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Mitchell’s WWE SmackDown Results & Report! (4/14/23)

The King of Strong Style returns!

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Shinsuke Nakamura is back on SmackDown!

After an excursion back home to Japan, Shinsuke Nakamura returns to Friday Night SmackDown! Will the King of Strong Style soon head for gold?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Xavier Woods VS LA Knight; Woods wins.
  • Santos Escobar w/ The LWO VS Damian Priest w/ The Judgment Day; Priest wins.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura VS Madcap Moss w/ Emma; Nakamura wins.
  • Matt Riddle w/ Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Solo Sikoa w/ The Usos; Solo wins.

PLAY BY PLAY

Kevin Owens is here!

The Nebraska Cornhuskers fire up for the Prizefighter, but of course, he’s brought Sami Zayn with him! The Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions go to the ring, raising the titles up high. They then get the mics as the fans chant for “SAMI! SAMI!” Sami thanks the fans for that, and says it has only been two weeks “since one of the most historic nights of all time. For the first time ever, the tag team championships were the main event of WrestleMania.” Fans cheer that factoid, and Sami says, “Two guys that started together from nothing, two guys who’ve been together since they were friends, WE closed out the show as CHAMPIONS!”

Fans cheer again, and Sami continues with, “For as amazing as that was, to be honest, we haven’t really had time to process it. We haven’t had time to think about it. We haven’t had time to think about much of anything, because of everything that’s happening. All the stuff that’s going on with the Bloodline…” Fans boo hearing that name, and Kevin smiles. Sami says all this stuff with the WWE Draft, a lot is going on. It is an exciting time but a time of uncertainty, right? Kevin agrees, this is exciting. Any time there’s a Draft, the unpredictability makes for a certain atmosphere. Everyone loves it.

But here’s two things Kevin knows for a fact. One: he knows that regardless of where they end up in the draft, Kevin & Sami are the Undisputed Tag Team Champions of the WWE, so as hard as they’ve worked to win these titles, they will defend them with everything they have! Whether it’s on Raw, SmackDown, every single time! And speaking of that, the other thing is that sooner rather than later, the Usos are coming for a rematch. Fans boo again, but Kevin tells Sami that- The Usos show up! They also have Solo with them! The Usos have mics, and Jimmy asks if Jey hears all this. Jey does hear all this.

Jimmy says, “These two out here, acting like they folding under pressure, like the pressure got to ’em. Hey, you two been champs for what? Two weeks? Me ‘n’ Uce have been champs for two years.” Jey says that’s 620+ days! What do Sami & Kevin know about pressure? Sami says maybe that’s right, maybe they don’t know about pressure. The Usos are the ones who have to report back every single week, emptyhanded to Daddy Roman. Jey gets riled up but Jimmy tells Sami to shut up. Sami’s been saying the same thing for months now! “The Bloodline’s got cracks in it. The Bloodline’s gonna fall. Go back to your Daddy. Go back to your Daddy. Go back to your Daddy.”

But did Sami not hear what “Mr. Yellow Shoes” Kevin just said? The bloodline is m ore dangerous than ever! And here’s what Sami’s sleeping on. The Bloodline is STRONGER than ever! The Usos leveled up! Enforcer Solo, you don’t want the savage to come out of him. So listen close when they say, and open them big ears up: The Usos WILL BE the NINE-TIME WWE Tag Team Champions! Fans boo, but Jey says there’s no cracks in the Bloodline. They’re solid over here. When the Usos take back the titles, Kevin & Sami will do what they always do: fold under pressure. They’ll turn on each other again.

Jey was wrong about Kevin. It won’t be him turning on Sami. It’ll be Sami backstabbing his brother like he did Jey’s whole damn family!! Jimmy adds, “Facts.” Sami wishes he was as good at anything as Jey is at lying to himself. Jey wants to act like it’s cool. That Roman’s okay with them losing the titles? Fine. Wanna act like there’s no cracks in the foundation? Fine. Wanna act like Solo wasn’t ready to drop Jey last week? Fine. Wanna keep ignoring what Sami is saying, even though you know it’s true? Fine! Sami can tell that it doesn’t matter what he says, because the Usos aren’t here just to talk, right?

