Will anyone run into bad luck this G1?
The fourth round arrives, and two undefeated entries clash! Will Zack Sabre Jr. make Great-O-Khan #JustTapOut? Or will he be conquered by the Dominator?
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.
- Tomohiro Ishii VS Tanga Loa w/ Jado; Ishii wins.
- Zack Sabre Jr. VS Great-O-Khan; ZSJ wins.
- Kota Ibushi VS Toru Yano; Ibushi wins.
- Shingo Takagi VS KENTA; Takagi wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Here are the current A Block standings!
Great-O-Khan: 4-0, 8 points
Zack Sabre Jr: 3-0, 6 points
Kenta: 3-1, 6 points
Toru Yano: 3-1, 6 points
Shingo Takagi: 2-1, 4 points
Yujiro Takahashi: 2-2, 4 points [has special singles bye]
Kota Ibushi: 2-2, 4 points
Tanga Loa: 1-2, 2 points
Tomohiro Ishii: 1-3, 2 points
Tomohiro Ishii VS Tanga Loa w/ Jado!
The Stone Pitbull and the Silverback are both last in the block, only having points by virtue of Tetsuya Naito’s withdrawal. Who finally earns themselves points with their first win?
The bell rings and fans rally up for “I-SHI-I!” as he and Loa approach. They tie up, Ishii headlocks, Loa powers out and they ram shoulders. Neither falls so Ishii runs and rams Loa again. Loa still doesn’t fall but he fires up as Ishii runs again. They ram shoulders again, Loa throws a forearm! Loa runs and rams a shoulder but Ishii stays up! Ishii roars, forearms and runs to ram Loa again. They ram and ram, Ishii staggers so Loa runs. Loa rams, Ishii rebounds and Loa runs him over! Loa throws Ishii out then goes out after him but Ishii gets right back in. Fans cheer as Ishii outmaneuvers Loa and dares him to get back in.
Loa returns, he and Ishii go face to face and Loa dares Ishii to bring it. Ishii throws a forearm, Loa gives it back, and repeat. Fans rally up as the forearms fly back and forth. Ishii eggs Loa on and they hit harder and harder, faster and faster! Ishii answers as quickly as Loa does, and fans cheer as they just keep going! Again and again, and again, but Ishii ROCKS Loa! Ishii grits his teeth as he adds on, but Loa roars to hit back. And again! Ishii staggers, drops to a knee, but he bails out of the ring. Loa pursues, brings him around and whips him into railing! Ishii falls through the open gateway while Loa catches his breath. Fans rally as Ishii stirs and Loa storms over.
Loa drags Ishii up, picks him up and RAMS him into the post! Ishii writhes and clutches his back but fans still rally behind him. Loa stomps Ishii, stands on his neck, but the ref reprimands. Loa stops then drags Ishii back into the ring. Loa slingshots for a senton! Cover, TWO! Fans rally but Loa rains down forearms. Loa lets off and sits Ishii up to CLUB him! Loa wraps on a chinlock and CLUBS Ishii in the face again and again! Fans rally as Ishii endures the chinlock, and Ishii throws hands back. Loa jams an elbow into Ishii’s forehead! Loa drags Ishii up, whips him to the corner and clotheslines! And then whips him back in for another clothesline!
Loa brings Ishii up for an EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Fans still rally for Ishii but Loa drags him up. Loa suplexes but Ishii fights that off. Ishii and Loa fight for suplex control and fans rally again. Ishii powers Loa up and over in the suplex! Fans fire up while both men are down on the mat, but Loa gets to a corner. Ishii stands and heads over to CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP! Ishii whips corner to corner but Loa comes back, into a POWERSLAM! Fans fire up as Ishii drags Loa up and waistlocks. Loa fights the lift, but Ishii duck the elbow to ROCK Loa! Ishii runs but Loa spins him for a NECKBREAKER!
Loa gets Ishii back up and fireman’s carries, but Ishii slips off, shoves and GERMAN SUPLEXES! But Loa stands right up! Loa shakes his head, BOOTS Ishii, then BOOTS him again. BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO! Loa keeps on Ishii with the OG KILLER! Ishii endures the crossface, even as Loa cranks way back! Ishii scoots and gets the ropebreak! Loa lets go in frustration but he drags Ishii back up. Loa reels Ishii in, Ishii fights off the lift and back drops Loa away! Fans fire up and rally as Loa crawls to a corner. Ishii runs in to clothesline! Loa flops but Ishii fires himself up. Ishii stands Loa back up, hoists him to the top rope, then climbs up to join him.
Loa resists as Ishii stands him up on the top, but Ishii still gets the SUPERPLEX! Cover, TWO! Loa survives but Ishii growls and stands up. Fans rally, Ishii runs but Loa boots the lariat away! Ishii lariats with the left, Loa throws a forearm but Ishii DECKS him with a forearm in return! Ishii sits Loa up and runs, but Loa springs up to dropkick! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Loa sits up, looks around and finds Ishii. Ishii rises, Loa runs and RAMS him into the corner! Loa runs again but Ishii swats his clothesline away! Loa returns the favor, runs but Ishii dodges, DOUBLE LARIATS collide! Neither falls, so they DOUBLE LARIAT again!
Ishii and Loa roar forehead to forehead as neither falls! They both run, Loa’s LARIAT wins out! Loa goes up top, DIVING HEADBUTT! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives and fans are fired up again as both men are down! Loa gets Ishii up, Ishii headbutts! Loa ENZIGURIS! Ishii staggers but fires up, but runs into a SPEAR! Loa gets Ishii up to SIT-OUT POWERBOMB! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives again and the fans are thunderous! Fans rally for “I-SHI-I!” hard as ever but Loa stands up first. Loa calls for it, and drags Ishii up to scoop. Ishii slips out and spins Loa for an ENZIGURI! Loa staggers away but stays up, and roars as he runs back, into Ishii’s LARIAT! Cover, TWO!
Both men are down again but the fans continue to rally. Loa sits up and grits his teeth, but Ishii roars as he gets back up. Loa LARIATS, Ishii’s right up to LARIAT! DOUBLE LARIAT! Ishii HEADBUTTS Loa off his feet! Fans fire up with Ishii as he roars and shouts for Loa to stand! Loa rises, Ishii runs, but Loa SPINEBUSTERS! Loa hurries to scoop Ishii up, but Ishii reverses to a dragon sleeper! Loa spins through but into a suplex! BRAINBUSTER!! Ishii wins!!
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Loa earns 0)
The Stone Pitbull is the first NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Champion to get points this year! Is this a sign that they can all #GetBackUp and #TurnItAround? As for Loa, he is still without his first true win in his G1 debut. Will he have to wait until he can spoil someone else’s run to get points?
Zack Sabre Jr. VS Great-O-Khan!
The Submission Master and the Dominator are both undefeated, but only one of them actually defeated Tetsuya Naito to earn those 2 points. Will ZSJ make Khan #JustTapOut and earn two more points? Or will the United Empire stay strong in the G1?
The bell rings and fans rally as Khan and ZSJ circle. They feel out the grapple, each trying for a leg. They each evade, but Khan pushes the advance. ZSJ turns it around on Khan but Khan switches. ZSJ drop toeholds but Khan gets away, and fans cheer this fast exchange. They reset and feel things out again. ZSJ pushes Khan off the leg takedown to hook a leg. Khan holds that off but ZSJ arm-drags through. Khan headscissors then uses that to float to a back mount. ZSJ switches, Khan switches, ZSJ rolls and wants an arm but Khan scrambles away again. Fans cheer this newest exchange as the two stand off again.
ZSJ and Khan reset again and talk a little smack, which fans cheer on, too. They feel things out again, Khan taking a backwards stance of sorts. ZSJ shoots in but Khan avoids the leg trip. Khan tries the same but ZSJ uses a leg guard. Khan just goes after the legs but ZSJ squirrels around and rolls to hook Khan with his legs. Khan keeps moving to avoid a Triangle, then he has a body scissor to roll ZSJ. ZSJ gets a ropebreak and fans cheer as this third exchange breaks up. Fans rally as the two circle again. Khan and ZSJ again feel things out. Khan shoots in and gets both legs but ZSJ manages to block with a facelock. ZSJ wants a cobra twist but Khan gets a toehold.
ZSJ chinbars, Khan shifts and wants to tie up the legs but ZSJ again tries a triangle. Khan shifts, has a half nelson to a mounted armbar but ZSJ rolls and clasps hands. ZSJ wants a toehold but Khan fights with his free leg. They use legs to fight but Khan gets a chinlock. ZSJ bends fingers to pry the hold apart, then tries for a top wristlock. Khan keeps moving but ZSJ almost has an anaconda vice! Khan moves around more, is on his feet and uses that to pop free, and now ZSJ is on the defensive as they stand off! Fans rally up more and once again, the two reset. ZSJ and Khan feel things out, ZSJ gets a leg and trips Khan to a facelock. Khan moves so ZSJ tries an armbar!
