What are the best NXT War Games matches?
The War Games are back for NXT 2.0, with a battle of old guard versus new school on December 5th. We’ve had six TakeOver War Games matches in NXT’s history. Which ones have been the cream of the crop? Here’s our ranking of all six NXT WarGames matches from worst to best.
6. Team Candice (Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai, Raquel Gonzalez & Toni Storm) def. Team Shotzi (Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley & Io Shirai) – 2020
The worst War Games match was still pretty damn good. It pit all the best heels against the best faces in the women’s division. Io Shirai had a memorable entrance, donning a trash can to dive from the top of the cage into the match. The match was a vessel to get Raquel Gonzalez over, as she had the pin on Shirai and would go on to become NXT Women’s Champion.
5. Pete Dunne, Ricochet & War Raiders def. Undisputed Era – 2018
You’re going to see a theme here with the Undisputed Era, as they’ve been in all four men’s War Games matches so far. In the second-ever match, it was a band of babyfaces working together to take on the Era. It had less of a concrete build than other matches, but the action was still good. Ricochet thrived in the War Games environment, hitting a 450 splash for the win.
4 Undisputed Era def. The Authors of Pain & Roderick Strong and Sanity – 2017
The first ever NXT War Games match looked a little different than the four-on-four format we know now. We had three teams of three, with Strong opposing the Undisputed Era before eventually joining them down the road. Authors of Pain looked great in the bruiser role, and this was also when Sanity was as hot as ever. Eric Young had an underrated performance as the glue guy for Sanity, staying in there from the very beginning and taking a ton of punishment.
3. Team Ripley (Rhea Ripley, Candice LeRae, Tegan Nox & Dakota Kai) def. Team Baszler (Shayna Baszler, Bianca Belair, Io Shirai & Kay Lee Ray) – 2019
This War Games match has one of the best moments we’ve seen and it wasn’t even in the ring. Dakota Kai turned on her friend Tegan Nox, destroyed her knee in the holding cage, and put Team Ripley down 4-2. It was a shocking moment that led to a memorable feud. While you can say it is a little unbelievable for a team to win 2-on-4 when both LeRae & Ripley had been in since the beginning, but the match was still excellent. The most memorable move was the reverse frankensteiner off the top rope by LeRae to Kay Lee Ray, followed right up by Shirai with a moonsault off the cage.
2. Undisputed Era def. Team McAfee (Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch) – 2020
The surprising success of Pat McAfee went to new heights in this War Games match. He hit a Swanton Bomb from the top of the cage. Reminder: this dude is a punter first, podcaster second, and a wrestler in only his second match ever. It was the first War Games match with the Undisputed Era as the babyfaces, and they shone in their new role. O’Reilly & Fish teamed up on Oney Lorcan to get the win for the good guys.
1. Team Ciampa (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic & Kevin Owens) def. Undisputed Era – 2019
This War Games match has everything. It gets off to a hot start between Ciampa and Strong. From there, every man gets a moment to shine. Keith Lee’s entrance was one of the most sustained cheers I’ve seen in a War Games match. Then it gets better with the reveal of Team Ciampa’s mystery partner: Kevin Owens. Dressed in his NXT era gear, Owens returned to powerbomb everybody from UE. Cole got a good lick in, hitting a Panama Sunrise on Owens on the steel between the rings. A series of table spots, including Ciampa putting Cole through two from the top of the cage, made for a memorable ending to the best NXT War Games match.
Evan Gomes is a freelance pop culture & sports writer. Follow him on Twitter at @ItsEvanGomes, and check out his two podcasts: Crossbody of Work and The Pop Capsule Podcast.
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