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Mitchell’s WWE Raw Results & Report! (6/12/23)

The mat is sacred!

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Will Gunther MAKE Kevin & Sami respect him?

Imperium is looking to take over Raw, but Der Ring General barely defeated Kevin Owens! Will he and Ludwig Kaiser be able to conquer Kevin AND Sami?

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • Cody Rhodes VS The Miz; Cody wins.
  • Becky Lynch VS Chelsea Green w/ Sonya Deville; Becky wins.
  • Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match Qualifier: Matt Riddle VS Damian Priest; Priest wins and advances to MITB.
  • Ricochet VS Bronson Reed; Bronson wins, by disqualification.
  • Raquel Rodriguez VS Shayna Baszler w/ Ronda Rousey; Shayna wins.
  • Chad Gable w/ The Alpha Academy VS Erik w/ The Viking Raiders; Gable wins.
  • Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS GUNTHER & Ludwig Kaiser; Kevin & Sami win and retain the titles.

PLAY BY PLAY

Rhea Ripley is here!

The fans go wild for Mami as she brings her SmackDown Women’s Championship with her to the ring and Adam Pearce gives her introductions. And much like on SmackDown when Asuka was presented a new belt, there’s a podium with something covered. And Pearce says on behalf of the WWE, it is his pleasure to recognize Rhea’s status as champion with the brand new Women’s World Championship! And yes, it is the men’s belt with a white strap. Fans cheer for “MAMI! MAMI!” as Pearce hands the belt over and Rhea raises it up. But then the fans boo when Dominik Mysterio rushes in to help her put it on.

Rhea and her Dom-Dom celebrate, and Rhea gets the mic. “Dom-Dom, tell ’em how amazing I am.” She hands over the mic and fans boo even louder than before. Dom says that is disrespectful to Mami AND to him! Everyone knows that behind a great woman is a great man, and he is glad to be that for Rhea. He will always be there to support her. But wait! Here comes Cody! Fans sing along with the song, “WHOA~ OH~!” Cody gets his pyro, then high-fives fans and even hugs a few. Then Cody gets a mic and steps into the ring with Dommy & Mami. Fans chant for “CODY! CODY!” and asks Kansas, “What do you guys wanna talk about?”

They could talk about Rhea and her beautiful new belt and the legacy she is starting. It is all well-earned and deserved, all the respect in the world to Rhea. And we could also talk about Cody’s match with The Miz later tonight. But… Let’s try this out. Let’s take a look at what Cody wants to talk about. Footage replays of Dom talking trash on Cody for being a bad father on MizTV last week, and Cody giving it back, and then Dom getting away with a cheap shot on Cody. Back in live, Cody says it would be nice to come out here, hear Brock Lesnar’s music as a sign he finally accepts Cody’s challenge for the tiebreaker. But we all know Brock doesn’t have the balls to do it.

But Dom! Dom just slaps Cody and thinks he can get away with it? Why not try this on for size, Dom? Dom VS Cody, at Money in the Bank! Fans like that idea, but what does Dom say? Dom says, “As you all saw…” The fans boo again. Dom says he’s NOT afraid of anyone! And he took Cody Rhodes “and embarrassed him in the middle of this ring,” just like Dom would anyone else! Rhea smiles, Dom smirks, but Cody seems to expect more. Fans chant “YOU SUCK!” at Dom, and Cody says he’ll make it a bit more clear. The fans were saying something, though. What was it? “YOU SUCK! YOU SUCK!” Ah, okay.

Cody says it is a yes or no answer. Fans say “YES! YES! YES!” but Rhea says that her Latino Heat is more of a man than anyone in this arena, or watching at home, and certainly more than Cody! Then again, he asks- Rhea says Dom accepts! And then Miz runs in from the crowd side! Cody DECKS Miz, and he STOPS Dom from getting a cheap shot! Miz gets up, Cody clotheslines Miz out of the ring! And then Dom still gets his cheap shot!! Rhea says the match is on for MITB, but will Dom see The Miz become an example of what to expect from The American Nightmare?

 

Cody Rhodes VS The Miz!

Raw returns and this match begins! The two rush in, Miz gets around, Cody fights the waistlock and ROCKS Miz! Fans taunt Miz about his “TINY BALLS! TINY BALLS!” as Cody whips and DROPKICKS Miz down! Miz gets up, swings, misses, and Cody kicks low to drop down, Rhodes Uppercut! Cody then hits a back suplex, but Miz lands on his feet! Miz waistlocks but Cody RAMS him into buckles, arm-drags him away, and then tosses him out of the ring! Fans fire up as Cody springboards, BEAUTIFUL DISASTER! Miz falls to the floor and Cody goes up top, but Miz hurries away. Fans boo but Cody hops down, to then DIVE!

Fans fire up as Miz hits barriers! Cody puts Miz in, storms up on him, but Miz wants mercy! The ref has Cody stay back but Cody blocks the cheap shot! DRAGON SCREW! Cody stomps Miz’s leg, drags him around, and then YANKS the leg! Miz hobbles, Cody stalks him, and fans rally up behind him. Cody brings Miz up to CLUB him, then whips him to the corner. But Miz’s leg gives up! Cody keeps on Miz with an armlock, and puts him in the corner to CHOP! Cody runs Miz corner to corner to bump him off buckles, and then he stomps a mudhole in him! Fans rally, Cody goes corner to corner, but Miz puts him on the apron.

Miz slides under and trips Cody to SMACK him off the steps! Miz then hobbles up to SMACK Cody off the desk! Miz stalks Cody around the way, CLUBS him into the ring, and follows. Fans rally, Miz kicks Cody around, and he stomps Cody more. Miz ROCKS Cody with a haymaker, then ROCKS him again! Miz wraps Cody’s bad arm around ropes! Cody throws hands with the good arm but Miz CHOPS him! And CHOPS again! Miz kicks Cody, reels him in, and glares at the fans. But Cody wrenches out to reel Miz in, and Cody suplexes! Fans fire up as Cody holds Miz in the air, before the GOURD BUSTER!

