WWE NXT Takeover WarGames 11/17/18 Live Review By Kurt Zamora

Welcome one and all to the official TJRWrestling live coverage of the NXT Takeover: WarGames II event, live from the City of Angels, Los Angeles, California. I am your host for the Four matches, 3 titles on the line, and one phenomenal 4 on 4 match inside the two-ring structure known as WarGames. This is my favorite match of the year, so I cannot wait to get this started!

Mauro Renallo is finally back where he belongs!

Well we have our first surprise of the night, because here comes the King of Bros, Matt Riddle! And he’s dressed to compete. He grabs a mic and says that he wasn’t scheduled for a match tonight. However, if you watched the preshow, one Kassius Ohno interrupted him. They’re supposed to face off next week on NXT TV, but there’s two rings here tonight in Los Angeles and he will knock out Ohno in both of him… BRO. Kassius comes out and accepts the challenge. He says he better enjoy the moment now because he’s not going to remember it when he knocks him out… BRO.

Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno

The bell rings and Matt Riddle comes flying with his flying knee right to the jaw… Three count!!

Winner: Matt Riddle

Well Bro… that was something. Ohno has no idea where he is after that. Great spotlight for Riddle, who was SUPER over with the crowd.

Two out of Three Falls – NXT Womens Title Match
Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler (c)

No special entrance for Kairi, Shayna gets the big match entrance, being followed from backstage through Gorilla. From TV perspective, they will be wrestling in the left ring, nearest the entrance ramp. Big match introductions for this one. Kairi gets a good ovation. LA is not a fan of Shayna. The bell barely rings and Kairi dropkicks Shayna into the turnbuckles. Kairi all over Shayna. Two running blockbusters on Shayna. They go to the floor where Kairi hits a flying elbow from the apron. It didn’t take long for Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke to show up. They ram Kairi head first into the ring post and then throw her in the ring. Shayna hooks on the rear naked choke, Kairi has to tap out for preservation.

Shayna Baszler – 1 Fall to None

Shayna immediately starts the second fall with a flying knee, but Kairi manages to kick out. Shayna back to the choke but Kairi to the ropes. Duke and Shafir are still at ringside. Elevated single leg crab by Shayna with a boot right in Kairi’s face. She lets go, but not before a straight stomp to the throat. Kairi gets up and tries a couple quick pins to steal a fall, but to no avail. Kairi swinging with all she has, but she can’t compete in a striking contest with the champ. Shayna finally lays her out with a clothesline. Shayna went to suplex Kairi on the apron but Kairi turned it into a nasty DDT on the apron instead! Wow. Duke and Shafir try to get involve, Kairi aovids them and goes to the top rope for an In-Sane elbow drop onto all of them! She rolls Shayna into the ring, goes back up top, one more In-Sane elbow drop for the fall!

Kairi Sane & Shayna Baszler – 1 Fall Each

The 3rd fall starts immediately with Kairi nailing a trio of Spears. Spinning back fist and she goes up top again, but Shayna cuts her off. Both women on the second rope trading blows. Shayna tries a gutwrench suplex off the second rope, but Kairi slides out and turns it into a sunset flip powerbomb for a two count. The crowd is way into this. Alabama Slam by Kairi and she goes back up top. Duke distracts the ref and Shafir pushes Kairi off. Here comes Dakota Kai to try and even the sides. She gets double teamed until Io Sharai comes out. She goes to the top and huge moonsault onto everyone on the floor. Kairi is pumped up back in the ring, goes up top once more and lands the In-Sane elbow. But when she lands, Shayna grabs her in a crucifix pin and steals the 3rd fall!

Shayna Baszler Retains the NXT Women’s Title – 2 Falls to 1

Well there’s your feud for the Horsewomen, which would explain how they stay in NXT and why Baszler keeps the title. I know they have a lot of hope for Io, so maybe she becomes the one to dethrone Shayna. I like Dakota a lot though, and she obviously has history with Shayna, so I would be ok with her getting a shot as well. That was a fun match, the crowd was red hot, but not the long match I think we all expected. This is a really hard match to give a star rating to, as there was a lot of outside stuff to make the match interesting, but the actual match wasn’t as long and drawn out as I expected to have a conclusion to this rivalry. I’d probably give it just under 4 stars, maybe 3.75.

