WWE kicks of a 4 night stay in Los Angeles with the return of NXT Wargames
As I expected, a previously unannounced match was added featuring newcomer Matt Riddle and veteran Kassius Ohno.
Matt Riddle vs Kassius Ohno
The match didn’t last long. In fact, it was over before I could even type their names! Riddle picks up a quick victory in a matter of seconds.
Winner: Matt Riddle
Clearly they have big plans for the “King of Bros,” and Ohno is merely here to continue serving as a stepping stone for every new signee to the NXT roster.
NXT Women’s Championship: 2 out of 3 falls match: Shayna Baszler(c) vs Kairi Sane
Neither woman had any friends accompany them to the ring at the start of the match, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get help later. Sane goes on the attack as soon as the bell rings to try and gain an advantage. Sure enough, while Baszler distracts the ref inside the ring, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke attack Sane on the outside and then toss her in to the waiting arms of the champion. The challenger has no choice but to submit to her foe for the 1st fall of the match.
Fall 1: Baszler
Baszler remains in control and immediately tries to submit Sane a second time. Shayna is absolutely vicious going after submission after submission. The pirate princess does her best to try and mount a comeback, eventually spiking the champ’s head onto the apron with a DDT. She follows that with a flying elbow onto all 3 MMA women on the outside, tosses her opponent into the ring and hits another elbow onto her for the second fall.
Fall 2: Sane
The fight is now more even than it has been thus far until Shafir and Duke interfere again. Finally, Dakota Kai and Io Shirai run out to even the odds and take out the Horsewomen. It’s too little too late though, because when Sane goes for another Insane Elbow Baszler counters it into a pinning situation for the final fall.
Fall 3/Winner: Shayna Baszler
It was a good, if not predictable match. However it all felt a little rushed. I suspect this is purely because they know they need to save as much time as possible for the Wargames match later in the night. It would have been nice if Kairi’s friends had come out a little sooner so it didn’t seem like such a 3 on 1 encounter for 2/3 of the match.
X-Pac and his dog are randomly shown in the audience before we go into a package showing the story thus far between Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano.
Aleister Black vs Johnny Gargano
Black comes to the ring wearing a vest seemingly made from a dragon carcass. Gargano further incites the already angry Black with a slap to the face. Black answers with a kick to Johnny’s face and we’re off and running.
Fast action back and forth with neither man holding onto an advantage for very long. Johnny plays things predominantly cool and cocky throughout the match while Aleister is fueled entirely by rage and revenge. Black tries for a suicide dive but Gargano moves out of the way. While Black is attempting to regain his footing from the missed attempt Gargano flies through the ropes and hits a DDT onto him on the floor. Back in the ring Gargano hits a 2nd DDT and goes for the cover but Black gets his shoulder up at 2.
Both superstars are now back up and trading a flurry of incredible strikes that eventually leaves them both regrouping on the mat. Another flurry of strikes and a suplex earn Black his first nearfall of the match. Johnny locks in the Gargano Escape but Aleister counters into a pin attempt. Gargano then positions his foe to receive a knee strike, but Black answers by repositioning himself and asking for that knee strike.
Elbows and palm strikes now being traded center ring. Black tries to springboard off the ropes and instead gets tossed outside. Gargano tries for a suicide dive and gets caught with a knee to the face. Johnny pretends to beg for mercy but when Aleister goes for the Black Mass he counters it into a Gargano Escape. Aleister eventually does hit the Black Mass, says to Johnny “I absolve you of your sins,” then hits another Black Mass to score the victory.
Winner: Aleister Black
Fantastic showcase of two of the most skilled guys on the roster telling a great story of betrayal and revenge.
Red Cross plea for help during the current wildfire disaster. I have many friends in California, some of whom are being directly affected by these fires. It’s a scary situation. Whether it be through the red Cross or some other organization, if you are able to help, please do.
NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa(c) vs Velveteen Dream
Always the showman, Velveteen Dream comes to the ring in an NWO Hollywood Hogan inspired look. Ciampa comes out clutching the NXT title like it’s his precious.
