As the eyes of the wrestling world turn to New Orleans for WrestleMania weekend, the sports entertainment festivities begin well before the “Then, Now, Forever” graphic splashes across the screen at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday night. In the same vein many football fans consider conference championship weekend to be better than Super Bowl Sunday, many wrestling fans consider the day before WrestleMania to be the apex of the wrestling year.
Saturday night’s double feature of Supercard of Honor XII and NXT TakeOver: New Orleans have had wrestling fans salivating for weeks. The latter features five high quality matches that are sure to leave us with a familiar post-TakeOver feeling: elation.
We discussed earlier this week which match should close WrestleMania 34, but what match needs to end TakeOver?
Despite how stacked this card is, there are really only two options. With all due respect to the traditionalist mentality of putting the most prestigious championship match on last, the Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa unsanctioned match should close this show.
Simply put, this is the best feud in wrestling right now. You could make a really good argument for Cody Rhodes vs Kenny Omega — which is also taking place the same night — but the build from Ciampa turning on Gargano to Gargano’s career spiraling downward only to correct itself before being ruined again by Ciampa is some of the best storytelling WWE has ever done.
Gargano-Ciampa will be an emotionally draining match that fans may not be able to recover from that night. It would be unfair to put Andrade “Cien” Almas vs Aleister Black on last because the crowd will be so drained by bell time that the vibe surrounding the match would not equal the quality of work in the ring. There is no way any match steals the show if it goes on after Gargano-Ciampa.
Even though an ending TakeOver moment isn’t as hyped as the ending WrestleMania moment, but the moment all NXT fans are waiting for is Gargano finally standing over a vanquished Ciampa after all of these months. That’s the moment people will remember from this TakeOver. That’s the moment the people want.
Also, if you do want to spin off another feud instead, it’s much better to end the show with someone else attacking Gargano just when he thinks things are looking up. Food for thought.