NXT Takeover War Games 2 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Matt Riddle defeats Kassius Ohno @0:04 N/A
  • Shayna Baszler defeats Kairi Sane to retain the NXT Women’s Title in a 2 out of 3 Falls Match @10:53 ****
  • Aleister Black defeats Johnny Gargano @18:04 *****
  • Tomasso Ciampa defeats Velveteen Dream to retain the NXT Title @22:16 ****3/4
  • War Raiders, Pete Dunne, and Ricochet defeat Undisputed ERA in War Games @47:01 ****1/4

 

 Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno:

  • Matt Riddle comes out to a huge crowd reaction and calls out Kassius Ohno. 
  • Kassius Ohno agrees to a match. 
  • Matt Riddle hits an immediate knee for the win. 

Winner: Matt Riddle @0:04

Rating: N/A, Squash City just to get Matt Riddle on a Takeover.

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Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler 2 out of 3 Falls for the NXT Women’s Title:

  • First 2 out of 3 Falls match for the NXT Women’s Title. 
  • Fast aggressive start by Sane. 
  • Sliding Elbow by Sane knocks Baszler to ringside, Flying Forearm off the apron by Sane knocks Shayna ringside. 
  • Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke attack Kairi Sane with the referee focused on Shayna, Baszler locks in the Coquina Clutch tapping out Sane for the first fall at 2 minutes into the match.
  • Great bicycle kick by Baszler gets the first near fall. 
  • Coquina Clutch by Baszler locked in again, Sane gets a rope break. 
  • Stretch Buckler by Baszler, Baszler stomps on the face of Sane to break the hold. 
  • Near fall roll up by Sane getting out of another Coquina Clutch by Baszler.
  • Strikefest wears both out, Lariat by Baszler ends the sequence. 
  • Amazing reversal to the vertical suplex by Baszler, Sane turns it into a snap DDT on the apron. Really innovative spot. 
  • Sane dodges both Four Horsewomen and throws them into the steps, Great Diving Elbow drop the ringside wipes out Shafir, Duke, and Baszler. 
  • In-Sane Elbow by Sane in-ring scores Kairi the first fall 7 minutes and 30 seconds in.
  • 3 Consecutive Spears by Sane, 2 spinning backfists knock down Shayna. Baszler catches Sane up on the top rope and they brawl on the top. Great Reversal out of a super gut wrench suplex by Baszler, Sane hits a super sunset flip and gets a near fall.
  • Duke distracts the ref as Shafir knocks Sane off the top rope. Dakota Kai comes out to try and even the odds. Io Shirai comes down and hits an awesome diving moonsault to wipe out the 2 Horsewomen. 
  • In-Sane Elbow by Kairi gets caught and rolled up by Baszler for the win. 

Winner: Shayna Baszler Retains @10:53!

Rating: ****, This is the 3rd matchup between these 2 and each have been over 4 stars so obviously they know how to work a great match. The underdog babyface versus cocky MMA heel stable is a great dynamic and this match perfected the story. While the match should’ve gone a bit longer it retained intensity and fire throughout and had some great spots and kept a fast pace.

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Aleister Black vs. Johnny Gargano:

  • Great entrance attire on Black.
  • One of the best stories of the year with Gargano costing Black the title and 3 months of his career. Anti-hero Gargano is fantastic and vengeful Black is even better. Another great example of NXT storytelling. 
  • Stare down after the bell rings, the tension is insane. Gargano slaps Black and Black boots him back.
  • Black catches Johnny springboarding to the outside with a stiff buzzsaw kick. 
  • Gargano dodges Black and does Aleister’s sitting taunt.
  • A series of strikes by Black, Black does the fake suicide dive flip back sitting taunt but Gargano catches him with a kick from behind. 
  • Near fall roll up for Johnny neatly transitioned into a surfboard lock by Gargano, Black near falls pins Gargano out of the hold. 
  • Black boots Gargano off the apron and follows it up with an amazing tope con hiro to ringside wiping out Johnny.
  • Amazing springboard standing moonsault by Black for a near fall.
  • Diving Moonsault by Black misses, Gargano hits an amazing suicide tornado DDT to ringside. In-ring, Gargano hits a springboard DDT for a great near fall.
  • Gargano trash talks Black and hits a stiff elbow and a running strikefest begins. Double Lariats into more strikefest, Gargano hits a spikerana but Black hits a bicycle kick to end the awesome sequence. Standing ovation from the crowd. 
  • The match changes rings and Black catches Gargano with a knee to stop the slingshot spear. Black hits a springboard double knees/German Suplex bridge combo for a great near fall. 
  • Tilt-A-Whirl into the Gargano Escape, near fall rollup by Black to escape the Escape.
  • Lawn Dart into the corner by Johnny Gargano hits. 
  • Gargano taunts for the DIY superkick, Black sits in the ring and says Bring It. Johnny removes the knee pad but missed Black. Superkick and an exposed running knee by Gargano hits, great near fall. 
  • Gargano is hitting Black aggressively with elbows but Black begins to fight back into another strikefest, stiff buzzsaw kick by Black connects. Gargano pushed Black off the springboard to the outside. 
  • Black catches Gargano in mid-air with a bicycle knee off the suicide dive, one of my favorite spots of the year. 
  • Gargano begs Black to hit the Black Mass baiting him in and rolling him up for a great near fall. Gargano Escape locked in, Black rolls out of it and hits a spinning knee knocking Gargano. 
  • Black removes the knee pad and hits a bicycle knee and a stiff black mass but Black holds Johnny up and hits another one.

