Wednesday, March 13th
*Wesley Blake & Steve Cutler over Tyler Bate & Trent Seven in 9:39 in the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
*Io Shirai and Bianca Belair went to a no contest in 5:28
*Aleister Black & Ricochet over Tommaso Ciampa & Ricochet in 13:27
-The semi-final matches of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic were the focus of Wednesday’s episode setting up the finals to air on March 27th.
-In the main event, Aleister Black and Ricochet defeated Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano in a solid main event. It took some time to get going, the second half of the match was very strong with the audience was biting on all the near falls down the stretch. Gargano spun onto Black to apply the Gargano Escape while Ciampa rolled into a Fujiwara armbar application to Ricochet. Ricochet stood up with Ciampa on his back and dropped onto the other two to break the Gargano Escape. This caused Gargano to grab his knee and go to the floor. Ciampa was left alone with Black blocking the Fairy Tale Ending and hitting Black Mass followed by the 630 splash and Ricochet pinned him.
-This was Ciampa’s last match before neck surgery and was taped February 20th.
-After the match, Candice LeRae checked on Gargano with his injured knee. Ciampa assisted Gargano up the ramp, got the look in his eye and went to throw Gargano into the LED screen. Gargano knew it was coming, blocked and revealed his knee was fine as he threw Ciampa into the LED screen. The angle got over without any words spoken and Gargano was the babyface to end the show. I can only imagine how confusing this would have been if Ciampa was healthy and they were teaming on the main roster despite this.
-The other semi-final featured the Forgotten Sons of Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler defeat Tyler Bate and Trent Seven. The match also featured a story involving a knee injury with Seven’s previous injury being focused upon. Bate was excellent during his hot tag with a double airplane spin, double ‘rana and then hit an exploder and standing shooting star press on the floor. Jaxson Ryker saved Blake by placing his foot onto the rope after the lariat and Dragon suplex combo. Ryker knocked Bate to the floor, Trent Seven ate a knee while distracted and the Forgotten Sons hit the Inverted DDT and foot stomp combination for the win.
-The match was above average and Bate was the star of it. The Forgotten Sons are improved from six months ago and were in there with a tremendous team. I liked the match a lot, although the main event was still the match of the show.
-Bianca Belair and Io Shirai had a short match with Shayna Baszler on commentary. She is great in that role and worked well alongside Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson. Belair placed Shirai into the tree of woe and whipped her ponytail across her stomach. Later, Shirai went for a moonsault and landed on Belair’s knees, who responded with a spear. This is when Baszler ran in and attacked both. Baszler placed Belair in the Kirifuda clutch, Kairi Sane ran in and was also placed in the hold and then she put Shirai in it from behind.
-There was a segment backstage where Cathy Kelley interviewed Matt Riddle (wearing a shirt and tie) and was confronted by Adam Cole with both angled for a match with Velveteen Dream for the North American title. That will be sorted out soon enough if you read the results of the tapings from Wednesday night.
-The show had two solid matches and I’d highly recommend the main event. It was designed to feature the big angle to set up the main event of TakeOver, but obviously, that isn’t happening due to Ciampa’s injury. On the main page, we have the new main event for the show. I liked tonight’s show, as always, it was an easy watch and both tag matches delivered.