– The WWE NXT “Takeover: New Orleans” Kickoff pre-show opens up live from the Smoothie King Center. Charly introduces her panel, Sam Roberts and former NFL player Pat McAfee. The panel goes over tonight’s matches and plugs the WWE Network. Charly sends us outside to Kayla Braxton and a bunch of wild fans. Kayla says the Smoothie King Center is sold out for tonight’s show. Kayla asks about the NXT Title match and fans chant Aleister Black’s name. She asks about the Unsanctioned Match and it’s split. Kayla then asks about the NXT Women’s Title match and fans go with Ember Moon to retain. We go to a video package for Shayna Baszler vs. Moon.
The panel discusses Baszler vs. Moon as we see the champion and the challenger arriving to the arena earlier today. Sam predicts a title change but McAfee disagrees. Charly says we will be joined by Drew McIntyre on the panel soon. We go to a break. Back from the break and we get a video preview for the NXT North American Title Ladder Match. Adam Cole joins us from backstage and he’s holding one of the NXT Tag Team Title belts. Cole confirms he’s pulling double duty tonight and says it’s a travesty. McAfee and Cole continue their beef and McAfee reveals that the Ladder Match will open the show. Cole rants more about how everyone is out to screw The Undisputed Era but says they will always come out on top. Charly leads us to a video for the Triple Threat tag team match for the NXT Tag Team Titles and the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic trophy.
Cathy Kelley is backstage with Roderick Strong and WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne. Strong talks about how he will finally become a champion in NXT tonight. He talks about looking for a partner he could trust and finding that in Dunne. Dunne comments on doing whatever it takes to get the job done against The Undisputed Era tonight. Cathy asks if they’re worried about The Authors of Pain. Strong knows they will bring the fight but it’ll get brought right back. The panel believes The Authors have a good chance at winning tonight. Charly sends us to another break. We come back and Charly plugs the WWE Network, then re-introduces the other two on the panel. Charly sends us to a video preview for tonight’s Unsanctioned Match. We see video from earlier today of Triple H backstage with Gargano and referee Drake Younger, signing a “Hold Harmless Agreement” contract for the match that will rid WWE of any liability if he gets hurt. Gargano’s wife Candice LeRae joins the panel and talks about the feud with Tommaso Ciampa. Candice says she will hope for the best but she’s prepared for the worst. She wants her husband back in NXT so they can work together and she wants him in front of the crowd doing what he loves to do. Referee Younger joins us from backstage. He says the match is Unsanctioned and there are no rules but he will be there to count the pin or declare the submission. Drake also talks about his bad pin on Gargano from a while back but he’s confident he will still be able to call things as he should tonight. Candice is getting emotional as Charly thanks her for being with us. Charly sends us to Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson and Nigel McGuinness at ringside. They plug tonight’s opener for the new NXT North American Title and the other matches scheduled for tonight. Mauro plugs the WWE Network and sends it back to Charly. She plugs WrestleMania 34 and sends us to another break.
We get a preview for tonight’s NXT Title match next. Drew McIntyre joins the panel and talks about how he’s been training for his return from the torn biceps. He gives NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas props and says he is cocky but he gets the job done. McIntyre also mentions he’s coming back soon to get revenge and to get the title back. Drew’s eyes are on Almas but if Aleister Black wins tonight, they will re-ignite a feud that they took across Europe and really do it big for NXT, putting the world on notice with their feud. We get more plugs for tonight and that’s it for the pre-show.
– WWE NXT “Takeover: New Orleans” opens live from the Smoothie King Center. The lights are low as fans start chanting NXT. NXT Loud band Cane Hill appears on the stage to begin their performance. Their “It Follows” and “Lord of Flies” singles are theme songs for tonight’s show.
