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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Live Report! (5/15/18)

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Two of SmackDown's best are not done with each other yet!

SmackDown comes to London with a #Mellabration! The Princess of Staten Island vows to outdo the Royal Wedding with a party in her own honor. Will anyone crash the party? Plus, the Phenomenal One and the King of Strong Style will determine their stipulation for their Money in the Bank WWE Championship rematch!

 

All images courtesy of the WWE’s official Twitter

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Tag Match: The New Day VS The Bar; The New Day wins and chooses ??? to join the Men’s MITB Ladder Match.
  • Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Jake Constantino; Almas wins.
  • Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Triple Threat: Becky Lynch VS Mandy Rose VS Sonya Deville; Becky wins and joins the Women’s MITB Ladder Match.
  • AJ Styles VS Shinsuke Nakamura; Nakamura wins and will choose the stipulation for their WWE Championship match at MITB next week.

PLAY BY PLAY

Renee Young introduces Daniel Bryan!

The Goat has the O2 giving a standing ovation of “YES! YES!” as he heads to the ring. Bryan won at Wrestlemania, was impressive in the Greatest Royal Rumble match, and won at Backlash. However, Big Cass would beat him up and Rusev would shut him out of the Money in the Bank match. Fans have not stopped chanting, by the way. Bryan wants those at home to “Feel that! Fell ALL of that!” Was Bryan disappointed? Sure. Does he like losing? Does anyone like losing? “NO! NO!” When Bryan made his return, he was just happy to be back doing what he loves. “But now, it’s not enough to be back.” Bryan wants to do more than just be back, he wants to be on top! Bryan will fight and climb and scratch and claw for it all. And before it’s all over, Bryan will be WWE Champion!

But Big Cass says to “Hold on.” The Human Skyscraper, who was a “Cass-Hole” of a sore loser at Backlash, says that he was just listening to Bryan run his mouth, “and I am sick of it.” Bryan may have fooled the fans into drinking the Kool-Aid, but not Cass. Bryan feeds the fans “heart-warming” crap! Cass knows the truth about Bryan. Renee brought up Rusev’s win Bryan’s “first major setback”, but Cass disagrees. Cass was his setback, was the reason Bryan lost and will be why Bryan keeps losing. Cass will make sure Bryan never achieves his dreams again. He admits he loss, but he only tapped out to then beat “the holy hell” out of Bryan. And he did! Cass beat Bryan down, and will continue to beat him down, and his 7 foot shadow will follow Bryan all over the WWE.

Sure, Bryan lasted 75 minutes in the GRR, wow~! But what happened when Cass showed up? Cass booted Bryan, eliminated him, and proved to us all that “Daniel Bryan is a loser.” Bryan should’ve let that little guy from Montreal take his place, because he at least took that beating with dignity? Cass asks if Bryan is a loser. Fans say “No! No!” but Cass says “YES!” Should Bryan have stayed retired? “YES!” Should Bryan let Brie “wear the pants” in the family? “YES!” Cass drops then mic then heads to the ring. He stands across from Bryan, but Bryan doesn’t back down. The fans support Bryan while Cass climbs inside. Cass mocks “YES!” but Bryan fires off!

Bryan goes at the legs, then throws more right hands and kicks! Fans are fired up as Bryan pulls on the leg with the ropes. Bryan doesn’t let up, even as he has Cass on the mat! Referees appear to stop Bryan from beating Cass down. Cass stands up and hobbles, but Bryan comes around from the outside! Bryan slings Cass’ leg into the post! And then again! Bryan backs off again, but then gives Cass a chop block! He grabs that leg, for a heel hook! Cass shouts in pain and even taps out, but it doesn’t do a thing with this being a fight and not a match! The referees order Bryan to let go, but Bryan doesn’t let go until he’s satisfied. Fans cheer while Cass retreats to the back. Cass has incurred the wrath of The Goat, will he regret ever trying to bully Bryan?

 

The Miz is in London!

The Most Must-See Superstar is already one of SmackDown’s Money in the Bank entrants, and is himself a past winner of the contract. He joins commentary to have a front row look at who will join him and The Bulgarian Lion in that match.

 

Men’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Tag Match: The New Day VS The Bar!

Awwwwwww, London~! While this may be a tag team match, it will help at least one man get into the Men’s MITB Ladder Match. Xavier Woods managed to beat the Celtic Warrior with the help of Big E & Kofi Kingston, but that same help backfired against the Swiss Cyborg. Will “ya boys” The New Day or The Bar break the tie in their favor?

The bell rings and Woods starts against Cesaro. Cesaro lunges but Woods ducks under to SUPERKICK Sheamus off the apron! Then he counters Cesaro to throw chops and haymakers. Cesaro reverses the whip but Woods ducks under again to rock him with a roaring elbow. Woods takes aim at Sheamus, then builds speed to FLY! Woods takes out Sheamus, then gives shade to Miz before hitting Cesaro with a slingshot jump kick! Cover, TWO, but Woods keeps on Cesaro. Cesaro suplexes but Woods slips out, then Woods ducks and runs for a wheelbarrow. Cesaro blocks it with strength, then brings Woods up and over. Sheamus tags in, Cesaro adjusts, and Sheamus adds a double ax handle to the back suplex. Cover, TWO, but The Bar is in control. Sheamus rocks Woods then tags in Cesaro, and The Bar double whip for the Bar Lariat.

Woods rolls away while The Bar brags and we go picture in picture. Cesaro pushes Woods off the apron, then distracts the ref so Sheamus can get a cheap shot. Big E protests but the referee keeps him back. Cesaro tags Sheamus, and Sheamus fetches Woods to rock him with a European Uppercut. Sheamus puts Woods in the ring, then drives a knee in for the keylock. He keeps Woods on the mat, but Woods feeds off the energy from the fans. Woods stands up, and fights back, but Sheamus shoves and catches him into the Irish Curse backbreaker! Cover, TWO, but Sheamus drags Woods back over. Cessaro tags in, and taunts the New Day as he brings Woods up. Woods fights back, but Cesaro whips him away to knock him down with a back elbow. Cover, TWO, so it’s back to the chinlock.

Woods endures while The New Day and fans rally. Woods stands up but Cesaro tags in Sheamus. Sheamus kicks Woods and The Bar whip Woods for Super Saiyan Kicks! The Bar embraces the heat while stomping Woods. Sheamus tags Cesaro, and Cesaro swaggers about. Woods rolls him up, TWO, and Cesaro puts the chinlock back on. He brings Woods back to the mat, but Woods feeds off a new rally. Woods stands up, hits a jawbreaker, but Sheamus tags in to knock Big E down. Woods ducks Sheamus, but there’s no one to tag. Sheamus rocks him with a bicycle knee, then brings him back over to tag in Cesaro. Cesaro climbs up while we go single picture, and drops the elbow into the backbreaker. Cover, TWO, so Cesaro chokes Woods against the ropes. Sheamus gets another cheap shot, Cesaro covers, TWO.

Fans rally for the New Day again, and Woods fights back. Woods backs Cesaro down, but Cesaro whips him to ropes. Woods throws Cesaro out of the ring! Big E returns, and Woods crawls over for the hot tag! Sheamus tags in, but Big E is upon him with belly2belly suplexes! Big E slams Sheamus down, then swivels the hips. He runs for the Big Splash, but into knees! Sheamus runs in but Big E throws him down, covers, TWO. Big E and the fans rally with New Day claps, but Cesaro dsitracts and Sheamus rolls up. TWO, Cesaro tags in. Big E scoops Sheamus but Cesaro saves him. The Bar double mule kick and double DDT! Cover, TWO! Cesaro puts on the Sharpshooter!

Fans rally, and Woods returns, but Sheamus drags Woods out. Woods puts SHeamus into a post, then saves Big E. Both Big E and Cesaro head for corners, Cesaro runs into an elbow. Woods tags in, Tornado DDT! Cover, TWO!! Woods stands up and brings Cesaro up, but Cesaro throat chops. Cesaro runs but into the post, Woods hits the wheelbarrow facebuster. Sheamus breaks the pin, then brawls with Big E! Sheamus kicks and kicks, but Big E throws him out to then DIVE THROUGH HIM! They both go to the floor, and fans fire up as Woods climbs up. Woods hits the Springboard Elbow! New Day wins!

Winners: The New Day (Big E & Woods), Woods pinning; one member qualifies for the Men’s MITB match.

With one out of three going into this major ladder match, who will The New Day choose? Plus, with only one spot left in the match, who will be the final entrant from SmackDown?

 

The Bludgeon Brothers speak.

Harper & Rowan say that “Family is for the weak”, Usos. “Friendship is an abscess waiting to be pierced,” The Club and The Bar. “Joy is a disease,” New Day. “The Cure is to Bludgeon.” Time’s up for the SmackDown Tag Team Division, who will be purged first?

 

SmackDown GM Paige is in her office.

