Undisputed Era will collide with Team McAfee and Team Shotzi will face off with Team Candice at NXT TakeOver: WarGames tonight.
In this year's men's WarGames match, Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly, Roderick Strong & Bobby Fish) are facing Team McAfee (Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch). Team McAfee will have the WarGames advantage after Dunne defeated O'Reilly in a ladder match two weeks ago.
This will be the second-ever match that McAfee has had. He lost to Cole at TakeOver XXX this summer.
Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai are on Team Shotzi for the women's WarGames match. Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez & Toni Storm are on Team Candice. Team Shotzi has the advantage after Blackheart defeated Gonzalez in a ladder match this past Wednesday.
Three more matches are also set for tonight. Leon Ruff will put his NXT North American Championship on the line against Johnny Gargano and Damian Priest in a triple threat match, Dexter Lumis and Cameron Grimes will face off in a strap match, and Tommaso Ciampa will take on Timothy Thatcher.
TakeOver begins at 7 p.m. Eastern time. There will also be a pre-show starting at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. It will be hosted by Wade Barrett and Sam Roberts and will include an appearance by ESPN's Ariel Helwani.
Show Report --
The pre-show was the typical assortment of video packages and talking-head discussion, hosted by Sam Roberts and Wade Barrett. The highlights were the Black Sabbath-soundtracked video package for the men's War Games match and Ariel Helwani's interview breaking down War Games as a concept.
WarGames: Team Candice (Candice LeRae, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai & Raquel Gonzalez) defeated Team Shotzi (Io Shirai, Rhea Ripley, Ember Moon & Shozi Blackheart)
This match started really slow with some questionable booking and psychology, but the good effort and stunt-work from these women turned it into an entertaining match by the end.
Team Shotzi has the man advantage, and she's got a new tank. Dakota Kai and Ember Moon were the first two entrants.
Kai quickly applied a sleeper hold, but Moon flipped out of it. Moon hit a nice headscissor takedown out of a suplex attempt as they traded running offense. Kai got the advantage after something like a capoeira kick. She laid in ground and pound until Moon landed another headscissors. Moon followed it up with a running splash, driving Kai into the cage.
Moon went for another dive, but Kai cut it off and laid in Kawada kicks. Kai then hit the Kai-ropractor as the five-minute call allowed Shotzi Blackheart to enter the match. Blackheart grabbed a toolbox and a crowbar before making her way into the match.
The psychology got strange here, with the babyface team maintaining a two-on-one advantage. Blackheart attacked Kai with kicks as Moon recovered. Kai, the heel, fought off both opponents until being overwhelmed by the numbers advantage. Kai and Blackheart made their way to the top turnbuckle, but Moon put Kai in the electric chair and Blackheart landed a dropkick.
Raquel Gonzalez was next. She hit power moves on both opponents, concluding the flurry with a powerbomb on Blackheart into the cage. Gonzalez picked up Kai in the fireman's carry and spun around, using Kai as a weapon. Kai hit an assisted diving double clothesline over the gap between the rings before Rhea Ripley entred the match.
Ripley and Gonzalez faced off, but Kai attacked Ripley. Ripley fought off both opponents and hit a series of power moves on Kai as her partners took care of Gonzalez. Moon hit a diving lungblower and Blackheart hit a Code Red on Gonzalez before Ripley opened Blackheart's toolbox and pulled out a hammer. Using the hammer as a weapon, Ripley beat down Kai, but Gonzalez fought off both Blackheart and Moon.
Gonzalez and Ripley brawled with each other until Toni Storm entered the match and downed Ripley with a German Suplex. Storm brought in kendo sticks and attacked Ripley with one. Ripley was whipped into an exposed turnbuckle. Team Candice beat down their opponents until two simultaneous Tower of Doom spots happened, leaving all six wrestlers down.
Io Shirai was the final entrant for Team Shotzi. She pushed a ladder into the ring until Gonzalez prevented her from entering the match. Shirai almost made her way into the ring after throwing more plunder in and hitting a dropkick con-chair-to, but Gonzalez popped right up and forced her back out. Storm used her belt to tie the cage door shut.
