Monday, October 26, 2020

WWE Hell in a Cell 2020

By Steve Ward

The Quarantine Era continued into month number eight this evening as Hell In A Cell emanated from the Thunderdome (Amway Center) in Orlando, Florida. This continues to be an interesting decision in my opinion as not only AEW, but also other professional sports have embraced a limited return for fans - after all, you would think there has to be several outdoor venues in Florida that would gladly host WWE with limited capacity. Nonetheless, this evening’s card boasted six matches with four titles contested and was headlined by Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre going toe to toe in the ominous Hell In A Cell. 

Universal Championship Hell In A Cell I Quit Match

Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Jey Uso

Winner: Roman Reigns

Following last months embarrassing loss to his cousin where his brother Jimmy threw in the towel for him, Jey found himself in a rematch for the Universal Championship this evening. This time the match would be escalated to an even greater level of intensity as the cousins battled within the carnal Hell In A Cell with the brutal addition of an I Quit stipulation where you must make your opponent give up. Sadly this match was another abomination with more of Roman preaching to his cousin than anything else. After Jey was beaten senseless but refused to quit, the ring was rushed by WWE officials. Following their futile efforts to get Roman out of the ring, Jimmy Uso came to his brothers aid. Roman seemingly listened to some sense but instead proceeded to put Jimmy in a guillotine choke for his efforts. Jey finally proclaimed the words I quit to save his brother leading the anticlimactic end to this contest. Following the match, Roman was met on the stage by his uncle Afa and father Sika (the legendary Wild Samoans) where they anointed him the new head of the table.

Elias vs. Jeff Hardy

Winner: Elias via DQ

Elias made his return from injury during the WWE Draft a couple weeks ago following a five month layoff that was attributed to being hit by a car driven by Jeff Hardy during the DUI angle they were involved in with Sheamus at the time. Elias immediately targeted Hardy leading to their first ever meeting in the squared circle this evening. Just as the contest was building momentum, Jeff Hardy followed Elias to the outside of the ring where he retrieved his guitar. Hardy intercepted Elias, took his guitar, and demolished it over him leading the referee to call an abrupt end to the match.

Otis w/ Tucker vs. The Miz w/ John Morrison

Winner: The Miz via pinfall

Following a courtroom segment on Friday Night Smackdown with JBL presiding, it was ruled that Otis would need to defend his Money In The Bank briefcase against The Miz leading us to their showdown this evening. Otis controlled the tempo for the majority of this bout which prompted John Morrison to attempt to intervene with the briefcase, however, the referee put a stop to it and he was banned from ringside. In a shocking turn of events, The Miz was laid out on the canvas and Otis proceeded to propel himself off of the ropes but was met with a strike to the back with the briefcase by his best friend Tucker. This allowed The Miz the opportunity to cover Otis for the pinfall as he became the new holder of the Money In The Bank briefcase.

Smackdown Womens Championship Hell In A Cell Match

Bayley (c) vs. Sasha Banks

Winner: Sasha Banks via submission

Following the nuclear fallout of their friendship, Sasha Banks challenged Bayley and her 380 day reign as champion to a Hell In A Cell Match. This match was better than the Hell In A Cell which opened the show, however, that isnt saying much. In the closing moments of the bout, Bayley seemed to be moments from retaining her title as she brutalized Banks with several chair shots and the Bayley To Belly, however, Sasha kicked out of the subsequent pinfall attempt. Bayley then attempted the Bayley to Belly again with the use of a chair but Banks pulled off a sloppy reversal that propelled Bayleys head into her own chair. Sasha took advantage of this as she trapped Bayleys head in the chair and cinched in the Bank Statement for the submission victory as a new champion was crowned.

United States Championship

Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Slapjack

Winner: Bobby Lashley via submission

The developing feud between The Hurt Business and Retribution picked up steam recently as Mustafa Ali was revealed as their leader. This evenings title contest came to fruition on the Kickoff Show as Ali challenged The Hurt Business to a match. MVP accepted the challenge and proclaimed that Bobby Lashley would defend his United States Championship against Slapjack (yes, you read that correctly) of Retribution. Bobby Lashley dominated Slapjack from the opening bell and with the exception of some brief offense on the part of the Retribution member, this was a very one-sided contest that ended with Lashley cinching in The Hurt Lock for the victory.