Yes, she would’ve loved to go to the Royal Wedding, but she didn’t get an invite. Carmella, no, no horse-drawn carriages. Just stop. But she’ll call Carmella back. Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville are here, the “power trip” didn’t work. Mandy still won, and now she’s in the Women’s MITB– No, that wasn’t a qualifying match. It should’ve been. Relax, or you won’t get one at all. So then Mandy is getting one? But not Sonya? No they’re both getting one tonight. Against who? Becky Lynch. As a handicap match? They’re winning, obviously, right? No, it’s not a handicap match, it’s a triple threat. Only ONE woman qualifies, so good luck out there.

 

Backstage interview with AJ Styles.

The Phenomenal One has a non-title rematch with Shinsuke Nakamura, winner chooses how their MITB match goes down. What will Styles choose if he wins? Styles doesn’t think it’ll be “if”, but “when” he wins. And it could be a scaffolding match, or a pole on a pole match. No wait, Bull Rope Hell in a Cell Inferno Match! Where the referee is Elvis, right? No, Renee, that’s silly. But it doesn’t matter what Styles chooses, it’ll be entertaining for everyone except the “Con Artist”. Nakamura can pretend not to know English, but Styles knows the international language of forearms to faces. It doesn’t matter where or when, Nakamura can’t win in the House that AJ Styles Built!

 

Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega VS Jake Constantino!

El Idolo is FINALLY on SmackDown! The former NXT Champion has Lamaneca by his side even on the main roster as he goes against local boy, Jake Constantino. Will Almas’ Tranquilo style translate to the Blue Brand as successfully as it did to NXT?

The bell rings, and he ties up with Jake. Almas gest the waistlock but Jake the standing switch, but Almas elbows his way out. Vega likes what she sees, but then Jake dropkicks Almas down. Almas gets up and CHOPS Jake down. Almas puts Jak ein a corner and stomps a mudhole into him, with both feet. El Idolo grins, then pumps himself up. He runs corner to corner, for CIEN KNEES! But that’s not all, he brings Jake up for the Hammerlock DDT!

Cover, Almas wins!

Winner: Almas, by pinfall

An impressive victory in his debut, and he barely broke a sweat, too.

Zelina Vega speaks.

“This is SmackDown Live, huh?” She was expecting more. After all the anticipation, Almas finally arrives and they get some scrub? “Pathetic!” Just as pathetic as every superstar that thinks they can do what Almas can. “Our message is clear: We didn’t come to SmackDown Live to place nice. We came to TAKE OVER!” Will El Idolo take over SmackDown like he did NXT?

 

Rusev has his own room, thanks to Aiden English.

The Drama King tried to get a better room, but it’s London, “Home of the Pedestrian.” The food, the Rolling Stones, they’re overrated. Rusev will get satisfaction when he wins MITB. And English has a new song just for the occasion. But as he’s tuning up, Lana enters. Lana wishes English to save his voice, for a “Ravishing” new song. Lana vows to also win the Women’s MITB, because she’s going up against Billie Kay next week. She will CRUSH Billie, and together, they will be the first ever Mrs. & Mrs. MITB! Machka in the Bank will RULE SmackDown! On what day? On… RUSEV DAAAAAAY~!

 

Here ye, Here ye!

It’s time for the Royal Mellabration! The fair princess of Staten Island arrives. The very same princess who defeated Charlotte Flair twice to become the SmackDown Women’s Champion. “May God ignore the Queen, and God Save Carmella!” With pomp and circumstance, Carmella makes her entrance and heads to the ring.

She carefully positions her championship on the leopard print pillow before speaking. “Before I begin, I just wanted to give you all a little thrill.” She’ll give everyone the chance to show their love for her. She’s so nice, right? For the next 10 seconds or so, shower her with the praise as she deserves as the first Ms. MITB and now Women’s Champion. Ready, cheer! Nope, they boo and jeer. That doesn’t sit well with Carmella.

“You people will line up outside of a hospital” just to see a baby, but they won’t respect Carmella? No, they won’t. She is the Princess of Staten Island, and she commands them to bow down! Bow. Down!! These fans remind her of all the other women on SmackDown. None of them think she’s good enough or deserving of the title. But guess what, Not-So-Great Britain? #MellaIsMoney and #MellaIsChampion. That makes her better than them. Better than you, you, and definitely “be’er than you!” She’s better than Charlotte, than Becky Lynch, than Alexa Bliss, Nia Jax and Ronda Rousey! She’s better than Trish Stratus AND Lita put together! Paige interrupts the party, and the fans love it!

London’s own Glampire walks to the ring, and Carmella assumes she’s here to teach the fans respect. No, but she is here to say it’s great to be home. Paige hears out the fans chant “This is Your House!” then gets to business. She knows Carmella thinks she’s better than everyone. That’s quite the proclamation. But Paige has a proclamatino of her own: Carmella’s opponent for Money in the Bank. Carmella insists she’s not defending at MITB, but Paige insists she is. Against… ASUKA!! The Empress of Tomorrow is in London, too! Carmella protests right in Paige’s ear, but it doesn’t change Paige’s mind. Asuka heads to the ring and stares Carmella down with that sinister grin.

Fans know “Asuka’s gonna kill~ you~”, so Carmella snags her belt and retreats. No words necessary for this, Carmella is fearful for her reign. Will the Empress dethrone the Princess to rebuild her empire?

 

Backstage interview with Shinsuke Nakamura.

The Rockstar hasn’t defeated AJ Styles yet, but tonight might change that. How does he feel about hsi chances? “What does ‘chance’ mean?” Nakamura clearly continues his “No Speak English” act, and then says that “chance” is the wrong word. It is a certainty that Nakamura will win. Styles will lose, and get a #Knee2Face, and then another and another and another, and so on and so forth. When Nakamura is done, Styles’ nose smashed, cheeks broken and face utterly gone, Nakamura will dishonor Styles, and take that title for his own.

 

Women’s Money in the Bank Qualifying Triple Threat: Becky Lynch VS Mandy Rose VS Sonya Deville!

With Absolution broken up and the best friends set up against each other, will God’s Greatest Creation or the Gladiator Gal go on to join Charlotte, Ember Moon and Alexa Bliss in the ladder match? Or will the Lass Kicker beat two for the price of won and bring her #StraightFire to the match instead?

The bell rings, and clearly Becky is alone against Mandy & Sonya. She manages to fight them both off, then throw Mandy out. Becky puts Sonya in a corner with buckle bumps, then to another corner. Sonya reverses and toys with Becky before giving body shots. Becky dodges to jump kick Sonya back, but Mandy returns. The duo formerly known as Absolution beat Becky down, but fans are on Becky’s side. Mandy scoops and slams Becky, then Sonya rams in a knee to the ribs. Mandy turns on Sonya with a roll up, ONE! The friends aren’t so friendly while we go picture in picture. Becky rolls Sonya but Many breaks the cover. Mandy goes after Becky at the ropes, choking the former women’s champion with Sonya’s help.

Mandy & Sonya corner Becky and fire off with kicks. They mug Becky together, then double suplex. Becky rolls out, and Sonya goes out to fetch her while Mandy poses. Mandy follows, and the two throw Becky into the apron. They throw her into barriers, too, then toy with Becky as she writhes on the ground. They kick her around before putting her back in. Mandy covers, but Sonya yanks her off. Sonya shoves Mandy, Mandy shoves back, but the two realize to keep their cools. Mandy goes after Becky, but Becky boots her back. Becky boots Sonya, then jumps, but they both duck under to double shoulder tackle Becky down. Then Sonya sucker punches Mandy! We return to single picture as the Jersey Deville stands tall.

Fans rally for Becky, but Sonya is on her with body shots and kicks. Sonya backs off to then return with forearms. Sonya whips Becky but Becky kicks her back. Becky runs and rallies with lariats and a calf kick. Becky has the fans fired up as she throws Sonya with a Becksploder! Sonya gets to a corner, but Becky runs in. Sonya kicks ehr away, then drives her down with a knee, but Mandy returns to toss Sonya out. Mandy covers, TWO! Mandy keeps on Becky but Becky small packages, TWO. Becky dodges the knee and brings Mandy around, but Mandy throws her into buckles. Mandy gives Becky a butterfly facebuster! Cover, but Sonya returns to toss Mandy! Sonya covers, TWO!

Sonya scrapes Mandy out before going back to Becky for body shots. Becky hits back and these two slug it out. Sonya puts Becky in a corner, and gives more body shots. Sonya hoists Becky up to the top, then climbs up to join her. Mandy returns and joins in to electric chair Sonya. Becky adjusts, and it’s a missile dropkick doomsday!

All three women are down, but fans rally up. Becky stirs first, and crawls to a cover on Mandy. TWO, and Becky brings Mandy up while Sonya slip sout of the ring. Mandy and Becky brawl, but Mandy kicks low to try another facebuster. Becky slips out and brings Mandy down again, but Sonya kicks Becky and Mandy! Sonya hits the slinding knee, covers, TWO! Sonya can’t believe that Becky still lives. Becky drags herself up, but Sonya has her in a suplex. Becky blocks, and scoops but Sonya slips out. Mady flies in but the knee goes into Sonya! Becky grabs Mandy but Mandy reverses to roll up, TWO into the Disarm-her! Mandy reaches, but can’t, she taps! Becky wins!

Winner: Becky, by submission; qualifies for the Women’s MITB match

The Lass Kicker has turned her losing streak around with a big win tonight! She enters the second-ever Women’s MITB, can she be the second-ever Ms. MITB?

 

Superstars speak on MITB.

“They say that ambition makes for strange victims.” And Big Cass is one of them. The only thing big about Cass is his mouth. Samoa Joe has known and dealt with “fake tough guys” like Cass his entire life. When it comes time to take their convictions and walk them through the fire, even big men end up short. Cass has made a habit of targeting those smaller than him. But ambition has made Cass Joe’s new target. Joe wants that title opportunity, and next week, he promises to prove how small Big Cass really is. Cass is an obstacle that Joe will put to sleep.

The IIconics take a moment to adjust the camera. Word Association game. London = Loud. Lana = Loser. And Billie = Beautiful. Oh, and winner! Briefcase = Perfect Accessory. Contract = Championship. Future = IIconic.

 

AJ Styles VS Shinsuke Nakamura!

From Wrestlemania to Backlash, the Phenomenal One and King of Strong Style have fought with everything they have, yet there has not been a truly satisfactory ending to this Dream Rivalry. With one more championship match coming at Money in the Bank, this non-title rematch will have major implications. Who will win here tonight in London? And what will they choose to be the stipulation that ends this rivalry once and for all?

SmackDown returns and this match happens for the first time on television. Styles and Nakamura tie up, Styles gets the standing switch but Nakamura the standing switch. Styles snapmares but Nakamura reverses to an arm wrench. Nakamura goes after the wrist but Styles rolls through to reverse it onto Nakamura. Fans duel while Nakamura rolls and kips up to cartwheel. Nakamura puts on the arm wrench but Styles goes to back suplex. Nakamura rolls Styles, TWO, and now Styles rolls Nakamura. TWO, and the two have a stand-off. Styles and Nakamura approach each other, but Nakamura hits low. Nakamura toys with Styles, then gives him a knee. Nakamura runs, but into Styles’ dropkick!

Styles brings Nakamura back up, and over to a corner for a buckle bump. Styles chops Nakanura, then rocks him with a right. He tries to suplex but Nakamura blocks and counters with knees. Nakamura runs but into a backbreaker! Styles goes after Nakamura but Nakamura slips out of the ring. Fans duel while Styles slingshots for a forearm!

They both go down, but Styles gets up first. Styles brings Nakamura up and into the ring, but Nakamura slips back out the other side. Styles targets him from the apron, but Nakamura intercepts the knee with a kick! Nakamura then positions Styles, for the running knee lift! Fans keep dueling while Nakamura puts Styles in the ring for a cover. TWO, but Nakamura keeps his focus while we go to break.

SmackDown returns and Nakamura tees off on Styles at the ropes. The referee backs him off, but Nakamura goes back for more. Fans continue to duel while Nakamura throws hands on Styles. Styles goes to a corner, but Nakamura rams knees into him anyway. Nakamura brings Styles up for BAD Vibrations, then sits him down for Good Vibrations. Nakamura drags Styles up but Styles hits back, only to get knees. Styles resists the Inverted Exploder and elbows his way out, but misses the clothesline while Nakamura hits the Dynamic Dropkick! Cover, TWO, and Nakamura grows frustrated. He brings Styles up and around for a chinlock while fans rally again. Nakamura shifts it to a dragon sleeper, trapping one arm. Styles endures, and tries to stand up, but Nakamura keeps him down.

Nakamura wrenches back more, but Styles fights out with knees to Nakamura’s face. Styles goes after Nakamura, but Nakamura fires off his strike fest. Nakamura puts Styles up on the top rope, then climbs up, but Styles slips down and out. Nakamura shoves him away, but Styles comes back, only to run into a boot, and yet give a PELE! Both men fall to the mat, and a ten count begins. The count reaches 4 before Styles stands. Nakamura stands, and they beat the count at 7. Styles gets the Phenomenal Blitz! Then the sliding forearm! Styles fires up while Nakamura gets to a corner, and Styles hits a corner clothesline. Nakamura fights against the fireman’s carry, so Styles hits the wheelbarrow facebuster. Cover, TWO!

Both men stand again, and Nakamura powers Styles to a corner. Styles catches Nakamura into the Calf Crusher, but Nakamura. Nakamura thrusts the knee but Styles evades. Styles slips out of the fireman’s carry but Nakamura gets him with the heel kick, into the Landslide driver! Cover, TWO! Nakamura grows frustrated, but fans know “This is Awesome!” Nakamura drags Styles up and puts him back in a corner. He hoists Styles onto the top rope, then backs up, but Styles avoids the Top Shelf Knee. Styles springboards but Nakamura sweeps the legs to hit that knee! Styles tumbles down to the apron while Nakamura catches his breath. Nakamura joins Styles, and fans rally while they stand up. Nakamura has evil intentions but Styles resists.

Styles holds on for dear life, then suplexes, but Nakamura lands on his feet. They brawl on the apron, then Nakamura climbs up for a FLYING KNEE! Nakamura brings Styles in for a cover, TWO! Fans fire up as Nakamura takes aim from a corner. He waits for Styles to stand, but Styles catches him into the Clash position! Nakamura kicks him away, but he ends up in Ushigoroshi! Cover, TWO! Styles stands up while fans again chant “This is Awesome!” Styles runs, but into a boot! Nakamura stands up now, and hits a sliding KINSHASA! Cover, TWO!?

Nakamura is furious, but he goes right back to a corner. He fires up again, as promised, but runs into a windmill heel kick! Styles drags Nakamura up and around, but Nakamura shovels him up and onto the apron. He knocks Nakamura, springboards, but Nakamura evades! Styles keeps himself from hitting the ref, but he sees Nakamura coming this time. Nakamura fakes a low blow?! Styles defends that it’s a fake, but Nakamura pounces! Inverted Exploder! Then, KINSHASA!! Cover, Nakamura WINS!

Winner: Nakamura, by pinfall; may choose the stipulation for the MITB WWE Championship match

It doesn’t matter how he did it, Nakamura defeats Styles! The Con Artist gets away with another masterpiece of a crime, and he rubs it in Styles’ face. What stipulation will he choose for their fourth Dream (Re)Match? Will Styles be able to survive the schemes of the King of Strong Style?

 


 

My Thoughts:

SmackDown did much better tonight, and a touch better than Raw, even though there was some confusion as to why with a few things. Bryan being confronted by Cass, and snapping on Cass, works much better here than Vince trying to have the same with Roman and Mahal. For starters, all fans love Bryan. Second, Bryan makes a much more believable underdog meets victim (for lack of a better word). His fight with Cass will get much more momentum for him than Roman going up against Mahal and supposedly up against the administration. I like the meta behind Vega’s promo after Almas’ squash match victory. Almas as a former NXT Champion deserves a bit more than a jobber his first time out, so hopefully this leads to a string of matches with established stars to give them TV time, too.

SmackDown’s approach to the MITB qualifiers is also more unique. Tag teams compete for a singles opportunity, but perhaps this can still help towards the rumored Tag Team MITB match. New Day wins, meaning they put one man in the Men’s MITB, but the other two can still be in the Team MITB. Same goes for The Bar, since they lost. The Bludgeon Brothers call out all the other teams in their promo, and tag teams have given good MITB promos, so perhaps this is all foreshadowing that Team MITB. There are weeks left before the PPV, so perhaps Raw and SmackDown will use them to give us this match.

Thankfully the #Mellabration didn’t go on too long before someone showed up to do something. Paige gets her hometown hero moment while also giving Carmella some comeuppance. Just like Nia having to take a match, so does Carmella, and Carmella does well being a Heel champion with not wanting any part of any contender. Asuka being the challenger, she better win to finally make Carmella eat her words. Tonight’s Women’s Triple Threat was great, it had all kinds of story between Mandy and Sonya, and unlike Bayley on Raw, Becky used it to her advantage and came out the winner. If Asuka better beat Carmella, Becky BETTER win the MITB, because she really needs it to help her get back in the spotlight.

The only confusion was Nakamura VS Styles. It wasn’t for a title, yet it somehow felt better than the Backlash title match. That might be more a comment on Backlash than the story as a whole, but making this match here tonight is both good and bad. It’s good because it gets people in seats and watching at home, and the match itself was genuinely good. It’s bad because it makes little sense in story. Why not just let Paige or Shane choose a stipulation for them? Or is it simply because WWE has nothing else to fill out the weeks leading to MITB? I won’t let the confusion count against the action, but it continues to make WWE’s writers and booking look content to just coast compared to all other promotions.

My Score: 8.3/10


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AEW Coverage

Mitchell’s AEW Dynamite Results & Report! (7/24/24)

The violent tradition returns!

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The word of the day is, “VIOLENCE!”

Blood & Guts returns again, and Team AEW looks to take down The Elite once and for all! Will Swerve, Darby, Mark Briscoe & The Acclaimed stand tall? Or will they be able to stand at all?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • FTW Championship: Chris Jericho VS Minoru Suzuki; wins and
  • Britt Baker VS Hikaru Shidra; wins.
  • Blood & Guts: The Elite VS Team AEW; win(s).

