We have arrived at the go-home episode of NXT for TakeOver: Wargames and the build has been rather good so far. The build has actually been among the best NXT has done in recent years. The big match to look forward to is the ladder match between Shotzi Blackheart and Raquel Gonzalez to determine who has the advantage at WarGames. There is plenty more to look forward to as well but that is the main attraction for sure. Let us jump right in and see what NXT had to offer for the go-home edition.
RIP Pat Patterson
This was the most fitting way for NXT to start this week. The wrestling world lost a legend in Pat Patterson and seeing all the talent with Triple H, William Regal and HBK at the top of the entrance ramp was quite the sight. They stood in silence and the camera slowly panned up to show the image of Patterson on the screen. A video tribute would be played and it was perfect. I am sure we will see this tribute again on Smackdown, maybe at TakeOver and once again on Raw. The people in attendance would chant “Thank You Pat!” when they came back from the video tribute and his image would fill the screens in the CWC. Such a fitting tribute to a man that was quite the influence on the business.
Leon Ruff & Damian Priest vs Legado del Fantasma
I thought about grading this a bit lower but I had to keep it at this grade because Johnny Gargano on commentary was hysterical. Him as a heel is very much like AJ Styles in their approach and I love it. The match itself was fun and it was nice to see Priest be the one to eat the bulk of the offense against Legado. The match itself was taking place because Priest took out Joaquin Wilde and Legado came out wanting revenge for him. I will also add that Santos has one of the best tope suicidas going right now and that is totally because of his lucha background. Nobody does dives quite like they do. Fun action in this match and I loved that Ruff wanted to start the match to continue his journey of showing that he doesn’t just get lucky in matches. Ruff would relieve Priest and then Priest would come in for what looked like the pin but Ruff would tag himself him and hit a frogsplash for the win. They looked to turn their attention to Gargano but two figures in the Ghostface mask appeared behind Johnny. Now I am more intrigued as to who they can be.
Shotzi Blackheart Vignette
We got another one of these vignettes of Shotzi working on something and this time she was joined by her two teammates for WarGames in Ember Moon and Rhea Ripley. They had something to give her and I loved Shotzi’s reaction to it. She fell in love with what they presented her and they are really continuing to make Shotzi look like a star. She is my absolute fave right now and I can totally see her becoming NXT Women’s Champion next year and have a good run as champion.
Undisputed Era Video Package
This was a fine promo/vignette of the Undisputed Era and showed some nice highlights of their time in NXT. It was nice and they clearly are ready to go to war inside WarGames once again. I like how that match has become their signature match while in NXT and it isn’t a bad thing either. Solid enough segment here but nothing new came from it as well.
Team Candice Backstage
Team Candice is fully confident heading into the ladder match and believe Raquel will win them the advantage. I do have to say that I love the team they have put together here and they all seem to play off one another very well.
August Grey vs Cameron Grimes
This was a pretty short match and did plenty in building momentum for Grimes. Grimes has really become one of my favorites in NXT and the man really knows his character. He has yet to taste gold but I think that will change next year. He ended up picking up the win here and would then do some things after the match. He brought a burlap sack with him and a strap was inside. He put it on Grey and would then hit him with it. He looked to continue it but made the mistake of turning his back and Dexter Lumis would take Grey’s place. Lumis would get the upper hand on Grimes and would beat him up a bit. Lumis looks good going into their match at TakeOver.
Jake Atlas vs Tony Nese
This was a solid enough match but it was honestly hard to be invested in it because of Tony Nese. He is kind of in that Dolph Ziggler realm for me where he will be able to put on a good match but I just have no reason to be invested in him. Atlas is someone I feel like they can see doing good things and he would end up picking up the win here. He would be interviewed after the match and talk about how he wants to earn another shot at Santos. I hope he continues to grow because you can see a foundation of someone that could be a nice player in NXT.
