WWE NXT Takeover WarGames II
From Staples Center in Los Angeles, California
November 17, 2018
The opening video package focused on every match on the card. It was well done as usual.
There was a shot of the crowd making a lot of the noise as the show began and the WarGames cage hovering above the two rings in the middle of the arena.
The announce team for the show is Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson and they were shown on camera at ringside.
The “bro” known as Matt Riddle made his entrance. He got a nice ovation from the crowd. Riddle had on his flip flops and when he got into the ring, he kicked the flip flops off. Riddle noted that he was on the Kickoff Show when Kassius Ohno got in his face. Riddle said they were going to have a match on NXT next week, but they have a ring there, so he’s going to knock him out right now.
Kassius Ohno showed up saying that Riddle is too stupid to know he’s not supposed to be out there right now. A referee was already in the ring, so Ohno told Riddle to he’s going to get knocked out. The bell rang.
Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno
The bell rang, Ohno charged at Riddle and Riddle hit a running knee lift to the face for the pinfall win at 0:06.
Winner by pinfall: Matt Riddle
Analysis: That was a quickie. No point in rating it. This was rumored to be on the main Takeover card, then it didn’t make it because they decided to do just four matches and here they got about five minutes for the promo and the match. It was a simple enough way to put over Riddle in his NXT debut. No harm in that.
The women are up next with the pirate princess Kairi Sane looking to win back her NXT Women’s Title. She’s an awesome performer and I like the pirate gimmick just because it’s different than everybody on the show. They are using the ring that’s closest to the entrance for the singles matches.
Shayna Baszler was shown walking backstage looking ready to go. Baszler is the two-time NXT Women’s Champion and she was booed by the crowd. She entered alone without her buddies Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, who helped her win back the title at Evolution last month. They stood in the ring as Kayla Braxton did the championship match introductions.
NXT Women’s Championship 2 out of 3 Falls: Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane
Sane was very aggressive early as she tripped up Baszler and hit two running neckbreakers. Sane with a running clothesline against the ropes that sent Baszler to the floor. Sane hit a running forearm to the face on Baszler on the floor. Baszler complained to the referee about an injury to her teeth, so Duke and Shafir showed up to cheap attack Sane. They whipped Sane into the ring post. Back in the ring, Baszler slapped on the Kirifuda Clutch and Sane tapped out a few minutes into the match.
Shayna Baszler leads the match 1-0
There was a short break for about ten seconds. Baszler hit a running knee on Sane and that got a two count. Baszler slapped on the Kirifuda Clutch again, but Sane rolled to the ropes and got her feet on the ropes to break the hold. Baszler blocked a kick attempt followed by Baszler stomping on the face of Sane. Baszler with a kick to the back of Sane. Baszler wanted a suplex, Sane managed to get to her feet and got a rollup for two. Sane got another nearfall to counter the clutch submission. Baszler worked over Sane with strikes including a kick to the knee and a running clothesline connected for Baszler. They battled on the apron with Sane countering a suplex with a DDT on the apron. That was a great spot. Well done by both of them and the fans chanted “holy shit” for it. Duke and Shafir tried to attack, but Sane avoided both of their attacks. Sane went up top and hit a flying elbow smash onto the three women on the floor. The fans exploded in applause for Sane. She’s awesome. Back in the ring, Sane up top and she hit the Insane Elbow on Baszler for the three count.
The match is tied 1-1
Analysis: That was an awesome sequence by Sane showing off her incredible athleticism and why she’s such a great face.
The third fall began with Sane hitting three running Spears in a row. Sane with two spinning back fists to knock Baszler down again. Sane up top, Baszler back up as they battled on the top rope and Sane hit a sunset flip Powerbomb for a two count. That was a sweet move. Sane with an Alabama Slam. Jessamyn Duke went on the apron to distract the referee, so Shafir shoved Sane off the top rope. Dakota Kai ran down to the ring to attack Shafir and Duke. It’s Io Shirai to make the save and she hit a moonsault off the top onto Duke and Shafir on the floor. Holy shit, that was impressive! Sane up top, she hit the Insane Elbow again, but this time Baszler was able to fight it off by hooking the arms of Sane to win by pinfall at 10:59.
