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.

The Best All Elite Wrestling PPV so far (Revolution 2020) – Review

AEW Revolution 2020 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights |  Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

In the last days before the pandemic, it seemed as if pro-wrestling was in an incredible place; WWE were off the back of a phenomenal Royal Rumble and well on the road to a star-studded WrestleMania show in Tampa, NXT the same having just had a great TakeOver show in Portland, and AEW were in their first few months still of existence, and they were thriving. Still now as we approach the back end of this living nightmare, wrestling is still doing OK, but lets rewind a little and talk more about the newest player in the game… How would AEW respond to an incredible standalone show from NXT? Well, they put on what I believe was their best show yet. The Revolution PPV in February of 2020 was STACKED; with blockbuster matches and personal feuds all over the card, and the added elements any great show needs with variety and new stars getting the big spotlight. In the main event we had inaugural World ‘Le Champion’ Chris Jericho defend his gold against the almost indestructible Jon Moxley (who Jericho and his Inner Circle crew had tried to BLIND in the build up), Cody finally getting his match with former friend turned mortal enemy MJF, and in a dream tag team match we had a real all ELITE affair as The Young Bucks challenged for the AEW Tag Titles against the team of Kenny Omega and ‘Hangman’ Adam Page. We looked set for a spectacular show. And it was absolutely that. So join me now as I look back at All Elite Wrestling’s ‘Revolution’ Pay Per View from February 2020.

The show came from the Wintrust Arena in Chicago, Illinois (so a great crowd was almost guaranteed), the commentary team were a great trio of Excalibur and the legendary Jim Ross and Tony Schiavone. I think these three mesh so well together and are probably one of the best commentary teams in the game today. Justin Roberts is the AEW ring announcer, and he still is one of the best to do it.

Before the show itself got underway there was a match filmed in the arena for a future episode of AEW’s YouTube show Dark. In that we had Britt Baker and Penelope Ford get a win against the babyface Japanese joshi duo of Riho and Yuka Sakazaki in a tag team match.

AEW’s version of a kick off show is entitled ‘The Buy In’, the idea buying you’ll watch this preview before the main PPV and then you’ll ‘buy in’ to the show itself… Taz joined Excalibur to commentate for the PPV warm-up. Along with various videos and interviews promoting the main card, we did also have a match to kick us off too. This saw The Dark Order’s Evil Uno and Stu Grayson (with Alex Reynolds, John Silver and a few of the “creepers”, AKA goons accompanying them) getting a win of SCU’s Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky. This was still in the very early days of the Dark Order group when they were pure heels trying to take over and infect all of AEW. The heel team got the win with Grayson pinning Sky by rolling him up and holding on to his tights for the win. The big angle came after the match when Indie wrestling Icon Colt Cabana made his AEW debut trying to help Sky and Kazarian fight off the various Dark Order members. SoCal Uncensored teammate Christopher Daniels came in after and the babyfaces stood tall in the end despite losing the match. Solid match, good angle after, and overall The Buy In was very much a great way to promote AEW to get people to buy the PPV. The Buy In finished off with the main commentary team being introduced alongside Excalibur, with Tony Schiavone and, in what has become one of my favourite parts of the AEW PPV Buy In’s, Jim Ross gets his full entrance and the crowd give him a great reception. NOBODY in wrestling deserves a good pop every time he comes out more than JR. Very much the GOAT of what he does.

And after that it was time for the main show. 7 matches on the card (the perfect number in a 3 and a half hour show in my opinion), all of them an attraction for different reasons.

The introductory video for the show was very good in telling the stories of each match on the card. Seeing this great video reminded me how many incredible moments and segments we got in the very first few months of AEW.

The singer Dezirae Schalice sang the American national anthem.

We started off with… well not quite a hot opener but it was a first match in the company for one guy, coming up against a veteran and legend of the business.

Dustin Rhodes vs. Jake Hager set for AEW Revolution

Jake Hager defeated Dustin Rhodes

Hager had fractured Rhodes’ hand a few months before this, and they’d feuded since. The MMA fighter was making his AEW match debut after first appearing at the end of the inaugural dynamite the previous October. They heavily talked up his 2-0 MMA record on commentary. Hager made out with his wife, who was sat front row, before the match. Hager was booed and Dustin was cheered as they came out. Rhodes wore a shirt before the match that said “I’m here to fight Jericho’s bitch”, which was later chanted by the crowd during the match.

Given the build it made sense this was more of a brawl… they fought into crowd… and outside of the ring… There was a spot where Dustin snogged Hager’s wife after she verbally went at it him, which I didn’t think we needed but oh well… Dustin went with a head of steam after Hager had been dominating up to that point… Hager later took a big bump over turnbuckle and ‘landed’ face first on the steps (his head whiplashed to the floor below too which didn’t look fun). Hager later reversed a cross-arm breaker into an ankle lock (which given his wrestling background seemed very logical he could and would do something like that). The crowd got really behind Dustin when he was in the hold, and although he did power to the ropes there was a spot not long after where they were both in the corner, and it manifested where the ref’s back was turned. That was when Hager hit a low kick. Not long after he hit a series of hard knees to Rhodes’ mid-section, and then he used a sleeper/arm triangle type hold (that commentary informed us he had won Bellator fights with previously, so a very clever finish). QT Marshall came out to see to Dustin after Hager had left with his wife.

**3/4

They showed a video promoting the ‘Blood and Guts’ (a take on War Games) match scheduled for the March 25th 2020 episode of Dynamite to take place in Newark. Of course it was never to be, but at least in current day we have the match back on in 2021… although the line up is very different from the year prior.

Commentary then ran down the rest of the card.

Darby Allin defeated Sammy Guevara

AEW Revolution: Sammy Guevara vs. Darby Allin | Wrestling News

Guevara had smashed a skateboard into Allin’s throat, with Darby returning the show prior to this PPV to confront Sammy. There was a really cool video before Darby’s entrance (something that has become a staple of his big matches, where a short video will show how he prepared for his opponent. It’s a simple clip usually but it’s cool). Allin got a big pop and chants when he came out. He immediately jumped across the ring and did a suicide dive onto Sammy on the outside. He followed up with a shotgun dropkick sending Guevara into the barricade. He tried again after but Sammy moved and smashed Allin into another barricade. In a throwback Guevara tried to smash Allin’s throat into the barricade… Randomly Jurrasic Express (Luchasaurus, Jungle Boy and Marko Stunt) were sat in the front row… anyway, Darby got out of trouble and then laid Guevara on the barricade… he then went into the ring and tried for a suicide dive into Sammy, but as he did the dive his foot dangled on the ropes and he didn’t get dive fully. Commentary did well with it to be fair and explained that he got his foot caught so he didn’t connect with the dive (Darby’s head looked like it went into the barricade by the way). Sammy Guevara smashed Darby with his Skateboard. And then Guevara looked under the ring and got a table, he put Allin on the table, then Sammy went to the top rope and did an unbelievable 630 (sending them both through the table) to a huge crowd reaction!

Guevara rolled into the ring, with Allin completely laid out. Darby eventually got himself up and into the ring… and THEN the bell finally rung. We had all that before the match even properly began!

AEW Revolution: The Moxley Era Begins | Enuffa.com

Along with his usual high flying style Darby demonstrated some great ‘rasslin ability in this match. A really good match despite it going short (although we did have the stuff before the match officially got underway). Sammy hit a double foot-stomp to Darby on the ring apron, before later hitting a Spanish Fly. Guevara seemed to have the most of the match itself aside form the mat wrestling from Allin. Later Sammy exposed the turnbuckle, but was sent into it himself via a Allin Monkey flip. For the win Darby hit a form of stunner, and then we got a HUGE pop for the Coffin Drop as the finish. It really was a heck of a match. Allin went to use his skateboard with Sammy’s name on to smash him with after, but Jake Hager pulled Guevara out the ring to rescue him. Darby Allin came off as an absolute star here.

***1/2

A really great video told the story of how The Elite had somewhat imploded in the build to our next match. The Bucks came in to it almost questioning why they weren’t the tag champions yet in AEW, despite being widely viewed as the best tag team in the world. Omega and Page were two singles stars who somehow found their way to becoming a tag team, winning the titles on the Jericho Cruise some months before. The other element, and really the main part of the story going in, was around Adam Page. He had become disillusioned with The Elite in previous weeks, he had started drinking and Omega and everyone else now viewed him as a liability. Tension was teased all the way between The Bucks (mainly Matt Jackson) and Page, as well as between Omega and Hangman also. On The Dynamite before this Kenny Omega won a grueling Iron Man match against PAC, and just was the case during all his big matches in Japan, with both The Bucks at ringside to cheer Kenny on, despite the looming title match. So there were A LOT of personal elements going in to this, and on top of all 4 guys being tremendous pro-wrestlers the expectations for this one were very high indeed.

5-Star Match Reviews: Kenny Omega and Adam Page vs. The Young Bucks - AEW  Revolution 2020, by Alex Podgorski - TJRWrestling - WWE, AEW News, TV  Reviews, PPVs, More!

‘Hangman’ Adam Page & Kenny Omega (C) defeated The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) to retain the AEW World Tag Team Championship

10 Best Wrestling Tag Team Matches Ever – Page 2

The Young Bucks got a superstar entrance, with the money cannons and everything. Page and Omega (coming out separately to one another) got huge crowd pops, particularly Hangman. Once he came in to the ring Hangman went nose to nose with Matt Jackson, tension was very high. They also had some cool lights interspersed in the crowd that changed colour in line with the music and what was going on during the entrances. It was subtle to some but looked cool. Interestingly also The Bucks were booed a little during their intros. Page and Omega were both cheered. And then it was finally time. We had a real big fight feel. ‘Cowboy Shit’ chants came from the crowd as the match got underway.

