Time flies, truly. The 2021 NXT WarGames is already the fifth WarGames (or Takeover: WarGames) since the return of the double ring match style. This weird match goes way back to the NWA and Dusty Rhodes, famously inspired by Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. The idea was to showcase the Four Horsemen and now any team of 4 or 5 wrestlers that can use a heel advantage to beat up some beloved faces.
Here in the US, NXT WarGames is on Peacock and… ugh. I miss the old WWE Network. Peacock is not a great streaming service. Also, it may have just been on my end but there were a few streaming glitches. Blank screens. Sound issues.
WOMEN’S WARGAME MATCH: Cora Jade, Kay Lee Ray, Io Shirai, and Raquel Gonzalez beat Toxic Attraction (Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin, Jacy Jayne) and Dakota Kai
I don’t know why, by Jacy Jayne and Gigi Dolin feel like the laziest ring names. They have the feeling of those old fake wrestlers that would show up in, like, a WCW game… remember Powder Keg?
Dakota Kai and Kay Lee Ray started with a bat and kendo sticks, but quickly switched to just wrestling. Cora Jade hit a great senton on Jacy Jayne. Great spot but it looked legitimately painful. Mandy Rose was last in because, yes, the biggest star usually comes in first or last. It was a solid match and Jayne took the pin from Jade. Decent back and forth and a little over 30 minutes of action. Like all of the double-ring War Games matches, it could’ve been a few minutes longer…
NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Imperium (Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner) defeated Von Wagner and Kyle O’Reilly
First thing’s first: Von Wagner had the world’s ugliest tights on.
This is my match of the night. Some good counters, submissions, and a lot of action. O’Reilly is great at making submissions look effortless and pop up anywhere. Imperium works well together. The match ended with a modified Doomsday Device… the European Bomb. Great tag team action. Fabian Aichner has amazing balance.
HAIR MATCH: Cameron Grimes defeated Duke Hudson
This was the worst match of the night, for several reasons.
The action itself wasn’t awful. The issue is that Cameron Grimes has lost some of the sparkle that made his character so fun when he was kind of a Beverly Hillbillies-style gimmick. I guess technically he may still be doing “The Richest Man in NXT” but it doesn’t feel fun or special anymore. Nothing in-ring was particularly fun or inventive, but nothing was bad. It was just kind of there.
Duke Hudson lost, tried to run, and had his head sort of shaved.
NXT CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Roderick Strong defeated Joey Gacy
Roderick Strong came out with the Diamond Mine and Joe Gacy with his insurance policy Harland. Joe Gacy is doing his gimmick where he’s a heel trying to make everything “safe and inclusive” because boo kindness. As a result, he got to wrestle for the Cruiserweight Championship despite being well over the 205 weight limit because of inclusiveness.
Both of these men are great performers but this was another story over substance match, much like hair versus hair, but a little bit better. Slightly. Joe Gacy teased a bit of a face turn, telling Harland to let Ivy Nile go. So, there’s that.
MEN’S WARGAMES MATCH: Team 2.0 (Bron Breakker, Grayson Waller, Carmelo Hayes, and Tony D’Angelo (with Trick Williams)) defeated Team Black & Gold (Johnny Gargano, LA Knight, Pete Dunne, Tommaso Ciampa)
The takeaway the WWE wants you to have from this match: Grayson putting LA Knight through a table.
The takeaway I got: This match should’ve been 10 minutes longer, with a little bit more story.
When I made fun of WCW’s video game wrestler Powder Keg, I should’ve added LA Knight to that list. LA Knight is a fantastic performer, however, all I can think of are those old light-up shoes, LA Lights by LA Gear.
Hayes and Gargano started the match. Johnny Wrestling is just so smooth and fantastic in the ring. He’s also the second coolest person from Cleveland, Ohio, besides me. Gargano wore ring gear that showcased much of his past comic book-inspired outfits and… his contract is up. So, will Johnny Wrestling take a break? Leave? Head to the main roster?
LA Knight was locked out of the ring, so had to climb over. Bron Breakker was the last man in the ring. There was a lot of great action, back and forth, between both teams. The smart thing happened and the new kids beat the wily veterans, with Bron Breakker pinning Ciampa. I just wish our victor was called Bron Steiner.
The overall show was mostly good to average, with nothing outstanding or terrible. It’s sad seeing Gargano – may be – in his last WWE match or even just his last NXT match. I could absolutely see him head to AEW or elsewhere and breakthrough that glass ceiling WWE still has for most of the guys who aren’t over 6 ft. tall. Highlights include Breakker’s spear through the table and Cora Jade flying off the cage. It’s definitely worth a watch if you have WWE on Peacock.