All images courtesy of the WWE Network streaming service
- Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering; disqualified due to interference, the Undisputed Era will defend the NXT Tag Team Championships at TakeOver: New Orleans in a Triple Threat.
- Kairi Sane VS Vanessa Borne; Kairi wins.
- Killian Dain VS Lars Sullivan; no contest.
PLAY BY PLAY
The 3rd Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is almost through!
And Charly Caruso reports from the NXT Control Center once again to let everyone know WWE Legends are here to watch this great final match, including Dustin Rhodes.
The Authors of Pain look to repeat while the makeshift team of Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne look to continue surprising us all. And for the first time ever, the winners of the Dusty Rhodes Classic tonight will face the NXT Tag Team Champions at TakeOver: New Orleans. However, the Undisputed Era’s Bobby Fish goes down with injury, so their ability to defend is brought into question on top of who will win.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne VS The Authors of Pain w/ Paul Ellering!
There’s no point in waiting, the finals are NOW! Can the Messiah of the Backbreaker and the British Bruiserweight overcome Akam & Rezar to then move on to New Orleans? Or will the AoP simply continue their story of tag team supremacy?
Both sides are raring to go the moment they enter the ring. The formal introductions are made, the bell rings, and we start with Strong and Akam. Akam grabs and throws Strong at the AoP corner, then tags Rezar to mug their old WarGames ally. Rezar trash talks but Strong chops, then gets around Rezar to get to his corner. Rezar dares Strong to do it, so Strong tags in Dunne. Dunne circles and ties up with Rezar, they go back and forth with strikes. The fans are red hot and dueling while we go to break.
NXT returns to the AoP mugging Dunne on their side of the ring. Dunne still fights even as he’s being beat down, then springs up to chop and punch. Akam stomps him down and out while the fans duel, “A O P!” “SUCKS!” Dunne eggs Akam on so Akam hammers Dunne into the mat. Akam drags Dunne into a chinlock, but Dunne gets a ropebreak with his foot. The referee counts, Akam lets Dunne go and Dunne fights back again. Akam powers Dunne to a corner and hammers away with knees. He drags Dunne out, tags Rezar, and the AoP continue to mug Dunne. Rezar clubs Dunne in the back, then kicks him to the mat. Cover, TWO, and Dunne is up again to fight. Rezar rocks Dunne with a big knee, then tag to Akam for more stomps. Cover, TWO, but Akam keeps on Dunne.
The fans continue to duel while Akam tags in Rezar. Dunne fights both Authors but that’s a tall task, he ends up in the flying stomp sidewalk slam! Cover, TWO, but Rezar hammers on Dunne more. Another cover, TWO, so Rezar grinds a forearm into Dunne’s face. Rezar trash talks then drags Dunne up for another heavy right. Akam tags in, and Dunne endures more mugging from the massive monsters. But Dunne doesn’t seem intimidated at all, he grabs Akam’s hand and snaps the fingers! Dunne kicks the leg out, then kicks Akam’s head. Dunne runs for his corner but Akam brings him up in a fireman’s carry. Akam goes for a flapjack but Dunne makes it an arm-wringer! Both men go down, and crawl for their corners, hot tags to Strong and Rezar!
Strong rallies with chop after chop on Rezar, then forearms and elbows! He ducks Rezar’s counter, knees Akam down and out to then boot and enziguri Rezar. Strong keeps moving, forearm smash in a corner, forearms on the run! He can’t get Rezar down, but his dropkick does the trick! Rezar ends up in a corner, wrecking ball dropkick takes Akam out again. Corner shining wizard, Olympic slam!
Cover, TWO! Strong grows frustrated, but he won’t stop. He runs in, shirnign wizard then tag to Dunne. Forearm smash, enziguri, and then Dunne climbs up top to double stomp Rezar’s back! Cover, TWO! Dunne won’t let that stop him, he stomps Rezar over an dover, then brings him into a triangle hold. Rezar deadlifts Dunne! Akam tags in, and the AoP hit Dunne powerbomb neckbreaker! Cover, Strong breaks it with a dropkick! He dumps Rezar out while Dunne and Akam stand. Akam whips Dunne but Dunne goes up and over while Strong tags in. Enziguri then the lift, for Bitter End of Heartache!
