NXT Takeover: War Games Was Indeed The Match Beyond…Bay Bay!

NXT Takeover: War Games, on paper, looked to be a two-match show. Obviously, the main event (War Games), and the four-way for the Women’s Title seemed to be the only two matches with any sort of hype, and/or promise. However, as Takeovers often do, the doubters were proven wrong, and this proved to be one of the best Takeovers of 2017.

Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan

So, this one was based around Ohno feeling froggy, and after stringing a few wins together, wanted to test himself against the unbeatable behemoth, Lars Sullivan. In reality, we all knew this was the classic case of the established vet (Ohno) putting over the hot up-and-comer (Sullivan). This isn’t Ohno’s first rodeo, and he’s done this numerous time in his career, even as recently as January 2017 in Texas, putting over Keith Lee (and putting his star on the star).

In theory, this match should’ve worked…and to some extent it did. Sullivan went over, and he got a mainstream focus put on him. However, the match did not establish him as an unbeatable monster, or some sort of hot prospect. I feel like this match exposed Sullivan a bit as someone who doesn’t have a lot in his arsenal. These two legit knocked each other around, and set the tone for the night — a physical one. However, this match didn’t gel, and I think Sullivan is in need of some more seasoning.

Winner: Lars Sullivan


Aleister Black vs. The Velveteen Dream

This match was based on one simple concept – respect. Dream wants Black to acknowledge him, and “say his name” this validating him as a performer. However, Black refuses, and a physical and psychological war has broken out between the two.

On paper, this seemed like Black would steamroll Dream. Luckily, that wasn’t the case … because this was one of the best matches of the evening. Dream became an instant star starting with his Rick Rude inspired tights, to his undying work ethic, to his endless charisma. Dream worked his ass off, and if you didn’t respect what he did in the ring, you really should never watch NXT again, it’s just not for you.

Dream and Black went strike for strike, near fall for near fall, and taunt for taunt. It was a near perfect blend of psychology and physicality.

Now Black isn’t everyone’s cup of Satan, but to me he’s one of the best in NXT right now. Dream, however, was the star here. He made himself something special here. He showed he was more than a gimmick, he was (and is) the total package.

This is one of NXT’ must-watch matches of 2017.

Winner: Aleister Black with a Black Mass out of nowhere.

Post-Match: In a great move, Black acknowledges Dream, and says his name.


NXT Women’s Title Match – Winner Takes All – Kairi Sane vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ember Moon

Honestly, given the last match, I was worried the crowd wouldn’t be as hot for this match, and/or it wouldn’t live up to masterwork we had just saw.

Well, that was silly of me.

These four women absolutely killed it. It was all killer, no filler, as all four women knocked the living hell out of each other. I had my doubts about Royce, as I always felt she was more character than in-ring performer. She proved she could hang with all these world class women.

There was so much action happening here, that I could not recap it. But what I loved about this match is that you didn’t know who would win. The previous two matches were fairly obvious (although Velveteen did put that in doubt)– this one was a complete mystery. Any of these four legitimately could be the Women’s Champion.

However, the least likely seemed to be ember Moon, who someone once pegged as “The Sami Zayn of the Women in NXT.” The hard worker, the heart and soul, but always coming up short. However, lest we forget, Sami did hold the NXT Title, and now so does Ember Moon as hit her wicked twisting flying Stunner on both Cross and Royce to win in an amazing match.

Winner, and NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Ember Moon

Post-Match: In a great moment, Asuka presents the title to her longtime rival.


 

NXT World Title Match: Drew McIntyre (C) vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas w/Zelina Vega

This match has no shot of carrying the crowd after those last two matches…or DID IT?

McIntyre and Almas put on a better match than you’d expect, and Zelina really added so much to it. McIntyre really innovated his offense with power and force, while Almas strung together some really great sequences.

Then…something happened…Almas won the match with a crazy quasi-brainbuster/DDT. ow, the question here is — was Almas supposed to win, or was the win designed on the fly? As we learned after the show, McIntyre tore his bicep, and was visibly injured during the match.

Regardless of the plan, Almas is going to be an excellent champion if given the time.

Winner and NEW Champion: Andrade Cien Almas


 

The Main Event – War Games – The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly) vs. Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong vs. SaNity (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, Killian Dane)

I’ve been waiting 20 years for this match. It’s my absolute favorite “gimmick” match in wrestling history.

The match started off hot with Cole, Young, and Strong and then slowed down considerably until all 9 men were in the ring.

And then all hell broke loose, and we as wrestling fans were the real winners here.

When SaNity, the last team to enter, ran in and threw plunder into the ring — the arena became unglued. Then there was the moment you knew it was “on,” that this wan’t going to be your everyday cage match, and quite possibly we were on hand to watch history. That moment was watching Killian Dane lock the cage door, and then swallow the key. HE SWALLOWED THE DAMN KEY.

From there it was pure mayhem. It was unmitigated insanity It was blood, and guts, and intensity, and heroics, and stupidity, and brilliance. It was WAR GAMES. Men laid everything out, and took their lumps.

Killian Dane may have become a star here. He absolutely dominated this match, and had some of its biggest spots — a dropkick/centan combo, and a God damn VAN TERMINATOR. Yeah, a 300+ pound Van Terminator.

Alexander Wolfe had a nuts spot where he Germaned someone off the rope, and then cut his head open on a table. He was gushing blood.

Then there was the psycho spot where Roddy suplexed Cole off the top of the cage onto everyone the ring.

In the end, Adam Cole was able to hit a Shining Wizard through a chair on Young to score the win.

Winners: The Undisputed Era

The right team won, but like I said — WE were the winners. This match was a classic.

Good luck to the main roster on Survivor Series — its going to be a tough act to follow.

NXT Takeover: War Games is currently streaming on WWE Network.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site’s podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites