Fastlane puts pedal to the metal on the Road to WrestleMania!
We’re in the homestretch and picking up speed! Who does Fastlane leave in the dust just weeks away from WrestleMania?
- Kickoff Show – WWE United States Championship: Matt Riddle VS Mustafa Ali w/ Retribution; Riddle wins and retains the title.
- WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler w/ Reginald VS Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair; Jax & Baszler win and retain the titles.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews; Big E wins and retains the title.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Free Sample: R-Truth VS Akira Tozawa VS Joseph Average; Average wins and becomes the new WWE 24/7 Champion.
- WWE 24/7 Championship Free Sample Take Two: Joseph Average VS Akira Tozawa VS R-Truth; Truth wins and becomes the new WWE 24/7 Champion.
Shane McMahonElias w/ Jaxson Ryker VS Braun Strowman; Strowman wins.
- Shinsuke Nakamura VS Seth Rollins; Rollins wins.
- No Holds Barred: Drew McIntyre VS Sheamus; McIntyre wins.
- Randy Orton VS Alexa Bliss; Bliss wins.
- WWE Universal Championship, Edge as Special Guest Enforcer: Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman VS Daniel Bryan; Reigns wins and retains the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
It’s the Fastlane Kickoff show!
Join Kayla Braxton, Booker T, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Peter Rosenberg in discussing, analyzing and predicting all the action here tonight on the last stop before WrestleMania!
Sonya Deville joins the panel!
The SmackDown official and sharp dresser is here to talk the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Big E is a friend, an incredible competitor, has everything it takes to be the best, but this new Apollo Crews is scary! Large and in charge, showing a side no one knew was there. Sonya is torn, but will let the others predict first. Kayla asks more what triggered Apollo to show this side of himself. The defeat? The disrespect? Booker T says this is the REAL Apollo. Trying to conform and be what others what you to be, Apollo is now someone who represents something, and this transformed him. THIS Apollo is going to move up the ladder, and Big E is just in the way.
Rosenberg says we’re so focused on Apollo, there’s also a new Big E. Sonya says this side was always there for Big E, always wanting to break away and stand on his own, and hasn’t been able to do so until now. He has a different attitude, too. The championship is not playing games and is defending his livelihood. Great for Apollo to dig into his heritage, Big E is fighting for his family. Sonya was there when Big E was taken away on a stretcher. TO come back from that means his determination is stronger than ever. Then final vote? Sonya is for Big E, because of his heart and spirit. Rosenberg goes with Big E. As dangerous as Apollo is, Big E is it.
King says Apollo was using stuff on Big E, like the steps. But Apollo is a weapon himself so he votes Apollo. Booker says from here to WrestleMania, it will be a celebration. Apollo wins. Well they’re tied because Kayla won’t choose a side. But the match itself will be a tiebreaker, so this is one to watch!
Moving on from that, they discuss Shane McMahon and Braun Strowman! Booker says Shane is a man who throws caution to the wind! Do not cross the boss! Made Braun into a living green screen! Rosenberg says that was a very Nickelodeon moment. But Shane’s been insulting Braun for weeks. Booker says this is Shane motivating Braun, and Braun took it the wrong way. Braun could learn a lot if he just went along. Rosenberg says Shane must be bored. Rich people do thrill-seeking, but Shane is doing the wrong thing! Why does Shane want problems with Braun? Sonya says that as a fighter, you see Braun’s size and strength, but Shane can throw hands.
King isn’t so sure, Shane was a little hurt out there. Kayla points out there was an incident where Shane may have injured himself training. We go to Sarah Schreiber for an update.
“Thanks, Kayla. Shane McMahon is currently being evaluated by WWE medical personnel due to his knee injury.” She can neither confirm or deny what will happen with Shane’s match later tonight. Booker says he had that same pained look Shane had tearing MCL and PCL, so it can’t be good. King says Shane has said a lot about Braun, like Braun is strong as an ox and almost as smart. Braun should be smart enough that, should the match happen, he’ll go after Shane’s leg. Even if Shane was 1000%, though Rosenberg respects Shane, he’d still pick Braun. So less than 100%, that’s even worse. Maybe Shane will rethink this. Sonya is also worried, but we’ll see what happens.
And speaking of respect, Rollins thinks Cesaro disrespected him and disrespected Cesaro back. But now he has to deal with Cesaro’s friend, Shinsuke Nakamura! The King of Strong Style is an Artist who painted a painful picture on SmackDown, and could do the same tonight!
Backstage interview with Seth Rollins.
Is Rollins surprised that Cesaro’s friend and former tag team partner, Nakamura, confronted him on SmackDown? New guy, what’s your name? Kevin. Welcome, Kevin! But let’s take a second before talking about Nakamura to admire “the drip.” Seth Drippin’ Rollins! Seth’s suit game is huge on social media. But no, nothing surprises Rollins anymore. He’s just disappointed in Nakamura. Nakamura is better than this! At least, Rollins thought he was. If anyone would understand respect, it’d be Nakamura.
Turns out, nope! Turns out, he’s just as bad as Cesaro Nakamura wants to be a tough guy and pick a fight on Cesaro’s behalf. That’s fine, because Rollins will teach Nakamura a lesson, and hopes Cesaro is at home, on his couch, icing his dumb, bald head, and learns something. Because if Cesaro gets in Rollins’ face again, he’ll be next. And welcome to the team, Kev. Rollins heads out, but will he the one learning something about respect?
WWE United States Championship: Matt Riddle VS Mustafa Ali w/ Retribution!
The Bro beat the Beacon, but to be fair, Ali did lose because of Mustafa Ali’s own team! Riddle is a fair fighting champion, so he’ll give Ali another shot. But will there be no excuses when Riddle shuts Ali down this time?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this rematch from Raw kicks things off!
Ali bails out but Riddle waits in the ring. Ali takes his time returning, and he gets back in at 5 of 10. They circle again, tie up and Riddle clinches to put Ali in a corner. Ali pulls hair to turn things around, but the ref counts. Riddle shoves Ali, Ali shoves back but Riddle tackles him! Riddle rams knees in, floats and rams more knees! Then Riddle gut wrench suplexes Ali for a BROTON! Cover, TWO! Ali crawls for ropes but Riddle stalks up behind him. Riddle kicks Ali, but Ali holds ropes to deny the exploder. Ali knees low, but Riddle sweeps the legs! Riddle leaps but Ali BOOTS the Broton away!
Ali wants to make sure Retribution is watching as he bumps Riddle off buckles. Ali goes out to trip Riddle and pull him into ropes to then ROCK him! Ali spins Riddle and Riddle SMACKS the post! Ali then baseball slide dropkicks Riddle to the floor! “This is why I will be the next United States Champion!” Ali puts Riddle in the ring, covers, TWO! Riddle is still in this and he fires body shots and forearms! Ali ducks and kitchen sink knees Riddle down! Cover, TWO! Ali wraps Riddle up in a body scissor and squeezes tight. Riddle endures, pries free but Ali clubs Riddle down. Ali throws hands, Riddle gut wrenches again! Ali slips out and shoves Riddle into buckles, then SHOTGUNS him down! Cover, TWO!
