WWECW One Night Stand (2006) – Review

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Well… this was an odd time wasn’t it? Every now and then in pro-wrestling, often in the run up to a major event, we get a series of events and happenings that doesn’t quite seem… normal… Immediately I think of the build to the 2019 Survivor Series when we had NXT guys add girls dominating those of Raw and SmackDown before they won the show… and then nothing much was said again after. And across the independent scene in the build to the start of AEW, lots of stuff happened that was… different… and most of it cool, but we knew it wouldn’t happen again long term deep down. Well… let me take you back 15 years… When Vince McMahon decided to revive one of the most beloved ‘underground’ wrestling promotions in history, but under a WWE banner (first red flag right there…). After the HUGE success of the one off ECW One Night Stand PPV a year prior (which I also reviewed for my blog so go back and take a look at that), it was decided that they’d do another one here, but not just that… Off the back of the show’s success and the sales of an ECW DVD released at the time, ECW was coming back. It would be it’s own show alongside Raw and SmackDown, with its own roster and Championship. They would have a lighter schedule and run smaller arenas.

The initial creator and head guy at the old ECW Paul Heyman would be the on screen figure head for the brand. And in real terms creatively he would have a lot of say also, but of course everything that Heyman wanted for the ‘new’ ECW would have to be ratified by Vince (red flag 2). Of course as it was 2006 and it was WWE (a publicly traded company, and a family-friendly organization and product), so ECW would need to… well… there were a lot of things that ECW did that WWECW just wouldn’t get away with (red flag 3).

RVD's greatest rivalries: photos | WWE

Going in to the show there would be an official WWE Draft, but only for the new ECW brand. Paul Heyman would get to pick one superstar from Raw and one from SmackDown to come over and become a part of ECW. The Raw pick would be ECW original Rob Van Dam, who at that time was the holder of the Money in the Bank briefcase that he won at that year’s WrestleMania. Van Dam announced going in to the event that he was cashing in his contract to get himself a match against John Cena for the WWE Championship to take place at the Hammerstein Ballroom at the ECW PPV. RVD added that when he won he would re-christen the title as the ECW Championship. We then had a brawl after between a number of ECW originals and the superstars of Raw who had come to defend Cena, leading to a Raw vs ECW TV special airing a few days prior to One Night Stand. On That show a match between Cena and Sabu ended when The Big Show came out to attack Cena, revealing himself as the newest addition to ECW (that famous ECW star BIG SHOW… red flag 4?)….

Another match set for the show had an interesting build… After their incredible Hardcore match at that year’s WrestleMania the Hardcore legend Mick Foley seemed to form a bond with opponent Edge, and over the course of a few weeks Foley turned his back on ECW alumni Tommy Dreamer and long term associate Terry Funk. Foley as a heel was quite odd to see, but he was quite convincing in his bashing of ECW and the ‘cheap, Mick Foley rip-offs’. Weeks of build led us to an extreme rules intergender 6 person match with Foley teaming with Edge and his girlfriend Lita against Funk, Dreamer and Dreamer’s wife Beulah McGillicutty.

Shitloads Of Wrestling — Mick Foley, Lita, and Edge An unlikely alliance,...

Elsewhere on the card we had Rey Mysterio (formerly of the original ECW for a time) defending the World Championship against ECW legend Sabu… A match that seemed doomed to fail as they’re never putting the WWE World Title on SABU, and beating him on this show infront of this crowd even to a popular guy like Rey is surely never going to go down well… We did also have Kurt Angle (who was the SmackDown draft pick chosen to be a part of WWECW) against Randy Orton. Two great talents and I’m sure Angle will be popular, but a singles match on an ECFW show between two guys who never stepped foot in an original ECW ring… Hmmm… So it was all set up to be one… well it was going to be memorable that’s for sure. As with ECW you didn’t quite know what you were going to get… After the show the year prior the expectations were high… 2005 One Night Stand felt very much like an ECW show… but now WWE were doing THEIR version of ECW properly now, this was not a one off event, this was the start of a brand revived. I already can tell from odd things I know of the show that this one felt VERY different from the 2005 version, so let’s see… So here we go then, wish me luck… Here is my thoughts on WWECW One Night Stand from the year 2006.


A packed out Hammerstein Ballroom opened the show with a load of “EC-DUB” chants.

Paul Heyman then came out to open the show properly.

We then had the PPV opener for real as Bodies played and Joey Styles on commentary welcome us to the rebirth of ECW.

Tazz came out with what sounded like dubbed over music (and loud ECdub chants) on the network version? He was also wearing a big baseball shirt. Lawler was heavily booed of course. He played a tremendous heel as the crowd chanted “YOU SUCK DICK”… Lawler slapped Joey Styles as he made his way to the ring.

Tazz defeated Jerry “The King” Lawler

Joey Styles came to the ring and tried to choke Lawler, but he got him off. Tazz then applied the submission and Lawler passed out. They went 25 seconds.

N/A

Joey Styles led into footage from the ECW vs Raw special. The big angle from that show was Big Show leaving Team WWE to join ECW. We also saw John Cena vs Sabu in an extreme rules match for the WWE title. That ended with a big brawl.

Tazz had by then come over to join Joey Styles on commentary.

Kurt Angle defeated Randy Orton

ECW One Night Stand (2006)

Naturally the WWE born and bred Randy Orton was not very well liked by the crowd. Orton has his signature pyro, which Styles and Tazz hated as they put over the anti-WWE/pro ECW stick. Orton had recently returned from kayfabe injury/irl suspension. The Wrestling Machine Kurt Angle here in his later days in WWE was AWESOME. Kurt was VERY over. The crowd chanted for Angle to “fuck him up”.

Orton rolled out the ring and the fans called him a pussy. Kurt tried the submission but Orton desperately tried to get out of it, eventually crawling to the outside. This crowd were very very vocal in who they wanted to win… let’s just say that… Again after Angle tried to wrestle Orton, and Randy would scramble and try to escape. Orton told the rabid crowd to shut the fuck up (bleeped of course)… Angle threw Orton over him to get him down, he was really taking him to school. The crowd loved it as Angle slapped away at Orton as he maintained the neck hold, … eventually Angle even let Orton try and get a neckhold in but Angle twice just kept mugging him off after. Man this character is cool. Things seemed to change after Angle collided shoulder first with the ringpost, and then Orton seemed to takeover with strikes… Until Angle just “dump tackled” him down… Orton got a back elbow after for a nearfall … the crowd called Orton a “knock off Cena” which was hilarious given he was always the number 2 guy of that era to Cena… Orton had a rest hold in, although Angle reversed it quickly… Kurt kept control and got a couple of nearfalls, Orton bit angle and then elbowed him to try and get out. The crowd told Orton that he swallows… Orton had a neckhold in and the crows chanted “BORING” loudly… Not going to lie but the crowd are starting to detract from this match a little for me (it’s more about them than either Angle and definitely Orton at this stage)… Angle got out and tried a belly to belly but Orton countered twice … until he went into the corner and Angle got a German suplex. After a striking exchange Angle got a standing clothesline and a trio of German suplexes. He waited on Orton to get up but Orton countered the angle slam with an arm drag then got a great dropkick, and got a nearfall after. Angle got a belly to back suplex and took down the straps, he then got the Angle slam for a close 2 count. The crowd chanted for him to “break his ankle” and Angle got the ankle lock, only for Orton to send Kurt into the corner and get his signature neckbreaker for another close nearfall. Orton looked for the RKO… Angle went after him but got a back elbow, Orton went to the top rope, Angle went up after but got pushed down, Orton got a great crossbody but Angle rolled through for a nearfall. Then Orton took Angle down with a big clothesline. Orton waited… but Angle waited and countered, Orton then rolled him into a nearfall pin, Kurt then got a single leg takedown and rolled into the ankle lock for the win after Orton tapped. Crowd were very happy. Solid match.

***3/4

The F.B.I. (Little Guido and Tony Mamaluke) (with Big Guido) defeated Super Crazy and Tajiri

TJR Retro: WWE ECW One Night Stand 2006 Review (RVD vs. Cena) -  TJRWrestling - WWE, AEW News, TV Reviews, PPVs, More!

Super Crazy was very over.

The crowd were changing “where’s my pizza?” Early in the match… Jesus… Tajiri running in and kicking and then quickly leaving the ring was hilarious. Match was good and the crowd seemed to have fun, I just can’t pretend I cared too much about it personally. Tajiri was very over when he and Little Guido tagged in… They said mid match that Tazz had left SmackDown the previous week. …There was a Great handspring elbow spot from Tajiri. I also really liked the Double Tarantula spot as did the crowd. Big Guido later got in ring and was taken down with kicks by Crazy and Tajiri… Both members of FBI hit clotheslines and then combined to hit a double fisherman’s buster on Tajiri for the win.

**

After the finish Big Show came out… and went face to face with Big Guido… Show kicked away everyone, side stepped a flying Super Crazy, hit a knee to Tajiri, super crazy was sent out of ring, Tony mamaluke was taken out , big guido was kicked out. Crowd cheered… ok then…

After Joey Styles and Tazz on commentary spoke to camera about the two world title matches tonight, and how Paul Heyman said both titles would be brought over to ECW and be “re-christened”… we heard the dulcet tones of one John Bradshaw Layfield.

Now… if you know the story of JBL from ECW One Night Stand the year prior, combined with the fact he’s naturally a twat, you can imagine what the crowd thought of him… strap yourselves in for this promo…

The crowd chanted “You Suck Dick” as he spoke. The promo I thought myself was decent. It went as follows:

(PLEASE EXCUSE THE PICUTRE QUALITY. THE AUDIO IS UNEFFECTED WHICH IS THE MAIN THING)

Sabu vs Rey Mysterio (C) in an Extreme Rules match for the World Championship went to a No Contest

Sabu (carrying a chair) came out to a decent pop, he also had to turn around to do his pose facing the hard camera… Mysterio also had a chair with him and was booed a little (having ECW on his mask clearly not enough for these fans). The referee made both men put their chair down to ring the bell. And right there if ever something signified that this was WWECW and not Extreme Championship Wrestling it was the referee (wearing SmackDown colours) telling both guys to put down their steel chair, so that he could then ring the bell… oh boy… this match seemed doomed to fail from the start. The match itself was fine, both men tried a lot of spots assisted by a chair and both did various acrobatic moved, which the crowd appreciated. At one point after a pretty hard bump Sabu took, the ref put up the X with his arms to signal he was legit hurt. Before that we had a mad spot where Sabu literally threw a steel chair at Rey’s head and it made the most almighty sound. The finish… oh man…

10 Relatively Unheralded Matches Worth A WWE Network Revisit – Page 6

So… Rey was outside on a table, Sabu did a springboard DDT off the ropes to put Rey through the table he was on. Both men were in a heap outside the ring, Joey Styles on commentary did the big “OH MY GOD”, the he crowd chanted “HOLY SHIT”, and a load of officials and doctors came out to see to both guys. The doctor then called the match off and the bell was rung. Crowd hated it with lots of boos and “BULLSHIT”. I can’t say I blame them, non finishes in gimmick matches seriously pisses me off. This was about as WWE ECW as it gets. Fine match with a dog shit finish.

**3/4

We had a tremendous video promo for the supposed Mick Foley & Edge vs Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer match.

It was very odd seeing this crowd boo Mick Foley. He had a black/busted eye, and took a mic and say a couple of great lines such as “I did sell out [in response to crowd chants]…I sold out Madison Square Garden” and also he wanted to praise the great former owner of ECW… “let’s hear it for Stephanie McMahon… long live the alliance.”… massive pop from me for that.

Edge and Lita came out next with the Hardcore title that Foley had given to himself and Edge as co-champions after their WrestleMania 22 match. Edge cut a promo slamming Paul Heyman and the ECW fans. Lita spoke after calling Tommy Dreamer the “innovator of Silence” and that when she sat on Tommy’s face [she did so during a match between Edge and Dreamer helping Edge win]… she said in that he got more action than any of the fans get in a lifetime. And with the “skank” he hangs around with it’s better action than he’ll ever get also.

Dreamer, Funk and Beulah came out after. Beulah took the mic and said a line about trash coming out her mouth and her putting trash in it too. She said something about Lita liking threesomes they should make this tag match a 3v3 and include the two women.

Edge, Mick Foley and Lita defeated Beulah McGillicutty, Terry Funk and Tommy Dreamer

10 Car Crash Wrestling Matches That You Absolutely Adore – Page 3

This match was beyond wild. Early on it was Dreamer and Edge brawling, and Foley & Funk. Edge later smashed Dreamer in the face with a ladder, and after Dreamer moved out the way of a spear and Edge went into the ladder. Once the ladder was set up Dreamer climbed it looking for an elbow, but Edge pushed the ladder down and Dreamer crashed and burned. Foley and Edge got a barbed wire covered wood board out, and dropped it onto Dreamer. Terry made them drop the barbed board onto both of them, mainly foley… … dreamer picks it up and placed it in the corner, they both tried to send Foley into it but he stopped them , took a load of punches, and then they smashed foley into it! Dreamer and Edge went at it on the outside, before Funk went after Edge again. Foley put the barbed wire board onto Funk, … Lita passed a load more barbed wire to foley, he wrapped it round his arm and waited for Funk behind dropping it onto Funk who was absolutely covered in blood now. Foley rakes away at Funks face with the wire , the doctor tried to check on Funk as the crowd booed, the docs took funk away who was an absolute MESS to be fair. Dreamer was left on his own… the crowd chanted for Sandman… Dreamer now took a barbed wire bat shot from Foley, and with Beulah looking on Foley and edge placed the bat on dreamers balls and then lita kicked it. Ouch. Foley got out mr socko who got booed maybe for the first time ever… but he went for Beulah instead which brought out a rage from dreamer but Edge soon took him down. Dreamer got the claw from a foley, then took a spear… but edge has another idea… he wanted Beulah… the three heels stalked her like a pack of Wolves, edge pulled her by the hair, simulated banging her from behind, as a wrapped up and bloodied Funk came through the crowd with a barbed wire piece of wood… dreamer gave low blows to edge and foley, Beulah chased after lita as foley took a shot from funk as did edge with his weapon. And then… my god… funk lit a flame … and the barbed wire bat was on FIRE… foley took it to the back and chest, and he went falling into the barbed wire board… edge smashed funk causing him to fall onto foley. Dreamer got a ddt to edge, and then tried to choke him with the barbed wire… lita kicked dreamer, and then Beulah went after her… crowd went mad for the cat fight… dreamer pulls Lita away and gave her the big move… only for edge to choke him down with the wire… as Beulah tended to dreamer, Edge gave her a spear and then pinned her by simulating having Sex with her… yeah…

Ecw one night stand GIF - Find on GIFER

The heels win. Ofc they did. Cause WWE ofc…

Edge helped foley up from his heap after the win.

Can’t pretend I’m a deathmatch fan… this was almost too much for me. I will credit everyone involved for sacrificing themselves for our entertainment.

Dreamer got a standing ovation as he carried Beulah out the ring.

***1/2

Cena pictures inside arena… GWs booed ofc

Rvd seen in the arena… he’s ofc cheered

Balls Mahoney defeated Masato Tanaka

10 Tag Teams You Forgot Were ECW Tag Team Champions

These two were former ECW tag champions. They had a basic 5 minute match and it was perfectly fine, we did need something to go between the last match and the main event and this was it. Tanaka was in an infamous match with Mike Awesome at the previous years one night stand. As I said this Mach was fairly basic, nothing bad mind you. The crowd LOVED chanting “BALLS” whenever Mahoney did a big move, or any move for that matter. They beeped put on the network Balls saying “oh shit” as he was weren’t over the ropes and landed on the apron. Mahoney got a beer from the crowd and had a drink before shams hung the cup into hmTbaka , he got another beer and did the same (swig and then to the face). Tanaka got a water into balls’ face, and tried to get a chair into him to but Balls aidetlsreped it and tanaka smashed himself with the chair. Balls went up high, Tabaka went after him and a big superplex followed. Tanaka went up high, balls went after him, and he got a super led of his own. Tanaka kicked out the pin at 2. Tanaka got a chair, Balls got his and they had a chair fight, Mahoney won. And got the 123.

*

And now … it was time for THE match…

As we were set for the main event we got a segment that… well I can’t quite find the words to describe it, so I’ll just include a clip as I’m honestly speechless. THIS right here sums up why WWE and ECW are just two different planets. (Not that THE ZOMBIE a few days later was any better…)…

And now… it really was time!!!

Rob Van Dam defeated John Cena (C) in an Extreme Rules match to win the WWE Championship

Interview with Rob Van Dam - Kung-fu Kingdom

Tazz put over how this would be an environment John Cena can’t deal with…

RVD came out to an obvious hero’s welcome. He made effort to high five everyone in the front rows too.

Cena… well he wasn’t quite as beloved…

To say this crowd was a little excited and hyped for this match would be putting it just a tad lightly…

They did a big zoom on the iconic crowd sign …

The Ultimate Heel - The Ringer

After Cena was introduced we of course had the iconic scene of Cena having his hat, then shirt thrown back to him by the crowd… the shirt came back again… then again… and again… and… again… Shout out to the guy who threw it back and gave Cena the double bird too… Cena got a couple of white plastic cups thrown towards him as RVD got right into his face and did the classic “Rob-Van-Dam” gestures, and Cena finally gave up on the shirt idea. Toilet paper was thrown towards the ring as the match FINALLY got underway with the bell being rung.

“fuck you Cena” they chanted. They locked up at last with Cena powering RVD into the corner, before hitting shots as the crowd booed. Cena hit a big suplex for a nearfall as the crowd tried to tell Cena he can’t wrestle… Cena tried to smirk at the crowd… Cena then hit the first shoulder block, but soon took a kick from RVD to send him outside which the crowd liked a lot. I’m tired of talking about the crowd at this point so I’ll just talk about the match, as they went nose to nose and exchanged strikes… RVD took advantage, but Cena hit a powerslam for a nearfall… he soon sent Van Dam to the outside. Cena went to the top and leapt down to Van Dam on the outside. Cena went after Van Dam with punches and rammed his head into a table, before holding up his WWE title belt to the array of the crowd. RVD got back into it with a moonsault press off the apron. Van Dam got a chair but Cena hit a hard lunch and sent RVD into the barricade, but responded with a punch as Cena sent RVD into the crowd. They fought into the crowd area and Cena moved a sign saying “fuck you cena” before hitting RVD. Brave of them to send John Cena into this crowd even with the ref and a security guy near them… they soon went back towards the ring, RVD got Cena with a spinning leg drop off the apron as Cena was laying on the crowd barricade. Back in the ring after, and RVD hit a sliding dropkick then a leg drop to Cena. RVD got a chair, and with Cena in the corner RVD dropkicked the chair to his face for a nearfall. Van Dam hit another leg drop then a rolling thunder onto the chair on Cena. Rob Van Dam crawled to a cover, but only got a 2. RVD dropped Cena then got the chair again and placed it on Cena, he went for the moonsault but Cena got the chair up before coming back with a ddt on the chair for a nearfall for Cena. Cena placed the chair in the corner before slingshotting RVD into it! Cena went for the pin after, but got a 2. Cena waited for RVD to get up, and for the backdrop, before setting the 5 knuckle shuffle, which he got. An FU looked to be coming next… but Van Dam fought out and then spun both feet at him for a headkick. Cena hit RVD and sent him to the corner but Van Dam got a strike back, and Cena then chucked RVD off the top for another nearfall. Eventually RVD tried to place Cena on the ring ropes, and he just fell to the outside… what that was meant to do I don’t know, but anyway RVD dropkicked Cena to the floor after. Van Dam got a table, and got that into the ring… he leaned it in the corner, but Cena took him down and locked the STFU in…

RVD willed himself to the ropes… the ref counted him and pulled him off after (Cena) which… in an extreme rules match??? Ok… Cena argued with the ref and pushed him, the ref pushed back so JOHN CENA laid out the ref! RVD had gone to the top rope at this point but Cena soon struck him down, Cena went up to and hit a big superplex. Cena went out to get the steps after, and then hit RVD with them. This lively crowd weren’t so happy now Cena was well on top. A SmackDown ref now came in and counted a nearfall for Cena (who looked to be reveling in his rare role as heel here). Cena looked in shock… he tried to FU RVD again, but FU’d him over the ropes… a man dressed in black then appeared in the ring wearing a motorbike helmet and this guy Speared Cena through the table in the corner… The guy unmasked as… EDGE!

It was hilarious to me how this same crowd who 30-40 minutes earlier HATED Edge for what he did his match now were chanting “thank you Edge” for helping RVD win the title…

Anyway after he took out the ref and left the scene, RVD hit a 5 star, then scrambled over to cover… but waited for the ref… out came PAUL HEYMAN who made the count. RVD WINS!

Crowd of course went ape shit, the ring announcer announced him as the new ECW Champion. Van Dam went into the crowd to celebrate …

Rob Van Dam | WWE

After he came back to the ring, all the ECW roster came out to toast their new champion. Great stuff.

****1/4

Say what you want about WWE or even WWECW, but much like another show that I’ll be covering involving John Cena in a few weeks, when it’s a one match show and a crowd are DYING to see the main man lose, he ain’t afraid to do the right thing. And I’m can’t say that… others… (*cough cough* the man with 3 H’s… *cough cough* a man with 2 H’s… BROTHER) would do the same.

This was a solid show, not quite the wrestling purest ECW tribute as 05, may more a WWE show that was sadly a sign of things to come… but last years one night stand was about ECW… One night Stand 2006 was about 3 other letters…

R V D.