WWE Championship Hell In A Cell Match

Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre (c)

Winner: Randy Orton via pinfall

Following his loss last month to McIntyre in the Ambulance Match at Clash of Champions, Randy Orton maintained his fixation on the WWE Championship and vengeance as he has continued to focus all of his efforts towards a rematch with the champ. Orton wasted no time taking the fight to McIntyre this evening as he disguised himself as a ringside crew member allowing him to get the jump on Drew. This didnt prove to pay the dividends Orton had hoped for as McIntyre controlled much of the early going. Orton finally turned the tide as McIntyre was met with a steel chair when he attempted to close out the bout early. The Viper then took the opportunity to unleash his sadistic side as McIntyre was forced to endure attacks with chairs, the ring steps, and his face being grated against the cage. As Orton felt his advantage slipping, he used bolt cutters to escape the cage and lured McIntyre to the top of the imposing structure.

As this plan didnt progress as Orton hoped, he again baited McIntyre to climb down the side of the cage aligned with the announce table. As they were halfway down the side of the cell, Orton pried the champs fingers loose and launched him off the side of the cage and through the announce table below. McIntyre willed himself back into the cage and alluded an RKO which he answered with a Claymore Kick. Orton managed to roll out of the ring to avoid the pinfall and recover. After slowly rolling back in, he dodged a second Claymore Kick attempt and answered with an RKO which allowed him to pin McIntyre crowning himself as the new world champion for the 14th time.

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Sunday, October 4, 2020

WWE NXT TakeOver 31

By Steve Ward

Just one week following Clash of Champions, WWE returned with NXT Takeover 31 from the brand new Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Essentially, the Capitol Wrestling Center is a scaled down version of the Thunderdome as WWE has again implemented the virtual fans with the primary difference being Performance Center athletes, family, and friends also surrounding the ring. The event also marked the debut of Wade Bad News Barrett on commentary with Vic Joseph and Beth Phoenix - a much needed infusion of life since the departure of Mauro Ranallo. The concise card featured five bouts with four titles on the line and was headlined by Finn Balor going head to head with Kyle OReilly for the NXT Championship.

NXT North American Championship

Damian Priest (c) vs. Johnny Gargano

Winner: Damian Priest via pinfall

Takeover kicked off in electrifying fashion as the man formerly known as Punishment Martinez in Ring of Honor defended his North American Championship against Johnny Gargano. This hard-hitting contest fired on all pistons from the opening bell. One of the most brutal spots of the match evolved as the two men battled in front of the announce table where Priest hoisted Gargano up into the Razors Edge and propelled him so his spine collided with the edge of the ring apron. Following a low blow that caused a momentum shift late in the match, Priest was still able to prevail as he executed The Reckoning to solidify the victory.

Kushida vs. Velveteen Dream

Winner: Kushida via submission

This grudge match evolved after each man essentially cost the other their respective title opportunities for Takeover. Like the opening contest, this one also got off to a ferocious start as Kushida ambushed Dream in the midst of his entrance. The advantage did not last long as Dream was able to assert control over the contest by engaging in his well known mind games. Kushida was able to withstand the Dream Valley Driver and The Purple Rain Maker to systematically dismantle Dreams left arm. The final moments of the match saw Kushida cinch in The Hoverboard Lock as Dream attempted another Dream Valley Driver and he sustained the hold throughout as he forced Dream to tap out.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship

Santos Escobar (c) vs. Isaiah Swerve Scott

Winner: Santos Escobar via pinfall

Since the demise of 205 Live, the Cruiserweight Championship has been adopted by NXT. Tonights bout featured two men who had their personas manipulated in typical WWE fashion shortly following their arrivals. First, we had the champion, Santos Escobar, who may be better known as El Hijo del Fantasma. In his case he debuted under that moniker until he unmasked himself and formed Legado del Fantasma. Escobars opponent, Isaiah Swerve Scott, was formerly known in Ring of Honor as Swerve Strickland. Swerve was able to execute the impressive 450 splash late in the bout, however, it wasnt enough. The two proceeded to jockey for position on the ring apron as Swerve was knocked down and inadvertently struck his head on the steel ring post. This opened the window of opportunity for Escobar who hoisted him up in a double underhook and drove Scotts cranium into his knee to allow him to earn the pinfall.