PLAY BY PLAY

[Due to scheduling conflicts, coverage will be on delay]


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Coverage

Mitchell’s NJPW G1 Climax 34 Results & Report! (7/23/24)

Round 3…?

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Things are getting complicated!

While A Block enters round 3 of the G1 Climax, B Block still has Jeff Cobb and Konosuke Takeshita battling it out for round 2! Will the United Empire’s Imperial Unit or The Don Callis Family’s Alpha take the lead?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Six Man Tag: Hirooki Goto, Shoma Kato & Tomoaki Honma VS  Boltin Oleg, Toru Yano & Katsuya Morishima;  Oleg, Yano & Morishima win.
  • El Phantasmo & Jado VS Yota Tsuij & BUSHI; Yota & Bushi win.
  • HENARE & Francesco Akira VS David Finlay & Gedo; Henare & Akira win.
  • G1 Climax 34 B Block: Jeff Cobb VS Konosuke Takeshita; Konosuke wins.
  • G1 Climax 34 A Block: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Callum Newman; ZSJ wins.
  • G1 Climax 34 A Block: Shingo Takagi VS Great-O-Khan; Takagi wins.
  • G1 Climax 34 A Block: Shota Umino VS Gabe Kidd; Gabe wins.
  • G1 Climax 34 A Block: SANADA VS EVIL; Evil wins.
  • G1 Climax 34 A Block: Tetsuya Naito VS Jake Lee; Naito wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Here are the current A Block standings!

Zack Sabre Jr: 2-0, 4 points
Evil: 2-0, 4 points
Shingo Takagi: 1-1, 2 points
Jake Lee: 1-1, 2 points
Gabe Kidd: 1-1, 2 points
Sanada: 1-1, 2 points
Callum Newman: 1-1, 2 points
Shota Umino: 1-1, 2 points
Tetsuya Naito: 0-2, 0 points
Great-O-Khan: 0-2, 0 points

 

Here are the current B Block standings!

Yuya Uemura: 2-0, 4 points
Henare: 2-0, 4 points
Jeff Cobb: 1-0, 2 points
Konosuke Takeshita: 1-0, 2 points
Boltin Oleg: 1-1, 2 points
Yota Tsuji: 1-1, 2 points
Ren Narita: 1-1, 2 points
David Finlay: 0-2, 0 points
Hirooki Goto: 0-2, 0 points
El Phantasmo: 0-2, 0 points

G1 Climax 34 B Block: Jeff Cobb VS Konosuke Takeshita!

While the opening weekend was a big success, this match had to wait. The Imperial Unit took Hirooki Goto on a Tour of the Islands, and The Alpha showed the power of AEW, but who gets back into the swing of things with another victory?

The bell rings and the two rush in! They RAM shoulders, the fans cheer, and Cobb dares Konosuke to go. Konosuke runs and RABS Cobb, but Cobb doesn’t budge. Konosuke says go, Cobb runs, and he RAMS Konosuke! They RAM again and again and again! Konosuke staggers back, fans cheer, and Cobb runs, into a BOOT! Konosuke whips, Cobb reverses but the TAKESHITA LINE hits! The fans fire up and Konosuke waits. Cobb stands, Konosuke runs in, but Cobb BOOTS! Cobb runs up to POUNCE Konosuke! Konosuke sits up in a daze, and probably just as surprised as everyone watching. Cobb then storms over and drags Konosuke up.

Cobb ROCKS Konosuke, throat chops him, but the ref reprimands. Konosuke sputters and staggers but Cobb CLUBS him down. The fans cheer, Cobb drags Konosuke around and stomps him. Cobb stands on Konosuke to use him as a surfboard! The fans cheer, Cobb calls to Toru Yano on commentary, and then copies the “Y T R” and shrug! Cobb then “realizes” he’s standing on Konosuke and steps away while “apologizing.” The fans rally, Konosuke goes to the apron, but Cobb drags Konosuke up by his hair. Cobb then CLUBS Konosuke against ropes, before stepping out onto the apron. Cobb reels Konosuke in, but Konosuke holds ropes to fight the lift!

Konosuke tries to suplex, Cobb suplexes in return! Konosuke slips into the ring and he DECKS Cobb with an elbow! The fans fire up and Konosuke builds speed, to then FLY! Direct hit and down goes Cobb at the ramp! The fans fire up more as Konosuke stands. Konosuke drags Cobb up and puts him in the ring before going up a corner. Konosuke shouts, “C’MON!” and the fans cheer. But then Cobb DROPKICKS Konosuke! Cobb climbs up and he gut wrenches for a SUPER GUT WRENCH PLEX! Both men are down after that landing and the fans fire up again. Cobb crawls over, covers, TWO! GACHIMUCHI MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO!

Konosuke is still in this but Cobb keeps calm. Cobb goes to the apron, then climbs a corner. The fans rally, but Konosuke UPPERCUTS first! Konosuke climbs up after Cobb, the fans rally more, and Konosuke goes to the very top! SUPER DUPER PLEX!! The fans are thunderous as the ring practically shakes! Konosuke smirks as he sits up and the fans rally again. Cobb rises, goes to a corner, and Konosuke roars! But then Cobb runs in to UPPERCUT! Cobb keeps moving, but Konosuke follows, only for Cobb to dodge! And GERMAN SUPLEX! Konosuke lands on his feet!? And BOOTS, to then POISON-RANA!

Konosuke keeps moving, but Cobb LARIATS him down! The fans are thunderous again while both men are down! Konosuke stirs, Cobb rises, and Cobb hobbles over to Konosuke. Cobb waistlocks to deadlift Konosuke! Konosuke fights the lift with elbows! Konosuke standing switches, tries to lift, but Cobb fights with elbows. Cobb DOUBLE CHOPS! Konosuke sputters, Cobb whips, but Konosuke holds ropes. Konosuke BOOTS back, dodges Cobb and HIGH ANGLE GERMANS! Bridging cover, TWO! Cobb escapes and the fans fire up! Konosuke grits his teeth, rises up and goes to a corner to take aim.

Konosuke runs up to POWER DRIVE- NO! Cobb stops the knee to ATHLETIC PLEX Konosuke away! Konosuke stands up, but into an URENAGE! FALLING HAMMER! Cover, TWO!! Konosuke survives Cobb going Hulk smash, but now Cobb really powers up! Cobb drags Konosuke up, gut wrenches, but Konosuke slips free! Konosuke tries but Cobb fights the Blue Thunder. Cobb goes to run but Konosuke reels him in! BLUE THUNDER- RANA!! Cobb rises up, Konosuke dodges the lariat and scoops on the run, BLUE THUNDER BOMB!! Cover, TWO!!! Cobb barely gets an arm up and the fans are thunderous!

Konosuke roars, drags Cobb up and suplexes, but Cobb fights that! Cobb wrenches out, reels Konosuke in, TOUR OF- NO, Konosuke slips free! Cobb JUMP KNEES, but Konosuke JUMP KNEES back! Cobb HEADBUTTS Konosuke down!! Cobb drags Konosuke back up while the fans rally. Konosuke winds up to ALPHA ELBOW!! Cobb falls to his knees, but Konosuke roars and brings him up! Suplex for the RAGING FIRE!! Cover, KONOSUKE WINS!

Winner: Konosuke Takeshita, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Cobb earns 0)

From taking down a Reiwa Musketeer to taking down the NJPW World Television Champion, Konosuke is proving why he is All Elite! But will he become the Alpha of NJPW? Can Cobb make a comeback when B Block enters round three?

 

G1 Climax 34 A Block: Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Kosei Fujita VS Callum Newman!

Round three truly begins now, as the Submission Master takes on The Prince of Pace. ZSJ had a strong opening weekend, taking down the KOPW Champion, Great-O-Khan, and the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, Tetsuya Naito. Is he about to become the Front Man of New Japan? Or can Callum make the mighty kneel?

The bell rings and the fans rally. The two circle, feel things out, and knuckle lock. Callum wrenches and wrangles ZSJ but ZSJ stands up fast. ZSJ spins, bridges, spins some more and he trips Callum to a toehold. Callum tries to fight back but ZSJ just slips around to a standing toehold. Callum steps over, rolls free, and the fans cheer this opening exchange. Even ZSJ nods and says that was good. The two reset, circle, and tie up collar ‘n’ elbow. ZSJ wrenches to a double wristlock takedown and headscissor! Callum slips an arm in between the legs and clasps hands to fight the squeeze, then he moves around.

Callum headstands, then pops free while trapping ZSJ’s legs. Callum puts on the pressure but ZSJ drags him down for a wristlock. Callum shifts to make it a cover, ONE, and Callum waistlocks. ZSJ fights up, wrenches out, and wristlocks again. Callum rolls, kips up, and wrenches back. ZSJ flips and kicks free, and the fans cheer again. The two reset again, and Callum taunts ZSJ as “ojii-san <grandpa>.” ZSJ and Callum circle, and ZSJ RAMS Callum low! ZSJ headlocks, Callum powers up and out, then drops to trip ZSJ! Callum keeps moving to basement dropkick! The fans cheer, ZSJ bails out, and Callum goes up and up to ASAI MOONSAULT!

