By Zack Zimmerman
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NXT on WWE Network
Taped September 15 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
A brief video aired hyping the start of the second annual Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament… The opening video played…
Inside the arena, the video screens displayed images of Dusty Rhodes and the ring announcer noted hate this was the first matchup of the tournament. Things kicked off with CWC competitors and GFW Tag Team Champions The Bollywood Boyz. They got a short inset promo where they introduced themselves and warned that they’re bringing the “butter chicken beatdown.” The Authors of Pain were out next, led as always by Paul Ellering. Corey Graves stated that they will the tournament; period.
1. The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar w/ Paul Ellering) vs. The Bollywood Boyz (Gurv and Harv Sihra) in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match. Harv tried taking he fight to his larger opponent but found little success. He managed to stun one of them with a jawbreaker and make the tag to Gurv, but he ran right into a hard clothesline and the Authors continued to dominate. They hit a series of knee strikes into a double gutbuster.
Rezar knocked Harv off the apron and they hit their Russian leg sweep and clothesline combination for the win.
The Authors of Pain beat The Bollywood Boyz in about 1:40 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Replays aired and Graves noted that they call their finisher The Last Chapter. The bracket was updated, but didn’t stay on the screen long enough for me to get a real clear look at… Dan Matha was hyped to be making his debut tonight… [C]
Zim Says: Same Authors match as always, except this one had a bit more purpose than usual. I’m wondering how the Authors will play out in this tournament. Will opponents be able to get a better-than-usual quality of match out of the Authors in the later rounds, or will they do their 2-minute squashes through the whole tournament? Will they go far or will they be written out early somehow?
Back in the arena, Rich Swann made his entrance to a big reaction from the Full Sail Crowd. His opponent, Patrick Clark, was out next. He’s no longer in the American Flag spandex, but rather a sparkly headband, a Prince-like General’s jacket, and black velvet tight pants. The gesture that he did on the ring apron actually got edited out, as they just focused the camera on Swann’s bewildered reaction. The crowd chanted “Can you handle this?” for Swann.
2. Rich Swann vs. Patrick Clark. They did a nice sequence where Swann flipped over Clark and then nailed him with a dropkick. Meanwhile, the commentators made Prince jokes about Clark. Shortly after the minute-mark, Clark hit a hard spinebuster and took control of the match. Swann got a boot up in the corner and began his comeback with a hard spinning back kick. Swann hit a running enzuigiri in the corner and a short time later, connected on a back-handspring moonsault for the win.
Rich Swann over Patrick Clark in about 2:55.
The crowd clapped and danced and sang for Swann as he celebrated the win. Replays aired and the commentators transitioned away… A recap aired of Cedric Alexander’s debut and win over Andrade Almas two weeks ago, and their apparent mutual show of respect afterwards. As a result, they were paired up and made partners in the Dusty Classic. They will be competing in a first-round match against The Revival in the main event of the show… [C]
Zim Says: Swann is past this point. He’s a guy on Raw every week, why does he need to be winning 3-minute showcase matches on NXT? Clark’s obviously doing an exotic Prince gimmick, and I don’t exactly see that catching fire. Although with the Full Sail crowd I guess it’s not totally impossible for it to catch on in the bubble. Still, I don’t expect it.
The commentators threw to a recap of NXT Women’s Champion Asuka tapping out Liv Morgan in mere seconds last week and claiming that nobody is in her league… Backstage last week, Liv was being tended to after her loss when the Australian duo of Billie Kay and Peyton Royce walked up on her laughing. They made fun of her and walked off, still laughing. Liv wanted to go after them but the doctor wouldn’t let her…
Back in the arena, Peyton Royce made her entrance with Billie Kay alongside for the first time on NXT TV. Tom Phillips on commentary noted that the two were signed from Australia together and have been close for a long time. Her opponent, Danielle Kamela, was out next. Commentators noted that she had trained with Rikishi and was a Phoenix Suns dancer before arriving in NXT.
3. Peyton Royce (w/ Billie Kay) vs. Danielle Kamela. Kamela snuck in a small package attempt early and used a somewhat clunky looking running crossbody and dropkick before Peyton cut her off and began to go to work. Peyton tied her up like a pretzel in the ropes and then worked her over in the corner. Peyton settled into a lengthy chinlock. Kamela tried to fight out, but Peyton stayed in control and put her away with a modified bridging fisherwoman’s suplex…
Peyton Royce won in about 3:45.
Backstage, Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger were standing by with the interviewer. They were asked about how training together is going, but right as Tye began to answer, Bobby cut him off and began going off about how important next week is. He said they’ll prove that they’re the team to beat and Tye will take a step up by partnering with someone like him. He hit his pose, and finally Tye was able to speak. He talked about Dusty, but was quickly distracted by Bobby Roode being obnoxious. Roode said it will be glorious when they’re victorious.
The interviewer asked if they have any concerns facing the complete unknown in Sanity. Roode said nobody cares about Sanity because they’re all talking about Glorious 10. Tye tried to deliver one last line, but Roode yanked him away from the interviewer mid-sentence… Dan Matha was advertised up next… [C]
Zim Says: Fun chemistry between these two guys who can generally be kind of vanilla. It certainly foreshadowed things though, as it seems much more likely that these two will be facing each other in Toronto rather than being able to last as a team for the next two months.As far as the ladies: Peyton and Billie come in to NXT highly acclaimed and they clearly have the fundamentals down very well, but they both have yet to show anything break-out in terms of character work or match quality. Maybe pairing them together will be the spark that they need. At this point though, I’m starting to get disappointed, as these were two of the ladies I expected to step up strong as the next wave of NXT ladies and help re-ignite the division. We’re a long way off from that.
