Tag Archives: T.J. Perkins

ROADBLOCK: End of the Line – Full Match Card and F2H Predictions


      The first Roadblock PPV was just last year in Canada, featuring eleven matches total, with the main event of Triple H vs Dean Ambrose, where Triple H retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This year, it has been rebranded as a Raw exclusive PPV and renamed Roadblock: End Of The Line. It will take place in Pittsburg, PA at the PPG Paints Arena. Let’s take a look at the match card and make some predictions.

      Big Cass vs Rusev – Preshow Singles Match

      This feud all started when Lana accidentally saw Enzo Amore’s twig and berries while he was locked out of the locker room. Rusev caught Enzo attempting to hit on Lana, which resulted in Lana pretending to leave Rusev so she could lure Enzo to her hotel room where her husband beat the living daylights out of him. Cass isn’t one to let things slide when it comes to his best friend and tag partner, so he now has it out for Rusev. I’m glad it was a ruse and WWE wasn’t honestly trying to make a mockery of a real life marriage, plus it eased us into an easy feud. I don’t believe either of these men belong on the preshow, but let’s hope they give us a good match.

      F2H Prediction: Rusev

      Rich Swann (c) vs T.J. Perkins vs Brian Kendrick – Triple Threat Match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship

      The Cruiserweight Division is still struggling to find its place on Raw, and it doesn’t help that they now have their own show after Smackdown on the Network; that’s just too much wrestling to pack into one night. T.J. Perkins was a great pick as our inaugural champion and had a good run before losing the title to Brian Kendrick. Our resident pirate then lost his title on 205 Live, exclusively on the Network, to Rich Swann. Swann is an incredibly charismatic guy and a fantastic wrestler, so he will bring a lot of prestige and interest to the Cruiserweight division.

      F2H Prediction: Rich Swann

      Seth Rollins vs Chris Jericho – Singles Match

      Kevin Owens saved Jericho from a Pedigree on the go home episode of Raw, so the friendship is back on… I think? Rocky, but they definitely will have each other’s backs. This doesn’t sit well for Rollins, who has been trying his best to get back on top of the Raw brand where he belongs. Rollins wants Owens’ title, but Jericho has been blocking him at every turn, so now they have their own issues to squash before Rollins can move on. If Owens interferes, I want it to happen after we get a clean win. Owens can beat the hell out of Rollins if he wants, but not until the bell has rung.

      F2H Prediction: Seth Rollins

      The New Day (c) vs Sheamus & Cesaro – Tag Team Match for the Raw Tag Team Titles

      At the WWE Tribute To The Troops, Cesaro and Sheamus won a Fatal 4 Way match, beating Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson, The Shining Stars, and The Golden Truth to earn a chance to challenge New Day for their titles. The New Day are now the longest reigning tag team champions in WWE history, which is huge. At this point, their titles are fair game. They broke the record, made history, and can now give up the titles without really losing. Cesaro and Sheamus are such an odd couple, but they are both fantastic athletes and ended up teaming well together, eventually. It’ll be interesting to see if they are able to keep it together and capture those titles.

      F2H Prediction: New Day

      Sami Zayn vs Braun Strowman – Singles Match with a 10 Minute Time Limit

      Braun Strowman has been crushing everybody in his path, but he did manage to make time to make James Ellsworth famous and get him a WWE contract, so he’s not all bad. Mick Foley has stopped matches between these two because Zayn is so outgunned, which is where the time limit comes into play. Granted, Strowman can probably end the match in 60 seconds, so perhaps 10 minutes is being a bit generous. Zayn is a great competitor, but I feel that WWE is still working on building Strowman into an unstoppable monster, and he needs to keep that going for a little while longer.

      F2H Prediction: Braun Strowman

      Sasha Banks (c) vs Charlotte – 30 Minute Iron Man Match for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship

      These women are just taking it to the extreme more and more, and it’s going to get to the point that someone gets seriously injured if they aren’t careful. I’m glad they keep trying to top themselves, but I’m more worried about their health and possible long absences due to injury (miss you, Finn Balor). Their cage match left a lot to be desired, thanks to a drawn out “injury” that nearly kept Banks from competing, but they made up for it during their next match where Banks tangled Charlotte in the stadium railing to lock in the Banks Statement and force a tap. We’ve already seen Banks compete in an Iron Man match on NXT, so I’m expecting main event material here.

