Sunday, April 5, 2020

Wrestlemania 36 - Part Two

By Steve Ward

WWE returned again this evening from the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida with night number two of Wrestlemania 36 - yes, I continue to number them. For whatever reason, WWE decided a few years back to leave the number off of Wrestlemania each year as if it dated the event and made it more antiquated. I personally respond to that by saying, “Doesn’t the Super Bowl still use the number system?” If nothing else, labeling this event as it should be, Wrestlemania 36, demonstrates the longevity of the company and it’s ability to continue to cater to it’s target audience. Nonetheless, now that I’m off my soapbox, this evening should prove like last night to offer some shocking moments - particularly in the title matches. This evening’s event offered eight matches on the main card highlighted by Brock Lesnar squaring off with Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship.

NXT Women’s Championship
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Winner: Charlotte Flair

Following her victory in this year’s Royal Rumble match, Charlotte was called out by NXT Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley and in a shocking turn of events accepted her challenge. This also marks the first time that an NXT title would be defended on the grandest stage of them all. Rhea Ripley came to bring the fight to Charlotte tonight but it wasn’t enough. Charlotte systematically dismantled the left knee of Ripley for the duration of the contest until she couldn’t withstand any more punishment. In the final moments of the match, Charlotte cinched in a figure four leglock that she was able to transition into the Figure Eight for the submission victory.

Aleister Black vs. Bobby Lashley w/ Lana
Winner: Aleister Black via pinfall

In a classic “we didn’t know what else to do with these competitors so we’ll book them against each other” match, Aleister Black looked to maintain his recent momentum against one of the worst utilized superstars in the company, Bobby Lashley. Lashley used his overwhelming strength to impose his will upon Black for the majority of the match, however, Lana proved to be the ultimate deciding factor. Lashley had Black on his shoulder poised to finish him when Lana ordered her “husband” to spear him. This proved to be Lashley’s fatal flaw as he was unceremoniously met with a Black Mass kick to the mouth which allowed Black to seal the victory.

Otis vs. Dolph Ziggler w/ Sonya Deville
Winner: Otis via pinfall

This match represented absolutely nothing other than revenge. After Dolph and Sonya sabotaged Otis’ Valentine’s Day date with Mandy Rose, Otis made it a point to take out his frustrations on Ziggler after the truth was recently revealed on Smackdown. Otis appeared poised to finish his quest for revenge with the Caterpillar until Sonya intervened and opened the opportunity for Ziggler to strike him between the uprights. Moments later, Mandy Rose made her way to ringside where she slapped the taste out of Sonya’s mouth and with referee Charles Robinson distracted, she slid into the ring and returned the favor to Dolph. Otis proceeded to execute the Caterpillar and solidify his victory.

Last Man Standing Match
Edge vs. Randy Orton
Winner: Edge

Following Edge’s miraculous return at the Royal Rumble after a nine year hiatus due to what was once thought to be a career ending injury, Randy Orton turned on and brutally assaulted Edge the following night on RAW. This violence only escalated a matter of weeks later as Orton again struck - this time with Edge’s wife, Beth Phoenix, as the victim. With all of the events that have transpired, it only seemed fitting that this would culminate in a Last Man Standing Match. Randy Orton wasted no time bringing the fight as he jumped Edge with an RKO Outta Nowhere and then another as soon as the bell rang. This would be the last of the action at ringside as the remainder of the bout spilled over into several backstage areas of the Performance Center. The Rated R Superstar was finally able to put The Viper down for the referee’s ten count after their backstage brawl escalated to the top of the trailer of a semi-truck. Edge delivered a spear to Orton and then utilized a pair of steel chairs to deliver a Conchairto to seal the deal.

RAW Tag Team Championship
The Street Profits vs. Austin Theory & Angel Garza w/ Zelina Vega
Winners: The Street Profits

In another questionable booking decision, The Street Profits defended their titles against the makeshift team of Austin Theory and Angel Garza. Austin Theory attempted a late pinfall on Angelo Dawkins when Montez Ford launched himself from the top turnbuckle onto Theory’s back allowing Dawkins to steal a pinfall.

