Date: November 25, 2020
Location: Capitol Wrestling Center, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Beth Phoenix, Kevin Owens, Vic Joseph
We’re rapidly approaching the next Takeover and that means it’s time to get ready for WarGames. The men’s match is already set up but the women’s match needs a little more tweaking. There are a few more other things to be set up this week as well and that means they better be moving fast. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the end of last week’s show, with the Undisputed Era returning to go after Pac McAfee and company. After the show went off the air, William Regal announced WARGAMES (he must practice that all year, like the Sorting Hat in Harry Potter).
Candice LeRae vs. Ember Moon
Indi Hartwell is here with Candice but Moon goes straight after her to start. Candice is knocked outside and dropped onto the announcers’ table (Owens: “HI CANDICE!”), followed by a trip back inside. That doesn’t last long as Moon beats her up by the entrance, only to get caught with a cheap shot on the way back in. A neck crank doesn’t last long for Candice but she does get one off a sunset flip.
That sets off a pinfall reversal sequence, followed by a Moon kicking her in the chest for two. Candice scores with a running clothesline though and a head slam onto the mat gets two more. Moon manages to knock her into the corner and then hits a kick to the face for two of her own. Cue Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai for a distraction though and we take a break.
Back with Moon fighting out of a chinlock and snapping off a hurricanrana. Candice manages a spinning faceplant and the Gargano Escape goes on. That’s switched into a sleeper but Moon drops backwards for the break. Moon strikes away and scores with a release gordbuster before loading up the Eclipse. Gonzalez and Kai offer a distraction though, meaning Hartwell takes the Eclipse instead. LeRae uses the distraction (and lack of being Eclipsed) to hit a superkick into the Wicked Stepsister for the pin at 12:58.
Rating: C. You really can see the tier system around here and that’s not the worst thing in the world. While you have matches like Io Shirai vs. Rhea Ripley last week, you also have people at this level. This was a perfectly watchable and acceptable match, but it was a step or two below what we were seeing at the higher level. Candice is good for almost anything and Moon is starting to get her time back, so hopefully everything keeps improving.
Post match the group beatdown appears to be on but Moon manages to get to the floor. Cue Toni Storm to even things up a bit….until she turns on Moon, who is destroyed by the trio (Hartwell is still down and Storm has fun watching on the floor).
Santos Escobar talks about how he started Legado del Fantasma to bring respect back to lucha libre. This has been their year and their careers are taking off. They have taken out everyone who have come against them and turned Isaiah Scott into a talk show host. Next up is Curt Stallion, who is going to be a HUGE challenge. The difference between them and everyone else is they get things done. Cheers. Or maybe salud in this case.
Here’s the Undisputed Era to talk about WarGames, though first we see a clip from Pat McAfee’s podcast where he talks about how Pete Dunne is going to win a match tonight to gain the WarGames advantage. Adam Cole says they don’t look dead and he can’t count how many times people have promised to take them out. McAfee and company gave them a dose of their own medicine and yeah the Undisputed Era had it coming.
The only thing Cole is going to enjoy more than kicking McAfee in the face is being locked inside WarGames with him. WarGames is in two weeks though, and tonight they have to have the advantage match first. Kyle O’Reilly volunteers to fight for the team and Cole loves the idea. In two weeks, McAfee and company are going to face a new Undisputed Era, and they are taking those four to h***. That is undisputed. Cole is one of the best talkers around here and he sold the confidence and anger well here.
Candice LeRae and company talk rather quietly but the gist is that Candice’s WarGames team will be Raquel Gonzalez, Dakota Kai and Toni Storm. They’re all cool with each other.
Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae (she’s been busy tonight) shill merchandise.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Kushida
Hold on as Tommaso Ciampa comes out with a chair to watch (Owens: “Oh he’s going to sit. That’s not so bad.”) as Thatcher takes him down by the arm to start. Kushida slips out of a front facelock and kicks at the leg, only to have to kick Thatcher in the face. A belly to belly plants Kushida and Thatcher grabs a leglock, which Kushida reverses into one of his own. Make that a Muta Lock, which doesn’t last long by definition.
