By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Shane Thorne def. Roderick Strong in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Second Round Match
Austin Aries' injury is really unfortunate. He has been killing it all year round in NXT and his tag team with Strong especially had potential. That isn't to say they can't pair back up when Aries returns, but that might not be for another few months. Strong was the obvious fan favorite over Thorne, but Thorne still had a solid showing and won over some fans by the end. This was a fun match while it lasted, but it deserved more time. I wonder whether Aries and Strong would have advanced had Aries not gotten injured, but I suppose we'll never know.
DIY def. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival by Forfeit in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Second Round Match (Non-title)
This was one match I was really looking forward to coming into the second round, and a match I was very disappointed we didn't get on this show. But it isn't a bad thing, however, as I assume Scott Dawson's injury is merely a work (playing off the rumors from a few months ago) and this was their way of holding off on the Brooklyn rematch until the next TakeOver. Smart booking if that's the case.
The Authors of Pain def. Rich Swann and No Way Jose in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Second Round Match
Other than their matches with American Alpha and TM-61 from earlier this year, The Authors of Pain had yet to have anything above a mediocre match, but this was a pleasant surprise. Then again, their opponents were Swann and Jose, who had the support of the crowd and carried them to an enjoyable outing. It made sense for them to advance given they're not a makeshift duo like Swann and Jose, but will their semifinal match really be that good? Time will tell.
SAnitY def. T.J. Perkins and Kota Ibushi in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Second Round Match
SAnitY are in the same boat as The Authors of Pain in that I question the quality of matches they will have going forward in the tournament. The act has potential, so I was fine with them advancing, but I would have rather seen Eric Young representing his team because at least he's pretty passable in the ring. Perkins and Ibushi didn't get the kind of match out of them I hoped they would, but it was decent. Ibushi taking the loss for his team didn't shock me since he isn't signed to a full-time deal, anyway.
I really liked the heavy emphasis on the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic this week. Granted, none of the matches blew me away, but none of the early round matches were all that amazing last year, either. If the finals aren't great, then you can consider it a bust. In the meantime, it has led to some solid stories and the build to TakeOver has been a blast. Can you believe we're only a little over two weeks away from the event? Damn!