Welcome one and all to the latest installment of the NXT Spotlight here at TJRWrestling. As I write this, we received some very unfortunate news as it pertains to the Black & Gold Brand. As reported on our site, via Dave Meltzer, The NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa will be having serious neck surgery and relinquishing his championship due to the injury. This obviously couldn’t come at a worse time for Ciampa and the brand, as they were this close to putting the bow on, in my opinion, what has been the best storytelling under a WWE banner since Bret Hart in 1997. We obviously wish Ciampa the best in recovery. Unfortunately, the storyline was set to continue tonight as DIY is set to compete in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. This week’s episode is clocking in at an extender 1 hour and 14 minutes, so let’s get to it!
We start with an introductory video highlighting the Tag Team Classic’s of the past and this year’s participants. We get quotes from all 8 teams. Gargano is joining Ciampa in his backstage perch for those curious.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Round 1
Ricochet & Aleister Black vs. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
Barthel and Aichner are calling themselves the European Union (EU) now. Black and Aichner start us off. Side headlock by Black, but gets shot off by Aichner and Aichner drops him with a shoulder tackle. He gets Black in his corner and tags in Barthel. Black leaps over Barthel and then lands two big kicks to get the advantage. Barthel escapes an armbar and Black fights off both opponents while perched on the second rope, but as he comes off, Barthel catches him with a European uppercut. Aichner tags back in.
They work over Black in their corner. Aichner with a spinebuster and Barthel follows up with a penalty kick, which leads to a two count as Barthel knocks Ricochet off the apron. Black with a big boot to Aichner, but Aichner knocks him down and gets Ricochet off the apron again. Aichner turns around and is tripped up by Black, which allows him to make the tag, which also brings in Barthel. Ricochet comes in with a Hurricanrana. He then sets up Barthel DDT’ing his own partner while hitting a neckbreaker on Barthel. He hits a 619 on Barthel and then a springboard uppercut off the top rope. Standing shooting star press on Barthel gets a two count.
Barthel catches Ricochet with a step up enziguri on the second rope, which leads to him tossing Ricochet into Aichner for his brainbuster. Barthel dives through the ropes to take out Black, while Aichner hits a double springboard moonsault for a great two count. The crowd is going nuts. Aichner tries a powerbomb but Ricochet escapes and hits a front dropkick. Aichner to the floor, but Barthel with an enziguri on the apron to stop Ricochet from diving onto Aichner. Aichner then jumps up and hits a springboard tornado DDT for another very near fall.
Ricochet fighting off both of his opponents and manages to tag in Black. Black with a springboard double knee strike off the second rope to Barthel. Barthel comes back and throws Black into the ringpost. He and Aichner hits a double team kick while Black is in the tree of woe. They set up Black for a double team move with Black in a powerbomb but he escapes and then Ricochet comes out of nowhere with a springboard hurricanrana on Barthel! Barthel to the floor and Ricochet comes at him with a dive through the ropes.
Meanwhile, Black with a standing lionsault but Aichner catches him! He sits him down for a pin, Black kicks out. Aichner with an uppercut, Black turns around and connects with Black Mass! Black and Ricochet advance.
Winners: Ricochet & Aleister Black
We get a recap of the battle between Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic last week that ended in a double countout. We go to the Performance Center, where Keith Lee is training with such greatness as BUGENHAGEN!! Dijakovic shows up and wants to finish this right now. They have to be separated and it’s announced they’ll get the rematch in two weeks. I can’t wait.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Round 1
The Forgotten Sons vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Burch and Cutler start us off. Cutler with a chop against the ropes. Burch sidesteps a leapfrog and gets an armbar while tagging in Lorcan. Lorcan with a side headlock, Cutler manages to back him into Blake, who makes a blind tag. Blake comes in and hits a backbreaker on Lorcan as they start to cut the ring off. Blake with a knee drop and then tags in Cutler.
Cutler whips Lorcan hard into the neutral corner and then Blake comes right back in for a double team backbreaker for a two count. They hit another variation of a double team backbreaker, which again goes for two. Cutler sets Lorcan up in a reverse tree of woe, and then ends up hip tossing Blake into Lorcan. That gets another two count. Lorcan escapes a Cutler submission working over his back, and manages to roll over to Burch for a tag.
Burch with a front dropkick to Blake and then a German suplex. Cutler goes up for one as well. Burch with a clothesline and step up enziguri to Cutler in the corner and then comes off the second rope with a front dropkick. Burch tags in Lorcan, who’s selling the submission still and they can’t get Cutler up for their double team DDT. Blake comes in and throws Burch to the floor. Lorcan and Cutler trade blows and Lorcan stops him with a running European uppercut. He then dives over the top rope to take out Blake. He comes back in the ring and Cutler nails him big time with a lariat.
