By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Takeover: WarGames II
Aired live November 17, 2018 on WWE Network
Los Angeles, California at Staples Center
A video package opened the show and focused on all four matches… The broadcast team of Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in. Ranallo mentioned Stan Lee dying this week and said it was only fitting that NXT showcase its Fantastic Four…
Matt Riddle made his entrance. Ranallo said Riddle was not on his format sheet and he wasn’t supposed to appear until he faces Kassius Ohno on Wednesday’s television show. Fans chanted “bro” once his music stopped playing. Riddle noted that he was not scheduled for a match on Takeover. He noted that Ohno interrupted him on the pre-show. He said they were scheduled to meet on Wednesday, but they were in L.A. and he had two rings and he would knock out Ohno in both of them.
Kassius Ohno made his entrance dressed in his gear. Ohno said Riddle was too stupid to know he’s not supposed to be in the ring or ready for him. Ohno accepted the match.
1. Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno. Riddle has his back turned to Ohno as the referee called for the bell. Ohno charged at Riddle, who turned and hit him with a high knee before pinning him clean.
Matt Riddle pinned Kassius Ohno in 0:07.
Powell’s POV: A fun “unscheduled” addition to the show. Ohno can claim that Riddle caught him with a lucky shot to set up the obvious rematch. I thought Riddle might make good on his threat to knock him out in both rings. Heck, the night is young, so maybe he still will. By the way, I’m filling in on NXT coverage for John Moore tonight because he is in the building at Takeover and will be sitting in the room for Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s post-show press conference, which we should have available later tonight.
2. Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane in a best of three falls match for the NXT Women’s Championship. Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke did not come out with Baszler. After in-ring introductions, Sane charged Baszler and went on the offensive. Shafir and Duke showed up and worked over Sane at ringside while the referee was checking on Baszler. Sane was rolled back inside the ring where Baszler put her in a rear naked choke. Baszler won the first fall a 2:05.
A “bullshit” chant broke out. Shafir and Duke remained at ringside. Baszler remained in offensive control and stomped the face of Sane at 3:55. Fans booed loudly. Sane came back. Baslzer caught her in a rear naked choke again, but Sane rolled into a pin for a two count that broke the hold. At 6:25, Baszler went for a suplex on the apron. Sane countered into a great DDT for a pop. Sane went up top and leapt onto all three heels. Sane rolled Baszler back inside the ring and performed a top rope elbow drop. Sane won the second fall at 7:40.
Both women fought on the ropes for position. Sane performed a sunset flip powerbomb. Sane went up top for her finisher. Duke distracted the referee while Shafir shoved Sane off the top rope. Dakota Kai ran out and fought both women until she was outnumbered. Io Shirai ran out and performed a top rope moonsault onto Shafir and Duke. Sane went for a top rope elbow, but Baszler caught her on the way down and hooked her into a pin to win the third fall and the match…
Shayna Baszler defeated Kairi Sane two falls to one in 10:55 to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: Meh. Don’t get me wrong, it was well worked and fun while it lasted, but I was hoping for a straight up match rather than all that inference and three falls happening so quickly. For what it’s worth, the Shirai moonsault was fantastic and looked just as cool on replay.
After some advertising, Sean “X-Pac” Waltman and his dog were shown in the crowd… Tommaso Ciampa was shown backstage with his belt in front of “Dream Over” with an X spray-painted on the wall… A video package set up the next match…
3. Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black. Gargano came out to some boos. He stopped and high-fived a kid in the front row. Black rose from the side of the stage between candles (there are shark cages in the middle of the stage for WarGames). Ranallo noted that is was Gargano’s record eleventh Takeover match. Gargano’s trunks read “Johnny Takeover.”
Black was dominant early with a couple of big knees to the head of Gargano among other moves. With Gargano at ringisde, Black did a moonsault off the middle rope and sat down, only for Gargano to race back to the ring to kick him. Black came back with a flip dive onto Gargano at 5:35. At 7:10, Gargano avoided a moonsault on the floor and then performed a tornado DDT. Back inside the ring, Gargano performed a slingshot DDT for a near fall.
