Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (2/25/22)
The Beast, the Tribal Chief, and a contract!
SmackDown solidifies WrestleMania’s Winner Takes All!
Brock Lesnar returns to SmackDown to sign a contract with Roman Reigns! It will be Winner Takes All at WrestleMania, but will the fighting start tonight?
- The New Day VS Los Lotharios; The New Day wins.
- Xia Li VS Natalya; Xia wins.
- Sasha Banks VS Shotzi Blackheart; Sasha wins.
- Drew McIntyre VS “Happy” Corbin w/ “Mad Cap” Moss; changed to…
- Drew McIntyre VS “Mad Cap” Moss w/ “Happy” Corbin; McIntyre wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Michael Cole is in the ring.
And he introduces the former Raw Women’s Champion, the winner of the 2022 Women’s Royal Rumble, and the Baddest Woman on the Planet, RONDA ROUSEY! Fans in Hershey, Pennsylvania are rowdy for Rowdy Ronda as she makes her way out to the ring. Cole welcomes Ronda while fans chant her name, and Cole says it has been 3 years since Ronda stepped foot inside the WWE ring. Why did she return at the Rumble? Well, main eventing in 2019, she broke her hand. After rehabbing that, she broke her other hand. Then she became pregnant with her daughter. And as soon as she knew her due date, that four months after, she’d come back and earn her second main event. And she did!
But that’s because Ronda’s mom was the first American to win the World Judo Championships while a single mother. While working as an engineer and working towards her PhD. Ronda wanted to set that same example of badassery for her daughter. Cole says her daughter has quite the role model. Ronda’s accomplished so much. She was the first American to medal in Judo at Olympics. She was the first Women’s UFC Champion. She was the first woman in the UFC Hall of Fame. And she was one of three women to main event WrestleMania for the very first time. So with all of those things, how does it feel to finally win the Royal Rumble?
It felt great in the moment, but Ronda doesn’t dwell on the past. She looks to what’s next: the first woman in a long time to tap out Charlotte Flair. She teamed with Naomi to take on Charlotte and Sonya Deville, but with one arm tied behind her back. Ronda did well against Sonya, but with Charlotte it was a different story. We get a slideshow of Charlotte dominating Ronda while she had only the one arm. Ronda is upset seeing that slideshow, but she is even more upset seeing Charlotte arrive in person! Charlotte spins for her pyro and then tells Ronda, last Saturday was a little taste of a welcome back, and it was so much fun!
Charlotte says she showed mercy. She felt sorry for Ronda having just one arm. But it won’t be like that at WrestleMania. That’s because WrestleMania is supposed to be STUPENDOUS~! It will be when Charlotte puts Ronda in the Figure Eight and for the first time in Ronda’s life, she screams for mercy and taps out. Which means Charlotte will remain SmackDown Women’s Champion. But the silver lining or Ronda is that she can go home and work on baby number two! But then SONYA DEVILLE attacks Ronda from behind! Sonya taunts Ronda, but then Charlotte trips Ronda and drags her to the post!
Charlotte SLAMS a leg into the post! And again! That’s Ronda’s surgically repaired leg! Sonya asks Ronda, “Why is it that you’re such a failure?!” She drags Ronda up, but gets TOSSED! Sonya bails out to regroup with Charlotte, and Ronda has a furious look on her face. Will Ronda look to rip into everyone on her way to WrestleMania?
The New Day is cruising!
They ride the ATV Kofi got birthday boy Big E as they head to gorilla. Will they be celebrating even more with another win over Los Lotharios?
Adam Pearce has Sonya watch the film back.
He can’t believe Sonya is getting involved in things. It is his duty to inform Sonya that next week, she goes 1v1 with Ronda Rousey. Upper management has made that match official, there’s no getting out of it now. Will Sonya regret throwing off the jacket and throwing down with the Baddest Woman on the Planet?
The New Day VS Los Lotharios!
Big E & Kofi Kingston got the better of Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo as they prepared for Valentine’s Day, but then the self-professed lethal lovers loved getting revenge on them. Will Garza & Carrillo be feeling sweet here in Hershey? Or will they just feel~ the power~?
As Garza & Carrillo make their entrance, they get the Kiss Cam going. And they find a young lady in the front row to give a kiss on each cheek to. But then the New Day makes their entrance and pull up to the announce desk. They high-five Pat McAfee then park by the ring. The teams sort out, Kofi starts with Carrillo. They tie up, Carrillo wrenches, Kofi rolls and handsprings and then trips Carrillo for a SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for “NEW! DAY ROCKS!” already as Kofi puts Carrillo in the corner. Tag to Big E, he runs in to RAM Carrillo, then Big E sets up as a step for Kofi to run in, Positivity in Motion!
Kofi then feeds Carrillo to Big E’s LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Big E drags Carrillo up, spins him around and has the cobra twist! Fans cheer as Big E CLUBS the rhythm into Carrillo’s ribs. Carrillo endures, fights free, stomps the foot and knees Big E. Carrillo throws hands, but Big E hits back! Big E CLUBS Carrillo on the back and CLUBS him down! Tag to Kofi, Big E snapmares Carrillo for Kofi to run and leap frog SENTON! Cover, TWO! Kofi keeps on Carrillo but Carrillo kicks back. Carrillo whips but Kofi goes up and leaps to missile dropkick! Kofi runs in but is put on the apron. He ducks to GAMANGIRI, then he tells Garza to stay back.
But Carrillo still dropkicks Kofi down! Tag to Garza, and he whips Carrillo at Big E to knock him down! Then Los Lotharios both go out to RAM Kofi into the apron! Garza throws off the pants as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Kofi has to fight out of the Los Lotharios corner, only for Garza to CLUB away on him! Kofi’s stuck in the Tree of Woe, Garza tags Carrillo and Los Lotharios double basement dropkick! Carrillo drags Kofi to center for a cover, TWO! Carrillo keeps on Kofi with a cobra clutch but fans are rallying up! Kofi fights up and throws body shots, but Carrillo keeps him away from Big E! Carrillo CLUBS Kofi, then sucker punches Big E! Fans boo but Carrillo grins. Carrillo drags Kofi over, tags in Garza, and Los Lotharios hook the legs for a DOUBLE LEG CATAPULT! Garza then holds on for a HALF CRAB!
Kofi endures, fights and moves around, and he kicks Garza away! Kofi then gets up to DOUBLE STOMP Garza down! Fans fire up but Kofi clutches his leg. “NEW! DAY ROCKS!” Kofi crawls, Garza grabs at him but Kofi kicks Garza away. Hot tags to Big E and Carrillo! Carrillo runs into an OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! And another! And then a SIDE Belly2Belly! Big E swivels them hips, runs side to side and BIG SPLASHES! Big E claps, fans clap with him. Carrillo flounders to his feet, Big E scoops but Garza slides in. Big E runs Garza off, Carrillo SUPERKICKS Big E! Tag to Garza and he runs in, into an Urenag-E!
Tag to Kofi, Big E reels Garza into a wheelbarrow, FLYING BULLDOG! Cover, Carrillo breaks it! Big E ducks the roundhouse but not the ENZIGURI! Kofi dropkicks Carrillo! Garza swings but into SO- NO! Garza shoves Kofi out and DIVES! Direct hit and down goes Kofi! Garza hurries to get Kofi up and in, but he also looks at the New Day ATV. He admires it’s fine lines, but Kofi comes back with FLYING AX HANDLES! Kofi puts Garza in, but Carrillo rushes over! Into Big E’s OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Kofi gest up top, but Garza SUPERKICKS the crossbody! Cover, TWO!! Kofi survives!
Garza drags Kofi to a drop zone and goes up top. But then Big E threatens to run over Carrillo! Garza begs for mercy, but Kofi rolls Garza, JUMP KNEE! Tag to Big E, Big E scoops Garza! Kofi is up top, MIDNIGHT HOUR!! Cover, New Day wins!
