Eli Drake def. Scott Steiner
Although the promo battles could have been something special, I'm glad this wasn't dragged out into a full-fledged feud because Drake deserves better. Plus, this wasn't good, like at all. In fact, it was straight-up terrible. Steiner was fine while wisely protected in his tag team outings alongside Drake, but in singles competition, his limitations/weaknesses are exposed big time. It didn't help that they're both heels and thus the crowd had zero incentive to cheer for either of them. On the bright side, Drake won, hopefully putting an end to Steiner's latest IMPACT tenure.
Madison Rayne def. Tessa Blanchard
I really liked the layout of this match with Blanchard on offense for a majority of it with Rayne scoring some hope spots at various points. Blanchard looked super impressive against the former five-time Knockouts Champion and came across like a star. Rayne also played the underdog role well, though her win took me by surprise. I didn't expect Blanchard to be beaten so early into her run in IMPACT, but I assume that was done to prolong the program.
Lars Sullivan Attacked NXT Champion Aleister Black
I'm surprised by how infrequently Black has appeared on NXT TV since he won the NXT Championship at TakeOver: New Orleans, but I guess that adds to his mystique. This segment served to cement Sullivan as Black's next challenger and establish him as a threat to the title by laying him out. Sullivan's slow and steady rise to super stardom over the last number of months has been fun to watch and I think they'll exceed expectations with their match in Chicago.
War Raiders def. Cody Vincent and George Hixon
Aside from feeling like the second coming of The Bludgeon Brothers (even though they had the gimmick first), War Raiders are totally different than any other tag team NXT has right now based off what they can do in the ring. They're always such a blast to watch and their latest outing against these two local athletes was no exception. I could certainly see them getting a crack at the NXT Tag Team Championship sooner rather than later.
#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:
Cheeseburger and Jushin "Thunder" Liger def. The Dawgs
It never ceases to amaze me how at the age of 53, Liger continues to have good matches. Granted, he isn't the athlete he once was, but he can still hang with the best of them and this was the perfect match for him to shine in with Cheeseburger doing most of the in-ring work. While this bout didn't have any storyline significance, it was fun for what it was and the crowd was hot for it.
ROH Women of Honor Champion Sumie Sakai def. Jenny Rose
First and foremost, I'd like to commend Ring of Honor for building up this bout the right way with some nice video packages over the last few weeks. The company hasn't devoted a ton of television time to their women's division in recent years, but it's been making strides lately, especially with this rivalry. I'd also go far as to say that this was the strongest women's match I've seen on ROH TV (that was contested in ROH and not in Japan) in some time. The crowd was invested in the action and both ladies had solid showings. Sakai just captured the championship at Supercard of Honor, so of course it was logical for her to retain her title.
The Brian Kendrick and Gentleman Jack Gallagher def. Kalisto and Lince Dorado
The Lucha House Party tend to have very enjoyable matches regardless of who their opponents are and this was no exception as they worked well with the duo of Kendrick and Gallagher. They kept the pace consistent throughout and all four men had solid showings. Drew Gulak ultimately interfered to aid Kendrick and Gallagher to victory, so I assume this means they'll have an alliance going forward and will eventually meet Lucha House Party in six-man tag team action.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Cedric Alexander def. Buddy Murphy
I'm not sure why, but there were still people questioning Murphy's in-ring abilities coming into this contest. Hopefully the outstanding outing he had here will shut those naysayers up, because he shined as much as Alexander did in this thrilling matchup. They went all out in the second half and had the crowd behind them every step of the way, which of course is rare for 205 Live matches these days. The nearfalls were incredibly well done and that final stretch was simply fantastic. Hats off to both men for one of, if not the best Cruiserweight Championship match in the history of the revived division.
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