Ali grows frustrated but drags Riddle up to ROCK him! And CHOP him! Riddle CHOPS back but Ali kicks low! Ali whips corner to corner, Riddle reverses but Ali handsprings then slips out! Riddle hits buckles, Ali slingshots and somersaults to a BACKSTABBER! Cover, TWO!! Riddle survives and Ali grows frustrated. Ali stalks Riddle, throws more clubbing forearms and then snapmares Riddle into the body scissors. Riddle endures, Ali chinbars, and fans rally on their screens. Riddle elbows Ali’s leg and gets free! Riddle storms over to Ali, suplexes, but Ali slips out to shove Riddle and then run, into a BROMISSION!! Ali rolls back, prawn hold, TWO!!
Riddle and Ali fires off furious fists! Riddle boots, spins Ali and PELES! Ali staggers to a corner, Riddle kips up and runs in to forearm smash! Riddle goes side to side to forearm again! And BROSPLODER! Riddle aims, PENALTY KICK! Riddle dead lift POWERBOMBS, and flips Ali for a FINAL FLASH!! Cover, TWO!?! Ali survives and Riddle can’t believe it! Riddle goes up top, for a FLOATING BRO onto knees!! Ali took some damage because of his bad leg, and both men are down. Ali glares as he gets to a corner. Riddle sits up, Ali goes up and leaps, into Riddle’s arms! Riddle suplexes, but Ali cradles! Riddle rolls through for a FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO!!
KOJI KLUTCH!! Ali has Riddle trapped, squeezes tight, but Riddle endures and fights for ground. Riddle reaches out, moves around, Ali keeps trying, but Riddle dead lifts to SLAM Ali! Both men are down, Riddle gasping for air. Ali shouts, “See what I did there?!” Ali grins as he says it’s over. But he runs into a BOOT! Riddle goes up, but Ali trips him! Riddle lands on the ropes, but Ali swings, into a DRAPING SLEEPER! Riddle drags Ali up into the gut wrench, for a SUPER BRO DEREK!! Cover, Riddle wins!
Winner: Matt Riddle, by pinfall (still WWE United States Champion)
Ali spoke too soon, because it wasn’t over for Riddle, it was over for Ali! Will Riddle continue to represent the Bronited States all the way to WrestleMania?
As for Retribution, they pick up Ali and he gets mad at them!? Ali says this is somehow his team’s fault when they didn’t even do anything! “Reckoning” shakes her head and Ali calls her out for it! She stops listening to him, and leaves! Ali says that’s fine, because he doesn’t need her! She needs him! Slapjack wants to leave? Ali says he’s nothing without Ali so get back in line! Slapjack refuses! Ali says this is T-Bar’s fault and Mace’s fault! But they’re bigger than him, so they don’t need to take orders from him! DOUBLE CHOKE SLAM!! Retribution doesn’t need Ali and they don’t want Ali! Will Ali be the one left alone in the dark from now on?
“These are the moments that are remembered forever.”
WrestleMania is the Grandest Stage of Them All, but there is still time to change the future. “What happens next can change the course of everything.” The Big Dog takes on an underdog with a Rated R Enforcer ringside. The #LegitEST want to have belts together before fighting over one. A 20 YEAR friendship is broken and it’ll be No Holds Barred! And a Viper has been haunted, but wants to exorcise those demons! Step on the gas, go for gold, and hit the final stop on the Road to WrestleMania!
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler w/ Reginald VS Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair!
The Irresistible Force & Queen of Spades beat the Boss and the EST already at Elimination Chamber, but things were a bit different then. In the last month, dysfunction has crept in between Sasha and Bianca, which will of course complicate things. But the same has started to happen with the champions, where Nia might be a little preoccupied with Reggie. Which team cracks first and misses out on the gold?
The introductions are made, the tag belts are raised, and Elimination Chamber is revisited!
Shayna and Sasha start, Sasha fires off with haymakers and then bumps Shayna off buckles. Sasha tags Bianca, they both stomp away on Shayna. Bianca handsprings to run in and RAM into Shayna! Sasha tags back in, and hits a SWINGING METEORA! Tag back to Bianca, and they snapmare Shayna for Bianca to handspring SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Bianca keeps on Shayna with a scoop but Shayna fights free, shoves and runs. Bianca dodges, drops and hurdles, but the two stand off a moment. Bianca catches Shayna to a backslide, ONE! Bianca steps through to La Magistrol, TWO! Roll up, TWO, but into a Triangle! Bianca dead lifts but Shayna gets free to forearm and KNEE!
Shayna stalks Bianca, gets the arm and twists the wrist to then hammerlock the arm. Nia tags in and Shayna is upset because she was going to stomp! Bianca fires forearms on Nia, Sasha tags in but runs into a fireman’s carry! Sasha slips off, runs and tilt-o-whirls and wants the arm! Nia shoves her away and runs her over! Reggie laughs as Nia covers, TWO! Nia runs but Sasha avoids the elbow drop! Sasha runs but Nia pops her up! Sasha fights, Bianca tags in, and Bianca dropkicks Nia into Sasha’s rana! Bianca dropkicks Nia down, covers, ONE!! Bianca keeps on Nia, but Nia blocks the whip to whip Bianca.
Bianca dodges and Nia hits buckles. Nia puts Bianca on the apron, Shayna is there but Nia DECKS Bianca! Shayna tags in, drags Bianca up and throws her into the apron! Shayna pushes Bianca in, keeps her from Sasha and rains down fists! Cover, TWO! Shayna wraps on a grovit, Bianca endures, fights her way up, but Shayna clubs away on Bianca’s back! Shayna drags Bianca over, Nia tags in and headbutts Bianca in the ribs! Nia drags Bianca up to choke her on the ropes! The ref counts, Nia lets off at 4 and then TOSSES Bianca around the way! Nia runs to SPLASH the corner, then she shoves Bianca down. Nia runs to drop the elbow! Cover, TWO!
Nia drags Bianca up, puts her in a corner, tags Shayna in and Shayna runs in to KNEE Bianca down! Cover, TWO! Shayna grows annoyed but she kicks Bianca around. Shayna chokes Bianca on ropes and grinds her face in! The ref counts, Shayna lets off but Bianca hits back. Shayna knees and kicks away on Bianca, then looms over her. Shayna clamps onto an arm, grinds it down but Bianca fights up. Sasha coaches Bianca, Bianca fights up and kicks but Shayna blocks to throw her down! Tag to Nia, and Shayna feeds Bianca to Nia’s scoop and SLAM! Cover, ONE!! Nia keeps on Bianca with a cobra clutch and leans on the hold. Bianca endures, even as Nia thrashes her!
Sasha coaches Bianca, Bianca fights up, throws elbows and gets free, but Nia scoops her. Bianca slips out, shoves and fireman’s carries! Shayna gets in but Bianca hits her first. Nia shoves Bianca to a corner, Bianca goes up and Nia POSTS Herself! Hot tag to Sasha! Sasha blocks Shayna’s kick to KNEE her! METEORA for Nia! METEORA for Shayna! Sasha springboards but Nia blocks and throws her! Sasha gets Shayna, kicks Nia and TORNADO DDT’s! Cover, TWO! Sasha gets Shayna up, tags Bianca and then slams Shayna down. Bianca is up top, for an EST 450!! Cover, but Reggie distracts the ref! Sasha leaps but misses Reggie! So Bianca DECKS him!!