Smackdown Women’s Championship Fatal Five-Way
Sasha Banks vs. Lacey Evans vs. Tamina vs. Naomi vs. Bayley (c)
Winner: Bayley via pinfall

After belittling Paige recently on Smackdown Live, Bayley found herself defending the title against four other women certainly stacking the odds against her. Tamina, after imposing her will for much of the early going, was the first eliminated after the other four competitors ganged up on and dog piled on her for the pinfall. Naomi was the second eliminated after she tapped out to the Bank Statement applied by Sasha Banks. This presented another numbers game as Lacey was left to fend for herself against Bayley and her cohort Sasha Banks. Banks soon became the recipient of an inadvertent knee from Bayley leading to some infighting between the two. Lacey capitalized on this and knocked out Sasha Banks with a Woman’s Right allowing her to eliminate The Boss leaving us with our final two participants. Lacey seemingly was moments away from winning her first title after landing the moonsault, however, Sasha Banks reemerged and drilled Evans with a backstabber. Bayley then took advantage and finished off The Sassy Southern Belle to retain her title.

Firefly Funhouse Match
John Cena vs. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt
Winner: The Fiend???

Before John Cena was able to declare his absence from Wrestlemania this year, The Fiend intervened and posed a challenge which the 16-time champ aptly accepted. The match was declared a Firefly Funhouse Match - one that nobody had a clue what it would entail heading in. This ended up being a glorified montage of WWE and WCW pop culture references along with a brief history of Bray Wyatt and John Cena that concluded with The Fiend taking Cena down with the Mandible Claw as Bray Wyatt counted the pinfall.

WWE Championship
Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Drew McIntyre
Winner: Drew McIntyre via pinfall

Drew McIntyre’s long journey to the main event of Wrestlemania became a reality after he derailed Brock Lesnar’s torrid elimination streak on his way to winning this year’s Royal Rumble match. Tonight he stepped toe to toe with The Beast, this time with the top prize in sports entertainment on the line. Lesnar’s efforts to manhandle McIntyre were briefly stunted as he answered with a Claymore Kick. This motivated Lesnar as he proceeded to take Drew to Suplex City and delivered three consecutive F5s - all of which were followed by failed pinfall attempts. Brock’s fourth F5 was reversed by McIntyre who answered with three consecutive Claymore Kicks - the last of which allowed him to stun the champ as he pinned him in front of a speechless Paul Heyman.

official WrestleMania 36 poster : SquaredCircle



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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Wrestlemania 36 - Part One

By Steve Ward

In a time devoid of the vast majority of professional sports, the WWE (and AEW) have continued to satiate the desire for entertainment to their loyal fan bases as they have consistently aired all of their weekly programs absent of any fans. The “Showcase of the Immortals” began this evening with part one of Wrestlemania 36 from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. This year’s event has been billed “Too Big For One Night” and hence the reason it has been divided into two evenings making it one of the most unique Wrestlemanias since Wrestlemania 2 - when some of you may recall the event emanated from The Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY, The Rosemont Horizon in Rosemont, IL, and The Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena in Los Angeles, CA with each venue having it’s very own main event.

One could deduce that this year’s show had been divided into two evenings because there is no NXT Takeover event being held and to limit the amount of personnel in the Performance Center but leave it to WWE and their publicity team to put a positive spin on the event. While I would not expect the superstars to put any less effort forward from a physical standpoint, the biggest question would be how they would react to the dynamic of no fans in attendance. Sure, many of the wrestlers have likely performed in a high school gymnasium in front of 15 people in the early stages of their careers, but to be someone who feeds of off crowd reaction and uses it drive their performance this could certainly be disconcerting - if not eerie.

Nonetheless, I still feel like a kid again when this weekend comes around each year and look forward to two great nights of live entertainment because I can only watch so many classic ballgames on MLB Network.

Kickoff Show


Cesaro vs. Drew Gulak
Winner: Cesaro via pinfall

Cesaro disposed of Daniel Bryan’s newfound running mate Drew Gulak as he executed a no-hands airplane spin to seal the pinfall victory.

