Will the fourth round be bad luck for someone in World Tag League?
NJPW has World Tag League back on the card, and the teams must deal with the hands they were dealt! Will HenarACE finally get on the board?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- World Tag League 2020: SANADA & Shingo Takagi VS Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; LIJ wins.
- World Tag League 2020: HenarACE VS Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Goto & Hashi win.
- World Tag League 2020: Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii VS EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Evil & Yujiro win.
- World Tag League 2020: FinJuice VS The Empire; The Empire wins.
- World Tag League 2020: The Dangerous Tekkers VS The Guerrillas of Destiny; The Guerrillas of Destiny win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Here are the current World Tag League standings!
SANADA & Shingo Takagi: 2-1
Guerrillas of Destiny: 2-1
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii: 2-1
The Empire: 2-1
The Dangerous Tekkers: 2-1
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi: 2-1
YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto: 1-2
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens: 0-3
SANADA & Shingo Takagi VS Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens!
The Cold Skull and Dragon won last round’s main event and vowed to take the whole league. Meanwhile, Bullet Club’s Rogue General and Crown Jewel are feeling like “bad luck” isn’t just a nickname. Will fortunes change for Fale and Owens? Or will Sanada and #TKG be the first to break away from the pack?
The teams sort out and after a Low Sweet, the Bullet Club strikes! Owens bumps Sanada off buckles while Fale has Takagi outside. The bell rings and fans cheer as Owens digs his knee in. Takagi throws Fale away, Owens whips Sanada but Sanada dodges to dropkick the legs out! Tag to Takagi and LIJ double whip Owens to knee, roll and basement dropkick! Takagi drops an elbow, another, and then a back senton! Cover, ONE! Takagi drags Owens into body scissors and squeezes tight! Owens endures, Takagi pulls hair then shifts to a body scissor cover, TWO! Owens gets up, Takagi facelocks and wrenches and tags in Sanada. Sanada goes up to top drop ax handles!
Fans cheer as Sanada wrenches and whips Owens corner to corner. Sanada runs in, blocks Owens’ boot and trips him up! Sanada puts Owens in Paradise! Fans cheer and Sanada encourages them to get louder. Fale frees Owens to corner splash Sanada! And DECK Takagi! Fale goes after Takagi, and whips him into railing! Takagi stays up but Owens stomps Sanada on the outside, too. Fale bumps Takagi off railing, Owens puts Sanada back in. Fans cheer as Owens covers, TWO! Tag to Fale and Bullet Club mug Sanada. Sanada doubles over, Fale kicks him around, but fans rally up with “L I J!” claps. Fale tells them to shut up as he stomps Sanada. Fale stands on Sanada’s chest! The ref counts, Fale stops at 3.
Fale tags Owens, drags Sanada up, and Bullet Club mugs Sanada more. The ref keeps Takagi back and Owens tops things off with a haymaker. Owens knees on Sanada’s head but the ref reprimands. Owens lets off, drags Sanada back up and rams him into the corner! Fale chokes Sanada while Owens taunts Takagi! The ref has to keep Takagi back, and Fale tags in to throw heavy body shots! The ref didn’t see the tag so he argues with Fale, and Owens chokes Sanada now! Fale tells the ref to back off, Owens has an idea and he tags in. Owens trips Sanada, and goes to STEAL Paradise! But he doesn’t know how it works! Owens asks how to do it and Milano does his best to explain, but Sanada crawls away!
Owens stomps Sanada and suplexes. Sanada slips out, waistlocks but Owens elbows. Sanada jumps up to huricanrana! Fale tags in to clobber Sanada! Sanada dropkicks back! Hot tag to Takagi! Fans fire up as Takagi puts Fale’s leg on a rope and kicks away! Owens clubs Takagi but Takagi whips him away to corner clothesline! Clothesline for Fale, BIG shoulder for Owens! Fale runs in, Takagi dodges and tries to fireman’s carry! Fale is big, he slips off fast and whips. Takagi holds ropes, boots back and then powers up! PUMPING BOMBER, but Fale stays up! Takagi keeps trying but Fale still stays up! Fale swings, Takagi dodges, PUMPING BOMBER!! Cover, Owens breaks it!
Owens clubs away on Takagi then gets away to his corner. Fale crawls, tags Owens in and Owens looms over Takagi. Owens gives toying kicks and slaps as he eggs Takagi on. Takagi forearms back so Owens gives a forearm. Takagi forearms again, Owens returns it. Fans rally up as the two pick up speed! Back and forth but then Takagi fires off from all sides! Takagi runs, into a boot! Owens runs, into a clothesline !Takagi runs, Owens fires off a strike fest but Takagi ROCKS him! Elbow, but JEWLE TRIGGER! Owens steadies himself, JEWEL- NO! Takagi JABS, feints, and DDT’s! Tag to Sanada!
Sanada whips Owens as fans rally, but Owens reverses. Owens runs in but Sanada elbows to Quebrada. Owens dodges, to corner Complete Shot! Fale gets in to stomp Sanada and club him. Bullet Club double whip, knee, and LARIAT! Cover, but Takagi breaks it! Fale shoves Takagi out and Owens aims, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives and fans fire up! Owens argues the count but he goes back to Sanada. Owens drags Sanada up, JEWEL TRIGGER! Owens tucks Sanada in, but Sanada fights off the driver to fireman’s carry! Fale body shots Sanada and saves Owens! Bullet Club double whip, but Sanada kicks back! And sends Owens into Fale, to then dragon sleeper. Owens spins around and has Sanada, Fale runs in, but Sanada gets a way! Fale CLOBBERS Owens!
Takagi returns to clothesline Fale out of the ring! Fans fire up with LIJ as they focus on Owens. Sanada dragon sleepers but Owens cradle counters! TWO!! Sanada swings, into a school boy! WITH TIGHTS! TWO!! Owens knees but misses, Sanada O’Conner to BRIDGE! LIJ wins!
Winners: Sanada & Shingo Takagi, by pinfall; now 3-1, Fale & Owens are now 0-4
LIJ gets that fast and furious victory, proving that this unique combination of calm and fury, ice and fire, could very well be what wins it all! Will WTL belong to LIJ?
HenarACE VS Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI!
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toa Henare are at the bottom, but the Fierce Warrior and Head Hunter are on the edge! Will HenarACE bring Chaos down before they can #GetBackUp?
The teams sort out and after Tanahashi and Henare show off the muscles, Hashi starts against the Ace. Fans cheer as the two bow with the bell. Then the fans rally and the two tie up. Hashi waistlocks, Tana switches, Hashi wrenches free and cranks on the wristlock. Tana drop toeholds, floats to tie up the legs in a figure four, then shifts to a headlock. Hashi slips out to headlock back, and the two stand up. Hashi hits the takeover but Tana throws him off, and fans cheer as the two stand off. Tana strums the air guitar then “tosses” it to Henare. Tana and Hashi circle again, tie up, and Tana headlocks. Hashi tries to power out but Tana holds tight. Hashi tries again but still Tana holds tight. Hashi puts Tana in a corner, the ref calls for a break, and Hashi lets off cleanly. But then Hashi kicks low!
Hashi whips corner to corner, runs in but Tana elbows back. Tana goes up to crossbody! Fans cheer as Tana arm-drags Hashi down to an armlock. Hashi endures, fights his way up, but Tana wrenches to tag in Henare. HenarACE double whip, double shoulder, and then Henare clobbers Goto. Tomahawk elbow drop combo! HenarACE then drag Hashi around for the Double Half Crab! The ref counts and HenarACE lets Hashi go. Fans cheer as Tana returns to the corner. Henare stomps Hashi, drags him up and clubs him, then knees low and CHOPS! Hashi stays up but Henare runs. Hashi slides to trip Henare, and Goto attacks Tana!
Goto and Hashi drag HenarACE out, Goto POSTS Tana! Hashi stalks Henare, regroups with Goto at the corner and they stomp Henare down! The ref reprimands and Goto goes back to the corner. Hashi drags Henare up and puts him in. Hashi stomps Henare, tags Goto, and together, Chaos double whips Henare for double shoulders! Hashi runs, hip toss senton! Goto covers, TWO! Goto keeps on Henare with stomps. Goto drags Henare up to snapmare him into a chinlock. Henare endures, Goto drives an elbow into his head! Tag to Hashi and Hashi elbows Henare, too. Hashi hangs Henare out to dry and Goto keeps him there, Hashi runs to dropkick Henare down! Cover, TWO!
Tag to Goto and Goto stomps Henare. Fans rally up, Henare CHOPS Goto back! And CHOPS again! Goto eggs Henare on so Henare CHOPS, but Goto knees low. Goto clubs and whips henare to a corner, then runs in to clothesline! Henare blocks the bulldog to throw Goto into buckles! Henare runs but Goto spins him around to suplex, but Henare fights it off! Henare and Goto fight for suplex control and fans rally up. Henare gets Goto up and over! Both men are down and fans fire up! Henare and Goto crawl, hot tag to Tanahashi! Tana fires up, runs at Goto, and forearms him down! Hashi runs in but Tana hip tosses him! Tana runs in but blocks Goto’s boot, to a DRAGON SCREW! Hashi runs back in, but he gets a DRAGON SCREW, too!
