Who gains a WarGames advantage?
Before stepping back inside the dangerous double-ring, double-cage at NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2020, the Undisputed Era will choose one of their own to fight against one of the Kings of NXT!
- Candice LeRae w/ Indi Hartwell VS Ember Moon; LeRae wins.
- Timothy Thatcher VS KUSHIDA; KUSHIDA wins.
- Cameron Grimes VS Jake Atlas; Grimes wins.
- Ever-Rise VS ???; No Contest.
- WarGames Advantage Ladder Match: The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly VS The King of NXT’s Pete Dunne; Dunne wins and their team will have advantage in the WarGames match.
PLAY BY PLAY
Eight fighters. Two teams of four.
We all know how this goes now! Adam Cole practically begged William Regal to say it. WARGAMES!! The Undisputed Era and the Kings of NXT are going inside that sadistic structure, who will be able to walk out of it?
Kevin Owens returns to NXT for commentary!
While Wade Barrett is away, the Prizefighter joins Vic Joseph at the desk and he is glad to be back.
Candice LeRae w/ Indi Hartwell VS Ember Moon!
The Poison Pixie and her Impressive sidekick will surely both be going to war against Team Shotzi at WarGames, but they still need to find others to join them. They didn’t endear themselves to the evolved Ember with a sneak attack last week. Will Captain Candice be banged up even before the battle with Blackheart?
Ember wants after Candice already but the ref keeps the peace. Indi gets out of the ring, the bell sounds and Candice avoids Ember by staying in ropes. The ref backs Ember off but Ember dares Candice to do something. Candice stays back as fans rally, “Let’s Go, Ember!” Candice runs away from Ember again to go into ropes at a corner. Ember grows annoyed but that seems to be the point. Candice and Indi talk strategy but Ember dropkicks them both down! Candice bails out, Ember pursues and they get back in the ring. Candice swings but Ember ducks to hit a SIDE EFFECT! Candice bails out again but Ember still pursues.
Indi stands in Ember’s way, then dodges her clothesline. Candice slides but Ember catches her to wheelbarrow and throw her into the announce desk! Kevin says hi to Candice while Ember puts her in the ring. Ember then DECKS Indi to teach her to stay back! Ember goes back after Candice but Candice boots her from a corner. Candice climbs but Ember glares, and catches the crossbody! Ember carries Candice around before hitting a FALL AWAY SLAM! Ember fires up and so do the fans! Candice flounders up the ramp and to the stage, but Ember keeps her from leaving! Ember throws forearms to send Candice back to ringside, but the ring count is climbing.
Ember puts Candice in at 5, Candice steps up to senton! Cover, ONE! Candice clubs away on Ember but fans rally up. Candice shoves Ember, drags her up but Ember throws body shots. Candice CLUBS Ember, brings her around for a neck wrench but Ember endures. Fans rally, Ember fights up and fireman’s carries! Candice scrambles around to a sunset, ONE! Ember sits, ONE! Candice sunsets, ONE! ONE, ONE, and Ember PENALTY KICKS! Cover, TWO! Candice flounders to ropes and Indi is concerned but Ember is right after Candice. Ember brings Candice around, suplexes, but Candice blocks. Candice blocks again then cradles, TWO!!
Ember gets up but Candice CLOBBERS her! Cover, TWO! Candice grows frustrated but she clubs away on Ember. Another cover, ONE! Ember crawls to ropes but Candice seethes. Candice drags Ember up by her hair but Ember elbows back hard. Ember scoops but Candice slips out this time to throw Ember down! Cover, TWO! Fans rally and Ember crawls to a corner. Candice stalks over and rams into her! Candice lets off at the ref’s reprimand, but she comes back, only to be sent into buckles! Ember blocks the kick, Candice asks for mercy but Ember slips inside for a T-BONE SUPLEX! Candice goes to ropes, Ember runs and slides out, “Eat it, hussy!” ENZIGURI! Cover, TWO!!
On stage, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez have appeared! #CobraKai and Big Mami Cool head down to reinforce Indi and Candice as NXT goes picture in picture.
Candice wants a timeout, and Ember waits in the ring. It seems Candice has found her full team right there and they all flank the ring. Candice talks some smack as she gets in the ring, but Ember gets around her to get a facelock! Ember cranks on the hold, shifts around and scoops to slam Candice! Cover, TWO! Ember tires again, ONE! Ember stays on Candice with another facelock and cranks harder on the hold. Candice endures while her team coaches her up. Candice stomps Ember’s foot and gets free to then DECK Ember with a right! Candice runs, but Ember trips her up! Ember swipes at Indi, but Indi yanks her down! The ref didn’t see because Dakota and Raquel were distracting him! Candice then WRECKS Ember with a dropkick!
