After a D-X voiceover brought us into 2019’s TakeOver: WarGames - and with intrigue about the motives of Dakota Kai, a late addition to Team Ripley after Mia Yim was attacked backstage by a mystery assailant, hanging over the proceedings - NXT lowered the cage and opened things in Chicagoland with a bit of history.
Shayna Baszler sent Io Shirai to the ring to start the match, and Candice LeRae from Rhea’s squad quickly followed. The friends-turned-rivals started swinging as soon as the bell rang, and the clock counted down until the next member of the heel team entered to give Io and advantage.
Shirai was obviously having fun in a new environment:
Masterful use of the ropes by @shirai_io!— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) November 24, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/NsQTgz3q4X pic.twitter.com/egB0PABFyp
The EST of NXT was next, as Bianca Belair gave the Joshi Judas a breather and continued the attack on LeRae. Candice fought back, but had no answer for Belair’s power game. Someone who did though was the next wrestler in... the babyface captain, who made sure to grab all the plunder from under the rings she could find. Ripley wasted no time slamming Bianca onto a trash can, but the champ’s team fought back, and things were square when another champ entered - NXT UK Women’s champ Kay Lee Ray.
Ray brought a few more chairs, and trolled the Rosemont, Illinois crowd that desperately wanted a table or two. It all set the stage for a big Tower of Doom spot onto a bunch of chairs...
The strength of @RheaRipley_WWE!— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) November 24, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/NsQTgz3q4X pic.twitter.com/ZIuF4QHCTP
...which was followed by a 450 from The EST!
Next up was Kai, and she wasted no time making her intentions known. The Kiwi had little interest in entering the ring, instead brutally attacking her best friend Tegan Nox. Even General Manager William Regal couldn’t stop Dakota from targeting Nox’s surgically repaired knee as Shayna looked on in glee from her cage and Ripley stared in shock from the ring.
WWWWWHHHHHYYYYYYYY?!?!!?! @DakotaKai_WWE just laid waste to her #TeamRipley teammate AND best friend, @TeganNoxWWE_!!!!!!!#NXTTakeOver #WarGames pic.twitter.com/dqrJ16QWyG— WWE (@WWE) November 24, 2019
The new heel was eventually escorted out of the arena, and the announcers informed us Nox would not be cleared for action - so this WarGames was on as a four-on-two handicap match!
What followed was an awesome way to showcase LeRae as the ultimate never-say-die underdog and Ripley as the righteous powerhouse. It also kept the ring relatively clear for insane spots like these...
.@CandiceLeRae!!— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) November 24, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/NsQTgz3q4X pic.twitter.com/9RBMfUvQIE
@shirai_io rules. #NXTTakeOver #WarGames pic.twitter.com/igsyn2cJ4v— WWE (@WWE) November 24, 2019
It was an amazing showcase of the title feud, too. First, Rhea and Shayna stared each other down as they locked submissions on the other’s teammate. Then, Ripley powered out of a Kirfuda Clutch and handcuffed herself to the Queen of Spades, delivering her Riptide finisher and positioning herself for a title shot sooner rather than later.
This is @RheaRipley_WWE's brutality!— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) November 24, 2019
➡️ https://t.co/NsQTgz3q4X pic.twitter.com/k8R30sqEsW
This was dope.
For a complete rundown of everything that happened in Allstate Arena tonight, head to our live blog here.