By Travis Woolum, Contributing Writer
Stand back! There’s a Hurricane coming through, to give you the rundown of NXT Takeover: New Orleans…
Opener: Adam Cole vs EC3 vs Ricochet vs Killian Dain vs Lars Sullivan vs The Velveteen Dream in a 6 Way Ladder Match to determine the 1st ever NXT North American Champion.
Winner: Adam Cole, Thoughts: VERY good Ladder match as these guys may have stole the show right as it started. Coming in, I’d knew the match would be good, but my expectations were blown away as was I, you had your typical Ladder match spots, but damned if these guys did not innovate with Richchet countering his fall off a Ladder into a moonsault to the outside as well as Killian Dain & Lars Sullivan putting the other 4 wrestlers through 2 Ladders was just the stuff of insanity. Adam Cole winning was well deserved, I had him or EC3 as my prediction, but since it’s EC3’s 1st match back not giving him a belt is understandable while Adam Cole has been working his ass off his whole career, I’ve been a fan since ROH of his & hopefully he gets a chance to do some great things & put prestige into what is essentially NXT’s Intercontinental Championship. Anyways, GREAT match & an early MOTYC for NXT.
2nd Match: NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon vs Shayna Baszler
Winner & New NXT Women’s Champion: Shayna Baszler, Thoughts: Good women’s match about on par with their match in Philly. Shayna winning was expected & the right move as she’s morphed into the Samoa Joe of the NXT women. She’s a very believable badass, she can dominate with the belt for a few months & then drop it to whoever the next big star is & trust me whoever does that will indeed be a star on the rise & will come off as the big deal, Ember was a fine champion but her reign was up & this was the right call, accomplishing what it should’ve.
3rd Match: Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals & Triple Threat NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (NXT North American Champion: Adam Cole/ Kyle O’ Reily) vs The Authors of Pain vs Roderick Strong & WWE United Kingdom Champion: Pete Dunne
Winners & STILL NXT Tag Team Champions: The Undisputed Era, another great match here with all 3 teams going all out for this special night & stepping away from the typical tag team formula with The Authors of Pain continuing to play the monster role quite well. Adam Cole has been the MVP tonight especially with that bump through the Spanish announcer’s table being the cherry on the sundae, Roderick Strong’s heel turn was really well done & unexpected, The Undisputed Era should be that much stronger moving forward, great match, great result & I’m excited to see how NXT follows up on this going forward.
4th Match: NXT Championship Match: Andrade Cien Almas vs Aliester Black
Winner & New NXT Champion: Aliester Black, Thoughts: Awesome entrance for Black, kind of letdown that Almas had a standard entrance as opposed to the one in Philly but minor letdown. As for the match, this was the definition of an intense, hard hitting match done to perfection. Black’s opening sequence was one of the best I have seen in a long time, Black began the match like a house of fire, great match, great storytelling with the new Almas trying to be as dark & evil as Black & the right result with Black winning the NXT title as this was the best night to do it, congrats to Aliester Black.
Main Event: Unsanctioned Match: Johnny Gargano vs Tomasso Ciampa
Winner: Johnny Gargano, Thoughts; GREAT match, a real WAR. This is how you end a feud. This may have taken a year, but it was worth it. These guys were hitting each other with every thing they had. The false finishes looked great & the action was fantastic. The two worked as hard as the could to tell the best story & I was highly invested & entertained the whole match. Words can not do this match justice. *****
Overall: This was an awesome show, one of the best of the year. WrestleMania weekend is always awesome & a lot of fun. This entire show is worth watching, but the ladder match, the title match & the main event are must see. Thanks for reading & happy WrestleMania Sunday.