World Tag League reaches the halfway point!
Round five of ten has arrived but the Dangerous Tekkers are 2-2! Will the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions keep from owing more title matches?
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: FinJuice VS Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Fale & Owens win.
- World Tag League 2020: HenarACE VS EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; HenarACE wins.
- World Tag League 2020: Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii VS Guerrillas of Destiny; Yano & Ishii win.
- World Tag League 2020: Dangerous Tekkers VS The Empire; Dangerous Tekkers win.
- World Tag League 2020: Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI VS SANADA & Shingo Takagi; LIJ wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Here are the current 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: 2-2
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens: 0-4
FinJuice VS Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens!
Last year’s WTL winners aren’t having the best run, but they’re much better off than the Rogue General and Crown Jewel. Will Juice Robinson and David Finlay make sure this part of the Bullet Club stays at the bottom of the block?
Bullet Club goes to Low Sweet, but they rush FinJuice instead! Owens throws Finlay out and Fale is after Juice in the corner! The bell rings to get this on record as Fale throws heavy hands. Finlay rams Owens into railing but Fale whips Juice corner to corner. Fale runs in but Juice dodges! Juice JABS, JABS, JABS, and fans clap along! Juice pumps up but Fale body shots again! Fale fireman’s carries but Fin saves Juice! FinJuice double dropkicks Fale away but Owens tags in, to run into double hip tosses! Fale runs in, but into double dropkicks! Juice gets fans to stomp-stomp-clap, and he goes to Owens.
Tag to Finlay, and FinJuice throws hands, then Juice snapmares for Finlay’s rolling tackle! Cover, ONE, but Finlay keeps close with the armlock. Owens gets up, knees low and headlocks. Finlay powers out and tags Juice, FinJuice drop and hurdle to then scoop slam Owens down! Juice scoop slams Finlay onto Owens, then drops the back senton! Cover, TWO! Juice drags Owens up, wrenches, tags Finlay and holds Owens for Finlay’s ax handle. Juice whips, FinJuice double kick to double BULLDOG! Juice DECKS Fale while Finlay covers, TWO! Fans rally up as Finlay facelocks and brings Owens up.
Tag to Juice and Juice goes up top to drop more ax handles. Finlay whips Owens corner to corner, Juice and Finlay dosido for Juice to corner clothesline! Juice shouts for one more, but Owens reverses the whip. Owens misses in the corner but Fale CLOBBERS Juice and Owens DECKS Finlay! Fale drags Juice up to whip him into railing! Owens stands on Finlay’s head while Fale punches Plexiglas down! Fale stomps Juice while Owens gets back in the ring. The ref reprimands Fale and Fale puts Juice in the ring. Owens drags Juice up to wrench and scoop for a backbreaker! Cover, TWO! Owens drags Juice over and tags in Fale.
Fale DECKS Finlay then goes over to Juice. Bullet Club stands on Juice’s back! The ref reprimands, Fale lets off, and Fale drags Juice back up. Fale pushes Juice against ropes to CLUB him on the back! And again! Juice staggers about but Fale CLUBS him into the corner. Tag to Owens, Owens brings Juice around to whip into a corner. Owens runs in to forearm then LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Juice but Owens has him in a facelock. Juice fights up, throws body shots, but Owens cravats. Juice still fights free then jawbreakers Owens! Owens shove Juice but Juice elbows Fale! Juice forearms Owens then elbows Fale again. Owens ducks the heel kick, and he calls for Fale!
Owens back suplexes but Juice lands on his feet! Fale grabs Juice, but Juice dodges and the SUPERKICK hits Fale! Juice hurries, hot tag to Finlay! Finlay dodges Owens, dropkicks Fale and throws forearms on Owens! Owens reverses the whip but Finlay hits a flying uppercut! Owens bails out, Finlay aims and slingshots, PLANCHA! Fans cheer as Finlay puts Owens back in the ring. Finlay goes up top and Owens staggers about, into ax handles! Owens stays up but Finlay runs in to uppercut him in the corner! Finlay goes up again, flying uppercut! Cover, TWO! Finlay tags Juice and FinJuice double whip Owens. Atomic drop and shift, SHOTGUN LEG SWEEP! Cover, TWO!
