January 23, 2012 - Atlanta, GA

Attendance: 11,050 (59%)

- A recap of last week’s show is shown, highlighted by Rami Sebei’s Ladder Match victory over Adam Cole, where he retained the HWL X-Division Title.

- Josh Daniels and Scott Michaels welcome everyone to Atlanta, just three weeks away from the Best of the Best pay-per-view. They announce that tonight’s main event will be the second Qualifying Match for the 15-Man battle royal to determine who gets a Heavyweight Title shot at Wrestleocalypse II. It is also announced that CM Punk will be in non-title action tonight, against Adam Cole - the man who was not successful in earning a title shot last week.

- X-Division Champion Rami Sebei makes his way out to the ring, getting cheers from the crowd. Sebei says that he knows a lot of people didn’t know who he was before he joined the HWL roster last year; and that before that, he only had an underground following with die-hard “independent” wrestling fans. Sebei says that the one constant through it all was the friendship he created and shared with CM Punk. Sebei says that he and Punk were on different waves of success when their friendship started; and Sebei couldn’t have been happier when Punk finally got the call to come to the HWL. Sebei said he knew he would end here someday, and that he and Punk would step into the ring to face off with each other; but he never thought they’d do it with both men holding the top two titles in the company. Sebei says that on February 12th, he has the chance to show the world that can match - and beat - the “Best in the World”.

This brings out CM Punk, carrying the Heavyweight Title over his shoulder. Punk enters the ring and shakes Sebei’s hand. Punk says that it’s true: they were friends during their time running the independent circuit together. But, Punk admits that he didn’t keep up with Sebei’s success while he was biding his time in the “majors”. Punk says that he was too preoccupied by trying to get the HWL Heavyweight Title for nearly a year, to care about how Sebei’s career was going. Sebei begins to get upset, but Punk says that it’s nothing for Sebei to take personally. Punk says that, from the very beginning, Sebei would one day end up in the HWL, because Sebei would want to follow in his footsteps. Punk says Sebei got his wish: both of them, standing in the same ring for the second week in a row; and knowing that in three weeks, they would be stepping into the ring to find out who the better wrestler is. Punk says that it’s good that Sebei has the confidence to say that he can beat Punk, but asks what good it would do for Sebei to say he beat the Heavyweight Champion in a non-title match. Punk says that he likes to shake things up, and that’s why he’s out here tonight. Punk says that it’s great to have both champions headlining a pay-per-view, but there needs to be something more. Punk says that, in order to sweeten the deal for Sebei, if he can beat Punk at Best of the Best, than he would earn himself the right to headline Wrestleocalypse 2 in New Orleans. The crowd goes crazy, and Sebei stares in wonder, as Punk drops his microphone and leaves the ring.

Commercial Break

Natalya vs. Brie Bella

Vixen’s action kicked off things as Anarchy returned from the break. Josh and Scott talked about the Vixen’s battle royal that took place at Brutality, ending with Hamada becoming the number-one contender for Nikki Bella’s Women’s Title. They then talked about how Natalya was responsible for eliminating Brie that night. Tonight, Brie would be looking for redemption against the former Champion. Brie came out quick, and used a number of armbar submissions to work over Natalya’s arm from the get-go, and even connected with a Bella Buster early in the match; but Natalya was able to kick out. Natalya was able to reverse an irish whip and connected with a strong clothesline. Natalya tried to shake feeling back into her arm, before hitting Brie with a running power slam for a two-count. Natalya pulled Brie into the center of the ring, and locked in the Sharpshooter. Within seconds, Brie slapped the canvas in submission, as the referee called for the bell.

Natalya defeated Brie Bella when Brie tapped out in the Sharpshooter in 0:05:41.
Rating: *** ¼

Commercial Break

- As Anarchy returns, Peter Bradshaw enters the Conglomerate locker room, and confronts Ric Flair. Bradshaw says that Flair was out of line last week, claiming that Bradshaw wanted to see The Conglomerate fail. Bradshaw says that he wants to see every member of the HWL roster succeed; and that he knows what each member of the Conglomerate is capable of. Bradshaw says that he just doesn't approve of the way some things are being handled by Flair. Bradshaw says that he has no problem with wanting to settle scores, and that he welcomes competition. But, Bradshaw says, if it continues, he will have a problem with The Conglomerate. Bradshaw walks out of the locker room, as Flair steams.

Jeff Hardy vs. Colt Cabana

Over the last couple weeks, both Jeff Hardy and Colt Cabana had found themselves on the losing side of things. Tonight, there was a good chance one of them would walks away with a victory. Cabana got things started, early on, but after a reversal into the turnbuckle, followed by an enzigiuri, Hardy took control of the match. Things made their way outside the ring, where Hardy used the ring steps the work over Cabana’s back. Hardy played to the crowd, and went for a flying cross body, only to have Cabana fall through, and execute a fall away slam into the steel barricade! Cabana was able to roll into the ring, breaking the referee’s count, as Hardy slowly followed suit. Back on his feet, Cabana worked over Hardy before running into the ropes, and hitting his own flying cross body, for the 1-2-3.

