It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And no, it’s not because of the holidays. It’s because of NXT TakeOver: WarGames of course!
Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era will look to try and settle the score with Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne and NXT Tag Team Champions Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch. Timothy Thatcher faces what is easily his greatest challenge yet in NXT in the form of the Blackheart Tomasso Ciampa. While Cameron Grimes will face his fears in a strap match with Dexter Lumis. Last, and anything but least, is the WarGames match between Team Shotzi and Team Candice, where we’ll see what might be the most stacked Women’s WarGames match in NXT history.
You can watch WWE’s NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2020 pay-per-view this Sunday, December 6, at 7 ET/4 PT on the WWE network. Get a head start on the action by checking out the full card and our team of expert’s predictions below. You can stay up-to-date on all the weekly WWE action by listening to our weekly wrestling podcast PTW.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Tomasso Ciampa
Forrest: Tomasso is, as always, incredibly solid and capable of putting on PPV-worthy matches near universally with the added benefit of no longer needing to be explained to NXT’s audience. Using that ability to put over Thatcher is certainly not without value especially as Ciampa slips more and more into that mentee position (hopefully without the squash aspects of the last time he did that).
Winner: Thatch As Thatch Can
Vishal: Ciampa’s one of my favorite wrestlers ever, and I’ll never say no to him winning. In fact, I’m just going to say yes to him winning right here. While I do think that Thatcher beating Ciampa would help his character a lot, I think Ciampa himself has lost some direction since his loss to Kross, and after a lackluster feud with Velveteen Dream he needs to reassert himself as the dominant badass of NXT. I also feel like him challenging Thatcher the way he did, and Thatcher visibly being scared of Ciampa, resulting in a Thatcher victory would do more to delegitimize Ciampa’s stature in the promotion than build Thatcher up, since unlike Kross, Thatcher didn’t even want this conflict.
Shan: On Wednesday night during Thatch-As Thatch-Can we got a little taste of what was to come on Sunday. As Forrest and Vishal have also noted, both Ciampa and Thatcher are incredible in the ring. This is really going to be a win for us watching either way. I’m so excited it’s hard to call it but I’m going with Ciampa.
Dexter Lumis vs. Cameron Grimes (strap match)
Forrest: NXT ships Dexter Lumis and gimmick matches, and while I’m not mad at that I do have to say that the living embodiment of Antiques Roadshow that Grimes is does absolutely nothing for me. With zombies and some much higher profile feuds already on his side (UE) it’s hard for me to see this as anything but a clear win for Lumis.
Winner: 👁️Dexter Lumis👁️
Vishal: Cameron Grimes is a rare talent in WWE that can eat any number of losses and still convincingly win his next match, no matter who it’s against. He’s the guy I love to hate, and may be the funniest wrestler on the roster. Contrast that with Dexter Lumis, who has been dominating this feud from the beginning and has generally been an unstoppable force on the roster. While on most other days you’d probably get me voting for Lumis, I feel like Grimes needs some level of a victory here for the feud to not feel stale, and a strap match has all the makings of a totally luck-based victory from Grimes.
Winner: Cameron Grimes, baby!
Shan: I feel like if I walked into a wrestling match at a sideshow in 1922, it would look a lot like a strap match between Grimes and Lumis. A strap match is a great place for Grimes to shine, as Vishal pointed out he’s an excellent comedian. I’m excited to see this match just based on that fact alone. Still, I’m going to have to go with Lumis based on the same fact, Grimes will probably try to showboat a little too much.
Winner: Dexter Lumis
Leon Ruff (c) vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Damian Priest (Triple Threat for the North American Championship)
Forrest: I think this angle has had the entirely unintended, and unfortunate, effect of making me actively dislike Priest. Where I previously found him…bearable, the stunts with Ruff have forwarded him as an egotistical bully, a poor talker, and entirely lacking any sort of comedic chops. Alternatively, this has done a fantastic job of putting Gargano (in his new role as a kind of mentee not unlike Ciampa) and Ruff genuinely over with me. Gargano is good on commentary, he’s good on the mic, he’s uniquely capable of losing every match he’s booked and looking good, and Ruff needs and gets that here if they’re trying to make him the kind of sustainable babyface it looks like they are.