Cover, Rezar breaks it just in time! Dunne & Strong go after Rezar, he shoves them away, so they come back with an enziguri and knee combo! Rezar’s down, Akam takes one himself! Strong & Dunne run, but into a boot and lariat respectively, and fans go wild with “NXT! NXT!” chants. All four men are down but stirring, but the Undisputed Era’s Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly appear!
They attack both teams, ruining this match! They throw Rezar into a post before stomping and punching away on Strong & Dunne, respectively.
There is no winner to the Dusty Rhodes Classic 2018, so what does this mean for the NXT Tag Team Championships at TakeOver: New Orleans? NXT General Manager, William Regal, appears to sort that out!
Regal has been in this situation before with the Undisputed Era. They assumed Bobby Fish’s injury and no winner tonight means no tag title defense, right? Too bad, because now, it will be the Undisputed Era VS Strong & Dunne VS The Authors of Pain, in a triple threat! The winners there will be the combined winners of the Dusty Rhodes Classic AND NXT Tag Team Champions! Cole & O’Reilly really put their stable in a bind. Can they find their way out of it when they have angry Authors as well as the Bruiserweight & the Backbreaker after them?
NXT takes a look back to William Regal’s “ground-breaking” announcement.
Regal remarked how NXT has always brought us “the very best competitors from various regions around the world.” As this brand grows and expands, there needs to be further methods to determine the top talent within the roster. Therefore, TakeOver: New Orleans will introduce the NXT North American Championship, in a Six Man Ladder Match! Regal would then sprinkle the announcements of those six men throughout the night, and we know now that it will be Ethan Carter III, Adam Cole, the Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, Killian Dain & Ricochet!
Six amazing stars from around the world will compete for this brand new title. EC3 feels it is very fitting that with “100% of the world watching”, the Top 1% will rise up the ladder to his destiny. The Patrick Clark Experience says there is only one Dream, and only inaugural NXT NAC. Adam Cole feels that one champion will be him, the real history-maker in NXT! But the Beast of Belfast that he’ll bury five men in chaos. The Leviathan says his five opponents are actually five victims, who will begin his era with TakeOver. But Ricochet will prove there’s only one of him, and will make that title look good. Chaos, destruction, history, who will climb up to solidify it all by laying their hands on the NXT NAC belt?
NXT takes a look at what brought about the coming Unsanctioned Match.
“Johnny Freakin’ Wrestling” and the Psycho Killer were best friends, and the tag team known as DIY. They were NXT Tag Team Champions, on top of the world and living a dream, until they weren’t. Gargano took a ladder for Ciampa, but Ciampa took Gargano and betrayed him. “Why?” Why throw away a friendship and team so strong? They were like brothers, how was Ciampa even capable of that? Ciampa blames Gargano for being selfish. He carried DIY but Gargano always made it about himself. Gargano couldn’t understand Ciampa’s delusions, but he struck out on his own. Gargano almost had it, but fell short.
“And then BAM!” Ciampa returned, attacked, and screwed Gargano out of his NXT career on top of his title. When it couldn’t get any more personal, it did. The fans loved Gargano, even after he was gone, and that only angered Ciampa. Then Gargano came back to strike back! This Unsanctioned Match could get Gargano his job back, but most of all, it’ll give these two friends turned enemies the end to their grudge. Who will take this opportunity and use it to finally have their moment?
Kairi Sane VS Vanessa Borne!
The Pirate Princess of Stardom won the inaugural Mae Young Classic, but she still has to fight her way towards the NXT Women’s Championship. At the same time, the vivacious Vanessa wants to prove she’s more than just a pretty face. With Ember Moon and Shayna Baszler battling for the title at TakeOver: New Orleans, will either of these up-and-coming stars find themselves challenging the champion in the future?
The bell rings and the two circle. They tie up, Vanessa gets the waistlock and slam, then walks on Kairi to “kick dirt” in her face. Kairi gets up while Vanessa trash talks and circles with her again. She calls for a test of strength, Vanessa comes in only to kick and wrench the wrist. Fans boo but Kairi uses acrobatics to reverse the hole. Kairi arm-drags Vanessa, then runs in, but Vanessa puts her on the apron. Kairi slips under for the sunset flip, ONE, so she tries a normal roll up, ONE. Now Kairi goes for a double chickenwing cradle, continues through to a reverse bridge! TWO, but fans applaud for Kairi’s agility and technique.
