It’s a three-match card on this week’s preview. The semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Moustache Mountain versus Forgotten Sons and #DIY versus Aleister Black & Ricochet – and Io Shirai versus Bianca Belair. With opportunities at NXT TakeOver New York on the line in all three matches, it’s a high stakes episode.
Forgotten Sons def. Moustache Mountain
Bianca Belair vs Io Shirai – No Contest due to interference.
Aleister Black & Ricochet def. #DIY
After an opening hype package for the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, the first one opened the show.
Moustache Mountain vs Forgotten Sons
Jaxson Ryker accompanied Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler to the ring as usual.
Blake started things off against Tyler Bate but quickly tagged in Cutler. Cutler’s power advantage left Bate isolated on the wrong side of the ring for just long enough for Trent Seve to be really frustrated when Bate tagged him in.
A chop block following an unspotted tag took Seven Down and he took a lot of punishment before he got back to Bate.
Tyler Bate was ready to take everyone on. He gave both Forgotten Sons the airplane spin then the action moved to the outside. A failed shooting star press from the apron put Bate on his knees, but he recovered and suplexed Cutler into Blake before landing a shooting star on Blake.
Back in the ring, Cutler barely managed to get back in the ring in time to stop his partner being pinned, but he was thrown out again. A double team would definitely have kept Cutler down, but Ryker put his foot on the ropes.
Bate made them pay for that by diving over the top rope onto Blake and Cutler. Bate got knocked off the top turnbuckle to the floor by Cutler and taken out by Ryker, then Trent Seven was taken out by a knee to the head. The double team on Bate before they pinned him was almost unnecessary.
Matt Riddle explained his interruption of Velveteen Dream last week, or tried to. He suffered an interruption of his own in the form of Adam Cole. Cole was upset that Riddle thinks he deserves a title shot. The only person Adam Cole thinks deserves a shot is Adam Cole. Riddle responded by challenging Cole to a match.
Io Shirai vs Bianca Belair
Shayna Baszler joined commentary for the match. I think we can safely say she’s not impressed with either potential opponent.
Belair has a distinct power advantage over Shirai when she can catch her. Belair has made herself a top contender on NXT through sheer hard work and determination, but very few, if any, performers are in Io Shirai’s league skills-wise. And four years’ experience versus twelve years, makes a big difference.
Belair’s power advantage came into play when she dropped Shirai face first onto the steps, but she was unable to convert it into a win.
Shirai came back strong and had Belair off her feet repeatedly, delivering a tiger feint kick and a springboard dropkick in quick succession. Belair took her legs out from under her as she went to the top turnbuckle, hung her in the tree of woe and hit her with the hair whip.
Belair went to the top but Shirai followed and brought them down with a frankensteiner. This time, Shirai delivered her moonsault, but Belair got her knees up and followed up with a spear.
At that point, Shayna Baszler left the commentary desk, pulled Shirai out of the ring by her foot and put the Kirifuda Clutch on Bianca Belair. Kairi Sane ran down to help and Baszler let go of Belair and put the Kirifuda Clutch on her instead. She kept it on until Shirai hit her from behind. They exchanged blows and Shirai threw Baszler from the ring. The second Shirai knelt to check on Sane, Baszler got back in the ring and Shirai was laid out by the Kirifuda Clutch as well.
A recap of the Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic double count out, and the performance centre incident, led to the announcement of the rematch. It’s happening next week.
Outside, Cathy Kelley asked Baszler what prompted the attack. She said all the women think they want a shot at her title but not one of them has done a thing to show they deserve it, and she’s proved it Not a single woman deserves a shot at her title. Kelley informed her she’d just been told by William Regal that due to Baszler’s actions, the title match at TakeOver New York will be a fatal four-way.
Aleister Black & Ricochet vs #DIY
This fully deserved its main event slot. Ricochet and Aleister Black are the odd-couple of tag teams, but it’s working for them. It just seems like they should exist I a permanent state of rolling their eyes at each other.
When you’re faced with two teams this good and this familiar with each other, there is a whole lot going on without any headway being made. #DIY got the first prolonged advantage, isolating Ricochet for a long time and keeping him grounded.
Inevitably, he got to Aleister Black, after his cheeky combo where he delivers a neckbreaker and made Ciampa DDT Gargano at the same time. Black came in and put Johnny Gargano down, and Ciampa as well when he tried to get involved, but Ciampa was back in time to break up the pin. Ricochet tried to deal with Ciampa and was thrown out of the ring. Black threw Ciampa out after him.
Black thwarted the #DIY Meet in the Middle attempt with a knee to Ciampa at the same time as Ricochet pulled Gargano from the ring. It didn’t work out for them. Ricochet took a superkick from Gargano on the outside and Black took a tower of London on the apron. But somehow, even after a slingshot DDT, Black kicked out.
Gargano locked on the Gargano Escape, and Ciampa got Ricochet in a submission as well. Black held on long enough for Ricochet to power to his feet and dump Ciampa onto Gargano. Gargano was left holding his knee after Ciampa landed on it. With Gargano down at ringside, Ciampa was on his own. He took a moment to check on his partner before going back to exchange blows with Ricochet.
Johnny Gargano was unable to stand and Ciampa tried to finish things. Instead, he took a Black Mass and a 630 and got pinned.
Candice LeRae ran down to check on her husband after the match and she and Tommaso Ciampa helped him to the stage together. Gargano fell to the floor on the stage and Ciampa looked at the trophy before he helped him up. He tried to throw Gargano into the backboard, but Gargano stopped him, smiled, shook his head, and launched Ciampa into it instead. There was nothing wrong with his knee. Gargano superkicked Ciampa in the head, hugged his wife, and left to ‘Johnny Wrestling’ chants.
There isn’t much time now before TakeOver and there is still a lot we don’t know. What we do know is either Forgotten Sons or Ricochet & Aleister Black will face War Raiders, and Shayna Baszler will defend her title against Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, and Kairi Sane.
I’m not sure what to say about the #DIY implosion. It was inevitable, but the knowledge that Ciampa is out with a career-threatening injury overshadows all storylines.
I think we’re in for an interesting few weeks.