You’d be forgiven for forgetting that the black and gold brand are stepping into (cue my inner William Regal) WarGames a mere 24 hours before they compete in the ultimate battle of the brands at Survivor Series. Despite the knee-jerk feeling that NXT invading both “top” brands over this past week was a piece of genius booking, to which I very much agree with, there is the problem that the focus will be towards November 24th instead of the TakeOver event 24 hours prior.
So what are the problems with NXT donning their battle outfits twice in two nights?
2 years ago when NXT announced that the much-loved WarGames match was to return, it was billed as a structure more hellish than the Steel Cage and more destructive than the Hell in a Cell. A match where opponents will stop at nothing to injure one another. A match where you risk it all in order to get one up on your biggest rivals. You get the idea.
It’s a war, and over the past 2 years we’ve seen WarGames veterans The Undisputed Era crawl out of the wreckage victorious over the team of AOP, which then featured current UE member Roderick Strong, and SAnitY in 2017. One year on, Era were on the receiving end of the carnage as they lost to the makeshift team of Pete Dunne, Ricochet and War Raiders.
Both matches were exactly what they needed to be, a total bloodbath that represented war. This year we are projected to see Undisputed Era enter their third WarGames match as they take on the team of Tommaso Ciampa, Matt Riddle, Keith Lee and a mystery partner. However, the feeling of war isn’t quite the same as the past 2 years with the looming shadow of Survivor Series hanging over this particular TakeOver.
The impressive NXT roster will have to go from fighting a war within themselves to working in tandem against RAW and SmackDown. Even though, as of writing, the Survivor Series card is far from complete, the NXT roster will need to work together 24 hours after they have torn it down against one another.
Now the likelihood of Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa teaming up on November 24th is remote, but the point still stands that all of the NXT roster will have to ditch their rivalries for a day, which seems unrealistic especially given the heated exchanges between the likes of ‘The Blackheart’ and the NXT Champion.
A second issue with the close proximity of both events is the potential of the no-sell of the WarGames match. WWE are often inconsistent when selling injuries from the previous night, for example, Adam Cole staggering to the ring with a taped-up abdomen in the 2018 Royal Rumble, selling the stomach injury sustained in his Extreme Rules match against Aleister Black 24 hours prior. However, on the other side of the coin, when Johnny Gargano made his shock appearance on the rather irrelevant SummerSlam Watch Along, he seemed to be in 100% condition despite taking a huge bump off the top of a Steel Cage the night before.
As previously stated, WarGames is a dangerous match type where “you leave a different superstar to which you entered”. With this being said, let’s hope that WWE avoid no-selling the damage the WarGames match will inevitably have on the relevant NXT superstars.
However, this could act as a blessing in disguise for the black and gold brand. We all know NXT and AEW are embarking on the “Wednesday Night Wars” so it is logical to keep NXT strong, especially against the main roster. The chance of NXT winning Survivor Series is very small, as WWE still look at them as the EFL Championship to the WWE’s Premier League, but with NXT hopefully sporting wounds from the previous nights antics that can act as a credible reasoning behind the loss.
WWE are playing a dangerous game involving NXT in their annual brand warfare, but if they play their cards right, it could be a stroke of mastermind that shines NXT in a positive light. There is only one thing left to say. Let the war commence.
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