NXT WarGames 2021

WarGames 2021
Date: December 5, 2021
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Beth Phoenix, Wade Barrett

We’re not at a Takeover, but we’re pretty much at a Takeover. It’s close enough to November so let’s have some WarGames matches, with the men and the women both getting a shot. Other than that, we have a hair vs. hair match, a Tag Team Title match, and a Cruiserweight Title match with only one cruiserweight. Let’s get to it.

The opening video looks at WarGames and now violent this is going to be.

Team Toxic Attraction vs. Team Raquel Gonzalez

Toxic Attraction: Mandy Rosa, Jacy Jayne, Gigi Dolin, Dakota Kai
Gonzalez: Raquel Gonzalez, Kay Lee Ray, Cora Jade, Io Shirai

We’re in the double cage with Kay Lee Ray and Dakota Kai starting. The first period is five minutes, the rest are three minutes, you can win by pinfall/submission once everyone is in, and Jade falls off of her skateboard on the way to the ring. Ray brings in a baseball bad so Kai brings in a bunch of kendo sticks. They stare each other down for awhile to start until Ray’s bat shot only hits rope.

The weapons are dropped and it’s Ray being knocked into the cage and then sent into said cage as well. They go into the other ring with Ray being sent into the corner but she catches Kai with an enziguri. Kai grabs the bat but Ray knocks it away and drops her onto the kendo sticks bridged across the ropes. The period ends and Cora Jade comes in, with skateboard, to make it 2-1.

It’s Kai getting beaten down and double teamed for a good while as Ray and Jade keep looking at Toxic Attraction. Kai manages to counter a double suplex into a double DDT though and it’s Dolin coming in to help take over. A bunch of kicks have Ray and Jade in trouble until they get in a trashcan for a breather. Kai is put in the trashcan and the KLR Bomb drives Dolin onto her for the big double crash. Io Shirai comes in to make it 3-2 and brings in a bunch of chairs.

The villains get in some shots of their own though and Shirai is sent into the cage. Ray starts fighting back though and faceplants Dolin before Jade hurricanranas (or something resembling one) Kai between the cages. Now it’s Jayne coming in to even it up with a table as this is really not very good so far. Ray gets a trashcan kicked into her to knock her through some tables but Jayne kicks Dolin by mistake. Shirai starts cleaning house and Jayne is laid out on a table.

Jade flip dives off the top of the cage to put Jayne through the table and seems to bang up her shoulder on the landing. Shirai has to pop Jade’s shoulder back into place as the match basically stops until Raquel Gonzalez completes her team. That means Kai’s shovel, but first it’s a fire extinguisher blast so Gonzalez can get in. Gonzalez puts Kai in the trashcan and swings it around to knock people down.

Hold on though as Gonzalez goes to check on Jade, allowing almost everyone else to get on one corner for a Tower of Doom. Shirai moonsaults onto a trashcan with Dolin inside and everyone is down until Mandy Rose comes in to complete the field. Rose comes in and goes over to Jade, grabbing her by the bad arm as she should.

That’s broken up by Shirai and we now get the required big showdown spot as the previous 25 minutes are erased (save for the arm injury). The big brawl is on with kendo stick shots making it worse. Jade is back up with some one armed kendo stick shots but Kai knocks her down. Toxic Attraction holds Jade in place for a running knee to the face from Mandy and a near fall. The rest of Team Gonzalez makes the save and it’s a Chingoa Bomb to Jayne. Everyone is down….and Jade pins Jayne at 31:25.

Rating: C-. This is a good example of the problems with NXT WarGames: the weapons dominated the match, they spent too much time in one ring, the majority of the match felt like it didn’t matter at the end, and then it just ended. This was a match that did not need to be WarGames and would have been much better suited as an elimination tag than anything else. That being said, this could have been WAY worse as it was much more just dull than actively bad. I was expecting a lot worse of a match and they absolutely had a story with Jade’s shoulder injury. Not great, but it didn’t go as far down as I was betting.

Video on Josh Briggs/Brooks Jensen. I believe this originally aired a few weeks ago.

Boa says you will fear him. I certainly fear him being on the show.

Team Black & Gold is ready to go to war, though Johnny Gargano thinks this might be his last time.

Tag Team Titles: Imperium vs. Kyle O’Reilly/Von Wagner

Imperium is defending and it’s Barthel and O’Reilly going to the mat to start. Aichner comes in to work on O’Reilly’s arm, setting up some chops in the corner. It’s off to Wagner for some headbutts in the corner before O’Reilly comes in to strike it out with Aichner again. Wagner comes back in to take Barthel into the corner until Barthel kicks his way to freedom. Aichner hits a Regal roll (to much approval from the crowd, likely due to the squat in the middle) on Wagner, who is right back with a clothesline to Barthel.