Juice tags Finlay back in and FinJuice double whips Owens again. Owens holds ropes, boots Finlay and enziguris Juice! Owens SUPERKICKS Finlay then WRECKS Juice with the dropkick! Tag to Fale and Bullet Club double whip Finlay. Fale body shots, Owens knee lifts and Fale LARIATS! Cover, but Juice breaks it! Owens stomps and clubs Juice, then tucks him in. Juice fights off the package driver and back drops out! Fale grabs Juice for the GRENADE! Finlay fires off on Fale and throws a EuroUpper! Finlay runs, into Fale’s grip! But Finlay fights off the Grenade, only to get the JEWEL TRIGGER!
Owens has Finlay in a cross arm lift, Bullet Club hits the GRENADE STRAITJACKET SUPLEX! Cover, Bullet Club wins!!
Winners: Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens, by pinfall; now 1-4, FinJuice is now 2-3
Bullet Club not only gets on the board at the half, but they take down last year’s WTL winners! Is this less a sign of Fale and Owens rising up and more of FinJuice falling down?
HenarACE VS EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi w/ Dick Togo!
Speaking of bottom of the block, who would’ve thought Hiroshi Tanahashi would be 0-4! But there’s still a chance he and the Hammerhead head for the top! Will HenarACE trump the King of Darkness and the Tokyo Pimp?
The Bullet Club gives the Low Sweet, HenarACE show off the muscles, and teams sort out to have Tanahashi start with Evil. Fans rally and clap, “Let’s Go, Ace!” as Tanahashi and Evil circle. Yujiro gets in and attacks from behind! Evil DECKS Henare and then joins in stomping on Tanahashi. Bullet Club double whip but Tanahashi kicks Yujiro and headlocks Evil. Tanahashi jumps up and gets Yujiro for a double takedown! Fans cheer as Bullet Club flounders. Tanahashi throws forearms on Evil, whips but Evil reverses. Evil runs into an elbow, Tanahashi jumps up to crossbody!
Tag to Henare and HenarACE double whip Evil to double elbow him down. Tomahawk elbow drop combo! And the flex! Fans fire up as HenarACE double Half Crab Evil! The ref counts because Tanahashi isn’t legal, so HenarACE lets off. Fans cheer as Henare drags Evil up and throws a big forearm! And another! Henare clubs Evil’s back and fans use the rhythm to rally up. But Evil rakes Henare’s eyes! The ref reprimands, Evil whips Henare, and surprise! Yujiro removes the blue buckle pad! Henare hits bare buckles and suffers the Bullet Club’s favorite trick! Evil whips Tanahashi in and Tanahashi hits buckles! The ref reprimands but the damage is done.
Yujiro goes after Henare and claws his eyes! Dick attacks Tanahashi! Evil keeps the ref away as Yujiro keeps stomping Henare. Evil brings Tanahashi up to whip him into railing! Yujiro chokes Henare but the ref reprimands. Yujiro stops, Dick gets a quick shot in, and Henare is fed to Evil. Evil throws Henare back out and has the ref watch Tanahashi. Dick DECKS Henare! Dick puts Henare in but the ref has to keep Tanahashi back. Evil covers Henare, TWO! Evil argues the count but fans cheer. Evil tags Yujiro, Yujiro stomps Henare then stomps him more. Yujiro brings Henare up to snapmare and drop a leg, an elbow, and a headbutt! Cover, TWO!
Fans cheer but Yujiro drags Henare up. Yujiro whips Henare into the bare buckles again! Tag to Evil and Evil stands on Henare’s head. The ref reprimands but Evil lets up, only to claw at Henare’s face! Evil is smothering Henare! The ref counts, Evil lets go and Henare gasps and sputters. Evil wrenches Henare, fans rally but Evil puts Henare in a cobra twist. Evil grabs Yujiro’s hand, and Yujiro grab’s Dick’s hand, and Dick grabs railing! This long chain of leverage adds on, but the ref doesn’t see it! The Bullet Club links up again, but this time the ref sees! The ref counts and they all let go at 4. Henare is free but the damage has been done. Fans rally up and Evil grins at Tanahashi as he drags Henare back up.
Henare CHOPS back! And CHOPS again! And CHOPS again! Evil whips Henare back into barriers! Evil kicks low, mocks the clubbing rhythm then suplexes, but Henare fights back! Fans rally, Henare suplexes Evil! Fans fire up as both men are down! Tanahashi reaches as far out as he can, hot tag to the Ace! Tanahashi rallies on Evil, DECKS Yujiro and DECKS Dick! Evil walks into a kick, but he reverses the whip, only for Tanahashi to baseball slide Dick! Tanahashi runs Evil over then drops another leaping elbow! Tanahashi brings Evil up again, scoop slams him then goes up, somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Fans rally with Tanahashi, “Let’s Go, Ace!”