Ladder Match for the NXT North American Title: Ethan Carter III vs. Killian Dain vs. Lars Sullivan vs. Ricochet vs. Adam Cole vs. The Velveteen Dream
We go to the ring as Mauro Ranallo welcomes us. He’s joined by Percy Watson and Nigel McGuinness. Greg Hamilton introduces the six-man Ladder Match to crown the first-ever NXT North American Champion and out comes Ethan Carter III first. Killian Dain is out next, representing SAnitY. Adam Cole is out next, representing The Undisputed Era. Out next comes The Velveteen Dream, followed by Lars Sullivan. Ricochet is out last as we see black ladders around the ringside area. The NXT North American Title belt is hanging above the ring.
The bell rings and fans chant “this is awesome” as they all face off. Some go to the floor and some get tossed t the floor. Dain and Lars face off alone in the ring. EC3 comes to the apron and eggs them on but they go after him on the floor. Dream and Cole attack Lars and Dain but get beat back. Lars and Dain face off on the floor until Ricochet goes to the top and nails a big Shooting Star Press onto them on the floor. Fans pop big for Ricochet. Ricochet brings a ladder into the ring now but Dream cuts him off. Ricochet and Dream go at it in the ring now. Ricochet tosses Dream with scissors and then nails a dropkick for another big pop.
Ricochet gets sent to the apron and goes to springboard in but Dream knocks him out of the air, to the floor. Dream climbs the ladder but Cole stops him and they go at it now. Cole unloads with stomps in the corner. Dain grabs Cole from the apron but Cole sends him to the floor with the enziguri. Dream comes back in but Cole drops him. Cole climbs but has to come back down as EC3 comes in. EC3 gets the upperhand and knocks Lars off the apron. EC3 with a splash in the corner and more offense on Cole as fans chant his name. Lars runs in and floors EC3, then goes to work on Cole. Lars with more big power moves on EC3 and Cole. Dain sends Lars to the floor and then runs the ropes for a big dive to the floor. Fans pop for the dive.
More chaos in the ring as everyone gets involved. Lars uses a ladder as a battering ram. Lars continues running others over with the ladder. Lars presses Dream above his head and drops him onto a ladder. Lars climbs up for the belt but Ricochet climbs up and fights him. Ricochet goes for the sunset flip powerbomb to the mat but Lars hangs on. EC3, Cole and Dream all come over to assist and Lars finally gets slammed tot he mat. Cole reaches for the title but can’t get it. Dain stops him and Cole yells at him. Dain drops Cole. Dain also backdrops Ricochet onto a leaning ladder in the corner as he charges. EC3 with offense on his opponents now. EC3 and Cole tangle for the ladder but then team up to ram it into Lars in the corner. Cole and EC3 work on Dain on the floor now. They build a ladder bridge from the apron to the announce table. They send Dain down with a ladder shot. They return to the ring and double team Lars again, then exchange high-fives. EC3 mocks Cole’s taunt. Cole grabs EC3 and drops him onto a ladder int he corner. Cole superkicks Dream, Lars, Dain and EC3. Ricochet comes flying at him but Cole superkicks him as well. Cole stands tall and does his taunt for a big pop. Fans chant his name as Cole climbs up for the title.
Lars pushes the ladder over and Cole hits the rope. Dream drops Lars and uses the ladder. Dream climbs to the top rope and nails a huge elbow drop on Dain. Dream goes back to the top rope and nails the elbow on Cole. Dream goes back to a top turnbuckle and hits the big elbow drop again, this time on Ricochet. Lars stops Dream from going up. They go at it and Dream gets the upperhand, sending Lars back down. Dream climbs a ladder that’s standing up near the corner. Dream stands on the very top of the ladder and nails a massive elbow drop to Lars. Fans go wild and chant for Dream now.
Dream climbs up for the title and gets his hand on it. EC3 comes from behind and powerbombs Dream from the ladder to another ladder that is leaning in the corner. My Network feed goes out for a minute or so and comes back to EC3 dropping Dain. EC3 climbs for the title but Cole stops him. Cole climbs up but EC3 stops him. EC3 brings Cole from the ladder to the mat with a fireman’s carry and fans chant his name. EC3 climbs for the title but Dain brings him down and hits a bicycle kick. Cole unloads on Dain but Dain sends him into the corner. Dain picks up EC3 and slams him again. Dain grabs a ladder and drops it on top of EC3. Dain with a senton on top of EC3 and the ladder. Dain places the ladder on top of EC3 again. Dain goes up to the second rope but Cole attacks him from behind. Cole climbs up onto the second rope with Dain now. Dain ends up hitting a Vader Bomb onto EC3 and the ladder while Cole is on his back. Fans chant “this is awesome” now.
