Liam Hoofe predicts Saturday’s NXT Takeover: New Orleans…
While many fans are turning their attention to WrestleMania 34 this weekend, it’s important not to forget that NXT will be hosting Takeover: New Orleans on Saturday night, arguably, the finest card in the brand’s history.While the show may only feature five matches, at the time of writing, there is every chance that all five bouts are giving a huge amount of time to impress on Saturday night, and if history is anything to go by, then impress they will.
The show will see the introduction of a new NXT mid-card title belt, and the conclusion (maybe) of the Gargano Ciampa feud, which has been running for the best part of a year now.Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas is set to defend his NXT Title against Aleister Black, while Ember Moon will put her belt on the line against the unstoppable Shayna Baszler. How will all of these matches play out? Let’s take a look at Saturday’s card, and have a go at predicting the results.
Ember Moon Vs Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler has been booked as one of the most dominant females in the history of NXT, and while a brief lapse in concentration cost her victory in Philadelphia, don’t expect the same thing to happen this weekend. At this stage, Baszler makes much more sense as champion, especially with the likes of Kairi Sane and Dakota Kai waiting as potential challengers. Moon will likely find herself on the main roster after Mania, so expect this to be one of her final outings in NXT.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler Wins
Pete Dunne and Roderick Strong Vs The Authors of Pain Vs The Undisputed Era
Any of these three teams could walk out of New Orleans on Saturday with gold around their waste, but it is the champions who are going to edge this encounter, in my opinion. Dunne and Strong have been excellent as a team over the last few weeks, but the two men have stronger single careers ahead of them, especially with the introduction of the North American Championship to the brand, while The Authors of Pain are likely to head up to the main roster after Mania, if reports are to be believed.
Adam Cole will be pulling double duty on Sunday night, but don’t expect that to take away from his performance in this match. These three teams are some of the best on the NXT roster and this match could be a quiet contender to steal the show.
Prediction: The Undisputed Era Retains
Adam Cole Vs EC3 Vs Killian Dain Vs Lars Sullivan Vs Ricochet Vs Velveteen Dream
The introduction of a new title is always an exciting event in the WWE, but it’s even more exciting when you have six of the company’s most talented performers wrestling for it in one of the most unpredictable matches during WrestleMania weekend. There could be an argument made for each of these six men to win the belt and frankly, fans will likely be happy with whoever the company decides to go with. EC3 is the clear favorite though, as the company will look to capitalise on his much-hyped debut. Adam Cole may be the dark horse here as well. The company enjoys stables holding gold, and Cole winning both this and the tag match would allow him to play the role of the arrogant heel group leader.
Given the talent involved this may just not be the match of the night, but also the match of the weekend. This is a must-see match, and I struggle to see it failing to deliver.
Prediction: EC3 Wins the gold
Aleister Black Vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas’ NXT title run has been a surprising success. When he first won the belt from McIntyre, I, like many other fans, wondered if the company had made the right decision. He has proven us all wrong time and time again, though, and his match with Gargano in Philadelphia is easily the best match WWE match of the year so far. On the other hand, Aleister Black is one of the company’s hottest rising stars and crowning him as champion on WrestleMania weekend seems a smart move.
Is there a chance Almas retains here? Sure. His reign has been a success and the company may want him to carry the brand for a few more months. Do I think he will retain? No. Almas has the main roster written all over him, and with no Mexican performers currently at the top of the card, it won’t be long before Vince is giving him a call. Black will make for a great champion, and given both men’s records in the ring, this match should be nothing short of excellent.
Prediction: Aleister Black Wins
Johnny Gargano vs Tomasso Ciampa
Arguably the most anticipated clash of this weekend, the blood feud between Johnny Gargano has been one of the hottest storylines in the history of NXT, and there is every chance that the two men will steal the show on Saturday night. Gargano’s last Takeover performance saw him earn the WWE its first 5-star match rating in seven years, and there are many fans who think he may repeat the feat again on Saturday night.
Ciampa has quickly become the best heel in the company,and while it may seem unlikely,don’t rule out him picking up the surprise victory on Saturday night. Gargano seems destined for the main roster, while Ciampa would be a prime candidate to challenge Aleister Black for the NXT championship. This one is incredibly difficult to call, as both men look to be heading down very different paths post Mania.
Will Gargano return to NXT and extend the feud? Surely having him pick up the victory on Saturday night and then get called up to the main roster, as many people are speculating, would be a waste for Ciampa. I really have no idea which way this one is going to down. Time for a coin flip. Gargano gets it.
Prediction: Johnny Gargano Wins