Michael Cole and Pat McAfee welcome us to the PNC Arena at NC State in Raleigh North Carolina.
First round Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament: Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah versus Xia Li and Shotzi
Raquel and Shotzi start the match and it is a bit of a back and forth and at one point Shotzi attempts to go for a cover, but she is caught holding the ropes for leverage, so the referee stops the count. Shotzi fails to get any more offense in and tags her partner Xia Li, who runs into a back elbow from Raquel, who then tags in her partner Aliyah. As Raquel leaves the ring she has Aliyah hit the top rope and launches her like a dart towards Xia, and nails her with a cross body. Aliyah attempts a pin, and Shotzi hits the senton, to break up the pin attempt.The legal women (Xia and Aliyah) head outside of the ring, Aliyah connects with another crossbody from the apron. Sonya Deville and Natalya (who were pictured earlier near the belts) are attempting to trash talk Xia Li. Shotzi sees this and gives some right hands to the back of Sonya, and Raquel does the same. Immediately after this, all four competitors are seen going after each other.
We head to commercial break
Xia Li is shown dominating Aliyah as we get back from break. Li picks up Aliyah and heads towards her corner, where Shotzi tags in. An impressive double team maneuver got Shotzi a pin attempt, but only a two count. Shotzi brings Aliyah to the corner, and Xia tags her in. On her way out we have Shotzi perform a bulldog on Aliyah. Li lands a stomp on the hand, along with a kick to the chest of Aliyah, performs a pin, but nothing a two count. We see Raquel itching to get into the match. Xia is once again able to get Aliyah to her corner and Shotzi tags herself in. A jawbreaker gets Aliyah some separation, who then quickly tries to get to her corner, but Shotzi is there to grab her leg. As she does that, Aliyah kicks Shotzi back into her corner, where another tag from Xia Li is made. Li immediately goes for a right hand on Raquel, but fails. She then turns around and tries to hit Aliyah, who is towards her turnbuckle, but Aliyah provides a double kick to Li’s chest and is able to stun Li. Xia eventually attempts a vertical suplex, only for Aliyah to land on her feet, and perform a reverse neckbreaker. Aliyah desperately needs this tag and finally gets Raquel, who gets Shotzi after Li made her tag. A fall away slam by Raquel has her fired up! It was so nice she landed it twice. Raquel gets to perform her spinning elbow from the top rope, attempts a tejana bomb, but Xia distracts her and Raquel move towards her on the apron. Li backs off the apron and is able to give Shotzi the upper hand as she hits the hurricanrana, which causes Raquel into the corner of the ring. Shotzi gets the sliced bread, a pin attempt, only a two count. Xia in the ring now has her and Shotzi attempt a double side russian leg sweep, however Aliyah is not having it as she knocks Shotzi out of the equation, Raquel hits the tejana bomb 1, 2, 3.
Winners: Aliyah and Raquel Rodriguez
After the match an updated bracket is shown which tells us that Raquel & Aliyah will face the winners of Nikkita and Zoey versus Natalya & Sonya.
A video package from last Friday appears next of Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, and Karrion Kross.
Karrion Kross gives us a great promo! Scarlett was looking into the camera and it looked like she was staring into my soul. Holy hell! I am glad they are back! At the conclusion of the promo it shows that Karrion was stalking Drew McIntyre, who makes his way to the ring.
We head to commercials.
Drew in the ring with a mic, and he addresses Karrion Kross, jumping him from behind. He tells Karrion he has three options: knock out, hospital, or graveyard. He then says that he has breaking news, Roman Reigns is not here. He tells Roman that he needed to use weapons, his family, and Paul Heyman to beat Brock, but he walked into the main event of Wrestlemania and beat Brock with his bare hands.He continues, but an interruption from Scarlet stops his promo dead in his tracks. The distraction also allows for The Usos to beat down Drew from behind.
We head to commercial
A video package of the past Intercontinental champions appears next. After this concludes, they have a graphic for the Intercontinental championship tonight with Gunther defending against Shinsuke Nakamura. We see Nakamura backstage about to be interviewed but he cuts her off and says tell Gunther, come on.