WWE Classic of the Week: Rob Van Dam vs. John Cena at ECW One Night Stand  2006 | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Josh.


WTF is going on with WWE?

WWE Logo | 6 Nostalgic Designs From WWF To Today

Imagine this… There’s a wrestling show on tv that you’re going to watch, or that you’re attending live… and the card looks like this:

No Way Jose vs Mike Kanellis (with Maria Kanellis)

AOP vs Alexander Wolfe & Eric Young

Mickie James vs Ruby Riott

Murphy vs Lio Rush

Kassius Ohno vs EC3

The Revival vs Gallows & Anderson

Deonna Purrazzo & Chelsea Green vs The IIconics

Big Show vs Braun Strowman

Samoa Joe vs Kurt Angle

Andrade (with Zelina Vega) vs Rusev (with Lana) vs Aleister Black

Some card that right? Something for everyone I think.

Now imagine a wrestling company willingly releasing all those people, and thus allowing them to go elsewhere and ply their trade with rival companies.

Before anyone says about budget cuts or any bullshit like that, they secured a deal with Peacock for the American rights to the WWE Network worth a reported ONE BILLION DOLLARS recently. And add to that from WWE’s OWN earnings report (https://corporate.wwe.com/investors/sec-and-other-documents/financials) they made a a revenue of 263 MILLION DOLLARS for the first quarter of 2021. This was in fact down 9% from the same period the year before, which the company said was “reflecting the absence of the Company’s ticketed live events and a large-scale international event, partially offset by the upfront revenue recognition related to the delivery of certain WWE Network intellectual property rights”.

That translates as no touring live shows with fans, and no Saudi Arabia show. But was helped somewhat by the Peacock deal.

WWE announced recently they’re going back on the road NEXT MONTH. Naturally that will bring in more money.

Saudi Arabia recently announced they were now accepting incoming flights from a number of countries again, providing they follow certain criteria. The United States was among those countries. (Source: https://www.arabnews.com/node/1866886/saudi-arabia).

Imagine WWE, THE single biggest professional wrestling company in the world, who make more money than any other promotion BY A MILLION MILES, and either factor isn’t even close… You’d imagine they need quite big group of office staff, social media, production, digital, and more… right? Apparently not. All the areas mentioned and others had heavy staff releases by WWE in recent weeks.

May 27th. The Wrestlevotes twitter account said the following:

“After yesterday’s layoffs, I’m told WWE hosted an internal conference today with most of the “power players” including Nick Khan. While the meeting was said to be organized well, it contained nothing of real substance. So status quo”

Sounds about right doesn’t it…

WWE also cut key members of some of their international staff in the UK, Japan, Germany and India. With international tours potentially returning in late 2021 or likely some time in 2022…

I’ve been reviewing the Friday Night SmackDown shows in recent weeks. I’ve stopped now so I can have a bit of time away from blogging before the pandemic hopefully ends… But I’ve watched every SmackDown since WrestleMania… so I’ve got a pretty good idea of what the show tends to look like and who features and against who…

AT THIS TIME (June 3rd 2021) the CURRENT SmackDown roster is as follows:

Universal Champion Roman Reigns (with Paul Heyman), along with Jey and Jimmy Uso ‘with’ him (an ongoing storyline since around this time LAST YEAR)

Cesaro and Seth Rollins (who have been feuding since before WrestleMania 2/3 months ago)

Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (with Commander Azeez) with contenders Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Big E (all of who each of have featured in or around the IC title since way before WrestleMania. There has been some form of ongoing rivalry involving at least 2 of those 4 for many months now and it’s still going). You could possible throw Corbin and Nakamura into that mix as well somewhere…

The Tag champions are Rey & Dominik, below them you have the Street Profits, Roode and Ziggler, and Gable and Otis. THAT’S IT. That is the ENTIRE SmackDown tag division. Oh, and they’ve all wrestled each other at least once in recent weeks.

Bianca Belair is the SmackDown Women’s Champion. Natalya and Tamina and the women’s tag champions. SmackDown also has Bayley, Carmella and Liv Morgan. Sonya Deville has solely been an on screen authority figure since her return to TV. Sasha Banks has been off tv for months. Bayley and Bianca have already had their PPV match. Carmella literally got beat clean by Belair on the most recent SmackDown, and lost a PPV title match to Sasha Banks shortly after her return in early 2021. The number of women’s tag teams on SmackDown (Aside from the champions)… NONE. ZERO.

Both Slapjack (Shane Thorne) and Reckoning (Mia Yim) formerly of Raw’s Retribution group have been rumoured to of been sent to SmackDown following the group’s split. Both have yet to make a single appearance on SmackDown TV.

SmackDown is WWE’s premier show ever since the FOX tv deal. On July 16th the edition of SmackDown will be WWE’s first show of their return to regular touring events with fans in arenas. The show is a little over a month away. At the All Elite Wrestling PPV this past Sunday, around 30 performers appeared in matches on the show’s main card (excluding the battle royal match they had). There are now a TOTAL of around 25 performers on the ENTIRE SmackDown roster who wrestle regularly.

WWE releases Tom Phillips weeks after removing commentator from Raw  announce team - Future Tech Trends

In this image is the Raw commentary team for most of 2020 (Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe and Byron Saxton. A very credible and pretty decent team) and up until as recently as March/April this year. In June 2021 only 1 of the three men in this picture are still employed by WWE. Since after WrestleMania Adnan Virk (formerly of ESPN) was made lead commentator for Raw, having had no previous experience calling pro wrestling. Joe and Phillips were released. Corey Graves was moved over from SmackDown. Adnan Virk lasted a matter of weeks and has since been replaced by Jimmy Smith (formerly of Bellator and UFC). Tom Phillips has commentated on every single WWE TV show currently on air at least once before. Smith and Virk combined had commentated on ZERO professional wrestling tv shows before their Raw debuts.

NXT (WWE brand) - Wikipedia

Now the natural fit the fill the gaps on the Raw and SmackDown rosters would be to call up people from NXT… right? Makes sense right? Well yes perhaps… But, what about this… We can all use the narrative about NXT talent being booked incredibly poorly on the main roster (Keith Lee for one was NXT’s first and only ever DOUBLE champion last year.. for whatever reason he wasn’t even on the WrestleMania card…). But one thing that is a notable FACT is this… Of the in-ring talent released by WWE since the pandemic began 3 tag teams, 8 singles competitors. All previously held NXT gold. Chances of NXT talent going to Raw and SmackDown and having success? Slim at best You’d have to say…

Without even going into the talent let go at the start of the pandemic, lets just discuss those let go since WrestleMania…

Braun Strowman def. Shane McMahon (Steel Cage Match) | WWE

Braun Strowman was in a PPV match for the WWE Championship less than THREE WEEKS ago. He beat Shane McMahon at WrestleMania.

Aleister Black had recently returned to tv after 7 months. He had a number of vignettes with a new character before making his proper return at the finish of a tv main event. May 21st they did the angle for his return with him kicking Big E. June 2nd he was released.

Lana was on TV on MONDAY. On WEDNESDAY she was released.

Ruby Riott was on TV FRIDAY. On WEDNESDAY she was released.

Billie Kay was on Night 1 of WrestleMania. She was released FOUR DAYS later.

Samoa Joe called commentary for WrestleMania. He was released FOUR DAYS later.

SCREAMS of the left hand not even acknowledging the right hand exists. Yet at the end of the day, EVERY decision goes through and has to go past ONE guy. If Vince doesn’t want something to happen, it wont. Don’t ever forget that.

Sure, I think a lot if not all of those let go will be fine. They’ll all find other gigs in different promotions, and they’ll shine. You only have to look at the likes of Deonna Purrazzo, Rusev and Anderson 7 Gallows as examples… All were let go by WWE ta the start of the pandemic, all have since gone on to claim championship gold elsewhere and be presented as big stars. But that’s exactly the point… It’s not as if WWE’s creative is firing on all cylinders at the moment, yet here they are willingly letting people go who go and be big stars and help the product of other companies.

WWE executive Nick Khan on rumors about company being sold

There’s really a lot more I could say… I guess the question is WHY are these things happening? Well… the unthinkable story that people have gone to is that new WWE head guy Nick Khan is doing all these things to prepare WWE to be sold. It’s a theory sure, but I can’t say I’ll believe it until it happens. It is incredibly odd though that they’re letting people go all the time now, when prior to COVID they were shit scared of AEW and EVERYONE was getting multi-year big money new contracts to keep them at WWE. WWE not so long ago was stockpiling talent, and people would have to claw and claw and wait and wait for their release. Things have changed clearly. AEW, Impact, ROH all seem to be taking on more names, WWE (the biggest game in town) can’t stop letting people go… Something doesn’t add up does it?

I try and defend WWE best I can. I try and see the good in their product and accept what I can of what I like. But time and time again they let you down, they build stuff up for bullshit endings, and hen they do horsecrap like letting HUGE stars like Braun Strowman go just a MONTH before they begin touring in front of fans again. I had him down as a WWE lifer. I’m blown away that WWE let him go. He’s for me, the biggest name let go by WWE since Dean Ambrose. I just… I don’t know, but I will find it so odd seeing him anywhere else but in a WWE ring. I’ve previously spoken out against AEW signing way too many people, and I still believe they have to many to an extent… Although they’re getting another TV show soon, and lets hope with that they refine their roster a little, and lets see… but for All Elite Wrestling, for Impact, for ROH even New Japan… Braun Strowman, Aleister Black, Samoa Joe… There’s names that WWE HAVE WILLINGLY LET GO that i would say most companies should ABSOLUTELY go out of their way to sign. It’ll be very interesting to see who signs who and who goes where, but for me… in all this there can only be many winners, and the one loser… will, I’m almost sure, be WWE.

You’ve got my support hanging by a thread right now WWE. PLEASE don’t let me and everyone else down again… Please…

Josh.

WWE One Night Stand (2008) – Review

WWE One Night Stand 2008 | Results | WWE PPV Event History | Pay Per View

Although 2008 might not be a time most WWE fans would immediately look back upon with great fondness, it was a time when I myself was watching as a kid. And looking back at the card for this show, my goodness me what a card!!! There was a lot on the line at this PPV, and although it came in that tricky spot in the calendar between WrestleMania and SummerSlam, it still felt to me like a huge show. There is an argument to be made that every person on this card should and might one day go into the WWE Hall of Fame, and a few are already there since (Edge, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Beth Phoenix to name a few). So given how stacked this show is I should get right into it… So here, on the 13th anniversary, is my review of WWE’s One Night Stand PPV from 2008.


Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were the Raw Commentators, with Lilian Garcia the ring announcer. Michael Cole and Mick Foley along with Justin Roberts did the SmackDown side of things.

Jeff Hardy defeated Umaga in a Falls Count Anywhere match

Falls Count Anywhere Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Umaga | WWE

In the same way a modern day Shane McMahon match is more like a big build up to one spot, at times in his career it has been like that with Jeff Hardy. But as I’ve said this really was THE year of Jeff Hardy. And Umaga at this point was a serviceable mid-card heel monster for the popular babyface to try and overcome. Umaga himself has his big year in 2007, so he was on the down a little as Jeff was almost at the top. Crowd were hot for this opener. Commentary, I don’t know if intentionally or not, made sure to be clear that ‘Falls Count Anywhere’ really did mean ‘anywhere’… wonder if that foreshadows the finish…?

The crowd really were hot for this one, they popped big for an early nearfall from Hardy after a whisper in the wind, and then more so when Hardy kicked out of a pin from Umaga after a blackhole slam. They had a pretty fun match with spots and nearfalls as they went from the ring to the outside, and then into the crowd after Umaga threw him into the barrier. Umaga beat down on Jeff as he shouted at the crowd, Jeff tried to fightback but his opponent was a monster, and sold little of his offence. He hit a big thrust kick for a nearfall after no selling getting a traffic (something) thrown at him. Hardy used a fire extinguisher after Umaga missed his running move, they brawled into the inner part of the arena, and up some stairs, Hardy then used the rail to slide down to collide with Umaga, and he got a nearfall from it. Really creative stuff. They went up the stairs into what looked like the concourse area of the arena, and continued the brawl with Umaga dragging Hardy… from there they went outside the arena, into San Diego… Umaga launched Hardy into a big case, and then smashed his head on a forklift for another nearfall. Then Umaga smashed Jeff into the bank of a WWE truck, and continued with the punishment. Jeff came back by smashing the backdoor of a truck into Umaga and using some truck ties to choke him for a nearfall. They brawled again towards another truck, and Jeff climbed to the top of one of the trucks up a ladder, but Jeff kicked Umaga off the ladder… and you knew what was coming next…

Yep… Swawton off the top of the truck. They were clever with how they shot it as they had some boxes of some sort and basically shielded where Umaga was and where Jeff landed so we didn’t actually see the impact. So I’m guessing they hid from shot whatever protection they put in place. They played it off as if it was on the concrete. Anyway a fun opener, and the babyface got the win which is always a good start.

**3/4

Next up was our WWE ECW match of the show, Tony Chimel ring announcer and on the call… Oh god…

OH GOD.. it’s Mike Adamle…

So WWECW match time next I guess… as if anyone at this point could care about that shit show…

As if they didn’t wanna dumb down on WWE’s ECW knockoff anymore, Adamle said that Singapore Cane matches were a staple of the old ECW but now not so much, but tonight we’re bringing back the past…. With a little twist he added, that 5 former ECW champions would be in the match (Dreamer was the only former ECW champion, not WWECW). The stip was the winner would face the ECW champion at night of champions for the title (why this was on a ppv I’ve no idea, and why CM Punk who was Mr MITB was in the match also I’ve not a clue… but hey… WWECW I guess…).

They played clips from the last two weeks of ECW where Big Show each week battered everyone. And played on a face to face between Show and ECW champion Kane… so I guess we have our favourite.

We showed shots of people putting up poles with Canes at the top.

And that was where my interest died. Anything on a pole in a match gets a big NOPE from me.

Tommy Dreamer vs. Big Show vs. John Morrison vs. Chavo Guerrero vs. CM Punk One  Night Stand 2008 : WWEMatchGraphics

Big Show defeated Tommy Dreamer, CM Punk, John Morrison and Chavo Guerrero in a 5 way Singapore Cane match to earn an ECW Championship match at the next PPV

Adamle called CM Punk “CM” not ‘Punk’ but C FUCKING M… I can’t… Chavo had Bam Neely with him (basically a big heavy they got in to be the heater for the smaller heel). Morrison was one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions at the time, I’m guessing with Miz… Show came out last… imagine after all this he doesn’t win… he was smiling as he came out so I THINK he’s a babyface…

Big Show beat everyone up. That’s how you could describe the start of the match. Mike Adamle calling Punk just “CM” is KILLING me not in a good way… Everyone teamed up on Big Show then each got a cane, then they all took turn smashing Big Show with their cane before “CM” and Dreamer got Show out the ring. Chavo went after “CM” as Morrison and Dreamer (or John and Tommy as Adamle would say) brawled. We had a bizarre moment where Chavo swung his cane at Punk who moved, and Chavo hit a fan instead… I’m guessing it was a plant but still that was interesting… Punk missed a few cane shots at Guerrero but then catapulted him over the announce table. The fan who Chavo hit was cheering Punk on, and then after encouragement the fan was given the cane by Punk… and the “fan” hit Chavo with the cane! It appears the fan was a local NFL player who they referred to earlier in the show, my apologies I had and still don’t know who that man is… ANYWAY… Big Show was beating up Morrison, and so to his tag partner Miz who tried in vain to make the save. Morrison saved Miz by hitting show with a cane, so Show went head first into the steel steps he was about to hurl at the Miz. Back in the ring Punk got the first nearfall of the match on Chavo after a Randy Orton like (I can’t think of the name but it’s the move where he catches the oncoming opponent and throws them to the floor). Morrison and Dreamer then came back in each with canes and Dreamer hit him and then used his cane to assist an overhead suplex which was impressive. Dreamer tried his move, Punk tried for a GTS but Dreamer countered into a Texas cloverleaf until Morrison smashed him over the back with a cane.

They showed a close up shot of Big Show who had a NASTY cut on his head…

Anyway the in ring stuff after was good, but that Big Show cut really took me out of it. The finish after some good action, came when a furious blood-drenched Big Show smashed everyone in site with a cane, (suddenly there was a tonne of canes at ringside in a trashcan), and Dreamer took a chokeslam… and then show made him get up again and he grabbed a cane and absolutely smashed Dreamer over the head. He put one foot on his chest and got the pin.

So yeah… the odds on favourite and the man who they made so incredible obvious was winning, did in fact win…

Kane was seen watching on from backstage laughing at what he saw. So they set up Kane vs Big Show for the ECW title at the next PPV… oh the joys… a proper ECW match right there… Jesus…

*3/4

Todd Grisham spoke backstage interviewing Mr McMahon. And he spoke about the Million Dollar Giveaway…

Oh Boy… I’ll let you all do your own research on that and how it went…

John Cena defeated JBL in a First Blood match

John Cena vs. JBL One Night Stand 2008: WWEMatchGraphics

It was odd seeing a John Cena match in this era be in the middle of the show… JBL undid the turnbuckle pad and in turn Cena undid the pad on the opposite side. They brawled as the match got properly underway, with the crowd chanting and making lots of noise for everything Cena did. Although JBL dominated most of the start with hard and stiff offence as usual, he then tried raking Cena’s face on the crowd barrier, Cena fought back with punches until JBL went at Cena’s eyes and hit a big boot. Cena got out the way of disaster as JBL swung a chair at the ringpost, although he did hit Cena not long after with a mic and then again after in the ring. After some punches Cena hit all his signature moves (the shoulder tackles then the 5 knuckle shuffle) but JBL escaped from a potential FU (AA). JBL got more moves in and he sent Cena into the post, but he still didn’t bleed. JBL got the steps but Cena moved, JBL then ripped the protection from the barrier and then sent Cena head first into it. Cena (with chants cheering him on from the crowd) blocked a ddt on the steps, Cena then got a mic and smashed JBL in the head with it, then raking JBL’s head on the steps. Cena had a chair but JBL kicked him down and then sent him head first into the exposed turnbuckle. JBL set for the Clothesline From Hell but Cena hit a bulldog to JBL onto the chair, but still no blood. JBL soon got a chain and hit Cena in the ribs… eventually Cena tried an FU but JBL again got out of it after kicking Cena… cena then was trapped in the ring ropes…

First Blood Match: John Cena defeats JBL | WWE

JBL then went and pulled out a whip that looked like something Indiana Jones might use. Luckily for Cena he kicked himself out of trouble and soon after used the nearby chain to to apply a modified STFU.

John Cena def. JBL (First Blood Match) | WWE

As a result JBL bled from the mouth and that was the win for Cena. It seemed a sudden ending to me but a good enough match.

***

Backstage Randy Orton approached his former Evolution partner Batista with a proposition…

Beth Phoenix defeated Melina in an I Quit match

So as you can see the full match for yourself above… YES Melina did THAT entrance (they also showed a replay of one of her fake paparazzi falling over which I’m sure was a Vince call from backstage), both women were very aggressive in their offence but sadly the crowd weren’t that into it or not as much as I was anyway, a power move by Phoenix was reversed by Melina and this sent Beth crashing into the turnbuckle, Melina targeted Phoenix’s arm/shoulder and some great transitions led to an armbar into a cross-armbreaker, although Phoenix powered up and slammed Melina down. She then hit a Glam Slam, and locked in a really strong looking submission, and as a result Melina eventually but very reluctantly quit.

**3/4

We had a very odd backstage segment where John Cena and Mickie James were flirting, and Mike Adamle interrupted… I don’t even know what to say or how to describe it, but I know it took up a few minutes of my life I’m never getting back.

They played this video ahead of our next match…

Batista defeated Shawn Michaels in a Stretcher Match

Stretcher Match: Batista defeats Shawn Michaels | WWE

So I THINK Michaels is the babyface here… if he should be or not I don’t know… this feud started after Batista was angry at how HBK retired his hero Ric Flair, and then as you saw in the pre match promo video Michaels used questionable tactics to get his win over Batista at Backlash… Both guys looked focused and intent on hurting the other before this one, so they did a great job of making this come across as a big grudge match.

