The Dusty Cup has become a key feature of NXT in recent years, randomly popping up to put the spotlight on the deep and rich tag division that they have at their disposal. This year, as we approach WrestleMania season, eight teams from both NXT and NXT UK have been matched up against one another to determine who will walk away with the 2020 Dusty Cup.
With a pretty impressive lineage of Finn Balor & Samoa Joe, Aleister Black & Ricochet and The Undisputed Era, it’s a pretty big honour to take the Dusty Cup home. The results of winning the tournament have been fairly inconsistent so far, aside from the finals match itself, the teams seem to receive little in the way of reward. After the cup is handed over, all seems forgotten. Sometimes the winners will receive a shot at the NXT Tag Team titles, but the other times they’re just re-entered into the shuffle.
This year’s tournament seems a lot more motivated by the growing tension between the two branches of NXT. With two incredible tag divisions at hand, the line-up for this year’s Dusty Cup has made for some really fun matches so far. With Imperium and The Undisputed Era already picking up wins over The Forgotten Sons and Gallus, it’s time to run down the rest of the brackets and figure out who we think deserves to walk away with the big win at the next TakeOver.
As previously mentioned, WALTER’s Euro-centric faction Imperium have scored their first win of the tournament, and have secured entry into the semi-finals. With their huge match with The Undisputed Era scheduled for Worlds Collide, there’d be no surprise in seeing Aichner and Barthel be matched up with Fish and O’Reilly in the Dusty cup tournament.
Both teams have considerable reason to be seen in the finals. Era have already been Dusty cup winners, picking up the win in 2017 after Roderick Strong betrayed his then-partner Pete Dunne to give Cole and O’Reilly the win on behalf of the faction. Even though the NXT Tag champs are already on top of their game, I don’t think any fans would groan at the idea of them becoming two-time Dusty cup winners in 2020.
But with the growing tensions between Era and Imperium taking precedent in both NXT and NXT UK, what a way to turn the tides by allowing Imperium a win over Fish and O’Reilly in an upcoming semi-final match. Imperium could then ride the momentum of a huge win over the NXT mainstays into the finals match at TakeOver.
WALTER’s henchmen have become a major player in WWE as a whole, but outside of the big Austrian’s UK title reign, they haven’t much credit to their names. A Dusty cup win would certainly give them a huge rub, and set them up for a future NXT UK title shot against Gallus, or even a chance at the NXT Tag Team titles against The Undisputed Era to settle the score.
Meanwhile, the odd couple tag team of Pete Dunne and Matt Riddle have been stealing the hearts and minds of the NXT Universe. The team that is now coined as ‘The Broserweights’ are scheduled to face South Wales Subculture on this week’s episode of NXT, which is bound to be an insanely fun match that might end up being a match of the week contender. Presuming that they pick up the win over Mandrews and Flash Morgan Webster, Riddle and Dunne have a very strong chance at going the distance this year and winning the Dusty cup.
Riddle and Dunne are two major players of NXT who have remained very popular with the crowd. Neither man is currently set up for a title match elsewhere, so it’d be a great way of getting both superstars on the TakeOver card. Not only that, but their differing styles could make for some really fun chemistry and would allow both performers to carry on their 2020 with a big win behind them, potentially putting them in line for an NXT or North American championship match.
The X-factor of this year’s tournament has been Kushida and his mystery partner. Speculation took over the wrestling world with many fans predicting that we might see the reunion of the Time Splitters – marking the first appearance of Alex Shelley in NXT. The former IWGP Junior Heavyweight champions will be taking the Dusty cup by storm, matching up against the Grizzled Young Veterans on this week’s NXT.
As one of the more synonymous tag teams in this tournament, it would make sense for the Time Splitters to make it to the finals. Kushida has yet to make his TakeOver debut, and Alex Shelley is definitely a big enough deal to be featured on a 2020 pay-per-view event. This could be the start of Shelley marking off the last few of his wrestling dream matches, so getting to see him and Kushida go toe-to-toe with any of the aforementioned teams would be a huge treat for the NXT fans.
The majority of the teams we’ve covered are rooted in the US branch of NXT, leaving NXT UK looking somewhat weaker to their American counterparts. With GYV and South Wales SubCulture both in with a chance of making it to the semi-finals this week, either team could start building stock for the first time since their respective title losses. A win here would do wonders for their namesake, and set them up for bigger things outside of NXT UK. But this is pretty unlikely considering who their opponents are.
So who’ve you got for the 2020 Dusty cup? Is it going to an established tag team or one of the more inexperienced duos? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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