The Prizefighter has a big fight before THE big fight!
On the SmackDown before the Royal Rumble, Kevin Owens must face Solo Sikoa! Will Kevin survive Roman Reigns’ Enforcer 24 hours before their Undisputed Universal Championship match?
- Rey Mysterio VS Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett Bordeaux; Rey wins.
- Lacey Evans VS Jazmin Allure; Evans wins.
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament, Semifinal:
Drew McIntyre & SheamusBraun Strowman & Ricochet VS Hit Row; Braun & Ricochet win and advances to the finals.
- SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament, Semifinal: Imperium VS Legado Del Fantasma; Imperium wins and advances to the finals.
- Kevin Owens VS Solo Sikoa; Kevin wins, by disqualification.
PLAY BY PLAY
The Bloodline arrives backstage.
Jimmy & Jey Usos tell Solo Sikoa that tonight is all about him. But then Sami Zayn sneaks over! Jey says Sami shouldn’t be here, this is against direct orders from The Tribal Chief! Sami knows but that’s why he isn’t going inside. He won’t step on any toes, but he needed to catch Jey. Sami needs to tell Jey face to face, that what jey did for Sami on Monday, he won’t forget that. Jey says he’s got Sami and Sami says he’s got Jey. If Jey needs anything, Sami will have his back. They shake and Sami heads out. Will Jey be able to keep Roman Reigns from learning about this? Or has Sami already failed his final test before it’s even begun?
Rey Mysterio VS Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett Bordeaux!
On the eve of the Royal Rumble, the King of Lucha may be on the eve of his destruction! Mr. & Mrs. Doomsday have been after Rey, claiming he is past his prime and needs to be put out of his misery. Will time run out for one of the greatest ever? Or will Rey prove he’s still one of the greatest ever and be rolling into the Rumble?
The bell rings and Kross circles with Rey. They tie up, Kross THROWS Rey aside, then he grins as he watches Rey get up. Fans boo while Kross and Rey approach. Rey waistlocks, Kross elbows free, but Rey runs to dropkick a leg out! Rey runs, tilt-o-whirls and RANAS Kross! But Kross gets up to CLOBBER Rey! Fans boo but Kross TOSSES Rey up and out, a la Rumble elimination! Kross then goes out, scoops Rey, but Rey slips off to POST Kross! Rey gets in the ring, slides and SUNSET BOMBS Kross into barriers! Scarlett is upset but fans fire up as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and Kross whips Rey hard into a corner! Kross reels Rey in for a pump handle scoop and BACKBREAKER! Fans boo while Rey writhes and Kross snarls. Kross pushes Rey to a cover, TWO! Rey is showing that legendary toughness, but Kross stalks him to a corner. Kross hoists Rey up top backwards, climbs up behind him, and wants after the mask! Rey throws elbows and Kross stumbles down! Rey adjusts, but Kross trips him up! Rey is in a Tree of Woe and Kross goes corner to corner! Rey sits up and Kross POSTS himself! Kross staggers away, Rey gets free, but Kross blocks a boot! But the ENZIGURI hits!
Kross ends up on ropes, Rey dials it up but Scarlett swipes at him! Fans boo, Scarlett is mad, but Kross runs in. Rey dropkicks Kross’ legs out and Kross ends up on ropes! Rey redials, for the 619! Fans fire up and Rey climbs the corner! FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO!! Kross survives Rey’s best and shouts, “NO!” Fans rally for Rey but Scarlett coaches Kross up. Kross stands, he drags Rey up and reels him in. NORTHERN LIGHTS! Bridge to a float, but Rey hits a crucifix takedown! REY WINS!!
Winner: Rey Mysterio, by pinfall
Kross is shocked! He didn’t get out in time and he just lost! Rey survives the apocalypse here, but what about the Men’s Royal Rumble tomorrow night? Will Rey be the one to turn back time and find a way to WrestleMania? Or has he only bought himself 24 hours of reprieve?
Damage CTRL speaks.
It’s a WWE Digital Exclusive as Bayley says, “Ding dong, hello! Ahahaha! After what happened on Monday night, I gotta say that Damage Control is feeling really confident joining the Royal Rumble tomorrow night.” Dakota Kai says she feels “so sorry for all the other competitors,” because once these three get in the ring and work together, it’s going to be near impossible for anyone else to win! Iyo Sky says that tomorrow, “everyone finds out who runs WWE!” Kai says it’s them. DMG CTRL is getting in on the Rumble, will they make sure one of them is headed to WrestleMania?
Austin Theory is here!
The WWE United States Champion is still The Now, but only because Brock Lesnar cost Bobby Lashley again. Theory doesn’t care, though, the Raw superstar smiles and heads to the ring while fans boo. What will Theory have to say on the SmackDown before the Royal Rumble? We find out, after the break.
SmackDown returns and fans continue to boo Theory. Theory has a mic to say, “The champ! Is! HERE~!” Fans boo his Cena knockoff but Theory says not only did he retain his US Championship on Raw 30, but now, NOW, because we are in The Now, Theory is going straight to the Royal Rumble, and “Mr. All Day” will WIN the Royal Rumble! But then the NEW DAY shows up! Fans fire up as Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston strut out with mics of their own. Kofi says, “Now, now, now, now, hold up. Austin Theory. Now there’s only three Austins that I respect. That’s Austin Creed, Stone Cold Steve, and the city where I live, right here in the great state of Texas, BABYYY~!”
Fans cheer and Woods tells Austin the guy that he’s a Raw superstar. Raw is the three hour show, but that’s where there’s more time to fill so Theory can spend it flapping his gums and wasting time. But here on SmackDown, the two-hour and efficient show, they have to get to business! IMMEDIATELY! IMMEDIAMENTE! IMMEDIATE, BOY! The New Day get in the ring and say now hold on. Did Mr. All Day just talk about how he thinks he’s gonna win the Rumble? Yes, that’s exactly what he said. The New Day has a good laugh there. But if not Austin Theory, then who? Who who who who? That’d be Woods & Kofi, AKA YA BOIS THE NEW~ DAY~!
That is because when one of them wins the Rumble, we ALL~ win the Royal Rumble! Fans cheer that, but Theory says, “That’s what you two think?” To get something straight, the New Day interrupts him but do they know who he is? Theory is the biggest star that there is! He is the biggest star in the WWE! But then THE MIZ shows up? Another Raw superstar appears, and the New Day is upset again. Miz says, “Biggest star in WWE? Let me explain something to you, Theory. I’ve been competing in Royal Rumble matches before you hit puberty.” BURN! Theory says that just means Miz is old. “Older, wiser, smarter, better than you will ever be.”
New Day is enjoying Miz tearing into Theory as Miz explains that tomorrow, Miz throws Theory and 28 others over the top rope to win the one thing in this business Miz has yet to win, and that is the Royal Rumble match! Fans are torn but the New Day laughs. Miz says that’s fine, but he says that there is NOTHING more dangerous than Miz with, uh, something on his shoulder. A chip? Yes, well, here’s an education on what’s going to happen tomorrow. But then Miz and Theory go after New Day! Was this a fake out?! But then here comes BOBBY LASHLEY! The All Mighty is a Raw star but he CLOBBERS the Raw stars!
Woods says that’s awesome! He high-fives Lashley, but then Lashley ELBOWS Woods! And SPINEBUSTERS Kofi! And COMPLETE SHOT for The Miz! Lashley aims at Theory, SPEAR!! The wrath of the Rocky Mountain Machine has struck and Laredo is all for it! Lashley says since Lesnar interrupted his US Championship match on Raw 30, Lashley will terrorize every one of the guys in the Royal Rumble until he gets what he deserves! But then LESANR jumps in from the crowd!! He fireman’s carries Lashley to hit an F5!! The Beast is sneakier than anyone knew, and Lesnar says he’ll see Lashley at the Rumble! Wait, Lesnar is getting in the Rumble?! Is he going to WIN the Royal Rumble again to go back to WrestleMania?!
Rhea Ripley speaks.
