WWE NXT
WWE Network
September 2, 2015
Full Sail University
Watch: WWENetwork

Tonight, NXT debuts the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament in memory of its namesake. I love tournaments of all kinds. Seriously, put it in a bracket and you’ll get all of my clicks.

We know the Ascension will be taking on Baron Corbin and Rhino and that Neville will be in the tournament as well. The big question, as always, is how many matches will be interrupted with commercials?

The Ascension vs. Baron Corbin & Rhyno

That’s a heckuva logo for the Dusty Rhodes Classic. Perfect mix of old school and modern, and it helps that NXT’s logo is in Dusty’s black and yellow motif. The match was predictably boring, but bringing talent down from the main roster provides an excuse for Corbin to be on the defensive for a hot minute.

Corbin and Rhyno, working surprisingly well together, scored a win after breaking up the Fall of Man before capitalizing with a Rhyno Gore. Not the barnburner you might expect to open a big tournament, but this is a marathon, not a sprint.

Neville and JoJo have an interview backstage to announce Solomon Crowe as Neville’s partner tonight.

Alexa Bliss vs. Blue Pants

Alexa Bliss wants to fight Blue Pants as some measure of revenge for Blake and Murphy losing the NXT Tag Team Championships. What’s that? Cohesive storytelling that involves both the undercard and female performers who aren’t awful archetypes? Say it ain’t so.

This match was surprisingly straightforward and one-sided. There was no schmozz, there was no interference, as Bliss just took Blue Pants to task. Quick win.

The “Two Hottest Free Agents”

William Regal, having a conversation with Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, is interrupted by Tyler Breeze who is demanding a match in the tournament. You’d think Regal would have this whole tournament filled up before announcing it, but no, apparently not.

Regal tells Breeze that his partner will be Bull Dempsey and they’ll wrestle the “hottest free agents in our industry” next week. Breeze leaves, but not before dropping what I hope is his new catchphrase “smile for the camera, and say Breeze.”

Apollo Crews vs. Martin Stone

Bad news for our guy Martin Stone, he’s already in the ring when Apollo Crews made his entrance and wasn’t given a name until Corey Graves mentioned it offhandedly.

Crews, once again, gave a lot of time to an enhancement talent, and probably got beat up for two-thirds of the match before hitting the standing enziguri-Gorilla press-standing moonsault combo for the win.

Jason Jordan and Chad Gable are announced as the opponents for Neville and Crowe. They’re ready, willing and Gable for the match tonight.

Finn Balor is confirmed to be defending the title in NXT’s Texas tour and it’s announced that his partner will be Samoa Joe. That’s a heckuva team and two guys who need to start finding their way in NXT despite already being at the top of the card. Also, Balor said he’s honored to be at the top of the “sports entertainment Renee-ssance.” And here I was thinking Triple H was behind NXT.

Eva Marie vs. Billie Kay

The best part of this match was when Billie Kay, who didn’t get an entrance, interrupted Eva Marie’s “All Red Everything” chant by kicking her in the face. This was rough and Full Sail shit all over Eva Marie. The commentators are already talking about how Eva Marie will be in title contention soon. God help us all. The Eva Marie Era rolls on, though, and she picks up the win with her modified Sliced Bread.

Suddenly we’re already heading to our main event…

Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. Adrian Neville & Solomon Crowe

This match started out as a standard fare WWE TV tag team match and then cut to commercial, just like a WWE TV tag team match. Guess what though? WWE owns the network this match is on – and they cut to one of their own commercials. As you all know, there’s no good reason for it and they should stop it.

When the match came back from commercial, Solomon Crowe had been tagged in and the match was back in the ring after going to commercial with both Jordan and Gable on down and on the outside. The commercial was 15 seconds.

Gable, who still has “star” written all over him (metaphorically), shined in this match once it came back from commercial. He controlled the match and talked the whole way through. Impressive for a guy who hasn’t been even in NXT for all that long.

The final 7 minutes of this match actually felt like the competitors had gone thorough a grueling match, which is a lot to say for a weekly TV NXT match. Jordan and Gable get a surprising clean victory over Crowe and Neville after they knock Neville off the apron and hit the Grand Amplitude, which was named a couple of weeks ago, but Graves insisted he didn’t know what it was called. Once again, good luck keeping up with NXT continuity.

Final Thoughts: The main event was the kickoff match that the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament needed. I’m not sure if this means Solomon Crowe is that far down in terms of importance or that Jordan and Gable are headed to the top really, really quickly. I’m not a huge Crowe fan at this point, but I wouldn’t complain about a fast ascension for Jordan and Gable – pun fully intended. Other than the giant, one-sided bracket (seriously, NXT, just make the bracket two sides) and the main event match, there isn’t much to see in this episode. That main event match was a pretty fun once it came back from commercial, though.