NXT Takeover New Orleans
1) Ladder Match to determine first ever NXT North American Champion: EC3 vs Killian Dain vs Adam Cole vs Velveteen Dream vs Lars Sullivan vs Ricochet– All six men stare up at the belt to start. EC3 rolls outside and Cole attacks Ricochet. Sullivan and Dain are left alone in the ring and EC3 taunts them. They follow him outside and beat him down. They then face off on the floor allowing Ricochet to hit a springboard shooting star press onto them on the floor. Ricochet takes a ladder in the ring but ends up battling with Dream. They criss-cross and Ricochet hits a flying headscissors. Dream backdrops him to the apron and knocks him to the floor. Dream goes to climb the ladder but Cole stops him. Cole this an enzuiguri to knock Dain off the apron then gives Dream a neckbreaker. EC3 hits a chinbreaker on Cole. Sullivan is in and slams both Cole and EC3. Dain throws Sullivan outside and hits him with a tope suicida. Dain goes back inside and clothesline Ricochet. Dain then picks up Dream and Ricochet but Cole kicks them down. Ricochet and Cole trade punches and then Dain and Dream square off with them. EC3 is in as well and then Sullivan throws a ladder at all of them from the apron. Sullivan rams the ladder into all of his opponents all around the ring. Sullivan throws Dain into the ladder in the corner and there’s two ladders in the ring. Sullivan gorilla presses Dream onto a ladder. Sullivan sets up a ladder and climbs it but Ricochet climbs and sunset flip powerbombs him with the assistance of Dream, EC3 and Cole. Cole climbs the ladder but Dain pulls him down and headbutts him. Dain backdrops Ricochet onto a ladder. Dain sets up a ladder and climbs it but gets knocked off by EC3. Cole and EC3 ram the ladder into Sullivan and then go after Dain on the floor and bridge a ladder between the ring and the announce table. They run Dain into it then go inside and ram a ladder into Sullivan’s gut. EC3 celebrates and Cole slams him on the ladder. Cole unloads superkicks on everyone including Ricochet coming off the top rope. Cole climbs the ladder but Sullivan knocks him into the ropes. Dream runs a ladder into Sullivan and there’s three ladders in the ring. Dream drops a top rope elbow on Dain, then Cole and then Ricochet. Dream tries to set up a ladder but Sullivan crushes him with it in the corner. Sullivan charges him but Dream throws the ladder into his face. Dream climbs the ladder and drops an elbow from the top onto Sullivan. Dream climbs the ladder but EC3 powerbombs him off it onto a ladder in the corner. Dain goes after EC3 who responds with an inverted DDT. EC3 climbs the ladder but Cole pulls him off. They battle on the ladder and EC3 gives Cole a TKO off the ladder. EC3 climbs the ladder but Dain pulls him off and hits a bicycle kick. Dain climbs the ladder but Cole pulls him. Dain throws Cole into the corner then slams EC3 and sets a ladder up on top of him and gives him a senton. Dain goes up top but Cole jumps on his back and applies a sleeper with Dain then doing a Vader Bomb onto the ladder on top of EC3. Dain and Sullivan face off but Ricochet interrupts them. Ricochet hits bicycle kicks on both. Sullivan catches him in the corner and beel tosses him across the ring. The fans chat “Throw him back” and Dain beel throws Ricochet back across the ring. Dain and Sullivan trade forearms. Dain kicks him in the gut and throws more forearms and a clothesline. Dain charges at Sullivan who catches him and powerslams him. Sullivan sets up a ladder and climbs it but Ricochet pulls him off. Ricochet then climbs up but Sullivan pushes the ladder back and Ricochet maneuvers into a moonsault onto Cole and Dain on the floor. Ricochet hits Sullivan with a springboard dropkick. EC3 takes Ricochet to the top rope and chops him. EC3 positions a ladder on the mat and Ricochet chops him back onto it. Ricochet then does a top rope shooting star press onto EC3 who is on top of a ladder. Ricochet climbs the ladder but Dream pulls him down. Dream runs at Ricochet with a ladder and Ricochet punches him down. They then clash ladders together and bridge one ladder between the other ladder and the turnbuckle. Dream and Ricochet end up on the bridged