By Darren Gutteridge
Samoa Joe vs. Mojo Rawley: Was this the best use of Mojo ever? I’m hard pressed to think of an alternative. Even in defeat he impressed more than ten Hype Bros matches combined. Joe still looked like a machine though once he got going, and the post match stand-off between Joe and Nakamura was executed perfectly. Shagsuke was doing Shagsuke things, and Joe looked like an absolute beast being barely contained by ten guys. All that hype, and not a single punch. Bravo.
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano vs. Tucker Knight and Patrick Clarke: This was a fairly standard squash match, but a necessary one following Gargano and Ciampa’s clash in the Cruiserweight Classic. This was the reset viewers needed ahead of Brooklyn for two reasons. Firstly, this clearly shows that everything is OK between the two, so they have a good chance of taking the belts from the Revival. And secondly, should they be building to a turn at Brooklyn from Ciampa, this was a great way to mask it.
Bayley vs. Asuka contract signing: If even this feud can be thrown off the rails by the format, I don’t think I need further proof that contract signings suck. My problem here hasn’t with the promos, which are neither performer’s strong suit, but with the tone from Bayley. This feud isn’t on the intensity level where the babyface should avoid shaking hands. That’s especially true if the babyface in question is the most wholesome and pure face in the entire company. I’m still hyped for the match, but this was a step backwards in the build.
Authors of Pain: Yes, they hit hard. Yes, they look impressive visually. Yet despite being around for more than two months now, what do we know about the AOP outside of these two facts (that, incidentally, we found out on the night they debuted). By design, they still don’t have names, but the team isn’t being booked like a mystery team where that quirk would be effective. Instead, it is making them out to be cookie cutter big men, which are a dime a dozen in wrestling promotions around the world.
Andrade Almas: The comments above about the AOP can be applied to Almas too. We haven’t heard a word from him since his debut, so outside of the flashy moves there is nothing to latch on to. His debut has been so mishandled that Bobby Roode is the strong favorite going into the Takeover match, just one month removed from Andrage’s “hot” introduction.
Billie Kay vs. Liv Morgan: At this point in the show, I was clearly not enjoying my time. And a weak women’s match was not the thing to turn that slum around.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Ring of Honor's PJ Black discussing the ROH Pure Title tournament beginning on ROH Wrestling TV this weekend, ROH's COVID-19 safety precautions, his run in WWE as Justin Gabriel with The Nexus, wrestling as The Bunny, and more...