Monthly Archives: January 2016

Brendo’s Smackdown Recap – 1/28/16

The Hulu preview image for this week’s Smackdown features Neville and Kalisto so that is a good sign.  I am optimistic as this is also A.J. Styles’ Smackdown debut.  We start off with a recap of the events of the Royal Rumble and RAW.  We then start off things in Tampa with the New Day.  Has Kofi explained why he wears Iron Sheik boots?  We’re shown a clip from RAW where The New Day faced off with The Rock on the mic and got taken out by The Rock and The Usos.  So far this show has been 7 minutes of recaps.  Back in real time, The New Day say that The Rock should should be ashamed of himself and that he doesn’t have gold like they do.  They criticize Rocky’s use of harsh language, saying he has a “doo doo mouth,” and remind him it is a PG show.  The Miz comes down and says he was also humiliated by The Rock and that he does not get upstaged.  The Usos interrupt.  They make fun of the fact that The Miz is still talking about main eventing Wrestlemania 4 years ago.  Titus O’Neil and Dolph Ziggler join The Usos at ringside and they charge the ring and clear out The Miz and New Day.  Did Prime Time Players break up again and they just didn’t bother to tell anybody?  Darren Young wrestled in the Royal Rumble pre-show so it’s not like he’s hurt.  

The New Day & The Miz vs. The Usos, Dolph Ziggler, and Titus O’Neil

Xavier starts off against Jay but quickly tags to The Miz.  Jay gets Miz in a headlock but The Miz sends him into the ropes and Jay responds with a shoulder tackle.  Some good work to get things started between Jay and The Miz.  Lots of great trash talking by Xavier as Jay tags in Jimmy and they hit a double elbow on The Miz.  The Miz nails Jimmy with a jawbreaker and tags out to Kofi.  Jimmy tags in Titus, who nails Kofi with a big slap to the chest in the corner.  Kofi tries to get away but Titus drags him into the corner and hits another slap.  The crowd asks for another and Titus obliges.  He tags in Dolph who hits a standing dropkick and gets a two count.  Kofi goes for the eyes and then hits a dropkick.  He tags in Xavier who hits a dropkick of his own.  Xavier powers Dolph into the corner and tags in Big E.  Big E hits a big slam and gets a two count.  Dolph makes a comeback and gets a hot tag to Jimmy Uso.  Jimmy hits the corner splash and clears the ring.

Big E surprises Jimmy with a belly to belly suplex and The New Day takes control.  The Miz joins in on the Unicorn Stampede followed by Miz’s corner clothesline.  Kofi is tagged in and Jimmy attempts to make a comeback.  Kofi gets a hot tag to Xavier but Woods gets smashed into the ropes and Jimmy makes the tag to Titus while Woods barely tags in The Miz.  Titus clears the ring and all hell breaks loose.  Ziggler hits the Zig Zag on Woods and The Usos take care of the rest of The New Day with superkicks and dives to the outside.  The Miz goes for a Skull Crushing Finale on Dolph but Titus comes from behind and nails him with Clash of the Titus to get the pinfall.  This was a great, fast paced match but it’s time to find some new opponents for The New Day.

Neville vs. Kalisto (U.S. Championship Match)

This should be a great match.  Some quick action to start  at the bell.  Kalisto goes for a monkey flip and Neville lands on his feet.  Kalisto nails a great flying headscissors out of a handstand and Neville goes to the outside.  Kalisto goes for a hurricanrana off the apron and Neville catches him and goes for a running powerbomb but Kalisto reverses it into a hurricanrana into the barricade.  They both land hard.  After the break Kalisto goes for a springboard hurricanrana but Neville turns it into a powerbomb and gets a two count.  Neville takes control and they go up to the top rope.  Kalisto turns the tables on Neville and hits an amazing hurricanrana from the top rope.  Mauro calls it a super frankensteiner.  I think that is the same thing but I am not really sure.  I think I need to take a class on wrestling moves.  Let me know your thoughts if you are reading this.  Neville comes back with some stiff kicks to the midsection of Kalisto. He goes for a deadlift suplex but Kalisto counters with a sunset flip and gets a two count.  Neville goes for another suplex and this time Kalisto counters with a modified Salida Del Sol and gets the three count for the win.  This was really good.  There were some near botches but both of these guys worked hard and made it look great.

The Highlight Reel with Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose

Man, I wish Jericho was back full time.  He has looked great during this run.  He is always great on the mic and has proved he definitely is still great in the ring.  Jericho starts things off by talking about the Royal Rumble, reminding us he went 51 minutes.  He then talks about RAW and his match with AJ Styles, which was amazing.  He hypes up Fastlane, which will feature a triple threat match between Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Brock Lesnar to determine who will face Triple H at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship.

Jericho introduces Dean Ambrose, who comes to the ring with flowers.  Jericho then introduces Roman Reigns, who seems to be getting a decent reaction, especially from kids.  Again, it’s hard to tell what is real on Smackdown but judging by the looks on people’s faces he is getting a good response.  Ambrose gives the flowers to Jericho, saying his set could use some decoration as it basically consists of one TV in the middle of the ring.  Reigns and Ambrose say that their friendship won’t be affected by their Fastlane match but they are prepared to beat the heck out of each other.  Jericho asks them about Lesnar and the fact that while Reigns knows what to expect, Dean hasn’t been in the ring with Lesnar.  Ambrose says he’s not afraid because he’s indestructible.  He has no time to be scared because a trip to WrestleMania is on the line.  Reigns responds by telling Dean that Lesnar is for real and he doesn’t understand.  He is unlike anyone he’s competed against.  Dean says that technically he doesn’t have to beat Lesnar, he just has to beat Reigns. Roman responds by saying it will be the first time because Dean hasn’t beat Roman.

The Wyatt Family interrupt.  Bray says The Wyatts slayed the Beast at the Royal Rumble.  Reigns says he doesn’t know what Bray is talking about and that he should come down to the ring so they can settle it with their fists.  Bray says tonight he plans to put Roman, Jericho, and Ambrose to the test.  He challenges them to a match tonight and tells them to run.  Remember when Jericho turned his back on Dean and Roman just a few months ago? I guess no one else does either. How do you have a show with a big writing staff and claim you are just as great as scripted dramas and stuff like that happens all the time?  Just put AJ out there so I can try to not be bothered by this.

The Social Outcasts are in the ring after the break.  They say they should have been the hottest thing trending after RAW and the awesome Bo Rida rap battle but instead everyone is talking about AJ Styles.  Axel is upset that AJ ended his year long run in the Royal Rumble and calls him out.

Curtis Axel vs. AJ Styles

Man, everything about AJ is awesome.  The theme song is really warming up on me.  If you missed his match against Jericho on RAW you owe it to yourself to check it out.  Axel is no Jericho but I am looking forward to this match as well.  AJ hits an awesome dropkick to start things off followed by some stiff kicks and a knee drop.  Axel hangs on to the ring apron and comes back with a clothesline.  He then nails a series of stomps on AJ in the corner and a big dropkick.  He follows this up with a backbreaker. He goes for an elbow off the second rope and AJ rolls out of the way.  AJ nails a huge clothesline followed by a roundhouse kick.  He goes for a fireman’s carry but Axel gets out of it.

AJ hits a beautiful Pele kick off the second turnbuckle and gets a two count.  The Social Outcasts try to distract AJ and AJ nails Rose with a flying punch and then takes out Bo and Slater with a dive to the outside. Axel tries to drag AJ back in the ring but AJ catches him on the ropes.  He goes for a springboard attack but Axel nails him with a kick.  Axel goes for a Perfect Plex but AJ gets out of it and hits a Pele Kick followed by a Styles Clash for the three count.  Awesome.  The Outcasts try to attack AJ after the match but AJ is too quick for them.

Charlotte vs. Natalya

Natalya and Charlotte had the match that truly sparked a revolution in NXT but somehow I’m doubting we’ll get anything close to that tonight.  We do get some great chain wrestling and back and forth to start things off.  Natalya hits a snapmare and runs right over Charlotte’s face.  She follows this up with a dropkick.  Charlotte gets a rope break and surprises Natalya with a huge kick to the face.  Charlotte takes her time going for the pin and gets a two count.  She locks Nattie in an abdominal stretch and Natalya manages to reverse it .  Charlotte attempts a reversal but Natalya turns it into a backslide.  Charlotte gets out of that right away. Natalya hits Nattie by Nature and then a German release suplex.  Charlotte rolls out of the ring.  Natalya tosses her back in and Ric distracts Natalya with some woos.  Charlotte takes advantage by hitting a chop block and then gets Natalya in the Figure 8 to get the submission victory.  Charlotte locks Nattie in the Figure 4 after the match and Becky Lynch makes the save.  Charlotte stares down Becky on the ramp.  This match got more time than I thought it would and was a great match.  I’m glad Becky is still in the mix as I was worried she would be an afterthought after Sasha made her return at the Royal Rumble.

R-Truth is stretching outside the arena and Goldust joins him.  He asks if he can run with R-Truth.  R-Truth seems a little unsure about it.  He seems to still think Goldust is asking to sleep with him.  Goldust assures him he just wants to be in a tag team but then says he needs a groin massage and R-Truth takes off.  I don’t mind them teaming up, it could actually be pretty fun but I’m already kind of tired of these skits.  They sound like they were written by a 12 year old.

The Wyatts vs. Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Chris Jericho  

Jericho starts things off against Erick Rowan as it’s Harper, Rowan, and Bray in for The Wyatts.  Jericho tags in Ambrose and they double team Rowan.  Ambrose hits a big dropkick and tags in Roman.  Roman hits some strikes in the neutral corner.  He drives Rowan into his corner and tags in Jericho.  Rowan takes control and he tags in Harper as they hit a double team on Jericho.  Harper hits some palm strikes followed by a stiff kick.  He goes for a backdrop but Jericho hits a big boot.  He hits an elbow off the turnbuckle and goes for the Walls of Jericho.  Harper powers out of it but Jericho responds with an enziguri and gets a two count.  He then hits a running clothesline into the corner and then goes for a mounted ten punch but Harper counters with a delayed vertical suplex.

When we come back from break Bray is in and nails Jericho with a clothesline.  He tags in Rowan who grinds his fists into the temple of Jericho.  Jericho tries to come back with some punches but Rowan counters with a backbreaker and gets a two count on the pin attempt.  He tags out to Harper and Harper gets Jericho in a modified reverse figure four leg lock.  Jericho gets out of it with some strikes to the face but Harper locks him in a sleeper hold.  Jericho again powers out and goes for a crossbody but Harper counters with a Michinoku Driver and gets a near fall.  That was pretty awesome.  Harper is one of the most underrated wrestlers on the roster and Jericho is bringing out the greatness in him.  Harper hits a big boot to knock Reigns off the apron and then goes for a running splash on Jericho but Jericho hits a Codebreaker and tags out to Ambrose while Harper tags in Rowan.

Ambrose hits a Thesz press on Rowan and follows this up with a forearm and a running bulldog.  He hits an elbow off the turnbuckle and gets a two count on Rowan.  He then hits a slingshot dive onto Bray on the outside.  Rowan goes for a dive but Ambrose lowers the rope and Rowan lands hard on the outside.  Ambrose tosses Rowan back in the ring and goes for a diving attack but Rowan counters with a spinning heel kick and gets a two count.  Rowan tags in Bray, who hits a big senton on Ambrose.  He goes for Sister Abigail but Ambrose counters with a rollup and gets a two count.  Bray nails him with a punch but Ambrose hits a rebound clothesline.  He gets a hot tag to Reigns as Bray tags in Harper and Reigns goes to town on Harper.  He hits a series of clotheslines in the corner and then nails a big boot on Harper and goes for the pin.  Rowan breaks it up  Ambrose takes out Rowan and Jericho nails a springboard dropkick on Wyatt.  Jericho and Ambrose then hit double springboard planchas to the outside on Wyatt and Rowan. Pretty awesome.

Back in the ring, Reigns goes for a Superman punch but Strowman hits him from behind in the corner and Harper gets a rollup off the distraction for a two count.  Reigns hits the Superman punch and goes for the pin but Strowman breaks it up, dragging Reigns out of the ring.  The ref calls for the bell and Ambrose tries to get a sleeper on Strowman but Strowman slams him to the ground.  Jericho attacks Strowman but Strowman tosses him across the announce table.  The Wyatts drag Reigns into the ring.

The Big Show comes down and takes out Harper and Rowan on the floor.  He faces off with Strowman.  Harper and Rowan attack Show from behind and the Wyatts all gang up on Show in the ring.  Roman comes in and goes for a Superman punch on Strowman but Strowman catches him in a chokehold.  Big Show gets up and gets Stowman in a chokehold.  He tosses Strowman out of the ring as Bray goes for Sister Abigail on Reigns.  Roman gets out of it and nails a Superman punch on Bray.  Jericho and Ambrose get back in and take out Rowan, leaving Harper all alone.  The Big Show throws Harper right into a Reigns spear and the good guys stand tall in the ring.  I guess Big Show is a good guy again.  This was another really good episode of Smackdown. I enjoyed all the matches, especially Neville vs. Kalisto and AJ vs. Axel.

Brendo’s NXT Recap – 1/27/16

This should be a very exciting episode of NXT as the Main Event is a triple threat match featuring Sami Zayn, Baron Corbin, and Samoa Joe to determine the new #1 contender for the NXT Championship.  

American Alpha vs. Blake & Murphy

Jordan and Gable are sporting a new name and new gear.  These guys are awesome.  Murphy and Jordan start things off.  Murphy tries to sweep the leg and Jordan counters with a big German suplex.  He works Murphy’s arm and tags in Gable, who continues working the arm.  The crowd is chanting “Gable” to the tune of Kurt Angle’s theme song.  It’s pretty great.  Murphy creates some space and tags in Blake but Gable is able to take both of them down and works the arm of Blake.  Blake reverses but Gable counters with a snapmare.  The two go back and forth running the ropes and Gable hits him with some gorgeous armdrags followed by a headscissors.  Gable is a machine!

Blake manages to tag out to Murphy and Gable armdrags him as well followed by a schoolboy for a two count.  Murphy leapfrogs over Gable and comes down hard on his knee.  He feigns injury and Blake takes out Gable while the ref is distracted. Murphy capitalizes and takes out the knee of Gable.  Blake and Murphy are firmly in control off of that distraction.Murphy continues working over Gable’s knee.  Gable manages to power out and launches Murphy over the rope.  He goes for the tag but Murphy tags Blake in and Blake stops him.  This only turns out to be temporary as Gable gets the hot tag to Jordan.  Jordan nails Blake and Murphy with dropkicks and hits a huge German suplex on Blake who lands on Murphy.  He follows this up with a big shoulder tackle into the corner on Blake.  Jordan and Gable hit their assisted slam finisher and Gable gets the three count for the win.  This was a great match and American Alpha continue their rise to the top of the NXT tag team ranks.