      F2H Prediction: Sasha Banks

      Kevin Owens (c) vs Roman Reigns – Singles Match for the WWE Universal Championship

      I’m so annoyed with this match. I hate it. Why does Roman Reigns, a guy already holding a title, get a title match on this PPV? I hate it. Have I mentioned that I’m not too fond of this main event? I hope Chris Jericho interferes in every shady way possible without causing a disqualification. I hope Owens beats his ass into the mat, and then powerbombs him into the apron a few dozen times. I hope Reigns can’t walk by the end of this match. Listen, I used to be a fan of Reigns, believe it or not. I just can’t buy into this fist-cocking, show-boating nonsense he insists on doing. I don’t want another John Cena. Give me quiet, brooding Roman Reigns back and I’ll be on board.

      F2H Prediction: Kevin Owens

      Roadblock: End Of The Line will begin at 8pm EST, with the preshow starting at 7pm, exclusively on the WWE Network. Unfortunately for fans, Lita will not be present, as new reports have stated that she has left the company. Jerry Lawler has also been removed from on air events. Live tweet with @FaceToHeel and writers @MrNotWell and @OhhhTweener, and be on the lookout for our next giveaway!

Article by Mrs Jamie Bakermrsjcb


Season Finale of the Cruiserweight Classic Tournament Results and Feedback


      Here we go! The two hour live finale to end the Cruiserweight Classic Tournament! It’s been an amazing journey to get us here. Time to see who takes home that big ass trophy and who will be crowned the premiere WWE cruiserweight hero.

      The semi-finals Final Four went through many wars to get here and tonight they put it all on the line to be the best cruiserweight on the planet. In the first match of the night, Gran Metalik out of Mexico takes on Zack Sabre Jr. from England. Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan call the action as the ref rings the bell. Metalik shoots across the ring and dropkicks Zack and then knocks him out of the ring. He gets him back in the ring and springboard flips onto him into a cover. Kick out. This one got off to a hell of a start! Zack slows things down and gets Metalik on the mat. Crowd chants for Metalik as Sabre gets him in a head scissors submission. Metalik gets to the ropes. I don’t know where Sabre learned this insane submissions but some of them look painful.

      Metalik is writhing on the mat as Sabre taunts the crowd. This Full Sail audience is heavily favoring Metalik. But he can’t catch a break. After starting the match with high-flying action, he’s been grounded for awhile as the victim of Sabre’s unique holds. Running shooting star press by Metalik nearly puts Sabre down for a three count but he manages to kick out. The two trade covers but neither stays down. Down on their knees the two trade hard slaps to the face. European uppercut, followed by a devastating penalty kick by Sabre and he almost gets the three count. Metalik looks exhausted. They trade forearms down on their knees. Hurricanrana off the top rope by Metalik gets the crowd in a frenzy. Metalik springborads off the ropes but Sabre counters it into an arm hold. Metalik reverses it into a cover, kick out by Sabre. Metalik with a huge reversal of Sabre’s European uppercut into a Metalik Driver and he covers for the pinfall win! Gran Metalik advances to the final match! Crowd goes wild! Great, great match. That was so fun to watch. William Regal comes out and lifts Metalik’s hand in victory and gives him a medallion for his participation in the tournament and advancement to the finals.

      Gargano and Ciampa are shown backstage. They have a tag team name now. DIY. We’ll see how that plays out. They call out The Revival and say they are coming for the NXT Tag Team Titles. The next match is Japan’s Kota Ibushi taking on T.J. Perkins out of the Philippines. Serious looks from both guys to start. They didn’t come here to play around. They grapple up at the beginning as the crowd starts a dueling chant for both. Perkins takes the lead and maneuvers Ibushi all around the ring with holds and submission. Perkins spills Ibushi outside the ring. He barely gets back before the 10 count. Back in the ring, Perkins goes hard after Ibushi’s left leg. Ibushi finally gets some offense, flipping outside the ring and taking out Perkins with a spectacular move. Back in the ring a moonsault off the top rope lands perfectly. Another moonsault but Perkins reverses it into a leg lock. Ibushi gets to the ropes.

