The Celtic Connection continues to break down!
Last week, Sheamus and McIntyre BOTH won the Fatal 5! But tonight, there can only be ONE #1 contender to Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship! Who will head for Der Ring General at WrestleMania?
- Mixed Tag Match: Santos Escobar & Zelina Vega VS Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley; Dom & Rhea win.
- WrestleMania Women’s Tag Team Showcase Qualifier: Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez VS Emma & Tegan Nox; Liv & Raquel win and advance to WrestleMania.
- Xavier Woods VS LA Knight; Woods wins.
- WWE Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Drew McIntyre VS Sheamus; Double Disqualification, both men will challenge Gunther for the title.
PLAY BY PLAY
Cody Rhodes is here!
Kansas City fires up as the American Nightmare once again visits SmackDown! Fans cheer and chant his name as Cody gets the mic. “So… Kansas City, whaddya wanna talk about? We could talk about WrestleMania. In the last few weeks on the Road to WrestleMania, tempers have been what they’ve been, the stakes are incredibly high. But I do wanna take a moment, I do wanna point out that I have the utmost respect for our current champion, Roman Reigns.” Fans boo, but Cody says Roman is the greatest champion in sports and sports entertainment alike. Cody looks forward to seeing Roman in this ring on Monday Night Raw, and forward to beating Roman Reigns at WrestleMania.
Fans cheer and chant Cody’s name again, and Cody continues with, “But I don’t wanna talk about somebody, I wanna talk to somebody. I know he’s back there, I know he’s watching, so please, Kevin Owens, come on out.” Fans cheer and Cody waits, but there’s no music yet. Cody says there’s a lot of respect between them, so he’s asking nicely. So here comes Kevin! Kevin makes his way to the ring, sore as he is from what happened on Monday against Solo Sikoa & The Usos in that Street Fight screw job. Fans chant for “KO! KO!” as Kevin gets a mic. Kevin says, “Thank you, Cody. But I’m pretty sure I know what this is about.”
Cody has Kevin stop there. He wants Kevin to hear him out. This isn’t just a conversation between the two of them. Kevin and the fans know where this is going as Cody says this involves a third party: Sami Zayn! Sami makes his way out a lot faster than Kevin did and fans fire up. Cody already gets another mic to pass it to Sami as he enters the ring. Kevin is reluctant to be there now but he stays put. Cody literally stands between the two as mediator and says in the spirit of WrestleMania, he’ll do this again. Cody is peeling back the curtain, and this is the perfect place for the world to find out. Cody has incredible respect and love for Kevin.
It’s true, because six or seven years ago when Cody was bold enough to say to the WWE, “Good luck in your future endeavors,” he said it with a confidence that was false. He needed help, context, structure. He needed someone who knew the system out there, and Kevin introduced him to some friends and made that easy for Cody, and bettered his livelihood. Fans cheer and Cody says that was a favor he could never repay, but he wants to try it here. They’re all here, let’s have that conversation. Fans chant, “Hug It Out! Hug It Out!” Kevin says he’s heard everything Sami has to say.
But Sami says he hasn’t heard everything Kevin had to say. That’s why Sami doesn’t know what to say. Sami feels like throughout the years, whether as friends or enemies, they’ve done some awful stuff to each other. They’ve turned on each other, hurt each other many, many times, and yet they’ve always found a way to come back, forgive each other and get on the same page. So Sami can’t, for the life of him, figure out why this time is so different. He doesn’t understand. So if there’s something Kevin has to say, has to get off his chest, then just tell him! If he needs to scream at him, punch him, do whatever you have to do so they can get back together!
Fans cheer, and Kevin sighs. Kevin tells Cody, “Look man, I came out here like you asked, I listened, I heard him out. Are we good? Did you get what you want? Can I go now?” Cody says, “Did I get what I wanted? Did I get what I wanted?” They both know that this is the service industry, the people pleasing business! It doesn’t matter what Cody wants. Yes, this is what Cody wants, it’s what Michael Cole and what all the fans want! This guy, that guy, that lady, every single person here wants to see these two back on the same page! Fans again chant, “Hug It Out! Hug It Out!”
Sami says that the fans want it. He wants it. It’s in Kevin’s best interest, it’s in Sami’s best interest, and if they could come back together, they could do something magical! They could do something remarkable! They could be the ones that bring down the ones! It might take years until this is totally repaired, but this isn’t even about friends. They can work together. Kevin knows! He heard Sami say that for weeks. He doesn’t need a friend, doesn’t want to be friends, he just needs someone to fight alongside him. Sami, Kevin and Cody could take down The Bloodline together. That’s what’s best for business and they don’t even have to be friends.
But why would Kevin fight for someone who doesn’t wanna be his friend? Look, Cody, thanks for trying to do this, he appreciates it. But Kevin’s all set. Fans boo as Kevin leaves the ring! Did Kevin sink the friendship once and for all?
Kevin heads for the parking lot.
But Sami chases after! Sami wants Kevin to wait and listen to him. Sami says forget what he just said out there, Bloodline and all that. None of that matters. What Kevin said, he’s wrong. They ARE friends! They always will be friends! Not just that, they’re brothers! If Kevin never wants to talk to Sami ever again, fine. Just know, Sami loves you, Kevin. That’s all. Kevin doesn’t say anything, he just gets in his car and drives away. So then, is that the end of everything?
Mixed Tag Match: Santos Escobar & Zelina Vega VS Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley!
Rey Mysterio continues to get no respect from his son or the Judgment Day, but the Emperor of Lucha and La Muneca have Rey’s back. Will Legado Del Fantasma finally give “Ex-Con Dom” the beating he deserves? Or will Dom and Mami be rolling on the Road to WrestleMania?
The teams sort out and the men start first. Dom rushes in to DROPKICK Escobar! Dom rains down fists while fans boo, but he lets off to soak up the heat. Dom whips, Escobar ducks ‘n’ dodges and CLOBBERS Dom! And then CLOBBERS him again! Escobar rains down fists now but Dom bails out. Rhea gets in, but Escobar blocks the boot! Escobar keeps Rhea at a distance, tags in Vega, and she hops up to leap frog SEATED SENTON! Fans fire up, Vega runs to SPIKE-RANA! Rhea bails out, Dom hurries to check, but Escobar CLOBBERS Dom! Vega goes up top and takes aim, to ARIHARA MOONSAULT! KC fires up for LDF as SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns and Dom fires off forearms on Escobar in the corner! “You want me to respect you?!” Dom whips, Escobar reverses, and Escobar runs in but Dom slips out to GAMANGIRI! Dom HOTSHOTS Escobar down, then slingshot sentons! Cover, TWO! Rhea is upset but Dom rains down fists. Dom drags Escobar up, gives some Latino Heat and whips Escobar, but Escobar reverses, drops down to then DROPKICK! And then tilt-o-whirl BACKBRAEKER, some big Latino Heat, LEG DROP! Cover, Rhea breaks it! The ref reprimands but Rhea atomic SLAMS Dom onto Escobar! Cover, but Vega breaks it!
Fans fire up, Vega and Rhea argue, but Dom taunts Vega. Escobar whips Dom to then dodge. Dom dodges, but then heads collide! Fans fire up while both men are down, and they crawl for their corners. Hot tags to Rhea and Vega! Vega dodges, dropkicks legs out, and then runs to KNEE! Vega keeps moving, tilt-o-whirl DDT! Fans fire up more as Rhea staggers, into a roll-up! Dom drags Vega off! Fans boo but Escobar runs in to KNEE Dom down! Escobar puts Dom up top, but Rhea tosses Vega! Escobar GAMANGIRIS Dom, goes up after him, but Rhea adds on! TWOER OF DOOM! Dom still takes the superplex!
Vega goes up top, and she CROSSBODIES Rhea down! Then KNEES her in the face! Vega goes up, but Dom runs in, so Vega FLYING RANAS Dom! But that leaves Vega open, RIPTIDE!! Cover, The Judgment Day win!
Winners: Dominik Mysterio & Rhea Ripley, by pinfall
Dom distracts and Mami puts it away, the story of Judgment Day in a nutshell! But Dom gets the mic to call out “Jefe” Rey! Fans boo but Dom says, “I just wanted to come out here and say…” Fans boo and say “DOM, YOU SUCK!” But Dom says Rey the Hall of Famer is a disrespectful deadbeat! Rey was never there for all those sleepless nights! But wait! Cameras catch Rey backstage! Rhea tells Dom it’s alright, they’ll get what they want. Rey is headed to gorilla, will he accept that WrestleMania challenge? We’ll see, after the break.
Rey heads to the ring!
KC fires up and Rhea and Dom are waiting as the King of Lucha Libre walks down the ramp. Dom says, “Look at that, Mami. he actually decided to show up. Do you know how many nights I went without a father? I went a lot of nights.” Rey has them stop now. He wants a moment with Dom alone, so Rhea shrugs and says the ring is theirs. She moves aside, and Dom says, “So now that we’re in the middle of a ring, you have time for me? Is that how this is gonna go? Where were you when I needed you? All those late nights. But you’re so selfish that you took away MY WrestleMania moment. Because at the end of the day, you’re just a scared, pathetic excuse for a father.”