Khan moves around, it’s a cover, ONE! ZSJ still tries a clinch, Khan shifts and has ZSJ’s arm for a double wristlock! ZSJ kicks and gets a ropebreak, and fans cheer as Khan lets off cleanly. Khan dares ZSJ to bring it on, but the two take a moment to reset. ZSJ says, “Mada mada mada <I’m not done yet>,” and Khan says the same goes for him. They try again, Khan clinches but ZSJ drags him down with a double wristlock. ZSJ uses legs but Khan rolls. ZSJ rolls with him and has a headscissor on top of the wristlock! Khan fights as fans rally and now Khan has the ropebreak. ZSJ lets off cleanly and fans cheer this technical masterclass.
ZSJ mockingly asks how Khan’s feeling, and then tells the “big boy” to bring it already. Fans cheer as ZSJ says he’s having fun. ZSJ and Khan circle, tie up, and Khan drop toeholds to then have a leglock! ZSJ fights, grabs at the nape of Khan’s neck, but Khan returns the favor! Khan bends ZSJ down and hooks a leg, but ZSJ pops free and gets the ropebreak! The ref counts, Khan lets go at 4, but only with his hands! He keeps a scissor on the leg so ZSJ fights back with a heel hook of his own! Khan gets free and stomps ZSJ’s other leg! Khan paces, taunts ZSJ but ZSJ eggs him on. Khan gives toying kicks and eggs ZSJ on. ZSJ gets up and EuroUppers! Khan shrugs it off so ZSJ throws another!
Fans cheer as Khan lets ZSJ get another shot in. ZSJ EuroUppers, and again, and again, but now ZSJ dares Khan to do it! Khan pats ZSJ on the shoulders, and MONGOLIAN CHOPS him down! Khan asks ZSJ what’s wrong and fans rally up. ZSJ gets up, bumps Khan with his shoulders so Khan bumps back with his chest. Khan Mongolian Chops but ZSJ stays up this time! Khan Mongolian Chops again and down goes ZSJ! Fans fire up as Khan paces, and Khan kicks ZSJ around. ZSJ gets up, wants to uppercut but his arm is bothering him. Khan mockingly applauds for ZSJ and drags ZSJ up, but ZSJ KICKS away on a leg! Wrench and hook up, IRON OCTOPUS!
Khan endures, fights out and wrenches a leg to an ANKLE LOCK! ZSJ uses his free leg for leverage but can’t break free! ZSJ stands and gets an armbar takedown! Khan clasps hands, fights out and has the KNEEBAR! ZSJ gets the other leg for a HEEL HOOK! Khan claws at ZSJ, turns over but ZSJ twists the ankle more! Khan spins around to get the heel hook on ZSJ! But ZSJ gets a ropebreak! Fans cheer as Khan lets go and both men are down from that newest exchange. Khan CLUBS ZSJ, gut wrenches for a dead lift, only for ZSJ to slip around to a SLEEPER! ZSJ has body scissors, too, but Khan breaks that and rolls, but ZSJ holds on!
ZSJ shifts from sleeper to crucifix takedown and cover, TWO! PENALTY KICK! Cover, ONE!! Fans cheer but ZSJ is annoyed as Khan sputters to center. They each shout at each other, ZSJ BOOTS, but Khan just stares him down. ZSJ BOOTS and BOOTS, but Khan gets around to the CLAW SLEEPER! ZSJ pries free, and PELES the arm! ZSJ goes up the corner and leaps, GUILLOTINE! Khan stays standing, pries free and clamps on the IRON CLAW! But not for the slam, but for an IRON CLAW COBRA TWIST! ZSJ endures as he’s being stretched and smothered! ZSJ reaches out but he’s fading! Fans rally, Khan leans all his weight, but ZSJ gets a second wind!
But Khan keeps ZSJ from the ropes and puts him in the KITSUJIGOROSHI! ZSJ endures, gets a third wind, but Khan knees him in the back over and over! ZSJ is turning red, but he refuses to give up! So Khan swings him around to the IRON CLAW SLEEPER, then a BACK2BACK RACK! ZSJ endures as Khan stomps and thrashes and adds pressure! ZSJ refuses to give up so Khan drops him! Khan grows frustrated but he clamps the claw back on! Khan drags ZSJ up, but ZSJ turns Eliminator into TRIANGLE! Khan dead lifts but ZSJ scrambles around to get another IRON OCTOPUS! Then HURRAH, ANOTHER YEAR!! Khan taps, ZSJ wins!!
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission (gains 2 points; Khan earns 0)
And the Submission Master is the only undefeated man in A Block!! And with this win, he has the tiebreaker over Khan! Has ZSJ just taken away another man’s chance at the G1 finals?
Kota Ibushi VS Toru Yano!
The Golden Star is struggling a bit this G1. He, too, benefits some from the Naito points, but he’s still trying to climb back up. Will the Clown Prince only add insult to injury and up near the top of the block?
Toru is out first so his long introduction is finished before Ibushi makes his entrance. Yano again has the ref rush through the check and Ibushi gives Yano the benefit of the doubt. But instead, Ibushi questions the mysterious bag. Yano says it’ s nothing, but we saw just last round that there were handcuffs and rolls of wrist tape in there. Yano shows the ref and then shows Ibushi there’s nothing. And then Yano puts the bag on Ibushi’s head like a blindfold! Yano rolls Ibushi up, TWO! M U! TWO!! Yano throws Ibushi out and he staggers about blindly! Yano pulls the string tight and then wraps Ibushi up in the apron skirt! The ref reprimands then starts a ring count!
Yano finishes wrapping Ibushi and throws him down on the ground. Yano gets in the ring at 6 of 20 while Ibushi squirms and flounders! Ibushi rolls, unwraps himself but we’re already at 15! Ibushi kicks, hops, gets the blindfold off, and is in at 19!! Yano curses his luck and undoes a buckle pad! Ibushi runs in, avoids hitting buckles, then baits Yano in! Yano hits bare buckles and Ibushi dropkicks Yano out! Fans fire up and Ibushi aims, PLANCHA! Direct hit and down goes Yano! Fans fire up more with Ibushi and Ibushi gets in the ring as the ring count climbs. But Yano grabs Ibushi’s foot! Yano has wrist tape!! And he tapes Ibushi’s feet up!
The count keeps going, we’re at 15 again as Yano keeps binding Ibushi! Ibushi BOOTS Yano away, Yano gets in at 19.5!! Ibushi is surprised and then upset. Yano wants Ibushi to forgive him, and promises he’s not going to try that again. Really? Really really! Okay. But Ibushi still kicks at him! Yano ducks the buzzsaw, waistlocks but Ibushi switches. Yano goes for the low blow but Ibushi dodges it. Ibushi kicks, runs, but Yano atomic drops! Yano runs to CHOP BLOCK! And then a rolling cover, TWO!! Yano swings but Ibushi spins him and has both arms! Ibushi kicks Yano’s legs out, then hits a BLINDSIDE KAMI-GOYE!!
Fans fire up with Ibushi as he gets the wrists again. Ibushi sits Yano up, but Yano drags Ibushi down to a sunset flip! TWO!! BUSAIKU KNEE! Then KAMI-GOYE!! Cover, Ibushi wins!
Winner: Kota Ibushi, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Yano earns 0)
Yano’s bag of tricks didn’t pull the wool over Ibushi’s eyes, he came out with a fast and impactful win! And to give Yano a taste of his own medicine, he puts the blindfold bag over Yano down then “sneaks” away. Will Ibushi boldly rise back up and make it back to his fourth consecutive G1 finals?
Shingo Takagi VS KENTA!
The Dragon got to face Blue Justice on his bye week, won, and vowed to make Tetsuya Naito his choice to face at WrestleKingdom! But that means winning the entire G1! Will Fang Revived kill Takagi’s hope by dragging him down to 2-2? Or will he chip a tooth off the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion’s iron will?
Takagi and Kenta stare down, and Kenta refuses to back down to his corner. Takagi goes to his, and only as Red Shoes asks does Kenta back off. Fans rally for “TA-KA-GI!” at the bell, but Kenta BOOTS! Takagi stays up, the forearms start flying and fans rally as they go faster and faster! Kenta eggs Takagi on as they keep going, and Takagi ROCKS Kenta! Kenta rebounds to BOOT, but Takagi rebounds to RAM Kenta down! Kenta gets up to mule kick then snapmare Takagi for a KICK to the back. Takagi gets up to shove, so Kenta KICKS and KICKS and KICKS! Takagi blocks to scoop and SLAM, then BACK SENTON! Fans rally more as Takagi looms over Kenta.
Takagi sits Kenta up to drive elbows into the good shoulder. Takagi then runs but slides into an omoplata! Kenta gets GAME OVER already! The crossface is on but fans rally as Takagi endures! Takagi moves around, reaches out, and gets a ropebreak with a foot. Kenta lets go of the crossface but takes his time with the omoplata. Takagi clutches that arm, the one ZSJ worked over a few rounds ago, and bails out. Kenta goes out and KICKS the bad arm, but Takagi CHOPS! Kenta KICKS again, then POSTS Takagi, bad arm first. Kenta KICKS, Takagi throws boxing elbows! Kenta eggs him on, Takagi hits harder but Kenta gets the bad arm and wraps it around railing, then BOOTS it!
Takagi clutches his arm as he sits down but Kenta comes back to drag him up. The ring count climbs but Kenta puts Takagi in at 5 of 20. Kenta stomps the bad arm against the ropes then drags Takagi up. Kenta puts Takagi in a corner and wraps the arm around ropes! Red Shoes reprimands, Kenta lets off to KICK the bad arm more! Takagi throws elbows but the arm is too weak. Kenta drags Takagi down for a FUJIWARA! Takagi endures and fans rally up as he scoots around again. Takagi reaches out for another ropebreak! Kenta lets off with one hand but still has the arm trapped as he pushes back! Red Shoes reprimands and Kenta lets off.
Fans rally for Takagi but Kenta starts his own clap rhythm. Kenta trolls the fans again by making the rhythm hard to understand, then he KICKS Takagi. Takagi rushes Kenta but Kenta holds him off and KNEES the bad arm. Kenta drags Takagi up, wrenches to an ELBOW BREAKER, then unties the blue corner’s buckle pad! Bullet Club’s favorite strategy comes into play already! Kenta KICKS Takagi, but Takagi ELBOWS him back. Kenta wrenches the arm to another ELBOW BREAKER! Kenta whips Takagi into the bare buckles! Fans rally while Takagi is down, Kenta looms over him and stands on the bad arm. Kenta YANKS it back, then drops knees on it.
Takagi endures as Kenta digs his knee in, then drops the knee again. And again! Kenta pulls the arm against his knee but Takagi clasps hands and gets another ropebreak. Kenta lets off but then stands Takagi up to wrench. ELBOW BREAKER, then he wrenches again. ELBOW BREAKER again, then another wrench. Takagi blocks the Elbow Breaker with a sleeper! But Kenta RAMS Takagi into the bare buckles! Kenta runs, but into ELBOW! JAB! Oh but the bad arm! YUKON FEINT to the DDT! Fans fire up as both men are down! Takagi shakes out his bad arm, stands Kenta back up, and bumps him off padded buckles. Takagi throws forearms then CHOPS, despite the pain in his arm.
Kenta kicks but Takagi wrenches him and whips corner to corner. Takagi runs in but into a boot! Kenta goes up, but Takagi disrupts the tornado! Takagi runs but Kenta boots his clothesline, so Takagi hits a YUKON DISCUS! Takagi gets Kenta up as fans fire up, and Takagi manages a high and hard suplex! Takagi sits Kenta up, runs and SLIDING LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Takagi fires himself up, kicks at Kenta, pump handles but Kenta resists the lift. Kenta wrenches out, wants the bad arm but Takagi shoves him away. But Kenta BOOTS him from the corner, reels Takagi in and TORNADO HOTSHOTS!
Takagi falls into the drop zone, Kenta climbs up, but Takagi gets back up, FLYING LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Fans still rally for “TA-KA-GI!” but Kenta spins him around for a DDT! Cover, TWO! Kenta is annoyed but he kicks Takagi while he’s down. And kicks and kicks, and has Takagi on the apron. Kenta stomps Takagi on the apron, then drags him up through the ropes. Takagi fights with short shoulder rams, then hip tosses Kenta to the apron! Takagi drags Kenta up but they brawl on the apron edge. Fans rally as Takagi throws headbutt after headbutt! Takagi fires up and fans join in. Takagi fireman’s carries but Kenta fights and gets to a corner! Kenta HOTSHOTS Takagi’s arm on the crossbar!
Both men are down on the outside and Red Shoes starts a ring count. Fans rally up as Kenta and Takagi stir. Kenta is up and in at 7 of 20 but Takagi drags himself up the railing. Kenta goes out at 10 to go after Takagi. Kenta CLUBS the bad arm, but Takagi RAMS him into the apron! Takagi brings Kenta around but Kenta knees him then puts him on the apron! DRAPING DDT to the floor! Both men are down from the #BrainKiller, but fans rally up as Red Shoes checks them both. Kenta sits up as the ring count starts again, and he drags himself in at 6 of 20. Takagi is still down at 10 of 20, starts getting up at 13, and fans rally as he slides in at 16! Kenta runs corner to corner to JUMP KICK!
Kenta keeps going, HESITATION DROPKICK! Fans fire up and Kenta goes up top. Takagi is in the drop zone, DIVING DOUBLE STOMPS! Cover, TWO!! Takagi survives the coup de grace but Kenta slashes his throat. But Takagi blocks the fireman’s carry, so Kenta KICKS the bad arm and KNEES Takagi down! Kenta drags Takagi back up, fireman’s carry and GO TO- NO! Takagi blocks, powers Kenta up for a SNAP DEATH VALLEY! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Takagi hears the time announcement and gets Kenta up to throw forearms. Kenta throws them back and fans rally as they keep going back and forth, harder and harder!
Kenta LARIATS but Takagi stays up! Takagi fires boxing elbows all the way 9, but Kenta COUNTER PALM STRIKES again and again and again and again! Kenta fires up but Takagi HEADBUTTS! URAKEN from Kenta! Both men drop and fans fire up! Kenta fires himself up, sits Takagi up and PENALTY- NO! Takagi blocks so Kenta throws hands. Takagi catches him for MADE IN JAPAN!! Cover, TWO!?! Kenta survives but fans are thunderous for “TA-KA-GI!” Takagi himself fires up with “OI! OI! OI!” and fans join in. Takagi drags Kenta up, throws forearm after forearm on Kenta, then wants the fans to get loud. Fans do get loud and Takagi goes corner to corner, but fakes Kenta out to SLAP him!
Takagi fires up again and he stands Kenta up. Takagi hoists Kenta to the top rope, climbs up to join him and hits a SUPERPLEX! Fans fire up as both men are down! Kenta ends up in the opposite corner but Takagi headbutts the mat to fire himself back up. Takagi gets his bad arm moving and he runs in, into a boot! Takagi just runs back, but Kenta puts Red Shoes in his place! Down goes Red Shoes but Takagi goes after Kenta. LOW BLOW and ARMBAR DDT! Kenta goes looking under the ring, and goes deep underneath to find some chairs! Kenta mocks Takagi’s “Here it comes!” as he puts a chair on Takagi’s bad arm! CON-CHAIR-TO to the arm!! And then an ENCORE!!
Takagi writhes as Kenta gets away with all this. Kenta looks for Red Shoes but where’d he go? Oh there he is. Kenta tells Red Shoes to stop napping on the job. Kenta gets Red Shoes back in the ring, slaps him around and then puts Takagi in GAME OVER!! Takagi endures, fans rally behind him, but Kenta pulls way back! Takagi kicks, powers up, but Kenta pulls even further! Kenta loses his grip for a moment but gets it back! Takagi refuses to give up and grabs at Red Shoes! Takagi moves back, and gets the ROPEBREAK! Fans cheer as Takagi survives and Kenta lets go in frustration! Kenta crawls away to the far side while Takagi growls and gets back up.
Kenta runs in to KNEE Takagi in the back! Takagi staggers, Kenta runs, into a PUMPING BOMBER! Both men are down but the fans are thunderous as Takagi rises! Takagi roars, drags Kenta up, but Kenta fireman’s carries! But Takagi slips off, DRAGON SUPLEX! SLIDING FOREARM! Kenta is dazed and Takagi tears off the elbow tape! Takagi runs and PUMPING BOMBERS!! Cover, TWO!?! Kenta survives and fans are fired up! Takagi headbutts his arm into working, and roars to get past the pain! Takagi wants the fans to get louder and they do as he pump handles and torture racks, but Kenta fights out! Kenta whips but Takagi reverses, Kenta gets bare buckles!
Takagi gets Kenta up, LAST OF THE DRAGON!! Cover, Takagi wins!!
Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Kenta earns 0)
The Dragon outlasts the Fang Revived and has G1 redemption! But Kenta still has a chance, will he take a bite out of someone else’s G1 run?
As for Takagi, he sets the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship belt down so it can sit up while he gets the mic. “Here I am! If you count the forfeited match, that’s three wins and one loss. I still have a shot at the finals, don’t I?” And next up, October 3rd, Takagi VS Ibushi! They were supposed to fight for the world title “just next door” at the Tokyo Dome, but it just couldn’t happen. But it’s been a year since they’ve faced off, so Takagi looks forward to it! “But watching Ibushi recently, the things he says and does, it doesn’t seem like enough.” Honestly, it isn’t that exciting to face him now.
