(Mostly) Spoiler Free Ratings for NXT Takeover: War Games

-Matt Riddle vs. Kassius Ohno: NR. I love squashes but I do not rate them.

-Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler(c) ,NXT Women’s Championship Match (2 out of 3 Falls Match): Excellent match all around, packing a lot of stuff into a relatively short time frame. I would have liked it if they siphoned off a few minutes from the main event and given it to this match, but this was fast-paced and brutal and exciting throughout, and also advances the story further. What more can you ask (besides like, 4 more minutes)? ****1/4

-Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black: Easily Aleister Black’s best match ever. Don’t get me wrong, I like Black decently enough – he does kicks and jumps over things and is cool, but prior to this match he never struck me as a complete performer for reasons I can’t fully describe. It’s not like he was bad at selling or anything like that. However, his matches tended to leave me kinda underwhelmed, as if they hadn’t really cohered. Anyway, I don’t know if time off helped or if it was just working with Gargano, but this match ruled and told a complete story and was free of dull moments. ****1/2

-Velveteen Dream vs. Tommaso Ciampa(c), NXT Men’s Championship Match: I still don’t know how I feel about Dream’s penchant for dressing up as Hulk Hogan for big matches. Hulk Hogan is a racist dirtbag, while Dream is the goddamn truth. I guess as long as it was Dream’s idea it’s cool, but he doesn’t have to be doing this, y’know? Let Dream be Dream. Nevertheless, this was the match of the night, with ring work, character work, and the story of the match all coming together, with a fantastic ending sequence. ****3/4

-The Undisputed Era vs. War Raiders/Pete Dunne/Ricochet, War Games Match: This was really, really long, possibly too long for this type of match, as it definitely dragged a bit at times. That said, the match had all of the big spots and stunts I wanted, as well as some cool story wrinkles and plenty of good old fashioned violence (well, PG-rated WWE violence I guess, but I’m glad we live in an era where we don’t expect wrestlers to cut their faces open for our entertainment). Still a great match and definitely worth watching, but not quite as good as last year’s War Games. ****1/4

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