Emma and Dana Brooke are interviewed backstage.  Emma will be facing Carmella next week.  Dana says Carmella hasn’t done a thing in NXT and Emma says Carmella doesn’t have the skills to beat Bayley, let alone Emma.  Emma says Carmella has gotten lucky and next week her luck will run out.  Good promo work by Emma and Dana.

We get a video showing Asuka’s success in NXT and her feud with Dana Brooke and Emma.  Asuka is amazing and definitely the future of the NXT Women’s division.

Nia Jax vs. Liv Morgan

Nia is accompanied to the ring by Eva Marie.  Liv Morgan looked pretty good in the Battle Royale but I’m not sure we’ll be seeing much of her tonight.  Jax gets Morgan in an airplane spin.  Morgan tries to counter with a sunset flip and Jax slams her to the mat.  She then gets Morgan in a sleeper hold.  Morgan manages to counter with a jawbreaker and hits a couple dropkicks but Nia stays on her feet and tosses Morgan to the mat.  Nia hits a sidewalk slam followed by a big leg drop and the pin for the win.  Nia looked pretty good here.

Carmella, Enzo, and Cass give a promo backstage.  Carmella says she’ll beat Emma next week all by herself and that the Emmalution is a joke.  Enzo and Cass say they heard what Dash and Dawson said last week about them.  Enzo does his usual thing.  Pretty great as always.

Bull Dempsey vs. Alex Riley

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Bull Dempsey and it’s been even longer since we’ve seen Alex Riley.  Riley has been out with an injury and he looks pretty good.  Riley starts off with some big kicks to Dempsey.  Riley then backs him into the corner and nails him with a series of punches.  He then hits a neckbreaker and gets a two count on the pin attempt.  Riley doesn’t let off and gets Bull in a headlock.  Bull reverses and hits a series of lefts to the head of Riley but Riley surprises Bull with a huge spinebuster. Very impressive.  Riley then hits Bull with a big running knee and gets the three count.  This is definitely a different side of Alex Riley and it will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

After the break we get an interview in the locker room with Alex Riley.  He says he’s had a lot time on his hands and has contacted the office multiple times about his return but no one cares.  He complains that Sami Zayn had a much hyped up return but everyone is surprised to see him here.  Pretty good stuff.

Elias Samson vs. John Skyler

Poor Skyler didn’t even get a title card.  Samson hits some kicks and stomps to start things off.  No one seems to know what the deal is with Samson but I’m not sure why we’re supposed to care.  He plays the guitar and is a drifter.  Skyler attempts a comeback but Samson nails a knee to the side of the head and then hits his spinning neckbreaker finisher to get the pinfall.  I want to like Samson but so far he hasn’t shown us much of anything.  He’s not scary, that’s for sure.  The announcers are trying to say he’s scary and that’s not really working.

The Hype Bros are backstage and they talk about the Vaudevillains new videos which are dark and feature them just staring into the camera.  Mojo is wearing some amazing Zubaz.  They hype up their match with The Vaudevillains next week.  This wasn’t too bad and that’s saying a lot for these guys.  I think I might actually be warming up to them.  Maybe.

We are shown a recap of the great match between Apollo Crews and Finn Balor a couple months ago that was stopped by Baron Corbin.  Balor will take on Crews next week in a non-title rematch.  That should be great.

Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Championship #1 Contender Match)

I am really surprised we haven’t seen Samoa Joe on the main roster yet but I guess they are biding their time.  Makes sense.  It looks like Joe and Corbin are going to double team Zayn but Corbin surprises Joe with a punch to the head.  Corbin tosses Zayn into Joe, knocking Joe out of the ring.  Corbin then works over Zayn but Zayn comes back with some forearms.  Corbin goes for a running attack but Zayn ducks and Corbin goes over the ropes and to the floor.  Zayn goes for a diving attack but is tripped up by Joe.  Joe and Zayn brawl on the outside.  Joe nails Corbin with a huge boot and then nails Zayn with a headbutt.  He tosses Zayn back into the ring and hits a series of fists in the corner.  Joe is looking great here, very fierce.  Joe and Zayn trade forearms.  Joe nails him with an uppercut and hits a snapmare followed by a chop to the back of the neck and a kick to the head.  Joe attempts a kneedrop to Zayn but Zayn rolls out of the way and hits a dropkick to the head.  Joe rolls out of the ring and Corbin surprises Zayn from behind.  He hits some stomps and punches on a grounded Zayn.  He follows this up with a toss into the turnbuckle as we go to a break.

When we come back from break Corbin has Zayn in the corner and lands a big punch.  Zayn comes back and then Joe takes down Corbin with a punch.  Joe and Zayn go at it and Sami takes him down with a big clothesline.  He then sends Corbin to the outside with another huge clothesline.  He then dives over the top rope and nails both Joe and Corbin.  Sami tosses Corbin back in the ring and goes for a spinning DDT but Corbin slams him to the mat.  Joe takes control, hitting Corbin with a boot to the face and then a senton on both Corbin and Zayn.  He nails a powerslam on Zayn and gets a near fall.

Joe drags Zayn to the corner and smashes his face into the turnbuckle.  He hits a series of strikes and then goes for the Muscle Buster.  Sami breaks free but Joe nails an enziguri.  Joe goes for the Muscle Buster again but Corbin breaks it up and then goes for a superplex on Zayn.  Zayn fights out of it and pushes Corbin off. He leapfrogs over Corbin and then nails him with the Blue Thunder Bomb.  Corbin manages to kick out and Zayn is winded against the ropes.  Joe comes from behind and drags Sami to the floor.  He gets Zayn in the Kokina Clutch on the ramp and Zayn is out.  Joe gets back in the ring and nails Corbin with a knee to the head in the corner.  Corbin goes for a running attack and Corbin counters with the End of Days.  Zayn dives back into the ring and breaks the pin.

An angry Corbin unloads on Sami Zayn in the corner.  He goes for a clothesline and Zayn counters with an exploder suplex.  Zayn then hits the Helluva Kick and goes for the pin but Joe breaks it up from the outside.  Joe and Zayn brawl on the outside and Zayn ends up throwing Joe into the ring steps.  Zayn gets back in the ring and goes after the downed Corbin.  Corbin tries to kick him from the ground but Zayn locks him in a Sharpshooter.  Corbin is almost to the ropes but Zayn drags him back into the middle of the ring.  Joe then runs in and gets Corbin in the crossface while Zayn still has the Sharpshooter locked in.  Corbin taps.  Both Joe and Zayn think they are the  winner. Regal comes down to try and sort things out.  Both Zayn and Joe argue their case with Regal.  Regal says he is going to have to go and review the tape. Joe says there is nothing to review and he leaves the ring in disgust.  It looks like we’ll find out Regal’s decision next week.  Great match and a great cliffhanger ending to the show.  I really dug it.

Brendo’s Lucha Underground Recap – 1/27/16

It’s the Season 2 premiere of Lucha Underground!  I was at the taping for this episode.  This was one of quite a few tapings where I stood in the balcony.  For most of these episodes I was right on the railing but for this episode I was behind a row of people because the balcony was so packed and I didn’t know how necessary it was to line up early to get a good spot.  Going to the tapings this season at the Temple in Boyle Heights has been amazing.  It’s some of the best wrestling I’ve seen live and the energy of the crowd is awesome.  It definitely requires a lot of patience as you have to stand in line to get into the lot, then stand in line to check in, then stand in another line to get your seat assignment, then stand in line again until they let you in to the Temple.  It’s a lot of hours of standing in line, but like I said, it’s worth it.

The first set of tapings was a bit rough as I then stood up in the balcony for the whole show.  That’s a lot of hours on your feet but it was an amazing experience. At the audience tapings they only film the matches and the in-ring promos.  We aren’t shown the vignettes and unless you are sitting in the section behind Striker and Vampiro, you can’t hear the commentary.  Vampiro would come out occasionally and tells us a few things about what was going on, such as the fact that Dario Cueto was missing and that Catrina was now in charge of the Temple.  Where there was once a band, a throne has been erected for the Lucha Underground Champion, Mil Muertes.  Let’s get to the show!

We start off with a shot of Vampiro.  But this is not Vampiro.  It’s Ian Hodgkinson.  He is in a psychiatric hospital.  A doctor asks him if he knows what day it is.  Ian says graduation day.  He has flashbacks to the match with Pentagon.  The doctor asks if he is having hallucinations and violent thoughts.  Ian says they are all gone.  The doctor gives him an anti-psychotic medication and says he must avoid the people and places that trigger his violent impulses.  Ian/Vampiro then attacks the doctor and smashes his head into the table.  He then bites the doctor.  We then discover this was a hallucination and Ian tells the doctor he can do what he asks.  Striker picks up Vampiro and they head to the Temple.  Striker says the Temple is a much darker place now.  These vignettes are nuts and awesome.

Next we’re in Catrina’s new office.  Fenix enters, holding the Gift of the Gods championship.  He says he is back for Mil Muertes and the title.  Catrina says as the new ruler of the temple she will make him wait until next week, but this week he will face King Cuerno with the Gift of the Gods Championship on the line.  Mil Muertes is seated on his throne and will be watching.  Vampiro and Striker welcome us back to the Temple!

King Cuerno vs. Fenix

It’s really dark in the Temple for these episodes and since I was in the back I don’t think I’m really visible.  Cuerno and Fenix exchange armdrags.  Some great chain wrestling and Fenix nails a standing moonsault for a two count.  Fenix goes for a dive but Cuerno catches him and nails him with a DDT to the outside from the floor.  Cuerno gets back in the ring and nails him with his big spear dive.  Cuerno drags Fenix inside and gets a two count.  He hits Fenix with a stiff kick.  Fenix hits a slingshot dropkick and then walks the ropes and nails him with a headscissors. He then hits his slingshot cutter off the ropes and Cuerno gets out of the ring.  Fenix hits an amazing corkscrew plancha to the outside.  The crowd is going nuts.  Fenix hits a big kick to Cuerno in the corner.  Cuerno responds with a huge diving punch.  Fenix then nails Cuerno with a superkick but can’t capitalize as Cuerno nails him with a jumping sidekick.

Both men are down but Cuerno is the first to get up.  He irish whips Fenix but Fenix counters with another slingshot cutter and then gets Fenix in a headlock submission.  Cuerno gets out of it and gets Fenix in a bow and arrow submission but Fenix powers out.  He hits a huge stomp off the top rope onto Cuerno and gets a near fall.  Fenix hits a series of kicks and strikes but Cuerno counters with Thrill of the Hunt for a near fall of his own.  Cuerno charges into the corner but Fenix counters with a huge kick.  He springs off the ropes and misses a 450 onto Cuerno.  Cuerno scoops up Fenix and hits a new crazy piledriver finisher and gets the pin to win the Gift of the Gods championship.  This match was amazing and super fast paced.

We see the former Trios Champions Ivelisse, Angelico, and Son of Havoc arrive at the temple as we cut to commercial.  Catrina tells them that Mil Muertes wants to see them face each other and that whoever wins the match will face Mil Muertes for the title tonight.  Ivelisse accepts the challenge and says that when she wins the championship she’s coming for Catrina.

Catrina comes to the ring and beckons for Melissa.  She whispers in Melissa’s ear and Melissa then announces the next match.

Son of Havoc vs. Angelico vs. Ivelisse (#1 Contenders Match)

I freaking love Angelico.  I was so happy I got to see him at PWG and here in Lucha Underground.  He was injured in January and had to miss the last part of the season but he  is here for now and that is awesome to see.  Before we go to commercial we cut to a quick vignette where Catrina congratulates Cuerno backstage.  He tells Catrina she has nothing to worry about and neither does Mil.  When we come back from commercial the bell rings and the action starts fast and furious.  Havoc wants the three to do a test of strength but Angelico jokes around with Ivelisse and gets a big kick by her for his troubles.  Angelico goes for a corner dive on Havoc but Havoc gets out of the way and Angelico nails Ivelisse instead.  Back and forth between Angelico and Havoc.  Angelico goes after Ivelisse in the corner but Havoc grabs Angelico from behind and Ivelisse nails Angelico with a top rope dive.  She then brawls with Havoc and nails him with a series of kicks.

Angelico nails a splash on Havoc but Ivelisse nails Angelico with an enziguri. Angelico gets tossed to the outside by Havoc and Havoc nails a suicide dive on Angelico.  He then nails a diving attack on Ivelisse on the other side of the floor.  He throws Angelico back in the ring and hits some strikes followed by a standing moonsault.  He gets a two count on the pin attempt.  Ivelisse mounts a comeback hitting some big attacks on Angelico but Angelico regains control and tosses Ivelisse to the outside.  Havoc nails Angelico with a series of strikes. He goes for a top rope attack on Angelico but before he can do that Ivelisse trips Havoc up on the turnbuckle and he goes down hard.  With Havoc out of action she focuses her attention on Angelico and manages to roll him up and get the three count.  Ivelisse will face Mil Muertes for the title tonight!

The next vignette starts with three random dudes in a car stopped somewhere trying to find an underground fight club. Black Lotus approaches their car and asks if they are lost.  The guys tell her they are looking for an underground fight club that they were told about and Lotus tells them to come with her. When we come back from commercial Mil Muertes descends from his throne to face Ivelisse and defend his title.

Ivelisse vs. Mil Muertes (Lucha Underground Championship Match)

Catrina accompanies Mil Muertes to the ring and summons the Disciples of Death, who take out Angelico and Son of Havoc while Catrina and Mil Muertes restrain Ivelisse.  The Disciples of Death carry Angelico and Son of Havoc out of the Temple.  The bell rings and Mil Muertes slams Ivelisse to the mat with one hand.  Ivelisse responds with a series of kicks and strikes that do nothing to Muertes.  Muertes nails Ivelisse with a backbreaker.  He then slams her into the turnbuckle head first.  Ivelisse attempts to mount a comeback with a series of punches but Muertes tosses her clear across the ring by her head.  He kicks her in the midsection, toying with her.  Ivelisse manages to get Muertes in a choke but Muertes powers out.  He slams Ivelisse to the ground.

Ivelisse attempts a triangle hold but Muertes powers through and pins her to the mat for a two count.  He whips Ivelisse into the ropes and Ivelisse manages to get Muertes in a rope assisted armbar but Muertes again powers out of it and tosses Ivelisse to the outside. Ivelisse surprises Muertes with a big top rope spinning DDT and gets a two count.  Catrina enters the ring and gets in Ivelisse’s face with the stone of power.  Muertes tries to capitalize on the distraction and goes for a spear but Ivelisse gets out of the way and Muertes nails Catrina.  Ivelisse then pins Muertes with a schoolboy and gets a near fall.  I really thought she had it there.  Great storytelling here.  Muertes comes back with a huge slam and gets the three count for the pin.  

