11/15 Moore’s NXT TV Review: NXT Takeover – WarGames Go-Home show, Drew McIntyre and Andrade Cien Almas face-off, Ember Moon vs. Mercedes Martinez, Lars Sullivan

By John Moore

NXT TV on the WWE Network
Taped October 4, 2017 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

The NXT intro theme aired. The Mauro Ranallo voiceover opened up NXT to welcome the viewers. Nigel McGuinness went over the card for this episode which included Andrade Almas meeting Drew McIntyre face-to-face in the ring. Ember Moon would also be facing Mercedes Martinez on this episode. Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness were the commentators. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford, the Street Profits, made their entrance…

1. Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford vs. Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss. Drake Younger was the referee for the match. Percy Watson talked about Tino Sabbatelli being a legit NFL star before WWE. Dawkins took down Sabbatelli with a waistlock takedown. Ford did a blind tag to allow for some dropkick offense from the profits. Ford hit a 360 lariat on Sabbatelli in the corner. Sabbatelli fought out and managed to tag in Moss who dominated. Moss hit Ford with a back suplex.

Moss tagged in Sabbatelli to continue the isolation game against the fan favorite team. Sabbatelli taunted Dawkins while beating on Ford. Ford tried to crawl under Sabbatelli’s legs. Ford managed to run around sabbatelli to bring in Dawkins for the hot tag. Dawkins took down Sabbatelli with a knockout right hand to pick up the pinfall win.

The Street Profits defeated Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss via pinfall in 3:15.

Mauro cut to a Velveteen Dream and Aleister Black video package. In the cinematic video package Black asked if there was a difference between the dark and the light. They then spliced in highlights and sound bites from the epic Dream vs. Black feud. Dream called himself a blinding light. The package focused on Dream wanting Black to acknowledge him as “Velveteen Dream” while Black purposely ignored Dream. Lars Sullivan was announced as “in action” after the break… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Another quick enhancement win for the Profits who continue to grow as fan favorites. It would be cool if WWE could build up some strong heel teams, unless all these babyfaces are being built so reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) could take them down? I liked Moss and Sabbatelli trying to look more like a tag team but I’m not sure what they are going for with the rich man act and acting like they are one person. I get it with Sabbatelli but Moss acting like he and Sab are like a singular person is weird. As for the Dream/Black package. It was good, just like the rest of this feud, but if you haven’t been watching weekly I recommend that you check out this feud in full with the episodes because this feud has been some of WWE/NXT’s best writing in some time.

2. Lars Sullivan vs. Raul Mendoza. Mendoza managed to sidestep the giant and managed to get in a myriad of kicks on Lars. After having some success with the kicks, Mendoza went for a high risk move right into the head of Lars. Lars then slowed down Mendoza by smashing him in the corner with splashes. Sullivan hit a delayed power slam on Mendoza. Watson pointed out that Sullivan could have gone for the pinfall but decided to dish out more punishment. Sullivan gave some clubbing blows ton Mendoza. Sullivan hit the “Freak Accident” on Mendoza (a.k.a. Abyss’s Black Hole Slam) for the win.

Lars Sullivan defeated Raul Mendoza via pinfall in 1:48.

Mauro Ranallo compared Lars Sullivan to the Colossus of Rhodes. Lars hovered of Mendoza and decided to lift up Mendoza by the head. Kassius Ohno ran out for the save. Lars laughed in the face of Ohno. Lars laughed and retreated to the back…

They cut to Johnny Gargano in William Regal’s office. Gargano talked about wanting to turn around his fortunes. Regal pointed out that Pete Dunne made an open challenge to the NXT Roster for the UK Championship. Gargano said he accepted. Regal announced Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano for the WWE UK Championship for next week’s NXT show (which will be taped before the Takeover: War Games show)…

John’s Thoughts: I don’t like to call NXT matches “squashes” these days because they truly “enhance” the wrestlers involved. Lars continues to be built well as this “Stone golem” as Mauro likes to put it. Mendoza is NXT’s resident enhancement wrestlers but he’s allowed to have flashes of brilliance here and there and they even had him get one over Lars in the initial seconds of this match. Totally expect Sullivan to go over Ohno, but this would be Sullivan’s toughest workrate test to date.

The commentators checked in at the table again. Mauro went into some WarGames hype. They cut to a video package for WarGames. Adam Cole talked about not starting a war you cannot finish. They shoed clips of The Undisputed Era’s surprise attacks. Cole said they were just getting started. They then showed clips of the Undisputed Era trying to recruit Roderick Strong. The next portion of the video focused on Eric Young and Sanity. Young talked about how Sanity wrote the book on making a mark and he talked about Chaos. They then cut to Paul Ellering who talked about the Authors coming back for their titles. This led to the scene where Regal booked War Games. Paul Ellering said he wrestled in the first War Games and it’s about survival of the fittest. Adam Cole said they are about to purge things at takeover. Kyle O’Reilly talked about shocking the system… [C]

John’s Thoughts: Nice video package. Roderick Strong’s involvement still seems completely random and the who recruiting storyline didn’t make sense to begin with because what did Strong have initially to gain from joining the Undisputed Era? Also, why are the Authors letting him hang around as their little buddy? Mr. Proposed Third Member of The Shield (Chris Hero/Kassius Ohno) would have made a better fit since at the time he had nothing else better to do.

