Show starts with the worst match of the night between Lars Sullivan and Kassius Ohno. Lars has been fun to watch when he plowed through nobodies, but this was his first real match I guess against a guy his size. He seemed a bit green. Ohno throws some great elbows and kicks so his come back was nice. In the end Lars wins and will continue to be Strowman Light?
Second match was MUCH better. Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream. Some good mind games at the start with Dream having his face and Black's face on his tight. Rude style. Match starts with Black dominating through wrestling holds. The crowd is into it and especially into Dream. They try to psych eachother out by posing, gyrating and stealing eachother's pose. Good stuff. The match goes on, becomes better and better imo and in the end it is ALeister who wins it. He sits down, says "Enjoy infamy, Velveteen Dream" HE SAID HIS NAME! That's all he ever asked for. No but seriously this was a great match. It made me go from "The guy from Tough Enough has a gimmick" to "Hey, he's grown in the ring and ito the character. I like him"
We go backstage where Regal talks to Sanity and Nicki Cross just flies out of a corner. Fun stuff.
Women's match was very solid and had some great action. Somehow I don't recall Kairi Sane doing much. But maybe that's because from the get-go I figured Ember MUST win or else she's pretty much done for. And yup she does win in in a double-stunner spot. Post match, Asuka enters the ring and gives her the title. A nice genuine moment.
Almas vs McIntyre for the NXT championship. I didn't give Almas a chance at all but knew he'd have a good match. Early interference from Zelina Vega fails. I like Drew's offense here. He tosses Cien around like it's nothing. They eventually go for the big moves and keep kicking out. Almas distracts the ref, Zelina does a rana on Drew followed by Almas' big DDT but NOoooooo! I squealed as I thought the impossible was happening. They go on and then Drew gets caught on the top, and Andrade Cien Almas delivers an insane DDT (Drew's stretched out, feet on the top turnbuckle but suddenly spikes himself on the way down) for the win. WTF! New champ! I did NOT see that one coming! Awesome! This ungovernable guy is suddenly the champ!
War games is next and the rules are that one guy for each team starts. Three cages hold the others. They'll open and two guys from the same team will open at the same time. Interesting format. You know this means the UE will get that advantage There was no roof on the cage (making it easier to fly around I guess) and in actual clever thinking to announce this so people wouldn't point out the obvious it was said that if you leave the cage, your team is out of the match.
The leaders for each team start (Roderick, Young and Adam Cole (with a huge BAYBAY chant) and they all try to double cross one another. Yup, U.E. enters first and lay the boots to the other two. Authors of Pain are next and this evens the odd a bit. When it's time for Sanity, they first throw in a whole bunch of weapons. The crowd chants for tables because they're programmed to do that..Oh well. Eventually there's a little bit of everything in the ring and Killian Dain closes it behind him. NOW we can get really started. What follows is pure chaos, with bodies flying everywhere. Oddly enough usually all people cluster in the same ring. McGuinness comments on this, saying he'd try to get into the other ring where it's easier to move but nope, everyone's usually on one side From here on out it's just insane. Too much happens. People going through tables, chairs, one another etc etc etc. Everyone gets their spots, everyone eats them too. We get freakin Killian Dain doing a freakin (almost) coast to coast on O'Reilly. I mean wow. We get super-plexes, super-coliders, superkicks and so much more. End game is Adam Cole on top of the cage, Strong goes up to meet him and suplexes him down onto the mass of people. Everyone then takes out everyone until Adam Cole knees Eric Young who held a chair. Cole gets the win for the Undisputed Era following an insane match. Wow.,
Thoughts; After the kinda crapp first match, it got great really fast. Everyone, as always, worked their ass off and then there was the shock of Almas winning it. I expected Drew to defend against Cole at the next TakeOver but I guess we'll go in a different direction.
You beat me to the punch, so I'll move my thoughts over here.
I thought this was a damn fine show. Good enough that the main roster will have to put in effort to surpass it but not so amazing that it can't be done.
While the end of Sullivan/Ohno was a bit abrupt, I really enjoyed Sullivan no-selling Ohno's strikes. He probably needs more seasoning, but I'd love to see Sullivan vs Braun Strowman.
Black vs Dream told a great story. In the end, Velveteen Dream's cockiness may have cost him the match, but it was so hard fought that he seemingly earned Aleister Black's respect. I think both men came out of this feud stronger than they came in. Personally, I'd like to see them each move on to something else and then revisit this feud later when Dream has picked up some meaningful victories and wants to avenge his loss.
The women's match ended about as predictably as it could, but I enjoyed it throughout. Ember Moon winning makes sense because she stood to lose the most from not coming out on top. Kairi Sane is popular enough that she doesn't need the title yet. Nikki Cross is just fine without the title. And while Peyton Royce would have been an interesting champion for the other women to chase, her losing doesn't damage her, while her winning could have hurt Moon's credibility. (At one point, I could have sworn the crowd was turning on Ember Moon, though they popped when she won.) There are no obvious stories to go forward with, but plenty of options that could be worthwhile.
Almas defeating McIntyre surprised me, honestly. El Idolo is great and will make a worthwhile champion, but I wasn't expecting them to pull the trigger. Veda's interference was annoying but at least the eventual end was clean, so Almas doesn't look completely weak as a result. I hope he's able to pick up at least one major victory clean in the near future, however. Triple H reported after the show that Drew may have suffered a torn bicep and will be examined on Monday to find out, so a rematch may or may not be forthcoming.
