The Rope Break #35: NXT Takeover New Orleans Predictions

By Curtis Suthard – 4/6/2018

Oh! Hello there. It’s WrestleMania weekend, huzzah. But, before we get to Sunday night’s big show, we get treated to yet another NXT Takeover, that could very well upstage anything else that might be going on over the next few days. The card features five solid matches, with each promising plenty of action and thrills. Not to mention that each match could feature a potential swan song from one of the competitors, as post-‘Mania is the time that plenty of NXT performers tend to get the call up to the Main Roster. So, let’s take a look and make a few predictions

Credit: WWE.com

NXT Takeover: New Orleans Predictions

Credit: WWE.com

The Authors of Pain VS. Pete Dunne & Roderick Strong VS. The Undisputed Era (The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals & NXT Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match): So, for some inexplicable reason, Adam Cole And Kyle O’Reilly, of the Undisputed Era decided to interrupt the Dusty Tag Team Tournament Finals last week between The A.o.P and Dunne & Strong, leaving the tournament unresolved with no clear winner. The winning team was going to go on to Takeover to face Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish (who is out for the next 6 months or so with an injury, hence Cole replacing him), the current NXT Tag Champs, in a standard match. But, due to the interference, Commish Regal decided that both teams would go on to fight for the titles in a Triple Threat style Tag Team Match. So, way to go, Undisputed Era! Way to make things worse. Do you guys ever watch wrestling?

Anyway, normally this prediction would be like “blah blah blah, Pete Dunne is great, blah blah blah, Dunne is magic, blah”, but I don’t have a good feeling about this one. As much as I love Dunne & Strong teaming together, I’m not sure that I see them pulling this one out. Dunne still works in other places, so unless WWE has conscripted him to full time servitude/status, I don’t see him getting yet another title, let alone a more mainstream one, like the NXT Tag titles, that would call for him to devote more time states-side. On the other hand, The Authors of Pain could very well win, taking the titles back, for one more short run. Possibly dropping them to War Machine somewhere down the line and finally making the leap up to the WWE Main Roster. OR…they could be about to make that leap sometime in the very near future, since most (including myself) have been predicting this to happen for a while now. So, that leaves me with Undisputed Era. With Fish injured, Cole and O’Reilly could go on to carry the NXT Tag titles for some time, until Bobby heals up. I don’t see O’Reilly going at it as a singles wrestler for the next couple of months, which, unfortunately means that Adam Cole (Bay Bay!) will get stuck filling in for his injured teammate and will possibly have his singles push stifled, for now. Though, I could be wrong.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: The Undisputed Era

Credit: WWE.com

Shayna Baszler VS. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship): I don’t have too much to say about this one. A few months ago, at the previous Takeover, I predicted that Baszler would storm into NXT and immediately take the Women’s title off of Moon. I was wrong. But, I don’t think that I’ll be wrong twice. Ember is probably about to get the nod to move on up to either RAW or Smackdown’s Women’s Division, which is a good thing, and I’m seeing this as her curtain call. Shayna, on the other hand, could possibly benefit from holding the title and having the spotlight on her for the time being. She is showing signs of improvement both in the ring and…well…in backstage segments where her acting is okay. NXT’s Women’s Division is starting to feel a bit stale, if you ask me, and having a solid heel lording the title over the rest of the Women there, could help heat things back up.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Shayna Baszler

Credit: WWE.com

Johnny Gargano VS. Tommaso Ciampa (Unsactioned Match. If Johnny Wins, He Get His Job Back! If He Loses, He Leaves NXT FOREVER!): This should be the match that everyone is looking forward to and had it been on any other Takeover’s lineup, it would be. The setup for this one started months and months ago, with Ciampa turning on Gargano, and has been handled so well over the last few months. This may be one of the best storylines NXT has produced, so far. Ciampa would go on to cost Johnny his job in NXT, as Johnny had added that stipulation to his rematch against Almas and Tommaso would cause Johnny to lose the match. Gargano would then start hunting Ciampa down, stalking and attacking him every chance he got. Which set up this Unsactioned Match. I’m sure that these two will pull out all of the stops and quite possibly steal the show. Ciampa, I feel, has always been so much better as a heel. He excels at it. And, as I have stated before, Johnny works best as the quintessential underdog, which he may or may not be, depending on how you look at it, heading into this one. He’s more like the scorned best friend, which works. Johnny’s got to get a win here. Not just to keep this thing alive, as I don’t see NXT wasting all of the build up for this feud on just one match and then sending Gargano on his way. This should be the start of something that could easily simmer for the rest of the year and still draw excitement.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Johnny Gargano

