The Prince takes aim at the title he never lost!
Finn Balor challenged the Universal Champion and he accepted! But what about SmackDown’s Summer of Cena? Is it all for naught now?
- Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio VS Jimmy Uso w/ Jey Uso; Rey wins.
- WWE 24/7 Championship: Reginald VS Chad Gable w/ Otis; Reggie wins by disqualification, and retains the title.
- Six Man Tag: Big E, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Rick Boogs VS The Dirty Dawgs & Apollo Crews w/ Commander Azeez; Big E, Cesaro & Nakamura win.
- Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair VS Carmella & Zelina Vega; Banks & Belair win.
PLAY BY PLAY
JOHN CENA is in Minneapolis!
“I think they’re settling into a groove! This doesn’t sound as good as the Paul Heyman remix, but it’ll do.” Cena slides into the ring, fans cheer and he soaks it all in like he did last week. Cena says the recap package we get is “interesting.” But side note: if you have someone who makes missionary position entertaining for two decades, keep them in your life, it’ll be worth it. But with that out of the way, welcome to SmackDown! “And what the hell is going on here tonight?!” Roman Reigns and Finn Balor sign a contract for the WWE Universal Championship match at SummerSlam. Cena thinks that’s only half bad. Respect to Balor, but it also proves that Roman absolutely sucks.
Roman sucks because beyond the passive aggressive false confidence, Roman’s really just a scared little kid. Roman accepts Finn Balor’s challenge, and rejects Cena’s. Cena is fine with rejection, he’s been rejected in front of the world. You guys were there, you know it. But the reasons Roman rejected Cena’s challenge are ridiculous! Roman doesn’t like that Cena didn’t change his music, his look or who he was deep down. “That is so stupid. That is like asking Stone Cold Steve Austin to come back to the WWE as Sasquatch Steve Houston. Or if The Rock FINALLY came back to the WWE… he would come back as Dwayne Too Small Johnson.
“And instead of saying, ‘If you smelllelelelelel what The Rock is cooking!’ He would say like, ‘Do you consensually touch what the Small Johnson is barely holding?'” See? It’s ridiculous. That’s not who those guys are! The fans know it, the superstars know it. They do not beg you to acknowledge them. They allow you to make your noise, have some fun and show some life. They allow you to cheer, boo, get up out of your seats and be electric, and simply do their best each time to earn your respect. Roman expected Cena to change because that’s what Roman has to do. Cena says Roman has to change every two years because the fans stop caring about him.
The fans stop caring because they don’t believe in him. And the fans don’t believe in Roman because Roman doesn’t believe in himself, #BelieveThat. “Roman Reigns is nothing more than a lazy stooge named Joe, who coasts by on every gimmick in the system, and is nothing more than a bloodsucking product of this machine, who is so so afraid to fail.” Cena would’ve embarrassed Roman and Roman knows it! Roman didn’t reject Cena because of how he looks, but because of how Cena makes Roman look! Mic drop but Baron Corbin walks out? Corbin’s in worse shape than last week! Corbin just wants to talk.
Fans chant “YOU SUCK!” at the disheveled Corbin and Cena points it out. Cena doesn’t even know who this is, though. Oh wait! Baron Corbin? Dude, you look… Horrible, yes, he knows! Corbin’s in a bad way. Well Cena wasn’t going to say that, but yeah, he does look horrible. Things aren’t going well for Corbin. Corbin knows they’ve never been close, but Corbin is desperate. His life is falling apart! He’s lost his crown, his cars, his identity was stolen and his credit is trashed! And to top it off, Corbin sustained an injury to a very sensitive part of his body. Now, Corbin can’t even… Surf the internet? Eat breakfast cereals? Walk in the park? No, he can’t even “perform!”
