Gargano and Ciampa broke the rule that's been established regarding performer's using non-rademarked names. Yeah, Samoa Joe stayed Samoa Joe after his debut but he's a far bigger deal than either 'Johnny Wrestling' or 'The Sicilian Psychopath'. For two guys who are nothing more than very talented indy wrestlers to retain their own names on WWE screens hints at a new approach from the company, one that doesn't see guys immediately rebranded but instead makes use of what meagre (in comparison to WWE's established talents) name value performers may have.
For outsiders to be brought in to play a part in the DRTTC is a significant step too. It's another indication that WWE is loosening up. The pair are unlikely to win the tournament but the fact that they're facing the odd couple team of Tyler Breeze and Bull Dempsey makes it pretty clear they'll be getting at least one win. This scene would be rendered pointless were they to lose their opening match. William Regal acknowledging that the pair are veterans of the independent circuit (as opposed to men who have competed "around the world") is a bold and interesting new way of debuting guys.
It's also worth noting that the responses for the matches involving The Ascension and Neville is proof that if guys are just allowed to wrestle and be themselves more they can connect with crowds better. That in turn allows them to become more over, which makes everyone more money (the aim of the wrestling game, obvs). Nev's made headway on the main roster but Konnor and Viktor have floundered badly. Had they been afforded the opportunities to act more as they did here when they debuted on RAW at the start of the year they'd have better spots than lackeys for Stardust.
Tweet 1: Watching NXT now. Be aware.Tweet 2: Tonight: the Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic, if you will.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: The Ascension v Rhyno and Baron Corbin
Tweet 3: Graves talking about the return of The Ascension being a great way to start the show. I'm just thinking about how they're Cody's henchmen.
|Throw in Stardust and you've got an excellent King of Trios team in The Ascension.|
Tweet 4: Ascension v Barry Corbin and Rhyno. Hoss extravaganza. Although that's being pretty generous to Barry.
Tweet 5: Assuming The Ascension lose to give Barry a win over meaningful names (in NXT).
Tweet 6: Rich Brennan saying Viktor's bounced back. #accidentalPartridge
Tweet 7: Not at all surprised by that result because I called it. I am surprised Rhyno got the pin on Konnor though.
Tweet 8: Barry over Viktor was the way to go.
Solomon Crowe and Adrian Neville talk to Devin Taylor
Tweet 9: 'I'll always owe Dusty an eternal gratitude' - 'The Man That Grammar Forgot' Adrian NevilleTweet 10: Solomon Crowe seems a bit too eager. Calling a much-needed heel turn for Solly.
Blue Pants v Alexa Bliss
Tweet 11: I miss Alexa Bliss's glamour fairy music. Bliss as a heel makes up for it though.Tweet 12: When did Alexa join the Hart Foundation?
|Knees-first moonsault here. Ouch.|
Tweet 13: Alexa stealing Bret Hart's colours? 4/10
Tweet 14: Alexa has mastered turning botched moves into regular parts of her repertoire.
William Regal, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa and Tyler Breeze backstage
Tweet 15: O rly?
Tweet 16: Looks like Ciampa's fresh off the set of that Kray brothers film.
Tweet 17: Breeze and Bull Dempsey versus Gargano and Ciampa. They should've paired him with Miz.
Tweet 18: 'Look into the camera and say Breeze' - Tyler Breeze
Emma reminds everyone that she's pretty good
Tweet 19: Emma rightfully pointing out that she and Paige really got the NXT women's division underway. Great stuff.Tweet 20: That was needed considering she's an anchor for the division now.
Apollo Crews v Martin Stone
Tweet 21: Oh look, it's former RPW tag champion Martin Stone taking on Apollo Crews. I don't like Stone's chances...
|Too easy, bruv.|
Tweet 22: These ratty jeans on Stone though. Dear lord.
Tweet 23: I remember being at Stone's first RPW show post-release. He cut a promo about being under-utilised and that. Look at him now.
Tweet 24: My point? Did the I was under-utilised act for a cheap pop. Not knocking him. Just observin'.
Tweet 25: Apollo won btw.
Chad Gable and Jason Jordan talk to Devin Taylor
Tweet 26: I'm a big fan of Chad Gable. He could go far in WWE. Don't want this amazing tag team rushed though.
Finn Bálor talks to Devin Taylor before Samoa Joe wanders up
Tweet 27: Oh yeah, Finn Bálor's the champion and sometimes appears on this show.Tweet 28: He's hyping house show defences and a sports entertainment renaissance. My word...
Tweet 29: So Joe versus Finn then, yeah? I'm down.
Eva Marie v Billie Kay
Tweet 30: Billie Kay got the 'already in the ring' treatment. She's defs winning!Tweet 31: Astounded to hear an Eva Marie chant.
Tweet 32: Lol at Eva not even bothering to sell a kick to the face and instead lying down looking blank waiting to get back on the attack.
|Well done, Eva. That was textbook.|
Tweet 33: Eva Marie has somehow become the NXT women's division's answer to Big Match John.
Tweet 34: Just realised we've been spared Bad News Byron. I approve.
Tweet 35: Well... that was a match that happened.
Tweet 36: Joe and Bálor v Lucha Dragons has the potential to be very, very good. That's a hot take right there.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Adrian Neville and Solomon Crowe v Chad Gable and Jason Jordan
Tweet 37: Big Nev's main roster entrance is what's got him these cheers. That and the absence of a first name.Tweet 38: Tremendous fluidity between Neville, Gable and Jordan. This is liquid wrestling! #deliberatePartridge
Tweet 39: Jordan's taken his straps down. Shit's about to get real.
Tweet 40: Rich Brennan is a very good play-by-play guy. Easy to overlook. He mixes the usual WWE style with actually calling matches.
|A finish worthy of Haas and Benjamin.|
Tweet 41: So Crowe tagged in and got pinned. Graves mentioned him being a glory hog. He wasn't: Nev was out of it. Makes sense as a concept though.
Tweet 42: Good show, everyone. Good hustle.