NJPW’s massive new year event is wrapping up!
Night One was big but Night Two will be even bigger! Will Sanada settle things with Evil? Will Jay White once again be on top of NJPW?
- KOPW 2021 Fatal 4 Way: Toru Yano VS Bad Luck Fale VS Chase Owens VS BUSHI; Yano wins and is the provisional Mr. KOPW 2021.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru VS Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato w/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan; Desperado & Kanemaru win and retain the titles.
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Jeff Cobb; Takagi wins and retains the title.
- SANADA VS EVIL; Sanada wins.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori VS Hiromu Takahashi; Hiromu wins and becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
- IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Jay White w/ Gedo; Ibushi wins and retains the titles.
PLAY BY PLAY
KOPW 2021 Fatal 4 Way: Toru Yano VS Bad Luck Fale VS Chase Owens VS BUSHI!
Mr. KOPW 2020 is back in the hunt! But with two Bullet Club members in this match, are the odds against him? Or will the Producer find a way like he always has?
Yano is wary as Owens and Fale wait for him at the ropes. They hold the ropes open for him to enter but he wants them to back off. The ref tells Bullet Club to back away but they tell the ref to shut up. Bushi also stays out for the moment, much like he did during the New Japan Rambo. The bell rings so this match is starting as it is. Owens and Fale figure this is every man for himself, and they throw up the Too Sweet, but Fale makes it an eye poke! Cover, but Bushi and Yano both get in to break it! Not quite the finger poke of doom but it was close! Fale goes after Yano, Owens goes after Bushi! Fale throws Yano out then pursues while Owens keeps on Bushi.
Fale whips Yano hard into railing while Owens runs Bushi over. Bullet Club regroups and goes after Bushi in a corner. They double whip Bushi corner to corner, but Bushi boots Owens away, then boots Fale. Bushi hops up to leap and double missile dropkick! Owens falls, Fale staggers, Bushirooni, but Yano rolls Bushi up! TWO, and Bushi kicks to whip Yano. Yano reverses, to undo the buckle pad! Yano then dodges Bushi to send him into bare buckles! The ref reprimands but there’s no stopping Yano now! Except Owens grabs the pad and takes it away. Bushi kicks Yano low, whips him to Owens to SMACK! Home run for Owens!
Owens throws up the Too Sweet to say good job, but Bushi rakes his eyes! Bushi whips Owens, Owens reverses but Bushi huricanranas Owens out! Bushi runs but Fale trips him and drags him out hard! Owens clubs Yano, then puts him in and Fale is there. Yano is afraid and begs for mercy but Fale stomps him down! Owens and Fale split the wishbone on Yano! Who gets the wish? Fans rally up but Fale and Owens put Yano at the ropes for the “back massage,” aka standing on Yano with their combined weight! Fans still rally for Yano but Fale tells them to shut up. Fale and Owens mug Yano with kick after kick.
Fale covers but he holds the ropes. The ref won’t allow that, but Owens stands on Yano’s hand so he can’t reach. Fale and Owens double whip, body shot to knee lift to LARIAT! Owens covers, but Bushi breaks it! Fale stomps Bushi, then he and Owens drag Bushi up to whip corner to corner. Bushi hits bare buckles, but he dodges Owens to put him into those same buckles. Bushi boots Fale, then BULLDOG DROPKICK COMBOS! Fans fire up as Bushi baits Fale and dumps him out! Bushi builds speed but has to stop as Fale staggers. Bushi PLANCHAS instead! Direct hit, but then Bushi runs to DIVE onto Owens! Direct hit into railing!
Bushi fires up and puts Owens in and fans fire up with him! Bushi FISHERMAN SCREWS Owens, covers, but Yano breaks it! Yano drags Bushi up, and whips him into the bare buckles! But Fale runs Yano over! Fale whips Yano, Yano holds ropes then dodges Fale to SLAP him! Yano scoops but falls over with Fale’s weight! Cover, Bushi breaks it! Fale whips Bushi but Bushi dropkicks the leg out! Owens runs in but Bushi dodges and the BOOT hits Fale! Bushi runs but Owens spins him to a backslide. Bushi slips out, Owens tries to tuck him in but Bushi fights out. Owens ducks the enziguri but not the mule kick! BACKSTABBER! Bushi goes up and fans fire up, MX- BLOCKED!
Owens bell claps Bushi, reels him in and tucks the arms, but Bushi fights out to back drop! Owens sunsets but Bushi sits down, TWO! Bushi knees low, runs but into the JEWEL TRIGGER! Owens calls to Fale and they combine, GRENADE GERMAN! Bridging cover, but Fale sweeps Owens’ legs! Fale takes the cover, but Owens breaks it! Bullet Club is arguing over who gets to win! “I win, we win!” “No, you win, you win. If I win, we win!” The ref tries to get them to stop arguing, but they both go after him! Yano sneaks in to DOUBLE LOW BLOW Bullet Club! Then he covers Bushi! Yano wins!!
Winner: Toru Yano, by pinfall (provisional Mr. KOPW 2021)
See? Yano found a way to win! But he only had to be Mr. KOPW 2020 for a few months. Will Yano be able to hold onto this new trophy for an entire year?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru VS Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato w/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan!
Suzuki-Gun’s Rogue Luchador was so close to being Best of the Super Juniors, but he and the Heel Master still have a prize to defend! Will they thwart the Funky Weapon and Way of the Grandmaster to open the new year?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and the teams sort out. Desperado starts against Wato, and Wato starts with a BIG shotgun dropkick! Desperado knocks into Kanemaru and then Wato stomps Desperado down! Wato throws forearms, knees, and more forearms! Desperado is on the ropes and he wants time, but Wato throws more forearms and stomps. Wato whips, Desperado reverses but Wato BOOTS Kanemaru! Wato dodges Desperado, but Desperado boots back! Desperado CHOPS, runs, but Wato puts him on the apron. Wato sweeps the legs, fans fire up with him as he builds speed, and Wato TORNILLOS! Direct hit and Desperado is sent into railing!
Fans fire up as Wato puts Desperado in the ring and stomps him down. Wato throws a big forearm and puts Desperado in the corner. Tag to Taguchi and Wato brings Desperado up. Taguchi is up top and he drops an ax handle on Desperado’s arm. Taguchi gives Desperado point blank hip attacks, then runs, but Desperado runs the other way. Taguchi runs, and dares Desperado to crisscross with him. Desperado just watches Taguchi go back and forth over and over, until Kanemaru trips Taguchi up! Desperado sucker punches Wato, Kanemaru whips Taguchi into railing! Kanemaru wraps Taguchi’s leg around railing and BOOTS it!
Desperado drags Wato up and whips him into Tenzan! Kanemaru clubs Taguchi down then stomps the leg. Kanemaru drags Taguchi up and puts him in, and Desperado goes after the leg with a knee drop! Tag to Kanemaru and Kanemaru stomps Taguchi’s leg. Kanemaru YANKS on the leg, then Desperado gets in with a chair! The ref tells Desperado to go to the corner but Desperado distracts the ref. Kanemaru drags Taguchi over to the chair to SMASH the knee down on it! Taguchi writhes and Desperado taunts Wato but the ref keeps Wato back. Kanemaru tags Desperado and Desperado covers, TWO!