Main Card

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs. The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka & Kairi Sane) (c)
Winners: Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross via pinfall

Bliss and Cross appeared to be in dire straits for the majority of this bout. Bliss was disposed of at ringside for a significant portion of the match allowing the Kabuki Warriors to have their way with her - even executing a modification of The Doomsday Device. Cross was able to stave off defeat long enough to turn the tides as late in the match she executed a spinning neck breaker on Sane as Bliss conveniently made her way back to the ring apron. Cross tagged Bliss back in as she scaled to the top turnbuckle and landed the Twisted Bliss to crown new champs.

King Corbin vs. Elias
Winner: Elias via pinfall

There was a great deal of speculation as to whether Elias would even participate in this match after Corbin had launched him off of a balcony one week ago on Friday Night Smackdown. Not only did he show up but rode the momentum of a Jeff Jarrett-esque guitar shot to Corbin’s head prior to the start of the match.

RAW Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
Winner: Becky Lynch via pinfall

Following an absolutely dominant performance where she defeated five other women to become the number one contender at last month’s Elimination Chamber pay per view, the Queen of Spades went toe to toe this evening with The Man for her title. This was an extremely physical contest with an abundance of strikes thrown by each superstar. It appeared Baszler was about the fulfill the prediction of many and win the title as she cinched in the Kirifuda Clutch, however, Becky rolled over while Shayna’s shoulders were still pinned down and miraculously stole a pinfall to retain her title.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Daniel Bryan w/ Drew Gulak vs. Sami Zayn (c) w/ Cesaro & Shinsuke Nakamura
Winner: Sami Zayn via pinfall

Cesaro and Nakamura proved to be the difference in this contest. Late in the bout, the two of them laid waste to Drew Gulak which prompted Daniel Bryan to take them out with a suicide dive. With Zayn still seemingly down for the count in the ring, Bryan climbed to the top turnbuckle but as he dove at Zayn he was unceremoniously met with a version of the Helluva Kick allowing Sami to retain his title.

Triple Threat Ladder Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
Kofi Kingston vs. Jimmy Uso vs. John Morrison
Winner: John Morrison 

Yes, you read that correctly. This bout was for the tag team championship, however, only one member of each team participated after The Miz fell ill, and obviously with the current global climate, was not able to compete. As the closing moments of the match approached, all three competitors found themselves at the top of two ladders propped below the titles hanging in the balance. All three men had their hands on the titles as they were detached and as they struggled for possession, Morrison fell down onto another ladder that was propped up by the ring ropes and one of the ladders in the ring. By dumb luck, he fell with the titles in tow solidifying a successful defense.

Kevin Owens vs. Seth Rollins
Winner: Kevin Owens via pinfall

Following his open defiance of Seth Rollins and his collective of AOP and Buddy Murphy for several weeks, Kevin Owens finally earned his shot at redemption and his Wrestlemania Moment tonight. Rollins dominated the bout early but wasn’t able to put Owens away. Owens then caught Rollins with the Pop-Up Powerbomb but The Monday Night Messiah escaped the pinfall and rolled out of the ring. Rollins then made his way to the timekeeper’s area with Owens in tow, grabbed the ring bell, and struck KO with it leading to a disqualification. This outcome wasn’t acceptable to Owens who proceeded to call Rollins a bitch and challenged him to a no disqualification match which he readily accepted. This second match didn’t last long as Owens laid Rollins out across the announce table and ascended to the top of the Wrestlemania sign just behind it. Owens then jumped from the top of the sign and put Rollins through the table. The two then returned to the ring where Owens dropped Rollins again with the Stunner to earn the pinfall.

WWE Universal Championship
Goldberg (c) vs. Braun Strowman
Winner: Braun Strowman via pinfall

Following weeks of buildup of a title clash between Roman Reigns and Goldberg, The Big Dog was removed from the card due to health concerns stemming from his recent bout with leukemia. In stepped a formidable foe in “The Monster Among Men” Braun Strowman - a man who previously had no match scheduled on the card to much surprise. Goldberg slipped out of an early power slam attempt by Strowman and executed four spears in a row, however, when he attempted The Jackhammer, Braun reversed it with a power slam. Braun then executed two more power slams and finished things off with a running power slam to quite frankly provide the shock of the night as he pinned the Hall of Famer to earn his first ever Universal Championship.

Boneyard Match
The Undertaker vs. AJ Styles
Winner: The Undertaker

Following The Undertaker’s surprise appearance at WWE Crown Jewel in February where he cost Styles his victory in a gauntlet match, The Phenomenal One has made it a point to call out the Deadman time and time again until tonight’s match came to fruition. This match did not take place inside of the Performance Center, but rather at an undisclosed outdoor location made up to look like a graveyard. AJ Styles arrived in a hearse whereas The Undertaker tapped into his old American Badass persona from the early 2000s and rode in on a motorcycle. After Undertaker had dumped Styles into an open grave, Gallows and Anderson made their presence known as they arrived with several “druids.”

The Undertaker laid waste to all of the robed individuals and as he was gaining the upper hand on Gallows and Anderson, Styles reemerged to crack what appeared to be a piece of concrete over The Phenom’s head. Styles proceeded to verbally belittle The Undertaker for several minutes until he cracked a shovel over his back and threw him into the open grave. As AJ boarded a John Deere in order to bury him, a rejuvenated Undertaker emerged behind Styles and proceeded to lay waste to both him and his OC cohorts. Moments later, Styles also became the recipient of a vicious choke slam off the top of a shed/barn-like structure. Styles proceeded to beg for forgiveness until The Undertaker kicked him into the open grave and used the John Deere to bury him. Apparently this was a buried alive match (I say apparently because no stipulations were established beforehand) so with Styles put away, the Deadman jumped back on his motorcycle and rode off into the night to bring night number one to a close.

official WrestleMania 36 poster : SquaredCircle



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Monday, March 9, 2020

WWE Elimination Chamber 2020

By Steve Ward

The final stop on the Road to Wrestlemania arrived this evening to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Some of the luster was removed from the event as the men’s Elimination Chamber to determine who would compete for the Universal Championship was cancelled. Apparently it was already a foregone conclusion that Roman Reigns would end up receiving the opportunity so he simply walked out on Smackdown two weeks ago, declared he’s “next,” and there you have it - Roman Reigns vs. Goldberg at the Showcase of the Immortals. Don’t fret though because tonight’s card still featured two chamber matches among the seven bouts on the card.

Daniel Bryan vs. Drew Gulak
Winner: Daniel Bryan via submission

This evening’s main card opened with two competitors boasting prominent technical IQs - the leader of the rejuvenated YES Movement Daniel Bryan and Philly’s own master of the PowerPoint presentation Drew Gulak. While not conducive towards evoking a rousing crowd reaction at times, these two men put on a grappling clinic for the fans in attendance. Despite being one of the best matches I’ve ever seen Gulak put on, Daniel Bryan was able to cinch in the YES Lock solidifying his victory as Gulak passed out.

United States Championship
Andrade (c) w/ Zelina Vega vs. Humberto Carrillo
Winner: Andrade via pinfall

Andrade appeared to be in dire straits late in this contest after Carrillo executed an awe-inspiring vault over the referee and the top rope that put Andrade on his back. Carrillo subsequently rolled up Andrade in a pinfall attempt, however, it was reversed as Andrade grabbed his tights to steal the victory and retain his title.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber Match
The Miz & John Morrison (c) vs. Robert Roode & Dolph Ziggler vs. Lucha House Party vs. Heavy Machinery vs. The New Day vs. The Usos
Winners: The Miz and John Morrison via pinfall