The VIking Raiders come out but it is announced that Erik is the one with the match. Before they can make their way to the ring, Kofi Kingston hits them both from behind with a kendo stick. The Viking Raiders end up with the advantage and just decimate Kofi. Ivar gets on the barricade and performs a splash.
We head to commercials.
Sami Zayn is walking backstage and knocks on Roman Reigns. The Usos open up the door to speak to him, but get blindsided by Drew McIntyre. Man he gives them a beat down!
Brandon Scott and Trevor Irvin? are now in the ring. AH! Hit Row is back! Hit Row is back!
Hit Row versus Brandon Scott and Trevor Irvin
This was a total squash from beginning to end. And if you don’t know, now you know!
The Gauntlet match from last week gets a second look.
A contract signing is advertised for the Women’s Championship match at Clash at The Castle.
We head to commercials.
Kayla Braxton goes to interview Gunther, who tells Kayla that he heard what Shinsuke said, and tells her to tell Nakamura that he will suffer at the hands of the ring general.
We next see the set up for the contract signing for the Women’s Championship, but Ronda Rousey appears to the ring through the crowd, with a gym bag in hand. Rousey puts the bag on the table, grabs a mic, tells us that she knows she is not supposed to be here because of suspension, and her fine. Ronda then flips over the bag and it shows that it is money. She goes on by saying she was fined a lot of money, but she doubled her fine herself, because being the baddest is expensive, and she could afford it. Rousey sees that the security is ready to take her out of the arena. She is touched by security and Ronda does a judo throw on her and walks up the ramp. Shayna confronts Rousey and tells her, that’s not how you do things around here, that’s not how it works. You need to play by the rules. Ronda tells her that you used to be a killer, and walks backstage. Shayna grabs the mic and lets Liv know she will rip her limb for limb or she will put her to sleep, either way she will leave Cardiff with the Smackdown women’s championship. Liv comes out, signs the contract and tells Shayna that she is a bootleg Ronda Rousey, and she knows because she beat the real deal twice, so she knows she can beat her too. Liv signs the contract, kisses her belt that is held high above, and attempts to leave but Shayna grabs her arm, twists it, kicks it, then attempts to put Liv on the top rope, but Liv reverses it to put Shanya through the table.
Sami Zayn is worried, and scared backstage. He is confronted again by The Usos. The Usos tell him he needs to step up or he is not an honorary uce, anymore.
We head to commercials.
The Wrestlemania kickoff party from Los Angeles is shown.
The Usos make their way to the ring, and tell Drew to choose a partner. Drew does not even hesitate and makes his way to the ring without a partner with him.
Drew McIntyre versus The Usos
The match begins with Drew dominating The Usos. Drew’s momentum finally slows down and The Usos are able to regain control. It really looks like Drew was going to go it alone, but out comes Madcap Moss who starts getting some offense in on both Usos. McIntyre sees this and then decides to team with Moss.
We head to commercials.
Drew McIntyre & Madcap Moss versus The Usos
Madcap in the ring and his momentum has slowed to a halt, as Jey uses his father’s move on the corner of the to Moss. Madcap is able to plant Jey to the mat and is looking for a tag to Drew. It is a slow attempt, but both men tag their partners. Drew is handing out reverse neckbreakers like they’re going out of style then sets up for a Claymore, when Sami Zayn enters the ring, then runs out of the ring. A super kick, an Uso splash sets up a pin, but only a two count as McIntyre kicks out. This brings Sami back on the ring apron. The 1 D is called for, but Jey is pulled out of the ring by Madcap, who eats a clothesline and both go into the timekeeper’s area. Drew and Jimmy exchange a super kick, a Glasgow kiss, then Drew hits a home run with Claymore.
Winners Drew McIntyre and Madcap Moss.
After the match Sami Zayn takes one for the team as he gets leveled by Claymore.
A photoshoot is seen backstage with the Maximum Male Models. Max Dupri yells out stop stop, this is a closed set, and it shows he is addressing Los Lotharios. Los Lotharios are looking to be signed by Maximum Male Models by saying they are the most handsome tag team in all of WWE. Max rebuttals with I’m sorry, you’re not just Maximum Male Model material. Los Lotharios then claim they were not talking to Max, but in fact talking to Maxxine Dupri, and are told to give them a call. Maxxine is shown smiling.
