slade into buckles, RAMS him again, then dares Guercio to try something., Guercio CROSSBODIES, into Omos’ arms! Trophy lift, and SLAM! Then Omos drags Guercio up by his ear, to TOSS him into the corner! Guercio & Slade stand up, Omos SANDWICHES them with the corner! Omos then scoops Guercio to give him SNAKE EYES, and a BOOT to Slade!
MVP says Omos is done playing with his food, he can finish this. DEADLIFT TWO HAND SLAM!! Cover on Guercio, Omos wins!
Winner: Omos, by pinfall
Did you really expect anything else? Omos wipes out two men, but who will be on his path of destruction next?
Backstage interview with Seth Rollins.
Kevin Patrick congratulates him on his win over Dawkins, but asks the Visionary what he thinks about Matt Riddle’s interview next week. “Did you just bring me in here to ask me about Riddle?! I told the entire world, including you, last week that I was done with Riddle! Hahaha! So what, he’s gonna come back next week for some exclusive interview? What do you think he’s gonna say? Is he gonna have some earth-shattering announcement? NO! It’s RIDDLE!” Riddle will say “Bro…! Dude…! Cool…! Randy~!” Rollins explains something here: “I am the Gatekeeper of this industry! Anyone, or anything, that’s any good, they’ve gotta go through me!”
And as great as Riddle could be in the ring, he’s even better at flushing his own potential down the toilet. Don’t believe Rollins? Ask Dana White. HAHAHA! Now look, if Riddle has even two working brain cells left, he’ll come back with this interview and tell the world, “Bro, I’m hanging up the flip flops.” And he’ll retire for good. And if he doesn’t, then Rollins might just have to Cody Rhodes Riddle’s ass out the door! Anyway you slice it, if Riddle has something to say next week, then so does Seth Freakin’ Rollins! HAHAHAHA!
Dolph Ziggler VS Chad Gable w/ Otis!
The Showoff and “Master” Gable were both a big part of last week’s Triple Threats for the US Championship, but they both lost out. Who proves they’re deserving of another shot at the other’s expense?
Raw returns and Ziggler makes his entrance. The bell rings, Ziggler and Gable circle. They feel things out, Gable shoots in but Ziggler gut wrenches him away. Gable slips around to mount and roll to a cover, ONE! Ziggler mounts, rolls Gable around, but Gable slips out. Ziggler gets up and the two stand off. Fans fire up as Ziggler shoves Gable and eggs Gable on. Gable shoves Ziggler and the two go again. Ziggler shoots in, gets a leg, then the ack, then the arms for a ghost pin! TWO, Gable hurries to his feet and fans cheer the standoff. They circle again, tie up, Gable shoots in to get a leg takedown but Ziggler facelocks.
Ziggler fishermans to a cradle, TWO! Gable feints then shoots in, but Ziggler facelocks to a headlock to a chinlock. Gable throws Ziggler off, gets Ziggler up in an Iranian lift, but Ziggler sunset flips through! TWO, Ziggler keeps the gut wrench! Gable pushes through to a jackknife cover, TWO as Ziggler bridges up! Ziggler turns things around, Gable pries the hold but ends up in a double hook! Gable fights off the backslide, spins Ziggler around to a waistlock, CHAOS THEORY! Fans boo Gable but Otis cheers him on. Gable looms over Ziggler, drags him up and bumps him off buckles to fire off haymakers! And then stomps!
The ref counts, Gable lets off, no more technical style here. Gable gets a leg to DRAGON SCREW it! And then a KNEE JAMMER! And another! And then a YANK on the leg! Ziggler clutches his knee and goes to a corner, but Gable drags him up. Gable CHOPS Ziggler, MONKEY FLIPS, and Ziggler lands hard. Cover, TWO! Gable looms over Ziggler, then climbs up to the top. MOONSAULT, but he has to land on his feet as Ziggler moves! Ziggler jumps, SATELLITE DDT! Cover, TWO!! Gable survives but fans rally behind Ziggler. Ziggler gets space as he stands up, and he watches Gable rise. Gable blocks the superkick!
Gable spins Ziggler to a waistlock, but Ziggler switches! Gable rolls and picks a leg for the ANKLE LOCK! Ziggler endures, flails, clubs at Gable’s leg, then drags Gable down, only for Gable to hold on and twist the ankle more! Ziggler reaches back, rolls again, and gets free! Ziggler kicks a leg out, FAMOUS- NO, Gable slips free to ANKLE LOCK again!! Fans fire up for Ziggler as he endures and reaches out! Ziggler crawls forward but Gable drags him away! Ziggler turns, kicks and kicks and kicks! Gable lets go, Ziggler stands up, but he can’t plant for the superkick! Gable gets Ziggler up for a POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO, into the ANKLE LOCK!!
