Saturday, February 18, 2023

WWE Elimination Chamber 2023

By Steve Ward

WWE made their return north of the border tonight for the final pay per view stop on the Road to Wrestlemania as Elimination Chamber emanated from The Bell Center in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. After tonight’s massive card, the landscape for the championship title picture will be clear as the winner of the Women’s Elimination Chamber match will oppose Bianca Belair for the RAW Women’s Championship and the victor of the encounter between Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn will defend the Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Championship against Cody Rhodes at the Showcase of the Immortals. 

Women’s Elimination Chamber
Asuka vs. Carmella vs. Raquel Rodriguez vs. Nikki Cross vs. Natalya vs. Liv
Winner: Asuka

Tonight’s card kicked off with the Women’s Elimination Chamber Match where the winner would punch her ticket to Wtrestlemania for a championship encounter with RAW Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair. Natalya and Liv kicked off the match and another competitor would join the chaos every two minutes. The combatants would be eliminated by pinfall or submission with the last woman standing being crowned the victor. The first participant to be released from her pod was Raquel Rodriguez who immediately used her size and strength advantage to impose her will. The next competitor to be released from her respective pod was Nikki Cross with still no eliminations. With the majority of the competitors already displaying signs of fatigue, Carmella was the next to enter the fray. Moments later, Raquel put Cross through the panel of one of the pods which set her up for an easy pinfall moments later. Asuka then made her way into the match and quickly ran roughshod over the other competitors. Asuka first dispensed of Liv Morgan as she made her pass out in the clutches of the Asuka Lock. Next, Carmella delivered a kick to the head of Natalya who had Asuka trapped in the Sharpshooter which allowed her to eliminate Neidhart. Rodriguez was then the recipient of several kicks to the head from Carmella and Asuka who joined forces to deliver a tandem pinfall on her leaving them as the final competitors standing. Asuka was too much for Carmella as she quickly cinched in the Asuka Lock on Carmella earning the submission and punching her ticket to Wrestlemania.

Bobby Lashley vs. Brock Lesnar
Winner: Bobby Lashley via DQ

This match was to be the decisive third match in a trilogy between these two imposing Superstars. Each man executed their signature moves several times on each other before Lesnar found himself in the Hurt Lock. Ensuring he would not suffer defeat, Lesnar elected for the low blow which prompted referee Chad Patton to call for the disqualification. Lesnar then left a path of carnage behind him as he F5’d the referee multiple times and also delivered an F5 to Lashley for good measure that sent him crashing through the announce table before he left the arena satisfied with his actions.

Mixed Tag Team Match
Edge & Beth Phoenix vs. The Judgement Day (Finn Balor & Rhea Ripley w/ Dominik Mysterio)
Winners: Edge & Beth Phoenix

The bitter rivalry between Edge and Beth Phoenix and the faction he created, The Judgement Day, before his unceremonious expunging, would come to a head tonight as they would seek redemption in a Mixed Tag Team affair. In a match riddled with attempted outside interference by Dominik Mysterio, Edge and Beth finally prevailed. First, Beth dispatched of Ripley with a Glam Slam outside the ring and then she rejoined Edge in the ring as they executed the Shatter Machine on Finn Balor to secure the pinfall victory.

United States Championship Men’s Elimination Chamber Match
Austin Theory (c) vs. Montez Ford vs. Bronson Reed vs. Damian Priest vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Seth Rollins
Winner: Austin Theory

The stakes were high for the Men’s Elimination Chamber Match as the last man standing would walk out the United States Champion. The chaos commenced with Rollins and Gargano going toe to toe. After two minutes elapsed, the next competitor to enter the bout was the defending U.S. Champion, Austin Theory. After Rollins and Gargano took Theory out of the picture temporarily, Damian Priest entered the match and promptly asserted his dominance. With still no pinfalls recorded, Bronson Reed next entered the match to deliver his brutal brand of punishment on the other participants. As Bronson Reed found himself the lone man still on his feet, Montez Ford finally made his way into the contest. Minutes later, Reed would finally be put down by Gargano and Rollins which allowed Ford to ascend to the top turnbuckle from where he executed a frog splash which led to Reed’s exit from the match. The closing moments saw Rollins and Theory as the final two Superstars remaining. With Rollins seemingly poised to reclaim the U.S. title, Jake Paul made his way to the ring, delivered his version of Adam Page’s Deadeye, as well as, Rollins’ own curb stomp. This left Rollins out of sorts and vulnerable as Theory covered him to retain his title.

Undisputed WWE Universal Championship
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Sami Zayn
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Following his expulsion from the Bloodline after he came to the aid of his former friend and Roman Reigns’ opponent, Kevin Owens, at the Royal Rumble in addition to the subsequent dissention that manifested within the Bloodline, Sami Zayn found himself in the biggest match of his career against Undisputed WWE Universal Champion, Roman Reigns. Reigns dominated much of the early part of the match before Sami rallied with everything in his arsenal, including the Helluva Kick and Blue Thunder Bomb. As Roman’s title reign appeared in jeopardy, the referee was knocked out which opened the door for Jimmy Uso to make his way to the ring and shift the match back in favor of Reigns. As Roman appeared poised to finish off Zayn, he missed him with a Superman Punch and took out the second referee of the match. With another window of opportunity open for the Tribal Chief, Paul Heyman obtained a chair from beneath the ring. As Reigns turned to strike Zayn, his cousin Jey Uso was standing in the ring. Roman then handed Jey the chair and directed him to finish off Zayn. Jey hesitated and as Zayn attempted to sneak up on Reigns with a spear, Roman sidestepped him leaving his cousin Jey as the recipient. Roman then proceeded to lay waste to Zayn with the chair and finished him off with the Superman Punch just in time for the first referee to miraculously recover and count the pinfall. 

After the match, Jimmy Uso and Roman Reigns proceeded to beat down Zayn who was rescued by fellow Canadian, Kevin Owens. Owens and Zayn proceeded to gain a measure of revenge on Roman Reigns giving the Canadian crowd some semblance of satisfaction as they stood tall in the end.

Friday, February 3, 2023

Inside the Ringside with Frank Bartolini

By Frank Bartolini

With holiday celebrations behind us and decorations being stored away in attics, I traveled to Washington, D.C. for the first of two shows I attended in January. Boxing began in a big way in D.C.

1/7/23 - Washington, D.C.:

Nearly twenty thousand fight fans filled the seats at the Capitol One Arena to cheer on every punch the World Boxing Association Lightweight King Gervonta “Tank” Davis, Baltimore, MD, threw. Appearing to be a bit distracted at times, Davis, 134 lb., did not seem to be in top condition going into his title defense against Hector Luis Garcia, San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic.

This evening was about the excitement “Tank” creates. Gates opened at 4 pm, and soon afterward, the fighters on the first undercard bout were being called into the ring by announcer Mark Fratto. Seats remained empty as the corridor was packed with revelers until around 9 pm.

Once the semi wind up ended, the house heated up in anticipation to see the tatted Davis throw his gloved fists. An explosive roar rocked the house when Jimmy Lennon, Jr. announcing the boxers' names and particulars.

Both boxers launched their arsenal of punches from a southpaw stance. Bumping up a weight class, Garcia, 134 lbs., won the WBA Super Feather Championship in his last fight. Fighting to the top of his ability, Garcia landed to the head and body. After three rounds of feeling his opponent out, Davis opened up in round four exploding bombs to Garcia’s midsection and head. After the halfway point in the seventh stanza, Davis, 134 lbs., unleashed his fury, smacking punches off of Garcia from the outside. Davis countered well with a straight left to Garcia's chin.

The eighth round proved to be the last one of the fight, but not before drama outside the ropes interrupted and stopped the action. It turned out Gary Russel, Jr. and his brothers Gary Antonio and Gary Antuane got into a verbal scuffle with rapper Meek Mill. Both combatants paused to check out what was going on. Once the action resumed, Davis tore into Garcia. As the bell rang to conclude the session, Garcia returned to his corner complaining he could not see out of his right eye and did not come out for the ninth round.

This was the first loss of Garcia’s career; his record dips to 16- 1, 10 KO’s. By representing himself well in this title challenge, Garcia's stock may rise regardless of this loss. With his skill set, Garcia will find success defending on to his super featherweight belt.

Garcia did a great WWE impersonation after the stoppage of the contest by doing a backflip off the top rope and landing perfectly on his feet as the audience roared. At the young age of twenty-eight years old, Davis has ten years' experience and an impressive resume that includes titles in three different weight classes. Tank’s record stays perfect at 28-0, 26 KO’s.

Immediately in the days following the event, talks between PBC head honcho Al Haymon and Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boys Promotions, on pairing Davis and Golden Boy promoted Ryan “Kingry” Garcia for a super fight this spring. As of this writing, De La Hoya states he has the contract in hand.

De La Hoya may be trepid as he holds out for a larger percentage of the split. “Tank” has become a legitimate superstar who drew the largest monetary gate for an event in the history of The Capital One Arena. Paid ticket receipts totaled over five million dollars, and it has been reported pay-per-view proceeds added another twenty million dollars to the gross earnings. Another large source of revenue is the celebratory disposition of Davis's fan base transfer into the arena as patrons at the concessions stands. Add a few million bucks more to the proceeds from that revenue. Hence, De La Hoya has few bargaining chips at the table and will try to squeeze PBC for all he can without blowing the deal. April 15th is the projected date for the matchup, but no venue has been selected.

1/20/23 - Bethlehem, PA:

Two weeks later, I found my way to the Wind Creek Casino in Bethlehem, PA. Wind chills had the temperature in the teens. Entering the casino portion of the former Bethlehem Steel Mill, I saw a lively night brewing as the gaming house was filled with patrons.

The Wind Creek Event Center was packed with close to fifteen hundred fight fans that came to watch a Kings Promotions fight card that was part of The Showtime Network SHOBOX The New Generation fight series. Kings CEO Marshall Kauffman filled the card with first rate local talent.

Undefeated super middleweights Sean Hemphill, New Orleans, LA, fought David Stevens, Reading, PA, in a scheduled eight round bout, a ho hum affair that was even after six rounds. Midway through round seven, Stevens',165 ¾ lbs., constant forward pressure was squeezing the strength out of Hemphill, 166 lbs. Battling aggressively until the end, Stevens pressed ahead in the last round. Then with seconds left in the fight, Stevens pummeled a cornered Hemphill. After absorbing a pounding, Hemphill slumped to the canvas. Using very questionable judgment, referee Shawn Clark let the action go on. Brutally aspiring to finish off his foe, Stevens assaulted Hemphill with three bombs to the head. As referee Clark stepped in to call a halt at 2:58 seconds while Hemphill collapsed to the ring apron. Stevens' record stays perfect at 12-0, 9 KO’s. Hemphill suffered his first blemish to his record and slides to 14-1, 8 KO’s.

Monday, January 30, 2023

WWE Royal Rumble 2023

By Steve Ward

The road to Wrestlemania officially kicked off this evening as the Royal Rumble emanated from a sold out Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. This evening’s stacked card featured five matches with two titles contested and was headlined by the Men’s and Women’s 30-participant over the top battle royals. While the return of Cody Rhodes has already been confirmed for the match, there has also been the annual air of speculation with what surprises could be in store with one popular theory being the return of The Rock which would potentially set up a showdown at the Showcase of the Immortals with his cousin Roman Reigns - assuming he retains his title in a showdown with Kevin Owens.

Men’s Royal Rumble Match

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Quite to my surprise, this year’s show opened with the Men’s Royal Rumble Match - possibly to set up a face to face with the winner of the Universal Championship Match.




The Miz

Kofi Kingston

Johnny Gargano

Xavier Woods

Karrion Kross

Chad Gable

Drew McIntyre

Santos Escobar

Angelo Dawkins

Brock Lesnar

Bobby Lashley

Baron Corbin

Seth Rollins


Rey Mysterio (never entered the match after he was allegedly jumped by Dominik Mysterio


Dominik Mysterio


Finn Balor

Booker T

Damian Priest

Montez Ford


Austin Theory


Braun Strowman


Logan Paul

Cody Rhodes

In the closing moments, the commentators believed the final four to be Gunther, Cody, Rollins, and Austin Theory. Theory was the first to go thanks to a clothesline from Cody Rhodes. Next, Logan Paul (thought to be out of the match) returned to eliminate Seth Rollins. Next, Cody hit the Cross Rhodes on Logan and promptly eliminated him. This left the Intercontinental Champion, Gunther, who set the record for longest time in a traditional Royal Rumble match, and the returning Cody Rhodes. In the closing moments, Cody hit the Cross Rhodes on Gunther and then promptly dumped him over the top rope to solidify his victory.