Desperado stomps Taguchi’s leg, talks trash then drags him up, but Taguchi CHOPS back! And CHOPS again! And again! Desperado kicks the bad leg, then sucker punches Wato! Tag to Kanemaru and Kanemaru drags Taguchi up to whip to ropes, and dropkick the legs out! Cover, TWO! Taguchi rolls away but Kanemaru stomps his leg down. Kanemaru talks trash as he keeps stomping, then he runs, only for Taguchi to block the kick! Taguchi throws forearms but Kanemaru rakes eyes! Kanemaru whips, Taguchi reverses, but Kanemaru holds ropes to deny the hip attack! Fans rally as Kanemaru runs, Taguchi somersaults to HIP ATTACK! Hot tag to Wato!
Wato DECKS Kanemaru, DECKS Desperado, then gets around Kanemaru for a SLINGBLADE! Fans fire up as Wato goes to the apron. Wato springboards in, FLYING UPPERCUT! Cover, TWO! Wato keeps focus as he drags Kanemaru up. Wato wrenches, reels him in, but Kanemaru holds off the Mouse Trap! Wato knees low, runs, but the ref is used as a shield! Kanemaru BOOTS, whips and runs in at the corner, but Wato elbows him away. Wato runs, the ref is used as a shield again, and Kanemaru rakes eyes! Wato still back kicks, and he runs again, but again the ref is used as a shield!
Wato shoves the ref back at Kanemaru, Kanemaru shoves him away, and Kanemaru ducks the Dreamcast Kick! Kanemaru pushes the ref yet again, and he ENZIGURIS Wato down! Fans cheer that creative exchange and Kanemaru tags Desperado. Desperado talks trash as he stomps Wato, but Wato kicks! Desperado blocks it to elbow the leg, then he reels Wato in for a suplex. Wato slips out, spins Desperado and KICKS him down! Fans fire up as Wato goes to his corner, tag to Taguchi! Taguchi aims and runs, but into an atomic drop! Desperado pushes Taguchi to a corner but Taguchi goes up the corner and headscissors.
Desperado blocks the throw, so Taguchi reels him into the Funky Weapon! Taguchi rams Desperado into his own ass again and again and again! And again! Fans fire up and Taguchi runs, HIP ATTACK! Fans fire up even more and Taguchi drags Desperado back up. Taguchi suplexes, uno amigo! Dos amigos! THREE A- NO! Desperado blocks to suplex but Taguchi fights that off, THREE AMIGOS! Cover, TWO! Desperado survives but Taguchi keeps his cool. Taguchi drags Desperado back up, hooks the arms but Desperado fights out to Guitarra, but Taguchi slips out! Taguchi gets Desperado in the inverted Gory Especial, but Desperado fights out of the Vertebreaker to torture rack!
Taguchi fights that off, ducks the straight right, to INVERTED EXPLODER! And KIP UP! Fans fire up as Taguchi calls upon the powers of Strong Style! “ORAYO!” BUM- Kanemaru dropkicks the legs out! Wato is back but Kanemaru DECKS him! Desperado gives Taguchi a SHIN BREAKER, and Kanemaru dropkicks the leg! STRETCH MUFFLER! Kanemaru keeps Wato down with a headlock, but Taguchi moves around! Desperado gets NUMERO DOS! Fans rally, Taguchi rolls but Desperado holds on! Wato gets in to CLUB Desperado down! Taguchi is free but damage has been done. Kanemaru drags Wato out to ROCK with haymakers!
Desperado fires up, reels Taguchi in, but Taguchi fights off the lift! Desperado kicks the bad leg, tries again, but Taguchi trips him to OH MY GAH ANKLE! Desperado flails, reaches around, but Taguchi drags Desperado away. Wato is in, they put Desperado on ropes, Wato hits 619! Taguchi chicken wings Desperado, DODON BUSTER! Cover, but Kanemaru gets past Wato to break it! Wato throws Kanemaru out, then coaches Taguchi up. Taguchi drags Desperado up while Wato climbs but Kanemaru anchors Wato! Taguchi throws Desperado away to DECK Kanemaru! ENZIGURI for Desperado!
Taguchi drags Desperado back up, chicken wings again, DODON- VICTORY ROLL! TWO!! Wato was a split second behind breaking it, but he spins Desperado to the MOUSE TRAP DRIVER!! Then Taguchi hits BUMAYE!! Cover, TWO!?!? Kanemaru CLOBBERS Wato on the outside but Taguchi drags Desperado up. Desperado reaches for ropes, Kanemaru rushes in with his whiskey bottle, but Taguchi shoves Desperado into Kanemaru! Taguchi brings Desperado up but STRAIGHT RIGHT! PINCHE LOCO!! Cover, Suzuki-Gun wins!!
Winners: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)
Taguchi was so close but still so far from having the tag titles! Will Desperado & Kanemaru hold onto these titles for a long, long time? But when Kanemaru goes to add insult to injury, Tenzan runs him and Desperado off! Will Kanemaru & Desperado have to be very careful who they bully?
NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi VS Jeff Cobb!
The Last Dragon and the Hawaiian Hulk threw down in World Tag League 2020, and weren’t satisfied with how it all ended. Now they throw down on the biggest stage of NJPW’s calendar, who will be on top of NJPW’s most versatile division?
Fans cheer and rally as the two stare down from across the way. Takagi approaches, Cobb follows and they tie up. Cobb shoves Takagi away, they tie up again and Cobb shoves Takagi away again. They get forehead to forehead, shove back and forth, then the forearms fly! Fans fire up as they’re fast and furious already! Neither man is backing down but Takagi gets the edge. Takagi headlocks, Cobb powers out and the two collide. Neither falls so Takagi runs again. Takagi rams Cobb, Cobb rebounds but blocks the hip toss! Takagi keeps trying but Cobb throws a body shot. Cobb swings but Takagi ducks and they collide again.
Cobb rebounds, rams Takagi to a corner, but Takagi dodges as Cobb runs in. Takagi hits that hip toss! Fans fire up as Takagi keeps moving, and Takagi runs Cobb over! Cover, ONE!! And with power enough to send Takagi to ropes! Takagi is surprised but he keeps moving. Cobb drops, hurdles and dropkicks Takagi down! Fans cheer the insane athleticism from Cobb! Cobb whips Takagi out hard, and fans rally up as Cobb goes out after him. Cobb CLUBS Takagi hard in the back! And then headbutts him in the back, too! Cobb brings Takagi around, and whips him into railing! The ref wants this to return to the ring but Cobb CHOPS Takagi, then whips him again.
Takagi reverses but Cobb blocks to reverse again! Cobb sends Takagi into railings, but Takagi comes back, only to run into an OVERHEAD BELLY2BELLY! Fans cheer the superhuman strength! The ref checks on Takagi but he’s somehow okay to continue. Cobb goes to the ring as fans rally, “TA-KA-GI!” A ring count begins and climbs but Cobb goes out to fetch Takagi. Cobb puts Takagi in to win this properly and fans cheer. Cobb stomps Takagi, knees him against ropes, then CLUBS him on the back. Cobb whips Takagi to ropes then elbows him down hard! Cover, TWO! Another cover, TWO! Takagi refuses to stay down and Cobb grows frustrated.
