2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: The Teams

Graham Cracker

There’s something really special about NXT’s tournaments, what with the Cruiserweight Classic and the first Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic becoming must-see events. Packed with action, emotion, and some names you may not be familiar with, or at least those names that have yet to compete under the WWE umbrella.

Also, the trophy for this tournament is way more classy than the Cruiserweight one. Here are the 16 teams that will be entering the tournament, along with some thoughts and predictions on each one.

Quick note: I know tapings have already happened but I don’t read spoilers so this is all done blind. It’s more fun that way, anyway.

The Bollywood Boys

I don’t know a lot about Harv and Gurv Sihra except that they’ve been wrestling for about a decade and both looked solid in the Cruiserweight Classic this summer. There’s a good chance they’re Canadian, or at least fighting out of there. I have a feeling they’ll hold it together at least through the first round.

Prediction: Loss in the quarter-finals

The Authors of Pain

Can these guys be stopped? So far, we’ve seen nothing much passed the complete destruction of their opponents, or just random people, since they debuted in April.  Rezar and Akam also have a secret weapon in Paul Ellering, one of the most prolific managers in the business, and he’s barely needed to say a word, yet. If these guys make it to the finals, it’d be hard to bet against them. Since I’m notoriously lousy at betting...

Prediction: Upset loss in the first round

Tye Dillinger and Bobby Roode

Perfectly Glorious, or Gloriously Perfect, or whatever, is kind of a dope pairing. Dillinger is NXT’s golden boy in a way that he’s like Tyler Breeze but with a better win/loss record. Fans love him and appreciate his hard work, but he can’t quite seem to catch the RIGHT break.

Every time he gets any momentum it’s stalled before the next round of tapings. He needs a win. Roode, on the other hand, has the best entrance music in town and his smarmy pretentiousness is dead on. Together they will probably lose first round, in order to set up a feud, but it will absolutely be...fun to watch.

Prediction: First round loss

Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa

Johnny Wrestling and Psycho Killer, or DIY (I don’t like that name and I’ll hate it if it’s just an excuse for one of them to yell “Do it yourself?!?! Forget that! I’ll do it MYSELF!” during their eventual break up) are an amazing team.

They brought all the emotion to their match in the CWC and despite falling short against The Revival repeatedly, they still seem to be close friends and maybe even stronger than ever. I think these guys get the win over The Revival in the semi-finals, only to lose ONCE AGAIN when it counts. 

Prediction: Loss in the semi-finals

Niko Bogojevic and Tucker Knight

I know almost nothing about this team, except they are both BIG dudes with long hair and beards. And one of them looks like Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman had a bouncing baby boy!

Prediction: Winners of the 2nd Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic! (nah, just kidding, they’re out in the first round)

Tony Nese and Drew Gulak

A team straight outta the Cruiserweight Classic, Drew and Tony both impressed me in their debuts, but not enough for me to think they’re gonna get any further than a first round loss to a stronger team. 

Prediction: First round loss

Hideo Itami and Kota Ibushi

These guys, THESE GUYS. Woah. It will be next to impossible for any team in the world beat them. Ibushi is legitimately insane and off the charts talented and Itami has a lot to prove after missing out on that last golden year of NXT.

He’s back, focused and he brought the Go To Sleep with him. Something tells me this might set up an all-Japanese dominating force that will rule NXT and capture all the belts and/or trophies. Now, if they can just lock down Kota with a contract...

Prediction: Loss in the finals

Nick Miller and Shane Thorn

Nick Miller and Shane Thorn, formerly known as The Mighty Don’t Kneel, are a very good tag team. But they haven’t caught that necessary spark to elevate their game. This is a good chance for them to show why they’re here.

Also, TMDK was a rad team name, but half of that name mashed together with their international calling code (Sup, Australia?) is not a rad team name. Minus 61 points.

Prediction: Loss in the first round

Mustafa Ali and Lince Dorado


Another pair of Cruiserweights matched up to fill space, I guess, but I like these guys. Dorado is an exciting high flyer, with a long history of being awesome, and I’m a sucker for masks. And he was trained by Cesaro, among others. 

Ali is a guy I have heard little about, but what I have heard is positive. No mask though, so I don’t see them going very far.

Prediction: First round loss

Austin Aries + Mystery partner

Austin Aries + ??? is fun for exactly one reason: Guessing who ??? is. After that, it’s basically a set up for a feud, much like Dillinger and Roode. But I think with the debuting hype behind the ???, this team will at least make it farther than them, allowing a showcase of sorts for the new guy.

Rumours suggest it’s Roderick Strong since he has a history with Austin, but for real, I hope it’s a masked dude named ???.

Prediction: Loss in the quarter finals

Tony Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss

Sabbatelli is an ex-NFL guy who was on Breaking Ground and Moss is also a guy who now wrestles. I know nothing about them and who knows, they may surprise me, but I’m chalking their entry up to a shot at gaining some experience.

Prediction: Loss in the first round


What is even going on here? Who is SAnitY (or however you type it)? No Idea (I have an idea), but I really like they went the oppisite route of “edgy” and instead of being all “LOOK AT US! WE ARE INSANE!” they were just like “Here is some illegal graffitti, but we actual have our heads on our shoulders and we will be smart wrestlers and do very well.”

Actually, I hope they fight all their opponents using the opposite of whatever powers they bring. Like, if they wrestle against No Way Jose and Rich Swann they counter with quiet meditation and standing still contests.

Or if they go up against Almas and Alexander the retaliate with no charisma and the fact that 200 is a bigger number than 100.

Prediction: Loss in the semi finals

Bin Wang and HoHo Lun


Was anyone else a little disappointed in Lun’s Cruiserweight Classic matches? I was really pulling for the guy and maybe it was nerves, but I wasn’t into it. Hopefully, Bin Wang can balance it out and help both of them find their footing in NXT.

I don’t think it’ll happen here, but I’m hoping for a good, solid start for these two young dudes from China. I’m also hoping they come out to a certain theme song that encourages everybody to “have fun tonight.”

Prediction: First round loss

No Way Jose and Rich Swann

I inexplicably LOVE No Way, and I was devastated when Swann was eliminated from the CWC, so I am super into this team. Even if it’s that classic case of WWE creative officials saying “These two guys have exactly one thing in common, they should be a team.” and then going on a 6-day lunch break.

Swann is a star in any room he walks in and Jose’s entire EVERYTHING is super infectious. 

Prediction: Loss in the quarter finals

Andrade “Cien” Almas & Cedric Alexander


The only person with more charisma than Rich Swann is Cerdic and Cien desperately needs some momentum. He came into the company with such fanfare and then it immediately felt like he got stuck in a video game glitch, ring gear and everything.

He’s a great wrestler and proved so in his last match against his now partner. Cien needs a strong showing here and I think with the unbelievable Alexander, he’ll get it. 

Prediction: Loss in the quarter-finals

Dash and Dawson

No one can beat Dash and Dawson right now and no one should. They are Top Guys for a reason. They’re the NXT Tag Team Champions because not only are they tougher than Gorrila Glue they have absolutely perfected tag team offence.

When their fists can’t get the job done, their instincts kick in and their brains become their fists. Which makes sense because they don’t look like Mensa members so fist-brains would explain a lot of their success.

Seriously, though, last year the winners were little more than a jumping off point for a major storyline with a seemingly random team. This year I wanna watch the ACTUAL best team on earth take it just because they can.

Prediction: Winners of the 2016 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, Maybe for the next 5 years in a row

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