Last year, NXT TakeOver: WarGames delivered some incredible matches that many wrestling fans still talk about today. We saw “El Idolo” Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas beat Drew McIntyre and win the NXT Championship. We saw The Velveteen Dream take on Aleister Black in a match that cemented Dream as a main event star. We also saw the revival of the WarGames match which included the teams of The Undisputed Era, The Authors of Pain (with Roderick Strong), and Sanity. If you haven’t watched that match, I highly recommend checking it out. It’s quite possibly one of the best matches of 2017.
NXT TakeOver: War Games II will no doubt deliver similar memorable moments and quite possibly be a much better event than last year’s. The Undisputed Era find themselves in the WarGames match again this year as they’re set to take on the team of Ricochet, the NXT UK Champion Pete Dunne, and War Raiders. The NXT Champion Tomaso Ciampa finds himself in quite the predicament as he’s set to defend his title against a superstar that John Cena refers to as “the next face of the WWE”, The Velveteen Dream. After it was revealed that Johnny Gargano was the one who attacked Aleister Black back in August, which cost Aleister to lose his opportunity to get a rematch for the NXT Title, Black is out for revenge. And an intense rivalry will have another chapter written as Kairi Sane looks to recapture the NXT Women’s Title from Shayna Baszler after losing the title at Evolution.
Recent reports have revealed that a match between Kassius Ohno and “The King of Bros” Matt Riddle will happen but will not be shown in the live broadcast of the event. It will be taped and most likely air during one of the weekly episodes of NXT. Even though fans will have to wait for the match, the official matches will still make the event monumental.
The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly, and Roderick Strong) vs. Pete Dunne, Ricochet and War Raiders (Hanson and Rowe) in a WarGames match:
This rivalry started way back during the 2017 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. During the finals of that event, Roderick Strong betrayed his tag team partner Pete Dunne and joined The Undisputed Era. A few months later, Ricochet challenged Adam Cole for the NXT North American Championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn IV and won. The War Raiders have challenged The Undisputed Era for their NXT Tage Team titles but have been unsuccessful.
Pete Dunne and Ricochet have not always seen eye to eye, but they realized that The Undisputed Era is the common enemy that they need to deal with. During the October 31st edition of NXT, they went forth with an all-out assault on every member of The Undisputed Era, which prompted general manager William Regal to put these 2 teams in a WarGames match.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the WarGames match, here are the rules from the official WWE website.
- The two teams will be contained in separate shark cages by the entranceway.
- A member from each team is chosen to start the match.
- Five minutes are put on the clock. When that time expires, a member from the team that wins the advantage will enter the match.
- Three minutes is then put on the clock. When that time expires, the next member from the other team enters the match.
- One member of each team will continue to enter the match in this pattern every three minutes until all eight Superstars have entered.
- WarGames is officially sanctioned to be won once all the Superstars are in the match.
- If anyone leaves the cage during the match, that Superstar’s team will automatically lose.
- When someone is pinned or made to submit, WarGames is over.
Prediction: I could say that this match will steal the show, but since the event is stacked with what will surely be incredible matches, it would be unfair to say this. However, this match has all the components to be a lot better than last year’s. All eight superstars will certainly make a big impact on the main roster once they’re called up. I am fully expecting Ricochet to do something incredible from the top of the cage. I don’t want to label him as just a superstar that does flips. but it would be awesome to what he can pull off. I do think The Undisputed Era are all ready to be called up to the main roster. With The Shield once again disbanded, their call-up to the main roster could catapult them straight to the top. Even if this isn’t one of the last matches for The Undisputed Era in NXT, a victory for them would only elevate their dominance. With that in mind, my pick for the match goes to The Undisputed Era.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT championship:
There are a few matches every year that are perfect examples for why I love pro wrestling. I have no doubt that this will be one of those matches. The Velveteen Dream has been on a roll for the past few months. His match against Ricochet at NXT: TakeOver Chicago II is on my top ten matches of all time. He has proven to the entire WWE Universe that he is “THE ONE” and will play a huge role in shaping the future of WWE. On the other hand, Tomaso Ciampa has become one of the best heels of all time. Ever since winning the NXT Championship, he has solidified his position as a main event star that can deliver 5-star matches.