Cobb drags Takagi up, wraps him in a bearhug, but Takagi endures. Takagi bell claps over and over until Cobb lets go. But Cobb still suplexes Takagi up and over! Cover, TWO! Cobb slaps Takagi around and eggs him on. Takagi gets up, wraps arms around Cobb, but Cobb elbows free. Cobb runs but into Takagi’s elbow! JAB! LARIAT- Cobb stays up!? Cobb shoves Takagi to elbow, JAB, and- No, Takagi catches the clothesline into a waistlock! Cobb resists the lift, they go to ropes, and Takagi uses the rebound for the SAIDO! Fans fire up while Cobb tumbles to the ropes. Fans rally behind Takagi as he goes over to Cobb on the apron.
Takagi drags Cobb up and fireman’s carries, but Cobb blocks! Cobb shoves Takagi away, Takagi elbows back but Cobb CLUBS him! Cobb reels Takagi back in, hoists him up top, then gets him for a crucifix! Takagi slips free, runs and BLASTS Cobb off the apron! Takagi keeps moving to FLY!! The somersault tope takes Cobb down at the ramp! Fans fire up again as Takagi gets to his feet first. The ring count starts, Takagi takes a moment but puts Cobb in at 8 of 20. Cobb gets up, Takagi runs in at the corner, corner clothesline to DDT! Takagi goes up top?! FALLING ELBOW! Cover, TWO! Takagi keeps focus as fans continue to rally up.
Cobb rises, Takagi brings him up, but Cobb resists the Gory Especial! Cobb swings Takagi to a corner, runs in but into boots! Takagi runs but into an ATHLETIC PLEX! Both men are down and fans fire up! Cobb and Takagi go to opposite corners, Cobb runs in and leaps for the big uppercut! Takagi wobbles into the gut wrench suplex! Cobb rolls through to keep the gut wrench and suplex again! Cobb isn’t done there, but Takagi holds off the third. Cobb shifts to a powerbomb but Takagi RANAS?! Cobb staggers into the Gory Especial! That’s a lot to lift, though! Cobb turns things around to get the crucifix! SIT-OUT RAZOR’S EDGE!! Cover, TWO!! Takagi survives and fans are thunderous!
Cobb gets up first and drags Takagi up to whip. Takagi holds ropes and then BOOTS Cobb! Takagi runs but Cobb LARIATS! But Takagi fireman’s carries to a DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Fans fire up again as both men slowly rise. Cobb goes to a corner, Takagi fires up with “OI! OI! OI!” and fans clap along! Takagi runs in at the corner, BIG clothesline! Takagi hoists Cobb up top, climbs up to join him, and goes way up, for a SUPERPLEX! Fans are thunderous again as Takagi says that’s still not enough! Takagi drags Cobb back by his legs, wheelbarrow GERMAN! But again, Takagi knows that’s not enough to stop Cobb, so he brings Cobb back up.
Takagi runs, SLIDING- Cobb stops Takagi cold! And hits an EXPLODER! Takagi gets up, and he gives Cobb an EXPLODER! Cobb is dazed but sits up and Takagi shouts at him. The two titans head for each other, they give junkyard dog headbutts, then start giving SLAP after SLAP! And forearm after forearm! Cobb gets the edge, but Takagi gives it back from all sides! Takagi eggs Cobb on, Cobb ROCKS him! Cobb talks trash, Takagi JABS back! Cobb SUPERKICKS, Takagi LARIATS! Cobb stays up to DEAD LIFT GERMAN! But Takagi PUMPING BOMBERS! Takagi hits Cobb so hard, TAKAGI falls out of the ring! Fans rally up as both men are down and a ring count starts.
Takagi stirs, drags himself up at 8 of 20, but flops back down. Takagi gets back up at 12, staggers at 14, still flounders at 17, but jumps in at 19.9! Into a PILEDRIVER!! Cover, TWO!?!? Fans are thunderous again as Takagi survives! Cobb stalks Takagi to ropes, drags him up, whips him to ropes, but Takagi flops over! Cobb hauls Takagi back up, reels him in, but Takagi slips out to CHOP BLOCK the leg! Cobb hobbles, Takagi gets the leg, DRAGON SCREW! Takagi isn’t done there, he roars and pump handles Cobb, for MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO?!!? Cobb survives but Takagi is too sore to be frustrated. Fans rally back up, Takagi drags himself over to drag Cobb back up.
Takagi point-blank lariats, and again, but Cobb stays up. Takagi keeps trying, but Cobb headbutts! Cobb runs, Takagi clotheslines him at the ropes! Takagi runs, Cobb dodges, GERMAN! Cobb whips, scoops, TOUR OF THE ISLANDS! But Cobb can’t cover, his leg holds him back!! His leg couldn’t support the weight that long! Cover, ROPEBREAK! Cobb gets that leg for another cover, TWO!!! Takagi survives again and Cobb is shocked! Takagi sits up in a daze but Cobb hobbles over. Cobb brings Takagi to the corner, climbs up, and dead lifts! Takagi stops the superplex halfway but Cobb throws forearms and headbutts!
Takagi resists the scoop, headbutts back, then bumps Cobb off the buckles! Takagi goes around to bring Cobb off the corner for a POWERBOMB! Both men are down but the fans are still fired up! Takagi gets back to the corner and he shouts at Cobb. Cobb rises slowly as the fans rally up. Takagi powers up and runs, PUMPING- No, Cobb elbows, JABS and LARIATS! Whip and scoop, but Takagi pulls hair to resist the Tour! Cobb shoves Takagi and scoops him, for a FALL AWAY MOONSAULT?! Cobb drags Takagi up, whips again, PUMPING BOMBER! Cobb stays up and fans are thunderous, as Takagi runs in again! Double clotheslines collide, but neither falls!
Another collision, Takagi headbutts, JABS, then HEADBUTTS! Takagi has fans fire up as he scoops Cobb, to EXPLODER Cobb again! Fans clap with “OI! OI! OI!” for Takagi as he gets back up. Cobb flounders into PUMPING BOMBER!! But Takagi can’t cover, and Cobb is floundering around again! Takagi reels Cobb in, pump handle and rack, LAST OF THE DRAGONS!!! Cover, Takagi wins!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Champion)
That was beyond superhuman from both men! But in the end, The Dragon slays the Hulk! But it seems Cobb did win Takagi’s respect. Is it only a matter of when, not if, we see these two battle for this title again?
SANADA VS EVIL w/ Dick Togo!
The Cold Skull and King of Darkness were an incredible tag team, having won back-to-back World Tag League tournaments, and winning the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships multiple times. But it would seem individual ambition motivated Evil into turning his back on his friends. Will Sanada make Evil regret leaving everything behind?
The elaborate ring attire is put aside, Evil and Dick give a Low Sweet, and the bell rings. Sanada and Evil stare down as fans rally up already. Fans clap “SA-NA-DA!” as he and Evil slowly circle. They approach, feel out the grapple, and Evil kicks low to throw Sanada out. Sanada gets in right as Evil goes out, and fans cheer. Evil wants Sanada to stay back while he goes around the way, then Evil slides in. Sanada rushes in, Evil catches him but Sanada narrowly avoids the STO! Sanada dragon sleepers, Evil spins it around to a dragon sleeper of his own, but Sanada wants the STO! Evil gets away and fans cheer as these two show just how familiar they are with each other.
