1/27 NXT TV results: Moore’s review of Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly vs. NXT Tag Champs Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan in a non-title match, Santos Escobar vs. Curt Stallion for the NXT Cruiserweight Title, Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches


By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)

Orlando, Florida at Capitol Wrestling Center (WWE Performance Center)
Aired January 27, 2021 on USA Network

[Hour One] Highlights from last week’s Fight Pit match and NXT show aired…

Vic Joseph, Wade Barrett, and Beth Phoenix were on commentary…

Drake Maverick and Killian Dain were already in the ring doing their weekly dose of happy energy thing, by giving the world the joy of their whistling entrance theme. Their opponents were Wes Lee (Dezmond Xavier) and Nash Carter (Zach Wentz) in a quarterfinal Dusty Cup match. I was told that Lee and Carter may be a Rush Hour reference…

1. Drake Maverick and Killian Dain vs. “MSK” Nash Carter and Wes Lee in a Quarterfinal match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Maverick dominated the initial part of the match with slower chain wrestling. Lee dragged Maverick to the corner for MSK to hit Maverick with quick offense from their quick tags. Carter hit Maverick with a Bronco Buster. Dain tagged in and shoved Maverick into MSK. Dain cleaned house. Dain hit Carter with a senton. Dain body slammed Maverick into Carter to give Maverick the two count.

Dain tagged in. Dain and Maverick hit Carter with stereo pump kicks. Lee broke up the pin attempt. Lee tagged in and MSK chopped down Dain with rapid roundhouse kicks. Dain shoved Lee off the top rope. Vic sent the show to Picture-in-picture.[c]

Dain cut the ring in half on Lee back from the break. Dain hit Lee with a Body Slam and Senton. Maverick got a two count. Maverick locked Lee in a front chancery. Maverick was backdropped which allowed Lee to tag in Carter. Carter hit Maverick with a plethora of kicks along with drop kicking Dain off the apron. Lee tagged in. MSK hit Maverick with the Hot Fire Flame (Lee shoving Carter during a standing moonsault). Dain broke up Lee’s pin. After a bit of an exchange, MSK hit Maverick with their finisher, a Hart Attack Blockbuster for the win.

MSK defeated Dain and Maverick via pinfall in 11:04 to advance to the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

The graphic showed up on the LED fan grid to show that MSK will face Legado Del Fantasma or Lucha House Party in the semi finals…

Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch were shown rolling up to the WWE PC…

A vignette aired to spotlight Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez along with Aliyah and Jessi Kamea in regards to their upcoming Dusty Classic match. There was a Robert Stone (the artist formerly known as Robbie E) who hyped up Aliyah..[c]

John’s Thoughts: A really fun Dusty Classic match with two of NXT’s funnest teams to watch (both are fun to watch in different ways). We know that MSK are naturally amazing, but Dain and Maverick are starting to develop a Rhino and Heath lovability to them. Their offense where Dain uses Maverick as a walking weapon (no and he’s not Josh Alexander) is starting to click. The right team went over here because MSK should be presented as WWE’s hottest young tag team while Dain and Maverick can take the loss as lovable babyfaces.

McKenzie Mitchell performed a sitdown interview with Curt Stallion to introduce him to the WWE fans. Stallion talked about growing up in the town watching shooting stars and how that inspired him to become a WWE star…

John’s Thoughts: Very brief, but we’ve finally got to hear from Curt Stallion who came off very affable and wholesome here. There’s room in wrestling for wholesome babyfaces and I’m looking forward to see him wrestle and get a chance to exhibit his character. I also really liked McKenzie Mitchell in the sitdown situation. McKenzie has come a long way since her early TNA days. She really started hitting her stride after 2015 as Impact’s backstage interviewer and she has gotten even better in WWE.

Entrances for the women’s Dusty Classic match took place. Raquel and Dakota now come out to their own separate entrance themes. Beth called Stone’s suit a fashion emergency. Kai was in fuchsia hair and cyberpunk ring gear (which if I’m remembering correctly, is a tribute to the late Hana Kamura as Kai has put out on her social media)…

2. Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez vs. Jessi Kamea and Aliyah (w/Robert stone) in a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Raquel and Dakota now come out to their own separate entrance themes. Beth called Stone’s suit a fashion emergency. Gonzalez womanhandled both opponents early on. Kamea, who’s fairly tall, managed to get control of the match, dominating both Gonzalez and Kai. Aliyah tagged in and continued the momentum. Kai regained control after catching Aliyah with a big boot. Gonzalez tagged in and hit Aliyah with a whirlwind slam.

