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Mitchell’s NJPW Sakura Genesis Results & Report! (4/4/21)

Will Will Ospreay conquer NJPW?

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NJPW Sakura Genesis 2021 coverage

Will Kota Ibushi stay NJPW’s first World Heavyweight Champion?

NJPW is entering a new era, where there is the ultimate IWGP World Heavyweight Champion! But will it be the Golden Star God or Commonwealth Kingpin that reigns supreme?

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.

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire & ???; The United Empire wins.
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi & Satoshi Kojima VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale; Tanahashi & Kojima win.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemura VS Roppongi 3K; RPG3K wins and become the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Will Ospreay; Ospreay wins and becomes new IWGP World Heavyweight Champion.

PLAY BY PLAY

Hiromu Takahashi is here?!

The Ticking Timebomb is here and fans are excited to hear from him! “Everyone! Good evening~!” Hiromu also says good evening to us watching at home. Hiromu wants us all to know that while he’s not ready to return to action, he is here to be on commentary, especially as Los Ingobernables de Japon takes on the United Empire. But who is this new “X” wrestler? Is it you? You? Or is it… Hiromu himself? Well the answer is, TRANQUILO~! Relax! Hiromu is also running down the card, saying RPG3K returns to take on Desperado and Kanemaru. Will Yoh prove he’s progressed? Or is there something deeper going on here? If Yoh’s not ready, then Despy will still have both Junior Heavyweight titles!

And then there’s the main event, Ibushi VS Ospreay, for THE IWGP World Heavyweight Championship! The New Japan Cup Winner proved his resolve by shockingly attacking his own girlfriend! Hiromu knew all along Ospreay is not a human but “dirty stinking cat!” But as everyone knows, Ibushi is a very unique human. The Ultimate God VS Filthy Stinking Cat, what a main event! But if everyone’s ready, let’s get things started! NJPW Sakura Genesis 2021, LET’S GO!

 

Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire & ???

Hiromu hyped up this showdown of Tetsuya Naito, Sanada and Shingo Takagi against Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan, and yet another mystery partner! But just who is their newest recruit? Khan and Cobb make their entrances first, and Khan is given the mic. “Are you that intrigued about who is the next member of the United Empire? Well all you peasants are about to find out. You’re so easily kept in the palm of our hands.” So tranquilo, assenayo! Khan mocking LIJ there as he says they are about to see just who has joined the Empire! It is… THE HAMMERHEAD, TOA HENARE!?!

But he is also Toa no longer! He is AARON Henare, and he is abandoning Taguchi Japan and Team HenarACE to become the “Ultimate Weapon” in Will Ospreay’s arsenal! Will this moment be remembered as when Henare turns his career around and conquers NJPW?

The second LIJ gets in the ring, the Empire strikes! Khan is after Naito, Cobb is after Shingo, and Henare is after Sanada! The bell rings to get this on record as Henare keeps Sanada in the ring while the others go outside. Henare clubs Sanada, whips him corner to corner, but Sanada gets around the boot to dropkick a leg out, then dropkick Henare down! Henare flounders to ropes, Sanada tags Naito and LIJ mugs Henare. Naito throws hands, Sanada digs his boot in, and they double whip corner to corner. Sanada runs in but is thrown up and over! Henare elbows Naito then gives him Snake Eyes to the buckles!

Henare KICKS Naito down, sees Shingo coming and boots him to then CLOBBER him! Henare scowls and looms over Naito. Fans rally up as Henare drags Naito up by his hair. Henare gets in Naito’s face, snapmares him then KICKS him! Henare stomps then CHOPS Naito down, then drags him up. Henare dead lift suplexes Naito! Cover, TWO! Henare bumps Naito off buckles, tags Cobb in, and Cobb headbutts Naito in the back. Cobb presses Naito into the buckles, throws elbows, but Naito kicks back. Naito’s kick is blocked into a scoop and Cobb goes around the world before he RAMS Naito into buckles! Cobb scoops Naito, holds him with just one arm, then throws knees into Naito’s side!

Cobb pops Naito up to RAM into the corner, then dumps him down to tag in Khan. Khan stalks Naito, toys with him then stomps him on the head. The fans rally up for Naito as Khan drags Naito up. Khan smothers Naito in a standing neck wrench, but Naito grabs at the hair! Khan pats Naito on the face before he drops an elbow! Cover, TWO! Khan mocks Naito’s relaxed pose, but fans rally up. Khan clamps onto Naito’s head and makes him kiss his boot. Naito fights up and fires off haymakers! Khan knees low, and hits Mongolian Chops! Naito wobbles, Khan runs but into the shotgun boot! Fans rally up and both men crawl, hot tag to Takagi!

The Dragon rallies on the Empire, throwing Henare into Cobb! Takagi double lariats but neither Henare or Cobb budges! Henare and Cobb double kick and double whip, but Takagi gets around to send Henare into Cobb again! Henare kicks Takagi first but Takagi suplexes Henare! Khan boots but runs into an elbow, JAB and YUKON LARIAT! Fans fire up for Takagi and he fires up with “OI! OI! OI!” Khan flounders about, Takagi runs in at the corner, blocks the boot to clothesline! Takagi runs but into a BIG hip toss! Khan tags Cobb, Cobb drags Takagi up but Takagi fires forearms! Cobb forearms back, but Takagi hits back! They brawl with forearms and fans rally as they get faster and faster!

Takagi hits some boxing elbows, dares Cobb to do something, so Cobb JABS him! Takagi JABS back! Both men wobble a bit, Takagi gets moving, but Cobb elbows! JABS, but Takagi ducks the lariat! Cobb fights but Takagi uses the ropes and gets the SNAP SAIDO! Tag to Sanada, and he throws forearms on Cobb. Sanada whips, Cobb reverses but Sanada elbows back! Sanada Quebrada but Cobb gets under, and even blocks the rana! Sanada fights the bomb, gets around, but Cobb fights the dragon sleeper to a POP-UP POWERSLAM!? Both men are down and fans fire up! Henare tags in and he PENALTY KICKS Cold Skull down!

Henare digs his boots into Sanada at ropes but lets off as the ref counts. Henare drags Sanada up to throw heavy hands, then whips Sanada, only for Sanada to duck and dodge! Henare still scoops Sanada for a BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Cobb runs to BLAST the LIJ corner, and Khan comes in. The Empire double whip Sanada corner to corner, then Khan clotheslines, Cobb back elbows, and they feed Sanada to Henare’s BOOT! Cover, Takagi breaks it! Cobb throws Takagi out but fans rally up, “SA-NA-DA!” Henare drags Sanada up, fisherman to the torture rack, but Sanada slips out to dragon sleeper! Khan gets in and BOOTS Sanada!

Naito elbows and whips but Khan reverses, only for Naito to reverse back. Khan denies the tornado DDT, Naito dodges but Khan hits the leaping forearms! Takagi is back, Khan kicks him but runs, only for Takagi to clothesline him! Takagi keeps going but Cobb scoops him for the ATHLETIC PLEX! Sanada dropkicks Cobb, Henare kicks and whips Sanda! Sanada tumbles up and out and springboards, into the TOUR OF THE ISLANDS! Henare tops this off with the fisherman to the torture rack, DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Cover, the United Empire wins!!

Winners: The United Empire, by pinfall

The Ultimate Weapon already pays off! And to show he is all in, he rains down more fists on Sanada! Takagi gets in to fight Henare and Cobb off, but they mug him and DOUBLE HEADBUTT! Khan throws Naito around on the outside, then puts him in the ring. Henare and Cobb stretch Naito out, and Khan gets a chair! Khan aims at Naito’s bad leg, and SMACKS away on it! Takagi gets up but Khan shoves him back down and stomps him! The Empire stands together, and mockingly asks where is the ref to raise their hand for victory! The ref does as told, and the Empire stands over the Ungovernable.

Khan tells that all the peasants shall bow down before the power of Cobb, Henare, Khan and The United Empire! Is this just the beginning of their world dominance?

 

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Satoshi Kojima VS Jay White & Bad Luck Fale!

Well, perhaps it makes even more sense as to why The Ace has a different partner tonight. No Hammerhead, no Golden Star, but can the COZY Aces be what trumps King Switch and his Rogue General? Or will White be rolling into a NEVER Openweight Championship match with the Once in a Century Talent?

White talks trash at Tanahashi the entire time Tanahashi does his entrance routine. Bullet Club Low Sweets, Tanahashi shows off the muscles but Gedo boos. White shows off his muscles and Gedo cheers. Fans cheer either way, enjoying the display of physical specimens. The teams sort out, fans rally for “Let’s Go, Ace!” already and White starts with Tanahashi. Fans fire up, White and Tanahashi circle, and they tie up. Tanahashi gets around, headlocks, grinds White down, but White fights up, only for Tanahashi to hold tight. White tries again but Tanahashi still holds tight. White pulls hair, the ref reprimands but now Tanahashi pulls hair!

The ref reprimands as both men pull hair but White puts Tanahashi in a corner. White knees low, stomps away, but then argues with the ref. White drags Tanahashi up to throw a forearm then whip corner to corner. Tanahashi elbows back and crossbodies! Fans fire up and Tanahashi air guitars. Tag to Kojima and he stomps away on White. Tanahashi and Kojima bring White up to double whip then double shoulder him down! Double dancing pecs wow the crowd, then Kojima DECKS Fale! Fans fire up as Kojima unleashes machine gun CHOPS on White! White endures extra rounds and then Kojima CHOPS! Kojima whips corner to corner, forearm smashes, and goes up top!

But Fale distracts the ref and Gedo anchors Kojima! White gets up and ROCKET LAUNCHES Kojima off the top! White DECKS Tanahashi then slides out to stomp him down! Fale drags Kojima out to RAM him into railing! White whips Tanahashi into railing! White goes into the ring, Fale is after Kojima again and puts him in. White drags Kojima up, bumps him off buckles, then CHOPS him! White does his best to machine gun CHOP! Then he just rakes Kojima’s eyes! The ref counts, White stops at 3, then hits a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Tag to Fale, they mug Kojima, and Fale CLUBS Kojima on the back. Fale DECKS Tanahashi, then stomps Kojima.

Fale drags Kojima up to scoop and SLAM him! Fale keeps Kojima at the ropes, White distracts the ref, and Fale stands on Kojima’s back! Gedo applauds as Fale gets away with it. Tag to White, they drag Kojima up, White DECKS Tanahashi again! Bullet Club mugs Kojima with the machine gun CHOPS! White runs, but into Kojima’s boot! Kojima elbows free and gets Fale for a DDT! Kojima reaches out but Tanahashi is still down! White keeps Kojima away with a fireman’s carry but Kojima fights free! Kojima swats White’s lariat away to then hit the COZY CUTTER! Both men are down, fans fire up, and Kojima crawls! Hot tag to Tanahashi! The Ace unleashes on White!

Tanahsahi also dropkicks Fale down, then dodges White to run and hit a flying forearm! Tanahashi scoops and slams White to a drop zone then hops up, for the sunset somersault! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi keeps his focus and fans rally again, “Let’s Go, Ace!” White stands, Tanahashi runs, but White avoids Slingblade to waistlock. Tanahashi switches, White switches back, again and again and again until White pulls hair! Tanahashi breaks free but White trips him to then GROUND DRAGON SCREW! Tanahashi writhes and rolls to a corner while fans rally up again. White gets up, runs in and uppercuts! White brings Tanahashi out for the BLADEBUSTER! Cover, TWO!

White is annoyed but he looms over Tanahashi. White stomps Tanahashi’s legs, left then right then back again, then ties the legs up! White wants to use the Cloverleaf like Tanahashi does! Tanahashi resists the turnover, drags White down and kicks him away! White storms back over but kicks into a DRAGON SCREW! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Tanahashi crawls for his corner but White hurries to DECK Kojima first! White tags Fale, Fale corner splashes Tanahashi then pushes him down to drop the elbow! Cover, TWO! Fale grows annoyed but he choke grips Tanahashi. Tanahashi breaks free, SHOTEIS, but runs into a LARIAT!

Fale drags Tanahashi up, reels him in but Kojima attacks from behind! White gets in and thrwos Kojima by his hair! White gets Tanahashi but Tanahashi denies Blade Runner to SLINGBLADE! But Fale choke grips, only for Tanahashi to pop free and TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Kojima powers up and takes off the armband! COZY LARIAT! Tanahashi goes up top, for a HIGH FLY FLOW!! Cover, Tanahashi & Kojima win!

Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Satoshi Kojima, by pinfall

White rushes in but Tanahashi trips him up! Tanahashi gets the legs, and gets White in the CLOVERLEAF! White flails and Gedo freaks out, and White TAPS! White taps out, Tanahashi lets him go, but this isn’t the end but the beginning! Will Tanahashi make sure White taps out again when the gold is on the prize?

Oh but wait! Tanahashi gets a mic to tell White something directly! “Jay! I accept your challenge! Because you tapped out to my Texas Clover Hold! AKA, J T O!” Tanahashi not only adds insult to injury, but he mocks White’s love of acronyms! Will he look to just add injury when they finally fight for the NEVER title?

