Monday, May 8, 2023

WWE Wrestlemania Backlash 2023

By Steve Ward

WWE made it’s pay per view/premium live event debut this evening as they emanated from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Tonight’s card seemed to be overshadowed with the buildup to Night of Champions later this month where a new World Heavyweight Champion will be crowned for the RAW brand as Roman Reigns will be confined to Smackdown with his Undisputed Universal Championship following this year’s WWE Draft. With Reigns out of the picture for tonight, the show would be headlined by Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar. In addition to the colossal main event, the show featured seven matches in all, and three titles were contested.

WWE RAW Women’s Championship Bianca Belair (c) vs. Io Sky Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall

Despite being drafted to Smackdown last week, Belair still holds the RAW Women’s Championship and would put it on the line this evening against Damage Ctrl’s Io Sky. Sky seemed poised to upset the champ in the closing moments of the match, but one could argue the late appearance by her Damage Ctrl stable mates cost her the title. Belair was laid out on the canvas as Sky ascended to the top turnbuckle for a moonsault attempt, however, Bayley decided to grab the hair of Belair and hold her down only to be caught by the referee. This distraction was enough for Belair to recover and roll out of harm's way as Sky leaped from the top rope. Belair then executed the KOD to retain her title.

Seth Rollins vs. Omos w/ MVP Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

Following the announcement recently of a soon-to-be-crowned World Heavyweight Champion on the RAW brand, Seth Rollins made his intentions known for targeting the new title only to be interrupted by Omos. Omos and MVP proceeded to challenge Rollins to a match this evening as a way for Omos to secure a signature win over “The Architect.” Omos proved to be quite the formidable opponent for Rollins in this contest. The Nigerian Giant withstood the frog splash and multiple stomps (the first of which he stopped with his neck), however, Rollins finally overcame the odds in the end as he delivered the Stomp from the top turnbuckle which allowed him to cover Omos for the victory. 

WWE United States Championship Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed vs. Austin Theory (c) Winner: Austin Theory via pinfall

This bout created another interesting dynamic with the recent roster shake-up from the 2023 WWE Draft as new Smackdown Superstars, Theory and Lashley, competed with RAW’s Bronson Reed in a three-way dance for the United States Championship. In the closing moments of the match, Lashley speared Reed after he missed a moonsault attempt on Theory. The defending champ then snuck up on Lashley and tossed him out of the ring allowing him to easily cover Reed and steal another victory in familiar Theory fashion.

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega Winner: Rhea Ripley via pinfall

In another situation where the defending champion was recently drafted to the brand opposite of the title which she holds, RAW Superstar Rhea Ripley would defend the Smackdown Women’s Title she just won a few weeks ago at Wrestlemania against Zelina Vega who represented the newly reformed Latino World Order, LWO. Despite the overwhelming crowd support for Vega, who’s family was seated at ringside, the size and power of Ripley was too much for her to overcome as she finally dispensed of Vega with Riptide to successfully defend her title.

San Juan Street Fight Match Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest Winner: Bad Bunny via pinfall

In a battle of Puerto Rican natives, The Judgment Day’s Damien Priest went toe to toe with multi-platinum recording artist and ally of the LWO, Bad Bunny, in a San Juan Street Fight. Late in the match, Finn Balor and Dominik Mysterio came to the aid of Priest until Rey Mysterio, a surprising appearance by Carlito, the LWO, and Savio Vega all evened the odds and restored order to the match. Bad Bunny, moments later, was able to dispense of Priest with a Bunny Destroyer (a variation of the Canadian Destroyer) following a barrage of chair shots.

The Bloodline (Solo Sikoa, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso) vs. Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens, & Sami Zayn Winners: The Bloodline via pinfall

The ongoing feud between The Bloodline and Undisputed Tag Team Champions, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens (with the recent infusion of Matt Riddle in the fray), continued tonight in a six-man tag team encounter. The Bloodline was able to overcome several disagreements amongst themselves to dispense of the tag champs and Riddle in the end. The closing moments of the match saw Solo blind tag himself into the match without Riddle’s awareness. Riddle proceeded to focus on Jey Uso as he executed the Bro Derek only to be ambushed by Solo from behind and put down with a Samoan Spike.

