My Wrestling Awards: 2018

2018 was an interesting year for the WWE to say the least. It was full of things we never thought we’d see, like Daniel Bryan returning to the ring, or The Undertaker coming back. 2018 also had its ups, and certainly a lot of downs, but we can look into 2019 with hopes that it’ll be a great year. Last year I wrote my wrestling awards, and I’m looking to keep up the tradition. So without further ado, here are my wrestling awards for 2018.

Superstar of the Year: AJ Styles, Seth Rollins, Braun Strowman, Tommaso Ciampa

Winner: Seth Rollins

While AJ Styles held the WWE Championship for 11 months in 2018, nobody’s had a better 2018 than Seth Rollins. He may have had a slow January, his year kicked off with a monster performance in the Elimination Chamber gauntlet match, wrestling for 65 minutes. He then brought more prestige to the Intercontinental Championship, having barn-burning matches against The Miz, Finn Bálor, Elias, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre for the better part of six months. Rollins would have some more fun with his Shield brothers before Roman left for treatment and Ambrose stabbed him in the back. Seth Rollins is set to have an even bigger 2019, and we should hopefully see him as the Universal Champion soon.

Woman of the Year: Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, Becky Lynch

Winner: Becky Lynch

Honestly, it couldn’t be anyone other than Becky. It wouldn’t feel right. Becky’s had a slow start to her 2018, with an okay performance in the Rumble, then being on the Mania preshow. She had a good showing in the Women’s MITB ladder match, then SummerSlam happened. After losing to Charlotte, she kicked the crap out of her former friend in a failed attempt at turning Becky heel. Instead, that moment turned Becky into the badass she should have been all along. She won the title at Night of Champions, had a MOTY candidate against Charlotte at Evolution, invaded RAW and had her nose broken, which made her even cooler in the eyes of the fans. Becky Lynch’s sudden rise shows how powerful the fans can be, and that everyone needs to remember who The Man is.

Tag Team of the Year: The Usos, The Bar, The New Day, AOP

Winner: The Bar

The Bar became the second team to win both the RAW and Smackdown tag team titles, and have had great matches against the likes of New Day and the Usos. Yes, they got squashed at WrestleMania, but they’ve bounced back on Smackdown Live, quickly becoming one of the standard bearers of the division. Also, that rap battle was hilarious. They dressed up as Run DMC and parodied Ice Ice Baby. That might be one of the funniest segments of the year. 2019 will look to be a great year for The Bar, and will hopefully be at the forefront of Smackdown Live after the superstar shakeup.

Breakout Star of the Year (Male): Velveteen Dream, Tommaso Ciampa, Drew McIntyre, Buddy Murphy

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa

Wow Ciampa, what a year you’ve had. He did great heel things like cost his former best friend his job, then would have the feud of the year with that ex friend. He’d go on to win the NXT Title and has had great matches against Johnny Gargano, Velveteen Dream, and Aleister Black. Ciampa also loves to eviscerate people on twitter (seriously, his twitter feed is gold). Whenever Ciampa goes up to the main roster, they better get ready for the best heel champion since CM Punk.

Breakout Star of the Year (Female): “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, Carmella, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax

Winner: “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey

Ronda may have had one of the best rookie years of all time. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone naturally grasp Pro Wrestling this well since Kurt Angle. She hasn’t had a bad match. One of my favorite Ronda matches this year was at Money in the Bank, because it showed how great she is at selling, and being able to come back. Ronda could have an even better 2019, and be part of the first ever women’s WrestleMania main event.

Comeback of the Year: Tommaso Ciampa, Drew McIntyre, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio

Winner: Daniel Bryan

I mean come on. Starting the year retired from wrestling, and ending it as WWE Champion. Yes, his return was dull at first thanks to a crappy feud with Big Cass, but it really began to pick up steam thanks to a feud with The Miz, and D-Bry pulling out of Crown Jewel, which allowed him to win the WWE Championship. Yes he turned heel, but I hope that we get a solid 2019 for Bryan, and a decently long title reign.

