NXT TakeOver War Games 2019: Card, Analysis, Predictions

NXT TakeOver: War Games 2019 airs this Saturday, November 23, live on WWE Network. The latest edition of TakeOver includes two War Games matches for the first time ever, as well as a triple threat match with Survivor Series ramifications. Make sure you’re here on Saturday night for results, an open discussion thread, and more.

NXT TakeOver: War Games (2019) Card

1. War Games Match: Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, TBD
2. War Games Match: Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, Kay Lee Ray
3. Matt Riddle vs. Finn Bálor
4. Number One Contender Match (winner faces Adam Cole at Survivor Series): Pete Dunne vs. Killian Dain vs. Damien Priest

As always, we’ve got your complete rundown of the card and analysis below, featuring predictions for all four matches. Make sure to drop a comment and let us know who you think’s winning, and be here on Saturday night to see if you’re correct.

Here’s what we think will go down at NXT TakeOver: War Games, 2019 edition.

Number One Contender Match (winner faces Adam Cole at Survivor Series): Pete Dunne vs. Killian Dain vs. Damien Priest

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What You Need To Know: Three very intense men have grown to hate each other, and now they’ve found themselves in a triple threat match where the winner moves on to Survivor Series Proper to face Adam Cole for the NXT Championship. Those men are Bruiserweight Pete Dunne, who reigned as UK Champion for almost 700 days because they didn’t really have a UK brand yet; Damien Priest, who’s kinda like a Puerto Rican Baron Corbon who’s really into archery; and Killian Dain, the “Beast of Belfast” and, to date, third most successful member of Sanity.

What Will Happen: Unless Survivor Series is going to run heel champion Adam Cole against a bigger, stronger, more outwardly aggressive heel, it’s gotta be Pete Dunne, doesn’t it? Per our Survivor Series predictions and the staff picks below, that seems to be the consensus. I could get behind NXT Champion Pete Dunne, not gonna lie. Let him run with it until he meets someone with double jointed fingers.

Staff Picks

Emily Pratt – I will be shocked if Pete Dunne doesn’t win this. If you can send one guy for a “Please watch our show on the USA Network/WWE Network! It’s not the minor leagues! It’s really good!” exhibition match are you going to send Pete Dunne or Not Pete Dunne? You’re going to send Pete Dunne! Pete Dunne is winning at War Games.

Marcus Gilmer – mean, this is one of those matches where we feel the outcome is obvious (Dunne, as the babyface) but we watch anyway because we know it’s still gonna be awesome and the whole “ya never know” thing. Still, like Kai’s potential involvement in the Women’s War Games match, I feel like the simplest prediction is also the right one.

Scott Heisel – This seems like the most obvious pick of the night. Neither Dane or Priest have any sort of name recognition of which to speak, so it would feel pretty bizarre to have either of them in a high-profile championship match on Survivor Series. Dunne will get it done.

Elle Collins – If I was choosing one of these three guys to put on the Survivor Series card, it would definitely be Pete Dunne. Damien Priest is a possibility, but I can’t imagine it would be Killian Dain. Pete seems like the safest bet, though, so I’m sticking with him.

Raj Prashad – As much as I want to say Damien Priest here, I think Dunne-Cole is probably where we end up. As good as Priest has looked early on in his NXT run, it seems like the right spot for the Bruiserweight to get his title shot.

Matt Riddle vs. Finn Bálor

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What You Need To Know: Finn Bálor returned to NXT with a bad attitude, looking to make a statement. He started by kicking Johnny Gargano so hard it put him in the hospital indefinitely, apparently, and followed up by suplexing Matt Riddle on the entrance ramp. The first thing Finn Bálor needs to know right now is that Matt Riddle is no longer your bro, bro.

What Will Happen: I don’t see Finn Bálor losing his first match back in NXT, even if Riddle’s an absolutely top-shelf opponent. If this isn’t the match of the night I will be a Herman Schultz level of shocked. Bonus points if Riddle can make the Sling Blade look good on WWE for the first time.

