By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped September 15 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
Mid-ring in an empty NXT arena, NXT GM William Regal remembered Dusty Rhodes who passed away a little over a year ago, and then announced the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament. He said there will be 16 teams with the finals taking place at NXT Takeover Toronto in November. He announced that the brackets will be unveiled on social media over the next few days, and the matches will kick off next week… The opening video played…
Inside the arena, “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger made his entrance to a big reaction from the Full Sail crowd. Angelo Dawkins was out next and the crowd had no reason to care.
1. Tye Dillinger vs. Angelo Dawkins. Dawkins taunted Dillinger and got the better of him with a big punch, but Dillinger came right back. He fired off some punches and a short-arm clothesline. Dillinger stomped away at Dawkins in the corner as the crowd chanted “10” with every shot. A few moments later, Dillinger connected with the Tye Breaker and scored the win.
Tye Dillinger pinned Angelo Dawkins in about 2:23.
Dillinger smirked in the ring as the crowd chanted for him. As he backed up the ramp, however, Bobby Roode’s music hit and he came onto the stage in a suit. He teased calling Tye’s performance “glorious” but went with “impressive” instead. He said that he doesn’t see Dillinger as a 10 quite yet, but the potential is there. Dillinger took offense, but Roode explained that he wanted to compete in the Dusty Rhodes Classic and the crowd cheered big and chanted “Glorious 10.”
Roode admitted that he hadn’t made many friends in his time there, but he needs the perfect partner. Roode announced himself and Dillinger as the winners, and said that it sounds “perfectly glorious.” Roode extended his hand and after several moments of consideration, Dillinger accepted and the two men shook hands to a big pop from the crowd. Roode’s music hit and the segment wrapped up…
Asuka vs. Liv Morgan was hyped for later in the show, as was Ember Moon vs. Mandy Rose… [C]
Zim Says: The match was nothing, but the set-up for their tag team was fun. Both guys will probably be considered hometown guys in Toronto, so I would have to imagine that they’ll go all the way to the finals as the babyfaces or something happens leading to a clash of hometown guys so they don’t swallow up two matches with the crowd not going with the script.
Backstage, Hideo Itami was asked to comment on his mindset going into his match with Lince Dorado tonight. Itami said he’s looking forward to it. He said that Dorado is a good fighter with heart, unlike Austin Aries, Itami called Aries a coward and a baby, and then said he’ll gladly put him to sleep again…
Back in the arena, the Ealy Brothers, Uriel and Gabriel, a set of very large identical twins, made their debut in the arena. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival appeared to be out next, but as they made their way down the ramp, Samoa Joe stormed past them into the ring and began beating the hell out of the Ealy twins. He beat them down with shots and then hit running senton after running senton onto both of them, leaving them laying. The Revival wisely decided they didn’t want any, turned around, and promptly left.
Joe took a microphone and said that he gave GM William Regal an option and Regal didn’t make a decision, so the beatings will continue until Joe gets a match with Nakamura or is handed the NXT Championship. Joe left the arena, but not before sending one of the Ealys crashing into the ringsteps for no reason…
Hideo Itami vs. Lince Dorado was hyped for later in the show… [C] A vignette aired for Dan Matha, who is set to arrive next week…
Back in the arena, Mandy Rose made her entrance. Corey Graves freaked out over how hot she is like he did with Eva Marie. The lights cut out signaling Ember Moon’s arrival and she was out next.
2. Ember Moon vs. Mandy Rose. Mandy staggered Ember with a shot early, but Ember came right back with a fallaway slam and a springboard crossbody for a quick two. Around the minute-mark, Mandy caught her with a bicycle knee lift that dropped Moon, and Mandy began to go to work. Moon looked to kick off a comeback with a ‘rana, but Mandy sat out with it and dropped Ember face-first. She wasn’t able to capitalize however, as Moon came right back with the Eclipse diving stunner for the pinfall. Corey Graves wanted to go check on Mandy…
Ember Moon over Mandy Rose in about 3:00.
Zim Says: Either they edited that match down or my perspective from in the building that night was way off. I recall it being more competitive, but this just came across as a generally dominant showcase for Moon. As for the angle they’re doing with Joe, I think Joe is one of the most complete and well-rounded guys/characters going right now and he’s nailing it. He’s walking this great line of being such a dodgy coward, yet he’s still more of a badass than nearly everyone else so nobody can say boo. It’s very entertaining and make’s you want to see him get what he deserves as a bully.
Backstage, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa were standing by with the interviewer, but she only addressed Johnny directly and passed right in front of Ciampa with the mic to get Johnny’s comments on their win at the CWC finals and message for The Revival. Gargano said The Revival are running scared and Ciampa said they have quite a checklist at hand. He said they want to win the Dusty Classic, they want to beat The Revival, and they want to make the seemingly-impossible a reality by winning the NXT Tag Team Championships…
NXT Women’s Champion Asuka was shown warming up backstage… The Authors of Pain were hyped to be in action next… [C]
A Sanity vignette aired… Back in the arena, The Authors of Pain slowly made their entrance along with Paul Ellering. Their opponents were already in the ring.
