1/16 Powell’s WWE Mixed Match Challenge Review: Finn Balor and Sasha Banks vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Natalya

By Jason Powell, Prowrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE Mixed Match Challenge
Aired on Facebook Watch

Renee Young and Byron Saxton checked in from ringside as hosts… In between ring entrances, Michael Cole, Corey Graves, and Beth Phoenix checked in on commentary. Graves noted that he was surprised to see Cole given Braun Strowman’s attack on Raw. Graves noted that Nakamura was wearing Jim Neidhart’s jacket. They also showed a video package on some of the other teams that will appear in future weeks…

1. Finn Balor and Sasha Banks vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Natalya. The women started the match. Cole noted that the women would face the women and the men would face the men in the MMC matches. Natalya tagged out early, which led to both men entering the match for the first time to a nice ovation.

After an exchange, Balor held up the “too sweet” hand gesture. Natalya tagged herself into the match and mocked Banks. Sasha got the better of it and hit double knees on Natalya for a two count. Nakamura spoke to Natalya at ringside. Banks tried a suicide dive on Nakamura, but he caught her and placed her on the ring apron. Banks ended up diving at him again and Nakamura ducked, which led to Banks landing on Natalya.

Back inside the ring, Natalya took offensive control as they showed Sami Zayn and Becky Lynch “interacting with fans in the Mixed Match Challenge chatroom.” Graves grumbled that they should be watching the match, not messing around on the internet. Cole said the MMC is all about social interaction. Vomit. Graves went into hyping how great it would be for the winning team to say they won the historic first match on Facebook Watch.

Balor took a hot tag from Banks and worked over Nakamura as if it were a typical hot tag. Nakamura came back and et up for his finisher, but Balor caught him with a Sling Blade clothesline. Balor followed up with a running dropkick and then went up top for his finisher, but Natalya shook the ropes to knock him down. Nakamura performed a running kick and had the pin, but Banks broke it up. Graves said Natalya wasn’t disqualified because she never made physical contact.

Nakamura set up for the Kinshasa again, but Balor avoided it and ended up making a hot tag to Banks, who performed a double knee press on Natalya at ringside. Banks rolled Natalya back inside the ring and kicked her. Banks and Balor did the “too sweet” and then performed stereo dropkicks, which cleared Nakamura from the ring. Banks applied the Bank Statement for the win…

Finn Balor and Sasha Banks beat Shinsuke Nakamura and Natalya in 12:50.

Cole hyped that Balor and Banks could win $100,000 for Special Olympics…

Renee Young and Byron Saxton checked in from ringside. They spoke briefly about the match and then set up a video that hyped Big E and Carmella vs. The Miz and Asuka for next week. In a comical moment, Asuka spoke in Japanese. Miz looked taken aback, then said, “exactly” when she finished…

Powell’s POV: The live crowd seemed hotter for this match than they were for anything on the entire Smackdown Live broadcast. The match was entertaining and had the expected outcome with Banks pinning Natalya. It’s noting you need to go out of your way to see, yet the 23-minute show moved quickly and held my interest from start to finish.

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