Oh… So like the this and the that? Oh, okay. And because of that, his wife left and took the kids! So Corbin sees the charitable John Cena, the man that grants so many wishes, and so if anyone can help him, it’s Cena. Will Cena help Corbin? Well Cena figures to ask the fans. Should Cena help Corbin? He needs a definitive answer. The fans are tied between “YES! YES!” and “NO! NO!” Cena can’t tell, so he just gives Corbin what he has in his pocket. What? But Cena’s rich! He’s a Hollywood star! Corbin could even work for it! He could be in a movie with Cena! Like the Suicide Squad! Not a bad idea, but that movie wrapped. It comes out next Friday.
Okay, but Corbin is perfect! He has nothing to live for, there could be more. He could even be a Cena stunt double! Uh, that’s a bit of a reach. What? Cena is going to kick a man while he’s down? Fans like the sound of that! Corbin says Cena really is a selfish, self-absorbed tightwad, with an ego the size of California. “You Hollywood sellout.” Cena says this is a teachable moment. They can help Corbin. Cena will give Corbin something he needs: an Attitude Adjustment! Cena gets Corbin up and SLAMS him down with the AA! And he takes back his money. Will Corbin learn when to quit while he’s ahead?
Dominik and Rey Mysterio talk backstage.
Rey is getting in the ring with Jimmy Uso, so Dom is going to keep his eyes on Jey. Good call, son. Dom can keep one eye on Jey, and the other on his dad. Rey is proud of the competitor he has become, and Rey loves Dom, but man to man, Dom’s make rookie mistakes. Dom has to step the game up to get back the titles. Watch Rey, cuz he still has a trick or two. Dom knows he does. Dom heads out so Rey can finish preparations, but that match is coming up next!
Rey Mysterio w/ Dominik Mysterio VS Jimmy Uso w/ Jey Uso!
The NEW SmackDown Tag Team Champions got away with sneaky wins two times in a row, but will their luck run out as #NobodysBitch takes on the King of Lucha Libre 1v1?
SmackDown returns and the Mysterios make their entrance. The bell rings, Rey and Jimmy circle, tie up, and Jimmy headlocks. Rey powers out but Jimmy runs him over. Jimmy fires up but fans boo, and Rey resets with Jimmy. They tie up, Jimmy headlocks but Rey powers out. Things speed up, Jimmy dodges to mule kick and whip. Rey tilt-o-whirl headscissors Jimmy to a corner! Rey climbs, rains down fists, and gets nine before changing to a BULLDOG! Cover, TWO! Jimmy staggers up, Rey goes after him, but Jimmy fireman’s carries to RAM Rey into buckles! Cover, TWO! Jimmy wraps on a chinlock but fans rally up as Rey fights back.
Jimmy ROCKS Rey with an uppercut and Rey staggers to ropes. Jimmy runs in but Rey dumps him out! Rey dropkicks Jimmy’s legs out and Jimmy bumps off the apron! Fans fire up as Rey builds speed to SLIDE, but he has to roll through as Jimmy moves! Jimmy SUPERKICKS Rey right down! Jey talks trash at Dom as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Jimmy grinds Rey with a chinlock. Rey fights out, Jimmy shoves him but Rey kicks him back! Jimmy sunset flips, Rey rolls through to BUZZSAW! Jey shouts to Jimmy to get up and Jimmy gets to a corner. Dom gets the fans fired up as Rey runs in but Jimmy puts him on the apron. Rey ROCKS Jimmy, blocks a kick, but Jimmy DRAGON WHIPS! Jimmy gets to the corner, brings Rey up to the top rope, but Rey resists the superplex! Rey clubs and headbutts Jimmy down! Rey adjusts to jump and SEATED SENTON! Rey keeps moving, SPRINGBOARD CROSSBODY! Cover, TWO!
Jimmy gets to the corner again, Rey runs in but hits buckles! Jimmy swing kicks Rey away then gets him back up. Fireman’s carry, but Rey fights free! Rey dropkicks Jimmy’s legs out to get him on the ropes! Rey dials it up as fans fire up, but Jey helps Jimmy bail out. So Rey just TORNILLO PLANCHAS! Dom likes that one as Rey puts Jimmy back in. Rana to put Jimmy one ropes, and Rey runs! Jey is there so Jey gets a 619! Rey keeps going, but Jimmy blocks the 619! Fireman’s carry, but Rey crucifix takedown! Dom keeps Rey up just like the Usos did!! Rey wins!!
