What an opening ladies and gentlemen! DNezz back for my NXT live coverage on this, the eve of War Games! As our teams make their respective entrances, we are reminded of the rules of engagement.
Dakota Kai stands tall in the ring, awaiting her opponent to join. Kai is joined by Ember Moon, the door is shut, and the Games Begin! It's a slow start for the women as they pace themselves; knowing the endurance needed to claim victory. The two-minute warning can be seen and Kai turns up the heat; knowing that she will soon be at the disadvantage.
The time hits zero and it's Captain Shotzi herself! Sprinting to the ring, Shotzi pauses at the ring curtain and decides to bring some friends as she retrieves a toolbox and a crowbar from under the first ring. Shotzi enters and the handicap match is underway! Both women do their best to wear down Kai, and they are certainly firing on all cylinders. The time flies though as the seconds tick down and team LeRae has the equalizer as Raquel Gonzalez makes her way to the rings. Gonzalez enters and immediately Team Shotzi turns their focus to powerhouse. Even the numbers game would not do the trick as Gonzalez continues her dominance in the ring.
Gonzalez holds the line, giving time for her ally, Kai to regain her form and level the playing field. We're all even now and the clock winds down as Team Shotzi sends their own equalizer in the form of Rhea Ripley. Ripley enters the ring and immediately she is locked onto by Gonzalez.
The women have a brief exchange and Ripley even introduced some equalizers of her own, but the numbers game continues to affect Team Shotzi.
The women would continue their back and forth battle as the clock winds down and it's Toni Storm entering the match, and Storm had a plan from the get-go.
And it wasn't just to inflict pain, as io Shirai would soon find out.
Io Shirai looked to be left on the outs in this match as Storm has tethered the door shut. Team LeRae would enjoy the man advantage but soon find out that no one keeps Io out of a fight.
So much for that man advantage...
And Io's presence even caused a spark of creativity from the original entrant for Team Shotzi; as Ember Moon takes to the skies.
But despite the late rally by Team Shotzi and the surge of Io Shirai's offensive ability, it would be the insurance policy, Raquel Gonzalez, picking up an impressive pin on the NXT Women's Champion. Team LeRae takes the win to open the evening!
Tomasso Ciampa v. Timothy Thatcher
Despite a rather odd build to this match, we should still be treated to a real gem as these two men lock up and the match is on! Ciampa elects early to challenge the strength of Thatcher and work a mat-based strategy, but Thatcher is more than willing to oblige. The men exchange grappling maneuvers but both Ciampa and Thatcher, a student of the game as they respond to each other's mat exchanges. As both men realize that the ground is not the place to gain an advantage, Thatcher begins to wear down Ciampa as he targets the head and neck of Ciampa. This grinding pace that both men seemed comfortable with is finally taking a toll on Ciampa as Thatcher resembles a wolverine in his assault on Ciampa. Thatcher appears suddenly dominant as he leaves Ciampa face down and worn after every exchange. Ciampa refuses to quit though and holds on through Thatcher's vicious assault continues and Ciampa finally finds his opening as he brings Thatcher to the mat! Both men continue to punish each other but Ciampa begins to gain momentum. Ciampa running the ropes and meet Thatcher at every crossing, dispatching him quickly with the clothesline.
Ciampa would then connect with a devastating knee to the head of Thatcher and blood begins to flow from his ear. Ciampa would capitalize on the unfortunate circumstance and pick up a hard-fought victory over a formidable opponent, but we can all see that this is far from over.
Dexter Lumis v. Cameron Grimes: Strap Match
It seems as though Lumis will finally get his hands on his newest fixation; as he will be strapped up to his opponent, leaving Grimes with nowhere to run. Both men enter the ring and Grimes insists on using his own strap. Lumis seems uncaring of what attaches him to Grimes but Grimes takes the opportunity to blindside Lumis and wear him down before the bell can sound.
As Grimes beats Lumis, pillar to post, it is curious as to how Grimes intends to defeat Lumis unless he was to strap up Lumis himself. All questioned would be answered as Lumis would quickly regain himself and return the favor onto his Hillbilly foe, and the match would begin! Lumis would certainly inflict his damage,
But tonight seems to be the Cameron Grimes Show as he puts on quite the display against a larger opponent.
Lumis would barely have time to mount any offense as Grimes swarms and smothers; endlessly attacking Lumis in hopes to extinguish the cold light in Lumis's eyes.
Lumis would finally make his comeback and despite Grime's best efforts, Lumis would finally catch Grimes in his web and put the loud-mouthed yokel to sleep; cradling him as the referee called for the bell.