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall

Following his betrayal of Cody Rhodes, the night after Wrestlemania, a bitter feud has embroiled between Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes. In the closing moments of tonight’s main event, a bloodied Brock Lesnar seemed to have a victory in his sights after he dropped Rhodes with the F5 and immediately followed it up with the Kimura Lock. Rhodes who appeared to be in dire straits, drove The Beast back onto his shoulders while still trapped in the submission hold to shock Lesnar with the pinfall victory in a rather abrupt match.

Monday, April 3, 2023

WWE Wrestlemania 39 Night Two

By Steve Ward

WWE’s 39th installment of the Showcase of the Immortals continued this evening from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA following a solid overall first night. While night one featured some WWE legends in action and entertaining bouts for the Smackdown Women’s and United States Championships, the star power is much more prevalent across the card for night two with names such as Brock Lesnar, Edge, and Roman Reigns showcased. This evening’s card featured seven matches, three title contests, and was headlined by Roman Reigns putting his 945-day title reign on the line against “The American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes.

Brock Lesnar vs. Omos w/ MVP
Winner: Brock Lesnar via pinfall

Tonight’s card kicked off with one of WWE’s biggest draws, Brock Lesnar, squaring off with the 7’3” Nigerian Giant, Omos. With no title bout for Lesnar this year, WWE decided to pair him up with the largest man in WWE - and one of the largest competitors ever. A dire situation appeared to be afoot for Lesnar to open this bout as he was manhandled by Omos. Lesnar capitalized on a window of opportunity that opened when he ducked out of the way of a charging Omos while in the corner. Lesnar’s evasion lead the Nigerian Giant to slam his head into the ring post. Lesnar then took the massive Omos to Suplex City and finished the massive giant off with an impressive F5.

Wrestlemania Showcase Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match
Raquel Rodriguez & Liv Morgan vs. Natalya & Shotzi vs. Chelsea Green & Sonya Deville vs. Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler
Winners: Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler via submission

Much like the men’s tag team showcase on night one, the women were featured tonight in an effort to give more of the roster exposure on the stage of Wrestlemania and the winners would put themselves in prime position for a future tag team title opportunity. In the closing moments of the match, Shayna Baszler made a blind tag on Liv Morgan and then Rousey tagged her partner to become the legal competitor in the match. Rousey and Baszler disposed of Morgan and then Rousey cinched in the armbar on Shotzi for the submission victory.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match
Gunther (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Sheamus
Winner: Gunther via pinfall

Gunther was forced to put his historic 296-day Intercontinental Title reign on the line against both Sheamus and McIntyre after the two men fought to a no contest in their match to determine the number one contender for tonight’s contest. Late in this incredibly hard-hitting affair, that left all three competitors with bruised and swollen pectorals, Sheamus appeared poised to earn the victory on McIntyre when Gunther flew from the top turnbuckle to break up the pinfall attempt. Gunther then hoisted Sheamus up and powerbombed him onto McIntyre and then powerbombed McIntyre as well to secure the pinfall victory.

WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Asuka vs. Bianca Belair (c)
Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall

After Rhea Ripley elected to use her Royal Rumble victory to challenge Charlotte Flair for her Smackdown Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania, RAW Women’s Champion Bianca Belair was left without an opponent until the Empress of Tomorrow answered her challenge. Tonight, Belair would put her second longest ever RAW Women’s Championship reign on the line against the highly decorated Asuka on the grandest stage of them all. In the closing moments, Belair avoided the dreaded mist and was able to survive the armbar to deliver a KOD to solidify her title defense.

The Miz vs. Snoop Dogg
Winner: Snoop Dogg via pinfall

After The Miz and Snoop Dogg announced the attendance for Night Two, The Miz proceeded to reprimand Snoop for putting him in an impromptu match with Pat McAfee on Night One. Snoop then introduced Shane McMahon as the opponent for The Miz tonight. Shortly after the bell rang, Shane McMahon landed wrong as he leapfrogged a charging Miz and legitimately tore his quadricep. While the ringside doctor attended to McMahon, Snoop Dogg stepped up and dropped The Miz with a couple right hands and then delivered his version of The People’s Elbow to pin The Miz.

