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Mathew’s AJPW Champion Carnival Results & Review: Final Day (10/5/2020)

All Japan’s Champion Carnival Finalists are set, and now face off! Who wins? What other title pictures get set on this show?

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This is it, folks, this is the final day of All Japan’s Champion Carnival where we will find out who will be the winner of this year’s tournament. It’s been a solid tournament but we have to bring it to a close and I’ll be covering the whole show instead of just the final match.

Who will win the Carnival and who will face Suwama for the Triple Crown Championship?

Let’s find out as we…dive right in.

Star Rating System:

  • 0 Stars: Dave Meltzer
  • 1 Star: Vince Russo
  • 2 Stars: Tony Schiavone
  • 3 Stars: Eric Bischoff
  • 4 Stars: Bruce Prichard
  • 5 Stars: Jim Cornette


Six Man Tag Team Match
JIN (Koji Iwamoto & Jake Lee) & TAJIRI vs. Atsuki Aoyagi, Black Menso-re, & Takao Omori

Review: We open things up with a six-man tag match with members of JIn, Jake Lee, and the Junior Heavyweight Champion, Koji Iwamoto teaming up with TAJIRI take on Stsuki Aoyagi, Black Menso-re, and Takao Omori. This is considered the prelude to the upcoming Junior Heavyweight Championship match between Koji and Aoyagi, seeing who will get momentum leading into the match. Who will go into the title match strong?

This match is as basic as you can get with everyone getting a minute or two to get some action in. TAJIRI and Menso’s encounter with each other was more comical than anything else, even TAJIRI giving him the ol’ spankaroo to had some humiliation to Menso. For Atsuki and Koji, their encounter was brief but it was enough to make you want more when they would eventually fight for the championship in the upcoming month. After a Dropkick from Atsuki, Menso would get back in the ring to try and get a pin on Koji but he kicked out. Menso and Takao would charge at Koji in the turnbuckle for more damage but Menso-re would mess it up for his team when he’s caught with the Koko no Geijutsu by Koji, getting the pinfall victory. Wasn’t perfect but did its job with hyping up the title match and Atsuki has a chance to shine, win or lose.

Rating: Eric Bischoff


Tag Team Match
Hikaru Sato & Ryuki Honda vs. Osamu Nishimura & Ryuji Hijikata

Review: Time for our next match as we start off with a tag team match between Hikaru Sato and Ryuki Honda taking Osamu Nishimura and Ryuji Hijikata. This is more of an exhibition tag match to get the crowd invested. Which one of these teams will win?

Ryuji and Hikaru had a nice little back and forth exchange with some strikes to start things off and Hikaru getting stiff kicks in. This lead to Osamu and Ryuki getting tagged in to have a turn. Ryuki was from Wrestle-1 and was holding his ground against the vet with some forearms before being hit with an uppercut. Osamu hits an Underhook Suplex before tagging Ryuji back into the ring to try and get some moves in. Ryuki gets a shot of energy into him and hits an elbow onto him. Ryuki attempts to go for the Backdrop but Ryuji held his own until Hikaru hits an Enziguri onto him, giving Ryuki a chance to hit a Back Suplex and Ryuji kicked out. Ryuki hits a German Suplex and once Ryuji kicked out, he had his arm in an Armbar before turning it into a Cross Armbreaker, leaving Ryuki no choice but to tap out. Much like the previous match with it being under five minutes, there were just no stakes on this one and just existed.

Rating: Tony Schiavone and three quarters


Six Man Tag Team Match
Chikara, Yoshitatsu & Yusuke Okada vs. Ishikiri, Ryouji Sai & So Daimonji

Review: Time for more six-man tag action as Yoshitatsu’s Kingdom is taking on people from Land’s End, Ryouji Sai, Ihikiri, and So Daimonji. The two have been having a sort of a small rivalry and let’s see how it develops after this match. Does Yoshi’s Kingdom stay intact?

Daimonji and Yusuke started off with a small little sequence, leaving Okada to get him down, causing him to tag Ryouji to get tagged in as Okada tagged Chikara in. Chikara just has this angry little face, thinking he could scare people and he just fails at that while being over the top with the screaming for no reason. His chops had no effect and it leads to Ryouji to slap him to get him down. After a few kicks to Chikara by Ryouji, he would tag Ishikiri in as he hits Chikara with a Steamroller before topping it off with a Moonsault. Least this match wasn’t under five minutes like the previous two and were able to get more in this time around without having to rush it.

After being beaten down for about half of the match, Chikara would hit Ryouji with a boot before hitting a weak Lariat, being able to tag in Yoshitatsu as he delivered some kicks into Ryouji, Ryouji was able to catch Yoshi to toss him over before tagging in Ishikiri, climbing to the top rope and hits a Missle Dropkick. Yoshi was able to catch Ishikiri with the Kitchen Sink and instead of tagging Okada back in, he tags in Chikara, screaming with all his might while getting into the ring. Chikara hits Ishikiri with chops while he responds with forearms but Chikara hits a Brainbuster for a two count. Land’s End team would beat Chikara down and Ishikiri has time to go up top for a Senton Bomb but Yoshi and Okada broke the count. Ishikiri goes up top to attempt a Moonsault but Chikara rolls out of the way, leading Okada to forearm Ishikiri, and Yoshi hits the Codebreaker of Jericho to get him down. Chikara goes up top to hit the Saber Chop on Ishikiri, getting the pinfall victory for his team!

Rating: Eric Bischoff


Six Man Tag Team Match
Purple Haze (Izanagi, Shigehiro Irie & UTAMARO) vs. Akira Francesco, Jiro ‘Ikemen’ Kuroshio & Rising HAYATO

Review: Time for more six-man tag action with Purple Haze taking on Rising HAYATO, Akira Francesco, and Jiro Kuroshio. Since Kento and Zeus our fighting in the main event, it’s fitting that their teammates take on each other before the match would happen. Will Purple Haze stand tall or does Kento’s buddies come out the victor?

Purple Haze wasted no time and attacked Jiro and the others before the bell would ring. It doesn’t last long as Irie tossed Jiro over but catches Izanagi with a Dropkick and goes to hit Irie with a Headscissor and a Superkick. Jiro ran the ropes and is caught by Irie as he hits a beautiful Blackhole Slam but Jiro kicked out at two, quite the explosive way to start this match off, I like it. Akira and UTAMARO get tagged in now to change it up with Akira hitting UTAMARO with a Dropkick after a Wheelbarrel Armdrag as UTAMARO stopped Akira by raking his eyes and hitting a Back Suplex, tagging Izanagi in to regroup. Akira ducks the Lariat and jumped over him for a takedown and tags in HAYATO.

HAYATO charges at Izanagi with an elbow into the turnbuckle and tops it with a Bulldog while looking quite impressive with his physique and agility. 1akira and HAYATO double team Izanagi with a Double Dropkick and Purple Haze broke it up during the pinfall, leading to all of them attacking Jiro mostly. Jiro gets tossed into the ropes as he jumped over to do a Springboard Dropkick onto Irie and UTAMARO to get them down before jumping over the ropes, flipping on top of them to get them down. Izanagi hits a beautiful Buzzsaw kick onto Akira to take him out while Irie hits a Cannonball onto HAYATO, giving Izanagi the pin but kicked out! Izanagi tosses Akira into his partner but HAYATO tosses him over to let him land on the apron, Superkicks Izanagi while Akira hits the Meteora, leading to HAYATO pinning him Jackknife style and gets the victory! Because of this win, HAYATO and Akira are set to challenge Izanagi and Zeus for the All Asia Tag Team Championship!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half


Six Man Tag Team Match
Enfants Terribles (Hokuto Omori, Kuma Arashi & Shotaro Ashino) defeat Evolution (Dan Tamura & Suwama) & Shuji Ishikawa

Review: Our final six-man tag match of the evening as we have the World Tag Team Champions, Violence Giant teaming up with Dam Tamura as they take on members of Enfants Terribles, Shotaro Ashino. Kuma Arashi, and Hokuto Omori. A World Tag Team Championship Match was scheduled for later on in the month, so we could find out who will be challenging the champions after this match is over. Will Enfants defeat Evolution to get back on track or do they lose again?

