By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
Aired March 6, 2019 on WWE Network
Taped February 20, 2019 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University
A Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic teaser aired which featured all the tag teams coming together and stating their claims for the Dusty Classic cup…
The NXT theme aired. After that, Dusty Rhodes’ entrance music played to welcome viewers to the show. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson were on commentary. New main roster tag team, Ricochet and Aleister Black made their entrance.
1. Ricochet and Aleister Black vs. Fabien Aichner and Marcel Barthel in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Black and Aichner started off the match. Watson rightfully pointed out that Black and Ricochet are reminiscent of Finn Balor and Samoa Joe given they are two singles wrestlers. Aichner had the power advantage on the collar and elbow and got Barthel in with the advantage. Black took control by running the ropes and hitting his running kicks. Black tried to go off the top rope but Barthel hit Black with a European Uppercut. Aichner tagged in and put the boots to Black. Aichner and Black traded quick tags to cut the ring in half.
Barthel hit Black with a PK and knocked Ricochet off the apron to set up for a Aichner nearfall. Black got to a vertical base and tried to fend off Aichner. It was Aichner getting distracted by Ricochet with allowed Black to hit a leg sweep. Barthel tagged in. Ricochet had the hot tag. Ricochet caused Barthel to DDT Aichner off a neckbreaker by Ricochet. Ricochet hit Barthel with a Tiger Feint Kick and shoryuken. Ricochet hit a Standing Shooting Star on Barthel for a nearfall. Barthel yelled Nein and staggered Ricochet off the top rope. Aichner hit Ricochet with a catch suplex.
Barthel took out Black with a dive. Aichner hit a Rey Fenix like tightrope moonsault on Ricochet for a nearfall and NXT chant from the crowd. Ricochet grounded Aichner with a front dropkick. Aichner hit Ricochet with a Tornado DDT.
John’s Thoughts: Someday, maybe years from now, Ricochet and Aichner need to be allowed to have a barnburner singles match because these are freak athletes.
Ricochet fought off both EU members. Black tagged in and hit Barthel with a running meteora. Barthel threw Black in the ropes. The European Union hit Black with tandem basement dropkicks. Ricochet took Barthel off the top rope with a springboard frankensteiner while Black grounded Aichner. Aichner reversed Black’s signature lionsault with a catch and sitdown pin attempt. Aichner hit an impressive CQC combo on Black but Black spun out the Black Mass out of nowhere for the victory.
Aleister Black and Ricochet defeated Fabien Aichner and Marcel Barthel via pinfall in 8:17 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Mauro talked about how Barthel and Aichner really stood out here.
Moustache Mountain, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven, were shown backstage getting ready. They had a little face off with Ray Rowe and Hanson who were standing to the side…
John’s Thoughts: A great opening match to the Dusty Classic. I was a bit disappointed due to the big (and random) tag team push Ricochet and Black are getting on the main roster, which meant that Aichner and Barthel had zero to no chance to advance when you really think of it. Aichner and Barthel got rid of that with impressive and exciting offense to match Black and Ricochet. Good stuff.
Keith Lee was shown at the WWE Performance Center sparring with people like Eric Bugenhagen, Drew Gulak, Danny Burch, and others. Dominik Dijakovic walked over to complain with Lee. This sets up a rematch between Lee and Dijak in two weeks… [c]
2. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan vs. “The Forgotten Sons” Steve Cutler and Wesley Blake (w/Jaxon Ryker) in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Blake and Cutler dominated Lorcan early on by cutting the ring in half on Lorcan. Mauro noted that Blake is a former NXT Tag Team Champion (with the unmentioned Buddy Murphy). The Sons hit Lorcan with a backbreaker for a nearfall. Cutler hip tossed Black into Lorcan who was in the reverse tree of woe. Burch tagged in and hit Blake with a shotgun dropkick. Cutler tagged in and took a German Suplex from Danny.
Burch hit Cutler with a top rope dropkick. Burch tagged in Lorcan who struggled to get Cutler up for their tag team special. Nigel pointed out that it was a terrible decision to bring in the injured man. The Sons tried to take advantage but Lorcan threw his body around to fend out the Sons. Cutler hit Lorcan with a Clothesline from Hell and toss to get a nearfall on Lorcan. Cutler put Lorcan in a Boston Crab. Burch broke it up with a headbutt and went back to his corner to await a tag.
Burch tagged in. Cutler caught Burch with a shortarm punch. The Sons hit an assisted missile dropkick for a good nearfall on Burch. Burch tagged in the inuured Lorcan again who fired off his stiff chest chops. The then ran like a train into both Sons. Lorcan hit both opponents with a double blockbuster. Lorcan and Burch went for and hit their finisher on Cutler, but Blake broke up the subsequent pin attempt. Blake caught Lorcan and power bombed him into Cutler’s legs. The sons hit Lorcan with a Scorpion Death Drop and stomp combo for the win.
