WWE NXT WAR GAMES 2021
It’s time ladies and gentlemen, for WAR GAMES! Pixc here back with another Takeover Tirade, the first of NXT 2.0, this for me will be what decides whether 2.0 looks like it could be a success. My only disappointment before we start is no main titles on the line tonight, both Ciampa and Mandy Rose are in War Games matches. Just to add Thank You Beth, who is leaving the announce team after this show, might not be a common thought but I enjoyed her time on commentary, especially the chemistry with Wade Barrett.
Team Toxic vs Team Raquel
Bit of a weird intro for Io there. Kay Lee Ray starts pushing her baseball bat into the ring, not sure where everyone else is hiding though as they all came out to the ring, no shark cages in sight. Team Toxic called the underdogs was mentioned and I have to agree, but they are a genuine team, so which way will it go? Dakota Kai is starting too, brutal start then, nice!
Oh, that’s where the cages are, that’s better, just poor camera work or decision to not show them. Kay Lee Ray has the better of Kai early on. A nice DDT out of the corner. Kai reverses and throws Kay Lee Ray into the cage, following up with more steel to flesh action. She then sets up a kendo stick between the rings using the ropes, someone has watched Sasha vs Bayley Hell in a Cell. Kai continues to add damage and looks to use those kendo sticks. Kay Lee Ray fighting back though manages to dive onto Kai before she gets to use the baseball bat.
Here it is though, Kay Lee Ray makes Kai taste her own contraption suplexing her onto the kendo sticks set up earlier. Then it’s time for Cora Jade who enters the match, complete with skateboard. She comes in adding to the punishment already inflicted on Kai. She helps Kay Lee Ray up and the two follow Kai around the ring after a brutal kick from Kay Lee Ray to the back of Kai. A double team suplex as they await the second member of Team Toxic. Kai reverses the next double team move buying her team a little hope possibly?
Gigi Dolin is up next. She’s looking to take out the trash as she grabs a trash can on her way in. Cora Jade tastes it first, followed by a nice kick. She then works on Kay Lee Ray finishing with a German suplex, great sequence from her, might be the best I’ve seen her look in the ring. Team Toxic with stereo kicks to their opponents. That seems to be their run over though as Kay Lee Ray and Cora Jade come back with a vengeance next, Gigi tastes the trashcan first as Cora Jade hits a running dropkick while she sits inside it. Then Kay Lee Ray drops Kai on the trash can with a gory bomb. Io Shirai is next in, more trash cans!
Dakota Kai cuts her off as she comes in smashing her in the face with a kick. Team Toxic somehow holding their own despite the disadvantage. Cora Jade hits an awkward hurricanrana between the rings and Kai manages to escape her, leaving Gigi an opening to put Cora Jade down. Next up we have Jacy Jayne, she evens the numbers up and brings in a table and some chairs. Kay Lee Ray tastes those chairs. This looks to be Toxic Attraction’s time to shine as commentary big up their chemistry. Honestly, I think this is a little exaggerated when you consider who they are up against!
Io causing big time damage to Dakota Kai in the corner, as she's hanging upside down from the cage to kick a lid into her. Cora Jade is heading up atop the cage and she dives on to Jacy Jayne. What a moment for Cora Jade, looks like she hurt her shoulder but wow! Commentary selling it as a disaster, but it looked pretty perfect to me. It seems Dr Io Shirai is going to fix the shoulder for her, refusing medical aid and closing the cage door again, brilliant stuff. Here comes “big mammy cool” Raquel Gonzalez, thanks Wade Barrett! Gonzalez chucks in the shovel and then Gigi and Kai block her from entering the ring, but Gonzalez finds a fire extinguisher to spray them away from the door and she’s in!
Gonzalez finally gets her hands on Dakota Kai, she squishes her into the trashcan before swinging her around knocking Gigi down as she goes. Then Io heads to the top and it becomes a six woman struggle. Gonzalez breaks it up though and sets Io up for her dive. She moonsaults onto Dakota Kai and Gonzalez hugs her, bit strange but magic of the moment I guess. All is forgotten a year on. Gonzalez checks on Cora Jade. It’s about to begin, Mandy Rose is on her way.
