Before NXT makes their way to Survivor Series this Sunday night, they must first go to war. As the third NXT TakeOver event within the WarGames series, there are multiple stakes at play. Not only will multiple men compete for a chance to become NXT Champion but many others will take sides en route to competing within the legendary steel structure. It’s not just the men, either; this year, the women will find themselves on different ends of the chainlink battlefield.
Prior to NXT TakeOver: WarGames (2019,) it’s worth discussing the announced matches for the card. Let’s go into detail about all four announced matches, how they came to be, and who stands the chance of coming away victorious. Remember to catch the show this Saturday on the WWE Network at 7:00 PM EST. Without further ado, let’s begin!
Pre-Show: Isaiah “Swerve” Scott vs. Angel Garza
The most recently announced match on the TakeOver: WarGames card, cruiserweight action will take place on the pre-show. To say that these two have been gaining momentum would be an understatement. Though both came up short in the NXT Breakout Tournament earlier this summer, Scott and Garza were two of the highlights, showcasing athleticism and charisma in their own ways. This match will be important, especially as the competition pool increases for NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush. Who will emerge victorious en route to potential gold down the road?
Prediction: Regardless of who wins this match, it’s a safe bet that they will put on an excellent encounter that sets the tone for the rest of the show. Scott and Garza are not only among the best up-and-coming wrestlers on NXT, but immensely charismatic, able to elicit chants and emotion from the audience. With that said, if I were to pick a winner between these two, I would give the nod to Scott. With Garza having recently competed against Rush, the champion will require new competition. Besides, a showdown between “Swerve” and “The MOTH” screams money.
Matt Riddle vs. Finn Balor
When Finn Balor made his recent return to NXT, few anticipated the dark side that he would embrace. Seemingly in the corner of Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano in their battle against The Undisputed Era, Balor showed that he was not on the side of the team formerly known as DIY. In fact, Balor’s attack on Gargano was so severe that the latter was declared shelved. As Balor ran down the NXT Universe and the locker room, The Original Bro took the fight to the inaugural Universal Champion. At NXT TakeOver: WarGames this coming Saturday, they are set to settle their differences.
Prediction: Riddle remains one of the most dominant wrestlers in NXT and for good reason. Though he carries himself as an easygoing fighter, he isn’t one to back down from a fight, as evidenced by his recent encounters with Balor. Though Riddle will undoubtedly bring the same ferocity that he does with all his matches, I see Balor coming away victorious in his TakeOver return. Perhaps we will even see the interference of a particular stable that has past ties to Balor, but that will remain to be seen this coming Saturday.
Pete Dunne vs. Damian Priest vs. Killian Dain (Number One Contender’s Match for the NXT Championship at Survivor Series)
What started as a feud between Pete Dunne and Damian Priest gained an interesting wrinkle in the form of Killian Dain. Not one to be so easily shaken by Dunne’s attack, Dain has not only taken the fight to the former WWE United Kingdom Champion, but the Archer of Infamy as well. At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, these three men are set to square off in a triple threat match. However, they will be that much more driven to win, as the victor will go on to face NXT Champion Adam Cole at Survivor Series the following night. Who will win and, more importantly, go on to Survivor Series with gold on the line?
Prediction: If viewers are looking for a fight that doesn’t feature the WarGames structure, this will be the ticket. Dunne and Dain are known for their brutality, able to home in on body parts and deliver powerful offense, and Priest has shown that he isn’t shy about dishing out what he can take. With Cole as the NXT Champion, there are quite a few possiblities to consider. While Dain and Priest are stars building their momentum, I believe that Dunne, as the fan favorite, will emerge triumphant and go on to Survivor Series to challenge for the title.
Team Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, and TBA) vs. The Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, and Bobby Fish) (WarGames Match)
The Undisputed Era are no strangers to WarGames. Not only did the group win the very first WarGames match under the WWE umbrella in 2017, but they did so with only three members back then. Now with the addition of Strong, the group will enter their third WarGames match, this time with Team Ciampa standing at the opposing side. The big question going into this match, however, is who will join Ciampa, Lee, and Dijakovic? Will it be a current NXT star looking to make a name for himself? Will it be a returning star looking to come back to NXT in a big way? Perhaps will be a surprise star from RAW or SmackDown, adding greater unpredictably en route to Survivor Series.
Prediction: This is perhaps the most interesting match of the four that have been announced, largely due to the fact that Team Ciampa has yet to be fully confirmed. While Ciampa will undoubtedly be joined by Lee and Dijakovic, the fourth member remains a mystery. On a recent call, Triple H teased that there is a huge name planned for the show. Who this is remains to be seen but when it comes to a victor, I see Team Ciampa standing tall. It’s difficult to imagine that NXT will hype a fourth member this much and not expect the associated team to go over.
Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Candice LeRae, and Mia Yim) vs. Team Baszler (Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai, and Kay Lee Ray) (WarGames Match)
Since the beginning of WWE’s women’s revolution, there have been multiple firsts. These included, but haven’t been limited to, Hell in the Cell match and WrestleMania main event. At TakeOver: WarGames this Sunday, WWE will have another such first when Rhea Ripley leads her team into battle against Shayna Baszler’s. Ripley targeted the NXT Women’s Champion since the day she stepped into NXT and while championship gold may have to wait, fighting in the historic WarGames match has importance that can’t be denied. Will Shayna and her squad emerge victorious, or will they find themselves looking up at the lights as Ripley’s group reigns supreme?
Prediction: One of the reasons this matches intrigues me is how Team Ripley came to being. Dakota Kai was seemingly slated to be part of Team Ripley, but after careful consideration on the part of Ripley herself, Kai was cast aside in favor of Yim. Kai has remained a prominent aspect of NXT’s women’s division, which leads me to believe that she will get involved in this match somehow. In fact, I would be equally surprised to see her take the fight to Team Shayna to stick it to Ripley or turn on her friends in favor of the NXT Women’s Champion’s group. If a winner must be predicted, I will give the edge to Team Baszler before Shayna makes her way to Survivor Series to compete against her fellow women’s champions.