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 Takeover: Blackpool Card
WWE is preparing for their upcoming NXT event, NXT Takeover: Blackpool, and after the airing of this week’s NXT, the full card is now in focus.
NXT UK’s first Takeover event hits the WWE Network, live from Blackpool, England, this Saturday.
Here is the card, at the time of this writing:
NXT UK Women’s Championship Match – Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Match – Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake)
WWE United Kingdom Championship Match – Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey
No DQ Match – Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin
WWE Reportedly Interested In KUSHIDA
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA is reportedly drawing interest from WWE, according to a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
KUSHIDA, 35, has been the cornerstone of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s light heavyweight division and one of their most recognized stars, globally.
The report indicates that NXT is the destination if WWE were to lure KUSHIDA from New Japan.
With NXT globalizing, an NXT Japan seems like a natural progression for the brand and KUSHIDA could be in those potential plans moving forward.
Matt Riddle Talks About Joining WWE/NXT
NXT superstar Matt Riddle has been gaining popularity since his landmark signing earlier this year, and during a recent interview with ESPN for their story on the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, Riddle says that he should have been with WWE long before his 2018 signing.
“I moved my family down here, I’ve got three kids and a wife, so it’s nice,” Riddle said.
“I just wrestle in Florida every weekend. We occasionally do tours or TakeOvers, but for the most part, now I get to spend more time with my family. I’m more local, and it’s great. The training here is top-notch,” he continued. “Where I was, I was lucky to even train three times a week, because my schedule was so insane — and I didn’t have the coaches or amenities to do [much more than that].”
“I just feel like I belong here. I felt like I belonged here three-and-a-half years ago when I had my first try out.”
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