10/19 Zim’s NXT TV Live Review: Roderick Strong and Austin Aries vs. Tucker Knight and Otis Bogojevic, Rich Swann and No Way Jose vs. Drew Gulak and Tony Nese in Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches

Logo_NXT_dn_crop600By Zack Zimmerman

NXT on WWE Network
Taped October 13 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A video package recapped Samoa Joe taking NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura out of action with his attack a little over a month ago. It showed Joe’s attacks on various other wrestlers in the subsequent weeks, culminating in the pull-apart brawl that closed last week’s show and ended with Nakamura laying out Joe with the Kinshasa knee strike…

The opening video played… Inside the arena, The commentators hyped that we would be hearing from Shinsuke Nakamura later in the show…

The first match of the show was announced as a Dusty Classic first-round match. Rich Swann was out first, and he was joined by partner No Way jose. The two danced their way all around and inside the ring. Their opponents, Drew Gulak and Tony Nese were out next. They got an inset promo where they said that they don’t need dance moves when they have toughness and physical ability.

1. Rich Swann and No Way Jose vs. Drew Gulak and Tony Nese in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match. The crowd alternated chanting “Can you handle this” and “No way Jose.” Swann and Gulak opened ip with a fun sequence of flips, rollups, and armdrags, which finally slowed when Swann connected on a high dropkick that put Gulak down. Jose tagged in, but couldn’t keep on top on Gulak for long as Nese tagged in seconds later.

Jose had a little fun and planted Nese with a flapjack, but Nese came back with his trademark sequence of strikes for a quick one-count. The two battled over a vertical suplex with Jose coming out on the better end. He slammed Nese and tagged in Swann with a pop-up splash for an early two-count. A short time later, Nese dropped Swann across the rope throat-first and then hit his cartwheel super kick from the ring apron to take control. [C]

Back from a quick break, Swann worked his way out of a rear chin lock and collided with Gulak on a double clothesline that put both guys down. Jose took the hot tag at the same time as Nese tagged in, and Jose turned Nese inside-out with a clothesline for a two-count. Gulak tagged in, but he ate a pop-up right hand from Jose. Swann wiped Nese out at ringside with a tumbleweed off the middle turnbuckle as Jose put Gulak down with the Cobra Clutch slam in the ring for the win.

Swann and Jose won in about 6:00 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

The babyfaces celebrated their win by, you guessed it, dancing. Replays aired and the bracket updated to reveal that they’ll be facing the Authors of Pain in the next round. In the ring, Jose took a microphone and said that it looks like their opponents “couldn’t handle” them. Swann followed up by saying there was “no way” they were going to go out that early in the tournament. Jose addressed the Authors of Pain and said that they’d bette not be looking past he and Swann. The closed by leading their chants and they danced their way to the end of the segment…

Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in on commentary. They acknowledged that Hideo Itami had been injured and was no longer able to compete in the Dusty Classic alongside Kota Ibushi, but an update will be coming later on the matter…

They transitioned to a replay of Sanity bearing Tye Dillinger and Bobby Roode when Roode walked out on Dillinger. In the trainer’s room, the roving cameraman caught up with Tye Dillinger and asked for his thoughts on Sanity. Dillinger said they dished out a hell of a beating but his issue is with Roode not Sanity. He said that Roode broke the word that he made under Dusty and now he wants a match with Roode at Takeover in Toronto. Dillinger stopped the trainer from tending to him and walked off… The match was then officially announced and promoted, as Bobby Roode will face Tye Dillinger at Takeover Toronto… Bobby Roode was shown warming up backstage and was hyped to be in action next… [C]

Zim Says: Give-or-take a little on my time there, as I forgot to restart my timer after the commercial. Anyways, fun little match but this pretty much cements to me that the work-rate quality of the opening round matches will not be anything worth remarking on. Like, far lower than even the CWC opening-round matches. That said, the pieces are in place for some quality matches in later rounds so here’s hoping they get the time they deserve and need. Swann and Jose are a fine babyface team for the Authors to run through, although the Authors don’t exactly play into the “quality matches in later rounds” thing.

Backstage, Austin Aries was eating a banana when the interviewer asked hi mid he could shed some light on his mystery partner tonight. Aries said no, but he’s shed some light on the power of potassium. Aries mocked Hideo Itami for questioning his toughness and then pulling out of the tournament with a sore neck. He said that it was revealed via MRI that Itami actually had no spine. Funny. Aries said that the one thing he’ll say about his partner is that he’s the one athlete who deserves to be Aries’s partner and together they’ll win the Dusty Classic. “Only the strong survive…” He closed…

Back in the arena, Bobby Roode made his glorious entrance. He now has an even sparklier robe with a built-in cape. The crowd sang along with his music and he was actually introduced as “The Glorious” Bobby Roode. His opponent, Sean Maluta, was already waiting in the ring.