Winners: The New Day, by pinfall
A big birthday win for Big E & Kofi Kingston! Granted, they threatened Carrillo with more than just torn up Valentine’s cards. But with this, will the New Day make their way back up towards the SmackDown Tag Team Championships?
Rick Boogs & Shinsuke Nakamura go on a road trip!
They’re really just test driving the all new Toyota Tundra TRD Pro! “They gave us the keys!” They explore the great outdoors in Sonoma, California. Nakamura loves surfing and kayaking so they use the GPS to guide the way to the lake. They’re a great team on the land and water! Watch on social media as the adventure continues!
Sheamus & Ridge Holland find The New Day backstage.
“Well, well, well, well. Would you look at this?” A new toy, huh? Very nice. But if these two want to show up for Fight Night, they’ll need this ATV to carry their sorry arses out of the building. Right, Ridgy? Too right. The New Day laugh that off and then zoom off. Sheamus is mad and so is Holland. Will the Fella and his protégé be careful they don’t end up as roadkill?
Sam Roberts is here!
And his guests are the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, the Usos! He asks them about tonight’s contract signing. No no no no. There’s no contract signing, Toucan Sam. This is a signing for the BIGGEST match in WrestleMania history! Winner Takes All, Championship Unification. Brock Lesnar has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. Roman’s gonna put that work on Brock, just like the Usos put that work on the Viking Raiders. Smelly Vikings that is. They smell like Sam. They can smell those two coming from a mile away. But Erik & Ivar then jump them! So much for that! Erik & Ivar says, “You smell that?! We want our tag team title shots!” Will the raid not be denied?
Backstage interview with Xia Li.
The Protector is having her SmackDown in-ring debut against Natalya, and she’s been waiting her whole life for this. Xia worked so hard in NXT and dreamt about being here. She’s nervous, but she’s also confident. She is the Protector, and Natty will be the one needing protection! Will the Queen of Harts learn what happens to bullies when Xia’s around?
Xia Li VS Natalya!
SmackDown returns and Natalya makes her entrance. Aliyah, Mansoor, Shayna Baszler and even Drew Gulak are all watching backstage for this one. The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Natty waistlocks then throws Xia by her hair! Xia gets to the corner but Natty stomps away on her. The ref counts, Natty lets off then pushes Xia around. Natty whips Xia hard to a corner, then brings her around to whip the other way. Xia goes up the corner, leaps over Natty, then comes back to dropkick Natty down! Cover, TWO! Xia gets Natty up to scoop but Natty slips off and DISCUS LARIATS! Cover, TWO!
Natty is upset, she puts Xia in the corner to stomp and SLAP her! Natty then brings Xia out to snap suplex! Natty kicks Xia around, tells fans to shut up, and then she brings Xia up. Xia hits back but Natty CLUBS her down. Natty stands Xia up to wrap her up in a cobra twist! Xia endures, even as Natty SLAPS her in the side. Natty pulls on the stretch but Xia endures, even as Natty adds a leg! Xia elbows Natty’s leg and gets free to arm-drag! Xia blocks Natty, throws haymakers, then blocks the leg to CLUB the leg! Xia throws a back elbow, then JUMP KNEES, and JUMP KNEES again!
Xia sobat kicks Natty to a corner, runs in at the corner, step up and ELBOW to the head! Then a pump handle EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Natty is still in this, she is the winningest woman in WWE. Natty trips Xia, stomps her then steps through, but Xia resists the Sharpshooter and boots Natty away! Xia gets up, fans fire up with her, and she powers up before she run sin, SPINNING HEEL KICK!! Cover, Xia wins!
Winner: Xia Li, by pinfall
What a powerful strike! The Protector defeats one of the Best Of All Time, will she soon become one of the best in her own right?
Sami Zayn heads to the ring!
The NEW three-time WWE Intercontinental Champion is here, back in his fancy gold leaf tuxedo jacket, because he is going to celebrate his victory! What will the Great Liberator have to say about his vindication? We find out, after the break.
SmackDown returns and balloons have been set up and Sami has the title on a pedestal. Sami has a mic to sing, “Oh happy~ day~!” Because FINALLY, justice has been served! That’s all he’s ever wanted! It’s true what they say: you can’t keep a good man down. “They” have tried everything, Sami was the victim of a massive conspiracy that targeted him and robbed him of the Intercontinental Championship, but look! Look at this set-up! Okay, if he’s being honest, this isn’t what he asked for, the colors don’t match his suit. But the old Sami would’ve said this is part of the conspiracy. Which brings us to the million dollar question.
If Sami recaptured his title, that begs the question: Is there or was there ever a conspiracy? The answer is YES. “They” will persecute Sami any chance they get, but now he knows! No matter what “they” throw at him, Sami can overcome all of it! Show some respect, ladies and gentlemen for YOUR Intercontinental Champion!! Fans choose to boo and give thumbs down instead. But Sami wants everyone to know, he is happy to give Nakamura a rematch for this title, but he is still picking up pieces of his knees that Sami shattered! So sadly, Nakamura isn’t available. But unlike Nakamura, Sami is happy to defend his title against any and all comers!
Anyone who is brave enough to step foot in the ring with Sami, he has no problem with them. But with business taken care of, let’s party! But here comes Johnny Knoxville! Hershey erupts as Jackass Forever’s very own is here! Sami says, “Okay okay okay, hahaha.” Ladies and Gentlemen, Johnny Knoxville. They cheered for him, so now what the hell is he doing here? Well Sami crashed Knoxville’s celebration, so he’s returning the favor. How’s Sami doing? He’s doing great, actually. it’s great to have Knoxville here. But they can catch up later. So respectfully, Sami asks Knoxville to turn around and get the hell outta here!
Now, wait, didn’t Sami throw out a challenge for anyone brave enough? So then, let’s do it! Sami is beside himself while fans are cheering Knoxville on. Apparently, Knoxville doesn’t learn. But Sami will tell him again. He has no problems saying it: Knoxville doesn’t belong! He doesn’t belong in the same ring as Sami! But Sami knows Knoxville is just trying to get under his skin and in his head. It’s actually working! But Sami sees through Knoxville and it wont’ work. What’s the matter, Sami? Don’t you wanna be a fighting champion? Or do you not have the balls? Fans chant, “No Balls! No Balls!”
Sami drops the mic, so Knoxville drops his. The two go face to face, Sami says he should drop Knoxville here, but he won’t. He’s better than that. Fans cheer for Knoxville as Sami goes to take his leave. But then Sami sucker punches Knoxville! Sami rains down fists! Fans boo and Sami lets off. Knoxville gets up but Sami puts him in the corner! HELLUVA KICK! “The gloves are off!” Sami gets in Knoxville’s face but referees have him back off. Sami gets loose to HELLUVA KICK again!! Sami holds up the Intercontinental Championship, but will he have no choice but to accept Knoxville’s challenge?
WWE celebrates Black History Month and honors Titus O’Neil.
Titus O’Neil founded the Bullard Family Foundation, which hosts programs every year to help children, such as the Back to School Bash. In 2021, they donated 30 THOUSAND backpacks full of school supplies to help under resourced students. Titus’ work also led him to support a Tampa Bay school, and it was renamed the Thaddeus M Bullard Academy at Sligh Middle Magnet School. Then the foundation helped the school build gardens. Titus is also in the Boys & Girls Club of America Hall of Fame.
Adam Pearce confronts Sami backstage.
Sami says he didn’t start it, but he is sorry for overreacting. It’s just that Knoxville gets under Sami’s skin so badly! Pearce gets it, because Sami’s giving him a headache after Sami left Knoxville laying and busted up! Ricochet walks over and says he knows there’s a lot of stuff going around, but he overheard that open challenge. Ricochet’s stepping up. Well okay, take a number. Pearce says ricochet is on to something. Maybe we should make it for next week: Sami VS Ricochet, Intercontinental Championship. Ricochet thanks Pearce for that, and tells Sami No Balls he’ll see him next week. Will the One and Only be the one and only challenger Sami faces when he loses this close to WrestleMania?
