Week of 1/1/2018 - 1/7/2018

Discussion in 'The Weekly Wrestling Review' started by klunderbunker, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. klunderbunker

    klunderbunker Welcome to My (And Not Sly's) House

    Jan 8, 2007
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    Monday Night Raw
    Date: January 1, 2018
    Location: American Airlines Arena, Miami, Florida
    Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T.

    It’s a new year (yes it is) and that probably doesn’t mean much. We’ll be getting ready for the Royal Rumble in less than a month and tonight that includes an appearance by Brock Lesnar. Other than that we have Roman Reigns defending the Intercontinental Title against Samoa Joe and Cedric Alexander challenging Enzo Amore for the Cruiserweight Title. Let’s get to it.

    Alexa Bliss goes to see Kurt Angle in the back because she’s not happy with having to face Asuka tonight. Angle basically says get over it.

    Here’s Angle for a chat. Angle talks about how great 2017 was and promises 2018 will be even better. In a few weeks we’ll be having the 25th Anniversary of Raw and then the Royal Rumble. John Cena entered the men’s Royal Rumble earlier today and that brings us to the women’s Royal Rumble. The same rules will apply for the men: thirty entrants with the winner getting a title shot at Wrestlemania.

    Cue the Bar to complain about Angle giving Jason Jordan and Seth Rollins a title shot last week and then celebrating with the new champions after the show. They won’t stand for this favoritism. The Bar wants their rematch tonight but Angle says it’s when he chooses. Cue Jordan to say he and Seth earned the titles last week but Cesaro isn’t convinced. Angle makes a match for right now but here’s Rollins to interrupt as well. Rollins thinks Jordan is going a bit too fast but Seth will be in his corner….to watch Jason lose.

    Jason Jordan vs. Cesaro

    Joined in progress with Cesaro in control and grabbing a chinlock. Back up and Cesaro’s dive is pulled out of the air, allowing Jordan to drive him into the corner over and over. Sheamus offers a distraction though and Cesaro takes the knee out. Cesaro cranks on the knee in a variety of ways before Jordan manages to send him outside. That just earns him another shot to the knee, followed by a knee crusher onto the apron.

    We take a break and come back with Cesaro baseball sliding Jordan out to the floor again. Cesaro grabs a half crab (that’s a back hold but whatever) but Jordan fights up and grabs some suplexes. Both guys are down again and Sheamus knocks Jordan into a rollup, followed by another half crab. Seth goes after Sheamus though, allowing Jordan to grab the wheelbarrow neckbreaker for the pin at 15:13.

    Roman Reigns promises to stay in the rules tonight because if he gets disqualified he loses the title.

    Sasha Banks says she’ll win the Royal Rumble.

    Bray Wyatt vs. Apollo Crews

    Bray takes him into the corner without much effort but has to punch his way out of a headlock. An enziguri into a slingshot hilo doesn’t do Crews much good as Bray runs him over with a headbutt to the chest. Crews kicks him down again but gets crotched on top. Bray glares down at Dana Brooke and we take a break.

    Back with Bray holding a chinlock until Crews fights up for a running kick to the face. Crews looks for the Toss Powerbomb but gets his head taken off with a hard clothesline. Dana gets on the apron and gets scared off onto Titus, allowing Crews to hit the jumping enziguri. The Toss Powerbomb is easily reversed into Sister Abigail though and Crews is done at 10:23.

    Post match Matt Hardy pops up on screen to say he’s all around Bray and intends to delete him. The screen turns into hundreds of small screens featuring Matt’s face and Bray looks disturbed.

    Nia Jax is trying to leave because Enzo Amore is in the hospital with the flu. Alexa cuts her off and says she needs her at ringside. Bliss says it’s Enzo or her and Nia leaves.

    Ad for the Mixed Match Challenge, which I believe is the first time it’s been mentioned on the main show.

    Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka

    Non-title. This was set up last week when Asuka kicked Bliss in the head. An early spinning backfist misses so Asuka goes with a front facelock instead. Bliss has to bail from a kneebar but the hip attack puts her on the floor. Back in and Bliss gets kicked down as this is one sided so far. Bliss bails to the floor again and we take a break.

    Back with Bliss holding Asuka in a bodyscissors, only to be reversed into an ankle lock. Bliss makes a rope and kicks her in the ribs again, followed by some forearms to the back. A backbreaker lets Bliss hammer away with right hands and it’s back to the bodyscissors. That’s switched into a guillotine choke before Bliss stomps away in the corner.

