NXT opened this week with Team #DIY (Gargano & Ciampa) defeating the team of Hoho Lun & Tian Bing in the first round of the Dusty Classic. This was a good tag match- a good introduction to Tian Bing and I do enjoy that WWE is bringing back some of the CWC competitors in roles such as this. Can I predict now that the finals of the Dusty Tag Team Classic will be #DIY vs. SAnitY, Ciampa turns on Gargano and is revealed to be the true leader of SAnitY? I enjoyed the dueling "Johnny Wrestling" and "Psycho Killer" chants to start this match though.
Aliyah defeated Billie Kay because it seems like perhaps Peyton Royce and Billie Kay vs. Liv Morgan and Aliyah is going to happen now. Look, I've been saying (and thinking) that Liv Morgan needs a friend because she's taking on two women at once (get your minds out of the gutter) but I'm not sure Aliyah is the right pick. But, more on the lack of the women's division in NXT in a moment.
Tye Dillinger defeated Noah Potjes next. We've seen Noah before as a jobber and it's nice to see him again I suppose. This was a win Dillinger needed heading into his match with Bobby Roode. I'm not sure why, but during this match all I could think about was the return of Elias Sampson and how Bobby Roode could, for some reason, be the one to smash his guitar over his head and send him away for good. Please do that for all of the wrestling fans, Bobby Roode. Please. Also, I like that Dillinger is getting this match with Bobby Roode because even if he loses it just goes to show what kind of backbone he is to NXT. Should Tye Dillinger ever- finally- get called up to the main roster I'd love to see him join Breezango as an ass-kicking faction kind of like when Nexus first debuted. But have them be from NXT and taking over WWE's main roster, even though it doesn't totally work but you get my point, right?
Next up we have Asuka defeating Thea Trinidad- who it is nice to see in NXT- and then after the match Asuka is basically informed that she will face Mickie James at the next Take Over event. Aside from the fact that I do enjoy that NXT brings in women from the outside to fight Asuka such as Thea Trinidad, I feel like going back to the past with Mickie James is not the right step for NXT and Asuka. I feel like Asuka could hit Mickie James with one kick and not only end the match but legitimately end Mickie James' career. Maybe- MAYBE- in her prime Mickie James could have felt like a threat to Asuka but right now she just does not. She seems like a woman- a DIVA- from yesteryear who really doesn't have any place in the same ring as someone like Asuka. Looking back in WWE, prior to when things really began to change for the women, I'd say that only woman I really would want to see face Asuka possibly is Beth Phoenix and even still, that would have been more like Beth Phoenix in her prime not Beth Phoenix now. So in a lot of ways I feel like this match is wrong because of Mickie James being the name they picked (And I know the internet says it was supposed to be Trish Stratus, but really, I'd be typing the same thing about her, to be fair) At the same time, I have to point out that another problem I have with this match is that it feels like, for NXT, they're taking two steps back with the women now by bringing in someone from the past who is a "dream match" no one asked to see. I feel like even when Natalya was in NXT and having these great matches with Charlotte- since that time I feel like NXT has always done a good job of establishing female stars and the next big names in womens wrestling. I know they have Ember Moon, but really, it feels like all of Asuka's competition is gone. Her last big opponent was the Bayley rematch and then since then there was this mini-feud with Liv Morgan. Perhaps Liv Morgan should have been built up better and had the Take Over match but we all know she would have likely been crushed as well. I think, at this point, the only thing NXT can really do is move Asuka up. She needs to run through the women on either RAW or Smack Down! because NXT has run dry for her. I'm not saying there aren't women who can compete in NXT in general, but I just don't feel like any of them are on the same level as Asuka and this match happening is just proof of that. Have Asuka move up after Take Over, strip her of the title (so she never technically loses it) and then have a tournament to crown a new champion to make the womens division in NXT feel less empty without her. It's as simple as that, really.
In the main event, the team of TJ Perkins and Kota Ibushi defeated Lince Dorado and Mustafa Ali in the Dusty Classic. Mustafa Ali is one of the guys that I remember the name from the CWC but not much else about him and so I kind of saw him being the losing factor in this match. Since we're in the first round you can kind of see the teams like "Ok, this one isn't going to go forward", just like with the CWC really. Originally, this was to be the team of Hideo Itami and Kota Ibushi because... I guess because they're both Japanese and WWE is slightly racist... But Hideo Itami suffered an injury and TJP took his spot. I'm not sure how this changes the overall booking of the Dusty Classic but if it means that TJP and Ibushi find themselves at odds to the point where Ibushi is challenging for the Cruiserweight Championship then I'm okay with it. Although, I read about Hell In A Cell before writing about all this and know that Brian Kendrick has the title now, so that idea won't work now even though the idea of seeing Kota Ibushi on a WWE show such as Survivor Series challenging for the Cruiserweight Championship appeals to me greatly.
I feel like this is one of the worst times to be a fan of professional wrestling and I don't mean because of the current state of the product but because it's getting close to the end of the year and so I don't see a lot really happening until the Royal Rumble and we're on the road to Wrestlemania. It's just unfortunate that TNA is having their own problems and we've kind of skipped some of their episodes which I do still want to go back and watch but just haven't found the time *yet* (But I should) Same with ROH TV and even though Lucha Underground hadn't been at their best lately I'd still like to catch up with them before I feel like I fall too far behind. So maybe next week. Hopefully. No idea when I'm going back to watching RAW and Smack Down! though. No idea.