Saturday's NXT TakeOver: New Orleans may have been one of the best pay-per-views NXT has ever offered. As such, it's going to be extremely difficult to pick both winners and losers for our list. Put differently, can we list any losers on a show that was full of so many winning moments?
There were multiple title changes, the show kicked off and ended with incredible matches, the crowd was insanely into the action and a swerve happened that set the bar for how all swerves should be delivered moving forward. There was action, there was drama and there is literally no way WrestleMania 34 can live up to this show.
We'll be honest, even as we list a couple losers, we're going to have to stretch things a bit because there really weren't any obvious ones. Below are your winners and losers from NXT TakeOver: New Orleans.
Winner: Opening Ladder Match
NXT announced during the kickoff show that this match would open the card and what a good decision that was. The chaos that was the six-man ladder contest had everything from high spots to dramatic and cringe-worthy moments to getting the winner right. Simply put, this was an incredible bout.
Sullivan and Dain were monsters, Velveteen Dream and EC3 put on incredible performances, Ricochet was everything fans would and could have imagined and Adam Cole held on to take the first-ever win for the NXT North American Championship. EC3 and Dream are probably hurting today, but both proved how much they're invested and the debut of Ricochet was just a glimpse of what fans can look forward to. It's hard to describe how fun it is to watch him work.
Loser: Ember Moon
The match itself wasn't all that bad, but the outcome for Ember Moon was disappointing. Their first meeting was better and Moon walked into a defeat that made Baszler look like an animal and Moon look like she made a number of mistakes.
This was Baszler's showcase and Moon suffered as a result. Maybe it means she's getting the call-up. But if not, she's going to have to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to take the title back from a woman who was her better in every way and beat her with one arm.
Winner: Roderick Strong and Undisputed Era
Not only did the Undisputed Era walk away with two sets of championships, but they left NXT TakeOver: New Orleans with a new member. The swerve was teased but not hinted at again for some time so it was perfect when Roderick Strong shocked the crowd by costing his team the titles and ensuring his new faction retained.
This is how heel turns should be done. The faction looks stronger even though Bobby Fish is down, there is an automatic feud waiting between Strong and Dunne and it was a surprise that got the crowd completely jacked.
Winner: Black vs. Almas
With the Ladder Match and Gargano vs. Ciampa on the card, it was easy to overlook the potential of how good this match could be. Aleister Black and Andrade "Cien" Almas made sure we knew that was a mistake.
Their match was so good, full of back and forth action, high spots and just the right amount of involvement from Zelina Vega who eventually hurt Almas' chances of winning and allowed Black to take the title which he definitely deserved after the run he's had.
Almas might get the call-up now, but we don't think anyone would complain if these two had another go-round in NXT.
Winner: Gargano vs. Ciampa
There is every reason to suggest this was one of the best matches NXT has ever done and best stories NXT has ever told, and that's with the understanding that the brand has put on a ton of great matches and told a ton of great stories. Gargano vs. Ciampa delivered on every level and it was the perfect way to end the show.
If one can even remotely try to find a downside here, it's that Gargano will be sticking in NXT thanks to his win and not moving up to the main roster but should we really be upset by that? For now, he's a huge star in NXT and he'll get his time.
These two guys know how to work match better than perhaps any two friends ever could. Back and forth action, drama, tenacity, false finishes, high spots and whatever else a match can throw into it, these guys did.
Loser: WrestleMania 34
The downside of an event like NXT TakeOver: New Orleans being so good is that it will ensure WrestleMania 34 is a disappointment in many ways. How can a show that is so long, with so many matches and arguably less talented wrestlers even live up to something like what NXT just delivered? They can't.
Our advice is to watch WrestleMania for what it is. Instead of looking for the best in-ring action, watch for the pageantry of it all. Wait for the surprise returns, the pyro, the "moments" and know these are two completely different shows. That way, it won't disappoint you as much as it could.