|NXT TakeOver: WarGames|
|Date||November 23, 2019|
|WWE Network event chronology|
|NXT TakeOver chronology|
|NXT TakeOver: WarGames chronology|
The 2019 NXT TakeOver: WarGames was the 27th NXT TakeOver and the third annual WarGames professional wrestling event produced by WWE. It was held exclusively for wrestlers from the promotion's NXT brand division. The event aired exclusively on the WWE Network and took place on November 23, 2019, at the Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois, as part of that year's Survivor Series weekend. It was also the first event to feature a women's WarGames match, which subsequently made it the first to have two WarGames matches on the same night. It was also the second TakeOver event in history in which the NXT Championship was not defended (after Respect in October 2015), and was the first which saw no title defenses on the card. The event was the first NXT TakeOver held following NXT's recognition as one of WWE's three main brands in September.
Five matches were contested at the event, including one on the Pre-Show. In the main event, Team Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, and Kevin Owens) defeated The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, and Roderick Strong) in a WarGames match while in the opening bout, Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and Dakota Kai) defeated Team Baszler (Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kay Lee Ray) in the first-ever women's WarGames match.
TakeOver was a series of professional wrestling shows that began in May 2014, as WWE's then-developmental league NXT held their second WWE Network-exclusive event, billed as TakeOver. In subsequent months, the "TakeOver" moniker became the brand used by WWE for all of their NXT live specials. The 2019 WarGames was scheduled as the 27th NXT TakeOver event and was held on November 23, 2019, at the Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois as a support show for that year's Survivor Series pay-per-view. It was the third in the TakeOver: WarGames chronology, a subseries of TakeOvers that feature the WarGames match and were originally held as a support show for WWE's annual Survivor Series pay-per-view. It was also the first NXT TakeOver held following NXT's recognition as one of WWE's three main brand divisions in September.
NXT previously held a recurring subseries of TakeOvers titled TakeOver: Chicago, which were each held at the Allstate Arena. The 2019 WarGames was also held at the Allstate Arena; however, it was only part of the WarGames chronology and not also part of the Chicago chronology, which ended with TakeOver: Chicago II.
The card comprised five matches, including one on the Pre-Show. The matches resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed heroes, villains, or less distinguishable characters that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches. Results were predetermined by WWE's writers on the NXT brand, while storylines were produced on their weekly television program, NXT.
On the October 30 episode of NXT, a brawl occurred with all the women on the roster after the conclusion of WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match. This prompted the NXT general manager William Regal to schedule the first ever women's WarGames match with Rhea Ripley and NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler being captain for their respective teams. On November 6 episode of The Bump, Ripley chose Candice LeRae and Tegan Nox, while Baszler chose Bianca Belair and Io Shirai. On the same night on NXT, Ripley chose Mia Yim as the final pick for her team after Yim saved her team from a brawl, following the conclusion of a match between Baszler and Dakota Kai. On the November 13 episode of NXT, a ladder match between Yim and Shirai was held to determine which team would get the WarGames advantage. NXT UK Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray interfered, allowing Shirai to win, and subsequently joined Baszler's team. However, during the WarGames Pre-Show, Yim was attacked backstage by an unknown person and was unable to compete in the match. As a result, Ripley had to choose Kai as her replacement.
On the October 30 episode of NXT, NXT Tag Team Champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly defeated Matt Riddle and Keith Lee. Afterward, The Undisputed Era proceeded to attack Lee and Riddle, before Tommaso Ciampa appeared. The following week on NXT, a men's WarGames match was scheduled between Team Ciampa (Ciampa, Riddle, Lee, and a partner of their choosing) against The Undisputed Era. On the November 13 episode of NXT, following a match between Lee and Roderick Strong, The Undisputed Era attacked Ciampa and Lee until Dominik Dijakovic appeared. Dijakovic offered to be the fourth member of the team, which Ciampa accepted. Later that night, Riddle left Ciampa's team after being scheduled to face Finn Bálor. On the November 20 episode of NXT, Cole defeated Dijakovic in a ladder match to gain the WarGames advantage.
On the November 13 episode of NXT, Finn Bálor insulted the NXT roster as “all boys who can't take a beating”, specifically mentioning Johnny Gargano and Matt Riddle. Riddle attacked Bálor, who retreated. Later that night, Riddle assisted his then-WarGames partners Keith Lee and Tommaso Ciampa against their scheduled opponents, The Undisputed Era. However, Bálor appeared and attacked Riddle. As a result, a match between the two was scheduled for TakeOver.
