Monday, September 27, 2021

WWE Extreme Rules 2021

By Steve Ward

WWE returned to pay per view this evening as Extreme Rules emanated from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. This evening’s card featured only six bouts - rather slim for a pay per view - with only one contested under the show’s moniker. The aforementioned lone Extreme Rules match would be the main event where Roman Reigns defended the WWE Universal Championship against “The Demon” Finn Balor. Another disappointing facet of the card was the lack of star power as the WWE seemed set on reserving marquee matches for their return to Saudi Arabia for next month’s Crown Jewel event where Brock Lesnar will likely make his in-ring return following his return at Summerslam.

The New Day vs. A.J. Styles, Omos, & Bobby Lashley
Winners: The New Day via pinfall

Rather than book a return bout for the WWE Championship, WWE elected to place Bobby Lashley and new champion (following his cash-in of the Money In The Bank briefcase two weeks ago) Big E on opposite sides of a six man tag team encounter. The closing moments of the bout saw dissonance ensue between Styles and Lashley which ultimately cost their team the match. Lashley was sizing up Big E for a spear as Styles blind-tagged himself into the match. Styles then attempted a Phenomenal Forearm only to have Lashley follow suit and blind tag himself in. Styles missed the attempt and Lashley then attempted a spear only to have Bug E sidestep him making Styles the unfortunate recipient. Big E took advantage of the chaos and executed the Big Ending on Lashley for the win.

Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. The Street Profits
Winners: The Usos via pinfall

The Street Profits gave The Usos a run for their money, however, Jimmy and Jey used effective teamwork to first neutralize Angelo Dawkins outside the ring before they turned their attention to Montez Ford. First, Ford received a super kick to his injured ribs buckling him in half before The Usos delivered simultaneous splashes from opposite turnbuckles to seal the victory.

RAW Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Winner: Charlotte Flair via pinfall

This match came to fruition after Flair’s recent appearance on Alexa’s Playground where the champ ridiculed Bliss’ current persona to the point Alexa snapped and assaulted Charlotte. Bliss appeared poised to score the upset in this contest until she missed a late attempt at the Twisted Bliss. Charlotte responded with a kick to the face followed by the Natural Selection to secure the victory.

United States Championship Triple Threat Match
Damien Priest ( c ) vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
Winner: Damien Priest via pinfall

Sheamus was scheduled to receive an opportunity to regain his title which he lost at Summerslam in a singles match tonight until a loss to Jeff Hardy this past Monday transformed this into a triple threat affair. Jeff Hardy appeared moments from victory late in this bout after he landed a Swanton Bomb on Priest who was attempting a pinfall on Sheamus. After a couple failed pinfall attempts, Hardy became the recipient of a Brogue Kick to the face from Sheamus which effectively knocked him out of the match. Priest next capitalized and rolled up The Celtic Warrior for the pinfall to retain his title.

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Winner: No contest

After “The Man” made her miraculous return at Summerslam to defeat Belair in less than a minute and reclaim championship gold, Belair found herself with a rematch this evening for the title. Lynch spent much of the early going of the match baiting Belair into a game of cat and mouse as she continued to escape to the arena floor before finally returning to the ring where she attempted to slow down the tempo of the match. Belair turned the momentum back in her favor shortly thereafter until Becky turned her attention to her arm. Lynch cinched in the Disarm Her only to have Belair reverse the submission attempt and hoist her up for the KOD. Before she was able to finish the move, Sasha Banks rushed the ring and laid waste to both women leading to a no contest.

WWE Universal Championship Extreme Rules Match
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

After Finn Balor’s championship opportunity was spoiled recently on Smackdown by The Usos, he reintroduced his Demon persona for his return to pay per view. Late in the match Balor appeared poised to score the upset multiple times. First, Balor attempted the Coup de Grace only to be thwarted by The Usos. Moments later, Balor, after disposing of The Usos, again found himself on the top rope ready to attempt the Coup de Grace before the top rope mysteriously snapped and caused Balor to fall to the canvas injuring his leg. As The Demon got back to his feet, he was met with a spear from The Tribal Chief putting an end to his title hopes.

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Saturday, September 11, 2021

The Return: Christian Carto wins big in Philly

A strong sense of familiarity lurked throughout the 2300 Arena in South Philadelphia on Friday night. Homespun, perhaps is the better way to describe the event, with the locals, on the road supporters, the fight families and of course the boxers themselves in the building. The aura projected was one that was absent since before the pandemic, but one other absence was also restored. On that topic of what hasn't been present, The Weigh-In is here to discuss a certain South Philly pugilist that had been away from the ring for roughly 31 months.