“Mami is here. And I am ready for the Royal Rumble tomorrow. I’ve had my fair share of Royal Rumble matches, and I’ve come extremely close. But 2023 is the Year of Mami. It’s the Year of Rhea Ripley, ’cause I am Rhea bloody Ripley and I am gonna win the 2023 Royal Rumble and punch my golden ticket to WrestleMania.” Will the Judgment Day’s leading lady eradicate all competition to head to Hollywood?
Lacey Evans VS Jazmin Allure!
The Model Soldier has finished retraining her mind and body, and now she’s back in action! Will she get back on track just in time for the road to WrestleMania?
The bell rings, Allure rallies the fans and ties up with Lacey. Lacey puts Allure in the corner, TOSSES her across the way, then soaks up the heat. Allure runs in but into a drop toehold! Lacey SLAMS Allure off the mat, then talks trash while doing push-ups. Allure storms up, they tie up, and Lacey wrenches to wristlock. Allure rolls, throws a hand but Lacey blocks to wrench, roll and wrench, to BOOT Allure down! Lacey soaks up the heat and flexes as she storms up to Allure. Lacey dribbles Allure off the buckles, then lets off. Lacey’s boot fell apart so she grabs the sole. She wants to smack Allure but the ref stops her.
Lacey whips Allure corner to corner, Allure goes up and over and handsprings, but Lacey blocks the kick! Trip and haymaker! Lacey SLAMS Allure’s leg, then scoops her to a fireman’s carry. But Allure rolls Lacey up! TWO, and A WOMAN’S RIGHT! Then the COBRA CLUTCH!! Lacey thrashes Allure, Allure taps, Lacey wins!
Winner: Lacey Evans, by submission
Lacey shows no mercy and no remorse, but also no weakness. “Little Miss Loser Laredo just learned that the Cobra Clutch is unbreakable! Aw, y’all sound so mad. Y’all’re really gonna be mad when I take this bicep, this forearm, lock it around 29 other women, throw ’em over the top at my feet, where they belong! In fact, all you losers here in Laredo can get on your feet and salute your soon-to-be Royal Rumble winner.” Fans boo but Lacey soaks it up. Then Lacey drags Allure up to haul her up and TOSS her out! Allure was just the first, will Lacey complete her mission and eliminate all others?
Backstage interview with Sheamus & Drew McIntyre.
Kayla Braxton is with The Celtic Connection and McIntyre says that tonight is a huge night, but so is tomorrow night with the Royal Rumble. He was thinking, it’s Sheamus’ birthday, he’s on a huge run, the Rumble winner is going to be Sheamus! Sheamus says he appreciates that, but McIntyre’s been on quite the run, too. If Sheamus were a betting man, his money would be on McIntyre. Those shoulder smacks get a little hard, but McIntyre says that Sheamus may not have many WrestleManias left in him. Plus, he’s been putting on banger after banger, it should be Sheamus. Sheamus has more Manias in the bag than McIntyre, so he votes for McIntyre.
Again, these two are hitting each other a bit hard as they go back and forth saying the other is going to win, they’re almost chopping each other! Kayla has them stop and says they’re up against Hit Row tonight. Right, right. The plan is that Hit Row gets sent back to Skid Row. When the lads are in town, they put on banger! After banger! After banger! Sheamus & McIntyre head out, but will tonight’s banger hit the top of the charts? Or will Top Dolla & Ashante THEE Adonis be the ones dropping the beat down?
The story of Cody Rhodes’ return continues.
Five months ago, Cody started on his rehab. He wants to not only make his comeback at the Royal Rumble, he wants to win the Royal Rumble. It feels like it has taken 16 years to get to this point. Not only recovering from injury, but carrying the history of everywhere Cody has been. His first run in WWE, him leaving, and him returning. All the doubt, all the struggle, all the sacrifice, all the heartache. When you’re in the ring and in the moment, you know exactly why it’s working. He was born for this.
Cody is in the prime of his career, only to hit rock bottom. “No human being could’ve kept me from getting in that ring. I looked up at the lights enough, whether that be in the ring or on a table, ready to have surgery.” As his Nightmare Factory mantra says: Put in the work. The doctors know he has the determination to get back, but Cody has to respect nature of the human body. Cody wants us to picture that moment where you’re that close to success, to vindication. And for it to get broken, that was a legitimate knife to the heart.
But at the Royal Rumble, a torn pec, two torn pecs, torn quads, nothing short of his heart failing will stop him. Being in the ring is like oxygen, and Cody wants to breathe again. Cody is putting in the work, envisioning his return. He wants everyone to get off the mountain, because he has made it clear what he wants and why he is going to do it. The American Nightmare is just 24 HOURS AWAY, will he make this the biggest comeback in WWE history?
SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament, Semifinal: Drew McIntyre & Sheamus VS Hit Row!
The Celtic Connection conquered the Viking Raiders in the first round while Dolla & Adonis dealt with Los Lotharios. The finals are on the horizon, will McIntyre & Sheamus be able to focus on this tournament with the Rumble up next? Or will they end up being checked off the Hit Row hit list next?
Speaking of the Viking Raiders, Erik & Ivar attack Sheamus & McIntyre during their entrance! Fans boo as the sore losers beat down the winners! Ivar sends Sheamus into the apron, then he and Erik mug McIntyre. They RAM McIntyre into barriers, then they mug Sheamus! And the RAM him into more barriers! Erik KNEES Sheamus, then he KNEES McIntyre! Ivar then adds a SPLASH on Sheamus! And a SPLASH on McIntyre! Fans boo, security and referees, and even Adam Pearce, rush out! The Viking Raiders leave, having done the damage. Will this semifinal match still happen? We’ll see, after the break.
SmackDown returns and Hit Row make their entrance. We see footage from the commercial that McIntyre & Sheamus stormed off to find the Vikings! Pearce tried talking sense to them, but he’s back to talk to Hit Row. Yes, we all saw what happened but he is explained that Sheamus & McIntyre will not be competing tonight. They voluntarily gave up their positions, but no one is getting a free pass. Hit Row is upset, but they must compete against the replacement team of… BRAUN STROWMAN & RICOCHET!! Dolla is pissed, but karma has come back to bite them! Will the Monster of All Monsters and the King of Flight change Hit Row’s plans?
SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament, Semifinal: Braun Strowman & Ricochet VS Hit Row!
The teams sort out and Adonis starts against Ricochet. Fans fire up as the two circle, and Adonis swings. Ricochet dodges, fires hands on Adonis, then CHOPS him! Ricochet brings Adonis around to UPPERCUT! Ricochet whips, Adonis reverses but Ricochet CLOBBERS Adonis! Ricochet rains down fists, then talks trash on Dolla. Ricochet drags Adonis up, scoops and SLAMS, then runs to elbow drop! Cover, ONE!! Ricochet stays on Adonis, brings him around as he talks trash to Dolla, and whips again. Adonis reverses but Ricochet rolls over his back, rolls under the lariat and rolls back to RANA! And DROPKICK!
Adonis bails out, fans fire up and Ricochet builds speed, but Dolla stands on his way. Ricochet asks Michael Cole what this is about but Dolla says Cole won’t do anything. So Ricochet ENZIGURIS! Dolla falls, B-Fab is upset, but Dolla is furious! Dolla runs in but the ref tells him to stand down. But then B-Fab anchors Ricochet’s foot! Adonis runs in to AIR-DROP! Cover, TWO! Adonis rains down fists then throws knees! Adonis CLUBS away on Ricochet, the fans boo, but Adonis talks trash. Adonis drags Ricochet up to UPPERCUT, then he tags Dolla. Hit Row coordinate, whip and RAM! Then feed to a BOOT! Dolla covers, TWO!
Dolla keeps on Ricochet, talks trash to Braun, and then drags Ricochet. Dolla CHOKES Ricochet on the ropes, tags Adonis, and Adonis runs to STRADDLE ATTACK! Adonis soaks up the heat while he stays on Ricochet. The ref counts, Adonis lets off, but B-Fab gets a cheap shot in! Adonis covers, TWO! Fans rally for Ricochet as Adonis clamps on a chinlock. Ricochet endures, fights up, but Adonis throws him down by his beard! Tag to Dolla, Adonis drags Ricochet up by his ear. Hit Row mug Ricochet, then Adonis tags in again. They mug Ricochet more, then Adonis scoops to SLAM Ricochet! Braun coaches Ricochet as Adonis drops an elbow.
