NXT TakeOver: WarGames Review: November 23, 2019 by Felix Pichler
Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Angel Garza and Mia Yim is taken out
All this stuff took place in the pre-show. Scott against Garza was the only match during the pre-show and that match took about seven minutes. Even though, Swerve looked good, after the Wing Clipper, he had no chance to kick out.
After that, we saw in the backstage area that Yim was put in an ambulance and Dakota Kai was also around. William Regal wanted to know from Yim’s team captain Rhea Ripley how she’ll replace the taken out Yim. Ripley said to Kai, that she would be now part of the team, but she just answered that she wouldn’t be ready. However, Ripley told her that she would be ready and that this would be her night.
Opinion: The match was perfect for a kick-off show match since we had some innovative stuff and two wrestlers who can really perform on a high level. The backstage segment was good, and let’s see where this would lead in the women’s WarGames match.
First-ever Women’s WarGames Match: Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai vs. NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler, NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray, Io Shirai & Bianca Belair
LeRae and Shirai were the first two women in the ring what made sense due to their rivalry. Then Belair joined them in the ring, and they made usage of their numerical advantage. Next up, Ripley made her way to the ring to even the odds and after her Ray joined the other four women in the ring. Until there we saw great and innovative moves. Even though Baszler’s team always had for some time the numerical advantage, Ripley and LeRae were able to keep up.
Next, it was time for Kai to get involved in the match. However, as she walked out of the cage where she and Nox were, she turned around to attack her best friend. She sent Nox several times with the head into the cage and then worked over her recently injured knee. Kai slammed the door of the cage about 10 times into the knee. As then Regal came out, to calm Kai down, she shoved the GM of NXT. They sent her back, but she came back to attack Nox once more. After that, the security was able to bring her to the backstage area while the doctors checked on Nox.
So, after that Baszler made her way to the ring and from there on it was a four-on-two fight. Ripley and LeRae had to fight against the whole team of Baszler. Logically, they were dominated most of the time, but they also were able to set free in some situations. After about 25 minutes of match time, Shirai hit Belair and LeRae with an outstanding Moonsault from the top of the cage and just a few seconds before that LeRae performed a Poison Rana on Ray. So, these four women were taken out and it was clear that the two captains would decide the match. Even though Ray tried to get involved once more, Ripley hit her brutally with a trash can and so she was taken out once and for all.
Then, it was just Baszler and Ripley left. Baszler applied the Kirafuda Clutch, but Ripley used a handcuff to get free. After that, Ripley performed the Rip Tide through two set up steel chairs for the pinfall victory.
Opinion: An absolutely outstanding match. The fight itself in the cage, as well as the attack of Kai, were just awesome. Ripley and LeRae really fought off four women. That Ripley is a badass was already before that match clear, but LeRae almost received no attention ahead of this match. So, it was a bit surprising for me. However, Ripley pinned Baszler and due to that, we’ll see a match for the title between these two soon. This feud will be great.
Killian Dain vs. Damien Priest vs. Pete Dunn to declare who’ll face Adam Cole at Survivor Series for the NXT Championship
Normally, you see triple threat matches where at some point one person gets taken out by a big move and then the other two fight each other. However, in this match, we hadn’t such a moment. All three men were permanently involved in the match. After about 20 minutes, Dain sent Dunne into Priest, who then got covered by Dunne for the three count. So, we’ll have Dunne vs. Cole at Survivor Series for the NXT Championship.
Opinion: Since Dunne is the biggest name of these three, it was right to send him into the fight against Cole. I liked that match very much since all three men permanently worked with each other and we saw interesting combinations and innovative moves. However, this match didn’t seem that outstanding since it was the match after this intense and hot opening match.
Matt Riddle vs. Finn Balor
You still had the feeling that the crowd was cooling down from that WarGames match what made also this match seem less good than it actually was. These two outstanding performers got about 14 minutes to work their match and performed absolutely well. We also saw how Riddle performed a Spear and a Jackhammer (the two Goldberg moves), but Balor was able to kick out of the pin. In the end, Balor countered the V-Trigger to then perform the Bloody Sunday what led to the victory.
Opinion: Good to give the win to Balor since it was his first match since his return. Losing to Balor doesn’t let the Original Bro look weak at all, so that was also fine considering this aspect. Anyways, I liked that match, but I think it would have been even better to watch if the women’s WarGames match hadn’t been before.
Men’s WarGames Match: Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic & an unknown partner vs. “The Undisputed Era” NXT Champion Adam Cole, NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong & NXT Tag Team Champions Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish
Even though it seemed at that stage of the PPV as it would possibly be a handicap match, I was sure that we would see a fourth member on Ciampa’s team since we already had that handicap aspect in the women’s match.
However, Cole, Fish and O’Reilly were in the one cage while Lee and Diajakovic were in the other one. Strong and Ciampa kicked things off in the ring. Next, O’Reilly joined them in the ring, then Dijakovic came to even the odds. Next was Fish who was followed by Lee. Then, Cole came in the ring as the last member of the UE. Until then, the match was already brutal, and we saw hard moves, but after the following moment, this match turned into absolute madness: Kevin Owens came out as the fourth member on Ciampa’s squad.
KO joined them in the ring and destroyed each and every one. After that, we saw several “holy shit” moves. For example, Strong hit Lee with the Angle Slam from the middle rope or Cole performed a Canadian Destroyer on the metal part between the rings on KO. However, in the final phase of the match, Dijakovic sent Strong through a table, then O’Reilly applied the Armbar on Dijakovic while he was lying on the table. While Dijakovic was fading away, KO hit O’Reilly with a Frog Splash from the top rope to break the hold. Lee gave Fish a Spirit Bomb through the table and so all members of this match except the two captains Ciampa and Cole were taken out (same pattern as in the women’s match). Both men were at the top of the cage and Ciampa hit Cole with the Air Raid Crash from the top of the cage through two tables. Both men were lying on the floor, but Ciampa was on Cole and so he picked up the pinfall victory.
Opinion: This fight was incredible. It took almost 60 minutes and was packed full of amazing spots. Due to the fact that Ciampa pinned Cole, we’ll surely see how this feud continuous, but this time for the NXT Championship. I’m not sure if we’ll see from now on KO as a permanent part of NXT or if this was just for that night. Anyways, an incredible match.
As usual, TakeOver never disappoints us. I understand the match card structure since both WarGames match exhausted the viewers and the crowd. If they have packed both after one and another, we wouldn’t have had the energy to give both the recognition which they deserve. However, the two matches between them to cool down were also just outstanding. I’m also looking forward to Survivor Series, but one of the most interesting aspects will be how fit the NXT superstars will be? Will we see a storyline that they aren’t at 100%? I can quite imagine that for example, Cole is selling an injury after this extreme bump at the end of this WarGames match. However, we’ll see how good the NXT superstars will deliver at Survivor Series.