NXT Takeover: New Orleans
Thoughts & Predictions
April 5, 2018
Coming up on Saturday night from the city of New Orleans, firmly sandwiched between the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018 Induction Ceremony and Wrestlemania 34, is NXT Takeover: New Orleans. As of right now (Wednesday night), five huge matches have been announced for the event and the show is stacked and loaded. Last year, the NXT event nearly stole the show from Wrestlemania for the weekend. Can they do it again? Let’s take a look at the matches, which include the crowning of a new “North American Championship” title. The last North American Champion recognized by the WWE was Ted DiBiase way back in the late seventies. What’s old is new again though and that’s just one of the great matches. Time to pull out the crystal ball and decide who wins, who loses and who steals the show on Saturday night. Let’s do this…
NXT Championship — Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) vs. Aleister Black
It’s been a year since Black made his NXT debut on Orlando and since then, he’s been on fire. Almas, since his victory over Drew McIntyre, has been one hot commodity and looking great as the figure-head and center piece for NXT. I remember the first time I saw Almas, wrestling as a face, and I knew this guy had that special “it” about him. But can he defend the title and retain against the enigmatic Black? I would love to see Almas make a move to the main roster, but I have a feeling that if that does happen, he’ll be lost in the shuffle and just be buried in the mix. Black is so hot right now, it’s hard to not see him walking out of NXT Takeover as the new champion, but I don’t think it’ll happen yet. There is money to be made with this feud and this is only their first one-on-one meeting with the title at stake. I expect that Black will dominate most of the match and put on an awesome performance, but look for some shenanigans and perhaps a little aid from his associate, Zelina Vega. Almas finds a way to retain the title and the feud continues.
Winner and STILL NXT Champion: Andrade “Cien” Almas
NXT North American Championship (Ladder Match) — Adam Cole vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Killian Dane vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Ricochet vs. EC3
The WWE, or more specifically NXT has a new championship. It’s the return of the North American Championship, for the first time in the WWE since 1981, when it was held by Japanese wrestler Seiji Sakaguchi, who defeated Pat Patterson at a house show and then held the title until it was retired by the WWE. And now it’s back and we have six of the top stars of NXT competing in a ladder match to see who will be the initial NXT North American Champion. Looking at the list of people competing in this match, an argument can be made for each and every one of them as to who should be and deserves the run with the gold. Ricochet doesn’t need it and honestly, neither do EC3 or Adam Cole. The Dream is so way over already, it’s scary and he’s getting better with each appearance, but I don’t think he’s ready for the belt at this point either. Sullivan is impressive, but I just don’t see him in a big singles role as a champion. More as a run wild and beat up everyone type than a title holder. I’ll just pick a name at random here because this honestly is anyone’s match. I think that Dixie Carter’s favorite nephew, EC3, will do the deed and climb that ladder to get the gold.
Winner and NEW NXT North American Champion: EC3
NXT Women’s Championship — Ember Moon (c) vs. Shayna Baszler
These two women work so well together and their matches thus far have been epic with Baszler coming so close, yet unable to close the deal and get that big win. I’m thinking here, the match will be great and these two ladies will try to steal the show in an event full of spectacular and great matches. They will literally tear the house down and go for broke. And the results at the end will remain the same as Ember Moon takes a tremendous beating, but manages to snatch a victory out of the jaws of defeat to retain her title.
Winner and STILL NXT Women’s Champion: Ember Moon
Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa (Unsanctioned Match)
Gargano lost a “Loser Leave NXT” match to the NXT Champion Andrade Almas, but that was almost entirely due to the antics of former DIY partner Tommaso Ciampa and it’s time, in this “unsanctioned match” for Gargano to get some payback and revenge. The next NXT Takeover show, after this one, will be in June in Chicago, which is where Ciampa attacked Gargano and ended their tag team and friendship so I expect that regardless of whatever happens here, they’ll keep it going for at least one more run before Gargano makes the big move up to the main roster. This match should be a total cluster of a brawl and fight. I look for plunder and shenanigans and just some good old fashioned, stiff and kick-ass wrestling. And since we need a reason to keep it going for one more time, look for someone to get involved and do some disrupting. Ciampa takes advantage and walks out with his arm raised in a cheap win.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
NXT Tag Team Championship — Undisputed Era (c) vs. Authors of Pain vs. Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne
Adam Cole is wrestling two matches at the NXT show, being a part of both this match and also the ladder match for the NXT North American Championship. That tells us right now that the Undisputed Era, a great tag team and one of my personal favorites in NXT, is not winning the tag team title. So that leaves the AOP and the team of Strong and Dunne. I keep hearing rumors about how the AOP and Paul Ellering may soon be getting called up to the main roster so I’m going to take them out of the final equation here too. Look for Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong to walk out with the tag team straps and take that trip to the pay window, if you will.
Winners and NEW NXT Tag Team Champions: Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne.
And there you go. Am I right? Am I wrong? Does it even matter? All that matters is that NXT Takeover: New Orleans is one helluva great show full of action, drama, excitement and great wrestling and on that count, I have no doubts at all that they will deliver. Questions, comments and thoughts welcome. What do you think of the WWE’s developmental brand and who do you think will walk out of New Orleans wearing gold or celebrating victory? Let me know.
And with that, I’m out of here. Thanks for reading. Back later with my predictions for the big show, Wrestlemania 34. Until then, my friends. take care and have a great one.