But Shayna gets Bianca in a KIRAFUDA! Bianca gets out, chicken wings, and Sasha tags in! GlamEST KNEE!! To a BANK STAEMTNE! Bianca intercepts Nia but Nia shoves Bianca down on Sasha and Shayna! Everyone else is down as Nia goes back to her corner. Sasha misunderstands what happened but Bianca points out it was Nia! The challengers argue, Sasha pushes the “rookie” and Bianca has had it with Sasha. But Shayna rolls Sasha up, and wins!!
Winners: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler, by pinfall (still WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions)
And that’s what broke the #LegitEST duo! Sasha and Bianca couldn’t trust each other and they get caught off guard! They keep arguing after the champions leave, and Sasha boops Bianca. Then SLAPS her! “You’re the rookie!” Sasha leaves before Bianca can respond, but is the receipt coming soon enough at WrestleMania?
Shane McMahon exits the Doctor Trainer room.
A huge ice pack is on his knee and he has a crutch. Elias and Jaxson Ryker come by to talk their WrestleMania pitch. A huge musical epic for Mania that Bad Bunny will feel obligated to hand over his Grammy out of respect. Now’s not a good time, guys. But Elias has always wanted to be in front of a WrestleMania crowd! Name it, he’ll do it! Well, putting it that way… Shane has an idea. Is Shane about to find someone for Braun to face after all?
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Big E VS Apollo Crews!
To say this has gotten personal is putting it lightly. To say the title was the only reason these two stopped being friends is inaccurate. And to say that there is aggression between these two is an understatement. Big E and the REAL Apollo are ready to cripple each other if that is what it takes to prove who is truly worthy of going to WrestleMania as the Intercontinental Champion! Will Apollo get what he wants? Or just get what he deserves?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and a battle of steel and gold finally looks to settle itself!
Apollo and Big E fire off fists right away! Apollo knees low, CLUBS and whips but Big E reverse! Apollo ends up on the apron and Big E runs to SPEAR him off it! “This is what you wanted!? This is what you wanted?!” Big E clubs Apollo, Apollo throws hands but Big E ROCKS him! Big E has Apollo on the apron and says he asked for this! Big E stomps Apollo, stands on Apollo’s head, then stomps him again! “You wanted this ass whooping! You asked for this ass whooping! And you’re gonna get every bit of it.” APRON SPLASH! Apollo writhes and Big E says this is the side of him Apollo wanted to see! Big E CLUBS Apollo more, gets in the ring and tells the ref Apollo wanted this!
Big E goes back to the apron and says Apollo doesn’t want this now that he knows what it’s about. ANOTHER APRON SPLASH! Apollo crawls away into the ring, Big E pursues and says, “This is what conflict is!” Apollo throws a haymaker but Big E ROCKS him with a forearm! And then another! And then an OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Big E gets Apollo up again for another OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Big E shouts that Apollo wanted this shot, so he’s getting it! But then Apollo dropkicks Big E’s leg out! Apollo hits a clothesline, then drags Big E up for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Apollo holds on to GERMAN SUPLEX again! And ANOTHER GERMAN SUPLEX!
Apollo looms over Big E and stomps him. Now Apollo stands on Big E’s head, but lets off at 4. Apollo demands Big E get up, and then reels him in for a SPINEBUSTER! Apollo stomps Big E, goes to a corner and climbs up top, for a FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Big E survives but Apollo wraps on a rear bearhug! Apollo squeezes tight, Big E endures and fights up to throw elbows. Big E is free but he runs into an ENZIGURI! Apollo ENZIGURIS again! STANIND MOONSAULT ONTO KNEES! Big E runs in but Apollo dodges to POST him! Apollo reels Big E in but no bomb yet! Big E arm-drags, scoops, but Apollo slips out!
Apollo brings Big E around to cradle, TWO! Big E has it, and even bridges, Big E wins?!
Winner: Big E, by pinfall (still WWE Intercontinental Champion)
But Apollo attacks! Does he not realize he lost? Or does he not care?! Apollo demands Big E get up, for an OLYMPIC SLAM!! He says it is NOT over, and he drags Big E up again, for ANOTHER OLYMPIC SLAM! Apollo slaps Big E around, demands he get up again, and SLAPS him! A THIRD OLYMPIC SLAM!! Apollo does not accept Big E as champion, because HE is the one standing tall! Will this war between former friends never end?
“Joseph Average” is giving out Old Spice samples.
Drew Gulak likes, but Akira Tozawa demands to know where R-Truth is! Joseph doesn’t know- WHERE IS R-TRUTH!? Truth is hiding behind the free samples! He even hands Akira one! TRUUUUTH!! Tozawa drags Truth out from behind the shelves! Joseph tries to pick up his samples, but ends up pinning Truth?!
Winner: Joseph Average, by pinfall (NEW WWE 24/7 Champion)
Regular ol’ Joseph Average, is champion!? Truth says he WAS! Roll up! Truth wins!!
Winner: R-Truth, by pinfall (NEW WWE 24/7 Champion)
Truth thanks Average Joe for the free samples! Tozawa rips Joseph’s shirt, but then sees that shirt! The prophecy is true! The Night Panther lives!!
Ladies and Gentlemen: Elias.
Shane officially introduces The Drifter, and says as a “prelude” to WrestleMania, he wants the fans to hear Elias’ music. Elias takes it from here, playing his guitar, but then Shane interrupts and apologizes for that. He wants Elias to know that he’s taking Shane’s place in tonight’s match. Wait, what? The match with Braun!? YES!
Elias w/ Jaxson Ryker VS Braun Strowman!
The Drifter is about to learn that you really should be careful what you wish for. Elias wants to play on the Grandest Stage of Them All, but will he even make it down the Road to WrestleMania with the Monster Among Men in his path?
The bell rings, Elisa wants Braun to take it easy, he’s after Shane, remember? Braun still rushes at Elias, but Elias dodges and throws quick body shots. Ryker distracts, but Strowman still gets Elias in a corner for hands! And elbows! So many elbows! Then Braun TOSSES Elias across the ring! Braun is foaming at the mouth as Elias gets out, and Braun grabs Elias by his hair! He POSTS Elias, then POSTS him the other way! Elias flops down, Braun drags him in and throws him around again! Braun KICKS Elias to a corner! And bends him against the ropes! The ref counts, Braun lets off at 4, and brings Elias up to CLUB him down! And then runs in at the corner!
Ryker saves Elias and they regroup on the outside. But the Strowman Express runs! Ryker dodges and Elias gets BLASTED! Braun goes back to the ring as the ring count climbs. Ryker checks on Elias, and throws him in at 8! Elias might’ve wanted to stay out, actually… Braun glares at Ryker, Ryker gets up on the apron again, and Elias CHOP BLOCKS Braun! DDT!! Elias hurries up top, for a MACHO ELBOW! Cover, TWO!! Elias is sent flying and is shocked! Elias hurries to go after Braun with haymakers and knees! Elias runs, into a LARIAT! Braun is still seething as he corner SPLASHES and then throws Elias down! Braun drags Elias up for a ONE HAND SPINEBUSTER!!
Braun isn’t done there, he scoops Elias for the MONSTER SLAM!! Cover, Braun wins!
Winner: Braun Strowman, by pinfall
Shane didn’t #GetTheseHands but The Drifter sure did! Will Braun be sure that, once Shane is 100% again, they will have their battle in the ring?
Riddle checks in with Nakamura.