Sadly, this match had only one real surprise in Booker T and the booking was simply lazy by saving the one participant who everyone knew was in the match for #30 - this received a chorus of boos from the WWE Universe when Logan Paul entered at 29 which solidified Cody for 30 removing any air of mystique.

Mountain Dew Pitch Black Match

Bray Wyatt vs. LA Knight

Winner: Bray Wyatt via pinfall

The past several weeks has seen LA Knight (who many better recognize as Eli Drake from his Impact and NWA days) finally receive a significant push, following his abysmal Maximum Male Models program, with Bray Wyatt. Not much was known about the match stipulations heading into this event except that anything goes and the identity of Uncle Howdy could possibly be revealed.

Once the bell rang, the normal lights went out revealing a black light reactive ring so essentially this was a hardcore match in what looked like a ring that would fit in at a glow in the dark mini golf course. In a rather short affair, Wyatt put Knight away with the Sister Abigail.

RAW Women’s Championship

Alexa Bliss vs. Bianca Belair (c) 

Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall

In a rather uneventful match, Belair put Bliss away with the KOD in rather short order to retain her title. Following the match, an eerie vignette played in the arena displaying Bliss from her time under Bray Wyatt’s “control” seemingly foreshadowing an upcoming turn in character for her.

Women’s Royal Rumble Match

Winner: Rhea Ripley



Rhea Ripley

Liv Morgan

Dana Brooke


Shayna Baszler



Roxanne Perez

Dakota Kai

Iyo Sky


Candice Lerae

Zoey Stark

Xia Li

Becky Lynch

Tegan Nox


Piper Niven


Chelsea Green

Zelina Vega

Raquel Rodriguez

Mia Yim

Lacey Evans

Michelle McCool

Indi Hartwell

Sonya Deville


Nikki Cross

Nia Jax

The final four in the Women’s Royal Rumble came down to Asuka, Nikki Cross, Liv Morgan, and Rhea Ripley. The first to be eliminated was Nikki Cross at the hands of Liv Morgan as she stood on the ring apron attempting to eliminate Asuka. Minutes later, all three women found themselves standing on the apron. Asuka delivered the mist to the face of Liv and Ripley proceeded to kick Asuka’s legs out from under her sending her to the floor. Then a “blinded” Liv was launched from the ring apron as Ripley hung from the top rope and lifted her legs up around Liv’s head to eliminate her and punch her ticket to Wrestlemania.

Undisputed Universal Championship

Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman & Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

This match really only seemed to manifest because of the longstanding history between the “Honorary Uce” Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens with Zayn’s loyalty being questioned for months. Tonight, Reigns absolutely steamrolled Owens enroute to yet another successful defense of his title as his historic reign continues.

After the match, the beat down of Owens continued until he found himself handcuffed to the ring ropes. The Usos proceeded to deliver countless super kicks to Owens until Reigns picked up a steel chair and gave it to Zayn to finish the job. A conflicted Zayn proceeded to strike The Tribal Chief instead and received a beat down of his own for his efforts by The Bloodline, with the exception of Jey Uso who had his own conflict of conscience and walked out of the arena. The remainder of the Bloodline proceeded to exit the arena unified as they basked in their victory.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Philly’s Next Champ Gym Hosted Jerron “Boots” Ennis Media Workout

By Frank Bartolini

Philadelphia, PA: Philly’s Next Champ Gym in Northeast Philadelphia hosted Jerron “Boots” Ennis' media workout in preparation for his upcoming bout on January 7th at The Capitol One Arena in Washington D.C. Ennis will be squaring off against Karen Chukhadzhian for the interim IBF World Welterweight Title as the semi wind up of WBA World Lightweight king Gervonta Davis' title defense versus Hector Luis Garcia. 

