The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic continues apace, the women’s variant debuts, and Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa settle their differences in the Fight Pit.
These WWE NXT results for January 20, 2021, contain major spoilers.
Just like with the latest episode of 205 Live, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic continues to dominate this week’s episode of NXT, though there’s a bit more majesty involved since we also get the first match in the first-ever women’s equivalent. Lots of on-going storylines are bundled up with these matches, and there’s room for a couple of singles outings as well, including a much-hyped Fight Pit main event.
Without further ado, then, let’s take a look at what went down.
Men’s Dusty Classic: Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory vs. Kushida and Leon Ruff
This was very good, with everyone evenly-matched athletically, and working well as teams. I think Gargano and Theory have very natural chemistry as a tag team, and even though Kushida surprisingly pinned Johnny Wrestling clean here, thus knocking him and Theory out of the tournament, I think they’ll continue to work together, even if it’s just a way for Gargano to help Theory generate momentum.
Speaking of which, an obvious ulterior motive of this outcome is putting Kushida in position for the North American Championship, which he’ll surely have around his waist sooner rather than later. That’s just as well since he’s so good.
Karrion Kross vs. Ashante Thee Adonis
Just a squash match for Kross. He hammered Adonis with a trio of suplexes and almost broke his neck in the process. He needs some longer, more competitive matches at this point.
Men’s Dusty Classic: Imperium vs. Lucha House Party
Oh, boy, this was good – exactly the kind of match this tournament is supposed to deliver. It’s amazing how much potential Lucha House Party has considering how badly Lince Dorado and Gran Metalik have been utilized by WWE. They’re a great team, fantastic individual performers, and only showed a glimpse here of what they’re really able to do. On that basis, I’m glad they went over, despite how good Imperium is also. You have to imagine that Barthel and Aichner are being held for future successes, and Lucha House Party is long overdue for some limelight. I’d be tempted to agree.
Women’s Dusty Classic: Carter and Catanzaro vs. Storm and Martinez
William Regal bringing out Beth Phoenix to introduce this match helped to put across its history-making importance. Opening with Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro also made sense, since they’re pretty sensational together and Storm and Shirai, who intervened in the match, have business elsewhere.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see Carter and Catanzaro win the whole thing, and I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to it. A cleaner version of that great-looking corkscrew 630 splash would be nice, too.
Bronson Reed vs. Tyler Rust (w/ Malcolm Bivens)
Basically a squash to a) but over Bronson Reed and b) further the dynamic between Rust and Malcolm Bivens. Fine for what it was, but could have done with more action to really make a splash on any level beyond functional storytelling.
Santos Escobar has things to say
Following on from their big win earlier in the show, Lucha House Party got another big moment when they gatecrashed this segment with Curt Stallion in order to clear out Santos Escobar and Legado del Fantasma. Lucha House Party beefing with Legado del Fantasma is the more intriguing rivalry of the two, to me, since I don’t see Stallion going over Escobar.
NXT Fight Pit: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher
A lot was made of the brutality of this main event, and there was even a hype-building clip of the pre-match weigh-in erupting into a brawl. But I can’t help but feel like the Fight Pit gimmick is just limiting. No ropes or turnbuckles hurts, for me, and while it’s a good storytelling environment it’s not an amazing wrestling one. Both of these men did the best they could with what they had, though, and it amounted to a lot of brutal technical wrestling inside the cage and a nasty finish utilizing the environment.
The idea being pushed in a storytelling sense is that Thatcher is just supremely well-suited to this kind of match, and that was put across well. His creative finish was a real embracing of the implicit nastiness. It got the job done, even if the much-hyped main event itself was a little less than thrilling.
These were our WWE NXT results for January 20, 2021.