Mandy picks up a chair and takes out Gonzalez then heads to Cora Jade. Wounded, she is dragged by her arm but Io comes to stop it. They face off and it looked like Kay Lee Ray was about to turn on Cora Jade but she pushes her into the corner with fear it seems, then turns to attack their opponents. She tosses the kendo stick to Jade once she has a minute, weird spot, all adding intrigue to the match though. Dakota Kai goes for the first pinfall but Io breaks it up. Io gets a pinfall next but Jacy Jayne breaks it up. Gonzalez then overpowers Gigi and Jacy Jayne but Mandy Rose grabs a kendo stick and stops it mid move, the tables have turned. Toxic Attraction take down Gonzalez but Cora Jade sneaks over to break the pinfall up. She could be in trouble, she struggles to fend all four of them off. Mandy goes for a pinfall but Cora Jade does not stay down, she kicks out!
Io again comes to save Cora Jade, no ambulance just Io Shirai peeps. Everyone is down but Cora Jade stirs, she goes for the pinfall and nobody is able to break it up, she wins it, what a match, bit of a strange but intriguing story in a War Games match. That was her match, her War Games moment, felt like her Wrestlemania moment if you ask me, sad thing is I bet she will lose to Mandy Rose when she gets a title shot. I always love a War Games match but this was one of the best for storytelling and there were some great spots too.
Winners Team Raquel
A little hype for Tiffany Stratton coming soon and a promo from Jensen & Briggs. Followed by Boa trying to control Mei Ying’s spirit, once he has fear, she will follow apparently.
A recap of MSK’s journey since losing the tag titles, this Tuesday we meet the Shamen.
Team Black and Gold are having a moment, getting hyped backstage, it’s all pointing to Gargano having a good send off. Can’t wait for that one.
Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner vs Imperium ( c ) (NXT Tag Team Title match)
O’Reilly and Barthel get things started with a nice sequence. O’Reilly transitioning into a submission but Barthel responding by putting his shoulders to the mat. Aichner comes in and the chops are punctuated by the wooooooo’s from the crowd. Von Wagner comes in and manages a pinfall but Aichner kicks out. They then double team Aichner in the corner, O’Reilly back in.
A slight distraction from Barthel allows Aichner to get the upper hand and tag his partner in. O’Reilly catches Barthel but he recovers quickly and taunts the crowd once he has O’Reilly down. O’Reilly is able to then make the tag and Von Wagner uses his strength to turn things around for his team. Aichner comes in and manages to catch Von Wagner then dump him with crucifix roll, beautiful. Von Wagner manages to tag in O’Reilly and the two look to isolate Barthel, knocking Aichner into the other ring, think this would have worked better had he been on the outside instead.
Barthel manages to flip the match back in Imperium’s favour and Aichner is back in. O’Reilly manages to get across for the tag, not even Aichner could stop him, and he quickly dispatched over the shoulder. Von Wagner clears the ring and commentary highlight the fact he was almost NXT champion in his first night. Nice call back but a bit much for me really, just highlights how daft it might be having him in a tag team like this. Barthel kicks out of an Olympic slam. Barthel then drops him into the turnbuckle, they hit the double team sliding kicks but Von Wagner manages to survive and takes both of them out before tagging O’Reilly.
O’Reilly has Barthel beat in a leg lock, Barthel scrambling for the ropes, Aichner manages to dive into the ring with a springboard moonsault for the ages, breaking the hold! It all gets a bit tense next as Imperium double team O’Reilly but Von Wagner wipes out Barthel and Aichner lifts O’Reilly out of the guillotine hold. O’Reilly gets a roll up, but Barthel pushes the pinfall back the other way, then the two both end up down on the mat, what a sequence!
Von Wagner and Barthel now legal, Aichner comes in with a chop block. Von Wagner and O’Reilly then hit the high-low on Barthel but he just kicks out. Von Wagner brings in O’Reilly but somehow ends up taken out on the outside by a dive by Aichner, then O’Reilly looks to have it sewn up with a submission, again Aichner lifts himself out of it, Barthel tags himself in and they hit the European Uppercut from Barthel and it’s over, that was a great match considering the inexperience of the challengers.
