Raw is revving up towards the Royal Rumble!
The Royal Rumble is this Sunday, but a lot could change right before it! Will Asuka still be Raw Women’s Champion after a rematch with twisted Alexa Bliss?
- Charlotte Flair VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax; Charlotte wins, by disqualification.
- Six Woman Tag: Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax & Lacey Evans; Flair, Rose & Brooke win by count out, but restarted, Jax, Baszler & Evans win by pinfall.
- Slapjack w/ Retribution VS Xavier Woods; Woods wins.
- Sheamus VS John Morrison w/ The Miz; Sheamus wins.
- 2v1 Handicap Match: The Miz & John Morrison VS Sheamus; The Miz & Morrison win.
- R-Truth VS AJ Styles w/ Omos; Styles wins and Truth is NOT in the Royal Rumble match.
- United States Championship Opportunity Gauntlet Match: Matt Riddle VS The Hurt Business; Riddle wins and will challenge Bobby Lashley for the title.
- Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka VS Alexa Bliss; Bliss wins by disqualification, Asuka retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
Drew McIntyre is back!
The WWE World Champion is healthy and ready for his match this Sunday at the Royal Rumble PPV! McIntyre has the mic, and he says it feels so good to be back on Raw! McIntyre thanks the fans for their get-well wishes all over social media. The outpouring of support means the world to him. McIntyre was lucky with the COVID symptoms. He’s 100% now and will be for the Rumble, but he’ll dedicate his match to those dealing with COVID. We will get through this together.
But speaking of being sick, McIntyre would have to be out of his mind if he took Goldberg lightly at all. McIntyre watched Goldberg since McIntyre was a teen. Goldberg came out of nowhere and rose to the top, running through opponent after opponent, 173-0 to then defat Hulk Hogan for the championship! Then he went through The Rock, the rest of the WWE, and then just disappeared. The last thing to go in a heavyweight fighter is their power. Goldberg returned the exact same animal he’s always been, set a new streak, and has beaten every new champion he’s faced! But McIntyre vows to END the new streak! This Sunday, McIntyre is STILL going to be WWE World Champion!
McIntyre says he’s fired up and wants to start things right, but here comes The Miz and John Morrison. Miz says this Sunday IS the Royal Rumble, and McIntyre VS Goldberg will be one for the ages! WWE’s Godzilla VS King Kong! Two of the hardest hitting monsters of all time! But when something that big happens, there tends to be consequences… What might those be? Well, at the very least, one or both of them, by the end, could end up injured! Oh no~! Then what would happen? Well we can’t give that away. Oh c’mon! Well okay. “Hey, John~! Whichever superstar is left standing by the end of that match will be?” A sitting duck! CORRECT!
And then these two hit the ring. CORRECT! And then they beat the hell out of whoever is champion! COOOOOORRECT! And then, Mr. Money in the Bank, will cash-in, and all you’ll hear is… “The winner, and NEW WWE World Champion… THEEEE MIIIIIZ~!” But here comes Goldberg! McIntyre waits as the pyro goes off, and out steps the Icon himself! No faking it with Gillberg this time, Goldberg storms his way to the ring with a mic of his own! Challenger stares down champion and says, “You. Me. Sunday. You’re next.” Miz and Morrison like that and then egg the two on. But that only gets Goldberg and McIntyre glaring at them.
McIntyre and Goldberg drag Miz and Morrison into the ring! SPEAR for Miz! CLAYMORE for Morrison! Then back to staring the other down! McIntyre raises the belt, but will Goldberg be raising it after the Rumble?
Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair!
The Royal Rumble is Sunday, but she’s going 1v1 with Shayna Baszler for the first time! If there’s one thing Charlotte does well, it’s performing under pressure. Shayna should bring that invisible crown, because it’s one thing to say you’re a queen, it’s another to be one. Charlotte loves defying odds, and she’s always willing to bet on herself, #MsWrestleMania. So the “situation” with Lacey Evans and her father won’t cause an issue? Charlotte says she’s seen her dad in a lot of dark places, this might be his darkest. Charlotte knows Lacey’s intentions. It’s one thing to have the last name Flair, it’s another to carry the weight of that name. But for now, Charlotte focuses on Shayna.
Charlotte Flair VS Shayna Baszler w/ Nia Jax!
While the Empress of Tomorrow is busy with Lil’ Ms. Bliss, the Queen will see how ready the Queen of Spades is this close to their WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship rematch! Will Shayna be rolling towards the huge Sunday double header she has planned for herself?
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Charlotte headlocks, but Shayna pries out to wrench and whip. Charlotte reverses, runs in but blocks a boot to give an elbow! Charlotte spins Shayna around into the ropes, elbows her down, then runs to dropkick Nia down for good measure! Shayna rushes in to get the sleeper! Charlotte rams Shayna into buckles, throws her off, then BOOTS her down! Charlotte gets the legs, Figure Four but Shayna fights it off! They move around, NIA drops a leg!!
Winner: Charlotte Flair, by disqualification
The challengers mug Charlotte! Charlotte fights back but here come Dana Brooke and Mandy Rose! The Sexy Muscle Friends fight Shayna and Nia off of Charlotte! Shayna kicks Mandy’s leg but Charlotte CLOBBERS Shayna! But here comes LACEY EVANS! Lacey brawls with Charlotte and it is chaos as Raw goes to break!
Six Woman Tag: Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke VS Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax & Lacey Evans!
Raw returns, and battle lines have been drawn! Will the Queen and Sexy Muscle Friends get payback together against the troublemakers?
Mandy starts with Lacey and the two circle. They tie up, Lacey pulls hair, but lets off as the ref counts. Lacey does the strut but Mandy gets the arm. Mandy wrenches and yanks but Lacey uses a leg to pry free and wrench back. Mandy gets around to headlock, throw Lacey down and keep her down. Lacey pulls hair again, then headscissors free. Lacey copies the “WOO~!” but Mandy kicks free. Mandy headlocks again, Lacey powers out but things speed up. Mandy KICKS Lacey while she’s down! Mandy headlocks again, shifts around, and tags in Dana. They bring Lacey around to double suplex! Dana covers, TWO!
Dana keeps on Lacey with a whip and runs her over with a shoulder! Dana flexes, covers, TWO! Dana keeps Lacey away from her corner with a whip and hip toss! Handspring and stomp! Cover, TWO! Dana grows annoyed, she drags Lacey back over and tags in Charlotte. Lacey scrambles away to tag Shayna! Shayna and Charlotte continue where things left off, Charlotte blocks a kick to run and baits Shayna into buckles! But Shayna dodges the splash to fire off fast hands! Shayna KICKS the leg, but Charlotte avoids the knee to CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP! Charlotte scoops and EXPLODERS Shayna to then kip up! Charlotte swipes at Lacey but goes after Shayna.
Charlotte brings Shayna over, tags in Dana, and Dana tags Mandy. Snapmare and double handspring BOOT! Mandy covers, ONE! Mandy drags Shayna back up, tags Dana in and they stomp away in the corner! Dana CHOPS and Charlotte lets out a “WOO~!” Dana CHOPS again, then tags in Charlotte. Charlotte and Shayna scrap, Charlotte CLUBS Shayna down then whips her to a corner. Shayna reverses but Charlotte tumbles up and out to then hit back with forearms! Charlotte KNEES Shayna through the ropes then drags her to the floor! Shayna hits the steps on the way down and hurries away. Nia checks on her teammate but the ring count is climbing! Shayna shoves Charlotte in at 8 but can’t get in herself, she’s COUNTED OUT!
Winners: Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose & Dana Brooke, by count out
The Queen managed to get in the heads of her opponents and it cost them! Will it be this easy when it’s Charlotte and Asuka VS Shayna and Nia?
Raw returns, and it is NOT over! Adam Pearce had this match restart over commercial, and now Nia is throwing Dana around! Dana BOOTS then kicks low to throw forearms! Dana runs, Nia reels her in but Dana throws elbows! Dana handsprings and headscissors to throw Nia into a corner! Dana runs and handspring sin to back elbow! Dana keeps moving, but Nia CLOBBERS Dana! Cover, TWO! Nia drags Dana over and tags in Lacey. Lacey gets in Dana’s face and knocks her down, but the ref reprimands. Lacey drops down for a cover, TWO! Lacey stomps Dana in frustration, drops knees on Dana’s hand, then digs her into the ropes! The ref counts and Lacey lets off.
Lacey taunts Charlotte, tags Shayna, and they mug Dana in the corner. Shayna fires off body shots, snapmares Dana and KICKS her in the back! Shayna covers, TWO! Shayna has Dana’s arm, twists the wrist and STOMPS the arm! Nia tags in and goes after the arm with a cobra clutch! Dana endures as Nia smothers her then thrashes her around! Nia brings Dana up but Dana throws more elbows! Dana pushes but Nia pushes back, and Nia blocks the huricanrana! Dana manages to sunset flip but Nia breaks free, but Dana avoids the sit down! Hot tag to Mandy and Lacey! Mandy dodges Lacey to DECK Shayna, then Mandy fires off, and FLAPJACKS!
Mandy fires up, picks Lacey up and powers her to a corner! Mandy fires off forearms, the ref counts but Mandy runs to give Lacey a KNEE FROM A ROSE!! Cover, but Shayna breaks it! Charlotte SPEARS Shayna! Nia CLOBBERS Charlotte! Nia drags Lacey to the corner to tag in! Nia aims at Mandy, Lacey drags Charlotte out but Charlotte glares. They run into the empty ringside area and Dana tags in! Nia still runs in but only gets POST! Dana manages to hit the ROLLING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Nia survives but Dana heads up top! But Nia drags her off with a ROCKET LAUNCHER TOSS!
