A trophy that honors the legacy of a legend, and a tournament that carries the spirit of an industry he loved so much. For only the fourth time in history, NXT pays homage to the late “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes with his namesake tournament, the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
“Dusty’s legacy speaks for itself. He’s responsible for the process of NXT. Roman Reigns, Sasha Banks, Finn Bálor, the list goes on,” Aleister Black told WWE.com. “Although I never knew him personally, there is a certain desire to compete to the best of your ability to live up to what he created.”
Black will have the chance to make his mark on that legacy as he prepares to team with Ricochet to face The Forgotten Sons tandem of Steve Cutler & Wesley Blake in the final match of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
The first team to win the Dusty Classic was the tandem of Finn Bálor & Samoa Joe in 2015. The legacy would continue with a victory by AOP the following year and most recently, The Undisputed ERA’s Adam Cole & Kyle O’Reilly in 2018.
“If we win this, it shows we are here to be the best,” Ricochet said. “The Forgotten Sons are dangerous and unpredictable, and they’ve always got a plan. I know Aleister Black and I are a new team, but we aren’t new to each other. I first met Aleister, ironically, while I was competing in a German tournament back in 2012. If we win this and continue dominating on Raw and SmackDown LIVE, we can back up our claim to being the best.”
The opportunity to be the best also lies on the shoulders of Black & Ricochet’s opponents, The Forgotten Sons. Unlike The One and Only and The Dutch Destroyer, Blake & Cutler both had the chance to sit under the Dusty Rhodes learning tree during the course of their NXT careers. It’s an experience that Cutler says helped mold the identity of The Forgotten Sons.
“My relationship with Dusty was simple,” Cutler revealed. “He got me. He understood from the beginning who I am and what I am capable of. He knew that I am someone who just cuts to the chase and tells it like it is. It’s just a shame that no one else in this system other than Blake and Ryker could see that.”
Another potential advantage for The Forgotten Sons is that Blake is the only Superstar in the match who has prior experience competing in the tournament. Blake joined forces with current WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy to take part in the inaugural Dusty Classic.
“I’ve got years of frustration built up from competing in the first Dusty Tag Team Classic and then to be forgotten,” Blake said. “Honestly, we are aggravated, that week after week, [Black & Ricochet] get to compete with current champions and former champions of Raw and SmackDown, when we are the ones who get overlooked because of people like them getting what we deserve. The beginning of The Forgotten Sons’ legacy starts with our names engraved on Dusty’s trophy, never to be erased, wiped off or deleted.”
For one team, the winning prize is an NXT Tag Team Title opportunity against the champion War Raiders at NXT TakeOver: New York. But for both tandems, a chance to add their names the lineage of Superstars who have competed for tag team supremacy all in the name of The American Dream is an honor in its own right. In the words of Dusty Rhodes, “Opportunity knocks, let’s get on with it, baby!”
Article source: WWE.com