Feud of the Year: Seth Rollins vs Dolph Ziggler, AJ Styles vs Samoa Joe, Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa, and Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair,

Winner: Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa

This feud combined both great action and storytelling. The fans unanimously despised Tommaso Ciampa after he stabbed Johnny Gargano in the back, but we had to wait on the feud while Ciampa recovered from ACL surgery. But once he came back, the fire was lit and wouldn’t stop burning. Each of these matches were brutal, and had something different to bring to the table and told the story of Johnny Gargano’s descent into darkness. The first match was about Johnny getting his job back and revenge on his former friend. The second match was about Johnny going to that dark place after Ciampa threw his wedding ring in the arena. Then the third match, was about Johnny going to that dark place, and it coming back to cost him. Now it seems that a heel DIY reunion is in the works, but we’ll have to see about that in 2019.

WrestleMania Moment of the Year: Daniel Bryan’s Entrance, Undertaker’s return, Asuka’s streak ending, Nakamura’s Heel turn

Winner: Undertaker’s Return

While Daniel Bryan coming back was awesome, and Asuka’s streak snapped was a good shock, nothing made me feel more than hearing that bell toll at WrestleMania 34. I had legitimate goosebumps when the lightning struck the ring and John Cena’s being frozen in terror while The Undertaker made his way to the ring. He crushed John Cena in 3 minutes, but man those were an entertaining 3 minutes. His subsequent feud with Triple H & DX was not, but it was still nice to see The Undertaker avenge the biggest loss of his career.

Potential Breakout Star of 2019 (Men’s): Lars Sullivan, Drew McIntyre, Matt Riddle, and Punishment Martinez

Winner: Lars Sullivan

Drew had an okay 2018, and will have a strong 2019. But I’m giving this nod to Lars Sullivan. Lars Sullivan had a great 2018 in NXT, and it didn’t really get going until the 6 man North American Title Ladder Match at TakeOver: New Orleans, where he murdered everyone in the match. Normally, you wouldn’t think of big dudes in ladder matches, but Lars Sullivan, along with Killian Dain had a coming out party in that match. Lars Sullivan would also go on to challenge Aleister Black at TakeOver Chicago, and was put over as the most dangerous challenger to Black’s NXT Championship. He spent the rest of 2018 killing more people on NXT, and now has his sights set on the main roster. Regardless of which brand he goes to, he should go on a killing spree, and as long as he isn’t ruined by the end of the year, he could be in the world title picture.

Potential Breakout Star of 2019 (Women’s): Ember Moon, Lacey Evans, Nikki Cross, and Candice LeRae

Winner: Nikki Cross

Nikki Cross is awesome. She’s the psychopath on NXT, and will be the missing piece for SAnitY to be whole again. She had an awesome match against Shayna Baszler at TakeOver: Chicago, and was a part of the Gargano-Black feud. Although she had a women’s title match against Becky Lynch on Smackdown in October, whenever Nikki gets called up to the main roster, Smackdown better get ready. Things are about to get a lot crazier.

Promo of the Year: Reigns relinquishes the title (10/22 Raw), Heyman’s interview (8/6 Raw), John Cena calls out Undertaker (3/12 Raw), The Usos “Sideline” promo (2/27 Smackdown), Daniel Bryan announces that he’s cleared (3/20 Smackdown)

Honorable Mention: The Bar vs Usos Rap Battle

Winner: Roman Reigns relinquishes the title (10/22 Raw)

This promo literally shook the Wrestling World, and shattered the fourth wall. Roman Reigns announcing to the world that he was battling leukemia for a second time, was one of the most emotional moments in the past few years. There were people crying, and the people who were booing realized that despite issues with Roman Reigns as a character, Joe Anoi’i as a man is the hero WWE has been looking for. I don’t necessarily agree to have this announcement as a part of a storyline, but I liked that Roman got the chance to tell the world rather than a notification on your phone. This promo was the ultimate babyface turn for Reigns, and whenever he comes back the fans are behind him.