War Games was awesome. The rules tweaks they put into place served the match well. The brutality was appropriately high but they didn't do anything completely insane for the most part, despite the "Please Don't Die!" chant as Adam Cole and Roderick Strong were both standing on top of the cage. Looking at the entrants, I was expecting Alexander Wolf to take the pin, so it was nice to see Eric Young do the honors instead. He can afford the loss and the chair-assisted shining wizard was so brutal that it didn't make him look weak at all. Even Roderick Strong, who many fairly criticize as being boring, was interesting in the match. Wearing a matching uniform as the Authors of Pain was a nice touch to add a feeling of unity to that team. I think Killian Dane was the standout performer though Undisputed Era were definitely the stars at the end of the match, as it should have been.
So where do we go from here? With Drew possibly hurt, someone else may have to step up to challenge Almas. Aleister Black is certainly in a position to do so. In fact, he might be the only babyface built up enough to challenge for the title at this point. Almas just defeated Gargano multiple times, Roderick Strong will presumably be feuding with Adam Cole, and none of the other babyfaces have looked particularly strong as of late. With just over two months until the next Takeover, they don't have a lot of time to build anyone up.
I imagine Ember Moon will be feuding with the Iconic Duo for the moment, though NXT is pretty damn good about choosing some woman at random and turning her into a credible challenger, so who knows.
I suspect Sanity will be defending their titles against ReDragon in Philadelphia come Rumble time, though I believe the Authors of Pain are still owed a rematch as well, if I remember correctly.
Does Lars Sullivan go back to squash matches or do they use him to build up a babyface? I could see Gargano feuding with Sullivan, though I'm not sure that Gargano can afford another loss at this point. He really needs to be built up a bit more before Ciampa's return, which is reported to happen in March.
Personally, I'd throw Velveteen Dream into a short feud with Lio Rush. The motivation is there, with Rush wanting revenge for being attacked by Dream when he was supposed to be facing Aleister Black. And assuming Rush still has heat from the entire lockerroom, he might as well get his punishment on TV.
At this point, it really seems like there are a lot of people who need to build momentum and not enough who can afford to lose it. It's NXT though, so I have faith that whatever they decide to do, it will be watchable.
I'm trying to figure out if the title change was on purpose or whether it was due to the injury at the end. The injury seemed to result from McIntyre holding on to the rope too long on the DDT, and in re-watching it looked like things happened too fast for it to not have been the intended finish. That said, I presumed they were going to go McIntyre vs Cole as well. If it was an audible, kudos to all for taking it all in stride.
Black / Dream was awesome, loved it from start to finish.
WarGames was better than I thought it would be. Holy crap, thought Wolfe was dead at the end.
"As you may have read in Robert Parker's Wine Newsletter, 'Donaghy Estates tastes like the urine of Satan, after a hefty portion of asparagus.'" Jack Donaghy, 30 Rock
I think War Games just made a very solid attempt at show of the year. Only one "bad" match, and honestly it was so short it was hard to really object to it. On top of that, being the first match meant that you forgot it almost immediately, once Dream/Black started.
Man, what a match that was. I had such low expectations, and it just blew me away. I've seen for a while what the company saw in Patric Clarke, but there was just something missing there. Last night, he rolled a bunch of Rick Rude into both his character and his ringwork, and it just all came together. Velveteen Dream is a money player now.
Originally posted by InVerseAlmas defeating McIntyre surprised me, honestly. El Idolo is great and will make a worthwhile champion, but I wasn't expecting them to pull the trigger. Veda's interference was annoying but at least the eventual end was clean, so Almas doesn't look completely weak as a result. I hope he's able to pick up at least one major victory clean in the near future, however. Triple H reported after the show that Drew may have suffered a torn bicep and will be examined on Monday to find out, so a rematch may or may not be forthcoming.
I'd argue that the way they used Vega's interference was super smart. Early in the match, she was a non-entity as all her attempts to get involved failed to work. Later in the match, aside from making the save on the pin (which she nearly botched, which was great), her interference again failed to help Almas pick up the win. Where she really came into play was directing Almas and telling him what to do and when. I thought their dynamic really worked well in the match.
Originally posted by InVerseEven Roderick Strong, who many fairly criticize as being boring, was interesting in the match. Wearing a matching uniform as the Authors of Pain was a nice touch to add a feeling of unity to that team.
I am the grand champion of calling Roderick Strong boring, but I'll admit I really only mean on the mic. In the ring, he's got such great intensity and overall believability that I always wind up getting into his matches, even when there's not a lot at stake. Here, being a part of the AoP, he was great. I genuinely want to see that alliance continue. In fact, I really wanted to see him pick up the win here, if for no other reason than to see him riding around on the shoulders of the AoP.
Additionally, no one's mentioned the tremendous amount of blood Wolf left in the ring. Seriously, at the end of the match he looked like he'd been murdered, and there was a literal pool of his blood on the table that the camera picked up a couple times. I think Wolf bled so much that Drake was covered in his blood by the end.
The main reason I opened this thread was that I was going to ask about "that red-faced ref". I first I thought my TV's colors were messed up, but then noticed that everybody else looked normal.
Does he just have an un-natural tan ("skin like a hot dog") or was he spray-painted/pranked before the event as some sort of rib? I agree that he was very distracting. He almost looked like Brother Love.