Takagi wants Ibushi to know, he isn’t part of some rehab plan! He’s just interested in getting another win and going to the finals! “Listen up. This G1, or rather this hellish autumn, this hellish G1, is FAR from over! This rampaging dragon will continue to soar to the top!” Mic drop and flex, but will Takagi prove he would’ve won at WrestleKingdom 15? Or will it be Ibushi who shines in the G1’s halfway point?
Here are the NEW A Block standings!
Zack Sabre Jr: 4-0, 8 points
Great-O-Khan: 4-1, 8 points
Shingo Takagi: 3-1, 6 points
Kota Ibushi: 3-2, 6 points
Toru Yano: 3-2, 6 points
Kenta: 3-2, 6 points
Yujiro Takahashi: 2-2, 4 points [won special singles bye]
Tomohiro Ishii: 2-3, 4 points
Tanga Loa: 1-3, 2 points
Another great round for the G1 and NJPW! A shorter show than usual and it went quick with skipping Yujiro beating Bushi. Ishii VS Loa was a solid opener, both guys are good at the sturdy hoss style. It was a big move for Ishii to be the first NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Champion to win. And with Goto facing Okada and Hashi facing Taichi, I think he’ll be the only one with a win for the fourth round. ZSJ VS Khan was an awesome match to take things to the intermission, and it is definitely big for ZSJ to win and stay the one undefeated man in the block. He is definitely going to be a top choice out of this block, but he also got a win over Takagi so he could cash in his chance at Power Struggle.
Ibushi VS Yano was a lot of fun for going so frantically fast, but it definitely speaks to Ibushi’s DDT Pro origins of just goofing around for a bit. Ibushi of course wins, though, and he’s going strong into his match with Takagi, which he definitely needs. And of course, we got a great main event out of Takagi VS Kenta. Naturally, Takagi wins to keep his losses at one, and his match with Ibushi next round is going to tell a lot about A Block. I would think Takagi wins, as Ibushi’s roller coaster ride is a great story for him and it keeps Takagi’s chances of being a historic world champion going into the G1 finals alive.
My Score: 9/10
Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (1/24/22)
Time to weigh in before the Rumble!
Raw prepares for the Royal Rumble!
Before fighting for the WWE World Championship, Bobby Lashley and BRRROCK LESNARRR step on the scales to make this one heavy Monday Night Raw!
- Bianca Belair VS Queen Zelina Vega; Belair wins.
- WWE United States Championship: Damian Priest VS Kevin Owens; Kevin wins by disqualification, and Priest retains the title.
- Six Woman Tag: Rhea Ripley, Dana Brooke & Liv Morgan VS Tamina, Carmella & Nikki A.S.H; Ripley, Brooke & Morgan win.
- The Alpha Academy Academic Challenge Round 1, Spelling Bee: The Alpha Academy VS RKBRO; RKBRO wins and gets to choose next week’s challenge.
- Randy Orton w/ Matt Riddle VS Chad Gable w/ Otis; Orton wins.
- AJ Styles VS Austin Theory; Styles wins.
- The Mysterios VS The Street Profits; The Mysterios win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Corey Graves is in the ring with Adam Pearce.
Pearce welcomes the fans to the official WWE World Championship weigh-in for the Royal Rumble. “Without further ado, please welcome the challenger, Bobby Lashley!” The Rocky Mountain Machine makes his way out, MVP right behind him, and some pyro added to his pose, and some more pyro in the ring. And of course, the WWE Champion, Br- “Ladies and gentlemen.” Paul Heyman walks out on stage to give his introduction, and says he’s so tired of everyone trying to steal his shtick, especially when no one does it as good as he does.
So about to walk down the aisle and step onto the scale, your REIGNING! DEFENDING! UNDISPUTED! WWE HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE WORLD~! BRRROCK! LESNARRR!! Lesnar makes his entrance, wearing a cowboy hat and jeans, and he goes to the ring to join Lashley. But given the attire and the smirk on his face, it’s hard to say he’s taking this serious. Graves points it out, and Lesnar asks if Graves would like Lesnar to get naked. How about just carrying on with this then? Graves says Lashley is the challenger, so he will go first. Lashley throws off his jacket, steps over, and stands on the scale.
The ref checks, and Lashley weighs in at 273 pounds. MVP says, “See that? 273 pounds of All Mighty killing machine! 273 pounds of specimen like no other. Closer to a god than a man. 273 pounds of bottled lightning that Brock Lesnar will have to contend with at the Royal Rumble.” The match so many had written off as impossible is happening. But Lashley knew it was inevitable. 273 pounds, and then after the Rumble, Lashley will gain some weight. The exact amount as that WWE Championship weighs. Lesnar and Heyman laugh that off, and Graves says it is Lesnar’s turn. Lesnar takes off his hat and lets Heyman hold that while he steps on the scale.
The ref checks, and Lesnar weighs in at 286 pounds. Lashley is upset, though. Lesnar thinks this is funny, huh? He’s acting like a fool because he knows Lashley will beat him for the title this Saturday. “Mark my words: this will be the shortest title run of your entire career. And that’s not a prediction. That’s a spoiler.” Lesnar laughs and says, “Well who’s the comedian now? Paul, get this. On Sunday morning, hot off the press, Bobby Lashley beats Brock Lesnar in the Hurt Lock. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new champion! The new reigning, defending, WWE Heavyweight Champion of the world~! Bobby Who?”
Lesnar laughs, takes his leave with Heyman, but it’s only a matter of time. Will Lashley have the last laugh when he’s the one leaving St. Louis with the title?
Bianca Belair VS Queen Zelina Vega!
The EST is dressed in gold, because she’s ready to go for gold in the Women’s Rumble! Will the Queen of the Ring merely be a stepping stone on Bianca repeating history?
Raw returns and Vega makes her entrance. The bell rings and they tie up. Bianca scoops and puts Vega on the apron. Bianca then blows a kiss, ducks the haymaker, drags Vega back into the ring and swings her around in the waistlock before a SLAM! Fans rally for the “EST! EST!” and Bianca avoids Vega stomping her foot! Bianca ripcords and whips but Vega reverses, only for Bianca to go up and over. Bianca handsprings, eggs Vega on, then dropkicks her down! Bianca kips up, drags Vega up, and suplexes! Bianca holds Vega up but Vega STUN-DOG MILLIONAIRES! Vega stomps away on Bianca in a corner and digs her boot in!
The ref counts, Vega lets off at 4 to then JUMP KICK! Vega keeps moving, and she KNEES Bianca down! Vega soaks up the heat, takes a bow, and then drags Bianca up. Bianca shoves Vega away, runs in but is sent into buckles! Vega then goes up, but Bianca ROCKS her first! Bianca scowls, trophy lifts Vega off the corner, but Vega fights free to a SLEEPER! Bianca RAMS Vega into buckles but Vega just throws elbows! Vega brings Bianca down to her knees, squeezes tight on the sleeper, but fans rally up. Bianca fights up, RAMS Vega into more buckles and then throws Vega off! Bianca scoops but Vega headscissors, but Bianca handsprings through!
Bianca rallies on Vega, dropkick and kip up! Fans fire up as Bianca brings Vega in for a suplex! Roll through, another suplex, and she even jogs in place before the SLAM! Bianca runs, handsprings, and MOONSAULTS onto knees! Vega grits her teeth, hops on, CODE- NO! No red, Bianca pops Vega off to a torture rack! KISS OF DEATH! Cover, Bianca wins!
Winner: Bianca Belair, by pinfall
Well, she just beat a queen, so this was the royalEST win Bianca’s gotten yet! Will she go back-to-back at the Rumble and return to WrESTleMania?
Backstage interview with Kevin Owens.
Kevin Patrick tries to talk with him before his US Championship match but Kevin Owens refuses to talk. K-Peezy points out KO was the first person to give Damian Priest a pinfall loss here on Raw, and KO agrees with that. But he faked an injury. What? What did K-Peezy say? Faking an injury? Is he accusing KO of lying? Has K-Peezy been in the ring? No, he hasn’t, so his opinion is moot. KO says he fought through pain! Just reed his shirt! “Just Keep Fighting.” Now tonight, KO gets his US title match, and guess what he’ll do tonight? Read the third! Just Keep Fighting. That’s right! And he’ll do that until he is the new United States Champion.
WWE United States Championship: Damian Priest VS Kevin Owens!
The Archer of Infamy knows the Prizefighter is two-faced, but now he knows what to expect after being duped into a defeat. Will Priest keep the gold away from KO? Or will Damian make it hard for him to hold back?
Raw returns and Kevin makes his entrance. The introductions are made, the title is raised, and we see who goes into the Rumble with gold already around their waist!
