Article was submitted by the ultra-talented Todd Bergman. Give the man a follow on the Twitter machine after reading this. He’ll appreciate it.
On Saturday night, April 7th, the NXT brand presents NXT Takeover: New Orleans. The card features a nice selection of matches guaranteed to get anyone excited for the appetizer to WrestleMania: Fleur de lis (now that numbers are out, previously WrestleMania: Play button and WrestleMania: Sun). While many of you will know me from my MMA and Wrestling coverage over at 411mania.com, you know that my predictions are often based in no logic and often never proven to be accurate. There could be changes made (addition of matches/people to matches, etc.) to the card that will not be caught in this this breakdown and that is because of a very tight deadline. I hope that you enjoy the breakdowns and if you are inclined, please follow me on twitter at toddbergman13 for more insights on Pro Wrestling, MMA, sports in general and everything else in the world. Now, here are the breakdowns for NXT: New Orleans.
NXT Women’s Title Match
Ember Moon © vs. Shayna Baszler
The build to this match has been great with their previous match at NXT Takeover: Philadelphia ending with Moon surprising Baszler with a roll-up. You will remember that Shayna worked over the arm successfully and was able to ground Moon from her aerial based offense and most importantly Moon’s finishing move: The Eclipse. I think for Baszler to be successful in this match, she needs to do more of the same and keep Moon on the mat. Shayna will need to call upon her past MMA experience to ground and tire out Ember. If Ember can get the momentum going and use her kicks and aerial moves, it will not benefit Shayna. When you look back on Shayna’s MMA career, she could get overwhelmed when her opponent was able to build momentum and land multiple strikes. This will be on Shayna’s mind and I’m sure something that she trained for. There are rumors of Ember Moon being called up to Raw or Smackdown following this match and you wonder if that could be on Ember’s mind more than focusing on Shayna. With that said, I like Baszler in this match finishing Ember via submission (technical submission due to passing out) and sending Moon to Raw in the upcoming draft.
Prediction: Shayna Baszler via Technical Submission
NXT North American Title Match (Six Man Ladder Match)
Adam Cole (bay bay) vs. EC3 vs. Ricochet vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain vs. Velveteen Dream
When you look at this match, it certainly is full of future World Champions and one of those matches that really defines the talent level in NXT. When it comes to multiple person ladder matches, the formula seems to be consistent. Big monster guys (Sullivan & Dain) don’t have the best odds at winning this thing. Sure, Kane won a MITB match at WrestleMania 28 but it is a rarity that this happens. Ricochet while extremely talented will likely take himself out of the match due to some high risk moves off the ladder. If Ricochet avoids taking any risks in this match, he could be successful. However, that takes away a great deal of what Ricochet successful. Guys like Cole, EC3 and Dream are the ones that are the most successful in these types of matches. I wonder if Cole will have to pull double duty on this evening because of Bobby Fish’s injury? If he doesn’t then he is one of the favorites. However, I will predict that he will have to so depending on match line-up, he could have already competed earlier in the evening and hurt his chances greatly in this match. That leaves us, EC3 and Velveteen Dream. EC3 is an extremely popular wrestler who previously competed in NXT when it was more of a 2nd tier show and most recently ruled the ring in TNA or OWL Impact depending on the week. While talented, EC3 can be arrogant and I think that will cost him in this match. I like Velveteen Dream to win this match after luring EC3 into one of his trademark mind games as he snatches the title away. The Summer of Velveteen Dream is going to be a lot of fun.