They hype up the Intercontinental matchup Shinsuke Nakamura and Gunther.
The classic Smackdown moment of the week shows Arnold Schwarzenegger receiving a WWF championship for his accolades at the box office, and got an opportunity at commentary. I remember watching this as it happened and thought, he fits right in. I jumped out of my seat when he clobbered Triple H. I hated him so much back then, and I probably was not the only one. I can’t believe this was 23 years ago. This moment made a sixteen year old me very happy.
We head to commercial break.
Kayla Braxton welcomes us back to Smackdown and has an interview with Ricochet. The topic of conversation is his match with Baron Corbin from last week, and footage is shown. Ricochet is showing some personality in this promo, and I like it! He tells us that he is next in line for an opportunity at the Intercontinental championship, then he gets hit with a right hand from Corbin, and shouts you think we are done? We’re just getting started! McAfee and Cole are then shown giving their thoughts with McAfee saying Corbin stinks still, and he couldn’t let Ricochet have his moment.
An advertisement is shown for a Face to Face confrontation between Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre for next week’s Smackdown. It is also shown that a Viking Funeral will be held for The New Day. Lastly, the next first round matchup in the Women’s Tag Team Championship appears on our screen which pits Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark (NXT) versus Sonya Deville and Natalya. A video package of Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark is shown.
Shinsuke Nakamura heads to the ring.
Ludwig Kaiser introduces Gunther and they head to the ring. I really like Gunther’s presentation. He feels like a big deal and he certainly is.
I really like how they are building back up these undercard titles, they really need this rub especially since it took a lot of damage over the years. We have been desperate for these titles to mean something again!
We head to commercial
Gunther versus Shinksuke Nakamura for the Intercontinental Championship
It looks like both men are feeling each other out to begin the match. Gunther takes control with submission moves, after submission. Nakamura attempts an armbar, which Gunther is able to roll out of and attempts a boston crab but Shinsuke is able to catch Gunther in a roll up pin attempt, but only a two count. Shinsuke begins to suffer a series of chops to the chest, and they sound devastating, like it hurts me to hear them. OUCH! Gunther performs a submission on Nakamura on the ropes, which knocks him out of the ring.
We head to commercials.
Gunther lands a german suplex. Michael Cole lets us know that during the break, Shinsuke was working on the right arm of Gunther. It becomes an immediate issue, as Gunther tries a powerbomb, but is too hurt by the arm to lift Nakamura up. A huge kick to the face lands, and Gunther goes to the top rope (uncharacteristic for him), attempts a splash, but ends up in a triangle submission by Shinsuke. Nakamura is able to keep a good grip on the hold until Gunther is able to power out it with right hands to the gut of Nakamura, and use his power to perform an insane suplex. Gunther’s arm is still not well. Shinsuke gets a knee to the chin, gets a cover and only a two count. Nakamura uses a series of kicks to the corner, he gets Gunther on the ropes and nails a release german suplex, and then is met by Ludwig Kaiser. Gunther is able to use this opportunity to hit a missile drop kick to get back in the match. Gunther attempts a powerbomb, no luck as Nakamura lands on his feet, gets a kick to the back of his neck has Gunther reeling and on his knees, he goes for the Kinshasa and is met with a huge clothesline, and a pin, but only a two count. GEEZ this match is great! Chants of this is awesome fill the arena. Gunther is trying to put Shinsuke with a sleeper hold, but Nakamura is not having it, and is able to get out of it. Gunther sees an opportunity to hit another missile dropkick and this time it hits on the back of the neck. Gunther picks up Nakamura for a powerbomb, and the 1, 2, 3.
Winner and still Intercontinental Champion: Gunther
After the match we see Ludwig Kaiser put the belt on Gunther, they both do their pose, and I noticed how Kaiser was looking at Gunther, and man it looked like envy.
This was a good show, I really like the setup of the women’s tag team championship, the build up of the Intercontinental match, which was also delivered as well. I am also digging the hype on the Clash at the Castle premium live event as well, the matches feel important. Great Smackdown!