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(NOAH) NOAH WEEKLY NEWSLETTER VOL.135 ~ 10TH JUNE 2021

Hisame covers NOAH headlines from the CyberFight Festival, a little bit of the future events and Misawa Memorials coupled with Great Muta negotiations!

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Hisame covers NOAH headlines from the CyberFight Festival, a little bit of the future events and Misawa Memorials coupled with Great Muta negotiations!

NEWS

Naomichi Marufuji, new GHC Heavyweight Champion

Green lights where shining as Naomichi Marufuji walked out to the ring on the 6th June in Saitama. There was a slight stare off with between himself and Keiji Mutoh, and it looked as if the ref had to take it off of him to stop him from shoving it in his face.

The match was technical. Mutoh knew he had to keep Marufuji down and worked on his knees and elbows. Mutoh’s psychology in the title match was not to play the old man as he had done with Go Shiozaki, frustrate into mistake (Kaito Kiyomiya) or wear down (Masa Kitamiya), but to attack the weapons. There was also an element of nostalgia as this was the closest Mutoh was ever going to get to a singles match with Mitsuharu Misawa. Each time Marufuji got up, Mutoh pulled him back down. Each submission and hold sapped something from Marufuji, but as Kenta Kobashi on commentary had put it, he had come to the ring with “the weight of NOAH on his back”, and he refused to submit. Marufuji even took three Shining Wizards, he kicked out of these and remained with his shoulder raised.

Mutoh’s damage had done its work, slow to pin after high impact moves such as the Shiranui, but it wasn’t enough and while he didn’t grow frustrated, Mutoh did. He even bought out The Moonsault, but Marufuji stubbornly kicked out. It was Marufuji who was playing Mutoh at his own game, and he beat him to usher in his fourth championship reign, which now ties him with Takashi Sugiura and Go Shiozaki.

Staring across the mat at each other, after a few seconds they did the M’s alliance pose, and Mutoh rolled out of the ring. Jun Akiyama (DDT Champion) and Miyu (Tokyo Joshi Princess Champion) came down to celebrate with Marufuji. On the microphone, they all thanked everyone for coming, and Marufuji thanked Mutoh for joining NOAH. Backstage he said that he could never surpass him and wanted to keep working hard with him. As for his next challengers, he had only two requirements; that they be NOAH’s premier heavyweights and they be in NOAH. So far no one has come forward to challenge.

At the end of CyberFestival, Marufuji posed in the ring with Jun Akiyama (DDT champion) and Miyu Yamashita (Tokyo Joshi Pro champion). Akiyama showed how much of a class act he is, by holding the ropes open like a gentleman for Yamashita. To Marufuji this moment was very special, as it bought both himself and Akiyama back together after everything that had passed between them. He also later admitted that while women had asked for matches against him, he was thinking of asking for a match against Yamashita.

Daisuke Harada & Hajime Ohara crowned new GHC Junior Tag Champs

The match could only start with Daisuke Harada vs Yoshinari Ogawa, Ogawa even shoved the ref aside to start with Harada as the bitterness between the two runs very deep. Harada fought with gritted teeth, and he was going to need grit as was not only Ogawa playing very clever mind games with him, making him believe that he was going to do something but not actually do it, STINGER also attacked his knee. This was something Harada expected from Ogawa, but not something he had ever seen in the HAYATA he had known, especially when HAYATA would give him his head into getting to the ropes and then drag him back at the last moment. Each time Harada fell outside of the ring, Ogawa was waiting. No matter how much they attacked his knee, no matter how close to fainting he was when Ogawa used the Figure 4, quitting would mean that Ogawa had finally won. It was not an option.

As much as HAYATA had changed some things remained the same, and it was because of this that Harada was able to turn the tide and tag in Ohara. With Harada on the outside, his knee damaged, it left Ohara alone with STINGER who he was at the mercy of. Ohara had his own plan for such a situation, and it was to make Ogawa angry, and so when Harada was able to tag in and take over, Ogawa was not in a position to be anything other than worn down by the attacks to the head and then the Katayama German Suplex for the win.  If you like technical wrestling, then this match is for you.

No challengers have emerged yet, and in any case the juniors are preparing for something else (see below), but after defeating STINGER at CyberFight Festival (once again Daisuke Harada got the win, but over Seiki Yoshioka this time, not Ogawa), we may soon see a shift in the NOAH Juniors which will disrupt the already fragile balance. After the match, Yoshinari Ogawa got up on the apron, faced Momo No Seishun who stared him down, and then stood with his hands on his hips at ringside with a thoughtful look on his face… 

Atsushi Kotoge retains the GHC Junior Heavyweight, three contenders and a classic NOAH Junior way of settling issues

After Kotoge had defeated old friend\old rival Yuya Susumu in 12 minutes and 31 seconds and retaining the GHC Junior Heavyweight title, the NOAH Juniors swarmed the ring each eager to be the first challenger. Wild eyed dark Seiki Yoshioka butted heads with Kotoge, Ikuto Hidaka started to make a challenge only to have the mic snatched from him by Tadasuke who made a quacking noise (i.e. he said “blah, blah, blah”). Kotoge, who knew that he had to solve this in a delicate manner that wouldn’t cause fights to break out in a notoriously unstable division, suggested they resolve this issue in one way that all NOAH Juniors understood and respected. A mass rumble that will take place on the 26th June. The winner will face Atsushi Kotoge on the 27th.

However, not all of the NOAH Juniors are willing to participate in this. STINGER have (naturally) said nothing but they will probably be in it, but NOSAWA Rongai saying that “NOAH Junior titles are currently monopolized by three idiots who only think of themselves (the half assed cool guy, the run of the mill younger brother of a butcher and Mui Bien who can’t see what is around him)”, says that he will not. Atsushi Kotoge had also invited Momo No Seishun to participate, and Junta Miyawaki says he will win and challenge, Hajime Ohara that this is a chance to concentrate on the singles, and Daisuke Harada claiming that he is the only one who can win and face Kotoge.

THE AGGRESSION split (kind of)

With Masa Kitamiya turning his attention from the GHC Heavyweight to the GHC Heavyweight Tag, THE AGGRESSION made a successful defense against Funky Express (Shuhei Taniguchi and Mohammed Yone) at the Misawa Memorial on the 31st May. During the match, Katsuhiko Nakajima had accidentally caught Masa Kitamiya square in the face with a kick, and this triggered Kitamiya to attack him afterwards. As Kenoh stormed the ring to demand in shock what Kitamiya thought he was doing, Kitamiya spoke on the microphone and standing over the fallen Nakajima stated that he couldn’t stand teaming with Nakajima anymore, and that he had hated him since he entered Kensuke Office. Thanking Kenoh for everything, he then left Kongoh. Backstage Kitamiya said he couldn’t stand pretending anymore that everything was fine between them, when in reality they were “bitter enemies in the same boat”.

Attempting to resolve the issues between them, NOAH bought them together for a title defense interview the next day. If experience has told us anything, it’s the heavyweights who fight at press conferences, and today’s chaos was to be spectacular. Kitamiya started by saying how much he had always hated Nakajima, and he proposed a cage match (a first in NOAH) to keep all outside influences out and to let them fight it out without interference. Nakajima, laughing at him for saying he hated him, agreed to the match but said that when Kitamiya lost, he had to shave his head in order to “go back to the beginning”. Kitamiya agreed to it in his usual foul mouthed manner, and then the issue of what was going to happen to the belts came up.

KITAMIYA: I have a belt. I am holding it, and I won’t give it back. This is Masa Kitamiya’s GHC tag belt. 

NAKAJIMA: Like I said earlier, I was the one who won it and I was the one who defended it, so it’s mine, right?   

Deciding there were no more questions and that they should finish early, Nakajima got up to pose for pictures with Kitamiya. He kicked him and a brawl broke out, both rolling on the floor and Nakajima losing a shoe. When they eventually broke free of each other, they glared, snatched their belts up and left. NOAH have had a loser gets his head shaved match before (KENTA and Naomichi Marufuji cheated so that Tsuyochi Kikuchi was the loser), but this will be the first time ever there will be a cage. Event will take place at “Cage War” on the 26th June.

 Sugi, Saku & Sasadango

Takashi Sugiura successfully defended the GHC National against Kazushi Sakuraba at the Misawa Memorial show on the 31st May. The match itself combined both MMA and wrestling, which is something that has come to define the GHC National, and had its silly moments at the start. Sugi and Saku made up with a handshake and a playful lunge from Takashi Sugiura, and then Deino and Super Sasadango Machine made their way to ringside. Sasadango had evidently worked out how to invade a promotion properly. Making their pitch via a PowerPoint presentation, Sasadango proposed either match whereby you spun around on the hilt of a baseball bat, or the “Sugi & Saku” belts were put on the line. Sakuraba had completely lost it by now, and so it was up to Sugi to decide, so he went with the title match…for belts that are not officially sanctioned. The match would take place at CyberFight Festival. No one has come forward to challenge for the GHC National yet, but Sugi said he wants either a gaijin (none in NOAH at the moment) or someone outside of NOAH to come forward.

CyberFight Festival 2021

The inaugural CyberFight Festival was a complete success, and while Sanshiro Takagi didn’t exactly confirm that it would take place in 2022, he didn’t deny it either.

Highlights

  • Shuhei Taniguchi and Yuji Hino (old teammates in The Hooligans), faced each other down in the opening Battle Royale and sparks flew between them. Masao Inoue (who had worn a pink hardhat to the ring), got beaten up by a Joshi wrestler, and Mohammed Yone came down to the last man but was eliminated.
  • Junta Miyawaki got his first big win outside of NOAH by using an Inverted Cross armbar on Toui Kojima.
  • In a match in which Deino somehow controlled himself, Takashi Sugiura and Kazushi Sakuraba came to the match wearing masks, Sugi hit Sasadango with a baseball bat and ended the match with pantyhose over his head (which he kept on), Sugi and Saku managed to retain their titles. Sakuraba spent the latter stages of the match in hysterics with his head buried in the turnbuckle, afterwards he couldn’t stop laughing at Sugi wearing the tights.
  • Kenoh’s rage towards Sanshiro Takagi and DDT as a whole started the moment Takagi stepped out with his team and he wasted no time attacking him. Fans were given a little taser of Manabu Soya vs Kazusada Higuchi, but sadly this was interrupted by Kenoh screaming at Takagi at ringside. When stiff slaps and kicks were over, the match (much to Kenoh’s public horror but private enjoyment) became very DDT with the referee being trapped in a mantrap and his face covered by a bunny mask, a giant fist fired at Kenoh to biff him, Takagi diving from the top turnbuckle with giant moth wings and a bucket, and then most famous of all and with a hashtag that trended, Kenoh on a bike. The match was won when Sanshiro Takagi pinned Haoh, and Kenoh stalked off to lick his wounds (throwing down a iron barrier on the way out), and borrowing a line from Kaito Kiyomiya to say “I don’t understand wrestling”. Takagi later called him a “dumbass” and said he felt like his jaw was broken.

  • Kaito Kiyomiya failed to win the tag match against DDT’S Konosuke Takeshita and Yuki Ueno, and he was the one pinned. After this Kiyomiya seemed to adopt an air of instability and madness, an eerie wild grin on his face as he walked to the back and gave a rambling promo which culminated in his walking off and saying “It’s just a passing point. Just a passing point. Just a passing point”.

Minus STINGER, Kaito Kiyomiya and Yoshiki Inamura, the rosters of NOAH, DDT, Ganbare and Tokyo Joshi Pro came out to stand together at the top of the ramp after the event.

Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial

With the event in Ota being cancelled short notice and the replacement event held at Korakuen Hall on the 30th May in a rush, NOAH will hold a second memorial to Mitsuharu Misawa. This will take place on the 13th June, the twelve year anniversary of his passing, and although it will be empty arena will have the usual traditions – the bell salute, the music, the streamers and the picture. Matches will all be a surprise and  will be announced by entry theme.