On the October 16 episode of NXT, Pete Dunne performed a finger snap on Killian Dain, before Dunne's scheduled match against Damian Priest. Priest would later defeat Dunne after a low blow. A rematch between Dunne and Priest was scheduled on the November 6 episode of NXT, where Dunne would win by submission. Following the match, Dain attacked both Dunne and Priest. On the November 13 episode of NXT, a match between Dunne and Dain was scheduled on the night. However, Priest attacked Dain and subsequently, a brawl occurred between the three. On November 19, a triple threat match between Dunne, Priest, and Dain was scheduled for TakeOver, with the winner receiving an NXT Championship match against champion Adam Cole at Survivor Series the following night.
On November 22, a match between Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and Angel Garza was scheduled for the TakeOver Pre-Show.
|Spanish commentators||Carlos Cabrera|
|Ring announcer||Alicia Taylor|
|Pre-show panel||Charly Caruso|
Isaiah "Swerve" Scott faced Angel Garza. Garza performed the "Wing Clipper" on Scott to win.
Previously, Mia Yim was attacked by an unknown assailant and was ruled unable to compete in WarGames. Rhea Ripley chose Dakota Kai as her replacement.
The first match was the WarGames match involving Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and Dakota Kai) and Team Baszler (NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and NXT UK Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray). LeRae and Shirai began. After five minutes, Belair entered, followed by Ripley and Ray. As Kai was scheduled to enter, she attacked her teammate Nox; Kai would leave and Nox was ruled unable to compete. Baszler entered last. Shirai performed a Moonsault off the cage on LeRae and Belair, and Ripley struck Ray with a trash can. Baszler applied the Kirifuda Clutch but Ripley used handcuffs on Bazler. Ripley performed the Riptide through two chairs to win. Despite neither of them competing in the match, both Nox and Kai were announced as part of Team Ripley.
Next, Pete Dunne, Damian Priest, and Killian Dain competed for the #1 Contendership to the NXT Championship at Survivor Series. Dain performed a Running Senton on Priest while Dunne had Dain locked in a sleeper hold, and Dunne pinned Priest to win.
In the penultimate bout, Matt Riddle faced Finn Bálor. Bálor performed a 1916 on Riddle to win.
In the main event, Team Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominic Dijakovic, and an unknown partner) faced The Undisputed Era (NXT Champion Adam Cole, NXT Tag Team Champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly and NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong) in WarGames. Ciampa and Strong began. After five minutes, O'Reilly entered, being followed by Dijakovic, Fish, Lee and Cole. Ciampa pushed Cole through a table against the barrier. Kevin Owens was revealed as the unknown partner and entered last. Owens performed a Stunner on Cole but Strong avoided the pinfall at a two count. Cole performed a Panama Sunrise on the steel platform on Owens. Dijakovic performed a Chokeslam through a table on Strong, Owens performed a Frog Splash through a table on O'Reilly and Lee performed a Super Spirit Bomb through a table on Fish. Ciampa performed an Air Raid Crash off the cage through two tables on Cole to win.
The event received critical acclaim among wrestling fans and journalists.
Larry Csonka and Kevin Pantoja of 411mania.com gave TakeOver: WarGames a score of 8 out of 10. Csonka stated "NXT TakeOver WarGames 2019 was an overall great show, with the two WarGames matches delivering and offering up nothing bad on the card, which flew by at just two-hours including the pre-show, and booking that set up a lot of matches for the future."
Writing for the Bleacher Report, Erik Beaston gave the overall show a strongly positive review. He graded the kickoff show bout between Garza and Scott with a B, the women's WarGames match a grade of A+, the triple threat match between Dunne, Priest & Dain a B, the singles match between Riddle & Balor a B+ and gave an A+ to the men's WarGames match.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded the Scott vs. Garza match on the kickoff show 2.75 out of 5 stars, the women's WarGames match 4.25 stars, the triple threat match featuring Pete Dunne, Damien Priest and Killian Dain 3.5 stars, the singles match between Matt Riddle and Finn Balor 4 stars and the men's WarGames match 4.5 stars.
Brent Brookhouse and Jack Crosby of CBSSports.com gave grades of A and A− respectively for both the WarGames matches, a B for the triple threat match between Pete Dunne, Killian Dain and Damien Priest, a B+ for Matt Riddle vs. Finn Balor and a grade of A− for the overall show stating "Saturday's TakeOver: WarGames 3 card from Chicago -- one night before Survivor Series at Allstate Arena -- delivered big on all fronts. When the main complaints coming out of a show mainly focus on the two eponymous matches being a bit much for a single night and one very good match going a few minutes too long, you know the product delivered what NXT fans have come to expect from TakeOver events."