 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemura VS Roppongi 3K!

Yoh has returned! And as such, he and Sho reunite as RPG3K and look to take these titles back! But will they be able to defeat Mr. Junior Heavyweight and the Heel Master?

The introductions are made, the Junior Tag belts are raised, and the teams sort out. Yoh starts against Desperado to show he’s truly back!

Fans rally as the two circle, then Yoh and Desperado approach. They feel out the grapple, Yoh shoots in to get a leg, but Desperado blocks the takedown. Desperado gets a waistlock, Yoh switches but Desperado turns around. Yoh slips through to wrench to a wristlock, but Desperado rolls and wrenches back. Desperado cranks the wristlock, but Yoh rolls and handsprings and cartwheels and handsprings more to wrench right back! Fans cheer the exchange as Yoh hammerlocks. Desperado drops to drop toehold and then get a headlock. Desperado grinds Yoh but fans rally up. Yoh fights up, pulls on the mask but Red Shoes reprimands.

Yoh throws body shots, powers out, then reels Desperado in to headlock back! Desperado tries to power out but Yoh holds tight! Yoh grinds Desperado down now, Desperado fights up, and Yoh hits a headlock takeover. Desperado headscissors and holds tight so that Yoh can’t kip up. Fans rally as Yoh endures, and Yoh moves around to headstand and pop free with a handspring! Fans cheer as Yoh’s leg is just fine. Yoh smirks at Desperado, but Desperado rakes eyes! Desperado whips, Yoh dodges and hits a forearm! Yoh DECKS Kanemaru, Sho gets in, and RPG3K double whip Desperado. They bypass him to then drop toehold and basement dropkick! Kanemaru gets in to get double dropkicks!

Fans fire up as RPG3K finally gets to do team moves! Yoh stomps Desperado, then drags him over. Tag to Sho, they dig their boots in and stomp away, but let off as Red Shoes counts. Sho stomps Desperado, but Desperado goes to scoop! Sho fights that off, CLUBS Desperado on the back, then throws forearms! Sho scoops and slams Desperado, then covers, ONE! Sho drags Desperado up, fans rally, and Sho bumps Desperado off buckles. Tag to Yoh and Yoh throws big forearms! Desperado flounders to a corner, Yoh throws a EuroUpper, then wrenches and whips. Desperado reverses, runs in but blocks Yoh’s boot. Desperado kicks the healed leg! Desperado then gets that leg for a DRAGON SCREW!

Kanemaru DECKS Sho while Desperado drags Yoh around by the bad leg! STRETCH MUFFLER! Desperado bends and thrashes Yoh, but Yoh fights up! Fans rally, Yoh reaches out, but Desperado gets the arm, NUMERO DOS! Sho throws Kanemaru into railing then gets in to stomp Desperado down! Red Shoes has Sho exit, and fans rally for Yoh as he crawls over with one good leg. Yoh tags Sho, Sho aims from a corner and runs to run Desperado over! Sho DECKS Kanemaru in return, then wrenches Desperado to kick, kick and KICK! Sho powers up and kicks but Desperado blocks! Desperado spins Sho to waistlock but Sho breaks free. Sho KICKS Desperado back down, covers, TWO!

Fans rally as Sho keeps his focus. Desperado slowly gets up, Sho wrenches to elbow breaker after elbow breaker! Sho runs, but Desperado uses the good arm to lift, only for Sho to fight off the spinebuster! Sho whips, Desperado reverses and Kanemaru trips Sho! Kanemaru drags Sho out and whips him into railing, then Desperado does the same to Yoh! Kanemaru hits a snap suplex to the floor! Sho writhes and rolls away while Desperado stands on Yoh’s bad leg! Desperado stomps Yoh’s leg, then talks trash before he stomps it again! Kanemaru whips Sho HARD into more railing! Red Shoes starts the ring count, Desperado goes in to take Kanemaru, but the count is now 10 of 20.

The count reaches 15, Sho drags himself up and in at 18! Kanemaru drags Sho back up, whips him and then hits a BIG back drop! Kanemaru goes out just to kick and stomp Yoh! Kanemaru returns to the ring and drags Sho up for a big suplex! Cover, TWO! Tag to Desperado, and Desperado steps on Sho as he walks over to taunt Yoh. Desperado stomps Sho, then stands on his hand! Red Shoes reprimands, Desperado steps away, but he drags Sho back up to whip. Sho reverses and kitchen sink knees Desperado down! Fans fire up as both men are down, but Kanemaru gets in to stomp Sho and BOOT Yoh! Desperado gets up and stomps away on Sho at the ropes.

Fans rally again, Desperado drags Sho around then gives him stomps. Desperado feeds Sho to Kanemaru’s boots, then tags Kanemaru in. Kanemaru stomps Sho, Desperado adds on, but Sho just gets angry! Suzuki-Gun slaps Sho around but Sho fires off forearms! Desperado rakes Sho’s eyes to stop him! Suzuki-Gun double whips Sho but Sho comes back to DOUBLE SPEAR! Fans are thunderous for Sho as he reaches for his corner. Sho crawls over, hot tag to Yoh! Yoh rallies on Suzuki-Gun with forearms and elbows! Kanemaru gets a waistlock but Yoh boots Desperado, elbows Kanemaru, throws Kanemaru into Desperado, then dropkicks them both down!

Fans fire up again as Yoh brings Kanemaru up. Yoh whips corner to corner, runs in corner to corner, and back elbows! Yoh turns Kanemaru for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO! Yoh keeps his focus and gets his bad leg moving again. Fans rally up, Yoh brings Kanemaru up, and Yoh brings him in for AOI- No! Kanemaru fights out of the modified fisherman, suplexes back, but Yoh slips out, only to jam his bad leg! Kanemaru dropkicks the leg out! Yoh writhes, gets to the ropes, and Red Shoes checks on him. Desperado gets in, drags Yoh up and gives him a SHIN BREAKER, to then set it up for Kanemaru’s SHOTGUN dropkick! Kanemaru steps through to the FIGURE FOUR!

Yoh endures the leg lock and Kanemaru puts as much pressure on it as he can! Fans rally, Sho gets in again and stomps Kanemaru! But Desperado drags Sho out to throw him into railing! Kanemaru still has Yoh caught, but Yoh flails and reaches! Yoh drags himself and Kanemaru over, but Kanemaru adds even more pressure! Yoh flails, hops around, and gets the ropebreak! Kanemaru lets go and fans fire up again! Kanemaru drags Yoh up, scoops and slams him into a drop zone, then goes up top, to MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!! Yoh survives and fans fire up again! Kanemaru climbs up again but Sho RAMS Desperado into railing!

Kanemaru waits for Yoh, then leaps, DEEP IMPACT!! Cover, Sho breaks it in time! Desperado drags Sho back out and whips him into railing! Kanemaru gets Yoh’s leg to SMASH it against the mat! Kanemaru steps through but Yoh cradle counters, TWO! Kanemaru stomps Yoh, drags him up to suplex but Yoh fights free! Kanemaru kicks the leg, Yoh blocks but Kanemaru rakes eyes! Kanemaru boots, Yoh PELES! Desperado returns, runs in and SPEARS Yoh! Sho gets in, and GERMAN SUPLEXES Desperado! Sho runs but into a SPINEBUSTER! All four men are down and fans are thunderous! Kanemaru gets to a corner, aims at Yoh, but slides under Yoh’s boot counter attack!

Yoh superkicks but Kanemaru blocks it, then kicks the bad leg. Kanemaru clubs and kicks Yoh, Yoh staggers around, and Kanemaru runs, into a RPG3K DOUBLE KNEE! Sho gets Kanemaru up, coordinates with Yoh, BACKSTABBER to SHOTGUN BOOT! Fans fire up and Yoh stomps it! It’s been so long since we’ve seen this! RPG3K watches Kanemaru, but Desperado gets in! Desperado DECKS Yoh, but Sho throws hands! Sho and Desperado brawl, Sho gets boxing elbows but Desperado rakes eyes! Desperado whips but Sho reverses to redirect, Yoh gets back up, and they hit 3K!! But Desperado isn’t legal, they have to get Kanemaru! Fans fire up, Yoh whips Sho at Kanemaru to clothesline!

Sho sets up, Yoh uses him for the boost, YOH IN MOTION! Yoh feeds Kanemaru to Sho’s underhooks, and Yoh goes up top! But Kanemaru gets out and whips Sho into Yoh! Kanemaru throws Sho out while Yoh is down on the top rope! Fans rally, Kanemaru climbs up to join Yoh, and hits a SUPERPLEX! Kanemaru crawls to the cover, TWO!! Yoh still lives, as does RPG3K! Fans rally again as Kanemaru climbs back up. Kanemaru wants Yoh to get back up just so he can put him back down. Yoh stands, and SUPERKICKS Deep Impact away! Sho is in and he LARIATS Kanemaru! Sho shouts to Yoh that they can finish this!

Yoh climbs, Sho tucks Kanemaru in, STRONG X!!! Cover, Desperado breaks it in time!! Desperado saves Kanemaru then elbows Sho. Sho drags Desperado out with him and Yoh fires up! Fans fire up with Yoh as he drags Kanemaru back up and underhooks! DIRECT DRIVE with a twist!! Cover, RPG3K WINS!!

Winners: Roppongi 3K, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)

Yoh’s return is a return to glory for the team! Desperado’s time as Mr. Junior Heavyweight ends, will he and Kanemaru be able to climb back up for a rematch? As Yoh talks to Desperado, Desperado says he’s still THE IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, but then Yoh says he might change that, too! Will RPG3K look to be even more golden in the Spring?

Oh, now Yoh wants to talk! “If it wasn’t for all of you supporting me, I wouldn’t have been able to return to this ring.” You says as a new him and a new RPG3K, they have taken THEIR titles back! Next, Yoh wants to take THE IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Desperado!! He really does want to shine brighter! Will Yoh get his wish as the year starts to heat up?

 

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Kota Ibushi VS Will Ospreay!

The Golden Star God combined the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental titles into one, and oddly enough, the only man who agreed with him is his opponent! But after the Commonwealth Kingpin cut ties with Bea Priestley with a cutter, he is clearly going down a dark path. Can Ibushi keep this title with him to continue the evolution of legacy? Or will Ospreay and the United Empire conquer NJPW?

The introductions are made, the newly minted world title belt is raised, and we see if NJPW walks in the light or turns to the darkside!

Fans rally already with “I-BU-SHI!” as he and Ospreay stare down. Both men let the moment sink in before they circle. They approach, feel out the grapple, and Ibushi goes for a leg only for Ospreay to get a waistlock. They go around, Ibushi shifts to drop toehold and then waistlock back. Ibushi floats, Ospreay rolls to facelock but Ibushi switches right back to the waistlock. Ibushi wants the half nelson but Ospreay resists. Ospreay uses a sprawl to break free and switch to a waistlock and slam! Ospreay wants the lateral press but Ibushi resists. They fight for control as Ospreay gets through a leg guard. Ospreay still wants the lateral but Ibushi slips out to a facelock!

Ospreay gets a ropebreak, Ibushi lets off with some pats on the back and the fans cheer the technical exchange. Ospreay and Ibushi reset as the United Empire, Henare included, watch ringside. Ibushi and Ospreay circle again, Ospreay rushes in but Ibushi stays up. They go around, Ibushi gets around to a waistlock and then floats to flip Ospreay. Ospreay kicks out before a cover, and fans cheer this exchange. Ibushi stays loose and fans rally up again. Ospreay also stays cool as he and Ibushi circle again. They feel out the grapple, Ospreay facelocks, goes for the arm, but Ibushi slips out the back to get a facelock. Ibushi goes to underhooks but Ospreay slips free.

Ibushi waistlocks again, but Ospreay gets an arm and wrenches to a hammerlock. Fans rally, Ibushi works on his escape, and reaches back to headlock. Ospreay endures the grind, powers up, but can’t power out as Ibushi holds tight! Fans cheer, Ospreay fights up, and pulls hair to get free! Ospreay headlocks now, Ibushi endures the grind, and Ibushi powers out only for Ospreay to run him over. Ibushi kips right up, and Ospreay SLAPS him! Ospreay headlocks, Ibushi powers out and things speed up, Ibushi RANAS Ospreay out of the ring! Fans fire up as Ibushi aims and PLANCHAS! Direct hit and Ibushi is right by his world title and Ospreay’s New Japan Cup trophy.

Ibushi brings Ospreay up and into the ring, follows him to a corner, and CLUBS him on the bad shoulder. Ibushi brings Ospreay up to club him again, then pats the bad shoulder. Ospreay throws a forearm so Ibushi fires one back! Ibushi dares Ospreay to get up, then he gets the bad arm. Ibushi elbows the shoulder and Ospreay hurries away to ropes. Ibushi KICKS Ospreay in the back, then whips him, only for Ospreay to hold ropes. Fans rally up, Ibushi tries again but still Ospreay holds ropes. Ibushi fires off strikes, whips but Ospreay reverses to lift and crotch Ibushi on the ropes! #DirtySupper(?)! Ospreay runs and BOOTS Ibushi off the ropes and to the floor!