Winner: Rey Mysterio, by pinfall
Turnabout is fair play, and that’s how the Mysterios get back at the Usos! The Usos are of course upset about that, but will these two look to settle things with the tag titles on the line?
Bianca Belair is here!
The EST SmackDown Women’s Champion stands at 111 days as champion, but she’ll let us know about that and her plans for the near future, after the break.
SmackDown returns and Kayla Braxton is in the ring with Bianca to bring up Bianca successfully defending her title against Carmella last week. Bianca has surpassed 100 days as champion! But now we have to ask, how does she foresee the next 100? Bianca says she’s gonna blush, and the fans chant, “EST! EST!” for her. Bianca says these past few months have been so amazing. Defending the title at Rolling Loud, winning an ESPY, main-eventing WrestleMania 37, and now being back in front of the fans! It just keeps getting better and better. Bianca isn’t sure how she’ll top it, but she’s grateful for everything-
Carmella interrupts! “Oh my gosh, Bianca~! Congratulations on a hundred days!” Fans boo Mella’s sarcasm. But if Bianca really wants to cement her legacy, she should give one more title match to a woman who held the title for 130 days. That same person who is also the Most Beautiful Woman in the WWE! Mella of course means herself. Because Mella deserves it. We all saw Rolling Loud. The lighting was too bright, it was in Mella’s eyes, it- Wait, Zelina Vega makes her way out now? Vega tells Mella no, no, no. Slow your roll, chica. Mella is too pretty to be a third-time loser. And Bianca, what Vega wants to say to her, she’ll say to her face.
Vega gets in the ring, and says she thinks the WWE Universe wants to see Bianca to challenge a rising star like Vega. Because Vega is “The Moment,” and no one is more deserving than her. So accept her challenge, Bianca! Bianca says Vega is on! But then Mella blindsides Bianca! Vega joins in and they mug Bianca! They get Bianca up to KNEE her down, then they keep on stomping her! They hammer away, but here comes SASHA BANKS?! The Boss is back and she’s rushing out to help Bianca?! KNEE for Mella, FOREARM for Vega! METEORA for Mella, then Sasha blocks a kick to KNEE Vega! Sasha gets Bianca up and gives her a hug!
Bianca’s a bit confused but the #LegitEST hold it down in Minneapolis! Will The Boss make sure the EST gets fair treatment from the disrespectful challengers?
WWE 24/7 Championship: Reginald VS ???
The stylish and swift sommelier has been very elusive on Raw, but he gets to be the one who finally brings this title back to SmackDown! Kayla interviews him backstage and he wants to be called, “Reggie.” Well, Reggie, tonight’s opponent is a mystery. Is he comfortable defending his title like that? First of all, Reggie would’ve done anything to get to the WWE, whether that was helping Mella, Sasha, or Nia Jax. But suddenly, he saw the perfect opportunity right before him. And now here on SmackDown, Reggie is happy. And while he doesn’t know who his opponent is, he was simply told to show up and defend the title.
Reggie is just happy it is in the ring, because as 24/7 Champion, you have to be ready for anyone, anywhere at any time. Reggie is always looking over his shoulders, under his car, and under his bed. He has a rearview mirror on his shopping carts. Where Reggie’s from, his head was always on a swivel. Trouble usually comes his way from every direction, so it is only second nature. But whoever decides to challenge Reggie should expect the unexpected. The music hits and Reggie excuses himself. Will Reggie be able to keep those eyes on the back of his head open during this match?
The challenger makes their entrance now, and it’s… The Alpha Academy! Chad Gable is pumped up and Otis is menacingly stoic. But which one is stepping up to challenge Reggie? Otis gets a mic and says, “It’s not me. It’s him.” Gable is going to challenge Reggie, but Otis CLOBBERS Reggie all the same! The ref reprimands, Reggie gets up, the bell rings, and Gable throat chops Reggie! Gable fires off hands, whips Reggie to ropes, then CLOBBERS Reggie with forearms! Gable gets Reggie up for a NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridging cover, TWO! Reggie staggers up, Gable shouts, “FOR THE ACADEMY!” and then he whips Reggie corner to corner.