Upon entering the gym, it is obvious Ennis is not a coddled fighter as he sat outside the ring on a stool and wrapped his own hands. After skipping rope and breaking a sweat, Boots took his sweatshirt off to reveal a sculpted physique that showed how physically mature he has become. Calling this workout impressive would be an understatement. Ennis' display of hand speed and punching power was spectacular. A thunderous noise, just a decibel below the sound of a shotgun blast, reverberated as Boots' gloved fists pounded the pads. When Bozy Ennis begins the chore of training his son, both men are focused and tend to the business at hand. At the conclusion of the session both were drenched in sweat. 

During the question-and-answer session, Boots indicated he expected a short night's work. Ennis also indicated that a bump up to junior welterweight for a title shot would not be out of the question.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

WWE Survivor Series War Games 2022

By Steve Ward

WWE returned to Boston’s TD Garden this evening for the latest installment of Survivor Series. This year a new spin was implemented as the Thanksgiving tradition would be fused with War Games, a throwback to WCW’s annual Fall Brawl that had most recently been revived on the NXT brand. Since Triple H has taken the reigns following Vince McMahon’s retirement, the programming has become noticeably more entertaining and several previously released talents have been brought back into the fold including: Bray Wyatt, Karrion Kross, Dexter Lumis, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, and Braun Strowman. This evening’s card featured five matches with two titles defended and was headlined by not one, but TWO, War Games ,matches. For those of you unfamiliar with a War Games match, two rings are encompassed by a massive steel cage as two teams are added to the match with participants alternating in entry. Once all combatants are in the cage, the match technically begins and a team is declared the winner by pinfall or submission.

Women’s War Games Match

Team Belair (Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, Mia Yim, & Bianca Belair) vs. Team Bayley (Rhea Ripley, Nikki Cross, Bayley, Io Sky, Dakota Kai)

Winners: Team Belair via pinfall

The opening contest on the card pit RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair’s team against Bayley’s team composed of her Damage Ctrl faction, Cross, and Ripley. Dakota Kai and Bianca Belair opened the match and from that point on a new woman entered the fray every three minutes with Team Bayley holding the advantage. 

Order of entry:

Dakota Kai

Bianca Belair

Io Sky


Nikki Cross:

Alexa Bliss


Mia Yim

Rhea Ripley

Becky Lynch

Following Becky Lynch’s entry into the cage, the match finally officially commenced and a winner would be determined by the first pinfall or submission. The closing moments of the match saw Io Sky and Dakota Kai positioned on a table in the corner of the ring. Becky Lynch then proceeded to scale the cage and delivered a leg drop to both women that decimated the table. Lynch proceeded to pin Kai to seal the victory for her team.

Finn Balor w/ Dominik Mysterio & Damian Priest vs. AJ Styles w/ Gallows & Anderson

Winner: AJ Styles via pinfall

This match pit two men with an extensive history dating back to New Japan Pro Wrestling as each man was a leader of the Bullet Club in their respective tenures. This bout legitimately came down to Styles and Balor only as The OC and Judgement Day proved to be non-factors after they brawled out of the arena. Styles and Balor were visibly battered from their vicious encounter and in the end, Styles delivered a Phenomenal Forearm to help him earn the pinfall.

Smackdown Women’s Championship

Ronda Rousey (c) w/ Shayna Baszler vs. Shotzi

Winner: Ronda Rousey via submission

Ronda Rousey’s latest contender came in the form of Shotzi tonight after she recently prevailed in a Six-Pack Challenge on Smackdown. Following a relatively sloppy match, Ronda finally overwhelmed Shotzi first with a Judo throw from the top turnbuckle, then the Piper’s Pit, and finally earned the submission victory with an armbar.

United States Championship Triple Threat Match

Seth Rollins (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Austin Theory

Winner: Austin Theory via pinfall

Seth Rollins found himself in the crosshairs of both Bobby Lashley and Austin Theory. Lashley after he defeated him for the US Championship and Austin Theory after he became frustrated with his attempts at cashing in the Money In The Bank briefcase being repeatedly thwarted (before finally failing) and turned his attention to another champion. The end of the match saw Seth Rollins superplex Theory and then hold on and hoist him up for the Falcon Arrow. Before Rollins could execute the move, Lashley speared him and Rollins then collapsed with Theory on top of him long enough for a three count by dumb luck.

