Week of 1/22/2018 - 1/28/2018 (Monday - Friday)
Enzo Amore has been suspended due to a rape investigation. There is no word on what will happen to the Cruiserweight Title.
Monday Night Raw 25th Anniversary
Date: January 22, 2018
Location: Manhattan Center, New York City, New York/Barclays Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T., Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler
Now this is a big night with the show having been build up for several months and a slew of guest stars booked for the night. The show is also being run from two arenas, including the location of the first ever episode. I’m more excited for this than I am for Sunday’s Royal Rumble so let’s get to it.
JR and King welcome us from the Manhattan Center, complete with an ICOPRO sign.
The regular announcers’ team welcome us from the Barclays Center.
Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon are in the ring to open the show with Stephanie doing that ever present growling introduction. Shane thanks us for being here along with all the people behind the scenes who make this happen. With that, Shane introduces us to the long highlight reel of Raw moments. This was released on the site’s YouTube page and is very awesome with almost every major Raw moment ever.
Back in the arena, Stephanie introduces Vince, who absolutely has to be here for the opening sequence. Vince nearly dances in the ring and says twenty five years is quite the accomplishment. The fans chant THANK YOU VINCE (which Stephanie explains to him) but Vince says enough of that and we’re off to the festivities. Vince goes to leave but Stephanie and Shane have a present for him.
They have a plaque commemorating his twenty five years of Raw….and he’s not happy. Vince goes on a rant about it being cheap and how plaque is the horrible stuff on the people of Brooklyn’s teeth. There’s only one person who should be thanked for all of this and that’s Vince himself. As he goes off about how great he is…...the glass shatters.
After Austin does his usual entrance, Vince praises Austin’s look but says he’s had his own share of health problems. His bones are broken and brittle and he has arthritis and he even lives in a retirement home. Vince: “But my son Shane is in his prime!” Austin raises Shane’s hand and gives him a Stunner to the delight of the fans. Vince produces beers and the fans chant ONE MORE TIME! Vince: “I don’t think Shane can take another one!” They drink their beer and hug but Austin looks at Vince, followed by one more Stunner for old times’ sake. For some reason Shane gets up and takes one more Stunner.
This was just about the perfect opening as you have to have Vince there for something like this and if there’s Vince, there must be Austin. All those Stunners over the years were a huge part of the show and Austin is arguably the name that more people would associate with Raw than anyone else. This was great and the only way things should have gone to start.
Absolution/Alicia Fox/Nia Jax vs. Bayley/Sasha Banks/Mickie James/Asuka
There’s a big brawl before the bell and Asuka has banged up ribs. She’s still able to kick Sonya to the floor though and we take an early break. Back with Asuka hip attacking half of the villains off the apron before it’s off to Jax vs. Banks. That goes fairly badly for Sasha who gets caught in Alicia’s northern lights suplex for two.
We hit the chinlock until Banks gets double teamed in the corner. Everything breaks down and we take a second break because it’s not like there’s a lot of stuff to get to tonight. Back with Banks grabbing the Bank Statement to make Fox tap at 11:58. The stuff after the break was less than fifteen seconds long.
Post match Asuka throws her partners over the top in a Sunday preview.
Kurt Angle is in the back when Jonathan Coachman comes in. Coach talks about all the faces he’s seen around here, so cue Harvey Wippleman and the Brooklyn Brawler who offer cigars. Cue Teddy Long for the required dancing. Brother Love comes in (he scared me to death as a kid) and declares love for everyone until Boogeyman comes in, complete with the worms in the mouth...which he hands to Coach. A lot of staring ensues.
In the Manhattan Center, JR and King (who mentions puppies) introduce a nice video package on Undertaker’s greatest Raw moments.
Here’s the Undertaker, with the lights not going out for his entrance in a strange visual (flashback to his original). For twenty five years, he’s buried souls who dared to challenge him and buried them in the cold dark earth. Steve Austin, Mick Foley, his brother Kane have all fallen before the reaper and now, after all this time, they may rest in peace. JR: “Is that a warning?” The music plays again and no one interrupts. I’ll believe it’s over when I don’t see him at Wrestlemania but that seems to be the case at the moment.