Fans boo, but Dom says he has something to get off his chest. Rey is a piece of- HEY! Watch your mouth. If Dom wants the truth, yeah, Rey hasn’t been the best father in the world. He missed birthdays, Christmases, graduations, football games. He knows he hasn’t been there for Dom all the time! But that doesn’t take away his love for Dom. Rey still loves his son. Whether Dom believes Rey or not, Dom is his world. But soon, Dom will find out that this business is selfish, and that Rey made sacrifices so that Dom, his mom and his sister could have a life that Rey only dreamed of! Fans applaud that!
All those cars, the brand names, Gucci, Prada, et cetera! All Dom’s! And what’d happen every time he got into trouble? Oh, yeah, the Mysterio name would bail him out. But hear Rey out. He’s really having a hard time coping with all of this. Rey is choked up as he says he’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame. This hurts, but Rey would love nothing more than have Dom standing by his side on that stage. Fans chant “You Deserve It!” for Rey, and Rey says maybe it’s too late. But his biggest regret is what Dom has become. If someone like Dom, “some ungrateful, disrespectful, pathetic, punk ass kid called me out at WrestleMania, I would gladly whoop their ass!!”
Fans fire up hearing that! Fans even chant “BEAT HIS ASS! BEAT HIS ASS” But Rey tells Dom, “Unfortunately, you’re my son. And fighting you would be the biggest disgrace as a father.” Dom’s not worth it, Rey won’t fight him now or ever. And not at WrestleMania, either. Rey leaves and fans are disappointed, but Dom asks why. Is this just what Rey does? Run away? Mr. Future Hall of Famer running away from his own son? That’s what Dom thought. Like he said before, Rey is doing the only thing he ever taught Dom to do: what not to be, and that is a scared little man. Rey ignores all the taunting, but then how will he get Dom to stop?
WrestleMania is going big for Hollywood with two Fatal 4 Way Tag showcase matches, one for the men’s division and one for the women’s! Qualifiers for those matches start… NOW!
WrestleMania Women’s Tag Team Showcase Qualifier: Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez VS Emma & Tegan Nox!
Morgan & Rodriguez are living large, but they’re up against the Aussie with Attitude and the Welsh Firecracker! Who wins big to then have their WrestleMania Moment?
SmackDown returns Nox & Emma are already in the ring. The teams sort out, Nox starts against Raquel and the two tie up. Raquel throws Nox down, then gut wrenches her up to a Canadian Rack! Nox fights free and SLAPS Raquel, but Raquel just grins. Raquel grabs Nox with both hands to pick her up! Nox panics but Raquel throws her to the corner! Tag to Liv, they taunt Emma and whip Liv in to back body block! Liv sends Raquel in to SPLASH! Snapmare and ENZIGURI! Cover, TWO! Fans rally, Liv drags Nox up and whips, but Nox breaks free to UPPERCUT! And PENALTY KICK! Nox HAMMERS away on Liv, then bumps her off buckles.
Nox runs in to UPPERCUT, then tags Emma. Nox holds Liv in place and Emma runs in, EMMAMITE SANDWICH! Nox adds the CANNONBALL! Emma drags Liv to the corner, TWO! Liv hangs tough but Emma rains down fists! Emma drags Liv up, underhooks and BUTTERFLY SUPLEXES! Cover, TWO! Emma drags Liv over, tags Nox back in, and they mug Liv. Nox brings Liv up to GOURD BUSTER, and then she pie faces Liv. Fans rally, Nox kicks at Liv, but Liv laughs. Nox drags Liv up but Liv slips around to a BACKSTABBER! Both women are down, they crawl, hot tags to Raquel and Emma!
Big Mami Cool rallies on Emma with big lariats! Emma dodges but the SOUTHPAW comes around! Raquel scoops to FALL AWAY SLAM! Raquel then runs to go up and up and TWISTING VADER! Cover, Nox breaks it! Liv runs in to CODE BREAKER Nox! Liv then runs at Emma but is TOSSED out of the ring! Raquel runs in but into a BOOT! Emma tilt-o-whirls, but Raquel blocks it, to hoist her up! Liv tags in, before the TEXANA BOMB! Raquel sets Emma up, Liv hits ObLIVion! Cover, Liv & Raquel win!
Winners: Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez, by pinfall (advance to WrestleMania)
That’s one team in on the Fatal 4 Way! Who else will live it up in Hollywood with Morgan & Rodriguez?
Charlotte Flair is here!
Kansas City cheers as The Queen struts her way to the ring. The SmackDown Women’s Champion knows Rhea is in the building, what will she have to say to her WrestleMania opponent? We find out, after the break.
SmackDown returns and Charlotte has the mic. “The more things change, the more they stay the same. When I was a baby in my mom’s arms, this business was built on Rhodes as a challenger, Flair as a champion! Now here we are in 2023, two weeks away from WrestleMania, the Road to WrestleMania, and this WrestleMania in LA is built on Rhodes as a challenger, Flair as a champion. I am walking into my seventh WrestleMania. And going into WrestleMania, I was either the challenger, the champion, but I’ve always been the star.” Fans cheer that!
“Now Rhea Ripley, wannabe the champion, wannabe the star, but Rhea can’t be the star until she becomes the champion, and she can’t become the champion until she goes through me!” Fans also cheer that. “Three years ago, Rhea Ripley couldn’t go through me, and today she can’t go through me. Because the more things change, the more they stay the same.” But here comes Rhea! She and Dom make their way back to the ring, but Charlotte stays put. Rhea gets the mic and she has Dom step back. Rhea says Charlotte is 100% right, Rhea chose Charlotte. She didn’t choose Bianca Belair because she had her reasons, but she’ll get back to that some day.
“When I walk through the locker room, men, women, they all turn their back and walk away, because of fear. Because I am dangerous. I am bloody good at what I do, and everyone fears me. Except for you. I mean, look at you right now. You’re staring me down without an ounce of fear in your eyes.” Fans “WOO~!” and Rhea says to be frank, that pisses her off! Charlotte is SmackDown Women’s Champion for a reason. She’s been FOURTEEN-TIME Women’s Champion for a reason. It’s because Charlotte’s a superstar. One of the biggest stars in the WWE, and Rhea can give her all the credit in the world.
“But that right there, your SmackDown Women’s Championship, I want- Hell, I NEED it! Because I don’t want to be a star, I bloody need to be a star. And after WrestleMania, once everything is done and dusted, you’re gonna learn to call me, ‘champion.’ And you’re gonna learn to fear me.” Rhea and Charlotte stare down, and Dom steps up to say Mami is gonna beat Charlotte at WrestleMania and you know it. And then Rhea sucker punches Charlotte down! Fans boo but Charlotte just smirks. Rhea says she’ll see Charlotte at WrestleMania, and fans boo as Dom and Rhea leave again. But Charlotte gets up and takes her shoes off, to storm out after them!
Charlotte CLOBBERS Rhea! Fans are thunderous as Charlotte RAMS Rhea into barriers and the hands fly! Dom freaks out, the refs run out and separate the two, but KC wants to “ETL THEM FIGHT!” Charlotte gets loose, so does Rhea, and the brawling continues! Producers rush out, Rhea POSTS Charlotte, but Charlotte RAMS Rhea into barriers! And SPEARS her down! Fans are loving it but the refs, producers and security separate the two again. Only for Charlotte to break free! Charlotte BOOTS a guard down! Rhea DECKS Charlotte with another sucker punch! Rhea stomps Charlotte, drags her up, and TOSSES her over the announce desk!
The security focuses on Rhea but she wants after Charlotte more! Charlotte gets up to CROSSBODY Rhea and the guards down! Fans are loving all of this as the brawling just continues! Charlotte ROCKS Rhea, Rhea RAMS Charlotte, they keep moving around ringside! Reinforcements are brought in but Charlotte DECKS a ref!! Rhea HEADBUTTS a guard! Rhea runs in, and they both fall over the barriers! The fans go wild being even closer to the action! Charlotte and Rhea keep fighting off security and refs, but the fight finally stops! Charlotte raises her hands, showing she does NOT fear Rhea!
Rhea still wants after Charlotte, but even Dom holds her back. Will there be nothing to stop the Queen and the Eradicator once the bell rings at WrestleMania?
Backstage interview with Sami Zayn.
Kayla Braxton says it was a very emotional start tot he night with Sami, Kevin and Cody. Does this affect Sami’s headspace before he gets to formally confront Jey Uso tonight? Sami admits, that was emotional. A man who once considered Sami a brother drove off, the other is waiting to take Sami out the second he’s in the ring. And when enough people that cared about you start saying you’re the problem, you start to believe it. Sami knows Jey wants to meet in the ring, fine. Whatever happens next, fine. if Sami brought all this upon himself, then he will handle it by himself. Jey wants Sami to pull up, fine. Time to pull up.
There is a lot on Sami’s heart, but will he be able to withstand it all? Or does his Road to WrestleMania end here?
Xavier Wood VS LA Knight!
The New Day is beat up but they’re not down yet! Will Woods represent and shut the Mega Star’s mouth? Or will Knight fight his way to his LA WrestleMania moment?