Credit: WWE.com

Aleister Black VS. Andrade Cien Almas (NXT Championship): For a long while, I lamented about the lack of attention that Almas was getting from the “Powers That Be” in NXT. Finally, the guy got to showcase just what he can really do and he has stolen the show in doing so. On the other hand, I’ve been ranting and raving that Black has everything that I think is needed for a future WWE Superstar and is primed and ready to make the jump to the Main Roster any day now. Both of these competing thoughts make this one extremely hard to choose a side on. Black definitely deserves to hold the NXT title for a bit, but does he (the character) really need to? He could easily put on a great match and suffer his first loss to someone of the caliber of Almas, without really being hurt by it. But, Almas seems like he’s primed to make that jump to the Main Roster with his excellent performances of late and his inclusion in this year’s Royal Rumble. At any rate, this will be a fantastic match, that much I know for certain. As for who I pick….

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: Aleister Black

Credit: WWE.com

Killian Dain VS. Lars Sullivan VS. Velveteen Dream VS. Adam Cole VS. EC3 VS. Ricochet (NXT North American Championship Ladder Match): What will more than likely be the showstopper of the night, the crowning of the first-ever NXT North American Champion will be the match to watch. With six men competing for it, let’s run down the list and work out just who really stands a chance at winning. First off, Killian Dain: I love everything that has been done with Killian, since his arrival in NXT. Sure, there was the awkward “Will he/Won’t he”-thing with joining Sanity, when he first popped up. But since then, he has been used very well and has been given plenty of opportunity to show off just how talented of a wrestler he is. Will he win this one though? No. Sanity is probably making that move up to the Main Roster soon and Dain is sure to be going with them.

Lars Sullivan: NXT’s current, resident monster has been laying waste to almost everyone put in his path and has been getting better and better with each match. The guy has not only improved in the ring, but he has also stepped things up on the mic, as well. Lars has everything needed to be a WWE Superstar and could easily be the next, big thing. But, I just don’t see him scoring this win. Maybe somewhere down the line, he’ll capture some gold, just not here.

Velveteen Dream: Speaking of improvements! Dream has had some great matches recently and has proven that he can hang with guys who have years of experience beyond his. Though, Velveteen can be a bit sloppy and the lack of experience that he possesses can be very apparent at times. He’s doing good work in NXT and building a great gimmick. Dream is definitely bound to win some gold, maybe sooner rather than later. But, not in this one.

Adam Cole: Pulling double duty, especially with a match like this, is probably not beneficial for Adam Cole. I might have gone with Cole winning this match a few weeks ago, but with Fish being sidelined and my feeling that Cole will be filling in for him by teaming up with O’Reilly for the foreseeable future, I can’t do it.

So, now it just comes down to EC3 and Ricochet, which are the two guys that I firmly believe stand the best chance of winning. It’s really fifty-fifty, in my mind. Ricochet is probably the fan-favorite to take this one, but I’m not sure. He has already made his debut, which I feel was designed to already give him his first win and introduce him to the NXT/WWE Universe at large. Now, EC3 has technically already been in NXT, as Derrick Bateman, before leaving and heading over to TNA to reinvent himself, as Regal kind of acknowledged. But, technically, this is the debut of EC3 in the ring and the guy does make a great heel Champion.

Credit: WWE.com

My Pick: EC3

Credit: WWE.com

So, there you have it! Check back here soon for my picks on all of the matches for WrestleMania 34, as well as a special Nerd Nation Radio Podcast of The Rope Break, as my fellow Nerd Nation Ambassadors sit down a discuss WrestleMania. Also, be sure to check back for my review on both NXT Takeover: New Orleans and WrestleMania 34, as I break down each match and usually whine and complain about the outcomes.

Be sure to check us out on Facebook, to follow everything that goes on here at Nerd Nation Radio.

Feel free to drop me a line at Curt@nerdnationradio.com or just leave a comment.

And now I will just leave this pic here from the first day of WWE AXXESS of Kassius Ohno taking on the incredible Keith Lee!

Credit: WWE.com