Most disappointing 2018 (Male): Andrade “Cien” Almas, Bray Wyatt, Elias, Rusev

Winner: Andrade “Cien” Almas

Almas had one of the biggest and sharpest declines of 2018. At the start of the year, he took part in a Meltzer rated 5 star match at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia, defending his NXT Championship against Johnny Gargano. He lost his NXT Title in another classic at TakeOver: New Orleans, then everything fell apart. He had a great debut against AJ Styles in a losing effort, then got in an underwhelming feud against Rusev and Lana, then disappeared from TV for months. 2019 NEEDS to be the year of Andrade “Cien” Almas. He is a great heel, and a run at the top of the card would do him a lot of good.

Most Disappointing 2018 (Female): Bayley, Asuka, Naomi, Sasha Banks

Winner: Asuka

Sweet Jesus WWE. They had one of the best women’s wrestlers in the world, then they ruin her. She started the year strong. She won the first ever Women’s Royal Rumble Match, punching her ticket to a dream match against Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania. Then she lost. Yes, just because Mania was in NOLA, another streak had to end and it just so happened that Asuka was undefeated. Then she ate back to back losses to Carmella, and did nothing for 5 months. She may have won the title at TLC, but now 2019 should be all about repairing the damage that happened in 2018.

Shocking Moment of the Year: Daniel Bryan announces he’s cleared (3/20 Smackdown), Undertaker’s entrance at WrestleMania, Roman Reigns announced his leukemia, (10/22 Raw), and Bobby Lashley’s return

Winners: Daniel Bryan getting cleared, and Reigns’ leukemia announcement

I normally don’t do co-winners, but I honestly couldn’t pick between those two. One is in a moment of triumph, finally getting a chance to get back in the ring. Then on the opposite side of the coin, is a moment of tragedy, with Roman Reigns being away for an indefinite amount of time. First, let’s talk about Daniel Bryan. Nobody expected Bryan to be cleared to return, and everyone was overjoyed when ESPN broke the news. The one person who the fans wanted back, is back. And he’s had an okay 2018, but he’s gained back the championship that he’s never lost in a matter of seven months. Now, to take things in a more depressing tone. In October, Roman Reigns announced to the world that his leukemia has returned, and he had to relinquish the WWE Universal Championship. Both of these moments are the most shocking moments in the last few years, and I don’t think anything can top them.

Best Pay-Per-View: Any NXT TakeOver, WWE Evolution, Royal Rumble, WrestleMania 34

Winner: NXT TakeOver: New Orleans

Of all the great pay-per-views that happened this year, I’d have to pick TakeOver: New Orleans. It was a perfect show. The ladder match was an entertaining spotfest full of bone shattering action, and made Lars Sullivan into a star. I mean hitting a Freak Accident onto another person crunched under a ladder speaks for itself. Roderick Strong’s shock heel turn was a great swerve for the fans, and kept Adam Cole protected after a brutal ladder match. Shayna Baszler may have sent Ember Moon out on a sour note, but she’s the most dominant woman in NXT right now, and this match was the start to her 2018 dominance. Aleister Black winning the NXT Championship, one year after his TakeOver debut was the perfect way to cap off his first year in NXT. Then the main event, combined brutal weapon shots, great storytelling, and insane action. Gargano-Ciampa was a great feud in 2018, but now I hope they’d be a better team in 2019.

Worst Pay-Per-View: Backlash, Crown Jewel, Extreme Rules, Fastlane

Winner: Crown Jewel

While Backlash was completely awful and even provided storyline continuity, Crown Jewel should not have happened due to the massive political backlash in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. Then the show itself was really, really bad. Nakamura was on the preshow, Brock killing Braun Strowman in like 2 minutes, then SHANE. McMAHON. WON THE BEST IN THE WORLD TOURNAMENT. That was ridiculously stupid. Then there was the clusterf**k that was the main event. Triple H hurt himself and finished the match (huge props to you trips, hope your recovery is going well). Kane got his mask punched off, and it was just a slow, really bad match. It was not fitting the return of the Heartbreak Kid, and could’ve been the last time we got to see Kane, who deserves a much better retirement match.

