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Thursday, May 5, 2016

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Retrospective: The Mechanical Revival in NXT

By @MeenHendrix 

July 29, 2015. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder made their return to NXT and picked up a huge win over NXT favorites, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. This would spark a huge turn of events between this young tag team.

A year earlier, Scott Dawson, coming off an ACL tear, was left without any direction in his return to the NXT brand. Enter the debuting Dash Wilder who would go on to form a team with Dawson. They began going by the name of The Mechanics during WWE Live Events. They started off slow. They lost the 2 TV appearances they had to Enzo and Cass and Bull Dempsey and Mojo Rawley. They were mostly used as jobbers for live shows.

Returning back on July 29, 2015, no one knew what they were in store for. NXT's Tag Team Division needed a slight rebuild. Its top 2 teams the year before, The Ascension and the Lucha Dragons, had made their move to the main roster. That left 2 spots open for two new teams to step into. One would be filled by Dawson and Wilder. The other by future rivals Jason Jordan and Chad Gable.

This seemed like a fluke. I mean come on. Dawson and Wilder had only made 3 appearances on live TV the last year and a half and they were all losses (2 tag team, 1 singles for Dawson). They were given a chance to join the card at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in an 8-Man Tag Team Match with Jordan and Gable against The Hype Bros and Enzo and Cass. Another loss and it was assumed that things would go back to how they were. Right?

Wrong. Enter The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, made in honor of the late Dusty Rhodes, who had passed on June 11th. Dawson and Wilder dropped the Mechanics name and were inserted into the tournament by defeating Elias Samson and Tucker Knight at a live event. In the second round, they would score a huge upset over NXT Tag Team Champions The Vaudevillains allowing them to make the semi-finals at NXT Takeover: Respect.

Although they were defeated by Samoa Joe and Finn Bálor, their momentum wasn't halted. They showed off a mean streak, attacking Enzo Amore and (kayfabe) injuring Colin Cassady. They were given an opportunity and defeated The Vaudevillains for the NXT Tag Team Titles. They held on to the gold for close to 5 months, defeating Enzo and Cass twice, before dropping the belts to American Alpha (Jordan and Gable) at NXT Takeover: Dallas.

I never paid these guys much attention. When you're never on TV how will people know about you? What made me take notice of them was their gritty toughness. They impressed me with their attack on Enzo and Cass by getting rid of Enzo and methodically taking out the knee of Big Cass. They would use this same strategy on Aiden English in their NXT Tag Team Championship match and on Finn Bálor at Takeover: Respect. These guys are straight throwbacks. They remind me of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard from the trunks and dope custom Jackets to the way they left their opponents bruised and banged up in a win or loss. They aren't into that high flying style. They want to beat you up. Their motto after all is No Flips, Just Fists. They let their actions speak for themselves and that's something that makes them so fun to watch. They're no slouch on the big stage either. They've never had a match at a big event that rated less than 3 stars since their return. If you like seeing guys punching people in the mouth and doing whatever it takes to win, these are the dudes you want to watch.