3. Mercedes Martinez vs. Ember Moon. Nigel said he thinks that Martinez has a striking advantage but Moon’s shorter height gives her a lower center of gravity to give Moon a grapple advantage. Martinez locked in a side headlock takedown on Moon. Martinez slapped Moon. Moon came back with an armdrag and a shouting single leg dropkick. Moon hit a front basement dropkick on Martinez. Martinez came back at Moon with a shortarm forearm smash. Martinez hit a spinebuster on Martinez. [C]

Moon hit a kick combo on Martinez back from the break. Martinez came back with a hard chop to the chest of Moon. Martinez hit Three Amigos with the third amigo being a delayed vertical suplex. Moon grounded Martinez with an enziguri. Moon hit a huracanrana on Martinez. Ember Moon roared and hit a suicide dive on Mercedes Martinez. Martinez kicked Moon on the top rope. She then hit a Tower of London (Nigel’s Finisher) on Moon. Martinez went for a fisherman buster but Moon came back with a rollup attempt. Moon hit a rope assisted stomp on Martinez. Ember Moon hit the Eclipse for the win.

Ember Moon defeated Mercedes Martinez via pinfall in 6:48.

They showed a replay of the Tower of London spot and the Eclipse. The modified Sanity theme played as Nikki Cross made her entrance from the crowd. Peyton Royce made her entrance through the regular entrance. She was followed by Kairi Sane… [C]

John’s Thoughts: A good match that was a bit more competitive than it needed to be at this point for Ember Moon. It was smart and the commentators did their best to acknowledge that Mercedez Martinez is a long time veteran in pro wrestling, but she has minimal exposure to the WWE audience. If you saw the Mae Young Classic then fine, but what about those who didn’t? They did this with Ember the last time she went against Asuka where it just exacerbates the “too soon” notion for Moon. My pick to win is still Peyton Royce because I think Royce is ready to burst onto the scene and there are more creative possibilities with her.

Mauro Ranallo hyped up next week’s UK Championship match between Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano. They also hyped up Ruby Riot vs. Sonya Deville which is now announced for the NXT show as opposed to the Takeover one…

Drew McIntyre came out to the ring wearing a new T-Shirt. Nigel called Drew a “Celtic Colossus”. Drew congratulated Almas on a successful plan. He then gave the credit to Zelina and said that Andrade Almas got his match at Takeover: WarGames. Drew said Almas is in trouble with reality and pressure and setting in. Drew said it is clear what kind of man that Drew is. Drew said when the pressure is on; will Almas know what kind of man he is? Drew talked about Zelina rambling on about success and mountains. Drew said Drew is “the bloody mountain”. Drew asked Almas to finally come out and face him not for Drew or Zelina but for Almas. Drew asked Almas to come out and face him like a man.

Drew then asked if Zelina was allowing Almas off the leash. Zelina Vega came out to Almas’ music with Drew mocking Vega. Mauro said he doesn’t think Almas is a “perro”. Comically and unintentionally, the announcers went quiet probably staring at Mauro. Mauro clarified that he said “perro” not “pedo”. Perro is Spanish for dog. Almas ran out and brawled with Drew. Vega gave McIntyre a crossbody which allowed Drew to get distracted. Almas took down McIntyre with a chop block. Almas gave Drew a Hammerlock DDT. The show ended with Zelina Vega holding the NXT Championship and placing it on Drew’s prone body.

John’s Thoughts: A good closing segment and the best they could have possibly done to hype up the Takeover encounter. It still seems too soon for Almas and too soon for Drew to drop the strap. Unless they are going with a pair of quick title changes, but Almas needs to be on a roll as opposed to be as a transitional champ. Drew is great as a flagbearer for the NXT flagship so NXT has more to gain with him as their touring champ. Back to the segment, Drew was good as usual. He’s a giant of a man yet he sells believably like no other because he is considered as the ultimate nice guy. What I found most intriguing in that encounter is they’ve been having Zelina Vega perform more wrestling moves on men then we’ve seen in WWE. I’m also intrigued as to why they are making Almas out to be henpecked. Not in a bad way because there is some sort of endgame.

Overall, this was a middle of the road go-home show, but I do understand that they only have one hour to go-home and so many hot matches. I would have allowed Undisputed Era to dish out new promo material and maybe get something from Aleister Black, but I do also acknowledge that would have possibly needed another half hour. I could have done without the Mercedes Martinez match because even though it was really good, it did nothing to benefit Takeover due to Martinez having limited WWE exposure. I’m still looking forward to Takeover though. I’ll be by later today with my Members’ Exclusive Audio Review of this show.

Join me for live coverage of the show as it streams on Saturday night. 

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