With NXT’s involvement in Survivor Series this year, does WarGames suffer at all?
All of the build up has been pretty simple, but very effective. Undisputed Era was running roughshod through the company since they’re the new Four Horsemen. Ciampa playing returning hero is an amusing role since he was the Blackheart before his injury.
Plus the women having their first ever WarGames match tells enough of a story without needing too much extra frills.
Plus we get the return of Finn Balor to an NXT ring! Can the Original Bro breakdown the Prince?
- Pre-Show:Isaiah Scott vs Angel Garza: Garza wins via Wing Clipper @7:35 – *** 1/4
- WarGames: Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai & Candice Lerae vs Shayna Baszler, Kay Lee Ray, Bianca Belair & Io Shirai: Ripley wins via Rip Tide @27:25 – *** 3/4
- #1 Contender Triple Threat: Pete Dunne vs Killian Dain vs Damian Priest: Dunne wins via Opportunistic Pinfall @19:55 – ****
- Finn Balor vs Matt Riddle: Balor wins via Bloody Sunday @14:20 – ****
- WarGames: Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong & Adam Cole) vs Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa, Dominik Dijakovic & Kevin Owens: Ciampa wins via Air Raid Crash off Cage @38:40 – **** 3/4
Pre-Show:Isaiah Scott vs Angel Garza – Garza trying to bounce back after failing in his bid to get the Cruiserweight championship, while Scott is still showcasing Swerve-Style. We get a great back and forth, with Garza pulling off a Snapping Gutwrench suplex and Recoil Sitout Powerbomb, to some nice reactions. Scott put a few things together after his Swerve Stomp off the apron and that delayed kick to the side of Garza’s head, but only a two count. Both men catch kick attempts, but Garza lands a knee at the right moment to slap on the Wing Clipper and win the first ever NXT Pre-Show match.
WarGames: Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai & Candice Lerae vs Shayna Baszler, Kay Lee Ray, Bianca Belair & Io Shirai – First ever Women’s WarGames match started with some drama when Mia Yim was attacked before the show and Dakota Kai was chosen as the replacement. It sets up almost too perfectly that Dakota is mad that she wasn’t the first choice for team, so let’s see how this plays out.
Io and Candice start out and this is a solid 5 minutes. This could’ve been the start of a great singles match aside from WarGames. Bianca Belair gives the heel team their advantage, Rhea Ripley comes in second to prove why she’s the team captain…and then things get interesting. No I don’t mean the cliche Tower of Doom, I mean Dakota Kai showing her true colors as soon as she gets a shot. Acting like she was gonna go in third, but turning around and beating the hell out of Tegan Nox was a sudden turn of events. I didn’t like the fact that Candice and Rhea were somehow allowed to react to the betrayal before the heels attacked. That was corny, but Dakota taking Tegan to the woodshed was a great moment.
Announcers tell us that since Tegan is medically unable to preform and Dakota was removed after the attack, WarGames is 4 versus 2. The two fight back well and what should’ve been more of a numbers game, really became a toss up. Io with a beautiful Moonsault off the cage, Kay Lee Ray eats a trash can, and Shayna tries to get Rhea to tap. Rhea fights out of the Kirifuda Clutch, and hits Rip Tide onto chairs for the pinfall victory.
Surprising that the underdog face team figured it out, but Rhea looks like a true nightmare since she was a big reason for the win. Just a little awkward at times with how long between spots and the fact that four heels couldn’t figure out how to take advantage of the softball situation.
#1 Contender Triple Threat: Pete Dunne vs Killian Dain vs Damian Priest – Early on this is controlled by Priest and Dain, but Dunne fights things back to parody. They did have one corny triple jumping kick spot that looked idiotic, but aside from that everything else made sense. Dain pulled out the old Ulster Plantation, but only for a 2 count. Priest hit most of his offense, including extra references like the Razor’s Edge since he came out dressed in a combination of Kevin Nash and Scott Hall. Dunne hung on at the correct times, benefited from Killian Dain at two different times. One being a groggy Dain bouncing off the ropes to break up Priest’s pinfall and the second being Dain using Dunne as a weapon to try and break the Sleeper Hold…but Dunne just decided to pin the prone Priest, and picked up a very lucky three count. Great back and forth with moments for each man, and it ended it a clever enough way where Dunne just happened to be in the right spot…and put there by Dain.
Finn Balor vs Matt Riddle – Matt Riddle was even cockier than usual during this match. Not only did he hit a Spear and Jackhammer, as the shot to Goldberg. There was a very real moment when Riddle hit the Bro to Sleep when he could’ve won the match, but he tried to get cute and go for the Floating Bro…and that gave Balor the opening. Shotgun Dropkick into the corner, missed Coup de Grace, into a Bromission attempt, but Balor broke out of it. Balor said in an earlier promo that the Prince was back, so it was only fitting to win with the Blood Sunday. The Prince really is back boys and girls.
WarGames: Undisputed Era (Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong & Adam Cole) vs Keith Lee, Tommaso Ciampa, Dominik Dijakovic & Kevin Owens – So the NXT version of these have been pretty great, even though they aren’t totally the old school WarGames. Ciampa starts off the match to make a point, but Nigel McGuinness also makes a great point on commentary. Since all of his known teammates are bigger guys, he started to keep their gas tanks full. It’s little things like that, that make for great commentary when you add to the story being told.
There was a lot of great action in this match, even though Undisputed Era really lost steam with Cole’s entrance. Throwing in six tables and setting a table on the outside took a little while, but it all played into the finish, so it’s hard to stay mad at that. Cole being hoisted by his own petard set the Undisputed Era up for failure. When Kevin Owens was finally revealed as the secret team member for Ciampa, it already felt like UE was swimming against the current.
Great action, huge car crash style spots and just pure fun, it was a spectacle. Dijakovic Chokeslams Roddy through a table, Owens Frog Splashes Kyle through another, and Keith Lee with the Avalanche Spirit Bomb on Bobby Fish, lays him out for the rest of the match. Ciampa and Cole are on the cage, Ciampa then gets him in Air Raid Crash position and falls back through two tables. Ciampa is great at big ugly murder spots, the camera even zoomed in on Britt Baker looking very concerned. Amazing spectacle of an awesome match.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
This was a great show, INCLUDING the Pre-Show. Stories moved along well, the action was awesome and there were even sprinkles for the future (like the Riddle/Goldberg stuff). Plus being capped off with the McDonald’s Murder Playland that was the Men’s WarGames match…just great stuff.
I’ve been a little luke warm on the last few NXT Takeovers, not like they’re bad, but I was underwhelmed. This however, felt like it was on a different level. Not sure if it’s the visibility with the Survivor Series concurrent stories or the returns of Balor and Kevin Owens. Just an awesome show, awesome way to spend three hours.