Candice waits for Ember to get up now as a ring count climbs. The count is 5 before Ember stands, and Ember gets in at 7. Candice stomps Ember around then throws haymakers. Cover, TWO! Candice keeps on Ember with another neck wrench. Ember endures, fights up, but Candice CLUBS her down! Candice kicks Ember around and then drags her back into a chinlock. Ember still endures as Candice digs a knee in. Ember fights up but Candice wrangles her back down and thrashes her about. Fans build to a rally as Ember starts to fade.
NXT returns to single picture as Ember gets up again but Candice grinds her down. Ember pries at the hold, but Candice cranks down on her harder! Fans rally more and Ember gets to arm-drag Candice away! Ember reaches up to huricanrana! Candice flounders into a roll up, TWO! Ember scoops Candice but Candice slips out to tilt-o-whirl and takedown! To the GargaNO Escape! Ember endures as Candice cranks and thrashes about, and she rolls Candice to a cover, TWO! Ember powers up, scoops but Candice shifts to a sleeper backpack! Candice squeezes tight and Ember is fading again!
Fans rally up and Ember gets a second wind! Ember hits a BACKPACK SENTON! Dakota is concerned for Candice while Ember goes to ropes. Candice runs in but Ember spins her around to sobat, front kick and enziguri! Candice goes to a corner, Ember runs in for a back body block! And whips the other way for a BIG forearm! Ember snap suplexes, uno amigo! Another suplex, for the GOURD BUSTER! Ember goes to a corner while fans fire up! Ember climbs up, Dakota and Raquel distracts and Indi gets in! INDI gets ECLIPSED! Candice BOOTS Ember down, then gets the arms for WICKED STEP SISTER! Cover, Candice wins!!
Winner: Candice LeRae, by pinfall
It seems #TheJohnnyGarganoWay needs a lot of help to make it work! But if these four are a team for WarGames, they’re already a well-oiled machine. They go after Ember but Ember gets away before getting too beat up! And to reinforce Ember, it’s TONI STORM! The Lightning From Down Under was also sucker punched last week, so she’s not going to let Ember fight this fight alone! They rush the ring, but then Toni SUCKER PUNCHES Ember?! And throws her into steel steps?! Toni feeds Ember to the others! Ember does her best to fight everyone off but Dakota BOOTS her down! Raquel stomps Ember, Candice and Dakota join in! Raquel gives Ember the DESPERADO BOMB!
What is going on with Toni Storm?! She helped Ember last time but leaves her high and dry this time? Is Indi NOT on the WarGames Team, in place of this new Toni?
The Undisputed Era arrives!
They already plan to go right from parking lot to the ring! Will we learn who their representative in the advantage match is after the break?
NXT hears from El Legado del Fantasma.
Santos Escobar says this started because they were going to rewrite the history of Lucha Libre in his image. Joaquin Wilde quotes Escobar’s own words, “We’re going to take the division from the side show to the main show.” Raul Mendoza says the NXT Cruiserweight Championship was finally on a TakeOver! This has been their year. Their careers have all taken off together, as they’ve taken out everyone. Jake Atlas, Ashante “Thee” Adonis, and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Swerve hasn’t been around, he might’ve retired. Heck, he’s just a podcast host now. They are literally the talk of the wrestling world.
But then who is next? Something about this “Chris Stallion” or something. He’ll be a “huge” challenge. But the difference between then and everyone else is that when they say they’re going to do something, it gets done. But are they overlooking Curt Stallion a little too much?
The Undisputed Era heads to the ring!
Adam Cole leads the way as he, Roderick Strong, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly are back again. McAfee said on his podcast today that he wouldn’t be here tonight, but claims it’s because of Thanksgiving tomorrow, and because he’s more than confident Pete Dunne will “beat the hell” out of whoever is against him tonight. McAfee knows the Kings of NXT will get advantage so that McAfee’s team can beat down on UE each and every round.
But here at the Capitol Wrestling Center, and Cole asks, “Boy sand girls, do we look dead to you?” For weeks, McAfee bragged how he and his crew “killed” the UE and took over. How many times have they heard that? People claiming they’d take out the UE and then fail. Now don’t get Cole wrong, he respects that McAfee gave them a dose of their own medicine. But McAfee has no idea what he’s dealing with> Cole wishes McAfee wasn’t a “giant coward” so he could say this to his face. But the only thing more fun than kicking McAfee square in the jaw will be in two weeks. They will be face to face, locked inside the cage, and McAfee will realize he is in the match the UE made FAMOUS in NXT! “I can’t freakin’ wait until you are trapped inside the WarGames.”
Kyle wants us to remember something. How fun was “kicking the ever loving crap” out of them all? Most fun in a long time. Nothing is more fun than beating up Oney. But hey, it’s WarGames in just two weeks. The UE will focus on tonight. Tonight is the advantage match, with btw, UE is undefeated in! So McAfee and his “goons” put up Pete Dunne to fight for them. Sadly for Dunne, he doesn’t know who he’s facing tonight. Kyle tells the guys that we all saw Halloween Havoc. Kyle NEEDS to fight Dunne tonight. Fans like that idea, and Cole says he’s good with that. So are Fish and Strong.