The clock counted down and LeRae was the final entrant. Shirai wanted a fight on the outside but was jumped by Indi Hartwell, who is LeRae's associate. LeRae entered the ring and Hartwell locked it with a chain, leaving Shirai stranded outside.
Team Candice beat down their opponents with weapons. LeRae wanted a pinfall attempt, but the official wouldn't count because Shirai hadn't entered the ring. Shirai appeared on the top of the structure, placing a trash can over her own head, and diving onto all seven competitors.
Shirai grabbed the hammer and attacked all four opponents. She landed a Ripley-assisted DDT and a tiger feint kick. All four of Team Shotzi took out an opponent before Shirai landed a moonsault on Gonzalez, but Team Candice broke up the pinfall.
Moon looked like she was about to attack Storm with a wrench until LeRae broke it up and applied a Garga-No Escape. Blackheart applied Cattle Mutilation on Storm, forcing the submissions to break. There was a parade of weapon shots and offense, concluded with Shirai landing a missile dropkick through a chair into Kai.
Kai fired up and sent Shirai into the turnbuckle before putting the trash can back over Shirai. She landed a diving double stomp, but Moon broke up the pinfall. Moon attacked with a chair before repeatedly driving Moon's head into a set-up chair. She draped Kai over the chairs and landed the Eclipse through them, but Storm broke up the pin.
Storm hit Storm Zero through a trash can on Moon, but Shirai broke up the cover. Ripley applied her modified deathlock and Shirai landed a dropkick on Storm, but Storm kicked out at two. LeRae took out Shirai with a brainbuster and Ripley with a thrust kick through a trash can lid before facing off with Blackheart.
They climbed opposite sides of a ladder, but Blackheart knocked LeRae off. Blackheart then landed a diving senton onto LeRae through a chair, incapacitating them both.
Across the ring, Storm broke up yet another pinfall on Kai. Gonzalez backdropped Ripley into the cage before attacking Shirai. Shirai went for a Frankensteiner between the rings, but Gonzalez caught it and slammed her through a propped-up ladder, pinning the NXT women's champion.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Timothy Thatcher
Like the opener, this lacked focus at the start. It appeared they were going for something closer to MMA simulation, but when it turned into a straight-up wrestling match after Ciampa's comeback, the action was great.
They performed chain wrestling at the bell. Thatcher found an opening and landed palm strikes. He went for an armbar, but they were in the ropes. They each briefly landed offense before their opponent evened it back up. Ciampa hit hammer fists before making Thatcher's leg the focus of his attack.
Thatcher was sent to the outside, but upon re-entry, Thatcher downed Ciampa with an uppercut. The official took a long time checking on Ciampa after that, but Ciampa said he was good to go. Thatcher kept up the attack with suplexes before locking on a facelock.
Ciampa's head was driven into the ring apron. He bit his way out of another facelock, but Thatcher hit a belly-to-belly suplex, but the official wouldn't count as Thatcher's leg was under the ropes. The official checked on Ciampa after another uppercut. Ciampa fought out of another suplex and attacked with chops, but Thatcher chopped him down.
Thatcher went for his butterfly suplex, but Ciampa backdropped him out of it. They exchanged forearms until cracking heads against each other. Ciampa built momentum with an extended series of clotheslines before perching Thatcher on the top turnbuckle and landing a superplex for two.
Ciampa went for the Fairytale Ending, but Thatcher countered with a throat chop. Thatcher applied a front sleeper as Ciampa faded, but Ciampa pushed them both outside the ring. Ciampa barely made it back into the ring at the nine count.
Two running knee strikes allowed Ciampa to lock on a bulldog choke. One of the knee strikes busted open Thatcher's ear, and it was bleeding quite a bit. Thatcher reached the ropes and flatted Ciampa with a German suplex. He hit another and considered his next move.
They made their way to the ring apron. Ciampa fought out of a German attempt but was downed with a forearm. He caught Thatcher coming back in and went for Willow's Bell but Thatcher dropped to the floor and bounced Ciampa off the ropes.
Back in the ring, Ciampa went for a backslide, but Thatcher escaped to the apron. Ciampa tied Thatcher in the ropes and laid in chops before hitting Willow's Bell for the pin.
