NXT TakeOver: War Games II offered one of the best matches in the history of the promotion. In fact, it might be NXT's best match ever.
To give any match that distinction is saying a lot. After all, this is the promotion that has offered classics like Bayley versus Sasha Banks in the first-ever Women's Iron Man match, Sami Zayn vs Shinsuke Nakamura, Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne or Andrade 'Cien' Almas versus Johnny Gargano. Yet, here I am, claiming War Games II was better than all of them.
There were so many elements of that match that made it an instant classic but below are reasons to consider it the standard bearer for matches moving forward.
High Spots... So Many High Spots
If you wanted crazy and insane spots out of a match, this one became an immediate classic. It had everything from foreign objects, tables, multiple-man suplexes, and double rotation moonsault, straight-up slug fests and more.
There was no shortage of insane moments that would bring you to your feet, yet in all cases, there was never a fear for anyone's safety which makes the spots even more impressive.
Stars Were Born
Every contestant in this match had reason to argue they were on the verge of becoming some of NXT's best and brightest. After this match, there's no doubt. It's hard to argue Ricochet and Pete Dunne aren't two of the very best singles wrestlers in the company, that the War Raiders aren't the hottest tag team or that Undisputed Era won't give any faction in WWE history a run for their money. All are true and out of this match will come eight talents ready to be stars.
In a match that included eight competitors, someone was bound to get lost in the shuffle. That didn't happen here. Every single participant stood out for fantastic reasons. They worked collectively to make the match better but made room for each superstar to shine. And shine they did. If you're a fan of wrestling, you're a huge fan of all eight men who took part in this match.
They Told A Story
In a match like War Games — and was the case often in WCW's version of the gimmick match — the story gets lost in the mayhem, carnage, and chaos that is so many people in two rings surrounded by a cage. Not here. War Games II offered all of the great elements of a traditional War Games battle but told a story, used creative ways to include members and intertwined feuds as part of the match. And, they did it all seamlessly. Whoever booked this should be promoted to the main roster immediately.
From locking Dunne into the cage and throwing away the key to the respect shown but subtle tension between Ricochet and Dunne, to all eight men standing face to face after 30-plus minutes of sheer war and before the final moments of the match, as if to say, 'is that all you got?'
This was a drag out, pedal-to-the-metal battlefield, yet in the middle of it all, there was an emotional undertone of drama that elevated the match beyond what anyone could have expected.
What This Means
This match means so many things. From the short-term future knowing Survivor Series can't possibly offer a match that elevates itself to this level to the long-term future with eight wrestlers who will one day be top stars in WWE, with every move you knew you were witnessing history.
The WWE is in good hands. From the people behind the scenes who put this match together to the competitors inside the rings who made it work, every time we watch Raw or SmackDown Live and say to ourselves 'what are they thinking?', we can look back and know we always had War Games II.