Damien Priest v. Johnny Gargano v. Leon Ruff: North American Championship Triple Threat Match
Our title match kicks off with Gargano and Priest picking up where they left off, leaving
Ruff as the odd champion out. Priest has Gargano in the corner, mercilessly beating him down while Ruff looks to cut in and deliver some punishment of his own. Priest would soon become irritated with Ruff's interference and scold him like a child. Ruff would refuse to step away though and as the match would move to the outside, Priest would finally have enough of the antics of Ruff and sends him through a barricade via the Razor's Edge.
Ruff would be brought to the backstage area for medical examination while the title match would continue. Finally, Priest and Gargano have their rematch and both men have brought their A-game as they have grown to know each other so well. It appears that Gargano may steal one tonight but suddenly, Leon Ruff appears and reinserts himself back into the title match!
Priest continues to warn Ruff away but the much smaller opponent would refuse to back down as he was determined to retain his title. Ruff would continue the good fight despite being used in a similar fashion to ping pong ball. Ruff would find himself in the precarious position of the match as Gargano would tie Priest in the ropes and apply his signature submission onto the North American Champion. Ruff would hold as long as he could and Priest would make the spectacular effort to free himself and catch the hand of Ruff before he would succumb to the pain of Gargano's hold.
After Priest would free himself, it seemed as though Priest would run away with this one as he began to unleash a new level of aggression onto both Ruff and Gargano. Just Priest looked to close things down and end the match, he would run into a few of Gargano's friends.
With Priest out of action, Gargano would easily secure the victory and his record-setting third North American title reign.
Undisputed Era v. Team McAfee: War Games
It is time ladies and gentlemen for our main event of the evening! Both teams have entered their respective cells as their first entrants take the ring. It'll be Kyle O'Reilly and Pete Dunne kicking things off and this should be a grappler's dream! Both men come out of the gates at a slow, methodical pace; feeling each other out for the first five minutes of the match.
Dunne would take the slight edge, knowing that another member of team Mcafee would soon come in for the relief. Dunne's slight edge would soon dull as KOR would come back and lock in a kneebar on Dunne as the time would expire and Oney Lorcan would join the fray. Lorcan enters the ring and immediately storms KOR; giving Dunne the much needed time to recover from the stretching of his knee. Lorcan would pick up where his teammate had begun and dismantle KOR as the clock continues its count.
Dunne & Lorcan look to be in sync as they have locked in dual submissions on UE's lone member until the cage would open and UE's second member would enter the contest. Blobby Fish comes flying in, looking to aid his long time partner. Fish would draw the attention of both men and continue to hold the line until KOR could finally add some offense of his own. the long time tag champs would take this time to wear down their opponents with the tandem offense that made them so dominant among the tag ranks.
The timer would seem to count down too soon but it would be the second half of the tag champs, Burch, entering the battle. As Burch hits the ring, he ventures under the ring and returns with an orange bag that he brings in to the match with him. Burch gives the assist to his team and keeps UE down as he unveils a pair of cricket bats, and looks to use them on the former tag champs.
Momentum takes a huge sway toward Team McAfee from this point out as the extra man advantage begins to pay its dividends. As it appears that UE may be at a massive disadvantage, things look hopeful as the clock winds down and reinforcements are on the way! Roddy Strong sprints to the ring and looks to level the field, but even the endless tank of Strong can't last against the pit bulls set out to destroy his band of brothers. Strong continues to do what he can but much of the same continues on as Team McAfee continues to brutalize UE.
All this while the clock continues its pace, winds down, and signals the entry of Pat McAfee. McAfee brings more friends to the party as he's prepared a table for each of the members of UE. Team McAfee in full control of things as they pander to the virtual crowd and continue to decimate their opponents until the final clock has hit zero and Adam Cole finally enters the contest! Cole would be met by a full squad of Team McAfee but the ever thinking Cole would find the ultimate equalizer as he introduced Team McAfee to the business end of a fire extinguisher. Cole's attack would give UE the time needed to recover and our match is officially underway! Both teams would proceed to bring out everything they could; from tandem offense to jaw-dropping physicality, to surprising aerial attacks.
The match would essentially be a 50/50 draw throughout the entire bout, and neither team would find the path to victory until the experience of UE began to show and the momentum finally began to shift. UE would finally get their payback on the brash McAfee, as they surround him and proceed to beat him like a rug. Cole would finally find his opening to connect on a Pasadena Sunrise to McAfee, and it appeared to be over until McAfee's shoulder lifted at the final second.
Cole would ponder what had just happened and give Dunne the opportunity to interject. Dunne would plant Cole onto a chair's edge and the worst seemed upon us as the referee would count: One, Two...Roddy Strong with the save! UE would swarm for one last group effort and KOR would finally put an end to the war, securing the victory Undisputed Era.