Catrina goes for the lick of death but slams Ivelisse back to the mat instead and calls for Muertes to punish her some more.  Puma comes in for the save and gets Ivelisse out of the ring.  Pentagon comes from behind, hits Cuerno with the backstabber and then snaps his arm with the armbreaker.  Pentagon stands tall as the injured Cuerno is assisted away by Catrina.

The final vignette has Black Lotus approaching a building with the three guys who were in the car.  Dario Cueto is standing outside.  Black Lotus tells Cueto that the guys are looking for some underground fighting.  Cueto warns them that it can get kind of violent inside.  The leader of the guys says he doesn’t buy it and asks why “the chick” is here.  Lotus responds by smashing his face with an elbow.  One of the other guys says they love violence and Cueto says the admission is $20.  They pay Cueto and Cueto uses the key around his neck to open the building. As they go inside, the random guy asks Cueto who’s fighting tonight.  Cueto tells him that they are as he closes the door and we hear screams.

This was an awesome first episode and as great as the in-ring action is, the vignettes really add so much to the overall storytelling.  They’re what make this show unique.  My biggest observation from being in the Temple for this is that Pentagon Jr. was by far the most over wrestler pretty much any time he came out.  This first appearance was no exception as the crowd went nuts.  Expect more great things to come as this season is just getting started!


Brendo’s RAW Recap – 1/25/16

It’s the RAW after the Royal Rumble!  Last night’s PPV met all of my expectations and then some.  Even though I was disappointed with the finish and having to deal with what will likely be 2+ months of Triple H as champion, overall it was a great card and built up some feuds and continued some stories.  WWE has been hyping the return of a “major star” tonight, so hopefully that will be cool and AJ Styles will be making his RAW debut as well.

We start off with a recap of the Royal Rumble.  Haha, some guy in the Royal Rumble audience was holding up a stuffed poo emoji when Triple H won the belt.  Vince and Stephanie come strutting out.  We were discussing in the MBWS Facebook Group today about how the WWE has basically been doing a form of Austin vs. McMahon since 1997.  It’s old.  It needs to go.  Hopefully this is the last run.  Hopefully.  Vince says Roman Reigns is broken.  Vince runs down the crowd quite a bit.  Vince says that he confesses that he enjoys the misfortunes and misery of others and that no one is more miserable than Roman Reigns and just like the WWE Universe, he’s going to stay that way.  Steph said that we were all living in a pipe dream if we thought AJ, Ambrose, or Roman were going to win.  Huge AJ chants.  Steph introduces Triple H, who comes to the ring wearing a suit.  He opens his jacket to reveal the WWE title around his waist.

Triple H says he has to hand it to Roman Reigns.  He says Roman Reigns could be the best but he is not because he lacks respect and that Roman needs to learn his place.  He says that Vince McMahon might as well be God and that he won’t allow Roman to disrespect him.  He says a lot of people will ask why he needs to be WWE Champion.  He says he doesn’t need to be WWE champion but he wants to be WWE champion because people like Roman Reigns want to be WWE champion and they don’t deserve it and until he says so he will be champion.  Loud Roman chants from the crowd.  Steph wonders who Triple H is going to teach a lesson to at WrestleMania.  She says tonight they will be evaluating all the wrestlers and tonight they will announce the Main Event at FastLane.  The winner of that match will challenge Triple H for the title at WrestleMania 32.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kevin Owens

Owens’ left elbow is taped up after last night’s brutal Last Man Standing match.  Ziggler hits a superkick as soon as the bell rings and gets a two count.  Owens rolls out of the ring and he and Ziggler brawl at ringside.  Owens slams Ziggler into the barricade and drags him back in the ring, nailing him with punches and kicks in the corner.  Owens goes for a backdrop but Ziggler counters it with a dropkick and Owens again rolls out of the ring.  After the break Owens is in control and nails Ziggler with a headbutt.  He gets a two count on the pin attempt.  They go back and forth a bit.  Ziggler nails the Fameasser and gets a two count.  He then goes for a suplex but Owens counters by going for a Samoan Drop.  Ziggler counters by getting Owens in sleeper hold.  Owens gets out and goes for the cannonball splash in the corner but Dolph gets out of the way.  Owens nails Ziggler with a huge suplex out of the corner.

It looks like Dolph is out of it but he nails Owens with another superkick and gets a two count.  Ziggler tries to suplex Owens off the second turnbuckle but Owens shoves him off.  Owens goes to the top rope but Ziggler jumps up for a suplex.  Owens slides out and lands on the apron, catching Ziggler on the turnbuckle.  Owens then hits the pop-up powerbomb and gets the pin.  This was a good match with lots of back and forth action.

JoJo interviews Reigns backstage.  Pretty standard stuff here about Reigns saying he will show something to Triple H tonight.  Back in arena, the Social Outcasts are in the ring and Heath Slater talks trash to Flo Rida who is in the front row.  Adam Rose calls Heath Slater “Red Dragon” and that when he gets mad he spits fire.  Pretty great.  Bo Dallas then challenges Flo Rida to get in the ring and Flo Rida jumps the barrier and does so.  Heath Slater challenges Flo to a rap battle.  Flo Rida is surprised at this and Heath then says he won’t be facing Heath, he’ll be facing “Bo Rida!” Bo shows off his sweet rap skills.  Flo then does a diss rap on Heath Slater alluding to their previous altercation at WrestleMania 28.  He then makes makes fun of the rest of the Social Outcasts and brings out the Dudleys.

The Dudley Boyz vs. Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel

The Dudleys are working over Curtis Axel when we come back from the break.  Axel takes control after a distraction by The Social Outcasts.  Bo then leads the Outcasts in a “Bo Train” around the ring.  Axel and Bo re-enter the ring and work over Bubba.  Bubba creates some space and makes a hot tag to D-Von who firmly takes control hitting Axel with a series of slams and clotheslines. He gets a two count after a big clothesline.  D-Von tags in Bubba and they hit a double neckbreaker.  Heath Slater gets up on the apron but Flo Rida dumps him into the ring.  Flo and Heath stare each other down.  Flo feigns a punch and Heath runs away right into Bubba.  D-Von hits the Wassup on Slater and then Bubba Ray and D-Von hit the 3D on Curtis Axel to get the win.  They celebrate with Flo Rida.  This was pretty fun.

Rene interviews AJ regarding his match tonight with Chris Jericho.  She asks AJ to tell those who don’t know who exactly AJ styles is.  Before he can really do this, he is interrupted by Jericho.  Jericho says AJ has never competed in the big leagues and this is his big shot. He calls him kid and walks away.  After the break the announce team discusses Nikki Bella’s announcement today that she has a career threatening neck injury and will be having surgery.  Bummer for Nikki and best wishes to her.

Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles

What an awesome debut RAW match for Styles.  Jericho was awesome in the Rumble last night, lasting over 50 minutes and really keeping things interesting the whole time. Great entrance by AJ Styles and a good response from the crowd.  JBL acknowledges AJ as a two time IWGP champion.  Big AJ chant from the crowd as the bell rings.  They lock up and go into the corner for a clean break.  We get some good chain wrestling and AJ hits a nice armdrag.  He taunts Jericho and they lock up again.  This time Jericho takes control and hits some Flair chops and then an elbow.   AJ hits his big running clothesline and Jericho goes down.  Jericho powers AJ into the corner and hits some more big chops.  Jericho hits an awesome springboard dropkick off the ropes and knocks AJ off the apron and to the floor.  AJ rolls back in and Jericho hits a suplex.  He barely gets a one count before AJ kicks out.  AJ responds with some chops of his own.  Jericho regains control after reversing an AJ corner attack but AJ hits a great dropkick and knocks Jericho to the outside as we go to break.  This is a great match so far.

When we come back from break Jericho has AJ in a headlock in the ring and AJ powers out.  They both go for cross bodys and take each other out.  Styles hits some quick strikes and then nails a flying forearm into the corner.  Jericho hits Styles with an elbow and goes for the Walls of Jericho but Styles rolls out of it and nails him with a knee to the back of a neck.  Jericho recovers and nails Styles with a Northern Lights suplex.  AJ bridges out.  Jericho hits an enziguri and gets a two count.  More Flair chops by Jericho.  Styles creates some space and hits a huge flying punch from the top rope. He gets a near fall on the pin attempt.  Jericho surprises Styles with a punch.  Styles responds with a hurricanrana attempt but Jericho reverses it into the Walls of Jericho.  Styles barely makes it to the ropes.

Styles nails Jericho with a Pele kick and goes to the top rope. He goes for a frog splash but Jericho rolls out of the way. Jericho goes for a Lionsault but Styles gets his knees up.  He goes for a Styles Clash but Jericho manages to roll out of it and turns it into a pin attempt on AJ.  AJ reverses this with a sunset flip and gets the pin.  This was an amazing match.  Styles offers Jericho his hand afterward.  Jericho shakes it but things seem a little tense between them as Jericho pulls Styles in closer to him and then leaves the ring.

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch

It’s great to see Sasha back.  She had a huge moment at the Rumble last night coming out after the Divas Title match and attacking both Becky and Charlotte.  Sasha starts the match by taunting Becky about her loss last night.  Becky responds by slamming Sasha to the mat and then hitting a jumping sidekick into the corner.  Sasha responds with strikes of her own and takes Becky down with a slap.  She goes for the pin and gets a one and a half count.  The two go back and forth a bit, vying for control.  Becky hits a series of strikes and then an exploder suplex out of the corner, getting a two count on the pin attempt.  Sasha regains control and nails Becky with a stomp to the midsection in the corner.  She gets a two count on Becky.  Sasha goes for a suplex but Becky rolls through and gets an armbar on Sasha.  Sasha powers out of this and nails Becky with the Bank Statement.  Charlotte runs in and attacks Becky.  Sasha then goes after Charlotte but Charlotte nails her with Natural Selection.  Charlotte stands tall in the ring.  Pretty great match and it continued to build to future matches between these outstanding women.

Back in the locker room, Goldust is looking for R-Truth.  He finds his headphones and starts listening to them.  Truth arrives and asks what he is doing.  Goldust says that now that the Royal Rumble is over he thinks they should be partners.  R-Truth says there is nothing wrong with that but he is a married man.  Goldust doesn’t understand. As R-Truth leaves Goldust realizes the misunderstanding and yells that he wants them to be tag team partners as Golden Truth.  He asks him to think about it.  That could definitely be fun.

Bray Wyatt vs. Kane

So Kane is back.  Exciting.  I think he’s fine if he’s used properly so hopefully that will be the case and he isn’t in the main event picture.  Kane and Bray exchange power moves to start things off.  Kane gets Bray in the corner and nails a series of punches.  He hits a nice looking dropkick on a prone Bray.  Kane is looking pretty good here.  The crowd is chanting “We Want Lesnar.”  I guess I can’t blame them.  Bray and Kane go back and forth and the crowd is booing pretty loudly.  Bray misses a senton and Kane plants him with a DDT.  He then nails a series of corner splashes followed by a sidewalk slam, getting a two count on the pin attempt.  Kane goes for a chokeslam but Bray counters this.  They go back and forth a bit until Bray hits the Sister Abigail after a distraction from the Wyatts at ringside.  Nothing exciting here.  It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great.  The Wyatts gang up on Kane after the match.  You’ve seen this all before.

After the break Rich Brennan is standing outside a limo that we are led to believe contains the big returning WWE superstar.  He knocks on the door and The Miz gets out.  The Miz starts to deliver a promo but a truck drives in and The Rock gets out.  He calls The Miz a flying nun and asks him to park his truck.  The Rock greets Rick Ross backstage.  He then gives Big Show a hug.  He reminds him of the 2000 Royal Rumble where they both went over at the same time and says Big Show should have won.  He says that Big Show could have been The Scorpion King and gone on to a big movie career.  Show crushes the laptop he’s holding.  Pretty funny stuff.  The Rock continues on backstage and runs into a smiling Lana.  He reminds her of the time they were in Brooklyn and that Lana came over to his hotel afterwards.  Rusev comes from behind and The Rock congratulates them on their upcoming wedding.  That was a little dumb and more than a bit degrading.  He then continues with his promo as he walks to the curtain.  He. does his “Finally…” bit, his music hits, and Rock enters the arena to a big pop from the Miami crowd.

It takes awhile for the crowd to settle down enough for the Rock to start talking.  He asks Miami if they are ready for WrestleMania.  He says he plans on being at WrestleMania and they will break records.  He calls Byron Saxton “the other black dude that I don’t know.”  Ha.  The Rock says he’s going off script as he goes to talk to some guys dressed as Undertaker, Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and The Rock.  He says “The weed in Miami must be good tonight.”  The Rock then resumes his promo but is interrupted by The New Day.  Xavier gives Rock a hard time for not knowing who Byron Saxton is.  They talk about how they beat Rocky’s cousins, The Usos, last night.  Good stuff from Kofi.  They all mock Rocky’s tongue flapping.  Awesome.  They run down Miami and tell Rock he was smart to leave it for Hollywood.  The Rock mocks the unicorn horns by calling them llama penises, which the crowd starts chanting.

Some great back and forth between The Rock and New Day.  You should just watch this and enjoy it.  The Rock says Big E is the result of The Incredible Hulk banging Urkel.  He then invites them to come in the ring so he can take Francesca 2 and shove it up their candy asses.  He then calls them Uni-Bitches.  Definitely pushing that PG rating tonight.  Xavier asks Miami if they want to see The New Day get in the ring with The Rock and then says they don’t deserve it and they start to leave.  The Rock says he has a Plan B and The Usos attack The New Day on the ramp.  Big E gets The Rock Bottom. Kofi gets a Samoan drop.  Xavier gets superkicked by the Usos and a spinebuster from The Rock followed by The People’s Elbow.  The Rock thanks the WWE Universe and says he’ll see them at WrestleMania.  This was really fun overall.

Brie Bella and Alicia Fox vs. Paige and Natalya

It still hasn’t been explained why Paige and Natalya are teaming up.  I know Total Divas is popular and has gotten a lot of exposure but these nothing matches are not helping anyone.  Brie hits some great looking strikes on Natalya and this match has already gone longer than last week’s Total Divas match.  Nattie manages to tag in Paige and Paige goes to work on Brie. She goes for the PTO but Alicia Fox makes the save.  Nattie comes in to take out Fox and Paige hits the Ram-Paige on Brie to get the pin.  This was only slightly longer and better than last week’s match.  Bleh.

