Episode: NXT #219
Recorded: 13 October 2016
Aired: 26 October 2016
Match duration: 8:00 minutes (plus one commercial break)

Match analysis

Lince Dorado and TJ Perkins start the match off against each other and for their respective team in the first round of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Both men try to wear the other man down for a first upset and Lince Dorado does but TJ Perkins goes back up very quickly. They start a little game of avoiding any physical contact with fast paced action and lot of athleticism. There is a bit of contact with some throws, a quick cover by Lince Dorado on TJ Perkins, a bit of countering each other, all very smooth looking but more artistic than competitive. This first sequence ends with a double coming-up and a stand-off to offer no weakness to the opponent but also offering a handshake to show the good sportsmanship.

Both men tagged their partner in, so it’s Mustafa Ali versus Kota Ibushi for a first challenge of both of these men against each other. Those two tried to compete in strength. And Kota Ibushi got the cover with Mustafa Ali tried to get out of it with bridging. Kota Ibushi jumped on top of Mustafa Ali, using his weight. But he couldn’t bring him down for another cover. With the third try, Mustafa Ali jumped free and used the top rope to free himself entirely. A high dropkick by Mustafa Ali brought Kota Ibushi down on the mat and Mustafa Ali enjoyed his agility. But Kota Ibushi hit Mustafa Ali with a dropkick of himself and we went for the commercial break.

After the break, Mustafa Ali was still inside now ring, now against TJ Perkins. The latter hit Mustafa Ali with a suplex on his back just when we were back. After a backdrop, TJ Perkins got a cover but Mustafa Ali kicked out. Then, TJ Perkins got the knee-bar locked in to Mustafa Ali but the latter was able to reach the ropes, so TJ Perkins had to loosen his grip.

Mustafa Ali was able to get a bit of freedom with a punch to TJ Perkins’ face to tag in Lince Dorado. Both men went for double team action but TJ Perkins went outside the ring. Mustafa Ali went on the apron, pushed TJ Perkins into position, and Lince Dorado went flying over the top rope and on TJ Perkins.

Lince Dorado shoved TJ Perkins back inside the ring and climbed on top of the ring corner. That resulted in a cross-body by Lince Dorado and a cover on TJ Perkins. But he kicked out. Still in full advantage, Lince Dorado shoved TJ Perkins into his team’s corner and tagged in Mustafa Ali.

Now, Mustafa Ali brought TJ Perkins down and bent both of his arms behind his back. TJ Perkins got up and almost countered. But Mustafa Ali dragged him back down and also used one foot to wear even more strength out of TJ Perkins. But finally, TJ Perkins freed himself with a double stomp back to Mustafa Ali’s chest. TJ Perkins tried to crawl to his corner for the tag but Mustafa Ali was quick enough to prevent his opponent from that, also by hitting Kota Ibushi from the apron.

TJ Perkins was about to hit back at Mustafa Ali but the latter quickly got out of the ring and kicked TJ Perkins in the face. Mustafa Ali quickly entered the ring again for a neckbreaker that earned him another cover. But TJ Perkins kicked out.

Mustafa Ali now went for trash talking at TJ Perkins with mocking him with “Cinderella story”, then tried to hold him down on the mat. But TJ Perkins got himself free with a few punches to the chest of Mustafa Ali. That wasn’t enough to overcome his opponent though. And when Mustafa Ali hit a bulldog on TJ Perkins, both men lay on the mat, trying to recover.

Both men finally tagged in their respective partner with Lince Dorado and Kota Ibushi going against each other. Kota Ibushi appeared stronger this time, kicking both of his team’s opponents. Lince Dorado also got a running knee to his face and Kota Ibushi went for the Golden Star Powerbomb. But Lince Dorado countered and slapped Kota Ibushi right in the face. Mustafa Ali made it back inside the ring because he smelled danger. But Kota Ibushi hit both men simultaneously with his feet to their heads. And only Lince Dorado remained inside the ring as the legal man.

Kota Ibushi prepared himself for a running attack but Lince Dorado caught him with a foot to his head. But when Lince Dorado tried for an attack himself, Kota Ibushi countered into a powerslam and a flip onto Lince Dorado. Before the flip, Kota Ibushi tagged in TJ Perkins, so after the flip, Lince Dorado was also hit by a frog splash. Then TJ Perkins got the cover and Mustafa Ali had to break the three-count with a dropkick to the head of TJ Perkins.

Srill inside the ring, Mustafa Ali went for a running attack on TJ Perkins but the latter got the top rope down for Mustafa Ali going over it outside the ring. Kota Ibushi got himself momentum with a diagonal run inside the ring and a flip on Mustafa Ali.

Lince Dorado and TJ Perkins as the two legal men were still inside the ring and Lince Dorado missed with a running attack into the ring corner. Now, TJ Perkins kicked Lince Dorado into his back, so the man ended up hanging in the ropes. And TJ Perkins hit him with a wreckingball dropkick. Then, TJ Perkins missed with his following attack, so Lince Dorado almost got the cheap win. But TJ Perkins kicked out and Lince Dorado almost got the cheap win for the second time lucky but Kota Ibushi broke the three-count.

Mustafa Ali tagged himself in, went after Kota Ibushi and kicked the man out. But TJ Perkins still was the legal man and quickly he caught Mustafa Ali with the knee bar to that Mustafa Ali quickly tapped out this time.

Winner: Kota Ibushi & TJ Perkins

If you are an avid reader of this collection of Best Matches of NXT 2016 you will know by now that a match for it needs to fulfill the following criteria: 1) I need to like and enjoy at least one competitor / tag team; 2) there needs to be a story to the match. I don’t really like or enjoy matches that obviously are only done to push one competitor or if the match only shows off how great the guys or gals are with wrestling moves. So, if there are a good story, if I’m dragged into the match at some early point, then chances are that they are considered to be a part of this little collection.

Now, I’m not a huge fan of all of those four men. I certainly enjoy their athleticism but I’m not really hungry for what they are doing next or like to know more about their personal (kayfabe) story. But despite all this, that match got me interested. And it’s worth to include in here.

First of all, this was a first round match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. So, you expect some competition taking place in the ring. At the end of the tournament, there is a price and the honour of winning something that is dedicated to a great wrestling ambassador. And at the very beginning of that match, there wasn’t real competition between those four men. Or it seemed like that.

When TJ Perkins and Lince Dorado started the match against each other, they challenged the other man with fast paced action. Both men wanted to show the other that he’s better. But both of them have been good at what they did, so they tagged to their tag team partners. And the same game started all over again with Mustafa Ali against Kota Ibushi – slightly different but still with much show, not real competition.

But after the break, competition was on. All men had previously shown what they were capable of, not it was time to use their specific abilities to get the upper hand – to win this match and advance to the second round. It was pretty clear now that Mustafa Ali and Lince Dorado were the heel team and they played that well, Mustafa Ali in really good fashion.

I also liked that this match basically played out like one of those ten-minutes long post-rock music tracks that grow in musical instruments, tempo and volume. All four men increased their speed and intensity until the very end. Only the very finish, that tapout by Mustafa Ali to TJ Perkins happened too sudden for me. Just a few seconds of more time towards the finish would have been even better. But it didn’t take away much from this great match.

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