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 Takeover: Blackpool Card
WWE is preparing for their upcoming NXT event, NXT Takeover: Blackpool, and after the airing of this week’s NXT, the full card is now in focus.
NXT UK’s first Takeover event hits the WWE Network, live from Blackpool, England, this Saturday.
Here is the card, at the time of this writing:
NXT UK Women’s Championship Match – Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Match – Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
WWE United Kingdom Championship Match – Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey
No DQ Match – Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin
WWE Reportedly Interested In KUSHIDA
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA is reportedly drawing interest from WWE, according to a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
KUSHIDA, 35, has been the cornerstone of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s light heavyweight division and one of their most recognized stars, globally.
The report indicates that NXT is the destination if WWE were to lure KUSHIDA from New Japan.
With NXT globalizing, an NXT Japan seems like a natural progression for the brand and KUSHIDA could be in those potential plans moving forward.
Matt Riddle Talks About Joining WWE/NXT
NXT superstar Matt Riddle has been gaining popularity since his landmark signing earlier this year, and during a recent interview with ESPN for their story on the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, Riddle says that he should have been with WWE long before his 2018 signing.
“I moved my family down here, I’ve got three kids and a wife, so it’s nice,” Riddle said.
“I just wrestle in Florida every weekend. We occasionally do tours or TakeOvers, but for the most part, now I get to spend more time with my family. I’m more local, and it’s great. The training here is top-notch,” he continued. “Where I was, I was lucky to even train three times a week, because my schedule was so insane — and I didn’t have the coaches or amenities to do [much more than that].”
“I just feel like I belong here. I felt like I belonged here three-and-a-half years ago when I had my first try out.”
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