Winner by pinfall: Shayna Baszler (2 to 1)
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good match with Baszler finding a way to win again just like the last time they had a match. I thought they would have had another five minutes or so because it left me wanting more. Sane really stood out with that performance even in defeat because of the way she’s able to continually make those believable comebacks with the crowd getting behind her every time. I think Sane is one of the best babyface women that NXT has ever had with only Bayley ahead of her. I thought there would be a title change because there are more heel challengers for Sane to face, but maybe they have an opponent in mind for Baszler whether it’s Shirai or Kai. Good effort from these women as usual. It seems like that is the end of this rivalry for now.
Baszler left with her friends while Sane was left in the ring with her allies. The replays aired showing that Baszler did manage to keep Sane’s shoulders down, but one of the shoulders may have been up.
A commercial aired for The Marine 6, which is now available on DVD starring The Miz, Shawn Michaels and Becky Lynch.
There was a shot of X-Pac in the crowd holding his tiny dog. He lives in LA. He got a nice ovation as he made some crotch chop hand gestures.
Tommaso Ciampa, the NXT Champion, was shown backstage looking at his NXT Title and he had the phrase “Dream Over” blacked out on the wall.
The video package aired for the Aleister Black match against Johnny Gargano. The story was that Gargano did a cheap attack on Black to explain Black’s injury absence for a few months. It was revealed to be Gargano, who didn’t understand why people thought he was a bad guy because of one thing he did. Black was seeking revenge while Gargano added that you had to fight a little dirty.
Johnny Gargano entered first. He used to get the loudest ovations of anybody on these NXT Takeover shows, but not this time because there were plenty of boos for him. Aleister Black’s cool entrance was next and the crowd cheered him as usual. This should be awesome. This match was taking place in the ring on the far right, so it was different than the other matches. I know it doesn’t matter, but I like to provide details.
Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black
They stood across the ring from eachother after the bell rang. It was noted by Ranallo that Gargano is in his record 11th Takeover match. Gargano’s got “Johnny Takeover” on his tights. Gargano slapped Black in the face, so Black kicked him in the face and it went to the floor with Black kicking Gargano in the face. Back in the ring, Gargano with a rolling kick to the face. Black came back with a knee to the face, an elbow and a kick to the head. Black did a moonsault off the ropes into a seated position in the ring, so Gargano hit a running kick to the head. Gargano grounded Black in a submission move in the ring where he pulled back on Black’s arms. Gargano back up with an elbow to the chest leading to a two count. Black broke free with a running knee to the gut leading to Gargano rolling to the apron, Black kicked him to the floor and Black hit a somersault dive over the top to take out Gargano outside the ring. Back in the ring, Black worked over Gargano with more strikes including a running kick and a quebrada moonsault off the ropes onto a standing Gargano for a two count. Black kicked Gargano down, which led to a jumping kick from Gargano. Black with a standing side kick to send Gargano outside the ring. Black went for a moonsault on the floor, Gargano moved and Gargano hit a dive out of the ring into a DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Gargano hit another DDT for a two count. That was incredible by Gargano. These guys are so quick with perfect timing for every move they do. Gargano talked trash saying Black couldn’t get the job done, then they got into an exchange of strikes with kicks from each guy and Gargano hit a reverse spiked hurricanrana. Black recovered with a jumping knee to the face. Holy shit, that was amazing! The fans stood up and chanted “NXT” for them.
Gargano went to the side of the apron in between the two rings. Black with a kick against the ropes, Black with two more kicks to the head and a German Suplex into a bridge for two. Fans chanted “this is awesome” for them. Gargano with a lefty clothesline that decked Black and put him on his back. Gargano with a flying headscissors into a submission on the arm, but Black fought out of it. Gargano with another kick followed by a head first launch that sent Black face first into the turnbuckle. Gargano set up for a kick, Black told him to stop and sat with his legs folded in the ring. Black wanted his best shot, Gargano didn’t connect with the knee, but he hit a kick to the head and then Gargano with a running knee for a two count. Gargano trash talked Black followed by hard forearms to the face. Black got back into it with several strikes to the head and a knee to the face. Gargano shoved Black to the floor, Gargano went for a suicide dive and Black hit a knee lift to the face. Holy shit! That was brutal. That looked nasty because it connected right on the face of Gargano. It’s incredible how they can do those moves with such perfect placement and timing. Back in the ring, Gargano begged for mercy. Gargano said sorry and even kissed his right foot or something like that. Gargano wanted Black to put him out of his misery. Black went for the Black Mass kick, Gargano avoided it leading to a rollup and Gargano slapped on the Gargano Escape submission on the left arm of Black. Black countered it into a two count of his own. Black came back with a running knee to the face. Black with a knee to the jaw followed by the Black Mass spin kick to the face. The fans chanted “one more time” as Black talked trash and hit Gargano with another Black Mass for the pinfall win at 18:10.
