Before I get into it, I think I might have to do something else first. If you're anything like me, then right about now you could probably do with a reminder that good things are still possible in this world.
Note the raw emotion of both the crowd and the announcer, and just soak up that goodwill for a minute.
Okay, now I'd damn well better get this recap up, because Takeover is tomorrow! Yikes, where does the time go? Our go-home show kicks off with a rundown of the Asuka/Ember Moon feud, which kicks to the ring for a good, old-fashioned contract signing! We haven't had one of those in a while, have we? GM Regal is already in the ring, and he brings out Ember Moon, followed by the champ. Moon gets on the mic before signing, and man, let me tell you how much she's improved on the mic in the last year or so. She's still not exactly great, but she's definitely decent. She points out that Asuka's pretty great, which we all know, but also that Moon is the only one Asuka's had to resort to cheating to beat. At TO, Moon plans to end that streak, and claim the belt. After Moon signs the contract, Asuka quickly signs as well, without comment. But then, she gets on the mic and just runs Moon down in extremely angry Japanese.
You know, pro wrestling's so physical, I don't think I ever need foreign languages translated for me. It was extremely clear that all Asuka was saying was that Asuka is unbeatable and that Moon doesn't stand a chance. It carried super easily. Like, I can't remember the last time in wrestling that somebody was talking in a language that I don't understand, but I didn't know precisely what they meant.
Anyhoo, we have some footage of earlier in the day, when GM Regal was in his office telling what sounded like an amazingly entertaining story. We'll never know, because Lars Sullivan (remember him?) storms in. He wants one more chance with a new tag partner. Regal, understandably, doesn't want Lars kicking the shit out of some poor nobody in the middle of the ring again, but Lars says it will be different this time. Regal relents.
So, to the ring we go, where the Street Profits make their entrance. Lars is up against them, and his partner is...hang on. It's Some Jobber who apparently found one of Johnny Mundo's old jackets in a costume warehouse. He's out, and he's doing all of Mundo's shtick, and it's amazing. Totally amazing. He fakes like he's going to let Lars start, but then jumps into the ring ahead of him and takes the first turn. Unfortunately, Some Jobber is not very good. That's a shame, I was having a lot of fun there. Anyhoo, this one goes as expected. Spinebuster/Frog Splash gets the three. Match Rating: In Addition To All My Squash Match Jokes, I've Now Also Used Up All My Non-Match Jokes. Afterwards, the ref waves off Lars, but he...pick up the jobber and carries him to the back. Awww, that's sweet, and nothing bad can possibly come of this.
No, wait, he's just carried the jobber outside to beat the shit out of him. Well, there's your problem. Simple misunderstanding - Regal said he didn't want it done in the ring, didn't he? Should've been more specific. Lars ain't a mind-reader.
Anyhoo, we're back to the ring for Billie Kay vs. Ruby Riot. Kay ducks a lockup and taunts Riot, which is a bad move because Riot immediately goes into a sequence of a rollup, a backslide, and an Oklahoma roll for a series of near-falls. Riot's got a taunt of her own now (which is great, and you should see it), then a sunset flip. Kay comes out of that and lands a kick, followed by a discus clothesline that gets two for her. Kay lays in the boots, and Riot tries to fight her way back with a pair of forearm shots, but Kay lands a straight-leg stunner to put her back down. She's delivering clubbing forearms now, and then a really, really cool single-arm suplex move that I've never seen before. Kay transitions an armbar into a modified half-surfboardy submission that we have seen before, but Riot eventually escapes and lands a nice dropkick. They jockey for position, and Riot winds up in the corner in position to hit her knee-turnbuckle thing, which per Nigel, is named the Deadly Nightshade, and I am ever so thankful that I've now got something to call it. Royce gets up on the apron, but is quickly knocked off by Riot. Kay attempts to take advantage of the distraction, but runs her mouth a bit too much, and eats Riot's pele. That's the finish. Match Rating: NXT Women's Division Is Once More On Fire. After the match, Royce gets a mic and talks some shit at Riot. I think we might wind up with another match on Saturday.
