BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

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Big Red Machine
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BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 24th, '19, 22:34

NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019 (11/23/2019)- Chicago, IL



WAR GAMES MATCH: Team Baszler (Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, & Kay Lee Ray) vs. Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Tegan Knox, Dakota Kai & Candice LeRae)- 8.75/10
This is, as we’ve been told a million times, the first ever women’s War Games match, so Candice’s gear is all about gender equality… and also, for some reason, there is some sort of angry cupcake on it. I don’t understand people anymore.
Dakota Kai is a replacement for Mia Yim, who was injured in a backstage attack.
The crowd annoyed me this match with their clear not caring who won and just wanting to see things. The “WE WANT TABLES!” chants are the worst of this, so I am hereby declaring a new rule at all wrestling shows: If a wrestler starts pulling out weapons from under the ring and you respond by chanting “WE WANT TABLES!” the wrestler should be allowed to go into the crowd and hit you in face with those weapons for being a sh*tty fan. Stop telling the wrestlers what you want to see them hurt each other with and just pay attention to the story they’re trying to tell you.
Speaking of stories, this is one of those matches that I cannot stress enough how important it is that you go watch it for yourself first. I’m even going to give you a few lines of leeway so that nothing is accidentally spoiled for you if you scrolled down a whole bunch by accident.





Okay…have you watched the match yet? Good. Here we go:
I thought the booking here was genius. I was initially skeptical of the turn from a booking point of view. Not because of any logic issues (I am fine with the explanation that “the match beyond” was allowed to start when all reasonable participants were in the ring rather than some sort of strict letter of the law interpretation where the match shouldn’t have been allowed to start because Dakota and Teagan were never in the ring, although I will admit that if they hadn’t explained it to us I wouldn’t have been very happy with it) or because they turned a big match like this into more of an angle than a match and thus “cheapened” War Games or anything like that.
The reason I was skeptical was because I was afraid that they were going to take the cowardly “protect everybody” route. “The babyfaces have been screwed and are at a numbers disadvantage, so if they lose they’re not really losing and no one gets hurt.” F*ck that bullsh*t. THAT would cheapen War Games by having it not be the be-all, end-all that it’s supposed to be and not resolve anything.
And they didn’t even go the ROH vs. CZW route by having the team made up of a disparate group of heels fall apart at a key moment, either, thus evening the odds. They put the babyfaces over cleanly, despite a four on two disadvantage. And they emphasized that by having Rhea Ripley pin NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler clean in the middle of the ring. No one can possibly watch this match and think that Candice and Rhea didn’t deserve to win and that Rhea is not the clear #1 contender to the NXT Women’s Title.
I also can’t help but gush over the beautiful layout of the finishing sequence. That handcuff spot was wonderful because they waited long enough to forget about the handcuffs, so that they were a huge surprise when they did come into play again, and both the symbolism of Rhea handcuffing herself to Shayna and thus showing no fear of her as well as the poetic justice of the weapon Shayna introduced being used to set up her own downfall were fantastic. The little sequence they worked after the handcuffs were on was full of great twists and turns, and the finish looked BRUTAL.
And, yes, of course there were a bunch of other big, crazy spots in the match. It’s War Games. Of course there were. But none of those spots were particularly memorable other than being big spots. But I will say that these women were put in a rather challenging position for the overall whole of the match because they had to go for a long time with a heel numbers advantage and what seemed like no real chance of a comeback without the match feeling like it was dragging, and they managed to succeed. This was a FANTASTIC match.


WINNER CHALLENGES FOR THE NXT TITLE TOMORROW NIGHT AT SURVIVOR SERIES 2019: Killian Dain vs. Pete Dunne vs. Damian Priest- 8.25/10
They did a lot of awesome stuff with the usual three-way story, but it definitely overstayed its welcome a bit and started to drag.

MATT RIDDLE vs. FINN BALOR- 8.5/10
AWESOME! Balor’s selling in particular was great, but everything about his was awesome and you should go out of your way to see it.

WAR GAMES MATCH: Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominic Dijakovic, & Kevin Owens- 7.75/10
The violence here was great, but I thought it definitely went too long and started to drag. They also fell victim to trying to be WAY too cute at times, making things feel very forced. The worst of it was the finish, where Cole and Ciampa were fighting on the top of the cage forever but with all of the other tables set up there they were you knew those two weren’t going to do their spot until everyone else from UE got put through a table first. Stuff like that. Owens was a good surprise, though with the way the announcers framed it, I don’t think he is staying in NXT but rather just getting revenge on UE for whatever they did to him on Raw.


This was another awesome TakeOver show, but it definitely had its flaws. Too many of the matches (really only two, but that was half the card) dragged, and the lack of titles being on the line made the show not feel very important. It was as if the thing we’re supposed to care about (titles) was taking a back seat to the calendar-prescribed gimmick, and that is… well… a very WWE thing to do, and NXT needs to do everything it can to not be like the main roster.


STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES:
1. Beth Phoenix- “The NXT locker room, they’ve been hustling, grinding, across all three brands, and that’s testament to the history we’re going to see here tonight.”
Beth has been doing this thing for a while now where she just says this ridiculous word-salad bullsh*t. It’s like Matt Striker, but without him also trying to show us how much of a nerd he is or desperately begging for us to tell him that he’s a good announcer. I know it’s been a while since Lucha Underground, but you should all know by know that if I liken an announcers’ commentary to that of Matt Striker, it is in no way a complement. This one was bad enough that I almost gave Nigel an honorary stupid announcer quote for responding to it by saying “that’s right, Beth!”


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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Serujuunin » Nov 25th, '19, 14:15

I couldn’t have explained the women’s war games match any better. THAT is what story telling looks like in a wrestling match. And I agree with you on the finish 100%, and if Rhea isn’t the next number one contender then... then I don’t even know.

My big complaint with the men’s war games was, one of the rules is if you escape or go over the cage, you forfeit the match for your team, and Ciampa CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY touched the floor with both feet before he went back in. Did they let it go because he went back in? It was dumb. If you needed to do the spot and get Cole in the ring, have the next guy from Ciampa’s team drag him in when he went in. It was so dumb.

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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 25th, '19, 18:02

Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 14:15


My big complaint with the men’s war games was, one of the rules is if you escape or go over the cage, you forfeit the match for your team, and Ciampa CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY touched the floor with both feet before he went back in. Did they let it go because he went back in? It was dumb. If you needed to do the spot and get Cole in the ring, have the next guy from Ciampa’s team drag him in when he went in. It was so dumb.
I didn't notice it at the time, but this is completely correct. It's a great example of a time where they should have just cut the spot.
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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Serujuunin » Nov 25th, '19, 21:31

Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 18:02
Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 14:15


My big complaint with the men’s war games was, one of the rules is if you escape or go over the cage, you forfeit the match for your team, and Ciampa CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY touched the floor with both feet before he went back in. Did they let it go because he went back in? It was dumb. If you needed to do the spot and get Cole in the ring, have the next guy from Ciampa’s team drag him in when he went in. It was so dumb.
I didn't notice it at the time, but this is completely correct. It's a great example of a time where they should have just cut the spot.
I’m amazed you didn’t notice it at first. You’re usually the guy to see those things lol.

There were a million ways they could have done that spot, and they chose the wrong one. It pulled me right out of the match and it took some time for them to win me back.

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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 25th, '19, 23:27

Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 21:31
Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 18:02
Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 14:15


My big complaint with the men’s war games was, one of the rules is if you escape or go over the cage, you forfeit the match for your team, and Ciampa CLEARLY and OBVIOUSLY touched the floor with both feet before he went back in. Did they let it go because he went back in? It was dumb. If you needed to do the spot and get Cole in the ring, have the next guy from Ciampa’s team drag him in when he went in. It was so dumb.
I didn't notice it at the time, but this is completely correct. It's a great example of a time where they should have just cut the spot.
I’m amazed you didn’t notice it at first. You’re usually the guy to see those things lol.

There were a million ways they could have done that spot, and they chose the wrong one. It pulled me right out of the match and it took some time for them to win me back.
Apparently the logic was (and now that I read it, I do remember commentary saying something along these lines) that there can't be a finish until everyone is in the cage, and because Cole hadn't entered the cage yet, Ciampa's leaving the cage could noit forfeit the match for his team. It makes sense, but I still think it would have been better to just not do the spot and avoid the confusion.
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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Serujuunin » Nov 26th, '19, 09:49

Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 23:27
Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 21:31
Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 18:02


I didn't notice it at the time, but this is completely correct. It's a great example of a time where they should have just cut the spot.
I’m amazed you didn’t notice it at first. You’re usually the guy to see those things lol.

There were a million ways they could have done that spot, and they chose the wrong one. It pulled me right out of the match and it took some time for them to win me back.
Apparently the logic was (and now that I read it, I do remember commentary saying something along these lines) that there can't be a finish until everyone is in the cage, and because Cole hadn't entered the cage yet, Ciampa's leaving the cage could not forfeit the match for his team. It makes sense, but I still think it would have been better to just not do the spot and avoid the confusion.
Ah, yeah, that makes sense now. But it doesn’t make the spot any less dumb lol.

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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by KILLdozer » Nov 26th, '19, 13:03

Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 26th, '19, 09:49
Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 23:27
Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 25th, '19, 21:31


I’m amazed you didn’t notice it at first. You’re usually the guy to see those things lol.

There were a million ways they could have done that spot, and they chose the wrong one. It pulled me right out of the match and it took some time for them to win me back.
Apparently the logic was (and now that I read it, I do remember commentary saying something along these lines) that there can't be a finish until everyone is in the cage, and because Cole hadn't entered the cage yet, Ciampa's leaving the cage could not forfeit the match for his team. It makes sense, but I still think it would have been better to just not do the spot and avoid the confusion.
Ah, yeah, that makes sense now. But it doesn’t make the spot any less dumb lol.
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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Bob-O » Nov 26th, '19, 13:23

Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 24th, '19, 22:34
WAR GAMES MATCH: Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominic Dijakovic, & Kevin Owens- 7.75/10
The violence here was great, but I thought it definitely went too long and started to drag. They also fell victim to trying to be WAY too cute at times, making things feel very forced. The worst of it was the finish, where Cole and Ciampa were fighting on the top of the cage forever but with all of the other tables set up there they were you knew those two weren’t going to do their spot until everyone else from UE got put through a table first. Stuff like that. Owens was a good surprise, though with the way the announcers framed it, I don’t think he is staying in NXT but rather just getting revenge on UE for whatever they did to him on Raw.
I think the rating is fair, but you're spot on with "WAY too cute" and things feeling forced. Maybe the novelty of these things is wearing off, maybe they changed gears a bit because the NXT guys are a bigger commodity and Owens being up for a major program on Raw, but this felt to me like Spot 1 - Spot 2 - Spot 3 - Spot 4 - Spot 5 - Spot 6... like they were running off of a strict script with no wiggle room, hence like you said with waiting for UE to get put through the tables before they could finish. I feel like the other Wargames matches - including the Women's from this show - flowed much better, while it got a little awkward here at times while these guys setup spots and waited their turn.
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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Serujuunin » Nov 26th, '19, 19:17

Bob-O wrote:
Nov 26th, '19, 13:23
Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 24th, '19, 22:34
WAR GAMES MATCH: Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominic Dijakovic, & Kevin Owens- 7.75/10
The violence here was great, but I thought it definitely went too long and started to drag. They also fell victim to trying to be WAY too cute at times, making things feel very forced. The worst of it was the finish, where Cole and Ciampa were fighting on the top of the cage forever but with all of the other tables set up there they were you knew those two weren’t going to do their spot until everyone else from UE got put through a table first. Stuff like that. Owens was a good surprise, though with the way the announcers framed it, I don’t think he is staying in NXT but rather just getting revenge on UE for whatever they did to him on Raw.
I think the rating is fair, but you're spot on with "WAY too cute" and things feeling forced. Maybe the novelty of these things is wearing off, maybe they changed gears a bit because the NXT guys are a bigger commodity and Owens being up for a major program on Raw, but this felt to me like Spot 1 - Spot 2 - Spot 3 - Spot 4 - Spot 5 - Spot 6... like they were running off of a strict script with no wiggle room, hence like you said with waiting for UE to get put through the tables before they could finish. I feel like the other Wargames matches - including the Women's from this show - flowed much better, while it got a little awkward here at times while these guys setup spots and waited their turn.
I never really noticed these issues with pacing until you guys said something, but I definitely notice it now.

I also wonder if it’s the novelty of the thing wearing out now. After about four of them, that would make sense. And you can’t keep doing the same things over and over.

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Re: BRM Reviews NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019

Post by Big Red Machine » Nov 26th, '19, 19:53

Serujuunin wrote:
Nov 26th, '19, 19:17
Bob-O wrote:
Nov 26th, '19, 13:23
Big Red Machine wrote:
Nov 24th, '19, 22:34
WAR GAMES MATCH: Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominic Dijakovic, & Kevin Owens- 7.75/10
The violence here was great, but I thought it definitely went too long and started to drag. They also fell victim to trying to be WAY too cute at times, making things feel very forced. The worst of it was the finish, where Cole and Ciampa were fighting on the top of the cage forever but with all of the other tables set up there they were you knew those two weren’t going to do their spot until everyone else from UE got put through a table first. Stuff like that. Owens was a good surprise, though with the way the announcers framed it, I don’t think he is staying in NXT but rather just getting revenge on UE for whatever they did to him on Raw.
I think the rating is fair, but you're spot on with "WAY too cute" and things feeling forced. Maybe the novelty of these things is wearing off, maybe they changed gears a bit because the NXT guys are a bigger commodity and Owens being up for a major program on Raw, but this felt to me like Spot 1 - Spot 2 - Spot 3 - Spot 4 - Spot 5 - Spot 6... like they were running off of a strict script with no wiggle room, hence like you said with waiting for UE to get put through the tables before they could finish. I feel like the other Wargames matches - including the Women's from this show - flowed much better, while it got a little awkward here at times while these guys setup spots and waited their turn.
I never really noticed these issues with pacing until you guys said something, but I definitely notice it now.

I also wonder if it’s the novelty of the thing wearing out now. After about four of them, that would make sense. And you can’t keep doing the same things over and over.
I don't think it's the "novelty wearing out" for having seen too many of them them so much as it is about too much at once. Weapons shots definitely have diminishing returns after a while, and in 99% of cases, all War Games matches (and all other take-offs) are is a bunch of weapons shots and, as Vinny V's memorable rant put it, "a series of run-ins." We saw some of the run-ins and then a bunch of the weapons shots in the women's match earlier, and once the men's run-in portion was done, it was just hours and hours of weapons shots and kick-outs. Cut ten minutes off of this match it would have been a lot better because the weapon shots ceased to mean anything and the kick-outs ceased to be surprising.
Doing two of them in a night can work if have some sort of special thing to make the story of one of them not just a series of run-ins and weapons shots, but the longer the matches go, the worse they are (unless you have major storyline support).


Also, here is the aforementioned awesome rant, which starts at 48:40, but the whole thing is entertaining and worth a listen.
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