X-Pac is in the house!

Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano

Johnny comes out with a very smug demeanor. The crowd that he walks past all has their thumbs down. He seeks out the fans supporting him though. His Marvel theme tonight is The Punisher. Very cool. Massive ovation for Aleister as his music hits. Aleister has a badass new ring jacket. The crowd is solidly behind Aleister. Gargano with a slap to the face to start and that of course wakes Black up and he is all over Gargano. They are fighting in the right ring, farthest from the entrance. Gargano avoids a kick from Black and mocks Black’s cross leg seating. Black is just striking the hell out of Gargano from all angles. Black gets Gargano to the floor and does his Lionsault into the seated position, but Gargano just slides right back in the ring and dropkicks Black while he’s seated. Gargano with a Final Cut for a two count. After back and forth attacks, Gargano goes to the floor and Black comes with a somersault dive over the top rope to take him out.

Black’s offense looks especially on point tonight. Running double knees to the side of Gargano’s head and then the Lionsault onto Gargano for a near fall. Black goes to the top rope, but Gargano enziguris him. Black avoids getting lawn darted and sends Gargano to the floor. Gargano moves out of the way of a Golden Triangle moonsault, goes back to the ring, only to dive through the ropes with a tornado DDT! He throws Black back in, slingshots over the top rope with another DDT, but just another near fall. Crazy pace to this one. Gargano gets caught talking trash and then both men just trade every kick in their arsenal. Gargano ducks one and nails a reverse hurricanrana. Black gets right back up though and takes Gargano out with a running knee. Both men down as the crowd loses their mind.

Gargano gets caught between the rings and Black is hitting him with everything he’s got. Snap German suplex with a bridge and somehow Gargano kicks out. Gargano gets up and hits a lariat. Gargano with the headscissors takedown into the Gargano Escape but Black rolles through into a pin attempt that Gargano has to kick out of. Gargano picks up Black and manages to lawn dart him into the second turnbuckle. Gargano mocks Black by lifting his head with his boot. Gargano going with his DIY dead to right kick, but Black tells him to wait and gets in his seated position. He yells at Gargano to give him his best shot. Gargano charges, Black ducks and goes for a pin but Gargano kicks out. Gargano up and lands a running knee to a seated Black, but only a two count.

Gargano unloading on Black with forearms. Black starts trading them back. Black goes for the Lionsault again but Gargano dumps him to the floor. Gargano with a dive through the ropes but Black catches him in mid air with a flying knee! The knee landed flush and Johnny’s face hit hard on the protective mats. Both men back in the ring and Gargano begging off for a moment. Gargano tells Black he’s sorry and he wants Black to put him out of his misery. Black lifts him up with the boot and goes for Black Mass, but Gargano moves and rolls Black up… two count! Great near fall, but Gargano immediately locks on the Gargano Escape. Black struggles to escape but finally rolls out of it, gets up and lands another knee to the face. Black pulls down the knee pad, one more knee shot, but he won’t let Gargano fall down. Black Mass! Again though, he doesn’t let Gargano fall. He lets Gargano lifeless body lean into him and Black tells him this is the end, second Black Mass! That puts a definitive finish to one of the most insane matches pure singles match I’ve ever seen. It went about 18 minutes.

Winner: Aleister Black

If that’s not 5 stars, I don’t know what is. I dare anyone to go 18 minutes at that pace, as hard hitting as these guys did. Wow. That was chaotic. I really thought Gargano would win, but have no problem with Black winning if he’s sticking around.

