NXT Takeover: Wargames Preview

(Photos courtesy of WWE.com)

Kassius Ohno v. Lars Sullivan


ANALYSIS: Lars Sullivan (height of 6’3″ and weight of 303 lbs. billed as being from Denver, Colorado) has been virtually unstoppable, brutalizing his opponents with what he calls the Freak Accident (a waist-lift spinebuster).  After the matches he has been known to punish his opponents even further, and would have laid more waste to his opponent on NXT this past Wednesday had it not been for Kassius Ohno (6’4, 270 from Dayton, Ohio) entering the ring for a verbal staredown. Sullivan just stared at Ohno, laughed, then walked away.

Now Ohno is no slouch in the ring. During his recent NXT tour, he has been toe to toe with the likes of sAnitY, Hideo Itami, Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Elias Samson, and Andrade “Cien” Almas. His finishing move is the Cyclone Kick (Discus big boot) which has won him some matches. Ohno had approached NXT General Manager William Regal and had an idea of how to throw his name back into the championship mix. Regal asked how, and Ohno said he wanted Sullivan.

PREDICTION: It is going to be, as WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross always says, an old fashioned slobberknocker. Both men are powerhouses in their own right, with killer finishing moves. However, I have to give the edge to Kassius Ohno as he wants to get his name back into the NXT Chmpionship hunt, and what better way to do so than by knocking off the bruiser known as Lars?

Aleister Black v. The Velveteen Dream


ANALYSIS: Black (6′, 205 from Amsterdam, Holland) is like a silent killer. He enters the ring and sits stoically with his legs folded in front of him staring ahead as if he were meditating. Opponents might see this as a chance to get a jump on him but soon come to realize that they are fighting an uphill battle, ultimately falling prey to his devastating spin kick finisher known as Black Mass. His silence rankles one Velveteen Dream, who desperately wants Black to say his name.

Dream (6’2, 227 from Capitol Hill in Washington, DC) is a flamboyant character with the fashion of 1980’s WWE Superstar “Adorable” Adrian Adonis and the cockiness of 2000’s WWE Superstar CM Punk. Ever since appearing on NXT, Dream has devestated his opponents with a diving elbow drop known as Purple Rainmaker. He had tried to play mind games with Black by wearing his jacket and also by blindsiding him before a match the last time these two confronted each other. Black nearly leveled Dream with the Black Mass, but Dream escaped with his life.

PREDICTION: This might be one of the shortest matches on the card if Black gets his hands on Dream. On the other hand, if Dream just sticks and moves, he might tire Black out. That scenario is highly unlikely, and as such I am giving Aleister Black the win.

Drew McIntyre (Champion) v. Andrade “Cien Almas (w/ Zelina Vega) – NXT Championship)


ANALYSIS: Almas (5’9″, 210 from Gómez Palacio, Durango, Mexico) has become ruthless and dangerous ever since Zelina Vaga had come to his side as his business manager. At TakeOver: Brooklyn III, Almas and Vega played mindgames when Vega threw an old #DIY (the tag team Gargano was a part of with Tomasso Ciampa) t-shirt into the ring to distract Gargano and give Almas time to lock in the hammerlock DDT for the win. Vega, thinking Almas deserves much more, had been goading NXT Champion Drew McIntyre into a match with Almas. McIntyre said he would only do so if Almas had the cojones to come to him face to face. After a match on NXT, Almas took the headset from lead announcer Mauro Ranallo and demanded a match for the championship, which McIntyre accepted.

McIntyre (6’5, 254 from Ayr, Scotland) won the NXT Championship at TakeOver: Brooklyn III over Bobby Roode, and since then had defended it against Roderick Strong, Roode, Hideo Itami, and even Adam Cole. He has been known to employ not one but two finishing moves on his opponents, the running single leg front dropkick known as the Claymore as well as the snap double arm underhook DDT known as Future Shock.

