Last night, we got a great show in NXT Takeover Wargames. The event was held in Chicago, which is always a great wrestling crowd. It was hard to keep up with the stories for this one, due to so much focus put on the brand war, but that didn’t change anything for me. Despite this, I was stilled excited to see this show because Takeover always delivers. So, let’s not waste any more time and get into the nitty gritty.
We are greeted by Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Pat McAfee. They are our NXT Pre-show panel. They give us a rundown of what’s to come. Shortly into the pre-show the panel gets word of something that has happened backstage and send us back. When the cameras switch, we see Mia Yim being attended to by medics. She has apparently been attacked and her status is unclear. The cameras switch back to the panel and they tell us they will keep us updated.
We then get our pre-show match between Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Angel Garza. This match was very back and forth. There seemed to be a few hiccups early on, but things smoothed out by the time the match really got going. They set things up to make it seem like Isaiah is going to take the win, but Garza eventually gets the win. I really liked this match. It set the tone nicely for the rest of the night.
A cool video package for Riddle and Bálor plays after the match. Then the panel give their thoughts. Pat goes with Riddle and Sam goes with Bálor. We then go backstage again where Mia Yim is being loaded into an ambulance. Rhea then tells Dakota Kai that she must step up and take Yim’s place. Dakota says she isn’t ready, but Rhea insist.
The ending to the pre-show was kind of weird with Sam Roberts and Caruso getting interrupted by McAfee running into the crowd to hip them up for the opening of the main show.
The main show starts out with the women’s Wargames match. In this match we saw Team Ripley, which consisted of Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and now Dakota Kai, take on Team Baszler, which consisted of Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, and Kay Lee Ray. Candice and Io start out. They go back and forth with Io eventually taking over. Io and Candice take advantage of both rings. They have some cool spots. Bianca comes in next. Candice manages to get some offense on the two, but Bianca shuts down her momentum with a sick triple powerbomb. Bianca and Io get creative in their double-teaming efforts. Rhea Ripley comes in next and she brings in every weapon, but tables. The crowd of course chants for tables. By the time she makes it into the ring, Kay Lee Ray comes in. She tries to bring in tables, but the officials don’t allow her to. She does a very devasting tornado DDT on Ripley. Dakota then is release for her team, but she quickly reveals herself to be a double agent by attacking Teagan Nox. She focuses on Teagan’s knee. William Regal and the officials eventually get her backstage. Shortly after, it is announced that Teagan cannot compete, making it four against two. Ripley and Candice make great attempts to even the odds, but ultimately the numbers game catches up to them. Bianca does a flip off the top rope on to Ripley. Either Ripley wasn’t out far enough or Bianca over shot, but it looked like Bianca smashed her face into one of the chairs. They don’t show a replay, so I’m not for sure. Bianca does another spot where she lifts Candice over her head and tosses her onto Ripley in the other ring. Ripley and Shayna both lock a teammate of the other’s into a submission while taunting each other. Bianca gets creative and uses her braid as a whip on Ripley until Candice gets after Bianca with a kendo stick. Io climbs on top of the cage and does a moonsault off the cage for a huge pop. Ripley eventually handcuffs herself to Baszler. She then hits the Baszler with the riptide onto some chairs. She then pins Baszler for the upset win.
This match was the first ever women’s Wargames match and it delivered. However, my favorite part didn’t take place in the ring. I absolutely loved the Dakota’s turn. It was out of nowhere and vicious. When it comes to in the cage, I loved pretty much everything Bianca, Candice, and Io did. They were phenomenal.
Next up, we have a number 1 contenders match for the NXT Championship between Pete Dunne, Killian Dain, and Damian Priest. The winner will face Adam Cole at Survivor Series. The crowd was kind of dead during this match. It was not due to the match quality, but rather how much the previous match took out of the crowd. All three men had an opportunity to showcase their skills. All three men complimented each other well. Pete Dunne was my favorite part. He stayed on both his opponents constantly and never let up. This led to him taking the win and earning a match against Adam Cole at Survivor Series.
I did enjoy this match, but it truly was hard to follow the match before it. I think this match would have been received better if it would have gone on before the women’s Wargames match, but I am no booker and in no way claiming to be. Regardless, these three did the best they could with what they were given and, honestly with a card like this, would it have changed things much? This is a stacked card to if we are being real.
Third up on the main card, we have Matt Riddle facing the returning Finn Bálor in singles competition. Momentum in this match, much like the others, shifts back and forth. A lot of counters in this match. Bálor takes over for a little bit, but Riddle counter’s Bálor’s kick into an ankle lock. Bálor hits a killer dropkick and then a suplex, but Riddle immediately hits a fly knee with a suplex. Bálor sets up Riddle, but Riddle counters with a spear and then a jackhammer (wink wink Bill Goldberg). This match literally goes back and forth with each man getting close pinfalls, but after an inverted DDT Bálor gets the win.
Both men did excellent. I loved Riddle’s rib at Goldberg. I would love to see these two lock it up and perhaps this is a foreshadowing of that, but probably not. Bálor looked great in his return to Takeover. Excited to see if this feud continues or not and what Bálor does from here on in NXT.
Last up on the show, we have The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) facing Team Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, and TBA) in a Wargames match. Ciampa comes out last and marches straight to the ring. Roderick Strong enters first for The Undisputed Era. These Two immediately have a slugfest and set the tone for a hard-hitting match. Kyle O’Reilly comes in and helps Strong take over. He and Strong then pace themselves while staying on Ciampa. Dijakovic comes out next to even the odds. Dijakovic goes on a rampage, just doing whatever he wants with O’Reilly and Strong. He helps Ciampa up and they gain the momentum. Bobby Fish comes in next for the Undisputed Era and immediately goes for Ciampa and then cuts down Dijakovic. The Undisputed Era take over with the numbers advantage. They eventually separate Ciampa and Dijakovic into separate rings and take turns beating them down. Keith Lee comes in next and starts to clean house. Much like Ciampa and Dijakovic, Keith Lee falls to the numbers advantage, but Ciampa makes a comeback followed by Dijakovic. Adam Cole comes in and brings in a table (they didn’t stop him…). Cole brings in several tables to be exact. As Cole tries to get into the ring, Ciampa throws Cole into a table outside the ring and then throws Cole in the cage. The Undisputed Era again use their numbers to gain the momentum. The last timer goes off and after a few moments, Kevin Owens returns as the fourth member of team Ciampa. He immediately goes to work on the Undisputed Era. Team Ciampa finally takes over, but the momentum soon starts to shift back and forth. Dijakovic hits a sick springboard moonsault. Strong hits Keith Lee with a suplex off the top rope. Cole hits a panama sunrise on Owens between the two rings. After a long hard-fought battle, Ciampa hit Cole with a backdrop off the top of the cage through two tables for the win.
This match was insane. I think Ciampa stole the whole thing for me. Kevin Owens showing up as the surprise fourth member caught me off guard. I wonder what this means for him at Survivor Series since he is on another team. Everyone really showed off in this match and I loved it.
This wasn’t the best Takeover, but it was a great one. Especially most of these guys and gals have matches at Survivor Series, but still brought the heat. They pulled no punches. I truly enjoyed each match. I give it an 8/10.