MUTA the WORLD

According to his agent, Keiji Mutoh, The Great Muta is jealous of Mutoh’s success and in order to sell copies of his new book, will be descending from the underworld on the 27th June to face an unknown opponent. Muta has chosen his who this is going to be, but unfortunately communications between the overworld and the underworld are not that good as Mutoh said there was interference when Muta named him. The Great Muta is rather pleased that the match will be empty arena as it means he can blow poison fog at his opponent.

EVENT RECAPS & POST MATCH PROMOS

EVENT RECAP: Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial 2021 ~ Forever in Our Hearts (Monday May 31st, Korakuen Hall, Tokyo) ~ Post match interviews 

EVENT RECAP: CyberFight Festival 2021 (Sunday 6th June, Saitama Super Arena) ~ Post match interviews.

ELSEWHERE IN NOAH

~ YO-HEY, Yasutaka Yano and Kai Fujimura have shown no symptoms during their two week isolation and will return to the ring. All three have returned to training. Kotaro Suzuki doesn’t seem to have had symptoms or been hospitalized.

~ Kenta Kobashi will be the special guest commentator at the Mitsuharu Misawa memorial, and Bull Nakano will be a special guest commentator at Cage War.

~ Yoshiki Inamura has new ring wear which has a tire track on the sides, a tire track hairstyle and he carries a tire to the ring.

~ Someone got the title cards wrong at CyberFight, apparently “Daisuke Harada, HAYATA & Seiki Yoshioka” are in Momo No Seishun! When did that happen? NOSAWA must be a genius booker as according to this logic, Harada beat one of his teammates to win the match.

~ Katsuhiko Nakajima tried to pin Sanshiro Takagi with the cocky pin. The referee refused to count it. ~ Kenoh posted this candid picture in “Weekly Pro”. He was talking about Masa Kitamiya passing through Kongoh in his column….

CURRENT CHAMPIONS

THIS WEEK IN NOAH

Sunday 13th June: Memoriam: Mitsuharu Misawa (2009)

Sunday 13th June: Mitsuharu Misawa Memorial (19:00 JST)

*The Misawa memorial will be broadcast live both on ABEMA and on WrestleUniverse. WrestleUniverse will have English commentary. ABEMA has been advertised as a free broadcast, but I don’t know if this will mean that it is only free to view in Japan. ABEMA can only be viewed live so you won’t be able to watch the show if you miss it as the replays are now only available to subscribers, therefore it would be better for you to subscribe to WrestleUniverse.

LINKS

Takashi Sugiura’s measures against ground fighting & fails in rock-paper-scissors “special training” to stop the negative chain of the fight with Sakuraba

NOAH’s June Schedule

Nakajima vs Kitamiya, grudge battle decision “Cage match loser gets head shaved”, both refuse to give up the belts, big fight at press conference.

“Doesn’t think of NOAH at all” ~ Kenoh criticizes President Sanshiro Takagi

“Unique Musou”, Yoshiki Inamura proves a different dimension monster in the team battle against DDT’S Takeshita & Ueno

Fourteen wrestler press conference: Marufuji’s “inspirational confrontation” hypothesis of Mutoh battle, Sugiura acts recklessly with shocking confession at NOAH’s CyberFight Festival

Yoshiki Inamura’s Pork Chankonabe

Picture credit: NOAH, Weekly Pro

GIF credits: NOAH Official YouTube, WrestleUniverse


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Coverage

Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (2/26/24)

Scores will be settled!

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The Road to WrestleMania gets intense!

Raw has grudge matches on tap as Sami Zayn faces Shinsuke Nakamura, and The New Day faces Imperium in a Tag Team Street Fight!

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Sami Zayn VS Shinsuke Nakamura; Sami wins.
  • Chelsea Green VS Raquel Rodriguez; Raquel wins.
  • Tag Team Street Fight: The New Day VS Imperium; Imperium wins.
  • Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark VS Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell; Shayna & Zoey win.
  • Nia Jax VS Liv Morgan; Nia wins, by disqualification.
  • Cody Rhodes VS Grayson Waller w/ Austin Theory; Cody wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Dominik Mysterio is in the ring.

San Jose is booing but Dom has the mic to say, “Everyone, please welcome the greatest Women’s World Champion of all time! RHEA RIPLEY!” The fans fire up as Mami makes her way to the ring, and she feels great after retaining her title at Elimination Chamber. Rhea gets the mic to welcome us to “Monday Night Mami!” The fans cheer Mami on and she smiles. Rhea says this weekend, she walked into her home country our Women’s World Champion, and she walked out of it still our Women’s World Champion. Nia Jax might’ve been the biggest threat to her reign, but it doesn’t matter how big you are. Rhea may be from Down Under, but Mami’s always on top! Because she’s Rhea BLOODY Ripley!

Wait! Here comes Becky Lynch! The Man started the Elimination Chamber match, won the Elimination Chamber match, and now she’s here to step to the champion she’ll be facing at WrestleMania! The fans cheer Becky on and she gets a mic now. “The Man has come around to San Jose!” The fans cheer that! Becky says The Man is also coming back around to WrestleMania… to fight Rhea. “But The Man came out here to say congratulations. What a night that you had on Saturday. Hell, what a night we both had on Saturday, hey?” Becky won the Chamber, Rhea successfully defended her title against Nia in her home country, stadium filled and in the main event!

Rhea had her family and friends there, what a moment. And even better, because now they won’t have to fly all the way to WrestleMania to watch her lose. Dom tells Becky “Nobody talks to Mami like that.” Fans boo Dom and Becky tells him to listen to them, “ya dirty kumquat!” Becky was talking to Mami, and if Mami won’t put Dom in his place, The Man will. The fans cheer that! Becky says Rhea is on a hell of a run, one of the most impressive we’ve ever seen. And even though the last year, Rhea has been the face of this company, she’s spent most of the time being fed grapes by this loser.

Meanwhile, Becky has been the backbone, the heart and soul of this company! She became a Grand Slam Champion, all while writing a best-selling book! The Man can do it all, including beating “Rhea Bloody Ripley.” Becky throws down her mic but Rhea asks if she’s done. Yeah? Cool. First off, never disrespect her Latino Heat like that again. Secondly, “congrats” on winning the Chamber. It’s about time Becky stopped disappointing Rhea and actually won something to get even this close to Rhea’s level. Becky says she’s the backbone, but The Man always thinks they’re the backbone of everything.

The funny thing is, that behind every great Man is an even greater woman. But Rhea isn’t behind Becky, because Mami is ALWAYS on top. Rhea drops her mic now but the two still talk some trash. Rhea & Dom leave, title in Mami’s hand. Will Becky leave Philadelphia with that title in hers? WAIT! Nia Jax runs up from the crowd to CLOBBER Becky! Fans boo as Nia HEADBUTTS Becky then dribbles her off the mat! The sore loser drops a leg on Becky! Rhea dares Nia to try her then, but Dom says Nia’s not worth Rhea’s time. Nia drops another leg on Becky! And then she drags Becky to a corner, but refs rush out here!

Fans boo Nia while Adam Pearce tells her to stop this. The producers also get Becky to safety. Pearce says Nia’s getting a fine if she keeps going rogue. Nia backs down, but will she make sure everyone feels her wrath on the Road to WrestleMania?

 

Backstage interview with Nia Jax.

Jackie Redmond has caught up with the “heated” Irresistible Force, and asks why Nia attacked Becky. Nia says, “Why? Are you kidding me?” Becky won Chamber but she should NOT be going to WrestleMania over Nia! Nia beat Becky clean, so there’s no way Nia is letting Becky make it to WrestleMania. Then with Mania still weeks away, and Nia having a match with Liv Morgan tonight, will- Nia says whatever just happened to Becky, expect ten times that for Liv. Nia storms off, will she look to end Liv’s revenge tour cold here tonight?

 

Sami Zayn VS Shinsuke Nakamura!

Speaking of WrestleMania, The Great Liberator still wants a spot on the Grandest Stage of Them All, even if the path isn’t quite clear. However, the King of Strong Style says Sami just plays it up so people will pity him. Will there be no sympathy from Nakamura as he looks to take that spotlight for his own? Or will Sami get even with Nakamura for their previous match’s controversial finish?

Raw returns and Nakamura makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Sami wrenches to wristlock, but Nakamura pulls hair to put Sami on ropes. The ref counts, Nakamura lets off slowly, but then he KICKS Sami in the side. Sami goes to a corner, comes back, and they tie up. Nakamura headlocks, Sami powers up and out, things speed up and Sami hurdles to arm-drag! Sami has the armlock and the fans rally up. Nakamura fights to his feet, puts Sami in a corner and throws body shots and knees! The ref reprimands, Nakamura lets off and Sami bails out. Nakamura goes out to kick Sami low!

Nakamura whips Sami, but Sami goes up the barriers to QUEBRADA! Direct hit but perhaps still double-edged for Sami, and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns again and Nakamura has Sami in a seated cobra twist! The fans rally, Sami endures and fights with elbows! Sami gets free, he stands up, but Nakamura KICKS him in the side again! Nakamura storms up in a corner, whips corner to corner hard and Sami falls in a heap! Nakamura drags Sami up, fireman’s carries to put him on the top rope, then TOP SHELF KNEES! Nakamura keeps Sami up there, to run and TOP SHELF KNEE again! Cover, TWO! Sami is still in this but Nakamura kicks him around. Nakamura drags Sami up while fans sing “OLE~ OLE OLE OLE~!” Nakamura whips, Sami goes up and over and LARIATS!

The fans fire up and Sami grits his teeth to stand. Sami storms up to fire hands on Nakamura! Sami whips, Nakamura reverses to KNEE low! Sami drops, but then he scoops and MICHINOKU DRIVERS! Cover, TWO! Nakamura survives and Sami is stunned! Sami grits his teeth from the pain in his side, and he hauls Nakamura up. Nakamura RAMS Sami into a corner! And again! And again! Nakamura puts Sami up top but Sami CLUBS Nakamura! Sami reels Nakamura in, TORNADO DDT! Fans fire up while Nakamura flounders out of the ring. Sami builds speed but runs into a kitchen sink knee!

Fans boo as Nakamura stalks Sami to the outside. They’re both on the apron, and Nakamura stands Sami up. Nakamura hits an APRON GOURD BUSTER! Sami flops to the floor while Nakamura soaks up the heat, and Raw goes back to break.

Raw returns yet again, Sami blocks a kick but Nakamura fires forearms! Sami fires those back, the two brawl and the fans fire up! Sami gets the edge but Nakamura fires a strike fest! Sami ducks the roundhouse but not the WHEEL KICK! Nakamura goes to a corner and takes aim, KIN- NO, Sami gets around to BLUE THUNDER BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Nakamura survives and Sami can’t believe it! Sami watches Nakamura crawl to a corner and then goes to the other side. The fans fire up as Sami runs in, but Nakamura JUMP KNEES! Nakamura then goes up the corner to FLYING KNEE! Cover, TWO!! Sami survives and shocks Nakamura!

The fans fire up as Sami flounders to ropes. “This is Awesome!” as Sami bails out and Nakamura pursues. Nakamura stalks Sami, KICKS him in the side again, and then drapes him along the barriers. Nakamura CLUBS Sami, goes up the steel steps, and FLYING GUILLOTINE KNEES! The fans boo Nakamura while he leaves Sami behind. Sami sputters on the floor as the ring count climbs! We’re past 5 of 10, and then 8! Sami springs up at 9 to slide in at 9.9! KINSHASA!! Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Sami saves himself by a literal foot, but Nakamura stomps away on him for it! The ref counts, Nakamura argues with him, then goes back to a corner.

Nakamura aims again, “YAO~” but Sami sends Nakamura into buckles! BLINDSIDE HELLUVA KICK!! The fans are thunderous as Sami goes to the far corner! Sami roars, wants Nakamura to get back up, and he runs in again, HELLUVA KICK!! Cover, Sami wins!!

Winner: Sami Zayn, by pinfall

Sami gets even with Nakamura and gets back on the winning track! Is this just what Sami needs to find his way to WrestleMania?

 

Chelsea Green VS Raquel Rodriguez!

The Hot Mess is always complaining and bringing up issues, and she’s got an issue with the woman who eliminated her from the Last Chance Battle Royal. But will she only end up complaining more when she loses to Raquel 1v1? Or will Chelsea somehow, someway, bring down Big Mami Cool?

Raw returns and Chelsea has the mic to say, “San Joseee~! I’m speaking! Let it be known that tonight, after issuing a formal complaint to WWE Management, I will be competing in protest. That’s right. Last week, I would have won the Last Chance Battle Royal, and I would have gone on to become the most illustrious winner in Elimination Chamber history, had Pea Head Pearce not added that secret, stupid last entrant, Raquel Rodriguez!” Fans cheer Raquel but Chelsea says that was wrong! The people want HER! She’s the star! Raquel flew all that way to Perth, and for what? To lose? HAHA! To be a big dumb loser like the San Jose Sharks!

Fans boo but Chelsea laughs, and then she says after tonight, everyone will SHH when Chelsea proves Raquel is a loser, by kicking her- Oh, wait, here comes Raquel! The bell rings and Chelsea draws a line int he sand, daring Raquel to cross it. Raquel steps right over it! Chelsea draws another line and dares Raquel to cross that. Raquel does! Chelsea SLAPS Raquel out of panic! Then Chelsea apologizes, only to turn and run! But Raquel reels her in, whips her, and Chelsea ducks one lariat, but not the SOUTHPAW! The fans fire up as Raquel drags Chelsea up, scoops her, and hits a FALL AWAY SLAM! The fans fire up as Chelsea staggers back up.

Chelsea bumps into Raquel, and Raquel scoops for another FALL AWAY SLAM! Chelsea flounders, Raquel drags her up and tells her to shush. Raquel hits the TEXANA BOMB! Cover, Raquel wins!

Winner: Raquel Rodriguez, by pinfall

What was that about kicking someone’s butt? Chelsea might still need to figure out how to think before she speaks, but will Raquel let her actions do the talking for her on this Road to WrestleMania?

 

Backstage interview with Sami Zayn.

Jackie congratulates him on the big win over Shinsuke. They’ve been talking for weeks now about adversity, and Mania is 40 days away. How much did Sami need tonight’s win? “Need” is an understatement to Sami. He’s been bottling stuff up for weeks now, trying to keep his cool, but this has been in his mind all week. A loss tonight, he couldn’t even tell you what it would’ve done not just to his path to WrestleMania, but to him emotionally. It would’ve perhaps disproved his claims of being a contender. But he doesn’t need to worry about that, because this win reaffirms what he’s been saying!

The belief in himself, the fire inside, he IS a contender and will be a champion, and that his path to Mania will come to him. And if it doesn’t, then he will go out and he will find it himself. Because this isn’t the first time nor the last that- Imperium walks over. Ludwig Kaiser looks Sami up and down, then scoffs and moves on. Giovanni Vinci smirks as he walks right past Sami, and then Gunther walks by. Gunther looks Sami in the eyes, then looks him over. Gunther laughs then leaves. Does Der Ring General not think Sami is a contender? Will Sami prove him wrong?

 

Backstage interview with Cody Rhodes.

Cathy Kelley is with the American Nightmare and says he made big news at Elimination Chamber by calling The Rock out for a 1v1 match. A lot of people question if that was smart given Cody’s match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Cody isn’t sure it was smart, either, but it’s simple: The Rock slapped Cody, Cody challenged him to a match for anywhere, anytime, and we await the rebuttal this Friday Night SmackDown. Then for tonight, Cody has a match with Grayson Waller, how does he see that going? Cody asks back, “Do you like Grayson Waller? Right? No. You don’t have to answer that right now.”

But Cody has been watching Waller. Waller won the Iron Survivor Challenge, has tons of skills, and not just on the mic. But if anything, Waller should certainly like Cody. The first time Cody was on the Grayson Waller Effect, he brought Jey Uso back to the WWE. And this past time, in front of over 50 THOUSAND people in Waller’s home country, Cody called out The Rock. And tonight, Waller gets his very first Monday Night Raw main event against Cody, and finds out first hand. Cody thanks Cathy for the time then heads out. Will the American Nightmare completely neutralize the Grayson Waller Effect tonight?

 

Imperium goes to the ring.

Ahead of their Street Fight match, Imperium is here so Der Ring General can speak. However, the fans boo so he waits it out. Gunther smiles and says, “After successfully defeating Jey Uso last week, I am standing here still your greatest and longest reigning Intercontinental Heavyweight Champion of all time!” Fans are torn on that, but Gunther continues by saying that he has to be honest, it was very, very close. Jey almost had Gunther beat, and Gunther actually felt it slipping away from him for the first time. But let’s be honest, he got lucky. Nobody’s perfect! But Gunther is still very, very close to it.

And before Kaiser & Vinci “outclass” The New Day, Gunther wants to address his future! Understand that over 600 days, Gunther has worked hard, putting his heart, soul and body into making this title into the most prestigious in this company! Fans do cheer that. “And I’ve beaten everybody along the way to achieve this.” Which leaves one question: Who will be Gunther’s opponent for WrestleMania? Fans have different ideas, but Gunther says he has seen all the ridiculous claims! Sami Zayn? Fans cheer that name! Chad Gable? “A THANK YEW~!” The Miz?! Fans cheer again. Gunther says it gets worse! He even sees people want R-Truth!

Fans really cheer for Truth, but wait! The Judgment Day makes their way out here? Finn Balor & Damian Priest are still Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions after defeating “New Catch Republic,” Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne, and they’re leading the way, JD McDonagh & Dirty Dom right behind. These four step into the ring to stand across from Imperium, and the fans are torn seeing these seven stare down. Priest says, “Big Bad Gunther. We don’t sweat you, man. Although you’ve have quite the dominant run, second only to the run The Judgment Day is on.” Priest hopes Gunther was watching Chamber as Judgment Day ran the table.

And Judgment Day plans to do it again at WrestleMania. Except, they plan on adding even more gold! Priest tells Gunther in Spanish, and then in English, that they mean the Intercontinental Championship. Gunther says since they’re not cashing in the MITB briefcase, who is it gonna be then? Finn Balor? Big headed JD? Who? DOM steps up!? Fans boo and Gunther almost laughs again. Dom tells Gunther, even as fans boo louder, that when Dirty Dom and the Judgment Day say they’re gonna do something, they mean it. And that means that the Intercontinental Championship now belongs to them.

Gunther still grins at Dom, and then pushes him back. Judgment Day keeps Priest back, and Gunther dares someone to do something then. Priest says they’ll be taking that title one way or another, and Gunther doesn’t stand a chance. Fans want to “Let Them Fight!” and Senor MITB throws off his vest, but Finn and the boys keep him back. Gunther holds up the belt, will nothing stop him from continuing his historic reign? Or will WrestleMania be his judgment day?

 

Judgment Day regroups backstage.

Priest has cooled off, and Mami asks what Dom is doing stepping to Gunther of all people! Dom says he’s got this! Well, he better. Rhea heads out again, and Finn tells Dom that he really should smooth things over. Dom agrees, but encounters Andrade on the way. Dom says long time no see, and Andrade says hey, kid. Dom says he has to smooth things over first, but good seeing him. Wait, wait, wait. Andrade has a meeting with Pearce to discuss his first opponent. See you soon, huh? Yeah, maybe. Dom wishes Andrade luck, but will the Prodigal Son have to face El Idolo before getting to Der Ring General?

 

Tag Team Street Fight: The New Day VS Imperium!

After almost two years of fighting back and forth, these two top level teams are putting things to rest! No disqualifications, no count outs, and no limitations on what they’re allowed to do, who will prove they are the superior team once and for all?

The New Day make their entrance, and Imperium rushes out of the ring to attack! They brawl on the ramp and the bell sounds while fans fire up! The New Day are dressed in San Jose Sharks uniforms, which the fans appreciate, and the brawl goes up to the stage. Kaiser ROCKS Kofi, Vinci kicks Woods, but New Day hits back with haymakers. Vinci sends Woods into the LED  screen! Kaiser UPPERCUTS Kofi! Then Vinci DECKS Kofi! Kaiser rains down fists on Kofi, Vinci stomps him, but the fans rally for New Day. Kaiser drags Kofi up, feeds him to Vinci, but Woods has Francesca MK II Turbo! And he CRACKS Ludwig with her!

Woods uses the slide to SMASH Vinci, and then Kofi uses the horn piece to SMASH Kaiser! Woods uses the broken pieces to beat up on Kaiser! The brawl goes back to ringside, Kofi throws headbutts! Woods ROCKS Vinci, then helps Kofi go looking under the ring. San Jose fires up as New Day brings out a TABLE! But Imperium CLOBBERS The New Day! The fans boo as there’s no furniture yet, Imperium puts New Day in the ring. New Day DECKS Imperium off the apron! The fans fire up as New Day builds speed and they DOUBLE DIVE! Kofi wipes out Kaiser, Woods wrecks Vinci with a dropkick, and the fans fire up as Raw goes to break!

Raw returns and the brawl is now in the crowd! Kofi ROCKS Kaiser, Vinci ROCKS Kofi, but Woods SMASHES a beer can on Vinci! The fans fire up as this keeps on moving, and Woods headlocks Vinci to bring him away. Kaiser ROCKS Kofi, Woods dumps Vinci back to ringside, but Kaiser sends Kofi into barriers! Woods CHOPS Vinci, Kaiser ELBOWS Kofi in the forehead! Vinci hits an APRON BACK SUPLEX on Woods! Kaiser GAMANGIRIS Kofi down! Fans want tables, but Imperium doesn’t care as they put Woods in the ring. Kaiser goes looking under the ring, and he brings out a table after all! Only to put it right back!

Fans boo but Kaiser gets himself a chair. Vinci drags Woods up, Kaiser aims and JAMS Woods in the ribs! Then SMACKS him on the back! Kaiser talks trash while fans boo, but Kaiser and Vinci sit Woods up. PENALTY KICK! Kaiser drags Woods, puts him in the ropes, and Vinci adds a chair to the mix. Vinci & Kaiser go side to side and back again, FULL METAL DOUBLE DROPKICK in the corner! Woods sputters as he falls from corner to floor! Kofi returns and he HOTSHOTS Kaiser, GAMANGIRIS Vinci, and he goes up top! DOUBLE CROSSBODY! The fans fire up as Kofi keeps going, and he RUSSIAN LEG SWEEPS Vinci!

Kaiser runs up, but Kofi scoops and SLAMS him onto Vinci! The fans fire up as Kofi runs for the NEW~ DAY~ Boom Drop! Kaiser gets away but Kofi clinches him! Kofi and Kaiser throw elbows, then Kofi drags Kaiser down. Kofi DECKS Kaiser, then hurries to get that table! The fans are thunderous as Kofi sets it up and brings Kaiser around. But Vinci makes the save! Imperium DOUBLE SUPLEX Kofi into the ring! But Woods is back to SHOTGUN Kaiser, and mule kick Vinci! Woods fires off, Vinci kicks and CHOPS! Woods falls, Vinci stomps him out of the ring. Vinci & Kaiser regroup, Kaiser has kendo sticks!

Kaiser SMACKS Woods, then hands one to Vinci. Vinci and Kaiser DOUBLE SMACK Woods again and again and again! They stretch Woods across steel steps, and Kaiser gets space! Fans boo as Kaiser runs in, but Kofi JUMP KNEES first! Vinci LARIATS Kofi! But Woods waits on Vinci in the ring! Vinci ducks ‘n’ dodges to CROSSBODY! Vinci gets the kendo stick to SMACK away on Woods again and again and again! Kaiser has the chair and he SMACKS Woods, too! Fans boo as Imperium stands tall, and Raw goes back to break.

