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NXT: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is Back

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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 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.  

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.

 

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Tommaso Ciampa Undergoes Successful Surgery

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NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa has undergone successful neck surgery this past Thursday in Birmingham, Alabama, according to WWE.

Ciampa is expected to miss 3-6 months as he recovers from the surgery.

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Ricochet to be Featured on RAW and SmackDown for Time Being

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NXT superstar Ricochet made his surprising main roster debut last week during RAW and his debut on SmackDown the following night, and at least until after WrestleMania 35, he will be featured on both shows.

“I will be on RAW and SmackDown going forward,” Ricochet said, according to WPSD Local 6. “At least until after ‘Mania. After ‘Mania it’s gonna be one or the other, I’m assuming, I don’t know. But, that’s what I’m assuming. But yes, going forward, I am now an official member of RAW and/or SmackDown.”

In celebration of his ascension to the main roster, over 60 of his friends and family held a surprise party to commemorate the milestone.

“This [surprise party] was beyond amazing, It was awesome, Ricochet recalled.

“I got to see family, friends, people I haven’t seen in a long time. I was honestly surprised when I walked in, this was great. It just makes you happy to see that many people care. Whether it is close friends you have known since you were three years old, or people maybe you have never met, it is just cool that you can inspire so many people. Doesn’t matter where you are from, you can live your dream.”

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WWE Smackdown vs. Raw: Who won this week? February 18, 2019

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The Good

For Raw, they opened the show by saying that a bunch of NXT superstars will make their debuts on the show. This list included Johnny Gargano, Aleister Black, Tomasso Ciampa, and Ricochet. While Gargano, Ciampa, and Ricochet all made their debuts through tag matches, Aleister Black got his singles debut against Elias. It was a solid match which Black won, and helped establish him as a threat for the future.

For Smackdown, we got to see Ricochet’s singles debut and it was great. He defeated Eric Young in a few minutes. His athleticism and high flying ability is entertaining to watch from start to beginning. Hopefully, he makes his way up to the top quickly because he is one the best things going forward for WWE.

The Bad

For Raw, the segment between Lacey Evans and Heavy Machinery felt like a waste of time. During an interview with Heavy Machinery, Evans came out, walked up and down the entrance aisle, then made Heavy Machinery do it. They did so and then the segment ended. This literally felt like WWE just threw that in there to kill time for their show.

For Smackdown, while we finally got to see Asuka on Smackdown since the Royal Rumble, we still have yet to see R-Truth for the past few weeks. It really feels like WWE just flat out doesn’t care about the United States Championship at all.

The Final Verdict

With Elimination Chamber done and Fastlane the next PPV up, WWE needed to ramp the focus to that. With the sudden announcement of NXT superstars making their debuts this week, there was some confusion within WWE’s storytelling. For example, Bobby Lashley for some reason helped out Baron Corbin in his match against Braun Strowman at Elimination Chamber. But, when it came to Corbin’s tables match against Strowman to start Raw, he was nowhere to be found. With that said, I will have to say that Smackdown had the better show this week too. We got build up for Fastlane main event as well as other matches on that PPV. While Raw, still is trying to figure out what to do for that show.

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