By Darren Gutteridge
Kota Ibushi and TJ Perkins vs. Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali: It is so odd that this match entertained me more than the similar tag matches that have been thrown together on Raw’s burgeoning cruiserweight division. Perhaps that is testament to what Ibushi brings to the table, but the action was fast paced, and the ending was well laid out, giving Dorado and Ali a few surprise hope spots.
Mickie James: It always nice to see a star come back from the past whom you don’t worry about when it comes time to wrestle. So often we see legends return to the WWE well past their prime, and it isn’t a good time for anybody. I have no such fears with Mickie. I think she’ll give Asuka a really good match at Takeover: Toronto. It is also the exact thing I asked for – giving Asuka an opponent from outside the NXT division keeps her looking strong whilst internal challengers can be built outside of her shadow.
DIY vs. Hoho Lun and Tian Bing: I went back and forth with this, before deciding to give the match a minor Hit. It wasn’t a barnstormer (mainly because Hoho Lun still isn’t any good), but it was a strong opening win for tournament frontrunners DIY. Things feel set up for a Tag Team title rematch between DIY and The Revival, and DIY winning the Dusty Classic is the path of least resistance towards making that happen.
Billie Kay vs. Aliyah: After weeks of Miss worthy segments, things took a little more of a positive turn this week. I appreciate the genuine effort being put into building Kay and Peyton Royce as the new-new female heel team (after previous new female heel team Emma and Dana, who followed on from Summer, Sasha and Charlotte in BFFs). Plus Aliyah might be a dark horse in this division. I’m still getting over her time on Breaking Ground where she looked laughably incompetent, but she’s shown hints of having a little something in her past few matches.
Tye Dillinger vs. Noah Potjes: The only thing of note with the match was that it was funny to see Dillinger win a squash match after being on the receiving end of so many similar losses just a few months ago. This Hit was generated by the post match attack, which may not have been the most vicious, but it was a clear and solid attempt to turn fans enamored with Bobby Roode’s entrance against him. How much that will impact the Toronto crowd remains unclear, but the effort is appreciated.
Nothing: There was nothing amazing on this show. It wasn’t skippable, but it wasn’t must see either. It was however a solid show on the road to Takeover: Toronto, that really did clear the path nicely, with the first round of the Dusty Classic finishing and the cementing of a few matches for the show.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Frank Zarrillo discussing his film "The Wrestler: A QT Marshall Story", which includes appearances by Matt Riddle, Damian Priest, Gerald Brisco, Kevin Kelly, Steve Corino, and many more, the involvement of Marshall's wife and mother, and much more. Stick around after the interview for Powell's audio review of Wednesday's AEW Dynamite television show...