We had fun wrestling exchanges early, but that changed when Matt and Page got in the ring and Page SPAT in Matt’s face, before a brawl ensued. Nick and Kenny tried to stop the two from doing serious damage, but as the match went on it seemed the Young Bucks worked more and more like heels. Page even wanted to put Matt Jackson through a table that was set at ringside, but Kenny Omega reasoned with him not to. In terms of a proper move by move analysis of this match I didn’t write one to be honest. This match was a proper joy to watch; move for move it was perfect, everything within the match on it’s own made sense, and when you add in the huge backstory and build, it made for a classic. And it was just that. The crowd loved every minute of it, and above all else these 4 guys are GREAT professional wrestlers and each performed to their maximum here. Towards the end of the match (that went almost dead on 30 minutes) things went crazy in a good way; Kenny tried for a One Winged Angel off the middle rope (he had done the move against PAC on the previous Dynamite), but Nick Jackson countered into a poisonrana and Omega took a nasty looking bump. Speaking of nast looking bumps… Matt Jackson hit THREE consecutive nothern lights suplexes on Page up the entrance ramp (so imagine they flipped over three consecutive times, and Page took the bump over and over and over). As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Hangman, The Bucks then hit him with the Indytaker on the ramp. The crowd really didn’t like that one (they were so behind Page during the whole match by the way). After that The Bucks went at Kenny… they hit double knees, but Omega kicked out at ONE!

Then they both hit knees again and he kicked at 2…Matt Jackson in frustration tore the protective tape from Omega’s shoulder. They then tried for the Meltzer Driver, but Hangman Page came back in to play and put Nick Jackson through the table that was ringside with a powerbomb. Page and Omega hit what became their tag finisher (a Buckshot Lariat/V-Trigger combo) on Matt Jackson, who kicked out at 2. Omega then tried for the One Winged Angel (a move that STILL has never ever been kicked out of) but his shoulder gave way, and this was where Hangman turned into Hulk Hogan peak Hulkamania and it was AWESOME… He tags in, HE hit the One Winged Angel on Matt… but Nick Jackson makes the save during the pin. And then Page with a Buckshot Lariat to Nick Jackson whilst he was on the apron, and then sprung right into the ring and hit the same to Nick. And that got the 1,2,3. This match was awesome but Hangman Adam Page (who still now in 2021 I feel like is set to long term get THE big moment for the title) was the crowd favourite and really the MVP of this incredible match.

After the match it appeared that Omega made peace with Matt and Nick, but Page seemed not willing to do so. We had a super cool tease of Page hitting the Buckshot Lariat to Kenny, as he was stood on the apron looking menacingly towards Kenny, but as Omega turned around Page paused, and then held the ropes open for his tag partner to step through, and the crowd cheered as they left together. Page also got a beer from the crowd as he walked up the ramp. This was a fun tease, and the right call for it NOT to happen as I feel like Chicago would’ve rioted if their hero turned here.

AEW's Seven Best Matches From the Company's First Year

This was one of the ALL TIME great Tag Team matches, and possibly the best match in the history of AEW.

*****

We had a solid video before the next match, featuring JR, Schiavone, Taz and Nyla Rose herself. It really put over both women well.

Basically Statlander is an alien (yes her character is she’s from another galaxy legit). Nyla Rose is named “the native beast” which tells you all you need to know about her gimmick.

Nyla Rose (C) defeated Kris Statlander to retain the AEW Women’s World Championship

Kris Statlander vs. Nyla Rose set for AEW Revolution - Bell To Belles

We got Classic pre match intros which made the title match feel that little more special. The crowd weren’t into it too much during the entrances, but did react to both women when Justin Roberts introduced them. Both were cheered in fact. These women were in such a tough spot having to follow the best match in company history, so it was not a shock to me that the crowd seemed somewhat quieter. So Statlander, as much as I love her, did seem to be rushing a little (slipping on an attempted kip up was one), but credit to the crowd they didn’t boo or “you fucked up”, they cheered and wanted these two women to have a good match. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad either. Rose put the heat on for a lot of it, but Statlander held her own also with her athletic style. One spot saw Statlander dive through the ropes but Rose moved, and Statlander landed face first on the ramp. Rose also speared Statlander by going through the ropes back into the ring which for a woman of her size was a heck of a spot. She only got a 2 count from the pin though. Statlander hit 2 really good dives one after the other, but soon after she took over again in the ring Rose set her challenger on the ropes before going to the top rope… Statlander though did a handstand to move out the way walking on her hands, then blows Nyla a kiss.

Statlander was on fire after and hit a Roundhouse kick, a big boot then a DDT… but only got a 2 count. Eventually Rose locked in a viscous STF, but as much as Statlander fought Rose then out the hold in again not long after…

Rose went for the big splash but Statlander got he knees up. Statlander hit a single leg dropkick, but then came off the ropes right into a Powerbomb, but kicked out the pin after. Kris Statlander hit an Avalanche brain buster for a 2 count, and started to become frustrated after. That seemed to cost her as not long after Rose hits a big boot, and with both women later on the top it was Statlander that tried a hurricanrana but Rose powered out and hit a big Powerbomb for the 3. The champion retains.

**1/2

They advertised the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone hosting.

Next was one of the most anticipated matches in company history. It certainly had the best long term build that any match in AEW has had to this point.

AEW Revolution Results: Cody Rhodes vs. MJF - eWrestlingNews.com

They did a really good job getting over just how personal MJF vs Cody really had become. They also showed the tale of the tape which they did for the tag and women’s match before. Again a minor thing but I like it. As I’ve said I think this was one of the best storyline’s AEW have ever put together. The basic road to get us here to this point being; Cody took MJF under his wing, MJF threw in the towel to cost Cody his title match against Jericho (with the added stip that if Cody didn’t win that match he’d never challenge for the AEW title again), MJF officially turned on Cody after. Cody sought vengeance but MJF refused, before giving Cody three stipulations in order to be willing to face Cody 1 on 1… Stip 1 was Cody couldn’t lay a hand on Maxwell Jacob Friedman before Revolution, 2 was Cody would have to take 10 lashes with a belt to the back (which ended up being quite the incredible TV segment so go out our way to check that one out) and finally Cody would have to beat Wardlow in a cage match… which he did after hitting an amazing moonsault from atop the cage to get the win. Cody had jumped through every hoop MJF put in his way and now it was time for the big showdown. A tremendous video before this match told the story expertly well.

MJF got heavy boos as he came out. I cannot put over how talented this man is. He already is one of them but I’m in no doubt he will be THE number one heel in the business in years to come. Cody got the big entrance as he always does on big AEW shows. He had the backstage walk shot with Brandi and Arn. Downstait then played his theme song live.

MJF (with Wardlow) defeated Cody (with Arn Anderson and Brandi Rhodes)

The 20 Best AEW Matches Ever, According to The Wrestling Classic

There were so many key moments in this match with the story they told. It was really enjoyable to watch to be honest… We had MJF throwing a beer over a fan, Cody running from behind the top of the entrance ramp to deliver a big clothesline to MJF in the ring, Brandi throwing a beer on Wardlow with Cody then diving onto Wardlow after Arn had got in the way to protect Brandi, MJF biting at the toe Cody had broken in the aforementioned cage match, Wardlow backing down when Arn threatened him with a chair if he interfered in the match, a great spot where Brandi dived off the apron onto Wardlow but he caught her and as Cody went to rescue his wife he accidentally kicked Arn Anderson down after Wardlow got out the way… after getting a real beat down a very bloody MJF was in tears and hugged Cody as he begged for mercy… and then he spat in his face. I LOVED the finish of the match, I thought it reflected the story very well… So Cody hit two Cross Rhodes in a row to really lay it in on Max, and Brandi at ringside was begging and pleading with him to just cover Max and wrap up the win, but Cody was overcome with rage and hatred for his opponent and it cost him… a distraction allowed for MJF to retrieve the Dynamite ring (he had won it previously by winning a battle royal and then match for it) from his trunks, he whacked Cody in the face with it, flung himself against the ropes and then as he was exhausted he kind of just fell on top of Cody… and MJF go the win! The crowd were absolutely horrified at the result, the unthinkable had happened. Cody looked devastated, Arn and Brandi the same, and the commentary team sold it to so good. he was battered and bloodied, and had to be helped out of the ring and to the back by Wardlow… but your winner here was once again Maxwell Jacob Friedman (remaining undefeated in singles competition in AEW to this point). I liked everything here that I saw. Good stuff.

MJF defeats Cody at Revolution as AEW continues to build their future top  heel - Cageside Seats

****1/4

With the crowd somewhat upset given the heel win in that grudge match, they could do with something to cheer them up. They got the perfect pick-me-up next…

How would I describe Orange Cassidy? Well… you really do just have to watch him as it’s kind of hard to explain. It’s even harder to explain why he gets absolutely monster reactions whenever he appears. But he is OVER and that’s all that matters. PAC is just the best and little explanation is needed there. And these two complete opposites came together here, PAC seeing Orange as a complete joke and the idea (built up by his literal ‘Best Friends’ Trent and Chuck Taylor before the match) is that the ‘king of SLOTH style’ would in his PPV match against PAC, his AEW singles match debut… he would… TRY!!!