NXT Womens Championship

Io Shirai (c) vs. Candice LeRae

Winner: Io Shirai via pinfall

Late in the match Shirai appeared to be in dire straits after the referee was inadvertently knocked out and LeRaes husband, Johnny Gargano, made his way to the ring in a referees shirt. As the referee came to, Johnny Gargano was able to distract him while LeRae took the title and decked Shirai with it. This just wasnt enough as Shirai first executed a perfect Spanish Fly and then immediately followed through with the Over The Moonsault to retain her title.

NXT Championship

Finn Balor (c) vs. Kyle OReilly

Winner: Finn Balor via pinfall

After Karrion Kross was forced to relinquish the NXT Champinship immediately after he defeated Keith Lee for it due to injury, Finn Balor quickly emerged as the new champ. This evening he was pitted in his first defense against the Undisputed Eras Kyle OReilly. This opportunity was substantial for OReilly as he has been known throughout his career as a tag team specialist primarily alongside Bobby Fish and has never competed in a singles match at a Takeover event. Kyle OReilly certainly brought his A-game this evening as his submission prowess was on full display, however, The Prince was able to withstand the challenge as he finished him off with the Coup de Grace to retain his title.

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Monday, September 28, 2020

WWE Clash of Champions 2020

By Steve Ward

For the September installment of the WWE Quarantine Era, Clash of Champions - Gold Rush (apparently adding a tag line to the name of each pay per view is a thing in WWE much like the days of each In Your House having a special subtitle) emanated this evening from the Thunderdome within the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. I find it interesting how the state of Florida has allowed events to admit masked spectators while operating at 25% capacity yet WWE has not followed suit like AEW and the Jacksonville Jaguars still electing for virtual fans and what I suspect, based on tonights audible crowd reactions not exactly syncing with the virtual fans on-screen behavior, to be manufactured fan noise. Nonetheless, this evenings seven match card only featured title bouts so names such as Seth Rollins, Rey Mysterio, Bray Wyatt, and Braun Strowman were noticeably omitted from the show.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Ladder Match Jeff Hardy (c) vs. A.J. Styles vs. Sami Zayn Winner: Sami Zayn In the midst of Jeff Hardy and A.J. Styles’ recent feud over the Intercontinental Title, Sami Zayn made his return from injury recently with the title he never lost in tow. With Zayn declaring himself the true champion since he vacated the title due to injury and Styles being the next in line for an opportunity, what better way to settle the score and declare an undisputed champion than in a triple threat ladder match? The most awe inspiring moment of the match came late as a ladder was suspended between the ring apron and announce table with another towering ladder standing beside it. With Sami Zayn laid out on one ladder, Hardy scaled the other and executed a picture perfect Swanton Bomb from the top that broke Zayn in half and obliterated the ladder. In the closing moments, Zayn procured two sets of handcuffs from his jacket. First, he handcuffed Jeff Hardy to a ladder on the floor at ringside, not by his hand, but by the gauge in his ear - let that sink in a moment. Zayn then took the other set and first handcuffed himself to Styles. Styles decided to scale the ladder with a beaten Zayn on his back in a fireman’s carry. Halfway up the ladder, Zayn pulled a key from his mouth, unhooked himself from Styles, and attached the Phenomenal One to a lower rung on the ladder. This allowed Sami to ascend to the top of the ladder and retrieve both belts suspended above the ring crowning a new champion in what was sadly a rather pedestrian match for the most part.

