Royal Rumble 2019 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Asuka defeats Becky Lynch to retain the Smackdown Women’s Title @17:08 ****1/4
  • Shane Mcmahon and The Miz defeat The Bar to win the Smackdown Tag Titles @13:17 ***1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Sasha Banks to retain the Raw Women’s Title @13:47 ***1/2
  • Becky Lynch wins the Women’s Royal Rumble @71:05 ****
  • Daniel Bryan defeats AJ Styles to retain the WWE Title @24:31 **3/4
  • Brock Lesnar defeats Finn Balor to retain the Universal Title @8:39 ****3/4
  • Seth Rollins wins the Men’s Royal Rumble @57:39 **1/2

Becky Lynch vs. Asuka(c) for the Smackdown Women’s Title:

  • Big fight feels.
  • Asuka asserts dominance early on and taunts but Lynch fights back and strings together some offense starting the momentum. 
  • Hip attack by Asuka sends Lynch off the apron to the floor, Asuka misses a kick off the apron and Lynch fires back with a running big boot on the apron. 
  • Asuka sends Lynch shoulder-first into the ring LED board but Lynch recovers and hits an exploder suplex into the barricade. In-ring near fall for Becky. 
  • Becky begins to dominate the match a bit and starts working the arm setting up the Disarm-Her.
  • Lynch dodges a Hip Attack sending Asuka into the ropes, Lynch capitalizes by attacking but Asuka grabs Lynch in a sleeper around the ropes. 
  • Disarm-Her by Lynch in-between the Turnbuckles in the corner but has to release it. Asuka catches Lynch in mid-air with a buzzsaw kick.
  • German Suplex followed by a Hip Attack by Asuka for a near fall.
  • Asuka misses a missile dropkick, Uranage by Lynch gets a close near fall. 
  • Asuka locks in a Cross Armbreaker, Lynch tries to pin out of it but Asuka transitions into an Asuke Lock but Lynch rolls to the ropes. 
  • Asuka attempts to German Suplex Lynch off the apron to the floor but Becky breaks free, Lynch goes for an exploder suplex but fails, Asuka hits a great Swinging Neckbreaker off the apron to the floor. Lynch gets back in at 9. Asuka capitalizes with a shining wizard kick for a great near fall. 
  • Strikefest, Asuka catches Lynch with a roundhouse for a near fall. 
  • Super Exploder suplex by Lynch for a great near fall. 
  • Diving Leg Drop by Lynch misses, Asuka locks in an Asuka Lock but Asuka transitions into a Disarmher but Lynch transitions into an Asuka lock, amazing sequence. 
  • Disarm-Her locked in by Lynch, Asuka rolls up Becky to escape. 
  • Takedown into the Asuka Lock, Asuka locks in an inverted version of it to tap out Becky. 

Winner: Asuka Retains @17:08!

Rating: ****1/4, A match that impressed the hell out of me. These women pulled out some amazing spots and great in-ring work and delivered another revelation in Women’s Wrestling. WWE has got one thing consistently right in the last year and that’s Women’s Wrestling and in my opinion, this is one of the top examples of why they’ve done it right. Asuka kicked ass and hit hard with intensity and Lynch is one of the best wrestlers going right now so they clicked really well and made something that will be hard to forget. A prime example of how far Women’s Wrestling has come. 

The Miz and Shane Mcmahon vs. The Bar(c) for the Smackdown Tag Titles:

  • Shane and Sheamus start the match, Shane starts fired up. 
  • The Bar clear off an announce table and try to bomb Miz through it but Shane comes to the save. Mcmahon puts Cesaro on the announce table Sheamus saves Cesaro from the bump but Shane dives with an elbow taking out Sheamus ringside. Cesaro takes out Shane.
  • The Bar isolates The Miz in-ring with Shane outside. 
  • Hot tag by Shane, float over DDT to Sheamus gets a near fall. 
  • Coast to Coast by Shane attempted but Cesaro catches him mid-air and gets the Cesaro Swing in for a while but Mcmahon locks in a Triangle once it’s over. Flying knee drop by Sheamus to escape the hold. 
  • Double Team White Noise by The Bar for a near fall on Shane. 
  • Brogue Kick by Sheamus, Miz shoves Shane out of the way. Shane hits a Great Shooting Star Press to close the match. 

Winner: Shane Mcmahon and The Miz New Champions @13:17!

Rating: ***1/4, The Shane spots were in full effect here with an insane shooting star press and he took a lot of offense and well too. The Miz wasn’t a huge part of the match and neither was Sheamus but the match was a very solid spot fest with distinct characters and some surprisingly solid in-ring work. 

Sasha Banks vs. Ronda Rousey(c) for the Raw Women’s Title:

  • Rousey says “you say I can’t wrestle, I’ll show you how to wrestle” and hits the Tres Amigos suplexes taunting Banks and her idol Eddie Guerrero. 
  • Rousey punches Banks against the post but Banks dodges and Rousey collides with the LED post. Suicide Dive by Banks. 
  • A little bit of a halt in pace as Banks shows a little bit of dominance. 
  • Rousey rolls Banks into a Piper’s Pit attempt but Banks rolls through and torques the arm of Rousey in a Rings of Saturn hold targeting the arm that hit the LED post, Banks transitions into the Banks Statement, Banks rolls away from the ropes but Rousey escapes. 
  • Piper’s Pit hits by Rousey allowing her to heal the arm. 
  • Bodyscissors Hold over the top rope by Rousey but she has to release. 
  • Superplex by Banks for a good near fall, after the kickout Banks goes back to working the arm. Rousey powers into a judo throw for another near fall. 
  • Series of arm-oriented judo throws by Rousey but Banks gets Ronda ringside to allow Sasha time to heal, another suicide dive by Banks is caught. Rousey locks in a Cross Armbreaker ringside Banks taps but it doesn’t count. 
  • Strikefest but Rousey takes control, Rousey hits a flying knee for a near fall. 
  • Piper’s Pit by Rousey reversed mid-air by Banks as she comes down on Ronda for a near fall. Banks locks in the Banks Statement and uses her gear to torque the hold but doesn’t quite get it in. Near fall roll up by Banks into a Fujiwara Armbar Rousey rolls through and hits a Gutwrench Powerslam and follows it up with Piper’s Pit to close the match.

Winner: Ronda Rousey Retains @13:47!

Rating: ***1/2, A really solid hard-hitting women’s match with some great working of the arm and two wrestlers at the top of their game. The match was worked at a good pace and was a smart match wrestling logic-wise. The match didn’t kick into top gear but delivered another great example of how good Women’s Wrestling has become.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match:

  • Lacey Evans at #1.
  • Evans cuts a promo, Natalya at #2. 
  • Mandy Rose at #3. 
  • Double Sharpshooter by Natalya on Evans and Rose. 
  • Liv Morgan at #4.
  • Liv Morgan is eliminated immediately after 8 seconds by Natalya.
  • Mickie James at #5.
  • Ember Moon at #6.
  • Billie Kay at #7. She doesn’t enter because she wants to wait for Peyton Royce. 
  • Nikki Cross at #8. Cross takes out Kay. And dives out taking everyone out in the ring with a crossbody.
  • Peyton Royce at #9.
  • Tamina Snuka at #10.
  • Mickie James eliminated by Tamina Snuka.
  • Xia Li at #11 from the Mae Young Classic. 
  • Sarah Logan at #12.
  • Logan strikes Ember Moon almost out of the ring but Moon hangs on by her boots. 
  • Nikki Cross eliminated by Peyton Royce. 
  • Charlotte at #13.
  • Xia Li eliminated by Charlotte. 
  • Kairi Sane at #14.
  • Tamina Snuka eliminated by Charlotte (2)
  • Kairi and Charlotte face-off which is surreal because both are amazing. 
  • Sarah Logan in eliminated by Natalya (2) and Kairi Sane. 
  • Maria Kanellis at #15. 
  • Naomi at #16.
  • Naomi and Mandy Rose go after each other igniting the feud from SD Live over Jimmy Uso, Mandy Rose is eliminated by Naomi. Rose gets Naomi out but Naomi handstands onto the barricade and walks on it and jumps to the steel steps to get back in but Rose eliminates her anyway. 
  • Lacey Evans eliminated by Charlotte (3). 
  • Candice LeRae at #17.
  • Alicia Fox at #18.
  • Maria Kanellis and Alicia Fox have a horrible feud moment that kills the match’s momentum. 
  • Maria Kanellis eliminated by Alicia Fox. 
  • Kacy Catanzaro #19. 
  • Zelina Vega at #20.
  • Vega and LeRae face-off calling back the Gargano Almas feud in January last year. 
  • Ruby Riott at #21.The rest of Riott Squad comes back down with her. 
  • Riott squad pulls Charlotte under the bottom rope and triple team attacks her. The Squad also pull a couple others out but Vega goes under the ring.
  • Alicia Fox is eliminated by Ruby Riott. 
  • Candice LeRae is eliminated by Ruby Riott (2).
  • Dana Brooke at #22.
  • Kairi Sane eliminated by Ruby Riott (3).
  • Io Shirai at #23. 
  • Shirai takes out the Riott Squad saving Sane and hits a great diving moonsault off the top to outside. 
  • Rhea Ripley at #24.
  • Kacy Catanzaro eliminated by Dana Brooke, nevermind Kacy gets a handstand in and clings to the ring post to climb back in, impressive. Kacy gets eliminated by Rhea Ripley instead. 
  • Sonya Deville at #15.
  • Dana Brooke eliminated by Rhea Ripley(2).
  • Hornswoggle comes back and gets Zelina Vega out from under the ring, Zelina Vega is eliminated by Rhea Ripley (3).
  • Alexa Bliss at #26, return from injury.
  • Sonya Deville eliminated by Alexa Bliss. 
  • Bayley at #27.
  • Ruby Riott eliminated by Bayley, Rhea Ripley eliminated by Bayley (2).
  • Lana at #28. She looks injured after the bump she took on the Pre-Show for the Rusev Nakamura match. 
  • Nia Jax at #29. Jax attacks Lana on her way down.
  • Io Shirai eliminated by Nia Jax.
  • Natalya eliminated by Nia Jax(2) after being in the match for 55 minutes.
  • Carmella at #30.
  • Becky Lynch comes down and enters the match for the injured Lana. 
  • Becky Lynch and Nia Jax stare-down for the first time since the facebreak incident. 
  • Bliss and Moon fight on the apron, Ember Moon eliminated by Alexa Bliss(2)
  • Alexa Bliss is eliminated by Carmella and Bayley(3)
  • Carmella is eliminated by Charlotte(4). 
  • Bayley is eliminated by Jax(3) and Charlotte(5).
  • Final 3 are Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Nia Jax. 
  • Nia Jax is eliminated by Becky Lynch. Lynch and Charlotte are the only ones left. Nia Jax shoves Lynch off the steps to a hard landing on her knee. Lynch fights back and gets in the ring.
  • Great ending sequence between Charlotte and Lynch with Becky being an amazing underdog and winning the match. 

Winner: Becky Lynch @71:05!

Most Eliminations: Charlotte with 5. 

Iron Man: Natalya staying in for 55 minutes

Rating: ****, It is really hard to rate Royal Rumble matches but this one was top-tier. For starters, it focused on NXT workers like Candice, Kairi, and Io instead of washed up legends like last year’s women’s rumble. It had some great drama and an amazing ending sequence with Becky Lynch winning is one of the best moments in Rumble history with a crazy pop for Lynch and her overcoming the knee injury. The match started slow but kept it interesting and is one of my favorite rumbles I’ve watched. 

Daniel Bryan(c) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Title:

  • Great feud heading up to this match. 
  • Slow paced start. 
  • Bryan sends Styles over the corner into the post and crashing to ringside. Bryan sends Styles shoulder-first into the post from ringside. 
  • Bryan begins to dominate as he works the arm of Styles. 
  • Butterfly Suplex into an armbar by Bryan but Styles keeps his grip locked and rolls to the ropes. 
  • Strikes by Bryan bust open the nose of Styles. 
  • Roll up battle of near falls for both men, Styles gets Bryan downed with a Dragon Screw as Styles begins to work the leg. 
  • Dragon Suplex by Bryan for a near fall. 
  • Great Moonsault DDT off the barricade by Styles ringside. 
  • Springboard 450 by Styles but Bryan gets up the knees and goes for the LaBell Lock and locks it in, Styles rolls it up for a near fall. AJ locks in the Calf Crusher but Daniel grabs the ropes. 
  • Calf Crusher attempt by Styles but Bryan rolls through and hits him with a snap kick for a near fall.
  • The pace has been incredibly slow for 15 minutes. 
  • Head Stomps by Bryan but the leg is tweaked from it, Bryan goes to the top rope but Styles meets him up there, Bryan maintains control and hits a super Saito Suplex but Styles rolls through. They get back up and Styles hits a Calf Crusher Driver for a near fall but then locks in the Calf Crusher, near fall rollup by Styles but Bryan escapes off the kickout. 
  • Good Snap Brainbuster by Styles for a near fall.
  • Bryan kicks out the arm of Styles off the springboard, Styles uses one arm to springboard but Bryan kicks Styles out of mid-air. AJ fights back and hits a Pele kick knocking both out. 
  • Erik Rowan comes down and stands at ringside, okay??
  • Bryan hits the referee accidentally with an enzugiri, Styles hits a Styles Clash and Rowan comes in and hits Styles with a chokeslam Bryan covers Styles for the win.

Winner: Daniel Bryan Retains @24:31!

Rating: **3/4 This was a good technical match that didn’t really fit the parameters of a WWE stadium show. The match was getting really good even though it was most definitely a slow-paced match that took the casual fan out of it. The technical work form both men was good and the logic was solid but it missed any kind of gear and the Rowan ending was a bit cheap. Wasn’t horrible just wasn’t anything all that good either.

Finn Balor vs. Brock Lesnar(c) for the Universal Title:

  • Immediate shotgun dropkick by Balor as he starts offense fast. 
  • Slingblade by Balor caught into a Belly to Belly by Lesnar.
  • Belly to Belly suplex ringside by Lesnar. 
  • Powerslam attempt by Lesnar through the announce table, Balor sends Lesnar into the corner of the announce table twice and smashes his face against it but Lesnar levels Balor and sends him back in-ring, 
  • Another Belly to Belly suplex by Lesnar sends Balor across the ring. The 4th Belly to Belly by Lesnar does the same thing. 
  • Slingblade by Balor hits, shotgun dropkick attempt runs into a stiff lariat by Lesnar. 
  • Lesnar still is selling the announce table spot. 
  • F5 by Lesnar countered into a DDT by Balor for a great near fall. 
  • Tope Con Hiro by Balor takes out Balor ringside, Balor hits a second Tope Con Hiro and a third one to follow. 
  • Coup De Grace hits by Balor amazing near fall. Kimura Lock by Lesnar is locked in and taps out Balor. 

Winner: Brock Lesnar Retains @8:39!

Rating: ****3/4, The pure investment in this match was crazy. Lesnar sells his matches like nobody else on the wrestling planet right now and Balor was the perfect opponent. I like this match better than Lesnar vs. Styles and Lesnar vs Bryan. Finn Balor wrestled with intensity and the pace was incredible. What an incredible sprint with so much emotional investment making it seem like Balor was going to win but having the hope crushed out of you with the Kimura Lock. Both men sold the match like a million bucks and I have no idea how they could’ve done what they did any better. My Match of the Weekend for sure sorry Gargano vs. Ricochet. 

