Date: November 19, 2017
Location: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Percy Watson, Nigel McGuinness, Mauro Ranallo
It’s time! After nearly twenty years of waiting, we’re FINALLY back to the biggest gimmick of them all. Well at least to the WWE version of the thing. Tonight there will be three trios involved in the match, which could make for a rather interesting edition of WarGames. At least it’s here though. Let’s get to it.
The opening video of course has a war theme, with clips of President Roosevelt declaring a state of war, peppered with clips from the build to tonight’s show. The rest of the card is thrown in at the end, which is how it should go.
The two ring structure is so odd to see in WWE>
Kassius Ohno vs. Lars Sullivan
Sullivan is an unstoppable monster who needs better competition. Ohno gets driven into the corner without much effort to start and a forearm to the jaw has no effect on Lars. They head outside with Ohno being dropped face first onto the apron, only to have Sullivan charge into a boot in the corner. An enziguri staggers the monster but a clothesline turns Ohno inside out. A pop up powerslam plants Ohno and Mauro is freaking out at the power display (fair enough).
Back up and Ohno slugs away with some solid success, including a flying forearm to the back of the head. The cyclone kick actually drops Sullivan for two (which was necessary to make the fans believe this could happen). Ohno STOMPS HIM IN THE HEAD over and over and drops a backsplash for one. Some discus elbows don’t have much effort though and it’s the Freak Accident for the pin on Ohno at 5:35.
Rating: C. Not a great match but EXACTLY how it should have been booked. Sullivan looked like he was in some trouble but then barreled his way through Ohno for the win. That’s all this should have been as Ohno is basically just a fresh meal for Sullivan, who has some serious potential. Well booked match here.
Some of the UK wrestlers are here.
We recap Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream. Black was ready to make an announcement but Dream interrupted him, saying that everything that fades to black will one day come to light, like the light of the Velveteen Dream. Black wouldn’t acknowledge Dream, which has Dream obsessed with getting Black to say his name.
Aleister Black vs. Velveteen Dream
Black does his still awesome rising up entrance. Dream debuts some custom made tights with himself on one leg and Black on the other ala Rick Rude back in the day. The fans are rather pleased with Dream, even as he slaps Black in the face. They hit the mat to start with Black working on an armbar before grabbing something like an Octopus hold. Dream slips out and actually tries to turn it into a striking match, earning himself a trip to the floor.
That allows Black to backflip into his sitting pose, right in front of Dream. A hip swivel doesn’t seem to get on Black’s nerves, but he does look away a bit. Dream sits down as well as the fans chant SAY HIS NAME. Black crawls forward like Dream did a few weeks back, freaking Dream out for a change. Dream actually snaps his throat across the ropes to send Black outside, meaning it’s time for more posing.
Back in and Dream gets two off a good looking superkick before we hit a reverse chinlock (Dream: “SAY IT! SAY IT!”). Black gets tied up in the ropes as the fans really want him to say it. Dream slaps him though and that’s just not a good idea. Black speeds things up with some strikes and a springboard moonsault press for two (SWEET, according to the annoying fans).
A quick Death Valley Driver gives Dream two so he tries a super version, only to get kicked down. Black knees him in the face for a close two, only to get caught in a Sister Abigail into a DDT for a delayed two. The Purple Rainmaker lands on a raised boot though, sending Dream into the ropes. Black kicks him in the face but walks into a superkick. That’s enough for Black though and it’s Black Mass for the pin at 14:41.
Rating: B+. Who knew Dream had that in him? This was all about the mind games at first but at the end of the day, you (mostly) knew it was going to be Black Mass wrapping this up. Black seems ready to become a huge deal around here and Dream….I’m not sure where he goes from here actually. Really good match though.
Post match Black takes the mic and says “enjoy infamy….Velveteen Dream.” I’m not sure what to make of that. Sign of respect maybe?
Asuka, Funaki and Finn Balor are here. What a random trio.
We recap the Women’s Title match. Asuka had to vacate the Women’s Title upon moving up to the main roster so it’s time for a four way to crown a new champion. Kairi Sane won the Mae Young Classic and the other three won qualifying matches.
Women’s Title: Kairi Sane vs. Peyton Royce vs. Nikki Cross vs. Ember Moon
The title is vacant coming in and it’s one fall to a finish. It’s a brawl to start with everyone fighting everyone at once. They head outside with Sane diving onto Royce, only to have Moon dive onto both of them. Naturally Cross is right there but Moon powerbombs her on the floor (THUD).