Cole and EC3 roll to the floor. Dain stands up but Lars is back up as well. Ricochet attacks Dain but Lars throws him into the corner. Ricochet with bicycle kicks to both Dain and Lars. Ricochet with more offense on both men. Lars launches Ricochet across the ring, landing right in front of Dain. Dain points at Lars and says he can do better. Fans chant “throw him back” at Dain. Dain launches Ricochet across the ring and he lands out on the floor. Dain and Lars unload on each other now. Dain gets the upperhand but Lars catches him in mid-move and puts him down. Dain goes to the floor. Lars stands a ladder up but Ricochet comes in and stops him. Ricochet climbs up but Lars looks to push the ladder over but Ricochet flies out to the floor, taking out Dain and Cole. Fans chant “holy shit” as we get a replay.
Ricochet goes back in the ring but EC3 manhandles him. EC3 places Ricochet on the top turnbuckle and chops him. Ricochet ends up hitting a SSP on the ladder. Ricochet climbs up for the title but Dream runs in and pulls him down, then drops him. Dream and Ricochet go at it. They have one ladder standing while one ladder bridges from that to the corner now. Dream gets put on his back on the bridge. Ricochet is on the top turnbuckle now. Dream rocks Ricochet with a right hand. Dream scoops Ricochet on his back and hits the rolling Death Valley Driver onto the bridge. Fans pop big as they both fall to the mat. Lars ends up flooring Dream on the floor with a lariat. Lars smiles as he picks Dream up and places him onto the ladder bridge that goes from the apron to the announce table.
Lars goes to the apron but EC3 comes from behind. Lars brings EC3 to the apron facing the ladder bridge. Lars slams EC3 through Dream and the ladder bridge for another big pop. Fans chant “holy shit” as officials check on Lars, EC3 and Dream. We get a replay. Fans chant “this is awesome” now. Dain scoops Ricochet and places him on top of a ladder that is bridged from the apron to an announce table. Cole comes to the apron and fights Dain. Dain scoops Cole and slams him through Ricochet and the ladder bridge. All three of those Superstars are down on the floor now with another ladder snapped. Fans chant for NXT now.
Fans chant “fight forever” as the Superstars try to recover on the floor. Lars comes back into the ring first and climbs up for the title but he’s moving slowly. Lars touches the title but here comes Dain up the ladder. They trade shots. EC3 comes in with a ladder and rams them both with it but they still fight and reach for the title. EC3 stands the title up and climbs it. Cole comes in and climbs up the other side of the ladder that EC3 is on. All 4 Superstars fight up high now. Dream comes in with a ladder. Dream rams the ladder into Dain. Dream stands his ladder up now and climbs. Ricochet also climbs up. EC3 gets sent to the floor first. Dain steps down. Dream comes close to getting the title but Ricochet trades shots with him up high. Ricochet ducks a right hand and brings Dream to the mat with a huge neckbreaker from up high. Lars and Dain trade shots from up high again now. Lars chokeslams Dain to the mat from the middle of the ladder.
Lars climbs up for the title but Ricochet springboards in and takes him and the ladder down. Ricochet looks to be climbing up for the title but Cole runs in and knocks him off. Cole reaches up and grabs the title to become the first-ever NXT North American Champion.
Winner and New NXT North American Champion: Adam Cole
– After the match, Cole stands up on the ladder with the title as fans cheer him on. We see the other 5 Superstars trying to recover from the brutal match. We go to replays. Cole leaves with the title up the ramp and stops one more time to pose as fans pop.
– Back from a break and we get more hype from the announcers. We see Zelina Vega and the NXT Champion backstage in the locker room.