Gonzalez tossed Kai’s boots into Aliyah’s gut for a two count. Aliyah managed to catch Kai with a pendulum DDT. Gonzalez and Kamea tagged in with Gonzalez catching Kamea with a lariat. Gonzalez hit Kamea with a leg trap uranage for the victory.

Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai defeated Jessi Kamea and Aliyah via pinfall in 5:56 to advance to the next round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. 

The updated graphic showed that Kai and Gonzalez will face Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter next week…

McKenzie Mitchell interviewed the Way. Hartwell and LeRae were hyped about possibly winning the Dusty tournament. Gargano freaked out when McKenzie mentioned Kushida’s name. Johnny’s spiritual son, Austin Theory, kept telling McKenzie that saying Kushida is like a curse in the Gargano household and that she shouldn’t say the word “Kushida”. Johnny kept freaking out due to Theory constantly saying the word “Kushida” unintentionally. The Way all walked away. Dexter Lumis opened up the curtains and did his dead stare…[c]

John’s Thoughts: Wade Barrett was good on commentary, pointing out that Kai and Gonzalez now have a direction as a tag team now that NXT has developed a goal for the NXT Women’s Tag division (which should be the Tag Titles, but for some reason WWE keeps the women’s tag titles hostage and stagnant on Raw/Smackdown). Kai and Gonzalez vs. Carter and Catanzaro should be a very fun match next week and I can’t tell you who’s winning that one.

Scarlett Bordeaux was doing a Tarot Card reading. She wasn’t clear on who she was talking about other than comparing someone to the Heirophant who leads their followers…

Beth Phoenix advertised Tegan Nox appearing on Brie Larson’s YouTube channel in a workout session while Tegan is recovering from her latest injury…

3. Tyler Rust (w/Malcolm Bivens) vs. a random enhancement wrestler. The match quickly started without much warning. Rust’s opponent was a guy who looked like someone took Johnny Curtis and took away all of his attributes in the WWE 2K character creation screen. Rust manhandled the enhancement wrestler.  A picture-in-picture promo aired where Malcolm Bivens talked about hand picking this opponent who will test Rust. The enhancement guy got a nearfall on Rust after a backslide.

The enhancement guy then locked Rust in a Guillotine choke. Rust escaped by tackling the opponent in the corner. Rust hit “Rios” with a flip One Percenter. Rust then locked Rios in a modified Koji Clutch for the submission win.

Tyler Rust defeated an enhancement wrestler via submission in 3:56.

Rust and Bivens posed and took a selfie over the defeated Rios. The show cut to spotlight vignettes for the next Dusty Classic match…[c]

McKenzie interviewed Finn Balor. Before McKenzie could get out the question, Kyle O’Reilly showed up to ask Balor if he’s ready. Balor said he’s always ready. O’Reilly asked Balor if he can trust Balor. Balor said “what do you think”? O’Reilly said they don’t have to trust each other as long as they are on the same page tonight. They both said they’ll see each other in the ring…

Kushida and Leon Ruff were already in the ring. The Grizzled Young Veterans, Zack Gibson and James Drake made their entrance with Gibson cutting a promo while walking. Zack Gibson mocked Kushida’s jeans and called Ruff a one-hit-wonder. Gibson talked about how GYV’s advantage is they have more time as a tag team together. Gibson then went into his formula “Soon to be recognized…” catchphrase…

John’s Thoughts: Finally. They let Gibson cut a promo that was more about getting heat as opposed to just being his “soon to be recognized” schtick. They need to allow Gibson do do more of this in the states.

4. Kushida and Leon Ruff vs. “The Grizzled Young Veterans” Zack Gibson and James Drake in a quarterfinal match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Ruff and Kushida traded tags and dominated Drake in the opening minutes. Drake managed to slam Ruff to the mat and knock Kush off the apron. Kushida recovered and allowed Ruff to nail Gibson with a move for the two count.[c]

[Hour Two] Drake and Gibson had the advantage over Ruff back from the break. GYV hit Ruff with a Plancha and Backbreaker tandem move at ringside. Ruff got a window of opportunity after hitting Gibson with a surprise neckbreaker. Drake tagged in and yanked Ruff to the corner. Kushida tagged in and worked on Drake a bit. Gibson tagged in. Kushida locked Gibson in an octopus hold. GYV ended up hitting Kushida with a Doomsday Device to give Drake a two count. Kushida escaped a Ticket to Mayhem attack and caught GYV with a handstand boot.