Men’s War Games Match

The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Jimmy & Jey Uso, Solo Sikoa, & Sami Zayn) w/ Paul Heyman vs. The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Butch, and Ridge Holland), Drew McIntyre, & Kevin Owens

Winners: The Bloodline via pinfall

Roman Reigns still found himself in tonight’s main event, however, it was as a part of War Games rather than in defense of his title - which unless he makes a defense on WWE weekly programming means his next defense could theoretically be at the Royal Rumble on January 28. The first two participants in the main event were Butch and Jey Uso who battled for five minutes before Ridge Holland entered the ominous cage from which point a new participant would enter every three minutes until all ten men made their way into the chaos.

Order of entry:


Jey Uso

Ridge Holland

Sami Zayn

Drew McIntyre

Jimmy Uso

Kevin Owens

Solo Sikoa


Roman Reigns

After Roman Reigns, the final participant to enter the match, made his into the cage, the bell rang officially marking the start of the bout. In the closing moments, Sami Zayn affirmed his allegiance to the Bloodline as he first delivered a low blow to Kevin Ownes and then put him down again with a Helluva Kick. Zayn then positioned Owens for a splash by Jey Uso that was immediately transitioned into a pinfall that solidified the win for The Bloodline.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

WWE Extreme Rules 2022

By Steve Ward

WWE returned to the birthplace of extreme, Philadelphia, PA, for Extreme Rules live from the Wells Fargo Center. While the Undisputed Universal Champion, Roman Reigns was noticeably absent from the card, the show was loaded with several “extreme” matches including two of the six contested for championship gold. One would have to wonder if the show would bend the rules of the PG rating with Vince McMahon no longer at the helm on a night where WWE claims to go extreme. Another glaring question for the evening was whether the “white rabbit” (presumed to be Bray Wyatt) would make his debut/return.

Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match

Imperium (Gunther, Giovanni Vinci, &Ludwig Kaiser) vs. The Brawling Brutes (Sheamus, Ridge Holland, & Butch)

Winners: The Brawling Brutes via pinfall

The bitter feud that has continued to escalate since Walter and Sheamus battled for the Intercontinental Championship at Clash at the Castle last month, came to a head tonight. Both men rallied their factions together for a “Good Old Fashioned Donnybrook Match” which was essentially a free-for-all brawl. Before the chaos of this match ensued, it should be noted that The Brawling Brutes entrance was interrupted by a brief video featuring the enigmatic “white rabbit.” Following a hard-hitting brawl that exceeded 20 minutes, Gunther received a devastating shot with a shalalee at the hands of Sheamus that subsequently allowed him to seal the victory.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Extreme Rules Match

Liv Morgan (c) vs. Ronda Rousey

Winner: Ronda Rousey via submission

Ronda Rousey found herself in a position to try and regain her Smackdown Women’s Championship that she lost at Money In The Bank when Morgan cashed in her briefcase on Rousey after she was injured in her title defense. Rousey looked out of place in this match as soon as weapons were introduced and unfortunately Liv Morgan didn’t look much more comfortable as her most significant highlight was a well-executed senton from the top rope that put Rousey through a table. Moments after that thunderous blow, Morgan found herself tied up on the mat in the most unique submission hold I’ve seen her unleash that lead to Morgan losing consciousness.

Strap Match

Karrion Kross w/ Scarlett vs. Drew McIntyre

Winner: Karrion Kross via pinfall

Karrion Kross made his shocking return to RAW (following a very dismal and poorly booked first run on the main roster) just before Clash at the Castle. Upon his return, Kross immediately placed McIntyre in his crosshairs. The two combatants were bound together by a 13-foot leather strap in this bout with the winner to be declared by scoring a pinfall or submission. The closing moments of the match saw McIntyre seemingly poised for a potential victory as he sized up Kross for The Claymore. Scarlett intercepted McIntyre and sprayed him in the eyes with pepper spray leaving him vulnerable as he was blindsided with the Kross Hammer allowing Karrion Kross to seal the victory with a pinfall.