Worst Match of the Year: DX vs The Brothers of Destruction (Crown Jewel), Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe (Backlash), Triple H vs The Undertaker (Super Show-Down), Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss (Backlash)

Winner: DX vs The Brothers of Destruction (Crown Jewel)

What makes this match truly awful isn’t just how slow, or old the wrestlers looked. It wasn’t the botches or Triple H hurting himself. What is truly damning about this match is that it kicked the legacies of 4 legends to near death. This was a match that was 20 years in the making. Everyone wanted DX to take on the Brothers of Destruction, but once they finally clashed, dear god it shouldn’t have happened. The aforementioned botches, Triple H tearing his pectoral, but still finishing the match because he’s a man, and just The Undertaker and Kane looking like shadows of their former selves. This was a complete waste of Shawn Michaels’ return, and we can only hope that they don’t bring back any other legends for their next Saudi shows.

Match of the Year: Johnny Gargano vs Andrade “Cien” Almas, Gargano-Ciampa Trilogy, Seth Rollins vs The Miz (Backlash), and Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair (Evolution)

Honorable Mentions: Elimination Chamber gauntlet match (2/19 RAW), WarGames Match: Undisputed Era vs Ricochet, Pete Dunne & War Raiders (NXT TakeOver: WarGames), Ronda Rousey & Kurt Angle vs Triple H & Stephanie (WrestleMania), Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair vs Asuka (TLC), Seth Rollins vs Elias (Money in the Bank) Brock Lesnar vs Daniel Bryan (Survivor Series),

Winner: Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa (NXT TakeOver: Chicago)

Honestly, I could’ve picked any of the Gargano-Ciampa TakeOver matches, but this one takes the cake. The action was intense from bell to bell, with no slow point at all throughout the match. There were also some great moments. The fan calling Ciampa the Devil, both men battering each other with weapons, the handcuff spots, and the recreation of Ciampa’s betrayal really tugged at the heartstrings. Tommaso Ciampa spitting on Johnny Gargano’s wedding ring and chucking it across the arena, was one of the biggest acts of heel heat of the year. Ciampa won thanks to a DDT on the exposed ring mat, and honestly was the perfect way to end TakeOver: Chicago. With no music, and the fans’ stunned silence turning into a chorus of boos for Tommaso Ciampa, the best heel in WWE.

Advertisements

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 Review

NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 4 was a simply phenomenal show, keeping the trend of setting the bar of a ridiculous standard for TakeOver shows. Feuds were settled, and new champions were crowned. Once again, all of the matches were fantastic and although there were some unexpected results, they’ll work out in the long run. Also, Matt Riddle is in NXT now, which means NXT is going to be a lot of fun. If you missed this brilliant show, don’t worry. I’ll get you up to speed with my review of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4.

Prediction Score: 3-2

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (c) def. Moustache Mountain to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships

Roderick Strong took out Tyler Bate, and the Undisputed Era went right after Moustache Mountain, with the start of the match at a breakneck pace with constant tags from both teams. The U.E. took over with double teams on Trent Seven, but he made the tag to Tyler Bate, who even did the Cesaro swing, with O’Reilly on his back, then hit Strong with a German Suplex, with O’Reilly still on his back. The champions kept Bate down with constant tags and targeting the leg of the first ever UK Champion. Bate finally makes the tag to Trent Seven, and he goes on a tear, throwing Kyle O’Reilly across the ring, but once again, the champions regain momentum, and the challengers showing heart with constantly kicking out. Strong locks in the Stronghold, and Kyle O’Reilly locks in a triangle on Tyler Bate, but he powers out, throwing O’Reilly into Roderick Strong. Trent Seven tags Tyler Bate back in, and he goes on a tear, hitting Strong with the Tyler Driver 97, but the champs kicked out. Kyle O’Reilly tweaked Bate’s knee again, and locks in a heel hook. Trent Seven gets into the ring, and Strong drags his partner back into the center of the ring. Seven almost threw in the towel, and Bate drags himself to the corner and made the tag to his mentor, and hit a lariat, then tagged Bate back in. The challengers hit a knee drop burning hammer, but the U.E kicked out. Moustache Mountain had a double team set up, but Strong kneed Bate out of the ring, and the champs capitalized and retained their titles. Immediately after the match, the War Raiders showed up and destroyed the Tag Team Champions, making their presence known. This was a fantastic tag team match, and the best way to kick off TakeOver: Brooklyn 4

