WrestleMania weekend is almost here!
But ask a portion of the WWE Universe, the event that they are looking forward to this weekend isn’t necessarily WrestleMania, it’s the night before with NXT TakeOver : New Orleans.
Since last year, WWE has created the schedule of having NXT’s Pay-Per-View shows the night before major WWE Pay-Per-View shows. In doing so, there have been instances in which the NXT roster has simply outperformed the main roster the next night.
Looking at the card for WrestleMania, it will be hard for NXT to top it. However, in no way does that mean that TakeOver will be another memorable night. Oh my goodness, the exact opposite.
Once again NXT has put together a card that has fans anxiously awaiting Saturday night. A new championship is introduced, Dusty’s Cup will be handed out and arguably the biggest star currently on the NXT roster gets his championship opportunity.
So let’s take a look at what to expect as NXT tries to outdo the main roster once again.
NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Undisputed Era (c) vs Authors of Pain vs Roderick Strong &Pete Dunne
This one was originally billed to be The Undisputed Era vs the winner of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament. It was also billed to be an Undisputed Era team of Kyle O’Reily and Bobby Fish. Unfortunately Fish is now our for a few months with an injury. So to make sure that they wouldn’t have to defend their titles being down a man, O’Reily and Adam Cole crashed the Finals of the tournament and took out AoP, Strong and Dunne. NXT GM William Regal came out to announce that Cole would be pulling double duty in New Orleans (as you’ll read in just a bit…because you don’t already know) and team with O’Reily to take on BOTH AoP and Strong/Dunne for the NXT Tag Team Championship AND the Dusty Rhodes Cup.
This match will give us some incredible moments for sure – most of which will come with one of the biggest swerves of the night! I see THE UNDISPUTED ERA retaining their titles…and here is how – Strong and Dunne will be on the verge of victory when Strong takes Dunne out! The Undisputed Era is better as a three-man group, and with Fish out, someone needs to step in – who better than fellow Ring of Honor alum Strong? Plus, Strong is a great in-ring performer – but his run in NXT has been pretty, well, blah so far. He would benefit greatly from this turn and would set up a potential classic Strong vs Dunne match at the next TakeOver.
NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
Adam Cole vs EC3 vs Lars Sullivan vs Killian Dain vs Velveteen Dream vs Ricochet
NXT is creating their own mid-card championship … Yes!
The first champion will be determined in a 6-man ladder match … YES!
The six competitors are announced … YES! YES! YES!!!
Ladder matches in themselves are know to create high-flying moments. The fact that this match also includes the NXT debut of Ricochet multiplies that fact ten times over! We are sure to see some exciting moves like we have not seen on NXT/WWE programming!
The best part of this match though is the fact that you can make a case for all of the competitors to grab the title!
Sullivan – Dominant monster who would add the “who can stop this guy” allure to the new championship.
Dain – See above
EC3 – Also making is NXT debut and billing himself as the Top 1%. Winning a title on his first night would help solidify that character.
Dream – Is there anyone that has improved over the last 9 months then him? He has EARNED this title!
Cole – The leader of The Undisputed Era is the only member without a title…until now???
Ricochet – Coming in as the ultimate high-flyer, ladder matches are made for him.
Having said all that, I think that EC3 will make the big splash on his was to one day holding the NXT Championship.
Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa
I think it is easy to say that this has been the best story-telling in WWE in a long time. This isn’t going to be a match – though if it were, the two would put on a 5-star classic like they have before. This is going to be a brawl.
It seems like forever ago that the former DIY were receiving the standing ovation from the Chicago crowd before Ciampa grabbed his tag partner, brought him in close and told him “this isn’t our moment … this is MY moment!” The confused look we saw on Gargnao’s face for literally a split-second before he was thrown in the stage started what has kept us enthralled over the last nine months. Ciampa tore his ACL the night before this happened and has been out of action since…which was the best thing that could have happened.
If not, this may not have been rushed, but it wouldn’t have been the slow build that we have seen. The story-telling that has been done – first with Ciampa not being there and now with Gargano not being there has been extraordinary. The fact that the stipulation of Gargano’s job being on the like, to me, implies heavily that JOHNNY GARGANO will come out on top.
NXT WOMANS CHAMPIONSHIP
Ember Moon (c) vs Shayna Baszler
This match will be good…I know it will…I for whatever reason am just not that into it. Moon has solidified her spot as the top woman on the NXT roster now, especially with the most exciting finishing move. Baszler is, simply put, a badass. She gives you the feeling that she can dominate anyone that gets in her way.
Maybe it is because Charlotte Flair vs Asuka might be overshadowing anything else that woman will be doing this weekend, but the hype for this match just hasn’t done it for me. I do think that SHAYNA BASZLER will win the title – mainly because I can see Moon making her main roster debut in the very near future.
Andrade “Cien” Almas (c) vs Aleister Black
It has been a year since Aleister Black made his NXT debut. From the moment he came to the ring with that eerie gothic entrance, you knew that he was destined to be in the NXT Championship picture at some point.
Let’s look at that debut match for a second – who was it against…why none other that Black’s opponent this Saturday, the current NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas! Black has made a huge impact on NXT in his first year, but it was his debut match that actually was extremely beneficial for Almas. At that point, Almas wasn’t really doing anything and was just a “good hand” to use for guys making their debut. Since then though Almas has shown that he deserves to hold the title that is now over his shoulder with classics against the likes of Black, Drew McIntyre and Johnny Gargano.
Black will be the NXT Champion…just not yet. ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS should be able to retain his title in New Orleans but only to further build towards Black’s first NXT Championship win. Perhaps that comes in Chicago at the next TakeOver event…maybe in a triple-threat with the returning McIntyre. All we can do is wait.
WITH TAKEOVER : NEW ORLEANS JUST DAYS AWAY, WHAT DO YOU THINK WE WILL SEE? WILL ALEISTER BLACK WALK AWAY WITH THE NXT CHAMPIONSHIP? WHO WILL BE THE FIRST NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION? LIKE OUR PAGE ON FACEBOOK AND LET US KNOW!