Fans fire up as Ospreay clings like Spider-Man in the ropes. Ospreay goes out to get Ibushi, drags him up and whips him into railing! Ospreay then drags Ibushi up to RAM him into the railing, and bend him back against them! Red Shoes reprimands, Ospreay lets off, and Ospreay shrugs. Ibushi eggs Ospreay on and Ospreay kicks him down. Fans rally up and Ibushi fires off on Ospreay, to then whip Ospreay into railing! Ibushi gets up, kicks but Ospreay blocks it! Ospreay gets Ibushi up for a RAILING BACK SUPLEX! Ospreay gets in the ring, and wants a count out!? Red Shoes starts the count, Ibushi gets up and in at 10 of 20. Ospreay is after Ibushi and throws him back outside.

Ibushi is against railing as Ospreay throws forearm son him over and over! Ospreay drags Ibushi up and puts him on the apron, to CLUB away on his back! Ospreay climbs up for a GUILLOTINE KNEE DROP! Ibushi flops down and Ospreay glares at him as fans rally again. Ospreay goes back in and wants another ring count. The count begins, Ibushi is up at 5 and in at 8. Ospreay storms over as fans cheer and Ospreay stomps Ibushi down. Ospreay whips Ibushi corner to corner HARD and Ibushi bounces off buckles! Cover, TWO! Ospreay is annoyed but Ibushi kicks him from below. Ospreay eggs him on so Ibushi kicks again.

Ospreay CHOPS Ibushi while he’s down, then drags him back up for an elbow to the back! Ospreay drags Ibushi up, brings him around, and whips him to ropes to back elbow! Cover, ONE!! Fans rally but Ospreay wraps Ibushi up in a neck lock! Ospreay pushes up to add leverage, but Ibushi endures. Ibushi moves around, kicks his legs and gets the ropebreak! Ospreay turns over to twist Ibushi’s head, but lets off as Red Shoes counts 4. Fans still rally for Ibushi but Ospreay drags Ibushi up for a cravat neck wrench. Ibushi endures as Ospreay grinds him down, and fans rally with Ibushi. Ibushi throws body shots but Ospreay scoops and SLAMS him!

Ospreay runs to drop another knee, but misses as Ibushi moves! Ibushi KICKS the leg, Ospreay throws a forearm then runs, but into a dropkick! Both men are down and Ospreay is checking his healed nose. Fans fire up, Ospreay and Ibushi rise, and Ibushi fires off forearms. Ibushi whips, Ospreay reverses but Ibushi FLYING KICKS! Fans fire up as Ibushi builds power, and STANDING MOONSAULTS! Cover, TWO! Ibushi wags his finger, but Ospreay gets to a corner. Ibushi runs in but Ospreay dodges and comes back, only for Ibushi to roll him up, all the way to a DEADLIFT CROTCH SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Fans are thunderous as Ibushi and Ospreay rise.

Ospreay fires off forearms and a CHOP, but Ibushi KICKS! Ospreay sputters and leans against ropes, but Ibushi whips him to ropes. Ospreay handsprings to NEURALIZER! Both men are down again and fans rally back up! Ibushi goes to a corner, Ospreay runs in and uppercuts! Ospreay puts Ibushi up top backwards, then into the Tree of Woe for a KICK! Ospreay goes corner to corner to HESITATION DROPKICK! Ibushi is still in the Tree but he drags himself out of it. Fans rally, Ospreay aims from the apron and springboards, PIP PIP CHEERIO! Cover, TWO!! Ibushi narrowly escapes that one, but Ospreay keeps his focus.

Ospreay drags Ibushi up, turns him around to a dragon sleeper, but Ibushi fights free. Ospreay still ROCKS Ibushi with a right! Ibushi staggers, Ospreay dragon sleepers and inverted suplexes, but Ibushi KNEES free! Ospreay panics and checks his damaged nose! Ibushi just smirks. Red Shoes checks but Ospreay’s nose isn’t bleeding. Ibushi storms over, brings Ospreay up but Ospreay hits a HARD body shot with that forearm! Ospreay reels Ibushi in, but Ibushi slips out of the bomb lift, only for Ospreay to block the kick, elbow the leg and CHOP back! Ibushi swings into a full nelson but elbows free. Ibushi runs into an enziguri, but LARIATS outta nowhere!

Both men are down and fans fire up yet again! Ibushi slowly sits up while Ospreay starts to stir. Ibushi drags Ospreay up, reels him in, LAST RIDE! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay survives but Ibushi keeps his focus. Fans rally hard as ever for “I-BU-SHI!” and he gets the wrists. Ospreay resists so Ibushi stomps him. Ibushi sits Ospreay up but Ospreay HEADBUTTS low! Both men are down again, fans rally up once more, and the two glare at each other. Ibushi and Ospreay go forehead to forehead on the mat, then start throwing forearms. Ibushi eggs Ospreay on with a grin, but Ospreay forearms back! Ibushi shakes his head and ROCKS Ospreay with another!

Ospreay seethes as Ibushi eggs him on, and he gives a swift forearm. Ibushi stands up and leans into the forearm he gives Ospreay! Ospreay gets up now, and returns the forearm again. Ibushi forearms, Ospreay forearms, back and forth, faster and faster, and the fans are thunderous again! Ospreay ROCKS Ibushi, BOOTS him, then runs to BOOT again! Ibushi stays up so Ospreay gives him Kowata Kicks! Ibushi just stares at him! Has the switch flipped to Kowai Ibushi?! Ospreay slaps Ibushi around, then pie faces him. Ibushi just fires off, but Ospreay dodges to ROLLING ELBOW! Ospreay dragon sleepers, inverted suplex, SAVING GRACE! Cover, TWO!! Ospreay can’t believe that Ibushi is still in this!

Ospreay gets Ibushi to a drop zone, climbs the corner to the top rope, but Ibushi sits up. Ibushi anchors Ospreay’s feet, Ospreay rains down fists, but Ibushi hits a body shot of his own! Ibushi climbs up, brings Ospreay to the top but Ospreay fights back. Ospreay shoves Ibushi aside, Ibushi has a bit of a rough landing on the apron, but Ibushi gets back up to CHOP Ospreay! Ibushi then springboards but Ospreay denies the Super Steiner! Ibushi is stuck on the rope, Ospreay GUILLOTINE SHOOTING STARS!! Ospreay puts Ibushi back in the drop zone and goes back up, to SHOOTING STAR AGAIN!! Cover, TWO!?!? Ibushi survives and everyone is shocked!

Ospreay takes off the elbow pad! Ospreay stands Ibushi up, turns, but Ibushi clubs Ospreay away! Ospreay fireman’s carries but Ibushi fights that off. Ospreay CHOPS, whips, but Ibushi reverses. Ospreay handsprings, but Ibushi catches him! Ibushi steadies himself, gets Ospreay back up, but he can’t hold him! Ibushi’s back and legs are too tired, but fans fire up and rally for him! Ospreay rolls away, Ibushi crawls after, and hoists Ospreay to the top rope backwards. Ibushi climbs up behind Ospreay, Ospreay resists so Ibushi CLUBS away on his back! Ibushi stands Ospreay up for a SUPER POISON-RA-

OSPREAY LANDS ON HIS FEET?! Ospreay recreates the shocking moment from the last time these two fought! At this point, Ibushi is annoyed of Ospreay doing this to him. Ospreay dares Ibushi to bring it, and then fireman’s carries! But Ibushi pops out to POISON-RANA after all! Ospreay tumbles out of the ring and to the floor! Fans are thunderous as Red Shoes starts the ring count. The count reaches 10 of 20 before Ospreay sits up. The count reaches 15, Ospreay is on the apron and Ibushi ROUNDHOUSES him down! Ibushi drags Ospreay up in a waistlock, and DEADLIFT SUPER GERMANS!! Ospreay crumbles from the impact and Ibushi covers, TWO!!

Ibushi doesn’t let that bother him, he gets fired up as the fans rally again. Ibushi aims from a corner, calling upon the powers of Nakamura, but runs into a SPANISH FLY! Ospreay pulls that outta nowhere to save himself, and now he’s fired up! Ospreay calls his shot as Ibushi rises, and he springboards, but the cutter is denied! Ibushi goes to roundhouse, Ospreay dodges and OSCUTTERS on the return! Cover, TWO!!?! Ospreay is shocked but he still has another weapon to use! Ospreay drags Ibushi up, turns him, DREAM SMASHER ELBOW!! Ospreay isn’t done there, he drags Ibushi up to underhook and lift, to STORM-

NO! Ibushi slips out and spins Ospreay, STANDING KAMI-GOYE?! Then PROPER KAMI-GOYE!! Cover, TWO?!?!?! What?!?! HOW?!! Ospreay survives a double shot!? The fans are electric as Ibushi vows the next one will do it! But Ospreay cradle counters! TWO!!! Ospreay SUPERKICKS! Then he dodges the V-Trigger to HOOK KICK! Then from the corner, Ospreay runs to V-TRIGGER?!?! Ospreay just stole that from the Golden Lovers!! And then HIDDEN BLADE!!! Ospreay is as fired up as the fans as he underhooks to STORMBREAKER!!!! Cover, OSPREAY WINS!!!!

Winner: Will Ospreay, by pinfall (NEW IWGP World Heavyweight Champion)

No one can believe it but no one can contain their excitement, either! The banner Ibushi created, the legacy Ibushi evolved, and the era Ibushi created for NJPW is now all being carried on the shoulders of another!! The United Empire celebrates together, and Cobb even gets in Ibushi’s face while he’s down on the mat! Cobb stands Ibushi up, reels him in, and gives him a TOUR OF THE ISLANDS!! As if Ibushi isn’t suffering enough! And the Empire laughs at Ibushi’s pain.

Cobb makes Ibushi sit up again and makes sure he understands this is what Ibushi deserves. Cobb then helps Ospreay stand and Red Shoes places the title on Ospreay’s shoulder, and then Ospreay holds it high overhead. Ospreay is now Two Belts Kingpin as he adds his Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship, and then his NJCUP trophy! Ospreay is already shouting, “Who is the best wrestler in the world? Tell us now!” He even adds that NJPW’s “god” is DEAD! Do all of these prizes together truly make Ospreay the best in the world today?

Young Lions get Ibushi out of the ring carefully, and Ospreay gets impatient. Ospreay wants to give his celebration speech. “Bye-bye, god! Sayonara, mata-ne, good-bye, get out.” This is OSPREAY’S time now. Ibushi crawls as he laments his loss, and Khan even tells him to “get the hell out of here.” Ospreay says look at Ibushi! He can barely stand! Look at what Ospreay, a mere man, did to Ibushi, a “god!” Ospreay says he’s been listening to the doubters and the mockery all his life. “The little British boy can’t be a pro-wrestler.” He can’t be a big star in Japan! He can’t win the Best of the Super Juniors. Oh, but he did that twice!

“The British boy” can’t win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but he’s done that three times! And there was still laughter and doubting! “The British boy” can’t be IWGP World Heavyweight Champion? “Who is laughing now?!” Ospreay continues to say that five years to the day, he has been with NJPW, and debuted here in this very arena, Ryogoku! Ospreay’s done a lot of bad things, he’ll admit. He’s not the good guy. “But honestly, from the bottom of my heart, I want to take this time to apologize TO ABSOLUTELY NO ONE!” The United Empire does what they want, because they have the power!

But the story isn’t complete yet. “You should’ve killed me when you had the chance, because now I’m back for revenge for what happened at WrestleKingdom, OKADA!!” Ospreay calls out the Rainmaker!! And here comes Okada! Fans cheer as Okada walks to the ring to respond face-to-face. Okada drums on the mic to get the fans even more fired up, but wait! TAKAGI returns?! Takagi takes the mic from Okada and says he wants to say something real quick. And Ospreay, you shut up. “Oi, aren’t you getting a little too carried away?” Ospreay thinks he’s king now? And he wants revenge on Okada for Tokyo Dome? IDIOT, no one even remembers that!

Takagi says everyone DOES remember Takagi beating Okada in the FIRST round of the NJCUP! So if Okada deserves a title shot, then so does Takagi, the NJCUP runner-up! Heck, isn’t he even MORE deserving? Takagi then tells Ospreay in English that he will challenge Ospreay for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship! But don’t worry, Okada. After Takagi beats “this punk” Ospreay, he’ll make Okada his first defense! No complaints there, right? And that’s all Takagi has to say about that. Mic drop from the Dragon, but is he really going to jump the line? Will Okada have his turn on the mic now? Does he have to, since Takagi’s promising him a match anyway?