Fans fire up with Tana as he brings Goto up. Tana scoop slams Goto to a drop zone then hops up, second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Tanahashi waits for Goto to stand. Tanahashi runs, but Goto follows, and follows, and LARIATS! Both men are down as fans cheer and rally up. Tag to Hashi and he runs at Tana to CHOP him in the corner! Hashi whips to reel him in, for a CHOP! Hashi runs in again but Tana boots him away! Tana goes up and leaps to missile dropkick Hashi down! Fans fire up and rally as Tana crawls, hot tag to Henare! The Hammerhead rallies on Hashi with forearms and CHOPS! Henare whips, Hashi reverses but Henare runs him over with a shoulder tackle!
Henare runs in to corner clothesline, then fireman’s for the RUNNING SAMOAN DROP! Cover, TWO! Hashi survives but Henare fires himself up. Henare aims from a corner, runs at Hashi, but into a boot! Henare catches Hashi’s arm and throws Tomahawk elbows! Henare runs but Hashi ducks and spinning mule kicks! Goto returns, fireman’s carries Henare, SUPERKICK USHIGOROSHI! BASEMENT KNEES! Cover, Tanahashi breaks it! Goto clubs Tana and regroups with Hashi. They double whip Tana but he kicks back! And throws palm strikes! Tana spins Hashi for TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! HenarACE regroups and focuses on Hashi. Tana runs, SLING SWEEP! Henare covers, but Goto breaks it!
Tana throws Goto out, goes out after him and throws body shots. Henare roars and runs, RAMPAGE SPEAR! Cover, TWO!! Hashi survives but Henare grits his teeth. Goto POSTS Tana while Henare fires up! Henare drags Hashi back up, but Hashi escapes the urenage! Henare forearms Goto and elbows Hashi! But Goto dragon sleepers, only for Henare to spin through! They both fight for suplex control again, Goto slips out and dodges Henare, Hashi SUPERKICKS! Hashi SUPERKICKS Tana, he and Goto combine, dragon sleeper and DRAGON SCREW! Tana bails out, Goto fireman’s carries Henare! SUPERKICK to G Y W!! Cover, Hashi and Goto win!!
Winners: Hirooki Goto & Yoshi-Hashi, by pinfall; now 2-2, HenarACE now 0-4
An incredible match up, and Chaos survives! Is there still time for Goto and Hashi to #TurnItAllAround in the tournament? Are the odds just against Tanahashi and Henare?
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii VS EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi w/ Dick Togo!
The Producer and Pitbull are 2-1, just like the King of Darkness and Tokyo Pimp. But where Yano and Ishii are on the up, Evil and Yujiro are on the downswing! Will Bullet Club send Chaos down into the darkness?
Ishii glares at Dick and Yano says having him around isn’t fair. The ref keeps Ishii back, and after Bullet Club Low Sweets, we start with Evil and Ishii. The bell rings, but then Evil tags out to Yujiro. Yujiro and Ishii circle, Ishii rushes Evil but Evil gets away. Yujiro clubs Ishii, runs, bumps Ishii but Ishii shoulder bumps back. Yujiro bumps Ishii again, Evil trips Ishii up! Yujiro runs and basement boots! Yujiro whips Ishii to a corner but Ishii comes back to run him over! Ishii glares at Evil but he drags Yujiro up to throw forearms. Tag to Yano and fans cheer as Yano fires up. Yujiro throws a forearm but Yano just goes to his favorite corner! Yujiro stops him, whips him to the other corner but Yano reverses, and unties the buckle pad!
Yano tosses the pad to Yujiro and then complains to the ref. The ref is busy arguing with Yujiro and Yano unties the other neutral corner’s pad! The ref takes the one pad from Yujiro, but Yano SMACKS Yujiro with the other! Fans cheer as Yano aims for a corner. Yano whips, Yujiro reverses and Yano hits bare buckles! It has backfired! Yujiro whips Yano the other way and Yano hits more buckles! Yujiro whips Yano at the blue corner, and Evil moves the pad! Yano hits more bare buckles! Three corners are exposed! Evil drags Yano out while Yujiro goes after Ishii! Evil RAMS Yano into railing! The ref reprimands but the damage is done, and Evil adds on! Evil rakes Yano’s eyes and Yujiro goes after Ishii more!
The ref counts, Evil stops, but Yujiro whips Ishii into railing! And now Dick stomps Yano! Evil makes the ref get in the ring as Dick puts Yano in for Yujiro. Cover, TWO! Yujiro is annoyed but he stomps Yano down. Tag to Evil, he drags Yano back up and throws him out. Evil distracts the ref and Dick attacks again! Dick DECKS Yano then grinds his boot into Yano’s neck! Ishii is furious but the ref keeps him back. Evil covers Yano, TWO! Evil argues the count but fans cheer. Evil stomps Yano, tags Yujiro and Yujiro stomps Yano, too. Yujiro sits Yano up and runs to basement boot! Cover, TWO! Bullet Club is getting upset with the ref but Yujiro stomps Yano down.
Yano hits back with forearms, but Yujiro blocks the kick to trip Yano up, and add the basement boot! Yujiro drags Yano back up, whips him to a corner, and Yano hits bare buckles again! Yujiro kicks but Yano pulls hair! Yujiro whips him away but Yano reverses to throw Yujiro down by his hair! Fans cheer as Yano crawls, hot tag to Ishii! Ishii runs but Yujiro dodges to rake eyes! Yujiro throws forearms but Ishii just gets mad. Ishii forearms and whips, Yujiro reverses and Evil gets a cheap shot in! Evil holds Ishii and Yujiro runs in, but Ishii gets away! Yujiro stops from hitting Evil swings on Ishii but misses and Ishii hits Evil! Ishii blocks the boot, forearms Yujiro back, then throws more forearms to put him in a corner.
Evil runs in and attacks, but Ishii whips him into bare buckles! Ishii whips Yujiro into Evil then runs in. Yujiro dodges so only Evil takes the corner clothesline! Ishii dodges Yujiro and Evil takes another clothesline! And another as Yujiro dodges Ishii! Yujiro runs but Ishii runs him over! Evil runs in but Ishii gets around to back suplex! Fans fire up for Ishii as he glares at Yujiro. Ishii brings Yujiro in, Yujiro bites the hand! The ref counts, Yujiro stops and fisherman’s but Ishii slips out. Yujiro forearms Ishii first then runs, to BOOT! Ishii roars and forearms, to run, into a dragon sleeper! Ishii slips through but Yujiro escapes the suplex to reverse DDT!
Tag to Evil and Evil runs at Ishii in the corner, but blocks boots first. Evil clubs Ishii, turns him sideways in the ropes, and STOMPS him down! Fans rally for Ishii but Evil drags him up to a fireman’s carry. Ishii slips off and ducks an elbow to give an elbow. Ishii whips, Evil reverses and then distracts the ref. Dick swipes at Ishii, dodges Ishii’s swipe and then forearms Ishii away! Evil runs in but Ishii dodges to send him into Dick! Dick goes flying and Ishii GERMAN SUPLEXES Evil! Both men are down but fans fire up! Ishii crawls, hot tag to Yano! Yano fires up and whips Evil, only for Evil to reverse. Yano stops himself from hitting buckles, dodges to send Evil into buckles, and rolls Evil up! TWO and Yano argues the count.
Evil blocks a kick, gives it to the ref and mule kicks Yano down! Yujiro returns and Bullet Club double whips Yano into a corner! Yujiro runs in but Yano dodges to send him into buckles! Yano spins Evil for a backslide but Evil resists. Yujiro runs in, Yano grabs the ref but Yujiro rakes Yano’s eyes! Evil and Yujiro stomp Yano down but Ishii returns to fire off forearms and CHOPS! Ishii runs but gets run over! Yujiro drops a leg, Evil drops a senton! Fans clap because that was a good combo. Evil brings Yano up, runs, but Yano atomic drops and trips, to the CATAPULT! Evil hits buckles, but he blocks the low blow!
Yujiro distracts the ref with his pimp cane, and Dick gets in with the CHOKER! Yano LOW BLOWS Dick! Evil kicks Yano and Yujiro gets in without the cane. Bullet Club whips, Yano gets around them to shove Evil into Yujiro! Ishii returns to CLUB Evil and Yano rolls him up! Cover as Ishii blocks Yujiro, TWO!! Evil escapes but Chaos double whip. Evil holds ropes and double clotheslines but no one falls! Yano waistlocks but Evil boots Ishii! Evil switches to shove Yano into Ishii, Yujiro and Evil DOUBLE LOW BLOW!! EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Bullet Club wins!!
Winners: Evil & Yujiro Takahashi, by pinfall; now 3-1, Yano & Ishii are now 2-2
The King of Darkness just pinned the Clown Prince of NJPW! Will Yano’s provisional reign be in danger come WrestleKingdom? Will Bullet Club take over World Tag League one way or another?
FinJuice VS The Empire!
The World Tag League 2019 winners aren’t spotless but they won their way up to 2-1! Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb rebounded against Fale and Owens, but they’re not going to stop until they take over NJPW’s Heavyweight Tag Division! Will the Dominator and the Hulk crush the Flamboyant friends?
The teams sort out and Juice starts against Cobb. Fans rally as Juice and Cobb approach. Juice waistlocks, Cobb pries the hold off and throws him to his corner. Juice and Finlay talk it over, Juice comes back and ties up with Cobb. Juice wrenches but Cobb blocks the whip. Cobb whips Jucie awya but Juice avoids Khan. Fans cheer as Cobb and Juice reset, tie up, and Jucie gets around. Juice headlocks, Cobb powers out and the two collide. Cobb rebounds to run Juice over! Cobb runs, Juice stays low then hurdles over. Juice arm-drags Cobb to an armlock! Cobb endures and Juice brings him up to wrench again.