2. Bobby Roode vs. Sean Maluta. Maluta caught Roode with a dropkick early while he was posing and got a quick two-count with a rollup, but Roode put him down with a back suplex and went to work from there. Roode hit several hard chops in the corner and whipped Maluta hard across the ring. Malta caught Roode with a shot and looked to pick up momentum, but Roode caught him running the ropes and planted him with a hard spinebuster. Roode yelled “It’s glorious!” before spiking Maluta with a lifting DDT for the win.

Bobby Roode over Sean Maluta in about 2:53.

Replays aired before Roode took a microphone in the ring. He said that in five weeks, he takes over Toronto. He said that Tye Dillinger has been complaining every day on social media, but Roode only teamed with him because Dillinger begged and Roode pitted him. Roode said he wanted to drag Dillinger out of mediocrity and up to Roode’s level. Roode said that when you’re at his level though, you eliminate the losers and cling-ons. Suddenly, Tye Dillinger hit the ring, The two brawled with Dillinger getting the better of Roode and the crowd chanting “ten!” with every shot Tye delivered. Dillinger cleared Roode from the ring as the crowd continued to chant for Dillinger. The two stared down from the ring and the stage as the commentators hyped up their Takeover match…

Backstage, Liv Morgan was asked about the recent issues with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. A replay showed Royce assisting Kay in a win over Liv last week. Liv said that she doesn’t need to run her mouth like Billie and Peyton. She said she makes moves, but just then she was attacked from behind by Peyton Royce. Billie Kay joined in the fight as wekk, and the two dragged Liv out in front of the crowd. Billie took a microphone and said that Liv was just about to complain about getting beat up, but she just got beat up again. Peyton Said that everyone needs to take notice, including Asuka, and then they declared together that the division belongs to them…

Tycker Knight and Otis Bogojevic vs. Team Aries in a Dusty Classic first-round match was hyped up next…

Zim Says: Finally something somewhat memorable from these two. Billie’s delivery is definitely a lot better than Peyton’s, but that’s something that she can work on as they begin to get more comfortable with themselves being featured characters. The Dillinger and Roode thing is solid. Again though, I’m not going to get myself too hyped up for it because I expect the entrances to out-shine the match completely.

Back in the arena, the duo of Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic made their entrance to a bad Linking Park ripoff. They’re a couple of hosses with a fun look. They were featured in a backstage vignette where they said that they’re the strongest team in the tournament and they’re going to run through Aries and whoever he picks because they’re hungry and need to eat. Austin Aries was out next with a big smile on his face. Aries’s mystery partner was out next, and was revealed to be the debuting Roderick Strong. The tuned-in fans at Full Sail popped big and chanted “Roddy,” and the fans who will look him up on Wikipedia and cheer him at the next tapings sat on their hands.

3. Austin Aries and Roderick Strong vs. Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic first round match. Aries tried to go toe-to-toe with Otis but found himself greatly overpowered. Otis lifted Aries for a slam, but held him across his body and tagged in Knight who hit the ropes and came back sandwiching Aries in between. Rowdy tagged in at the minute-mark and immediately began trading hard chops with Knight. The much larger Knight caught Roddy with a great dropkickout of nowhere, and then Knight and Dozovic dropped headbutts on Aries when he ran in. Tucker and Otis squished Roddy’s head between then and then they bumped bellies for a good pop.

Otis looked to climb the turnbuckles, but a distraction from Aries allowed Strong to clip Otis’s knee from behind and the former Generation Next members began to work over Otis. Otis put up a respectable fight, but the smaller team was able to cut him off and use their quickness and frequent tags to keep him isolated. They looked for a couple suplex, but Otis turned the tides and sent them both overhead with his own double suplex.

Tucker Knight took the tag and the big man came in hot. He was rolling until the top rope was dropped and he was sent toppling to ringside. Aries wiped him out with a high-impact dive through the ropes and then tagged in Strong back in the ring. Strong hit a high knee while Aries knocked Otis off the apron. Strong then hit the Gut Check and followed up with the Sick Kick for the clean pin.

