NXT Takeover: New Orleans had several headlining moments: Aleister Black and Shayna Baszler claiming the top titles in their divisions.
The Undisputed Era made history with Adam Cole becoming the first North American Champion, then later Roderick Strong betraying Pete Dunne to help UE retain the tag team titles and win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy.
Johnny Gargano defeating Tommaso Ciampa and being reinstated in NXT.
Takeover New Orleans had great wrestling and beautiful moments. It was a glorious night for NXT fans – one that began a new chapter for the brand. Whenever NXT is in the process of shuffling the deck and superstars are called to the main roster, fans wonder whether or not the brand’s television product will be as good as it was before.
Looking at the quality of talent in NXT, especially their champions, the brand will continue to be a good alternative to Raw and Smackdown Live.
With Black winning the NXT title, it appears he will feud with Andrade “Cien” Almas, if the latter isn’t called up to the main roster soon, which makes sense. Usually NXT likes to give former champions a rematch, along with 1-2 programs before they’re called up to the main roster.
After Almas, there are several wrestlers who Black could have a good match with – assuming he keeps the NXT title for a lengthy run including Ricochet and the returning Drew McIntyre. Gargano and Ciampa would be great opponents for Black, assuming one of them challenges for the NXT title after their program is finished.
At some point, he could also face old rivals like Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream.
Baszler is in a somewhat different situation. Ember Moon, who she defeated to win the NXT Women’s title, recently made her Raw debut. Moon’s absence allows other faces in NXT’s Women’s division to step up to challenge Baszler for the title. The first choice would be Kairi Sane – her and Baszler are essentially 1-1 against each other. Both wrestlers can work and control the crowd.
Another choice is Candice LeRae, who Baszler defeated in the Mae Young Classic. LeRae isn’t afraid to mix it up with the baddest wrestlers in the world – male or female. She’s someone who is tough and will stand up to Baszler.
Then you have the Undisputed Era – Cole holds the North American title and the NXT Tag Team titles are essentially being defended via the Bullet Club rule – all four wrestlers can defend the title, but he and Kyle O’Reilly only recognized as the champions. Bobby Fish is currently on the shelf with the injury.
Of everyone who wrestled at Takeover: New Orleans, UE’s spotlight shined the brightest. Cole having a singles title makes him the target, especially with the participants from the ladder match – Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, Ricochet, Killian Dane and EC 3.
Tag teams will also be chomping at the bit to take the tag titles from UE, which will be more difficult with Strong in their fold. With former champions Authors of Pain debuting on Raw, it allows other tag teams to step up.
— Adam Cole (@AdamColePro) April 8, 2018
The debuting War Raiders – formerly War Machine – could be early contenders for the titles. Duos like TM-61, the Street Profits and Heavy Machinery could build some wins before they challenge for the gold.
Speaking of Gargano and Ciampa, those two have the pick of the litter when it comes to future feuds. Both wrestlers have progressed in their character work since their angle kicked off Takeover was a great blow off match – perhaps the most emotional bout WWE has had in years.
Either wrestler could be placed in a feud – title or not – and perform well.
It’s a new day – no pun intended – for NXT and there might be some questions surrounding what the next several months have in store for the brand, there is going to be some quality wrestling and storylines that will have fans on the edge of their seats.
NXT UK Premiers on WWE Network October 17
WWE has officially announced the premier of NXT UK on the WWE Network, in a Twitter post that appeared on Wednesday morning.
Per the announcement, the UK division of the NXT brand will debut on October 17th at 8pm BST and will air weekly, featuring male and female wrestlers in the UK.
BREAKING: #NXTUK, a new weekly episodic series featuring the greatest male and female competitors from the UK, will stream on @WWENetwork on Wednesdays beginning 17th October at 8pm BST. pic.twitter.com/L8wVJquMdF
— WWE UK (@WWEUK) October 11, 2018
Lita Praises Bianca Belair
WWE Hall of Famer Lita had some high praise for NXT superstar Bianca Belair, noting her “great attitude” and how “physically gifted” she is, adding that “when I very first saw her she had that intangible star quality that I just want to see more”, during an interview with The Sun.
“Down at the performance center, all the guys at NXT are in the ring every day and in class,” Lita said. “They have everything they need to learn and there is so much talent in regards to physical ability and thinking about their character. But for someone to have that intangible star factor… Bianca Belair, along with some other the others there, is very talented.”
Lita is also impressed with how Blair uses her hair as a weapon.
“It’s crazy, no-one has ever used their hair as a weapon. It’s so cool how she thought of that and how it works. She sure has that star quality and uniqueness.”
Johnny Gargano Talks NXT, Dream Matches
NXT superstar Johnny Gargano remains one of the most popular superstars on the brand and while his callup to the main roster seems imminent, he prefers to stay on the NXT brand, a brand he takes a lot of pride in.
“I do not see why not, everyone’s dream – and mine too – is to wrestle at WrestleMania, but right now NXT is such a special place” Gargano said of a potential call up, during an interview with the Daily Star.
“We are focused on building something wrestling fans can be proud of, and we are building it together.”
But Gargano, during a recent media session, discussed some dream matches he would want to make a reality when he does make it to the main roster.
“[…] so I’m going up to the main roster…after I win the NXT title and everything’s done. After that, man, I’m gonna say, obviously Daniel Bryan” Gargano said. “That’s a dream match that a lot of people would love to see now.”
“I think I just posted a Tweet recently that the internet went nuts for, and that’s me and Seth Rollins,” Gargano said. “Because, of course, I wore my Captain America Infinity War gear and he just wore the Thanos gear, so you never know what can happen there.”
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