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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NXT TakeOver: WarGames


“Please don’t die.”

At one point during the WarGames match, the NXT universe actually chanted that. It was at that moment when I realized that it didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t the same WarGames match I knew before. It didn’t matter if they’ve changed the rules or removed the ceiling. All that mattered was how great and insane the match was. And it was both.


It was a giant spotfest. It was inevitable given the number of people in the ring, but that didn’t stop it from being dramatic and logical. Each spot escalated from the one before, creating tension as the match went along. The Superplex by Roderick Strong to Adam Cole from the top of the cage was out of this world and had me at the edge of my seat. And that’s what you want from a good match: for you to be absorbed into it. Forget all the smarky comments and just be engrossed in the car wreck in front of your eyes.

The biggest star coming out of the match had to be Killian Dain. The man Beast of Belfast had some of the most inspired and outrageous spots. Even before he stepped inside the rings, your eyes were drawn to him. You’d think a man his size shouldn’t be hitting a Van Terminator, but holy hell. The aforementioned Superplex spot might have been the biggest spot of the night, and Cole might have picked up the win for the Undisputed ERA, but Dain walked out of the match with his stock having increased the most.



 If I had any complaints, I’d pin it to some of WWE’s production mistakes. Camera work was wonky at places and nauseating at times. We even missed out on some spots, like the dueling Samoan Drop/Fallaway Slam from Dain and Rezar. There were also some little kinks; for example, during the moment when the second team entering was revealed, the spotlight was on SAnitY but the Authors of Pain were the ones being released. It’s those little things that would throw you out of the match but it’s understandable seeing as this was the first match of its kind in almost two decades, and the first WWE ever produced. If ever there would be a second WarGames match, you’d expect WWE to iron out these kinks.

Gripes aside, WarGames was a success. Kudos to Triple H, the rest of the NXT Creative team, and the nine men inside the ring. You’ve all made Dusty proud.


*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Lars Sullivan defeated Kassius Ohno in an odd match. I still believe this match shouldn’t have been on the main TakeOver card, but it is what it is. This was Sullivan’s longest match, and pairing him with Ohno gave him a good partner to really showcase his strength. That said, I’m a firm believer that the first match of a card should set the pace for the rest of the card, and this match failed to do that.

  • Aleister Black won against Velveteen Dream but said Dream’s name either way. What a star-making moment for Dream. He brought his A-game in this match, and it did not disappoint. From his outrageous tights to his non-stop trash talking, his character game was on point. His in-ring work was amazing as well. He gave as well as he got, and burst out some insanely creative moves like that swinging STO turned to a DDT.  This was the match I was most excited about, and I’m extremely happy it turned out the way it did.

  • Ember Moon outlasted Kairi Sane, Peyton Royce, and Nikki Cross to win the NXT Women’s Championship. This was a good match—if a bit clunky at spots—but I feel like the wrong person won here. It’s like Moon’s chance had passed, and yet NXT still felt like giving her a crowning moment. Add the fact that she still doesn’t have any semblance of character and you can see why her winning the title felt uninspired. I have no doubt she’ll have great matches as champion, but I feel like this shouldn’t have been her moment.

  • Andrade “Cien” Almas defeated Drew McIntyre for the NXT Championship. This came out of nowhere, and yet it was a pleasant surprise. Cien’s finally living up to expectations, and it’s a sight to behold. Our Lodi’s always been a solid wrestler, but something wasn’t clicking until Zelina Vega showed up. Cien was on point in this match, and McIntyre was great, even with a torn bicep. You have to wonder how much Drew’s injury came to play with the decision, but no doubt Almas deserved to win the title.


*****

TakeOver: WarGames was awesome. Everything from the build up to the execution was great. Yes, there were some decisions I didn’t agree with (like Sullivan/Ohno being on the card and Moon winning), but it didn’t take away from the fact that it was a well-booked show. The Velveteen Dream, Andrade “Cien” Almas, and Killian Dain had star making performances. WarGames didn’t just live up to the hype, it exceed expectations. TakeOver: WarGames deserves an A.

Did you enjoy NXT TakeOver: WarGames? Let us know by dropping a comment below.

Photos from twitter.com/WWENXT and WWE.com


Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT, smarkhenry.ph's weekly NXT review.

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