By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT Takeover: New Orleans
Aired live on WWE Network
New Orleans, Louisiana at Smoothie King Center
Random Alert for Members: I’m told Haydn Gleed is in the Dot Net Forum. For anyone that wants some intense discussion on pro wrestling and NXT. Go there and keep Haydn Gleed company. Trust me, he doesn’t bite. If you don’t want to join Haydn or are a regular reader. Welcome and you’re happy to read along with me…
A Cane Hill performance opened up the show. Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness checked in on commentary. The North American CHampionship match opened up the show.
1. Adam Cole vs. Ethan Carter III vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Velveteen Dream vs. Killian Dain vs. Ricochet in a Ladder Match for the NXT North American Championship. Madness Ensued. Ricochet was the first person tossed away.Once things got under control Ricochet hit everyone outside with a Shooting star in an impressive move. Velveteen Dream took care of Ricochet from climbing the ladder. Cole took care of Dream by hitting him with a Final Shot. EC3 regained control with some power moves. Lars Sullivan proceeded to run into and power slam the smaller dudes. EC3 counts as a smaller dude. Killian Dane showed off his agility by hitting Sullivan with a Suicide Dive.
More madness ensued. Lars Sullivan took control of that madness by chucking a ladder at everyone else in the ring. He then went on to knock down dudes with the ladder. Sullivan gave Dream an impressive Gorilla Press slam on a ladder. Dream, Carter and Ricochet gave Sulllivan a triple powerbomb off the ladder. Cole was on top and thought he had a chance but Dain ran in and ended his dreams. Cole and EC3 formed an alliance. They gave Dain an irish whip on a ladder bridge.
EC3 told the crowd EC3 Bay Bay which cause Adam Cole to slam him. After clearing the ring Cole did his Bay Bay thing. Cole made it to the top of the ladder but Sullivan was there to tip it over. Velveteen Dream used a ladder to get rid of Sullivan. Dream hit the Purple Rainmaker on Sullivan. He then gave other people Rainmakers. Sullivan ended that by covering Dream up like a sandwich with a ladder. Dream shoved the Ladder into Sullivan to keep the beast at bay. Dream went to the top of the ladder and hit the Purple Rainmaker from the top of the ladder into Sullivan for the move of the night that popped the crowd. EC3 recovered and power bombed Dream off the ladder into a ladder.
EC3 gave Sullivan an One Percenter. Cole stopped Ethan from ascending the ladder. EC3 hit a TK3 on Cole from the ladder. EC3 tried to climb but was stopped by Dain who hit him with a bicycle Kick. Dain tossed Cole aside. and continued to fend off wrestlers. Dain hit EC3 with a running senton on top of a ladder. Dain went to the top rope Dain Vader Bombd Cole and EC3 with the help of a ladder. Ricochet showed up and hit Sullivan and Dain with kicks. Dain tossed Ricochet like a basketball. The crowd wanted Dain to throw Ricochet back at Sullivan which he did. The big dudes then brawled.
Ricochet recovered from being tossed and hit Sullivan with a superkick as he tried to go for the belt. Ricochet was about to be shoved off the ladder but he did a shooting star press from the falling ladder to the people outside. EC3 chopped Ricochet on the top rope. Ricochet fended him off and hit EC3 with a Shooting Star. Dream showed up and had a forearm battle with Ricochet. They then had a Ladder battle. Dream set up a Ladder bridge from the turnbuckle. Ricochet recovered to prevent the elbow. After some brawling Dream hit a rolling DVD on Ricochet on the ladder bridge. Sullivan recovered and put Dream on a different Ladder bridge. After EC3 showed up Sullivan hit the Freak Accident on EC3 onto Dream who was on the ladder. Dain slammed slammed Ricochet on a ladder bridge in a similar spot.
Sullivan recovered as Mauro called him NXT’s Thanos. Dain met Sullivan at the top of the ladder. EC3 jabbed both men with a ladder from the ground. With three ladders up all the wrestlers brawled. They started dropping like flies. Ricochet hit Dream with a cutter from the top of the ladder. Sullivan gave Dain a Freak Accident from the top. Sullivan was bleeding and Ricochet just pulled him off to prevent him from winning. Cole tilted the ladder to send Ricochet off. Cole grabbed the ladder and won the belt.
