Superstars Missing from WWE NXT TakeOver: WarGames Card


With half as many events per year as the main roster, NXT TakeOver events are immensely important for the men and women in the developmental brand as far as exposure and momentum to carry them into the next stage of their careers. There are only a few opportunities to get on the card and each spot is highly coveted real estate.

The card for this Sunday’s NXT TakeOver: WarGames event seems pretty locked in at this point and per usual, not every superstar was able to make it onto the lineup. For whatever reason, these men and women weren’t deemed important enough to find a spot for at the pay-per-view—at least as far as what’s currently being advertised. Some of those omissions might be justified while others are a bit more questionable.

Let’s take a look at who will be sitting this show out.

Hideo Itami

Itami was getting a bit of a push with his heel turn and then, out of nowhere, he stops showing up.

Rumor has it he’ll be appearing on 205 Live going forward, but until that is the reality, it’s all just speculation, the same as those outlets who had rumored that he was one of the frustrated talents who wasn’t happy with his position in the company and wanting out of his contract to join Cody Rhodes and others on the independent scene.

I wouldn’t be too shocked if that were the case, and if he’s expressed those opinions in any way, WWE could have just shelved him for the time being.

Of course, that’s with absolutely nothing as far as evidence, but it is a bit curious why he went from getting this heel turn push to doing nothing at all.

No Way Jose

Poor No Way Jose never seems to be around much these days. For a little bit, I was thinking that this might mean he’d be called up to the main roster, yet there’s been zero activity to suggest that in the recent months after SummerSlam, making me doubt any validity behind that hope.

Instead, he’s just been on the backburner, maybe making one appearance per taping, if that, which translates to one or two showings over the course of many, many weeks.

For him not to be on this card after having such little to do with the recent events is no shocker, but it’s also kind of a shame that he isn’t involved in something.

Lio Rush

He just got onto the roster, so it’s excusable that WWE might not be in a rush—pun painfully intended—to give him too much to do right out of the gate.

His tweet about Emma being fired is another reason to not anticipate getting preferential treatment any time soon, as that clearly rubbed many people the wrong way throughout the company.

My guess is if we see him at all in Houston, it will be to job out during the tapings before TakeOver, but I wouldn’t bet on that, either.

The United Kingdom Division

When the United Kingdom division started at the beginning of this year, it seemed like within no time, there would be an extraneous show on the WWE Network revolving around all the men in the tournament and possibly others who would be brought into the mix.

Instead, we saw little to no progress up until a random surge this week, which not only brought several wrestlers onto 205 Live to make appearances, but also led to the announcement of Pete Dunne facing Johnny Gargano in a dark match.

The rest of the UK division, though, are naturally sitting this show out even more, because you can’t just throw every single competitor onto every card and not make it feel like a mess.

Trent Seven, Wolfgang, Tyler Bate, Mark Andrews, Jordan Devlin, Tucker, James Drake, Joseph Conners and so on don’t seem to be stuck in perpetual limbo anymore, which is a great thing, but for WarGames, they’re still on the shelf.

From the Women’s Division

Since Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, Peyton Royce and Nikki Cross will be involved in the Fatal 4-Way to determine the new women’s champion, the rest of the women on the true roster, the supplemental live event crew and elsewhere are left without a means to achieve that goal.

This means not only all of the Mae Young Classic competitors who haven’t been officially signed to the company yet (such as Candice LeRae, Mercedes Martinez, Santana Garrett and so forth) but also all of the women who are actually on the official roster: Abbey Laith, Bianca Belair, Dakota Kai, Lacey Evans, Reina Gonzalez, Rhea Ripley, Sage Beckett, Sarah Logan, Shayna Baszler, Taynara Conti, Vanessa Borne, Xia Li and Zeda.

Add to those names the women who are at this point the veterans of the roster like Aliyah, Billie Kay (who should probably be ringside to support Peyton Royce), Liv Morgan, and Ruby Riot as well as the fresher but still more advanced than the MYC crew, Sonya Deville.

And then there’s Mandy Rose—an oddity because she’s been there much longer than most people and arguably before even Sonya Deville, yet clearly hasn’t progressed enough for them to make her a true roster member or have her make more appearances. It’s almost as if they forgot about her or something.

From the Tag Team Division

For a hot minute there, Heavy Machinery got quite a push, didn’t they? That fizzled out into nowhere fast.

TM61 is still out of the mix as Shane Thorne’s injury put his and Nick Miller’s active status on hold for quite some time, so it makes sense why there’s nothing for them.

When it comes to The Street Profits and the team of Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss, though, I’m a bit surprised they weren’t given a match here over the Lars Sullivan and Kassius Ohno pairing, since Sullivan/Ohno has arguably less of a build than the tag teams, but that’s a judgement call on which one WWE felt would be more important and they must value Sullivan’s push more than the teams. Don’t be shocked if you see this on an upcoming taping, though.

Competitors from the Live Event Circuit

As expected, all of the standard wrestlers who mostly only perform on house shows are not factored into the event, so you won’t be seeing anyone like Jeet Rama, Steve Cutler, Tian Bing or Raul Mendoza to be competing, nor a tag team like The Ealy Brothers. There are far too many people here to just list them all and most people wouldn’t recognize their names if they browsed Wikipedia to begin with.

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