Men’s Royal Rumble:

  • Elias at #1.
  • Jeff Jarret at #2 interrupting fellow fake musician Elias. Elias and Jarrett promo with each other until Elias attacks Jarrett. 
  • Elias breaks his guitar over the back of Jarrett and eliminates him. 
  • Shinsuke Nakamura at #3.
  • Kurt Angle at #4.
  • Suplex Series by Angle takes out Elias and Nakamura. 
  • Big E at #5.
  • Kurt Angle eliminated by Shinsuke Nakamura. 
  • Johnny Gargano at #6.
  • Jinder Mahal at #7.
  • Jinder Mahal eliminated by Johnny Gargano. 
  • Samoa Joe at #8.
  • Big E eliminated by Samoa Joe.
  • Curt Hawkins at #9.
  • Curt Hawkins goes under the ring, Vega and Hornswoggle style.
  • Seth Rollins at #10.
  • Elias is eliminated by Seth Rollins. 
  • Titus O’Neil at #11.
  • Titus calls back the slide to get Hawkins from under the ring.
  • Titus O’Neil eliminated by Curt Hawkins, Curt Hawkins by Samoa Joe(2).
  • Kofi Kingston at #12.
  • Mustafa Ali at #13.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura eliminated by Mustafa Ali. 
  • Dean Ambrose at #14. Rollins and Ambrose go at it.
  • Ambrose kicks Kofi to ringside but Kofi twists his body around the apron to get back in the match and on the steps. 
  • Johnny Gargano eliminated by Dean Ambrose. 
  • No Way Jose at #15.
  • No Way Jose eliminated by Samoa Joe(3) immediately.
  • Drew Mcintyre at #16.
  • Xavier Woods at #17.
  • Woods inverted piggybacks Kofi back to the ring steps to avoid elimination. 
  • New Day eliminated by Drew Mcintyre(2).
  • Pete Dunne at #18. He comes in with intensity. 
  • Andrade Almas at #19.
  • Apollo Crews at #20.
  • Aleister Black at #21.
  • Dean Ambrose is eliminated by Aleister Black. 
  • Shelton Benjamin at #22. 
  • Samoa Joe eliminated by Mustafa Ali(2) calling back their feud. 
  • Baron Corbin at #23.
  • Apollo Crews eliminated by Baron Corbin.
  • Jeff Hardy at #24.
  • Aleister Black eliminated by Baron Corbin(2), big boos 
  • Pete Dunne eliminated by Drew Mcintyre (3).
  • Rey Mysterio at #25.
  • Bobby Lashley at #26.
  • Bobby Lashley eliminated by Seth Rollins, Lashley attacks Rollins and chokeslams him through the announce table.
  • Braun Strowman at #27.
  • Baron Corbin eliminated by Braun Strowman.
  • Shelton Benjamin eliminated by Braun Strowman(2).
  • Dolph Ziggler at #28. 
  • Jeff Hardy eliminated by Drew Mcintyre (4).
  • Drew Mcintyre eliminated by Dolph Ziggler. 
  • Randy Orton at #29.
  • Amazing Super Chain Bomb led by Braun with Mustafa, Almas, and Mysterio on top. 
  • R-Truth at #30. Nia Jax attacks R-Truth and joins the Rumble. 
  • Mustafa Ali eliminated by Nia Jax. 
  • Nia Jax eliminated by Mysterio, Mysterio eliminated by Orton, Orton eliminated by Almas. 
  • Ziggler, Almas, and Rollins work together to take out Strowman.
  • Andrade Almas eliminated by Braun Strowman. 
  • Dolph Ziggler eliminated by Braun Strowman. 
  • Curb Stomp on the apron by Rollins eliminates Strowman and wins the Rumble. 

Winner: Seth Rollins @57:34!

Rating: **1/2, This Rumble was less inventive than the women’s one, had less great moments than last years and included Nia Jax who may be the worst wrestler in WWE. It lacked any interesting spots and high-intensity drama and the closing sequence was one of the worst in recent Rumbles but Rollins won and I guess that’s what matters and Gargano, Dunne, and Black had amazing showings. 

Grade: A

Last Word: This is one of WWE’s best PPV’s in a very long time. It included a career-making night for the greatest women’s wrestler in history Becky Lynch, an amazing women’s royal rumble, an amazing match between Balor and Lesnar, a Rollins Royal Rumble win, and the quality was very consistent. Even sleeper matches like the Men’s Royal Rumble and Bryan vs. Styles had interesting things happen that made it worthwhile. One of the first weekends ever that a WWE PPV was better than a Takeover and I stand by that opinion. All-around amazing show from the WWE starting their year off right. 

 

 

 

 

NXT Takeover UK Blackpool 2019 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Grizzled Young Veterans defeat Mustache Mountain to become the First NXT UK Tag Team Champions @23:47 ****3/4
  • Finn Balor defeats Jordan Devlin @11:24 ***3/4
  • Dave Mastiff defeats Eddie Dennis in a No DQ Match @10:49 ****1/4
  • Toni Storm defeats Rhea Ripley to win the NXT UK Women’s Title @14:49 ***1/4

 

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Moustache Mountian vs. Grizzled Young Vets to Crown the First NXT UK Tag Team Champions:

  • Moustache Mountian waring tribute attire to the British Bulldogs. 
  • Really beautiful belts are unveiled. 
  • Tyler Bate and Zack Gibson start the match. 
  • “Shoes off if you hate Gibson” chants happens and delivers another reason why the UK crowd is the best regardless of in Progress or here. 
  • Great chain wrestling from Tyler Bate and Zack Gibson, Gibson tags in Drake but Bate escapes isolation. 
  • Trent Seven tags in and him and James Drake standoff.
  • Tyler Bate flips over Seven to senton onto Drake, Bate gains some momentum but Gibson pulls Drake to ringside to half the momentum. 
  • High Cross Body by Seven gets a pop because of the history of that move in Progress retiring Doug Williams, hits on Gibson for the first near fall.
  • Great low suicide dive by Seven takes out Drake ringside. Trent seems to have tweaked his elbow, Seven chases Drake but Gibson catches him with a lariat knocking Seven down.
  • Grizzled Young Vets isolate Seven and hit him with a diving sidewalk elbow ringside, Gibson rolls Seven back in and continues to isolate Seven with Drake. Drake caught Seven with a stiff discus elbow that busts him open hard way. Tyler Bate begins to look worried on the apron. Draka and Seven strikefest ringside and Seven tries to go for the tag to Bate again but Drake pulls him in with a heel hook. Seven flies over Gibson to tag in Bate. 
  • Amazing hot tag by Tyler Bate with the crowd excited as hell. 
  • Airplane Spin by Bate to Drake into an insane double airplane spin with Drake and Gibson on his shoulders. The crowd keeps the amazing intensity. 
  • Exploder Suplex by Bate off the apron to Drake sending him into Gibson ringside, Bate hits a Standing Shooting Star off the apron to the Vets and pulls in Gibson to attempt the Tyler Driver 97 but fails. 
  • Running Powerslam/Flying Headbutt combo by MM pays homage to the British Bulldogs for a great near fall. 
  • Bate dives out to Drake ringside, Seven hits a Buring Hammer to Gibson for a great near fall save by Drake. 
  • RollUp Batte between Bate and Drake gets a really near fall on Tyler. 
  • Gibson catches Tyler Bate off the rebound lariat with a Ticket to Ride codebreaker, Helter Skelter/450 Splash combo for the Vets hits and they get a great near fall with an insane crowd pop. 
  • Shankly Gates by Gibson locked in on Seven and the tweaked elbow, Drake stops Bate from getting to the save by locking in a Shankly Gates of his own on Tyler. Bate deadlifts up Drake and Death Valley Drivers him into Gibson to end the great double submission sequence. 
  • Rebound Lariat/German Suplex combo by MM on Drake for a crazy good near fall.
  • “Fight Forever” Chants. 
  • Doomsday Suicide Dive by GYV is one of the best dive spots I’ve ever seen. Trent Seven goes for a suicide dive but Drake catches him with a dropkick. 
  • Ticket to Mayhem in-ring by GYV to Seven closes the match. 

Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans First Champions @23:47!

Rating: ****3/4, Peak Tag Team work from some of the best in the game right now. The match built around a great layout on the isolation of Seven building the match up until the insane hot tag by Bate which unglued the match as it diverged into chaos. Mustache Mountain did some of their normal spots but Bate included an insane double airplane spin and the heel work of GYV was amazing. Nothing was better than the Doomsday Suicide Dive from GYV in this match either as that’s probably my favorite spot of the year so far. 

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Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin:

  • A video was shown of a brawl earlier today in which Banks injured his knee. Devlin and Banks brawl before their match and Devlin brutally works Travis’ knee.
  • Jordan Devlin grabs a microphone and cuts a heel promo and calls himself the Greatest Irish Wrestler Alive. You know who is coming out right now. 

Jordan Devlin vs. Finn Balor:

  • Insane pop for Finn Balor like the pop of the year material type. 
  • The tension is in the air big time between the mentor and mentee showdown.
  • Devlin tries to leave but Balor brings him back and hits a running forearm ringside. 
  • Devlin kicks the ropes to low blow Balor to knock him off the apron.
  • Double Stomp by Devlin gets boos as he makes fun of Balor and does his signature taunt.
  • Dropkick by Devlin catches Balor on the top rope and Finn takes a rough tumble hitting the apron going to the outside, Balor gets back in at 9. 
  •  Stiff chops by Balor but Devlin fires back with some of his own, Devlin catches Balor with an uranage/standing moonsault combo for the first near fall. 
  • Strike sequence begins and a Pele Kick from Balor puts both down. 
  • Bloody Sunday Driver by Finn Balor for a near fall. 
  • Devlin catches Balor running with a superkick and follows it up with tight Saito Suplex for a near fall. 
  • Devlin keeps Balor down with kicks as he talks trash to Finn and the audience, great heel work. Balor gets him down and turns up the aggression with stomps in the corner. 
  • Running Penalty Kick off the apron by Balor follows by a Coup D’Grace attempt, Devlin runs into the top rope to take him down and rolls him up with his feet on the ropes for a great near fall. 
  • Diving Moonsault by Devlin but Balor gets his knees up. 
  • Balor hits a shotgun dropkick and follows it up with a successful Coup D’Grace for the win. 

Winner: Finn Balor @11:42!

Rating: ***3/4, A really good hard-hitting and high-flying encounter from two wrestlers with very similar looks and styles but the main thing separating them was Devlin’s great heel work selling the dynamic of being the disgraced mentee and Finn Balor being a great bold babyface who got insane crowd support. The match ran at a solid pace and momentarily kicked into top gear with some solid near falls and big moves but the star of the show was how big the match felt. Jordan Devlin really deserves to be the flagship of NXT UK however I feel like he will always be in the shadow of Balor which made me disappointed that he caught the loss in clean fashion in this match. 

20181231_nxttakeoveruk_blackpool_mastiffdennis-0a4aa3c18ce6ddb119627544b75559d0-e1547076531779Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis No DQ:

  • Strikefest out of the gates between the two big guys, Mastiff catches Dennis with a high crossbody. 
  • Mastiff grabs steel steps and brings them in-ring, Dennis rolls ringside and grabs a kendo stick and hits Mastiff twice. 
  • Dennis removes the ringside padding but goes back in-ring to continue clobbering Mastiff with the kendo. 
  • Mastiff catches the kendo stick and turns the tables and hits Dennis with some hard strikes with the kendo, powerbomb by Mastiff takes down Dennis.
  • Dennis catches Mastiff running and shows incredible strength lifting up Dennis and swinging him uranage-style into the steel steps, great spot. 
  • Dennis grabs a steel chair but misses the shot, Mastiff hits him with a rolling slam. Mastiff climbs to the middle rope but Dennis deadlifts him into the Crucifix Bomb and hits it for another great show of strength for a good near fall.
  • Eddie brings in a table while the crowd comes unglued for the table but Dennis can’t do anything with it.
  • Rolling Slam/Running Senton by Mastiff to Dennis on the exposed floor from earlier 
  • Insane split legged moonsault attempt for Mastiff misses. Neck Stop Driver by Dennis hits and gets an incredibly close near fall. 
  • Dennis gets Mastiff on the middle rope and goes for the Crucifix Bomb through the table in the corner but Mastiff rolls off. They club each other with lariats but Dave catches Eddie with a German Suplex.
  • Insane running cannonball by Mastiff sends Dennis through the table and closes the match. 

Winner: Dave Mastiff @10:49!

Rating: ****1/4, These two big dudes just hit each other really hard for 10 minutes. Dennis showed some incredible strength and Mastiff worked the hardcore style really well. This was a smartly worked match with some great spots like the combo onto the exposed floor by Mastiff and the Swinging Uranage by Dennis onto the steps. Big dudes clobbering the hell out of each other on a good pace is always good but throw in two guys who match their size with athleticism and some weapons for some good measure it makes a more than worthwhile 10 minutes.

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Rhea Ripley(c) vs. Toni Storm for the NXT UK Women’s Title:

  • Toni Storm’s first big match back since her photo scandal. It is great to see her shrug it off and step back into the spotlight unphased. 
  • Storm chases Ripley around the ring but eventually catches her with a suicide dive.
  • Ripley begins to dominate and keeps Storm down with stomps in the corner. Ripley gets Storm back in the middle of the ring and keeps her down with a body scissors hold, Storm hits Ripley with forearms to escape but Ripley slams Storm with a stalling Vertical Suplex for the first near fall. 2 Bodyslams by Ripley for another near fall. Ripley has been dominate for 3 minutes now but Ripley goes for the Cloverleaf and Storm kicks her off into the post. 
  • Ripley takes Storm down with a dropkick for a near fall and gets back to dominating. 2 Leg Drops consecutively by Ripley for another near fall. Headbutt by Storm catches Ripley running and both are laid out. 
  • Strikefest gets fast as both send strikes at 100 MPH but it slows down then speeds up again, German Suplex by Storm but she holds on and hits the 2nd one then holds on again but Ripley fights out of a 3rd. Storm goes for Storm Zero but fails, Ripley goes for RipTide but Storm shifts her weight to come down on Rhea for a near fall. 
  • Inverted Cloverleaf by Ripley applied on the weakened lower back on Storm, Toni fights out and applies an Ankle Lock but Ripley gets to the ropes.
  • Cannonball in the corner followed by a 3rd German Suplex into a Bridge by Storm for a near fall. 
  • Storm looks desperate as she starts to strike at Ripley but Rhea slams her down and follows it up with a RipTide for a very close near fall. 
  • Arm Control Lariats by Ripley 2 hit but Storm counters it with a headbutt and hits Storm Zero successfully for a great near fall.
  • RipTide fails as Storm flies over and hits Storm Zero to close the match. 

Winner: Toni Storm New Champion @14:49!

Rating: ***1/4, While much of the match was slow and Ripley was dominating there was a very good story in Storm beating the odds and becoming champion. Storm looked amazing for her first match back from her troubles and Ripley played a great dominant heel but Storm kept fighting with some great near falls and the speed gradually increasing over time. The match was played out really well but lacked some of the drama it could’ve had and the crowd seemed the least invested for this match of any tonight but that still means the crowd played a big role because this crowd is amazing. 