Jey says he’s right, they didn’t. The mics drop and the Bloodline moves up towards the ring! The tag champs are surrounded 3v2, but here comes THE BRO! Riddle YANKS Solo off the apron and the brawl is on 3v3! Fans fire up, Solo is sent into barriers! Sami TOSSES Jimmy into the timekeeper’s area! Kevin fires off on Jey then TOSSES him into the timekeeper’s area! Solo turns things around on Riddle, but Riddle ducks the Samoan Spike! Ripcord, FINAL FLASH! And then another FLASH KNEE! And then Riddle goes up top! The Usos drag Solo to safety and fans boo as they’re in retreat!

Kevin, Sami and Riddle egg The Bloodline on, all three “problems” are united! Will Jimmy, Jey & Solo have to deal with them all personally?

 

Adam Pearce talks with a referee backstage.

That was absolute chaos just now, so the ref needs to do Pearce a favor: Find Riddle, find Solo, let them know that if they wanna settle things, they can do that tonight in the main event 1v1 tonight! The ref nods and heads out. Will all hell break loose to end the night?

 

Xavier Woods and LA Knight posted videos to social media.

Woods said, “This Friday night on SmackDown, Xavier Woods has a match up against one LA Knight. Now, LA, you have a gift. You have the gift of gab.” Knight said in his video that he is “the fastest rising star on SmackDown today!” Woods would say that unfortunately, he and Knight now have a problem. Knight complained about not being on WrestleMania over the UpUpDownDown crew, and said that’s not an insult, that’s just a fact of life. Woods would finish by saying that tonight on SmackDown, Woods wins. Will there be no more games in this 1v1 showdown?

Xavier Woods VS LA Knight!

The bell rings and the fans rally. Woods and Knight circle, and fans echo the “YEAH!” Woods applauds, Knight has fans in Nebraska. They tie up, Knight headlocks, and grinds Woods. Woods fights the hold, powers up and out, and Knight runs him over! Fans rally again as things speed up, and Woods DROPKICKS Knight down! Fans fire up with Woods while Knight goes to ropes. Woods storms up, CLUBS Knight, then headlocks in return. Knight endures now, fights up, but Woods hits the takeover. Knight rolls to a cover, ONE! They fight to their feet, Knight back suplexes but Woods lands on his feet.

Woods headlocks, Knight powers out and CLOBBERS him! Knight whips Woods to ropes to scoop, but Woods tilt-o-whirls through to RUSSIAN LEG SWEEP! Woods kips up and fans fire up again! Knight bails out but Woods builds speed. Woods FLIES! Direct hit and down goes Knight, YEAH! Fans are all fired up with Woods and Woods puts Knight in the ring. Woods goes up the corner, but Knight sees him and bails out of the ring! Woods hops down, runs and slides, but Knight avoids the dropkick! Knight RAMS Woods into the apron, then picks Woods up and POSTS him! Woods drops and fans boo while SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns and Woods bumps Knight off buckles. Woods whips corner to corner, runs in but misses! Knight hits a JUMPING NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Knight is annoyed but he stomps Woods down. Woods goes to ropes, but Knight stands on him! The ref counts, Knight steps off, and fans boo. Knight drags Woods up, fans rally with “NEW! DAY ROCKS!” Woods JAWBREAKERS! Woods JABS, JABS, JABS, and whips! Knight reverses but Woods stops to LEG LARIAT! Fans fire up as both men are down! Knight goes to ropes, Woods hurries over and throws forearms. And CHOPS!

Woods whips, Knight reverses, but Woods ducks ‘n’ dodges, then slides, and ROLLING ELBOWS! Cover, TWO! Knight is still in this and fans fire up again! Woods nods, he and Knight rise, and Woods storms up. Woods fireman’s carries, Knight fights free to shove. Woods holds ropes, elbows back, but Knight ducks the leg lariat to DDT! Cover, TWO! Knight is growing frustrated but he can only glare at the ref. Fans cheer and jeer as Knight paces around Woods. Knight brings Woods up, suplexes, but Woods fights it! Knight keeps trying, but Woods blocks again! Knight throws body shots and he CLUBS away on Woods!

