By John Moore, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Aired March 7, 2018 on WWE Network
Taped February 2 in Atlanta, Georgia at Center Stage
The intro teaser contained images and clips of Dusty Rhodes. The clips then converted to modern times with Dusty’s American Dream music playing to hype up the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The NXT intro theme aired. The intro was updated with completely new clips and of course no Johnny Gargano…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. In addition to the Dusty Classic match happening, Nigel McGuinness hyped up Aleister Black vs. Killian Dain for number one contendership of the NXT Championship. Mauor noted that the Dusty Tag Team match was next and is a rematch from the finals of the last Dusty Classic…
1. Akam and Rezar vs. Shane Thorne and Nick Miller in a first round match of the Dusty Tag Team Classic. Rezar and Thorne started off the match with Rezar dominating as he usually does. Mauro noted that the Authors have improved exponentially since the last Dusty Classic when they were purely power. The authors dominated until TM-61 were able to tag each other in for some tandem offense. Thorne was able to nail the AoP with a Tope con Hilo on the outsde for a nearfall. Miller had Akam dominated until Akam powered through and body slammed Miller in his corner to allow his team to get the tandem moves in. [C]
Rezar took Miller to the ground and gave him clubbing blows. Akam tagged in and the team hit Miller with a side slam and stomp combo. Mauro and Nigel noted that TM-61 wrestled for Pro Wrestling Noah and their tights were colored after some of the legends in Noah. Millar escaped a cobra clutch and then reversed it into a DDT to allow for a hope tag. Thorne tagged in and worked on Rezar with the hot tag. Thorne dominated and hit Rezar with a cannonball in the corner. Rezar was able to use his weight to block a suplex but Thorne was able to lift Rezar into a modified Falcon Arrow for a nearfall.
Thorne teased a running move but ran into the boot of Rezar. The AoP hit a power bomb neckbreaker. Nick Miller broke up the subsequent pin attempt. The Authors went for a Super Collider but TM slipped out and isolated an Author. They hit a Saito Suplex and moonsault on one Author. Akam saved the day for his team by giving Thorne a nasty powerbomb from the inside to out on the apron. The Authors hit the last chapter on Nick Miller to get the win and advance in the tournament.
The Authors of Pain defeated TM-61 via pinfall in 7:31 of TV Time to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Classic.
Mauro talked about how the Authors continue on their path of destruction. They cut to a William Regal “Press Conference”. The press wanted favorites but William Regal didn’t want to pick. Since Regal wasn’t giving them anything, they moved on to Pete Dunne who said the UK Title was staying in the UK. Roderick Strong and The Undisputed Era surrounded Dunne to put stakes in for future matches. William Regal walked in to prevent confrontation. Bianca BelAir’s theme played as she was shown getting ready for her next match… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Strong tag team match with the favorites going over. Some people might complain about the team getting the big vignette push not going through but that’s realism, Vignettes don’t equal wins with stakes in sports. If that were the case my Lakers wouldn’t be sucking so bad these days. Anyway, great match as expected and looking forward to more TM-61 matches. The press conference thing was cool too and I like Roderick Strong and Adam Cole picking their fights in a logical way. The only thing I keep harping on these days is that Dunne is keeping up the strong heel work in the ring but he’s slowed down on in in the promos when that is was was so enthralling in the UK Tournament when he punked out that Sam Gladwell guy.
Eric Young was shown talking about chaos in some dingy looking basement. Alexander Wolfe said the chaos will continue. He said “United we purge”. Nikki Cross was play fighting all over him. Killian Dain grabbed Wolfe and said “Chaos will win”. Sanity all shared creepy laughs…
2. Bianca BelAir vs. Drew Renee. I thought the enhancement wrestler was a new ring announcer since she was dressed in more casual clothing. Of course Bianca dominated with her variation of the Three Amigos. BelAir hit only one more move, the reverse Power Bomb, and picked up the win.
Bianca BelAir defeated Drew Renee via pinfall in 1:19.