Cole loves the idea, actually. He loves “Angry Kyle.” Dunne, this is who you are facing! ANGRY Kyle O’Reilly! This is the Kyle who took out the NXT Champion! The Kyle that Dunne hit with a chair! A different Kyle O’Reilly! And in two weeks, the “Kings” face a different UE! It has been too long. They’ve fought for titles, bragging rights, but this time, “we are fighting to drag the four of you through absolute hell!!” The UE will prove who the hell they are!! And at WarGames, the UE will take the Kings through a war and make sure that they are never, ever the same. “And that is Undisputed!” Will Kyle get just a semblance of revenge before going to war?
Backstage interview with Candice LeRae.
Can Candice speak to what happened with Toni Storm out there/ Candice wants a second alone with Dakota and Raquel first. Ahem, leave. Candice talks with them and asks if they’re in. Yes, they’re in. Sweet! And now to McKenzie’s question. First, here is her WarGames team. Raquel, Dakota, and yes, Toni Storm. Toni said she was going to be a “whole new Toni Storm.” So are they cool? Candice says they are. But have they only just lit a fire inside Ember?
The Thatch As Thatch Can “students” are eagerly watching.
After everything the Professor of Pain has put them through, August Grey and his “classmates” are ready to watch Thatcher learn something from the Time Splitter! Will Thatcher be able to bully someone on the same level as him? Or is Kushida actually a level above?
Timothy Thatcher VS KUSHIDA!
NXT returns as Thatcher paces in the ring. Kushida makes his entrance and then Tommaso Ciampa quietly makes his way down the ramp with a chair. Ciampa just wants a front row seat. The bell rings and Thatcher keeps his eyes on Kushida as they circle. Kushida goes for a leg, Thatcher keeps him away and facelocks. Kushida gets around but Thatcher gets the arm to a double wristlock. Kushida blocks that, gest around but Thatcher throws him down. Thatcher is still after that hold but shifts to chicken wings. Kushida hooks a leg and drags Thatcher down to a toehold. Thatcher moves around to get a wrist then the facelock. Cover, ONE, and Kushida gets away.
Fans cheer as things reset, and Kushida kicks a leg while also dropping down. Thatcher kicks at the leg guard but Kushida kicks back. Kushida gets up to throw hands but Thatcher uppercuts! Kushida fast ball but Thatcher dodges to clinch and BELLY2BELLY! Cover, ONE! Thatcher has a foot and gets a heel hook, but Kushida kicks him again. Thatcher drops down to grapevine the heel hook but fans rally as Kushida endures. Kushida counters to figure four the legs to a deathlock! Kushida bends back to a MUDA LOCK! Thatcher endures, pries at Kushida’s chin, and now Thatcher has a cravat!
Kushida moves around and throws hands but Thatcher EuroUppers! Thatcher throws more EuroUppers, Kushida KICKS the leg! Thatcher whips but Kushida blocks the hip toss to give a hip toss! Cartwheel and basement dropkick! Thatcher goes to the apron, and catches the handspring kick to a HANGING HEEL HOOK! The ref counts, Thatcher lets go at 4! Kushida clutches his ankle while Thatcher smirks, and NXT goes to break.
NXT returns and Kushida kicks Thatcher off another heel hook! Fans rally for “N X T!” as Kushida throws body shots! Thatcher throws forearms but Kushida fires off palm strikes and kicks! Kushida backs Thatcher down, KICKS the leg but Thatcher blocks, so Kushida SLAPS! Thatcher ROCKS Kushida with a EuroUpper, then hooks him up! Kushida fights off the butterfly and wrenches out to get the HOVERBOARD! Thatcher gets out of the body scissors but Kushida still has the arm! Kushida tries to get leverage on the Kimura but Thatcher arm triangles! Kushida flails, kicks, rolls back and slips out to get the arm! Thatcher throws forearms, Kushida FAST BALLS!
Thatcher wobbles but swings a EuroUpper, into the BACKSLIDE! TWO! Kushida standing Danielson Stomps! And then gets Thatcher down for more! Fans are thunderous as Kushida gets the Kimura again! Thatcher clasps hands as he resists but Kushida keeps cranking! Kushida wrenches the arm around but Thatcher blocks again! Kushida stomps but Thatcher rolls Kushida to get his own double wristlock! Kushida endures now, Thatcher pushes as much as he can but Kushida sits up! The two struggle for top control and Kushida gets around to an ARMBAR! Thatcher clasps hands again as fans are thunderous!
Thatcher tries to roll but Kushida rolls him back! And back the other way, and Thatcher has the ANKLE LOCK! Kushida drops to ANKLE LOCK back! Kushida drags Thatcher from ropes but Thatcher rolls to victory roll but Kushida rolls up, to BRIDGE! TWO, and into a sleeper! They roll around, Thatcher has body scissors but Kushida moves around! Kushida throws Thatcher off to go for his own sleeper, but Thatcher slips out! Thatcher catches Kushida again but Kushida ELBOW BREAKERS! Thatcher still holds on but Kushida runs to throw him out! Thatcher hits the floor, Kushida goes out after him. Thatcher body shots, glares at Ciampa, but runs at Kushida. Kushida dodges and Thatcher POSTS himself! Kushida hits an ARMBAR BULLDOG!
Fans are thunderous as Kushida drags Thatcher away. Kushida gets in at 7 and PENALTY KICKS the arm! Thatcher EuroUppers with the other arm! Kushida KICKS, Thatcher KNEES! Thatcher BUTTERFLY SUPLEXES! Now Ciampa gets up, and that spooks Thatcher! Kushida drags Thatcher down to the wristlock! Kushida gets the HOVERBOARD, and Thatcher TAPS!! Kushida wins!!
Winner: KUSHIDA, by submission
Thatcher tapped out!? He glares at Ciampa, perhaps blaming his presence. Ciampa goes to the camera and says, “Maybe he has a problem with me now?” Ciampa wants tough guys to put up and shut up, but actions speak louder than words. Will Thatcher have actions to speak for him against Ciampa?
Io Shirai and Rhea Ripley reflect on their title match.
The Mosh Pit Kid says, “Rhea Ripley, Io Shirai, it doesn’t get any bigger than that.” Neither one wanted to wait for TakeOver, so it happened. Shirai says Rhea was her biggest challenge, and hit her so hard she could barely stand. Rhea gives credit to Shirai for taking an ass kicking. The doctor wanted to stop the match but Shirai wasn’t going to let it end like that. Shirai doesn’t quit, she wins. And the battle raged on, and got rather bloody for Rhea’s one ear. Rhea still can’t feel that right arm, either. Dr. Jeffrey Westerfield knows the NXT Women’s Division is hard hitting, but that match took it to another level.
The table was destroyed, but almost destroyed Rhea. Rhea refused to be counted out, but then she couldn’t get up before the moonsault hit. And then that was that, Shirai retained. Westerfield says it is amazing either woman got back up at all. They are warriors. They might not like each other, but they respect each other. Rhea wonders where she goes from here, and doesn’t have an answer yet. But she will be live later tonight! Will she have that answer by then?
Backstage interview with Dunne, Lorcan and Burch.
Now that they know Kyle O’Reilly is stepping up for the Undisputed Era, how do they feel about the match? “I saw what Kyle O’Reilly did to Finn Balor. He broke his jaw, he put him out for two months.” That was impressive. But if it were Dunne, Balor would’ve been out for two years. Oney says that’s right! They don’t know if McKenzie knows, but the UE have never lost at WarGames. Dunne will change that. The bottom line to Burch is that they can do anything better than UE. They broke the UE once, and Dunne will break their spirits tonight, to finish the job at WarGames. But will they find Kyle is the unbreakable cornerstone of the Undisputed Era?
NXT presents the Kevin Owens Show!
Kevin wasn’t just back for commentary tonight! He might even be a referee or bell keeper, but the point is, Kevin will always accept an invitation back. Tonight’s guest probably, no definitely had the biggest night of his career a couple weeks ago. And that man is the new North American Champion, LEON RUFF! The underdog champion makes his way out and feels amazing already! He even has a nice new suit to wear to his first KO Show! Kevin hands him a mic and then shakes his hand. Kevin thanks Leon for being here and Leon says it is a pleasure. They take a seat in the armchairs, and Kevin says he was already coming back to be on commentary. But after seeing what Leon’s done, he thought he should have a KO Show so we can all hear Leon’s story and his message.
Leon smiles as the fans cheer, and he says he’s wanted to be a superstar his entire life. He signed to NXT just seven weeks ago, and then boom, he’s winning the North American Championship. Kevin has the footage replay when Leon shocked the world. The belt didn’t quite fit but Leon has done his best since to adjust. “That moment is so embarrassing.” No, that’s fine. The title belt slipped on Kevin once, too. Leon cracks up, he loves Kevin. But KO remembers what his first NXT title was like. Can Leon express what it feels for him? To have this title is a “Yes” for every “No” he’d gotten. From being told no one would take him serious or that he should give up now, he feels like he’s finally overcome that to inspire those just like him.
Kevin hears all that, but he can’t help but notice… Leon should be very proud. It wasn’t easy for Kevin to get to WWE and be a superstar, either. Leon should be proud of his accomplishments. Fans chant, “You Deserve It!” Leon says he wants to inspire others that you can accomplish something if you put your mind to it. Kevin agrees, but he isn’t sure Leon has the right conviction. Because people back there who don’t have the title, if they see vulnerability, they will exploit it. You need to believe in yourself! You’re North American Champion! YEAH! He did become champion! HE DID! HYAH, he kicks the chair! Leon beat Johnny Gargano once, he can do it again!