– The announcers lead us to a video package for tonight’s Women’s Title match.
NXT Women’s Title Match: Shayna Baszler vs. Ember Moon
We go to the ring and Lzzy Hale from the band Halestorm appears on the stage. She starts performing Ember Moon’s theme song as the NXT Women’s Champion appears and heads to the ring. Out next comes Shayna Baszler as we see Horsewomen Ronda Rousey and Jessamyn Duke sitting in the crowd cheering her on. We get formal ring introductions from Hamilton.
The bell rings and they go at it with Baszler sending Moon to the floor. Moon catches her with a kick. They bring it back in and Ember mounts offense for a 2 count. Moon with a submission but Baszler retreats to the floor to break it. Ember runs with a kick from the apron but Baszler catches it and Moon ends up on the floor. Baszler launches Moon into the barrier. They bring it back into the ring and Baszler keeps control for a 2 count. Baszler with more offense for several minutes as Moon tries to regain control.
Moon finally turns it around and stomps on the arm as Baszler shows fear. Moon with another shot to the arm and the shoulder before covering for a 2 count. Moon goes to the top but Baszler hits the ropes and cuts her off. Moon turns it back around but Baszler catches a break and goes to the corner to use the ring post to pop her shoulder back in. Moon is on the top now while Baszler is on the floor. Moon leaps from the top and hits a big Eclipse on the floor. Fans count with the referee as both Superstars are down on the floor. They make it back in right before the 9 count.
Baszler gets the Kirifuda Clutch applied out of nowhere but Moon goes back to working on her injured arm. They trade counters and pin attempts on the mat as Baszler gets a close 2 count. Baszler counters an Eclipse attempt and drops Moon right into a modified version of the clutch. Moon tries to break free but starts fading as Baszler keeps the hold applied. The hold is still applied as Moon is barely able to resist now. Moon passes out in the hold and Baszler is the new champion.
Winner and New NXT Women’s Champion: Shayna Baszler
– After the match, Baszler’s music hits and she stands tall with the title as Rousey and Duke cheer her on from the crowd. Baszler stands tall as we go to replays. Baszler goes to ringside to embrace Rousey and Duke before making her exit to the back. Baszler stops on the ramp and talks trash while raising the title.
– We see Adam Cole backstage with a trainer. NXT Tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly comes in to see about Cole filling in for Bobby Fish tonight but Cole isn’t sure he can do it.
– We see Aleister Black backstage warming up. Mauro notes that NXT General Manager William Regal is under the weather and not here tonight.
– They air a video promo for the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
NXT Tag Team Title Triple Threat, Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals
We go to the ring and out first comes The Authors of Pain with WWE Hall of Famer Paul Ellering. WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne is out first for his team. His partner Roderick Strong is out next. We see the Dusty Classic trophy set up on the stage. Out next come the NXT Tag Team Champions, The Undisputed Era – Kyle O’Reilly and the new NXT North American Champion, Adam Cole. Cole is taped up and hurting from the opening Ladder Match. We see Goldust sitting at ringside with 2018 WWE Hall of Famer Jeff Jarrett.
Fans chant “Bruiserweight” for Dunne as the match is about to start. The bell rings and Cole is immediately attacked because of his ribs. Akam floors O’Reilly with boots. Rezar and Akam double team Dunne now, sending him to the floor. Akam and Rezar with a combo move on O’Reilly now for a close 2 count as Cole runs in. Cole gets tossed to the floor as The Authors follow him and take apart the Spanish announce table. Strong and Dunne run over but get dropped by Akam and Rezar. They go to put him through the table but he slides out. They come right back and drive Cole through the announce table. O’Reilly leaps off the apron with a knee to Akam.
Strong comes in and goes at it with O’Reilly now. Dunne runs in and applies a submission to O’Reilly in the middle of the ring. Strong and Dunne keep the offense going to O’Reilly. Strong with a running knee to Akam as he gets on the apron. Strong with a close 2 count on Kyle. Kyle counters a move and applies a guillotine to Strong now. They tangle on the mat until Akam comes in with a stomp. Kyle grabs the boot and blocks the stomp, pulling Akam down into a submission. Rezar comes in and powerbombs Dunne on top of Kyle. Everyone is down now. Rezar rocks Strong into the corner. Akam tags in and they double team Strong now.