The Velveteen Dream def. EC3

Out came dream, wearing tights that said “Call me up Vince” meaning that it’s possible that he’ll get called up soon. Dream threw his vest at EC3, only for EC3 to throw it right back at the Dream. The bell rings, and EC3 shoes his power, with throwing Velveteen Dream into the corner twice, and outside of the ring. EC3 locked in a wrist lock, and he chucked his arrogant opponent around the ring. Dream even harked back to the Hogan-Michaels match, with him overselling EC3’s kicks on the top turnbuckle and even threw himself on the top rope. EC3 hit Dream with a clothesline over the tip rope, and Dream hit a twisting DDT, but EC3 kicked out. Now The Velveteen Dream has momentum, but EC3 won’t stay down. Dream splashed water into EC3’s face, and that angered the Top 1%. EC3 used his power and speed to regain momentum, and slammed his face into the ground, but Dream kicked out. Dream tried to go to the top rope, but EC3 threw him down right away, and hit a cross body from the top but Dream rolled through. EC3 tried to hit the top 1%er on the apron, but Dream escaped and hit EC3 with the Dream Valley Driver, but it wasn’t enough. Dream hit a Dream Valley Driver and a Purple Rainmaker Elbow on the apron to pick up the win against EC3.

NXT North American Championship Match: Ricochet def. Adam Cole (c) to become the new NXT North American Champion

The match starts out with some solid chain wrestling and some flips from Ricochet added in there. But Adam Cole keeps the high flyer grounded, and telling Ricochet that he isn’t special. Ricochet starts to fly, but Cole throws him from the turnbuckle to the floor, and Adam Cole lets his merciless side come out. Ricochet dropkicked Adam Cole out of the ring, and hit a beautiful suicide dive. Ricochet takes a nod to Rey Mysterio with a 619, and hit a springboard uppercut, and now the flips are coming out as Ricochet takes control. Cole countered a Ricochet flip with a backstabber. Ricochet countered a super kick with a discus forearm, then Adam Cole kicked Ricochet mid moonsault, and that wasn’t enough for Cole to retain. The two indie darlings had an exchange of strikes, culminating with an Adam Cole super kick from out of nowhere. Cole tried to knee Ricochet in the back of the head, but the challenger countered with a reverse hurricanrana, and Cole rolled out of the way when Ricochet went for the 630. Ricochet hit a beautiful hurricanrana off of the ring apron, then a 630 splash to win the North American Championship.

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Kairi Sane def. Shaya Baszler to become the new NXT Women’s Champion

Kairi Sane went for a submission immediately, and is using her speed to counter Shayna’s overwhelming power, even trying to lock in a Brock Lock. The Pirate Princess had an answer for everything Shayna had, using quick strikes and counters to keep the Queen of Spades at Bay. However, the champion kicked Sane’s leg out from under her, and now is deliberately picking her leg apart. Shayna had her leg down on Kairi’s injured leg, with the champion twisting her challenger’s ankle and stomping on her foot. Kairi Sane stayed defiant, with a furious flurry of strikes and slaps. Shayna countered Kairi going up top with a gutwrench superplex from the middle rope, and then both women had an exchange of strikes, but Baszler capitalized with a knee strike, but it wasn’t enough. Sane countered a Kirifuda driver with a spear, and hit an inSane Elbow from the middle rope, and she went for it again, the champion rolled out of the ring. The Pirate Princess hit the champ with a top rope crossbody to the outside, and managed to hit a top rope inSane Elbow, but Shana kicked out. Sane went for the Anchor, but Shayna locked in the Kirifuda Clutch, but Kairi Sane got to the rope. Shayna locked in a heel hook on Kairi’s injured leg, which was countered into the Anchor, but Baszler got to the ropes. Kairi went for a third inSane Elbow, kicked up her feet and locked in the Kirifuda Clutch, but Kairi Sane flipped herself over and pinned Shayna Baszler to pick up the win, and once again get the better of the Queen of Spades.

