NXT TAKEOVER: NEW ORLEANS KICKOFF SHOW
NXT TakeOver: New Orleans is finally here, as WWE presents the live NXT special on the WWE Network this evening from the Smoothie King Center.
Tune in to the NXT TakeOver: New Orleans Kickoff Show below and make sure to join us here on this page for live play-by-play results coverage of the actual show, which begins at 8pm EST.
The TakeOver Kickoff Show has finally wrapped up and it's now time to head to the ring for the first big event of WrestleMania 34 Weekend. NXT TakeOver: New Orleans kicks off on the WWE Network .... NOW!
NXT TAKEOVER: NEW ORLEANS
The NXT TakeOver: New Orleans special kicks off live inside the Smoothie King Center with a dark shot inside the arena. The fans break out into a loud "NXT! NXT!" chant as we just stare at the dark arena with the camera slowly panning into the entrance way. Finally we hear a bell toll and some music playing.
They shoot to a stage area where a band starts playing a song while clips are flashed in here and there, old D-Generation X entrance style, with shots of NXT Superstars and their issues heading into tonight's big show. Pretty bad ass way to start a show, I must admit.
After the band finishes up their performance and that opening ends, we get the usual shot inside a lit-up Smoothie King Center as Mauro Ranallo welcomes us to the biggest NXT event ever.
NXT North American Championship
(6-Man Ladder Match)
- Ethan Carter III vs. Killian Dain vs. Ricochet vs. Adam Cole vs. The Velveteen Dream vs. Lars Sullivan
The bell rings and we immediately get the official in-ring introductions for tonight's six-man ladder match for the brand new NXT North American Championship. All six guys make their entrances to the ring and our first match of the evening is officially underway!
The fans break out into a "This Is Awesome" chant as the guys are all in the ring now. A few go out to the floor, while others are thrown out to the floor as the action gets going. Ricochet hits a big dive off the top, crashing onto some of the guys on the floor for a big pop from the fans.
EC3 is now getting a run, as he's hitting big splashes and knocking cats out of the ring as the fans start chanting for him now. Dain knocks Sullivan out to the floor and hits a big dive. The fans went nuts for that, too.
Ladders and other weapons are starting to get involved now, as the violence level of this match is starting to pick up. EC3 and Adam Cole seem to have some unspoken agreement about taking people out together, as they're double-teaming opponents now and high-fiving each other in between. Ricochet ends up flying out of nowhere but falls right into a big superkick from Cole.
The Velveteen Dream climbs up the ladder and hits a huge flying elbow smash on Dain. He goes back up and hits another one on Adam Cole. He does it again on Ricochet. Dream takes out Lars and does one final enormous one off the very top. The crowd is going nuts chanting for Dream right now!
A giant hard-to-explain ladder set up is put together, somewhat of a massive bridge setup that Dain slams Cole on top of Ricochet and both guys go through it. The fans do their usual "Holy Sh*t!" and "This Is Awesome!" chants. Now they break out into a loud "NXT! NXT!" chant.
Now a "Fight Forever" chant breaks out as all the guys slowly start to get back to their feet and the action resumes as we feel the end coming soon. Sullivan hits a big chokeslam on Dain from the middle of the ladder. Ricochet springboards onto the ladder to stop Sullivan. Now Cole runs up and knocks Ricochet off. Cole grabs the title. We have our first-ever NXT North American Champion.
Winner and NEW NXT North American Champion: Adam Cole
Backstage: Zelina Vega & Andrade "Cien" Almas
Backstage we see NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas and Zelina Vega in their locker room.
NXT Women's Championship
- Ember Moon (C) vs. Shayna Baszler
We head back to the ring as our second title match of the evening is up next, as the NXT Women's Championship is on-the-line.
Lizzy Hale from the band Halestorm is shown on stage. She starts performing Ember Moon's theme song live. The reigning NXT Women's Champion makes her way to the ring.
Out next is her opponent, Shayna Baszler. The Queen of Spades heads to the ring as we see her fellow Four Horsewomen members Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke sitting in the crowd cheering her on.
The formal in-ring introductions for this championship contest are happening now. The bell rings and here we go!
As soon as the match begins, Baszler throws Moon out to the floor. Moon blasts her with a kick. Back in the ring, Moon goes for a submission but Baszler escapes out to the floor to survive. Out on the floor, Baszler launches Moon into the barricade.
