Flexing was the mission of the new Intercontinental Champion, Bobby Lashley. That flesh fest would be interrupted by the up and coming Apollo Crews to inform Lio Rush that he's here to challenge the new champ. The only acceptance would be a pose-off between the two buff, bald guys. Lashley attacking Crews prompted a match where we once again see why there was hype surrounding the signing of Apollo. He'd hold it down in the ring with another main eventer in Bobby Lashley, but it was Rush dishing out assists like he was Steve Nash that got another win for the champ.
The Naomi - Mandy Rose beef got a video package promo aired pre-match. Aside from a bunch of mounted punch spots, there wasn't too much action throughout the match; it did air during one of those SmackDown split commercial breaks also. Sonya Deville would play a big part in the outcome of the match even though she didn't seem too excited about Mandy's tactics last week. Watching Mandy slide out with another cheap victory, I'm almost sure Naomi is getting a partner to help deal with the thorns in her side. Side note: Jimmy Uso needs to come up off the details of where he found that jumpsuit; I want to put my wife in one to Us!
Left on the outside of the TakeOver event, Velveteen Dream attempted to make a claim for the North American championship but was quickly cut short by Adam Cole and Bobby Fish. Dream's championship vision is a direct conflict with Undisputed Era's quest to hold all the gold of NXT. For that, Dream would face off with Bobby Fish for the right to make a claim for the NA title. Adam Cole being at ringside was not enough to deny Dream the clear cut win and bragging rights.
The peak of the night of action would have to involve the TakeOver participants. Ricochet called Johnny Gargano to the carpet for the face to face that didn't happen a few weeks ago. To Ricochet's surprise, it wouldn't happen this week either. The NXT champ sprung a surprise and attacked the North American champ from behind. Aleister Black came to even the playing field, but the former DiY comrades were too much for their future opponents. Ricochet would be left face down as the show faded to black (no pun intended).
The Ricky Henderson of Impact! is none other than Rich Swann. Outside of the fact that they're booking multiple shows per night, Rich Swann has been selected to open the majority of the televised shows for the past two months. His opponents have been a who's who of Impact! too. I don't want to discredit anyone, but Swann has been working with talent who seem to be passing through the promotion. Hijo del Vikingo this week's selection. The two men displayed their shared moves out the gate. Swann gave HdV the respect of selling his offense to the tune of dripping saliva all around the ring. One Phoenix splash was all it took for the X-Division champ to make off with the win but not before being propositioned by oVe one more time. It was a messy one, too; we were told about some Swann family dysfunction and all that.
Undefeated streaks in wrestling work to boost a performer in more ways than most title runs; I admit that I got caught up in Bianca Belair's run. I'll also admit that I'm sure that there is an eight woman feud coming real soon, and that may require some titles to be moved around. Shana Baszler's title was the first up for the weekend. Many of us here at the Wrasslin' Gods were more than certain that Belair was about to move to NXT's top tier via the championship. At the end of the day, Bianca's run was merely a tool to put Baszler's reign in perspective. The EST did power through a few of Shayna's holds (once) before the match was stopped by the ref and ending Bianca's run.
The North American championship would be contested in a match that left nothing to be desired. Ricochet and Johnny Gargano followed up there NXT Live brawl in grand fashion. There was a moment when I was thought Ricochet had cut Johnny in half. The night belonged to Johnny Takeover when he relieved Ricochet of the championship belt.
Velveteen Dream may not have been on the card, but he was definitely in the building. Off air, he would join Ricochet and Aleister Black in setting up a six-man tag match that will be aired during the Superbowl half time.
Cam asked it best; when was the last time Sasha Banks won a single's match at a PPV? The Rumble continued her streak of putting champions over even though she was tasked to go hard at Ronda Rousey. What's to be said about Banks circling back to face off with Rousey just after exchanging "pleasantries".
Ember Moon would get the early nod in the women's rumble match, and I would think she delivered. I checked the stats on Moon; she stayed in for nearly an hour but had no eliminations. She did have the most impressive showing outside of Nia Jax, who entered at 29 to clear the ring a bit for the eventual winner. Naomi came to get payback on Mandy. It seems for every little bit she gains, she goes backwards; Rose would cause Naomi's elimination after the fact. Alicia Fox came down to throw a fit with Maria Kanellis before Ruby Riott got her out of the match.
Nia Jax ended R-Truth's entry at number 30 and replaced him. She would cause an uproar and eliminate Mufasa Ali in the process. This is of note be cause her one elimination was more than every member of the New Day, Shelton Benjamin, Apollo Crews, Titus O'Neil, No Way Jose, and Bobby Lashley combined. They also spent twenty minutes total with 4 of them lasting less than 30 seconds. Nia's time in both matches eclipsed 1o minutes, and she entered at 29 and 30.