For the first time in almost 20 years, there will be three teams, two rings and one steel cage as NXT presents TakeOver: War Games, live from Houston, Texas. Three teams, SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain), the newly debuted Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) and th eunlikely trio of the Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong will do battle inside the steel cage of War Games, where the goal is not just to win, but to survive. A new NXT Women’s Champion will be crowed in a fatal four way as Kairi Sane, Ember Moon, Peyton Royce and Nikki Cross compete in a fatal four way for the vacant title. The NXT Championship will be on the line as well, as Drew McIntyre defends against the newly motivated Andrade “Cien” Almas, while two huge grudge matches will round out the card as Lars Sullivan faces the knockout artist Kassius Ohno, and The Veleveteen Dream faces against the sinister Aleister Black.
+ SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain) vs The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs The Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong (War Games Match): in part due to the ridiculous rules the WWE fet it needed to impose, the first ~8 minutes of this match were so boring I almost fell asleep. But once all three teams were fully in the match, business picked up dramatically, with Dain and the AoP duo being the clear standouts (perhaps not coincidentally, also the three biggest men). Due to the nature of the match, competitors spent long stretches on the mat as others did their work, and a few of the men ended up with bloodied noses or lips. This was a good spectacle, flat finish aside, but hopefully it won’t become a too comon occurrence
+ Drew McIntyre (c) vs Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) (NXT Championship): the size differece between Drew/Almas/Vega/the referee and the ring announcer was all huge. This match was fast paced and hard hitting, and smooth sailing until a potential mistake near the end led to an unexpected, but interesting ending sequence. I enjoyed this, once it got going, but it was definitely not the best match on the show
+ Aleister Black vs The Velveteen Dream: this had one of the best stories of the whole show going in, and Dream’s constant trash talking, and Black’s insistene to never say Dream’s name, made this a fantastic watch. The crowd was really into the story here, and these two pulled out all their stops to make what was perhaps both men’s best match on NXT to date
+ Kassius Ohno vs Lars Sullivan: lord, I love me some BIG BOIs smacking the crap out of each other. Lars has such a good character and facial expressions, and Ohno is so good in the ring this was a hard hitting and exciting way to start the show
– Kairi Sane vs Ember Moon vs Nikki Cross vs Peyton Royce (Fatal Four Way for the NXT Women’s Championship): unfortunately, this was not very good. Far too much choreography and obvious set up in the early going soon gave way to a bit of a mess between all four competitors. The ending felt very sudden, and frankly this ended up being quite disappointing
– the camera work throughout the whole show was incredibly lacking, as many key moments were missed, and continuous camera cuts on each strike. I know I shoudl expect it by now from the WWE camera crew, but I still get frustrated
> Holy crap, I love Peyton Royce and Billie Kay so much. Maybe it’s just because they are Aussies, as all the best wrestling reviewers are, but I find them hilarious. And, obviously, gorgeous.
Should you watch this event: The War Games match has lived up to the hype, but it was the undercard feud that stole the show, as Black/Dream had the match of the night. Although it wasn’t particularly good, even the women’s match is worth watching, making this a good show overall.