By RJ Marceau
Last year, NXT introduced the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic which was a huge success. An annual tournament to honor Dusty Rhodes is great. The best part of this tournament in my mind is how they are taking random superstars and pairing them together.
Obviously they have formed teams such as TM-61, Authors of Pain, The Revival and Gargano & Ciampa but most the other teams are interesting. I know they have had a few tapings but I haven’t seen any spoilers. I will go match by match in these predictions.
TM-61 vs. Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss
In all honesty this match is easily the most underwhelming with two teams that I don’t think people care about. TM-61 has failed to get their footing in NXT and both Sabbatelli & Moss are green as they come. TM-61 are good wrestlers but I have no reason to cheer them. They will advance past the first round but I don’t think they will make it far. I won’t count out Sabbatelli & Moss but I just don’t see them getting past an established team like TM-61.
Team Aries vs. Niko Bogojevic & Tucker Knight
This match should be an easy victory for Team Aries and I hope the rumors are true and his partner is Roderick Strong. If so this should be a cake walk for them against Bogojevic & Knight. Tucker Knight is bland as they come and hasn’t grown at all since joining NXT. I feel bad for the “homegrown talent” since they have been underutilized but when the brand is trying to get recognition you push the Indy stars. Whoever is Aries partner they should advance with ease to face TM-61 in the next round.
Winners: Team Aries
Kota Ibushi & Hideo Itami vs. Lince Dorado & Mustafa Ali
When I looked at this tournament at a quick glance, Ibushi & Itami stood out as a team that could win this tournament. The one factor that turns them off is that Ibushi still hasn’t signed with the WWE so I fear he won’t win this tournament similar to the Cruiserweight Classic. These two will however put on great matches so I won’t complain. They are facing two competitors from the CWC in Dorado & Ali who faced each other in the first round of that tournament. They both are unknown but they should be able to put on an entertaining match vs. Itami & Ibushi which I can’t hate. Itami & Ibushi beat them in a great contest.
Winners: Kota Ibushi & Hideo Itami
Tye Dillinger & Bobby Roode vs. Sanity
This is the most highly anticipated matchup in this first round with the fan favorite team of Bobby Roode and Tye Dillinger vs. the debuting new stable Sanity. I’ve seen the rumors of who's in Sanity which seems like the group will be a great addition to NXT. Dillinger & Roode I assume will lose and start a singles feud, which will be great in the NXT mid card. Sanity should advance far in this tournament to come off as a threat before they are a total afterthought.
Authors of Pain vs. Bollywood Boyz
I feel like the Authors of Pain are the favorites to win and why wouldn’t they be. They have caused utter havoc to the NXT roster and their part of the bracket seems like a breeze with the potential storylines I am predicting. I don’t know much about the Bollywood Boyz but combined almost weigh less then Rezar. Authors of Pain are green but with Paul Ellering managing them they should be good. Authors of Pain destroy Bollywood.
Winners: Authors of Pain
No Way Jose & Rich Swann vs. Tony Nese & Drew Gulak
I would say the most interesting team without a big name is No Way Jose & Rich Swann. Swann is a great competitor and pairing him with the charismatic No Way Jose will form a great duo. Nese & Gulak are good competitors but are a filler team. I think No Way Jose & Rich Swann have the potential to be a good regular team in NXT. I want them to go far but I don’t see them beating the Authors of Pain.
Winners: No Way Jose & Rich Swann
The Revival vs. Andrade Almas & Cedric Alexander
The Revival have been a dominant tag team and I think Almas & Alexander should be a good test for them. Last year, The Vaudevillians were NXT Tag Team Champions got ousted in the second round and I actually think The Revival will, too. Not that they will lose clean but I think they beat Almas & Alexander and get involved in Gargano & Ciampa match. Almas & Alexander put up a great fight but can’t beat The Revival.
Winners: The Revival
Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. Bin Wong & HoHo Lun
This is were the storylines start affecting this side of the bracket. The Revival and Gargano & Ciampa are still feuding for the NXT Tag Team titles. They are in the bracket with them so I see The Revival interfering in this match and costing Gargano & Ciampa. This will affect The Revivals second round matchup vs. Wong & Lun who are the biggest shock of the tournament. I don’t know much about Wong but I was really impressed with Lun in the CWC.
Winners: HoHo Lun & Bin Wong
This tournament was great last year and I am excited for this year’s installment. The only prediction I will give out further than this is that Authors of Pain will win and I’m expecting HoHo Lun & Bin Wong to go farther then expected. I will release predictions for each round and will also show what I had predicted. I will tell Graham my predictions so he can verify them. I hope you enjoy the tournament.
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