Welcome to our coverage of NXT TakeOver: War Games from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
Later tonight, Braden Herrington & Davie Portman will have a TakeOver: War Games POST Show and will be streaming the show live on their YouTube channel.
The kickoff featured Charly Caruso, Pat McAfee, and Sam Roberts opening the show.
Off the top, Mia Yim was attacked backstage that the announcers stated they would monitor.
*Angel Garza over Isaiah Scott in 7:36
*Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai over Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair & Kay Lee Ray in 27:25 in the War Games Match
*Pete Dunne over Damian Priest and Killian Dane in 19:57
*Finn Balor over Matt Riddle in 14:24
*Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic & Kevin Owens over Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish in the War Games match
ISAIAH SCOTT VS ANGEL GARZA
Garza tore off the pants after several minutes and hit Scott with a superkick. Garza hit an inverted slingshot suplex bouncing Scott off the top rope.
Garza was back body dropped, bounced off the ropes and fell back into a sit-out powerbomb on Scott. Later, Scott caught him with a Death Valley Driver onto the apron and hit a double stomp on the floor.
After being thwarted with a low kick, Garza landed a knee strike and the Wing Clipper for the win.
WINNER: Angel Garza at 7:36
The audience got into the action, it took a few minutes for the two to find their rhythm with each other. Garza feels like a major project with huge potential through his charisma.
Backstage, Yim was taken away in an ambulance and Rhea Ripley added Dakota Kai to the team.
SHAYNA BASZLER, IO SHIRAI, BIANCA BELAIR & KAY LEE RAY VS RHEA RIPLEY, CANDICE LeRAE, TEGAN NOX & DAKOTA KAI IN A WAR GAMES MATCH
They started off the main show with the women’s War Games match.
The match began with Io Shirai and Candice LeRae in a rematch from TakeOver: Toronto this past August.
LeRae dove from one ring to the next and Shirai landed a forearm. Shirai was in control for most of the five-minute period.
Bianca Belair entered the match third. Belair hit a double powerbomb on LeRae and then sent her into the side of the cage as the audience chanted for Belair. Shirai and Belair double-teamed LeRae for the whole period.
Rhea Ripley entered next and brought several weapons into the match. Belair was dropped onto the trash can as Ripley evened up the numbers.
The next entrant was Kay Lee Ray and he brought chairs into the ring. Ray hit a tornado DDT to Ripley on top of a chair. There was a huge Tower of Doom spot with Ripley sending everyone off including her partner LeRae onto several chairs. Belair followed with a 450-splash from the top onto Ripley.
Dakota Kai was next, she turned around and attacked Tegan Nox inside the cage. Kai slammed the door onto Nox’s previously injured knee. This turn was great and Mauro Ranallo’s reaction was phenomenal.
William Regal and officials came out to try and prevent Kai from further attacking Nox.
Shayna Baszler entered the match as Nox was being tended to and it’s 4-on-2. Ranallo updates that the War Games portion has begun with Nox out of the match.
Ripley and Baszler applied submissions on opposite sides of the cage, but each was broken. Ripley and LeRae were attempting to overcome the numbers disadvantage. Belair military pressed LeRae from one ring onto Ripley in the other. Shirai hit the moonsault on LeRae and Ripley tackled Ray onto them to break the cover.
Belair whipped Ripley with her hair and was stopped by LeRae’s kendo stick strikes. Shirai knocked LeRae down, climbed to the top of the cage and LeRae climbed up to stop her. Kay Lee Ray climbed and was hit with a poison ‘rana by LeRae off the top turnbuckle.
Belair and LeRae stood in the center as Shirai hit a moonsault from the top of the cage onto both.
Ripley hit Ray with a trash can but was caught in the Kirifuda Clutch, she switched arms and Ripley continued to fight it and were able to handcuff herself to Baszler and get out. Ripley hit a Rip Tide to Baszler through two chairs and pinned her.
WINNERS: Rhea Ripley & Candice LeRae at 27:25
This was incredible with a phenomenal story involving Dakota Kai that sets up multiple programs and then Ripley and LeRae overcoming the disadvantage to pull off the upset and set up Baszler’s next title defense with Ripley.
Shirai and LeRae set the tempo with the first five minutes and both were major standouts in the match. All the women played huge roles within the match and this was put together so effectively. Excellent match.
Imperium was shown in the crowd ahead of the three-way match.
PETE DUNNE VS KILLIAN DANE VS DAMIAN PRIEST
Early on, Dane caught Dunne with a Michinoku Driver and landed on top of Priest’s chest. Dane and Priest worked together to temporarily take out Dunne.
Dunne returned and stomped the hands of both. All three went for flying kicks and they went down together prompting an ‘NXT’ chant.
Priest hit Dunne with the Broken Arrow dropping him on top of Dane. Dunne was tossed to the floor and hit a Razor’s Edge sending Dunne onto the announcer’s desk. Dane dove onto Priest on the floor and Dane followed with a cannonball through a guardrail.
Inside the ring, Priest recovered and hit a Razor’s Edge to Dane out of the corner that Dunne returned and broke up the cover.
Priest dove onto Dane on the floor, Dunne continued with a moonsault from the top onto both.