Shuji and Kuma start the match off by tackling each other, both of them hitting a shoulder tackle with the other hitting the ropes to hit one back as it would go back and forth for a moment until Shuji was able to get Kuma down. We get a tag with Hokuto and Dan coming into the ring to showcase the younger talent of the groups, which was fairly even with the two able to show how much they’ve grown as competitors but Dan was able to Scoop Slam Hokuto down as Violence Giant take out the Enfants members, leaving Hokuto to fend for himself. Little miscommunication here when Shuji accidentally hits Suwama with a Lariat as the two argue enough for Enfants Terribles to get back into the ring to throw them out while Hokuto hits a Reverse STO on Dan after raking his eyes. Hokuto seems a lot more comfortable in the heel role and really does have the potential to be a great worker in the upcoming years if he continues to improve.

It’s Shotaro’s turn to get some abuse in on Dan as he applies the Stretch Muffle onto his leg, trying to get him to tap but Dan gets to the ropes in time to break the hold. Ashino delivers some forearms into the corner and once he ran towards him, Dan kicks his face and jumps the second top to hit a shoulder tackle, giving himself room to breathe as he tagged in Suwama! Looks like Suwama’s arm is doing better as he starts cleaning the house, and hitting a shoulder tackle onto Shotaro after blocking his Lariat. Suwama calls for the Last Ride but Kuma hits his back before he could try to lift Ashino as the two now attack his back until Suwama hits them both with his two-handed chops, topping it off with a Lariat to take them both down. Shotaro ducks a Lariat to hit a German Suplex as he tags Kuma in, lifting him up for a Samoan Drop, and tops it off with a Senton as Suwama kicked out. Shuji gets tagged in now as he tosses Kuma into the corner to slam into him, throwing him down as he does to the top to hit his Double Stomp but Kuma kicked out at two. The two Lariat each other but nobody seems to be going down until Kuma hits Shuji with a Brainbuster, which Shuji gets up right away to hit the TSUNAMI. Dan gets tagged in, Lariats Kuma into the corner, and was able to hit a shoulder tackle on top of it. Dan lifts Kuma up for the Gutwrench Suplex but Kuma kicked out at two! Kuma ducked the Lariat and hits a Diving Body Press as he almost had it but Suwama broke the count, leading to Ashino to apply the Ankle Lock on Suwama to get him out of the way. Kuma climbs to the top rope to hit the Diving Senton, getting the victory for his team! Because of this, Shotaro Ashino and Kuma Arash challenge Suwama and Shuji Ishikawa for the World Tag Team Championships.

Rating: Eric Bischoff and three quarters


Singles Match
Yuma Aoyagi vs. Koji Doi

Review: Our first singles match of the night and our semi-main event as we have Yuma Aoyagi taking on Enfants Terribles member, Koji Doi. Koji has been considered a little bully to Yuma since he’s arrived in All Japan, even getting a small undefeated streak going into the match. Yuma has a chance to get some payback and maybe a future title match with momentum. Will Yuma defeated the undefeated Koji or will he lose?

Soon as the bell rang, Yuma hits Koji with the Dropkick, sending him outside of the ring as Yuma would follow him out to attack him more. Pent up aggression from Yuma for the time’s Koji has harassed him and it’s now coming back to bite Koji in the ass while he’s being tossed into the guardrails. Once back in the ring, Koji delivers a hard slap to Yuma’s face and was able to take him down, getting some control into the match now. For those not familiar with Koji, his work in Wrestle-1 has been top-notch while showing he can be a beast for someone of his size, and being one of the more agile wrestlers in the group. Koji goes back to taunting him by putting his foot on his body, pressing down on it, giving him Headlocks to do some damage to his head, and just gaining confidence over Yuma since he hasn’t lost yet in All Japan and wants to take down someone that’s considered one of their top guys (sorta).

Yuma tries to fight back after kicking Koji’s face but once he went for the Dropkick, Koji swept his legs to make him fall down. Koji tosses Yuma into the ropes but reverses it to try and hit a Dropkick as Koji held onto the ropes to stop himself, leaving Koji laughing but Yuma eventually hits the Dropkick this time. Yuma gets tossed into the ropes, jumping onto the ropes to hit a Springboard Crossbody before climbing to the top rope and hits another Crossbody as Koji kicked out at two. Yuma’s in the corner as he tries to kick Koji but his leg is caught and met with another slap to the face while he climbed the top rope, having his knee on the back of his head as he dropped him down. Koji attempts a Brainbuster but Yuma reverses it into a Small Package for a kickout out as Yuma hits a superkick. Once Koji kicked out, Yuma applies a Guillotine Headlock onto him and while he was turning it into the Endgame, Koji had his foot on the rope to break the hold. Yuma blocks the first Lariat but is caught with the second one as Koji would lift him up for the Brainbuster and it connects but Yuma kicked out at two, leaving Koji shocked! Koji misses the Lariat again, leaving Yuma to hit the German Suplex for a two count but he quickly applies the End Game as Yuma defeats Koji to get the victory!

Rating: Eric Bischoff and a half


Champion Carnival Final Match
Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus

Review: It’s time for our main event as it is now time to cover the Champion Carnival with A Block winner, Zeus taking on the winner of B Block, Kento Miyahara. This is Kento’s third consecutive year in the finals where he won it last year and this will be Zeus’ second time in the finals with his first time being in 2016, which he lost. Zeus has lost to Kento the last couple of times and is now ready to try and avenge his last few losses to him. Who will win the Champion Carnival 2020?

Starting things off nice and slow with some chain wrestling and when they were able to kick it up a notch, Zeus gets him down for a shoulder tackle and would quickly go in for the Facelock but Kento quickly gets out of the ring to break the hold as Zeus follows him to attack him outside. Kento turned it around by hitting Zeus with a headbutt a couple of times to weaken the almighty one. Instead of using the bottom post, Kento would get rid of the padding of the top turnbuckle post and chokes Zeus onto the exposed bar, taunting the crown until the referee would pull him off. Kento is being cocky here but he’s also very focused in this match since a win here means he’ll be one step closer to getting his championship back. It’s now Zeus’ turn to get a little bit of a comeback as he hits a Flying Clothesline to get Kento down before having him out of the ring as he now attacks him outside for some payback.

If you remember what Kento and Zeus said to each other once Kento defeated Zeus to win back the championship, he said they would help raise All Japan together. If you look at Kento’s best opponents in AJPW, you’re gonna see Zeus as one of them as the two delivered another classic here while bringing out the best of each other to make each match feel like the main event of the highest caliber. You can’t go wrong with either and this match topped the match they had two years ago in October for the belt. It looked like Kento was attempting a Brainbuster but Zeus gets closer to the ropes to toss him over before delivering a stiff chop to Kento. Zeus ran towards Kento but is met with a big boot and a DDT onto the apron. Kento quickly gets back onto the apron to try and hit the Piledriver and as Zeus was struggling, he finally gets him over to hit the Kryptonite Krunch on the apron as both men go down! Kento slowly makes his way back in the ring as Zeus was standing on the ropes, lifting him over the ropes for a Brainbuster, shades of Cesaro! Zeus Lariats Kento into the corner, only to be met with a Blackout in the other corner, the two exchanging strikes to one another as Kento attempts a Blackout but Zeus catches his leg for a Lariat and when he attempts the Jackhammer, Kento reversed into a Brainbuster as the two are down again.

Kento calls for the Shutdown German Suplex Hold but Zeus breaks the grip and hits Kento with another Lariat. Zeus climbs to the top rope and hits the Frog Splash but Kento had his knees up before he could connect, hurting themselves in the process. Kento hits a Blackout and a German Suplex before he attempts the Shutdown German Suplex Hold again, getting the grip on and lifted him for a second before Zeus powers out of it last minute and hits a Dropkick! Zeus was now on top of Kento, delivering brutal forearms to his head to apply more damage to his head before getting off him. Zeus attempts a Lariat but Kento got behind him to roll him up for the European Clutch as Zeus kicked out and immediately applies the Facelock on Kento! Zeus has it locked-in and Kento could tap out right here but Zeus lets go of the hold once Kento was passed out since it seems he doesn’t wanna beat him that way. Zeus calls for the Jackhammer again but Kento fights off to hit a Blackout and hits another one to get him down. Kento is fired up as he goes for the Shutdown Gemrna Suplex Hold one more time as it connects with the referee going for the cover but Zeus kicked out! Zeus was able to kick out as many were unable to do except a certain few! Kento goes for it again but Zeus powers out of it to be met with a Blackout as Zeus bounced the ropes to hit another Lariat! Zeus hits one more Lariat as Kento kicked out but Zeus would pick him up to hit the Jackhammer and we have a winner!

