SmackDown sets a contract signing for Roman Reigns VS Adam Pearce!
Despite being furious with the WWE official, the Head of the Table made Adam Pearce the new #1 contender for his WWE Universal Championship! But will Scrap Daddy find that that’s punishment enough?
- Shinsuke Nakamura VS Jey Uso; Nakamura wins.
- Natalya w/ Tamina VS Liv Morgan w/ Ruby Riott & Billie Kay; Natalya wins.
- Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin; Corbin wins.
- Cesaro VS Daniel Bryan; Cesaro wins.
- Apollo Crews VS Sami Zayn; Crews wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Roman Reigns sits in his room.
He looks over the contract for the WWE Universal Championship match, and Paul Heyman says it’s the same stuff all the time. Cookie cutter, boiler plate WWE garbage. This one just happens to be for the Royal Rumble 2021. Heyman hates it, too, didn’t like it from the moment he started reading, but the match does need a stipulation. It needs the stipulation of letting Roman be Roman. Heyman can take this off Roman’s hands to bring to Adam Pearce. Roman silently hands the contract over and Heyman says he can consider this handled. But what exactly will Heyman suggest as a stipulation for The Head of the Table VS Scrap Daddy, a man who hasn’t wrestled in roughly six years?
Shinsuke Nakamura VS Jey Uso!
The King of Strong Style’s rise through the gauntlet last week was epic, but also abruptly ended as Roman Reigns and his cousin got involved. Jey welcomes us to SmackDown, and says it’s The Bloodline Show! Because Jey and Cuz Roman run this! Not Adam Pearce! Not Kevin Owens! Not nobody in the WWE Universe! Their family calls the shots, Uce! Pearce, be careful. You’re going to wish you kept that suit on. But if you thought they’re just satisfied with SmackDown, think again! Roman Reigns, the Universal Champion, the provider, needs to be thanked by all the talent in the back! The food in catering, “Thank you, Roman!” You being relevant for the first time in your careers, “Thank you, Roman!”
Jey says as far as being the right hand man, he’s trying to get his, too. The family is expanding! Step one, Jey officially declares for the Rumble! Step two, he’ll win the match! Step three, he’ll whoop Drew McIntyre, “Oldberg” and any WWE World Champion so that the Bloodline WILL be the entire WWE! But first, there’s business with Nakamura. Everyone talks about Shinsuke in the gauntlet. He did good, had to survive and advance, facing one man after another, match after match. Nakamura beat Mysterio, he beat Baron “Big Head” Corbin, and even Daniel Bryan! But as soon as they said, “NOPE, not tonight, Uce!” DONE! Out like a light!
So Jey tells Nakamura to thank them! They let him survive! Now he wants to step up and fight? King of Strong Style? Let’s see how strong you really are then, bruh! You know as soon as you cross the family, you leave the ThunderDome on a stretcher! But here comes Nakamura! And Nakamura has a mic to respond, “If your cousin, Roman Reigns, is the Big Dog, that makes you… His little puppy!” And then Nakamura ROUNDHOUSES Jey down! They have their match after the break, will Jey be able to get this for the Bloodline?
SmackDown returns, the bell rings, and the two fire off forearms! Nakamura backs Jey down, Jey shoves but Nakamura knocks him down! Nakamura drags Jey up, snapmares and drops a knee! Cover, TWO! Nakamura keeps on Jey with a grinding headlock, but Jey powers up and powers out. Things speed up, Jey drops then knocks Nakamura over with an elbow! Jey drops elbows on Nakamura and Nakamura gets to a corner. Jey is after Nakamura at the ropes, scoops him and slams him! Cover, ONE! Jey drags Nakamura up, throws haymakers, but Nakamura body shots back! Nakamura backs Jey down with forearms but Jey hits and whips hard!
Nakamura writhes on the mat but Jey brings him up to whip again. Nakamura reverses, break frees, misses the roundhouse but not the windmill kick! Nakamura follows up with knees into Jey’s shoulders and ribs! Nakamura bumps Jey off buckles, brings him up and suplexes for a gourd buster! Then he throws in more knees! Nakamura stomps Jey to the corner, the ref has Nakamura let off. Nakamura comes back to stomp Jey again, then lets off for a moment. He brings Jey back up into a sleeper hold! Jey endures as Nakamura shifts to a chinlock and grinds him down. Jey fights his way back up, but Nakamura throws knees.
