26th Nov2019

‘NXT Takeover: WarGames 2019’ PPV Review

by Nathan Favel

Welcome to this review of NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2019, right here on Nerdly. I’m Nathan Favel and Taylor Swift sucks…sand-paper sounding dink. WarGames is better than Taylor Swift, so don’t bother with the ear-plugs. The Macho Man took Taylor Swift and ran her ass…around the blooooooooock. Step into a Slim Jim! Wakchaaaaaaaaa! That’s a whip sound-effect.

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Match #1: Angel Garza def. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Two of NXT’s most promising blue chippers in Isaiah “Swerve” Scott and Angel Garza went toe-to-toe in the first-ever match on a TakeOver Pre-Show, and they didn’t disappoint. Garza flaunted a bevy of innovative offense to take control in the early goings before Scott dodged an all-too-early attempt at the Cerro de la Silla. Defeat seemed certain for NXT’s resident lothario moments later when Scott connected in succession with a Death Valley Driver on the apron, a double stomp on the outside and finally the House Call — but Garza narrowly got his shoulder up before the count of three. Instead, Garza used his opportunistic nature to seize the moment. Though “Swerve” caught his opponent’s attempt at a low blow when the referee wasn’t looking, Garza answered quickly with a counter of his own before planting Scott with the Wing Clipper for the victory.

My Opinion: 2.6 out of 5 – This was…not as good as I thought it would be. They tried though. Oh well. Neither guy looked bad, but neither looked great either.

Match #2: Team Ripley def. Team Baszler – WarGames Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

After overcoming a shocking betrayal and a significant numbers disadvantage, Rhea Ripley has left no doubt that Shayna Baszler has been put on notice. Ripley pinned the NXT Women’s Champion after crushing her with the Riptide through the seat of two steel chairs, claiming victory for her team in the first-ever Women’s WarGames Match. Hope was seemingly nowhere to be found for Team Ripley just moments earlier with Ripley and Candice LeRae caught in a 4-on-2 disadvantage, which was caused by Dakota Kai, who committed a heinous backstabbing after subbing in as a last-minute injury replacement for Mia Yim on Team Ripley. Kai failed to convince Ripley earlier this month that she was worthy of joining her team after a defeat at the hands of Baszler, but The Nightmare had little choice to give the nod to The Captain of Team Kick minutes before bell time when Yim was found left lying after an apparent backstage attack. When it was time for Kai to join the fray as the third entrant for Team Ripley, Kai stunned the capacity Chicago crowd — not to mention every competitor in the match. Instead of heading to the ring, Kai savagely attacked partner and longtime friend Tegan Nox in their team’s shark cage with no remorse. Ripley could do little but watch in shock from the ring as Kai repeatedly slammed the steel door against Nox’s surgically repaired knee, even ripping off the supportive brace. That allowed Baszler to enter what was seemingly a fish-in-a-barrel situation as the match’s final contestant. Teaming with Io Shirai, Bianca Belair and NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray, The Queen of Spades made use of their advantage to pummel Ripley and LeRae. Hope seemed to be dwindling for Ripley and LeRae, especially when Shirai soared from the top of the WarGames structure through the Chicago sky to take out LeRae and Belair with an awe-inspiring moonsault. However, Baszler introduced a pair of handcuffs to the match, and her decision to do so led to her demise. After Ripley swung a garbage can with all of her might to swat an airborne Ray to the canvas, Baszler caught her adversary in the Kirifuda Clutch. Ripley seemed to have little choice left but to submit until she applied one cuff to Baszler and the other to herself. Craftily using them to wriggle herself free, Ripley dodged a kick from Baszler and planted her with the Riptide atop the steel chairs before covering her for the three-count. Somehow weathering a mutiny and overcoming unforeseeable adversity, Ripley stood tall with LeRae, perhaps definitively making herself the top contender for Baszler’s title.