SmackDown returns and Knight makes his entrance while Woods mocks his catchphrase, “YEAH!” The bell rings, Woods and Knight tie up, and Woods headlocks. Knight powers up to a back suplex but Woods lands on his feet. Woods waistlocks but Knight runs to RAM Woods into buckles! Knight stomps away, “YEAH!” and fans echo “YEAH!” Knight drags Woods up, whips him to ropes, but Woods ducks ‘n’ dodges to slide and ROLLING- NO, Knight ROCKS Woods first! Then DDT! Cover, TWO! Knight stalks Woods to a corner, hoists him up top and he throws haymakers.
Knights climbs up, Woods throws hands in return, and he windmills to then HEADBUTT! Knight staggers away, Woods MISSILE DROPKICKS him down! Fans fire up while both men are down. Knight crawls to ropes and drags himself up. Woods stands, Knight runs in but into a mule kick! Woods suplexes Knight and runs for a FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO! Woods fireman’s carries, but Knight slips off and shoves Woods into buckles! NECKBREAKER on the rebound! And then an Atomic FACEBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Woods hangs tough, but Knight suplexes him up. Woods turns it into a cradle! WOODS WINS!
Winner: Xavier Woods, by pinfall
Knight gets lost in the #BackWoods! If he gets caught like that, how can he make it to WrestleMania?
The second 2023 WWE Hall of Fame inductee is…
THE GREAT MUTA! AKA Keiji Mutoh, a great innovator of moves like the Shining Wizard, Dragon Screw, and of course the use of the mist, Muta finally retired this year in epic battles in both NJPW and Pro-Wrestling Noah. Now he joins Rey Mysterio in this year’s class to be immortalized in the WWE HOF!
Backstage interview with LA Knight.
Kayla asks for a word, and he says, “Lemme talk to ya!” But then he changes his mind when he sees Rey Mysterio signing autographs. Knight tells Rey that he saw what happened out there. If Rey isn’t gonna fight his “goofy son,” Knight will! Knight will give Dom his LA moment. In fact, Knight will make Rey proud and call himself LA Mysterio! He’ll be a deadbeat dad, too! Rey SLAPS Knight! Rey tells Knight off, but in Spanish. Knight asks what Rey said, but it seems pretty clear Knight needs to stay out of family business.
WWE Intercontinental Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Drew McIntyre VS Sheamus!
The Scottish Warrior’s WWE career started all those years ago with the Intercontinental Championship, while the Celtic Warrior has yet to have the Intercontinental Championship. This friendship once again becomes a rivalry, will the Celtic Connection be broken once and for all?
McIntyre points his sword at the WrestleMania sign, but Sheamus puts his shillelagh at it. And then IMPERIUM makes their way to the ring! Der Ring General and his soldiers want to see this with their own eyes, but SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns and the bell rings. Sheamus and McIntyre stare down while fans fire up. The two circle, Imperium is ringside, and McIntyre offers a handshake. Sheamus leaves McIntyre hanging so the two tie up. They go around, end up on ropes, then in a corner. Sheamus and McIntyre turn things around back and forth, then Sheamus headlocks. McIntyre powers out but Sheamus runs him over! Things keep moving, McIntyre kitchen sink knees! McIntyre drags Sheamus up to CHOP him! McIntyre snap suplexes, covers, ONE! McIntyre clamps onto Sheamus’ arm, but Sheamus fights up to CLUB him in the chest!
Wade Barrett convinces Gunther to join him and Cole on commentary while Sheamus whips. McIntyre reverses the whip, but Sheamus blocks the hip toss to LARIAT! Cover, ONE!! Sheamus CLUBS McIntyre and clamps onto him with an armlock and chinbar. Wade asks Gunther who he’d prefer to face, and Gunther says if it turns out to be Sheamus, Gunther will fulfill his duty as champion and beat him again. And what of McIntyre? Sheamus whips McIntyre to a corner as Gunther says that is a waste of time to talk about McIntyre. McIntyre elbows Sheamus away, but Sheamus clinches! McIntyre fights free with elbows!
McIntyre kicks low, underhooks, but Sheamus trips McIntyre up! Sheamus ties up the legs, but McIntyre boots him away! Sheamus rebounds but McIntyre scoops, MICHINOKU DRIVER! Cover, TWO! Gunther throws the headset away but McIntyre drags Sheamus up. McIntyre CHOPS, Sheamus staggers, but Sheamus ROCKS McIntyre with a haymaker! McIntyre CHOPS, Sheamus UPPERCUTS, McIntyre CHOPS and CHOPS. But Sheamus catches McIntyre for the IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! McIntyre is still in this, but Sheamus CLUBS him on the back. Sheamus puts McIntyre on the apron, but McIntyre blocks the Beats of the Bodhrain!
McIntyre CLUBS Sheamus, but then Sheamus blocks the Bodhrain! Sheamus ROCKS McIntyre, drags him through ropes to KNEE and fireman’s carry. But McIntyre elbows free to shove Sheamus away. But he runs into a BOOT! McIntyre goes down hard, but Sheamus kicks him from the corner. Sheamus skins the cat, is wary of the sword, and he stands up top. Gunther thinks this is foolish, but McIntyre ROCKS Sheamus first! McIntyre climbs, CLUBS away on Sheamus, then brings Sheamus up, SUPERPLEX! Both men are down and KC is thunderous as SmackDown goes to break.
SmackDown returns again and McIntyre CHOPS! And ROCKS! And CHOPS again! McIntyre whips, Sheamus reverses but McIntyre ducks ‘n’ dodges, only to run into a scoop and POWERSLAM! Cover, TWO! Imperium is surprised but the fans rally up as McIntyre crawls to ropes. McIntyre drags himself up, Sheamus storms over, but McIntyre puts him on the apron. Sheamus HOTSHOTS McIntyre, and fans fire up as Sheamus hooks McIntyre up. BEATS OF THE BODHRAIN! Sheamus goes to TEN, then roars! Fans fire up more and Sheamus encourages them to get louder. Sheamus aims from the corner as McIntyre stands.
Sheamus runs in, but McIntyre dodges the Brogue to NECKBREAKER! McIntyre kips up and fans fire up! Now McIntyre aims from the corner, “THREE! TWO! ONE!” KNEE FROM SHEAMUS!!! Cover, TWO!! McIntyre survives but fans say “This is Awesome!” Gunther says the end is coming, and he’s eager to have a challenger. Sheamus and McIntyre sit up, and Sheamus throws a haymaker. McIntyre gives it back! They go punch for punch, forearm for forearm, then stand up to go LARIAT for LARIAT! Neither falls so the big swings keep going! Sheamus, McIntyre, and back again! Sheamus dodges but the HEADBUTT hits!
Sheamus KNEES McIntyre again! McIntyre and Sheamus end up in opposite corners! Gunther mockingly asks what’s wrong, and both men slowly rise. They turn, run, DOUBLE BOOTS take both men down!! A standing count start, the fans count along, and we reach 5 of 10 before either sits up. Gunther gets annoyed, but now the count is 7! Gunther gets on the apron to stop the count! Gunther wants a clear winner, not another draw! Fans boo, the ref reprimands, and Gunther tells the warriors, “Who’s it gonna be? HUH!? Who’s it gonna be for this at WrestleMania?” But now he finds himself cornered by the Celtic Connection!
But then Vinci & Ludwig CLOBBER Sheamus & McIntyre, at the same time!! The ref rings the bell!
Double Disqualification Draw
Fans boo as Imperium mugs the Celtic Connection, but McIntyre TOSSES Vinci! Gunther SHOTGUNS McIntyre down! Sheamus TOSSES Ludwig, but then Gunther LARIATS Sheamus! Fans boo as Gunther drags Sheamus up, brings him around, and GENERAL BOMBS him onto McIntyre! He wanted a challenger but just wiped out both men! Is Gunther a liar or a coward?
But wait! Adam Pearce is on the tron! He says Gunther made it clear that he wants to face a single challenger at Mania, but his actions tonight tell a different story. So Pearce is left with no choice. It is officially now Gunther VS McIntyre VS Sheamus, in a TRIPLE THREAT!! Fans love this but Imperium is freaking out! Will nothing stop someone from taking the Intercontinental Championship away from Der Ring General?
Jey Uso is in the ring!
SmackDown returns with one half of the Undisputed Tag Team Champions already waiting, so here comes Sami Zayn! Sami tells Jey that this is what he wanted. “Right, Uce? Right, my dawg?” Jey wants Sami to pull up, so here he is. How does Jey wanna do this? Jey steps closer, and fans chant “UCEY! UCEY!” Jey says he has a job to do tonight, but Sami’s gonna hear this. “From day one, I didn’t like you. From day one, I didn’t trust you. They know that. I didn’t want you around my family at all. But then, week after week, Sami, they started liking you. Jimmy liked you. Solo liked you. Wise Man liked you. Hell, even the Tribal Chief liked you, but not me. Not me, Sami.
“As a boy, I always thought it was my job to protect my family, and I will today. Tell me where to aim, I’m shooting. So the one time I put my guard down to somebody who I thought loved me, and what you do?! You betrayed me! You embarrassed me! You made me look stupid in front of the whole damn world, Sami! Hey, hey! I called you my brother! You know what that mean to me?! Hey, somebody said I second guessed myself all the time. She might be right. But I know one thing, that from day one, you have always been a fake-ass Uce! So what happens next, Sami? What happens next, I ain’t got a choice, Sami!”