Kevin kicks, Priest pushes him away and fires off in the corner! Kevin dodges to CHOP and CHOP and forearm in return! The ref counts, Kevin lets off but Priest turns things around to fire off fast hands! Priest CHOPS, whips corner to corner, but Kevin reverses. Kevin runs in but blocks the knee to throw the leg down. Priest ROCKS Kevin with an uppercut, then throws more forearms! Priest runs, but Kevin drops to come back and CLOBBER Priest with an elbow! SENTON! Cover, TWO! Kevin argues the count but he goes after Priest in the corner. Kevin stomps, the ref counts and Kevin backs off. Kevin then runs in, but into a choke grip!
Kevin slips out of the choke slam to CHOP and forearm, but he runs into a BOOT! Kevin bails out, Priest builds speed, and Priest goes up the ropes. Kevin gets away, Priest hops down and goes out after Kevin. Priest blocks the superkick and throws Kevin into barriers! Priest puts Kevin back in, but Kevin SUPERKICKS him off the apron! Kevin hurries to the apron, SWANTON onto the knees! Priest was ready this week! APRON CHOKE SLAM! Priest is fired up and so are the fans as Raw goes to break!
Raw returns and Priest fires off kick after kick then a ROLLING ELBOW! Kevin goes to a corner, Priest hits a back elbow! But Kevin fights off the suplex, only to get a BELL CLAP! And a HEADLOCK DRIVER! Cover, TWO! Priest drags Kevin up, puts him in a corner and hoists him up top. Priest ROCKS Kevin with a right, climbs up, but Kevin hits back! Kevin adjusts and headbutts away on Priest! Then TORNADO DDT! Priest is in a drop zone, Kevin goes up top! FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! Priest survives and Kevin can’t believe it! Kevin argues with the ref but the ref defends it was two. Kevin waits on Priest to get up, SUPERKICK!
Kevin gets Priest back up, whips but Priest holds ropes. Priest BOOTS back, ducks and dodges, to FLAPJACK Kevin down! Then a HEEL KICK! Cover, TWO!! Kevin survives almost being beheaded but Priest keeps his cool. Kevin claims he’s got a bad arm, but Priest doesn’t trust that! Priest stomps away on Kevin at the ropes, but lets off as the ref counts 4. Kevin still says he has a bad arm but Priest KICKS him out to the apron. Priest rushes over, Kevin HOTSHOTS him! Kevin give sup faking and rolls Priest up, with tights, TWO!! STUN- NO! Priest powers out to LARIAT! Priest is fuming, is Damian coming?
Priest KICKS Kevin into a corner, stomps away, fires down hands, but the ref backs him up. Priest still comes back for more, the ref has to push him away again. Priest BOOTS Kevin, fires off more elbows, but the ref calls for the bell!
Winner: Kevin Owens, by disqualification (Priest retains the WWE US Championship)
Damian got the better off Priest, but he still has the belt. Kevin may have gotten the win, but will he think again before pushing Priest’s buttons?
Royal Rumble entrees speak.
Rhea Ripley says, “I have a score to settle with Nikki A.S.H. But the one thing that’s consuming my mind right now is the Royal Rumble. This Saturday, it’s every woman for herself, so I’m going to win at any cost. It’s gonna be an absolute nightmare for the 29 other women when I win the Royal Rumble and move on to WrestleMania.”
Dana Brooke says, “Call me crazy, but this year is gonna be my year! As reigning 24/7 Champion, I’m ready any time, at any place. And this Saturday, I’m gonna continue riding that wave, and winning the Royal Rumble.”
Liv Morgan says we’ve all seen her from being happy to be here to the girl that took the Raw Women’s Champion to her limit. We saw her nearly become champion. But at the Royal Rumble, there won’t be “nearly.” She’ll win to become the NEW Raw Women’s Champion.
Sonya Deville finds Damian Priest backstage.
He was outta control! When the ref says to do something, he should listen. Or else he’ll get fined, suspended, or worse. So get it under control! Will Priest find a way to contain the rage inside?
Six Woman Tag: Rhea Ripley, Dana Brooke & Liv Morgan VS Tamina, Carmella & Nikki A.S.H!
We just heard from one team about the Women’s Rumble, but can they back it all up with actions? Or will they almost have momentum after facing the Daughter of Superfly, the Most Beautiful Woman in the WWE, and the Almost SuperHero?
Raw returns as Dana makes her entrance, followed by Liv. Then Mella makes her entrance, followed by Tamina, and lastly, Nikki. The teams sort out, Mella gets her protective mask while Dana starts with Tamina. They tie up, Dana wrenches to a wristlock, Tamina shoves her away then runs her over! Tamina soaks up the heat, taunts Liv and Rhea, then stomps Dana. Tamina rains down forearms, wraps on a chinlock and she thrashes Dana before clamping on a neck wrench. Fans rally and Dana fights up, Dana throws elbows. Tamina CLUBS Dana, back suplexes, but Dana lands on her feet to tag Rhea! Rhea dropkicks Tamina, then swipes at Nikki!
Rhea DECKS Mella, wrenches Tamina and hits her with short arm clothesline after short arm clothesline! Then a ripcord HEADBUTT, and a sweep to the legs! Rhea runs to basement dropkick! Fans fire up with Rhea, she brings Tamina up but Tamina shoves her away. Rhea comes back to sobat, then she NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridging cover, TWO! Mella gets in and FABULOUS KICKS Rhea! Liv ENZIGURIS Mella! Nikki kicks Liv for a TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Dana SHOTGUNS Nikki, Tamina CLOBBERS Dana! Mella tags in, she pie faces Rhea, and that just pisses Rhea off! Rhea trips Mella, ties up the legs, PRISM TRAP!! Mella taps, Rhea’s team wins!
Winner: Rhea Ripley, Dana Brooke & Liv Morgan, by submission
That mask didn’t protect the legs! Will it protect Mella from being thrown out? but then Nikki SUCKER PUNCHES Rhea! What kind of hero uses a cheap shot?! Will Rhea personally make sure the Rumble is a nightmare for her former friend?
The Alpha Academy Academic Challenge Round 1, Spelling Bee: The Alpha Academy VS RKBRO!
In order for Matt Riddle & Randy Orton to earn a rematch for the Raw Tag Team Championships, they have to show their mental strength is superior in a series of challengers! Otis looked a little worried about that last week, but will he and “Master” Chad Gable be able to outsmart the Stallion & Viper? Or will #4PointOtis no longer be top of the class?
Raw returns and Kevin Patrick presides over this challenge. He welcomes to Raw Tag Team Champions, the Alpha Academy. Gable says that was a fine introduction but a terrible explanation. So he’ll put it in a way that even the mindless morons of Ohio can understand. SHOOSH. Tonight is the first in a triad of events over the coming weeks. Fans chant, “You Suck!” and Otis gets upset. Gable says SHOOSH, and realizes vocabulary isn’t Ohio’s strong suit. Triad means three, so there will be three events. These events will prove Gable is a genius, just as his Master’s Degree and 4.0 GPA does. Don’t boo education! If anyone needs it, it’s Ohio.
Now, this will also prove his protégé, his prized pupil, Otis has both the brawn and brains the size of a tree trunk when he and Gable decimate RKBRO into mental submission. Gable is so proud of Otis. And lastly, Gable will use this platform to officially announce that the Alpha Academy are in the Men’s Royal Rumble! And you better believe one of them is winning, and then the Alpha Academy will headline WrestleMania! Thank you! Kevin Patrick then introduces the former tag team champions, RKBRO! Orton & Riddle head to the ring, and Kevin Patrick reminds us that this is a spelling bee. Tonight’s winners will then choose next week’s challenge stipulation.
The champions open, and first up is Otis. Gable says Otis has this, and Otis nervously steps to the mic. Otis’ word is… Emmental. Can Kevin use that in a sentence? A form of Swiss cheese. E-M-M-E-N-T-A-L! CORRECT! Gable is proud and Otis is sure they’ve already got this. First up for RKBRO, it’s Riddle. Fans fire up as The Bro goes to the mic. Riddle’s word is… Calibration. Cali-bro-tion? No, calibration. Can he use that in a sentence? Uh, ok. “A simple calibration is used to set up the system for individual implementation.” Please put that into letters for Riddle. No, Riddle, you have to spell it. Oh, okay, like when he calibrates his scale for measuring ounces and-
Riddle, just spell it then! Right, sorry. C-A-L-I-B-R-A-T-I-O-N. CORRECT! Tied at 1-1 and Riddle is fired up! Gable is now up, and his word is… Disillusion. Gable laughs that one off. He was hoping for a challenger. For the sake of sportsmanship, give him the definition! SHOOSH! He didn’t need it! This is Mr. 4.0, baby! It is the disbandment of a group or organization- No, Kevin said disillusion, not dissolution. D-I-S-S-O-L-U-T-I-O-N! NO, Gable! Wrong word! What?! That was dissolution but Kevin said disillusion. This is a joke! Kevin said the word wrong! Gable says he spelled a word right! But it wasn’t the word that was said.