We go to the APA’s office with Heath Slater losing all of his money in a poker game as Rhyno shakes his head. Someone comes in and throws some money down….and of course it’s Ted DiBiase. They deal him in and we get the evil laugh. Still the greatest villain of all time for my money.
Here’s are some of the all time greatest General Managers: Johnny Ace (with a red suit and blue tie), William Regal, Eric Bischoff (to a ROAR) and Daniel Bryan. Miz and the Miztourage interrupt though and it’s time for one of the big matches.
Intercontinental Title: The Miz vs. Roman Reigns
Miz is challenging. They take their time to start until Reigns pops him with a right hand. The Miztourage offers a distraction though and Miz sends him into the steps as we take a break. Back with Reigns hitting the corner clotheslines, followed by a running big boot. The apron dropkick connects but the spear is countered into a rollup for two with the feet on the ropes. The YES Kicks keep Roman in trouble but the big kick is countered into a sitout powerbomb for two.
Another apron dropkick takes the Miztourage out and Reigns slips out of the Skull Crushing Finale for another Superman Punch. Bo Dallas grabs the foot though and Miz hits his corner clothesline. That means a double ejection but Reigns hits them one more time, allowing the Skull Crushing Finale to connect for two. Back up and Reigns tries the spear but hits an exposed turnbuckle pad. The Skull Crushing Finale makes Miz an eight time champion at 13:13. A replay shows that Miz got the pad off when Reigns was beating up the Miztourage for a nice surprise.
Back to the poker game with the Hardys, the Usos, and MVP playing as Slater continues to lose his money.
It’s time for the Peep Show with Christian. He knows a thing or two about being a Tag Team Champion so his guests are Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins. Jordan takes over for Seth and talks about what an honor it is to be here but the crowd won’t let him talk. Jordan eventually talks about Kurt and asks the fans to applaud him. Cue the Bar to say that all the fans are because of them, not all the legends. They’ll be getting the titles back on Sunday and it’s because Jordan sucks. We hit the YOU SUCK song and the brawl is on. Sheamus gets knocked to the floor but Seth’s springboard knee hits Jordan.
Alexa Bliss is annoyed at being asked if she’ll still be champion at Wrestlemania. Charlotte comes in and MY GOODNESS she towers over Alexa. She says Alexa doesn’t have the stature to be champion and Ric Flair himself comes in to say Charlotte is going to be champion until she decides to hang up the robe. Flair appearing was great, though they’re teasing the heck out of one of these two losing before Wrestlemania.
Video on Edge, who isn’t here tonight.
More people are at the poker game, now including Natalya and Titus Worldwide. Heath loses again, this time to Natalya’s queen high flush in hearts. Dana has counted it up: Heath has lost a lot.
Bray Wyatt vs. Matt Hardy
In the Manhattan Center and this match takes place here? Sister Abigail is broken up in the first five seconds as JR tries to figure out what Sister Abigail is. Matt grabs a Russian legsweep and drops the middle rope elbow to the back of the head. The Twist of Fate is broken up and Bray runs him over as we take a break. Back with Matt hitting a running corner clothesline but having his bulldog broken up. The Side Effect gets two on Bray but Sister Abigail is good for the pin on Matt at 5:48. Not enough shown to rate but that’s quite the abrupt loss in the first match between these two.
Back in Barclays, here are some of the greatest female talents ever: the Bella Twins, Maryse, Kelly Kelly, Lilian Garcia, Jacqueline, Torrie Wilson, Michelle McCool, Terri Runnels, Maria Kanellis and of course Trish Stratus as the big name. This group is declared as trailblazers so I have a good laugh as we cut away.
Elias is walking through the back when he runs into Chris Jericho (in an Alpha Club shirt). Chris compliments his scarves and asks if he can play a song he’s written about Elias. He can’t borrow the guitar but worry not because Jericho has his own. The song is about Elias being a stupid idiot and HE JUST MADE THE LIST! Jericho loads up the pen but says he’s kidding. Jericho: “NO I’M NOT! YOU JUST MADE THE LIST!”
Here’s Elias in the ring to talk about how amazing it is that it took Raw twenty five years to find him. WWE stands for Walk With Elias but the fans won’t let him play his song. Elias wants to sing it for the fans but points out Jimmy Fallon in the front row. The song is about the various legends, including talking about how Shawn’s time is passed and Undertaker is a decrepit old man. He’s going to the Royal Rumble but here’s John Cena to interrupt.