Ruff tagged in and knocked Gibson to ringside with a missile dropkick. Ruff hit Drake with a dive. Ruff hit Gibson with a diving senton to ringside. Ruff hit Gibson with a rebound lariat. Drake shoved Gibson out of the way of Ruff’s Swanton. Drake tagged in and dropkicked Kushida off the apron. GYV hit Ruff with Ticket to Mayhem for the clean victory.

The Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Leon Ruff and Kushida via pinfall in 9:51 of on-air time to advance to the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.

Wade Barrett continued to be the hometown guy by gloating about the Brits winning. The graphic showed that GYV will face Undisputed Era or Ciampa and Thatcher in the next round. Suddenly Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory showed up to put the boots to Kushida and Ruff. Speaking of boots, Theory’s bright red sneakers were really distracting. Theory held Ruff in place as Gargano hit Kushida with One Final Beat. Dexter Lumis showed up behind Theory to cause Theory to break the hold out of fear. The Way backtracked up the ramp with Gargano looking confident and Theory looking fearful…

The camera cut to backstage where Steve Corino, William Regal, and referees were checking on a beat down Curt Stallion. Stallion said the word “Legado” to imply he was jumped by the Legado Del Fantasma faction…[c]

John’s Thoughts: This is the best Drake and Gibson have looked since returning to NXT US. Part of it was the Gibson promo to start the match, but they also got to work a good match against a solid babyface team. GYVs have mostly been in matches against bland heel tag teams for bland heel-vs-heel matchups. With a few more matches and a few more  Gibson promos/vignettes, these two can get back to being the applauded tag team that they were about two years ago. I also would like to commend NXT for elevating Leon Ruff to a credible level on the NXT roster.

Legado Del Fantasma, Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde, and Raul Mendoza, were shown gloating in the locker room. Escobar then looked nervous when he picked up a playing card, which is seemingly a calling card…

Toni Storm made her entrance in her ring gear. Storm was trying to cut a promo on Io Shirai, but was cut off by Io Shirai making her entrance to confront her in the ring. Shirai said said she’ll fight Toni anywhere and it’s clear that Shirai doesn’t not like Toni. Shirai and Storm then brawled. Storm ended up being the one to retreat. Mercedes Martinez showed up from behind and attacked Io. Martinez hit Shirai with a chokebomb. Martinez showed up to pose with the title belt. Martinez and Storm argued over holding the belt. Shirai nailed both heels with a slingshot dropkick.

Storm shoved Shirai off the top rope when Shirai went for a moonsault off the apron. Storm tackled Martinez into the ring apron to get her out of the picture. Storm hit Shirai with a series of hip attacks in the corner. Toni Storm then stood in the center of the ring holding up the NXT Women’s Championship…

McKenzie Mitchell asked Isaiah Scott about confronting Bronson Reed before Reed’s match. Scott said people are blaming him when he’s just doing what everyone else is doing. Scott ended up disrespecting McKenzie a bit, saying people are only pointing fingers at him…[c]

John’s Thoughts: It looks like they’re setting up a three-way picture for the Women’s Championship at this point. Here’s hoping that Io Shirai ends up winning due to Storm and Martinez imploding as selfish heels. I say this because it doesn’t hurt to keep Shirai as an unstoppable buzzsaw, but also important that Storm and Martinez be protected.

A cinematic Imperium promo aired. Alexander Wolfe, Marcel Barthel, and Marcel Barthel talked about the trio being established in the US while Walter is keeping control of NXT UK. Wolfe ended the promo by saying that his arrival is only the beginning…

McKenzie interviewed Roderick Strong and and Adam Cole. Cole talked about the fight pit showing that Thatcher and Ciampa will be a handful. Strong called Thatcher and Ciampa “dorks”. Cole ended the interview with his Undisputed catchphrase…

5. “The Colossal” Bronson Reed vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott. Reed hit Scott with rapid punches and dumped him to ringside. Scott knocked Reed off the apron with a pump kick followed by a thrust boot. Reed turned Scott inside-out by tripping him on the apron. Reed caught Scott with an awesome suicide dive. The show cut to regular commercial.[c]

Scott was pummeling Reed with body punches. Reed used a shove to escape a Paydirt attempt. Reed hit Scott with a running hip thrust and a running senton. Reed hit Scott with a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Reed’s shoulder gave out on a body slamm attempt. Scott caught Reed with a jump roundhouse to stagger Reed on the top rope. Scott caught Reed with a super elbow slam and a House Call. Scott hit Reed with a 450 splash. Reed kicked out at two by tossing Scott into the air.

Reed recovered and hit Scott with a headbutt and shortarm lariat. Reed hit Scott with a Tsunami Splash for the victory.