“You’re not the chosen one, I am,” Gargano told Black. Gargano threw a kick, which Black blocked before catching Gargano with an elbow. Gargano ducked a series of kicks and performed a reverse Frankensteiner. Both men got up and Black caught Gargano with a running high knee to the head. Ranallo said there were 13,598 in attendance.
Black performed a springboard into a double knee press. Black followed with a high kick and a bridging German suplex for a two count. Gargano bounced back with a crossface, but Black rolled him into a pin for a two count. Gargano set up in the corner for a running knee. However, Black pointed at him and sat in the ring with his legs crossed and teased letting Gargano blast him only to roll him up instead for a two count. Gargano came back and hit the knee a short time later for a near fall.
At 14:40, Black went for a springboard move, but Gargano followed him to the ropes and shoved him to ringside. Gargano ran and dove through the ropes into a big knee for Black. Gargano struggled to get up and asked Black to put him out of his misery. Black went for his finishing kick, but Gargano ducked it and countered into a crossface. Black escaped it by rolling him into a pin, than both men stood up and Black hit Gargano with a knee to the head. Black lowered his kneepad and threw another knee before connecting with a Black Mass kick. Gargano was acting as if he was out on his feet while leaning against Black, who hit him with another Black Mass kick and pinned him…
Aleister Black defeated Johnny Gargano in 18:10.
Powell’s POV: Now that’s more like it. While the first match felt like a main roster best of three falls match in a lot of ways, this was the kick ass, “top this” style match that we’ve come to expect from Takeover events. I liked the match and the result, as this loss should drive Gargano’s character further into his dark tailspin.
Ranallo noted that he and McGuinness call California home, and then asked fans to donate $10 to the American Red Cross to help with the wildfire relief effort…
A shot aired from inside the Undisputed Era locker room where Adam Cole was standing and doing the talking while his teammates were seated… A video package set up the NXT Title match…
4. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Championship. Dream’s pre-match gear was an homage to Hollywood Hogan. He had an NWO style shirt that read NVO for “New Velveteen Order.” He did his own version of Hogan’s ear cupping. Ciampa came out clutching his title belt and wore a black and brown jacket. Ciampa kissed his belt prior to the in-ring introductions.
Dream slapped the back of Ciampa’s head after spinning on his back. Ciampa came right back and took Dream’s Hollywood headband. Dream went to ringside and picked up the title belt. Ciampa raced to ringside for his precious. Back inside the ring, Dream bodyslammed Ciampa and then performed Rick Rude style gyrations. Dream picked up his headband and put it back on while McGuinness said he was taking too much time.
Dream teased a legdrop and the fans roared, but Ciampa rolled to the floor. Dream performed a double ax-handle from the top rope onto Ciampa at ringside.. Ciampa cut off Dream on the ropes moments later and dumped him to ringside. Ciampa performed a running knee on Dream in the corner and used his knee brace.
Dream acted like he was out cold. McGuinness yelled that Ciampa should cover him because the match would be over. A short time later, Ciampa performed a neckbreaker with Dream on the apron. “I’m the man,” Ciampa barked. “I’m the main event.” Ciampa once again used his knee brace as a weapon on the floor before rolling Dream back inside the ring at 7:30.
Dream caught Ciampa in a backslide for a two count and followed up with a neckbreaker a short time later. Dream did the Hogan finger point big, then threw some big punches and a big boot and three legdrops. Ciampa fought back briefly, but Dream performed a spinebuster for a two count at 10:40. Fans chanted “Velveteen”. McGuinness said Ciampa was hurt, but he’s like an injured animal in that this is when he’s most dangerous.
At 11:45, Dream wrenched Ciampa’s bad knee on the apron and then applied a figure four around the ring post. The broadcast team said Ciampa tapped, but the referee and Dream were on the floor. Back inside the ring, Dream applied the figure four in the middle of the ring. Ciampa rolled it over, but Dream rolled it over again. Ciampa reached the ropes to break the hold. At 14:30, Dream suplexed Ciampa over the top rope and both men tumbled to the floor.