The Miz vs. Kalisto

This is a non-title match.  Kalisto has had quite a month.  Let’s hope he can continue the momentum.  The Miz starts off on offense but Kalisto quickly comes back with a series of kicks.  He hits a spinning headscissors, tossing Miz out of the ring.  He then hits a big dive to the outside.  He tosses The Miz back in the ring and gets a two count.  The Miz makes a comeback and slams Kalisto to the mat.  He then mocks Kalisto’s lucha chant.  This gives Kalisto the space to mount a comeback of his own and after a series of strikes he hits a big splash off the top rope.  After the break The Miz is back in control.  He hits a big clothesline and gets a two count.  He follows up with some mounted punches and then slams Kalisto into the corner, hitting him with some kicks to the midsection. He then hits his flying corner clothesline.  The Miz nails a diving strike off the top turnbuckle and gets a two count on the pin attempt.  Lots of great offense from The Miz but the crowd is getting to him and Kalisto capitalizes with a kick to the head.  He then hits a big seated senton off the top rope and then a springboard corkscrew.  He goes for a pin and gets a two count.  The Miz regains control by hitting a big DDT. He goes for The Skull Crushing Finale but Kalisto counters with the Salida Del Sol and gets the three count.  This match was way better than I expected.  The Miz can be really good in the ring with the right opponent.

Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus and Rusev

Del Rio and Wade Barrett accompany Sheamus and Rusev.  Reigns and Sheamus start things off and Reigns quickly goes on the attack.  Big clothesline by Reigns and some quick tags and double teams by the former SHIELD teammates..  When we come back from the break Sheamus is in control and has Reigns in a headlock.  Roman powers out and attempts to attack Sheamus in the corner but he’s met by a big kick.  Roman surprises Sheamus with a flying forearm and manages to tag out Ambrose.  Ambrose takes firm control over Sheamus, hitting his forearm attacks as well as a suicide dive to the outside on Sheamus.  The League of Nations regains control after distracting Ambrose and attacking him on the outside.  Rusev tags in and manhandles a weakened Ambrose.  He hits a series of gutwrench suplexes and tags out to Sheamus.  Sheamus hits three Irish Curse backbreakers and goes for the pin, getting a two count.  Ambrose tries to mount a comeback but Sheamus shuts him down by shoving him into the corner and tagging in Rusev.  Rusev hits Ambrose with his big judo kicks and then gets him in a headlock.  Ambrose still shows some fight and manages to power out of it with a backdrop.  He rolls out of the ring but Rusev throws him back in and tags out to Sheamus, who hits him with several forearms on the apron as well as some elbows.

Ambrose surprises Sheamus with a clothesline on the outside and manages to roll back in and get a hot tag to Reigns.  Reigns cleans house both inside and outside the ring.  He throws Rusev into the corner and hits a series of clotheslines, finishing it off with a big right hand.  Barrett and ADR distract Reigns long enough for Rusev to recover and nail Reigns with a big kick.  He tags out to Sheamus, who nails Reigns with a Brogue Kick and goes for the pin.  Ambrose makes the save and goes after The League of Nations on the outside.  Back in the ring, Sheamus Irish whips Reigns who counters with a huge spear and pins Sheamus for the win.  This match was pretty good thanks to Ambrose.

After the match Reigns and Ambrose get payback on Rusev for his attack on Reigns last night by double powerbombing Rusev through the announce table.  Stephanie comes out and says that the main event for FastLane will be a triple threat between Ambrose, Reigns, and Brock Lesnar.  The winner will face Triple H at WrestleMania.  It’s pretty obvious where this is going.  This was a pretty great RAW overall, highlighted by the amazing match between AJ Styles and Chris Jericho.  Storyline wise it seems kind of dumb for them to make a big deal out of how they were evaluating ALL of the wrestlers tonight to determine who would go on to the FastLane match and then they chose Lesnar, who wasn’t even there tonight.  I might just be nitpicking though.  That should be a great match.


Brendo’s 2016 Royal Rumble Recap

It’s time for the second biggest WWE event of the year!  I am praying right now that all this Triple H winning talk is a giant swerve.  At this point I’d be happy if all the Bray Wyatt hype isn’t a smokescreen like I’ve been saying it is.  I hope they do something cool with AJ Styles if he’s making his debut here, otherwise I hope they save him for tomorrow night.  If Daniel Bryan comes back tonight, which seems highly doubtful, the only acceptable scenario that doesn’t involve him winning the Rumble is him and AJ eliminating each other, setting up a Wrestlemania match between the two.  Enough conjecture, we’ve got a pre-show match to watch!

Fatal Four Way Tag Match: Darren Young and Damien Sandow vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Mark Henry and Jack Swagger vs. The Ascension  

This is random as hell and the winners get to enter the Rumble.  The crowd is way behind the Dudleys.  Henry manhandles Young for awhile.  The crowd starts chanting for Sandow who comes in to a big pop and hits his elbow on Swagger.  No explanation why Young is tagging with Sandow.  Is Titus already in the Rumble match?  That’s kind of crappy.  Everyone stops brawling and we cut to a commercial for the new WWE Network shows.  I’m not even mad because this match is pretty meaningless.  When we come back Swagger has Konnor in a rest hold so it looks like we didn’t miss anything.  D-Von finally comes in only to get worked over by The Ascension.  This crowd is already pretty rowdy.  If things go bad during the Rumble match like they have the last couple years this could be pretty fun.  The Dudleys finally take control and hit the 3D on Viktor.  It seems like the save attempt was a little botched but apparently Swagger made the save.  Henry then hits a splash on Viktor and gets the pin.  Swagger and Henry are going to the Rumble and the rest of these guys are going to hang out in catering for the rest of the night.

We open the show with Vince and Stephanie getting out of a limo talking about the weather in Orlando.  So exciting!  JoJo interviews them.  Vince squats down to mock JoJo’s height.  Dang, Vince.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens (Intercontinental Title Last Man Standing Match)

This could be the match of the night and a good way to get things started.  Somewhere Jim Ross is yelling about the Champion not coming out second.  Ambrose and Owens start off brawling right off the bell.  Big “Fight Owens Fight” chants.  They both trade chops.  Big running bulldog by Ambrose sends Owens to the outside.  Ambrose hits a suicide dive and Owens takes out Michael Cole.  Electronics are being thrown all over.  Ambrose grabs a cane from underneath the ring and goes to town on Ambrose with it.  Owens hits a superkick and then a cannonball splash on Ambrose into the barricade.  “Holy shit” chants from the crowd.  Cole sounds legit upset as he says his glasses are broken.  It’s Owens’ turn with the Singapore cane as he breaks it over Ambrose.  He nails a senton.  Ref counts to 4 before Ambrose gets up.  Owens tosses him back outside.  He grabs a bunch of chairs from under the ring and tosses them into the ring .  He takes one back outside and nails Ambrose with it.  He then lounges in the ring and the ref counts to 4 before Ambrose gets up.

I haven’t really been paying attention to the commentary but JBL just said something about a match between John Cena and Umaga being one of the best he’s ever seen.  OK.  More chair shots by Owens and the crowd is firmly behind him.  Owens goes for a powerbomb on to the chairs but Ambrose reverses and backdrops Owens onto the chairs.   The ref counts to 5 before both men get up.  Owens rolls out, Ambrose goes for a suicide dive but Owens catches him and drives him into the apron.  Owens follows this up by slamming Ambrose into the steps.  The ref gets to 8 before Ambrose gets up.  Owens gets a table from under the ring.  Someone says something to Owens and Owens responds with “Thanksgiving is in November, moron!”  Awesome.  Owens stacks two tables and then goes for a superplex off the turnbuckle and through the tables.  Ambrose blocks it with a headbutt and then throws a chair right in his face.  Owens stumbles around the ring with the chair hanging on his head.  Ambrose punches the chair into his face.  Owens responds with a superkick and goes for a pop-up powerbomb but Ambrose counters with a hurricanrana.  He hits Dirty Deeds.  Owens gets up at a count of 8.  He is stumbling around though.  Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on a chair and that looks to be it but Owens rolls out of the ring and onto his feet at the count of 9.  So awesome.  Big “Fight Owens Fight” chants at that.

Ambrose sets up a table in front of the announce table.  He places Owens on the table and goes to the top turnbuckle.  He nails an elbow drop on Owens through the table and the ref starts counting as both men are down.  They both get up at the count of 8.  This match has definitely delivered so far and it’s not over yet.  Ambrose tosses a table in the ring.  He then hits some more chair shots on Owens.  Owens is still talking trash, yelling “I hate you!” at Ambrose, who responds with an “I hate you!” in kind.  Ambrose sets up the table in the ring and places Owens on the top turnbuckle.  Owens manages to reverse whatever Ambrose was planning and drives Ambrose though the table.  Owens gets up at the 6 count and Ambrose manages to just beat the count.  Owens tells him to stay down and hits a huge pop-up powerbomb.  The crowd is on their feet, Ambrose isn’t moving.  Ambrose gets up at the last second.  Owens nails him with a vicious chairshot to the back.  He sets up Ambrose on a bunch of chairs and climbs the turnbuckle.  Ambrose gets up and tosses Owens off the top turnbuckle and through the two tables set up on the floor.  Holy shit indeed.  The ref counts to ten and Ambrose is still champion.  Amazing match!

The New Day vs. The Usos (Tag Team Titles Match)

Big E and Kofi come out and ask for a moment of silence for the dearly departed Francesca.  That is quickly broken up by Xavier, who comes out with a new trombone that he dubs as Francesca 2.  Great promo by The New Day.  It almost sounds like the crowd is saying “No!” in response to the Uso chant but it’s hard to tell.  They definitely seem to be behind The New Day.  The Usos take control early against Kofi and the crowd is not having it.  Loud boos.  I wonder if Vince is already panicking.  Kofi hits a jawbreaker and tags out to Big E, who dodges a corner attack by Jay and throws Jay into the corner post and out of the ring.  Jay regains control on the outside but Xavier hits him from behind and The New Day regain control.  Xavier hijacks someone’s headset and it’s pretty great.  The crowd is chanting for Francesca and Xavier refuses, saying he’ll play when he want to.  Kofi reverses a superkick from Jay into a leg lock and tags in Big E, who nails a big splash.

Big E gets a huge “New Day Rocks” chant going by slapping Jay on the back.  Jay finally creates some space and gets what should be a hot tag to Jimmy but the crowd is booing the Usos into oblivion.  Jimmy hits a barrage of offense on Big E and gets a two count.  Kofi tries to distract Jimmy and ends up brawling with Jay on the outside.  Big E capitalizes and slams Jimmy off the top rope and gets a near fall.  Kofi tries to distract Jimmy again on the apron but Jay nails a dive off the barricade onto Kofi.  Big E then hits a brutal looking dive and drives Jimmy onto the floor.  He tosses Jimmy into the ring and Kofi goes for a top rope attack but misses.  Jimmy tags out and Jay hits a splash onto Kofi and goes for the pin but Xavier pus Kofi’s foot under the rope. Big E hits a blind tag on Kofi in the midst of all the confusion in the ring. Jimmy goes up for a big splash after a superkick on Kofi, who he still thinks is legal.  Big E hits Jay with the Big Ending after catching him in mid-air and gets the pin.  This match seemed like it was going south but it really picked up towards the end.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (U.S. Championship Match)

These guys had two great matches last week.  Here’s hoping the rubber match is just as good.  Del Rio takes control early.  He tosses Kalisto into the corner and hits some punches with the crowd counting along in Spanish.  Kalisto counters with a kick to the back and tosses Del Rio to the outside.  He hits some chops on Del Rio and tosses him back inside.  Kalisto goes to the top rope but Del Rio hits a running enziguri to regain control.  Kalisto fights back with a series of quick kicks.  He goes for a running attack but Del Rio stops it with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.  He hits a top rope attack and gets a two count.  He tosses Kalisto to the outside and Kalisto lands hard.  Kalisto manages to hit a hurricanrana on Del Rio on the floor and tosses Del rio back in. He goes for a spinning headscissors but Del Rio counters with a double knee smash.

Del Rio goes for Kalisto’s mask but Kalisto fights him off and hits a seated senton off the top rope.  Del Rio catches him with a big kick and gets a two count.  He goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Kalisto gets out of it.  Kalisto goes to the top rope, dodges a running an enziguri by Del Rio and hits a dive off the top.  He then hits a spinning corkscrew off the ropes and gets a two count.  He goes for another top rope attack but Del Rio counters and hits a big suplex off the turnbuckle.  Kalisto gets into the ropes. He botches some sort of running attack but recovers and turns it into a pin attempt for a two count.  Del Rio catches Kalisto on the turnbuckle with a headbutt.  He goes for a stomp but Kalisto rolls out.  He hits Del Rio with the Salida Del Sol but Del Rio gets his foot on the ropes.  Del Rio counters a dive off the ropes by Kalisto with an awesome double knee attack and gets a two count.  Del Rio pulls the pad off the buckle and tries to toss Kalisto into the exposed buckle.  Kalisto stops short and Del Rio tries again but Kalisto reverses it with a headscissors and Del Rio eats the exposed turnbuckle.  Kalisto follows up with a Salida Del Sol and gets the pinfall.  This was another great match and we have a new U.S. Champion!

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte (Divas Title Match)

Fingers crossed they give this the time it deserves.  Judging by the clock we might actually get that.  Great exchanges of offense to start.  Becky goes for Disarmer right off the bat and Charlotte rolls out of it.  Becky bridges out of a pin attempt.  Great back and forth between Becky and Charlotte.  Lots of woos for Ric at ringside.  Becky gets out of an armbar by sending Charlotte flying through the ropes.  Charlotte tries to attack from the apron but Becky sends her flying off again.  Charlotte tries to put Ric between them but Becky isn’t having it.  Ric grabs Becky and kisses her.  Ugh.  Charlotte capitalizes on the distraction and takes control.  She tosses Becky back inside and we get some good back and forth between Charlotte and Becky.  Charlotte hits a series of stiff knees on Becky and slams her to the mat.  She’s doing a good job of getting heat and taunting Becky.  She slows things down and gets her in a leglock to the head.  Becky tries to bridge out of it but Charlotte slams her to the mat repeatedly and continues to apply pressure with the leglock.  Becky manages to fight out and gets Charlotte in the Electric Chair position and hits a big backdrop.

Both women are down but get up at the count of 7.  They exchange blows and Becky starts showing some fire.  She mounts her comeback and hits a series of attacks.  Charlotte powers out of an exploder suplex attempt with a series of strikes and sets up Becky for the Figure 8.  Becky powers out and the two exchange another series of counters.  She sets Charlotte up for the Disarmer but Charlotte rolls through and hits her with a big spear.  She gets a two count, goes for another pin and gets another two count.  Charlotte hits a series of strikes in the corner.  She goes for a slam off the top but Becky counters into the Disarmer.  Charlotte powers out of it and slams Becky to the mat.  Charlotte goes for a baseball slide but Becky gets out of the way and Charlotte nails Ric.  Becky capitalizes on this and gets Charlotte in the Disarmer.  Ric Flair throws his jacket onto Becky and Charlotte nails a distracted Becky with a spear and gets the pin to retain the title.  This was a fantastic match, great storytelling.  Charlotte attacks Becky after the bell and celebrates with Ric.  Sasha comes out to a huge pop from the crowd!  She tosses off her Boss ring and enters the ring.  She then attacks Becky and tosses her out of the ring.  She then shakes hands with Charlotte.  Charlotte helps her father out of the ring and Sasha attacks her from behind and locks in the Bank Statement.  She then holds up the title.  Awesome.