Hell In A Cell
Edge vs. “The Demon” Finn Balor
Winner: Edge via pinfall

In what should be the final chapter in the long, bitter rivalry between Edge and Finn Balor, they decided to do battle in the ominous Hell In A Cell tonight. At the end of this brawl, the confines of the cell was littered with chairs, kendo sticks, ladders, broken tables, and blood. Balor appeared to have the match in hand until Edge evaded his Coup de Grace attempt leaving him to crash through a table. Edge then speared The Demon and finished him off with the Conchairto to leave Wrestlemania victorious.

WWE Undisputed Universal Heavyweight Championship
Roman Reigns (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. Cody Rhodes
Winner: Roman Reigns via pinfall

Cody Rhodes made his shocking return to WWE after leaving the company he helped to build, AEW, at last year’s Wrestlemania but was derailed shortly after with a torn pectoral muscle that put him on the shelf for over six months. Rhodes then made his triumphant return at this year’s Royal Rumble as entrant number 30 and prevailed to punch his ticket to the main event tonight against Roman Reigns. The real question would be whether WWE would elect to end Roman Reigns’ title reign short of 1,000 days. Following a hard-hitting affair where each competitor emptied their arsenals, the difference proved to be Solo Sikoa. Roman’s title reign appeared to be in serious jeopardy late after Rhodes built momentum following interference from both The Usos and the new tag team champions, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Rhodes executed back-to-back Cross Rhodes and was about to try and put away The Tribal Chief with a third when Paul Heyman climbed up to the ring apron to draw the referee’s attention. With Dan Engler distracted, Solo Sikoa snuck into the ring and delivered a Samoan Spike to the neck of Rhodes. This gave the defending champ the opportunity he needed to put away The American Nightmare with a body-crumbling spear to continue his historic title run.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

WWE Wrestlemania 39 Night One

World Wrestling Entertainment elected to go for the mega cash grab business model again for this year’s Showcase of the Immortals once again as they would emanate two nights in a row from SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California - likely because they no longer generate revenue from pay-per-view buys and sold off the WWE Network to Peacock. Nonetheless, what would typically be a five to six hour mega event has now been split into two shows. Night One would feature eight matches with three titles contested and the main event pit The Usos against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship.

United States Championship
John Cena vs. Austin Theory (c)
Winner: Austin Theory via pinfall

The show surprisingly kicked off with the return of John Cena to a WWE ring following another prolonged absence as he answered the challenge of the brash Austin Theory. Cena made a solid showing in the ring with little evidence of ring rust, however, Theory prevailed in the end. Cena had Theory on his shoulders and inadvertently knocked the referee out. Cena proceeded to cinch in the STF prompting a tapout from Theory to no avail as the referee had still not recovered. As Cena attempted to revive the referee, Theory struck him with a low blow followed by the A-Town Down to retain his championship.

Wrestlemania Showcase Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Match
Ricochet & Braun Strowman vs. The Viking Raiders w/ Valhalla vs. Alpha Academy (Otis & Chad Gable) vs. The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins)
Winners: The Street Profits via pinfall

This match not only allowed WWE to fit more Superstars onto the card but also would serve to designate who the next team in line for a tag team title opportunity would be. In the closing moments, Ricochet attempted the Shooting Star Press only to land on Angelo Dawkins’ raised knees and Montez Ford proceeded to dive from the top turnbuckle to drive Ricochet’s face into Dawkins’ knees again setting up the pinfall.

Seth Rollins vs. Logan Paul
Winner: Seth Rollins via pinfall

Logan Paul first eliminated Seth Rollins from the Royal Rumble Match, then cost him a victory in the Elimination Chamber, and has trolled him endlessly culminating in their encounter tonight at Wrestlemania. Seth Rollins withstood outside interference from KSI, the GTS, and a frog splash to turn around and hit the curb stomp to pull out the victory.

Becky Lynch, Lita, & Trish Stratus vs. Damage Ctrl (Bayley, Io Sky, & Dakota Kai)
Winners: Becky Lynch, Lita, & Trish Stratus via pinfall 

Following their shocking victory over Io Sky and Dakota Kai to claim the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles several weeks ago with the backing of Trish Stratus, a bitter rivalry has continued to fester leading us to tonight’s encounter. The crowd seemed disinterested in this match during the early going but in the closing moments they would become much more engaged as Lita executed a Litasault from the top turnbuckle and then Becky Lynch hit the Manhandle Slam from the second rope on Bayley to claim the pinfall victory for her team.