Adam Cole defeated Ricochet, EC3, Lars Sullivan, Killian Dain, and Velveteen Dream in a ladder match in 31:24 to become the inaugural NXT North American Champion.
John’s Thoughts: What did you expect? That was a amazing show opening match. Everyone got their stuff. EC3 did fade into the background a bit due to everyone else being pretty high impact but that was bound to happen due to so many strong characters and athletes. EC3 wasn’t bad though. Ricochet got to show off what he’s good at and Cole got to be the worm that he’s good at being. Great match.
The Moon and Baszler recap aired. Ember Moon had a female guitarist singer her to the ring. Ronda Rousey and Jessmyn Duke were at ringside to support Baszler. Mike Rome handled the formal ring introductions…
2. Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler for th NXT Women’s Championship. Baszler started off with a lariat and sent Moon outside. Moon used a stepup enziguri to catch Baszler and toss around Baszler. Moon got a codebreaker like move to get a nearfall. Baszler went for an apron kick but Baszler pulled her down and womanhandled her outside. Baszler hit moon with a tiger knee and gutwrench suplex with some torque. Baszler got a nearfall. Moon recovered and hit a leaping palm strike. Baszler responded with a knee. Baszler surprised Moon with a surprise knee for a good nearfall.
Moon hit a few dropkicks on moon. Moon prevented Baszler from locking the Kirafuda Clutch in. Moon hit Baszler with a kick combo and suplex with the momentum on her side. Moon missed a diving crossbody. Baszler went for the same arm break move as she hit on Dakota Kai but Moon got out of the way. Moon turned the table and got Baszler in the same position. Baszler sold the fear great and Moon hit the arm break stomp on her. Moon got a nearfall. Moon got crotched on the top rope and into a reverse tree of woe. Baszler used the time to recover from her injured arm. Shayna Baszler did an odd but cool move by slamming her own shoulder into a turnbuckle to p”pop it back into place”.
Moon recovered and hit a top rope cannonball on Baszler. Both women beat the count. Baszler got the Kirafuda Clutch in and Moon escaped by yanking the injured arm. Moon got two great nearfalls after a powerbomb from the Kamura position. Baszler landed a great reversal to the Eclipse into the Kirafuda Clutch. Baszler was also fighting with protecting her injured arm. Moon kept trying to break Baszler’s arm but was fading away. Moon had one last gasp of life in the match but the faded away by the rear naked choke. Baszler wins.
Shayna Baszler defeated Ember Moon via ref stoppage in 12:56 to become the new NXT Women’s Champion.
John’s Thoughts: I don’t know if I’m going to like a match better than that all night . That was great. Ember Moon always delivers at Takeover. The star of the night, at least now, is Shayna Baszler. She was amazing. Her selling was great. The storytelling was strong. The most badass thing in the world was her using the turnbuckle to pop her arm in it’s socket. The near falls were stellar. A lovely match, nuff said.
It was time for the Tag Team Championship match. Kyle O’Reilly wore both tag belts while Cole held his new cool red belt. Dustin Rhodes (Goldust) and Jeff Jarrett were sitting together at the celebrity section of the crowd…
3. “The Undisputed Era” Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly vs. “The Authors of Pain” Akam and Rezar vs. Roderick Strong and Ptete Dunne for the NXT Tag Team Championships and the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Trophy. The authors went right at the injured abs of Cole. O Reilly ran in for the save and got hit with a power bomb. The Authors then went on to try to power bomb Cole in the table. Cole got bombed through the Table. Reilly flew in out of nowhere to attack the Authors. O’Reilly used a martial arts combo on Dunne. Strong ran in with a backbreaker on O’Reilly. O’Reilly locked Strong in a triangle and an author in a kneebar. The other author power bombed Dunne into the double submission to break it. The authors isolated and picked apart Strong.
Strong fought out of a Rezar clutch but Rezar used a belly to belly. Cole was still knocked out. Rezar hit O’Reilly with a German Suplex who had a fighting spirit yell before he fell. Madness ensued. Dunne hit his DBZ punches and knocked out Akam. He also took down Rezar with a slam. O’Reilly singled out with stiff DBZ punches. AOP caught both of them and hit them with the Super Collider. Strong ran in to save things. Strong hit Rezar with a knee and Angle Slam. O’REilly was hit by a backbreaker on the apron and Dunne followed up with a stomp. Strong and Dunne hit the Bitter End of Heartache on Rezar. Akam broke up the pin. After a kick battle Dunne hit the bitter end on O’Reilly. Strong betrayed his partner and back hit End of Heartache on Dunne. Kyle O’Reilly picked up the win.
