This week’s episode of WWE NXT began with an announcement from General Manager William Regal that next week’s episode of NXT would include the beginning of the second NXT Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament, which will once again feature 32 of the top athletes from NXT. Last year, Samoa Joe used the tournament as a way to boost his value in NXT, teaming up with Finn Balor to win the Tag Team Classic. Since that time, Balor has moved on to a prominent spot on the WWE Monday Night Raw roster, while Samoa Joe is a former NXT Champion.
This year, relative newcomer Bobby Roode was the first man to announce his intentions to win the Dusty Rhodes Classic when he asked the “Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger to be his partner. Despite utilizing standard heel characteristics in his NXT stint thus far, the “Glorious” Bobby Roode is incredibly over with the live crowds at Full Sail University. Dillinger accepted Roode’s proposal as the NXT Universe chanted “Glorious-10!” Since then, NXT has announced five more teams that will join Bobby and Tye in the tournament. The remaining teams will be announced as the tournament approaches.
Given the incredible popularity of Bobby Roode (and his entrance theme) along with the recent push that Tye Dillinger has received, it seems likely that they’ll last at least a few rounds in the tournament. But it also makes sense to set them up for an eventual feud. With the tournament finals set for NXT TakeOver: Toronto on November 19, there’s a good chance that a program between Roode and Dillinger could start (or even culminate) at TakeOver.
With the recent influx of Japanese talent until the WWE umbrella — and both the NXT Champion and NXT Women’s Champion being transplants from the Land of the Rising Sun — it’s no surprise that one super-team of Japanese NXT Superstars has already entered the second Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The recently returned Hideo Itami teams up with WWE Cruiserweight Classic stand-out Kota Ibushi. However, given Itami’s current program with Austin Aries, it seems likely that the “Greatest Man To Ever Live” will do what he can to prevent Hideo and Kota from advancing.
Returning from last year’s tournament, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa hope they can get past the second round in 2016. Considering the success that they have had as a team as of late, it seems unlikely that they will be eliminated early from the tournament. Last year, they defeated Tyler Breeze and Bull Dempsey in the opening round, before being defeated by Rhyno and Baron Corbin (who went on to the finals of the tournament) in the quarterfinals. NXT could use this tournament to solidify Gargano and Ciampa and serious threats to the NXT Tag Team Championship — or they could use it as an excuse to break the DIY team up to start a singles program with each other.
Also returning to the Dusty Rhodes Classic will be current NXT Tag Team Champions, The Revival. Known as The Mechanics a year ago, Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson have had quite a year since the last tournament. They defeated the The Vaudevillains in last year’s quarterfinals, while Aiden English and Simon Gotch held the NXT tag titles. They lost in the semifinals to eventual tournament winners, Finn Balor and Samoa Joe. Winning the tournament this year could solidify The Revival as the greatest tag team in NXT history, as they are the only team to ever hold the titles twice.
Recent NXT acquisitions Andrade “Cien” Almas and Cedric Alexander will be teaming together in the tournament as well. While Alexander was incredibly impressive during the WWE CWC tournament, Almas has yet to really get over with the NXT Universe. It shouldn’t be expected that this team will last long in the tournament, and the pairing may simply be a way to set up a brief program between the two young NXT Superstars. They face The Revival in the opening round, which doesn’t bode well for the newcomers.
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And with even less name recognition than Almas and Alexander, Tino Sabbatelli will be teaming with Riddick Moss. So far, Sabbatelli’s biggest claim to fame was the spotlight put on him and his injury recovery on WWE Network’s Breaking Ground. Meanwhile, Riddick Moss is still trying to prove he belongs in NXT. A single win in this tournament, even in the first round, would likely be the career highlight for both of these young NXT Superstars.
Where To Watch
The second annual NXT Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament will take place over seven weeks, beginning with the episode of WWE NXT that will air on Wednesday, October 5. The tournament will culminate at NXT TakeOver: Toronto on November 19.
Weekly episode of WWE NXT can be streamed on-demand with a WWE Network subscription beginning Wednesdays at 8/7c. Replays of WWE NXT are also made available to stream the following day with a Hulu subscription. NXT TakeOver: Toronto will begin at 8/7c on Saturday, November 19, exclusively on the WWE Network.
[Featured Image by WWE]