NXT Takeover Philadelphia
Akam’s Leg Day
Boy oh boy was Akam’s leg kicked to hell in his and Rezar’s Tag Team Championship, Takeover-opening match against The Undisputed ERA. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly played it very smart there, targeting the legs of the big guy to chop him down. At first, it seemed to not work, but then attrition was a b*tch. The Authors of Pain apparently was the pseudo-faces in the match, even drawing a duel “Authors of Pain/Undisputed ERA” chant. Akam and Rezar came back during the closing stretch of the match, but a well-timed and well-aimed Hurricanrana from Bobby opened a crack through which Undisputed ERA could slip, regaining their titles.
We really liked how this match ended. It still placed Authors of Pain in a position of dominance over The Undisputed ERA, but it also showed the resourcefulness of the duo formerly known as ReDRagron, knowing what to do to get the win. And they did not go the low road this time. Even better, since heels are not usually cast as players who could win legitimately. RAW and Smackdown Live, take notes.
Weirdly, that was on Velveteen Dream’s boxing trunks tonight. Yes, he came out in boxing gear (complete with mouth guard) for the match against the Knockout Ar… ohh “Knockout”, “boxing”, we see it now. Smart. It was another fire match for Velveteen Dream as he overcame the gruesome striking power of Kassius Ohno to a hard-fought victory. The Dream did an amazing job tonight whipping up the crowd to a complete frenzy during the first and last bits of the match. Sure, Ohno did a good job as well, smacking Dream in the face with discus elbows and Brogue Kicks (sorry fella). But, we have to admit that he was not the star in this match. Dream was.
As much as we like Velveteen’s rise, we felt a bit sad for Ohno. We think that Ohno might be going down the “old guard” position that Baron Corbin had for a while. Worst, Ohno might become the next Hideo Itami, but without the injuries. Please no. At least promote Kassius to the main roster. Someone has to elbow the sh*t out of The Miz.
The Female Minoru Suzuki
We had doubts about Shayna heading into the NXT Women’s Championship Match, but all the doubts were gone by the time she returned to backstage. Out there, she was vicious, targeting Ember’s arm like a bulldog going after his prey, spinning, stretching, hyper-extending joints at every opportunity there was. Moon did a fantastic job selling that arm too, and that injury was a big part of how the match turned out. Ember did connected with the Eclipse, but she could only pin Shayna after a desperate reversal to an arm bar that looked like could legitimately have broken Ember’s limb. The post-match assault only added to the ferocity of Shayna. Surely, her skills had the potential to develop further, and she could become a very good wrestler in time. Ronda Rousey might not wrestle for WWE any time soon, but people, and especially Asuka, watch out for Shayna Bassler.