Sasha Banks VS Shotzi Blackheart!
The Boss is back! She’s the standard, the blueprint, and a former women’s champion, but will she be feeling #LEGIT on the road to WrestleMania? Or will she be welcomed to the ball pit by the wild child tonight?
But before things get going, Naomi makes her way out! She hands out some glow sticks before she joins commentary. The bell rings, Sasha and Shotzi circle and then Shotzi pie faces Sasha as a way to welcome her back. Sasha gets a n arm and drags Shotzi down! Shotzi slips out, pulls hair, but Sasha CHOPS Shotzi! Sasha then dodges, tilt-o-whirls and suplexes! Una amiga! Sasha gets Shotzi up for dos amigas! But Shotzi blocks the third to suplex and hang Sasha out to dry! Sasha flops down, Shotzi stomps away on her! The ref counts, Shotzi lets off, and then she covers, TWO! Shotzi is annoyed, and she pushes Sasha around.
Shotzi runs, SENTON against the ropes! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Shotzi stands Sasha up. Sasha resists the suplex and waistlocks to O’Conner Roll, ONE! Sasha is in a corner, Shotzi run sin but into DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Then METEORA! Naomi cheers Boss Time, and Sasha runs in, BASEMENT CODE BREAKER! Sasha wants Shotzi to get up, BACKSTABBER to BANK STATEMENT! Shotzi taps, Sasha wins!
Winner: Sasha Banks, by submission
Naomi applauds and says bye to commentary so she can join Sasha in the ring. Naomi looks at Sasha, and says, “I just wanna say, you’re looking at the next WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions!” Sasha likes that, and they fist bump! Is Team BAD back in business? Will they dethrone Carmella & Queen Zelina on the Grandest Stage of Them All?
Backstage interview with Mad Cap Moss & Happy Corbin.
The Happy Folks are facing Drew McIntyre again, the man who nearly ended Moss’ career at Elimination Chamber. It was no laughing matter as the Inverted Alabama Slam could’ve ended up a piledriver. McIntyre also used Angela the sword to scare of Corbin, though he almost beheaded him instead. Corbin is somehow able to laugh? “Now that was using your head!” Oh, sorry. But Moss has the strongest neck ever. Otherwise things could’ve been a real disaster. Now, can’t say the same about tonight because Corbin VS McIntyre is a Mania level match that happens here on SmackDown.
McIntyre is off his rocker! He tried to take Corbin’s head off with a sword! You do not get to disrespect an undefeated powerhouse like Happy Corbin and get away with it. And you don’t get to do that to his friends, either. Tonight, Corbin shows McIntyre who the real warrior is, and that’s no joke. Will Corbin help Moss feel much better? Or will he be feeling just as battered and bruised after tonight?
Drew McIntyre VS Happy” Corbin w/ “Mad Cap” Moss!
SmackDown returns as the Happy Folks make their entrance. Corbin wants a mic before the match, and he tells McIntyre, this is a WrestleMania caliber match. Is McIntyre sure he wants to be embarrassed in Hershey, Pennsylvania? “Just look around. These people are pathetic. And y’know, nothing would make me happier than stomping you into a pulp, but speaking of things that make me happy, my man, Mad Cap Moss. That man is tough as nails. That man is an inspiration. That man landed on his head and neck and continued to fight.” Corbin wants Moss to stand up on the apron to show the people how great he really is!
Fans boo Moss as he gives himself thumbs up. Y’know what? Moss, you should take this match! You deserve a rematch! What? After what happened to his neck? Yeah, he’s got this! It’s only McIntyre. What? Corbin is chickening out? Moss rushes into the ring but McIntyre sees the sneak attack coming! But that leaves him open to Corbin’s sneak attack! The Happy Folks mug McIntyre! The ref reprimands but Corbin applauds what he and Moss did. But it seems the switch is still happening! Can Moss redeem himself from Elimination Chamber? Or will he end up getting hurt worse than before?
The bell rings, Moss runs in and RAMS into McIntyre! Moss would be more fired up if not for his sore neck. Moss stands McIntyre up, only to get a GLASGOW KISS! McIntyre storms up, blocks the boot, and Moss fears what’s next! Inverted Alabama and Corbin freaks out! McIntyre throws Moss into the ropes and Moss scrambles to regroup with Corbin. McIntyre says it’s only a matter of time. Will Moss want to get back in that ring? We’ll see after the break!
SmackDown returns and Corbin cheers as Moss has McIntyre down in a chinlock. McIntyre endures, fans rally, and McIntyre fights up to throw body shots. McIntyre CHOPS Moss, then whips him corner to corner. Moss BOOTS McIntyre down! Corbin says to keep on him, and Moss builds speed to run McIntyre over! Cover, ONE!! Corbin tells Moss to keep on McIntyre and Moss stomps away on McIntyre in the corner. Moss drags him up, whips him corner to corner but McIntyre reverses. Moss goes up but McIntyre BOOTS him outta the air! Corbin coaches Moss as he and McIntyre get up.
McIntyre seethes, and he ROCKS Moss with a haymaker. Moss gives it back, they brawl, Moss kicks low to fire off forearms! Moss whips corner to corner but McIntyre comes right back to LARIAT! McIntyre starts to rally, he whips Moss to ropes for an OVERHEAD Belly2Belly! Then he clinches for another! NECKBREAKER! McIntyre kips up and fans fire up! McIntyre counts down already, but Corbin gets on the apron to distract him! Moss pokes McIntyre in the eye! Moss POSTS McIntyre! Then DDT! Cover, TWO!! Moss is beside himself and Corbin is speechless! Moss slaps McIntyre around, rains down angry fists, then shouts, “You can’t kill Mad Cap!”
Moss builds a lot of speed, but runs into a CLAYMORE! Cover, McIntyre wins!
Winner: Drew McIntyre, by pinfall
Corbin is stunned silent again! McIntyre beats Moss again, is his battle with Corbin inevitable?
Backstage interview with Ronda Rousey.
Ronda is getting a 1v1 match with Sonya next week, what are her thoughts? Well, for all the times Sonya ambushed Ronda, as well as bullied Naomi, Ronda’s gonna show her what happens when an authority figure steps outta line. Short and simple but far from sweet, will Sonya be nothing but sour and sore after Ronda gets both her hands on her?
Roman Reigns heads to the ring!
The Tribal Chief, the WWE Universal Champion, added Goldberg to the list of legends he’s defeated in his 544 day reign. But despite all the hard work put in to detour Brock Lesnar, Brock Lesnar is still coming for him and his title! The Bloodline heads together to the ring, we’re going to have a contract signing for perhaps THE BIGGEST WrestleMania match of all time! Title VS Title, Winner Takes All, CHAMPIONSHIP UNIFICATION is put on paper, after the break.
SmackDown returns as Roman holds up his title for the second round of pyro. Roman, Heyman, the Usos, Adam Pearce, a table, and security guards all all in the ring. Roman is handed a mic by his Special Counsel, and Roman says, “Hershey, Pennsylvania. ACKNOWLEDGE ME.” Fans are torn but the mic is handed back to Heyman. “Ladies and gentlemen, we have come to a point in history where there is no way to embellish or exaggerated the enormity of the main event of this year’s WrestleMania. What we are facing right now is the single biggest match in history. The biggest main event on the biggest WrestleMania of all time.