The mad lad has done it, Zeus is your Champion Carnival winner! This is his first time winning the tournament and he is now set to challenge Suwama for the Triple Crown Championship on October 17th. The two fought in the Carnival with Zeus making him tap in five minutes but now that his arm seems to be healed, will we get a different outcome or will Zeus be able to win the Triple Crown Championship for a second time. Huge win for Zeus as he really needed this more than Kento, hopefully, he’ll have a proper reign this time around if he wins. Congratulations to Zeus!

Rating: Jim Cornette


Overall: We get the best AJPW match of the year so far and a very solid show right on top of it. A very satisfying Carnival with a fantastic final to top it off with the right man winning. Jake was my original choice but at the end of the day, Zeus needed this more. Can’t wait to see the match take place and hopefully, we’ll have a new champion. Thank you all for joining me in this tournament!

Favorite Match: Kento Miyahara vs. Zeus

Least Favorite Match: Hikaru Sato & Ryuki Honda vs. Osamu Nishimura & Ryuji Hijikata

Score: 8/10

 


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Coverage

NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.118 ~ 18TH JANUARY 2021

The GHC National competitors continue to heat up right before their clash on the 23rd! The NOAH Juniors also stay…well the Juniors. Hisame explains if you don’t know!

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The GHC National competitors continue to heat up right before their clash on the 23rd! The NOAH Juniors also stay…well the Juniors. Hisame explains if you don’t know!

NEWS

Kenoh vs Kazunari Murakami

Kenoh and Kazunari Murakami had their one and only pre-match on the 16th January at Yokohama Radiant Halls. Murakami was repeatedly told off during the match for punching (mainly Kenoh) with a closed fist. However, it was Tadasuke who he choked out, and the referee stopped the match.

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Afterwards, rather than scream and swear (like he would if it were Kaito Kiyomiya, Takashi Sugiura, Naomichi Marufuji or really anyone who Kenoh hates), Kenoh studied Murakami almost as if he was trying to work him out. Backstage Kenoh said in a promo which didn’t involve angry swearing, that although he hated Murakami “from the bottom” of his heart, he would play him at his own game. Was it okay to punch with a closed fist while wearing open fingered gloves? “Was that wrestling?” Kenoh has sworn he will show him “the true Kenoh”. Title match will take place on the 23rd January at the Osaka Edion Arena.

STINGER retain against Kongoh; challenged by mortal enemies

Although Nioh’s hubris led him to say that if he had two victories over HAYATA in a row, a third would follow, he and Haoh were unsuccessful in capturing the tag team titles and swinging the balance of power in the volatile NOAH juniors to their favor, when HAYATA pinned Haoh to retain the titles. Although it was never said by Yoshinari Ogawa, fans got the impression that HAYATA was walking a very thin line.

After the match, STINGER were celebrating their victory, when they were jumped by Kotaro Suzuki, NOSAWA Rongai and Ikuto Hidaka, who threw HAYATA from the ring, kept Susumu (who had been at ringside) out, and stamped down on Yoshiari Ogawa, before Kotaro challenged for the titles saying, “The next is Hidaka and I. You can’t refuse. The place is the Nippon Budokan”. The pair of them threw the tag belts down that NOSAWA had draped over them, as HAYATA crawled back into the ring. For the second time, it was up to quiet shy HAYATA (who managed to keep his back to any cameras) to accept the challenge. Laconic as ever, HAYATA simply said “Next…you”.

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Match has been set for the 12th February at The Nippon Budokan. The pre-matches, however, start on the 23rd January.

You can watch the title match for free here (NOAH streamed it through Periscope)

(This made my Match of The Year 2021 list)

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

~ Shuhei Taniguchi tried “Disco Dancing”, except it looked more like some crazy jig.

~ Seiki Yoshioka is slowly discovering why HAYATA gave up speaking, by first of all reacting to YO-HEY verbally and wondering what he was talking about, and then reacting with “…?” after YO-HEY had babbled something about peanut butter.

~ Go Shiozaki and Naomichi Marufuji had a chop challenge. On Atsushi Kotoge’s chest.

~ Yoshiki Inamura has declared that the Musou will be hunting Jun Akiyama at The Nippon Budokan.

~ NOAH are teasing a GHC Heavyweight tag title match by The Aggression. Nakajima has started talking about “natural” it feels, with Masa Kitamiya saying how much The Sugiura Army (especially Sugiura) irritate him.

~ Manabu Soya carried Tadasuke of the ring after being choked by Kazunari Murakami, as if he was going to Avalanche slam him.

~ NOSAWA Rongai told Kotaro Suzuki and Ikuto Hidaka that they had bad fashion sense, Hidaka’s clothes were as bad as his promo skills, and that he felt sorry for the champions on that account.

~ Although the steel plate in his jaw was difficult to remove, Kaito Kiyomiya has made a good recovery and returned to the NOAH dojo. Naturally, he has not shown any pictures of his face.

~ The last time Go Shiozaki took a headbutt from Atsushi Kotoge, his head was split open and his teeth knocked out.

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

Thursday 21st January: Go Shiozaki (39)

Saturday 23rd January: NOAH “Higher Ground 2021” (Osaka Edion Arena 2nd Stadium)

BROADCASTS

 NOAH’s Yokohama Radiant Halls event will be broadcast on WRESTLEUNIVERSE on the 19th January. The event on the 23rd January in Osaka will be broadcast on WRESTLEUNIVERSE on the 26th January. You must be a subscriber to view these events.

LINKS

Why did Yuki Sato, Dick Togo’s apprentice, become “Haoh” in Noah?

The key point is “craziness” in the battle with Murakami to the “dream” of The National GHC defense at The Budokan

Pictures taken from Noah GHC

 


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Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (1/18/21)

Will Raw be on fire tonight?

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Coverage Raw 2021

Will Alexa Bliss have a twisted surprise for the Raw Women’s Champion?

She gave Randy Orton a taste of his own medicine, but she might be hungry for something more! Will Alexa be ready for Asuka and earn herself a shot at the title?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce; Charlotte wins.
  • Xavier Woods VS Mace w/ Retribution; Mace wins.
  • Mandy Rose w/ Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax; Baszler wins.
  • Ricochet VS AJ Styles w/ Omos; Styles wins, Ricochet is NOT in the Men’s Royal Rumble.
  • Six Man Tag: The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle & The Lucha House Party; The Hurt Business wins.
  • Jeff Hardy VS Jaxson Ryker w/ Elias; Hardy wins, by disqualification.
  • Asuka VS Alexa Bliss; Bliss wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

“Now is the time.”

Martin Luther King Jr’s dream lives on, but only if we live it. Do not judge by the color of one’s skin, but by the content of their character. We will reach the promised land together. #LongLiveTheDream.

 

Randy Orton speaks.

“There is a saying that people who fight fire with fire usually end up with ashes. Ashes of the one responsible for their affliction.” Orton wears a mask to cover his burned face. “The voices in my head have never been louder. Encapsulating my every thought, just like this mask encapsulates my face.” Orton held Alexa Bliss’ fate in his hands, yet showed a side of himself he didn’t know he had: compassion. Orton rewatches the footage for himself. The hatred he had for himself needed to be redirected, and he was ready to make Triple H “like a lamb to the slaughter, until she interrupted.”

It was only just last week that HHH was shockingly spirited away so that Alexa could throw a literal FIREBALL at Orton! “And now look at me. LOOK AT ME! This is the damnation I receive for showing compassion? I haven’t been able to sleep because every time I close my eyes, all I see is that ball of fire hurtling towards my face.” Orton seethes as he says “that inescapable feeling of the fire burning my flesh will never go away.” Whatever compassion was in him, it left with that inferno. Orton wears this mask to not only protect himself, but to shield everyone else from the horrors that he endured.