Sami speaks up here to say that’s wrong! Jey DOES have a choice! He has had a choice since day one, and he chooses to take Roman’s abuse over and over and over! That is Jey’s choice! Sami loved Jey, he loved this family, but he wasn’t gonna take that every week the way Jey did! Jey took it, he keeps taking it, and he isn’t mad at Sami. He’s mad at himself! Jey isn’t mad Sami hit Roman with the chair, Jey is just mad he didn’t get to do it first! Jey is stunned and the fans are thunderous! Sami says Jey has always had a choice, fans chant, “You’re not Ucey!” Jey says he IS! And then he fires off forearms on Sami!
Jey has Sami on the ropes but Sami hits back! Jey shoves Sami but Sami comes back with a THESZ PRESS! But now Jimmy jumps in! Sami brawls with Jimmy, but Jey SUPERKICKS! The Usos go out after Sami, they pull the steel steps apart, and they SMASH Sami with them! Then they drag Sami into the ring, Jimmy rains down fists, but HERE COMES KEVIN!! Kevin came back!! The Usos stand their ground, but where’s the Prizefighter? He comes in from behind!! The Usos turn around, and Kevin CLOBBBERS Jey! And he CLOBBERS Jimmy! Kevin fires off on Jey as KC loses their mind! Jimmy gets in but Kevin fires off on him, too!
Kevin TOSSES Jimmy out, stomps Jey around, but Jimmy gets back in. STUNNER for Jimmy! Jey runs up, POP-UP POWERBOMB for Jey! Fans cheer as Sami realizes Kevin is here! Kevin roars, then he looks back at Sami. Fans chant “HUG IT OUT!” like earlier tonight. And y’know what? THEY DO!! Kevin and Sami hug because they’re friends again! Cody is watching backstage and he is happy to see the reunion. Is it only a matter of time now before the brothers in arms take down the blood brothers of the Bloodline?
Just an awesome episode of SmackDown with so much great development towards WrestleMania. The Bloodline story is again the strongest stuff of the night, and it was again good stuff to bookend the night with their segments. Obviously Cody has been the American Mediator between the two Canadians, and we got a great exchange out of them. I do have to say, though, Cody’s entrance has too much smoke because the cameraman didn’t know where to look. And even though I knew Kevin was gonna return after driving off, that was still awesome how he showed up from the crowd side to surprise the Usos. Sami and Kevin are definitely and should definitely take those tag titles off the Usos at Mania.
Good Mixed Tag match tonight, and of course Dom and Rhea win big there. Great promo stuff from Dom and Rey, and from Rhea and Charlotte that gave us a great brawl from Rhea and Charlotte, but I do think they should’ve done the segments back to back somehow. Why waste time when Charlotte could be the one to confront Rhea while she and Dom are still in the ring after Dom talked with Rey? If they want to establish Charlotte has no fear of Rhea, just tweak the promos so you can get to that right away. I feel like no one in Western wrestling does that and they really should, because it’s just logical.
Another mixed reaction comes in this news of tag team showcase matches for Mania. It is a great opportunity for the many superstars, and could be a way to show that HHH is hoping to hold onto many of the names he’s brought back, but it also shows that they didn’t really have anything for the tag titles. Well, the women’s tag titles, at least, since we’re getting a huge story for the men’s tag titles. DMG CTRL VS Becky, Lita & Trish is great stuff, but did that story need the tag titles? Granted, I think this is partly because Ronda Rousey can’t compete right now, and was even reluctant to get into the tag title story. I suppose that in the end, we’ll get a couple great “Just for fun” matches either way.
Woods VS Knight was a good match, and the Backwoods cradle is unstoppable. Knight mouthing off to Rey was a great touch, too, as that is just his gimmick now. He talks trash, starts trouble, gets in trouble, and more often than not gets beat because of it. Fans still really like Knight, YEAH, and maybe after Mania he goes Face to some degree. And great news about the Great Muta, Keiji Mutoh. I think part of this shows HHH’s respect for wrestling around the world, and that as World Wrestling Entertainment, WWE honors Muta’s Japanese career and WCW career with this induction.
And of course, great stuff out of the Intercontinental Championship story. Great match from McIntyre and Sheamus, even with Imperium loitering ringside the entire time. Good bit of promo from Gunther on commentary, where he definitely sounded more willing to take on Sheamus than McIntyre since he’s already beaten Sheamus. I figured there was gonna be some kind of draw, but a double count was gonna be a bit disappointing, so good way of getting the draw and putting the heat on Gunther with that double DQ. Now we get the Triple Threat, and honestly, even if Gunther loses, he won’t look weak because it is a Triple Threat.
Now, my heart says Sheamus wins to finally have his Ultimate never-before-done Grand Slam, but my brain says McIntyre to bring his story full circle from the days as The Chosen One. That isn’t to say Gunther will be left with nothing. Gunther can move up and feud for the Universal title (or whatever it’ll be after Mania) because that is how good Gunther is.
My Score: 8.9/10
Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (12/1/23)
SmackDown hears voices!
The Viper is here for The Bloodline!
He returned at WarGames, he returned to Monday Night Raw, and now, The Apex Predator, Randy Orton, returns to Friday Night SmackDown! Will he be able to strike at The Bloodline tonight?
- Pete Dunne VS Bobby Lashley w/ The Street Profits; Lashley wins.
- Santos Escobar VS Joaquin Wilde; wins.
- Kevin Owens VS Grayson Waller; wins.
- Bianca Belair w/ Charlotte Flair & Shotzi VS Kairi Sane w/ DMG CTRL; wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Bianca Belair is here!
Brooklyn cheers The EST as she skips to the ring, her team victorious against Damage Control in WarGames! After a recap package, fans chant for Bianca and she gets the mic to say, “Man, it is so cool to be in one of the best boroughs in one of the greatEST cities in the world, Brooklyn!” The fans cheer that! Bianca says DMG CTRL really tried to take them out, but her team did what needed to be done. So shout out to Becky Lynch for coming through, showing up and showing out. Shout out to Shotzi for her guts and passion. And shoutout to Charlotte Flair for being a bigger person and making that call to Becky.
“Now while it feels great to be standing in this ring and celebrating that W from WarGames, my war with DMG CTRL, it ain’t over~! Cuz Iyo Sky, I’m still coming for you, cuz I want my title back!” Fans also cheer that. But speaking of Iyo, here she comes! The Evil Genius leads DMG CTRL out, though where’s Bayley? That aside, Dakota Kai is the one to tell Bianca, “It’s really great how uh, you can get all of these people to cheer for you.” The fans boo her but Dakota tells them to shut up! Dakota says just earlier, Iyo was saying how gross it is here in Brooklyn! It smells! Who would want to live here?!
DMG CTRL slide into the ring, and Dakota says Iyo was also saying that Bianca is in way over her head, dude. Iyo already beat Bianca twice. So… if Bianca wants to get yet another shot, she’ll have to go through all of DMG CTRL. Well that ain’t nothing new. So who wants it first, huh? But wait! Here come Charlotte & Shotzi to back Bianca up! Fans cheer as Charlotte says “Ladies~…! Bianca isn’t the only one coming for you. And I’d love to go through all of DMG CTRL.” Shotzi says it seems to her that there’s enough DMG CTRL to go around. They rush in, and the brawl is on! Fans fire up but Iyo TOSSES Bianca and helps Asuka against Charlotte!
Shotzi and Kairi brawl in a corner, Bianca returns, Charlotte BOOTS Asuka way while Bianca RAMS Iyo into a corner! Bianca stomps Iyo down, Charlotte helps Shotzi with Kairi, and Charlotte sets Kairi up for Shotzi’s BOOT! Iyo ends up isolated, and Bianca hits a SPINEBUSTER! Iyo scrambles out, DMG CTRL regroups, are their days on top numbered?
DMG CTRL regroups backstage.
And Bayley is confused as to what’s going on. Iyo angrily asks where Bayley was but Bayley says no one told her they were going out there! Maybe if she knew, things would’ve been different! The joshi talk in Japanese, Dakota cools it off. What matters is that Kairi is facing Bianca tonight. No one knows Bianca better than Bayley so Kairi would appreciate the help. Kairi says yes, they’re “tomodachi <friends>,” that’d be appreciated. Bayley says okay, but are they really Bayley’s friends?
Pete Dunne VS Bobby Lashley w/ The Street Profits!
With Sheamus recovering from injury and Ridge Holland just ditching him last week, The Bruiserweight is all alone against The All Mighty! Will Dunne stand a chance against the overwhelming strength of Bobby Lashley?
SmackDown returns and Lashley makes his entrance, Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins by his side. But before the bell, Lashley gets a mic to say “Hey, listen, kid. When I told you to make a name for yourself…” The fans chant “BOBBY! BOBBY!” and Lashley says that’s a name. Does Dunne know what Lashley can do to him? Lashley will break Dunne into pieces! Is Dunne ready for that? Dunne SLAPS Lashley! Fans fire up, Lashley grins, and the bell rings. Dunne then BOOTS Lashley! And BOOTS! And fires off furious fists! Lashley carries Dunne to then TOSS him! Dunne flounders but also snarls. Dunne swipes at the Profits, but Lashley run sin to CLOBBER him!