    A running slap just ticks Asuka off though (Well what were you expecting?) and it’s some dropkicks to put Bliss in trouble again. There’s a running hip attack and a hard knee to the face but Bliss comes out of the corner with a sunset flip. Asuka counters that into a cradle for two, followed by the cross armbreaker to make Bliss tap at 14:35.

    We look back at Roman Reigns attacking Samoa Joe last week and causing a DQ in their title match.

    Joe is ready for Reigns because he’s already broken up the Shield. It’s because of Joe that Dean Ambrose is a stay at home husband living off his wife’s (who happens to be doing this interview) paycheck.

    Bayley enters the Rumble.

    Braun Strowman vs. Rhyno

    The announcer introduces Slater as the opponent. Well they do both have meaty thighs. Strowman drops him with an early shoulder and goes outside to grab a mic. Braun tells Strowman to either stay on the floor and be quiet or take a beating. Slater comes in and the double teaming actually works for a good five seconds. The running powerslam ends Rhyno at 2:31.

    Post match, multiple powerslams ensue.

    Rollins comes up to Reigns in the back and Roman says he’s keeping his cool. Jordan comes in and says they’ll take the Bar out tonight. Jordan: “Believe that.” Seth and Roman share a funny look.

    Strowman runs into Kane, who just wants to talk about Lesnar. Kane says they’re the alpha monsters and should team up to take Brock out but Braun declines.

    Finn Balor comes in to Angle’s office and enters the Royal Rumble. Angle is pleased but wants to know who Balor has for partners tonight in a six man tag. Cue Anderson and Gallows with Balor asking who else it would be.

    Intercontinental Title: Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns

    Reigns is defending and loses the title if he’s disqualified. Joe pops him with the right hands to start but Reigns comes back with some forearms to the back. The referee breaks up some shots to the face in the corner because the rules say he needs to be all serious here when no referee would ever do something like this otherwise. A suplex puts Reigns on the floor and we take a break.

    Back with Joe running him over with an elbow for two. Reigns grabs a suplex though, only to miss a charge and go shoulder first into the post. Joe works on the arm but Roman is back up with a clothesline. That just earns him a charge to take him down again as the pace stays slow (in a good way). A hard whip sends Reigns into the corner and Joe takes him down to the mat to crank on the arm some more.

    Reigns fights up again and hits a running clothesline, followed by the standing clotheslines in the corner. The running apron dropkick gives Reigns two but hang on a second as the referee has to warn for a DQ. Joe sends him outside though and there’s the suicide elbow for a double knockdown.

    They’re both back in at nine and we take a second break. Back again with Reigns getting headbutted down but yelling at Joe to hit him harder. Reigns gets two off a Samoan drop and Joe bails to the floor. Roman dives into a shot to the chest and gets sent into the steps but thankfully Joe rolls back inside to break the count. A whip into the steps is reversed but of course that’s not enough for the DQ.

    Joe gets in a shot to the face, only to eat a Superman punch off the steps. Back in and another Superman punch gets two with the kickout stunning Reigns. The spear is blocked and Joe sends Reigns into the referee, who of course is talked out of the DQ. Another Superman punch is countered into the spinning Rock Bottom for two more and now Joe is yelling at the referee. The Clutch goes on but Reigns spins out of it and hits the spear to retain at 24:53.

    Paul Heyman comes in to see Angle and basically says Lesnar is awesome.

    Absolution is entering the Rumble.

    Drew Gulak and Ariya Daivari are in the ring with Drew reading Enzo’s promo off a letter Enzo wrote for them. Enzo isn’t defending the title tonight due to the flu and would love to face Cedric, who interrupts in short order. The villains are willing to have a tag match but Cedric doesn’t have a partner. Cue Goldust of all people to ask if Cedric wants to be friends. Goldust: “Cedric, want to be friends?”. See that’s what he said.

    Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari vs. Cedric Alexander/Goldust

    Daivari takes Cedric down into a chinlock to start but gets elbowed in the face for his efforts. That’s enough for a pretty early double tag to Goldust and Gulak as the pace quickens. They botch Goldust’s running bulldog (Gulak seemed to trip and Goldust made a quick save by punching him in the head so it was nothing too bad) but the second attempt works just fine. Goldust actually goes up top and hits a pretty good looking twisting crossbody. Cedric’s springboard double clothesline takes both guys down and it’s the Lumbar Check to end Gulak at 3:26.

    Finn Balor/Anderson and Gallows vs. Elias/Miztourage

    Before the match, Elias has the Miztourage come out of the shadows with a cowbell (Bo) and some bells (Axel). Miz is back next week so they dedicate a little Auld Lang Syne to his honor. This goes as well as you would expect and even Elias cuts them off. Joined in progress after a break with Axel getting two on Balor before it’s off to Elias for some boots in the corner. Balor gets over to the corner for a hot tag to Gallows though and house is cleaned in the form of some kicks to the head. A splash crushes Dallas and the Magic Killer into the Coup de Grace puts him away at 3:24.

    Video on Miz’s return next week.

    Here are Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman to close things out. Paul thinks the company’s New Year’s Resolution is to stack the deck against Lesnar by throwing multiple challengers at the same time. It used to be challenger and now it’s CHALLENGERS because there’s no other way to stop Brock. That makes things more complicated because Brock can lose the title without getting pinned, which is the only way it could happen.

    Heyman mocks the announcers talking about the odds but says Brock is always 100%. If it’s one on one, no one is beating Brock. You could even throw all thirty Royal Rumble entrants against him and it would be the same slaughter. They go to leave but here’s Kane (with Brock pausing due to a delay in Kane’s music hitting) to chokeslam Brock but Lesnar sits up like Undertaker. A Cactus Clothesline puts them on the floor but some of the locker room comes out for the break up. No Braun as Brock poses to end the show.

    Jason Jordan b. Cesaro – Wheelbarrow neckbreaker
    Bray Wyatt b. Apollo Crews – Sister Abigail
    Asuka b. Alexa Bliss – Cross armbreaker
    Braun Strowman b. Rhyno – Running powerslam
    Roman Reigns b. Samoa Joe – Spear
    Cedric Alexander/Goldust b. Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari – Lumbar Check to Gulak
    Finn Balor/Anderson and Gallows b. Elias/Miztourage – Coup de Grace to Dallas


    Date: January 2, 2018
    Location: Amway Center, Orlando, Florida
    Commentators: Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips

    It’s a new year on the blue show and that means it’s time to get ready for the Royal Rumble. There are a handful of names already announced and there’s a good chance that we’re going to get more of those set up tonight. At the same time, AJ Styles needs an opponent and will be having his second non-title match tonight, this week against Sami Zayn. Let’s get to it.

    We open with a recap of last week’s ending with Zayn costing Styles a win over Kevin Owens.

    Opening sequence.

    Here’s AJ to get things going by wishing us a happy new year. AJ talks about how it’s a new year and a lot of people are making new year’s resolutions, including people wanting to win the Royal Rumble. He has his own resolutions though, like taking this title to Wrestlemania and walking out as champion. His other resolution is to beat Sami Zayn tonight, but AJ wants to know if Kevin will be in Sami’s corner tonight.

    This brings out Daniel Bryan but Shane McMahon is out before anything can be said. Shane and Bryan both get some nice chants from the crowd before Shane says there are people accusing him of taking sides in these stories. It seems to Shane though that Bryan is the one with a genuine kinship with both Sami and Kevin. Shane is going to be at ringside and if that’s the case, Bryan thinks Kevin should be out here as well. If those two are going to be out here, Bryan might as well be too!

    Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable

    Benjamin and Gable are defending. Before the match, the Usos say they’ve got this place on lock because Benjamin and Gable are in the Uso Penitentiary. Jimmy has to fight out of the corner early but Shelton runs the corner to superplex him down. Gable immediately follows with a moonsault for two and we take an early break.

    Back with Jimmy enziguring Gable (clearly didn’t make contact) and a double tag bringing in Jey and Benjamin. Everything breaks down and we hit the dives, only to have Jey get taken back inside for the powerbomb/top rope clothesline for the pin and the titles at 5:33. Hang on a second actually as the other Uso pleads his case, saying Gable pinned the wrong one. Another referee comes out to confirm things and a replay (which confirms that the legal Uso had wrist tape but the one pinned didn’t have tape) means we get a restart.

    Back with the Usos starting a brawl before the bell, followed by a Samoan drop to Shelton. The running Umaga Attack misses though and the second powerbomb is loaded up. This time Jey ducks and Chad dives into a superkick. Shelton takes one as well, followed by the Superfly Splash to retain the titles at 13:30 (from opening bell to closing bell).

    Renee Young asks Owens and Zayn if tonight is going to be different. Owens talks about having a different breakfast yesterday and being in a different city this week. Tonight though, the outcome is the same: AJ loses. They talk about this being the Sami and Kevin Show (which Sami calls the Seven Show by mistake, though it’s not a bad name) before saying tonight, they prove its their show.