Orton says maybe Gable can just a freakin’ seat! Orton is ready to get this over with. Then his word and the win is… Well, one of the most commonly misspelled words. Dumbbell. Riddle says Orton has this! And looking at Riddle, Orton has this. D-U-M-B-B-E-L-L. CORRECT! Gable is furious! Dumbbell for Orton? Riddle IS a dumbbell! Gable, shut your mouth! And Ohio, let’s go ahead and shut Gable’s mouth for him! They can go 1v1 right here, right now! Gable is furious, and Orton says Gable is clearly not that smart so maybe he’ll spell out how he’s gonna beat Gable: the three most destructive letters in sports entertainment, R K O!!
Randy Orton w/ Matt Riddle VS Chad Gable w/ Otis!
Raw returns and the match is on! Orton and Gable circle, fans rally behind “Randy! Randy!” and ties up with Gable. Orton headlocks, grinds Gable but Gable fights up. Gable pries the hold, has a top wristlock and he brings Orton down. Otis says that’s the power of leverage, and Gable wernches to a wristlock. But Orton powers out to drop toehold and facelock! Gable moves around, Orton gets away, and the two circle again. They tie up, Gable wrenches, wristlocks, but Orton fights up. Riddle and the fans rally up, Orton wrenches through and headlocks. Gable powers out, Orton runs him over! Riddle is fired up as Gable gets to a corner.
Orton and Gable reset, tie up again, and Gable wrenches to a hammerlock. Orton slips around to hammerlock back, then headlocks. Gable powers out, Orton runs him over, and things speed up. Gable arm-drags, and arm-drags again! Gable keeps on the arm and fans boo as he wrenches the shoulder. Orton fights up, fans keep rallying, and Orton whips Gable to a corner. Gable goes up and over but Orton fakes out the arm-drag! RK- NO! Gable pushes Orton away, and then bails out of the ring to regroup with Otis. Fans boo and a ring count starts. Otis says you can’t RKO someone with no neck! Gable gets in the ring, he circles with Orton and they tie up again.
Orton wrenches to a wristlock, but Gable rolls, bridges, spins and handsprings to spin through and headlock. Gable then spins to the toehold and has the ANKLE LOCK! But Orton slips away and bails out to regroup with Riddle. Gable says it was that close, but Orton keeps his cool. Orton takes his time returning, but Gable throat chops him! Gable CHOPS Orton to a corner, throws body shots and haymakers, but lets off as the ref counts. Gable fires off more forearms, strikes a pose, but then Orton kicks back! Orton fires off EuroUppers over and over, whips Gable to ropes, then CLOBBERS him with an elbow!
Gable bails out again, Orton stalks up behind him! Back suplex to the announce desk! Gable flops to the floor and Otis can only glare as Orton looms over Gable. Fans are all fired up as Orton puts Gable in the ring. Otis gets on the apron, Orton knock shim down! But Gable CHOP BLOCKS a leg! Gable runs, runs Orton over, then hurries up the corner! MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!! Orton survives and Gable can’t believe it, while Raw goes to break.
Raw returns again and Gable has a standing toehold. Orton endures, Riddle coaches him up, but Gable stomps Orton down! Gable has Orton in a corner, hooks a leg in the ropes, then gets the other for a DRAPING DRAGON SCREW! The ref keeps Gable back but Gable shoots in to get the left leg. Orton CLUBS Gable, whips him but the bad leg gives up! Gable whips Orton into a corner, but Orton comes back to LARIAT! Orton manages to rally, and he dodges to BACK DROP Gable away! Gable goes to a corner, Orton runs in to clothesline! Fans are thunderous for RKBRO as Orton reels Gable in. Gable switches, Orton bucks the waistlock and hits a BACK2BACKBREAKER!
Fans fire up as Otis coaches Gable and Riddle coaches Orton. Orton puts Gable through ropes, drags him out, time to spell “vintage!” DRAPING DDT! Orton slowly gets up as fans fire up behind him. Orton hears the voices and he waits on Gable. Riddle sees Otis getting on the apron and runs over that way. But Otis gets him for an EXPLODER! Orton is distracted, Gable backslides him! TWO, and Orton hits a POWERSLAM! Orton’s bad leg slows him down, but the fans still rally as hard as ever. Orton stands over Gable, then aims from the corner. Otis shouts to Gable, but Orton runs in, only for Gable to dodge the punt! ANKLE LOCK!!
Orton endures as Gable thrashes the bad leg! Fans rally, Riddle CLOBBERS Otis with his scooter! And then again! And again! Gable is distracted, Orton rolls to send Gable into buckles! RKO!!! Cover, Orton wins!!
Winner: Randy Orton, by pinfall
RKBRO gets extra credit on The Alpha Academy! A win in the spelling bee and a win in the ring, but Riddle gets a mic. Riddle congratulations Orton, and reminds us that they get to choose the second Academy Challenge. Riddle thinks it’s time to go old school to gym class! What better way to show some physical prowess than a good, ol’ fashioned… scooter race! Is that really part of gym class? And does Otis even stand a chance of finding a scooter that can hold him up? Will RKBRO make it a 2-0 sweep? Or can Gable find a way to make a comeback?
Alexa Bliss continues her therapy.
The doctor thinks they’re making progress. Oh? He asks her a personal question: When was the very first time that Alexa met Lily? Oh, well, Lily’s been around her whole life. Any time Alexa was looked down on or bullied, Lily was there to be her friend. Alexa was just six years old when she met Lily. These two teenage girls picked on Alexa cuz she wore glasses, and they shoved her off the monkey bars. Alexa got knocked out, and when she came to, Lily was there. Those cute button eyes and the braids and stitching. Is that too much? No, keep going. Okay.
That day, Alexa and Lily got ice cream and played on the monkey bars. Lily said those mean girls would never come back, too. Then they ate candy and gumdrops, and they did that game where you stuff marshmallows in your mouth and try to say, “Chubby bunny.” Well, Alexa has plenty more to say, will we get to the bottom of Lily’s hold over Alexa?
Vince McMahon talks with Austin Theory.
Vince knows Theory is doing really good lately, especially the selfies. Yeah, look at this one! No, not that one. Well, it did feel good destroying Finn Balor, just like Vince wanted. And in the Rumble, Theory will win and face the champion of his choosing at WrestleMania! That’s exciting. If it’s not too much to ask, maybe Theory could get a late number? Like 26 or 27?Why would Theory think Vince has any influence over that at all? Especially right now, when he should focus on his opponent, AJ Styles. Whoa, as in, former WWE Champion, US Champion, Intercontinental Champion, Tag Team Champion, Grand Slam Champion AJ Styles? Yep! That AJ Styles.
Theory says that’s fine. Sounds good, even! Okay, hang on. Don’t forget your phone. And bring back a really good selfie. Yes, sir! Will Theory be able to be more than Phenomenal here tonight? Or does he finally fall out of favor with Mr. McMahon?
AJ Styles VS Austin Theory!
The Phenomenal One himself just got finished with a bright and shining star with a big ego in Grayson Waller. Will Styles check off another future star in Vince’s newest pet project?
Raw returns and Theory makes his entrance. The bell rings, they tie up, and Theory powers Styles to a corner. The ref counts, Theory lets off to mock Styles’ pose, but Styles keeps cool. They tie up again, Styles powers Theory to a corner but Theory turns it around. The ref counts, Theory lets off, and then he double guns. Styles still stays cool, ties up with Theory and gets a headlock. Theory powers up but can’t power out as Styles holds tight. Theory powers out, Styles ducks the hurdle, rolls Theory up, TWO! Theory fireman’s carries, but Styles sunset flips! TWO, Styles wheelbarrows to a victory roll, TWO! Styles dropkicks Theory right outta the ring!
Fans fire up and Styles takes aim. Slingshot and FOREARM! Direct hit and Theory checks his chin. Styles puts Theory back in the ring, stalks Theory to ropes, brings Theory up and bumps him off buckles. Styles CHOPS, Theory staggers to another corner, but Styles brings him out. Theory kicks but Styles blocks. Theory ROCKS Styles with a forearm, but Styles KICKS Theory’s leg! Theory hobbles to the corner, but Styles storms over. Theory YANKS Styles into buckles! And then throws him down by his hair! Slingshot STOMP, deadlift suplex! Cover, ONE!! Theory is annoyed and he rains down rights before wrapping on a headlock.
Theory grinds Styles but fans rally up. Styles fights up, puts Theory in a corner, but Theory turns things around. Styles dodges to CHOP! And CHOP! Theory falls and crawls, but he throws body shots. Styles KICKS Theory in the side! Styles runs for a BIG knee drop! Cover, TWO! Styles gets Theory up, snap suplexes, covers, TWO! Theory grits his teeth but Styles drags him back up. Theory FLAPJACK HOTSHOTS him! Styles sputters while Theory seethes, and Theory stomps Styles down! Theory drags Styles up, throws forearms, then whips corner to corner. Styles hits buckles hard, and Theory gets in his face! “How’s that feel?!”