Nia snarls and drags Dana up again, into a lift, for a CHOKE SLAM!! And a LEG DROP! Cover, Nia’s team wins!
Winners: Nia Jax, Shayna Baszler & Lacey Evans, by pinfall
Count out, controversy, whatever it is, that’s all the past now! Nia and Shayna are rolling towards the Royal Rumble, will they leave tag team champions as well as a Women’s Rumble winner?
Raw shares a WWE Network Exclusive from last week.
After Retribution’s Mace beat Xavier Woods, Mustafa Ali had a message. “Kofi, Xavier, people love watching you because you are their escape from reality.” But retribution is the reminder of reality! So get well soon, Kofi.
And in a message from earlier today, Ali answers Kofi’s burning question of why Retribution is after The New Day. To have the audacity to ask that! Kofi’s greatest moment came from Ali’s worst! KofiMania happened at Ali’s expense. That was Ali’s spot in the Elimination Chamber and it could’ve been Ali’s moment at WrestleMania! Ali feels the New Day took everything from him, so will he try to take everything from them?
Slapjack w/ Retribution VS Xavier Woods!
Raw returns as Woods makes his entrance. Woods is in no mood after having faced Ali’s allies twice already. The bell rings and Woods shotgun dropkicks Slapjack down! Woods throws hands, CHOPS Slapjack to a corner, then CHOPS him more! Woods whips corner to corner then back drops Slapjack high and hard! Slapjack flounders but Woods is on him. Slapjack throws Woods to the apron but Woods forearms back! Slapjack KNEES Woods, ROCKS him with a right, then slingshots out then in for an ELBOW DROP! Cover, TWO! Slapjack digs Woods’ face into the mat, then stomps him down!
Slapjack stomps Woods more, digs his face into the mat more, then stomps him again! Slapjack goes to a corner, hops up and leaps, but Woods avoids the stomp! Woods shoves Slapjack then blocks punches to give punches! And CHOPS! And CHOPS again! Woods fires off over and over, whips but Slapjack reverses, only for Woods to tilt-o-whirl to a Russian Leg Sweep! Woods fires up again before he dodges and LEG LARIATS! Woods whips, Slapjack reverses and UPPERCUTS! Woods boots back, and hits the HONOR ROLL! Cover, TWO!! Slapjack survives and Ali has T-Bar make a move.
Woods sees T-Bar coming but Slapjack rolls Woods, only for Woods to SHINING WIZARD! Cover, Woods wins!!
Winner: Xavier Woods, by pinfall
Mace chases Woods, but Woods gets out, only for T-Bar to BOOT Woods! T-Bar puts Woods back in and Retribution surrounds him! Ali says to “SHUT HIM DOWN!” T-Bar and Mace give Woods a DOUBLE CHOKE BOMB! Ali gets Slapjack up to get a chair and Slapjack does as ordered. T-Bar and Mace sit Woods up and Slapjack hands the chair to Ali. Ali scowls and demands Woods look at him. Ali raises the chair up, but he smirks as he spares Woods. Ali takes a seat and has Reckoning fetch him a mic.
“All this talk about wanting to be King of the Ring, but man, do you sure look like a peasant right now.” But like a real king, ALI will show mercy. “And for that, you are going to do exactly what I say. You are going to deliver a message to Kofi Kingston.” Tell Kofi that Ali heard the sad news that Kofi won’t make it to this year’s Rumble. But tell Kofi not to fear, “a replacement has been found. And his name is Mustafa Ali!” The tables have turned, and now the Beacon is ready to shine.
Matt Riddle finds R-Truth backstage.
Truth says he heard something. The Hurt Business is throwing a surprise party for him! How does he know that? Well it was Truth’s birthday last week, but he heard about a special VIP Lounge tonight! He’s getting 24 carrots! Well that makes sense as Capricorn, sign of the goat. BAAAH~! Now, don’t spoil the surprise! The secret is safe with Riddle, bro. Wait, someone got their wires crossed. Will Truth be sorely disappointed when the VIP Lounge isn’t what he thinks?
The Hurt Business heads to the ring!
The WWE United States Champion, Bobby Lashley, is going to be in the Men’s Royal Rumble this year, but his associates will be taking on Matt Riddle later on in a unique contender’s match challenge. But first, the VIP Lounge is decked out in black and gold as MVP says the BIGGEST things are popping, the littlest things are stopping, so relax and enjoy the view because the VIP Lounge is for people better than you. And MVP is stoked to see Bad Bunny is going to be at the Rumble and knows the after party will be lit! Lashley wanted this meeting for something important, MVP addresses the match with Riddle. Riddle may be brain dead but he is crafty. Let us not lose focus on that task in hand, Cedric Alexander.
Now, to Lashley’s business. “Sometimes you have to believe in somebody else’s belief in you.” Look at them! They all look good! Raw Tag Team and United States Championships. They believed! And more importantly, the beauty is that they’ve only just begun. So true. Benjamin says that looking at their individual accomplishments, it is hard to think that only a year ago- Alexander says that the Hurt Business is on a roll, thanks to MVP! Lashley says they collected some “outstanding debts,” to present something to represent their appreciation. It is only fitting that while these three are dripping in gold. MVP should have some gold, too. They present to him… #THB, the Hurt Business gold chain!
MVP tries it on, and loves it! It is not often that MVP is at a loss for words, but he doesn’t have any. Alexander takes credit working with the designer. Benjamin says Alexander doesn’t know what he’s talking about. But here comes R-Truth! PARTY~ TIME~! What?! Why!? Stop the music!! Truth says it is weird that the guest of honor isn’t on the list but sometimes it happens. He is NOT on the list! Truth says it is rude to eavesdrop, but he heard about this surprise party! Truth’s birthday was last week, but better late than never. No, this has NOTHING to do with Truth! This is all about MVP! Really? THB: Truth, Happy Birthday. And where the carrots at?
No, Truth. Just stop. Wait, dance break? Lashley says Truth is right. They’ve been so busy, Lashley forgot it was Truth’s birthday. And to make it up to him, they do have something for him, in the ring. MVP remembers now! Yeah, here we go. Oh wait, the other Raw superstars come out to go after the 24/7 Championship! They bust down the velvet rope, Tucker Knight rolls Truth up but Humberto Carrillo pushes him off. Lashley RAMS Carrillo into barriers! Gulak gets a haymaker, Lashley CLOBBERS Tucker and Benjamin throws Drew Gulak into steel steps! But Matt Riddle gets in to give MVP a FINAL FLASH knee! Riddle gets away but the Hurt Business tells him he’ll still pay! Will the Bro put the hurting on the Hurt Business from top to bottom?
R-Truth talks with Adam Pearce.
Truth “hides” but he asks about Royal Rumble opportunities. Truth wants to prove he can enter the MITB match and win! No, Truth, no… AJ Styles and Omos come over. Styles understands what Truth is really talking about. And being the nice guy Truth is, benevolent even, he’ll help Truth out. Styles is benevolent? Truth is a Capricorn! Sigh… Pearce arranges a match between Truth and Styles, and they accept! Truth says if Styles is benevolent, Truth is a Capricorn, and Omos must be a Taurus. Truth had a Ford Taurus, it broke down and… Well anyway, will Truth be able to prove he is worthy of the Rumble with just days left to get in?
Sheamus VS John Morrison w/ The Miz!
The Fella saw the Guru and A-Lister get blasted by McIntyre and Goldberg earlier, and figured why not get in on the fun? Will Sheamus use Morrison as a great warm-up before entering the Men’s Rumble this Sunday?
Raw returns as the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century make their entrance. The bell rings, Sheamus and Morrison circle and tie up and Sheamus puts Morrison on ropes. The ref counts for the break but Sheamus lets off at 4. Morrison holds his jaw from that Claymore earlier, but gets around to waistlock. Sheamus throws Morrison down to get the arm. Morrison fights around to another waistlock, then shifts up to a chinlock. Sheamus fights up as Morrison moves around, and Morrison knees low! Sheamus blocks the knee to drop Morrison then cover, ONE! Sheamus facelocks but Morrison fights up, only for Sheamus to wrench to a hammerlock.
Sheamus cranks on the arm, wrangles Morrison down, shifts to a double wristlock but Miz cheers Morrison on. Morrison fight sup but Sheamus throws him over to add a headscissor squeeze. Morrison kicks free, shifts to a lateral press, ONE! Sheamus facelocks again, Morrison fights up and powers out, but Sheamus runs Morrison over! Sheamus runs, Morrison goes to hip toss but Sheamus blocks! Morrison avoids the counter clothesline to O’Conner roll, TWO! Sheamus avoids the Penalty Kick to roll Morrison up, TWO! Sheamus clamps back onto the arm, Morrison fights up and puts Sheamus in a corner. The ref counts for the break, Sheamus lets Morrison go but Morrison ROCKS and KICKS Sheamus!
Morrison fires off on Sheamus, KICKS him again, then stalks him to the other corner. Morrison whips, Sheamus reveres but Morrison kicks back! Morrison runs, into a BACK DROP! Sheamus looms over Morrison, kicks him while he’s down, then kicks him again! Sheamus drags Morrison back up, throws a BIG EuroUpper, then keeps on Morrison with heavy body shots! Sheamus clamps onto the arm again, grinds Morrison down, but Miz rallies up with the “Hey hey! Ho ho!” Morrison wrenches, kicks, and shifts around to ROUNDHOUSE! Morrison grounds ‘n’ pounds but Sheamus shoves him away. Morrison deflects the leg guard to spin over Sheamus and and KICK him back down!
