Show Reviews

NXT Takeover: WarGames Review

Daniel McIver reviews NXT TakeOver War Games 2019.

It’s Takeover time again!

One night prior to taking on the blue and red brands; the black and gold faithful went to war in Wargames. Let’s see how it all went down…

Angel Garza vs Isiah ‘Swerve’ Scott

Grade: C

This was fun. Despite not getting a whole lot of time due to the restrictions of the pre-show, both men impressed and got the crowd hot before the main show started. Both Scott and Garza are going to have fantastic futures and this was a good way to showcase both guys to an audience who may not be as familiar with them.

Many, myself included, would have expected Garza to take the fall but in reality, the man with the tearaway pants picked up the W. Intriguing to see where both competitors go from here.

Women’s WarGames Match: Team Rhea (Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai and Tegan Nox) vs Team Shayna (Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Kay Lee Ray and Io Shirai)

Grade: A

This was, absolutely exceptional. Every single woman shone here and looked like a million bucks. I am a self-confessed Rhea Ripley mark; I think she is the future of the industry without a shadow of a doubt but I feel that this was her coming-out party to the wider wrestling fanbase. She looked like a juggernaut for her team; running in head first, not shying away from the captaincy and won the match for her team.

But it wasn’t just her. Candice LeRae looked like the Candice of PWG and indie scene, Io Shirai continues to be potentially the best aspect of the NXT woman’s locker-room, Kay Lee Ray looked vindictive as a heel and Shayna was her usual cocky self. However. The absolute standout moment of the match was the Dakota Kai heel- turn on her, now, ex-best friend Tegan Nox. Despite it being slightly predictable, that’s not always a bad thing. It was executed to perfection and almost hard to watch honestly, especially paired with Tegan’s screaming. I cannot wait to see where Dakota goes from here, alongside Nox.

An absolutely fantastic match and my, personal, match of the night.

Pete Dunne vs Damian Priest vs Killian Dain- Winner faces Adam Cole at Survivor Series for the NXT Championship

Grade: C-

I honestly didn’t enjoy this. Yeah; there were definitely good moments from all three men involved, it just felt like it was around ten minutes too long. There were several moments where I internally thought ‘Ah, that’s the finish’…and then it just went on and on and on. The crowd were exhausted, understandably, after the insane opener and gave it all they could but still, I just couldn’t get into it.

Dunne winning makes the most amount of sense and I’m sure his match against Cole could steal the show at Survivor Series.

Finn Balor vs Matt Riddle

Grade: B

Wahey, back to positivity! This was brutal loveliness and that’s the best way I can put it. I, alongside much of Twitter it seems, expected this to be a fast-paced, few minutes long match that put Balor over as a brutal mercenary.

However, in a surprising change, it was a methodical bout from the off and gradually ramped up. Riddle looked like a monster, as he usually does, and Balor looked incredible; harking back to his New Japan days here. Balor picking up the win makes the most sense; it would have been ridiculous if he was defeated by the Bro Stallion in his return ‘home’. Riddle referenced Goldberg again as well so…that’s a thing.

Men’s WarGames Match: Team Undisputed Era vs Team Ciampa (Tomasso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic and Kevin Owens)

Grade: A-

Kevin Owens returned to NXT and all is right with the world. Go back and look how delighted he looks to be back within WWE’s third brand. It’s infectious and amazing to see. Owens is such an individual performer, much in the ilk of Daniel Bryan, where fans can despise him as a heel but also absolutely adore him as a face. The pop he received last night when his music hit was absolutely monumental. Amazing to see.

In regards to the match itself, this was fantastic as well. Much like the woman’s match that started the show, every performer got to shine, have their moments and look like absolute stars. Keith Lee defies all known laws of physics, Dominik Dijakovic can throw men miles, Tomasso Ciampa brought back Psycho Killer and Undisputed Era emerged as crafty, snivelling vultures. It was just all brilliant AND featured the most terrifying spot I’ve ever seen in a wrestling match with Ciampa hitting Cole with an Air Raid Crash from the top of the cage, through two tables. THE MAN JUST CAME BACK FROM NECK SURGERY. How. How are they both alive.

Whilst I just preferred the woman’s version; the main event sent everyone happy and ended the night on a massive high.

Overall Thoughts: I don’t think this could be called one of the best Takeovers ever but that’s such a ridiculously high bar that I hope that comment isn’t construed as an insult. Still an brilliant night of wrestling that cements NXT as one of the best wrestling products around, as it has been for four years now.

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You can find me on Twitter @McIverTheMark. Thanks for reading.

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