Knight kicks and stomps Woods on the mat but fans boo. Knight huffs and puffs, then brings Woods towards ropes. Knight suplexes but Woods fights it! Woods suplexes to hang Knight out to dry! Woods then goes to the ropes, goes up the corner, GUILLOTINE DOUBLE STOMPS! And then Woods goes back up, for a SUPER LEG DROP! Cover, ROPEBREAK!! Knight survives by fingertips! Woods is stunned, but he storms after Knight. Woods whips, Knight reverses but Woods KICKS him away! Woods runs in, into a scoop and POWERSLAM! Knight spells it out, “L! A! KNIGHT!” BIG elbow drop!

Woods staggers up, Knight is there, but Woods avoids the BFT! Woods waistlocks but Knight fights it and switches. O’Conner Roll, but with tights! The ref sees that plain as day! Knight lets off, is upset there wasn’t even an attempt, and Woods O’Conner Rolls! With tights!! The ref misses it, counts, and Woods wins!

Winner: Xavier Woods, by pinfall

Woods cheats the cheater and snatches the win! Will Knight ever live this one down? Or is this Woods’ time to shine?

 

Imperium talks backstage.

Gunther tells Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci something in German, the key word sounds like “focus.” But then WOODS walks in, playing his trombone! Ludwig scolds Woods, saying Imperium is trying to do important work here. Right, sorry, his bad. Please continue. The conversation continues, only for Woods to play the trombone again. Gunther stops Ludwig from rushing Woods, and he says Woods clearly wants his attention. So then, Woods should approach him in a respectful manner. But no, Woods is a good. Woods doesn’t know what respect is. Gunther does not like goofs.

If necessary, Gunther and Woods can step onto the mat and Gunther can beat that respect into Woods. Woods says now we’re talking! Because Gunther has been Intercontinental Champion for a long time, and Woods has never even had a shot. So considering the Draft is coming and Woods doesn’t know what show they’ll end up on, Woods will be the hottest free agent in a few weeks, he feels like he’s beyond ready to step into the ring to take that title back to his place. Woods plays himself off, the challenge being issued. Will the former tag team champion and former King of the Ring look to become the next Intercontinental Champion?

 

Riddle talks with Sami backstage.

Sami thanks Riddle for stepping up against the Bloodline. But Solo is dangerous. Sami wants Riddle to be careful. Solo took Riddle out before, and Sami regrettably was on that side of it. Sami apologizes for that, he feels horrible. Kevin gets hurt last week, Sami feels like that was his fault, too. Sami would just feel awful if something bad happened again. Kevin can’t even with this. Why’s Sami telling Riddle to be careful? Solo took Riddle out for three months, so screw being careful! Go at him with everything! Get revenge! Take him out like he did you! Careful? No, do the opposite!

Riddle says honestly, they both have good advice. But Riddle learned while he was away that he can only keep his side of the street clean. He can’t control if the Bloodline wants to bust his head open with a chair, or if Sami can’t control his Ucey-ness. What Riddle can control is how prepared he is for tonight, and how much pain he is going to inflict on Solo for the 118 DAYS he was out, bro! Sami and Kevin seem to accept that answer. Will the Stallion stampede all over the Enforcer of the Island?

 

Backstage interview with The Judgment Day.

Kayla Braxton is with Damian Priest, Rhea Ripley, and Dominik Mysterio. Kayla says Priest & Dom picked up a win over Rey Mysterio & Santos Escobar in a tag match, despite Zelina Vega kind of embarrassing Rhea. What!? Embarrassing Rhea?! Are you kidding?! Dom has Kayla stop there. Don’t make Mami mad. Here’s the deal: Santos Escobar can go. What he can’t do is pick good friends. Rey Mysterio, the Latino World Order, none of them should be getting involved in Judgment Day business. And Priest already knows Kayla wants to ask about Bad Bunny, but Priest will address all that in the ring.

The Judgment Day heads out, will the Punisher make an example out of the Emperor of Lucha? Or will the LWO find a way to make Priest pay?

Santos Escobar w/ The Latino World Order VS Damian Priest w/ The Judgment Day!

As Priest promised, he gets the mic to speak. “Backlash is in San Juan, Puerto Rico! And the host is my friend, Bad Bunny. Now Bunny, you wanna attend the show, sit in the front row again, fine. Have a great time. But if you put your hands on my family again, I mean, we all know what can happen.” Priest cues up the footage from two weeks ago on Raw, the hands thrown between Bunny, Dominik and Priest, culminating in Priest hitting a choke slam  through the announce table. Fans boo but Dom & Rhea applaud. Priest says that was bad. But he needs us to watch that again, in slow-motion.