Raw returns again and Imperium RAMS Woods into barriers! Kaiser smirks, turns around, ARMCHAIR ATTACK! Kofi takes Kaiser down with that, then BOOTS Vinci! Kofi whips Vinci into steel steps! Fans fire up as Kofi puts Kaiser in the ring, stalks him, and Woods is there, too! Now New Day has the kendo sticks! The fans fire up again as Kaiser realizes the trouble he’s in! The New Day SMACKS away on Kaiser again and again and again! The kendo sticks are coming apart! The fans are thunderous as Woods tells Kofi, “GET THE TABLES~!” Kofi & Woods go out, stomp Imperium down, then find a table under the ring!

New Day sets the table up at ringside, then Woods CLUBS Vinci. Woods brings Vinci over, Kofi throws some hands, then they put Vinci on the table. The fans rally up as Woods climbs up a corner! Woods aims, the fans are on their feet, and Woods SUPER MACHO ELBOWS through the table!! Vinci writhes while Kofi & Woods roar! They haul Vinci out of the wreckage, put him in the ring, and Woods climbs again. Kofi hits a BACKBREAKER, Woods adds a KNEE DROP! Cover, Kaiser yanks the ref away!! The fans boo but Kaiser gets away with that one, but Kofi KENDO STICK DIVES! Down goes Kaiser!

Vinci flounders out of the ring, a red line of blood on his back from where the table got him. Kofi puts Kaiser in so he and Woods can kick him around! The fans know “This is Awesome!” as New Day drags Kaiser to his feet. Woods scoops Kaiser, Kofi climbs up, but Vinci rises! Vinci SHOVES Kofi down through a table!! The one from earlier! Woods ELBOWS Kaiser away, grabs at Vinci, Vinci SMACKS Woods with a cookie sheet! Kaiser RAMS Woods into a chair wedged in a corner!! Roll up, Imperium wins!!

Winners: Imperium, by pinfall

The New Day brought the fight but they lost the fight! Will Kofi & Woods be able to rebound from this crushing defeat? Will Kaiser & Vinci look to confront Judgment Day over the titles Finn & Priest have?

 

Adam Pearce is on the phone.

He talks with Bronson Reed, and says this isn’t the first phone call he’s had just like this. But yes, “it” is on the front of everyone’s mind, Pearce will address it soon enough. But congratulations on the newborn baby, see you soon. Pearce finishes the call, Chad Gable walks in and they shake hands. Gable over Ivar was a hell of a win, congratulations. Oh, well A THANK YEW~ then. But Gable just wants momentum going to WrestleMania. And speaking of, we all know Gunther wants an opponent going into the big show. Everyone will be coming to Pearce with their reasons why they’re the guy.

Gable has reasons of his own. He comes here as not just a competitor but as a father. Last time Gable faced Gunther, he was this close to taking the title. But that’s not what haunts him. What haunts Gable is that Gunther reduced Gable’s daughter to tears, and laughed at her misery! Gable needs to make this right. Gable’s reasons are honest. To anyone else, this match would be about the title. But for Gable, this means more. Pearce sees that. He has a lot to think about. Who will be in the running for a shot at Der Ring General?

 

Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark VS Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell!

Speaking of title chases, The Queen of Spades & The Hunter are hot on the trail of Damage CTRL! Will Shayna & Stark be primed for their shot at Asuka & Kairi Sane? Or will the Poison Pixie & #IndiWrestling find the way to a rematch from Elimination Chamber?

Raw returns as Indi & Candice make their entrance. The teams sort out and Candice starts against Shayna. Shayna runs up, Candice dodges to kick a leg out and ENZIGIRI! Then STEP-UP SENTON! Candice hurries to BLAST Zoey, then she dodges Shayna to back body block! Candice goes out to CANNONBALL Zoey! The fans fire up as Candice then avoids Shayna’s shoulder to KNEE her away! Step-in TORNADO- NO, Shayna SLAMS Candice outta the DDT and KNEES her down! Candice is dazed but Shayna stands on her arm! Shayna lets her hair down and STOMPS Candice’s elbow! Tag to Zoey and Zoey storms right up.

Zoey wrenches and YANKS the bad arm, then YANKS it again. Zoey steps over to HIP DROP the elbow, then she stalks Candice to ropes. Zoey wraps the bad arm around ropes and pulls! Zoey grinds forearms into Candice’s face while saying she’s a nobody! Zoey whips Candice into buckles hard, then grinds her forearms in again! The ref counts, Zoey lets off, and she brings Candice up for an INVERTED EXPLODER! Cover, TWO! Candice stays in there but Zoey pushes her around. Zoey stands Candice up but into a CODE BREAKER! Hot tag to Indi and the fans rally up! Indi dodges Zoey in the ropes to UPPERCUT and BOOT her away!

Indi hurries in, LARIATS Zoey, BLASTS Shayna, and LARIATS Zoey again! Indi CLUBS, DECKS and then stalks Zoey. Zoey swings, Indi dodges, but Shayna tags in before the SPINEBUSTER! Indi roars, but Shayna grabs her! KIRAFUDA KLUTCH!! Indi taps, Shayna & Zoey win!

Winners: Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark, by submission

The Queen of Spades & The Hunter put away Candice & Indi faster than Asuka & Kairi did, will this be more than enough to name them the next contenders? Or will not even Shayna & Zoey be ready for DMG CTRL?

 

R-Truth is in the Judgment Day clubhouse?

And then he’s joined by The Miz and “DX,” aka DIY. They all sit down and Miz asks what Truth is even doing here. Well, Judgment Day’s gone for the night. He doesn’t want them to see him like this, but he was reminiscing about all the good times. Johnny Gargano says Truth’s always cheering them up, so they’ll return the favor. They’ll get revenge on The Judgment Day. And speaking of, Ciampa has a plan. Are you ready? What? He said… Are…! You…! Ready!? Oh, Truth gets it now! They’re gonna regenerate, right? What? Y’know, Regeneration X. Now that’s what’s up! No, no, it was Degeneration- Never mind. That is what’s up, and it’s AWESOME~!

Truth says let’s do it then! Hold on, he’s taking the TV back. Don’t worry about unplugging it, ain’t no cords on it. So it’s wireless? Nope. Truth, Miz and DIY head out, just what will they do to finally get one over on Judgment Day?

 

Drew McIntyre is here!

The Scottish Terminator and the winner of this year’s Elimination Chamber match is in San Jose, primed to face Seth Rollins for the World Heavyweight Championship! McIntyre gets the mic to say, “We did it.” He wants to thank the fans. You don’t achieve success alone, so everyone here and around the world, thank you for praying harder than ever before. Because of them, it is happening! McIntyre VS Rollins for the WHC at Mania! McIntyre feels like hell, though. He is more jetlag than man right now, especially after being the first man in the Chamber and the last man standing. He got hurt in there, an eardrum blown out. It was a bit of an incident after the show.

McIntyre was talking with the doctor afterward, and he told McIntyre that he is hurt, he might not make WrestleMania. Fans boo, but McIntyre told the doc, “Who do you think I am? CM Punk? Nothing’s gonna stop me from making Mania!” Fans are torn, they should’ve known McIntyre was going there with this. And then McIntyre sits down cross-legged a la Punk! “Don’t look up my kilt, ya pervs.” McIntyre tells Punk that he knows it hurts not to be part of Chamber or WrestleMania, and it probably kills Punk to see McIntyre in the world title match instead. But he wants Punk to know he thought about him after the match.

McIntyre wants to do something special just for Punk. We know Punk is straightedge, doesn’t drink alcohol, so McIntyre drank twice as much for both of them to celebrate. McIntyre grins and says okay, to more serious business. He has to talk to the champ, so if he’ll indulge McIntyre, “Mr. Rollins, c’mon down.” And here he comes! The fans sing “OH~ OHH~ OHHH~!” as Rollins makes his way out in a baggy, wine red suit. Rollins joins McIntyre in the ring, and McIntyre points to the sign. Rollins says yeah, we’ll get to that, but if McIntyre will indulge Rollins a moment… “SAN JOSE! Welcome to Monday Night Rollins!”

And a congratulations to Drew McIntyre! Fans boo but Rollins says no, no, McIntyre did it. Rollins is proud of McIntyre for clawing his way back to a title match with him again. And this time, McIntyre has an opportunity to do what he’s been wanting since 2020: win the world title, but not in an empty warehouse! This time, it’ll be in front of a capacity crowd at the BIGGEST WrestleMania of all time! But… there is just one thing standing in the way. He is the Visionary, he is the Revolutionary, he is Seth FREAKIN’ Rollins! The fans sing again and Rollins revels in it. McIntyre says yeah, Rollins is standing in the way.

McIntyre says beating Rollins is no easy job, but beating McIntyre is no easy job, either. So why is Rollins making it so hard on himself? We’ve seen what’s going on with Roman and Cody and The Rock, Rollins should just stop. Rollins doesn’t need that in his life. McIntyre’s talked with Rollins about this, from the bad knee to the bad back. Rollins should take time off, rest up, and be at 100% for WrestleMania. But Rollins won’t listen, doesn’t have to, he’s a grown man. But it just doesn’t make sense to McIntyre why Rollins is going to SmackDown this Friday to fight Cody’s battle when Raw needs Rollins here!

That stuff is their business, screw them! When McIntyre is champion, he won’t care if SmackDown is on fire and begging for help, McIntyre wouldn’t piss on ’em to put it out! McIntyre’s responsibility will be Raw and the World Heavyweight Championship only. But here is something for Rollins to think about: The Bloodline situation. We know where this is going, Rollins doesn’t need to go down that path. We know the outcome, it has happened time and time again, and to McIntyre personally. You push Bloodline too far, you know what happens! Their match at Mania will be a killer match, the fans going wild, Bloodline will hit the ring and cost Rollins the title!

So please, for Rollins’ sake and McIntyre’s, just back off. Fans boo and Rollins takes off the sunglasses. Rollins tells McIntyre, “I respect everything you just said. But respectfully, some risks are worth taking.” Fans cheer that, and Rollins says that he’ll be straight here. McIntyre’s known Rollins a long time, he knows what Rollins is about, so he knows that everything McIntyre just said, Rollins has already thought about. Rollins has replayed it over and over, all the negative outcomes. It’s why Rollins is the Architect, the Visionary, and the truth is… McIntyre might be right. Rollins’ knee may not be ready, the back may give out, and Bloodline might leave him broken in their wake, just like they have everyone else.

WrestleMania might be an easy night for McIntyre. McIntyre might be right, but what if he’s wrong? Like Rollins said, some risks are worth taking. He’s been selfish in his career and in his life, and Rollins thought that the goal at the end of the road would fill the void. But every single time, when Rollins got to the top, he felt empty inside. It wasn’t until he had his daughter that Rollins realized not everything is about him. There are some things in life bigger than all of us! The World Heavyweight Championship is bigger than us! Taking down the Bloodline is bigger than us! Fans cheer that!

Rollins asks McIntyre back: If they don’t take care of Bloodline before Mania, then what? Let’s say McIntyre does take the title from Rollins. It doesn’t matter if McIntyre is champion or Rollins is champion, The Bloodline wants power, and it’s only a matter of time before they come for the World Heavyweight Championship. So McIntyre might be right, but what if he’s wrong? What if Rollins’ knee is 100%? What if his back is ready to go? What if they can rip The Bloodline apart once and for all to secure the future of this industry!? Because if they can do all of that, then at WrestleMania, it is just Rollins, McIntyre and the World Heavyweight Championship.

Rollins said this before Crown Jewel, and he’ll say it again here: May the best man win. And some risks are worth taking. Rollins drops the mic and takes his leave, will this gamble go his way? Or will McIntyre find his own way to win it all?

 

Nia Jax VS Liv Morgan!