NXT Title Match
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. The Velveteen Dream

Well, we are near Hollywood, so Velveteen Dream comes out in full NWO Hollywood Hulk Hogan attire. That is outstanding. His nWo is oVa with Dream Over underneath. We’ve even got ripping off the shirt and cupping his hand to his ear. Great stuff and the crowd is fully behind him. The crowd has light up wristbands they were given apparently, and they’re all shining purple during Dream’s introduction. Pretty cool visual. This match also in the right ring, furthest from entrance ramp. Dream with some mind games early and smacks the back of Ciampa’s head as he gets the advantage in some mat wrestling. Ciampa goes for the Fairy Tale Ending early, but Dream escapes. Dream’s headband falls off and Ciampa mocks him with it. Dream to the floor as he smiles it off and grabs Ciampa’s title, which of course makes the champ freak out. Dream tries to catch him with a DDT getting back in the ring but Ciampa avoids it.

Big body slam by Dream and then a great looking standing dropkick. Dream runs with Ciampa and jumps over the top rope as he drapes Ciampa over the top rope, neck first. Dream to the top rope with a double ax handle. Dream gets his headband back on and he wants the Hogan big boot and legdrop combo. He gets part one but Ciampa rolls to the outside before the legdrop. Dream back to the top and another double ax handle. Dream tries to slingshot back into the ring but Ciampa gets up and dumps him back to the floor while in mid air. Ciampa gets Dream in the corner and nails a running knee to the side of the face, the knee with his big brace, and Dream is out cold. Ciampa gets him up on the apron and a hangman’s neckbreaker over the top rope as Dream crumples to the flood. Ciampa sets Dream up on an announce table and lands another running knee with that brace.

Both men back in the ring and Ciampa with a side headlock as he tells Dream, “night night”. Dream with a backslide that surprises Ciampa. Ciampa kicks out and both men trade shots until Dream drops him with a neckbreaker. HBK style running forearm and kipup by Dream, but Ciampa recovers quickly. Both men trading blows again until Dream does get to hit the big boot and not 1, not 2, but 3 legdrops! He tries the Cartwheel DVD but Ciampa gets out. Ciampa ends up running into a spinebuster though and that gets a two count. Dream dumps Ciampa to the floor and then a slingshot dive over the top rope to take the champ out. Dream to the top rope but Ciampa rolls far away so he can’t do anything. Dream gets to Ciampa and starts working on that knee with the brace. Dream with the figure four around the ringpost. Ciampa taps out but the ref makes Dream break it since it’s an illegal hold. They get back in the ring and Dream just goes with a regular Figure Four . Ciampa manages to reverse the pressure for a second but Dream rolls it back over. Ciampa fights for dear life to get to the ropes. Ciampa tries to suplex Dream but his knee won’t let him. Dream ends up suplexing Ciampa backwards over the top rope and both men take a nasty fall to the floor. Ciampa undoes the laces in the boot with his injured knee.

Both men back in the ring and trade blows. Dream avoids the Fairy Tale Ending, and then ducks a Ciampa superkick, but he almost hits the ref. Ciampa rolls Dream up with all the tights and luckily the ref sees it. Dream with the Cartwheel DVD for a very close two count! Great near fall. Dream tries a springboard cross body but Ciampa catches him in mid air with a knee. Ciampa gets Dream up for Project Ciampa and that only gets a two count! Ciampa gets frustrated and grabs his title and brings it to the ring. The ref stops him and Dream rolls him up for a two count. Dream with his Sister Abigail style DDT on the title! The ref can’t believe it but he counts anyways, 1-2…no! Great call to not DQ Dream there.

Dream goes for another figure four but the boot comes off. Dream flies out of the ring and comes back in but Ciampa catches him in the draping DDT, but Dream kicks out at the last moment! I really thought that was it. Ciampa is now going outside and removing the protective mats between the ring and the announce tables. He sets Dream up on the apron for a draping DDT onto the concrte, but Dream wakes up and drives Ciampa over the announce table. Ciampa gets pissed at Mauro and throws something at him, but that allows Dream to land the Cartwheel DDT on the floor. Dream rolls Ciampa in, Purple Rainmaker! New Champ… NO WAY! Ciampa somehow kicks out. Ciampa rolls over to the apron, Dream back up and goes for the Rainmaker again on the apron but Ciampa moves! Dream wipes out hard on the floor. Ciampa drags Dream back in, they go between the rings and Ciampa with the draping DDT on the metal bridge between the rings. That looks gnarly and Ciampa manges to double over Dream as the boos rain down and somehow the champ survies. That went about 24 minutes