Prediction: Velveteen Dream via retrieval of title
NXT Tag Team Title Match & Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals
Undisputed Era © vs. Authors of Pain vs. Pete Dunn & Roderick Strong
This is a mild spoiler depending on when you are reading this and I apologize if I ruined anything for you. It was a late addition to include the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Final teams into this match. If you didn’t follow then it was supposed to be the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic winner vs. Undisputed Era at this show. A little change in the overall match up but that does not take away from the promise of this delivering another NXT Tag Team classic. It’s a fun match up but a difficult one to break down because as of the typing of this article, no decision has been made with relation to Bobby Fish’s injury. I have a feeling that Adam Cole (bay, bay) will be filling in and that makes the match more interesting. Given that O’Reilly and Cole have a little experience working together outside NXT, I think that they stand a better chance together than you would expect. We also know that the Authors of Pain are the defending Tag Team Classic champions and are former NXT champs as well. However, much like Ember Moon, I think that their time is limited in NXT and they could be caught looking ahead to a main roster promotion. With that said, this is the time of year where big moves are made. I’m a huge fan of the TV show Survivor and they always talk about game changing moves. Pete Dunn & Roderick Strong are fun together. They don’t fit a mold that many within the industry seem to have when it comes to success. They are smaller but psychical style wrestlers. In the past, Strong has been a major thorn in the side of the Undisputed Era. Although Strong has been a thorn in their side, he has not been as successful as he wants to be. With the timing of the Fish injury, O’Reilly is going to need a new full-time partner. I believe that Cole & O’Reilly have played this in their minds hundreds of times now and they have an ultimate plan to play out. That plan happens when Strong turns on Dunn and allows the Undisputed Era to retain the titles.
Prediction: Undisputed Era retain via Strong turning on Dunn
Unsanctioned Match: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano
Roughly ten months ago, Tommaso Ciampa broke all our hearts when he turned on Johnny Gargano. Since then, Johnny Wrestling has stolen our hearts while Ciampa has had to hear about it while he was out with an injury. The title of “unsanctioned match” has been given to matches previously. Given the emotion of both competitors, I believe that we are in for a terrific contest. While Johnny Wrestling has been tremendous albeit in defeat the last couple of months, he has shown one big weakness. That weakness is his inability to set aside his caring for others. That could cause him to lose focus on what he needs to do in this match. His opponent, Tommaso Ciampa has shown recently that he can put aside his feelings and just destroy whatever is in his path. Given the elements of this match, meaning that it will likely mirror a street fight and one of those that won our hearts back in the 80’s, I expect both guys to be brawling all over the arena in their finest pair of jeans. Extra points to anyone wearing a bandana around their knee. In the end, I think that Johnny Wrestling has been faulted by his lack of getting the big win. He is very similar to his hometown Cleveland Indians. I like Ciampa to win this given his ability to get past any potential boundaries that have plagued Gargano in the past. Where does Gargano go from here?
Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa by pinfall
Main Event-NXT Championship Andrade “Cien” Almas © w/Zelina Vega vs. Aleister Black
Things have really gotten personal between both guys in the last couple of months. Since the addition of Vega as his manager, Almas has been on another level. Vega has given him a great confidence in himself and that in turn has turned around his career. You know the backstory on Almas in regard to his experience in NJPW and his history of competing while wearing a mask. In my opinion, the removal of the mask took away his confidence. The addition of Vega has brought him back to that level and the future is bright for both Vega & Almas. A common topic within this article has been potential call ups looking ahead to their main roster debuts. While this could be a potential issue for Almas, you have to think that Vega will keep his mind in the match. Aleister Black is extremely dangerous and any misstep could lead to Almas losing his title. Almas’ opponent in this match, Aleister Black comes into this match riding a huge wave of confidence as well. Black comes from a dutch kickboxing background and has shown an ability to take some punishment in the past. Black’s match with Velveteen Dream will go down as one of the best in NXT history. In that match, Black was able to get past the innovated offense of Dream while also not engaging in the mind games. Black must keep his mind on Almas and should try to avoid Zelina Vega on the outside. Black will need to use his strikes to keep Almas on the mat. This is your typical Big Guy vs. Aerial style match, so if Almas is able to get his high-risk offense in, then it could spell doom for Black. With that said, I like Black’s ability to keep Almas grounded and take the title here. It won’t be easy as I expect Vega to get involved but that doesn’t not stop Aleister from hitting the Fade to Black and claiming his first NXT Title.
Prediction: Aleister Black via pinfall (Fade to Black)
Potential Questions to ask during the show:
Where is War Machine and how do they factor into the Tag Title picture?
Where is Sanity? Iconic Duo? Kassius Ohno? Potential call-ups?
Who will show up in the crowd?
When does Drew McIntyre return?
Make sure you join us tomorrow for Mr. Wrestling’s breakdown on WRESTLEMANIA 34!!!!!!!!