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Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey for the NXT UK Championship:

  • In my opinion, this is Dunne’s first formidable challenger in the 600 days he has held the title. He’s kind of been a flagship champion in a company that didn’t exist for a while so now that the company exists he actually has to act like a champion. 
  • Staredown as soon as the bell rings and they start the collar and elbow tie up with aggression. 
  • Coffey absorbs a forearm strike from Dunne and they go back to the stand-off, Dunne gets Coffey down and wrenches on the fingers. Very solid technical start to the match. Dunne gets in an inverted Figure 4, Coffey escapes by grabbing in a headlock and bringing Dunne to his feet. Coffey catches Dunne running and brings him back to the mat to trade submissions. Discus Lariat by Coffey sends a warning shot to Dunne but clearly misses.
  • Dunne lays out Coffey with a side lariat and gets in the Regal Stretch on Coffey but Joe grabs the ropes. 
  • Coffey pops up Dunne but Pete comes back down and tries to get in the Bodyscissors Kimura, Coffey gets Dunne into a stalling vertical suplex but Pete rolls back into the Bodyscissors Kimura, Float Over suplex by Coffey gets Dunne off finally.
  • Coffey throws Dunne to ringside and he clips his head on the apron on the way out. Dunne flips off the steps over Coffey and hits an enzugiri ringside. Pop-up Bodyslam by Coffey slams Dunne onto the ramp. Joe lets the ref count Dunne out but Pete fights to get back in. 
  • Backbreaker/Sidewalk slam combo by Coffey for the first near fall.
  • Coffey begins to dominate and locks in a bearhug but Dunne fights out and regains the match. 
  • Belly to Belly suplex by Coffey for a near fall. 
  • Great forearm by Dunne knocks Coffey into the corner, Dunne flips off the top rope over Coffey and hits an enzugiri. German Suplex by Coffey but Dunne flips off that too and hits a snap kick to a kneeling Coffey. Amazing moonsault off the corner to the outside by Dunne takes out Coffey with precision. 
  • Stiff elbow by Coffey catches Dunne back in-ring but Dunne reverses into an Explex for a near fall and both are laid out. 
  • Dunne flips over Coffey off the top rope again but Coffey fires back with a diving crossbody, Coffey hits a powerbomb for a near fall. Dunne is starting to sell a back injury. 
  • Piledriver Bend hold by Coffey which is really innovative but he transfers it into a Boston Crab wrenching the hurt back of Dunne, Joe steps on Pete’s head and he looks to be knocked out but Coffey still has the hold in Dunne wakes back up to grab the bottom rope.
  • Dunne wrenches the fingers of Coffey but he holds on as the two tradeoff headbutts until both get knocked down great strike sequence. 
  • German Suplex by Dunne but Coffey gets back up immediately, Pete catches him with a Koji Clutch, Coffey deadlifts Dunne up for a Tombstone attempt but Pete rolls through and locks in an Ankle Lock, Coffey gets back up and drops Dunne with a German Suplex. 
  • Coffey flies at Dunne for a spear but Pete knocks him with a knee strike. Diving Crossbody attempt by Coffey caught mid-air with a forearm strike. Bitter End by Pete Dunne hits for a great near fall.
  • Coffey sends Dunne into the post on the apron and hits a Powerbomb on the apron with Coffey driving himself into the apron too, crazy spot. Both get in at the ring count of like 9 3/4.
  • Coffey sends strikes to a downed Dunne but Pete grabs his arms and strikes on his head from the ground then gets him down and continues to stomp away as the crowd becomes unglued again. Pop-up uppercut by Coffey, enzugiri by Dunne, and Coffey finally hits the Discus Lariat for an amazing near fall and both stay down as the crowd gives a standing ovation. 
  • Another Discus Lariat from Coffey is caught by Dunne as he pulls him to the ground and tries to work the fingers but Dunne gets in a triangle, Coffey pulls Dunne up and to the top rope. Dunne keeps in the triangle on the top rope but Coffey lifts him up and super swinging powerbombs him. Amazing innovative spot. 
  • Both stare down from opposite corners as the crowd erupts and they strike off in the middle of the ring, they strike each other into the ropes until they’re exhausted. 
  • Pop-up German Suplex off the corner by Coffey for a great near fall. 
  • Coffey keeps striking at a downed Dunne, Coffey went for the Bitter End but Dunne reverses with a DDT. Dunne hits a Bitter End but can’t immediately capitalize as Coffey rolls away from the one-arm pin. 
  • Discus Lariat by Coffey from the apron to Dunne in-ring. They climb to the top rope but Dunne pushes Coffey to the outside. Coffey gets back up though and hits a Discus Lariat ringside. Bitter End uranage in-ring by Coffey for another great near fall. 
  • Coffey climbs to the top rope again and they pull each other both to the outside into the barricade.
  • Ducking Discus Lariat by Dunne hits and he follows it up with another Bitter End for an amazing near fall.
  • Dunne taps out Coffey with the finger wrench to end the incredible match.

Winner: Pete Dunne New Champion @34:12!

Rating: *****, Yeah okay this wasn’t a perfect match. The botch towards the end is not as close to as bad as people are saying it is. Coffey falling off the top rope is absolutely no big deal and it looked like Dunne pushed him and they shrugged it off and continued the incredible incredible match. There’s so much to talk about, this was an all-around amazing technical, striking, and high-flying match with too many amazing spots to talk about. The crowd was incredible here too adding so much intensity and urgency to the breakneck speed these guys were going. The near falls were absolutely bloody incredible and both sold the match as it was a life or death scenario. I like this better than Dunne vs. Bate from Takeover Chicago, and all Progress matches other than Walter vs. Tyler Bate that I’ve seen so far. Also, might be a bit of a stretch but I also like this better than Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi. This was a more entertaining and electrifying match than the Wrestle Kingdom main event even though that meant much more to the wrestling landscape in 2019. Incredible work and sets the tone for NXT UK to run wrestling in 2019. Progress, the ball is in your court. 

Show Grade: A-

Last Word: As an idea, I don’t love NXT UK as a promotion. WWE doesn’t need to create more content as they are right now with the Main Roster and 205 Live and NXT US they are stretching themselves too thin. Also, NXT UK kills a promotion I love in Progress, WWE takes their main wrestlers like Walter and British Strong Style and forces Progress to almost die in silence unless they can find a new wave of talent that can have banger matches and not want WWE money just yet. However, the wrestling fan in me is willing to forgive sin if it is to be for a good wrestling future. This show made me forgive NXT UK for what they have done to the UK scene and WWE itself. Starting off, the show had one of the tightest cards I’ve seen in a while with every match delivering quality which is what we’ve come to expect from a Triple H produced show. Coffey vs. Dunne is my MOTY so far, GYV vs. Mustache Mountain is one of the peak tag matches I’ve ever seen, and the rest of the card delivered fun moments like Balor’s appearance, Dennis vs. Mastiff, and Storm winning the title coming back from adversity. Truly, an incredible show for the risks it took, however, it doesn’t rank in the top Takeovers from 2018 which is just a testament to how good NXT US is. Hopefully, NXT UK doesn’t stretch NXT US too thin and suicide both companies. 

 

Progress Chapter 81: Pour Some Progress On Me Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Travis Banks defeats Ilja Dragunov @13:34 ****
  • Mark Haskins defeats Mark Andrews @10:01 ***1/4
  • Chris Ridgeway defeats Paul Robinson in a Chain Match @10:02 ***1/2
  • British Strong Style defeat Calamari Thatch Kings @24:07 ****3/4
  • Jordynne Grace defeats Toni Storm @10:03 ***1/2
  • Walter defeats Shigehiro Irie to retain the Progress World Title @13:43 ****
  • Aussie Open defeats LAX to retain the Progress Tag Team Titles @19:13 ****3/4

DtHjaEqXoA4mJDY-e1544139048362Travis Banks vs. Ilja Dragunov:

  • A match that has been long in waiting due to injuries and the feud being long and drawn out.
  • Stiff chops by Dragunov early on weaken Banks. 
  • Banks fires back with chops of his own, Travis is a great heel recently.
  • Chop/Senton combo by Ilja rocks Banks.
  • Innovative inverted rebound lariat by Dragunov sends Banks ringside, Ilja goes for a dive but Banks kicks out the leg of Dragunov. Banks sends Ilja into the ropes, Dragunov hit his throat against the ropes and smacked his back on the apron in a hard landing. Yikes.
  • Banks attacks Ilja ringside and throws him into chairs and striking him down. Travis is even wrestling like a great heel in the mannerisms of the way that he moves and keeps dominant. 
  • Banks hits forearms on Dragunov that fire him up as Dragunov sends chops the way of Banks but Travis drops him with a Vertical Suplex for a near fall. 
  • Banks wrenches in a headlock but Dragunov escapes by hitting an intense Saito Suplex. 
  • More chops by Dragunov into a huge rebound lariat that knocks Banks down for the first time in a while. Dragunov goes for a discus clothesline but Banks hits a German Suplex. Dragunov goes for a rebound lariat but hits the ropes hard again, Ilja decides to go for it again and succeeds in hitting the rebound lariat. 
  • Slingshot Double Stomp by Banks in the corner for a near fall. 
  • Great Low Suicide Dives by Banks take out Ilja ringside, Ilja comes back in and hits a suicide dive of his own. Dragunov sends Banks into a chair and hits a senton. Then Ilja hits a Saito suplex on the apron. 
  • Banks catches Ilja mid-air with a superkick and follows it up with a Kiwi Crusher for a great near fall. 
  • Strikefest begins as the two send vicious chops at each other. A double lariat rocks both down to their knees but they rise up together to continue to strike off. Banks ends the great strike sequence with a running Shinning Whizzer, Ilja stops the near fall by grabbing the hand of the ref which is really innovative.
  • Deadlift Death Valley Driver by Dragunov sends Banks into the corner. Dragunov hits a diving senton.
  • Banks distracts the referee then hits a low blow on Ilja and follows it up with a Disaster Kick for the win. 

Winner: Travis Banks @13:34!

Rating: ****, This was near a masterclass in British Wrestling. The speed and intensity were top notch making it an incredible opener. The crowd was hot for Dragunov which made it very exciting and Ilja sold the rope spot early on to perfection. This was very entertaining and Dragunov continues to show why he’s one of the best Professional Wrestlers in the world. The referee spot was trite and overdone but it protects Dragunov while allowing Banks to maintain his heat so, in the end, it was a smart choice. 

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Mark Haskins vs. Mark Andrews:

  • These 2 start the match looking very evenly matched doing some technical work.
  • Haskins takes Mandrews out with a Crossbody Suicide Dive to ringside.
  • Mark is dominating early on with constant strikes to keep Mandrews down. 
  • Crossface by Haskins is locked in, Haskins transitions into a Rings Of Saturn but Mandrews gets the ropes. 
  • Mandrews tries to strike back to get back in the match and succeeds by hitting an enzugiri that rocks Haskins. 
  • Great moonsault off the apron by Mandrews to Haskins off the floor. Mandrews hits a Tornado DDT back in-ring for the first near fall.
  • Roll through Double Stomp by Mandrews is dodges, Haskins attempts to roll into the Sharpshooter but can’t get it. Haskins rolls back through to hit the rolling Landslide for a near fall. 
  • Made in England attempt by Haskins gets caught with the Double Stomp but Mandrews misses a standing moonsault, Haskins locks in a Fujiwara armbar but Mandrews gets the ropes.
  • Haskins goes for Made in England but Mandrews turns it into a Stundog Millionaire, great counter.
  • Haskins rolls Mandrews into a brutal sharpshooter that taps him out. 

Winner: Mark Haskins @10:01!

Rating: ***1/4, This was a solid match that continues the downward spiral for Mandrews as Haskins continues to look strong. The match never kicked into top gear but had some good moments and kept a good pace. 

  • Do Not Resuscitate comes down to attack but Eddie Dennis saves Haskins and Mandrews but is still in conflict with Mark Andrews. 

Paul Robinson vs. Chris Ridgeway in a Chain Match:

  • A late addition to the card, which sucks because any card without a Paul Robinson match is instantly a better card. 
  • Ridgeway uses the chain to pull Robin towards him to hit a stiff buzzsaw kick.
  • Ridgeway uses the chain to lock Robin in a Bow and Arrow lock temporarily. 
  • Stiff stepover kick by Ridgeway sends Robin ringside but he can’t go anywhere because the chain wraps around the ropes.
  • Robin uses the chain from in-ring to pull Ridgeway into the ring apron.
  • Robin uses the chain to deliver a neckbreaker to Ridgeway.
  • Robin wraps the chain around his leg to kick Ridgeway but Chris shrugs it off. 
  • Robin tries to leave the ring but Ridgeway delivers a low blow with the chain. 
  • Deadlift German Suplex with the chain by Ridgeway for the first near fall.
  • Right hand with the chain by Robinson for a near fall. 
  • Curb-Stomp onto the chain by Robinson for another near fall. 
  • Roundhouse Kick/Snap German/AxeMurderer Kick by Ridgeway into an Ankle Lock with the chain that taps out Robinson.

Winner: Chris Ridgeway @10:02!

Rating: ***1/2, It’s hard to be creative with a chain match because the stipulation restricts major moves and huge spots but these guys used that to their advantage and delivered one of the best and most brutal chain matches I’ve seen which honestly still doesn’t say much, chain matches suck. It’s always great to see Robinson get beat up because the guy gets major heat. 

British Strong Style vs. CCK (Jonathan Gresham, Chris Brookes, Timothy Thatcher):

  • BSS’s entrance is one of my favorite moments in 2018 wrestling, these guys had so much fun and it’s been forever since they’ve tagged so it felt like a genuine reunion. 
  • The match is conducted under Lucha Tag Rules meaning there are no tags and everyone is legal. 
  • Pete Dunne and Jonathan Gresham start the match. Two of the best Technical Wrestlers in the world right now, in the same league as guys like Zack Sabre.
  • Pete Dunne helps Tyler Bate do a flying armdrag to Chris Brookes as the crowd chants Lucha.
  • A solid sequence between Tyler Bate and Chris Brookes ending in a near fall Victory Roll up by Bate. 
  • Tyler Bate tags in Trent Seven to go against Timothy Thatcher who is a scary, scary man. Thatcher is a possible challenger to Seven’s Atlas Title Belt. 
  • Seven chops Thatcher which is a big mistake. Seven is able to knock Thatch down with a shoulder block though. 
  • All 3 brawl in the ring as the match breaks down. Gresham hits an insane springboard huricanrana take over to Dunne. Seven hits a couple stiff chops on Thatcher but Thatcher kicks him in the stomach while he is draped on the top rope. 
  • Seven and Dunne swing Brookes into Bate who hits a deadlift German suplex on him for a near fall, great tandem spot. 
  • Bate lifts Seven up for a Back senton on Brookes for a near fall. 
  • The BSS members all have miscommunications and strike each other off the apron, Brookes hits a senton taking out Seven. Gresham comes in for a hot tag on Bate.
  • Big team sequence ensues, Thatcher hits a Belly to Belly suplex on all 3 members of BSS. Dunne breaks the fingers of Thatcher but Thatch locks in an ankle lock on Dunne, Seven hits a chop on Thatcher to break the hold but Thatcher gets mad as Seven and Thatch send hard strikes at each other. Ripcord Double Lariat by Thatcher and Seven knock both down.
  • BSS and CCK huddle up on opposite sides of the ring, Bate hits a Cannonball Suicide Dive that takes out CCK. Brookes hits a suicide dive on Seven, Dunne tries to plancha dive Thatcher but fails but Seven comes through to suicide dive on Thatcher. Gresham hits a suicide dive that takes everyone out. 
  • Tandem Sequence by CCK on Bate gets a great near fall. 
  • Figure Four by Seven on Gresham, Dunne kicks away the arm of Gresham that tries to escape. Thatcher takes Dunne out of the ring and Butterfly suplexes Bate into Seven to stop the hold. 
  • Gresham and Dunne strike off, Gresham misses a moonsault as Dunne grabs in a Triangle Lock. Brookes dives in with a double stomp to break the hold. 
  • Octopus Lock by Brookes on Seven, Octopus Lock by Gresham on Dunne, Sleeper Hold by Thatcher on Bate, Bate walks around with Thatcher on his back and punches off Brookes and hits an amazing German Suplex to Gresham with Thatcher still on his back. 
  • BSS swings Gresham into Dunne but Gresham hits a reverserana on Dunne which is a great counter. 
  • Brookes rolls Gresham into Bate to hit a cutter for a great near fall. 
  • Praying Mantis Bomb by Brookes on Bate for a near fall. 
  • Thatcher grabs in a sleeper hold on Bate, Seven saves Bate from tapping, Dunne kicks Thatcher off the hold. 
  • Twisting Piledriver by Seven on Brookes, followed by a Tyler Driver 97 and a Bitter End for an amazing near fall. 
  • Spiral Tap by Bate hits Brookes to close the match. 