Reggie goes up and over and shows off his agility as he dodges and evades! Mule kick, Reggie hops up, but Gable SLAMS Reggie down! Gable chicken wings for a TIGER PLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Gable gets frustrated and he gets Reggie up onto the top rope backwards. Gable climbs up but Reggie throws elbows to knock him away. Gable comes back to CLUB Reggie, climbs up again, and SUPER GERMAN SUPELXES! But Reggie lands on his feet?! Reggie baits Gable into a corner, Gable runs into buckles! SOMERSAULT SEATED SENTON! But Otis attack Reggie again!
Winner: Reginald, by disqualification (still WWE 24/7 Champion)
Otis throws Reggie out but Reggie rolls through to recover! The sommelier still has his title, and his health. But will Reggie be more careful showing up on SmackDown with The Dozer around?
Adam Pearce checks the contract.
Sonya Deville walks in and says all parties have been informed. Tonight’s main event will be a tag team match: Carmella & Vega VS Bianca & Sasha! That’s a perfect match. Sonya double checks the contract, too, and management heads out. It is time to sign on the dotted line, after the break!
SmackDown returns with Pearce & Deville in the ring.
Sonya starts by saying, “Ever since Roman Reigns rejected the Universal Championship challenge of John Cena, and immediately after accepted that of Finn Balor, this right here is the moment we’ve all been waiting for.” Pearce agrees, and we all know how contract signings tend to go. Emotions flair, people say things, and punches get thrown. But these two are here to make sure the contract is signed, sealed and delivered in the most efficient way possible. So first, they introduce the challenger, Finn Balor! Minneapolis fires up for The Prince as he makes his way to the ring! And of course, the Universal Champion, Roman Reigns!
Heyman of course accompanies Roman out on stage, holding onto the title belt until it is time for the pyro. Roman then goes to the ring, Heyman holding the belt up for him again. Balor patiently waits as Roman takes his time going up the steps and in between the ropes. Roman again holds up the belt for more pyro, and then hands it to Heyman. Roman is annoyed about the chair placement, so of course Heyman moves the chair to the head of the table. Pearce and Sonya move aside as Roman takes his seat. Balor takes his seat and Pearce knows they’ve both looked the contract. They can double check now, and if it looks good, sign on the proverbial dotted line.
Heyman and Roman look the contract over, fans chant “CENA! CENA!” as Heyman gives Roman the mic. “We’ve already seen Mr. Missionary tonight. As a matter of fact, Finn. Did you catch his opening promo? You know what he said, right? John said that by accepting your challenge, I’m ducking him. I’m ducking him?” So that means Cena thinks Balor is lesser than him. Roman would boo, too, it’s a jerk thing to say. But Roman doesn’t think this. He thinks Balor is worthy. Balor is worthy of challenging for the title. And Balor is also worthy to catch a beatdown at SummerSlam.
But just for the record, Balor isn’t anything like John. Balor doesn’t come out with the “same tired old schtick that’s not working anymore,” or reference other superstars and stuff. No, Balor is hungry, Balor wants it, and Roman digs that. So then, Roman has to say, if Balor signs the contract, Roman will smash Balor and send him right back to NXT. Roman hands the mic over to Heyman for Heyman to mic-drop. Heyman hands Roman a pen as fans chant, “ROMAN SUCKS! ROMAN SUCKS!” Roman ignores that to sign his part of the contract. Heyman tosses the pen and Balor gets a mic. “You think pretty highly of yourself, don’t ya, Roman? And perhaps, finely so.”