RAW Women’s Championship Asuka (c) vs. Zelina Vega Winner: Asuka via submission Quite frankly this match materialized out of nowhere. Asuka had been begging for more competition for several weeks and following a successful defense of her title against Mickie James on RAW a few weeks back, Vega came out of nowhere to challenge the Empress of Tomorrow two weeks ago. In the closing moments of the bout, Asuka cinched in the Asuka Lock to retain her title.

WWE United States Championship Bobby Lashley (c) w/ MVP & Shelton Benjamin vs. Apollo Crews w/ Ricochet Winner: Bobby Lashley via submission This bout marked the latest installment in the ongoing feud between Apollo Crews and The Hurt Business. Aside from losing his title recently to Lashley, things became even more personal as Apollo’s cohort Cedric Alexander betrayed him and subsequently joined MVP’s ranks in The Hurt Business. Bobby Lashley was able to withstand an impressive frog splash from Crews as he solidified the defense of his title by locking in The Hurt Lock, his version of a full nelson, for the tap-out. RAW Tag Team Championship The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) (c) vs. Andrade & Angel Garza Winners: The Street Profits via pinfall In a rivalry that’s been ongoing since before Wrestlemania, Andrade and Garza challenged for the RAW Tag Team Championship…again all while claiming things would be different this time since parting ways with Zelina Vega. It was also entertaining to hear the commentators allude to the fact that the Street Profits were tired of facing this team considering the fact that WWE has dismantled their tag team division this year with the releases of The Revival, Gallows & Anderson, Hawkins & Ryder, and The Authors of Pain (AOP). That coupled with a serious injury to half of the Viking Raiders and the division is now in shambles. In the closing moments of a rather uneventful contest, Dawkins executed his version of D’Lo Brown’s Sky High on Andrade and proceeded to pin him. Andrade kicked out after two, however, the referee blew the count and struck the canvas a third time for the pinfall - whether this was a legitimate error or work should become clear tomorrow night on RAW.

WWE Smackdown Womens Championship

Bayley (c) vs. Asuka

Winner: Asuka via DQ

Bayley made her way out to the ring and announced that Nikki Cross was unable to compete and therefore forfeited her title opportunity. After proclaiming a half-hearted open challenge, Bayley proceeded to celebrate her “victory” when no one initially answered the call. Suddenly Asuka’s music echoed through the arena to challenge Bayley’s 349 day championship reign. As Bayley felt she was losing her grip on the title, she assaulted the RAW Women’s Champion with a steel chair leading to a disqualification and abrupt end to the match.

Following the bout, Bayley was ambushed by Sasha Banks who emerged from “the crowd” with her neck brace on and a steel chair in hand. The two proceeded to brawl in the ring until Banks ended the confrontation with some semblance of revenge as she peppered Bayley with several kendo sticks strikes.

WWE Championship Ambulance Match

Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Randy Orton

Winner: Drew McIntyre

The bitter rivalry between McIntyre and Orton entered another chapter this evening in the form of an Ambulance Match. The purpose of this match is quite simpleincapacitate your opponent to the point where you can shove him into the back of an ambulance and shut the doors. After Randy Orton incapacitated McIntyre early, he sized him up for the RKO, however, a hand grabbed him by the ankle from outside the ring. The masked individual revealed himself as The Big Show, a man victimized by Orton over the summer. Big Show dragged Orton out of the ring and chokeslammed him through the announce table before exiting. Later in the bout, the brawl spilled to the backstage area where once again Orton was ambushed as the tide turned in his favor, this time by Christian, allowing the champion to take control again. As the fight gravitated back towards the ambulance, Orton again found himself in control standing alone on top of the vehicle. Before Orton could act, Shawn Michaels greeted him with a Sweet Chin Music and shoved him off the ambulance. The final moments saw McIntyre first execute a Claymore Kick and then throw Orton into the ambulance. Rather than immediately close the ambulance doors, Drew first exacted revenge by way of a punt to the head. After closing the ambulance doors, the final victim from Ortons summer Legend Killer tour, Ric Flair, was revealed as the ambulance driver as he hauled Orton out of the arena.