Tag to Finlay and he goes up top to drop ax handles. Finlay hits an elbow breaker, tags Juice and Juice hits his own double ax handle. Juice wrenches, Cobb whips him away but Juice goes up and over in the corner. Cobb turns around into Juice’s arm-drag! Fans cheer and Juice flexes while holding Cobb down. Cobb moves around, gets up, but Juice wrenches and tags Finlay back in. Finlay goes up to drop another ax handle. FinJuice double whip Cobb to kick and double BULLDOG! Cover, TWO! Finlay keeps on Cobb’s arm, Cobb gets up and scoops, tag to Khan! Cobb slams Finlay down, Khan stomps Finlay then brings him up. Khan CLUBS Finlay’s ear!
Khan digs his boots into Finlay at the ropes but stops as Red Shoes counts. Khan stomps Finlay in the corner and digs his boots in again. Red Shoes counts, Khan lets off, and Khan comes back to bring Finlay up. Tag to Cobb and the Empire mugs Finlay in the corner. Cobb scoops Finlay to hit a backbreaker, then another! Cobb tosses Finlay aside then glares at Juice. Tag to Khan, fans rally but the Empire mugs Finlay more. Khan puts Finlay on ropes to CLUB him, then paces. Finlay hits back with body shots but Khan uses a Mongolian Chop to knock him down! Tag to Cobb, fans rally and Finlay hits back! Cobb headbutts Finlay then scoops him, but Finlay slips out! Finlay dodges Cobb and hot tags Juice!
Juice JABS and JABS, then CHOPS! Fans fire up with Juice as he whips Cobb, but Cobb reverses, only for Juice to hit a flying clothesline! Khan runs in but Juice hits an atomic drop and LEG LARIAT! Fans fire up with Juice, he climbs up top, and leaps at Cobb for the crossbody! Cover, TWO! Juice argues the count but then he PLANCHAS, only for Khan to move! Khan BOOTS Juice down! Khan drags Juice up, puts him in, and Cobb tags Khan in. Khan stomps Juice, swipes at Finlay, but Finlay gets away. Khan goes back to Juice and drags him up to throw forearms. Fans rally as Juice staggers around but Khan forearms him again.
Khan facelocks and drags Juice over to tag in Cobb. Cobb headbutts Juice’s ribs then throws haymakers and more headbutts. Juice flops back, Cobb stands on him for a cocky cover, ONE! Cobb bumps Juice off buckles as fans rally up, and he stomps a mudhole in. Cobb glares at Finlay and Khan gets cheap shots in. Khan tags in, stays between Juice and Finlay and grinds Juice down with a facelock. Fans rally up, Juice powers up, and Juice reaches for Finlay. Cobb gets in and Red Shoes is busy with him, he misses the tag! Red Shoes keeps Finlay back and The Empire mugs Juice! Khan Mongolian Chops Juice down! Khan taunts Finlay but the fans rally up.
Juice rises, Khan puts him on the top rope backwards, then Mongolian CHOPS him on the back! Juice is in the Tree of Woe and Khan taunts him before digging his boot in. Red Shoes counts, Khan goes corner to corner, but Juice sits up to avoid the sliding boot! Juice frees himself of the Tree, hot tag to Finlay! Finlay fires off forearms on Khan, whips but Khan reverses, only for Finlay to hit a flying uppercut! Cobb is in but he gets a dropkick! Finlay PLANCHAS Khan down! Fans rally as Finlay puts Khan back in. Finlay fires up and climbs to the top, to drop ax handles on Khan. Cobb waistlocks and back suplexes but Finlay lands on his feet, to back suplex Cobb! Fans rally up, Finlay uppercuts Cobb in one corner and uppercuts Khan in the other!
Finlay shoves Khan and aims, flying uppercut! Cover, TWO! Fans rally while Khan sputters. Finlay drags Khan up but Khan fights off the suplex. Khan elbows Finlay but Finlay knees back. Finlay swings into a judo throw! Khan tags Cobb, they drag Finlay up and bump him off buckles. They double whip Finlay to a corner, then Cobb whips Khan in for a clothesline! Khan gut wrench suplexes Finlay, then Cobb gut wrenches Finlay the other way! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Finlay survives but the Empire is frustrated. The Empire drags Finlay up, double whip him again but Finlay dodges to tag Juice! Finlay sends Khan out, Cobb ROCKS Juice!
Cobb slingshots Juice into the Canadian rack, but Finlay saves him! SHOTGUN LEG SWEEP! Cover, but Khan breaks it! Finlay goes after Khan but gets another Mongolian Chop! And another! Khan fires up, runs, but into a DOUBLE FLAPJACK! FinJuice watch Khan get up, and they double clothesline him out! Tag to Finlay but Cobb rocks Juice! Finlay whips Cobb but Cobb whips Finlay. Cobb misses the corner elbow, Juice clotheslines, Finlay uppercuts, Juice CANNONBALLS! FinJuice fires up and the fans rally for them! Juice goes to one corner, Finlay puts Cobb up top, but Khan grabs Juice! ELIMINATOR CHOKE SLAM!
Finlay runs into Khan’s CLAW SLEEPER! And then ELIMINATOR CHOKE- STUNNER! Finlay counters Khan, but Cobb blocks Finlay’s cutter! Finlay rebounds into a TOUR OF- NO! FInlay slips out ot SATELLITE DDT! Finlay slashes the throat, brings Cobb up, SLICED- TOUR OF THE ISLANDS!! Cover, The Empire wins!!
Winner: The Empire, by pinfall; now 3-1, FinJuice is now 2-2
Khan and Cobb just crushed the 2019 WTL winners! They’re nearing the top of the block, will The Empire rule over the Heavyweight Tag Division? Is there still time for FinJuice to make a comeback and go back-to-back?
The Dangerous Tekkers VS The Guerrillas of Destiny!
This main event is already worthy of a title match! Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. want to rebound from losing to LIJ, but will they end up owing Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa a title match, too?
Taichi enters the ring, and GOD jumps him! They stomp away and ZSJ hurries down the ramp! ZSJ gets in and things are even but GOD still has the advantage! The bell rings and Tama chases ZSJ out of the ring while Loa clubs Taichi. Loa rains down fists on Taichi but ZSJ hits back. ZSJ pulls on Tama’s ears and nose but Tama elbows him down. Taichi got his cloak off but Loa RAMS him into the apron! Taichi staggers to the timekeeper’s area and the ramp but Loa stmops him down. ZSJ whips Tama into railing! ZSJ cranks Tama’s neck and follows after Taichi and Loa as they go further up the ramp. Taichi bumps Loa off the stage side, ZSJ bumps Tama off railing.
Taichi drags Loa up the stairs to the stage and then over to a space. Loa hits back with body shots and clubbing forearms. ZSJ wrenches Tama’s arm and drags him up onto stage. Taichi brings Loa around but Loa blocks the suplex! Tama hits ZSJ down, Loa clubs Taichi, but Taichi and ZSJ hit back! Red Shoes tells the teams to get back to the ring but Taichi clamps onto Loa’s nose to rake eyes! ZSJ pulls Tama’s ears, and with ZSJ, they go to double suplex! Tama fights that off and then Loa saves him! The GOD stomp the Tekkers down then finally head back towards the ring. Loa headlocks and punches ZSJ while Tama pushes Taichi along. Loa scoops ZSJ but Taichi hits Tama back. Either way, everyone ends up back in the ring and fans cheer.
Loa looms over ZSJ but ZSJ EuroUppers back! And again! Taichi stomps Tama to a corner while ZSJ has Loa in another. Taichi throws Tama out and things are finally 1v1 as ZSJ has Loa. Taichi chokes Tama with camera cable! ZSJ throws Loa out, whips but Loa reverses to send ZSJ into railing! So much for being back in the ring. Loa whips ZSJ but ZSJ tumbles before hitting more railing. Taichi brings Tama back to the ram for elbows. ZSJ and Loa end up along that side as ZSJ wrenches the arm and tortures the fingers! Everyone is going back up the ramp! Fans rally as ZSJ wrenches and wrenches and brings Loa to the stage. Taichi drags Tama up to the stage the hard way, and we go back to the edge!
Tama holds off the Dangerous Saido and Loa rakes ZSJ’s eyes! Tama clubs Taichi in the chest over and over and over, Loa has ZSJ and brings him up! ZSJ fights out of the bomb for the Guillotine! Taichi gets Tama in a Cobra Twist! Red Shoes starts a ring count as the dual submissions continue! The count is at 10 of 20 when the Tekkers let go and run for it! The Tekkers hurry to the ring, get in at 15, the GOD hurry! They’re in the ring at 19!! Taichi and ZSJ stomp them down! Taichi throws Tama out so that he and ZSJ can focus on Loa. Taichi digs his boot in, ZSJ adds on, and Red Shoes counts. The Tekkers put their hands up but again that’s not the problem.