Kevin face palms. Oh sorry, is it the chair? No, it’s not the chair. Leon, you haven’t done the KO Show before, but y’see, when you say someone’s name on here, there’s a good chance they’ll come out now. Almost always. In fact, surely he’s getting to gorilla right about… Now? Yep. Here comes Gargano! And Gargano is definitely upset. “Did you just say you beat Johnny Gargano? Are you kidding me?! Is this a prank show?” Is Kutcher gonna pop out of a pod. Timely reference, Johnny. Thanks! But Leon probably won’t get it because he’s a CHILD! Gargano says if Leon wants to be an inspiration then fine. Kevin gets a third chair for Gargano so he can sit. That’s what being a good host is. Thanks, but he doesn’t want it!! Gargano chucks the chair!
Wait, another chair? Well this one isn’t for him. This is just a hunch. Gargano doesn’t care about chairs! He tells Leon to “inspire” people to tell the truth! Tell the world that Gargano is the REAL champion, and that the only reason Ruff has the title is because of that “fake arrow shooting idiot, Damian Priest!” Kevin says he just explained the KO Show jinx! Great, here we go. Three, two, one… Oh wow maybe NXT is- DARN IT. Here comes the Archer of Infamy! “Surprise, surprise!” Priest knew Johnny Wheel o’ Fortune would complain. There has to come a day, even for a moment, when Gargano comes to terms with reality. The reality is that Leon is better than him. No he’s not!
Kevin has everyone wait a moment. Does Priest want a chair? No he’s fine. Then why did Kevin bother…? Priest says that “little homie” Leon beat Gargano twice. Because of Priest! As a matter of fact, if Ruff goes 1v1 with Gargano, Gargano will be champion again! Gargano will show Leon is both a fluke and a joke! Then he shoves him into a chair! Ruff gets up in Gargano’s face but Priest says that before Ruff beats up “Johnny Chokes-a-lot,” maybe Priest should get his rematch for the title. Wasn’t it Ruff in his “tough guy moment” that said he’d fight both Priest and Gargano? Kevin can’t believe it! It just hit him. Just a shame we don’t have like Teddy Long here to make a Triple Threat. But if only we had our version of that! Right? No? Oh here he comes! William Regal is here!
The NXT General Manager is on stage and he says that in two weeks, at TakeOver: WarGames, it will be Ruff VS Gargano VS Priest for the North American Championship! “Playa.” Holla holla, Regal made it official! But has Ruff just gone from underdog champion to someone without a snowball’s chance in hell?
NXT hears from Finn Balor.
“Last week, I laid the groundwork for war. So go ahead, prepare for war. Fight the war. And whoever wins the war, some advice: Don’t put checkers on my chessboard. The cat is back, so stop playing in my kitty litter. Anyone with a problem, I’m not hard to find. The champion works Wednesdays.” Who has the mettle to survive the steel structure, to then head for the Prince’s gold?
NXT hears from Shotzi Blackheart.
“As you enter battle, you have to ask yourself, ‘What’s the best part of war?’ Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentation of the crowd.” Shotzi is still working on rebuilding her weapon. Will it be ready in time for WARGAMES?!
Cameron Grimes VS Jake Atlas!
The Carolina Caveman tried to cheat his way through the Blindfold Match with Dexter Lumis, but the Tortured Artist saw through that. But now Grimes is trying to move past the trauma. Will he do so at the expense of the former Cruiserweight contender?
The bell rings and Grimes ties up with Atlas. Grimes headlocks, Atlas powers out, but Grimes runs him over. Grimes fires up, runs but Atlas hurdles and drops down to then get around and springboard arm-drag! Grimes flounders to a corner, Atlas runs in but Grimes boot shim away! Grimes puts Atlas in the corner but blocks boots only for Atlas to springboard arm-drag again! Atlas runs in but into a fireman’s carry attempt. Atlas fights that off but Grimes switches to a waistlock and GERMAN! Cover, TWO! Atlas flounders, Grimes knees him down at the ropes and in the corner. Grimes stomps and kicks Atlas then kicks more! The ref counts and Grimes lets off.
Grimes drags Atlas up but the ref reprimands. Grimes whips, Atlas kicks then swings, but into a scoop. Atlas slips off to throw forearms. Grimes gives them back and the two brawl. Atlas whips, Grimes holds ropes and kicks the back drop away. Atlas gets a takedown to jackknife, TWO! Grimes swings, Atlas dodges to GERMAN Grimes back! Grimes gets up, Atlas DECKS him! Cover, TWO!! Atlas works to keep calm, he brings Grimes up but Grimes breaks free to SUPER FOREARM! Atlas BOOTS back, then runs, but Grimes dodges. They keep going, COLLISION COURSE! Grimes shouts he’s going “TO THE MOON~,” then whips Atlas, and hits the CAVE-IN! Cover, Grimes wins!