But here comes the LWO! Vega eggs Rhea on, but where are the others? They sneak up from behind! Escobar CLOBBERS Dom while Wilde & Del Toro CLOBBER Priest! Fans fire up as the LWO get out of the ring and taunt the Judgment Day. Priest is fuming, will he take out all his frustration on Escobar? We find out, after the break.

SmackDown returns, the match already underway as Priest whips Escobar to a corner. Priest lines up the shot, runs in, but into a BOOT! Priest runs back in, Escobar slips to the apron, Priest hits buckles! Escobar goes up to CROSSBODY! Fans fire up and Escobar clotheslines Priest out of the ring! Fans fire up again and Escobar builds speed! But Priest gets away, so Escobar goes to the apron. Escobar leaps, into an UPPERCUT! Rhea taunts Escobar, Priest puts him in the ring. Priest runs in corner to corner to back elbow! And then BROKEN ARROW! Cover, TWO! Rhea argues the count but the count was fair.

Priest drags Escobar up, knuckle locks, and grins. Priest wrenches the wrist, taunts Escobar, but Escobar CHOPS! Priest KICKS, then twists the wrist. Escobar CHOPS, Priest KICKS, KICKS and twists the wrist. Escobar CHOPS, CHOPS, CHOPS, but Priest blocks! Priest swings, Escobar dodges, and he fires off CHOP after CHOP! Escobar then CHOPS and whips, things speed up and Escobar DROPKICKS Priest down! Cover, TWO! Rhea is furious but Escobar tells her and Dom to “SUCK IT!” Escobar stalks Priest, runs in at the corner, and DOUBLE KNEES! Fans fire up, Escobar ROCKS Priest, then goes corner to corner again, more DOUBLE KNEES!

Priest staggers and Escobar bumps him off buckles. Escobar climbs up and fans fire up. Escobar rains down fists, winds up at nine, but Priest choke grips with both hands! Escobar fights free! But Priest SUPERKICKS Escobar out of the ring! The LWO check on Escobar but he stands up. Priest goes out the side, runs in and leaps off the steps to AX HANDLE Escobar down! The Punisher is in control as SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns again and Priest fires off hands in the corner. Fans rally for Escobar but Priest whips corner to corner. Escobar reverses to fire off hands! But Priest clinches for a FLATLINER! Cover, TWO! Priest snarls but Dom and Rhea like what they’re seeing. Priest clamps onto Escobar with a motorcycle stretch. Fans rally for Escobar, Escobar fights up, and Escobar throws elbows! Priest knees low! Rhea grins but Escobar JAWBREAKERS Priest away! Priest goes to a corner, Escobar runs in but Priest BOOTS him down! Priest snarls, stalks Escobar to the apron, and Rhea grins while Dom soaks up the heat.

Priest drags Escobar up the corner and to the top, but Escobar throws body shots! Escobar ROCKS Priest with haymakers, then climbs up to join him! Fans fire up for the SUPER STEINER! Rhea & Dom panic as Priest looks dazed! Escobar crawls his way over, pushes Priest to a cover, TWO!! Escobar survives and Rhea sighs in relief. Escobar and Priest slowly rise, and they start throwing hands! Fans rally as they go back and forth, haymaker for haymaker! Nebraska is on Escobar’s side but Priest KICKS and KICKS and spins, into a V-TRIGGER! Priest comes back but Escobar dodges the haymaker!

Escobar ducks ‘n’ dodges to FLYING FOREARM! Fans fire up as Escobar rallies! Escobar RANAS Priest into a corner! Escobar runs corner to corner but Priest puts him on the apron. Escobar GAMANGIRIS back! Priest staggers, Escobar climbs, and Escobar QUEBRADAS! Cover, TWO!! A close call and both the LWO and the Judgment Day are going nuts! Escobar stalks Priest to ropes, fireman’s carries, but Priest holds ropes! Rhea distracts the ref on one side, Dom helps Priest on the other! LARIAT!! But then Cruz & Wilde jump Dom! But then Priest goes out to grab them both! Priest SHOVES Wilde & Cruz into the timekeeper’s area!