Back in and Kairi hits a running spear in the corner on Moon but Royce is back in with a half nelson over the ropes, using her leg instead of the arm. Back up and another spear cuts Royce down, sending Sane up top rather early. Moon is right up there but Royce makes the save with a Tower of Doom for a huge crash. Cross is back in though and dives onto all three at once. Sane gets caught in the Tree of Woe for some stomping but Royce makes the save for some reason.
Cross’ fisherman’s neckbreaker gets two on Sane with Moon making a diving save. Royce is back up with a fisherman’s suplex for the same on Cross as Sane makes the save. Sane piles up Royce and Cross for a double Insane Elbow. This time it’s Sane making the save but Moon sends her outside. That sends Moon up top for the Eclipse to Royce and Cross at the same time for the pin and the title at 10:09.
Rating: B-. Good match but rather shorter than I was expecting. Moon was my pick to win and she makes sense after getting so close, though having her lose over and over to Asuka and then win the title without Asuka around doesn’t look great. At least there are some solid challengers to come after her in the near future though, which is a great sign.
Asuka presents Moon with the title.
Takeover: Philadelphia is on January 27.
Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe are here.
We recap the NXT Title match. Drew McIntyre won the title back in August and didn’t really have a major feud. Enter Andrade Cien Almas, who has recently been recharged by new manager Zelina Vega. Drew said come get a shot so here we are.
NXT Title: Drew McIntyre vs. Andrade Cien Almas
Drew is defending and again towers over Almas. Andrade wastes no time in sending him outside for a hurricanrana attempt from Vega….who is calmly planted back on the apron. Drew knocks a dive out of the air but gets his throat snapped back across the top rope. We hit a triangle choke over the ropes into a Fujiwara armbar as Almas has an early target. A snap belly to belly gives Drew a breather though and a top rope clothesline sends the champ into a nipup.
Drew misses a charge in the corner though and gets caught in a reverse tornado DDT for two. A reverse hurricanrana is countered into a reverse Alabama Slam but Almas avoids another charge to send him outside. With Vega screeching, Almas scores with a moonsault press to the floor for a very close two back inside. Almas catches him in the Tree of Woe for the top rope double stomp, followed by the running knees in the corner for two.
Drew has had enough of this getting beaten up thing and comes back with a hard Batista Bomb for a near fall of his own as they’re both a bit spent. Future Shock out of nowhere gets two more but Almas sends him hard into the corner for another double knees to the back. Almas heads outside and grabs the title, allowing Vega to score with a hurricanrana driver.
The hammerlock DDT gives Almas a crazy close two and the crowd is losing it. Back up and a Claymore out of nowhere gets two with Vega putting the boot on the ropes. Another Claymore hits ropes though and Drew is in trouble. He heads up top for some reason but gets caught in an inverted draping DDT to give Almas the title in a big upset at 14:43.
Rating: B+. Well I’m surprised. This felt like a pit stop on the way to McIntyre vs. Adam Cole in Philadelphia but sweet goodness that was a shock. There’s a good chance that this is pretty much it for Drew in NXT as there’s just no reason to keep him toiling down there when he was ready for the main roster the day he debuted. Really good match here too with an even better ending.
Drew is dejected and Almas holds up the title on the announcers’ table.
Long recap of the main event. Undisputed Era showed up a few months ago and started attacking everyone on the roster, including Sanity. They tried to get Roderick Strong to join them but Strong wasn’t interested. The Authors of Pain had a rematch for the NXT Tag Team Titles but the Undisputed Era interfered. Therefore, Strong joined forces with the Authors to make it a three way feud.
There are some different rules than in regular WarGames matches. Three men will start with their partners in individual shark cages. After five minutes, one team will be allowed to send in its remaining two members. Then, after three minutes each, the other two teams will be added in as well. It will be the first pinfall or submission to win and if you leave the cage, you forfeit the match.
Dustin Rhodes and Arn Anderson are here.
Sanity vs. Undisputed Era vs. Authors of Pain/Roderick Strong
There’s no roof on the cage. Strong has an Authors of Pain outfit this time, which doesn’t quite suit him. Eric Young, Adam Cole and Strong start things off and this is SO strange to see in WWE. Cole tries to bail to start but they all wind up in the same cage. Young sends Cole into the cage and it’s a double team to keep Cole in early trouble. He’s able to crotch both of them on top though and everyone is down.