They start with a basic collar and elbow tie up and some back and forth. Soon the champ messes with Dream’s “Hollywood” headband. Dream takes offense at this and smacks Ciampa across the face. Ciampa attempts to go for his finisher, but the challenger manages to escape and crawl out of range. Somehow during this exchange though Ciampa ends up in possession of Dream’s headband, so Dream slips out of the ring and goes for Ciampa’s title belt.
Eventually both men end up back in the ring staring each other down before trading stiff blows. Dream tries to climb the ropes but gets thrown off by the champ. Now back in the ring Ciampa stomps his foe in the corner and then knocks him out with a knee strike. Tommaso pats himself on the back and calls himself “the man.” I wonder what Becky Lynch will have to say about that on Twitter.
Ciampa tries to put his challenger to sleep but somehow Dream manages to escape and get a second wind. Continuing his tribute to Hollywood Hogan Dream hits the big boot and follows it with not one, but three leg drops. It’s nowhere near enough to keep the champion down though.
Now targeting the surgically repaired knee of Ciampa, Dream locks in a figure four around the ring post. The champion seemingly appears to tap but the ref does not see it and I’m not sure it would be legal even if he did. Dream locks in another figure four, this time center ring. Each man manages to roll over and reverse the pressure a couple of times before they finally break free.
Velveteen suplexes Ciampa over the top rope but the champ takes the challenger with him for the ride. They nearly get counted out but Dream gets champ back into the ring to avoid missing out on the title via champion’s advantage rules. Ciampa uses a firm grip on Dreams tights to pin him but the ref sees what’s happening and stops counting. Dream then counters with a nearfall of his own and the crowd loses their minds.
Project Ciampa for the pin, but Dream kicks out yet again. Ciampa rolls outside and grabs his title as if he’s going to leave but instead brings it in the ring. While the ref attempts to take it from him, Dream gets a quick roll up for a nearfall. Dream then hits a DDT onto the title and implores the ref that he didn’t now it was there. It’s still only good for a 2 count though. Dream tries to hit the flying elbow but gets caught with a boot from Ciampa, who instead hits a DDT for a 2 count of his own.
Ciampa now pulling up the ringside mats to reveal the concrete below. He sets up Dream for a DDT onto that concrete but instead the Velveteen one charges forward and takes them both over the announce table. While Tommaso is distracted yelling at ringside fans Dream hits him with a Death Valley Driver then throws him back in the ring and hits the Purple Rainmaker Elbow. That’s STILL only enough for a 2 count. He tries to quickly follow up with another elbow drop but the champion moves out of the wave and Dream hurts himself. Ciampa seizes this moment to set his opponent up for a DDT onto the metal that lies between the two Wargames rings. This is at last enough to score the pin.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa
What a fantastic match! Ciampa seems incapable of having a bad match with any opponent, and Velveteen Dream took his already rising star to a whole other level tonight. If Dream is indeed heading towards an early main roster call up soon, he’s definitely going out on a high note. Meanwhile, now that he’s gotten revenge on Johnny Gargano, I suspect Aeister Black is now due for a title rematch against Ciampa.
Starting the match for UE is Adam Cole (BAY BAY), and starting for the other side is NXT North American Champion Ricochet.
After eating up the first 30 seconds or so taunting one another, the back and forth begins. Cole eventually takes charge with a back breaker and some ground and pound punches. The Leader of the UE maintains his advantage by raking Ricochets head against the cage. Ricochet finally recovers enough to hit a springboard upercut from one ring to the other. Unfortunately, it’s about to be 2 on 1 when the next member of the Era joins the fray.
Kyle O’Reilly enters the match.
Ricochet is in the area between the two rings and doing his best to hold off attacks from both sides by Cole and O’Reilly. He can’t keep it up for long though as O’Reilly takes out his knee, and the UE spends the next minute or so beating on their foe.
Hanson enters the match.
