– Tonight’s WWE NXT episode opens up with a video package showing highlights from last week’s New Year’s Evil special, with hype for tonight’s 2021 NXT Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic matches.
– We’re live on the USA Network as Vic Joseph welcomes us to the Capitol Wrestling Center at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. He’s joined at ringside by Wade Barrett, and remotely by WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix. Fans chant “NXT!” as we see the Dusty Classic graphics around the arena, and the Dusty Cup on display.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Candice LeRae
We go right to the ring for tonight’s Grudge Match and out first comes Shotzi Blackheart in her tank. Out next comes The Way’s Candice LeRae with Indi Hartwell.
They face off in the middle of the ring and have some words. Candice mushes Blackheart and they go at it. Blackheart gets the upperhand but misses a dropkick on the middle ropes. Shotzi blocks a neckbreaker and kicks from the apron. Shotzi goes to the top and hits a crossbody for a 2 count.
Blackheart grounds LeRae and rolls her all over the mat. Blackheart with another 2 count, going back into a submission. LeRae gets her foot on the bottom rope to break it. Blackheart runs into a boot. Candice goes to the top but Blackheart pulls her off for another 2 count. More back and forth now. LeRae sends Blackheart to the apron but Blackheart rocks her. Shotzi goes to the top but Candice cuts her off. They fight more on the apron. LeRae gets knocked to the steel ring steps, then to the floor. Shotzi flies and takes LeRae down on the floor. Shotzi breaks the count but comes back out to Hartwell standing there. The interference allows Candice to turn it around, dropkicking Shotzi through the ropes and then taking her down on the outside again. We go to commercial with Candice in control.
Back from the break and Blackheart drops LeRae with an enziguri for a 2 count as Hartwell looks on. Shotzi with another big kick, then a senton to the back against the ropes. Candice kicks out at 2. They go to the apron and Shotzi blocks a shot into the ring post. Shotzi nails a DDT into the edge of the apron and Candice falls to the floor. Shotzi rolls back in as Indi checks on Candice.
Shotzi runs the ropes and nails a suicide dive, taking down Indi and Candice against the barrier. Shotzi howls and brings Candice back in for a 2 count. Shotzi shows a bit of frustration now. She charges in the corner but Candice side-steps and sends her into the turnbuckle. Candice with a dropkick and a superkick for a 2 count. Fans rally for Shotzi now. Shotzi pulls Candice off the ropes when going for a springboard. They tangle but Candice applies the GargaNo Escape submission in the middle of the ring. Shotzi turns it into a 2 count but Candice keeps it locked.
They get up and Shotzi breaks the hold, dropping Candice into her knee. Shotzi goes on and hits another big DDT. Shotzi goes to the top but Hartwell runs on the apron but Shotzi knocks her to the floor. Candice capitalizes with a spinning neckbreaker from the middle turnbuckle for the pin to win.
Winner: Candice LeRae
– After the match, Candice and Indi stand tall as the music hits. We go to replays. Shotzi tries to recover on the outside as Candice poses in the corner.
– We see NXT Champion Finn Balor walking backstage.
– A black SUV arrives in the back and out steps Pete Dunne with NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Pete Dunne. Fans boo as they enter the building. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and NXT Champion Finn Balor is wrapping up his entrance.
Balor says he’s still the NXT Champion. He wants to talk about Kyle O’Reilly for a second. O’Reilly is great, but not on Balor’s level. Balor says he stepped up last week at New Year’s Evil but got put down, just like at “Takeover: 31” but the difference now is that Kyle is the one eating his meals through a straw now. Balor puts the red X on his chest because he knows he is the target. He warns whoever wants t come at him next – he’s cut from a different, rare cloth, so whoever wants to step up… the music interrupts and out comes Pete Dunne with NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch.
Dunne takes the mic and tells Balor he knows what’s next. Dunne has been watching, knowing this moment would come. Dunne and crew are on the apron now. Dunne says the only reason Balor still has the title is because Dunne hasn’t taken it. Dunne recalls how Balor told him two weeks ago to get in line… well he’s not waiting anymore. A big brawl breaks out with Balor fighting the heels off. The numbers game catches up but Balor keeps fighting. They finally beat Balor down with the triple team as fans boo.