Red Shoes counts again, they still put their hands up. Red Shoes counts again, the Tekkers finally let off the boot choke. Taichi toys with Loa and ZSJ drags Loa up. ZSJ throws a EuroUpper, then another, and another! Loa gets mad and grits his teeth to kick low. Loa scoops, flips off Taichi, but ZSJ slips back to be a sleeper backpack! ZSJ squeezes tight but Loa stays on his feet. Loa’s eyes bug out but he grabs at Red Shoes. Jado kendo stick SMACKS ZSJ off Loa’s back! Loa drags ZSJ away, tags in Tama, and GOD drags ZSJ up to double whip. GOD body shots, uppercuts and leaping neckbreakers! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer but Tama keeps ZSJ away from Taichi.
Tama clubs away on ZSJ’s chest, drags him back up and clubs his arm. Tama wrenches, ZSJ rolls and handsprings and wrenches to whip. Tama reverses and arm-drags ZSJ down! Cover, TWO! Tama drags ZSJ up, snapmares him into a chinlock and grinds him down. ZSJ endures, Loa gets in Taichi’s face but Taichi rakes Loa’s eyes! Taichi kicks Loa then clubs Tama. Loa throws hands and headbutts on Taichi then goes out after him. Tama drags ZJS up to club him on the back then CLAWS ZSJ’s back! Tama digs a knee into ZSJ in the corner but Red Shoes counts. Tama stops, tags Loa and Loa digs his boots into ZSJ. Red Shoes counts, Loa stops, and Loa taunts ZSJ. Loa scoops ZSJ, brings him around, and POWERSLAMS him! Cover, TWO!
Loa grins as he keeps on ZSJ. Fans rally as Loa chinlocks and grinds ZSJ down. ZSJ fights up, spins through and wrenches to a wristlock! Loa headbutts, powers ZSJ into an open corner, then backs off to run in. ZSJ boots Loa, climbs up top and leaps for a flying EuroUpper! Fans rally while both men are down. ZSJ rolls to tag in Taichi! Taichi chokes Loa! Tama goes after Taichi but Taichi chokes him! Loa clubs Taichi, so Taichi chokes him again! Taichi sees Jado get on the apron so he chokes Jado! Fans definitely like that. GOD goes after Taichi so Taichi tries to choke them both! GOD choke grip him back to a corner but Red Shoes counts. GOD lets off at 3, then double whip Taichi corner to corner. Loa runs in but Taichi dodges to kick him down! Taichi dodges Tama to AX BOMBER!
All three men are down and fans rally up. Taichi rises first, off come the pants! Taichi aims from a corner as Loa rises, but Loa deflects the kick to GERMAN! But Taichi is right up! Loa boots, Taichi ROUNDHOUSES, Loa LARIATS! Fans rally while both men are down! Taichi and roll to their ocrnesr, hot tags to ZSJ and Tama! ZSJ dodges Tam ato fire off EuroUppers! Tama shove shim awya, things speed up and Tama dropkicks ZSJ down! Tama drags ZSJ up, fireman’s carries but ZSJ pops off to Pele th earm! ZSJ kicks, Tama ducks but the sweep hits! Fan sfire up with ZSJ and he aims at Tama, PENALTY- No, Tama ducks the kick but ZSJ comes back to boot! ZSJ runs, Tama follows but ZSJ spins him to an IRON OCTOPUS!
Tama powers out, fireman’s carry to FLAPJACK! Both men are down as fans rally up! ZSJ gets to a corner, Tama runs in but misses the splash! Taichi corner clotheslines, ZSJ corner uppercuts, Taichi mule kicks, ZSJ PENALTY KICKS! Cover, TWO! The Tekkers stay focused as ZSJ drags Tama back up. Taichi aims but Loa clobbers him first! Tama slips out of the scoop to dragon sleeper, Loa helps out, TONGAN TWIST!! Cover, TWO!! ZSJ survives so Jado suggests the classic! Loa gives ZSJ to Tama, they bring ZSJ up but ZSJ boots out of Magic Killer to cradle Tama! TWO, ZSJ backslides Tama but Tama slips off to GUN- NO! ARMBAR!!
Taichi whips Loa into railing while ZSJ and Tama fight for control. Tama gets free to get the SHARPSHOOTER! ZSJ endures, Jado taunts, but ZSJ heads that way. Tama drags ZSJ away but ZSJ spins to HEEL HOOK! ZSJ has the leg caught, Tama endures, but Jado distracts! Tama is tapping but Red Shoes doesn’t see it! ZSJ is furious, he tells Jado to cut it out, but Loa shoves ZSJ into Red Shoes! EXPLODER! Tama chokes Loa with the mic stand! Jado chokes Taichi with the kendo stick! Taichi fades out, Jado eggs him on, and Taichi BLOCKS the kendo stick with the mic stand! LOW BLOW to Jado and then he’s tossed!
Loa has Taichi’s mic stand and CLOBBERS him! ZSJ has the kendo stick and fires off on Loa!! Tama CLOBBERS ZSJ with Taichi’s IRON FINGERS!! Tama hurries to revive Red Shoes, then he covers, GOD WINS!!
Winners: Guerrillas of Destiny, by pinfall; now 3-1, Dangerous Tekkers now 2-2
The IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions have lost again! Taichi pushes the Young Lion aside to try and get an explanation for this, but ZSJ is in no shape to talk. Tama has Jado’s kendo stick as he stares Taichi down. Taichi’s glare as he and ZSJ exit is enough to say they won’t forget nor forgive this. Jado gets the mic to say, “Tama Tonga! Tonga Loa! GOD with Master Heater! Bullet Club, FORRRR… LIFE!!” A Low Sweet and that’s all the former tag champions need to say! GOD are near the top of the block, but have they just found their shortcut to the titles?
Here are the NEW World Tag League standings!
SANADA & Shingo Takagi: 3-1
Guerrillas of Destiny: 3-1
The Empire: 3-1
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi: 3-1
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii: 2-2
The Dangerous Tekkers: 2-2
YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto: 1-3
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens: 0-4
Wow, what a great round for WTL! While Owens and Fale are not all that surprisingly winless, I am very surprised HenarACE lost to Goto and Hashi. I cannot be sure who HenarACE gets a win off now, because I can’t see the top teams losing past the 1’s in their records. LIJ, the Empire and the Bullet Club’s better teams are going strong, but I think it was very surprising for GOD to beat the tag champions. Tekkers lost to LIJ, now they’ve lost to GOD, so will they end up with three contenders when a WTL winner is decided? Will LIJ or GOD be the WTL winner to save us the trouble of figuring that out?
I’ve already said for BOSJ that LIJ is doing a lot of parallels here. The IWGP Double Championships are doing double duty, and Naito could end up sweeping the weekend. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight title might be in store for the same thing since Hiromu beat Taiji Ishimori, and the tournament still needs to be decided. We could end up the same here with the tag titles as Tekkers will have to face LIJ/GOD for the loss from the tournament, and then the other because of the WTL reward. And again I say doing all of that for WK15 would be perfect, because we need something big to start the new year to shake off how rough this year has been.
My Score: 9.1/10
Mitchell’s WWE 205 Live Results & Report! (1/22/21)
And you thought last week was big!
205 Live doubles down on historic matches!
Not only are two 205 Live OG taking on a BRUTAL combination in Thatcher & Ciampa, but the WOMEN’S Dusty Cup comes to the purple ‘n’ orange!
- Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade; The Way wins and advances.
- Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa; Thatcher & Ciampa win and advance.
PLAY BY PLAY
205 Live explains how a certain Dusty Cup match came to be.
It was on NXT that Ashante “Thee” Adonis was in a match with the cruel Karrion Kross. Kross showed no mercy to Adonis as he hit him with TWO Doomsday Saido Suplexes and the blindside forearm smash. Then he would show no mercy to Adonis’ tag partner, Desmond Troy, by wrapping him up in the Krossjacket submission! The damage done was too severe for either man to compete tonight, and now they’re OUT of the Dusty Rhodes Classic! However, there is a new team that has been formed.
The Professor of Pain and the Psycho Killer put each other through torture inside the Fight Pit, and in the end, they found respect for each other. They’re now a killer combination and having their tag team debut TONIGHT, in the tag team tournament! Will they put the Premier Athlete and Persian Lion through similar suffering, all for a shot at history and the NXT Tag Team Championships?
Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: The Way’s Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell VS Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade!
How is this for history? 205 Live has its first-ever women’s match, and it is for this historic women’s tag team tournament! But will it be even more historic for the two debuting superstars? Or will Candice & Indi Wrestling dominate where the boys, Johnny & Austin, failed?
The teams sort out, Indi starts against Jade and the two circle. They tie up, go around, and Indi throws Jade down. Indi says Jade is NOT #Impressive, but Jade hits back with body shots! Indi knees low, whips Jade to a corner but Jade dodges! Jade tags Gigi and Gigi dodges Indi for a BOOT! Jade BOOTS Indi, then Gigi runs in to spin and ROCK Indi with a forearm! Indi hits back, drags Gigi over and tags in Candice. Candice stomps Gigi down, brings her up and through the ropes to choke her. The ref counts, Candice lets off at 4 to then CLUB Gigi down. Candice stomps Gigi, taunts Jade, but misses the leg drop!
Gigi rams Candice to the corner, tags in Jade, and Jade runs corner to corner to SHINING WIZARD! Jade brings Candice around but Indi is in the way of her run. Candice CLOBBERS Jade then covers, ONE! Candice hammers away on Jade, dribbles her off the mat, and fans boo as Candice drags Jade up with a chinlock. Candice has a neck wrench, fans chant “You Still Suck!” but Jade fights her way up. Candice CLUBS Jade, whips her to the Way’s corner, then runs in for a back body block! Indi tags in and she taunts Gigi before hitting Jade with a forearm! Indi throws Jade down to cover, TWO!
