Date: March 7, 2018
Location: Center Stage Theater, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson
It’s tournament time! Just in case two tournaments going on at the same time wasn’t enough, tonight we start the third Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. This time, the winners will be challenging for the NXT Tag Team Titles at Takeover: New Orleans. Other than that we need to start building to the rest of that show so let’s get to it.
We open with a look at the tournament, accompanied by Dusty Rhodes’ iconic theme song.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic First Round: Authors of Pain vs. TM61
Rematch of the 2016 finals where the Authors won the whole thing. Razar and Thorn start things off with the former throwing Shane into the corner and driving some shoulders into the ribs. The fans are behind TM61 and a flapjack doesn’t really slow down the cheering. Thorn gets driven into the corner and brings Miller in for a double Russian legsweep. The Authors bail to the floor for a bit so Thorn is right there with the big flip dive over the ropes. Now that’s a Dusty move if I’ve ever seen one.
Back in and Akum shrugs off the right hands to the face and drives Miller HARD into the corner. We take a break and come back with Razar continuing to pummel Miller with hard shots to the head. A cobra clutch keeps Miller down until a DDT gets him out of trouble. The hot tag brings in Thorn for a clothesline and dropkick to finally drop Razar.
One heck of a Falcon Arrow gets two but Razar kicks Thorn’s head off to take him down. A powerbomb/neckbreaker combination gets two but Miller and Thorn slip out of stereo Death Valley Drivers. Miller gets two off Blue Vengeance (moonsault) with Akum making the save. Akum powerbombs Thorn over the top and ONTO THE APRON for a sick landing. The Last Chapter ends Miller at 11:02.
Rating: B. These guys beat the heck out of each other and while I’m kind of surprised that TM61 is out so soon, I’m also glad that the Authors are moving forward. I don’t think they win again but the team that beats them is going to look like giant killers. This was a very nice power vs. speed match and they beat the heck out of each other, especially with that powerbomb.
William Regal is talking to the press about the Dusty Classic but has to leave. Pete Dunne comes in and says the UK Title is staying in the UK. Roderick Strong pops in to ask for a rematch. Before Dunne answers, the Undisputed Era comes in to laugh at Strong for losing. Dunne brings up Cole never winning anything, drawing Regal back over to ask if there’s a problem. Apparently not.
Sanity says chaos rules everything and in this year’s tournament, united they purge. Tonight, Killian Dain is ready to unleash chaos on Aleister Black.
Bianca Belair vs. Miss Drew Renee
Belair wastes no time in rolling some vertical suplexes and the Alley Oop is good for the pin at 1:21.
Lacey Evans wants to face Ember Moon next week but bails when Shayna Baszler comes in. Baszler knows Moon is a hypocrite for ignoring her for another week.
Heavy Machinery talks about being the good beef this year.
Here’s Tommaso Ciampa with no music to be booed out of the arena. Much like Roman Reigns the night after last year’s Wrestlemania, Ciampa is cut off every time he brings the microphone to his mouth. The WE WANT JOHNNY chants set Ciampa off and he throws the microphone down.
Ciampa slowly walks around the ring as the fans sing the Goodbye Song and then the DELETE chant. He takes a Gargano sign from a fan and rips it up (make sure to give the fan a gift so he doesn’t go home sad) before beating on the pieces with his crutch. Ciampa leaves without saying a word. Really good segment here, especially considering Ciampa looks like an actual psycho half the time.
Next week: Cole vs. Dunne for the UK Title and two more first round matches.
Aleister Black vs. Killian Dain
Dain charges straight into the corner for a shotgun dropkick and a near fall. Black is right back up with kicks and knees to send Dain outside, followed by a big dive to take him out again. We take a break and come back with Dain running Black over and getting a delayed two. Dain grabs a seated abdominal stretch and adds a pair of splashes for two.
A slam doesn’t work though as Black slips out and fires off the kicks to drop Dain. Black gets two off a standing Lionsault but gets clotheslined out of the air for two more. With Dain getting a bit too strong, Black goes simple by just kicking him in the head. That only earns Black a spinebuster and Vader Bomb for another near fall. Black gets two off a victory roll and catches Dain right in the face with Black Mass for the pin at 11:52.
Rating: B-. It wasn’t the biggest surprise ending in the world but at least Black took a beating before coming back with Black Mass for the win. If he hits that on Almas to win the title, or even for a near fall before winning the title later, it’s going to blow the roof off of New Orleans. Good match here though and Black gets one step closer to the title.
Overall Rating: B+. You can see things moving towards New Orleans now and that means a lot of good things, at least in theory. There’s going to be a lot of good stuff taking place on that show and it makes for a lot of fun television on the way to the big show. Two good matches and a nice squash makes for a very solid 45 minutes of wrestling.
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