Theory throws fists down but the ref back shim off. Theory stands on Styles’ head, but lets off as the ref counts. Theory drags Styles up but Styles DECKS Theory with a forearm! Styles drags Theory up, but Theory suplexes for a GOURD BUSTER! Styles flounders in the corner, Theory hoists him up top. Theory throws forearms, climbs up to join Styles, but Styles throws body shots in return. Styles ROCKS Theory, Theory drops but then somersaults to SHOTGUN DROPKICK Styles to the floor! Fans boo but Theory grins as he looks down at Styles, and Raw goes to break.
Raw returns and Theory has a headlock. Styles throws body shots, Theory knees low. Styles kicks back, then ENZIGURIS! Theory staggers, Styles runs in but Theory catches his crossbody for a BACKBREAKER! Then a SWINGING BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Theory grins as Styles survives, and he stalks Styles to ropes. Theory bumps Styles off buckles, then RAMS a shoulder into his back! And again, and again! Theory lets off as the ref counts, and Theory throws down more fists. Theory brings Styles up, but Styles JAWBREAKERS free! Styles ROCKS Theory with a right, then CHOPS him to ropes. Styles whips, Theory reverses and BACK DROPS! Cover, TWO!
Theory says HE is phenomenal but fans boo. Theory drags Styles up to snapmare and stomp him down! Theory mocks Styles’ pose again, but misses the elbow drop! Theory grits his teeth as he gets back up and runs in at the corner. Styles elbows Theory away, then QUEBRADA DDT! Both men are down but the fans fire up! Theory and Styles are on opposite ends, Styles runs in to LARIAT! Theory kicks back but Styles fires off the Phenomenal Blitz! Styles hits a clothesline in the corner, then suplexes Theory to a NECKBREAKER! Styles runs, SLIDING FOREARM! Cover, TWO! Theory is still in it but Styles keeps his cool.
Styles drags Theory up, fireman’s carries but Theory slips out. Styles ducks the haymaker but not the back elbow! Theory hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO! Theory checks his chin again, drags Styles up and says he’s got this. JAWBREAKER! Styles runs in, but into a BOOT! Theory somersaults for a BLOCKBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Styles survives and Theory can’t believe it! Theory shakes his head, convincing himself he can do this. Theory gets Styles up to throw big forearms in the corner. Theory puts Styles up top, climbs up to join him, but Styles resists! Styles slips through and trips Theory up! Styles waistlocks, but Theory elbows out hard!
Theory reels Styles in, but Styles fights out of the powerbomb! Styles ducks and dodges to PELE! Both men are down again and fans are rallying! Styles reels Theory in, but Theory fireman’s carries! Styles fights free, rolls Theory, CALF CRUSHER!! Theory scrambles, ROPEBREAK! Styles lets go and both men slowly get up. Styles grabs at Theory but Theory holds the ropes. The ref calls the ropebreak, Theory throat chops! But Styles BOOTS back, goes to the outside, but Theory trips up his springboard! High stack, but with ropes! The ref sees that and stops the count! Theory and the ref argue, but Styles ROCKS Theory!
Styles is on the apron, he springboards in, PHENOMENAL FOREARM!! Cover, Styles wins!
Winner: AJ Styles, by pinfall
Now that was phenomenal! Will Styles use this momentum to take the Royal Rumble and that golden ticket to WrestleMania? And what of Theory facing Vince’s wrath?
Raw holds a simultaneous interview with Becky Lynch and “Doudrop” Piper Niven.
Commentary wants to start with Piper. This match has been a long time coming, and Piper ran through the rest of the division to- Becky speaks up and asks if this is their first time. We start with the champion. And she’ll start with a champion of “a wee lass named Doudrop.” When she first got her start across the pond, who did she idolize? Becky. Who did she want to face most? Becky. Tell ’em how Becky paved the way, and as the groundbreaker she is, she gave Piper this match. People are asking, “Why would anybody in their right mind choose someone who can clearly out power them? Who can clearly break all their bones with one slam to the mat?”
Maybe that’s the answer! Maybe Becky isn’t in her right mind. Or maybe Becky is that confident in how damn good she is! Or that generous to grant an opportunity to a fellow Celt. Piper speaks up to suggest that maybe, Becky handpicked Piper because Becky is desperate. Maybe ever since she returned, she’s been ducking, dodging and scrambling just to hold onto the title. Maybe Becky thought putting the new girl in would be an easy victory. The only easy thing here will be how easy it is for Piper to break every single one of Becky’s ribs.
Becky wants “Doudou” to hold on there. Becky should be thanked for giving Piper her biggest match, her first title match here, and for paving the way and giving Piper a match at one of the biggest events of the year. If Piper had just said thanks, but no. Piper waited for Becky to get in and offer a handshake, so of course Becky slapped her across the face. And being the bigger person, Becky offers to lead Piper to victory in the tag match. But then Piper splashed Becky, dropped her, left her lying. Becky admits, she didn’t see that coming. But Piper’s in for a rude awakening at the Rumble when she steps in the ring with the #VanGOAT and Becky wins to stay Raw Women’s Champion.
Oh, is Becky done? Piper zoned out when she started hearing that whining, nagging sound, or else she was gonna lose it. But Piper will show gratitude when Becky shows respect. But Becky won’t, she will keep whining. She’s not a goat, she’s a little lamb on the way to the slaughter. The Dome is the slaughterhouse, and the new champion will be Doudrop! Becky says Piper was just another name to fill out the roster before this. Piper needs to know her place. It’s dead space and- Oh, Piper’s getting off the mic? She gonna run? She can’t run from the truth, or from this fight. Becky’s been champ for nearly three years !But then Piper barges into Becky’s room!
Piper and Becky scrap and referees rush in to stop it! Piper says her place is with the title, standing over Becky! Will Piper be the one to make Becky DouDROP that title?
Backstage interview with Rey & Dominik Mysterio.
Sarah congratulates Rey on being the WWE 2K22 cover superstar. What does it mean to be among the ranks like Stone Cold, The Rock, John Cena and The Undertaker? Rey says this is so dope. You have no idea what an honor it is to represent. Most superstars spend their careers chasing achievements, from main eventing WrestleMania or entering the Hall of Fame. Being on the cover of a WWE video game is no different, especially when that game is FIRE! Although, the one thing prouder would be seeing Dom on the cover one day. Dom says now Rey’s talking. Dom used to play those games growing up, and he knows he has to create his own legacy to be in those games. That starts Saturday when he wins the Royal Rumble.
Well okay, but that’d mean he has to throw Rey out. That’s not happening, right? Well after last week, he might be first to go! Dom’s got jokes. He’s playin’ right? Dom grins and heads out, but Rey laughs it off. Will “every man for himself” be true even for the Mysterio Familia?
The Mysterios VS The Street Profits!
Rey & Dom won alongside Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins last week, but now they’ll go against each other for some last minute momentum! Who will be on fire going into the Royal Rumble match after tonight?
Raw returns as the Mysterios make their entrance. The teams sort out, Dawkins starts against Dom. They circle, tie up, and Dom headlocks. Dawkins powers out, things speed up, Dom RANAS! Dom throws hands, knuckle locks and CHOPS, then goes up to FLYING ARM-DRAG! Dawkins dodges, Dom keeps moving, Dawkins hits a big back elbow! Cover, TWO! Dawkins drags Dom up, whips him to ropes, but Dom wheelbarrow sand throws Dawkins out of the ring! Rey gets in, holds the way open., Dom DIVES! Direct hit onto Dawkins, and then Rey crossbodies Ford! Rey runs, but Ford throws him out onto Dom!
Dom manages to catch Rey, but Ford FLIES! Direct hit and down goes everyone! Ohio is fired up as Raw goes to break!
Raw returns again and Dawkins grinds Dom down in a chinlock. Dom endures, fights up, throws body shots, but Dawkins DECKS Dom with a right! Cover, TWO! Dom is still in this but Dawkins wraps on another chinlock. Dom endures again, fights up, Rey coaches him through it, and Dom gets to his feet. Dom throws more body shots, but Dawkins knees low. Dom ends up in a corner, but he dodges the cyclone splash to kick and TORNADO DDT! Both men are down and fans fire up! Dawkins and Dom crawl, hot tags to Ford and Rey! Rey dodges Ford to tilt-o-whirl and headscissor! Ford ends up in a corner, puts Rey on the outside, but Rey ROCKS him!
Rey goes up top, leaps, SEATED SENTON! Rey keeps moving, dodges again, but Ford FLAPJACKS Rey down! Ford somersaults, to a SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Rey gets to ropes, Ford whips him, but Rey kicks back. Rey slides under, Dom gets in, and he gives Rey a boost to RANA Ford on tropes! The Mysterios dial it up but Dawkins trips Dom and drags him out! Ford runs in but Rey drop toeholds him to ropes! 6 1 NO! Ford blocks that, gets Rey up in an Electric chair, but Rey victory rolls! The Mysterios win!!