Miz goes to a corner, Cody runs in, but Miz moves to POST Cody! Cody flops out of the ring, Miz goes out after him to RAM him into the other steel steps! The American Nightmare is down while fans boo the Hollywood A-Lister, and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns again and Miz runs in to A-LIST LARIAT Cody in the corner! Miz pushes Cody down, climbs up the corner, but Cody is right up after him! But Miz shoves Cody away! Miz leaps, Cody gets under, Miz comes back, but into a SIDE EFFECT! Both men are down and fans rally up. Miz swings, Cody dodges and runs to CLOBBER Miz! Miz gets up, Cody goes up and over to then POWERSLAM! Fans fire up with Cody and he keeps moving, another BEAUTIFUL DISASTER! Cover, TWO! Miz survives and Cody is frustrated but the fans still rally. Cody slowly stands, and he brings Miz back up.

Cody reels Miz in, but Miz trips him! Miz steps through, Cody kicks him away, and Cody springboards again! But into a full nelson! Cody drops, victory rolls, TWO! Miz kicks legs out to fire off IT KICKS! Miz powers up, but Cody ducks the buzzsaw to roll Miz! Miz rolls through, he BOOTS the bad arm and BUZZSAWS, tot he BASEMENT DDT! Cover, TWO!! Cody survives and now Miz is frustrated! Fans rally for Cody but Miz shakes his head. Miz stalks Cody and shouts, “MASSIVE! BALLS!” But Cody fights the full nelson and arm-drags free! Springboard, CODY CUTTER! Fans fire up with Cody as his rage boils up!

Cody dragon sleepers Miz, to CROSS RHODES!! Cover, Cody wins!

Winner: Cody Rhodes, by pinfall

Cody has cuts and bruises and even a bit of blood on the back of his head, all adding to the broken arm in the brace. But even so, Cody wants to keep on fighting! Will The American Nightmare stand tall in the UK? Or will the Prodigal Son show us he’s the better second generation star?

 

Becky Lynch talks with Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens backstage.

They’re all old pals, and it seems the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions are encouraging The Man. Becky heads out, sees the Alpha Academy showing Maxxine Dupri some basic holds, then keeps moving to go to gorilla. Becky’s head to the ring! Fans cheer, but will Kansas enter the Big Time? Or will the Hot Mess avenge Sonya Deville missing out on MITB?

Becky Lynch VS Chelsea Green w/ Sonya Deville!

Raw returns and fans cheer Becky on as she has the mic. “The Man has come around to Wichita! And the Man is going to Money in the Bank! I have been lucky enough to do a lot of things in my career, but there is one thing that has always eluded me, and that is winning the Money in the Bank Ladder match. But this year, this year, oh, I got a good feeling about this year!” Fans like the sound of that! Becky knows we’ve all been conditioned to think that the #1 person in this company is the person who holds the championships. And on the women’s side, we’ve got a brand new, shiny championship.

But Becky is thinking, the reality is, that the person that is #1 in this company is the person that holds the power! And who holds more power than the person holding that briefcase? Because they have the power to make the champion scared. They have the power to take the champion of their game! And all this talk about power is getting Becky all tongue tied cuz she loves power! So when Becky has the power to make the champions scared, and when people get scared, they do crazy, stupid, dangerous things! And Becky likes it when people do dangerous things because it makes HER better!

But when you think about people being scared, look no further than Trish Stratus. Because Trish Stratus was so scared that she was about to be exposed at Night of Champions, she got herself an insurance policy in Zoey Stark. In Trish’s mind, she’d already lost the match before it even began, and now Zoey-” is here! Becky sighs as The Hunter struts her way out with her own mic to say, “Okay, alright, I heard about enough.” Zoey knows Becky has a list of accomplishments, and good for her. But does Becky know the one accomplishment she’ll never get? That’s beat Trish Stratus! And at MITB, add on “not beating Zoey Stark” on her list of failures.

Becky tells Zoey that yes, she has so many failures, but she learned from every single one of ’em, and that is what makes Becky great. But speaking of learning, we haven’t learned much about Zoey, have we? But there are some things Becky knows already. Becky knows Zoey is special in this ring. That Zoey has finesse, agility and strength in this ring, she is built like a Pitbull! And the one thing Zoey lacks is a personality! Oh, wow, of all the people to talk about personality, it’s Becky? Does she not own a damn mirror?! Becky didn’t become relevant off personality, no! She became relevant off someone breaking her face!

And now, Becky is scratching, clawing, desperately holding onto that fame, and onto Trish. Fans “What?” and she tells ’em to shut up. Zoey will tell Becky this much: at MITB, Zoey will break Becky’s face and make her famous! Oh, Zoey, you ain’t gotta wait until then. They can do this here in Wichita! But wait, here comes the Complaint Department. Sonya wants everyone to hold on. Music down please. Thank you. Chelsea is “sorry” to interrupt. Zoey, was it? Zoey steps to Chelsea and Sonya tells her to relax. They must address the elephant in the room, and that is the BLATANT disrespect from Becky last week!

Becky attacked Chelsea unprovoked, and the only reason Chelsea didn’t retaliate is because she didn’t want to cost Sonya her rightful place at MITB. The only reason Becky won is cuz Sonya cares about her friends and was tending to Chelsea- Becky cuts them off there, and tells Chelsea to get in the ring to have this match already. Zoey, you can even sit ringside to see just why Becky is so famous. The fans fire up with The Man as she throws down the mic and her jacket. Will Becky clean up the Hot Mess?

The bell rings, Chelsea runs in, Becky dodges and CLOBBERS her! Becky gets the arm, Chelsea whips her away, but Becky comes back with a DROPKICK! Becky runs in, Chelsea BOOTS her away and goes up top. Becky SHOVES Chelsea to the floor! Fans fire up, Becky is ready to fight all three of them, and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns again and Chelsea throws Becky down by her hair! Chelsea then clamps on with a chinlock and she thrashes Becky around. The fans rally, Becky endures, and Becky fights up. Zoey watches from atop a ladder on stage as Becky arm-drags Chelsea away. Becky fires forearm son Chelsea, then a SOBAT, but Chelsea blocks to trip her up! Chelsea sits Becky up to surfboard STOMP Becky into buckles! Fans boo as Chelsea takes a bow. Chelsea drags Becky up, slaps her around, and talks trash. But Becky fires forearms again! And uppercuts! Chelsea kicks low, whips, but Becky reverses. Becky runs in but is put on the apron!

