Date: March 17, 2023
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Kansas City, Missouri
Commentators: Wade Barrett, Michael Cole
We are just over two weeks away from Wrestlemania and that means things are serious around here. Tonight is going to be about finding a new #1 contender to the Intercontinental Title as Sheamus faces Drew McIntyre. Other than that, there is a good chance that we hear from Cody Rhodes again. Let’s get to it.
Here is Cody Rhodes to get things going. Rhodes asks what we want to talk about and suggests Wrestlemania. He respects Roman Reigns and is looking forward to seeing him in this ring on Raw. He’s looking forward to seeing him at Wrestlemania as well, where he will be Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Title. Rhodes doesn’t want to talk about someone though, because he would rather talk to someone. So Kevin Owens, come on out here.
Cue Owens, with Rhodes saying he respects him….but there is someone else we need here. Rhodes requests and receives Sami Zayn, leaving us with a rather tense staredown with Rhodes in the middle. Rhodes talks about how he told WWE good luck in their future endeavors and needed someone to watch his back. Owens introduced him to some people who helped him reach his goals and that is a favor he can never repay.
The fans want them to HUG IT OUT and Zayn talks about the horrible things he and Owens have done to each other. Somehow though, they’ve always found a way to get back on the same page and Zayn doesn’t get why this time is different. If there is something Owens needs to get off his chest, DO IT! If Owens needs to scream at him or hit him in the face, DO IT, so they can get back together again. Owens asks Rhodes if he got what he wanted so he can leave.
Cody: “What I want?” Rhodes says everyone wants the same thing, with Zayn talking about them taking down the Bloodline. Owens has heard all of that before but why would he fight for someone who doesn’t want to be his friend? Zayn is stunned and Owens thanks Rhodes before walking away. They’re taking their time with this and the moment when Owens finally saves Zayn is going to be great.
Post break, Owens is getting in his car when Zayn cuts him off. Zayn says they’re friends, they’ll always be friends, and they’re brothers. If Owens never wants to talk to him again, that’s fine, but Zayn loves him. Owens goes to leave, quickly looks back at Zayn, and drives away, clearly moved by that in some way.
Zelina Vega/Santos Escobar vs. Rhea Ripley/Dominik Mysterio
Escobar forearms Dominik down to start, with Dominik having to bail to the ropes. Ripley comes in but gets her boot to the ribs caught. Vega comes in for a top rope seated senton into a hurricanrana driver to send Ripley outside. A middle rope moonsault takes her down again and we take a break.
Back with Escobar hitting a loud dropkick on Dominik and adding a standing legdrop for two. Ripley gets in a cheap shot though and a double crossbody leaves both of them down. Vega comes back in as everything breaks down, with Rhea getting dropped by a kick. Ripley sends Vega outside and grabs a powerbomb to set up a Tower of Doom on the men. A Vega knee to the face rocks Ripley but she’s right back with Riptide to finish Vega at 7:07.
Rating: C+. Vega got a lot of shine here but there is no way she was going to be a major threat to a monster like Ripley. Escobar continues to be protected and I’m curious to see what he can do when he gets away from the Mysterios. It was a good use of all four though and there is some potential to be seen.
Post match Dominik gets the mic and says his Hall of Fame father was a deadbeat. Cue Rey Mysterio on the Titantron and we take a break. Back with Rey coming to the ring and Dominik saying his father is finally here for once. Dominik wanted Rey around all kinds of times but he is just a scared excuse for a father. He is about to call Rey a piece of s….but Rey cuts him off.
Rey asks if Dominik wants the truth because yeah, he has missed all kinds of things. No matter what though, Dominik was still his world. He sacrificed a lot of things so his family could have the best life they could imagine. No matter what Dominik did to get in trouble, the Mysterio name bailed him out. Rey gets emotional as he brings up going into the Hall of Fame….and he wants Dominik standing next to him on the stage. Fans: “YOU DESERVE IT!”
Rey says that maybe it’s too late for that, because his greatest regret is what Dominik has become. He doesn’t like some punk kid calling him out so he’d be glad to beat Dominik up at Wrestlemania. But he won’t because it would be a disgrace as a father. Rey will not fight him now, ever, or at Wrestlemania. Dominik calls Rey out as he walks away, calling him a scared, scared little man. Rey leaves, but looks very upset. Much like the opening segment, they’re teasing the big moment and kind of need to just make the match already.
There will be two four way tag team showcase matches at Wrestlemania and we are going to have qualifying matches starting now.
Wrestlemania Qualifying Match: Raquel Rodriguez/Liv Morgan vs. Emma/Tegan Nox
Liv throws Rodriguez into Nox in the corner to start but gets taken into the wrong corner. The double teaming is on but Liv gets over to Raquel for the house cleaning. The fall away slam and spinning Vader Bomb hit Emma, followed by a Codebreaker from Liv to Nox. Liv and Nox fight to the floor so it’s the Texana Bomb into Oblivion to finish Emma at 3:43.
