Date: February 24, 2023
Location: Ford Center, Evansville, Indiana
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
It’s a crossover night as we have some guest stars from Monday Night Raw. Not only is Rhea Ripley here to confront Charlotte, but Dominik Mysterio is here to meet his dad Rey. In addition, Rey is going to be facing Karrion Kross again, because just beating Kross isn’t enough. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of Roman Reigns retaining the World Title over Sami Zayn at Elimination Chamber. Kevin Owens came out for the save but he and Zayn are still not on the same page.
Jimmy Uso arrives but hasn’t been able to get in touch with Jey. He has left Jey multiple messages, saying they can meet in the middle of the ring so Jey can get everything off his chest.
Madcap Moss/Ricochet/Braun Strowman vs. Imperium
Vinci and Moss start things off by running the ropes until Moss shoulders him down. Ricochet comes in with a slingshot hilo but a hard clothesline drops him. Kaiser comes in to send Ricochet hard into the ropes before drawing Strowman in. Some double teaming behind the referee’s back has Ricochet in more trouble, including Gunther dropping him hard onto the apron.
We take a break and come back with Ricochet fighting out of a chinlock but Gunther cuts off the comeback. Cue Drew McIntyre to watch from the aisle as Vinci gets to blast Ricochet with a clothesline. Ricochet ducks a clothesline though and it’s a hot tag to bring in Strowman for the house cleaning. Gunther chops and kicks Strowman down so it’s Moss coming in to try his luck. A Kaiser distraction cuts Moss off though and Gunther clothesline Moss down. The powerbomb gives Gunther the pin at 10:49.
Rating: C+. I can go for a good six man almost every time and they planted some seeds for a possible McIntyre vs. Gunther Wrestlemania match. Gunther needs a big time opponent for the show and none of the three guys in this match are going to be that. Fun match here, with Gunther getting to look like a monster again.
Post match McIntyre stares down Gunther and takes off his jacket but the Viking Raiders jump him from behind. Sheamus comes in for the save with Strowman and Ricochet helping, leaving the good guys to pose. Did Imperium evaporate somewhere in there?
Rey Mysterio is ready to face Karrion Kross tonight but Santos Escobar interrupts. Escobar talks about respect and wants to display it to Rey. Mysterio says that’s mutual but Dominik Mysterio and Rhea Ripley interrupt. Escobar doesn’t like Dominik’s tone and a match seems to be set up for later tonight.
Jimmy Uso thinks Jey Uso is shaken up after Montreal so Paul Heyman suggests Jimmy deal with Jey tonight. Solo Sikoa can stay in the back. Jimmy appears to agree.
Here is LA Knight for a chat. Knight says it’s that time of year, as everyone is talking about wanting their Wrestlemania Moment. The twist though is Knight is going to give Wrestlemania an LA Knight moment. Cue New Day to interrupt, with Kofi Kingston saying that’s not how Wrestlemania works. Kofi Kingston mentions Knight being around for about two and a half months so he isn’t getting everything handed to him. Knight calls them nerds, which Woods says has made them a lot of money. Kofi says he was working for eleven years to earn the Wrestlemania moment, so get a referee out here.
Kofi Kingston vs. LA Knight
Joined in progress with Knight shouldering him down, only to charge into raised boots in the corner. Kofi hits the middle rope splash to the back and a high crossbody gets two. The armbar goes on but Knight powers up and hits him in the face. The powerslam gives Knight two and he sends Kofi hard into the corner as we take a break.
Back with Kofi hitting a middle rope dropkick but Knight knocks him outside. They head back inside with Knight hitting the slingshot shoulder for two but Kofi fights up again. A sunset flip gets two on Knight and the Boom Drop connects for the same. Something like a Rock Bottom gives Knight two of his own but he makes the mistake of going after Xavier Woods. Kofi hits a dive on the floor but gets caught on top. Woods trombones a distraction though, allowing Trouble In Paradise to finish Knight at 12:40.
Rating: C. That’s a bit of a confusing result as Kofi didn’t need the win but Knight need a bit of a rebuild after losing to Bray Wyatt. Knight has everything he needs to be a star and he didn’t get squashed here, but he needs to actually win something eventually. It was a nice TV match, though I could have gone for a different result.
Here is Charlotte for a chat. She doesn’t like Rhea Ripley and brings up the last time they were in the ring together. Cue Dominik Mysterio to interrupt and say that Charlotte is in over her head. No woman has ever entered the Royal Rumble at #1 and won, but Ripley pulled it off. Ripley is a strong woman and when she makes sweet…..and Charlotte cuts him off. Charlotte: “I have a real Latino man at home who calls me mami with a much thicker….accent.”