      Ibushi traps Perkins in the ropes and violently kicks him repeatedly in the chest until the ref has to yank him away. He gets a warning. Both men leave it all in the ring, wearing themselves out and pulling out all the stops. Perkins gets a near fall after a series of amazing moves. Ibushi flips back and tries to kick Perkins, but he counters it down to the mat and puts his left leg in a hold. Ibushi gets out and the duo trade blows in the middle. Powerbomb by Ibushi but somehow Perkins kicks out. Crowd is in a frenzy. Mauro’s head might explode. Crowd starts a “This is awesome!” chant. Ibushi hits the mat hard when Perkins rolls out of the way of a big flip. They make it to their feet and trade forearms. The false finishes in this one are insane. Perkins gets a leglock in. As Ibushi crawls to the ropes, Perkins leans up and puts a separate hold on his head. Ibushi is being bent like a pretzel and has no choice but to tap. A fantastic match. I thought for sure Ibushi was going to win. Instead Perkins will face Metalik in the final bout. After the match Ibushi and Perkins shake hands. Ibushi raises Perkins’ hand in victory. Regal comes down and presents Perkins with a medallion.

      Time for a little break from the tournament. Noam Dar from Scotland and USA’s Cedric Alexander are teaming up to take on DIY. Gargano and Ciampa come out focused, getting a huge reaction from the crowd. The four men shake hands in the middle of the ring as the crowd chants “Holy cow!” Cedric and Ciampa start the match. Huge dropkick by Cedric and Ciampa rolls over to his corner and tags in Gargano. Cedric tags in Dar, and he grapples with Gargano. The action is back and forth for several moments, too quick to keep up with. Ciampa tags in and wretches Dar in a headlock. Cedric gets the tag. He knocks Gargano off the apron and knocks Ciampa out of the ring. He dives out after Ciampa. Back in the ring, Cedric hits a flat liner and covers. Ciampa manages to reach the ropes. This one is really cleverly choreographed, with all four men putting on a clinic. This turns into an all out brawl with all four men battling in the ring and they all get knocked to the mat. Gargano and Ciampa double team Dar and cover for the pinfall. That was a real edge-of-your-seat match. Well done to all four. That was really exciting stuff.

      T.J. Perkins enters first in our main event, followed by Gran Metalik. Before the bell rings, Triple H’s music hits! Crowd is blown away! Nobody expected this. He walks out and looks at the CWC trophy. He gets in the ring holding a microphone. He says we are going to make history tonight. He says in the ring right now we are looking at two of the best in the world. “But we aren’t looking for two,” he says. “We’re looking for one. We’re looking for The One.” He says they are looking for the one who will go into Raw as the new Cruiserweight Champion as he pulls out an absolutely sick looking blue belt. Oh my! Crowd starts a “Thank you, Hunter!” chant. That just raised the stakes quite a bit! HHH gets out of the ring and the bell rings. Crowd is completely in a frenzy. They cheer for Metalik to start.

      The action is technical at the beginning with smooth grappling. Both men feel out the other. They spill out of the ring. Metalik jumps back in the ring, bounces off the ropes and dives out to knock Perkins down again. Springboard senton back in the ring and Metalik nearly gets the pinfall victory. After a brutal submission, Perkins can barely walk, clinching at his lower back. TJP recovers and flips Metalik over the top rope, following him out to the floor below. The action in this is incredible. Both men are leaving it on the line and pulling out some crazy moves. Springboard elbow by Metalik into a near fall. Metalik with one of he most monstrous chops I have ever seen in my life and I’ve been watching wrestling a long time. The crowd is out of their minds after several knee bars by Perkins and then Metalik reverses it into a cover, but a kickout by Perkins. The two trade blows on the ropes in the corner. Metalik tries a Metalik Driver off the top rope, but Perkins reverses it into a knee bar. He puts the pressure on and Metalik taps out. Perkins chest has a huge, purple welt on it from the chops by Metalik. The final moments of that match were so well done. My only complaint is doing the same finish he did against Ibushi an hour ago. Creative could have come up with something a little better than that.