For the past month, Ciampa and Dream have been in a feud that’s reached a new level of intensity. They’ve played mind games with each other and have gotten in a few hits that that built up tension. Dream is looking to once again prove that he is the greatest sports entertainer of all time, while Ciampa has promised to “turn the dream into a nightmare”.
Prediction: This is The Velveteen Dream’s biggest match of his career. At the mere age of 23, he has a lot to prove with his possible victory on Saturday. I’m confident enough to say that Dream is championship material and his reign as champion would bring a new era to NXT. Ciampa has been quite a dominant and ruthless champion. However, I do think that he is ready to go to the main roster. He has accomplished all there is to do in NXT. If he loses the title to The Velveteen Dream, his final big match could be one final confrontation with Johnny Gargano. I think that would be an appropriate way to make his transition to the main roster. He could even be one of the surprise entries in next year’s Royal Rumble event. Ultimately, I’m hoping that The Velveteen Dream wins the match.
Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black:
This feud began way back in July during a match between Aleister Black and Tomaso Ciampa. That match saw Aleister defending his NXT Championship against Tomaso, but thanks to an accidental interference on behalf of Johnny Gargano, Ciampa was able to pick up the win and become the new champion. The following week, Black attacked Gargano for costing him the belt. After the NXT Championship match between Gargano, Ciampa, and Black was announced for NXT: TakeOver Brooklyn IV was announced, Aleister was attacked by a mysterious figure. Black was forced to be out of action to deal with his injuries, which meant he would miss out on the match.
For the next few weeks, the case of the mysterious attacker was teased. Nikki Cross ended up being involved in the case, claiming that she knew who attacked Aleister. On the October 24th episode of NXT, Aleister made his return and confronted Nikki, demanding she tell him who attacked her. Later on in the episode, it was revealed that Gargano attacked Black in hopes of getting one more shot at Ciampa for the title. This solidified Gargano’s heel turn. The following week, the match between Aleister and Johnny was announced for WarGames.
Prediction: The build-up to the feud between these two superstars is a perfect example of superb storytelling. When Aleister returned, all he wanted was revenge. Gargano claims that he did nothing wrong and Aleister got what he deserved. This feels like one of Aleister’s last matches in NXT. Though his title reign was short, it proved that he is ready for the main roster. I know this is something that I’ve been saying a lot throughout the article, but he’s accomplished a lot during his time in NXT. If he debuted in the main roster during the Royal Rumble next year, he would certainly gain a huge pop. But before any of this can happen, Aleister needs to pick up the win in this match. Departing from NXT with some momentum would certainly help his transition. My pick for this match is Aleister Black.
Kairi Sane vs Shayna Baszler in a 2-Out-of-3 Falls Match for NXT Women’s Title:
The year-long heated rivalry between Kairi Sane and Shayna Baszler dates back to the first Mae Young Classic tournament. In that match, Kairi managed to beat Shayna and became the inaugural winner of the tournament. Since then, The Queen of Spades and The Pirate Princess have been involved in some incredible matches. Their feud continued at WWE’s all women PPV Evolution, which saw Shayna dominate over Kairi and win back the NXT Women’s Championship. Although, her victory was controversial, since two of her fellow Four Horsewomen of MMA, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, helped her pick up the victory. Because of how the match ended, it’s no surprise that Sane immediately invoked her rematch clause for the title.
Prediction: During their most recent encounter, Shayna completely dominated Kairi in the ring. Shayna’s progression in the ring has made me a fan of her. I was surprised with how quickly she was able to adapt to wrestling in WWE and how dominant of a wrestler she could be. However, Kairi has shown her fighting spirit time and time again. Her title reign was short, but just like all the men I mentioned above, she’s proved that she can be a main event star. With all of this in mind, I’m rooting for Kairi to win. There have been teasers for a possible Four Horsewomen of MMA, Ronda Rousey, Shayna Baszler, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke, vs the Four Horsewomen of WWE, Bayley, Sasha Banks, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch, over the past year. Placing Shayna in the main roster in 2019 could lead to the match being teased even more.
I’m definitely excited to see how the event plays out, even though there are only four matches. Each match on this card makes me proud to call myself a pro wrestling fan.
NXT TakeOver: War Games II takes place this Saturday at 7 pm ET / 4 pm PST, only one the WWE Network.