Skip to main content

Smark Hen-XT (9/2/15): Start of a Classic

This week on NXT, the inaugural Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic kicks off, Alexa Bliss tries to get even, and All Red Everything worries me.

A Classic in the making

The tag team division gets much love as NXT kicks off the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Featuring stars from NXT’s past, present and hopefully future, the Classic brings much needed attention to the division. This week’s preliminary matches feature former NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension facing the ragtag team of Baron Corbin and Rhyno. Also on board is former NXT Tag Champ and NXT Champion Adrian Neville teaming up with Solomon Crowe in a match against amateur wrestling standouts Jason Jordan and Chad Gable.

I’ve always liked the NXT tag division. It has so much potential, and with teams like the Realest Guys in the Room, Jordan and Gable, and reigning champs Vaudevillains, they have the good all around talent to work with. Which is weird that they haven’t really had any wowing matches. The Classic hopefully fixes that and with great single talents like NXT Champion Finn Balor, Samoa Joe, and Tyler Breeze, as well as the indy team of Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa backing up the tag division, I’m excited for the matchups.

The opening match between the Ascension and Corbin & Rhyno was a fun match, for what it's worth. Full Sail loves their boys the Ascension, so seeing them work face and play to the crowd was refreshing. I wouldn’t think they’d make a great face team for an extended period of time, but when they’re having fun, they’re doing good work. Corbin and Rhyno, being former enemies, played their history quite well, showing some tension. Corbin, needing some momentum after his big loss against Samoa Joe at TakeOver:Brooklyn, got the win with Rhyno.

This week’s main event featured Neville and Crowe taking on Jordan and Gable. Now this was a fun match. Neville was entertaining as usual, but it was really the team of Jordan and Gable who made it really good. Jordan took people to Suplex City and showcased his strength with every toss. Gable as well brought fluid chain wrestling and charisma. This team is my favorite to win the Classic, and if this match told us anything, it’s that they’re the arguably the best team in NXT right now.

The rest of the show:

Alexa Bliss vs Blue Pants

  • Alexa Bliss is a great valet, but seeing her work in the ring was nice. She’s really good at talking trash, surprisingly. Would not have expected that from such an adorbz person. She’s still too wooden though. Her movements aren’t as organic as I would like them to be, given that she’s been in developmental for a couple of years now, but with your typical slow heel tempo, it masks itself nicely. Good potential here, and great to finally see her perfectly nailing that backflipping double knee drop of hers.

  • Blue Pants allegedly is getting some heat with the NXT divas, and I can see why. She’s good and Full Sail adores her, but she’s still able to do indy shows, where her stock has raised and she’s getting paid more money now than the other ladies in developmental. I still think Triple H and co. would do well to sign her now. It wouldn’t hurt NXT to have another talented wrestler in the roster.

Apollo Crews vs Martin Stone

  • Apollo Crews is scary impressive. He seems like a created wrestler in a video game. If seeing someone like Neville doing flippy shit perfectly was great, imagine seeing someone nearer to Big E’s size doing the same damn thing. And he’s oozing with charisma. Crews is a star waiting to breakout, and he will.

  • But that might not happen as soon as people would like it if he continues on squashing people without any direction. We get it, he’s impressive. Now let’s see him actually tell a story.

Eva Marie vs Billy Kay

  • First off, I am a fan of Eva Marie’s effort to be better. To read that Mick Foley is optimistic about her potential is great. But this match reminded me why a level of cautiousness is needed. She’s still pretty green. She moves at half-pace and she’s missing her beats, not to forget that botched pin which looked terrible. It’s apparent that she’s nervous. But at least there’s effort now. I still think it’s too early to say whether or not she really deserves this mini-push she’s been given, but if anything else, this will give her the experience she needs.

So, that ends the first week of the Dusty Rhodes Classic. The tag matches were good, and I can’t wait to see how next week’s matches turn out. This is what the NXT tag division need, a way to make them more meaningful and compelling. If there was a way to make it more interesting, like awarding the winners a title shot or a main roster spot (not realistic, but it’s an idea), it’d be perfect. Bragging rights and bringing honor to a legend are great, but something tangible for all of them to work for can spice things up for the competitors. It’d be like NXT’s own version of NJPW’s World Tag League. Hopefully the momentum from this tournament, whoever wins it, will revitalize the division.

Got any predictions about the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic? Let us know and drop us a comment!

Photos from and Twitter

Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT,'s weekly NXT review.

Trending This Week

#FinisherFriday (3/27/20): What's Worse Than A Coup de Grace?

How WWE Wrestling Rings Are Made

The Grapevine (3/27/20): Reign Another Day

Ruthless Roundtable: WWE WrestleMania 36

#FinisherFriday: The Science of the Stinkface