Undisputed Era Retains NXT Tag Team Championships at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2018

Photo credit: WWE.com.

The Undisputed Era defeated The Authors of Pain and the team of Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships in a Triple Threat match at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans on Saturday night.

Strong became the newest member of The Undisputed Era as he turned on his tag team partner to help Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly keep the tag titles.

Dunne seemingly had the match won after hitting the Bitter End on O'Reilly, but Strong broke up the pinfall and delivered the End of Heartache to Dunne and placed O'Reilly's arm on a prone Dunne.

Even Cole and O'Reilly were shocked to have received a helping hand:

Saturday's bout was borne from the third edition of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, as the winners of the tournament were scheduled to face The Undisputed Era at TakeOver.

The finals pitted The Authors of Pain against Dunne and Strong on the go-home edition of NXT prior to the pay-per-view, but Cole and O'Reilly interfered, which resulted in the match being ruled a no-contest.

NXT general manager William Regal then decided that Cole and O'Reilly would be forced to defend the NXT Tag Team Championships against both AOP and the team of Dunne and Strong at TakeOver.

Cole was originally only supposed to take part in the ladder match for the new NXT North American Championship. However, Bobby Fish suffered a knee injury, which required Cole to fill in for his fallen partner.

That created an intriguing dynamic with each team bringing something different to the table.

While Cole and O'Reilly hadn't previously teamed much together in two-on-two situations in NXT, they have a long and storied history together. They entered Ring of Honor as a tag team known as Future Shock before eventually becoming rivals and having some of the most brutal matches of all time in ROH.

The Authors of Pain also had no shortage of experience teaming together, as Akam and Rezar burst on the scene in NXT two years ago. They had a 203-day run with the NXT Tag Team Championships under the tutelage of Hall of Fame manager Paul Ellering, which still stands as one of the longest reigns in NXT history.

Unlike The Undisputed Era and Authors of Pain, Dunne and Strong had no familiarity with each other until a few weeks ago.

After Dunne beat Strong in a highly competitive match for the United Kingdom Championship, they became a team and replaced the duo of Tyler Bate and Trent Seven in the Dusty Classic due to an injury suffered by Bate.

Although Dunne and Strong are primarily singles competitors, they are both top-flight workers, and they added a high-impact element to Saturday's bout.

In the end, all six competitors blended well and put on a memorable performance on a card that was stacked from top to bottom.

Despite the abrupt change with Fish missing out on the show, The Undisputed Era managed to come out on top and retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.

Since Fish appears likely to be out for a significant period of time, Cole will have a presence in the tag team division moving forward even though he was initially presented as the singles star in Undisputed Era.

Cole also working the NXT North American title ladder match suggests he may pull double duty more often, however. That could actually be a positive for the quality of the show considering Cole is one of the top up-and-coming stars in all of wrestling.

                     

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