The Miz and Morrison were immediately thrown into the fire as the first defense of the titles they just won at Super Showdown was in the sadistic confines of the Elimination Chamber. The New Day and The Usos were tasked with the distinct disadvantage of  kicking off the match. The first team to be released from their chamber was the Lucha House Party. After the Lucha House Party scaled to the top of one of the pods to clear out their adversaries with some of their signature acrobatics, the defending champs Miz & Morrison were the next to enter the fray. The two proceeded to dismantle the other men in the ring with a proficient display of tandem offense reminding the WWE Universe why they were such a proficient team years ago. The next team to emerge from their respective chamber was Heavy Machinery. Just after Otis executed the Caterpillar followed by the elbow drop, Lince Dorado climbed to the top of the chamber in American Gladiators fashion and dropped to the ring taking out all of the other competitors in the ring. Heavy Machinery emerged then to hit the Compactor on Gran Metalik to eliminate the Lucha House Party. Roode and Ziggler then became the final team to enter the contest after winning the tag team gauntlet on Friday Night Smackdown this week. 

Otis attempted to exact revenge on Ziggler for ruining his Valentine’s Day date with Mandy Rose, however, it backfired and he ran through the pod landing out on the floor as Dolph evaded him. Tucker was left to fend for himself, however, Roode and Ziggler were too much. Roode drilled ASU alumni Tucker Knight with the Glorious DDT to eliminate Heavy Machinery. Their brief celebration didn’t last long as The New Day laid waste to Roode and Ziggler setting up The Usos to dive from opposite pods setting up the pinfall and leaving us with three teams. Our next elimination arrived after Kofi attempted a dive of his own off the top of one of the pods only to find his target moved. Miz and Morrison proceeded to pick up the scraps and piled on Kofi for the pinfall. This left us with the defending champs and one of the first teams to start this match in the Usos as our final two. Shortly after executing Starship Pain on Jimmy Uso, The Miz rolled him up and Morrison launched over the top rop for a tandem pinfall to retain their titles.

No Disqualification Match
AJ Styles w/ Gallows & Anderson vs. Aleister Black
Winner: Aleister Black via pinfall

Black “earned” his shot at The Phenomenal One after The O.C. laid waste to him this past week on RAW. Aside from the no disqualification stipulation, one was also left to wonder whether the Undertaker would make his presence felt after he easily defeated Styles in the final match of the gauntlet at Super Showdown in addition to Styles continued mocking of The Deadman - most notably how he emulated Taker’s signature pin on Black Monday night. This turned into a brutally contested bout as Styles was unable to put Black away. Frustration on the part of the O.C. spilled over as they brought the numbers game into play and proceeded to beat down Black. Just as he appeared doomed, the lights in the arena faded to black as the ominous “gong” echoed through the Wells Fargo Center. As the lights came back up, The Undertaker was standing with his hands wrapped around the throats of Gallows and Anderson. Styles attempted to attack The Undertaker from behind with a Phenomenal Forearm, however, he was caught in midair and suffered a vicious choke slam. Just as quick as the Undertaker appeared, the lights faded, the bell tolled, and he vanished. Black then capitalized on the opportunity and tattooed Styles with the Black Mass for the victory.

RAW Tag Team Championship
The Street Profits (c) vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy w/ AOP
Winners: The Street Profits via pinfall

After Kevin Owens cost Rollins and Murphy their tag team titles on Monday night, they promptly enacted their rematch clause this evening. The Monday Night Messiah attempted to stack the deck in his favor this evening as the Authors of Pain joined him at ringside. This advantage was swiftly neutralized as The Viking Raiders made their way to ringside and the two teams proceeded to brawl their way out of the arena. Late in the contest, Kevin Owens entered through the crowd to ringside where he posed just enough of a distraction towards Rollins that allowed the Street Profits to take control of the contest. Montez Ford put the finishing touches on their title defense as he landed the frogsplash for the victory. After the contest, Kevin Owens grabbed Rollins from behind as he berated Buddy Murphy for being pinned to suffer the fate of a Stunner in the middle of the ring seemingly setting up their date at Wrestlemania.

