With just one title match on the card and its main champion sidelined with injury, there wasn’t much momentum for the 2020 edition of NXT TakeOver: WarGames. But as is common with iconic NXT events, even TakeOvers without the most powerful versions somehow exceed expectations.
This was indeed the case on Sunday night as the WarGames matches that booked the show were both delivered in very different ways. The women’s match that opened the event was filled with brutality, including the endless use of weapons and spots unlike what we’ve seen before in this stipulation fight. The finish came as a surprise to some viewers as it defied expectations. The main event men’s match saw a less surprising finish, and the action was toned down from a brutality standpoint. However, the focus was more on the wrestling aspect of the game and all eight men absolutely delivered.
What happened on Sunday night at Capitol Wrestling Center in Orlando, Florida? Read on for the full results, analysis, and ratings of NXT TakeOver: WarGames.
NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2020 Results, Ratings
WarGames for Women – Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai vs. Candice LaRae, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai and Raquel Gonzalez: Blackheart debuted with his new and improved tank, but Moon and Kai started the match. Blackheart brought an entire toolbox into the ring, Gonzalez gave the heels momentum with his height, and then Ripley came over to reverse it. Ripley brutalized Kai with weapons, then got into a fight with Gonzalez. Storm walked in with kendo sticks and leveled things off. Shirai and LaRae were the last two. Shirai slipped two ladders but was refused entry by force. Indi Hartwell attacked Shirai from behind on the outside and then locked the cage door, but Shirai quickly appeared at the top of the cage, put a trash can over her body, and flew at everyone below. She hit a moonsault on Gonzalez, but the heels broke the fall, then Kai put a trash can around Shirai and hit her twice from the top rope, jamming the can to the champion’s body.
Moon struck a ridiculous eclipse on Kai atop two standing chairs, and Storm followed with Storm Zero on Moon through a trash can. Blackheart placed LaRae between two chairs and flew off a ladder went a senton but could not recover from the fall. After a few more back and forths, Gonzalez grabbed Shirai between the rings and hit his finisher by slamming one hand through a ladder wedged between the ring ropes for the final 1-2-3. This match was absolutely insane and proved he probably should have been in the main event. If men get past that, it will be an all time show. The Candice LaRae bat team. Shotzi Blackheart Team – Quality: A-
Finn Balor cut a pre-recorded promo saying the time for team sports is over and all eyes will be on him and the NXT Championship from Wednesday’s NXT TV show. Balor was unable to defend the title due to facial injuries suffered in his last game against Kyle O’Reilly in the previous TakeOver.
Tommaso Ciampa vs. Timothy Thatcher: Much slower and more methodical than the first game, Ciampa and Thatcher focused on the mat wrestling and strikes. Ciampa ran with a superplex and almost took Thatcher out with a choke, but Thatcher escaped with a German suplex. Ciampa cut thatcher’s hell out while he was trapped between the ropes and grabbed him with Willow’s Bell after locking a guillotine for victory. It was brutal and violent, a huge change of pace from the opener. Ciampa def. Thatcher via pinfall – Category B
Dexter Lumis vs. Cameron Grimes (Strap Match): Grimes attacked Lumis early on after refusing to use the provided bracelet, opting for his own. He used the strap to throw Lumis over the barricade and come back with Grimes actually holding the advantage for a while. Lumis eventually beat Grimes with the strap, but Grimes came back with chair kicks. Grimes slammed his Spanish fly style sling on Lumis and watched him head for a finish, but Lumis countered the Cave In and used the sling to trip Grimes face first onto a chair. He then hit his Silence choke for the win. I’m not a fan of strap-on matches or this feud, but it was way better than I expected despite it. Entertaining stuff. Lumis def. Grimes – Category B
The presence of Karrion Kross was felt with a vignette showing a perched vulture waiting to strike.
North American Championship – Leon Ruff © against Damian Priest against Johnny Gargano: Priest tried to convince Ruff not to get in his way at the start of the match, but Ruff continued to refuse. Ruff and Gargano teamed up to try and take down Priest, but Gargano ultimately outwitted them both. Ruff ultimately paid for not avoiding Priest by eating a razor sharp edge through an outer barrier that propelled the champion backwards. Ruff eventually returned with a vengeance, including a senton flying outside and a springboard on the Gargano. Priest hit a double flatliner, but Gargano tied him in the ropes. Priest saved Ruff a bit later, but Gargano kicked the champion. Priest was about to beat Gargano when a half-dozen Ghostface masked men interrupted him.
Priest eventually took them all out by hovering over the two ring posts for the sentons, and Ruff nearly stole the win with a frog. Priest took out Gargano and Ruff with spinning kicks, but just as he was about to beat Gargano with The Reckoning, another Ghostface smashed him in the back with a lead pipe. Gargano pulled off a pinning combination then grabbed Ruff with One Final Beat for the win. Austin Theory later turned out to be a thrilling game filled with non-stop action, and the interference was long overdue given the booking over the past six weeks. You won’t get a higher rating under these circumstances, but the action still needs a lot of praise. Gargano def. Ruff (c) via Pinfall and Priest to win the title – Quality: B +
Men’s WarGames – Undisputed Era contre Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan et Danny Burch: Dunne and Kyle O’Reilly got started. Lorcan was then followed by Bobby Fish as the action resumed with a ton of doubles teams. Burch brought a few cricket bats into the ring which provided a major advantage, but Roderick Strong was a one-man demolition crew when he entered, taking out all three opponents with suplexes and strikes. McAfee brought four tables in the ring labeled for each of the Undisputed Era members and put Strong through his own with a moonsault. Adam Cole blinded the heels with a fire extinguisher and took them out, then countered Dunne’s Bitter End with a DDT. Cole pierced McAfee with a chair as the eight-man brawl began.
McAfee pulled Cole’s knee out and put him in figure four as the other six men fought. The remaining three tables were all set up with Cole and Dunne working on top of each other. Undisputed Era propelled Dunne into Burch across Cole’s table, but it didn’t take if Strong splashed them through. Cole then threw McAfee off the ropes halfway through the ring across the O’Reilly table. Undisputed Era took punches on the other heels four on three, brutalizing them between the ropes and the cage. McAfee attempted to escape but Undisputed Era took turns against him. Cole was ready for a kick when the heels woke up. Cole hit Dunne with a flying neck cutter and Strong nailed a superplex on McAfee with all eight guys down.
McAfee climbed over the cage and hit a flying senton from above, knocking out the other seven. Dunne hit O’Reilly with the Bitter End for the first near drop with a last second kick. O’Reilly responded with a suplex on the steel between the rings for a count of 2.9. O’Reilly went to finish Dunne, but McAfee took him with a chair. McAfee then blew low on Cole as he attempted to shoot a chair, but Cole avoided the clearance kick. Fish threw Burch across the Strong table and McAfee hit a superkick, but Cole caught McAfee with a superkick when he tried Panama Sunrise. Cole then hit the move only for McAFee to shockingly kick out at 2.9.
Lorcan sacrificed himself for McAfee and won Cole’s final blow. Then Dunne came to his senses and hit the Bitter End on Cole in a standing chair, but Strong broke the pin and hit his incredible backbreaker on Dunne. Undisputed Era teamed up to take out Lorcan with a High-Low finisher, and O’Reilly succeeded with his flying knee on a chair over Lorcan’s face for the final victory in a mind-blowing game. We talked about exceeding expectations earlier and that’s exactly what we did. It was slow at times, but the action really picked up on the finish. It was sort of better than the women’s game at the end, which is quite an achievement. An undisputed era def. McAfee, Dunne, Lorcan and Burch – Grade: A