Morrison stomps Sheamus around, has him on the ropes, then whips him corner to corner. Sheamus reverses, then shoulders into him at the corner! Sheamus rains down rights, drags Morrison up and hits an IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Sheamus keeps his cool as he goes to a corner. Miz gets on the apron, the ref backs him off, but Sheamus stops the sneak attack from Morison! Sheamus goes up, leaps, but Morrison dropkicks him out of the air! Morrison KNEES Sheamus to the apron! Morrison has the leg on the ropes and pulls! The ref counts, Morrison stops at 4, then wrecks Sheamus with a baseball slide!
Miz creeps closer but Morrison KICKS Sheamus in the leg! The ring count climbs, Morrison puts Sheamus back in and has the leg. Morrison DRAGON SCREWS Sheamus, covers, ONE!! Morrison keeps on that leg for elbow drops to the knee! Sheamus fights back but Morrison shifts around again for more ground ‘n’ pound! Then a standing toehold to a KNEEBAR! Sheamus endures, Miz likes the aggression but Sheamus throws haymakers to get Morrison away! Morrison stalks Sheamus to a corner and drops an elbow on the leg! Morrison keeps on the leg and has a toehold to bend the leg!
Sheamus endures again, reaches for ropes but throws elbows into Morrison’s head! And then stomps him! Sheamus stomps until Morrison lets him go! Both men stand slowly, and Sheamus clobbers Morrison with ax handles! Sheamus runs in to clothesline Morrison at the corner, then TOSS him across the way! Sheamus hobbles over, fireman’s carries, but Morrison elbows free! CHOP BLOCK to the leg! Sheamus stays up but Morrison springboards! Sheamus manages to catch Morrison, swing him, and SLAM him! Cover, TWO!! Sheamus grits his teeth as he gets the bad leg moving.
Morrison crawls, Sheamus gets the legs and stomps Morrison’s stomach, to then tie up the legs! Sheamus turns Morrison, Morrison resists but Sheamus kicks him into the CLOVERLEAF! Morrison endures, crawls and gets the ropebreak! Sheamus lets go at 4, Miz checks on Morrison but Sheamus hobbles over. Morrison hotshots back! Morrison hurries back in but into a KNEE! Morrison flops into the fireman’s carry, and WHITE NOISE! Cover, Sheamus wins!
Winner: Sheamus, by pinfall
The Miz protests! If Sheamus wants to prepare for the Rumble, he has to keep his head on a swivel! Miz challenges Sheamus to a handicap match, and Sheamus ACCEPTS! Will Sheamus be able to beat both members of the Greatest Tag Team of the 21st Century in one go?
2v1 Handicap Match: The Miz & John Morrison VS Sheamus!
Raw returns and the bell rings. Sheamus brawls with BOTH Miz and Morrison! Sheamus is on Miz but Morrison hops on Sheamus! Sheamus throws Morrison out over the top rope a la the Rumble, but Miz runs in! Sheamus elbows Miz away, fireman’s carries, but Morrison CHOP BLOCKS Sheamus! BASEMENT DDT! Cover, TWO! Morrison KNEES Sheamus down, Miz adds stomps, and they mug Sheamus at the ropes! Morrison and Miz double snapmare and then set Sheamus up for the BOOT, SHINING WIZARD and STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Double cover, TWO!
Miz and Morrison stalk Sheamus to ropes, he kicks them back, but Miz stomps Sheamus down! Miz digs his boot in, lets off as the ref counts, but Morrison drags Sheamus up with a chinlock. Sheamus elbows free, ROCKS Miz, but Morrison ROUNDHOUSES and clotheslines Sheamus out! Miz WRECKS Sheamus with a dropkick! Miz stands Sheamus up for Morrison to FLY out and take down! Miz and Morrison drag Sheamus back up, then throw him into the barriers! Morrison adds a HEEL KICK! Miz adds a BOOT! Sheamus flounders back up but Miz and Morrison drag Sheamus around the way to put in the ring. Miz climbs and Morrison sets Sheamus up, FLYING AX HANDLES!
Miz and Morrison put Sheamus in a corner but Sheamus blocks the buckle bump! Sheamus hits Miz back, Morrison KICKS and ROCKS Sheamus! Miz adds a mudhole stomp, then Morrison digs his knee in! The ref reprimands, Miz and Morrison drag Sheamus up and KICK, ROCK and repeat! Miz whips Morrison in but Sheamus throws Morrison out! Sheamus CLOBBERS Miz! Both men are down but Sheamus grits his teeth. Sheamus gets up and glares at Miz. Sheamus rallies with big ax handles on Miz! Morrison returns but gets a scoop SLAM! Miz staggers into a fireman’s carry, ROLLING SENTON onto Morrison!
The Celtic Warrior is seething as he sees Miz go to the apron. Sheamus stands Miz up to give him Beats of the Bodhrain! But Morrison comes over, only to miss! And now Morrison gets Beats of the Bodhrain! Sheamus shoves Morrison down, climbs up the corner, and as Miz and Morrison regroup, Sheamus LEAPS! SUPER DOUBLE FLYING CLOTHESLINES!! Sheamus drags Miz back into the ring, aims from a corner, fires himself up, and Miz stands up. Morrison anchors a foot, Miz hits the A-LIST LARIAT! Sheamus throws off the full nelson, ducks the Flying Chuck and BROGUES Morrison! SKULL CRUSHING FINALE OUTTA NOWHERE!! Cover, Miz and Morrison win!!
Winners: The Miz & John Morrison, by pinfall
Beat down as they were to start the night, and as beat up as Sheamus was from his match with Morrison, this battle was much harder than just a normal 2v1! But in the end, the two beat the one just six days from the Royal Rumble! Will Miz leave with the WWE World Championship thanks to his MITB contract? Or will he have double the chances going into WrestleMania?
Lacey Evans “trains” with Ric Flair.
She talks waistlock counters and Ric shows her the ways. Seems innocent enough, but Charlotte Flair walks in and walks over. Lacey, leave. Lacey does, staying away from Charlotte as best she can. Ric says that just because Charlotte is a big star now, doesn’t mean there isn’t room enough in the dressing room for both. If someone wants some tips from Ric, he’ll give it. He’ll always be him. Always be himself, huh? The man who spent all his money on everyone but his family? Charlotte isn’t the villain here. When she was young, this was “cute.” Charlotte is the only one protecting Ric. He’s going from legend to an old man. She isn’t afraid to say it, either.
The tension mounts, but Charlotte takes a step back. But Lacey is still there, and she SUCKER PUNCHES Charlotte! Then kicks her into the wall! Ric hurries over to check on Charlotte, but Lacey wants him to move on. Will Lacey pay for playing father against daughter soon enough?
R-Truth VS AJ Styles w/ Omos!
Truth wants to bring the 24/7 Championship to Money in the Bank! Too bad it’s Rumble season first. But will Truth still get in on the big time event when he’s up against a phenomenal gatekeeper?
The bell rings and Styles sees Truth busy with his knee pads, so he stomps and kicks him to a corner! Styles whips Truth corner to corner hard and Truth bounces off buckles! Styles taunts Truth, brings him up and throws haymakers. Truth ROCKS Styles back! Styles kicks Truth’s leg, grabs it to elbow the knee, then kick it! Styles runs in at Truth in the corner but Truth ROCKS him again! Truth runs, but into a BACKBREAKER! Styles says this is what he’ll do to 29 other men in the Rumble! Styles whips but Truth reverses and sends Styles out a la the Rumble! Styles is pissed, he gets in and drop toeholds Truth hard!
Truth checks his nose, but then he looks up to see Omos looming over him! And Omos is still on the floor level! Styles argues with the ref but Truth goes to a corner. Truth puts Styles on the apron, Styles springboards back in but Truth avoids the forearm to hit a SPIN OUT BOMB! A la his “childhood hero,” John Cena! YOU CAN’T SEE ME~! Five Knuckle Shuffle!! And the- No, Styles avoids the scissor kick! Truth fireman’s caries but Truth slips out to get the CALF CRUSHER! Truth taps, Styles wins!
Winner: AJ Styles, by submission
Another would-be Rumble entrant is denied! Is Styles going to have an even easier time in the Rumble match itself?
Alexa Bliss speaks.
She’s on her swing as she sings “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.” Alexa says last week was so much fun! And did “he” see what Randy Orton’s face looked like after what they did? The fireball that sent Orton writhing and rolling left him burned, and Alexa laughs at the idea that it’s an improvement. “For the record, I just wanted to have some fun with Asuka in my Playground, but she didn’t want to play nice.” Asuka just tried to make Alexa happy by saying “he” is still here, but Alexa didn’t take kindly to that. “But… neither did I.” Alexa pulled some trickery of her own, and became the dark side that Asuka feared we’d see. Alexa won the match, which is why she has her title opportunity tonight.
Did you like the magic trick? “He” taught it to her. And a lot of other things, actually. She can’t wait to see “him” again so she can say thanks. But tonight, Alexa can win herself a shiny new toy in the Raw Women’s Championship. And just like last week, Alexa won’t play nice. Now she sings “Ring Around the Rosies.” Will it be ashes to ashes for Asuka’s title reign tonight?
United States Championship Opportunity Gauntlet Match: Matt Riddle VS The Hurt Business!
The Bro has come close to taking the title off the Chief Hurt Officer, but the chase is never done! Can he get through Shelton Benjamin, “Prime” Alexander and Montel Vontavius Porter to earn another shot at Bobby Lashley’s gold?
