One of the things on tonight’s preview is a ‘Special look at the WarGames casualties’. Considering the brutality of the WarGames matches, I’m not surprised that’s deserving of its own segment. Finn Balor is back this week. He’s going to kick off the show. And there are two announced matches, Ember Moon versus Raquel Gonzalez and Tommaso Ciampa versus Cameron Grimes.
Jake Atlas def. Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
Grizzled Young Veterans def. Imperium and Ever-Rise
Tommaso Ciampa def. Cameron Grimes
Pete Dunne def. Killian Dain
Raquel Gonzalez def. Ember Moon
Finn Balor said WarGames is done and the time for team sports is over. It’s Wednesday and the champion is back. Some people love him, and some people hate him, but if they want to get to know him they need to come and see him in the ring.
Pete Dunne answered the call Balor hadn’t quite finished making, for anyone in the back to challenge him. Dunne said they’re cut from the same cloth. Both came from overseas and made a name for themselves. He’s glad Balor’s back but told him not to get used to it because he’s going to put him back on the shelf and take the title.
Kyle O’Reilly joined them and said Dunne is tough, but Undisputed ERA beat them at WarGames. He talked to Balor about the fact he took him to the limit. Balor agreed they had unfinished business.
Damian Priest threw his hat in the ring as well. Dunne asked Priest if he was the guy who couldn’t beat Leon Ruff, and they started arguing.
Balor left them to it and said it’s Regal’s job to decide who gets the ‘Finn rub’. When he got to the stage there was smoke and music, then there was Scarlett. Balor didn’t let her say anything, he told her to tell Kross, when he’s ready, Finn’s ready.
Damian Priest called over to Scarlett and asked her if she told ‘her boy’ to stay in the car while she handles his business, and told her if Kross wants a fight all he has to do is step to him like a man. She gave him a very creepy look in response and left.
Backstage Pete Dunne said he didn’t come back to NXT to just wait for an opportunity, then immediately got into a scrap with a furious Killian Dain. They have a match later in the show.
Jake Atlas vs Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott
A very enjoyable and respectful contest. I was engrossed. There are stories to be told for both these men. They’re both trying to progress and they can’t afford losses from where they are, so it was going to end badly for one of them. Swerve was in control for most of the match, but it was Atlas who got the pin.
Swerve refused the handshake from Jake Atlas after the match and went off up the ramp looking like he was thinking of going back and knocking him out.
Tommaso Ciampa thinks Cameron Grimes might be insecure because insecurity often disguises itself as Grimes’ brash confidence. He’s planning to find out in their match. Grimes is the next project on Ciampa’s quest to clean up the locker room.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Ever-Rise vs Imperium – Triple-threat tag team match
Ever-Rise took the triple-threat aspect of it away for the first part of the match, opting to kneel on the floor and peer over the edge of the ring to watch the other teams. Grizzled Young Veterans and Imperium were obviously ok with them not participating because they knocked them back down when they did try to get involved. Eventually, they joined the match, but that didn’t go too well for them.
It was mostly Grizzled Young Veterans versus Imperium, and that’s just fine. Parker almost stole a pin on James Drake off Imperium’s double team finisher, but Drake kicked out. After knocking Barthel and Aichner out of the ring, Parker tried to suplex Drake but took a Ticket to Mayhem and got pinned.
The ‘Casualties of WarGames’ segment was interesting. Soundbites of how brutal and painful it is from the superstars involved. Oney Lorcan’s face looks messed up. Bobby Fish had surgery to reattach his triceps. Pat McAfee was in a neck brace. Dakota Kai said she won’t be seen for a while. She was holding her neck. Candice LeRae broke her arm.
Toni Storm said her turning on Ember Moon was simply Moon being in the wrong place at the wrong time. She made the right choice because she was on the winning team. She’s annoyed the Moon’s return stole her thunder, but she is focused on becoming the next champion. Io Shirai arrived and said now WarGames is over the title is her only problem. She doesn’t have a problem with Storm, she just doesn’t like her. Then she punched her in the face and they brawled out to the ring. Shirai got Storm down long enough to climb for a moonsault, but Storm rolled out of the ring where she was immediately attacked by Ember Moon. Moon got some payback for Storm feeding her to Kai, Gonzalez, and LeRae, by sending her straight back to the ring to take the moonsault.
Tommaso Ciampa vs Cameron Grimes
Timothy Thatcher came down to watch the match from a chair he set up at the bottom of the ramp. We got a shot of Thatcher’s ear and commentary told us he had to have five stitches after the TakeOver match.