The Forgotten Sons defeated Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch via pinfall in 8:23 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament.
John’s Thoughts: Another fun tag team match in the classic and this year’s classic is already setting up to be better than last year’s disappointing one (due to injuries all across the board in that tournament). I really liked Nigel calling Burch out for the bad decision in tagging in a clearly injured Lorcan, but it made sense for Lorcan due to the flow of their tag team.
Velveteen Dream interrupted Mauro’s recap of the prior match. Dream posed on top of the announce table holding his North American Championship. Dream said this is not a speech, but a reminder that Dream is the new North American Champion. Dream soaked up chants. Dream’s promo was cut off by Matt Riddle’s entrance theme. Riddle walked out wearing his usual casual shorts, t-shirt, and flip flops. Riddle said he just walked out to say hi and congratulate Dream on his title victory.
Riddle said the “real talk” is that Riddle wants to get a closer look at the NA championship. Dream held out the belt a bit. Riddle said he now had a closer look. Riddle said next step is to wonder how the title would look around Riddle’s waist in the future. Dream said Riddle must be on cloud nine. Dream said he’s not Riddle’s bro. Dream said the spotlight, Dream snapped his fingers to darken the arena and spotlight himself, belongs to the Velveteen Dream.
The Undisputed Era quartet was shown getting ready backstage…
Nigel hyped Moustache Mountain vs. Street Profits for after the commercial… [c]
John’s Thoughts: A good exchange to set up Riddle and Dream in the near future. Riddle’s stoner promos may be divisive for some, but I get a kick out of it and feel that he’s really resonating with others at a similar level. The guy has similar and good comic timing to Kyle O’Reilly. Also, like O’Reilly, the guy’s a beast in the ring. Here’s hoping Dream gets back to the mind games that made him famous and we’d be in for a great NA championship feud.
Io Shirai and Kairi Sane were interviewed backstage. Shirai noted how Bianca Belair never pinned Shayna Baszler while Shirai did. Replays aired of Shirai and Belair hitting their finisher on Baszler in the referenced tag team match. Kairi Sane said she wants to go for the title but she believes in Io. Io talked in Japan-glish for a bit. Shirai said “Io Shirai… Ichiban” which means “Io Shirai number 1”. Nigel hyped Shirai vs. Belair for next week…
John’s Thoughts: A good backstage promo for Shirai to deliver. I’m guessing it was scripted, but scripted is the way to go when Shirai is starting to pick up the english language. The content was simple and effective.
The Street Profits made their entrance. Montez Ford had a cool red beanie bandit mask and crown…
3. “Moustache Mountain” Tyler Bate and Trent Seven vs. “The Street Profits” Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Both babyface teams had dueling chants to start off the match. By the way, Bate and Seven’s beards are thicker than ever. Do we call them Beard Mountain? Beard Valley? Beard Gulch? Anyway, Bate and Seven started the match off with chain wrestling. Ford landed on his feet after a Bate monkey flip. Dawkins got the blind tag in to blindside Bate with a lariat. Dawkins hit Bate with a Belly To Back suplex. Bate shook up Dawkins with an enzuigiri. Seven tagged in, stood there so Bate could hit a senton off his back on Dawkins, and got a nearfall on Dawkins.
Dawkins escaped the hold of Seven and then sent Seven to his corner to cut the ring in half. Dawkins hit a stiff PK on Seven’s back. Ford paced around showing that mean streak we started to see in the Profits’ last match. Ford manhandled Seven around with a cravate. Seven hulked up and hit Ford with a chop. Seven made Ford flich with a fake punch and then hit Ford with a DDT. Bate tagged in and hit the tagged Dawkins with his rapid Fist of the North Star punches. Bate hit an exploder suplex on Dawkins followed by a standing shooting star for a nearfall.
Seven tossed Ford over the top rope. Dawkins escaped a full nelson by Seven and hit Bate with a lariat. Bate nosold and hit Dawkins with a Koppu Kick. Madness ensued. Seven was disposed out of the ring. Ford hit his finisher, the Frog Splash, on Bate. Bate kicked out at two. Seven tripped Ford off the top rope and hit him with an apron suplex. Bate hit Dawkins with a Deadlift German Suplex. Moustache Mountain hit an awkward, but the awkward made it look painful, Burning Hammer and Double Stomp combo for the pinfall win.
Moustache Mountain defeated The Street Profits via pinfall in 7:22 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament.
Nigel noted that the finish kinda looked bowling shoe ugly, but effective overall (Nigel and I always have very similar commentary on these matches).