Aftermath makes it seem it is also O’Reilly’s last takeover, he salutes the crowd, Von Wagner clapping on, but as he turns Von Wagner looks to knock him down, it backfires and O’Reilly motions with the Undisputed Era sign and DX chops it seems, screaming at Von Wagner that it was a brotherhood. Does this mean he is going to AEW or is he done with any alliances, looking to go solo in WWE? I’m sure many will hope AEW but I’m just curious, let’s face it, that Elite roster is looking pretty bloated at the moment. I really enjoyed this match, the recent tag team matches have fallen a little flat to me after a long period of absolute bangers, so I’m glad this delivered!
Ikemen Jiro gets a lengthy promo, some might say a fleshing out of his character, they are going with Style Strong, nice play on words, suits him, Ikemen apparently means handsome man, interesting. Kind of liked this, wondering if it means Jacket Time is over or at least the team with Kushida?
A repeat promo if I'm not mistaken from Santos Escobar. I wonder if these are happening to try pull people to watch NXT each week, not a bad idea, not sure it will work though. Oh wait, it’s because Santos Escobar is backstage talking about his match on Tuesday against Xyon Quinn. Elektra is dragged into it by McKenzie and she isn’t impressed, telling her it is none of her business. Didn’t seem to faze Santos Escobar either so maybe her meeting Xyon Quinn alone was part of the plan.
Duke Hudson vs Cameron Grimes, a recap of their feud so far, including their poker match which ended in Grimes getting a little trim. Thus creating this spectacle, we have before us, hair vs hair match coming up!
Duke Hudson vs Cameron Grimes (Hair vs Hair match)
Like the fact we have two rings, so we can have the chair in one of them. Could make things interesting. Vince, please don’t fuck this up!
They brawl fast to start us off, ending up on the outside where Grimes tastes the apron before being thrown back in the ring. Grimes keeps going and it's only a show of strength in the corner that gives Duke back some momentum. Grimes gets a near fall with a roll up. He allows Duke back into it and this allows Duke to come back in to the match. He still only gets another near fall again though.
Duke pulls Grimes to the outside and drops Grimes with a belly-to-belly overhead suplex. Grimes still out on the floor as we close in on a ten count. Duke stomps him as soon as he returns to the ring and eventually locks in an abdominal stretch. Grimes escapes but Duke pulls him down by his hair. Duke looks for a suplex but Grimes gets another near fall with a roll up. Duke shouting at Grimes “I’m gonna shave you bald!” he is in complete control at the moment, stretching Grimes out next across his knee. Grimes fights back to get to his feet then reversing into hurricanrana. They work the ropes and Grimes hits his Spanish fly, but again no luck on the pinfall.
Another near fall from Grimes off a DDT. Grimes looks to keep the momentum in his favour hunting Duke down on the apron, penalty kick knocks him to the outside. Duke then looks to have things sewn up but he grabs the ropes to keep his balance in the pinfall and the referee is wise to it, calling him out! Grimes quickly looks to steal the win but Duke kicks out and his shock at the speed of that turn around is plain to see. Grimes hits a high crossbody from the top rope but again Duke survives. Duke then returns the favour with a near fall of his own.
Duke looks for the Razor’s Edge but Grimes reverses it and before I blink Grimes has him in another roll up and the victory is his. Grimes wins, yes I expected Duke to win but I’m glad they didn’t mess it up, Duke is getting his head trimmed after a brief attempt to escape. Nicely done Grimes. I think the tense nature of a stipulation like hair vs hair made me enjoy this match a little less, but it was solid. Bit concerned we are gradually getting worse though.
Winner Cameron Grimes
Grizzled Young Veterans repeat promo from a weekly show near you. Then we get a clip of Kacy & Kayden at a rave, again a repeat I think from a weekly NXT show. Another this time it’s Draco Anthony, coming soon.
Announcement time next, New Year’s Evil will return on 4th January 2022, seems the focus will be Mandy Rose, so hopefully her first successful title defense.
We see Team 2.0 getting ready for the War Games match, no words from them just actions it seems. Joe Gacy is up next as we recap and hype our next match Roderick Strong vs Joe Gacy with the weight limit waived on the Cruiserweight Title.