The size difference here is absurd really… Batista was by far the more aggressive of the two out of the gates. He threw HBK onto the stretcher, but then was launched into the steps himself. HBK got into it again after with a kick to the head, and he then picked up the stairs and sat the far bigger man on them before ramming the nearby stretcher into the body of Batista. Michaels again used the stretcher after wheeling it into Batista, but The Animal fought out after being placed on the stretcher… Batista soon after tried a Batista Bomb on the outside but Michaels countered locking in a form of a guillotine/chokehold to try and wear the big man down… Michaels after got Batista on the stretcher and tried to wheel him towards the finish line, but Batista fought out and off the stretcher. Batista countered after by launching Michaels into the ringpost, he then sent Michaels spine first into the apron, and again after into the barricade. Batista hit a huge clothesline that sent HBK flying, and then sent him into the corner and following that up with a clothesline in the corner. Batista hit a big running powerslam, and looked to be waiting to hit a Spear after, but Michaels side-stepped and went Batista into the corner spine first. The two went back and forth after with Michaels doing a kip up and looking for the big elbow, and hitting it but looked like he did damage to himself too. Michaels tuned up the band after, but Batista hit a clothesline. Batista wanted his big move after, Michaels fought out and hit the superkick, which sent Batista flying over the ropes and onto the stretcher outside the ring. The crowd chanted for HBK as he tried to drag the stretcher, Batista clinging onto the ring apron, but Michaels tried again only for Batista to fall off… Michaels again dragged Batista up, but Batista punched out only to get a stretcher to the body once more, then again and a third time Batista was able to hold it off and he won the power battle, flinging the stretcher into Michaels’ face and then smashing the stretcher into HBK knocking him down. Batista sent Michaels into the ring, and then did hit a big Spear. Batista signalled it was over, set for the Batista Bomb, and hit a big one. Michaels was flat out, Batista dragged Michaels out the ring and eventually placed him on the stretcher… only for then Chris Jericho (who was a part of this story as he was made guest ref for their backlash match, and he tried to stick up for Michaels after, only to get a superkick for his troubles. Batista also beat Jericho to get this match with Michaels). Anyway… Jericho spoke to Michaels to try and will him on it appeared, Batista waited and watched on, the refs eventually backed Jericho away… Batista looked not to know what to do after, and taking his time he waited for HBK to crawl back up…

Michaels tried a superkick but just didn’t have the energy left… Batista picked him up and spoke to Michaels then hitting a huge Batista Bomb. Commentary told us that Batista in fact echoed what HBK had famously said to Flair “I’m sorry, I love you” before hitting his big move. Which was a real cool bit of storytelling I thought. Batista after dragged Michaels to the stretcher and put him on it, and wheeled it towards the finish line, only for Jericho to re-appear and try and will Michaels up, even going as far as stopping the stretcher when it neared the finish line. Batista let Jericho take HBK off the stretcher, and he then walked towards the ring and got the steel steps… he placed them down and picked HBK up, he then hit a spinebuster onto the steps… before finally putting Michaels on the stretcher and sending it across the line for the win. Shawn Michaels absolutely took a BEATING in this match. A fairly dominant win for Batista, despite Jericho’s cheerleading… the replay of the close up showed is Batista in fact said “I don’t love you, and I am not sorry”… which again is really cool stuff.

***1/4

We then went back to JR and The King ahead of the WWE Championship last man standing match with Triple H defending against Randy Orton. Now even from memory I recall what happened at the end of this match… basically Orton suffers a legitimate injury here that ends up being quite serious. He actually broke his collar bone which kept him out for a little while. This was a feud they had running from the later part of 2007 onwards to this point between these two over the WWE title and it would continue after when Orton returned, the two main evented the next year’s WrestleMania in fact. So I’m expecting a good match with a possibly abrupt ending… let’s see…

The pre match video was super cool. Looking back at Orton’s 6 month reign as champion previously where Orton beat Cena, Jeff Hardy, Jericho, HBK, and Triple H. It ended the previous month in a multi man match won by The Game.

Orton was unwilling after to accept that the age of Orton was dead, and so set a last man standing match as his rematch. Given that was the same match he won the title in in the first place.

Triple H (C) defeated Randy Orton in a Last Man Standing match to retain the WWE Championship

Last Man Standing WWE Championship Match: Triple H vs. Randy Orton | WWE

An amazing stat from JR as Orton came out that the WWE title had changed hands once in 25 years in a last man standing match, that being Orton’s previous win against Triple H. This for me, aside from his run in 2020, was PRIME Randy Orton. He is legitimately one of THE greatest of all time and don’t let anybody else tell you any different.

HHH sends Orton into stairs as he does after him on the outside. HHH dominates the start. HHH strikes and stomps to Orton in the ring. It’s really all Triple H so far. Orton is then sent shoulder first into the ringpost. And then again right after. Triple H then gets a series of strikes in on Orton. Orton finally gets something with his signature great dropkick, although Triple H soon sends Orton to the outside. Triple H sends Orton head first into the steps and after a punch he starts to clear one of the announce tables… With both men on the table Triple H lays in punches, and it really looks like we’ll get a Pedigree… Orton tries to get an RKO… and eventually Orton gets some punches and the big draping ddt onto the floor, as the ref starts his count on Triple H for the first time in the match… He just gets up at 9… and Orton goes right to work again with big punches, Orton goes and exposes some of the floor outside of the ring by pulling back the mats… He gets Triple H and looks for an RKO… but HHH sends Orton into the ringpost to escape disaster. Orton back in the ring gets a series of big stomps to Triple H after a big blow to the back of the head got him down. With Triple H down Orton gets the steps from outside and gets them into the ring… and he smashes HHH in the face with them! The ref counts… but HHH is up at 9 as Orton goes outside and gets some form of extension cord as HHH fights back… but Orton soon chokes Triple H with this long cord… the ref counts again after, as Orton stalks HHH but as he goes to hit the RKO Triple H lifts Orton up and over the ropes to the outside. And he really went flying over the ropes which for a guy of Orton’s size looked a nasty fall to take.

Last Man Standing WWE Championship Match: Triple H vs. Randy Orton | WWE

Orton is seen in real pain as he mouths something, the ref counts as Jerry Lawler says on commentary that Orton said he broke his collarbone. As the ref Mike Chioda is counting he holds up the X (the universal sign that a wrestler is hurt for real)… Triple H breaks the count after by gently lifting Orton up and giving him a punch (I’m going to guess to see if he was Ok…)… Orton gets to his feet again and HHH gives him a punch. He then goes and gets the sledgehammer after… Now at this point you’re probably wondering why they didn’t stop the match… Well HHH and Orton and the ref maybe thought that they need to have a proper finish, one worthy of a Last Man Standing match. So a sledgehammer shot will do it… Should they of just gone home after the fall? Maybe… would it of sucked as a finish? Perhaps… Anyway he hits the sledgehammer shot and after the ref counts and he gets to 10 and that’s that. Triple H retains but really that isn’t the story here.

Orton was helped to the back by a load of officials after HHH had celebrated and left.

The match was fun, about as good as Last Man Standing matches can be, the finish felt of course it came early, I think they had another 5-10 minutes to go as a guess. But they did a fine job.

Wrestling really is NOT fake.

***3/4

After an advert Orton was led away, he got a big crowd reaction but he tried his best to heel it off. Ever the professional. Even with a broken collarbone that prematurely ended a WWE title match he’s still got his mind on the job.

And from one extreme to another…

Strap yourself in boys and girls… this next one could be a classic…

Today In Wrestling History Via WWE Network (06/01/2018): One Night Stand  2008 | WWE Network News

This hype video was incredible by the way. Given these are my number 1 and number 3 faves of all time I of course loved it.

Ok so the story here was…

Taker beat Edge for the title at mania

Taker wins the rematch

After Edge passed out and was bloodied from the mouth and stretchered away after the Hell’s Gate submission, SmackDown GM and Edge’s fiancée Vickie Guerrero puts a ban on the move and strips Taker of the title. At Judgement day for the vacant title it ends in a countout win for Taker, but Guerrero enforces the rule of ‘no title changes by countout’… so that’s the set up for this TLC match. Oh and if Taker loses he has to leave WWE (they get round that one down the line in a very funny way…).

I implore you to watch this one…

Edge defeated The Undertaker in a TLC match to win the vacant World Heavyweight Championship (Undertaker must leave WWE)

My word what a match. Just everything that a great TLC match should be. We had every aspect of what made Edge in this era so good, and The Undertaker looked like superman. A great match that I absolutely loved.

****3/4

So yeah eventually Vickie brings Taker back after Edge is caught cheating on her with their wedding planner (who was played by a young Alicia Fox), and the two have a legendary Hell in a Cell match at that year’s SummerSlam.

But this was a fun show overall. Not a classic and aside from the main event the matches on their own were just OK. But my word this main event was MEGA, and if nothing else this show is worth watching just for that. This was a golden era for Taker but more so for SmackDown heel, world champion Edge. One of the best heel runs of ALL TIME.

The Undertaker vs. Edge - World Heavyweight Championship TLC Match: One  Night Stand 2008 - YouTube

Josh.

Ronaldinho: Football’s Smiling Genius

Well… here we are… Well over 200 blogs in and I have finally broken my golden rule… I am writing a blog post about FOOTBALL! It’s always been a topic that for many reasons I just haven’t wanted to write about, but now I feel it’s just something I want to do. So what to focus on? Well certainly not anything current (I just can’t be doing with the debates), but I do want to talk about things that mean a lot to me within the game. Things that interest me and maybe things I don’t think are talked about enough. So I’ve intentionally left that quite open, and after this if I never write another football related blog then I can’t think of a better topic than this one. So here is my… I don’t know if it’ll be a tribute, a career overlook, or even a written love letter of sorts to… well an artist, a magician, a maverick, an entertainer, but the one I like to give him above all else, genius.

Messi or Ronaldo? Ronaldinho was more talented than both | Goal.com

Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, AKA Ronaldinho Gaucho, and more commonly just ‘Ronaldinho’, was born on the 21st March 1980 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. His Mother studied to be a nurse, his father played football locally whilst working in the shipyards. Their family life would change when Ronaldinho’s brother Roberto signed for Brazilian professional club Gremio. As a result the family moved to a much better area of Porto Alegre to a house given to them by the club to incentivize Roberto staying with them. The family would sadly be struck tragically when not only was Roberto’s blossoming playing career was ended prematurely by injury, but their father Joao struck his head and drowned in a swimming pool.

Ronaldinho was 8 years old.

In a theme that seems to carry throughout his whole career, football was always there for Ronaldinho, and he was always there for the game. It was at such a young age that Ronaldo was anointed with the name that he would become famous as. ‘Inho’ means small, and given the young Ronaldo was the smallest of his youth team the nickname would stick.

Le jour où Ronaldinho a marqué 23 buts en un seul match | Football étranger  | 7sur7.be

Given the country’s beautiful beaches, combined with the often cramped nature of the favelas that many Brazilians live in, beach football and futsal or more games where there isn’t much space to move and so ball control is far more important. This down the years is a large explanation as to why Brazilians can often be associated with trickery, ball control and speed of attacks and movements. The young Ronaldinho was no exception to these sort of surroundings, and his first real exposure came when he was playing a local futsal match. The famous story is that, aged 13, he played in an incredible 23-0 victory for his team.

Ronaldinho scored all 23 goals.

In 1997 Ronaldinho was picked to represent Brazil at the Under 17 World Championships in Egypt. Along the way he scored twice including in the semi final. Brazil would win the tournament, with a squad featuring the likes of Geovanni (who would go on to play in the Premier League for Manchester City and Hull City) and goalkeeper Fabio (who still in 2021 plays for Cruzeiro in Brazil aged 40, and has made well over 800 appearances for the club). Also in the same year Ronaldinho played in a victorious Brazil side at the South American Under 17 Championships. They were the first honors of the young footballer’s career. They would be the first of MANY.

Cult Kits - A CAREER IN KITS: RONALDINHO

Ronaldinho began his professional club career with Gremio, making his debut in 1998 but seriously emerging as a major talent the next year when he finished with 22 goals in 47 games. It was during that season he had one of his first major breakout performances.

Ronaldinho starred as Gremio beat an Internacional side featuring former Brazil World Cup winning captain Dunga (look out for his remarkable skill in the video above) to win the State Championship final.

Goals and star performances for his club side meant that a place in the prestigious Brazilian was in his future. He would be part of the Brazil Copa America winning side in 1999, and also won the Golden Ball (as the best player) and Golden Boot (for the most goals) at the 1999 Confederations Cup. It was during the aforementioned Copa America that Ronaldinho scored a memorable goal against Venezuela. Michael Owen had the goal against Argentina, and Ronaldinho a year later did this…

This goal might look simple. It isn’t. To pull this off in an international match is remarkable. The first touch in receiving the ball from Cafu, to then immediately see how close the defender was coming towards him and then flicking it over as simple as anything, to then take another deft touch to take it away from another defender and giving himself a far easier shot at goal, and then hitting a finish past the keeper to the NEAR post (not smashing it far as maybe most would’ve tried and likely failed to do due to overcompensation). He came off the bench to do this at NINETEEN years old for BRAZIL (and this was THE Brazil featuring Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cafu, Roberto Carlos).. Incredible.

By 2001 a potential move to Arsenal collapsed due to a failure to obtain a work permit, and a surprising loan move to Scottish side St Mirren fell apart also… But with goals, trophies and his famed skill and eye catching performances already becoming a symbol of his game, a big move to Europe wasn’t far away for Brazil’s next superstar. In January of 2001 that move would come.

Former PSG Player Reveals Ronaldinho Only Trained Once A Week

Paris St Germain were not the European giant we know them as in 2021, but 20 years prior they were still a reputable side in France. and to sign Ronaldinho (who was linked with a host of other European clubs) was a big deal for them. All was not so smooth at the start, as a result of disputes with Gremio meant that Ronaldinho didn’t officially join the team until the start of the 2001/02 season. With the World Cup at the end of it, the precocious Brazilian would need a big first season playing in a foreign league for the first time.

Ronaldinho was joining a PSG squad with plenty of talent (Jay-Jay Okocha, Nicolas Anelka, Gabriel Heinze, and a couple of guys called Mikel Arteta and Mauricio Pochettino), but one that was underachieving. They had finished 9th the season before having come 2nd the year before that, and they had sent Laurent Robert to Newcastle to make way for Ronaldinho, but one PSG played did take a shine to the new arrival.

Jay Jay Okocha With Ronaldinho - YouTube

One of the great entertainers of slightly different climates (Bolton) said of Ronaldinho “He was like my kid brother. I realised he was just so talented and he just needed someone to guide him” (Jay-Jay Okocha, quote taken from FOURFOURTWO article ‘The making of Ronaldinho – how the Brazilian superstar broke through at PSG’).

With a FIFA enforced ban behind him (after the ongoing dispute over his signing between PSG and Gremio), Ronaldinho finally was able to pull on the PSG jersey, but the team continued to struggle and by the quarter point of the season the team were 8th and Ronaldinho was largely restricted to substitute appearances, and when he did play he was laboured with a reputation for overelaborate play… in a similar fashion to another Ronaldo when he showed up in a new country, and he turned out ok too…

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Ronaldinho’s coming out moment for PSG would come in a match in October of 2001 against Lyon. A week after he was left on the bench against Bordeaux he would this time get his chance, and he would mark it with a pass to a teammate that resulted in a foul and a penalty awarded. Ronaldinho stepped up to take the crucial kick…

Ability can only get you so far in sport. What separates those who achieve greatness from those who are just talented is mentality. Big game players. When the going gets tough who shows up? 10 minutes to go, his underperforming team trailing, coming off the bench having not had the best time of it himself personally, Ronaldinho showed the player he was. A winner.

The penalty was Ronaldinho’s long-awaited first goal for Paris St Germain.

Dazzling and match winning displays would become a theme of Ronaldinho and PSG for the next few months (highlights being a glorious performance against Rapid Vienna in a UEFA Cup tie, and helping his team come from 1-0 down to beat reigning French champions Nantes). His performances combined with circumstances (Okocha was off to play for his country for 6 weeks in the Africa Cup of Nations, and Anelka was shipped to Liverpool) meant that by the new year, Ronaldinho would be the main focal point of the PSG attack. and from there he flourished, ending the 2001/02 season with 13 goals in 40 appearances to be PSG’s top scorer. He was also voted into the Ligue 1 team of the season, despite starting just half of the league games, such was he impact his performances had. His performances earned the recognition of someone else too… as Luiz Felipe Scolari named him in the World Cup squad to go to Japan and South Korea in the summer of 2002.

After coming from behind in their opening group game against Turkey to win 2-1, Brazil were far more dominant in their other two group games with 4-0 and 5-2 wins against China and Costa Rica. After starting the first two games and scoring a penalty against China, Ronaldinho was an unused substitute in the final group game, with Brazil having all but secured their last 16 place before that. In the first knockout stage Brazil would take on a plucky Belgium team devoid of the star power they have in the modern day, and the Samba men ran out 2-0 winners. In the quarter finals the opposition was an England team featuring the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen… and of course David Seamen… It was a game almost the whole of England seemed to watch, many of my own generation will remember watching the game in school assembly halls across the country, such was the desire of people to see the game against the almighty South American side. It really was a prime Brazil line up with Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cafu, Roberto Carlos and of course Ronaldinho all featuring.

Ronaldinho not only scored an infamous free kick lobbing David Seaman, but was also sent off less than 10 minutes later…

Ronaldinho cannot believe referee Felipe Ramos Rizo has shown him the red card

In the years since the incident (as you’ll see in the video above) Danny Mills, who was kicked at by the precocious Brazilian, commented on the sending off. And the former defender said:

“He came in, it was a late challenge, he caught me, I went down and I was about to get up and Scholesy came over and tapped me and said ‘stay down, ref has got a card out, stay down’… He pulled a red card out, it was never a red card, he caught me slightly, it was a booking at worst… What did I do wrong? It was a foul, I was on the floor, all he said was to stay down, I didn’t roll around squirming and squealing, I just stayed dead still.” (Taken from Mirror.co.uk article entitled “Danny Mills reveals how England got Ronaldinho sent off in 2002 World Cup – with the help of Paul Scholes”).

So without Ronaldinho it was Turkey who were again victims to the star-studded Brazil side in the semi finals, going down 2-1. Before then on to the final against Germany. And just as in the semi final, the hero again was another Ronaldo, R9. Ridding the demons of 1998 Brazil were once again on top of the football world. At the age of 22 Ronaldinho had followed in the footsteps of Pele, Zico and Carlos Alberto as he too now was a World Cup winner.

From allegations of fraud to bigamy... A tale of how Ronaldinho ended up in  jail — All Football App

For the 2002/03 season, upon returning to club duty he was given the number 10 shirt at Paris St Germain that would become a signature of his in the years to come. The season though was not as successful for him as the previous, although there were some highlights. A particularly notable one saw him score twice against rivals Marseille in a 3-1 win in October of 2002, and in February of 2003 he scored what was voted as goal of the season against Guingamp, against demonstrating his genius.

The close control to keep and lift the ball from the oncoming defender, the blistering pace to get past those in his way, and then the dink over the goalkeeper. Genius.

He also scored twice in the semi final of the Coupe de France in a 2-0 win against Bordeaux to take them to the final itself.

His first goal of a brace was great finish after gliding past a few defenders with his signature dribbling and dropping of the shoulder to throw them off. The second a majestic chip over the keeper from the edge of the box. Ronaldinho received a standing ovation from the crowd (not for the last time) for his efforts.

When in the final though, they capped off a very disappointing season for the team in losing 2-1 to Auxerre. This combined with an 11th place finish in Ligue 1 set the table for Ronaldinho to look to pastures new in pursuit of European club football.

He seemed the hot property, or at least one of them that summer, in 2003. Manchester United were interested. They themselves were about to lose David Beckham to Spanish giants Real Madrid, who themselves beat off competition from Barcelona to the Englishman’s signature. Beckham’s move to become the latest Galactico was somewhat of an embarrassment for the Catalan club, who’s president had promised to sign the then England captain as part of his mandate to be elected. Instead Barcelona’s superstar signing would be Ronaldinho. Manchester United, after missing out on Ronaldinho, signed a young man from Sporting Lisbon instead, so maybe it all worked out ok for everyone. But after parting with £21 million and getting a 5 year deal signed, Barcelona had their man.

Man Utd almost announced Ronaldinho transfer and shirt number, says Paul  Scholes - Mirror Online

Barcelona at this time, with a new president and manager, were just beginning to become the ‘super club’ they went on to be. Among a string of player personnel changes that included Victor Valdes and Andres Iniesta being promoted from the youth team, Rafa Marquez being signed from Monaco, and of course Ronaldinho coming in, a competitive squad were looking to once again compete at the top end of football. The genius from Brazil would start as he meant to go on in the stripes of Barcelona…

Taking the ball on the halfway line after a throw from Rustu in goal, gilding through the Sevilla midfield as if they weren’t there, and then smashing it in from 30 yards. Sublime. A goal typical of Ronaldinho’s excellence. Sadly an injury mid way into the season cut his good start short, and the team suffered in his absence. But when he returned the goals came with him, and in the end after being in the bottom half of the table without him, Barcelona would finish 2nd in La Liga, only behind Rafa Benitez’s outstanding Valencia side (who also won the UEFA Cup that season), but above champions league semi finalists of that season Deportivo and the Galacticos of Real Madrid. Speaking of their fierce rivals… El Classico, 25th April 2004, Ronaldinho’s first visit to the Bernabeu saw Ronaldinho provide an assist for Xavi’s winning goal. A first win their for 7 years for Barcelona, and maybe a game that gave them the belief that they COULD do anything they wanted…

Ronaldinho ended his first season with Barcelona as the club’s top scorer, with over 20 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. He was well and truly the main man. And as he would continue to shine, so would his team, as both Barcelona led by Ronaldinho began to be recognized as the world’s best.

Ronaldinho — A Retrospective Look At the Flawed Legend | by Benjamin  Dalusma | thelibero | Medium

2004-2006 was probably Ronaldinho’s prime years. To begin the 2004/05 season Barcelona (now a heavily changed squad that had replaced Cocu, Kluivert, Reiziger, Overmars and Luis Enrique with Guily, Belletti, Henrik Larsson, Deco and Samuel Eto’o) flew out the blocks in La Liga, losing just one league match before the winter break. Progression in the Champions League group stages was balanced with humiliation in the Copa del Rey by being knocked out by local Catalonian side Gramelet. Ronaldinho’s most memorable moments of that season came firstly against Chelsea in the Champions League, where (having won 2-1 in the home leg) they travelled to Stamford Bridge for what turned out to be one of the more memorable games in Chelsea, Barcelona, and Ronaldinho’s history up to that point…

So Barcelona were wounded, but were still in charge of the La Liga title race. On April 10th 2005 we had the second El Classico of the season. Earlier in the campaign Ronaldinho had starred as Barcelona convincingly won 3-0 and that set the tone for what was to come. However by the time of the return game that next April that match was a different story. Ronaldinho scored a free kick in a 4-2 loss for Barcelona, but they were not deturbed and that was their only defeat after going out of the champions league. And at the end of the season Barcelona were crowned Spanish Champions for the first time in six seasons, with their magical number 10 the star.