Last Man Standing Match for the NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) def. Johnny Gargano to retain the NXT Championship

Johnny Gargano assaulted Ciampa during his introduction, and all hell immediately broke loose. Gargano is battering Ciampa in the corner, and countered everything Ciampa threw at him before Ciampa threw him into the steps, then Johnny Gargano threw the champion into the security barricade. Johnny exposed the concrete floor, and before he could capitalize, Ciampa raked his former best friend’s eyes, and in keeping with the breakneck pace, Johnny Wrestling threw Ciampa into the announcer’s table, only for Ciampa to counter by riving Ciampa through the other announce table. Ciampa grabbed a chair, and kicked Johnny Gargano down into the corner. Right as Ciampa was going to end Gargano, Johnny threw the chair into Ciampa’s knee, and tried to break the chair over Ciampa’s spine. Ciampa locked in a sleeper hold, trying to put Johnny Wrestling to sleep. Johnny got up at a count of 6, and Ciampa immediately puts the sleeper hold back on. Ciampa tried to use the top rope as leverage, but Gargano countered by throwing Ciampa head first into the chair, but Ciampa got up at a count of 7. Johnny Wrestling stacked 2 tables on top of each other. Ciampa tried to take Gargano down to Suplex City with 3 consecutive German Suplexes, and then tried to break the chair over Gargano’s spine. Then Ciampa hit three consecutive Project Ciampas. Gargano got up at a count of 9, and superkicked the champion out of the chair he sat down in. After exchanging punches, Ciampa countered Johnny’s middle rope spear with a knee to the skull, and Johnny Wrestling tried to take Ciampa to Suplex City, and clotheslined each other down, only to be down for a count of one. Then another frantic exchange filled with kicks and strikes, both men were down for a count of 8. After a failed running senton from the apron, Ciampa slammed Johnny face first onto the steps, but Johnny Gargano won’t stay down. Just like at TakeOver: Chicago, Ciampa exposed the ring’s canvas. Johnny Gargano from out of nowhere used a fire extinguisher to blind the champion, and then Johnny destroys a crutch over the back of his former best friend. Ciampa went for the DDT again onto the exposed floor, but Johnny Gargano counters and hits a DDT of his own. Ciampa rolls onto the ring floor to get on his feet, but Johnny Wrestling hits 2 mid-rope suicide dives, and Johnny Gargano super kicked a member of the ring crew on accident, allowing Ciampa to slam Johnny’s head into the TV monitor, and after ramming Johnny Wrestling with a chair into the barricade, Ciampa proceeded to bury Johnny Gargano with chairs and pieces of the barricade, but Gargano got up at a count of 9. Ciampa brought out handcuffs, and tried to handcuff Johnny, but failed. Johnny tried to handcuff Ciampa’s hands together, but he failed. Both men were fighting on the apron, trying to put one another through the table, but it was Johnny Wrestling who superkicked Tommaso Ciampa off the apron, through 2 tables and onto the concrete, but thanks to a crutch, Ciampa got up at a count of 9. Ciampa tried to flee from the ring, but Johnny Wrestling went ballistic, throwing Ciampa into the stage like Ciampa did at TakeOver: Chicago 1 and 2, and Johnny Gargano handcuffed Tommaso Ciampa into part of the stage, relentlessly beating his former friend into a pulp, with multiple super kicks into the part of the stage. In another brilliant demonstration of storytelling, Ciampa is begging Johnny Gargano for mercy, but instead, Johnny kneed Ciampa in the temple, but wiped himself out. Using the floor to his advantage, Ciampa got to his feet first at a count of 9, and retained his NXT Championship, bringing a violent end to the greatest blood feud the WWE has had in years. And to put a black cherry on top, the show end with Johnny being attended to by medical staff, and Tommaso Ciampa waving goodbye to Johnny Wrestling.

