The third installment of NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2019 on the WWE Network is officially in the books, and this was one of the best events of the year. The show saw surprise returns, Survivor Series implications, and spots that probably should not be done ever again. For the first time, NXT superstars were included in the Survivor Series pay-per-view match, and this event was a good prelude to the second oldest WWE PPV.
NXT TakeOver: WarGames was held at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, less than 30 minutes west of Chicago, and the crowd certainly did not disappoint. In addition to the kickoff match, Mia Yim was attacked and sent a medical facility, which led to Rhea Ripley replacing her with Dakota Kai. It was quite the night, with many jaw-dropping moments.
Here are the results and grades of each match.
Angel Garza vs. Isaiah “Swerve” Scott (Kickoff Match)
Both Angel Garza and Isaiah “Swerve” Scott are two names who continue to deliver exciting matches for the WWE NXT cruiserweight division. It made sense for Garza to win, since he is in a current feud with the Cruiserweight Champion, Lio Rush. Scott, formerly known as Shane Strickland, has built a large following from his time in EVOLVE, CZW, and MLW, among other promotions, but he is still being developed as an NXT competitor. The conclusion of this pre-show match saw Garza defeating Scott with his Wing Clipper finishing move.
Team Ripley vs. Team Baszler
This first-ever women’s WarGames match was a phenomenal and great way to start the show. I think the Dakota Kai heel turn was a bit predictable, but well-executed. For someone who was such as lovable character throughout her career in NXT, it was fascinating to see such heinous and villainous actions from her when she viciously attacked Tegan Nox in the cage. As a result, Rhea Ripley and Candice Lerae were forced to compete in the WarGames match with a 2 on 4 disadvantage against Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kay Lee Ray.
This disadvantage was also a good booking decision, because it made Rhea Ripley look even stronger. It is no doubt that Triple H sees Ripley as the next top women’s star in NXT, and it would be no surprise if she becomes champion sooner than later. The conclusion of the match saw Ripley handcuffing NXT Women’s Champion Baszler while in the Kirifuda Clutch, which led to Baszler getting pinned after falling victim to Ripley’s Riptide finisher.
Pete Dunne vs. Damian Priest vs. Killian Dain
The winner of this triple threat match would be the No. 1 contender for the NXT Championship at WWE Survivor Series. This feud escalated for several weeks, and it is good that some kind of stake was given to make the feud mean even more. The match overall was pretty good, with some close calls from each person that could have ended the match.
In the end, Pete Dunne had Killian Dain in a sleeper hold, and Dain attempted to counter by using his weight to perform a senton splash while Dunne was on him. However, Priest was on the bottom of this splash, and Dunne gained the pinfall victory to earn a NXT Championship match.
Finn Balor vs. Matt Riddle
This match was a very good match to heighten the feud between Finn Balor and Matt Riddle. Johnny Gargano was originally the target for Balor, but Riddle was attacked by Balor and wanted revenge. Riddle was certainly a good opponent for Balor’s NXT in-ring return, and he is a good babyface to enhance Balor’s new heel character.
After a number of signature moves executed by Riddle, the Original Bro was unable to defeat Balor, and fell victim to the 1916 DDT finisher. Balor looked refreshed during this match, and definitely looks like his WWE career has been revived as a heel for the NXT brand.
Team Ciampa vs. The Undisputed Era
This main event match was very exciting to watch. However, some spots were too dangerous, and really unnecessary. For example, the final spot with Tommaso Ciampa executing the Air Raid crash on Adam Cole onto two tables from the top of the cage could have been career-ending. While it was certainly a huge, memorable spot, it was not needed to make an already fantastic match any better. This is the danger of performing extreme spots to please the crowd, as matches have to become more and more risky.
The addition of Kevin Owens as the fourth member was undoubtedly the huge moment of the night, and a great surprise to the fans at the arena. Similar to Ripley, Ciampa is being groomed to be at the top of the NXT ladder, and another reign as NXT Champion looks to be happening soon. Ciampa’s Air Raid Crash off the top of the cage led to his team of Owens, Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic winning the match over Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong.