By Darren Gutteridge
The Revival and Tommaso Ciampa: I’m glad to see this feud continue, as it didn’t feel like it had ran its course at Takeover: Brooklyn. The beat down felt realistic, and was balanced enough to not make Ciampa look like a chump nor make the Revival look weak. There are two great endings here – Ciampa and Johnny Gargano become champions, or Ciampa turns on Gargano for letting him down.
Shinsuke Nakamura: This segment smacked of “That’s it?” Shinsuke Nakamura is not a wrestler to build through promo work. That’s not to say he did badly (in fact he did better than expected), but it isn’t his strong suit. This needed something from Samoa Joe or from a new foe. Instead, it felt like a flat way to start the Strong Style Era.
Tye Dillinger vs. Buddy Murphy: Coming out of the recent call-ups and Takeover: Brooklyn, I thought we’d see a renewed focus on putting the right people on new paths. I thought Dillinger would either be called up or given a real feud, nothing massive, just something consistent. I thought Murphy would really go for the “Murphy’s Law” losing streak thing, which would in turn make him more violent and aggressive. Instead, this so-so match showed above all else that both men are rudder-less. Yes Dillinger is winning, but it is seemingly happening in a vacuum with no upwards momentum. A post match promo would have been enough to give this a minor Hit.
No Way Jose vs. Angelo Dawkins: What was it with this show and nothing matches? I have to feel sorry for Angelo Dawkins. It can’t be good for your psyche to be an enhancement worker at the developmental level. A deeper pit in wrestling I can’t imagine.
Steve Cutler vs. Kenneth Crawford: Chalk this up to poor presentation as opposed to a bad match as well. A statement squash match may have been enough to get Cutler off to some sort of a start, but a somewhat evenly balanced throwaway match didn’t get the job done.
Liv Morgan vs. Aliyah: Time to start hitting those panic buttons for the NXT Women’s Division.