Aries and Strong defeated Knight and Bogojevic in about 5:15 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Replays aired and the bracket revealed a fun next round matchup pitting Aries and Strong against TM61. Aries and Strong stood together in the ring victorious…

The commentators transitioned to a recap of The Revival beating Andrade Almas and Cedric Alexander in a Dusty Classic match, leading to Almas turning on Alexander…

Andrade Almas was standing by backstage with one of the interviewers who served as translator. Almas said that he had sacrificed his mask to come to NXT, yet when he arrived he didn’t receive any of the respect he deserved. He said that he worked his entire life to get where he is and he knows he deserves respect that he isn’t given. He stopped the translator and spoke in English himself. He said that he’s not worried about respect anymore, he only cares about Andrade “Cien” Almas…

Back in the arena, Sanity made their entrance to the “My Name is Mud” ripoff song. It was revealed that it was Nikki Cross who would be in singles action, however. Her opponent, Danielle Kamela, was already in the ring.

4. Nikki Cross (w/ Sanity) vs. Danielle Kamela. Cross aggressively went after Kamela. Kamela managed to hit a suplex, but Nikki no-sold it and clawed and slappedd her own face before hitting a whiplash fisherman’s neckbreaker for the win.

Nikki Cross pinned Danielle Kamela in about 1:00.

Sanity re-joined Cross in the ring before Cross leapt back on Kamela and began attacking her. Eric Young pulled Cross off, but she slapped him hard across the face and then leapt back onto Kamela. Sawyer Fulton finally pulled her off again and kept her restrained. The announcer said that the referee had decided to reverse the decision and award the win to Kamela via DQ. Cross couldn’t have cared less as she bit the ring ropes and stared off looking deranged, but EY was very unhappy about this. The chaotic group left with a wild-eyed EY lecturing Cross who was being given a piggyback by Fulton…

Shinsuke Nakamura’s address was hyped for up next… [C]

Zim Says: Can a match be overturned by DQ for something that happens after the match ends in a legitimate way? That seams really dumb. Anyway, I like Cross bringing something different as a character and attitude to the women’s division. I’m not sure how much dimension this “psycho” character can have, but that’s something they’ll have to address. For now, I like the presentation. As for the Roderick Strong debut, he looked good but again it was a five-minute Dusty Classic opening round match. I’m glad they let him get the win and show off some of his stuff right off the bat though, rather than having him play a supporting role to Aries. Also, I really enjoy heel Cien Almas so far.

Team DIY (Ciampa and Gargano) vs. Ho Ho Lun and Tian Ding, as well as Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali vs. Kota Ibushi and new partner TJ Perkins, were hyped as opening round Dusty Classic matches for next week…

Back in the arena, NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura made his full entrance. He let the fans play themselves out before he spoke. He said that he’s not done with Samoa Joe. He said that if Joe wants his championship at Takeover, he can come get it. He said Joe can use whatever cheap, dirty tricks he wants, Nakamura will beat him with no mercy. Suddenly, Nakamura was interrupted by the music of Patrick Clarke. The new Prince spinoff said that everyone has already seen Nakamura and Joe fight, and last time Joe almost ended Nakamura’s career.

Clark suggested himself, “the velveteen dream” vs. Nakamura, and got in Nakamura’s face. Nakamura hit one kick that brought Clark to a knee and another to the head that put him out. Just then , Samoa Joe was shown to be walking down the ramp, but he stopped at the bottom when Nakamura noticed him approaching. Nakamura charged across the ring and nailed a recovering Clark with the Kinshasa. Joe backed off and slowly headed back up the ramp as Nakamura held the ring to close the show…

Zim Says: Fine closing segment, but Patrick Clark getting involved doesn’t exactly give this the biggest fight feel. I suppose it’s a way to continue establishing that this isn’t the same happy-go-lucky Nakamura anymore. Now that this feud is off the back burner and back on the heat heading towards Takeover, I really want to see the intensity pick up in the coming weeks.

As has been the case for all of the Dusty Classic first-round episodes, the in-ring quality of these shows leaves something to be desired. That said, this week felt a bit better because the in-ring debuts of Strong and Cross brought some freshness to the show. I offer a mild thumbs-up towards Billie Kay and Peyton Royce with the hope that they continue to rise to the occasion of their new roles, as well as towards the Dillinger-Roode build, which is predictable and standard, but generally entertaining nonetheless. Having Nakamura back adds a nice little boost that the shows were missing as well. I enjoyed this week relatively speaking, but by no means was it a great show. I want things to ramp up very soon gearing up for Toronto. Time will tell. Join me next week to find out. Thanks for reading along!

Check back tomorrow for an All-Access 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.

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