    Bludgeon Brothers vs. Breezango

    Rematch from last week where Breezango got destroyed until Ascension came in for the save. Breezango gets jumped before the bell and the beating is on in a hurry. Ascension comes out as well and takes a beating of their own. Again, the lesson learned here: stop putting effort into angles and segments because WWE is going to grind you into dust no matter what you do. No match.

    A blindfolded Xavier Woods is swinging a kendo stick in the back when Kofi and Big E. come in. They have a surprise for him, which he can’t guess at first….until he guesses perfectly. Big E: “You can see through that mask can’t you?”. Woods: “I did have Lasik a few years back.”. Woods goes to blow out the candles but Aiden English and Rusev cut him off. English wishes that every single day was RUSEV DAY.

    Mojo Rawley is going to beat Zack Ryder in their tournament match next week.

    US Title Tournament First Round: Xavier Woods vs. Aiden English

    Before the match, Rusev sings about how great of a champion English is going to be. English jumps him from behind but gets sent to the floor for a superkick. Back in and English hits him with an elbow, followed by a singing chinlock. Woods fights up and hits something like a torture rack into a Lumbar Check. English takes him up and tries what looks like a super piledriver, only to get backdropped down. The top rope elbow sends Woods on at 5:49.

    Post match Kofi throws a pancake and apparently hits one of the commentators in the head.

    The Welcoming Committee (which apparently is still a thing that you’re supposed to remember) is ready to take care of the Riott Squad tonight.

    Karl Malone (former WCW main eventer) is here. No mention is made of his wrestling career.

    Natalya/Carmella/Tamina vs. Riott Squad

    Morgan nips out of Natalya’s headlock to start and has to bail from the threat of a Sharpshooter. Back from a break with Carmella fighting out of Logan’s chinlock and bringing Tamina in for a hard clothesline. Riott breaks up the Superfly Splash though and Logan cartwheels into a knee to the back of the head for the pin at 5:29. Not enough shown to rate but this was just a quick win for the Squad. I can appreciate them trying to build the team up before the Rumble but it’s not like any of these three have a chance at winning.

    Post match Riott says everyone here believes in magic (local basketball team name) but everyone here is really miserable. Logan and Morgan are officially in the Rumble. Cue Charlotte to say there’s a woman who wants to teach the Squad a lesson. This brings out Naomi, followed by the returning Becky Lynch to clean house.

    We run down the Rumble card.

    Baron Corbin says he’s entering the Rumble and going to Wrestlemania. He’s right. It’s just probably going to be in the battle royal.

    AJ Styles vs. Sami Zayn

    Non-title. Shane, Owens and Bryan are at ringside. Sami takes AJ down early to start and gets two off a backdrop. A dropkick gets two more and we take an early break. Back with Sami holding a chinlock to keep AJ grounded. AJ fights back up, only to get his throat snapped across the top rope. Sami gets caught on top but punches his way to freedom, followed by the Blue Thunder Bomb for the same near fall that the move always gets.

    Styles is right back up and grabs the Calf Crusher, only to have Sami make it to the ropes in fairly long order. The Phenomenal Forearm doesn’t work but the referee gets knocked to the floor. As expected, AJ grabs a rollup for two as the referee dives in after being held up by Owens. Shane shoves Kevin down and Owens is ejected, followed by Bryan saying Shane should go with him. The distraction lets Sami hit the Helluva Kick for the pin at 13:44.

    Post match AJ tells Owens and Zayn to stop acting like children. He’s tired of everyone else getting involved so let’s just make it a handicap match for the title at the Rumble. A smiling Bryan makes the match to end the show.

    Usos b. Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin – Superfly Splash to Benjamin
    Xavier Woods b. Aiden English – Top rope elbow
    Riott Squad b. Natalya/Carmella/Tamina – Cartwheel knee to Tamina’s head
    Sami Zayn b. AJ Styles – Helluva Kick


    Date: January 3, 2018
    Hosts: Kayla Braxton, Mike Rome

    It’s the first show of the year but as a special, we’re looking at the Best Of 2017 in a double length episode. These are always fun to look at as there’s nearly a guarantee that you’ve forgotten at least something that you’ll see tonight. There’s been a lot of good throughout the year for NXT so let’s get to it.

    As usual, even if the versions presented on the broadcast are clipped, I’ll be posting the full review of each.

    Opening sequence.

    We look at Bobby Roode defeating Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Title in January.

    We look at the rematch from Takeover: Orlando with the full entrances, albeit with some different camera angles during the entrances. Roode retained and Nakamura got the big sendoff.