Winner: Aleister Black @18:04

Rating: *****, The story building up to this match definitely set up the 5-star rating for these guys but the in-ring match could’ve never been bad. Gargano and Black have had amazing years this year with some quality performances but this is my favorite from both. While I don’t think this is better than Gargano vs. Ciampa 2 it is the 3rd best NXT match of the year in my opinion (just after Almas vs. Gargano). The dark and determined heel Gargano was done so well that they are reflecting it with Daniel Bryan on the main roster and the angry vengeful Aleister Black was an amazing character that made this match have just an added level of aggression. The spots in this match were very smart especially the catching knee to the suicide dive which is one of the best spots this year. Even without the story, this would be a MOTY contender, the story makes it one of the best matches I’ve ever seen.

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Tomasso Ciampa vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Title:

  • 2 of the most polarizing characters in 2018 Professional Wrestling. 
  • Crowd firmly behind the Dream. Velveteen also came out as Hollywood Hogan.
  • Dream escapes Ciampa but loses the Hollywood Headband, Dream rolls to ringside. Dream grabs the title and Ciampa chases him back into the ring.
  • Great standing dropkick by Dream and a flurry of ring-based offense follows capping off with a Diving Axe Handle. 
  • Dream taunts for the Atomic Leg Drop, Ciampa rolls ringside. Dream hits a Diving Axe Handle taking out Ciampa ringside. 
  • Ciampa dumps Dream off the springboard, Dream hits the apron hard on his way to ringside. 
  • Running Knee in the Corner by Ciampa knocks out Dream, Ciampa doesn’t capitalize. 
  • Hangman’s Neckbreaker over the top rope by Ciampa launches Dream to ringside. 
  • Running Knee with the brace to Dream over the announce table by Ciampa. 
  • Headlock by Ciampa is deep in, Dream does an amazing job of selling it and escapes the hold.
  • Rude Awakening Neckbreaker by Dream puts both down.
  • Big Boot and 3 Atomic Leg Drops by Dream pays homage to Hulk Hogan. 
  • Spinebuster by Dream, near fall. 
  • Amazing plancha to ringside by Dream followed by an attempt at the Purple Rainmaker but Ciampa baits him in and takes him ringside. 
  • Dream drops Ciampa’s previously injured knee over the apron and does the Bret Hart post Figure 4, Ciampa taps with the referee distracted. 
  • Velveteen Dream locks in Flair’s Figure 4 further working the knee of Ciampa, Ciampa reversed the pressure but Dream rolls back into it, Ciampa passes out and delivers a great near fall but Ciampa eventually grabs the bottom rope. 
  • Insane Suplex rolling over the top rope to the outside by Dream. Dream brings in Ciampa and escapes a near countout. 
  • Strikefest, Dream misses a superkick almost just missing the ref, Ciampa rolls up Dream but the ref catches him using the tights. A superkick hits for Dream catching Ciampa arguing with the ref, awesome near fall. 
  • Ciampa catches Dream in mid-air with a knee of the springboard. Ciampa hits the Project Ciampa lungblower and hurts the knee but goes for the pin and gets another great near fall.
  • Ciampa grabs the title belt and brings it in the ring and argues with the ref, Dream hits a Twisting DDT onto the belt for an awesome near fall. 
  • Ciampa boots Dream to ringside and on Dream’s way back in Ciampa catches him with a Draping DDT for yet another great near fall. 
  • Ciampa takes off padding to reveal ringside concrete, Ciampa tries to hit a draping DDT off the apron but Dream spears him over the announce table. Ciampa throws paper at Mauro Ranallo and Dream catches him with a Rolling DVD ringside. In-ring Dream hits the Purple Rainmaker and another awesome near fall happens. 
  • Dream goes to hit the elbow drop to Ciampa on the apron and misses and crashes to ringside. 
  • Draping DDT onto the steel holding the rings together by Ciampa closes the match. 

Winner: Tomasso Ciampa Retains! @22:16 

Rating: ****3/4, How does NXT keep doing it? How do they keep having these special matches?  These 2 polarizing figures combined their characters to perfection and involved inventive spots and constant awesome near falls in front of a RED HOT crowd. Ciampa is an absolutely great heel as always here and Dream played a great babyface who played the classic moves of Bret Hart, Hulk Hogan, and Ric Flair to huge crowd reactions. The ending stretch was fantastic with great big move/near fall sequences and the exposed concrete and metal DDT spots. The referee spots were great too especially the DDT onto the title by Dream which got a very near fall. NXT continues delivering like no other wrestling product in the world. The only possible con with this match is you felt a bit of burn out from the last 5-star match. 

