Trey Saved Impact World Champion Tessa Blanchard From Impact X-Division Champion Ace Austin and Impact Knockouts Champion Taya Valkyrie
Blanchard's promo to kick off the show was decent, but nothing game-changing like you would expect from the first female world champion in the company's history. Her sit-down interview last week (which was interrupted by Sami Callihan) was much better. I honestly thought Valkyrie and Austin were better here as they brought up all the times they've beaten Blanchard in the past. That brought out Trey (who has been feuding with Austin for a while now) to even the odds and set the stage for the main event.
Taurus def. Rhino and Moose in a Three-Way Match
Taurus has made a handful of appearances on IMPACT! in the past and isn't half bad, but this was a pretty lame match. It felt like they were fighting for 15 minutes for no reason at all. They brawled and then brawled some more. I was bored for almost all of it. I don't mind Taurus winning since they're in Mexico and maybe Moose will come back and beat him on an upcoming episode, but at least Moose wasn't pinned.
Big Swole def. Diamante
I'm familiar with Diamante from her brief run in IMPACT a few years ago and she's appeared on NXT before as well. She's super talented, so hopefully she signs with AEW at some point a lot like Swole did after a tryout or two. Unfortunately, she didn't have the most amazing showing here, but neither did Swole. There were a few awkward transitions (especially down the stretch) and the crowd was quiet for the most part. It was a decent match that could have been better.
Jurassic Express def. Strong Hearts
After not winning a single match for the first six months or so of their AEW run, it's nice to see that Jurassic Express are finally on a bit of a roll. They're super over with the audience and their matches are usually entertaining. As for Strong Hearts, we haven't seen much of them lately, but they're incredibly exciting in their own right. This was a very well worked match with the crowd coming alive down the stretch. It wasn't too long, but it was fun while it lasted.
David Marquez Interviewed NWA World Tag Team Champion Robert Gibson
Morton is a man of few words (Ricky Morton usually does the talking for them), but it was perfectly logical for him to be interviewed at the start of this show with Morton challenging Nick Aldis for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship later on in the main event. He didn't say anything too newsworthy, but he did voice his support for his longtime tag partner heading into one of the biggest matches of his career.
Thunder Rosa def. Tasha Steelz
I've said it before, I'll say it a million more times: Rosa is a total star. She's the complete package and always makes her matches worth watching. Steelz is talented in her own right, but although she had a solid showing, this was all about Rosa. They kept things exciting in the three minutes they had and Rosa went over decisively as she should have. Her post-match promo was short, sweet and exactly what it needed to be.
Sarah Logan def. Deonna Purrazzo
Purrazzo popped up recently on Raw against Charlotte Flair. It was unclear whether it was an official call-up at the time, but it clearly wasn't if her appearances on NXT the past two weeks (and apparent new feud with Shotzi Blackheart) are any indication. Nevertheless, I'm all for more fresh faces on this show. The crowd sat on their hands for a majority of the match and it was average at best, but at least Purrazzo received some shine.
Cedric Alexander def. Shelton Benjamin
I realize I sound like a broken record when I say that these guys deserve to be on Raw more often, but it's because of matches like this that I feel that way. Both of these guys are excellent athletes and it would have been easy for them to phone it on the show no one watches, but this was an awesome match that the crowd gradually got more into as it went along. Benjamin finally got a chance to remind fans what he can do while Alexander had a standout performance as well. Definitely make time for this one.
Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe and Raw Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders Confronted Seth Rollins, AOP and Buddy Murphy
As I've said before, Rollins has been brilliant as the "Monday Night Messiah" so far. He comes across like a total dick and is so easy to hate. I also like the idea for him to be paired off with Murphy and AOP, though I don't see the need for their faction to have an official name. Owens, Joe and Viking Raiders brought the fight to the heels and set up the Raw Tag Team Championship match for later in the night. This was a solid segment all around.
United States Champion Andrade def. Rey Mysterio in a Ladder Match
I'm happy WWE has been stacking their Raw shows lately (not to mention that I was surprised that this was the first championship Ladder match to take place on Raw since 2007), but I honestly would have saved this for the Royal Rumble pay-per-view. How the hell is Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin taking place at the event but not this? I guess we found out why afterward (Humberto Carrillo will be challenging for the championship there instead), but it still doesn't make sense to me. Nonetheless, this was a hell of a Ladder match as both guys gave it a great effort. The commercial breaks hurt the flow a bit, but that's merely nitpicking. Their chemistry continues to be crazy good and Andrade hitting his finisher off the ladder on top of another ladder looked brutal. I forgot we hadn't seen Carrillo on WWE TV in over a month, but it makes sense for them to rekindle their rivalry now that Andrade is the United States Champion.
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