ladder. Ricochet lays out Dream a who gets back and gives Ricochet a rolling Death Valley Driver on the bridged ladder. Dream rolls to the floor where Sullivan clotheslines him and lays him on the ladder bridged between the ring and table on the floor. Sullivan then gives EC3 an STO onto Dream and through the ladder. Dain lays Ricochet out on another ladder bridged between the ring and table. Cole punches Dain on the apron but Dain scoops him up and gives him a driver through Ricochet and the ladder. Sullivan climbs in the ring and climbs a ladder but Dain climbs up and they trade punches at the top. EC3 then hits them both with a ladder and sets it up. EC3 climbs the second ladder as does Cole and all four men trade punches up top. Dream sets up a third ladder and climbs up and they’re all trading punches and reaching for the belt. Ricochet climbs up as well. Cole and EC3 crash to the canvas. Dream trades punches with Ricochet who gives Dream an avalanche neckbreaker from the top of the ladder. Dain and Sullivan climb back up and Sullivan chokeslams Dain off the ladder. Sullivan climbs back up but Ricochet springboard onto his back and they topple over with the ladder. Ricochet uses a remaining ladder and climbs up but Cole knocks over the ladder sending Ricochet into the ropes. Cole then climbs the ladder and takes the belt to become the first NXT North American Champion. That is the best ladder match I have seen in a long time and one of the best ever.
2) NXT Women’s Title: Ember Moon vs Shayna Baszler- Moon charges with a dropkick but misses and Baszler knocks her to the floor with a punch. Moon hits an enzuiguri from the floor. Baszler rolls outside and Moon dropkicks her into the steps. They return inside and Moon hits a codebreaker from the top rope. Moon goes for a crossface but Baszler gets the ropes and rolls outside. Moon goes for a soccer kick from the apron but Baszler grabs her leg and faceplants her on the apron. Baszler throws Moon into the guardrail. Back inside, Baszler goes for a submission but Moon escapes. Baszler gutwrench suplexes her and does a lateral press. Baszler stretches her out in a bow and arrow. They stand and Moon gets a flying headscissors. Moon does a cartwheel palm strike in the corner. Baszler hits a knee strike in the opposite corner. Moon rolls her up. Baszler hits a knee strike. Moon snapmares Baszler and kicks her in the face. Baszler grabs a Kirifuda Clutch and jumps on Moon’s back but Moon slams her to the mat. Baszler misses a charge in the corner and Moon kicks and knees her. Moon hits a dropkick and suplexes Baszler. Moon drives Baszler face-first into the mat. Moon misses a springboard crossbody. Baszler stands on Moon’s hand but Moon sweeps her leg and then stomps on Baszler’s hand. Moon wrenches Baszler’s arm into the canvas. Moon goes up top but Baszler crotches her on the top rope and kicks her in the head. Baszler does a corner dropkick to Moon’s back. Baszler goes to the apron and rams her shoulder into the ringpost twice, apparently to knock her shoulder back into place. She stalks Moon on the apron but Moon kicks her to the floor. Moon then jumps from the second rope and gives Baszler an eclipse to the floor. They’re both laid out on the floor but they beat the ten-count into the ring. Moon grabs Baszler from behind but Baszler flips her into the Kirifuda Clutch. Moon wrenches Baszler’s shoulder to escape. Baszler goes for a triangle but Moon powerbombs her. Moon goes to the top rope and jumps at Baszler for an eclipse attempt but Baszler catches her in the Kirifuda Clutch. Moon tries to work Baszler’s shoulder but Baszler modifies the clutch to prevent it. Moon tries to get her leg on the ropes but Baszler rolls her to the middle of the ring and Moon goes out after a long struggle to give Baszler the title win. Baszler hugs Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke at ringside after the win.
Paige introduces a sneak peek at “Fighting With My Family” about her actual family in which the actors playing Paige and her brother meet The Rock.
Adam Cole is then shown with the trainer and Kyle O’Reilly with Cole saying he doesn’t know if he can compete in the tag title triple threat match.