Nakamura puts Jey in the corner to give some Bad Vibrations! But wait, Cesaro is heading to the ring! Cesaro is Nakamura’s tag team partner so maybe he’s showing support. Nakamura dropkicks Jey then POSTS him! The Swiss Cyborg cheers Nakamura on as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Nakamura stomps Jey around at the ropes. Jey goes to a corner, Cesaro is on commentary and Nakamura whips Jey corner to corner. Cesaro knows he has his match with Daniel Bryan later but he wants to cheer his friend and tag partner on. Nakamura runs corner to corner but Jey throws him out! Jey kicks, Nakamura blocks and spins but Jey dragon whips him down! Michael Cole wonders where Cesaro was last week when Nakamura was getting beat up, but Cesaro says Tropicana Field, the new home of the ThunderDome, is very big. He was too late getting here, the cameras cut away and Michael Cole probably left.
Jey puts Nakamura in the ring with some force, then glares at Cesaro before going to Nakamura. Jey ROCKS Nakamura with the uppercut then clubs him down! Jey stomps, Cesaro says HE is entering the Rumble, and Jey stalks Nakamura to a corner. Jey digs his claws in, stomps away, but lets off as the ref counts, only to get around and fire off forearms and stomps! The ref backs Jey off, but Jey comes back to HIP ATTACK in the corner! Jey stomps Nakamura more, the ref counts but Jey stops at 3. Fans give thumbs down on their screens, Jey goes back to a corner, then runs corner to corner again, into the DYNAMIC DROPKICK!
Nakamura fires up as he sees Jey get up. Nakamura KICKS Jey back down, then KICKS away on his legs! Nakamura whips, kitchen sink knees then sliding KNEES to add on! Jey gets up, Nakamura stalks him and runs in but into a boot! Jey boots again but Nakamura spins him into the ropes, SLIDING GERMAN! Cover, TWO! Nakamura grows frustrated but he drags Jey back up. Jey fights off the exploder and throws forearms. Jey shoves, fireman’s carries, and SAMOAN DROPS! Cover, TWO! Cesaro admits Jey is a great wrestler because of their history in tag team competition, but never underestimate Nakamura. Speaking of, Nakamura fires off a strike fest!
Jey ducks the forearm to mule kick then uppercut! Back suplex to a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Nakamura survives but Jey heads for a corner. Jey sees Nakamura get to a corner so he goes back in and runs in, but into buckles! Nakamura KICKS, climbs up, FLYING KNEE! Cover, TWO! Nakamura fires up and aims from a corner! “YAO~!” SUPERKICK FROM JEY!! Jey heads to a corner, climbs up top, and USO SPLASHES onto knees! Nakamura saves himself and rises as Jey goes to a corner. Nakamura runs in but only gets post! Jey rolls Nakamura, has his feet on ropes, but the ref sees it just in time!
Jey protests that the ref was already counting three! The ref says it’s at his discretion when the bell rings, but Nakamura rolls Jey to a KINSHASA! Cover, Nakamura wins!
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura, by pinfall
The Swiss Cyborg celebrates with the King of Strong Style! Cesaro is in the Men’s Royal Rumble, gunning for Roman Reigns, will Nakamura look to do the same?
Sonya Deville talks with Adam Pearce.
They’re going over a copy of the title match contract, and she says she’s looked up his past stuff on YouTube. To her, he’s still got it. Pearce appreciates that, but he hasn’t been that guy in a long time, and even that guy couldn’t handle Roman Reigns. Sonya says he shouldn’t think like that. But then in walks Heyman with his copy of the contract. Heyman presents the agreement from the Tribal Chief. Pearce now holds “the opportunity of a lifetime!” Not only does Pearce get to main event the Royal Rumble PPV, he has the opportunity that was never presented to Scrap Daddy.
This opportunity is not only at the Universal Heavyweight Championship, but against the single biggest star in all of sports entertainment, Roman Reigns. And not only that, but the stipulation, “my GOD,” Sonya’s perfume is effective. But that said, this is actually tilted in Pearce’s favor. This is a match under NO DISQUALIFICATIONS! So this is the part of the pitch that it’s somehow for Pearce’s benefit. He’ll still sign it, even though we all know it’s ridiculous. This only means Pearce gets injured, which is exactly what Heyman wants. But Pearce put his name on the contract, will he be able to prepare now that he knows what’s coming?