Royal Rumble Match

Oh man, can the WWE pull off pretty much a perfect game here?  Will they freaking learn from the mistakes of the past?  They sure as hell didn’t last year so I guess we’ll see.  Roman Reigns comes down to start things off.  Very mixed reaction.  Now mostly boos once the music stops.  Rusev comes in at #2.  God, I will never get tired of waiting to see who is going to come out next.  Rusev tries to eliminate Reigns early much to the delight of the crowd.  Roman ends up going through the second rope to the outside.  Rusev starts to celebrate and Roman hits a big punch.  He then gets back inside a nails a spear.  He then tosses out Rusev for the elimination.  Fuck.  Pardon my language.

HOLY SHIT.  AJ STYLES IS #3.  This music kind of sucks but who cares.  The crowd is going nuts.  This could be bad news though for an AJ victory as he has a long way to go.  Styles takes his time going to the ring.  Big AJ chants.  Reigns tries to eliminate AJ right away.  Styles reverses and teases a Styles Clash.  Roman powers out but Styles hits a Pele kick.  He teases another Styles Clash but Roman hits a back drop. The crowd is going nuts.  Tyler Breeze comes in at #4 and hits some awesome kicks on AJ.  This is already the best Rumble match in years.  The crowd is loudly chanting for AJ.  AJ holds Breeze over his head and goes for the elimination.  Reigns nails a punch and gets the assist as Breeze is eliminated.  Curtis Axel comes in at #5.  The chains are off!  AJ is making everyone look like a million bucks.  The rest of the Social Outcasts surround the ring and get taken out.  Styles eliminates Axel.  Jericho comes out at #6 to a huge pop.  Styles and Jericho go at it and this is everything I wanted.  Styles goes for the Styles Clash on Jericho and Jericho tries to turn it into the Walls of Jericho but Reigns hits him with a punch.

Kane is #7.  It is his 17th Royal Rumble.  That is nuts.  He lights up everybody.  More AJ chants as Kane tries to eliminate him.  Styles gets out of it with a headbutt.  Goldust is #8.  It is his 11th Royal Rumble.  Great offense by Goldust on Kane.  AJ and Goldust go at it a bit and then Jericho nails AJ.  Ryback is #9.  I thought I loved this crowd but then they did a big “Feed Me More” chant. Kofi Kingston is #10.  Styles takes a huge backdrop from Ryback.  He then nails a huge punch off the top rope on Jericho.  This is so awesome.  Titus O’Neil is #11.  He gets some big offense in. on everyone.  The crowd isn’t really having it despite the fact that Titus is from Florida.  Goldust gets eliminated by Titus.

R-Truth is #12.  He goes under the ring and grabs a ladder, which he sets up in the middle of the ring.  He climbs the ladder and reaches up for nothing.  He thought this was a ladder match.  He gets ceremoniously tossed out by Kane who then tosses the ladder out of the ring.  Kofi almost gets tossed out by Kane but he lands on Big E’s shoulders.  Big E carries him around the ring as The New Celebrates.  Kofi grabs a soda from a fan.  This is pretty great.

Luke Harper is #13.    Kofi is still chilling out at ringside on Big E’s shoulders.  Mr. McMahon comes out with The League of Nations and they pull Reigns under the ropes and outside the ring.  They proceed to gang attack him on the outside as the action continues inside the ring. Rusev and Del Rio hit Reigns with their big kicks.  Sheamus hits him with a Brogue Kick.

Stardust enters at #14. Rusev runs across all the announce tables and does a splash on Reigns through the Spanish announce table.  That was pretty awesome.The Big Show is #15.  McMahon and The League of Nations leave the ring area as Roman Reigns receives medical attention.    Big Show eliminates O’Neil and Ryback.  Neville comes in at #16 and hits Harper with a missile dropkick to start off.  Reigns walks to the back with medical staff but hasn’t been eliminated.  We missed Kofi Kingston getting eliminated by Jericho so they show a replay.

Braun Strowman enters his first Royal Rumble at #17.  If he eliminates AJ I think there will be a riot.  He eliminates Kane and faces off with Big Show.  They exchange punches.  Strowman gets him in his choke lock and tries to toss him over the ropes.  Show tries to hang on but gets eliminated.  Kevin Owens comes in at #18 and he is selling his injuries from the Last Man Standing match.  Owens and AJ immediately go at it and the crowd goes nuts.  Styles is nearly eliminated by Neville but he recovers and he gets Neville in the Styles clash but is superkicked by Owens.  Owens then eliminates AJ!  I can live with that.  The crowd chants loudly for AJ as he leaves the ring area.

Dean Ambrose comes in at #19.  He and Owens immediately go at it.  As if this crowd couldn’t go any more crazy Sami Zayn comes in at #20.  Man I really hope they don’t fuck this all up by Roman or Triple H winning.  Sami goes right after Owens.  Sami eliminates Owens.  This is nuts.  Erick Rowan comes in at #21.  The Wyatts eliminate Neville and Stardust.  It’s the Wyatts against Sami, Jericho, and Ambrose.  Big Ole chants by the crowd.  Mark Henry comes in at #22.  The Wyatts gang up on Henry and toss him out of the ring to a chorus of boos.  Sami tries to go after the Wyatts and they gang up on him as well.  Strowman tosses out Sami Zayn and this crowd is about to turn on the whole thing.  Brock Lesnar comes in at #23 to save things.  Good timing there.  Regardless of what happens from here this is easily the best booked Rumble match in ages.  The crowd is chanting Suplex City as Lesnar destroys the Wyatts.  He eliminates Rowan and hits Harper with a big German suplex.  He goes for a German on Strowman but Strowman backs him into the corner.  Lesnar dodges a corner attack and takes out Strowman with a clothesline.

Jack Swagger comes in at #24.  He goes after Brock and Brock hits him with an F5 and quickly tosses him out.  Thank you very much Swagger.  Lesnar nails more suplexes on everyone.  He goes back after Strowman and nails him with some huge running knees.  The Miz comes out at #25.  He gets on commentary instead of getting in the ring.  Meanwhile Brock is still suplexing everybody.  He eliminates Harper with a clothesline.  Alberto Del Rio comes in at #26.  He and Ambrose double team Lesnar but Lesnar powers out and nails Del Rio with a suplex.  Lesnar goes back after Strowman.  He clotheslines him out of the ring for the elimination.  Jericho is still in this, which is very impressive.  Bray Wyatt comes in at #27.  He summons the Wyatts who get back in the ring and gang up on Lesnar. Brock manages to fight them off and tosses Harper, Rowan, and Strowman back out of the ring. He then nails Bray with a big suplex and goes for the F5 but Harper nails him with a kick and the Wyatts are back in the ring ganging up on Brock.  Bray nails him with Sister Abigail.  The Wyatts then eliminate Lesnar and I think the crowd is about to turn.

Dolph Ziggler comes in at #28 but the crowd has had the wind sucked out of it.  The Miz finally comes in off commentary and nearly eliminates Ziggler.  Ziggler recovers but is met by a Skull Crushing Finale by The Miz.  Jericho and The Miz nearly eliminate Ziggler but then go at it.  Sheamus comes in at #29.  Reigns nails him from behind on the ramp and gets back in the ring, eliminating The Miz and Del Rio right away.  The crowd is booing quite a bit.  Triple H comes in at #30 and the crowd is actually cheering. I don’t understand that.  Triple H booking himself into the championship scene is definitely not best for business but what do I know?  I guess at this point he might be the best option but in a Rumble that saw AJ, Zayn, and Owens I think it’s a waste.  Triple H hits Ziggler with a Pedigree.  That speaks volumes.  Reigns hits a spear on Wyatt.  Reigns and Triple H circle each other and then exchange punches.  The crowd is booing Reigns and cheering Triple H.  Reigns fights out of the Pedigree.  Sheamus cleans house but is met by Jericho who takes him out.  Triple H eliminates Ziggler.  He then faces off with Bray Wyatt.  Triple H points at Reigns but Wyatt goes after Triple H.  They go at it for awhile and eventually Triple H and Sheamus eliminate Wyatt.  So much for that.  Jericho is still in this and hits a huge cross body off the top rope on Ambrose.  He nails a Codebreaker on Triple H but is then eliminated by Ambrose.

Your Final 4 are Ambrose, Sheamus, Triple H, and Reigns.  Sheamus nails Ambrose with a Brogue Kick.  He goes for another but Reigns hits him with a Superman punch and Sheamus is eliminated.  Triple H comes from behind and eliminates Reigns.  It’s down to Ambrose and Triple H and the crowd is way into this.  They are cheering hard for Ambrose.  Ambrose hits his rebound clothesline.  He runs right into a boot and Triple H goes for the Pedigree but Ambrose gets out of it. He nearly eliminates Triple H but Hunter stays on the apron.  Ambrose goes for another running attack for the elimination but Hunter dumps him over the top rope and eliminates him to win his 14th WWE Championship.

That was a super fun Rumble but I can’t help but be a bit disappointed as I don’t really want to see Triple H in the Main Event at Wrestlemania.  This might make my decision on whether or not to sell my ticket easier but I’ll hang in for a bit and see what happens in the next few weeks.  Overall this was an amazing card from top to bottom and a huge improvement over previous years.

Brendo’s Smackdown Recap – 1/21/16

It’s the last show before the Royal Rumble so hopefully it will be a good one.  The preview image on Hulu is Titus O’Neil pinning Stardust so I don’t know, you guys.  Tonight we’re getting a MizTV with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens, which should be great.  We’re also getting Roman Reigns vs. the entire League of Nations, which is not so great.

Y2J kicks off the show to a big pop from the crowd.  He welcomes everyone to Thursday Night Jericho and hypes up the Royal Rumble.  We’re shown clips from Monday’s Highlight Reel with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Jericho starts to say he’s going to win the Rumble but is interrupted by The New Day.  Big E calls Jericho “Christoph.”  They admonish Jericho for murdering Francesca the trombone.  Xavier calls Jericho “Cristal.”  Kofi calls him “Christobal.”  These guys are great.  Jericho makes fun of their unicorn horns.  I really want a New Day shirt.  Jericho gets the crowd chanting “Rooty tooty booty” and the New Day enter the ring.  Jericho says he would like to take them on but The New Day have a six-man tag match right now with The Usos and Dolph Ziggler.

The New Day vs. The Usos and Dolph Ziggler

Dolph is sporting Uso facepaint.  Jimmy starts off with Kofi and they exchange holds.  Some fast and crisp work from both of these guys.  Jimmy tags in Jay and they hit a double elbow drop.  Kofi manages to tag out to Xavier.  Jay hits a nice arm drag followed by some strikes in the corner and tags out to Dolph.  Dolph gets a “New Day Sucks” chant going.  Xavier powers Dolph into the corner and tags out to Big E, who hits a big belly to belly suplex followed by a splash for a two count.  Kofi tags in and hits a big dropkick.  The New Day takes control on Dolph with quick tags and double team moves.  Kofi goes for an attack off the top rope but is met with a beautifully timed dropkick by Dolph.  Dolph makes a hot tag to Jimmy who hits a corner splash on Kofi and then a lariat to Xavier on the apron.  Big E interferes and The New Day regains control.  The work over Jimmy on the outside during the break.

Back in the ring they nail Jimmy with their triple team kick attack where they continuously tag in and out while stomping on Jimmy.  Mauro tells us that JBL has dubbed this “The Unicorn Stampede.”  Big E makes a blind tag and surprises Jimmy with a big clothesline.  Jimmy is able to create some space and Ziggler gets the hot tag.  He clears the ring and hits a Fameasser on Woods.  Xavier manages to dump Ziggler over the top turnbuckle and Ziggler takes a crazy bump to the outside.  Jimmy makes the tag and prevents Xavier from tagging out while taking out Kofi and Big E.  Ziggler and the Usos then hit Xavier with a triple superkick and Jimmy gets the pin.  This was a fun, fast paced match.

Becky Lynch vs. Alicia Fox

Becky is sporting a cool new jacket.  Ric Flair and Charlotte are on commentary to hype up the title match between Charlotte and Becky on Sunday.  Great offense right off the bat from Becky and she gets a two count after a leg drop.  They brawl on the outside and Fox hits Becky with an awesome bridging Northern Lights Suplex.  Back inside, Becky regains control and hits a series of clotheslines on Fox.  She then hits a jumping sidekick in the corner followed by a suplex. Fox goes for a clothesline but Becky reverses it into the Disarmer and gets the submission.  She and Charlotte stare each other down.  Another good outing from Becky and Alicia Fox looked good as well.  It’s a shame they seem to only use her as a Bella sidekick or as a crazy person.

MizTV with Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens

The Miz starts off by talking about how grueling a Last Man Standing match is and is interrupted by Ambrose.  Ambrose and Miz have some good back and forth.  The Miz gets upset, lets Dean take over, and sits in the corner.  Ambrose compares the Last Man Standing match to an amusement park and highlights the various rides, such as the apron that Owens likes so much and the ring steps, which he calls “The Bear Trap,” since Kevin Owens kind of looks like a bear.  He calls the announce table “Memory Lane” because he has great memories of both going through the table and putting people through it.  Owens comes out and disses Ambrose’s amusement park analogy, saying he’s more of a zoo enthusiast.  He tells Ambrose how he’s going to knock him out and regain the Intercontinental Title.  Ambrose invites him to come to the ring but before Owens can do that, The Miz attacks Ambrose from behind.  He invites Owens to come in and join him for the double team.  Owens comes down to the ring and makes like he’s going to attack Ambrose but instead nails The Miz with a pop up powerbomb.  He tries to do the same on Ambrose but Ambrose hits him with a crossbody.  He goes for Dirty Deeds on Owens but Owens slips out of it and out of the ring.  Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on The Miz and counts to ten along with the crowd.  This was a good buildup for Sunday.

Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt

The Wyatts are coming off their beatdown of Brock Lesnar in the final segment of RAW on Monday.  Bray is being built up as a credible threat to win the Rumble and the title but I just don’t see that happening.  Ryback gets the momentum early but Wyatt stops him with a big uppercut.  Ryback counters with a Thesz press and slams Wyatt to the mat repeatedly.  Wyatt rolls to the outside and then slams Ryback back first onto the apron.  Wyatt has the momentum in the ring when we come back from the break but Ryback hits a huge powerbomb out of the corner and then hits Wyatt with a pretty sloppy looking superkick.  Ryback goes for a splash off the top rope but Wyatt gets out of the way.  Wyatt hits a slam on Ryback followed by a senton and gets a two count.  Wyatt does his taunt in the corner and charges Ryback but Ryback counters with a spinebuster.  He hits the Meathook clothesline and goes for the Shell Shock but Rowan pulls Wyatt off while Harper distracts the ref.  Ryback goes after Wyatt on the outside and is met by Strowman who slams him into the ring steps.  Bray pulls Ryback into the ring and hits him with Sister Abigail to get the pin.  This was OK. I still don’t buy Bray as a potential Rumble winner but I do think it’s important to keep the Wyatts looking strong as a credible heel stable.

Titus O’Neil vs. Stardust

I’ve lost count of how many times we have seen this match.  These guys do their best to keep things fresh and exciting but there’s just not really a story here.  Titus hits his power moves and Stardust manages to get a comeback going after a DDT and a two count.  He goes to top rope but Titus counters with the Clash of the Titus and gets the win yet again.

Before the break they show Kalisto getting ready for a promo.  A woman is showing him what looks like a script.  I really don’t see what the point of that is.  After the break Kalisto is interviewed by Rene. He brings up his heroes such as Mil Mascaras and Rey Mysterio.  He says he will regain the U.S. Title on Sunday.  Alberto Del Rio interrupts and is joined by the League of Nations.  They gang attack Kalisto and leave him laying on the floor as they head out to face Roman Reigns.

Roman Reigns vs. The League of Nations

Roman comes down first and delivers a promo about his upcoming title defense in the Royal Rumble match.  This was all right.  People trash Roman’s promo skills but I think he’s improving.  Sheamus starts off for The League of Nations.  He can’t get any headway against Reigns so he tags out to Rusev.  Ranallo has again been doing a great job on commentary, actually calling the action and putting over all the wrestlers.  The League of Nations takes control as Rusev gets Reigns into his corner and The League of Nations gangs up on Roman.  Rusev tags back out to Sheamus, who continues to beat down Roman.  Roman counters a running tackle attempt by Sheamus with a big clothesline.  Sheamus manages to tag out to Rusev but Roman is building his comeback and manhandles Rusev with a series of clotheslines and a flying forearm.  Roman goes for a Superman Punch but Sheamus, Del Rio, and Barrett grab him in the corner.  The entire League of Nations gangs up on Roman and the ref rings the bell for the DQ.

The Usos come out to make the save but The League continues to overpower them.  Roman comes back and takes out Rusev with a Superman Punch and hits a spear on Sheamus.  The Wyatts then appear and surround Roman in the ring.  Roman tries to fight them off, taking out Harper and Rowan.  Strowman throws Roman outside the ring and Roman is double teamed by Harper and Rowan.  They toss Roman back in the ring and Strowman hits a big slam.  Bray hits Sister Abigail on Roman and we end the show with The Wyatts standing tall yet again.

This episode of Smackdown wasn’t as good as the previous two weeks overall but I thought the end was a pretty good way to finish off before The Rumble as we saw most of the big names duke it out.  They are really pushing The Wyatts heading into this but I think it’s a bit too little, too late.  We’ll see what happens on Sunday!

Brendo’s NXT Recap – 1/20/16

Tonight should be a great episode as Johnny Gargano takes on Samoa Joe in the Main Event.  It is great to see Gargano receiving a high profile singles match as his first NXT match of 2016.  We start off the show with a bang as Sami Zayn makes his in-ring return to Full Sail.

Sami Zayn vs. Adam Rose

I’m still bummed that WWE didn’t really do anything with Adam Rose after his amazing ESPN profile.  He does get a good response from the Full Sail crowd as he spent quite a lot of time here.  Zayn and Rose start off by exchanging wristlocks.  Rose resorts to a choke to get out of the hold but Zayn comes right back with an armdrag .  We get some chain wrestling and Zayn drops Rose with a dropkick to the head.  Rose goes back on offense, hitting Zayn with a barrage of punches and then taunts the crowd.  He hits a knee drop and a clothesline followed by a flying knee drop for a two count.  He continues working Zayn over.  Zayn shows some fire and tries to mount a comeback out of the corner but Rose shuts it down.  Rose hits a flying headbutt for another two count.  Rose is looking good and showing some aggression we don’t normally see from him on the main roster.  Zayn seems to be biding his time and reverses a Rose clothesline into the Koji Clutch.  Rose taps out and Zayn gets the win.  This was a decent match and we are reminded that next week we will see Zayn vs. Joe vs. Corbin for the #1 Contender spot.

Rich is backstage with Johnny Gargano and asks Johnny if he’s ready for tonight’s match.  Johnny gives a great promo saying Joe is a bully and the best way to deal with a bully is to walk up to him and punch him in the nose.  He uses the Johnny Wrestling moniker and shows a lot of confidence.  Nicely done, Johnny.

Chad Gable and Jason Jordan give a promo expressing their disappointment in not even being nominated for the Tag Team of the Year award.  They challenge Blake & Murphy, who were nominated, to a match next week.  These guys are great.  Jordan has finally found his niche in teaming with Gable.  They announce their new team name, The American Alpha.  I can dig it.

Tye Dillinger vs. Apollo Crews

It’s pretty amazing that the “Perfect 10” gimmick is super over even though Tye loses almost all his matches. Apollo is on a whole different level, though.  He continues to build momentum and his fanbase.  They lock up and neither wrestler gains control as Drake breaks them up in the corner.  Tye gains control with a wristlock and maintains control through some chain grapples.  He gets the crowd going with his 10 taunts on Crews.  Crews hits his huge suspended suplex.  Awesome move.  Dilling ends up on the outside and hits Crews on the apron.  Crews falls outside and Dillinger hits a nice looking dive.  He tosses Crews back in the ring and hits his knee smash finisher but Crews kicks out at two.  Apollo comes back out of the corner with a big spear and then hits an enziguri to the back of the neck.  He follows this up with his sit-out powerbomb finisher and gets the pin.  Both of these guys looked good here.

Apollo gets on the mic and says he wants to finish what he started with Finn Balor.  He knows he hasn’t earned a title match but he wants a one-on-one match with Finn.  Balor and Apollo had a great match a couple months ago that ended in a DQ due to interference from Baron Corbin.  What we got was great and this could be even better.

Blake, Murphy, and Alexa get interviewed.  Alexa says she is not happy after their performance in London.  I’m not a huge Blake and Murphy fan but I think they’ve shown an insane amount of improvement since their start at the bottom of the roster. Alexa says she’ll be teaming up with Emma against Bayley and Carmella tonight.

During the break there is a trailer for The Condemned 2 with Randy Orton and then a short teaser promo for The Vaudevillains indicating perhaps a more serious turn for the duo.  We then see photos from NXT’s live show in Milwaukee this past weekend where Kevin Owens showed up to face off with Sami Zayn.  That must have been pretty cool.

Baron Corbin vs. Rich Swann

YES!  Rich Swann makes his TV debut!  Swann is one of my favorite wrestlers and I think he has a bright future ahead.  I don’t have high hopes for this match but I hope Swann at least gets some offense in.  Swann’s still got his sweet wing trunks!  Some big “All Night Long” chants for Swann.  Awesome.  Swann hits some kicks  but Corbin slams him to the mat.  Swann hits another kick out of the corner and then dodges Corbin with a sweet flip.  He takes a crazy bump off a backdrop.  Corbin whips Swann into the corner and he lands hard.  He then gets Swann in a headlock and Swann flips out of it.  Great headscissors by Swann and some nice looking dropkicks.  Swann hits a superkick and gets a two count.  Lots of great offense by Swann here and he is looking great.  He goes to the top rope but Corbin gets up.  Swann jumps over him but Corbin has it scouted and nails him with the End of Days and gets the pinfall. Great debut for Swann.

Rich interviews Carmella and Bayley.  Carmella says that she is excited for her upcoming championship match with Bayley but tonight the focus is on their match with Emma and Alexa Bliss.  They’re interrupted by Dash and Dawson who congratulate Carmella on her Battle Royale win but tell her that just like her boys Enzo and Cass, she can’t win when it counts.  Carmella goes after Dash and Dawson but Bayley holds her back, telling her to take it out on Emma and Alexa tonight.

Bayley and Carmella vs. Emma and Alexa Bliss

Emma is accompanied by Dana Brooke.  Alexa and Emma have some words before the match but it seems like they are going to cooperate.  Bayley is probably the most over wrestler on the roster.  Emma knocks Carmella out of the ring and Emma and Alexa double team Bayley before the bell even rings.  Carmella gets back in and breaks it up.  Bayley is selling her ribs but starts the match off.  Emma and Alexa gain control quickly with quick tags and double team moves.Bayley tries to mount a comeback against Alex but Alexa continues to work over the ribs.  Bayley creates some space and hits a diving attack off the top rope.  Alexa gets the hot tag to Emma who takes out Carmella before Bayley can make the tag.  Bayley surprises Emma with a flurry of offense but Dana Brooke distracts Bayley and Alexa nails Bayley from the apron.  Alexa tags in and hits her with a series of shoulderblocks into the corner.  She tags Emma in who hits a double underhook suplex for a near fall.  Bayley manages to fight out of the corner and gets a hot tag to Carmella.  A fired up Carmella hits a headscissors and then a Bronco Buster.  Emma tries to jump in but Carmella tosses her to the outside.  She then gets Alexa in her leglock submission for the tapout win.  Carmella looked great here.

Rich interviews Balor regarding the challenge from Apollo Crews.  Balor says he accepts Apollo’s challenge and they will find out who the better man is.  Johnny Gargano vs. Samoa Joe is next and the commentators are really doing a good job building up Gargano and treating this match seriously.

Johnny Gargano vs. Samoa Joe

Great reception for Gargano and he looks like he belongs here in the Main Event.  People love to crap on WWE but Hunter really is doing some amazing work in NXT.  Even a year ago I probably wouldn’t have believed you if you told me we would be seeing Gargano vs. Joe in a WWE ring.  The future is very bright even if only a small fraction of these guys make it big on the main roster.  Joe is slow to obey the count in the corner multiple times.  Johnny surprises him with some forearms but Joe tackles him to the mat.  Gargano dodges a charging attack and hits him with a kick.  Joe goes to the outside to take a breather.  Gargano goes for an apron attack but Joe sweeps his leg to take him out.  Joe  throws him back in the ring and hits a barrage of punches followed by a big dropkick in the corner.  Gargano tires to come back with some chops but Joe nails him with a combination of kicks and then hits a running kick to knock Gargano out of the ring.  Joe hangs back and Gargano narrowly avoids a countout.  Gargano hits a series of elbows and dodges a backfist from Joe to hit an enziguri.  Gargano gets tossed to the apron but then hits a jumping DDT on Joe and gets a two count.  Joe dodges a running attack into the corner by Gargano and nails him with a kick to the head followed by the Kokina Clutch to finish off Gargano.  Joe looked very strong here but Johnny looked great as well.

This was a great episode.  I enjoyed it more than last week’s as we saw matches building up to next week’s big triple threat match between Joe, Zayn, and Corbin.  Rich Swann had a strong debut and Carmella looked great in the build to her match with Bayley.


Brendo’s RAW Recap – 1/18/16

It’s the go home RAW before the Royal Rumble so hopefully we’ll have a good show following last week’s rather good outing.  Today it we found out “Iron” Mike Sharpe passed away.  He was a stalwart in the ranks of WWE enhancement talent and trained many wrestlers as well.  He will be missed, especially in his home country of Canada.

We open with a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr and African American leaders who have made a difference in our nation’s history and culture.  Here’s hoping that WWE and the business as a whole can learn from its mistakes in the past regarding racial diversity.  I feel like we’re slowly headed in the right direction.

Tonight Brock Lesnar will join Chris Jericho on the Highlight Reel.  That’s definitely exciting.  What’s not quite as exciting is Roman Reigns coming out to start RAW yet again.  I guess that’s not really fair since he is the champion and the champion should be front and center on RAW.  I just am tired of the opening 20 minute promo formula that has been used for years and years.  Is it so crazy to start a wrestling show with wrestling?  Roman is gearing up for the Rumble and says tonight he only cares about one man: Brock Lesnar.  He says he’s ready to finish what Brock started last week and calls Brock out to the ring.  Instead, we get Chris Jericho.

Jericho  says Roman has someone even better than Brock, the Ayatollah of Rock and Rollah.  He talks up tonight’s Highlight Reel and proposes that Roman join him and Brock there.  Roman says he is down.  The League of Nations interrupt.  Sheamus still has a small gash on his head from last week.  Sheamus reminds everyone that there are more than just 3 competitors in the Rumble, including the League of Nations and that the WWE Title will come back to them.  He then makes fun of Jericho’s fashion choice of a suit jacket with no shirt.  He says it’s just plain stupid not to invite the League of Nations on the Highlight Reel.  Jericho says he doesn’t want them on the show because he’s trying to keep things entertaining.  Ha.  Del Rio says Jericho has never won a Royal Rumble match so Jericho wouldn’t understand what it means to be a true winner.  Jericho says Alberto Del Rio is Spanish for Jackass and just doesn’t feel like having him on the show. Rusev has a pretty good promo starting off by saying in Bulgaria every day is the Royal Rumble.  Jericho reminds everyone that Roman won the Rumble last year and he eliminated Rusev to win.  Roman challenges Rusev to a match and Jericho asks the Columbus crowd if they want to see that match tonight.  The crowd seems into it.  Jericho says he will be the special referee and the match is on.

Roman Reigns vs. Rusev

Sheamus, Barrett, and Del Rio are at ringside for this match.  Roman and Rusev exchange holds and Rusev ducks out of the ring to take a breather.  The crowd is chanting for Lana.  Roman and Rusev exchange fists and Rusev tosses Roman to the outside.  The League distract Roman as Rusev hits him from behind.  He tosses Roman in the ring and gets a one count.  Rusev misses a headbutt and Roman takes control. Reigns hits a splash for a two count but then gets distracted by Sheamus.  This gives Rusev an opening.  Reigns fights back but gets taken down by a headlock. Reigns powers out with a backdrop.  He hits a pretty good flying clothesline and then a barrage of punches in the corner.  Rusev counters a Samoan Drop with one of his brutal judo kicks and gets a two count from Jericho.  Rusev argues with Jericho a bit and then goes for a Samoan Drop off the second rope which is blocked by Reigns and Reigns turns it into a sit-out powerbomb for a near fall.

Del Rio distracts Jericho and Sheamus pulls Reigns out of the ring and slams him into the barricade.  Jericho confronts Sheamus and kicks him out of the ring area.  Barrett then gets in Jericho’s face and he is kicked out as well.  Del Rio, not sensing a pattern here, does the same and Jericho kicks him out with a little funky chicken dance to boot.  Roman hits the Superman Punch on a distracted Rusev followed by the Spear for the pin.  This was a solid match to get things started and got the crowd fired up.