Winner: The real winner here is Kevin Owens for that incredible KO Show on the show a few weeks ago. Secondary though? Leon Ruff 🙂
Vishal: I completely agree with Forrest – the longevity of the Gargano feud has made me have no interest in Damian Priest, and I think him walking out of WarGames with the belt is the worst decision they can make. And as much as I love Johnny Gargano and would love to see him be the only three-time champion in NXT, I think that will just be too cruel of an ending for Leon Ruff, for whom this match entirely exists to prove he’s not just a one-off joke. And like Forrest mentioned, Johnny Gargano is maybe the best wrestler in the world at losing matches without looking bad.
Winner: Leon Ruff
Shan: Damien Priest and Johnny Gargano’s feud has certainly ramped up in the past couple of…months. Leon Ruff got entangled in that somehow along the way. Ruff has really shined recently. I agree with the Vishal and Forrest, I don’t see that stopping any time soon. He could very well surprise us all, again, and take the win. My prediction is if Priest and Gargano don’t get too caught up in the bad blood between them, then Priest certainly has a good shot of winning this one. I always find it hard to predict triple threat matches but I know for sure Johnny isn’t winning this one.
Winner: Leon Ruff
The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong, and Bobby Fish) vs. Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Danny Burch, and Oney Lorcan (WarGames match)
Forrest: The UE’s unexpected and yet organic ascent to face status over the past couple of months has been a welcome change to NXT’s status quo, and one I would like them to embrace a little more fully if only for a monumental KOR babyface run. McAfee, as a surprisingly astute talker and heat seeker, is a good figure to attribute that to both within and out of kayfabe.
Winner: For The Brand (McAfee, Dunne, Burch and Lorcan)
Vishal: I can’t help but feel like the Undisputed Era’s turning face is a precursor to them splitting up – we got some inklings of that when Kyle O’Reilly tried to stop Strong and Fish from beating down Drake Maverick, and Kyle in general has turned face more completely than anyone else in the group. They’ve also managed to frame this in a way where if the Undisputed Era loses, the rest of the team will blame Kyle for his loss in the ladder match on Wednesday. While I could easily see Adam Cole sticking with his Future Shock buddy, either way I think the UE loses their third straight WarGames.
Winner: For The Brand
Shannon: The Undisputed Era has been a staple of NXT for a long, long time. They have competed in every WarGames match, only winning the first in 2017. While they do have something to go up against with Team McAfee, I just feel like a WarGame’s win is overdue for UE. But Pat McAfee just comes off as so unlikable. Especially after his MJF-esque speech on Wednesday night. This just seems like a set up for an easy and possibly final win at WarGames for Undisputed Era.
Winner: Undisputed Era
Team Shotzi (Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley and Io Shirai) vs. Team Candice (Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Raquel González, and Toni Storm) (WarGames match)
Forrest: This is the toughest call for me. On one hand, Shotzi’s team is so ridiculously stacked and established that it’s hard to imagine an organic or clean loss for them – they licensed Black Sabbath for Shotzi! On the other though, a team consisting entirely of women that haven’t held the NXT Women’s Championship (not UK) have a lot more to prove, and in some ways, a lot more to lose and I’ve become a surprisingly big fan of Toni over the past few months of catching up on her work. I’m so high on Io’s amazing title run that I’m going to call it for them, but only marginally as it’s sure to be an amazing, unpredictable match either way.
Winner: OWWW OWWW OWWWWWW! – Team Blackheart
Vishal: I have no idea, honestly. Last year Rhea Ripley pretty much soloed the team with the champion in it, and this year she’s also got the current champion on her side. At the same time I feel like this might be a really good opportunity to give Toni Storm a proper boost in the title picture. But that’s really the only way I can see team Candice winning, which is to say there’s not very strong reasoning behind it, so I gotta give it to Team Shotzi here.
Winner: The Ball Pit (Team Shotzi)
Shannon: Shotzi’s team is a dream WarGames team for me. The feud between Team Shotzi and Team LaRae, left off with Team Shotzi’s taking revenge for last week’s attack on Ripley and Shirai. It’s hard for me to call it for Team LaRae but I think they need to drag this story out a little longer. Team Shotzi is definitely going to be a fun group to watch, but I’m going to give it to the Poison Pixie.
Winner: Begrudgingly Team LaRae
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