In 2015 and 2016, the fall months were the home of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with the inaugural competition finishing October 7th and last year’s on November 19th.
This year, however, appears to be quite different, as the most recent NXT tapings have had no indication of the return of the tournament.
It’s possible this is because there are still several weeks worth of episodes that have not yet been taped to lead into NXT TakeOver: Houston, or it may be due to how the Mae Young Classic just ended and WWE would prefer not to oversaturate a similar concept, preferring to push the tag teams more toward January 2018 with NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia.
Whatever the case may be, at the moment, we’re left in the dark about what the plans are, but that got me thinking about just what I’d like to see go down if they do in fact plan on bringing back the tournament sometime over the course of September/October/November.
With a quick glance at the roster and the superstars available, I present to you my 16 teams I’d like to see make up the slots on the brackets for the 2017 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
NOTE: There are some spoilers below regarding future episodes of NXT. You are warned.
There are a handful of no-brainer choices and this is obviously one of them. The Authors of Pain were last year’s winners, so I would definitely count them out to win this year, as they can very easily lose by disqualification or count out while still maintaining their mystique of being nigh-unstoppable.
What could get in the way of this is if they get called up to the main roster in the meantime, but since they made an appearance to attack SAnitY and The Undisputed Era, that is as good of a sign as any that they’ll be staying on the yellow brand until at least after Houston.
Again, this is an obvious team to add into the fold, whether or not they are the current tag team champions when it goes down.
There’s nothing stating that the tag champions can’t participate in the tournament, so their lack of a presence would certainly be felt if they weren’t included in some way.
Whether the combination would be Eric Young and Killian Dain, Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe, or Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe is up to the specifics of how WWE plans on plotting out the other matches in the coming future following the tournament, but it really doesn’t matter.
No surprises here, and there isn’t too much to talk about that isn’t clear cut. Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly would need to be representatives of their stable with Adam Cole by their side, which leads me to think that SAnitY’s crew would be better off doing something similar and keeping Eric Young outside of the ropes.
#4. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan
Some of the best pairings come out of competition and mutual respect, which is what has happened recently between Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan.
The two traded wins between themselves in two great matches which saw comparisons to their looks, styles, spirit of competition and camaraderie.
There’s absolutely no reason why Lorcan and Burch shouldn’t be a team in this tournament, and I’d go so far as to say if Lorcan isn’t on his way up to the 205 Live roster any time soon, WWE should consider making this duo a legitimate tag team on the NXT circuit.
They bring the swag like nobody can. If they aren’t going to get the belts any time soon, give them the trophy. I love this team. Nuff said.
#6. Heavy Machinery
In a short amount of time, Tucker Knight and Otis Dozovic were able to make quite an impressive connection with the crowd despite looking absolutely ridiculous with their ring gear.
Some people even thought they could be the first team to defeat The Authors of Pain, although they would come up short in that endeavor.
They didn’t get a chance to dethrone Akam and Rezar, yet their sprint of a push should earn them enough favor with the crowd where they could be semifinalists here.
#7. Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli
Carrying over from the 2016 tournament, Riddick Moss and Tino Sabbatelli lost in the first round to TM-61 and a year later, Moss and Sabbatelli are still a duo and have still not fully made the transition onto the true NXT roster.
Since that time has passed, I would love to see them go further this year and actually be legitimized to an extent, even though I have no faith at all that they would make it past round 2 unless the bracket was heavily in their luck.
Speaking of TM-61, now that we know Shane Thorne and Nick Miller are back and able to compete as a unit once more, they 100% have to be making their presence known.
Frankly, I don’t care too much for them, as I absolutely hate the team name and I find both Miller and Shorne to be bland and uninteresting, but they were the runners-up last year, losing to The Authors of Pain in the finals in Toronto, so the only justification for them not to be in the tournament would be if another injury happened or if they were called up to the main roster instead.
As I feel they aren’t remotely close to ready to go to Raw or SmackDown, and the injury is no longer an issue, TM-61 is a shoo-in for one of the 16 teams. (Note: Typing out TM-61 / “16 teams” just made me temporarily feel like I typed out TM-61-16-TM and now I hate their team name even more.)
#9. Mustache Mountain
Since absolutely nothing is happening with the entire United Kingdom division outside of a sporadic NXT appearance here and there, there’s no excuse for why Trent Seven and Tyler Bate can’t make up one of the teams in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
This is one of the easiest picks to make because it’s another one that already has history as Seven and Bate have partnered up long before they were even signed to a WWE contract.
#10. The Ealy Brothers
They’re brothers, they’re a tag team, and holy shit they weren’t in last year’s tournament? I could have sworn they were!
Well, it’s time to rectify that, as they’ve made more than enough appearances to justify getting a spot over some other live event tour folk.