Raw returns and the Hurt Business make their entrance. The first one to take Riddle on is… the Gold Standard!
Matt Riddle VS Shelton Benjamin!
The bell rings and Riddle rushes Benjamin only to miss the knee! Riddle fires off hands, kicks and forearms to put Benjamin in a corner! Riddle runs side to side to forearm smash! Then side to side, but Benjamin gets around to waistlock! Riddle throws elbows but Benjamin GERMAN SUPELXES! Riddle lands on his feet! Riddle spins Benjamin around to PELE! Benjamin ducks the Penalty Kick, blocks the Final Flash and SPINEBUSTERS Riddle down! High stack, TWO! Riddle survives an early exit but Benjamin lifts Riddle to the corner! Benjamin clubs away on Riddle then STEP UP KNEES Riddle out of the ring!
The ref counts as Riddle is down on the outside, but Benjamin drags him up and in. Benjamin clinches, throws knees, then scoop slams! Cover, TWO! Benjamin keeps Riddle from ropes with a seated cobra twist. Riddle endures, fights up as MVP taunts him, and he throws body shots! Riddle gets free to throw forearms, then he runs but into a kitchen sink knee! Cover, TWO! Benjamin grounds ‘n’ pounds, circles him and KICKS him! Benjamin drags Riddle up, Riddle blocks the suplex and throws more body shots but Benjamin clubs and KNEES Riddle back down! Cover, TWO!! Riddle is still in this and defiantly glares at MVP!
MVP wants Benjamin to stop playing with Riddle and Benjamin brings Riddle into a chinlock. Riddle endures even as Benjamin has a rear bearhug. Riddle fights up, pries free to go after the arm, and gets a GUILLOTINE! Benjamin drops, Riddle shifts around, but Benjamin fights up to suplex free! Riddle knees free of the suplex! Alexander distracts, Riddle swipes at him, but Benjamin runs in! Riddle switches to an O’Conner roll but Alexander distracts! But Benjamin reverses as Alexander argues too long! The plan backfires and Benjamin is furious! MVP tells Alexander to help but doing NOTHING! But Riddle goes up and victory rolls Benjamin, to ELIMINATE him!!
Matt Riddle VS MVP!
MVP tells Alexander to stop and let him handle business. Benjamin and Alexander argue and MVP is busy telling them to stop! The bell rings, Riddle rolls MVP up to a KNEEBAR!! MVP TAPS, Riddle ELIMINATES him!! Alexander and Benjamin blame each other, but now it’s down to “Prime” Alexander to end this! Will the young lion make up for his mistakes by solving the Riddle?
Matt Riddle VS Cedric Alexander!
Raw returns as Alexander RAMS Riddle into the corner! Alexander digs his shoulder in and KICKS Riddle while he’s down, but MVP and Benjamin aren’t happy with him. Alexander snapmares Riddle to a cover, TWO! Alexander and Riddle throw forearms, Riddle ROCKS Alexander but runs into another kitchen sink knee! Alexander fireman’s carries for a GUTBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Alexander keeps on Riddle with an armlock and a knee in Riddle’s back. Riddle endures, fights up and slips free to CHOP! Riddle fires forearms, has Alexander in the corner for KICK after KICK, then he runs to forearm smash! Riddle keeps moving but Alexander dropkicks Riddle down hard! Cover, TWO!
Benjamin and MVP tell Alexander to stay focused and he says he’s got this. Alexander drags Riddle into a standing cobra twist, but Riddle endures again. Riddle moves around, gets to the ropebreak, but Alexander counts along before he lets go at 4. Alexander then digs his knee into Riddle at the ropes, but lets off as the ref counts. Cover, TWO! Alexander covers again, TWO! Alexander has the rear bearhug and squeezes tight. Riddle endures, throws elbows over and over and is free! Alexander shakes out the cobwebs, but Riddle fireman’s carries him, only for Alexander to make it a DDT! Cover, TWO!! Riddle survives and MVP coaches Alexander to finish this.
Alexander drags Riddle into a chinlock but Riddle fights his way over to ropes again. Riddle fights up, fights back with body shots and forearms and fast hands! Alexander boots but Riddle spins him around for a PELE! Riddle kips up, runs in and forearm smashes! Then another! Then a BROSPLODER! Riddle grits his teeth as he runs, but Alexander dodges the PK, the moonsault, and gets knees up for the Broton! MVP tells Alexander to capitalize and Alexander gets up. Alexander brings Riddle up, throws body shots, but Riddle fires off fast hands! Alexander ducks a kick to give a kick, but Riddle gets him taunting, GERMAN SUPLEX!
MVP is annoyed as Riddle drags Alexander up, only for Alexander to BRAIN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! MVP is furious as Alexander slowly gets up. Alexander rains down furious fists on Riddle, stomps him down, then grabs an arm to stomp Riddle unguarded! Alexander goes to a corner, climbs up top, and LEAPS, but the Frog Splash misses! Riddle comes back, flying takedown to a TRIANGLE HOLD! Alexander stays up, dad lifts and POWERBOMBS! But Riddle has the Triangle again! Alexander fights up, Riddle slips out, but Alexander pump handles! Riddle makes that a victory roll, RIDDLE WINS!!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by pinfall (NEW #1 Contender to the WWE US Championship)
The Bro breaks through to get another shot! And Benjamin laughs at Alexander for failing. But as Riddle goes up the ramp, Lashley ATTACKS! Lashley clobbers Riddle then puts Riddle in the HURT LOCK! Riddle is a ragdoll before Lashley finally throws him down! The Hurt Business still stands tall, but will the Rocky Mountain Machine be able to focus on the Men’s Rumble when Riddle awaits on the other side?
Edge is here!
The Rated R Superstar says 2020 taught all of us that you can’t sleep on tomorrow. If you have a dream, you have to fight for it every day. “Tomorrow is not guaranteed.” Sometimes you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself up and keep walking forward. But bear with him, okay? About 10 years ago, after WrestleMania 27, Edge was the world Heavyweight champion, on top of the world. And within a week, he had to give up the title, and his career, “the only career I’ve ever wanted. My dream.” Edge will never forget when he told his mom that he was going to be a wrestler. She said he should just go do it.
But those simple words were the jet fuel that lit the fire inside to make him fight for nine years to get back to his dream! And then at Backlash 2020, Randy Orton tore Edge’s triceps and gave him another reminder that everything you hold dear can be torn away, just like that. “But you can’t live in that space. You gotta fight.” Edge knows what his mom would say. “Just go do it.” So with that in mind, Edge is entering THIS YEAR’s Royal Rumble! He knows it won’t be like last year, because the stakes are higher! The window closes more and more every day so Edge needs to win, main event WrestleMania, and finally take back what he never lost!
If you have a dream, you need to fight to make it a reality. Edge will fight with every fiber of his being and every breath left in his body, to make the farfetched dream come true. Now, if you’ve been with him on this ride from The Brood to right now, Edge has to try. A world without dreamers and fighters is a much less magical place. Henry Ford once said, “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Edge thinks he can. Will he be right come the Rumble?
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka VS Alexa Bliss!
The Empress of Tomorrow may be an intimidating superstar, but even she was spooked by the darkness on display last week. Will she be able to face her fears as she again faces the Fiend’s best friend? Or are we about to witness a new reign of terror?
The introductions are made, the Raw Women’s title is raised, and this crucial main event begins!
Asuka and Alexa circle, Alexa has fun teasing Asuka, but they approach, only for Asuka to avoid Alexa’s grip. They try again, and Alexa gets around to waistlock. Asuka elbows out hard, throws Alexa to a corner, then throws her across the ring! Asuka stomps Alexa down, the ref counts and Asuka lets off, to go after Alexa’s arm. Asuka grinds Alexa to the mat, Alexa just grins and shakes her head. Alexa fights up as she endures, but Asuka kicks and stomps the arm to keep her down! Alexa gets back up, throws body shots, kicks and CLUBS Asuka back! Alexa whips Asuka to a corner, Asuka goes up to leap and missile dropkick!
Asuka fires up, keeps moving, but the hip attack misses! Alexa KICKS Asuka out of the ring, and the tricks begin again! There’s a rocking horse in the ring and Alexa rides it with a big smile while Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and the rocking horse is gone as Asuka stomps and kicks Alexa in a corner. Asuka lets off just a moment before stomping Alexa again! Asuka whips, Alexa reverses but Alexa runs into an elbow! Asuka goes up and leaps but the missile dropkick misses! Alexa hits Insult2Injury! Cover, TWO! Alexa drags Asuka up to bump her off buckles, then stomps away! The ref counts, Alexa stops at 4 to then dig her boot into Asuka. The ref counts, Alexa lets off at 4 again, and she drags Asuka up to snapmare. Alexa wraps on a chinlock and grins as she leans on the hold. Asuka endures, fights up, elbows back but Alexa throws Asuka by her hair! Cover, TWO!
Alexa plays annoyed but she wraps Asuka back into the chinlock. Alexa smiles again as she smothers Asuka but Asuka endures. Asuka fights up, fights free, but Alexa whips her to ropes. Asuka holds ropes and ROUNDHOUSES back! Both women are down as Asuka gasps for air and Alexa shakes out the cobwebs. Alexa smirks as she looks at Asuka, and runs in, only for Asuka to dodge, follow and run Alexa over! POP-UP KNEE! Asuka runs corner to corner to HIP ATTACK! Mule kick and a GERMAN SUPLEX! Alexa flounders up into the SLIDING WIZARD! Cover, TWO! Asuka grits her teeth while Alexa still smiles on the mat.
