Takeover: New Orleans Live Notes

I’m still in New Orleans and of course I was taking in Takeover: New Orleans on Saturday. This show had the match that I was looking forward to more than any other in the unsanctioned match between Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. The whole thing looked great on paper but of course that can be deceiving. I mean, I’ve never seen it be deceiving at a Takeover but there’s a first time for everything.

I’ll be doing a full review when I get the chance (I’m a bit backed up as you can tell) but here are some highlights from the night.

From the NXT Taping for this Wednesday:

1. Kairi Sane b. Lacey Evans – Insane Elbow, 8:10, C.

Not much to say here but the fans HATED Evans far more than I was expecting them to. There were multiple chinlocks and Sane came back with her usual, including the Insane Elbow for the pin. It wasn’t bad but you could tell they were kind of rushed for time. Sane’s music is really, really catchy.

2. Heavy Machinery vs. Tino Sabbatelli/Riddick Moss went to a no contest – 6:20, C+.

I was actually digging this one as Heavy Machinery is a fun team. Sabbatelli and Moss…well they have a nice car. I really can’t get into these guys, even though I like Sabbatelli a lot from Breaking Ground. However, none of this matters because WAR MACHINE ran in and wrecked everything. They’re officially the WAR RAIDERS (really not feeling that one) but other than that, it’s the same team it always has been.

The opening song was good, but the entire audience was supposed to have glow sticks. Mike Rome said everyone should have gotten some but probably 90% of the audience had no idea what he was talking about. A WE WANT GLOW STICKS chant started up but didn’t get anywhere.

On to the regular show.

1. North American Title Ladder Match. My goodness what a performance from everyone. I was gasping multiple times and the spots kept getting bigger and bigger. Ricochet and Dream are complete stars and you could see Carter’s face saying “I left TNA for THIS???” after every big bump. Incredible match that completely sucked me in from the start. Oh and Kentucky FINALLY has a cool wrestler! It’s only taken thirty years.

2. Women’s Title. This was stuck in the death spot but dang if they didn’t fight their way out of it. Baszler had to win here as Moon has nothing to gain from being in NXT anymore. I’d be stunned if she’s not in the battle royal tomorrow and on to getting beaten up by Asuka some more. That bit with Baszler banging her shoulder into the post was great and making me cringe at the same time. Good match, but nothing was following that ladder match.

3. Tag Team Titles. I LOVED the finish here as it opens so many doors. The Undisputed Era needed some help with Fish’s injury and the turn is something that should have happened a few months ago. Strong is someone who fits in perfectly with the team and I could easily see them using the Freebird Rule. Oh and Dunne is going to want some revenge. Say with the help of some friends. Perhaps…..oh I don’t know…..from Mustache Mountain?

4. NXT Title. Black was crazy, crazy over with the fans singing the song. Almas wasn’t exactly popular but it was clear that the fans appreciated what he was doing. I wasn’t sure who was going to win this one but Black winning was the right move. Almas and Vega are ready for the main roster and I could easily see why they would be heading up in short order. I could have gone for a longer Almas title reign, but Black is ready.

5. Unsanctioned Match. I don’t say this very often but they owned me on this match. I wanted to see where everything was going and I wanted to see how one of them could actually lose. This was a pure roller coaster with the two guys beating the heck out of each other, the crutch, and then Gargano being one step ahead of him to win. Outstanding match and one of the best I’ve ever seen live. You could also see Luke Gallows and someone who looked a lot like Jerry Lawler watching from the floor behind a lot of the seats.

Also of note (not sure if this made air): Shane McMahon was in the front row with his kids for at least the second half of the show. Goldust and Jeff Jarrett were there for the tag match, before which Shane ran over and hugged them both.

Overall, this is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and possibly the best Takeover ever, which is covering A LOT of ground. Gargano is having the run of a lifetime right now and has Wrestler of the Year locked up for me at this point (which doesn’t say much as we have nine more months). This was outstanding with the Tag Team Title match being rather good and still the worst thing on the show. I loved this show and it might actually surpass Dallas as the best Takeover ever. Full review up….at some point.

 

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