    Video on Shinsuke Nakamura’s NXT career from William Regal announcing his debut all the way to his farewell in April.

    Video on Drew McIntyre coming to NXT.

    From Takeover: San Antonio.

    Tag Team Titles: DIY vs. Authors of Pain

    Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are defending and unfortunately the Authors take off their jackets, meaning the name tags go away. Razar takes Ciampa into the corner and shouts at him a lot, drawing a PSYCHO KILLER chant from the crowd. Gargano tries the spear through the ropes and is casually swatted away. Everything breaks down and the champs just can't do anything with rights and lefts.

    Some running knees work a bit better though and the monsters are knocked to the floor for a suicide dive and running knee from the apron. Back in and Akam casually slams Gargano over the top and the beating is on. It's off to an over the shoulder backbreaker until Johnny slips down into an enziguri.....which has no effect whatsoever.

    Gargano finally slips away and makes the hot tag off to Ciampa so house can be cleaned as well as possible. Some German suplexes take the Authors down and Paul Ellering is losing it on the floor. The referee tells Ciampa “six minutes left” as he chops away at Akam, who takes Ciampa's head off for two. The champs get two of their own off a double spear but Johnny gets knocked to the floor again, leaving Ciampa to get caught in a powerbomb/neckbreaker combination for two.

    Johnny is back in to break up the Last Chapter and it's off to the double arm submission. Akam powers out of Johnny's crossface though and slams Gargano onto Tommaso to break the other hold. That's a really effective spot as the champs took their best shot and couldn't stop the raw power. They slug it out from their knees but the double strike is countered into the Authors' double powerbomb. The Last Chapter on Ciampa give us new champions at 14:27.

    We look at Drew McIntyre winning the NXT Title at Takeover: Brooklyn. Again it’s just a few minutes of highlights from a long match. Post match, the yet to be named Undisputed Era ran in and attacked McIntyre.

    Video on the Undisputed Era, focusing on Adam Cole.

    We look at the Undisputed Era stealing the Tag Team Titles two weeks ago.

    Here are some of the tag teams to watch in 2018: the Undisputed Era, the Street Profits, Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss, Heavy Machinery and TM61 (returning from injury in two weeks).

    Video on Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream. I underrated the heck out of that match.

    From Takeover: WarGames.

    Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream

    Black does his still awesome rising up entrance. Dream debuts some custom made tights with himself on one leg and Black on the other ala Rick Rude back in the day. The fans are rather pleased with Dream, even as he slaps Black in the face. They hit the mat to start with Black working on an armbar before grabbing something like an Octopus hold. Dream slips out and actually tries to turn it into a striking match, earning himself a trip to the floor.

    That allows Black to backflip into his sitting pose, right in front of Dream. A hip swivel doesn’t seem to get on Black’s nerves, but he does look away a bit. Dream sits down as well as the fans chant SAY HIS NAME. Black crawls forward like Dream did a few weeks back, freaking Dream out for a change. Dream actually snaps his throat across the ropes to send Black outside, meaning it’s time for more posing.

    Back in and Dream gets two off a good looking superkick before we hit a reverse chinlock (Dream: “SAY IT! SAY IT!”). Black gets tied up in the ropes as the fans really want him to say it. Dream slaps him though and that’s just not a good idea. Black speeds things up with some strikes and a springboard moonsault press for two (SWEET, according to the annoying fans).

    A quick Death Valley Driver gives Dream two so he tries a super version, only to get kicked down. Black knees him in the face for a close two, only to get caught in a Sister Abigail into a DDT for a delayed two. The Purple Rainmaker lands on a raised boot though, sending Dream into the ropes. Black kicks him in the face but walks into a superkick. That’s enough for Black though and it’s Black Mass for the pin at 14:41.

    Post match Black takes the mic and says “enjoy infamy….Velveteen Dream.” I’m not sure what to make of that. Sign of respect maybe?

    Video on the build to Andrade Cien Almas vs. Drew McIntyre.

    From November 17, the night before Takeover: WarGames.

    NXT Title: Drew McIntyre vs. Adam Cole
    Date: November 17, 2017
    Location: Aztec Theater, San Antonio, Texas
    Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, Nigel McGuinness

    Drew is defending, Cole has Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly with him and Shawn Michaels is guest referee. McIntyre takes him down with almost no effort and Cole seems to need a fresh plan. Cole gets tossed off a headlock and bails to the floor as the stalling begins. Back in and a jawbreaker staggers Drew, allowing Fish to grab his foot. Fish and O’Reilly get on the apron so Shawn ejects them both.