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2004/2005 had two career defining moments in the story of Ronaldinho. The goal against Chelsea with the hip swivel seemed like something from another planet, but as if Barcelona had enough in one genius they spawned another.

On May 1st 2005 Barcelona faced Albacete. A man would make his mark that day… but this time Ronaldinho was more than happy to be the provider…

TWICE the best player on the planet was happy to try and assist a youngster to score. An exquisite chip to play him for the first goal that was cruelly ruled offside… and then Ronaldinho allowed for his young apprentice to have another go with another chipped pass, and this time it was allowed. Ronaldinho had helped introduce the world to a 17 year old who was then Barcelona’s 2nd youngest ever goalscorer, Lionel Messi.

Adama Traore lifts lid on playing with Messi and Ronaldinho and how  Barcelona legends' winning mentality drove him on

In the summer of 2005 Ronaldinho travelled with Brazil for the Confederations Cup, the traditional ‘warm up’ tournament for the World Cup the next year. From the last group game onwards Ronaldinho took the captain’s armband as he and striker Adriano led Brazil to yet another trophy. The final was somewhat of a walk over for Brazil, beating their great rivals Argentina 4-1 with Ronaldinho scoring their 3rd goal. Not only was he the star man, Ronaldinho was now an established leader.

Ronaldinho & Legends of Soccer Weekend - 33 Days To Go ... - Mount Royal  Soccer

2005/06 season, aside from elimination in the quarter finals of the Copa del Rey, was almost a perfect season for Barcelona. In La Liga they won the title by 12 points, and went on a run between October 29th and January 29th where they won 14 league games on the bounce. Their most famous victory in La Liga that season was arguably our blog topic’s greatest ever night. Barcelona travelling to the Bernabeu for El Classico on the 19th November 2005.

Ronaldinho had the most amazing career and won just about every honour you can win. But a standing ovation from the Real Madrid fans having destroyed their team for Barcelona might be right up there with the most special of them all.

In the Champions League Barcelona swept all that came before them. After finishing top of their group they then came up against Chelsea in the Last 16, looking to gain revenge for the previous season’s heartbreak. In the first leg at Stamford Bridge (playing on a surface that resembled closer to a beach than a football pitch) Barcelona played their best football and came away with a 2-1 win to take back to Camp Nou in the second leg.

12 minutes to go in a tight game, Ronaldinho takes over… Picking up the ball outside of the 18 yard box and gilding towards goal with his typical close control and majesty, he gets past some of Chelsea’s players like they don’t exist and fires past Petr Cech to give Barcelona the lead. A particular mention to him not being deterred in his run when he collided with the defender just before his shot. Ronaldinho was not to be denied. The game would finish 1-1 leaving Barcelona as 3-2 winners on aggregate. The champions of Spain had got revenge on the champions of England.

Ronaldinho continued to shine as Barcelona went past Benfica in the quarter finals (Ronaldinho scoring one of the two goals), and then they won a close tie with AC Milan in the semi finals as Ronaldinho shined again, providing an assist for Ludovic Guily to send Barcelona to Paris. When there they would face final debutants Arsenal with the Catalan club looking to win European football’s top prize for the first time in 14 years.

Ronaldinho had now won the World Cup with his country, and the Champions League with his club side. He ended the 2005/06 season with 26 goals and 24 assist in 45 games, in helping his club win both the league and Champions League. An ELITE footballer.

Ronaldinho Claims Barcelona Could Have Scored More in 2006 Champions League  Final Against Arsenal | 90min

As a reward for his contributions to the best club team in the world, individual honours came along too. Towards the end of 2005 Ronaldinho won the FIFA World Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year, and also in 2005 he won the illustrious Balon d’Or award. Undisputedly in this period of 2004-2006 a young man who grew up in not exactly the best area of Port Alegre, Brazil, a man who tragically lost his father at 8 years old, who only moved to Europe 5 years prior, was without question the best footballer in the world.

Ronaldinho 'doesn't want to pay the price of being a professional athlete',  claims former manager of Barcelona star | Daily Mail Online

Off the back of an amazing season individually and at club level, the world’s best player then went with his national side to Germany for the 2006 World Cup, with Brazil looking to defend their crown as world champions.

It was another all-star Brazil squad that headed to Germany (Ronaldinho joining Ronaldo, Kaka, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Adriano to name a few), and they sailed through their group with wins against Croatia, Australia and Japan. After a comfortable win in the first knockout phase against Ghana, Brazil then faced France in the quarter finals. France also featuring a host of household names (Zidane, Henry, Vieira etc.) played a superb game of solid defensive play combined with blistering attacks. On this occasion though it wasn’t Ronaldinho who ran the show, but another famous number 10 led his side to a 1-0 win, and he wasn’t a bad player either.

Zinedine Zidane 2006 World Cup Performance And Highlights

Following on from a disappointing World Cup for his national side, Ronaldinho’s club side Barcelona went into the 2006/07 season with no major signings, and more like for like squad changes (Gudjohnsen, Lilian Thuram and Zambrotta came in with Van Bommel, Larsson and Maxi Lopez leaving). A comfortable win in the Spanish Super Cup against city rivals Espanyol was followed by an equally one sided defeat to fellow Spanish club Sevilla in the European Super Cup. Barcelona also that season lost in the FIFA Club World Cup Final, and went out in the semis of the Copa del Rey. And to compound things they were disappointingly eliminated in the Last 16 of the Champions League by Liverpool, and lost out in the La Liga title race to Real Madrid as a result of an inferior head-to-head record with the two teams level on points. After seemingly conquering all that came before them the previous season, Barcelona ended 2006/07 with just the Spanish Super Cup to their name. Which by their lofty standards represented a poor season.

On a personal point of view, our main man did have some personal highlights along the way… He scored a spectacular goal, even by his standards, on November 25th 2006 against Villarreal…

He would also finish in 3rd place in 2006’s FIFA World Player of the Year award. And to end the 06/07 season he scored a career-high 21 league goals… but as mentioned Barcelona from a team perspective had a disappointing campaign. Ronaldinho would miss the summer 2007 Copa America for Brazil citing to fatigue having played a full part for both club and country from 2005-2007 with almost no extended rest.

The summer of 2007 was a big one for a Barcelona team looking to rebound from the previous season… out went van Bronckhorst, Guily, Belletti and Thiago Motta, and in came Yaya Toure, Eric Abidal, Jose Pinto, Bojan and Dos Santos came up from the B team, and above all else the headline grabber of maybe the world football transfer window that summer… came the arrival of a certain Frenchman via North London…

Five goals to remember the 10 years of the signing of Henry by the Barça

Barcelona’s squad resembled somewhat of a ‘dream team’, and they started the season fairly well to the point that going into a December El Classico, Barcelona were 2nd in La Liga, only behind a dominant Real Madrid team who had been top of the table for the entire season to that point… and it didn’t stop there for them with Madrid winning 1-0 at Camp Nou. They would eventually be knocked out of both the Copa del Rey and Champions League at the semi final stage by the eventual winners (Valencia and Manchester United) , and a 4-1 humiliation in the second El Classico of the season led Barcelona to a disastrous 3rd place finish in La Liga. 18 points behind champions Real Madrid, and almost as embarrassing they finished 10 points behind Villarreal who came 2nd. They just about squeezed into Champions League football by 3 points as well… All of which meant major changes were on their way at Barcelona from top to bottom…

Ronaldinho too struggled. He had many injuries’ during this season, and a torn right leg muscle ended his season early at the beginning of April 2008. There had also been much talk at this time of his focus waning, having won and accomplished everything there was for him to do in the game, an interest in partying increased and perception was a focus on training and preparation lessened.

Ronaldinho could join Real - Eurosport

Something had to give…

Changes were indeed afoot at FC Barcelona. Frank Rjikaard was OUT as manager, and up from the Barcelona B team came a former midfielder at the club… Josep Guardiola no less… Pep came with a remit looking to take the club back to it routes, playing good football and promoting from within. From the B team with him came Sergio Busquets and eventually Pedro, back from Manchester United came Gerard Pique, Daniel Alves came from Sevilla. But maybe more notably was the departures. Pep wanted to not only build his new team around Messi, but felt to do that both on the pitch and off it certain individuals would need to leave. Deco was sent to Chelsea, Dos Santos and Edmilson and Zambrotta all left, Thuram retired. And up the forward end of the pitch Pep wanted a refresh. Thierry Henry, having only arrived the previous summer, was kept on, Samuel Eto’o was another Guardiola wanted to move on but who would fight for his place in the team for another year before his eventual departure. But what of our blog topic? He was out. To allow Messi to flourish on the pitch, and not be possibly led down another path off it, Ronaldinho had to go for Pep. Just two years after leading them to glory off his back, Barcelona wanted to transfer out their former Balon d’or winner. He had a big offer from a Manchester City team who were still two years away from the arrival of Sheikh Mansour, but instead chose to join another of Europe’s elite clubs.

Ronaldinho signs AC Milan - Planet Football

Before beginning his adventures in Milan, Ronaldinho was off to the Olympics with Brazil. He was named Captain as Brazil went on to claim the Bronze medal.

So Ronaldinho made his way to AC Milan to join the likes of Kaka, Andrea Pirlo and Clarence Seedorf under the management of the great Carlo Ancelotti. With Seedorf already the club’s number 10 Ronaldinho instead took up the number 80 shirt, after the year of his birth.

His first major mark in the red and black would come in the Milan derby against Inter on September 28th 2008. With Jose Mourinho in the opposition’s dugout now they would pose a great threat to the Brazilian’s natural flare. Milan played a 4-2-3-1 formation with a flat midfield three and Ronaldinho in the two (left side to Kaka) behind the main forward. In what was a very tight game the magician showed he still had something to offer…

Some time to score your first goal for your new club! Milan would win 1-0 with Ronaldinho’s 35th minute header proving decisive.

IMPERADOR VS BRUXO - Inter de Milão X Milan Serie A 2008-09 - YouTube

The highs of that win would sadly not be the story of Milan or Ronaldinho’s season. They finished 3rd in Serie A, and went out in both the Coppa Italia and UEFA Cup. Ronaldinho ended with 10 goals in 32 appearances but made many of those from the substitutes bench. It appeared from many reports and things said that his fitness was declining again and his love of nightclubs that had been previously spoken about whilst at Barcelona was continuing.

With Milan now managed by Leonardo the team changed formation for the 2009/10 season, with Ronaldinho now on the left side of an attacking front three in a 4-3-3 formation. He thrived as a result, and on January 10th 2010 he had arguably his greatest night in a Milan shirt… against fierce rivals Juventus.

0-3 to Milan. 2 goals for Ronaldinho. His hot streak continued in Milan’s next game where Ronaldinho scored a hat trick in a 5-0 win over Siena. In February of that year they went out of the Champions League to Manchester United, adding to their Coppa Italia elimination the previous month. Against United Ronaldinho scored the first goal early in the first leg, but Milan would eventually lose that match 3-2 and the second leg 4-0. Although Milan would slip away in the Serie A title race, Ronaldinho finished with a league-best number of assists, and signed off the season with another brace in the final match of the season, another 3-0 win against Juventus. It was to be Leonardo’s final game in charge.

With Massimiliano Allegri now Milan manager, the team had a new front three of Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho. The team did tremendously well and were top of Serie A by the time of the winter break, and they had also progressed into the knockout stages of the champions league. By that stage Ronaldinho had made 16 appearances, scoring 1 goal and making several assists. But by winter of 2010 the time had come for a separation. Ronaldinho would be leaving Milan during the winter transfer window (although his efforts would be enough for him to get a Serie A winner’s medal as Milan went on to win the title in his absence). It appeared the former World Player of the Year’s time at the top of European football was drawing to a close. By this point in time too his place in the Brazil squad let alone team was a rarity, even his good form in the previous season didn’t see him make it to the 2010 World Cup.

So what next for Ronaldinho? Well he was linked with a wide variety of teams; Blackburn Rovers in England, The MLS with LA Galaxy, and a few teams back home in Brazil including former club Gremio. But on January 13th 2011 around 20,000 fans turned out to see his unveiling by his latest club, Flamengo.

He went on to feature prominently for Flamengo in his first season at the club, making 52 appearances and scoring 21 goals. He also helped his side win the Taça Guanabara with a delightful free kick in a 1-0 win…

Form temporary, Class very much permanent.

On July 27th 2011 Ronaldinho showed there was absolutely still life in his magical feet in a quite extraordinary match between Flamengo and fellow Brazilian giants Santos…

That kid who stars for Santos sure looks familiar doesn’t he…

Ronaldinho’s club form earnt him a place back in the Brazil squad in the autumn of 2011. He played in 5 games including the full game against Ghana at Fulham’s Craven Cottage, and games against Argentina (twice) and Mexico who he scored a free kick against. Sadly though relations with his club began to sour, and it seemed his time at Flamengo would end under dark circumstances. After a disagreement between club and player regarding payment, on May 31st 2012 Ronaldinho cancelled his Flamengo contract.

Ronaldinho 'very motivated' to succeed at Atletico Mineiro | Goal.com

4 days later Ronaldinho was presented as an Atletico Mineiro player. This time he again took up a different shirt number, with his favoured number 10 occupied, as he was given 49, the year of his Mum’s birth.

He seemed to rediscover his best form in his first season in Belo Horizonte, with the team finishing 2nd in their league, qualifying for the prestigious Copa Libertadores. He was also voted as best player for that season in the league. The King was back… maybe…

Best ronaldinho gaucho GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFs

The season after the number 10 was his again, and Ronaldinho’s good run of form carried on… For his team Atletico Mineiro it was all about the Copa Libertadores. After sailing through the group stage they went into the knockout stage as the top seeded team, and then faced fellow Brazilians Sao Paulo where they went through with a 6-2 aggregate win. In the Quarter Finals they took on Mexican side Tijuana, and advanced on away goals after a 2-2 draw in Mexico in the first leg followed by a 1-1 draw back home. If that wasn’t tight enough their next round saw them face Newell’s Old Boys of Argentina in the semi finals…

How would Mineiro come back from that… well, with their inspirational magician playing anything is possible…

Drama of the highest order… Ronaldinho with the final penalty for his side, a goalkeeper save after coming after a late, late equalizer in the game. Amazing.

Dramatic? Yes. Now onto the final, again over two legs… Against Olimpia of Paraguay. Again a 2-0 loss in the first leg meant they had it all to do again to achieve their dream in front of their own fans…

Atletico Mineiro had done it. Far from the biggest club in Brazil, they were now champions of South America. After all his success in Europe with Barcelona, Ronaldinho had come back home and had HIS last dance. Part of me, a large part in fact, wished he had called time on his career after this win…

Other Clubs - Ronaldinho

As the voted 2013 South American Player of the Year, Ronaldinho played himself back into the Brazilian national team. He made what was his 100th cap in a prestigious friendly at Wembley Stadium against England, where sadly he saw a penalty saved by Joe Hart in a 2-1 defeat. He was also later named Brazil captain for a friendly match against Chile in the spring of that year, but was not in the Brazil squad for their home Confederations Cup that summer. He also missed out on the World Cup 12 months later.

By winning their continental title, a place in the 2013 Fifa Club World Cup awaited Atletico Mineiro in December of 2013. Mineiro would lose the semi final to Raja Casablanca 3-1, with Ronaldinho scoring a consolation free kick. In extraordinary scenes at full time the opposition players swarmed Ronaldinho, rushing to the legend in pursuit of souvenirs. Quite the scene, but such was his star power even to fellow players.

Mineiro would then face Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande, managed by legendary Italian manager Marcello Lippi in the third place match.

After helping his side win the 2014 Recopa Sudamericana (effectively South America’s equivalent of the European Super Cup) in July 2014, Ronaldinho agreed with his club to cancel his contract. His latest adventure, arguably one of the better spells of his career, was over.

What Can Queretaro Realistically Expect from Ronaldinho? | Bleacher Report  | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

Mexico and Queretaro was his next destination. And with admirable success in his first few months, his premier game came away to reigning Mexican champions Club America at the famous Estadio Azteca Stadium in April of 2014.

4-0. Two goals for Ronaldinho, and just as he got from the Real Madrid fans almost a decade prior, he received a standing ovation from the stadium when he came off as a sub. An incredible gesture from an incredible footballer.

Ronaldinho con Querétaro: El día que humilló al Club América en 2015 -  Mediotiempo

Queretaro would end their season with a 5-3 aggregate loss in the Liga MX play off finals to Santos Laguna. And not long after in June 2015 Ronaldinho announced his departure from the club.

Sem marcar gols, Ronaldinho Gaúcho rescinde contrato e deixa de ser jogador  do Fluminense | Jovem Pan

Back home again to Brazil, this time with Fluminense was next for Ronaldinho. But it was a sad end to an incredible career after 3 months, in which he made 9 appearances without scoring or assisting, he left the club by mutual agreement. The club’s sporting director said of the split “Ronaldinho asked us for a meeting. He respectfully told us he didn’t feel he was able to perform as good as he wanted and that it was a bad situation for him,” he told reporters. “He asked us our opinion, we were straight with him and told him it wouldn’t work for us, so we decided releasing him was the right thing to do.” (Quote from Goal.com ‘Fluminense: Ronaldinho felt he couldn’t perform’ https://www.goal.com/en-us/news/3296/brazil/2015/09/29/15842312/fluminense-ronaldinho-felt-he-couldnt-perform).

And that, was essentially that. Aside from a futsal run in 2016 and the occasional charity match appearance, Ronaldinho’s incredible playing career in professional football was over.

Sure the last couple of moves were not ideal, but the legend of Ronaldinho is unparalleled. I feel kind of sad writing this final paragraph after just writing about how his career tailed off at the end… So instead why don’t I leave you with the rgeat man at his peak. So here to finish off is the full match of proably Robnadlinho’s finest night, when in the biggest game in club world football, Ronaldinho proved to us all what he was…

A smiling genuis.

Josh.

WWE SmackDown (21/5/2021) – Review

After a week break for the last SmackDown, due to me being… a little busy…, since then we’ve had WrestleMania Backlash… where indeed Roman Reigns did beat Cesaro in a great match where Cesaro just came up short, but it was pretty much a clean win with no Uso interference… the interesting thing for me at least, which hopefully is talked more about at some point, was after the match… as Roman was once again being recognised as THE Tribal Chief following another big win, Seth Rollins came out… the two engaged in a brief stare down, before Rollins then attacked his long-term rival Cesaro… now… that could’ve been just a “thing”… but… what if it wasn’t…

The other major headline this week from WWE came yesterday with a return to touring announced for July. The Friday Night SmackDown before Money In The Bank looks to be the first WWE show with a proper audience (aside from the small number at NXT shows and of course each night of WrestleMania) since March last year. I for one cannot wait!!!

Oh and maybe a blessing I missed last weeks SmackDown… in that it meant I didn’t have to talk about Tamina (T A M I N A) and Natalya (Zzzzzzzzzzzz) win the women’s tag titles… All the joys in the most boring feud in recent WWE history…

Anyway… on that happy note… here’s my thoughts as I now watch this week’s edition of Friday Night SmackDown!!!


We opened from the Thunderdome with a parade of champions on the entrance stage: NEW tag champions Rey and Dominik Mysterio, SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair, IC Champion Apollo Crews with Commander Azeez alongside him, and the aforementioned Women’s Tag champions Natalya and Tamina… they also advertised the IC title 4 way tonight with Crews defending against Zayn, Owens and Big E.

Sonya Deville was in the ring… she spoke about the news that broke today of WWE leaving the Thunderdome in July and said they would return back to where they belong, to YOU! She then congratulated the parade of champions one by one on the stage. Seems a very feel good episode of SmackDown this, I bet you can’t imagine how happy they are to be going back on the road again.

After Azeez got the music stopped, Crews cut a promo saying that tonight he would be retaining his title, and said the odds were against him as he doesn’t have to be pinned. He added he would unleash total annihilation. Deville then carried on as she was going…

Finally… Deville introduced our Tribal Chief… who used his OLD music???????? Heyman then came out… He mocked the parade of champions saying it was a parade of title holders. He said Roman Reigns was a champion, not just a champion but the champion. He said he was THE champion of WWE and all sports entertainment. He said Reigns wasn’t one of his many, but there would be a parade of Champion later, at Roman Reigns’ leisure. Deville then got another round of applause.

Bayley then got into the ring and wanted acknowledgment… she bugged herself up and said she should be thanked for putting this company in her back. She then slagged off the Mysterios and Tamina and Natalya, she showed respect to Apollo and Azeez, and called Bianca a cheater. (Belair used her hair to pin Bayley in their match at the PPV). Bayley called her a criminal… Belair took exception and went to the ring, Bianca told her to just take the title if she wanted it, Bayley said she’d do so on her time, and as Bayley went to leave Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax attacked Belair from behind… and of course Natalya and Tamina tried to save but Tamina was double teamed by the former champions. And we just cut to the ad break… so we getting a 6 women’s tag then… (I’m so absurdly OVER this Natalya/Tamina vs Nia/Shayna feud PLEASE end it!!! I still don’t get why it didn’t end after the heels won CLEAN to start the feud at Mania… Can’t be based on a few cheers they got at Mania surely…).

