Date: January 31, 2018
Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Commentators: Percy Watson, Mauro Ranallo
It’s time for another of the pre-Takeover shows as we haven’t had time to do more tapings, meaning we have some dark matches from this weekend’s Takeover: Philadelphia. This includes a match between Roderick Strong and Tyler Bate with the winner getting a UK Title match against Pete Dunne at some point in the future. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap package from Takeover, including a focus on the incredible main event.
Nikki Cross vs. Lacey Evans
Nikki is all over her to start but gets kicked out to the floor. Evans gets tied in the ring skirt and the fans are WAY behind Nikki as she forearms Laces in the chest. Back in and Lacey hits a slingshot Bronco Buster in the corner and is booed out of the building. That earns her a kick to the chest and the swinging fisherman’s neckbreaker is good for the pin on Evans 2:35.
Video on Saturday’s Tag Team Title match.
Video on the Women’s Title match, including Shayna Baszler choking Ember Moon out after losing.
Baszler says that went as it was supposed to because Moon only survived instead of beating her.
Video on Moon being in the Royal Rumble.
Video on Aleister Black vs. Adam Cole.
Undisputed Era took Cole to the back as he swore vengeance on Sanity.
Next week: Undisputed Era defends against Sanity.
Video on Velveteen Dream vs. Kassius Ohno.
Velveteen Dream says read his trunks. “Dream Over.” Dream to the interviewer: “And now you know too. Good talk.”
TM61 vs. Ealy Brothers
Uriel Ealy jumps Shane with forearms to the back but everything breaks down in a hurry with Thorn hitting a running Fosbury Flop onto both Brothers on the floor. The Brothers switch though and Miller gets kicked in the jaw. The beatdown lasts all of a few seconds though as a clothesline gets Miller out of trouble, setting up the hot tag to Thorn. Everything breaks down and Miller hits a moonsault for two with Gabriel making the save. Thunder Valley (the double gorilla press into a sitout spinebuster) is good for the pin on Uriel at 3:18.
Rating: C. This was fine for a return showcase match with TM61 looking good. They were only starting to hit their stride when the injury cut them off so they need to pull something off to get back on track. The tag division can always use another team and they could be in the title picture in fairly short order. Thorn looked fine in his return from injury.
Recap of the 2017 Year End Awards.
TM61 says they’re a better team than they used to be because they’re now mighty, and the mighty don’t kneel. Ignore one of them kneeling to set up Thunder Valley.
Long video on Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Cien Almas, including Tommaso Ciampa attacking Gargano after the match.
Post match Ciampa wouldn’t answer questions, including “where have you been”. Uh, rehabbing his knee, as everyone knows?
We look at Almas in the Rumble.
Zelina Vega says this was her plan all along and there’s no Gargano in sight.
EC3 (Ethan Carter III isn’t mentioned) has signed with NXT.
Cole was in the Rumble and faces Killian Dain next week.
Roderick Strong vs. Tyler Bate
The winner gets a UK Title shot at some point to be announced. They fight over wrist control to start with Bate kicking him in the arm to twist out of a wristlock. Bate scores with a dropkick and nips up into a mustache pose. The airplane spin is countered into a double underhook backbreaker and Strong tosses him HARD into the corner for two.
Back from a break with Strong bending Bate over his back (kind of a bow and arrow with Bate bent over the back instead of the knees). Bate slips out and hits a big boot to the jaw, followed by a middle rope knee to the side of the head. Bate’s Liger Kick is followed by a crucifix for two and a rebound clothesline gets the same. The Tyler Driver 97 doesn’t work due to the variety of backbreakers and Strong hits the jumping knees to the face. End of Heartache is good for the pin on Bate at 13:38.
Rating: B-. The last few minutes were very good with Bate doing more of his ridiculous athletic stuff despite looking like one of the most generic jobbers of all time. Strong winning is the right call as Bate vs. Dunne should be saved for special occasions and Dunne needs a fresh opponent. Bate will be fine and the fact that he’s only 20 is remarkable.
Overall Rating: C+. These shows are always hard to rate as there’s only so much that can be said with so many recaps. This is designed to be mostly a placeholder show with a big main event and there’s nothing wrong with that. Next week will be back to normal and since NXT knows what it’s doing, we already have two matches set for the first show of the new tapings. It’s so nice to not have to worry about things like moving to the new taping cycle and it’s very cool to have a promotion that has figured this stuff out.
Nikki Cross b. Lacey Evans – Fisherman’s neckbreaker
TM61 b. Ealy Brothers – Thunder Valley to Uriel
Roderick Strong b. Tyler Bate – End of Heartache
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