O’Reilly suddenly makes the save for a pop. O’Reilly gets triple teamed now. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong are also out to make the save. The heels retreat to the stage as The Undisputed Era stands tall in the ring together. Balor looks on from behind them. A “too sweet!” chant breaks out as Balor stares The Undisputed Era down. He rolls to the floor without interacting with them. Balor’s music starts up as he looks on.
– McKenzie Mitchell is backstage with Johnny Gargano. He looks ahead to beating Dexter Lumis tonight, and then to The Way winning the men’s and women’s Dusty Cups. Austin Theory walks up with a delivery. The envelope has two drawings in it, from Lumis. One of Theory and one of Gargano. Gargano is upset, as is Theory. Gargano storms off and Theory follows.
– The announcers hype the mystery debut of MSK tonight in the first round of the Dusty Classic. The announcers wonder who MSK is.
2021 Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1 Match: The Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Ever-Rise
We go back to the ring and out comes The Grizzled Young Veterans. James Drake and Zack Gibson talk about debuting in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic last year, but this year they’re winning it all and 2021 will be theirs. They go on and say soon they will be the NXT Tag Team Champions. Chase Parker and Matt Martel of Ever-Rise are waiting in the ring.
NXT General Manager William Regal appears on the big screen and welcomes the two teams to the tournament. He officially kicks the tournament off and here we go. Martel and Gibson lock up to start. They go to the corner and Martel backs off with a cheap shot. Gibson chases him into the corner but the referee warns Gibson. Parker tags in but Gibson takes control. Drake tags in and grounds Parker with a headlock as the two teams talk trash to each other.
Drake keeps control and nails a hip toss with a knee to the face. Parker and Drake lock up again. Parker slams Drake to the mat and talks some trash, then stomps away, sending Drake to the floor to regroup with his partner. Parker yells about how Ever-Rise rules. Gibson calms Drake down at ringside. Gibson tags in and takes Parker down, then rocks Martel on the apron. Drake tags in for big double team moves on both opponents.
Drake uses the middle rope on Parker as the referee counts. Drake with strikes in the corner now. Drake with a running bulldog. Drake rocks Parker to the floor with a big right hand. Gibson tags in and they double team Parker at ringside. Drake talks trash in Parker’s face while he’s down. Gibson brings Parker back in and grounds him as Martel reaches for a tag. Gibson drives Parker into the mat and turns him over into the single-leg Crab. Parker kicks Gibson to break free but Gibson decks him again. Gibson takes Parker to the corner and in comes Drake for more double teaming. Drake covers for a 2 count.
Drake takes Parker back to the corner and in comes Gibson to take over. Gibson with uppercuts and strikes in the corner. Parker knocks Gibson to the floor and fights Drake off. Drake tries to stop the tag but Parker drags him into the corner by his arms. Martel tags in and unloads on Drake with strikes. Martel decks Gibson off the apron and keeps fighting Drake. Martel with a big belly-to-belly overhead toss on Drake, and another strike to drop Gibson off the apron. Drake rocks Martel but Martel nails a big clothesline. Parker tags in for the double team on Drake but Gibson makes the save. Drake gets sent into Gibson, sending him off the apron. Ever-Rise hits the double team on Drake but Gibson breaks the pin up.
Ever-Rise double teams Gibson now with several moves. Martel tags back in but Gibson stops them from double teaming Drake, pulling Parker to the floor. Martel beats on Gibson on the apron now but Drake runs in with a dropkick. Drake tags Gibson back in. They hit the Ticket To Mayhem double team finisher and Gibson covers Martel for the pin to win and advance.
Winners: The Grizzled Young Veterans
– After the match, The Grizzled Young Vets go to ringside and celebrate the win next to the Dusty Cup. They will face the winners of The Way vs. Kushida and Leon Ruff.
– We get a video package with Raquel Gonzalez talking about Rhea Ripley and last week’s Last Woman Standing win. Gonzalez makes it clear that she’s now focused on NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai.
– Still to come, Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis in a non-title match. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and McKenzie is in the back with Shotzi Blackheart. She says tonight’s loss to Candice LeRae isn’t the outcome she hoped for but she’s not going to whine about it because she has her eyes on history – the first-ever NXT Women’s Dusty Classic. She knows Candice and Indi Hartwell will be in it, so she needs someone she can rely on, someone she went to war with. Ember Moon appears. She says this isn’t just a tournament, it’s their chance to make history. Moon says they’re going “balls to the wall” and Shotzi agrees. They go on getting hyped for the tournament before Shotzi howls to end the segment.
Johnny Gargano vs. Dexter Lumis
We go back to the ring and NXT North American Champion Johnny Gargano is waiting in the ring for this non-title match. Dexter Lumis is out next. Austin Theory watches from ringside.
Gargano grabs Lumis’ drawing of himself and tears it up in Lumis’ face. Lumis rocks him to start the match. Gargano fights back but Lumis hits the Thesz Press and right hands. Lumis charges in the corner but misses. Gargano ends up on the mat with Lumis crawling in his face, backing a terrified Gargano to the floor. Gargano capitalizes on the outside and then superkicks Lumis in the face from the apron. Lumis rocks Gargano from the floor and Gargano hits the mat. Lumis slowly comes back in and goes to the top but Gargano cuts him off with forearms.
Gargano climbs up for a superplex but Lumis resists and fights back. Lumis headbutts Gargano, and again. Lumis then punches Gargano to the mat. Lumis stands up on the top and goes for a big Swanton Bomb but Gargano rolls out of the way and Lumis lands hard. Back to commercial.
Back from the break and Gargano remains in control. Gargano grounds Lumis and drives big knees in him. Gargano stuns Lumis with forearms to the back as fans try to rally for Lumis. Lumis finally nails a big Spinebuster out of nowhere to get an opening as fans cheer him on. Lumis unloads with offense and nails a bulldog in the middle of the ring.
Lumis with a big slingshot suplex using the top rope. Lumis stalks Gargano as fans rally again. Lumis with a belly-to-back suplex and a kip up into a leg drop. Gargano kicks out just in time. Gargano fights off the Silence submission. Gargano fights back and goes for a crossbody but Lumis catches him. They tangle and Gargano ends up rolling Lumis for a close 2 count. Gargano with a big shot to the face. Lumis looks right back up from the mat and stares at him. Gargano follows right back up with another big superkick to the face for a 2 count.
Gargano talks some trash while they’re both working up from their knees now, trading big strikes. Theory ends up grabbing Lumis’ leg while the referee isn’t looking. Lumis stomps on Theory’s hand. Gargano takes advantage and rocks Lumis. Gargano goes for the One Final Beat but it’s blocked with a big uppercut. More back and forth now. Lumis blocks the One Final Beat again and locks in the Silence. Theory comes in from the apron but Lumis breaks the hold on Gargano, then grabs Theory with the Silence. Gargano ends up attacking and rolling Lumis up for the pin to win.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
– After the match, Lumis attacks Theory with the Silence again but Gargano makes the save. Lumis gets dropped at ringside as fans boo. Gargano grabs a steel chair and goes to use it but Kushida attacks him from behind to make the save for a pop. Theory stops Kushida but gets dropped at ringside. Kushida rolls Gargano in the ring and applies the Hoverboard Lock as fans cheer. Theory applies the Silence on Theory at ringside while Kushida has the hold on Gargano in the ring. Fans chant Kushida’s name. He finally breaks the hold and grab the NXT North American Title belt, taunting Gargano with it while he’s down in the corner. Kushida tosses the title to the mat and poses at Gargano.
– McKenzie Mitchell is backstage with Pete Dunne and NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. She asks about what happened earlier. The tag champs go on about how The Undisputed Era needs to keep their noses out of their business. Dunne says Kyle O’Reilly just put himself in between he and the NXT Title, so it’s time for them to take O’Reilly out. Dunne and the champs walk off.
