NXT Takeover: WarGames Review

Here we go with another Takeover. I am expecting this to deliver, just like usual. The WarGames match is slightly different to that used in WCW/NWA as it has no roof, but I have no problem with that.

Kassius Ohno vs Lars Sullivan

Hoss fight. Sullivan starts off on the front foot, shaking off everything that Ohno can throw at him. Ohno does manage to mount some offense though, hitting a succession of stiff elbows to ground Sullivan. He then stomps his head repeatedly as he is grounded. Sullivan is just getting pissed off though. He gets up hits the Freak Accident for the win. 

This was short and it was stiff. As far as 5 minute matches go, this was very good. I enjoy seeing big bastards throw down. ***

Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream

Dream has the airbrushed Rick Rude style tights for this. Black starts off by isolating the arm of Dream and schooling him on the mat. Dream tries to play mind games with Black, doing the Rick Rude hip thrust and mirroring Black's cross legged sitting stance. Black is having none of it and uses Dream's pose. 

Dream takes control of the match, sending Black to the outside. Back in, he hits a superkick for a near fall and a Rude Awakening for another 2 count. Dream is full on in Rick Rude mode tonight. 

Black fights back, hitting a series of strikes and a quebrada for a 2 count. Dream manages to catch Black in a cartwheel DVD for a great near fall. Dream drags Black to the corner and heads to the second rope with Black on his shoulders. Black escapes and takes out the legs, crashing Dream to the mat. 

Black hits a big knee but gets caught in a tremendous looking rolling DDT variation. He can't take advantage and only gets a 2 count. Dream heads up top but gets caught with a boot on the way down and gets caught in the ropes. 

Black attacks Dream with a kick but gets distracted arguing with the referee, allowing Dream to hit a superkick. Black rebounds off the ropes and hits a big knee. BLACK MASS! Aleister Black picks up the win. After the match Black takes to the mic and says 'Enjoy infamy, Velveteen Dream'. The crowd popped big at Black saying his name.

This was a great match, my favourite of Black's NXT run so far. Both men came out of it looking superb and it's a great example of benefiting from a loss. It wasn't just the wrestling either, as both men nailed the character work here, and sold it like it mattered. It also had a really invested crowd that ate up every minute of it. Great stuff all round. ****1/2

NXT Women's Title - Peyton Royce vs Kairi Sane vs Ember Moon vs Nikki Cross

We start things off with everyone trying to get the upper hand. Moon hits a plancha on Cross and Sane hits a forearm on Royce and everyone ends up on the floor. Moon then hits Cross with a nasty looking powerbomb to nothing but floor. That was crazy.

Back in, Sane looks to take charge of the match, hitting forearms and a corner spear. Royce cuts off her momentum and ties her up with a submission in the ropes. They have a run of escapes and reversals before they head to the corner and hit a good looking tower of doom spot. 

Royce tries to go for the cover on both Moon and Sane but fails in both attempts. Nikki Cross is back in the fray and she hits a cross body onto everyone. She lays out everyone and hits a fisherman's neckbreaker on Sane, but Moon makes the save. Cross hits a draping neckbreaker on Moon, who rolls to the floor.

Royce hits a fisherman's suplex on Cross but Sane makes the late save. Very late. Sane slams Royce on top of Cross and hits that wondrous elbow drop of hers onto both of them. She goes for the cover but Moon makes the save. Royce and Cross are tied up when Moon hits the Eclipse on both of them, and pins Cross to win the title.

After the match Asuka hands the title to Moon and they hug. This ran at less than 10 minutes and they packed a hell of a lot in. At no point did they get bogged down in some of the problems that often permeate multi person matches. It would have been easy for a match to falter after the quality of the last match but they didn't. It was a sprint and it was really good fun. ***1/2

NXT Title - Drew McIntyre vs Andrade 'Cien' Almas

Almas is fan-fucking-tastic so I'm hoping that this delivers. Almas gets into McIntyre's face from the off, slapping him and using his speed to escape retaliation. He gets whipped into the ropes but does the 'Tranqillo' pose. McIntyre kicks him in the face for it.

Zelina Vega goes for a head scissors but McIntyre catches her and puts her safely back on the apron. He's a true gent is Drew. Almas goes for a suicide dive but gets cut off. Back in the ring, McIntyre goes for a spear in the corner but Almas moves and McIntyre runs into the post.

Almas locks in a draping arm bar in the ropes. He continues to work the arm but Drew fights him off and throws him half way across the ring. McIntyre gets the better of a strike exchange and hits a Celtic cross for a 2 count. 

Almas fights back, getting a good near fall from a tornado reverse DDT. He attempts a reverserana but Drew blocks it and nails him with a reverse Alabama slam. Drew heads up top but gets cut off and sent to the floor. Almas hits a slingshot rana and sends Drew into the post. He follows this up with a beautiful moonsault to the outside.

Almas hits a double stomp on a tree of woe stricken McIntyre. He follows up with the shotgun double knees but Drew kicks out. McIntyre manages to hit a sitout powerbomb for a near fall of his own. McIntyre nails Almas with a Futureshock DDT but Almas isn't done. 