Yes we can back from break to the 6 woman’s tag…

Bayley and Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler defeated Bianca Belair and Tamina & Natalya

So… fuck sake… I forgot that Tamina and Natalya won the rematch on Raw… WHY IS THIS FEUD STILL GOING??? Oh I know… it’s because the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships have been consistently the worst booked titles in WWE history. Often neglected, an afterthought, with dead feuds almost since it’s inception. Look how fun the titles were when Sasha and Bayley had the belts on all THREE shows against different teams all the time? Kairi and Asuka the same… yet we’ve the SAME FUCKING FEUD for WEEKS now… bore off…

Anyway this match… it was so so until Belair came in and looked like a star… she took down everyone and then hit a big flip dive to the outside, but she seemed to hurt her knee as we went into an ad break. When we came back Bayley was in the ring working at the left leg of Belair. Bianca tried to fight up and did get Bayley out the ring, but Bayley came back in to stop the tag and she hit Natalya off the apron. A forward roll past Bayley allowed for Bianca to tag in Tamina… Tamina battered Bayley and then took down Nia and Shayna. Tamina hit a power slam and tagged in Natalya, who soon hit a German and tagged out again. Tamina got a super kick but Bayley held the bottom rope to stop the pin. Natalya came back in, but Bayley tagged to Baszler. Natalya seemed not to realise the tag was made and Shayna hit a knee to Natalya… Tamina broke up the pin and hit a headbutt, before Natalya tried for a sharpshooter on Baszler… but she fought our, Bayley tried a Bayley-to-Belly but Natalya hit a discuss clothesline, Jax then took her down, Tamina came in and kicked Nia, Shayna took out Tamina, Bianca took down Shayna, Bayley pulled Belair out and hit a Bayley-to-Belly on the floor… and after Natalya hit out at Bayley it was Shayna who came from behind and locked in the Kirifuda Clutch, and Natalya tapped out… BECAUSE THIS FEUD MUST NEVER FUCKING END… AAAAARRRGGGHHH!!!!

Kayla Braxton spoke backstage with Big E. He said tonight he stood in the ring with dogs, men who doggedly pursued their craft. But he said he was happy as this was what he wanted to prove he was the very best. He said tonight he’d walk out the arena in no doubt he was the rightful Intercontinental Champion. He seemed very positive!

They again used Roman’s old music during an advert… WTF is this all about!?!?

They promoted the news being reported about WWE going on the road again.

IT’S ALEISTER BLACK TIME!!!

I LOVE THIS SHIT SO MUCH!!! Cannot wait already for him to whup somebody’s ASS!!!

We returned for King Corbin… he was without his crown after Nakamura took it last week… Michael Cole said he didn’t realise Corbin was that bald… my god… so after Corbin beat him last week, Nakamura gave him a Kinshasa and took the crown, hence the match. Corbin cut a promo and said he was going to let his actions do the talking, but then he saw that (referring to the social media post they showed on the Titantron of Nakamura taking the crown everywhere with him since pretty much). Corbin talked and looked (briefly) right into the camera (a odd rarity in WWE but one I like), he said it was the most disrespectful thing he’s ever seen, he said Nakamura may call himself the king of strong style but he’s no king. He also said in his promo that a real king (after listing all the other things a “real king” does) owns dogs of war, not a shabby tabby cat (has Corbin always had THE MOST awful trash talk? Well yes, aside from NXT Corbin and the one time he told Seth Rollins “what are you gonna do you piece of shit?” After he hit the End of Days to Becky Lynch… yeah King Corbin is such a waste of this guy…)… anyway… after Corbin finished this boring promo about a fucking crown, Nakamura finally came out… or not…

An electric guitar was played by the former Eric bugenhagen of NXT at the top of the ramp … this might be the most random main roster call up of all time… Corbin asked who he was and he said he was Rick Boogs… He spoke into a mic on a stand, and he said he came to rock with the real king of SmackDown, Shinsuke Nakamura… he then played his theme on his electric guitar… which to be fair sounded cool as fuck as a crown-sporting Nakamura came out after. We even had Cole and Pat do awful air guitar!!! Boogs was awesome at this guitar to be fair… I was sceptical when I saw him but if he can play Nakamura’s theme on his electric guitar every week I’d be very happy. This was very cool. In a full arena of fans they’d of gone ape shit for that.

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated King Corbin

Boogs was at ringside hyping Nakamura during the match. Corbin began with hard offence to Shinsuke, Nakamura came back with hard kicks until he was caught with a powerbomb, but Shin kicked out at 2. Corbin again laid a beating in the corner, included mockingly doing Nakamura’s good vibrations move. Nakamura powered out a rest hold but soon was took down with a high elbow. Corbin continued on the attack, but Nakamura hit a spinning kick and then a backstabber, then a running knee, and got a nearfall after another move. Nakamura went to the corner, and looked for the Kinshasa but Corbin got out the way then hit a suplex, for another nearfall. Corbin tried for a chokeslam but Nakamura kneed him away, but then Shinsuke ran into a Deep 6… but Corbin only got a 2 count. Boogs then got on top of the announce table and played the chorus chords of Nakamura’s theme song on his guitar, Corbin was briefly distracted and went for the End of Days, but Nakamura rolled through then got a small package and the pin! Boogs played guitar again, Nakamura still has the crown.

I want to hate it, but Boogs playing guitar and Nakamura winning is a combo I never knew I needed but I really do!

Sonya Deville was on the phone, when she was met by Jimmy Uso backstage. He said the best tag team in SmackDown history were back together and ready to run up on some fools. Deville was surprised and asked if he’d checked with his brother Jey, as last she checked he was still with Roman. Jimmy said he wouldn’t be here if he didn’t know he had his back. He said they were ready and they wanted the smoke, Street Profits. Deville said a match of that calibre needed to be advertised and built and so made the match for next week. Jimmy was pleased and said Ok giving Deville a fist bump. OK!!!

Roman Reigns came out next, with his NEW PROPER music THANK GOD! So is his old theme just for Heyman now that’d be jokes… Anyway, our Head of the Table came to the ring with Heyman and Jey Uso. I never thought I’d see the day Roman Reigns had my favourite act in WWE, but here we are… Never has a champion looked like a bigger star and came across as such than this guy right now. And his matches consistently have been CLASS! Total package for sure. When they got in the ring, the Universal Champion got his own Parade of champion.

After an ad break THE LORD (I’ll never forget or be thankful enough for what he did at Wrestlemania) Kevin Owens cut a promo from backstage. He spoke about how in his first two years he was called the prizefighter as he won so many titles. He said he’d get back to being that guy tonight. It was such a good promo. Fired up KO is the best.

Back to the ring after that, and after we had a replay of what happened at Wrestlemania Backlash (Roman beat Cesaro in an epic back and forth match, before Jey’s recognition of Roman and then Rollins beating Cesaro down) Roman said he believes himself to be a humble man, and says he tries to teach his sons about humility. He said he’d take this opportunity to allow his social counsel to celebrate him. Heyman smiled as he said it was a unique surprise, he then spoke about how he (Roman) was undefeated since his return to WWE, how he scared The Fiend over to Monday Night Raw (hmm, I’ll let you have that one Paul as it was a fun line, but not totally true…), he spoke also how he beat Strowman, how he baptised his cousin back into the championship bloodline, KO’d Kevin Owens, scored the most dominant pinfall in the history of Wrestlemania main events, he caved in Edge’s face and we may never see Edge again, Banised Daniel Bryan, and then took on the most talented grappler in Cesaro on his own with nobody’s help at Cesaro’s own game (Roman made Cesaro pass out with the Guillotine). Heyman said it was a career highlight for him tonight to not only celebrate but acknowledge THE pre-eminent champion in all of WWE and sports entertainment, Roman Reigns. He asked what else Roman wanted him to do for him, and Roman looked puzzled and asked for his cousin. He asked for Jimmy Uso’s music to be played, but Cesaro then came out with an arm in a sling. Roman said to cut this bum’s music. Cesaro said he wasn’t in the mood but he couldn’t find Seth Rollins in the back, but what he could hear was this annoying yapping in his ear. Roman asked what he was gonna do, Cesaro said they should do it one more time at Hell in a Cell. Roman laughed at the idea, and then Rollins attacked Cesaro from behind. Rollins really beat him down as officials ran out to stop him. Rollins screamed “when are you gonna learn”? Rollins ran back out and again attacked Cesaro, ending with a stomp. He focused on the arm. Reigns and co had exited the ring by this point. Rollins was led away from Cesaro, but again jumped the barricade and hit yet another stomp. A stretcher then came out for Cesaro as we went to an ad break.

I’m going to predict Cesaro doesn’t face Roman, but instead Rollins at and INSIDE Hell In A Cell!

We were shown replays of Rollins attack on Cesaro when we came back from the break. Backstage Rollins was interviewed and asked why he did that? Rollins said he didn’t know what happened and he blacked out, as Cesaro went by on the stretcher Rollins went over to him and grabbed him saying “why do you do this to me… why do you make me this person”? … Is Rollins going crazy? Might be nothing but could be something in this… let’s see…

The NEW tag team champions Rey and Dominik Mysterio came out next. I’m yet another sponsored replay we saw how they beat Dolph and Roode for the titles at the PPV, even after Dominik was attacked on the kick off show and then even being injured eventually joined his Dad in the match and ended up getting the win for the family. Dolph and Roode came out after, Roode cut a promo saying he hoped that big win on Sunday didn’t go to Dominik’s head.

Dominik Mysterio (with Rey Mysterio) defeated Robert Roode (with Dolph Ziggler)

Roode took most the early part of the match with strikes and suplexes. With both on the top rope Dominik pushed Roode off and got a nearfall after a crossbody. Dominik tried a tornado DST but was pushed away, Dominik set for a 619 but Ziggler distracted him… until Rey made him pay. Dominik got a nearfall after reversing a pin, Roode ran into the ring post, got hit with a 619… Dominik got the frog splash and the win. Short but decent stuff. Repeat of the PPV finish, this feud has to be done now I don’t see why it would carry on…

Jey Uso found Jimmy backstage. Jimmy was trying to put over how happy he was about their match next week, Jey wasn’t happy he didn’t ask him first. Jimmy again tried to say it wasn’t about Roman but about us. Jey said he still had to tell Roman about the tag match…

They again told us all via different media reports that WWE was going back on the road in July.

Roman was in his room. Jey tried to put across it wasn’t him that made the match, Roman spoke very softly but basically it was him saying he and Jey and all that was the family stuff. And that his tag match with Jimmy wasn’t important. Jey seemed puzzled.

Street Profits cut a promo on The Uso’s. It was typical stuff from them, but that’s absolutely not a bad thing.

Sami Zayn was interviewed by Kayla. Sami was his erratic, paranoid self. Good stuff. I hope they properly release his documentary at some point. Zayn then made his entrance for the match.

I really just want to watch this match, so I’ll see it through and then give you my thoughts after.

(For Raw they advertised yet ANOTHER women’s tag title match… OF COURSE THEY DID)

Apollo Crews (C) (with Commander Azeez) defeated Big E, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a Fatal 4 Way match to retain the Intercontinental Championship

Really fun match. It must have gone over 20 minutes (not sure we needed 2 ad breaks during the match with both coming right after big spots… but meh…), and given it was the TV main event maybe it was better in this spot than being forgotten in the middle of a PPV. All 4 guys really put on a good showing. Azeez took E out when he looked to have the win, but E reversed and sent Azeez into the ringpost… then the lights all went out and a bright light filled the screen… and out from the fog -and mist emerged ALEISTER BLACK!!! He went face to face with Big E and hit a Black Mass, and then left the ring. This allowed Crews to get the pin. Black vs Big E… SIGN ME UP!

A good SmackDown, building blocks towards HIAC… and the road BACK to normality begins!!!

Josh.

NXT TakeOver – Chicago (2017) – Review

NXT TakeOver: Chicago match card, previews, start time and more | WWE

By Mid 2017 NXT had really become the ‘alternative’ brand in WWE. The ‘cooler’ somewhat underground brother to the juggernauts of Raw and SmackDown… and NXT TakeOver shows had become a great addition to a traditional ‘big 4’ PPV weekend. But every now and then we would get either a ‘standalone’ TakeOver show, and chance for NXT to take the full limelight, or a TakeOver before another WWE main roster PPV. And just 24 hours before the Backlash PPV that would become infamous for the crowning of the most unlikely WWE Champion of all time, it was time for the black and gold brand to have it’s chance to shine again.

Coming just after WrestleMania 33, and NXT TakeOver: Orlando which then followed the likes of former champion Shinsuke Nakamura, former tag champions The Revival, as well as Tye Dillinger and Elias leaving NXT and going ‘up’ to the main roster, it really was a time of change in NXT. But such is the nature of the brand change is something which happens regularly, and they always seem to rebound and continue to put on a great product. And whilst this may not of been the absolute peak era of NXT TakeOver shows, this one I’m going to talk about here was a cracker.

Hideo Itami returns to confront NXT Champion Bobby Roode: WWE NXT, April  19, 2017 - YouTube

The ‘dark’ matches filmed in the arena before TakeOver went on the air for future NXT TV episodes each had winners that would go on to hold NXT gold, so a new wave of superstars was on the way, but as for the here and now in May of 2017 NXT TakeOver: Chicago was a show of dominant champions, and as always in NXT a show of GREAT matches. SAnitY were still on their path of dominance since Eric Young led Alexander Wolfe, Nikki Cross and Killian Dain into NXT, and on this night it was the heroic Roderick Strong (still around a year away from his shocking UNDISPUTED turn) who stepped up to try and silence them. We also had FOUR championship matches beginning with the recently created WWE United Kingdom Championship (which was won by Tyler Bate at the first UK tournament just prior to this TakeOver) on the line with Bate defending against Pete Dunne. Although it was Bate who won the final and the title it really was a tournament where the Bruiserweight was the star, with his ultra-aggressive ‘smash mouth’ style earning more than a name for himself. Next was the greatest champion in the brand’s history, Asuka, defending against Ruby Riott and Nikki Cross in a triple threat. It was originally a four way, only Asuka caused top contender Ember Moon (who at the previous TakeOver in Orlando came as close as anyone ever has to conquering the Empress) to be injured in the build to the show, and as a result Moon’s next opportunity would have to wait… We also had the NXT Tag team titles on the line with the Paul Ellering led Authors of Pain defending against DIY (Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano). I will talk way more about that match later, as we didn’t know it going in, but coming out the show the fallout of that match would start a chain of events which would change the history of NXT forever… and finally Bobby Roode, the ‘Glorious’ champion of NXT would be defending his title against Hideo Itami. A challenger who almost had an injury curse put upon him ever since his much-publicized arrival, but now was the time he would finally get his chance at the biggest prize. It was all set to be a historic night, and for many reasons it was a night that I for one as an NXT fan will never ever forget. So here is my review of NXT TakeOver: Chicago, coming to you from the famous Allstate Arena on May 20th 2017.


The opening video lead with Bobby Roode talking about how Chicago was famed for dynasties (referring to the Chicago Bulls I presume), and dominant champions, and links being made to AOP and Asuka too. Roode said underdogs don’t exist in his NXT. There were also features from the likes of Hideo Itami, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot and DIY.

The commentary team for the show are Tom Phillips, Percy Watson and Nigel McGuinness. Mike Rome was the ring announcer.

Roderick Strong defeated Eric Young (with Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain)

Roderick Strong def. Eric Young | WWE

If only SAnitY got the TV time that Retribution got on the main roster… 😦 … Anyway, after Dain and Wolfe followed their leader Eric Young out, Roderick Strong surprised everyone by coming out through the crowd. He attacked Dain and Wolfe before the bell so it was as close to a 1 on 1 match as possible. Solid back and forth with Roderick Strong getting the better of it (with knees and strikes), until Killian Dain made the most of an opening to take Strong down (whilst the ref was looking away at Eric Young). Young was on top after, and got a nearfall after a kick. Roderick Strong briefly had his moments but Young was really in charge, although that seemed to change when Strong hit a dropkick to Young as he came off the top rope. Eric Young hit a neckbreaker on the outside, and eventually he rolled Strong into the ring for a 2 count.

Young later hit a tremendous looking elbow drop off the top for a nearfall, Strong got on top after and tried for a backbreaker, but Young seemed to go at Strong’s eyes. There were chants of ‘let’s go Roddy’ as both men were on top, and they battled until Strong hit a knee to Young that sent him falling onto Wolfe and Dain on the outside. With both of his henchman taken out, Young was placed back in the ring and he exchanged knees with Strong, and then almost out of nowhere Roderick Strong hit the backbreaker for the win. This was a decent opener, and Strong looked like superman. I recall he went into an NXT Title tv feud not long after this show, so it makes sense him going over so… well… strong…

***1/2

They played an advert for the Backlash PPV that was the next night, focusing on the match between Dolph Ziggler and Shinsuke Nakamura. I reviewed this show for a previous blog, it was… something let me tell you…

Ruby Riot, Asuka and Nikki Cross were all pictured backstage each preparing for their triple threat match later. The funniest thing about this to me was that in the background as shots of each women was played on screen, one of the theme songs for the show was played in the background… Judas by Fozzy…

A tremendous video package previewed the next match. One that for me was the breakout match of an entire county’s wrestling scene.

WWE NXT TakeOver: Chicago Tyler Bate VS Pete Dunne Match Card [HD] - YouTube

Jim Ross was brought out to commentate on the next match. Which made it great before it even started.

Pete Dunne got a huge ovation when he came out. A very youthful-looking Tyler Bate (who was TWENTY when this match took place) got a polite reaction, but it was clear who Chicago’s favourite was for this match.

Pete Dunne defeated Tyler Bate (C) to win the WWE United Kingdom Championship

Happy Thoughts - NXT TakeOver: Chicago (5/20/17) - LIVE! – Happy Wrestling  Land

They went back and forth for most the match, with both showing off their different but fantastic array of moves. The crowd were into every moment of it too as their incredible chemistry showed throughout.

The crowd went wild when Bate did an amazing Airplane Spin, as they did for a close Dunne nearfall after an uppercut and a powerbomb-type move. Bate later went for his finisher, Dunne tried for his but soon turned that into a ddt on the outside. Bate then hit a crazy moonsault to Dunne on the outside, and rolled into the ring and hitting a corkscrew 450 on Dunne for a 2 count. With the crowd losing their minds at this point of the match, Bate tried for a suicide dive but flew right into a big punch from Pete Dunne. Dunne later rolled Bate into the ringand hti the Bitter End… 1,2,3. Crowd popped huge for Dunne winning despite him being the clear heel. Day 1 of 685 for Pete Dunne as WWE’s UK champion.

Pete Dunne -- New WWE NXT UK Champion

This match was voted NXT’s match of the year. And rightly so. Please go out your way to find it somewhere. It was such a joy to watch it again.

*****

The Backlash PPV advert focused on AJ Styles challenging for the US Title against Kevin Owens.

One of the official theme songs for the show was Over-Throne by the group ‘Hacktivist’.

Hideo Itami and then champion Bobby Roode were shown backstage ahead of their NXT Championship match later.

Promo: Asuka Vs. Ruby Riot Vs. Nikki Cross For The NXT Women's Championship  At At TakeOver: Chicago - Wrestling Inc.

Asuka defeated Nikki Cross and Ruby Riott in a triple threat match to retain the NXT Women’s Championship

Although in it’s final few months, we were still well and truly in the Asuka era of NXT. She was by far the most popular with the crowd in this match, although Riot got a polite ovation given her background in the wrestling scene local to the Chicago area. As a video before the match showed this match came about after a battle royal to decide Asuka’s next challenger was prematurely ended when the champion came out to take down the final 3 women in the match; Cross and Riot were beaten down, but Ember Moon (whom had narrowly lost to Asuka at the previous TakeOver) was sent flying off the apron in a nearby crowd barricade when Asuka came out. A furious NXT GM William Regal promptly made a 4 way for TakeOver, only that Moon wouldn’t be medically cleared after suffering a shoulder injury in colliding with the barricade, and so we had a triple threat. Now I like every women in this match a lot, but there was a large Ember Moon shaped hole in it, and thus there was little to no believability in Asuka losing her title.

And the match really suffered as a result. The finish just compounded everything really… Riot hit Cross with the Riot Kick and then went for the pin… but then Asuka ran against the ropes and came back with a huge knee strike to Ruby… AND THEN SHE PINNED THEM BOTH! The dominant champion pins BOTH the challengers that nobody thought would beat her anyway… I felt then and still feel now it wasn’t needed for her to beat them both like that. At this past WrestleMania I wasn’t a fan of how Roman beat Edge and Bryan in a similar way… just feels like you don’t NEED to pin both other people in the match… so why would you? Does the champion NEED to beat them both like that?… Really?…

WWE NXT TakeOver: Chicago results - Asuka pins everyone - Cageside Seats

**3/4

Next up was the NXT Championship match. This was billed before the show as the main event… but it would become clear later why this match didn’t go on last…

We had a really good video telling the story of Hideo Itami’s arrival in NXT. He came over as a bright star from Japan to a lot of fanfare, and he had the big push out the gates and even got a spot in the Andre Battle Royal at WrestleMania in 2015. But an injury stopped his run in its tracks… he was out for well over year before returning to confront then champion Bobby Roode… and then he got injured again… and in that time Roode really made it HIS NXT. But Itami would go up against Roode at long last… a slap to the champion, and then officially becoming number one contender made this long-awaited match finally ON!