Chelsea swings but Becky counter punches! Becky climbs but Chelsea SLAPS her! Chelsea climbs, CLUBS away on Becky, and Sonya cheers Chelsea on. But Becky throws hands! And a HEADBUTT! Chelsea falls away, Becky gets up and leaps, MISSILE DROPKICK! Fans fire up for Becky as Chelsea bails out, but Becky WRECKS her with a dropkick! And then AX HANDLES from the apron! And then RAMS her into barriers! And again! And again! Fans fire up, Becky puts Chelsea in the ring and then hurries after her. But Chelsea YHANKS her into buckles! Chelsea runs back in, btu Becky blocks a boot, only to get an ENZIGURI!

Chelsea drags Becky up, underhooks, but Becky turns it around! Clinch, but Chelsea slips free to roll up, TWO! Into the DISARM-HER! Chelsea taps, Becky wins again!

Winner: Becky Lynch, by submission

Sonya AND Zoey are furious that The Man is still on a roll! Will Becky take down Zoey and all the rest in that Women’s MITB Ladder match?

 

The Judgment Day regroups backstage.

Rhea shows off the new belt, and Damian Priest says she should be given a new one every week. And MITB, Dom VS Cody, that’s gonna be awesome! Her Dom-Dom knows how to handle a ladder. Priest asks Dom a question in Spanish but Rhea seems to understand and she smacks Priest on the shoulder. Hey, just asking. But Dom winks. Rhea says Cody’s gonna get smacked, and Priest says Dom’s gonna wipe the floor with that boy. Wait, Finn, are you okay? He’s been rather quiet. Yeah, he just has a lot on his mind. Priest says what he has on his mind is making sure Riddle faces a reckoning and Priest goes on to MITB, too.

The only thing Priest asks is that everyone else stays in the back. He wants to go out there alone. Priest gives Finn a look before moving past him, will The Prince obey his friend’s request this time?

 

Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match Qualifier: Matt Riddle VS Damian Priest!

The Original Bro wants after Gunther, and Der Ring General dared him to go win the MITB briefcase and use that on him. Will Riddle do just that? Or will the Punisher make sure no one but himself has that final spot?

Raw returns as Priest makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two circle. They approach, Priest kicks low and CLUBS Riddle down. And then he CLUBS Riddle again! Priest brings Riddle up to KICK in the leg, but then Riddle blocks the kick to an ANKLE LOCK! Priest goes to the ropes, Riddle lets off, but Riddle eggs Priest on. Priest shoves Riddle, but then Riddle avoids the boot. Riddle jumps up to get the KIMURA! Priest stays on his feet but Riddle has the body scissors. Priest powers up to suplex but Riddle shifts to a SLEEPER! Priest RAMS Riddle into buckles, but lets off slowly. To then cheap shot with an elbow!

Fans boo as Priest stalks Riddle. Priest TOSSES Riddle to a corner, but Riddle fires off forearms and palm strikes! Riddle whips but Priest blocks it to whip Riddle away! Riddle ducks ‘n; dodges to FLYING FOREARM! And kip up! Fans fire up with Riddle, he runs in to forearm Priest in the corner, then goes side to side. Riddle ducks Priest’s spin kick to forearm again! Priest swings, but into more forearms! Priest gets mad now, but Riddle just eggs him on! Fans rally for the Bro, Priest runs in but Riddle dumps him out! Riddle goes up and out and PENALTY- NO, Priest blocks to trip Riddle! Riddle hits apron on the way down!

Priest goes into the ring, lets the ring count climb, and Riddle crawls. Fans boo but Priest goes out the side, to run in, and leap! Only for Riddle to dodge! Priest wipes out on the desk! Riddle brings Priest up, calls him stupid, and puts him into the ring! Riddle gets in, runs in, and SPLASHES in the corner! Riddle fires off more forearms, then runs side to side to forearm smash! Riddle kicks but Priest blocks! Riddle swings, Priest gest around, clinch and FLATLINER! Fans fire up again as Priest aims from a corner. Priest drags Riddle up, TOSSES him to a corner and he fires off! The ref counts, backs Priest off, and Priest soaks up the heat.

Priest storms back over to Riddle, brings him up, but Riddle throws body shots,. Priest KNEES low, whips and SWINGING BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Priest keeps Riddle down with a motorcycle stretch. Riddle endures the knee in his back and fans rally up. Riddle fights up, rolls, and MONKEY FLIPS Priest to a EuroClutch! TWO!! Priest escapes in time, and he boots, but Riddle blocks! Riddle dodges the haymakers to KICK Priest again and again! Riddle fires off palm strikes, a BOOT, and then a spin for the PELE! Priest staggers, Riddle kips up and he clinches, BROSPLODER! BROTON!

Fans fire up while Priest bails out, and Riddle goes up and out again! PENALTY KICK! It’s a hit! And then Riddle SPRINGBOARD FLOATING BROS! Fans fire up with Riddle and he gets Priest back into the ring! Riddle stalks up behind Priest, scoops and gut wrenches, but Priest turns that around! But Riddle slips free, to GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Priest escapes again and both men are down! Fans rally, Riddle rises first, but Priest throws a forearm! Riddle gives it back! Riddle fires those palm strikes again, then blocks a punch, but Priest blocks the Pele to roll and KICK! KICK! KICK! ROLLING ELBOW!

Priest powers up but runs into the FINAL FLASH! Priest’s legs are noodles, Riddle reels him in! But Priest suplexes first! BROKEN ARROW! Both men are down and Wichita fires up as Raw goes to break!

Raw returns again and Riddle KICKS and KICKS, but then Priest blocks! But Riddle drops to get a takedown, to the ANKLE LOCK!! Priest flails, turns, kicks at Riddle with the free leg, but Riddle just gets that leg to turn Priest over! SLEEPER!! Priest fights up, has Riddle as a backpack, for a BACKPACK SENTON! Priest is free, but Riddle sits up! SLEEPER! Priest rolls back, gets free, and LARIATS Riddle down! Riddle sputters, flounders, and goes to a corner. Priest runs in to back elbow! Priest keeps moving, but into BODY SCISSORS! HANGING TRIANGLE!! The ref counts, Riddle lets off, and Priest staggers away.

Riddle hurries up, slingshots, but into a HAYMAKER! Priest then drags Riddle off the ropes for a DRAPING DIRTY DEEDS!! Cover, TWO!! Riddle survives that elevated headlock driver and Priest is furious! Priest waits on Riddle to stand, then choke grips. SOUTH OF- NO, Riddle slips free! Riddle BOOTS Priest, goes up the corner, but Priest trips him up! Riddle lands on his little bro, and Priest goes up to get Riddle! Crucifix lift, but Riddle slips free! Priest BOOTS Riddle, but Riddle goes right up after him! SUPER FISHERMAN SUPLEX!! Both men are down but Riddle crawls to the cover, TWO!?!?