“Bigger than Hulk Hogan VS Andre the Giant. Bigger than Stone Cold Steve Austin VS The Rock. Bigger than the night I conquered the Undertaker’s Undefeated Streak at WrestleMania, and to be fair, Brock Lesnar, I will give you half credit for that.” WrestleMania Sunday will be main evented by YOUR Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns, solidifying his GOAT status against the Beast, the Conqueror, the now and maybe not by then WWE Heavyweight Champion of the World, in a title VS title, champion VS champion, Winner Take All TITLE UNIFICATION Match! So… Now we get down to the business at hand.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the contract signing for the biggest WrestleMania match of all time. These security guards are here tonight to protect Brock Lesnar from his own impulsiveness, and to protect Brock Lesnar from his Tribal Chief, Roman… Reigns. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call a cliffhanger.” Because we’re going to break!
SmackDown returns and BROCK makes his entrance! Roman frowns while Brock, with his cowboy hat and the WWE World Championship, circles the ring. Brock then hangs his hat up on the corner post before getting in the ring and taking his seat at the table. Roman smirks while Brock grins and fans cheer. Fans chant for “Suplex City!” as Brock gets a mic for himself. “Mr. Acknowledgement, and Mr. Dick. Allow me to introduce myself as your NEW! Reigning! Defending! WWE Heavyweight Champion of the WORLD~! BRRROCK! LESNARRR!” And Lesnar admits he has to contain himself. “impulsive?” Sure. Very much so.
But if they think that for one second, these skid mark guards are gonna stop him from jumping the table and kicking Roman’s ass, and Heyman’s ass, they’ve got another thing coming. The only thing stopping Lesnar from doing all that is Lesnar! And this contract. Lesnar will sign his part, because at WrestleMania 38, he’ll kick Roman’s ass AND Heyman’s ass, and you can bet your asses he’ll get paid for it! Pearce hands Lesnar the contract, Lesnar picks up the pen and signs on the dotted line, then TOSSES the contract at Roman. Heyman says he has had it with Lesnar’s disrespect! It was just business before, but now it’s getting personal!
Heyman says this is the biggest match in WrestleMania, but it won’t be a unification match because Lesnar won’t even make it to Mania as champion! Lesnar will lose his world title next Saturday in Madison Square Garden! Heyman then hands Roman a pen, and Roman signs his part of the contract. Pearce takes the paperwork away and Roman says Lesnar must be a confused little farm boy. That world title is Roman’s title and Lesnar doesn’t even realize it because Roman’s gonna smash him at Mania. And it isn’t even Lesnar’s fault. This is ROMAN’s show! This is ROMAN’s ring! This is ROMAN’s cameraman!
These fans are ROMAN’s people because the acknowledge him! Roman gets fired up and he gets out of the ring. The commentary team is HIS team! They brag and talk about HIM! That sign saying WrestleMania is HIS because he IS WrestleMania! Roman is this show, eh runs the show, everyone works for him! Including the security in the ring. The eight guards all turn their attention on Lesnar. But Lesnar throws the table at half of them! Then he beats the crap outta the others! SUPLEX for one! ARMFCHAIR for another! Lesnar gets the table back up to RAM half the guards out, then RAM the other half!
Lesnar picks up one guy that’s left, for an F5!! There’s still one more guard still in the ring, he gets a GERMAN SUPLEX! Heyman is stunned and Roman looks worried! Whoever it is facing Lesnar in MSG better be careful or he’ll just be a warm-up for WrestleMania!
This was actually a very good SmackDown to follow Elimination Chamber and last Monday Night Raw up with. Well, there was the weak point of the very confusing audibles called in the McIntyre match. First, it was advertised as McIntyre VS Moss on WWE.com. Then it was removed from WWE.com and then given to us on the show as McIntyre VS Corbin. And then Corbin, foreshadowing that this is meant for WrestleMania, swaps Moss back in. Why not just have it out as the promo backstage and then it’s still McIntyre VS Moss no matter what? Moss of course loses and now it’s obvious that we’re getting McIntyre VS Corbin.
Another weak point: another short women’s match. Shotzi VS Sasha could’ve been much better, but whatever, WWE just wants to get to the point of it: Sasha and Naomi are reuniting as a tag team. I hope they take those titles off Mella & Vega. For one, SmackDown needs another turn with those belts. For another, Naomi’s put in the work, she deserves to have more on her list of achievements. I just hope it’ll actually be a good match worthy of titles. Xia Li also had a short match with Natty, but it was a strong showing and win for her. Fans got kinda bored in the middle but they fired up seeing that awesome heel kick of hers. Maybe Natty comes back for a rematch that ups things.
In a bit stronger part, Ronda had a good segment with Charlotte and Sonya, and I would think we’re going to get a good match out of Ronda VS Sonya, though I’m sure Charlotte will try and interfere. The tiebreaker for New Day VS Los Lotharios was another great match, but wow, Big E threatening to run Carrillo? That was so over the top I laughed out loud seeing it play out. Sheamus & Ridge seem to be starting something with New Day, but I’m really hoping something makes Ridge break off from Sheamus at this point. Ridge deserves to be on his own more in a parallel to Austin Theory than a parallel to Boogs.
Speaking of, Boogs & Nakamura do get a nice little Toyota product plug segment, getting that easy paycheck. Maybe Nakamura & Boogs will recommit to the tag division to try and get those titles. I like that the Viking Raiders turned things around on the Usos. A little surprising the tag titles are on the line next week, but I suppose it means the SmackDown Tag Team Champions can take on someone else for the “most stupendous” WrestleMania ever. Sami had a really good segment with Knoxville, and him defending against Ricochet next week is probably just to pump Sami up before he undoubtedly faces Knoxville. Knoxville’s a nice guy and all, I’m sure he’ll surprise us like he did at the Royal Rumble, maybe do some great spots, but Sami should win, even if he blatantly cheats.
And of course, a great final segment with the contract signing. Great promo work from everyone, especially Heyman’s smooth cue to a commercial break. And while this one ended up like most contract signings, i.e. in a huge fight, it was awesome to see Lesnar just decimate eight mere mortal men and scare the crap out of Heyman. Since Bobby Lashley won’t be ready for March 5th, I can’t be sure who they put up against Lesnar that would even come close to a challenge.
But either way, Lesnar is definitely winning at MSG, and he is definitely going to WrestleMania, and then who knows. It could go either way, especially now that it’s unification. The newest Undisputed WWE Champion (probably called the Undisputed Universal Champion) is going to end up on some power level WWE has never seen because Lesnar and Roman have dominated in a way no one ever has. I wouldn’t say Vince has written himself into a corner, but he hasn’t done himself any favors focusing on two guys and acting like everyone else is just there.
My Score: 8.3/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/19/23)
The semifinals are here!
The New Japan Cup 2023’s Final Four!
Four is bad luck in Japan, but these four are grateful to be in the New Japan Cup semifinals! David Finlay VS Tama Tonga, Sanada VS Mark Davis, who will win to go for it all?
- Shota Umino & Oskar Leube VS Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita; Shota & Oskar win.
- Six Man Tag: Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Ryohei Oiwa VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Ryusuke Taguchi & Team Strong Style VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Jeff Cobb & Kyle Fletcher; Cobb & Fletcher win.
- Shingo Takagi & BUSHI VS Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan; Henare & Khan win.
- YOH & Lio Rush VS Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi; Naito & Hiromu win.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances to the finals.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA VS Mark Davis; Sanada wins and advances to the finals.
PLAY BY PLAY
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: Tama Tonga w/ Jado VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
The Good Bad Guy settled things with Bullet Club, but fate has intervened to have him face the NEW leader! Will Tama get past Finlay and into the finals? Or will the Rebel take over everything?
The bell rings and the fans rally up. Tama and Finlay circle, Tama claps to get the fans going more, and then he ties up with Finlay. They go around, Tama puts Finlay on ropes, but he lets off slowly as the ref calls break. Fans applaud and the two reset. They circle, fans rally up for Tama, and the two tie up again. Tama powers Finlay back but Finlay turns it around to have Tama on the ropes. The ref calls the ropebreak again, Finlay lets off slowly, but then swings on Tama! Tama dodges, then hits a headlock takeover! Tama grinds Finlay down, but Finlay keeps his shoulders up. Finlay fights to his feet, powers out, then slips around to headlock!