Winners: Rey & Dominik Mysterio, by pinfall
The King of Lucha finds a way to snatch this one away from the Profits! But then Dom gets behind Rey and lifts him up, but Rey RANAS Dom out! Rey tells Dom he needs to try better than that, but then Ford TOSSES Rey! But then Dawkins tosses Ford! Dawkins says he got Ford there! But then the DIRTY DAWGS get in, and they both throw Dawkins out! Roode & Ziggler talk trash, but then the Mysterios and the Profits get in to go after them! It’s a huge scrap, but the Dawgs get tossed! And then the remaining four all square off in their own corners! Will any of these men make it to the end of the Rumble match this Saturday?
Backstage interview with Seth Rollins.
Kevin Patrick brings up how the Usos are barred from ringside during the Universal Championship match at the Royal Rumble, and Rollins says that sounds so good. Rollins likes K-Peezy and will give him a little “insider information.” This was never about The Usos, or anyone else but Roman VS Seth, Seth VS Roman. Now they go 1v1 at the Rumble for the title, and historically speaking, Rollins likes his odds. Rollins knows he can beat Roman because he’s already done it. Roman knows Rollins has his number. Roman wants people to think very highly of him, but Rollins is the one who can put Roman in his place.
So speaking of Roman, Rollins is going to pay SmackDown one more visit this Friday, because unlike Roman, Rollins delivers his messages in person. See you Friday, brother! Rollins laughs it up, but will he have the last laugh this Friday? And will this Saturday be the first time Roman gets the better of Rollins?
The Miz heads to the ring!
The Hollywood A-Lister promised it last week, and now it’s here! Maryse’s birthday celebration will be here on Raw, and the ring’s already filled with presents! Will all go smoothly for the It Couple this close to the Royal Rumble? We’ll see, after the break.
Raw returns and Miz welcomes us to the Maryse Birthday Extravaganza! It’s a celebration of his wife’s birthday, and then Saturday, we will celebrate The It Couple beating The Grit Couple! So without further ado, welcome the birthday girl, a woman more gorgeous, more sexier and more intelligent than anyone here, Maryse! Maryse makes her entrance, and there’s security at ringside. Miz says he speaks for everyone here when he says, “Open your first gift!” Maryse pulls the veil off a painted portrait of her and Miz as a prince and princess! Miz has done it! She feels even more special than the day she became a mother!
Or when he got her that pink Rolls Royce! Or when he got her that $500,000 ring. Well no expense spared. He got top of the line security to make sure there will be no intruders! They checked the ceiling so there wouldn’t be a Brood Bath! There will be no Edge or Beth here! Miz speaks for all of us when he says, “Open your second gift!” Miz hands it to Maryse, she pulls off the lid, and it’s… A custom hand purse! It says “No limit” on the side because there is no limit to their love. Wait, what’s this big one? Miz thought Maryse got him something. Uh, it’s her birthday. Why would she… Wait, then if he didn’t get that, and she didn’t get that… Then what’s in the box?
SECURITY! Get in here and open the box for Miz! The guard goes up to it, rips the paper away, and it’s all a trick! Miz put the brick that Maryse hit Beth with in a frame! This demonstrates that these two will always be one step ahead of Edge & Beth. Just watch this recap video as proof! Maryse asked Beth to call off the Mixed Tag, Beth refused, Miz tried to jump Edge but failed, but it still distracted Beth enough so Maryse could CLOBBER Beth! Fans boo but Miz & Mrs. just soak it up. Now it is time for everyone to get up out of their seats and sing Happy Birthday to Maryse. On three. One, two, DO NOT BOO! This is a birthday celebration! Stand up and sing!!
Now, one! Two! Three! HIT IT! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you~! Miz is so sour… But here comes EDGE! AND Beth! Edge has the music cut to tell Mike ‘n’ Maryse that they’ve been real clever. But being clever won’t matter on Saturday. All these security guards won’t matter on Saturday. Because Miz & Maryse stepped in it now! They’ve got a pissed off Rated R Superstar, and an extremely pissed off Glamazon on their hands. These two are gonna show everyone why that’s not a good thing. The Grit Couple storms to the ring, CLOBBER guard after guard, and Beth scoop SLAMS the next one! Edge TOSSES another, Beth sends one more into the steps!
The It Couple bail out of the ring, so Edge and Beth tear everything up! Beth SPEARS one guard, Edge SPEARS another! Miz & Maryse freak out over the cake being in harm’s way, but the Grit Couple give a guard a HART ATTACK! Shout out to the days of Beth teaming with Natty. Another guard gets in, he gets a 3D!! A shout out to some of Edge’s greatest rivals, before he BOOTS another guard! Edge sees the cake still standing, and Miz says he better not! Edge drags the guard up, reels him in, and POWERBOMBS him through the cake AND table! The terror on the It Couple’s faces is real this time! Will they even show up in St. Louis for that Mixed Tag match?
I have a feeling word got back that last week’s Raw was pretty sad, because they made sure this week’s Raw was really good. Now, a weigh-in segment for a title that doesn’t really have weight restrictions was really just an excuse to get Lesnar and Lashley to interact one more time. But Lashley and Lesnar are both doing really well on the mic these days, and Lesnar being dismissive of Lashley is such a great element of this. It’d be wild if Lashley won this but there’s a good chance Lesnar retains and we still get something of Lesnar VS Roman, title for title. Rollins has a good promo rather late in the night, but him hyping up the SmackDown go-home means something good is coming.
Bianca VS Vega was a short match, as was the Six Woman Tag, but sadly that’s how things are in RawDown these days… But at least we got a great promo segment from Becky and Piper. Piper leaving her room to find Becky and brawl with her was awesome stuff, and their match is going to be awesome stuff, but pretty sure Becky wins. Then they’ll set up Becky VS Bianca at WrestleMania, Bianca finally avenges her SummerSlam loss. Also, Alexa Bliss has to be returning to action during the Rumble. She might not win but she could have a really good showing to reestablish herself. Tonight’s vignette didn’t really do much, it just had her rambling about Lily’s origin story with no serious revelation.
We got a really good US Championship match, but it was a bit cheap for Priest to get disqualified when “Damian” let loose. Maybe Kevin comes back after the Rumble to try again and that builds to a US title match at the Elimination Chamber PPV in February. Styles VS Theory was a great match, too, just wish Vince would’ve let Theory and Finn have a match as good as that. And if Styles was still feuding with Grayson Waller, we could’ve built to Styles & Finn VS Theory & Waller, but nope. Vince has apparently given up on Finn, but not enough to cut him the same way they cut a lot of other great people. What a weird old man.
I loved so much of the Academic Challenge segment. Great promos from everyone, and I love that Gable got so cocky that he went with what he thought he heard and not what Kevin Patrick really said. Then we got an awesome match of Orton VS Gable, that also had the awesome aside of Riddle attacking Otis with the scooter. Now, going with a scooter race next week isn’t really something you’d see in gym class from what I’ve experienced, but it’s definitely a Riddle kind of choice. I’m not sure how, but Alpha Academy is definitely finding a way to win to push this to the third challenge, which RKBRO will win to get a tag title match.
The Mysterios VS Profits was really good, with Ford and Rey really standing out in this match. Mysterios get the win for momentum, but then the Dirty Dawgs get in on things for a nice brawl. I don’t see any of those six winning, though, but maybe the Mysterios come out tag title contenders for after RKBRO and Alpha Academy sort out. And then we got a pretty good final segment. As birthday parties that get ruined goes, I like that Miz swerved us with the giant box and then we get Edge & Beth straight up crashing the party. I spotted the Tate Twins among the security guards that got bodied, I hope that means they’re signing with NXT 2.0. The Grit Couple standing tall here, the math would suggest The It Couple finds a way to win, but who knows, Edge & Beth could defy the math.
My Score: 8.3/10
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- Leyla Hirsch VS Brittany Blake; Hirsch wins.
- Private Party VS Myles Hawkins & Action Andretti; Private Party wins.
- Brandi Rhodes VS Willow Nightingale; Brandi wins.
- The Men of the Year VS Logan Easton Laroux & Mike Fowler; The Men of the Year win.
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- Santana & Ortiz VS Breaux Keller & Goldy; Santana & Ortiz win.
- Thunder Rosa & Ruby Soho VS Leva Bates & Jordan Blade; Rosa & Soho win.
- Ricky Starks & “Powerhouse” Will Hobbs VS Matt Sydal & Lee Moriarty; Starks & Hobbs win.
Great to see Leva Bates back in action, but I have a feeling she and Jordan Blade will put Rosa and Soho over. Leyla Hirsch is in her first match since her Heel turn, so seeing how #LEGITHEEL wrestles compared to when she was a Face will be one to watch. And Team Taz taking on Sydal & Moriarty is going to be great, especially since it ties story in from Dynamite.
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