Jey Uso shouts at referee Charles Robinson backstage!
Three is three! Shoulders were on the mat! How long has he been doing this job?! Yes, Nakamura’s shoulders were on the mat, but Jey’s FEET were on the ROPES! You don’t think Jey knows rules? Charles has to do his job! Didn’t his daughter just get married? He’s about to get fired by The Chief. What? Jey’s veiled threat is clear, is no one safe from Roman’s wrath?
Backstage interview with The Street Profits!
Kayla Braxston asks Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins if it was wise to put their SmackDown Tag Team Championships on the line against Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler only a week after the vicious attack that injured Ford’s leg? Ford says you can call them a lot of things, like playboys, honorary Vikings, and “two dudes who’re dying to get drawn up as Simpsons characters,” but one thing they cannot, will not and shall not be called is scared. “On March 2nd, in the Year of Our Lord 2020,” the Profits became World Tag Team Champions! For 312 historic days, every single team that stepped up got dealt with! So for them not to accept a challenge would be disrespecting the very legacy they’re trying to build!
There are a bunch of names for the new champions. Roode-Dolph. The Two Aces. The Dirty Dawgs. ED. Whoa, whoa, keep it PG. No, it stands for “Entertainment Dysfunction.” That’s good! And now… Champions. But you best believe the Profits will run it back! It ain’t no rerun, fam. What they did to Ford had him limping for a minute. But when the sequel happens, they’ll drop bodies like they’re entering the Blood House. Tell ’em why, fam. Because the Profits are UP, even though they’re down right now. And #WeWantTheSmoke!
Roman Reigns talks Apollo Crews!
“You’ve gotta believe it. It’s all about control.” If Apollo doesn’t get it, then who will? Understood? Apollo does believe. Heyman returns and has the contract “sign, sealed and delivered.” Roman allows Apollo to stay and watch this and learn from it. The stipulation is No Disqualifications. Pearce signed? Yes. Well Roman chooses not to sign. He never wanted No DQ, never said he wanted No DQ. He wants it as… a LAST MAN STANDING MATCH.
What?! But Adam Pearce will never go for that! Oh he will. Because Heyman will make him. Heyman needs to tell Pearce that they’re going to sign this in the ring tonight. And then it’ll be considered “Handled.” Roman continues to talk with Apollo about how this is about control. Is Roman going to control this entire situation so it plays out how he wants it?
Natalya w/ Tamina VS Liv Morgan w/ Ruby Riott & Billie Kay!
The two second-generation superstars ditched the Femme Fatale and became a duo themselves, but now Billie’s hopped on a new bandwagon! Will she be able to help the Riott Squad keep things on track? Or will this mismatched trio fall apart before it gets going?
Billie joins commentary and the bell rings. Liv and Natty tie up, go around, and Natty puts Liv on the ropes. The ref counts, Natty lets off and shoves Liv. Liv pushes back! Liv counters the punch to a headlock, Natty powers out but Liv dodges and huricanranas! Billie cheers Liv on as she runs in and back body blocks Natty in a corner! Liv whips, Natty reverses but Liv stops herself and elbows back. They knuckle lock, Natty pushes and turns Liv, then throws her up and over. Liv lands on her feet to monkey flip! Both women are down but they spring up! Natty trips Liv, Liv pushes back and wheelbarrows, but Natty makes it a STUNGUN!
Billie and Ruby are worried but Billie says to walk it off. Natty fires off on Liv in the corner then tells the ref to shut up. “You think this is a joke, Liv?!” Natty pushes Liv, drags her up, and snap suplexes! And then KICKS Liv in the back! Liv crawls, Natty brings her back up but Liv resists the suplex to cradle counter! TWO, and Natty LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Billie cheers Liv on more but Natty brings Liv up to a Canadian rack and backbreaker stretch! Natty tells Billie to shut up as she jams Liv harder. Liv fights with elbows, gets to ropes and then the apron. Natty throws a haymaker but Liv hits back! Liv slingshots and sunset flips, TWO!