The Irresistible Force is a sore loser, determined to prove she’s far more worthy of a WrestleMania moment than every single woman that was in the Elimination Chamber match. To her point, she did get the better of them all just last week. Will she do it again tonight? Or will Liv make Nia #CryAboutIt some more?

Raw returns as Liv makes her entrance. The bell rings and Liv SHOTGUNS Nia! Liv fires off forearms but Nia shoves her away. Liv runs up to back body block! Liv runs up again, SHINING WIZARD! Liv keeps moving, but Nia stops the rana! Nia swings Liv up and around, SAMOAN DROP! Nia soaks up the heat while she paces around Liv. Nia drags Liv around to pull on the arms! The fans boo and Liv endures, but Nia STOMPS her down! Liv sputters but Nia drags her up and puts her in a corner. Nia runs in to SPLASH Liv, and Liv flops down. Nia runs back in, HIP ATTACK! Nia rubs it in quite literally, then drags Liv up.

Liv fires body shots, runs, but Nia ELBOWS her down! Nia drags Liv around, and has a leg for the STRETCH MUFFLER! Liv endures as she dangles off the mat! Nia then swings Liv into buckles! Nia drops Liv, kicks her around, and then goes to the apron. Nia lines up a shot, but Liv dodges the leg drop! Fans taunt Nia with “MY HOLE! MY HOLE!” while Nia hobbles away. Liv aims, builds speed, and DVIES! Down goes Nia and the fans fire up while Raw goes to break!

Raw returns again and Nia has Liv in a BEARHUG! Liv endures as Nia squeezes and thrashes her around! Pat uses the telestrator to show us just how much Liv was suffering in the Stretch Muffler. Back to present, Liv fights out of the bearhug and ENZIGIRIS! Nia wobbles, and then CLOBBERS Liv! Nia runs to SENTON but misses as Liv moves! Liv goes to a corner, Nia runs up, but Liv slips to the apron! Nia hits buckles, Liv KNEES her back! Then HOTSHOTS her away! Nia staggers, Liv goes up the corner, and fans fire up for the MISSILE DROPKICK! Nia staggers to the corner but Liv runs in! Nia blocks the Code Breaker!

Nia puts Liv in the corner but Liv ROCKS her! Liv leaps, FLYING CODE BREAKER! Cover, TWO! Nia is still in this and Liv grows frustrated. The fans rally up as Liv rushes Nia, but into a fireman’s carry! Liv sunset flips through, but Nia stays up! Nia drags Liv to her feet for a HEADBUTT! Liv ends up in a corner, Nia runs in, but Liv dodges, Nia POSTS herself! Nia falls out of the ring and Liv hurries to the apron! Liv runs but Nia catches her! SAMOAN DROP into the post! The fans boo but wait! BECKY LYNCH FLIES IN!

Winner: Nia Jax, by disqualification

The Man fires off on Nia and SMACKS her off the desk! And again and again and again! The fans fire up as Becky dribbles Nia! Becky then SMACKS Nia off the apron, puts her in the ring, and storms up on her to CLUB her right back out of the ring! Nia hurries up the ramp while the ref keeps Becky back! Becky wants Big Time revenge, will she tear Nia down before going after Rhea? And how will Liv feel about this when Becky’s revenge just cost her a win?

 

Backstage interview with Grayson Waller & Austin Theory.

Cathy Kelley is now with A-Town Down Under and brings up Elimination Chamber’s “massive scoop.” Does Waller feel Cody being the guest on the Grayson Waller Effect backfired on him? Waller says once again, Waller gets the biggest scoop via his show, not surprised! Big for Waller, big for Australia, but that doesn’t change the fact Cody disrespected Waller in his home. He beat up Waller’s boy, Theory, and Waller did everything he could to protect him (not), but now they flip the script. Waller will disrespect The American Nightmare in his house, and then The Rock & Roman can pick the bones. This lad ain’t ever gonna finish his story!

Cathy thanks them for their time, will the Grayson Waller Effect be super effective? Or will nothing stop Cody from making it to Mania?

 

WWE mourns the loss of Ole Anderson.

The OG Four Horseman passed away today at the age of 81. A great tag team wrestler and one half of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, he will be missed.

 

Adam Pearce finds Becky backstage.

She says after what Nia did to her, Becky was not gonna be able to move on until she ends this. Becky wants her shot at Nia. Oh, really? Then how does next week sound? Sounds perfect to Becky. Then it’s official. Becky thanks Pearce, but then Liv storms in! Liv says she was in the middle of something out there, but guess Becky doesn’t care about anyone else. Not everything is about The Man! Liv storms off, is Becky only going to settle one score to have to worry about another?

 

Backstage interview with Jey Uso.

Jackie Redmond is with Main Event Jey and says despite a hell of an effort against Gunther, not an outcome Jey wanted. How does Jey plan on getting back in the title scene? Jey says he’ll keep on being him, doing what he does, keep on showing up to Raw and being Main Event Jey Uso. Last week, he was this close to having his first singles title. Feels like when he tries to get close to something, he falls short. When he tries to complete the mission, he falls short. When he tries to do something positive for himself, he falls short. When he tries to pull himself up, he falls short. Whether it is his past enemies on Raw, or his own flesh ‘n’ blood.

Jey then spots said enemy in McIntyre. McIntyre says he knows Jey is having a tough time. McIntyre is in a good place, riding high, but he felt this was a good time to have this talk. McIntyre knows how Jey is feeling, and McIntyre wants Jey to know that from the bottom of his heart, Jey deserves it. Jey fires off on McIntyre and it’s a brawl! Refs and security rush in to pull these two apart! The Scottish Terminator can’t help himself when it comes to pushing buttons, but will he regret getting on Jey’s bad side?

 

Cody Rhodes VS Grayson Waller w/ Austin Theory!

The American Nightmare wants after The Rock, but it seems the Aussie Icon has just ended up a pawn in the Bloodline’s game. Will Cody get past this obstacle to have a clear path to WrestleMania? Or will Waller be drinking a shoey in The Tribal Chief’s honor?

Raw returns as Cody makes his entrance, the fans singing along, “WHOA~ OH~!” The bell rings and the fans rally up behind Cody. Waller is annoyed by that as he circles with Cody. They tie up, go around, and Cody headlocks for the takeover. Waller headscissors, Cody kips free and hits another takeover. Waller headscissors, Cody kips free again and waistlocks. Waller elbows free, runs up and bumps Cody off buckle! Waller taunts the fans but they rally behind Cody. Waller JABS Cody, CLUBS him, but Cody turns things around to CHOP! Cody stalks Waller to a corner, whips him corner to corner but Waller reverses hard!

Waller storms up to cravat Cody and fires off knees! Fans boo but Theory soaks it up for Waller. Waller throws body shots on Cody, has him against ropes and CLUBS him. Waller ROCKS Cody with a forearm, throws body shots, and he keeps Cody on the ropes. Waller wrenches and whips Cody but Cody reverses to kick, drop and RHODES UPPERCUT! Cody then reels Waller in to suplex, and he holds Waller up! Fans cheer as Cody waits until ten for the GOURD BUSTER! Cody then clotheslines Waller up and out! Fans fire up as Cody stands tall and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns once again and Cody throws body shots to get free of a chinlock. But then Waller LEG LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Waller keeps on Cody with a cravat and he cranks the neck wrench. Waller says he won’t let Cody disrespect him! The fans rally, Cody fights up, and commentary says Paul Heyman is somewhere in the building. Did he bring The Bloodline with him? Cody throws more body shots to get free, then he CHOPS! Waller kicks low, reels Cody in to back suplex, but Cody lands out of it! Cody CLOBBERS Waller, goes to a corner then goes up and over, to SNAP POWERSLAM! The fans fire up with Cody as he rises!

Cody runs, springboards, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER! Cover, TWO! Waller stays in this but then Theory distracts Cody! Cody glares at Theory, runs him off, but Waller is up, to JAB! Cody drops to his knees, and Theory says that’s teamwork! Fans boo but Waller whips. Cody ducks ‘n’ dodges to DIVE! Theory is sent tumbling up and over the desk!! The fans fire up but Waller goes out to LARIAT Cody down! Waller puts Cody in, says this is the real deal, and he somersaults, but Cody dodges the flatliner! CODY CUTTER! The fans fire up again and Cody dragon sleepers for the CROSS RHODES!! Cover, Cody wins!

Winner: Cody Rhodes, by pinfall

A-Town Down Under probably wishes they’d stayed home on this one! Cody is rolling down the Road to WrestleMania, but “Ladies and gentlemen,” The Wise Man confirms he is here by stepping on stage. Heyman has private security but Cody still gets a chair! Cody also gets a mic while Heyman says it’d figure “San Josie” would boo ladies. They’re ruining his shtick! Heyman continues his introduction, but Cody doesn’t give a damn! If this is a set-up, then come get him! Heyman has everyone calm down. This is not a Bloodline set-up. The only member of The Bloodline here tonight is Heyman. Does anyone see a drop of Polynesian blood anywhere in the security?

That’s rhetorical, because the answer is no. These gentlemen are Heyman’s “friends” from the NYPD. They are off-duty, technically, because they’re suspended, but that’s a whole different story. Heyman came here to California to let us know no one wants an apology. Heyman understands how insulting it must be to get Will Smith’d across the face. But Heyman wants Cody needs to take The Rock’s name out of his freakin’ mouth. Because The Tribal Chief, Roman…! Reigns…! has authorized Heyman to let Cody know, that if Cody does not back away from this… Like, you can’t just say you want a match with The Rock and then it magically happens.

Well, it magically happens if you ARE The Rock, but Cody screwed that all up, didn’t he? See, a year ago, they were crying in the ring with each other, Heyman forgives Cody. But The Rock doesn’t. And understanding that Cody is in the WrestleMania main event with Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Championship, Heyman is begging and pleading, “Please, Cody. Please. Pretty please, with a cherry on top… Withdraw this challenge from The Rock… or else.” Cody takes a seat and asks, “Or else what, Mr. Heyman?” Does Heyman wanna know why Cody hasn’t rained holy terror on this mic about Heyman’s new boy, Dwayne? Why Cody hasn’t trashed The Rock in media?

It’s simple! Like everyone here, Cody was a fan of The Rock! How could he not be? Put yourself in Cody’s shoes! He comes from a family where every meal was determined by ticket sales, and nobody sold more than The Rock! But Cody is done, fed up with being nice! If this is a set-up, then like Cody said, “Come and get me.” Heyman says he has a better idea. Heyman and his “friends” go to the apron and Heyman asks if he may step inside. Heyman may not. Heyman says that’s just rude. But the “friends” step in and Cody says okay, then he’ll make this clear. If one more person steps towards Cody, he is dropping every single person in this ring.

The fans fire up and Heyman says okay, he respects that. As Cody will surely respect that his threat doesn’t apply if Heyman is that one person, right? WRONG! Cody gets his chair and he JAMS everyone up! Then SMACKS them all down! And then CHUCKS the chair into the one guys’ face! CROSS RHODES!! The fans fire up as Cody stands his ground! He dares Heyman to send The Bloodline, but Heyman has his phone to call Roman Reigns. And another phone to call The Rock! Cody says go ahead, call whoever he’s got! Because the Bloodline isn’t hunting Cody, Cody is hunting The Bloodline!

Heyman looks a little worried as Cody has another round to JAM and SMACK the “friends!” Cody TOSSES one, TOSSES another, then TOSSES the third! Did this little stunt backfire in the worst way possible for The Bloodline?


My Thoughts:

Another great Raw, with great build upon the WrestleMania stories. I really like this intertwining of stories between Judgment Day and other groups. Great opening promo from Dom, Rhea and Becky, which then turned into Nia attacking Becky, which then in turn became Becky attacking Nia during her match with Liv. Now, while we’re getting Nia VS Becky 2, it feels like Liv is adding Becky to the revenge tour. There’s talk of Triple Threats for world titles at every 10th WrestleMania, what if it was for the Women’s World Championship? Granted, it’d be a shame since Becky fought her way to earn the shot, but it would hearken back to Mania 35 where Becky won a Triple Threat.