Back up and Strong starts slugging away, sending everyone into a cage until Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish are the first team in. Strong and Young are in very sudden trouble thanks to a series of strikes from the fresh team. Fish and O’Reilly send both of them against the cage and crash into them over and over as this is one sided at the moment. That sounds like time for a fresh team, which in this case is the Authors of Pain. Undisputed Era can’t hold the door closed and the destruction is on in a hurry.
Everyone is sent into another ring with the Authors LAUNCHING Strong onto the pile for a big old crash. Young and O’Reilly are caught in the Tree of Woe, leaving the Authors to give Cole and Fish Death Valley Drivers to untie them. The clock counts down and it’s Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain completing the field. Wolfe is smart enough to bring in a nightstick to beat down the Authors while Dain throws in some weapons. As Sanity cleans house, the fans want tables so Dain, who hasn’t gotten in yet, pulls one out. Dain finally gets in and locks the cage….before eating the key.
Dain beats on the Authors in the corner, including a shotgun dropkick with a backslash. That’s not enough so Dain climbs the cage for a huge crossbody and a near fall on Strong. Cole swings a cane at Dain with Fish coming in for a failed save attempt. Dain picks up O’Reilly and Fish for a fall away slam/Samoan drop combination while Razar does the same thing in the other ring. The slugout it until Dain crossbodies him down. Akum comes back in with a powerslam to Dain but O’Reilly walks the cage for a tornado DDT.
Strong gets caught in Chasing the Dragon for no cover. Instead Fish and O’Reilly clean house with a bunch of kicks before Kyle ties Wolfe up with a chain. Using said chain, O’Reilly puts on a cross armbreaker with Young making a fast save via a top rope elbow. Fish is back up with a moonsault and everyone is down at once. The Authors are back up with a Super Collide as Dain is a little busted open.
Young is back up with a Death Valley Driver to send Akum into Razar for two more. Strong pops up with the backbreakers and an Olympic Slam on Dain for the same. Everyone heads into the corners of the different rings, meaning stereo Towers of Doom. Cole managed to stay on the ropes though, meaning he’s the only one not destroyed at the moment. Smart man Cole. The Authors crotch him on the top though….and grab the tables. Wolfe is up though and for some reason saves Cole, who climbs up to the top of the cage.
Akum gets German superplex through the tables and Young neckbreakers Razar off the top. With Cole still on top, Dain cleans house and grabs a trashcan….FOR A COAST TO COAST ON O’REILLY!!! Ok so it was more like Coast to the Ohio Valley but not bad! Cole stands up on top of the cage but Strong is looking up at him. Strong climbs up as well (Fans: “PLEASE DON’T DIE!”)…..for a superplex onto the pile!
Strong covers Cole for two as we see Wolfe still down with a referee checking on him after the German superplex, which was nearly five minutes ago. Razar and Dain slug it out between the rings until Akum comes in for the Last Chapter out of nowhere. Something like Total Elimination drops Akum but Sanity takes out O’Reilly and Fish. Strong gets wheelbarrow suplexed into the cage but Cole knees a chair into Young’s face for the pin at 35:54.
Rating: A. Oh yeah it still works. This felt like the war it was supposed to be and that’s exactly what they were shooting for. Throw in Dain and Cole looking like killers and the Undisputed Era looking like stars, especially as we’re coming up on what will probably be their crowning night in Philadelphia. It says a lot when I’m actually tired after watching a match but that’s what happened here. Definitely check this one out as it more than lives up to the WarGames reputation.
Overall Rating: A. Well that was amazing. With the main event being outstanding and two other matches rocking as hard as they did, it’s about as good as you’re going to get. The worst match was a perfectly acceptable (and short) match with the perfect booking. Aside from that, this is good to excellent the rest of the way
Lars Sullivan b. Kassius Ohno – Freak Accident
Aleister Black b. Velveteen Dream – Black Mass
Ember Moon b. Kairi Sane, Peyton Royce and Nikki Cross – Eclipse to Cross
Andrade Cien Almas b. Drew McIntyre – Hanging inverted DDT
Undisputed Era b. Sanity and Authors of Pain/Roderick Strong – Running knee into a chair to Young
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