Liv kicks low, front kicks then enziguris! Natty goes to a corner, Billie cheers Liv on again, and Liv runs in to SHINING WIZARD! Liv stomps away on Natty in the corner, the ref counts and Liv lets off at 4. Natty throws Liv into buckles! Then DISCUS LARIAT! Billie panics as Natty covers, TWO! Billie shouts as Natty tries for the Sharpshooter, and Liv cradle counters, TWO!! LIV BREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Natty survives and Billie protests. Tamina is there and Billie gets a little too close. Tamina gets after Billie and Billie says she didn’t do anything. Billie gets in the ring?! And in everyone’s way! Natty rolls Liv up!! Natty wins!!
Winner: Natalya, by pinfall
Billie realizes what happened and she apologizes, but still says the ref wasn’t counting right earlier. Will Billie ever get it right on SmackDown?
Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio VS King Corbin!
The moment the King of Lucha was eliminated from the gauntlet by the King of Strong Style last week, the Lone Wolf King attacked them both! Corbin added insult to injury but now Rey wants payback! Will Rey trump the King of the Ring on the road to the Royal Rumble?
SmackDown returns as Corbin goes to the ring and Dominik joins commentary. The bell rings, Mysterio and Corbin circle and approach. Rey slides under, Corbin gets him with a choke grip but the choke slam is turned into a huricanrana! Rey rams Corbin in a corner but Corbin whips him away into buckles and then CLOBBERS him! Corbin mocks Dominik on commentary then puts Rey in a corner. Corbin ties an arm up on the ropes, throws body shots then throws haymakers. Rey goes to the other corner, Corbin stalks him and back suplexes high and hard! Cover, ONE! Corbin is annoyed already and he drags Rey up for another back suplex, only for Rey to counter with a BULLDOG!
Rey goes after Corbin but Corbin knees low and slides Rey out! Corbin slides out to then CLOBBER Rey again! Corbin stares Dominik down as the ring count starts. Dominik stands up but Corbin shoves him down! Corbin says Dominik’s not going to do anything to cost Rey and then he puts Rey in to cover, TWO! Corbin keeps Rey in the ring, brings him around to choke on ropes and taunt Dominik at the same time. Dominik say she’s going to let Rey fight his fight because he trusts in him. Corbin drags Rey up, talks some smack, then runs to DECK Rey with a right hand! Corbin says Dominik’s only good as a cheerleader, but then Rey gets up to dropkick the legs out!
Rey goes to a corner, climbs up top and leaps, seated senton! And then a springboard, but into Corbin’s arms! Corbin pops Rey up to a fireman’s carry but Rey sits up to rain down rights! Rey spins and ranas Corbin onto ropes! Dial it up, DEEP SIX!! Cover, TWO!! Corbin is furious as Rey survives! Rey crawls to a corner and gets to his feet. Dominik says he’s learned resilience from his father, and Rey dodges Corbin. Corbin slides out, in but into a boot! Rey runs, slides, but Corbin ducks under to throw an elbow! Dominik stands up again and Corbin taunts him again. Corbin puts Rey in then SUCKER PUNCHES Dominik! But Rey 619’s Corbin at the apron!
Rey keeps Dominik calm and out of the ring but then Corbin shoves Rey into Dominik! END OF DAYS!! Cover, Corbin wins!
Winner: King Corbin, by pinfall
The Wolf King used father and son against each other quite literally and he took the win from them! Will he continue to play on the “family drama” as the Royal Rumble approaches?
Adam Pearce comes across Paul Heyman in the hallway.
Has Roman signed the contract? Heyman says there’s a bit of a wrinkle. No, Roman hasn’t signed the contract. But Heyman says it’s because Roman agreed with Pearce’s concerns. What does that say to the WWE management and the fans to deliver a No DQ match as the main event of the Royal Rumble for the WWE Universal Championship and Adam Pearce’s return to wrestling? No DQ is not enough! Where is Heyman going with this? Roman VS Pearce, at the Royal Rumble, LAST MAN STANDING. What is with these people?! Oh~ Pearce wonders who that favors. Well Heyman isn’t really into spoilers.
Heyman says Pearce can take his time because they can address this in the ring later tonight. Heyman will leave Pearce to his thoughts, and considers this business “handled.” Will Pearce do what Roman wants?
Rey and Dominik talk backstage.
