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’s Adam Cole Discusses Creative Freedom
NXT Champion Adam Cole is at the height of his success with the promotion, recently defeating Johnny Gargano in another instant classic to capture his first NXT Championship, and he is talking about how things go down in NXT.
Unlike much of the main roster, where promos are often scripted and comedy-acts are more common, Cole says that superstars in NXT get a bit more creative freedom, as he had with Gargano for their match.
“One of the coolest things about NXT is we have a ton of creative liberties to come up with the story and the vision we have for the match” Cole said, during an interview with TalkSport. “Of course, there’s input and advice given and there’s suggestions or, you know ‘we need something this way’ (but) we do have a lot of freedom, which is great.”
Cole added that he and Gargano came up with the format for their two out of three falls classic at NXT Takeover: New York.
Fandango, Apollo Crews, Killain Dain Make Returns to NXT
WWE is starting to allow superstars on their main rosters to transition back to NXT, much like they did with Tyler Breeze, who recently returned to NXT, where he had his most success, following around 2 years of meandering on the main roster following his callup.
Fandango, Apollo Crews, and Killian Dain made their returns to NXT tv at Winter Park, FL at Full Sail University for Thursday’s NXT TV tapings.
Fandango, also making his return from injury, made the save for his Breezango partner, Tyler Breeze, who was on the receiving end of an attack at the hands of the Forgotten Sons. Crews made his return to take on Kushida in singles competition, and Dain made a brutal attack on Matt Riddle following Riddle’s win over Arture Rass.
Fandango had been out of action after suffering a shoulder injury back in July 2018.
Tommaso Ciampa Undergoes Successful Surgery
Ciampa is expected to miss 3-6 months as he recovers from the surgery.
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