Evil rises, Tanahashi runs, but Evil throws him out! Tanahashi tries to skin the cat but Dick gets a leg for a DRAGON SCREW! Evil drags Tanahashi in, ties up the legs, SHARPSHOOTER! Yujiro intercepts Henare as Tanahashi endures! Fans rally up, Henare busts in and attacks Evil! Tanahashi is saved but Evil throws Henare back out. Yujiro gets in and Bullet Club brings Tanahashi up. They mug Tanahashi, going after the legs. Evil runs but Henare trips him! Tanahashi spins things around on Yujiro, TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Fans fire up as Yujiro and Tanahashi crawl. Hot tag to Henare! The Hammerhead rallies on Yujiro with forearms!
Henare whips, Yujiro reverses but Henare dodges to LEAPING TACKLE! Yujiro gets to a corner, Henare runs in and clotheslines! Henare fireman’s carries to the running SAMOAN DROP! Cover, TWO! Henare keeps his focus and fires up, “AOH! AOH! AOH!” RAMP- No! Yujiro blocks the spear with a rake of the eyes! Yujiro blocks the kick, trips Henare and runs, but Henare dodges! Henare blocks a kick to elbow and HEEL KICK! Henare aims from the corner again, but Dick anchors Henare! Evil distracts the ref and Yujiro BOOTS Henare! Evil clotheslines and FISHERMAN BUSTERS! BASEMENT BOOT from Yujiro! Cover, but Tanahashi breaks it!
Evil goes after Yujiro while Dick distracts the ref! Evil scrapes Tanahashi out, Yujiro drags Henare into the INCOLLE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Henare survives and fans are fired up! Dick distracts again and Yujiro has his pimp cane! CANE SHOT!! Evil has Tanahashi on the outside but Tanahshi RAMS him into railing! Yujiro reels Henare in but Tanahashi gets in to DRAGON SCREW! Evil gets in, to get a DRAGON SCREW! Dick gets in to get a DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi is fired up, the fans are thunderous, HenarACE SLING SWEEP!! Henare aims at Yujiro, RAMPAGE!! Tanahashi PLANCHAS Evil and Dick! Henare isn’t done with Yujiro, he gets him with the TOA BOMB!! Cover, HenarACE wins!!
Winners: HenarACE, by pinfall; now 1-4, Evil & Yujiro now 3-2
Tanahashi and Henare finally get on the board, too! After all, aces trump kings! But will HenarACE still be high going into the WTL’s second half?
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii VS Guerrillas of Destiny w/ Jado!
The provisional Mr. KOPW 2020 and the perennial Stone Pitbull are in the middle of the block while Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa are near the top! Will Chaos be shot down by the Firing Squad at this tournament’s halfway point?
Yano is again impatient with the check, and then he starts against the Silver Back. But he doesn’t realize until he turns around. Loa taunts the YTR but Yano fires up. They collide but Loa doesn’t move. Yano tries again but it still doesn’t work! So Yano rakes Loa’s eyes! Yano runs again but Loa runs him over! Loa whips Yano, Yano grabs ropes and baits Loa in. Yano dodges, slaps Loa, but then apologizes as Loa glares. Tama gets in and Yano sees he’s surrounded. Yano says “No no no!” they say, “Yes, yes, yes!” Yano goes after a corner pad but GOD stop him with clubs and stomps. Ishii gets in but GOD gives him kicks and clubbing forearms.
GOD double whip Ishii to a corner, Loa runs in but Ishii dodges to run Tama over! Loa runs Ishii over, but Yano has the buckle pad to SMACK Loa down! Yano tosses the pad to Jado and now the ref goes after him! Jado hops off the apron and Yano stomps Loa. Fans rally as Yano runs but Jado is there with the kendo stick. The ref reprimands but Loa clobbers Yano from behind! Tama drags Yano out to whip into railing! Tama uses the buckle pad to SMACK Yano! And again! Loa is after Ishii on the other side and Tama SMACKS Yano a third time! Tama hides the pad under the ring and Loa heads over. A ring count starts, Loa brings Yano up to put in at 6 of 20. Cover, TWO!