Dunne and Priest went through several counters for the Reckoning and Bitter End ending with Dunne applying an armbar and Dane breaking it up. Dane hit an Ulster Plantation, a cannonball to both men in the corner and a Vader Bomb on Priest that was broken up by Dunne’s moonsault. Dunne hit the Bitter End and Priest broke it up.
Priest hit the Reckoning to Dunne after Cyclone Kicks to both and it was stopped by Dane.
Dunne hit Priest with the Bitter End, Dane stopped it and lifted Dunne on his shoulders. Dunne slipped to a rear-naked choke and Dane tried to break it with a senton on top of Priest, Dunne kicked Dane to the floor and was on top of the fallen Priest to score the fall.
WINNER: Pete Dunne at 19:57
This was a nonstop action-packed match for the twenty minutes it lasted. It was a big outing for Damian Priest to stand out on a big stage with his impressive dives and athletic ability. This was a great match and sets up Dunne challenging Adam Cole at the Survivor Series on Sunday for the NXT title.
MATT RIDDLE VS FINN BALOR
It began with chants back-and-forth. Each was working for control of the other with Balor applying a choke and keeping Riddle on the canvas. Balor worked such a different style that reflected the character change with his facial expressions reflecting that. Balor connected with a head kick to the jaw of Riddle.
Riddle cut off Balor with an exploder suplex, PK, and Bro-ton for a two-count. Riddle applied the ankle lock, Balor used up kicks, so Riddle moved to the other ankle. Balor was selling the ankle but came out of nowhere with a Suzuki style dropkick. Balor hit a sling blade and set up for the shotgun dropkick but was cut off with a spear.
Riddle hit a jackhammer and Balor kicked out.
Balor came back with an inverted 1916 that Riddle kicked out from.
Riddle recovered and hit the Bro 2 Sleep, which naturally led to ‘CM Punk’ chants. The Floating Bro ended with Riddle landing on Balor’s knees. Balor hit the shotgun dropkick and missed the Coup de Grace allowing Riddle to lock the Bro Mission on and Balor rolled out. On their feet, Balor transitioned to the regular 1916/Bloody Sunday for the win.
WINNER: Finn Balor at 14:24
It was another good match on the card and very different from the previous ones. It was Balor’s first significant match back in NXT and therefore, made sense for him to win. Riddle doesn’t have a clear role in NXT but is incredibly popular. I really enjoyed the transitions, counters, and submission style they brought to the card.
THE UNDISPUTED ERA VS TOMMASO CIAMPA, KEITH LEE, DOMINIK DIJAKOVIC & KEVIN OWENS IN THE WAR GAMES MATCH
The mystery partner didn’t come out at the beginning of the match. Tommaso Ciampa and Roderick Strong started the match.
Ciampa gave his crutch to Strong, who tossed it away stating he didn’t need it for Ciampa. It was largely all Ciampa until he was caught with a gutbuster from the double knees by Strong near the end of the period.
Kyle O’Reilly was the third entrant. They double-teamed Ciampa for the entire period.
Dominik Dijakovic was in next. Dijakoivc played the monster by attacking O’Reilly and Strong while Ciampa recovered.
Bobby Fish entered the match next. O’Reilly and Fish hit Ciampa with Chasing the Dragon and the crowd chanted for TUE. They followed by triple-teaming Dijakovic with strikes against the fence.
The crowd began singing ‘Bask in his Glory’ as they awaited Keith Lee’s addition to the match. Lee entered and went after all three. He leap-frogged over Fish and O’Reilly and took out both with a crossbody and the place exploded for Lee. His stock has shot through the roof over the past few weeks.
Adam Cole joined the match and he brought tables out before entering the ring. There was one set up against the barricade and Cole was knocked down by Ciampa and sent through the table on the floor.
It is 4-on-3 with no partner appearing for Ciampa’s team.
Then, the clocks started counting down and Kevin Owens appears to join Team Ciampa. The reaction was enormous.
Owens ran wild, attacked Adam Cole after he tried to recruit him and hit a stunner, but Cole was saved.
Strong took a nasty biel from one ring to the other and grabbed his head after landing on the others.
Lee landed a high cross onto three members of TUE, while he was down O’Reilly came off the top with a knee drop onto Lee’s knee. O’Reilly applied a kneebar.
Fish was hit with a Fairy Tale Ending and Swanton from Owens, but Cole saved.
Owens attempted a package piledriver on the edge between the two rings, Cole blocked and struggled but hit the Panama Sunrise to Owens.
Cole and Ciampa made their way on top of the cage and traded strikes. O’Reilly was placed on the table with a triangle applied to Dijakovic and Owens came off the top and put O’Reilly through the table with a splash. Lee powerbombed Fish through a table from the top.
Ciampa lifted Cole on his shoulders on the top of the cage and came off the top with an Air Raid putting both through the table, it was an unreal spot. Ciampa lay on top and pinned Cole to win the match.
WINNERS: Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic & Kevin Owens
It was an incredible spectacle, and everyone worked incredibly hard in this one. The reaction for Owens was enormous when he came out.
They cut to Britt Baker watching Cole from the crowd and in shock.
This was another solid thumbs up TakeOver and every match on the main show delivered in its own way. Excellent show.