‘The Glorious’ NXT Champion had a string of big entrances at Takeover’s and this one was no exception…

If I was booking WWE, one of the first things I’m doing is brining back THIS Bobby Roode. (See my blog I did previously on Roode’s run in NXT).

Bobby Roode (C) defeated Hideo Itami to retain the NXT Championship

They did the pre match intros in the ring and dimmed the lights during to give it a real big fight feel. It seemed the crowd were more into Roode during the match, but given it’s in CHICAGO it was no shock they popped HUGE whenever Itami went for the GTS… I wonder why… And Itami nearly hit the big move during the very opening seconds, but Roode got out of it and rolled out the ring just as quickly. They went back and forth most of the match, but the brutal stirking came from the viscous Itami. It was really good to see the man I know more fondly as KENTA get a big showcase here, and for me it felt like this was more his match than Roode’s.

But Roode played his role perfectly, and did hit a big Glorious ddt only for Itami to kick out! Not long after Hideo did hit the GTS to a big reaction, only for Roode to roll to the outside so Itami couldn’t get the pinfall right away, and the delay in getting him back in the ring meant a kick out. Itami tried for the GTS again but Roode turned it round to the Glorious ddt, and then he hit the move right away again after. 1,2,3. Roode retains in a really good ‘rasslin match.

Csonka's NXT Review 7.05.17 | 411MANIA

****

The next Backlash PPV advert was around the Randy Orton vs Jinder Mhaal WWE Championship match… LOL.

Judas by Fozzy was promoted as one of the theme songs for the TakeOver… LOL.

The likes of Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Hall of Famer Pat Patterson and Kassuis Ohno were pictured in the crowd.

We had another brilliant promotional video for our final match. It explained how the DIY team of Indie darlings Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano were the ultimate underdogs done good. They fought there way to the big stage, and won the NXT Tag titles… and then they ran into the monstrous Authors of Pain… who won the titles from them. With The Revival having since gone to the main roster, this is where AOP would get rid of another of their contenders… but not how we would expect…

NXT TakeOver: Chicago (Coverage and Results) - Bobby Roode vs. Hideo Itami  - Authors of Pain vs. #DIY in ladder fight | Superfights

There was plenty of talk going into this match (just as their would be after of course) about Tommaso Ciampa. There were many reports he had got an injury before this match at a live show. And there were even rumours he would be out of the match, with people talking about maybe Dash Wilder or Scott Dawson replacing him… But as it turned out Ciampa was here, the match was on, and it was something we would never forget…

Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) (C) with Paul Ellering defeated DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) in a Ladder match to retain the NXT Tag Team Championship

https://www.wwe.com/videos/the-authors-of-pain-vs-diy-nxt-tag-team-title-ladder-match-nxt-takeover-chicago-2017-full-match-wwe-network-exclusive

I don’t know where to begin to talk about this match… so here’s the highlights:

  • Ciampa hurting his knee by falling off the ladder (this would be the one that kept him out all those months after)
  • Both Akam and Rezar laid out on Ladders, and both of DIY diving off ladders onto them both in one heck of a spot
  • Paul Ellering stopping Gargano from winning, and then taking a superkick for his troubles
  • Gargano pushing Ciampa out the way to take the ladder shot from AOP himself (which was a fascinating spot given what came after the match)
  • Ciampa hitting what was almost a german suplex that sent Rezar off a ladder and crashing through a ladder that was set in the corner (this ladder exploded upon impact). Crowd went wild for this spot.
  • DIY hitting their tag finisher of Ciampa’s running knee and Gargano’s kick whilst one of their opponent’s had a ladder around his neck (seemed Ciampa came off worse with his knee after)
  • AOP taking out the ladder that Gargano and Ciampa had climbed, and then Akam and Rezar each caught one of their unfortunate opponents, who were hanging from the title belts, they then hit the Super Collider, and climbed the ladder themselves to grab the titles for the win.
NXT TakeOver Chicago Results - 5/20/17 (Ladder Match for Tag Titles) - WWE  News and Results, RAW and Smackdown Results, Impact News, ROH News

****1/2

The match, as good and as epic as it was… really was the secondary story… As the victorious champions left with their manager and titles, DIY stayed behind looking disconsolate but got a great standing ovation from the Chicago crowd for their efforts…

And then… well. If you ask fans of NXT if they know what heartbreak looks like, they’ll refer you to this…

Probably the most defining moment in NXT history. A moment which was the genesis of not only the singles run of Gargano, but was the basis of the amazing heel run that Ciampa would have alongside.

From here, after what top to bottom was a great great show, Sanity would go on to face AOP for the tag titles as Roderick Strong went into a feud with Roode for the NXT title, before a certain Scotsman made his presence known… Asuka would once again have a big singles match with Ember Moon at long last the next August. Pete Dunne would go on a long and historic reign as UK Champion, before running in to a Ring General… and Ciampa vs Gargano would go on to be the most amazing rivalry in NXT history. Ciampa’s injuries meant we would have to wait nearly a year for the big showdown, but it was more than worth the wait. NXT proving once again why it’s the absolute best.

But on this night… Tommaso Ciampa finally decided it was HIS moment… and he and NXT never looked back.

Tommaso Ciampa turns on Johnny Gargano at the end of NXT Takeover: Chicago  | Wrestling News

Josh.

WWE SmackDown (7/5/2021) – Review

Throwback edition of WWE SmackDown set for next week

This really is the show of The Tribal Chief. And we just watch it.

After sending Daniel Bryan packing on last week’s show it looks set that Cesaro remains the current last hope to take on Roman Reigns at WrestleMania Backlash. So I would presume on this show we will get confirmation of that. It also seems that last week’s show set up not only Street Profits challenging Roode and Ziggler for the tag titles, but also the entertaining possibility of a fatal 4 way for the IC title with champion Apollo Crews, as well as Big E, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn also in the scene.

Oh and another thing… Tonight isn’t a regular show… it’s THROWBACK SmackDown… whatever that means… expect the odd cameo from some stars of yesteryear, which could be fun. One match confirmed so far is another clash between Cesaro and Seth Rollins, which if WrestleMania was anything to go by, should be great…


We had a retro style WWE opener, followed by a SmackDown opening video with a very retro feel that began with lots of The Rock saying it was his show. The staging features the retro WWE logo (the one prior to the classic scratch logo). It appears as Michael Cole tells us this is because it is retro week on Fox.

They replayed footage from the main event of the first ever SmackDown in August of 1999 when HBK turned heel ref again to help Triple H retain the title against The Rock.

Finally some normality to proceedings… as our Tribal Chief and his awesome new theme song came to the ring, with Heyman and Main Event Jey Uso with him. They recapped with a video of the end of last week’s show. Heyman says that Roman asked him to eulogise the career of his victim Daniel Bryan, and we shall do so with a ten bell salute… Heyman then made the bell noises himself as Roman tried not to laugh as the three men bowed their head. Reigns was handed the mic as the ‘you suck’ chants rained down… Roman said that he was a man of his word and he did what he said he was going to do. He said he always gives everyone what they want, including Daniel Bryan. He said with his absence they have replaced him with someone who will acknowledge him… and then… out came JIMMY Uso! Jey and Jimmy embraced, Jimmy slapped hands with Roman and Heyman…. Cesaro then came out… He said you could never replace Daniel Bryan, but that he doesn’t have time for Roman tonight as he had his match with Seth to focus on… and then Rollins right on queue came out to attack him. Officials came out to separate the pair… and then… TEDDY LONG (because its throwback smackdown of course) came out…. He said that if Cesaro beats Rollins he gets the title match with roman at wrestlemania backslash. He of course said holla and playa a lot too. Roman then threw Cesaro back out the ring once he got in it, and Rollins had the advantage as we went to the ad break. This was a decent opening segment to be fair, good stuff. Now lets hope Cesaro gets the win and it’s another banger. Cool that Jimmy Uso is back too.

We had an ICO-PRO Advert to really ad to the retro feel.

Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins

The Usos were at ringside watching on as the match began. Rollins was on top to begin with stomps and a slingblade for a nearfall. Rollins hit a knee off the top for another nearfall, he then threw Cesaro between the barricade and apron for another nearfall. Roman and Heyman were seen watching on from the back. Cesaro fought back and tried to lift Rollins up, but soon Seth took over again kicking at Cesaro’s knee. Cesaro powered Rollins up and hit a great suplex, Cesaro hit uppercuts in each corner then a clothesline for a nearfall of his own. Cesaro wanted the swing but eventually after Rollins was scrambling we soon got to Cesaro coming off the top, Jey Distracting him that allowed Rollins to go up top and hit the superplex into the Falcon Arrow… but Cesaro kicked out. Both got nearfalls after the ad break, Cesaro worked his way up into a sharpshooter, and then into a crossface, but Rollins smashed Cesaro in the back of the neck, and then hit a kick for another 2 count. Rollins tried the stomp but Cesaro caught him and placed Rollins in the corner, he tried a gutwrench but Rollins hit a buckle bomb… Cesaro came right back with a big clothesline to leave both men down. They exchanged strikes, Cesaro hit uppercuts but Rollins sent him to the outside… Jimmy Uso distracted the ref, and Jey went towards Cesaro only for Rollins to stop him saying “I’m not Roman” and that he didn’t need his help… Rollins then pushed Jey down… Jimmy then hit a superkick to Rollins as Cesaro came over the ropes onto Jimmy… Back in the ring Cesaro set for the Neutralizer and got it. 1,2,3. Cesaro gets his shot at Roman!!! Very interesting stuff with The Usos too… lets see where that goes and how Rollins fits in. Good opening match.

We got the proper graphic after the break for Roman vs Cesaro at Backlash. Amazing that this will be Cesaro’s first singles WWE World title match.

Rollins spoke to Roman backstage. He asked if he should be pissed at him (Jimmy) or pissed at you (Roman)? Roman said he now has to deal with his loose ends because that’s what he does, but when it comes to his family, he’ll handle that too. Rollins said they were cool, but that he should handle him “or I will”. Man… seeing these two together will never not scream MONEY!

They’ve got the famous smackdown fist via the hologram stuff they do at the top of the ramp (all I’ve seen on social media all week is people wanting that to be the actual stage). Our next SmackDown throwback moment was the famous supermarket brawl between Stone Cold and Booker T. Always a crazy fun watch.

Teddy Long was backstage with Sonya Deville. He praised Deville’s decision to make the Cesaro vs Rollins stip (despite saying it was Adam Pearce who gave him the power to do so when he made the announcement earlier). Deville said when she heard Adam Pearce was going to be unavailable tonight she thought she’d be running the show herself, but was happy Long was here (is anybody going to tell us where he is? Or is it just getting Teddy Long on just because it’s THROWBACK smackdown?)… Sami Zayn came into show now… (before Sami speaks I’ve hit pause… and I’m going to make a guess that Teddy Long makes a tag team match PLAYA with Zayn and Crews against Owens and Big E)… Zayn tried to kiss ass and explained about the conspiracy, Zayn wanted an IC title match, but instead if you had “you will go one on one with THE UNDERTAKER” on your Teddy Long bingo card then you can tick that one off now (I did laugh to be fair). He then made the tag match… fuck sake ahahahahaha!!! Oh so apparently it’s a 10 man tag as well with Shinsuke and the street profits… Zayn asked who was on his team and with help from Sonya we found out it was Otis, Chad Gable “AND KING BOOKER” said Long (fuck sake ahaha)… The actual guy was KING Corbin. A 10 man tag… WHYYYYYYY… Long then did his dance with Zayn not joining in but Sonya doing so… Christ…

Roman was then with The Usos. He was not happy with Jimmy. Jimmy said to Roman ‘you wont be talking to me like you talk to my brother… and second of all I ain’t nobody’s bitch’ before walking away. All is not fully well in the family it seems…

Just why I think about it during the ad break… Why did the street profits get the win with Belair in that mixed 6 person tag the other week? I get they wanted the babyfaces to go over, but they lost the tag title match before, then got a pin on the champions, and now someone else has the tag title match at the PPV???

The Riott Squad were in the ring, Ruby in a singles match with… Carmella… interesting…

Carmella defeated Ruby Riott (with Liv Morgan)

I just noticed the refs are wearing old school smackdown ref tops. As much as I like Carmella and Ruby Riott WWE have done little with either recently to make me care too much about a match between them, releasing Billie Kay before the tag team with Carmella really got off the ground didn’t exactly help. Carmella dominated most the match, and hit the big kick which looked like it would be the finish, but Liv alerted the ref to Mella having her foot on the ropes and that stopped the pin. After they exchanged roll up nearfalls until Mella got her Code of Silence submission in for the win.

Throwback moment was Hogan and Edge winning the tag titles.

Bayley is out next… I adore this version of Bayley with all my heart. A graphic shows us that she is out here to celebrate the women’s champions of WWE… so I’m guessing we’re getting some women of the past before Bianca comes out and they brawl…

Next SmackDown classic highlight was when Brock and Big Show broke the ring. The first time was insane, the 28475658589 times it’s happened since? Not so much.

Anyway, Bayley said just because you’re a superstar doesn’t make you a champion. She said she knows about that being the longest reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion. She told us not to worry as she wouldn’t be talking about herself (pop from me)… she wanted to pay tribute to some of our fellow women’s champions, she led to images of the likes of Alundra Blayze saying she was no Bayley, Jacqueline saying she wasn’t quite Bayley, Lita, Trish, Ivory, Beth Phoenix, Molly Holly (I feel in a non COVID world they would all be here). The last one she showed was Belair, she called her full of potential… and then naive saying she had no idea what she had in store her, and if she wasn’t careful she’d end up like all those other women… not on Bayley’s level! She said she’d beat Bianca and finally show she was right about her all along. Belair came out then. Belair said she was living her best life and it was only going to get better, she said Bayley wished she was insecure. That it was her confidence that concerned Bayley, but maybe she should be worried about herself, and she said she was on her way to being the longEST reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion. Bayley couldn’t hold it any longer and laughed hysterically, she then tried to take Bianca down but Belair took the fight to Bayley, launching her around the ring and then a dropkick, Bayley fought back and pulled at one of Belair’s earings, she screamed at her as she did so. Bayley stood on Belair’s hair and soon after did her facebuster type move to leave the champion laying. Bayley then left laughing back at Belair.

Jimmy was in the back, Jey wasn’t happy and asked if eh thought he meant those things. Jimmy asked what happened to us? And the two went back and forth with Jimmy trying to explain how Roman was champion because of Jey, but Jey arguing back that he was family though. Jimmy said Roman wouldn’t need Jey but he did and they need eachother. He told Jey to picture them being tag champions and Roman being Universal champion… he said THAT would be representing the family… before he left with jey looking on… This was another great segment.

Rey and Dominik came out next. He faces Dolph in our next match.

Raw was advertised with Drew vs Lashley. Lets see if Lashley beats his other challenger before the PPV as well… fuck sake…

Throwback smackdown moment next up was Cena’s debut when he came out to face Kurt Angle. And then him getting respect from then champion The Undertaker backstage.

Dolph cut a promo on Dominik before the match. And then it appeared a challenge was made and now it’s Dominik vs Dolph!

Dominik (with Rey Mysterio) defeated Dolph Ziggler (with Robert Roode)

Dolph battered Dominik early on… He would try to fight back but Ziggler’s offence was always harder. Dolph tried a suplex but Dominik got an inside cradle for the win in maybe a couple of minutes if that.

They recapped the women’s tag match from last week. If I love Bayley with all my heart I hate this feud equally as much. They also played part of the promo from Tamina on last week’s talking smack.

Kayla Braxton then said she had never seen passion like that from Tamina. And then she introduced “Tamina’s opponent for tonight… Reginald” along with the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler…

EXCUSE ME…

Kayla asked why he had made this challenge to Tamina for tonight… WHAT… REIGNALD VS TAMINA… MY GOD… Anyway, Reginald said that Tamina left him with a sour taste in his mouth. And that next week they’d have their spirits broken when Nia and Shayna defend their titles next week. Jesus christ…

We had a retro WWF Ice cream ad with Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

The next throwback was when Arnie came on a SmackDown in 1999. The spot was when Arnie went at Triple H.

Roman was in his locker room. He ushered Heyman to him and said ‘bring me my cousin’. Heyman asked which one before seeing Roman’s face and saying I understand.

Tamina (with Natalya) defeated Reginald (with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler) by DQ

Reginald was in his regular suit jacket and trousers. Reginald took off his jacket to reveal his shirt with Nia and Shayna on it. He got out the ring as Tamina tried a superkick. Reginald got out of trouble time and time again, until Tamina tossed him in the corner, Reginald balanced on the ring post and jumped over Tamina as she went after him (Nia and Shayna loving all this). Tamina then hit a big superkick, and then put him in position for the splash, Nia then dragged Reginald out the ring as Shayna went at Tamina for the DQ. Natalya came in and a big brawl ensued, the champions got the better of it… the champions destroy the challengers a week before the title match… cool…

Crews cut a promo saying he would lead his men into battle tonight. He put over each man on his team, but not Zayn. As the others stood behind him and cheered.

Big E then did the same for his team. The babyface team one was hilarious.

Apollo Crews (with Commander Azeez), Otis, Chad Gable, King Corbin and Sami Zayn defeated Big E, Kevin Owens, Shinsuke Nakamura, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins in a 10 man tag team match

Nobody got a tv entrance, we came back from break and they were ready for the match. Good match for what it was, but chaotic given their was 10 guys in the match! There was a lot going on so it was hard to keep up, everyone got their stuff in before and after the ad break mid match… The finish came when Corbin hit an End of Days to Nakamura as everyone else had been taken out.

Roman was in his locker room. He seemed to be admonishing Jey for Jimmy’s conduct. He spoke about love for the family, saying he loved his brother (Jimmy), and he wanted to give him the same opportunities but that he needed to know where he stands. We cut to another break but I’m going to guess Roman calls out Jimmy when we come back.

Next throwback smackdown moment was when Vince took a ride in Eddie Guerrero’s lowrider.

Roman and company were in the ring… Roman said this was not how he envisioned tonight, and as he spoke Jimmy Uso’s music played… and out he came… Jimmy set up to a video recapping Hell in a Cell many months back when Jey Uso said I QUIT to stop Jimmy Uso getting hurt… go out of your way to watch that match back by the way. Some of the best in match storytelling I’ve ever seen.

Cesaro beating everyone up will never not be cool. This was a GREAT way to end a pretty good show. No review from me next week as I’m a tad busy on Saturday… enjoy the women’s tag title match…

Josh.

Extreme Rules (2011) – Review

Extreme Rules (2011) - Wikipedia

With the company still the aftermath of (one of) the worst received WrestleMania shows in history, THE MIZ as WWE Champion, the man who walked out of that Mania as world champion having to retire and forfeit the title, this was a show that had a hall of fame card, but maybe it was a case of right talent in the wrong time. 2011 was one hell of a year in terms of eventfulness in WWE, and this show had plenty of moments that can certainly be called memorable… some of them career defining, some of them… not so much… I’m not sure I’ve ever before watched this show in full, but just looking at the card and some of the stuff that goes down tells me I’m certainly not going to be short of things to write about… so just over 10 years to the day of this show coming to you from Tampa, Florida on May 1st 2011, here is my review of that year’s Extreme Rules PPV!!!

The opening video began talking about WrestleMania and bigged it up as historic (it certainly was… something… in 2011), before leading into this show. Our commentary team varies throughout the show for reasons that will become very clear (we will try and get through why together I promise), but to start us off we have Josh Mathews, Booker T and Jerry Lawler. Our ring announcers vary between Tony Chimel and Justin Roberts.

Randy Orton defeated CM Punk in a Last Man Standing match

CM Punk: 10 Great Feuds He Could Have Had In 2014 – Page 4

Orton got a good pop coming out. Punk had at this point began to be the leader of the ‘new Nexus’ and so came down to the ring with Otunga, Curtis Axel and some other guy (I’m not wasting my time finding out who). However the Anonymous Raw GM (Literally one of the worst ideas they ever had, and they had A LOT in this era) banned them from ringside during the match (how that makes sense during a match with No DQs I don’t know…).

They began with brawling before each getting a kendo stick and using it on one another (crowd were into it when Orton was hitting Punk). Orton hit his signature backbreaker, and tried for the ddt after but Punk eventually catapulted Orton into the turnbuckle that he had exposed before the match even began, but Orton got up before the 10 count. After they reversed eachothers finisher before Orton sent Punk into a chair that he had set up in the corner. Punk got up at 7. After fighting to the outside Orton hit Punk with a backdrop on the barricade (Punk got up at 6), Orton later tried for an RKO in the ring, but Punk hit the GTS to silence the crowd,,, Orton just got up at 9. Punk was offense for a while after, and he sat a chair up ready for something until he got hit with an RKO… but he got up at 9 and rolled to the outside. Later Punk put a chair around Orton’s neck and threw him into the ringpost, Orton getting up at 9. On the announce table it looked like Punk had the better of it, but Orton popped up with another RKO, keeping Punk down for 8. Orton after set for the punt kick, but CM Punk picked Orton up and threw him on the steps as he would of done for a GTS (keeping Orton down for 9)… the finish came after…

Punk went up high after in the ring but Orton attacked him with the kendo stick again, he then hit a great looking RKO off the top rope, and this kept Punk down for the 10. Solid match by two popular guys to kick off the PPV.

***1/2

Jerry Lawler went backstage to prepare for his ‘country whipping match’ later… christ…

They reminded us that in the recent draft Raw acquired Alberto Del Rio, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston and Big Show. SmackDown got Sheamus, Randy Orton, Sin Cara and The Great Khali.