But Escobar DIVES! Direct hit into the desk! Escobar drags Priest back into the ring, he hurries in, but Rhea anchors a foot! Fans boo, Escobar kicks free, but Vega storms up. Rhea pops Vega up but Vega RANAS Rhea into barriers! Escobar runs in at Priest, but into a JUMP KICK! And SOUTH OF HEAVEN SLAM!! Cover, Priest wins!

Winner: Damian Priest, by pinfall

Deja vu, anyone? Vega gets the better of Rhea, but the boys still get it done! Priest throws Escobar out of the ring, and speaking of deja vu, he clears off the announce desk! Priest drags Escobar up, but here comes REY! The King of Lucha, the leader of LWO, is somewhere in the arena, he LEAPS in from the crowd!! He takes out Priest, then goes after Dom! Fans are thunderous as Rey fires off hands! Dom knees low, swings, but Rey dodges to RAAN! Dom ends up on ropes, and Rey dials it up!! But Priest saves Dom from the 619! Fans boo but the Judgment Day retreats. They’re at a 5v3 disadvantage, they’ll wait for better odds. But what will it take to finally settle this between Dom’s “family” and Rey’s new friends?

 

The Bloodline hypes Solo up.

Paul Heyman says he just got off the phone with The Tribal Chief. Roman Reigns said Riddle didn’t just embarrass Solo. When someone embarrasses Solo, that person embarrasses the entire FAMILY! Their lineage! When someone does that, they embarrass the Usos. They embarrass Afa! They embarrass Sika! They disgrace the memories of Yokozuna and Umaga! They’re turning over in their graves! Let alone what’s going through the mind of Solo’s father, Rikishi! They embarrassed The Tribal Chief, Roman Reigns! Solo has Heyman stop there. Heyman apologizes. Solo wants Heyman to tell the Tribal Chief, “I got this.” Heyman gets his phone to pass that along.

Solo is a man of few words, so him speaking here carries weight. Will all that weight come crashing down on the head of The Bro quite literally?

 

Liv Morgan & Raquel Rodriguez are here!

These two are the NEW WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions after taking on Becky Lynch & Trish Stratus. The drama that happened between The Man and The Chick isn’t their concern, these two are here to celebrate! What will these two say about the biggest win of their careers? We find out, after the break.

SmackDown returns as the official introductions are given, and there’s even pyro! That gives Raquel goosebumps! The champs then get the mics and Liv says they are so happy and proud to be here the NEW tag team champions! Fans cheer, and Raquel adds that they brought the hardware home to Friday Night SmackDown! But Raquel would like to sincerely thank Liv. Really? Yes! Thank you, Liv, for sacrificing your body so willingly to be Raquel’s own personal weapon. But they make the perfect combo of chaos and power! Liv thanks Raquel for that, and says she will always let Raquel throw her into people.

Liv adds that when they started this journey together, she didn’t think this is where they’d end up. So it is a nice reminder that great things will happen when you least expect them. And besides, they’re still getting to know each other, still feeling out their vibe. But if they’re this good this quickly, then wow wow wow, they can only imagine- Oh, wait, here come Sonya Deville & Chelsea Green. They want everything to stop right there. “Sorry” to interrupt, but listening back there was making them feel dumber and dumber by the minute. So first off, Nebraska, when they grace you with their presence, shut up and show respect.

Liv says Nebraska doesn’t have to listen to Sonya. But Sonya wants to address the elephant in the room. “How are you two tag team champions when you didn’t beat the two tag team champions?” Are they all going to ignore the fact that Lita got “miraculously” beat up before the match. Trish subs in and it all just counts? Does that make any sense? Sonya doesn’t get it. Maybe it was someone from upper management that overlooked it. Chelsea says it was probably “pea brain” Adam Pearce! But while Chelsea & Sonya are here, why don’t they discuss the way they’ve been treated? Absolutely!

“The fact that we are being overlooked for this mediocre tag team…” “What even is this?” Chelsea asks Sonya, “True or false: The only difference between these two and everyone else in this building, woof, are those tag team championships.” “True!” “That’s right. Where’s our celebration? Where’s our pyro? Where’s our tag team title opportunities, huh? Do you know who we are?!” “Do you?!” Yes, Liv & Raquel know exactly who they are. But after talking to Adam Pearce, Liv & Raquel are looking at their next challengers. Chelsea 7 Sonya are happy, but then the brawl is on! Raquel BOOTS Chelsea, Liv shoves Sonya to hit a CODE BREAKER!