– We go to Wade Barrett’s earlier sitdown interview with Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa, to promote next week’s Fight Pit II bout. Thatcher says last week he was injured, but now he’s good and ready to go. They have more words and Ciampa promises to take every single liberty he wants to next week. Thatcher begs him to and says this isn’t Takeover, he’s a different animal in the Fight Pit. Thatcher says Ciampa looks like a man who is still questioning if he’s still got it. Ciampa says Thatcher has no idea what kind of man he is, but he will get his answer next week. Barrett ends the sitdown by thanking them. Fight Pit will take place next Wednesday.
– Back from the break and The Undisputed Era is backstage with McKenzie. They aren’t worried about Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch. Kyle O’Reilly says he will be at ringside for tonight’s Dusty Classic match to make sure nothing out of the way happens. Adam Cole and Roderick Strong look forward to advancing.
2021 Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1 Match: MSK vs. Jake Atlas and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
We go back to the ring for the next Dusty Classic first round match as Jake Atlas and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott hit the ring. The new tag team MSK is out next – Wes Lee and Nash Carter. This is the former Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz, known as The Rascalz in Impact Wrestling.
Carter starts off with Atlas and they trade holds, then break and face off. More back and forth now. Carter kicks out of a 2 count. Swerve tags in and takes over, working on Carter’s arm. Carter gets some offense in before Lee tags in. Lee is the former Xavier. Lee takes Swerve down but Swerve sends him to the corner and unloads with stomps.
Atlas tags back in and uppercuts Lee. Lee finally turns it around with a big uppercut but Swerve sends Lee to the floor while the referee isn’t looking. Lee fights Swerve off at ringside. Atlas nails a big dive. Carter comes over and gets involved in the fight. Swerve with a big kick to Carter from the ring. Lee runs the ropes and leaps out, nailing a big dive to both opponents. Lee stands tall at ringside as we go to commercial.
Back from the break and Swerve is dominating Carter in the middle of the ring. Swerve ducks an enziguri but Carter ducks an attack and in comes Lee to a pop. Lee unloads on Scott and then Atlas as he tags in. Lee blocks a shot and nails several strikes to drop Atlas, then a dropkick to the back of the head. Carter tags back in with a big assisted standing moonsault for a 2 count as Swerve breaks it up. MSK double teams Atlas now but he gets away and tags in Swerve. Carter gets sent to the floor. Atlas with a big German suplex on lee. Swerve then drops Lee on his head with a back suplex. Atlas tags back in for the double team to Lee.
Atlas kicks Lee in the head while Swerve holds him, then slams him and allows Swerve to hit the big 450 from the top. Carter breaks the pin up just in time. Swerve sends Carter to the floor as a “NXT!” chant breaks out. Swerve tags back in as Atlas takes Lee to the corner with shoulder thrusts.
Atlas and Swerve climb up in the corner but Carter pulls Atlas to the floor. Lee knocks Swerve to the floor and everyone is down now. MSK ends up double teaming Swerve from the corner after Atlas goes down. Lee hits a running Blockbuster to Swerve while Carter holds him. Carter covers for the pin to win and advance.
– After the match, the former Rascalz stand tall together and celebrate as we go to replays. MSK heads to the Dusty Cup to celebrate as we see Atlas and Swerve having some words at ringside. MSK will go on to face the winners of Curt Stallion and August Grey vs. Killian Dain and Drake Maverick.
– We get a promo for the first-ever NXT Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. The tournament will begin next week with Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro vs. Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez.
– We get a look at Xia Li and Boa training, with highlights from Xia’s win over Katrina Cortez last week. We see Xia and Boa standing with the mystery woman in her chair. Xia will be here next. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we get a new vignette on Karrion Kross and Scarlett. It looks like they have their eyes on NXT Champion Finn Balor. Tik, Tok.
Xia Li vs. Enhancement Talent
We go back to the ring and the unique entrance of Xia Li and Boa begins. Their mystery leader watches from her chair on the stage. Li’s opponent waits in the ring.
The bell rings and Xia quickly connects with a unique right hand, then stares her opponent down. She then follows up with a kick for the easy squash. Barrett called it two precision strikes.
