I can’t say this was the most eventful episode of NXT, but it did carry some consistency. While many of the matches lacked high energy pacing, the tournament itself felt important because it got an entire show to itself.
Shane Thorne vs Roderick Strong
I love how there was a caption on the top right hand corner of the screen that said previously recorded. The irony behind that everything in NXT is previously recorded. Apart from my lame observation, I find it amazing how one of the tournament matches was wrestled at a house show. That gave the fans in attendance something more to watch other than what was advertised.
The first half of the contest was quite action packed, but it slowed after the commercial break. There were just a few too many moments that felt like rest spots.Regardless of the work rate, the right man/team won. It’s great that Strong is in NXT, but he shouldn’t be stuck in the tag division. Also, TM61 very much deserves to be seen as a legitimate team.
DIY vs The Revival
It was strange how Regal came out to address the previous match (I know they were recorded at different times), but not this one. In my opinion, they should’ve done another singles match with DIY going over. That allows for the Revival to not look weak as a tag team, while keeping their rivals strong.
No Way Jose & Rich Swann vs Authors of Pain
Out of every match in the tournament quarter finals, this was easily the most predictable one. Assuming the wrestlers knew that, it was up to them to show the fans otherwise. Both Swann and Jose did a solid job at playing the underdog. Their ability to sell was quite solid, and that alone created momentum for their comeback spots. Once the match came close to the finish, it was difficult to not cheer for the babyface team. However, I’m sure that can be attributed to them being over with that crowd, and with the lack of meaning behind the Authors.
TJ Perkins & Kota Ibushi vs Sanity
Does anybody know if this match was taped before or after HIAC? If it were taped before HIAC, I’m shocked nobody caught on to Perkins not carrying the title.
It was neat seeing Perkins and Ibushi team up in the last round, but I didn’t care to see them advance in this one. At the same time, I couldn’t digest the idea of Fulton and Wolfe going over clean on big names this early in their run. With all of that being said, they found an appropriate way to finish this contest. After a solid back and forth, having Eric Young distract the refs was a smart way to give Sanity the win, while keeping the high status of Perkins and Ibushi intact. I thought the two teams had done a great job at making it feel fair for most of the match.
Considering we’re in the second round of the Dusty Classic, this episode was underwhelming. Most of the matches lacked intensity, and at no point did it feel like they were fighting for something. Since the show included recordings from different venues, I’ll be easy on it. Also, they still attempted to make everything about the tournament, which shows the viewer how important it’s supposed to be.The low point was the opening match, while the high point was the main event. Overall I give this episode a 5/10.