Dominik says he knows what it’s like being compared to their fathers and being better than them. The fans don’t like that but Dominik says Charlotte will find out she isn’t good enough at Wrestlemania. Charlotte loves her dad, who turns 74 tomorrow, and could beat up Dominik if he was here. Charlotte is here though and gets in Dominik’s face, which draws out Ripley. The staredown is on but Dominik gets Ripley out before it gets physical. They’re building up the drama, but I have no reason to cheer for Charlotte or want to see her keep the title.
Natalya vs. Shayna Baszler
Natalya was cleared earlier today and Tegan Nox offered to have her back to help with Ronda Rousey (here as well). Natalya sends her into the corner to start but Baszler takes her down by the arm to take over. Baszler kicks her in the arm but misses the running knee. A Russian legsweep and basement kick to the face put Baszler down and a German suplex does it again. The discus lariat gives Natalya two but a Rousey distraction lets Baszler hit the knee to the face. An armbar makes Natalya tap at 2:52.
Post match the beatdown stays on but Nox makes the save. Rousey promises pain next week.
We see the Seth Rollins/Becky Lynch Joker/Batman trailer.
It’s time for the Firefly Fun House, with everything going red. We cut to Bray Wyatt in what looks like a home studio, watching himself challenge the winner of Bobby Lashley and Brock Lesnar. Lashley didn’t seem scared after winning at Elimination Chamber, so we go to Fun House News, with Bray Wyatt and Ramblin Rabbi. Wyatt says it’s time for the weather, with a makeshift Uncle Howdy saying he is all of us.
Now it’s time toy Can You Keep A Secret (complete with Bryan in a bad wig). Bray: “Well, can you?” We look out the door of the Fun House where various scary images flash on screen, capped off by Bray in his new mask. Bray asks if we can keep a secret and that’s it. This was Bray’s latest rambling without actually saying anything.
Jimmy Uso is worried about confronting Jey, but Paul Heyman says that Roman Reigns will be here next week. If Jimmy handles Jey tonight, Reigns will personally handle Jey next week.
Rey Mysterio vs. Karrion Kross
Scarlett is here with Kross. Rey low bridges him to the floor and hits a 619 to the back of the head in about fifteen seconds. The big dive drops Kross again and we take an early break. Back with Kross in control but getting sent face first into the buckle. Rey hits a top rope seated senton but gets sent hard to the floor in a crash. Back in and Kross takes him to the corner, only to get caught with a super hurricanrana for two. The 619 is loaded up but Rey has to deal with Scarlett, allowing Dominik Mysterio to pop in and break up the 619. The distraction lets Kross hit the Krosshammer and grab the Krossjacket for the win at 8:38.
Rating: C. That evens up the series but this is all about setting up Rey to face Dominik, likely at Wrestlemania. I’m not sure where that leaves Kross though, as he doesn’t seem to have much going on. At least he got a win here though and looked good in doing so, which is a lot better than his first run on the main roster.
Post match Kross and Scarlett leave so Dominik gets in Rey’s face. Dominik tells him to do it but Rey walks off instead.
Here is Jimmy Uso to all out his brother Jey. Jimmy knows that Jey is hurting and when Jey hurts, Jimmy does too. He’ll always be there for his brother and now he needs his brother here. There are some cracks in the Bloodline and Jimmy needs his brother. Cue Sami Zayn through the crowd to stand behind Jimmy.
Zayn keeps hearing Jimmy talking about his brother and that’s what Jimmy used to be to him. Jimmy was the only one who saw value in him and he was the one who made Zayn an Honorary Uce. Then at the Royal Rumble, Jimmy took Zayn down without a second thought and that hurt a lot. Jimmy blames Zayn for making the choice and pulling the trigger when he hit Roman Reigns with the chair. What was Jimmy supposed to do? Zayn says family doesn’t make you test your loyalty every week or manipulate you like Reigns has done to himself and Jey.
Cue Jey in the crowd as Zayn says there is a way out for Jimmy. He doesn’t have to go down with the ship….and Jimmy hits Zayn as he looks up at Jey. Jimmy gets distracted by Jey as well though and Zayn hits the Helluva Kick. Jey has made his way to the barricade and Zayn bails as Solo Sikoa comes out. Zayn looks at Jey and then runs into the crowd to end the show. Jey never said or did anything save for staring. This was a “well Reigns is back next week so we’ll see you then”.
Overall Rating: C+. This was more of a “hold the fort” show as there was no Reigns to move the big story forward very far. At the same time, they moved some other stuff forward, with Rey vs. Dominik looking more and more likely, Charlotte vs. Rhea getting the top of the second hour spot and Drew McIntyre (at least) setting his eyes on Gunther. You have to build some things up other than just the main event scene and that’s what this show tried to do. It worked, though I’m not sure if anything jumped off the page this week.
Imperium b. Madcap Moss/Ricochet/Braun Strowman – Powerbomb to Moss
Kofi Kingston b. LA Knight – Trouble In Paradise
Shayna Baszler b. Natalya – Armbar
Karrion Kross b. Rey Mysterio – Krossjacket
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