Cena asks the crowd if they’re loud now and points out that both he and Brooklyn have balls because there they are (it’s a beach ball in this case). Elias tells him to shut up because the fans are there to see Elias but Cena ruined it. Cena tells him to do something about it but Elias says no and teases leaving. The fight is on of course and Cena hits his finishing sequence but the AA is cut off by a low blow. A guitar to the back leaves Cena laying and Drift Away makes it even better. I’m pleasantly surprised here as this was a very solid rub for Elias who took some of Cena’s best and left him laying. Good stuff here.
New Day is at the poker game now with Woods betting pancakes. Slater FINALLY wins a hand but is accused of cheating. A fight nearly breaks out and Bradshaw says if you want to fight, do it in the ring. Oh I can feel the Revival’s death coming from here. Titus Worldwide and Slater/Rhyno leave but DiBiase wins with a royal flush. As he rakes in the chips, Ron Simmons says his catchphrase.
Mark Henry is in the back and runs into the Godfather and….some random woman. Godfather brings up Sexual Chocolate but Henry says that was a long time ago. Henry seems to hit on the woman….and it’s Godfather’s wife. Mark smiles and isn’t sure what to think.
Titus Worldwide vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno
Titus chops Rhyno to start before it’s off to Crews vs. Slater with Heath starting in on the arm. A very delayed vertical suplex puts Heath down and we take a break. IN THIS MATCH??? Back with the match being thrown out at 5:40. Again not enough to rate but this seems like a means to an end.
Cue the Dudley Boyz (including Bubba, who was named ROH GM two days ago and D-Von, who looks rather huge) as everyone bails to the floor. Slater gets thrown back inside for What’s Up (with Booker commenting on D-Von’s weight gain). It’s table time of course (with Rhyno pulling the ring skirt back) and the 3D drives Slater through it for good measure. This was a HUGE relief as the Revival wasn’t destroyed for no apparent reason.
AJ Styles is in the back and has his own interviewer: Mean Gene Okerlund. AJ does his best Hogan impression to Gene (AJ: “Sorry I’ve always wanted to do that.”) before talking about facing Kami on Sunday. He has a small window to fight on Sunday but if he does it right, they’ll hear him announced as still being champion. Gene looks confused.
Back to the Manhattan Center and here’s DX for the big reunion. Well just Shawn and HHH to start. Shawn has been hearing people ask HBShizzle what his best moment in the 25 years have been. He can’t remember 25 minutes ago but he does remember something about a big sausage, which HHH cuts him off. Then one time they were all in Christmas stuff but HHH says no again.
Shawn gets annoyed because he used to be the boss of this group but now HHH is the boss of everything so Shawn doesn’t get to do anything anymore. All you have to do to see all those moments again though is sign up for the WWE Network. HHH talks about the fans starting the fire and now they’re here because of him.
We hear about some of the history of DX, including a rare Chyna name drop. HHH talks about going to WCW in a tank (it wasn’t a tank) and starting a war (which had started well over a year prior) but now they’re here because the Manhattan Center is home. They’re not here alone though because here are the New Age Outlaws. Maybe Road Dogg can ruin Raw now.
Dogg does his usual and here’s X-Pac for another surprise (I mean, assuming you didn’t see the graphics all night long). The crowd cuts X-Pac off with a 1-2-3 chant but there’s one more surprise: Scott Hall. Back after a VERY abrupt break with everyone in the ring and Ramon saying Hey Yo. He calls this whole thing too sweet….and here’s Balor Club. They all do too Too Sweet…..and it’s the freaking Revival to get the legends burial.
Revival vs. Anderson and Gallows
Revival jumps them before the bell and it’s Anderson in early trouble. A headlock is broken up in short order and it’s off to Gallows for the kicks to the head. The Magic Killer ends Dawson clean at 2:00.
Revival goes after DX and takes the finishers, because this worked so well for Damien Sandow. X-Factor, Shake Rattle and Roll, Fameasser, Sweet Chin Music, Pedigree and Coup de Grace, followed by Billy getting in his catchphrase. So glad they had Revival, one of the best teams in a long time, to do this. To be fair they’re wrestlers and we don’t have room for that around here.