Loa keeps his cool as he drags Yano up and tags in Tama. Loa scoop slams Yano, Tama slingshot sentons! Loa slingshot sentons, too, then Tama rains down right hands. The ref reprimands about closed fists but Tama says his are fine. Tama throws more hands, the ref reprimands again. Tama sits down on Yano for a cover, TWO! Tag to Loa and they drag Yano up. GOD double suplexes Yano and Loa covers, TWO! Loa keeps his cool as he looms over Yano. Loa taunts Yano, stomps him down, then brings Yano up to headbutt! Loa stomps and throws forearms on Yano then pushes Ishii off the apron! Loa bumps Yano off buckles, wraps an arm in the rope, but the ref reprimands.
Loa backs off and distracts the ref so that Tama can club away on Yano’s chest! Loa returns and Tama gets away wit it as Yano falls down. The ref checks on Yano and Loa mockingly shows concern. Loa brings Yano up and aims for the bare corner! Yano reverses and pulls hair! Loa whips Yano, Yano reverses again and throws Loa down by his hair! Fans rally as Yano and Loa stir. Yano crawls but so does Loa, hot tags to Tama and Ishii! Tama dodges to fire off hands but Ishii roars and hits back. Ishii whips, Tama reverses and Ishii hits bare buckles! Tama runs in but Ishii dodges so Tama gets bare buckles! Loa throws forearms then whips Ishii away to the other corner.
Loa has Tama run in but Ishii boots him! Loa runs in but Ishii puts Tama in the way, Loa corner clotheslines Tama! Ishii clotheslines Tama, then boots Loa! Ishii whips Tama at Loa but Loa kicks back. Loa runs but Ishii runs him over! Ishii drop toeholds Tama down and fans fire up. Ishii stalks Tama, swings, but Tama slips around to dragon sleeper, only for Ishii to spin through and suplex! Fans fire up and Ishii waits for Tama to rise. Ishii runs, Tama follows, dodges and SUPER FOREARMS! Loa tackles Ishii to the bare buckles! Tama runs in and hits the corner splash! Then feeds Ishii to a kick and uppercut from Loa, before hitting the twisting inverted DDT! Cover, TWO!
Fans fire up but GOD is frustrated. Tama tags Loa and Loa drags Ishii up for clubbing forearms. Ishii forearms back but Loa ROCKS Ishii! Loa suplexes for uno amigo! And then spins through for a BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up, Loa argues the count but two is two. Loa DECKS Yano then drags Ishii back up. Loa scoops Ishii but Ishii slips out of the lawn dart to clothesline! Loa roars and shoves to fire off forearms on Ishii! Ishii ducks the big clothesline to back suplex back! Both men are down, fans fire up and Ishii tags to Yano! Yano whips Loa at the bare buckles but Loa stops himself. Loa dodges and Yano gets buckles!
Loa whips, Yano reverses and then atomic drops! Tama runs in, he gets an atomic drop! Yano whips Loa but Loa reverses, only for Yano to stop himself. Yano sends Loa into buckles, rolls Loa up, TWO! Yano spins Loa for a backslide, TWO! Yano goes for a fisherman but Loa breaks out to knee, kick and enziguri! Ishii runs in but Loa LARIATS him down! GOD focus on Yano with a double whip, body shots and the leaping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Yano survives but Jado calls for the end! GOD brings Yano up, but Ishii stops Magic Killer! Ishii waistlocks Loa and GERMAN SUPLEXES him away!
Tama runs into a waistlock, Ishii ducks the elbow and ROCKS Tama with a right! Tama blocks then swings, but into a spin and suplex. Tama fights out, spins Ishii but Ishii denies Gun Stun! Ishii tries to suplex, but Tama counters and Loa returns, MAGIC KILLER! GOD goes back to Yano now, brings him up, and set him up but Yano fights out! Yano shoves Tama into Loa, but they block the double low blows! They get him for TONGAN TWIST! Cover, TWO!?! Yano survives but Jado distracts the referee! Jado tosses his kendo stick in and Tama grabs it, but Yao dodges and Tama SMACKS Loa! Yano shoves Loa into Tama, LOW BLOWS Loa and rolls him up, CHAOS WINS!
Winners: Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii, by pinfall; now 3-2, GOD are now 3-2
Bullet Club as a whole has gone 1-2 on the day! The GOD are sore losers, but they don’t attack the winners, they just break Yano’s KOPW trophy! But Tama and Loa themselves are still in the same boat as Yano and Ishii. Will the Guerrillas be able to get back on track in the second half?
Dangerous Tekkers VS The Empire!
Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. are not happy that they have not just one but two losses on their WTL record! But will they be able to keep it from becoming three when faced with the Dominator and the Hawaiian Hulk?
Taichi gets right in Great-O-Khan’s face as he “sings,” and ZSJ does the same to Jeff Cobb. The second the song ends, Khan Mongolian CHOPS Taichi down and Cobb DECKS ZSJ! Cobb headbutts ZSJ out of the ring and the bell rings. The Empire goes after the Tekkers with more headbutts and forearms! Cobb drags ZSJ up and DECKS him wiht a right! Khan bumps Taichi off the apron and Cobb brings ZSJ around to throw another forearm! Cobb headbutts ZSJ in the back! Khan throws Taichi around while Cobb CLUBS ZSJ down. Fans clap as ZSJ hits back with low headbutts. Khan whips Taichi to railing, then regroups with Cobb.
The Empire puts ZSJ in, Cobb throws more forearms on him. ZSJ gets to an open corner and Cobb RAMS a shoulder in. Cobb whips ZSJ corner to corner. ZSJ goes up and over and gets around to get the cobra twist, but Cobb hip tosses him off right away! ZSJ fires up to throw EuroUppers! Cobb waistlocks but ZSJ slips out to get the IRON OCTOPUS! The fans cheer but Cobb powers out to spin ZSJ around, but ZSJ gets a guillotine instead! ZSJ has the body scissors, too, but Cobb puts him on the top rope! Cobb lets off but ZSJ boots him away! ZSJ leaps on for a guillotine, but Cobb SUPLEXES him away! Tag to Khan and Khan CLOBBERS Taichi off the apron!
Khan gut wrenches ZSJ up for a DROP! Khan stomps all over ZSJ and ZSJ gets to a corner. But it’s The Empire’s corner! Khan stomps him down and grinds his boot in! Taichi runs at Khan and claws at Khan’s face! Khan pushes him away to DECK him! Khan scrapes Taichi out and then tags in Cobb. Cobb clubs ZSJ then bumps him off buckles. Cobb stomps a mudhole into ZSJ, then backs off. Red Shoes checks on ZSJ but Khan taunts him. Cobb has ZSJ in chicken wings and tags in Khan. The Empire mugs ZSJ, and Khan taunts ZSJ more. Khan drags ZSJ up to waistlock but ZSJ flails and kicks, only for Khan to ram him into buckles! Khan sits on ZSJ in the corner and taunts Taichi!
Red Shoes has to keep Taichi back, Khan pulls ZSJ’s arms back. Red Shoes counts, Khan jumps down and ZSJ flounders. Khan keeps ZSJ from Taichi and tags Cobb back in. The Empire mugs ZSJ as Cobb headbutts, but ZSJ rolls for his corner! Cobb intercepts and DECKS ZSJ! Cobb whips ZSJ to an open corner hard! ZSJ still tries to make his way to Taichi but Cobb covers, TWO! Cobb keeps ZSJ down, brings him around, then clubs him down. Cobb tags Khan, they mug ZSJ more, then Khan scoops ZSJ. ZSJ flails but Khan still SLAMS him down! Khan looms over ZSJ but ZSJ kicks back. ZSJ throws EuroUppers as fans rally up but Khan doesn’t even flinch.
Khan pushes ZSJ but ZSJ EuroUppers! That one Khan felt! Khan Mongolian CHOPS ZSJ down! Khan whips ZSJ to a corner, ZSJ goes up and gets a TORNADO DDT! Fans fire up while both men are down! ZSJ crawls but so does Khan, hot tags to Taichi and Cobb! Taichi dodges Cobb to choke him! Cobb throws forearms but Taichi chokes him again! Cobb spins Taichi for a waistlock, Taichi elbows free then dodges to waistlock back. Cobb is too big for the saido and he elbows free. Cobb runs but Taichi BOOTS him! AX BOMBER, but Cobb doesn’t budge! Cobb runs Taichi over with a shoulder! Fans cheer the feat of strength while Taichi gets to a corner.
Cobb runs in but Taichi dodges the flying elbow, to GAMANGIRI! Taichi waistlocks for DANGEROUS SAIDO! Fans rally while both men are down, and Taichi sits up first. Taichi takes off the pants! Taichi aims from the corner, dares Cobb to get up, but Cobb deflects the kick! Cobb ROCKS Taichi with a right but Taichi comes back! Cobb blocks the kick to spin Taichi into the ATHLETIC PLEX! Both men are down again but Cobb crawls and tags in Khan. Khan stalks Taichi and talks trash as he grinds Taichi’s head into his boot. Taichi powers up against Khan’s grip, but Khan knees low! And again! Taichi gets angry but the Mongolian CHOP knocks him down!