Fans fire up again while Riddle is beside himself. Riddle drags priest to a drop zone, “This is Awesome!” as Riddle climbs! FLOATING- NO, Priest moves and Riddle lands on his feet. Priest shoves Riddle to ropes, Riddle goes up, but Priest catches him! RAZOR’S EDGE!! Priest wins!!

Winner: Damian Priest, by pinfall (advances to MITB)

The Punisher is heading to the UK! And most of all, the Judgment Day listened and didn’t get involved. Will Priest also ascend the ladder and bring down the prize all by himself?

As for Riddle, Gunther & Ludwig are on their way out here. Giovanni Vinci is not here after Riddle messed up his ankle in that backstage brawl. Priest looks the WWE Intercontinental Champion in the eye, and then tells him, “Pick the bones.” Priest heads to the back, Gunther & Ludwig go tot he ring! Riddle fires off on Gunther but Gunther throws knees into him! Gunther SLAPS Riddle around, and Ludwig simply watches and mocks Riddle. Ludwig then stands Riddle up so Gunther can CHOP him back down! The Bro sputters, and Ludwig hands Gunther his title. Fans boo as Ludwig dares Riddle to say something now.

Riddle writhes from the damage done by both Priest and by Gunther. Will Riddle have to be more careful around Raw these days?

 

Backstage interview with Cody Rhodes.

Cathy Kelley is with Cody and says that it is official, we’re getting Cody VS Dom at MITB. His thoughts? Well, made official by Mami cuz Dom probably wouldn’t have the guts to accept it himself, so she had to do it for him. And that’s a reoccurring thing, isn’t it? Judgment Day, from Finn to Damian to Rhea, protecting Dom after every cheap shot. What’s going to happen is that Dom is going to get hurt. The problem Cody has is that Brock won’t show up while Dom won’t go away. And Cody isn’t naïve. April 2nd, ref’s hand hits the mat, 1-2-3, everyone in the sports world who watches the WWE, all eyes on him.

They all wanted to know what would happen next. Cody facing adversity, will he quit and run away? No, he runs out there. That is why Cody smiles, hands off his weight belt, and loses his mind when the fans lose their minds singing his song. Because every second on this path to finish the story, Cody is clinging to it. He really is. So Brock, Dom, you name ’em. They are NOT going to knock Cody off the path. London, MITB, good luck to Dom-Dom. Cody is more fired up than the logo on his shirt, will he use that to blaze his trail back to a title match?

 

Backstage interview with Natalya.

Byron Saxton asks the Queen of Harts that ever since losing to Rhea Ripley, there are those saying she hasn’t been the sane. Natty says maybe never being the same is a good thing. Because being Natty has gotten her nowhere. And maybe she isn’t sure how to be herself anymore. Natty heads out, but then Byron spots Sami & Kevin. He asks then that last week, tough loss to Gunther, how is Kevin feeling tonight? Yeah, that was tough, cuz Kevin felt he was this close to beating the seemingly unbeatable. But it’s fine, because tonight, Kevin & Sami get payback. But then Imperium walk over.

Ludwig says, “Payback is exactly what happened to Matt Riddle out there. And speaking of it, if I remember correctly, you, my friend, lost against Der Ring General already.” Sami keeps Kevin calm, and says to them, they have no place to brag since it took all three of them to steal that victory. And speaking of, didn’t Riddle take out one of you? There’s usually three, where’s Baldy at? Where’s Baldy? Oh, speaking of, Adam Pearce walks over. Sami says there’s no problem, he and Kevin are just letting these boys know what’s in store for them tonight. Oh, how confident. Then why not put the tag titles on the line?

Kevin says if that’s supposed to intimidate them, FINE! They’ll put the belts on the line! If it means they get to kick some Imperium ass this week, next week, every week! He’s gonna get his gear on, cuz he can’t wrestle in regular shorts and a T-shirt! He needs his different shorts and shirt! Let’s go! Kevin storms off, Ludwig & Gunther laugh. Oh, that’s funny? Well, get a good look. Because you’re lookin gat the UNDISPUTED Tag Team Champions, got that? Sami heads out, and Gunther says Pearce heard all that. So make it official. Pearce says he’ll consider it. But will it really happen? Will Kevin & Sami regret raising the stakes on themselves?

 

Indus Sher speaks.

Jinder Mahal says their opponents last week became prey before the bell ever rang. But they are not satisfied. If their opponents are still walking, the job is not done. “Shelton Benjamin, Cedric Alexander. You’ve shown us respect with the fear in your eyes. We offer you a proper match, a proper chance at survival. Just know, every single one of your fears will be justified.” So says the Modern Day Maharaja.

 

Ricochet VS Bronson Reed!

The One and Only is in the Men’s MITB, and that really annoys Auszilla. Will Bronson wash Ricochet out of that match with a Tsunami? Or will even The Colossal One fail to ground the King of Flight?

Raw returns as Bronson makes his entrance. The bell rings and the two rush in! Ricochet DROPKICKS, but Bronson stays up! Ricochet fires off hands, Bronson pushes him back, but Ricochet comes back for more! Bronson pushes Ricochet away again, but Ricochet KICKS away on a leg. Bronson grabs Ricochet by the neck! Ricochet fights free, throws more forearms, but Bronson just glares at him. Bronson TOSSES Ricochet to a corner, then DECKS him! The ref checks on Ricochet but he’s still in this. But then Shinsuke Nakamura swaggers down the ramp. Fans cheer but Bronson tells him to stay back.

Bronson runs in, Ricochet dodges and ROCKS Bronson with a forearm! Bronson stays up so Ricochet runs again. Bronson swings, Ricochet ducks ‘n dodges then tilt-o-whirls, but Bronson blocks the DDT! Bronson suplexes Ricochet to hang him out to dry! Then he YANKS the rope to send Ricochet flying! Ricochet flounders to the other side, Bronson runs in to BODY CHECK Ricochet! Nakamura seems mildly impressed but Bronson still warns him to stay away, and Raw goes to break.

