We’re coming off one of the better episodes in recent weeks as we move closer to Takeover. The 1st round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic goes out with a bang as DIY and the dynamic team of Kota Ibushi and WWE Cruiserweight champ T.J. Perkins are both in action. Can they top what they did last week? Let’s find out.
DIY vs Ho Ho Lun and Tian Bing
Solid enough match. Not a huge fan of Ho Ho Lun, but he can definitely bump around and keep pace. Bing has some experience in Japan, as the commentary team mentioned, so he’s clearly not green and that showed. He’s not where he probably could be in a year, but he held his own. It’s a big deal that he’s the first Chinese born superstar, he just needs a character to get the ball rolling. So, it’s DIY and The Revival in round 2. If it was anything like their match in the Brooklyn, we’re in for a treat.
Nice little promo from Ibushi and Perkins. Best line had to be Perkins talking about how Ibushi brought out the best in him at the CWC and now they’ll bring the best out in each other. And I’m certainly not arguing that Ibushi would sit at the cool kids table or that he’s a 99 overall.
Samoa Joe Adresses the NXT Universe
Great great promo from Joe. It really brought together all of the elements of the feud between the two, this second time around. From the dislocated shoulder to the almost run-in last week. “You’re looking at a scared champion.” You can call it now, thats line of the night.
Aliyah vs Billie Kay
I weirdly really enjoy Kay’s entrance theme after hearing it for a few weeks in a row now. The match was okay, but it didn’t last very long. At least they’re giving the feud with Liv Morgan something. The attack last week was done well and so was this. Morgan really looks liked a scrappy underdog here. Thats what they should be emphasizing about her character, not the stupid New Jersey stereotype stuff.
Noah Potjes vs Tye Dillinger
Another squash so no rating again, but Dillinger looked good. The post match beatdown was a great way to get some heat on Roode. We’re seeing it with this feud and the the Joe-Nakamura feud. They’re not doing anything THAT ground-breaking, but it works. It never feels like they’re trying to do to much. When feuds are built simply and logically fans want to see the match.
TM61 are solid in the ring…but that promo could have used some work.
Thea Trinidad vs NXT Women’s Champion Asuka
Squash number 3 on this show. But, its always great to see Asuka in action.Her ankle lock into a german suplex was SICK.
And of course the post-match announcement makes me wish I didn’t have the internet. Everybody and their mother already knew Mickie James was facing Asuka, so it kinda hurt the reveal for me. Nevertheless, I have no problem with James coming in. It gives Asuka a challenger while they develop some of the other women in the division. And a win over one of the more accomplished women’s wrestlers of this generation, could only help the legend of Asuka grow. Plus I’ve always personally been a big fan of James. Her feud with Trish Stratus, who James is replacing, leading up to Wrestlemania 22 was great and the match is one of my favorites ever, even in spite of the botched finish.
The “mission” of the Authors of Pain and Paul Ellering continues to be ambiguous. I just hope it’s something worth the wait…
Mustafa Ali and Lince Dorado vs WWE Cruiserweight Champion TJ Perkins and Kota Ibushi
That was BY FAR the best match of the first round and it wasn’t even close. Seeing is Perkins and Ibushi tag together is really a privilege. Its unfortunate though because it seems highly unlikely that they would get by SAnity in the next round.
3 squash matches and I was never bored with this show. They didn’t bother me as much because all 3 had their purpose in building towards Takeover. On top of that, we got two of the better 1st round matches, including far and way the best. Mix in a really effective Samoa Joe promo and you got yourself the second solid show in a row. And it can only go up from here, with the second round on the way.