WWE Universal Championship

Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Jey Uso

Winner: Roman Reigns

Following an injury to Big E, Jey Uso found himself in a fatal four way match recently on Smackdown with Sheamus, Matt Riddle, and King Corbin. Jey pulled off a stunner as he emerged victorious hence pitting him against his own real-life cousin, Roman Reigns. Now I understand that WWE was trying to tell a story while establishing Roman Reigns as the top heel in the company as he beat and berated his cousin but it was a bit of overkill and quite frankly translated into the worst match on the card. This bout came to its merciful conclusion as Jimmy Uso hobbled to ringside and threw in the towel for his brother calling an end to the match.

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Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Pandemic Knocks Out Annual Boxing Banquet

The 2020 New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame's annual induction and awards ceremony has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For the first time in its 52-year history, the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Dinner has been canceled.

The annual early November induction and awards dinner, held in recent years at the Venetian in Garfield, has attracted upwards of 650 people. This year's banquet was officially canceled as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to pose a health threat to New Jersey residents.

In a recent press release, New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame President, Henry Hascup, stressed the need for attendee safety, and to have maximum support for those being honored by the hall of fame. "Right now the [New Jersey] Governor has opened it up to 25% of the venue's capacity, but that would mean that ONLY 250 people could attend, which wouldn't be fair to the honorees," Hascup said.

The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame was established in 1968 to honor persons who made significant contributions to boxing in New Jersey. Inductees span the various roles involved with the sport ranging from fighters to medical professionals.

This year's 14 inductees include a variety of boxers and non-boxers. Bob Rooney Jr. and David Toledo headline the list of boxers from the Garden State. Non-participants joining the hall of fame include sports photographer, Ed Mulholland, and boxing training camp owner, Madame Bey.

The Turkish-born Hranoush Sidky Bey, commonly known as Madame Bey, ran her training camp in Chatham Township, New Jersey from 1923 to 1942. Notable visitors to her camp included Max Schmeling, Primo Carnera and Lou Ambers. Madame Bey's life in and outside of her boxing camp is chronicled in New Jersey boxing historian Gene Pantalone's 2016 book, Madame Bey's: Home to Boxing Legends.

The class of 2020 inductees will be honored on November 11, 2021 with the class of 2021.

The New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame is a 501-C3 charity. Notable past inductees include, Mickey Walker, Jersey Joe Walcott, Mike Tyson, James J. Braddock, Gerry Cooney and Marvin Hagler.

For more information on the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame and the class of 2020, please visit their official website and Facebook page.

This story also appeared on Patch

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Sunday, September 6, 2020


By Steve Ward

All Elite Wrestling returned to pay per view this evening from Dailys Place in Jacksonville, Florida. The outdoor, stadium seating venue, attached to TIAA Bank Field, the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, has been the residence of all of the promotions programming for the past few months and recently has been permitted to welcome real fans (unlike WWEs virtual Thunderdome) with an operating capacity of 10% - which translates to about 500 spectators. This evenings stacked card was headlined by Jon Moxley defending the AEW Heavyweight Championship against MJF in addition to the 21-man Casino Battle Royale to determine the future number one contender for the Heavyweight title.

The Buy-In Pre-Show

Joey Janela w/ Sonny Kiss vs. Serpentico w/ Luther
Winner: Joey Janela via pinfall

The pride of Asbury Park, New Jersey, “The Bad Boy” Joey Janela, opened the evening with a match against the enigmatic Serpentico. This entertaining opening bout concluded with the delivery of a devastating top rope elbow drop solidifying the victory.

Private Party vs. The Dark Order (Alex Reynolds and John Silver)
Winners: Private Party via pinfall

Following a very physical display from The Dark Order, Private Party were able to execute Gin and Juice to escape with the pinfall victory.