Winner by pinfall: Aleister Black
Analysis: ****3/4 That was an outstanding match as expected. I said “wow” a few times while I watched it. I liked the pacing of it with each guy unloading on the other with strikes early on because this was a personal rivalry and they shouldn’t be out there doing rest holds. If you tried to count how many kicks and knee strikes that these guys did in this match you would have lost count because there were so many. That’s not a complaint at all. I’m just saying it to put over the physicality of the match. The finish was exactly what it needed to be with Black hitting his finishing Black Mass kick two times in a row. I thought Gargano would win to put over his heel character more, but I’m not surprised that it was a Black win because he got revenge for Gargano attacking him a few months ago. A notch below five stars because of so many kicks, guys bouncing back from moves so quickly and a bit more psychology would have helped.
After the match was over, Black stood over a fallen Gargano as the fans cheered him. Ranallo said that Black had the NXT Championship in his sights, so that could mean we get Black challenging Ciampa (or Dream) at the next Takeover in January, which makes sense since Black is a former champion.
A commercial aired for the WWE 2K19 video game.
A video aired about Red Cross asking people to support people affected by the devastating California wildfires.
The announcers also mentioned the American Red Cross and you can visit RedCross.org for more info. You can also text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.
The Undisputed Era foursome were shown in their locker room preparing for WarGames coming up later.
The video package aired for the NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa defending the title against Velveteen Dream. Ciampa is a very entertaining champion while Dream becoming a true babyface was a smart move because he’s so well liked by the NXT fans.
Velveteen Dream made an entrance wearing Hollywood Hulk Hogan black and white gear. The fans supported him. He’s only 23 years old, so he was only one year old when Hulk Hogan turned heel to join the NWO, but it’s nice to see him appreciate history. His shirt says “OVA” on it meaning “over” of course. He is most definitely is over with the crowd.
Tommaso Ciampa was up next as he clutched the NXT Title, which he has nicknamed Goldie, in his hands. I miss when he didn’t have an entrance song, but his song does fit his persona. The fans boo him like the heel that he is.
NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream
The fans were fully behind Dream with the “Velveteen” chants. Each guy got a slap in the face in and then Dream managed to get away. Ciampa grabbed the headband that Dream was holding and doing the Hogan ear pose to the crowd to taunt him. Dream grabbed the NXT Title, which distracted Ciampa and they went back into the ring. Dream with a clothesline, body slam, Rick Rude style hip shake, a standing dropkick and Dream sent Ciampa face first into the top rope. Dream up top with a double axehandle followed by Dream putting the headband back on. Dream with a boot to the jaw, more hand to ear posing and Ciampa left the ring. Dream up top and he hit a double axehandle onto Ciampa on the floor. Ciampa went for a move off the ropes, but Ciampa blocked it by tossing him over the top to the floor. Ciampa brought Dream back in and stomped away on his chest. Ciampa with a running knee against the ropes. Ciampa with a neckbreaker against the ropes that led to Dream going to the floor. Ciampa hit a running knee to the face of Dream, who rolled back into the ring. Ciampa slapped on a chinlock to ground the challenger. Dream came back with a backslide pin followed by a neckbreaker. Dream with a kip up, clothesline, Ciampa knee lift, Dream did the Hogan “you” finger point, punches to the head, boot to the face and Dream hit a lefty leg drop followed by a righty leg drop and another lefty leg drop with the crowd firing up. Dream with a spinebuster for a two count. The referee put on the dreaded white gloves because one of them was bleeding as fans chanted “Velveteen” for the challenger. The match spilled out to the floor with Dream hitting a cross body over the top onto Ciampa on the floor.