Rey wants Dominik to calm down but Dominik says he’s been fighting giants like Corbin his entire career. Now, NOW Rey backs down? Rey didn’t back down, he’s being smart. He suggests Dom do the same. You don’t pick a fight without a plan. Corbin has been a WWE United States Champion, Mr. Money in the Bank and King of the Ring. He’s even a former Golden Gloves boxer! Dom doesn’t care about what Corbin’s done! Well if Dom wants to take care of Corbin, Rey knows just the guy to talk to. Who is it that will give the Mysterios the upper hand on the Wolf King?
SmackDown presents Bayley’s brand new talk show!
DING DONG, HELLO~! Bayley walks in through the door, has an arm chair and a plaque commemorating her 380 day reign as SmackDown Women’s Champion. She welcomes us to HER talk show, which is already bigger than Marvel’s WandaVision. Now let’s welcome the EST of WWE, Bayley’s first guEST ever, Bianca Belair! Bianca makes her entrance and joins Bayley in the ring, and Bayley insists she go through the door. Ring the bell, too. DING DONG, who could that be? Bayley, c’mon. Bayley opens the door and lets Bianca in. Bianca then takes the arm chair and Bayley says that’s her. Well she has good taste, this is very comfortable.
Bayley would take the stool meant for guests, but y’know what? With the Women’s Rumble match, Bayley will probably be in it for a full hour so she might as well get her legs stronger now. Bayley congratulates Bianca on her WWE Chronicle premiering on the WWE Network on January 24th! And after everyone sees it, there will be so many Bianca Belair believers. Here’s a special sneak peek! It was when Bayley beat Bianca about a month ago. Oh, sorry, that wasn’t the right footage. Bayley says move on from that and go to the hard hitting questions.
Why does Bianca call herself the EST? It is her nickname based on her accomplishments in various things, such as track & field, sports, school- But those are all things from before the WWE. Isn’t that disrespectful to those that built the division? Bianca asks Bayley why Bianca’s confidence threaten Bayley so much? Bayley is mad at a nickname when Bianca doesn’t even brag, she’s just being herself. So when Bianca says she’s the strongEST, fastEST- Wait, hold on, doesn’t that make Bayley the best now? She beat Bianca in that match! And was a champion for 380 days. Bianca tells Bayley to take her talk show and go put on some dusty go and give Bianca a rematch right now.
Bayley knows Bianca is just trying to play mind games, but she’s not falling for it. She has nothing to prove. But Bayley has an idea! We can figure out who is the superior with an obstacle course! Yes! Imagine it! The Ultimate Athlete Obstacle Course Challenge! YES! Oh wow, really? Bianca can’t even argue with that, challenge accepted! Bayley has her EST, but there ain’t no way she can whoop Bianca. Now ding dong dat! Will Bianca prove it to Bayley and the world that she is then, now and forever THE E S T?
Daniel Bryan continues his training with the Alpha Academy!
It was earlier tonight that Bryan and Otis were backstage, and they got those hips moving left and right! Chad Gable has them explode up to their feet, and Kayla comes by. How has this training helped ahead of the Royal Rumble? It’s going great! “The pursuit of excellence” never ends. That’s what Bryan likes about Chad and Otis. And if training with the Alpha Academy makes Bryan even a little bit better, he’s all in. A great attitude to have, but did Bryan’s loss in the gauntlet hurt his confidence? Chad says no negativity. Nakamura is a former Rumble winner, there is no shame in losing to him. Bryan has a lot of respect for Shinsuke, and surely he has that same respect for Bryan.
But Cesaro barges in and says Bryan cannot speak for Nakamura because Bryan is not Nakamura’s friend. But Cesaro is so he will. Cesaro says Nakamura only shook Bryan’s hand was because he felt sorry. It was more a pity handshake. And Bryan would’ve had more of a chance at winning if he trained with someone who could teach him something more than that stupid hip thrust Macarena stuff. Then how about Bryan show Cesaro how that works firsthand later tonight? That is to say, NOW!
Cesaro VS Daniel Bryan!
The Swiss Cyborg won the inaugural Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal but Bryan has never won a battle royal ever! Anywhere! Will Bryan show Cesaro that the Alpha Academy knows what it’s doing?
