We're on the Road to WrestleMania™, but while Raw and Smackdown are getting all busy pointing at signs and trying to woo men's Royal Rumble winner Edge over to their brand to face their men's champion, it's time for far more important ventures: NXT Takeover St Valentine’s Day Massacre Vengeance Day and the finals for the sixth men's Dusty Rhodes Classic and first women's Dusty Rhodes Classic.
Now that I have you dancing, let's review some history! The first Dusty Rhodes Classic was announced way back at the first NXT Takeover Brooklyn in 2015 and was named after recently passed NXT producer and wrestling legend Dusty Rhodes. If you want to see what WWE was like ONLY FIVE YEARS AGO, check that show out - it was the first NXT show out on its own in the big city, it opened with a JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER match (not kidding), had a debuting Quixo-favorite Apollo Crews, saw Bayley defeat her forever-frenemy Sasha Banks for the NXT Women's title, and saw Finn Bálor defend his NXT title against Kevin Owens. Very different, but the more things change and all that?
The first Dusty Rhodes Classic in 2015 saw Finn Bálor & Samoa Joe defeat Baron Corbin & Rhyno at NXT Takeover Respect, the Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) defeated TM-61 (Nick Miller & Shane Thorn) in 2016 at NXT Takeover Toronto I, Undisputed Era members and then-NXT Tag Team champions Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly defeated the Authors of Pain and Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong in a triple threat match when Strong turned on Dunne and joined the Undisputed Era in 2018 at NXT Takeover New Orleans, Aleister Black & Ricochet defeated the Forgotten Sons (Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake) on the Takeover-less March 27th NXT in 2019, and the Bro-serweighs Pete Dunne & Matt Riddle defeated the Grizzled Young Veterans on the also Takeover-less January 29th NXT in 2020 shortly before we all into #quixotine.
This year's tournament (FINALLY) gained the addition of a women's tournament, checking another box in Stephanie McMahon's making-history Bingo game. With twice as much tournament, matches were held on both NXT proper and WWE (NXT?) 205 Live, giving us a reason to check their results for the first time in forever. While NXT has the best women's division in wrestling (change my mind), we got a few additions to the roster for the tournament, seeing Gigi Dolan (formerly Priscilla Kelly), Cora Jade (formerly Elayna Black), and Zoey Stark (formerly Lacey Ryan) all debuting along with the returning Mercedes Martinez and Marina Shafir. Now we just need an official Queen of the Ring tournament on Raw and Smackdown (and just bring back King of the Ring in general, you cowards) and I think all the history will be made. Donna Stephanie will be pleased.
In non-Dusty happenings, there will be three title matches - NXT North American champion Johnny Gargano defends against KUSHIDA, NXT Women's champion Io Shirai defends against both Mercedes Martinez and Toni Storm, and NXT champion Finn Bálor defends against Pete Dunne in his first Takeover since getting his jaw broken by Kyle O'Reilly. Unfortunately for the Prince, I don't think Dunne is going to be much better for his general health and well being. Recent Royal Rumble winner Edge has been touring all the non-UK-or-cruiserweight-based brands to feel out each brand's champion and personally told these two that He Will Be Watching™. Extra drama! WrestleMania implications! While I don't think either are the best option for Edge's WrestleMania plans, I do want both of those possible matches as soon as possible. Pete Dunne snapping Edge's fingers? Edge spearing Bálor's dick? The NXT men's title making it's WrestleMania debut? Give them to me.
How's the Quixotronic's Wrestling Shame Challenge™ going? Cub reporter Ryan actually tried to make a few picks for once, but not all the picks - I don't think that's going to work out too well for him. All or nothing, baby. All or nothing.
