Though they appeared to be looking down their noses at Gigi Dolin and Cora Jade while the two young Superstars made their somewhat peculiar entrance, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell were forced to start taking their opponents seriously when Hartwell was greeted with a couple stiff kicks from each of her foes and a forearm to the jaw from Dolin.
And though LeRae received a tag and briefly went on the attack, Jade nevertheless struck The Poison Pixie with a knee to the jaw while Dolin held her in place.
Despite the quick flurries from Dolin & Jade, The Way took control when Hartwell planted Jade with a sidewalk slam and later dropped Dolin with a suplex for the 1-2-3 before she and Candice joyously posed next to the Dusty Cup at ringside.
With the win, LeRae and Hartwell reached the semifinals of the eight-team Women’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, and they’ll battle the winner of Shotzi Blackheart & Ember Moon vs. Marina Shafir & Zoey Stark.
There are unlikely tag team partners, and then there’s the unfathomable combination of Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher, who joined forces just 48 hours after nearly tearing each other limb from limb on NXT in the Fight Pit, a barbaric bout that saw Thatcher narrowly edge his rival.
Ciampa and Thatcher, who subbed into the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic in place of Desmond Troy and Ashante Adonis after they were assaulted by Karrion Kross, appeared distrustful of each other in the early goings, while Nese and Daivari stuck to a familiar game plan, bending the rules by double-teaming Ciampa and relentlessly slamming his knee against the ring post.
The Blackheart persevered through the pain and made a diving tag to Thatcher, who leveled both of his foes with belly-to-belly suplexes and several vicious uppercuts, though his rally was cut short by more double-team tactics and a Persian Splash from Daivari.
Thatcher tagged Ciampa back into the match, and after an all-out melee between all four competitors, Ciampa sealed the win by nearly driving Nese through the canvas with Willow’s Belle.
Ciampa and Thatcher shared an uneasy staredown after the bell in the ring and during the walk back up the ramp, but the unlikely tandem is nevertheless primed for a second-round match.
- Numbers in parentheses indicate the length of the match.
- (c) refers to the champion(s) heading into the match.
- The Way (Candice LeRae & Indi Hartwell) defeated Gigi Dolin & Cora Jade in a Dusty Rhodes Women's Tag Team Classic Tournament First Round Match (5:56)
- Tommaso Ciampa & Timothy Thatcher defeated Tony Nese & Ariya Daivari in a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament First Round Match (8:16)
Other on-screen talent