Rey Mysterio vs. Dominik Mysterio
Winner: Rey Mysterio via pinfall

After he abandoned his father to join The Judgement Day, Dominik Mysterio has continued to try everything in his power to goad his father into a match at Wrestlemania. Rey continuously rejected his son’s attempts until Dominik disrespected his mother at ringside recently on Smackdown. That leads us to their confrontation tonight following Rey’s induction into the WWE Hall of Fame last night in Los Angeles. Rey appeared to be in dire straits with the appearance of The Judgment Day at ringside but The Legado del Fantasma and Spanish announce table guest commentator Bad Bunny evened the odds. In the end, Rey hit the 619 and immediately followed up with the frog splash to seal the victory over his son.

Smackdown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Rhea Ripley
Winner: Rhea Ripley via pinfall

Following her victory in the Women’s Royal Rumble match, Rhea Ripley elected to challenge Charlottle Flair in an attempt to avenge her Wrestlemania loss in 2020. Neither of these competitors left anything in the ring as each exhausted their entire arsenals but in the end, Ripley executed the Riptide from the turnbuckle to finally put away Charlotte Flair to become the new Smackdown Women’s Champion.

The Miz vs. Pat McAfee
Winner: Pat McAfee via pinfall

The hosts of Wrestlemania, The Miz and Snoop Dogg, made their way to the ring to announce the attendance and The Miz proceeded to claim he made an open challenge that no one responded to. Pat McAfee then surprised the crowd to accept. With an assist from San Francisco 49er George Kittle, McAfee finished The Miz off with a punt to the head to claim victory.

WWE Undisputed Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Winners: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn via pinfall

Following his dismissal from The Bloodline, Sami Zayn pled with Kevin Owens for weeks to team with him to gain revenge on The Bloodline finally wearing him down and bringing us to tonight’s contest for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship. In the closing moments of the match, Sami Zayn gained retribution on Jey Uso and The Bloodline as he executed three consecutive Helluva Kicks to allow him to cover Uso for the pinfall as new Undisputed Tag Team Champions were crowned.

Friday, March 31, 2023

Frank Bartolini Selected for the 2023 New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame

By TWI Staff

Congratulations to boxing writer Frank Bartolini on his induction to the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame! 

For those of you who are not familiar with Frank's writing career, here is a snapshot of his accomplishments.: 

Frank Bartolini grew up in Jackson, New Jersey, where he graduated from Jackson Memorial High School. He was a boxing columnist, feature writer, and reporter for the The Observer, an Ocean County daily newspaper, from the early to mid 1990s. Frank covered numerous fights in the tristate region, including Atlantic City's biggest fights during this period. Frank went on to contribute to a number of print and online boxing media outlets. His feature stories can be found in boxing media outlets such as the USA Boxing News, Boxing Insider, Boxing Action 24, Philly Boxing History, and The Weigh-In. He is a press row staple at big fights across the tristate area and Florida. Frank is also the president of FB Roofing & Siding, Inc. in Jackon. 

Stay tuned to The Weigh-In for information on the 2023 New Jersey Boxing Hall Annual Dinner and Induction Ceremony. 



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.


Participants:

Gunther

Sheamus

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

Otis

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

backstage)

Dominik Mysterio

Elias

Finn Balor

Booker T

Damian Priest

Montez Ford

Edge

Austin Theory

Omos

Braun Strowman

Ricochet

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

 

Participants:

Rhea Ripley

Liv Morgan

Dana Brooke

Emma

Shayna Baszler

Bayley

B-Fab

Roxanne Perez

Dakota Kai

Iyo Sky

Natalya

Candice Lerae

Zoey Stark

Xia Li

Becky Lynch

Tegan Nox

Asuka

Piper Niven

Tamina

Chelsea Green

Zelina Vega

Raquel Rodriguez

Mia Yim

Lacey Evans

Michelle McCool

Indi Hartwell

Sonya Deville

Shotzi

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.