By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne in a ladder match for the WarGames advantage: A strong match between two of NXT’s finest. I would love to see a Takeover singles match between O’Reilly and Dunne, but this match will do for now. As much as I’m not sold on the need for ladder matches being needed to determine the numbers advantage at WarGames, this was was a good one.
KO Show with Leon Ruff, Johnny Gargano, and Damian Priest: An unfiltered Owens without a crazy man feeding him lines through the headset seemed like a great idea on paper. I didn’t expect Owens to overshadow the action, but he was so low key on commentary that he lowered the usual energy provided by Wade Barrett. Fortunately, this segment worked in part due to the gag with Owens predicting entrances before they happened. Plus, it gets no better than William Regal dropping a Teddy Long “playa” as his closing word.
Candice LeRae vs. Ember Moon: A good match with a surprising turn by Toni Storm afterward. Storm just hasn’t clicked in the North American version of NXT for some reason, so perhaps a heel run is the right approach. Part of me is surprised that they didn’t wait to pull the trigger inside the WarGames cage, but I guess they wanted to line up Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai on the babyface side.
Cameron Grimes vs. Jake Atlas: As much as I’d love to see these two work a long and competitive match, it was logical for Grimes to get a quick, strong win. Atlas is slotted as an up and comer, so he can absorb these early losses, whereas Grimes needs wins.
Grizzled Young Veterans attack Ever-Rise: The return of Zack Gibson and James Drake provides some depth to a depleted tag team division.
Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” as the WarGames theme: WWE should strike a deal to make the Sabbath classic the permanent WarGames theme. It’s perfect.
Kushida vs. Timothy Thatcher: A good match, but if NXT wants viewers to be excited by a Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa feud, then they really need to start giving Thatcher some wins. Thatcher’s NXT run has been baffling in that he’s turned out to be a strong character, yet he only seems to beat low level talent such as his storyline trainees. Meanwhile, Kushida keeps racking up wins that never seem to lead to anything. Let me guess. Kushida gets an NXT Title shot, loses, and goes right back to winning random matches?