    That earns a SWEET CHIN MUSIC chant as reality sets in for Cole. One heck of a backdrop puts Cole down (well up and then down) and a poke to the eye has no effect on Drew. Shawn calls Drew off of Cole in the corner and McIntyre isn’t exactly happy. Cole takes the knee out though and it’s time for a break. Back with Cole getting powerbombed down and a super Celtic Cross getting two.

    Cole is right back by kicking the knee out and hitting a Shining Wizard for two of his own. Sweet Chin Music (well you knew that was coming) is loaded up but Drew drops Cole with the Futureshock. Back up and Cole superkicks Shawn by mistake, meaning the Claymore gets a very delayed two. Cue Fish and O’Reilly to stomp Drew down for a bit but the comeback bumps Shawn again. Shawn is up fast enough to superkick O’Reilly and it’s a swinging Futureshock (cool) into the Claymore to retain the title at 15:12.

    Quick look at Almas winning the title the next night, during which Drew suffered a bad arm injury.

    Almas is ready to face Johnny Gargano, who he insulted after Gargano won the title shot last week.

    We look back at Asuka’s NXT career from her debut to vacating the title.

    Package on the women’s division, including looks at the Iconic Duo, Lacey Evans, Kairi Sane, Bianca Belair, Vanessa Bourne, Shayna Baszler and Nikki Cross.

    Last week, Sane made it clear that she wants the title but got choked out by Baszler.

    Baszler debuts next week.

    Video on WarGames, which really was the carnage that it should have been. I know it wasn’t quite the match that a lot of people were expecting but it was still a heck of a performance with some rather memorable spots. Let the WWE have its own version rather than a watered down version of the WCW style, which wouldn’t work today anyway.

    We look back at the injured Tommaso Ciampa explaining why he turned on Gargano at Takeover: Chicago. DIY was supposed to have a moment but Ciampa hurt his knee during a match. Fans started talking about Johnny wrestling on his own and that’s not what Ciampa wanted, hence the betrayal. However, during the ladder match, Ciampa tore his ACL in the match and would be out for the rest of the year.

    Video on last week’s fatal four way with Gargano becoming #1 contender, earning a shot at Takeover: Philadelphia.

    Also set for Philadelphia: Adam Cole vs. Aleister Black. I’m not sure Black wins that one and that makes things more interesting.

    Gargano talks about his rough 2017, which started at such a high but then came crashing down around him, including the DIY split and all the losses that followed. He always knew he could do it though and 2018 is going to be the best year of his life.

    Here are the categories for NXT’s End of the Year Awards

    Takeover of the Year
    Match of the Year
    Tag Team of the Year
    Breakout Star of the Year
    Male Competitor of the Year
    Female Competitor of the Year
    Future Star of NXT
    Rivalry of the Year
    Overall Competitor of the Year

    We get a long profile on Ember Moon, which started with her growing up in Texas watching wrestling with her grandfather. She went to train with Booker T. but got shot down in her first WWE tryout. WWE told her she didn’t have the Diva look (read as: she’s not a blonde model more than likely) but Norman Smiley say something in her. She stuck with Booker’s Reality of Wrestling promotion and developed a following, eventually earning herself a job after a second tryout.

    Moon debuted with her crazy entrance and the Eclipse and was off to the races. Eventually she lost to Asuka though and it crippled some of her confidence, only to win the vacant title a few months later. Moon talks about knowing she can do it and being ready for anything to end the show. I remember watching an episode of the Reality of Wrestling show and thinking she was the standout star of the show. It turned out that she had already been signed by the time I saw it so maybe I have an eye for talent.

    Drew McIntyre b. Adam Cole – Claymore


    Impact Wrestling
    Date: January 4, 2018
    Location: Aberdeen Pavilion, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Commentators: Jeremy Borash, Josh Matthews

    We’re back to the regular shows after two weeks of Best of 2017 episodes drew higher audiences than the standard ones. This is a big week as well with multiple title matches, including Eli Drake defending the World Title against Alberto El Patron in a match which might be taped from a WrestlePro event. Let’s get to it.

    Dan Lambert tells the American Top Team guys that he has this tonight.

    We preview tonight’s big tag match and four title matches. This is a stacked show but it really, really needs to draw.

    Opening sequence.

    X-Division Title: Taiji Ishimori vs. Trevor Lee

    Lee is defending and has Caleb Konley in his corner. They fight over arm control to start because that’s the kind of exciting stuff this division is built on. Giving this match the level of attention it has earned, the announcers talk about every other big match taking place tonight. Ishimori dropkicks him out to the floor and moonsaults into a pose. Konley trips him up though and the champ takes over with a running kick on the apron.