At 16:00, Ciampa rolled up Dream and the referee nearly counted the pin, but he stopped and pointed out that Ciampa was holding Dream’s trunks. Dream caught Ciampa with a kick and DVD for a good near fall. Dream went for a move off the top and leapt into a kick from Ciampa, who got a two count. Ciampa performed Project Ciampa (lung blower) for another good near fall.
Ciampa sold his knee and then went to ringside and grabbed his title belt, which he tried to bring into the ring with him. The referee stopped him and Dream ended up DDTing Ciampa onto the belt for a near fall. Dream went up top jumped off, but Ciampa had his foot up. Dream stopped short of the boot, but Ciampa dumped him to ringside and then got another good near fall with a DDT through the ropes.
Ciampa pulled the padding off the ground at ringside in front of the broadcast table. Ciampa went for a hanging DDT on the concrete, but Dream drove him and they both tumbled over the broadcast table. Ciampa stood up and threw something at Ranallo that hit him in the face. Dream performed a DVD on the floor, then rolled Ciampa back inside the ring. Dream performed a Purple Rainmaker elbow drop for a great near fall.
With Ciampa’s head hanging over the apron, Dream went for another move off the top rope, but he crashed and burned when Ciampa moved. Ciampa DDT’d Dream onto the metal piece between the two rings (for WarGames) and then pinned him. Afterward, Ciampa looked into the camera and boasted that he is the greatest sports entertainer of all-time…
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Velveteen Dream in 22:25 to retain the NXT Championship.
Powell’s POV: Another gem. They started slow and I wasn’t sure if they would come close to the previous match in terms of quality and excitement, but they definitely pulled it off. In fact, the near falls in this match were much more suspenseful because of it being a title match. I really enjoyed this match and would welcome a rematch if they go back to this during Royal Rumble weekend, but I suspect that won’t be the case.
Guitarist Nita Strauss was shown in the crowd. Ranallo hyped her new album that was released on Friday… The broadcast team spoke about the show and hyped Triple H appearing on Facebook Live after the show… Sirens went off as the WarGames cage was lowered around the two rings… A video package aired to set up the main event…
Ring announcer Kayla Braxton read the rules of the match for the live crowd. Undisputed Era came out first. Adam Cole headed to the ring while his teammates entered their shark cage on the stage. War Raiders, Ricochet, and Pete Dunne made their entrances. They all had white paint on their cheeks…
5. “Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunne, “War Raiders” Hanson and Rowe in a WarGames match. Cole and Ricochet started the match. Undisputed Era has the numbers advantage, meaning they will be the first team to add a new member to the match.
Ricochet leapt backwards from the middle rope and took a Backstabber from Cole a couple minutes in. WWE had a cameraman inside the cage standing between the two rings. At 5:20, O’Reilly headed to the ring and entered the cage. McGuinness noted that new entrants would arrive every three minutes going forward. Ricochet was fighting off both opponents while standing between the rings. O’Reilly gave him a dragon screw leg whip.
At 8:30, Dunne wanted to leave the cage, but Hanson stopped him and entered the match himself. Hanson performed running clotheslines on Cole and O’Reilly in opposite corners. He ran them together in the corner and performed what Ranallo labeled a Bronco Buster (minus the thrusting). Hanson knelt down and Ricochet performed a shooting star press off his back onto O’Reilly at 10:50.
At 11:50, Strong entered the match to give Undisputed Era a three on two advantage. Strong worked over Ricochet with some of his signature offense. An “undisputed” chant broke out while the trio was dominating Ricochet and Hanson.
At 14:55, Rowe blocked Dunne from leaving the shark cage and instead raced to the ring and entered the match. The broadcast team acted surprised and said they assumed the order would have been set by the team before the match. Rowe performed a powerbomb and powerslam on O’Reilly and Strong simultaneously.