Winner: British Strong Style @24:07!

Rating: ****3/4, I enjoyed this a lot more than LAX vs. CCK mostly because British Strong Style is 3 of my favorite wrestlers but regardless this was insanely fun, high impact, and the pace was incredible. Everybody in this match is at the top of their game and they took this match and made one of the best and most creative tag matches that has happened in 2018.

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Toni Storm vs. Jordynne Grace:

  • Slower paced start to the match.
  • Jordynne Grace catches Storm running with a Lateral Press that pushed Storm a couple feet back.
  • Bearhug by Grace locked in, Storm elbows her way out. 
  • Another bearhug by Grace is locked in, Grace transitions into a deadlift vertical suplex for the first near fall. 
  • Yet another Bearhug locked in for Grace as Jordynne begins to dominate a bit, Toni delivers a great counter out with a Spike DDT.
  • Bodyslam by Grace but Toni pops back up, Grace hits another one but Storm pops back up again. German Suplex by Storm followed by a headbutt for a near fall on Grace. 
  • Grace plants Storm on her neck with a Michinoku Driver for a near fall. 
  • Grace catches Storm mid-air with a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. 
  • Deadlift German Suplex by Storm, great show of power. Storm hits the Strong Zero Piledriver but Grace rolls to the outside. Suicide Dive by Storm takes out Grace ringside. Back in-ring, Storm counters strikes by Grace by taking her out with a lariat. Last Falconry by Grace ends the match.

Winner: Jordynne Grace @10:03!

Rating: ***1/2, This is probably the best Progress Women’s match I’ve seen which sadly isn’t saying that much. Grace is majorly on the rise and Storm is one of the best Women’s wrestlers in the world. These two put on a good sprint style match with some big spots and clean work. 

DtmJmvtW0AECKAK-e1544139092542Walter(c) vs. Shigehiro Irie for the Progress World Championship:

  • Timothy Thatcher is back out to accompany Walter to the ring.
  • My first exposure to Shigehiro Irie who is a DDT wrestler.
  • Irie comes out of the gates how hitting Walter repeatedly with shoulder blocks but he can’t knock him down, Walter takes Irie down with a chop. 
  • Walter boots Irie off the apron from in between the ropes. Thudding chops by Walter hits Irie ringside. Saito suplex by Walter sends Irie into the apron.
  • Irie hits forearms that rattle Walter but Walter hits another intense chop to knock him down. 
  • Walter hits some scary clubs to the chest of Irie and follows it up with a sleeper hold but Irie gets the ropes fast. 
  • Irie tries to come back with more strikes but Irie gets flattened with another thudding chop. 
  • Irie hits an impressive cannonball to Walter in the corner but Walter catches him running with an even more impressive shotgun dropkick. 
  • Strikefest hits really hard to both men, Walter ends it with another thudding chop but Irie gets back up. Walter attempts a sleeper hold, Irie tries to suplex out but Walter shifts his weight and comes down directly on Irie for a near fall. 
  • Irie starts to string together successful strikes but Walter hits Irie with a Tombstone Piledriver for a great near fall. 
  • Walter shockingly heads up to the top but Irie meets him there, Irie hits an intense superplex that I’m shocked didn’t break the ring. Irie hits a cannonball to Walter in the corner for a solid near fall. 
  • Irie tries to suplex Walter but Walter fights out and hits yet another tough chop. Walter locks in a Sleeper Hold, Irie fights out and hits an impressive Saito Suplex on the bigger man. 
  • Irie climbs to the top and hits a Diving Splash for a near fall. 
  • German Suplex by Walter, Irie pops back up but is met with a stiff lariat for a good near fall.
  • Walter grabs in an STF and wrenches it in to tap out Irie. 

Winner: Walter Retains @13:43!

Rating: ****, This was a great hard-hitting and fast-paced big match wrestling showcase that is one of Walter’s strongest-looking defenses. Irie gets great exposure as he turns in an amazing performance in this match hanging with Walter which is an incredibly hard task to accomplish. I enjoyed this match a lot even though it lacked some of the drama that the near 5-star Walter title defenses have because the crowd was relatively unaware of who Shigehiro Irie was.

LAX (Santana and Ortiz) vs. Aussie Open(c) for the Progress Tag Team Championships:

  • LAX defeated CCK in an absolute banger on the last chapter to gain the opportunity to be in this match. 
  • Kyle Fletcher and Santana start the match.
  • Santana asks Fletcher to bring on the shoulder blocks after a bit of a sequence and Fletcher takes Santana down. 
  • Satana hits Fletcher with an uranage, Ortiz hits a Senton, Santana moonsaults off of Ortiz and hits Fletcher for a near fall.
  • Vertical Suplex attempt battle from Fletcher and Ortiz, Kyle shows some great strength getting Ortiz deadlifted up and succeeding the suplex.
  • Mark Davis delivers a hot tag on Ortiz. 
  • Amazing show of athleticism by the bigger Mark Davis hitting a flipping arm drag to Ortiz.
  • Arm Drag pinning combination by Ortiz on Davis for a near fall.
  • Ortiz pokes the eyes of Davis for some heel heat, Davis hits an intense high five to attack the hand of Ortiz. 
  • LAX isolate Fletcher in their corner. Fletcher hits a Michinoku Driver to Ortiz to open tags.
  • Hot tag by Mark Davis on LAX. Santana takes Davis down with a springboard crossbody.
  • Great Tope Con Hiro by Santana takes out Aussie Open, Ortiz meets Davis in-ring with a pinning combo for a near fall but Davis does a roll-up of his own for a near fall. 
  • LAX Tandem Sequence on Davis into a dead weight senton by Ortiz for a near fall. 
  • Diving Crossbody by Fletcher takes out both members of LAX.
  • Deadlift sit-out powerbomb by Fletcher on Ortiz for a near fall. 
  • Stereo suicide dives by LAX stopped by Aussie Open. Strike sequence takes all 4 out ringside, innovative spot. Both get up and continue to strikefest ringside until they realize they’ll be counted out then they continue to strikefest in-ring. Stereo lariats by Aussie Open end the awesome striking sequence.
  • Ortiz dumps Davis all the way to the floor, Tandem Sequence by LAX to Fletcher into a near fall save by Mark Davis. 
  • Alley Oop/Powerbomb combo by LAX to Fletcher. Santana uses Ortiz to springboard into Fletcher in the corner with a cannonball for a near fall. 
  • Incredible split-legged moonsault by Davis to the outside to LAX. Assisted Diving Cutter by Aussie Open to Santana into a great near fall save by Ortiz.
  • Fidget Spinner by Aussie Open to Santana, suicide dive by Davis takes out Ortiz but Santana still kicks out of the Fidget Spinner. 
  • Another Fidget Spinner that catches Santana mid-air closes the match. 

Winner: Aussie Open Retain @19:13!

Rating: ****3/4, Another amazing tag team main event for LAX with a constant amazing pace and innovative spots especially the outside to inside strikefest and the insane split legged moonsault by 250 Pound Plus Mark Davis. This was an incredible match that solidifies Aussie Open at the top of the division and LAX leaves Progress and goes back to Impact but hopefully, they will come back overseas because I still have no intention of watching Impact. Aussie Open was my #5 tag team of the year in 2018 and closing the year with a classic like this one it will be interesting to see if they move up on that list in 2019.

Grade: A

Last Word: While there isn’t a total standout match from this show unlike there have been in many other Progress Chapter, this is one of the most well-rounded shows of last year as there wasn’t a single bad match. The tag team matches were bangers, the Walter vs. Irie match was hard-hitting, Dragunov vs. Banks was a great opener, and Storm vs. Grace was great women’s division match. Progress looks to be back on track after some of the NXT UK news but Progress’s great shows like this may be limited so it will be interesting to see where 2019 takes the UK Wrestling Scene. 

 

WWE Survivor Series 2018 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Raw defeats Smackdown in the Women’s Survivor Series Match with Nia Jax as the Sole Survivor @20:14 *1/2
  • Seth Rollins defeats Shinsuke Nakamura @21:28 ***1/4
  • AOP defeat The Bar @9:10 **
  • Buddy Murphy defeats Mustafa Ali to retain the Cruiserweight Title @12:18 ****1/4
  • Raw defeats Smackdown in the Men’s Survivor Series Match with Braun Strowman, Drew Mcintyre, and Bobby Lashley as the Sole Survivors @24:00 ***1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Charlotte Flair @14:12 ***1/2
  • Brock Lesnar defeats Daniel Bryan @18:44 ****1/2 

 

Women’s Survivor Series Match:

  • Huge deserved big boos for Nia Jax.
  • Mandy Rose joins the SD Live Women’s Team. 
  • Naomi and Tamina start the match.
  • Everybody brawls, Superkick by Tamina eliminates Naomi, Carmella rolls up Tamina eliminating her. 
  • Carmella has a dance break. 
  • Octopus Lock by Asuka on Mickie James, near fall rollup by James to escape. 
  • Bayley tags herself in from Mickie creating some inter-team tension. 
  • Botchy sequence into the pin by Rose on James eliminating Mickie. Rose steals the pin from Deville. 
  • Bayley to Belly by Bayley eliminates Carmella.
  • Banks Statement by Sasha taps out Rose eliminating another SD Live superstar. 
  • Spinebuster by Deville to Bayley, Nia saves the match to a chorus of boos. Asuka takes out Nia and Sasha Banks hits a Meteora to ringside taking out Asuka. 
  • Bayley and Deville brawl ringside, Bayley hits a Bayley to Belly and a double countout eliminates both of them. 
  • Sasha Banks and Asuka square off to a big crowd reaction. 
  • Running Hip Attack ringside by Asuka takes out Banks. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Asuka to Banks, near fall. 
  • Near fall roll up by Banks on Asuka. Double knees in the corner by Banks, Nia takes Banks off the top rope and Asuka capitalizes by tapping out Banks in the Asuka Lock. 
  • Nia Jax beats Asuka with a Samoan Drop to a chorus of boos. 

Winner: Nia Jax and RAW @20:14

Brand Record: 1-0, RAW Winning

Rating: *1/2, This was a sloppily wrestled, badly booked match with the absolute worst winner coming out on top. Nia Jax shouldn’t be in any type of spotlight right now with the heat she has. The only redeeming part of this match was the brief exchange between Banks and Asuka and Asuka is continuing to be driven through the mud. 

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Seth Rollins Midcard Champion vs Champion:

  • Rollins does his own “Come On!” Taunt beginning the fire to the match. 
  • Guillotine Leg Drop over the apron by Rollins, Rollins goes for a suicide dive but Naka catches him with an enzugiri.
  • Drive-By Knee Strike by Naka to Rollins over the apron. 
  • Naka dominates Rollins for a while, Rollins rises up and hits an STO sending Nakamura into the corner. 
  • Slingblade by Rollins gets him fired up a bit, Rollins dumps Naka ringside and follows it up with a suicide dive and then another suicide dive and then a 3rd suicide dive. 
  • Flying Lariat by Rollins goes for a near fall. 
  • Top Rope Knee by Nakamura goes for another near fall, however, the crowd isn’t into it. 
  • Rollins catches Nakamura sliding with a hard superkick, Naka kicks out slowly.
  • Rollins gets fired up by a cheap shot from Nakamura and goes for a lariat but Naka transitions into a Triangle Hold. Rollins deadlifts into hitting the buckle bomb to escape the hold. 
  • Big Strike sequence into a Landslide by Nakamura, solid near fall. 
  • Superplex Falcon Arrow by Rollins goes for a good near fall. 
  • Strikefest, Naka baits Rollins and Naka hits a flurry of strikes and an exploder suplex.
  • The Kinshasa misses and Rollins hits a Ripcord Knee for another near fall. 
  • Rollins goes for the Frog Splash but misses, Nakamura, hits a Kinshasa and gets a great near fall. The crowd has heated up a bit. 
  • Rollins catches a Kinshasa attempt with a superkick and the two go through a big strike sequence and Rollins hits the curb stomp for the close. 

Winner: Seth Rollins @21:28!

Brand Record: 2-0, RAW Winning

Rating: ***1/4, The match started very slow and the crowd was dead but it seemed like Nakamura kicked into another gear around ten minutes in and both delivered solid performances. The strikes hit hard and the match had a great pace for the closing stretch but never fully regained the crowd. 

Authors of Pain vs. Sheamus Tag Team Champions vs. Champions:

  • Sheamus and Rezar start the match.
  • Something happens in the crowd and the fans get distracted. 
  • Rezar saves Akam from the Cesaro Swing. 
  • Sheamus and Rezar brawl, Cesaro goes for a roll up but the referee is distracted.
  • Springboard Uppercut by Cesaro opens up tags. Hot tag by Sheamus to a dead crowd. 
  • 10 Beats of the Bodhran by Sheamus followed up by a Battering Ram to Rezar goes for a near fall. 
  • Maverick distracts the ref but The Bar hits a strike sequence ending in a Brogue Kick, Maverick saves Rezar but gets choked by Big Show until he literally pees, The Last Chapter by AOP closes Sheamus. 

Winners: Authors of Pain @9:08

Brand Record: 3-0, RAW Winning

Rating: **, The match was a whole lot of nothing and Drake Maverick peed so this was a bad usage of 10 minutes. 

 

Mustafa Ali vs. Buddy Murphy(c) for the Cruiserweight Title:

  • Ali hits a huricanrana sending Murphy to ringside and hits an awesome diving 450  taking out Buddy. 
  • Murphy chucks Ali off the top rope sending him into the barricade. YEEET!
  • Murphy tosses around Ali hitting the apron, barricade, and going back into the ring. 
  • Slingshot into the corner by Ali followed up by a pop-up dropkick.
  • Ali goes for the rolling facebuster but Murphy launches him to ringside, Murphy hits a great tope con hiro. 
  • Superkick Sequence by Ali but Murphy stays up, spikerana by Ali takes Murphy down for a near fall.
  • Stiff elbow strikes by Ali starts a strike fest, spinning heel kick by Ali knocks Murphy to the apron, amazing tilt-a-whirl draping DDT by Ali and another near fall. 
  • Murphy throws Ali off the top rope and Ali gets chin checked by the apron. 
  • Amazing Spanish Fly off the announce table by Ali. 
  • Ali goes for the 054 but Murphy stops him and hits 2 powerbombs and gets a near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Murphy’s Law attempt fails, Ali gets caught mid-springboard with a knee by Murphy. Murphy successfully hits Murphy’s Law to close WWE’s first good PPV match in a LONG time. 

Winner: Buddy Murphy Retains @ 12:18!

Rating: ****1/4, WHAT A MATCH! WWE made a great decision and had the Cruiserweights have a showcase. The crowd got insanely invested and for the first time since the inception of 205 Live, it seemed that the Cruiserweights were finally a successful part of the main roster. The spots were cleanly worked and a Spanish Fly off the announce table is always fun. 