Intercontinental Championship Three On One Handicap Match
Braun Strowman (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn
Winner: Sami Zayn via pinfall

The Monster Among Men found himself in this predicament after Sami Zayn twisted his words at the contact signing for this bout and had it changed into a handicap match. After allowing Nakamura and Cesaro to do all of the heavy lifting for a majority of the bout, Zayn was there to pick up the scraps in the end. After he was dealt a Kinshasa by Nakamura, Strowman was left dazed. Zayn proceeded to tag himself in as Nakamura and Cesaro hoisted Strowman up and delivered a Helluva Kick as he was dropped to the canvas. Zayn then covered Strowman for the shocker of the evening crowning a new champion in the process.

Women’s Elimination Chamber Match
Natalya vs. Liv Morgan vs. Shayna Baszler vs. Asuka vs. Sarah Logan vs. Ruby Riott
Winner: Shayna Baszler via submission

The main event of the evening pit six women against each other in the visceral Elimination Chamber with a shot at Becky Lynch’s RAW Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania hanging in the balance. Natalya and Riott kicked off this match and Natalya wasted no time taking her to the platform of the chamber where she quickly cinched in a Sharpshooter to no avail. Sarah Logan was the next to enter the bout and she immediately propelled herself at Natalya with a double knee strike so she could focus on her former cohort Ruby Riott. Baszler next entered the match and after launching Natalya into a ring post, the Queen of Spades proceeded to eliminate both Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott in a span of less than 60 seconds with back-to-back Kirifuda Clutches. Baszler then redirected her attention to Natalya and brutalized her with the door of one of the empty pods. With Natalya beaten senseless, Baszler cinched in another Kirifuda Clutch for yet another submission elimination. Liv Morgan was the next to enter the match and attempted to mount some offense but it didn’t phase Baszler. Baszler then dragged Morgan to the corner in front of Asuka’s pod and locked her in another Kirifuda clutch until she passed out. Finally after a few minutes of Asuka shouting at Baszler in Japanese, she made her way into the match as the final entrant. Asuka was game for Baszler, however, the Queen of Spades overcame the Asuka Lock to finally cinch in yet another Kirifuda Clutch. While Asuka didn’t tap out, she eventually passed out solidifying Shayna Baszler as Becky Lynch’s challenger in 28 days at Wrestlemania.

EliminationChamber2020promotionalposter.jpg

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Saturday, March 7, 2020

Results from Brooklyn

By Luis A. Cortes III, Ringside

A boisterous crowd of 8,811 jammed into the bottom bowl of the Barclays Center to cheer on the current heavyweight fighting pride of Poland Adam Kownacki (20-1)(15 KO's).  Robert Helenius (30-3)(19 KO's), the former European champion, looked to play major spoiler and derail the Kownacki express.

Helenius shocks Kownacki in four

It took just one semi feel out round before the action started in round two. Both Kownacki and Helenius were more than happy to please the enthusiastic crowd by exchanging bombs.  This continued in the third round as Helenius was clearly hurt by a stabbing right hand to the body.  He was able to circle away and survive the incoming bombs from Kownacki.

As round four started, Helenius continued to circle away from the pressure of Kownacki, but Kownacki attacked when he felt he had Helenius trapped in the corner.  During their exchange, Helenius landed a straight right and Kownacki went down.  Quickly rising to his feet, the referee ruled it a slip.  As the action continued, Helenius landed another right hand but followed it with a straight left that floored Kownacki.

The ending came at the 1:08 mark of the fourth round when Kownacki wasn't able to avoid the barrage of power punches that followed from Helenius.  With Kownacki having his back on the ropes and resorting to covering up for protection, the fight was called off.

Ajagba stops Cojanu in the ninth to stay perfect

Entering the seventh round, Efe Ajagba (13-0)(11 KO's) was happy with not allowing Razvan Cojanu (17-7)(9 KO's) inside of his range.  Continuing to improve his boxing skills and not wanting to be known for his power punching alone, Ajagba landed clean shots at will.  Cojanu to his credit, tried to force a slugfest to try and land clean on Ajagba.

Towards the end of the eighth round, Ajagba landed a left hook and looping right hand that hurt Cojanu and forced him to take knee.  Cojanu rose to his feet, but the ending was all but decided.  Cojanu earned the right to give it one last chance in the ninth round, but more power shots from Ajagba almost closed his left eye and forced him to wilt from the punishment.  The fight was waved off at the 2:46 mark of round nine.

