NXT TakeOver: New Orleans Review: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
- Show: NXT TakeOver: New Orleans
- Date: Saturday April 7th, 2018
- Location: Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana
- Review by: Amin Ajani
Adam Cole def. EC3, Ricochet, Lars Sullivan, Killian Dain & Velveteen Dream in a Six-Man Ladder Match to become the first NXT North American Champion
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ricochet delivered a springboard shooting star press to Dain and Sullivan on the floor. Ricochet delivered a head scissors and dropkick to Dream. Cole delivered a step-up enzuguri to Dain and a neck breaker to Dream. Sullivan delivered back-to-back powerslam to Cole and EC3. Dain delivered a suicide dive to Sullivan on the floor. Sullivan attacked everyone with the ladder. Sullivan pressed Dream onto a ladder. Ricochet, EC3, Cole and Dream delivered a sunset flip power bomb to Sullivan off a ladder. Cole and EC3 worked as a team and attacked Dain and Sullivan with the ladder. EC3 mocked Cole’s pose. Cole delivered super kicks to everyone and did his “Adam Cole Baybay” pose for a huge pop. Dream delivered a flying elbow drop to Cole, Dain and Ricochet as the crowd chanted “Velveteen” Dream delivered a flying elbow drop to Sullivan off the ladder for a great spot. EC3 power bombed Dream onto a ladder in the corner. EC3 delivered a TKO to Cole off the ladder which looked great. Dain placed a ladder on EC3 and delivered a back senton. Dain had Cole on his back and delivered a Vader Bomb to EC3 who had a ladder on him. Ricochet delivered bicycle kicks to Dain and Sullivan. Sullivan tossed Ricochet across the ring. The crowd chanted “toss him back” so Dain tossed Ricochet back across the ring. Sullivan tilted the ladder as Ricochet delivered a reverse moonsault to Cole and Dain on the floor which looked crazy. Ricochet delivered a springboard drop kick to Sullivan. Ricochet delivered a shooting star press to EC3 on the ladder. Dream delivered a rolling Death Valley Driver to Ricochet on the ladder. Sullivan laid Dream on the ladder and delivered the Freak Accident to EC3 through the ladder which snapped with Dream on it. Crowd chanted “This is Awesome” Ricochet laid on the ladder as Dain delivered a Michinoku driver to Cole as another ladder snapped. Crowd chanted “Fight Forever” Sullivan and Dain delivered strikes on the ladder. EC3 and Cole also battled on the ladder. Dream attacked Dain with another ladder. Cole delivered a Russian leg sweep to EC3 off the ladder. Ricochet delivered a neck breaker to Dream off the ladder for another great spot. Sullivan delivered the Freak Accident to Dain off the ladder. Ricochet delivered a springboard and dragged Sullivan off the ladder. Cole pushed Ricochet off the ladder who got caught up on the top rope. Cole climbed the ladder and grabbed the NXT North American Title for a massive pop.
(Amin’s Analysis: This match was beyond crazy and has to be in consideration for one of the greatest ladder matches in WWE history. Everyone worked really hard in the match. Ricochet is a superstar in the making as the crowd loved him. EC3 was great and will fit right in NXT as a natural heel. Cole was awesome thought-out the match and had great facial reactions. Cole was the right choice to win.)
Shayna Baszler def. Ember Moon via Submission to win the NXT Women’s Title.
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2/4
Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke were shown in the crowd cheering Shayna Baszler on. Lzzy Hale did a live performance and sung Ember Moon to the ring. Moon missed a drop kick as Baszler delivered a big right hand. Moon delivered a drop kick to Baszler into the steel steps. Moon delivered a springboard code breaker for a near fall. Baszler delivered a flying knee in the corner and followed up with a gut wrench suplex for a near fall. Baszler delivered a knee strike for a near fall. Moon delivered strikes and a suplex. Moon missed a springboard crossbody. Baszler tried to stomp on the hand of Moon but escaped. Moon then trapped Baszler and stomped on her hand. Baszler was great here as she sold like her shoulder was separated. Baszler than rammed her shoulder into the ring post to pop her shoulder back in (this was something to watch) Moon delivered an Eclipse to Baszler on the floor which looked great. Baszler applied a triangle hold but Moon broke free by power bombing Baszler to the mat. Moon went for the Eclipse but Baszler caught her and applied the Kirifuda Clutch. Moon tried to fight out but Baszler kept the hold on as Moon passed out.
(Amin’s Analysis: A solid match as both Baszler and Moon worked hard. This was the right move to make and now Baszler can be the top heel champion in the NXT Women’s division.)
Undisputed ERA (Kyle O’Reilly & Adam Cole) def. Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong & The Authors of Pain to retain the NXT Tag Team Titles and win the 2018 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ 2/4
Jeff Jarrett and Dustin Rhodes were shown at ringside. Authors of Pain attacked Cole and O’Reilly as the bell rang. AOP delivered a double team neck breaker power bomb to O’Reilly but Cole broke the count. AOP power bombed Cole through the announcer table. Strong delivered a drop kick to Rezar. Strong delivered a back breaker to O’Reilly for a near fall. O’Reilly applied a triangle and knee bar combination to Strong and Rezar. Akam power bombed Dunne onto O’Reilly. Rezar delivered an overhead belly to belly to Strong. Rezar delivered a release German suplex to O’Reilly. Dunne delivered strikes and flying kick in the corner. O’Reilly delivered a release German suplex but Dunne landed on his feet. Dunne and O’Reilly exchanges strikes. AOP delivered the Super Colliders to Dunne and O’Reilly. AOP delivered the Last Chapter to O’Reilly but Strong made the save. Strong delivered the Olympic Slam but Rezar made the save. Dunne delivered the Bitter End to O’Reilly and had the match won but Strong had other ideas. Strong stomped on Dunne and then gave him the End Of Heartache which got a big pop. Strong placed O’Reilly over Dunne and got the win.
