Controversy is swirling around NXT based on reports that a performer who crashed & burned on the main roster and got over on a show other than Raw or SmackDown is scheduled for a push in Florida...but we won't be too hard on Zack Ryder.
Instead, let's talk tonight's show...
Tagging for the Dream...Week 2
No, they likely won't be on the show tonight - except maybe to air the above video, as last week's YouTube clips are this week's interview spots - but I'm ready, willing and Gable to share film of Chad & Jason Jordan at any point.
If the schedule sticks to two Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches per week, it'll be at least September 30 when we see the amateur standouts again. But with the finals scheduled for the live TakeOver event that will broadcast from Full Sail on October 7, something's got to give.
Will some first round matches be untelevised? Can't imagine there would be too much of an outcry if foregone conclusions like the Hype Bros vs Alexander Wolf & ??? (word has it that Marcus Louis has been taken out of this match) or Dash & Dawson vs. Elias Sampson & Tucker Knight were shown in highlight form.
What we know for sure is that tonight we'll get a couple of the random singles pairings I'd hoped they'd avoid and an indie dream team in action. Though I still hope the focus remains on two-man squads that are in it for the long haul, both Finn Bálor & Samoa Joe and Tyler Breeze & Bull Dempsey have history and make sense as a match or feud going forward.
All eyes, or at least my eyes, will be on Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano, who are set to face Prince Pretty & Bill Dumpster. As WWE's recently announced one signing and an indie promotion confirmed another, these two have dates lined up with other companies in the near future. Are contracts shoot on the line for these men in the tournament? That would add a 'Reality' Era element heretofore not present for the show...
Tip: Don't wait too long to spin off solo feuds out of some of these oddball pairings. Rhyno & Baron Corbin have already advanced into the second round. Bálor & Joe could work as either a face vs. face program or with a heel turn for either man, and the longer they go, the more likely it would seem to that it would be booked as an honorable challenge.
Breeze and Bull already have a little history (one of the losses that sent Dempsey to the BullFit program came from chasing the Duke of Delish) and the big guy shouldn't be much more than a filler angle for Tyler while Triple H convinces Gedo to let Jushin "Thunder" Liger give him his win back. That mini-feud could start any time, and the sooner the better if it also helps focus on established teams and give us something beyond singles squashed to pass the time until October's TakeOver.
One is the loneliest number
With most of the male roster tied up in the Dusty Classic, there's not a lot for of guys building the feuds that will go on the rest of the October 7 live special on WWE Network.
Apollo Crews followed up his Brooklyn win over Tye Dillinger with another quick victory against Martin Stone, and then...
Tip: Have Crews work two smaller angles with Dillinger and a slowly turning heel Solomon Crowe will everyone's attention is on the tag division. Though Apollo should go over, the screen time will help both of the other men, and being a big enough stud to fight on two fronts at once will establish the next big thing that much quicker.
Other stuff to keep an eye on:
- Eva Marie still hasn't lost on NXT, and there are even less signs of that stopping than there are of her improving at pro wrestling.
- New Women's champ Bayley hasn't worked since her Match of the Year candidate in New York City last month, and despite her name not coming up in rumors about the future of the division, Emma was the focus of last week's tease about The Hugster's first challenger.
- While Blake & Murphy await another match with new tag champs The Vaudevillains in the first round of the tourney, their manager got a measure of revenge in an impressive win over Blue Pants last week.
- Her build is Kharma-esque, but we still don't know when we'll find out if Nia Jax can work like Kong...
#WWENXT Divas beware, @NiaJaxWWE is coming soon! https://t.co/8t3Vm9C6uO— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) September 7, 2015
- Wow, I wasn't kidding when I said there's not much going on for dudes outside of the Dusty Classic.
Note: I know some folks have come looking for a more definitive match listing - we strictly avoid NXT spoilers here at Cageside central. 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.