O’Reilly comes in and knocks Barthel outside before sending Aichner to the floor as well. Aichner is back in to slow down a tag attempt but a backdrop allows Wagner to come back in and clean house. Everything breaks down and O’Reilly knees Aichner off the apron. An Angle Slam gives Wagner two on Barthel but the champs are back up with double running dropkicks to Wagner in the corner. O’Reilly comes in with a top rope knee to Barthel’s knee but Aichner makes the save with a double springboard moonsault.

Wagner and Barthel head outside, leaving O’Reilly to guillotine Aichner. That’s powered up into a suplex, which O’Reilly reverses into a small package for two. Everything breaks down again and it’s a high/low for two on Barthel. Wagner and Barthel go outside again and O’Reilly brainbusters Aichner for two. The triangle choke has Aichner in more trouble but he powers O’Reilly up into the Imperial Bomb to retain the titles at 14:48.

Rating: B. This was a bit of a weird one as it didn’t feel like an important match but they beat the heck out of each other and worked very hard. I don’t think there is much of a future to O’Reilly/Wagner, but they put in the effort in what is probably one of their last matches together. They had me wondering on some of those near falls, but at the same time, the tag division has fallen so far that it’s just hard to care these days.

Post match O’Reilly gets the big THANK YOU chant….but Wagner charges at him, only to get kicked down by O’Reilly. Wagner gets beaten down and O’Reilly throws up the Undisputed Era pose, plus some crotch chops. Then O’Reilly just looks at him before leaving.

Legado del Fantasma is ready for Xyon Quinn.

Video on Ikemen Jiro.

We recap Duke Hudson vs. Cameron Grimes. Hudson isn’t happy that Grimes beat him in poker and then cut part of Grimes’ hair. Now Grimes wants Hudson’s hair, so the loser is bald.

Duke Hudson vs. Cameron Grimes

Hair vs. hair. It’s a brawl to start with Hudson throwing him over the top for the big crash onto the steps. Back in and Grimes charges into a release Rock Bottom out of the corner. Hudson hammers away on the mat before taking Grimes outside for a belly to belly. Back in and an abdominal stretch has Grimes in even more trouble as Hudson stays on the ribs.

There’s a backbreaker to stay on said back but Grimes fights up and sends him into the corner for a break. The flipping powerslam gives Grimes two and a sunset flip is good for the same. A poisonrana plants Hudson hard and a high crossbody gives Grimes two. Hudson loads up a Razor’s Edge but gets sent into the corner for the counter. Grimes grabs a rollup (with trunks) for the fast pin out of nowhere at 10:18.

Rating: C+. They were working while they had the chance here and it’s nice to see Grimes win another match with some stakes. Hudson is someone WWE seems to see something in so Grimes winning before he is crushed in some other way is a good way to go. I’m sure Grimes will get a huge push out of this, because things have gone so well for him in the past.

Post match Hudson tries to run but knocks Grimes out instead. Hudson teases shaving Grimes anyway but Grimes hits the Cave In (points for a good fake out) and shaves Hudson’s hair. Well at least a little bit of it before Hudson bails again.

Video on the Grizzled Young Veterans stealing a delivery driver’s food.

Video on Kacy Catanzaro/Kayden Carter.

Video on Draco Anthony.

New Year’s Evil is on January 4.

We recap Joe Gacy vs. Roderick Strong for the Cruiserweight Title. Gacy thinks the Cruiserweight Title is about weight shaming so Strong is defending the title against someone out of the weight class.

Cruiserweight Title: Joe Gacy vs. Roderick Strong

Strong, with the rest of the Diamond Mine, is defending, though Gacy has Harland with him. Gacy gets taken down to start but comes back with a running shoulder. A clothesline to the back of the head puts Strong down again but he sends Gacy to the apron and strikes away. Gacy loses his shirt, which seems to fuel his comeback, including a suplex for two on Strong.

Back up and Strong manages a super hurricanrana to set up the Boston crab. That’s broken up so Gacy takes Strong outside but has to tell Harland not to end Ivy Nile. A gutwrench powerbomb plants Strong for two but he is right back with a jumping knee to the face. End of Heartache retains the title at 8:28.

Rating: C. So that happened. The Cruiserweight Title has felt worthless for a long time now and in a way I was hoping that Gacy could win it here so they could just drop the thing and move on to something else. I’m not sure if the title is going to get to do anything, but I can’t have my hopes go much lower.

Another Ikemen Jiro video. This time, he’s eating pizza and ice cream. Then his stomach hurts so he runs to the bathroom, where various noises are heard. I would bet at least $14 that this was written for/by Vince McMahon.

Kyle O’Reilly wants Von Wagner in a cage on Tuesday.

We recap the men’s WarGames match. It’s old vs. new for the future of NXT, with Bron Breakker feeling like the breakout star.