Dexter Lumis defeated Cameron Grimes in a strap match
This went way too long for the story they had, which was mostly just a standard wrestling match and brawl with the strap added in for some unique moments.
Grimes brought his own strap, but it was a ruse, allowing him to attack Lumis before the strap had been tied. Grimes beat down his opponent on the outside, sending him into the barricade and attacking with the strap. Back in the ring, Lumis finally avoided a strike and downed Grimes with a Thesz press.
Lumis put on the strap and the match was officially under way. They played tug-of-war with the strap, and Lumis used his power advantage to yank Grimes towards him and hit a clotheslime. Grimes rolled to the floor before Lumis could whip him and tried to escape out of the ringside area, but Lumis used the strap to pull him back in.
Grimes was thrown into the barricade multiple times until Grimes returned the favor on Lumis. Grimes then dropped Lumis over the barricade, buying him time to recover. Lumis creepily tried to climb back in, but Grimes cut him off and yanked him over.
Using the strap as an assist, Grimes laid in strikes on the outside. Grimes grabbed bag that the other strap was in, put the bag over Lumis's head, and whipped him with the unused strap. Lumis hit a spinebuster and pulled the bag off his head. He tried to tie Grimes up with the strap, but Grimes pulled Lumis into the WarGames support structure. Grimes hit two soccer kicks, but Lumis caught a third and yanked Grimes onto the floor.
Back in the ring, Lumis repeatedly whipped Grimes with the strap. Grimes fought out of a bulldog and hit a German suplex into the turnbuckle. He then grabbed a chair and attacked Lumis with it. Grimes set up the chair and sat down, taunting Lumis, before Lumis pulled Grimes into a fallaway slam.
They traded strikes and Lumis gained the upper hand. He went to the top rope, but Grimes pulled him down and hit a backflip powerslam. Grimes went for the Cave-In through the chair, but Lumis avoided it. They had an exchange until Lumis used the strap to trip Grimes headfirst into the chair. Lumis then applied the head-and-arm choke, blinding Grimes with the strap, and Grimes submitted.
While the announcers spoke, the lights flickered and a video of a vulture aired. It ended with the words "Tick tock."
It looked like this was for Karrion Kross.
NXT North American Championship: Johnny Gargano defeated Leon Ruff (c) and Damian Priest to win the title
This match was absolutely absurd and ridiculous, but it was a ton of fun. The contest was high-energy throughout with some really innovative action, although some won't like the smoke and mirrors with Ruff leaving the match momentarily and interference on behalf of Gargano.
Priest was sent outside right away as Gargano laid into Ruff with big moves. Ruff used some unique springboards to evade some offense before using those same springboards to hit a hurricanrana. Priest told Ruff to get out of his way and sent him outside, but Ruff fired back in with a diving dropkick on both opponents. Priest wouldn't fight Ruff, but Ruff attacked with kicks.
It looked like Priest would hit Ruff with a chokeslam, but Gargano stopped it as he and Ruff attacked Priest. Gargano took out Priest with a dive and told Ruff to do the same, but it was a ruse, as Gargano cut him off with a slingshot spear.
Priest pulled Gargano to the outside and caught a Ruff dive. Ruff ignored Priest's demands, so Priest hit a Razor's Edge on Ruff through the plexiglass barricade. The officials checked on Ruff as Priest sold concern. Ruff was taken to the back, and Gargano took advantage with a tornado DDT on the floor.
Gargano went for the One Final Beat on the ramp, but Priest cut it off and landed a spinning heel kick for two. Gargano avoided a Razor's Edge and landed Sliced Bread for two. They avoided each other's strikes before Gargano hit a couple kicks, but Priest fired up and leveled Gargano with a lariat for a double down.
Ruff ran back in and landed a dive on Gargano. He laid in ground and pound while keeping Priest at bay before landing a step-up dive to both men on the floor. Back in the ring, Ruff hit a nice springboard cutter on Gargano for two before heading to the top rope.