Coming off both a two year layoff and his first professional defeat, while dealing with the hardships of the pandemic that delayed a lot of fights, including in the bantamweight division, Christian Carto's anticipation for that next fight never went away. One of the most talked about prospects to enter the venue, it was safe to say Carto's bout would be under high speculation from the fans, press and overall boxing scene. Describing how his performance against the Columbian fighter Yeison Vargas played out from a fan and writer's perspective was simply extraordinary.

From the sound of the bell, it was clear Carto's will, or perhaps his drive had a flare that seemed almost "new," despite having a reputation of being both a talented and stark boxer. This contest was not decided by judges in this six round bout, but dictated by Carto's jab, generalship and combination punching. To say the Philadelphia fighter was able to do whatever he wanted in that ring, as if it was his second house, would be an understatement. 

Punches that Vargas could not endure, even with his guard, caused him to turn his back and fall towards the ropes, resulting in a knockdown. The following pursuit by Carto, as his opponent got up, would be a devastating body shot, a left hook to the liver. This famous punch put Vargas on the canvas for a second and final time, as the official in the ring, Eric Dali, counted the downed boxer out, leaving Carto the winner at 2:53 of this very first round.

While a victory for any boxer normally goes to show how much time, effort and overall work was put in training, Team Carto, with newly recruited trainer Bozy Ennis proved to have made the most of their preparation for the first fight together. Though this may be the return of Christian Carto, it certainly felt like he never left the squared circle.

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Tuesday, September 7, 2021

AEW All Out 2021

By Steve Ward

All Elite Wrestling returned to pay-per-view this evening with arguably their most anticipated event to date as All Out emanated from the Now Arena in Chicago, Illinois. The plethora of star power saturating this stacked card was undeniable with the majority of the publicity drawn to the nuclear level return to the ring of CM Punk for the first time in seven years! Including Punk’s return, the card featured nine matches with every AEW title on the line.

TNT Championship

Miro (c) vs. Eddie Kingston

Winner: Miro via pinfall

Miro, once known as Rusev in WWE, entered the ring tonight to defend his TNT Championship and his blemish-free 13-0 record against one of his most challenging competitors to date, the ring veteran Eddie Kingston. Kingston appeared poised to capture his first championship in AEW after he executed a perfect DDT late in the match, however, the referee was distracted by an exposed turnbuckle and didn’t commence with his count promptly enough. Moments later, Miro struck Kingston with a mule kick between the uprights as the ref was once again distracted. Miro followed this up with a stiff kick to Kingston’s head allowing him to secure the 1-2-3.

Satoshi Kojima vs. Jon Moxley

Winner: Jon Moxley via pinfall

Jon Moxley sent an open contract to New Japan Pro Wrestling which was accepted by one man, the Japanese legend Satoshi Kojima. Moxley was able to overcome Kojima in a hard-hitting Japanese strong style encounter as he executed consecutive Paradigm Shifts to put him away. Following the match, the music of another Japanese legend, Minoru Suzuki, echoed through the arena throwing the already raucous crowd into a frenzy. The two men proceeded to trade blows while laughing before Suzuki delivered his signature piledriver leaving Moxley laid out in the ring.

AEW Women’s Championship

Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. (c) w/ Rebel & Jamie Hayter vs. Kris Statlander w/ Orange Cassidy

Winner: Dr. Britt Baker D.M.D. via submission

The second title bout of the evening pit the top women’s contender, Kris Statlander, against Dr. Britt Baker who has been on the most dominant stretch of her career since taking the title from Hikaru Shida. Kris Statlander demonstrated tremendous resistance, however, she wasn’t able to execute any of her high-risk attempts which left her vulnerable in the end as the doctor executed the Pittsburgh Sunrise, a curb stomp, and the Lockjaw in succession allowing her to retain the AEW Women’s Championship via submission.

AEW Tag Team Championship Steel Cage Match

The Young Bucks (c) w/ Don Callis, The Good Brothers, & Brandon Cutler vs. The Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero Miedo & Rey Fenix) w/ Alex Abrahantes

Winners: The Lucha Bros via pinfall

With the Young Bucks being the benefactors of constant outside interference in their matches as of late, this match evolved into one that would be contested in a steel cage. These teams left absolutely nothing in the ring in this contest. After Penta was unable to seal the deal with an Avalanche Canadian Destroyer, his brother pulled off the most death-defying move of the match just moments later. Rey Fenix scaled to the top of the cage and dove off taking out the Young Bucks. The Lucha Bros then executed a spike package piledriver to put an exclamation point on earning their first AEW Tag Team Championship.

Women’s Casino Battle Royale

Winner: Ruby Soho

The winner of the 21-woman Casino Battle Royale would earn a future AEW Women’s Title opportunity. The women would enter in four groups of five with the “Joker” being the last entrant.