Staff Picks

Emily Pratt – This match should be really good! I’m guessing Balor wins and goes back into the NXT Championship picture, which will be a battle of “ahhh they were both in Bullet Club but with one full leadership era between the times they were in Bullet Club” with Adam Cole.

Marcus Gilmer – This is going to be another great one. I really love Riddle and he’s such a great contrast with Balor. That said, I’m a HUGE Balor stan and I LOVE his current storyline so I think they keep pushing Balor here to make him one of the big ruling forces of NXT. It’s a fine line to walk — giving Balor a win but making Riddle look great while taking the L — but I trust NXT to do it right here.

Scott Heisel – The real winners of this one are Alex Wright fans, if you catch my drift.

Elle Collins – I feel like I’m being mean to Finn if I say that Matt Riddle will probably win this match because he’s the one with a future in WWE, but that’s honestly my take. Surely we can at least agree that after a couple of years on the Main Roster led him back to NXT, Finn Bálor’s future with the company is at least complicated. Riddle on the other hand is a big muscular handsome guy who’s funny and great at wrestling and has never painted his entire body to look like Venom. This should be a great match, but Riddle’s taking it.

Raj Prashad – Another hell of a match here. Riddle and Bálor can certainly go, and it’s hard to imagine this one disappointing. I’ve got Riddle in a hard-fought battle.

War Games Match: Rhea Ripley, Tegan Nox, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae vs. Shayna Baszler, Io Shirai, Bianca Belair, Kay Lee Ray

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What You Need To Know: NXT UK’s Rhea Ripley put together an all-star team of babyface ass-kickers to try and take down long reigning NXT Women’s Champion and lifelong Queen of Spades, Shayna Baszler. Baszler, not wanting to be embarrassed in another cage match after accidentally falling out of one to defeat Io Shirai, decided to replace her terrible friends with an even MORE intimidating group of ass-kickers. Long story short, asses will be kicked.

What Will Happen: Can’t bet against Shayna Baszler, especially if she’s coming equipped with the NXT UK Women’s Champion, the EST of NXT, and Io goddamn Shirai. Shirai’s moonsault is getting the Ricochet Memorial War Games Dive Off The Cage spot, sure, as it should, but I’d also like to see what Bianca Belair could come up with. Mostly so I can caption that section, “Belair Up There” in my Best and Worst of NXT TakeOver War Games.

Staff Picks

Emily Pratt – This is the TakeOver match I’m most looking forward to and I’m predicting a win for the babyface-ish Team Ripley. I have a hunch Baszler will win the women’s triple threat at Survivor Series, and I think sending her into that match on a loss seems like something WWE would do.

Marcus Gilmer – So it feels like Dakota Kai is Chekov’s Gun here, right? Kai is pissed she was left off the squad so feels like a perfect tease for a heel turn… but I don’t buy it. Her BFF Tegan Nox is on Team Ripley and she has a history with Baszler so I’m going to go with the obvious play here: Kai gets involved somehow to help Team Ripley, not just helping her friends and fighting off a rival, but to prove herself. Wrestling doesn’t always have to be about swerves.

Scott Heisel – At first glance, this seems like a pretty classic mismatch, with the heel team being seriously stacked. But this is NXT, and if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s well-defined characters that call upon previous history. To whit: Shayna Baszler had extensive feuds with both Bianca Belair and Io Shirai this year, and while they’re both clearly better choices talent-wise for her War Games team than the other MMA Horsewomen in NXT, expect some dissention in the ranks. Of course, the MMA Horsewomen also propositioned Mia Yim recently to join up, and after getting her nose broken on live TV the other week, maybe she’s considering it. But then we have the wild card of Dakota Kai, who’s been relentlessly bullied by Baszler forever *and* wasn’t even good enough to make Rhea Ripley’s team (who also has some weird residual unresolved issues between Ripley and Tegan Nox), so it certainly seems like she will get involved in some capacity. That’s really the biggest question mark for me: The idea of a heel Dakota Kai seems impossible, but stranger things have happened in NXT, and that Oculus mirror is always lurking somewhere backstage… I’m gonna predict a Team Baszler victory, with Tegan Nox being the one to submit.