Orton watches himself from last week flail and writhe as he clutched his face in pain. “Despite the agony I felt that would mortify a lesser man, I consider myself… lucky.” Orton came away with just first degree burns and not much worse. He could’ve been disfigured forever! But Orton doesn’t blame Alexa. He blames THE FIEND! Orton already sent him straight to Hell. “There’s no doubt The Fiend is responsible for this. Alexa was merely the vehicle. And I know exactly what The Fiend wants. He wants to stop me from achieving the inevitable.” That is to say, winning the Royal Rumble again, going back to WrestleMania, and becoming a world champion.

Orton is sure everyone else in the locker room loved seeing his face burn, “knowing that their biggest threat may have just been eliminated from competing in the Royal Rumble match. But you could chop off all my limbs and it wouldn’t stop me from winning this year’s Royal Rumble match. Because despite my sickening affliction, I vow to remain in the Royal Rumble match. I can only compete as long as I can tolerate the pain, but the funny thing is… I enjoy the pain. It fuels my every move.” Orton has a match! Orton wants everyone to thank The Fiend when he burns their dreams to ashes and goes on to main event WrestleMania! He lights the match, watches it burn, then blows it out. Will this new, even darker Orton extinguish 29 other lights before going back to the Grandest Stage of Them All?

 

Ric Flair arrives at the ThunderDome, with Lacey Evans!

Lacey wants to hear some Four Horsemen stories but Charly Caruso comes over to ask about this “relationship” first. Lacey says that’s so nasty. This isn’t TMZ. This is beneath Charly! Charly is compelled to ask because Ric helped Lacey beat Charlotte Flair, his own daughter! Lacey says to show respect to the 16-time world champion, and a living legend. But to answer the question, there’s a reason Ric is the Dirtiest Player in the Game. He was just living up to that name. As far as the relationship goes, Lacey is simply learning from the greatest man to ever step in the ring. Now, they are going to go watch Peyton Royce knock the nasty Queen of her throne.

Charlotte Flair VS Peyton Royce!

But speaking of dirty, Peyton attacks Charlotte from behind at the ramp! They brawl, referees hurry to separate them but this match is going to happen, after the break!

Raw returns and the bell rings and Charlotte tackles Peyton to a corner! Then stomps away on her! The ref backs Charlotte off but she goes right back for more! She RAMS Peyton, RAMS her again, but Peyton sends Charlotte into buckles to fire stomps back! The ref counts, Peyton stops at 3 and brings Charlotte out to hammer away. Charlotte trips Peyton, gives some ground ‘n’ pound, then tackles her to ropes! They spill out of the ring and Charlotte CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Charlotte puts Peyton in but Peyton rolls out the far side. Charlotte pursues but Peyton kicks back, only for Charlotte to CLUB her, and bounce her off the desk!

Charlotte stalks Peyton around the way, they go back in the ring, then back out the ramp side. Another CHOP, CHOP and CHOP into the post! Peyton shoves Charlotte into the post, then into the ring! Cover, TWO! Charlotte is still in this but Peyton drags her around to drop elbows. Peyton puts on a thrashing chinlock but Charlotte endures. Charlotte fights up, arm-drags free, and CLOBBERS Peyton! Charlotte looms over Peyton, drags her up and bounces her off buckles. Charlotte bends Peyton against ropes, lets go at 3, and brings Peyton around for another buckle bump! Peyton dodges, Charlotte hits buckles, and Peyton throws Charlotte down by her hair! Cover, TWO!

Peyton is frustrated but she kicks Charlotte down and around. She pushes Charlotte to ropes, bumps her off buckles in return, then digs her boot into Charlotte’s face! The ref counts, Peyton lets off and bumps Charlotte off more buckles. Peyton whips corner to corner, Charlotte goes up and out to shoulder back in! Slingshot and roll up, TWO, but Charlotte ROCKS Peyton with a right! Charlotte blocks boots, has Peyton in the ropes, DRAPING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! But now Ric makes his entrance?! Ric swaggers on stage and Charlotte is annoyed, because here comes Lacey in one of Ric’s robes!

Charlotte is confused as ever, but Peyton catches her with the HEEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Peyton is furious that Charlotte survives and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns and Peyton goes to buckle bump but Charlotte blocks to CHOP! And O’Conner roll, TWO! Charlotte goes into buckles but she dodges to send Peyton back into buckles! Both women are down and Peyton crawls away. Charlotte gets up, checks her nose, and then goes after Peyton. Peyton jawbreakers, whips, but Charlotte holds ropes to KICK back! Peyton dodges to HEEL KICK back! Peyton runs but Charlotte puts her on the apron, but Peyton SCORPION KICKS! Peyton goes up, leaps, but Charlotte gets under! Peyton turns around into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Cover, TWO!

Charlotte watches Peyton go to the apron, runs in and BOOTS her down! Charlotte dares Lacey to do something again, but no, Lacey stays in the back this time. Peyton drags herself up as the ring count is 8 and is in at 9, but gets stomped by Charlotte! Charlotte puts Peyton’s leg on the rope, then drops a knee, only to miss! Peyton mule kicks then hobbles away from her back hurting. She dodges Charlotte’s clothesline to elbow, kick and HEEL KICK, to then ENZIGURI! Cover, TWO!

Peyton is furious and she drags Charlotte up to suplex. Charlotte slips out to CHOP BLOCK the leg! Knee breaker after knee breaker, Charlotte shows no mercy! Charlotte steps through, Figure Four, to FIGURE EIGHT! Peyton taps, Charlotte wins!

Winner: Charlotte Flair, by submission

But she doesn’t let go! She wants Peyton to suffer on behalf of Lacey! Charlotte finally does let Peyton go, will Peyton even be able to team with Lacey now? Will anyone want to?

 

Matt Riddle crosses paths with The Hurt Business.

Riddle just wants to say hi but MVP doesn’t want to hear it. Does he wear this same lame outfit on the streets? Of course. Riddle lives his life free and untethered. And unkempt, it seems. Uncalled for, bro. But Riddle will take the high road. Of course he will. Riddle just wants to say he admires how nice they all dress. MVP is like Gordy Gecko, then there’s “Ceddy the Cheddy,” and Benjamin spending the Benjamins. And of course, who would ever call Lashley “Slobby Bobby.” Lashley handles this and the others head out.

Lashley tells Riddle that if it were him, he actually likes the flipflops. But he heard they’re bad for your feet. What? No they’re not. Lashley STOMPS one of Riddle’s feet, and says that proves his point. Riddle says Lashley will see this foot later, right up his ass! Will The Bro and his “brochachos” make the Hurt Business pay in their 3v3 later tonight?

 

Raw returns as Lucha House Party checks with Riddle.

Is he going to be okay for the match? Riddle says when he was in high school, his cousin ran his foot over with his truck, and Riddle was still able to go to prom. He’ll just tape it up. If he says so…

 

Xavier Woods VS Mace w/ Retribution!

Here he goes again on his own! Mustafa Ali says this is their time to strike. Kofi Kingston at home with a broken jaw isn’t enough, Ali wants to break his spirit, and that’s by breaking one of his most beloved friends! Ali prays Kofi can’t compete or even be in Elimination Chamber or WrestleMania. Then Kofi will feel what Ali did just one year ago! Will this revenge a long time coming be carried out by the menacing monster at Ali’s command?

Ali shouts at Woods about Kofi being a coward. Woods DECKS Ali for that and the ref has to keep Retribution back! Woods is ready for a fight but Raw goes to break!

Raw returns and the bell rings! Woods circles with Mace but is cornered! Mace keeps Woods from getting away but Woods CHOPS back, only for Mace to shrug it off. Woods and Mace go again, Woods CHOPS and fires off hands but Mace shoves him away. Woods kicks low, climbs up and throws more hands but Mace shoves him away again. Mace catches Woods with both hands and brings him out to center for a CHOKE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Woods survives but Mace choke grips Woods again and dead lifts him to shove him to a corner! Mace runs in to elbow Woods down! Ali mocks Woods’ pain as Mace whips Woods and KNEES him in the back! Mace looms over Woods, covers, TWO!