Fans rally as the two circle again, and they both kick! They both block and then argue who lets go first. They both put the other’s foot down, but Evil holds on! Evil gives the foot to the ref but Sanada has the ref let go. Sanada gets Evil’s foot, trips him up, and ties him up! Sanada puts Evil in Paradise! Fans cheer and Sanada encourages them to get louder. Fans do get louder, and Sanada is satisfied but Dick protests. Sanada runs and dropkicks Evil out of Paradise! Evil bails out, Sanada builds speed, but Evil ducks so Sanada tumbles. Sanada moonsaults, Evil dodges but Evil blocks the kick! Evil RAMS Sanada into railing and the timekeeper’s area! Abe-san suffers at Evil’s hands again!
Evil leaves the wreckage behind to go looking under the ring. Evil finds chairs and puts them down for a moment to go fetch Sanada. Evil grabs a chair, wraps it around Sanada’s head, then gets the other! HOME RUN!! Sanada clutches his neck but Evil goes around and tells the ref to shut up as he goes looking for more. Evil brings out a table! Evil and Dick set the table up, the ref sees that but Evil tells him to shut up already. Evil goes back to Sanada, drags him up and around, puts him in the ring, and has a cocky cover. TWO, and Evil is upset with the ref. Evil stands on Sanada’s head as fans rally up. Evil brings Sanada up but Sanada CHOPS back! And CHOPS again! And again!
Evil whips Sanada into bare buckles!? Dick must’ve undone the blue corner, as is the Bullet Club style! Evil drags Sanada up, throws him back out, and then RAMS him into the timekeeper’s area again! Can’t they just move the table to somewhere else?! Evil drags Sanada back up and in, but then Dick gets in and CHAIR SHOTS Sanada! No one saw that, but Evil wants the ref to count. Cover, TWO! Another cover, TWO! Another, TWO!! Evil is furious with the ref but the count is the count. Evil drags Sanada up, reels him in, fisherman but no buster as Sanada fights it off! Sanada resists the next attempt, and then he suplexes.
Evil fights that off, suplexes again but Sanada slips out to waistlock. Evil switches and shoves to then go the other way, but Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Again, they know each other so well! Fans rally up as Sanada goes after Evil. Dick distracts so Sanada DECKS him! Evil whips, Sanada reverses to hurdle, hurdle and dropkick! Then PLANCHA! Sanada goes back in and PLANCHAS Dick, too! Fans fire up and Sanada encourages them to get even louder. The fans get louder and louder until Sanada is satisfied, and he goes to fetch Evil. Sanada puts Evil in, covers, TWO! Sanada drags Evil up to fireman’s carry, but Evil rakes eyes to get free!
Evil whips Sanada but Sanada stops himself from hitting bare buckles. Sanada elbows Evil away, jumps up and over, ducks and dodges, but Evil distracts the ref as Dick trips Sanada up! Dick positions the table closer to the ring, Evil brings Sanada over, and the ref reprimands but Evil drags Sanada up. Fans rally up, Evil brings Sanada up, but Sanada fights off the urenage! Sanada fireman’s carries, Evil holds ropes and slips off! Evil swings but Sanada forearms! Sanada springboards but Evil dodges! The ref is used as a shield, Evil kicks low and uses the ref to prop Sanada up!
Sanada slips off to deny Magic Killer, and tries to suplex Evil to do the same, only for Evil to cradle counter! Sanada drags Evil back up, to hit MAGIC SCREW! Both men are down but fans fire up again! Sanada rises, drags Evil back up and chicken wings, TIGER SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Sanada gets Evil in the dragon sleeper but Evil fights back! Evil pulls on Sanada’s ear, but Sanada gives him a SKULL SWING! To SKULL- No, Evil rolls back and reels Sanada in, but Sanada slips out to another dragon sleeper! Evil spins around to RAM Sanada into the bare buckles! Both men are down again and fans rally back up. Evil drags himself over to ropes and then gets up.
Evil drags Sanada up and scoops him for a backbreaker! Sanada writhes and goes to ropes but Evil mocks the applause from fans. Evil drags Sanada up, hoists him to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Evil brings Sanada up for the SUPERPLEX! Evil gets the legs, steps through, SHARPSHOOTER! Sanada endures as Evil sits deep, fans rally up, and Sanada powers up! Sanada crawls for ropes but Evil sits deeper! And Dick even pulls the ropes back to keep them from Sanada! Sanada still endures, powers up again, and gets the ropebreak! The ref counts, Evil lets go at 4! Evil is annoyed, but he mocks the fans clapping “SA-NA-DA!” before he drags Sanada up.
Evil fireman’s carries, for DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO!?!? Sanada narrowly avoids losing and Evil is frustrated! Evil slashes the throat and drags Sanada back up. Evil spins Sanada around, but Sanada fights the STO off! Sanada staggers, but he baits Evil into the bare buckles! BIG BACK SUPLEX! Both men are down, fans fire up and Sanada rises first. Sanada drags Evil up to a fireman’s carry, TKO! Cover, TWO! Sanada brings Evil back up, scoops him for a backbreaker, then he goes to the top rope. MOONSAULT, but Sanada has to bail out as Evil moves! Sanada hobbles, Evil runs in but into a fireman’s carry! Sanada throws Evil into the dragon sleeper!
Evil spins out, blocks a kick and rakes eyes! Evil throws the foot into the ref! The ref goes down this time, and Dick gets in with a chair! Dick JAMS Sanada low, then rains down fists! Dick stomps Sanada, Evil gets up, and they double whip Sanada to the corner. Dick runs in to corner clothesline! Evil runs in to clothesline, then he and Dick hit MAGIC KILLER on Sanada! Evil drags Sanada over to the drop zone, Dick climbs up, but Sanada kicks Evil into the ropes! Dick lands on his namesake then falls out of the ring! The ref recovers while Evil shouts to Dick. Dick’s down and Sanada cradles Evil! TWO, and Evil runs into an elbow. Sanada Quebrada to the SKULL END!
Evil is caught, starts to fade, but he pulls at hair. Sanada squeezes tighter, Evil keeps going after hair and ears and whatever he can find, but Sanada isn’t letting go! Evil fades more, the ref checks on him, but Sanada lets go to put Evil in a drop zone. Sanada goes up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS! And then ANOTHER, onto KNEES!! Evil saves himself at the last second! Evil goes to a corner while Sanada writhes and clutches his legs. Sanada manages to stand, and he runs in at Evil, but into a boot! Sanada staggers, runs back in but into more boots. Evil runs in, Sanada spins him, SHIRANUI, to SKULL END! But Evil slips out, grabs the ref, and they all back up, and Dick uses the CHOKER!!
Evil keeps the ref from seeing, but Sanada powers out of the choker! Sanada dodges Evil, Evil stops from hitting Dick, but Sanada dropkicks Evil into Dick! Dick falls through the table!! Evil is in shock after what happened to Dick, and Sanada waistlocks to O’Conner Roll, BRIDGING! TWO!! Evil survives, Sanada swings but into a shove! Evil HALF ‘N’ HALF, then LARIATS! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives and fans are thunderous again! Evil slashes the throat and drags Sanada up. Sanada again avoids the STO to dragon sleeper, but Evil brings the ref in! Sanada blocks the low blow, Evil rakes eyes, but Evil swings into EVERYTHING IS EVIL!!