Okada isn’t sure if he should reach for the mic, but Takagi and Ospreay give him the space. Okada gets the mic, and hands it to Ospreay? Okada isn’t going to say anything, he wants Ospreay to respond! Ospreay snatches the mic back and says, “First, Shingo. Then I’m coming for you,” Okada. So there you have it! If Ospreay can sweep Takagi 3-0 in their careers, he’ll get his revenge on Okada. And even if Takagi avenges BOSJ and NJCUP, Okada will get his chance. Okada leaves without a word, satisfied with the order of things. Takagi then leaves, having gotten his own answer.

The United Empire stands tall, and Khan says, “Although we were rudely interrupted, here begins the Era of the Empire!” They offer amnesty for only tonight! Raise your hands high and hail the Kingpin, Will Ospreay! Fans do cheer, and Khan demands more and more! NJPW doesn’t need to know more than what is here in this ring. But Khan will explain it to you anyway. “This is the power of Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan and THE IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Will Ospreay! This is the power of THE UNITED EMPIRE!!” The confetti falls, as does the curtain on what could be just Act I of the United Empire’s epic! Will all of NJPW bow down to their might?


My Thoughts:

An amazing event! Great developments from top to bottom, and honestly, I thought Henare was going to join Bullet Club. But y’know what? Him joining the United Empire is even better for everyone because the Empire does need to grow in members and he is definitely a great choice. Their Six Man Tag with LIJ was really good and of course in Henare’s first match with the Empire, they win and he gets the credit. With four members, they can definitely grab up whatever titles they want as a team, from the NEVER Openweight Six Man to the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Teams.

Tanahashi & Kojima VS White & Fale was really good, and I like that Tanahashi & Kojima won. I honestly thought we were already getting Tanahashi VS White for the NEVER Openweight Championship, but having the challenge be officially accepted here was great. I was pleasantly surprised that RPG3K got their titles back already. I really expected them to lose to have a long road back, but perhaps this is a great way for them to start where they left off last year when Yoh got hurt and the titles were vacated. At the same time, Yoh wants the Junior Heavyweight singles title, so that’ll be an interesting dynamic, as well.

The IWGP World Heavyweight Championship in itself may look very odd, but that doesn’t really matter when this first defense of it was so outstanding! There were great story beats referencing the other times Ospreay and Ibushi have faced off, namely that “Ospreay lands on his feet out of a flip move,” which he’s not only done for that notorious memeable moment during Golden Lovers VS Ospreay & Tanahashi, but also their WK13 NEVER Openweight title match out of a Super German Suplex. Ospreay winning was an even bigger shock, but given the promo segment at the end, it makes sense. Ospreay is going to have epic rematches with his other storied rivals and really put some legitimacy to the title’s legacy.

My Score: 9.6/10


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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Rampage Results & Report! (2/3/23)

The Elite are on a Rampage!

Published

on

Is The Elite in for a tune-up or trap game tonight?

Though they plan to defend the AEW World Trios titles on Dynamite, Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks defend the titles against The Firm here on Rampage! Will they overlook Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy and get caught?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • AEW World Trios Championships: The Elite VS Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy; The Elite win and retain the titles.
  • Swerve Strickland w/ Mogul Affiliates VS Brian Pillman Jr; Swerve wins.
  • Saraya & Toni Storm VS The Renegade Sisters; Saraya & Storm win.
  • Rush w/ La Faccion Ingobernable VS Christopher Daniels; Rush wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

AEW World Trios Championships: The Elite VS Ethan Page, Matt Hardy & Isiah Kassidy!

Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks accepted the challenge of the upstart Top Flight & AR Fox, but then they also accepted the challenge of The Firm’s All Ego! Will The Elite’s ego cost them in their very first defense? Or will they still keep their date with Fox, Dante & Darius for Dynamite?

The bell rings and the trios sort out. Dayton chants, “THE! ELITE! THE THE ELITE!” Nick Jackson starts against Isiah Kassidy, they circle, and they tie up. Nick wrenches to a wristlock, Kassidy rolls and handsprings to wrench and wristlock back. Nick uses ropes to flip through and wrench back to hit a headlock takeover. Kassidy headscissors, Nick kips free, but Kassidy hits a headlock takeover. Nick headscissors, Kassidy kips free, things speed up and Kassidy wheelbarrows to arm-drag! Kassidy kips up, but Nick blocks the chop to knuckle lock. Nick CHOPS, goes up and up, “LUCHA LIBRE~!” and arm-drags!

Kassidy staggers up into another arm-drag, and Nick has the armlock! Fans cheer but Ethan is furious. Nick wrenches Kassidy, tags Matt, and the Bucks double whip to bait Kassidy into a GUTBUSTER, to the NECKBREAKER BACKBREAKER COMBO! Fans fire up with the Bucks, and Matt points to Kenny. Fans fire up, and Matt tags in Omega! Hardy tags in and he circles with Omega. They tie up, break, and then go again. They break, go again, then Hardy headlocks. Omega powers out but Hardy runs him over. Things speed up but Hardy fakes out the hurdle! Hardy kicks low, reels Omega in, TWIST- NO, Omega powers out!

Omega runs in at the corner but Hardy dodges, and the V-Trigger hits buckles! Hardy reels Omega in, but Omega fights the Side Effect! Hardy staggers, Omega runs in but Hardy sends him out! Omega hurries back up but Hardy BLASTS him off the apron! Omega hits railing, Stokely laughs at him, and then Hardy goes up the corner! Omega stands up, but Ethan leaps to CLOBBER Omega! Ethan gives Hardy a thumbs up, he did that so Hardy wouldn’t have to risk himself. Ethan puts Omega in the ring, Ethan apparently snuck a tag that not even Hardy noticed. Ethan drags Omega up to scoop and SLAM him!

Fans boo but Ethan tells the Bucks to kiss this. Ethan drags Omega up, throws haymakers, and then has Omega in the corner. Ethan has Hardy and Kassidy hold Omega in place, then Ethan runs to BLAST the Bucks off the apron! Fans boo more but Ethan runs in, into Omega’s BOOT! Omega is free, he goes up and over Ethan to hot tag Nick! Ethan runs in, Omega dodges and the Bucks DOUBLE GAMANGIRI Ethan back! Nick then tags Matt while Omega RANAS Ethan! The Bucks double kick, Nick runs and Matt gives him the boost to RANA Ethan! Ethan hurries to tag Hardy, he runs in but into DOUBLE DROPKICKS!

Ethan shouts for Kassidy to do something, so Kassidy springboards, but the Bucks get clear to double elbow! They wheelbarrow and lift Kassidy, Omega runs in, WHEELBARROW KOTARO KRUSHER! Kassidy flounders out of the ring while the fans fire up with the Elite. Hardy returns but Omega sets up Ethan and Kassidy. Matt runs in to WRECK Ethan and Kassidy with a dropkick! Matt then holds the ropes for Nick to FLY and take them out! But Matt Hardy kicks Matt Jackson low and reels him in! TWIST- NO, NORTHERN LIGHTS! Matt Jackson starts up the Polar Express, but Ethan saves Hardy!

Ethan swings, but into a NORTHERN LIGHTS! Fans fire up with Jackson as he has Hardy for haymakers! And stomps! Jackson runs, Ethan trips him up but Jackson BOOTS Ethan! Hardy catches Jackson for a SIDE EFFECT! Cover, TWO! Hardy drags Jackson over and tags in Ethan. Ethan stomps Matt Jackson, going after the legs. Ethan talks trash on Dayton then brings Matt around for a BACKBREAKER! Fans boo but Ethan soaks up the heat as Rampage goes picture in picture.

Ethan drags Matt up, bumps him off Kassidy’s boot, then tags Kassidy in. Ethan and Kassidy mug Matt, Kassidy stomps away, then lets off as the ref counts. Kassidy drags Matt back up, tags Hardy, and they mug Matt Jackson now. Hardy brings Jackson around to fire forearms and elbows! Then Hardy has Jackson under the bottom rope, for a ROPE GUILLOTINE! Kassidy gives thumbs up as Hardy covers, TWO! Hardy drags Jackson up, bumps him off Ethan’s boot, and then tags Ethan in. Ethan and Hardy mug Jackson, abut Jackson fights back with haymakers! Rampage returns to single picture as Jackson backs Ethan down!

Matt Jackson runs but into a BOOT! Ethan BLASTS Omega and taunts Nick. Fans boo but Ethan drags Matt Jackson over to tag Hardy back in. Hardy drags Jackson up, bumps him off buckles and shouts “DELETE! DELETE!” Fans chant along, and Hardy goes through all three levels! Hardy grabs Jackson’s legs, and YANKS him into a POWERBOMB! Cover, but Nick breaks it! The ref reprimands but Nick backs off. Hardy drags Matt Jackson to the drop zone, goes up the corner, but then Ethan tags in! Fans boo as Ethan ruins Hardy’s good time. Ethan then copies Hardy’s stuff, but leaps into a SUPERKICK!

Fans rally as Ethan and Matt are down! Hot tag to Omega! Fans fire up as Omega goes up top to CROSSBODY Ethan! Kassidy runs in, to get a POLISH HAMMER! POLISH HAMMER for Ethan! Omega spins but Ethan dodges to kick low! Ethan whips, Omega reverses and fireman’s carries! “YOU! CAN’T! ESCAPE!” ROLLING SENTON, and the MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Fans fire up as Omega drags Ethan up into a half nelson. Ethan fights the full nelson, RAMS Omega into the corner, and Kassidy tags in. Kassidy and Hardy run to BLAST the Bucks while Ethan fires off back elbows on Omega!

Ethan whips Omega corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines! Kassidy adds a SPLASH, Hardy adds a clothesline! Hardy sets up, Ethan whips Kassidy, FIRM IN MOTION INTO DOUBLE SUPERKICKS!! Ethan is shocked to see what happened, but he runs into a SNAP DRAGON! Hardy runs in, kicks low, but Omega turns Twist into full nelson! Hardy elbows free, runs, and DOUBLE LARIATS take both men down! Nick goes up, but so does Kassidy! STEREO SWANTON BOMBS!! Nick takes out Hardy while Kassidy takes out Omega! Then Kassidy runs in, dodges Nick and goes up to FLYING COMPLETE SHOT!

Matt Jackson shouts “YOU’RE DEAD!” and he SUPERKICKS Kassidy! Ethan runs in, blocks a kick and spins Jackson to ROUNDHOUSE! and then deadlift POWERSLAM! But V-TRIGGER outta nowhere!! All six men are down and the fans are thunderous! A standing count begins, “This is Awesome!” and Omega crawls to hot tag Nick! Nick storms in to CLUB Kassidy. Kassidy throws a forearm, but Nick hits back! They go back and forth with heavy shots, but Kassidy gets the edge! Nick staggers, but he ROUNDHOUSES back! Nick whips, Kassidy reverses and SPIN KICKS! Nick goes to a corner, Kassidy runs in, but Nick dodges!

SHINING WIZARD! GAMANGIRI! FOREARM! BULLDOG! The Elite regroup and they aim at Kassidy, only for Hardy and Ethan to drag Omega and Matt Jackson out! They’re sent into railing hard, and Kassidy runs to hit a DESTROYER!! Nick flounders to a corner, Hardy sets up again! PARTY IN MOTION! Ethan & Kassidy put Nick up top, DOUBLE ICONOCLASM! And then a feed to the TWIST OF FATE!! Kassidy covers, Matt Jackson breaks it!! Ethan storms in, he gets Matt Jackson up, but he slips off the Ego’s Edge and Omega V-TRIGGERS Ethan down! Hardy throws Omega out!

Hardy runs in, Jackson moves, Hardy BLASTS Ethan! Hardy is shocked and he hurries to check on Ethan. Kassidy TOSSES Matt Jackson out, but Nick springboards in! CUTTER?!? Kassidy covers, TWO!!! Kassidy almost wins this on his own because Hardy and Ethan distracted with Ethan’s jaw. Nick tags Omega while Kassidy calls to his team. Hardy hurries over but Omega V-TRIGGERS Kassidy down!! Omega drags Kassidy away, tags Matt in and then Matt tags Nick. Jackson BLASTS Hardy, Omega Electric Chair Lifts Kassidy! ONE WINGED ANGEL!! Into B T E TRIGGER!!! Cover, The Elite wins!

Winners: The Elite, by pinfall (still AEW World Trios Champions)

This was no trap game, but this was far more than a tune-up! The Elite are red hot now, will they melt the Coldest Tag Team in the Game this Wednesday?

 

Backstage interview with Ricky Starks.

Lexi Nair is with The Absolute, and she brings up the Jericho Appreciation Society throw down the Garcia-Guevara Gauntlet challenge. Starks sorta got what he asked for, so what’s the plan? Starks says, “I can tell you it wasn’t a plan for us to match here,” in reference to his shirt and her whole ensemble both being a light khaki. But Starks admits he puts his foot in his mouth, something he’s known to do around here. But that’s okay, because if that is how Starks gets at Chris Jericho, then that is what he’s going to do. If that is the way to beat Jericho, to get out of the “Web of Jericho” that he has entangled himself in, that is what Starks will do.

