WWE NXT Review: Results, Analysis, and Grades for November 2

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WWE NXT, Source: WWE.com

On this week’s episode of WWE NXT, the second round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic gets under way.

Previously on WWE NXT, the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Classic came to an end. In the first of two matches, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa defeated rookie Tian Bing and HoHo Lun. The team known as DIY is one of the favorites in the tournament, so it was no surprise they handily defeated Bing and Lun.

In last weeks main event, TJ Perkins and Kota Ibushi defeated Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali. The four cruiserweight competitors put on a high-flying exhibition for the crowd. Ibushi seemed to handle the loss of his original tag partner Hideo Itami in stride, as Perkins was a capable fill-in.

But the big news from last week’s episode was Asuka finding out who her opponent at TakeOver: Toronto would be. After defeating Thea Trinidad, Asuka was treated to a video message from former WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James. Apparently, James is making a WWE return for at least one night, challenging the Empress of Tomorrow for the NXT Women’s Championship.

On this week’s episode of NXT, the second round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic gets started. With a few matches taped on the recent NXT tour of California, all four second round bouts will be airing on tonight’s episode. Each of the contests features some standout competitors on both sides, so the action should be intense all night.

Please continue reading for everything that happened this week on WWE NXT.

Roderick Strong (w/ Austin Aries) vs. Shane Thorne (w/ Nick Miller)

Result: Shane Thorne defeated Roderick Strong via pinfall
Rating: 2.8 out of 5 stars

The Austin Aries injury came at the worst possible moment. Not that any injury is well-timed, but this one particularly hurts (pun intended). On the plus side, his expected time off comes as his main rival – Hideo Itami – is also on the shelf with an injury. So at least they can both heal up and pick back up where they left off.

As far as the Dusty Classic goes, the Aries injury may have forced a change of plans, but I’m not convinced that’s the case. Aries and Strong don’t need a victory in a tag team tournament like some other teams do – especially TM61. Having Thorne and Miller advance would have been my call.

A singles match in the middle of the tournament is an odd way to go about things, though. Not to mention Corey Graves hit the nail on the head when he said Strong should have the advantage in a singles contest. Thorne is a tag team specialist through and through, so on paper it looks like this is a big upset.

But an “upset” might be the best thing for TM61. Remember, they’ve had incredibly mixed results in their NXT career. One week they beat a couple of tomato cans, the next they lose a hard fought battle to the Authors of Pain. They seem to win when they’re the favorite, but lose as underdogs. Tonight should help to change that.

I did appreciate that, for all intents and purposes, the match did turn into an unofficial tag match at the end. Aries still got to get involved, and Nick Miller got to sacrifice himself so that Thorne could use the always effective small package for a surprise victory. Good stuff in the middle, too, with all those backbreakers from Strong.

DIY (Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa) vs. The Revival (Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder)

Result: DIY defeated The Revival via forfeit
Rating: N/A

Real talk time: Scott Dawson is great on the microphone. A lesser man would have needed cue cards for that promo he delivered. Or, worse, a lesser man may have delivered the lines with the same delivery you usually get from TJ Perkins. Stilted, awkward, and unnatural.

Honestly, even hearing Dawson just remember all those medical terms related to the knee was impressive. I mean, everyone knows he’s completely full of it, but he made it sound convincing. Like the great George Costanza once said, “It’s not a lie, if you believe it.”

But, yeah, Dawson didn’t really break his meniscus in half, and DIY are right to call him out on it backstage. Sure, a trip to the semifinals is nice and all, but Gargano and Ciampa made their names on competition. Not getting to compete wounds their pride a little.

Hey, let’s not forget the history here in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. For the second year now, the NXT Tag Team Champions have failed to make it out of the second round. Furthermore, the loss came to a rival team who had been making a push for the championships. Last year, Dash and Dawson defeated The Vaudevillains, and weeks later won the titles. This year, The Revival are on the other side of the matchup, and end up losing via forfeit.

If Gargano and Ciampa end up winning the NXT Tag Team Titles in Toronto now, maybe next year the champs should stay out of this tournament.

Cedric Alexander Backstage

Continuing the streak of great mic work from relatively unexpected places, here’s Cedric to actually sound like a human being. He’s still got to sell that feud with Andrade Almas, after all.

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Source: WWE.com

No Way Jose & Rich Swann vs. Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering)

Result: Authors of Pain defeated No Way Jose & Rich Swann via pinfall
Rating: 2.6

Hey, finally a tag team match is taking place during the tag team tournament!

Raise your hand if you ever thought that a No Way Jose hot tag would be one of the greatest things in wrestling? Yeah, he’s super over, but the pop from the California crowd when he got into the match was huge.

But let’s backtrack a bit first. How about Rich Swann going toe to toe with Rezar, and living to tell the tale? There’s nothing like a good David vs. Goliath story, and this was definitely in that vein.

Speaking of Rich Swann, he’s entering Alexa Bliss levels of facial expressions lately. It’s probably one of the most expressive faces in wrestling, and it does so much to enhance all his matches. When you’re trying to tell a story in your matches, you need to embody what’s happening at all times. Swann does just that.

But this tournament is shaping up to be the Authors of Pain’s finest hour. The monsters are making it look easy as they march onward through the brackets. And a blind tag before the finish? It looks like these two are progressing into not only the strongest team in NXT, but the smartest as well. And being paired with Paul Ellering, that makes sense.

A semifinal match against DIY, though, will be the biggest test for Ellering’s team thus far. Next week will be interesting, huh?

Mickie James Hype Video

It’s always nice to relive the career of a great superstar. Mickie James was quietly one of WWE’s best female competitors – honestly, she never got the same kind of recognition as Trish Stratus or Lita, but she really should. This video does a lot to hype her upcoming match with Asuka.

TJ Perkins & Kota Ibushi vs. SAnitY (Sawyer Fulton & Alexander Wolfe, w/ Nikki Cross & Eric Young)

Result: SAnitY defeated TJ Perkins & Kota Ibushi via pinfall
Rating: 2.2 out of 5 stars

I was highly impressed with the great chemistry displayed by Ibushi and Perkins throughout the tournament. Last week I mentioned that the loss of Itami probably made the first round match more exciting, but the bottom line is that Itami and Ibushi would presumably work well together if only for communication reasons. Perkins as a last minute sub was probably one of the best parts of the tournament.

But even better chemistry comes from SAnitY. Fulton and Wolfe must have spent a lot of time in the Performance Center getting to know each other, because they work incredibly well together. When tag team wrestling is good, it’s really good, and SAnitY are really good at this tag team thing.

For all the grumbling about TJP, I really enjoyed the sequence early on where he kept going for the kneebar. Giving up a ton of size to his opponents, Perkins tried to cut their legs out from under them. But the strength factor saw first Wolfe, then Fulton, drag TJP over to the corner for a quick tag out. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was pretty impressive.

SAnitY using the numbers game to their advantage was expected, but still enjoyable. It’s a little disconcerting that Young’s face is like four shades of spray tan darker than the rest of his body, but his crazy face is pretty dang crazy. And Nikki Cross is probably the best at doing “possibly legitimately insane woman” in all of WWE. Definitely in NXT, at least.

Next week, SAnitY takes on TM61 in a match I am really excited for. There’s really no bad way for this one to end, but with a trip to TakeOver at stake there’s no holding back.

What did you think of this week’s episode of WWE NXT?

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