Winner: Tommaso Ciampa retains the NXT Title

Let me repeat myself, if that isn’t five stars, I don’t know what is. Dear God that was incredible. The story telling was amazing. The crowd was literally going to blow the roof off after that Purple Rainmaker if Dream had won the title. They wanted it so bad. I wanted it so bad after that performance. Dream is cemented as a top act and a top babyface. This was his best match. Ciampa has had a year for the ages and he closes it off with just another masterful performance. I cannot say enough about this match, so I’ll just leave you with this… GO WATCH THIS MATCH!

The sirens come on and the cage is lowering… it’s time for WARGAMES!

WarGames Match
The Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders/Ricochet/Pete Dunne

As if the last two matches weren’t hard enough to follow, once this gets going with multiple guys, the action will be hard to follow. I’ll do my best though. As much as I love this match, I may get caught watching and not typing, so here’s my pre-emptive apology. Per the rules, after the first 5 minute period, an Undisputed Era member will enter and then the intervals will be 3 minutes after that. Pinfall or submission only. If you leave the cage, you forfeit the match for your entire team. I believe that’s a different rule from last year, where you just put your team at a disadvantage and couldn’t reenter. Someone can correct me on that.

Adam Cole will play the role of Arn Anderson tonight. The crowd goes nuts for that. I assumed it’d be O’Reilly. The babyfaces get individual introductions, starting with War Raiders who have awesome ring gear. Pete Dunne is out next and has a little War Raiders war paint on himself. The right leg is heavily taped, which I brought up in my preview that could come into play later on. This means we’re getting Ricochet vs. Adam Cole for the first 5 minutes and this is clearly going to be nuts from the word go. Ricochet completes the team unity with the splash of war paint on.

The bell rings as both men try to convince the other to enter their ring. Ricochet on the left, Cole on the right. Ricochet slowly makes his way to Cole and Cole goes after him immediately. Ricochet fights him off. Ricochet with his handstand headscissors takeover, and then a dropkick that sends Cole back to the other ring. There’s a camera in between the rings again, which gets some great shots obviously. Ricochet leaps back off the second rope for a back elbow it looks, but Cole catches him in a backstabber. Neckbreaker by Cole. Ricochet avvoids the neckbreaker over Cole’s knee once, but can’t do it twice. Cole throws Ricochet back over to the far ring. Cole grates Ricochet’s head across the cage. Ricochet fights back with a couple dropkicks finally. Cole rolls back to the near ring, so Ricochet springboards off one set of ropes, to the other, and lands a nice European uppercut to Cole as the countdown happens and it’s going to be Kyle O’Reilly.

O’Reilly immediately gets Ricochet off Cole and starts the 2 on 1 attack. Ricochet gets between the rings and tries to fight off both men from, which works for a bit, but O’Reilly gets a leg exposed in the ropes and does a dragonscrew leg whip. Ricochet catches a pump kick from Cole and then this time it’s a fireman’s neckbreaker onto O’Reilly’s knee. The countdown starts and here comes Pete… no, Hanson stops him and it’s Hanson.

Hanson with a sidewalk slam and cross body splash to O’Reilly. Slam to Cole. Bonzai drop to O’Reilly and then a lariat to Cole. Hanson now with his nonstop corner to corner clotheslines. No one can ever say he doesn’t have cardio. He stacks both Era members up in the corner and double Bronco Buster! Ricochet finally back up and Hanson gets down on all fours, and then Ricochet jumps off him with a shooting star press on O’Reilly. Hanson goes to slam Cole, but O’Reilly manages to take out his leg. Ricochet comes back and clotheslines O’Reilly. All four men in the corner as the countdown starts and here comes Roderick Strong.