Gargano popped up and yanked Ruff down. Gargano had a bloody nose or lip. Ruff used the Tyler Bate ring rebound to flatten Gargano with a lariat for two. He went up top, but Priest was in the way. Priest said that Ruff was out of chances and downed Ruff with a boot before hitting a flatliner on both men.
Priest went corner to corner with body splashes before tossing Ruff into Gargano with the Broken Arrow. Gargano escaped a Razor's Edge and posted Priest's shoulder before sending Ruff into Priest with a lawn dart. Gargano tied Priest up in the other ring's ropes and went for another lawn dart, but Ruff hit a crucifix bomb for a great near fall.
Ruff climbed the ropes, but Gargano rolled out of the way of the frog splash and locked on the Garga-No Escape. Priest escaped the ropes and broke it up before climbing the ropes and hitting a spinning heel kick on Gargano. Ruff avoided a corner splash, but Priest shrugged off clotheslines. Gargano landed a superkick, but Priest turned the One Final Beat into a chokeslam.
Three Ghostface killers appeared, but Priest fought them all off. Another three appeared, and Priest took them out with his step-up dive. Priest then landed a corner tope on the other three. Gargano tried to take advantage, but Priest caught a dive attempt and slammed Gargano. Ruff landed a frog splash on Gargano, but Priest barely broke up the cover in time.
Ruff took the fight to Priest, but Priest flattened him with a spinning knee. Priest caught Gargano and went for the Reckoning, Gargano hit a thrust kick, but Priest hit a cyclone kick. Priest set up for the Reckoning again, but another Ghostface appeared and attacked Priest with a lead pipe. Ruff tried to take advantage with a roll-up, but Gargano kicked out at two. Gargano then hit the One Final Beat to pin Ruff and win the championship.
After the match, the main Ghostface unmasked as Austin Theory.
The next NXT TV special, called New Year's Evil, was announced for January 6, 2021.
WarGames: Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) defeated Team McAfee (Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch)
This was a truly epic main event, one of the best WarGames matches in history. Everyone played their parts perfectly.
Team McAfee had the man advantage. Kyle O'Reilly and Pete Dunne started.
Neither man could get a grappling advantage until Dunne landed a takedown. O'Reilly tried to turn it into a triangle before applying a cross armbreaker. Dunne fought out and caught O'Reilly in a triangle through the ropes. O'Reilly escaped and went for a kimura. He decided to go with a German suplex, but Dunne flipped out of it and hit a buzzsaw kick before moving onto small joint manipulation.
They went into another fast-paced exchange, which Dunne won with a hand stomp and another buzzsaw kick. O'Reilly popped up and applied a guillotine, but he couldn't maintain the grip. Dunne hit a release suplex and locked on a cross armbreaker, but O'Reilly turned it into a heel hook.
McAfee acted like he wanted to be the next entrant, but Lorcan stopped him and entered them match himself. O'Reilly took the fight to Lorcan, but the two-on-one advantage overwhelmed him as Lorcan landed a half-and-half suplex and Dunne kicked out O'Reilly's arm. Dunne held O'Reilly's arms open while Lorcan laid in chops.
O'Reilly rolled into the other ring and caught both opponents with dragon screw legwhips as they gave chase. He then landed a diving kneedrop on Lorcan, but was immediately met with a dropkick from Dunne. Dunne and Lorcan continued their beatdown as the clock ticked down.
Fish was next in. He fought off both opponents before finishing it off with a suplex on Dunne into Lorcan. He flattened Lorcan with a spinebuster and sent Dunne into the gap between the rings, where O'Reilly hit him with a boot. Fish and O'Reilly then downed Lorcan with a DDT into a German suplex. Dunne tried to stop the attack, but his opponents easily dispatched him. O'Reilly wrestled with Lorcan and Fish wrestled with Dunne until Burch entered the match.
Burch grabbed a bag with cricket bats inside on the way to the ring. He and Dunne beat down their opponents with the bats. Burch taunted O'Reilly and was about to crack him with the bat, but O'Reilly surprised him with a heel hook as Burch frantically tapped. Dunne broke up the submission with a diving stomp, and Burch nailed O'Reilly with the bat.