Tama powers out, hurdles, drops, then DROPKICKS Finlay down! Finlay bails out while fans fire up! Tama storms up to the ropes and slingshots but Finlay slides in! Tama lands on the apron, Finlay storms up but Tama ROCKS him with a forearm! Tama hurries in, and he arm-drags Finlay around! Finlay blocks the next, whips, but Tama reverses. Tama hurdles, but gets caught to a fireman’s carry! HOTSHOT, then BIG back suplex! Fans applaud, that was a good sequence, but Tama crawls to a corner. Finlay stalks Tama, drags him up, and UPPERCUTS him! Finlay whips corner to corner hard and Tama bounces off buckles! Finlay covers, TWO!
Fans rally but Finlay stomps Tama’s hand! Tama clutches that hand, but Finlay fishhooks his face! The ref reprimands, Finlay lets off, and Finlay says that was the nose, not the eyes. The ref doesn’t believe him. Finlay throws Tama out! Gedo tells the ref to leave Finlay alone, but the ref reprimands Gedo for getting on the apron. Finlay drags Tama up to RAM him into railing! No Man’s Land disappears as the railing go back! Finlay rains down fists, but fans rally up for Tama. The ref reprimands Finlay but he drags Tama up and puts him in the ring. Finlay covers, ONE!! Tama is hanging tough but Finlay is amused.
Finlay digs his knee into Tama’s face, he wants the ref to Too Sweet but the ref says no thanks. Finlay drags Tama up, whips him hard into the corner, and Tama bounces off buckles again! Fans rally while Finlay taunts them, “You think Tama’s getting to the finals?” Finlay stomps Tama, then springboard stomps! The ref reprimands, but Finlay clamps on with a cobra clutch. Finlay thrashes Tama around but Tama endures. Gedo tells Tama to give up but Jado coaches Tama to hang tough. Fans rally, Tama fights up and throws hands, but Finlay CLUBS him down! Finlay stomps and elbows Tama, but the ref counts.
Finlay lets off, he brings Tama up to whip corner to corner, but Tama comes back to CLOBBER Finlay! Fans fire up but Gedo is mad! Jado coaches Tama, Gedo coaches Finlay, but Tama is the first to stand. Tama roars, CLOBBERS Finlay, and ELBOWS him! Tama whips, Finlay reverses but Tama CLOBBERS Finlay again! OFF COMES THE VEST! Finlay goes to a corner, Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then clinch, for an EXPLODER! Finlay scrambles away and out of the ring, but Tama PLANCHAS! Direct hit this time and the fans fire up! Tama slides into the ring to let the ring count handle Finlay.
Finlay sits up at 5 of 20 so Tama goes out to fetch him. Tama puts Finlay in, stalks him to a corner, and Finlay wants mercy, but gets body shots instead! Tama whips Finlay out and then back into the corner, runs in, but Finlay elbows him away! Finlay storms up, but into a scoop! Finlay slips free to CHOP BLOCK! Tama writhes and clutches his knee but Gedo is loving this! The ref checks on Tama but Tama refuses to let this stop him. Finlay storms up on Tama to sit him up, “Look at this beautiful face!” CROSSFACE FOREARM! Gedo likes those, so Finlay sits Tama up again, to CROSSFACE FOREARM!
Finlay drags Tama up again, and he fires off MORE crossface forearms! Fans rally for Tama but Finlay looms over him. Finlay drags Tama up by his hair, sits him up, and BLINDSIDER LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Tama is still in this and Finlay is annoyed. Finlay paces around while Tama slowly rises. Finlay drags Tama up, gut wrenches and Canadian Racks, but Tama slips free! TONGAN TWIST!! Both men are down and fans fire back up! Fans rally as Tama and Finlay stir. Both men crawl over to each other, and Tama ROCKS Finlay with a forearm! Finlay ROCKS Tama right back! Finlay eggs Tama on and Tama sits up.
Tama ROCKS Finlay with another forearm, but Finlay ROCKS Tama again! Tama growls, he and Finlay sit up again. Tama ROCKS Finlay, Finlay ROCKS Tama, repeat! They throw forearms as they slowly stand, and they speed up as the fans rally! Finlay gets the edge, Tama fires off a strike fest! Finlay rebounds but into SRC!! Tama goes to a corner, fans fire up as he climbs, and Tama aims! SUPREME FLOW!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Jado and Tama rally the fans by pounding the mat. Finlay drags himself up with the ropes, Tama runs in, GUN- NO! Finlay rolls Tama, with tights! TWO!! GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again!
Finlay drags Tama up with a dragon sleeper, inverted suplex, OSAKA STREET CUTTER!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up while Finlay grows frustrated. Finlay aims as Tama rises, Jado warns Tama of what’s coming, but Finlay runs in, into a KNEE! Tama SUPER- NO, Finlay dodges to DEEP SIX!! Tama staggers up, into a SPEAR!! Cover, TWO!!! Tama survives and Gedo is furious! Finlay argues the count but the ref says that was all fair. Fans rally back up, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. “X marks the spot!” Finlay drags Tama up but Tama is deadweight. Finlay still hauls Tama up, suplexes, but Tama slips free!
Tama rolls Finlay, ties up the legs, and he has a SHARPSHOOTER!! Finlay endures and fans fire up! Tama sits deep on the hold, Finlay flails and fights forward! Finlay claws at the mat, but Tama goes deeper! Finlay fights back up, crawls and reaches out, but Tama drags him away again!! Finlay shouts in pain but he hasn’t given up yet! Another fight forward, and Finlay gets the ROPEBREAK! Tama lets go and Finlay writhes in pain, but the fans rally up again. Tama drags Finlay up, hooks an arm, but Finlay fights and RAMS Tama into a corner! And again and again and again! The ref counts, Finlay lets off and staggers away.
Tama runs in, but Finlay fights off the DDT! IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Finlay gut wrenches to a CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Finlay is beside himself but Tama survives again! Fans are thunderous for Tama but Finlay is right on him. Suplex and- NO, Tama fights, wrenches, but Finlay ROCKS him! But Tama cradles!! TWO!!!! Finlay escapes but the SUPERMAN PUNCH hits! BLOODY SUNDAY!!! Cover, TWO!?!? Finlay barely survives but Tama just pounds the mat. Finlay rises up, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks, spins Tama, suplexes, GUN- NO!! Finlay blocks again and ROCKS Tama!
Tama roars, but Finlay fires off a flurry of forearms! Finlay spins, into a HEADBUTT! GUN- NO, Backslide! Deadlift TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!
Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Even El Phantasmo has to give old rival Finlay credit on that one. Gedo gets the mic to make the announcement official: The Rebel wins, and he just beat the NEVER Openweight Champion! Finlay will take the EFF over everything! Gedo needs the Rebel, Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel! But will the Rebel get what he wants in the tournament finals?
New Japan Cup 2023, Semifinals: SANADA w/ Just5Guys VS Mark Davis w/ The United Empire!
New team, new look! The Cold Skull is looking sharp, but will he still bring about a Skull End? Or can Dunkzilla conquer the Cup on behalf of the United Empire?
The bell rings and the fans rally up as Davis and Sanada circle. Davis eggs Sanada on but Sanada feels things out. They keep circling, tie up, and Sanada headlocks. Davis powers out, Sanada RAMS shoulders, but neither man falls! Sanada ducks Davis’ chop, gets an arm and wrenches, but Davis whips Sanada away! Davis CHOPS this time, and Sanada is stinging. Davis whips, Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Sanada whips, Davis cartwheels, then scoops and SLAMS! And SENTONS! Fans fire up while Sanada bails out, but Davis goes out after Sanada. Davis brings Sanada up to whip him into railing!
