Date: March 14, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, Nigel McGuinness
It’s another big night as we have four weeks left before Takeover: New Orleans. That means knocking out more matches in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, but on top of that we have some build towards a title match. This week NXT Champion Andrade Cien Almas and Aleister Black will sign the contract for Takeover: New Orleans which could be interesting. Let’s get to it.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round: Sanity vs. Riddick Moss/Tino Sabbatelli
Sabbatelli and Moss seem to be having some issues coming into the match. Moss knees Wolfe in the ribs to start and hits a release Hot Shot to really take over. It’s off to Sabbatelli and the fans aren’t exactly thrilled to see him. A good looking dropkick (Mauro: “That dropkick certainly didn’t suck!”) keeps Wolfe in trouble and Tito begrudgingly brings Moss back in.
Some stomps in the corner look to set up a running forearm but Moss hits Sabbatelli by mistake (telegraphed by a mile and still exactly the right move) and it’s off to Young. House is quickly cleaned and Young gets two off the top rope elbow. Moss pulls Young to the floor but Nikki Cross dives off the apron with a crossbody. The belly to back suplex into a neckbreaker is enough to pin Sabbatelli at 3:45.
Rating: C-. I’m not sure what Moss and Sabbatelli are supposed to do if they split up. They’re not the best team in the world in the first place and having them go their separate ways might be it for both of them. Sanity winning makes the most sense as they’re not going to win but the team that beats them will get a nice rub.
Here’s Tommaso Ciampa with another microphone but again, the Johnny Gargano signs and chants leave him unable to speak. The fans send him off with the Goodbye Song.
Dakota Kai vs. Lacey Evans
Dakota has a taped up shoulder. Evans goes right for the arm by taking her down and dropping a knee, followed by an armbar. Not that it matters as Kai rolls her up for a very fast pin at 55 seconds.
Post match here’s Shayna Baszler to go after Kai but Ember Moon makes the save. The fight is on and Kai breaks up an armbar, allowing Moon to hit the Eclipse. They needed to do something like this as Moon hasn’t gotten to do much of anything since the title match.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round: Heavy Machinery vs. Street Profits
Dozovic and Ford start things off with Ford getting run down by a shoulder. With the wrestling not working, Ford tries to offer him the cup. Otis seems to like it but clotheslines Ford’s head off instead. A double slam gets two on Ford and it’s off to Knight for a bearhug. Ford finally gets over for the hot tag to Dawkins. The big man starts firing away but Otis hits a heavy Thesz press. The Compactor is broken up though and Dawkins gets in a DDT. Ford adds the frog splash for the pin at 3:38.
Rating: C. This was almost a squash until the hot tag to Dawkins. The Profits are a better act than Heavy Machinery, who lost most of their steam as soon as they lost their first match. I’m digging the Profits more and more each time and it’s a good idea to let them get a win in the tournament. Not much of a match here but at least the right team won.
United Kingdom Title: Pete Dunne vs. Adam Cole
Cole is challenging and we get the big match intros. Dunne has to go after the Undisputed Era before coming back in for a forearm to Cole. That means it’s time to crank on the fingers and the jumping stomp to the arm. Dunne takes him to the apron and stomps down on the arm again as this is completely one sided. An Undisputed Era distraction lets Cole tie him up on the ropes though and Dunne comes up holding his knee.
Back from a break with Dunne hitting an X Plex and winning a slugout as the knee seems fine. There’s an enziguri in the corner and a Batista Bomb gets two. The Bitter End is reversed into a Backstabber and they’re both down again. It’s off to the standing armbar but Cole comes right back with the Last Shot (a fireman’s carry backbreaker here rather than the brainbuster) for two.
Another slugout goes to Dunne, with one forearm knocking Cole from the middle of the ring into the corner. Dunne tries a moonsault out of the corner but Cole superkicks him out of the air (with Dunne upside down) for a very near fall. Dunne goes after the Era again and the distraction lets Cole hit the Last Shot (now the brainbuster version). That’s still not enough though as Dunne snaps the fingers and loads up the Bitter End, drawing in O’Reilly for the DQ at 11:57.
Rating: B. Dunne continues to be a treat to watch and he’s pretty much been turned face just through his great performances. This was another example of those skills, but at some point Cole needs to win something. I know he has a great presence and can talk quite well but he hasn’t won a big match in a long time now and it’s getting noticeable.
Post match the Era beats Dunne down until Roderick Strong makes the save. Strong gets taken down as well but Dunne gets up and helps chase them off.
General Manager William Regal is here for the contract signing between Andrade Cien Almas and Aleister Black. Aleister comes out but there’s no Almas with Zelina Vega taking his place. Vega moves the table and we have a staredown but Almas has a seat in front of her. Black: “Well at least now we’re on the same level.” Vega promises to make him reap what he sows and gives him a slap. Black signs the contract and says he didn’t come alone. Cue Candice LeRae to go after Vega. Candice knocks her onto the announcers’ table and lays Vega out with a bulldog to end the show.
Overall Rating: B. A good match and they moved towards New Orleans. You can put together most of the pieces from here (save for the tournament maybe) and that’s a good thing given how few weeks they have left. Vega vs. LeRae needs to take place at some point and if they let them go nuts, it could be a lot of fun. I don’t know about having it at Takeover but it needs to take place at some point. Solid show here with good wrestling and angle advancement, which is a nice combination.
Sanity b. Tino Sabbatelli/Riddick Moss – Belly to back suplex/neckbreaker combination to Sabbatelli
Dakota Kai b. Lacey Evans – Rollup
Street Profits b. Heavy Machinery – Frog splash to Dozovic
Pete Dunne b. Adam Cole via DQ when Kyle O’Reilly interfered
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