By Anish Vishwakoti, Prowrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
Join Jason Powell for live coverage of NXT Takeover: WarGames on Saturday beginning with Kickoff Show notes at 5:30CT/6:30ET. Dot Net Members will hear an exclusive audio review after the show. For membership information, visit PWMembership.net.
Paul “Triple H” Levesque confirmed in this week’s NXT media call that WarGames will be an annual event going forward, and it makes sense considering the success of last year’s match, and the history of the match as Dusty Rhodes’s brainchild. Either way, the match it’s back this Saturday in Los Angeles, I will be in attendance, and I am intrigued by the card and I am definitely looking forward to the event.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Championship: After Ciampa won the NXT Title and seemingly put an end to his rivalry with Johnny Gargano, I was not completely confident that NXT had somewhere for Ciampa to go with the title after the Gargano rivalry. Lo and behold, NXT seems to have an answer for everything, and in recent weeks I have been drawn in by Velveteen Dream’s pursuit of the NXT Championship.
The dynamic between Dream and Lars Sullivan has meant that Ciampa has really been acting as a foil for Dream over the last few weeks, and a goal for him to reach rather than a direct rival, although their barbs and mind games have also been entertaining. This dynamic has made it easy to root for Dream, and Ciampa’s direct involvement with him lately has me excited to see these two have a one on one match rather than a triple threat involving Sullivan.
I see Ciampa coming out on top in this match. While Dream has a host of momentum behind him, I see this as a great opportunity for WWE to build this NXT Title as a prize that only the elite of the elite can attain. I like how not every NXT fan favorite gets a run with this title, and having Ciampa beat Dream with as many tricks as possible could be a solid way to keep him one of the hottest heels in the business, and it certainly wouldn’t hurt Dream to lose to the champion.
Tommaso Ciampa retains the NXT Championship.
Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Women’s Championship in a best of three falls match: These two have been trading wins and the title back and forth, and Baszler will be the defending champion this time around. They have definitely managed to make all of their matches different and entertaining in their own right, and their most recent match at Evolution saw Baszler regain the championship with the assistance of a couple of her Four Horsewomen of MMA buddies, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir.
With Shafir and Duke having started training at the WWE Performance Center, and their appearance on NXT television becoming more and more prevalent, I see them playing a part in this match. And while it doesn’t normally bode well that I can see interference coming, I’m not dissuaded for this match. At this point, I think that Sane may benefit from heading up to the main roster, and Baszler and her Horsewomen colleagues could benefit from a run in NXT to establish themselves.
I see this match being just as good, if not better than Baszler and Sane’s previous matches, and I see Baszler actually getting the sweep on Sane, symbolically taking this rivalry to a close, (probably with some helpful interference) and leading to Sane moving up to the main roster soon.
Shayna Baszler retains the NXT Women’s Championship.
Alistair Black vs. Johnny Gargano: With weeks of speculation as to who attacked Black in the Performance Center parking lot, the culprit was revealed to be perennial babyface, Gargano. Johnny has taken on an entirely new character in the last weeks of NXT, talking about how he is a hero to the NXT fans and that he is a ‘good guy’ regardless of his actions.
Black’s hunt of Gargano has been extremely entertaining, and his involvement with Gargano and Ciampa previously may have led to him being booed slightly because of how loved Gargano used to be. But now that Gargano has been the one to swing heel, I could really see this story going for a few months.
During Black’s title run, he didn’t ever have a real personal rivalry with anyone, and to date I find his work with Velveteen Dream to be the most compelling. With a real motivation to get at Gargano, I sure believe this match and their feud going forward could be the next special thing in NXT. For this match, I see Gargano winning via some sort of heel tactic that turns him completely, leaving no room for fans to cheer him. Low blow’s have been raining in WWE recently, so I could certainly see another coming here.
Johnny Gargano defeats Aleistair Black.
“The Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, Roderick Strong vs. Pete Dunne, Ricochet, and “The War Raiders” Hanson and Rowe in a WarGames match: The Undisputed Era has been simply awesome to watch on NXT in recent weeks. Not only are all four men wrestling well, but their involvement as the thorn in the side of every NXT wrestler has been really entertaining to watch. They all seem like they’re having fun and this comes across in their obnoxious, yet dangerous heel characters.
Much like last year, the story will be how this thrown together team can take on Undisputed Era, who are a solid unit. The heels winning the starting advantage of having their members come out first gives the faces an extra hill to climb, though with Hanson and Rowe being equalizers, I have high hopes for this match to take us all through a rollercoaster of emotions.
Last year’s WarGames match was very well done, and with a more simplified format this time, I can see this one being even better. Even though the Undisputed Era won the last WarGames match, I can see them getting another victory as they need it more. It makes more sense for the faces to lose, either through miscommunication or through UE just working better as a unit. It also allows them go on to their own individual rivalries with each other, rather than if they won, which would make it harder to transition to say a Dunne and Ricochet feud long term.
The Undisputed Era defeats War Raiders, Pete Dunne, and Ricochet.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and John Moore discussing WWE Survivor Series and NXT Takeover: War Games.