Steph confronts Jericho backstage.  She says he did not have the authority to make that match or make himself the special referee.  She says this is not 1999.  Jericho says he wish it was because Steph used to be fun.  Stephanie then goes into some stuff about business and how she now has to renegotiate with Lesnar because of the changes to the Highlight Reel.  People complain about Reigns not being exciting, I think the real culprit is all this boring Authority junk.

Natalya vs. Brie Bella

Natalya brings out Paige to accompany her which doesn’t really make sense since the last time we saw Paige she attacked Natalya.  It looks like the purpose of this is to promote the new season of Total Divas.  Paige has some beef with Alicia Fox on Total Divas so that is why she is on Natalya’s side here.  Great.  Brie hits some of her strikes on Natalya and taunts the crowd.  Natalya takes advantage and gets Brie in the sharpshooter for the win.  Oh look, it’s the return of the nothing two minute Divas match.  One step forward, two steps back.  Hopefully Becky and Charlotte will make me forget this garbage.

The Dudley Boyz and Ryback vs. The Wyatt Family

We see clips from the Tables match on last week’s Smackdown where the Wyatts destroyed the Dudleys after they lost the match.  It’s Bray, Harper, and Rowan with Strohman on the outside for the Wyatt team and Harper hits a huge boot to Bubba and tags out to Rowan.  Rowan misses a splash and Bubba tags in D-Von.  D-Von hits a neckbreaker and gets a one count on Rowan, Rowan hits a big spinning kick and gets a two count on D-Von.  He tags in Bray who hits a running clothesline into the corner and gets another two count.  Tag out to Harper and they double team D-Von a bit. Quick tags and double team offense by the Wyatts as they are firmly in control.  D-Von finally creates some separation and gets a hot tag to Ryback who runs wild on Harper.  Lots of Feed Me More chants and a tag to Bubba who hits a big boot.  Rowan and Bray enter the ring to cause some chaos and Ryback ends up on the outside and gets smashed by Strohman.  The Dudley’s hit a double team for a near fall.  They go for a 3-D but Rowan breaks it up and tosses D-Von out.  Harper hits his Discus Clothesline and gets the pin on Bubba Ray.  This was mostly the Wyatts beating up the Dudley’s outside of a strong showing by Ryback.  It seems like they are keeping the Wyatts strong, which is wise but there doesn’t seem to be much direction for them, as usual.

The Big Show vs. Heath Slater

Everyone is calling The Social Outcasts the new J.O.B. Squad and sadly that doesn’t seem to be far from the truth.  At least their promos are entertaining and it gives them something a little more substantial to do.  Axel reminds us that he was never eliminated from the 2015 Royal Rumble match.  Heath goes right for the ropes as Big Show advances.  He then ducks out of a clothesline and runs to the outside, only to be palmed by the head and dragged back in.  Big Show then hits the Knockout Punch and gets the pin.  Axel tries to attack Show and gets knocked out. Big Show then hits Rose off the top rope.  Bo dodges Show’s attack and runs to the outside to celebrate this.  Show then hits him with the Knockout Punch on the outside.  He spent more time taking a selfie with a fan that it took for him to win this match.

Steph joins the League of Nations backstage and congratulates them on keeping their cool earlier tonight.  She reminds them that one of them could win the Royal Rumble and win the WWE Championship.  She asks them why Chris Jericho was able to to scare them away from ringside during the match and challenges them to prove their value tonight.

Vince McMahon comes to the stage with Steph as they are going to draw the #1 entry for the Royal Rumble.  Vince says the odds of Roman winning is the same as one of the WWE Universe members winning the Powerball.  Timely reference there, Vince.  They spin the tumbler and Vince can’t open the first ball so he puts it back in and draws another.  He then hands this ball to Steph who shows that the ball contains Roman Reigns.  Vince says that is not too likely so to be fair they will draw another ball.  He can’t open it so he put it back in.  He can’t open that one so he puts it back in too.  They draw another ball and it also says Roman Reigns.  He accuses Stephanie of putting the original Reigns ball back in the tumbler so they draw another one. Vince drops the ball so he draws yet another one.  I think Vince really thinks this whole bit is funny.  This says a lot.  Once again they draw Roman Reigns.  Are we really going to watch Roman Reigns go a whole Royal Rumble and win it all?  I am praying for a big swerve at this point.

Charlotte comes to the ring with Ric Flair by her side.  They are both stylin’ and profilin’.  For the love of God can someone change Charlotte’s entrance video from NXT that has the Times New Roman titles and uses backslashes for emphasis.  Backslashes!

Becky Lynch vs. Tamina

It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Tamina in the ring and she doesn’t look half bad as she hits her power moves on Becky including a superkick.  Charlotte looks on and we are told she hasn’t given an answer to Becky’s challenge for a title match at Royal Rumble yet.  Tamina continues to work over Becky and gets a one count that Michael Cole calls a near fall.  Come on, Cole. Becky Lynch manages to fight back and hits some forearms and a jumping side kick.  She’s showing a lot fire as she hits some more kicks and a nice looking leg drop for a two count.  She then hits the Disarmer off the top rope on Tamina and gets the submission victory.  This was another good match for Becky.  She gets on the mic and asks for an answer from Charlotte.  Charlotte says Becky earned a title match and lost a title match and tells her to get in the back of the line.  Becky says Charlotte wouldn’t have that belt if it wasn’t for her dad and then says Ric Flair never backed down from a challenge so maybe Charlotte didn’t take after her dad.  Ric accepts the challenge on behalf of Charlotte and Charlotte does not look pleased. Fingers firmly crossed that they give this match the time and significance it deserves.

Dean Ambrose and Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio and Sheamus

Kevin Owens is on commentary which is always a treat and he’s here to hype up the Intercontinental Title match between him and Dean Ambrose this Sunday.  We see clips from the two great matches that Kalisto and Alberto Del Rio had on RAW and Smackdown last week.  It is announced that Kalisto will get a rematch for the title on Sunday.  Ambrose starts off against Sheamus and hits some strong moves before tagging in Kalisto. Kalisto Kalisto kicks Sheamus to the outside.  Ambrose hits Sheamus off the apron and then backdrops Kalisto on to both Sheamus and ADR.  After the commercial break Del Rio regains control and tags in Sheamus who proceeds to manhandle Kalisto.  Owens is doing a great job of talking trash on commentary.  Kalisto and Sheamus both go down and then hit hot tags to their partners.  Quick action between ADR and Ambrose.  Ambrose gets the upper hand and clotheslines Del Rio to the outside and then hits a diving attack.  Sheamus distracts Ambrose and Del Rio takes advantage.  He tosses Dean back inside and hits him with a stiff kick.  Tag to Sheamus who continues to wear down Ambrose.  He hits a side slam and gets a two count.  He tags in ADR who hits another stiff kick to the head of Ambrose for a near fall.  

Sheamus gets a cheap shot in and Del Rio gets another near fall.  He puts Ambrose in a chinlock.  Ambrose attempts to power out but Del Rio hits him with a Backstabber.  He puts Del Rio in the Tree of Woe and goes for his corner stomp finish but Ambrose fights out of it and hits a missile dropkick on Del Rio.  Del Rio manages to tag out but Sheamus can’t capitalize and Ambrose finally tags in Kalisto.  Kalisto hits some quick kicks on Sheamus, who goes for White Noise but Kalisto reverses into an enziguri.  Kalisto then dodges a Brogue Kick and hits Salina Del Sol but Del Rio breaks up the pin.  Ambrose goes after Del Rio but is distracted by Owens at the commentary table.  Del Rio uses this to hit a beautiful step up enziguri off the commentary table to take out Ambrose.  Meanwhile, Kalisto goes for another Salina Del Sol but Sheamus powers out of it and nails him with a Brogue Kick and gets the pin.  This was a pretty great match and did a good job of building to the U.S. and Intercontinental Championship matches at the Royal Rumble.

We are shown clips from when Jericho killed Francesca the trombone on last week’s RAW.  We then see a clip from earlier today where New Day had a funeral for Francesca.  Big E and Kofi tell Xavier they will get him a new trombone and that the memory of Francesca will live on forever.  They also say that Francesca would want Big E to take on Jay Uso tonight to avenge her.  Good stuff.  This is all to build up a Tag Title match between The New Day and The Usos on Sunday.

Jay Uso vs. Big E

The New Day are pretty solemn at they come to the ring.  Kofi and Xavier are in their funeral attire.  Big E starts off by powering out of a waistlock and slamming Jay to the mat.  Jimmy manages to regain control and hits him with some forearms but Big E turns it back around.  He hits him with a kick in the corner.  Jay dodges a corner attack and does his dance taunt.  He then hits a kick on Big E and Big E goes to the outside.  Jay goes for a running kick but Big E counters with a slam.  After the commercial Big E is in control back in the ring.  Big E distracts the ref and Kofi nails Jay with a kick.  Big E misses a splash on the apron and falls to the outside.  Jay then hits a running dropkick into the barricade.  Big E stumbles back in the ring and Jay hits a kick from the top rope followed by a Samoan Drop.  He goes for the corner splash but Big E gets out of the way.  Jay follows up with a big kick and gets a near fall.  Big E manages to counter a dropkick and goes for a running attack but Jay pulls down the rope and Big E ends up on the outside  Jay then hits a big suicide dive.  Big E gets back in the ring while Jimmy takes out Kofi with a splash on the outside.  Jay goes for a top rope splash but is distracted by Xavier and lands hard on his left leg.  Big E hits a running forearm and then the Big Ending to get the pin.

Titus O’Neil is backstage with R-Truth, Neville, and Mark Henry as they get pumped for the Royal Rumble and their match tonight.

Neville, R-Truth, Mark Henry, and Titus O’Neil vs. Stardust, Tyler Breeze, and The Ascension

Neville seemed to be working his way up the card last week but now he’s back down in this random match.  That’s a bummer. Konnor starts off against O’Neil and they exchange strikes.  Konnor tags to Victor who is tossed to the outside by O’Neil.  Breeze goes for flying dropkick on Titus but Titus catches him and tries to toss him behind his back to a waiting Henry but Henry screws up and drops Breeze.  He picks Breeze back up and hits The World’s Strongest Slam.  Neville then hits the Red Arrow and gets the pin.  This was pretty dumb and pointless and that botched finish did nothing to help it.  I wasn’t buying the “Vince is Burying Breeze” rumors but this seems to be making a case for that.  Ugh.

The Highlight Reel with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns

Y2J isn’t doing a bad job putting himself over as a legitimate Royal Rumble contender but come on.  Paul Heyman interrupts Jericho and does what he does best.  Jericho tells Heyman to shut up and asks where Brock Lesnar is.  Heyman says you don’t need to be a weatherman to know that an F5 is touching down in Columbus tonight.  He reminds Jericho that the last time he went face to face with Lesnar things did not go well for him.  He then says Jericho shouldn’t be worried because Brock’s focus is on Reigns tonight.  I can’t really do Heyman promos justice so you should just watch this and enjoy it.  Heyman is really selling Brock as our only hope and to be honest I’m ready to buy that.  Jericho asks what will happen if it comes down to him and Brock and what will happen if Jericho tosses Brock over the top to win the Rumble.  Paul does a facepalm as Brock’s music hits and The Beast heads to the ring.  Before he can enter the ring Reigns’ music hits and he makes his way through the crowd.  Roman enters the ring and taunts Lesnar who paces around the outside.  Brock jumps into the ring.  Roman immediately hits him with a spear and unloads on him with punches.  The League of Nations runs down and attacks Reigns.  Rusev goes after Lesnar and is hit with a suplex.  Lesnar then suplexes Del Rio and hits the F5 on Sheamus.  Roman spears Lesnar AGAIN.  The Wyatt entrance hits and they appear around the ring.  Bray gives Reigns the Sister Abigail.  Brock is having a hard time getting to his feet and Harper nails him with a clothesline.  Rowan takes Lesnar out with a kick.  Strohman levels him with a clothesline.  I’m not sure what destroying Lesnar accomplishes here.  Bray hits him with another Sister Abigail and we end on The Wyatts standing tall.

I wouldn’t mind seeing a Bray Wyatt victory as he’s had strong showings in previous Rumbles but this doesn’t seem earned at all as they were previously going after mid-card guys and before that Bray decisively lost to Reigns and then The Wyatts lost to The Brothers of Destruction.  If they had some actual Main Event victories behind them this could be the next step for them.  Instead this is kind of a mess and seems like just a bad way to build tension in what is probably a Reigns victory.  I really hope I’m wrong and we still have the possibility of a surprise AJ Styles entry in the Rumble that could result in a big swerve.  This was a pretty disappointing finish to a decent episode of RAW.  The only really clunkers match-wise were the garbage Total Divas match and the meaningless 8-Man tag.  



Brendo’s Smackdown Recap – 1/14/16

Last week’s Smackdown was pretty great and there are some big matches on the card tonight so hopefully the trend will continue.   We’re in the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, Louisiana.  I went to my first (and only) Smackdown taping here 2 years ago when I was in town for WrestleMania 30.

We start off with Rene waiting outside for Dean Ambrose, who arrives as a passenger in a pickup truck I am going to assume he hijacked as it speeds off the second he gets out.  Ambrose says he’s headed to the ring and he hopes Kevin Owens will join him.  He comes out to the ring to a pretty huge pop.  We are then brought up to speed with clips from their brawls on Smackdown last week and RAW this week.  Dean says he has an announcement and asks for a drumroll, which he is surprised to actually get.  He interrupts it to ask for Owens to come down but Owens doesn’t come out.  He then resumes the drumroll and announces a Last Man Standing match at Royal Rumble against Owens for the title.  Nice.  Sheamus then interrupts and jokes about Ambrose’s “Cajun Uber” he took to get here.  That’s pretty funny.  Ambrose then makes fun of his “League of Nations Treehouse Fun Club.”

Sheamus is angry that Reigns stole his WWE title from him and is also mad he didn’t get to finish his fight with Ambrose on Monday.  He’s sporting a nice gash on his forehead from that match.  See, guys, blood can be useful to build feuds when used correctly.  It looks like Sheamus and Dean are going to fight but Owens then comes out to accept Dean’s challenge at Rumble.  Great mic work from all of these guys as Owens and Sheamus attack Ambrose.  Neville comes in to help Ambrose and they clear the ring.  Neville and Ambrose will be teaming up against Owens and Sheamus later tonight and this did a good job of building that match.

