After last week's mini-TakeOver, the gang at Full Sail got down to the business of setting-up for the next real live show, December 16 in London.
His gimmick is a Perfect 10, and very over with the crowd, but Tye Dillinger was only able to get in a little offense on Baron Corbin. The Lone Wolf won with End of Days. The match was followed by an interview with his London opponent Apollo Crews that also revealed a tag match main event next week that will cross the feuds and put Crews & NXT champ Finn Bálor against Corbin & Samoa Joe.
Knowing no one gives him a chance, Tommaso Ciampa tells Kyle Edwards promised to shock the world when he faces a "changed" Joe in tonight's main.
Another Full Sail favorite makes a return that doesn't last long, this time in the women's division. Blue Pants doesn't last quite as long as Tye did, but did take a heck of a beating from Nia Jax as the newcomer's monster push toward a title shot continues.
Tom Phillips chatted with the tag champs, and Dash & Dawson don't think Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady deserve the title shot they've been given for TakeOver. But they'll be more than happy to beat them there - and send them home with busted legs.
Showcase moment for James Storm, who gets a couple of minutes to hit his signature spots on Adam Rose, working his "party pooper" gimmick.
- The more Dillinger commits to the comedy aspects of his gimmick, the more I enjoy it. He's fun and he made Corbin look like a hoss - and that means his doing his job.
- Not sure I can recall anyone who makes moves that involve slinging your opponent around look better than the Lone Wolf. His finisher, the side slam, his neckbreaker, even the lariat...these are Baron's art.
- Fascinating watching Crews develop on the stick before our eyes. I didn't like this one quite as much as his last one; the content called for a little less smiley, or at least a clearer transition from happy to gonna-break-you, but it's all headed in the right direction. Content-wise, love that they're not letting us forget that and Finn have unfinished business. Next week's tag should play that up as well.
- Everything about his performance tonight makes me ready for a Ciampa WWE run, and the spotlight they gave him tells me the powers-that-be are prepared to give him a shot. That he hasn't signed seems like an indicator that he's better off without being tied down. Right?
- Significantly less interested in Leva Bates in WWE without Colin Cassady singing her into the arena.
- Who knows what she'll be able to do in a ten minute match, or if they'll even try for that long, but Nia's squash practice has paid off nicely. The Samoan drop followed by lowering the leg looks impactful, and loved the disdainful cover.
- Weird that Eva Marie wasn't around at all tonight, despite two different segments setting up her friend as Bayley's next challenge and the fact that she was in the building since this was taped along with last week. Their association did help get heat on Jax, though, so maybe they don't want to over do it.
- He's not as flashy someone like Enzo or playful as Kevin Owens or rhythmic as Joe, but I love Scott Dawson as a promo. He dropped three phrases tonight that should be remembered...(1) disdainfully calling the Realest Guys the "catchphrase kings", (2) warning Cass "you got another knee, jack", and (3) referring to Amore as his partner's "carry-on baggage".
- Folks just don't have to earn title shots like they did when Regal was in the house, huh?
- Got nothing for you on Storm/Rose. It's not setting anything up (or, at least, not anything this guy who's "meh" on the Cowboy is looking forward to) and seeing the former Leo Kruger just bums me out. Save this stuff for house shows and use the time for something that matters. The just-announced #1 contenders to the tag belts could have squashed someone or cut a promo, for instance.
Former tag champs The Vaudevillains talk about their recent struggles and getting set for their match against Chad Gable & Jason Jordan tonight. Those two appear to put over themselves and the bout, with everyone shaking hands in a show of sportsmanship/chivalry.
We're reminded that Sami Zayn is coming back with a video package recounting his run to the NXT title last Fall, followed by the match between Aiden English & Simon Gotch and Gable & Jordan. When the latter team wins, chivalry goes out the window as the 'Villains refuse another handshake.
After explaining their attack on Asuka last week, Emma heads to the ring for her match and Dana Brooke turns Alex Reyes into Devin Taylor with a head pat. We get another Elias Sampson song about the need for him to liberate NXT from its history, and then the Aussie battled Liv Morgan (who was Marley a couple weeks back).
Which was the latest in a string of stiff matches from Emma, with Morgan getting the crowd on her side despite this being an extended squash. Afterwards, Asuka appeared on the big screen to make a challenge for London and basically scare her rival ****less with a smile and some kicks.