Back in the ring now and Baszler appears to have taken full control over the offense at this point. Things remain in her control until Moon stomps her arm at one point and Baszler shows fear in a clear-cut facial expression. Moon blasts her arm again for a near fall.
Moon ends up landing a huge Eclipse on Baslzer on the floor for a big pop from the fans inside the Smoothie King Center. Both women make it back into the ring at the count of nine from the referee. The action continues!
Baszler gets the Kirifuda Clutch out of nowhere on Moon, however Moon escapes and goes back to work on Baszler's injured arm. Both ladies exchange a series of near falls until Baszler counters an Eclipse attempt by Moon into a submission. She tightens it up and Moon ends up passing out. We have a new champion!
After the match, we see Baszler celebrating with the title along with Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke in the crowd.
Winner and NEW NXT Women's Champion: Shayna Baszler
Backstage: Adam Cole & Kyle O'Reilly
Backstage we see Adam Cole with an NXT trainer. In comes the NXT Tag-Team Champion Kyle O'Reilly and sees if Cole is able to fill in for the injured Bobby Fish tonight. Cole is not sure he can do it.
Backstage: Aleister Black Prepares For Battle
Backstage we see Aleister Black warming up. Mauro Ranallo tells us on commentary that NXT General Manager William Regal is under the weather and not in attendance tonight.
NXT Tag-Team Championships
(Triple-Threat Dusty Classic Finals)
- Roderick Strong & Pete Dunne vs. The Authors Of Pain vs. The Undisputed Era
All teams, including a banged up Adam Cole replacing an injured Bobby Fish, make their way to the ring after a video airs highlighting the action from this year's Dusty Rhodes Tag-Team Classic tournament.
Up next is our third title match of the evening. The formal pre-match in-ring introductions for this championship contest are being handled now.
The fans break out into a loud "Bruiserweight! Bruiserweight!" chant now as Pete Dunne is in the ring. Cole is immediately a target in this match as his opponents go after his injured ribs straight out of the gate.
Lots of action all over the place as there are six guys involved in this one. We've already got some action on the floor, as The Authors of Pain take apart the Spanish announce table with designs on putting an injured Adam Cole through it.
Back in the ring, Dunne and Strong are taking control of the action with actual wrestling, as Dunne has O'Reilly grounded in a submission in the middle of the ring. Strong blasts Akam with a knee as he got up on the apron. Now Akam is locked in a submission. Razar comes in and powerbombs Dunne onto O'Reilly. Everyone is down now.
Akam tags back into the match and he and Rezar work on Strong by double-teaming him briefly. Now Dunne and Strong are fighting back. Now it's down to Dunne and O'Reilly in the ring. Dunne drops him and hits the Bitter End but Strong runs in and accidentally kicks Dunne in the back of the head. Strong drops Dunne over his knees with the End of Heartache and puts O'Reilly on top of him for the pin. That's how this one ends, folks.
After the match, Strong smiles after turning on his partner. Cole comes in and looks shocked, as does O'Reilly. Strong puts the Undisputed Era arm band on and celebrate with Cole and O'Reilly as their music plays. Bobby Fish comes out on crutches and poses with them.
Winners: The Undisputed Era
- Andrade "Cien" Almas (C) vs. Aleister Black
After we see Alice Cooper and Nita Strauss in the crowd, the video package for tonight's NXT Championship match airs.
We head back to the ring and out comes Aleister Black. After him, NXT Champion Andrade "Cien" Almas comes out with Zelina Vega.
Hamilton does the formal in-ring introductions for this championship contest. The bell rings and here we go. Black immediately goes after Almas like a bat out of hell.
Almas ends up on the floor to retreat but Black hits a big moonsault from the apron onto Almas on the floor. Back in the ring, Black goes for a Crucifix but ends up getting Almas in a Octopus submission instead. Outside the ring, Vega gets involved for the first time, knocking Black into the ring steps.
Almas goes for a hammerlock DDT but it ends up getting blocked. Black nails him with a Black Mass but only gets a two count. Vega starts getting involved a bunch again as the crowd goes nuts. Almas goes for a big stomp off the top and nails Black with it. Almas charges into the corner and hits him with double knees.