Speaking of Saturday, we take a moment to run down the Takeover card, which is probably the best card they've offered in about a year if you ask me. We finish on the tag title match, so that we can set up a little video package running you through the AoP/SAnitY feud. Would've liked to hear from Paul and Eric tonight.
But I guess we can't have everything, because we're going to need time for our main event: Roderick Strong takes on Drew McIntyre for a match with Bobby Roode. These two are both lacking in presentation, but I've got no complaints with the ringwork. We start with a lockup, and Drew forces it to the turnbuckle for a clean break. He takes down Strong, but Strong gets up into a rope-run spot that ends with a step-up kick to Drew. Drew counters back with a big boot and a toss suplex that looks absolutely devastating. He treats Strong like a sack of potatoes here. Strong bounces right back, though, and nails a dropkick, followed by a low dropkick that sends Drew rolling under the bottom rope to the floor. They trade some chops, and then Strong tries to push his advantage and charge in, but Drew counters and tosses him into the ringpost. Drew brings him back into the ring, but Strong comes back with an enzuigiri, and nails a huge backbreaker across the apron. From here, Strong's all over him, displaying a viciousness that surprisingly, really makes Bobby Roode look good, because he was able to set his most aggressive enemy against his greatest title threat. Anyhoo, back in the ring, Strong nails another backbreaker and a seated abdominal stretch, and Drew tries to punch his way loose. Strong comes back with a sliding knee strike, and then a camel clutch, of all things. Drew does finally get his feet under him and fights up. He trades a clothesline with a big boot from Strong, and then hits what is definitely not a belly-to-belly throw, Mauro, it's clearly a high back-body drop. Ahem. They trade some more shots with each other, and then Drew starts to gain an advantage. He hits a pair of running forearms, then goes up to the top rope for a clothesline. Now they trade a couple boots, only for Drew to hit that reverse Alabama Slam that looks so very, very unsafe. That gets him a two count. Drew sets up for the Claymore now, but Strong cuts him off with a big jumping knee strike, another backbreaker, and another step-up kick. Strong goes to the top rope, but Drew cuts him off with a headbutt, and now he wants a superplex, but Strong crotches him to save himself. It's pretty heated, and it's still either man's match to win, so Here's Bobby Roode. Match Rating: Yeah, That's A Damn Fine No Contest. Roode dumps Strong and takes a moment for a little victory dance, before putting the boots to Drew and delivering Glorious. Then, Roode walks over to ringside, and blows Strong a kiss. Man, I hate him as champ, but Roode's great doing stuff like this.
In fact, Roode is definitely the guy who benefited the most from that match. It made him look super smart (a character trait which they've been very good about consistently portraying), and made a match that nobody really believed he could win into something where the outcome's a bit in doubt, especially if Drew can keep selling the beating going into Saturday. I still don't think the match will be very good, but I love the story going into it.
That's it from me until Takeover. Take care of yourselves, everybody.
The Asuka-Moon segment was great, mostly because both of them looked fantastic. After the jeans debacle, Moon seems like she's figured out her non-match look, although I'd lose the colored contacts.
Before this segment, I thought 70% of a good promo is nonverbal. Now I think it's more like 98%. I'll cut Moon a little slack since a generic babyface promo is the toughest to cut, but she still needs a lot of work on the mic. I already loved the non-subtitled foreign-language promo (I think they did one or two with Almas or Metalik), and now I think they should just never have Asuka speak English again.
Last point on this, they should really put this as the main event over Roode-McEntyre
Originally posted by Tenken347She's delivering clubbing forearms now, and then a really, really cool single-arm suplex move that I've never seen before.
True fact: Thanks to DEAN of long-ago Smackdown recaps, I can no longer hear the announcers call clubbing forearms without shouting "Oh, how they club!" Every. Single. Time. You can verify this with my husband.
It's the most important meal of the day.