3) NXT Tag Team Title Match and finals of The Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic: Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly vs Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne vs The Authors of Pain- Akam and Razar attack Cole and O’Reilly to start with Cole having his ribs taped up. Akam and Razar throw Strong and Dune to the floor and then hit a neckbreaker/powerbomb combination on O’Reilly. They toss Cole to the floor and double-chokeslam him through the announce table. O’Reilly hits a running knee-strike off the apron and then kicks either Akam or Razar (I can’t tell them apart) off the apron. Dunne then goes for a kimura on O’Reilly but O’Reilly goes for a cross armbreaker. They stand and O’Reilly hits both Dunne and Strong with knee-strikes. Strong gives O’Reilly a backbreaker. Strong hits a knee to Akam and then dropkicks Razar. O’Reilly elbow Razar out of the ring. Strong gives O’Reilly a backbreaker. Strong gets O’Reilly on his shoulders but O’Reilly applies a guillotine and then a triangle while also getting Akam in an ankle lock. Razar then powerbombs Dunne on O’Reilly to break it up. Akam and Razar double-team Strong in the corner. Razar forearms Strong and does a lateral press. Razar chinlocks Strong who fights out with elbows but Razar gives him a belly-to-belly suplex. O’Reilly hits Razar with elbows but Razar gives him a release German suplex. Cole is shown lying out at ringside. The AOP double-team Strong again. Akam knees Strong in the ribs. Razar knocks Dunne off the apron and O’Reilly jumps on Akam’s back but gets knocked off. Strong hits Razar with an enzuiguri. Strong fights off O’Reilly and tags Dunne who hits a high kick on Razar. Dunne backflips off the top turnbuckle and kicks O’Reilly in the back. Dunne gives Razar a swinging slam. O’Reilly and Dunne trade strikes and start slapping each other only to get taken down by clotheslines from Akam. Razar and Akam powerbomb O’Reilly and Dunne into each other and then hit a double team clothesline. Strong breaks up a pin and gets thrown outside. Razar goes after Dunne who snaps his gingers. Razar then throws Strong into Dunne. Strong hits a knee strike on Razar followed by an Olympic Slam. Strong gives O’Reilly a back suplex on the apron and Dunne hits O’Reilly with a double foot stomp on the apron. Dunne and Strong hit Razar with double knee-strikes and hit a double suplex. Akam breaks up the pin but gets thrown outside. Strong misses a dropkick to the floor on apron but avoids a charges and Akam crashes into the steps. Dunne hits an enzuiguri on O’Reilly and a pumphandle slam on O’Reilly. Strong breaks up the pin attacking his partner Dunne and giving him the End of Heartache. Strong rolls O’Reilly on top to give Cole and O’Reilly the win. Strong then steps on Dunne and puts on Cole’s elbow-pad to join the Undisputed Era and celebrates with Cole and O’Reilly. Bobby Fish comes out to celebrate with them as well with the belts and the Dusty Rhodes Classic Trophy.
Nita Strauss, Alice Cooper’s guitarist, is shown at ringside.