Adonis taunts, but Ricochet rolls him up! TWO, Ricochet whips Adonis but Adonis reverses! Ricochet BOOTS back, reaches out, but Adonis corners him! Ricochet dodges the haymaker but Adonis grabs an arm! Ricochet fires haymakers, but swings into a back suplex! Ricochet lands on his feet, ducks the haymaker, hot tag to Braun! Braun TOSSES Adonis, BLASTS Dolla, then BOOTS Adonis! Braun runs corner to corner to SPLASH Adonis! Dolla gets in, Braun dodges to then clothesline Dolla up and out! Fans fire up as Braun throws off his shirt! Braun whips to BACK DROP Adonis! Laredo is thunderous as Braun drags Adonis back up!
Ricochet returns, he builds speed and FLIES to take out Dolla! Braun gives Adonis a MONSTER BOMB!! Cover, Braun & Ricochet win!
Winners: Braun Strowman & Ricochet, by pinfall (advance to the finals)
Things just got a whole lot wilder for this tournament! The strength of Braun, the speed of Ricochet, will there be any stopping these two from taking the SmackDown Tag Team Championships?
Backstage interview with Kevin Owens.
Kayla is with the Prizefighter, noting that while tomorrow night, he faces Roman Reigns, why is he risking it all to take on “one of the most vicious members of the Bloodline” in Solo Sikoa here tonight? Kevin is doing this because tomorrow night, he wants to become Universal Champion. Kevin wants to right a wrong that happened two years ago at the Royal Rumble. That night, that title was Kevin’s. But on that night, Roman, Heyman and The Bloodline did everything they could to screw Kevin over. Tomorrow will be no different. When in these last three years has Roman done anything on his own?
So if Kevin is to win, he has to take out as many members of the Bloodline as he can tonight, starting with Solo. But speaking of, the Usos storm up. Security already rushes in to stop the brawl! Pearce tells them all to stay back, they’re not screwing up another match tonight! Kevin mockingly asks where their cousin is, but his match is coming! Will Kevin be able to focus on Solo when Solo isn’t alone?
The Usos are escorted out of the building.
They say Pearce is tripping. They didn’t even start the fight. But it’s all good. The Usos return to their car, but Jey makes a quick call. “Yo, my dawg. You still in town? Alright, I need a favor. Yeet.” Did Jey just make a call to Sami?! Is Sami going to defy Roman’s orders to help Jey protect Solo?
Bray Wyatt’s old music hits!?
Fans fire up for the classic Eater of Worlds to make his way out here, but… Wait, that’s not Bray Wyatt. That’s LA KNIGHT cosplaying Bray Wyatt! And he’s even got a tiny lantern… Fans boo but Knight says he’s gonna take this stupid crap off. He throws the hat, the shirt, and the undershirt away. “Lemme talk to ya!” Laredo seems to have some LA Knight fans, but Knight says the biggest moment in Raw history happened at Raw 30 when out to the ring walked L A Knight! He heard the fans chant, “Talk To Us!” Who chanted that? But being the benevolent man that he is, he gives us what we want, even when we don’t deserve it.
“And then like the turd in the punch bowl, here comes the Undertaker to assist Bray Wyatt. Why is that? Pipe down, I’m talking.” But why? Because neither of them wanted this guy 1v1! YEAH! “YEAH!” Pipe down, Knight’s talking! Bray, you have 24 hours until the Pitch Black match. So bring every bit of advice Taker whispered into your ear. Come down as whatever version of yourself that gives you the tingle in your loins! Cuz this right here? This is your future: Torn up and laid out! “Because when the Alamo Dome goes Pitch Black, your dumpy ass ain’t coming back! And that’s not an insult, that is just a fact of life! YEAH!”
But then Bray Wyatt appears on stage! He sits in the rocking chair and laughs. He sees Knight making jokes, but they both know that Knight ain’t smiling on the inside. “But here’s the thing, man. It doesn’t even matter anymore! The time for talking has come and gone. Tomorrow night at the Royal Rumble, you will finally get to meet the man that you’ve been looking for.” Fans like the sound of that! “So take your time tonight, man. Have a great night, sweetheart. Laugh it up, joke all you want, because tomorrow night, when the lights go out, oh… You’ll see.” Bray laughs, but UNCLE HOWDY is in the upper deck!
Knight tells Bray to keep it to the two of them, but Howdy nods and waves his hand around. Is the Pitch Black match going to be more than a 1v1?
SmackDown Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Tournament, Semifinal: Imperium VS Legado Del Fantasma!
Now that we know it will be Braun Strowman & Ricochet in the finals, the winner here has their work cut out for them. But even so, will Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci make Der Ring General proud? Or will Cruz Del Toro & Joaquin Wilde win this one for the Emperor, Santos Escobar?
The teams sort out and Ludwig starts against Wilde. Vega stays ringside to coach her team as Wilde and Ludwig tie up. They go around, Ludwig puts Wilde in the corner, then lets off. Wilde avoids the haymaker and gets an arm, but Ludwig chinbars to headlock, then wrench. Ludwig hammerlocks the arm but Wilde endures. Wilde kneels, fans rally, and Wilde fights up to hammerlock in return. Ludwig switches the hold back on, then knuckle locks. Wilde CHOPS, he goes up and up, but doesn’t hit the smoothest arm-drag. Things still speed up, Wilde ducks ‘n’ dodges, then tilt-o-whirls, only for Ludwig to DECK him!
Cruz and Vega coach Wilde but Vinci tags in. Vinci headlocks and grinds Wilde’s head but Wilde endures. Wilde throws body shots but Vinci CLUBS him down! Vinci drags Wilde up, whips him to a corner, but he avoids the up ‘n’ over. Vinci back suplexes, Wilde lands on his feet! Hot tag to Cruz! Fans cheer as Cruz leaps over, then JABS, JABS, and feints to run, slide and CHOP! Vinci brushes that off, and he blocks a kick to short arm LARIAT! Cover, TWO! Cruz crawls but Vinci drags him up. Vinci chicken wings, Ludwig tags in, and Imperium mugs Cruz. Ludwig stalks Cruz to a corner, then brings him into a chinlock.
The ref counts as they’re in the corner, and Ludwig lets off. But Cruz JABS, JABS and CHOPS! Ludwig runs in but into a BOOT! Cruz goes up and leaps, but Ludwig DECKS him! Ludwig rains down fists, then rains down headbutts! Fans boo but Ludwig eggs Cruz on. Ludwig BOOTS Wilde for good measure, but Cruz ROCKS him with forearms! Cruz SOBATS, but Ludwig grabs onto the tights! Ludwig brings Cruz around, but Cruz PELES him away! Hot tag to Wilde! Vinci runs in but Wilde shoulders him away! And slingshot Arabian Press arm-drag! Cruz DROPKICKS Ludwig out! LDF builds speed, but into DOUBLE LARIATS! Imperium stands tall as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns, Wilde fires forearms on Ludwig! But Ludwig UPPERCUTS! Wilde ends up on ropes, Ludwig drags him up and whips him to the corner. Ludwig runs in but he blocks the boot. “NEIN!” UPPERCUT! GAMANGIRI! Ludwig snap suplexes Wilde, then takes his time pacing around him. Ludwig runs to PENALTY KICK! Cover, TWO! Cruz and Vega coach Wilde but Ludwig clamps on a chinlock. Ludwig shifts to a cravat but fans rally. Vinci tags in, Imperium mugs Wilde. Vega is stinging from that CHOP, and then Vinci scoop SLAMS Wilde! Cover, TWO! Vinci tags Ludwig back in and they mug Wilde more.
Ludwig toys with Wilde but Wilde CHOPS back! And uppercuts! And uppercuts again! Ludwig kicks low, then shouts “NEIN!” Fans boo as Ludwig whips, but Wilde reverses and jumps on to TORNADO DDT! Fans fire up while both men are down! Ludwig and Wilde crawl for their corners, hot tags to Vinci and Cruz! Cruz springboards to CROSSBODY Vinci! Cruz keeps moving, ducks ‘n ‘dodges, then tilt-o-whirl RANAS! Vinci ends up in a corner, Cruz runs in to GAMANGIRI! Cruz whips corner to corner, Vinci reverses, but Cruz slips out to the apron! Vinci only gets buckles, but Ludwig runs in! Cruz GAMANGIRIS!
Cruz springboards to DOUBL EMISSILE DROPKICK! Imperium flops out, LDF builds speed, DOUBLE TOPE CONJILO!! Direct hit on Imperium and Cruz puts Vinci in! Vinci staggers to a corner, Cruz runs in but into an elbow! Vinci goes up, but Cruz handsprings to GAMANGIRI! Vinci wobbles, Cruz slingshots up to SUPER STEINER Vinci down! Tag to Wilde and he goes up top to SPRINGBOARD SPLASH! Cover, Ludwig breaks it! Laredo can’t believe it and neither can Vega! Vega calms down, though, and coaches her team. Fans rally up as Imperium regroups. Ludwig grabs at Wilde but Cruz fires off CHOPS on him!
Cruz CHOPS but LUdwig shoves! Cruz comes back, RANAS Ludwig right out! Then Cruz builds speed to slide!
Ludwig gets under, scoops and SLAMS Cruz on the floor! Vinci and Wilde meet up top and Vinci CLUBS Wilde! And then SUPER MILITARY PRESS!! But Vinci clutches his leg! He crawls, tags in Ludwig, and Ludwig drags Wilde up with a chinbar. Vinci hobbles over, Ludwig grins, and they set up. Vinci gets Wilde up and Ludwig is up top, IMPERIAL BOMB!! Cover, Imperium wins!
Winners: Imperium, by pinfall
A hard fought battle in both styles and cultures, but it is the Impeccable German and Pride of Italy who won out. Will they be able to make the mat sacred, even though they’re going against the Monster and the Flyer?
Xia Li speaks.
“I have more skills than any woman in this match. So looking past me is not only dangerous, but painful.” Will the Protector truly become the Eliminator in the Women’s Royal Rumble?
WWE shares footage of Charlotte Flair being on Ryan Satin’s Out of Character podcast.
But it was interrupted by guess who? Sonya Deville. Sonya applauded Ryan for asking the “big questions,” but then she was escorted away by security. Will Sonya ever stop this obsession with the SmackDown Women’s Champion?
Adam Pearce meets with Charlotte.
She knows he is having a busy day, and he says yes, because now he has to deal with Fox and how they were upset by Sonya’s stunt. Charlotte knows, Sonya is really annoying and opportunities are earned, not given. But she also has to hand it to Sonya, she’s persistent. That’s not the word Pearce would use. Well, Charlotte is just trying to be positive. But Charlotte will give Sonya a match. It’ll even be a title match. Wait, Charlotte wants to give Sonya a title match? Yes. Is she sure? Charlotte will put an exclamation point on this once and for all. Well, if she wants to do that, they’ll do it next week on SmackDown.
Charlotte thanks Pearce, high-gives him, and heads out. So now, win or lose in the Royal Rumble, Sonya gets a shot on the first SmackDown on the Road to WrestleMania! Will Sonya make the most of this opportunity? Or will she lose with Flair?
Kevin Owens VS Solo Sikoa!
The Prizefighter has been fighting against The Bloodline for years now, so he knows what they’re all about. The Usos were ejected from the building, and The Tribal Chief isn’t here tonight, so will Kevin have a truly 1v1 match with the Enforcer of the Island? Or will a certain Honorary Uce do his dawg a solid?
The bell rings and Kevin fires hands with Solo right away! Fans fire up, Kevin stomps Solo’s toes and then headlocks. Solo powers out but Kevin RAMS shoulders with him. Neither man moves, fans fire up, and Kevin runs to RAM Solo again! Solo roars, Kevin dares him to try then. Solo runs, they RAM shoulders, and no one moves. Kevin runs, RAMS Solo, Solo rebounds to RAM Kevin, repeat! They go back and forth, shoulder for shoulder, and then Kevin drops to CLOBBER Solo! And SENTON! Fans fire up with Kevin as Solo goes to a corner. Kevin runs in, but Solo slips out of the ring. Fans boo but Kevin just slides out the side!
Kevin storms up on Solo but Solo picks him up! Solo RAMS Kevin into the barrier! And then POSTS him! And then runs him into more barriers! The Street Champion stands over the Prizefighter while SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and Solo has Kevin in a chinlock. Kevin fights up as fans rally, and he throws body shots! Solo HEADBUTTS Kevin down! Kevin ends up in a corner, Solo goes to the opposite, and Solo runs in, to only get buckles! Kevin stands up, he ROCKS Solo with haymaker after haymaker, then whips. Solo reverses but Kevin kicks him! Solo roars, but Kevin hits an atomic drop and a LARIAT! Kevin rallies on Solo, but Solo blocks a lariat to HEADBUTT! Only for Kevin to kick low and DDT! Cover, TWO! Solo is tough but Kevin stomps him down. Kevin climbs up a corner and fans fire up. But Solo UPPERCUTS Kevin first!
Solo climbs up after Kevin, gives him more HEADBUTTS, and then brings Kevin up. Solo tells Kevin he’s not making it to the Rumble! But Kevin throws body shots! And a HEADBUTT of his own! And another! And then an ELBOW! Solo falls back, Kevin adjusts, FROG SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Kevin keeps his focus as Solo survives. Kevin waits on Solo to stand and fans rally up. Solo staggers, into a SUPERKICK! Solo wobbles, to SUPERKICK in return! Kevin SUPERKICKS again! And then kicks low, but no Stunner! Solo SAMOAN DROPS! Cover, TWO! Kevin survives but Solo seethes. Fans rally for Kevin but Solo shakes his head.
Kevin crawls to a corner, Solo aims from the opposite end. Solo runs in, but Kevin dodges again! The splash hits post! Kevin SUPERKICKS Solo! And SUPERKICKS him again! Kevin says “SUCK IT!” and runs corner to corner, CANNONBALL! Solo is down but Kevin climbs up! SWANTON BOMB! Cover, SAMI helps Solo get out of the ring?!? Fans can’t believe it and Kevin is just as shocked! Fans chant “UCEY! UCEY!” but Kevin storms out to get in Sami’s face. Solo aims, Kevin dodges, the SUPERKICK hits Sami! Kevin ROCKS Solo and RAMS him into steel steps! Kevin sees the announce desk, and he clears it off!
Kevin goes back for Solo, drags him up, and brings him around, only for Solo to POST him! Solo has Kevin on the desk, and he grabs a chair! Solo doesn’t care about winning anymore, he CRACKS Kevin with the chair!
Winner: Kevin Owens, by disqualification
Kevin is on the desk, Solo goes onto the barrier. He’s gonna recreate the splash from last week! But Kevin fires off haymakers! Solo HEADBUTTS, leaps, but into a SUPERKICK! Kevin snarls, Solo returns, but into a POP-UP POWERBOMB onto the desk! The desk doesn’t break, but maybe Solo just did! Kevin grabs the chair! Sami sits up and sees Kevin looking at him! Sami scrambles away, Kevin SMACKS Solo! Solo falls over the barriers, then Kevin puts the chair down in front of Sami. Kevin shouts, “THIS IS MY SHOW!!” Laredo fires up and Kevin tells Roman, “Tomorrow night! Royal Rumble! I’m bringing everything I got! EVERYTHING!!!”
The Prizefighter is furious, and he will certainly bring that fury to San Antonio. Will Kevin #JustKeepFighting until he is finally the reigning, defending, Undisputed WWE Universal Heavyweight Champion?
