By Mark Rodriguez
Since AEW became a thing I pretty much left WWE behind as I got sick of them and the direction they were going back then. I knew eventually I would come back, especially if they ever made another Mae Young Classic or Evolution 2. Well, as time went on some of the indie darlings I've been following on Rise Women's Wrestling and elsewhere have made it to NXT or AEW. For NXT I've seen Chelsea Greene and Shotiz Blackheart make the jump and for AEW I see Big Swole and Britt Baker over there. Now that NXT released the first ever Dusty Rhodes Womens Tag Team Classic as well as recently signing Priscilla Kelly and Elayna Black (as Gigi Dolin and Cora Jade), let's check it out.
Since these matches also take place alongside the regular guy matches, there seems to be two a week, one on NXT and the other on 205 Live. I'm not sure if the main event will be featured either on NXT or as part of a PPV like the Finals of the last Mae Young Classic a few years back.
Match 1- Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter VS Toni Storm and Mercedes Martinez
NXT Live- Wednesday 1/20/2021
Kayden and Storm start things off grappling for control of each other. Kayden tries to knock down Storm with a shoulder-tackle and she doesn't even budge. Kayden knocks her down but Storm gets back and up and knocks her down with her own shoulder tackle. Storm hits her with a dropkick and goes for a pin. Kayden kicks out and Storm tags in Mercedes who hits her with a Sidewalk Slam. Storm and Mercedes hit Kayden with elbow drops before Mercedes is left to take over.
Mercedes tries to keep Kayden away from from her partner but she does manage to tag Kacy in. Mercedes runs at them and is tripped face-first into the ropes. Both Kacy and Kayden kick her in the face. Kacy rolls off the ropes and hits Mercedes with a splash and tries for a pin. Mercedes kicks out and knocks Kacy down with a single chop. Mercedes keeps picking Kacy back up only to sock her back down. She gets her in a chin lock hold while she drives her knee in the back of her head. Kacy tries to punch her ribs to get out of it and Mercedes slams the back of her head against the mat. Kacy runs at Mercedes and is caught and gets spun around before she's planted into the mat with a power slam. Mercedes goes for the pin for Kayden breaks it up.
After the ad break, Toni is on the ropes and Kayden runs at her, shoving her foot in her face. Kayden jumps off the ropes and kicks Toni down and goes for a pin but Mercedes breaks it up before Kacy can stop her. Kacy does an instaguri to the side of Mercedes' face to send her out of the ring. She then jumps off the ropes and lands on her, taking her out of the match.
Kayden gets up first but walks right into Storm's headbutt, followed by a German Suplex. Toni Storm manages to get Kayden Carter into the Single Leg Crab, hoping to make her tap. Kayden is too far from her partner to tag out. Suddenly Io Shirai, the current NXT Womens Champ appear and throws Mercedes Martinez against the announcement table. Toni breaks the hold to see what happened to her partner.
Toni returns to her opponent and is tripped off her feet. Kayden gets up and tags Kacy in and gets Toni trapped in a leglock. With Toni trapped, Kacy leaps off the rope with a 450 Splash and goes for the pin. Kayden Carter and Kacy Cantanzaro advance to Round 2 of the Dusty Tag Team Classic!
Match 2- Gigi Dolin and Cora Jade VS Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell
205 Live Friday, 1/22/2021
Indi and Cora start things off, Indi using her height difference to slam Cora facedown onto the mat. Cora delivers some elbows to the stomach until Indi smacks her back against the ropes. Indi runs towards her but Cora rolls out of the way to tag Gigi in, as Indi hits her elbow on the turnpost. Gigi runs in and hits Indi with a Punt Kick, and Cora nails her with her own Punt Kick before leaving the ring.
It surprised most fans to see the team of Toni and Mercedes taken down in the first match of the Tag Team Classic. It was a pretty decent match and damn, I still can't get over Mercedes knocking Kacy down with a single chop and how she rolled around in pain afterwards. Those chops are brutal. I'm not following NXT so I assume there's beef between Io and Mercedes but I was very surprised since most of the time these tournaments very, if ever, have any outside interference. I'm glad they didn't go with the overused (Toni is so distracted that Kayden gets her with a roll-up) finish that usually happens when outside interference happens, because I really love that awesome combined finisher that Kayden and Kacy came up with. Let's see how far these two can go, and I assume Mercedes will be going after Io after this one.
OK for the 205 Live, I'll admit I'm showing personal bias here but, I just LOVE how Cora and Gigi combined their very particular intros together like that. Nice to see Gigi with the rose and Cora with the coffin and still being called 'The Sorceress of Sin'.