SmackDown returns and the bell rings! These two tie up, Cesaro headlocks and hits a takeover. Bryan tries to headscissor but Cesaro pushes that off. They stand up, Bryan powers out but Cesaro runs him over! Cover, ONE, but Cesaro keeps Bryan down with another headlock. Bryan fights up, powers out again, and drops to then arm-drag Cesaro to an armlock! Bryan grinds Cesaro down, wrenches to a wristlock, then wrenches more and hits an elbow breaker! Bryan drags Cesaro down to a hammerlock but Cesaro backs him to a corner. The ref counts, Cesaro elbows Bryan with the free arm! Then he throws EuroUppers!
Cesaro whips Bryan corner to corner and EuroUppers again! Cesaro pushes Bryan around, drags him up and wrenches to whip corner to corner. Bryan dodges and Cesaro hits buckles, then Bryan fires off kicks from all sides! Bryan runs corner to corner for a dropkick! Armlock BULLDOG! Bryan keeps on that arm, hammerlocks it and drops knees on it! Bryan pulls on the arm and twists the wrist! Cesaro rolls, gets up but Bryan wrenches. Cesaro scoops and SLAMS Bryan down! Cesaro shakes out the bad arm and he brings Bryan up to shove him to ropes, and CLUB him hard in the back! Cesaro stomps Bryan, drags him up, shove shim again but Bryan ROCKS Cesaro back!
Bryan fires forearms but Cesaro hits a standing STO! Knuckle lock cover, TWO as Bryan bridges! Cesaro goes to put his weight on Bryan but Bryan counters to monkey flip Cesaro into ropes! A rough landing and Cesaro tumbles out of the ring! Bryan goes to a corner, climbs up top and leaps, BIG CROSSBODY! Both men get up and Bryan fires off kicks! The ring count is climbing as Bryan KICKS Cesaro against post! Cesaro ducks the next one and Bryan kicks POST! Bryan goes down, clutching his shin, and SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns again and Cesaro stomps away on Bryan in a corner. Cesaro is after the leg but Bryan scrambles, so Cesaro double stomps Bryan down! Cesaro stomps Bryan’s leg again! Cesaro drags Bryan up but Bryan throws a EuroUpper! Cesaro EuroUppers, Bryan fires off kicks and uppercuts, only for Cesaro to ROCK him! Cesaro whips Bryan corner to corner, Bryan goes up and over but the leg jams! Cesaro runs in but Bryan manages a drop toehold! Bryan PENALTY KICKS Cesaro’s bad arm! Bryan runs back in, tilt-o-whirl and takedown! YES LOCK!! Cesaro endures, moves around, pries free of the hold and stomps Bryan’s legs!
Cesaro gets both legs, for a SWISS SWING! Then a SHARPSHOOTER! Bryan endures as Cesaro sits deep! Bryan crawls, drags himself and Cesaro over, but Cesaro reaches back to get an arm! CROSSFACE! Bryan rolls it over, and gets the arm again! Cesaro holds off the Yes Lock but Bryan fish hooks Cesaro’s face! Bryan gets the YES LOCK! Cesaro reaches, ROPEBREAK! Bryan lets go, but he wrenches to an elbow breaker! Cesaro goes to a corner, Bryan kicks him and puts him up top. Bryan climbs to SUPER- NO! Cesaro blocks the steiner to bring Bryan up and into a TWISTING SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Bryan survives and Cesaro is furious!
Cesaro gives Bryan EuroUppers, then rains down forearms! Cesaro reels Bryan in, Gotch but Bryan back drops out! Bryan boots from a corner, runs, but into a pop-up, only for Bryan to backslide! TWO and Bryan unleashes a Yes Kick and a BUZZSAW! Cesaro already has a cut on his head so the ref checks. Bryan and Cesaro go to opposite corners and Bryan pops up with Yes fingers, only to run into a POP-UP UPPER! GOTCH NEUTRALIZER!! Cover, Cesaro wins!!
Winner: Cesaro, by pinfall
Incredible! Cesaro beats a Grand Slam Champion in Bryan and is rolling towards the Royal Rumble! Will Bryan’s dream of finally checking off a battle royal win be only dreams?
Backstage interview with Carmella!
The Untouchable and her sommelier, Reginald, are here and Kayla asks her about what she said last week. Mella says she was telling the truth about Sasha Banks. When it comes to natural talent, Sasha can’t touch Mella. Yet here Mella is here, where is Sasha? Why haven’t we seen Sasha back? Oh, of course. It’s because Mella proved she’s better than Sasha in every way. Maybe Sasha’s hiding from Mella. But then Sasha comes out and shoves Mella over! Sasha isn’t hiding from anyone! Reginald keeps this from getting any more physical, and Sasha tells him to tell Mella that they’ll have the title match. So long as Sasha gets at Reggie first! Will Mella agree to this deal at the expense of her assistant?
