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NXT preview (Mar. 6, 2019): Dusty Classic Begins


NXT returns to us tonight (Mar. 6) with the second episode from the most recent set of tapings.

Here’s what’s advertised for tonight (all Dusty Classic matches):

  • Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa
  • Mustache Mountain vs. the Street Profits
  • The European Union vs. Aleister Black & Ricochet
  • Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. the Forgotten Sons

As per usual, here are our five questions about NXT tonight:

1) Will Undisputed’s luck turn?

The narrative surrounding the Undisputed ERA in 2019 is one of not getting the job done.

They lost the tag team titles to War Machine. Adam Cole couldn’t beat a hobbled Ricochet. Roderick strong recently took an L to Aleister Black. For a team who claimed they’d be holding all the gold in 2019, they’re off to a lousy start.

Tonight, they’re up against a favorite in this tournament. Sure, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano have a shaky past, but there’s no denying the chemistry they have in that ring together.

The winner of the Dusty Classic gets a shot at War Machine’s tag gold. If ERA wants to win all the titles, they’re going to need to win the Dusty Classic for the second straight year.

2) Are they going to have to audible Johnny & Tommaso’s story soon?

Unfortunate word going around is that Tommaso and Johnny didn’t work the main roster the last couple weeks because Tommaso is dealing with a neck injury.

If that is the case, that’s obviously not good. First and foremost, for the health of the performer. That is most important. It’s also bad for the stories they’re telling. I don’t expect Tommaso and Johnny to make it too far in the Dusty. The NXT champion isn’t going to be tied up in a tag title match at TakeOver: New York.

My guess is the plan is to do Gargano vs. Ciampa one last time in Brooklyn. But if the Blackheart is injured, they may have to find a way to delay this once again. We won’t see how this plays out for a few weeks since they have some more episodes from this taping to get through. Hopefully by that time they will know better Ciampa’s status, and hopefully, that status is healthy. But if it’s not, this story is going to need another injury hiatus.

(Editor’s note: This was written before the most recent news from Wrestling Observer, with Dave Meltzer saying on their post-SmackDown Radio show that Ciampa will be undergoing neck surgery and missing a significant period of time.)

3) Do the Forgotten Sons and Street Profits have any more rivalry left?

On the episode after TakeOver: Phoenix, the Forgotten Sons picked up a win over the Street Profits. They had the numbers game with Jaxson Ryker lending his boys a hand. The Profits never got any revenge.

With both teams in action tonight, it’s entirely possible this is picked back up. As someone who would like to see the BritAm Brawlers advance in the tournament, I would not be at all angry if the Street Profits got a measure of revenge by costing the Sons that match. (I’d prefer Mustache Mountain advance too so the Sons can do the same.)

A tournament is best used when they can advance stories and start more rivalries. This is one option for them to do that.

4) How far with Black and Ricochet go?

I wondered last week if Aleister Black and Ricochet weren’t even going to be a team until the main roster brass decided to team them. And then NXT figured, “May as well let them look legit.”

Both these two and #DIY have main roster wins over the Raw team team champion Revival. (Though to be fair, who doesn’t at this point?) Beating main roster tag team champions should mean you are an elite team and should go far in the tournament.

The other side of that is Black and Ricochet do not need to advance at all. There are other teams that will be in NXT full time for longer that could use the rub of winning the Dusty. They’ll probably get a W over Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel given those two are more of a UK team anyway. But then they’ll meet up with the winner of the #DIY vs. ERA match for a trip to the finals. Do they go all the way to legitimize their main roster pairing? Or do they lose prior to the finals to let the other stories play out?

5) Will any other stories get major time?

It feels like tonight is going to be a tag team focused episode of NXT. And you know what? That’s great. They only have an hour so can only showcase so much in that time. I appreciate when they take one episode and mainly devote it to one thing.

Plus the NXT title isn’t getting shafted for this. It’s represented inside the tournament.

The women, who main evented last week, will decide their #1 contender next week when Io Shirai faces Bianca Belair. We’ll be reminded of that and maybe get a backstage promo, but that’s all we need to bridge us from last week to next week.

Velveteen Dream will need to get some time soon. He won the North American title only two weeks ago, but wasn’t in front of the Full Sail crowd last week and likely won’t be this week. They’ll need to get him back on TV next week to start setting up what the new North American champ is doing at Takeover: New York since that’s only a month away.

We’ll see if we get answers to these questions tonight at 8 PM.

NOTE: Spoilers are out there for these pre-taped broadcasts (including here), but many Cagesiders don’t partake. If you are going to post or discuss spoilers for this show before they happen, or results of future shows, please use the spoiler bar in your comment.

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