Judgment Day confronting Imperium over the Intercontinental Championship was some good stuff. And I do appreciate that even Rhea felt Dom was biting off more than he could chew stepping to Gunther. Now, it sure feels like they want Sami to get his shot after that encounter with Gunther, but I like that Andrade is also in the mix after his talk with Dom. Sami VS Nakamura was an awesome opening match, it probably should be Sami given he mentioned “doing something historic” last week. But Sami having to get through Andrade, Bronson, Gable and maybe even Dom would really make it a great road to Mania.

Awesome Street Fight tag match, too, and I was rather surprised Imperium won. But I have a feeling Kaiser & Vinci will be getting in on the Undisputed Tag Team Championship story, same as The Awesome Truth. Good but short promo from Truth, Miz & DIY to keep up the “DIY is DX” gag and establish that the feud is continuing. Awesome Truth still feels like they’re set for their shot at Mania, but maybe Imperium and a team from SmackDown get involved to make it easier for Finn & Priest to lose the belts.

Raquel all but squashing Chelsea was entertaining, though Shayna & Zoey all but squashing Candice & Indi was a little disappointing. I suppose Shayna & Zoey are still being established as challengers for DMG CTRL, we might get a Fatal 4 tag title match for the women. As I said at Chamber, maybe Bianca gets in on the tag title story since the top titles are spoken for. Meanwhile, great promo from McIntyre with Rollins, though it maybe took a little too long to get where it was going. It is good character stuff from McIntyre to be hypocritically worried The Bloodline is going to screw Rollins over when McIntyre just wants the title regardless.

Great bit with McIntyre and Jey, too, though it felt like Jey was just going on and on to stall for time as McIntyre was heading over there. McIntyre VS Jey one more time will be really good stuff to give McIntyre momentum going towards Mania. And really good stuff from Cody Rhodes tonight. Good promo before his match, good promo from Waller as well, and really good main event from Cody VS Waller. Heyman showing up was a nice surprise, though it was a weird move for him to bring fake cops that were supposedly suspended. We all knew they were getting beat up by Cody anyway, maybe this was some kind of adlib to keep from Cody beating down Jimmy and/or Solo. There’s a very good chance that happens on SmackDown anyway, so they probably didn’t wanna be redundant.

My Score: 8.8/10


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Mitchell’s NJPW New Beginning Sapporo Results & Report! (2/24/24)

Night two!

Published

on

The New Beginning comes to an end!

It’s a WrestleKingdom rematch here in Sapporo as Tetsuya Naito gives Sanada a shot at the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship! Will NJPW still be tranquilo? Or will the Cold Skull once again be the Gold Skull?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Frontier Zone: Toru Yano & Tomoya VS Tomoaki Honma & Katsuya Murashima; Yano & Tomoya win.
  • 10 Man Tag: The House of Torture VS Shota Umino, El Desperado, YOH, Togi Makabe & Boltin Oleg; Shota, Desperado, Yoh, Makabe & Oleg win.
  • 10 Man Tag: Chaos VS Matt Riddle & The United Empire; Chaos wins.
  • Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa VS El Phantasmo & Hikuleo; ELP & Leo win.
  • Nic Nemeth & Ryusuke Taguchi VS David Finlay & Gedo; Nemeth & Taguchi win.
  • BUSHI VS Taka Michinoku; Bushi wins.
  • Hiromu Takahashi VS DOUKI; Douki wins.
  • Shingo Takagi VS Taichi; Taichi wins.
  • Hair VS Hair Match: Yota Tsuji VS Yuya Uemura; Yota wins and Yuya must cut their hair.
  • IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito VS SANADA; Naito wins and retains the title.

PLAY BY PLAY

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa VS El Phantasmo & Hikuleo!

It’s Guerrillas of Destiny VS Guerrillas of Destiny in the Good Bad Guy’s farewell to NJPW! Will Tama and the Silverback “big brother” The Headbanga and Young Guerilla on the way out? Or will ELP & Leo prove their title belts aren’t just for show?

For those wondering which corner Jado would, he chose neither, as he is now the special guest referee! You can bet The Master Heater will keep this one fair and square. And in a great throwback, Tama comes out in his ghost face killer paint! Meanwhile, Loa has the Mr. Terrific T paint. The four fist bump to show respect, and ELP gets the fans rallying for Tama. The teams sort out and Leo starts against Tama. The fans rally for “G O D! G O D!” as the brothers double fist bump. They circle, tie up, and Leo shoves Tama away. Tama comes back, gets around, headlocks, but Leo endures the grind. Leo powers up to lift Tama, but Tama thrashes the hold.

Leo powers up and out, but Tama slides under the boot! The fans cheer as the stand off. They reset, speed up, and Tama dodges to DROPKICK! Leo stays up and he runs Tama over! Leo runs but Tama avoids the elbow drop! The fans cheer as the two stand off again. Leo and Tama then back off, tag to ELP and Loa. The fans rally as these two circle now. ELP and Loa feel things out, tie up, and they go around. ELP headlocks, Loa powers up and out, and they RAM shoulders! Neither falls but Loa applauds ELP. ELP dares Loa to go then, so Loa runs. They RAM shoulders and ELP falls! Loa fires up and the fans cheer.

Loa flexes, runs, but ELP drops. Loa sunset flips, ELP sits on it, TWO! Loa has it, TWO! ELP has it, TWO! Wait, aren’t those counts kinda fast? ELP and Loa rock back and forth and Jado can’t even keep up! ELP and Loa let off and ask what’s going on. Jado gives them shoves, telling them to respect his authority. ELP and Loa shove back, but Tama and Leo get in! Tama tells ELP not to shove Jado, but Leo tells Loa the same, and now they’re all shoving each other! Jado tells them all to stop it, this is a clean fight! The fans cheer and GOD all agrees. So they start throwing forearms! Nothing wrong with a brawl!

Tama gets the edge on ELP and Loa gets the edge on Leo. Tama & Loa whip, but ELP & Leo dosido! Tama & Loa dodge, but then so do ELP & Leo! They each SPLASH, then ELP feeds Tama to Leo’s SIDEWALK SLAM! ELP hits the FALLING AX HANDLE! But Loa throws hands on them both! The fans fire up, Loa runs, but ELP hurdles and Leo DDTs Loa down! The fans fire up again as ELP winds up and high-fives Leo! ELP then ROCKS Loa with a forearm, and Loa ends up on ropes. ELP fires more forearms, puts him in a corner and throws body shots. Loa shoves ELP away so ELP BOOTS him!

Tag to Leo and ELP CHOPS Loa. Leo stands Loa up to CHOP! Leo grits his teeth but Leo brings up the vest is too much padding for Loa. Jado says there’s nothing he can do about that, so Leo bumps Loa off buckles. Leo stomps Loa, then CHOPS again! Leo then scoops Loa, ELP tags in, and Leo POWERSLAMS! ELP then springboard SWANTON BOMBS, then LIONSAULTS! Cover, ONE!! ELP argues the count but Jado says he’s being fair. ELP clamps on a chinlock and grinds Loa down. Loa endures, the fans rally up, but ELP smothers Loa. Jado reprimands, ELP lets off with an ELBOW to Loa’s head!

ELP brings Loa up and around, whips but Loa blocks! ELP pushes Loa, whips, but Loa reverses! Loa runs in to A-LIST LARIAT! Loa then goes up and MISSILE DROPKICKS ELP across the ring! The fans fire up while both men are down! ELP and Loa both crawl, hot tag to Tama! Tama rallies on ELP with body shots and uppercuts! Tama fires off in a corner, then whips corner to corner. ELP reverses, runs up but Tama CLOBBERS him first! The fans fire up as the vest comes off! Tama claps and the fans clap along. ELP goes to a corner, Tama runs in, STINGER SPLASH! Then EXPLODER! ELP flounders but Tama goes over to cover, TWO!

ELP is still in this, but Tama keeps his cool. Tama CLUBS ELP, throws down hands, then brings him up. Tama dragon sleepers but ELP snapmares free! ELP dodges the superman punch to straitjacket and torture rack! Tag to Leo, Leo runs, BOOT and BRAIN SALAD! Cover, Loa breaks it! Loa kicks ELP, scoops him, but ELP slips free, feed to Leo’s UPPERCUT! Loa roars, but gets a BOOT ENZIGIRI COMBO! Tama runs up but Leo stops Gun Stun! Feed to SUDDEN DEATH! Tama is down, Leo & ELP reload to aim at Loa! SUDDEN DEATH and GODSEND!! Then Loa is in the drop zone as ELP goes up!

ELP climbs onto Leo’s shoulders, for the SUPER- GUN STUN!! Tama intercepts Thunderkiss, but then Loa grabs Tama! GOD- SPEAR from Loa!! All four men are down and the fans fire up! Jado checks them all, they all stir, and the OG GOD rise up first. They stand Leo up, bring him around and pick him up, MAGIC KILLER!! But they’re not done there, they each take a corner! Loa DIVING HEADBUTTS, Tama SUPREME FLOWS! Cover, TWO!! Leo survives the onslaught from his own brothers and the fans fire up! Tama & Loa are frustrated but they reset and call their shot again! Even Jado’s surprised they want to go this far!

Tama & Loa double whip Leo to a corner, and Loa runs in to clothesline! Tama hits the STINGER SPLASH, and then Loa goes up. The fans rally both ways as Tama tries to suplex Leo, but he’s so big! Leo suplexes Tama instead! Leo stands, Loa leaps, AX HANDLE! Leo drops to a knee, Loa fires up and kicks low. Loa scoops, but Leo slips free! Leo kicks but Loa blocks! Loa dodges the lariat, runs, but into the SNAP POWERSLAM! The fans fire up for Leo as he aims at Tama! Choke grip, but Tama breaks free to ROCK Leo! Leo choke grips again! But Tama breaks free again, so Leo UPPERCUTS! Choke grip again, for GOD-

NO, Tama slips free, shoves, runs, GUN- NO! Leo stops that and choke grips through! GOD- GUN- NO!! Leo counters the counter, then scoops, for a POP-UP CUTTER!! ELP fires up with Leo, and Leo LARIATS Tama inside-out! Cover, ONE?!!? And that’s with Jado’s faster than normal count! Tama fires up, Leo fires up, and Leo hauls Tama up and POWER- NO, Tama fights it! Leo stops the counter, though, to POWERBOMB after all!! Cover, TWO?!?! Tama survives again and everyone is shocked! The fans are thunderous as Leo drags Tama back up with the choke grip. Leo hesitates, but he still hits GODSEND!!! Cover, ELP & Leo win!

Winners: El Phantasmo & Hikuleo, by pinfall

The younger GOD duo defeats the older, and now the torch has been passed. Tama’s farewell to NJPW will be bittersweet, but he will leave knowing he gave it his all, and he has all of our love and respect. Tama stands with his brothers, with Jado and with ELP, and they group hug over the lion logo. Ain’t nobody realer than Guerilla, is the future in good hands with ELP & Leo?

 

Hair VS Hair Match: Yota Tsuji VS Yuya Uemura!

The Gene Blast and The Heat Storm both want to be THE face of NJPW’s future. They’re both so determined to rise up and leave behind their Young Lion days, they’re willing to put their glorious manes! Who wins and moves forward while the other must relive their past?

The bell rings and the fans rally up as the two stare down. They circle, feel things out, but Yota avoids Yuya’s lunge in for a leg. They knuckle lock, Yuya gets around to waistlock, but Yota wrenches and switches. Yuya wrenches out to hammerlock, but Yota elbows then switches. Yota has a nelson, then he spins Yuya to a cravat. Yuya endures the neck wrench, swings an arm to bring Yota down, then rolls to wrangle Yota with a top wristlock. Yota keeps his shoulders up, moves around, and he trips Yuya. Yota gets past the leg guard to cover, ONE, but Yota holds off Yuya’s attempt at a lateral press.

