Last night, NXT went to war with its annual ‘WarGames’ event. With hard-hitting action and different approaches than expected, there is lots to discuss from another cracking TakeOver.
Therefore, let’s just dive into the six biggest takeaways from NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2020.
6. Will Raquel Gonzalez Be The Next NXT Women’s Championship Challenger?
After a 30-minute pre-show and another banging video package – always a big thumbs up to WWE’s editing team – we witnessed our first WarGames match of the night.
The opening match featured Shotzi Blackheart leading her team into battle, which included NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley & Ember Moon. The opposing team was led by Candice LeRae and her troops were Toni Storm, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez. Speaking of the latter, this match was fully set up to turn her into one of NXT’s biggest stars. Literally and figuratively.
After the babyfaces rolled out on a tank – which was a pivotal part to the advertising of this show – Ember Moon started the vicious beatdown off with Dakota Kai.
Once five minutes ticked down, Shotzi Blackheart entered the matchup, then Gonzalez, then Ripley, then Storm, then Shirai and then finally, Candice LeRae was locked inside WarGames.
During this match, Io Shirai hit one of the strangest but most unique maneuvers seen in WarGames! She leaped from the top of the cage… with her entire body inside a trashcan.
She probably hurt herself as much as her opponents, but we don’t question logic: “OMG! That was a thing of beauty” said every NXT fan.
After this moment, the action heightened with more never-seen WarGames spots, such as Ember Moon hitting an Eclipse onto Dakota Kai, who was helpless on a steel chair! It was insane!
Despite the innovation, most of the moves being whacked during this match just didn’t make sense. Like why would they hit moves that hurt themselves as much as their opponents? They do show impressively on the screen but I bet they didn’t feel good for either woman during the execution.
Such was the case at the end, which saw Raquel Gonzalez powerbomb NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai through a ladder, which was positioned perfectly in the middle of the two rings. Gonzalez pinned the champion and therefore, gained the win for Team Candice.
If this doesn’t lead to Raquel Gonzalez vs Io Shirai for the NXT Women’s Championship, then it is a missed opportunity. Surely, this is the plan though.
5. Tommaso Ciampa Beats Timothy Thatcher
Next up, we saw a gruelling encounter between Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher.
This match being intense was no surprise due to who was competing. Back and forth strikes, chops and submissions conveyed this bout as a technical sacrifice. Both men had to prove what they were fighting for. Ciampa has been lost in the shuffle for some time now and Thatcher wants to cement his name as one of NXT’s top stars.
Unfortunately for the principal of ‘Thatch-As-Thatch Can’, he was beaten by Ciampa’s Widows Bell finisher.
I’m interested to see where they go next from this. Obviously, the original plan was to have Ciampa heel but due to the lack of babyfaces, they turned him back. Personally, I felt like Thatcher should have won this one. The only big name he has beaten was Matt Riddle in his farewell from the brand. His other big matches against Balor and Ciampa have seen no attempt in making Thatcher a name NXT relies on. If they do want Thatcher to be a big player for the company, he must start winning matches.
4. Dexter Lumis Wins Strap Match
In the most predictable match of the night, Dexter Lumis won the Strap Match against Cameron Grimes.
This story has been haunting Wednesday nights for the entire fall season and now finally seems to have wrapped up. Quite literally, as the strap stopping Lumis and Grimes from being separated was creatively used throughout this bout. If it wasn’t being used as a whip, it was used as a blindfold or a handcuff. Whatever way it was presented, the one most important factor to the strap was Grimes not being able to escape.
Bless him, he did try to scamper away from the intimidating hands of Dexter Lumis. However, the point in this goofy stipulation is to keep the fight brawling and it fitted this purpose.
Lumis maliciously tortured Grimes until he earned the victory.
What’s next for both men? Hopefully, no more matches against each other.