Winner: Xia Li
– After the match, Boa and Xia head up the ramp but the mystery woman watching from the ramp stops and signals for Li to punish her opponent some more at ringside. Li attacks again and then receives another signal from the mystery woman, to finish her opponent for good. Li and Boa head back to the mystery woman.
– Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter are backstage talking about how they will win the firs-ever Women’s Dusty Classic.
– We see the tag teams backstage walking for tonight’s main event. Back to commercial.
– Back from the break and we see footage of what happened during the break. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Jake Atlas were in the back having words as officials tried to keep them apart. Bronson Reed stepped up and got in Swerve’s face, telling him to relax. Swerve and Reed faced off to end the segment.
– The announcers hype next week’s show.
2021 Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1 Match: The Undisputed Era vs. Breezango
We go to the ring for tonight’s main event, the next first round match in the Men’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Breezango is out first – Tyler Breeze and Fandango. Out next comes The Undisputed Era – Adam Cole and Roderick Strong with Kyle O’Reilly. The announcers talk about how O’Reilly isn’t cleared to compete and shouldn’t be out here again.
Cole starts off with Breeze and they go at it, trading counters and running the ropes. They both go for superkicks at the same time and face off. More back and forth before Strong and Fandango tag in. They lock up and trade holds. Fandango drops Strong and drops knees to his arm. Fandango grounds Strong but Strong fights to his feet. Fandango takes him right back down and grounds him by his arm.
Strong turns it around and goes for the Strong Hold but gets kicked away. Fandango drops Strong for a 2 count. We go to commercial with Fandango in control as Strong reaches for a tag.
Back from the break and Fandango is in control of Cole now. Fandango drops Cole over the top rope. Breeze tags in and rocks Cole while he’s hung on the top rope, then covers for a 2 count. Cole fights back and goes for a tag but Breeze holds him. Cole lands a big kick. Breeze tosses Cole through the ropes to the floor. Breeze runs for a suicide dive but Cole kicks him from the floor. The referee counts and fans chant “NXT!” as Cole rolls back in. Breeze slowly gets up. Strong and Fandango tag in at the same time and unload on each other.
Strong with a big clothesline and a dropkick. Strong with a backbreaker as fans cheer. Strong with the running forearms to Breeze. Strong then slams Breeze on top of Fandango. Fandango kicks out at 2. Cole tags in as Strong chops Fandango away. Strong drops Fandango over his knees and Cole follows up with a big kick. Cole covers but Fandango kicks out at 2.
Cole exposes his knee but Fandango ducks the Last Shot. Fandango rocks Cole. Breeze tags in but Cole kicks him as he charges. Cole lifts Breeze but Breeze nails a knee to the face. Breeze with an inverted Backstabber for a close 2 count to Cole. Breeze kicks Strong off the apron. Breeze launches Cole into a forearm from Fandango on the apron. Fandango flies in off the double team for a 2 count as Strong breaks it up. Everyone gets involved now as the match falls apart. They’re all down after trading big moves. A big “NXT!” chant starts.
O’Reilly rushes the ramp to fight as Pete Dunne and NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch run down. They hold him against the lighting rig to further hurt his jaw but NXT Champion Finn Balor makes the save. O’Reilly and Balor end up beat down by Dunne, Burch and Lorcan at ringside after Dunne runs wild. O’Reilly has his jaw smashed again. Cole sees this and he’s shocked. Cole limps over to the ropes but Breeze superkicks him. Breezango goes to double team Cole but Strong knocks Breeze out of the ring. Fandango blocks Cole’s Panama Sunrise with a backdrop. Fandango goes to the top for the big leg drop but Cole meets him in mid-air with a big superkick for the pin to win and advance.
Winners: The Undisputed Era
– After the match, the music hits as Cole and Strong immediately go check on O’Reilly at ringside. Dunne, Burch and Lorcan look on from the stage and laugh. We go to replays. We see Balor also down next to O’Reilly at the bottom of the ramp as Cole and Strong tend to O’Reilly. Balor and The Undisputed Era stare up at the stage as the heels taunt them. Dunne stares down Balor as NXT goes off the air.