Cutler with a double underhook backbreaker for a two count on Lorcan and then locks on the Boston Crab. Lorcan comes inches from the ropes but Cutler brings him back to the middle. Burch finally comes in and headbutts Cutler to break it up. Lorcan is able to make a legal tag to Burch, but Cutler cuts him off. They set up Burch for a double team Flatliner/missile dropkick off the top rope and that leads to a good nearfall. Blake tries to get Burch up, but he slides out and tags back in Lorcan. Lorcan running through both his opponents and shoves Blake into Cutler, which leads to a double running Blockbuster!
Burch is tagged back in and they set up for the Magic Killer DDT on Cutler, they hit it, and Blake just barely breaks it up in time! Lorcan back legal but Cutler fights off a double team. Blake lariats Burch from behind. Lorcan jumps off the top rope for a whoopie cushion, but Blake catches him in mid air! He then does a buckle bomb into Cutler’s knees. They immediately set up for their double team reverse DDT/curb stomp off the turnbuckle and they get the huge upset win!
Winners: The Forgotten Sons
As Mauro Renallo resets where we’re at so far, here comes the new North American Champion, Velveteen Dream. Dream climbs up on the announce table and poses with his title. Dream says this isn’t a speech, it’s a reminder that he’s our new North American champion. He says he has another reminder for us but… BROOOOO! Matt Riddle’s music interrupts him and here comes the Original Bro. Riddle says he just came out hhere tosay hi. And to congratulate Dream on his title victory. But real talk, he wants a closer look at that championship. And now that he has, he can’t help but wonder what it’d look like around his waist, BRO. Dream says he must really be on cloud 9 because Dream is not his Bro. Dream reminds him that the spotlight belongs to him. He snaps his fingers and the lights go out except for a purple spotlight on him.
K-Tank’s Take: If you’re up for a Riddle vs. Dream feud, raise your hand. Hey you, why the hell aren’t you raising your hand?!
We go to a video with Io Sharai, Kairi Sane, & Bianca Belair. She reminds everyone that Bianca Belair has not beaten Shayna Baszler, but she has. Kairi says she wants to be champion again, but she believes in Io to be able beat Bianca. Io speaks in Japanese after that, which I’m assuming she’s saying the same. We learn that next week will be the #1 Contender’s Match between Belair and Sharai.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Round 1
Moustache Mountain vs. The Street Profits
Moustache Mountain has some really generic sounding theme music (they’ve had it for a while) but I love it for some reason. Ford and Bate start us off. Dueling chants for both teams. Ford with a headlock takedown. Bate transitions to a headscissors. Ford escapes but is taken right back down with a side headlock. Bate monkey flips Ford, but Ford lands on his feet. Dawkins is able to make a bling tag and ends up running over Bate and getting a two count. Bate hits an enziguri and manges to tag in Seven.
They hit their double team senton off Seven’s shoulders. Dawkins comes back and hits a running forearm. He brings Seven to his corner and the Profits double team him in their corrner. Snapmare and penalty kick to the spine by Ford. Ford wearing down Seven with a neck crank. Seven escapes and hits a series of chops and then DDT’s Ford as he tries to duck one. Both guys are able to make tags.
Bate with a knee to the face on Dawkins and then comes off the second rope with a European uppercut. Bate powers Dawkins over with a belly to belly suplex and then a standing shooting star press, which Ford breaks up the pin. Seven comes in and throws Ford high over the top rope to the floor. They try to double team Dawkins, but it doesn’t work. Dawkins spears Bate in half, but Seven breaks the pin up. Seven rolls to the floor and Ford with a HUGE somersault dive over the top rope to take him out. Bate looking for the Tyler Driver 97, but Dawkins gets out and tags in Ford. Dawkins with the Sky High, Ford off the top rope with a massive Frog Splash but Bate still kicks out! Wow.
They try to set up for possibly a Doomsday Device, but Seven breaks it up and then nails Ford with a half and half suplex on the apron! Bate with a deadlift German suplex on Dawkins. Seven tags in and he gets Dawkins up in the torture rack. Seven looks like he can’t hold Dawkins up and Bate comes off with a knee, but Dawkins lands really awkwardly. They did not hit that like they normally would, which killed the crowd, but it still was the finish and Moustache Mountain advance.
Winners: Moustache Mountain
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic – Round 1
Undisputed Era vs. DIY
Gargano and Ciampa come out to their individual themes at first, but Ciampa meets him on the ramp and says “wait for it”, and then everything changes to their DIY days. Gargano and Fish start us off. Both men countering everythign the other does. Gargano with a couple of arm drags, but Fish catches him with a boot and then tags in O’Reilly. Gargano hits him with an arm drag and then tags in Ciampa. O’Reilly gets of his grips rather quickly and tags back in Fish, who gets a mudhole stomped in him by Ciampa. Ciampa tags Gargano in, who dropkicks a seated Fish in the back of the neck.