Clubs Group

Hikaru Shida

Skye Blue

Emi Sakura

The Bunny 


Diamonds Group

Anna Jay

Kierra Hogan

Kilyn King


Nyla Rose

Hearts Group

Thunder Rosa

Penelope Ford


Jaime Hayter

Big Swole

Spades Group

Tay Conti

Red Velvet

“Legit” Leyla Hirsch

Jade Cargill



Ruby Soho

The final four combatants in the battle royale were Tay Conti, Ruby Soho, Thunder Rosa, and Nyla Rose.  The first elimination saw Tay Conti launched from the ring apron by The Native Beast. Next, Thunder Rosa delivered a brutal dropkick to Nyla Rose that also dropped her to the arena floor leaving Thunder Rosa and the debuting Ruby Soho as the final two competitors. Ruby Soho and Thunder Rosa found themselves battling on the ring apron in the final moments as Soho (formerly known as Ruby Riott in WWE) delivered a kick to the head of Thunder Rosa that made her lose her footing and fall to the floor crowning Soho the winner and the recipient of a future title shot.

Chris Jericho vs. MJF

Winner: Chris Jericho via submission

After Jericho conquered the first four labors of Jericho, he lost his match to MJF in the fifth and final labor via submission. Jericho demanded one final match against MJF and in order to get it, he put his in-ring career on the line. Late in the contest, Wardlow made his way to ringside only to be intercepted by Jake Hager. As referee Aubrey Edwards was distracted, MJF grabbed Jericho’s baseball bat, Floyd, and struck him. MJF then hit Jericho’s own move The Judas Effect and covered him for a three count, however, Jericho’s foot was on the rope. Referee Paul Turner made his way to ringside and alerted Aubrey Edwards to what occurred leading her to restart the match. Jericho proceeded to cinch in The Walls of Jericho prompting MJF to tap out, hence, saving his career.

CM Punk vs. Darby Allin w/ Sting

Winner: CM Punk via pinfall

CM Punk made his triumphant return to professional wrestling just a few weeks ago on the second ever episode of AEW Rampage and immediately challenged Darby Allin to be the man he would go toe to toe with in his in-ring return. The biggest question with this match would be the level of ring rust for Punk in his first match in seven years. Punk returned in shape and quickly engaged in a technical match as he attempted to slow down the high flying Allin. Late in the match, CM Punk appeared to be in dire straits after Allin unleashed his aerial assault - most notably a Swanton delivered to Punk who stood on the arena floor. In the closing moments, Allin scaled to the top rope for the Coffin Drop only to have Punk sit up at the last second. Punk then quickly answered with the Go To Sleep to secure the victory.

Paul Wight vs. QT Marshall w/ The Factory

Winner: Paul Wight via pinfall

In another massive return to the ring, Paul Wight (better known as The Giant in WCW and The Big Show in WWE) would square off with the leader of The Factory, QT Marshall. Paul made quick work of Freehold, New Jersey’s QT Marshall as he put him down with a choke slam for his first AEW victory.

AEW World Championship

Kenny Omega (c) w/ Don Callis vs. Christian Cage

Winner: Kenny Omega via pinfall

Christian Cage faced Kenny Omega for the second time in a month this evening and again it was for a world title. The last time they squared off was on the debut episode of Rampage where Cage captured one of Omega’s titles, the Impact Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. Christian gave Kenny Omega all he could handle but in the end Cage’s top rope Killswitch attempt was thwarted by Don Callis’ interference. This distraction was all Omega needed to hit the One Winged Angel from the top turnbuckle in order to put away Christian Cage and retain his title.

The events following the conclusion of the main event may have constituted one of the greatest endings to a pay-per-view I’ve ever witnessed. First, The Elite joined Omega in the ring and commenced in a vicious beat down of Christian Cage. Jurassic Express attempted to rescue their ally only to be overwhelmed by the number’s game. As Omega celebrated with The Elite in the ring, he proclaimed essentially that he couldn’t be beaten for his title. Omega was then interrupted as the lights went out. When they again illuminated the arena, the crowd erupted at the appearance of Adam Cole! Cole made his way to the ring and instead of confronting the world champion, he delivered a super kick to the jaw of Jungle Boy and embraced The Elite. Kenny Omega once again grabbed the mic and was about to bid the crowd a good night as he was interrupted yet again. This time a new rendition of a very familiar entrance theme reverberated throughout the Now Arena. All in attendance engaged in a deafening roar as Brian Danielson (most recently known as Daniel Bryan in WWE) emerged from the entrance tunnel and made his way to the ring to echoing “Yes!!!” chants. Danielson joined Christian and Jurassic Express as they cleared the ring of The Elite to close the show.

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