Colt Cabana pinned Jeff Hardy after a flying cross body press in 0:08:05.
Rating: ** ½

Commercial Break

- Backstage, Shane Hagadorn is seen with the Tag Team Champions - Eddie Edwards and Steve Corino. Hagadorn wants to know what has gotten into both of them; and reminds them that the titles they carry, they earned together. Hagadorn says that he doesn't want to see a repeat of what took place last week. Corino asks if Hagadorn knows how important winning the Heavyweight Title is. Corino says that he and Edwards didn't work their asses off to settle for being Tag Team Champions. Corino says that he did what he had to do last week, in order to keep the Tag Team Titles. Corino says that he and Edwards will get the job done, when the time comes, but that in three weeks, they will go at each other if they are the last two remaining in the battle royal. Edwards says that he has a match to get ready for and leaves, as Hagadorn follows suit.

- Backstage, Alisha Hicks is seen with Adam Cole. Alisha asks Cole how he feels after last week's ladder match against Rami Sebei. Cole says that, physcially, he's fine; but he feels that the people are being given the wrong idea by Sebei's victory last week. Cole says, at Brutality, he had Sebei covered for a 10-count. But, that it didn't matter, because they were both counted out. Last week, Sebei became the hero, because he was able to climb a ladder. Cole says Sebei didn't have him cover, and didn't make him submit. But, because of that, Cole says that Sebei get a main event spot against CM Punk in three weeks. Cole says Punk drove the nail deeper into Cole's vein tonight, by offering up the main event spot at Wrestleocalypse to Sebei, if Sebei "somehow" beats Punk at Best of the Best. Cole wonders what he'll get when he beats Punk later tonight.

Commercial Break

Non-Title Match
Adam Cole vs. © CM Punk

Adam Cole seemed very sure of himself moments before this match, stating that he wanted something in return if he was successful in defeating the Heavyweight Champion tonight. Cole came out with a lot to prove, after coming up short in his bid to win the X-Division Title - and to face Punk at Best of the Best. Punk, who had not been in the ring for a couple weeks, came out with a chip on his shoulder, having heard the comments made by Cole just before the match started. Punk wanted to make an example out of Cole, but his fiery attitude caused him to stumble early on. Cole picked up an early near-fall after hitting a snap mere takedown, but Punk was able to kick out. Cole continued to work over Punk throughout the match, even dumping Punk out to the concrete. Cole slammed Punk into the guardrail, before quickly re-entering the ring. Punk followed suit, only to be met with a boot to the back. Punk fought his way back into the match, and tried to connect with the G.T.S., but Cole was able to escape the move and roll up Punk for another two-count. Both men quickly got to their feet, and as Cole went for a running clothesline, Punk ducked and picked Cole up for the G.T.S! Punk made the cover for the 1-2-3.

[Non-Title Match]:
CM Punk pinned Adam Cole with the G.T.S. in 0:15:08.
Rating:

After the match, Punk rolls out of the ring, and grabs the Heavyweight Title. He stands on top of the broadcast table, and raises the title in the air, while Anarchy goes to commercials.

Commercial Break

- Best of the Best ad is shown. Josh and Scott run down the card, and hype up the next Qualifying Match.

Luke Gallows vs. Eddie Edwards (w/Shane Hagadorn)

The situation between Eddie Edwards and his tag team partner, Steve Corino, continues to grow stranger by the week. They are still Tag Team Champions, but they must figure out a way to work as a unit when they defend the titles at Best of the Best. With no opponents being named to-date, Shane Hagadorn would like to see them work out their differences before February 12th. Tonight, Edwards stepped into the ring with Luke Gallows, hoping that he could focus on the task at hand.

Gallows got out to a quick start, hitting a number of chops, and a vicious kick to Edwards’s head. Edwards was able to recover, and connect with a kick of his own, only getting a two-count with the cover. Edwards stayed on the attack until Gallows reversed a lariat into a Fujiwara armbar. Edwards took 22 seconds to reach the ropes. Gallows continued to work over Edwards, throwing him out to the concrete, where he connected with the Gallows Pole on the concrete! At three, Gallows rolled Edwards back into the ring, before hitting a massive head butt to the back, before getting a two-count with the cover. Gallows ran into the ropes, but Hagadorn tripped Gallows! Edwards tried to take advantage, but Gallows caught him and threw him between the ropes, back onto the concrete. Edwards re-entered the ring at four, and was able to counted a fall away slam with a forearm smash. Both men missed with their respective clotheslines, until meeting in the center of the ring with a double clothesline. Gallows was first to his feet, but was met with a kick to the midsection as he ran into the ropes. Edwards worked over Gallows, but a flying forearm attempt was ducked by Gallows, turning the tide. Gallows took over, landing a number of punches and chops. Edwards side-stepped a knee lift, and took back control of the match. Edwards used his boot to choke Gallows, getting two four-counts from the referee before being pulled off and threatened with a DQ. Edwards continued to work over Gallows, and hit a forearm smash that knocked Gallows down. Edwards grabbed a handful of tights and made the cover for the 1-2-3!

