The winners of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic will be crowned on tonight's episode of NXT.
Matt Riddle & Pete Dunne will take on The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) in the Dusty Classic finals. In addition to winning the Dusty Cup, the team that wins tonight's finals will challenge Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish for the NXT Tag Team titles at TakeOver: Portland on February 16.
Riddle & Dunne defeated Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster and Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) in the first two rounds of the tournament, while The Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Alex Shelley & Kushida and O'Reilly & Fish.
A grudge match between Tegan Nox and Dakota Kai is also advertised for tonight, WWE is hyping that NXT Champion Adam Cole's challenger for TakeOver: Portland will be revealed, and Robert Stone has said that Chelsea Green will be in action.
Our live coverage begins at 8 p.m. Eastern time.
The show opened with a video recap of Worlds Collide in Houston from this past weekend. Mauro Ranallo, Beth Phoenix and Nigel McGuiness are the announcers for tonight's show. Beth Phoenix spoke briefly about Edge's return at the Royal Rumble on Sunday.
Finn Balor defeated Trent Seven
They showed a clip of an angle shot last night at Raw. As Seven was getting into his car, Balor snuck up on Seven and threatened him for "sticking his nose" in Balor's business.
Before Seven could get to the ring, Balor took Seven out with a baseball slide dropkick before the bell. Once the match started, Balor continued pummeling Seven in and out of the ring for a bit.
Seven countered after a few minutes with an inside cradle for two, Balor put him back on the mat with a Slingblade. It was around here where NXT cut to a commerical while the match continued in the left inset screen.
Balor looked to take most of the offense during the break, but Seven was back by the time we were back. He laid in some nasty chops that left Balor with a bright red chest, then landed the Acid Rainmaker for two. When Seven went to the top turnbuckle, Balor clipped his knee and knocked him to the mat. Balor used the Coup de Grace diving double-stomp and followed up with 1916 for the win. Good match that builds Balor's angle for Takeover in Portland in a few weeks. Balor has been excellent in his heel role recently.
The Broserweights were interviewed by Cathy Kelley next. Dunne said he was going to break Gibson, and Riddle mentioned he'd show why Dunne is the "life of the party," which got laughs.
Next was a quick preview video of Dakota Kai vs. Tegan Nox’s bout for later on in the evening.
Shotzi Blackheart defeated Deonna Purazzo
Short match. Blackheart came out in a small tank and a battle helmet type thing. When Purazzo came out, she waved off the tank, now parked atop the entrance.
Purazzo worked over Blackheart's left arm early on. When Blackheart went for a flying armdrag, Purazzo blocked it and continued targeting Blackheart's arm. There were a number of chants for Shotzi in this. She landed a Question Mark Kick (Arisa Hoshiki's Brazilian Kick), then went to the top and landed a diving senton for the win. It was short but OK, and Blackheart sounds to be popular with the Full Sail crowd.
Next up was another video package of from NXT vs. NXT UK from Worlds Collide last Saturday.
Keith Lee walked to the ring for a promo next. The crowd sang and chanted for him as the announce team explained how he "stopped" Brock Lesnar at the Rumble this weekend. The crowd chanted "you deserve it" at Lee for winning the NXT North American title. Lee has a great voice and should be on the mic as much as possible.
Before Lee could announce his next challenger for the title, Punishment Martinez's music hit. Inside the ring, he held the mic upside, for some reason, and talked about how he gets what he wants, which is the North American title. He said all he needed to know is how Lee was going to give the belt to him. On cue, Dominic Dijakovic's music hit. Dijakovic got in the ring and implied that because of the past between he and Lee, referring to the PWG matches back in 2017, that he deserves the first shot at the title, not the " bootleg Marilyn Manson," referring to Martinez. As Lee left the ring, Martinez and Dijokovic got into it, and within moments a ref was in the ring and we had a match.
Dominic Dijakovic defeated Damian Priest
Dijakovic landed a springboard splash from the middle of the second rope moments after the bell, but Priest recovered and used a Razor's Edge onto the apron to take Dijakovic out before the next commercial break.
After commercials, we saw Dijokovic use a release vertical suplex on Priest. He used a chokeslam into a Liger Bomb for two, then an Asai moonsault to the floor. Priest did a flip dive to the floor. They landed simultaneous high kicks and were out for a few. Priest used an avalanche reverse frankensteiner off the top rope. He's 6'5", Dijokovic is 6'7", in case you're wondering. Dijakovic kicked out of that and ultimately used his modified GTS to put Priest away.
The crowd really enjoyed this but what it was, at its core, were two huge, athletic guys doing crazy moves. Not much selling, plus the audience at home couldn't see half the match. But again, the crowd sounded to enjoy it.
After cutting to a brief segment with the Grizzled Young Veterans ahead of the Dusty Rhodes Classic match later on.
Tomasso Ciampa told Cathey Kelly that "Goldie's coming home," referring to the NXT Championship. When NXT returned from commercials, we saw most members of the Undisputed Era laid out backstage with Ciampa standing over them. People chanted "Daddy's home." Ciampa brought a table with him and brought it into the ring and spraypainted a yellow X onto it.