Rezar works Strong over and takes him down for a 2 count. Rezar keeps Strong grounded but he tries to fight out. Rezar launches Strong with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Kyle comes back into the mix now. We see Cole trying to recover at ringside now. Kyle ends up falling out through the ropes after Rezar unloads on him. The Authors double team Strong in the corner again. The Authors continue to dominate Strong while taunting Dunne. Kyle comes back in but gets slammed to the mat. Strong drops Akam with an enziguri out of the corner. Dunne finally gets the hot tag. He unloads on Rezar and drops him in the corner. Kyle comes over but Dunne drops him and kicks him in the back. Rezar grabs Dunne but he gets slammed for a 2 count.
Dunne trades strikes with O’Reilly now. They unload on each other in the middle of the ring. Akam takes them both down with running lariats. The Authors knock O’Reilly and Dunne into each other before powerbombing them to the mat. They cover for the pin but Strong breaks it up. Strong gets tossed to the floor. Rezar with a knee to Dunne. Dunne snaps Rezar’s fingers and in comes Strong to take over. Rezar misses a big boot in the corner and then takes a knee. Strong with an Olympic slam for a close 2 count on Rezar. Strong slams Kyle on the apron. Dunne follows up with a double foot stomp to the apron from the top. Dunne and Strong take turns on Rezar and hit the double team for a close 2 count as Akam makes the save. Strong ends up sending Akam into the steel ring steps on the outside. Kyle and Dunne go at it now. Dunne drops Kyle and hits the Bitter End but Strong runs in and kicks his partner in the back of the head to break the pin. Strong drops Dunne over his knees with the End of Heartache and places O’Reilly on top of him for the pin.
Winners: The Undisputed Era
– After the match, Strong is all smiles at turning on his partner. Cole comes in the ring and looks shocked with O’Reilly. Strong grabs The Undisputed Era arm band and slips it on. Cole and O’Reilly are all smiles as fans do the “yes!” chant. Strong helps Cole and O’Reilly up and they all stand tall with their arms in the air as the music plays. Strong has joined The Undisputed Era. Strong, O’Reilly and Cole head to the stage to pose with the trophy. Bobby Fish comes out on crutches and poses with them.
– Back from a break and the announcers plug WrestleMania 34 as we see the Mercedes-Benz Superdome next door.
– We see Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss in the crowd with her boyfriend.
– We get a video package for tonight’s NXT Title match.
NXT Title Match: Aleister Black vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
We go to the ring and out first comes Aleister Black. NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas is out next with Zelina Vega. Black stares them down from the corner. We get formal ring introductions from Hamilton.
The bell rings and Black immediately unloads on Almas. Black with strikes now. Almas ends up on the floor. Black charges but puts on the brakes before jumping through the ropes. Black hits a big moonsault from the apron to take Almas down on the floor. They bring it back in and Black goes for a Crucifix but gets a modified Octopus submission instead. We get a 2 count before Almas rolls to the floor for a breather. Black follows him. Vega ends up sending Black into the steel ring steps with a head scissors while the referee isn’t looking. Almas brings it back into the ring for a 2 count.
Fans do dueling chants as Almas turns it around on Black in the corner now. Almas with a nice combo from the second rope for a close 2 count as Vega cheers him on. Almas stomps and keeps Black grounded now. Almas gets an armbar submission applied over the rope from the apron. Almas springboards in with a big dropkick for another 2 count.