Men’s Survivor Series Match:

  • Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe were supposed to start but Drew Mcintyre tags himself in. Coquina Clutch locked in but Mcintyre escapes and hits the Claymore kick eliminating Joe. 
  • Dolph Ziggler and Shane Mcmahon face-off to remind us of the worst tournament of all time on the worst PPV of all time, Crown Jewel.
  • Fameasser by Ziggler to Shane goes for a near fall. 
  • Ziggler catches Shane in mid-air with a Zig Zag and Miz makes a near save. 
  • Braun Strowman tags himself in on Ziggler and Mcintyre tags himself in again on Strowman. Strowman and Drew brawl and SD Live takes out Braun and Rey hits a 619.
  • Great Elbow Drop through the announce table by Shane takes out Strowman.
  • Mcintyre refuses to tag Balor but Balor takes out Mcintyre from the back and tags himself in. 
  • Double Stomp by Balor but he loses his balance and falls on Miz, slight botch but it’s Balor so he gets a pass. 
  • Miz dodges the Coup De Grace but eats a basement dropkick from Finn after he rolls ringside. 
  • Rey Mysterio delivers a hot tag to Finn Balor, Balor shuts down Rey’s momentum with an inverted DDT.
  • Finn ducks a 619 and hits the slingblade and a shotgun dropkick driving Mysterio into the corner. Mysterio dodges the Coup De Grace and finally hits the 619/West Coast Pop to eliminate Balor. 
  • Mcintyre attacks Finn Balor, Mysterio attacks Drew from behind and goes for a 619 but Lashley interrupts Rey with a big boot. 
  • Hot tag by Jeff Hardy on Dolph Ziggler, Hardy hits a ringside tornado DDT to Mcintyre. Back in-ring Ziggler hits a Snap DDT for a near fall.
  • Twist of Fate by Hardy followed by a Swanton Bomb but Ziggler gets his knees up.
  • Coast 2 Coast by Mcmahon hits to Ziggler to eliminate Dolph similar to Crown Jewel. 
  • Miz coaches Shane to hit another Coast 2 Coast to Lashley, Braun catches Shane mid-air with a lariat. Rey Mysterio makes the save for Shane. 
  • Twist of Fate by Hardy fails and Braun powers it into a Running Powerslam to eliminate Hardy. 
  • Braun catches Mysterio mid-619 and eliminates him with a Running Powerslam. Rey was the MVP of the match so far. 
  • Braun catches Miz with a Running Powerslam to eliminate him, Shane is the only person left for SD Live. 
  • Shane says Bring it on to Braun, Braun hits a huge dropkick and lays out Shane with a Running Powerslam.

Winners: Team RAW @ 24:00

Brand Record: 4-0

Rating: ***1/4, While this was a RAW dominant performance it was great to see Rey Mysterio putting in an awesome performance and each character shined on a whole new level. I hate WWE’s lazy tendency to just have Strowman destroy stuff and end it there. It’s time for Strowman to either go back to the absolutely insane monster or Universal Champion because right now he is in bland limbo. Each person delivered a solid moment other than Samoa Joe, poor Joe. 

Charlotte vs. Ronda Rousey:

  • This is a HUGE match. 
  • A pretty fast-paced start.
  • Charlotte sends Rousey face first into the bottom turnbuckle. 
  • Triangle Arm Bar over the top rope by Rousey.
  • Front Release Superplex by Rousey drops Flair, Rousey rolls into a Cross Armbreaker and transitions it into a Triangle, Flair transitions it into a Boston Crab, Rousey fights out. Pretty solid submission sequence.
  • Rousey counters the Natural Selection into another armbar, Flair fights out again. 
  • Most involved match that Rousey has had in WWE and she’s doing great. 
  • Moonsault by Flair but Rousey gets her feet up. Judo Throw by Rousey, she fires up. Charlotte hits a spear out of nowhere and gets a great near fall. 
  • Rousey grabs Flair but Charlotte rolls into the Figure Four, Rousey flips the pressure, both roll to the outside. 
  • Chops by Flair rattle Rousey, Ronda blocks one but Flair fires back with a big boot that gets a near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” Chants.
  • Piper’s Pit hits by Rousey and Ronda goes for the armbar but Flair locks her hands to escape the hold and rolls ringside.
  • Rousey runs to Flair but Charlotte attacks Rousey with a kendo stick saving the match for another time, likely the Rumble or Mania if Lynch vs. Rousey plans fall through. 

Winner: Charlotte Flair @14:12!

Rating: ***1/2, This was great and both women delivered some of their best performances. The crowd was insanely invested and the commentary did a great build of the match. The match felt like a genuine fight and it a perfect example of the effectiveness of the Women’s Evolution. The Non-Finish makes sense even though it takes the star rating from being above a 4. 

  • Charlotte is delivering a great performance snapping out of anger. Flair stomps on a chair around the neck of Rousey. 

Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan World Champion vs. Champion:

  • Daniel Bryan is playing an amazing heel. 
  • Bryan is being a chickenshit heel as the bell rings escaping Lesnar. 
  • Lesnar hits a hard lariat to Bryan delivering the first strike. 
  • 2 German Suplexes and 3 Overhead Suplexes by Lesnar.
  • Lesnar takes Bryan ringside and whips him into the barricades. 
  • Another German Suplex and Overhead Suplex and the First F5, Lesnar goes for the pin but breaks it himself to continue attacking Bryan.
  • Another F5 but the ref gets hit and Bryan hits a low blow and a Running Knee for an awesome near fall. 
  • Yes! Kicks by Bryan and stomps to the face like he did to AJ. 
  • Bryan dumps Lesnar to outside and dives to ringside, Lesnar catches Daniel but Bryan sends him into the post. Running Knee off the apron by Bryan wipes out Lesnar. 
  • Suicide Dive by Bryan caught, Lesnar tackles Bryan into the post. 
  • Bryan sends the steel steps into Lesnar and delivers another Running Knee off the apron. 
  • Running Knee in-ring by Bryan another great near fall.
  • Bryan chop blocks Lesnar down and wraps his leg around the post. 
  • Missile Dropkick by Bryan rocks Lesnar, Running Dropkicks in the corner, F5 by Lesnar but Bryan’s work on Lesnar’s leg makes him collapse and Daniel locks in the Yes! Lock, Daniel transitions into a Triangle but Lesnar deadlifts out and hits an F5 to close. 

Winner: Brock Lesnar @18:44!

Rating: ****1/2, Like him as champion or not (and I certainly do not) Brock Lesnar brings drama to WWE like no one has since The Rock or Stone Cold. Pair that with the new and improved heel Daniel Bryan and mix it together to get this masterpiece. WWE has been incredibly lackluster this year and this goes immediately to the top of my favorite Main Roster matches of the year (Wouldn’t even be in the top 20 NXT matches of the year though.) WWE made me care about the product for the first time in a very long time and most of this praise goes to commentary, to be honest. The pairing of Corey Graves, Michael Cole, and Renee Young isn’t always effective but they sold the come back of Daniel Bryan like crazy and the performances from both wrestlers were outstanding. 

Show Grade: B+

Last Word: This brought WWE back to prominence after the rough couple of months they’ve had recently. Aside from the back to back matches on Super Show Down of Murphy vs. Alexander and Joe vs. Styles this show has provided some of the best Main Roster wrestling this year. Even though it ended in a DQ, Rousey vs. Flair shocked me on how good it was, Bryan vs. Lesnar made me care about a wrestling story which is something the Main Roster hasn’t done since the days Bryan left in 2014. The Men’s Tag Match and Naka vs. Rollins were fun and Murphy vs. Alexander was an incredible Cruiserweight Showcase. The show didn’t feel too long which is often a problem WWE ends up having. The only stiff cons were Drake Maverick peeing his pants and Nia Jax being the sole survivor and at the end of the day, those are just really good examples of WWE not taking themselves too seriously and trolling the fans. WWE fixed much of what I often complain about their product on their show and delivered on a show I had NO expectations for. 

MOTN: Daniel Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar 

 

NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2018 Review: NJPW in America and Golden Lovers vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Kazuchika Okada

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Rysuke Taguchi, Jushin Liger, and ACH defeated Roppongi 3K via pin @8:55 ***1/4
  • So Cal Uncensored (The Addiction) defeated Bullet Club (Hangman Page and Chase Owens) via pin @8:12 ***1/2
  • Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin, and Flip Gordon defeated Chaos (Goto and Best Friends) via pin @12:06 ****
  • Suzuki Gun (ZSJ and Killer Elite Squad) defeated Los Ignobernables (Tetsuya Naito, Evil, and Sanada) via pin @9:22 **1/2
  • Gedo and Jay White defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida via pin @8:49 **1/2
  • Marty Scurrl defeated Will Ospreay to advance to the finals of the IWGP Jr Title Tournament via pin @16:10 ****1/2
  • Firing Squad defeated The Young Bucks to win the IWGP Tag Titles via pin @19:20 ****1/4
  • Cody defeats Juice Robinson to win the IWGP US Title via pin @16:43 ****1/4
  • The Golden Lovers defeated Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii via pin @23:05 *****

 

Roppongi 3K vs. Rysuke Taguchi, Jushin Liger, and ACH:

  • Liger and Yoh start the match.
  • A good face-off between Yoh and Liger.
  • Surfboard Lock by Liger to Yoh, ACH, and Taguchi put ankle locks on Rocky and Sho creating a triple submission spot. 
  • Taguchi coaches his team to lariat Yoh in the corner. Taguchi follows it up with a hip attack. 
  • Yoh whips Liger into Taguchi’s butt and Yoh grabs Taguchi’s ass sending him to ringside, wrestling is weird.
  • Sho inadvertently punches Romero off the apron, Liger hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker to Sho, hot tag by ACH leads to him hitting an awesome suicide crossbody. 
  • German Suplex Bridge by ACH on Sho, first near fall. 
  • Hot tag by Taguchi fails as he misses a Hip attack on Romero, Romero takes the momentum and hits 2 lariats to Taguchi in the corner. Taguchi goes on a hip attack rampage. 
  • Lungblower/Double Superkick combo by R3K on Taguchi, near fall. 
  • Great suicide dive by ACH wipes out Sho and Yoh, Dodon by Taguchi on Romero closes the match.

Winners: Liger, ACH, and Taguchi

Rating: ***1/4, a very fun tag team sprint. Taguchi played the comedy wrestler but took a lot of the offense of this match, ACH delivered some great dives, and it’s always great to see Liger. R3K is always fantastic and delivered here. A good opener to start the show. 

So Cal Uncensored vs. Chase Owens and Hangman Page:

  • SCU finally back in Southern California. 
  • Frankie Kazarian and Hangman Page start the match, a former feud in ROH. 
  • Kazarian’s head is patched up after the Briscoes match at Death Before Dishonor. 
  • Lariat sequence by Page and Kazarian leads to both men making tags. 
  • Great Dropsault combo by Page onto Kazarian, first near fall.
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Page onto Kazarian, another near fall. 
  • Bullet Club isolating Kazarian, Kazarian finally makes the tag and Daniels does a  hot tag. 
  • Wheelbarrow Facebuster by Daniels on Owens, near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page knocks Daniels down, Springboard Backbreaker by Owens on Daniels, another near fall. 
  • Shooting Star Shoulder Block off the apron by Page caught in mid-air by Kazarian with a codebreaker. 
  • Best Meltzer Ever by SCU closes Owens. 

Winners: So Cal Uncensored

Rating: ***1/2, another fun sprint with a hometown SCU and the very talented Hangman Page. The pacing was great, the spots were great, and Page really shined. Another good opening tag match. 

Chaos (Hirooki Goto and The Best Friends) vs. Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin, and Flip Gordon:

  • Having Cobb with the ROH TV title kinda spoils the fact that he wins at a taping because it hasn’t been broadcasted yet. Weird move. 
  • Chuck Taylor and Chris Sabin start the match.
  • Early roll up attempts by Sabin and Taylor leads to near falls. 
  • Triple Strikefest ensues with the match participants.
  • Tandem Sequence by Team ROH leads to a near fall by Sabin on Taylor. 
  • Crucifix Cutter by Best Friends takes out Flip, Cobb teases a suicide dive on Best Friends but Goto stops it with a lariat, apron Penalty Kick by Sabin to Goto, Trent teases a suicide dive but Taylor stops him with a hug. The Best friends hit stereo tope con hiro taking everyone out. 
  • Standing Elbow Drop by Goto on Sabin, near fall. Sabin has been the only one legal for his team in the 5 minutes so far. 
  • A stiff chop by Baretta fires up Sabin inciting a chopfest but Trent wins. 
  • Sabin drop toe holds Taylor into Baretta headbutting a low blow, Tornado DDT by Sabin finally opens up tags. 
  • Amazing Hot tag by Flip Gordon, Great diving corkscrew off the top rope to the outside by Flip. Springblade by Flip gets Baretta into the drop zone for the 450. Baretta dodges and lays Flip out with a running knee. 
  • Tags made to Goto and Cobb, it’s big boi time. Double Lariat sequence, Goto knocks down Cobb first. Saito suplex by Goto, near fall. 
  • Deadlift Vertical Suplex by Cobb followed but by a standing moonsault that misses. Great mini-sequence between Cobb and Goto. 
  • The Best Friends suplex Cobb together, Cobb Saito suplexes both of them.
  • Taylor hits a great deadlift piledriver on Cobb, near fall save by Sabin. 
  • Diving Moonsault by Taylor misses, lariat by Cobb into the Wrath of the Gods.

Winners: Jeff Cobb, Flip Gordon, and Chris Sabin

Rating: ****, this was as close as perfection an NJPW opening tag match can get. Everybody performed great especially Jeff Cobb and put on a great tag match. The dynamic of comedy spots from the Best Friends, high spots from Flip Gordon, hard-hitting action from Cobb and Goto and the underdog Sabin mixed greatly to make one of the best opening tag matches I’ve ever seen in New Japan. 

Zack Sabre Jr. and Killer Elite Squad vs. Los Ignobernables:

  • Suzuki Gun attacks early. 
  • Pop-Up powerslam by K.E.S to Sanada. Davey Boy goes to attack Evil ringside.
  • Davey Boy works the leg of Sanada. Series of German suplexes by Davey Boy but Sanada flips over the 3rd one and goes for a tag but Lance Archer tries to stop it, after a huricanrana by Sanada to Archer, Naito tags in. Hot tag by Naito. 
  • Sidewalk Splash by K.E.S on Naito, near fall. 
  • Naito fights out of a Killer Bomb attempt by K.E.S and hits a Tornado DDT on Archer. Evil and ZSJ tag in. 
  • Strikefest between ZSJ and Evil. Double Wristlock by ZSJ, Evil powers into a fisherman’s buster.
  • One-Arm Plancha by Sanada knocks out K.E.S, in-ring, Evil hits Darkness Falls, near fall. 
  • Victory Roll with the middle fingers up by ZSJ closes Evil. 

Winner: Suzuki Gun

Rating: **1/2, a very mediocre Suzuki Gun match with them doing heel Suzuki Gun things. L.I.J never got in a groove and this match was heel work then it was done. 

Jay White and Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida:

  • Set up at Destruction in Kobe when Jay White attacked Okada and Tana post-match, the only G1 match that Hiroshi Tanahashi lost was to Jay too. 
  • Tanahashi went straight to attacking White having them start the match.
  • Tana popped up on the post and White pushes him to ringside, White tries to choke out Tana with his boot against the barricade. 
  • Saito Suplex by White on Tana, first near fall.
  • Tanahashi being isolated by White and Gedo, Tana looks pretty hurt. Limp Crossbody by Tana takes down Gedo, Tana finally makes the tag. 
  • Hot tag by Kushida. Jumping DDT into a Cross Armbreaker by Kushida on Gedo, White breaks the hold. 
  • Handspring Elbow by Kushida knocks White down and opens the tag to Tana.
  • Hot tag by Tanahashi on White. Blade Runner attempt countered into a Twist and Shout by Tanahashi.
  • Slingblade by Tana, near fall. 
  • White grabs Tiger Hattori to distract him, Gedo lays out Tana with Brass Knuckles. Blade Runner by White closes the match.