McIntyre heads to the top with Almas on his shoulders but Almas sneaks out of the hold and drags Drew down. He follows up with shotgun knees to the back and gets a 2 count. Almas has the ref distracted and Zelina Vega hits a spiked rana on Drew. Almas follows up with a hammerlock DDT for a tremendous near fall.

They drag themselves back to their feet and McIntyre lands the Claymore but Vega puts Almas' foot on the rope before the count of three. McIntyre heads back to the top but Almas catches him and hits a draping hammerlock DDT. 1, 2, 3! FUCK YES! ALMAS WINS!

That was the best NXT Title match in quite a while. It built well throughout and had a fantastic finishing stretch. Almas has an absolute ton of upside. He is superb in the ring, he has barrels of charisma and his chemistry with Zelina Vega is near to perfect. His win also opens up a ton of new title feud opportunities. McIntyre is ready to go back to main right now. He has size and ability and he already knows the schedule etc. He did seem to be struggling with an injury after the match, though, so I hope that isn't too serious. ****1/4

WarGames Match - SAnitY (Eric Young, Killian Dain & Alexander Wolfe) vs Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) vs Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong

I honestly never thought I would see this match again and while I don't expect it to hit the heights of the best WarGames matches, I do expect something quite special. The rules are different here, and I wasn't paying full attention to them, but it appears that their will be 3 shark cages positioned at the top of the ramp that will have the other members of the teams in them and instead of team members coming out one at a time both members will be introduced.. Young is starting for SAnitY, Cole for Undisputed Era, and Strong for his team (he is dressed as a member of AoP). Adam Cole is super over.

The match starts with Cole being targeted by both men but managing to fight them off and get the advantage. Roderick Strong starts to get the upper hand but the first team released from their cage are the Undisputed Era. It's always the heels first. Always.

Undisputed Era used their two minutes of advantage to take complete control of the match before the next team is released. The next team is AoP and they are here for some murdering. They throw everyone from one ring to the other and them launch Strong into everyone. They also hit a pair of tree of woe DVDs.

SAnitY is the last team out and they are bringing the plunder. Wolfe has a nightstick and uses it to take out AoP. They unleash the chairs and single use garbage cans and take complete control of this match. Wolfe throws around German suplexes like they are going out of fashion. Dain locks the door shut with a chain and swallows the padlock key.

Dain runs wild on everybody. He hits a shotgun dropkick/senton combination and heads up top to wip out everyone with a cross body. Cole tries to hit him with a kendo stick but Dain catches it and stares Cole down. Fish makes the save but it doesn't go to plan as Dain hits Cole with a Michinoku Driver onto Fish. That looked good.

Dain hits a fallaway slam/Samoan drop combination on Cole and Strong. He then goes toe to toe with one of the AoP, Rezar maybe, and both of them throw big strikes. Dain wipes him out with a cross body, but Akam hits a powerslam on Dain to cut off his momentum. 

O'Reilly and Fish hit Chasing the Dragon on Strong. They then take control of the match, with Wolfe using a chain to crank on Wolfe's arm but Young hits a big elbow to break it up. AoP hits a Super Collider between the two rings with Dain in the middle. Young fights back and hits a DVD on one of the AoP, onto the other. He covers but the pin is broken up.

Strong starts throwing a wide array of backbreakers at everybody. He then hits an Angle slam on Dain but Cole breaks it up with a superkick. Cole heads to the top rope between the rings but gets cut off from both sides. Everyone heads to the corners and we get a double tower of doom, one in each ring. This leaves Cole all by himself with everyone else down.

AoP get back up and set their sights on Cole, who tries to climb the cage to avoid them. They cut him off and set up two tables in one of the rings. It backfires as Wolfe hits a German suplex on one of the members of AoP from the corner, through the table. It busts the back of Wolfe's head open quite badly. 

Cole is tentatively shuffling himself along the top of the cage. Dain sets up O'Reilly in the corner with a garbage can. He heads to the top and hits the coast to coast. The big man has some moves. Strong climbs up to meet Cole at the top of the cage. They struggle for a brief period before Strong suplexes Cole off the top of the cage onto the throng of people below. That was a crazy looking highspot.

Everybody is down. Strong takes too long going for the pin and Cole kicks out. AoP, ReDragon and Young & Wolfe hit double team moves. Cole and Strong trade strikes and Cole gets thrown into the cage. Young then throws Strong into the cage before getting drilled with a kendo stick by Cole. Young grabs a chair but Cole smashes it into his face with a shining wizard to pick up the win.

This may not have been exactly like the WarGames matches of old but I don't think that matters one bit. This was a wild, violent match that had everything you could possibly ask for. There was blood, there were highspots and the crowd was invested. Nobody came out of this looking any weaker than they went in and Killian Dain looked superb throughout. It is clear, though, that Adam Cole was the man they were setting up to be the next star of NXT and he was super over all night. ****1/2

Overall Grade - A

This show delivered big time. Three of the five matches are ****1/4 or better and the other two do a really good job of accomplishing what they set out to. I'm really happy that Almas gets a run with the title as he is an incredible talent and there are a bunch of opportunities for great matches. The Black vs Dream match features fantastic character work, and the main event is everything it needed to be. A must watch show.