Kairi runs, Vanessa catches her into a flapjack! Vanessa drags Kairi up and elbows her in the back of the head. Now Vanessa covers, ONE, so she bumps Kairi off buckles. She clubs away on Kairi until the referee backs her off, so she slingshot stomps Kairi into buckles! The referee checks on Kairi but Vanessa drags her out to a matchbook cover, TWO. Vanessa keeps on Kairi with a chinlock, but fans rally. Kairi stands up and fights back. Vanessa shoves her, Kairi dodges, and hits the Interceptor Spear!
Kairi roars as Vanessa gets to a corner. She rallies the fans as she marches, then runs in corner to corner for the Sliding D! Vanessa scrambles away but Kairi is up, flying kabuki forearm! Cover, TWO, but Kairi isn’t deterred. She readies her elbow as she climbs up again, but Vanessa trips her up. Vanessa climbs to join Kairi, Kairi resists the superplex. Kairi fights Vanessa off, and Vanessa ends up hanging onto the ropes. Kairi adjusts, and hits the double stomps!
The Pirate Princess isn’t done there. She goes back up, and drops anchor with the Seven Seas InSane elbow!
Cover, Kairi wins!
Winner: Kairi, by pinfall
Kairi wins tonight, righting the ship from her previous loss to Shayna Baszler. Will the MYC winner see her rival get the better of the Prophecy of Flame along with the NXT Women’s Championship? Or will Ember Moon manage another miracle defense in the Big Easy?
Lacey Evans speaks to NXT Media.
The Model Soldier and self-proclaimed Lady of NXT wishes to make a statement. “There is nothing that I can accomplish here in NXT until Mr. Regal stops allowing societal trash to walk around NXT.” As a mother, a U.S. Marine and a “force to be reckoned with”, she has shown the world what a strong woman is capable of. Yet opportunities continue to go to “complete psychos” like Nikki Cross. And NXT Women’s Champion, Ember Moon, when was the last time she made a difference? When was the last time Ember showed strength as a woman that didn’t involve jumping off the top rope? She won’t even consider Dakota Kai worth a comment.
But Kairi Sane, however, the “pathetic Pirate Princess”, is exactly whose opportunity Lacey plans to take, “just like a classy, confident and legitimate role model would.” Lacey promises to do her best not to lose her manners. Be that as it may, will Lacey manage not to lose against the Mae Young Classic winner when they meet next week?
The Undisputed Era finds William Regal backstage.
Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly demand Regal explain what he thinks he’s doing! Regal is “very aware” that Cole is already in the Six Man Ladder Match for the North American Championship, yet Cole is supposed to compete in the NXT Tag Team Championship match, too!? How is that fair? No one won the Dusty Rhodes Classic match tonight, so how are the Undisputed Era supposed to defend the tag titles?
To answer in order, yes, Regal knows what he’s doing, and tells them they have three options: 1) Cole competes in both matches; 2) O’Reilly competes on his own, 2v2v1; 3) Cole backs out of the Ladder Match to focus on the Tag Team Championships. The Undisputed Era’s a smart bunch, surely they can figure it out. Smart or not, is there any move Undisputed Era can make where they hold both the North American and Tag Team Championships?
NXT looks back at what’s led to Almas VS Aleister for the title.
The Embodiment of the End believes El Idolo’s ego has convinced him of “invalid truths”. But according to La Gerente, Zelina Vega, Almas is the “greatest champion in NXT history”. Aleister admits Almas has reached the top, but Aleister has been on his own path to the NXT Championship since arriving. That is the devil on his back driving him forward. Aleister still hasn’t lost in 1v1 competition, and promises Almas he will take that championship in New Orleans.
Vega admits Aleister got into “our heads”, with his jokes and win-loss record, but Almas proclaims Aleister is “going to respect the Championship and me!” Almas also swears to humiliate Aleister. He also assaulted Aleister out of nowhere last week, in a beating that went from parking lot to backstage to ringside, even involving a chair across Aleister’s back! Almas would hold the title up over the downed Dutch Destroyer, but will he be holding it at the end of TakeOver: New Orleans?
Ember Moon speaks on last week’s backstage brawl with Shayna Baszler.
