Seemingly headed for a Wrestlemania title defense, Bobby Lashley teamed up with his hype man, Lio Rush, to take on Finn Balor and the surprise partner of Braun Strowman. Once Balor was in the match, Lashley and Rush gave him that work, but the Monster eventually made it back into the match and destroyed Lio. Also, Lashley left his compadre in the ring to be picked apart.
Sasha Banks and Bayley were in the midst of announcing their plans to face the Iiconics on SmackDown before a new set of challengers appeared. Natalya and Beth Phoenix played off the new champs and a match followed between Natty and Banks. We wouldn’t see a finish because Nia Jax and Tamina ran amuck on the outside competitors just to remind everyone that they have some unfinished business.
This was the first week since his arrival that Ricochet wasn’t booked in a team with Aleister Black, and we got a Jinder Mahal match. It is interesting to note that the Mahalicia era has run its course, but Mahal and the Singh Brothers gave Ric the opportunity to entertain with his aerial art.
The sell was that the Iiconics forced Sasha Banks and Bayley to make an appearance because they had not done so since winning the Women’s Tag Championship. It continues to be a good look to allow the women to float from brand to brand in certain situations, especially when that is the focus of the company. Bayley would get laid out trying to keep Billie Kay from getting involved which lead to Sasha taking the fall although Kay was clearly holding her down during the pin.
It was time to determine the WWE Cruiserweight Champion’s challenger in the finals of the 205 Live tourney. Cedric Alexander returned to the finals for the second year in a row. This time it was Tony Neese in the opposite corner. Alexander’s main job was to push Neese to the level that bred some discontent between Murphy and Neese. By the end of the match, Neese would have kicked out of pins following a Lumbar Check and a vicious Spanish Fly. This match will send Neese to Mania on a high but still leave much to discuss for Cedric.
Getting down to the business at hand, the one and only match of the show was to determine Johnny Gargano’s TakeOver opponent and next challenger for the NXT Title. Ricochet and Velveteen Dream were joined by Aleister Black, Matt Riddle, and Adam Cole. Those who knew could easily determine who was coming out on top in this thing, but that didn’t take away from the entertainment value. Each man carried past and current feuds to tell this story of some of NXT’s top guy going for it all. With Cole winning, it solidified the Dream – Riddle match, and Ricochet and Black will compete in the Dusty Finals next week.
Moose continued to send his message to the Rascalz. Trey was folded in half via a vicious spear in the opening match.
The tensions with oVe would be put on hold because Ethan Page stepped up to challenge Willie Mack in a singles contest. Page was Mack’s aerial target from post to post to the floor below. Mack winning was never really in question; the segment following the match was comical. oVe attempted to jump Mack, but he would imerge from the closet carrying a chair and commenting on the slack security back stage.
The other side of the table was placed in a main event X-Division Title match. Rich Swann got to show Sami Callahan how little he thinks of him. The resulting match was pretty disgusting which leads me to believe these dudes don’t mind working with one another. It was too much for me though. Shout out to Swann for retaining his title and hopefully moving on to more competitors.
Ring of Honor
Lifeblood took to action against Dalton Castle and the Boys early in the card. Juice Robinson danced with Dalton for a while before running through both of the Boys much to the fans’ delight. The new honor enforcers, LB, took the first match of the show in an eye-opening fashion.
It was the second show for Willie Mack, but this time he was defending his NWA National Championship against Rhett Titus. Mack had a bit more high flying spots this go around all the way down to the frog splash finish to retain the title.
Jonathan Gresham helped his partner, Jay Lethal, pick up a huge tag team main event win against Saheem Ali and his Coast to Coast LSG. Ali is still taking it easy, and from the looks of it, he’s still trying to recover from a legit accident without going full out in this ring.