Khan runs but Taichi dodges to AX BOMBER! Khan is folded up and fans fire up! Taichi tags in ZSJ! The Submission Master BOOTS Khan, Khan growls so ZSJ boots him again! Khan rebounds, ZSJ dodges but ZSJ runs into the judo throw! Cobb returns and the Empire drags ZSJ up. The Empire double whip him corner to corner, Khan whips Cobb in and Cobb hits the flying elbow! Cobb gut wrench suplexes ZSJ, then Khan gut wrench suplexes ZSJ the other way! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as ZSJ survives but Khan gets frustrated. Khan drags ZSJ up, whips him to a corner and follows up with the clothesline from behind!
Khan puts ZSJ up top to Mongolian CHOP! Khan puts ZSJ in the Tree of Woe and digs his boot in! Red Shoes counts, Khan stomps, then runs corner to corner. Taichi gets in as Khan returns, for a sobat and ROUNDHOUSE! Taichi DECKS Cobb, frees ZSJ and the Tekkers go after Khan, PENALTY KICK! Cover but Cobb breaks it! Cobb fires forearms on the Tekkers then whips ZSJ for a TOUR- Tilt-o-whirl! ZSJ has a sleeper, then spins him around! Taichi aims, but ZSJ can’t suplex Cobb! ZSJ EuroUppers Cobb into Taichi’s BOOT! ZSJ scoops but Cobb topples him over! Khan CLOBBERS Taichi, Cobb dead lifts and pops ZSJ up for a suplex!
Fans cheer the incredible strength and Khan looks to finish this! Eliminator claw, but ZSJ armbar counters! ZSJ drags Khan into a triangle hold, but Khan dead lifts! Cobb and Taichi brawl on the outside as Khan claws ZSJ’s face! Khan hands ZSJ off to Cobb but ZSJ slips out to shove Cobb into TENSHO JUJIHOU SUPERKICK! Khan returns and CLAWS Taichi’s face! Taichi drops to a knee, but Khan brings him up, only for Taichi to CHOKE Khan! It’s a choke versus the iron claw! But ZSJ wrenches and PELES, Taichi ROUNDHOUSES! EuroUpper, ZACK MEPHISTO!! Cover, the Tekkers win!!
Winner: Dangerous Tekkers, by pinfall; now 3-2, The Empire is now 3-2
The champions conquer the Empire! And more importantly, they keep from owing another title match! Then, in very Suzuki-Gun fashion, Taichi adds insult to injury as he returns the favor to Khan! He grinds Khan’s face into his boot! Taichi has a good laugh and lets off before Cobb gets back in. The champions are feeling great, but can they make a comeback and be top of the league?
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI VS SANADA & Shingo Takagi!
The Fierce Warrior and Head Hunter broke even, but the Cold Skull and Dragon have been on a roll. Will Chaos’ other combination come to a Skull End against the calm and the fury of LIJ?
The entrance attire is put aside and the teams sort out. Goto starts against Takagi in a NEVER Openweight Championship rematch. Fans cheer and rally already as the two circle. They tie up, Goto headlocks, grinds Takagi down, but Takagi powers out and pulls Goto’s hair. Takagi headlocks, Goto powers out and the two ram shoulders. Takagi eggs Goto on so Goto runs and shoulders him again. Neither budges, they each egg the other on, but Goto runs, only for Takagi to elbow him! Takagi runs, shoulders Goto but Goto rebounds to run him over! Tag to Hashi and Chaos drags Takagi up to double whip. They double shoulder Takagi down, then hip toss senton! Hashi covers, ONE!
Fans cheer and Hashi stomps Takagi to ropes. Hashi stomps Takagi more, brings him up and clubs him again. Takagi hits Goto but Hashi clubs Takagi. Hashi throws a forearm but Takagi throws it back. They go back and forth, fast and furious and fans rally up! There’s no stopping but Hashi does body shot and CHOP! Hashi runs, Sanada gets a cheap shot in! Takagi runs but Goto gets a cheap shot in! Hashi elbows Sanada away, Goto and Hashi double whip Takagi but Takagi holds ropes. Takagi boots Goto, runs Hashi over, then hip tosses Goto onto Hashi! Takagi adds a back senton and fans cheer! Takagi drags Hashi up and Sanada whips Goto into railing! Takagi throws Hashi out to then whip him into railing, too!
