Date: February 27, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson
It’s tournament time as the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic starts up next week. The question becomes what happens with everyone involved here, as there is often a case of big names teaming up to compete alongside the regular teams. It’s hard to make a tag team tournament interesting but NXT has done it before. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Johnny Gargano for a chat after losing his North American Title last week. He’s had an up and down year so far as he won the North American Title, became a member of the Raw and Smackdown rosters, and then lost the title to Velveteen Dream. He was Johnny Champion but then he was Johnny Failure again. Now he’s without a title again, so he needs to win another championship. He’s come to realize that the only reason he’s had any success around here….and here’s Tommaso Ciampa to cut him off.
Fans: “HE’S A CHAMPION!” Ciampa says the last few days have shown that Gargano is at his best when the two of them are together. They won on Raw and Smackdown but Gargano tried to defend his title alone last week and lost. This is destiny for the two of them because Gargano can get another title.
Last week William Regal announced the return of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which is where it all started for the two of them. Takeover: New York can be their moment and it can end the same way Takeover: Phoenix did: the two of them together as champions. Johnny shakes his hand and DIY is back. Cool moment as the saga continues.
Ricochet has been having fun on Raw and Smackdown but there are still issues that he has to deal with down here. The Undisputed Era will never attack you one on one but he has Aleister Black by his side now. They want in on the Dusty Classic.
DIY runs into Candice LeRae, who doesn’t want to see this again. Johnny says trust him, but she’s not convinced.
Vanessa Borne/Aliyah vs. Taynara Conti/Xia Li
Borne elbows Conti in the face so it’s some Portuguese yelling and a kick to Borne’s face. A missed kick lets Conti grab a legbar over the rope but Aliyah’s interference lets Borne take over in the corner. Something like a reverse Bronco Buster has Conti in trouble and a double northern lights suplex gets two. Conti kicks Aliyah away though and it’s off to Li for the hard kicks to the face. Since Aliyah isn’t very good it’s back to Borne, who puts Li near her knee for a running neckbreaker from Aliyah into a backbreaker on Borne’s knee (kind of hard to describe) for the pin at 4:48.
Rating: D+. It’s still amazing that Aliyah has been around for so long and still can’t do anything above basic. The other three were looking sharp here and their parts were good enough, but the thing just died when Aliyah was in there. The ending, which not a great move in the first place, was also out of nowhere and it made for a bad finish to a decent enough match otherwise.
Velveteen Dream arrives (sans belt) but gets cut off by the Undisputed Era. Adam Cole does the talking but Dream wants to know how big his mouth would be when his backup was gone.
Io Shirai and Bianca Belair argue over who should be #1 contender. I’d like to argue that Belair shouldn’t talk anymore.
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee
Lee now sings his own entrance music. Dominki’s headlock doesn’t work as Lee shoves him off for a leapfrog, only to have Dijakovic flip out of a hiptoss attempt. Dijakvoic tries a monkey flip but Lee sticks the landing, freaking Dominik out in a great visual. With the flips not working, Dijakvoic goes with a top rope forearm to the head, sending a growling Lee staggering around the ring.
One heck of a pounce sends Dijakovic flying but he’s right back with a sitout chokeslam for two. Lee is right back up and tosses Dijakovic through the air with ease. The discus big boot knocks Lee to the floor and just because he can, Dijakovic hits an Asai moonsault to take Lee down again. Both of them are down though and it’s a double countout at 6:50.
Rating: B. Well that was awesome. This was exactly the spectacle that it should have been and it was one of the more entertaining things I’ve seen in a good while around here. Sometimes it’s cool to have big guys do crazy athletic moves to each other than that’s what we got. You know we’re getting a rematch and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that set up a third match in New York.
Post match they have to be separated and Dijakovic says he’ll see Lee later.
Here are the brackets for the Dusty Classic:
Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch
Fabian Aichner/Marcel Barthel
In two weeks: Shirai vs. Belair for the title shot in New York.
Here are Sasha Banks and Bayley for a big surprise return. Sasha says it’s good to be back and talks about how their journey to the Women’s Tag Team Titles started right here in NXT. The last time they were together in NXT was the Iron Man match, which freaks out Izzy (in the front row) all over again. Bayley: “It’s ok, she’s different now!” They want these titles to be the most sought after in all of WWE. They’ll be back to defend the titles here so the NXT women need to step up.
Mia Yim vs. Shayna Baszler
Non-title and Shayna takes Yim down without too much trouble. A missed right hand hits the mat though and Baszler gets sent outside for a suicide dive. Yim stays on the hand by stomping it onto the steps, only to miss a kick into the steps to bang up the knee. Baszler stomps on the leg, ignoring Mia’s demands of “DON’T YOU DO IT!”. The Kirifuda Clutch is blocked so Baszler grabs the leg again to keep Mia down.
That’s broken up but Mia can’t follow up because of the leg. Mia demands that Shayna knee her in the head but switches to a rollup for two instead. A kick to the head (with the bad leg) stuns Shayna for a very delayed two and it’s Shayna right back with a gutwrench faceplant for two of her own. Yim’s sitout powerbomb gets the same but Baszler pulls her into the Kirifuda Clutch. With Shayna trapping the arm to protect her own hand, Mia taps at 8:03.
Rating: C. I really don’t get the hype with Mia. She has a unique look and can work well enough but I’ve never found myself invested in her. Then again with Belair vs. Shirai already announced for the #1 contenders match, it isn’t exactly a secret that Baszler is moving on to a bigger challenge. The wrestling was fine, but I was waiting for it to be over more than anything else.
Overall Rating: B-. The opening segment helped carry this as it was another good show. You can see a lot of the pieces starting to come together for New York but we have a few more weeks to really set things up. Odds are we’ll be seeing the final showdown between Gargano and Ciampa, plus Velveteen Dream defending against Cole. Throw in the other two titles on the line plus maybe Lee vs. Dijakovic or Riddle doing something and you have another outstanding show in the works.
Aliyah/Vanessa Borne b. Taynara Conti/Xia Li – Neckbreaker into a backbreaker to Li
Dominik Dijakovic vs. Keith Lee went to a double countout
Shayna Baszler b. Mia Yim – Kirifuda Clutch
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