Indi keeps on Jade with a cravat for the neck crank. Jade fights up, fans rally and Jade throws body shots. Jade whips, Indi reverses and scoops for a sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO! Indi keeps her cool, tags Candice, and Candice wrenches Jade to snapmare and chinlock. Candice digs her knee in but Jade endures. Fans rally, Jade fights up, throws more body shots, then breaks free to uppercut! Jade runs but wobbles, but she elbows Candice again! Jade baits Candice into her own corner, dodges, but Candice gets Jade’s leg! Jade kicks Candice away, hot tags to Indi and Gigi! Gigi didges, fires off on Indi, KICKS away on the leg, then kicks that leg out! BUZZSAW!
Gigi DECKS Candice for good measure before she BOOTS Indi down! Cover, TWO! Gigi snarls as she drags Indi up and clubs her on the back. Tag to Jade, they bring Indi around together to double suplex but Indi fights it off! Indi BOOTS Jade, kicks Gigi and reels Gigi in for a suplex of her own! Indi holds Gigi up for a count of 10 before the SLAM! Gigi bails out so Indi tags Candice. Candice runs into Jade’s roll up, TWO! Jade Oklahoma Rolls, TWO! Ghost pin, TWO!! Candice flounders up but gets around Jade to roll her up, TWO!! Indi tags in and kicks Jade to then back suplex SLAM! Cover, The Way wins!
Winners: The Way, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
Candice and Indi are making their way into the semifinals! But will Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter be in the way of The Way making history?
Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Opening Round: Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari VS Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa!
The Premier Athlete and Persian Lion have been here since day one of 205 Live, and were looking strong going into this match when it was against Adonis & Troy. But again, it has only been a couple days since NXT, are the Professor of Pain and Psycho Killer in any shape to face them on their home turf?
The teams sort out and Nese and Daivari seem to laugh at the two former enemies trying to be a team now. Daivari starts with Thatcher, they tie up and Daivari goes after an arm. Thatcher pries him off of that with a chinlock and then grinds into a headlock. Thatcher throws Daivari down, pulls on his head, but Daivari tries to pull hair. Thatcher just smiles that jagged tooth grin as he gets back up and goes after Daivari’s arm! Thatcher wrangles Daivari with a hammerlock, traps it with his legs then gets Daivari’s legs. Thatcher pulls Daivari into a Bow ‘n’ Arrow! Daivari endures, it becomes a cover, TWO!
Thatcher grabs at Daivari right away and has a facelock. Daivari endures, gets around, waistlocks, but Thatcher pries at the arm. Daivari tags Nese in, Nese rolls Thatcher up, TWO! Thatcher trips Nese and has the foot for a toe ‘n’ ankle. He shifts to a heel hook, then gets the arm but Nese scrambles around. Ciampa wants in, so Thatcher tags him in! Fans cheer as Ciampa wrenches Nese’s arm and drags him down. Nese resists the Fujiwara but Ciampa wrenches through again to a wristlock. Nese chinbars to get the arm, but Ciampa slips through to headlock. Nese throws Ciampa off but Ciampa headlocks and throws Nese down! Fans cheer as Ciampa grinds Nese into the mat.
Nese fights up, gets free to waistlock but Ciampa switches. Nese bucks Ciampa off, runs in and trips Ciampa up to go after the leg! Ciampa kicks Nese away, facelocks Nese in return and grinds him down. Fans rally, Nese moves around, and Nese powers Ciampa to the corner. Nese puts the leg on the rope, tags in Daivari, but Ciampa fights out with forearms and elbows! Ciampa DECKS Daivari but Nese trips him up! The ref reprimands but Daivari drags Nese to the corner to SLAM the leg into the post! And then he SLAMS the other leg! Thatcher storms over as Daivari keeps on the legs but the ref shouts at everyone to get back to their corners.
Daivari puts Ciampa in, drops elbows on the leg then stomps it, then drags Ciampa from Thatcher. Daivari drops more elbows, stomps the leg more, then clamps onto the leg to step through, for a Figure Four! Ciampa endures, Thatcher coaches him and the fans rally up! Ciampa drags himself and Daivari over but Nese gets in to hit Thatcher! The ref has to keep Thatcher back but Nese drags Daivari and Ciampa away! Nese tags in to stomp away on Ciampa, and Daivari finally lets Ciampa out of the hold. Fans boo and jeer while Nese flexes. Nese drags Ciampa over, tags in Daivari, and they split the wishbone on Ciampa!
Nese runs at Thatcher but Thatcher DECKS him first! Daivari has Ciampa’s leg but Ciampa enziguris back! Tag to Thatcher! Thatcher clinches Daivari for a BELLY2BELLY! Then a BELLYBELLY for Nese! EuroUppers for both Cruiserweights back and forth! Nese runs back in but Thatcher has the arm! Thatcher clamps on but has to stop Daivari first. HEEL HOOK! Nese pulls Thatcher’s ears and HOTSHOT BULLDOGS! Thatcher is down, Nese tags in, and Nese hurries to PREMIER TRIANGLE MOONSAULT! Tag back to Daivari and Daivari climbs up, LION SPLASH! Cover, but Ciampa breaks it!
Fans fire up as Ciampa returns to his corner. Daivari and Thatcher crawl, Nese tags in first! Thatcher kicks Nese away, and tags Ciampa back in! Ciampa rallies on Nese and Daivari with forearms and CHOPS! Ciampa CHOPS Daivari again but Nese dropkicks the bad leg out! Nese and Daivari both go up, DOUBLE- DECKED! Nese gets a knee, Daivari gets a forearm! Thatcher and Ciampa glare at each other, Ciampa gives Nese WILLOW’S BELL! Cover, Ciampa & Thatcher win!!
Winners: Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher, by pinfall (advance to the next round)
These two were tearing each other apart on NXT, but they’re standing together on 205 Live! Will Ciampa and Thatcher tear their way through the tournament to put their names on the Dusty Cup?
A good episode, though with some obvious results. While Gigi Dolin (Priscilla Kelly) and Cora Jade (Elayna Black) are very good wrestlers, they weren’t going to beat The Way, and it says a lot that Indi got the pin for this one. Candice & Indi are among the favorites to win the tournament, and I’m betting on a stellar match between them and KC Squared, Catanzaro & Carter. Gigi & Jade still made a good combination, and their aesthetics match up well, I hope they stick together.
Ciampa & Thatcher becoming a team after their Fight Pit match is a pretty cool way to follow up, and naturally they were going to beat the first team they faced. The OG had good combinations, but Nese and Daivari have been perennial jobbers to the stars even before this. Thatcher & Ciampa take on Undisputed Era next and that is going to be a great match that could go either way. Given the history between Undisputed Era and the current tag team champions, Lorcan & Burch, I give it 51-49, UE wins so that they can get a shot at the champions.
My Score: 8/10
Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (1/22/21)
Will Apollo be able to #ThinkBig and be a champion?
Big time challenges go down on SmackDown!
SmackDown goes big as Big E takes on Apollo Crews’ rematch challenge, and Bayley takes on Bianca Belair in the ULTIMATE obstacle course challenge!
- Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay; Charlotte & Asuka win.
- Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler; Cesaro wins.
- Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella; Sasha wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Crews wins by disqualification, Big E retains the title.
- Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair; Bianca wins.
- Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns; No Contest.
PLAY BY PLAY
Roman Reigns heads to the ring!
The Head of the Table, with Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, is back to open SmackDown, but no Jey Uso? Roman and Heyman are not in a good mood after the bait ‘n’ switch Adam Pearce pulled over on them with Kevin Owens. Heyman hands Roman a mic as fans boo and give thumbs down on their screens. “So KO said he was going to deliver a message today, huh?” Or is he not? No, we’re not going to see Kevin Owens tonight because Roman said so. Now let’s talk about last week and “card subject to change.” Real clever. A lot of people made comments about Pearce getting one past them, outsmarted them.
But let’s make this clear: “That way of thinking is beneath me.” Card subject to change is how losers think. It’s how people who are scared to come to work think. Roman doesn’t miss appearances, he puts in work! Legitimately! It took Roman’ sown health being at risk during a pandemic to keep him away. So he never wants to hear anyone say anything about him missing appearances. But what if Roma started thinking like “a puss” like Pearce, talking about his elbow and shoulder hurting. No one would doubt it because of the work Roman puts in! Roman’s knees hurt, and so does his neck. But what else? His ankles have been bad since college. And his back… Heyman says just the weight of it all is making Roman’s back hurt, because Roman’s been carrying the WWE for YEARS!
But what if Roman’s back continues to hurt until the Royal Rumble? What if he can’t make it because of that? Pearce walks out and says this is going too far. Heyman says Pearce is being rude not even addressing Roman. Pearce says this is spiraling out of control, and Roman can’t believe he wants to talk about control. We know who is in control. But what’s out of control is that Pearce is going against Roman. That Pearce is doing a favor and putting Kevin back into the Universal title picture. And the fact that Pearce is favoring Kevin! This isn’t even really a favor. Pearce is Kevin’s BITCH! And he’s also Roman’s bitch.
