NXT Takeover: Fatal 4 Way, the third special event from WWE’s developmental promotion NXT, airs live on the WWE Network on Thursday night. As the Internet’s #1 resource for NXT homerism, we’ll have a live open discussion thread, results and a follow Best and Worst of NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way column.
If you’re still new to NXT (or one of those people who watched the NXT showcase match on Raw, said “wow” and jumped on the Internet looking for more information), here’s a quick rundown of the card. We’ll try to fill you in on what’s happening, what we think will happen, and why you should care.
For more detailed predictions and a rundown of the entire NXT roster, please listen to my appearance on the Have A Nice Day Podcast. We reveal some dark secrets about Stu Hart and change your mind about Bull Dempsey and Mojo Rawley forever.
Hair vs. Hair Match: Enzo Amore vs. Sylvester LeFort
If You Don’t Watch: Imagine if Heath Slater and Adam Rose’s bunny were in a high-stakes match. That’s what you should expect from Enzo Amore and Sylvester LeFort in a hair vs. hair match. Enzo is the scrappy little dog from old cartoons — a half pint character with a big mouth who only really succeeds when backed up by his 7-foot-tall friend Colin Cassady. He’s hard not to love. He has the Road Dogg ability to make a crowd sing along with everything he says, and his most recent vignette involved him going to a hair salon to pick up a metal bucket full of “hair removal cream” and accidentally spilling it on a poodle. Sylvester LeFort is an evil French guy. You can see how this all goes together.
If You Do: It’s funny to see two of the least important guys on NXT in a BLOOD FEUD involving a Luchas de Apuestas match. Neither guy’s really known for their signature hair. LeFort’s got ratty long hair, but he always wears it back. Enzo’s got crazy hair, but he shaves it into weird shapes and designs all the time. So … are the stakes really that high? They should’ve had a “loser can no longer play up his regional heritage” match.
Prediction: LeFort’s gotta lose this one. He needs a dramatic change and some character motivation. Enzo could (and should) show up next week with a shaved head and nobody’d notice.
Mojo Rawley vs. Bull Dempsey
If You Don’t Watch: This is the battle of the big men. Mojo Rawley’s a former football player who can’t calm down (literally, that’s his gimmick). Bull Dempsey’s an angry fat guy who wants to destroy anything. It’s the irresistible force meeting the immovable object on the smallest possible scale.
If You Do: Sorry.
Prediction: Bull will probably take this one. I’m hoping it’s via “punching Mojo Rawley in the butthole when he tries a flying ass attack.”
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Ascension (c) vs. Kalisto and Sin Cara
If You Don’t Watch: The Ascension are a team of big, angry guys who’ve been the tag team champions forever thanks to a combination of RUTHLESS AGGRESSION and only ever wrestling cans. Kalisto and Sin Cara are luchadors who teamed up and won a tournament to name new #1 contenders to the tag team championships. This is Kalisto’s second shot at the tag straps in the last two special events, but he’s severely upgraded his tag team partner, so this might be his best shot.
If You Do: If the Ascension’s ever going to be taken seriously, they need to stop YAH’ing everything and start crushing viable opponents. They seem like video game characters who’ve wandered into a wrestling show. Is it super impressive that they can beat Local Athlete #1 and Local Athlete #2 with a bunch of shoves and shoulderblocks? This needs to be Kalisto’s breakout match, win or lose. If he’s got anything in the tank, he should EMPTY it at Takeover. Go all out. If he wins, it’s a big deal. If he doesn’t, The Ascension looks good for beating a really cool, good guy. For once.
Prediction: I’ve got the Ascension retaining. A tournament shouldn’t automatically mean the winner will win their championship match. Kalisto and Sin Cara have potential as a team, but Kalisto hasn’t been around very long and the Sin Cara concept’s kinda dead in the water. If they’re going to be champs, they really need to earn it; not just in wins and losses, but in match quality and crowd support. Plus, the Ascension should probably get the Paige push and just get elevated to Raw’s lowercard without losing the tag titles.