The fans fire up as Callum takes ZSJ down at the ramp! Callum brings ZSJ up to ROCK him with a forearm, then puts him in the ring. Cover, ONE, but Callum clamps on with a chinlock. The fans rally, Callum traps an arm, and then Callum KNEES ZSJ in the back! Callum brings ZSJ up to suplex, but ZSJ fights free to wrench and PELE the arm! ZSJ WRINGS that arm out, and the fans cheer again. ZSJ sits Callum up to KICK him in the back! ZSJ then traps one arm and grabs the other. ZSJ bends the fingers, twists the wrist, isolates the arm and STOMPS it! The fans cheer while ZSJ paces around.

Callum clutches the arm but ZSJ eggs him on. The ref checks and Callum is okay to continue, so he stands up. Callum fires forearms but the pain holds him back. ZSJ UPPERCUTS Callum and he falls against ropes. The fans rally up and ZSJ brings Callum around to BOOT! Callum staggers, ZSJ runs and BOOTS him again! ZSJ keeps moving and BOOTS again! Callum roars and BOOTS! ZSJ runs and BOOTS! Callum BOOTS! ZSJ BOOTS! ZSJ whips, Callum ducks ‘n’ dodges and builds up speed to SHOTGUN KICK! The fans fire up but the bad arm bothers Callum again. ZSJ sits up and checks his teeth while the fans rally.

Callum shakes out his arm, runs up on ZSJ and UPPERCUTS! Callum snapmares, runs and PENALTY KICKS! Cover, TWO! ZSJ stands right up and Callum eggs him on. ZSJ UPPERCUTS Callum, and now Callum eggs ZSJ in Japanese. ZSJ UPPERCUTS Callum down, and Callum kips up to ROUNDHOUSE! And ROLLING ELBOW! And BUZZSAW! ZSJ is dazed, Callum sits on the cover, TWO! ZSJ survives and the fans rally up. Fujita coaches ZSJ but Callum stands ZSJ up for forearm after forearm. ZSJ shakes his head, but Callum SOBATS! Callum goes up the corner, then up to DIVING- NO, ZSJ avoids the stomp!

Callum rolls through but ZSJ is right after him! TORNADO DDT! And a roll through for a GUILLOTINE FACELOCK! Callum endures, powers up, and he suplexes ZSJ high and hard! The fans fire up again while both men are down! Fujita and the fans rally while both men stir. Callum rises and aims from a corner. DREAMCAST- NO, ZSJ blocks the kick for a KNEEBAR! Callum endures, but ZSJ ties up the legs in an INVERTED FIGURE FOUR! ZSJ pulls on the leg but Callum fights forward! The fans rally, Callum rolls and makes it to the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer while ZSJ lets go in frustration.

ZSJ stands and KICKS Callum in the leg. Callum stands but ZSJ KICKS him again. Callum avoids the leg sweep but not the takedown! ZSJ rolls to ANKLE LOCK, but Callum rolls free! Callum trips ZSJ, body scissors, but ZSJ pops him into body scissors! Callum returns the favor, JAPANESE LEG CLUTCH! TWO!! ZSJ escapes and the fans fire up! ZSJ storms up but Callum UP KICKS him! ZSJ PENALTY KICKS Callum! ZSJ keeps moving, but Callum runs up to SHOTGUN! And HEEL KICK! ZSJ wobbles, Callum springboards, OSC- NO, ZSJ catches Callum to a SLEEPER! Then ZSJ scoops, but Callum slips free to have an IRON OCTOPUS!

The fans fire up as ZSJ now endures a stretch hold! ZSJ pulls on Callum’s leg! Callum shifts around for a SUNSET BOMB! Cover, TWO! ZSJ survives and the fans fire up again! Callum drags ZSJ up, reels him in, and brings him up for a POWER- NO! ZSJ makes it a TRIANGLE HOLD! But Callum deadlifts for a SITOUT BOMB! Cover, TWO, and it’s back to the TRIANGLE HOLD! Callum rolls, kicks at ZSJ’s face, but ZSJ grabs that leg for a HEEL HOOK!! Callum is caught in a combo hold, and TAPS! ZSJ wins!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission (gains 2 points; Callum earns 0)

The Front Man is leading the way for A Block as he’s now 3-0! Will ZSJ be unstoppable on his way to the Climax? Can Callum find a way to spring back in the next round?

 

G1 Climax 34 A Block: Shingo Takagi VS Great-O-Khan!

A rivalry reignites tonight as The Rampaging Dragon once again battles The Dominator. Takagi started strong by pinning Tetsuya Naito, but got shot down by Shota Umino. Will he be able to rebound against the KOPW Champion? Or will Khan conquer this ungovernable for the United Empire?

The bell rings and the fans rally as the two circle. They feel things out, tie up, go around, and clinch. Khan waistlocks, Takagi slips free, and the two separate. The fans applaud and the two go again. They clinch, Khan facelocks, but Takagi endures the squeeze. Khan underhooks to BUTTERFLY SUPLEX! The fans cheer and Khan poses. Khan then cocky covers, ONE! Khan stomps Takagi over and over, but Takagi grits his teeth. Khan KICKS Takagi, stomps him more, then drops an AX HANDLE! Khan pushes Takagi over, cocky cover, TWO, but into a TRIANGLE HOLD! Takagi reaches back and has the ROPEBREAK!

The fans applaud, the ref counts, and Khan lets go quickly. Khan paces around, and he kicks at Takagi. Takagi scowls, then CHOPS! Khan shakes his head and smirks. Takagi CHOPS again! Then JABS! JABS! And JABS! Takagi CHOPS but Khan blocks! Khan wrangles Takagi into a FUJIWARA ARMBAR, then shifts for a DOUBLE ARMBAR! Takagi flails and reaches out, ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer, Khan lets off slowly, and then Khan clamps onto an arm for a double wristlock! Takagi endures, even as Khan pulls on the arm. Khan stands on Takagi, pushes him down, then drags him up to KNEE low! And KNEE low again!

Khan whips but Takagi blocks the sayanagi! Khan kicks and tries again, but Takagi CLUBS Khan down, and BLINDSIDE SLIDING LARIATS! The fans cheer while Khan tumbles to a corner. Takagi shakes out his arms, stands back up, and the fans rally. Takagi runs in at the corner but blocks a boot. Takagi LARIATS through, then fires the fans up more! Takagi JABS, CHOPS and repeat! The ref counts but Takagi JABS, JABS and JABS! Takagi then whips Khan corner to corner, runs in to LARIAT, and then reels Khan in. Khan fights the suplex, throws body shots, then IRON CLAWS at Takagi’s chest!

Takagi tries to pry the claw away but Khan CLUBS him first. And then Mongolian Chops! And Mongolian Chops! And Mongolian- NO, Takagi blocks and UPPERCUTS, then DOUBLE CHOPS! Then Takagi gives a bit of Muta before the SENTON! Takagi drags Khan up to suplex high and hard! Khan flounders, Takagi covers, TWO! The fans fire up and Takagi looks around. Takagi roars, and he says, “TOKI GA KITA!” The fans fire up as the time has come! Takagi rises, brings Khan up and runs, to SLIDING- HEAD ‘N’ ARM TRIANGLE! Khan drags Takagi up, Takagi fights to a clinch, but Khan hits a leg trip takedown!

The fans fire up while both men are down again. Khan rises up, drags Takagi up, but Takagi shoves him. Takagi ELBOWS, JABS, and YUKON- NO, Khan blocks the lariat to fireman’s carry and takeover! Then Khan hauls Takagi up to MONKEY FLIP, then SAYANAGI! Cover, TWO! But into the HEAD ‘N’ ARM! Khan leans on the hold, thrashes Takagi around, but Takagi still endures. Takagi fights around as the fans rally, and he has the ROPEBREAK again! The fans cheer, Khan lets go in frustration, but Khan drags Takagi up into the IRON CLAW SLEEPER! Takagi flails but he’s already fading! Takagi powers up to RAM Khan into a corner!

Khan lets go, but then he clamps right back on! IRON CLAW SLEEPER! Khan is even BITING Takagi’s ear! FGO PLEX! But Takagi’s right up to PUMPING BOMBER!! Both men are down and the fans fire up! Khan sputters and Takagi sits up. Takagi crawls over to Khan, pushes him into the corner, then runs in to LARIAT! Takagi reels Khan in to hoist him up top, and then Takagi climbs up after Khan! SUPERPLEX! The fans fire up while both men are down again! Takagi rises and the fans rally behind him again. They join in on the “OI! OI! OI!” and Takagi stands. Takagi sits Khan up for HAMMER ‘N’ ANVIL ELBOWS! “OI! OI! OI!”

Takagi runs, SLIDING- NO, Khan dodges! But Takagi blocks the boot to fire boxing elbows! Takagi ROCKS Khan, but Khan roars! Takagi JABS, HEADBUTTS, and- IRON RIGHT from Khan!! The ref reprimands but Khan IRON SLEEPERS, and then Bow ‘n’ Arrow racks Takagi! Khan spins for the SPINNING BUSTER! Cover, TWO!! Takagi survives and the fans fire up again! Khan drops back to a corner, watches Takagi rise, and then runs back in, for a BOOT! And then an ELIMI- DDT!! Takagi takes Khan down and the fans are thunderous! Khan stirs and Takagi rises, and Takagi grabs at Khan.