Almas keeps Black grounded and works on the arm but fans rally for Black. They tangle and Almas goes for a Sleeper hold but it’s blocked. Almas walks into a back elbow. Black walks into a big boot. Almas goes for the big DDT out of the corner but it’s blocked. Almas with another submission attempt from the apron over the rope. Almas springboards at Black but Black counters with a knee in mid-air. Black gets the upperhand with strikes in the middle of the ring now. Black with more offense and a running boot to the face. Fans pop as Black stands tall. Black charges with a forearm in the corner. Black with another big move for a close 2 count out of the corner. Almas ends up with Black on the top for a superplex but Black resists. They both miss moves in the corner. Almas misses the running knees and hits the turnbuckles. Almas with a snap German suplex. Almas goes to the top for a moonsault but has to land on his feet as Black moves. Almas immediately flips again and hits it this time, covering Black for a 2 count. Black counters a move and hits a forearm in the middle of the ring.
Almas fights back and they trade shots in the middle of the ring. Black with a big kick. Almas catches a kick but Black nails another. Almas with forearms and a back-fist for a close 2 count. Black comes right back with another big strike but barely connects and Almas kicks out. Black looks to be showing some frustration or anger now. They get up and trade shots in the middle of the ring again. They both connect with kicks and both go down again.
Fans count as they both struggle to make it back up. They get up right before the 7 count and go at it. Almas uses Black’s momentum as he charges and sends him hard into the turnbuckles. Black catches a kick and hits Almas but Almas dumps him over the top rope to the floor. Almas springboards to the floor with a corkscrew plancha and brings Black back in for a close 2 count. Vega grabs the NXT Title from the timekeeper and hands it to Almas as fans do dueling chants. The referee takes the title away but Vega comes in while he’s distracted and nails a big DDT. Almas takes advantage and covers but Black kicks out at 2. Vega throws a fit at ringside.
Almas goes for the hammerlock DDT but it’s blocked. Black ends up nailing a Black Mass but he only gets a 2 count as Vega places the boot of Almas on the bottom rope. Vega gets involved again and holds Black’s leg, allowing Almas to floor him. Vega yells at Almas to get back into the ring and finish Black. Almas goes for the big stomp from the top and nails it while Black hangs off the apron. Almas comes back in and charges into the corner with the double knees. Almas nails it and covers but Black still kicks out right before the 3 count. Vega and Almas can’t believe it.
Fans chant “this is awesome” as Almas picks Black up off the mat. Black blocks the hammerlock DDT again. They tangle and Almas nails a big shot to block the Black Mass. They both go down. They trade shots on the apron now. Almas drops Black with a big chop. Almas charges with the running knees to Black’s face, smashing him up against the ring post while they’re on the apron. The referee asks Black if he can continue. Almas goes for the draping hammerlock DDT but Black backdrops him over the top rope to the floor. Black runs the ropes and nails a huge dive over the top rope. Black brings Almas back into the ring but Almas nails the hammerlock DDT for a very close 2 count. Almas argues with the referee about the count.
Vega goes to the top but the referee sees her. She jumps off into Almas arms instead. Black takes advantage of the distraction and hits the Black Mass for the pin and the title.
Winner and New NXT Champion: Aleister Black
– After the match, Black takes the title and recovers as his music hits. Black stands tall with the title and stumbles back into the corner. We go to replays and come back to Black raising the title in the air.
– Back from a break and we get a video package for tonight’s main event.
Unsanctioned Match: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
We go to the ring and Hamilton announces that both Superstars have signed a “Hold Harmless Agreement” and that there are no rules. The referee will be here only to count the pin or declare the submission. Out first comes Tommaso Ciampa to no music. He stares the crowd down as they chant “asshole and “you suck” at him. Ciampa slowly walks to the ring and the “fuck you Ciampa” chants start up. They also chant “Johnny Wrestling” at him. Ciampa talks trash as the “fuck you Ciampa” chants start back up. The music hits and out next comes Johnny Gargano to a pop. Gargano will be reinstated to NXT if he can win this match but a loss means he’s banned.
They stare each other down as fans continue to chant for Gargano. The bell rings and they talk some trash before meeting in the middle of the ring. They start unloading on each other as fans pop. Gargano gets the upperhand and hits a Thesz Press before pounding on Ciampa. Gargano ends up hitting the slingshot Spear for another pop. Ciampa looks to turn it around out of the corner but Gargano is the one that turns it around. Gargano drops Ciampa in the corner and unloads with stomps as fans cheer.
