NXT honoured the late great Dusty Rhodes with Takeover War Games, and they delivered on every single level. War Games was as brutal, chaotic and incredible as ever with the NXT superstars leaving absolutely nothing left in the ring. Velveteen Dream had what should be his breakout moment with an extraordinary performance against Aleister Black. The NXT Women’s Division began a new post-Asuka era with an amazing Fatal Four Way for the NXT Women’s Championship and we have a NEW NXT Champion in Andrade Cien Almas!
Lars Sullivan defeated Kassius Ohno. Grade: C. A good hard-hitting opening match that did what it set out to do in the short amount of time given. Usually opening matches to Takeover’s are mega matches but this definitely fell flat of that. Kassius Ohno just has nothing going at the moment but represented a big notable name for Sullivan’s first Takeover victory, and in that regard this more than did its job.
Aleister Black defeated Velveteen Dream. Grade: A+ Pack up and go home, these two just stole the show. Patrick Clark copped a lot of criticism early in his career but he has official arrived! Both men pulled out incredible movers and near falls combined with storytelling at its best with both men mimicking each other’s mannerisms. The crowd was crazy for Velveteen with huge chants of “SAY HIS NAME”. Black wins and remains undefeated and continues on his rise to the top; but after the match Black took the microphone, and said Velveteen Dreams name; with this moment, even in defeat, Velveteen Dream made Black say his name and comes out of this as an absolute megastar. Exceptional storytelling, incredible in-ring work, and in the end both men come out looking a thousand times better than they came in; this match delivered on every single level.
Ember Moon defeated Nikki Cross, Peyton Royce & Kairi Sane to win the NXT Women’s Championship. Grade: B+ A chaotic fatal four-way match did incredibly well to follow the magic that was Black vs Dream and more than held its own. All four women received big receptions from the Houston crowd which is a rarity in a four-way match, just goes to show how good of a job they have all done especially considering all four women could legitimately have won the title. A wild match saw the women go to their finishers near falls a moment early I thought but nonetheless created a number of incredible near falls, including one that looked very late. Ember Moon won with a double Eclipse to both Cross & Royce. Ember’s crowning is well overdue and finally, in her home state of Texas she has climbed the mountain. Asuka came into the ring and presented Ember the title in a nice touch that did well not to overshadow the new champion. Very well deserved and a very good match.
Andrade Cien Almas defeated Drew McIntyre to win the NXT Championship. Grade: A- Perhaps McIntyre’s best NXT match to date and perhaps the best NXT Title match in a long time, these two delivered an action packed, drama filled contest. Zelina Vega made her presence known hitting a great Spike Rana followed by a Hammerlock DDT from Almas for a false finish that caught just about everybody! McIntyre hit a brutal Claymore Kick that turned Almas inside out (a wonderful piece of selling here) that surely would have finished the match if it weren’t for Vega getting Almas’ foot on the rope. Drew appeared to hurt himself on the top rope at one point and hopefully he was just selling well, but this allowed Almas to hit a DDT from the top rope for the win! A great title change here in a great match; Almas has been red hot since joining with Zelina Vega who herself has done a magnificent job.
Undisputed Era defeated Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong and Sanity in War Games. Grade: A+ War Games is exactly as sadistic, vicious and amazing as ever. All nine men went through hell tonight for us, and we appreciate it, and we loved it. Everyone looked amazing in this match. Killian Dain was on a rampage upon entering the match and how a man as big as him can hit a Coast to Coast like that I’ll never know! Alexander Wolfe walks out of this match a star hitting a huge super German Suplex to AOP through two tables and splitting the back of his head open in the process; an absurd amount of blood that we haven’t seen in a long time (it wouldn’t be War Games without some colour), Wolfe was clearly hurt and was tended to by severed referees and doctors, but still walked away and even got involved in his last spot of the match; a braver, more courageous effort we may not see for a long time. Roderick Strong hit a superplex to Adam Cole from the very top of the War Games cell (that’s why they left the roof off) onto the remaining superstars in an unbelievable spot which is beyond dangerous, but beyond amazing. Undisputed Era winning solidifies them as the top stable in NXT, but there were not losers tonight, merely survivors. NXT had the chance tonight to honour the late great Dusty Rhodes in War Games, and they delivered.