Ajgaba -
Cojanu has a lot of experience. When I threw my jab, he used his right hand to block my vision, so I couldn't throw as many combinations as I wanted. It was a good challenge.

Ronnie told me to attack the body behind the jab. It was very effective and it started to slow him down. When he got close to me, I knew to throw more and punish him.

Sanchez wins ten round decision over Dawejko

After two rounds of feeling each other out, Frank Sanchez (15-0)(11 KO's) started to establish his jab a bit.  Joey Dawejko (20-8)(11 KO's) continued to stand his ground and chase Sanchez, who was happy with boxing from a safe distance.  Dawejko was able to slip most of the power shots from Sanchez, but wasn't active enough with counter shots to win the rounds clearly.

The action picked up some in the fifth round after Dawejko landed a left hook to the body, and Sanchez responded with a hard straight right.  After the exchange, the fighters were in a clinch and there was blood coming from over the left eye of Dawejko.

Heading into the tenth and final round, the fight continued to have the same pattern. Dawejko followed Sanchez around trying to start a fight, and Sanchez was content to box in circles behind a jab, with the occasional right hand.  The fight wasn't in question with Sanchez winning a unanimous decision by scores of 98-92 and 100-90 twice.

Dawejko - 
I knew he was going to fight on the outside and he stayed on the outside. Not much to say, he just did what he had to do.

He was scared that's why he was running around. He kept jumping back and staying away, so I guess he made it easy on the judges.

Sanchez -
I was well prepared and I thought I fought very well tonight. I dominated the fight. I showed good footwork and movement and did exactly what we worked on.

I didn't want to fight Dawejko's fight, and he realized that and it frustrated him. He might have thought he's faced guys like me, but there's no other heavyweight like me.


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Sunday, March 1, 2020

AEW Revolution

By Steve Ward

After storming onto the scene in 2019, All Elite Wrestling sought to continue their meteoric rise as they made their way to the Windtrust Arena in Chicago for their first pay per view of 2020, Revolution. With arguably their most impressive card to date, the eight match card featured all three AEW titles defended including Chris Jericho vs. Jon Moxley for the AEW Heavyweight Championship.

The Buy-In Pre-Show

The Dark Order vs. SCU (Frankie Kazarian & Scorpio Sky)
Winners: The Dark Order via pinfall

Much speculation entered this match as to the identity of The Exalted One who is the shot caller behind the Dark Order. For weeks there had been growing suspicion that The Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels would reveal himself as their leader and this notion was reinforced by his glaring absence at ringside for the duration of this contest. Following Stu Graysons pinfall victory over Kazarian, the entire Dark Order proceeded to lay waste to SCU until Colt Cabana made his way to ringside in an attempt to even the odds to no avail. Just moments later, the Dark Orders music resonated throughout the arena as a cloaked individual made his way onto the entrance ramp. The individual proceeded to reveal himself as The Fallen Angel, however, Daniels proceeded to rush the ring and vault over the ropes knocking Evil Uno to the canvas solidifying his allegiance to SCU in the process. This will surely continue the speculation as to the identity of The Exalted One leading many to believe it may indeed be Matt Hardy whos contract with WWE expires March 1st or perhaps even Luke Harper whos supposedly on his way to the promotion.

Main Card

Dustin Rhodes vs. Jake Hager
Winner: Jake Hager via submission

The main card of Revolution kicked off with a bang as the ageless Dustin Rhodes (who turns 51 on April 11) squared off with Jake Hager (known for his current Bellator career where he is undefeated and as Jack Swagger in WWE). Hager definitely displayed no signs of ring rust as he made his AEW in-ring debut after serving as Chris Jerichos enforcer for the duration of his tenure to date. In the closing moments, Hager landed a low blow as the referees back was turned and proceeded to cinch in a standing side headlock/sleeper hold fusion for the submission victory.

