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Cook’s NXT Takeover: War Games 2020 Gambling Picks

Steve Cook returns with the betting odds for NXT War Games! If you like putting your money where your mouth is, Cook’s got you!

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NXT goes to war this Sunday, as it’ll be the night of their annual presentation of Takeover: War Games. Five matches are currently scheduled, and given the length of a typical War Games match, one wouldn’t expect much to be added to the card between now & Sunday.

It’s going to be an interesting evening. Apparently you can make the evening even more interesting by placing a wager or two on the proceedings. I wouldn’t know anything about that considering my location, but some of you might. BetWWE.com provides us with some NXT Takeover: Wargames odds…for entertainment purposes only.

Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa

No odds on this one as of press time, but I’d have to consider Ciampa the favorite considering his Takeover in-ring experience and Thatcher’s recent struggles in the win-loss column.

Dexter Lumis (-250) vs Cameron Grimes (+200)

You know how sometimes you see somebody that’s obviously skilled and has a lot of people going crazy about them but you just don’t see it? That’s me with Cameron Grimes. Solid in-ring worker, but the gimmick doesn’t do anything for me. Hairy redneck with a hat…if the dude put on some overalls he could pull off a mean Hillbilly Jim. Maybe that’s what they’re going for.

It doesn’t help that he’s currently feuding with Dexter Lumis, who is immediate fast-forward material for me. Nothing about this interests me, except the fact that Lumis has been getting the upper hand the past few weeks and Booking 101 tells me that Grimes should probably get something eventually. If I was going to make a bet on this one I’d go with Cameron Grimes for the upside.

Leon Ruff (-200) vs Johnny Gargano (+150) vs Damien Priest (+225)

How about this Leon Ruff kid? He signed a contract with WWE in October, one month later he wins the North American Championship, and now he’s defending it on a major NXT event. You can’t help but be impressed by that. He’s got a tough test coming up on Sunday, taking on the two previous North American Champions. That title has been bouncing around like a super ball lately, which makes this match less predictable to me than the oddsmakers seem to think.

I do think Leon Ruff has the best chance to win here. Damien Priest at that price is a little bit tempting, and of course we can never count out a Gargano victory at a Takeover. I think Ruff ends up losing the title in a singles match later on to somebody that hasn’t held the strap yet.

Team Shotzi: Shotzi Blackheart, Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, Ember Moon (-200) vs Team Candice: Candice LeRae, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez (+150)

This all started when Candice had the unmitigated gall to run over Shotzi’s tank. It was an emotional moment! The poor woman cried live and in public, and swore revenge. What better way for Shotzi to get revenge than to lead a team against a team captained by Candice in one of wrestling’s most destructive matches? Makes sense to me!

Shotzi certainly has the advantage when it comes to overall talent & accomplishments, and will also have the one-woman advantage for a lot of the match. Team Candice’s best chances involve either taking a woman out prior to the match, somebody on Team Shotzi getting hurt during the match, or one of Shotzi’s team members turning heel. One would think we’ve had enough NXT women turn heel this year, right?

So I’m thinking somebody gets taken out. Rhea seems like a good option since she’s allegedly moving on anyway. Good way to get her out of there without having to eat another fall. That would be how Team Candice wins the match if you’re looking to bet on them. It sure would be a good way to set up a challenger for Io Shirai’s championship. I’ve talked myself into Team Candice. Don’t hurt me, Shotzi!

The Undisputed Era: Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, Roderick Strong (-300) vs Team McAfee: Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, Danny Burch (+240)

After winning the first NXT War Games match in 2017, the Undisputed Era has lost their last two. Can they find their way back to the winner’s circle? There’s no reason to think they can’t. UE has been on top of NXT for years now, while the self-professed Kings of NXT spent a lot of their time losing to UE.

However, things can change. Sometimes all one needs is a guiding light to help them see the way. It seems like Pat McAfee has provided that light for Dunne, Lorcan & Burch, giving them a new dimension & making them more dangerous than ever. They got that man advantage going for them, putting the Undisputed Era in a hole for most of the match.