Sonya staggers up, but Chelsea saves her from ObLivion! The saying is “be careful what you wish for,” will that be proven right as the Hot Mess & Pride Fighter take on the team that’s #LivingLarge?

 

Shinsuke Nakamura VS Madcap Moss w/ Emma!

The King of Strong Style has been away, back to his home in the Land of the Rising Sun. But he has returned to the WWE reinvigorated and ready to start again! Will SmackDown soon become his Kingdom of Strong Style?

Backstage, Emma gives Moss a pep talk. Don’t listen to the fans, listen to her. The fans should be cheering for Moss, not Nakamura. Nakamura doesn’t compare to Moss. Nakamura hasn’t won the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, but Moss has. Nakamura doesn’t have Moss’s looks or strength. Nakamura’s got nothing on Moss. And Moss needs this. Moss will go out and prove why he’s a top pick in the WWE Draft. Moss is fired up, will that fire help him ruin Nakamura’s return?

The bell rings and Moss rushes in! Moss fires off hands in the corner, lets off as the ref counts, and he runs corner to corner to RAM into Nakamura! Moss brings Nakamura up, scoops, but the slam doesn’t have a lot of stank on it. Moss covers anyway, ONE!! Moss suplexes Nakamura but Nakamura knees free! Moss ducks the roundhouse but not the WHEEL KICK! Nakamura gets up and shouts, “C’MON!” Moss falls for it, and runs into the strike fest! AX KICK! Nakamura runs, SLIDING KICK! Moss staggers to a corner, Nakamura runs in but blocks the boots. Nakamura puts Moss in the ropes, ROUNDHOUSES and runs, SLIDING GERMAN!

Fans fire up as Nakamura goes back into the ring. Nakamura is up top, he FLYING KNEES Moss down! Emma worries as Nakamura takes aim! “YAO~!” Nakamura runs in, KINSHASA!! Cover, Nakamura wins!

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura, by pinfall

Emma’s motivation wasn’t enough for Moss to overcome the gap in ability! Moss is mad, he swings on Nakamura, but into the ARMBAR TAKEDOWN! Emma drags Moss out of the ring, but she’s also frustrated. Will Emma & Moss have to go back to the drawing board on how to make their mark?

 

Scarlett Bordeaux is reading the cards.

She nibbles on this one, she must like it. She sets it down, and it’s Nakamura! Karrion Kross then slams the table with his fist. “Tick, tock.” Mr. & Mrs. Doomsday are putting Nakamura on the clock. Will time run out on Nakamura’s return already?

 

Braun Strowman & Ricochet talk backstage.

The Draft is coming, they hope to stick together through it. But then the VIKING RAIDERS attack!! Erik & Ivar ram them into spare girders and bars! Then they grab one and RAM Braun down with it! Ricochet fights back but that’s 2v1! Sarah Logan shouts about the tables! The Vikings hoist Ricochet up, RAGNAROK through tables!! The raid just wrecked the dynamic duo, how will the Monster of All Monsters and the King of Flight respond?

 

Matt Riddle w/ Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS Solo Sikoa w/ The Usos!

The Original Bro is ready to go, and he’s got Sami & KO! Will the Stallion settle the score? Or will the Enforcer erase the embarrassment to the Bloodline?

Heyman has the mic to say, “Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Paul Heyman. And I have a historic announcement to make. I just got off the phone with Your Tribal Chief, Roman… Reigns…! Who has authorized me to let you know we… Well, we muscled our way through management and finally it’s set. Two weeks from tonight, live from Corpus Christi, the biggest tag team match in the history of SmackDown, when the WrestleMania Night One main event gets rematched live! Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn defending and losing the Undisputed Tag Team Championships to the Usos!”

Fans are torn hearing that, but Heyman guarantees this: Kevin & Sami WILL lose those titles, because the Tribal Chief is losing patience with the two of you. Wait, Heyman points at Kevin & Sami but he was looking at the Usos. Are the Usos on thin ice? As for this main event, Bro and Enforcer finally have it out, after the break!