Team McAfee In-Ring
Pat McAfee is just so dang good on the mic that it is scary how natural this comes to him. I love that line he gave of telling poor Vic Joseph to shut up and you could clearly hear Wade Barrett laughing. That was gold and had to be something he came up with on the spot. Pat talked smack about the Undisputed Era and the video package from earlier and how they will beat them at WarGames. Solid stuff from Pat here and he really knows how to talk up the other men as well. Pete Dunne would say that the Undisputed Era will end at TakeOver and we shall see how true that statement will be on Sunday.
Boa & Xia Li Training?
I truly am intrigued by what is going on with Boa and Xia. They are clearly going through some harsh training with their sensei and there is a mysterious woman that is watching them. They were being dunked in water and would later be hit with kendo sticks. I am really intrigued by this and wonder where they are going with it. They totally have my interest with this story.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Imperium
This was supposed to be Grizzled Young Veterans versus Ever-Rise but Imperium would attack them from behind and take their place. They took issue with what the Veterans said last week and wanted to let them know that NXT is their land. This would lead to a match and it was nice to see these two teams do battle in the ring. The NXT tag division has been kind of weak over the last couple of months or so and these two really add some depth and talent to it. Great back and forth action and Aichner really showed off his strength on that suplex. Ever-Rise would end up attacking both teams and the match would be thrown out. Ever-Rise would escape and give an interview during the commercial and simply say how great they are. It would seem like NXT is laying the groundwork for their tag division scene and I am all for it.
Thatch As Thatch Can
I have loved these segments and this was another fun one. Thatcher was in the ring with a student of his and the lesson he had for him this week was about distractions. He couldn’t even get into the lesson though because Tommaso Ciampa would come into the ring. Ciampa wanted to teach Thatcher a lesson but Thatcher kept telling him that he has no issue with him. Ciampa would eventually goad Thatcher and a brawl would ensue. Thatcher’s student would actually help him gain the upper hand and he would choke out Ciampa.
Thatcher would give an interview later and say how proud he was of his student taking the initiative and that he plans on showing Ciampa something at TakeOver. I am all for this match and I expect it to be a stiff one. I also spotted Malcolm Bivens talking to the student of Thatcher’s and I like that it wasn’t in focus and that Thatcher did not catch it. Maybe this means that Bivens will be used and not with that tag team that flopped.
Raquel Gonzalez vs Shotzi Blackheart
This was a fun main event and Shotzi really looks like a star. Raquel continues to look like a powerhouse and they have done a good job in building her as such. Shotzi is more than willing to let herself be thrown around and she did so for Raquel. This was actually a pretty competitive match and Shotzi did bust out some innovative offense that she has become known for. The chemistry between the two was rather solid as well and this was a fun match. The women were on platforms like the men were and Indi Hartwell would end up showing up with a ladder to help the heels off their platform. They would come in and shenanigans would ensue. The faces would get down from their platform with a ladder of their own and it was chaos. Io Shirai would end up showing up, it seems clear she helped the faces get down, and did a beautiful springboard onto Raquel’s back as she was climbing the ladder. Io would end up taking out everybody on the outside and Shotzi would climb the ladder to gain the advantage for her team. The face team will have the advantage, a rarity for WarGames, and Io is the final member of her team. The faces stood tall in the ring as NXT came to a close this week.
And That Is Undisputed
Overall, this was a good go-home episode for NXT. Things are continuing to take shape in certain parts of NXT and they did a good job in hyping up the matches for WarGames via matches or vignettes. The main event was plenty of fun and so was the opening match. The tag match was nice as well and the character work between Grimes and Lumis continues to be fun. McAfee shined on the mic as usual and I am continuing to be intrigued by the Boa/Xia Li stuff. All in all, good go-home from the black and gold brand. Make sure you join us on Sunday for TakeOver WarGames as we will be having a Dignified Discussion and it will certainly be a fun time. I am Sovereign S.A.M. and I will see you all around.