Winner: Jay White and Gedo

Rating: **1/2, this follows the trend of Gedo (NJPW’s secret booker) trying to turn New Japan Pro Wrestling into a better in-ring, Attitude Era WWE with the brass knuckle finish. This was a very story-based match and rightfully so not only is the whole Gedo and White vs. Okada and Tana story great it’s also the biggest story right now in NJPW. White seems to be strapped as the next golden boy of NJPW. This match, however, was too story focused to be anything other than mediocre and that’s not a complaint but it had some great talent in it and if it wanted to be great it could’ve been. I’m excited for the future of this feud. 

  • Post-match promo by Jay White, White says NJPW doesn’t want him to be in the Main Event of WrestleKingdom but he will bring on a new era. 

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Marty Scurrl vs. Will Ospreay IWGP Jr Championship Tournament:

  • These guys have my current favorite rivalry of all time in term of match quality, I gave their match at Power Struggle last year 4.75 * and their match at Sakura Genesis this year 5*. Their matches always manage to impress me a bit more than Kenny vs. Okada’s even though I like those matches better. 
  • Immediate Spanish Fly by Ospreay into a near fall.
  • Space Flying Tiger Drop into a Shooting Star Press early by Ospreay, near fall. Awesome opening sequence by Ospreay. 
  • Flying Forearm by Ospreay, Will slows his offense down.
  • Winner faces Kushida at King of Pro Wrestling for the Jr Title. 
  • Uppercuts by Scurrl knock Ospreay ringside, stiff apron superkick by Scurrl lands. 
  • Stomp on the head of Ospreay by Scurrl followed up by a sequence of stiff chops by Scurrl. Marty gains firm control.
  • Scurrl drapes Ospreay over the middle rope and stomps him over it torquing his neck.
  • Handspring Enzugiri by Ospreay gives Will much-needed space. 
  • Top Rope 619 by Ospreay followed by a failed springboard, Scurrl knocks Ospreay ringside. Scurrl chops Ospreay into the barricade. They go on the apron and strike-off. 
  • Attempt at the Spanish Fly on the apron by Ospreay, the move that crushed Will’s neck at Sakura Genesis. 
  • Amazing Sunset Bomb by Ospreay to ringside with Scurrl on the apron. Tribute to Hiromu Takahashi.
  • Great Robinson Special by Ospreay, Oscutter caught by Scurrl into a backslide rolled into a knee by Scurrl. 
  • Stormbreaker attempt by Ospreay but Scurrl gets out, mini-strikefest into a huge lariat by Ospreay. 
  • Top Rope Fighting led to Ospreay falling and low blowing himself on the top rope, awesome springboard supercanrana by Scurrl. Scurrl follows it up with a huge lariat, near fall. 
  • Stiff chops by Scurrl but Ospreay refuses to go down. Welts grow on the chest of Ospreay. Ospreay starts to strike back. Mid-air counter into the Chicken Wing by Scurrl, roll up by Ospreay near fall, roll up by Scurrl near fall. Sequence including a powerbomb near fall by Scurrl, graduation attempt by Scurrl but Ospreay hits an enzugiri putting both down.
  • Stormbreaker attempt but Scurrl carries Ospreay on his shoulders to the top rope, Ospreay fights out and hits the Cheeky Nandos kick. Scurrl takes Ospreay down off standing on the top rope, Chicken Wing attempt on the top by Scurrl transitions into an Underhook superplex by Scurrl, near fall. 
  •  Package Piledriver into the Graduation by Scurrl closes the match. 

Winner: Marty Scurrl advances!

Rating: ****1/2, this was a great sprint and a good addition to the Scurrl vs. Ospreay story. The spots were great and the starting opening offense by Ospreay got the crowd really hot. These 2 have natural chemistry and played off of it the entire match. However, it lacked the urgency that the Sakura Genesis match had. It was a great match for the IWGP Jr Tourney but is their first encounter in the past 2 years in NJPW that hasn’t been a MOTY contender. I’m not complaining though, they didn’t need to put on an absolute classic and what was here was a very high-quality Junior Heavyweight match. It was jarring to see Ospreay as a dastardly heel in Progress and ROH but be the underdog in this match. Also, Scurrl put Ospreay away with relative ease compared to what it normally takes to beat Ospreay but I’m over-thinking it. 

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The Young Bucks(c) vs. The Firing Squad IWGP Tag Titles:

  • The Elite vs OG storyline has been great so far. 
  • Big fight feel.
  • Nick Jackson and Tama Tonga start the match. 
  • Great speed showdown from Nick and Tama. Double strikefest with everyone in the match. 
  • Haku accompanies Firing Squad. 
  • Pop-up Double Dropkick by the Bucks starts a solid tandem sequence of moves by Matt and Nick. 
  • Matt’s back went out on him, this is going to play majorly into the story of the match.
  • Tonga Loa bodyslams Matt ringside targeting the back.
  • Loa tries to superplex Matt off the apron onto a table but Nick saves him. Nick hits a great suicide dive driving Loa into the barricade.
  • Great mini-sequence of offense by Nick on the OGs, Loa flattens it with a stiff lariat. Matt climbs to the top, Loa throws him off the top rope through the table ringside. Great spot, Matt will be out of the match for a while isolating Nick.
  • Diving Headbutt by Loa, Frog Splash by Tama on Nick, near fall. 
  • Long-Holding vertical suplex by Loa on Nick, very near fall.
  • Great Springboard Facebuster by Nick on Tama followed by an apron moonsault by Nick to Loa ringside.
  • Nick goes to make a tag but Matt is still on the floor, Tonga Twist by Tama on Nick, near fall. 
  • Tama Twist countered by Nick handstanding, superkick by Nicks takes both out.
  • Matt makes the hot tag successfully, Cease and Desist Sharpshooter by Matt on Tama, Loa takes a shot at the back of Matt to stop the submission. 
  • Fire up spear by Matt takes both Tama and him down, tags are made.
  • Superkick Party by the Bucks on Loa, great near fall.
  • Nick helps Matt get Loa up for the More Bang for Your Buck, Nick hits the 450 but Matt hesitates on the Moonsault, Matt finally hits the moonsault on Loa, near fall. 
  • Meltzer Driver stopped by Tama hitting an awesome Mid-air gun stun on Nick, Tombstone by Loa on Matt, awesome near fall. 
  • Matt fights out of the Magic Killer attempt by the Og’s but they get him back in on a pop-up Gun Stun closing the match. 

Winners: Firing Squad New Champions!

Rating: ****1/4, The story behind this match was great. This is the first huge match behind the Firing Squad vs. Bullet Club Elite feud. In this match, Matt Jackson brought back his back injuries which added a lot more urgency and story to an already story-packed match. The match started really hot and continued hot with some great spots. Everyone in this match contributed to something great but my only complaint is the section with Firing Squad on top was too long and got boring. The comeback for the Bucks was great and the ending sequence was pretty good. 

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Juice Robinson(c) vs. Cody for the IWGP US Title:

  • After All In as a face, Cody turns the heel on tonight.
  • Stiff chops by Cody fire up Juice and they start the momentum 3 minutes in. 
  • Dive off the top rope to ringside by Cody is caught into an overhead suplex by Juice.
  • Brandi flops after Juice barely touched her, distracting Juice into an inverted DDT by Cody ringside.
  • Brandi grabs Juice’s foot distracting him, Juice comes ringside. On his way back in, Cody hits a flatliner in between the ropes, near fall. 
  • Pulp Friction attempt by Juice, Backslide roll up by Cody, near fall. Pile roll up by Juice, near fall. 
  • Cannonball into the corner by Juice into a powerbomb attempt, Cody hits a huricanrana to Juice sending him into the corner, cheap shot by Brandi on Juice. 
  • Juice ducks a disaster kick and hits a diving crossbody to Cody, Juice hurts his ribs and is unable to make the pin. 
  • Pulp Friction attempt by Juice reversed into a Figure Four by Cody, Juice flips the hold after a while in the lock. 
  • Cody takes off the weightlifting belt, distracting Red Shoes. With Red Shoes distracted, Cody spits water at Juice and hits a Disaster Kick, near fall. 
  • Pulp Friction hits for Juice finally but Brandi pulls Cody ringside so Juice is unable to capitalize. 
  • The count starts but Juice doesn’t want to accept the win via countout.
  • Cross Rhodes ringside by Cody both back in at 19. 
  • Strikefest ensues but Cody wins with a superkick after a thumb to the eye. Cody goes for the Vertebreaker.
  • Cody hits a great Vertebreaker, great near fall. 
  • Superplex by Juice, Cody holds onto Juice in a small package getting a roll-up victory.

Winner: Cody New Champion!

Rating: ****1/4, Cody used his shenanigans again to win but that didn’t take too much away from the match. Juice is raw talent and emotion and delivered an amazing performance in this match. Cody is my favorite wrestler currently and used his great character to perfection in this match. This is my favorite NJPW Cody match since his match against Kota Ibushi at WK12. I feel like the win was unneeded for Cody and I felt bad for Juice because he’s just such a likable guy but that’s not a complaint with the match. 

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Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii vs. The Golden Lovers:

  • Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi start the match. 
  • Kenny Omega and Tomohiro Ishii face-off. These 2 strike-off for a little bit.
  • Kitaro Crusher by Omega on Ishii, near fall. 
  • Stiff strikes from Ibushi and Ishii to each other, a shoulder block by Ishii trucks over Ibushi. 
  • Neckbreaker by Okada on Ibushi, near fall.
  • Ishii and Omega brawl at each other again. Ishii takes Omega ringside and runs him into the barricades. 
  • The match has been building up to Omega’s face off with Okada. I’m excited. 
  • Hot tag by Omega to Ishii, Ishii and Omega strike off again but Omega gets the upper hand with a Tornado DDT and Omega lands awkwardly on his knee. 
  • Okada and Omega are finally both tagged in at 11 minutes in but don’t face off immediately. 
  • Cross Slash Moonsault Dives by the Golden Lovers. 
  • You Can’t Escape into Double Team Moonsaults by the GL, near fall on Okada. 
  • Great vertical suplex by Ibushi to Ishii, a powerful shotgun dropkick by Okada knocks Ibushi into the corner. Omega and Okada finally face off.
  • Omega and Okada strike-off, stiff chop by Omega, Omega dodges the dropkick by Okada. The first rainmaker fails, One Winged Angel attempt by Omega fails, Another Rainmaker attempt by Okada fails, Dragon Suplex by Omega hits. 
  • Great Dropkick by Okada to Omega.
  • Ibushi saves Omega from a Rainmaker, V-Trigger/German Suplex combo by GL, Ibushi dives down Ishii allowing Omega and Okada to face off. 
  • Tombstone/Running clothesline by Okada and Ishii, near fall save by Ishii. 
  • Rainmaker by Okada countered into a stiff uranage by Omega.
  • “This is Awesome” chants. 
  • Ibushi and Ishii strikefest again, mid kick by Ibushi takes Ishii down. Knee Drop moonsault by Ibushi, near fall. 
  • Powerbomb/German Suplex combo by GL, near fall save by Okada. 
  • Okada saves Ishii from the Golden Trigger. 
  • Dropkick by Okada into an amazing mid-air powerbomb counter by Omega, Backflip kick by Ibushi to Ishii puts all 4 down. The crowd gives a standing ovation. 
  • Ibushi and Ishii strike off yet again, Ibushi hits a huge lariat taking down Ishii, near fall. 
  • Kamegoye by Ibushi dodged by Ishii, huge lariat by Ishii flips Ibushi, very near fall. 
  • Okada Dropkick sends Ibushi into a powerbomb by Ishii, great near fall.
  • German Suplex Bridge by Ibushi to Ishii, very near fall.
  • Enzugiri/V-Trigger combo by GL takes Ishii down. Omega kicks Okada off the apron into the barricade. Golden Trigger by GL pins Ishii closing the match. 

Winners: Golden Lovers

Rating: *****, while Golden Lovers Vs. The Young Bucks was better due to the mix of storyline drama and huge spots, this comes a close second as my favorite tag match of the year and maybe all time. This match focused all on in-ring work and it was between 4 guys who couldn’t have a bad match if they tried. I absolutely loved every second of this match. The hard-hitting Ibushi and Ishii parts of the match especially towards the end was fantastic, the Omega vs. Okada part was fantastic as well and the sheer creativeness of some of the moves in this match made it something special. While the big showdown of Tanahashi vs. Okada was amazing it was something we had already seen before. This match because of the tag elements was incredibly refreshing and had some of the best in-ring work I’ve seen all year so it becomes my Match of the Month for September. 

Grade: A+

Last Word: This is easily the best wrestling show since Dominion this year and even though Dominion was better this showed a lot as well too. The flow of this show was fantastic starting with good opening tag matches and starting the second half with an electric Jr. Title match in Scurrl vs. Ospreay, The IWGP Tag Title match was really good and so was Juice vs. Cody but the Main Event Tag was amazing and one of my favorite matches of the year. I don’t think it’s quite MOTY but it’s in my top ten. NJPW delivered again and this is their best show in America yet. 

ROH Death Before Dishonor Review

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Star Ratings + Results: 

  • Kenny King defeats Jushin Liger @12:11 via pinfall ***1/2
  • The Briscoes defeat The Addiction to retain the ROH Tag Titles @17:42 via pinfall ***3/4
  • Tenille Dashwood defeats Sumie Sakai to retain the WOH Title @13:05 via submission ***1/2
  • Punishment Martinez defeats Chris Sabin to retain the TV Title @7:59 via pinfall ***
  • Bully Ray and Silas Young defeat Colt Cabana and Flip Gordon in an Elimination Tables Match @13:29 ***1/4
  • Bullet Club defeats Chaos @21:14 via submission ****1/4
  • Jay Lethal defeats Will Ospreay @22:45 via pinfall ****3/4

 

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Kenny King vs. Jushin Liger:

  • An interesting big match for Jushin Liger reminiscent of Liger vs. Tyler Breeze at NXT Takeover. 
  • Liger sends King outside and hits a cannonball off the apron.
  • Liger ducks a few great looking kicks from King on the apron but King cuts him down, great corkscrew tope by King wipes Liger out ringside.
  • King is working the back of Liger and hits a backbreaker for the first near fall.
  • Boston Crab by King focuses on the worked back of Liger, Liger grabs the ropes.
  • Shotei palm strike by Liger into a wheelbarrow kick for a near fall on King.
  • Chin Checker into a Spinning Enzugiri by King, near fall. 
  • Chops by Liger into a failed Shotei, King hits a swinging backbreaker for a near fall.
  • Superplex by Liger, Liger takes out his own back in the process. 
  • Inside Cradle by Liger, near fall. Bulldog by Liger gets King down for a Frog Splash, near fall. Liger sells the back again. 
  • Kenny King shows respect for Liger while he’s down getting his back checked by the referee. Once Liger gets up, King shows a dirty side and hits a Spinebuster for the win. 