Elle Collins – This seems like a good place for a babyface victory. Shayna filled her team out with rivals when she could have chosen friends, and she may ultimately regret that. Plus, NXT seems very into putting over Rhea as a badass, so a victory for her team can only help.

Raj Prashad – I’m glad this was filled up with current rivalries, but I can’t see a team of Baszler and Shirai losing.

War Games Match: Undisputed Era vs. Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Dominik Dijakovic, TBD

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What You Need To Know: Undisputed Era are War Games veterans who have spent most of the year making life miserable for everyone in NXT, especially at the top of the various divisions. They’ve got an iron grip on the gold, so some of NXT’s biggest names decided to band together and stop them. Matt Riddle was originally on the team, but bailed when he got his brains busted on a ramp. Now the spot is open, and who will step into it? Triple H, finally signing up for that NXT Fantasy Camp he’s been eyeing for years?

What Will Happen: The mystery partner’s definitely Velveteen Dream, who was taken out by the Undisputed Era a few weeks ago. He’s been injured and off TV since then, and nobody’s talking about him. That feels like a purple flag, right? Dream’s gonna continue his ongoing Hulk Hogan homage by showing up in camouflage with his face painted. I think if the heels take the women’s War Games, which they should, this would be as good a place as any to give Undisputed Era some “comeuppance” and set up their various next championship challenges.

P.S. if the faces don’t win, it’s because Dominik Dijakovic is a Ring of Honor sleeper agent and secretly on Undisputed Era’s side. You don’t go from hating Keith Lee that much to being all buddy buddy with him, do you? Even if you guys are doing a The Bar respect thing?

Staff Picks

Emily Pratt – The Undisputed Era guys are all in either a championship match or a champ vs. champ vs. champ the night after War Games at Survivor Series, so I think it makes sense for them to win here.

Marcus Gilmer – This is gonna be amazing, isn’t it? This is going to burn the whole place down and set the bar so high for the rest of the weekend, isn’t it? We’re going to see a lot of Undisputed Era this weekend and I think that’s a good thing! I also think you’re gonna see them get big pushes this weekend. I’m going ALL IN on them.

Scott Heisel – TBD? More like KO! Kevin Owens hasn’t been involved in anything of note since the draft, and Triple H propositioned him on Monday, *and* the Undisputed Era jumped him from behind shortly thereafter, so if my favorite French Canadian sociopath doesn’t end up inside a double cage on Saturday alongside my favorite Bostonian sociopath and the new Twin Towers, I’ll eat my hat. (Note: I have a note from my doctor saying I don’t have to do this due to a family history of gastro-intestinal issues.) I predict KO & Co. to come out on top, leading to a KO-Ciampa match next month to determine the real No. 1 contender for Adam Cole’s NXT championship at TakeOver: Houston in January.

Elle Collins – I love Ciampa and Lee, and TBD might be someone great, but if a makeshift team of guys who only kind of like each other can defeat the Undisputed Era, what’s the point of being the Undisputed Era? Especially with all the UE guys going on to matches at Survivor Series, I think they have to win here.

Raj Prashad – I literally can’t wait to see what kind of carnage Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic cause in this one. It makes sense for Velveteen Dream to fill out Ciampa’s team, and therefore, take the victory.

In summary,

That’s what we think will happen at WHOAH GAMES. Agree with our picks? Think the fourth member of Tommaso Ciampa’s team is Bull Dempsey? Drop down into the comments section and let us know about it. And make sure you’re here on Saturday for all the festivities, as we share an open discussion thread, post some results, and try not to be surprised when Io Shirai comes off the cage and accidentally ascends to Heaven. See you this weekend!