Angle brings out all of the legends and people from the poker game to surround the ring for the closing segment as we go to a break at 11:03. Back with Angle bringing out Braun Strowman and Kane, who are held apart by a lot of the wrestlers. Paul Heyman comes out and introduces Brock Lesnar for a fight. Here’s Brock...and everyone but Kane and Strowman bail in fear. Brock runs over Strowman and hits an F5 on Kane but Strowman is back in to knock Lesnar to the floor. The running powerslam through the announcers’ table plants Lesnar to end the show.
Bayley/Sasha Banks/Mickie James/Asuka b. Absolution/Alicia Fox/Nia Jax – Bank Statement to Fox
The Miz b. Roman Reigns – Skull Crushing Finale
Bray Wyatt b. Matt Hardy – Sister Abigail
Titus Worldwide vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno went to a double DQ when all four brawled
Anderson and Gallows b. Revival – Magic Killer to Dawson
Enzo Amore has been stripped of the Cruiserweight Title and released.
Date: January 23, 2018
Location: Capitol One Arena, Washington DC
Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips
It’s the night after the Monday Night Raw 25th Anniversary so now we need to bring things back down to earth a bit. This time around though it’s also the go home show for the Royal Rumble and we need to get things ready. There’s also the issue of Enzo Amore, who Daniel Bryan will address for some reason. Let’s get to it.
Here are Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn to open things up. They introduce each other as the future co-WWE Champions before Owens talks about being in a handicap match a few weeks back. There’s no way that AJ can win a 2-1 match because they couldn’t win a 3-2 match because they’re already better than AJ.
This brings out AJ to say there’s no way that’s going to happen and if the two of them could shut their YEP holes for awhile, reality would set in. Sami says he knew that AJ would be out here with his macho act and brings up a clip from a few weeks back. Three weeks ago AJ asked for the handicap match and Owens accuses him of trying to back out of the match.
The next clip is AJ saying he would fight both of them in the same night. Owens suggests that AJ fight the two of them in a row tonight. This brings out Bryan to imply that the matches are about to be made but AJ doesn’t know whose side Bryan is on. AJ makes the matches official instead.
I know we’re coming up on Sunday’s title match, but my goodness they need to get somewhere with this story. You can only tease Bryan being in cahoots with Sami and Owens for so long before you need to actually go somewhere with it. They were nice enough to give AJ and his challengers some actual mic time here but they REALLY need some advancement in this story already. I’m very tired of having Bryan and/or Shane arguing with each other and using these guys as pawns and it needs to change. Oh and what’s up with people working multiple matches a night? This is two weeks in a row now.
Bryan and Shane are in their office with Shane talking down to Bryan about his choice. Daniel asks if Shane believes AJ can take care of himself but Shane says AJ isn’t the one he’s questioning.
Jey Uso vs. Chad Gable
Gable goes for a single leg to start and takes Jey into the corner before putting him on the ground without much effort. Back up and Jey sends him outside and we take an early break. Back with Gable getting two off a northern lights suplex but missing the moonsault. Jey sends him outside and a suicide dive drops Chad again. Gable charges into a Samoan drop but the running Umaga Attack is blocked. Instead Gable Liger Kicks him and grabs Rolling Chaos Theory for the pin at 7:44.
Shinsuke Nakamura’s strategy for winning the Rumble: knee them all in the face. Baron Corbin comes in to say Nakamura is all hype and nothing to show for it. He doesn’t care about the fans and asks what Nakamura has done. Shinsuke says he’ll do something on Sunday and offers a rumble tonight. I know Nakamura is becoming one of the favorites to win the Rumble but I still don’t buy it. There’s not much to build off of with him and it would seem to come out of nowhere. That’s been the case before but I’m not buying it here.
Tye Dillinger, still using the handheld camera style, enters the Rumble. He can’t do the Perfect Ten because he only has one hand so it’s two fives instead.
Naomi vs. Liv Morgan
They fight over a backslide to start until Naomi kicks her in the face. Liv is right back with a pull into the middle buckle, followed by a cross arm chinlock. Cue Natalya, Carmella and Lana for a distraction, allowing Naomi to grab a sunset flip for the pin at 2:39.