Yuya lets off slowly, Yota gets up, and the fans cheer this exchange. The two reset and circle again, feel things out, and knuckle lock again. They go shoulder to shoulder in a Test of Strength and the fans rally up. Yota’s height gives him leverage, and he powers Yuya to ropes. The ref calls the break, Yuya turns things around, but Yuya still lets off. Yuya then CHOPS and whips! Yota rolls Yuya up, TWO! Yuya cradles, ONE!! Yuya tries to roll up now, TWO! Yota bails out and fans cheer. Yuya storms right up to ropes but Yota backs away. Yota paces around the outside so Yuya rests on a corner, willing to wait.

Yota walks around as the ring count climbs, and he steps back in at 5 of 20. Yuya hops down and he resets with Yota. They stare down, Yota just smiling. They go forehead to forehead, then Yota kicks low! Yota headlocks, Yuya powers out then goes the other way! They run the ropes crisscross, then Yuya drops, hurdles and HIP TOSSES Yota down! The fans fire up and Yuya covers, TWO! Yuya keeps cool, and he brings Yota up. Yuya wrenches to wrangle Yota with another top wristlock, then he drops an elbow on the elbow! And then another elbow drop! And another elbow drop! Yuya goes for another wristlock but Yota gets the ROPEBREAK!

Yuya lets go quickly and he waits on Yota. Yota stands and Yuya whips him to a corner. Yuya runs in but Yota BOOTS him! Yuya staggers back, runs in again, but Yota dodges! SPLASH! Yota keeps moving to run Yuya right over! And then he runs to SOMERSAULT SENTON! Yota just keeps moving for a SPLASH! Cover, TWO! The fans rally up as Yuya stays in this. Yota keeps cool, though, and he storms up on Yuya. Yota reels Yuya in but Yuya fights the suplex. Yuya shoves free but Yota BODY BLOWS! Yuya falls in a heap and the ref checks him. Yota drags Yuya up, bumps him off buckles, and RAMS him again and again!

Yota snapmares Yuya to KICK him in the back. Yota kneels for the cover, TWO! A bit cocky from Yota but he grins as he looms over Yuya. Yuya sits up, Yota stands him up, and Yota winds up to ROCK Yuya in the back! Yuya staggers to ropes but Yota storms up. Yuya CHOPS Yota, but Yota fires forearm after forearm. Yota snapmares and KICKS Yuya in the back again! The fans rally as Yuya writhes and Yota paces. Yota grabs the legs, but Yuya scrambles and reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Yota doesn’t let go so Yuya kicks him away. Yuya runs, but into a scoop! BACKBREAKER! Yota gets the legs again, and he turns Yuya over for the BOSTON CRAB!

Yuya endures as Yota sits deep and the fans rally up! Yuya powers up, reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Yota lets go while the fans applaud. Yota says okay, and then he runs to baseball slide dropkick Yuya out! Yuya even tumbles to the railing! Fans rally up again as Yota grins and builds speed, but Yuya drops down! The damage to Yuya’s back keeps him from standing and taking a tope. Yota eggs Yuya on, the ring count starts, and Yuya drags himself up at 3 of 20. Yota drags Yuya to the apron and stops the count. Yota suplexes but Yuya slips free! Waistlock, but Yota bucks the O’Conner! Yota runs up, but into an arm-drag!

Yota swings, Yuya ducks, and Yuya hits another arm-drag! Then a DROPKICK! The fans fire up while both men are down! Yuya grits his teeth and clutches his back while Yota stirs and checks his chin. Yota rolls to a corner but Yuya kips up! The fans fire up and Yuya runs corner to corner, to CHOP! Yuya whips corner to corner but just reels Yota in, for a BIG back suplex! Float-over to the cover, TWO! Yota toughs it out but Yuya keeps his cool. Yuya brings Yota up, but Yota fires forearms and a knee! Yota whips, Yuya reverses to SAYANAGI! GROUND ARM SCREW! And then basement dropkick to the arm! Yota writhes, Yuya hurries to cover, TWO!

But Yuya has the top wristlock! Yota reaches out but Yuya drags him away for the DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! Yota flails, reaches out, blocks the twist on the arm, but Yuya pulls harder with his top mount! Yuya breaks the grip for the DOUBLE WRISTLOCK! Yota still reaches out for ropes but Yuya drags him right to center! Yuya keeps on the double wristlock but Yota kicks around. Yuya shifts into an ARMBAR, but Yota has the ROPEBREAK! The fans cheer and Yuya lets go. Yuya is frustrated but he stands back up and brings Yota around. Yuya wrenches, cording holds, and then goes for the other arm. Yota throws Yuya down and rolls back, into the BOSTON CRAB!!

Yuya endures as Yota sits deep on the hold! Yuya powers up but Yota drags him away! Yota’s bad arm forces him to change to a HALF CRAB! Yota still sits deep and Yuya has to bite his thumb to ignore the pain! Yuya fights forward, but Yota drags him away! Yota manages to get both legs on one side, LOBSTER CRAB! Yuya endures as Yota pulls! Yuya tries to fight, but Yota then digs a knee in! LION TAMER!! Yuya bites all his fingers just to keep from giving up! Yota lets go in frustration as his arms can’t hold on any longer! Yota grabs at both legs this time, and he SWINGS Yuya around! He only gets five rotations but he fires back up!

Yota tries for the legs again but Yuya traps the bad arm, to SNAP it! Yota staggers, Yuya swings but Yota catches him! BACKBREAKER, but Yuya swings out of the clinch to full nelson! Then he spins Yota to DIVORCE COURT DDT! Yota clutches the arm while both men are down! Yuya rolls to ropes while Yota writhes at center. Yuya goes back to Yota and they both stand. Yuya throws a haymaker, then another! Yota backs up to a corner, Yuya CHOPS him! Yuya CHOPS again, then fires haymakers! Yuya CHOPS then runs Yota corner to corner to bump off buckles! Yuya throws hands, runs Yota to the other corner and again bumps him off buckles!

Yuya CHOPS Yota, climbs up, and he rains down fists! The fans fire up and count along, Yuya goes all the way to TEN! Yuya pulls at Yota’s hair but Yota grins. Yuya drags Yota out by his legs, stomps him and covers, TWO! Yota rises up but Yuya fires up. Yuya runs up but Yota gets around, goes up and over to sunset flip, TWO! Yuya stands, swings, but into a wrench and wrangle, lateral press! TWO, and Yota arm-drags! Float over, headscissor cradle, TWO!! Yuya escapes, Yota runs up, but Yota blocks the arm-drag! Only for Yuya to swing around and arm-drag after all! Yota gets up, swings, but into a spin and backslide! TWO!

Yuya holds onto the arms, rolls into another backslide, TWO! The two men fight for control, stand back up, and Yuya spins Yota around for underhooks! Yota fights that to back drop but Yuya sunset flips it! TWO and Yota BOOTS Yuya down! The fans fire up while Yota catches his breath. Yota finally goes for the cover, but Yuya drags him into a ghost pin, TWO!! Yuya shifts around, sunset flip! TWO and it’s back to the ghost pin! TWO!! Yota escapes but Yuya UPPERCUTS! Yuya runs, but into a scoop and BACKBREAKER! The fans fire up, Yota runs, but Yuya gets around the lariat! Yuya underhooks for the BUTTERFLY SLAM! Cover, TWO!

The fans rally up again and Yuya grows frustrated. Yuya goes to a corner, then climbs up! Yota rises, then runs up to GAMANGIRI! The fans fire up with Yota as he climbs up! Yota fires hands, then goes to the very top! Yota brings Yuya up to join him, for a SUPER SPANISH FLY! Cover, TWO!! Yuya survives but Yota roars! Yota drags Yuya up and suplexes, but Yuya knees free! Double cording holds, DEADBOLT PLEX! But both men are down! The fans fire up as they stir, and Yuya goes to a corner. Yota eggs Yuya on, Yuya runs up, and DOUBLE FOREARMS DECK both men! The fans fire up again while the ref checks them!

Yota and Yuya stir, and Yota blinks through the daze. Yota stands up, but then falls right over! Yuya is also still down so the ref says it’ll be a standing count! The fans rally up for both guys, and they’re both down at 5 of 10! And then 7! And 8! Both men rise at 9 and the fans fire up again! We hit 25 minutes, leaving five left! Both men rise up, stare down, and they rush right in! Yuya headlocks, Yota powers out but Yuya runs him over! Cover, ONE!! The fans rally again as Yuya stands, but Yota runs him over! Cover, ONE!! Yuya storms up but Yota blocks the scoop with a facelock! Yota scoops Yuya to SLAM him!

Yuya rises and runs up, but into another scoop and SLAM! The fans fire up and Yota grins as he drags Yuya back up. Yota runs, but Yuya back drops him away! Yuya roars and the fans fire up again as he goes up the corner! Yuya aims as Yota rises, CROSSBODY FLOPS! CURB STOMP!! Yota then hauls Yuya up to suplex and FALCON BOMB! Cover, TWO!! Yuya survives and the fans fire up as Yota roars again! Yota powers up his arm, we hit the three minute warning, and Yota aims from a corner. GENE- RANA!! Then ARMBAR!! But Yota stacks him, TWO! Yota is free and KNEES Yuya! And SUPERKICKS! And GENE- ARM-DRAG, Ghost pin! TWO!!

Yuya ENZIGIRIS but Yota stays up! GENE- CUTTER!! Yuya has had an answer for every spear attempt, and now he drags Yota back up! Yuya cording holds, swings for the other arm, and roars to DEAD- NO, Yota HEADBUTTS! But Yuya HEADBUTTS! Two minute warning and a GERMAN SUPLEX! Both men rise, GENE BLAST!!! Cover, YOTA WINS!

Winner: Yota Tsuji, by pinfall (Yuya must cut his hair)

Yuya let Yota have too much space and he got blasted! Yota has the epic tiebreaker, will he make his way towards championship opportunities now? And Yota stands Yuya up by pulling his hair, as if adding insult to injury. Yuya says fine, just get it over with. The ring staff set out a white tarp and bring in a chair. Yuya reluctantly sits in the chair, and Yota has the scissors and clippers. Yota gathers up the hair in a ponytail, and Yuya grits his teeth as all of that is cut away. Then Yota just goes right down the middle with the clippers! Yuya says stop, and he does the rest himself! Yuya won’t let Yota have the satisfaction of humiliating him.

Yuya leaves to finish that haircut in the back. Will the Heat Storm find a way to shine while looking like a Young Boy?

 

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito VS SANADA!

WrestleKingdom 18 was only 50 days ago but it feels like only yesterday that NJPW had the largest LIJ roll call in history! The Uncontrollable Charisma finally had his moment, but will the Cold Skull take it back? Or will even Sapporo be tranquilo?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who closes out this New Beginning!

As usual, Naito takes his time with his elaborate entrance attire, but again Sanada is patient because he knows all about this. Naito finishes with the pants and the bell rings. The fans rally up as the two stare down. Red Shoes assesses the cheering and feels it favors Naito. Sanada doesn’t seem bothered by that, but Naito doesn’t seem fired up by it, either. The two circle, approach, but back away. Sanada knows this trick by Naito, too, and doesn’t let it get to him. They tie up now, Naito powers Sanada back to ropes then headlocks. Red Shoes calls the break, Sanada turns things around on Naito, but Naito doesn’t let go.

Red Shoes counts, Naito slowly lets go and Sanada pats Naito on the shoulders. The fans cheer as the two reset. They circle, feel things out, and Sanada gets a leg. Sanada moves to waistlock but Naito wrenches out. Naito hammerlocks then full nelsons, but Sanada fights the hold. Sanada breaks free, hammerlocks then headlocks, and he grinds Naito down. Naito powers up and out but Sanada runs him over! The fans rally up as things speed up, and Naito arm-drags only for Sanada to counter that! Sanada then trips Naito, has the legs and he ties Naito up into Paradise! The fans cheer as Sanada has Naito caught!

