So, I said on Facebook that I was done reviewing wrestling until January. At this point, I just want to review the last few albums I want to review, make my year-end list and call it a year. I was going to wait until Wrestle Kingdom 12 to do my next wrestling review. BUT, I feel like I should review this show. I feel like this show deserves a review. A rave one at that. Survivor Series (which sucked) was this past weekend, and of course, preceding it the night before, was the latest big NXT Takeover show. It’s a big one too, as it brought back a gimmick match not seen in 2 decades. This was easily the best show of the weekend. It was another excellent Takeover show put on by Triple H and the crew and it may be the best Takeover in quite a while. So screw it, why not? Let’s talk about it.
This is a special show for sure, as it marks the triumphant return of the War Games match, a match created by Dusty Rhodes and originally used in the NWA and later in WCW for their annual Fall Brawl ppv. The premise of the match would be to have 2 rings side by side (as absurd as that sounds) with a big cage surrounding them, and two or more teams of 3 to 5 competing inside.
Cool concept, though this time around it was changed up and “modernized” a bit. Normally, the cage would have a roof, which for this one, the roof was removed, which I guess would make more room for bigger spots. I was fine with it. It is what it is. The match itself this time was really damn good, as was the rest of the show! Including a show-stealer. So let me shut up and just get into the action.
So here we go…
Kassius Ohno vs Lars Sullivan
Starting off with the Takeover debut of the freak, Lars Sullivan vs the currently directionless Kassius Ohno. This was an okay opener at best, but it was way better than I was expecting out of these two. Some hard strikes via Ohno and the usual monster stuff from Lars. Decent back and forth action overall and Lars Sullivan would ultimately pick up the win with the Freak Accident (new favorite move name) as I expected. Again, decent at best. I really like Lars and I do think he is the next big thing. Hopefully he improves a little and this is just the first step forward in his evolution. Hopefully Kassius goes on to do something of note also.
Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream
Next we have the absolute fucking match of the night AND the entire weekend. Aleister Black takes on Velveteen Dream in easily the best built up match on the card. The storyline going into this one was the most entertaining and intriguing one I’ve seen in a while and the payoff was perfect. This was a fantastic match and both these guys got to showcase what they were capable of, especially Velveteen Dream; he put on the performance of his career thus far and he undoubtedly became a star. That’s not hyperbole either, the crowd fucking loved this guy and he even overshadowed Aleister in that regard. This was a great, lengthy, hard-hitting bout with some innovative maneuvers from Dream, like a crazy looking cradling DDT, or whatever it was, and a cartwheel Death Valley Driver. Black got his shit in as well with his usual lethal offence, he was awesome as always.
There were also some great non-move spots here, like both guys mocking each other’s signature poses. Aleister particularly got a huge pop when he did Dream’s flamboyant snake pose. Great stuff! Anyway, the finish comes when Black hits the Black Mass kick for the win. Really good finish. Then post-match, Black grabs a mic, sits down in the middle of the ring and gives Velveteen his respect by finally saying his name and bringing the story full-circle. Excellent fucking stuff! These two stole the show and the entire weekend and I’m 110% sold on Velveteen Dream and he’ll be a star for sure. Best flamboyant character since Goldust, as far as i’m concerned.
Fatal 4-Way Match: Ember Moon vs Kairi Sane vs Peyton Royce vs Nikki Cross (NXT Womens Title)
Next, it’s the ladies’ time to shine, as we have the fatal-4-way match for the vacant NXT Womens title. Going into this one I had my money on either Ember Moon or Nikki Cross winning this one. I was right! This was a really good match overall. A little messy because of the number of parties involved, but good nonetheless. I won’t name all the spots or anything because it was allover the place, but Ember Moon picks up the win with a double Eclipse on Kairi Sane and Peyton Royce. New champ! No complaints from me here, I like Ember. The other 3 are good too, even Peyton is growing on me, but I feel like Ember was the best choice of the 4. Things also come full circle here as Asuka hands the belt to Ember, closing off their storied rivalry. Very well done. Good stuff overall by the ladies.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs Andrade Cien Almas (NXT Title)
On to the shocker of the night. El Idolo, Andrade Cien Almas (with Zelina Vega) vs Drew McIntyre for the main strap. This in my opinion, was the second best match that wasn’t the War Games match. Really good back and forth action and some good storytelling. I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Drew, but this was probably his best match yet in NXT. Andrade has REALLY grown on me and I’ve become a big fan. To think of where he was when he first came in and how much he was flopping, his heel turn and especially being paired with Zelina Vega really got him going. Speaking of Zelina, she got involved here and delivered a sick Hurricanrana on Drew while Andrade faked out grabbing the belt to use as a weapon. Again, great storytelling.
Anyway, the shock of the night came when Drew went for a Big Boot and missed, went over the top rope and seemingly got hurt, Andrade then hits a Draping DDT on him for the win. Andrade shocks the world, Muhammad Ali on George Foreman style and wins the NXT title. Wow. I didn’t see this one coming by an inch. I honestly think it was an audible because Drew got injured, but honestly, I dig it. He’d be a good heel champion going forward, especially with Zelina, so it should be interesting. Hopefully Aleister Black gets it next. Great match, unexpected finish, satisfactory overall.
War Games: Undisputed Era vs SAnitY vs Roderick Strong & Authors of Pain
Last but definitely not least, the first War Games match in 20 years. Now, when this one was first announced, I was a little iffy on it seeing who was involved. I was expecting it to be a 5 on 5, which would make sense considering it was Survivor Series weekend. The 3 teams of 3 thing just seemed a little off and a little schmazzy. When it came down to it, however, the match delivered in spades. This was an absolute war of a match that went completely balls to the wall once each member of each team was in there. A lot of chaotic back and forth action that spread across both rings and blood was surely shed. There were trash cans, tables, chairs, kendo sticks and all kinds of other equalizers utilized and there were a lot of sick spots. Killian Dane took a nasy head bump onto the metal strip between the rings after I believe a double team by Authors of Pain. I was also iffy on there being no roof for the cage going in, but that proved to be no issue as the match turned out just as good, especially when Adam Cole hit a Superplex on Roderick Strong off the top of the cage onto all 7 other guys in the match. Crazy stuff pulled off there.
Short story short (though the match went 51 minutes), amidst all the carnage, The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) pick up the win after Cole pins Eric Young after a Shining Wizard through a chair to the head. Very brutal, very chaotic and all around good stuff.
So there we have it. Another spectacle put on by the d-crew (developmental). 5 great performances, a star-making mid-card clinic, an absolutely brutal main event and just the right amount of wrestling all around and an easy show to get through. Can’t say I can say that for Survivor Series, which is why i’m not going to waste my time reviewing that. Anyway, I highly recommend this show more than any other show this past weekend if you haven’t watched any of it… and hey, if it got me to give it a review, even though I said I was done for now, that should tell you everything right there.
So once again, well done, NXT. Well fucking done!
Until next time.