4) NXT Championship: Andrade Cien Almas with Zelina Vega vs Aleister Black- They charge each other to start with Black hitting a headkick. They clutch and Black unloads kicks. Almas rolls outside and Black goes for a dive but stops as Black is out of the way. Black instead goes to the turnbuckles and hits a moonsault. Black rolls Almas inside but Almas axehandles him. Black gets Almas in a crucifix octopus and rolls him up. They roll to the floor and brawl around ringside. Black rolls Almas inside but Vega gives Black a hurracanrana into the ring-steps. Almas takes Black inside and punches him from the mount. Almas runs Black’s shoulder into the ringpost and then lays into him with kicks. Almas whips Black into the ropes and gives him a neckbreaker in the ropes. Almas stomps on Black then does a draping armbar over the ropes. Almas hits a springboard dropkick for a pin attempt then chinlocks him and works the arm. Black fights out and runs Almas into the corner three times. Black charges but Almas applies a sleeper only to get run into the ropes. Black hits a back elbow and Almas hits a boot to the face. Almas goes to the ropes and does another draping armbar in the ropes again. Almas springboards into the ring but Black catches him with a knee-strike. They trade strikes and Black hits kicks and a knee-strike. Black hits a forearm in the corner followed by a quebrada. Black goes up top and Almas cuts him off with chops. Almas goes for a superplex but Black stops him and goes for a sunset flip powerbomb. Almas lands on his feet, misses a charge and hits a German Suplex. Almas goes up top and misses a moonsault when Black rolls out of the way but then immediately hits a standing moonsault. They trade forearms and head-kicks. Black misses a spinning strike but Almas hits one for a one-count. Black hits a knee-strike. They trade forearms again and take each other down with stereo head-kicks. The referee counts and they both get up at seven. Black hits a back elbow and charges Almas who flips him into the corner. Almas catches a kick and hits a roundhouse kick. Almas dumps Black over the top rope and hits a corkscrew plancha to the floor. Almas rolls to the floor where Vega gives him the title belt. He rolls back inside with it and as the referee removes it Vega comes into the ring and gives Black a spike hurracanrana. Almas attempts a pin and then goes for a hammerlock DDT. Black rolls him up and then hits the Black Mass roundhouse kick for a pin attempt but Vega puts Almas’ foot on the rope. Almas rolls to the floor and Black goes to the turnbuckles for a moonsault but has to kick Vega away allowing Almas to crotch him on the turnbuckles outside the ring. Almas then sets up Black and gives him a double stomp. They roll inside and Almas hits double knees in the corner for a pin attempt. Almas goes for the hammerlock DDT but Black gets him up on his shoulders. Almas escapes and avoids a Black Mass and hits a dropkick. They trade strikes on the apron with Almas knocking Black to the apron and hitting a knee-strike on Black against the ringpost. Almas goes for the draping hammerlock DDT but Black backdrops him to the floor and hits a tope con giro. They go back inside and Almas hits the draping hammerlock DDT for a two-count. Vega misses a top rope bodypress on Black and gets caught by Almas allowing Black to hit Almas with Black Mass. Black pins Almas to win the title.
5) Unsanctioned Match: Tomasso Ciampa vs Johnny Gargano- If Gargano loses he is gone from NXT for good. This has the feel of one of the biggest grudge matches in a long time. Ciampa comes out with no music to tons of boos and heel heat which is so hard to do legitimately in modern wrestling but is made easier when you do a great turn against the best babyface going. Gargano gets a huge reaction when he comes out. They face off and start throwing hockey punches. Gargano gets Ciampa to the mat for punches. Ciampa throws him outside but Gargano gets a spear from the apron and continues punching Ciampa. Gargano stomps him down in the corner. Gargano clotheslines Ciampa over the ropes and hits a tope suicida. They brawl at ringside and Gargano Irish whips Ciampa over the guardrail and hits him with a running press. Gargano punches him on the floor in the crowd. Ciampa rams Gargano into the guardrail and drops him rib-first across it. Ciampa throws forearms to Gargano’s back across the guardrail. Ciampa gives him a backbreaker on the floor. Ciampa eels back the floor-mats but Gargano fights back with punches. Ciampa punches him down and tries three times to suplex him on the bare floor but Gargano floats over and kicks Ciampa in the head from the apron. Gargano throws Ciampa over the announce table into Mauro Ranallo and Nigel McGuinness who scatter. Gargano attempts to piledrive Ciampa on the table but Ciampa escapes and gives him a low blow. Ciampa then suplexes Gargano off the table to the floor. Ciampa punches away on Gargano on the floor then bridges the cover of the announce table and back duplexing him onto it. Ciampa kicks Gargano across the back. Ciampa drapes Gargano on the apron and slams him on it chest-first. They return to the ring and Ciampa works