Posted November 20, 2017 by Emjay Lapus in Entertainment

REVIEW: Shock & Awe–NXT TakeOver: WarGames

Did TakeOver: WarGames help Superstars rocket to the top of the mountain and deliver moments of astronomical proportions as NXT took over Houston? Find out after the jump!

Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan


The night got off to a slow start with this match. There wasn’t much of an exchange in momentum as it was more of a Lars Sullivan showcase, considering that it was his first TakeOver ever. Ohno, being the seasoned veteran, helped make Sullivan look like the monster he needed to be. As for the upstart Sullivan, he put the NXT locker room on notice.

Rating: 3/5

Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream


As this had the most consistent build-up out of all the matches on the card, this match had the biggest potential to steal the show. And given how it all went down from start to finish, it did not disappoint one bit. One might even argue that it surpassed expectations. This is a good example of effective storytelling in the modern age.

Though it was predicted that Black would be the fan favorite heading into the match, it was quite a surprise to see the crowd get behind Velveteen Dream. After their impressive outing, it’s a no-brainer that everyone will say both names soon enough. It doesn’t matter what the scorecard says; Aleister Black both men won that night.

Rating: 5/5

Ember Moon vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Kairi Sane – NXT Women’s Championship


Given the positioning of this match in the card, the crowd was a bit winded but kudos to them for trying to keep their energy up, especially with a match where it was clearly anybody’s ball game Everybody got their licks in, but the most noteworthy moment during the match came in the form of Ember Moon hitting the Eclipse on Peyton Royce and Nikki Cross at the same time, just before sealing the biggest win of her NXT career so far. Asuka presenting the title to her after the match was a nice touch as well.


Rating: 4.5/5

Andrade “Cien” Almas vs. Drew McIntyre – NXT Championship


Since acquiring the services of Zelina Vega, Almas was on a hot streak, securing wins against the likes of Johnny Gargano and Roderick Strong, so Almas getting a title shot given his current wave was somehow expected. Admittedly, it’s great that he finally gets a chance to be the top guy in NXT after a dry spell in the early stages of his run. It’s just unfortunate that it came at the expense of an injured McIntyre, who tore his bicep during the match.


McIntyre’s injury notwithstanding, the match itself would have been above average at best if it were just between both men, but Vega was the hot sauce needed to give it a boost. Just watching her attempt a headscissors takedown on McIntyre twice during the match (the second one being successful) was pretty clever. Perhaps this hints at a future run in the Women’s Division (*wink wink*). Other than that, it was a slightly better-than-okay match. It didn’t have quite a big fight feel for a title match, but it was enough to help fans recover for what was to come in a bit.

Rating: 4/5

The Undisputed Era vs. Sanity vs. The Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong – WarGames Match


Boy, was this worthy of headlining a TakeOver. Though the decision to keep the cage open up top was a bit controversial, the roof would have still been blown off after what all three teams brought to the match. Given that The Undisputed Era came out on top in the previous TakeOver despite not being booked in the card, they had a lot riding on them heading into the match. And they definitely capitalized on that opportunity. However, they can’t take all of the credit for the amazing main event.


From bell to bell, everyone got a chance to shine and the match wasn’t short on highlights–Sanity storming the ring in full force and bringing in a plethora of weapons; AOP taking everyone out with simultaneous Towers of Doom from the corner; Roderick Strong superplexing Adam Cole from the top of the cage and laying everyone out in the process… I could go on and on about what went down but it’s best to watch it in full instead. That being said, despite some tiny miscues, WWE’s take on WCW’s Fall Brawl tradition was just the icing on the cake in a night full of surprises.

Rating: 5/5


An old adage goes: “Study the past if you would define the future.” This quote summed up TakeOver: WarGames perfectly in a way. NXT elevated a new set of Superstars to the next level while re-introducing a classic match (which was obviously the focal point of the night) and old-school storytelling aspects. Add some memorable moments, especially during the main event, and you have arguably the best TakeOver of the year. Hell, it could even be one of the best TakeOvers of all time. It’s definitely worth a rewatch.


Overall Rating: 4.5/5


Photos courtesy of WWE.com

Emjay Lapus

Emjay wears multiple hats -- communications specialist, aspiring Power Ranger, wrestling fan, sneakerhead, comic book reader, member of the Grizz Nation, part-time musician/full-time music lover, Grove Street OG, occasional photo/video editor (mostly memes), and protector of Earthrealm.