NXT TakeOver: WarGames II Review

MATT RIDDLE VS. KASSIUS OHNO

Matt Riddle holds zero appeal for me. I’d like to see Ohno smash his jaw. Wait… what the fuck was that? Did they just bury the hell out of Kassius Ohno? Well I guess it’s more putting Riddle over, Ohno will be fine but… ok. I really just hate the stoner “bro” thing. Still, I’ll admit that was a great way to fire up the crowd to start the show.

Booking Rating: Six Dustys

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TWO-OUT-OF-THREE-FALLS NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: KAIRI SANE VS. SHAYNA BASZLER (c)

Kairi comes out with her hair on fire and is kicking the piss out of Shayna. Until she distracts the ref faking an injury and her cronies Shafir and Duke attack. Sane is gonna tap and lose the first fall.. she does. It’s a surprise, and a pretty good one that those two get involved so early, I thought they would show up in the middle or at the end. This was a good unpredictable start.

This is a great feud with exciting matches. They seem to have exhausted each other early with the frantic pace. And HOLY SHIT Baszler goes for a suplex on the apron but Sane counters it with a SPIKE DDT. That was cool as hell. Sane takes out three of the horsewomen with an InSane Elbow to the outside, then goes for one to Baszler inside the ring, tying the match at one fall each! That was a TERRIFIC sequence.

Interceptor after Interceptor after Interceptor for Sane, and Baszler is DOWN. I didn’t think it would end there but I’m surprised Baszler was able to get up so quickly after that to stop Sane from hitting her elbow drop again. I hope something awesome comes from this fight on the top rope, and it’s Sane countering a gutwrench Superplex with a sunset flip power bomb. Alabama Slam, then the horsewomen interfere again, but here comes Dakota Kai!

Kai gets her ass kicked by Baszler and Shafir, but it’s IO SHIRAI! Moonsault from Shirai! Elbow drop from Sane, but Baszler moves to the side, and counters with a crucifix pin for the win. Baszler escapes with the title. That was a terribly anticlimactic finish after a great match. I hate the ending. Not because Baszler won, but because god dammit, all that buildup for a boring crucifix? Lame. Still entertaining as hell overall, but certainly losing points for the end.

Match Rating: Six Gold Medals

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JOHNNY GARGANO VS. ALEISTER BLACK

It’s so good to see Black back in the ring. Johnny just poked an angry bear. Both of these guys are hitting so many amazing moves, just watch the damn match, cuz it’s great. Johnny decides to talk shit and gets elbowed in the face for it. Both guys keep hitting each other in the face with kicks, elbows, punches, backfists, knees, it’s fucking brutal.

Johnny Gargano turned a hurracanrana into the Gargano Escape, then lawn darted Black into the middle turnbuckle. This feels so personal, it’s terrific. NXT really does feuds right. Great sequence with a kick and a knee to the head of Black with another two count. Johnny goes for a suicide dive and eats a knee right to the jaw. How the hell do these guys time this shit so perfectly and make it look so good?

Johnny acts like he wants Black to finish him, but reverses the Black Mass into a pin then the Gargano Escape. Black hits a HUGE spinning knee. Oh man these two will not remember this night at all. Another knee! Black Mass! Black Mass again! Johnny just forgot his entire childhood. Black wins. That was one of the most brutal non-stipulation matches I’ve ever seen.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: VELVETEEN DREAM VS. TOMMASO CIAMPA

Two of the best in the business and cerebral warfare and ring psychology. The fun stops when Ciampa starts to pick Dream apart. Ciampa is vicious. I’ve never seen someone put in a sleeper, make the opponent drool, then rub said opponent’s drool into the opponent’s face. That’s sick and perfectly cerebral.

Dream caps a comeback with a big boot and three leg drops! And a spinebuster that Hulk Hogan could never dream of hitting. Dream gets Ciampa to tap out, but it’s around the ring post so it doesn’t count, but then locks in a Figure Four in the middle of the ring! No tap but Ciampa is certainly weakened. Dream suplexes Ciampa from the ring to the floor and both guys are down as Ciampa starts to take off his boot. What does he have in there?

The ref refuses to count three when Ciampa grabs Dream’s tights, and Dream hits the rolling DVD for a 1-2- kick out! Ciampa hits Project Ciampa and Dream very weakly kicks out at two. Dream hits the rolling DDT onto the belt, another two count! Hangman DDT by Ciampa, another two count! This might be too many false finishes, but it’s certainly an exciting sequence.