PREDICTION: Almas is short and wiry. However, it only takes one mistake and three seconds to lose. In order for Almas to win, he has to keep McIntyre at bay and also work on the legs. On the other hand, McIntyre is in a sense fighting a handicapped match because of Vega. As we had seen on NXT this past Wednesday, Vega has been known to insert herself into situations. Based on that. I am going to give Almas the slight edge. However, the win will go to DrewMcIntyre via disqualification) when Vega inserts herself into the match. Of course, we do have to also keep an eye on the Undisputed Era of Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly as well even though they will have their hands full with the WarGames match)

Ember Moon v. Kairi Sane v. Nikki Cross v. Peyton Royce (w/Billie Kay) – Fatal Four-Way for the NXT Women’s Championship


ANALYSIS: This is for the vacant NXT Women’s Championship which was relinquished by Asuka prior to her moving up to the RAW brand.

Moon (5’2, 120 from Dallas, Texas), Cross (5’2, 118 from Glasgow, Scotland), and Royce (5’7, 132 from Sydney, Australia) have all competed for the NXT Women’s title before against Asuka, all of which had lead to some spectacular matches. One that came to mind is Asuka giving a german suplex to Royce, Cross, and Billie Kay in a Fatal Four-Way match at NXT TakeOver: San Antonio.

Moon is no stranger to Royce, having beaten her and Billie Kay in separate matches with her diving corkscrew stunner called the Eclipse. Moon had been to the top of the mountain in competing for the NXT Women’s title on many occasions against Asuka, only to fall short every time. She is determined to make the most of this opputunity, which she earned by beating Ruby Riot and Sonya Deville.

Royce has also been to the top of the mountain in competing for the NXT Women’s title on many occasions against Asuka only to come up short. Royce earned her chance at the NXT Women’s Championship when, thanks to Taynara Conti-who was urged on by the Undisputed Era-distracted Nikki Cross, beat Cross and Liv Morgan. She is known for using her Iconic Duo partnet, Billie Kay, to distract her opponents which sets them up for the Gory neckbreaker finisher known as the Peyton Breaker.

Cross has had many matches for the NXT Women’s title against Asuka as well, only to come up short. One of her thrilling singles matches against Asuka was during a last woman standing match which Asuka won after delivering a superplex off the top of the ladder and through the announce table. Cross had two chances at the Fatal Four-Way, first losing to Peyton Royce when Taynara Conti came out and distracted her. She was then thrust into the battle royal where, ironically or in this case iconally, she won by first going after and eliminating Conti then last eliminating Royce’s Iconic Duo partner Billie Kay. She then went on to beat Conti in a one-on-one match with her Swinging fisherman neckbreaker finisher.

Sane (5’1, 115 from Yamaguchi, Japan), who earned her shot at the NXT Women’s title by winning the Mae Young Classic, is new to NXT but has been thrust right into the mix with a feud with Billie Kay and Peyton Royce, earning their ire when they mocked her backstage. She then beat Kay in a match with her diving elbow drop called the Insane Elbow.

PREDICTION: This has all the makings of an epic match, probably one of the few epic matches on the card outside of the WarGames match. Cross is just plain crazy, and I think that could work to her advantge in the outset. However, one thing to keep in mind is that Royce will have Kay in her corner, so the other three competitors have to contend with interference from her. Sane is new to NXT and, based on what I had seen from her on NXT as well as a match or two in the Mae Young Classic, has a bright future ahead of her which will lead to championship gold someday. Moon also has a bright future in this match, and will come close. However, she will fall short once more. When all is said and done and the dust settles, I have to say that the winner (and NEW NXT Women’s Champion) will ultimately be Nikki Cross.

SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe, and Killian Dain) v. The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, and Kyle O’Reilly) v. the Authors of Pain (Akam and Rezar w/ Paul Ellering) and Roderick Strong) – WARGAMES MATCH


ANALYSIS: This will be the first time since WCW Fall Brawl on September 13, 1998, that there will be an official Wargames match and the first time since WCW Monday Nitro on September 4, 2000, that there will be a Wargames match of ANY kind.

The rules for this Wargames is different from past Wargames, though it is still billed as “The Match Beyond”. Past incarnations of the Wargames match had 2 teams and was set up as follows:

The WarGames match consisted of two teams of either four, five, or more men each facing off with each other in staggered entry format.