It was recapped from SmackDown where Kofi was due to have his final match on the show… Until Sheamus attacked him before their match could get underway.

Backstage Teddy Long informed US Champion Sheamus that he would be defending his title against Kofi Kingston, in a Tables match. Sheamus did not like it. He said the part he don’t like is he’s the champion of the United States of America and he isn’t even defending against someone from America. He demanded to see his birth certificate. Long said he shouldn’t worry about that and might not even be champion after tonight. I didn’t see this as funny to be honest… it felt very silly…

John Morrison was seen preparing for the main event backstage.

Kofi Kingston defeated Sheamus (C) in a Tables match to win the United States Championship

Sheamus vs. Kofi Kingston - United States Championship Tables Match: WWE  Extreme Rules 2011 | WWE

Hearing Kofi come out to his SOS theme in 2021 is wild… Anyway, both guys came out with fast and aggressive offence that carried on all match really. We had a funny spot where as they brawled to the outside Kofi tried to get a table from under the ring, but Sheamus stopped him and then slid the table back under the ring. They brawled mainly on the outside, Sheamus tried to powerbomb Kofi into the table but Kingston brawled out. Later Sheamus was on the outside of the apron, and had to cling on as a table was set up below him… Kofi went to run at him but Sheamus came back into the ring and took him down. With a table set in the corner we had a series of close calls from both (including Sheamus trying to white noise Kofi through the table, and Kofi trying to dropkick a prone Sheamus only for the irishman to move out the way and fire back). The finish shown in the video below was quite the spot…

Kofi eventually got the win after a Boom Drop off the top that sent Sheamus through a table below. Crowd popped for the finish of a fine match, although it felt like it was a little short (it was half as long as the opener).

**3/4

Todd Grisham did an interview with R-Truth backstage. Truth had been beaten on a previous Raw by John Morrison and lost his spot in the WWE title match to Morrison as a result. Truth really wasn’t happy and spoke as if there was a conspiracy against him. He was half angry half goofy in this segment, as he wasn’t quite a full heel just yet. He said Morrison stole his opportunity to live his dream and he said the one thing he can’t stand is a thief.

Michael Cole & Jack Swagger defeated Jerry Lawler & Jim Ross in a tag team Country Whipping match.

10 Worst Matches In Extreme Rules History – Page 9

Just an FYI the gimmick was essentially a tag match where the use of leather straps as a weapon was legal. Cole came in wrapped in bubble wrap. It was as stupid as the Michael Cole heel character which was one of THE very worst gimmicks of all time. The Anonymous Raw GM was one thing, heel Michael Cole was another. The WrestleMania match with Jerry Lawler was one thing, this was beyond barbaric in how bad it was. It’s not often I would ever feel sorry for Jack Swagger, but I feel so bad for him he had to be a part of this. Cole cut a heel self promo before the match saying he wasn’t scared of the match. The best thing about this match was Jim Ross’ legendary entrance music. Each man had a strap as the match started.

Swagger got hit with the belt. Cole tagged in and acted all tough with his bubble wrap protecting him. Lawler punched him and ripped off the wrap, Swagger tagged in, the crowd DIED for anything that wasn’t Michael Cole getting beat up… but that didn’t happen all that much… At one point Jim Ross had an ankle lock on Jack Swagger and he sold it too which the whole idea of is just absurd… Ross hit Cole with the strap a few times, and he managed to get some form of ankle lock on Cole, then hitting a low blow to Swagger who tried to make the save, Cole then rolled up Ross for the win. They announced Cole as ‘Sir Michael Cole’ and Josh Matthews said on commentary said how Cole was undefeated and how his win streak continues. Booker T said how ridiculous all this was.

FUCK. OFF.

DUD

Todd Grisham was backstage doing another interview, this time with John Cena. Cena spoke about how he hadn’t been WWE Champion since June 20th the previous year… He spoke about how he’d been through quite a lot in that time and how that would end tonight, and after 10 long months by the end of the night ‘the champ is here’. So… I guess Cena is winning tonight then (We know he does of course but they made it very obvious with this interview that he was winning the title… thanks for that…).

We had a great video before our next match, telling the story of how ‘Dashing’ Cody Rhodes became a mental mess when Rey Mysterio caused him an injury that led him to wearing the face mask he’s sporting at this time. He was so focused on his image before that having that taken from him with the facemask turned him crazy. He blamed Rey for crushing his face and wanted to beat Mytserio so badly that he would be the monster that he now saw in the mirror in himself. Cody also added that Rey wore his mask as he was ashamed of himself. Rey said he wore it with pride. Simple booking but I thought it was fun creative personally.

Rey Mysterio defeated Cody Rhodes in a Falls Count Anywhere match

Cody came out with two ’employees’ who handed paper bags to members of the audience. The symbolism is so the WWE Universe can be how Rey Mysterio apparently feels about himself. Cody cut a short promo saying how the fans needed the masks as they were “extremely ugly”. Booker T said on commentary “he might be right about some of them Josh, I ain’t gonna say no names”… WHAT?!

Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes - Falls Count Anywhere Match | WWE

After the opening exchange they fought to the entrance ramp where Cody got a nearfall after a dropkick and Rey got one after a seated senton of the stage. After they went into the crowd area and then up the stairs, Cody used the stair railing to put Mysterio in a boston crab, and they then fought into the concourse… Cody got a nearfall from a step up knee after Rey tried to ram his head into a glass mirror, Rey got a nearfall from a crossbody. They eventually fought back towards the ringside area where Cody sent Rey head first into the steps for a 2 count, Mysterio though cameback not long after with a springboard crossbody for a nearfall of his own, he later tried for the 619 and exposed his knee brace, but Cody got out the way. Rhodes took charge of the match after and slammed Rey for another nearfall, and he stopped on Rey in the corner as the crowd tried to will Mysterio back into it with ‘619’ chants… then came the finish as you will se below..

For the finish Mysterio spat a type of mist into Cody’s face, then hit the 619 and a splash for the win. A fine match that was solid without being spectacular.

***

We cut to backstage where the likes of Rosa Mendes, Natalya, Tamina Snuka, Beth Phoenix, Alicia Fox and others were. Layla then entered and said that as tonight may be her last night here she wanted to apologise to everyone if she had ever done anything to them. They said that none of them liked her but they liked Michelle McCool a hell lot less, and so wished her luck in their match.

Michael Cole joined commentary in his ‘Cole Mine’, much to the joy of himself and absolutely nobody else…

Layla defeated Michelle McCool in a No DQ, No Countout, Loser leaves WWE match

Bastion Blogger's Extreme Rules 2011 Review

So basically LayCool imploded and then the two persistent bullies of the division feuded with one another. McCool jumped Layla as she was making her entrance. She then had the best of it early on and got a nearfall not long in, Layla then took her down and hit a number of punches before McCool sent her to the outside. Layla and McCool both used the announce table, with McCool getting the best of it. Back inside the ring McCool missed a kick and Lyla hit a dropkick for a nearfall. McCool tried to reason with Layla, but she wasn’t having it and McCool soon got a belly to belly for another nearfall. Layla had the better of it on the outside, with both on the barricade it was McCool who threw Layla off by her hair. McCool talked trash but Layla came back in the ring, Layla countered what looked to be a slam type move for another nearfall. Layla looked very upset, but Michelle hit her with a hard shot for another nearfall (crowd was SO dead)… and McCool tried a move but Layla escaped and got a reverse neckbreaker, but McCool got her foot to the rope to stop the pin. McCool got another nearfall, both women countered one another and McCool hit what look almost like a Styles Clash funny enough given what happens many years later, but it was actually her finisher the Faith Breaker, she didn’t go for the pin immediately though and those few seconds meant that Layla could then roll her up with a pin of her own for the win.

Cattie's Catch Up: Layla vs Michelle McCool Extreme Rules 2011 Loser Leaves  WWE Match & Kharma Debut! (May, 1st 2011) | Cattie's Womens Wrestling

After the match Layla seemed upset even as the winner, and as McCool was upset herself in the ring the debuting Kharma (fka Awesome Kong in TNA) attacked McCool. The match went about 5 minutes and was kind of boring even with the added stipulation.

*1/4

Ricardo Rodriguez practised his introduction for Alberto backstage, and Del Rio told him to be better and practise announcing him as the new world heavyweight champion.

So the title was of course vacated by Edge who was forced to retire just after WrestleMania. They played a cool video before the next match telling that story, and now was a chance for his best friend to finally get his moment. To do so he would have to beat the man who had (what was then) Edge’s final match. Christian earned the match against Del Rio by winning a 20 man over the top rope battle royal.

Christian defeated Alberto Del Rio in a Ladder match to win the vacant World Heavyweight Championship

(SEE FULL MATCH IN THE VIDEO BELOW)

Christian hit a backdrop to Del Rio onto a ladder. Later in a tribute to Edge, Christian hit a Spear to Del Rio and then went after the title belt… only for Brodus Clay to come out and stop Christian from winning. Christian got payback on Clay, busting him open with a shot with a ladder and then throwing him to the outside of the ring. Del Rio came back in and got the Cross Armbreaker on Christian before climbing a ladder again… this was when Edge appeared in the arena area driving a jeep and he played the car horn. This distracted Del Rio and as a result allowed Christian to knock Del Rio off the ladder and he fell to Clay and Ricardo Rodriguez on the outside. And then in one of the highlights of certainly Christian’s career, and one of the genuinely great Booker T commentary calls… Christian climbed the ladder and retrieved the title to win the match. Huge crowd pop for the finish and we got the emotional scenes with the new world champion and recently retired Edge. Your NEW World Heavyweight Champion… CHRISTIAN! This was GREAT shit.

Christian WHC Extreme Rules 2011 - OWW

***3/4

Alex Riley was with WWE Champion The Miz in the locker room area. Riley couldn’t believe WWE asked Miz to be in this match, and seemed to say things that made it seem obvious that Riley thought he was losing. Miz told Riley never to do that again when he was about to do Miz’s catchphrase.

Kane & Big Show (C) defeated The Corre (Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson) in a Lumberjack match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship

Sports World: Full story & photo & result - May 1, 2011 Big Show & Kane vs.  Wade Barrett & Ezekiel Jackson (WWE Tag Team Championship Lumberjack Match)  Extreme Rules 2011 - 1-5-2011

Barrett tagged himself in after Jackson appeared to have Big Show pretty much beat… and then of course Barrett took a chokeslam and the L. I don’t even want to discuss this match at all… because everything about The Corre and mainly this time in Wade Barrett’s career makes me very sad.

*3/4

John Cena defeated The Miz (C) and John Morrison in a triple threat Steel Cage match to win the WWE Championship

(FULL MATCH IN VIDEO BELOW)

Morrison and John Cena began by teaming up against Miz. Cena later hit a bulldog to Miz as Morrison tried to escape the cage, but Cena stopped him in time. Morrison tried again later only for The Miz stopping him this time. Cena later hit a Five Knuckle Shuffle to Morrison and then The Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale to Cena right after that. The Miz tried climbing the cage but John Morrison and Cena hit a crazy-looking double suplex off the cage. Morrison then came off the cage but hit Cnea as he tried to hit The Miz. John Morrison hit a crazy standing moonsault sideslam to Cena, but then took a powerbomb into the cage wall by The Miz. Miz then tried to escape via the cage door… only for Cena to get him in an STF… Morrison though then stopped the submission by climbing the cage and shutting the door onto Miz. Cena then pushed Morrison who landed on the door hurting his groin. Miz hit a ddt to Cena followed by a big boot… in maybe the highlight of the match Cena and Miz both tried to stop John Morrison escaping the cage, but he then hit Starship Pain off the top of the cage… He later seemed as if he was about to escape… only for R-Truth to come out and attack him. He then went at Cena and hit a Truth Axe before climbing back over the cage. Cena eventually got the win with a top rope AA to The Miz.

John Cena Is the Greatest Performer in Extreme Rules History | Bleacher  Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

***3/4

There are some things in life that are more important than wrestling. And despite this being a suprisingly good show, John Cena once again climbing to the top of the mountain and at long last Christian finally doing the same… both of those monumental events were far from the main things on any American’s mind that evening… as John Cena himself would reveal some pretty big news after the PPV went off the air…

Josh.

WWE SmackDown (30/4/2021) – Review

This has the potential to be quite the show. Pre announced are two huge title matches with Big E getting his rematch from WrestleMania for the IC title against Apollo Crews… but also we have a match that we may not know just how big it is for a while…

So last week we had Cesaro trying all show (with his hype man Daniel Bryan backing him all the way) trying to entice Roman Reigns into accepting his challenge for the Universal Championship. Instead Reigns turned his attention to Bryan and offered him a title shot, with the stipulation that he never wanted to see Bryan on his show again if he lost (he specifically said he didn’t want him on SmackDown again if he lost). So here we are with Title vs Career… whatever that means for Daniel Bryan remains to be seen. There has been reports recently that Bryan turned down a new contract offer with his deal up soon… he’s spoken for some time now about wanting to drift away from a full time schedule… and also since the original brand split in 2016 he hasn’t been a Raw guy once… so there’s lots of stuff that COULD happen, but with Daniel Bryan’s future very much in the air, what the consequences of a Roman Reigns win here will mean I guess we will all have to wait and find out… I would like to point out Bryan recently praised the work of a guy called Kenny Omega in an interview…


They opened with a video previewing the Universal title match tonight. They are calling it the biggest main event in smackdown history.

After the opening SmackDown video with the ACDC song, we had a big fireworks display in the Thunderdome.

We open though with our SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair. She is simply a superstar, and it gives me SO much joy being able to say that. They played a cool video putting her over as she came to the ring. It seems to me they’re doing the sort of things tonight they do on big TV shows like this where they think non-regular viewers will be tuning in. Bianca took the mic and welcomed us to the show. She was about to welcome out the Street Profits it seemed, but then the tag champions Roode and Ziggler interrupted. They said they’d take it from here, before Ford and Dawkins then followed them out. We have a 6 person tag match coming out apparently. Ford seemed to take exception to the dirty dogs interrupting Bianca, Bayley then followed them… Bayley said it was her show as she snatched the mic from the champion and laughed hysterically. Bianca slapped Bayley to the ground and the two fought before the tag teams went at it also. We cut to an ad break and I presume when we get back we’ll have a match… Fun line up mind you so should be good.

When we came back they advertised for next week a throwback edition of smackdown next week. They even had the OG smackdown logo too. So that should be fun.

SmackDown Women’s Champion Bianca Belair & Street Profits (Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins) defeated Bayley & SmackDown Tag Team Champions Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler

Bayley and Bianca fought first off, Belair getting a nearfall as Ford hyped her up from the apron. Bayley got back into it with a dropkick, Bianca though hit a dropkick of her own not long after so Bayley tagged out to Ziggler. Dawkins came in with a shoulder tackle before tagging Ford and the Profits went on the double team rampage. Ford hit a crazy good dive to the outside onto the tag champions, as Bayley sent Belair into the steps. Dolph hit a big superkick but Ford rolled to the outside. Ziggler tagged in Roode and the heels got the heat, Roode getting a nearfall after planting Ford. Bayley got in a cheap shot to Ford as the ref’s back was turned and Roode continued on offence before tagging Ziggler. Dolph was really mocking Ford but got caught with a big kick as he set for the superkick, both made tags after as Angelo Dawkins ran wild. He hit a great variation of a neckbreaker to get a nearfall on Roode that Ziggler broke up. Bianca even lifted Ziggler up before hitting the KOD to Bayley, as Roode tried to roll up Dawkins using the tights, Bianca came in and whipped Roode with the hair (which credit to Roode he sold great), Dawkins hit the big spinebuster, Ford tagged in and hit the big splash and got the win. A really great finishing sequence to end a super fun opener. Good stuff all round from everyone involved here.

Kayla spoke to Daniel Bryan. He said he was at peace with his decision and that he was excited, and she should ask Roman Reigns how he was feeling. He said he’d tap Roman out again and that when he wins his first title defence will be against Cesaro.

Seth Rollins spoke backstage and laughed at the idea of Bryan winning, he said his prediction was pretty simple… He said he does have a lot of history with Roman Reigns but paused as he said his prediction was that Daniel Bryan wins in one of the biggest upsets of all time. He added Cesaro wouldn’t get his shot as he wouldn’t make it past next week, and he made a challenge asking if he was ‘ready to take another swing’.

After the break we had just what we all needed… a recap of Nia Jax vs Tamina from last week…

Nia and Shayna made their way to the ring backstage… with Reginald… the interviewer asked about last week, Shayna said they were about to go show Nattie and Tamina the difference between singles and tag team. Nia was about to talk about the disrespect they were being shown on Raw when Natalya and Tamina jumped them both from behind.

Natalya & Tamina defeated WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (with Reginald)

Tamina went on the offensive early but after a frog splash met Jax’s knees the heels took over. Shayna came in and got a nearfall after a knee to the head. Jax came in and got her own nearfall, Tamina hit big punches and tried to catch Jax off the ropes but couldn’t hold her and Jax got another nearfall. Baszler tagged in and soon was in an arm hold but then powered Shayna up for a slam. Both women went to their corner for a tag but as Natalya was their waiting for Tamina, Jax was nowhere to be seen as she was still down near the announce table being seen to by Reginald. Natalya outwrestled Shayna and got a discuss clothesline for a nearfall, and after another nearfall with a german suplex. Shayna hit a series of punches and came off the ropes with a knee, but Jax slapped her back for the tag as she did so. She ran right in with a standing elbow for a nearfall. Tamina tagged in and went up high again, Reginald was kicked away and Natalya tried to put Reginald in the sharpshooter, but Baszler came from behind and put Natalya in her hold before launching her over the announce table upon seeing where Tamina was. Shayna got on the apron, and distracted Tamina enough for Jax to get at her… Baszler tagged in and went up top and tried for the superplex, Tamina blocked and headbutted Shayna down before hitting the splash. I did wonder where Jax was but after the pin the camera panned round to show Natalya holding Jax back…

Next to give their prediction for the Universal title match was 2x WWE Hall of Famer Booker T. He was backing Reigns.

We had another advert for the throwback smackdown for next week.

Shinsuke Nakamura backed Bryan to win saying there was too much on the line to lose. He said he wanted Roman if he won.

Kayla Braxton spoke with Rey and Dominik Mysterio. She asked about a potential future tag title shot, Dominik said fighting aside his dad was like being in a comic book, Rey said their chance to be the first father-son tag team champions would be legendary.

Next we had this week’s Aleister Black video…

COOL. AS. FUCK.

Next up is the ic title match. Before we got a recap video of their WrestleMania match.

Big E was asked backstage about his strategy. He told Megan (I can’t recall her surname) that tonight he’d get his baby back, he was very passionate and hyped.

Azeez and Crews hyped eachother backstage.

Xavier Woods thought Bryan would win given he has fought to the top. Kofi went with Roman.

Big E defeated Apollo Crews (C) (with Commander Azeez) by DQ in a match for the Intercontinental Championship

It seemed they were trying to one up eachother early, with E getting the better of it. E got a nearfall after an elbow to the nose, and later hit a standing splash to Crews on the apron, again getting a nearfall. Crews bounced Big E off the ropes and got a clothesline after, he then took E to the outside and hit a suplex to the floor. After the break Crews was laying in punches back in the ring, until he was caught coming off the top with a big overhead throw, before Big E threw him again and was sent onto the apron when Crews hit an enziguiri followed by a moonsualt off the apron. Crews went off the top, Big E moved and hit a belly to belly followed by a splash for a 2 count off the pin. Crews hit a kick to the face for a 2 count, he followed with more punches on the ground, and had E in the corner hitting the stinger splash, and tried it in the other corner but the challenger hit a urinagi for another nearfall. Big E tried to spear Crews off the apron but got hit with a knee and then dropped neck first on the apron, Crews hit a big splash off the top rope, but E kicked out. Crews followed up right away but E got a roll up nearfall… he then did hit the Big Ending… but of course Azeez pulled him under the ropes… he then threw him into the post for the DQ. Kevin Owens ran out and attacked Azeez, before Crews took Owens down. Crews ordered Azeez to stack him up, but Big E made the save and took Crews out the ring before the two babyfaces went at Azeez… Sami Zayn then ran in and hit a Helluva kick to Owens just as it seemed they might be overcoming Azeez. Crews came back in and barked at Azeez to get Big E out the ring, meanwhile in the corner Sami Zayn lifted up the Intercontinental title, Zayn calmed things as Crews wanted it back, Zayn gave it and said no problem and he lifted Crews arm up and then Azeez’s, Azeez then gave Zayn the Nigerian Nail. I will not complain at all if this leads to a 4 way at the PPV for the IC title.

The Miz picked Roman to win.

Kayla was outside Reign’s locker room and Paul Heyman stepped out. We will hear from him next.

For the Raw advert they promoted how the WWE title match for the PPV is now a 3 way, and asked how the Charlotte Flair return led by Sonya Deville could lead to a Raw Women’s Championship pursuit…

After a retro smackdown ad, Cesaro accepted Rollins’ challenge, and then said Bryan would win and then he would win the universal championship from Bryan at WrestleMania Backlash.

A shot of Roman looking very relaxed was seen from his locker room.

They recapped again the stuff from last week.

Kayla asked about how close Bryan was to winning at WrestleMania. Heyman said he was sick of hearing Bryan’s name, he asked a series of questions and answered them all with YES YES YES. He half mocked and half praised Bryan’s achievements in his career, he said Bryan would not be on SmackDown again… NO NO NO. This was great stuff as always.