      After the match, HHH comes out and puts the belt on Perkins. Metalik hugs Perkins and raises his arm in victory. Perkins stands next to the trophy as the crowd chants “You deserve it!” HHH and Regal raise Perkins arms up and smile, presenting the Cruiserweight Champion. He points to the trophy and says it’s bigger than him. He says, “This is for everyone.” From homeless wanderer to champion of the cruiserweights. What a story. Congrats to the well-deserving T.J. Perkins. Confetti rains down on him as he poses on the corner, arms raised, as he blows a kiss to the crowd.

      The Cruiserweight Classic Tournament might be over, but this isn’t the last we’ve seen of these great competitors. Next week, on Monday Night Raw, the Cruiserweight Division comes to the USA Network! This is going to be such a big help to the three hour show that is overwhelmingly boring at times. Putting the cruiserweights in the middle hour will help strengthen the lag we often see from the 9-10 hour. The worry there, though, is that there were 32 men in this tournament. If they move up 7-10 to the main roster, it’s going to make Smackdown lopsided compared to Raw. How will they balance the rosters? At the end of the day it will be something fresh and new. What did you think of this whole tournament? What did you think of the outcome? And which guys are you most looking forward to seeing again in NXT or on Raw? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading. Have a good night, wrestling fans!

Article by Jamie Curtis Baker20140601_175649


Cruiserweight Classic Full Results and Review (09.07.2016)


      Last week’s episode was a phenomenal hour of wrestling. As we edge closer to the semi-finals and the debut of the Cruiserweight Division on Monday Night Raw, this tournament is only getting sweeter and sweeter. It’s building momentum to help secure the sagging middle hour of Raw. Without further ado, let’s give you a rundown of tonight’s episode.

      The first match on the card is England’s Zack Sabre Jr. going up against Noam Dar of Scotland, the youngest competitor in the entire tournament and the first ever Israeli-born wrestler ever in WWE. Dar tries for a takedown early, but Sabre’s no dummy. He blocks it and stands up. Sabre keeps the pressure on slow and steady, wearing down Dar. That is until Dar dropkicks Sabre’s left knee. He then wrenches him up with a wrist-lock down to the mat. Sabre reverses, making Dar scream out. He recovers and drops elbows on Sabre’s left leg. Dar does not let up on the leg. Kicking, hitting, locking in submissions.

      This match slows down for a few moments until the pair trade a few covers reversed into covers. Offense is limited for a moment as both men catch their breath. Penalty kick by Dar then a suplex, cover, but Sabre kicks out on an early two. Dar goes after the left leg again. Sabre kicks him off with his good leg, but Dar goes right back in. This time Sabre punches out. A weak penalty kick by Sabre into a cover. Dar kicks out. A kick drops Sabre on the apron, he stands and takes another kick off the apron. Dar runs up, dives out, and takes Sabre down. He pops up and rolls Sabre into the ring. Sabre in the corner and Dar runs into him with a dropkick. Cover, but Sabre narrowly avoids losing.

      Knee bar by Dar, but Sabre manages to roll it into a cover. Dar kicks out and puts the knee bar right back in. Sabre reverses it into an arm bar then a bridge cover. No dice. I begin to question the stamina as both men. They are visibly exhausted and a bit shaky in the ring. Their move set has slowed way down. I don’t want to call this match boring at times, but it’s not as exciting as some of the other matches we’ve seen. Sabre misses with a knee drop of the top rope. Dar sets Sabre up on the ropes, then kicks him in his left leg. He gets a knee bar locked in and Sabre screams as he tries to get the bottom rope. Sabre rolls them both out of the ring. Sabre lands badly on his elbow and the ref checks on him. Ref starts a ten count and both barely make it in. Dar goes right after the bad arm immediately, dropping Sabre to the mat. Sabre with a kick, Dar with a kick, Sabre spins him down and pins his arms way back between his legs. Dar can’t even tap, he just nods over and over to the ref who calls for the bell. Sabre advances.