Asuka drags Alexa up, bumps her off buckles, and stomps her down! Asuka runs corner to corner but whose music is that? Wait, Alexa has transformed back into… Is this the REAL Alexa?! She cries while clutching her arm and begging for mercy! This is the same trick she used on Nikki Cross, but is it just a trick? Alexa doesn’t seem to understand where she is or why she’s here. Asuka still runs in but Alexa sends her into buckles! Alexa still seems to be herself but she goes to a corner… And the screens start freaking out! And when the lights come up, it’s DARK ALEXA!!! She’s doing the spider walk!! Asuka is at a loss for what’s going on, but she runs back in!
Alexa blocks and deflects, just like last week! POP-UP KNEE hits, but Alexa just shakes it off!! Asuka gets a takedown! ASUKA LOCK! Alexa scrambles up to fight it off! Alexa grabs Asuka’s jaw! MANDIBLE CLAW!!! Asuka endures, but RANDY ORTON is here! He took off the mask to show his burnt face! RKO TO ALEXA!!!
Winner: Alexa Bliss, by disqualification (Asuka retains the Raw Women’s Championship)
The Viper strikes Alexa down, showing he has no fear and no mercy for The Fiend’s little friend! But will costing Alexa the title be only the beginning of Orton’s revenge?
I really hopes this go-home episode was going to go better, but a lot of this just ended up a bit of a grind. We got a good segment out of McIntyre returning healthy and Goldberg showing up, and beating up Miz ‘n’ Morrison as part of it, and that was about all we could expect out of it since Goldberg and McIntyre aren’t going to get physical with each other. Sheamus VS Morrison was a good match, and so was the Handicap Match, but having both of those tonight just felt like a couple weeks ago with all the doubling up. “Hey, you just had a match, but how about having a match with me now?!” This technically muddies the math for the Rumble and the MITB cash-in, but either way, I don’t see Miz coming away with the title or the Rumble ticket to Mania, perhaps saving his cash-in for Mania.
There was a clumsy restart with the Six Woman Tag that kinda hurt it, but I suppose it still turned out alright. Nia and Shayna go in strong to the Women’s Tag Team Championship match, but that match will determine how strong Nia and Shayna each go into the Women’s Rumble. Charlotte’s better segment was with Ric and Lacey. It escalates the story a bit more, and clearly sets up more Charlotte VS Lacey for post-Rumble, tag titles or not. Asuka had her own part tonight, but she almost seemed more a set piece for setting up the next step in Alexa’s story with The Fiend and Orton. I will say that everything Alexa was doing in that match, from being spunky Alexa to “Goddess” Alexa to extra scary Alexa saved the episode, as did Orton hitting an RKO, and I can’t wait to see what’s next.
Mustafa Ali had good promos, Woods VS Slapjack was alright, but I’m hoping Kofi can make it back to get things going towards a full New Day VS Retribution feud. The VIP Lounge segment was almost right, but I’m a bit disappointed MVP didn’t get the 24/7 Championship off of R-Truth tonight. It was good for Riddle to get his shot in on MVP but I was still hoping we’d get titles for all the Hurt Business members. The Gauntlet match was alright, definitely better story with the dysfunction in the Hurt Business growing. But the time used to basically replay ALL of Orton’s package last week took from the match being on equal footing with the story. Riddle wins the gauntlet but doesn’t stand tall, all to muddy the math again, but I feel like the third time will be the charm for Riddle to get the US Championship.
Hearing from Edge was great, and his promo was great in itself. And I’m pleasantly surprised that Edge is getting back with another Royal Rumble return. I don’t think he’ll win, but it’d be a great way for him to get back into things if he eliminates a good handful.
My Score: 8/10
Mitchell’s AEW Dark Results & Report! (3/6/21)
A Dark Dozen before Revolution!
It’s a bonus Dark before AEW Revolution!
AEW Revolution is coming, but there is still some Dark to get through! Will the Murderhawk Monster be rolling into that Face of the Revolution Ladder match?
- The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon; The Natural Nightmares win.
- Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake; wins.
- Penta El Zero M VS Azriel; wins.
- Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler; wins.
- Ricky Starks & Brian Cage w/ Hook VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol; win.
- Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick; wins.
- Thunder Rosa VS Tesha Price; wins.
- Tay Conti VS Leila Grey; wins.
- The Gunn Club VS M’Badu & D3; wins.
- Bear Country VS Ryzin & Cameron Stewart; win(s).
- Preston Vance & Alan Angels w/ The Dark Order VS Labron Kozone & Vary Morales; win.
- The Sydal Brothers VS Chaos Project; win(s).
PLAY BY PLAY
The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon!
Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal, but so are the Brazilian V8 and “Pretty” Peter! Who builds some momentum before running into the Revolution?
The teams sort out, Bononi starts with Dustin, and they circle. Fans rally for Dustin but PPA tells them to shut up. Bononi and Dustin tie up and Bononi shoves Dustin to a corner. Dustin comes back to headlock but Bononi powers out. Dustin rams Bononi but Bononi stays up and shakes his head. Dustin runs again, he dodges Bononi’s clothesline to ROCK him with an uppercut! Dustin wrenches and puts Bononi in the corner, QT tags in and Dustin whips QT in to forearm smash! QT feeds Bononi to Dustin’s POWERSLAM! Fans fire up as QT ROCKS Bononi, whips him, but Bononi reverses. QT holds ropes, BOOTS Bononi, but Avalon gets a cheap shot in!
Bononi then stomps away on QT at the ropes! Tag to Avalon, they mug QT, and Avalon CHOPS! Avalon clubs QT to the other corner, wrenches and whips him corner to corner, and QT bounces off buckles. Avalon stomps QT but fans rally up. Bononi tags in, they mug QT again, but QT hits back! Bononi knees low and throws hard back elbows! Bononi dares QT to reach for Dustin, but QT throws body shots. Bononi throws elbows but QT handsprings for a NEURALIZER! Bononi staggers and Avalon tags in to drag QT from Dustin. QT boots Avalon away and hot tags to Dustin! Dustin dodges Avalon and rallies with clotheslines! Dustin whips and back drops Avalon!
Bononi gets in to kick low, then he whips Dustin. Dustin stops and uppercuts Bononi! Dustin CLOBBERS Bononi, and gets Avalon with a POWERSLAM! Dustin drags Avalon up but Bononi clubs him! QT gets in to ROCK Bononi with haymakers! Bononi knees low, throws QT out, but Dustin clotheslines Bononi out! Dustin dodges Avalon to hit a BULLDOG! Cover, Dustin & QT win!
Winners: The Natural Nightmares, by pinfall
The Natural is fired up because he and the Gift are ready for the Casino Tag Battle Royal! But will they win it and become contenders?
Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake!
The Kentucky Gentleman and Freshly Squeezed will be in for a fight with the Superbad and Best Man! But first, can Chuck get through a scrap with Scrap Metal?
Penta El Zero M VS Azriel!
The third point of the Death Triangle is back! And though he’ll surely want revenge on Kenny Omega and his Biz Cliz, he’s going into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match! Will Cero Miedo strike fear into everyone with his Dark return?
Big Swole speaks!
Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler!
The Murderhawk Monster is also heading into the Face of the Revolution Ladder match, and is ready to remind AEW that #EverybodyDies! Will the Southern Savior be no different in the Dark?
Ricky Starks & Brian Cage w/ Hook VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol!
Team Taz keeps trying to take the fight to Sting and Darby Allin but they keep getting checked. The Street Fight is coming, will the #AbsoluteMachines use the Fashionable Hombre and Fire of the Sun for a warm-up before Revolution?
Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick!
The Hybrid2 are going into the Casino Tag Battle Royal, but the mouthier half is tuning up on his own. Will Evans win for both him and Angelico so they can be contenders?
Mitchell’s New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/6/21)
New Japan Cup, day 2!
Will the Rainmaker redeem himself in the New Japan Cup?
Kazuchika Okada vows that it is time he returns to the top of NJPW! But this is only round ONE of the 2021 New Japan Cup! Can he make it to the end?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki; Suzuki wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA; Kenta wins and advances.
- 2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi; Takagi wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire!
Tetsuya Naito lost in the first round of the NJCUP, Bushi couldn’t win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but Sanada is still in the running! Will LIJ be a powerful obstacle in the way of Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay?
But as soon as LIJ gets in the ring, the Empire attacks! Cobb throws Bushi out while Ospreay goes after Sanada, and Khan keeps Naito in the ring to revisit their recent NJCUP match. The bell rings, Khan drags Naito around but fans rally up. Khan clamps onto Naito with a chinlock but also adds his claw into it! Sanada sends Ospreay into railing while Naito and Khan brawl with forearms! Khan ROCKS Naito then Mongolian Chops him at the ropes. Naito reverses the whip to atomic drop, Bushi dropkicks the legs out and Naito basement dropkicks! Fans cheer and Naito grabs Khan’s ponytail! Naito drags Khan around by it, fans rally up and Khan grabs the ropes.
The ref counts, Naito lets off but tags Sanada in. Sanada climbs up and drops ax handles on the ponytail! That still tweaks Khan’s head and fans fire up again. Sanada drags Khan up while Ospreay protests, and Sanada headlocks to punch Khan down. Sanada throws haymakers, brings Khan up for clubbing elbows, then tags in Bushi. Bushi clubs Khan, drags him up by the ponytail, and bumps him off buckles. Bushi CHOPS Khan, puts Khan’s leg on ropes and dropkicks the leg out! Cover, TWO! ans rally, Bushi drags Khan around and tags in Naito. Naito clubs Khan, drags him up and cravats for a standing neck wrench. Khan endures, reaches for the Empire, but Naito keeps him away.
