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WWE NXT #438 (3.7.18) Play-by-Play and Review



You can scroll to the end for a TLDR recap of the show. Tonight, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic kicks off with a rematch from last year’s finals when TM61 faces the Authors of Pain. Also, Aleister Black goes one on one with Killian Dain to determine who might face Andrade Almas at TakeOver.

Match #1: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1: Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) v. TM61

Shane Thorne starts off with Rezar. Rezar takes control early and Akam tags in to deliver a flapjack. Nick Miller gets a tag and they deliver a double-team Russian leg sweep. Another double-team move sends Akam to ringside where Thorne dives over the top to take out both Authors. Miller can only get a 1-count back in the ring. Miller tries to deliver some strikes, but Akam catches him and power slams him into the corner. Rezar tags in and works over Miller as NXT cuts to break.

Back from commercial and Rezar is still beating Miller down. The Authors deliver a double-team stomp/side suplex as Akam comes back in the ring. Miller eventually escapes a submission and hits a big DDT on Akam to get the hot tag to Thorne. Thorne comes in on fire with a lariat, drop kick, leg lariat in the corner, and a cannonball to Rezar. Nice sequence. Thorne lifts Rezar for an impressive sit-out suplex for a near fall.

Thorne takes too much time and gets his head taken off with a big boot. The Authors hit a double-team powerbomb neckbreaker, but Miller breaks up the pin. Thorne nails Akam with a Saito suplex and tags Miller, who hits a big moonsault off the top rope. Rezar breaks up the pin attempt. Rezar powerbombs Thorne over the top rope onto the ring apron in what was an awesome spot. Wow. Akam hits an exploder suplex to Miller into the corner and then the Authors deliver the Last Chapter for the win!

Winners: Authors of Pain via pinfall

Thoughts: Wow, I 100% expected TM61 to actually win the tournament this year. This was a pretty good match highlighted by Thorne just being killed with that powerbomb. Your guess is as good as mine regarding who wins the tournament now. I have to think SAnitY is the favorite to face Undisputed Era now.

Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Updated match-ups are as follows:

  • Street Profits v. Heavy Machinery on 3/14 (Winner faces Authors of Pain)
  • Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss v. SAnitY on 3/14
  • Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch v. Mustache Mountain

Backstage: William Regal is asked who he thinks is the favorite to win the tournament. He declines to answer. Pete Dunne walks in next and is asked about his win over Roderick Strong. Strong quickly walks up and confronts him and says he can’t wait for the next time they face off. Enter Adam Cole and Undisputed Era who face off with Pete Dunne. Regal walks up to defuse the situation, which appears to be leading to Roderick Strong and/or Dunne possibly facing Undisputed Era in the future.

Backstage: SAnitY cuts a promo saying they will win the Tag Team Classic. Killian Dain says that tonight, chaos will win out over Aleister Black.

Match #2: Bianca Belair v. Miss Drew Renee

Belair goes right after Renee with a vertical suplex and then rolls into a second and finally a third that drops Renee on her face. Belair hits a fall away powerbomb for the win.

Winner: Bianca Belair via pinfall

Thoughts: It was a very short squash match, not much else to it.

Last Week Backstage: Lacey Evans says Dakota Kai is classless. They’re going to wrestle next week. Shayna Baszler walks up and Evans makes a quick exit. Baszler says she’s called out Moon for weeks now and Moon isn’t answering because she’s scared.

Backstage at the Performance Center: Heavy Machinery thinks they’re going to win the tournament.

In-Ring Promo: Tommaso Ciampa walks out to the stage dragging his crutch getting some good heat from the typically crappy Atlanta crowd. There is a You Suck chants and then a We Want Johnny chant. Every time Ciampa goes to speak, he gets booed heavily. There are a handful of sociopathic morons chanting for Ciampa, but very few. It’s tough to be a legit heel in 2018, but Ciampa and NXT have nailed this. Ciampa throws the microphone down, but then gets back in the ring just to throw it down again. Ciampa rips a Gargano sign out of a fan’s hands and tears it up and then beats it with a crutch. Ciampa walks out and he’s not limping. I sure hope he’s cleared for New Orleans. He pauses one last time to soak in the booing.

Match #3/Main Event: Aleister Black v. Killian Dain

This is to determine the #1 contender unofficially, I guess. I don’t think it was officially on the graphic. At the bell, Dain charges and destroys Black with a drop kick into the corner for a quick near fall. Dain crushes Black with an avalanche, but Black moves away from a second one. Black lands several high kicks and knees. A back fist and a kick to the side of the head send Dain to the floor. Black jumps over the top rope and springboards off the second buckle with a moonsault to Dain on the floor. Black is in control headed to commercial.

Back from break, Dain levels Black with the Divide but can only get a 2-count. Dain continues to target Black’s ribs with kicks and a variation of an abdominal stretch. Dain gets another few near falls after some splashes. Black floats over a suplex and lands some leg kicks. A few back elbows stagger the big man and a running knee puts him down. Black delivers a springboard moonsault for a near fall.

Dain catches Black coming off the top tope with a clothesline for another near fall. Dain absorbs a massive roundhouse kick to the head. Black appears to hit a giant DDT, but I think Dain actually speared him to the mat. Not sure what happened there, but Dain recovered well enough. Dain lands a running senton and the Vader Bomb, but Black kicks out of a believable near fall. Dain wants the One-Winged Angel, but Black counters into a victory roll for a 2-count. Dain stands up right into a sick Black Mass and that’s all!

Winner: Aleister Black via pinfall

Thoughts: Another pretty good match. Killian Dain is really talented and his matches always pleasantly surprise me. Aleister Black has possibly the best finisher in WWE right now. It’s not official yet, but it looks like we have our TakeOver main event.


  • Authors of Pain beat TM61 to advance in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
  • Bianca Belair beat Drew Renee
  • Tommaso Ciampa is the best heel in wrestling right now
  • Aleister Black beat Killian Dain

Advertised for Next Week

  • Lacey Evans v. Dakota Kai
  • United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne © v. Adam Cole
  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1: SAnitY v. Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss
  • Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Round 1: Street Profits v. Heavy Machinery