The Undisputed Era defeated Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne and the Authors of Pain in 11:38 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships and win the Dusty Tag Team Classic.
After the match Strong took an armband from Adam Cole to join the Undisputed Era. Bobby Fish joined the Era to celebrate with them up the ramp…
John’s Thoughts: This was the come down match. Which is crazy because this was a great match. It had not one but two tough acts to follow. In order to stand out this match had the heel turn angle which was done well. I could understand Strong turning on Dunne, but the fact that the seeds were planted for a turn at War Games made this work. The in ring, anyway, was great. O’Reilly did what O’Reilly does best.
Aleister Black had candles set up for his entrance. Andrade Almas came out wearing his La Sombra mask before taking it off.
4. Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Aleister Black for the NXT Championship. Black started the match on fire. In the ring Black locked in an octopus hold and almost got a pinfall. Aleister controlled the match until Zelina Vega gave Black a huracanrana into the steel steps. Almas hit a double Eye of the Hurricane for a nearfall. Almas focused on the arm of Almas. Black fought out of the corner. Almas had an ugly looking cross armbraker locked in. Almas flew right into a boot from Black. Black utilized his educated feet to chop down Almas. Black hit a lionsault on Almas for a nearfall. Black and Almas met on the top rope. Almas escaped but gave a meteora to nothing. Almas caught Black with a German Suplex and a jumping into a standing moonsault to prevent Black from rolling away.
Almas fought back Black’s kicks with elbows. Almas used his feet to block a kick and grounded Black with a back elbow. A nice striking exchange. They both took each other out with roundhouse kicks to the head. Almas used a hip toss onto black into the corner. Almas kicked Black out and hit a corkscrew plancha on him for a nearfall. Zelina Vega gave Almas the title to use as a distraction. Vega gave Black a Frankendriver for a nearfall. After blocking the Hammerlock DDT, Black hit the Black Mass on Almas. Almas got a rope break with the help of Vega. Vega blocked Black from hitting Almas with a triangle moonsault. Almas hit Black with the Del Rio footstomp and a running meteora to get a nearfall on Black. Almas blocked a Black Mass with a dropkick
On the apron, Almas hit Black with a meteora into the ringpost. Black backtossed Almas to prevent the draping hammerlock DDT which he beat both McIntyre and Gargano with. Black hit Almas with a Tope Con Hilo. Almas surprised Black with a Hammerlock DDT in the ring to get a great falce finish nearfall. VegaAlmas accidentally crossbodied Almas which made Almas eat a Black Mass from Black to crown a new NXT Champion.
Aleister Black defeated Andrade Almas via pinfall in 18:30 to become the New NXT Champion
After the match the DIY recap video aired.
John’s Thoughts: Baszler vs. Moon is still my favorite match of the night, but these matches are still hot fire. This was a great battle. Almas is really good with the nearfalls and he showed here why they relied on him so much as an enhancement talent because he’s great at putting together compelling matches. I would have kept the belt on Almas until SummerSlam weekend, but this works too. Main roster callup for Almas??
Ciampa wore a badass coat to the ring. Johnny Wrestling and “F–k You Ciampa” chants ensued. Gargano wore a suit of armor based coat.
5. Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an Unsanctioned Match. Drake Wertz wore a black shirt so you know it is unsanctioned (lol). Gargano smothered Ciampa with punches and hit him with a slingshot spear. Gargano stomped a mudhole into Ciampa which fired up the crowd. Gargano nailed Ciampa with a suicide dive. Ciampa had no chance for most of the beginning of the match. Ciampa tained control when he rammed Gargano into the barricade. Ciampa focused the attack on Gargano’s back.
CIampa exposed the concrete on the ground. Gargano escaped a suplex. Gargano threw Ciampa into Percy Watson. A “Mamma Mia” chant occurred. Nigel started doing solo commentary for a stretch. Both men brawled on the top of the announce table. Ciampa suplexed Gargano away from the table and straight to the floor. Percy and Mauro rejoined commentary. Ciampa got to his feet first and worked on Gargano. Ciampa suplexed Gargano onto the announce table lid. Ciampa soaked in the “f–k you champa” chants. They also chanted asshole. Ciampa slowly tossed Gargano around in the ring. This is 10 minutes into the match.