Khan throws body shots but Naito throws an elbow, into a standing katagatami! Khan kicks a leg out and drags Naito down! Cobb and Ospreay attack Sanada and Bushi! They brawl on the outside, Naito gets a ropebreak but Khan holds on! Khan cranks on the hold, the ref reprimands and counts, and Khan lets go at 3. Brawling continues outside but Khan drags Naito around to stomp away on the leg! Naito clutches his knee and fans rally up, but Khan drags him up first. Khan tags Cobb in, the Empire mugs Naito, and Cobb gives Naito a headbutt! Naito ends up in a corner, Cobb whips him out to whip him back in hard! The Empire likes that and Cobb scoops Naito to carry him around.
Cobb taunts LIJ by holding Naito out to them, but then throws in knees! Cobb puts Naito in the Empire corner, tags in Ospreay, and then sets Naito up for Ospreay’s DRAPING DOUBLE STOMPS! Ospreay BOOTS Sanada, Cobb RAMS Naito back into the corner, and Ospreay digs his boot in. The ref reprimands and counts, Ospreay lets off to throw haymakers and more stomps! Ospreay digs his knee in, the ref reprimands and counts, but Ospreay lets off again. Ospreay snapmares and wraps Naito up in a chinlock. Ospreay grinds Naito down, fans rally up, and Naito endures. Khan keeps ropes away from Naito but the ref reprimands.
Ospreay drags Naito away, cranks on the chinlock then shifts to a facelock. Khan tags in, and Mongolian Chops Naito on the back! Khan drags Naito up for more Mongolian Chops! Khan mockingly asks what’s wrong and he eggs Naito on. Fans rally, Naito throws haymakers and forearms! Khan knees low, whips, but Naito reverses to tornado, only for Khan to block the DDT! Naito fights out of Khan’s grip, elbows him, then spins him for a neckbreaker! Both men are down and fans fire up! Naito sits up but Khan follows. They both go to their corners, hot tags to Sanada and Ospreay! Sanada rallies, whips but Ospreay reverses, only for Sanada to reverse back and RANA!
Sanada dropkicks Cobb away, then blocks Ospreay’s boot to trip him! Sanada ties Ospreay up in Paradise! Fans fire up as Sanada encourages them to get loud. Sanada runs in and dropkicks Ospreay out of Paradise! Cover, ONE!! Fans rally for “SA-NA-DA!” as he drags Ospreay up. Sanada fireman’s carries, Ospreay elbows free and waistlocks, but Sanada resists the lift. Sanada elbows free, runs in but Ospreay puts him up top! Ospreay tucks him in, for CHEEKY NANDOS! Ospreay hurries and tags in Cobb! Cobb runs corner to corner to LEAPING back elbow! Cobb scoops Sanada, pops him up into the suplex, holds him up, but Sanada reverses to snap suplex!
Fans fire up again as Cobb goes to a corner. Sanada crawls and hot tags Bushi! Bushi runs corner to corner but Cobb dodges. Cobb runs in, Bushi slips out and swing kick shim away! Bushi goes up, missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Cobb runs back at Bushi but into a basement dropkick to the legs! Bushi basement DDT’s and covers, TWO! Fans rally and Bushi brings Cobb up. Cobb throws forearms, whips Bushi to a corner, then runs in, but Bushi dodges! Naito rocket kicks and leg sweeps, COMBINACION CABRON! LIJ whips Cobb, Sanada elbows and snapmares, for a TRIPLE BASEMENT DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!
Naito dropkicks Khan down but Ospreay drags Sanada out. Bushi has Cobb, but no Fisherman Screw! Ospreay hits PIP PIP CHEERIO on Bushi! Sanada dropkicks Ospreay, but Khan BOOTS Sanada! Naito dropkicks Khan’s legs out, then dodges Cobb, only for Cobb to LARIAT him! Cobb goes back to Bushi as fans rally up. Bushi kicks, Cobb blocks then ducks the enziguri but not the mule kick! Bushi runs in, but the Code Break is blocked and popped to a GERMAN SUPLEX! Cobb drags Bushi up, reels him in and hits a TOUR OF THE ISLAND! Cover, the Empire wins!
Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall
The Hawaiian Hulk is building up power and momentum towards his NJCUP battle with Evil! The Dominator is also already in, and the newly deemed “Global Kingpin” Ospreay has his battle tomorrow, March 7th! Will the entire United Empire advance towards the finals?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Tomoaki Honma VS Minoru Suzuki!
These two have been warming up in tag matches and finally get to throw down 1v1! Will Everyone’s Kokeshi be able to knock the Meanest Man in the World out of the tournament? Or will Suzuki brutalize and leave him behind while going for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
The bell rings and fans rally up already. Suzuki and Honma stare down, but then Honma shoves and CHOPS! And CHOPS! Suzuki CHOPS, Honma CHOPS, it’s a CHOP fight! Fans rally as the CHOPS fly harder and faster! Neither man is backing down, but Honma does get the edge! Honma CHOPS and CHOPS then DOUBLE CHOPS! Suzuki eggs Honma on, Honma CHOPS and then scoops Suzuki to slam him! Honma fires up and runs, but Suzuki dodges the kokeshi! Honma gets mad and tries again, but again Suzuki dodges! Suzuki gives toying kicks to Honma and fans rally up. Suzuki throws knees and forearms and Honma goes to a corner.
Suzuki throws body shots, whips him corner to corner but Honma reverses. Honma runs in but Suzuki boots him. Suzuki slips to the apron, and catches Honma’s arm to a DRAPING ARMBAR! The ref counts, Suzuki lets go at 3 and then drags Honma out to join him. Suzuki whips Honma into railing! Suzuki slaps Honma then throws forearms and elbows! Suzuki puts Honma’s head through railings and pulls him back against the top bar! The ref reprimands and counts but Suzuki stops at 3. Fans rally but Suzuki puts Honma in a cravat! Suzuki grinds Honma down, the ref reprimands but Suzuki holds on until the ref counts. Suzuki stands Honma up and RAMS him into railing!
Suzuki digs his knuckles into Honma’s eyes! Commentary is really close to the action but Suzuki leaves Honma behind as the ring count climbs. The count is already 10 of 20 as the fans rally. It passes 15, Honma stands at 18 and gets in at 19.5! Suzuki drags Honma into a facelock, then shifts to a chinlock stretch! Suzuki digs a knee into Honma’s back as he pulls him back! Fans rally as Honma endures, and Honma fights, only for Suzuki to crank harder on the hold! Honma reaches with feet and gets the ropebreak! Suzuki lets go and eggs Honma on. Suzuki gives Honma more toying kicks but Honma rises as fans rally again.
Honma throws forearms but Suzuki laughs them off. Suzuki eggs Honma on then ROCKS him! Honma wobbles, Suzuki ROCKS him again! Honma wobbles and falls over! Suzuki runs to PENALTY KICK! Honma stays seated up!? Suzuki PENALTY KICKS again but Honma just gets stronger! Suzuki runs, Honma blocks the kick, elbows it, but swings into Suzuki’s grip! Honma spins through and gets Suzuki for a DDT! Fans rally up as both men slowly rise. Honma reels Suzuki in but Suzuki throws elbows, only for Honma to power through and hit the back suplex! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up and Honma CHOPS Suzuki to a corner!
Honma CHOPS more, and more, and then whips Suzuki corner to corner. Honma runs in to back elbow then hit a BULLDOG! Honma fires up to hit the KOKESHI! Fans fire up again as Honma dares Suzuki to get up. Suzuki rises, Honma runs, but Suzuki ducks the lariat to waistlock! Honma counters with a facelock, but Suzuki wrenches the arm! Suzuki ducks Honma’s haymaker, back hand, and fires off SLAPS! And kicks and clubbing elbows! Honma falls over again but Suzuki brings him back up. Suzuki reels Honma in as fans rally up, and that only angers Suzuki more. Suzuki Gotch holds but Honma resists the lift! Suzuki powers through but Honma flails his legs!
Honma powers up to back drop Suzuki over! Suzuki gets up and he looms over Honma. Suzuki gives more kicks but Honma eggs him on! Fans rally as Suzuki stomps but Honma growls. Suzuki fires off slapping palm strikes and big forearm shots but Honma just gets stronger! Honma ROCKS Suzuki with a right! Suzuki comes back to palm strike, but Honma POINT-BLANK KOKESHIS! Both men are down again and fans fire up! Honma rises, drags Suzuki up and throws more forearms! Honma has Suzuki in the corner but now Suzuki eggs Honma on. Suzuki leans into the forearms as Honma throws them, no guard at all! Honma headbutts!
But Suzuki roars, so Honma throws more forearms in the corner! The ref wants Honma to let off but Honma ROCKS Suzuki again! Honma clubs Suzuki at ropes, brings him up to the top rope backwards, then clubs him more. Honma climbs up behind Suzuki and fans rally up. Suzuki resists, throws elbows, then cravats Honma to grind him down! Fans still rally but Honma ends up tumbling to the apron! Suzuki adjusts, brings Honma up, but Honma RISING KOKESHIS! Suzuki falls, fans fire up and Honma climbs! Honma leaps for a FLYING KOKESHI! Cover, TWO! Suzuki survives but fans rally for Honma!