over Gargano with forearms, kicks and a stomp to the foot. Ciampa throws him into the corner and he flips up and lands head-first. They get to their feet and Gargano fights back with punches but Ciampa gives him a back suplex. Ciampa applies a Texas Cloverleaf but Gargano eventually gets the ropes. Ciampa refuses to let go as there is no rope break but Gargano breaks free. Ciampa stomps him in the head repeatedly then applauds himself and pats himself on the back. Gargano is draped over the apron and Ciampa hits him with a running knee-lift. Ciampa grabs crutches from a fan in the crowd and takes them in the ring. On commentary, they discuss that Ciampa previously hit Gargano with a crutch when he returned from injury. Ciampa lifts Gargano’s face with a crutch and swings at him with the crutch several times but missing. Gargano gives Ciampa a big kick to the face. Ciampa is on the apron and Gargano punches him from in the rig. Ciampa guillotines him on the top rope. Ciampa tries to suplex Gargano to the floor but Gargano hits an up-kick. Gargano goes for a slingshot DD|T on the apron but Ciampa catches him and sets him up for an air raid crash to the floor. Gargano escapes and powerbombs Ciampa to the bare floor and the fans chant “You deserve it.” Ciampa is laid out on the floor until he follows Gargano into the ring. They sit in opposite corners and then crawl toward the crutch in the middle of the ring and get into a tug of war that Gargano wins. Gargano beat Ciampa round the ring with the crutch including in the previously injured knee. Gargano charges Ciampa but gets thrown outside. Ciampa reaches over the ropes for him but Gargano this him in the head with the crutch. Gargano does a slingshot DDT from the apron for a two-count. Gargano exposes a middle turnbuckle and goes for a lawndart but Ciampa drives him face-first into the top turnbuckle. Ciampa goes for a suplex but Gargano escapes to the apron where Ciampa hits him with an elbow to the jaw. Ciampa charges Gargano who attempts a spear but takes a knee to the face. Ciampa then gives him a spinning slam out of a torture rack. Ciampa then hits a running knee to the back of the head. Ciampa adjusts his knee-brace and goes for a piledriver but Gargano resists. Gargano escapes and fights back with overhead slaps. Gargano reverses out of a tilt-a-whirl but takes a clothesline. Gargano hits a reverse rana, doesn’t get all of it but spikes him. Gargano applies the Gargano Escape. Ciampa is in it for a long time but crawls toward the ropes but there are no breaks. Ciampa gets the ropes but Gargano kicks his arm and rolls back into the hold. Ciampa digs at Gargano’s eyes to break it for a big reaction. Ciampa unwraps the tape from his wrist and tries to choke Gargano with it. Gargano holds onto the tape and they trade a million punches until Gargano starts to win and Ciampa kicks him low. Ciampa hits him across the back with a crutch and gives him Project Ciampa. They get to their feet and Ciampa taunts Gargano who starts throwing slaps and Ciampa returns the same. Gargano hits a superkick and a clothesline followed by a lawndart into the exposed turnbuckle. Gargano hits another superkick. Ciampa is on his knees and Gargano hits a big superkick for a near-fall. Gargano goes to the apron and climbs to the top but Ciampa climbs up as well with Gargano punching away at him. Ciampa punches Gargano and headbutts him then sits on the top rope and lifts him for an air raid crash. Gargano elbows his way out and sets up for a hurracanrana but Ciampa gives him Project Ciampa off the top rope for a near-fall. Ciampa takes off his knee brace and is limping. Ciampa pulls down his knee-ad as well and goes for a running knee but Gargano swings the brace into this knee. Gargano then grabs the crutch and snaps it in two. Gargano goes to blast Ciampa with it but Ciampa covers up and Gargano hesitates. Gargano lowers the crutch and drops it. Gargano seems to want to reunite but Gargano swings the knee brace at him. Gargano avoids it and applies Gargano Escape and stretches the brace across Ciampa’s face for the submission.
This was a phenomenal show, the best of the weekend so far and maybe the year. It had a stellar ladder match, a great women’s title match, a really good triple threat match and an outstanding main event that really built incredibly on Almas’ success in the last two Takeover main events. Black winning the title feels like the exact right move and I suspect Almas will deservedly show up on Raw or Smackdown this week. And then Gargano and Ciampa had a match that possibly topped the Gargano-Almas match which I didn’t think was possible. The only thing missing from the show was having surprise newly-signed wrestlers in the crowd but if that’s not available it’s not available. This honestly is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and I was thinking that after Black vs Almas when I forgot there was one more match coming. And that was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen. I watched this on delay as I had a family get-together and am finishing this late but wouldn’t change a thing as it was amazing. Watch it now or just stop watching wrestling.