Thatcher is sent to the apron where he manages to bend Kushida’s leg around the rope as Ciampa isn’t looking pleased. We take a break and come back with Kushida striking away until an uppercut cuts him off. Kushida gets taken down into another leg crank but he’s right back with some stomps to the chest. The Hoverboard Lock goes on but Thatcher blocks a lot of the pressure by grasping his hands. Thatcher reverses into a Hoverboard Lock of his own, with Kushida reversing that into a failed cross armbreaker attempt.
With that not working, Kushida goes to an ankle lock but switches into a bridging rollup for two instead. Thatcher is out of that too and grabs a sleeper, only to be sent outside in a big crash. Kushida drives him down by the arm on the floor as Thatcher is bleeding from the nose. Back in and Kushida kicks him in the arm, only to get caught in a butterfly suplex. Ciampa pops up and shoves the chair away, with the distraction setting up the Hoverboard Lock for the tap at 12:35.
Rating: B-. I think you can get the idea here and they worked rather well with all of the submission stuff here. The ending wasn’t quite the screwy finish that you usually get as Kushida wasn’t beaten when Ciampa stood up. Thatcher vs. Ciampa should be good, though I’m still waiting to see Kushida actually get to do something of note.
Post match Ciampa thinks Thatcher might have a problem with him now.
We look back at last week’s main event with Io Shirai defeating Rhea Ripley to retain the Women’s Title in a hard hitting fight. Even the ringside physician gets to talk about how banged up they are after that kind of a match. Rhea Ripley isn’t sure what she is going to do next.
Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch are a little more fired up for Pete Dunne’s match with Kyle O’Reilly than Dunne is. Dunne promises to break Undisputed Era’s spirit tonight.
It’s time for the Kevin Owens Show, with Owens saying last November he was in WarGames and this time he’s doing commentary so maybe he’ll be a referee next time. Either way, this week it’s time to talk to someone who just had the biggest win of his career: the North American Champion Leon Ruff. Leon is glad to be here and Owens wants to give him the chance to tell his story. The fans are happy to see him and Ruff can’t believe that he only signed his contract seven weeks ago.
We look at Ruff winning the title, even with the title not fitting. Owens: “Same thing happened to me when I won the NXT Title.” Owens talks about how great of a feeling this is and Ruff needs to appreciate what he is getting to do. Ruff talks about wanting to be an inspiration to others, but Owens doesn’t think that he’s selling it hard enough. You need to let them hear who you are so Ruff starts shouting about how he beat Johnny Gargano twice, even shoving his chair away.
Owens facepalms, with Ruff immediately apologizing for the chair. Owens says it isn’t the chair because he knows what’s about to happen. Cue Johnny Gargano (Owens: “I was a little off on the count but that’s what I meant. I knew it.”) to ask if this is a prank show. Owens gets Gargano his own chair, which is thrown over the top rope. That means Owens grabs another chair, which is for someone other than Gargano.
That’s shaken off so Gargano can get in Ruff’s face as he rants about Damian Priest. Owens: “Come on Johnny, I just told him what happened.” Owens counts it down again (and again….Owens: “Oh man maybe things in NXT are different!”) so here’s Priest to get in Gargano’s face. Owens: “Before this gets too far, do you need a chair?” Gargano yells at the smiling Ruff but Priest says hang on a second.
Priest remembers Ruff saying he could beat both of them at once. Owens: “Oh man. What a shame that Teddy Long isn’t in NXT!” He wishes the NXT version of Teddy Long could come out and make a triple threat match so here’s William Regal to make the triple threat title match at WarGames. Regal: “Playa.” I knew that last line was coming and I laughed anyway.
Finn Balor talks about preparing for war. Some advice for whomever wins the war: don’t put checkers on his chess board. He isn’t hard to find.
Shotzi Blackheart has some fun with a blowtorch and asks what is the best part of war. That would be crushing your enemies and she laughs a lot.
Cameron Grimes vs. Jake Atlas
Atlas goes right after Grimes to start but a German suplex drops him down for an early two. Grimes ducks his head for a backdrop and gets it kicked right back up, only to have Atlas do the exact same thing. Now it’s Atlas with his own German suplex and a shot to the face gets two. That’s enough for Grimes though as he hits Atlas in the face and finishes with the Cave In at 2:46. Nice to see Grimes being himself again.
Post match here’s Dexter Lumis to scare the hat off of Grimes. That’s enough to send Grimes running off but a video of Grimes running away from the haunted house match, complete with a singalong, starts playing on the screen. Lumis pulls out a strap and I think we know where Takeover is going.