Takagi drags Khan up, roars, and LARIATS! Khan wobbles, Takagi runs to LARIAT! Khan stays up and Takagi runs, but Khan SWATS the lariat, to then LARIAT back! The fans are thunderous again as Khan clamps on the IRON CLAW! ELIMI- NO, Takagi slips around to SNAP DRAGON! Khan is up, but PUMPING BOMBER hits!! Cover, ONE?!? Khan lets loose the Monster Rage, but Takagi dodges him! PUMPING BOMBER into cover!! TAKAGI WINS!

Winner: Shingo Takagi, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Khan earns 0)

The United Empire has suffered loss three matches in a row! Will Khan ever get off the starting block? Will the Rampaging Dragon soar to the top of the block and take the G1 by storm?

 

G1 Climax 34 A Block: Shota Umino VS Gabe Kidd!

These two have had run-ins before, but this could be their most intense encounter yet. Both are 1-1, will it be the Roughneck that rises up? Or will #SHOOTER not be #WarReady like this War Dog?

The bell rings and the fans rally as the two stare down. The fans duel between “SHOTA!” and “GABU!” but neither man budges. They slowly start up, and then they quickly tie up! They’re in a deadlock at center, then break. Neither man backs down and the fans cheer. The two tie up again, are in another deadlock, but Shota digs in to push Gabe back. They end up on ropes, the ref counts, and Shota lets off cleanly. The fans applaud and the two go again. Another deadlock, but this time Gabe’s height helps him put Shota on ropes. The ref counts again, and Gabe lets off, to CHOP! Shota ROCKS Gabe, headlocks, and holds on tight as Gabe tries to power out.

Gabe endures the grind, fights up and throws body shots. Gabe pulls hair, wrenches free and headlocks. Shota powers up and out, ducks the rebounder, and IG- NO, Gabe slips free of the neckbreaker to reel Shota in! But Shota slips free of the suplex to half nelson. Gabe standing switches, Shota elbows free, then ROCKS Gabe. Gabe flips Shota off before he ROCKS Shota back! Shota flips Gabe off before he ROCKS Gabe again! They BOTH fire forearms, wobble, and Gabe swings! Shota dodges, comes back, but then Gabe dodges. Both men run and the RAM shoulders! They both roar and the fans fire up!

Shota fires a flurry of forearms, but Gabe CHOPS back! Gabe whips, Shota reverses and DROPKICKS! Gabe falls and the fans fire up with Shota! Shota shakes out his arm while he paces around. Shota goes back to Gabe to stomp him. Gabe goes to a corner, Shota fires a forearm, then CLUBS Gabe on the neck. Gabe goes to another corner, Shota UPPERCUTS him! Gabe sits down, so Shota digs his boot in. The ref reprimands and counts, but Gabe eggs Shota on! So Shota stomps Gabe! The ref has Shota back off, but Gabe still glares at Shota. Shota drags Gabe up, whips him corner to corner, then runs in, but Gabe puts him on the apron!

Gabe swings, Shota counter punches, then Shota slingshots in, only for Gabe to block the DDT! Gabe throws body shots but Shota CLUBS away on Gabe. Shota uses ropes but Gabe denies the tornado! Gabe dodges a lariat to BITE Shota on the face! Then Gabe SAIDOS Shota away! The fans fire up while both men are down! Shota goes to the far side while Gabe grits his teeth and sits back up. Gabe crawls over to Shota, and junkyard dog headbutts him! Gabe then KICKS Shota, KICKS him again, then stands him up. Gabe CHOPS Shota and Shota staggers away to a corner. The fans rally up and duel while Gabe snarls.

Gabe storms over to Shota, Shota kicks at him but Gabe eggs Shota on. Shota gives more kicks, but Gabe stomps Shota down! The ref counts, Gabe lets off and the fans rally more. Gabe stalks Shota, CHOPS him, but Shota gets in Gabe’s face! Gabe grins, CHOPS, but Shota still gets in his face. Gabe fires forearms then a CHOP! Shota just fires a flurry in return! Gabe fires HEADBUTT after HEADBUTT, then he DECKS Shota! Gabe grabs the legs and turns Shota over for a BOSTON CRAB! Shota endures but Gabe sits deep on the hold! Shota still fights and the fans rally up. Gabe puts all he can into the Crab but Shota powers up! Shota fights forward to the ROPEBREAK!

The ref counts, Gabe lets go of one leg, but the ref counts again. Gabe lets go of Shota completely, then paces around. Gabe makes sure the camera is on him. Gabe says Shota thought he was “him,” but no, it’s all about Gabe. Gabe talks smack, stomps Shota, then eggs him on. The fans rally up, Gabe asks if this is what Tanahashi thinks the future is, then he kicks Shota around. Gabe toys with Shota, taunts him, then drags him up. Shota fights the lift so Gabe CLUBS away on Shota’s back. Gabe tries again but Shota back drops free! The fans fire up while Shota leans on ropes. Gabe rises, swings, but into a dragon sleeper! TEST DRIVE!

Fans fire up while both men are down again. Shota grits his teeth, then he fires up! The fans cheer, Shota runs in at the corner, BLINDSIDE KNEE! Then TORNADO DDT! Shota dragon sleepers, inverted suplex, TRIDENT! Cover, TWO! Gabe survives but Shota aims while the fans fire up. Shota runs in, IGNITION! Shota then drags Gabe up and underhooks, but Gabe wrenches out to JAB! Shota roars, Gabe DECKS him! Both men fall, the fans fire up, and the ref still reprimands about a closed fist on Gabe’s part. The ref checks Shota, he’s still conscious so the match continues. Gabe sits up first, and he dares Shota to meet him.

They both go to center, and Shota fires a forearm. Gabe gives it right back. Shota glares at Gabe, then fires another forearm. Gabe fires one back! Both men stand, egging the other on. The fans rally up as the forearms go back and forth, faster and faster, harder and harder! Gabe wobbles, Shota UPPERCUTS! But then Gabe clinches to CLUB, LARIAT and CLUB! Gabe runs but into a POP-UP KNEE! Gabe still fires another forearm! Shota ROCKS Gabe, then ROLLING ELBOWS! Gabe CHOPS! Shota ENZIGIRIS! Gabe JABS, HEADBUTTS, and YUKON LARIATS! A shot at Takagi as Gabe covers, ONE?!?

Shota clinches Gabe for an EXPLODER! Gabe roars and rises, to LARIAT Shota! Shota roars and rises, catches Gabe, HALF ‘N’ HALF PLEX! Gabe rises, but into the ROLLING ELBOW!! Shota falls on the cover, TWO!! Gabe survives and the fans are thunderous! The fans then rally up as both men stir. Gabe crawls to one corner, Shota to the other end. Shota storms over to Gabe, and Gabe SPITS at him! Shota brushes that off, Gabe laughs, but Shota stomps a mudhole in! He even shoves the ref aside to give more! Shota digs his boot in, scrapes Gabe’s face again and again, then slaps him around! Gabe rises up, to SLAP Shota!

Shota SLAPS, Gabe SLAPS, then they fire forearms again! The fans fire up as the strikes fly fast and furious! Gabe HEADBUTTS away, then clinches Shota into a corner! Gabe smothers Shota, the ref counts, and Shota claws at Gabe! They both push the ref aside, then the SLAPS and forearms return! Shota SLAPS Gabe down!! The fans are thunderous while Shota looms over Gabe. Gabe is dazed and Shota roars! Shota drags Gabe up, reels him in but Gabe kicks free! Gabe reels Shota in, but Shota wrenches out! Shota ROCKS Gabe, Gabe ROCKS Shota, then Gabe runs. Shota ELBOWS Gabe, runs, but Gabe LARIATS!

Gabe keeps moving, ducks ‘n’ dodges, REBOUND- NO, Shota ducks and shoves Gabe away. Shota then pops Gabe up, but Gabe BITES Shota’s face to stop the suplex! The ref reprimands but Gabe reels Shota in, SNAP PILEDRIVER!! Cover, TWO!!! Shota survives, and Gabe is actually amused! Gabe rises up, shaking his head. The fans duel, we pass 15 minutes, and Gabe drags Shota up. Gabe reels Shota in but then shoves him back, so he can DECK him! Gabe then flips Shota over for the LIONTAMER! Shota endures, reaches out, but Gabe digs that knee into Shota’s back to bend him!

Shota endures, even as Gabe digs in deep! Shota tells Gabe off even while he’s sideways! So Gabe lets Shota go to gut wrench and DOCTOR BOMB!! Cover, Gabe wins!!

Winner: Gabe Kidd, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Shota earns 0)

The Roughneck endured a lot in this match, but in the end, The Mad Man had more malice to give! Will Gabe continue to show how NJPW Strong he truly is? Can Shota recover to still bring about the Paradigm Shift?

 

G1 Climax 34 A Block: SANADA VS EVIL w/ Dick Togo!

Now this is a highly anticipated showdown! The Cold Skull and the King of Darkness will forever be connected, from their time in Los Ingobernables de Japon, their reigns as IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, and from their battles over the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. The G1 Climax is both their road back to that title, who blocks the other’s path to redemption?

Evil offers Sanada a House of Torture shirt? Evil wants Sanada to leave Just5Guys to join up with him? Sanada takes the shirt, tries it on, and clearly Evil chose the right size. Sanada shakes Evil’s hand?! Is he really defecting!? Evil gets the mic to tell Hiroshima, “We’ve been talking from the start. From today, say hello to Bullet Club: House of Torture’s Sanada! That old Sanada you love is gone.” The fans boo, but Evil tells Sanada that just like they promised, Sanada will let Evil win. Evil drops the mic, the bell rings, and Sanada lies down! Evil steps up, but Sanada drags him into a cradle! TWO!!

Evil is shocked, and Sanada RIPS the shirt off! Sanada tricked the trickster, then SHINING- NO, Evil gets away first! Evil is upset that Sanada lied to him, and says this should just be a No Contest! The fans boo but Evil rings the bell himself. Evil goes to leave, but Sanada pursues! Sanada CLUBS Evil, CLUBS Dick, then CLUBS Evil again. The fans cheer as Sanada drags Evil back into the ring, and he rings the bell to let everyone know this is still a match! Sanada stands Evil up, blocks a kick, and he trips Evil up! Sanada ties Evil up in Paradise! The fans cheer and Sanada says time for pictures! Then he DROPKICKS Evil outta Paradise!

The fans cheer, Evil writhes, and Sanada drags Evil up. Sanada wrenches Evil, wrenches again, then CLUBS the arm. Sanada whips, Evil reverses, then Evil gets in the ref’s face while Dick trips Sanada up! The fans boo but Dick gets away with that one. Evil tells off the fans but they tell Evil to go home. Evil smirks as he drags Sanada up, brings him around, and TOSSES him out! Evil then goes out after Sanada, and RAMS him into Abe-san! Evil’s strange vendetta continues, and he mockingly applauds while fans boo. Evil then leaves Sanada behind, and Sanada checks on Abe. Young Lions help Abe, and Evil unties the blue buckle pad.

The ref checks Sanada, and though Sanada clutches his back, he’s alright. Sanada stands, hobbles back up, but Evil BLASTS him off the apron! Sanada falls and hits railing, knocking Abe-san over again! Abe’s suffering more than usual, but Evil just soaks up all the heat. Evil taunts the fans, the ref starts a ring count but he doesn’t have Abe backing him up. Sanada is still down at 7 of 20, but the fans rally up. Sanada rises at 11, stands at 14, and slides in at 15. The fans cheer, but Evil is right on Sanada with a cocky cover. ONE, and Evil smirks. Evil drags Sanada up but Sanada fires body shots! Sanada fires haymakers, too!

Evil whips Sanada and surprise, bare buckles! The Bullet Club Special strikes again and the fans boo. The ref asks Dick what the heck, and Evil mocks the tranquilo! Evil covers, TWO! Another cover, TWO! A third cover, TWO!! Sanada escapes that deeper leg hook and Evil is frustrated. The fans rally, Evil paces, and he talks some trash. Evil steps on Sanada’s face, tells the fans to shut up, and then taunts Sanada more. Evil kicks Sanada around, but Sanada rises to CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP again! Evil knees low, whips, but Sanada reverses and RUSSIAN LEG SWEEPS! The fans fire up while both men are down.

The fans rally as Sanada rises, and he stretches out his back before he brings Evil up. But Evil knees low! Evil runs but Sanada hurdles, hurdles and DROPKICKS! Evil tumbles out, Sanada storms up, and Sanada PLANCHAS! Down goes Evil, and the fans fire up! Sanada encourages them to get louder and louder and the fans oblige. But while the ref’s checking Evil, Dick kicks Sanada! Dick whips but Sanada reverses, and Dick hits railing hard! Dick falls over, Sanada makes the pecs dance, and Sanada goes back for Evil. Sanada drags Evil up and puts him in the ring. The fans cheer and Sanada covers, TWO!

Sanada stays cool while the fans rally again. Sanada paces, drags Evil up, but Evil fights the fireman’s carry! Evil pulls hair, the ref reprimands, and Sanada breaks free. Evil blocks Sanada’s kick, hands it to the ref and he mule kicks Sanada down! The fans boo but Evil smirks. Sanada goes to the red corner, Evil waits on him to get up, and Evil runs in to LARIAT! Then FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Sanada stays in this and Evil is annoyed, but the fans rally up again. Evil drags Sanada up, fireman’s carries, but Sanada fights free. Evil rushes in, Sanada slips around, and O’Conner Rolls! Roll through into SKULL END!

Evil endures as Sanada squeezes tight! Evil kicks around, reaches out, but Sanada keeps him from ropes! Evil still tries, and he kicks his way over to the ROPEBREAK! The fans oddly cheer and Sanada lets go. Sanada takes his time, goes back for Evil, and he fireman’s carries. Evil fights free now, shoves Sanada at the rope, but then Sanada dodges! Evil avoids running into the ref, and Sanada kicks him low! Sanada whips, Evil reverses, but sends him into the ref! Down goes the ref and in comes Dick! The fans boo as Dick stomps away on Sanada! The fans tell Dick to go home but he and Evil stomp Sanada more.

Dick and Evil “put one out” on Sanada, then drag him up. They double whip him to the neutral corner, to then UPPERCUT, LARIAT and snapmare! Evil paces, seeing the ref is still down. Dick fetches a chair! Evil holds the chair up and fans boo. Evil taunts Sanada, Sanada slowly rises, and the fans rally. Sanada stands, but he dodges the chair shot! So Evil throws the chair at Sanada! Sanada catches the chair, dodges the lariat, then tosses the chair back! Evil catches it, and Sanada DROPKICKS the chair into him! Fans fire up, Dick gets up, but Sanada DROPKICKS him, too! The fans fire up more and Sanada aims from the corner.

Evil rises, Sanada runs in, SHINING WIZARD! Direct hit and Sanada calls to the ref! Sanada drags Evil up as the ref returns, and DEAD- NO, Evil slips free, shoves Sanada away, then uses the ref as a shield! Sanada pushes the ref aside, Evil LOW BLOWS! Evil drags Sanada up, but Sanada LOW BLOWS in return! The fans cheer as Evil tastes more of his own medicine! Both men are down and the fans rally for Sanada. Sanada sits up first, and runs up again, but Evil ducks the Shining Wizard! Fireman’s carry, DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO! Sanada survives and the fans fire up again! Evil is frustrated but he slashes his throat.

Evil drags Sanada up, spins him around, EVERYTHING- NO, Sanada fights that! Sanada throws elbows, spins Evil around and puts him on ropes, MAGIC SCREW! Both men are down again and the fans rally up. Sanada kips up, drags Evil to a drop zone then goes up top, ROUNDING BODY PRESS! Cover, TWO!! Evil survives but Sanada just drags him back up. Clinch and- NO, Evil slips free, EVERY- NO! Sanada slips free and steals EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Sanada sees Dick rise and DECKS him! Then Sanada PLANCHAS Dick down! The fans fire up and Sanada hurries back in after Evil!

Sanada roars at Evil to get up, and he runs in, BLINDSIDE WIZARD!! And then Sanada reloads, but Evil uses the ref as a shield! Sanada jumps over, avoids Everything, but then Evil LOW BLOW MULE KICKS!! And KAKU-EVIL!! Cover, EVIL WINS!!

Winner: Evil, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Sanada earns 0)

The King of Darkness’ newest weapon, the combination of “kakui” (cool, handsome, etc.) and “evil,” takes down The Cold Skull! Though he sure tried every other trick he had first… But at this rate, is there any stopping Evil now? Or will Darkness Fall on the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship once again?

 

G1 Climax 34 A Block: Tetsuya Naito VS Jake Lee!

Speaking of the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, the most shocking thing in the G1 so far has been his 0-2 start! Is The Uncontrollable Charisma done owing people golden tickets? Or will he fail to get one over on this “Smart Bastard?”

Naito takes things even slower this time, perhaps hoping to frustrated Jake. Jake speeds things up by kicking the vest and coat out himself. So Naito throws his shirt down to make Jake kick that, too. Same with the leather belt. Naito takes care of the pants himself, though. The fans cheer now that Naito’s ready, and the bell rings. The fans rally for “NA-I-TO! NA-I-TO!” and Red Shoes assesses, it is definitely in Naito’s favor. Jake doesn’t let that bother him, and he conducts the choir of fans here in Hiroshima. The two slowly circle, then tie up. Jake’s height is his leverage and he pushes Naito onto the ropes.

Red Shoes calls for the break, and Jake slowly lets off. Jake puts Naito’s hands down by his side, and pats him on the shoulder. Naito reels back but Jake ROCKS him first! No spitting for Naito and Jake whips him to ropes. Naito tumbles and hits ropes, then falls back! Jake stomps away on Naito, stands him up to SPIT on him, then Jake TOSSES Naito out! Naito lands on his feet and walks away, but Jake storms out after him. Jake CLUBS Naito, CHOPS him, then brings him around the way. Jake has cameramen clear out so he can whip Naito. But Naito reaches out to grab the post and uses that to swing back into the ring!