If You Don’t Watch: This guy is INCREDIBLE. One of the most exciting signings in recent memory. If you can get beyond WWE’s long history of treating Asian people like corny jokes, KENTA’s the man. And yes, you have to type his name in all caps. He’s already responsible for a lot of WWE stuff you love. The YES Lock? Daniel Bryan’s running knee finisher? CM Punk’s GTS? All KENTA.
Here he is doing a bunch of stuff you’ve never seen.
If You Do: EXCLAMATION POINT EXCLAMATION POINT EXCLAMATION POINT.
Prediction: The timing is perfect for KENTA to reclaim the GTS, at least. Have him arrive, get hassled by a heel who can sell, and let him murder death kill that heel with a knee to the face. Instant glory. Or hell, have him reclaim ALL of his moves. If Bryan or Punk or whoever wants them back, they can come and claim them.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte (c) vs. Bayley
If You Don’t Watch: Charlotte is the daughter of 16-time champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair. She’s gone from “green wrestler who probably shouldn’t be in the ring” to “one of the best women employed by WWE, period” faster than anyone I can think of. She’s tall and muscular and statuesque and can hurt you. Bayley is the opposite; a woman of no notable heritage who has gradually grown from an impressionable “mark” to a legit threat to the NXT Women’s Championship. She’s cute and sweet and precious. She’s gotten better and better, and now she’s trying to take the NXT Women’s Championship off a woman who used to be her “best friend” before the promise of fame and fortune stole her away. This match matters to NXT fans.
If You Do: This is it.
Bayley’s well-being is probably the most important thing happening in NXT right now. People who love and support her NEED her to win this match. Charlotte could be bound for Raw any day now. She’s a FLAIR, for God’s sakes, it’s surprising they didn’t stick her on Total Divas before she’d ever wrestled a match. Bayley is a cult hero at Full Sail, one of the most popular wrestlers in the company, and when she says winning the championship from a Flair would be her dream come true, you believe it. This one’s going to make us feel a lot of strong emotions, one way or another.
Prediction: I can’t pick Bayley to lose. You’ve got this, Bayley. You’ve got this.
Fatal 4-Way Match For The NXT Championship: Adrian Neville (c) vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd
If You Don’t Watch: Adrian Neville is that guy from Raw who did the crazy flips. He’s the NXT Champion. He’s smaller than most of his opponents, but he’s got the fighting heart of a champion and has defeated every challenger since saving the belt from Bo Dallas. Sami Zayn is a really nice guy and the most identifiable male WWE babyface in AGES. He’s also an ace in the ring, but he can’t seem to win the big one. Tyler Breeze is a self-obsessed model who cares more about a good selfie than a championship run, but he also needs to be the center of attention. He wants to be the champion so the face of NXT can be “gorgeous.” Tyson Kidd is married to Natalya and takes care of her cats. He’s a 10-year veteran trying to take the developmental promotion’s championship from a bunch of WWE rookies to prove he’s still got something to offer. He’s a total POS.
If You Do: This one’s exciting, because it could go to ANYONE. If Neville retains, he moves on to the next big challenge and had successfully tied up all the loose ends from his first several months as champion. If Zayn wins, he becomes NXT’s new ace champion and maybe gets a mean streak. With KENTA and Prince Devitt and his former tag team partner Kevin Steen showing up soon, Zayn as champ means an endless series of incredible matches. Plus, don’t you want to see Cesaro show up again and decide he wants the NXT strap? Breeze winning allows Neville to pop up to Raw while keeping Full Sail supplied with a champion that makes them react. He might be the person who needs the championship the most, because his character is the most two-dimensional. Then there’s Tyson. Tyson as the butthole champion of the minor leagues is pretty hilarious, and he’s a new interpretation of the Bo Dallas character people desperately wanted to see lose. Any of these seem like good ideas to me.
Prediction: I want Sami to win, but my head says Tyson. If Tyson loses, what’s the point of him? But like I said, anything’s good. I just want to see them blow the roof off the building, and for Zayn to hit that crazy brainbuster on Tyler Breeze they messed up at the last special.
Be sure you’re here on Thursday night for the live NXT Takeover Fatal 4 Way open discussion thread, and back here on Friday morning for the full Best and Worst column. This show deserves the biggest-possible audience.