PAC defeated Orange Cassidy (with Chuck Taylor and Trent)

ORANGE CASSIDY TRIED AT AEW REVOLUTION | ORDER THE REPLAY NOW - YouTube

It’s hard to describe Orange Cassidy to someone who hasn’t seen him wrestle before. You do really just have to watch him. It was a very interesting dynamic here, with two guys basically polar opposites of eachother, but it worked! PAC was tremendous and played his part so well, and Casssidy was his usual self but when he did have to go, boy did he go! This was super entertaining stuff. The pick-me-up match is often looked down upon, but I loved this match. SO much fun and the real lift the crowd needed after the heartbreaking end to the match prior.

Orange got a GIANT pop when he came out (skip to 5.21 of the following video)

It was such a joy watching this match. PAC played his role to perfection. And Orange Cassidy was Orange Cassidy.

If you watch the two clips I’ve shared you’ll get the basic idea of what the match was like… Orange would joke, PAC would be serious, PAC would be aggressive, Orange would TRY, Orange would be hilarious, PAC would be brutal, Orange would TRY, and then PAC stopped all the nonsense… but it really was so much fun all match…

That finish would come after the Lucha Bros (Penta and Ray Fenix) came to ringside to take out both Trent and Chuck Taylor, and not long after PAC wrenched away at Cassidy before locking in the Brutalizer for the win. He kept it on slightly longer after the bell too, because he’s a BASTARD! But seriously watch the two clips I’ve shared in the blog of the match, this really was superb for what it was and it did it’s job to perfection.

***3/4

They again advertised Blood and Guts for the March 25th 2020 show. I’m so happy they’re actually doing it this year.

We had the tale of the tape shown and then a cool video ahead of our main event. The story here was with Moxley on a tear, Jericho did everything he could to keep his title and so offered Moxley a chance to join his faction.. which Mox eventually turned on Jericho and said no. From there Jericho eventually tried to blind Mox in one eye by stabbing him with a spike. Mox turned that around by trying to do the same to Santana with a car key.

Jon Moxley defeated Chris Jericho (C) to win the AEW World Championship

Moxley’s entrance saw him walk from outside of the arena to the ring. He got a giant pop coming out. And when we thought that was awesome… Jericho pulls out one of the better entrances I’ve ever seen.

This really had a big fight feel, as commentary also really made a point of explaining how both guys were undefeated in singles competition in AEW. It was really put over how both guys were the two very best in AEW. As it should be fighting for the world championship! Jericho was escorted out by Santana & Ortiz of his Inner Circle group, and he was also sporting a cut above his eye which Jon Moxley had given him during their weigh in the previous Dynamite.

AEW Revolution recap, results: Jon Moxley beats Chris Jericho - Sports  Illustrated

How or why Jericho wasn’t counted out or Disqualified during the early part of the match (where he and Mox brawled through the crowd and Jericho used a few items (a stand of some form and a sign) to hit Mox. Aubrey Edwards the ref was certainly being lenient but I digress… Moxley later bit a the stiches on Jericho’s head, Jericho not only rang the ring bell and grabbed a mic declaring himself the winner as he was beating on Moxley, but he also loudly called Moxley a piece of shit in the ring. Santana and Ortiz were of course a factor at different points, with Jericho distracting the ref allowing for them to get their shots in. At one point Moxley had Jericho in a boston crab, only for Jake Hager to come out to try and distract, and after Moxley’s attention was on Hager, Jericho hit the challenger with the (FKA) Codebreaker. Jericho started to get annoyed at not being able to put the challenger away, and even pushed Edwards which the crowd reacted to in shock. Soon after Hager got a punch in on Mox, at which point Aubrey finally banned the three Inner Circle members form ringside… just as the other, Sammy Guevara, ran into the ring behind her back and hit Jon Moxley with the AEW World title belt, before running back into the crowd. The crowd booed this a lot… but Moxley kicked out of the pin at 2! Moxley was bleeding really bad now from his already injured eye, and things really did look bleak for him… until the big twist…

The finish of the match was excellent.

Jericho gauged away at Mox’s good eye, and then hit him with a kick… Moxley staggered to his feet as Jericho set for the Judas Effect (spinning back elbow), but Moxley dodged it, then ducked again and out of nowhere he hit the Paradigm Shift. He then did the big reveal that he was in fact pulling the proverbial wool over our eyes… and he could now see the whole time! The crowd roared in realization, and then right after Moxley then kicked Jericho in the stomach, hit a BIG Paradigm Shift… 1,2,3!!! And to a huge pop we had a NEW All Elite Wrestling World Champion… [In Justin Roberts’ voice] “JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOON MOXLEEEEEYYYYYY”!!! Mox cut a great promo after (which included the hilarious moment he reacted to his music being played mid-promo to cut him off by saying ‘hey what the fuck?’), saying he would be a fighting champion.

****1/4

People questioned if it was the right time for Jericho’s reign to come to an end? If Moxley was the right guy to beat him? My answer to both those questions both at the time and now is yes. Moxley had been built up and protected all along as a top star as had Jericho, and Moxley was the guy now to take the ball and run with it. And given the array of great matches with a variety of opponents Jon Moxley had as AEW Champion his entire reign, I think we can look back now over a year on and say this was absolutely the right call.

AEW Dynamite Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights from March 4  | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights

This was a phenomenal show. One of the best I’ve seen from any American wrestling company. Some great matches (including one of the best ever), HUGE moments, and all the way through I had so much fun watching it. I would highly recommend going out of your way to watch this show. If AEW’s first PPV with a full arena of fans since this one is as good as this was, then we will have another show for the ages.

Josh.

WCW Monday Nitro (1/5/2000) – Review

The Masked Outlaw Review: Monday Nitro August 14th, 2000

As I’ve said before if there’s one thing I like almost as much as GREAT Professional Wrestling, it is when pro-wrestling is so bad its funny. Exhibit A; The Vince Russo era of WCW Monday Nitro. I’ll set the scene as I go along in the blog, but by now WWF was WAY ahead of where WCW was in just about every area. And without Vince McMahon above him to filter his ideas into brilliance, Vince Russo was writing WCW into it’s deathbed. I’ve watched every Vince Russo nitro before, and read a whole book and watched many review shows on Nitro in the year 2000. So I like to think I have a pretty informed opinion. But let me pick this show out as an example and you can make your own mind up… So on the 21st anniversary of this episode of WCW’s weekly flagship show, lets see for ourselves just what a Russo written show was REALLY like…

First up we see that GOD AWFUL logo for WCW in 2000 (starting as we mean to go on…)…

To open the show we have WCW Champion David Arquette being questioned by his wife Courtney outside the arena. She didn’t understand why he was wanting to be a wrestler, and how ridiculous it was he was the world champion. Arquette laughed it off and tried to show off how cool it was he was the world champion. Courtney Cox seemed annoyed and bemused at the audacity of the Heavyweight Champion Of The World.

OH YES INDEED, you DID read that correctly… The historic ‘big gold belt’ held by greats such as Ric Flair, Sting, Hulk Hogan, Goldberg and so on… at the beginning of this show was proudly held by… A FUCKING MOVIE ACTOR!?!? They didn’t put the celebrity in a cameo or a segment, not just in a match, but HE WON THE FUCKING WORLD TITLE. VINCE RUSSO AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING CROWNED DAVID ARQUETTE AS THE HOLDER OF ONE OF THE MOST PRESTIGIOUS CHAMPIONSHIPS IN THE BUSINESS, THE H-E-A-V-Y-W-E-I-G-H-T C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N-S-H-I-P of T-H-E W-O-R-L-D… and they gave it to DAVID FUCKING ARQUETTE…. Give me a break…

We are MINUTES into this show and I’m already a combination of furious and laughing my ass off at how DUMB this is.

We next go to a parking lot in the arena, where we see the group of WCW WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION David Arquette, Diamond Dallas Page and Chris Kanyon pull up in one car, and in another limo we have a baseball bat-wielding Vince Russo (with his… ‘slave’ I guess that’s what she was, or more his prisoner… I don’t know it was very weird… anyway he had Miss Elizabeth with him), Jeff Jarrett as well as New Blood (the gang of the ‘younger’ WCW stars) members Billie Kidman and Mike Awesome along with Eric Bischoff and Kimberley Page (yes DDP’s once wife)… These two group threw verbal jabs at eachother, before another car came in and crashed into the heel’s black limo… and out from that stepped Hulk Higan. Not the nWo Hogan, not the Real American, but an almost ‘biker Hogan’… He was in black clothes (doo-rag and all) with a black sleeveless jacket that had ‘F.U.N.B’ on the back (cause he’s a big fan of the New Blood group you see…). Hogan went at it with Awesome and a big brawl ensued. A tonne of WCW Security staff came to try and break it up.

We then had the big pyro and fireworks show to open the show. This is the go home show for the Slamboree PPV event by the way. Nitro on this occasion coming at you from Birmingham, Alabama. Your commentators are Tony Schiavone, Mark Madden and Scott Hudson.

Norman Smiley (with ‘Rusty) defeated Crowbar

We opened with what I think was a hardcore match between the crazed Crowbar, and Normal Smiley… who danced his way out with his trashcan of weapons, as well as his ‘mascot’. Apparently this mascot is his mystery partner for the upcoming PPV, and we were all waiting for the big reveal when the mascot would take the head off… but it didn’t come. The match was basically they’d each hit one another with weapons, and Crowbar trying to go after the mascot. The finish was absurd; with the mascot in the corner of the ring, Smiley hit a belly to back suplex off the top, the mascot suddenly got on all fours selling his face, Norman stumbled over him, and conveniently fell right into where Crowbar was, then he used the momentum to pull Crowbar down and pin him. Crowbar wasn’t happy, Norman couldn’t either… and he and the mascot did their wiggle in the ring. There’s a few minutes of my life I’m never getting back.

Commentary talked about Arquette, and said he had something tot ell us about the WCW title 6 days before Slamboree. Madden really wasn’t a fan. Poor Tony Schiavone had the say it was a ‘GREAT MONENT IN SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT’ the previous Thursday on Thunder when David Arquette won the title……….. FUCK…. OFF!

DDP, Kanyon and Arquette were walking backstage. Arquette said this had been a whole lot of fun but he didn’t deserve to be world champion anymore. DDP agreed. Jarrett and that crew were seen walking also. As were Lex Luger and Ric Flair entering the building. Lots of walking backstage on this show…

Arquette and Courtney talked some more. David seemed to be a different guy here from the one reluctant to be champion at the actual show. It’s almost as if this was filmed before the tv show and they decided to just drop it in here anywhere just because, despite seconds earlier Arquette being a completely different mindset and feeling about being the world champion… christ…

Shawn Stasiak was at a basketball court attempting to break the world free-throw record. He was feuding with Curt Hennig at this time so this was a way for him to prove he was perfect…

WCW CHAMPION David Arquette came out to the ring with DDP and Kanyon. Arquette was wearing the most absurdly over the top suit.

THE CHAMPION thanked the fans (although they weren’t exactly cheering him but oh well), but he was vacating the title as he doesn’t deserve it. He said DDP and Jeff Jarrett can face eachother for the title at Slamboree. Jarrett and his crew then came out, Jeff bizarrely said he can’t just give up the title. Eric Bischoff said he was a sports entertainer now and that instead it would be a three way. Oh and it’s some form of triple cage match, which sounds crazy doesn’t it? But if you switched off for a few seconds (easy to do with this show) it wasn’t really mentioned all that much as a big deal… Lex Luger then ran in to chase after Vince Russo and try and get Elizabeth back (the story was Russo had her under contract and basically stole her from Luger). Russo ran off with Elizabeth through the crowd… And then the in-ring segment carried right on after that interruption… Bischoff made a match between David Arquette and Tank Abbott. Abbott came out now for the fight but DDP got in the way, Those two fought until a deal was made where Abbott challenged DDP to a fight and if he won he would get to go at Arquette. DDP, the good friend he is, agreed… WHAT???

Lex Luger was seen after the ad break in the back looking for Russo.

Shawn Stasiak is still going in his record attempt at the basketball court.

Eric Bischoff spoke backstage with Hugh Morrus. He made a three way with him against Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarrett. He added that if any of his fellow Misfits in Action interfered in the match then they would all be fired.

The Wall defeated Horace Hogan in a Tables Match

The best thing about this match was Miss Hancock (the future Stacy Keibler) coming out to watch. Almost just as quickly as it was getting going Billie Kidman came out to distract Horace, and this allowed for The Wall to chokeslam him through a table for the win.

The match was more a set up for the angle after. Hulk Hogan (Horace’s uncle) came out to try and make the save after (he’s facing Kidman at the PPV), but he was jumped by Mike Awesome. Eventually Hulk took a beating 3 on 1, a table was set up which Hogan got off apparently after being put on it (not that we saw this on camera…). Hulk set Awesome for a superplex, but it was reversed and Hogan got put through the table with a sunset bomb.

Vampiro cut a weird promo from a graveyard. He called out Sting…

Vince Russo came to the ring with Liz. He challenged Lex Luger to come and face him later…

Hugh Morrus defeated Scott Steiner and Jeff Jarret in a three way

After he came out Steiner cut a mad promo on a fan.

Steiner and Jarrett teamed up on Morris to start off with. Jarrett went for the cover, but Steiner broke up the pin which made them argue. Steiner then hit a suplex on Jarrett, Hugh Morrus then hit a clothesline. He went for his finish after but Steiner reversed and hit the Steiner Recliner. But then Jeff Jarrett came in and smashed Steiner with a guitar. Jarrett then posed and seemed to just let Morrus get the win.

Lash Leroux and Chavo Guerrero came out to celebrate with Morrus after. The New Blood faction did… well they did nothing in fact…

Sting was seen walking through the graveyard (he got there quick didn’t he…)

Bischoff decided to fire the Misfits, except for Lash Leroux who he said was too stupid to know what that meant… right…

We then were in the graveyard again. Sting found Vampiro…

He did though get hit with a shovel and this made him fall into the grave. Vampiro grabbed a headstone, Sting asked him what Vampiro was? Vampiro said he was the monster that Sting should be and then he smashed the headstone over his head and he fell in the grave… So yeah Vampiro buried Sting alive… and legitimately SECONDS later Sting’s hand came out the top of the grave… SICK…

Ric Flair was hyping up Luger.

Tank Abbot defeated Diamond Dallas Page (after he punched him very hard and that was it…)

Abbott laid punched to Page early on, but Page held his own and they went out to the floor. … Tank was starting to dominate… and in the middle of this match they cut to the back where Kanyon and Arquette were locked in their dressing room, meaning they couldn’t help DDP. Right on queue Jeff Jarrett was in the crowd and he smashed a bottle on Page. Just after Tank hit a hard right hand to the back of DDP’s head, and that was that. They just called for the finish. Not quite sure what the rules were here but apparently Tank is the winner. DDP was put on a stretcher after.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_9394.png

Hulk Hogan brawled with Mike Awesome.

Billie Kidman came out after. He said Hogan was old and washed up just like Kevin Nash. He issued an open challenge after. Kevin Nash just so happened to be in the back… Eventually Nash came out and battered Kidman. He sent him to the other side of the ring with a knee to the ribs… before eventually Konnan and Rey Mysterio came out to go at Nash… but of course Nash beat them all up and chased Konnan and Mysterio to the back. The two smaller guys jumped in a truck, but the truck just didn’t go anywhere. So Nash grabbed them both and beat them both up some more. For fuck sake…

Russo was out again with Liz in tow. He told us he was going to interfere in Ric Flair’s match on Sunday (thanks for the spoiler Russo). Russo added that if Luger wins the match tonight he can have the key to Liz (she was handcuffed?). Luger and Ric Flair came out after, but Buff Bagwell and Shane Douglas took out Ric, and Security went after Luger (even spraying him in the eyes), so that Bagwell and Douglas could beat on Luger some more. Liz then hit Russo with a Bat and ran away, leading to Kronik coming out and beating everyone up. Once again it felt like a lot went on in a segment when it didn’t need to be that much.

Arquette again said he wanted to give the title up. Kanyon said it doesn’t work like that.

We saw Nash who was still battering both Mysterio and Kanyon. Bizarrely in the middle of the beatdown he stopped to smash the trucks windows with a crowbar…

Kronik were arrested… I guess for kicking too much ass?

Vampiro was out next. He again said he was the monster Sting should of been. Then the lights went out, a crow appeared on the top of the entrance ramp, and Sting then came down from high above. He beat up Vampiro with the bat after… So Sting being BURIED ALIVE kept him out for… about an hour… COOL…

Shawn Stsiak was STILL shooting as the hoop with basketballs.

Russo again berated Liz. Liz slapped him, then it appeared she ran away… cool…

WCW WORLD CHAMPION David Arquette DEFEATED Tank Abbott

Kanyon came out with THE CHAMPION and tried to give him some brass nucks, but he was soon ejected from ringside by the ref. It was what you’d expect after that, with Abbott toying with Arquette, he then threw him down and then punched the ref for absolutely no reason, the ref of course took a heavy bump. DDP’s music played, and we vu to the back where Bischoff sent Jarrett out after DDP (we had seen JJ, Eric and Kimberly watching on just after Arquette came out). And suddenly it appeared DDP had come through the crowd to hit the Diamond Cutter to Tank Abbott (not that we saw it first time as the camera missed it, but they did show a million replays after). The ref came back around to count the pin after DPP put Arquette on top of Abbott. Poor Tank Abbott.

Double J not getting their first was explained just after where we saw Steiner had knocked Jarrett out.

Stasiak was STILL shooting hoops… until Curt Hennig came in to stop him one shot short of the record. Because of course he did.

TERRY BOLLEA (because they did not want us to think this was Hulk Hogan) faced Mike Awesome and I’m not even sure who won or what the rules were…

The announcers tried to make it very clear that this wasn’t the old Hulk Hogan, but much more Terry Bollea. He and Awesome had a basic brawl, until Hogan decided he’d sold enough and hit a weak chair shot to Awesome’s head and then back, he then used his belt to choke Awesome, before Mike Awesome used the same belt to choke Hogan on the outside against the crowd barricade. They fought on some more until Kidman came in, he took a chair to the back by Hogan, then Bischoff came out (who’s going to be the ref for Hogan vs Kidman at the PPV)… and with Hogan on the outside Kidman came off the top and smashed a chair into Hogan’s face. I was waiting for Hogan to come back up bleeding all over the place, and of course he was. I know this because Hogan touched his head and scrapped it with a razor as he did so. Don’t think we didn’t see you Terry… Awesome got the pin after.

Then of course Hogan had to get his heat back and so he beat everyone up. An actual fan ran into the ring but was quickly taken out…

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Just as a large amount of red liquid fell from the sky onto Hogan and covered the ring (I guess for the New Blood group).

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The rest of the New Blood then came out and laid the boot into Hogan, and that’s how we went off the air.

I don’t even know where to begin to sum up this show. It sucked would be accurate. It was one of the worst go-home shows for a PPV I’ve ever seen. There is next to nothing on this show I’m interested in going into the Pay Per View. Just a big fat URGH…

Vince Russo is a terrible booker. This was a god awful show that was absolutely all over the place in terms of logic, and interesting stories. WCW in the year 2000 absolutely SUCKED. I’d go into more detail on it and aspects of the show, but at this point to be honest I just want this show out of my life forever.

Josh.

WWE SmackDown (16/4/2021) – Review

Before I begin this blog I just want to say a few words on what happened yesterday…

Melbourne-born wrestlers Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, better known as The  IIconics, won the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships at WWE's Wrestlemania  earlier this month. I didn't see any posts celebrating this

On the EXACT one year anniversary of what happened last year (in the very early days of the pandemic) WWE once again released several names from their roster. And just as last year some aren’t surprises, some however are more baffling, with a handful even being featured at WrestleMania recently. But if the names let go last year are anything to go by, it is MORE THAN POSSIBLE to be a success elsewhere: Deonna Purrazzo is the current Impact Knockouts Champion and won wrestler of the year in their annual awards, Anderson and Gallows are starring in both Impact and AEW, Mike and Maria just signed full time deals in ROH as did EC3 before them, Lio Rush has had some great matches for New Japan… I could go on and on. So there really is life after WWE now more than ever with the options available. So let me thank all of those released by WWE on April 15th 2021 for all they’ve given: particular mention to The iiconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) who have made me laugh so many times and made my enjoyment of the product massively go up each time they appear on my tv. I will never forget how happy we all were when they had their WrestleMania moment. To Samoa Joe for just being THE MAN (He WILL be a top guy wherever he goes next), to Mickie James for an (almost a dead cert) hall of fame career, Chelsea Green who I’m gutted never got her shot on the main roster as I still believe she is a star and I look forward to the return of Laurel Van Ness, to Tucker, Kalisto, Bo Dallas, Wesley Blake who have each played their role in big moments I’ve enjoyed down the years, and finally to Mojo Rawley who… say what you want about him, but you can’t say he wasn’t entertaining and didn’t bring energy to anything he was involved with. They will all be fine and only need to look at last year’s crop to see there IS a future for them out there in pro wrestling. I for one can’t wait to see what they all do next.


WWE SmackDown - Wikipedia

So… I’m going to have a go at covering SmackDown each week, and thought with it being the first show after WrestleMania that now would be as good a time as ever to do so. I’ll only be doing SmackDown as the fact it’s on a Friday makes it way easier for me who works all week to cover, and the fact Raw SUCKS most weeks.

With it being the first show after Mania we should get a few big things going on or being set up for the future. Raw was very much a damp squib given the history of shows after Mania, but I’m more hopeful this one will be good. We already have a set up on Twitter regarding the finish to Sunday’s main event where Roman Reigns pinned both Daniel Bryan and Edge… or more he placed Edge on top of Bryan and then covered them both, so the guy who ‘pinned’ Daniel Bryan was technically Edge… so we will see the fallout from that for sure (I’m going to guess some form of rematch for the awfully named ‘WrestleMania Backlash’ Pay Per View (what was wrong with just ‘Backlash’ I don’t know, the WrestleMania name adds to it somehow I guess…).

Pearce and Robinson discuss WrestleMania on Twitter

We also have Pat McAfee joining Michael Cole as the commentary team after Corey Graves got moved to Raw. Pat has been a star on NXT who’s gone form rather irritating to really entertaining, so lets see how he does in this new role. In terms of matches announced for the show we have SmackDown Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode defending against The Street Profits which should be fun. And also Rey Mysterio & son Dominik vs Chad Gable & Otis.


WWE SmackDown – April 16th 2021

There’s a new ‘Then – Now – Forever’ opener.

They showed a recap of the Universal title match from WrestleMania. This was some match by the way. They focused on the end of the match, and played over the top a previous Roman Reigns promo where he said ‘I’m gonna smash you, I’m gonna stack you, and then you will, acknowledge me’. And I guess he did exactly that.

They opened the show in the Thunderdome. Michael Cole introduced Pat McAfee, before our Tribal Chief made his way out, flanked by Jey Uso and the special counsel Paul Heyman. WE HAD PYRO (I think this is a thing for the latest Thunderdome (now on the campus of the University of South Florida) I may be wrong, but I don’t recall it too often before…) when Roman held up the title belt on the rampway! The ring announcer introduced Jey as the Andre The Giant battle royal winner which was cool. Notably Roman has a smile on his face, as does Heyman… lets see if that lasts…

“His muscles have muscles, That’s your champion” – Pat McAfee on Roman. AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Roman was amused by the (piped in) ‘you suck’ chants, Heyman hands him a mic, and Heyman laughs at piped in boos, Roman tries to speak (we’ve been here before), Pat tells the noise to ‘keep it down please’ (which I found hilarious). Roman says ‘we put a lot of eyes on SmackDown Paul, so for any new viewers why don’t you tell them about who I beat at WrestleMania…’, Heyman then puts over both Edge and Daniel Bryan and all their accomplishments, Roman says he took a page out of your [Heyman’s] playbook, and like Babe Ruth he called his show as he ‘smashed em and stacked em’ , and then they acknowledged him, Roman said how it was embarrassing what he did and that he’d never wanna be in that situation, that nobody wants to face him, after he ‘smashed em, stacked em’ (he said again… this really is gonna bite him isn’t it…). Roman again said how nobody wants him and nobody is on his level, he says he fulfilled his obligations and now its time to go…

CESARO then came out! He gets into ring and goes face to face with Roman. He took a look at the Universal title and then back at Reigns, asks for mic, but then Roman and co leave… Cesaro throws the mic away and looks on pissed… Roman doesn’t want none of Cesaro it seems, or maybe he just doesn’t think he’s on his level… we’ll find out…

Cole and Pat put over Cesaro and how big his win over Rollins at WrestleMania was. Cole says the single most impressive moment in WrestleMania history is up next… OK then…

We had a few still images of highlights from WrestleMania.

Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville were backstage, when Cesaro came to them, he calls Roman a ‘son of a bitch’ and says he steps up, he says he wants a Roman match tonight! Sonya says she’ll talk to Roman and get back… WOW…

They recapped on commentary and showed us footage of the UFO from Cesaro on Saturday when he spun Rollins on his neck with no hands… as you do… Cesaro is an absolute freak when it comes to strength.

Otis and Chad Gable came out… I still can’t get how Otis is a heel, I feel he was one of the biggest losers in the last year from the live fans not being there… apparently its a singles match now. A video put over how Chad Gable has turned Otis into a beast and helped him unleash his ‘inner alpha’, and how he crushed Rey Mysterio on a previous show. A tale of the tape also put over the differences between the two and just how big a task Rey Mysterio has here.

Rey Mysterio (with Dominik) defeated Otis (with Chad Gable)

Otis dominated with power, big gorilla press, slides Rey out of the ring, Myseterio with shoulders, uses rope to stagger Otis, Otis runs at him on top, gets kicks to rey who’s trapped upside down, Rey moves out of the way, comes off the top with a senton and follows with a running knee not long after for a nearfall. Rey tries to but funny enough can’t move Otis, whom not long after catches Rey off a crossbody and slams him down. Otis comes off the second rope but Rey moves out the way, sets for the 619, gets it, then goes to the top rope, hits a running crucifix pin (using Otis’ own momentum to force him down) and then 1,2,3 REY WINS! The Mysterios celebrate, Otis and Gable can’t believe it. A creative finish to a classic big man v little man TV match, but…. lets see about that booking long term…

Kayla Braxton is seen chatting to Paul Heyman backstage and will provide an answer to Cesaro’s challenge to Roman. They showed a graphic for Roman vs Cesaro and said up next…

They went through various headlines from different media outlets that put over WrestleMania. They recapped Cesaro talking to Pearce and Sonya Deville.

Kayla asked Paul, and Heyman says we put smiles on faces around here in WWE. Heyman put over Roman Reigns’ star power, he says there was no rain delay on Saturday but tears from angels about the beating Roman was going to give Edge and Daniel Bryan (that’s a great line by the way). He says Roman walked out of WrestleMania Universal Champion, Edge and Bryan didn’t walk out at all. He said the locker room was sad too, as the likes of Seth Rollins had to lower himself at WrestleMania to facing a “knuckle-dragging, slack-jawed, buck tooth, swiss quisling like Cesaro”, before then saying how he had a billlion dollar body with a brain that doesn’t match. He says Cesaro is a joke, and that we should stop this now by giving Cesaro what he wants. Heyman said that tonight in the main event it will be Cesaro against THE main event, Jey Uso. Great Heyman promo as always. The way he transitioned from Roman’s win at Mania into talking about Cesaro was masterful. He’s a real genius on the microphone.

Commentary again showed us the UFO from Saturday, this time with dramatic music added…

Sami Zayn was out next. He did not look happy at all… they showed headlines of Logan Paul; getting a stunner from THE LORD Kevin Owens (during my reviews of SmackDown I will forever refer to KO as THE LORD for his god-like act of giving Logan Paul a stunner at WrestleMania).

Zayn said he saw all the headlines other than the one that was most accurate ‘Sami Zayn got screwed’. He said WresleMania was supposed to be his vindication, he said Logan was supposed to help with his documentary, and witness his grand victory, but that’s now how it went down, and he’ll tell us why… He said Logan Paul’s mind was poisoned by Kevin Owens, the WWE Universe, by Michael Cole (you could hear McAfee in agreement with this sentiment) the ‘corporate mouthpiece’… He said he could sense Logan was pulling back from him when they embraced before the match, and that during he match all he was thinking about was if Paul was ok, and that was why he lost. He said he wont be denied, and he called out Kevin Owens. He said tonight there were no distractions (he mentioned ‘those toxic fans; as one of them)… Owens then did come out… and we were promised the confrontation after the ad break. Great promo by Zayn by the way, I absolutely love this delusional, conspiracy character.

Owens and Zayn will have a match it appears… Cole told us it was made official in the break.

Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn in a WrestleMania rematch by countout

Zayn played cat and mouse but KO got the advantage hitting Zayn on the outside. Back in the ring Owens continued to try and knock some sense into Zayn, Sami Zayn tried to fightback but got hit with a clothesline, then a running senton. Owens just seemed to be disappointed by Zayn, he tried for the cannonball but Zayn moved, then used the ropes to take over. Zayn hit rights and lefts, then used his knee to trap Owens against the ropes, Owens hit a big chop, Zayn again trapped Owens in the corner with his boot this time, KO got the better of a striking exchange, Zayn bated Owens away and hit chops of his own… Owens set for the pop-up powerbomb but Zayn stopped that, but did get hit with a clothesline. THE LORD Kevin Owens bounced Zayn off the ropes which looked impressive as Sami took a big bump, Owens followed with punches in the corner, then a big chop… Zayn fought back, and then hit a sunset flip powerbomb (which Pat called ‘the single most impressive thing he has ever seen’.. this guy… ) but Owens kicked out at 2. Zayn could believe it was only a 2.

After the break Zayn punched away Owens in the corner, Zayn then came off the top but KO dodged it and hit a superkick for a nearfall. Owens came off the top and hit a swanton for another nearfall. Owens again tried for the powerbomb but Zayn tried to escape to the outside. Owens went after him and threw Zayn against the barricade, he again tried the powerbomb but Sami jumped over him, Owens wrestled out a suplex attempt by Sami and slammed him with a backbreaker after for another nearfall. Zayn again tried to escape, Owens again got after him, he tried a stunner in the ring but Zayn again went to the outside… Sami Zayn this time gauged Owens in the eye, Zayn walked away and took the count out loss. Owens ran after Zayn after the bell, got him in the ring, and hit the stunner. Why we couldn’t of had that as the finish I don’t know. Owens just shook his head at his former friend. Owens shouted into the camera ‘it’s my ring’. A decent match and in terms of character development for both, good stuff.

The new Intercontinental Champion Apollo Crews (with the FKA Dabba Kato, now Commander Azeez, alongside him) was backstage cutting a promo to camera. He said all of Nigeria has not stopped celebrating ever since he smashed Big E into oblivion. He said he would give Big E a rematch tonight but he’s not here… he showed a recap of Mania when Azeez hit what looked like the ‘Samoan Spike’ move Umaga used to hit. He then introduced us to Commander Azeez, and he said if anyone dared to come for his championship they would be annihilated. He referred to the Nigerian Male(or ‘Man’, it was hard to tell) as the reason Big E wasn’t here tonight before… but this was fine stuff. I like that Apollo has a heater.

Street Profits made their way out as Michael Cole said it was party time now. McAfee put over both Ford and Dawkins. Street Profits have their first tag title straight tag match for 3 months later tonight against the champions Roode and Ziggler. They seemed to be setting up for our next segment, which will be a victory party for Bianca Belair (Ford’s irl wife by the way).

More cool still images from across WrestleMania weekend.

Ford sang that it was ‘Friday night and it feels so right’, Dawkins said it was takeback season. Ford said we got a little inspiration this weekend, and said there was one match he’ll be telling his grandkids about, they rolled footage of the match between Belair and Banks. My word what a match by the way, the best women’s match ever at a WrestleMania for sure. One of the best women’s matches I’ve seen full stop. They then introduced Belair, and gave her the big intro as well. Great shit. Belair then came out and looked like the star she is. DAMN she looks good with that title. Michael Cole again repeated his line from Saturday saying that Belair and Banks were not only the first two black women to main event, but to battle for a championship at a WrestleMania, good stuff from Michael Cole. Ford and Dawkins were amazing hype men. Belair said it felt like she had been floating since Saturday night and she felt so blessed. She said despite the struggles she never stopped believing, she thanked her family an said they’d were the ones who showed when you demand greatness from yourself you can change the game. Belair went on to say that she was unapologetically her, and when you find your EST you should ever apologise to anyone for telling them you are the best. She said if you can dream it you can do it, because she went to WrestleMania and she showed up, she then put over Banks as well. She thanked Sasha, and that were was nobody she’d of rather shared the spotlight with and they both made history. She said this moment was for all those little girls that sat and watched that looked like her. She said at WrestleMania it was magic, but they’re just getting started creating history. The three then all embraced. Belair then said it was time for them to get those Smackdown titles as they ‘only wear gold in this house’ which was a great line. Ford led a ‘we want the smoke’ from the three of them. This was great babyface stuff that was really heartwarming, and felt very genuine. Brilliant promo by Bianca.

Kayla was backstage with Sasha. Banks looked pissed. They focused on the mark Banks has on her from Belair’s hair whip . Banks could barely speak and just looked angry and then walked away.

They AGAIN showed us the UFO from Mania… come on now please… it was cool don’t get me wrong but…

Bayley was backstage with Kayla. Bayley said she was busy on both nights of WrestleMania trying to save the show. She moaned at Belair for crying before her match, and said the real reason she was crying was because she didn’t think she could win. She called her arrogant, she said it wasn’t the type of champion they want, and Bayley staked her claim to get the title back. She challenged Bianca and said she’d take her title, and reminded us that she was the longest reigning SmackDown Women’s champion.

With The Street Profits already in the ring, Ziggler and Roode made their way out and we will have our tag title match next.

Whilst promoting Raw for Monday before the ad break, they announced Asuka vs Charlotte Flair. Urgh…

Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (C) defeated The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship

Good match. All four guys are solid in-ring, and they all played their roles well. Ford might be one of the best athletes in the company. Profits had the best of it early and frequent tags cut off Ziggler, and once Roode finally was tagged in Ford was able to duck so Roode collided with Dolph. Dawkins and Ford combined to slam down Roode, then they slammed Ziggler onto him before sending Dolph to the outside. Profits were on absolute fire here. After the ad break The Street Profits were still on top, Roode hit a spinebuster after a distraction to get a nearfall and to turn things around. Ziggler got the tag in and he took down Ford and got a quick nearfall on Dawkins after a neckbreaker. Roode was tagged in and the heels were now in charge, Roode got a nearfall on Dawkins from a suplex. The champions cut off Dawkins from Ford, until Ziggler was sent into the turnbuckle by Dawkins… both made tags and Ford and Roode went at it… Ford was awesome on offence taking both guys down… he hit a great back suplex to Roode, then did a kip-up and hit a standing moonsault to Roode, but only got a nearfall. That was tremendous from Ford, he’s such a star already. Ford dived over the ropes onto both Roode and Ziggler on the outside, as Dawkins made the tag mid-dive. Ford put Roode back in the ring, Dawkins hit a spinebuster, tagged in Ford who hit a huge Frog Splash… but Ziggler broke the pin… Dawkins and Ziggler took eachother to the outside, but Dolph held onto the ropes and was on the apron, Ford dropped him down, and then went after Roode in the corner, Ziggler sneaked the tag when Ford’s back was turned, as Montez continued to go at Roode, and Dolph ran in to hit the Zig Zag and get the win. The Champions retain. This was good stuff.

FOR FUCK SAKE THEY SHOWED US THE DAMN UFO FOR THE FOURTH TIME TONIGHT!!!!

Kayla Braxton was backstage, where she spoke to Cesaro. He said Heyman was right about what he said about him, but that he was wrong about one thing, that he does belong in the ring with Roman Reigns. He said he’d prove it tonight by beating Jey Uso.

Roman was shown with Heyman in their locker room looking on, baffled by what Cesaro had just said. Jey Uso was pacing in the background.

More Mania pictures after the ad break.

Natalya and Shayna Baszler were in the ring. They’ve got a match right now it seems with their respective tag partners at ringside…

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

Can’t pretend I was too arsed about this one… but I will say that they both worked hard and meshed well. The technical wrestling was good, but this felt like more an extended angle to (for some reason) continue this tag title feud… Nia twice provided distractions, and eventually it was Jax who inadvertently caused the distraction that led to Shayna being rolled up and pinned by Natalya. Tamina came in a hit a big boot to Jax after the bell.

WWE released The iiconics the other day… meanwhile THIS was our tag title match at WrestleMania… AND THE FEUD IS CARRYING ON?!?!… FFS…

NO FOR FUCK SAKE… FOR THE FIFTH TIME THEY SHOWED US THE UFO…. BORE OFF NOW

Reigns was again seen in his locker room. Jey Uso cut a promo on Cesaro and called him a ‘one hit move’ and asked if he can do that with no teeth? Roman spoke very softly to the camera after.

They promoted Talking Smack on the WWE Network (Peacock). Guests are Belair, Ziggler and Roode, and Apollo Crews. I highly recommend this show. Heyman co-hosts with Kayla Braxton. It’s compelling stuff.

They showed highlights of the Andre battle royal from last week’s WrestleMania edition of SmackDown. The trophy was ringside. They mentioned Cesaro has also won the battle royal in the past. That was in 2014. And only just here does it look like Cesaro might get his big chance… it’s been a LONG time overdue!

Cesaro defeated ‘Main Event’ Jey Uso by Disqualification

Cesaro dominated with power early, getting a nearfall after a backbreaker. Cesaro crashed into the ringpost and Jey targeted the hand after, Cesaro later sent Uso to the outside. But Cesaro jumped right into a superkick on the outside after. After the ad break (a few minutes into the main event by the way, for fuck sake) Uso was working on his arm to take away Cesaro’s power advantage, and Jey got a nearfall after a Samoan Drop. Uso continued to work on Cesaro’s arm, later Cesaro blocked and reversed a vertical suplex into one of his own. Cesaro came off the top and got a nearfall after a crossbody, Uso got a nearfall after going back to the arm and hitting a superkick. Uso got another nearfall not long after as he really was in charge now, again he went to the top but Cesaro hit a dropkick, Cesaro tried a superplex but Jey hit punches, then Cesaro hit a huge uppercut and then a gutwrench suplex off the top… but Jey kicked out at 2. Cesaro then went for the neautralizer, but Jey went at the bad arm.. Cesaro cartwheeled out the way, then hit a corkscrew uppercut off the ring ropes, but Uso kicked out at 2. Uso kicked as Cesaro went for a swing, Cesaro got an uppercut, Uso hit a neckbreaker but only got a 2. After that Uso hit more punches, and chatted trash as he did so, Cesaro came back with hard punches, then a discuss clothesline for another nearfall. Cesaro called for the swing, but as he was swinging him Seth Rollins ran in to attack Cesaro for the DQ.

Rollins was seething as he walked up the ramp. Rollins screamed that Cesaro got lucky, and it wasn’t over until he said it was over. Rollins said he was the end all be all of this industry and the sooner you [Cesaro] figured that out, the better it was going to be. And that was how the show ended.

So… a solid show sure, but a few things not really talked about… Nothing was really said about how Edge technically pinned Bryan… There was no Big E or Bryan or Edge on the show, nor Carmella, Liv Morgan, Ruby Riott who all appeared at WrestleMania. Not really sure if Cesaro is going to face Reigns, or if he’s continuing the feud with Rollins? Or if that’s a set up for the next challenger to Reigns who knows… It does seem though that Belair and Banks will go at it again, and Bayley will be added to the mix which should be fun. And it seems they’re setting the Mysterios maybe up for a future tag title feud? Lets see… but a solid SmackDown without it being excellent, one that I hope leads to bigger stuff in the coming weeks as we get closer to the WRESTLEMANIA BACKLASH Pay Per View…

Josh.

WrestleMania 37 (Night 2) – Review

The Updated Card For WrestleMania 37 (Night 1 & Night 2) -  eWrestlingNews.com

So after an amazing night 1, how could night 2 follow up… Well let’s see…

We had the same opener from last night after the anthem.

Randy Orton defeated The Fiend (with Alexa Bliss)

Randy wore white gear. Bliss came out first and then unwound a HUGE Jack in the box … The fiend came out of it, only it was a fiend with a fresh new drip. Cleaner gear and cleaner mask, no burnt fiend anymore. So they fought in the red lights and Randy kept hitting the DDT and fiend no sold everything… then towards the end Bliss appeared sat on top of the box, and she had the black goo that was coming from Randy in recent weeks coming out her head or something… the fiend was totally distracted by this, he turned into an RKO and Randy pinned him. Then he got out of dodge real fast. The fiend was completely transfixed by Alexa… as the black stuff continued to come… then the lights went out and the fiend and bliss disappeared… I have… SO MANY QUESTIONS… I guess it’s good Orton won so he can do… normal… stuff now… he of course was not the story here… whatever Bliss has with the fiend now I’m absolutely fascinated to see… does she have the power over the fiend???? People will have different views on this as they always do on The Fiend. But I’m sat in a fiend hoodie, so you know I was completely transfixed by all this.

(I can’t rate this as I have no idea what I just watched)

Hogan, Titus and Bayley had a backstage segment…

I don’t think I’ve ever been less arsed about a Wrestlemania Championship match in my life… so apologies in advance…

Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler (C) defeated Natalya & Tamina to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship

It wasn’t bad. In fact what they did looked good enough. I just had absolutely minimal interest from the off to be honest… Nia hitting a double crossbody off the top onto both Natalya and Tamina was insane! The crowd seemed to really be behind Tamina during the match… Nia loudly and clearly told Tamina “YOU AINT SHIT”… Tamina soon after got a VERY close nearfall after a Huge slam… Tamina went up for the big splash but Nia moved. With Nia having a bad knee Natalya had the sharpshooter on Nia but Shayna (who was legal apparently) ran in and got the Kirifuda on Natalya and she tapped. The champions retain.

*3/4

Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn (with Logan Paul)

Sami welcomed out Logan after he came out. Logan seemed reluctant to be Zayn’s pal. Logan was booed. Owens was cheered. Owens hit the powerbomb right away but Zayn rolled out the ring. Really good stuff when they went at it to be fair. Zayn hit the helluva, tried it again but KO hit several super kicks, then the stunner for the win. The angle after saw Logan and Zayn fall out… Logan try to parade KO as the winner… AND THEN KO STUNNED LOGAN!

********** (or **** if we are being serious)

Riddle and Khali had a backstage chat… I felt like I was smoking whatever Riddle likes… RVD came in after… they joked about weed basically and RVD pulled out his own rolling papers… this was so bizarre.

Sheamus defeated Riddle (C) to win the United States Championship

As you’d expect this was really hard hitting stuff at times, but was a pretty good match that the crowd were into. Riddle was really over. Sheamus hit a really stiff-looking knee for a close nearfall. Riddle hit a german suplex on the apron… and also a springboard move off the ropes to the outside. This was a proper RASSLIN match. The last match and this one felt like they were on a different planet to our first two matches tonight… After some jostling it seemed Sheamus slipped on the top rope trying for white noise, but he hit it on the ring floor after as normal. Then got a nearfall after a diving knee from up high. Riddle dodged a Brogue Kick, Sheamus dodged the knee, and as Riddle came off the second rope Sheamus hit a brogue/knee and Sheamus won the title. This was a good match.

****

Great video package ahead of our next match. I can’t wait for this one!

Apollo Crews defeated Big E (C) in a Nigerian Drum Fight to win the Intercontinental Championship

Wale rapped Big E’s entrance theme which was cool. Big babyface reaction for E too. Big moment for the Tampa man. So essentially there looks to be various drums and instruments (I’m guessing from Nigeria) around the ring. They battered eachother with kendo sticks to get us underway, and those kendo sticks are NO joke. E hit a phenomenal move when he speared Crews through the ropes off the apron to the outside floor. E set a table in the ring… Crews went wild with a kendo stick on Big E and then put him on the table, went to the top rope and went for a splash but E moved and Crews crashed and burned. Then as he went for the big ending Big E got attacked by Daba Kato in some form of military outfit, and he helped Crews get the win and the title. Good match, I personally didn’t expect a Crews win but adds another layer now he has a big guy looking after him. Hopefully E continues to be booked well despite this loss at Mania.

***3/4

Long video recapping night 1. It was a great show.

They recapped Hall of fame next. It was a great class in fairness.

Asuka (C) Rhea Ripley to the Raw Women’s Championship

Rhea had her entrance music performed live. She was really over with the crowd. Both Rhea and Asuka came across as superstars just based off their entrances. The story of this match was both women trying to outdo one another, Rhea with her hard-hitting and power along with trash talk, Asuka would comeback with hard offence of her own at speed. Asuka utilised her technical arsenal as well. Ripley’s power was fully on show at various points, and it seemed Asuka would have to do a heck of a lot to keep Rhea down… Rhea hit kicks and a shoulder barges in the corner to wear the champion down, and looked for a move off the middle rope but Asuka got Rhea away and hit a missile dropkick. Asuka hit her own german suplex, before a running hip attack and soon after downing Ripley to her knees Asuka got a nearfall after another running attack. Rhea dropkicked Asuka off the top rope, and Asuka seemed to land hard on the apron. Rhea slammed her face first onto the apron not long after… Asuka hit a ddt off the apron to the floor on Ripley that kept both women down… Asuka got a nearfall from a running knee as soon as Ripley got back in the ring. Asuka went for another knee but Rhea caught her, hit a load of stomps and locked in her submission… Asuka soon transitioned into an armbar, Ripley though powered up and threw Asuka into the corner. Ripley suplexed Asuka from the outside of the apron into the ring, and got a nearfall. After a transition Asuka had the Asuka lock but was countered, Asuka went on a flurry but got hit with the Rip Tide and RHEA GOT THE WIN. A really solid match. What a moment. Crowd seemed happy with Rhea winning.

****

Hogan and Titus came out and said a lot of thank yous. Bayley came out after to complained about not getting a thank you… She was happy after she asked and got pyro… she complained some more… The Bella Twins then came out, Bayley wasn’t happy and made a John Cena joke. The Bellas sent her down the ramp, then posed and danced with our hosts.