When they went back into the ring, Ciampa dumped Dream to the floor, so Dream drove the right knee of Ciampa into the ring apron. Dream slapped on a Figure Four Leglock on the ring post that Bret Hart used to do, but the referee made him break it. Ciampa tapped out, but it was not a legal move because he had to break it due to using the ring post. Back in the ring, Dream with the Figure Four Leglock that Ric Flair used as Dream continued to use moves that some of the best wrestlers ever utilized in their careers. Ciampa managed to make it to the ropes after being in the hold for about 30 seconds or so. Ciampa sent Dream into the barricade at ringside. Back in the ring, they did a spot where Dream hit a suplex over the top to the floor with both guys landing over the top to the floor. That’s a crazy move that they managed to pull off well. Ciampa was grabbing his right foot and loosened his right boot to release some of the pain on the leg. Dream brought Ciampa back in the ring at the nine count of the referee. Dream and Ciampa exchanged punches, Dream went for a kick, Ciampa moved and Ciampa got a rollup with the tights, but the referee saw it and stopped the count. Dream came back with a superkick followed by a rolling Death Valley Driver for a two count. Wow that was an awesome nearfall. So good. Ciampa came back with a slam for a two count. Ciampa picked up Dream and drove him into both of his knees for the Project Ciampa that only got a two count. Another great nearfall in this match. Ciampa grabbed his NXT Title and brought it into the ring, but the ref stopped him leading to Dream getting a rollup for two. Dream hit a DDT onto the title that the referee saw and the referee still counted the pin, which was just a two count. Another awesome nearfall. Dream up top, he jumped off, Ciampa blocked the attack with his foot up and Ciampa hit a DDT for a two count. Holy shit, what a match! The crowd was on their feet for most of it. Ciampa’s right boot was off completely, so he was walking around with a sock. Ciampa left the ring and pulled up the mat at ringside to expose the floor. Ciampa was going for a DDT off the apron to the floor, but Dream avoided it and tackled Ciampa over the announce table at ringside. Ciampa got back up and he punched Ranallo in the face or maybe it was a slap. Green hit a rolling Death Valley Driver on the floor. Dream up top with the elbow drop for just two. That was another awesome nearfall with the crowd really getting into it and wanting Dream to win. Ciampa was on the apron, Dream jumped off the top for a Purple Rainmaker elbow, but Ciampa moved and Dream crashed to the floor. They got back in the ring where Ciampa hit a DDT off the ropes onto the steel between the two rings leading to the one…two…and three for Ciampa as the winner of the match at 22:25.
Winner by pinfall: Tommaso Ciampa
Analysis: ****1/2 Awesome match with Ciampa continuing to prove how great he is and another breakout performance from Dream. It was full of drama the entire time with each guy coming close to win a few times especially when Dream hit that elbow drop that came close to ending the match. I liked that Ciampa paid tribute to his past matches with Johnny Gargano when he exposed the turnbuckle and went for a move, but it ended up nearly costing him because Dream almost won. The story was that Dream went for too much because when he went for that elbow drop on the apron, the miss ended up hurting him too much and Ciampa managed to finish him off with the DDT onto the steel for the win. I figured that’s how it would because Ciampa’s reign should continue while Dream proved that he’s very close to being at that championship level. I picked Ciampa to win for that reason. Why not five stars? I don’t know how to explain it other than to say it felt a bit below that. It was outstanding, though.
Post match, Ciampa and Dream were still down on the mat selling how physical of a match it was. Ciampa had “Goldie” in his hands while telling us that he is still the champ. Ciampa kissed Dream on the cheek while Dream was out on the match with his eyes closed to sell the devastation of the end of the match. Ciampa spoke to the camera to say that he’s the greatest sports entertainer of all time. Ciampa left holding up his title.
Analysis: I’m not sure who the next challenger will be for the title, but there are a lot of options whether it’s Aleister Black again or maybe they will do a four way with Gargano and Dream being a part of it. Perhaps it will be Ciampa vs. Gargano vs. Black like it was supposed to be in August before Black got hurt.
A video package aired about WWE superstars playing some League of Legends video game with WWE stars facing off with NXT stars. I don’t play video games, so I have no idea how to comment on this.
There was a shot of guitarist Nita Strauss at ringside.
The announcers plugged that Triple H will be on Facebook Live immediately following Takeover WarGames to talk about the show.
The War Games double steel cage was lowered around the double ring. As we saw last year, there is no roof on the cage like the old NWA/WCW WarGames structure, so it’s unique to WWE.
The video package aired about WarGames showing how dominant the Undisputed Era has been in the last year in NXT including winning the first WarGames match last year. The foursome of War Raiders, Ricochet and Pete Dunne emerged as challengers to the Undisputed Era leading up to this match.
Here are the WarGames rules as read by announcer Kayla Braxton. The key thing to know is that you can’t attempt to win the match until all eight guys are in the match.