Sup, Bro? Nakamura congratulates Riddle on retaining his title. Thanks, bro! And good luck with Rollins! But uh, would Nakamura want to go in business with Riddle? Riddle’s latest idea is great! Tricking out scooters! Getting some Nos boosters, LED lights, and some manes like they’re horses! That’s interesting- Yeah, very interesting, right? And think about this! Riddle’s cousin Skeeter was a skater and he had a scooter, and he was grinding the rail all slow and at a weird angle, and then he smashed his little skeeters. Now he kinda walks like Nakamura’s entrance. Oh, where’d Nakamura go? Probably to get his scooter. Alright, see you later, bro!
Shinsuke Nakamura VS Seth Rollins!
The King of Strong Style wants to avenge the Swiss Cyborg for what the Architect has done to him! But Rollins says he is going to show Nakamura what respect is all about! Will Nakamura dry up that Seth Rollins drip? Or will he have no choice but to #EmbraceTheVision?
The bell rings and Rollins circles with Nakamura. They tie up, Rollins headlocks and laughs, but Nakamura fights up and powers out. Rollins runs into a kitchen sink knee, then Nakamura drops a knee! Rollins staggers, but ducks the roundhouse to get out! Nakamura shouts, “C’MON!!” Rollins gets in, Nakamura kicks and whips to GAMANGIRI! Cover, ONE! Nakamura stomps Rollins, kicks him, then waistlocks. Rollins flails and reaches but elbows free! Rollins kicks Nakamura in the leg then SMACKS him off the mat! Rollins throws Nakamura out hard, aims from the apron and LEAPS for a flying knee! Rollins sneers as he drags Nakamura up and bounces him off the desk!
Rollins puts Nakamura in as the ring count climbs past 5, then slithers behind him. “You want to disrespect me?” Rollins runs and KNEES Nakamura against ropes. Rollins whips and KNEES again, and then again! Rollins fireman’s carries Nakamura for a GUT BUSTER! Cover, ONE!! Rollins is upset that he only got a one, but he dares Nakamura to get up. Rollins throws down hands, rams Nakamura into a corner, and rams him in again. Rollins wrenches, whips corner to corner hard, then drags him out to scoop to a BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Rollins wraps on a rear bearhug but Nakamura throws elbows. Rollins squeezes tighter but Nakamura endures.
Nakamura gets up, reaches for ropes but has to elbow Rollins more. Rollins lets go but he elbows Nakamura down! And drops a knee! Cover, TWO! Another cover, ONE!! Rollins is again annoyed, and talks trash, “Cesaro is watching!” Rollins chokes Nakamura on ropes and then throws him down again. Rollins shouts about being swung around 22 times and he asks where Cesaro is now. Rollins says he’s strong! He’s tough! He gets Nakamura’s legs, and he slaps Nakamura around. Nakamura drags Rollins down with an ARMBAR! Rollins gets a ropebreak but Nakamura lets go fast. Rollins is outside, Nakamura WRECKS him with a baseball slide!
Nakamura puts Rollins on the apron for a KNEE! And then a GUILLOTINE KNEE! Nakamura puts Rollins in, Rollins staggers into KICKS! Nakamura shoves Rollins to a corner for GOOD VIBRATIONS! Nakamura whips corner to corner but Rollins reverses. Rollins runs in but Nakamura KNEES back! Nakamura puts Rollins up top for the TOP SHELF KNEE! Cover, TWO! Nakamura grits his teeth as he gets Rollins back up. Nakamura scoops but Rollins elbows free! Rollins runs but into a boot! Nakamura goes up top but Rollins throws him off!! Nakamura hits the floor, Rollins builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit and they hit barriers!
Rollins drags Nakamura up, puts him in, and aims from the apron. Springboard FLYING KNEE! And then a SLINGBLADE! Cover, TWO! Nakamura survives and Rollins is beside himself! Rollins drags Nakamura up, reels him in, but Nakamura blocks the suplex! Rollins ROCKS him with a right, reels him in again, but Nakamura blocks again! Rollins ROCKS Nakamura but Nakamura hits back! Rollins throws another forearm but so does Nakamura! They go back and forth, Rollins gets the edge but swings into a strike fest! Rollins PELES! Rollins drags Nakamura up to powerbomb lift but Nakamura slips out! Rollins ducks one kick but not the LEFT!
Rollins staggers to a corner, Nakamura aims from the other! Nakamura runs in but blocks boots first! He turns Rollins sideways into the ropes, SLIDING GERMAN! Rollins flounders up, Nakamura fires up and aims again! “YAO~!” But Rollins pops Nakamura up for a BUCKLE BOMB! Rollins drags Nakamura back up, and suplexes for a FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura survives and Rollins is furious! Rollins aims from a corner, runs in but Nakamura gets him to a fireman’s carry! LANDSLIDE DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura drags Rollins up, INVERTED EXPLODER! Nakamura aims from the corner again, “YAO~!” KIN-
NO! Rollins rolls Nakamura up, Nakamura slips out but Rollins reels Nakamura in for a DREAM SMASHER ELBOW! And then the CURB STOM- NO, Nakamura ducks it! But Rollins HEEL KICKS him down! Rollins is seething as he shouts, “Don’t disrespect me!” Nakamura slowly sits up, Rollins runs and CURB STOMPS!! Cover, Rollins wins!
Winner: Seth Rollins, by pinfall
The Architect beats the Artist, and shouts, “That’s what happens when you step into my ring!” Rollins demands respect, but will he get it from the SmackDown roster?
No Holds Barred: Drew McIntyre VS Sheamus!
“A lot can happen in 20 years.” A friendship that defined both of these men has now fallen apart. Two journeys that intertwined, parted, but reunited was ruined, all because of jealousy and pride. These two warriors made each other better, but now they’d love nothing better than to finish this. With nothing holding these two back, which warrior stands tall at the end of this war?
The bell rings and Sheamus says McIntyre asked for this. Did McIntyre ever think of what Sheamus did for him? McIntyre SLAPS Sheamus, and now it’s a brawl! Sheamus knees low, CLUBS hard, then whips McIntyre to ropes. McIntyre reverses, Sheamus kicks him and runs but into an OVERHEAD SUPLEX! And then McIntyre gets Sheamus for ANOTHER! McIntyre clotheslines Sheamus out, pursues, but Sheamus trips him on the apron! Sheamus throws hands, whips McIntyre into barriers and then throws hands! Sheamus brings McIntyre up to whip, but McIntyre reverses to reel him in for another OVERHEAD SUPLEX!
McIntyre drags Sheamus back up, CHOPS him against the announce desk, and then throws haymakers! McIntyre whips and POSTS Sheamus! McIntyre clears off the desk, goes under the ring, and brings out chairs, and kendo sticks! Sheamus runs in to blindside McIntyre! Sheamus POSTS McIntyre, hurries to get himself a kendo stick, and then swings! McIntyre dodges and stick hits post! McIntyre reels Sheamus in for a fourth OVERHEAD! McIntyre drags Sheamus up to whip into steel steps! Sheamus flops against the base and McIntyre storms over. McIntyre stands on Sheamus’ head then STOMPS him! Sheamus flops back but McIntyre looms over him.