Apollo Crews VS Sami Zayn!
Both men want after Big E and the WWE Intercontinental Championship, but we saw earlier tonight how Roman Reigns was giving Apollo some pointers. Will Apollo take control and have another shot at the title? Or will he not see the next trip Sami has up his sleeve?
SmackDown returns and Sami makes his entrance, accompanied by his documentary film crew to have evidence of the “Anti-Sami Conspiracy” Sami claims exists in the WWE. Big E is ringside, lounging on a couch and having a fruit salad from is minifridge!? Sami is upset because he never got anything close to that as champion, and as the bell rings, Sami runs into Apollo’s dropkick! Apollo counter punches Sami, whips him to ropes but Sami reverses to knee low. Sami runs, Apollo hits an OVERHEAD THROW! Big E respects that but his version is better. Apollo waistlocks but Sami elbows him away, then dodges to clothesline Apollo out!
Big E says he doesn’t believe in Sami’s conspiracy theories and says he didn’t really need the pep talk Heyman gave him like he gave Apollo on Talking Smack. Sami tells Big E to watch this as he JABS away on Apollo. Sami goes to bump Sami off the desk but Apollo blocks to bump Sami off the desk! Apollo then uses the desk for a MOONSAULT to knock Sami down! Apollo puts Sami in at the count of 8, climbs up top, but Sami trips Apollo up! Apollo hits the mat, Sami stomps Apollo into a corner! Sami digs his boots in, the ref counts and Sami lets off. Apollo staggers, Sami hops up and leaps for a flying elbow! Cover, TWO! Sami keeps on Apollo with another cover, TWO! Another, TWO!
Sami tells his personal camera crew to focus on this as he climbs back up. Sami leaps, Apollo gets around to GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men are down but Sami got folded! Sami goes to a corner, Apollo runs in, blocks a boot, and trophy lifts Sami up to throw him into the buckles! ENZIGURI! Apollo STANDING MOONSAULTS, but onto knees! Sami covers, TWO! Sami dodges Apollo and rolls him up, but the ref sees him grabbing tights! Sami is upset with the ref, similar to Jey and Charles Robinson, but Sami still catches Apollo to an EXPLODER into buckles! Sami goes corner to corner, but Apollo rolls Sami, and has TIGHTS! The ref doesn’t see this one, Apollo WINS!
Winner: Apollo Crews, by pinfall
Did Sami’s cameras get Sami’s butt crack like WWE cameras did? Apollo walks over to the couch, picks up the belt, and grins as he tosses back to Big E. Big E says Apollo can keep coming for it but he won’t touch it again. They’ll see each other down the line, but who wins when the title is back on the line?
Roman Reigns heads to the ring!
The Head of the Table leads the Special Counsel, Paul Heyman, and #MainEventUso to the table that’s waiting in the ring for this contract signing. And then Adam Pearce quietly makes his way out with the official contract. Pearce takes a seat at the table, Roman takes his time circling around the table, and Heyman moves the chair to the head of the table. Roman doesn’t want that chair. He wants the chair Pearce just sat in. Heyman asks Pearce that he give up the chair, but Jey just takes it from Pearce. Roman takes a seat and Heyman helps Pearce into the chair Roman didn’t want.
Roman says Pearce needs to go ahead and sign. Heyman says this sitting around is not good television. Pearce looks at the contract as he holds the pen, and signs it. Heyman smirks at the passive aggressive behavior as he hands Roman his own pent to sign with. Roman signs his name, gives the pen back, and it is done. Roman says that’ll be the last contract Pearce ever signs. Pearce says, “I’ve waited all night for you to do that.” What’s that supposed to mean? Pearce leaves with the contract in hand, goes up the ramp, and then seems to have a problem walking. Pearce says his knee has been bugging the hell out of him all day. An old injury that just creeps up on you at the worst possible time.