Match of the Night: The Last Man Standing Match

Honestly, it was hard to pick because all of these matches were fantastic. All of the title matches were fantastic, and even the unexpected results of Kairi Sane and Ricochet winning, don’t take away the fact that those matches were all great. My pick for Match of the Night, is Gargano-Ciampa III. The Hell both of these men put each other through will be the stuff of legend. The chair shots, the DDT on the exposed ring canvas, and that Johnny Gargano went to that dark place, hitting Ciampa with knee, after knee, after knee, to the point where he destroyed himself. The darkness consumed him and it cost him not only the NXT Title, but months of his career. The best feud that WWE has had in years has come to a close, and I’m not sure that we’ll see a feud of this caliber for a very long time, if ever again.

Overall Review

This was a fantastic NXT TakeOver show, with title changes, and great action galore. Kairi Sane winning the title was a shock move, but Kairi Sane will be a great Women’s Champion, as well as one of two babyface champions on NXT. Ricochet needed to get himself a title, and now that he has one he’ll finally get the credit he deserves, and will have many entertaining title defenses down the line. War Raiders finally made their presence in the NXT Tag Team division felt, and will be viable challengers to the Undisputed Era. As much as I wanted EC3 to win the match, but I’m glad that the Velveteen Dream got the W, he hasn’t had very many wins at TakeOver. The main event, was the best climax to the blood feud between Gargano and Ciampa. When the feud started, Ciampa tore his ACL, and at the end of the feud, he is standing tall while Johnny Gargano hurt his knee. I hope Johnny Wrestling recovers, and Ciampa’s next challenger will be Aleister Black once he’s healthy, if he stays in NXT. ON a 1-10 scale, I’d rate this TakeOver at a 10/10. I don’t think that this show was better than TakeOver New Orleans, or Chicago 2, but this is in the same league as those shows. This was the start to what should be a great weekend of wrestling, and all I gotta say is, good luck SummerSlam. You’ve got one hell of an act to follow.

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 Predictions

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn is NXT’s version of WrestleMania. Of all the great TakeOver events, this one is usually the biggest. With a good weekend of wrestling up ahead, this show as always has a strong chance of outdoing the main roster. Let’s get ready for the biggest NXT show of the year with my predictions for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4.

Velveteen Dream vs EC3

After Dream walked out of a tag team match, he’ll be facing the Top 1% in Brooklyn. EC3 hasn’t done much in NXT since debuting at TakeOver: New Orleans, and needs a big win to establish himself. The Velveteen Dream is one of the most over people in NXT despite him not winning at TakeOver. Despite Dream’s mind games, EC3 is going to overcome them and get the win. Dream is over enough to where he can eat a loss of two, and still have an immense crowd reaction.

Prediction: EC3

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (c) vs Moustache Mountain

After dropping the titles in England, The Undisputed Era are once again the tag champs. Like the match against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, this match should be 100 miles an hour from the get-go and very hard hitting from bell to bell. I’m picking Strong and O’Reilly to retain their tag team titles, keeping them after a very hard hitting bout against Moustache Mountain.

Prediction: The Undisputed Era retain the NXT Tag Team Championships

NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Kairi Sane

Kairi Sane beat Nikki Cross and Candice LaRae for a rematch of last year’s Mae Young Classic finals tournament. This is going to be a great match, with Shayna’s brute force vs Sane’s speed. Regardless of the result, both women will be over as viable contenders, but I’m predicting that Shayna is going to get revenge for last year’s tournament, and retain her Women’s title.

Prediction: Shayna Baszler retains the NXT Women’s Championship

NXT North American Championship: Adam Cole (c) vs Ricochet

This is an indie dream match, with two of the best indie darlings in the world. Ricochet is coming off of a fantastic feud with The Velveteen Dream, and is one of the top babyfaces on the roster. Cole and The Undisputed Era are running roughshod on NXT, with each member holding gold, and Adam Cole is showing no signs of slowing down. This match is going to be fantastic, with Ricochet’s flips and Adam Cole’s superkicks. I’m picking Adam Cole to retain through a very hard fought match.