“I am no stranger to having the deck stacked against me, because I always find a way. Parker, Daddy Magic, Sammy, Danny, it doesn’t matter. Because in El Paso, Texas, I am gonna to prove exactly why I am Absolute. And when I do get my way, Chris, I am going to embarrass you. And I am going to beat you, again.” Starks is ready for everything the JAS is going to throw at him, but will that still get him the win?

 

Team Triple J speaks.

Jay Lethal tells the others, “Right now, we are riding high. But the Screen Actors Guild and AEW, they’re trying to rain on our parade by distorting on the camera Sonjay’s Golden Globe. I tell you what, just like last week, when we embarrassed the Best Friends and Danhausen, we proved that in the ring, we can’t be matched! And I bet right now, Paul Walter Hauser is sitting at home without a Golden Globe, wishing that he had better friends.” Jeff Jarrett says, “I bet Mr. Walter Hauser wishes he never ever stepped foot in the Kia Forum! Because what happened the last time? I bet he’s wishing he never went on The Late Late Show with James Corden!”

But Best Friends respond!

Danhausen is upset that he got smashed in the head with a Grammy! No, it was a Golden Globe. But keep going, this is good energy. Yes! Danhausen was “decimating” their giant, Satnam Singh, and then he was caught off guard by a GOLDEN GLOBE! That was bad. So YOU will be cursed if it happens again! It shouldn’t happen again, right? It shouldn’t. Danhausen says it WON’T happen again! But when and where will we see the sequel to this showdown of friends and enemies?

 

Swerve Strickland w/ Mogul Affiliates VS Brian Pillman Jr!

For whatever reason, second generation wrestlers get on Swerve’s nerves. He can’t get after The Natural just yet, but he’s settling for #FlyinBrian41 here tonight! Will BPJ use his homefield advantage to stop the Mogul? Or will Dayton be “Whose House?” “SWERVE’S HOUSE!”

The bell rings and Swerve circles with BPJ. They tie up, go around, and BPJ powers Swerve to a corner. Swerve pushes back and wrenches to a wristlock. BPJ rolls, cartwheels, handsprings and headstands, but Swerve pushes him down to turn BPJ over to a ghost pin! TWO, BPJ gets up but Swerve is after him. BPJ whips Swerve to a corner, Swerve goes up and over and O’Conner Rolls, then Eddy Gordo RANAS, but BPJ rolls through to stand back up. Fans cheer the technical exchange. BPJ and Swerve tie up again, Swerve pulls BPJ’s hair and puts him in the corner. BPJ turns things around, and he swings, only for Swerve to duck.

Swerve whips BPJ but BPJ rolls, handsprings and kangaroo kicks! Swerve checks his nose while fans rally up. Swerve runs in, BPJ dodges, things speed up and BPJ hurdles to drop. Swerve handsprings over, things keep moving, but BPJ steps on Swerve! Fans fire up as BPJ asks, “Whose House?” “BRIAN’S HOUSE!” But Swerve takes off his necklace to wrap around his fist as he ROCKS BPJ with a sucker punch! Fans boo, Swerve whips, but BPJ reverses and DROPKICKS! Swerve bails out, BPJ builds speed, and fans fire up as BPJ WRECKS Swerve with a dropkick! BPJ hurries away from Trench & Boudreaux while Rampage goes picture in picture.

BPJ grins while Swerve is furious. Boudreaux & Trench help Swerve stand up. BPJ talks some smack but Swerve has his guys stand down. Swerve goes up the steps and into the ring, and he ties up with BPJ. Swerve kicks BPJ, ROCKS him with a right, then swings, but misses in the corner! BPJ CHOPS, ROCKS, and wrenches before he whips corner to corner. BPJ runs in to clothesline, CHOP, and NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridging cover, TWO! BPJ rallies the fans while Swerve grits his teeth. BPJ storms up but Swerve gets around to JAM the leg! BPJ falls over and clutches the knee while Swerve taunts Dayton.

Swerve stands on BPJ’s leg, throws down fists, then kicks him around. Swerve stands BPJ up, BPJ throws hands, but Swerve KICKS the leg out! Swerve goes to the corner, goes up, and he taunts the fans before the FALLING UPPERCUT! Swerve swaggers and smirks at all the fans before he goes back to BPJ. Swerve kicks the leg, grinds an arm, and Rampage goes to break.

Rampage returns as BJP and Swerve fire forearm after forearm at each other! BPJ CHOPS, CHOPS, then SLAPS! Swerve staggers, BPJ grabs at him, but Swerve brushes that away to ROCK BPJ with a haymaker! BPJ staggers to a corner, Swerve storms over, but he blocks a boot! Swerve brings BPJ out, slips around that leg and hits a BACKBREAKER! BPJ staggers, Swerve SLAPS him, but BPJ SUPERKICKS! And LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Swerve survives but BPJ fires up! Fans rally as BPJ fireman’s carries. Swerve fights free, and he SLAPS away on BPJ’s back. BPJ snapmares, Swerve blocks the superkick and he mule kicks the bad leg!

Swerve aims from the corner as BPJ clutches his knee. BPJ stands but the bad leg gives out! And then the HOUSE CALL!! Cover, TWO!?! BPJ survives and Swerve is fuming! Dayton fires up but Swerve drags BPJ up. Swerve bumps BPJ off buckles, hoists him up top, then climbs up after him. BPJ throws body shots in return, then climbs up to HOTSHOT Swerve away! Trench distracts BPJ, BPJ runs him off, and the ref is busy with Trench, allowing Boudreaux to trip BPJ up! Fans boo, but Swerve hurries to go out after BPJ and drag him up! Fireman’s carry, APRON DEATH VALLEY DRIVER!!

Swerve hurries up a corner and BPJ sits up, for the KILL STOMPS!! Cover, Swerve wins!

Winner: Swerve Strickland, by pinfall

Mogul Affiliates comes through for their leader, Swerve takes out a second generation star! #HoodiesUp, and the big men stand Swerve up. Trench feeds BPJ to Boudreaux’s LARIAT! Then Swerve brings out the necklace, but here comes DUSTIN RHODES! The Natural has a TURNBUCKLE CROSSBAR! Dustin uses that to run off Mogul Affiliates, but this war has only just begun. Will Dustin prove to Swerve that being second generation doesn’t make him better, but that being better makes him better?

 

The House of Black speaks.

Malakai says, “There was a saying that reads, ‘Assumptions are a poison that create unrealistic expectations.’ And what is the poison that you people created? The assumption that Eddie Kingston was going to join the House. No, the House does not want Eddie, and Eddie does not want The House. The House did what it always does, and what its mission has been since the beginning: prove that every human being on this planet, no matter how true of heart, is corruptible. And it takes the smallest push into the right direction to peel off the layers of virtue and let that venom of hate grow.

“There is no forgiveness for people like you and me, Eddie. And like Cain did to Abel, you do what you can’t help but do, because it is your nature. It is the balance of who you are in this world. Because no man is ever truly…” The Mad King has begun his descent, will there be no going back now that he has begun to #FadeToBlack?

 

Saraya & Toni Storm VS The Renegade Sisters!

Speaking of a descent, the Revolution and the Lightning have stooped to shocking lows as of late, all in the name of showing the AEW homegrown talent that they, the outsiders, know what is best for business. But will they continue to do whatever they want to the AEW Women’s Division? Or will Charlette & Robyn be just the renegades to fight The Revolution?

The teams sort out and after a rock-paper-scissors game that goes nowhere, Robyn steps up to Storm. Storm doesn’t seem to take Robyn seriously but Robyn eggs her on. Robyn and Storm tie up, go around, and end up against ropes, in a corner, and then to more ropes. Storm lets off to pie face Robyn. Robyn ROCKS Storm! And again, and again, and then she CHOPS! Robyn whips, Storm reverses but Robyn ducks, only to run into Storm’s THESZ PRESS! Storm rains down fists, then she drags Robyn up. Storm puts Robyn in the ropes, CHOKES Robyn, then argues with the ref so Saraya can CHOKE Robyn, too!

The fans boo as Saraya fires off knees on Robyn! Storm sucker punches Charlette! Storm runs to HIP ATTACK Robyn off the apron! Fans are torn while Robyn lands on the floor. Storm and Saraya bring Robyn up to RAM her into steel steps! And then into the railing! The ref has to keep Charlette back, and Saraya says Charlette is crazy! Storm drags Robyn up and puts her in the ring to then drag her over. Tag to Saraya, they mug Robyn, and Saraya short arm LARIATS! And again! And again! Fans boo but Saraya smiles and soaks it all up. Saraya drags Robyn up, tells fans to shut up, but Robyn waistlocks.

Saraya elbows free, whips Robyn to a corner, SHINING WIZARD! Fans boo but Saraya just revels in it. Saraya snapmares and SHINING WIZARDS again! Cover, TWO!! Robyn survives but Saraya drags Robyn up. Robyn RAMS Saraya into a corner, but it’s the enemy corner! Storm tags in, she and Saraya mug Robyn, and then Storm snap suplexes Robyn down! Cover, TWO! Robyn is hanging tough but Storm clamps on a full nelson. Fans rally as Robyn endures and fights up. Storm thrashes Robyn around, but Robyn fights up and breaks the nelson! Only for Storm to throw her down by her hair! Fans boo and the ref reprimands, but Storm just scowls.

Storm kicks Robyn around, toying with her, but Robyn gets mad. Robyn ROCKS Storm! Robyn eggs Storm on so Storm hits back! Robyn ROCKS, CHOPS and repeat! Storm swing, Robyn dodges and ENZIGURIS! Fans fire up as both women are down! Storm a nd Robyn crawl, hot tag to Charlette! Charlette rallies on Storm and Saraya! SPLASH in the corner! Charlette rallies the fans with “GET! YOU! SOME!” Charlette runs in, but Storm SHOTGUNS her down! Charlette flounders to a corner, Storm runs in, SWEET HIP MUSIC! Storm brings Charlette up for Saraya to YAKUZA KICK! STORM ZERO!! Cover, Storm & Saraya win!

Winners: Saraya & Toni Storm, by pinfall

The outsiders win, but they’re not done! Saraya brings out cans of spray paint! Toni CLOBBERS Robyn, Saraya chases the ref out of the ring, and they start spraying the Renegades! They put big green L’s on the Renegades, will they continue to hand out those L’s to the AEW Women’s Division?

 

Adam Cole speaks.

“There is nothing that I love more than professional wrestling. And I have worked harder every single day than I ever have in my entire life. Because for me, I thought my dream was dead. And when your dreams die, your hope dies. I never, ever lost hope, because I refused to let anybody or anything stand in my way of getting back inside that squared circle. And I have no idea who my first opponent will be when I return, but I can promise you this: You are going to get the best damn pro-wrestler on the planet. And his name…” ADAM COLE, BAYBAY! AEW Revolution is the target, will Adam Cole make it all about the boom?

 

Mark Henry welcomes us back to Rampage.

The World’s Strongest Man says, “Before former ROH Champion, Rush, faces Bryan Danielson this Wednesday, he will face former ROH Champion, Christopher Daniels tonight on Rampage.” The Fallen Angel tells El Toro Blanco, “Your reputation precedes you, but I am not intimidated by reputation. And I’m not a stepping stone for anyone, Rush.” But Rush tells Daniels, “You have never faced anybody like Rush.” Rush continues on in Spanish, then says in English, “Just remember: if you mess with the bull, you get the horns.” Mark Henry then says, “It’s TIME! For the main event!” Will Rush be rolling into El Paso and his battle with the American Dragon? Or will this be the rise of the Fallen Angel?

Rush w/ La Faccion Ingobernable VS Christopher Daniels!

The bell rings and fans rally for the Fallen Angel. Daniels and Rush circle, tie up, and Daniels waistlocks. Rush switches, Daniels switches back but Rush sits. Daniels holds on for a moment but Rush switches back. They stand, Daniels shifts to hit a headlock takeover. Rush headscissors, Daniels pries free to trip Rush to a cover, ONE! The two stand off and fans cheer. Rush and Daniels reset to circle again. They tie up, Rush wrenches and YANKS the arm, then wrenches to CLUB the arm. Rush YANKS the arm but Daniels uses ropes to flip through and arm-drag Rush away! Rush stands up, sidesteps, but Daniels blocks the hip toss!

Daniels tries but now Rush blocks the hip toss. Rush swings but Daniels blocks the haymaker to hit a NECKBREAKER! Daniels then CLOBBERS Rush! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Daniels drags Rush up and CLUBS him. Daniels whips Rush to ropes to calf kick him out! Daniels then builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit at the ramp and fans fire up as Rampage goes picture in picture.

Daniels drags Rush up and into the ring, hurries up the corner, but Jose distracts! Daniels AX HANDLES Jose down! But Rush DECKS Daniels with a sucker punch! Daniels flops out of the ring and Rush distracts the ref so “Perro Peligroso” can attack! Preston Vance holds up the Ingobernables fist, then he POSTS Daniels! Vance even CHOKES Daniels with the stolen masks of luchadors Vance has beaten outside of AEW! Vance gets away with all this as Rush goes out after Daniels. But then Vance distracts the ref so that Rush can beat down Daniels! Rush drags Daniels around the way to throw him into railing!