Honma drags Suzuki by a leg, and hooks him up with the step-over deathlock! Suzuki resists the crossface but Honma still tries. Honma gets an arm in it for a chicken wing STF! Suzuki endures, Honma shifts to a cover, TWO! Fans rally again as the two stand. Honma brings Suzuki around to scoop but Suzuki slips out to get the sleeper hold! Honma snapmares Suzuki away and throws a LARIAT! Suzuki stays up with pure anger, and he eggs Honma on! Honma runs and LARIATS, but again Suzuki stays up! Suzuki ROCKS Honma with a palm strike, Honma wobbles, but he powers up! Suzuki SMACKS him again, Honma staggers back, but he powers up to ROCK Suzuki in return!
Suzuki throws a forearm, Honma returns it, and again! Fans rally as these two pick up speed again! Suzuki laughs as things get faster, and he ROCKS Honma, to then ROCK him again! Honma wobbles around and staggers to a knee! Honma stands as fans rally, but Suzuki ROCKS him a third time! Honma wobbles and Suzuki seethes, but the two keep going! Forearm for forearm, Honma wobbles and stumbles about again but he comes back to palm strike. Suzuki ROCKS Honma, and again, and then palm strike! Suzuki gets Honma in the SLEEPER! Fans rally as Honma manages to stay standing! Honma turns red and Suzuki squeezes tighter!
The ref checks, the hand drops once! The hand drops twice, but Suzuki turns Honma around! Gotch hold, but Honma’s second wind helps him resist! Suzuki KNEES Honma, and reels him in, but Honma makes it a GANNOSUKE CLUTCH! Cover, TWO!! Honma runs into palm strikes and haymakers! GOTCH PILEDRIVER!! Cover, Suzuki wins!!
Winner: Minoru Suzuki, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
Honma gave it his all, but in the end, it wasn’t enough! Will Suzuki take the Cup and then the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Juice Robinson VS KENTA!
The Flamboyant One and Fang Revived are back in Japan in time for the Cup! But who moves on towards the next round and faces Suzuki?
The bell rings and Juice has fans rally up. Juice and Kenta circle, tie up, and Juice uses leverage to power Kenta to ropes. The ref calls for the break but Kenta turns things around and pulls Juice’s hair! Kenta brings Juice into a headlock, Juice powers out but again Kenta pulls hair. Kenta grinds the headlock but Juice powers up to power out, only for Kenta to again get the hair. Kenta grinds Juice down and talks trash, but Juice throws body shots. Juice powers out but Kenta rams him with a shoulder. Juice stays up, Kenta eggs him on but then pulls Juice’s hair. Juice powers up to back suplex high and hard! Fans fire up as Juice drops the back senton! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally as Juice keeps cool. Juice drags Kenta up, JABS, CHOPS, and whips him to a corner. Juice wrenches, whips corner to corner, and then runs in to clothesline Kenta down! Fans fire up with Juice as he runs corner to corner again, but Kenta bails out before the cannonball. Kenta walks around the way, the ref keeps Juice in, but Kenta grabs the ring bell! Finlay tries to tell the ref as Juice storms over, but Kenta CRACKS Juice with the ring bell! Kenta gets in to drop knees on Juice’s head and then dig knuckles into the eye! The ref counts, Kenta lets off at 3 and Juice gets to ropes. Kenta goes after Juice to choke him and claw his eyes!
The ref counts, Kenta stops at 3, and Juice checks his eye. Kenta drags Juice up to throw him out of the ring, and then he pursues. Kenta drags Juice up and whips Juice hard into railing! Juice slumps down and Kenta digs his face into railing! The ref reprimands, Kenta stops and Juice crawls away. Fans rally up but Kenta traps Juice’s head in between the gate and railing! Kenta squeezes tight but stops as the ring count starts. Kenta drags Juice up at 7 of 20 and puts him in at 10. Kenta stomps Juice, throws haymakers, but Juice gets up! Kenta throws more haymakers then rakes at Juice’s eye! Juice gets to a corner, the ref reprimands and warns Kenta.
Fans cheer the ref while Kenta drags Juice up. Kenta headlocks and punches Juice, then scrapes Juice’s face on ropes! The ref counts and Kenta lets off. The ref checks Juice’s eye while Kenta makes up his mocking clap rhythm. Kenta boots Juice down then clamps on a facelock. Kenta grinds Juice down but fans rally up. Juice fights up, fights out, but Kenta claws Juice’s eyes! Kenta runs but Juice hits a SPINEBUSTER! Fans fire up as both men are down! Kenta gets to a corner, Juice rises and runs in, but Kenta boots him away! Juice fires up, runs back in and clotheslines! Juice whips Kenta corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines again!
Juice keeps moving to LEAPING LARIAT Kenta down! Fans fire up and Juice watches Kenta rise. Juice pumps up and fans clap along. Juice JABS, JABS, JABS, then powers up, but Kenta claws his eyes! Juice claws Kenta’s eyes in return! The ref reprimands, Juice headbutts Kenta to a corner! Juice runs in but Kenta boots him! Kenta hops up, reels Juice in and hits a tornado hotshot! Kenta climbs up while Juice staggers, and he hits a FLYING CLOTHESLINE! Cover, TWO! Kenta clamps onto Juice’s arm but Juice flails and gets the ropebreak! It’s not Game Over yet! Fans rally, Kenta drags Juice up and reels him into a waistlock.
Juice elbows free, runs, but Kenta BOOTS him! Kenta runs but into Juice’s boot! Juice fires up and runs, but Kenta sends him out! Kenta runs to BOOT Juice off and at the railing! Kenta goes out to fetch Juice and drags him up. Kenta goes to bump Juice off the timekeeper’s table but Juice blocks to bump Kenta! Juice powers up but Kenta dumps him up and over onto the timekeeper’s table! Fans rally but Kenta drags the table aside to get Juice up. Kenta rains down rights, the ref has him back off and Kenta goes back to ringside while Juice slowly rises. Kenta climbs the corner?! Juice hurries to stop him with a body shot and a headbutt! Juice has a target and he grabs Kenta!
Kenta rakes Juice’s eyes and clubs him down! Juice staggers away, Kenta goes to the apron and leaps, into Juice’s arms! Juice moves Kenta around, fireman’s carries, and DEATH VALLEY DRIVERS Kenta to the floor!! Fans fire up as both men slowly stir. The ring count begins again and reaches 10 of 20 before Juice puts Kenta in. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in, and lifts, for a RUNNING POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO! Kenta survives and but Finlay coaches Juice up. Juice fires up and brings Kenta up. Juice chicken wings and turns Kenta, but Kenta rolls Juice up! TWO, and Juice runs at Kenta, only to be put on the apron!
Kenta drags Juice through the ropes for a DRAPING DDT! Fans rally and Kenta rises first. Kenta goes to one corner, Juice is in the other. Kenta runs in to JUMPING BOOT! Kenta keeps moving, HESITATION DROPKICK! Kenta climbs up the corner while Juice is down, but Juice avoids the double stomps! LEG LARIAT! Both men are down, fans rally up again! Juice and Kenta stir, and Juice stands first! Juice drags Kenta but Kenta gets the arm! Juice rolls out of the hold but Kenta BOOTS him! Juice fires up, Kenta blocks the clothesline but Juice ducks the back hand! Juice fireman’s carries Kenta to the JUICE BOX! Cover, TWO!! Kenta survives and Juice is beside himself!
Fans rally up and Juice gets to his feet. Juice drags Kenta back up, reels him in and chicken wings, but Kenta slips through to fireman’s carry! Juice fights off to chicken wing and turn, but Kenta slips out again to fireman’s carry! GO TO- NO! Juice blocks and rolls Kenta up, TWO!! Juice powers up but Kenta blocks the left Hand to BACK HAND! Kenta fires off palm strikes over and over, but he swings into the chicken wing! Kenta elbows out, but the back hand is caught! Juice swings, Kenta ducks, but the RIGHT HAND O’ GOD hits! Juice drags Kenta up, chicken wings and turns, but Kenta slips out again! Kenta drags Juice down, hooks up the arm and gets the crossface! GAME OVER!!
Juice endures, moves around, but Kenta cranks way back! Juice taps, Kenta wins!!
Winner: Kenta, by submission (advances to the next round)
And it was indeed Game Over for the Flamboyant One! Will the Fang Revived sink his teeth into Suzuki next round?
2021 New Japan Cup Opening Round: Kazuchika Okada VS Shingo Takagi!
The Rainmaker said at Castle Attack that it’s about time he returns to the top of NJPW! But in his way is the Dragon! Will Takagi end Okada’s road back to redemption already? Or will Okada slay the dragon and head back for the gold?
The bell rings, and fans rally up already for “O-KA-DA!” “TA-KA-GI!” Okada gets the clap-clap-clap-stomp going already while he stays back in the corner. Takagi is patient, and he waits as Okada steps forward. They circle, feel out the grapple, but Okada backs off to focus. They tie up right away, Okada powers Takagi to ropes, and Red Shoes calls for the break. Okada lets off and fakes the chop to pat Takagi. Takagi ROCKS and CLUBS and CLUBS Okada back! Fans cheer as Takagi toys with Okada. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada fires off forearms and elbows! Okada reels Takagi into a headlock, but Takagi throws body shots. Takagi powers out, rams Okada but both men stay up!
Fans cheer as Okada runs, and he rams Takagi! Takagi stays up and eggs Okada on. Okada runs, rams Takagi, then drop toeholds on the rebound to elbow drop Takagi’s back! Okada is after Takagi at the ropes, brings him up and throws forearms. Takagi goes to a corner, Okada heads over and throws back elbows. Okada throws more elbows, then brings Takagi around for a neckbreaker! Cover, ONE! Okada keeps his cool, clamps onto Takagi with a chinlock, and digs his knee into Takagi’s back. Takagi fights up, gets a ropebreak with a foot, and Okada lets go quickly. Okada keeps close, brings Takagi up and elbows him again.
