The inaugural Dusty Rhodes Classic tag team tournament kicks off and we’ve got a good variety of matches and storylines in this week’s NXT Report…
Show opens with a video package to hype the Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament, which was a nice tribute to the American Dream.
1. The Ascension vs. Rhyno & Baron Corbin
The Ascension are given a hero’s welcome, with plenty of chants of ‘welcome back’. The commentators put over that this is the most fired up they’ve been in months, which is very true. If The Ascension want to be over again, they should ask to come back to NXT. This is rough and ready action in the early going, with The Ascension taking control. Corbin throws Viktor into the corner which really slows down the action and Rhyno comes in to take control. The Ascension are total babyfaces in this match. Konner gets the hot tag and makes a pretty standard comeback, but the crowd is going insane for him. They set Ryhno up for The Fall of Man, but Corbin distracts Viktor and Rhyno scores a Gore on Konner for the win. The heels don’t celebrate with each other, which was a nice touch.
Backstage, Adrian Neville and his cape is with his tag team partner in this tournament Solomon Crowe. Neville talks about how he can’t wait to represent Dusty in the tournament and make him proud. Crowe then cuts a pretty great promo about winning the tournament.
We get another video package for Nia Jax, who talks about her destiny.
2. Alexa Bliss vs. Blue Pants
Blue Pants needs to retire once she’s done with NXT, because she’ll never be this over ever again. This is an odd match, because the crowd is into Blue Pants, but didn’t cheer when she made her comeback. There’s chants of “let’s go Blue Pants” and “Blue Pants city”, but that was about it. Alexa hits the backflip double knees and the Sparkle Splash for the win.
Backstage, William Regal is with – would you believe it – Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa, who are competing in the Dusty Rhodes Classic when Tyler Breeze bursts in. He is asking for tag team partner and wants someone who can help him win the tournament. Regal shoots him down for interrupting him talking to the ‘hottest free agents in wrestling’ and says Breeze can face them next week with his partner – Bull Dempsey. Breeze is annoyed.
We then get a taped promo from Emma about her shock win last week. Shock is right. She says that there is no Diva’s Revolution without Emma.
3. Apollo Crews vs. Martin Stone
Marty Stone makes TV once again! Crews shows off his awesome athletic ability with some great looking dropkicks and then grounds Stone with an arm drag. This guy will be WWE World Heavyweight Champion someday, mark my words. Stone takes over the match to a completely dead crowd. Seriously, you could hear a pin drop. Stone gets him in a rest hold and the crowd die some more. Crews makes a comeback with a standing enziguri and this wakes the crowd up. He then hits the Gorilla Press and standing Moonsault for the win.
Backstage, Jason Jordan & Chad Gable are with Devin talking about their match with Neville and Crowe. Jordan says that they are not the underdogs and they’re going to win. Gable then asks who history is written by and notes that it’s written by the winners. And because they’re winners, they’re writing their own ticket to the finals of the tournament. Gable is the best. He gets Jordan to finish off his catchphrase. These two are a great team together.
After a commercial break, Devin is with Finn Balor to talk about his upcoming title defences around Texas. Balor talks about how excited he is to defend the championship and plant the flag of NXT in Texas. Devin then brings in his tag team partner for the tournament – Samoa Joe. Balor has a smile on his face, but Joe does not. Joe says that he knows the title is important to Balor, but the tournament needs to be important to him too. Balor says he’s ready and Joe says he should be.
4. Eva Marie vs. Billie Kay
The former Jessie is back in squash action with All Red Robot. Corey Graves is playing Jerry Lawler circa 2000 with Trish Stratus whenever Eva Marie is out. They are trying so hard to remind us that Eva is working REALLY HARD to improve. Not working guys. Crowd boo throughout the match. Eva goes to shout “all red everything”, but Billie Kay kicks her in the face, which was a tremendous spot. I rewound it to watch it again, it was that funny. Eva does regain control though and hits a couple of rest holds and runs awkwardly around the ring. There is a small contingency in the crowd (mostly women) who want to cheer for Eva and are chanting “let’s go Eva”, to which 90% of the crowd (mostly men) reply, “Eva sucks”. Kay makes a comeback and hits a suplex, which results in what the crowd thinks is a three count. I think Marie didn’t quite kick out enough for the crowd to notice, so the ref just stopped counting. Either that or Marie forgot to kick out. This was the same ref as we had last week in the 4-way women’s match, so he wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice by counting a false finish. This was very awkward. And amongst a chorus of boos, Marie hits The Kendrick for the win. The commentators remind us, again, that Eva Marie is working REALLY HARD to improve.
We get a taped interview from Brooklyn with Enzo & Cass with The Hype Bros. Mojo is acting like a knob. They talk about how awesome the New York crowd was. This accomplished nothing.
5. Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. Neville & Solomon Crowe
Incredible fast paced action to kick things off. The crowd are super into Neville, not so much Crowe. The crowd erupts when Neville gets into the ring and he pulls out his awesome offense against Jordan and Gable. Back from the break and Neville and Crowe are still in control, but Jordan manages to make a comeback to isolate Crowe. They do a spot where Gable holds his towel in front of Crowe in the corner and Jordan charges at him like a bull. That was awesome. Jordan also fans down Gable with the towel. Crowe gets the hot tag to Neville who runs in like a house of fire. He’s tremendous. He sets Jordan up for the Red Arrow, but Gable pulls him out of the ring. Neville switches position and does a HUGE moonsault to the outside, which Gable very nearly misses the catch. Crowe also dives to the outside. Neville attempts a springboard, but Jordan catches him and launches him into the air. This is a great match. Crowe tags himself in and hits a running knee into the corner. He attempts some sort of running move at Jordan, but he catches him and reverses it into a German Suplex. Whoa! Jordan and Gable hit their double team move on Crowe for the win to advance in the tournament. A great match.
Now that Takeover: Brooklyn is behind us, we can get NXT back on track. This was a perfectly balanced show of storylines, squash matches and great in-ring action. If only NXT could be like this every week. The Eva Marie botch was a low point, but the two tag matches made up for it.
Luke Owen is the Deputy Editor of Flickering Myth and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.