NXT Takeover: New Orleans Report Card

NXT Takeover: New Orleans Report Card

There were several title changes at Saturday’s NXT Takeover: New Orleans and the WWE Network exclusive as a whole was great. Here’s a report on each match from Takeover: New Orleans’ main card, with a grade attached. Don’t agree with a grade, then feel free to score the show.

NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler

The only rematch from Philadelphia were the women, where Ember Moon became a paper champion. Shayna Baszler’s victory reminded me of Asuka’s about two years ago. Moon would not give up and had to pass out from the submission. That is exactly what Asuka did to Bayley when she became champion. The loss does not make Moon look weak; if anything, it shows her toughness by not quitting. We will see if Baszler is prepared to lead the NXT ladies or if she got the win thanks to Ronda Rousey’s upcoming match. For the lowest scored match of the evening, it shows what an amazing show fans witnessed on Saturday night. Grade: B

NXT Tag Team Championship and Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy: The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) vs. Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne

The match was okay, but the big takeaway was Roderick Strong deciding to join Undisputed Era. Based off the reactions of Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly, this was not something the stable had planned. Honestly, I did not foreshadow the heel turn coming and it is even more shocking considering that Strong appears to be a member of 205 Live. The Authors of Pain are headed to the main roster and time will tell if Paul Ellering joins them. Strong and Pete Dunn can spend the next few months feuding; or Strong takes the title at the upcoming TV tapings and Undisputed Era grows stronger. Grade: B+

NXT Championship: Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Aleister Black

The key factor here was Zelina Vega, who got involved in the match about five or six times. She is the reason that Almas had the title and now serves as the deciding point against Aleister Black. The match started hot and slowed in the middle before hitting the key points. We have a new era going forward and Andrade Almas is either going to feud with a returning Drew McIntyre or head to the main roster. Whatever happens, I hope WWE lets Vega remain a manager who wrestles on occasion. She felt like the biggest star in a match that featured a title change. Grade: B+

Unsanctioned match: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa

Talk about saving a match until the end. This feud started almost a year ago and continued even though Tommaso Ciampa has been gone for so long. Ciampa has really embraced being a heel and the crowd let him have it. The ending sequence was nuts as Johnny Gargano looked to have second thoughts. Even though Ciampa suckered Gargano in, he knew better and once the STF was locked in with the knee brace, the tap was an afterthought. Finally, Gargano got the revenge that he was searching for since Ciampa threw him head first into the entrance structure. While the match went longer than some hoped, they used their time wisely. I cannot imagine these two will go their separate ways as the war has just begun. Grade: A-

Ladder match for the inaugural NXT North American Championship: Adam Cole vs. EC3 vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream

Takeover started with a contest that has to be a candidate for match of the year. There were so many jaw dropping spots and the New Orleans crowd loved everything about the match. Ricochet was the biggest star, despite not leaving with the title. The moonsault from the top of the ladder to the outside was just ridiculous. Lars Sullivan and Killian Dain continue to make their case as the next star of the brand. Really, everyone was on point and any of the six deserved to walk out as champion. In the end, Adam Cole will go down in history as NXT’s first North American Champion. What a tough act to follow. Grade: A

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