The setup of the cage consisted of two rings side by side with a giant ring-encompassing rectangular cage that covered both rings, but not the ringside area. Doors were placed at far corners of the rectangular cage so the two teams didn’t come into contact before they were supposed to.

The match began with one member of each team entering the cage. After five minutes, a member from one of the teams (usually determined by a coin toss, but has also been determined by a match or by a contest such as an arm wrestling match, a live fan poll, etc.; this is almost always the “heel” team in order to provide heat) would enter the cage, giving his team the temporary 2-on-1 handicap advantage. After two minutes, a member from the other team would enter to even the odds and giving 2-on-2 tag team advantage for the next 2 minutes. Entrants alternated between teams every two minutes, giving the coin toss-winning team the temporary advantage in the numbers game before giving the other team the advantage with the freshest man and even odds.

Teams continue to alternate during the 2 minutes periods until all eight or ten men are in the ring.

Once all eight, ten, or more men (depending on team size) had entered the cage, what was referred to as “The Match Beyond” began. Both teams would brawl each other in the cage for as long as it took until any member of either team submitted, surrendered, or was knocked out unconscious. There was no pinfalls, no count-outs, and no disqualifications, which often led to brutal, bloody, and violent confrontations.

The rules for this Wargames match is as follows:

  • The three-member teams of SAnitY (Eric Young, Alexander Wolfe & Killian Dain), Undisputed ERA (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly), and The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) & Roderick Strong will wage war inside a massive steel cage that surrounds TWO rings.
  • All three teams will be contained inside separate shark cages by the entranceway, with a member from each team (as chosen by his respective squad) starting the match.
  • After five minutes, the remaining members from one team will be released from their shark cage and allowed to enter the match.
  • When another three-minute period elapses, the remaining members from a second team are released from their shark cage and enter the match.
  • Following another three-minute period, the final team’s members are released from their shark cage and enter the match.
  • Once all three teams have entered the WarGames Match, a victory can be attained via pinfall or submission.

Another difference in this match is there will be no top on the WarGames cage, which makes for some wonderful high-risk moves (like Young flying off the top of the cage onto the opponents) or even have one member climb the cage to enter the ring.

sAnitY are the NXT Tag Team Champions, operating under the “Freebird Rule” where though Young (5’11, 232 from Nashville, Tennessee) and Wolfe (6’1, 245 from Dresden, Germany) won the titles from Akam (6’3, 290 from Canada) and Rezar (6’4, 330 from Albania) at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, Dain (6’4, 322 from Belfast, Northern Ireland) is also recognized as an NXT Tag Team Champion. Young has been known to do some extreme moves in the ring, including his wheelbarrow lift then drop into an elevated neckbreaker finisher called The Edge of Sanity. Wolfe has been known to use his speed along with his weight to crush people and set them up for his Death Valley driver finisher. Dain, as well as Wolfe have been known to employ a couple of moves fitting for a cruiserweight. Dain also uses his weight to squash people in the corner setting them up for his One-handed electric chair driver finisher known as Ulster Plantation. As singles competitors, their finishers are devestating. However, once you team them up, whether it be Wolfe holding opponents into a belly to back suplex move while Young drives them into the mat with a diving neckbreaker or Wolfe holding the opponents into a vertical suplex while Fulton drives them into the mat with a front powerslam known as Devastation, they are nearly unstoppable.