      Our last quarter-finals match is the Filipino Flyer, T.J. Perkins, battling Rich Swann out of the United States. Perkins holds back after the bell rings to let Swann get the crowd fired up with chants and dancing. Once the two go after each other, they are evenly matched, swapping various moves on the mat and both leaping back to their feet. Slow grind for a few moments. Perkins showboats for a few minutes. Crowd is in to it, I’m not so much. Just wrestle. If I’m judging fairly, his skill level is nowhere near the amount of hype he plugs for himself in the ring. Speaking off, he attempts a flip off the apron, misses and clutches his leg after landing badly. Perkins leaps off the second rope and dropkicks Swann from the apron. Both men down and the ref starts a 10 count.

      Back in the ring, Perkins puts a reverse chin-lock on Swann. Perkins targets the left knee of Swann. The same gimmick we saw in the previous match. Don’t follow with the same spot, youngsters. That’s basic wrestling rules. Perkins does various submission holds on the leg. Crowd tries to rally Swann. He gets to his feet and clotheslines Perkins. Swinging neck-breaker to follow. He hits a DDT and covers, but Perkins kicks out at two. Perkins with his own neck-breaker. He puts Swann up on the top rope but Swann throws Perkins down to the floor outside the ring. Perkins pops up and punches Swann then springboards into a Frankensteiner. Perkins climbs to the top rope and Swann hits him with a Frankensteiner.  A pair of two counts as Perkins just won’t stay down.

      Knee bar by Perkins, but Swann gets to the ropes and breaks it up. The pair trade crazy kicks in the center of the ring until Perkins is dropped. Swann collapses on his left leg. Knee bar again by Perkins. Swann struggles to make the ropes and finally has no choose but to tap out. As soon as the ref calls for the bell, Perkins lets go and checks on Swann to make sure he is alright. T.J. Perkins advances. And then there were four. The semi-finals are set. T.J. Perkins, Zack Sabre Jr., Gran Metalik, Kota Ibushi are the final four left in the tournament.

      Decent episode of the tournament. But both matches were slow paced and not the thrilling bouts we’ve come to expect. They weren’t bad by any stretch of the word. Just a little flat, especially with the semi-finals coming up next week. Maybe we’ve been spoiled too much with greatness. Next week we get treated to a two hour live finale. The winner will be crowned. I’m putting my money on Kota Ibushi winning the whole thing. If not him then Gran Metalik. I’d be very surprised if someone else wins. And two weeks from now, we get to find out who in the tournament makes it up to Raw’s main roster. What did you think of tonight’s episode? Who do you like the field of four? Let us know in the comments below! Thanks for reading. Have a good night, pro-wrestling fans!

Article by Jamie Curtis Baker20140601_175649


Cruiserweight Classic Results and Feedback (08.24.2016)


      Round two continues tonight, and we can only hope it’s as amazing as it was last week. WWE has really hit a homerun with this cruiserweight tournament. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that when they bring the division up to Monday Night Raw it stays this special. Without further ado, let’s review tonight’s newest episode!

      Three matches scheduled for tonight. The first is Rich Swann (United States) taking on Lince Dorado (Puerto Rico). Some insane athleticism from both guys to start. They are fast and agile as all hell. Crowd applaud break 30 seconds in. They keep doing high risk moves but the other guy counters with an impressive athletic move. The two have fun with the crowd, doing some dances. Major dropkick by Swann. Dorado off the top rope with a missile dropkick. And then we are outside the ring. Back in the ring, spinning neckbreaker by Swann. The pair trade submissions on the mat. Huge chop by Dorado! Forearms traded between the two then Swann gets Dorado on the top rope. Blocked and Dorado gets off the ropes. Moments later double scissors kick by both men, and they drop to the mat. Ref starts a ten count. They get to their feet and trade blows, both wobbling. Cross body off the top rope by Dorado, near fall. DDT by Swann, and a near fall for him. Standing 450 splash by Swann, but Dorado gets his knees up and then tries a cover. Two count. Elbow and kick by Dorado. Huge kick by Swann. Reverse hurricanrana by Dorado and a two count. Dorado misses with a Shooting Star Press. Swann climbs the top rope. A Phoenix Splash for the pinfall! Swann advances to the quarter finals. Wow. That was a hell of a match.

