Who Can Ever Follow That Ladder Match?
(Adam Cole def. EC3, The Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, Killian Dain and Ricochet to become the first-ever NXT North American Champion)
Killian Dain was part of another great weapon-fest tonight. For some reason, big men and steel come together so perfectly. Dain was one of the six competitors in the show-opening match, alongside EC3, Adam Cole, Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, and Ricochet. Ladders were broken, sick moves were performed, and people making ladder sandwiches out of one another. It hurt our back just to sit and watch through the match.
We observed a few individual storylines instilled or continued in the match: The big men feud between Sullivan and Dain, the battle of characters Cole and EC3, and the showstoppers Dream and Ricochet low-key trying to outshine the other. These mini-storylines are a good thing, since they give NXT some feuds to build their 2018 programs, and in particular, the new championship of which Adam Cole had become the inaugural holder. It was surprising that Ricochet did not win, even though he was considered the favorite.
Regardless of the winner, we just had to take our hats off for the amazing collective efforts put into this thriller-of-a-match by all those involved. And using the words of Dave Meltzer: “Who in the world could ever follow that ladder match?”
A War of Attrition
(Shayna Baszler def. Ember Moon to become the new NXT Women’s Champion)
We were not sure if it was because of Moon vs Baszler coming right after the above-mentioned banger-of-a-match, but from a pure in-ring quality, the match fell a bit flat, but just a bit. And it was the Queen of Spades, we felt, that was outclassed by Ember Moon. She needed no flying stunner off the top rope to ringside, however, as she gradually wore down The War Goddess with her use of the rear naked choke. Shayna turned the match into a war of attrition, and Ember’s explosiveness could not put down Shayna on time. Despite our complaints about the ring skills of Shayna Baszler, there are plenty of room for improvements, and she definitely could tell a story between the ropes. On top of that, there are people like Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross, and Bianca Belair, it is safe to say that the NXT Women’s Championship picture will be in safe hands in 2018.
Welcome to the main roster (?), Ember.
(The Undisputed ERA def. The Authors of Pain and WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong to retain the NXT Tag Team Titles and win the 2018 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic)
William Regal put a very interesting twist to the Dusty Rhodes Classic Tag Team Tournament, so there were a lot more at stake as the three teams came to a head at New Orleans. This was the right move to boost the already prestigious tournament to another height. As expected, Authors of Pain, Undisputed ERA, and Strong and Dunne put on a very good match. Akam and Rezar kept on improving, Kyle was given a chance to stand out since Adam was out early on, and Roderick and Pete were just being them. But unexpectedly, RODERICK STRONG TURNED ON DUNNE, GRANTING THE VICTORY TO COLE AND REILLY! HE JOINED THE UNDISPUTED ERA!!!
The change of allegiance opened up a lot of storylines for NXT in the coming months, the most obvious being Dunne v Strong, but with the roles all switched up this time. Moustache Mountain vs Undisputed ERA could also be an interesting possibility. A great match, a shocking turn of events, and more to happen down the road – all in all, a suitable way to end the 3rd annual Dusty Rhodes Classic.