But what Roman really can’t stand right now, is Pearce having the audacity coming out here and complaining about how his body feels. Pearce hasn’t been in a match for six YEARS, but he’s talking about how his body hurts. Pearce is next to the thoroughbred of the WWE, a man who does 52 weeks a year, multiple days a week! Roman never complained, never stopped and busts his ass for this place, and that is why Roman is who Roman is! And Pearce is going to complain, whine, MOAN about stuff? “No wonder you never made it to the WWE.” Heyman chuckles at that one.
Pearce asks if this is funny to Heyman. It is. Pearce can take it from Roman but he won’t take it from Heyman. Oh? Well that’s disrespectful. Disrespecting Heyman is disrespecting Roman. Heyman, straighten Pearce out. Heyman is given the mic to speak. Pearce disrespected the Tribal Chief and his family. Heyman’s known his family 15 years. Roman’s family would not be friends with someone who isn’t tough! Do you know what it is like to be a friend of the Anoa’i family? Everyone buys into Heyman’s persona, that he’s “impotent as a man.” Heyman’s from New York, he whoop yo’ ASS for disrespecting the chief. Wanna stare Heyman down?
Heyman may not be a lawyer but he’s from a synagogue full of them. In Florida, a verbal contract is BINDING. So if you want something big for the main event, how about this? Pearce VS PAUL HEYMAN! What?! Heyman offers a handshake, and Pearce TAKES IT! The challenge is accepted!! Pearce will have his first match in six years, against Paul E. Dangerously! Roman says at the end of the night, Pearce gets his ass kicked. #BelieveThat.
Sami Zayn heads to the ring!
He has a sign with #JusticeForSami on it, and he brings out cuffs?! Sami is going to cuff himself to the ringside barriers as a form of protest because he is not part of tonight’s Intercontinental Championship! How will WWE officials respond to Sami’s sudden SmackDown sit-in?
SmackDown returns and Sami claims he is being victimized, but he will enter the Royal Rumble to counter it! Sami says he had Apollo Crews beat, though with hands somehow on Apollo’s tights. But then Apollo does the same thing back to him and Apollo wins?! That is not fair! But then the Empress of Tomorrow interrupts Sami with her entrance, followed by The Queen’s! The WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions are here!
Charlotte Flair & Asuka VS The Riott Squad w/ Billie Kay!
The Queens of Tomorrow have a lot going on as individuals on Raw, but they return to SmackDown to focus on their teamwork! Meanwhile, Liv Morgan & Ruby Riott haven’t been able to focus with the Femme Fatale frantically interfering. Will Billie be a burden as the Squad has a chance at earning a championship opportunity?
As the teams sort out, Natalya and Tamina are watching from backstage. The bell rings as Charlotte and Ruby start. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Charlotte pushes Ruby to ropes. Ruby pushes back but Charlotte headlocks and throws Ruby down. Ruby keeps her shoulders up, fights to her feet, but Asuka tags in. Charlotte snapmares Ruby, Asuka runs Ruby over with a shoulder! Asuka headlocks Ruby, Ruby fights up but Charlotte tags back in. The Queens of Tomorrow hand Ruby off and Charlotte bumps Ruby off buckles! Charlotte digs her boot into Ruby’s head but lets off at 4. Ruby flounders, Charlotte taunts her to reach for Liv, then CLUBS her down.
Charlotte looms over Ruby, drags her up and whips her to a corner hard! Ruby falls over, Billie protests on the apron but Charlotte runs her off. Ruby rushes at Charlotte but into an elbow! Liv tags in as Billie shouts at Charlotte! Ruby rushes Charlotte but is thrown out, and Charlotte grabs at Billie! Liv apron dropkicks Charlotte back in! Liv hurries up top and leaps to crossbody! Cover, TWO! Billie can’t believe she’s being helpful as SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns again and Charlotte blocks a buckle bump to give a buckle bump! Charlotte stomps away on Liv, backs off as the ref counts, and lets out a “WOO~!” Fans clap on their screens, Charlotte scoops Liv but Liv slips out. Liv runs, Ruby tags in, Liv huricanranas and Ruby runs in to tilt-o-whirl! Charlotte blocks the headscissors but Ruby fires off forearms! Ruby goes up and gives Charlotte DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Cover, TWO! Tag to Liv, Sami is still filming his protest, and the Squad double SLAMS Charlotte down! Cover, ONE! Liv tags Ruby back in, they stomp away on Charlotte in a corner, and then tag again.
Ruby and Liv bring Charlotte out, double whip but charlotte stops herself to kick and forearm and CHOP! Charlotte CHOPS away, throws Ruby into buckles then kicks Liv low! EXPLODER! And kip up! Charlotte fires up but misses Liv in the corner. Liv runs into the backbreaker and BUCKLE SHOT! Tag to Asuka, SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, Ruby breaks it! Ruby runs but into Charlotte’s BOOT! Liv dropkicks Charlotte and enziguris Asuka! But Asuka has the leg for an ANKLE LOCK! Liv tries to roll through but gets caught to a trapped-leg GERMAN SUPLEX! Asuka kicks but misses, Liv rolls her to swing. Asuka blocks, reels Liv in, but Ruby tags!
Asuka lets Liv go to get Ruby, but Billie distracts! The O’Conner roll is rolled over but Billie argues too long! That costs Ruby, she has to kick Asuka! Liv saves Ruby from the hip attack but falls on Billie! Ruby SUPERKICKS but Asuka counters the Riott Kick to the pop-up KNEE! Asuka runs, tags Charlotte, CODE BREAKER to NATURAL SELECTION! Cover, the champions win!
Winners: Charlotte Flair & Asuka, by pinfall
Billie went from helping to hindering the Squad again! Will this partnership fall apart before Billie’s very eyes?
Billie finds the Squad backstage.
She apologizes for, for… For what, Billie? Stopping Ruby from pinning Asuka? Messing this opportunity up for them?! Yeah… Well for someone who doesn’t mean to, she’s pretty good at it. Maybe that should be put on the resume. Well, all the great teams have overcome obstacles! Billie has good news, though. She talked to Sonya Deville and the Squad is in the Women’s Rumble match! They can practice throwing Billie out over the ropes! Billie can pretend to be Bianca or Mella! No, there is no “us” anymore. The Squad works better when it’s just Ruby and Liv. Sorry. Will Billie ever catch a break?
Daniel Bryan is here!
And he goes past Sami’s new sign, where SAMI is an acronym: Stand Against Moral Injustice. Clever. Bryan goes to the ring and fans join in the “YES!” fingers on their screens. Bryan says a week from this Sunday is one of the most unique and historic traditions in the WWE, the Royal Rumble match. And even saying that, this time of year, a chill goes down Bryan’s spine. It’s a little hard to explain why but Bryan will give it his best shot. “It’s the uncertainty of what number you’re going to. It’s watching the countdown for every superstar that comes out. It’s waiting for that buzzer to hit, for that music to play, for you to run down, nobody knows that you’re coming, and you don’t know who’s coming out next!
“It’s the exhilaration of competing against 29 other superstars that could go over an hour, and it’s every man for themselves.” One of the most challenging, grueling things you can do in the WWE, and that makes Bryan feel alive. Despite all the pain, all the uncertainty, it is absolutely worth it because the winner gets to face the champion of their choosing in the main event of WrestleMania! Bryan is very proud of his career, he’s accomplished a lot. But the one thing he has never done is win a Royal Rumble! Experts, commentary, Michael Cole even, will say- Cesaro interrupts!
Cesaro thought he beat some sense into Bryan last week, but here Bryan is again talking about how he’ll win the Rumble. Cesaro appreciates Bryan explaining the rules, but Cesaro could’ve done it better and in five languages. But that’s besides the point. Bryan is NOT winning this year’s Rumble, Cesaro is. As the first-ever Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner, Cesaro is an expert on this. Bryan didn’t forget about the loss, but instead of talking, how about putting the mics down, and they can fight it out again? Cesaro says no. Cesaro is sick and tired of proving himself week after week doing the same thing over and over! He beat Bryan, and Bryan isn’t dressed for the occasion, Cesaro issues an open challenge! Anyone who has already declared for the Rumble, come on down!
The one to answer the open challenge is… Dolph Ziggler! One half of the SmackDown Tag Team Champions is here asking about the conversation. Ziggler has been in the second most Rumbles ever. Ziggler can go all night long, ask anyone. And aside from himself and his colleague, Robert Roode, there is no one that can go toe-to-toe with Ziggler except maybe Cesaro. No offense to Bryan but it ain’t 2014 anymore. But if we’re talking about a Rumble challenge, Ziggler wants to win to go to Mania and get paid! So Bryan, scoot over, and Cesaro, consider your challenge accepted. Will the Show-Off show up the Swiss Cyborg?
Cesaro VS Dolph Ziggler!
SmackDown returns and Bryan has joined commentary for this great match-up already underway. Ziggler has Cesaro down and has a leg, gets a cover, TWO! Cesaro gets a lateral press but Ziggler keeps his shoulder up. Cesaro pushes him around, gut wrenches and lifts but Ziggler resists by grabbing Cesaro’s leg again. Ziggler shifts, rolls, has a cover, ONE! Cesaro tries a cover, ONE! Cesaro waistlocks but Ziggler gets the ropes. Ziggler elbows Cesaro away then jumps on for a sleeper hold! Cesaro stays up, RAMS Ziggler into buckles and is free. Cesaro runs in to BLAST Ziggler with that EuroUpper! Ziggler flounders into a trip and then a SWISS SWING!