Previously on Fanboy Wrestletronic…
Standings going into WWE Royal Rumble 2021:
First Place: Kyle 61% (78-50)
Second Place: Tim 56% (46-36)
Third Place: Ryan 34% (21-41)
WWE Royal Rumble 2021 results:
WWE Women's Tag Team Titles Match: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler vs Asuka & Charlotte Flair ©
Your Winners, and NEW WWE Women's Tag Team Champions: Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
Kyle: Asuka & Charlotte Flair (0-1)
Ryan: Asuka & Charlotte Flair (0-1)
Tim: Asuka & Charlotte Flair (0-1)
WWE World Title Match: Goldberg vs Drew McIntyre ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE World Champion: Drew McIntyre
Kyle: Drew McIntyre (1-1)
Ryan: Goldberg (0-2)
Tim: Drew McIntyre (1-1)
WWE Smackdown Women's Title Match: Carmella vs Sasha Banks ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE Smackdown Women's Champion: Sasha Banks
Kyle: Sasha Banks (2-1)
Ryan: n/a (0-3)
Tim: Sasha Banks (2-1)
Women's Royal Rumble
Your Iron Woman: Bianca Belair (56:52)
Your Diesel Push: Rhea Ripley (7 eliminations)
Your Final Four: Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Natalya, Rhea Ripley
Your Winner: Bianca Belair
Kyle: Bianca Belair (3-1)
+1 Diesel Push: Rhea Ripley
+3 Final Four: Bianca Belair, Charlotte Flair, Rhea Ripley
Ryan: n/a (0-4)
Tim: Bianca Belair (3-1)
+1 Iron Woman: Bianca Belair
+1 Diesel Push: Rhea Ripley
+1 Final Four: Bianca Belair
WWE Universal Title Last Man Standing Match: Kevin Owens vs Roman Reigns ©
Your Winner, and STILL WWE Universal Champion: Roman Reigns
Kyle: Roman Reigns (8-1)
Ryan: Kevin Owens (0-5)
Tim: Kevin Owens (6-2)
Men's Royal Rumble
Your Iron Man: Edge (1:00:32)
Your Diesel Push: Big E & Damian Priest (4 eliminations)
Your Final Four: Christian, Edge, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins
Your Winner: Edge
Kyle: Daniel Bryan (10-2)
+1 Iron Man: Edge
+1 Final Four: Edge
Ryan: n/a (0-6)
Tim: Daniel Bryan (6-3)
And now the conclusion…
New standings after WWE Royal Rumble 2021
First Place: Kyle 63% (88-52)
Second Place: Tim 57% (52-39)
Third Place: Ryan 31% (21-47)
Who will survive!?
NXT Takeover Vengeance Day
Men's Dusty Rhodes Classic Final: Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) vs MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee)
The Background: This year's men's Dusty Rhodes Classic returns to its original 16-team format for the first time since the 2016 (!!) tournament - that tournament saw the debut of NXT workhorses Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa as DIY as well as current IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental champion (and current God) Kota Ibushi make it to the second round with TJP. Let's check out the bracket!
-Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) defeated Ever-Rise (Chase Parker & Matt Martel)
-The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) MSK (Nash Carter & Wes Lee)* defeated Isaiah Scott & Jake Atlas
-Undisputed Era (Adam Cole & Roderick Strong) defeated Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze)
-Legado del Fantasma (Joaquin Wilde & Raul Mendoza) defeated the Bollywood Boyz (Samir & Sunil Singh)
Drake Maverick & Killian Dain defeated August Grey & Curt Stallion
-KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff defeated Austin Theory & Johnny Gargano
-Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lince Dorado) defeated Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel)
-Ashante Adonis & Desmond Troy Timothy Thatcher& Tommaso Ciampa** defeated Ariya Daviari & Tony Nese
*MSK were most recently known as the Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachery Wentz) on Impact Wrestling.
**First, Karrion Kross murdered both Ashante Adonis and Desmond Troy on the January 13th NXT despite the team being announced for the tournament. Then Timothy Thatcher and Tommaso Ciampa murdered eachother in a FIGHT PIT on the January 20th NXT, and then the two decided that maybe the love each other instead and took Adonis/Troy's place in the tournament on the January 22nd 205 Live.
-MSK defeated Drake Maverick & Killian Dain
-Grizzled Young Veterans defeated KUSHIDA & Leon Ruff
-Legado del Fantasma defeated Lucha House Party
-Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa defeated Undisputed Era
Third Round: February 10th NXT.
-MSK defeated Legado del Fantasma
-Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Timothy Thatcher & Tommaso Ciampa
The Grizzled Young Veterans, formerly of NXT UK, have made it to the final for the second year in a row as they surprisingly got past the love/hate frenemy team of Timothy Thatcher and future-Quixo-bowling-team-member Tommaso Ciampa. MSK, less surprisingly, flip flopped their way past Mendoza and Wilde. Will the old-and-busted team of GYV secure the final and make up for last year's defeat or will the new-hotness team of MSK not-so-shock the world and win the whole damn thing in their NXT debut?