Main Card

Tooth and Nail Match
Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. w/ Rebel vs. Big Swole Winner: Big Swole The opening contest pit Dr. Britt Baker appearing in her first match in several months against Big Swole in the confines of what was allegedly Dr. Baker’s dentist’s office. I interpreted this match as a way to ease Dr. Baker back into action as she is an outstanding in-ring performer who didn’t have the opportunity to display her abilities in this contest. The underwhelming bout ended as Big Swole pinned Dr. Baker down on a dentist’s chair and placed the mask to administer knock-out gas on her face until she was unconscious for the win.

Jurassic Express (Luchasaurus & Jungle Boy) w/ Marco Stunt vs. The Young Bucks
Winners: The Young Bucks via pinfall The first match of the main card to be held in the ring pit two of the top five ranked tag teams in AEW against each other. Blink and you would’ve missed some of the fast and furious action in this contest. The final moments left Jungle Boy exposed after Luchasaurus vaulted into the collective of wrestlers at ringside. The Young Bucks solidified the victory after they executed the BTE Trigger on “Jungle Boy” Jack Perry.

Casino Battle Royale
Winner: “The Murderhawk Monster” Lance Archer

This 21-man battle royale presented extremely high stakes as the winner would earn a future shot at the AEW World Heavyweight Championship. This star studded match included “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels, Jake Hager, Brian Cage, Lance Archer, The Lucha Bros, The Butcher and the Blade, Frankie Kazarian, Billy Gunn, and Darby Allin to name a few. The match also featured the debut of Matt Sydal (also known as Evan Bourne from his WWE days) as he drew the wild card for the match. The final four participants in the bout were The Butcher (also known as Everytime I Die guitarist Andy Williams), Matt Sydal, Lance Archer, and Eddie Kingston. The Butcher was the first to be eliminated by Archer. Kingston eliminated Sydal as the two battled on the apron. Finally, Archer and Eddie Kingston found themselves fighting on the ring apron while Kingston’s cohorts, The Butcher and the Blade, attempted to pull Archer to the floor. Archer’s manager Jake “The Snake” Roberts distracted Kingston enough with his trademark snake in the bag so The Murderhawk Monster was able to propel Kingston into Butcher and the Blade for the victory.

Broken Rules Match
Matt Hardy vs. Sammy Guevara
Winner: Matt Hardy

Following several weeks of feuding between Hardy and Guevara, the two competed in a Broken Rules Match this evening. Essentially, this was a last man standing match which meant the winner would be declared after he could incapacitate his opponent to the point where he could not answer the referee’s ten count. This contest held potentially severe repercussions as Matt Hardy declared he would end his AEW career if he were unable to defeat The Spanish God. The match started near the football field and quickly proceeded to the backstage area of Daily’s Place. It appeared the match was cut prematurely short as Hardy took an ugly fall through a table and bounced his head off the concrete floor after which referee Aubrey Edwards called for the bell. Hardy then stalked Guevara back to the ringside area where the match was restarted at the ringside doctor‘s discretion. The two men then battled to the top of the ring entrance scaffolding where Hardy launched Guevara through the stage below. Guevara was unable to respond to the referee’s ten count hence proclaiming Hardy the victor.

AEW Women’s Championship
Hikaru Shida (c) vs. Thunder Rosa
Winner: Hikaru Shida via pinfall Hikaru Shida put her 105 day reign on the line this evening as she squared off with the current NWA Women’s World Champion, Thunder Rosa. On a side note, Thunder Rosa may have one of the best billings upon her entrance to the ring as Justin Roberts announced her from the graveyards of Tijuana, Mexico. This match was absolutely phenomenal and was quite possibly the best women’s match I’ve seen in a while. They displayed excellent technical prowess as old school moves such as The Pendulum used by Thunder Rosa and the Stretch Muffler by Shida were on display in this match, as well as, some proficient striking. Shida finally put Thunder Rosa away with a devastating sliding knee strike for the pinfall.