Raw returns again and Bronson has Ricochet up in an Electric Chair Lift! Ricochet throws down hands on Bronson, slips around but Bronson blocks the huricanrana! Bronson brings Ricochet back up but Ricochet escapes the bomb! Ricochet ducks, runs, handsprings and back elbows! But Bronson stays up! Ricochet fires forearms, Bronson shoves him, but Ricochet BOOTS back! Ricochet Tiger Wall Kicks then ENZIGURIS! Bronson wobbles and fans fire up with Ricochet! Nakamura watches as Ricochet runs in, but is put on the apron. Bronson swings, misses, and Ricochet GAMANGIRIS! Then Ricochet springboards to MISSILE DORPKICK!

Bronson tumbles out of the ring, Ricochet builds speed and DIVES! Bronson hits the desk! Fans fire up and Nakamura likes that. Ricochet puts Bronson back in the ring, springboards back in, CROSSBODY! Down goes Bronson, but then Ricochet LIONSAULTS! Cover, TWO! Bronson is still in this but Ricochet keeps his cool. Bronson goes to the apron, Ricochet storms up, but Bronson ELBOWS Ricochet back! Ricochet triangle jumps to ENZIGURI again! Bronson flops to the floor, and Ricochet goes up to ASAI MOONSAULT! But Bronson catches him, to TOSS him into Nakamura! Fans fire up while both men fall!

Bronson drags Ricochet up, puts him in the ring, and Bronson grins as he pounds his chest. Bronson then goes up the corner, but Nakamura GAMANGIRIS!

Winner: Bronson Reed, by disqualification

The King of Strong Style is pissed and he fires off on Bronson! But that just gives Bronson the win! Ricochet is upset with Nakamura now, they argue, but then Bronson CLOBBERS them both!! Bronson reels Nakamura in, short arm LARIAT! Bronson is gonna repeat last week as he climbs up the corner again! But Ricochet GAMANGIRIS first! Ricochet fires off hands but Bronson shoves him away. Nakamura GAMANGIRIS again, climbs up after Bronson, and Ricochet helps out! Fans fire up as the two kings hit a DOUBLE SUPERPLEX! A rough landing for all, but especially for Bronson!

Fans lose their minds, Ricochet and Nakamura look to each other, and they nod. They have a common enemy and they just took care of him! But who will truly be the king after Money in the Bank?

 

Sami and Kevin talk backstage.

Sami says that now with the titles on the line, they have to be careful. Kevin knows that. But Sami does want to know, what was that with Imperium? What was what? Uh, Kevin exploding on them. He’s doing that a lot lately. He’s like always at a ten. Kevin is not! He’s at a six. Kevin does his best to calm down, but he says it is the months of stress and frustration with The Bloodline, all the way up to WrestleMania, and then even after WrestleMania, he thought they were done and now that they are, it’s just all problems! There’s the two tall guys with the long neck and the big ears, and they’re speakin’ European. Kevin should know but he’s French, they’re not French.

Sami calms Kevin down again. He just wants to know that when they go out there, is Kevin good? Yes. He’s great, even. Okay, okay, that’s all that matters. Good. Kevin’s gonna get water. Good, yes, hydrate. Does Sami want one? Yes, yes, thank you. Kevin heads out, but Sami still has to convince himself Kevin is good. Will things be good when the two of them face Gunther & Ludwig later tonight?

 

Adam Pearce is on the phone.

He’s glad they see it the same way. Yes, it is official, the tag titles are on the line tonight! And yes, he’ll let everyone know that. But then Ricochet walks over. Ricochet asks Pearce what he has to do, but he needs a rematch with Bronson Reed. Pearce says he understands the frustrations, but Bronson already has a match for next week. Oh, of course. Against who? Shinsuke Nakamura. And he walks up now with a smile. Then please, Nakamura, explain what the problem is. Because that was Ricochet’s fight! What Nakamura did is not cool. Ricochet didn’t ask for help and he doesn’t need it.

Nakamura, if you do that again, they are gonna finish what they started before MITB. Nakamura tells Ricochet it was nothing personal. It is his turn to succeed where Ricochet failed. Oh, failed? But don’t worry! You can have what’s left after Nakamura’s done. Will the King of Strong Style be the one to tear down Auszilla?

 

Finn Balor heads to the ring!

The Prince has been in a sour mood all night, and it looks like he wants to share what’s been on his mind. He gets the mic while fans are torn between jeers and cheers, and he says, “Seth Rollins! The Workhorse Champion! I know you’re here. And I’m here. And we need to talk. No jokes, no zingers, no singalongs! Just facts. So get out here now.” Finn waits, and Seth Rollins makes his entrance! Fans sing “WHOA~ OH~ OHHH~!” as the World Heavyweight Champion makes his way out, belt around his waist as he wears another wild gold ‘n’ black suit. Rollins joins Finn in the ring, mic in hand, but also enjoys the fans singing his song.

Finn asks if they’re done. They keep going, so no. Finn says he’s been waiting seven years to say this and he’s not waiting another second, so everyone better shut up! Rollins patiently waits with a smirk on his face, and Finn paces. Finn says if they wanna sing about something, sing about this! Seven years ago, Finn was a first rounds draft pick to Monday Night Raw! He beat Roman Reigns on his first night! And three weeks later, he beat Rollins to become the FIRST-EVER Universal Champion! Sing all night, because Finn has a lot more to say. Fans keep singing, and Rollins’ smile grows bigger.

Finn says this isn’t funny! This is serious! And y’know what else is serious!? The singing continues but Rollins finally says, “Kansas, are you having fun tonight?” The fans cheer because they are. Finn says he’s not having fun! This is serious! He’s been waiting seven YEARS! Rollins says, “You’ve been waiting seven years to say what? What do you want to say? If it’s that damn important that you’re gonna ruin their party, then get it off your chest and do it right now!” Fans cheer, and Finn says he will! He’ll do it right now! What should’ve been the highest of highest for Finn became the lowest of lows in an instant, all because of Rollins.

A torn bicep, a torn pec, a torn labrum, and a fractured socket. Now, Finn ain’t complaining about the injury. This is a hard business, this is a tough business. Injuries happen. But what really bothered Finn, other than that these idiots won’t stop singing…! They’re still going. Finn says Rollins loves it when they sing, huh? Just cuz he has a catchy song, that means everyone likes him? They don’t like Rollins! They don’t even know Rollins! Rollins asks what Finn’s getting at. Finn says that Rollins took EVERYTHING from Finn! Rollins took Finn’s momentum, his title, and a year off his career! Rollins took EVERYTHING!