SmackDown returns and the bell rings. Riddle fires off on Solo! Riddle backs Solo down, fires off KICK after KICK, then more forearms! Solo shoves Riddle away, blocks the kick but Riddle gets free to leap up! Riddle has an arm, he wants the kimura! Solo fights that off, to scoop and SLAMS Riddle down! But Riddle comes right back to hop on for a SLEEPER! Solo RAMS Riddle into buckles! Riddle hops back on! SLEEPER! Solo RAMS Riddle into buckles again! Riddle just hops right back on! So Solo runs to BACKPACK SENTON! Both men are down, but Riddle sits up! SLEEPER!! Solo flails and fights up!

Solo stands, Riddle is a backpack again, but Solo THROWS him off! Solo runs in, but into a BOOT! Riddle swings, but into an UPPERCUT! The Usos raise the fingers but the fans boo. Sami & Kevin tell the Usos it isn’t over yet. Solo sits Riddle up to rain down fists! And headbutts! Fans rally but Solo roars. Solo CHOKES Riddle on the ropes! The ref counts, Solo lets off, and Riddle sputters to a corner. The Usos taunt Riddle, Solo storms up and CHOPS! Riddle grits his teeth, Solo brings him out, but Riddle fires forearms! And forearms! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! And a whip! Solo reverses, Jimmy distracts the ref, and Jey trips Riddle up!

Fans boo and the tag champs storm up. The ref hurries to stop Kevin & Sami from brawling with Jimmy & Jey! The ref EJECTS Kevin & Sami?! They didn’t even do anything! The Usos rub it in, but then the ref says they’re EJECTED, too!! Fans fire up and the Usos are upset, but now this will be truly 1v1! Riddle rolls Solo up! TWO!! Solo picks Riddle up for a SAMOAN DROP! Riddle writhes and Solo still has control on his own while SmackDown goes to break.

SmackDown returns once again and Riddle fires forearms! Riddle runs, but into an ELBOW! Solo pushes Riddle to a cover, TWO! Solo frowns but keeps focus as he looms over Riddle. Solo tells Riddle to give up already as he clamps on a claw into the shoulder! Fans rally for Riddle, he fights his way up, and he fires forearms! Solo hits back! The forearms go back and forth, fans rally up, and Solo UPPERCUTS Riddle down! Riddle goes to a corner, Solo runs corner to corner, but Riddle dodges! The splash hits buckles and post! Riddle comes back to CHOP! CHOP! Riddle fires off palm strikes and a boot!

Riddle spins Solo around to PELE! Solo goes to a corner and Riddle kips up. Fans fire up for the forearm smash! Riddle goes side to side, forearm smash! And then clinch, but Solo fights with elbows! Riddle still BROSPLODERS! Riddle runs, but Solo ducks the Penalty Kick! Solo avoids the Standing Moonsault, and gets knees up before the Broton! Riddle writhes to the corner and Solo runs in, but Riddle ELBOWS him! Riddle goes up, WHIPSER IN THE WIND! Cover, TWO! Solo survives and the Usos sneak their way back out from the crowd! The ref sees them and tells them no, they were already rejected!

But wait! Here come Kevin & Sami! They go right after the Usos and they all brawl! Fans fire up, the ref reprimands them all, but Riddle cheers on his guys! But Solo back suplexes! Riddle lands on his feet to ROUNDHOUSE! The Usos POST Kevin! And they DOUBLE SUPERKICK Sami! But Riddle SPRINGBOARD FLOATING BROS! Direct hit at the ramp! Riddle hurries back in, hurries back up, but Solo stands! Riddle leaps, into a SUPERKICK! And SAMOAN SPIKE!! Cover, Solo wins!

Winner: Solo Sikoa, by pinfall

The Bloodline always backs each other up, and that is how Solo gets the win! But Solo isn’t done, he stalks Riddle out of the ring. Riddle drags himself up at the desk, and Solo clinches for a SPINNING SOLO onto the desk! Solo rips the lid off, and then FLIPS the desk onto Riddle! Fans boo as the savage side makes itself known! Refs rush out to have Solo back off, Kevin and Sami hurry to help Riddle. The Bloodline stands together in the ring, but the clock is ticking. Will Jimmy & Jey take care of the Bloodline’s problems? Or will they have to deal with the consequences of failure?


