Wow, WWE NXT TakeOver War Games 2017 was a crazy show. I’m putting “2017” in the title in the hopes WWE decides to run with this theme again for a future TakeOver (hint, hint). Anyway, I’ve been up for way too long and you probably don’t read this part anyway – so let’s get to the recap!
WWE NXT TakeOver War Games 2017 Recap – Kickoff Show
The Kickoff Show is a standard NXT TakeOver Kickoff Show. 30 minutes of match previews and a panel discussion between Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Booker T.
Besides some “earlier today, wrestlers arrived at the building” footage, the lone piece of original content was a backstage interview between Christy and Peyton Royce. Er, make that Billie Kay and Peyton – as Billie promptly excused Christy.
Beyond that, we get a Izzy cameo during a “Kayla Braxton is with the fans” segment and it’s time for the main show.
Here’s the KickOff Show if you don’t feel like pulling it up on the Network.
WWE NXT TakeOver War Games 2017 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever. A War Games hype video airs first and then we’re live from Houston, TX. Mauro welcomes us to the show and introduces the commentary team of himself, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson.
Ohno’s music hits and he’s out first. Lars Sullivan enters next.
Match #1: Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan
Lars goes over in relatively easy fashion over Ohno with his finisher. I mostly expected this to happen. Ohno has been adrift since landing at NXT and he really felt like the “credible Superstar” to serve up to a heating up Sullivan. Ohno does fare a bit better than most of Lars’ recent opponents – actually dropping Lars at one point with a Cyclone Kick. However, this match was here to get Lars over as a monster and that’s what it did. When compared to the rest of this card – this match pales in comparison. But, this is still not bad and a definite step up for Lars Sullivan.
Verdict: Thumbs In The Middle – Only knocking the rating down a hair as this match is on a really engaging card. Either way, mission accomplished in getting Lars a high-profile win on a big show.
Meanwhile in the front row – it’s the WWE U.K. Division (minus Pete Dunne). I guess if they’re under some sort of contract (maybe) why not get their faces on TV. We see Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, Mark Andrews, and Wolfgang.
Next, we see the Undisputed Era hanging out backstage. Regal enters and talks to them. We don’t hear what anyone is saying.
Aleister Black’s music hits to a big pop and he’s out. We get candles, but no live band this time around. Velveteen Dream is out next. He’s wearing a tan fringe half-shirt and chaps over his tights. Once getting in the ring, Velveteen Dream removes the chaps and reveals his tights have Aleister Black’s face airbrushed on one leg and the front says “Say My Name”. This is some Ravishing Rick Rude level heel stuff. Patrick Clark is “all in” on this gimmick and it is wonderful.
Match #2: Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream
Well, I suppose context is everything – so since I gave none – I’m sorry for the 666 shot penalty in the Drinking Game. No, Aleister Black didn’t lose, he went over with the Black Mass in one of the better matches I’ve seen in 2017. He did, however, say “Velveteen Dream” but more out of respect. Black and Dream weaved a wonderful web during this match – aping each other’s signature spots and matching each other’s intensity. I know I was not a fan of “The Bar” when Cesaro and Sheamus were thrust together – but I’d love to see Aleister Black and Velveteen Dream team up in similar fashion and win a future Dusty Classic. The chemistry between these two has been off the charts from the jump and they really pushed it over the edge in this match. One of my favorite moments came towards the end. Already staggered by the rigors of the match, Velveteen Dream ascends the ropes to attempt to put Black away with his elbow drop. Battered and bruised, Velveteen Dream had to pause and gyrate his hips – causing Black to counter the move and eventually win the match. Yes, that is something I’ve been led to believe that Velveteen Dream would do in such a situation and I absolutely loved the attention to detail in that spot and the match as a whole. This match has put Velveteen Dream on the map.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Toss up for match of the night with the main event. Excellent work from both men.
Post-match, Black is seated cross-legged next to Velveteen Dream. Black conjures up a mic and tells Dream, “Enjoy infamy, Velveteen Dream”. He said it – but not how Dream thought he’d say it. So good.
Now it’s time to take a look into SAnitY’s locker room. Regal enters and talks to them – but again, we can’t hear what is being said. We get a wonderful Nikki Cross cameo and she’s seated, rocking back and forth, in a locker towards the back.
Hey, look in the crowd – it’s Asuka, Funaki, and Finn Balor!
Meanwhile, William Regal is in the ring with the vacant NXT Women’s Championship.
Nikki Cross is out first. Kairi Sane (w/ new entrance theme) is out next. Peyton is out third (w/ Billie Kay) and Billie actually heads to the back. Ember Moon is out last.
Match #3: Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Kairi Sane vs. Nikki Cross (Fatal Four Way Match for the Vacant NXT Women’s Championship)
More good stuff. NXT found themselves in a position where there was no “bad choice” amongst these four women. I went with Nikki Cross in my predictions because she’s my current fave at NXT so that was a more biased prediction. Moon was my outlier and she did the deed and I couldn’t be more happy to see it. Of course, getting there was half the fun. We got a Tower of Doom, Nikki Cross going on a run hitting her finisher on Sane, Royce hitting her magnificent bridging Fisherman’s Suplex, but it was Ember Moon hitting a double Eclipse on Royce and Cross that made her the new Women’s Champion. Moon pinning Cross over Royce leads me to believe that could be where we’re going next in the division. Time will tell. A brilliant effort from all four women. While this is most definitely getting a “Thumbs Up”, Velveteen Dream vs. Aleister Black was a tough act to follow.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Ember Moon is an excellent choice for Women’s champion. I’m excited to see her title run unfold.