Gargano clotheslines Ciampa over the top rope and then hits the big dive through the ropes. Gargano works Ciampa over on the floor with strikes. Ciampa rocks him. Gargano turns it back around and knocks Ciampa over the barrier. Gargano charges and nails a dive over the barrier, taking Ciampa down in the crowd. Ciampa fights back and unloads with shots while Gargano is laid over the barrier. Ciampa knocks Gargano back to the ringside area. Ciampa with a backbreaker at ringside now. Ciampa gets down in Gargano’s face and taunts him as some fans boo. Ciampa pulls back part of the protective mat at ringside. Gargano gets up and fights back but gets dropped. Gargano blocks a suplex on the concrete and they tangle. Gargano gets up on the apron and kicks Ciampa in the mouth. Gargano tosses Ciampa over the announce table, hitting Mauro, Percy and Nigel.
Fans chant “Mamma Mia!” as the announcers work to get back on the air. Nigel speaks first but the other two are still unplugged. Gargano brings Ciampa on top of the announce table to put him through it but Ciampa fights back and uses one of the monitors. Ciampa tries to put Gargano through the table but it’s blocked. Ciampa brings Gargano to the floor with a big suplex from the announce table but they both land hard. Fans chant for Gargano now as Mauro returns to commentary. Ciampa stomps on Gargano as fans boo. Ciampa leans the top part of the announce table from the floor to the table and slams him through it. Ciampa goes and stands on top of the announce table now as fans boo. Ciampa takes a seat on the table and holds his head instead of jumping off. Fans chant “fuck you Ciampa” again. Ciampa goes back to the floor and works Gargano over. Ciampa brings Gargano back to the apron and slams his face. Ciampa brings it back into the ring and drives an elbow down, keeping Gargano down.
Ciampa works Gargano around as the “asshole” chants start up. Gargano lands hard on his head after Ciampa whips him into the turnbuckles. Ciampa taunts Gargano about giving up. Gargano fights back but Ciampa backdrops him for a pin attempt in the middle of the ring. Gargano tries to yank at Ciampa’s beard. Ciampa tries to turn Gargano into the Cloverleaf. Ciampa applies a submission and Gargano makes it to the rope but the referee can’t break it because of the rules. Ciampa keeps control and taunts the crowd. It sounds like they chant “you’re a wanker” at Ciampa now. Ciampa nails a running knee lift to the head. Ciampa takes the crutches from a fan now. Security escorts the fan away as he talks trash. Ciampa smiles as he approaches Gargano with the crutches in hand.
Ciampa enters the ring and puts a crutch in Gargano’s face. He charges with it but Gargano avoids it. Ciampa misses a shot. Gargano looks to make a comeback but Ciampa nails him. Gargano still manages to drop Ciampa with a hard kick to the side of the head, dropping Ciampa on the apron. Gargano rocks Ciampa on the apron a few times, dropping him again. Ciampa recovers and drops Gargano now. More back and forth at the ropes now. Gargano goes for the slingshot DDT on the apron but it’s blocked. Gargano tries to powerbomb Ciampa to the floor but it’s blocked. Gargano keeps on and powerbombs Ciampa from the apron to the exposed concrete. Ciampa lands hard for a sick thud. Fans chant “you deserve it” now.
Ciampa slowly gets up from the concrete as Gargano recovers in the ring. Ciampa enters the ring and sits in the corner, opposite of Gargano. They both crawl for the crutch that’s in the middle of the ring, grabbing it at the same time. They do a tug-of-war for the crutch now. Gargano gets it as Ciampa falls back to the mat. Ciampa approaches but Gargano unloads with crutch shots. Ciampa dumps Gargano over the top rope to the floor. Ciampa reaches through the ropes but Gargano nails him with a crutch shot to the head. Gargano comes to the apron and hits the slingshot DDT for a close 2 count. Fans chant Johnny Wrestling now as Gargano exposes one of the middle turnbuckles.