The Dark Order (Brodie Lee, Evil Uno, Stu Grayson, & Colt Cabana) vs. The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall), Matt Cardona, & Scorpio Sky
Winners: The Natural Nightmares (Dustin Rhodes & QT Marshall), Matt Cardona, & Scorpio Sky

This match came to fruition after Brodie Lee decimated Cody Rhodes on Dynamite a few weeks ago to become the new TNT Champion and the rest of the Nightmare Family rallied for him. In the closing moments of this frenetically paced match, Colt Cabana begged for a tag back into the ring from Brodie Lee. Cabana then ascended to the top turnbuckle and attempted a moonsault, however, Dustin Rhodes rolled out of the way and quickly captured Colt in a rollup pin for the victory.

AEW Tag Team Championship
Kenny Omega & “Hangman” Adam Page (c) vs. FTR w/ Tully Blanchard
Winners: FTR via pinfall

Following FTR’s (better known as The Revival in WWE so one could speculate that FTR stands for F&ck The Revival but I digress) shocking debut on Dynamite earlier this summer, they immediately solidified themselves as a force to be reckoned with in the tag team division and set their sights on the champions, Page and Omega. One had to wonder entering this match how Omega and Page would co-exist after weeks of failing to remain on the same page despite managing to retain their titles. The descent within The Elite finally culminated recently as The Young Bucks kicked Page out of The Elite on Dynamite. Late in the contest, Page received a V Trigger from Omega after half of FTR ducked out of the way. Omega was then rewarded with a chop block that incapacitated him for the remainder of the bout. Page finally fell victim to the number’s game as he suffered a pair of spike piledrivers labeled The Mind Breaker as new tag team champions were crowned.

Mimosa Mayhem Match
Chris Jericho vs. Orange Cassidy
Winner: Orange Cassidy

Following a quite entertaining feud between two of the most charismatic wrestlers in the industry, Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy’s rubber match would be in the form of a Mimosa Mayhem Match where the winner would be declared by pinfall, submission, or submerging his opponent in a mimosa-filled vat. The closing moments of the match saw Chris Jericho teetering on the middle turnbuckle with the mimosa vat just beneath him as Orange Cassidy executed two consecutive superman punches - the second launching Le Champion into the vat.

AEW Heavyweight Championship
Jon Moxley (c) vs. MJF w/ Wardlow
Winner: Jon Moxley via pinfall

The undefeated MJF spent the past several weeks “campaigning” his way into this contest for his first title shot in AEW. During his campaigning, he did manage to implement one key stipulation for this bout where Moxley would not have the luxury to utilize his signature finisher, The Paradigm Shift. In the closing moments, Wardlow distracted the referee and tossed the Dynamite Diamond ring into MJF, however, this created the window of opportunity that Moxley needed. With the referee still engaged with Wardlow, Moxley executed his patented Paradigm Shift allowing him to pin the bloodied MJF to retain his title and solidify his future date with Jake Roberts’ Murderhawk Monster, Lance Archer.

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Monday, August 31, 2020

WWE Payback 2020

By Steve Ward

Just one week after Summerslam, the Quarantine Era continued as WWE returned with Payback from the Thunderdome (aka The Amway Center) in Orlando, Florida. The composure of the card bears a semblance of what WWE wished last weeks event had been and they decided they wanted a do-over. Tonights show featured seven matches with three titles defended. This event also marked the return to in-ring action for Roman Reigns after an extensive layoff due to concerns over COVID-19 and his compromised immune system stemming from his battles with leukemia.

United States Championship Bobby Lashley w/ MVP & Shelton Benjamin vs. Apollo Crews (c) Winner: Bobby Lashley via submission

Weeks of feuding between The Hurt Business and Apollo Crews came to a head this evening. After Crews successfully defended his title against MVP last Sunday, he met a more formidable foe tonight in U.S. Army veteran Bobby Lashley. Lashley overcame Apollo in a hard fought contest as he locked in the Full Lashley (his rendition of the Full Nelson) for the submission victory.

