NXT, WWE's Developmental flagship-turned-stand alone brand, will be putting on their latest live special tomorrow (Sat, Nov. 17, 2018). This time, it’s back to a town and venue which play a huge role in NXT history, as TakeOver: WarGames 2 goes down on the eve of Survivor Series - for the second year running.
The card comes our way from Staples Center at 7PM Eastern, exclusively on WWE Network. It will feature the iconic four-on-four match which gives the show its name and two of the brand’s titles on the line.
If you're new or someone who only checks out NXT for the live specials, we've got a full preview of the matches coming up for you between now and belltime. Right now, we've assembled a motley crew of Cagesiders who watch & love NXT to give us their thoughts & predictions on each.
Let's get to it.
WWE NXT TakeOver: WarGames 2 PREDICTIONS
Undisputed ERA vs. Ricochet, Pete Dunne & War Raiders in WarGames
Sean Rueter: They won’t be able to pit the two opposing teams against each other this time, but I’m willing to bet the North American & United Kingdom champs can’t stay on the same page all night. In story, Undisputed has the experience edge, and in reality, I think Papa Haitch wants to associate the gimmick with the ERA. Pick: Undisputed ERA
Kyle Decker: This match should be good, but to be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of the WarGames match. The super predictable beginning kills it some for me - the obvious alternating between 2 on 1 beat down by the heels to a hot baby face evening the score, back to the extra man beat down by the villains. (It’s why I loved the unique three team format last year.) Hopefully NXT will be a bit creative in their booking in the early goings of the match so I’m not just watching for them to get to the 4 on 4.
As for the winners, ERA may be the unit, but I bet they take the L here. For one thing, they won the thing last year. Plus, if the heroes win, that could transition smoothly into the Raiders getting their tag title match again. Pick: Ricochet, Dunne, War Raiders
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: This one feels hard to call and I’m not totally sure why. My gut feeling is our ragtag babyface team will fail to keep it entirely together and lead to Undisputed ERA standing tall for maybe the last time before they slide down the hill (and eventually off to the main roster), but maybe they can hold together and win the day. Or maybe we even get a bit out there and have Dunne’s buddies from British Strong Style even the odds somehow? All I know for sure is if it’s anything like last year, my hands are gonna hurt after I finish liveblogging this one. Pick: Undisputed ERA
Stella Cheeks (of the always awesome NYD podcast, and Cageside social media maven): I want to care about this match, but I just don’t. It has too many shades of main roster “uuhh idk...book a 4 on 4?” for me to feel invested. Objectively I like all of the men in this match and they have been putting on great matches, but War Games is just kind of a dumb gimmick. I do think it’s time to share the wealth an Undisputed ERA should take the loss. We need to mix up the tag division a little bit and a loss here for ERA will invigorate War Raiders and push them into a number one contendership. Pick: Ricochet, Dunne, War Raiders
Erin Cline (the more enigmatic half of Not Your Demographic): I don’t even know what to expect here. How can this top Undisputed ERA’s last WarGames with SAnitY, AoP & Roderick Strong? Is Roddy going to take another face forward insane bump from the top? Is Ricochet going to actually die??? Is Pete Dunne going to do a human sacrifice on Kyle O’Reilly??? ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN. I am picking UE literally only because WWE lives to say that people are “undefeated in x” and this would be two in a row for them. Pick: Undisputed ERA
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Velveteen Dream for the NXT Title
Sean Rueter: There’s really only one person who should end Ciampa’s reign, and as glorio... no, that belongs to someone else... fabu... nope, also taken... let’s just go with great. As great as he is, this isn’t his story right now. Pick: Tommaso Ciampa
Kyle Decker: Ciampa isn’t letting his baby go this soon. There are too many stories to tell with him as champion. Aleister Black deserves a rematch. Johnny Gargano is lingering. Plus he’s just so damn good. I love Velveteen, but I don’t think I’d love him any more with the title. I wonder if a loss would lead to a call up after Survivor Series for Velveteen, but honestly, I want him in NXT as long as possible. The main roster wouldn’t know what to do with him. Pick: Tommaso Ciampa
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: On one hand, I feel like now that he and Johnny Gargano are back on the same side of the ledger, that the end of Ciampa’s reign is a lot less predictable, but while I’m equally unsure as to what Velveteen Dream’s next move is, it doesn’t feel like it’s the title. He’ll fight hard, he’ll fight valiantly, but in the end, the Sicilian Psychopath’s far too upbeat theme song will be the one that plays. Pick: Tommaso Ciampa