Darby Allin vs. Sammy Guevara
Winner: Darby Allin via pinfall

In what was projected to be a potential show-stealer, these two competitors gave us our first holy shit moment just minutes into the match as Guevara incapacitated Allin and laid him out across a table at ringside. Guevara then proceeded to execute a flawless 630 senton which drove Allin through the table. This high-flying encounter ended in phenomenal fashion as Darby Allin executed the Coffin Drop to earn the pinfall victory.

AEW Tag Team Championship
Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page (c) vs. The Young Bucks
Winners: Kenny Omega & Hangman Adam Page via pinfall

This bout constituted a battle within The Elite as The Young Bucks earned a title shot against their brethren by surviving a battle royal recently on Dynamite. This was a five star match if Ive ever seen one and quite possibly the best match Ive seen in years. The closing moments alone were unbelievable. After Matt Jackson kicked out of the Buckshot Lariat and V Trigger combo by Omega and Page, Omega attempted the One Winged Angel but could not finish the move with his injured shoulder. Page proceeded to tag his way back into the match and executed the One Winged Angel himself, however, it still was not enough to put Matt Jackson away. Page would not be denied as he proceeded to nail the Buckshot Lariat on Nick Jackson out on the entrance ramp and turned around to execute it again on Matt Jackson to earn the pinfall.

AEW Womens Championship
Nyla Rose (c) vs. Kris Statlander
Winner: Nyla Rose via pinfall

After Nyla Rose decimated Riho recently on Dynamite to become the new womens champion, she made her first title defense this evening against Kris Statlander - whos billed fromThe Andromeda Galaxy. Kris Statlander gave Nyla Rose all she could handle in this contest. It appeared for a moment that Statlander was going to abruptly end Roses title reign after landing a suplex/brain buster off the top turnbuckle, however, the champ kicked out of the pinfall attempt. In an effort to put her away, Statlander then attempted a top rope hurricanrana but The Native Beast simply overpowered her and proceeded to break her in half with a Beast Bomb from the top turnbuckle scoring an easy pinfall in the process.

Cody w/ Arn Anderson & Brandi Rhodes vs. MJF w/ Wardlow
Winner: MJF via pinfall

Following weeks of running through Maxwell Jacob Friedmans gauntlet to earn a match with him this evening, this match became extremely personal for Cody. After Cody was double crossed by MJF in his shot at the heavyweight championship against Chris Jericho late last year, when Friedman threw in the towel from The American Nightmares corner. Cody seemingly had this bout in the books after he executed two Cross Rhodes to a bloodied Friedman, however, MJF countered the third with a knee to the head followed by a shot between the eyes with the Dynamite Diamond Ring which allowed him to steal a pinfall.

PAC vs. Orange Cassidy w/ Best Friends
Winner: PAC via submission

Freshly Squeezed Orange Cassidy made his debut as a singles competitor this evening against The Bastard PAC (formerly known as Neville) after he assaulted Cassidy multiple times the past few weeks. Cassidy certainly impressed in this contest especially with the fact he fought a great deal of the bout with his hands in his pockets. Late in the match it appeared Cassidy was going to pull off a monumental upset after he landed a diving DDT off of the top rope, however, PAC rolled out of the ring. Trent proceeded to toss PAC back into the ring but the Lucha Bros decided to intervene in the match drawing the Best Friends away from ringside and distracting Cassidy long enough for PAC to cinch in the Brutalizer from behind for the submission victory.

AEW Heavyweight Championship
Chris Jericho (c) w/ Santana & Ortiz vs. Jon Moxley
Winner: Jon Moxley via pinfall

The main event of the evening came to fruition after Moxley denied Jerichos offer to join the Inner Circle by responding with a champagne bottle to the face sparking a bitter rivalry for the past several weeks. Moxley solidified his position in this main event after defeating PAC in a number one contenders match on a recent edition of Dynamite. The odds were certainly stacked against Moxley as he has made it a point to establish himself as a loner in AEW. Moxley overcame outside interference from the entire Inner Circle and a bloodied face to thwart Le Champion Chris Jericho in the closing moments with back to back Paradigm Shifts allowing him to cover for the 1-2-3 and become the second heavyweight champion in the companys short history.
 

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