The Riott Squad comes in to beat Naomi down but Becky Lynch makes the save. It turns into the mini Rumble with Naomi and Natalya standing tall. Becky throws Naomi to the apron for a staredown but here’s Charlotte to say good luck to everyone, especially the winner. That’s how a champion should talk to a bunch of challengers.
Miz and Asuka are ready to win the Mixed Match Challenge.
Carmella and Big E. are ready to win as well, but first: pancakes.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
Nakamura drives him to the ropes for the arm swing into COME ON, with Corbin warning him not to do it. Good Vibrations sends Corbin outside with Nakamura giving chase, only to get posted. Serves him right for not listening to Corbin’s request. Back from a break with Corbin holding a chinlock but Nakamura fights up and starts striking away. A running kick to the head and the running knee in the corner give Nakamura two.
Kinshasa is countered into Deep Six for a pretty hot two and Nakamura is in trouble. Corbin’s slide underneath the ropes into the clothesline turns Nakamura inside out for two more. A cross armbreaker out of nowhere has Corbin in trouble but Nakamura switches to a kick to the head. Kinshasa is loaded up but RKO OUT OF NOWHERE plants Nakamura as Randy Orton runs in for the DQ at 12:26. Well done there as they actually surprised me with the run in.
Post match Corbin takes an RKO of his own.
We look at the media coverage of last night’s show.
Video on last night’s show.
Here’s New Day for a six man tag but first, they all enter the Royal Rumble. It’s just two of them tonight so they need a partner. That man would be the new United States Champion, with Woods singing the theme into the trombone. Roode says his goal is to be the best US Champion of all time and his reign is going to be…...Kofi: “Stupendous!” Woods: “Delicious!” Big E.: “Exuberant!” Actually it’s GLORIOUS!
New Day/Bobby Roode vs. Rusev Day/Jinder Mahal
Big E. is the odd man out here and there’s only one Singh Brother thanks to an ankle injury last week. Joined in progress with Rusev holding Kofi in a bearhug and hitting a running shoulder into the corner. English misses a charge though and it’s Roode coming in to clean house. The Blockbuster drops English and a spinebuster does the same to Jinder. Rusev comes in and kicks Roode into a rollup for two but it’s Kofi diving in to put English on the floor. Kofi’s dive into the trust fall takes the other two down, leaving English to get caught with another spinebuster. Woods’ top rope elbow is good for the pin at 2:38 shown.
Royal Rumble rundown.
AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
Non-title but hang on a minute. Shane comes out to say Sami can’t be at ringside, just like Owens can’t be at ringside for the next match. If either of them interfere, they’re out of the title match and fired. The bickering continues into the break and we’re back for the opening bell (thank you). AJ scores with a dropkick but gets his head clotheslined off. That goes nowhere and it’s a Calf Crusher to make Owens tap out immediately at 1:08, likely to save himself for Sunday.
Sami runs in to beat on AJ to break the hold, which doesn’t count as breaking Shane’s rules because we’re between matches. AJ gets beaten down in the corner as Kevin limps off. The stomping continues as we’re still waiting on the opening bell. A whip sends AJ into the steps as the bosses are watching in the back.
Sami Zayn vs. AJ Styles
Non-title again with AJ saying he’s ready to go. Sami charges at him again as Owens is still at ringside due to not being able to walk to the back. The stomping continues and we hit the chinlock for a bit as a stretcher is brought out for Owens. AJ fights back and hits his running seated forearm to get a breather. Sami gets sent outside for a slingshot forearm but AJ goes after Owens instead as we take a break.
Back with Sami hammering away even more and grabbing another chinlock. AJ snaps off a super hurricanrana to get a breather as we see the bosses watching in the back for the third time. The fireman’s carry backbreaker gives AJ two and the Helluva Kick is blocked with a raised boot. The Pele scores on Sami for two but Sami grabs a Michinoku Driver for two. Frustration is setting in as he takes AJ to the top, only to get dropped face first onto the top turnbuckle.
AJ takes him outside where Owens is STILL being loaded onto the stretcher. That’s enough for Styles as he slides into a knee to Sami’s face and turns the stretcher over. Back in and the Helluva Kick connects followed by the Blue Thunder Bomb…..WHICH GETS THE PIN AT 15:44????? I’ve been watching Sami since his WWE run started and I don’t ever remember that getting a pin. I was actually surprised when that worked.
Owens and Zayn pose over AJ to end the show.
Chad Gable b. Jey Uso – Rolling Chaos Theory
Naomi b. Liv Morgan – Sunset flip
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Baron Corbin via DQ when Randy Orton interfered
New Day/Bobby Roode b. Rusev Day/Jinder Mahal – Top rope elbow to English
AJ Styles b. Kevin Owens – Calf Crusher
Sami Zayn b. AJ Styles – Blue Thunder Bomb
Date: January 24, 2018
Location: Center Stage Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson
It’s the go home show for Takeover: Philadelphia and that means most of the show is already set. There’s always the chance of throwing some stuff in via a backstage segment but odds are we’ve seen the card announced. Tonight is likely going to be heavy on talking, which isn’t a bad thing around here. Let’s get to it.
With his back to the camera and purple smoke filling the room, Velveteen Dream talks about how we all dream. Everyone wants to be NXT Champion, including Johnny Gargano. Sure Johnny is a fine choice, but why would anyone pick him when they can pick Dream? Tonight, a dream will be over. Good stuff here, as Dream knows how to bring the atmosphere.
No Way Jose vs. Cezar Bononi
For once Bononi doesn’t tower over his opponent. Jose shoulders him down to start and hits a quick atomic drop. Bononi fights out of an armbar and hits a pumphandle slam, followed by a chinlock. Back up and Jose scores with some punches to the jaw, followed by a powerslam. The pop up right hand (Toma, which means Take That) ends Bononi at 3:20.
Video on Adam Cole costing Aleister Black a shot at being #1 contender, setting up their Extreme Rules match at Takeover. As usual, this did a great job of making me buy into the emotion and that’s exactly the point.
Bianca Belair vs. LaToya Alstott
Belair’s tights say Est because she’s the baddest, the best, the toughest, the smartest etc. The LET’S GO JOBBER chants begin as LaToya’s rollup out of the corner is easily blocked. Belair throws her around and shrugs off some kicks to the ribs, setting up a HARD forearm to the jaw. A double chickenwing faceplant puts LaToya down but she gets in a kick to the head for a breather. LaToya goes up though and dives into the hair whip to the ribs. An Alleyoop finishes LaToya at 3:37.
Earlier today, Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon sat down for an interview. Ember talks about the code of the women’s division and Shayna having no respect. Baszler laughs it off and says that it was never about hurting people but rather the end goal. She saw Moon go up against the undefeated….and lose. Moon kept going and accomplished her dream, but when she wakes up at Takeover, she’ll see Baszler walking away with that dream. The one thing Baszler wants everyone to know: they’ll have to get used to it.
A few things here. First of all, I know this was heavily scripted, but Baszler came off as more natural and that’s because she’s already got the character down. She’s the bully who doesn’t care about anything that came before her and just wants the title. That’s it and she’s nailing that character. Moon doesn’t exactly have a character and that showed here, along with sounding very scripted. Also, this is almost exactly AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe from TNA when Joe disrespected the X-Division and destroyed Christopher Daniels. Not a bad story, but it’s about as copied as you can get.
We get the second part of the TM61 video, this time focusing on Shane Thorn’s knee injury. It’s kept him (and the team) on the shelf for about six months but now they’re back to prove that they’re the best team around. They know their greatness and HARLEY RACE endorses them. Well I’m certainly sold. They’re back in the ring next week.
Authors of Pain vs. Chris Brown/Jason Smith
No match as the Authors destroy the jobbers and promise to do the same to the Undisputed Era. The Super Collider makes things even worse.
Next week: Nikki Cross vs. Lacey Evans.
Velveteen Dream vs. Johnny Gargano
The winner faces Andrade Cien Almas at Takeover and they have A LOT of time here. Dream wears a Johnny Wrestling shirt to the ring to play some mind games. The fans are split as they hit the mat to start with neither being able to get the advantage. Dream throws him away and poses, mocking Gargano for crying before. That earns him a Gargano Escape but Dream gets to the floor, albeit with a sore arm, as we take a break.