Fanboy Fantasy: MSK flips and flops but GYV do their best to ground the two former-Rascalz. Every time Gibson or Drake are able to work on either Wentz or Xavier (it'll be a little while for me to get used to their new WWE names) enough to go for a pin attempt, the two do an insane tag team manuever and break the count. Whenever MSK gets the upperhand, they go for multiple pin attempts and its clearly wearing out the Vets as they get more and more frustrated. This is the second time in the final and they're going to win this damn thing. Twenty minutes in and the Vets have gained no traction and MSK doesn't even look winded. Finally, the Vets go for some good old heel cheating - Gibson breaks out some brass knuckles for the viewer to see (but not the ref) as Drake goes for the distraction and Gibson knocks Xavier out. Gibson tosses the knucks and goes for a pin, but when the referee counts, he sees the knucks! He argues with Gibson about it who denies everything, but then Wentz kicks Xavier's body into a roll-up pin on Gibson and MSK get the victory. The Vets freak out because they only have themselves to blame here. Drake grabs the knucks again and knocks both Wentz and Xavier out again, Gibson hits the referee with a Frog Splash, and the two rush the entrance and destroy the Dusty Rhodes Classic trophy before more referees, security, or even William Regal can stop them. Boo these men. They are not nice men.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: MSK - they've made it to the finals in their debut so why not light the fire under their asses and give them the trophy?
Women's Dusty Rhodes Classic Final: Dakota Kai & Raquel González vs Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart
The Background: NXT Takeover War Games IV saw Team Candice (Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Raquel González, & Toni Storm) defeated Team Shotzi (Ember Moon, Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, & Shotzi Blackheart) with González pinning NXT Women's champion Io Shirai, presumably earning a future title shot. However, the first Women's Dusty Rhodes Classic has put a pause on that as González and Kai, the closest NXT has to an official tag team, have made their way to the finals. What about the rest of the 8-team bracket? Let's check!
-Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter defeated Mercedes Martinez & Toni Storm
-Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell defeated Cora Jade & Gigi Dolan
-Dakotai Kai & Raquel González defeated Aliyah & Jessi Kamea
-Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart defeated Marina Shafir & Zoey Stark
-Dakotai Kai & Raquel González defeated Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter
-Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart defeated Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell
Kai & González making it to the finals makes perfect sense, as does Moon and Blackheart who have been allies since before WarGames. These four have been at war for a while now and now they'll fight over who wins the first Women's Dusty Rhodes Classic! It's exciting!
Fanboy Fantasy: Unlike the more lopsided men's Dusty Classic final, this one is going to be far more evenly paced. Both teams have been teaming long enough together and have all excelled in singles competition with Moon even being a former NXT Women's champion. Kai and González gain the advantage at first, but Moon and Shotzi are able to fight back and bring it to Kai/González. With the faces gaining the advantage, González tries to injure them by picking up Shotzi and throwing her into her tiny tank, but Shotzi just bounces off like nothing. Kai runs down and tries to kick the tank to death but injures her leg because it's a tank and should be treated as such. Shotzi is able to throw Kai back into the ring and Moon goes for the pin but González breaks the pin. They all continue until Shotzi and González make it to the outside and Shotzi is able to pick up her tank and knock González down with it and holds her down with the tank because while it is a real tank to everyone else, to Shotzi it is a part of her. Moon is able to hit the Eclipse on Kai for the win and the trophy. Moon and Shotzi get a titles shot at Nia Jax & Shayna Baslzer at either WWE Elimination Chamber or WWE Fastlane and win the WWE Women's Tag Team titles and bring them to NXT for a bit where they are celebrated and loved.
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart - I'm expecting revenge for the loss at WarGames and also with WWE Women's Tag Team champions Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler as "bad guys" I will lean on the winners being "good guys."
Tim: Ember Moon & Shotzi Blackheart - I will never pick against Mondo Lucha Women’s champion Shotzi Blackheart!
