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NXT recap & reactions: Dusty Classic Fatigue

NXT returned last night (Feb. 10) from the Capitol Wrestling Center (CWC) in Orlando, Florida. You can find the results at the live blog here.

The main event of this week was a men’s Dusty semi-final match between The Grizzled Young Veterans and Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher.

The match was a solid main, which made sure to demonstrate how the GYV really functioned as a true team. While T & T weren’t off the same page, it was clear the Vets are extensions of each other. This factored into the finish when Zack Gibson grabbed James Drake, who was prone for Ciampa’s finish Willow’s Bell, preventing the move. This allowed the Vets to deliver their double team finisher Ticket to Mayhem. Gibson covered Tommaso as Drake prevented Thatcher from breaking it up.

The Grizzled Vets were always a lock for the finals as it seemed like they were in line for a significant push before the pandemic hit and they returned to Europe.

On the on the other side of the bracket, MSK defeated El Legado del Fantasma to join them in the finals.

This match opened the show and was quite a fun time. Both have a very entertaining style and that meshed well for this bout. MSK’s roll out has been as strong as can be. They’ve been able to show personality and use their unique style within the NXT tag format. Advancing to the finals of the Dusty immediately establishes them as a legit tag threat in the division, whether they defeat the Grizzled Young Veterans or not.

This will pit a talented, but bland (by design) team in GYV against the exact opposite in MSK. And while the Vets are those heels with no redeeming qualities, they’re always good in the ring. This final should deliver a match worthy of a Dusty Classic final.

The Women’s Dusty Finals were also set this week.

Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon defeated Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell to advanced to TakeOver. It was a really enjoyable bout, though with some of the talent in this match, that shouldn’t be surprising. Moon, Blackheart, & LeRae are all great wrestlers. Hartwell is still rather new to this ,and that is obvious in many of her matches. But here, she was solid, even whipping out an impressive springboard elbow.

My “gripe” about this match was more the positioning of it. Last week, Raquel González & Dakota Kai punched their ticket to the finals. That means the outcome of this match was never really in doubt. Heel vs. heel matches are very uncommon, so the Way had little chance in this match. Face vs. face matches are more common. If Ember & Shotzi won first, it wouldn’t be impossible that Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter could have won their match. This isn’t an issue with this match at all. It’s more an issue how they opted to lay it out.

We learned this week that the winner of the Dusty Cup will get a Women’s tag team title shot “eventually.” The winner Sunday should try to get that match before Nia’s hole is completely healed.

Johnny Gargano continues to find new life as the cowardly heel.

To try to avoid facing Kushida at TakeOver, he told everyone he broke his arm. To drive the point home, he had the Way bring him to the ring in a wheelchair, explaining that he’s such a power walker that if he can’t swing his arms, he can’t walk. I’ll buy it.

It was all classic comedy heel, something that still amazes me how well Johnny plays it. From instructing the Way to turn the wheel chair from the facing the hard cam to facing the video screen to supplying an x-ray with the wrong limb identified, it was all hilarious stuff. Read from source….