But Pearce says it’ll be fine. After all, we all know that standard contracts say the same things. As a WWE Official, Pearce reserves the right to have a substitute, should he not be medically cleared to compete at the Royal Rumble. In fact, Pearce already has one in mind. It’s KEVIN OWENS! Roman sighs, perhaps disappointed he didn’t see this coming. Kevin signs his name to the contract, and it’s all but a given that the Prizefighter is back in the fight! Will Kevin finally #StunTheWorld and end Roman’s reign as Universal Champion?
A really good episode for SmackDown, with some interesting developments in the different stories. The story of Roman Reigns and all those related took an expected yet perfectly executed twist. It was clear Adam Pearce wasn’t really going to compete against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble, but how he tricked them into a trap like that was great. We’re getting another Roman VS Kevin, but now Last Man Standing, and if Jey is in the Royal Rumble, he might have to consider not interfering. And even if he does, maybe Pearce gets involved so that Scrap Daddy at least gets one great moment WWE PPV moment? Or maybe it’ll be Bryan or Nakamura, depending on who wins the Rumble.
Jey VS Nakamura was a good opening match and I was worried Cesaro showing up when he did was going to mean he costs Nakamura. But Cesaro stays on commentary, stays Nakamura’s friend, and yet also stays a bit Heelish as he still talks smack on Bryan, Otis and Gable. Bryan VS Cesaro was a great match, and it was a great surprise to see Cesaro win. It works for both men going towards the Rumble. Bryan wants to win so badly but that alone could be why he’ll lose, and Cesaro needs a little something to keep him afloat. Cesaro really is a great talent, we all know that, but who knows when and where he’ll get the world title nod.
The Profits had a good promo and they’ll eventually have that rematch with the Dirty Dawgs, but who knows if they win it. Natty VS Liv was alright, but Billie was a highlight of the whole thing with her wannabe punk rock outfit and behavior. She did more of a Spider-Man web shooter hand than the rock ‘n’ roll fingers, and then she costs Liv the match, adding more tension to the tenuous friendship. Maybe Billie does something big to make it up to the Riott Squad and that’s how she wins them over. Bayley is great, Bianca is great, and maybe Ding Dong, Hello was being awkward on purpose, but it didn’t quite land. And I don’t think their obstacle course challenge will, either, even if Bianca does an amazing job with it. Just give us a 15 to 20 minute NXT level match on SmackDown with them.
Rey VS Corbin with Dom on the side was good, but I almost thought Dom was going to find a way to Eddie Guerrero Corbin out of the win. I’m very curious as to who Rey is talking about when it comes to dealing with Corbin. I’m thinking it’s Cain Velasquez given the established relationship between him and Rey. Though that does bring up the question of what happened to A) the relationship of Murphy & Aalyah, and B) the Knights of the Wolf King. The former is probably one of those many cases where WWE gave up on it because they couldn’t figure it out. The latter is probably COVID concerns, and then some of the former.
Mella and Sasha had a decent segment, and they set up the obvious rematch. But I really like the idea that Sasha is getting a co-ed match against Reginald. I have a feeling Mella will interfere in return to put Sasha behind the 8 ball for their match. Apollo VS Sami was good as a main event match, but we did not need that much Sami butt cheek… I like that Big E now has a couch and fridge, oddly. Apollo is slowly starting that turn to Heel given what Heyman told him on Talking Smack last week, I’m just waiting for that moment when it’s complete. Then we’re really going to see some stuff from the already athletic and charismatic Apollo and Big E for the workhorse title of the WWE.
My Score: 8.3/10
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?
- Jack Evans w/ Angelico VS Jake St. Patrick; wins.
- Chuck Taylor w/ Orange Cassidy VS JD Drake; wins.
- Penta El Zero M VS Azriel; wins.
- Thunder Rosa VS Tesha Price; wins.
- Tay Conti VS Leila Grey; wins.
- The Sydal Brothers VS Chaos Project; win(s).
- Ricky Starks & Brian Cage VS Angel Fashion & Fuego del Sol; win.
- The Gunn Club VS M’Badu & D3; wins.
- The Natural Nightmares VS Cezar Bononi & Peter Avalon; win.
- Bear Country VS Ryzin & Cameron Stewart; win(s).
- Preston Vance & Alan Angels w/ The Dark Order VS Labron Kozone & Vary Morales; win.
- Lance Archer w/ Jake the Snake VS John Skyler; wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
[Due to scheduling conflicts, coverage of AEW/NXT will begin later tonight]
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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