Brian Mazique of Forbes.com gave grades of B+ for the pre-show match between Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and Angel Garza, an A+ and A respectively for both the WarGames matches, an A for Pete Dunne vs. Killian Dain vs. Damien Priest, a B for Matt Riddle vs. Finn Balor and gave the overall show an A, stating "War Games delivered. The fact that it was so interesting without a title on the line made it all the more impressive."
The event itself would later win the NXT Year-End Award for TakeOver of the Year.
After the show, in a Facebook video alongside Triple H, Rhea Ripley selected Candice LeRae, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai and NXT UK superstar Toni Storm as part of the NXT team for the women's 5-on-5-on-5 survivor series match. During the Survivor Series kickoff show the following day, Shawn Michaels announced Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Damian Priest, Matt Riddle, and WWE United Kingdom Champion Walter as part of the NXT team for the men's 5-on-5-on-5 survivor series match. At the event, NXT won brand supremacy over Raw and SmackDown after Ripley's team, Roderick Strong, and Shayna Baszler each won their interbrand matches, while Lio Rush retained the NXT Cruiserweight Championship against representatives from RAW and SmackDown; in one of the three non-interbrand matches on the card, Adam Cole retained the NXT Championship against Pete Dunne.
On Raw the following Monday, as part of a larger "town hall" discussing Raw's performance during Survivor Series, Seth Rollins chastised Kevin Owens for participating in the WarGames match with Team Ciampa, questioning his loyalty to Raw and mockingly referring to him as "Mr. NXT". In response, Owens performed a stunner and challenged him to a match later on the show. The match would end in a disqualification win for Owens after former NXT Tag Team Champions AOP (Akam and Rezar) (who Rollins chastised earlier for not participating at Survivor Series at all) attacked Owens. Rollins then performed two Stomps on Owens.
Following Tommaso Ciampa's teammates Dominik Dijakovic and Keith Lee's performance in the WarGames match (with Team Ciampa winning) and also Lee's performance in the men's Survivor Series elimination match, William Regal announced that both Dijakovic and Lee will have their opportunity to challenge The Undisputed Era's Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly for the NXT Tag Team Championships on November 27 episode of NXT. Fish, however, ended up sustaining an injury and was replaced by fellow member Roderick Strong where Strong and O'Reilly defeated Dijakovic and Lee to retain the titles.
On the November 27 episode of NXT, the entire roster (including NXT UK) celebrated their brand's victory over Raw and SmackDown at Survivor Series only for The Undisputed Era to interrupt. Cole stated that the only reason why NXT brand were dominant was due to their stable and not because of the roster. Cole also mentioned that the roster did absolutely nothing on the weekend. Ciampa reminded Cole that it was his team that defeated The Undisputed Era at WarGames and warned them that their days of holding their championship belts were numbered, with Ciampa focusing on Cole's NXT Championship. Finn Bálor then interrupted and stated that Ciampa was standing in his way. In response, Ciampa issued a challenge to Balor, which the latter agreed. During the match, Bálor defeated Ciampa, due to interference by Cole. Following the match, Bálor performed a Pele Kick on Cole.
Following Dakota Kai's ambush on Tegan Nox at WarGames, Kai faced Candice LeRae on the November 27 episode of NXT, where Kai attacked LeRae with Nox's knee brace, thus LeRae won by disqualification. As Kai attempted to attack LeRae with the chair, Ripley came out to LeRae's aid. Later that night, Ripley had a face-to-face confrontation with Shayna Baszler, and congratulating her for defeating Becky Lynch and Bayley at Survivor Series. Ripley then reminded Baszler that her team defeated Baszler's team at WarGames and then issued a challenge to Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship. On the December 18 episode of NXT, Ripley defeated Baszler to win the NXT Women's Championship, also ending Baszler reign at 416 days, the first time the title changed hands in the Reiwa era.
|1P||Angel Garza defeated Isaiah "Swerve" Scott by pinfall||Singles match||7:35|
|2||Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox, and Dakota Kai)[Note 1] defeated Team Baszler (Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kay Lee Ray)||WarGames match||27:24|
|3||Pete Dunne defeated Damian Priest and Killian Dain by pinfall||Triple threat match to determine the #1 contender for the NXT Championship at Survivor Series||19:56|
|4||Finn Bálor defeated Matt Riddle by pinfall||Singles match||14:21|
|5||Team Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, and Kevin Owens) defeated The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Bobby Fish, Kyle O'Reilly, and Roderick Strong)||WarGames match||38:36|