Cameron Grimes gave Ciampa a lot more trouble than Ciampa was expecting and nearly got him a few times, but it was looking like Ciampa’s match. That was nearly wrecked by some interference from an unknown person climbing on the apron, commentary said Tyler Rust, but Ciampa bounced back from the distraction to pin Grimes off Willow’s Bell.
Timothy Thatcher denied knowing anything about Ciampa’s assailant after the match. Ciampa wasn’t buying it. Grimes tried to yell at Thatcher for coming out to ringside, so Thatcher grabbed him by the leg and made his knee bend in a very un-knee-like way.
Raquel Gonzalez is on a high after being the one to get the WarGames victory for her team. But it came at a cost because Dakota Kai is sitting at home injured because of what Ember Moon did to her on Sunday, so Gonzalez is going to make her wish she’d never come back to NXT.
Boa and Xia Li and still going through training and punishment. Boa was being hit with a kendo stick and punched. Li was being made to hit wooden things with her hands bleeding through the bandages.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae came to the ring with Indi Hartwell and Austin Theory, to celebrate their WarGames victories. Indi Hartwell is still in a neck brace. LeRae has her arm in a brace. There was gloating and boasting. They are ‘The Way’ apparently. Gargano said he had to have stitches in his mouth after winning the title match. Gargano dubbed LeRae ‘Miss WarGames’ but got frustrated with the booing. He bought her a trophy with a doll’s head on the top with green hair (in the wrong shade) to represent Shotzi Blackheart.
Damian Priest and Leon Ruff have challenged Gargano and Theory to a tag team match next week and they’ve accepted.
Damian Priest came to the stage and congratulated Gargano on the win. He asked Theory if he had the pipe on him because he was going to come down there and stuff it up his ass, but halfway to the ring, he was attacked by Karrion Kross.
Priest didn’t get a blow in. Kross bounced him off the fixtures and fittings then powerbombed him onto a table.
The cameras followed Kross all the way back to his car, where Scarlett was waiting for him.
McKenzie Mitchell failed to interview Tyler Rust about the attack on Ciampa and whether he’s working with Timothy Thatcher because Malcolm Bivens appeared and took him off to talk business.
Pete Dunne vs Killian Dain
Killian Dain was eager to show Dunne how little he appreciated having a car door slammed on his head. Dunne took a while to get up to the intensity Dain came in with and took a lot of punishment in the process. It turned into a great match when he got up to speed, but I’m still distracted by just how incredibly orange Pete Dunne is.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch turned up when Dain was about to finish things, but Drake Maverick appeared from nowhere and tried to see them off with a chair. Killian Dain ended up having to rescue him and got pinned off a kick in the face and a Bitter End when he got back in the ring.
McKenzie Mitchell had another interview interrupted. This time it was Gargano and Theory interrupted Leon Ruff’s interview about whether Damian Priest would be ready for their tag match. Gargano said there was no way and suggested Ruff take them on two on one. When they’d walked off laughing, Kushida appeared and insisted he’d be Ruff’s partner if needed. They fist-bumped on it.
New Year’s Evil is on January 6th.
Raquel Gonzalez vs Ember Moon
Gonzalez threw Ember Moon around a lot in the early parts of the match. It took a strong of offence for Moon to get back into it, but Gonzalez rolled under the bottom rope before she could cover her. They were both down on the outside as we went to a break, after Moon knocked Gonzalez off the apron with a suicide dive.
Raquel Gonzalez was stretching Moon over her shoulder by the time we came back. Commentary talked about them having a match this soon after WarGames, and they’ve got a point. They must still be hurting. If they were, it didn’t make them hold back.
A second suicide dive from Moon sent Gonzalez onto the announce desk, so Moon climbed a pillar to take advantage. Gonzalez pulled her down, slung her over her shoulder, and rammed her head-first into the post. Somehow, Ember Moon still kicked out.
Moon got a little retaliation with a knee to Gonzalez’ face but Gonzalez caught her on the Eclipse and levelled her with a clothesline. It took two attempts for Raquel Gonzalez to deliver the one-armed powerbomb, but it got her the win when she did.
Toni Storm came to the ring to take advantage of Moon’s semi-conscious state but Rhea Ripley came and pulled Moon out of the ring. Ripley got in the ring to challenge Storm, but it was Gonzalez stepped forward instead. They circled while staring at each other, and Gonzalez backed out of the ring.
WarGames delivered as a TakeOver, but the injury rate was quite high. Bobby Fish is going to be out for a while by the sounds of it. There comes a point where you have to wonder if the spectacle is worth it.