The next stages of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament were in full swing for both the men and women tonight. The main event saw Finn Balor and Kyle O’Reilly team up to take on the current Tag Team Champions in a non-title match, Bronson Reed fought Isaiah “Swerve” Scott, and there was plenty of commotion backstage involving Curt Stallion. A lot went down this week but first, there was a tag team match that saw Killian Dain and Drake Maverick face off against MSK.
Killian Dain & Drake Maverick vs MSK
Lee and Maverick started things off, but it didn’t get going until MSK took out Maverick in the corner with a bronco buster and a senton from the apron to the ring. Dain tagged in and used his strength to take out Carter. He hit a senton then threw Maverick on top of him. They hit a double boot on Carter as he stood in the corner. Carter tagged in Lee and MSK hit a succession of kicks to try and wear him down. As Lee stood on the turnbuckle, Dain pushed him off to the outside of the ring.
After the break, Dain was in control of Lee. He hit a big fist, powerslam, and senton then tagged in Maverick. Lee threw Maverick to the mat and tagged in Carter who took him down. He dropkicked Dain off the apron, then hit a moonsault with Lee pushing him in mid-air onto Maverick. Carter hit Dain with a moonsault outside as Lee and Maverick tussled inside. MSK hit their finisher for the win.
Winners: MSK Rating: 7.5/10
Aliyah & Jessi Kamea W/ Robert Stone vs Raquel Gonzalez & Dakota Kai
Wow, Robert Stone. I’d forgotten he existed. Gonzalez tossed Aliyah around the ring. She tagged in Kamea who managed to dropkick Gonzalez and hit her in the corner, but her assault didn’t last long. Kai tagged in and Kamea hit her with a powerslam. Aliyah and Kamea showed some decent teamwork as Aliyah took down Kai. As Aliyah rolled out the ring, Kai hit her with a huge pump kick to the face. Gonzalez tagged in and beat the hell out of Aliyah. Kai and Gonzalez continued the punishment in the ring, as Kai landed a double stomp. Kamea finally tagged in but Gonzalez hit a huge clothesline followed by the one-armed chokeslam to pick up the victory. Kai and Gonzalez were dominant, and their impressive win sends them through to the next round.
Winners: Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez Rating: 6.5/10
Tyler Rust vs Dante Rios
Rust was in full control throughout the match. He worked on Rios’ arm and wrenched it over his shoulder following a stomp onto it. Rust was almost pinned. Rios locked in a guillotine, but Rust broke out. Rust hit a boot to his face then delivered a one-percenter, followed by a modified Koji Clutch for the win. Rust is on par with Ever-Rise for me. Boring to watch, with no personality, and I’m not sure why he’s getting a push.
Winner: Tyler Rust Rating: 3/10
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Kushida & Leon Ruff
Gibson started off against Kushida. Both guys reversed various submission attempts to no avail. Kushida hit some chops, but Gibson hit him and whipped him into the corner, tagging in Drake. Kushida tagged in Ruff who used his quickness to get around Drake and land a dropkick. Ruff and Kushida worked well together to beat down Drake. Ruff hit a hurricanrana off the top rope. Drake knocked down Ruff then did the same to Kushida. Ruff hit a cutter off the top rope on Drake as the show headed to commercial.
After the break, Ruff almost got a pin on Drake. Drake hit a clothesline and some forearms before tagging in Gibson. GYV hit an elbow backbreaker combination outside the ring. Back in the ring, Gibson got caught with a neckbreaker, but still managed to tag in Drake. Kushida tagged in and beat the hell out of Drake. He hit a dropkick on Drake’s arm, but he managed to tag in Gibson. Kushida ate a chop to the throat after a failed octopus hold. GYV hit a Doomsday Device, but Kushida kicked out. Kushida took them out and tagged in Ruff who exploded. He flew into Drake, then flipped on Gibson to the outside. Back in the ring, GYV hit Ticket to Mayhem to advance. After the match, Gargano and Theory ran out and took down Ruff and Kushida. Gargano hit One Final Beat on Kushida as Theory made Ruff watch from ringside. Lumis appeared behind Theory and made him run into the ring. The Way left the ring as Lumis watched on.
Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans Rating: 7.5/10
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs Bronson Reed
Reed tossed Swerve outside the ring, but he landed on his feet. Reed then ripped Swerve off the apron as he spun and landed awkwardly. Reed hit a suicide dive onto Swerve. After the break, Swerve tried to control Reed with an armbar submission, turning it into a headlock. Swerve went for a rolling flatliner, but Reed swatted him away. He charged into Swerve and hit a standing senton. Reed hit a hanging driver, but only managed a two-count. Reed went for a chokeslam but his shoulder gave way. Swerve booted Reed as he sat on the top rope then launched him off it. He landed a 450, but Reed kicked out. Swerve hit a couple of big forearms, but Reed hit a headbutt and a clothesline. He climbed the turnbuckle and hit a big splash to pick up the victory.
Winner: Bronson Reed Rating: 7.5/10
Kyle O’Reilly & Finn Balor vs Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
Balor and Lorcan started off. Balor tagged in O’Reilly after his arms lock on Lorcan lasted. Burch also tagged in. O’Reilly got trapped in a headlock, but the tag team champions gained the advantage. Lorcan hit an uppercut in O’Reilly’s jaw followed by Burch locking in a side headlock. O’Reilly tagged in Balor who chopped at Burch’s arm, as both kept tagging in to do damage to Burch. They worked very well together as the show went into a commercial. After the break, Balor hit a double stomp on Lorcan, then continued to stomp down on his chest. He did the same to Burch, but Lorcan pinned him into the corner.