Sanada steals Evil’s move but he isn’t done! Fans are fired up as Sanada whips Evil to pop him up for the TKO! Sanada goes to the corner, ROUNDING BODY PRESS!! Cover, Sanada wins!!
Winner: SANADA, by pinfall
The grudge match is over, and the Cold Skull stands tall! Will Sanada move on from his past to have a bright future?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Taiji Ishimori VS Hiromu Takahashi!
The Bone Soldier Reborn already lost to the Timebomb in Best of the Super Juniors 27, so he’ll do everything in his power to keep it from happening again. But Hiromu already beat El Phantasmo, will he sweep at WrestleKingdom to prove who is truly THE best Junior Heavyweight today?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this rivalry continues with a new chapter!
The fans rally up as Ishimori and Hiromu slowly circle. They approach, tie up, and Ishimori puts Hiromu on the ropes. Red Shoes calls for the break, Ishimori fakes the chop to kick low. Ishimori whips, Hiromu reverses, Ishimori handsprings but Hiromu dodges. Ishimori dodges Hiromu’s swing and then holds ropes to bait Hiromu in and dump him out. Ishimori keeps moving, Hiromu gets back in and blows past, but Ishimori gets around to waistlock. Hiromu switches, Ishimori switches, repeat, but Ishimori wrenches the arm to throw Hiromu back out. Fans cheer as Ishimori goes to the corner and goes up, but Hiromu intercepts with a waistlock!
Ishimori fights him off but Hiromu SUPERKICKS back! Hiromu goes in, runs, and sunset flips! Ishimori holds on, back flips through, but runs into an APRON POWERBOMB! Hiromu already has ELP counter him yesterday, he wasn’t going to let it happen today! Fans cheer but Ishimori writhes and Hiromu takes his time stalking him to the ramp. Hiromu mocks Ishimori’s pain and asks if he’s okay. Hiromu drags Ishimori up and scoops him for a slam! Fans cheer as Hiromu goes up the ramp to get some space. Hiromu gets a LOT of space, and they clap along as he goes to the very top of the ramp. Hiromu builds speed all the way down, to JOHN WOO, INTO A SLAM!!
Ishimori was ready for Hiromu running down, perhaps Hiromu could’ve stopped a bit closer… Ishimori goes to the ring and unties the blue corner pad while the ring count climbs. Hiromu gets up and crawls at 13, makes it to the ring at 15, but Ishimori MOONSAULTS out onto him! Ishimori drags Hiromu up and puts him in. Ishimori looms over Hiromu, stomps him down, then drags him back up. Ishimori whips Hiromu into the bare corner! Red Shoes reprimands but the damage is done. Fans rally while Hiromu writhes but Ishimori drags him back up. Ishimori wrenches, hammerlocks, and RAMS Hiromu into the bar buckles! Hiromu falls over again and clutches the shoulder!
Ishimori grins as he hears the fans rallying again. Ishimori kicks at Hiromu, Hiromu gets up and CHOPS! But that was his bad arm! Ishimori goes after the fingers, Hiromu throws forearms! Ishimori elbows the bad arm, hammerlocks the good arm, then reaches across to YANK the bad arm! Hiromu writhes but Ishimori drags him up to gut wrench. Hiromu fights out and shoves Ishimori at the bare corner! Ishimori stops himself, elbows back and whips Hiromu away. Ishimori blocks boots, puts Hiromu in the ropes and enziguris! But Hiromu gets out of the ropes to intercept Ishimori with a RANA! Both men are down and fans fire up!
Hiromu gets up, still clutching the bad arm. Ishimori runs in, but into BOOTS! Hiromu hits a DRAPING HEADSCISSOR HOLD! Hiromu lets go at 4, drags Ishimori out in a wheelbarrow, for a FACEBUSTER to the floor! Hiromu grins as he goes to the apron and takes aim. Ishimori gets up, for Hiromu to SHOTGUN dropkick him into railing! Hiromu puts Ishimori in, drags him up and suplexes for the FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up while Hiromu catches his breath and gets the bad arm moving. Hiromu drags Ishimori up, fireman’s carries, but Ishimori slips out before the Death Valley.
Ishimori blocks boots, spins Hiromu and enziguris, to run and hit the SLIDING GERMAN! Ishimori gets to the corner, springboards up and 450’s THE ARM!! And then rolls Hiromu to the YES LOCK! Hiromu endures, fans fire up, but Ishimori cranks back on the crossface! Hiromu still reaches and gets a leg for the ropebreak! Ishimori lets go, but he drags Hiromu back up. Ishimori gut wrenches but Hiromu turns that around, only for Ishimori to turn it back. But Hiromu headscissors out and pops Ishimori up, only for Ishimori to RANA! Hiromu goes to a corner, Ishimori runs in, bu Hiromu throws him OVERHEAD into the buckles! Fans fire up as both men are down!
Hiromu rises, drags Ishimori up, but Ishimori blocks the fireman’s carry. Hiromu still gets him up, Ishimori fights out, ducks the strikes, but Hiromu wheelbarrows to the COMPLETE SHOT! Hiromu gets up, drags Ishimori up and fireman’s carries again, for a CORNER DEATH VALLEY! Hiromu keeps Ishimori in the fireman’s carry for the RUNNING DEATH VALLEY! Fans fire up with Hiromu as he drags Ishimori back up. Hiromu fireman’s carries again, spins, but Ishimori slips free! Ishimori blocks the kick, Hiromu blocks the knee, Hiromu SUPERKICKS! Hiromu runs into a BOOT! Ishimori whips but Hiromu reverses. Ishimori handsprings into a GERMAN!
Hiromu runs, but Ishimori dodges and runs to DESTROYER!! Hiromu sits up in a daze and slowly falls over! Fans are thunderous as both men are down again, but stirring. Ishimori crawls over to Hiromu and Hiromu crawls over to him. Ishimori sits Hiromu up to throw a forearm, but Hiromu forearms back. Ishimori forearms again, Hiromu laughs and he forearms Ishimori back. Ishimori grins, throws another forearm, and the two start to rise. Hiromu throws another forearm, Ishimori gives it back. Hiromu forearms, Ishimori forearms, repeat! Ishimori gets the edge, but Hiromu DECKS him with one!
Hiromu grins as he brings Ishimori back up. Ishimori fires off fast hands, ROCKS Hiromu, then ROCKS him again! And again! And again! Hiromu keeps trying but Ishimori keeps hitting! Hiromu wobbles into another forearm, and then another! Ishimori keeps hitting, and DECKS Hiromu! Hiromu still gets up!? Ishimori ROCKS him again and Hiromu leans against ropes! Fans rally for Hiromu and he pushes himself back up. Ishimori throws more forearms, but Hiromu isn’t backing down this time! Ishimori just keeps throwing forearms, Hiromu wobbles and sways and Ishimori DECKS him again! Hiromu springs up but Ishimori just keeps hitting him back down!