McIntyre drags Sheamus up to CHOP him again! McIntyre puts Sheamus in, gets a kendo stick, but Sheamus KNEES him down first! Cover, TWO! Sheamus gets a kendo stick again, and SMACKS him on the back! And SMACKS him again! Sheamus SMACKS McIntyre while taunting him, “This is what you wanted, right?!” Sheamus says he’ll make it legit! McIntyre’s going to WrestleMania, he should get up! Sheamus SMACKS McIntyre back down! Sheamus digs the kendo stick into McIntyre’s jaw! “How does that taste?!” McIntyre’s jaw is still a target from last year, but McIntyre headbutts and HEADBUTTS! And BOOTS!
McIntyre goes to a corner to catch his breath, and he starts to get pissed again. McIntyre picks up the kendo stick and sees Sheamus is down. Sheamus glares up at McIntyre, and McIntyre SMACKS him! And SMACKS, and SMACKS, and SMACKS! McIntyre uses the stick for a Russian Leg Sweep! McIntyre digs the kendo stick into Sheamus’ eyes!! Sheamus pushes McIntyre away but McIntyre just SMACKS him again! Sheamus falls out of the ring, McIntyre follows and runs into a drop toehold to the steps! McIntyre is dazed, Sheamus fetches the top half of the steps! McIntyre staggers up as Sheamus comes around, and Sheamus RAMS McIntyre down!
Sheamus fires up, finishes clearing the desk for McIntyre, and then stomps McIntyre while he’s down. “What’s that face paint gonna do for you now?!” Sheamus puts McIntyre on the desk, climbs up to join him, and fireman’s carries, but McIntyre fights free! To underhooks the arms! Sheamus resists, McIntyre throws knees, to then throw Sheamus at the barriers! McIntyre glares as he stalks behind Sheamus through the timekeeper’s area to the outside. McIntyre fish hooks Sheamus’ mouth! And punch him down! The go behind the ThunderDome screens, McIntyre throws Sheamus into railing! And CHOPS him off his feet!
McIntyre stomps and CLUBS Sheamus more, and follows him around the way. Sheamus throws hands, they brawl, and Sheamus blocks a suplex! Sheamus suplexes McIntyre! McIntyre thuds off the bare floor of the ThunderDome! McIntyre sputters and crawls to a ramp. Sheamus CLUBS McIntyre on the back, up some trunks, and then rains down more rights. Sheamus drags McIntyre up to throw body shots! McIntyre ends up on the upper level of the ThunderDome screens but he hits back! McIntyre fires off haymakers, then whips Sheamus along, only for Sheamus to reel him in! ROLLING SENTON! Again, McIntyre gasps and sputters!
Sheamus drags McIntyre up, brings him along the aisle, but McIntyre throws body shots! Sheamus CLUBS McIntyre down again and again, then fireman’s carries. McIntyre slips off before Sheamus can throw him! McIntyre bumps Sheamus off ThunderDome screens, then sends him crashing through others!! Sheamus tumbles from that middle row to somewhere down below!! McIntyre climbs down to loom over Sheamus, and dares him to keep talking trash. McIntyre CLUBS Sheamus, follows him back to the ramp and punches him down the way. McIntyre says up Sheamus’ as he kicks him down! McIntyre dares The Fella to talk more trash, as he puts him on a road case!
McIntyre pushes the case around to get Sheamus back to ringside! McIntyre drags Sheamus up, for a suplex to the floor! Both men writhe but McIntyre forces himself to rise! McIntyre drags Sheamus back up, fireman’s carries him, and hauls him back to the desk. Sheamus claws McIntyre’s eyes and BROGUES him over barriers!! Sheamus clutches his back as he hobbles up and looks to fetch McIntyre. Sheamus hops over the barriers, grits his teeth while clutching his side, and he stomps McIntyre! Sheamus bumps McIntyre off road cases, then drags him up and over the barriers, aiming for the desk! “I should be the main event of WrestleMania!!”
Sheamus fireman’s carries, tucks McIntyre in, WHITE NOISE THROUGH THE DESK!! The ref checks on both men in the wreckage and somehow they’re okay to continue! Sheamus hobbles up, drags McIntyre towards the ring but his own back makes that hard. “This is Awesome!” as Sheamus still gets McIntyre up and in. Sheamus looks for something more to use, and decides to use a piece of the desk! Sheamus brings that in, positions it, and looms over McIntyre. “You’re the Chosen One, right? What about me? What about Sheamus, huh?” Sheamus throws more hands, but McIntyre SLAPS Sheamus! Sheamus SLAPS back and it’s a SLAP fight!
Sheamus kicks, Alabama lifts, but McIntyre slips out! Sheamus avoids the underhooks once, but not the second! FUTURE SHOCK to the desk piece!! CLAYMORE!! Cover, McIntyre wins!!
Winner: Drew McIntyre, by pinfall
The Celtic Warrior almost had the Scottish Warrior, but the key word is “almost!” McIntyre defeats Sheamus, and now moves on to Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania! If he could survive this, will McIntyre be able to survive the Rocky Mountain Machine and take back the WWE World Championship?
Randy Orton VS Alexa Bliss!
The Viper thought burning The Fiend alive was enough. He thought it’d end there. He thought wrong. Twisted Lil’ Bliss has been haunting Orton in ways no one could’ve imagined. But Orton vows to exorcise Alexa and kick her out of his life for good. Will it really end here? Or is Orton going to pay for all of his transgressions?
But as Orton goes for his pose, he starts spitting up the black ink!! Alexa is already affecting him before the bell! Orton is pissed, demands a towel and the timekeeper hands him one. Orton wipes his mouth, coughs and sputters, then seethes and glares at the stage. He isn’t getting scared off, he’s getting pissed off! He demands Alexa stop playing games and get to the ring! Alexa makes her entrance, and already has those spooky eyes as she laughs and skips her way to the ring. The magenta light bathes the arena and the bell rings! Orton storms right over but then FIRE flashes all around!! The ref even bails out after that one!
Alexa laughs at Orton, Orton runs in but Alexa dodges and he POSTS himself! Alexa pretends to feel bad but then laughs at Orton’s pain. Alexa skips around the ring and wants Orton to follow after. Orton gets up, seethes as he follows in this twisted follow the leader. Alexa hops over the steel steps, waits so Orton can get closer, and then gives a curious smile. She looks up, and a LIGHTING TRUSS falls?! Alexa laughs and Orton shouts, “Are you trying to kill me?!” She just shrugs and says “The sky is falling.” Alexa goes back into the ring and coaxes Orton in like he’s a puppy dog. She even plays in the ropes like it’s a swing set.
Orton takes his time returning, checking to see if anything else will fall. Orton steps inside, Alexa blows a kiss, and then throws a FIREBALL!! Orton narrowly avoided that one, but Alexa still celebrates like she scored a homerun or something. Alexa hops up to sit on the top rope and Orton stands up, but what is reaching out from under the ring mat?!?! It’s a gnarly, burned hand! And with another burst of flame, THE FIEND returns!!! Mutilated and grotesque, The Fiend returns from the dead!! Orton isn’t even sure what to say, but Alexa shoves Orton into SISTER ABIGAIL! Alexa covers, the ref returns to count, Alexa wins!!
Winner: Alexa Bliss, by pinfall
HE’S HEEEERE~! And with his help, Alexa has beaten The Viper! But just what is going to happen now that these two are reunited?!
WWE Universal Championship, Edge as Special Guest Enforcer: Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman VS Daniel Bryan!
