By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NXT Takeover WarGames Hits
“Undisputed Era” Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong vs. Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch in a WarGames match: A good, lengthy WarGames battle. I can listen to arguments that the match went longer than it needed to, but they filled the time well. NXT needs to decide whether McAfee is a pest heel or a legitimate player in the company. His mouth and a lot of his actions say pest heel, but pest heels don’t kick out of the finishing moves of top wrestlers. That said, McAfee did a terrific job and has quickly become a terrific heel force for NXT. I like that he didn’t take the fall for his team, as it would have been tough to come back with another Cole vs. McAfee match if McAfee had taken two pins. Undisputed Era has been a great faction for NXT, but it feels like it’s time for a change. They have won every title and did everything there is to do in NXT, so it will be interesting to see what comes next for the wrestlers in the stable.
Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley, and Io Shirai vs. Candice LeRae, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai, and Raquel Gonzalez in a WarGames match: It’s awkward when the babyfaces have the entry advantage, but they did a nice job of working around it each time, especially when the heels blocked Shirai from entering the match. That set up the big moment with Shirai putting a trashcan over her head and body before leaping from the top of the cage onto the pile of wrestlers below. There were plenty of highlight reel moments throughout the match, which was laid out really well and featured strong work from the wrestlers. I loved the finish with Gonzalez pinning the NXT Women’s Champion to win the match. It gave the heels the win while also setting up Gonzalez as a big threat to Shirai’s NXT Women’s Championship.
Leon Ruff vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Damian Priest in a Triple Threat for the NXT North American Championship: Ruff’s underdog story has been a blast. It came out of nowhere and made for some really fun television. I wasn’t surprised to see it come to an end in this match, but I hope they creative forces find ways to get more out of the character. Paul Levesque stated during his post show media call that Ruff was made via this match. I can’t say that I agree with Levesque’s statement, but it does seem to bode well for Ruff remaining a meaningful wrestler in NXT. The reveal of Austin Theory as the male Ghostface wasn’t the least bit surprising. As unrealistic as it was, I really hoped for a shocker with Ghostface revealing himself to be David Arquette. Oh well. Fantasy booking aside, I like the idea of the Garganos having underlings in Theory and Indi Hartwell. All of the other Ghostfaces interfering was too much, though Priest was protected by having them get involved and by having Ruff take the pin.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher: A strong outing with Thatcher once again looking good before losing yet another match. It was no surprise to see him lose to Ciampa, but it sure would be nice to see him get a signature win one of these days. Meanwhile, it will be interesting to see what comes next for Ciampa, who has had a strange year. Of course, 2020 has been the strangest year ever, but Ciampa took a break after putting over Karrion Kross and then had a brief heel run before cooler heads prevailed and he was slotted as a babyface again. I don’t get the feeling that NXT creative has long term plans in place for Ciampa or Thatcher at this point.
NXT Takeover WarGames Misses
Cameron Grimes vs. Dexter Lumis in a Strap Match: The work from the wrestlers was Hit worthy, but yet another gimmick match between these two felt like overkill. This would have been a better fit on the weekly television rather than on the pay-per-view, and perhaps that’s where it would have been placed if Finn Balor had been healthy enough to defend the NXT Championship. I remain anxious to see Grimes flip the switch to go from being a cartoonish false bravado heel into being a serious high end heel. Will the Lumis character evolve or is this simply all there is to the character?