Joe Gacy vs Roderick Strong ( c ) (NXT Cruiserweight Title match)
Strong pins Gacy in the corner then calls him out, basically telling him to bring it. Eventually Gacy swings for him and the brawl continues. Strong in control with Gacy begging him to get off, he bounces Strong off the ropes and knocks him down. Strong turns things around, great strikes and Gacy only seems to get back into it when Strong makes the mistake to wait between the ropes. Gacy uses his size and weight to hold his ground. He gets a near fall off a suplex as Haarland looks on. Strong comes back though and puts him up top for a superplex. The near fall is no surprise as it took a while to get to the cover for Strong. Gacy is back throwing punches though. Strong lifts him though hitting a gut buster and an Olympic slam before another near fall.
A Boston crab is locked in and Gacy manages to survive it to put on his own hold. Strong ends up thrown to the outside and Gacy follows diving onto him and the Creed Brothers. Gacy comes face to face with Ivy Nile next who seems keen to put the hurt on him, Haarland grabs her from behind and lifts her up but Gacy calls him off, telling him to let her go. Scarpering back into the ring he avoids the high knee and plants Roderick Strong in the ring. As he goes for a bit of a run up Strong hits that knee we all know and then a backbreaker to pick up the win.
I did think we might have some kind of stupid booking decision here, with Gacy winning, but Strong has retained so for me I’ll concede the prediction and hope that we might get either some proper cruiserweight matches or that they retire the title and have Strong compete against everyone like we know he can. Just seems Vince has no interest in the division.
Winner Roderick Strong ( c )
Another Ikemen Jiro promo, this time it does get silly. He talks about having a big appetite and orders lots of unhealthy junk food. This seems like a terrible segment, just Vince having a laugh is my guess, I don’t think he has the greatest track record booking Japanese talent, this seems to be a fine example of that, funny is about all you might get positive from this.
Kyle O’Reilly is backstage addressing the turn by Von Wagner, saying he saw it coming a mile off. He challenges him to a cage match, awesome!
Build and recap next for your main event War Games time once again!
Team 2.0 vs Team Black and Gold
Carmelo is going to start this match, along with Johnny Gargano. Technical start to this five minute window for Gargano to try and dissect Carmelo Hayes. Really nice sequence follows with the two dancing somewhat around the ring, ended in Carmelo taking a sharp kick on the floor. Carmelo blocks a slingshot spear in the middle but doesn’t brutally drop him between the rings, but instead lifts him up for a kick. Gargano then gets the slingshot spear. Carmelo climbs the cage to get a little height as he comes off it striking Gargano down.
Gargano and Carmelo on the ropes next with Gargano driving his head into the cage, the cage shaking as he hits a sunset flip of sorts from it. Grayson Waller joins the match. He calls Gargano over to his ring, I wouldn’t go if I was Gargano, but he obliges and it isn’t long before Waller and Carmelo are on the double team.
As Black and Gold talk about who is coming in next, Trick Williams tries to inject himself into the match throwing a chair at Grayson Waller before scaling the cage, only for Gargano to smash the chair into his hand. Carmelo capitalises on the distraction but they do very little before Pete Dunne makes his way to the cage. He takes them both out pretty quickly. This is definitely a slower paced match than the women’s war games. Dunne bends Waller’s fingers in the cage, screams of agony exiting Waller’s big mouth! Gargano gets back involved and shrugs at Dunne as they take care of business. They then lock in submissions making their two opponents watch each other suffer, brilliant moment.
Black and Gold doing a great job of keeping their opponents down, but Carmelo manages to get a move in, Carmelo gets dropped by Dunne so it is Grayson Waller who comes across to hit a cutter on both Dunne and Gargano, very agile from Waller. Now it’s Tony D’Angelo who makes his way into the cage. Trick and D’Angelo throwing all sorts of weapons in to the ring. Trick goes deep under the ring and comes out scared as Lumis was hiding under there. Great spot, hopefully eliminates the weak bullshit of Trick being an extra man for them. D’Angelo padlocks the cage shut for some reason and the three 2.0 guys go to work on Gargano and Dunne.
Dunne looks to fight back but the numbers are too much it seems as Waller smashes him with a kendo stick. LA Knight is up next but how will he get in? He climbs the cage, I mean it’s what we were all thinking, what a pointless 2.0 move really. LA Knight seems to be fuelled by rage coming in and beating down the 2.0 guys with kendo stick and trash can. Just a thought, I bet Bron has a key, the match can’t start until all men are in the ring so that adds to the pointless nature of that padlock situation. Waller gets his hand smashed and the kendo stick ends up pushed into “his ear,” clearly not but we’ll go with it.