Back in the arena, Dan Matha made his entrance just as jacked up and full of bacne as advertised. The commentators noted that he played for the Cincinnati Bengals and was an All-American wrestler in college. Once he made it to the ring however, the crowd rose to their feet and began to buzz because NXT Champion Samoa Joe was making a direct line for the ring. Joe threw a straight headbutt into Matha and teed off with shots. Joe grabbed an armbar and reigned down elbows to the jaw. Joe hit his trademark corner enzuigiri and Matha went down hard. Joe took a mic and said “tick tock tick tock.”
Joe kicked Matha out of the ring and then questioned who would be next to get their head rocked. Joe asked Regal how many more people he will allow to suffer. He noted that he just took out a blue-chip prospect, and more of the future of NXT will suffer until he gets Nakamura or is handed the NXT Championship. On his way out, Joe yelled that Regal has one more week or things get “escalated…”
NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival were shown walking backstage and were hyped for the main event up next… [C]
Backstage, Rich Swann and No Way Jose were standing by with the interviewer who asked why they decided to team up for the Dusty Classic. Jose said that they simply opened their ears and listened to the fans. He said Swann had been through some “hard times” but he looked them in the eye and said “no way!” Swann said that he chose Jose because he’s not just a guy who dances, he’s 6′ 3″ (6′ 6″ with the hair) of Dominican fire. They sang a combination of their songs and danced off the set…
The final Sanity vignette aired, as the graphic noted that they’re coming next week…
The arena was taken over by pictures of Dusty once again, signaling another tournament match. Andrade “Cien” Almas kicked off the entrants to a couple of cheers, a few more boos, and a lot of silence. Cedric Alexander was out next and the crowd was happier to see him. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival were out next.
4. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) vs. Cedric Alexander and Andrade Almas in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match. The Revival tried to use some sneaky tactics early but to no avail, as Almas was there to have Alexander’s back. Cedric began to roll with some fancy early-match offense before Almas came in with a headlock takeover and ‘rana on both members of The Revival. Alexander and Almas hit tandem dropkicks and appeared to be gelling well as a unit.
Alexander and Almas used a double leapfrog and a double dropkick as they stayed in control of Dawson. A short time later however, Almas was isolated in The Revival’s corner and frequent tags proved successful for the champs for the time being. A blind tag by Cedric allowed the babyfaces to send the heels toppling to ringside before Almas hit his tranquillo pose in the ropes and Alexander flew over him with a big flip dive to wipe out The Revival at ringside.
Back in the ring, Almas missed a tag by The Revival which allowed them to take control and they began to work over the arm. [C] Dawson continued to target the arm with strikes and a hammerlock suplex. Dash tagged in and hit a double knee strike to the arm off the ropes and then applied the London Dungeon. Almas worked his way out of the hold, but he was unable to reach his corner as the champions continued to isolate him.
Almas snuck in a small package for the visual three-count, but the ref was distracted by the other member of The Revival on the apron. Just shy of the eight-minute mark, Cedric took the hot tag. He ran wild and connected on a handspring enzuigiri, but the pinball was broken up. Alexander and Almas used a nice sunset roll and jackknife pin combo for a good near-fall. Cedric managed to avoid a Shatter Machine attempt once, but the second attempt caught him and that was it.
The Revival defeated Alexander and Almas in about 9:00 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Replays aired and The Revival celebrated on their way out of the arena. In the ring, Almas and Alexander stood together until Almas’s facial expression changed and he drove Alexander hard to the mat. He began to beat Cedric down and then took him to ringside where he lifted Cedric in a fireman’s carry and dropped him face-first on the ringsteps. Alexander was left laying and the crowd let Almas have it. They chanted “you suck” as El Ingobernable Andrade Almas soaked it in on the stage to close the show…
Zim Says: Fun match that didn’t quite hit the gear I wanted it to, but clearly this match wasn’t there to be killer, it was there to be a solid main event as a vehicle for the Almas turn and Revival advancing. I thought it accomplished both of those things well. Granted, I think there could’ve been a little more build up between Almas and Ced, but it’s been coming from Almas for a while now so I’m glad Ced is the guy it happened with. Their feud should produce some really fun matches and hopefully being ungovernable will be the character re-spark that the super-talented Almas needs to finally get his legs firmly under him in NXT. I’ve been calling for it as maybe his last hope here, so I’m very much invested in following how this goes.
I love tag team wrestling and I love the idea of the Dusty Classic. It was the real catalyst for the tag division last year and I think it could play a great role every year of freshening up the tag division with some new teams as well as produce the built-in stories that tournaments produce both week-to-week and even afterwards based on wins and losses that take place in the tournament. This wasn’t the hottest start nor the strongest show, but I thought it was an improvement over last week for sure, and I’m hoping The Dusty Classic will be a nice thread of matches to carry through until the next Takeover, but it’s on them to deliver with the right teams, matchups, and spotlight. Until next week, folks! Take care.
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.