But guess what? Now it’s Finn’s turn to take everything back, and take it all form Rollins! What Finn is gonna take is Rollins’ momentum! He’ll take Rollins’ momentum, and a year off Rollins’ career! And it’ll all happen at Money in the Bank! Rollins isn’t affected by that challenge as the fans keep singing. Rollins then laughs, and laughs, and laughs! Fans cheer and Rollins says, “Kansas, you’re too kind. But I’m not laughing cuz you sang his promo outta the building, no no. I’m laughing because this is the Finn Balor I’ve been waiting to see for the past seven years!

To paint a picture, inaugural Universal Championship match, SummerSlam in Brooklyn, that match sent them both on career trajectories that were completely different. And why? Because one got bitter, and the other got better. The singing returns, and Rollins grins. Rollins won’t lie, he’s done some bad things over those past seven years. But y’know what else he’s done? Rollins has made memories, made history, and made moments that the fans will never forget! Fans cheer that! And Rollins did that because he changed! He adapted! He rolled with the punches! Rollins got better every single day, and now he is the greatest version of Seth Freakin’ Rollins!

You want the proof? It’s the World Heavyweight Championship! Finn wants a crack at it? “YOU! ARE! ON!” Rollins then asks Finn, “Which version of you is gonna come to London and fight for this title? Because this bitter shell of a champion, he don’t stand a chance. But… The Finn Balor that beat me to become the first-ever Universal Champion with his arm hanging off his body, HE’S got a shot! So here’s my question to you: Are you gonna bring that Finn Balor to Money in the Bank? Or are you gonna bring the guy who’s been walking for the past seven years acting like a little b*tch?” Rollins throws down the challenge to Finn’s challenge, just what happens at MITB in the UK?

 

Raquel Rodriguez VS Shayna Baszler w/ Ronda Rousey!

Big Mami Cool still owes the Baddest Women on the Planet a little something from that Women’s Tag Fatal 4. Will she give the Queen of Spades a parting shot before the tag title unification match in a few weeks? Or will Shayna break Raquel as an example to Alba Fyre & Isla Dawn?

Raw returns as Shayna & Ronda make their entrance. Shayna shows off her tag title and her black belt, then the bell rings. They tie up, Raquel doesn’t budge, and she shoves Shayna way. They go again, Shayna wrenches an arm to a wristlock and then a double wristlock, but Raquel scoops with one arm! FALL AWAY SLAM! Raquel then SPLASHES int he corner, scoops again, and FALL AWAY SLAMS again! Then she runs corner to corner, but Shayna bails out! Raquel goes out after her but Ronda’s in the way. Raquel tells Ronda to back off, and she puts Shayna in the ring. Raquel runs, Shayna dodges the boot and sweeps the leg!

Ronda smiles as Shayna grabs a leg and pulls on it. Raquel kicks with her other leg but Shayna pulls on the one she has! Shayna then turns Ronda over, isolates the foot and STOMPS the ankle! Ronda grins while Raquel clutches her foot. Raquel shoves Shayna away but Shayna’s after the leg again. Shayna ducks a lariat but not the SOUTHPAW! Shayna gets back up but Raquel blocks her kick to then KICK Shayna’s leg! Raquel kicks away on the thigh, and Shayna hobbles away, only for Raquel to KICK the leg out! Shayna ends up in the drop zone, Raquel steps on her to go up, TWISTING VADER!

Raquel hauls Shayna up but Ronda distracts. Raquel grabs Ronda, but Shayna rolls her up! With Ronda helping! Shayna wins!

Winner: Shayna Baszler, by pinfall

This should’ve been put down as a handicap match since it took them both to win! But if it took both of them to stop Ricky Desperado, do Ronda & Shayna stand a chance against the Wicked Witches of NXT?

 

WWE mourns the loss of The Iron Sheik.

Growing up in Iran, The Iron Sheik was as tough as they came. Sheik himself said that his country was known for two things: oil and wrestling. He was a wrestling champion in the Iranian National Army, then made the jump to sports entertainment. He used the political tension to become “one of the most despised villains” of his era. The flag, the clothes, the boots even. An impressive physique and strength, and his Camel Clutch was devastating. And in 1983, Sheik would shock the world by becoming a world champion. Sheik’s ability to get a strong reaction from fans was instrumental to bringing the WWE up in the 1980s.

Sheik’s impact and notoriety are undeniable, and he joined the WWE Hall of Fame in 2005. From captivating persona to unparalleled charisma, the Iron Sheik’s legendary career puts him in a special place in the hearts of fans worldwide. Gone but never forgotten!

 

Chad Gable w/ The Alpha Academy VS Erik w/ The Viking Raiders!

“Master” Gable has been coaching Maxxine Dupri in the ways of Alpha style wrestling, and now he looks to teach by showing. Will he give a master class? Or will Erik be the one to say “A Thank Yew?”

The bell rings and the two circle. Erik roars but Gable says, “SHOOOOSH!” Erik runs in, Gable dodges, then arm-drags! Gable has the armlock, he drags Erik around, and Gable makes sure Maxxine was watching closely. Gable wrenches, whips, but Erik reverses to CLOBBER Gable! Sarah Logan and Ivar cheer while Erik fires off forearms. Erik puts Gable up top, climbs up after him, but Gable fires forearms and chops! Erik falls back, Gable adjusts, and Gable DIVING HEADBUTTS! Fans fire up while both men are down! Otis says that’s using your head! Logan glares at Maxxine from across the way, and starts running that way!

Maxxine hits an arm-drag?! Fans cheer as Maxxine gets the better of Valhalla! Ivar keeps Logan back, but Erik whips Gable to a corner. Gable goes up and over, sunset flip, GABLE WINS!

Winner: Chad Gable, by pinfall

Big wins for everyone in Alpha Academy! Maxxine hit her first arm-drag ever, and Gable got a huge win over Erik! Will this trio take over Raw this Summer break? Or will the raid only come back angrier and more violent?

 

Finn Balor talks with JD McDonagh backstage.

The Prince talks to his former student that Raw isn’t about friends, but making impacts. McDonagh points out Priest walking up, and then says thanks for the advice. They’ll catch up later. And when it comes to “that other problem,” maybe Finn should take his own advice. The Irish Ace heads out and Finn says hey, congrats on qualifying, Priest. Yeah, thanks. Finn is in a better mood. Must have to do with that title match he has now. Congrats on that, too. Yeah, yeah. When Priest wins the MITB contract, he wouldn’t cash in on Finn, would he? Dawg, are you really asking that? Of course Priest wouldn’t. Finn has his word on that.