Fish was allowed out of his shark cage at 18:00. He went over to Dunne’s cage and after pulling Dunne into the cage, he used the padlock and chain from the Undisputed Era’s shark cage door on Dunne’s cage door. Fish taunted him with the key and then threw it away. Fish headed to the ring and the Undisputed Era members worked over Ricochet and War Raiders with chairs. Strong slammed Rowe onto a chair that was set up in one of the rings.
With Dunne still in the shark cage, Ranallo pointed out that the War Games match technically hadn’t started because all eight men were not in the cage. At 22:20, a referee unlocked the babyface lock, but he and another referee said they did not have a key for the other lock. The beating continued in the ring.
At 24:10, a referee came out with a bolt cutter and opened Dunne’s shark cage. Dunne pulled a kendo stick out from under the ring and used it as a weapon on Cole, then slammed the cage door on Strong. Ricochet performed a cross body block onto the Era members, then Dunne threw a couple of trashcans and two tables inside the cage. Dunne entered the cage with a kendo stick and WarGames officially began at 26:25, meaning the match could actually end now that all eight men were inside.
At 29:25, War Raiders performed a double team clothesline on Strong, who landed hard, and was covered for two. Undisputed Era came back surrounded Dunne while his teammates were all down. He worked them over for a bit and put Fish in a kneebar. O’Reilly broke it up at 32:10. O’Reilly pulled out a chain and wrapped it around the leg of Dunne, who countered into a hold. O’Reilly got some help from is teammates and put applied a hold of his own with Strong. Ricochet performed a big dive to help break the Era wall.
At 37:00, Fish speared Rowe through a table that was set up between the two rings. A couple minutes later, O’Reilly put Ricochet in a hold while he was lying on a table. Hanson leapt from the top rope in the other ring and splashed O’Reilly through a table. Hanson had O’Reilly pinned, but Strong broke it up.
Cole and Ricochet both went to the top of the cage while the broadcast team questioned what Cole was thinking when he went up there. Strong stood on the top rope and helped Cole attempt to push Ricochet over the top of the cage, which would give Era the win. McGuinness said Cole baited Ricochet to go up there and called it genius.
At 41:35, there was a big tower of doom suplex spot involving everyone other than Ricochet, who was still on top of the cage. Ricochet got to his feet and did a big backflip dive onto the pile below. The teams ended up in opposite rings and then jawed at one another in between the rings before trading punches. Fans popped and Ranallo said WarGames was about to be taken to the next level.
The wrestlers took turns performing rapid fire spots. Cole superkicked a leaping Ricochet and tried to give Dunne one, but Dunne wrenched his knee. Cole came back and hit the Last Shot for a near fall. Dunne hit Cole with his Bitter End finisher. Ricochet performed a big splash dive onto Cole, then Ricochet and Dunne put their arms over Cole and got the pin. Dunne and Ricochet showed mutual respect and then stood on top of the cage together, where Dunne noticeably looked at Ricochet’s title belt and raised his eyebrows. Dunne and Ricochet celebrated to close the show…
Ricochet, Pete Dunne, and War Raiders defeated Undisputed Era in a WarGames match in 47:10.
Powell’s POV: Great effort from everyone involved. There were moments when some of the spots felt a little contrived (tower of doom and Ricochet’s dive onto everyone), but it was a well worked match that seemed to keep the live crowd engaged. I’m curious to see if there will be any fallout for Cole losing the match for his team from a storyline perspective or if it’s just business as usual. Overall, another terrific Takeover event. I’ll be by with my members’ exclusive audio review, and we will also have a free audio of the Paul Levesque media call later tonight. Vote in our NXT polls on the main page, and stop back tomorrow for WWE Survivor Series coverage.
Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and John Moore discussing WWE Survivor Series.
The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Will Pruett on the Roman Reigns whodunnit angle, WWE heading into SummerSlam, AEW's October 2 premiere on TNT, the New Japan Pro Wrestling G1 Climax Tournament through Day 11, and more (77:45)...