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411’s NXT Takeover: Wargames 2020 Preview

December 6, 2020 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
NXT Takeover: WarGames

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s NXT Takeover: WarGames 2020 preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas as always, and it’s time to take a look at NXT’s fourth annual WarGames event. The brand has always delivered with this PPV since it became an institution in 2017 and this year looks to be no different. We don’t have a ton of matches, leading to plenty of potential surprises (Balor return? Karrion Kross return?) and probably at least once more match to be announced. What we have looks like the bones for an exciting show, so let’s jump in and see what’s coming, shall we?

Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa

The Timothy Thatcher vs. Tommaso Ciampa match is perhaps the bout with the least amount of shine on this card, though that’s no fault of the performers. This is just a feud that’s been kept at more of a low simmer than anything else. Thatcher’s been doing some delightful work on NXT in his character, playing the abusive asshole who beats the crap out of his trainees. Meanwhile, Ciampa has been talking about how it’s time for him to remind people like Thatcher what NXT is, establishing himself as the veteran standing up for people like August Grey. This should be a solid match of course, but in the end Ciampa is coming off his latest character tweak and could use a win to solidify that. Thatcher doesn’t lose much by dropping a match to someone of the Blackheart’s profile, so I imagine that Ciampa will come away victorious here.

WINNER: Tommaso Ciampa

Strap Match
Dexter Lumis vs. Cameron Grimes

Full disclosure here: I’m not the biggest fan of Grimes or Lumis necessarily. I don’t dislike them, to be clear; I just don’t have any major investment in these two guys to the point that I’m excited for this match. That said, I do appreciate how they’ve built this. Lumis has been tormenting Grimes for a while now and they had a fun match in the Haunted House of Terror, and Grimes has gotten his shots in on Lumis by costing him some matches. That brings us to this match. Strap matches are very hit or miss, much like any match that potentially limits your mobility. They have a tendency to fall into a predictable pattern of choking your opponent with the strap, drawn-out sequences of preventing your opponent from touching the turnbuckles and such. This is probably the match I’m least looking forward to on the show, even if has every chance to be a decent viewing experience. Lumis seems to be the guy that WWE is more invested in, and it’s hard for me not to see him getting the win to end the feud.

WINNER: Dexter Lumis

NXT North American Championship Match
Johnny Gargano vs. Damian Priest vs. Leon Ruff

I’m not typically fond of feuds involving a championship where the champion is essentially the third wheel in the feud. I get the point of them and there have been occasions where it played well, but it often makes the title itself seem like a bit of an afterthought. This whole storyline between Gargano and Priest that has brought Ruff to the table has been better at that, because it has elevated Ruff into a spotlight position. Granted, he’s also been treated like a bit of a joke, but it’s doing something with him and WWE has made stars on less credibility than they’ve given Ruff to date. I have high expectations for this match, as all three of these guys are supremely talented. My head says that Priest takes back the title for a longer run, as Gargano doesn’t need it, but I can also see Priest and Gargano feuding for a little longer and they don’t need the title at this point to do it. WWE loves having guys sneak out wins in feuds like these and I suspect that against all odds, Ruff takes advantage of Priest and Gargano being focused on each other to retain his title.

WINNER: Leon Ruff (STILL NXT North American Champion)

Women’s WarGames Match
Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley, and Io Shirai vs.
Candice LeRae, Toni Storm, Dakota Kai, and Raquel Gonzalez

All due respect to the Undisputed Era and the Kings of NXT, but this is the match I’m particularly excited for. The NXT women’s division is low key the best women’s division in WWE right now, and this is obviously a chance for everyone to cut loose. The build has been done well, and I’m really looking forward to see how Team Shotzi and Team Candice collide in the cage. Team Candice has been on an absolute roll and I’ve really been enjoying LeRae’s reign of terror, but this is Team Shotzi’s match to my thinking. They need the win more than the heels, and this is a match perfectly tailored for their characters. We can’t discount the probable involvement of Indie Hartwell here, and I’m sure she’ll become a factor. But ultimately I do expect Team Shotzi to come out the victory in what should be an absolute blast of a brutal match.

WINNER: Team Shotzi

Men’s WarGames Match
Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong, and Bobby Fish vs.
Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan, and Danny Burch

The men’s WarGames match has had, quite simply, a fantastic build. The Kings of NXT’s rivalry with the Undisputed Era has had the benefit of some pretty meticulous planning and continuity that goes back a very long ways in some cases. That’s put Pat McAfee’s alliance in a strong position heading into this match. On the other hand, the UE would seem to have the advantage from a storyline perspective, as they’ve united once again to take down the common threat and narrative logic would have them coming out victorious. I have some pretty lofty expectations for how they’ll deliver in the cage, and am hoping for some innovative offense here and strong in-ring storytelling. Despite just mentioning how the UE winning would make sense in terms of storytelling, I’m not entirely certain that’s where this will go. Kyle O’Reilly proved that he can deliver as a singles guy in his match against Finn Balor, and it’d be great to see the UE have a chance to spread their wings as an allied group who don’t always work as a single unit. And the Kings could benefit from a continued run on top as a heel stable. I’m slightly leaning toward the Undisputed Era winning in the cage to break a two-year losing streak, but this could go either way and that excites me.

WINNER: The Undispited Era

And that’s all we have for NXT Takeover: WarGames! We don’t have a ton of matches right now, and I’m willing to bet we get at least one more, but I like what we do have on the card. If the WarGames matches deliver the way that they should, we’ll have a great PPV just based on that. Add in the potential of the undercard matches to carry their weight and we should be in for some exciting NXT action.

Anyway, thanks once again for reading, and remember that we will have live coverage of Survivor Series courtesy of our the one and only Scott Slimmer, right here on 411mania.com. It sounds like Shotzi’s done with her new tank and I don’t want to get the Robert Stone treatment, so I’m gonna skeddadle…