NXT North American Title Match: KUSHIDA vs Johnny Gargano ©
The Background: Johnny Gargano defeated Damian Priest for the title back on the October 28th NXT Halloween Havoc special in a Devil's Playground match (aka a Halloween themed falls count anywhere match). Unfortunately for him, he soon lost the title to rookie Leon Ruff on the November 11th NXT due to the "Gargano curse" - he can win the title, but he can't defend the title. Gargano was able to win the title back at NXT Takeover War Games IV. KUSHIDA entered the picture by teaming with Ruff in a tag team match on the December 16th NXT in a losing battle to Gargano and his sidekick Austin Theory. After Gargano broke the curse by successfully defending again Ruff on the December 30th NXT, KUSHIDA pinned the champion in an integender match with Shotzi Blackheart against Mr. and Mrs. Gargano at January 6th NXT New Year's Evil. KUSHIDA escalated things by attacking Gargano after a successfuly defense against Dexter Lumis on the January 13th NXT, and with both teams entered into the Men's Dusty Rhodes Classic, KUSHIDA pinned Gargano again when KUSHIDA and Ruff eliminated The Way from the tournament. Gargano showed up to the February 10th NXT in a sling claiming he was too injured to defend the title a Takeover, but KUSHIDA tricked him into revealing it was all a ruse. They will now fight.
Fanboy Fantasy: Austin Theory tries to distract KUSHIDA right away and the referee ejects him immedietely, much to the anger of Gargano. For the rest of the match Gargano plays the chicken-shit heel and continually tries to run away from KUSHIDA while occasionally hitting a high-impact move and quick pin attempt, or waiting for other The Way members Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell to run interference and failing. With his entire crew having been ejected, Gargano is left alone with KUSHIDA and KUSHIDA gets the win. On further episodes of NXT, Santos Escobar decides that he's defeated everyone in the Cruiserweight division so he wants KUSHIDA's North American title - we get a unification match because there is no need for a specific cruiserweight division when 85% of the NXT roster are cruiserweights. KUSHIDA gets double gold and becomes a God when he unifies the titles into the one true NXT North American title. But then, an older, greyer KUSHIDA emerges from the entryway holding a broken NXT Cruiserweight title and warns KUSHIDA that he has arrived too late - the damage of unifying the titles and the doom that it brings has already begun!
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Johnny Gargano - I keep thinking they'll move KUSHIDA over to the cruiserweight division, but they haven't yet. Maybe with a lose here, Santos Escobar can mock him and start a feud over there? Leon Ruff can come too.
Tim: Johnny Gargano - with Vision related attire
NXT Women's Title Match: Mercedes Martinez vs Toni Storm vs Io Shirai ©
The Background: Toni Storm turned heel by attacking Io Shirai on the November 25th NXT and joined Team Candice on the Road to WarGames™. Shirai took the pin in the WarGames match, though the Women's Dusty Rhodes Classic has (for now) distracted future-contender Raquel González. In the mean time, Toni Storm picked up a strong win over former-champion Rhea Ripley on the December 16th NXT, and Mercedes Martinez finally returned to NXT after a very-brief Retribution-related start on Raw with a quick defeat of rookie Velentina Feroz on the December 30th NXT. The two contenders teamed up in the Women's Dusty Rhodes Classic but were defeated by Kacy Catanzaro & Kayden Carter in the upset of the tournament. Neither took it that well and have decided to take their anger out on each other and unrelated-to-the-current-situation NXT Women's champion Io Shirai. Storm at least has the claim that she defeated Shirai in the final of the 2018 Mae Young Classic at the women-only WWE Evolution. Why hasn't that tournament or pay-per-view returned? Shirai will face both women because you don't earn title shots, you simply get them via attacking the champion.
Fanboy Fantasy: We start out as these things do with Martinez and Storm double teaming Shirai, but as soon as one of them goes for a pin, the other breaks it. It, of course, devolves from there. Whatever alliance there may have been is gone and its a full out triple threat. The three murder each other for a while but Shirai is able to pick up the win after hitting a moonsault on Storm for the win and to even their score since the Mae Young Classic final. On the next NXT, Shirai celebrates her win but is interrupted by her next challenger - not Raquel González, but Xia Li, backed by her dragon-powered master Tian Sha. Because of course, when in doubt, add more dragons. Right?