    Back in and a whip into the corner gets two more as the announcers are now going with silence instead of talking about something else. Uh...improvement? Ishimori comes back with running knees in the corner and takes his shirt off. Not quite TAKING OFF HIS PANTS but close enough. A handspring into a crossbody looks to take Lee down but he flips it over into a belly to belly for a sweet counter as we take a break.

    Back with Ishimori scoring off a handspring kick to the face but missing the 450. Like a finisher is going to hit on the first attempt. Lee backslides him down but picks Ishimori up into a sitout powerbomb for two instead. Destino (Tetsuya Naito’s finisher) gives Ishimori two and the 450 is enough to get the title off of Lee at 13:16.

    Alberto and Eli are ready to fight at WrestlePro. I know they need more content but this always feels like it’s cheap.

    Dezmond Xavier wants a shot at Ishimori’s title. Makes sense after the Super X Cup and it’s better than nothing else.

    LAX isn’t happy.

    James Storm says tonight is a little different because he’s standing up for Impact Wrestling. I’m a big Storm fan but his “I’ve been here since the beginning” promo is getting old.

    Grand Championship: Ethan Carter III vs. Fallah Bahh vs. Matt Sydal

    Carter is defending and this is under the same round and scoring system as a standard one on one match. Yes they’re finding new ways to make this title stupid. Everyone brawls to start until Bahh clotheslines both of them down and slams Matt onto Eli. Bahh rolls onto both of them to break up a cover and chops the heck out of Carter in the corner. Carter gets run over again but he rolls away before a Banzai Drop. The first round ends and of course goes to Bahh.

    Round two starts after a break with Bahh getting double teamed and knocked out to the floor. Sydal kicks Carter down for two but Eli gorilla presses him onto Bahh. Josh thinks Carter should try to win the match. Keep it up Josh and you’ll get up to Byron Saxton territory in no time. Carter throws Drake into the corner to end the round.

    As you might expect, Carter wins the second round but Bahh runs them both over to start round three. Bahh sits on Carter’s chest for two with Sydal having to make a save. The TK3 plants Sydal and Carter breaks up another Bonzai Drop attempt. Bahh is back up and slows down the shooting star press, which Sydal hits just as time expires at 9:00. Carter wins round three and retains the title.

    Video on Johnny Impact. He really needs a fresh feud after all this stuff with Alberto, who hasn’t done much for Johnny’s status around here.

    KM arrived and jumped Moose. Somehow, this has been quite the upgrade for him as of late.

    Allie can’t believe she’s here but Gail Kim (take a freaking shot) told her she’d be here. Crazy Laurel Van Ness attacks her from behind.

    Dan Lambert vs. James Storm

    Loser leaves town and no holds barred. Lambert talks a lot of trash and here are the American Top Team guys for the beatdown. Lashley’s spinebuster gets two but Storm manages to Last Call everyone down. He hadn’t taken much damage but sweet goodness that’s quite the comeback. KM comes in with a beer bottle to Storm’s head for two. Lashley holds Lambert back, allowing a double beer bottle shot to put Storm away at 3:36.

    Post break, Storm gets an ovation from the locker room. Storm calls his family to say he’s coming home and you can barely hear him over the LAX chants while the other match is being taped at the same time. So he gets squashed and beaten down by non-wrestlers and then you can’t even hear his goodbye speech. As mentioned: such is life in Impact.

    Video on the debut of Joseph Park, who started off looking for his brother Abyss. I was actually surprised that he was Abyss as I never would have recognized him. The fact that he looks like Penn Jillette made things more complicated.

    We see the last few minutes of Joseph Park vs. Bully Ray from Slammiversary 2012.

    Chandler Park vs. Jon Bolen

    Park is indy mainstay Ethan Page. Bolen drops Park to start and runs him over with a shoulder for two. Josh plugs the upcoming Orlando tapings which will feature a miniature golf tournament. Well it’s better than a match from 2012. Joseph manages to get some cheers going and Bolen misses a charge in the corner. Chandler celebrates a bit too long though and gets the ropes kicked between his legs. For some reason Jon decides to insult Joseph’s Grandma Jenny and gets knocked into a rollup for the pin at 2:39. Park has a good look but this slip on a banana peel winning isn’t going to work for very long.

    So to recap: they aired a video package which showed that they’re basically repeating the same idea with one of the participants being the same just five years later. Am I missing something here?

