IHAO on ... NXT Takeover: Fatal 4- Way

NXT continues to be the best wrestling that is watchable anywhere in the world.  Ok, I don't watch wrestling from everywhere.  But it continues to be better than TNA, Raw, Smackdown, and ROH, which are the biggest shows currently on in my neck of the woods.  We only get these "PPV"s or Specials I guess once in a few months, and they so far have all delivered.  The last one had two matches I consider Match of the Year contenders, so I had high hopes for this one, too!  I just love how excited I feel for wrestling every Thursday because of NXT.  So let's dive right in!

NXT Tag Team Championships: The Lucha Dragons upset the Ascension

I am an Ascension mark.  They are old school.  They are the Road Warriors.  They are the classic Steiners.  They are not face, or heel.  They are just the Ascension, and they will RISE ... all the way into the WWE soon, because the Lucha Dragons beat them.  After a 344 day run as tag champs, the Ascension has finally been stopped.  Kalisto tried to do it last time with the help of El Local, but the Ascension won that bout, pinning El Local.  Kalisto found a new partner with Sin Cara, and now the Lucha Dragons have won the number one contender's tournament to bring the fight to the Ascension.

This match was a little short, but really good.  Ascension looked dominant, and the Dragons did everything you expect out of flippy-do luchadores.  I wish the match had gone another 5 minutes, but this card was already just stacked with matches.  The Ascension put over the Dragons in a good way, but not a dominant way.  There is still competition here, and I cannot wait for the rematch.

Verdict - Quality opener, very fun, though I wish there was more .... YAH!

Baron Corbin debuts and squashes CJ Parker

Baron Corbin is awesome.  And he destroyed CJ Parker in two movies, an amazingly vicious clothesline, and then the most powerful and painful looking version of the Mic Check - a Reverse STO with a side-cradle delay - I've ever seen.  And Corbin just looked bad ass doing it.

This man is something to fear.  And he impressed the hell out of everyone watching.  

Verdict - Couldn't ask for a better debut

Hair v. Hair match: Enzo schoolboy'd Sylvester LeFort, but the Frenchman escaped his punishment

His name is Enzo Amore.  And he is a certified G, and a bonafide stud.  And you can't teach that.  And coming with him is Big Cass.  And he's seven foot tall.  And you can't teach that.  Bada boom, review in da room.  How you doin'?!

I'm real into Enzo.  Enzo is not an amazing wrestler.  He barely has 4 moves to his name.  But he is the perfect babyface.  And Sylvester LeFort is the perfect heel, and an incredible wrestler that helped carry this match to be a surprisingly entertaining match.  Enzo is just the perfect babyface, like I said.  He has the fans behind him 100%.  He gives his all in everything.  He is 100% energy, even though he is only about 10% skill.  He's charismatic, and he is currently righteously indignant.  He wins with roll-up and pulling on LeFort's tights, but Le Fort runs off before his hair can be destroyed with Enzo and Cass's bucket of Super Nair.

But they got Marcus Luis, Le Fort's partner.  Later in the night, they drag him out to the ring, and reveal his bald head, including eye brows.  The whole thing was just perfectly entertaining.

Verdict - Entertaining beyond all belief

KENTA debuts, Ascension attacks, KENTA kicks butt and reveals his new name, Hideo Itami

Yeah, my heading says everything.  But this was exciting.  I explained to everyone watching with me, since I was the only one who knew Hideo Itami, that you can think of Hideo as a Japanese Stone Cold.  A powerful brawler who kicks and punches his way to victory, and even though he gave a promo with very little English because he's still learning it, his body language during his retaliation on the Ascension's attack was perfect, and everyone is sold.

Verdict - Long live Hideo Itami

Bull Demsey busts Mojo Rawley open and squashes him, also has no chains

Bathroom break time.  

Bull Demsey is boring.  Mojo Rawley looks ineffectual.  And this feud is pointless.  On a card filled with amazing matches, cool debuts, and insane storylines, this little grudge match has the flimsiest excuse and is absolutely outclassed by everything else.  The three minutes this received, including entrances and ending sequence should all, would have been better served given to the tag match.

Verdict - Pointless

Women's Championship Match: Charlotte retains against Bayley, who did try, though

Charlotte is great.  And I'm going to buy her shirt from WWEShop.  You should, too.  Also, holy crap, this was the first of two main events.  The Women's Championship is a main event!  I am so excited about this change in not only priority, but quality and skill in women's wrestling in this company.  Heck, Paige had the dark match for this special!

This match was about Charlotte being in a different caliber than Bayley.  Bayley tries to earn Charlotte's respect, and eventually does, but Charlotte was never in any real danger of losing this match.  And this is a really good match.  They both worked hard and put on an amazing ten minute show.  Not all matches need to be about equals, but all matches need to be about stories and great characters.  And this, as well as the other main event, did that in spades.

After the match, Sasha Banks came out to beat the crap out of a distraught Bayley, but Charlotte threw her off.  Charlotte may have won the match easily, but she wasn't going to let Bayley get beaten because of Sasha's jealousy.

Verdict - Really great, and super worth watching

Fatal 4-Way for the NXT Championship: Adrian Neville pinned Tyson Kidd

This match may not be as high in quality as the Tyson Kidd/Adrian Neville match from the last Takeover, but its storytelling and character work is unparalleled.  I can rewatch this match over and over and see more and more great work from all four guys.  The story of the match is simple: Neville is the only one with something really to lose, so everyone tries to keep Neville out of the match, including Zahn by the end of the match.  Neville then does everything he can to fight to win, stopping every advance, blocking Breeze from tapping out, and even yanking out the referee to keep Zahn, who had just knocked out Tyson Kidd, from taking the title.

Then you have Tyson Kidd controlling the match, destroying Zahn over and over even though he won't stay down.  You have Breeze rushing in trying to take advantage of the situation, but because he wants to pin Neville, he misses out on the win, twice!  You have Zahn, who says all he wants to do is pin Neville to prove he truly deserved the win, and he doesn't once try to pin Neville.  You see Neville learning from former mistakes, you see Zahn getting too emotional and being wreckless, you see Tyson Kidd confident and cocky, which leads to his downfall.

The finish, with Zahn throwing Kidd into the corner with a capture suplex, then deciding to dive into Neville on the outside before Neville can do anything and take out Breeze, hit Kidd with the Helluva kick.  Neville pulls out the ref, and as Zahn comes outside the ring to take the fight to Neville, Neville kicks him right in the head, then jumps up and hits the Red Arrow on Kidd, pinning him definitively, which was the third pin in their feud, finishing it, all as Zahn looks on, trying in vain to stop him but coming up short ... again.

The character work, storytelling, atheleticism ... just every aspect of this match is really fantastic.  Really, the only problem comes in a slightly messed up signature spot and a little bit of pacing and logic.  But really, this match is 1000x better than the vast majority of matches WWE puts out on their PPVs.  Crazy to think, huh?  HHH must be incredibly proud.  And he totally is.

Verdict - Amazing.  AMAZING.

BOTTOM LINE: If you are a wrestling fan, and you aren't watching NXT, there is something wrong with you, because it is the best wrestling at all.  Period.

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