ROH World Television Champion Shane Taylor def. Rhett Titus (Non-Title)
I thought Taylor facing a fellow heel in Titus was strange at first, but it became clearer afterward that Titus might be turning babyface. The match itself was nothing special and was designed to be a glorified squash win for Taylor coming off his successful title defense at Best in the World. Kenny King choosing to belittle his former tag team partner Rhett Titus of all people following his huge victory over Jay Lethal is certainly questionable, but we'll see where it goes. Titus has never done anything for me, so I'm hoping it leads to a one-off match on ROH TV and King can move on.
Tasha Steelz def. Stella Grey, Jenny Rose and Angelina Love in a WOH World Championship No. 1 Contender's Four Corner Survival Match
I'd never heard of Steelz before, which is why I'm surprised she ending up winning this and earning the future title shot. It's a good way to get her noticed, if nothing else. I thought for sure Love had this in the bag after pinning Kelly Klein in that tag team match at Best in the World, but apparently not. From an in-ring standpoint, this was pretty decent and everyone got their time to shine. Klein also did well on commentary taking about her potential challengers.
Universal Champion Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman Addressed the End of Extreme Rules
I found Extreme Rules to be a strong show on Sunday night, but obviously, Lesnar's Universal title victory was what everyone was talking about when the event concluded. Thus, it was a smart call to open this episode with Lesnar and Heyman addressing what happened as well as the night's Battle Royal to determine the new number one contender. It was a solid segment that was exactly what it needed to be.
Ricochet and The Usos def. Robert Roode and Raw Tag Team Champions The Revival in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match
I'm always up for Roode getting television time, but what purpose did he serve in this match aside from taking the fall? He hasn't had bad blood with Ricochet in months, and just as I expected, the Revival vs. Usos feud isn't over yet. They'll likely face off again at SummerSlam if I had to guess. From an in-ring standpoint, this was a nice six-man tag team match, even though the 2 out of 3 Falls stipulation was once again pointless. Plus, The Club's post-match attack on Ricochet effectively furthered their feud.
Kickoff Show: Shinsuke Nakamura def. Finn Balor to Win the Intercontinental Championship
I was really surprised this got added to the Extreme Rules Kickoff show hours before the show, simply because their original encounter took place mere days earlier on SmackDown Live and WWE could have easily held off until SummerSlam to do the rematch. Nevertheless, this was a quality contest that could have been better with more time. Balor never got a real run as Intercontinental Champion, but this could be a nice reset for Nakamura if he's on TV more than Balor was. Here's hoping this reign is more memorable than the two he had with the United States Championship.
Kickoff Show: WWE Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak def. Tony Nese
The Cruiserweights are back to being a staple on the Kickoff show, and honestly, that might be where they belong at this point because that's when the crowd is at their hottest and they don't have to know their history to enjoy the action. Gulak is from the Philadelphia area, which would explain why he was heavily favored by the fans over Nese here. It wasn't quite on the level of the Stomping Grounds Triple Threat, but it was well wrestled and gave Gulak a good, clean win in his first official title defense.
Josh Briggs def. Anthony Greene
I've seen Briggs and Greene compete in person at different points of their respective careers here on the northeast independent wrestling scene and they're both very good. Briggs has great size and is incredibly athletic as well. As for Greene, the "retro" act looks like it's working for him and I'm a fan of his pairing with Brandi Lauren (who I'll talk more about during her match later). This was a strong start to the show.
Stephen Wolf def. Harlem Bravado, Curt Stallion and Sean Maluta in a Four-Way Freestyle Match
The only guy I was familiar with from this match was Maluta, who took part in 2016's Cruiserweight Classic and has had a ton of enhancement matches on NXT over the years. All four of them had their time to shine and made the four-way formula fun. Granted, it came across like a spot-fest, but that isn't always a bad thing, especially on shows like this where you don't know everyone and just want to be entertained for some of the matches. It was smart to position this earlier on in the card.
Pre-Show: Sonny Kiss def. Peter Avalon
I know I'm far from the only one who isn't a fan of the librarian gimmick for Avalon and Leva Bates, but there's no doubt it receives genuine heat from crowds. Sure, it's probably "go away" heat, but we'll see how long AEW drags it out for. This was a perfectly fine match with Kiss getting a chance to show off his incredible athleticism. He had an impressive showing here and was the correct choice to go over.
Pre-Show: Shoko Nakajima and Bea Priestly def. Dr. Britt Baker and Riho
For a late-minute addition to the card, this was an absolute blast. There isn't any established bad blood between these four ladies, but from an in-ring standpoint, there was a ton of excellent action and they worked a frantic pace. I'm slightly surprised Baker and Riho didn't win simply because they have been positioned strongly so far in AEW, but it was a good win for Nakajima and Priestly, nonetheless.
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