RAW Women’s Championship Ladder Match

Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley

Winner: Bianca Belair

Bayley made her return at Summerslam with her new running mates Io Sky and Dakota Kai, collectively called Damage Ctrl, as they confronted Belair following her successful title defense over Becky Lynch. Fast forward to tonight where they meet head-to-head in a Ladder Match where the first competitor to scale the ladder and retrieve the title suspended above the ring would be the victor. Belair was able to overcome a spirited effort by the former champ and interference by Damage Ctrl as she hit the KOD on Bayley clearing a path for her to ascend to the top of the ladder and retrieve her title.

“I Quit” Match

Edge vs. Finn Balor 

Winner: Finn Balor

This bitter feud ignited after Edge was unceremoniously booted from the faction he created, Judgment Day, when he thought he was introducing Finn Balor as the newest member only to have him supplant him as leader. Tonight, this feud came to a head in an “I Quit” Match where one wins by making his opponent mutter the words, “I Quit.” Edge was seemingly moments from forcing Balor to quit as he had him in a crossface with the aid of a hockey stick until the rest of the Judgement Day came to his aid. The odds were then evened as Rey Mysterio and Beth Phoenix came to The Rated R Superstars aid. The Judgement Day was able to regain the advantage once again after disposing of Rey Mysterio and Ripley delivering a vicious blow with brass knuckles to the back of Beth Phoenix’s head. With Edge being held down, Ripley positioned Phoenix’s head on a chair for the con-chair-to. Edge was forced to say, “I Quit” and still watched as Ripley delivered the crushing chair shot to his wife’s head.

Following the match, The Miz was again confronted by the Flyer’s mascot Gritty backstage and was offered a t-shirt. This time The Miz attacked Gritty and as he stood over the mascot berating him, he was attacked from behind by Dexter Lumis who subsequently choked him out and walked away with Gritty.

Fight Pit Match w/ Special Guest Referee Daniel Cormier

Seth Rollins vs. Matt Riddle

Winner: Matt Riddle via submission

These two men decided to take their personal rivalry into the Fight Pit, a doorless steel cage with shelves on top that would be lowered over the ring with the ropes removed. Additionally, a winner would only be crowned by pinfall or submission meaning escape would not be an option. Late in the contest, Riddle landed a senton from the top of the Fight Pit and moments later cinched in a triangle choke to solidify the victory.

As Riddle exited the arena, the lights faded to black as a creepy rendition of “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” echoed through the arena. After people dressed as characters from the Firefly Funhouse were illuminated around the arena, Bray Wyatt made his long-awaited debut/return to WWE to close the show.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Garcia Victorious in Return

By Frank BartoliniRingside

No other region on this earth is as ethnically diverse as the five boroughs that encompass New York City. The population of Brooklyn represents that fact. This was truly the case on the evening of July 30 at the Barclays Center when Danny “Swift” Garcia, a Philadelphian who is proud of his Puerto Rican heritage, faced Mexican American Jose Benavidez Jr. in the twelve round junior middleweight main event. The heavyweight semi-windup pitted Polish native Adam Kownacki against Ali Eren Demirezen of German-based Turk. Cuban junior welterweight Rances Barthelemy and Ukrainian middleweight Sergiy Derevyanchenko competed in separate contests on the undercard. All these combatants were well represented in the audience with either flags or shirts displaying national colors.  

Danny Garcia returned to his home away from home, the Barclays Center, to face contender Jose Benavidez of Phoenix. This was the former two-weight division world champion Garcia’s first venture into the junior middleweight ranks. He weighed 152 ¾ lbs. Leading up to the fight, many questions were asked about Garcia, who was coming off a nineteen-month layoff (L12 Errol Spence). Have Garcia's skills faded? Can he still pack a punch in a higher weight class? Will Garcia shake off the rust accumulated during his long layoff? This was Garcia's ninth time fighting in The Barclays Center and the crowd of approximately 9,500 fans exhibited its appreciation by roaring upon his entry into the arena.  

From the onset, Garcia started fast and maintained a good pace throughout. Benavidez,153 ¾ lbs., could not match Garcia’s punch rate. During the second round, Garcia darted in and out as Benavidez became more aggressive trying to stunt Danny’s offense. However, beyond this point it was all Garcia as he moved well to avoid being hit while scoring counter right hands. Garcia took full control of the action and began landing combinations to both the head and body while the house cheered “DANNY, DANNY, DANNY” in round five.  

