The Big Takeaway: Matt Hardy beat Curt Hawkins to take his losing streak to 126 and Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson beat Heath Slater & Rhyno in a meager match.
Matt Hardy defeated Curt Hawkins (4:55)
The fact that Curt Hawkins’ losing streak was the only real thing of note in this match kind of says it all. While the streak is being openly talked about both on commentary and in Hawkins’ ring intro as the "longest running losing streak in the modern era," you have to wonder where they’re going with this.
Hardy was over with the Manchester crowd, but not in the way you’d expect. The crowd felt fairly dead for both matches on this episode, which seems unusual for a pre-Raw show in front of a crowd who don’t get television tapings regularly.
Hardy gave Hawkins the early going, but before long he took control of the match. The crowd cheered the finish. It came after a top rope elbow drop and a Side Effect allowed Hardy to hit the Twist of Fate.
Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson defeated Heath Slater & Rhyno (5:30)
Slater and Rhyno probably got the biggest reaction on the show, but their gimmick demands a reaction and they really know how to please. On the bell, Anderson tried to advance on Slater -- but Slater held up a hand and rolled outside to hand his shirt to a young girl in the front row. That was a nice touch that fits with his "I Got Kids" gimmick and something he should do more often..
The match was told in two halves: Rhyno and Slater regulated things before the break, dictating the pace and cutting the ring in half. They dumped both Gallows and Anderson outside and flung their arms up in victory as Vic Joseph sent us to commercial. The second half was a capitulation for Slater and Rhyno.
Nigel McGuinness seemed happy to be back in the United Kingdom and in his element on commentary (British readers note: he was even proudly wearing a Blue Peter badge). He almost came unglued at the superplex that Anderson hit on Rhyno that set up the finish. With Slater outside the ring and unable to break up the pin in time, Anderson and Gallows hit the Magic Killer for the win.