by James Toal
It’s that time once again my fellow NXT fans. It’s time for NXT Takeover, but more importantly, time for the rebirth of War Games! Everyone has got something to fight for, so who’ll come out victorious. This may be the most unpredictable NXT Takeover that we’ve ever had, let’s not waste any more time and jump right into it.
Lars Sullivan vs Kassius Ohno
Sullivan being built as a man handler and a destroyer as he went into the match with Ohno. Kassius kept trying to get a foothold in the match, but he would get slammed back down by the force of Sullivan. I’ll be fair, the criticism of Sullivan is valid. But his move set is improving, pulling off a pop up power slam was impressive, plus actually going to the top turnbuckle for high-risk moves show that he’s not a one-trick pony. After the failed leap, Ohno took advantage and started to dominate, finally managing to knock the big man down. However, it would have to take a lot more in order to keep him grounded.
Strikes went back and forth as Ohno went for his finishing blow. But, Lars hit his finisher? It looked more like a side on spine buster, it’s called the “Freak Accident” and I believe it, it looked very awkward. Lars won the match as we kick off War Games. Here’s to hopes that Kassius doesn’t become the punching bag of NXT.
Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream
Here’s what some have been considering as the unofficial main event of War Games. The psychology going into this match is intriguing and has given Dream a significant boost in development, especially after being paired up with someone as unique as Aleister Black. The match got started with Black trying to teach Dream a lesson in respect, locking him up and making him learn that his actions would indeed have consequences. Dream did an excellent job of highlighting his grief as every facial expression portrayed a sense of dread, pain, and most importantly, despair.
This wasn’t to say that Dream didn’t fight back with his arrogance, he was wearing Black’s face on his tights for gods sake, which led to a standoff between them and presented us with the idea that these men may look like polar opposites, but they share similar values in intimidating their opponents, even if their motives are different their results end up being the same. Both men moved amazingly in the ring, pulling out all the stops and showing us more of what we thought they were capable of.
The huge clash in personalities finally ended with a clash from the Black Mask as Aleister left TakeOver with a win over The Velveteen Dream. This match was far better than it needed to be. The story, the psychology, and in-ring skill was brilliant. “Enjoy Infamy, Velveteen Dream” Enjoy the end of an entertaining story arc, NXT universe.
NXT Women’s Championship – Nikki Cross vs Peyton Royce vs Ember Moon vs Kairi Sane
The chaos began, suicide dives, power bombs to the outside, leaps from the apron, and all of it happing in the first 2 minutes. Needless to say, this match didn’t waste any time getting stuck in the action. There was many interconnected spots that made this match a spectacle to see, most notably with a German suplex connected to a Superplex, Nikki diving from the top turnbuckle to land on all 3 women, and even a double elbow drop from Kairi Sane.
The Internet was ablaze with predictions over this match. All the women involved were capable of taking the victory, but only one managed to succeed. I’ll admit I was wrong in my prediction and it was in fact, Ember Moon who ended it victoriously. With a double Total Eclipse, Ember Moon became Women’s Champion. It’s a shame this match had to the follow Dream vs Black, but this had plenty of spots to get excited over and ended the best possible way with a woman who toiled and worked hard to get the reward she deserved.
NXT Championship – Drew McIntyre vs Andrade “Cien” Almas w/ Zelina Vega
Andrade immediately used disrespect to gain the advantage, even slightly shifting into his former cocky demeanour. But then you remember that Drew McIntyre is a 6″5 Scottish machine, so he’s not going to take any of your attempts to make a fool out of him well. This was an intense and side shifting matchup, as both men refused to let the other retain control of the momentum. Throughout the match, as the moves got bigger and riskier, it seemed like anyone could win this.
Andrade seemed to reach the peak of his energetic speed, he sped around at such a pace that he could’ve gone through several moves and you’d be surprised that McIntyre was able to kick out. It all seemed to be over as Zelina hit a hurricanrana while the referee was distracted, Andrade hit his Hammerlock DDT but McIntyre still kicked out! McIntyre hit the Claymore, but Vega managed to get Almas’ foot onto the rope just in time.
The match ended as Andrade managed to hit a DDT with help from the top turnbuckle, and Andrade Became the new NXT champion. It’s been reported that Drew McIntyre was actually injured, you can probably pinpoint where the injury took place. This is a shame and hope that he manages to recover soon, from the fan reaction alone, you can tell that a rematch would benefit both them immensely.
WAR GAMES – The Authors of Pain & Rodrick Strong vs The Undisputed Era vs Sanity
With an official rule list as long as your arm, here came the long-awaited return of War Games match. The weirdest element I have to address about this match is the fact that Rodrick Strong is wearing AOP attire. Granted it was mentioned that they’re teammates due to mutual enemies, but it’s still pretty surreal to see Strong sporting a vest and camp trousers. Anyways, the match kicked off with Eric Young, Adam Cole, and Rodrick Strong in the rings. Cole managed to gain control throughout the beginning, slowly working his opponents, however as Rodrick became dominant, the timer counted down and the rest of the Undisputed Era was released to support their downed ally.
Undisputed kept control, then it was time for the Authors of Pain to rush in and change the complexion of this match. Immediately they used the scenario of two rings to their advantage, throwing their opponents to the other ring and then using Strong as a weapon and double hip tossing him over the ropes and landing on the men on the other side, fantastic. Finally, Sanity was released and now the match could insane. They didn’t just bring themselves, they brought the entire catalogue of weapons available to them. Chairs, kendo sticks, chains, bins, and even the fan favourite table made its way into the match. As Killian Dane padlocked the cage door, War Games just became a whole lot more deadly. What occurred next was utter chaos as bodies were thrown, slammed, smashed, squashed, all confined in the cage.
Killian Dane soon turned into the MVP as he started to crush everyone in his way. The numbers game eventually caught up to him though and after many many attempted pinfalls, every man looked beaten and broken. Chants of “Please don’t die” echoed around the arena, I couldn’t reiterate that statement harder if I tried. After all that turmoil, Adam Cole lay victorious amongst a sea of bodies and we ended the return of War Games. Outstanding doesn’t sum up what this match was. The only suitable words for this are as follows. Holy. Fucking. Shit