Roddy is a house of fire and nails a great dropkick on Ricochet. Step up knee strikes to both opponents. Double urinagi backbreakers to Ricochet, and then a torture rack backbreaker for good measure. All three Era members now attack Hanson. Roddy wipes him out with an Angle Slam. Double team gutbuster and knee drop on Ricochet. All three Era members are standing as the countdown begins and here comes Rowe, who fought off Pete once again.

Rowe comes in fighting all three opponents. Exploder suplex on Roddy and running knee to Cole. O’Reilly tries to mount him with a rear naked choke, but Rowe slams him into the turnbuckles. Hanson is back up and as Rowe gets O’Reilly up in a slam, Hanson stacks Roddy on top of him in a powerbomb position. Rowe sends them both down the hard way. That was cool looking. Roddy and O’Reilly get thrown into the cage. Cole is now in no man’s land as he crawls away from War Raiders but backs into Ricochet. War Raiders get Cole up and lawn dart him into the cage. O’Reilly now into the cage again as the countdown begins and here comes Bobby Fish.

Instead of coming to the ring though, Fish attacks Dunne in his cage. He takes out the bad leg and now had the lock from his cage, with the key, and has double locked Dunne’s cage and thrown away the key! Fish to ringside now and goes under the ring to grab steel chairs that have the Undisputed Era logo on them. The Era are just wasting away on their opponents with the chairs. The Era single out Hanson in the far ring and send him hard into the cage. Roddy opens up one of the chairs and drops Rowe with a urinagi onto the chair. Now it’s Rowe’s turn to go headfirst into the cage. Fish is limping a little bit with that knee, which is heavily wrapped and in a brace itself. Not sure if something happened. The final countdown happens, but they can’t get Dunne out because of Fish’s lock.

The final 3 minutes won’t start until Dunne is in, so it’s just extended time of the 4 on 3 beatdown. Fish goes to the top with Rowe in one corner and Roddy goes to the top with Hanson in the other, top rope superplex by Roddy and then a top rope Falcon Arrow by Fish. The refs have finally gotten bolt cutters and Dunne is out. Dunne limps to the ring, but the Era are keeping him from entering. Dunne gets a kendo stick and uses it to fight his way in. He slams the door on Roddy for good measure. Ricochet from the top rope and hits a cross body on all members of The Era. Dunne is tossing trash cans in the ring, along with a table. Make that two tables. The plunder is getting set up, if you will. Dunne is finally in the ring, War Games has officially begun!

Dunne laying waste with that kendo stick on every one of his opponents. He tosses two sticks to Rowe and Ricochet, Hanson has a chair, and Dunne has a chain and now the tides have turned finally. Dunne with his exposed elbow stomp on the metal bridge on O’Reilly. Fish looks to be ok now, so that’s a good sign. Dunne is trying to get O’Reilly to submit, Roddy breaks it up, but gets X-Plexed onto O’Reilly. Cole chop blocks the bad knee of Dunne. Ricochet gets thrown into the cage. O’Reilly gets a chair kicked into his head by Hanson. Hanson dumps a trash can on Cole, then gets driven into Cole by his partner Rowe. Rowe bodyslams Hanson onto of O’Reilly, who was laid out on the metal bridge. Double team German suplex/springboard clothesline on Roddy, who takes a hard fall. Fish breaks up a pin, and almost gets the same result, but O’Reilly throws a trash can in Hanson’s face.

Now The Era focus on Ricochet and drop him with a backbreaker and backstabber. With him taken out, it’s 4 on 1 with Dunne being the one. He’s doing what he can to fight everyone off. Roddy sent into the cage. Enziguri to O’Reilly, and then he hooks a knee bar onto Fish’s wrapped knee. O’Reilly with a short dropkick to break it up. O’Reilly having issues using Dunne’s chain on him, which allows Dunne to hook a Kimura lock. Fish comes with a chair on the bad knee. O’Reilly with a ankle lock on Dunne and now the other 3 men have weapons as they fight off the babyfaces. Roddy shows up and grinds a chair into the face of Dunne. Ricochet somehow leaps from one ring to the other to take out everyone and save Dunne finally. Hanson back body drops Roddy from one ring to the other.