The Undisputed Era foursome of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish and the NXT Tag Team Championship duo of Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly. Cole was up first for the team as the leader of the group. Cole did his “Adam Cole bay-bay” yell in the ring with the crowd joining in even though he’s a heel. The other three Undisputed Era guys were locked in a cage on the stage until it’s their turn to enter the match.
The War Raiders team of Rowe and Hanson made their entrance and they entered the cage for their team. Pete Dunne, the UK Champion, was up next for the face team as he had a staredown with the Undisputed Era. Dunne had his right leg taped up to sell the injury from last week’s NXT show. Ricochet, the North American Champion, entered last for the face team and he got the biggest ovation on the team. Ricochet is starting the match, which is a good choice.
WarGames: The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong and Bobby Fish) vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunne and War Raiders (Rowe and Hanson)
Ricochet and Cole stood in different rings as the match began with a five-minute countdown clock in the bottom right corner of the screen. There’s a camera guy in the ring positioned between the two rings just like they did last year. Ricochet went into Cole’s ring, hit a hurricanrana and then a dropkick. Ricochet with a forearm to the face. Ricochet went for a diving attack off the middle ropes only for Cole to counter it with a Backstabber double knees to the back. Cole with a neckbreaker on Ricochet. Cole hit a fireman’s carry neckbreaker correctly called the Ushigoroshi from Ranallo. Cole sent Ricochet into the other ring on the far right. Cole raked the face of Ricochet against the cage, which would have led to a blade job in another era, but not today. Ricochet came back with kick out of the corner followed by a dropkick. Ricochet did a springboard attack from the far right ring and he connected on Cole with an uppercut. That was impressive.
The five-minute clock expired and Kyle O’Reilly was up next for the Undisputed Era because they earned the man advantage on last week’s NXT. O’Reilly attacked Ricochet with punches as Cole took a break. Ricochet managed to fight both guys off briefly, but O’Reilly hit a dragon screw leg whip against the middle rope to slow down the high flier Ricochet. There was a hard kick to the chest by O’Reilly to Ricochet. When Ricochet tried to fight back, he was greeted by a bicycle kick by Cole and Cole dumped Ricochet off his shoulders onto O’Reilly’s knee. The three-minute clock expired leading to the fourth man in the match.
Next up for the face team is the bearded big man Hanson. Hanson with a sidewalk slam on O’Reilly, a splash and a slam for Cole. Hanson did a nice cartwheel to avoid an attack leading to a clothesline on Cole. Hanson with running clotheslines on both heels against the turnbuckle. He did about ten of them or more. I lost count. Hanson with a running Bronco Buster on O’Reilly and Cole at the same time. That allowed Ricochet time to recover. Ricochet jumped off Hanson’s back leading to a Shooting Star Press on O’Reilly, which was incredible and led to “Ricochet” chants. The heels got back into it a bit with Cole working over Hanson with elbows while Ricochet took out O’Reilly. The clock ran down again after three minutes of action.
The third Undisputed Era entrant is Roderick Strong, who last year was against the Undisputed Era in the WarGames match, but this time he’s on their side. Strong with an impressive dropkick on Ricochet along with a step up knee on Ricochet and Hanson. Strong hit two backbreakers on Ricochet followed by a double knee attack to Ricochet’s back. Hanson caught Strong, Cole kicked Hanson, O’Reilly with a forearm splash and Strong hit an Olympic Slam on Hanson as some fans chanted “Undisputed” for them. The heels were in full control as O’Reilly hit a jumping knee off the middle ropes onto the back of Ricochet as the three minute period expired leading to the next entrant.
The third guy for the face side is Rowe of the War Raiders as he ran down to the ring. Rowe with an impressive overhead suplex on Strong. Cole with a forearm, no effect and Rowe hit a running knee on Cole. O’Reilly slapped on a sleeper on Rowe, but it had no effect and Rowe slammed Cole down. Rowe had O’Reilly in his arms, Hanson put Strong on top and Rowe did a Powerbomb/Powerslam combo at the same time that was incredible to see. Rowe and Hanson tossed O’Reilly and Strong into the cage. The War Raiders picked up Cole and tossed him into the cage. That used to lead to a blade job too, but not in today’s WWE. Ricochet worked over Strong with chops as the clock counted down to zero again.