The plans for WrestleMania could change drastically right here! The Special Counsel wants us to believe that the Tribal Chief will not just give the Goat a hellacious beating, but that he will scare away the Rated R Superstar tonight. However, Edge is here to make sure things are finally fair and square for the challenger to the Universal Championship! Will Bryan be able to turn the tide and have one more #YEStleMania moment?
Edge makes his entrance first as enforcer. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we will see what THE main event of WrestleMania really looks like!
Bryan and Roman circle, Bryan picks up the speed a bit as he goes around Roman. Roman tries to corner Bryan but Bryan wants his leg. Roman grabs ropes and Bryan lets off. Bryan taunts Roman that he’s worried about a simple single leg. Roman and Bryan feel out a grapple, Roman gets Bryan into a corner, but the ref counts. Bryan slips out at 3 to kick Roman in the leg. Bryan taunts Roman more, and they circle again. They tie up, Roman powers Bryan to another corner, the ref counts and Roman CLUBS Bryan as they break! Roman tells Bryan he should just go home. They circle again, approach, and Bryan gets a leg pick! Roman scrambles around to get a ropebreak!
Bryan says he could get that any time. Roman gets up, cools off but Bryan pushes the offense. He dares Roman to come after him, and then he goes for a leg. Roman grabs at Bryan but Bryan gets around. Roman gets another ropebreak, and Bryan grins as he lets off. They feel out the grapple again, knuckle lock, and Roman uses his strength to bring Bryan to his knees! Roman mocks Bryan, “You wanna break?” Roman scrapes his laces on Bryan’s face but Bryan gets up and gets a takedown to an ARMBAR! Roman scrambles, gets another ropebreak, and Bryan lets off quick. Bryan does Yes Fingers, fans join in on their screens, but Roman keeps his cool.
Roman and Bryan circle again, Bryan gives testing jabs, but Roman just gets annoyed. Roman dares Bryan to hit him, Bryan jabs him in the stomach again. Bryan grins as Roman keeps egging Bryan on. Bryan throws more jabs, then a kick! Roman is getting more annoyed as Bryan throws more quick kicks. Bryan gets cornered, Roman headlocks and throws Bryan down! Heyman likes what he sees but Bryan fights up. Bryan slips out the back, has a hammerlock and he knees Roman in the arm! And again! Heyman’s confidence turns to worry as Bryan digs his elbows into Roman’s head. Bryan gets Roman’s other arm and bends the fingers! Bryan pulls to go after Roman’s shoulder!
Roman endures as Bryan stands on the arm to make it a recliner cover, ONE!! Roman headbutts Bryan, then stomps him down! Roman drags Bryan up to DECK him! Roman paces around, drags him back up and throws a haymaker! Bryan goes to a corner, Roman stalks him, and Roman RAMS into Bryan! Roman hauls Bryan up but Bryan flails, only for Roman to RAM him into another corner! Roman runs but into a dropkick! Bryan gets Roman’s arm, wrenches and hits an elbow breaker! And then wrenches to KICK the leg, and hit another elbow breaker! And then KICKS the leg, to wrench. Roman rakes eyes, gets Bryan in a corner, but the ref reprimands.
Roman throws point-blank lariats! But Bryan turns it around for YES Kicks and fast hands! Bryan whips, Roman reverses, but Bryan goes up and over and keeps moving to duck and run, into a tilt-o-whirl SLAM! Cover, TWO! Roman digs Bryan’s face into the mat and bounces him off it! Roman taunts Edge but Edge tells him to worry about Bryan. Bryan goes to ropes, Roman throws crossface forearms! Roman drags Bryan up, and snap suplexes him! Heyman’s confidence returns as Roman covers, TWO! Roman grows annoyed again but then he smiles as he looms over Bryan. Bryan goes back to a corner, Roman drags him up but Bryan goes for a leg!
Roman holds off Bryan’s takedown and CLUBS Bryan! Bryan hits from below but Roman kicks him down. Bryan hits again but Roman stomps him back down! Bryan keeps hitting back but Roman keeps stomping! Roman snarls and drags Bryan into a chinlock. Roman grinds Bryan down, and says, “When I got it, you don’t get out.” Roman says he has a vice grip, but Bryan fights up. Bryan throws body shots, Roman shoves Bryan away but Bryan returns! Roman puts Bryan on the apron and DECKS him with an uppercut! Bryan falls to the floor and Roman again taunts Edge. Edge says Roman still needs to worry about Bryan. Roman goes out to fetch Bryan, and throw him into barriers!
The ring count is past 5 but Roman goes in at 7. Bryan stands as Roman goes out to fetch Bryan, but Bryan fires body shots and uppercuts and kicks! Bryan KICKS away on Roman, but Roman POSTS him! The ring count is climbing but Roman puts Bryan in at 8! Cover, TWO! Heyman says it was that close, but Bryan is still in this. Roman drags Bryan up to snap suplex again! Cover, TWO! Roman is again annoyed and Bryan drags himself to another corner. Roman runs in to corner clothesline him! Heyman says Bryan should listen to his Tribal Chief! Roman wants Bryan to acknowledge him. Look in the camera and tell the world!
Roman whips Bryan corner to corner hard! Roman runs in but Bryan drop toeholds him into buckles! Bryan fires off Yes Kicks from all sides, then runs corner to corner to dropkick! Bryan brings Roman up to the very top, then throws haymakers! Bryan climbs up, but Roman blocks the Steiner! Roman drags Bryan into a BOSTON CRAB! Bryan endures as Roman bends him back! Bryan claws for ropes, reaches, but Roman brings him around! Bryan makes that a cradle, TWO!! Bryan dodges, and hits a LEAPING LARIAT! Both men are down and Heyman’s stress is back again! Edge paces, making sure nothing sneaky is happening as both men slowly rise.
Bryan throws hands, kicks, but Roman knees low! Roman whips Bryan to ropes but Bryan kicks him away! Roman returns but Bryan dumps him out! Bryan slingshots to PLANCHA, but Roman makes it a SLAM! Roman then drags Bryan up, but Bryan slips off to POST Roman! Bryan aims from the apron for a FLYING KNEE! Down goes Roman! But Bryan can only win the title in the ring! Bryan puts Roman in at 7 of 10, climbs up top and FLYING KNEES ROMAN’S ARM!! Roman writhes, Heyman panics and Bryan climbs up again! Bryan is up top again and leaps for a missile dropkick! Roman is down again but Bryan fires up! Bryan crawls to cover, TWO!
Bryan keeps his focus while Roman tries to get his bad arm moving. Heyman is doing his best to be stoic as Bryan gives Roman more YES Kicks! Roman flounders about as Bryan keeps giving him KICKS! Kick after kick after kick, then the BUZZ- NO! Roman blocks the buzzsaw and powers Bryan to a corner! The ref counts, Roman ROCKS Bryan with an uppercut! Roman grinds his forearm into Bryan’s face, throws knees into him, but the ref keeps counting. Roman finally lets off to cool down, but Bryan kicks back! And rushes in! Roman sprawls to block the takedown, and brings Bryan up, but Bryan RANAS the bomb away! BUZZSAW! And then ANOTHER BUZZSAW! Cover, TWO!!