Then it’s time for Bron Breakker to break his way into the cage, knew they weren’t very smart, he struggles for a bit while team Black and Gold await him, then it seems they just let him get the upper hand, belly to belly to Dunne, swats Gargano down and then slams LA Knight. Bron continues his symphony of destruction seemingly alone, singlehandedly taking out all their opponents. Carmelo and Tony D’Angelo seem to come back to their senses and get some shots in next.
Ciampa then gets this match properly started awkwardly getting into the ring, he himself goes on a rampage, with all four 2.0 guys down in a corner of the ring, he sits on his trash can and gives himself a pat on the back!
Carmelo Hayes looks to smash Ciampa but Gargano saves him with a crutch, nice call back. Then they do some damage to D’Angelo and Bron before coming up short as Bron slams Gargano into Ciampa who had given Gargano a boost. Team 2.0 lawn dart Dunne into the cage and it again looks bleak for the Black and Gold team. We get an interesting face off of sorts next, as Black and Gold are down in the middle of the two rings, they look at team 2.0 either side of them, Dunne shrugs and the brawl resumes. I like the air of look at them, they have no clue what they’re in for!
Ciampa has the better of Bron, in fact as the camera pans out it seems black and gold have taken the match by the scruff of its neck. They take Bron and Carmelo into the other ring, a lawn dart into a trash can for the young champion. Waller is set up atop the turnbuckle, D’Angelo saves him from falling through a table though. Ciampa is laid on it next but LA Knight saves the day jumping into action with a belly to belly overhead and Waller goes through the table, Ciampa escaped.
Dunne and Gargano up next looking to superplex Carmelo but D’Angelo and Bron managed to make Dunne and Gargano taste the same punishment. LA Knight hits the BFT on Carmelo but somehow D’Angelo gets there to save the match for team 2.0. LA Knight then looks to do something to Bron but D’Angelo comes in to save the day. Ciampa comes over to return the favour, stopping a double team as Bron is smashed onto the trashcan, the landing is not enough though as he kicks out of the pinfall that follows!
D’Angelo then sends Waller to the top of the cage, he dives onto LA Knight but D’Angelo is pulled off when he makes the cover, Dunne makes the save! D’Angelo is shown next with a crowbar in hand. Dunne sorts him out with a kendo stick. Then Carmelo throws a lid over his head and he does the tango with that stick all over Carmelo too! Dunne then finally takes the crowbar from D’Angelo to the ribs and he follows up by removing Dunne's mouth guard then, using the crowbar for extra damage, he dives with Dunne from the top turnbuckle, nothing comes of it though as we switch to Bron with Ciampa and Gargano. Ciampa gets frankensteinered and then Gargano comes to help out. One final beat to Bron, Willows Bell to Waller, both in sync. DIY chants are ringing out, as we get the meeting in the middle. Carmelo breaks the pinfall by pulling the referee away. He then uses the thumb to the eye on Ciampa and a low blow to Gargano. As they stand there, Gargano suddenly grips Carmelo close holding him for something and Ciampa comes in with a brutal running knee! He goes to put him through a table in the corner but as he gets him up Bron Breakker runs in with a spear, great spot, but by this point I’m just feeling ever more like there is no believability that Bron and 2.0 could have done this really. Bron then powerslams Ciampa in the ring and he pins him, match over!
Winners Team 2.0
So, War Games for me was one of the best NXT shows in a while. I always love the War Games matches, but for me the women’s one shocked me, I had low expectations but it was great! The men’s War Games had some great moments but I feel it was a slow burner and it just seemed like the veterans, if you will, were being made to look weaker to allow four rookies a big win, it feels like they are all being rushed to a position that they shouldn’t be in because someone in WWE can’t see the way forward when it comes to talent. I honestly feel Bron has a lot more potential than the others. Let’s see where this goes, for now I’ll end by saying “Thank You Johnny” because this looks like your last match on NXT!
I’ll see you guys back here for the NXT show to see the fallout of this Takeover and I believe our very own Johnny Takeover might have something to say to us all.