They advertised the next PPV on May 16th. They are actually calling it ‘WrestleMania Backlash’… urgh…

A video package really put over hard our MAIN EVENT…

Roman Reigns (C) with Paul Heyman & Jey Uso defeated Edge and Daniel Bryan in a triple threat match to retain the Universal Championship

Daniel Bryan was popular with the crowd. Water is also wet. Edge got a GIANT ovation when he came out in some sublime white gear by the way. He looked real fired up. The ultimate irony was that Roman got cheered coming out; he and Heyman and Jey Uso had the traditional reef around their necks. He got more of a heel reaction as his entrance went on to be fair. No apologies from me because I just want to watch this match a lot so no in match analysis on this one, but it does have a serious big fight feel. I’ll let you know my thoughts after the finish… This was chaos. Really fun to watch and was exciting all the way through. The result was in doubt all match too. Really good shit. Edge hitting a con-chair-to (sorry about spelling) to Bryan was nuts. Jey Uso took a spear from Edge. Roman hit a spear to edge then tried for the con-chair-to and got it on Edge then he dragged Edge onto Bryan and PINNED THEM BOTH! Who the fuck stops this guy I’ve no idea…

****1/2

Night 2 was fun, but had it’s low points. I think overall I preferred night 1, but I would say overall WrestleMania 37 was a success. And as always, it ended with Roman being booed… but at least it was meant to be that way this time.

Josh.

WrestleMania 37 (Night 1) – Review

Lineup for Tonight's WrestleMania 37: Night 1 | 411MANIA

The first WWE show in over a year with ticketed fans in attendance is in the books. And the bEST bit is we are only half way through it!

Night 1 of what will, for SO many reasons, be a historic WrESTleMania 37 is done. And my oh my what a night it was. At times emotional, at times shocking, at times brilliant, but overall and throughout a really enjoyable and entertaining show. And that’s what we ALL needed and wanted more than anything.

So things started a little crazy… as GOD tried to get one back over Vince McMahon after doing the job in 2006, with severe weather threatening to curtail the most anticipated show of all time. And in fact the local thunderstorms threat did send fans in side again and even delay the first match starting. To kick things off we had Vince on stage with the locker room behind him, as he gave a rousing speech welcoming us all to WrESTlemania! After the national anthem we had a classic cool mania opening video… before Michael Cole, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe informed us the first match of the show was delayed due to possible weather threats (FYI it appears Tom Phillips is no longer the lead Raw commentator but I’d expect confirmation in the next coming days). Drew and Lashley cut great promos at each other backstage, and they had a lot of other people on the card interviewed to fill time… until FINALLY we were able to have our first match!

Bobby Lashley (with MVP) defeated Drew McIntyre to RETAIN the WWE Championship

Yes you did read that result correctly! Drew got a really good reaction from the crowd. And these two guys put on a really great match that went about 20 minutes in total. Drew even pulled out a huge dive over the ropes to the outside as well as a few submissions I’m not sure I’ve seen from him before. As the match went on the crowd got more and more behind him…

McIntyre hit 3 Future Shock ddts for a nearfall. Then for the finish as Drew went for a Claymore, MVP shouted to warn Bobby and he was able to counter and put in the Hurt Lock. Drew tried to fight out and seemed to, but Lashley kept it in… and GOT THE WIN!!! Crowd fell a little flat and I don’t think any of us expected that result at all. But personally and I never thought I’d say this, but I’m not mad. Lashley with MVP has been on a role for some time now and it’s kind of cool his title reign will continue. What next for him or Drew I’m not sure but after Mania their tends to be a draft of some form so let’s see. But a really good match to begin Mania with a somewhat surprising result. This was by far the best Bobby Lashley match I’ve seen.

****3/4

Natalya & Tamina defeated The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott & Liv Morgan), Mandy Rose & Dane Brooke, Billie Kay & Carmella, and Lana & Naomi in a tag team turmoil match to earn a Women’s Tag title match on night 2

Poor Mandy Rose slipped when she came out didn’t she. Fell right on her arse on the entrance ramp (ofc it had been raining, I think AJ Styles about slipped later too). A lot of people said this match contained a lot of botches and was rushed and they seemed nervous. My god cut them some slack. I didn’t notice too much and thought it was OK. Didn’t see and still don’t think it needed to be on Mania but oh well. Lana and Naomi got a really big reaction coming out. But then I was surprised they went out first (Carmella and Billie Kay working together to get the pin). Ruby and liv wore Joker and Harley Quinn gear. And they quickly eliminated Kay not long after entering. Mandy and Dana wore, well they practically didn’t wear, a very tight small pink number… eventually Liv pinned Brooke. And after it looked like The Riott Squad would do it after going through 2 teams I was kinda bummed when Natalya and Tamina got the win… a heel vs heel match tomorrow now… guess they were so enamoured with Tamina vs Nia from SmackDown they wanted to give it us again… oh the joys… 2/2 heel wins to start the first show in front of ticketed fans for over a year 🙃🙃🙃.

**

Cesaro defeated Seth Rollins

Now THIS was more like it! Seth had new music but kept the Burn It Down bit. Cesaro got a big babyface pop and was super over during this match. The video before he came out was basically a propaganda video on behalf of Rollins, it was really GOOD SHIT! These two had such a good ‘rasslin match with Seth pulling out all the stops and Cesaro swinging Rollins all over (the swing was super over with the crowd)… Rollins went for a Stomp, but got caught in mid-air with a big uppercut. Cesaro then spun Rollins with the UFO (ON HIS NECK HE SPUN A MAN FOR GOD SAKE) and the Swing before hitting the Neutralizer again for the win. So after a couple of close calls it was Cesaro who got the win with the Neutralizer and he was very emotional after. What a moment for him. Maybe the biggest of his career getting a singles match win at a Wrestlemania. Great great stuff here. They got the time and they delivered upon it like we knew they could do. Let’s hope we FINALLY get the Cesaro train flying out the tracks now!!!

****1/2

AJ Styles & Omos defeated The New Day (Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston) (C) to win the Raw Tag Team Championship

New day had Big E come and do their intro… but this was the OMOS show!!! The whole match hilariously centred around new day stopping AJ getting the hot tag, and then when he did new day sold it so so well. Omos didn’t do too many moved but my god he doesn’t need to! He’s 7 foot 3 for god sake, he came in, launched new day about and then got the win for his team. Simple as really. Yeah this was exactly what I expected but that’s not a bad thing. Will be fun to see where the new Diesel and Shawn team goes… crowd were really into Omos by the way so that’s promising. Good stuff here. Seeing New day run at Omos and legit bounce off him was hilarious.

***3/4

Braun Strowman defeated Shane McMahon in a steel cage match

We all got what we wanted! Elias and The trump fanboy attacked Braun before the match so Shane had the advantage right away. He battered Braun with chair shots but thank fuck Braun turned it around. They told the story during the match as they have in the build that Braun was fighting on behalf of anyone that ever had been bullied so he was always winning. He looked in incredible shape by the way! The big spots were Braun trapping Shane by pulling his arm THROUGH the cage, RIPPING OFF part of the cage wall and then throwing Shane to the floor! And also hitting the big running powerslam before getting the win. Good stuff and probably as fun as it could’ve been.

***

Bad Bunny and Damian Priest defeated The Miz and John Morrison

Is Bad Bunny the best celebrity wrestler we’ve seen? It’s very possible after this showing! After a rather trippy entrance from Miz and Morrison where they rapped their spoof song ‘Hey Hey Hop Hop’ and we had a load of guys dressed as BUNNIES in the ring… we had a much cooler entrance by Priest (my heart was warm) and then Bad Bunny came out on top of a massive truck and got a big big reaction when he came out… and then the match itself was super super fun! It was of course all about making Bad Bunny shine but he more than pulled it off. He hit a fucking CANADIAN DESTROYER to Morrison on the outside for Christ sake! Bad Bunny and Priest hit a super Electric Chair-Crossbody combo on Miz, before Bad Bunny got the pin on Miz to win it. And of course he was always going to win but he was so so good. Hope we see him again and I hope Priest continues getting a push after this stuff. This was really really good fun. Bravo to all involved here. Was much better than it had any right to be.

****

If ever a match was and felt like a big deal and a proper Wrestlemania main event it was this next match. AWESOME video before the match, both women got superstar reactions and Bianca was basically in tears before the match began… but was the match we ALL wanted to be great deliver?…

Bianca Belair defeated Sasha Banks (C) to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship

Yes. Yes it absolutely did deliver and then some. Bianca showcased her power throughout. Sasha showed why she’s up their with the best female wrestlers in the world. As I’ve said the whole match was GREAT from a psychology and wrestling point of view… but the closing sequence was excellent; Bianca tried for a 450 Splash, but Sasha got her knees, and after locked in the Bank Statement, only for Bianca to reach the ropes. Belair then did hit the 450 but only got a nearfall. She seemed to crank it up a notch after and she whipped Sasha with her hair, and when I say whipped her hair may as well been steel (it left a big cut on Sasha’s leg after). Crowd were well into it all the way too. They went absolutely wild when Belair finally hit the KOD for the 1,2,3. She was of course super emotional after but man what a moment. This really delivered and for my money is right up there at least as good as Asuka vs Charlotte for the best women’s match ever at a WrestleMania. I think it’ll be remembered far more fondly than the 3 way from a couple of years ago. Yeah an awesome moment to end night 1. 2 African Americans headlining a WrestleMania, and then being women, is something history will look back on. But above all else the match itself was BRILLIANT! And I’m absolutely delighted to be able to say that.

*****

Overall a really fun night. Emotional for us all watching at times just to have a WrestleMania somewhat back again, and even Mother Nature tried to halt things but yeah a fun night overall. Lots of great moments. Night 1 like with Takeover was the less stacked of the 2, but that delivered and so did this. If night 2 is as good we’re looking at one of the better Mania shows. We can only hope.

Josh.