Stella Cheeks: As much as I love Velveteen Dream, Ciampa’s insane rise to champion isn’t going to be cut short by him. Dream is amazing, but in this context he feels very much like cannon fodder. The story with Black, Gargano and Ciampa isn’t over and whoever takes the belt from Ciampa will certainly be one of those men. Regardless, this should be a fun match as their personalities are diametrically different. Pick: Tommaso Ciampa
Erin Cline: You know what, f*** it. This is a perfect time for Evil Johnny to go full Tommaso and cost him the title. It might be a little soon to put the title on Dream but there’s nothing saying he can’t make it a short run and then move up to the main roster. Tommaso and Johnny have been running wild in NXT for nearly two years past their initial Dusty & Cruiserweight Classic stints, so it also feels like we’re moving on to a new place in their storytelling. Either way I think this will be a brutal time for everyone to enjoy. Pick: Velveteen Dream
Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler (c) in a two-out-of-three falls match for the NXT Women’s Championship
Sean Rueter: Really don’t see them hotshotting the belt back to Kairi, but I’m pretty sure I’ve picked the wrong wrestler every time this match has happened. So for the sake of trying to get something right... Pick: Kairi Sane
Kyle Decker: This feud has become low key very good. I’m never super jazzed about it going into the match, but then during the match, I’m always thinking “Damn, this is really really good.” But at the same time, it needs to end... at least for now. That happens best with Shayna retaining. My bet is Kairi brings her own backup in the form of her friend Io Shirai and this transitions to Io eventually challenging for the gold. Pick: Shayna Baszler
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: Much like Superlative Sean, I feel like I pick with my mark hat and I’m wrong, I pick with it off and I’m wrong... I dunno what to do here, but Shayna Baszler is one of my favorite wrestlers to watch work these days and I’m trying not to overthink this. Pick: Shayna Baszler
Stella Cheeks: I love Shayna Baszler so much! Kairi has never clicked for me and did nothing with the belt. Shayna, however, elevates the belt, creates dynamic storylines and gets better every time she enters the ring. Regardless of the outcome, this needs to be the end of this fued. 2 out of 3 falls should make it interesting, but if we have to see this again, it’s going to feel stale. Pick: Shayna Baszler
Erin Cline: Like, obviously the other MMA Horsewomen are going to get involved, right? There are two ways this could go, the normal back and forth with a pin each and then Kairi rallies and regains her title OR Shayna and Co. actually decimate Kairi in two back to back wins. Even not loving Shayna winning at Evolution, I feel like that latter bit of storytelling works better for this situation they’re trying to build with Baszler, Jessamyn Duke & Marina Shafir. Hopefully we get to see some new levels of crazy from Shayna like the hanging arm hold from their last match. Pick: Shayna Baszler
Johnny Gargano vs. Aleister Black
Sean Rueter: Starting Johnny’s delusional heel run with a loss doesn’t make sense. I’m thinking we get some payoff to that tense staredown between former allies Candice LeRae and Aleister here, and that that won’t go well for the Stoic Satanist. Pick: Johnny Gargano
Kyle Decker: This is a tough one. This is the one I can see going both ways very easily. On one hand, Aleister is out for revenge for multiple reasons - Johnny cost him the title and then put him on the shelf. He’s going to be extra focused. But on the other hand, Gargano believes he’s the hero and perhaps this darkness works for him. My bet is they’re going to transition into the Black rematch, which would require a win here. If that’s the case, does Gargano taking a beating put him back on the right path or further down the wrong one? I’m dying to find out. Pick: Aleister Black
Rev. Claire Elizabeth: I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if this went to some kinda double DQ as Johnny sinks deeper into depravity. Perhaps his old friend the tag rope might make an appearance? But I’d feel like a real mook if I picked a non-finish and we got a normal ending, so... Pick: Johnny Gargano
Stella Cheeks: What a catch-22. Gargano needs to win to justify his heel turn and to finally get a win under his belt, but Black losing after his pre-injury hot streak and his super bad ass come back seems like a mistake. Gargano gets distracted by his feels too easily so I am going to call that those get in his way once again. Watching Black kick Gargano in the face is going to be V satisfying. Pick: Aleister Black
Erin Cline: Aleister is obviously going to kill Johnny. So maybe a zombie Johnny interferes with the title match? I dunno. I just know Black is gonna kick Gargano’s face right off of his head. Pick: Aleister Black
That's who we've got. Who are you taking, Cagesiders?