By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Women’s Battle Royal: I wasn’t a fan of throwing the entire NXT and NXT developmental roster out there to fill time at the beginning of this battle royal. Did we really need that many women in the ring to start, especially those in the NXT undercard? Once all of the developmental types were taken out, that’s when the match got really good. There were some good surprises like the Shayna Baszler and Kacy Catanzaro. The finishing moments were really good too as there was a lot of good wrestling and seeds planted for potential feuds.
“Time Splitters” Alex Shelley and Kushida vs. “Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake in a Dusty Rhodes Classic tournament match: A good match as expected given the talent in the ring. I feel like they should have introduced Alex Shelley somehow via a video package given that not everyone watches TNA, New Japan, or Ring of Honor. That said, it was a bit (just a bit) surreal to see Shelley work a WWE match. I had a feeling this was a one off given that logic says that they needed another NXT UK team to move on or else Imperium would be the only UK team to have won a match in this tournament. Thumbs up to Gibson for both his solid in ring work and ability to turn a crowd against him with his formula “Soon to be recognized” promo. It’s a formula that has withstood the test of time so far.
“The BroSerweights” Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle vs. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster in a Dusty Rhodes Classic tournament match: Unlike last week were we got two pretty okay Dusty Rhodes Classic matches, we got two stellar Dusty Classic tag matches. This one in particular was Takeover worthy. Who knew that Riddle and Dunne would have such good tag team chemistry? So combine good practical tag team wrestling with the storytelling of Andrews. One of my favorite parts of an Andrews match is how he builds up to his Stundog Millionaire move because he sneaks it out of many different situations. Andrews is someone I feel has big Rey Mysterio like upside if they want to move the former of TNA British Bootcamp to NXT US. Before this match, I thought they were going to break up Riddle and Dunne very soon given their makeshift nature. After how well this went and how NXT is in dire need for tag teams, I wouldn’t mind the BroSerweights sticking around. Riddle even handled their backstory well last week with his hilarious stoner promo.
Undisputed Era: A solid job over the past week, setting these guys as a calculated mob. Both at the UK Takeover and tonight, UE got a chance to exert their dominance all over the show by dividing and conquering their future opponents. I like the “hit list” aspect of it, which Ciampa pointed out.
Keith Lee: While we got some standard stuff on the mic from him, I liked that he got to show a bit of a serious edge in the parking lot. WWE gets yet another gif moment with him tackling a man into the bushes.
Lio Rush vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Isaiah Scott: The cruiserweight match of the night and the fusion of styles made for entertaining television. Scott wrestled his workrate style, Breeze worked a heavyweight style, while Rush worked his unique “stopping on a dime” style. It was great. Rush continues to put on some of the best matches on NXT. Can we give the guy some promo time because we know he’s an upper card level talker. Or is he only a great talker as a heel? Scott going over is fine. The guy’s reliable in longer matches and you don’t have to worry about him losing steam after losses if he doesn’t pick up the NXT Cruiserweight Championship (which I don’t expect him to get).
Angel Garza: He’s a heel this week. Last time we saw him, he told us how much he loves the fans and got engaged to his fiance in a sweet and wholesome moment. A week before that he threatened Lio Rush’s family. Right before that he talked about fighting for his family and for his late uncle Hector Garza. Prior to that, he ripped off his pants and threw them at Lio Rush’s wife. The guy literally flip flops every time we see him. What do they want viewers to perceive from him?