Winner: Kenny King

Rating: ***1/2, A good technical opener and it’s always great to see Jushin Liger in the spotlight. Kenny King keeps showing a lot of potentials recently and in this match he really shined hanging with the legend. Kenny delivers a great heel ending turning on Liger out of nowhere and delivering the spinebuster FTW. 

briscoesdanielskazThe Briscoes vs. So Cal Uncensored for the ROH Tag Titles:

  • SCU cuts a surprisingly face promo and The Briscoes cut a very creepy Bray Wyatt-like segment. 
  • Rematch from All In when Kazarian and Sky beat the Briscoes.
  • Jay Briscoe and Christopher Daniels start but a brawl ensues early. 
  • Good showing of Tandem offense by The Addiction take out both Briscoes. 
  • Kazarian chases Mark with a chair, Jay wipes out Kaz with a Baseball Dropkick. Great off-the-apron blockbuster by Jay onto Daniels. 
  • Running Shotgun Dropkick ringside by Jay floors Daniels.
  • Briscoes isolate Daniels, Jay takes him ringside and throws him into the barricade, big boot by Mark takes down Daniels. 
  • Rollins DVD into a Froggy Bow attempt by Jay, Blue Thunder Bomb by Daniels looks to open up tags but Mark stops it. 
  • Kazarian finally makes the hot tag, Great Combo Stunner/DDT by Kazarian for the first near fall. 
  • Great springboard huricanrana to ringside by Kazarian, Mark takes the energy out of Kaz with another big boot. 
  • Mark sets up chairs back-to-back but Daniels saves Kazarian with a diving crossbody. 
  • Combo Blue Thunder Neckbreaker by SCU, near fall on Mark. 
  • Great Cannonball Dive over the post by Daniels isolating Mark, slingshot cutter by Kaz for a near fall on Mark. 
  • Paul Turner the ref distracted allowing for a chair shot on Kazarian. Tope by Daniels. Stiff Uranage on a set-up chair by Jay to Kaz, Kaz looks to have his head busted open. Scorpio Sky runs down to check on him. The match is now 2-on-1.
  • Brainbuster by Jay on Daniels, near fall. 
  • Crucifix Neckbreaker by The Briscoes, very near fall on Daniels. If Kazarian is actually injured it would be smart to end this soon. 
  • If Kazarian isn’t actually injured, Daniels working alone against the Briscoes is pretty good storytelling.
  • Doomsday Device rolled through by Daniels stopping the move. 
  • Uranage into the Best Moonsault Ever by Daniels, very near fall save by Mark.
  • Jay Driller ringside by Mark Briscoe, great near fall inside the ring. Daniels is showing great resiliency. 
  • Jay Driller inside the ring by Mark Briscoe closes the match. 

Winner: The Briscoes Retain the Titles! Day Count: 202+

Rating: ***3/4, This match just barely tops the ALL IN tag match and both were great. The Briscoes looked dominant in this match and delivered some great tandem offense. The match was really going and heating up into a tag classic because both are established teams that have great chemistry but Frankie Kazarian gets hurt and isolates Daniels for the rest of the match. I was worried about Kazarian’s condition instead of the in-ring work but once the in-ring work picked back up again it very much delivered with Daniels turning in a great resilient performance.

Tenille Dashwood vs. Sumie Sakai for the WOH Title:

  • The first PPV defense of the WOH title after it meant literally nothing for a few months. 
  • Great Diving Crossbody by Sakai to Dashwood ringside.
  • Tenille protecting her taped up shoulder from Sakai who’s trying to work the arm. 
  • Super Butterfly Suplex by Dashwood, near fall on Sakai.
  • Really innovative Figure Four Chancery by Dashwood, Dashwood releases the hold and curbstomps Sakai, near fall. 
  • Huricanrana into a roll-up by Sakai, near fall. 
  • Shining Whizzer by Sakai, near fall. 
  • Allstar Smash by Sakai, very near fall. Tenille blocked some of the impact but fell on her shoulder. 
  • Armbar by Sakai, Dashwood gets ropes. 
  • Butterfly suplex into the corner by Dashwood. Tenille locks in the Tarantula Lock over the ropes. 
  • Hard landing for Sakai after a sliding powerbomb to ringside by Tenille. In-ring near fall on Sakai.
  • Roll up by Sakai caught into a German suplex affected by the shoulder by Dashwood, near fall. 
  • Strikefest into a powerbomb by Dashwood, Sakai transitions into an Armbar on the shoulder of Tenille, Dashwood passes out giving Sakai the win. 

Winner: Sumie Sakai Retains! Day Count: 174+

Rating: ***1/2, after nothing has happened with this belt or Sakai in ROH for MONTHS. It was very refreshing to see for these women to be in the spotlight and deliver. The match worked really well and Dashwood locked really good however the selling of the shoulder was a little weird and I didn’t know someone could pass out from an armbar. The work in this match was great and the sliding powerbomb by Dashwood to ringside is a standout spot from this match. Hopefully, more can be seen from the WOH division on this caliber. 

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Punishment Martinez vs. Chris Sabin for the ROH TV Title:

  • Chris Sabin gets his own really long comedy introduction. The feud here is centered around the retired tag partner of Sabin, Alex Shelley. 
  • Immediate chokeslam attempt by Martinez into a near fall rollup by Sabin.
  • Great Springboard Diving Crossbody to ringside by Sabin.
  • Suicide Dive by Sabin caught into a chokeslam on the apron by Martinez.
  • Stiff Lariat by Martinez knocks Sabin down taking his energy out. 
  • Supercanrana by Sabin takes Martinez off the top rope.
  • Strikes by Sabin fire up Martinez, Martinez falls to ringside and Sabin hits a suicide crossbody and a suicide dive to Martinez ringside.
  • Diving Dropkick by Sabin to Martinez back in-ring. 
  • Martinez boots Sabin into the referee and hits a spinning enzugiri taking Sabin out. Martinez grabs a chair, Sabin hits a Diving Tornado DDT onto the chair, near fall. 
  • Psycho Driver, Silencer Stomp and Chokeslam by Martinez closes the match.

Winner: Punishment Martinez retains! Day Count: 97+ 

Rating: ***, This match started well. Sabin looked great in this match with his comedy intro and his motivation to win the title. However, about 3 minutes in Martinez took over and dominated the rest of the match. There were dimensions that should’ve been played up to in this match with Sabin picking up the win but with Cobb being the likely next TV champ it makes sense. 

  • Post-match, Martinez grabs Sabin for the curb stomp on a chair. Jeff Cobb comes down surprisingly when you think it would be Alex Shelley and stares down Martinez. Martinez goes for a chair shot but it doesn’t phase Cobb and Martinez gets thrown around by Cobb. Great surprise appearance. 

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Flip Gordon and Colt Cabana vs. Bully Ray and Silas Young in an Elimination Table Match:

  • The new age talents vs. old age talents. Bully Ray still looks like just a salty has-been though. 
  • Flip attacks Bully Ray early. 
  • Kinder Suprise Kick knocks Silas off the top rope and allows Flip to hit the WAZZUP on Bully Ray with Cabana.
  • Bully Ray moves a table saving Silas from a double suplex through it. 
  • Double Backdrop by Silas and Ray but misses the table due to the save from Cabana. 
  • Great springboard moonsault by Cabana and a diving senton by Flip on Silas. Cabana misses a plancha dive allowing Ray to get back on top. Bully attacks Cabana with a steel chair. Bully talks trash to Ian Riccaboni, Ian goes down to ringside to save his friend Cabana. Suicide Dives by Flip knock both Bully and Silas out. Ian cheers on Cabana hitting Bully with a chair. 
  • Powerbomb by Bully sends Cabana through the announce table eliminating him.
  • Chopfest by Silas and Bully on Flip, Flip ducks Young sending him into Bully. Bully Ray saves Young from being whipped through a table. Miscommunication between Young and Bully starts a brawl.
  • Flip uses the table to flip off of, awesome and Bully Ray crashes through it eliminating himself. 
  • Silas lariats Flip flipping him off the apron crashing ringside. 
  • Misery attempt by Silas knocks out the ref, third ref knockout spot of the night. Awesome 450 through the table by Flip eliminates Silas but wait no ref can make the decision. Bully Ray attacks Flip Gordon making it look like he went through the table having the ref call the end for the old guys. Bad finish.

Winners: Silas Young and Bully Ray

Rating: ***1/4, This feud has had atrocious match after atrocious match and they finally managed to make a quality encounter. Flip Gordon delivered a great performance highlighted with the 450 through a table. The storytelling was decent and seeing Colt Cabana in-ring again is always welcome. Bully Ray is one of the worst things in wrestling currently and that still bleeds through. 

  • Tenille Dashwood shown attacked backstage.

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Bullet Club vs. Chaos:

  • Nick Aldis joins commentary.
  • Hangman Page and Tomohiro Ishii start the match. 
  • Stikefest from Page and Ishii fire up both men, suplex by Ishii ends the sequence.
  • Okada tags in and then Scurrl tags in getting a huge pop. ALL IN throwback stand-off from Marty and Okada, Okada tags in Rocky Romero.
  • Best Friends and The Young Bucks have a sequence. Best Friends stand tall.
  • Best Friends stereo dives and hug ringside.
  • Cody and Okada face-off.
  • Cody dives to ringside but nobody’s home, Barretta hits a tope to Cody, Shooting Star of the apron by Page to Baretta, Apron kick by Scurrl accidentally hits Page, Dive by Nick over Matt takes out the crowd ringside. Great Cannonball Dive off the stage by Chuckie T takes everyone out. Chaos calls for Ishii to dive and he hits a cannonball senton off the top rope to ringside, great dive sequence. 
  • Low Blow by Cody to Baretta with the ref distracted.
  • Superplex by Scurrl to Baretta on the top, near fall save by Romero. 
  • Lariat by Baretta to Cody opens up tags to Romero and Page, great hot tag by Romero. 
  • 5 Stereo Superkicks by all of Bullet Club takes out Rocky Romero. 
  • Hot tag by Okada, Double DDT on the Young Bucks by Okada. Reverse neckbreaker by Okada to Nick, near fall save by Matt Jackson. 
  • Great big move sequence from both teams men. Disaster kick by Cody doesn’t phase Ishii and Ishii takes out Page. Superkicks by the Bucks take out Ishii, Dropkick by Okada to Matt. Meltzer Driver stopped by Romero, Sliced Bread off the post by Taylor, Assisted Piledriver by Taylor and Okada on Matt, near fall save by Cody. 
  • Cody saves Matt from a Rainmaker and hits a Cross Rhodes on Okada. 
  • Rainmaker by Okada on Cody hits, near fall. 
  • Ishii and Page put on another sequence, maybe highlighting a singles match at a later date. Buckshot lariat by Page hits to Ishii. Rite Of Passage attempt fails and Ishii hits a stiff lariat, near fall save by Cody. 
  • Nick Aldis announces his match against Cody at NWA 70 will be 2 of 3 falls. 
  • Strikefest from Scurrl and Romero, Powerbomb by Scurrl, near fall. Chicken Wing attempt by Scurrl fails, Inadvertent superkick by Matt hits Scurrl. Romero stops the Meltzer Driver by sending Matt into Nick. Piledriver on the apron by Baretta to Matt Jackson. 
  • Counter into the Chicken Wing by Scurrl tapping out Romero. 

Winners: Bullet Club 

Rating: ****1/4, While it played out like the Survivor Series tag match from last year’s WWE Survivor Series with much of the beginning of the match focusing on star power, unlike that WWE match it really picked up and delivered some fun spots. Like most Bullet Club matches it was a great fury of dives and high spots. Everybody turned in a great performance in this match too which is rare for 10-man tags. I also loved the interaction between Hangman Page and Tomohiro Ishii which I’d love to see in a single’s match. This was fun and MOTN so far. 

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Jay Lethal vs. Will Ospreay for the ROH World Title:

  • Will Ospreay has gained a lot of muscle weight and comes into this match the heel. 
  • Ospreay takes a dirty shot firing up Lethal. Early finisher attempts by both men and they stare-off.
  • A chop by Lethal takes Ospreay off the top rope, 3 suicide dives by Jay Lethal. The third one knocks Ospreay into the crowd.
  • Great mini-sequence of dodges into the cartwheel dropkick by Lethal. 
  • Handspring enzugiri by Ospreay takes Lethal down.
  • Running Corner Dropkick by Ospreay, near fall.
  • Stiff chop in the corner by Lethal, Ospreay asks for more and gets it. Ospreay squares up again and asks for more, Lethal delivers a really stiff chop and Ospreay boots Lethal down to ringside, really fast suicide dive by Ospreay sends Lethal’s head into the barricade. 
  • Chops ringside by Lethal and they get out a ladder.
  • Springboard Forearm by Ospreay, near fall. 
  • Lethal Combination hits giving Lethal needed space. 
  • Strikefest into a huricanrana by Ospreay sending Lethal over the top rope. Flying Space Tiger Drop by Ospreay dodged by Lethal. A superkick by Lethal inadvertently hits Bobby Cruise and Ospreay catches the title, the referee checks on Bobby Cruise but Ospreay still doesn’t use the title. A strikefest ensues ringside, Flatliner by Lethal into the barricade. Lethal pulls the barricade to try and set up the ladder. 
  • DDT by Lethal drops Ospreay on his head in-ring, Lethal Injection taunt reversed into a reverserana by Ospreay. Flip-over into a sit-out powerbomb by Ospreay, near fall. 
  • “This is Awesome” chants.
  • Sunset Flip by Ospreay on the apron sends Lethal into the ladder set up against the barricade.
  • Dropkick to the back of the head of Lethal by Ospreay, Great wrap around kick by Ospreay. Oscutter caught into a cutter by Lethal, Lethal Injection caught into another wrap around kick by Ospreay. 
  • Ospreay teases using the title again, hits a great series of kicks and an Oscutter, amazing near fall. 
  • Supercanrana reversed into a super powerbomb by Lethal, Lethal Injection by Lethal closes the match.

Winner: Jay Lethal Retains! Day Count: 90+

Rating: ****3/4, ROH this year has been too focused on polishing its craft and not delivering great matches. There are a few standouts but nothing I’d say would rank on a MOTY contender list. Once Lethal grabbed the title you could tell something was gonna change and it did. Lethal has taken the belt and ran with it. This match here is ROH’s best match of this year by far. Will Ospreay showed up as a heel and that’s awesome and these 2 had amazing chemistry and from minutes in until the end, the match was flying. These two striked the hell out of each other and delivered some great high-flying. This match was a big highlight of this show and ROH’s MOTY (so far)

Show Grade: B-

Last Word: While most of this show was kinda lethargic and without urgency, the highs were higher than anything so far this year in ROH. The undercard was good starting with Liger vs. King, SCU vs. The Briscoes and Sakai vs. Dashwood all good matches but Martinez vs. Sabin was a stinker, however, the Cobb appearance made up for it. The final two matches were a great way to end the show, The 10-Man tag was mindless fun and the main event of Lethal vs. Ospreay was ROH’s MOTY so far. The total show felt long and had a lame mid-card but the undercard shined and so did the final 2 matches. So far in 2018 ROH hasn’t been perfect and this continues that trend but Ospreay vs. Lethal comes to near perfection. 