Balor got pummelled by Lorcan in the middle of the ring, followed by a big chop. Burch tagged in and wrenched his arm, then locked in an arm lock. Burch charged at Balor in the corner and went for a pin, but only managed a two-count. The champs hit a double atomic drop into a Russian leg sweep by Lorcan. Lorcan was in control, manipulating Balor’s arm. From out of nowhere Balor hit a Pele kick, then followed it up with a sling blade. He finally tagged O’Reilly who wiped out Lorcan and Burch.
He hit a charging forearm into the corner on Burch but got booted in the face. Burch landed a dropkick, but O’Reilly reversed it into a heel hook to make him tap. Pete Dunne then entered the ring as O’Reilly was taken out. All five men brawled in the ring, but Loran and Burch managed to take out O’Reilly. The tag team champs held Balor as Dunne ripped his fingers apart. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong came out, but the cowards ran away. The show ended as all seven men stared each other down.
Winners: Finn Balor & Kyle O’Reilly Rating: 8/10
What Else Went Down
– Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch were shown arriving in the parking lot.
– A video package aired regarding the match between Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai vs Jessi Kamea and Aliyah.
– An interview was shown from earlier in the day where McKenzie Mitchell interviewed Curt Stallion. He told a story about a shooting star and how it inspired him to be Curt “The Lone Star” Stallion. He said his next goal was the Cruiserweight Championship.
– The Way were backstage with McKenzie Mitchell. LeRae said she knew the Dusty Cup was theirs from the moment it was announced. Mitchell brought up Kushida and Gargano freaked out. He said even though Kushida got two fluke victories over him, he wasn’t getting a shot at the championship. As they walked off, Dexter Lumis appeared between the curtain.
– Scarlett was doing a tarot reading in a vignette which was seductive and creepy. It wasn’t clear who she was talking about.
– A video package aired regarding Grizzled Young Veterans vs Kushida and Leon Ruff.
– McKenzie Mitchell was backstage with Finn Balor. Kyle O’Reilly walked in and asked if Balor was ready. He said he was always ready. O’Reilly then asked if he could trust him, to which Finn asked, “what do you think?” It was tense, but both guys seemed focused on their match.
– Cameras cut to backstage where Curt Stallion had been attacked. Legado Del Fantasma were being asked by McKenzie Mitchell about it when William Regal burst through the door. After he left, Escobar found a tarot card in his gear. He said, “the end is near,” but didn’t seem too worried about it.
-Toni Storm was in the ring and talked about how she took what she wanted. She said Io Shirai ruined her chance of becoming the first winner of the women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Storm said she wanted to hurt Shirai and she wanted to ruin her. Shirai headed to the ring and said she would fight her anywhere. Shirai said she didn’t like her when Storm attacked her. Both women fought each other until Shirai gained the upper hand. Mercedes Martinez attacked Shirai from behind, then picked up the NXT Women’s Championship. Storm came back into the ring and wanted the belt. Shirai then ran in and attacked both of them. Storm ended up destroying Shirai and Martinez. She picked up the belt and held it over her head.
– Isaiah “Swerve” Scott was talking about how he understood the landscape, and how everyone wanted to point the finger at him. He asked McKenzie Mitchell to point a finger at him. When she did, he said, “now how many fingers are pointing at you?” before walking off.
– A promo aired of Imperium talking about them standing together on American soil, and how Wolfe’s arrival was only the beginning.
– Roderick Strong and Adam Cole were being interviewed about their match next week against Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa. Cole said nobody knows Ciampa better than Undisputed Era. They said they knew they had their hands full with Thatcher and Ciampa, but they are tougher than them and have more experience. Strong said there was no way those two dorks were going to stop them from winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
– Ciampa was talking backstage about the fights you remember. Thatcher pulled up a chair and said how the fight pit changes a man. Ciampa said that next week they’d destroy Undisputed Era.
After The Bell
A lot happened tonight as far as the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament goes. MSK were excellent once again, as were the Grizzled Young Veterans. Gonzalez and Kai were dominant in their victory, and I’d be happy if they ended up winning the whole thing. The main event was the best match of the night, and it was cool to see Balor and O’Reilly work together.
I’m glad that NXT have utilised what Escobar said about Karrion Kross last week. The NXT Championship is definitely in the cards, but a match with Escobar would be a great watch. It looks as though Io Shirai is heading for a triple threat match with Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez. Personally, I think this is a solid move. They are fresh competition for Shirai since winning the title, and both pose a threat for her.
It was a decent show with plenty of fun matches to watch and a lot of build-up for The Way, Dunne and Balor’s inevitable match, and Io Shirai’s next challenge. We’ve not seen Xia Li in a couple of weeks which I find odd, especially due to all the build-up. Maybe we get some kind of interaction with Shirai over the next few weeks. Next week is set to be huge, especially with the match between Cole and Strong against Ciampa and Thatcher. Roll on next Wednesday.
Stars of the Show: MSK Overall Rating: 7.5/10
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