Post break, Grimes is trying to leave but William Regal makes a strap match between Grimes and Lumis at Takeover. Grimes asks Regal why he hates him so much, with Regal thinking it’s his personality.
Here’s Rhea Ripley to address her future. She had a big fight with Io Shirai last week and then hugged her after the match. That was all about respect though, because Ripley isn’t going anywhere. All that matters is winning the NXT Women’s Title but here are Candice LeRae and Toni Storm to interrupt. LeRae makes fun of her for never being able to win and says she’s all talk. On the other hand, LeRae can walk the walk, so here are Raquel Gonzalez and Dakota Kai, with the former carrying the unconscious Io Shirai on her shoulder. Ripley tries to fight but the numbers game catches up with her.
A terrified looking Xia Li and Boa go up to what appears to be their master and beg her forgiveness for losing again. They plead for one more change but a mark is written on their hands and the master says it’s time.
Here’s Ever Rise for a tag match but the Grizzled Young Veterans are back to beat them down instead. The beatdown is on and Zack Gibson promises to dominate going forward.
The Garganos take Indi Hartwell, in a neck brace, to the car. Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae promise to dominate at Takeover….and there’s another Ghost Face in the car next to Hartwell.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. Pete Dunne
It’s a ladder match for the WarGames advantage. They go straight to the brawling before the bell with Dunne being knocked outside as we take a break. Back with the match joined in progress and O’Reilly knocking him outside again for the running knee from the apron. Dunne gets in a shot to take over though and bridges a ladder between the apron and the barricade. O’Reilly gets back up though and catapults Dunne face first into the Plexiglas.
Back in and Dunne runs over the ladder to put O’Reilly down, with the ladder landing on his leg for a painful visual. O’Reilly’s arm is crushed in the ladder but he manages a dragon screw legwhip into a knee hold with Dunne on the ladder to make it worse. The knee is fine enough to pick O’Reilly up for a powerbomb onto a ladder in the corner but O’Reilly is back up to nearly knock Dunne into the bridged ladder. A charge hits a raised boot though and Dunne suplexes him through the ladder for the huge crash.
We take a break and come back with O’Reilly kicking a chair out of Dunne’s hand and suplexing him down onto a ladder. The top rope knee only hits ladder though (that looked and sounded great) and a limping Dunne goes up. O’Reilly pulls him down by the leg though, only to have Dunne’s enziguri only hit the ladder. They slug it out from underneath the ladder and then get up so Dunne can go for the fingers.
That means a double knockdown and the ladder goes down as well, landing on Dunne’s knee. It’s time for the big stereo climb until O’Reilly snaps the arm. Dunne snaps the fingers to knock O’Reilly down….but he can land on his feet just fine, meaning Dunne gets knocked down again.
A heck of a rebound lariat drops Dunne and they’re both down. O’Reilly goes up but gets chaired in the knee and then the back to make it worse. The Bitter End onto the barricade leaves O’Reilly laying but he’s up again to turn the ladder over, sending Dunne into the ladder in the corner. O’Reilly goes up again but here’s a man with a hood over his face to jump from the floor to the apron shove O’Reilly down in a crash. Dunne wins at 15:53.
Rating: B. This was your usual violent ladder match without much drama in the end. I think you can guess who the masked man was and that’s a fine way to go, as even WWE knows better than to have the heels go into WarGames at a disadvantage. They did their thing here and kept popping up over and over, which tends to be the case in a ladder match. I’m not sure why this needed to be a ladder match (and hey we’ll be seeing another one next week) but at least they did what they needed to do.
Post match, Dunne poses with Lorcan and Burch while the Undisputed Era yells at ringside.
Overall Rating: B-. The main event was the big spectacle to set up the REALLY big spectacle later on but that’s about the only thing worth your time. Candice LeRae was all over this show, appearing in about five segments. LeRae is good at this wrestling thing but that’s a lot for almost anyone. The rest of the show was designed to set things up for Takeover and the show needed that, but it wasn’t the big awesome show that they needed to get us ready for WarGames. That’s probably next week, and they need it at this point.
Candice LeRae b. Ember Moon – Wicked Stepsister
Kushida b. Timothy Thatcher – Hoverboard Lock
Cameron Grimes b. Jake Atlas – Cave In
Pete Dunne b. Kyle O’Reilly – Dunne pulled down the briefcase
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