But it will be Balor’s privilege to return to NXT once again Universal Champion! Balor takes a pen, looks for his part of the contract, but BARON CORBIN attacks?! Obviously Corbin is angry from what Cena did to him, but he SMACKS Balor off the table! And he throws the contract out of the way to throw Balor out of the ring! Corbin fires off hands on Balor, TOSSES him into the timekeeper’s area, and then snatches the contract back up?! Fans freak out as Corbin finds himself a pen! But here comes Cena! Cena kicks Corbin and POSTS him! Cena looks at the contract, picks it up, and gets the pen! Heyman and Roman don’t even move as Cena writes HIS name on the paper!!
John Cena just snatched the opportunity away from Corbin, who was trying to snatch this away from Balor! Is this even allowed?! Will Roman use his authority to undo this, only to prove Cena right? Or does Roman have no choice but to acknowledge the Cenation?
Pearce and Deville walk backstage.
Well, it may not have been Balor’s name, but the contract has been filled out. Signed, sealed, delivered, just like they wanted. But then Heyman gets in their way. Now that out there was great television. Congrats! Pearce probably just moved up in the Board of Directors. But quick question, what are they going to do about SummerSlam? What does he mean? Oh c’mon. Let’s be real. Balor’s name is on the contract and JOHN- Er, uh… Well the point is, this isn’t legally binding. Pearce says this is what happens. He sees Roman’s signature, as does Heyman. He sees Cena’s signature. And that is good enough for Pearce! Sonya says this is official. Roman VS Cena is happening. But good to see you, Heyman.
Six Man Tag: Big E, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura w/ Rick Boogs VS The Dirty Dawgs & Apollo Crews w/ Commander Azeez!
Mr. Money in the Bank, the Swiss Superman and the King of Strong Style had beef with the Show-Off, the Glorious One, and the WWE Intercontinental Champion last week, but now we get to see it sort out 3v3! Will Cesaro and Nakamura be able to #ThinkBig alongside Big E? Or will Ziggler, Roode and the Prince of Nigeria make them feel the steel?
The teams sort out, Big E and Apollo start, and Apollo rushes in, into a clinch! OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Apollo tumbles out to the apron, Big E builds speed but Apollo KNEES Big E back. Apollo throws Big E out, taunts Cesaro & Nakamura, but that’s all to let the Dawgs hit a GLORIOUS ZIGZAG! Big E writhes as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Big E is down, but so are the Dawgs! Big E gets up, hot tag to Cesaro! Fans fire up as Cesaro runs in to EuroUpper Ziggler, then runs to BOOT Apollo! Ziggler staggers into Cesaro’s LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Cesaro hears the fans call for it, and he calls for it! Cesaro trips Ziggler to start up the SWING! Cesaro goes around and around for 10, then steps through to the SHARPSHOOTER! Ziggler endures, Roode drags him to ropes! Cesaro DECKS Roode, drags Ziggler over to tag Nakamura! FLYING KNEE GUT WRENCH SUPLEX! Cover, TWO! Ziggler survives but Nakamura fires up from the corner! “YAO~!” But Ziggler gets around to ZIGZAG!
Both men are down, Boogs shouts to Nakamura but Ziggler hot tags Apollo! Apollo STANDING MOONSAULTS! Cover, Cesaro breaks it! Roode gets in to give Cesaro a SPINEBUSTER! Big E gets in to scoop Roode for a BIG ENDING! But Ziggler returns to hit a FAMOUSER! Nakamura kicks, Ziggler ducks, but the WHEEL KICK connects! Apollo ENZIGURIS Nakamura, and GERMAN SUPLEXES! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura survives but Apollo drags him to a drop zone. Apollo goes up but Boogs rocks out to distract! Azeez stops him by THROWING him down! Fans boo the killjoy but Cesaro EUROUPPERS Azeez to barriers! Ziggler SUPERKICKS Cesaro down!
Apollo leaps, Nakamura dodges the splash, Apollo rolls him! Nakamura slips through to KINSHASA!! Cover, Nakamura and team win!
Winners: Big E, Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura, by pinfall
Azeez is furious but Boogs gets back up to rock out again! Will this lead to #Kingsuke adding the Intercontinental Championship to his royal treasures?
EDGE is here!