Otis tells Ziggler to tap but Ziggler endures! Fans rally and Ziggler fights up to roll! Gable sits on that for a cover, TWO! Gable blocks a superkick to an OLYMPIC- NO, Ziggler slips out! SUPERKICK!! Cover, Ziggler wins!!
Winner: Dolph Ziggler, by pinfall
But Otis chases after him! Ziggler gets away, but the tree trunk tells him he won’t get so lucky! Will Otis look to wreck Ziggler #ForTheAcademy?
Nikki A.S.H. & “Doudrop” Piper Niven speak.
The Almost SuperHero says that next week on Raw, there will be no more almosts! They WILL be one step closer to those WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships! And Piper says they get to crush the hopes and dreams of Alexa and Asuka while they’re at it!
Alexa & Asuka respond!
“Nikki, Doudrop, you’ve got it all wrong, You’re not gonna crush our dreams, you’re gonna help manifest them.” Does Asuka wanna cap this off? “No one is ready for Alexa Bliss and no one is ready for Asuka!” But then Bayley and her team walk over to say, “More like no one cares!” Alexa, where’s Lily? Or is Asuka her new toy? Wait, what’s security doing rushing off? Did something happen? Bayley and team head out and pass by Styles as he heads back to gorilla. Will the downright villainous Piper & Nikki crush the Fury and the Empress? Is Styles about to crush The Miz?
No Disqualifications: AJ Styles VS The Miz!
This has been brewing for some time, and now it boils over! Will Styles make this a must-see beating of the Hollywood A-Lister? Or will Miz’s homecoming be AWESOME?
The bell rings and Miz rushes in, into haymakers! Miz shoves Styles, Styles trips Miz and fires off! Miz scrambles away, Styles SMACKS him off the desk! And again! Miz falls over, and Styles clears the desk! Fans rally behind Styles but Miz FLAPJACKS him on the apron! And then RAMS him into the steel steps! Styles tumbles over the steps and Miz stalks after him. Miz drags Styles up to put in the ring, but fans taunt Miz with “TINY BALLS!” Miz says read the shirt. And then Miz looks under the ring. Styles SLIDING KNEES Miz down! Styles puts Miz in the ring, then brings out a kendo stick!
Fans fire up as Styles puts that aside to bring out a chair. But no, that’s still not it. Styles brings out a TABLE! Fans love that one! But Miz then WRECKS Styles with a dropkick! Miz puts the table back under the ring, then he drags Styles into the ring. Miz gets the chair, he gets the kendo stick, and he brings those into the ring. Miz JAMS Styles with the kendo stick, then SMACKS him on the back! Miz sits the chair up to take a seat and talk trash on Styles. Styles ducks the kendo stick to fire off a Phenomenal Blitz! then a RUNNING FOREARM! Miz staggers up and Styles clotheslines him out of the ring!
Styles drags Miz onto the desk! Styles joins Miz up there, reel shim in, but Miz fights free! Throat chop and a TOSS! Styles goes over barriers and into the front row! Fans boo but Miz soaks it all up as Raw goes to break!
Raw returns once more and fans rally behind Styles as he starts looking under the ring. He brings the TABLE back out! Fans fire up as Styles sets the table up, and then Styles fetches Miz from commentary. But Miz SMACKS Styles with the kendo stick! Miz puts Styles in the ring, SMACKS him again and again and again, then paces around. Miz uses the kendo stick in the chinlock to almost choke Styles! Styles endures, fights up, pushes the stick away and throws body shots! Styles is free, he ducks the stick to PELE Miz down! Fans fire up while Styles and Miz roll to opposite corners. But then they both see the kendo stick.
Miz and Styles stare down, then scramble! Styles gets the stick and Miz wants mercy! No deal, Styles SMACKS and SMACKS and SMACKS away on Miz! Front and back, then up the middle! Those “huge” balls just took a lot of damage! Then WHITE RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP! Cover, TWO! Miz survives but Styles goes to a chair. Styles makes sure it’s secure in ropes, then whips Miz. Miz stops, BOOTS Styles, full nelson, but Styles victory rolls! TWO, and Miz hurries to a corner Styles runs in, Miz puts him on the apron but Styles ROCKS Miz! Fans fire up, Styles springboards, PHENOMENAL FOREARM! cover, CIAMPA drags the ref out!?
Ciampa keeps Miz in this like Miz kept Ciampa in the match earlier, but Styles attacks Ciampa! Styles SMACKS Ciampa off the apron, puts him in the ring, and then brings Ciampa around. Fans fire up but then Styles thinks not to use the Clash here. Styles throws Ciampa out to the apron! Ciampa holds on but Styles runs in. Ciampa shoulders Styles, then drags him up! Styles fights the suplex, ROCKS Ciampa with a right, then runs to DECK him! Ciampa falls through the table!! But Miz sneaks up on Styles! Roll-up, TWO!! Miz stands, Styles ROCKS him! Styles runs in, but is put back on the apron!