Lashley whips Dunne hard into buckles, then storms around. The Profits high-five Lashley and Brooklyn is behind him as he stands Dunne up for haymakers! Lashley smothers Dunne in the corner, lets off to whip corner to corner, then storms up on Dunne. Lashley digs hands into Dunne’s face, the ref counts and Lashley lets off. Lashley runs in but Dunne BOOTS again! Dunne runs up to DROPKICK Lashley out of the ring! Fans are torn as Dunne goes out to FLYING KNEE! Lashley staggers back, Dunne sets up to MOONSAULT! Down goes Lashley and Dunne hurries back up! Dunne ARIHARA MOONSAULTS! Down goes Lashley and fans fire up as SmackDown goes to break!
SmackDown returns and Lashley clotheslines Dunne in a corner! Lashley then brings Dunne around to snap suplex! Dunne writhes, Lashley paces around him and the fans cheer. Lashley drags Dunne up, suplexes again, and this time he holds Dunne up! Dunne throws knees, gets free, and he runs, ducks ‘n’ dodges, but Lashley hits a MILE HIGH SPINEBUSTER! Fans fire up again and Lashley drags Dunne up. Lashley TOSSES Dunne out, storms out after him, and then drags Dunne up again. Fans cheer as Lashley fireman’s carries Dunne, to then POST Dunne! The Profits say this is an extended Black Friday!
Lashley puts Dunne in, Dunne crawls away but Lashley aims. Lashley runs in, but Dunne sends the Spear into the POST! Lashley staggers back, the Profits coach him up, but Dunne GAMANGIRIS! Dunne runs up to ENZIGURI! Lashley ends up in a corner, Dunne GAMANGIRIS again! And again! Dunne KICKS and KICKS and KICKS, then pushes Lashley out so he can go up. Dunne DOUBLE STOMPS an arm! Dunne bends the fingers, isolates the arm, and STOMPS the arm! Lashley grits his teeth but Dunne reels him in. ASAI DDT! Cover, TWO! Lashley is tougher than that but Dunne keep son him with HAMMER ‘N’ ANVIL ELBOWS!
But Lashley fights up! Fireman’s carry, then an adjustment, for the OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE! Cover, TWO!! Dunne survives and Lashley is annoyed. Ford says yeah, Dunne’s got heart, but that’s about it. Lashley hauls Dunne up but Dunne SLAPS him! Lashley LARIATS Dunne inside out! Lashley then drags Dunne up, MILE HIGH- ENZIGURI! Dunne gets up, Lashley SPEARS him back down!! Cover, Lashley wins!
Winner: Bobby Lashley, by pinfall
The Bruiserweight put up a fight, but Lashley is still Lashley. Will The All Mighty soon head for a title as we head for the New Year?
Paul Heyman walks into Nick Aldis’ office.
The Wise Man seems rather indignant looking at the SmackDown General Manager. Heyman then dusts off the New York Jets NFL Legacy belt before speaking. “Did you invite Randy Orton to SmackDown tonight?” Aldis says yes, he did. And Aldis intends to sign Randy to a SmackDown exclusive superstar contract tonight. Heyman looks around and asks if the Tribal Chief knows about this. Aldis says Heyman has forgotten that there are countless memos: All communication to Roman Reigns must go through Paul Heyman. So consider this a communication to Roman: Aldis WILL sign Randy to SmackDown.
And if Aldis has to offer up the entire Bloodline as leverage, so be it. So the question to Heyman is… “What’re you gonna do about it?” Heyman says, “Anything it takes.” Heyman gets on his phone to call Roman Reigns. But is there nothing that can stop The Viper from finally being within striking distance of The Tribal Chief?
Backstage interview with Pete Dunne.
Kayla Braxton says he lost to Lashley, but she wants to talk about last week. Why did Ridge walk out on him? Dunne says he doesn’t know. And he doesn’t care. Because right now isn’t about the Brutes, it’s about Dunne! He is going to focus on himself. He is here to fight, and he will fight anyone! But in walk Pretty Deadly. They say this is so tough. But don’t be sad, use this as a learning opportunity. Sometimes, being abandoned can help you find your own path. Even if that path, like Dunne’s career, hits a dead end. Dunne HITS them! Dunne fires off but that’s 2v1 and Pretty Deadly turns it around! They TOSS Dunne into a road case!
How’s that, Butch?! HUH!? You’re alone! ALONE! And always will be! Elton Prince & Kit Wilson have numbers on their side, but will Dunne still get revenge?
Backstage interview with Santos Escobar.
Cathy Kelley says given his recent history with the LWO, what can we expect in his match with Joaquin Wilde here? Santos says he’s only trying to finish what Rey started. Rey turned his back on the LWO when he chose Carlito over Santos. And now Santos’ own brothers in arms are blinded by their hero, not seeing that Rey will do the same to them. Cruz is still recovering from the last time he tried standing up to Santos. And if Wilde can’t see the truth, Santos will put him on the shelf, too. The Emperor of Lucha is becoming a tyrant, but will he be unstoppable in destroying what he helped create?
Santos Escobar VS Joaquin Wilde!
Mitchell’s NJPW World Tag League Results & Report! (12/1/23)
A Block, round 5!
Will it be Chaos for the Reiwa Musketeers?
Shota Umino & Ren Narita are just outside the top spot in A Block, can they take over and truly lead NJPW’s future in World Tag League?
- Six Man Tag: El Phantasmo, Hikuleo & Jado VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- Six Man Tag: Just5Guys VS Tiger Mask, Atlantis Jr. & Soberano Jr; Just5Guys win.
- Six Man Tag: Master Wato, Yuji Nagata & Minoru Suzuki VS Ryusuke Taguchi, Lance Archer & Alex Zayne; Wato, Nagata & Suzuki win.
- 8 Man Tag: Yoh, Bishamon & Boltin Oleg VS Los Ingobernables de Japon; Yoh, Bishamon & Oleg win.
- 2023 World Tag League, Block A: The Gates of Agony VS EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Evil & Yujiro win.
- 2023 World Tag League, Block A: TMDK VS Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa; TMDK wins.
- 2023 World Tag League, Block A: Great-O-Khan & Henare VS Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin; Kidd & Coughlin win.
- 2023 World Tag League, Block A: Shota Umino & Ren Narita VS Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii; Yano & Ishii win.
PLAY BY PLAY
Here are the current A Block standings.
TMDK: 3-1, 6 points
Shota Umino & Ren Narita: 3-1, 6 points
Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa: 2-2, 4 points
War Dogs: 2-2, 4 points
The United Empire: 2-2, 4 points
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii: 2-2, 4 points
The House of Torture: 1-3, 2 points
The Gates of Agony: 1-3, 2 points
2023 World Tag League, Block A: The Gates of Agony VS EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi w/ The House of Torture!
Bishop Kaun & Toa Liona finally got on the board, beating the War Dogs. Meanwhile, the House of Torture is falling apart as they just keep losing! Will the Gates slam shut on them, too? Or will the King of Darkness & Tokyo Pimp find a way to lie, cheat and steal a win once again?
Wait, the Gates are coming out wearing House of Torture shirts? And then they wait for the House to make their entrance? Is this a sign that they’ve become allies? Dick Togo, Sho, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and of course Evil & Yujiro all come out together and they seem pretty chummy with the Gates. All seven go to the ring now, and this is a rather interesting development. Did Prince Nana approve this deal? Everyone shakes hands and “put one out” so clearly there’s something to this. They even pose for photos! But then Kaun & Liona quickly and quietly TOSS Sho & Kanemaru, then they TOSS Dick! Yujiro & Evil don’t understand!
Kaun & Liona throw forearms, the bell rings and the Gates whip Evil & Yujiro. Yujiro & Evil hold ropes to then BOOT in return! But they run into double scoop SLAMS! The Gates tear off the House of Torture shirts, and Liona even wipes his butt with it! Evil & Yujiro are in opposite corners, Kaun runs in to ELBOW Yujiro and Liona SPLASHES Evil! Then the Gates trade, ELBOW for Evil and SPLASH for Yujiro! And back the other way! Fans fire up as the Gates tricked the tricksters! They fire each other up, and Kaun sends Liona into SPLASH Evil! The fans rally up, the Gates run in to SPLASH SANDWICH Evil!
Liona stands Evil back up, he and Kaun OPEN- NO, Yujiro saves Evil and they bail out. The House falls back, daring the Gates to come out after them. The Gates storm out after them, but going all the way to the entrance is suspicious. Sho & Kanemaru attack from behind with chairs! Fans boo as Dick distracts the ref so that the House can mug the Gates! Sho CHOKES Liona with his chair, but Liona bench presses it away! Yujiro helps Sho while Evil drags Kaun around, to RAM into the timekeeper’s area! Poor Abe-san! The fans boo but Evil gets on the mic to basically say this is what they get for messing with the House!
Yujiro SMACKS Liona off the timekeeper’s table, but Liona roars! So Yujiro POSTS Liona to knock him down! Evil drags Kaun up, puts him in the ring, and fans rally up. Evil CLUBS Kaun, CLUBS him again, and calls to the ref. Marty Asami returns and Evil stomps Kaun. Evil drags Kaun up, wrenches the arm and tags in Yujiro. Yujiro CLUBS Kaun’s arm, then reels him in to snapmare and ROCK with a haymaker. Yujiro looms over Kaun to rain down more fists but the ref reprimands. No closed fists! So Yujiro fishhooks Kaun’s nose! Yujiro sits Kaun up to run and basement BOOT! Cover, ONE!!