Sheamus vs. Big E Winner: Big E via pinfall

In a match described by the commentary team as one to help potentially propel the winner into a future title shot, we were presented with the first card-filler bout of the evening. With virtually no real buildup, Sheamus, who recently concluded his program with Jeff Hardy a few weeks back with a loss in their barroom brawl, was pitted against Big E who has been acclimating to singles competition again with his New Day cohorts on the shelf. Sheamus appeared he was in a prime position for the submission victory as he had Big E locked into a heel hook, however, Big E fought his way out with several strikes to the head. Sheamus proceeded to size up Big E for the Brogue Kick but was welcomed with a power bomb followed by the Big Ending to solidify the victory.

King Corbin vs. Matt Riddle Winner: Matt Riddle via pinfall In the second card-filler bout of the evening, arguably the most hated man in WWE, King Corbin, was pitted against former mixed martial artist Matt Riddle as he continues to acquire his footing following his promotion from NXT to Smackdown. As the match approached it’s conclusion, Corbin executed the Deep Six, however, it wasn’t enough to seal the deal. Riddle was able to turn the tides by first executing the Bro to Sleep (his version of CM Punk’s Go to Sleep) and then the Floating Bro for the upset victory.

Women’s Tag Team Championship Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) Winners: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax via submission

Two women who were conspicuously omitted from the Summerslam card last week were thrown together this week as a rather imposing duo to challenge for the tag team titles. It appeared that Banks and Bayley were going to skate by after Banks executed a frog splash but Jax was able to kick out. In the final moments of the match, The Queen of Spades displayed her submission prowess as she locked up Banks with a Muta Lock and Bayley with the Kirifuda Clutch simultaneously! As Sasha tried to fight her way out, Baszler used Banks’ arm to further choke out her partner leading to the tap out and crowning of new champs.

Randy Orton vs. Keith Lee Winner: Keith Lee via pinfall

This contest pit two men coming off of main event losses last weekend against each other in an interesting encounter. Randy Orton’s meteoric momentum came to a screeching halt last Sunday at Summerslam as he lost his bid at the WWE Championship to Drew McIntyre. On the other hand, Keith Lee suffered defeat and the loss of his NXT Championship last Saturday at NXT Takeover XXX to Karrion Kross which opened the door for his debut this past Monday on RAW where he interrupted the Legend Killer as he addressed the WWE Universe. This interruption lead to a bout between the two that was prematurely ended by a McIntyre interruption bringing us this rematch tonight. This exceedingly physical match concluded in absolutely shocking fashion. Orton’s attempt at an RKO was foiled as Lee reversed it into the Spirit Bomb for the upset victory.

Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins & Buddy Murphy Winners: Rey and Dominik Mysterio via pinfall

The ongoing saga between the Mysterio family and “The Monday Nigh Messiah” Seth Rollins added yet another chapter this evening. Following Dominik’s loss to Rollins in his debut match last Sunday, he teamed with his father tonight to do battle with Rollins and his disciple, Buddy Murphy. After Murphy accidentally struck Rollins in the head, the opening presented itself for the Mysterios to take control. Rey kept Rollins at bay outside the ring as Dominik first executed his father’s patented 619 and then the frog splash for the victory.

WWE Universal Championship “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

After The Fiend defeated Strowman last Sunday for the Universal Championship, Roman Reigns shocked everyone as he emerged to lay waste to both men. This week it was announced that the title would be defended in a triple threat match, however, at the conclusion of Smackdown this past Friday, Roman was found discussing the contract for the match with Paul Heyman - could he be the latest Paul Heyman Guy?? The early moments of the match were absolute carnage as Roman Reigns did not make his appearance in the match while Strowman and The Fiend destroyed each other and the ring - literally. After The Fiend suplexed Strowman off the top rope, the ring literally collapsed. Reigns found this to be his window of opportunity to make his way to the ring with Paul Heyman in tow. Roman was unable to put away The Fiend and could have succumbed to the Mandible Claw if he hadn’t kicked Wyatt in his manhood. Reigns then turned his attention to Strowman who he speared to reclaim his Universal Championship.

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