The Authors of Pain have size and a Hall of Fame manager in Paul Ellering, who formerly managed a WWE Hall of Fame tag team known as The Road Warriors-also known as The Legion of Doom-and has had WarGames experience as he has participated in several WarGames including the very first one, on their side. They have been known to finish off their opponents with a Russian Legsweep/Lariat combination known as The Last Chapter and also stereo powerbombs (after using their opponents as battering rams) known as Super Collider. They were attacked (along with sAnitY) by Undisputed Era during their tag championship match on NXT when Strong (5’10, 200 from Tampa, Florida) came out and put on an Undisputed Era armband, making them think he was joining them. Instead, he leveled Undisputed Era and then the Authors of Pain joined Strong in wiping the floor with Undisputed Era and sAnitY. That led Regal to make the match for WarGames. Strong has the speed which goes well with Authors of Pain’s strength, and he likes to end his opponents with the Vertical Suplex lift into a double knee backbreaker known as the Strong Breaker. Strong has had many dealings with sAnitY in the past, teaming with Tye Dillinger, Ruby Riot, and Kassius Ohno in a losing effort at TakeOver: Orlando. He handed Young his first pinfall loss in NXT at TakeOver: Chicago.

When sAnitY defeated the Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Team titles at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, their celebration was cut short when Fish (5’10, 197 from Saratoga Springs, New York) and O’Reilly (5’11, 200 from Vancouver, British Columbia) entered the ring and attacked both teams. That was soon followed by Adam Cole (5’11, 210 from Panama City, Florida) joining Fish and O’Reilly in attacking  McIntyre after he won the NXT Championship from Bobby Roode. Dubbing themselves “The Undisputed Era”, they tried to enlist Strong after he was defeated by McIntyre. Strong was hesitant, then on a November 1 edition of NXT put the armband, offered to him a couple weeks earlier, pon his arm. Cole smiled then told Strong to hit one of the Authors of Pain, only to be hit by Strong instead. Cole has been known to defeat his opponents with a devestating knee strike, using the opponent’s body as leverage, known as Shining Wizard. Fish has been known to wear his opponents down before using a heel hook move known as Fish Hook Deluxe Edition, while O’Reilly has been known to use a cross armbreaker move, trapping his opponent’s leg as well, known as ARMageddon.

PREDICTION: This will probably be the longest match on the card, given the fact that five minutes after one member from each team starts the match another team sends in their two remaining men followed by another team sending in their final two men after a three-minute interval and then the final team sends in their two remaining men three minutes later. This will give Undisputed Era a chance to showcase their moves. While the Authors of Pain have the size advantage over everyone (except for Dain and Wolfe, who could match them size for size) it will come down to the fastest men on all teams. The key is who will be the final team to send in their final two men, given the fact that they will be fresh and chomping at the bit. While in theory the team with the man advantage has the edge in traditional WarGames matches (as well as in “Lethal LockDown” which is a TNA/GFW/iMpact Wrestling staple), I am of the opinion that it is the team who sends in their last person, as that person will be the freshest and chomping at the bit to get in the action. The same will hold true here. Though it is 3 teams of three men, the loser of the coin toss (or dice roll or however the choice is made as to who will enter) has the advantage as they will be scouting all other teams and deciding who to take out. With a lot of combustible elements in the ring at the end, I will have to say that my pick to win will be sAnitY when Nikki Cross enters and proceds to wipe out Undisputed Era which will lead to Authors of Pain and Strong being distracted.

Match which has my interest: The WarGames Match

Match I could care less about: None actually, but if I were to pick it would have to be Aleister Black v. Velveteen Dream

Longest match: The WarGames match

Shortest match: Aleister Black v. Velveteen Dream

Card interest level (1 being no interest to 10 being very interested): 8.5

Final thoughts: This card is shaping up to be a brutal card in terms of fighting from the opening bell of the first match to the final bell of the main event. The only one that could be a real snoozer in my mind is the Black v. Dream match, though I must admit that the storyline has been played well. The WarGames match should be a 4 or 5 star match, along with the Fatal Four-Way for the Women’s NXT title. McIntyre v. Almas is sort of a meh, based on Almas having Vega by his side. However, the storyline has also been played well.

I will have a liveblog of the event starting at 7PM tonight, and possibly a review blog tomorrow before Survivor Series as well as an audio recap (depending on my sound capabilities) on Spreaker or another platform.

Author: Rick Bulow

Rick Bulow is an Andrew Breitbart Conservative from North Fort Myers, Florida. He created Rick Bulow, New Media as a tribute to what Breitbart had done in promoting new media and citizen journalism.

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