Now that NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2018 has wrapped up, let’s get into the normal breakdown of my reactions to the event from top to bottom.
Per usual, at the end of this post, you’ll see my regular Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast, which reviews the event in more detail, but for those who want a more condensed version of my thoughts, I present to you my “quicker than a hiccup” reaction to the different parts of the evening:
Matt Riddle def. Kassius Ohno: Very cool that they added this to the card, even if it was just a squash. I’m still okay with that, as it helps build Riddle as a big deal and it further pushes Ohno toward being even more upset at his lack of progress. It was bonus material, so thumbs up.
NXT Women’s Championship 2-Out-of-3 Falls Match: Shayna Baszler (c) def. Kairi Sane: Fantastic match and maybe my favorite of their five encounters, all of which I’ve enjoyed. They have great chemistry together. I loved how Baszler scored the first fall and it made Sane even more of an underdog, so watching her fight back was made better that way. Baszler’s the right choice to keep the title on going forward, Sane looked good, it helped showcase Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, and I’m all for it.
Aleister Black def. Johnny Gargano: Even better than the match before it. These two are grade-A talent who have perpetually been anchors for the brand. Loved Gargano’s Punisher-inspired gear. Loved the storytelling. Loved the athleticism. Nothing at all to nitpick. Amazing.
NXT Championship: Tommaso Ciampa (c) def. Velveteen Dream: Somehow, even better than the match before it, again! This is on my list of best matches of the year in all of WWE. I absolutely, absolutely loved it, top to bottom. Big fan of the Hollywood Hogan stuff. Velveteen Dream is a goddamn star and Ciampa is so underrated because he’s always locking up with these other people who are on his level and he still manages to make them look even better. They KILLED IT. Both guys are phenomenal.
WarGames Match: War Raiders, Pete Dunne and Ricochet def. The Undisputed ERA: If this was your favorite match of the night, I don’t blame you, because it was also awesome. Again, I loved it from the top to the bottom. Hanson is a beast, being able to do what he did. War Raiders in general changed my opinion about them in this match, as I wasn’t high on them before. Ricochet is crazy. Pete Dunne is so good, too. The Undisputed ERA are very, very special and I hope WWE doesn’t lose sight of that whenever they come up to the main roster. Loved the logic here, loved the spots, everything.
This was SUCH a good event, and it was so refreshing to have nothing to complain about and just be able to enjoy myself for the first time in a long, long while. It’s currently in the running for my pick as the best event of the whole year for WWE.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews NXT TakeOver: WarGames with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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