NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2018 is scheduled for this Saturday night, and now that the go-home episode of NXT has aired, we have a firm grasp of which superstars will be participating in the pay-per-view and which men and women are being left out in the cold.
As always, cards are subject to change and there could be any number of alterations to this lineup with surprise appearances, impromptu matches and so on, so nothing is truly set in stone. However, as far as the event is currently being advertised, the following NXT talent is not being promoted as part of the program.
It’s your call to judge whether these missing stars are being left off the card for justifiable reasons or not, so let’s take a look at the superstars missing from NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2018.
From the NXT Men’s Division
— The Brit-Am Bruisers (Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan): Now that Lorcan has healed up, these two are actually sticking around and not being entirely pushed aside. Good for them! We could see them fight in the tag title hunt over the coming months, but for now, they weren’t in the right spot to find their way into WarGames, nor should they have taken priority over the others in that match.
— Cezar Bononi: I’m getting the feeling WWE jumped the gun a bit on pushing this guy a little and allowing him to be in the running for the Future Star award. That hasn’t gotten him anywhere and he isn’t even fully in the tag team picture right now with Adrian Jaoude. Curious.
— EC3: What is it with EC3? How come WWE doesn’t seem to want to use him all that much? This is irksome and I wish he’d be given something to do instead of sitting in the wings all the time. For this particular event, he didn’t have much of a story going on leading up to it, beyond just putting over The Undisputed ERA’s numbers game.
— Fabian Aichner: Aichner may be low on the totem pole in NXT proper, but he’s holding a title in Evolve, so he’s got that going for him, which is nice.
— The Forgotten Sons (Jaxson Ryker, Steve Cutler, Wesley Blake): Having just graduated to the roster in true form, The Forgotten Sons aren’t the go-to prospect to shine the spotlight on right now. They’ll have to sit and wait their turn.
— Heavy Machinery (Otis Dozovic & Tucker Knight): These two never seem to be doing much of anything big, but they’ll take up some time on a spot here or there on an NXT episode. Maybe that’s their ceiling? Maybe they’ll get a push down the line? It’s not happening here, though.
— Kassius Ohno / Keith Lee / Matt Riddle: They’ve been setting up this idea that Kassius Ohno has a bone to pick with the new signings taking up the spotlight he can’t get for himself. Primarily, the focal point has been Matt Riddle, but Keith Lee has been hanging around Riddle during this setup, so he’s in the mix, too. It seemed like a sure bet that that Ohno would face either Lee or, more likely, Riddle, at TakeOver, yet that hasn’t been announced. Rumor has it, it will be taped beforehand and air on a regular episode of NXT instead.
— Kona Reeves: He’s a jobber, and he’ll stay in jobberland where he deserves to be right now. There are far bigger fish to fry that would have been on this card above him.
— Lars Sullivan: Sullivan was pissed that Velveteen Dream got the title shot instead of him. Well, beating him up didn’t change that. It makes sense why Sullivan wasn’t booked in that position instead, because VD is much easier to position as the babyface against Ciampa than Sullivan ever could have been. They rushed the EC3 feud, too, so there wasn’t anything else going on for him to do as an alternative.
— The Mighty (Nick Miller & Shane Thorne): Miller and Thorne have had a slight increase since turning heel, but still not a good enough one to justify putting them on a card as limited as the TakeOver events always are.
— Raul Mendoza: Jobber. Not a chance.
— Riddick Moss: Injury (Achilles tendon). He’ll be out for quite some time.
— The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford): They are the Evolve tag team champions, but they aren’t doing as well on NXT television as far as being major focal points. Still a big fan of them, though. I hope they turn that around and become contenders at some point in 2019.
— Tino Sabbatelli: Injury (torn pectoral muscle). He’ll also be out for quite a while.
From the NXT Women’s Division
— Aliyah: Jobber. Nope.
— Bianca Belair: The EST of NXT is going to get her time, rest assured, but with no ability to record much of a hot angle to go with for this event (since the tapings were done before Evolution and they couldn’t spoil the outcome), WWE had to go with an easier option and the built-in rematch clause storyline, instead of setting up Belair more properly.
— Candice LeRae: Still, after all this time, LeRae is serving more of a purpose as a supporting player in Johnny Gargano’s story than doing something on her own. I hope that changes soon enough.
— Dakota Kai: The captain of Team Kick is splitting the difference between NXT and NXT UK. Look out for her more on that show over the coming weeks, instead of here.
— Deonna Purrazzo: She’s still somewhat more of a Performance Center live event talent than a bona fide NXT wrestler, but she’s on the edge. Competing in the Mae Young Classic is enough for right now. Give her some time to breathe and collect her bearings.
— Lacey Evans: Evans is suffering from a problem in NXT right now where the women’s division has more heels than babyfaces and she can’t get a push because it would undermine Belair and Baszler. I kind of wish she’d turn face just to offset that a bit, but we’ll see how this plays out before Phoenix.
— Nikki Cross: Is she on SmackDown now, or was that just a temporary thing? Hm…
— Taynara Conti: Just release her if she’s not going to improve or be featured after multiple attempts at trying. That is, unless the game plan is to use her as a jobber, in which case, she can hang out with Aliyah backstage.
— Vanessa Borne: Borne has been sitting out a bit. Again, too many heels in the NXT women’s division right now, but she’s not someone I could picture turning face right now.
Performance Center Recruits
There isn’t much to say about these men and women. They’re not regular members of the NXT roster yet, so there’s literally no reason for them to be there on this card with limited spots.