Bryan nods, he knows Roman is tough. Heyman is worried, Edge is invested, and Bryan says Roman likes to talk, but now he’s going to get broken! Bryan unleashes DANIELSON STOMPS! Then drags Roman into the YES LOCK!! Roman endures, but the hands are in his face, he can’t see! Roman refuses to quit, reaches out and gets his face free, but Bryan gets the other arm! Bryan rolls Roman away from ropes and then gets the YES LOCK BACK!! Roman is stuck, hands in his face, and he can’t figure out where ropes are! Roman pries at Bryan’s fingers, gets the hold off and he rains down furious forearms, and even elbows!
But Bryan triangle holds! Roman dead lifts to POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO!! Bryan survives but both men are down! Bryan drags himself to a corner while Roman talks to himself. Roman gets to the other corner and watches Bryan get up. Roman run sin, but into a kick! Roman staggers, but dodges, the FLYING KNEE hits the ref!! Roman SPEARS Bryan! Cover, but the ref can’t count! Edge is making himself the ref! TWO!! Both men are down again as Roman looks up and sees Edge. Edge says he’s just doing his job as special enforcer. Roman says Edge better follow his lead, but Edge says Roman needs to do his job.
Roman rains down rights on Bryan again! Bryan gets Roman’s arm again! TRIANGLE HOLD! Roman powers up to dead lift again, but Bryan shifts and throws hands, to then drag Roman back down! YES LOCK!!! Roman endures, pries at the hold, but Bryan throws crossface forearms! Bryan clubs away on Roman again and again then puts the Yes Lock back on! JEY USO SUPERKICKS EDGE!! And SUPERKICKS Bryan!! Jey always has to save Roman! Jey goes out and gets a chair! Jey drags Edge up to POST him! Jey tells Bryan to stand, but Bryan ducks the chair to KNEE PLUS Jey down!! Heyman panics as Bryan gets the chair!!
Bryan glares at Roman, and SMACKS JEY! And SMACKS and SMACKS and SMACKS Jey! Jey bails out, Bryan sees no one is up to see… Bryan aims at Roman, but Roman dodges again, and EDGE takes the chair shot! SUPERMAN PUNCH!! Roman seethes, glares at Bryan and runs, INTO A YES LOCK!! Just like Elimination Chamber!! Roman is stuck!! Roman is freaking out and Heyman is, too! Roman is fading out!! Is he tapping?!?! Roman is tapping, but Edge SMACKS Bryan with the chair!!! Edge SMACKS Roman, too!! Edge SMACKS Bryan again, and shouts, “THIS IS MINE! MINE!!” The Rated R Superstar no longer cares who he faces, he storms off and lets this sort itself out!
Roman and Bryan are both writhing, stirring, and a second referee appears! Roman drags himself to cover Bryan, and Roman wins!
Winner: Roman Reigns, by pinfall (still WWE Universal Champion)
Once again, Roman is fortunate to have someone else around! But will Roman be able to survive when he finally faces Edge 1v1?
So this was a bit of a mixed back for a WWE PPV. Though not announced as such, I just had a feeling the US Championship would end up a kickoff show match. And as I figured, Riddle would win and Ali would get kicked out of Retribution. Heck, Retribution might just be through, with all but Mace and T-Bar going their separate ways. Maybe they’ll all get their real names back, too. The real critical point is what Ali does now that he’s not their leader. The main show then seemed to zip by, which is both good and maybe not so good, as it didn’t seem like a good chunk of the show was really diving that deep into the matches.
The WWE Women’s Tag title match went as expected, including Reggie interfering and being just part of the reason Sasha & Bianca lost. I expected a bit more of a scuffle from Sasha and Bianca but it works that Sasha left with just disrespecting Bianca and slapping her eyelashes out of place. The next three weeks are going to really escalate things for Sasha VS Bianca. Big E VS Apollo was a great match, but that ending was really about preserving this feud so they can go again at Mania. It may not have been done as crisp as they wanted, but it was clearly about Big E just snatching a win. I feel like a disqualification ending would’ve been better, given the anger between these two.
If I’m not mistaken, “Joseph Average” was actually Eric Bugenhagen from NXT. I almost hope this is his call-up. The Old Spice Night Panther commercial turning into a WWE 24/7 Championship segment was very clever, and makes it one of the best produced WEW 24/7 Championship segments. Shane swapping out with Elias wasn’t the swap out I expected, but we all knew Shane wasn’t actually facing Braun yet. I just didn’t think Shane would have a “training injury” as the reason why. Of course, even in kayfabe, it could be a fake-out to delay things. I wonder if Braun will force Shane to compete against him at Mania, exposing the “injury” is just a cover.
From Rollins VS Nakamura on, we started getting some really good PPV stuff. Rollins VS Nakamura itself was a great match, and I was actually surprised we didn’t get anything of Cesaro or Murphy, but that was for the better. Rollins wins fair and square so perhaps all the better for him and Cesaro at Mania. The No Holds Barred, McIntyre VS Sheamus, was great and even had a great video package to set it up. Smashing up ThunderDome screens was not a spot I would’ve expected but that really added something. McIntyre wins to go strong towards Mania, but it’s going to be hard to determine who wins between Lashley VS McIntyre because they’re both going so strong right now.
Alexa VS Orton was perhaps exactly what it should’ve been. Alexa was using all her tricks, and then we got burned zombie Fiend busting up from the floor a la Kane, that was really wild stuff. While Firefly Fun House Match 2, the Orton Saga is a great concept, I almost want at least one match with burned, disgusting Fiend to see how that affects his fighting style, and just for more opponents to react to.
The Universal Championship match was a lot longer than I expected it would be, as it dominated the last hour, and Bryan had great character work the entire time. I’m just disappointed we had to again throw Jey in there, and even have one of those “OH NO! Hit the wrong person! And now that person will hit me back!” with Bryan and Edge. Edge shouting “THIS IS MINE!” like he was selfishly keeping this for himself was a good touch, though. If we end up with a Triple Threat like fans want/hope, that moment would at least make Edge a Tweener where Roman is Heel and Bryan is Face. There was also the fact Roman tapped, just without it being put on the win-loss record, so I’m thinking there’s a way to get us to that Triple Threat to make Mania even bigger.
My Score: 8.4/10
Andrew’s AJPW Champion Carnival Results & Match Ratings: 4.11.2021
Day 3 of the Champion Carnival had video on demand issues, so it wasn’t uploaded until the 12th. Hopefully Day 3 continues the positive momentum the first two days have already created!
Day 3 of the Champion Carnival had video on demand issues, so it wasn’t uploaded until the 12th. Hopefully Day 3 continues the positive momentum the first two days have already created!
Hard to say I wasn’t a little annoyed the VOD took so long to post, but better late than never; especially when the next event isn’t until the 17th.
Anyway though! Zeus looks to topple the current Triple Crown champion and continue his undefeated Carnival streak and Ashino has to do something to get off the bubble; but Kento is a big ask. We could be looking at a quick favorite to win as well as the walking dead.
Let’s hope nothing too drastic happens! Check it out!
- Jake Lee vs Koji Doi: Jake wins via D4C @8:10 – **
- Shuji Ishikawa vs Yuma Aoyagi: Ishikawa wins via Single Leg Cradle @11:13 – ***
- Kento Miyahara vs Shotaro Ashino: Ashino wins via Grapevine Ankle Lock @12:11 – *** ½
- Zeus vs Suwama: Zeus wins via Jackhammer @19:52 – *** ¾
Jake Lee vs Koji Doi
Total Eclipse inner faction fighting! Since Jake is the leader, he starts off in typical heel leader fashion telling Koji to lie down and eat the pin. Koji lies down; Jake drapes himself in a cocky cover, so Koji goes for the crucifix at the 2 count. Jake snaps up and he looks shocked that Koji went against an order, but then we get to a match.