Yujiro is annoyed but he drags Kaun back up. Yujiro wrenches, wristlocks, and he CLUBS the arm. And stomps it! Kaun clutches the arm, it is taped up from that fight with the War Dogs. Yujiro wraps the arm around ropes! The ref counts, Yujiro lets off at 4 but the House all complains. Tag to Evil and he throws his shirt at Liona. Now the ref has to keep Liona out, and Evil throws Kaun out for the boys to stomp away on! Fans boo these vultures, but then Sho puts Kaun back in for Evil. Cover, TWO! Evil argues with the ref but the fans rally up. Evil tags Yujiro then runs to BLAST Liona! Liona stays up and roars, so Evil pokes him in the eyes!
Evil and Yujiro drag Kaun up, whip him to a corner, and Yujiro runs in but into Kaun’s BOOT! Kaun catches Evil for an URENAGE! Then Kaun uses Evil as a step to SHOTGUN Yujiro! Fans fire up while they’re all done, and Kaun crawls over. Hot tag to Liona! Liona rallies on Yujiro, BOOTS him, then catches Evil for a spin and LARIAT! Fans fire up more and Liona has targets in opposite corners. Liona roars, then SPLASHES Evil! SPLASH for Yujiro! SPLASH for Evil! SPLASH for Yujiro! Liona just keeps going, then he whips Evil into Yujiro! Fans fire up with Liona, and he runs back in, but both Yujiro and Evil dodge!
Yujiro & Evil kick low, double whip to ropes, but Liona breaks the line to DOUBLE SHOULDER TACKLE! Fans fire up again and Liona roars for Kaun! Kaun rises and tags in, and the Gates get Yujiro up! But Yujiro moves, the double lariats collide! Kaun hurries to grab a leg but Yujiro BOOTS Kaun into Liona! Evil tags in and he storms up to CLUB Kaun! Evil stomps Kaun, Yujiro joins in, and the ref reprimands. Yujiro drags Kaun to a corner, he and Evil double whip Kaun corner to corner. Yujiro runs in to BOOT! Evil runs in to clothesline! Snapmare and then they set Kaun up while Sho distracts! Dick hops up, DICK CHOP!!
Fans boo as Evil covers, TWO!! Kaun survives and the fans fire up again! Evil slashes his throat, drags Kaun up, and spins him around, but Liona is back! HELL STAB! Then a HEADBUTT for Yujiro! Liona & Kaun BLAST Dick & Sho off the apron! The fans fire up as now Evil is alone! Kaun & Liona high five and LARIAT SANDWICH! They roar again and they get Evil up. HEAVEN’S GATES!! Cover, but Dick YANKS the ref out!! Fans boo, but Yujiro slips back in to CLUB the Gates! Kaun ROCKS Yujiro in return! Kaun & Liona set Evil & Yujiro up, but they block double low blows! Kanemaru and Sho get in, they DOUBLE LOW BLOW!!
Fans boo as the House stomps away on the Gates! Yujiro has his cane, Dick has the Spoiler Choker. Liona shoves Sho aside but gets the CANE SHOT! Dick CHOKES Kaun, Kanemaru gives him WHISKEY MIST! And then Sho CLOBBERS Kaun with his wrench! Dick gets the ref back in as Evil hits EVERYTHING IS EVIL on Kaun!! Cover, The House wins!
Winners: Evil & Yujiro Takahashi, by pinfall (gain 2 points; The Gates of Agony earn 0)
Kaun & Liona lured the House in, but one good trick wasn’t enough to beat the numbers game. The House even mugs the Young Lions trying to help The Gates! Will this be the beginning of the most unwanted comeback in World Tag League history?
2023 World Tag League, Block A: TMDK w/ Kosei Fujita VS Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa!
The Mighty Don’t Kneel, but Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls did fall for the trickery of Toru Yano. Will TMDK be able to rebound and stay at the top of the block? Or will the Green Supernova and his protege still #CreateTheFuture?
The teams sort out and Mad Mikey starts against Oiwa. They tie up, fans rally up, and Oiwa pushes Mikey back, only for Mikey to put him on ropes. Mikey lets off but shoves Oiwa. Oiwa shoves back! They go forehead to forehead, then forearm for forearm! Mikey claws eyes, headlocks, and brings Oiwa over. Shane tags in, Oiwa gets away, and then Oiwa arm-drags Mikey! Shane runs in, but into an arm-drag! Oiwa wrenches and whips Shane to ropes, Kaito joins in so they can DOUBLE ARM-DRAG! And then DOUBLE DROPKICK! The fans fire and Oiwa has Shane in a corner. Shane throws a chop, but Oiwa stomps and ROCKS Shane in return.
Oiwa drags Shane up to wrench and wristlock, then he scoops to POWERSLAM! Oiwa runs, but Shane gets up to DROPKICK back! Shane puts Oiwa on ropes, stomps away, and then BLASTS Kaito! Mikey smothers Oiwa on the apron, lets off before he gets caught, and then Shane slides to SHOVE Oiwa to the floor! The ref has to keep Kaito back, so that lets Mikey stomp Oiwa. Mikey puts Oiwa in, Shane covers, TWO! Shane drags Oiwa up, brings him around and bumps him off buckles. Tag to Mikey and he CHOPS! Fans rally, Mikey eggs Oiwa on then CHOPS him again! Mikey ROCKS Oiwa, Oiwa ROCKS Mikey!
Oiwa fires off on Mikey but Mikey ROCKS him right back! And CHOPS him right down! Cover, TWO! Fans rally but Mikey sits Oiwa up and runs. Oiwa avoids the sliding lariat! Mikey hobbles up, throws a forearm but Oiwa throws back a flurry! Mikey fires a flurry of his own! Mikey runs, into an UPPERCUT! Oiwa runs and ROLLING ELBOWS Mikey down! Fans fire up as both men crawl, hot tag to Kaito! Kaito rallies on TMDK, whips Mikey and DROPKICKS him down! Shane kicks and runs, into a DROPKICK! Fans fire up again and Kaito whips corner to corner. Mikey reverses but Kaito comes back to NECKBREAKER DROP! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally up again as Kaito drags Mikey up and reels him in. Mikey fights the suplex, but Kaito fires forearms! Kaito reels Mikey in but Mikey suplexes! Kaito slips free, ducks Mikey’s elbow, but Mikey DDTS! Fans fire up while both men are down, Mikey crawls to hot tag Shane! Shane UPPERCUTS again and again on Kaito, whips him to a corner then BLASTS Oiwa before he UPPERCUTS Kaito! Shane keeps moving, CANNONBALL! Fans fire up with Hysterical Haste and he drags Kaito up, FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO! Kaito survives and fans rally up. Shane calls his shot and he drags Kaito back up to reel him in.
Shane underhooks the arms, lifts, but Kaito fights free to chicken wing! Shane fights that to ROCK Kaito! Shane eggs Kaito on then UPPERCUTS him! Kaito comes back to UPPERCUT Shane! Shane UPPERCUTS Kaito! Kaito grits his teeth and shakes his head. Kaito UPPERCUTS, Shane UPPERCUTS, repeat! Fans rally, Shane gets the edge with UPPERCUT after UPPERCUT, but Kaito rebounds to RUNNING UPPERCUT! Both men are down again, and the fans fire up! Shane crawls to an open corner, Kaito crawls to hot tag Oiwa! Oiwa runs in to forearm smash, then he whips Shane corner to corner. Oiwa runs in to DROPKICK!
Fans rally up again as Oiwa clamps on a gut wrench, for a GUT WRENCH SUPLEX! Oiwa drags Shane up again, GUT WRENCH SUPLEX! Oiwa isn’t done, he drags Shane up for a GUT WRENCH BRIDGE! Cover, TWO! Oiwa BLASTS Mikey and Kaito slides in. They double whip Shane, then Kaito sends Oiwa in to ELBOW! Kaito runs in to forearm! Feed to the SPIN POWERSLAM! Cover, Mikey breaks it! Kaito TOSSES Mikey and Oiwa fires up! Oiwa drags Shane up in a waistlock but Mikey makes the save! Mikey CHOPS and Shane LARIATS! They coordinate, fireman’s carry, HIGHWAY TO HELL! Cover, Kaito breaks it!
The fans fire up again but Mikey tosses Kaito out. Shane kicks Oiwa around, eggs him on, but Oiwa sits up. Kaito gives more kicks, and a boot! Shane aims from a corner, runs in, but Oiwa dodges the Shane-ing Wizard to single leg, ANACONDA SUPLEX! Shane staggers back up, Oiwa gets around to GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, but Mikey sweeps Oiwa’s legs! Mikey whips, Oiwa reverses and DROPKICKS! Oiwa calls to Kaito and he returns. They get Shane up and fans fire up with them. Oiwa Electric Chair Lifts while Kaito climbs. But Shane victory rolls under the crossbody! TWO!! Mikey catches Kaito for a MIKEY BOMB!