      Next up, Zack Sabre Jr. (England) gets set to take on the dangerous submission expert Drew Gulak (United States). Sabre tries to shake hands before the match and Gulak slaps his hand away. They run right at each other out of their respective corners as soon as the bell rings. Straitjacket submission by Sabre early in the match. Gulak reverses it into the same hold. Zabre reverses that and pulls Gulak’s arms behind his back. This is some vicious grappling. Springboard into a stomp kick by Gulak. Chop in the corner. Then a suplex. Gulak covers, but Zabre kicks out at two. Another submission by Gulak. Gulak leaps off the top rope but Zabre grabs him in mid-air and follows him down to the ground into an armbar submission. A gruesome torture rack hold by Gulak. Ouch. Tries a cover after but no dice. Ankle lock by Gulak. Gulak tosses Zabre into the ropes. Penalty kick by Zabre and two count on Gulak. The pair trade some painful looking slaps in the middle of the ring. Bridge submission out of no where and Gulak’s shoulders can’t get up after three! That was so cool to watch. Geez, never seen grappling and submission wrestling like that. Those two are experts at their craft. Terrific match! Zack Sabre Jr. advances. After the match, Zabre again tries to shake hands. Gulak sort of taps his hand real quick and then rolls out of the ring.

      One match left on the card and it should be a doozy. The high-flying T.J. Perkins (Philippines) takes on the incredible Johnny Gargano (United States) for the final spot in the quarter finals. Grappling to start, as per the usual course for this tournament. Perkins with a scissors leg takedown. Armbar by Gargano but Perkins quickly reverses it. Irish whip into a dropkick sends Perkins out of the ring and Gargano leaps out after him, knocking him down. Ref starts a ten count. Chop by Gargano, then he rolls Perkins into the ring. Submission by Gargano. Perkins reverses it into a rocking horse submission, into a Romero Special. This one slows down for a few minutes. Gargano chops Perkins in the corner multiple times. The pair trade some devastating kicks. Outside the ring, Perkins reverses Gargano leg first into the timekeeper area. He lands painfully. Ref starts counting them both out. They manage to get back in the ring and Perkins kicks Gargano and nearly gets a pinfall. Springboard rebound dropkick by Perkins but Gargano kicks out at two. Gargano attempts to get a submission on Perkins, but he blocks it. Gargano holding his left knee, grimacing. Neckbreaker by Perkins. Gargano launches Perkins face first into the corner like a lawndart and covers. Perkins narrowly kicks out at two. Crowd in a frenzy now. Superkick by Gargano. Perkins rolls him through into a kneebar submission on Gargano’s bad knee. He crawls to the ropes. Perkins locks it in even tighter and Gargano has no choice but to tap out! Goodness! Everybody is shocked! What a finish! Can we consider this one a minor upset? Tough week for Johnny Gargano.

      Just another outstanding group of matches out of the Cruiserweight Classic. This truly gets better each and every week. I can’t wait to see who wins this whole thing. What did you think of tonight’s three matches? Let us know in the comments below. See you tomorrow for TNA!

Article by Jamie Curtis Baker20140601_175649


Cruiserweight Classic Ep 2 Review and Feedback (07.20.2016)


      Episode 1 kicked off what should be a pretty damn awesome tournament. Mauro Ranallo and Daniel Bryan start the show on commentary, with Corey Graves in the control room. A brief recap is given, showing who advanced last week and then we’re off to our first match.