The last man from the Undisputed Era is Bobby Fish and he attacked Pete Dunne in his cage. Fish drove Dunne shoulder first into the cage. Fish had his lock and he locked the cage that Dunne was in. Fish tossed the key into the crowd. Fish grabbed four steel chairs from under the ring that had the Undisputed Era logo on them, so it was a clever strategy from the heel group. That led to all four Undisputed Era guys working over the faces with chair shots to the back to keep them down. Fish and Strong whipped Hanson into the steel cage. Strong picked up Rowe and slammed him into a chair that was opened up in the ring. The Undisputed Era also whipped Rowe into the cage. Fish was favoring his left knee, which caused him to miss most of the year. The clock counted down to zero for the last man in the match.
The last man on the face side was supposed to be Pete Dunne, but he wasn’t in there yet. The referee opened the first lock and then he said his key didn’t work on the other lock that Fish put on the cage. Dunne remained in the cage. O’Reilly and Fish hit suplexes off the top rope. Referees brought out bolt cutters to cut the lock to free Dunne from the cage. Dunne went down to the ring. Dunne grabbed a kendo stick and hit Undisputed Era members with it as they tried to block him from entering. Dunne whipped the cage door into Strong’s head. Ricochet up top with a cross body block to take out Undisputed Era. Dunne brought two trash cans into the match along with a table, which drew a big pop. Dunne brought a second table into the ring. Dunne entered the ring as the last man the match.
All eight men were in the ring as WarGames officially began at that point with two referees going into the rings to join them to count the fall or witness a submission. The faces worked over the heels with kendo sticks, a chair and Dunne had a chain around his hand. Dunne bent back the fingers of O’Reilly and stomped on the elbow. Hanson did something nasty to Strong, but we didn’t see it because the camera was showing the other side. Dunne slammed Strong onto O’Reilly and Cole came back with a chop block on the knee of Dunne. Hanson and Rowe got back into the mix with Rowe slamming Hanson ass first into Cole’s face, which was covered by a trash can. Ouch. Rowe with a body slam on Hanson on O’Reilly. The War Raiders hit a double team clothesline into a German Suplex on Strong for a two count. Hanson was hit with a garbage can to stop his momentum. Fish and O’Reilly worked over Rowe with several kicks to the upper body. Strong with the double knees to Ricochet and Cole hit the Backstabber to Ricochet. Dunne was all alone as the Undisputed Era worked together against him. Dunne fought them off with strikes and a German Suplex to strong. Enziguri kick by Dunne hit O’Reilly in the head. Dunne slapped on the knee bar submission on Fish’s surgically repaired left leg leading to O’Reilly breaking it up. O’Reilly used a chain to wrap it around the right leg of Dunne, but Dunne tried to fight it off. Fish with a chair to Dunne’s right leg and O’Reilly applied an Ankle Lock on the right leg of Dunne. Strong used a chair to choke Dunne as well while Cole and Fish tried to fend off the other faces. Ricochet hit a leaping attack onto the heels in the other ring. Ricochet saved Dunne from the hold. Hanson with a back body drop on Strong from one right to the other.
The grueling match continued with most of the guys down in the two rings. Dunne got back into it with a kick to the head of Fish. Ricochet hit a hurricanrana on O’Reilly off the top and Dunne hit a slam off the top on Strong leading to a two count for Ricochet. War Raiders set up a table in the ring on the far right side. Hanson set up Cole on the table, but it wasn’t set up properly, so Cole slipped off. Rowe launched Hanson into the air for a powerslam that got a two count. Fish hit Rowe in the back with a kendo stick and Fish tackled Rowe through a table that was set up between the two rings. Ricochet set up Cole upside down against the turnbuckle in the tree of woe position. Ricochet worked over O’Reilly with punches and Strong was back in with a running knee to Ricochet’s face. O’Reilly applied a submission on Ricochet’s head/arm and Hanson made the save by jumping off the top rope on the other ring onto O’Reilly to put O’Reilly through a broken table. Wow that was impressive. That got a two count for Hanson. All eight guys were down in the two rings until Cole barely got to his feet using the ropes.
Cole climbed to the top of the cage possibly going for an attack, so Ricochet went up after him to fight him off. Strong helped Cole to try to push Ricochet out of the cage, but Ricochet managed to fight them off with Nigel putting them over for being brilliant by trying to put Ricochet out of the cage. They were setting up for a huge mutli-man spot with Cole upside down on the cage, then the foursome of Rowe, Dunne, O’Reilly, Strong, Hanson and Fish with a slam off the cage. It was a Tower of Doom spot to the extreme with Ranallo yelling “what the hell was that?” as they all went crashing to the mat. I thought it was very creative. Meanwhile, Ricochet was on top of the cage looking down at the other seven guys in the ring. Ricochet turned his back and did a double moonsault onto the seven guys in the ring! Wow! Holy shit! I’ve never seen that before. That was amazing. Ricochet didn’t connect with all seven of them, but they sold it like he did as everybody went down at the same time. The crowd popped huge for that. That was amazing.