Sanada digs his knee into Goto at railing while Hashi writhes. Fans rally up and Takagi drags Hashi up. Takagi RAMS Hashi into the apron, puts him in the ring, then drags him back up for a motorcycle stretch. Sanada tags in and LIJ mugs Hashi. LIJ double whip, Takagi knees and rolls Hashi for Sanada’s basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Sanada keeps on Hashi with a chinlock but Goto talks trash. Sanada lets off of Hashi to stomp him down! Sanada brings Hashi up to CLUB the bad arm! Sanada wrenches Hashi, tags Takagi, and Takagi CLUBS the bad arm. Takagi drags Hashi up and brings him around but Hashi throws body shots.
Takagi knees and whips Hashi to run him over! Then Takagi CLOBBERS Goto off the apron! Fans cheer while Takagi drags Hashi back up. Takagi suplexes Hashi high and fast! Cover, Goto breaks it! Goto coaches Hashi up but Takagi drags Hashi over to feed to Sanada’s knee. Sanada tags in, knees Hashi to a corner, but Hashi forearms back. Hashi CHOPS, Sanada grits his teeth and Hashi CHOPS again! And again! Sanada clubs the bad arm, whips Hashi corner to corner, but blocks Hashi’s boot. Sanada drags Hashi into Paradise! Takagi DECKS Goto for good measure as fans rally up. Sanada encourages them to get louder, and they do, then Sanada dropkicks Hashi out of Paradise! Cover, TWO!
Sanada drags Hashi up but Hashi resists the suplex. Sanada still gets Hashi up but Hashi fights back, to suplex Sanada instead! Fans rally as both men are down! Sanada and Hashi crawl, hot tag to Takagi! Takagi stops Hashi and clubs his bad shoulder. Takagi whips Hashi to a corner, blocks the boot and clotheslines! Takagi runs, Hashi dodges, HEADHUNTER! Hot tag to Goto and he rallies on LIJ! Takagi kicks Goto then runs, but Goto follows to LARIAT! Fans fire up with Goto as he has Takagi in a corner. Goto whips corner to corner then follows up with MURAMASA! And BULLDOG! Cover, TWO!
Goto keeps on Takagi as he brings him up, fireman’s carries, but Takagi slips off. Goto elbows out of the waistlock and then out of a fireman’s carry! Takagi fights off the dragon sleeper to run and SLIDING LARIAT! Both men are down and fans fire up! Takagi fires up and fans clap with “OI! OI! OI!” Takagi drags Goto up, Goto forearms but Takagi hits back! Takagi eggs Goto on and the two brawl back and forth! Takagi headbutts, whips, but Goto reverses! Goto runs in to clothesline! Goto keeps moving but Takagi elbows, JABS, and spins Goto around to DDT! Tag to Sanada as fans rally up.
LIJ double whip Goto and Sanada elbows, Takagi blindside clotheslines and Sanada kicks. LIJ combines for a DROPKICK BACK SUPLEX! Cover, TWO! Sanada keeps his cool and drags Goto up. Sanada fireman’s carries but Goto fights out. Sanada kicks and whips but Goto reverses. Goto runs but Sanada elbows him away. Sanada Quebrada but Goto gets clear to HEAD SHOT! Fans rally up, Goto hot tags Hashi! Hashi runs in at Sanada to CHOP! Hashi whips to CHOP and mule kick, then he hangs Sanada out to dry! Hashi runs and dropkicks Sanada down! Hashi keeps moving to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO!
Fans fire up and Hashi DECKS Takagi off the apron. Hashi drags Sanada up and fans rally. Hashi reels Sanada in, Sanada huricanranas out of the bomb, to swing into the spinning back kick! Goto returns, fireman’s carries, SUPERKICK USHIGOROSHI! Then the METEORA! Cover, Takagi breaks it! Goto goes after Takgi but Takagi fires off on him and Hashi! Chaos hits back, double whips, but Takagi holds ropes. Chaos blocks his double clotheslines to double kick back, and then Hashi turns Takagi for GOTO BUSTER! Goto and Hashi drag Sanada up, bring him up but Sanada fights out and suplexes. Goto suplexes Sanada, Hashi holds Sanada up, G Y R!! Cover, TWO!!