Minneapolis fires up as the Rated R Superstar and his pyro are here! We all saw Edge and Seth Rollins have a confrontation last week, but will Edge call out The Architect to finish what they started?
SmackDown returns to show us footage from the break! Edge didn’t even have time to speak, Rollins jumps him at the ramp! And stomps him down at ringside! Rollins gets Edge up to RAM him into barriers, then he seethes as the fans boo. But the assault continued and Rollins got Edge back to the stage. Rollins BOOTS Edge down, looks around with wild eyes, then grabs a camera from the cameraman! Rollins aims at Edge, to CAMERA SHOT Edge down!! Referees rush out to keep Rollins back and the fans chant, “YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK!”
Back to present, Rollins tells everyone to shut up and listen! “All Edge has done is take and take and take and take from me! And I’m sick of it!” But the fans don’t’ believe him? Well, what goes around comes around! That’s why it is a revolution! Rollins is a revolutionary! Roll the footage! The recap package goes back to a month ago, when Rollins felt slighted by management. There was no promise made to Rollins, but Rollins felt he was still deserving over Edge. And so when Roman VS Edge happened at Money in the Bank, Rollins found an opening to screw over Edge! Back in the present again, Rollins says he is not ashamed but PROUD of what he did.
But that was the right thing to do. Rollins is the rightful heir to the Universal Championship. And if HE can’t be champion, then neither can Edge! Rollins laughs and throws the mic down, but will the Rated R Superstar simply rise up and get his revenge?
Sasha Banks & Bianca Belair VS Carmella & Zelina Vega!
The Boss is back and she stood by the champ against the Untouchable Mella and La Muneca, but now they’ll do it again in a tag match! Will the #LegitEST duo show up and show out in tonight’s main event?
The teams sort out, and Bianca starts against Mella. Bianca dropkicks Mella, kips up and RAMS Mella into the corner. Tag to Sasha, they double whip and double shoulder Mella down! Sasha covers, TWO, but Sasha gets Mella up to scoop. Mella slips off and throws Sasha by her hair! Cover, ONE! Mella bumps Sasha off buckles, throws back elbows over and over then hits another one. Mella mocks Bianca’s clapping but Sasha throws body shots. Mella CLUBS Sasha, tags Vega, and they double suplex. Bianca saves Sasha and they double dropkick Mella and Vega out! Sasha builds speed to WRECK both with a dropkick!
Bianca goes outside, Sasha becomes her weapon in the military press CROSSBODY! Direct hit and down go both Mella and Vega! Fans fire up with Sasha & Bianca as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns Vega CLUBS and KICKS Bianca down. Fans boo but Mella applauds, and Vega runs to tilt-o-whirl into an IRON OCTOPUS! Bianca stays up, fans rally for “EST!” but Vega throws Bianca down. Vega bumps Bianca off buckles, tags Mella, and Mella stomps a mudhole in. Mella digs her boots in, lets off to taunt Sasha, but runs into a LARAIT from Bianca! Vega tags in, she CLUBS Bianca down before she could get to Sasha! Vega clubs Bianca, runs, and tilt-o-whirls to get the Iron Octopus back on! Bianca flails as she fights to stay up, fans rally up again and Bianca powers up! Bianca spins Vega around for a BACKBREAKER!
Both women are down, Mella tells fans to shut up with the chanting, but Bianca crawls to hot tag Sasha! The Boss hits a METEORA on Vega, DECKS Mella, then dropkicks Vega! Sasha gets Vega back up to snap suplex! Una amiga! Another, dos amigas! Sasha gets Vega up a third time for THREE AMIGAS! Fans fire up as Sasha goes to a corner. Sasha climbs up top, to FROG SPLASH! Cover, Mella FABULOUS KICKS Sasha! Mella drags Vega to their corner, tags in, and goes after Sasha. Sasha gets around but Mella drops to avoid the backstabber! Mella KICKS Sasha from below, runs, tilt-o-whirl to the FACEBUSTER! Cover, Bianca breaks it!
