We learned a lot about TakeOver: Respect last week. We already knew it was going down on October 7 at Full Sail, but now we know that not only will it will be main evented by an Iron Woman match between Bayley and Sasha Banks, but it will feature...not one, not two, but three Dusty Classic tag matches.
That's right. Both semi-finals and the match to determine the winners of the sixteen team tourney will happen live on WWE Network. So with what will they fill out the next two weeks?
A trip to Vaudeville
Aiden English & Simon Gotch could be getting a lot of exposure on tonight's show. They are indubitably defending their tag titles against Blake & Murphy, and their real nemesis, Alexa Bliss. And Rich Brennan also made mention of their second round showdown with Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson, which was filmed on the promotion's swing through the Lone Star state last weekend, but which will could be aired in whole or as highlights on this week's episode.
The Vaudevillains ongoing issues with the former tag champs continued in round one of The Dusty, where they took down BAMF in a big-time opening round match that went down at a Florida house show and only got video clip treatment.
We haven't heard much from Dash & Dawson, as most of the promo time from the tag tournament has focused on the singles stars who were paired up heading into...including one such squad who flamed out in round one and will go head-to-head elsewhere on tonight's show: Bull Dempsey & Tyler Breeze. So expect the focus on the tag champs to be on the match for the belts and not their attempt to make the final four for TakeOver.
Trick: Last week's interview setting up the title rematch stuck with what's worked about the 'Villains/Blake & Murphy feud...Ms. Bliss. Since there's no way she won't play a prominent role in this bout (as fans of condescending heels, beautiful women and both would riot), we'll have to be on the lookout for her nemesis for Brooklyn and the last taping...Ole Blue Pants.
Which is fun, and good for Leva Bates, but they should be careful to not have her outshine the champs any more than she already has. We have very little background on what makes Aiden & Simon tick, and we could a point where appearances by them without Colin Cassady's rendition of The Price is Right theme are seen as a letdown.
Tip: While I don't want behind the scenes documentary footage on The Vaudevillains like we've had for Finn Bálor - there gimmick is entirely wrong for that kind of humanizing treatment, at least at this stage of their careers, it would be nice to have a few more reasons to root for them other than hating Alexa or loving Blue Pants. Their chivalrously protecting one another was a great babyface moment...maybe a similar effort to protect B.P. could cost them a match (and maybe the belts...someone has to become a two-time champ in NXT sometime) to drive home their heroic nature.
It would also be great to hear what the winner of the Dusty Classic earns, other than bragging rights. Presumably they'll be in line for a shot at the belts, but are there any stipulations on that? What if English & Gotch win?
If you missed last week's epic show-closing segment, or even if you didn't...go watch it on WWE Network right now. We'll wait.
We probably won't get too much of Banks and Bayles this week, or next week either. A contract signing next week would be fine, since the last two times they're been in the ring with microphones have been two of my favorite non-wrestling NXT scenes of the year. I do hope that they keep it brief, and keep the focus on competing against each other and not "changing the business" (which The Hugster and General Manager William Regal do a wee bit much of in the above fallout video).
As this brand has taught us, and the main roster's "Revolution" is finally learning...to quote one of Canada's greatest exports: show me, don't tell me. The women of NXT have already changed the business, and they'll continue to do so if they keep doing impressive things rather than telling us about the stuff they already did.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- His new fitness program didn't just help Bull chase off Prince Pretty, he also made short work of Adam Rose's new schtick. No word on if the party pooper will be a NXT regular, but we are getting Breeze vs. Dempsey this week.
- Full Sail gave Tye Dillinger a Perfect 10 for his squash victory last week, but we're still waiting to see where his recent push takes him.
- Ditto Apollo Crews, although it looks like his push might actually coincide with a heel turn for Solomon Crowe. And at this point, anything that gives us a reason to care about Crowe constitutes elevating the guy.
- Rhyno & Baron Corbin are already in to the semis at TakeOver, having defeated a game Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano last week. The two newcomers don't have contracts, but looked good enough that we should be seeing more of them in NXT soon.
- Forget Nia Jax...she's taking forever to get here. Asuka will definitely be here tonight. And for Dana Brooke & Emma's sake, I hope the statement they promised they're gonna make doesn't involve the Japanese newcomer, or they might get kicked back onto the sidelines.
Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing - we strictly avoid NXT spoilers here at Cageside central (except when we don't, like right here). If WWE.com releases or the performers tweet more information on anything that's officially going to take place on tonight's show, that'll be updated in the results thread. If anyone wants to put a match listing in the comments, please use spoiler tags.