Fade to Black – NXT TakeOver: New Orleans Predictions – 4/7/2018

NXT will be taking over the Smoothie King Center on Saturday night in the opening of WWE’s wrestling action from New Orleans for Wrestlemania weekend-ish (as Raw and Smackdown move into the early weekdays, it’s not necessarily weekend so much as just a really long time with a f*&*ing lot of wrestling crammed into 5-6 days of your life, and we love it).  Let’s get to predictin’

The Undisputed Era defend the Tag Team Championship against the Authors of Pain and Dunne & Strong

Matt:  This is still vaguely up in the air whether they’ve chosen “Option A” where Adam Cole pulls double duty.  If Adam Cole pulls double duty, Adam Cole walks out with two titles.

Jeremy:  I’m so happy to see Pete Dunne in this match.  He’s one of my favorites.  It might not make sense, but I think Roddy and Peter get it done.  Pete Dunne walks out with two titles.

6-Man Ladder Match for the Brand New North American Championship – EC3 vs Adam Cole vs Velveteen Dream vs Richochet vs Lars Sullivan vs Killian Dane

Matt:  Read through that list again.  And this match is in the early goings of this card.  Holy crap.  I don’t necessarily know how I would pick this one.  I think Sullivan and Dane likely cancel each other out with their blood feud so they don’t play into it real well.  I’m leaning against the belt going to Adam Cole because I don’t see him being in NXT beyond Saturday.  This leaves me with the very capable EC3, who is more than likely going to shoot up the ranks for the NXT championship.  Now to pick between Velveteen Dream, who has absolutely made me love him, and the unbelievably gifted Ricochet, a pairing that I would be just as excited to see win tag team gold together.  I’m going to go with Velveteen Dream here.  Ricochet is going to do some amazing things off a ladder, and I can’t wait to see them, but Velveteen has scratched and clawed his way into this position in NXT and he deserves something for the effort.  Plus, Ricochet could just as easily slot into the 205 Live roster come Tuesday night to challenge Alexander or Ali for the Cruiserweight title.  Is it weird to talk about how excited that statement just made me?

Jeremy:  This match will be absolutely insane with such a wide range of personalities.  I think Velveteen Dream almost wins it but that dastardly EC3 steals it.  It will be a perfect way to cement his heel status.  EC3 is your new North American Champion!

Johnny Gargano vs Tomasso Ciampa in an Unsanctioned Match with Johnny’s Career in NXT entirely on the line

Matt:  I’m going to refrain from picking this one, because as much as I love Gargano, this Heel Ciampa is other worldly.  Plus, I know how strongly Jeremy feels here, so we’re just going to run with his prediction for the both of us.

Jeremy:  I think Johnny Gargano pulls this one off.  The fans want him to win here.  That being said, they are going to sell a masterful story here.  There’s almost nothing better than Johnny’s selling.  There’s almost nothing better than the viciousness of Tommaso Ciampa.  But I think the heart of Johnny powers him through.

Ember Moon defends the NXT Women’s Championship against Shayna Baszler…..again

Matt:  Unfortunately, Ember is not going to pull off a quick roll-up this time.  She’s the sort of fresh blood that either of the main rosters could use anyway, and they’re already writing the story for Baszler vs The World when she begins her title defenses.  As much as it pains me to say it, Baszler is the new Women’s Champion.

Jeremy:  I really don’t know what’s happening with the Women’s devision.  Where’s Nikki Cross?!?!?  Peyton Royce?!?!  Did Baszler take out all of them?  It makes more sense for Shana to win.  Perhaps Ember Moon ends up on whatever show that Asuka is on?  Either way Baszler is your new Champion with Candice LeRay challenging her for the next Takeover.

Aleister Black challenges Andrade “Cien” Almas for the NXT Championship

Matt:  This is a tough card to predict.  Black is still undefeated, but Almas is riding the sort of momentum I never thought they would make believable for him, and most of it thanks to Vega, but a good bit in thanks to his in ring capabilities (because he’s still not 100 on the promo side, at least not in English).  My other question is which one of these guys is more “main roster ready” to debut come Monday/Tuesday as the televised programs plunder H’s roster from the network.  As well as they showed Almas in the Royal Rumble, I have to believe Black has a greater level of casual audience appeal in a world where Sons of Anarchy got like seven seasons in spite of only being good for two.  I’d also believe it if they told me he was actually Braun Strowman’s brother and the two became Raw Tag Team Champions on Sunday.  In any event, I’m actually going to give the win to Almas.  I don’t know how I feel about him ending that undefeated streak, but they can’t exactly use the same storyline for two consecutive big deal call ups……right?  WWE has never recycled storyline…..

Jeremy:  I going to go with Aleister Black, although Almas’ story arc on NXT has been absolutely flawless.  They’ve told a great story here.  I think Almas’ story continues on the main roster on Tuesday in an attempt to get mainstream latino stars on the USA Network.  Aleister Black will rule NXT for a few months.  He’ll be a popular touring champion.  Aleister Black is your new NXT Champion.

Final Thoughts:

Matt:  This really was a tough card to make picks on.  I think it’s just because it’s Wrestlemania week so you assume that half these people are performing in their final TakeOver appearances.  That ladder match is going to be insane.  While I’ll be at SuperCard of Honor, where the other two assumed match of the weekend contenders will be occurring, this one could tear New Orleans to the ground given the obscene level of talent involved in it.

Jeremy:  We will be across town at Supercard.  I wish I could have some sort of device to be in two places at once.  I have one solace that the WWE Network works way better than ROH’s Honor Club.  This will be way easier to watch.  This is probably going to be a better WWE show than Mania.