By Darren Gutteridge
Asuka vs. Peyton Royce for the NXT Women’s Title: This was a nice workout for the champ. I’ve seen her destroy so many people, any match that isn’t a complete landslide is good enough for me. This match was also smart as it removed any lingering challenge from Kay and Royce, clearing the path for Ember Moon to be the WrestleMania weekend challenger. That may be the first truly intriguing match in the last six months of Asuka’s reign.
Authors of Pain vs. DIY for the NXT Tag Team Titles: AOP beat downs are such a chore. Neither man seems certain of himself in the ring. Luckily, there was enough action whenever DIY were in control that this match can be considered a Hit, even more so when you include the continuation of the well booked AOP/DIY/Revival revolving door feud.
Patrick Clark vs. Sean Maluta: I like to be surprised, and this match caught me out. The entrances were polar opposites – with Clark radiating charisma, and Maluta sucking it all out of the room – but neither really got me jazzed to see this match. However, they managed to pull out something half decent, and display that Clark has upside. The knockoff Prince gimmick may not have legs long term, but he has the size and athleticism needed to potentially make something of himself in WWE.
Kassius Ohno follow up: I think we needed to hear from Ohno following last week’s encounter with Bobby Roode. This was already a loaded show, but had we opened with an extended Ohno promo billed as his true return rather than Clark and Maluta, the show would have felt that much bigger. It is also lunacy that Ohno is getting a title match despite not wrestling yet. William Regal has always been fair in his dealings with such matters, so how can his character justify this? He may not have been able to ignore the appeal had the return of Ohno not been bungled, and he felt like a mega star, but as I stated last week he just feels like another upper mid-carder right now.