Oiwa fires off on Mikey and DOUBLE CHOPS! But Shane SUPERKICKS! Mikey scoops, TANK BUSTER!! Cover, TMDK wins!!
Winner: TMDK, by pinfall (gains 2 points; Kaito & Oiwa earn 0)
A powerful battle from both teams, but only one team was mighty! Will Shane & Mikey still be the A Block finalists
2023 World Tag League, Block A: Great-O-Khan & Henare w/ Callum Newman VS Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin!
The Dominator & Face of Fury are holding on at 2-2, but so are #WarReady and the Dreadnought! Will the United Empire conquer these War Dogs and stay strong? Or will Kidd & Coughlin win won for the Rebel?
But of course the War Dogs attack at the ramp! But the Empire is ready, and Khan JAMS Kidd with his banner’s staff! Henare fires hands on Coughlin, HEADBUTTS him, and Khan CHOKES Kidd with the staff! Khan throws Kidd down, Henare CLUBS away on Coughlin, and the Empire gets the Dogs set up for Callum! Callum FLIES! Direct hit and he even lands on his feet! Fans fire up with the Empire and they throw the crowns up. Khan CLUBS Kidd, Henare LASHES Coughlin with his vest, and then Khan whips Kidd hard into railing! Red Shoes says fine then, and the bell rings to get this on record.
Fans cheer while Henare puts Coughlin in and throws forearms. Henare runs to then run Coughlin over! Fans cheer more, and Henare aims. Henare KICKS Coughlin in the back! And KICKS him again! Henare snapmares Coughlin to KICK him again! Then he SENTONS onto knees! Coughlin deadlifts and GERMAN SUPLEXES! Coughlin stomps Henare while Kidd whips Khan hard into railing, sending him up and out! Kidd then drags Khan to the back area of the stands, and whips him all the way into a wall! Coughlin digs his boots into Henare in a corner, then his knee. Red Shoes reprimands and Coughlin lets off.
Kidd and Khan keep brawling in the back as Coughlin CHOPS Henare! Coughlin whips Henare corner to corner then clotheslines! Coughlin then scoops Henare, and hits a FALL AWAY SLAM! Henare tumbles and writhes while fans applaud the show of strength. Coughlin covers, TWO! Tag to Kidd, and the War Dogs get Henare up. Coughlin holds the arms back so Kidd can CHOP Henare! And CHOP again! Kidd then stands on Henare’s head but Red Shoes reprimands. Kidd steps off to storm around. Kidd mockingly asks where Will Ospreay went. Kidd says he’s beating up Ospreay’s boys like they’re his b*tches!
Kidd DECKS Henare, then digs his knee in again. Tag to Coughlin, he drags Henare up, and says “Knock knock” as he taps Henare on the head. Henare snarls but Coughlin SLAPS him down! Coughlin says Henare’s supposed to respond, “Who’s there.” Coughlin kneels on Henare but Khan knocks him over! The War Dogs mug Khan, Kidd drags him out of the ring, then whips him hard into railing! Kidd even DECKS Callum for the hell of it! Fans boo but Kidd says he’s a madman! Coughlin stomps Henare, drags him up, and RAMS him into the corner. Tag to Kidd and Kidd RAMS into Henare. Kidd then snapmares Henare to drop an elbow! Cover, TWO!
Khan runs back in but Kidd DECKS him! Kidd drags Khan up to throw him out, and Coughlin hauls him up to whip hard into more railing! Kidd storms around, kicks Henare, but Henare grits his teeth. Kidd eggs Henare on, kicks again, but Henare blocks! Henare steps over to WHEEL KICK! Both men are down and fans fire up! Henare crawls, Khan drags himself up! But Coughlin runs in to BLAST Khan off the apron! Coughlin then goes out to stomp on Khan, and Kidd CLUBS Henare. Coughlin sends Khan into railing again! Kidd drags Henare up, ROCKS him, then bumps him off buckles. But Henare just growls!
Kidd bumps Henare off more buckles, but Henare just headbutts the buckles! Kidd eggs Henare on, CHOPS him, then whips him. But Henare reverses to SAMOAN DROP! Fans fire up as Henare crawls for his corner. Hot tag- NO, Coughlin YANKS Khan down! Red Shoes reprimands, Coughlin whips, but Khan reverses to send him into railing! And then Khan BOOTS Coughlin down! The fans fire up, hot tag to Khan! Khan runs Kidd over, whips him to a corner and clotheslines! Then torture rack and swing, NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Kidd is still in this but the fans rally behind Khan. Khan sits Kidd up, into the IRON CLAW SLEEPER!
Kidd BITES the fingers! And SNAPS them! Kidd runs, rebounds, but Khan gets under! Henare runs in, ASSISTED SITOUT POWERBOMB!! Cover, TWO!! Kidd survives but Henare and Khan coordinate. Shoutout to Aussie Open, RUNNING KICK SANDWICH! Scoop, HEEL KICK T T D!! Cover, Coughlin breaks it! Coughlin and Henare trade big forearms! Fans fire up as they go back and forth! Coughlin gets the edge, but Henare BODY BLOWS! And ULTIMA- NO, Coughlin fights the full nelson! So Henare shoves him to a corner for a SHINING WIZARD! Then snapmare and RUGBY KICK! And then the Monster Rage boils over!
Henare drags Kidd up, fireman’s carries, and Khan runs. But Kidd slips free to shove Henare into Khan! Kidd BITES Henare, TOSSES him out, talks trash, but turns around into the HELL STAB! IRON CLAW, but Kidd grabs at Red Shoes! RIGHT HAND!! Kidd and Khan fall over after that closed fist shot! Fans rally up as hard as they can but Kidd snarls as he drags Khan up. Kidd runs, springboards, OSCUTTER?!? Kidd sends a message to Ospreay, and Coughlin is back in! Gut wrench, Coughlin goes up, HIJACK TOMBSTONE!! Cover, War Dogs win!!
Winners: Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin, by pinfall (gain 2 points; Khan & Henare earn 0)
That madman tells Ospreay that he’s dead when they finally face off 1v1! December 16th is still two weeks away, is Kidd going to overlook the rest of the WTL all because he wants after the Kingpin?
2023 World Tag League, Block A: Shota Umino & Ren Narita VS Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii!
The Reiwa Musketeers are coming off a big main event win last round, and are near the top of the block! But the Clown Prince & Stone Pitbull just took down the top of the block last round against TMDK! Will Yano & Ishii pull off another shocker to get to the front of the line? Or will the Roughneck & Son of Strong Style make it through the Chaos?
The teams sort out and Ishii starts against Narita. The fans rally, the two tie up, and they’re in a deadlock. Every step Narita pushes Ishii back, Ishii pushes Narita back. Ishii uses his stockier frame to keep pushing Narita, and they end up on ropes. Red Shoes calls the break, Ishii lets off, but Narita intercepts the forearm with a forearm! Narita fires off more shots, but Ishii eggs him on! Ishii and Narita trade forearms back and forth, fans fire up as they pick up speed! Narita ROCKS Ishii, runs, but Ishii avoids the boot. Narita avoids the lariat to BOOT Ishii down after all! Fans fire up and Narita stomps Ishii. Narita then stands Ishii up to bump off buckles.
But then Ishii hits Shota! Shota hits back, Ishii fights both Musketeers at once! That doesn’t go well and they mug him 2v1. Tag to Shota and he digs his boots in while Narita BLASTS Yano! Red Shoes counts, Shota & Narita double whip Ishii to ropes, then DOUBLE ELBOW! SENTON! SOMERSAULT SENTON! Then they shake hands to DOUBLE ELBOW DROP! Cover, TWO! Shota kicks Ishii around, eggs him on, but Ishii stands. The two stare down, and Shota throws a forearm. Ishii eggs Shota on now, so Shota throws more forearms. Ishii leans into the shots and backs Shota down like that! Shota keeps throwing shots, but Ishii DECKS him!
Fans fire up and Ishii rains down more shots on Shota! Red Shoes counts, Ishii lets off, and then Ishii eggs Narita on. Red Shoes keeps Narita back and Yano tags in. Yano fires up, and he unties a buckle pad! Then he throws it to Shota and tattles on him to Red Shoes! Shota gives the buckle pad over, and Yano SLAPS Shota in the head! Fans cheer but Shota scowls. Yano claws the eyes! Yano runs, Shota ELBOWS him then runs to basement dropkick! Tag to Narita, and Narita whips Yano to ropes, for a NECKBREAKER DROP! Cover, TWO! Yano is still in this and fans rally up. Narita brings Yano up but Yano pulls hair!
Narita kicks and whips but Yano reverses to throw Narita down by his hair! Yano drags Narita up and whips him into the bare buckles! Narita writhes, Yano BLASTS Shota, and Ishii rushes over to go after him! Yano throws Narita out and then goes out after him. Yano whips Narita hard into railing! Ishii whips Shota hard into railing, too! Yano drags Narita back up, puts him in the ring, and he stomps Narita around. Yano drags Narita up, tells haters to shut up, then tags in Ishii. Ishii CHOPS Narita, stalks him, and CHOPS him against the ropes! Ishii eggs Narita on and CHOPS him again. Ishii continues to egg Narita on, so Narita throws a forearm!