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Io Shirai - I'm kinda bored with Io Shirai as champion, but I don't see her dropping the belt. Surprise me?
Tim: Io Shirai
NXT Title Match: Pete Dunne vs Finn Bálor ©
The Background: The men's NXT title history has been a bit trouble since the #quixotine started - while Keith Lee was able to defeat Adam Cole for the title at the July 8th NXT Great American Bash, he dropped it to Karrion Kross only a month later at NXT Takeover XXX - when Kross separated his shoulder. Kross had to vacate the title a week later, and Finn Bálor defeated Adam Cole on the September 8th NXT Super Tuesday II. However just a month after that, Bálor defended his title against Kyle O'Reilly at NXT Takeover 31 in a match that involved the two... forgetting that professional wrestling is a show and predetermined? O'Reilly walked away with at least a broken tooth and other "unspecified injuries" while Bálor had a hairline jaw fracture. While the Prince sat out and healed up, the Undisputed Era regrouped and dealt with the new faction of Pete Dunne and NXT Tag Team champions Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan (along with manager(?) Pat McAfee) that led the two teams into NXT Takeover War Games IV where Undisputed Era picked up the win. Finn Bálor returned on the December 9th NXT and discovered several potential suitors to his NXT title including both O'Reilly and Dunne. O'Reilly defeated Dunne to face Bálor at the January 6th NXT New Year's Evil where Bálor again picked up the victory, but more importantly mutual respect. Dunne attacked Bálor on the January 13th NXT when O'Reilly made the save, so the two new friends Made It Official™ when they teamed together and defeated Burch and Lorcan in a non-titles affair on the January 27th NXT. With the match official, Royal Rumble winner Edge showed up to the Capital Wrestling Center to make his intentions known - he is considering chosing the NXT title for WrestleMania. Maybe. He'll be watching the match. This is important, guys.
Fanboy Fantasy: Take what O'Reilly and Bálor did and turn that to 11 (because somehow in this case those guys weren't already at 11), but hopefully with no actual injuries? Please? Dunne snaps every finger while Bálor powers through and meets him at every step. Lorcan and Burch learned from The Way's earlier mistakes and don't actually interfere - they merely distract the Prince every now and then as he accounts for all the pieces on the board. These two go for a solid 45 minutes because yes please, and the end looks near when Lorcan/Burch distract the referee long enough for Dunne to go for a low blow - but it doesn't work. Unlike Brock Lesnar, Finn Bálor's dick is not his weakness - it's his power source. Finn powers up, hits the Coup de Grace followed by a 1916 to score the win. Burch and Lorcan hit the ring right away and attack Bálor and the Undisputed Era's music hits as they rush the ring for the save. The Era and Bálor are able to overpower Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch and celebrate in the ring. Before we close out, Bálor has a power staredown with the Era as they all accept their respect for eachother and he flings up the Too-Sweet sign to the Era members. Adam Cole, being more recently kicked out of the Bullet Club, looks suspicious, but O'Reilly and Strong offer a Too-Sweet back to Bálor. All three look to Cole, and Cole finally offers a Too-Sweet as well, completing a new WWE-sponsored merger of the Undisputed Era and Bullet Club. Let's see what NJPW/AEW/Impact all have to say about that?
Quixotronic Bullpen Predictions:
Kyle: Finn Bálor - I love Pete Dunne being in the conversation (and he very much deserves to be) but I think Bálor needs to hold the title a bit longer. He deserves to hold the belt and not be injured for more than a month or two.
Ryan: Pete Dunne
Tim: Pete Dunne
That’s it for our NXT Takeover Vengeance Day preview and fantasy booking. We’ll be back next month next week (shit, next week?!?) with a preview/booking of WWE Elimination Chamber. It’ll also be Fanboy Fantasy’s 1 year anniversary! Will we do something special? Probably not. Will we drink more and say we did? Most definitely.
In the meantime, if you haven't already, please checkout the our version of WWE, first in Quixo-WWE WrestleMania 37 and next in Quixo-Great American Bash 2021! What's better than some fantasy booking? All fantasy booking.
Finally, in honor of Dusty, let's all rewatch the classic Hard Times promo from the October 29th 1985 Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. If you've never watched it, you are in for a treat, daddy.