The January 20, 2021 edition of WWE NXT not only included three big matches in the Dusty Classic, but it also kicked off another tournament this week, as the first-ever NXT Women's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic commenced this week as well. The high-octane tournament will no longer be just a single-gender tag team experience as the women will compete at the same time as their male counterparts.
Even though the show had a packed schedule that was promised a week back, it also had several surprises up its sleeve. Lucha House Party dropped by Monday Night RAW to participate in the tournament. Also, the maiden round of women’s Dusty Classic kicked-off with Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter taking on formidable opponents Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez duo to script history in the tag team tournament.
Here’s a look at the big winners and highlights from last night.
NXT Dusty Rhodes Classic: Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory vs Kushida and Leon Ruff
Austin Theory was impressive in the early session as he showed tremendous ability to counter the speed of Leon Ruff and Kushida. He kept the match alive after Johnny Gargano got overconfident early on. In the end, Ruff took Theory to the ground, which left Gargano and Kushida to battle it out in the middle. Ruff then dived onto Theory to take him out of the action then pinned Gargano with a double underhook suplex to advance in the men's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
Winner: Kushida and Leon Ruff by pinfall
Karrion Kross vs Ashante Thee Adonis
Ashante Thee Adonis was unfortunately placed in match with Karrion Kross. The former NXT champion was quick to get in a few good kicks, but Kross badly injured his neck with two Doomsday Saitos suplexes to seal an emphatic win.
Winner: Karrion Kross by pinfall
NXT Men's Dusty Classic: Imperium vs. Lucha House Party
Lince Dorado started things off with Marcel Barthel, while Dorado sent Barthel overhead but was soon brought down by a double throat chop early on. After a lot of to and fro between them, action broke down as both teams closed in on signature tag team finishers. In the end, Dorado finally got Bartel down with a shooting star press for the win.
Winner: Lucha House Party via pinfall to advance in the men's Dusty Rhodes Classic.
NXT Women's Dusty Rhodes: Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro vs Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez
Toni Storm and Kayden Carter started off the first-ever NXT Women's Dusty Rhodes Classic Tournament match. Carter set the pace from the start that Martinez ruined when she planted Catanzaro with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Storm then got into the action but was stopped by a buzzsaw ushered by Carter. Catanzaro crashed into Martinez outside, which sent both into the announcer’s table. Storm continued to hammer Carter first with a German suplex, followed it with a single-leg Boston crab grab, as Io Shiari attacked Martinez outside. Meanwhile, Storm finished it off with a spin-through leg lock to set up an incredible corkscrew splash for a win.
Winner: Kayden Carter and Kacy Catanzaro by pinfall to advance in the NXT women's Dusty Classic.
Tyler Rust w/Malcolm Bivens vs Bronson Reed
Bronson Reed overpowered Tyler Rust at the start of the match. However, Rust broke a headlock by taking Reed to the ropes but was instead sent flying to the floor with a shoulder block. Even though Rust found a few openings, he still could not stop Reed from planting him with the Avalanche. In the end, a running senton from Reed which was followed up with the Tsunami for the win.
Winner: Bronson Reed
NXT Fight Pit: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher
The fightalmost started during the pre-match weigh-in. Later on, Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher started the bout above the fight pit where they traded kicks and moves. The duo fell down the to land into steel pit below. Thatcher immediately turned up the heat as he continued to target Ciampa’s left elbow with a series suplexes and elbow smashes. Ciampa got back in the fight with a low blow, as he hit a willow’s bell for a near knockout. He then planted Thatcher with a Fairy Tale Ending before going for a submission. But Thatcher kept fighting and was successful in trapping Ciampa’s leg and used a stretcher muffler to force a tap out.
Winner: Timothy Thatcher