But in the future, Finn should really keep his word with Priest. Priest is happy about the opportunities they both have coming up, but really, Rollins has Finn up and down and all over the place, causing tension between them. Make it worth it. At MITB, Finn must end this. Priest heads out, and Finn has something new on his mind. Will the Prince and the Punisher be able to put this behind them once the Judgment Day is truly on top of the world?

 

Backstage interview with Seth Rollins.

Cathy talks with the World Heavyweight Champion now and brings up his match against Finn at MITB. This is seven years in the making, is Rollins prepared for a “bitter” Balor? Ooooh~, HAHAHAHA! He is as prepared and confident as one man can be. The real question is: is Finn Balor prepared for Rollins? After Rollins beats Finn at MITB, Finn won’t just lose his mind. He might lose his friend, Priest, too! And something is missing. Rollins is feeling frisky, spry, like… Yeah, yeah! Let’s blow this up and throw a monkey wrench into it! Next week, live on Raw, let’s do an OPEN CHALLENGE for the WORLD! HEAVYWEIGHT! CHAMPIONSHIP!

He IS a Visionary, he IS a Revolutionary, he IS Seth Freakin’ Rollins! HAHAHAHA! Rollins heads out, but between Finn on Raw, Bron Breakker over in NXT, and whoever else is out there, is he going to end up losing this belt already?

 

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn VS GUNTHER & Ludwig Kaiser!

What was going to be a rematch of The Prizefighter & Great Liberator against Imperium’s soldiers turned into Kevin & Sami VS Der Ring General and Ludwig, given Vinci’s run-in with Riddle. But then that went from a match about respect to a match about titles! Will Kevin & Sami defend the prizes they fought so hard to get in the first place? Or will Gunther soon be holding three belts instead of just the one?

Raw returns and Imperium makes their entrance. The introductions are made, the tag belts are raised, and we see if the mat is truly sacred!

The teams sort out and fans cheer for Sami as he steps to Gunther! The two circle, feel things out, and then tie up. Gunther doesn’t budge, and he shoves Sami down! Sami goes to a corner, gets back up, and he shakes it off. The two circle again, feel things out, and tie up again. Gunther powers Sami to a corner, lets off slowly as the ref counts, but Sami avoids the chop to CHOP! And CHOP! And CHOP! Gunther pie faces Sami down, then kicks him low! Gunther UPPERCUTS Sami, then hits a headlock takeover! Fans rally and duel, Sami fights up, but Gunther knees low! Gunther UPPERCUTS Sami to ropes!

Gunther whips, Sami holds ropes and then dumps Gunther out! Sami builds speed to FLY! Direct hit at the ramp and down goes the Intercontinental Champion! Fans fire up for Sami while fans go to break.

Raw returns again and Sami fires off on Ludwig in the corner. Sami brings Ludwig out to throw hands, but Ludwig kicks low. Ludwig headlocks, Sami powers out, but Ludwig runs him over. Things speed up, Sami hurdles then arm-drags Ludwig to an armlock! Ludwig fights up, pulls hair, and he puts Sami in a corner. Ludwig throws hands, but the fans rally up. Ludwig whips, Sami reverses but then Ludwig puts Sami on the top rope. Sami blocks Ludwig’s gamangiri! Ludwig hobbles, Sami AX HANDLES! Cover, ONE!! Ludwig hangs tough and Gunther coaches him, but Sami brings Ludwig up and around.

Sami bumps Ludwig off buckles, tags in Kevin, and they whip Ludwig to then drop toehold and SENTON! Kevin stares Gunther down, then brings Ludwig around to stomp him. Kevin goes up, MOONSAULT! Cover, TWO! Ludwig is still in this but Kevin brings Ludwig up. But Ludwig throws hands! Kevin gives them back, they go back and forth and fans fire up! Kevin gets the edge, but Ludwig kicks low! Ludwig whips, Kevin reveres, but Ludwig UPEPRCUTS! And ROCKS Kevin with a right! But Ludwig runs into a LARIAT! Kevin SENTONS again! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Kevin brings Ludwig up and over.

Sami tags in, he and Kevin mug Ludwig, then Sami brings Ludwig out. But Ludwig powers him to the Imperium corner! Ludwig swings, but Sami counter punches! Sami even hits Gunther some! Sami whips but Gunther tags in as Ludwig reverses. Kevin tries to warn Sami but Sami clotheslines Ludwig up and out! Gunther runs in to BOOT Sami down! And then he BOOTS Kevin for good measure! SPLASH on Sami! Cover, TWO! Sami survives but Gunther looms over him. Gunther kicks Sami to a corner, brings him up, and CHOPS him down! Fans rally for Sami but Gunther CHOPS him down again!

Tag to Ludwig and he taunts Sami. Ludwig clamps on a chinlock and he grinds Sami down. Fans rally, Sami fights up, and Sami throws body shots! Ludwig ROCKS Sami with a right hand! Ludwig puts Sami in the ropes, Gunther holds him, and Ludwig runs side to side to DROPKICK Sami out to the floor! Ludwig then distracts the ref so Gunther can hit Sami with an APRON BACK SUPLEX! Fans boo but Imperium soaks up the heat as Raw goes to break.

Raw returns once again and Sami brawls with Ludwig up top! Sami fires off, the fans fire up, and Sami gets up to SUNSET FLIP POWERBOMB!! Fans are thunderous as Sami reaches out to his corner! Ludwig and Sami both crawl, hot tags to Gunther and Kevin! Fans fire up as Kevin dodges to CHOP and fire off on Gunther! A revisit to last week’s main event as Kevin roars and runs! LARIAT, but Gunther stays up! So Kevin LARIATS again! Gunther is still up, and he BOOTS back! But Kevin LARIATS on the return! And SENTON! Gunther stagger sup, into a clinch, EXPLODER sends Gunther to a corner!

Kevin goes to the opposite corner, Ludwig runs up but Kevin DECKS him! Gunther runs up but into a SUPERKICK! Gunther’s back in the corner, Kevin runs in, CANNONBALL! Kevin pushes Gunther to the drop zone then goes up top! SWANTON BOMB!! Cover, TWO!! Gunther survives, this is why he’s the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of the 2000s! Fans chant “ONE MORE TIME! ONE MORE TIME!” Kevin waits on Gunther, but Ludwig slithers in! Kevin runs Ludwig off, but Gunther rolls Kevin up! TWO!! Kevin escapes, he kicks low, but Gunther shoves Kevin away! Kevin comes back, DOUBLE BOOTS take both men down!

