Three teams of three would do battle in two rings that are side-by-side. Those rings are surrounded by a steel cage. WWE decided to blow the dust off of the War Games specialty match. Would this match make its mark on a new generation of fans?
The last time that we saw a classic War Games match was 19 years ago.
KASSIUS OHNO vs. LARS SULLIVAN-
The Good: This is not the type of match that we typically see in NXT. Two big and mean looking dudes beating the holy hell out of each other can sometimes feel like a dated concept. On the contrary, it is something that is rarely seen this day and age, so it’s more than welcome.
The Bad: Both men have a habit of doing what no big men in pro wrestling really need to do, do high flying maneuvers. Moves like Sullivan’s top rope head butt or Ohno kipping up after getting powerslammed look incredibly impressive. However, when you have big men doing more acrobatic moves than all of the cruiserweights on 205 Live, there’s a problem.
Ultimately, a timely counter by Sullivan allowed him to hit his finisher, the Freak Accident, on his opponent, gaining the pin fall victory. WINNER: LARS SULLIVAN
ALEISTER BLACK vs. THE VELVETEEN DREAM-
The Good: The rivalry between the silent and deadly Black and the androgynous and unorthodox Velveteen Dream started as uninteresting but has evolved into a feud that has piqued the curiosity of the NXT viewership.
The Bad: As much as I dig the gimmick of the Velveteen Dream, he shouldn’t have been the one to take Aleister Black to the limit like this. The Dream works better in more psychological and promo heavy feuds. His ring work, while good, this match should have been shorter and more smoke and mirrors filled. Dream going 50/50 with Black somewhat chips away at Black’s aura.
Regardless of the specifics, these men put on one hell of a match. The amount of forearm strikes, knee strikes and super kicks leave me worried about concussions. Black escaped the match, undefeated streak still intact. WINNER: ALEISTER BLACK
KAIRI SANE vs. EMBER MOON vs. PEYTON ROYCE vs. NIKKI CROSS (NXT Women’s Championship)-
The Good: Unlike the main roster Fatal Four or Five Way matches, NXT’s tend to deliver more than most. Considering the talent involved in the ring, it was highly unlikely that this match would turn sloppy like some of the ones we see on Raw or SmackDown Live. And boy, was I right.
The Bad: The winner was a bit of a surprise to me. Peyton Royce winning, with Billie Kay helping her cheat to win would work, with Kairi Sane as the babyface on the hunt. Or Nikki Cross as the most unpredictable women’s champ in NXT history, the ultimate “tweener”, would work. Ember Moon should have either won the title long ago, or should have not won until maybe the Takeover right before WrestleMania.
I am a huge fan of Ember Moon and am glad that she finally won the Women’s Championship. But the fact that she had several matches against Asuka and couldn’t take the title from her, Asuka leaves, now Ember Moon wins the title? It does make Ember Moon look not as strong of a champion as someone of her talent should. WINNER: EMBER MOON
ANDRADE ‘CIEN’ ALMAS vs. DREW MCINTYRE (NXT Championship)-
The Good: Many were concerned that McIntyre would get fast tracked to the main roster due to his size, look and how stellar a career he had on the indies before his return to the company. This match would test if McIntyre was still Vince McMahon’s “chosen one”.
The Bad: NXT wasted the talent of Almas for so long, now that he’s getting a strong push, it feels too little too late. This should have been a match that I anxiously anticipated, but it wasn’t.
Given how much offense Almas got in and that McIntyre didn’t look as dominant as he’s been since his return, I suspected we’d get this end result. McIntyre will get his rematch in a month’s time. Upon losing that, Drew will most likely get called up at the Royal Rumble in January. WINNER: ANDRADE ‘CIEN’ ALMAS
SANITY vs. THE UNDISPUTED ERA vs. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN w/RODERICK STRONG (War Games match)-
The Good: I was disenfranchised at first by SAnitY’s face turn at first, but their grungy and unorthodox style somehow works for babyfaces. The Undisputed Era has worked so well as a unit in their short time here, it’s hard to believe they won’t walk away with the titles.
The Bad: Roderick Strong with the Authors of Pain just feels awkward and doesn’t make sense. AoP in a cage match doesn’t leave me with confidence that a botch won’t occur.
From Killian Dain nailing Kyle O’Reilly with a Van Terminator to Roderick Strong superplexing Adam Cole off the top of the cage, there were too many amazing spots in this match to count. WINNERS: THE UNDISPUTED ERA
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