I have never watched a PPV where I felt completely wiped out and emotionally spent after watching NXT Takeover: New Orleans last night on the WWE Network. The matches told an incredible story and we saw titles changing hands and the ultimate babyface underdog Johnny Gargano finally avenging his rival! Here are ten reasons why this PPV deserves every star possible!
- The live introduction by Cane Hill and Halestorm performing Ember Moon’s entrance music. This really added to the spectacle and set NXT apart from other brands as the modern “rock & wrestling” production that it’s meant to be. NXT is for us, the hardcore fans that also like rock music to go with our wrestling! Tremendous performances by Cane Hill and Halestorm last night!
- That ladder match for the inaugural NXT North American Championship. Here’s what the match did for all six wrestlers. It elevated every single one of them, therefore instantly adding credibility and prestige to the NXT North American Championship. Ricochet had a tremendous debut and the star from Peducah, Kentucky could be a top face of WWE in a few years, he reminds me of Jeff Hardy meets Evan Bourne meets The Rock. Seriously! Velveteen Dream added to his persona! Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan were incredible with their big man spots! EC3 shined and Adam Cole solidified himself as a future megastar with his performance! The spots were disgusting and each and every move meant something!
- The seeds were planted for potential UFC “4 Horsewomen” vs. WWE “4 Horsewomen” either for next year’s Wrestlemania or this year’s Summerslam. Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke appeared to cheer on Shayna Baszler in her challenging Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Championship. I thought it was kind of odd Ronda Rousey was cheering on the heel when she’s supposed to be a babyface in her Wrestlemania 34 debut as she teams with Kurt Angle to face Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a mixed tag team match. But the seeds were certainly planted.
- Shayna Baszler adds layers to her character. She was receiving flak at first, however, the spot of her running into the ringpost to try to pop her shoulder back into place was a great job of selling, and it almost hinted at an eventual babyface turn because that spot made us feel sympathetic for her. She may still be a bit green but her and Ember Moon reignited a very tired crowd from the six man ladder match for the NXT North American Championship.
- Drew McIntyre hinting at possible return. McIntyre’s tweener type of character adds mystery and intrigue. Is he going to the main roster? What is he going to do next? It’s a crying shame he tore his biceps in that match against Andrade “Cien” Almas. Little moments like this makes me tune in to see what they’re going to do next, to me that shows tremendous writing.
- The swerve! The heel turn by Roderick Strong turning on Pete Dunne really threw me for a loop. He joined The Undisputed Era. It didn’t make sense, but it had that “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” type of feel to it. Maybe that’s why he did it. He wanted to be surrounded by success. Sometimes I like it when a heel turn doesn’t make sense, it makes me want to tune in, I liked the unpredictability behind it.
- Ember Moon’s entrance with Lzzy Hale rocking out of Halestorm. This added to the big fight feel for the NXT Women’s Championship. I look for Ember Moon to join the main roster either after Wrestlemania or she’s going to chase Shayna Baszler some more and join after Summerslam.
- Aleister Black showing real emotion after winning the NXT Championship. Black’s character is full of mystery, it’s like he’s The Undertaker with CM Punk’s skillset and the attitude of CM Punk. What a fantastiic grueling match! Black showing what he accomplished by briefly breaking character and showing real emotion showcases the human side of Aleister Black. Really cool touch to this!
- Tommasso Ciampa as a heel. This guy is a sociopath, psychopath, internet troll, and a freaking jerk all rolled into one. For not wrestling for 322 days, he has solidified himself as THE TOP HEEL in WWE. Sorry The Miz, Ciampa has you beat. There is NOTHING to like about Ciampa. The way he told the story in the match against Gargano was unreal!
- Johnny Gargano finally avenges his rival. This is how you do long term booking! Not by “Even Steven” booking where the heel wins the first match, the babyface wins the second match, and there’s a third match to decide it. That booking builds NO ONE, it puts everyone on an equal playing field and it shouldn’t be that way in my opinion. Ciampa turned on his tag team partner after NXT Takeover Chicago, cost him the championship and his career, leading to an unsanctioned match. Gargano was built as the ultimate underdog. The storytelling, how moments with the crutch, the exposing of the turnbuckle, desperation, heartache, empathy towards the end, dastardly ways, and so much more made this possibly the greatest match I have ever seen! I had tears and was emotionally invested and emotionally wiped out after the match as Gargano vs. Ciampa told the perfect story! Long term booking still works in the Internet Age! Use it!
What are your thoughts below? Let us know in the comments!