All eight guys stood up together in opposite rings as if this was a battle between armies and the fans were chanting “NXT” for them as it turned into a brawl again. The guys split apart with some of them going into one ring and others into the other ring. Rowe with a knee to the face of Fish and Hanson up top with a leg drop into a slam. That was impressive. Strong and O’Reilly with a high/low knee combination to take down Rowe. Hanson with a handspring double back elbow to take out O’Reilly and Strong. Cole decked Hanson with a superkick. Ricochet with a springboard attack, but Cole hit a superkick on him. Dunne worked on the fingers of Cole and Cole hit a DDT followed by a neckbreaker to the knee. Cole with a Shining Wizard on Dunne for a two count. Dunne avoided knee attack and hit the Bitter End slam. Ricochet off the top with a 450 Splash on Cole as Ricochet and Dunne covered Cole at the same time with the ref counting one…two…three for the win for the faces. The match went 47:10.
Winners by pinfall: Ricochet, Pete Dunne, Rowe and Hanson
Analysis: ****1/2 That was an incredible match. I was in awe of the work in the ring, the stories they told throughout the match and the creativity shown throughout the match. My minor complaint is that I felt that maybe it went too long because if it was closer to 35-40 minutes it might have been better. Last year's WarGames match was 36 minutes and that felt just right, so that's what I mean by going ten minutes more hurting the match a bit. I also would have liked to see more submission attempts because that’s something that made WarGames special in the past. It’s hard for me to nitpick something like that when you go nearly one hour in the most unique match in pro wrestling and deliver an incredible performance like these eight guys did. What I liked the most was that Ricochet and Dunne were put over huge because they are two huge stars for the future. Ricochet’s performance was as impressive as any singles match he has had in NXT so far. That double moonsault off the cage was so amazing. Adam Cole stood out on the heel side, which is no surprise since he’s the best guy on that team and was in the match the longest. Hanson really impressed me too with some of his aerial maneuvers. The finish was good because it put over Dunne and Ricochet in a strong way.
After the match was over, Ricochet and Dunne were handed their titles as they nodded their heads as a sign of respect. As the replays aired, Ranallo called Ricochet’s cage spot as “Cirque du Ricochet,” which is cool.
Ricochet and Dunne climbed to the top of the cage and held up their titles as they posed for the fans, who gave them a big ovation. That was it for the show.
Analysis: I think Ricochet is a lock for becoming the NXT Champion at some point next year. He’s the guy they are going to want to build around for most of 2019 and I can’t wait to see him against the likes of Ciampa and Gargano. I think Ricochet could be a huge star on the main roster too, but we might have to wait until 2020 for that. I don’t think WWE is going to rush him.
The show had a run time of 2:43:44 on WWE Network.
I’ll give it a 9.5 out of 10.
The three best matches were all above ****1/2 out of five for me, so that tells you how much I loved it. I’m sure somebody is going to bitch that I didn’t go five stars for any of the matches, but believe me when I tell you it’s not a slight against anybody in any match. It’s just one of those things where maybe something was missing a little bit to prevent it. I thought Black/Gargano could have used a bit more psychology instead of just a hundred kicks or however many it was. Ciampa/Dream was a lot of fun. WarGames was great, but maybe even better if it was ten minutes shorter.
As for the results, I think the right people went over in most cases although I thought Kairi Sane should have won. I got the Black match wrong because I thought they would want to put over Gargano as a new heel, but Black winning as revenge makes sense too. I picked Ciampa and faces in the main event, so I got that right.
Awesome show. The LA crowd was very good. I loved it.
Ranking The WWE NXT Takeover 2018 Events (1 to 10 scale)
NXT Takeover New Orleans – 10/10
NXT Takeover WarGames – 9.5/10
NXT Takeover Brooklyn – 9/10
NXT Takeover Chicago – 9/10
NXT Takeover Philadelphia – 9/10
I think it’s been the best year of NXT Takeover shows ever. The scores of the five Takeover shows reflect that.
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