Sanada drops to his knees, but Davis drags Sanada up to ROCK with a forearm! Great-O-Khan is on commentary and he waves the glowstick in praise. Davis puts Sanada on the apron to CLUB and KNEE and CLUB again! Davis gets space, fans rally up, and Davis runs in to KNEE LIFT Sanada into the ring! Crowns up and the Empire high-fives. Davis gets in the ring while Sanada sputters. Davis knees for the cover, TWO! Davis clamps onto Sanada’s arm but Sanada endures. Fans rally, Sanada fights up to his feet, and he throws forearms! Sanada wrenches but Davis DECKS him! Davis drags Sanada up but Sanada waistlocks!
Davis fights free of the hold, CHOPS Sanada to the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Davis runs in but Sanada dodges the splash! Sanada reels Davis in to back suplex, but Davis turns it into a CROSSBODY! Davis drags Sanada back up and back suplexes, but Sanada lands on his feet! Sanada hits the BIG back suplex! Both men are down but their teams coach them while the fans rally up. Sanada kips up, and then he fires up! Sanada DROPKICKS Davis, Davis stays up, so Sanada DROPKICKS! And dropkicks, but misses this time! Davis runs, but Sanada dropkicks the legs out! Then he DROPKICKS Davis out of the ring!
Sanada takes aim and PLANCHAS! Direct hit and down goes Davis! Sanada stares down the Empire, but then he encourages the fans to get louder. The fans oblige and Sanada likes that. Sanada may have a new haircut but he is still Sanada. Sanada puts Davis in the ring, drags him up to fireman’s carry, but Davis fights it! Davis fireman’s carries now, but Sanada fights it! Only for Davis to rise up again! Sanada fights more, gets to the apron, and he counter punches! Sanada slingshots, but Davis HOTSHOTS him! And then TRIANGLE JUMP FOREARMS! Sanada falls, and Davis DIVES?!? Direct hit into the railing!
Fans fire up as No Man’s Land disappears again! Red Shoes checks both men, they’re both okay to continue, but their teams argue about territory. The ring count starts, Davis drags Sanada up at 7 of 20. Davis puts Sanada in at 10 of 20, aims from the corner and climbs up! Sanada rises, Davis FLYING SHOULDERS him down! Cover, TWO! Sanada is still in this but Davis keeps his cool. Davis drags Sanada up, but Sanada blocks the lift! Sanada throws down elbows, but Davis CHOPS him! Davis whips, Sanada goes up and out and springboards in to MISSILE DRPOKICK! Davis stays up!?
Davis swings, misses, and Sanada CHOPS and CHOPS and CHOPS! But Davis KNEES low! Davis back suplexes but Sanada KNEES free! Sanada runs, into a LARIAT! Davis hits a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up and rally as Sanada survives. Davis drags Sanada by a leg, says it’s time to end this! But Sanada kicks Davis away, so Sanada JABS him down! Davis gets the legs, YANKS Sanada up, but Sanada rolls through! Sanada fireman’s carries to T K O!! Cover, TWO!! Davis is still in this, but Sanada goes up top! ROUNDING BODY- NO, Sanada has to roll through as Davis moves! Davis scoops to POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO!!
Davis drags Sanada up, wrenches and torture racks, but Sanada slips free! Sanada ELBOWS Davis, QUEBRADAS and has the dragon sleeper! Davis snapmares free to clothesline in the corner! Sanada falls over and fans fire up! Davis climbs the corner, goes to the very top, and DIVING SPLASH, but he FLOPS as Sanada moves! Sanada goes up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto the knees!! Davis cradles Sanada, TWO!!! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Davis rises first, drags Sanada up, and fans rally up. Davis swings, but Sanada blocks the forearm to fire UPPERCUT after UPPERCUT!
Sanada spins, into JAB! But he still ROLLING ELBOWS! Davis ENZIGURIS!! Sanada is down and Davis fires up! Fans rally, Davis throws off the elbow pad! Davis waits, Sanada rises up, Davis keeps moving, LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!?! Sanada survives and fans fire up again! Davis stalks Sanada to the corner, then runs side to side, SLIDING FOREARM! Davis shouts “DEAD!” and he drags Sanada up into the torture rack! But Sanada slips free again! O’Conner BRIDGE!! TWO!?! Davis escapes by nanoseconds! Sanada storms up, but Davis trips him! Davis has the legs, Close Your Eyes and Count to F@#$!!! Cover, TWO!?!?!? HOW?!?!?
The fans, the Empire and Just5Guys are all going nuts! Davis roars, he wrenches, torture racks, but Sanada slips free again! SIDEWINDER DDT!!! Cover, SANADA WINS!!!!
Winner: Sanada, by pinfall (advances to the finals)
Davis drove the Cold Skull into the ground, but then Sanada did it back to him! Will Davis find his singles success another time?
Wait, David Finlay and Gedo make his way back out to the ring to see the other finalist in person. Gedo gets the mic to say they just want to give Sanada words of support. Gedo tells Sanada to do his best, because in Nagaoka, Finlay’s gonna beat his face in with the shillelagh, and throw him out of the ring like trash! “See You Next Time, Just Five Losers!” Gedo and Finlay leave, having copied and mocked Sanada’s catchphrase and his new team. Sanada gets the mic to say, “Oi, Finlay! And the people of Gunma. I promise I will beat Finlay on Tuesday, and come back here as the New Japan Cup winner.” Fans applaud that! Sanada then tells Gedo and Finlay to get outta here.
Finlay and Goto leave, flipping Sanada off over their shoulders. Sanada says this debut with J5G is a day he’ll never forget. Fans applaud that, and the mic is handed over to Taka Michinoku. Taka says, “Soon enough, it’ll be us who changes the scene here in NJPW! JUST! FIVE! GUYS!!” The Cold Skull is red hot, but will that heat bring him through to win it all?
A great semifinals for the New Japan Cup! Both matches were awesome stuff, and though Tama came close, I figured Finlay would win. He has been winning since his Heel turn and joining the Bullet Club, but he hasn’t quite won the Club over, yet they can’t really deny him, either, because he’s now in the finals of the tournament. The big things in Sanada VS Davis were Sanada’s new look, and that he buries that piledriver. But similarly to Finlay, Sanada’s getting a push because of the big change in allegiance, and now they’re both in this great match for the finals that honestly could go either way.
Gedo as booker does love to push the guys he backs as a manager, but Finlay’s story could be more about controlling Bullet Club than getting the title. And Sanada has openly stated he sees Okada as a rival and Okada reciprocated, so revisiting that now, with Sanada and Okada both having changed ever so slightly, we could get an awesome match for the world title.
My Score: 9/10
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Mitchell’s NJPW New Japan Cup Results & Report! (3/18/23)
It’s lights out, but for who?
Who rounds out the Final Four?
The New Japan Cup is getting closer to the end! Shota VS Finlay, Goto VS Tama, who will join Mark Davis and Sanada in the semifinals?
- Zack Sabre Jr. & Kosei Fujita VS Oskar Leube & Ryohei Oiwa; ZSJ & Fujita win.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma VS Aaron Henare & Kyle Fletcher; Henare & Fletcher win.
- Six Man Tag: Team Strong Style VS Bullet Club; Team Strong Style wins, by disqualification.
- Six Man Tag: The United Empire VS The House of Torture; The United Empire wins.
- 8 Man Tag: Chaos VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Chaos wins.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay; Finlay wins and advances.
- New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto VS Tama Tonga; Tama wins and advances.
PLAY BY PLAY
New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Shota Umino VS David Finlay w/ Gedo!