A pretty good SmackDown, but I feel like go-home syndrome reared its ugly head again. We got quite a bit more recap packages than I expected, even though I totally expected them to replay Cody’s newest vignette from Raw, and the 2023 edition of “Royal Rumble: By The Numbers.” And we got good promos from a handful of the women entering this year’s Rumble, but I’m still thinking Rhea wins it all. Good bit from Charlotte to set up a title match with Sonya, so duh, Sonya’s not winning the Rumble, but I don’t see her winning on SmackDown next week, either. And of course Lacey wins her return match, but uh… Is Lacey just gonna have gear that shows more skin every rebrand? Wow…
Really good opener from Rey VS Kross, and I knew Rey was going to win. He and Kross are far from done with this, but Rey had to get some of his momentum back after Kross talked down to him and beat him down just a couple weeks ago. Good promo stuff from Theory, New Day, and Miz, and good brawl that then added Lashley and Lesnar to the mix. I suppose it’s fine for Lashley and Lesnar to fight things out in the Rumble match as opposed to in a separate match at the Royal Rumble. But I foresee them basically cancelling out so that neither one wins, which leads to a WrestleMania match.
Good promo from LA Knight trolling us, and then Bray and Uncle Howdy appearing in response to that. Still no explanation of what a Pitch Black match will be outside of the Anything Goes nature, but fine, whatever, because in the end, it feels like the match could go either way. Knight got beat up on Raw, so go-home math would lean his way, but Uncle Howdy is a wild card. Much like with Alexa and Bianca for the Raw Women’s Championship, Uncle Howdy has been showing up a lot, he could easily be the reason both Alexa and Bray win their matches, and things really build towards WrestleMania with a White Rabbit faction as many fans had anticipated when Bray first returned.
Good promo from Sheamus & McIntyre that keeps adding onto the weird, passive aggressive way these two support each other. But the Vikings attacking Celtic Connection, that’s a lame way to take them out of the tournament. At least, in the semifinals. If it’d happened in the finals, it’d feel a bit better. And with the way the Bloodline story is going, you could still get Face VS Heel in Usos VS Imperium, but maybe that’s not the plan. Legado Del Fantasma got the Face treatment by Laredo, and even had that in NXT, it wouldn’t be so hard to make them the Faces that face Heel Usos. But Braun & Ricochet is a good team, so I guess it’s fine for them to step in and take the tournament. Because yes, I’m pretty sure they’re in to win against Imperium like they did against Hit Row tonight.
And speaking of the Bloodline’s story, great stuff out of them tonight. Sami showing up despite Roman’s orders was a nice touch, and of course it comes into play with the main event. The Usos being barred from ringside, Jey making the call, and Sami doing his best to come through for Jey was all good stuff. Roman was away because he was scheduled for Jimmy Fallon tonight, so it can work in reality and kayfabe that Roman won’t know what happened until, well, right about now. Sami’s “final test” is still unknown, but this could be a kayfabe reason for Roman to “escalate” what he had planned. Screwing over Kevin after Kevin just spared Sami would still be an obvious way to go, but maybe there will be something out of the box in store.
My Score: 8.4/10
Mitchell’s NXT No Mercy Results & Report! (9/30/23)
There’s No Mercy in Bakersfield!
Will the Mad Dragon slay… HIM?
In a rematch from The Great American Bash, Carmelo Hayes and Ilja Dragunov once again battle over the NXT Championship! But will history repeat itself? Or will history be made?
- NXT Heritage Cup Championship: Noam Dar w/ The Meta Four VS Pete Dunne; wins and
- Blair Davenport VS Kelani Jordan; wins.
- NXT Tag Team Championships Fatal 4 Way Tag: Tony D’Angelo & Channing Lorenzo VS The Creed Brothers VS Angel Garza & Humberto Carrillo VS #OutTheMud w/ SCRYPTS; win(s) and
- Bron Breakker VS Baron Corbin; wins.
- NXT North American Championship, Special Guest Referee Dragon Lee: Dominik Mysterio VS Trick Williams; wins and
- NXT Women’s Championship Extreme Rules Match: Becky Lynch VS Tiffany Stratton; wins and
- NXT Championship: Carmelo Hayes VS Ilja Dragunov; wins and
PLAY BY PLAY
It’s the No Mercy Kickoff Show!
Time to play the game.
Plug in the cartridge and load up the brand new NXT edition of No Mercy! Press start and make the match! Will there be no asterisk next to tonight’s NXT Championship match? Will the Bruiserweight snap Noam Dar’s reign? Or just his fingers? Who will truly be #MeanerThanEvil? Is karma going to bite Dirty Dom right on the ass? Or will he still #WhoopDatTrick? And in the biggest and most violent match of her career, will Tiffany Stratton take back the title? Or will the Big Time still be too much for Wrestling Barbie?
Mitchell’s AEW Rampage Results & Report! (9/29/23)
Eddie Kingston is on a Rampage!
Will the Mad King regret this gamble?
Before putting both belts on the line against Katsuyori Shibata at AEW WrestleDream, Eddie Kingston defends his NJPW Strong title against Rocky Romero! Will plans have to change all thanks to Azucar?
- AEW World Trios Championships: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn VS The Hardy Party; The Acclaimed & Billy win and retain the titles.
- NJPW Strong Openweight Championship: Eddie Kingston VS Rocky Romero; Eddie wins and retains the title.
- The Righteous VS Caleb Crush & Gunnar; The Righteous win.
- AEW Women’s World Championship #1 Contender’s match: Ruby Soho VS Hikaru Shida; Shida wins and will challenge Saraya for the title on Title Tuesday, October 10th.
PLAY BY PLAY
AEW World Trios Championships: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn VS The Hardy Party!
The open challenge was put forth, and it was answered very quickly! Will Matt, Jeff & Brother Zay DELETE the Scissor World Tour? Or will Max Caster, Anthony Bowens & Daddy Ass keep the party going?
But of course, Platinum Max has a diss track! “Acclaimed on the mic, ’bout to leave these dudes up in smoke! Y’know we comin’ like the Colorado Buffalos! Matt, I don’t want any heat! I don’t need your crazy ass wife sendin’ me tweets! It’s the one guy in Private Party! Nowadays, he gets tag teamed by the Hardys! Jeff, I’m a leave you black in both eyes! You gonna need these sunglasses like Coach Prime.” Bowens takes the mic to say “COLORADOOOO~! The Acclaimed have arrived! Scissor Me, Daddy Ass~!” And he does! The belts are raised, and we see who survives WrestleDream weekend!
The trios sort out and Bowens starts against Kassidy. They shake hands, tie up, and Bowens waistlocks. Kassidy drop toeholds, facelocks but Bowens slips free to wrench. Kassidy rolls, handsprings, wrenches and hammerlocks to a headlock. Bowens powers out to headlock but Kassidy powers out, only for Bowens to run him over! Bowens self-scissors, then things speed up. Kassidy hurdles, Bowens shoves then follows but Kassidy arm-drags! Bowens arm-drags! Bowens blocks Kassidy’s arm-drag to whip, but Kassidy wheelbarrows and arm-drags! Bowens stands, into a RANA! Kassidy then pounds the mat and fans fire up.
Bowens kicks but Kassidy blocks to spin him. Kassidy kicks but Bowens blocks to flip him! Bowens then kicks, kicks and KOTARO KRUSHER! Fans fire up, “EVERYONE Loves The Acclaimed!” Bowens drags Kassidy up, tags in Caster, and they double whip. Kassidy holds ropes, TOSSES Bowens then BOOTS Caster! Tag to Matt and Matt BOOTS Caster! Kassidy hits a NECKBREAKER, Jeff tags in to go up, for the SPLASH! Cover, TWO! Jeff snapmares Caster to then NECK SNAPPER! Fans fire up with Jeff and he waits on Caster to stand. Kick but no Twist as Caster slips free! Jeff ducks the backhand to SPIN KICK!