Rating: C. So we’re having a four way tag match with possibly thrown together teams at Wrestlemania? And the battle royals were seen as worse ideas? Are they fighting for anything? Maybe a title shot? I would hope so, as otherwise this is going to be up there with the worthlessness of Dino Bravo vs. Texas Tornado matches of Wrestlemanias gone by.
We look back at Charlotte and Rhea Ripley yelling at each other last week.
Here is Charlotte (in a mostly there bright yellow body suit) to say that when she was growing up, it was Rhodes as a challenger and Flair as a champion. Charlotte has always gone into Wrestlemania as a challenger or the champion, but Rhea Ripley can never get there because she isn’t a Charlotte level star.
Cue Ripley (with Dominik) to say that she did choose Charlotte. Ripley walks through the locker room, everyone turns away in fear. She is dangerous and bloody good at what she does, which makes everyone feel her….except Charlotte. That ticks Ripley off and it makes her NEED the Women’s Title. Ripley promises to make Charlotte fear her and Dominik talks trash, allowing Ripley to drop Charlotte with a shot. Dominik and Ripley leave but Charlotte cuts them off and the fight is on, with security not being able to hold them back. They fight over the barricade and are FINALLY separated after a rather energized brawl.
Sami Zayn talks about how two people who he has considered his brother have left him. It’s time he thought about things.
Xavier Woods vs. LA Knight
This is the result of Knight mocking Woods for playing WWE2K23 earlier. Knight pounds away to start as Barrett says Knight has the shoes of a champion. Woods is right back with a middle rope missile dropkick but Knight runs him over. That’s fine with Woods, who grabs Backwoods for the pin at 2:22.
Great Muta is going into the WWE Hall Of Fame.
LA Knight runs into Rey Mysterio, signing autographs, in the back. If Rey won’t fight Dominik Mysterio, Knight certainly will. Rey hits him and speaks Spanish, with Knight wondering what he said.
We recap Gunther and Sheamus co-winning last week’s #1 contenders match, meaning tonight it’s one on one for the Wrestlemania Intercontinental Title shot.
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre
The winner gets Gunther, watching from ringside with Imperium, for the Intercontinental Title at Wrestlemania. They shove each other around to start as Wade Barrett gets Gunther a headset for a quick interview. Gunther is having none of this lack of preparedness in the interview and drops it as McIntyre hits a Michinoku Driver for two. Sheamus fires off some knees but gets sent into the corner. McIntyre charges into a raised boot but catches Sheamus on top. The huge superplex leaves them both down and we take a break.
Back with McIntyre hitting a neckbreaker and nipping up as Sheamus is in trouble. The Claymore is cut off by a hard knee though and they’re both down again. They both hit big boots for another double knockdown….and Gunther gets inside. Gunther asks which one it’s going to be but Imperium jumps both of them from behind for the double DQ at 11:44.
Rating: B-. I think you know where this is going and there is a good chance that was the case when the match was announced. Gunther and Imperium seem to be the latest group to not remember history, meaning the triple threat is likely coming. For now though, I can take these two powerhouses beating each other up for ten minutes to set up them beating up Gunther at Wrestlemania.
Post match the beatdown is on but Adam Pearce pops up on screen to announce the triple threat title match at Wrestlemania, because Gunther clearly didn’t mean it when he said he wanted one challenger.
Here is Jey Uso for a showdown with Sami Zayn. Cue Zayn to ask how Jey wants to do this. Jey says he didn’t like or trust Zayn since day one. Eventually, everyone started to like him though, including Roman Reigns himself, but Jey never bought it. Then the one time he finally let his guard down, Zayn betrayed him. Jey knew that Zayn was a fake Uce, but Sami accuses Jey of taking Reigns’ abuse. The reality is Jey is mad at himself and wanted to hit Reigns with the chair.
The brawl is on, with Jimmy Uso running in for the beatdown on Zayn. Cue Kevin Owens through and the Usos are quickly wrecked despite Zayn still being down. The Usos are gone and Zayn and Owens have the big reunion…..as Cody Rhodes is watching in the back. There’s your big moment, as the team to go after the Bloodline at Wrestlemania is officially united.
Overall Rating: B. Like many Wrestlemania season TV shows, this wasn’t about the wrestling at all, but rather everything that was going on around it. You had the long awaited Owens/Zayn reunion, Rey Mysterio finally starting to stand up to Dominik, and a pretty awesome Charlotte/Rhea Ripley brawl. That was the focus of the show, with Sheamus vs. McIntyre getting their Wrestlemania match as a result. The wrestling, which was ok to good, wasn’t the point here and that’s how the final shows before Wrestlemania should go.
Dominik Mysterio/Rhea Ripley b. Zelina Vega/Santos Escobar – Riptide to Vega
Liv Morgan/Raquel Rodriguez b. Emma/Tegan Nox – Oblivion to Emma
Xavier Woods b. LA Knight – Backwoods
Sheamus vs. Drew McIntyre went to a double disqualification when Imperium interfered
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