Winner: Cameron Grimes, by pinfall
Grimes fetches his hat and says just like that, he gets a win and is heading to… the… moon~! But then DEXTER LUMIS appears! Grimes freaks out and runs for it! Lumis has one of those blindfold bags. And he points to the screens. A doodle pops up. “This is Cameron Grimes. See Grimes run. And run. And run.” It’s highlights from the Haunted House match! Grimes wants to leave but the video is playing everywhere. And out of the blindfold bag… IS A STRAP!! Lumis wants a strap match with Grimes so that Grimes can’t run away! Grimes says no no, but he’s not the one who makes the decisions around here. Will Grimes have no choice but to face his fears?
NXT Media catches up with Grimes.
Given what we saw before the break, is Grimes still afraid of Lumis? Afraid?! He ain’t afraid! He just has places he has to be. But Regal is here and he saw what just happened. Fans want to see Grimes face Lumis one more time, and Lumis’ idea sounds great. It will be a strap match at TakeOver! Grimes asks why Regal hates him so much. Regal says it’s probably his personality.
Rhea Ripley is in the ring!
“Man, I just want to say that Io Shirai is one of the toughest women I’ve stepped into this ring with. But y’know, after last Wednesday, there’s been a bit of speculation going around.” Friends, family, fans and fellow superstars all wonder what is next for her. Yes, they have a reason to wonder. But she’ll explain something about that hug. That was about respect for Shirai. They really do respect each other. But it wasn’t a send-off party or whatever. Rhea is here to stay, focused on one thing: getting back to the NXT Women’s Championship.
But then Candice comes out with Toni to interrupt. How cute is Rhea? She’s talking about the title like it’s hers. Tell them how much harder she’ll try next time. Rhea tells Candice to shut up and get in the ring then. But the difference between Rhea and Shirai is that Shirai stole things from Candice, but she beat Rhea all alone. Aside from that, the biggest difference here is that Rhea talks, talks, talks, but she can’t seem to back it up. Candice, however, can talk the talk, and walk the walk. Raquel is carrying Shirai out like a sack o’ potatoes! They set Shirai down on the ramp and taunt Rhea. But then they flank the ring, too! Rhea is ready, but she then slides out to BOOT Raquel! And DECK Dakota! Now it’s just 2v1 with Toni and Candice!
But Dakota and Raquel get up! Raquel RAMS Rhea to a corner! Rhea HEADBUTTS back! Dakota runs in but Rhea throws her away! Candice and Toni get Rhea and anchor her! Raquel CLOBBERS Rhea from behind! Fans boo and jeer as the four beat Rhea down! Raquel drags Rhea up and POSTS her! Then POSTS her on the other side! Team Candice decides to leave it at that. But have they just helped Shotzi find two members for the team?
Someone puts Boa and Xia Li in a car!
And a very tired looking Boa and Xia at that. She asks “Where is he taking us?” but the car takes off before an answer is given. They arrive at the Performance Center, where “Shifu” is waiting. He taps the garage door and it slowly opens. Inside, with dim candles and tapestries, is someone they are both very afraid of. They said they tried their best but they will win! They can win! Just give them a chance! ENOUGH! Shifu writes on their hands. “It is time.” The writing compels them. And “she” is coming. But what does all of this mean for NXT?
Ever-Rise VS ???
Chase Parker and Matt Marthel have been on the downswing lately between both NXT and 205 Live, but- Wait, they’re being attacked! It’s the GRIZZLED YOUNG VETERANS, Zack Gibson and James Drake! And Gibson CLOBBERS Marthel while Drake stomps Parker Gibson gets a mike while Drake throws Marthel out, then hits Parker with headlock punches over and over! Gibson says, “In case you have forgotten who we are, I am Liverpool’s Number One, Zack Gibson! This man is James Drake! Together we are Grizzled Young Veterans!” And they are back in NXT, SSSSOOOON to be recognized as NXT’s number one!
And then Drake drags Parker up, and with Gibson, they hit TICKET TO MAYHEM! The fans boo as GYV cools off and puts their suit jackets back on. Will Gibson and Drake make good on their shocking return to the States?
McKenzie finds Candice help Indi to her car.
Can Candice explain her actions tonight? Well okay, for those who missed the memo. “Anybody who is stupid enough to join Shotzi’s team, you’re getting run over.” Team Candice will destroy you, and it starts when Raquel beats Shotzi in their advantage match. Gargano has the car, Candice helps Indi in. See that? General Candice will win, Gargano will win and have his title back. And then WarGames will belong the Gargano Way. Wait, Ghost Face is in the back seat?! There were two of them all along?! If Indi was only one, then who is this?!
WarGames Advantage Ladder Match: The Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly VS The King of NXT’s Pete Dunne!
The angry Kyle has been unleashed, all because of the Bruiserweight’s brutal betrayal! But Dunne claims he’s on McAfee’s team because of his longstanding grudge against the Era. Will Dunne help the Kings take the lead going into the war? Or will he just feel a sampling of what’s coming?
Speaking of sampling, the rest of the teams are in special perches far from ringside. Is this a hint at how WarGames will go down in the CWC? That aside, Kyle makes his entrance, then Dunne, and this pivotal match-up for tactical advantage begins!