My Opinion: 4.2 out of 5 – This was a great match that was more like a traditional Cage Match than a WarGames Match, but it did the trick. The turn at the end was well-done, which this match was slowly revealed to be the point of this thing being booked (for the most part). Rhea getting the big push out of this was cool and makes for an interesting way to end the year.

Match #3: Pete Dunne def. Killian Dain & Damian Priest – #1 Conterder’s Match To The NXT Championship At Survivor Series

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Pete Dunne is far from unscathed after dealing with Damian Priest and Killian Dain for weeks on end, but he’s emerging from the rubble with an opportunity at the NXT Championship. The BruiserWeight will challenge for Adam Cole’s title at Survivor Series on Sunday night after winning a grueling Triple Threat Match against Priest and Dain. An alliance of convenience early on between Priest and Dain proved extremely brief, with the two behemoths quickly coming to blows after teaming up on Dunne. The BruiserWeight unleashed an array of kicks as an equalizer against his much larger adversaries, but was soon left incapacitated for minutes at a time after being thrown onto an announce table courtesy of a crucifix powerbomb at the hands of Priest. Dain joined the fray moments later, catching Priest with a gargantuan tope suicida before sending him through the barricade on the receiving end of a running senton. Not to be outdone, Priest responded in equally death-defying fashion later on when he seemingly kissed the rafters of Allstate Arena and launched himself over the top rope to floor Dain. Dunne also got in on the acrobatics act, downing both opponents with a moonsault to the outside. The three competitors continued to unleash immeasurable punishment on each other, but it was shrewdness — not strength — ultimately propelling The BruiserWeight to victory. Moments after Dunne rocked the ring by delivering a superplex to Dain, he set himself on the back of the Beast of Belfast, trying to lock in a sleeper hold. Initially, Dain appeared to be the clever one, deciding on a running backdrop to flatten the prone Priest with Dunne between the two of them. Splayed across the Archer of Infamy, The BruiserWeight made use of his landing spot, one-upping Dain by hooking Priest’s legs for an opportunistic three count and the win.

My Opinion: 3.9 out of 5 – This was an excellent match that had the right kind of action and the right winner. This was non-stop and delivered a strong kinetic bout with moves that were like a burst of fire blasting out every other second. Every-body looked good here and could have been good contenders to Cole, but Dunne won and that’s the way it should be.

Match #4: Finn Bálor def. Matt Riddle

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Finn Bálor referred to NXT as the Broadway of the sports-entertainment industry in his homecoming last month, and reviews of the former NXT Champion’s first performance back on the TakeOver stage are likely to be glowing. Bálor returned to in-ring NXT action for the first time in more than three years to defeat Matt Riddle at TakeOver: WarGames. Since Bálor came back to the black-and-gold brand with a sinister edge not before seen in his WWE career, the WWE Universe wasn’t sure what to expect from his first in-ring competition in three months, but he quickly stymied any possible doubts with a sterling showing. In fact, Bálor surprised early when he took much of the bout’s early goings to the mat — a setting that seemingly would play well for the MMA-tested Riddle — but Bálor showcased a grappling acumen that was on the level of The Original Bro and then some. Bálor used a more methodical style than the WWE Universe is used to seeing from him and took the fight to his opponent with his newfound ruthlessness. Riddle, however, pried the advantage away after ostensibly injuring his opponent’s left leg. The endurance demonstrated by Bálor was all too familiar for fans, however. He kicked out of a Jackhammer, survived a Bro to Sleep and even escaped the Bromission moments before spiking Riddle into the mat with a decisive 1916 DDT. Following with a pinfall, “The Prince” conquered the first challenge in Act II of his NXT career, looking as dangerous as ever.

My Opinion: 3.5 out of 5 – This was a fine match that was less PPV-worthy than you might think, but it was quality wrestling, nonetheless. Bálor won and should have won, as he performed the best between the two and was the bigger star, by far. Good stuff all around.