The Roughneck took The Mighty’s Front Man to the limit and then won, but now he funs into Bullet Club’s newest leader. Will #SHOOTER be the one shot down? Or will another one bite the dust as Shota brings about a paradigm shift?
The two get face to face and start shoving. Red Shoes backs them off, the bell rings and the forearms start flying! Fans fire up as they go faster and faster, and Shota gets the edge! Shota fires off in the corner, but Finlay turns things around, only to miss! Shota fires off more, and even shoves his dad aside! Shota fires off knees and he CLUBS Finlay, then ROCKS him with a forearm! Fans fire up with Shota, and he brings Finlay up. Finlay throws forearms in return, whips, but Shota reverses to ELBOW Finlay down! Shota keeps moving to BASEMENT DROPKICK! Fans fire up again while Finlay checks his chin.
Shota kicks at Finlay, stomps him, but Finlay eggs him on. Shota stomps, Finlay throws a body shot, but Shota just BOOTS Finlay into the corner! Finlay kicks back from below, and even SPITS at Shota! Shota doesn’t flinch, so Finlay steps to him. Shota DECKS Finlay, then digs his boots in! Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Shota lets off at 4 and talks trash. Shota stomps Finlay, stands him up and CLUBS him! Finlay goes to ropes, Shota ROCKS him with another forearm. Fans rally, Shota ROCKS Finlay again, and then whips Finlay to ropes. Finlay reverses to TACKLE Shota to the apron! And then all the way into railing!
Gedo likes that as Finlay RAMS Shota in again! Finlay taunts Red Shoes, then throws hands on Shota. Finlay smacks Shota off the apron, follows him around the way, and claws at Shota’s face! Finlay ELBOWS Shota down, Red Shoes reprimands, but Finlay claims it was just the nose. Finlay stomps Shota around on the ramp, going after the limbs. The ring count starts and Finlay drags Shota up at 6 of 20 to put in at 8. Fans applaud and Finlay paces. Finlay stomps Shota down, gives him toying kicks, but Shota sits up with a frown. Finlay UPPERCUTS Shota in the back, but Shota doesn’t budge!
Finlay gets in Shota’s face, then DECKS him! Finlay stands Shota up to UPPERCUT! Shota goes to a corner, Finlay HEADBUTTS then stomps away! Red Shoes reprimands as Finlay digs a knee in. Red Shoes counts, Finlay lets off at 4 and talks more trash. Fans rally up as Finlay brings Shota out. Finlay taunts the fans, “This is your boy?” Shota stands to ROCK Finlay! Shota hits back! Finlay CLUBS Shota down! Shota writhes but Finlay covers, ONE! Finlay clamps onto Shota with a cobra clutch to grind him down. Fans rally and Shota endures. Finlay shakes his head and pulls harder on the hold, but Shota still endures.
Shota fights up, Finlay knees him low and then again, and again. Finlay whips, Shota reverses to scoop, TOSS and UPPERCUT! Fans fire up while Finlay sits up in a daze. Shota storms up on Finlay, whips him to a corner, then runs in to UPPERCUT! Shota FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Not quite perfect so Finlay escapes, but Shota keeps his cool. Shota kicks Finlay but Finlay gives a body shot. Shota kicks and kicks and CLUBS Finlay, then brings him up. Finlay fights the clinch with elbow after elbow after elbow! Finlay runs, into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up and Finlay bails out!
Shota hurries out to the apron, Finlay stands and Shota CANNONBALLS onto him! Fans fire up with Shota again as he shakes the railing! Shota drags Finlay back up, puts him in the ring, and fans rally behind Shota. Shota aims, to slingshot DDT! Finlay writhes but Shota wants him to stand. Fans rally, but Finlay blocks the kick, and he spins Shota around, only to swing into Shota’s clinch. Finlay fights free, then he clinches back, IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans rally but Gedo argues the count. Red Shoes says that was a fair count, so Finlay drags Shota up.
Finlay makes Red Shoes watch as Finlay CROSSFACE FOREARMS Shota! And again! Gedo likes that so Finlay gives more CROSSFACE FOREARMS! Finlay then sits Shota up to BLINDSIDE LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Shota is still in this and the fans fire back up! Finlay argues the count but Red Shoes defends it was fair. Finlay kicks Shota around, waits on him to rise, and the fans rally. Shota stands, ducks the lariat, and EXPLODERS! Fans fire up again while both men are down! Red Shoes checks both guys and they slowly stir. They go forehead to forehead, and Shota throws a forearm! Finlay throws it back!
Finlay eggs Shota on, Shota ROCKS Finlay! Shota eggs Finlay on, so Finlay ROCKS Shota! Shota ROCKS Finlay again, so Finlay ROCKS Shota again! They go forearm for forearm, fans rally and the two stand. The forearms keep going, back and forth, faster and faster! Finlay UPPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS! And UPPERCUTS again! Shota roars and UPPERCUTS in return! And again! Finlay rebounds into another UPPERCUT! Shota UPPERCUTS, and UPPERCUTS! Fans fire up but Finlay throat chops! And throat chops again! Finlay fires off HEADBUTT after HEADBUTT, then he rains down fists!
Red Shoes reprimands, those are closed fists! Finlay lets off and claims palms but Red Shoes can tell. Fans rally for Red Shoes as he argues with Finlay. Finlay goes back to Shota, but Red Shoes has him stay back to check. Shota is still in this, but Finlay thinks he’s won by knockout. Shota grabs at Finlay’s foot, so Finlay gut wrenches to a Canadian rack! But Shota slips free to CROSS RHODES! Shota holds on, he drags Finlay up, CROSS RHODES! Shota drags Finlay up again, SAVING GRACE! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but fans are thunderous behind Shota! Shota aims from a corner, runs in, but Finlay LARIATS!
Shota stands, but into a SPEAR! Cover, TWO!! Shota survives and Finlay is shocked! Finlay drags Shota up to gut wrench, CLIFFHANGER DDT! Cover, TWO!!! Shota survives again and the fans are thunderous! Finlay scowls at Red Shoes and argues the count, but the count is still fair. Fans rally behind Shota, but Finlay brings down the kneepad. Finlay slashes his throat and he drags Shota back up. Suplex to- NO, Shota cradles! TWO!! Finlay escapes, and ROLLING ELBOWS! Shota staggers to a corner and Finlay hoists him up top. Finlay climbs up after Shota, fires off forearms, then brings Shota up.
Shota throws body shots to stop the superplex! Finlay fires forearms and HEADBUTTS! Finlay brings Shota up again, but Shota SUPER GOURD BUSTERS first! Shota then hurries down and runs in, SWINGING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Shota roars and the fans are thunderous again! Shota picks Finlay up but Finlay fights free. Shota kicks low, underhooks, but Finlay powers him back. Shota sends Finlay into buckles! And then TORNADO DDTS! Roll through to the pick-up, SNAP BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Shota roars! Fans rally behind Shota and he aims from the corner again.
Gedo shouts at Finlay but the fans rally up. Finlay rises, Shota underhooks, but Finlay fights the lift! Finlay stomps the leg! And then HEADBUTTS Shota down! Gedo says Finlay’s got it! Suplex, but Shota fights free! ENZIGURI! Finlay rebounds, but swings into hooks! Finlay fights the backslide to backslide, but Shota rolls through! Finlay suplexes, Shota slips free, backslide and underhooks! Finlay spins Shota around, suplexes, TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, Finlay wins!!
Winner: David Finlay, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
Another hard-fought battle, and The Rebel comes out on top! Finlay stands on Shota to add insult to injury, then he throws Shota out to just add more insult! Gedo makes the official announcement that Finlay won, and then he says what Finlay did to Shota will happen to everyone else! “Okada! Okada! Are you listening? The Rebel’s coming for you! The Rebel is taking the eff over everything! I need the Rebel, the Bullet Club needs the Rebel, and the world needs the Rebel!” Will Finlay be unstoppable until he has taken everything?