Ishii slaps Narita around, Narita throws more shots, but Ishii CHOPS him back down! Fans applaud, and Ishii taunts Shota. Shota coaches Narita but Ishii gives Narita toying kicks. Ishii HEADBUTTS Narita, CHOPS him, then CHOPS and CHOPS again! Narita roars but Ishii CHOPS him back down! Ishii whips Narita corner to corner, runs in, but into a BOOT! Narita runs up, Ishii ROCKS him! Ishii swings, but into a HALF HATCH! Both men are down and the fans fire up! Hot tag to Shota! Shota fires off on Ishii, whips him to ropes, but Ishii reverses. Shota CLOBBERS Ishii, then BLASTS Yano! Fans fire up behind Shota and he sends Ishii to a corner.
Shota runs in to UPPERCUT, then FISHERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO! Shota keeps going, and he turns Ishii over into an STF! Yano stomps Shota, so Shota kicks Yano and tosses him out. Shota goes back to Ishii, stands him up, and clinches. Ishii fights the lift with elbows! Shota ROCKS Ishii, gives him taunting kicks, but Ishii ROCKS Shota back! Shota and Ishii stare down, and Shota fires off forearm after forearm! Shota has Ishii in the corner for more shots! Red Shoes reprimands but Ishii roars and turns things around to CHOP and ROCK Shota on repeat! The fans rally up as Shota sits down, only for Ishii to stand him back up for more!
Ishii CHOPS and ROCKS Shota into sitting down again, and the fans fire up! Ishii eggs Shota on, kicks him around, slaps him even, and Shota scowls. Shota storms up on Ishii, Ishii throws a forearm. Shota eggs Ishii on, and leans into the shots a la Ishii. Shota then ROCKS Ishii and he staggers away! Ishii comes back, Shota clinches but Ishii slips around. Shota elbows Ishii, whips, but Ishii reverses to SAIDO! Fans fire up while both men are down! Shota and Ishii crawl, hot tag to Yano! Yano fires up and whips Shota, but Shota reverses. Yano avoids the bare buckles, to then bait Shota into them! Roll up, TWO!
Yano runs, but Shota DROPKICKS him down! Fans fire up again, and Shota crawls to hot tag Narita! Narita runs up on Yano, BACK ELBOW! Then HALF HATCH BRIDGE! Cover, TWO! Yano escapes, but Narita BLASTS Ishii to cut off the tag. Narita clinches but Yano fights the lift! So Narita trips Yano, and rolls him, CROSS ANKLE CLOVERLEAF! Yano endures, the fans rally up, but Narita drags Yano from ropes! Yano keeps fighting around, he reaches out, ROPEBREAK! Narita lets off in frustration but the fans rally up again. Narita stands Yano up, reels him in, COBRA TWIST! But Yano powers free with a hip toss!
Narita runs in but Yano trips him! CATAPULT into the bare buckles!! Ishii clotheslines Narita, too! Then he BLASTS Shota! Yano fires up and he hauls Narita up. ONI- NO, Narita fights free! Narita gets around, SLEEPER! Yano is fading fast, but Narita goes to the COBRA TWIST now! Yano endures, fans rally up, and Yano fights his way around. Shota keeps Ishii out, and Narita brings Yano away with the SLEEPER! Then back to COBRA TWIST! Yano is turning red like his favorite chair! But Ishii sends Shota into railing, to then TACKLE Narita! Fans fire up while Narita tosses Ishii back out. Narita roars and goes back for Yano.
Narita drags Yano up but Yano fights the suplex. Narita knees low, runs, but Yano avoids the boot to clinch and BELLY2BELLY! Fans fire up while both men are down! Yano and Narita crawl, hot tag to Ishii, and he BLASTS Shota! Ishii drags Narita up, throws him into Shota, then runs, but Narita BOOTS! GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Ishii escapes and the fans fire up again. Narita crawls, hot tag to Shota! Shota aims at Ishii, BANG and V-TRIGGER! Shota then slingshots to APRON DDT Ishii!! Fans are thunderous and Shota stands tall as Ishii flops over. Red Shoes checks but Ishii is somehow still in this.
Shota drags Ishii up as the ring count begins. Shota puts Ishii in, climbs up a corner, and he MISSILE DROPKICKS Ishii down! Then Shota resets, to slingshot CUTTER! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives and the fans fire up again! Shota drags Ishii up, dragon sleepers, but Ishii fights free. Ishii runs, into a snap cradle, that then shifts into a BONE LOCK!! Ishii endures the over-the-shoulder crossface, but Narita keeps Yano out! Shota pulls on the hold, but Ishii still fights around! Ishii reaches out, but Shota pulls back more! Ishii flails and kicks around, to have the ROPEBREAK! Shota lets go and the fans fire up again.
Narita slides in, he and Shota coordinate. Shota wrenches Ishii, dragon sleepers, and then gets Ishii up. Narita runs, BOOT into SAVING GRACE! Cover, TWO!! Ishii survives and the fans are thunderous again! The Musketeers stay focused, though, and they haul Ishii up. They double whip him to a corner, Shota runs in to ELBOW! Narita runs in to JUMP KICK! Feed to Shota’s forearm! Narita’s BOOT! Shota’s ROLLING ELBOW! Another BOOT! And then the lift, for the HART ATTACK! Cover, YANO BREAKS IT! Fans fire up but Narita fires off on Yano! Yano gets around, fireman’s carry takeover! Yano kicks and whips Shota, but Shota reverses!
But Yano denies the tornado DDT! Yano atomic drops Shota, then pops him up. Shota fights the Onigoroshi, underhooks Yano, but Yano RAMS Shota into bare buckles! Ishii reels Shota in, hoists him up, POWERBOMB! High stack, TWO!! Shota survives and the fans fire up again! Ishii roars, the fans duel, and Shota flounders up. Ishii runs, Shota BOOTS him, blocks the lariat, and ENZIGURIS! Narita is back to WHEEL KICK! Narita hurries to get Ishii up and NORTHERN LIGHTS! Then a clinch, but Ishii HEADBUTTS free! Narita ENZIGURIS, Shota full nelsons! Narita runs, but Ishii gets free, the BOOT hits Shota!
Ishii shoves Shota into Narita, Yano drags Narita out! LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!?! Shota survives and fans are thunderous again! Ishii grits his teeth and he stands back up. Ishii roars and looks to finish this off. We’re at 20 minutes, Ishii suplexes, but Shota slips free! HALF ‘N’ HALF! But Ishii gets right up to CLOBBER Shota! But Shota’s right up to SHOTGUN Ishii! Ishii’s back, but Shota pop-up KNEES, and LARIATS! Fans fire up again and Shota drags Ishii up. HALF ‘N’ HALF BRIDGE! Cover, TWO!! The fans are thunderous and Shota just fires up again! Shota aims from a corner, vowing to end it here!
Ishii slowly rises, Shota runs in, BLAZE BLADE!! But Shota isn’t done! Underhooks and- NO, Ishii wrenches out to PELE!! Both men are down and the fans are electric! Ishii goes to the corner while the fans duel, and he SLIDING LARIATS!! Cover, NARITA BREAKS IT! Yano runs in to toss Narita out! Ishii roars and he drags Shota back up. Ishii suplexes, but Shota fights free! Shota wrenches, ROCKS and ROLLING- NO, Ishii ROCKS Shota! But Shota catches Ishii, only for Ishii to wrench out! Shota POP-UP UPPERCUTS! And then V- NO, Ishii blocks to HEADBUTT! And then Ishii spins Shota to a BRAINBUSTER!!! Cover, CHAOS WINS!
Winners: Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii, by pinfall (gain 2 points; Shota & Narita earn 0)
There weren’t any tricks needed here, Ishii & Yano beat the Musketeers straight up! Is it still too soon for Shota & Narita to say the Paradigm Shift is coming?
And because it’s Ishii who won this, he’s a true strong silent type, so he and Yano just get outta here! No closing address tonight, but will actions speak louder than words for the Stone Pitbull in this tournament’s second half?
Here are the NEW A Block standings!
TMDK: 4-1, 8 points
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii: 3-2, 6 points
Shota Umino & Ren Narita: 3-2, 6 points
War Dogs: 3-2, 6 points
Kaito Kiyomiya & Ryohei Oiwa: 2-3, 4 points
The United Empire: 2-3, 4 points
The House of Torture: 2-3, 4 points
The Gates of Agony: 1-4, 2 points
Another great round for World Tag League and this block, with some rather shocking moves. I really thought The Gates were going to get going after their win last round, but I guess the House of Torture couldn’t just drop off that badly so they had to win this here. And as we saw in that main event, Yano & Ishii are making a go of it in this block. They beat Shota & Narita, who are certainly still frontrunners, but that was great stuff to make a point that Shota & Narita aren’t ready to beat the real “old guard” they’re talking about replacing here. War Dogs beating the Empire seems fine, they’re mostly just keeping pace so they could cost somebody later.
And great match from TMDK VS the Noah duo, and a great win for TMDK to again be the clear first place team. 4-1 at the halfway point, this block is on Shane & Mikey to win or lose, and as I’ve been saying, TMDK as both a group and as just these two, the OG members, have been solid a long time. It’d be great if they got to the tournament finals here, maybe even get that title shot at WrestleKingdom.
My Score: 8.9/10
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