John’s Thoughts: This might be one of the best in-ring episodes top to bottom in a long while. Another stellar match. Some people might get fatigued at all the workrate at this point. I can understand that. That said, it’s tough not to get into a Moustache Mountain match. More good stuff.
The reunited reDRagon, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, made their entrance. Speaking of reuniting, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa each made their individual singles entrances and then stood on the ramp side-by-side once Ciampa made it to the center of the ramp. Suddenly, the titantron changed, and the “Chrome Hearts” DIY theme played…
4. “#DIY” Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa vs. “The Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Fish and Gargano started off the match. Gargano hit Fish with a few armdrags. O’Reilly tagged in and ate a Gargano armdrag himself. Ciampa tagged in and worked on O’Reilly’s arm. Ciampa stomped a mudhole in Fish in the corner. Gargano hit a dropkick on Fish. Fish managed to get Gargano to the corner. Ciampa tagged in and allowed DIY to get the numbers advantage by separating The Era. Ciampa hit O’Reilly with a neckbreaker for a nearfall. Fish and O’Reilly swarmed Gargano at their corner.
Fish hit Gargano with a snap suplex for a two count. Fish and O’Reilly hit Gargano with tandem Muay Thai clinch knees. O’Reilly put Gargano in a heel hook so Fish could hit Gargano with a slingshot senton for the nearfall. Fish and O’Reilly isolated Gargano on their side of the ring. O’Reilly took Ciampa off the apron with a punch. O’Reilly hit cool cartwheel DDTs on Gargano. Fish tagged in and hit a wheelbarrow Suplex on Gargano. Fish locked Gargano in a body scissors while clubbing the back of Gargano’s head. Fish fish hooked Gargano’s lips, which Mauro noted makes sense due to Fish’s name.
Gargano ran off of Fish and hit O’Reilly with a Tornado DDT to get a window of opportunity. Fish tried to trip Ciampa but Ciampa shoved Fish into the ringpost. Ciampa got the hot tag and hit both opponents with high knees. O’Reilly tried to counter with strikes but Ciampa countered with a knee to the back of O’Reilly’s neck. Ciampa hit O’Reilly with a running knee. Nigel noted that this is the best Ciampa’s looked in a long time. Speaking of Nigel, Ciampa hit O’Reilly with the Tower of London. O’Reilly blocked a suplex by hugging Ciampa’s leg, but Ciampa deadlifted o’Reilly into two German Suplexes. Gargano took down Fish with a cannonball from the apron.
Ciampa hit O’Reilly with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. Gargano fought off both men with kicks. Gargano went for his signature Slingshot Spear on O’Reilly but O’Reilly turned it into a Guillotine Choke in his favor. Ciampa helped Gargano escape and get the advantage with a running knee leading to a nearfall. O’Reilly hit a feint axe and smash move on Gargano. In another ode to Nigel, O’Reilly no sold two lariats and used the second and bottom rope to hit Gargano with a rebound lariat.
Fish and Ciampa brawled to the top rope. O’Reilly grounded Gargano outside. Ciampa tried to fend off both Era members. Fish hit Ciampa with a Super Falcon Arrow . More dives ensued from the Era. O’Reilly locked Ciampa in a Cross Armbreaker. Gargano tossed Fish into O’Reilly to break up the submission. O’Reilly hit Ciampa with a running knee. Ciampa hit O’Reilly with a hanging DDT and Gargano hit his finishing slingshot DDT on O’Reilly. O’Reilly kicked out at two. DIY hit their signature knee-superkick sandwich finisher on O’Reilly for the victory.
DIY defeated The Undisputed Era via pinfall in 14:01 to advance in the Dusty Rhode Tag Team Classic Tournament.
Highlights aired of the prior match as Chrome Hearts played. Ciampa and Gargano celebrated and held their arms high to celebrate their win. War Raiders, Hanson and Ray Rowe, walked out to size up their potential competition. The Raiders held up their title belts to close out the show. NXT ended with about a 13 minute overrun…
John’s Thoughts: I was about to think that the watchng high workrate fatigue was about to hit me, but they planned out this match very well to mitigate that problem. The first third of the match was very slow and served as a good built-in buffer to set up a really good war in the end. Kyle O’Reilly is a wrestling machine and continues to prove he’s one of the deceptively best overall wrestlers in all of WWE. Fish wasn’t bad either, but he does need to reestablish himself coming off of his long layoff. DIY looked like they used to, two great storytellers. The icing on the cake was the return of the “Chrome Hearts” entrance music to invoke a positive sense of nostalgia.
If you’re a fan of good in-ring storytelling, this was one of the best wrestling shows containing such in a long while. This has the potential to set up to be the best Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic of all time, especially coming off the worst Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic of last year which looked like it was held together by duct tape due to all the injuries involved in last year’s contest. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT hit list (expect few to none misses) as well as my Members Exclusive Audio podcast…