Rush throws knee after knee into Daniels against the railing while Jose hurries to get the bright green cable! Rush throws down fists, Jose throws the cable over, and Rush holds it up. Rush then gathers some slack, to LASH Daniels! And then CHOKE him with it! Daniels can only cough and sputter because Vance is still in the ref’s face! Rush lets Daniels go, then drags him up to put him in the ring. Jose gives Rush some water to refresh himself, then Jose shows off just one of the many fat stacks MJF gave LFI on Dynamite. Rush uses the fat stack to fan himself off, then gives it to Vance. Rush then gets in the ring to CHOP Daniels!

Rush whips Daniels corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines! Then he sits Daniels down to rain down forearms! The ref reprimands and counts, Rush lets off at 4. Jose beats the apron like a drum and Rush runs corner to corner, to fake Daniels out on the Bull’s Horns! Daniels lets his guard down, and Rush KICKS him in the face! Daniels clutches his jaw while Rush rolls back to tranquilo. Rush then drags Daniels up to throw him out, and of course Vance is right on Daniels! Vance CHOPS Daniels while Rush distracts the ref. Vance puts Daniels back in, Rush stands on Daniels with a cocky cover, ONE!

Rush is annoyed but he stomps away on Daniels. Rampage returns to single picture as Rush pretends to take Daniels’ head and kicks it into the crowd. But then he KICKS Daniels in the side! Daniels goes to the apron, fans boo, but Rush kicks him to the floor. Rush again distracts the ref, and Vance uses the fat stack of cash to SLAP Daniels! Vance then makes it rain on Daniels, and stands him up to CHOP him down! Fans boo as Jose also makes it rain on Daniels. Vance puts Daniels in the ring, Rush drags Daniels up and throws body shots. Rush tosses Daniels back out, and then “apologizes” to the ref as a way to distract him!

Jose and Vance stand Daniels up, Jose chicken wings Daniels’ arms, and Vance runs in. Daniels moves, the BOOT takes out Jose! Fans fire up, Vance is shocked, and Daniels POSTS Vance! Daniels throws Jose into the ring then goes around the way. Rush is distracted by his assistant being where he shouldn’t be, and Daniels slips in to roll Rush up! TWO!! Rush escapes, but Daniels baits him into the corner. Daniels dodges, ENZIGURIS, and fans fire up! Rush staggers, Daniels runs in and LARIATS Rush! And CHOPS! And wrenches to a BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Rush survives but Daniels fires back up!

Daniels drags Rush up, CLUBS him again and again, then runs, but Rush follows! CHOP! CHOP! But Daniels swings! Rush dodge to SUPERKICK! Rush roars, swings, but into a fireman’s carry! DEATH VALLEY DRIVER! Cover, TWO!! But into a KOJI KLUTCH!! Rush endures, Vance drags Rush’s leg to the ROPEBREAK! Fans boo but Daniels lets Rush go all the same. Daniels knows it was that damn dog, but Rush rolls Daniels up! WITH TIGHTS! TWO, and Rush swings again, but into the URENAGE! Daniels points to the corner and fans fire up! Daniels goes up, for the BEST MOONSAULT EVER onto knees!!

Rush OVERHEAD Belly2Belly suplexes Daniels into the corner! Rush makes sure Daniels sits up, and then he stomps away with both feet! Fans boo, Rush stomps around then runs corner to corner, BULL’S HORNS!! Cover, Rush wins!

Winner: Rush, by pinfall

Though it was a valiant effort, Christopher Daniels fought a 3v1 the entire time, he had no chance of winning out. Will Bryan Danielson also have no chance against those odds? Or will the American Dragon find a way to slay El Toro Blanco?


My Thoughts:

A really good Rampage here. The trios titles opening was quite the surprise, but it was a great match. The Firm looked good, but of course they also had the story of Ethan stealing the spotlight from his own teammates every chance he could. As such, The Elite win, and now we’re going to get a stacked episode of Dynamite. The trios titles, the tag titles, and eliminator matches for the women’s world title and men’s world title. Of those, I’m fairly confident The Elite retain their titles, that would only be their second defense and they have got to be heading to AEW Revolution with these belts. No idea who they’d face then, though.

Plenty of good promos again. Starks responding to the JAS gauntlet didn’t necessarily add anything, he’s of course going to find his way through. Malakai’s promo was equally good but it effectively established what’s going on with the story of House of Black and Eddie Kingston. Triple J and Best Friends are definitely going to have another match, and as I said before, I hope Paul Walter Hauser gets involved to avenge Triple J stealing his Golden Globe. And great new promo from Cole, though it doesn’t necessarily add anything more. Cole is surely going to be part of the Revolution card, and whoever he faces is going to put Cole over but in a very good match.

Really good match out of Swerve VS BPJ, but of course that as a Heel leading a faction, Swerve wins because his guys help out. But it also made sense for Dustin to show up and run the Mogul Affiliates off. As I sensed on Dynamite, Dustin is surely going to team up with BPJ and Brock Anderson against Mogul Affiliates in a Six Man Tag. And as AEW seems to struggle establishing new team names, I’m assuming Brian Pillman Jr. and Brock Anderson are gonna be “Lineage” (stylized LineAGE) as a sort of AEW version of Legacy. I say that cuz LineAGE was on BPJ’s tights. Dustin can also join LineAGE if he wants, and maybe LineAGE can get going in the Trios Division.

The Renegade Sisters got a good showing against Storm & Saraya, but of course they also lost to Storm & Saraya. And I suddenly had inspiration seeing Saraya & Storm spray paint big green L’s on the Renegades. Will Saraya & Storm be like The Outsiders, Nash & Hall, and they get an NWO moment at Revolution? The “third woman” will be someone who is currently Face and seems like they’re on AEW’s side. It probably won’t be Shida, she doesn’t seem to like how Saraya & Storm are going. But with Saraya & Storm wearing green and using green paint, and Ruby Soho having green hair, I wonder if Ruby is pushed to the point where she ends up seeing things Saraya’s way.

Still disappointing that Mark Henry’s segment is being trimmed down more and more, but I’m thinking it’s to give more time to the main event match. But this main event was a great main event, even though I just knew Daniels would lose. Rush VS Bryan will be great stuff, and I am sure Bryan will look close to losing because of Jose and Vance getting involved, but surely Bryan will find a way to win.

My Score: 8.6/10


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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (2/3/23)

What is the State of the Bloodline?

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Roman Reigns responds to what happened at the Royal Rumble.

Though he is still Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, the Tribal Chief is without Jey Uso and without the Honorary Uce. What will Roman Reigns do about the Bloodline’s situation?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament Finals: Braun Strowman & Ricochet VS Imperium; Braun & Ricochet win and will challenge The Usos for the titles next week.
  • SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair VS Sonya Deville; Charlotte wins and retains the title.
  • The Brawling Brutes VS The Viking Raiders w/ Valhalla; The Viking Raiders win.
  • Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifier Fatal 4 Way: Shotzi Blackheart VS Shayna Baszler VS Zelina Vega VS Natalya; Natty wins and advances to the Raw Women’s Championship Elimination Chamber match.

PLAY BY PLAY

The Bloodline arrives.

Kayla Braxton is already on the scene as Jimmy Usos, Solo Sikoa, Paul Heyman and the Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns, exit the vehicle. Kayla wants a word on Jey Usos’ status after what we saw on Saturday, but Roman doesn’t give an answer. Heyman, however, says, “What a cold-blooded question from such a warm-hearted lady.” But at this time, the Bloodline will neither confirm nor deny Jey’s status within the group. But thanks for wearing black and red for them. The Wise Man heads out with the Head of the Table, what will Roman himself have to say later on tonight?

 

SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament Finals: Braun Strowman & Ricochet VS Imperium w/ GUNTHER!

The Monster of All Monsters and the King of Flight were last minute substitutes, but they made the most of their opportunity! Will they take over that SmackDown Tag Division right as the Usos’ partnership is in question? Or will it be Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci secure victory and make Der Ring General proud?

The teams sort out and Braun starts against the Pride of Italy. They circle, tie up, and Braun shoves Vinci away! Braun flexes and roars but Vinci talks strategy with Ludwig. They tag, Ludwig talks some trash but Vinci rushes in! Braun stays up from the chop block, he shoves Ludwig away, kicks Vinci out of the ring, and then DECKS Ludwig on the return! Imperium regroups outside and Braun dares them to bring it. Gunther talks strategy with his soldiers, a ring count starts, and fans rally up for Braun. Braun tags to Ricochet as Ludwig gets back in and they circle. They tie up, Ricochet waistlocks and headlocks.

Ludwig powers up and out, but Ricochet rolls off his back to dropkick him down! Ricochet throws forearms but Ludwig DECKS Ricochet! Ludwig drags Ricochet back up but Ricochet hits a JAWBREAKER! Ricochet brings Ludwig up but Vinci takes a swipe! Ricochet gets distracted and Ludwig CLOBBERS him with a EuroUpper! Braun is upset, he runs in around the way to CLOBBER Vinci! Braun stares Gunther down and Gunther backs away. Braun dares Gunther to try something now, but Ludwig DIVES! Only for Braun to catch him! Ludwig tries to fight free, but Vinci goes up and up and CROSSBODIES to wipe Braun out!

Fans rally for Braun while Gunther has Imperium regroup. The Monster and the high-flyer are in trouble as SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns and Braun CLUBS Vinci. Braun scoops Vinci, Vinci slips free and POSTS Braun! Ludwig tags in, they have Braun stuck in the corner, and they DOUBLE DROPKICK! They push Braun in to cover, TWO! Gunther is frustrated but Ludwig rains down fists. Tag to Vinci, Imperium mugs Braun, and Vinci CLUBS away on Braun’s back. Vinci facelocks and grinds the hold but Braun fights up! Fans rally as Braun powers his way over a step at a time, and he TOSSES Vinci away! Hot tag to Ricochet, he springboards to CROSSBODY Ludwig! Ricochet runs to RANA Vinci, then he runs to RAM him in the corner!

Ricochet bumps Vinci off buckles, kicks him away, and springboards for a FLYING LARIAT! Ricochet keeps moving, STANDING SHOOTING STAR! Cover, TWO! Gunther is still worried as Ricochet has the fans rallying behind him. Ricochet brings Vinci up, fireman’s carries, but Vinci slips off to CLUB Ricochet and POST him! Ludwig tags in, they set Ricochet up like Braun, but Ricochet dodges! The dropkicks take Vinci out! Ludwig rushes in, Ricochet dodges to handspring and back elbow! Ludwig flounders to the corner, Braun runs in to BLAST Vinci away! Braun has Ricochet build speed, and gives him a boost to FLY! Direct hit and down goes Imperium!

Fans are thunderous, Ricochet is roaring, and Gunther is furious! Ricochet tells Gunther to back off, this is Imperium’s fight. Gunther shoves Ricochet, and the ref saw it! The ref EJECTS Gunther! Fans love it as now this is a fair fight! Gunther is fuming but Braun dares him to try something more. Ricochet gets in the ring but Vinci grabs at him! Ricochet kicks Vinci away but Ludwig is after him in the ropes! Ricochet shoves Ludwig away, but Ludwig and Vinci HIGH-LOW on the rebound! Cover, TWO!! Ricochet survives and Braun is shocked, too, as SmackDown goes to break!

SmackDown returns again and Ludwig brawls with Ricochet! Ricochet gets the edge, runs, but Ludwig UPPERCUTS! Ludwig whips, Ricochet reverses to V-TRIGGER! Ludwig wobbles, Ricochet fires off fists, and the ref counts. Ricochet roars as he lets off at 4, but Ludwig turns things around! Vinci tags in and springboards to CROSSBODY! PENALTY KICK from Ludwig! DOUBLE DROPKICKS to Braun! Vinci covers Ricochet, TWO! Ricochet is hanging tough and Imperium grows frustrated. Vinci drags Ricochet up, Ludwig tags in then climbs the corner, but Ricochet back drops Vinci! Ricochet drags Ludwig down to GAMANGIRI!

Ricochet brings Ludwig back up and reels him in to suplex but Ludwig slips out. Ludwig whips Ricochet to the corner, runs in, but blocks the kick! Tag to Vinci but Ricochet elbows Vinci away! Ricochet ROCKS Ludwig, ENZIGURIS, and goes up! But Ludwig GAMANGIRIS! ROCKET LAUNCH into the BRAINBUSTER!! Cover, Braun YANKS Vinci outta the ring! Fans are thunderous and Braun fires up! Ricochet stirs as the fans rally up and Braun reaches out. Vinci crawls in, both men go for their corners, hot tags to Ludwig and Ricochet! Braun rallies on Ludwig with big shoulder tackles! And a TOSS across the way!