Back with Gargano knocking the bad arm into the announcers’ table and cannonballing off the apron to take Dream down. The slingshot spear is countered with a hanging swinging neckbreaker though and Dream uppercuts him in the back. They head outside again with Dream slugging away and we take another break. Back again with Johnny hitting an enziguri but getting superkicked away.
Johnny bounces off the ropes though and clotheslines Dream down for a delayed two. Neither can hit a headscissors so Dream grabs that Sister Abigail DDT for two of his own. Johnny shoves him away again but gets crotched on top to slow things down all over again. A super Death Valley Driver plants Johnny again (and that’s a MAMA MIA from Mauro) for two more with the fans hanging on these kickouts. The Purple Rainmaker hits knees (thanks to Dream’s left arm being so banged up) and it’s the Gargano Escape to make Dream tap at 19:14.
Post match Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega come out and drop Gargano with a shot to the head. Johnny gets tossed to the floor but comes back in with the slingshot DDT and poses with the title as Mauro plugs everything on Saturday to end the show.
No Way Jose b. Cezar Bononi – Toma
Bianca Belair b. LaToya Alstott – Alleyoop
Johnny Gargano b. Velveteen Dream – Gargano Escape
Date: January 25, 2018
Location: Aberdeen Pavilion, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Josh Matthews, Jeremy Borash
So apparently this is one of their big shows, which was only first mentioned last week. Most of the titles are on the line tonight, including a triple threat match inside a cage with Eli Drake defending against Johnny Impact and Alberto El Patron. It’s hard to say what else they might throw out here so let’s get to it.
The opening video is your standard look at the bigger names talking about what their matches mean. It might help if this show had some more build, or if I could tell you what this show had to offer. What we get here is good though as it’s a stylish way to put out a simple concept.
Grand Championship: Matt Sydal vs. Ethan Carter III
Carter is defending and there are no judges, rounds or scoring, but rather a standard match. Sydal dropkicks him at the bell and the champ is knocked outside early on. Back in and a pair of basement dropkicks give Sydal two but Carter gets a breather off a running clothesline. A cravate doesn’t work very well for the champ so he whips Sydal into the corner a few times.
Carter can’t hit a Stinger Splash though and the double knees from the top give Matt two. Back up and Sydal’s super hurricanrana misses with Matt’s face slamming straight into the turnbuckle. We take a break to make sure Sydal’s head isn’t broken and come back with Carter hitting a cutter for two. A TK3 over the top rope connects but Sydal is right back up with a spinwheel kick.
They head to the apron with Carter grabbing a DDT, only to have Sydal pop right back up again. That’s getting a bit annoying as he’s barely staying down off these big shots to the head. Sydal knees him in the face but can’t hit the shooting star press. For some reason Carter takes him to the top for a super TK3, only to get shoved down for the shooting star to give Sydal the title at 15:59.
Stills on the Barbed Wire Massacre mess from last week.
We look at the still awesome XXX vs. AMW cage match from Turning Point 2004. That cage walk is still pretty easily the greatest spot in the company’s history and it’s never been approached since. To be fair though, how can you follow that?
We recap the Knockouts Title match. Laurel Van Ness won the title a few weeks back but Gail Kim (take a shot) wanted Allie to win. Allie started talking about wanting the shot so here we go, with Allie being a lot more serious.
Knockouts Title: Laurel Van Ness vs. Allie
Allie is challenging and Laurel leaves the belt on the steps, which is quite the Chekov’s Gun. They lock up and fight to the floor without breaking the lock until Allie takes her back inside for some clotheslines. That’s enough inside as they go to the floor again with Allie being sent into the apron as we take a break.
Back with Laurel in control inside, sending Allie into three straight buckles. A running flip neckbreaker gets two and the counts are getting on the champ’s nerves. Laurel’s chinlock doesn’t do much so it’s a clothesline instead, allowing Josh to plug his podcast. Allie avoids a charge and suplexes Van Ness into the corner for two. A Codebreaker gets the same and a superkick is even closer with Laurel having to put her foot on the ropes. The ref is bumped and a quick belt shot lets Laurel retain the title at 14:03.
We recap American Top Team vs. Moose, in case you haven’t gotten this story yet. The MMA guys are here to prove that wrestling is fake and they’ve already gotten rid of James Storm. Moose is ready to try his luck again.
Moose vs. Bobby Lashley
Lashley has Dan Lambert and KM in his corner. After some early stalling, Lashley sends him into the corner and stomps away as the announcers talk about various other places you can watch Impact. So yeah, go there and watch that now because this show doesn’t matter. Moose’s comeback doesn’t get him anywhere and it’s a snap suplex for two. Some shoulders in the corner don’t get Lashley anywhere as Moose scores with a spinning middle rope crossbody. KM offers a distraction though and Lashley clotheslines him down as we take a break.
Back with Lashley stomping on the arm and seemingly unsure which hold to try. Instead he throws Moose outside to ram him into various things, only to start in on the other arm. Moose dropkicks him off the top and out to the floor but Lashley calmly whips him into the steps as the dominance continues. KM pulls out a completely unnecessary table and Lashley isn’t happy, allowing Moose to crush him in the corner.
The middle rope chokebomb gets two but Lashley is right back with a running hurricanrana. Well of course he is. Seriously that’s not normal. The spear gets two with Moose throwing a boot on the ropes and Lashley is stunned. KM gets on the apron for no logical reason (how typical of him), allowing Moose to ram them together and hit the discus lariat for two. The Game Changer gives Moose the pin at 16:43, making that previous kickout rather dumb.
Post match Moose FINALLY lays Lambert out and Lashley does the same to KM. Lashley spears Lambert through a table and they both beat up the MMA guy who is all bandaged up. Did we really just spend all those months setting up a Lashley face turn? That was their big goal?
The announcers recap the show so far.
X-Division Title: Taiji Ishimori vs. Andrew Everett
This is from Pro Wrestling Noah with Everett challenging. Joined in progress with Ishimori hitting some running knees to the chest in the corner. Everett comes back with an enziguri and a Lionsault for two but a shooting star gets two. Back up and one heck of a clothesline takes Everett down for two more and a suplex into a gutbuster gets the same. The 450 retains the title at 4:38 shown.
Impact Wrestling World Title: Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron vs. Johnny Impact
Drake is defending inside a cage with pinfall, submission or escape to win. If Drake retains, neither ever gets a title shot at Drake again. Johnny gets stomped down in the corner to start as we have our first soon to be broken alliance. A double ram into the cage drops Johnny and the villains are already slugging it out. Neither can get over the top so Impact is back up for the save.
Drake gets catapulted into the cage and the flip neckbreaker gives Johnny two. Alberto, wrestling in a shirt for some reason, pulls Johnny off the cage and sends Drake into the steel. Impact is tied up in the Tree of Woe with Alberto missing the double stomp off the cage (likely to avoid a bad case of death), only to have Drake drop Johnny with that backwards Big Ending of his. Everyone is down and we take a break after a pretty good start.
Back with Drake low blowing both of them and sending them into the cage. Johnny of course walks the cage wall and sends Drake into the cage for the coolest spot of the match, which gets no reaction. Alberto is back up with a kick to Johnny’s ribs before whipping Drake into the cage over and over. A DDT gets two on the champ and Alberto knocks Johnny into the Tree of Woe.
This time the stomp works but Johnny is still able to break up the armbreaker on Drake. Everyone goes up in the same corner but Johnny knocks them down and hits a double high crossbody…..to no reaction. I even rewound it in hopes that I had just missed it but the sound just isn’t there and that’s very sad. That’s a big time move and the fans just did not care. Like at all.
The Gravy Train gets two on Johnny so Drake climbs with Impact right behind him. Johnny drops down to catch Alberto but an enziguri cuts him off. Alberto tries to go out the door but Chris Adonis slams it on his head. Johnny JUMPS up and sprints over the top of the cage, somehow beating Drake down, only to have Adonis catch him in the air. The delay allows Drake to drop down and retain at 18:05.
Matt Sydal b. Ethan Carter III – Shooting star press
Laurel Van Ness b. Allie – Title to the face
Moose b. Lashley – Game Changer
Taiji Ishimori b. Andrew Everett – 450 splash
Eli Drake b. Alberto El Patron and Johnny Impact – Drake escaped the cage
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