The Dudleys vs. The Wyatts (Tables Match)

I was just talking to someone this weekend who thought the Dudleys were being misused in WWE.  I then reminded him of the stinker of a match they had against the New Day at Hell in a Cell.  They are fun to watch, they get a good response from the crowd.  They’re just not very consistent in the ring a lot of the time.  I think they’re doing a fine job of putting over younger guys and having decent matches.  So far they are doing great against Harper and Rowan.  We get a Wassup shortly after the bell rings and Bubba asks for the tables but the Wyatts manage to regain control.They go for a double suplex through a table on D-Von but Bubba pulls the table away.  They then hit a suplex-neck breaker combo on Harper and the fight goes to the outside. Strohman is at ringside and distracts D-Von who is then attacked by Rowan.  Strohman tries to give Rowan a cane but Bubba grabs it and cleans house.  He then throws Harper off the steps and through a table to get the win for the Dudleys.  Pretty fun, quick match.

Strohman attacks the Dudleys after the bell.  He throws D-Von through a table in the corner and then picks him up and throws him through another table in the opposite corner.  Harper and Rowan double team Bubba on the outside and then double chokeslam him through a table.  Looks like this feud isn’t over.

JoJo interviews Kalisto, who is having the best week of his career as he beat ADR on RAW for the U.S. Championship in a great match.  He mentions Eddie and Rey as inspirations during his career and says he is plans to stay the U.S. Champion.  

Social Outcasts vs. Damien Sandow, Zack Ryder, Goldust, and Jack Swagger

No entrances or anything for this match.  That’s kind of a bummer.  The Outcasts start running around the ring but Ryder grabs Slater and throws him into the ring.  Slater and Goldust square off.  Slater hits a great looking kick on Goldust and tags Axel in.  Axel gets in some decent offense and tags in Rose.  Goldust still looks pretty great in the ring.  Bo and Swagger get tagged in.  Ranallo is doing a good job of putting all of these guys over.  Swagger gets Bo in the Patriot Lock but Axel breaks it up.  Ryder comes in and gets some good offense in on Bo including a Broski Boot for a near fall.  Slater distracts Ryder in the corner and Bo hits him with the Running Bo-dog and gets the pin.  Bo also takes out Slater with the move but a win is a win for the Social Outcasts and this was pretty fun.

We get the obligatory RAW recap and Lawler is continuing to work heel a bit, siding with McMahon in the feud with Reigns.  I enjoy seeing this return to classic Lawler and hopefully it will continue.  People might complain about RAW recaps on Smackdown but at least it’s not the airing of entire RAW matches we were getting a year ago.  Smackdown has slowly come back to building storylines and having unique matches and this is definitely a good thing.

Rene interviews Del Rio backstage.  Del Rio gives another great heel promo, promising he will crush “that little mosquito” Kalisto.

Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio (U.S. Championship Match)

Mauro continues to do a great job on commentary, reminding us that ADR is a Royal Rumble winner and won MITB the same year.  Lots of heat on Del Rio and the crowd seems pretty behind Kalisto but it’s always hard to tell how much of that is real as they do pipe in crowd noise on Smackdown.  My one problem with this is sometimes it is the same exact crowd noise from the WWE video games.  There’s some specific crowd yells that always take me out of things when I hear them during Smackdown  because I’ve heard them a million times playing the games.

Strong offense from Del Rio to start the match.  He goes after the mask and this seems to energize Kalisto who hits ADR with a big missile dropkick.  ADR regains control and hits him with a forearm smash from the top rope and gets a two count. Del Rio hits a brutal looking double knee to Kalisto’s arm off the turnbuckle. Kalisto is doing a great job selling the arm as Del Rio continues to wear it down, setting up his finisher.  Ranallo reminds us of ADR’s MMA and amateur wrestling background.  Lawler has gone full heel on commentary and I am digging it.

Big cross body and a head scissors from Kalisto gets the crowd pumped but Del Rio slams him into the corner and continues to work the arm to regain control.

Wade Barrett is now at ringside to cheer on Del Rio.  Del Rio goes for his stomp off the top but Kalisto counters with a head scissors.  He then hits a springboard senton but Del Rio dodges a corkscrew and hits a head kick for a near fall.  Kalisto reverses an armbreaker attempt with a hurricanrana for a near fall of his own, then hits the corkscrew off the ropes for another near fall.  Kalisto continues to sell the arm as he and Del Rio go back and forth.  Barrett distracts Kalisto and ADR gets him in the cross armbreaker.  Kalisto manages to get his foot on the ropes.  Del Rio goes through the ropes as he goes for an attack on Kalisto but Kalisto can’t capitalize as he misses a big dive to the outside as Barrett pushes ADR out of the way.  Del Rio tosses Kalisto back in the ring and locks him the Cross Armbreaker again.  Kalisto quickly taps out and we have a new champion.  People might question this quick exchange of the title but I think it did a good job of putting Kalisto over as a legitimate singles wrestler while Del Rio still looks good as a heel champion.  This was a really good match.

We get another great Hall of Fame video for Sting.  Rene is backstage with Becky Lynch and we see clips from Becky’s great ongoing feud with Charlotte.  Becky says she is still hurt from Charlotte’s betrayal.  We then get a clip from RAW where Becky attacked Charlotte before Charlotte’s match with Brie Bella.  Becky tells us she is going to stay fired up until she beats Charlotte for the title.  She challenges Charlotte for a title match at the Royal Rumble.

Brie Bella vs. Becky Lynch

Brie starts off with some aggressive offense and hits a dropkick from the top rope.  Brie isn’t the best but she has shown quite a bit of improvement over the last couple years especially with her strikes.  Becky hits some great looking forearms and then some clotheslines.  She then hits an exploder suplex out of the corner and gets a two count.  After a bit of back and forth Becky gets Brie in the Disarmer for the submission victory.  This was a little too quick for my tastes but both Becky and Brie looked pretty good and it got the job done building Becky up for her challenge for the title.

Sheamus and Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose and Neville

Neville and Owens still have a feud going after Neville snagged a win over Owens on RAW and Owens attacked Neville after the match.  Neville and Sheamus start off the match. Neville gets control early and tags in Ambrose.  Ambrose clotheslines Sheamus out of the ring and then hits a crossbody on Owens.  He’s blindsided by a lariat from Sheamus as we cut to commercial.

When we come back Owens is back in the ring working over Ambrose.  He taunts the crowd and Ambrose in his usual awesome way.  We see some quick tags between Owens and Sheamus.  Ambrose tags in Neville who hits a big springboard DDT on Owens.  Owens manages to tag out to Sheamus, who is greeted with a big kick by Neville.  Neville goes for the Red Arrow on Sheamus but misses as Sheamus rolls out of the way and tags Owens back in.  Owens taunts Ranallo, calling him “four eyes.”  Nicely done.  He tags out to Sheamus who works over Neville and then gets him in a chin lock. Neville tries to power out of it but Sheamus hits a big knee lift and tags out to Owens.  Owens goes for his cannonball splash but Neville dodges it and hits Owens with a beautiful German suplex.  Both competitors manage to tag out.  Ambrose hits Sheamus with a tornado DDT and a big elbow drop from the top rope for a two count.  Owens breaks it up and Sheamus takes control, hitting White Noise for a two count.  He then tags in Owens who goes for a Pop Up Powerbomb but Ambrose counters with a hurricanrana and hits his rebound forearm smash.  Owens falls to the outside.  Ambrose goes for a dive but Sheamus nails him and Owens and Sheamus double team Ambrose on the outside, slamming him into the announce table and the ref rings the bell to end the match.

Neville hits a big corkscrew plancha on Owens and Sheamus.  Owens gets tossed into the ring and Ambrose hits him with Dirty Deeds.  He then takes a Red Arrow from Neville to finish him off.  This was a good way to end the show and to build to the big Intercontinental Title match at Royal Rumble.  Sheamus and Neville both looked good as well.  This was another great Smackdown with lots of great action and excellent commentary from Mauro Ranallo and a now fully heel Jerry Lawler with Saxton supporting them.  Kalisto and Del Rio had the match of the night for the second show in a row.

Brendo’s NXT Recap – 1/13/16

It’s the first new NXT of 2016 as we had a Best Of episode last week.  Time to get hyped!  The Full Sail crowd is loud as always and we have Corey Graves and Tom Phillips on commentary.  William Regal comes out to kick off the show.  He is looking good after neck surgery.  He announces that tonight’s main event is a women’s battle royale for a shot at the NXT Women’s Championship.  He then introduces Sami Zayn.

It’s the first time Sami Zayn has been at Full Sail in several months and he looks happy to be there.  Given the current WWE roster situation his stay might be brief! Big Ole chants for Sami as he hypes the crowd and the NXT roster.  He says Full Sail is his home.  He also says he came here to make a proclamation: That he will be the first two time NXT Champion.  Samoa Joe comes out to respond.  He says it is good to have Sami back but he doesn’t deserve a title shot, that the last time Sami fought for the title Joe had to come out and save his life.  He tells Sami to walk away as they stare down.  Corbin interrupts.  He says he agrees with Joe that Sami’s place is at the back of the line.  He reminds everyone that he won his match at Takeover: London and that Joe lost his.  Dude has a point.  Corbin’s mic skills have improved quite a bit.  Joe responds by saying Corbin doesn’t even belong in the conversation.  As Sami is yelling at Joe, Corbin attacks him from behind but Sami responds with a big Heluva Kick.  He and Joe then face off but Joe leaves the ring.

Bayley is interviewed by Rich and she says she’s not even sure how she made it out of London with the belt but she’s ready to take on the winner of the Battle Royale.  She ends the interview by giving Rich a hug.  Nice.

The NXT year end awards are announced.  Enzo & Cass win tag team of the year.  Bayley wins Female Competitor of the year.  Finn Balor wins Male Competitor of the Year. NXT Takeover Brooklyn wins Takeover of the Year.  Bayley vs. Sasha Banks from Takeover Brooklyn is the Match of the Year.  Finn Balor wins Overall Competitor of the Year.  I liked those awards because they were quick and pretty on point.

Tomasso Ciampa vs. Danny Burch

I don’t think I’ve seen Burch before.  It’s great to see Ciampa back in NXT.  Remember when all the “insiders” said he wasn’t coming back because he was too stiff with Tyler Breeze? Since I heard that he’s been back at least twice.  Silly dirtsheets.  Burch hits a pretty good looking missile dropkick.  The commentators remind me that Burch has appeared before so I guess I was wrong.  Ciampa hits Burch with some fierce forearms followed by a face first slam off the ropes that looked great.  Burch gets a near fall off a stiff right hand on Ciampa and then goes for a deadlift suplex but Ciampa gets out of it and hits him with a kick.  Burch is looking pretty good here as he goes for a backslide but Ciampa reverses it into an armbar and gets the submission.  Both of these guys looked good in this one with some strong strikes from both.  Here’s hoping we’ll see more Ciampa in 2016.

Backstage promo with Enzo and Cass as they let Dash & Dawson know they are coming for them after the loss in London.  These guys are so great, they don’t need the titles but I’m pretty sure we’ll see them with the straps sooner rather than later.

We get some promos for the Women’s Battle Royale including new gals Billie Kaye and Deonna Purrazzo as well as Emma.  Regal is in his office and announces that there will be a match between Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, and Baron Corbin for the #1 Contender spot in two weeks.

Dash & Dawson vs. The Ascension

The NXT tag champs had a huge last half of 2015.  Let’s see if they can take that momentum into 2016.  I dig the whole 80’s NWA no-nonsense gimmick.  When The Ascension are in Full Sail you kind of forget how much they’ve flopped on the main roster.  I’m sure they miss those “Yah” chants as opposed to the crickets they hear normally.  Victor is all over Dash to start the match but Dash hits him with a strong clothesline to take control and tags to Dawson.  More aggressive offense and strong tag work for the champs.  Victor finally hits a power move to create some space and make the tag to Connor.  He starts wailing on Dawson as the crowd chants along.  Dash manages to distract Connor and Victor gets dumped to outside.  Dash and Dawson then hit their finisher on Connor for the victory.  This wasn’t anything special but it made the champs look good.

Regal is in the trainer’s room with Nia Jax and Eva Marie.  Nia Jax is not medically cleared for the Battle Royale as she suffered a kayfabe injury at the hands of Bayley’s submission at Takeover London.  This makes sense as there is no way Nia Jax wouldn’t win that Battle Royale and it seems like they are going to keep her and Bayley apart for awhile to build to a rematch.

Elias Samson vs. Corey Hollis

They are pushing “The Drifter” pretty hard.  I’m not really sold on the gimmick yet.  He hits a big kick on Hollis and casually goes for the pinfall for a two count.  He punches him a bit then shushes him as he gives Hollis his swinging neckbreaker finisher for the win.  Nothing too exciting.  He then brings his guitar into the ring and tells the crowd “What this place needs is what I am.”  OK.

They play some highlights from the great Joe vs. Balor match at Takeover London.  Rich then interviews Balor to get his comments on Joe and the triple threat match in two weeks for a shot at his belt.  He comments on each challenger and tells us that regardless of their strengths the NXT championship is staying with him.  Nicely done.

Cameron is here, you guys.  And she’s going to be in the Battle Royale.  We also get a promo from the debuting Aliyah who we met on Breaking Ground.  The final promo from is from Asuka who has got to be the heavy fave and I am eagerly awaiting her getting a shot at Bayley.

Women’s Battle Royale

Alexa Bliss, Emma, Carmella, Eva Marie, and Asuka all get entrances.  Asuka is by far the most popular and shoves Eva Marie out of the way to the great enjoyment of the crowd.  “Asuka’s gonna kill you” chants to start and a vicious kick from Asuka to Eva Marie the second the bell rings.  Aliyah is the first to be eliminated. Cameron does the honors.  Cameron then ducks an attack from Deanna, who goes flying over the top rope.  Liv  Morgan then tries to powerbomb Cameron out of the ring but Alexa Bliss dumps them both over. I must have missed Eva Marie getting eliminated but that’s not a surprise.  Emma eliminates Alex Bliss but is then eliminated by Asuka.  Billie Kaye and Peyton Royce attempt to double team Asuka but she manages to slide back in the ring.  Asuka then eliminates both of the rookies but Eva, who it turns out was hiding outside the ring, comes from behind to eliminate Asuka.  Doh.  However, Carmela was also hanging around the outside because she was injured and turns the tables on Eva Marie to win the Battle Royale.  Bayley comes out to congratulate Carmela.  I think these two friends are going to have a great match as the slow build to Bayley vs. Asuka continues.

There was nothing terribly exciting about this episode of NXT but it was a very solid show, as always.  This is episode wrestling television done right, building storylines and wrestlers.  We got a little bit of everything this week and the Main Event was entertaining and not too drawn out.  We’ll probably get to see Asuka get her revenge on Eva Marie sometime soon and Carmela vs. Bayley for the title is a solid matchup.  On the men’s side we saw a heartfelt return to Full Sail by Sami Zayn who will take on Samoa Joe and Baron Corbin in two weeks leading to a big title match. I am definitely looking forward to the coming weeks in NXT as we will hopefully see more new faces.