Adam Cole found his unit laid out and then ran out to the ring to confront Ciampa. Cole asked Ciampa if he was supposed to feel sorry because he was injured. Ciampa said Cole's belt belong's to him, "Daddy." Ciampa then said he was going to take back the title, and his life, in Portland at Takeover. He also said he was going to power bomb Cole through the X he made on the table in the ring.
William Regal came out and said that while Ciampa was taking out the Undisputed Era backstage, he was with Cole signing a contract for Takeover, and Cole didn't care who his opponent was. Cole went into the ring after this to confront Ciampa, who tried taking Cole out ate a shot to the head with a microphone, which looked to have busted the top of Ciampa's head open. Ciampa then power bombed Cole through the table, then noticed the blood on his head and smeared it down Cole's NXT title contract. Great visual.
They plugged Bianca Blair's Women's Rumble appearance over the weekend, where she was the number two entry. She'll have a segment with Rhea Ripley on next week's TV.
New NXT Cruiserweight champion Jordan Devlin will also be in attendance next week, and they showed a few clips of his title win from Worlds Collide this past weekend in his fatal four-way against Angel Garza, Isaiah Scott and Travis Banks.
Tegan Nox defeated Dakota Kai
Kai had the video footage of her turning on Nox in November at Takeover. Nox went after Kai with her kneebrace right at the bell and the two began brawling around ringside early on, setting a nice grudge match feel from the top. Kai took Nox out with a huge Yakuza kick and then grabbed a chair but wasn't able to use it, ultimately; before Kai went to smash Nox with said chair, Candace LeRae came out and took the chair from her. Kai, now flustered, got back into the ring and ate another kneebrace shot, followed by her finish, the Shiniest Wizard, for the win. This was great for what it was, but it was way too short. It felt like this was a teaser for a rematch over the next few weeks. All said, though, it was a good, quick brawl.
A mysterious vignette aired for something happening on 2/5/20.
Kayden Carter defeated Chelsea Green (w/ Robert Stone)
I'm positive Kayden Carter was announced as being from Florida not long ago. She's from the Phillippines now. Ranallo mentioned on commentary that she was trained by Lance Storm and mentioned her working overseas before arriving in NXT.
This was basically Green working over Carter until she lost focus for a split second, which is when Carter scored the upset win over Green with an inside cradle. This was Carter's first win in NXT, announcers claimed.
I like the idea of this angle, both for Green's and Carter's trajectories , but the one glaring takeway here was how inexperienced Carter was. None of what she did looked too practiced. Robert Stone played little to no role in this, either. Green could probably get over on her own.
Pete Dunne & Matt Riddle defeated Grizzled Young Veterans (Zach Gibson & James Drake) to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals
Respect to Nigel McGuiness for his usage of "ad hoc" on an American pro wrestling television broadcast. I think that was a first. You could hear one fan shouted "GRIZZLED YOUNG A**HOLES" before they got started. All four rotated in and out early in this. Dunne did a moonsault off the apron onto Gibson, but just a moment later Gibson had Dunne up in a tombstone piledriver when Drake came down with a pescado, assissting with the piledriver, spiking him. They whipped Dunne into the ringpost when the show cut to advertisements.
We saw Dunne using an X-plex on Drake the show came back. Dunne tagged out to Riddle who went through a series of impressive spots. The crowd often chanted "Riddle's gonna smoke you" while he was in the ring. Dunne and Riddle used a power bomb w/ knee strike combo on Drake for a two-count. Riddle tried a double kneestrike on both Vets, though he definitely whiffed in trying to make contact with Drake.
Gibson and Riddle jawjacked and exchanged hard palm strikes. After Drake kicked out of Riddle Final Flash knee strike, all four were laid out. Gibson and Dunne later mixed it up with hard palm strikes. The action slowed a bit as NXT readied for another commercial.
During the break, it looked like GYV was again getting the better of Dunne. Gibson hoisted Dunne onto his shoulders, and when Drake went for a flying attack from the top, Dunne blocked it with an elbow, then used a victory roll for two. Drake dove to the floor and took Riddle out; Gibson landed a nasty-looking backcracker and then put him in his Shankly Gates submission until Riddle broke things up, launching Drake into Gibson.
There were tons of insane spots over the last ten minutes of this, and it really culminated when they did a Doomsday Device on the floor, with Drake diving through the ropes to take Riddle out. Drake hit a 450 for two. The Broserweights did a double dive, with Dunne to the floor and Riddle into the ring with his Floating Bro twisting senton. They finished Drake off with a super GTS to put GYV out, finally. Your 2020 Dusty Cup winners are Matt Riddle and Pete Dunne: The Broserweights.
There's no doubt that the main event was the match of the night, hands down. One of the best matches of the month so far, I'd argue. They went quite long, about 20–25 minutes, at least, but the commercial breaks often disrupted the flow of the match. That's TV, though. Gibson and Drake were outstanding in this, as were Dunne and Riddle.
The rest of show was good. The balance between action and promo time felt right. It's notable there was no overrun tonight and the show ended right at 10 P.M. ET, likely to do with latest episode of Miz & Mrs that aired on USA next.