Okada snapmares and runs to then basement dropkick Takagi out of the ring! Fans fire up, Takagi gets annoyed and the ring count begins. Takagi takes his time, and gets back up on the apron at 9 of 20. Okada keeps his distance but then Takagi dares Okada to come out after him. Takagi continues to take his time, and the count restarts. Okada gets impatient, Takagi gets on the apron but draws Okada in to drag him out! Takagi bumps him off apron, and again, then whips Okada, only for Okada to reverse and send Takagi into railing! Okada reels Takagi in, puts him on the apron, but Takagi fights off to RAM Okada into railing! And then RAM him into the apron!
Takagi fireman’s carries to SNAKE EYES Okada off the apron, and then kick to DDT! Fans fire up and Takagi flexes as he looms over Okada. The ring count starts again, Takagi drags Okada up and puts him in the ring. Takagi slingshots to STOMP Okada! Takagi digs his knee into Okada, then stands on him, but steps off as Red Shoes counts. Takagi kicks at Okada, drags him up and throws forearms into the back! Takagi whips and KNEES Okada against ropes, then runs to run Okada over! Fans fire up with Takagi and they clap “TA-KA-GI!” “O-KA-DA!” again. Takagi drags Okada up, suplexes, and drives Okada down hard! Cover, TWO!
Takagi clamps onto Okada with a chinlock and grinds him down. Okada endures, fans rally up, but Takagi shifts. Okada fights up, throws body shots to fight free, but Takagi DOUBLE CHOPS him down! Takagi mockingly asks what’s wrong and eggs Okada on. Takagi brings Okada up, Okada throws forearms back! Takagi ROCKS Okada with one! Takagi brings Okada up, Gory Especial, but Okada fights it! Okada gets the arm for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi powers Okada to a corner and is free, then runs but into a BOOT! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Fans rally as Takagi and Okada stir. Okada stands first and fires off forearms.
Okada whips, Takagi reverses but Okada ducks and ELBOWS Takagi down! Okada fires up and the fans fire up, too! Okada whips Takagi to a corner, runs in and elbows him, then kicks to DDT! Cover, TWO! Okada keeps his focus while fans continue to rally. Takagi gets to ropes, then a corner, and Okada storms over. Okada hoists Takagi up top, but Takagi boots him away! Takagi runs but into an uppercut! Okada runs but into the elbow! JAB! LARIAT! Takagi fires up and the fans fire up, too! Takagi drags Okada up again, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Takagi is copying Okada’s style and LARIATS him down again!
Takagi scoops and slams Okada and goes to a corner, also formula Okada! For the FALLING ELBOW! Takagi keeps moving and mocks the Rainmaker pose, to then double gun flex! Takagi drags Okada up, wristlock ripcords but Okada stops the steal with a BOOT! Okada fires forearms, throws EuroUppers, but Takagi blindside LARIATS! Takagi runs, but into a FLAPJACK! Both men are down again and fans are thunderous now as the two stir! Okada sits up, Takagi follows and the two go forehead to forehead. Okada forearms, then again, but Takagi fires up to forearm back! Okada eggs Takagi on so Takagi hits again! They go back and forth, faster and faster and fans rally up!
Takagi gets the edge, ROCKS Okada, and brings him back around to whip. Okada reverses but Takagi holds ropes to avoid the dropkick! Okada avoids the sliding lariat, but Takagi gets Okada in a fireman’s carry! Okada slips off, Takagi elbows him away, blocks the boot and clotheslines! Takagi runs, Okada catches him for the MONEY CLIP! Takagi fights out, Okada goes to backslide, but Takagi counters to NOSHIGAMI! But Takagi can’t make the cover! Fans rally up, Takagi crawls over, and fires himself back up. Okada slowly rises, Takagi runs but into the dropkick! Okada gut wrenches to a TOMBSTONE! Okada gets the arm for MONEY CLIP!
Takagi endures and fans rally up again. Okada cranks on the hold but Takagi reaches with his legs, and gets the ropebreak! Okada lets go quickly and both men are down again. Fans rally up, Okada stands first, and he hobbles over to Takagi. Okada drags him up, scoops and slams him, then goes to the corner. Okada climbs slowly and Takagi hits him first! Takagi climbs up, clubs away on Okada’s back, then talks some smack as he drags Okada up. Okada resists but Takagi gets him up for the SUPERPLEX! The fans are thunderous again as both men writhe from that impact! Takagi rolls over towards Okada, sits Okada up, and hits a SLIDING LARIAT! Cover, TWO!
Fans cheer but Takagi grits his teeth. Takagi gets the fans rallying with “OI! OI! OI!” Takagi gets up, runs again, but Okada ducks the lariat to backslide! Takagi rolls through, Okada reels him in but Takagi avoids Rainmaker to pump handle! MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO?!? Okada survives and Takagi can’t believe it! Fans are thunderous as Takagi catches his breath. Takagi drags Okada back up, reels Okada in and pump handles again. Okada clubs free of that but Takagi POINT-BLANK LARIATS! Fans rally, Takagi kicks at Okada then drags him back up. Takagi gives Okada forearms from all sides, then ROCKS him!
Okada leans against ropes, Takagi whips but Okada reverses and dropkicks! Okada grabs at Takagi’s arm and gets the MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures, fights up, but Okada gut wrenches for the SPINNING TOMBSTONE! Back to MONEY CLIP! Takagi endures as Okada squeezes tight! Takagi fights up again, reaches out for ropes, but Okada drags him back to a back2backbreaker! And back to the MONEY CLIP! Takagi is turning red and is fading as Okada squeezes as tight as he can! Red Shoes checks on Takagi, the hand drops once. But Takagi gets a second wind now and he powers towards ropes, starts to fade again, but still gets a ropebreak! Okada lets go and fans are thunderous again!
Okada catches his own breath while he stands up. Okada grabs at Takagi but he resists. Takagi throws body shots but Okada stomps Takagi down. Takagi grits his teeth and rises, but Okada SHOTGUNS him! Takagi’s right up to LARIAT! Okada stays up!? Okada gets Takagi’s wrist, and reels him in for a LARIAT! Okada is going to show Takagi how it’s done as he brings Takagi up, but swings into a full nelson! Okada breaks free, catches Takagi for a spin but Takagi swats the discus! Takagi ripcords, PUMPING RAINMAKER!! Cover, TWO!!! Okada survives and the fans are electric! Takagi gets to a corner, fires himself up by smacking the padding, and then aims at Okada.
Okada rises as Takagi runs in, to PUMPING BOMBER! But Takagi isn’t done, he pump handle fireman’s carries, but Okada slips off! Okada ducks the back hand to back drop, and sit on Takagi! Cover, TWO!! Takagi stays close to Okada and brings him up, but Okada gut wrenches again! Takagi fights free, and hits a BACK SUPLEX BACKBREAKER! That was rough, even for Takagi! Fans rally up again, Takagi drags Okada up and runs, for MAX PUMPING BOMBER!!! Cover, TWO?!?!? Takagi can’t believe it but this is the Rainmaker fans have come to know! Takagi fires up and drags Okada back up to the pump handle fireman’s carry.
Okada fights free again, ripcords, but into the pump handle! LAST OF THE DRAGONS!!! Cover, Takagi wins!!!!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
This is almost unbelievable! Okada called his shot at Castle Attack, but falls in the first round!! The Dragon slays Okada, and the Rainmaker’s return to the top stops already! What does this mean for the rest of Okada’s 2021? Takagi gets the mic to speak! “Ota Cityyy~!” It feels really good to have won. But seriously, that was a tough match! Takagi hopes everyone enjoyed the match, and Takagi tells Okada that he’s one tough opponent. But the winner here is Takagi.
Takagi can tell NJPW is entering a new era, and Kota Ibushi is the champion after the 49th Anniversary. Takagi thinks the world title is going to be pretty awesome. But in the NJCUP, Takagi vows to make this his time! Ibushi better be ready to defend that new belt against Takagi! Will the “Pumping Maker” be heading for the top now that he’s beaten one of the best in the world?
A great event, especially the NJCUP matches. The Empire keeps winning in solid Six Man Tags, and with Cobb finishing it off. Cobb is going to build momentum all week until he faces Evil on 3/11, that’s a given. Ospreay has momentum for his match, too, but it’d be a great twist if he lost to Tenzan after getting a big head. Honma VS Suzuki was really good, perhaps a touch better than Kenta VS Juice, but maybe it was just all the brawling and wobble selling. I figured Suzuki would win, and it makes sense for Kenta to win against Juice. Just something about pacing felt better in Honma VS Suzuki.
Okada VS Takagi is probably match of the week, and is so far leading the way as best match of the opening round. It’s going to be really hard to beat that, especially because Takagi won! I really thought there was going to be a moment for Okada to turn things around, but that’s huge for Takagi to win. Takagi also has a lot of guts for copying the Rainmaker formula, but I wonder if this is some kind of Okada seal of approval that Takagi won here. Takagi VS Goto is going to be another great match given their NEVER Openweight Championship matches in the past, but I would think Takagi keeps winning until the semifinals now. The Suzuki VS Kenta winner faces Takagi on 3/16, Takagi can totally beat Kenta but Suzuki is a harder choice. But if there’s a chance we could get Takagi VS EVIL, I hope NJPW gives us that.
My Score: 9.3/10
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