      Tajiri (Japan) comes to the ring to much fanfare. He is definitely a known legend in the United States. Hailing from across the seas, he is about to take on Damian Slater (Australia). Slow grapple to start, before Tajiri breaks it up. Slater off the ropes and he shoulder tackles Tajiri. Bridge cover but only a one count. Vicious kicks from Tajiri and he goes to work on Slater’s left arm. Slater spills Tajiri out of the ring and then corkscrews into him. Ref starts a ten count. Back in the ring, Slater continues to dominate, landing a running knee and a two count on Tajiri. Crowd rallies behind the Asian. Some more kicks from Tajiri, but Slater sweeps the leg and drops him. Moments later, the tarantula submission is applied on the ropes but Tajiri has to break it up at the ref’s count. More kicks, then one to the head. Tajiri covers and that’s it, he advances. Almost a one-sided match. Tajiri raelly didn’t do much. A handful of kicks and then he wins. Not a great outcome, really. And not a very good match for either man.

      Up next, T.J. Perkins (billed from the Philippines by way of Los Angeles?) takes on Da Mack (Germany). The hype video prior to the match for Da Mack makes me instantly hate him. I’m all in for Perkins now. You might recognize Perkins from his time with TNA as the masked character Manik. Now that I know who he is, he definitely has my support. The two shake hands prior to the fight and then they bounce around the ring, sizing each other up. Perkins takes control early, and gives the crowd a couple of oh’s and ah’s. Da Mack hits a dropkick and then punches Perkins in the corner. A few chops but Perkins shoves him off. Okay, at this point I’m just wondering when we will see T.J. Perkins vs Shinsuke Nakamura. Da Mack goes for a cover, but Perkins kicks out and takes kicks to his back for his troubles. Perkins puts the Muta Lock on but Da Mack somehow crawls to the ropes to break the hold. Dropkick to Da Mack’s knee but he rolls up Perkins for a pin. T.J.P. kicks out at two. Da Mack dropkicks him off the top rope and gets another near fall. 450 Splash fail by Perkins. Da Mack tries to mount offense but a facebuster stops the momentum. Perkins puts him in a knee-bar submission and Da Mack taps out! What a match. That was exciting. It seems all but guaranteed that HHH will sign Perkins to NXT. Afterwards, Da Mack and T.J. Perkins shake hands and hug one another. Good sportsmanship, great match. Hats off to both guys.

      The third match of the night is Mustafa Ali (Pakistan) vs Lince Dorado (Puerto Rico). We missed the start of the match because of Network issues, but we returned just in time to see Ali land a running knee off the apron, which was very nice. Back in the ring, Ali misses a moonsault and Dorado dropkicks him. Springboard hurricanrana by Dorado, throws Ali to the apron. Another hurricanrana on the apron and he throws Ali to the floor. Big time moonsault and Dorado drops Ali. Crowd lively and fired up for this one. Cross body off the top rope and Dorado goes for a cover, but kick out at two. Awesome offense by Dorado for a couple minutes and a few close pinfalls. Too much action to even keep up. Ali tries a 450 from the top rope but face plants. Dorado climbs to the top rope and lands a beautiful Shooting Star Press. Dorado covers and wins. What an excellent, excellent match. Amazing action from both men. Absolutely no complaints about that one.

      Tonight’s “main event” is Akira Tozawa (Japan) taking on Kenneth Johnson (United States). Ground game by Tozawa to start. Crowd quiet, feeling these two out. Tozawa tries to control the action, but Johnson has a counter for everything. Eventually they start trading chops in the middle of the ring. This one is very slow and has drained the air out of the room. One of the previous two matches should have been in this slot. Double clothesline and both men down. Bridge by Tozawa into a pinfall win. Mauro was really into this match, but I was not. Just didn’t really wow me. Akira Tozawa advances and that’s tonight’s broadcast.

      It felt as if this episode was two great matches wedged into a crap match sandwich. The first and last matches were not that great at all. Slow grind and not necessarily good opponents chosen. Ali and Dorado were the highlight of the night. And T.J. Perkins was the best performer of the episode, in my opinion. What did you all think? Let us know in the comments below. And don’t forget to subscribe to get all these articles straight to your inbox.

Article by Jamie Curtis Baker