Post-match, Regal is about to award the title to Moon but Asuka asks if she can present it. Asuka presents the title to Moon and they hug in the ring.
Meanwhile, Mauro shows us the Mattel toy that is sponsoring this show.
In a dark room, Ellering is talking to Roderick Strong, while the Authors of Pain pace in the background. Regal enters, speaks with them – about what, we shall never know.
Meanwhile, hey it’s Kevin Owens (w/ Undisputed Era t-shirt) and elsewhere in the crowd, Samoa Joe.
Andrade Cien Almas and Zelina Vega are out next. Champ enters last and he’s wearing a “The Bar”-esque utilikilt. Drew lays the title on the mat and kneels down. Zelina Vega starts talking trash to him and she’s barely taller than a kneeling Drew McIntyre. Wow. Eventually, Drew rises and towers over her. Almas steps in front of Zelina and shoves Drew by the face. It’s on!
Match #4: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Andrade Cien Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) (NXT Championship Match)
Well, damn. Drew gets injured in this match – possibly during the finish and we get a new champion. It’s really hard to tell if the finish was planned or an audible. If it was the planned finish, Almas and Vega did one Hell of a sell job making it look like neither expected this to happen. The match leading up to the injury is solid. For a match booked in the usual “bathroom break” spot it held my attention and made me call this “NXT TakeOver: No Bathroom Breaks”. Of course, Zelina heavily factored into Andrade’s win – which essentially needed to happen. She hit a crazy spikerana on Drew behind the ref’s back and also got Andrade’s foot on the ropes after Drew hits a Claymore on him. Early on, Vega attempted a headscissors on Drew and he caught her and deposited her back on the apron. I love that they let Vega get physically involved in Andrade’s matches and of course hope this leads to her being allowed to actually wrestle matches in the women’s division. She’s great as Andrade’s mouthpiece, but I could totally see her break away at some point (ala Alexa Bliss and Blake & Murphy). Regardless, Drew potentially tearing his bicep at some point in the match puts a dark cloud over a really strong NXT Championship match. The finish is awkward, I believe largely due to the injury, as Almas hits an ugly-looking DDT out of the corner and covers McIntyre for 3.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Obviously, a “thumbs down” for Drew getting injured. However, switching to an Andrade Almas title run isn’t a bad thing at all. His partnership with Vega has been one of the best parts about the weekly NXT show in recent weeks and I imagine it’s about to get a whole lot better now.
Post-match, Almas celebrates for a really long time. And he even accidentally tosses the title over his head at one point as it slips out of his hands. Oops. Consensus seems to be that he oversold the celebration to stall for time due to the injury. We never get much of a look at Drew beyond him looking a combination of pissed off and in pain. Not good.
Next, air raid sirens hit as the double cage lowers. It’s almost War Games time!
We see Dustin Rhodes and Arn Anderson hanging out in the front row. Mike Rome explains the (lengthy) rules to War Games and we see the three shark cages at the entry way.
SAnitY enter first and elect to have Eric Young start for them. Undisputed Era are out next and they mock SAnitY who are locked in their shark cage. UE opt to start with Adam Cole. Authors of Pain and Roderick Strong are out next and oh… my… God. Roderick Strong is wearing AoP gear and has his own “Authors of Pain reptile head” helmet. Awesome. I popped louder for this than Kurt Angle in a Shield vest. Strong starts the match for his team.
Match #5: Roderick Strong & The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. SAnitY vs. Undisputed Era (War Games Match)
So, we start with the Triple Threat portion for five minutes, which Adam Cole ends up ruling. Predictably, Undisputed Era are released next. They run the field until the Authors of Pain are released. More carnage until SAnitY is released. Alexander Wolfe produces a police baton when he enters and Killian Dain fills one of the rings with chairs, chains, trash cans, kendo sticks and (at crowd request) tables. Killian Dain locks the cage door shut with a chain and lock and SWALLOWS THE KEY.
War Games is on. Killian Dain is the hero of this match as the man goes on incredible runs and caps his performance by hitting a Shane McMahon “Coast to Coast” on Kyle O’Reilly. We get a nice dual “Tower Of Doom” in each ring with Adam Cole being the lone guy left sitting in between the rings. Lots of insane spots, crazy visuals, and blood. Oh man, the most blood we’ve seen on a PPV since Brock beat the crap out of Orton at SummerSlam. It became obvious why there was no roof to the cage when Roderick Strong superplexed Adam Cole off the cage onto the field of seven men. Yeah, that got a “please don’t die” chant from the crowd and was actually legit scary to watch.
As violent and chaotic as the match was, the finish was actually quite simple. Adam Cole runs at Eric Young attempting a shining wizard. EY tries to block it with a chair and eats the entire brunt of the move. Everyone else is down so Cole is able to pin Young to get the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – It was a crazy and chaotic gimmick match – but I went in expecting that and got what was advertised. Good stuff. I hope everyone is okay as some of the spots were wild and Alexander Wolfe appeared to lose a lot of blood. Thankfully, this is NXT so these guys don’t have to work the next night like they do on the main roster. Undisputed Era winning over SAnitY is what I predicted and I’m assuming some sort of tag title match is spawned from this.
Post-match, Undisputed Era slowly rise and celebrate over the fallen bodies all around them. They set up some chairs and sit down as we go off the air. Of course, they have no choice as the door is locked and they can’t leave. Remember, Killian Dain ate the key.