The big viking immediately makes an impact by using his power against the smaller UE men. He’s now going back and forth, corner to corner into the Era, but how much energy is he exhausting here? Ricochet does a Shooting Star Press off of Hanson’s back onto O’Reilly.
Roderick Strong enters the match.
Strong comes in hot and takes down both members of team war paint with a flurry of offense. Hanson tries to put an end to this flurry but catches a knee from Cole for the Era to maintain their control advantage. All 3 UE members now beating and taunting their foes.
Rowe enters the match.
Rowe tries to be a one man wrecking ball, but the Era aren’t going down without a fight. Hanson helps his team mate set up and execute a combination Power Bomb/Power Slam on current tag champs O’Reilly and Strong. War Raiders now firmly in control, Adam Cole tries to back away from them only to back directly into Ricochet. He tosses Cole into the waiting arms of his partners and they toss him like a spear into the cage wall.
Bobby puts his own lock on Pete Dunne’s cage before entering the match. He also grabs UE branded chairs and tosses them into the ring.
Undisputed Era now beating down their foes with chairs and throwing them against the cage. UE is firmly in control, but they can’t actually win the match because it doesn’t officially begin until Dunne can enter. Cole now mocking Dunne from the ring, but refs finally set him free with bolt cutters.
UK Champion Pete Dunne enters the match. Dunne grabs every weapon available under the ring before officially entering the door.
Wargames has officially begun!
Team war paint has the Era surrounded with weapons and are having their way with their cocky foes. Dunne is having his way with the tag champs until Cole takes out his previously injured knee. Rowe is now using Hanson as a weapon by throwing him at or onto their rivals. Hanson gets hit in the face with a trash can and Fish and O’Reilly attack his partner 2 on 1.
Undisputed Era now has Pete Dunne surrounded 4 against 1, but he proves why he’s the longest reigning champ on any brand by taking them all on. He locks in a knee bar on Fish’s surgically repaired knee, but O’Reilly breaks up the submission. O’Reilly now has Dunne in an ankle lock while the rest of UE holds off his partners. The bruiserweight refuses to surrender though.
Bodies are everywhere and no team maintains control for long. Ricochet and Dunne hit simultaneous superplexes on Strong and O’Reilly in separate rings. War raiders now setting up tables. Rowe tries to put one of his opponents through a table that’s angled between teh rings, but Bobby Fish stops him with a kendo stick and follows up by spearing Rowe through the table.
Ricochet and Cole fighting atop one corner until Cole gets stuck in the tree of woe. O’Reilly then attacks Ricochet who then beats him and places him atop a waiting table. Before he can do anything else though, Kyle grabs Ricochet and locks him in a triangle lock on top of the table. Ricochet won’t submit though and instead summons help from Hanson who flies over from the other ring and lands atop the table bound O’Reilly. This almost earns their team the victory but Strong breaks up the fall with a trash can.
Adam Cole (BayBay) and Ricochet both climb to the top of the cage and begin trading blows. Strong joins them and tries to toss Ricochet over for the DQ finish but doesn’t succeed. In an impossible to fully describe in words scenario, a 7 man power bomb leaves everyone but Ricochet lying on the mat. Still atop the cage, Ricochet takes flight with a senton onto everyone else in the match (this is why the cage doesn’t have a roof this year. Obviously.).
All 8 men back on their feet and trading taunts from opposite rings until the melee ensues. War Raiders take out Fish, Strong and O’Reilly take out War Raiders, and Cole gets a nearfall on Dunne. Dunne evades a knee strike and instead hits Cole with the Bitter End. Ricochet immediately follows that with a 450 splash onto Cole. Both Dunne and Ricochet manage to get their arms over Cole for the 3 count and the victory.
Winners: War Raiders, Ricochet and Pete Dunne
Mama Mia! That match certainly lived up to expectations with nonstop carnage and everyone looking good in the end no matter which team they were on. The ending also seemingly removes Cole from the hunt for either the UK or North American titles while putting both current title holders on even footing.
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