WWE Hell in a Cell 2018 Review

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Star Ratings + Results:

  • Randy Orton defeats Jeff Hardy inside Hell in a Cell @23:52 ***3/4
  • Becky Lynch defeats Charlotte Flair to win the SD Live Women’s Title @13:34 ***1/2
  • Drew Mcintyre and Dolph Ziggler defeat The Shield to retain the RAW Tag Titles @22:08 ****1/2
  • AJ Styles defeats Samoa Joe to retain the WWE Title @19:00 ****
  • Miz and Maryse defeat Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella @13:00 **1/4
  • Ronda Rousey defeats Alexa Bliss to retain the Raw Women’s Title @12:12 ***
  • Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman goes to a no contest @24:51 *

 

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Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton Hell in a Cell Match:

  • A WWE dream-match from 2010 that should’ve happened when both men were in their primes.
  • New painted red cell distracts from the match. 
  • Match starts fast and they start to brawl ringside sending each other into the cell, Hardy brings out a table.
  • Hardy kicks the table into the chest of Orton ringside sending him into the cell. 
  • Hardy also brings out a ladder and hits Orton with it, Orton fights back with a steel chair though.
  • Great Jumping Senton by Hardy off a steel chair ringside sends Orton into the cage.
  • Hardyiac Arrest Dropkick by Hardy for the first near fall. 
  • Great superplex by Orton, Orton deadlifted Hardy to get him higher sending Jeff down hard, near fall. 
  • Whisper in the Wind by Hardy, near fall. 
  • Hardy goes for another ladder and sets it up upside-down ringside. A front suplex by Orton sends Hardy through the ladder supports, innovative spot, near fall back in-ring.
  • Orton attacks Hardy with a steel chair, Orton grabs Hardy’s steel studded belt and whips him with it, a little kinky for WWE but okay…
  • Orton puts Hardy in between a ladder and stomps it down on him, near fall. 
  • These guys are working really slowly in this match, especially Orton. 
  • Hardy fires up and hits a sequence of dropkicks, near fall.
  • Twist of Fate countered into a Powerslam by Orton, near fall.
  • Orton pulls out tools and grabs a screwdriver, so Orton looks like he’s trying to kill Hardy and the ref is standing there like “how bout you don’t” good WWE logic. Orton puts a screwdriver through the ear lobe of Hardy and twists it, almost too brutal. Gross. Fitting for a HIAC match though.
  • Hardy attacks Orton with a chair, Hardy’s snapped and pins Orton, near fall.
  • Orton pulls Hardy off the top rope stopping the swanton bomb. From the belt whipping by Hardy to Orton Randy’s back is bloody and welted. 
  • Hangman DDT by Orton. Orton taunts for the RKO but fails hitting it, Twist of Fate by Hardy. Hardy lays a steel chair on Orton and goes for the Swanton Bomb and hits it on the chair on Orton, good near fall. 
  • The leg of Orton is busted open. This match is actually brutal but the crowd is lame as hell. 
  • Hardy sets up ladders and a table in the ring, Twist of Fate Stunner puts Orton on the table. Hardy climbs up to the tallest ladder and grabs the cell ceiling and swings off down through the table as Orton dodges. Great innovative cell spot. The referee calls for the cell to be called up and EMTs even though it’s Hell in a Cell and they didn’t do that shitty finish for Mick Foley or Triple H when they took worse spots. Randy Orton anti-climactically pins Hardy for the win. 

Winner: Randy Orton

Rating: ***3/4, this felt like an old school brutal match. These guys went for it all and this might be my favorite Randy Orton match since the Christian feud. Jeff Hardy shined in this match and took some insane spots like the screwdriver ear and the swing off the cell ceiling. The spots were really innovative too and like nothing we’ve ever seen in HIAC which it’s rare to see WWE try anything new. However, the match was worked really slow for the majority and the ending was weird. Never before have they stopped a HIAC match because someone took a hard spot, it didn’t look like Hardy landed unsafely at all so they were just trying to sell the intensity of spot and the whole point of the cell is so these guys can go crazy without any help from the ref. This match both made the cell look brutal but also made it look like just another stipulation which is honestly what it’s become in recent years. Orton vs. Hardy was a fitting feud for the cell but this match is another reason why WWE should only bring out the cell when it’s needed. Overall, this match was a breath of fresh air even if that breath was way too long. 

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Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte (c) for the SD Live Women’s Title:

  • The feud behind this match has been great and has really highlighted Becky Lynch. 
  • Early attempts by both at their submission finishers.
  • Diving Forearm off the apron by Lynch knocks Charlotte down ringside. 
  • Near fall roll up by Charlotte followed up with a Diving forearm by Lynch for another near fall.
  • Becky Lynch is doing a good job of working the arm of Lynch and keeps her in a hammerlock. Charlotte fights out and hits a chop but a lariat by Lynch goes for a near fall. 
  • Lynch misses a leg drop and Flair hits a sloppy knee stomp, Lynch hotshots Charlotte’s arm over the top rope. Lynch drops Flair shoulder first into the apron. Back in-ring near fall. 
  • Saito Suplex by Charlotte giver her much needed space. 
  • Big Boot by Charlotte knocks down Becky after a solid sequence. Charlotte follows it up with a moonsault that misses, Lynch locks in an armbar but Flair powers into a powerbomb, near fall.
  • Strikefest starts and Lynch fires it up and hits an inverted DDT landing Flair on her shoulder, near fall. 
  • Lynch flies off the top rope and neither of them do anything so Lynch just awkwardly falls and Flair locks in the Boston Crab, Lynch grabs rope.
  • Lynch pulls Charlotte’s arm into the post, in-ring roll up by Flair but Lynch locks in the Dis-Arm-Her as she kicks out, Flair escapes to ringside. 
  • Spear by Charlotte great reversal by Lynch into a shock pin and she wins the title. 

Winner: Becky Lynch New Champion!

Rating: ***1/2, this was a great match with both looking really good. The story of Lynch working the arm and at the end the story of Lynch finally getting her moment made this more than a good sprint. The pacing was much better than the last match and this match was for the most part cleanly worked. Becky Lynch deserves her moment to add a chapter to this good feud. 

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The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler and Drew Macintyre(c) for the Raw Tag Titles:

  • Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins start the match. 
  • Early Stomp attempt by Seth sends Ziggler ringside to recuperate with Drew. 
  • Drew and Dolph square up, Ziggler distracts Dean and Mcintyre clocks Ambrose from behind. 
  • Hot tag by Seth Rollins after isolation on Dean. Suicide Dive attempt stopped by Mcintyre, Spike DDT by Ziggler out of nowhere on Seth, near fall. 
  • Drew and Dolph isolate Rollins, Ziggler locks in a sleeper on Rollins, Saito suplex by Rollins breaks Dolph off and opens tags, Mcintyre pulls Ambrose off the apron to stop the tag. 
  • Reverse Alabama Slam by Mcintyre to Rollins, near fall save by Ambrose.
  • While on the shoulders of Mcintyre, Rollins makes the tag but Ziggler distracts the ref stopping the tag from being noticed and Drew and Dolph continue to isolate Rollins.
  • Seth finally tags in Dean for the hot tag. Jacknife cover by Ambrose for a near fall, swinging neckbreaker by Dean for another near fall on Drew. 
  • Dean sends Drew into the post and Dolph into the barricade. Dean goes to the top rope and goes for an elbow drop but Drew catches him and hits an exploder suplex into the corner. 
  • Hot tag by Seth Rollins, Rollins hits a suicide dive but gets caught by Drew and Dolph. Dean Ambrose hits a suicide dive to knock everybody down.
  • Falcon Arrow by Rollins on Dolph, very near fall.
  • Fameasser by Ziggler caught into a buckle bomb by Rollins, near fall save by Drew into a great sequence. Roll up by Ziggler, near fall, Roll up by Rollins, near fall and a Zig Zag by Dolph hits for an awesome near fall.
  • Claymore stopped with a superkick by Rollins, near fall. Another superkick by Rollins into a Frog Splash to the back of Drew, awesome near fall. Commentary is doing great selling the near falls. 
  • Plancha Dive by Rollins misses Ziggler sending Seth to a hard landing. Flying Lariat by Drew to Ambrose and Mcintyre kips up showing athleticism. 
  • Dean takes Drew to ringside, Superplex by Rollins but the Falcon Arrow stops with a Claymore kick by Drew out of nowhere for the close. Great finish. 

Winners: Drew Mcintyre and Dolph Ziggler Retain! Days Held: 14+

Rating: ****1/2, while my favorite conventional main roster WWE match is still The Miz vs. Seth Rollins from BackLash this places in the top 3. Seth Rollins has been the only consistently good thing about WWE this year and he continues to prove it by using actual logic, great high spots and amazing pacing in all of his matches. The addition of Dean and Drew made the great Ziggler vs. Rollins match even better.

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AJ Styles(c) vs. Samoa Joe for the WWE Title:

  • Really weird attitude era like feud behind this match.
  • Styles comes hot out of the gates. 
  • Good Dropkick by Styles knocks Joe ringside, sliding knee off the apron by Styles.
  • Styles looks really agressive in this match.
  • Baseball Slide by Styles knocks Joe into the announce table. 
  • Phenomenal Forearm attempt by Styles but Joe dodges to ringside. Plancha Dive to ringside by Styles caught with a kick by Joe. Big Boot ringside by Joe run Styles over. Joe chucks Styles into the steps.
  • Running Knee by Joe to Styles in the corner. Styles has lost most of his momentum. 
  • Step-up Enzugiri by Joe knocks Styles into the ropes, Joe kicks Styles to ringside. Amazing suicide punch dive by Joe to ringside, near fall in-ring. 
  • Running Uppercut by Joe absolutely flips Styles, near fall.
  • Superplex attempt by Joe but Styles slips under and snake eyes Joe on the top turnbuckle giving AJ some much needed space. 
  • AJ fires up the a series of strikes ending with a sliding forearm for a near fall. 
  • Moonsault Reverse DDT by Styles, near fall. Really good-looking move. 
  • Lionsault by Styles caught into the knees of Joe, Powebomb by Joe, near fall. Transition into a Boston Crab by Joe, transitioned into an STF by Joe, Styles grabs the ropes. 
  • Really impressive show of strength with a Burning Hammer Powerbomb by Styles for a near fall. 
  • Springboard 450 by Styles hits, near fall.
  • Slingshot by Joe sends Styles into the corner, hard running lariat by Joe for a good near fall. 
  • Joe looks for a Muscle Buster but Styles reverses into a failed Styles Clash, Stiff step-up enzugiri by Joe knocks Styles down, great near fall. The crowd should be a lot more into this. 
  • Pele Kick by Styles knocks Joe into the corner, Phenomenal Forearm caught into the Coquina Clutch by Joe, Styles rolls up Joe for the win. On replay it looked like Styles tapped out before the 3 count meaning Joe won but Styles gets to retain. 

Winner: AJ Styles Retains! Day Count: 314

Rating: ****, for a WWE match this was really hard-hitting and some of AJ’s best work in a while. The crowd was out of it due to the live crowd for this show, frankly, just being absolute crap. These 2 were hitting big strikes and moves going off of great pacing for a while. Hopefully, they can top this match due to the finish teasing another chapter. A rare occasion where a non-finish in WWE makes me excited but it happened. 

  • Miz and Maryse defeat Brie Bella and Daniel Bryan **1/4

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Alexa Bliss vs. Ronda Rousey(c) for the Raw Women’s Title:

  • Alexa Bliss is accompanied by Alicia Fox and Mickie James and Rousey is accompanied by Natalya. 
  • Rousey launches Bliss across the ring with a beal. 
  • Rousey follows Bliss to ringside, scares her then throws her back in. 
  • Rousey side-steps Bliss sending her diving and taking out her posse. 
  • Bliss pulls Rousey’s hair over the top rope getting her on top for a second. 
  • Stiff mid-kick by Bliss to Rousey, Rousey is coming into the match with sore ribs so they’re continuing the story. 
  • Rousey goes for the Judo Throw but the ribs gave out, Double knee moonsault by Bliss for a near fall. 
  • Bliss doing a good job of working the ribs of Rousey.
  • Bliss kicks Rousey in the ribs on the tree of woe, near fall. 
  • The most offense Rousey has taken since her joining WWE. 
  • Bliss drives Rousey into the bottom turnbuckle and stretches her ribs against the post. Fox and James stretch Rousey against the post too and Natalya takes out Alicia Fox, Rousey takes out Mickie James. Double Crossbody by both women. 
  • Roll up by Rousey, near fall. Backslide by Rousey, near fall. Mid-kick by Bliss catches Rousey. 
  • Rousey fires up and Judo Throws Bliss. 
  • Judo Drop by Rousey into an armbar ending the match. 

Winner: Ronda Rousey

Rating: ***, This match was good as Rousey held her own totally and these two put on a good long match. However, Ronda looked way too weak in this match selling the rib injury and giving Bliss the majority of the offense. 

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Roman Reigns(c) vs. Braun Strowman Universal Championship Hell in a Cell Match with Mick Foley as Guest Referee:

  • Strowman grabs the title and Roman comes agressive out the gates.
  • Strowman sends Reigns into the cell wall via a shoulder block on the apron. 
  • Strowman trucks Roman into the cell wall ringside.
  • Braun’s first HIAC match.
  • Drive-By by Roman saves him from a steel step shot by Braun. 
  • Chokeslam on the apron by Braun. 
  • Reigns attacks Strowman with a kendo stick shattering it. 
  • Roman attacks Braun with a steel chair, Braun catches the chair and charges at Reigns but Reigns sidesteps sending Strowman into the post. 
  • DDT on the chair by Reigns, Strowman powers out early. 
  • 2 Superman punches by Reigns, Strowman catches the 3rd one in a chokeslam and gets a 3-count by Foley but they treat it like a 2. Strowman should’ve won the match and ended it awkwardly off that botch by Foley. 
  • The 3rd Superman Punch hits for Reigns, near fall. 
  • Someone in the crowd keeps screeching, it got so bad that they had to turn off the crowd mic. 
  • Reigns runs around the ring to superman punch Braun but gets caught with a steel step shot from Strowman. 
  • Another steel step shot in-ring by Braun, near fall. 
  • Running Powerslam by Strowman, near fall.
  • Foley is a bad referee. 
  • 4th and 5th Superman Punches rock Strowman, the 1st spear sends Braun through a table set up ringside. 
  • Both are down as Dolph Ziggler and Drew Mcintyre come down, Dean and Seth come down to take out The Show. 
  • Ziggler starts climbing the cell and gets to the top, Rollins follows him and they brawl on top of the cell. Mcintyre comes up to help Ziggler and Ambrose comes up with a kendo stick to even the odds. Double lariat spot by Ambrose and Mcintyre on the top of the cell. 
  • Ziggler and Rollins brawl halfway down to the floor and both fall off half the cell through the announce table. 
  • Brock Lesnar comes down and literally kicks the door down off the hinges. Lesnar attacks Braun and Reigns with table fragments. F5 to Reigns onto Strowman by Lesnar. Heyman maces Foley so a new ref calls a no contest. 

Winner: No Contest Reigns Retains, Day Count: 28

Rating: *, so much overbooking bullshit made a bad match even worse. I’m tired of WWE putting the biggest men against each other in one-dimensional boring matches. Inside the cell it was lame but Lesnar’s return and the fact that Reigns and Strowman literally sat in the ring doing nothing for 10 minutes made this a crapshoot. I heavily dislike Braun Strowman and this continues my case that he’s no longer what he used to be, now he’s an annoying, whiny and boring big man in total contrary to what he used to be just a few months ago on raw. Reigns being bad still isn’t his fault at all. This match had nothing working for it in-ring and while it could’ve been a fun and insane spotfest WWE literally messed it all up and ended a HIAC match in a no contest. This show made the HIAC just another stipulation washed over in the system.

Show Grade: B

Last Word: The in-cell work tonight was stuff of nightmares, both matches made the HIAC look like a bitch boy palace with both matches ending in the referees deciding that the comabtants were too hurt. Just to double check, this is Hell in a Cell right?? The same stipulation that had Mick Foley’s teeth shoved out of his mouth and into his nose and he had to wrestle the rest of the match after multiple 20+ foot falls against the Undertaker?? Okay, so tell me why Brock Lesnar’s F5 is more brutal than a fall into thumbtacks or a fall through the cell. Is swinging off the cell ceiling more brutal either? No, the hell in a cell is a bitch boy palace now. Regardless, what was out of the cell on this show was stellar. The Drew and Dolph vs The Shield and Styles vs. Joe were very good while Lynch vs. Flair and Rousey vs. Bliss were both good. The show started well with the Orton vs. Hardy clash that even though ended really bad had a couple great brutal spots and the quality either got better or remained the same until the atrocious main event and ending.