Mustafa Ali defeated Angel Garza (4:55)
Two really strong performers working heel vs. heel is absolutely fine by me.
At their best, both Ali and Garza can be excellent. What they should have done here is have this close out the show and also give it more time rather than nearly eight minutes of Jinder Mahal vs. Shelton Benjamin.
Ali’s patchy and sporadic use is probably a good metaphor for this company right now. One minute, he’s the lead guy in a heel stable which then gets booked like a joke faction. The next minute, he’s working great matches with Ricochet, but on a show no one really watches. Then, he’s maybe, kind of, possibly aligning himself with Mansoor only to then wind up back on Main Event working with Angel Garza. It’s confusing, difficult to follow and dissatisfying.
Despite all that, this was really good and I hope we get to see more of it next week. They went back and forth until Ali came off the second turnbuckle into a sucker punch and he rolled outside. Just as he did last week with Jeff Hardy, Ali used a ref distraction to trip Garza who got posted.
Back in the ring, Garza sold like he was out of it which allowed Ali to lock in the Koji Clutch. He has been using the move to get ref stoppages rather than submission finishes and the same was true here. Garza seemed to pass out and the ref called for the bell.
Jinder Mahal (w/ Veer & Shanky) defeated Shelton Benjamin (7:29)
Benjamin had a run on this show around this time last year and was a joy to watch. When he finally was given something to get his teeth into with The Hurt Business, it felt like some kind of recognition and recompense. That's why seeing him back here now, working with Mahal, is such a disappointment.
Not that Mahal doesn’t work hard and hasn’t earned his place, but he just shouldn’t be working this kind of opponent. He should be squashing people and going on a run to get his new stable over.
In contrast to the opener, this was far too long, really lethargic and ended in a distraction finish that devalued everyone.
They used Veer and Shanky to distract Shelton twice which made the ending even more infuriating. The first time, they were outside and the diversion ended with Benjamin getting launched into the steel steps by Mahal before the break.
After the break, it was all Mahal until Benjamin got the hope. He looked like he might get the win with a running knee and German suplex, but he was made to look a fool by Shanky. He turned around to get stunned with a superkick and then was finished off with the Khallas.
This was a frustrating episode all told as two distraction finishes is just lazy booking. The opener should have been at the top of the show because it was easier on the eyes and was something you could get invested in. In many ways, the main event was a waste. Hopefully, Benjamin doesn’t have to stick around for too many more weeks on this show as he’s just so much better than this.