Vinci runs in, springboards, but bounces off Braun’s body! Braun rips off his shirt but Ludwig UPPERCUTS! Braun LARIATS on return! “THAT’S IT!” Braun drags Ludwig up, reels him in, and fans fire up for the MONSTER BOMB!! Tag to Ricochet and he goes up onto Braun’s shoulders! MONSTROUS SWANTON!! Cover, Braun & Ricochet win!

Winners: Braun Strowman & Ricochet, by pinfall (NEW #1 contenders to the SmackDown Tag Team Championships)

Imperium belittled them as “sideshow circus freaks,” but these freaks are going to challenge the Usos next week! Will this be the perfect time to strike down the historic reign of Jimmy & Jey?

 

Backstage interview with Charlotte Flair.

Kayla is with The Queen, saying the world is buzzing with the Women’s Royal Rumble match winner, Rhea Ripley, choosing her as her WrestleMania opponent. But how does Charlotte feel? Charlotte says Mania will be epic. But tonight, she’s focused on Sonya Deville. “You cannot overlook someone who is as persistent as Sonya.” Sure, she complained to get here, but we’re in Carolina! And- Oh, here comes Sonya now. Sonya says Charlotte must mean they’re in Flair Country! “WOO~!” Yeah? Or more like, Hicksville, No Man’s Land, the middle of nowhere where no one wants to be, including Sonya herself.

But Sonya won’t let that stop her. She’s here for one reason and one reason only: The SmackDown Women’s Championship. And then it’ll be Sonya VS Rhea at Mania. Because Hollywood needs a star, and Sonya is a star! Charlotte chuckles and Sonya asks what’s so funny. Charlotte won’t be laughing when Sonya beats her in the ring. Charlotte says to leave this trash talk for the ring. Sonya says fine, she’ll see her in the ring. Will the Queen still have her crown after taking on the Jersey Deville?

 

SmackDown shares footage of WWE superstars at the LA Coliseum.

Just last night, in partnership with Fox Sports and NASCAR, The New Day and Rey Mysterio were with Michael Waltrip, Clint Bowyer and the official Clash at the Coliseum branded stock cars. However, The Judgment Day’s Dominik Mysterio, Finn Balor & Damian Priest had to crash the fun. Dom says this isn’t about celebrating Rey again, “hanging out with this old guy in pajamas.” Waltrip got upset but the New Day stepped in. Show some respect to the two-time Daytona winner. Finn says that’s the past! They’re with Ross Chastain, the current NASCAR champion! Waltrip tells Dom to be more respectful, but Dom knows what this is about.

Dom says Rey must want to race like they did back in the day when Dom was beating Rey at go-carts! Rey says if Dom wants to get spanked like when he was a kid, sure! Clint said they had two cars right here, so why not race for real? Get on the track and settle this! Everybody got real hyped for that, so Rey and Dom suited up. Waltrip hyped Rey up, and Chastain hyped Dom up. Rey and Dom got in the driver’s seats, put on the steering wheels and helmets, and Waltrip said, “Gentlemen! And the Judgment Day, I guess. Start! Your! Engines!” BOOGITY BOOGITY BOOGITY, and they’re off! Dom took an early lead but Rey was hot on his tail!

Dom was even talking trash, asking if anyone had a booster seat for Rey! And where’s the NOS? But Rey says Dom’s driving is as fake as his teardrop tattoo! Dom still had the lead, and said he learned this from his cellmate who was a getaway driver. Rey said the only “getaway driving” Dom’s ever done is in video games! Lap after lap, Dom holds onto the lead, until Rey makes a move! “If you ain’t first, you’re last!” They’re neck and neck, but Rey takes it at the checkered flag! And in the end, that’s what matters! The New Day celebrated with Rey, but Dom says Rey had to have cheated! Things got tense, the pit crews had to break this up! Will nothing but a fight settle this family dysfunction?

 

SmackDown Women’s Championship: Charlotte Flair VS Sonya Deville!

The Queen reigns again, but the Pride Fighter says that’s an injustice. Will Sonya bring about her own form of justice and equality to SmackDown? Or will this home game in Flair Country be a big win on the Road to WrestleMania for Charlotte?

SmackDown returns and Charlotte makes her entrance. The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who Rhea faces in Hollywood!

The bell rings and fans rally behind Charlotte already with “WOO~!” after “WOO~!” Sonya and Charlotte circle, feel things out, then tie up. Charlotte arm-drags Sonya, runs her over, then stands over her. Charlotte eggs Sonya on, “Where’s the trash talking now?” Sonya stands up, she and Charlotte tie up, and Charlotte waistlocks to SLAM Sonya down. Charlotte pushes Sonya to a press, ONE! Sonya stands but Charlotte wrenches an arm. Sonya pulls hair but the ref reprimands. Sonya wrenches, wristlocks, but Charlotte cartwheels to wrench back. Charlotte whips, Sonya reverses, but Charlotte goes up and out!

Charlotte BOOTS Sonya from the ropes, goes up top, and fans fire up as Charlotte leaps! CROSSBODY! Cover, ONE!! Sonya is out but Charlotte says that was still close. Charlotte runs in but only gets buckles! Sonya runs in but is put on the apron. Charlotte ROCKS Sonya, stands her up, and wrenches, but Sonya throws Charlotte by her hair! Sonya mocks the “WOO~!” but fans boo, and SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns as Charlotte sits up, into a KICK from Sonya! And another! Sonya mocks the “WOO~” again, fans boo some more, but Sonya runs in, only for Charlotte to roll her up! TWO, and Sonya ROUNDHOUSES Charlotte back down! Cover, TWO! Charlotte survives but Sonya clamps on a chinlock. Sonya thrashes Charlotte around, says she can do this all day, but fans rally as Charlotte endures. Charlotte fights up, snapmares free, and then blocks forearms to give forearms! Sonya ROCKS Charlotte, but Charlotte blocks buckle bump to give buckle bump! Sonya staggers away, Charlotte stomps up, but Sonya kicks out a leg!

Sonya runs, Charlotte ducks the lariat and CLOBBERS Sonya! And again! Charlotte CHOPS and CHOPS and CHPOS! Fans “WOO~!” but Sonya swings, into a back suplex! Charlotte kips up and fans fire up! Charlotte runs in at the corner, but blocks boots! Charlotte ROCKS Sonya, climbs up and drops a knee on the knee! Sonya flounders, Charlotte runs to BOOT her down! Cover, TWO!! Sonya survives but Charlotte is actually amused. Sonya goes to ropes, Charlotte storms up and reels her in. Sonya holds ropes, elbows free, then whips, but Charlotte reverses! Sonya tumbles out to the apron, avoids the boot and HOTSHOTS the leg!

Sonya slides in, runs in and BOOTS Charlotte down! Cover, TWO!! Sonya can’t believe it! Sonya fumes while Charlotte crawls to a corner. Charlotte drags herself up, Sonya run sin but into a BACKBREAKER! But Sonya avoids the boot! Sonya KCIKS Charlotte, goes up the corner, and FLYING KNEES Charlotte down! Cover, TWO!!! Sonya is furious, but she drags Charlotte to center. Sonya stomps the leg, grins, and goes ‘WOO~!” Sonya steps through, Charlotte turns figure four into cradle! TWO!?!? Sonya escapes by nanoseconds! Fans boo but Charlotte storms up, only for Sonya to send her into buckles!

Sonya runs, into a LARIAT! Cover, TWO!! Charlotte drags Sonya to a drop zone, goes up top, and fans fire up for the MOONSAULT! Sonya BOOTS her back! And rolls her up! FEET ON THE ROPES! TWO!!! The ref reprimands but Charlotte still escapes! Sonya steps through, Charlotte kicks free of the figure four! Sonya comes back, sunset flips, but charlotte rolls through! Charlotte has the legs, “WOO~!” Figure Four, to FIGURE EIGHT!! Sonya taps, Charlotte wins!!

Winner: Charlotte Flair, by submission (still SmackDown Women’s Champion)

Sonya was so close and yet so far! But that is how good Charlotte Flair is now that she’s back on top! What will it take for even The Eradicator to take this title off Charlotte at WrestleMania?

 

The Bloodline sits in their private room.

Roman asks Jimmy, “Where’s your brother?” Jimmy doesn’t know. Jimmy didn’t talk to Jey? Haven’t heard from him. Roman isn’t sure if it’s just him, but don’t you find that disrespectful? Jey not only walks out, but he doesn’t care enough to communicate. It’s one thing to walk away, but to not hear from him for a whole week… Plus, don’t the Usos have a title match next week? “We don’t walk out on our obligations.” Roman can’t understand this. So he asks again: Has Jimmy talked to Jey? And Jimmy will say it again, he hasn’t heard from Jey. But Jey will be there, Jimmy has faith in him. But they all know Jey. He just needs time to cool off.

Roman repeats, “He’ll be there. he’ll be there for you. What about all of us? He gonna be there for the entire Bloodline? Huh? Solo, have you talked to your brother?” Jimmy says if he hasn’t heard from Jey, Jey isn’t talking to nobody, Uce. Nobody has heard from Jey. Roman says they don’t understand the urgency that is needed right now. Roman calls upon the Wise Man. “Yes, My Tribal Chief.” “Is it not WrestleMania season?” “It is WrestleMania Season, My Tribal Chief.” Then you ain’t gonna find Jey on the couch. Go find him now! Jimmy and Solo get up and head out. Will Main Event Jey be found at all tonight?

 

The Brawling Brutes VS The Viking Raiders w/ Valhalla!

“Butch” and Ridge the Fridge are going to avenge Sheamus against Erik & Ivar! Will the Bruiserweight and Yorkshire Grit be the ones to bring Ragnarök to the Vikings? Or will they end up just like the Celtic Connection?

SmackDown returns and the Vikings make their entrance. The teams sort out and Dunne starts with Ivar. They tie up, Ivar puts Dunne in a corner, but he lets off quickly. Dunne fires forearms but Ivar throws body shots and fast hands! The ref counts, Ivar lets off again, but then Ivar whips Dunne out to send him back into the corner hard! Dunne falls, Ivar drags him to the corner and tags in Erik. Erik whips Dunne into the corner, runs in, but into boots! Dunne brings Erik around, ties him up, and has an abdominal stretch, but he bends the fingers! Dunne powers Erik to the corner, fires forearms, and tags in Ridge.

Ridge runs side to side to forearm smash! Ridge keeps going, and he runs Erik over with a shoulder! Ridge drags Erik up but Erik wrenches out to ROCK him with a forearm! Erik suplexes but Ridge is too big for that! Ridge suplexes Erik up and over! Tag to Dunne, then Ridge clobbers Erik! Dunne BOOTS Ivar, and then the Brutes have Erik for DOUBLE BEATS OF THE BODHRAIN! They go to 7 before Dunne just fires off furiously! Erik flops down, Dunne stomps him off the apron, then he PLANCHAS! Erik gets clear, but Dunne stares “Valhalla” Sarah Logan down. Erik RAMS Dunne into barriers, then CLOBBERS him! Fans boo but SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns again and Dunne pries his way out of a sleeper at the ropes! He SNAPS Erik’s fingers! Valhalla is shocked, Erik runs in, but Dunne goes up and over! Tag to Ridge, and he EXPLODERS Erik! Erik is back up, but he swings into another EXPLODER! Ridge blocks haymakers to throw HEADBUTTS, and then an OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Ridge roars, “FIGHT NIGHT!” but runs into a KNEE! Tag to Ivar, Ridge CLOBBERS Erik but Ivar kicks low! Ivar reels Ridge in, lifts him up, but Ridge powers up and Alabama Lifts Ivar! ALABAMA SLAM!! Cover, TWO!! Valhalla is relieved as the War Beard survives!

Ridge snarls, he waistlocks Ivar but Ivar backs him into a corner. Ivar fires elbow after elbow, but Dunne tags in to ENZIGURI! Dunne runs in to BOOT Ivar! Erik tags in, he runs but into an ENZIGURI! Dunne runs, but into a LARIAT! ACE TEN MAO! Cover, ONE?!?! Tag to Ivar, and Ivar climbs. Erik hands Dunne off to Ivar, but Ridge drags Erik out! Erik RAMS Ridge into barriers! Dunne fights the slam, rains down elbows, and then SUPER STEINERS Ivar away! Cover, TWO!! Ivar survives and Valhalla breathes easy again. Dunne goes up top to MOONSAULT! But Ivar catches Dunne!! Ivar deadlifts Dunne, but Dunne slips into a SLEEPER!

Ivar RAMS Dunne into buckles, Erik tags in and Erik CLOBBERS Dunne! Ivar goes out, Ridge runs in, but into a HEEL KICK! Ivar tags back in, the Vikings have Dunne, and Valhalla nods. RAGNARÖK!! Cover, the Vikings win!

Winners: The Viking Raiders, by pinfall

The Brutes could not stop the brutality of Erik & Ivar, the raid continues on! Will the Viking Raiders be waiting on the other side of next week’s tag title showdown?