Trying to change the momentum, Benavidez pressed the action during the ninth stanza and it was the only session he clearly won. Closing out the fight, Garcia looked sensational in the final three minutes throwing beautiful, fast flurries. At the end, everyone in the building believed beyond a doubt that Danny had won. That is, everyone except for the official judges. Garcia, who is now 37-3, 21 KOs, won a majority decision by scores of 114-114 (Waleska Roldan), 116-112 (Glen Feldman), and 117-111 (Tony Paolillo). This writer had it 119-110 for Garcia, ten rounds to one with one even. Benavidez slipped to 27-2-1, 18 KOs.

This grand performance by Garcia not only extended his career it catapulted him into the junior middleweight rankings. In the days following the romp, Keith Thurman went on social media calling for Garcia to face him in a rematch. Garcia lost a close twelve round nod to Thurman in March of 2017 in a world welterweight unification tilt staged at The Barclays Center. One promoter said he finds Garcia vs. Connor Benn an intriguing match up and would like to promote it. Whispers of Garcia challenging WBA world middleweight champion Erislandy Lara, at a catch weight, are also circulating. Others have said Garcia is in line to meet physical anomaly 6’ 5 ½” Sebastian Fundora. With all these options, Garcia would be wise to enter the ring by year's end while he is still a hot commodity.


It was not long ago that Polish-born heavyweight Adam Kownacki, Brooklyn, NY, was a world rated contender in line for a chance to battle for the world heavyweight championship. But after losing his third straight against Ali Eren Demirezen, Hamburg, Germany, Kownacki's days as a world ranked fighter seem to be over. Nearly half of Kownacki's, 251¼ lbs., professional boxing career has taken place at the same venue. Polish fans came in droves and Kownacki admirers had plenty to root for following the first two rounds. Kownacki slowed down in the third and Demirezen got the better of the action from this point forward.

Both boxers threw plenty of punches, and combined, unleashed almost eighteen hundred blows over ten rounds. A humongous tally for heavyweights. By throwing and scoring more power shots Demirezen had the left side of Kownacki's face looking horrible. Demirezen, 272 ¾ lbs., got off first and landed a straight right that opened a gash over Kownacki’s left eye. Brawling and rough housing kept Kownacki in the fight and many felt the fan-favorite might receive a hometown nod. However, judges Steve Weisfeld and Martha Tremblay (97-93) and Mark Consentino (96-94) all scored the fight in favor of Demirezen, 17-1, 12 KOs. Kownacki, 203, 15 KOs, must re-evaluate his career. It will be a long road back for Kownacki.


Competing for the first time in his life without his late father in his corner, Gary Antuanne Russell, Capitol Heights, MD, 137 ¾ lbs., kept his knockout streak alive with a controversial stoppage of Cuban native Frances Barthelemy, Las Vegas, NV. Gary Russell Sr. passed away suddenly in May, and his son, former WBC world featherweight king Gary Russell Jr. took over his duties of training and working in his younger brother's corner. An even battle until round six, southpaw Russell setup right hook to the jaw of Barthelemy, 139 ½ lbs., by dipping low before unleashing the bomb. Barthelemy fell to the deck and rose quickly, walking himself to a neutral corner. For reasons unknown to anyone, referee Shada Murdaugh called off the match. A cognitive and stable Barthelemy looked perfectly fine to continue the scheduled ten-rounder. The time of the stoppage was 50 seconds of round six. Russell's record remains unblemished at 16-0, 16 KOs. Barthelemy must rebuild with a slate of 29-2-1, 15 KOs.


On the undercard, Ukrainian Sergiy Derevyanchenko. 159½ lbs., obtained his first victory in three years. Derevyanchenko out-punched journeyman Joshua Conley, San Bernardino, CA, over ten rounds. Conley, 160 lbs., gave a game effort but fell to 17-4-1, 11 KOs. All three judges gave the fight to Derevyanchenko, now 14-4, 10 KOs, by wide margins: Allen Nace and Don Trella had it 99-91, while John Basile scored it 98-92.