Kelly Klein def. Mayu Iwatani in an ROH Women of Honor Championship Tournament Semifinal MAtch
Iwatani had an amazing showing against Deonna Purrazzo in the quarterfinals, and while this was good on the whole (despite a few awkward moments), it wasn't remotely close to being on the same level. Iwatani mostly sold for Klein's offense, though the crowd came alive when Iwatani battled back toward the end. It made sense for Klein to advance given she's a permanent fixture in Ring of Honor's women's division and was undefeated at this point.
Sumie Sakai def. Tenille Dashwood in an ROH Women of Honor Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
I understood what they were going for here with Sakai portraying the seasoned veteran scratching and clawing for her final chance at super stardom, but the crowd was clearly into Dashwood much more than Sakai. This was a very well-wrestled match that featured nice drama and some cool spots, thus making the nearfalls more suspenseful. However, Sakai going over was the wrong call. It's possible Dashwood hasn't signed a full-time deal with the company yet and that's why they didn't want her winning the strap, but still.
Kalisto def. Drew Gulak, Tony Nese, Mustafa Ali and TJP a WWE Cruiserweight Championship No. 1 Contender's Gauntlet Match
Some Gauntlet matches tend to be rushed and therefore it's difficult to care about each elimination, but I really liked how this was spaced out over the course of the entire episode. Ali and TJP kicked things off on a high note with a nice little mini-match, while Gulak brought back that aggression he started to show not too long ago to beat Ali in decisive fashion. Nese then took the fight to his former friend and I appreciated how fast paced their encounter was. Despite Nese largely dominating Gulak, Gulak managed to eek out the victory. When it came down to Gulak and Kalisto, you had to know Kalisto was going over considering he was the only other Cruiserweight on the Greatest Royal Rumble poster aside from Cedric Alexander, but they had a very good final stretch, nonetheless. Alexander vs. Kalisto could be a ton of fun if given enough time to shine.
Raw did something similar two months ago when they hosted a Gauntlet match by having it take up almost the first two hours of the show. Granted, this wasn't even half as long, but it didn't need to be since it had to follow the SmackDown Live taping. It was wisely executed on the whole and everyone involved had strong showings. A rematch between Alexander and Ali in Saudi Arabia would have been cool, but Kalisto has been building momentum for a while now, so I can't argue with the decision to go with him instead as the temporary challenger. It's awesome the Cruiserweights will have a presence at Greatest Royal Rumble at all.
Big Cass Crashed Miz TV
I realize Daniel Bryan being on Miz TV was a huge hook for this show going in, but I was totally fine with the bait and switch approach instead, because Miz and Bryan finally facing off should be built up over time and feel like a big deal. This segment gave Cass a chance to discuss why he's back and reestablish his motivations as a heel, as well as why he targeted Daniel Bryan last week. All things considered, I thought he did fairly well. He has come across as nervous on the mic in the past, but he seems to have worked past that (at least for this promo). It doesn't look like Miz and Cass will be a unit any time soon, but that could end up being the plan at some point.
The IIconics def. Becky Lynch and Asuka
Both Billie Kay and Peyton Royce are pretty good in the ring, and while I never saw a blow-away bout from either one of them in NXT, they more than made up for that with their amazing chemistry. That shined through in this tag team affair, and although they're strongest singles competitors on their own, Lynch and Asuka failed to gel as a team and that was what cost them the victory. I'm not a fan of Asuka eating a loss so soon into her stint on SmackDown Live (though she wasn't the person pinned), but The IIconics picking up a victory was more important.
WWE Paid Tribute to Bruno Sammartino
WWE also does an amazing job with their tribute videos and this was no exception. I was happy Sammartino received the ten bell salute as well given how much he meant to the business and how WWE likely wouldn't be around today if it wasn't for his contributions and his historic WWE Championship reigns. Even at 82-years-old, I was stunned he passed because he was always in such phenomenal shape. You'll be missed, Bruno.
Roman Reigns Confronted Universal Champion Brock Lesnar
Heyman's glorious gloating of Lesnar's shockingly successful title defense at WrestleMania would have been better the next night when it was still fresh in the minds of fans, but I loved it, nevertheless. He attempted to explain why Roman Reigns is getting yet another shot at the Universal Championship despite Lesnar beating him decisively, but even he couldn't make sense of it. Reigns' response was kept short and sweet, which was definitely for the better, and I thought this segment did an effective job of hyping up the main event for Greatest Royal Rumble.
Aerostar def. Drago
Josh Mathews and Don Callis noted on commentary noted on commentary that these two are former Trios Champions together in Lucha Underground, but it would have been nice if they also acknowledged their history as partners and then as rivals in that promotion. However, I wasn't expecting it so I wasn't disappointed when they didn't. Nevertheless, this was a pretty good opening match. The crowd was hot for the action, though it was unfortunate that Aerostar botched a few moves down the stretch that caused the finish to feel slightly abrupt.
Eli Drake and Scott Steiner def. LAX to Win the Impact World Tag Team Championship
Steiner's performance at the IMPACT vs. Lucha Underground show was subpar, but he was wisely kept limited here and looked much better as a result. The match was decent on the whole. The story they told was that because Konnan wasn't at ringside for his boys (apparently he was kidnapped or something), LAX lost the titles. Drake and Steiner, who aren't a regular team, winning the straps may not be the worst thing considering how depleted IMPACT's tag team division is at the moment. They can freshen things up with a title run and hopefully get real competition (aside from LAX) in due time. Plus, their chemistry is getting better, so this could be fun.
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