In light of Moustache Mountain's exit from the Dusty Classic, Roderick Strong petitions NXT General Manager William Regal to let him and a partner of his choice enter the tag team tournament. Video courtesy of Twitter.com/RoderickStrong.03/16/2018 - 10:45
The WWE United Kingdom Champion puts in work at the WWE Performance Center weight room, all in the hope of finding his way onto the TakeOver: New Orleans lineup. Video courtesy of NXT Facebook Live's Tapout Workout of the Week.03/16/2018 - 17:30
Tyler Bate tells Cathy Kelley that Moustache Mountain must withdraw from this year's tag team tournament due to an injury.03/15/2018 - 13:45
NXT's Iconic Duo help you determine which celebrities, trends and pop-culture items qualify as "iconic," and which fall short.03/14/2018 - 17:00
NXT General Manager William Regal reveals that Aleister Black and Andrade "Cien" Almas will sign the contract for their NXT Title Match at TakeOver: New Orleans on next week's edition of NXT.03/07/2018 - 15:15
The Ascension vs. Kalisto & El Local - NXT Tag Team Championship Match
For months, The Ascension has monopolized the ranks of NXT's tag team division. As the longest-reigning Tag Team Champions in NXT history, Konnor & Viktor have dared opponents to try their hand at dismantling the dominant duo. Even adding a longstanding open challenge to any team in the world did little to rock the firmly controlled boat of the NXT Tag Team Champions. When The Ascension defends against the newly formed team of Kalisto & El Local, why would the result be any different? The answer might sit with their unexpected challengers.
"Ascension has never faced a tag team like us," Kalisto told WWE.com. "El Local and I are not here to test out the waters and see if our team can work because we know our team can work. We bring a 22nd century lucha libre style to the table and elements Viktor and Konnor have never seen."
On the surface, Kalisto's comments may seem dangerously overconfident, but there's more to the story than meets the eye. In 2006, both Kalisto and El Local stepped foot into the squared circle for the first time. While they were the furthest thing from tag team partners, their similar career paths created a friendship that would grow just as quickly as their success.
"Kalisto and I wrestled in Mexico, Europe and, of course, here in the states," Local revealed to WWE.com. "There were many times when Kalisto and I would make 10-hour drives just for a hot dog and a Gatorade as our compensation. Sleeping in our cars was a regular thing we did, but we didn't care because we were doing what we loved."
The friendship carried over to NXT, but both Superstars opted to pursue their singles careers rather than form the tag team of today.
"It's one of those things that we always knew in the back of our heads would probably happen one day with the right situation. Obviously, the time has now come where we feel the situation is right," Kalisto said.
As NXT Tag Team Champions, The Ascension's stature and power will provide a clear advantage at NXT Takeover. Men of few words, The Ascension's message has been loud and clear: "Bring on the competition and watch us mow them down!" It's an attitude that El Local feels will lead to the team's downfall.
"Our motivation is much deeper than our opponents’. Our drive comes from our lucha libre heritage and our Latino heritage,” El Local said. “Our drive comes from the obstacles of learning and adapting to different cultures, showing people what they haven't seen before and proving that the passion in your heart can overcome any obstacle life has to offer."
Kalisto seconded his partner's motivation: "I consider myself a hybrid. I was born in Chicago to Mexican parents, but I was also raised in Mexico City. I’ve incorporated both of my cultures into one. Growing up, I always felt I was destined for something great, and that feeling increased when I first saw lucha libre and WWE. From that moment to now, I've followed that dream, pushing beyond the limits in the process."
Whatever the outcome may be at NXT Takeover, the WWE Universe can surely expect a clash in styles. The timeless story of size versus speed will be played out on Thursday, May 29, at 8 p.m. ET on WWE Network.
The message from Konnor and Viktor’s challengers? “If The Ascension plans to beat us, they have to catch us first!”