The fans chant "This Is Awesome" as Almas picks Black back up. Black blocks another hammerlock DDT attempt. Almas blocks another Black Mass attempt from Black. Almas again hits double knees, this time while Black was against the ring post. Almas goes for the draping hammerlock DDT off the ropes but Black ends up back dropping him over the top and out to the floor.
Black runs the ropes and hits an insane dive onto Almas on the floor. He brings him back into the ring but Almas finally nails him with his hammerlock DDT for a very believable near fall. Almas is upset at the referee at the count.
Vega goes to the top but the referee sees her. She jumps onto Almas instead. Black uses the distraction to hit another Black Mass for the pin. We have a new NXT Champion!
After the match, Black grabs the title and celebrates while his music plays. He stands tall in the ring as he raises his title proudly over his head.
Winner and NEW NXT Champion: Aleister Black
(If Gargano Loses He's Gone From NXT)
- Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
We have our main event of the evening, the unsanctioned match between Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Remember, if Gargano loses, he's gone from NXT forever.
The video package for tonight's main event airs (boy a lot of promotion is going into an unsanctioned match, ain't it?) and highlights the story heading into this showdown.
From there, we head back into the arena where both guys make their walks to the ring. The pre-match introductions feature Hamilton informing us that both Superstars have signed "Hold Harmless Agreements" and that there are no rules for this contest. The ref is only there to pin or declare an official submission.
We've got "Johnny Wrestling!" and "F*ck You Ciampa!" chants breaking out inside the Smoothie King Center as this one gets ready to get underway. The two are trading shots back-and-forth like it's a real fight. The fans are way into the action. They're out on the floor now fighting around the announce tables. The fans break out into a "Mama Mia!" chant as Mauro Ranallo and crew try and work to get back on the air after being ambushed out of their announce table due to the fight.
Ciampa starts to take over, beating down Johnny Gargano as the fans boo loudly once they realize he's in full control. He ends up slamming Gargano through one of the tables outside the ring. Ciampa stands on top of another announce table and mocks the fans as they boo. They now start chanting "F*ck You Ciampa!" again.
Gargano is looking like he's half dead now, taking selling to a whole new level as Ciampa is still having his way with him. An "Assh*le" chant spreads throughout the building now as Ciampa taunts Gargano about giving up. Gargano tries fighting back but Ciampa puts an end to that quickly. Ciampa tries getting Gargano in a Cloverleaf but settles for another submission instead. Gargano makes it to the ropes but the referee points out that he can't break the hold because there aren't any rules.
Ciampa blasts Gargano with a running knee lift to the face. Ciampa takes a set of crutches from a fan now and security escorts the fan away. Ciampa blasts Gargano with the crutches.
Now one of the turnbuckle pads have been taken off, so we enter an exposed turnbuckle into the mix in this unsanctioned brawl between these two. Gargano is finally getting some revenge, as he's back in the fight. Gargano is trying to stay in this one, but Ciampa keeps finding ways to beat him down more and more. Gargano is grabbing onto Ciampa's beard now and is trying to fight back while holding onto it. He's trying any and everything tonight and the fans are 100% behind him the entire way.
Gargano eventually blasts Ciampa and drops him into the Gargano Escape. Ciampa hangs on, struggling to get the ropes. He finally does, only to find out that there are no rope breaks in this one, just as Gargano found out earlier. There are no rules in this unsanctioned wild encounter between Gargano and Ciampa. Gargano tightens up the hold now as Ciampa looks to be in trouble.
Ciampa takes some of his wrist tape off but Gargano grabs the end of it and engages in a punching battle until Ciampa hits him with a low blow to cut him off. Ciampa said this was his moment, but Gargano blasts him with two super kicks out of nowhere.
After the two beat the hell out of each other some more with the crutch, finally we get to the finish, which sees Gargano lock in the Gargano Escape. Ciampa fights to get out but now Gargano puts a brace around Ciampa's face and yanks back harder on the submission. He gets the win!
After the match, Gargano celebrates while his music plays and the crowd goes nuts. That was truely an awe-inspiring performance from Johnny Wrestling and Tommaso Ciampa this evening. Really great stuff. Gargano celebrates some more with Candice LaRae as NXT TakeOver: New Orleans goes off the air.
Winner: Johnny Gargano