It’s round one of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic this week on NXT, I’m Scott Hammond and I’ll be taking you through all four first-round matches.
NXT started this week with a great video highlighting all eight teams in the tournament that fed into the first match of the night.
Ricochet & Aleister Black vs Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner (The European Union)
Calling them the European Union to an Englishman feels like a bit of a slap in the face. If that’s the case, they should rename Moustache Mountain ‘Brexit’ and be done with it. I also had no idea that Aichner was Italian. They both have a very stern stereotypical German look. Black and Aichner started the match. Aichner had a very impressive size advantage in this match. Early on Aichner tagged in Barthel, he tried to work Black over, who recovered enough to hit a seated dropkick followed by a nice European arm drag. Barthel then hit a stiff European uppercut to Black, which led into a two-man beat down of Black.
Double team action by the European Union as Aichner hit a spinebuster, which was then followed up by a stinging kick by Barthel to Black. Black managed to recover and got the hot tag to Ricochet who hit a quick hurricanrana on Aichner, then into a clever DDT/Backbreaker combination on both opponents. Ricochet then hit an awesome looking diving uppercut followed by a standing Shooting Star Press on Barthel for a two-count. Aichner recovered enough to hit a step-up enzuigiri on Ricochet in the corner, then threw Ricochet off the top rope into Aichner, who caught him very impressively into a brainbuster. I think I’m becoming a fan of this tag team!
Barthel then hit a double springboard moonsault on Ricochet for a two-count. Ricochet performed a roll-through drop on Aichner, but the momentum lasted only a second as Ricochet turned into a springboard tornado DDT from Barthel. Both men then made tags, Black came out and hit a knee strike on Barthel, and followed that up with a double stomp on Aichner, as Ricochet hit a top rope hurricanrana on Barthel. Barthel rolled to the outside but was caught with a Tope Suicida by Ricochet. Back in the ring, after some reversals, Black hit the Black Mass on Aichner for the pinfall victory.
Winners: Aleister Black and Ricochet
Ricochet and Black are the first team advance to the semi-finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Fantastic opener.
A highlight package aired of the match between Dominik Dijakovic and Keith Lee from last week, as well as some video from the Performance Centre where both men wanted to fight. They face each other in two weeks on NXT.
The Forgotten Sons (Cutler & Blake) vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Birch
The Forgotten Sons were out first, I hate their music so much. It needs to be changed. Followed by Oney Lorcan (I still find this amusing) and Danny Birch. Cutler and Birch started, but Lorcan was tagged in early. Blake then made a blind tag and hit a pendulum backbreaker on Lorcan. The heels then beat down on Lorcan, hitting a double backbreaker, into another variation of the same move. Both men were focussed on Lorcan’s back. Blake then set up Lorcan in a reverse Tree of Woe and hit a cannonball to Lorcan’s back. Lorcan then made the hot tag to Birch, who hit a German suplex on both Cutler and then Blake. Birch then hit a middle rope dropkick on Blake, who then tagged Lorcan back in, who sold his back injury, and tried a comeback on Blake but was cut off with a butterfly backbreaker for a two count.
Cutler then cut off Lorcan with a Boston Crab. Lorcan was saved by Birch who hit a headbutt on Cutler. Birch again then made a tag to Lorcan, who went back and forth selling his back and then not, and began chopping both Cutler and Blake, before hitting a double blockbuster on them both. Birch then entered the ring and he and Lorcan hit their spike DDT finisher on Blake for a two count. Blake recovered enough to hit a buckle bomb on Lorcan into Cutler’s knees in the corner. Blake and Cutler then hit their tandem reverse DDT into a foot stomp for the pinfall victory.
Winners: The Forgotten Sons (Blake and Cutler)
After the break, the announcers were interrupted by the new North American Champion, the Velveteen Dream. Dream got onto the announce table and posed to the live crowd. He took a mic and said he wanted to remind everyone that he was North American Champion. Before he could continue, he was interrupted by Matt Riddle (ugh). Riddle said he came out to congratulate Dream on his title win, but couldn’t help wonder what it would be like to be North American Champion one day. Dream then told Riddle that he must be on cloud 9, and is not his ‘bro’. Dream then said the spotlight is on him, he then snapped his fingers and a spotlight then focused on Dream. Weird segment, and very short.