Mace sits Woods up, pries on fingers and then clamps on for a neck wrench! Woods endures, Mace fish hooks Woods’ mouth, and Ali says Kofi doesn’t need to worry. Woods will break his jaw and be right next to Kofi tomorrow. Woods bites Mace’s hand! Woods mule kicks, CHOPS away, then kicks low to CHOP and CHOP again! Mace ROCKS Woods with the uppercut! Mace whips, Woods dodges and ducks to dropkick a leg out! Woods keeps on Mace with haymakers and elbows! Mace shoves Woods away but Woods CLUBS him! Mace shoves Woods but runs into a boot! HONOR- NO! Choke grip! Woods fights the grip, gets free, and ENZIGURIS!

Mace flops out of the ring but Ali shouts at him to get back in. Mace goes up, but Woods baseball slides under Mace to hit Ali! Woods hits Mace off the apron again but Ali tells them they stop this. They’re going to shut Woods down! Mace gets in, the other members run distraction, Woods SUPERKICKS but runs into a BOOT! Mace drags Woods back up, fireman’s carries, and SWINGING AIR RAID CRASH! Cover, Mace wins!

Winner: Mace, by pinfall

Retribution wins again, and Ali stands over Woods. “Tell Kofi, Retribution says, ‘Get well soon.'” Ali and his cohorts are laughing now, but will Kofi make a comeback to shut them up?

 

Backstage interview with Asuka.

She’s been invited to Alexa’s Playground, what does she expect? Asuka honestly doesn’t know. But after seeing her set Orton on fire, Asuka hopes it isn’t Alexa’s dark side.

 

It’s the WrestleMania Report!

It’s Hank E. Panki, totally not Triple H, and Anita Reelman, totally not Stephanie McMahon. Don’t question it. But they’re sending it over to the weatherman, Sunny McCloud. Nope, it’s Roman Reigns, and there is no weatherman. Roman sits at the rightful place as Head of the Table. He’s not going to play along. But if they were, Paul Heyman is sure someone would say, “The extended forecast-” Paul, no. Just give it to them straight. Heyman says Tampa Bay’s Raymond James Stadium will be the home of WrestleMania 37! Wow, big news! It’s going to be buck wild this April! And how great that they get to host WrestleMania again, for the first time.

But some real breaking news in sports, “Hailey Mary” and not Sasha Banks has the exclusive! But then an assistant makes sure she got the report about how WrestleMania is coming back to AT&T Stadium for 2022. Uh, y-yes, now she does! Now shoo. But you heard it here first! WrestleMania 38 will be right here in Texas! It doesn’t get much bigger than that! Dropping exclusives like it’s hot! And what a spectacle! Hank’s a spectacle. Rawr. But now, to Huge Kantseeme for entertainment news! Hugh? Hello? We can’t see him. It’s totally not John Cena! They love it when he does that. And you know what Huge loves? LA!

CUT! When Cena- er, uh, Hugh, says that, it sounds so fake. Um, Hugh, we’re live… Okay, he’ll try again. “Y’know what else I love? LA! That’s right, Hollywood!” Who doesn’t love drama? Cue zoom. Here’s some drama: WrestleMania is going Hollywood in 2023! PLOT TWIST! Thanks, Hugh, but you got a bit carried away. It will be in SoFi Stadium, or as Anita likes to call it, “So FINE Stadium.” Nothing like a good giggle. And that wraps things up for the WrestleMania Report. And we’re good. Phew! HHH and Stephanie take off the “costumes” and are pretty sure no one realized it was them all along. But yes, WrestleMania is all set for the next THREE YEARS! Who will make it to each of them? Will you be there?

 

Raw presents… Alexa’s Playground…!

Alexa goes to her swing and welcomes us back. She is so excited we’re all here, but before we get started, she wants to address The Viper in the room. “Randy, last week, I was just coming out here to talk to you. Y’know, clear the air. And then, things got a little… heated!” Alexa laughs at her own joke and says if Orton needs some sunblock, just let her know. But either way, good to see he’s feeling okay. Now to tonight’s very special guest! Alexa is so excited to invite her opponent, the Women’s Tag Team and Raw Women’s Champion, ASUKA! Asuka makes her entrance, and joins Alexa on the swings. Alexa says no, that’s not her seat. Oh, okay…

Is Asuka okay? Yes, yes! Asuka is okay. Sorry, Alexa wasn’t talking to her. Oh, okay. Asuka says she’ll just stand over here by the slide… They giggle, and Asuka more nervously than Alexa. Alexa knows they have a match tonight but for now, let’s have fun! Alexa has breaking news! It’s big news! Should she tell them or do you want to, invisible friend? Okay, she’ll say it. Alexa is entering the Women’s Rumble! Asuka wishes Alexa good luck. But wait. If Alexa wins the Rumble match and Asuka is still champion, then they might face off at WrestleMania! Asuka says that would be her honor! And Asuka is a big fan of Alexa’s! Really? Yes! Thank you, that’s so sweet! Well of course! YOWIE WOWIE~!

Alexa doesn’t like Asuka saying that. Asuka hopes Alexa still wants to have fun. Let’s dance! It’s Asuka’s theme, but Asuka still dances. Alexa doesn’t want that. Alexa says STOP IT! Asuka’s music stops and Asuka is a bit startled. Alexa’s friend says something and Alexa says they’re right. It wasn’t supposed to be like this. If Alexa had done something differently, he’d still be here… Asuka says it’ll be okay. Asuka tries to explain in Japanese, and then says The Fiend’s still here. “Do NOT say his name!” Alexa then gets a smile as she waves at the rocking horse. Asuka is spooked and leaves the ring. Alexa switches to the rocking horse, but will she flip the switch when the bell rings?

 

Backstage interview with The Miz and John Morrison.

Can they give us a hint at what they have in store for Goldberg tonight on The Dirt Sheet? Oh, she wants to know? Of course Sarah wants to know! “I WANT THE SCOOP~!” NO! No spoilers. Tune in like everyone else. But what Miz will say is that what is in store will definitely be controversial. Controversy creates cash, much like the Money in the Bank. CHACHING!

 

Raw hears from Jeff Jarrett!

Double J has a prediction for Drew McIntyre VS Goldberg for the WWE World Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV. Jarrett knows both men, but he quotes his old buddy, Toby Keith. The hook goes, “I ain’t as good as I once was, but I’m good once as I ever was.” That will be the story of the Rumble, because we’ll see Goldberg’s Spear, Jackhammer and win for a NEW WWE World Champion! Will McIntyre deny that prediction when the  match actually happens?

 

Mandy Rose w/ Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax!

While the #SexyMuscleFriends go to the ring together, the Queen of Spades gives fair warning backstage. “Last week, I made Mandy Rose tap out, and then I threw Mandy Rose out of the ring like an empty can of White Claw.” She promises to do the same thing tonight, and then everyone the Women’s Rumble better watch out because she’ll do the same to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s Charlotte, Bayley, or even her own tag team partner. Nia is surprised by that, but it IS every woman for themselves. Nia says she’s been the one carrying the team, but will Shayna prove she can do bad all by herself after the break?

Raw returns and Nia joins commentary as the bell rings. Mandy and Shayna tie up, Mandy shoves Shayna then trips her up with a leg. Shayna gets up, Mandy waistlocks, rolls Shayna up, ONE! Shayna kicks Mandy’s legs out, KNEES her down then covers, TWO! Shayna drags Mandy around and clamps on with a neck wrench. Mandy endures and Dana coaches her up. Shayna drives an elbow into Mandy’s face! Shayna CLUBS Mandy, Mandy hits back but Shayna CLUBS and KICKS her around! Shayna throws forearms, drags Mandy up for knees, then snapmares to KICK her again! Cover, TWO!

Shayna is back on Mandy with the neck wrench. Mandy fires up, throws body shots but Shayna throws her down by her hair! Shayna clamps onto Mandy again, pulls on arm arm for a half straitjacket, then stands on the arm! It’s a new take on the ARM STOMP! Dana checks on Mandy but Shayna tells her to back off. Mandy rolls Shayna up, TWO!! Mandy runs Shayna over but shakes out the bad arm. Mandy ducks a kick and uses the good arm to lariat over and over! And hit a FLAPJACK! Mandy manages a kip up, runs in and powers Shayna to a corner! Mandy fires off forearms, the ref backs her off but Mandy comes back to throw more forearms and even stomps!

The ref counts, Mandy backs off but Shayna gets around to KICK the bad arm! Shayna wrenches that arm, but Mandy fires off forearms with the other! Mandy pulls Shayna’s hair but Shayna twists the arm! KEYLOCK TAKEDOWN! KIRAFUDA KLUTCH! Mandy taps, Shayna wins!