Roderick Strong was next, but he was immediately laid out by Lorcan and Burch. Strong answered with clotheslines and chops before hitting Dunne with a backbreaker and Burch with an Olympic slam. Strong hit strikes on all three opponents but was cut off and sent headfirst into the cage by Lorcan. Team McAfee regained control as McAfee himself was the final entrant.
McAfee brought four tables into the ring, each of which had the Undisputed Era logo and the members' names on them. He also brought in chairs. Finally in the match, McAfee went to the top rope as his associates set up Strong on a table. McAfee's first move was a picture-perfect top-rope moonsault through Strong on the table.
The clock counted down and Cole, the final entrant, grabbed a fire extinguisher at ringside. He used it on his opponents and ran wild on Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch as the match was officially underway.
Cole and McAfee were the only two standing, but Dunne popped up between them. Dunne flattened Cole with a forearm smash and laid in stomps, but Cole countered the Bitter End into a DDT. McAfee caught Cole from behind, allowing Dunne to try to break Cole's fingers, but O'Reilly stopped him with a chair shot.
O'Reilly talked trash to McAfee, accusing him of "playing pro wrestler." McAfee was about to start a fight but Cole attacked him with a chair. The match broke down and all eight men brawled with their opponents.
Undisputed Era got the advantage until Dunne attacked Fish from behind. Fish turned the X-Plex into a sleeper, but Lorcan broke it up with a blockbuster. O'Reilly landed a knee strike, but Lorcan broke up the pinfall attempt. Lorcan and Burch hit a Magic Killer on O'Reilly, but Fish broke up the pin.
Cole had the advantage until McAfee cut him off with a chop block from behind. McAfee locked on a figure four leglock as his teammates ran interference, but Cole turned it around and reversed the pressure. Dunne broke it up with a stomp.
Lorcan and Burch set up the table with Cole's name on it but were cut off by Strong and Fish. Dunne caught a Cole superkick and turned it into an armbar, but Cole forced Dunne's shoulders onto the mat, so Dunne had to break. Cole then hit the ushigoroshi for a near fall.
Cole set up a table and looked to superplex Dunne through it. Fish and Strong put Burch on a table and tried to bomb Dunne through it, but the table didn't break. Strong dove off with a splash through Dunne and Burch, breaking the table. McAfee tried to take advantage and attack Cole, but Cole sent him flying through a table.
Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch were all forced between the ropes and the cage. Undisputed Era each hit a strike on all three men.
McAfee was the only member of his team left standing. He tried to climb out of the cage, but Undisputed Era stopped him and took turns tossing him into the cage. They tried to inflict more punishment, but took too long as Dunne, Lorcan, and Burch re-entered the fray and regained control.
Everyone climbed various turnbuckles. Lorcan nailed a diving uppercut on Fish, but Cole hit a top-rope neckbreaker on Dunne and Strong hit a superplex on McAfee. All eight men were down.
It looked like everyone started to brawl, but the camera panned up and McAfee was on top of the structure. He "hit" a senton atomico in the middle of the crowd, but somehow missed everyone and splatted on the canvas. That was brutal.
Dunne and O'Reilly faced off with a strike exchange. Dunne snapped O'Reilly's fingers and hit the Bitter End, but O'Reilly kicked out in a great near fall. O'Reilly hit a brainbuster on Dunne on the steel between the two rings, but Dunne kicked out for another good near fall.
O'Reilly set Dunne up on a chair and headed to the top turnbuckle. McAfee cut him off with a hard chair shot. He tried to attack Cole with the chair, but Cole avoided it and grabbed the chair. McAfee countered a chair shot with a low blow, but Cole hit a pump kick.
Cole wanted Panama Sunrise. Burch tried to interfere, but Strong tackled him through a table. Cole tried for a Panama Sunrise of his own, but Cole cut it off with a superkick and hit Panama Sunrise for two. Cole went for the Last Shot, but Lorcan got in the way and took it before Dunne hit Cole with the Bitter End through a chair.
O'Reilly, Fish, and Strong dispatched Dunne before hitting the High Low through a chair on Lorcan. O'Reilly then hit Lorcan with a diving knee drop through a chair to win WarGames and end the show.