By Darren Gutteridge
Akam vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Dash Wilder: As far as go-home matches go, this was damn near perfect. It sold me on the approaches all three teams will take at Takeover – DIY will be working from underneath, the AOP will be dominant, and The Revival will be sneaky. It also gave nothing away that could potentially happen in their match on Sunday.
Kassius Ohno vs. Elias Samson: Simply put, if Ohno can get a good match out of Elias Samson, maybe he is as good as everyone else makes him out to be! I could have done without him smashing the guitar though, which just came off as Ohno being a mean bully. I guess this means that Samson is getting called up post-Mania, which is one hell of a lame acquisition for whichever brand gets him. He showed here that he does have some talent, but he is such damaged goods will need nothing short of a miracle to turn it around.
Heavy Machinery vs. Mike Marshall and Jonathan Ortagan: Damn, Heavy Machine are fun to watch. A little unrefined maybe, but they are playing to their strengths very well. Is it sustainable if they are going to be players in the upper half of the tag division? That remains to be seen, but I enjoyed this squash match more than any Authors of Pain squash up to this point, and they are the tag team champions!
Takeover: Orlando hype: What an odd decision to have only one of the three matches booked on the show related in any way to Takeover: Orlando. The hype train was also hampered by the lack of presence in the arena of Bobby Roode and Shinsuke Nakamura, as well as other performers who are on the card this Saturday. I’m still more excited for Takeover than WrestleMania, but if the Mania card was better, Takeover: Orlando would be an “also ran” this year.
NXT Women’s Title contract signing: Though both women were OK here, I don’t think this played to their strengths. Asuka and Ember Moon are both eons better in action than on the mic, so why not have Asuka destroy someone and have Moon run down to stop the beating? They played up Asuka’s flippant nature in the contract signing, but she can sell that a lot better in the ring.