Winner: Shayna Baszler, by submission

The Queen of Spades took care of this by herself, just as she said she would! Nia says Mandy almost had her, but Shayna argues it wasn’t even close. But Dana sneaks up and dropkicks Nia into Shayna, and they both hit post! The Flex Appeal gets away with Mandy, and they aren’t out of the running yet! Will one of these women win the Women’s Rumble to go after the Raw Women’s Championship?

 

Shayna and Nia argue backstage.

Shayna says that was Nia’s fault for getting involved but Charly Caruso comes by to ask about them not getting along. Well they’ve never really gotten along, even as champions. But meanwhile, the current champions, Charlotte has her daddy issues and Asuka is being creeped out by Alexa, are they really getting along? In fact, now is the perfect time to get that rematch for the titles! Nia says that’s actually a good idea. They go off to find management, will they regain the gold before getting into the Rumble?

 

Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair.

Before discussing the tag titles, how uncomfortable was it for her to see Lacey wearing one of Ric’s robes? Ever since stepping foot in the ring, people accuse her of living off her family name. Now there is literally a woman draping herself on Ric’s arm, begging for her 15 minutes of fame, and living off the name! Charlotte knows that Lacey is just using Ric to get to her. But Charlotte’s been learning from Ric her entire life. She just never went down that path. Maybe Charlotte needs to rethink things, because one person can only take so much trash. Lacey may have one of Ric’s robes, but she will never has Charlotte’s crown.

 

Adam Pearce talks with Ricochet.

We know that there are superstars who need to earn their way into the Rumble match. And this match is perfect timing. A win can go a long way towards opportunities. Ricochet is just glad to have this opportunity. Maybe this is the start to his road to WrestleMania. But then AJ Styles comes by and says it’s funny that Pearce is talking about opportunities. Who would take advice from Pearce, who just literally ran away from the Universal Championship? Yes, he would’ve lost, been embarrassed, but at least he’d have his dignity. Look at Ricochet. Ricochet is going to lose, but he’ll lose with dignity.

Ricochet says Styles has selective amnesia, like 50 First Dates. What’s he talking about? Well, Drew Barrymore’s character couldn’t remember a thing past a certain date because- Styles knows the movie! It’s in his top ten, right next to The Notebook. What’s he talking about here tonight? Ricochet’s point is that Styles has forgotten about TLC when he got embarrassed- Hey! That was The Miz’s fault! Well all Ricochet knows is that Styles will need more than a seven foot giant by his side to prove Ricochet doesn’t belong in the Rumble. The One and Only heads out to the ring, but will he be better than Phenomenal once again?

Ricochet VS AJ Styles w/ Omos!

Styles hangs back long enough to tell Pearce that he doesn’t like him anymore. And when he doesn’t like someone, Omos doesn’t like someone. Omos literally looks down on Scrap Daddy, but what will Pearce do about it, after the break?

Raw returns and Styles makes his entrance. The bell rings, Styles and Ricochet circle, tie up, and Styles powers Ricochet to a corner. The ref counts, Styles lets off and Ricochet circles with him again. They tie up, Styles headlocks, Ricochet tries to power out but Styles holds on tight. Styles grinds Ricochet down, Ricochet rolls to a cover, ONE and Styles holds on. They get up, Ricochet tries to power out again but Styles still holds on. Ricochet makes it a cover again, ONE! Ricochet throws body shots, powers out this time but blocks Styles’ kick to hit an arm-drag! Ricochet whips, Styles gets around to backslide, but Ricochet rolls through. Styles reels Ricochet in but Ricochet trips him up to jackknife bridge! TWO, and Styles tilt-o-whirls to a sunset flip, TWO!

Styles wants the Clash but Ricochet pops free to get around and roll him up, TWO! Ricochet dodges, runs, and headscissors! Styles pops up but into a RANA! Styles is back again, Ricochet rolls and handsprings to headscissor again! Styles is dizzy and flounders, into a dropkick! Ricochet talks some smack to Omos as Styles flounders out. Ricochet runs, slides, but Styles catches him, only for Ricochet to still headscissor him! Ricochet is getting fired up, but Omos glares at him from around the way. Ricochet puts Styles in and follows, but Styles runs in. Ricochet sends Styles out, slingshots, but Omos catches him!

The ref warns Omos to set Ricochet down, and Omos DROPS Ricochet! Ricochet is down but not out yet, and Raw goes to break!

Raw returns and Styles drags Ricochet up to bump him off buckles. Styles scoops Ricochet for a RUNNING BACKBREAKER! Ricochet writhes but Styles paces around. Styles sits Ricochet up to dig a knee in and clamp on with the chinlock. Ricochet endures, fights his way up and throws body shots. Jawbreaker! Styles staggers, but he dodges to waistlock and GERMAN SUPLEX! Ricochet lands on his feet! Ricochet dodges Styles, runs and tilt-o-whirls for the DDT! Both men are down and Omos stares as fans clap on their screens. Ricochet gets to ropes and uses them to get up, and he counter punches Styles then fires off strikes! DISCUS LARIAT! Cover, TWO!!

Ricochet is frustrated but Omos is relieved as Styles survives. Ricochet fireman’s carries but Styles fights out. Ricochet mule kicks a leg then back flips into the DEAD LIFT GERMAN! Bridging cover, TWO! Ricochet grows further frustrated but he watches Styles stand. Ricochet runs out from the corner but Styles dodges. Styles runs in, Ricochet elbows back, QUEBRADA into a LARIAT! Styles gets Ricochet up, SNAP BRAIN BUSTER!! Cover, TWO!! Styles fireman’s carries Ricochet for USHIGOROSHI! Cover, TWO! Omos says it’s alright but Styles is still surprised Ricochet survives!

Styles goes to a corner, goes to the apron, and takes aim. Styles springboards, but Ricochet hits the RECOIL!! Both men are down, Ricochet crawls to the cover, TWO!! Styles survives and Ricochet is beside himself! Ricochet goes to the corner, climbs up top, but Styles trips him up! Ricochet lands hard on his stomach and flops to the apron! Omos coaches Styles as Ricochet drags himself up. Styles goes to the corner, brings Styles up, but Ricochet hotshots! Ricochet aims, slingshots, but into Styles’ suplex, that rebounds off the ropes! Into the STYLES CLASH!!! Cover, Styles wins!

Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall

Now that was a PHENOMENAL way to win a match! But once again, Styles denies another entry into the Rumble, will he continue to eliminate superstars before they ever get in?

 

Raw presents The Dirt Sheet!

The Miz and John Morrison are in the ring and Morrison welcomes us. When you want to enjoy a top tier steak dinner, you’ve gotta be ready to pay the bill. And Miz says tonight is the biggest edition of Dirt Sheet ever. It will be extra dirty because tonight’s guest is someone who everyone knows and loves, someone who was a childhood hero to many adults, and could be a hero to an entirely new generation if he defeats Drew McIntyre for the WWE World Championship at the Royal Rumble PPV! Welcome the biggest guest in Dirt Sheet history, one of the most intimidating men to ever step inside the wrestling ring, the legendary WWE Hall of Famer, it’s GOLD~ BERG!

Goldberg makes his entrance and both Miz ‘n’ Morrison are excited. Wait a minute, that’s GILLBERG! And he still gets hurt by those sparklers. Morrison and Miz can’t believe “Goldberg” is more massive than before. Now, the Rumble will be one of the most important matches in his career, it’ll be like Godzilla VS King Kong! How has he been preparing? Well first, he bashes his head into the wall because he’s so pumped up. The adrenaline is flowing, the veins are hyped and he’s foaming at the mouth! There’s smoke coming out of his nose and fire out of his ass! Okay just be careful not to hit a ring post. And careful with those chairs, they’re not cheap.

Wait, Drew McIntyre is here?! Miz and Morrison are surprised most of all! Wait, that’s not even close. That’s an impersonator with a wig! And he has a tiny toy sword! “That’s the ‘Clayless,'” says Samoa Joe. Miz and Morrison give Drew “Mockingtire” roll in, and the Dirt Sheet just keeps getting bigger! Mockingtire says he is here to meet his opponent face to face. Let’s not get into fisticuffs, Dirt Sheet is classy. Use your words. Does Mockingtire have anything to say to Gil- er, Goldberg? “I’m gonna kick yer ass back to 1998, and then I’m gonna go home and eat some haggis!”

Whoa, c’mon, the Scottish accent is more like this, mate. Are they going to cut and go again? NO IT’S LIVE! Morrison, where did you find this guy? New Jersey… No, the best actors are from New York, LA and Cleveland! Cleveland?! What? Because of Miz! But now this show is a train wreck! What are they even doing? Gillberg? Really? Miz, you’re making this awkward. Oh HE’s making this awkward?! This was MORRISON’S stupid idea! It’s a GREAT idea! It’s comedy gold! Pff, it’s not even comedy silver! Gillberg speaks up and does his crazy Goldberg face. Oh shut up! And let’s just do the thing.

“Hey, John~!” “Yeah?” “Is Goldberg going to lose at the Royal Rumble?” Of course! CORRECT! But is Drew McIntyre also going to lose at the Rumble? Duh. CORRECT! But how can that be? Because The Miz will cash in his MITB contract. COOOOOOOOOOOORRECT! “You are looking at the future WWE Champion, because I’m the Miz! And III’M! NEXT!” Miz is finally getting serious, but will he make the real Goldberg and McIntyre the butt of his joke?

 

Six Man Tag: The Hurt Business VS Matt Riddle & The Lucha House Party!

The WWE United States Champion put the hurt on The Bro both last week in their title match, but also earlier tonight just to bully him. But will the Golden Lynx and King of the Ropes help Riddle rebound while also getting themselves an opportunity at the Raw Tag Team Championships?

Raw returns as Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik make their entrance, followed by Riddle. Alexander insists he start and Metalik starts with him. Alexander kicks low, clubs away on Metalik then talks trash. Alexander throws forearms and puts Metalik in a corner to whip corner to corner., Metalik boots back, runs and slings but into a back suplex! Metalik lands on his feet, dodges but Alexander dropkicks! Alexander says that’s how you do it, but MVP says don’t talk about it, just do it. Alexander doesn’t want to tag and he CHOPS Metalik! He scoops Metalik to a backbreaker! Alexander stares Benjamin down as he lifts Metalik again, but Metalik slips out to get to his corner and tag in Lince!

Metalik boots Alexander away, Lince jumps in and gets a boost for the FLYING RANA! Lince clubs away on Alexander, wrenches, but Alexander ROCKS him with a right! Alexander CLUBS Lince, and now he wants a tag, only for Benjamin and Lashley to let him handle this. Alexander turns around into CHOPS! Lince QUEBRADAS! Cover, TWO!! Alexander narrowly escapes but Lince clubs away! Lince gets the arm, Alexander fights up and pulls the mask! Alexander puts Lince on the ropes, throws body shots, and Benjamin tags himself in. The tag champions glare at each other, then Benjamin circles with Lince. Lince rolls Benjamin, TWO, Benjamin CLOBBERS Lince!

Benjamin puts Lince in a corner, whips him corner to corner hard, and storms over to cover, TWO! Tag to Lashley, the Hurt Business whip and double shoulder Lince down! Lashley throws Lince to a corner, fires off haymakers, then bumps Lince off buckles. Alexander tags himself in and drags Lince up for forearms. Benjamin tags himself in and MVP wants his guys to stop arguing. Benjamin keeps Lince in the corner and he fires off haymakers and stomps. Lince tries to fight out but Alexander tags himself back in. Alexander whips, Lince handsprings, GOLDEN REWIND! Both men are down, MVP says this is what happens!

Alexander drags Lince from his corner in time, and tags Benjamin in. The tag champions argue again, and then Benjamin shoves Alexander right out of the ring! MVP keeps Alexander back, Lashley tags in, but Raw goes to break.

Raw returns and Alexander is on Lince with an armlock. Metalik and Riddle rally for Lince as he endures and fights up. Lince clubs but Alexander WRINGS his arm out! Cover, TWO! Alexander smothers Lince with a chinlock and reaches out for a tag. Lashley takes it and he drags Lince up to bring him around for a scoop and SLAM! Lashley asks why Alexander has a problem but MVP says to worry about that later. Lashley tags Benjamin, Benjamin drags Lince around and TOSSES him across the way! Benjamin drags Lince back up, snap suplexes, then takes his time looming over Lince. Alexander tags himself back in and Benjamin contains his frustration.

Alexander bumps Lince off buckles, fires off hands, but lets off at the ref’s count of 4. Alexander hoists Lince up top, throws hands, but Lince throws them back! Alexander staggers, Lince adjusts and leaps, BIG crossbody! Lince bounces off the cover but both men are down! The fans clap on their screens, hot tags to Riddle and Benjamin! The Bro spins Benjamin around for a PELE! Kip up and forearm smash! Riddle runs to DECK Lashley, then he forearms Benjamin again! Benjamin holds off the suplex to throw knees, then a powerbomb lift. Riddle fights out, ROUDNHOUSES then Penalty Kicks, only to miss! Benjamin rolls, Riddle rolls through, FINAL FLASH! Cover, TWO!

MVP panics as Riddle goes up, FLOATING BRO FLOPS! MVP shouts as Riddle crawls, hot tag to Metalik! Metalik springboards to crossbody! Then he brings Benjamin up to knuckle lock and CHOP! Metalik goes up, up and RANA! Metalik runs, wheelbarrows but Benjamin SLAMS Metalik down! Alexander tags in again, for a BRAIN BUSTER! Alexander gets fired up but Lashley tags himself in. Lashley runs past Alexander to DECK Riddle, then SPEAR Metalik! But Lashley isn’t done, he puts on the HURT LOCK! Metalik taps, The Hurt Business wins!

Winners: The Hurt Business, by submission

Lashley sees Alexander and Benjamin arguing again, but Riddle CLOBBERS Lashley! Riddle gets away because the Hurt Business isn’t on the same page! Will they be able to pull things together to keep the gold in their possession?

 

Elias talks with Jaxson Ryker backstage.

After the miscommunication last week, The Drifter hopes he and Ryker don’t misunderstand each other this time. When Elias told Ryker not to help him, he didn’t mean it, he was being subtle. Ryker took it literally, signals got crossed. Signals? This isn’t Thomas the Tank Engine, this is Monday Night Raw! This is the WWE! And WWE stands for #WalkWithElias. That Ryker understands. Now Ryker did not walk with Elias last week. But tonight, when they take on Hardy again, what is Ryker’s mission? To finish what Elias started, embody the Universal Truth, and beat Hardy until he accepts the truth. Good. They head out, and Ryker double checks. Is Elias not helping in the match or “not” helping in the match? Just go…

 

Drew McIntyre speaks!

He’s still asymptomatic for COVID and is feeling stronger than ever. But he’s still at home. He had a good laugh at Gillberg and the mini-McIntyre “with the body of a melted candle.” But the WWE is like the circus, with a little bit of everything for everyone. There are clowns like Miz ‘n’ Morrison, then the lions like McIntyre. And sometimes, the lions eat the clowns. McIntyre promises to see them again really soon.

But that wasn’t reality. The reality is, the championships aren’t given. But they can be taken, and in McIntyre’s case, it could be at a Spear or Jackhammer’s notice. McIntyre respects Goldberg, but he won’t hold back to keep his title. McIntyre never misses. He will be prepared, focused and intense. That same intensity he saw in Goldberg’s eyes. Not the kind in the delusions he had or the words Goldberg put in McIntyre. McIntyre means the intensity when he insulted Goldberg. That look was the real Goldberg!

McIntyre suggests Goldberg bring that guy to the Rumble because that’s what the title deserves. If he doesn’t, McIntyre will eat him alive in two minutes. But if Goldberg wants to try again, McIntyre will be back on Raw next week! Will there be thunder and lightning from these two titans even before the Rumble?

 

Jeff Hardy VS Jaxson Ryker w/ Elias!

The Charismatic Enigma knew The Drifter’s thumb was not broken last week, and he made sure Elias did not get away unscathed. But while Elias had a helping hand in Ryker’s win over the living legend, will they not get away with it again?

The bell rings and Ryker runs in but Hardy dodges him! Hardy puts Ryker in a corner, rams his shoulder in over and over, but Ryker turns things around to throw body shots! The ref counts, Ryker bumps Hardy off buckles then watches him flounder around. Ryker toys with Hardy, Hardy hits back but Ryker CLUBS him down! Ryker drags Hardy up, puts him in the corner and whips him corner to corner. Hardy goes up, mule kicks back then headscissors Ryker to ropes! Ryker flounders up but Hardy rallies with forearms! Atomic drop, leg splitting leg drop! Basement dropkick and a splash added on, cover, ONE!

Hardy keeps his cool and watches Ryker stand. Ryker blocks the kick but not the spinning back kick! Hardy runs in to corner splash, then he whips corner to corner, only to miss. Ryker runs back in and CLOBBERS Hardy! Elias likes that as Ryker covers, TWO! Ryker drops ax handles on Hardy again and again, then rains down right hands! The ref counts, Ryker lets off, and he drags Hardy up to back suplex! Cover, TWO! Ryker drags Hardy into a chinlock and grinds him down! Hardy endures, fights up and throws body shots to then jawbreaker free! Kick and TWIST OF FURY! Hardy throws off his shirt, climbs up top, but Elias again interferes! The ref saw it this time, that’s a disqualification!

Winner: Jeff Hardy, by disqualification

Ryker is a bit upset, didn’t they agree Elias was not going to help? Elias thought they agreed he was “not” going to help, aka he would. But it doesn’t matter as Hardy WRECKS Elias with a dropkick! Ryker is after Hardy again but gets another Twist! He powers out, Hardy dodges but runs into a SCRAPBUSTER! Elias gets in to stand tall with Ryker, and it looks like this issue is not over. What will it take to finally get Hardy to #WalkWithElias?

 

Asuka VS Alexa Bliss!

The encounter earlier tonight was eerie and scary, but now the Empress and Lil’ Miss Bliss will battle it out! Will Asuka be able to shrug off the chill up her spine? Or will she be burned by the darkness lurking inside Alexa?

The bell rings and Alexa smiles as she and Asuka circle. They tie up, go around, and Asuka wrenches to a wristlock. Alexa rolls, wrenches back, but Asuka moves around to spin, wrench and wristlock again. Alexa steps through, slips through and headlocks. Asuka fights out, pushes Alexa and then follows to run her over! Asuka has fun now as she dances around, but then she runs, Alexa trips her up, and Alexa Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Alexa sits and smiles and Asuka runs in, but Alexa ducks the kick to roll her up! TWO, and Asuka fires off palm strikes, body shots and a BACK HAND! Asuka shoves, pop-up KNEES Alexa down, then SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, TWO!

Asuka keeps cool as Alexa is smiling about getting hit. Asuka sits Alexa up and says no more fun, she wants her lock! Alexa resists the armlock and chinbar, pries free, but Asuka wrangles her back down. Alexa fights again, gets up, and gest to ropes! The ref calls for the break and Asuka lets off fast. Alexa is outside, Asuka runs and slides but Alexa gets under. Alexa gets in the ring, and then the screens start to change? The lights are going down! What is this warped circus music?! Raw goes to break while things get creepier!

Raw returns once more and Alexa is standing there, but has transformed! Her makeup, hair, outfit, it’s all different! Asuka is as confused as we are as to how she did this! Asuka circles but Alexa doesn’t budge. Alexa watches Asuka then finally takes a step. They circle slowly, commentary doesn’t even want to talk too loudly. Asuka swings a back hand but Alexa easily avoids it! And the same for the roundhouse kick! Alexa deflects Asuka’s strikes, ducks one kick but not the mule kick! Asuka runs but into a shoulder! Alexa’s stoic as Asuka rolls out of the ring. Asuka is getting mad and she gets back in the ring. The two circle again, Asuka blocks Alexa’s punch, POP-UP KNEE!

Alexa staggers to a corner, Asuka runs in, but Alexa does the SPIDER WALK! That’s just like Bray Wyatt! Alexa stands upright, wipes some blood from her mouth, and then just stares at her hand. Asuka waits on Alexa, but Alexa wants to grab at Asuka! Asuka fights off the Mandible Claw! Alexa kicks, Asuka blocks, waistlock but Alexa elbows out! And DECKS Asuka! Cover, TWO!! This dark side of Alexa’s that Asuka was talking about is stoic again as she paces about. Asuka shakes out the cobwebs as she sits up, but Alexa walks over to look at her in the eyes. Alexa lifts Asuka up by her chin, Asuka ROUNDHOUSES! And BACK HANDS! ANOTHER ROUNDHOUSE!!

Asuka fires up, drags Alexa up but Alexa grabs Asuka and smirks! SISTER ABIGAIL!! Cover, Alexa wins!!

Winner: Alexa Bliss, by pinfall

Alexa just pinned Asuka!! And then in a flash, she’s back to her bubbly side! “Let me in!” She spoke with The Fiend’s voice!! Maybe Asuka was right, he IS still here! But if she truly #LetHimIn, will there be any stopping her on the road to WrestleMania?


My Thoughts:

A really good episode tonight! For starters, less strange copy-paste from last week, and they did continue with stories that got started last week to great effect. I am a little saddened that it seems we’re no longer doing Ricochet VS Retribution if only for now, but I do like how they shifted to make Retribution’s story work against The New Day. They had Ali bring back things that happened all the way back in 2019 when #KofiMania happened for WrestleMania 35. I hope we get Ali VS Kofi out of this, on top of New Day VS the various combinations of Retribution. Ricochet VS AJ Styles was a great match, perhaps one of the most creative ways to get someone into the Styles Clash, and it is interesting that Styles is the gatekeeper to the Men’s Rumble on Raw.

Charlotte VS Peyton was a very good showing for Peyton, even though she loses. They aren’t overdoing things with Lacey and Ric just yet, so it isn’t exactly cringeworthy. Though, the endgame is clearly Lacey using Ric just to get at the tag titles. Shayna beats Mandy Rose down again, but it was pretty good for Dana to get the better of her and Nia. Nia and Shayna want a tag title match and that probably happens on the go-home to the Rumble. I can see the distractions for Charlotte getting the better of the #QueensOfTomorrow, and the titles going back to Nia and Shayna, but there could still be dysfunction on the other end that changes that around.

Dysfunction is also growing in the Hurt Business, and while it’s a bit early, they are acting it out very well. Alexander is too fired up and thinking he’s the one winning everything, but it was a good move for Lashley to take over the match and put this away for the team. LHP is doing a lot with also having their part in the Dusty Rhodes Classic on NXT, but I think that means they can fall back on one show if they’re losing in the other. And I would think Riddle is getting another match for the US Championship, but perhaps after the Rumble. Hardy VS Ryker was better than last week, but the story is still something that they’re clearly trying to force more Elias and Hardy stuff.

The Dirt Sheet having Gillberg and a fake McIntyre was actually a great twist. It was goofy in the right way, and it was made even better with Miz getting serious to top it off. I suppose he does have a point that he can cash in again, or rather “actually” this time, against McIntyre and Goldberg, but that seems like an even worse idea than at TLC if you go by Goldberg’s kayfabe rankings. McIntyre had a good response promo, and it’s great to know he’ll be back already. I don’t expect him and Goldberg to throw hands, but I bet there will be a tease of Goldberg getting hit with a Claymore or McIntyre getting hit with a spear. And Goldberg should prioritize Spear so that he doesn’t have to risk lifting then dropping McIntyre.

The related stories of Orton, Fiend and Alexa just got even more interesting. Orton has an apparently medical lucha mask now, adding a new layer to how creepy he’s being lately. It’s like he’s becoming The Fiend after having burned The Fiend alive in a twisted version of the Santa Clause. And at the same time, Alexa has inherited The Fiend’s powers, too. She really creeped Asuka out, and that’s not so bad, because while Asuka can be scary, Alexa is being a different kind of scary. Giving Alexa her own transformation was a great twist, and this Alexa could probably take the Raw Women’s Championship.

And to be fair, it would be better if we got Asuka VS Twisted Bliss Alexa at Rumble because it’d be a lot for Alexa, even this new form of hers, to win the Rumble when there are many great contenders from both Raw and SmackDown. Bayley and Bianca are a strong rivalry from SmackDown and one of them probably deserves to win so they can challenge Sasha Banks.

My Score: 8.3/10


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