Sanada survives and fans fire up again! Goto drags Sanada back up and dragon sleepers. Hashi brings Sanada up again but Takagi saves him! Goto knees Takagi but double clotheslines collide, and collide again! Goto swats Takagi away but spins to LEFT HAND LARIAT! But Hashi LARIATS Takagi! Sanada kicks Hashi and whips, but Hashi reverses! Sanada tumbles out, springboards back in and missile dropkicks! All four men are down but the fans fire up! LIJ sits up first and fans clap “L I J” for them. Takagi and Sanada bring Hashi up, double whip him corner to corner, then elbow and clothesline! Boot and clothesline, to MAGIC SCREW! Cover, but Goto breaks it!
Takagi drags Goto out to bump him off the apron. Sanada scoops Hashi for a backbreaker! Sanada goes up top, MOONSAULT, but Hashi dodges! Goto sends Takagi into railing, Sanada runs in but Hashi boots him. Hashi runs at Sanada but Sanada spins him for SHIRANUI, to DRAGON SLEEPER! Hashi endures but Goto gets in to dragon sleeper Sanada! Hashi picks Sanada up, Takagi stops that! Goto and Hashi are shoved into each other, DOUBLE LARIATS! Takagi PUMPING BOMBERS Goto out of the ring! Sanada EuroUppers Hashi, Takagi PUMPING BOMBERS, but Hashi stays up!? Hashi shoves Takagi into Sanada then SUPERKICKS!
Hashi runs, Takagi clotheslines him at ropes! Takagi keeps moving, PUMPING BOMBER!! Sanada drags Hashi up, T K O! Cover, TWO!! Hashi survives but Sanada says he’ll end it! Takagi sends GOto into railing for good measure while Sanada dragon sleepers. But Hashi spins through to cradle! TWO, Hashi scoops but Sanada slips out to dragon sleeper, but Hashi victory rolls! TWO!! Hashi swings into an O’Conner roll, but he switches to roll Sanada! TWO!!! Sanada is in a corner, he elbows Hashi then QUEBRADA, to dragon sleeper! Hashi endures, Takagi and Goto still brawl as the SKULL SWING becomes SKULL END!! Hashi flails and kicks while Takagi and Goto brawl, HASHI TAPS! LIJ WINS!
Winners: Sanada & Shingo Takagi, by submission; now 4-1, Goto & Hashi are now 2-3
Los Ingobernables de Japon are the top of the block! No other team is doing better! Sanada looks to be leaving, but he’s actually fetching the mic! Fans clap “L I J!” or perhaps “SA-NA-DA!” Sanada says, “Me and TKG here are taking this year’s World Tag League. Everone here in Koriyama, it’s been a year, but why don’t we try it?” It takes a moment, but the lights go down and the “stars” come out. “This is the last time for NJPW in the Tohoku region this year, so this is my gift to you. Oi, Koriyama! See you next time.” Will LIJ stay hot and take the league?
Here are the NEW World Tag League standings!
SANADA & Shingo Takagi: 4-1
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii: 3-2
The Dangerous Tekkers: 3-2
Guerrillas of Destiny: 3-2
The Empire: 3-2
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi: 3-2
YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto: 2-3
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens: 1-4
A really good round for WTL, with some wild surprises! I did not think Fale and Owens would get a win off, well, anyone. But to get a win off last year’s winners is even bigger! That could be the spoiler right there, keeping FinJuice from being a possibility as the winner now. HenarACE finally getting on the board is great, too, especially over Evil and Yujiro. That isn’t enough to say it was a spoiler win, but it was still great to see. Yano and Ishii getting that win over GOD was a great surprise, but even more surprising was that the trophy broke. I wonder if Yano’s replacement is something bigger and goofier than what it was, or if it’s just the old trophy put together with tape. That latter possibility might even be more on brand for Yano, actually.
We got great matches out of Tekkers VS Empire and Chaos VS LIJ. Empire looked very strong again but it was of necessity in the big picture that Tekkers won. They can’t owe three teams a match when WrestleKingdom is only two nights. Then, LIJ standing atop the entire thing as the only 4-1 team is great stuff. I was saying with the Summer Struggle and G1 Climax that Sanada needs to have something while everyone else in LIJ either has or is on track for something else. Naito with the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships, Takagi with the NEVER Openweight Championship, and then at least Hiromu Takahashi going back for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, Sanada could use some direction for being as popular as he is with the fans.
My Score: 9/10
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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