Gargano only gets a one count from it. He gets up and drives Gargano into his corner, which allows O’Reilly to tag in. They try to double team Gargano, but Gargano tags in Ciampa as he brakes himself on the ropes. O’Reilly dumped to the floor, and then Ciampa clotheslines Fish over the top rope. O’Reilly tries to come back in and Ciampa hits a running knee. Ciampa holds the ropes open for Gargano, who dives through them and takes out O’Reilly. He throws O’Reilly back in, Ciampa with a hangman’s neckbreaker and gets a two count.
O’Reilly avoids Gargano in the corner and drops him neck first over the top rope. Fish tags in and sweeps Gargano’s legs out on the apron, which leads to Gargano crashing hard. He throws Gargano back in and hits a snap suplex for a two count. O’Reilly back in as they double team Gargano. O’Reilly locks in a knee bar. Gargano gets the ropes, but Fish tags in and sentons over the top rope onto Gargano for another two count.
Gargano trying to fight his way out of the Era’s corner but O’Reilly locks in a double underhook and lands a series of suplexes. They then hit a double team wheelbarrow DDT, into a wheelbarrow suplex, that gets a near fall. Fish with a bodyscissors on Gargano as he clubs him in the back. Fish fishhooks Gargano, which makes the ref tell him to break the hold. O’Reilly tags in and Gargano with a Tornado DDT on O’Reilly, while kicking Fish in the air. Gargano is close to a tag but Fish pulls Ciampa off the apron. Ciampa fights him off and Gargano avoids an O’Reilly kick, which allows Ciampa to come in.
O’Reilly with a lot of strikes to Ciampa, but Ciampa jumps over a sweep kick and comes down with a knee to the back of his head. Ciampa gets O’Reilly on the top rope and then hits the Tower of London for a two count. Ciampa with a deadlift German suplex on O’Reilly, and then doesn’t let go and hits another. O’Reilly gets to Fish to avoid a 3rd. Gargano knocks Fish off the apron and then hits a somersault dive off the apron. Ciampa back in the ring with O’Reilly and hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count.
Gargano tags back in. O’Reilly dumps him to the apron, where Gargano superkicks Fish. Gargano tries his spear through the ropes but O’Reilly catches him in the front choke. Ciampa manages to come in the ring and knees O’Reilly right in the face to break it up. Gargano and O’Reilly trading blows. O’Reilly with two Ambrose style rebounds off the ropes, the first gets him superkicked, but the second he comes back with a lariat. Both men get a tag. Ciampa wants his draping DDT on Fish, but Fish avoids it. Now Ciampa wants to German suplex Fish off the apron, but Fish avoids that too. Ciampa to the top rope, but Fish cuts him off.
Fish trying for a superplex, but that doesn’t happen. O’Reilly cuts Ciampa off, which allows Fish to regroup and he hits a HUGE top rope Falcon Arrow! O’Reilly off the top rope with a diving knee drop, but Ciampa somehow kicks out! O’Reilly tries an arm bar, but Ciampa has his hands locked. Fish off the top rope with a diving headbutt! O’Reilly locks it on, but Gargano quickly breaks it up.
Everyone goes to the outside now and O’Reilly with a running knee jump off the apron to Ciampa. He throws Ciampa back in, but Ciampa catches him with his draping DDT! He tags Gargano in and Gargano with his slingshot DDT! O’Reilly kicks out! They dispose of Fish, it’s time to meet in the middle! O’Reilly is drilled and Gargano with the win!
As DIY celebrates in the ring, The War Raiders come out with their titles and hold them in the air. That ends our show.
K-Tank’s Take: Since all 4 matches were revolving around the same tournament, I thought it’d be easier to combine all my thoughts into one post at the end. Biggest upset of the night has to go to Forgotten Sons. They’re getting pushed pretty decently as of late, and a win over a former #1 Contender in Lorcan and Burch really solidifies them. They had some very innovative double team moves as well. I’m pretty bummed that Street Profits are out that quickly. I love Moustache Mountain, and I understand showcasing NXTUK, but they’ve been there before. This should be a chance to highlight new teams, much like they’re doing with Forgotten Sons. I’m sensing a heel turn for the Profits, just based on how aggressive they’ve become in the ring. I could see an easy heel turn just based on a lack of opportunities.
The opening match was the least surprising result, but possibly the best match of the night. When you have Black and Ricochet highlighted as much as they have been on Raw & Smackdown (they’ve got another Raw Tag Title shot at Fastlane), I think you can go ahead and put them in the finals and they would be my early prediction to win it all. (They have not taped the finals yet, so that’s not a spoiler, just FYI for anyone worried) Aichner and Barthel are VERY impressive as a team. I would expect them to become NXTUK Tag Champions in the near future. They have a good look and their power and skill really shines. If that match wasn’t the best, then of course the main event was. It’s always great to see DIY back together, even if we know what Ciampa’s fate is. Undisputed Era won it last year, so it’s a big deal for them to be out in the first round.
That leads to our semifinal matches, which will be Forgotten Sons vs. Moustache Mountain and DIY vs. Black and Ricochet. So until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me!