Jeff CLUBS Caster, Caster scrambles away, tags to Billy and Matt! Fans fire up as Matt says “DELETE! DELETE!” Billy says “SUCK IT!” “DELETE!” “SUCK IT!” “DELETE!” “SUCK IT!” And repeat! Then Billy headlocks! Matt throws body shots, powers out, but Billy runs Matt over! Billy flexes and does a dance, and then he runs in. Matt ELBOWS Billy, BOOTS him, then bumps him off buckles! “DELETE! DELETE! DELETE!” Billy gets all three layers, and Matt tags Jeff. Jeff tags Kassidy, and the Hardys set up fort he classic POETRY IN MOTION! Then Kassidy adds PARTY IN MOTION! But The Acclaimed CLOBBER Kassidy & The Hardys!
Fans fire up as Caster has Kassidy up to scoop and SLAM! Billy helps get the legs, and Bowens goes up to SCISSOR ME TIMBERS! Kassidy squeals before impact! Cover, TWO! Kassidy survives but The Acclaimed have control as Rampage goes picture in picture.
Billy brings Kassidy up, bumps him off buckles, and he hears the fans singing. Billy ROCKS Kassidy with a right, apologizes to the ref, then tags to Bowens. Bowens drags Kassidy up to ROCK him with haymaker after haymaker! Bowens then brings Kassidy up to tag in Caster. They double suplex Kassidy, Caster covers, TWO! Another cover, TWO! Caster keeps Kassidy down with a chinlock while fans rally up. Kassidy fights to his feet, throws body shots, and he fires forearms as Rampage returns to single picture. Kassidy runs but Caster CLOBBERS him! Tag to Billy and they mug Kassidy.
Billy brings Kassidy to an open corner, stomps and ROCKS him on repeat, then lets off to smirk at the Hardys. He dares them to do something, but Matt tells Billy to suck it! So Billy DECKS Matt! Billy runs corner to corner but Kassidy dodges! The splash hits buckles and Billy falls back! Fans rally up as both men crawl, but Billy gets Kassidy’s leg! Kassidy stands up to ENZIGURI! Hot tag to Jeff! Jeff rallies on Billy, on Bowens, and on Caster! Fans fire up and Jeff clotheslines Billy up and out! Jeff CLOBBS Bowens, then catches him for a RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP! Leg hook cradle! Cover, Caster breaks it!
Caster helps Bowens up, then runs in, but Jeff ELBOWS caster and ROCKS Bowens! Jeff goes up, WHISPER IN THE WIND! Jeff gets both Caster and Bowens but everyone is down! Billy returns, kicks low, says ‘SUCK IT!” and runs, but Jeff dodges! Matt kicks Billy for a TWIST OF FATE! Jeff hurries up top, fans fire up, SWANTON BOMB! Cover, Bowens breaks it in time! Matt CLUBS Bowens, Bowens hits back, and Bowens calls to Caster. They whip Matt to a corner, forearm then ELBOW then forearm again! And a feed to the POWERSLAM! ROLLING ELBOW for Jeff! The Acclaimed regroup, and Billy crawls to the corner.
Fans fire up as Billy drags Jeff over. Jeff gets loose, hot tags to Kassidy and Bowens! Kassidy dodges Bowens to DROPKICK Caster! “This is Awesome!” as Kassidy BOOTS Bowens! Kassidy goes up, leaps, FLYING FLATLINER! Billy stands, runs in, but Kassidy dumps him out! Kassidy slingshots out then QUEBRADAS to take Billy down! Kassidy mocks the scissoring, then tells Bowens to get up. Kassidy springboards in, but Bowens dodges and Caster BACKHANDS Kassidy! Then Bowens BACKHANDS Kassidy! Bowens fires off the Five Tool Strike Fest! Caster hoists Kassidy up and Bowens helps, to give Kassidy the PLATINUM BOMB! Cover, The Acclaimed win!
Winners: The Acclaimed & Billy Gunn, by pinfall (still AEW World Trios Championships)
A huge win for the champions, and the Scissor World Tour continues! In fact, it is heading to Seattle for WrestleDream’s Zero Hour! TMDK’s Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls & Bad Dude Tito are waiting, will they show The Acclaimed that The Mighty Don’t Kneel?
Eddie Kingston speaks.
“Well folks, tonight, it’s me and Big Rock, Rocky Romero, for the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship. Rock, I got nothing but respect for you, dawg, so it’s gonna be an honor and a pleasure to defend this against you. You’re the man that got me into the G1. You’re the man that got me-” Wait, Team Triple J is interrupting. Jay Lethal says that if we’re talking honor and respect, Eddie is standing here with two titles on his shoulders, and that is worth respecting. But Lethal can’t get behind how Eddie is the ROH World Champion. Lethal dedicated his life to that title! His blood, sweat, tears, all to honor a tradition that meant that every person to hold that title would be a pure athlete!
And Eddie, you are no pure athlete! Now as for this NJPW Strong Openweight title, Lethal doesn’t care if Eddie wins it or loses it here tonight. He really doesn’t. But he just cares that Eddie is unfit to be ROH World Champion! Eddie says okay, he’s got Lethal. But excuse his back, he’s gotta go beat up Romero. The Mad King leaves, but will he still have both crowns going into WrestleDream?
AEW shares an interview from after last week’s Collision.
Lexi Nair was with Andrade El Idolo after he was bandaged up from the beating Bullet Club Gold gave him. He almost won, but Juice Robinson interfered. What was that about? Andrade says everyone saw that Andrade had White beat. But the question for Juice is… “Do you have a problem with me? With Andrade El Idolo? Lemme tell you something. See you Saturday in Seattle!” Andrade wants his revenge on Rock Hard, will he get it on WrestleDream Eve?
NJPW Strong Openweight Championship: Eddie Kingston VS Rocky Romero!
The Mad King beat Kenta at NJPW Independence Day back in July to have his first singles title under the NJPW banner. And now he defends it against Azucar as a favor for getting him in the door. Will Rocky repay this favor by taking this title from Eddie? Or will Eddie still head to Seattle as a double champion?
The introductions are made, the NJPW belt is raised, and we see who is truly NJPW Strong!
The bell rings and fans rally up for “EDDIE! EDDIE!” The two circle, Rocky tests things with a kick but Eddie stays back. They feel things out, tie up, and are in a deadlock. Eddie waistlocks, Rocky wrenches, wristlocks, but Eddie clinches. Fans rally, Rocky keeps on the wristlock but Eddie powers through to wrench and wristlock back. Rocky rolls, breaks free and DROPKICKS! Fans are torn as Rocky swaggers, but he and Eddie reset. They feel things out, knuckle lock, and Rocky knees low. Rocky headlocks, grinds the hold, but Eddie powers up and out. They RAM shoulders, but Eddie stays up with a smirk.
Fans fire up as Rocky smirks back, but then pie faces Eddie! Rocky runs, ducks ‘n’ dodges, and RANAS! Eddie bails out, Rocky builds speed and DIVES! Direct hit but Eddie stays up, so Rocky goes again! DIVE and Eddie drops to his knees! Rocky keeps going, and he DIVES for the hattrick, only for Eddie to catch him! Stalling suplex, to the floor! Fans rally behind Eddie while Rampage goes picture in picture.
Eddie stands, stretches out his back, and then he gets Rocky up and into the ring. Cover, TWO! Eddie keeps cool, and also chooses not to rain down fists, instead clamping on a chinlock. Rocky endures as Eddie grinds him down, and fans rally up. Eddie cranks the headlock but Rocky refuses to give up. Rocky fights up, throws elbows, but Eddie knees him low! Eddie whips to knee low again, then whips for another knee! Eddie whips but Rocky rolls him up, TWO! Rocky BUZZSAWS Eddie, then TORNADO DDTS! Both men are down and a standing count begins. Rocky stirs at 3, crawls over, and he brings Eddie up.
Eddie pushes Rocky, runs, but into an IRON OCTOPUS! Eddie endures, pries at the hold, and pops free, only for Rocky to wrangle him with a ghost pin! TWO, and Eddie goes to ropes. Rocky storms up, KICKS Eddie in the back, but Eddie just grimaces. Eddie eggs Rocky on so Rocky KICKS him again! Eddie growls and eggs Rocky on more as Rampage goes picture in picture.
