Wrestling fans who have read the spoilers on the recent NXT tapings may already know this, but the fact that the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is back doesn’t make it any less exciting.
General Manager William Regal announced the return of the tag team tournament that is held in honor of WWE Hall of Famer and former world champion “The American Dream,” Dusty Rhodes.
— WWE (@WWE) February 22, 2018
WWE revealed the brackets for this year’s tournament, which will be comprised of eight teams. The first round matches include
- Authors of Pain vs. TM61
- Moustache Mountain – Tyler Bate and Trent Seven – vs. Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch
- Sanity’s Alexander Wolfe and Eric Young vs. Riddick Moss and Tony Sabatelli
- The Street Profits vs. Heavy Machinery
The winners of the tournament will face current NXT Tag Team Champions, the Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish, at NXT Takeover: New Orleans on April 7.
The first two Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournaments featured a who’s who of top talent in NXT, as well as newcomer. The first tournament was held in 2015 and won by then-NXT Champion Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. The two would go on to feud for the NXT Championship in the following months.
The next year, the Authors of Pain would defeat TM61 to win the tournament and would later go on to win the NXT Tag Team titles.
The tournament was also a platform for other competitors to shine. The 2015 tourney was where fans teams like DIY, American Alpha and The Mechanics – later the Revival – begin their path to tag team greatness. The 2016 tournament featured names from the Cruiserweight Classic, like Kota Ibushi, T.J. Perkins and Cedric Alexander, as well as the debut of Roderick Strong.
This year’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team classic featured eight teams who are well known to the NXT Universe.
The Authors of Pain are looking to win their second tournament with the hopes of regaining the NXT Tag Team titles. Sanity is also hoping to win the tournament and recapture NXT gold.
Former Moustache Mountains’s Bate and Seven made a name for themselves in England, winning tag team gold in Progress and RPW and are looking to carve their name into NXT history. Lorcan and Burch are rivals who came together over time.
We know what it’s like to compete in the Finals of the Dusty Cup. This year, we will know what it’s like to WIN it…. #TMDK
— Dr. Shane Thorne (@ShaneThorneWWE) February 22, 2018
TM61 seeks to not only make it to the finals, but win the tournament. Heavy Machinery, Moss and Sabatelli and the Street Profits are three teams who have earned some recognition and are hoping winning the tournament will push them to the next level.
For fans who feel NXT’s tag team division has become a little stale, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is a good way to shuffle the deck and have some of the lesser experience teams show fans how far they have come since they first started in NXT.
The tournament also allows established teams like the Authors of Pain and Sanity to give a rub to 1-2 tag teams before they transition to the main roster. NXT writers also have a chance to hit the reset and come up with storylines for wrestlers while the tournament unfolds.
NXT UK Premiers on WWE Network October 17
WWE has officially announced the premier of NXT UK on the WWE Network, in a Twitter post that appeared on Wednesday morning.
Per the announcement, the UK division of the NXT brand will debut on October 17th at 8pm BST and will air weekly, featuring male and female wrestlers in the UK.
BREAKING: #NXTUK, a new weekly episodic series featuring the greatest male and female competitors from the UK, will stream on @WWENetwork on Wednesdays beginning 17th October at 8pm BST. pic.twitter.com/L8wVJquMdF
— WWE UK (@WWEUK) October 11, 2018
Lita Praises Bianca Belair
WWE Hall of Famer Lita had some high praise for NXT superstar Bianca Belair, noting her “great attitude” and how “physically gifted” she is, adding that “when I very first saw her she had that intangible star quality that I just want to see more”, during an interview with The Sun.
“Down at the performance center, all the guys at NXT are in the ring every day and in class,” Lita said. “They have everything they need to learn and there is so much talent in regards to physical ability and thinking about their character. But for someone to have that intangible star factor… Bianca Belair, along with some other the others there, is very talented.”
Lita is also impressed with how Blair uses her hair as a weapon.
“It’s crazy, no-one has ever used their hair as a weapon. It’s so cool how she thought of that and how it works. She sure has that star quality and uniqueness.”
Johnny Gargano Talks NXT, Dream Matches
NXT superstar Johnny Gargano remains one of the most popular superstars on the brand and while his callup to the main roster seems imminent, he prefers to stay on the NXT brand, a brand he takes a lot of pride in.
“I do not see why not, everyone’s dream – and mine too – is to wrestle at WrestleMania, but right now NXT is such a special place” Gargano said of a potential call up, during an interview with the Daily Star.
“We are focused on building something wrestling fans can be proud of, and we are building it together.”
But Gargano, during a recent media session, discussed some dream matches he would want to make a reality when he does make it to the main roster.
“[…] so I’m going up to the main roster…after I win the NXT title and everything’s done. After that, man, I’m gonna say, obviously Daniel Bryan” Gargano said. “That’s a dream match that a lot of people would love to see now.”
“I think I just posted a Tweet recently that the internet went nuts for, and that’s me and Seth Rollins,” Gargano said. “Because, of course, I wore my Captain America Infinity War gear and he just wore the Thanos gear, so you never know what can happen there.”
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