It’s the return of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tonight. All four of the first-round matches take place on this episode. However, regardless of the result, WWE have confirmed that NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa will undergo anterior cervical fusion surgery tomorrow. The speculation on recovery time puts him out for anything between six months and over a year. Due to the pre-recorded nature of NXT, it is unclear how or when this will be addressed on the show.
Tonight’s episode was dedicated to the memory of King Kong Bundy.
Ricochet & Aleister Black def. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
Forgotten Sons def. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Moustache Mountain def. Street Profits
#DIY def. Undisputed ERA
The show opened with a hype package for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with soundbites from each of the teams involved. It should be a great tournament.
Ricochet & Aleister Black vs Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
What a match to get things started. That’s a lot of talent in one ring.
Aichner and Black got things underway. Aichner got the briefest of advantages and tagged in Barthel, but it took both of them, utilising frequent tags to keep Black away from Ricochet.
Barthel tried to tip the balance in their favour by knocking Ricochet off the apron, but their pin attempt on Black was unsuccessful and Ricochet was up quickly.
Aichner tried to knock Ricochet down again but he failed and had his legs kicked out from under him by Black. That gave Black time to make a much needed tag while Aichner was tagging in Barthel.
Ricochet did all the fun stuff but couldn’t keep Barthel down. Barthel knocked Black off the apron moments before he caught Ricochet with a step-up enziguri and passed him to Aichner for a brainbuster and moonsault that got a two count.
Aichner got another close two count on Ricochet after a massive DDT. Ricochet got to Black and it all got chaotic from there. Black was almost taken out by a double team but survived and, after Ricochet took out Barthel with a suicide dive onto the ramp, Aleister Black delivered Black Mass to Fabian Aichner for the win.
After a recap of Dominik Dijakovic versus Keith Lee from last week, we saw footage from the performance centre of Keith Lee training and Dijakovic appearing and offering to settle their differences there and then. He’ll have to wait a bit longer, they’ve got a match in two weeks.
Forgotten Sons vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Jaxon Ryker accompanied Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler to the ring. This was a complete contrast to the first match. No one was going to be flying around but there was a good chance someone was going to get hurt.
Oney Lorcan took a lot of punishment from Blake and Cutler in the first part of the match. Danny Burch managed to turn things around for them when he came in though. After establishing control, Burch made the mistake of tagging Lorcan back in for the double team, but Lorcan’s back was too hurt to lift Cutler for the move.
Before Burch could get out of the ring for Burch to tag him in again, Blake threw him out of the ring. They clearly thought it would be easy to pick Oney Lorcan off, but they were wrong. Lorcan barged Cutler down, landed a suicide dive onto Blake, and endured a Boston crab from Cutler until Danny Burch arrived to save him.
Lorcan managed to tag out, but Burch took a double team and tagged him back in again. Lorcan was holding his back and doing it anyway, but neither the double blockbuster or the double team DDT which followed it was enough to get the win.
Blake threw Lorcan back first into Cutler’s knees. Cutler came off the top rope with a boot to Lorcan’s chest while Blake held him still and got the pin.
Velveteen Dream visited between matches. He stood on the announce desk and said it was just a reminder that he’s the new North American Champion. He was about to remind us of something else, but Matt Riddle came out instead.
Riddle said that he was just there to say hi and congratulate Velveteen Dream, but he wants to get a closer look at the championship. Velveteen Dream held it out to show him and Riddle said now he has he can’t help but wonder what it would like around his waist one day. Velveteen Dream implied Riddle must be high, and told him he’s not his bro. His other reminder was that the spotlight belongs to him. He even had a spotlight to illustrate.
That could be interesting.
We were shown footage of an Io Shirai and Kairi Sane interview about Bianca Belair and Shayna Baszler. Shirai said Belair is good but she hasn’t beaten Baszler, Shirai has (which is technically correct, but a skewed representation of what actually happened). Sane said she and Shirai both want the title but this is Shirai’s opportunity and she believes in her. She can beat Bianca. Io Shirai said she deserves to be NXT Women’s Champion and it’s her destiny. We find out next week who will get the opportunity against Baszler at TakeOver.
Moustache Mountain vs Street Profits
Good match, but one I’ve got very little to say about. Street Profits just about had the upper hand against Tyler Bate in the early going, but there wasn’t much in it. They got better control over Trent Seven when he tagged in, but didn’t do much with it, and Seven eventually tagged back out.
Montez Ford had to break up Bate’s pin on Dawkins, but got thrown out of the ring by Seven. The attempted Moustache Mountain double team Dawkins went wrong and Seven had to stop Bate being pinned off a spear.
Montez Ford Wiped Trent Seven out with a dive over the top rope, but failed to pin Bate with a spinebuster frogsplash combo. A second team finisher was thwarted by Seven suplexing Ford on the apron.
Tyler Bate suplexed Dawkins and a Moustache Mountain double team finisher kept him down for the three count.
#DIY vs Undisputed ERA
It’s not a surprise that they saved this for the main event. Gargano and Ciampa came out to their own themes until they were both on the ramp then it changed to the #DIY theme, which was a really nice touch. Fish and O’Reilly came out alone, but you never know if they’re going to stay that way.
It was a great match with no one giving an inch in the early going and some lovely teamwork from both sides. Gargano got knocked on his back on the apron which gave Fish and O’Reilly the first real advantage. They kept Gargano on their side of the ring but O’Reilly’s posturing gave Gargano a moment to regroup, and would have resulted in a tag if he hadn’t had the presence of mind to knock Ciampa off the apron when a shove from Gargano sent him in that direction.
As it was, Gargano took a lot more punishment and a couple of near falls before he finally got back to his partner.
Ciampa quickly had O’Reilly reeling, but he kicked out at two and three quarters. Bobby Fish looked to get involved when it was apparent O’Reilly was in trouble, but Johnny Gargano took care of him. O’Reilly barely kicked out of Ciampa’s next pin attempt.
Kyle O’Reilly managed to avoid the double team from #DIY. Bobby Fish tried to intervene from the outside again and took a kick to the head, but Gargano found himself in a guillotine. He staggered to his feet and Ciampa made O’Reilly let go by kneeing him in the head.
It all broke down a bit after Ciampa tried to suplex Fish off the apron. He couldn’t and went to the top turnbuckle. While he was up there O’Reilly and Gargano had a tussle which saw Gargano sent into the barricade, then O’Reilly grabbed Ciampa’s leg. Fish brought Ciampa down to the mat with an avalanche Michinoku driver (thanks Mauro) followed by a diving knee from O’Reilly, and Ciampa still kicked out. Gargano was back in time to break up O’Reilly’s submission by shoving Fish into them.
O’Reilly kicked out after two DDTs, but he could kick out of #DIY’s finisher.
War Raiders came to the stage for a staredown to end the show.
It was an extra long episode tonight and the matches really benefitted from it.
The semi-final matches of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic 2019 take place on next week’s show. They are;
Ricochet & Aleister Black vs #DIY
Forgotten Sons vs Moustache Mountain