Koji does a solid job keeping Jake off balance with power attacks, Shoulder Tackles and an interesting Football Tackle with the lift and slam. Jake eats a decent amount of offense, including a few short arm Lariats, before he starts stabilizing with Knee Lifts and Yakuza Kicks.
Lucky for Jake, even though Koji countered the D4C once, after Giant Killing, Koji wasn’t countering anything. Jake hits D4C and gets his second win of the tournament! Not a flashy match honestly felt a little silly at points with how quiet and echoed the arena made the match feel. Hopefully the setting doesn’t continue to plague the atmosphere of the matches.
Shuji Ishikawa vs Yuma Aoyagi
Now this was decent, though the hollow quiet atmosphere of venue is really detracting from the matches. Yuma was trying to find openings, but Shuji continued to run him over and abuse him with power early. And it was during these slower spots, the deafening silence of the venue made for weird watching.
Even though Shuji hit a Scoop Slam into the corner of the arpon, multiple Tsunamis and a flashing Scoop Fire/Thunder Driver, Yuma stayed resilient. Yuma nearly made the bigger man tap in End Game, but Shuji was able to find the ropes. Yuma hits an O’Connor Roll into the Japanese Leg Clutch, Shuji manages to get out of that, goes for a Tsunami, Yuma slides and tries to scoop Shuji for a Roll-Up, but at two Shuji manages to reverse the Roll-Up, grab a single leg and keep Yuma down for a three count!
Even though I have yet to be convinced by Yuma, the fact he got a finish that still made him look strong while putting up a good fight against a decorated opponent like Ishikawa; that says a lot about his potential rise on the card.
Kento Miyahara vs Shotaro Ashino
Ashino is in the unenviable position of last place after two days. With a 0-2 record, he really REALLY needs this…and he of course has Kento as his roadblock. They’ve traded wins in the past, and come off as rivals who don’t really like one another.
The match starts quick with Ashino shooting the half, grabbing a leg and searching for the Ankle Lock early. Kento fights out, but Kento is surprised and Ashino stays on him. Ashino pulls Kento to the ring post and wraps Kento’s left leg against the post a few times. Kento fires and Snake Eyes lands Ashino into the corner of the apron. This gives Kento plenty of time to walk off the early ankle damage and play into his cocky arrogance, all while messing with the referee and his opponent.
Whenever Ashino managed to get back in the ring, he was greeted by Blackouts to the front and back of his head. It wasn’t really until Kento went for the Shutdown Suplex, that Ashino hit a second wind. Both men trade German Suplexes, Ashino continues with a Deadlift Overhead suplex and he starts building momentum back.
He teases a German from the apron to the floor, but Kento blocks, fights off and Piledrives Ashino instead. Kento fires off Blackouts as Ashino once again barely beats the count out, but after landing his ninth Blackout of the fight, Ashino grabs the left leg, rolls through and goes for the Ankle Lock. Kento tries to fight off, but Ashino refuses to let go, readjusting, rolling through, pulling Kento back into the center away from the ropes; eventually dropping down into the Grapevine. Kento has no other option but to submit!
Ashino finally gets on the board, and Kento joins him in the 1-2 portion of the standings! I wonder how much the ankle will play into the rest of Kento’s carnival.
Zeus vs Suwama
Last year during Zeus’ carnival winning run, he had a match with Suwama which resulted in Suwama sustaining an arm injury. Thanks to this knowledge, and the sting of a failed challenge when Suwama recovered, Zeus came out attacking the arm and trying to replicate some of his success from last year.
The beauty in Zeus’ arm attacks, is not only were the Key Lock and Arm Bars effective to play on the old injury, they also inhibited Suwama from executing the Last Ride Powerbomb. Zeus’ attack really did great, as well as giving him the power advantage against someone who can usually match him in that department. Zeus lifted out of Boston Crabs, met Suwama head on with Biceps Explosions and even broke out the Frog Splash a few times.
In a nice reference, Suwama was able to fight out of the Arm Trap Facelock this time, but Zeus had too much of an advantage. Zeus peppered in Chokeslams, Lariats, another Frog Splash and eventually ended the match with an impactful Jackhammer. This was a solid struggle throughout, injured only by the awkward venue setting.
Who will be the first person to hang a Carnival loss on Zeus since 2019?
Overall Score: 6.75/10
While there wasn’t really a lot to complain about in terms of action, I really hated the venue. With the Japanese crowd rules of not being able to scream and having to just clap or stomp, it was very noticeably irritating in this event. Slower moments felt empty and stupid, almost back to the empty Quarantine times, which definitely impact smaller events and smaller companies.
Aside from that, we got a lot of really great finishes. Ashino finally getting on the scoreboard AND over Kento is great. Zeus continuing his streak from last year, Jake well…doing Jake things and Shuji looking strong as a current title holder should. Otani and Sato were missed a little today, but let’s check out the standings!
- Zeus: 3-0 – (6 Points)
- Shuji Ishikawa: 2-1 – (4 Points)
- Jake Lee: 2-1 – (4 Points)
- Shinjiro Otani: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Kohei Sato: 1-1 – (2 Points)
- Shotaro Ashino: 1-2 – (2 Points)
- Kento Miyahara: 1-2 – (2 Points)
- Suwama: 1-2 – (2 Points)
- Koji Doi: 1-2 – (2 Points)
- Yuma Aoyagi: 1-2 – (2 Points)
Lucha Central Weekly: NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver…DELIVERS! Plus Too Many AEW Factions, WWE WrestleMania Week, and more!
The world of Lucha Libre comes alive on the Lucha Central Weekly podcast, discussing Takeover, AEW Factions, and more!
The world of Lucha Libre comes alive on the Lucha Central Weekly podcast, discussing Takeover, AEW Factions, and more!
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Join Miranda Morales, Brendan Barr, and Dusty Murphy as they bring you another edition of Lucha Central Weekly–one just as action packed as lucha libre itself!
This week the trio discusses the abundance of factions on AEW, the week-long celebration that is WWE WrestleMania, and a look at NXT Takeover Stand & Deliver!
About Lucha Central Weekly
Your one-podcast stop for all of the week’s top stories from around the world of lucha libre and lucha libre around the world. Join hosts Miranda Morales, Brendan Barr, and Dusty Murphy along with special guests as they cover Lucha Libre AAA, CMLL, top Mexico indies as well as lucha related matches in WWE, Impact Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, Ring of Honor and beyond. Whether you are trying to dive deeper into the world of masked mayhem or you’ve been following for decades, you are going to find things here you won’t find on any other airwaves!
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Created in 2017, the Chairshot Radio Network presents you with the best in wrestling and wrestling crossover podcasts, including POD is WAR, Women’s Wrestling Talk, The #Miranda Show, Badlands’ Wrestling Mount Rushmores, The Outsider’s Edge, DWI Podcast, Bandwagon Nerds, the Greg DeMarco Show, 3 Man Weave, Five Rounds, The Hardy Wrestling Podcast, Turnbuckle Talk, The Reaction and more! You can find these great shows each week at theChairshot.com and through our distribution partners, including podcasting’s most popular platforms.
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