NXT TakeOver New Orleans – PREVIEW

NXT TakeOver New Orleans – PREVIEW

NXT TakeOver New Orleans might just be the most stacked TakeOver card yet. And, when you take into account some of the previous cards, that’s no small claim. Any of the five matches could steal the show. Four out of the five have titles on the line, and the fifth decides Johnny Gargano’s NXT fate forever. It’s definitely the highest stakes card we’ve ever had on a show.

 

Matches

Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas (C) vs Aleister Black – NXT Championship match

Ember Moon (C) vs Shayna Baszler – NXT Women’s Championship match

Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole) vs Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong vs Authors of Pain – NXT Tag Team Championship triple-threat match – winner also wins the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

EC3 vs Ricochet vs Lars Sullivan vs Velveteen Dream vs Killian Dain vs Adam Cole – Ladder Match for the new North American Championship

Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa – Unsanctioned match – If Gargano wins he gets his job back, if he loses he never returns to NXT

 

Preview and Predictions

Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa – Unsanctioned match

photo credits: wwe.com

The build up for this started way back in May 2017 at NXT TakeOver Chicago, when Ciampa attacked Gargano after their loss to Authors of Pain. Ciampa then disappeared to get surgery, and Gargano tried to rebuild himself as a singles performer again.

It hasn’t been a straightforward road for Johnny Gargano, he’s faced losses and self-doubt. Zelina Vega made sure that Tommaso Ciampa’s betrayal was never far from Gargano’s mind during his feud with Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, the mere sight of a #DIY shirt costing him his first title match.

Then Ciampa returned. He attacked Gargano after another TakeOver loss to Almas, and left him laying at the top of the ramp. He also cost him the match which ended Johnny Gargano’s NXT career.

Gargano got mad, then tried to get even. This match was set up at Ciampa’s request following a series of attacks by Gargano since he ceased to be an NXT employee. Gargano has attacked Ciampa from the crowd, in the parking lot, and apparently even been to his house.

Because Gargano isn’t technically an NXT employee at this point, the match has to be unsanctioned. That means anything goes. It’s the perfect way to settle this. Best friends turned bitter enemies produces the most emotion packed matches, and this one will be off the scale. It will be brutal, and heart-wrenching, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it’s match of the night.

The stipulation is that if Johnny Gargano wins he returns to NXT, but if he loses he is banished from the company forever. There’s no way Johnny Wrestling can leave NXT for good, so there’s only one possible prediction.

Prediction: Johnny Gargano.

 

EC3 vs Ricochet vs Lars Sullivan vs Velveteen Dream vs Killian Dain vs Adam Cole – Ladder match for the North American Championship

This is quite a difficult one to predict. It’s an all shapes and sizes match, with ladders. And it’s for a brand-new title. Add to that the fact there are two debuts in the match, and it’s anyone’s to take.

That’s not going to cut it for a preview and predictions piece though. Someone has to win. Initially, I thought Adam Cole, but I can’t stand the idea of him holding two titles, so maybe not. I also don’t see any point in Lars Sullivan winning. Putting a brand new title on someone who is being built as unbeatable seems unlikely. Velveteen Dream and Killian Dain are both possible, but unlikely I think. Dain will probably be the next NXT title challenger, judging by the build with Black. Velveteen Dream just seems like his place is chasing the title for now.

That leaves the newbies. EC3 and Ricochet have both been hired because they are the top of their game. They’re both good contenders to be the first to hold the new title, and they would both have the accolade of winning it on their debut. After the end to last night’s show, when Ricochet made his first appearance for the big stare down, I think he just has the edge. A ladder match favours his agility and speed and should make for an exciting debut for him. It’s entirely subjective (as most of wrestling is), but Ricochet got such big reactions from the NXT crowd, and so many people have been waiting a long time to see him sign, that he seems like the logical choice.

Prediction: Ricochet

 

 

Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole) vs Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong vs Authors of Pain – NXT Tag Team Championship triple-threat match – winner also wins the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic

Set last night, when Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly disrupted the end of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic in the hopes of getting out of defending the title, this has become a more interesting match. In case you missed it, Adam Cole has replaced Bobby Fish for Undisputed ERA because Fish has torn his ACL and is out for the foreseeable future.

I foresee some working together to counteract the superior power of Authors of Pain. It makes sense for both Undisputed Era and Dunne and Strong to take AoP out of the equation if they can. I can’t see Authors of Pain winning it again anyway, I know I’ve been predicting their main roster debut for a while now, but I have to be right sooner or later. Maybe the RAW after ‘Mania will be their time (or the SmackDown – but more likely RAW).

Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong have excelled in the competition. But Dunne is the UK Champion, and I just can’t see a future for them as a tag team. Unlikely pairings sometimes work, look at Sheamus and Cesaro, but I don’t think that’s the path either of them are on.

Undisputed ERA are in a great position as the thorn in everyone’s sides. I see no merit in taking the belts off them now, even with Fish’s injury. However, there may be plans in place for Cole that makes him being a tag champ for a few months unworkable. I wouldn’t be sad to see Dunne and Strong have a short run if that’s the case. But, just going on the storylines as laid out, I can’t see a point to switching the tag titles here.

Prediction: Undisputed ERA

 

Ember Moon (C) vs Shayna Baszler – NXT Women’s Championship match

This feud has been pretty good, and I’m ready for it to end now. The main problem has been that it has been built so intensely that it has taken almost all the time allotted to the NXT women’s division.

Shayna Baszler has been terrorising the women’s division since she arrived. She has attacked trainees, other superstars, and even a coach. Ember Moon has tried to be a good champion and protect the rest of the division, but it hasn’t always gone her way.

In her previous meetings with Baszler, Moon has come of worse more often than not. She barely managed to retain the title, via a roll up, and had to be rescued from a vicious beating by Kairi Sane. Baszler has resorted to threats and name calling to get yet another shot, but it’s worked for her so why not.

I believe this might be the time she walks out with the belt. With a lot of rebuilding to do in the women’s division, Shayna Baszler is much easier to build feuds against. She is a natural opposition to just about everyone, regardless of their positioning in the roster. Ember Moon could still have plenty of good stories to tell in NXT, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her time there is coming to an end. She’d be a good fit on either of the main roster brands. I’d be very surprised if she doesn’t turn up in the Women’s Battle Royal.

Whatever happens, it’s time for this particular rivalry to be over, and for some of the other women to share the spotlight again.

Prediction: Shayna Baszler

 

Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas (C) vs Aleister Black – NXT Championship match

The build for this has been brief, but the match will be spectacular. Black has insulted, and been slapped by, Zelina Vega before setting Candice LeRae on her. Almas has beaten Black up after ambushing him the parking lot. Other than that it’s largely been a war of words.

Almas has come a long way in terms of popularity since Zelina Vega’s arrival, and his run as champion has been decent. I have a feeling he’s another one destined for the main roster in the near future though. With the sheer volume of talent on the current NXT roster, even with a new title in the mix, there has to be a turnover of personnel. He’s been very emotional in the build, in complete contrast to Black’s almost meditative calm.

Aleister Black is the natural successor for the title. He’s been phenomenal since his arrival in NXT. There is so much potential for great matches with him holding the title. To be honest, there’s not much more to say. It’s going to be a wonderful match and I can only see one winner. There’s always the possibility for Zelina Vega’s interference, but I think Black will have that scouted.

Prediction: Aleister Black

 

That all for the preview, the show is going to be incredible. Be sure to come back to Rear View Reviews when it’s all over to check out the review.

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