ATLANTA — If the first match of the 2018 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic is any indication, this year’s tournament honoring the late American Dream will be the wildest yet. In a brutally hard-hitting rematch of the 2016 final, defending Dusty Cup winners The Authors of Pain bested TM61, ending the red-hot streak that Shane Thorne & Nick Miller had established since returning to NXT earlier this year.
With the overwhelming support of NXT fans, TM61 used their daredevil offense to keep Akam & Rezar on their heels and gain near-falls. Despite this, AOP’s destructive tendencies proved to be too much for the exciting Aussies. The turning point occurred when Rezar powerbombed Thorne from inside the ring onto the apron. The devastating impact took Thorne out for the remainder of the match and enabled AOP to clobber Miller with the Last Chapter for the pin.
With one massive win behind them, AOP now advance to the Second Round, where they will battle the winners of Street Profits vs. Heavy Machinery.