Cesaro brings Ziggler around and around for a count of 10, then maybe 15 even, or 20! Cesaro throws Ziggler, covers, TWO! Ziggler survives the swing, Cesaro stalks him to a corner, then runs in, only to get POST! Ziggler rolls Cesaro up, TWO! Cesaro back drops, Ziggler sunset flips, TWO! Cesaro sits on the cover, TWO! Ziggler sunsets, TWO! Cesaro, TWO! Ziggler, TOW! Cesaro high stacks, TWO! Ziggler pops him to a cover, TWO! SUPER- No, Cesaro blocks but uppercuts into a backslide,. Cesaro slips out, but into a ZIGZAG! Cover, TWO!! And yes, Sami is still protesting. He’s even memeing! “Sami was robbed, change my mind.”
Cesaro and Ziggler slowly rise and Ziggler sleeper holds again! Cesaro gets up, shifts Ziggler from backpack to a front facelock, for a suplex! Ziggler knees free, kicks low then runs, into a pop-up! Ziggler tries to huricanrana, but Cesaro makes it a NEUTRALIZER! Cover, Cesaro wins!
Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall
Michael Cole points out this is two times in a row that Cesaro has beaten a former world champion! Will Cesaro take the Rumble and be a WrestleMania contender?
Sasha Banks VS Reginald w/ Carmella!
It is very rare for WWE to do co-ed matches like this, and certain against a champion like The Boss against the sommelier in employment of The Untouchable Princess of Staten Island. Will Reginald ruin Sasha’s momentum towards the rematch with Mella?
SmackDown returns and Mella makes her entrance to accompany Reginald to the ring, two other assistants bringing the champagne and drinking glasses to the ring for them. Mella and the champagne join commentary as the bell rings. Sasha tells Reggie it’s time to put up or shut up, but Reggie presents her with an orange rose. Sasha accepts the rose but goes to slap Reggie! He blocks, only for Sasha to SLAP him with the other hand! Sasha knuckle locks, goes up and uses the ropes to arm-drag, but Reggie handsprings through! Mella says that’s her Reggie! Reggie waistlocks but Sasha resists the lift and slips out the back to switch. Reggie does the same and rolls right out of the ring!
Reggie plays some cat ‘n’ mouse and does a back flip off the apron! But Sasha wrecks him with a baseball slide dropkick! Sasha whips Reggie at the steel steps but Reggie leaps up and over! Mella applauds the bit of flair, Sasha gives chase, they go in the ring and speed things up with hurdle for hurdle. Reggie shows off with that flip, Sasha goes up and springboards, but Reggie blocks the sunset flip! Reggie wheelbarrows Sasha but she turns that into a BULLDOG! Sasha wants Mella to see why she’s the boss, but Sasha misses the meteora to hit buckles! Sasha avoids Reggie’s elbow drop, Oklahoma roll but Reggie slips out!
Reggie avoids Sasha’s dropkick to bomb lift, but Sasha arm-drags free! Sasha runs in but is put on the apron, but she knees Reggie away! Sasha goes up, leaps, crossbody but Reggie holds her up! Reggie pops Sasha up but into another arm-drag! Reggie is sent out, Sasha hurries to the apron, METEORA! Sasha slaps the champagne out of Mella’s hand! Sasha goes back into the ring with Reggie, brings him in for a backstabber but he rolls through! Sasha kicks him, and knuckle locks to flip up and into another METEORA! Mella sneers but Sasha tilt-o-whirls and drags Reggie down by his arm! BANK STATEMENT!! Reggie taps, Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission
Sasha got her revenge on Reggie, and throws him out to Mella! Will Sasha do the same to the Princess at the Royal Rumble?
Roman Reigns sits in his private room.
Heyman says Roman was brilliant. They got Pearce! “We? What’re you talking about?” Heyman knew what Roman was up to, he fed right into it. Roman simply passed Heyman the mic to do what he does better than anyone, and that is verbally rip someone to shreds. Roman didn’t say Heyman should challenge Pearce to a match. But Heyman has stepped into it, so he has to do this. Roman didn’t hire some punk to be Special Counsel, he hired a man. So Heyman needs to go out there and represent Roman as a man and handle business. “Paul, be a man. Handle your business.” The Special Counsel has no words, will he have no defense against Pearce?
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!
Sami Zayn is irate as Big E taunts him with the belt. But Sami is not the champion’s concern, he’s taking on the man in the ring! Big E and Apollo have been in friendly competition, but after what Heyman told both of them over these last few weeks on Talking Smack, will all of that go out the window?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and it’s time to #ThinkBig or go home!
Apollo rushes Big E but right into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! Apollo goes to the apron, Big E follows and stomps him, to then run and APRON SPLASH! Big E is fired up and gets back in to run at Apollo. Apollo elbows back, BOOTS back, then runs, into a scoop! Apollo slips off, and ENZIGURIS! Big E wobbles into a BOOT! Standing moonsault! Cover, TWO! Apollo keeps focus as he stalks Big E. Apollo waistlocks and GERMAN SUPLEXES Big E! Apollo holds on to GERMAN again! Big E elbows over and over until he’s free, and he gets Apollo with the Urenag-E! Cover, TWO! Big E keeps his cool as he goes out after Apollo.
Big E and Apollo end up by the announce desk. Big E tells Apollo he’ll never make the mistake of disrespecting him again. Apollo pushes Big E away, then dodges him to go up the apron and MOONSAULT! Direct hit and down goes Big E! Apollo gets Big E back in at the ring count of 8 then climbs up top! Big E hits Apollo first then climbs up to join him. Big E throws forearms, stands Apollo up, but Apollo resists the superplex! Apollo throws headbutts as fans clap on their screens! Big E falls back, Apollo adjusts, but Sami uncuffs himself! Sami’s strike is over as Apollo leaps to missile dropkick Big E!
Apollo resets but Sami HELLUVA KICKS him!! SAMI SCREWS APOLLO!
Winner: Apollo Crews by disqualification (Big E is still WWE Intercontinental Championship)
And then Sami HELLUVA KICKS Big E! And Sami has the nerve to talk about injustice! Sami says HE is the champion, but that this is what Big E and Apollo deserve! Will Sami get what he deserves soon enough?
Kevin Owens speaks.
“I showed up to work today, and I was told I couldn’t get into the building because Roman Reigns pulled some strings to make sure I wouldn’t be there. Roman, dude… It’s fine. But just know this: at the Royal Rumble, there’s no more strings for you to pull.” At the Rumble, they will settle this once and for all. And Roman calls Kevin “a cockroach that won’t die,” and tells him to just stop fighting, but Kevin can’t do that. Roman has yet to beat Kevin like the champion he claims to be. Roman did not earn those victories. The family did that for him.
And the other reason Kevin keeps fighting is this. Kevin has a lot of tattoos, and they all have a story behind them. He has his wife’s name on his wrist, his kids’ names on the other side, then one to remind him of his parents. Kevin fights for all of them, but he has tattoos on his knuckles. These are his grandfathers’ initials: M for Melvin, his dad’s dad, and P is for Pierre, his mom’s dad. Those men had Kevin’s back all the way. They were his biggest fans, and nothing made them happier than seeing Kevin in the ring. The biggest regret Kevin will have is that he didn’t make it to the WWE in time for them to see, because they both passed away just before.
But they will always be with Kevin. The mark they left on Kevin will always be there, because both men battled illnesses that should’ve made their lives a lot shorter. Those two men refused to quit, and because of that, Kevin was lucky to have many, many great years with them. So how can Kevin stop fighting? That is why Kevin will not stay away and why he will #JustKeepFighting. That is why come Royal Rumble, Kevin will be the Last Man Standing.
The Street Profits have a basket.
Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins see Ziggler talking with Sonya, and have a quick question: Are you ready~, ready~? This is a celebratory basket for congratulating Sonya on her new job and office! But don’t jump the gun! They’re not just congratulating her on the new gig. She sits next to Pearce, looking pretty, but they have business. It has been two, two weeks, since the Profits lost the SmackDown Tag Team Championships against Ziggler & Roode, Entertainment Dysfunction. Put that on a t-shirt, it’ll make millions! But that aside, the Profits- Sonya knows they want their rematch. She’s so smart!
Sonya knows they were champions for 312 days, won two Slammy Awards, so yes they deserve a rematch. But Ford is still recovering from the leg injury. If he gets in that ring too soon, gets hurt and is out of action, that hurts SmackDown as a whole. So hear her out: For now, hang out, keep doing your segments to hype the show, and let another team get the opportunity. Then when Ford is 100%, he and Dawkins get back in the game and back in the title picture. Cool with t hat, fam? yeah, that’s cool. Golly, Sonya, thanks for your concern. Enjoy the basket! It’s expensive. But will the long wait really work out in the Profits’ favor?
Ultimate Athletic Obstacle Course Challenge: Bayley VS Bianca Belair!
The Role Model wants The EST to prove she’s still got it when it comes to being the strongest, the fastest, the roughest, the toughest, etc. Therefore, SmackDown is setting up a truly challenging obstacle course for them both to run! Who backs up their words, after the break?
SmackDown returns and Michael Cole presides over this special competition, and gives the introductions for Bianca, then for Bayley. Bayley takes over and says DING DONG, BYE Cole. This is her show now! And look, Bianca, this is what Bayley has for her. America Ninja Warrior ain’t got nothing on UAOCC! This is of course timed, starting right here with the “big ol’ 400 pound tractor tire,” which you only need to flip once. Go down the ramp, take on the short hurdles, climb the trio of military walls. And then Bayley even got advice from Chad Gable and Alpha Academy, he will put you through the full body test, the fireman’s carry!