“I am not sorry for anything that happened at the Performance Center.” Shayna disrespected a coach, acting like she owns the place. That’s not how a champion acts or how you get respect. Ember is the champion and represents the company in and out of the ring. But Shayna, she started this war. At TakeOver, Ember vows to end it. Can the War Goddess do just that against the Queen of Spades in their highly anticipated and highly personal rematch?
Killian Dain VS Lars Sullivan!
The Leviathan loves to dismantle and demolish any and every superstar put in his path, but so does the Beast of Belfast. These titans of NXT are both in the North American Championship Ladder Match, and both promise pain and misery for the others. As for tonight, these behemoths will battle, which monster will gain momentum before wreaking havoc on New Orleans?
The bell rings, and the two stare down as they step towards the other. They then tie up, Big Damo shoves Lars back, then they tie up again. Lars pushes Damo to ropes but Damo pushes him away. They go again and end up in a corner, then break. Lars growls, and Damo throws a punch. Lars grins and gives one back, then dares Damo to keep going. The behemoths brawl, but Lars gets the edge and starts throwing heavy right forearms. He staggers Damo with a European uppercut then runs, but into Damo’s bicycle boot! Lars ends up outside the ring, but he drags Damo out to ram him into the apron. The Leviathan snarls and roars while we go to break.
NXT returns once more to Lars clobbering Damo with crossface forearms. He wrenches and rakes Damo’s face, then throws even more crossface punches! Lars returns to the wrench while fans rally. Damo gets up to his feet and fights out of the hold with body shots. Lars knees back, then lifts, but Damo fights out of the slam with elbows. Damo throws a forearm, then another, and another. Lars swings back but Damo ducks to fireman’s carry, forward slam and back senton for the Belfast Blitz! But Damo keeps going, climbing up for the Vader Bomb, only to land on Lars’ knees!
Both behemoths are slow to standing up. Lars goes over and reels Damo in for a lariat. He then goes to a corner himself, climbs up high, but Damo stops him. Damo climbs up, but from the outside. There’s something sinister forming in Damo’s mind as he and Lars fight on the top. They double headbutt, and they both crash and burn to the floor!
The fans fire up as the behemoths tumble down, but now the Velveteen Dream appears?
Dream slips into the ring and looks at both Damo and Lars. The fans fire up and chant as he climbs up, and tries to decide who he’s going to jump on! But then Adam Cole returns! Dream hops down to look the Panama City Playboy in the eyes.
Both Dream and Cole pose, “BAYBAY!” but they’re not the only uninvited guests. EC3 walks down the ramp and to the ring!
Mr. Top 1% trash talks with Dream and Cole, but Damo and Lars rise up. Five of the men competing for the North American Championship are here, so why not have the sixth? Here comes Ricochet!
The King of Speed superhero lands in the middle of the others and the fans are going wild. Ricochet looks at each of his future opponents in turn, letting each of them know he’s just as ready. Who will prove they’re ready to be North American Champion by climbing up and taking history into their own hands?
Now this was a go-home show. It was another almost hour long episode and NXT used every minute of it properly. Charly gives us the official word that Bobby Fish is too hurt to compete. And then while AoP VS Strong-Dunne was great, Undisputed Era try to outsmart Regal by ruining the ending. Instead, we get a Triple Threat tag, and I’m pretty sure the Undisputed Era won’t go with Regal’s second option. Whether or not Cole does double duty, I’m expecting the return of Team Future Shock to defend those NXT Tag Titles, and probably even retain. AoP is basically set for a main roster debut after ‘Mania, and both Strong and Dunne still have plenty to do as singles competitors, especially once the North American Championship is in the mix.
The video packages and accompanying promos for the North American Championship, the Unsanctioned Match, the NXT Championship, and even Ember Moon’s interview for her Women’s Championship, were all very good. The NXT Championship review was my favorite with the special vocal edition of his theme. The Women’s Division had a good showing in Kairi’s match and Lacey’s interview promo to set up their “Post” TakeOver match, which I expect Kairi to also win unless Lacey cheats. The Dain-Lars match was shorter than expected, and never actually ended on camera, but that was fine when we got the six-way stand-off. The favorites for winning the NAC are still EC3 and Ricochet, but this really set up the possible stories to stem from that Ladder Match.
My Score: 8.5/10