Bronson Reed defeated Isaiah Scott via pinfall in 5:47. 

John’s Thoughts: A great match and I think now’s the time to elevate Bronson Reed into a title picture. He really shined in the North American title picture when they gave him that run heading into his takeover ladder match.

Tommaso Ciampa cut a promo in his backstage set. Ciampa talked about the fights that he remembers, the fights that teach him respect. Timothy Thatcher sat next to Ciampa and explained that he respected Ciampa after the fight pit and accepted the offer to join Ciampa in the Dusty Classic. Ciampa said next week is going to be a war with Undisputed Era.

Legado Del Fantasma vs. Lucha House Party and Undisputed Era vs. Thatcher and Ciampa were announced as the Dusty matches for next week’s NXT Show…

Kyle O’Reilly made his entrance to the PC arena…[c]

A Smackdown ad aired that focused on the Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens feud…

Finn Balor made his entrance for the main event. Vic Joseph noted that Balor is featured on the WWE Superstar Spectacle special  for the India audience on the WWE Network. Lorcan and Burch came out without Pete Dunne…

6. NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch vs. Kyle O’Reilly and NXT Champion Finn Balor in a non-title match. Joseph noted that O’Reilly is medically cleared from is dislocated jaw “injury”. Balor took down Lorcan with chain wrestling. O’Reilly tagged in, continuing to show that he has bad blood with Balor. O’Reilly worked on Burch with a side headlock. O’Reilly turned a lucha armdrag into an armbar. Burch reversed the armbar into a headlock to allow him to tag in Lorcan. Lorcan took down O’Reilly with a European Uppercut.

Burch tagged back in and locked O’Reilly with a grounded headlock. Burch threw in some punches during the headlock (more wrestlers need to do this). O’Reilly escaped a body slam and tagged in Finn Balor. Balor and O’Reilly traded tags to keep momentum and freshness over Burch. Barrett noted that it must hurt O’Reilly to tag team with an unfamiliar tag partner after all his years teaming with Fish. O’Reilly and Balor glared at each other heading into picture-in-picture commercial.[c]

Balor stomped on Lorcan and Burch with his illegal rope boots. Lorcan and Burch tackled Balor to their corner, but Balor continued to beat up both opponents. Lorcan got control after tripping Balor and slamming Balor’s elbow into the mat. Lorcan and Burch traded tags to keep Balor under control. Barrett and Phoenix noted that Balor may not be fully healed since his title defense at New Years Evil. Beth name dropped Pat McAfee in talking about Lorcan and Burch selling their soul.

Lorcan worked on Balor with joint manipulation. Balor knocked out Lorcan with a Pele Kick. Balor struggled to get to his corner due to Lorcan holding his arm. Balor wondered if O’Reilly was having alligator arms to the situation. Balor caught Lorcan with Sling Blade to get the hot tag to O’Reilly, who cleaned house. Burch kicked O’Reilly in the jaw to stagger O’Reilly. Burch went for a Missile Dropkick but was caught out of the air by O’Reilly’s heel hook.

Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Balor defeated Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan via submission in 11:56.

Pete Dunne showed up in the ring. Lorcan tossed O’Reilly into the steel steps. Lorcan, Burch, and Dunne then beat down O’Reilly and Balor. Lorcan and Burch held Balor in place while Dunne put the boots to Balor’s head. Strong and Cole walked to the ring, causing Dunne to shrug and break Balor’s fingers with Dunne’s signature wishbone spot. O’Reilly, Cole, and Strong sprinted to the ring to clear the heels. Balor and Undisputed Era stood tall in the ring. Balor ended up stepping away first. The show closed with no overrun this week…

John’s Thoughts: A good TV main event with O’Reilly and Balor doing a good job at selling the “Aesop Fable: Scorpion and Frog” trope of O’Reilly being paranoid that the “Scorpion” Balor will stab him in the back. The only thing I’m not the biggest fan of is WWE’s trend of jobbing out the Tag Team Champions to singles main eventers, but Lorcan and Burch are chickens*it enough to come off as vulnerable champions. They kinda need Pat McAfee around to get them some heat back though.

Just like last week’s show, this was another good edition. The Dusty Classic matches lack the star power of a lot of their singles matches, but they are at least making a solid effort to rehabilitate or establish their new tag division via this tournament. I’ve said that in the past, and they sometimes end up forgetting the tag teams soon after. Here’s hoping that with teams like MSK and GYV, they can showcase some intriguing tag team wrestling down the road. This tournament also allows them to not rush on their singles feuds, allowing them to be creatively fresh once the tournament concludes.

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