Fans are thunderous as Sami returns to his corner! Kevin and Gunther crawl, hot tags to Ludwig and Sami! Ludwig runs into an EXPLODER into the corner! Sami then goes to the far side, but Gunther drags him out! But Sami ducks, the CHOP hits POST! Gunther clutches his hand, Sami gets back in and he catches Ludwig for a BLUE THUNDER- NO, Ludwig slips out to ENZIGURI! Ludwig shoves, fireman’s carry, ROLLING DEATH VALLEY! Tag to Gunther, PENALTY KCIK! Ludwig GAMANGIRIS Kevin off the corner, then Gunther gets Sami up! Toss into the UPPERCUT! And then Ludwig DIVES to take out Kevin!!

Gunther LARIATS Sami inside-out!! Cover, TWO!?!? Sami survives and shocks everyone!! Gunther drags Sami up again to CHOP! And then POINT-BLANK LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!!!! Sami is alive and Gunther is furious! Tag to Ludwig, and he climbs up top. Gunther Electric Chair Lifts Sami, to IMPERIAL DOOMSDAY!! Cover, Kevin barrels into Gunther to break it!! All four men are down and the fans are thunderous! Gunther and Kevin flop out of the ring, Ludwig crawls to Sami, and “This is Awesome!” as Kevin and Gunther brawl outside! The ref reprimands, but Gunther POSTS Kevin!

Kevin and Gunther stagger around, but HERE COMES RIDDLE!! The other refs and some producers are trying to stop him, but Riddle jukes ’em! But Gunther BOOTS Riddle first! Kevin goes after Gunther, DDT to the ramp!! Sami has Ludwig all alone and catches him for BLUE THUNDER BOMB!!! Cover, Sami & Kevin win!!

Winners: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn, by pinfall (still Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions)

Gunther & Ludwig came within reach, but they could not take these titles from Kevin & Sami! We know that SmackDown will hold a #1 contenders gauntlet, who comes out of the blue brand ready to battle this battletested team?


My Thoughts:

A great episode here, with a lot more set up towards MITB. One thing I figured would happen was Rhea would be given her own new belt, the Women’s World Championship. And no surprise, it parallels the World Heavyweight Championship. There’s nothing wrong using the same molds for these belts, it’s what they literally did the first time around with the WWE World Championship and the WWE Women’s Championship that then became the Raw Women’s Championship that was copied in the SmackDown Women’s Championship. And perhaps it’s just really hard to come up with completely new designs that can be agreed upon as good looking belts.

I also like that Cody confronts Dominik over last week, as he should. Granted, Dominik still got the better of Cody for that Heel heat, but Cody got to take his anger out on Miz in a great opening match. Cody VS Dom is gonna be really good stuff just for how Dom can play off the fans booing him to death. And with how much Cody is egging Brock on, I bet Brock shows up to screw Cody out of that match so Dom can have another win over someone really accomplished to further inflate that ego. And Cody’s promo later on has a point: Dom’s gonna get so high on himself that he’ll pick a fight with the wrong guy and get “hurt.” Hell, it might be Brock…

Good promo from Seth and Finn, though the fans constantly singing kinda made it go longer than it needed to go. But at the same time, it speaks to how much the fans like Rollins, and how much they like his song. Seth VS Finn is going to be great stuff at MITB, and I like that it is feeding into the tension within Judgment Day. Riddle VS Priest was an awesome MITB qualifying match, and I figured Priest would win that given Riddle’s story with Gunther. But Priest and Finn are at odds as to who is going to be the real leading man in Judgment Day. Finn talking to McDonagh is a big tell as to what could happen here. JD replacing Priest in Judgment Day just makes sense, given the history with Finn, and how he’s already “JD.”

Becky had a good promo with Zoey Stark that also led into her match with Chelsea Green. Of course Becky won but her role in MITB is more about fighting Zoey Stark than actually winning the thing, I feel. A bit disappointing there was no Women’s MITB qualifier tonight even though Raw is to have the last spot there. I thought Raquel was gonna have such a match but she was just helping Shayna & Ronda build momentum. To that end, a little disappointed there were now supernatural shenanigans from Alba & Isla given we’ve only got so much time before that match happens. How are RawDown only viewers supposed to see Alba & Isla as real threats if they don’t do anything past that brawl on SmackDown?

Not sure how they’re gonna work out things between the Men’s MITB entrants on Raw, though. Ricochet VS Bronson getting “ruined” by Nakamura, and then Nakamura VS Bronson for next week, I thought this was how Bronson was getting in but then we got Riddle VS Priest tonight. I don’t see them making a special exception made for Bronson if they’re also not going to do the same for the women on the other side. I’m still not really sure what the plan is for Bronson Reed, I thought he was gonna get a midcard title before the Draft but then the Draft itself kinda screwed up how that would’ve worked.

Pretty hilarious stuff out of Alpha Academy and Viking Raiders. I thought they were going to give us Maxxine VS Sarah already, but I suppose Maxxine getting the moral victory of hitting Sarah with one good move was enough for now. Though the Viking Raiders continuing to be chumped out is a bit disappointing, too. I mean, they could’ve been in the WWE Triple Crown Tag Team club but they missed out on the SmackDown titles because of the Bloodline building things and having those titles on The Usos. And as great as The Alpha Academy are in the ring and as characters, it’s a shame Sarah, Erik & Ivar are probably gonna lose to them in a Mixed Six or something.

Great stuff out of the tag title story with Imperium, though. Gunther & Ludwig of course went after Riddle after he lost to Priest, and I did like that Sami did talk with Kevin about his apparent new temper. Kevin’s logic was sound, he’s still dealing with the frustrations from the Bloodline story. They had an awesome main event with Gunther & Ludwig, and I do appreciate that they kept Vinci away to sell the power of Riddle’s ankle lock. Riddle was also a natural choice for distraction to keep Imperium from winning, though I’m sure Kevin & Sami would’ve found a way. Now Kevin & Sami can watch SmackDown’s gauntlet match, will more than likely be won by Pretty Deadly, and that build will be hilarious.

My Score: 8.7/10


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Coverage

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

Scores will be settled!

Published

on

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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