- Post-match: After the match, Strong then grabbed Cole pulls off his armband and puts it on. This got a big babyface pop. With Bobby Fish out with an injury, O’Reilly needed a new partner to defend the NXT Tag Team Titles and got a Strong partner in Roderick Strong. Fish came out on the entrance ramp as everyone celebrated next to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Trophy. I liked this as Strong will get some freshness to his character and be part of the top faction in NXT.
(Amin’s Analysis: A pretty good tag team but it didn’t reach that next level. Everyone worked hard and there were some nice spots. The big takeaway was the ending sequence and what it leads to next.)
Aleister Black def. Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/Zelina Vega) to win the NXT Championship
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1/4
Almas and Black exchanged strikes. Black delivered a moonsault to Almas on the floor. Vega delivered a head scissors which sent Black into the steel steps. Almas delivered a neck breaker to Black who placed in between the middle rope for a near fall. Almas applied a draping armbar to Black on the top rope. Almas delivered a springboard dropkick for a near fall. Almas went for another springboard but Black caught him with a knee strike. Black with a quebrada for a near fall. Almas delivered a snap German suplex. Almas went for a top rope moonsault but landed on his feet. Almas then delivered a standing moonsault for a near fall for a nice spot. Almas and Black delivered head kicks at the same time. Almas hip tossed Black into the turnbuckle. Almas delivered a great looking corkscrew moonsault to Black on the floor. Vega grabbed the NXT Title and handed it to Almas. Almas brought the NXT Title in the ring. The timekeeper took the NXT Title away from Almas. With the referee distracted, Vega delivered a spike hurricanrana to Black. Almas covered him for a near fall. Black delivered Black Mass but Vega placed Almas foot on the bottom rope for another nice spot. Black climbed the turnbuckle but Vega grabbed his foot. Almas crotched Black in the middle turnbuckle. Almas delivered a double foot stomp and a running knee strike in the corner for a near fall. Almas delivered a running knee strike into the ring post. Almas went for the hangman Hammerlock DDT but Black dumped him to the floor. Black delivered a flip dive to the floor. Almas immediately recovered and delivered a Hammerlock DDT but Black kicked out for a great near fall. Vega went for a cross body but Black ducked as Almas caught her. Black then quickly delivered the Black Mass to Almas for the win.
(Amin’s Analysis: This was a great match as both Almas and Black worked really hard. I liked the Vega spots in the match and her ring presence was impactful.)
Unsanctioned Match: Johnny Gargano def. Tommaso Ciampa
- Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Ciampa came out to no music but got massive heat as the crowd chanted some not so nice thing at him. Referee Drake Wuertz was dressed up as a UFC referee for the match. Ciampa and Gargano had an intense stare down. Ciampa delivered strikes and a slingshot spear to Ciampa. Gargano delivered stomps in the corner and a suicide dive to the floor. Gargano sends Ciampa over the barricade and then delivered a crossbody over the barricade. Ciampa delivered a back breaker to Gargano on the floor. Ciampa removed the floor mat. Gargano delivered a thrust kick from the ring apron and tossed Ciampa across the announcers table. The crowd chanted “Mama MIA” Ciampa suplex Gargano off the announcers table to the floor and delivered more strikes. Ciampa back suplex Gargano on part of the announcers table. Ciampa applied a cloverleaf but Gargano crawled under the bottom rope. Ciampa delivered a running knee lift from the floor to Gargano. Ciampa took a crutch away from the fan and swung it at Gargano who moved out of the way. Gargano went for a slingshot DDT but Ciampa blocked it. Gargano then delivered an apron power bomb to Ciampa on the concrete mat as the crowd chanted “You Deserve It” Ciampa and Gargano played tug-of-war with the crutch. Gargano attacked Ciampan with the crunch and delivered a slingshot DDT for a near fall. Gargano went for a slingshot but Ciampa delivered a high knee and followed up with a sit-out power bomb for a near fall. Ciampa delivered a knee strike to the back of the head of Gargano for a near fall. Gargano tried to deliver a reverse hurricanrana but his timing was off. Gargano then applied the Gargano Escape but Ciampa broke free when he raked his eyes. The crowd loudly booed this. Ciampa removed his wrist tape. Both Ciampa and Gargano maintained wrist control and delivered strikes. Ciampa delivered a low blow and then whacked Gargano with a crutch. Ciampa then delivered the Project Ciampa (a spin-out powerbombs into a jumping double knees) for a near fall. Gargano slingshot Ciampa into the exposed turnbuckle and delivered back-to-back super kicks for a great near fall. Ciampa delivered a super Project Ciampa from top turnbuckle for another great near fall. Ciampa exposed his knee but Gargano attacked him with the knee brace. Gargano went to whack him with the crutch but stopped. Gargano sat next to Ciampa in the ring (as they were playing off exactly how DIY broke up at NXT TakeOver: Chicago) Ciampa lulled Gargano in and tried to whack him with his brace but Johnny ducked. Garagano applied the Gargano Lock and then transitioned into the STF. Gargano pulled the brace back across Ciampa face as Tommaso tapped out.
(Amin’s Analysis: A terrific match and even better storytelling. This didn’t feel like a regular WWE match but more like a real fight between former tag team partners who can’t stand each other. Candice LeRae ran down after the match and celebrated with Gargano as the show came to a close.)
-Overall: NXT TakeOver: New Orleans was an awesome show and had some great professional wrestling matches. The ladder match was crazy (in a good way) and the Ciampa/Gargano match was just captivating to watch. The booking of the show was also well done and the right people won all the match. NXT TakeOver: New Orleans gets a huge thumbs up.
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