Eddie Edwards pinned Luke Gallows after a forearm smash in 0:10:03.
Rating: ** ¼
[Shane Hagadorn interfered against Luke Gallows.]

After the match, Edwards quickly rolls out of the ring, while Hagadorn grabs the Tag Team Title and joins him, as Gallows gets to his feet and yells at Edwards to come back into the ring.

Commercial Break

- Hamada is seen, walking around backstage, when she is confronted by Women's Champion Nikki Bella. Bella says that this is the closest Hamada will ever come to the Women's Title, and that Nikki's not afriad to step into the ring with her. Hamada responds, broken English, but is stopped by Nikki. Nikki says that she doesn't understand Japanese, and that Hamada should just keep her mouth closed. Nikki kisses her hand, and smacks Hamada across the face. As Hamada recovers, Nikki leaves the scene.

Best of the Best Qualifying Match:
Brutus Magnus vs. Kaz vs. AJ Styles (w/Ric Flair & Chelsea) vs. Evan Bourne vs. Randy Orton

All five of these men were looking to gain a spot in the Triple Threat Match, in two weeks to determine who will get the coveted #15 entry into the Best of the Best battle royal. All five men were hungry to get that much closer to a Wrestleocalypse main event spot, but there was significant focus on AJ Styles after the confrontation between Flair and Peter Bradshaw earlier in the evening.

A lot of great action took place in the first nine minutes of this battle royal. With pinfalls and submissions the only way to eliminate an opponent, the fans were getting their money’s worth tonight. Brutus Magnus and Kaz found themselves brawling out on the concrete, tearing into each other, which was completely legal. Inside the ring, Styles and Orton were going toe-to-toe, bringing back memories of their feud from the beginning days of the HWL. And, keeping true to his style, Flair interfered, tripping Orton, and giving Styles the upper hand. Now, with all five men back in the ring, with Orton distracted, Evan Bourne hit a flying forearm to the back of Styles’s head. Bourne mad the cover, but STEVE CORINO distracted the referee! Corino was quickly banned from ringside, as Bourne connect with a Shooting Star Press on Styles. Orton looked poised to break up the pin attempt, but was not able to make it in time.

X AJ Styles is eliminated by Evan Bourne in 0:08:59.

Bourne continued the fight, as Orton was on him quickly after his elimination of Styles. Bourne and Orton went after one another, but EDDIE EDWARDS made an appearance at ringside, and tripped Bourne! Orton pounced on the chance, and started working over Bourne as Magnus and Kaz were on the other side of the ring. Magnus dropped Kaz with a vicious right hand, before joined Orton to work over Borne. Orton and Magnus attempted a double-clothesline, only to have Bourne duck under it, and connect with one of his own! Orton ducked under a spinning lariat from Bourne, and rolled outside the ring. Bourne went after Magnus connecting with a clothesline and a high knee. Bourne then caught Magnus with spinning head scissors, and made a cover for a quick 1-2-3.

X Brutus Magnus is eliminated by Evan Bourne in 0:14:14.

The final three came down to Kaz and Bourne - a well-known tag team - and Orton. Bourne and Orton started things off, but Kaz came in, going after his partner. The crowd was shocked to see this, but Josh and Scott mentioned that one the final three entries was something that could possibly cause partners to put their friendship aside. Kaz and Bourne went after each other, which Edwards and Corino - who made his way back to the ring, through the crowd - continued to interfere. Corino cracked Bourne in the back with a steel chair, which led Kaz to hitting the Wave of the Future for the 1-2-3!

X Evan Bourne is eliminated by Kaz in 0:17:30.

Orton met Kaz with a kick to the midsection, an tossed him through the ropes, out to the concrete. Orton wasted no time going outside, and whipping Kaz into the steel steps. Orton worked over Kaz’s back, before whipping him into the guardrail. Orton slipped into the ring and taunted the crowd, waiting for Kaz to re-enter the ring. Kaz made his way into the ring, and ran after Orton, only to get hit with a power slam. Orton made the cover for the 1-2-3.

X Kaz is eliminated by Randy Orton in 0:18:23.
Rating: *
[Eddie Edwards & Steve Corino interfered against Evan Bourne.]
[Ric Flair interfered against Kaz.]

After the match, Orton poses on the turnbuckles as the crowd roars in approval. Josh and Scott say that two-thirds of the battle royal has been set; and the final spots will be filled, next week on Anarchy. They thank everyone for watching as the camera fades with Orton still posing.

Card rating: *** ¾

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License