But that’s not all! The very last challenge is grab the basketball, put it through the net, and time stops at the exact moment the ball exits the bottom of the net! The competitor with the shortest time is of course the winner! Let’s get the clock going, and Bayley wants to go first. Bianca says that’s fine, and we begin… NOW! Bayley flips the tire, hurries down the ramp, though not quite that quickly, and takes on the hop hurdles to go right at the military walls. The short one seems to throw her off, and she just weaves around them?! Is that allowed?
Bayley fireman’s carries Gable, and he seems to be heavier than he looks. Bianca “cheers” Bayley on as she goes from one end to another, then she gets the ball to DUNK- no, wait, there! Bayley finishes at 1:12. But she says she did Bianca a favor. “Let’s EST up this course,” all for Bianca. Oh, the hurdles are now full hurdles, and Bianca wraps her braid. GO! Bianca easily flips the tire, runs down the ramp., leaps the hurdles, leaps the walls, but she isn’t carrying Gable, but OTIS! Bianca has 40 seconds, she carries the 330 pound Otis with ease, then gets the ball and even dares Bayley to play D! She breaks ankles and DUNKS! She had 17 seconds to spare!
Winner: Bianca Belair
Sorry, Bayley, but that’s the power of the EST! Bayley is a sore loser and throws the ball at Bianca! And then hammers away with forearms and stomps! The ref reprimands but Bayley doesn’t care, as she POSTS Bianca and knocks down the basketball hoop! Bayley storms off, perhaps having proven she’s the meanest on the roster.
Rey Mysterio coaches Dominik backstage.
Rey reviews with Dom that Baron Corbin is a former boxer, so he has to watch out for the hands. Dom says Rey can trust him to have this. Dom is comfortable with his skills and has prepared. Okay, then we’ll do it his way. But if something goes wrong, they do it Rey’s way. That’s fair. Dom heads out, will he be able to trump the Wolf King?
Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!
SmackDown returns as Corbin is already in the ring. Dominik makes his entrance, leaving Rey backstage so he can handle things. The bell rings and Dom circles with Corbin. They tie up, Corbin powers Dom to a corner but Dom dodges the hands to throw hands of his own! Dom rams his shoulder in but Corbin shoves him away. Dom dropkicks but Corbin stays up. Dom whips, Corbin reverses but Dom wheelbarrows and throws Corbin out of the ring! The ring count climbs but Dom slingshots, only for Corbin to get clear and CLOBBER him! Corbin drags Dom up and into the ring, covers, TWO! Corbin already glares at the ref as he grows annoyed.
Corbin stalks Dom, drags him to ropes and stands on him! The ref counts, Corbin hops off at 4, then drags Dom up to throw body shots! The ref counts, Corbin lets off at 4 again, then stands Dom up. Corbin whips Dom corner to corner hard! Dom bounces off buckles to hit the mat, and Corbin takes his time bringing Dom back up. Corbin brings Dom around, reel shim in but Dom slips out to dropkick a leg! Corbin ends up on ropes, Dom dials it up but the call is blocked! Corbin drags Dom from ropes, yanks but Dom lands on his feet, only for Corbin to DECK him! Corbin reels Dom in and hits END OF DAYS! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: Baron Corbin, by pinfall
The Wolf King wins because he did this his way! Will the Mysterios regroup and draw up a winning game plan?
Adam Pearce VS Paul Heyman w/ Roman Reigns!
Scrap Daddy’s switcheroo not only got the better of the Special Counsel last week, it might be why he stuck his foot in his mouth this week! Will Pearce’s return to the ring also get the better of Paul E. Dangerously? Has the Head of the Table truly left Heyman hanging?
Heyman is taping his hands on his way to the ring, but stumbles off the steps? The ref checks on Heyman but he says he’s fine. Give him a minute to walk it off. Heyman fumbles on the steps again and Pearce smells a plot. After all, he let his “bum leg” be why Kevin Owens is back in the title match. And just as he knew, Heyman cites “card subject to change.” This was the trump card Heyman had up his sleeve! Roman did NOT leave the building, he’s heading to the ring! Now that the bait ‘n’ switch is on the other foot, will Scrap Daddy be scrap metal?
Adam Pearce VS Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman!
Roman SUPERMAN PUNCHES Pearce the second he’s in the ring! This isn’t even a match because the bell hasn’t rung! Heyman says he has obviously found a suitable replacement, and Roman is pulling steps apart. Pearce throws a haymaker! Roman glares at Pearce, and LOW BLOW KICKS him! And then throws Pearce OVER the barriers! Roman is snarling as he goes around the way to drag Pearce up and throw him INTO ThunderDome screens! And then he drags Pearce up to throw heavy forearms! And then throws him into stage wall! Fans give thumbs down but that’s not going to save Pearce from Roman’s wrath!
Roman fireman’s carries Pearce and puts him on the upper level, the same place he threw Kevin off of. But speaking of, Kevin runs in and attacks Roman! Kevin saves Pearce as he throws haymakers and bumps Roman off barriers! Roman throws Kevin into screens, throws haymakers of his own, then they brawl to ringside! It’s Royal Rumble come early! Roman puts Kevin in the ring, storms in but into a USUPERKICK! Roman SUPERMAN PUNCH- NO! STUNNER from Kevin!! Kevin dares Roman to get back up! Roman sputters as he gets out of the ring but Kevin whips him into barriers! And clubs away on his back!
Referees rush out to try and stop this, and Kevin backs off to cool off. But then Kevin comes back to STOMP Roman into barriers! Roman flounders back up, referees try to talk Kevin down, and even Pat Buck, Pearce’s coworker. But Kevin gets past them to give Roman another STUNNER! Kevin wants Heyman to say something but Heyman has nothing to say! So Kevin brings Roman over, pops him up, POWERBOMB through the announce desk!! Kevin is pulling steel steps apart! The refs keep him from bringing that over to Roman! Kevin says Roman’s lucky the officials are here to stop him, but it won’t happen at the Royal Rumble! Will Kevin truly #StunTheWorld when he is THE Last Man Standing?
A great SmackDown that honestly could’ve been a go-home to the Royal Rumble in some cases. Charlotte & Asuka VS Riott Squad was good, but naturally the champions win, mostly because Billie was too involved. She has been kicked out of the Riott Squad, though she wasn’t really a member to begin with, but I feel like they could’ve gone another week, though. Natty & Tamina were watching backstage, I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a match with Charlotte & Asuka, even if they were to lose. The match of Sasha Banks VS Reginald was pretty good, mostly because Reggie is insanely athletic. Depending on how the story goes of him being Mella’s sommelier, maybe he can split off and get into like 205 Live and the Cruiserweight Division to freshen things up a bit.
But of course Sasha wins, she’s the champion. I have a feeling this means the go-home sees Mella standing tall so that Sasha is still the favored to win. The “Ultimate” obstacle course challenge was very clearly going to be won by Bianca, but I commend Bayley for trying to rig it in her favor. Though, shouldn’t she have been penalized or even disqualified for outright skipping those military style walls? Pretty sure we’re getting a match between the two, and Bianca can sell the bad arm to “overcome” it and win, for big momentum going into the Women’s Rumble.
The Profits had a good segment with Sonya, and I like that, at least on the surface, Sonya is being a responsible official and having the Profits wait so they can be healed up. But I wonder if there will even be defenses in that time, as there aren’t many tag teams on SmackDown. It’s mostly the champs, the Profits, Cesaro-Nakamura, and maybe Alpha Academy, aka Gable & Otis. Dom VS Corbin felt like filler just to get things to what Rey was talking about last week, which should’ve just been what we got this week. Unless it was because the person they have in mind (Cain Velasquez) isn’t available right now because of some COVID concerns. That I’d understand.
Sami Zayn “protesting” this episode just so he’d be ringside for the Intercontinental Championship was a pretty good long game for the episode. Sami’s signs were clever, but it does seem a shame for what should’ve been a huge match. Maybe we get another Triple Threat for this title, and that is the way Big E loses. Though, I think it’d work well if Big E won, making his reign feel even bigger from having dealt with two contenders. After that, Big E can face just about anyone else on the roster, such as Nakamura, Cesaro or even Otis. And speaking of, Cesaro had a good promo with Bryan and a really good match with Ziggler, but I feel like all these wins are setting Cesaro up to not win the Rumble. But I said the same thing about Bryan making it his mission to win the reason he won’t, so maybe as far as SmackDown goes, it’s between the two of them as Rumble finalists.
And again, we got a lot of great stuff out of the Roman Reigns story. The opening promo segment was really good, it helped set up the main event, and gave a great tease of Pearce VS Heyman. But Heyman using the fake injury and “card subject to change” back on Pearce was also very clever, and naturally it was Roman who would beat Pearce up to get back at him for everything so far. Kevin had a really good promo, made a great save, and got to stand tall tonight with the table bomb. I’m curious as to Kevin’s part in the go-home next week. I can’t see him standing tall two weeks in a row just to keep the math in Roman’s favor, so maybe Roman turns this around to then defy the math and still retain the title. I’m pretty sure Roman does retain, and we leave it up to the Rumble to decide the rest.
My Score: 8.5/10
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