A promo recapping the conflict between Io Shirai and Bianca Belair, promoting a match between the two on next weeks NXT.
Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) vs Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven)
The Street Profits were out first followed by ‘Brexit’… I mean Moustache Mountain. So, as a Brit, I was very biased watching this match, I’m a big fan of Moustache Mountain. Tyler Bate and Montez Ford started the match with some good chain wrestling. Angelo Dawkins made a blind tag and hit a knockdown on Bate. Bate recovered and hit a step up enzuigiri and made a tag to Trent Seven. They then hit a weird double team move with Bate coming off the top rope onto Dawkins, but he recovered quickly and made the tag to Ford, who hit a quick kick on Seven’s back. Ford then slowed the pace of the match, moving into two rest holds. Seven battled out and tagged Bate, who hit a knee strike on Dawkins, followed by a middle rope European uppercut (they’ll have to change it to English uppercut after Brexit… I joke).
Bate got up quickly and hit a T-Bone suplex into a Standing Shooting Star Press for a two-count. Dawkins and Bate then traded offence, which ended with Dawkins hitting a sick spear on Bate. The Profits took control of Bate and hit a tandem spinebuster into a huge frog splash by Dawkins for a close two-count. Seven recovered to hit Ford with a Dragon Suplex on the ring apron, meanwhile, Bate hit a deadlift German suplex on Dawkins. Seven then picked up Dawkins in a reverse fireman’s carry with Bate hitting a top rope double foot stomp for the pinfall victory!
Winners: Moustache Mountain
#DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish)
#DIY came out with their old music, which was weird and cool all at the same time. Gargano and Fish started the match. Gargano started quickly with arm drags to Fish who tagged in O’Reilly who was then also hit with an arm drag. There were then a set of quick tags between both teams before #DIY cleared the Undisputed Era from the ring. Gargano then hit a Tope Suicida on O’Reilly and threw him back into the ring where Ciampa performed a hangman neckbreaker. Fish then tagged in and hit a snap suplex on Gargano.
Then the Undisputed Era hit double team strikes, and O’Reilly dropped into a kneebar onto Gargano, which kept him cut off from his side of the ring. Fish then came in and O’Reilly hit a wheelbarrow DDT onto Gargano which fed into a German suplex from Fish. This was good tag team wrestling from the Undisputed Era. A hot tag to Ciampa was then teased before he finally got the tag, and put heat on O’Reilly with knee strikes followed by a knee to the head. Ciampa followed up by hitting the Tower of London on O’Reilly for a two count. The match broke down a bit here, with Gargano hitting a senton onto Fish from the ring apron to the outside and, inside the ring, Ciampa hit O’Reilly with a big Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count.
O’Reilly countered a Gargano middle rope springboard spear into a great guillotine choke that was only broken up by Ciampa kneeing O’Reilly in the face. Gargano and O’Reilly then went into a strike exchange that got heavier with each hit, with the finish being a double clothesline. Both men made their respective tags, Ciampa ended up in the opposition corner, and Fish took him to the top rope and hit an amazing avalanche Michinoku driver, with O’Reilly following up straight after that with a top rope knee drop. O’Reilly then put Ciampa in an armbar, which was broken up by Gargano. O’Reilly took Ciampa to the outside and hit a running knee strike off the apron. On his way back into the ring, Ciampa recovered and hit a hangman DDT. Gargano tagged in and followed up with a springboard DDT for a two-count. Both men then hit O’Reilly with the ‘Meet Me In The Middle’ kicks for the pinfall.
Winners: #DIY (Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa)
The show finished with #DIY celebrating in the ring, as the War Raiders came out on stage to look on. All in all a great show this week. Great tag team wrestling all the round. The first and final matches of the night were real standouts and we now have our final four in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2019. We now have to wait what’s going to happen for #DIY as Tommaso Ciampa is now out with a neck injury…
All photos courtesy of WWE.com