Styles resets, but Miz gets the chair to CHUCK at Styles!! Miz gets Styles up, SKULL CRUSHING FINALE!! Cover, TWO!?!? Miz can’t believe it and “This is Awesome!” Miz snarls as he gets the kendo stick back. He SMACKS Styles’ leg, then SMACKS it again! And again! Miz drags Styles, steps in, but Styles BOOTS Miz into the chair! Styles gets Miz up, for the STYLES CLASH!! Cover, Styles wins!!
Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall
Now that was phenomenal! Not even Ciampa could help Miz win this one! Is this all that’s left between Styles and the Miz? Wait, what’s going on in the crowd? Who is that in the hoodie trying to get to the barrier? Security drags away… DEXTER LUMIS?!?! Styles shrugs that off, celebrates with the fans and throws up the Too Sweet. But was Lumis the reason for the strange things happening backstage? Will Lumis find a way to invade Raw?
Another great Raw here in this HHH Era. Great bracket for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship tournament, with the biggest surprise being Nikkita Lyons & Zoey Stark from NXT are participating. I hope this doesn’t give away that Zoey isn’t winning the NXT Women’s Championship next week, but rather reestablishing that these titles will be on all brands, not just Raw & SmackDown. That said, I would love it if somehow, Nikkita & Zoey made it to the finals to meet Kai & Sky. There’s great history there as Zoey & Sky were NXT Women’s Tag Team Champions, and we can finally see them face off in the ring.
That said, great promos from “Control,” aka the faction of Bayley, Kai & Sky. And we got a good encounter between them and Alexa, Asuka & Bianca. Them having a Six Woman Tag for Clash at the Castle is a bit of a surprise, but perhaps that means title matches will all happen before them. Kai & Sky VS Dana & Tamina tonight was great stuff, but of course Kai & Sky win. I’m surprised no 24/7 Championship shenanigans happened even after the match, but maybe HHH and team are just looking for the right person to take that title. And good promos from Nikki & Piper and Alexa & Asuka to call each other out before next week’s match.
Great match out of Rollins VS Dawkins, the Profits are each proving they can go in the singles division, but who knows what happens next. Them announcing Riddle will have an interview next week and Rollins having a promo about it makes me think Rollins VS Riddle that was meant for SummerSlam happens at Clash at the Castle to really put the spotlight on that event. Dom not accepting Edge after last week’s accidental Spear was classic pro-wrestling, but I feel like that is a trope that needs to change. Can’t Dom see in the footage that Rhea shoved him into the path of the attack? But even with that, this is going how I figured, where Rey & Edge are going to team up against Judgement Day. Especially after Edge had to run Priest off, and then Rhea revealed she beat the crap outta Dom.
Speaking of beating the crap out of someone, Kevin Owens brought back that same level of violence where he once beat Sami Zayn into a TKO. Kevin has been doing great even without bringing back this mean streak, but going back to those days could be what Kevin needs to get back to a title. As for Zeke, this could mean Elias comes back to fight Kevin and avenge his brother. Or we finally see Elrod make his on-screen debut to do the same. And Omos then got to beat the crap out of two somebodies, mostly to bide time until a story comes along. We already had Lashley VS Omos, I would think they’ll avoid defaulting to that.
Ziggler VS Gable was great stuff, especially with the opening exchanges of great technical wrestling. Great story of Gable working the leg and making it hard on Ziggler to hit his Superkick. But in the end, Ziggler does win, and I predict Ziggler VS Otis happens next week. I almost expected Theory to rush out here to default back to the growing feud between them, but clearly there’s something new in the works for him. Lashley VS Ciampa was awesome stuff, and it went as I figured: Miz helps Ciampa survive at one point, but Miz couldn’t save Ciampa forever as Styles goes after Miz. And then that set up Styles VS Miz in a great No DQ main event, and of course Ciampa tries to help Miz in return. That doesn’t work, and of course Styles wins.
But an even better detail was something that was happening little by little in the background of the night. First, that bit where Piper & Nikki were wondering what happened to that rental car. Then there was the security guards who rushed past Control, Asuka and Alexa. They were of course kayfabing an intruder angle, and Lumis showing up in the crowd after Styles VS Miz was the reveal. Much like Kross & Scarlett on SmackDown, Lumis is back in the WWE and was causing trouble backstage because he wants to be on Raw. Everyone was hoping for Johnny Gargano to come back in Cleveland, but maybe HHH is working on a slow burn for The Way making their way to Raw.
My Score: 8.8/10
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