Ishimori brings Hiromu up so he can keep hitting him! Ishimori sits Hiromu up to DECK him! Fans continue to rally as Ishimori looks to a corner. Ishimori drags Hiromu up, and POSTS him! Ishimori drags Hiromu back, hammerlocks and scoops, for a SHOULDER BUSTER! Ishimori goes to the corner to watch Hiromu writhe and clutch his shoulder. Hiromu slowly gets back up, and Ishimori runs in, tilt-o-whirl takedown! YES LOCK!! Hiromu endures, crawls around, and fans rally up behind him! Hiromu reaches, Ishimori rolls him away, and has the Yes Lock back on! Ishimori cranks back on the hold, Hiromu moves around, and Hiromu reaches out!
Ishimori gets the other arm and pulls back, but Hiromu uses his foot for the ropebreak! Ishimori lets go in frustration but fans rally up for Hiromu. Ishimori drags Hiromu back up, gut wrenches, but Hiromu fights out. Ishimori throws elbows, slides back and pump handles Hiromu to the gut wrench! CIPHER UTAKI! Cover, TWO!! Hiromu survives and Ishimori is furious! Ishimori goes to ropes, aims and says BANG, before he brings Hiromu up. Hiromu arm-drags out of the half hatch but Ishimori JUMPING KNEES! Ishimori runs in, tilt-o-whirls, but Hiromu blocks! Hiromu suplexes for VICTORIA! Cover, TWO!! Ishimori survives but Hiromu is too tired to be upset.
Hiromu gets up and fans rally behind him as he shouts at Ishimori. Hiromu drags Ishimori up, runs, and LARIATS! Then a fireman’s carry, to CORNER DEATH VALLEY! Into the bare buckles!! Hiromu fires up more and he drags Ishimori up to a fireman’s carry, TIMEBOMB!! Cover, TWO!?! Ishimori survives but Hiromu won’t stop there! Hiromu drags Ishimori up, dragon sleepers and suplexes, then tucks him in, but Ishimori fights out to snapmare Hiromu into his own dragon sleeper! Ishimori lifts, Hiromu arm-drags free and then rolls to get the fireman’s carry back! Hiromu throws Ishimori into the dragon sleeper but Ishimori fights off the lift!
Hiromu still tries but Ishimori wrenches in mid-air, to the BONE LOCK!!! Hiromu endures as Ishimori cranks on the hold, and fans fire up as Hiromu moves around. Hiromu reaches but Ishimori drags him away again! Ishimori brings Hiromu, BLOODY- NO! Hiromu slips out, suplexes, VICTORIA!! Ishimori flounders around, Hiromu fires himself up again, and fans fire up with him! Hiromu drags Ishimori up into the dragon sleeper, then the suplex, TIMEBOMB MK. II!! Cover, HIROMU WINS!!
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion)
The Best of the Super Juniors winner, who beat the Super J-Cup winner, has now beaten the Junior Heavyweight Champion! He stands up, belt on his shoulder and trophy in hand! Is Hiromu truly the best Junior Heavyweight in the world?!
IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Double Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Jay White w/ Gedo!
The Golden Star has finally reached the top of the mountain! But the Switchblade promises to be there to knock him back down every single time. White already stole the G1 Climax’s Right to Challenge Contract, will he still Ibushi’s claim to being the wrestling god of NJPW? Or is destiny, true destiny, undeniable?
The introductions are made, Gedo hands Red Shoes the Right to Challenge contract on behalf of White, and Ibushi gives over both belts. All three are presented together, and this historic main event begins!
White and Gedo Low Sweet, fans rally up, and the bell rings. White and Ibushi stare down as the rallying continues, but then White bails out. White mocks the clapping but then goes back to the ring, only to slip right back out. Gedo applauds but Ibushi gets impatient. White has Ibushi stay back as he has the fans clap again. White slips in, approaches Ibushi and gets face to face with him. White says this happens on his schedule, and the two circle. But Gedo gets on the apron, only for White to tell him to stay down. Gedo backs away, White and Ibushi tie up, and are in a deadlock. Ibushi powers White back, White turns things around to put Ibushi on the ropes.
Red Shoes calls for the break, White backs off but Gedo grabs at Ibushi’s feet! White CLUBS Ibushi from behind! White stomps Ibushi down while defending Gedo’s innocence. White brings Ibushi up, headlocks and hits the takeover, but Ibushi keeps his shoulders up. White traps an arm, Ibushi hits White with his free arm, but White shifts position. They get up, White hits another takeover, and he grinds Ibushi down again. White again traps an arm, but Ibushi uses his legs to move around. They get up again, Ibushi tries to power out but White pulls on Ibushi’s ears! White reels Ibushi back into the headlock takeover!
White grinds Ibushi down, but Ibushi fights his way up again. Ibushi powers out of the headlock this time but White runs him over, only for Ibushi to kip up! White ducks the roundhouse and scrambles out of the ring! Ibushi pursues, Gedo keeps his distance, but White slips back into the ring. Ibushi keeps his cool, goes in but White stomps him down! White clubs, whips but Ibushi FLYING KICKS! Fans fire up with Ibushi as White bails out. Ibushi pursues but Gedo goes after him! Ibushi elbows Gedo away, ROCKS and CLUBS White and Red Shoes reprimands Gedo. Ibushi puts White in, White rolls all the way to the other side and bails out again.
Ibushi follows, brings White up and puts him back in. White gets Ibushi in the ropes with a DRAPING DDT! White drags Ibushi up and throws him back out, then goes out after him. White brings Ibushi up for a BIG APRON BACK SUPLEX! Ibushi is all folded up as he flops over! White double guns then goes back into the ring while Red Shoes checks on Ibushi. Ibushi is okay to continue, White goes back out after him, and White RAMS Ibushi into the apron! Then again! And again! White shows no mercy as he RAMS Ibushi a fourth time! White leaves Ibushi behind and lets the ring count start. Ibushi stirs at 3, gets up at 7, and in at 10 of 20.
White stomps Ibushi at the ropes, digs his boots into Ibushi’s neck, then lets off at Red Shoes’ count. Ibushi hits back but it’s not enough, and White rakes Ibushi’s eyes! White drags Ibushi up, puts him in a corner and rams his shoulder in! And again! And again! And again! White then gives Ibushi a GUT BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Ibushi also grabs the ropes for good measure, but White dags him away. White wraps Ibushi up in a rear bearhug, then he drives knees into Ibushi’s back. White wraps on the bearhug again but fans rally. Ibushi fights up but White spins him for a facelock! Ibushi throws body shots but White CLUBS him, then runs, and fakes out the dropkick!
White gets the legs and STOMPS Ibushi in the stomach! White mocks the applauds then gives stomps to Ibushi over and over at the ropes. White gets the legs and ROPE GUILLOTINES Ibushi! White mocks the Tranquilo since Naito isn’t here, and he covers. Red Shoes refuses because of the circumstances so White goes back to the bearhug. Gedo shouts at Ibushi to give up but Ibushi growls back at Gedo. Ibushi grits his teeth, fights up but White CLUBS him! White suplexes but Ibushi blocks! So White DDT’s instead! White mockingly cheers the fans on to clap for Ibushi. White slaps Ibushi around, drops knees, but Ibushi glares up at White.