We have over 40 minutes in total of the show left as Bryan makes his entrance. They recapped WrestleMania THIRTY as Bryan made his way to the ring, I guess the idea is to remind us Bryan is the ultimate underdog. It was SEVEN years ago though…

Next week we will have Cesaro vs Rollins officially.

Corbin wanted Roman to win so Bryan packs his bags and goes home for good.

ROMAN HAS NEW MUSIC! It has almost an operatic intro before going into the song. It’s ok to be fair but his old shield theme is iconic so it’ll take some adjusting to for sure.

Roman Reigns (C) (with Paul Heyman) defeated Daniel Bryan to retain the Universal Championship

Bryan ran out the blocks with a dropkick and yes kicks, Reigns hit the big punch after. It was very fast paced early on as Reigns scrambled to the outside as Bryan tried the yes lock, Bryan drove reigns into the barricade and hit a running knee off the apron as we went to a break.

Bryan was in control after, going at the left arm of Reigns. Bryan hit the running dropkicks to the corner, until Reigns ran out the corner and hit a huge clothesline. Reigns got a cover but Bryan kicked out, before the tribal chief beat away on Bryan. Reigns hit a vertical suplex for a nearfall. Reigns had a neckhold on Bryan, but the challenger powered up and hit punches until Reigns kneed him in the mouth… Reigns hit clubbing blows to the corner, and Bryan did the kip up over Reigns off the turnbuckle but eventually ran into a Reigns elbow off the ropes. Roman got another nearfall as a result. Roman stalked Bryan and hit him with hard punches, Bryan cameback with uppercuts and a droptoe-hold that sent Reigns into the second turnbuckle, Bryan hit kicks to Roman in the corner, and with both on the top rope he tried a hurricanrana but Reigns held him up and hit a huge powerbomb off the second rope, but Bryan kicked out at 2.

Coming back from break we had Reigns smashing Bryan with punches on the outside. He sent him into the barricade, and got a nearfall after. Reigns started to look annoyed. Reigns hit a knee to the head of Bryan, and knees in the corner, He placed Bryan on the top and looked for a superplex… but Bryan ducked underneath and pushed Ronan into the post… He then hit a back suplex off the top which was a heck of a bump. Bryan crawled over for the cover… but Roman powered out at 2. Bryan hit an uppercut and yes kicks, but Roman got a samoan drop… only for Bryan to kick out again. Reigns set for the Superman punch but Bryan hit a kick, and then a running kick to his arm again, Bryan snapped at the arm again, but Roman hit a huge punch away before Bryan sent him over the ropes and went for a dive, but Reigns caught him and hit an overhead belly to bely. Roman set for the Spear but Bryan moved and he went right into the barricade.

Bryan was on the top when we cameback and he hit a diving headbutt for a nearfall. He did the yes chants after but Roman hit a superman punch as he went for the knee, but Bryan kicked out. Roman went for a spear but Bryan rolled him into a cradle for a nearfall, and after he did hit the running knee but Roman got his foot on the bottom rope. Bryan hit stomps to Reigns, and he pulled him over looking for the Yes lock… he got a crossface and eventually Reigns countered into a nearfall… and then hit a Spear right after but Bryan kicked out at 2! This is a really good match so far… Reigns got the guillotine in but not quite… and Bryan slipped out into an armbar, and then the Yes Lock… Bryan countered again as Reigns tried for the ropes, and he had the Yes Lock really in tight… Reigns powered out and then hit a series of punches to Bryan on the ground, He lifted him up and hit a big powerbomb, Reigns again went for the ground and pound punches… he was really clubbing away at Bryan before another powerbomb. He went for Bryan and tried again for the Guillotine, but Bryan tried to go at the arm of Reigns again, only for Roman to switch arms and get the submission in… Bryan eventually faded and that was the match. Roman retains in a great match, and Bryan is BARRED from SmackDown. Finally Roman wins a match all by himself. There was very much a sense of finality about that finish. What that means for Bryan’s future remains to be seen…

Reigns then went to go and get two chairs… he brought them into the ring… He looked to be setting up for the big move but Cesaro ran out for the save. He hit an uppercut in the ring and the on the outside before really going at Reigns with strikes. Jey Uso came out to go after Cesaro and hit him with a superkick. This meant Reigns could indeed hit Bryan with the con-chair-toe… as Jey trapped Cesaro in the ropes so that Roman could hit Bryan with the con-chair-toe. And that was how the show ended…

I just watched a VERY good SmackDown. And I may have just watched the last Daniel Bryan match… for a while at least…

Josh.

WWE SmackDown (23/4/2021) – Review

So after what has been a news worthy week for WWE away from the ring (a future WWE Hall of Famer getting sent a trash bag, Charlotte Flair being told my Dave Meltzer that she’s conscious of her looks, and one third of the Mania main event saying he felt a disconnect with it), we finally arrive here at Friday Night SmackDown.

You will have to excuse the formatting for a short while til I can sort it as my unreliable laptop is being unreliable again, but anyway let’s get onto the show. The only thing as I write this I know has been advertised is Apollo Crews will be defending his Intercontinental title. Who against remains a mystery but could be anyone… I would LOVE for it to be Roderick Strong after he “resigned” from NXT last week but that’s a bit of a pipe dream. Aleister Black again would be a dream choice… but let’s see… we also have the fallout from last week where it seemed as if Cesaro was being set up as the next challenger to The Head of The Table, before he was jumped by his Wrestlemania foe Seth Rollins… but let’s see what they do then. Here is my review of SmackDown from April 23rd 2021.


The new “Then Now Forever” intro video now ends with “Together” which is a nice touch.

They recapped all the Cesaro stuff from last week. Including showing us the UFO AGAIN (FIVE times we saw it during last weeks show and it took them less than 1 minute to show it again this week…). Was fun to be fair to have a show long story around 1 guy, and given it was Cesaro it was extra cool.

Cesaro opened the show this week too standing in the ring. Before he could speak Seth Rollins made his way out. Rollins mocked Cesaro and said he came out to congratulate him for ‘finally reaching and fulfilling his potential’. But he said he only did so because he was in the ring with him at Wrestlemania. He called himself the new Mr Wrestlemania. He asked where his thanks was, and said he had heard he planned on moving on but repeated what he said last week about it not being over until he said it was over. He then blamed the RAIN DELAY for losing to Cesaro, and said on his worst day and Cesaro’s best he couldn’t beat him again.

Cesaro then made the challenge to Rollins again for tonight. Rollins accepted. Before Jey Uso’s music played… Uso said Roman brushed him right off because he can’t beat Roman, him or Seth again. He said he’d show him again tonight. Rollins reasoned with Uso to work together to get Cesaro. The two surrounded the ring… until the music of Daniel Bryan played and out he came! He got into the ring and Rollins and Jey Uso backed away.

Bryan asked where they were going? And called them out for not coming out for the reasons they said they did. He said Rollins was embarrassed and that’s why he came out, Uso came out cause Roman told him so, and he said He came out to make sure Cesaro finally gets what he deserves. He said he hadn’t done it for those two because he has an infinite amount of respect for Cesaro and said he’d worked harder than anyone. Bryan seriously put over Cesaro and it really felt like a shoot from him. Bryan mocked Roman too, and said anyone who wants to fight (them both) to come on out…

Out came Roman then with Heyman. Pat McAfee said he was “one of the most impressive human’s he’d ever seen”… Ok Pat…

Roman said Bryan should be talking about Mania and said he told the whole world what was going to happen. He then promoted his ‘smash em, stack em, pin em’ shirt and pointed out it was Bryan on the bottom.

He called Bryan a loser and said Cesaro was a loser too. He said to everyone else they weren’t but to him they were losers, and main event losers. He called Bryan a stupid loser. And said how stupid it was they were talking like that surrounded by people who wanna whoop their ass. He then made his way to then back.

Looked like we have a tag match on our hands at least!

Daniel Bryan & Cesaro defeated Jey Uso & Seth Rollins

We came back to all 4 guys brawling in the ring. Eventually we got underway with Bryan and Jey Uso in the ring. Rollins wasn’t happy that nobody told him he was in a match tonight… Cesaro in the ring his a really impressive delayed duplex for a nearfall. Rollins tagged in and Cesaro put a beating on him until a slingblade by Rollins. Rollins tagged in Uso as the heels really targeted Cesaro now. Frequent tags and really good teamwork by Uso and Rollins, Cesaro caught Rollins off the 2nd rope for a tilt the world backbreaker and then Bryan was tagged in at last! Bryan hit the yes kicks to Rollins, Bryan then caught Rollins’ leg as he tried a Pele Kick and hit a German with a bridge for a nearfall. Bryan went for the running knee, but Rollins caught him and hit a buckle bomb, Uso tagged in and hit a big splash but Cesaro made the save after the pin attempt. Uso and Rollins then hit a double suplex to Cesaro on the outside. After the ad break Bryan was being wrenched against the ropes by Rollins, he then hit a running kick to Bryan for a nearfall. They talked up the effect the buckle bomb had on Bryan and related it to the Con-Chair-Toe he suffered from Reigns at Mania and the after effects still being felt from that. The heels again worked well together on Bryan. Uso came in and stomped at Bryan. Bryan fought back and took Rollins down but ran into a Samoan drop by Jey Uso for a 2 count. Cesaro tried to get the yes chants going, Rollins continued to beat down Bryan, eventually Bryan came back and ran into Rollins taking both guys down. And both made tags, Cesaro with a series of uppercuts to Uso, and then a clothesline for a nearfall. Cesaro tried for the swing but Uso fought out, eventually hitting an inziguiri, Cesaro soon hit a springboard uppercut for a nearfall. After he tried a Neautralizer, eventually a big uppercut for Rollins broke the pin. Bryan then sent Rollins out the ring after and hit him with a suicide dive. Uso tried a dive to Cesaro who caught him with an uppercut, Cesaro soon after came off the top rope but fell right into a superkick by Jey as we went to another ad break :/ … When we returned Rollins and Cesaro were in the ring, they went back and forth until Cesaro tried the swing but Rollins counters for a nearfall. Cesaro after got the sharpshooter, until Uso came in and hit a superkick to Cesaro. Rollins made the tag, Uso went to the top but Cesaro hit him with an uppercut, it appeared after Rollins was leaving to the back, at which point Cesaro hit a superplex, then made the tag to Bryan who hit the running knee for the 1,2,3 and the win. Rollins walks out saying he had enough and that allowed the babyfaces to get the win.

Bryan called Roman out after and said he thought someone was coming to get them? Uso tried to jump Bryan but Cesaro hit the swing and Bryan continues to mock the heels on the mic, counting the swings and asking if that was what Roman was afraid of. Bryan commentating on Cesaro beating up Uso was so funny. Cesaro hit an uppercut to Uso that Bryan did the call for. Cesaro took the mic also and joined in the verbal mocking of Roman. He said Roman not coming out said it showed what kind of family man he was. Cesaro and Bryan said he should swing Jey Uso again and see if this brings Roman out, as Bryan again on the mic said Roman should come out and make the save, as Uso did over and over for Roman… but as Cesaro continued to swing and Bryan mocked Roman again on the mic… no sign of Reigns… Bryan again asked if Roman was afraid and pointed out how he couldn’t beat Owens without Jey Uso, Bryan without Edge, Edge without Jey, and he said he thinks Roman knows he can’t beat Cesaro. This was a super strong promo by Bryan putting over Cesaro. He said if they faced one on one Cesaro would be the new Universal Champion. We can all dream I guess Daniel…

As Sonya Deville and Adam Pearce were talking backstage about what has just happened, Apollo and Commander Azeez approached. Crews ushered away Deville, and asked what this nonsense was? He wasn’t happy at all about having to defend his title tonight. Pearce said Big E will get his shot again when he is ready, against him or his opponent tonight… Kevin Owens! (Just an FYI but the “Nigerian Man” I thought Crews was saying last week was actually Nigerian Nail, which is what they’re calling Azeez version of the Samoan Spike finisher made famous by Umaga).

Nia Jax was out next with fellow tag team champion Shayna Baszler. She’s apparently facing Tamina… Nia ushered for someone to come out after… and it was Reginald…

At this point if I wasn’t writing a review of the show I’d very very likely skip past all of this shite. I’m so over all of this; of Nia and Shayna as the champions, of neither being singles stars, I’m sick of Reginald and I don’t know why I should care about him as a character, I’m sick of Tamina and Natalya still being the challengers to the tag champions despite losing at Wrestlemania, and I can’t think of much worse than the idea of Nia Jax VS Tamina… when they were a tag team a couple years a back now that (two colossal forces just smashing women up), I can get behind that. All of this? NOPE.

anyway…

Tamina (with Natalya) defeated Nia Jax (with Shayna Baszler and Reginald)

They recapped PART of the Mania tag title match and said Tamina looked good and people were chanted her name… and then we came back and she didn’t even get a tv entrance. And they wonder why they can’t get many babyfaces over… they also didn’t show the finish of that match where the heel champions won… OK…

Yeah I don’t care sorry. I must talk about how they claimed on commentary that everyone was talking about the women’s tag title match at Wrestlemania (they weren’t) and that 25,000 people were screaming Tamina’s name (they didn’t). The finish was Tamina rolling Nia up after Jax was distracted by a mix-up between Reginald and Baszler on the outside.

WHO GIVES A SHIT…

Kayla Braxton interviewed THE LORD Kevin Owens. (Yes I’m keeping that a thing for as long as I do these SmackDown blogs. You stun Logan Paul at WrestleMania you’re a LORD to me). Owens said it had been years since his last match for the Intercontinental title and said he was delighted and surprised. He said he wouldn’t turn it down, and said he’d gladly be the one to knock Crews off his royal perch. Big E came in and said he’d jumped the line. He said they both knew it was his match and his title. Owens laughed along and said he was right, but he said not tonight and tonight it was his opportunity. He said he would win it and have fun and then it’d be his title. They both laughed. The match is next.

They showed an advert for Raw. Corey Graves on commentary legitimately said “this is the first time we’ve got a clean look at the faces of T-Bar and Mace”… I’m not even going to explain how and why that statement is SO STUPID… but anyway let’s just be happy they look to be ridded of those god awful masks and they’re doing something with a talent like Drew McIntyre. We’re again getting Braun and Drew vs T-Bar and Mace in a tag match. Lashley returns also was advertised.

We came back to Adam Pearce with Daniel Bryan backstage. Bryan asked about Cesaro getting his match with Roman Reigns. Pearce said he was doing what he could and he was gonna try. Bryan told him to do more than try.

THE LORD Kevin Owens was out for our next match. Surprised they are doing this now but ok…

Apollo Crews (C) with Commander Azeez defeated Kevin Owens to retain the Intercontinental Championship

Owens mat wrestled Crews early on, with Commander Azeez in the background looking on. You just know how the match is going to conclude don’t you… Anyway Owens continued to control the match with a side headlock, Crews forces the break and went right back to the side headlock… URGHHHHH STOPPPP… Owens hit a standing drop kick and then a couple of chops, before punches in the corner. Crews got a headlock of his own, but soon got his with a running elbow, and a senton before Owens sent Crews to the outside. KO went for a dive but saw Azeez was stood in his way. Crews then yanked Owens’ leg and he crashed onto the apron, Crews back in the ring hit a suplex and after the nearfall that followed continued to take control. Apollo hit stomps in the corner… soon after on the outside Crews tried a moonsault off the apron but Owens moved and hit a superkick. He tossed Apollo back into the ring, and went to the top and hit a Swanton, only for Crews to kick out at 2. That was when Sami Zayn’s music played… and out he strolled… Owens looked across the ramp way as he skipped out, and we went to the ad break so I’m going to take an educated guess and say when we come back Zayn is going to of joined commentary. (He did by the way). Crews and Owens were on the top, and after they fought from there Crews ran into a superkick again for another KO nearfall. Owens hit a chop but Crews threw Owens onto the ropes before hitting a clothesline for a nearfall. Commentary talked to Zayn about his issues he was having with getting his documentary out there (I really hope they actually release it properly). Crews hit a series of German suplexes for a nearfall. Crews tried to run at Owens in the corner but he moved and hit a great release German after. KO follows with a couple of Cannonballs but only got a 2 count. Owens went for the stunner but Owens wrestled out, and again but AGAIN a superkick, he tried the pop up power bomb and GOT IT… but Crews kicked out! KO went up high, but noticed Crews had rolled to the outside so just hit a frog splash to him on the outside instead. He put the champion in the ring, when Commander Azeez got up on the apron to talk at him, and this stopped Owens momentarily… but long enough for Crews to get the roll up and the pin. Right after Owens hit the stunner to Crews, but Azeez hit KO with the Nigerian Nail! Commander Azeez helped Crews out the ring after, still the Intercontinental Champion. Zayn got in the ring after and danced over Owens.

Kayla was backstage where this time she had with her Paul Heyman. She asked if Roman would accept the challenge tonight? Heyman said he likes Cesaro, and said how could you not love Cesaro. He said customer satisfaction was the number 1 priority on the island of relevancy. He gave a spoiler that by the end of SmackDown Roman would give his answer.

Megan Morant (another new WWE backstage interviewer) was outside the men’s locker room when we came back from break. Apollo Crews came out very happy he had retained, he gloated about crushing Owens’ hope. Big E then came in and attacked Crews a load of refs and officials led him away, and then Azeez came out… he looked furious… I wonder if Azeez is gonna face Big E soon???

MICHAEL COLE SAID WE ARE NOW GETTING A NEW VISION FROM THE TWISTED MIND OF ALEISTER BLACK!!!! PAT MCAFEE WAS AS EXCITED AS I WAS BY THIS… AAAAAAAAARRRGGHHHHHH!!!

Let me watch this then and comment after…

It was really dark stuff. Black read from a book which was called “tales of the dark father”. Chapter 1 was “The Dragon”.

https://youtu.be/0WS_ZgyWGHU

MY GOD IM SO SO HAPPY!!!!!

Kayla was backstage after with Roode and Ziggler. She asked them for their prediction on The mysterios vs Alpha Academy later. And who was next for them? That’s when the street profits came in. They asked for next. Ziggler told them to take their asses to the back. Bayley came in the middle to break it up, and she took over the interview. She told Kayla how good she was and just came out saying she was here to talk about her opponent at WrestleMania Backlash Bianca Belair… so unless that was announced before the show when I was asleep… when was that announced exactly????? I’m not mad just surprised… Anyway Bayley said that she graciously gave Bianca the opportunity to work with her when she first came to SmackDown, but that she didn’t get a thank you. She said she was going to take back what was hers, and that Kayla should go tell Bianca that… that was when Montez Ford came back into shot… he appeared to be on the phone to Bianca… and Bianca said “who?” And that she’d be right there. That was really funny.

Zayn, Bayley and Cesaro are on talking smack this week.

Bianca and Bayley were now face to face. Bianca challenged Bayley to repeat what she said. Bayley appeared not as confident now funny enough… she said she’d be honoured to be Belair’s first challenger. She then left… Belair told Kayla that wasn’t what she expected. Bayley came back and laughed hysterically and then left again.

Rey Mysterio & Dominik defeated Otis & Chad Gable

Fun match. Only went a few minutes but was good whilst it lasted. Otis and Gable are wearing match gear now. Was really what you’d expect with all 4 great talents showing off their own unique style. Otis powered over Dominik early on, Gable took out Rey on the outside as Otis remained in control of Dominik. Back from break we had Gable dominating Dominik. He did though though get a nearfall at one point but soon after Gable got a nearfall of his own after a butterfly suplex. Otis back in hit a series of rights to Dominik, and clubbed him down not long after. The way this match is going I’m guessing this is set for the hot tag to Rey and then they win? Let’s see… Alpha Academy isolated the junior mysterio, Dominik came off the ropes and ran into a belly to belly suplex, and again… but Dominik hung Gable on the ropes and was able to tag in father Rey. Rey hit a great Canadian destroyer to

Gable for a nearfall. And later Gable went shoulder first into the post, but went to the top with Rey, who turned it around with a hurricanrana of sorts off the middle rope for a nearfall. Dominik was tagged in and they teamed up on Gable to take him down. Rey tagged in and took Otis down, Gable was set for the 619 as Dominik went over the ropes, but Otis just caught him, he tried to run at him after but collided with the announce table after Dominik moved. Rey hit the 619 at last then a splash for the win.

Immediately after the bell we got Cesaro’s music. Are we stuck for time? He came out with Bryan and the four faces shook each others hand.

Next week on SmackDown we have Big E vs Crews for the IC title.

Cesaro and Bryan in the ring. Cesaro told Roman we were all waiting to hear his answer… Cesaro said he could either come out here or they could go back there and get the answer… Eventually Roman’s music played… out he, Heyman and Jey Uso came… They all made their way to the ring… Roman eventually questioned who Cesaro was to step in the ring with him and that he didn’t deserve nor hadn’t earnt it. He said Cesaro had never been on his level, he said the champion issues the challenge round here , and the challenge… He looked at Bryan and said the challenge goes to you… He said he didn’t like Bryan, but he said he’d give him one more shot at this… he said next week on SmackDown Bryan gets one more shot at the Universal Championship. Cesaro gave Bryan the mic and told him he had to take it, Bryan was about to speak when Roman said if/when he loses he doesn’t wanna see him again and he wants him to vanish and never be on SmackDown ever again. Bryan accepted.

So WOW. A blockbuster match set for next week. Where I’m guessing this is when they write Bryan off tv for a while. Intriguing given his recent comments and that his contract is up soon too apparently. What a way to end the show!!!

Josh.