Now Ciampa rips up the padding on the floor, one of his old tricks. Dream avoids a DDT o the concrete and drives both of them over the announce table. Ciampa threw a stack of papers into Mauro’s face, and Dream takes advantage with a rolling DVD on the concrete! Purple Rainmaker but Ciampa kicks out! Ciampa lays on the apron and dream misses and crashes to the floor on another elbow. Ciampa hits a DDT on the steel between the two rings to retain. That was almost too much adrenaline for the last 10 minutes or so of the match, but god damn it was some awesome shit.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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Ciampa even kisses Dream on the cheek before he leaves. What a fucking performer, I love his psychology.

 

WARGAMES MATCH: THE UNDISPUTED ERA VS. RICOCHET, PETE DUNNE, & THE WAR RAIDERS

Definitely a good decision for UE to start with Adam Cole. They don’t have a big guy who stands out above the rest, so put your best foot forward. I imagine Ricochet will get the start for the face team, or possibly Pete Dunne. But I’m guessing Ricochet. War Raiders’ masks/helmets are fucking awesome. I love being right, as the one and only begins the match for his team.

Nigel mentions exactly why I said Cole and Ricochet are smart choices to start: cardio. Save the War Raiders to come in later and pick up the pieces. Remember: nobody can win or lose until everyone is in the match. So you can tap out all you want until then, it won’t mean shit. Ricochet could be screwed, cuz he’s getting his ass kicked, and he’s going to be double teamed soon. Ricochet hits a sooaaaaring uppercut, it’s amazing how long he stays in the air.

Pre-teen little brother Kyle O’Reilly enters next. Ricochet holds his own until Pete Dunne is about to come in, but Hanson pushes his way past instead, and Dunne has to wait. Hanson really is expending a lot of energy as Nigel says, which is why Dunne should have come next. But then again, when you have TWO big guys, maybe you can afford to send one in early.

Ricochet did a Shooting Star Press OFF HANSON’S BACK! It used to be awe-inspiring that Billy Kidman could just do a regular SSP. That’s almost boring now compared to what guys can do today, and that’s incredible. Roderick Strong in next for UE to give them a 3-2 advantage. Strong destroys Ricochet and Hanson. As the clock counts down, the faces desperately need some help, and Rowe pushes past Dunne this time, and Dunne will be the last person to enter the match. Rowe goes on a rampage and destroys O’Reilly, Cole, and strong singlehandedly.

Holy shit, Rowe does a powerslam to O’Reilly and a power bomb to Strong AT THE SAME TIME! I love the destruction that the War Raiders cause. But it seems like just as they’re really taking control of the match, Bobby Fish comes out. But instead of coming to the ring, he double locks Dunne in his cage and literally throws away the key! He brings a bunch of chairs with the Undisputed Era’s logo on them into the ring, as a perfect plan comes to fruition. How will Dunne get into the match? Not only that, but Fish attacked his arm through the cage.

The face team is demolished by the chairs, and as the clock hits zero, Dunne can’t get out of the cage. There’s no way somebody doesn’t have bolt cutters backstage. Have some logic here, people! FINALLY! It took them that long to find the bolt cutters? Well either way, here comes Dunne into the lion’s den. UE is holding the door shit, but Dunne finds a kendo stick. And other kendo stick. And a garbage can. And another garbage can. And a table. And another table. WARGAMES BEGINS, BITCHES!

Dunne does his finger thing that’s just gross and also awesome. The rings are a mess, it’s total chaos! I love that a big part of the War Raiders’ offense is throwing each other at their opponents. Where did Kyle O’Reilly get a chain? Oh right, he has to ride his bike because he can’t drive yet. I love the Undisputed Era’s strategy of double teaming Pete Dunne and trying to make him tap while the other two hold off his teammates. from entering that ring.

FINALLY someone goes through a table with Fish driving Rowe through with a body tackle. Still got one more to break! AND O’REILLY GOES THROUGH IT! Oh hot damn, now Cole and Ricochet are on top of the cage. If one of them falls to the outside, their team loses. Now we have Strong and Dunne getting involved. And O’Reilly. And Hanson! This is going to be really fucking bad. Rowe just literally suplexed everybody in the ring except Ricochet. And Ricochet decides to do a fucking 720 moonsault onto EVERYONE from the top of the cage.

The standoff after all that carnage is excellent. Did Hanson just do a handspring double back elbow? Holy balls. Cole is amazing, and counters Dunne’s Bitter End into a DDT, then ALMOST wins with his knee to the face. Dunne hits the Bitter End on Cole! Ricochet with a 450 splash out of nowhere! Dunne and Ricochet pin Cole! They win! It’s over! Holy shit I need a nap. What an incredible match. I can’t think of any way it could have been better.

Match Rating: Twenty Gold Medals

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Overall Show Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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