    Sydal wants Carter one on one and says tonight’s defeat felt like a victory. He has a radical idea: a REGULAR MATCH for the title. I could certainly go for that idea, which is why I think they’ll manage to botch the thing.

    Video on Alberto vs. Eli. Alberto is still mad about being abandoned by the company and makes threats in Spanish. Drake is a paper champion of course but says that the only paper involved with his title is all the paper money he makes. As usual, Eli is the best promo in this company.

    From Rahway, New Jersey this past Saturday at a WrestlePro event.

    Impact Wrestling World Title: Eli Drake vs. Alberto El Patron

    Eli is defending and it’s a brawl before the bell. Jeremy tries to explain the low attendance on the horrible snowstorm over the weekend, even though this was taped nearly a month ago. Alberto gets an early two off a dropkick to the back and sends him into the barricade a few times. Drake is rammed into the buckles over and over but we’re clipped (on a match with a MATCH FROM NEARLY SIX YEARS AGO) to Drake choking on the ramp.

    They take turns sending each other into the barricade with Drake getting the better of it for two inside. We hit the chinlock for a bit until Alberto gets the cross armbreaker over the ropes. Clipped again to the Gravy Train giving Drake two. Drake misses a belt shot and gets faceplanted onto the title for two more. The ref gets bumped though and a belt shot retains the title at 6:19.

    Here’s a clip from a Team Canada match in case you had gotten enough of this modern stuff.
    Drake brags about his win and says the belt shot was a receipt for the DDT onto the title belt a few weeks back.

    Tag Team Titles: LAX vs. OVE

    OVE is defending and this is titles vs. careers. The champs jump LAX during the entrances and the weapons beatdown is on. If this is anything goes, there was no announcement saying such in the arena. The lights finally come up and we get an opening bell with Santana getting superkicked down for two.

    We settle down to Dave choking Santana in the corner before it’s off to Jake to choke on the ropes. Santana fights back up but has no partner, meaning Jake can kick him back down for two. The stomping and choking based offense continues with Santana’s right hands having little effect as we take a break. Back with Santana still on his own but managing a cutter on Dave. Ortiz finally manages to get back to the ring, only to be knocked down to the floor again.

    Santana has to slap his way to freedom as Ortiz is up on the apron. A DDT finally gets Santana over to the corner for the hot tag so Ortiz can Death Valley Drive Jake into Dave in the corner. Ortiz heads up top for a superplex but Dave reverses it into the Street Sweeper (stealing the finisher) for two more. Santana breaks up the All Seeing Eye and looks for something off the top onto Dave, only to dive into a cutter from Jake in a sweet looking visual. Jake and Ortiz are left to slug it out with Ortiz getting the better of it, setting up the Street Sweeper for the pin and the titles at 14:42.

    Taiji Ishimori b. Trevor Lee – 450 splash
    Ethan Carter III b. Matt Sydal and Fallah Bahh via judges’ decision
    Dan Lambert b. James Storm – Double beer bottle to the head
    Chandler Park b. Jon Bolen – Rollup
    Eli Drake b. Alberto El Patron – Title shot to the head
    LAX b. OVE – Street Sweeper to Jake







    Quick Results

    Monday Night Raw
    Jason Jordan b. Cesaro – Wheelbarrow neckbreaker
    Bray Wyatt b. Apollo Crews – Sister Abigail
    Asuka b. Alexa Bliss – Cross armbreaker
    Braun Strowman b. Rhyno – Running powerslam
    Roman Reigns b. Samoa Joe – Spear
    Cedric Alexander/Goldust b. Drew Gulak/Ariya Daivari – Lumbar Check to Gulak
    Finn Balor/Anderson and Gallows b. Elias/Miztourage – Coup de Grace to Dallas

    Usos b. Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin – Superfly Splash to Benjamin
    Xavier Woods b. Aiden English – Top rope elbow
    Riott Squad b. Natalya/Carmella/Tamina – Cartwheel knee to Tamina’s head
    Sami Zayn b. AJ Styles – Helluva Kick

    Drew McIntyre b. Adam Cole – Claymore

    Impact Wrestling
    Taiji Ishimori b. Trevor Lee – 450 splash
    Ethan Carter III b. Matt Sydal and Fallah Bahh via judges’ decision
    Dan Lambert b. James Storm – Double beer bottle to the head
    Chandler Park b. Jon Bolen – Rollup
    Eli Drake b. Alberto El Patron – Title shot to the head
    LAX b. OVE – Street Sweeper to Jake

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