- Find Gable & Jordan so much more compelling when they're the cocky pricks (™ Mad Braddox) they were at the start of this interview than they are as the "fans are the real winners" dudes at the end. I may be in the minority, but I wish they'd leave both of these teams as they were, alignment-wise, instead of making the 'Villains heels and the shooters babyfaces.
- Man, this show just had such a special feel to it during the run-up to R: Evolution. It's still great, but that stuff was magic. Or, I''m old and everything from the past seems better.
- Another reason I was digging English & Gotch as good guys is because they'd finally gotten the formula down in the ring. But, JJ and his Olympian friend are incapable of a bad match right now, and this was no exception. Would like to see what these four can do with about twice the time and some stakes.
- Essays - nay, books! - should be written about what Emma's doing with her second chance. Enjoyed seeing her get a little frustrated with Dana in their interview, and every match she's had recently has been more vicious and super-effective in getting her character over than the last.
- Props to Liv (which is still a pretty dumb name, especially if she's gonna be fiery Jersey girl) for selling like a champ and showing flashes of fire that will really serve her well when she gets a babyface push somewhere down the road. Hopefully with a name that fits. Like, oh...I don't know - Gionna Daddio.
- Back to the interview...Dana Brooke, y'all. We need to get the best Pinky since, well, Pinky a feud of her own. Really hopeful that her ringwork has continued to improve at anything like the rate her character and promo skills have. Plus, it's not the same without Devin, but the head pat is back!
- Appreciate the work going into Sampson's spots the past couple of weeks,but they're not exactly getting excited to see him wrestle, or optimistic for his long term prospects. Maybe if he focused on one guy he's going to free us from instead of a list of them? The last guy who rolled out with generic promises about the NXT title is back in CZW right now.
- Oh hai, Asuka (please don't kick me). They haven't made a wrong move with her since her debut, and it shows in how we all react to her. Now, I really think she should lose to Emma at TakeOver...if only because it will make the eventual win over Em for the Women's title that much more sweet.
Women's champ Bayley is interviewed about Jax's attack on her last week after she defeated Eva Marie. The Hugster puts herself over as a fighting champion and says she's willing to give Nia a shot as she walks into the interview. The larger woman smiles and walks away, only to strike from behind and throw the champ through a door.
Our main event basically sees Samoa Joe and Tommaso Ciampa smack each other senseless for six minutes. The underdog targets the arm and gets a couple of nearfalls, but ultimately doesn't have an answer for a #1 contender who was extremely motivated to send a message to the champ. The Samoan Submission Machine lives up to his name when he makes Ciampa tap to a Coquina Clutch.
- Joan Cena jokes are funny, and it's clear they're building Bayles as a Hogan-esque top face. Just hope they keep her as a 13 year old who dreamed of being a wrestler and not someone who does Powerpoints of her rivals and drops poop on ladies she's already beaten.
- Nia's smile doesn't work for me, especially when there's someone else doing the same thing to better effect in the same division. Tossing folks through doors without saying a word, however, works quite well.
- Listen up, Latino Rich Brennan. This segment didn't need you explaining to us that Jax "just asked for a title match". We're not (complete) morons, we've seen wrestling shows before, and the scene worked just fine with no words after the big lady entered.
- My only complaint about our main event is that it wasn't longer. I can't really think of two guys I would rather see work a "we're not here to grapple or maneuver, we're here to stiff the crap out of each other" match (there are others that I love to watch do it, but not more).
- Despite, as Tommaso said in his promo, the fact that we all know who's winning, they made this compelling. Credit goes to commentary as well, with a little tidbit like Joe having introduced Ciampa to the woman he eventually married adding a level of drama.
- In the end, the best compliment I can offer is that it felt like a main event. Despite only getting six minutes, and featuring a guy who's not even under contract to the company, it was the best thing on the show.
- Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go put ice on my chest. It got red just from watching the Samoan and Sicilian chop each other.
I'm torn on this one (even more than my usual grade-loathing torn, too). Part of me loves the old, territory days booking that feels like a Saturday morning show trying to get me to buy tickets when TakeOver comes to my town. But a show with this much set-up and so many squashes also feels really skippable.
And, as discussed, Storm vs. Rose was a waste of time for me.
Catch it if you can, but you don't have to seek it out if you can't.
Sound off, Cagesiders.