Here at last!
MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Enjoyed the main event, but in terms of overall angling within the World Title picture, the cross-gender three-way tag was really the highlight on the card. Good preview leading up to the Pay Per View.
FACE OF THE NIGHT: The side of good really had a strong showing on this card... but I'll give this one to Aaron Jones, picking up his first win AND first reign as champion.
HEEL OF THE NIGHT: The World Champion looked pretty dominant in this role tonight. Picked up the cheap win by using the chair on a female athlete, doing just enough to live up to that image of an untouchable scoundrel wearing the crown. He is the certifiable King Joffrey of Empire Pro.
SURPRISE OF THE NIGHT: Boogie Smallz dropping the Intercontinental Title in a matter of seconds. Seems understandable why the belt had to change hands, though initially, it seemed to be a stretch of the imagination to see Jones get it done so quickly. Then I thought about it... Smallz would have been out of action for months, let alone ready for a match right there on the spot... Jones has been consistently wrestling, consistently improving, getting even better with Flair and Ivy giving him some guidance... and not to mention, he was being seriously underestimated in that moment. Actually seemed like a really fitting and practical way to switch the belt over, given all that. Also opens an interesting angle where Aaron Jones now finds himself with a championship that he may not be entirely ready to handle, given he's still developing. He might have won it in a miraculous fashion, but now he's going to be hard pressed into keeping it.
LINE OF THE NIGHT: "Daymon might be in the Seahawks colors but Cruise isn’t a choking dog like Peyton Manning, he’s going to have to really beat him to win this thing." Something only a New Englander like the First could say.
WRESTLEVERSE PREDICTIONS: Given the speech, and the way things are building, I can't see anybody but Impulse walking away from the PPV as the World Champion. Good chance of Flair and Jones leaving as Tag Team Champions, although it will be tough to tell... the Animezing Dragons seem to be the kind of team that know how to respond well when another team puts them on notice, as they did with the last King of the Cage tournament. Have absolutely no idea on what will happen with the IC Title. Kind of in the mist of the TV Title as well, with Ben bowing out.
Really liked the intro to the show this time. Not that I ever had any real problem with the standard highlight reel intro, but this form always seemed to do a decent job of bringing the storylines up right at the forefront, giving readers a good point of reference as they go into the card.
Have to call myself out on a mistake I made in my match... at least twice, I caught myself incorrectly naming Elijah as a Jones instead of a Joseph. Other than that, felt pretty good with my match. Rezin and MJ2 are two characters that work really well with each other. Always a fun experience brainstorming the structure of the match and how it plays out between these two. Hope the commentary didn't seem obnoxious... my intent there was to bring these newly appointed managers out a bit more in the forefront, and the two bickering at the table seemed like a decent way to go. Didn't try to go overboard on this, but let me know if I could trim it down any more.
The tag match didn't seem all that rushed, in my opinion. Told a decent story, took the angle to the next logical step. And I feel it set it up in a way where the rematch with the belts on the line doesn't have to be an exact copy of the previous match -- now you've got the Dragons walking in a bit more determined to even the score and instill their dominance, whereas Flair and the new IC Champ Jones are riding even more confident after good showings on this show.
Like I said above, Jones winning the belt was the swerve angle for me on this card. Wasn't the most eloquent process, but it understandably had to be done. Quick and to the point... and additionally pays off Aaron's character arc after a good couple years of people saying "he's SO CLOSE to breaking through and winning a match". Maybe it could have been left for the PPV... but enough time has passed since that belt's even made an appearance. Again, needed to be done.
The three-way tag match made really good use of the stipulations, I thought. Everybody involved competed in the manner that suited their personalities, and the ladies were involved in pretty suitable ways, I felt. Had a lot going on, but didn't go over. Finish definitely gave the First more of that heel rub. Overall, thought this was the highlight of the card, as it was a great preview to the main event of Wrestleverse, and everybody got over in some way.
Impulse on the stick following the match was the perfect way to wrap up that storyline for the card, with some pretty powerful statements and an equally powerful promise to close it off.
Very solid main event... nice, compact series of big spots as both men throw everything they have at each other to get the win. Happy to be in the main event of Wrestleverse, although it's a bittersweet experience, coming at the cost of Cruise being in that match, who I almost feel would have been a stronger persona in that mix. Not to mention, always felt Cruise was entitled to a second chance. Will be interesting to see where the character goes from there, and what lies in store for him at PPV.
Overall, pretty good card... a good final step into Wrestleverse. Although my prime concern now is mostly on the dwindling handler base. What do have, like... seven different active handlers now? Spread across four title divisions? The quality of the cards has been really good in the past year, although by contrast, they seem to be getting more and more anemic, with fewer and fewer characters and not much of an undercard left. Not sure if anybody else has noticed or felt this way... but maybe when ownership changes over following the PPV, the situation may change. At least we have the dedicated few carrying it forward.