Kairi Sane and Io Shirai def. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
Duke and Shafir recently took on Shirai and Dakota Kai in tag team action and didn't have the strongest showing. They fared a bit better this time around, though I think having two experienced opponents in Sane and Shirai played a big part in that. I'm surprised they continue to lose, but I guess they're supposed to be positioned as lackeys. Sane and Shirai were super over in front of this crowd.
The Forgotten Sons def. The Street Profits
To their credit, The Forgotten Sons have impressed me on a few different occasions since they came together a few months ago, but I simply find their act to be incredibly boring. The Street Profits, on the other hand, are a ton of fun and really need to win more often than they do. I was disappointed they came up short here, but at least they put forth a hell of an effort (especially Montez Ford...that dude is an athletic freak). I enjoyed this more than I thought I would.
"Bomber" Dave Mastiff def. "Primate" Jay Melrose
This was our first look at Melrose. Although he was likely only brought in to put over Mastiff, he scored more offense than I thought he would and had a solid showing. This probably should have been more one-sided in favor of Mastiff than it was, but at least he went over decisively in the end. I'm looking forward to seeing who his next feud will be with coming off his big victory against Eddie Dennis at TakeOver: Blackpool.
Sid Scala Interrupted NXT UK Tag Team Champions Zack Gibson and James Drake
Gibson and Drake have quickly become quite the tandem and have shown great chemistry as partners up to this point. Gibson did all the talking here as they addressed their NXT UK Tag Team Championship win from TakeOver and put the rest of the tag team division on notice. Scala soon surfaced and announced that they will be doing battle with Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch when the brand travels to Phoenix for Royal Rumble weekend and tape matches during Axxess. Nigel McGuinness seemed genuinely excited by the announcement on commentary and I share his enthusiasm for that bout.
#AskGSM is a weekly Q&A video where I, Graham "GSM" Matthews answer fan questions from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in regards to the world of wrestling. Nothing is off limits, and this week’s edition touches upon a variety of topics including:
Juice Robinson def. PJ Black by Disqualification
This match must have been taped a good while ago, because Black didn't have the IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship here (which he won at Wrestle Kingdom 13) and Nick Aldis was on commentary promoting an NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship defense he had against Black earlier this month. I believe both of these guys recently signed with Ring of Honor, so this bout gave them the chance to showcase their skills in front of an audience that may not have been overly familiar with them. It was a good matchup, but the disqualification finish was a bit deflating. Then again, both guys were protected and Black got heat for attacking the referee, so it wasn't a terrible idea.
Shane Taylor def. Mike Law
Taylor has been built up as a destroyer over the last year or so, and as impressive of an athlete as he is, I have yet to see him involved in a memorable program with anyone. He can continue squashing local athletes like Law in record time, but these wins won't mean anything if they don't lead anywhere. He took credit afterward for ridding Ring of Honor of Christopher Daniels, so we'll see if there's any follow up to that or it was just ROH's way of writing Daniels out of storylines.
Kalisto def. Mike KAnellis
The story is that Mike and Maria Kanellis are sick of being overlooked on 205 Live, and thus Drake Maverick gave Mike the opportunity to prove himself here against a former WWE Cruiserweight Champion. Unfortunately, he didn't have all that impressive of a showing. I'm actually a fan of Mike's and have been since his IMPACT run, but it's clear WWE just isn't for him, or at least not right now. Despite there not being anything technically wrong with it, this was painfully bland and did not to make me want to see more of Mike on the show. Thus, Kalisto picking up the victory was the right call, and Mike still can't win a match to save his life.
Akira Tozawa def. Hideo Itami
There was a time last spring that Tozawa and Itami were tag team partners, so they still have good chemistry together and are obviously coming off that fun Fatal 4-Way for the Cruiserweight title they were both involved in on the Royal Rumble Kickoff show. They were given a ton of time and made the most of it by producing an entertaining outing. The crowd wasn't incredibly electric for it, mind you, but the wrestling was solid and the final stretch was enjoyable. I was curious why Tozawa won when Itami seemed to be on the receiving end of a renewed push in recent weeks alongside Ariya Daivari, but then I remembered he ate the pinfall loss at the Rumble, too. He was attacked by Daivari after this bout, leading me to believe he was on his way out of WWE. Sure enough, it has since been reported that Itami has requested and has been granted his release from the company (I'd await official confirmation from WWE, of course). I could write an entire book on how WWE dropped the ball on Itami and how injuries hindered his momentum big time, but in short, all I'll say is that I wish him in the best in his future, regardless of where he decides to go next.
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