Sanada pulls on the legs to put some pressure on, then he DROPKICKS Naito out of Paradise! Naito bails out but Sanada waits on him. Sanada then builds speed, but he tumbles up and out as Naito moves! Naito sweeps the legs, then dropkicks Sanada down! Naito builds speed, but he rolls and tranquilos! Sanada still fell for that old trick! Sanada cools off as he paces around, though, and takes his time returning. Naito stays back, Sanada slides in, but then Naito bails out! The fans cheer but Sanada goes out to CLUB Naito! Sanada isn’t in the mood for games and he whips, but Naito reverses to CLAW Sanada’s eyes!

Naito whips Sanada, but Sanada reverses! Naito is sent into railing after all! Sanada brings Naito around, hangs him off the apron, but Naito kicks free of that to turn things around! DRAPING DDT to the floor!! Sanada writhes while Naito strikes like a Viper! The fans rally up while Naito leaves Sanada behind. The ring count starts while Sanada clutches his head and neck. Sanada is still down at 5 of 20, and then 10! Sanada sits up at 12, pushes himself up and stands at 15. Sanada shakes out the arm and slides in at 18, and fans cheer. Naito brings Sanada up to CLUB away on the neck, though, then he whips.

Naito arm-drags Sanada, ELBOWS him down and basement dropkicks! Naito floats to a cravat and he cranks on the neck! Sanada endures and kicks around. Naito leans his weight but Sanada fights up. Naito CLUBS Sanada again, and again! Sanada goes to ropes, but Naito whips him. Naito hip toss NECKBREAKERS! Sanada writhes again, rolls to the apron and flops to the floor, but Naito pursues. Naito sits Sanada up to SAMBO LEG NELSON! No ropebreaks on the outside, is Naito going to grind Sanada down for a count out? The count does start again, and Sanada can only kick around as Naito puts on the pressure.

Naito stops at 10 of 20, then slides into the ring at 14. Sanada is down at 15, rises as the fans rally, and slides in at 18! Fans cheer but Naito is right on Sanada to CLUB away on the neck! Naito whips, Sanada holds ropes to avoid the arm-drag, and he dropkicks a leg! Naito hobbles but Sanada runs up. Naito kicks low then whips Sanada to a corner. Naito runs in but Sanada BOOTS him! Sanada goes up and QUEBRADA, but Naito gets under! Only for Sanada to dropkick the legs out! Both men are down as Naito clutches his knee and Sanada shakes out his arm. Sanada stalks Naito, brings him up and has the leg, but Naito CLAWS the eyes!

Red Shoes reprimands but Naito SPITS at Sanada. Naito whips but Sanada reverses to hurdle, hurdle and DROPKICK! Sanada’s legs work just fine, and he watches Naito bail out again. The fans rally and duel, Sanada PLANCHAS! Down goes Naito and the fans fire up! Sanada encourages them to get louder so they oblige. Sanada goes back to Naito, still loving the adulation, and he brings Naito back up. Sanada puts Naito in, fireman’s carries, but Naito fights free. Naito shoves Sanada to a corner, runs up, and he blocks boots! Naito puts Sanada in the ropes for a DRAPING BACKBREAKER!

Naito drags Sanada up, whips, and HIP TOSS NECKBREAKERS again! Sanada writhes and Naito shakes out his leg. Naito drags Sanada up again, puts him up top, and then climbs up after him. But Sanada slips out to DROPKICK Naito down onto the post! That post might’ve saved Naito from a worse fall, but certainly not from a softer one! Sanada climbs up behind Naito now, brings him around, and hits a SUPER FALLING BACKBREAKER!! Then a suplex for the MAGIC SCREW! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives and Sanada seethes but the fans fire up! Sanada hauls Naito up to the SKULL END! But Naito arm-drags free!

Naito runs up, Sanada sidesteps and O’Conner Roll, into SKULL END! The body scissors are in and Naito is caught! The fans fire up and duel as Naito endures! Naito kicks around, reaches out, but Sanada squeezes tight! Naito kicks and kicks and fights to gain ground but Sanada’s body scissors keep him stuck at center! The fans rally as hard as they can for Naito but he’s fading! Sanada follows his formula by letting go to go up top! ROUNDING BODY PRESS onto knees!! Naito saves himself but in double-edged fashion! Both men are down and the fans rally up again! Naito rises first and hobbles over to Sanada.

Naito drags Sanada up to kick and ELBOW! And kick, and ELBOW! Naito fires off more elbows, and Sanada staggers away to the corner! The fans rally up again, but Naito drags Sanada up to kick and ELBOW! And kick, and ELBOW! And ELBOW, ELBOW, ELBOW! Sanada falls again and this is all going to Naito’s formula! Naito drags Sanada up, puts him up top, and climbs up again. Naito CLUBS Sanada again and again to make sure he stays put this time. SUPER STEINER!! The fans fire up as both men are down! Naito then aims from the corner as Sanada rises, and the fans rally behind him.

Sanada stands, Naito runs up, into a DROPKICK! Naito stays up so Sanada whips. Naito reveres but Sanada denies the DDT to fireman’s carry! TK- DESTINO!! Naito hits it outta nowhere but he won’t leave it at that! Naito drags Sanada up, SPITS at him, then throws those ELBOWS! Sanada drops to his knees but Naito drags him up again. ELBOW! ELBOW! ELBOW! But Sanada roars! Sanada runs, but into a SPINEBUSTER! Naito stands Sanada up, wrenches, but Sanada denies the tilt-o-whirl! Naito and Sanada fight for control, and Naito CLUBS away! Tilt-o-whirl, DESTI- NO! Sanada fights that to the clinch!

But Naito fights from below! Sanada wrenches Naito, but Naito dragon sleepers! Is Naito trying to steal Skull End?! Sanada snapmares free before Naito truly can, and Sanada SHINING- NO, Naito ducks it! Naito UPPERCUTS, ENZIGIRIS, and then wrenches! Tilt-o-whirl, but Sanada slips free! Clinch and DEAD- NO, Naito gets around to waistlock! Sanada powers out to fire forearm after forearm! ROLLING ELBOW! Naito leans on ropes and the fans fire up! Naito CLUBS Sanada again and again, then ROCKS him! Sanada fireman’s carries! TKO! Both men are down again and the fans fire back up!

Sanada and Naito stir as the fans rally and duel. The “NA-I-TO!” is still stronger than the “SA-NA-DA!” but Sanada stands up first. Sanada scoops and BACKBREAKERS Naito into position! Sanada goes up again, ROUNDING BODY PRESS!! Cover, TWO!! Naito survives and the fans are thunderous! Sanada snarls, goes back up, ROUNDING BODY PRESS!! But Sanada won’t stop there, he clinches and DEAD- NO, Naito slips free! Tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO!!! And then another wrench, another tilt-o-whirl, DESTINO~!!! But that’s still not enough!? Naito scoops Sanada, but Sanada fights it! The fans duel as the two fight for control!

Sanada powers his way out of the grip and ENZIGIRIS! Naito roars?! But he turns around into a SHINING WIZARD!! Clinch and DEAD- NO, Naito slips free again! TORNADO- NO, Sanada stuffs it, so Naito just holds onto the facelock! Naito has the squeeze on Sanada now, but Sanada moves around. Sanada reaches out but Naito has body scissors to keep him down! The fans rally, Sanada fights up, so Naito clinches, to steal DEADFALL! Sanada rolls through!? BLINDSIDE SHINING WIZARD!! The fans are thunderous again as both men are down! Sanada kips up!! The fans fire up as Sanada runs up, SHINING WIZARD!!!

Sanada isn’t done there, he drags Naito back up! Clinch and DEAD- NO, Naito just fights free again! TORNADO CRADLE! NAITO WINS!!

Winner: Tetsuya Naito, by pinfall (still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion)

Sanada is furious that he got caught! Sanada stubbornly tried for his new ace card and that was perhaps his downfall. Will he have no choice but to go to the back of the line when it comes to this title?

As for Naito, he gets some water, and then takes the belt from Red Shoes. Naito drops it in a corner for a moment so he can get his baseball cap. Naito then gets the mic so he can say, “Buenas tardes, Sapporo~!” The fans cheer, and Naito thanks everyone for being here at NJPW: The New Beginning in Sapporo, “Gracias, amigos.” And tonight, here in Sapporo, there is someone who won’t be in the ring anymore. It was August, 2007, the first person that man wrestled in NJPW was Naito himself. And so Naito feels it wouldn’t be right if he didn’t address that man. The fans know he means “O-KA-DA!” who was on commentary for this match.

Naito says that all that said, this was a main event title match, and Naito won. So we have to end this the only way it can! It has been a minute since we heard this, so are you ready? The New Beginning in Sapporo must of course end with… “Bushi! Hiromu! Takagi! Titan! Yota! Y Naito! Nosotros…! LOS! INGOBERRRRRNABLEEEES~! DE! JA! PON!!” The confetti flies and the fans cheer as the tranquilo era continues! But then Naito invites The Rainmaker into the ring! Okada obliges by stepping off commentary and stepping through the gate. Okada steps inside and he stands with Naito right at the center of the ring.

Naito offers the LIJ fist bump, which fans cheer. Okada sighs and figures this is the last time he’ll even get the chance, so he reaches up. But then Naito SPITS in Okada’s eye and CLUBS away on Okada! Fans are torn as Naito whips, but Okada reverses! Naito avoids the dropkick, Okada avoids the lariat, and then ripcords! But Naito ducks the Rainmaker to tranquilo! The fans cheer and even Okada has to smile. Naito stands back up and says Okada can go now. Okada says fine and he exits. The fans cheer as The Rainmaker takes his leave, and the Uncontrollable Charisma waves goodbye. But will Naito prove he’s the true face of NJPW now that we’ve made it through the New Beginning?


My Thoughts:

A great finale to the New Beginning series here, though it’s a shame Tanahashi is hurt and could not take Nemeth up on his invitation to have a tag match, nor could he be part of the 10 Man Tag with Okada and Chaos. It’s an ankle injury, hopefully he’ll be alright. But at the same time, he doesn’t really have to wrestle, he’s President of NJPW now and should be taking it easy. Anyhow, great tag match from the Guerillas of Destiny to be Tama’s sendoff. As such, Leo & ELP naturally won, and they take the banner up for GOD, certainly as a tag team. I don’t think Loa’s leaving NJPW, so maybe Loa becomes a singles guy within the faction?

Bushi beating Taka, Douki beating Hiromu, Taichi beating Takagi, Just5Guys win that best of three, but LIJ wins out the night because both Yota and Naito win the last two matches. A really good, really cerebral match from Yota and Yuya, the storytelling of wanting to win with Young Lion moves continues between them, and I really liked how many times Yuya countered the Gene Blast, only for one to still hit. The New Japan Cup is up next, I’m sure Yota is going to have a strong showing as he tries for the world title.

Naito VS Sanada was really good, though I’m not sure it was quite like their WrestleKingdom match. But I suppose part of that was that of course Naito won. I appreciated the parallel to Yota VS Yuya with Sanada failing to hit Deadfall again and again. Naito then snatches the win with a cradle, not a finisher, technically keeping Sanada strong. I’m just not sure how Sanada does in the New Japan Cup. English commentary was pointing out getting Naito VS Sanada Part 3 through the New Japan Cup would be too much.

Sanada could obviously go for a different title in the meantime, though I have no idea what one. Just5Guys already feuded with House of Torture, they can’t default to that and the NEVER Openweight title. Nemeth just got the Global title and Riddle just got the NJPW World TV title, so I don’t think they’d lose to Sanada, but those would make for some interesting feuds. And I don’t even think Sanada would care about the KOPW Championship, though it would  be interesting to see what matches he’d come up with.

My Score: 8.8/10


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