Nigel cut to a Lacey Evans interview from a recent NXT Live Event. Evans called her next opponent, Dakota Kai, classless. Evans said Kai is shaken up from getting beaten up by Shayna Baszler. Evans said she is going to check the status of Kai’s arm. Shayna Baszler walked into the scene and Evans walked away in fear. Shayna complained about the “Fighting Champion” Ember Moon ducking out and threatened something bad… [C]
Heavy Machinery were working out. Tucker Knight said they were the veal of NXT at one point. Otis Dozovic walked in doing bicep curls and saying Oh Yeah like he was the Kool Aid man. Knight said they are aged beef now. They both let out Oh Yeahs. Nigel McGuinness said that was a lot of beef…
Tomasso Ciampa walked into the stage and received a large swarm of boos. Ciampa held his crutch and was walking around in a golden leg brace slowly to the ring. The camera cut to audience members saying that Ciampa sucks. A “we want Johnny!” chant took over. Ciampa grabbed a mic for a promo but soaked in the heat first. The boos kept Ciampa from getting words out. Ciampa spent some time walking around the ring and teasing talking. Ciampa threw the mic on the ground and had enough which drew cheers because the fans got to him.
The fans went back to boos when he picked up the microphone. The cheers came back when he tossed the mic on the ground. The fans went into a nana goodbye song. They then went on to do a Delete chant. Ciampa snapped at a fan and took away his Johnny Gargano sign and ripped it. Ciampa then went on to beat up the paper sign with the crutch. Ciampa struck the “come at me bro” stance on the stage and walked away… [C]
John’s Thoughts: Great Promo with Zero words. Heels dream of moments like this and credit to Gargano’s Babyface-ness for being the impetus of this. Credit to Ciampa to playing the role to perfection in the limited time he’s been on TV since the heel turn. I wouldn’t mind seeing Ciampa stick around on NXT for a while since he can be a strong heel to strengthen this roster. This was a strong Launching Pad for whatever Ciampa is going to do next and set the tone for how to react to him at live events.
Mauro adertised Pete Dunne vs. Adam Cole for the WWE UK Championship. Nigel also advertised two more Dusty Tag Team Classic matches next week. Aleister Black made his fog entrance from the crowd entrance with the fog machine in sight. Mauro noted that Black is undefeated in singles matches (since Johnny Gargano does have a pinfall victory over him in a four way)…
3. Aleister Black vs. Killian Dain. Dain started of the match quickly with a shotgun dropkick. Dain went on to the power game by tossing Black around the ring. Black regain control with a Muay Thai combo. Black nailed Dain on the outside with a Golden Triangle Moonsault. [C]
Black had Dain isolated in the corner but Dain steamrolled over Black with his agile crossbody. Dain went on to the stomp attack in the corner. Dain focused his attack on Black’s shoulders. Nigel pointed out that Dain’s weight adds more impact to his stretches and pointed out that Dain is cognizant of his leg position at all times to prevent escape. Dain regained momentum with the Muay Thai elbows. Black gained control after a sweep and kick. Black got a nearfall after a lionsault on Dain.
Black fought off Dain from the apron. Dain hit a stiff lariat on a flying Black to lead to his own nearfall. Dain lifted Black by the jaw and beard hair. Black fought back with kicks. Dain put all his weight in a side slam. Dain hit his running senton and Vader Bomb to get a nearfall. Black escaped an electric chair slam with a victory roll. Black then pulled out the Black Mass on Dain for the victory.
Aleister Black defeated Killian Dain via pinfall in 8:30 of TV Time.
Nigel McGuinness said that Black picked his moment and took advantage of a small window of opportunity. Mauro said that Black is still undefeated in singles and the patch should be clear for the NXT Championship. Mauro said that Dain was en route for a victory and it was simply a Black Mass that gave Black the win….
John’s Thoughts: This was one of those good clash of styles matches with power/agility vs. kickboxing. I noticed that we haven’t really gotten any prolonged programs out of Dain. We were, with Strong and Sullivan, but that was put on hold due to injury. Dain is also a threat to get called up at any moment due to how impressive he is. WWE even called him up for one night last year by putting him in the WrestleMania Andrew the Giant Memorial match. On the other side of the coin, NXT continues to build up Aleister Black as a mystical legend and even his squash matches are epic battles. Black vs. Almas at WrestleMania should be amazing. We saw Black vs. Almas before but Almas was an enhancement wrestler at that point. Remember, “Enhancement” Almas lost to Cezar Bononi at one point and no one loses to Cezar Bononi.
Not the most unique of iterations, but NXT continues to give you a nice fix of pro wrestling and character development. What’s interesting covering 205 Live and NXT in consecutive days is how the worlds are slowly merging, but in a good way. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Audio Review for the Dot Net Members.
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