White rakes Ibushi’s eyes and puts him in the corner! Red Shoes reprimands and counts, White lets off but he RAMS his shoulder in. Red Shoes reprimands more, White drags Ibushi up, and White RAMS in again! White digs his shoulder in, Red Shoes pulls White back and they argue about who touches who. White storms off, into Ibushi’s ROUNDHOUSE! Fans cheer as Ibushi turns things around, but White is up first. White brings Ibushi up, knees low but Ibushi sobats! Ibushi fires himself up and White staggers over into another ROUNDHOUSE! STANDING MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Ibushi keeps focus as fans rally up.
Ibushi drags White, waistlocks, but White resists the lift, White trips Ibushi, Ibushi kicks White away and White ends up outside the ring! Ibushi hurries out and throws hands but White RAMS him into the apron again! And into the railing! Commentary braces themselves as White brings Ibushi up again. White puts Ibushi in the ring, and sees him go to a corner. White runs in corner to corner but Ibushi goes up and over and then hits the SPINNING POWERSLAM! Ibushi somersaults to a corner but White trips him up! Ibushi is stuck in the ropes as White CLUBS away on his back! Red Shoes counts, White lets off to go outside. White has a leg, for a DRAPING DRAGON SCREW!
Ibushi flops down, White gets in, and White goes to the opposite corner. Ibushi drags himself up, White runs in to UPPERCUT! Then BLADE BUSTER! Cover, TWO! White is annoyed, he drags Ibushi around and stomps the leg. White throws forearms but Ibushi sits up to egg White on. White ROCKS Ibushi, brings him up, but Ibushi powers out of the urenage to back White into buckles! Ibushi throws elbows, White kicks the legs, but White runs into the RANA! White flops out of the ring and fans rally up behind Ibushi. Ibushi runs to the corner, goes up, but White gets in the ring. Ibushi adjusts but White trips him up! Ibushi crashes down to the floor and Gedo cheers.
White catches his breath and rests while Red Shoes checks on Ibushi. Ibushi is okay so the ring count starts. Ibushi sits up at 3, drags himself over at 7, but White has Ibushi as he gets in. White suplexes Ibushi to hang him out to dry, and Ibushi flops down and hits the mat. White drags Ibushi back up, and Half Hatch suplexes Ibushi into buckles! Cover, TWO! Gedo protests the count but Red Shoes says he was being fair. White drags Ibushi up, reels him in, but Ibushi again fights off the urenage. White throws knees low, and Gedo says White needs to end Ibushi! White wants the Kiwi but Ibushi fights out with body shots! Ibushi gut wrenches but White resists!
Ibushi tries to fight through but White throws more body shots to then scoop. But Ibushi slips out, SNAP HALF ‘N’ HALF! Fans fire up while both men are down! Ibushi feeds off the energy and gets up first. White follows in a daze, and Ibushi ROCKS him with a forearm! White wobbles, Gedo shouts for him to get up, and White forearms back! Ibushi ROCKS White, but White forearms again! Fans rally up as the two pick up speed, but White knees low. Ibushi swings into White’s strike fest, only to give a strike fest! White doubles over from the sobat, but he ducks the Penalty Kick! Ibushi blocks the roll up to sit down! TWO, White gets the cover, TWO!
Ibushi has White for the BASTARD DRIVER!! But Ibushi can’t hold the cover! Fans are still thunderous as both men are down again. Ibushi and White stir but Ibushi is up first. White rolls slowly to the corner, but Ibushi calls upon the powers of Strong Style! White dodges Bomaye! Ibushi fights off the waistlock but White gets a SNAP SAIDO! White crawls over, drags Ibushi back up, reels him in, URENAGE! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives but Gedo shouts for White to keep going. White wants the Kiwi again, fisherman, KIWI KRUSHER! Cover, TWO!! White grows annoyed but he slashes the throat and drags Ibushi up! Ibushi rolls through the Bladerunner to dead lift BACK SUPLEX!
Fans fire up, Ibushi powers up, BOMAYE!! Cover, TWO!?! White survives and Ibushi can’t believe it! Fans rally up as Ibushi drags White back up. Ibushi reels White in, lifts, but White fights out and knees low. White goes to ropes, gets Ibushi to a backslide, but he uses the TOP rope for leverage! Red Shoes sees that and stops counting! Gedo and White are pissed but that’s what they get for cheating! Ibushi glares at White and BUZZSAWS! Ibushi drags White up and Gedo panics! Ibushi has the wrists but White covers his head to avoid the knee. Ibushi lets go, White looks up, BUZZSAW AGAIN!
Fans fire up as Ibushi goes to the corner, goes up top, but Gedo gets on the apron! Red Shoes reprimands, Ibushi glares at Gedo, but White gets a leg! White clubs Ibushi down, climbs up behind him and goes to bump Ibushi off the post. Ibushi blocks but White clubs away! White climbs up more, sleeper holds, and Gedo is fired up for this! Ibushi still resists, White still pulls back, but Ibushi elbows until White lets go! White stumbles down, but Gedo anchors Ibushi’s foot! Ibushi kicks Gedo away but White CLUBS Ibushi again! White drags Ibushi off the top, but Ibushi elbows out! White CHOP BLOCKS the leg! And GROUND DRAGON SCREWS! And again!
White steps through, for the TTO!! Or will it be ITO for Ibushi Taps Out? Ibushi endures, drags himself and White towards ropes, and he gets the ropebreak! White holds on until Red Shoes counts 4. Ibushi clutches his leg, but Gedo goes looking under the ring for things. White drags Ibushi up and brings him around to give toying kicks. Ibushi just stares at White. White keeps kicking but Ibushi gets up with that ice cold stare. White throws a forearm but Ibushi doesn’t budge. White keeps throwing forearms but Ibushi just stares. Ibushi STRAIGHT SHOTS! Then KICKS! And CLUBS! This is Killer Ibushi now! Gedo panics as Ibushi goes after White with kicks and stomps in the corner!
Ibushi lets off and dares White to do something! White gets up, and Ibushi dares him to man up! White walks over to throw a forearm but Ibushi immediately DECKS him! Ibushi again eggs White on, and White comes back with another forearm. Ibushi DECKS White again! White flounders, comes back, throws another forearm, but Ibushi DECKS White again! White flops out of the ring, sputters, and Ibushi dares White to get back in. Fans rally behind Ibushi, Gedo helps White stand, and White drags himself into the ring. Ibushi demands White bring the fight, and White returns, but he flops back down.
White dares Ibushi to cover him already but Ibushi isn’t falling for any of these tricks. Ibushi stands over White, and SLAPS away on him! White shields himself but Ibushi just rains down furious fists! Red Shoes goes to pull Ibushi away but Ibushi shoves him! White LOW BLOWS Ibushi!! Ibushi fell for a trick after all! White makes sure he still has his teeth, then he pushes Ibushi out of the ring. White drags Ibushi up, and RAMS him into railing! And then the apron! And back to railing! And the apron! Railing! Apron! Repeat! White drags Ibushi up and POSTS him! White drags Ibushi to the ramp and throws forearms on him!