Kyle BOOTS, he and Dunne trade haymakers and forearms, then Kyle pops Dunne up for a KICK! Dunne flounders out, throws off the jacket and gets back up, only for Kyle to sweep the legs! Dunne gets up fast but Kyle is watching him closely, and NXT goes to break!
NXT returns again and Kyle has Dunne in a corner. He whips Dunne at a ladder, Dunne reverses but Kyle stops himself. Kyle sees Dunne coming and dodges, to then kitchen sink knee! Dunne bails out again, Kyle pursues, and leaps off the apron, into a BIG KICK! Dunne runs back in but is sent into boards! Kyle returns to the apron and leaps to KNEE Dunne into barriers! Fans fire up as Kyle crawls to the ring, and brings out another ladder! Kyle fumbles with the ladder but Dunne stomps Kyle’s hands on the ladder! Then BUZZSAWS him down!
Dunne drags the ladder up and makes it a bridge between ring and barrier. Dunne then suplexes, but Kyle gets away! Dunne chases Kyle but Kyle tackles him! And catapults him into boards! Fans are thunderous as Kyle has another ladder and puts it in the ring. Kyle stands the ladder up quickly, starts his climb, but Dunne hurries in! Dunne tips the ladder over, and Kyle holds on, so it causes him and the ladder to spiral down! The ladder falls on Kyle, and Dunne just shrugs. Dunne brings the ladder around, stands it back up, and has Kyle inside it! Dunne pulls an arm through the rungs and pulls the other way, way back! Kyle can only endure as Dunne STOMPS the arm into the rung!
Dunne has the ladder STAND on Kyle’s hand while he climbs!! Kyle gets free, and drags a leg of Dunne’s through for a DRAGON SCREW! And then a HANGING LEG LOCK! Dunne fights but Kyle lets go and both men fall over. Kyle gets up, tips the ladder over and storms after Dunne. Kyle whip’s, Dunne walks the ladder to back flip! But the leg jams! Kyle is after the leg but Dunne ENZIGURIS! AND LADDER BOMBS KYLE!! Fans are thunderous for “N X T!” Dunne stalks Kyle to the ropes and to that ladder bridge. Dunne gives Kyle DANIELSON STOMPS into the ladder! Fans boo and jeer but Dunne just soaks up the heat.
Dunne follows Kyle back into the ring but Kyle has the leg again! DRAGON SCREW through the ropes! Dunne holds onto the ropes to stand up but Kyle ROCKS him with a right! Dunne tries to hit back but Kyle ROCKS him again! And KICKS the leg! Kyle throws forearms, Dunne hits back! They’re brawling with the ropes in the way, but Kyle KNEES Dunne back! Dunne holds on, Kyle runs in but Dunne BOOTS! Dunne drags Kyle up, to suplex Kyle and himself through the ladder!! “This is Awesome!” as NXT goes picture in picture!
Both men are down and referees check on them. They’re somehow okay to continue, and Dunne sits up first. Dunne uses what’s left of the ladder to stand up, but Kyle is still down. Dunne gets in the ring, grabs at one of the ladders in there, and stands it up. Dunne begins the climb, and is almost to the top when Kyle returns! Kyle anchors Dunne, Dunne pulls on Kyle’s nose! Dunne DECKS Kyle with a hard forearm, then decides to set the ladder down again. Dunne drags Kyle over by an arm, hammerlocks it so fingers are in the rung, and then STOMPS! Kyle clutches his arm and writhes, but Dunne isn’t done with him.
Dunne puts the arm inside the ladder, but Kyle fights back! Dunne STOMPS away on Kyle to get him to stop fighting back. Dunne brings the ladder open to SLAM it shut on Kyle’s hand!! NXT returns to single picture as Kyle writhes in pain and fans boo Dunne. Dunne ignores all that to get a chair from the timekeeper’s area. Dunne aims but Kyle knees low first! Kyle Ax and- CHAIR! The chair and bad hand meet and chair wins! Dunne pump handles but Kyle slips out to GUILLOTINE! Dunne is fading and Kyle lets him go. Kyle KNEES Dunne down, then drags him up to suplex, for a BRAIN BUSTER ONTO THE LADDER!!
Fans are at a fever pitch as Kyle goes to a corner. Kyle climbs up, leaps, but the KNEE DROP only gets ladder! Kyle may have just crippled himself there! Dunne stands the ladder back up, climbs up again, but Kyle drags himself back into the ring! Kyle can walk and he has a HEEL HOOK! Dunne hops down but Kyle cranks harder. Dunne kicks Kyle into the rungs! Dunne enziguris but Kyle ducks, Dunne kicks the ladder! Kyle and Dunne both clutch legs but Kyle grits his teeth. Kyle sees Dunne on the other side of the ladder, and they brawl underneath!