Considering McAfee’s gift of gab, I’m surprised this line isn’t a bit closer. Considering that NXT could use some shaking up, and that there might be some mysterious masked fella running around that helped McAfee’s boys get that man advantage (what’s with all these mysterious masked folks running around NXT anyway?), I don’t know why you wouldn’t throw some money on Team McAfee at +240. Maybe if War Games was a true blow-off match, Undisputed Era would be the proper pick. I don’t think it is.


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Opinion

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn: Get Your Popcorn

Chris King is back as he runs down why he believes Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at WrestleMania is a potential show-stealer.

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Chris King is back as he runs down why he believes Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at WrestleMania is a potential show-stealer.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are simply incredible performers and storytellers in the ring. Every time they are on the opposite side of each other they create magic. I did a little history lesson on their almost twenty-year rivalry, going back to their days in Ring of Honor and PWG where it all began. Heel Owens to me is a stone-cold killer, he’s out for one purpose to be the best. Zayn has found out the hard way what happens when you get in his way.

Poor Zayn didn’t learn his lesson and dropped his guard in NXT when KO made his in-ring debut at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution. Owens utterly destroyed his so-called best friend and hit a vicious Pop-up Powerbomb onto the apron. KO then went on to defeat Zayn two months to the day of his debut at NXT TakeOver: Rival to capture the NXT Championship. Owens beat the living shit out of Zayn that night, to the point where the officials have to physically stop the match.

Zayn once again came rushing back for another chance to best his bitter rival but was demolished yet again. Dammit Sami just stay down and live to fight another day. This time Samoa Joe had to stop KO from causing more carnage to Zayn. We would not see the former NXT champ until months later at the 2016 Royal Rumble, where he would cost Owens the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The two bitter rivals would fight again during the ladder match at WrestleMania 32 for the Intercontinental Championship, where Zayn would cost Owens the title. At the 2016 Payback pay-per-view, they would do battle again, Zayn would lose yet again. Zayn and Owens would square off one final time at Battleground in another hellacious battle, except this time Zayn finally got his comeuppance after two Helluva Kicks.

Over the past few years, Zayn and Owens have been on the same page, and shockingly enough the same team. The two best friends would come full circle again after Zayn returned to Friday Night SmackDown because of the pandemic. Zayn has been spurting all of this nonsense about this huge conspiracy going on around him for months now. Owens has been unsuccessfully challenging for the Universal Championship but ran into his friend backstage.

A few weeks ago, Zayn attacked his rival, for being paranoid I guess was his excuse. Owens however didn’t care and goaded him into a match at this year’s Mania. Owens and Zayn are about to create history and fulfill a lifelong dream of having a match on the Grandest Stage of Them All. I can only imagine how incredible this. the moment will be for those two, and the WWE Universe is honored and privileged to be able to experience it.

I’m very thankful that WrestleMania is two nights now because these two wouldn’t be given the appropriate amount of time if they were crammed into a seven-hour event. Please just give Owens and Zayn fifteen to twenty minutes, and let them create magic in the ring.


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Cook’s WrestleMania 37 Night Two Gambling Picks

After delivering (and standing?) his Takeover and WrestleMania Night 1 picks, Steve Cook is back with Night 2. For (sports) entertainment purposes only!

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WrestleMania 27 Stage

After delivering (and standing?) his Takeover and WrestleMania Night 1 picks, Steve Cook is back with Night 2. For (sports) entertainment purposes only!

Welcome back to the gambling picks!

If you missed Night 1, go ahead and click here!

I’m not going to lie to you guys, I’m already a bit peeved at WWE.

Why? Because they rendered part of my Night 1 pick column useless when they made Sasha vs. Bianca the main event after saying Drew vs. Bobby was! Like, what the hell man? At least I’m pretty confident they won’t change the main event of Night 2, so let’s make some picks for entertainment purposes only!

Kevin Owens (-350) vs. Sami Zayn (+225)

Independent wrestling fans would have never seen all this coming a decade or so ago. Kevin Owens as a babyface? Sami Zayn as a heel, without a mask? A YouTube personality as part of the build while Steve Corino agents away & Colt Cabana chills with the Super Smash Brothers? I’d have a hard time explaining all this to 10 Years Ago Me.