3. The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Mr. 450 and Cruz. The Authors beat the hell out of 450, scarily press-slammed Cruz over the top rope to the floor, and then hit their Russian leg sweep and clothesline combo for the win.
The Authors of Pain won in about 1:20.
Replays aired and when they concluded, Paul Ellering was in the ring with a microphone. He calmly and quietly said that the first chapter began with their arrival, and the second chapter will unfold with a plethora of pain. “For now that is all you need to know.” He closed, before leading his team out of the arena…
Backstage, the interviewer asked GM William Regal how he’ll respond to Samoa Joe and whether he has an update on the health of Shinsuke Nakamura. Regal said that Nakamura is a different kind of guy and isn’t always the easiest guy to get ahold of. He was about to continue when Blake and Murphy, yes Blake and Murphy, walked into his office wanting a spot in the Dusty Classic. They immediately began to bicker. Regal said that they obviously don’t have their act together and asked them to get themselves sorted…
Back in the arena, Liv Morgan made her entrance, followed by the NXT Women’s Champion Asuka.
4. NXT Women’s Champion Asuka vs. Liv Morgan in a non-title match. The crowd warned Liv of her imminent death, but she went after Asuka, shoving her and throwing a dropkick. she recklessly charged for a takedown and Asuka caught her in a Rings of Saturn-like grounded stretch and Liv was forced to tap.
Asuka beat Liv Morgan in about 0:55.
An interviewer stepped into the ring and asked who was next on Asuka’s list. “Nobody is ready for Asuka!” She declared confidently, before heading back up the ramp and out of the arena…
Hideo Itami vs. Lince Dorado was hyped up next… [C]
Zim Says: I like the idea of more flash finishes in wrestling, especially because of how MMA has exposed them as a legitimate possibility. Asuka has been responsible for the only two flash finishes in recent memory which is good for her I guess, but at the same time it’s beginning to become a bit of a scorched-earth division.
The first match of the Dusty Classic was hyped for next week, pitting the team of Cedric Alexander and Andrade Almas against NXT tag champs The Revival…
Back in the arena, Lince Dorado made his entrance for the main event. Hideo Itami was out next. They showed a replay of Austin Aries calling him a coward last week, but subsequently retreating when Itami confronted him.
5. Hideo Itami vs. Lince Dorado. The two men shook hands at the bell. Dorado got the better of Itami with a running ‘rana in the opening minute and then avoided a PK attempt from Itami, ending in a standoff. Lince caught Itami with a spinning back kick and then looked to springboard into the ring from the apron, but Itami caught him with a kick to the head out of the air.
Itami dropped several knees, and then feigned another before washing his boot over Dorado’s face. Itami went to the corner, but Dorado caught him with a dropkick that knocked Itami off the turnbuckles to ringside. Dorado followed up with a slingshot dropkick through the ropes and then a big dive going into the final break. [C]
Back in the ring, Dorado had Itami grounded in a Fujiwara armbar, but he released the hold and caught Itami with a spinning heel kick for a two-count. Dorado looked to follow up with shot in the corner, but Itami reversed. He tried to do his tornado hangman from the second turnbuckle, but they stumbled and it looked rough.
Itami followed up with a springboard clothesline and looked to be rolling towards his finish before Dorado managed to slip out of the GTS before it connected. Dorado caught Itami with a kick and Itami went down, so Dorado went up top. He leapt off the top rope, but came up empty on a Shooting Star and it was all Itami from there. He fired up with dropkicks in the corner and then hit the GTS for the pinfall.
Hideo Itami defeated Lince Dorado in about 7:00.
Replays aired, and when they concluded Itami was left standing in the ring when he was blindsided and jumped by Austin Aries. Just as Itami looked like he was going to begin a comeback, Aries slipped out of the ramp and ran a safe distance to the top of the stage while Itami was still left in the ring. He showed visible signs that Aries is getting to him, but then hit the ropes to celebrate his win and the show closed.
Zim Says: Pretty mediocre match to cap off a pretty mediocre show. There were a lot of seeds planted on this show for things in the Dusty Classic and other programs going forward, but that didn’t make this a particularly entertaining episode other than a couple of good interviews. NXT isn’t falling into the holding patterns that they have in the past, but there also doesn’t feel like there is anything remarkably compelling at this point. Hopefully that changes as the Dusty Classic picks up steam and things take form heading into Takeover Toronto. Time will tell, and I’ll be here to cover it as it does! Thanks for reading along.
Check back tomorrow for the Member-Exclusive DotNet NXT Audio Recap, plus Darren Gutteridge’s NXT Hitlist which will be available to everyone.
Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.