It’s a little late, but I’ve finally gotten around to NXT TakeOver Wargames.
The Gargano/Ciampa feud is apparently currently on hold as Ciampa is injured. This is, by its very nature, a Low, as this would be a good place to continue this feud. Like, straight up, putting Ciampa with the Undisputed Era and Gargano with AOP and Strong, and making it a 4-on-4 WarGames would have worked – continuing to simmer the Gargano & Ciampa feud for one more TakeOver, instead of leaving it ice cold.
Lars Sullivan defeats Kassius Ohno
Backstory: Kassius Ohno interfered in one of Lars Sullivan’s (squash) matches, and asked for a match from William Regal. He got it.
High Points: Sullivan goes to the top-rope in this match, showing some nice agility in addition to his power moves, looking very much like a new Mike Awesome (but with hopefully less unprotected chair shots to the head.
Low Points: Sullivan pretty much no-sells all of Ohno’s offense early on, making him look really weak, with Ohno only able to get effective offense in after Sullivan misses a top rope move, making Ohno look pretty weak – with Ohno only able to do damage after Sullivan clobbers himself. Once Sullivan gets his wind back, the no-selling continues. I get wanting to make Sullivan a monster, but this hurt Ohno more than it helped Sullivan.
Aleister Black defeats Velveteen Dream
Backstory: Velveteen Dream wants Aleister Black-senpai to notice him and say his name. Senpai will not do so. So Velveteen Dream has gone all yandere on Black (in a platonic fashion), and is demanding he say his name.
High Points: I appreciate how Velveteen Dream has been doing mind-games in this feud, without falling into the archetype of the “deranged homosexual”. Great mind technical wrestling and mind games by the two. I thought it was nice to hear a “Say His Name” chant from the audience. Dream’s modified DDT was really amazing.
First “This Is Awesome” chant of the night.
Velveteen Dream being in the middle of saying his name when getting KTFO by Black was a really nice touch. Also, Aleister Black saying Velveteen Dream’s name after beating the crap out of him was a very nice touch.
Low Points: I can’t help but think that “Say My Name” should have been part of the stipulation for this match – pinning Black wouldn’t make him say Dream’s name.
Asuka is in attendance at the event (along with Finn Balor and Sho Funaki).
NXT Women’s Championship: Ember Moon defeated Kairi Sane, Nikki Cross, and Peyton Royce
Backstory: Asuka was called up to the main roster without losing the strap, so the belt has been vacated, and we have a match for the title – with Ember Moon going up against Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce, and Kairi Sane for the vacant belt. I do appreciate that for the snippet of each person’s promo, Nikki Cross is just represented by insane laughter.
First in-ring appearance of SAnitY of the night.
High Points: Kairi Sane has the best elbow drop in the business. First “NXT” Chant of the night. Moon hitting the Eclipse on Royce and Cross at the same time was a great spot.
Low Points: Considering the relatively small number of matches on the card, I’d prefer this was an elimination match instead of a single fall Fatal Four-Way. Nikki Cross didn’t come out looking strong – Kairi Sane was fine, but Cross basically spent most of the match getting the stuffing beat out of her.
After the match, Asuka bestows the belt on Moon – a nice touch considering that Moon was never quite able to get the win on Asuka. Samoa Joe is also in the audience.
NXT Championship Match: Andrade “Cien” Almas (with Zelina Vega) defeated Drew McIntyre (c)
Backstory: Image consultant Zelina Vega has helped Andrade “Cien” Almas find some discipline and clean up his act – so now he’s earned his NXT Championship shot.
High Points: Great contrast of styles between Almas and McIntyre. When you have two wrestlers with different styles, they’ll either clash horribly and not give you a good match, or they’ll counterbalance each other and make for something really entertaining. This felt like the latter case. Almas is a luchador and has a quick style, McIntyre is more of a power wrestler, and both have some good strikes in their arsenal.
Low Points: Shenanigans that doesn’t quite go anywhere. Vega interferes with a hurricanrana, and Almas follows up with a hammerlock DDT, but that doesn’t put McIntyre away. Almas still wins, but having the Shenanigans work would have set up a nice rematch and the continuation of the feud.
WarGames Match: The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly) defeated The Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar) and Roderick Strong w/ Paul Ellering & SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe, Eric Young, and Killian Dain)
Backstory: Strong’s feud with Sanity and the Undisputed Era is clear-cut, as Strong was feuding with SAnitY back at NXT Takeover Chicago. SAnitY has also won the NXT Tag Team Championships from the AoP (though they are not on the line this match). The Undisputed Era debuted at the previous TakeOver (which I missed), and is currently terrorizing NXT. We have a temporary Face turn, apparently, for the AoP, as they’re teaming with Strong.
High Points: Mauro Ranallo describing the Authors of Pain as “Menacing as a mind flayer.” Great teamwork between Strong and the AoP, in spite of basically being a thrown together tag team.
The other two members of SAnitY being released, and bringing a boatload of plunder into the Cage, before locking their opponents in the cage with them (and Dain swallowing the key).
Speaking of which, everything Killian Dain does in this match (especially the Van Terminator). Even if Young doesn’t get called up, I can see Dain getting called up and being used in a similar way as Braun Strowman, as, say, Smackdown’s unstoppable monster.
First “Holy Shit” chant of the night. Second “This is Awesome” chant of the night. First “Please Don’t Die” chant I’ve heard in a while.
The Undisputed Era did need a big win in their first major match, and certainly this is a win they really needed.
Low Points: As much as I appreciate the Law of Karmic Tables, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s rather old, and maybe, at least a few times, the person who sets up a table shouldn’t be the person who goes through them.
Strong really should have gotten the pin off of the top-of-the-cage-superplex. That’s a spot you protect. If he wasn’t going to get the pin, then someone else should have come out on top with that spot.
Not much of an after-match segment – just The Undisputed Era celebrating in the ring (as well as you can after having the crap beat out of you).