Not that this would be at the top of the list of things to warn 10 Years Ago Me about. Just saying…this is all wild stuff.

Kevin Owens is the likely winner as Sami gets punked out by his “buddy” Logan Paul. Slight chance Sami pulls the upset, but I doubt it’s worth throwing fake money on.

Randy Orton (+500) vs. The Fiend (-950)

I haven’t had a lot to say about this feud since it started, and that trend continues here. Not for me, and since I won’t be watching live I’ll surely be skipping ahead of this one. Hopefully those who are into this type of thing have fun.

Fiend likely wins, but if you really wanna throw a few bucks on Randy Orton at +500, maybe it’ll pay off.

United States Championship Match
Riddle (-160) vs. Sheamus (+120)

We can certainly question the methods WWE is using to feature Riddle, but it’s clear that they see something in him and want him to be a big deal. Sheamus has had a strong 2021 so far, and will give Riddle a good match and a big win for his first WrestleMania appearance.

I don’t have much else to add here. Should be hard-hitting.

Intercontinental Championship Nigerian Drum Fight
Big E (+120) vs. Apollo Crews (-140)

As we all know, the  “Nigerian Drum Fight” goes back to the early days of the legendary Nigerian pro wrestler Power Uti. If you’re not familiar with Uti, many consider him to be to the Nigerian Wrestling Federation what Undertaker has been to WWE over the years. They have a ton in common, including holding victories in major specialty matches over Mick Foley.

In the original incarnation of the Nigerian Drum Fight, the object of the match was to bash your opponent’s head into a drum in each corner of the ring. The first to hit all four corners in succession won the match. It looks like WWE is shifting the rules somewhat, and are just doing the typical No DQ thing they like to do. I assume that drums will still be legal, but am unsure of the spear.

If the spear is legal, go with Crews. I get the feeling that Big E is in line for the win here, and thus is my pick, especially since he’s the underdog.

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Asuka (+250) vs. Rhea Ripley (-400)

Once upon a time, Asuka was the new star fresh out of NXT looking to make an impact at WrestleMania. She won the Royal Rumble, but ended up losing at WM to Charlotte Flair. It happens. Just ask Rhea, who lost to Charlotte at last year’s WM. The best news for either of these two is that WWE avoided the urge to insert Charlotte in this match, as we know who the betting favorite would be then.

(Well, we think they’ve avoided the urge. Won’t be sure until the bell rings.)

I’m a big Rhea fan and am definitely supporting the Nightmare here. We all know that Asuka’s days as champion are numbered, as she’s seemed like an afterthought for most of her reign. However, there are reasons to believe that Asuka could get it done here. Mostly, the fact that her feud with Charlotte isn’t over yet.

Nah, I gotta stick with Rhea Ripley here. I’m not sure how Vince & the main roster creative folks feel about Rhea, but they probably haven’t had enough time to turn against her yet.

Universal Championship Triple Threat Match
Roman Reigns (+150) vs. Edge (+115) vs. Daniel Bryan (+200)

This is the first WrestleMania main event in a long time where the favorite doesn’t seem super obvious on paper. For one thing, there’s no reason for Roman Reigns to lose the Universal Championship. He’s superb in the role right now and should sit at the head of the table as long as possible.

Then there’s Edge, who against most other champions would be the obvious favorite. He’s making his big comeback complete by main eventing WrestleMania. Having him win only makes sense, and there are plenty of ways to go with it after, whichever side of the fence you want to put him on.

Daniel Bryan is the longest shot in this match, but we all know that’s when he’s at his most dangerous. One last run on top for Bryan wouldn’t be met with many arguments, and you can set whoever you want with him after & it’ll work.

Any of these picks are a winner in my book. I’m going to go with Roman Reigns because it isn’t often you’ll get those kind of odds on him. Usually he’s the heavy favorite, and for good reason. I wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome here, and that’s what makes this match a true main event.


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