Match #5: (Main Event) Team Ciampa def. The Undisputed ERA – WarGames Match

The following is courtesy of wwe.com:

Though Tommaso Ciampa dressed for battle with camouflage gracing both his face and his pants, he — nor anyone else in WarGames — escaped the fog of war. But in a strange twist of fate, The Blackheart found triumph with the same maneuver that earned him infamy in the same building two years earlier. Ciampa claimed victory for his team over The Undisputed ERA at TakeOver: WarGames after pinning NXT Champion Adam Cole following a jaw-dropping air raid crash from the top of the cage through two tables. Two years and some change earlier, Ciampa betrayed then-tag team partner Johnny Gargano with that same move through the announce table at TakeOver: Chicago I. The former Scourge of NXT found a surprising brother-in-arms on this night in Kevin Owens, who arrived on the scene as Team Ciampa’s fourth man. Before Owens’ surprise emergence, Ciampa’s squad appeared only as a triumvirate: The Blackheart, Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic. The mystery around the identity of Team Ciampa’s final competitor only grew as the match progressed — even drawing the question as to whether Ciampa had found another teammate at all. Owens took the match by storm immediately upon entering as the bout’s final competitor. Dropping Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong in rapid succession, KO eventually found Cole — who was incredulous just moments earlier upon seeing Owens — and planted him with a Stunner. Earlier, Dijakovic set the ring ablaze with his unique combination of size and athleticism. The Rare Breed served as the equalizer for Team Ciampa after Strong — a no-brainer for first entry in the match as one of WWE’s best conditioned athletes — and O’Reilly immediately played the numbers game that fans are all too familiar with seeing against Ciampa. It was no surprise to see The Undisputed ERA make surgical use of the advantage Cole secured days earlier through his Ladder Match victory against Dijakovic. Lee was the third member of Team Ciampa to enter, having had plenty of time for his rage to boil over while waiting in the shark cage before being unleashed on The Undisputed ERA, and he dished out a full highlight reel’s worth of offense immediately upon his arrival to the battlefield. The match’s propensity for brutality escalated with the arrival of Cole, who focused his attention on adding four tables to the equation before even stepping foot in the ring. It backfired almost immediately, however, as Ciampa shoved Cole from the steps through a table that had been balancing against the barricade, effectively neutralizing The Panama City Playboy before he could make his presence felt. Moments after Cole had spiked Owens with a devastating delayed Panama Sunrise on the steal grating connecting the two rings and Strong had delivered an Olympic Slam to Lee off the top rope, the match gave way to a catastrophic closing scene that was befitting of one of the most chaotic encounters in NXT. Dijakovic ripped Strong off the ropes and planted him through one of the many tables in the ring with a chokeslam. Trying the exact same attack again on O’Reilly, The Rare Breed soon found himself enveloped in a triangle hold, but he found respite when he was bailed out by Owens, who leapt from the top rope and crashed through O’Reilly and another table with a frog splash. Meanwhile, Lee and Fish were both spent after The Limitless Superstar sent Fish plummeting through a table with a top-rope powerbomb. This left only the top of the cage where Cole had scurried off to, seemingly out of Ciampa’s reach, but that plan quickly proved foolish. Hoisting the leader of The Undisputed ERA on his back, Ciampa braced for impact and took a leap of faith. Moments later, The Blackheart had completed his journey from despised scoundrel to victorious hero, but neither he, nor any of his teammates or opponents would ever be the same.

My Opinion: 4.3 out of 5 – This was pure chaos, with Kevin Owens being the best part of it. This was pure entertainment, with big moves and thrilling action sequences as the order of the day. Not everything needs to “tell a story” and this was one of those occasions. If you care about Ciampa’s redemption, then you have the story, but you just want the mayhem, then this match functions just as well that way. Hey, it’s WarGames. That’s entertainment. Raging Bull…from a raging queen.

Final Verdict: 4.2/5

This was a fantastic event that offered a lot and did so in short order. This was easy viewing and that’s high praise for any wrestling show.

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