Rampage returns and Eddie suplexes, but Rocky knees free! Rocky knees low, Eddie rebounds, but into a JUMP KNEE! Eddie goes to ropes, Rocky storms over and brings him up through the ropes, to KICK! Eddie eggs Rocky on even though he’s stuck, so Rocky SLAPS Eddie! Eddie SLAPS Rocky! Rocky SOBATS! Then Rocky goes up a corner to MISSILE DROPKICK! Cover, TWO! Eddie is still in this and Rocky argues the count but the ref says it was fair. Rocky drags Eddie up, cravats, but no Sliced Bread! Eddie runs in to clothesline in the corner! And MACHINE GUN CHOPS! Fans fire up and Eddie hoists Rocky up top!
Eddie climbs up behind Rocky, stands him up, but Rocky throws hands! Rocky CLUBS Eddie, cravats, and hits SUPER SLICED BREAD! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up as Eddie survives, and Rocky grits his teeth. Rocky pumps up and fans rally. Rocky runs in to clothesline! That’s one-ever! Two-ever! But URAKEN stops that! URAKEN again!! Eddie drags Rocky into the STRETCH PLUM!! Rocky taps, Eddie wins!!
Winner: Eddie Kingston, by submission (still NJPW Strong Openweight Champion)
Azucar could not dethrone The Mad King, but he still shows Eddie respect with a handshake and hug. Eddie is still NJWP Strong, but will he have to fight even harder to survive The Wrestler, Katsuyori Shibata?
Wait! That’s Shibata’s music! Shibata is HERE! He goes into the ring and shakes hands with Eddie. These two respect each other, and that means they will give it everything they’ve got! Will Eddie still be a two belt king? Or will Shibata become a TRIPLE CROWN Champion?
Aussie Open speaks.
Mark Davis says he is so tired. So tired of hearing the “top blokes” walk around here the last year, hubris unchecked, lying to the people that they are the best in the world. Kyle Fletcher says that for the last 365 days, everything Aussie Open has done has been to get back to FTR. When FTR beat them a year ago, it broke Fletcher. Fletcher felt like a failure and felt lost. So what he wants more than anything is to make FTR feel that pain. This Sunday, Aussie Open takes the AEW World Tag Team Championships, burns down the legacy of #7StarFTR, and from the ashes, rebuild a new empire that they will stand atop of to proclaim that THEY are the best tag team in the world!
The Aussie Arrow and Dunkzilla are ready to bring down Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler, will they fulfill that WrestleDream?
The Righteous VS Caleb Crush & Gunnar!
Speaking of tag titles, Dutch & Vincent are aimed at the ROH World Tag Team Championships! However, Adam Cole will be out with injury so it’ll just be Maxwell Jacob Friedman meeting them in Seattle. Will this tune-up prove to be more than enough going into that tag title handicap match?
The teams sort out, but then Dutch just CLOBBERS Crush & Gunnar! Fans boo as Dutch says just a few more days and those titles will be theirs! Vincent rains down fists on Crush, then drags him up to UPPERCUT! Vincent bumps Crush off buckles, tags in Dutch, and the Righteous mugs Crush before the BOSS MAN SLAM! Gunnar staggers up but Dutch feeds him to Vinnie’s KNEE! Then Vinnie feeds him to a BOSS MAN SLAM! Tag to Vinnie, fans are torn as the Righteous pace around Crush. Vinnie snaps his fingers, then cravats, AUTUMN SUNSET! Cover, Righteous win!
Winners: The Righteous, by pinfall
A swift and dominant win, these are the two men coming for the tag titles! Will The Righteous purge ROH of the “false friendship” that is the brochachos? Or are even two Righteous men combined not on the level of the Devil?
Ortiz sits alone in a room.
He looks back on his career alongside Mike Santana. They were at the top of their game coming into AEW, but then it ended up going downhill. There’s even audio from Konnan touching on how Ortiz and Santana stopped talking to each other and how Konnan was saddened by that. Ortiz has the footage stop there. What will it take for him to get Santana to talk to him?
Darby Allin speaks.
After replaying what Christian Cage said just last Wednesday on Dynamite, the Relentless One reiterates that he is NOT losing in Seattle, Washington! Will Darby defend home turf against Captain Charisma?
Nick Wayne speaks.
He knows Darby has a lot to say about Christian Cage, and all of that will be part of the Countdown special. But Nick also knows Darby’s actions will speak louder than his words at WrestleDream. And although Darby told Nick not to be there ringside, Nick doesn’t really want to anyway because of what Christian & Luchasaurus are capable of. So, while they let Christian and Darby settle their business, how about Nick and Luchasaurus settle theirs? For months and months, Luchasaurus walked around here while another man held his title. And Luchasaurus followed Christian around like he was some kind of father figure.
And Nick isn’t sure what it is about Christian where he thinks he can even be such a figure to “us Lost Boys,” but Nick had a father. And he told Nick at a young age “to never leave your debts unpaid.” Nick owes Luchasaurus. At Wembley Stadium, Luchasaurus choke slammed Nick onto a skateboard and Nick never forgot it. Nick will repay Luchasaurus this Sunday during Zero Hour. And Nick will even hand Luchasaurus a receipt. Nick brings his own skateboard, will he grind it right into the Right Hand of Destruction?
BREAKING NEWS for Collision!
AEW is going to do it big for WrestleDream Eve as, with Zack Sabre Jr. on commentary, we see an 8 Man Tag! FTR teams with Bryan Danielson & Wheeler Yuta to take on Aussie Open, Ricky Starks & “Big Bill” Morrissey! Plus, Chris Jericho & Kenny Omega test their tag team chemistry against The Gates of Agony! Will The Ocho & The Cleaner survive Toa Liona & Bishop Kaun to take on the Don Callis Family? And Julia Hart gets in action to build some last minute momentum, will she be ready for Kris Statlander and their TBS Championship match set for Sunday?
Backstage interview with Zack Sabre Jr.
Renee Paquette is with The Front Man of TMDK, and says we’re just days away from WrestleDream, where ZSJ takes on The American Dragon, Bryan Danielson. ZSJ just came off a three week tour in NJPW and just got here to the States, is he worried at all about acclimating? ZSJ asks Bryan “Dragon Bullocks” Danielson, “Where are you, darling?” As Renee just said, ZSJ got off a 16 hour flight from Tokyo and is feeling fresh as a daisy. But perhaps this company’s keeping Bryan wrapped head to toe in bubble wrap, or keeps him in a giant Zorb ball. At this point, a strong gust of wind will knock Bryan over.
And is ZSJ supposed to be honored that Bryan chose him as part of the year long retirement tour? Newsflash: Bryan barely has a weekend. This Sunday isn’t just about finding out who the best technical wrestler is, no no. Bryan has retired once in Seattle, so ZSJ will make it final. Ya like that? The final retirement~! Submissions in Seattle, see you on Sunday. The NJPW World Television Champion has put Bryan on notice, but will he be able to slay the American Dragon?
AEW Women’s World Championship #1 Contender’s match: Ruby Soho VS Hikaru Shida!
While the Outcasts stand at two members, Saraya is looking forward to a friendly showdown with the Runaway in a little under two weeks! But will Ruby make sure there is No Future for the Shining Samurai? Or will Shida take down one Outcast to go after another?
The bell rings and the two circle. Fans fire up as Ruby and Shida step up, and they’re on Shida’s side. Ruby shoves, runs, and RAMS Shida, but Shida just fires up! Ruby headlocks, Shida throws body shots, and then she powers out. Shida then runs past Ruby to run Ruby over! Fans duel, Shida has the majority, and she goes to the corner. Shida climbs up but Ruby slips away before any fists can rain down! Shida is annoyed but she waits on Ruby to return. Ruby takes her time going to the apron, steps in at 6 of 10 but wants Shida to stay back. Shida gets annoyed as the ref keeps her back, but then Ruby pulls Shida’s hair to throw her down!