New Japan Cup 2023, Quarterfinals: Hirooki Goto w/ Yoshi-Hashi VS Tama Tonga w/ Jado!
The Fierce Warrior and the Good Bad Guy have both had their run-ins with the United Empire, and they both came out on top to make it this far. But there’s only one spot left in the semifinals, who is the final of the final four?
The bell rings and fans rally up as the two circle. Goto and Tama tie up, Goto powers Tama back, but Tama breaks free. They reset, tie up again, and Tama powers Goto back. Goto turns things around to put Tama on the ropes, and Red Shoes calls the break. Goto lets off with pats on the shoulder and fans applaud. Tama and Goto circle again, tie up, and Tama headlocks. Tama grinds the hold, but Goto powers out. They RAM shoulders, but Tama keeps moving. They RAM shoulders again, both men egg each other on, so Goto runs. Goto dodges the lariat to run Tama over! Fans fire up while Tama staggers up.
Goto whips Tama corner to corner, runs in but into an elbow! Tama runs in but into a hip toss! Tama avoids the elbow drop, headlocks, but Goto powers out, only for Tama to FLYING SHOULDER TACKLE! But now Goto avoids an elbow drop and fans fire up for the standoff! Goto and Tama circle again and fans rally back up. They tie up, Goto headlocks, and Goto grinds the hold. Tama powers up but Goto holds on tighter. Tama fights up, powers up again, but still can’t power out as Goto just holds tighter! Goto grinds the headlock more, but Tama fights up to throw body shots. Tama powers out this time, and things speed up.
Tama hurdles, but Goto counter a hip toss with a hip toss! Tama goes to ropes, Goto runs in, but Tama dumps Goto out to the apron! Tama swings but Goto counter punches! But then Tama GUN STUN STUN GUNS Goto down! Goto falls to the floor and Tama waits on the ring count. Goto stirs at 5 of 20, fans rally and Hashi coaches Goto up. Goto sits up at 12 of 20, but we past 15 before he stands! Goto slides in at 18! Fans applaud, but Tama drags Goto up to COHP! Tama whips, DROPKICKS and covers, TWO! Tama keeps cool as he looms over Goto. Tama brings Goto up, then CLUBS him in the chest again and again!
Fans rally while Tama paces around. Tama drags Goto back up, snap suplexes and covers, TWO! Tama clamps onto Goto with a chinlock and grinds him back down. Fans rally as Goto endures, but Tama brings Goto down to the mat. Goto kicks and flails, fights his way back up, and he throws body shots. Tama CLUBS Goto on the back, then ROCKS him with a forearm! And then another! Goto scowls but Tama eggs him on. Tama ROCKS Goto again, but Goto snarls. Tama fires off forearm after forearm! Tama then runs, but Goto blocks the boot! Goto throws the foot down but Tama ROCKS him with another forearm!
Goto blocks another boot, waistlocks, but Tama elbows free! Tama runs, Goto follows and LARIATS Tama down! Fans fire up while both men are down! Tama crawls to a corner but Goto is right on him. Goto whips corner to corner and runs in to MURAMASA! Then SAIDO! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Tama survives, and Jado coaches him up. Goto brings Tama up but Tama fires body shots and low headbutts! Tama whips, Goto reverses and he runs Tama over! Fans fire up as Tama bails out, and Goto hurries to PLANCHA! Direct hit and both men go down at the railing! Fans fire up as both men stir.
The ring count starts but Goto is already up at 2 of 20. He drags Tama up at 5, but Tama is deadweight so Goto stomps him. The count passes 10, Goto drags Tama back up at 13. Goto puts Tama back in at 15 and fans applaud. Goto fires up and fans rally behind him. Goto climbs up a corner, but Tama ROCKS him first! Tama throws another forearm, but Goto hits back! Goto ELBOWS Tama in the head, but Tama throws body shots. Tama ROCKS Goto, climbs up and CLUBS Goto on the back. But Goto throws body shots and forearms! Tama and Goto fire off back and forth, and Tama gets the edge! Tama stands Goto up for the SUPERPLEX!
Fans fire up while both men are down again! Red Shoes checks, both men stir, and the fans rally up again. Goto crawls to a corner but Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! And then EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Goto hangs tough and the fans rally up. Tama drags himself up with the ropes, and he storms over to Goto. Tama stands Goto up but Goto throws a forearm! Tama throws a forearm right back! Goto drops to a knee, but he grits his teeth. Goto stands up to ROCK Tama with a forearm! Tama shakes that off to ROCK Goto right back! Goto ROCKS Tama! Tama ROCKS Goto! The forearms go back and forth again!
Fans fire up as Tama fires off a strike fest! Tama whips, Goto reverses, fireman’s carries and USHIGOROSHI! Both men are down and Tama clutches his neck. Goto roars and fans fire up with him! Goto drags Tama up, dragon sleepers, but Tama throws hands from below! Goto blocks that, spins Tama around, but Tama fireman’s carries! SRC! Tama flounders but finds his way over to the corner! Tama goes up, for the SUPREME FLOW! Cover, TWO!! Goto is still in this, but fans fire up with Tama! OFF COMES THE VEST! Tama watches Goto stir, and Tama pounds the mat. Fans clap along and build back up.
Goto rises, Tama runs in, GUN- NO, Goto blocks! Goto shoves, runs, Tama redirects but Goto follows! Tama dodges and runs, GUN- NO! Goto blocks, then deflects the boot! But Tama jumps, VELENO! Both men are down after the satellite DDT and the fans are thunderous! Tama rises first, the fans rally back up, and Tama takes aim from the corner. Goto flounders, rises, and Tama rushes in, GUN- NO, Goto puts him in the corner! DRAPING SHOUTO!! But Goto’s too tired to make the cover! Fans rally up again and Goto rises. Goto roars and Tama rises, BUZZSAW! Goto then drags Tama back up to fireman’s carry!
USHI- NO, Tama flips through! But Goto still blocks Gun Stun! Goto drags Tama back up, spins him around, but Tama SUPER FOREARMS! BLOODY SUNDAY!! Cover, TWO!?! Goto survives Tama’s shoutout to The Prince, but Tama roars! Tama drags Goto up, underhooks, but Goto fights the lift! Goto wrenches and HEADBUTTS! And then LARIATS!! Fans fire up as Tama goes flipping through the air! Goto roars and gathers all his strength! BUZZSAW!! And then another dragon sleeper! G T- NO!! Tama blocks to a backslide but Goto holds that off! Tama HEADBUTTS, and GUN STUNS!!! Cover, TAMA WINS!!
Winner: Tama Tonga, by pinfall (advances to the semifinals)
The NEVER Openweight Champion bests one half of the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions! The Fierce Warrior misses out on the final four, will he and Hashi simply regroup to focus on the tag titles for the Spring?
As for Tama, he shakes Goto’s hand to show respect, and the two hug it out. Goto raises Tama’s hand in victory, then lets him have the ring. Tama gets the mic to say, “HAMAMATSU~!” Fans cheer and Tama continues in Japanese,
“Really, thank you so much! Goto-san. That was amazing, thank you.” Fans cheer the respect shown, and Tama asks that everyone please keep supporting him! A short and sweet message from the Good Bad Guy, will he go all the way until he has his hands on the Cup?
Another really good night for the New Japan Cup, though not as shocking and wild as yesterday’s. Shota VS Finlay went about as expected in that Finlay goes over, but I am still impressed that Finlay is a Heel that doesn’t cheat to win. He didn’t need Gedo to do things for him here, Finlay just outdid Shota. And then we got a great main event where I was rather surprised that Tama won out. I thought Goto was going to go strong to the finals to put over the other side of the bracket. Instead, Tama gets a great win here and he’ll get to face Finlay next week, in a great rework of Tama taking on the Bullet Club.
My Score: 8.7/10
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