WAIT! Here comes Drew McIntyre and Sheamus! The Celtic Connection are back on their feet, and they brawl with the Vikings on the stage! Sheamus tackles Erik, McIntyre throws Ivar into railing! The forearms fly, and Sheamus RAMS Erik into a girder! McIntyre runs and RAMS Ivar into the LED screen! Ivar staggers, McIntyre BOOTS him down! Fans fire up as Sheamus & McIntyre stand tall! Will they turn the tides in this battle on the Road to WrestleMania?

 

Bray Wyatt sits in his rocking chair.

Like us, he was surely watching back the highlights of the Pitch Black Match from the Royal Rumble. But then Uncle Howdy walks over! He and Bray look at the camera together, does this mean they’re on the same side after all?

 

Women’s Elimination Chamber Qualifier Fatal 4 Way: Shotzi Blackheart VS Shayna Baszler VS Zelina Vega VS Natalya!

As we learned on Raw, there will be a Women’s Elimination Chamber to name Bianca Belair’s WrestleMania opponent! Raquel Rodriguez, Liv Morgan, Nikki Cross and Asuka are automatically in given their performance in the Women’s Rumble match. Raw will hold its own Fatal 4 on Monday, but who qualifies for the fifth spot here on Friday Night SmackDown?

SmackDown returns and the Queen of Harts makes her entrance, with the Wild Child, Queen of Spades and La Muneca already waiting. The bell rings and Natty rushes Shayna. Natty dodges Shayna’s haymaker, Shotzi ROCKS Shayna with a right, and then Natty fires off on Shayna. Vega rushes Shotzi but gets a kick. Natty bumps Shayna off buckles and stomps a mudhole! Shotzi throws Vega out, then goes after Shayna, even pushing Natty outta the way! Shotzi has her own bone to pick with Shayna, but then Natty throws Shotzi away. Natty stomps Shayna out of the ring, Shotzi rolls Natty up! TWO, Shotzi headlocks but Natty powers out.

Shotzi runs Natty over, fans fire up and Shotzi runs, but Vega trips her up! Vega drags Shotzi out, THROWS her to the barriers, then laughs as she goes into the ring. Vega and Natty tie up, Vega gets around to roll Natty up, TWO! Vega KICKS from below, covers, TWO! We see Liv and Raquel are here watching backstage, already representing SmackDown in the Elimination Chamber. Vega drags Natty up but Natty ROCKS Vega! Natty scoops Vega but Vega slips off and pushes her away. Vega then tilt-o-whirls, and hits a CODE RED! Cover, Shayna kicks it apart! Shayna gut wrenches Vega to a SLAM!

Shotzi returns, Shayna gets around and hooks Shotzi up, BACKBREAKER! Shayna grabs Shotzi’s arm and stands on her head. Shotzi flails, fans boo, but Natty CLUBS Shayna down! Natty drags Shayna up, throws her to the apron, and runs in. Shayna avoids the shoulder to KICK Natty! Vega trips Shayna but Shayna CLOBBERS her for it! Shayna gets back in, and KNEES Natty down! Shayna grins as she covers, TWO!! Natty survives that nasty knee that once broke her nose, and Shayna soaks up the heat from the fans while SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns again and Shayna pulls on Shotzi’s arm in a top wristlock. Shotzi fights up and fires body shots but Shayna DECKS her! Shayna stands on Shotzi’s arm, but she avoids the stomp! Roll up, ONE, but Shotzi BOOTS, KNEES and ROLLING ELBOWS Shayna, to then QUESTION MARK KICK! Shayna ends up on ropes, Shotzi runs to SENTON! Shayna bails out, Shotzi DIVES to take her out at the ramp! Fans fire up but Vega goes up top! Vega SUPER MOONSAULTS onto Shotzi and Shayna! All three are down, Natty hurries out to DECK Vega! Natty puts Shotzi in, runs and trips Shotzi, to the SHARPSHOOTER!

Fans fire up as Shotzi endures, but Vega hits a BULLDOG on Natty! Shotzi chicken wings Vega to TIGER SUPLEX! But Shayna reels Shotzi in for a GERMAN SUPLEX! Shayna then drags Vega up into the KIRAFUDA KLUTCH!! Vega flails, but she’s fading! Natty runs in, Shayna drops Vega to duck the discus! KIRAFUDA for Natty!! But Natty throws Shayna out of the ring! Natty hurries to get Vega for the SHARPSHOOTER!! Vega taps, Natty wins!!

Winner: Natalya, by submission (advances to Elimination Chamber)

The Queen of Harts is going to be the hometown hero in Montreal! But will that help her take the golden ticket to Hollywood?

 

Roman Reigns still waits in his private room.

Heyman apologizes to the Tribal Chief. Jey’s phone goes straight to voicemail. Heyman wants to say more, but he holds his tongue. Jimmy and Solo return, and they also say they got nothing. A big fat zero. Roman sighs. “I just don’t understand. Of all the times of year for this to happen. We were doing so good. No problems, no hiccups.” Roman says they know how much he has on his plate. That they understand “the stress and the burden of this position.” He feels like he’s being pulled in two different directions, and spread too thin. He loves them, and is sorry for speaking tot hem the way he did.

Jimmy says not to worry about it. Roman says he needs them. He needs them to be as strong as they ever were. Because if they’re not, there is no more #WeTheOnes. Wise Man had catering sent to the bus, it’s a whole bunch of sushi, steaks, etc. It’s good stuff. They can go to the bus and eat up while Roman goes to the ring to handle business. He needs them with him. They understand? Yeet. Then enjoy. He’ll catch up with them later. Jimmy says okay, and has Solo tag along. What will Roman say about Sami, Jey and the Bloodline as a whole? We find out, after the break.

 

BREAKING NEWS for next week!

On top of the SmackDown Tag Team Championships, we will see a Fatal 4 Way match to name a #1 contender to the Intercontinental Championship! Rey Mysterio VS Madcap Moss VS Karrion Kross VS Santos Escobar! Who will win to go after Der Ring General?

 

Roman Reigns heads to the ring.

Paul Heyman is the only one to accompany the Undisputed WWE Universal Champion as his reign now reaches 887 DAYS! Roman lifts the belts for the pyro, then continues to the ring. As it stands, Roman Reigns will headline WrestleMania against the American Nightmare, the Men’s Rumble Winner, Cody Rhodes, but even that seems to be secondary to what is going on within The Bloodline. Roman and Heyman stand in the ring, and Roman lifts the belts again for the second round of pyro. Heyman then hands Roman a mic while fans chant, “SAMI! SAMI!” Roman lets that settle down before he says, “Greenville, South Carolina… ACKNOWLEDGE ME!”

Fans are still rather torn between cheers, jeers, and the chant of “SAMI! SAMI!” Roman was going to ask them who they want him to talk about, but it’s obvious. Roman says he’d rather sit here and talk about Cody Rhodes. “Y’know, the guy that won the Royal Rumble, the #1 contender. Someone who actually deserves my attention. But you simple folks have reduced me to talking about the past.” Fans boo, then start up the “SAMI! SAMI!” again. Roman says fine, if they want to hear about Sami, he’ll talk about Sami. “But remember, there’s two sides to every story, so you’re gonna hear mine.” Fans boo, they already don’t like that.

Roman says that in order to hear his side of the story, “we’ve gotta go all the way back to WarGames.” Heyman remembers when Roman looked Sami in his eyes that Roman saw everything he needed to see. “Would you like to know what I saw that night? I saw greed. I saw the same thing that I see in everybody that I ever interact with in my life nowadays. If a restaurant was lucky enough to have me, when I walk in, the hostess, the people in the kitchen, the waitress, the waiter, they all say the same thing. ‘I want this.’ It’s not, ‘Tribal Chief, it’s great to see you.’ No, it’s ‘What can I do for you, like I haven’t already done enough?'”

So Roman does the same thing for Sami, he gives Sami the opportunity of a lifetime, and Sami just uses him, the Bloodline and the Island of Relevancy! “No different than each and every one of you, because you all want, want, want. You can never give back, huh?” BUT THEN SAMI ATTACKS!! Sami came outta the crowd in a hoodie but it’s clear as day that’s him! Sami rains down furious fists and fans are loving it! Sami tears off the hoodie to reveal his new Sami Zayn shirt! Roman staggers up, Sami fires off, but Roman throws knees in return! Roman stomps Sami down, fans boo, but Roman shakes out the stars.

Roman tells Heyman to get a chair, so Heyman gets a chair. Heyman hands the chair to Roman, but Sami is back up! Sami SPEARS Roman?!?! Fans are thunderous as Sami hits Roman with his own move! And then Sami looks down at the chair. Fans are chanting for “SAMI! SAMI!” and Sami swings! Roman avoids the chair shot and retreats up the ramp! Sami shouts in the mic, “ROMAAAN!! You’re wrong about me. I never wanted anything from you. I never wanted anything from you!! Until now. I want something from you now, and I’m gonna take it. Because I am coming after you and the WWE UNDISPUTED UNIVERSAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!”

Fans are going nuts, and Roman is flabbergasted! But then Jimmy SUPERKICKS Sami down! Solo and Jimmy mug Sami! Fans boo but Roman grins as Solo rains down HEADBUTTS! Solo stands Sami up, SAMOAN SPIKE!! Sami sputters but the Bloodline isn’t done with him! They sit Sami in the corner, rain down fists, and then they put the chair around Sami’s head! They’re gonna Riddle him! Solo runs in, but Roman stops him!? Roman looks down on Sami and says, “You want something, huh? You want something from me?” Roman takes the chair away, and fans are chanting “WE WANT JEY! WE WANT JEY!”

Roman tells Sami to listen to that. The fans want Jey, but Roman doesn’t have Jey because Sami broke up the Bloodline. The Right Hand Man isn’t here because of Sami! Sami was given the keys to the kingdom, the invitation to the Promised Land, and Sami repays them by breaking up the family! Sami will get what he wants, but Roman will get what he wants. Sami and Roman will be in Montreal at the Elimination Chamber! Sami broke up Roman’s family, so Roman will break Sami in front of his family! Sami’s parents, wife, kids, friends, relatives, everyone he’s connected to! They will see what happens when you mess with Roman’s family! “I’ll see you soon!”

Sami is still down, fans still chant for him, but then they boo as Roman takes the belts back. If this is what Sami wants, then this is simple to Roman! This isn’t a dream, this is reality! Sami should’ve just stayed in the Bloodline. Roman lifts the titles over Sami, will this be what we see in Montreal in just two weeks?


My Thoughts:

This was a great SmackDown to follow the Royal Rumble! For one, it flew by, though that could be because of the recap packages and only the four matches. I did like the bit we got out of Bray and Uncle Howdy, though it was rather short. The NASCAR racing segment was cheesy like a lot of pro-wrestling corporate synergy stuff is, but it continues to further the plot point that Dom will just get in Rey’s face anywhere and everywhere. With Rhea wanting after Charlotte, it is obvious that the rest of Judgment Day will move over to SmackDown with her, they will have a new feud with Rey, and New Day might even back Rey up for some really good Six Man Tags.

Speaking of Charlotte, she and Sonya had a decent promo before their match, which logically wasn’t the main event because it was a given Charlotte would win. Even so, Sonya looked strong in that match, just not strong enough. And great move having the Women’s Fatal 4 be the “main event” as far as matches. Shotzi, Shayna, Vega and Natty are all great talents, and it makes sense to give Montreal their hometown hero of Natty in the Women’s Elimination Chamber match. Personally, I would’ve given the nod to Shayna, she would be just as good in the match, and if she were to move over to Raw, she could still have great matches against Bianca Belair and others past Mania.

The Brutes VS Viking Raiders was a really good tag match, but of course the Vikings were gonna win that. And given that, of course Drew & Sheamus were gonna get after them. I don’t know if it’s gonna be in a Donnybrook or a Viking Rules match, but we need one of those at Elimination Chamber for the blow-off of McIntyre & Sheamus VS Erik & Ivar. They need to go wild and just beat each other down. I also like the news of the Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender’s Fatal 4. Rey, Moss, Kross and Escobar is a great field, but I can’t be sure who faces Gunther. Well, outside of Moss. I don’t see him pulling out a win there, but at the same time, Rey and Kross might cancel out. Escobar VS Gunther so that we could get Legado Del Fantasma VS Imperium would be really cool.

Speaking of Imperium, great opening tag to finish the SmackDown Tag Title tournament. Braun and Ricochet getting after Gunther to get him ejected was good stuff, and of course Braun & Ricochet as the Faces win. Their story ties into the Bloodline dysfunction, and the promos from The Bloodline was good stuff. Jey is MIA and radio silent, which is still a big part of things. Roman again had to walk back his anger in order to keep Solo and Jimmy on his side, and then Roman had a great promo to close the night, along with Sami’s blindside attack. Sami wanting the titles is a natural move, but I have a feeling Sami loses in Montreal to really put heat on Roman. As much as we all love Sami, as great as Sami truly is, Roman VS Cody got a really good Mania Hollywood graphic, WWE’s not changing that.

My Score: 8.8/10


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