Ruby throws hands, puts Shida in the corner, then RAMS into her again and again! Fans boo but Ruby runs, only to miss! Shida ROCKS Ruby, then climbs up to rain down fists! Ruby gets away before three, runs back in but into a BOOT! Shida bumps Ruby off buckles, climbs up and rains down those fists! Ruby slips out at five to YANK Shida down! Ruby whips, Shida goes up and CROSSBODIES! Shida then drags Ruby up, puts her in yet another corner, and tries one more time! Shida rains down fists, and goes all the way to TEN! Fans fire up with Shida and she kicks Ruby out, to then MISSILE DROPKICK!
Fans fire up as Shida drags Ruby up, and Rampage goes picture in picture.
Ruby CLUBS away on Shida to stop the lift, then shoves her to a corner. Ruby runs in, Shida dodges, but Ruby ELBOWS her! Ruby goes up to hit DEADLY NIGHTSHADE! Ruby digs Shida into the buckles, lets off as the ref counts, and then brings Shida up to snapmare. Ruby covers, TWO! Ruby throws down fists now, but lets off with a smug smirk. Ruby puts Shida on ropes to CHOKE! The ref counts, Ruby lets off, and then Ruby has Shida in the ropes to throw knees! A shoutout to Saraya, and Ruby lets off at 4. Ruby stalks Shida, looms over her, and pushes her around. Shida pushes back but Ruby eggs her on.
Shida ROCKS Ruby, then fires again! Ruby claws Shida’s face! And throws her down by her hair again! The ref reprimands, but Ruby clamps on a straitjacket stretch! Shida endures, but Ruby grinds her into the mat! Fans rally, Shida fights up, and she arm-drags free! Ruby returns to CLOBBER Shida! Cover, TWO! Ruby is annoyed but Shida grabs at Ruby’s hair! Ruby CLUBS Shida, drags her up, and stomps a hand! Shida scrambles to a corner while the ref reprimands but Ruby stomps a mudhole in. Ruby lets off as the ref counts, and Ruby storms around. Shida drags herself up, but Ruby CHOKES her on the ropes!
The ref counts while Ruby BITES Shida’s ear! Ruby lets off at 4, drags Shida up, but Shida ROCKS her! And again! And again! And again! But Ruby knees low! Ruby talks trash, whips Shida to ropes, but Shida ducks ‘n’ dodges, and DOUBLE LARIATS knock both women down! Rampage returns to single picture as the standing count climbs. Fans rally, both women are down at 5 of 10 but Shida goes to ropes. Shida snarls, she and Ruby stand at 7, and they storm up. Shida fires a forearm, Ruby gives it back! Shida throws another, so Ruby gives it back! They go back and forth, harder and harder, faster and faster!
Ruby gets the edge, but Shida ROCKS her! And ROCKS her! And ROCKS her again! Shida whips to JUMP KNEE! Shida then suplexes high and hard! Cover, TWO! Shida fires up again and the fans are with her! Shida aims, KATA- NO, Ruby ducks and bails out! Fans boo but Shida goes out to pursue! Shida runs in, jumps off the steps, and DROPKICKS Ruby down! Fans fire up again and Shida stands Ruby up. Shida torture racks Ruby, then goes to the ramp!? Fans are thunderous but Ruby fights free! They throw forearms, and CHOPS! Shida CLUBS Ruby, Ruby throws body shots, but the count is climbing!
They both hear it’s 8 of 10 and start sprinting! They both slide in at 9.5!! Fans are thunderous and then Ruby swings, but Shida blocks! Ruby HEADBUTTS, blocks a kick, then KICKS back! SAIDO! Cover, TWO! Shida survives and Ruby grows frustrated. Ruby goes to a corner, and she takes Shida’s kendo stick for her own! The ref stops Ruby, takes the kendo stick, but then Ruby brings out the spray paint! Shida and the ref both block that and they’re all fighting over it! Down goes the ref!! Shida and Ruby are both stunned, but then Ruby HEADBUTTS! DESTINATION UNKNOWN! But no ref to count the cover!
Ruby is furious, she would’ve had this! But then she sees the kendo stick! Ruby grins as she wields Shida’s weapon! Fans boo, but Shida blocks the strike to kick and HEADSHOT! Then KATANA KICK!! Cover, but still no ref! Wait, here comes Aubrey! Aubrey slides in, counts the cover, TWO!! Ruby survives but Shida fires up! Shida puts Ruby in a drop zone, goes up the corner, and she METE- NO! Ruby dodges to then STO! Ruby drags herself up the corner, goes to the very top, and STAGE DIVE SENTONS onto knees! And then FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO!! Ruby survives but Shida won’t stop there!
Shida hauls Ruby up but Ruby wrenches to NO FUTURE KICK! But Shida rebounds to KATANA!! Cover, Shida wins!!
Winner: Hikaru Shida, by pinfall (NEW #1 Contender to the AEW Women’s World Champion)
The Shining Samurai takes down The Runaway, but wait! Here comes Saraya! #TitleTuesday is coming, will that be a good Knight for the champ? Or will Shida take this belt back to become a historic THREE-TIME champion?
A great Rampage, especially as the go-home to WrestleDream. I figured the title matches would end with the champions retaining, but we got really good stuff out of Acclaimed VS Hardy Party and Eddie VS Rocky. As for their title defenses on WrestleDream, I don’t see TMDK taking the trios titles as this will be their AEW debuts. And as I’ve said a few times already, Eddie isn’t losing both belts he worked so hard to have so soon. Plus, it feels like there’s some tension between NJPW the company and Shibata, or else Shibata would already be NJPW Strong Openweight Champion and not one of ROH’s champs.
Speaking of Eddie, good promo from him before his match with Rocky, and good interaction with Team Triple J. I wasn’t exactly expecting Jay Lethal to be Eddie’s first actual feud for the ROH World Championship, but I suppose it does make sense as Lethal was a major player in ROH. I hope these guys actually show up on ROH programming, but also, Tony Khan wants this feud to be seen so it’ll end up on AEW programming instead. Y’know, just like all these other ROH title stories outside of the AEW Women’s title.
Good squash from The Righteous, and I’m really curious as to how the tag title match goes on Sunday. There’s a lot of stuff MJF still has to do with Cole, Roddy and The Kingdom, and now this intrigue with Jay White, Bullet Club Gold and the backstage attack at the end of Dynamite. I still feel it should’ve been The Kingdom in the PPV match anyway, but it seems they were going to drag this story out even before Cole hurt his foot. Good promo from Nick Wayne to call out Luchasaurus, but I feel like Luchasaurus ends up winning that match just to make a point of Nick not being able to show up ringside for Darby.
Good promo from Andrade to call out Juice for this week’s Collision, and I’m still wondering if/when La Faccion Ingobernable helps Andrade against Bullet Club Gold. For that matter, why can’t MJF be paying LFI to beat up on White and the BCG? He’s had business dealings with Andrade & Rush before, let’s strike that up again for some continuity. Really good promo from Aussie Open ahead of their tag title match, and from ZSJ to call out Bryan. That 8 Man Tag tomorrow night is going to be good stuff, and perhaps rather telling about where the PPV matches go. The only reason I don’t see Aussie Open winning against FTR is because of that big Fatal 4 Way tag contenders match, but who knows, maybe Aussie Open wins to bring the AEW belts to NJPW events as they take on like Goto & Hashi.
And of course, a great main event from Shida and Ruby. Seems a little silly to set up Ruby as a contender, wouldn’t that just end up in a Finger Poke of Doom situation with Saraya? Which therefore meant Shida was winning. Saraya VS Shida for this Title Tuesday Dynamite is going to be good stuff, but something makes me feel like Ruby is just gonna help Saraya retain. And not to be mean to Shida, but if she’s already a two-time champ, I don’t see her becoming three-time so soon. Why not get Shida in on the TBS Championship story? Britt Baker wants to be the first to have held both titles in AEW, but Shida should want that distinction, too. Then that lets us have Britt VS Shida as we should’ve gotten by now given everything else we’ve been seeing lately.
My Score: 8.7/10
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