Red Shoes tells White to get this in the ring but White rains down forearm after forearm on Ibushi! White goes back to the ring and Red Shoes checks on Ibushi. Ibushi is okay so fans rally up. White doesn’t want Red Shoes to count yet and now White dares Ibushi to bring the fight. Ibushi gets up, hobbles his way back to the ring, and gets inside. White dares Ibushi to hit him, but then gets Ibushi in a COMPLETE SHOT! And a DEAD LIFT GERMAN! And another DEAD LIFT GERMAN! White pushes Ibushi to the apron, then drags Ibushi up. Ibushi holds ropes but White still dead lifts him! Ibushi elbows free, then fireman’s carries, but White fights to get back in the ring.
Ibushi ROUNDHOUSES White down! Fans fire up as both men are down again! Ibushi fires himself up as he rises, and he goes after White again. White hurries to get back to the apron, so Ibushi drags White up at the ropes! Ibushi waistlocks and dead lifts now, but White fights, only to get the SUPER GERMAN SUPLEX! Ibushi grins and brings White up as fans are thunderous! Ibushi has White for the LAST RIDE!! Cover, TWO!!! White barely survives and Gedo is relieved. Fans continue to rally up as Ibushi gets the wrists. Gedo freaks out again but White avoids Kami-Goye to SNAP SLEEPER SUPLEX! Both men are down again but fans rally back up.
White drags himself over to Ibushi and he drags Ibushi back into the sleeper. Ibushi resists but White knees him over and over to hit another SNAP SLEEPER SUPLEX! Gedo is fired up as White brings Ibushi up, for a FISHERMAN BACK SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!!! Ibushi survives but White drags him around! BLADE- NO! Ibushi backslides, White rolls through, KAMI-GOYE!! Cover, TWO!?!? White survives but Ibushi just fires up! Fans are thunderous again as Ibushi goes to the corner. Ibushi climbs up, PHOENIX SPLASH!! Cover, but Gedo drags Red Shoes out!! Red Shoes crashes hard and Ibushi realizes what happened.
Gedo slides in, Ibushi blocks his attack and wrenches his arm! Ibushi gives Gedo KAMI-GOYE!! Gedo is OUT COLD! Ibushi goes to Red Shoes and helps him into the ring. Ibushi goes back to White but White hits BLADERUNNER!!! Cover, TWO?!?!?! Ibushi barely survives now and White is in shock! Fans are electric but White drags Ibushi up. White has the wrists now, but Ibushi pushes him away. White drags Ibushi up but Ibushi fights out of the sleeper. Ibushi drags White back up in a waistlock, but White rolls to get the legs, ITO!! Ibushi endures, shouts, drags himself to ropes, White begs he tap as he puts more pressure on, but Ibushi keeps reaching!
White drags Ibushi away, Ibushi is fading, but the fans rally hard as ever! Ibushi gets a second wind, fights his way over, and gets the ROPEBREAK! White holds on until the count of 4, and Ibushi clutches his knee. White drags Ibushi back up, reels him back in, cross-arm but Ibushi fights back! Ibushi throws body shots, shoves White away, V-TRIG- NO! White blocks and fisherman BACK SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!?!? White keeps on Ibushi, cross-arm suplex, BLOODY SUNDAY!! White drags Ibushi back up, BLADERUN- NO! V-TRIGGER!! KENNYYY~!! Both men are down, fans are thunderous all over again, and Ibushi roars as he gets back up!
Ibushi brings White up by his wrists, White resists and kicks at Ibushi’s legs, but Ibushi keeps trying. White throws boot after boot but Ibushi eggs himon. Then Ibushi BOOTS, V-TRIGGERS, and looms over White. Ibushi says he’ll end it, and he gets White’s wrists again. KAMI- BLADE- NO! LARIAT!! Ibushi has White down again, brings him back up but from behind?! BLINDSIDE KAMI-GOYE!!! Knee pad down, BRUTAL KAMI-GOYE!!!! Cover, Ibushi wins!!!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall (still IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Champion)
The Golden Star’s ascension to divinity continues! Or is he already NJPW’s god of wrestling?! White desperately grabs at the title belts, but they’re not his to have. Red Shoes takes them from him and brings them to the true champion. White goes after Ibushi now but Ibushi dares him to try. Red Shoes has Young Lions bring White away, and then Red Shoes raises Ibushi’s hand in victory. Ibushi takes a moment to rest before he takes the Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship belts back. Red Shoes even helps Ibushi put them on one at a time. But wait, Sanada is here! Sanada is in his nice suit, having had his rest after his match.
Sanada has the mic to say, “Champion, as the great hope of pro-wrestling, Sanada, will you accept the gift of my challenging you, Kota Ibushi?” Fans cheer that and Ibushi nods. They shake hands, and then Ibushi says, “I still remember that G1 match very well. I’ll admit, I barely pulled out that win. However, what I’m holding right now, the IWGP Intercontinental and IWGP Heavyweight titles, the greatest belt and the strongest belt, I’m holding them both!” Ibushi is up for fighting Sanada again and again, so he gladly accepts. They shake hands again, and fans cheer the acceptance of this “gift.” Ibushi isn’t sure when or where, but he’s up for it anytime!
And Ibushi ends by saying what he’s been saying: He won’t run away, lose, quit or betray the fans. And he has now become, A WRESTLING GOD!! When and where will see the epic rematch of the G1 Climax 30 Finals!?
What a great second night and finale to WrestleKingdom! Yano being the first Mr. KOPW 2021 is a natural move, he is highly entertaining and will make every defense of the trophy hilarious. The Junior Tag title match was great, but it definitely felt like Taguchi was taking it upon himself to get the win at the end there, which backfired as Kanemaru and Desperado are a more united and experienced duo. I can’t be sure who challenges for those titles next, but there are still a few possibilities with ELP back in Japan. Takagi VS Cobb was incredible, definitely WK worthy, and for just a second I thought Cobb was going to win to bring a title to The Empire. But Takagi wins and as I was saying during Summer Struggle, Takagi is finally getting to make his reign feel strong, as it should have in 2020 if not for COVID.
Hiromu had an incredible match with Ishimori, too, and naturally Hiromu wins. Hiromu sweeps the weekend, quite truly proving he’s the best Junior Heavyweight in NJPW, and is adding to his personal legacy within NJPW. There’s any number of contenders for Hiromu, and I think it’d be epic if he and Desperado had another program where it comes down to who can have both belts. Bushi needs something to do so he can join Hiromu in a new pursuit of the tag titles. Sanada VS Evil was a great grudge match, Dick had a hilarious oversell of being knocked down into the table, and of course Sanada wins because Evil needed to face comeuppance at some point.
Ibushi VS White was an EPIC, and that was a great way to give White his own comeuppance. There was a lot of great stuff, such as Killer Ibushi returning to just brutalize White. Ibushi winning is the right move, as I was saying just yesterday, and then what a great move to have Sanada come out and bridge things from this ending to another great title match. I was hoping for a G1 Climax 30 finals rematch for WrestleKingdom, but now we’ll get it for whatever next event is coming (New Beginning? The new Castle Attack?) That is going to be an epic, as well, and that could go either way as I see it. Though, Ibushi will likely win because his reign has only just begun.
As for White, backstage interview clips say he’s considering quitting, but that is probably just story. I need to see White VS Evil in a Bullet Club Civil War first, which itself can be a great story and match.
My Score: 9.6/10
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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