Our illustrious Yellow Brand is on the road to War Games and we still have a few things to sort out along the way. The show starts off with a look back to the end of the tag title match and how it ended up providing us with our War Games match in the Takeover main event next Saturday. We also will stay in the tag division for our first matchup of the evening.
Heavy Machinery (Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic) vs. Chris Payne and Sean Maluta
Dozovic and Payne start. Payne is down. Dozovic does The Worm. Yes, Dozovic hits The Worm. Tag to Knight. Springboard elbow by Knight. Compactor. Three count.
Yes, that’s the match.
My Take: No take really. It’s time to start matching Knight and Dozovic with other established teams and let them try to get back in the title picture. They can’t come up on squashes, lose a title match, and then go back on a squash diet.
We go to Ember Moon in the back, who challenges Mercedes Martinez to a match next week in response to Martinez’s comments from last week. We also get our rundown of the night ahead and learn that our main event will be Roderick Strong going one on one with Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream in action, as well as Kairi Sane vs Billie Kaye.
Kairi Sane vs. Billie Kaye (w/Peyton Royce)
This should be a statement match for whoever wins. I’m excited. Early Sane advantage here, with a near fall. Royce tries to interfere and is knocked off the apron by Sane, and that allows Kaye to get the upper hand. A few 2 counts and a torture rack have Kaye ahead now and looking solid against the winner of the Mae Young Classic. A Sane rally is fueled by chops and a Sliding D that leads to a 2 count. They both get back to their feet and Kairi cracks Kaye with a spinning backfist that leaves her vulnerable. That also ends up being the cue for the Insane Elbow from the top that nails Kaye right on the chest and ends her night.
My Take: I figured Sane would be protected, but I feel like this quick match certainly kills some of the momentum that The Iconic Duo has built up lately. I think this probably could have been a better place for another MYC competitor, not Kaye.
In his office, William Regal is on the phone and asking if “we are clear for Takeover” before Kassius Ohno enters and is wearing a Cesaro shirt. My God I wish you guys could see the smile on my face. That’s great stuff. He tells Regal he’s firing on all cylinders and asks for a match against Lars Sullivan at Takeover. His reasoning is, if he can be the first one to give Sullivan a run for his money, then it could help him in a major way. Regal agrees and grants him the match.
Next up is an EXCELLENT video package highlighting the history of the War Games match that includes comments from Goldust, Booker T, and Arn Anderson. They all speak to their experiences in the match and really set the tone for just how brutal it can be. Special emphasis here on the match’s creator, Dusty Rhodes. Great video.
We then head into a sit down conversation with Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega. They are asked questions about strategy and their relationship, and Vega avoids both questions, yet affirms that their focus is on winning the NXT title at Takeover. They seem very prepared for the match against Drew McIntyre.
Velveteen Dream vs. Cezar Bononi
The Dream looks like he is about to take all his frustration out on Bononi, and indeed he does with a fast start and lots of punches. The ref breaks it up and Bononi charges the Dream but is caught in a spinebuster and then is put away with the Death Valley Bomb. Quick squash. After the match, Dream addresses Aleister Black and says that at Takeover, Black will say his name.
My Take: Eh, typical squash but for me, the story here was the mannerisms of the Dream. Like, you could almost feel his disdain for Bononi and the fact that he has to wrestle other people besides the man he wants. This character has really grown on me and I hate the fact that I am almost certain that he won’t translate well to the main roster.
A recap of Ruby Riot’s injury at the hands of Sonya Deville follows and we get a video of her getting a medical update. The doctor says she needs another week or 2 of rest, and Deville shows up. She says she lost the NXT Women’s title qualifier becaus Ruby didn’t tap. Ruby says she should have just broken her ankle. They end up talking themselves into a match when Ruby heals.
A Street Profits promo is up next and it goes from them passing out black Solo cups, to them swiping a suit that was being delivered to Tino Sabatelli, to Sabatelli and Moss showing up and challenging them to a match next week. That should be a good one and should place the winning team firmly in the title hunt. A look ahead to next week follows as Moon vs. Martinez is made official and we learn that McIntyre and Almas will meet face to face.
Roderick Strong vs. Adam Cole
Fish and O’Reilly are not with Cole as he enters and that should be cause for alarm from Roddy. A lot of back and forth to start this one, and the crowd is very much into this one. Roddy knocks Cole to the outside and seems to have things under control, until Cole uses the ref as a shield then goes around him to superkick Roddy and knock him to the outside before we go to break.
Returning, it’s an Adam Cole Party and Roddy is invited. All Cole here, as he starts to rack up near falls and keeps Roddy well grounded with sleepers and chinlocks. A backbreaker out of no where gets Roddy some breathing room and he attempts to get back in this one. He nails Cole with a lariat and gets a 2 count that really gets him going, that is until an enzuguri from Cole gets him a 2 count of his own. A wild sequence follows with Roddy hitting a step-up enzuguri, then going for a backbreaker only to take a knee from Cole, and then get wiped out by a superkick into the Last Shot. Cole goes for the win but Roddy kicks out at 2 and Cole cannot believe it.
We reset and it’s Roddy getting the upper hand with a jumping knee, and then he places Cole on the top turnbuckle. Adam attempts to fight Strong off but ends up getting hit with a backbreaker across the turnbuckle. Both men down and Roddy goes to crawl over to make the cover but Fish and O’Reilly show up and pull Roddy out of the ring and then go to check on Cole, causing the DQ. The Authors of Pain then show up and hit the ring with a recovered Roddy, and Sanity enters from the crowd and we have a brawl. Slowly, everyone ends up on the outside except for Cole and Roddy, that is until Roddy superplexes Cole onto everyone else on the outside of the ring. Our Yellow Brand hour for the week ends with all 9 War Games participants laid out at ringside.
My Take: This match was rolling right along and was going great, all the way up to a predictable finish. The camera angle on the finish was so obvious as well and for some reason, it’s really bothering me. Either way, this was a fun way to get more 9 man interaction out of these teams before Takeover.
This episode almost flew by, until the main event. I felt like there were 100 matches on this show since they were all so quick. I know we’re almost at Takeover and all of the seeds have pretty much been planted, but maybe they could have thrown us some matches between people who actually need to be built up, instead of so many squashes. We have our final show next week before we head to Houston so things should be better next week.