Gargano grabs Ciampa and scoops him. Gargano charges into the exposed turnbuckle but Ciampa slides out and sends Gargano into the corner. They tangle on the apron and Ciampa blocks a kick from the apron. Gargano drops Ciampa with an elbow to the jaw. Ciampa charges but Gargano flies into the ring. Ciampa meets him with a knee. Ciampa with a sitdown powerbomb for another 2 count. Ciampa uses the DIY mannerisms before charging at Gargano and flooring him for another close pin attempt. Fans chant for tables now. Ciampa adjusts his knee brace, perhaps to use it as a weapon. Ciampa grabs Gargano for a move but Gargano resists. Ciampa clubs him a few times and goes for the powerbomb but Gargano slides out and rocks him with big shots. Gargano talks some trash and unloads with claps while holding Ciampa’s beard. Ciampa catches Gargano as he charges but it’s countered. Ciampa with a big clothesline. More back and forth now. Gargano spikes Ciampa and eventually drops him into the Gargano Escape. Ciampa hangs on as Gargano keeps it locked. Ciampa gets the bottom rope but the referee can’t do anything about it. Gargano pulls back and tightens the hold.
Ciampa finally breaks the hold by digging in Gargano’s eyes as some fans boo. Another “fuck you Ciampa” chant starts up. Ciampa looks to be in some pain now. Ciampa takes the tape from his wrist and goes to choke Gargano with it but Gargano blocks him and fights back. They trade several strikes while their other arms are connected by the tape. Fans go along with the strikes as they continue pounding one each other. Gargano unloads but Ciampa hits him with a low blow. Ciampa with a big crutch shot. Ciampa steals a move but Gargano somehow kicks out just in time. Ciampa sits up on his knees and Gargano crawls to him. Ciampa talks some trash while getting to his feet and holding onto Gargano’s head. Gargano swings and fights back. Ciampa also fights back. Gargano nails a superkick and then drops Ciampa with another shot. Gargano scoops Ciampa and lawn darts him into the exposed turnbuckle, face first. Gargano nails a superkick and positions Ciampa for another running kick to the face. Ciampa still kicks out at 2 and no one can believe it.
Fans chant for NXT as both Superstars are down on the mat. They end up in the corner with Gargano on the top, still trading strikes. Ciampa climbs up and delivers a headbutt. Ciampa grabs Gargano for a big move from the top but Gargano fights back with elbows to the head and gets out. Gargano re-positions on the top and decks Ciampa a few more times before going for what looks like it will be a hurricanrana. Ciampa counters and brings Gargano to the mat with a super Project Ciampa. Ciampa covers but somehow Gargano kicks out at 2. Fans chant for NXT again as Ciampa adjusts his knee brace after the last move. Ciampa removes the brace and clutches the knee. Ciampa exposes his knee and waits for Gargano to get up. Ciampa charges but Gargano swings the brace and smacks Ciampa in the knee with it. Gargano grabs the crutch and bends it, breaking it into two pieces. Gargano charges to stab the piece at Ciampa but he puts the brakes on and stops. Gargano looks like he wants to stab the crutch piece at Ciampa but he doesn’t. Ciampa just sits there and shakes his head looking up at Gargano and looking defeated. Gargano tosses the crutch to the mat and sits down beside Ciampa. Ciampa pulls a cheap shot and swings the brace but Gargano dodges the cheap shot. Gargano applies the Gargano Escape but Ciampa struggles. Gargano places the brace around Ciampa’s face and pulls back on a submission for the win.
Winner: Johnny Gargano
– After the match, Gargano celebrates as his music hits. Hamilton confirms that Gargano has been reinstated to NXT. Wife Candice LeRae runs to the ring and celebrates with Gargano. We go to replays. Gargano looks to be getting emotional before he stands tall and faces he crowd. Gargano looks at the crutch and the brace in his hands and raises them in the air. Gargano hugs Candice as “Takeover: New Orleans” goes off the air.
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