Bianca sees Vega running in and BOOTS her to then toss her! Bianca goes out after Vega but Mella has Sasha. Sasha slips out of the facebuster to hit the BACKSTABBER! BANK STATEMENT CROSSFACE! Mella taps, Sasha and Bianca win!
Winners: Bianca Belair & Sasha Banks, by submission
What a way to return for The Boss! She and Bianca celebrate, and then Sasha hits Bianca with a BACKSTABBER!! Sasha rains down fists from all sides because it was only a matter of time! Boss Time that is! Sasha gets the belt and shoves it in Bianca’s face before firing off forearms! Sasha goes up the corner, reels Bianca in, and TORNADO DDT’S! Then the BANK STATEMENT!! Bianca flails but there’s no way to stop this! Sasha makes Bianca tap and then suffer as she shouts, “I’M the Legit Boss!!” The ref tells Sasha to let off and Sasha does, so she can hold the belt up again. But then she puts Bianca BACK in the BANK STATEMENT!!
Bianca keeps tapping, Sasha says, “I’M the reason you’re here!” Sasha laughs as she makes Bianca fade out!! Will Sasha ruthlessly rip the title away from Bianca Belair the first chance she gets?
This was a good episode of SmackDown, but there was so much that just felt off. For one, there was barely a preview earlier today, so I feel like they were just slapping stuff together real quick. There were a lot of recap packages, too, though they were at least used to feed segments. But I really am glad to see the 24/7 Championship return to SmackDown and Fox, and I like that the Alpha Academy are the first to challenge him here. It works that Gable was first to challenge because now it’ll be Otis’ turn next time. And no offense to Reggie, but Otis as 24/7 Champion would be great, because he’s so menacing and strong. He wouldn’t need to run away, he could just bulldoze everyone coming after him.
Cena opening SmackDown was alright but I don’t know why they’re throwing him into the Corbin stuff when Corbin and Kevin were the thing just last week. Of course Corbin steps in it and Cena piles on with the Attitude Adjustment, but I don’t get the contract signing hijacking. I guess Sami is just out since he already lost to Balor, and then Cena uses this moment to sneak in and take this title match. There is time for Balor to come back and demand he still get his part, but how is Cena the Face in this? Roman and Cena should both be seen as the Heels and then Balor is our edgy Face who comes out on top against both these guys.
I like that Rey won against Jimmy with the same assist that the Usos were using to win before. It makes a lot of sense, and it definitely foreshadows the tag title rematch at SummerSlam. I also like that we got the Six Man Tag that the Cleveland live crowd got to see last week, but I feel like even then, commercial breaks cut out a lot of great content. The Faces winning makes sense, though, and it keeps things going towards a big Intercontinental Championship match to be sure. But then I feel like there was miscommunication in timing of everything, because we did not get to see Rollins attacking Edge live, as we should have.
Sasha’s return was apparently rumored, or perhaps leaked, but once it was true, it was pretty clear she was turning on Bianca. I almost thought she was going to do that after saving Bianca from Mella & Vega, but then we wouldn’t have gotten that pretty good main event. Sasha of course gets the win for her return, and given the move’s name is “The Backstabber,” of course she turns here tonight. They probably could’ve waited a week since Bianca and Vega want to have a match of their own, but I suppose WWE figures they should have Sasha just get her betrayal out of the way so they can build to SummerSlam being a rematch from WrestleMania 37.
My Score: 8.2/10
Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.
There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!
- Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
- United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
- House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
- KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
- 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
- TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
- G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼
Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.
Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.
United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata
So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.
Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!
This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.
House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.
Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.
KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi
So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.
Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.
Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.
Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.
5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr
This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.
Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.
WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!
TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi
Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!
Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.
Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!
G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada
So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.
Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.
Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.
Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.
Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.
Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.
Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.
Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!
We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.
Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
- Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
- Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
- Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
- Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾
The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.
Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice
Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.
Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.
This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.
There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.
Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:
This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.
The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James
Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.
Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.
Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel
The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.
So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.
Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.
Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.
Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.
Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.
Overall Score: 5/10
Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.
I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.
When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.
So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!
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