While the return of War Games was the main event, two new champions were crowned in the undercard as both the NXT title and the NXT women's title went home with new owners.
In what has to be considered a big surprise, Andrade “Cien” Almas beat Drew McIntyre to win the NXT championship. McIntyre had won the title in Brooklyn, N.Y., in August and held the belt for just three months before losing it to Almas. Almas has been around NXT for about 18 months, though it wasn't until recently that his direction seemed clear. His new partnership with Zelina Vega has added depth to his character, which before now just seemed like a generic heel. Since partnering with Vega, the former La Sombra has finally been given direction, and that led him to win the title Saturday night. While it's certainly huge for Almas, you do have to wonder whether this is as much about McIntyre as it is about Almas. Will McIntyre be showing up to the main roster this week?
In less of a surprise, Ember Moon won the vacated women's championship after chasing the title for basically a year. After a completely chaotic four-way, Ember hit the Eclipse on both Nikki Cross and Peyton Royce at the same time to get the pin and the win. Asuka, who vacated the title after beating Ember in August and moving to the main roster, came out to personally hand her the belt. This culminates a long journey for Ember, though I will always wonder whether it would have been better for her to just beat Asuka in Asuka's last NXT outing. The win almost felt anticlimactic considering that she had been in the feud and chasing Asuka for so long.
So two big wins at TakeOver signifies a bit of a changing of the guard. It's the official start of the post-Asuka era for the women. And Almas is certainly a change from the past year in NXT. Over the past year, those who won the titles are men who had debuted in the past few months, and immediately pushed toward the title scene. Almas took his time, developed the character, and only now won it. So it feels like a bit of a shift. And now we'll see how the NXT roster and title scenes change.
Rest of NXT TakeOver: War Games
» The Undisputed Era won a wild “War Games” match. Let's be clear, this wasn't a classic War Games match. There was no roof on the cage, entire teams entered at once, and a pin won the match. But it certainly was entertaining. The Authors of Pain truly were in their element throwing guys around the two rings and unleashing destruction. The breakout star might have been Killian Dain, who was a force in the match. However, at the end, despite getting superplexed from the top of the cage by Roderick Strong, Adam Cole found a way to pin Eric Young to give the Undisputed Era the win. I thought after this Cole would move straight into the title picture, though with Almas holding the belt, that might not be the case.
» Aleister Black beat The Velveteen Dream in what might have been the match of the night. There was some great storytelling, harking back to some of the major moments in the build to this feud, including the two having their stare-down in the ring, to Aleister Black getting tied in the ropes while the Velveteen Dream attacked. In the end, Black got the win; however, Dream had a fantastic performance in what some have called a “star-making” outing, and Black did, indeed, say his name in a show of some slight respect.
» Lars Sullivan beat Kassius Ohno. Ohno hit Sullivan with everything he could, and did knock him down at one point, but Sullivan continued his dominance.
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