My Thoughts:

A really good SmackDown, more of the road to Backlash being paved. For one, great stuff from the Bloodline as usual. Great opening promo segment, great brawl, and great main event set up. Good promo backstage, where Jey may have a point. Kevin and Sami may be reunited and united against the Bloodline, but they’re dysfunctional about how to do things. Great main event, especially with the ejecting then return of Kevin, Sami and Usos. The brawl makes for the distraction that helps Solo win, and then Solo tipping the desk over was a great touch. But Heyman’s promo beforehand was a nice nod to how Sami is right. Roman expects positive results and doesn’t forgive failure, so if Sami & Kevin retain, Roman is definitely going to say something about it.

Good video promo from Woods and Knight to hype up their match, and clever way for Woods to beat Knight at his own game. Woods wanting after Gunter and the Intercontinental Championship is awesome stuff, and also good continuity from when Imperium feuded with New Day as tag teams last year. Woods is going to look great in the match, but I don’t see him winning. It’d be awesome if Woods won on a Friday, but Gunther’s not losing unless it’s a special event. Nakamura had a good return that also kinda feeds Moss’ story. Emma is a good manager, but Moss is gonna need to turn fully Heel to get anywhere. Scarlett & Kross calling out Nakamura was a nice surprise, and certainly in terms of the match (or matches), Kross VS Nakamura will be great stuff.

Great promo bit from Liv, Raquel, Sonya and Chelsea, and of course Sonya & Chelsea are the ones poking holes in the championship team. They will have a good tag title match, and that will be a solid first win for Liv & Raquel. Meanwhile, Viking Raiders attacking Ricochet & Braun, we’re definitely getting a tag match, but I’m hoping for something a bit more than just a standard one. The WWE Draft could change things, such as the team-up of Ricochet & Braun, so if this is to be their last hurrah, they should make it big. Though, maybe not Viking Rules like with the New Day, that ended up doing more harm than good.

And really good stuff out of The Judgment Day and LWO. Good promo, Priest helping hint more and more that Bad Bunny is gonna get in the ring again. Great match out of Priest and Escobar, but of course there’s overbooking that somehow, someway gives Judgment Day the win. As I said on Raw, I expect a Six Man Tag out of this, with Rey, Escobar & Bunny taking on Finn, Priest & Dom. For one, it’ll take pressure off Bunny in his return, like when he teamed with Priest against Miz & Morrison. Plus, Backlash is basically his show this year, why shouldn’t he get to be in the spotlight?

My Score: 8.6/10


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Coverage

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

Scores will be settled!

Published

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The Road to WrestleMania gets intense!

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

OFFICIAL RESULTS

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

PLAY BY PLAY

Dominik Mysterio is in the ring.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Backstage interview with Nia Jax.

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

 

Sami Zayn VS Shinsuke Nakamura!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Sami Zayn, by pinfall

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

 

Chelsea Green VS Raquel Rodriguez!

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

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

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

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

Winner: Raquel Rodriguez, by pinfall

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

 

Backstage interview with Sami Zayn.

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

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

 

Backstage interview with Cody Rhodes.

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

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

 

Imperium goes to the ring.

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

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

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

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

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

 

Judgment Day regroups backstage.

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

 

Tag Team Street Fight: The New Day VS Imperium!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winners: Imperium, by pinfall

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

 

Adam Pearce is on the phone.

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Winners: Shayna Baszler & Zoey Stark, by submission

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

 

R-Truth is in the Judgment Day clubhouse?

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

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

 

Drew McIntyre is here!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Nia Jax VS Liv Morgan!

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Nia Jax, by disqualification

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

 

Backstage interview with Grayson Waller & Austin Theory.

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

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

 

WWE mourns the loss of Ole Anderson.

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

 

Adam Pearce finds Becky backstage.

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

 

Backstage interview with Jey Uso.

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

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

 

Cody Rhodes VS Grayson Waller w/ Austin Theory!

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

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

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

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

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

Winner: Cody Rhodes, by pinfall

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

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

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

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

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

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


My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

My Score: 8.8/10


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

Night two!

Published

on

The New Beginning comes to an end!

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

OFFICIAL RESULTS

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

PLAY BY PLAY

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa VS El Phantasmo & Hikuleo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Winners: El Phantasmo & Hikuleo, by pinfall

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

 

Hair VS Hair Match: Yota Tsuji VS Yuya Uemura!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Tetsuya Naito VS SANADA!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

My Score: 8.8/10


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