Kevin Owens says this is bad luck but the fists just fly faster! They stand up, Dunne pulls Kyle’s hand into the crossbar but Kyle KICKS Dunne back! Kyle grabs Dunne’s arm now and YANKS Dunne into the ladder! Dunne returns the favor, and both men keep yanking each other into the ladder! Both men stop and stagger about, Dunne shoves the ladder into Kyle but Kyle shoves it right back! Both men go down and fans are thunderous! Dunne and Kyle slowly stir while their teams and the fans are getting louder! Kyle brings the ladder up, stands it up, and starts to climb up. Dunne climbs the other side and the two meet at the top. They start brawling again! The fists fly fast and furious!
Kyle flounders, Dunne stomps him down then reaches for the briefcase! Kyle gets up to get an arm, and he hits an elbow breaker! Dunne backs away and Kyle reaches, but Dunne grabs his hand! Dunne has the fingers and SNAPS them! Kyle falls to the floor, but he comes around to the other side. Dunne boots, Kyle rebounds and shoves the ladder over! Dunne ENZIGURIS, Kyle rebounds again to CLOBBER Dunne! The fans are electric as the two men slowly rise. The CWC is shaking from this action! Kyle gets up, stands the ladder and climbs again! Dunne gets the chair to SMASH Kyle’s leg! And then SMACK him on the back!
Kyle flounders out, Dunne follows and pump handles, BITTER END to the barriers! Kyle flops out, Dunne gets back in and climbs back up! But Kyle returns?! Kyle tips the ladder and Dunne falls onto the corner ladder! Dunne forgot about that ladder and now Kyle is all alone in the ring! Kyle climbs, even with his bad leg. But wait, who is this in the shiny mask? Well who do you think?! They tip the ladder over and Kyle takes a horrifying tumble! And the “masked man” gets away! Dunne stands the ladder up, climbs it again, and grabs the briefcase! The Kings of NXT have advantage!!
Winner: Pete Dunne (The Kings of NXT have the advantage)
Fans are furious but it’s clear who we have to blame for that! Will Pat McAfee be celebrating with the Bruiserweight and the NXT Tag Team Champions even before TakeOver? Can the Undisputed Era win fighting from underneath?
A very good episode, and naturally with quite a lot of set-up for WarGames. In fact, the women’s side had quite the shocker, I would not have thought Toni Storm would be Team Candice. But at the same time, Indi Hartwell is too new, she isn’t really ready for being in the WarGames match itself. Now, with the talk of Rhea staying in NXT and still wanting after the title, I think both Rhea and Shirai are going to be Team Shotzi. I do think it’s very smart for them not to have Shotzi worrying about recruiting and focusing on “rebuilding” her tank. Candice is doing all the work for her turning Ember, Rhea and Shirai against her, so all Shotzi has to do is show up and those three will sign up. Also I hope Tank Mk II is big enough so that they can all ride it to the ring.
The Triple Threat for the North American Championship was obviously going to happen, but I like that the Kevin Owens Show was used to bring it about. Kevin was hysterical during that segment, from advising Leon Ruff to be more assertive to being meta about how it always turns out. As I said before, the Triple Threat is going to be great, with Leon mostly working not to lose. I’m also happy to see I was right about the strap match for Grimes and Lumis. They could’ve done better with playing that video package of “See Grimes Run” but I suppose then we wouldn’t have seen Grimes’ great character work during that same time.
The story Boa and Xia Li are in had a good segment tonight. We don’t see who “she” is under the hood but clearly we’re going to see a faction form between them. Rumors have it, Karen Q is making her return and has been repackaged as this character. Chances are this turns out as more a force in the Women’s Division with Boa as manager, much in the way the Robert Stone Brand was. For that matter, sure seems like NXT gave up on that idea. However, I think #TJGW just got its fourth member, as there was still a Ghost Face in the car! I really hope it’s Austin Theory as the second one, there was just something about Gargano’s smirk when he beat Theory over a month ago.
Grizzled Young Veterans showing up tonight and wrecking Ever-Rise was a nice surprise. Well, for us, not for Ever-Rise. But GYV not going back to NXT UK, obviously they want to be the first team to have held both pairs of belts, and I could see there being a Triple Threat or even Fatal 4 Way situation where Oney & Burch, GYV, UE and maybe even Breezango fight for those titles at whatever TakeOver coincides with Mania time. Kushida VS Thatcher was an incredible match, even with Ciampa being ringside to play mind games on Thatcher. That match is definitely happening now, and I feel like Ciampa is going to win that to then be a contender again.
Speaking of which, Finn had a really good promo, general enough that anyone could “answer” the challenge. Dunne also talked some smack about how he would’ve injured Finn worse, and we’ve yet to get that match-up. Dunne VS Kyle was incredible, and obviously that was McAfee in disguise again to screw Kyle over. UE is behind the 8 ball, they might still pull off a victory, but it’d be rather shocking for them to lose. Then Dunne steps up as the next contender to really put Finn’s reign to the test.
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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