There’s bodies everywhere and now Dunne and Ricochet set up Roddy and O’Reilly for top rope hurricanrana from Ricochet and top rope hiptoss by Dunne. Ricochet with a pin but there’s a kickout. Hanson sets up a table in the far ring now. It looked like it broke, but the leg just gave out. War Raiders improvise for a minute and nail Cole with a pop up powerslam. There’s a table propped up between the rings and Fish just speared Rowe through it! Cole and Ricochet are now on the turnbuckles in front of the table set up. Ricochet avoids an attack, and then fights off O’Reilly, who he sets up on the table after multiple punches. Cole is stuck in the tree of woe. Roddy shows up and drills Ricochet with a knee, who then falls into a triangle choke on the table from O’Reilly. Hanson is on the top rope on the opposite ring and jumps off into the far ring with a splash through the table on O’Reilly! O’Reilly is out, Hanson with a pin, but someone throws a trash can on Hanson to break it up.

Cole has now gone to the top of the cage, but Ricochet meets him there and they battle on top of the cage. They’re in the middle of the near ring. Roddy comes to help Cole and tries to throw Ricochet off the cage, so they could win. Ricochet fights Roddy off but Cole slams Ricochet’s head into the metal beam. Dunne now up on the top rope and tries to grab Cole for a superplex. All of the sudden we have one hell of a Tower of Doom!! My God! Hanson had Fish on his back, and powerbombed four men off the top rope, while Cole came down in the superplex. That leaves one man left on top of the cage and you already know who that is… Ricochet turns his back to the ring and DEAR GOD I’m pretty sure that was a reverse 630!! That’s exactly what it was after they show the replay multiple times. I can”t believe that!! Mauro Renallo with a “Momma F’n Mia!!” and that describes it perfectly!

Somehow, all 8 men are standing and on far opposite sides as the stumble and stagger to the middle. The crowd is going insane for this. All 8 men get face to face on the metal bridge and all hell has broken loose. Fish spears Rowe through the ropes. Rowe ducks a kick and nails a huge knee. They set Fish up for Fall of Man, but O’Reilly breaks it up and Roddy comes in for Total Elimination on Rowe. Hanson breaks a double clothesline and take O’Reilly and Roddy out with a handstand double back elbow! Wow! Ricochet with a double springboard but Cole catches him with a Superkick in mid air. It’s Dunne and Cole now going back and forth. Cole avoids the Bitter End and hits the Last Shot. Dunne kicks out! Cole goes for it again, Dunne ducks, gets up and Bitter End on Cole! Ricochet off the top rope with a 450 splash! Double pin by Dunne and Ricochet… They get the win!! I lost time on that match, but I’m pretty sure that went 50 minutes!

Winners: Pete Dunne, Ricochet, & War Raiders

Holy shit. That just defied all expectations. I can’t believe what I just saw. John will have the official time, but I swear that went 50. That was just amazing. That was War Games and that was pro wrestling at it’s absolute best. I still can’t believe Ricochet did the reverse 630. No regard for his body whatsoever. Every single person in this match came out looking better than they did at the start. It’s clear that NXT wanted to establish Dunne and Ricochet as the top guys though, because the end of the show had just them two celebrating with their titles on top of the cages as the War Raiders were still down in the ring. Kinda odd to not have all 4 men triumphant, but I understand it since Dunne is the longest reigning champion in all of WWE, and Ricochet is the North American Champion. Everyone can be proud of what they did though and it goes without saying this is 5, 6, maybe 7 stars. Who cares, it was “Momma F’n Mia” level!!

Thank you all for joining me tonight, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I didn. I’ll be back with this week’s TV episode to see all the fallout, and John will have his own review of this incredible show later this weekend. Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do… but if you do, name it after me.