Prediction: Adam Cole retains the NXT North American Championship

Last Man Standing Match for the NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Johnny Gargano

Well, it’s not a Hell in a Cell match, but this stipulation will add to the storytelling even more so than a Cell match. Due to an injury to Aleister Black, we will see the final chapter to this feud, with a darker Johnny Gargano. With the brutal wars that these two former tag team champions have gone through, this last man standing match will be the violent crescendo of a feud that has been burning for a year and a half. As much as I want Johnny Gargano to win, I think that it’s too soon for Ciampa to lose his NXT Title, and although I’ll be rooting for Johnny Wrestling, I’m predicting that Tommaso Ciampa will retain his NXT Championship.

Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa retains the NXT Championship

NXT TakeOver: Chicago Predictions

NXT will come to the city where All In will take place, as we get ready for what seems to be another fantastic NXT TakeOver. This has been a banner year for NXT so far, with three Dave Meltzer rated 5 star matches, when in the past there have only been 5 total for WWE. Before I watch every TakeOver show, I say “Idk how the next one can top it,” yet it always does. Let’s see if the fans be blown away in the Windy City with my predictions for NXT Takeover: Chicago 2018.

Ricochet vs Velveteen Dream

This match will be fantastic, and chock full of top rope fun. The Velveteen Dream is wonderful both on twitter, and on the mic. This feud has made excellent use of social media with the trash talking on twitter. The Velveteen Dream said that he makes people feel everything he does, and that he can do anything Ricochet can do, but better. Dream says that while Ricochet is the king of NXT, he is the prince because the king was good, and that the price knows there’s a bigger crown. I’m picking Ricochet to establish himself as the king of NXT, and set up for a title match against Aleister Black at TakeOver: Brooklyn.

Prediction: Ricochet

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong) (c) vs Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch

At TakeOver: New Orleans, Roderick Strong stunned the world and betrayed the Bruiserweight and joined the Undisputed Era. After Lorcan got jumped by the Undisputed Era, Danny Burch came out to help but was stopped by Cole, and after getting a win with Pete Dunne, Lorcan and Burch became the #1 contenders for the tag belts. This is going to be a good tag match, but if anyone is going to beat The Undisputed Era, it would be the team formerly known as War Machine at TakeOver: Brooklyn, or if they do WarGames again.

Prediction: The Undisputed Era retain

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Nikki Cross

While I was surprised that Nikki Cross wasn’t called up with the rest of SAnitY, I can understand because NXT doesn’t have any big names in their women’s division other than Baszler or Kairi Sane after Ember got called up. It’s too soon for Baszler to lose the belt here, and I think that she should be like the female Brock Lesnar and just murder everyone, sorry Nikki Cross.

Prediction: Shayna Baszler Retains

Street Fight: Johnny Gargano vs Tommaso Ciampa

Last year at NXT TakeOver: Chicago, Tommaso Ciampa stabbed his former tag team partner in the back, but tore his ACL. That heel turn broke the hearts of the NXT Universe, and left the fans waiting for Ciampa to be cleared. At TakeOver: Philadelphia, after one of the three 5 star matches for NXT this year, Ciampa shockingly assaulted Gargano with a crutch. After Ciampa cost Gargano his job, they had an instant classic at TakeOver: New Orleans, and now Johnny has his job back. After Ciampa jumped Gargano before an NXT Title match, that means  This is the hottest feud not just in NXT, but in all of WWE, and I believe that this feud will culminate with the first ever NXT Hell in a Cell match at TakeOver: Brooklyn IV, and with that being the case, I’m picking Tommaso Ciampa to get retribution over his former friend, and add more fuel to this blistering inferno.

Prediction: Tommaso Ciampa wins

NXT Championship Match: Aleister Black (c) vs Lars Sullivan

Black’s first challenger to his NXT Title is certainly the biggest, and most terrifying. Lars Sullivan is 6’3, 303 lbs. of pure rage, and he kills everyone he’s in the ring with. One of the coolest spots I’ve seen, is when Lars Sullivan caught the Black Mass kick, and laid out Aleister Black with the Freak Accident. This match is going to be very hard hitting, and an excellent clash of styles with Black’s stiff strikes and Sullivan’s overwhelming power. I’m picking Aleister Black to retain his title, and keep NXT in a perpetual state of darkness.

My Prediction: Aleister Black Retains