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NXT Takeover War Games 2020 Review

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Last night, NXT presented War Game 2020. Following a Green Bay Packers win, I sat down on the couch and turned on the WWE Network. Would NXT continue its hot streak of compelling live specials or did they finally falter a bit? Let’s check it out…

No Pre-Show – I am not watching these clown radio/sports hosts pretend to talk about professional wrestling. It is nice for credibility and some mainstream press, but it is also very transparent. These guys don’t care and only want a paycheck. No thanks. I didn’t fully tune in until the main card began.

Womens War Games Match – I am not going to break this all down move by move. I will only point out the major talking points. You all watched the event. You all know what happened. Love that this entire thing lasted nearly an hour. With a small match card on tap and many entrances, it was cool that every single person involved got time. They were shown with their entrance theme music, pose, staredowns, moves, etc. Nobody was shunned. With so many to include, that had to have been difficult. NXT pulled it off though. Props to Io for the trash can dive off the cage. That will be replayed for years and years. Toni Storm has “something” special. I don’t know if being a heel gets her there, but I can wait and see. She has plenty of time to showcase her skills. Seems like Candice caught a tough break, LITERALLY. Apparently, she needed x-rays afterwards for a feared broken arm. Sucks. She has been doing so well as of late. Hopefully, she stays on screen in a non-wrestling role then. Shotzi got a new tank! Predictable but cool. That is what she has been building the past few weeks on NXT television. Ember Moon looked great as always, and Rhea Ripley has to be very close to the main roster. Every time she appears on NXT, I just think she is on borrowed time. Bigger fish to fry in her future. Ultimately, the faces had the advantage but lost. Raquel Gonzalez, of all people, was the story here. The newcomer, the powerhouse, the woman pinned the current NXT Womens Champion to end the bout. Have to assume a title shot is near?

Tomasso Ciampa defeated Timothy Thatcher – Hard hitting and intense. Exactly what we all expected. The two shared a brief moment after the bell, teasing there is more to come. Perhaps a tag team partnership? Perhaps a rematch? Admitted, these two are not really doing a whole heck of a lot. I mean Ciampa was recently off TV for an extended period. You need to find something for him to do. Shouldn’t be that hard. If it is more with Thatcher, fine by me.

Dexter Lumis defeated Cameron Grimes – This was a Strap Match and hopefully the finale between these guys. I dig the creepy Lumis character, just as I appreciate the goofy Grimes act. At the same time, I am more than ready for them to move on. Lumis has won every step of the way. There is not much else to do. Fun match but yeah, I am done with this story line.

Johnny Gargano defeated Leon Ruff and Damian Priest – Triple threat match for the North American Championship. Ruff had a good run, but you had to know his fairy tale ride was ending here. Priest is just like Ripley in my mind; he has RAW or Smackdown written all over him for the next wave of call ups. Explains why he dropped the title recently and was NOT involved in the pinfall here. Gargano has re-claimed his North American Title by pinning Ruff, and we finally got the GhostFace Scream reveal. It was Austin Theory, who had been helping Johnny Gargano as of late. Candice LaRae has Indi Hartwell, and now Johnny Gargano has Austin Theory. Both their own mentors, kinda cool. I assume this is the beginning of a new stable. Works for me, they have been very entertaining in their delusional heel roles each week on NXT. What happens to Leon Ruff next? I have no idea. He picked up the shocking title win a few weeks ago and is now without gold. Does he stay in the middle of the card or fade back down to the lower half of the card? Time will tell, but I did enjoy his recent appearances.

Mens War Games – Our main event was The Undisputed Era taking on For The Brand. At least that is what I like to call them. It is Pat McAfee’s group versus Adam Cole’s group. This had been brewing for months, and the only way to end it would be the inside the War Games structure. While I did think it ran a tad bit too long, that may have been because I was tired after a long day. Maybe a re-watch will change my opinion. Tons of high spots as expected, lots of cocky attitude from McAfee and the usual highlights from The Undisputed Era. They really do try to make the War Games match THEIRS! I like that. In the end, the faces prevailed. The Undisputed Era humiliated Pat McAfee, got their revenge on him and stood tall. Kyle O’Reily really stood out here. He has teased a solo run at the top of the card before but appears to be happy with his buddies in the UE as well. A lot of folks keep predicting the group to implode. Was this their swan song together or will the train keep rolling? The Undisputed Era posed as the show went off air, and we can only wait and see to see what their future holds. Good close to the show. The last two matches really bumped this up to regular Takeover levels.

Also teased was the return of Finn Balor on Wednesday’s WWE NXT episode. It is hard to do much in the main event scene with your “World” Champion hurt. Balor has the gold and has been out injured. Speaking of, we also got a vignette from former NXT Champion Karrion Kross. He is on his way back after four months. Very good news. He won the title back in August and never even defended the championship, as he was hurt during said match. A huge blow to NXT at the time, with all of his momentum suddenly gone. It didn;t help that this was followed up with Finn Balor winning the title and getting hurt as well. Two major stars for the NXT brand are returning. Instant boost to the main event scene and gives us an NXT Title feud again. Wednesday will be a jam packed show, en route to the hyped up New Year’s Evil special on January 6th, 2021. Let’s go!

By Justin Watry

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