Team Black & Gold vs. Team 2.0

Black & Gold: Johnny Gargano, LA Knight, Tommaso Ciampa, Pete Dunne
2.0: Carmelo Hayes, Bron Breakker, Tony D’Angelo, Grayson Waller

In the double cage, five minutes to start and then three minutes each, first fall wins once everyone is inside. Hayes starts with Gargano, who gets to come out to Rebel Heart and gets the big hero’s welcome as he is probably out of here. Gargano also seems to be wearing gear that is a huge mashup of all of his special Takeover trunks and boots for an awesome look. Feeling out process to start with Gargano trying a rather early One Final Beat.

That’s broken up so Gargano hits the slingshot spear to take him down instead. Hayes is sent into the cage over and over again, leaving Hayes down until Waller comes in to get the advantage. The double teaming is on, with Gargano’s nose being busted open somewhere in there. Trick Williams throws in a chair from the floor and hits Waller by mistake, but Gargano survives long enough for Dunne to come in and even things up. Stereo Crossfaces have 2.0 in trouble and Dunne/Gargano kick them in the face at the same time.

Hayes is back up to send Dunne into the other ring but gets knocked out of the air. D’Angelo is in to give the villains the lead again as Williams pulls out a bunch of weapons. It takes so long that Dexter Lumis has enough time to appear underneath the ring and come out to stalk Williams to the back. D’Angelo chains the door shut and the weapons have Black & Gold beaten down even more. LA Knight is in to tie it up but has to climb the cage to avoid the lock.

With that minor inconvenience out of the way, Knight climbs the cage and starts cleaning house with all kinds of weapons. Waller is put into the trashcan and beaten on with various things. Referees grab some boltcutters to get the totally effective chain off the door as the Black & Gold wait for Bron Breakker to get in. Breakker grabs the cutters and finishes breaking the chain (which took a long time), allowing him to come in and clean house. The numbers game take him down until the rest of 2.0 gets back up.

Ciampa finally comes back in and gets to even things up for good. We get the DIY reunion, complete with crutch, and the fans are certainly pleased to see it happen one more time. Gargano and Ciampa get to clean house on Breakker and D’Angelo, at least until Breakker plants Gargano onto Ciampa out of the corner. The beatdown leaves Black & Gold in the middle of the ring but they pull themselves up and charge at 2.0 to set up the big beatdown against the cage. 2.0 is sent through some tables and it’s a Tower of Doom to drop Hayes.

Knight’s bulldog driver gets two with D’Angelo making the save. Ciampa Air Raid Crashes Breakker off the middle rope and onto a trashcan for two and everyone is down again. Knight is laid on a table and Waller hits an elbow off the cage but Dunne make the save this time. Dunne destroys Hayes’ hand with a kendo stick but D’Angelo is up with a crowbar. A crowbar across the throat sets up a super swinging neckbreaker on Dunne for no cover, leaving Ciampa and Breakker to slug it out in the other ring.

Gargano saves Ciampa and there’s One Final Beat to drop Breakker as Ciampa hits Willow’s Bell on Waller. Meet In The Middle drops Breakker for two as Hayes pulls the referee. Hayes hits Gargano low but gets kneed by Ciampa, who is speared through a table by Breakker. The gorilla press powerslam finishes Ciampa at 37:32.

Rating: B-. It was a heck of a fight with some big spots, but like so many NXT WarGames matches, it went on too long and felt like it should have ended at least ten minutes earlier. Breakker winning was the right call and the DIY stuff was great, but ultimately this was a match that needed to be trimmed down. The classic WarGames matches barely broke twenty minutes as they got in their violence and then went to the big finish. This is a bunch of filler until they can do their weapons spots, which makes things feel far longer than they should. Still a positive result, but egads it was long.

Overall Rating: B. NXT is such a mixed bag these days, as you have people working very hard and good matches taking place, but at the same time you have some wrestlers who do not seem to have the brightest future. The show is far from some disaster or even that bad a lot of the time, but it is pretty hard to have been around for the great days of NXT and move on to things like Ikemen Jiro’s stomach issues and Toxic Attraction feeling like a Divas era tribute.

The talent was there and on display here, but what happens when the veterans are all gone because they don’t want to stick around and no one is left to help things? Odds are they’re losing Gargano and O’Reilly soon after this, so what’s left then? The show is still holding it together and as usual, things are better when they focus on wrestling, but the future isn’t exactly looking bright.

Results
Team Raquel Gonzalez b. Team Toxic Attraction – Rollup to Jayne
Imperium b. Kyle O’Reilly/Von Wagner – Imperial Bomb to O’Reilly
Cameron Grimes b. Duke Hudson – Rollup with trunks
Roderick Strong b. Joe Gacy – End of Heartache
Team 2.0 b. Team Black & Gold – Gorilla press powerslam to Ciampa

 

 

 

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