NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019


  • Angel Garza def. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott
  • Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai def. Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair & Kay Lee Ray in a WarGames Match
  • Pete Dunne def. Damian Priest & Killian Dain in a triple threat match, earning an NXT Championship match against Adam Cole at Survivor Series
  • Finn Balor def. Matt Riddle
  • Tomasso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic & Kevin Owens def. Undisputed Era in a WarGames match

Three Thoughts:

Storytelling At Its Best

The women’s WarGames match is one of the best examples of pure storytelling in recent memory. From the opening bell to the close, this match was telling a saga. It started with Candice LeRae and Io Shirai as the first two competitors. Those two were able to continue their feud to start the show.

Before the show, Mia Yim was attacked and injured backstage. That forced Rhea Ripley to draft Dakota Kai onto her team. When Kai was brought into the match, she instead paused and attacked her tag partner and best friend Tegan Nox. It was brutal and uncomfortable. Dakota Kai absolutely snapped.

Nox was unable to continue, and it left Team Ripley down 4-2 in the match. Ripley and LeRae had to fend off all sorts of offense from Team Baszler, including this bananas moonsault from Io Shirai.

Ripley used handcuffs that Baszler put on her earlier to handcuff herself to Baszler. That lead to Ripley escaping from Baszler’s chokehold and picking up the win for her team. The comeback was amazing, and the short-handed win made Ripley and LeRae look like stars. Ripley has now pinned the NXT Women’s Champion, and should be next in line for a shot.

The Prince Is Here, But Is He Different?

Finn Balor and Matt Riddle got off to a slow start, but the match turned into a hard-hitting affair. Balor and Riddle hit each other with all they had. In the end it was Balor putting Riddle away with the 1916. 

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It was a fine match, but it was strange to see Balor largely the same as he was pre-heel turn. Balor entered to the same music, did some of the same entrance, and wrestled largely the same. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing to have things stay the same, but it is so common for wrestlers to have some changes after their heel turn. His finisher moving to the 1916 from the Coup de Grace is a good start, but I’d expect some more explicit changes to Balor’s arsenal

Owens Comes Home

Kevin Owens was the fourth man for Team Ciampa. He arrived to an insane ovation form the Chicago crowd, and evened the odds in the WarGames match against Undisputed Era.

The match had so much insanity that I can’t possibly do it justice. It is worth the price of the WWE Network to get it and watch it. The ending sequence was certifiably nuts, as every Undisputed Era member went through a table. Adam Cole had the hardest one, as he was dropped by Ciampa from the top of the cage through two tables.

What a phenomenal match. A big question now is around the status of Kevin Owens. Is he a member of the NXT roster again? Will he remain on Team RAW at Survivor Series tomorrow? Is he a mole planted by NXT on the main roster? There are so many intriguing options here, and it makes for a heck of a hook for us to stick around and find out.

Grade: A+

How could it not be? The two WarGames matches were absolute carnage framed with beautiful storytelling. Angel Garza impressed on the kick-off show. Pete Dunne gave a good performance in a triple threat. Balor and Riddle only got better as they went on. Adam Cole hit a Panama Sunrise to Kevin Owens onto steel. It had it all. This TakeOver was another masterpiece.

One More Thing:

Matt Riddle has added the Jackhammer & Spear to his repertoire as a rib on Goldberg. Balor kicked out of it, adding to the rib. Even the WWE Twitter account got in on it:

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