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Undisputed ERA vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunne, and War Raiders in War Games:

  • Ricochet and Adam Cole start the match. 
  • Catching Backstabber by Cole lays out Ricochet.
  • Amazing springboard forearm by Ricochet hopping from one ring to the other.
  • Kyle O’Reilly is chosen next for ERA.
  • Between the rings Ricochet strikes off Era until O’Reilly hits a Dragon Screw Leg Whip taking Rico down.
  • Stiff series of strikes by Cole and Kyle into an assisted ushigoroshi to Cole.
  • Hanson is chosen next for the faces. 
  • Hot Tag of sorts for Hanson taking out Cole and Kyle with great agility. 
  • Amazing shooting star press off the back of Hanson by Richochet to Kyle. 
  • Roderick Strong is chosen next for ERA.
  • A series of Backbreakers into the Lumbar Check by Roddy to Cole.
  • Axe and Smash by Kyle to Hanson, Cole shows great strength and hits an Olympic Slam by Hanson.
  • Rowe is chosen next for the faces. 
  • Great entrance for Rowe taking out Undisputed Era with a great flurry of offense. Powerbomb/Powerslam combo by Rowe to Kyle and Roddy at the same time. 
  • War Raiders chuck Roddy, Cole, and Kyle into the cage. 
  • Bobby Fish is last for ERA, Fish goes for Dunne in the cage and attacks him and locks him in the cage and throws away the key. Fish brings chairs into the ring. 
  • ERA uses the chairs to dominate the match, O’Reilly air guitars the chair which is totally cool with me. ERA throws Hanson into the steel cage. Hard Uranage by Roddy sends Rowe into a set-up chair. ERA throws Rowe so hard into the cage he lands on the injured knee of Fish. 
  • The referee unkeyed the original lock on Dunne’s cage but can’t get the other one done even though it’s his time to join the match. 
  • Stereo Superplexes by Adam Cole and Bobby Fish to the War Raiders.
  • The referees get bolt cutters and finally free Pete Dunne, ERA stops him from getting in the cage but Dunne gets a kendo stick to take out ERA from the door of the cage.
  • Diving Crossbody by Ricochet wipes out Undisputed ERA. 
  • Dunne enters the ring and War Games officially begins.
  • The faces surround ERA with weapons, Dunne throws Kyle from ring to ring and stomps his arm brutally over the middle.
  • Explex by Dunne sends Roddy into O’Reilly on the ground. 
  • O’Reilly calls back the chair rope spot from last year but avoids it this time but turns into a boot by Hanson knocking the chair into his face. 
  • Hanson spears Rowe into the corner with Cole and a trash can already there, Rowe slams Hanson onto O’Reilly in between the two rings. 
  • Fish and O’Reilly work together to strike out Rowe. Lungblower/Backstabber combo by Roddy and Cole to Rico. ERA surrounds Pete Dunne. Dunne throws Roddy into the cage and catches him mid-air with a German suplex. 
  • Kimura Lock by Dunne locked in on O’Reilly, Fish saves Kyle with a chair shot to Pete. Ankle Lock by O’Reilly with a crossface with a chair by Strong to Dunne while Era still surrounds him. 
  • Stereo Superplexes by Rico and Dunne, Dunne hit a Butterfly Suplex and Rico hit a supercanrana. 
  • Hanson tries to set up Cole on a table but the leg gives way, slight botch.
  • Great spear by Fish sends Rowe into a table set up in between the rings. 
  • Triangle Hold by O’Reilly to Rico on the table, Hanson hits a Diving Crossbody to O’Reilly to break the hold, first near fall. 
  • Cole and Ricochet fight on top of the cage. Roddy helps Cole and they try to push Rico to the outside to cost the faces the match. Awesome chain superplex led by Hanson take Adam Cole off the top of the cage. 
  • AMAZING Double Rotation Moonsault by Ricochet off the top of the cage wipes everyone out. Another spot of the year contender.
  • The teams separate into the different rings and standoff to a great crowd reaction. The teams brawl in the middle of the rings. 
  • Fallout by the War Raiders hit on Fish, Roddy and Kyle come to take out the Raiders but an awesome backspring elbow by Hanson wipes out ERA. Cole catches a flying from ring to ring Rico with a Superkick, Last Shot by Cole to Dunne, Bitter End/Standing Shooting Star combo by Rico and Dunne to Cole close the match.

Winners: The Faces @47:01

Rating: ****1/4, There was no way this match could’ve been bad but it wasn’t as good as last years. Mostly because Sanity turned in an amazing performance at last years War Games. The spots in this match were for the majority more lackluster however the double moonsault Ricochet hit is one of the better spots I’ve ever seen. The match felt really long but ERA kept it fresh. The dastardly heel plans that ERA delivered gave the match an added dimension. 

Show Grade: A+

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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