Two Weeks to WrestleMania 2018 - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

Two Weeks to WrestleMania 2018 - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Jonathan Maldonado Thursday, March 29, 2018
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Jonathan Maldonado, Robert DeFelice and Jordan Chaffiotte will be giving their opinions on this year's NXT Takeover: New Orleans.

Let's discuss...

Question 1: NXT is set to introduce a men's secondary title with the unveiling of the North American Championship. The inaugural champion will be crowned in a ladder match featuring Velveteen Dream, Lars Sullivan, Adam Cole, Ricochet, Ethan Carter III and Killian Dain at TakeOver: New Orleans. Who do you think is most deserving of the new gold?

MALDONADO: Michael Cole recently shared his thoughts on who he thought were the most promising up and coming stars and he had high praise for The Velveteen Dream. He explained how today's stars tend to drop their characters the minute cameras stop rolling, but that isn't the case with Dream. Dream lives and breathes his character 24/7, a trait seldom shared in 2018.

It’s easy to agree with Cole; Dream's charisma and passion oozes through the screen. He's someone I can see carrying the WWE into the future and someone who genuinely would want that mantle. While each superstar in this match is deserving, Dream is the guy who the WWE needs to carry the baton for years to come when the likes of Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and the rest of the stars in their prime begin to reach their twilight years.  

DEFELICE: What a loaded question. I honestly think all the talents in this match can walk away victorious, and as much as I would love to break it down person by person that would honestly take too long because there are just all so deserving. I'm going to go with who I want to see win and that's Adam Cole, Bay! Bay! The leader of the Undisputed Era has been struggling to find his footing and get a solid victory that would Propel him into the position that his skills and presence can back up.

What excites me about this match is the different styles and the variable of the ladders. I'm curious to see what Killian Dain will do. I'm curious to see what Lars Sullivan will do in such a chaotic environment. However, I think we're all looking forward to watching Ricochet do some crazy flip that will make us all remember him by the end of the weekend more than anyone else.

CHAFFIOTTE: I have to second the Velveteen Dream notion. He's young but wildly talented and has one of the best characters in NXT right now. A mid card title is exactly what NXT needed to make a little room at the top and someone like Dream is perfect for the inaugural run. The gold would add some indisputable credibility to his outrageous confidence, and speaking of undisputed, rumors that Cole might have to step in for Bobby Fish make me think he won't get this one.

Ricochet and EC3 will have good showings, but they haven't been presented to the NXT audience properly yet, so it's way too early for a title run. I also suspect Killian Dain might have a call up in his future via Sanity. That leaves Lars Sullivan as the wildcard, but ladder matches give a distinct advantage to the lighter, quicker man in Dream.

Question 2: Ember Moon will defend her NXT Women's Championship against Shayna Baszler at TakeOver. Is it time for Moon to drop the title and move up to main roster?

MALDONADO: Ember Moon sure has had it rough. As gifted as she is, her act follows the dominance of Asuka who herself followed the dawn of NXT's women’s revolution that saw the stars rise for the likes of Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bayley and more. Her character just hasn't been able to capture the same magic as those who preceded her.

That said, a move up to the main roster might be the spark she needs. She's a legitimate challenger who can hang with the best women on the main roster and whose character I actually feel is better suited on Monday or Tuesday nights. Her pseudo-mystical gimmick is a welcome break from what we've been accustomed to seeing on Raw or SmackDown.  

DEFELICE: This question left me with a peculiar feeling. I don't see Ember as ready but I also don't see there being anything left for her to do. As quick as it went by, she's been there for a year-and-a-half now and there's nothing left. Shayna Baszler needs that championship. She's a badass who is arguably more ready for the main roster than her Four Horsewomen ally, Ronda Rousey. Shayna wins here and a new babyface can emerge in the coming months to challenge her.

CHAFFIOTTE: Absolutely. She's been on fire for the better part of a year, her last match with Asuka was one of my all time favorites. Does this feel like a bit of a transitional champion run? Sure. But I think that was written from the moment they wouldn't let her beat Asuka. I'm not saying that's her ceiling, but if she comes up at the WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal and WWE commits to a true mid card division for the ladies, that's the right place for her right now. Meanwhile, Shanya Baszler is killing it. She won us over in the Mae Young Classic and has only continued her streak of brilliance. It's her time to shine and this is her moment. Plus, I know a pirate who might have something to say about that.

Question 3: The TakeOver card is stacked with incredible matches and should be an amazing show. Which match are you looking forward to the most?

MALDONADO: I’m pumped for Andrade 'Cien' Almas vs. Aliester Black. I'm also incredibly nervous for Almas. As amazing and important as his classic match with Johnny Gargano was, his match with Black is what will set the tone for his ascent to the main roster. He's an incredible talent who possess a genuine heel quality. Zelina Vega is also by far the best valet the WWE has seen in years and the duo’s contribution to the main roster has main event potential written all over it.
I'll call it now: we will see an Almas vs. Velveteen Dream WrestleMania main event in the future.

There's a lot riding on Almas' ability to follow up the Gargano story with this match against Black. I'm less concerned with Black's future because his character is so well entrenched and unique that he will always have a spot somewhere on the roster, even if it goes the way of Bray Wyatt. He also strikes me as the type to take possession of his own future and will do what it takes to keep his star bright, both in kayfabe and behind the scenes.

All that said, these two great characters are poised to put on another classic main event at NXT Takeover: New Orleans.

DEFELICE: I definitely think that the tag team triple threat march between The Authors of Pain, Roderick Strong and Pete Dunne, and the Undisputed Era will be the sleeper hit of the evening.Six incredibly talented superstars, the only thing I worry about is Adam pulling double-duty and whether or not this match will come first or second.

This will be a nice send-off for AOP, who have long been overdue for a main roster call up. Dunne and Strong are definitely a modern-day Benoit and Malenko pairing, and with Fish on the shelf, Cole and Kyle O'Reilly can reignite their Future Shock pairing. It's just a fun match and I'm so excited. I wish Fish were healthy but it's okay because we get double Adam! I'm going to go with Pete Dunne and Roderick strong for the win, but it's honestly a toss-up and I wouldn't be surprised if it went any way.

CHAFFIOTTE: I'm going to go ahead and count Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Chiampa as all but confirmed. It'll clearly be an unsanctioned match, and I'm hoping for a good old street fight, denim included. But the X factor here is Gargano's wife, Candice Wrestling herself. Candice LeRae is so much more than a cheerleader for him, because if they're smart they will push the fact that she was involved in this.

The trio used to be roommates, Chiampa was in their wedding, and when he attacked Johnny, she posted on Twitter that she considered him to be a part of their family. There are hard feelings between not just Gargano and Chiampa but LeRae and Chiampa as well. That's what's going to make this completely unforgettable. With the Mixed Match Challenge showing WWE has a slightly wider tolerance for intergender spots, I think a suicide dive or DDT onto Chiampa courtesy of LeRae is in the cards. I'd love for them to work an angle where both of our newest power couples want to do things on their own and ask their partner to stay out of it. But everytime they end up mixed up in it together. It'd be a unique take on the love story and give them both a lot of momentum.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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THIS POST WRITTEN BY: JONATHAN MALDONADO

Jonathan Maldonado is a lifelong wrestling fan from the Bronx, NY. He grew up during the Monday Night Wars and the Attitude Era and is a sucker for the flippy stuff and a good wrestling tee. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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