Ciampa won the standing brawl with a back suplex. Gargano used Ciampa’s beard to block a cloverleaf. Ciampa managed to fight to fight through. Gargano made it to the rope but there are no rope break. Drake yelled that ther is no rope break. Ciampa stompped on Gargano’s head against the apron and Gargano sold it like he was dead. The crowd chanted “You’re a wanker”. Ciampa stole the crutches of an injured fan.Gargano dodged all of the crutch shots and landed all of his shots on Ciampa. After all the brawling and a Gargano Listo Kick, Gargano gave Ciampa a Sunset Flip on the exposed concrete. The crowd chanted “you deserve it” Ciampa. Nigel said he wants the match to end soon to prevent long term injury.
Gargano and Ciampa played Tug-o-war with a crutch. Gargano won the crutch. Gargano wailed on Ciampa with the crutch. Gargano hit Ciampa in the head with a crutch (actually he hit the shoulder blades). Gargano hit his signature slingshot DDT for the nearfall. Gargano exposed a second turnbuckle. Ciampa escaped the lawn dart move. Gargano was on the apron with Ciampa in the ring. Ciampa blocked a slingshot spear and hit a blue thunder bomb for a nearfall. Ciampa hit his half of the DIY kick finisher to get a nearfall on Gargano. The camera focused on Ciampa adjusting his knee brace. Gargano blocked a pile driver and hit Ciampa with stiff punches. Gargano hit a ugly reverse Frankendriver. Gargano countered Ciampa into a GargaNo escape.
Ciampa went for the rope but there are no rope breaks. Gargano dragged Ciampa around like an alligator. Ciampa escaped by digging at Gargano’s eyes. Mauro called Ciampa a “sadistic son of a bitch”. Ciampa took off some of his wrist tape to try to choke Gargano. Gagano blocked it. Nigel noted that both men got handcuffed and Mauro said it was a DIY metaphor. Both men brawled and could barely stand. Gargano won the punch battle but Ciampa retaliated by kicking Gargano in the balls. Ciampa hit Gargano with a spinning cruch strike. Ciampa hit a Lumbar Check on Gargano for a nearfall. Gargano and Ciampa had a strike battle. Gargano sent Ciampa into the exposed turnbuckle and hit a superkick. Ciampa hit his half of the DIY finisher to get a great nearfall. An NXT Chant ensued. Both men brawled to the top rope. Gargano escaped a top rope Celtic Cross but ate a Super Project Ciampa. Gargano kicked out at two.
Ciampa took off the knee brace and exposed his knee to go for the DIY finisher. Ciampa had anger and remorse in his face. Gargano blocked the knee with the brace. Gargano broke apart a crutch. Gargano was about to jab Ciampa with the broken crutch but he stopped himself on a dime. Ciampa cried while Gargano sold regret. Gargano and Ciampa were about to have a casual sitdown. Gargano saw the cheap shot coming and used the knee brace to lock in the GargaNo escape to make Ciampa tap out.
Johnny Gargano defeated Tommaso Ciampa via submission in 37:06 to win his NXT contract back.
Candice LeRae ran out to embrace her husband after the match. NXT Closed with the Gargano family celebration…
John’s Thoughts: The last two days I’ve reviewed Impact shows, I’ve talked about how atmosphere can help or hurt a match. This match had a amazing atmosphere and the crowd was a huge part of the match. This had an ECW type of feel with the use of the F word and stuff. Ciampa and Gargano deserve a lot of credit for coming up with the perfect end of their year long tale. They also did a good job making the match as safe as possible for a hardcore match. This was deserved the main event slot and delivered well. The only thing that did give me a chuckle was an Unsanctioned Match only being different from a falls count anywhere match being that the referee wears a black shirt.
I don’t know. The main event match was great but the Women’s Championship match may be my favorite in terms of a compact and compelling storytelling. Shayna Baszler’s slamming of her shoulder into the turnbuckle still has me. This was great. Go out of your way to see it. Each match delivered at a main event level and another strength of NXT Takeovers is that they make all of their matches tell different stories and not having redundancy. I’ll be by tomorrow with my NXT Hit List for everyone and my Audio Review for the Dot Net Members.