Naito is tranquilo and the fans cheer! Jake kicks the railing in frustration and then storms into the ring. Jake blocks Naito’s arm-drag, whips him to ropes, but Naito reverses to kick, turn, stall, and NECKBREAKER! The fans rally while Jake clutches his neck. Naito sits Jake up and clamps on a chinlock. Naito digs his knee in and Jake endures. The fans rally, Jake pries at the chinlock, then reaches out for the ROPEBREAK! Naito lets off to stomp Jake, then CLUB away on him in the corner. Naito whips corner to corner, but Jake reverses! Jake runs in, Naito dodges, but then Jake BOOTS him! Naito staggers, Jake grabs him with both hands!

Jake lifts Naito for a HANGING CHOKE, then SLAM! The fans applaud that show of strength, and Jake shouts at them that Naito’s nothing! Naito bails out of the ring while fans cheer and jeer. Jake lets his hair down, goes out after Naito, and he drags Naito up. Jake wrenches, whips, and Naito hits railing hard! Naito flounders but Jake stalks him. Jake brings Naito through No Man’s Land, and SMACKS him off a chair! The fans rally but Jake looms over Naito. Jake drags Naito up, brings him back to ringside, then brings him up the ramp. Naito fires body shots but Jake still drags Naito along, and they go up to the stage!

Jake CLUBS Naito, reels him in, and suplexes! Naito kicks and flails to fight it off! Jake tries again but Naito resists, so Jake CLUBS Naito and DDTS him on the stage! Jake stands and mockingly applauds while he walks back down the ramp. The fans rally for Naito, the ring count finally starts, and Naito stirs at 5 of 20. Jake rolls in at 7, and Naito starts rolling down the ramp. Jake mocks the tranquilo while Naito crawls. The count passes 10 of 20, Naito still crawls. Naito stands at 15, stumbles and tumbles again at 17! Naito keeps moving, and springs in at 19.5! Jake is right on Naito for a snapmare and PENALTY KICK! Cover, TWO!

Jake clamps on with a SLEEPER! Naito flails but he’s already fading! The fans rally, Naito fights up, but Jake just squeezes tighter! Naito starts to fade again, and Jake thrashes him around! Naito reaches out, but Jake makes him sit back down. Jake feints running then KICKS Naito right in the chest! Cover, TWO! Another cover, TWO!! A third cover, TWO!!! Naito narrowly gets out of that and the fans fire up! Jake is annoyed, he SPITS at the fans, and the fans boo. Jake takes a bow, soaking up the heat like a gentleman. Jake drags Naito up, reels him in, and suplexes, but Naito slips free to waistlock!

Jake elbows free, runs, but into an atomic drop! Naito CLUBS Jake, CLUBS again, then whips. Naito ELBOWS Jake down then basement dropkicks him! The fans fire up while both men are down and we pass 10 minutes. Naito rises, brings Jake up then kicks and CLUBS him. Naito whips, Jake reverses but Naito holds ropes. Naito BOOTS Jake, gets around, shoves and ELBOWS him! Naito whips, ELBOWS again, then brings Jake in to turn, stall… and NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Naito keeps cool, and he clamps on a cravat. Naito has the neck wrench on, but Jake fights up. Jake fires body shots and forearms, but Naito hits back.

The forearms go back and forth and the fans rally up. Jake winds up to ROCK Naito again, again, and again! Then he DECKS Naito! Jake stands on Naito’s neck and laughs, not even bothered this won’t count as a cover. The fans boo but Jake steps off to flip everyone off. Jake drags Naito up, but Naito throws those heavy elbows! Naito ELBOWS Jake down and the fans fire up! Naito goes back for Jake, brings him up, and puts him in a corner for forearm after forearm. Naito hops up the corner, reels Jake in, but Jake breaks free! SUPER CHOKE SLAM! Naito is down, Jake rests in the corner, and the fans rally up.

Jake grins while the fans rally for “NA-I-TO!” Jake runs in, GIANT KING KNEE! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives and Jake is annoyed. Jake waits on Naito to rise, hand primed and ready. Naito stands, into the choke grip! CHOKE- NO, Naito slips free, stumbles, but gets around to ENZIGIRI! Jake staggers around, and CORRIENDO SHIKI- NO, Jake manages to smother Destino, so Naito RAMS him into a corner! Naito hoists Jake up top, as tall as he is, and then climbs. But Jake slips under to bring Naito off the corner! LAST- NO, Naito slips free! Naito ENZIGIRIS again, then whips! Jake reverses to kitchen sink KNEE!

Jake drags Naito up for a BIG back suplex! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives falling from that high up and the fans are thunderous! Jake SPITS at them again! Jake aims as Naito is in the corner, FACE BREAK- NO, Naito dodges! And he ducks Jake’s roundhouse! Naito waistlocks, but Jake pries free. Naito fires forearm after forearm! Then ENZIGIRI again! Jake wobbles, Naito wrenches, but Jake KNEES low! And ROUNDHOUSES! Naito falls to his knees then the mat! Red Shoes checks, Naito is still conscious, and the fans rally up even harder. But Jake storms back up to choke grip! And CHOKE- DESTINO!!! Cover, NAITO WINS!!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Jake earns 0)

The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion does NOT owe Jake Lee a golden ticket! The Madness Dark Side could not tear Naito down, will he just have to win the whole thing if he wants his title shot?

As for Naito, after catching his breath and getting his hat, he also gets the mic. “Buenas noches, Hiroshima~!” The fans cheer, and Naito says that Hiroshima is his home. The fans cheer that, too! Naito was motivated through that match to win in front of the people here and hold this mic right now. “I was thinking up to today what to say on the mic, but that match made me forget it all. So just tranquilo, assen na yo.” The fans cheer that, and Naito says that no matter how much he relaxes, it surely won’t come back to him, but he of course remembers the one thing he wants to do the most now that he’s home.

Naito wants to have a “chorus” with everyone here in Hiroshima. They should have the first roll call of this year’s G1 Climax. The fans cheer that! So then, Hiroshima, are you ready? The fans cheer, because they’re definitely ready. Then the third night of G1 Climax action can naturally only close with… “Bushi! Hiromu! Takagi! Titan! Yota! Y Naito! NOSOTROS! LOS! INGOBERRRRRNABLEEES~! DE! JA! PON!!” The fans cheer as Naito finally gets to have his say. But will Naito have to fight even harder if he wants to stay in the running for the playoffs? Or will he end up owing a few more tickets before the end of this?

 

Here are the NEW A Block standings!

Zack Sabre Jr: 3-0, 6 points
Evil: 3-0, 6 points
Shingo Takagi: 2-1, 4 points
Gabe Kidd: 2-1, 4 points
Tetsuya Naito: 1-2, 2 points
Jake Lee: 1-2, 2 points
Sanada: 1-2, 2 points
Callum Newman: 1-2, 2 points
Shota Umino: 1-2, 2 points
Great-O-Khan: 0-3, 0 points

 

Here are the NEW B Block standings!

Yuya Uemura: 2-0, 4 points
Henare: 2-0, 4 points
Konosuke Takeshita: 2-0, 4 points
Jeff Cobb: 1-1, 2 points
Boltin Oleg: 1-1, 2 points
Yota Tsuji: 1-1, 2 points
Ren Narita: 1-1, 2 points
David Finlay: 0-2, 0 points
Hirooki Goto: 0-2, 0 points
El Phantasmo: 0-2, 0 points


My Thoughts:

Another awesome night for NJPW, and I really don’t know why Cobb VS Konosuke had to wait until now. Unless Konosuke had to do something with AEW or even DDT Pro on Sunday? Well, either way, their match was great stuff, and I’m really surprised Konosuke won. Konosuke VS Cobb for the NJPW World TV Championship down the road could be a lot of fun. All of B Block is back in action on Thursday, with Konosuke in the main event against Yuya Uemura, so it’d be pretty wild if Konosuke won and got to talk.

A Block’s round three was great stuff. I figured ZSJ would win, even with how well Callum’s been doing. Great win for Takagi over Khan, but I’m just not sure he’ll return to the KOPW Division after this. Shota VS Gabe was certainly the most intense match of the night, they’ve got a good rivalry going. Gabe winning out was fitting, he can’t be losing too much as NJPW Strong Champion. Sanada VS Evil was really good, especially with that obvious swerve coming from Sanada. But Evil winning out because of cheating, that just seems to be how it is with House of Torture. They get strong starts in these round robins, but will lose out in the end.

And great main event, but it seems to be Naito’s thing right now to just be dominated and beat up by his opponents. Naito finally turns that around to win out, and it was definitely so Naito could have his moment here. It’s still early, he can make a run at the G1 Climax playoffs since the top three scores advance. The top seed gets a bye, then second and third must face off in wild card matches, so Naito could still squeak into the next round if he’s the third best. But at the same time, he won last year’s G1 and is the champ, he doesn’t have to win out this year. I’d personally make it ZSJ, because he is that good, and I want to see how he’ll customize the Right to Challenge briefcase.

My Score: 9/10


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