NXT kicks off a loaded Survivor Series weekend in Chicago on Saturday night with the third annual NXT TakeOver: WarGames event. This year's match is centered on two double-ring cage matches instead of just one, and features the first women's WarGames match with two teams captained by NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler and Rhea Ripley. Elsewhere on the card a new No. 1 contender for Adam Cole's NXT Championship will be crowned, and Finn Balor will make his in-ring return for the Black and Gold Brand when he takes on Matt Riddle. A large chunk of the roster will then compete in matches for "brand supremacy" on Sunday night at Survivor Series.
Once again we've brought together our panel of wrestling writers — Connor Casey, Matt Aguilar and Ryan Droste — and break down the biggest questions heading into Saturday night's show. Check out the discussion below!
Even With NXT Wrestling on Sunday, Does TakeOver Still Steal the Weekend?
Connor Casey: Normally it's a slam dunk for TakeOver, but I don't think that's the case this time around. The WarGames matches will be no doubt be fun and I'm curious to see what Balor and Riddle do, but it feels like this show has taken a back seat to what they have planned for Sunday night.
Ryan Droste: I think that in the end, it will still have the best matches from top to bottom. However, it's definitely true that this show doesn't feel like it has the same amount of hype as some past TakeOver events and I think that's obviously because of the invasion storylines that have been going, playing up Survivor Series as the main event of the weekend most of the time.
Matt Aguilar: This is really hard this year, as the presence of NXT and its talent in Survivor Series is going to make for some great matches (or at least it should in theory). The WarGames matches, especially the women's one, have the potential to be great, as does Finn vs Riddle, but with so many stellar Triple Threat Matches on Survivor Series, I'm going to say it doesn't and Survivor Series takes the win.prevnext
Who Wins the Title Shot Against Adam Cole?
Connor: Damian Priest screams "A Vince Guy" but I'll go with Pete Dunne. The main roster crowd has a little familiarity with him, he's great in the ring and Triple H loves him. Plus he's the only babyface, so he can play off Cole being the cocky heel.
Ryan: Dunne seems like the most obvious choice as he is the man that is most familiar to the main roster audience he will be in front of at Survivor Series. Personally I'd rather see Priest get the opportunity as I think he has a very high ceiling moving forward, but Dunne just feels like the safe bet.
Matt: Damian Priest seems destined for this spot, as Triple H and the crew seem to be pushing him quite a bit. While they very well could go with Dunne, I'm going to say they pull a fast one and put Priest in this spot.prevnext
Who Are the MVPs of the War Games Matches
Connor: Keith Lee and Io Shirai. Every time they give Lee the chance to shine he runs with it, and stomping around as the strongest man in the cage should make for some great moments. There's a lot of potential candidates in the women's match, but I'll go with Shirai because you know darn well she's going to hit a Moonsault off the top of the cage onto everybody.
Ryan: Can't argue with Keith Lee. A big dude that can do some crazy athletic stuff seems like the perfect mix for turning some heads in the War Games match. On the women's side, I'll say that Rhea Rhipley continues to ride her recent wave of success.
Matt: RECOGNIZE THE GREATNESS! Keith Lee all the way for the men, though don't sleep on Dijakovic having a few great moments too. Ripley and Mia Yim will likely have some standout moments for the women as well. So, if I have to pick just one, Lee and Ripley for MVPs.prevnext
Where Does Finn Balor Go From Here?
Connor: All signs point to Johnny Gargano, at least once he's healthy. When they first said he had a neck injury I tried to talk myself into thinking it was a work, but then I realized there's no way they would've kept "Mr. NXT" out of the battle for "brand supremacy" against Raw and SmackDown just for the sake of a grudge match. If he's not ready to go, I could see Balor trying to muscle his way into the Cole vs. Ciampa feud for the NXT Championship and force a triple threat match whenever they have the next TakeOver show.
Ryan: I'd agree with Gargano when healthy. I do like the idea Connor suggested of a Cole vs. Ciampa vs. Balor title match. The question is, when do you have the match? We won't have another NXT TakeOver in January as WWE will be holding another "World's Collide" event, which makes this a tricky question. Being on national television now, they could certainly do the triple threat on a Wednesday night, but it definitely feels far more worthy of a featured spot at a TakeOver. The next TakeOver show will be in Tampa during WrestleMania weekend in April.
Matt: The obvious answer would be towards Johnny Gargano, but with him on the shelf for a minute, it seems like he could move on from Riddle towards someone like Pete Dunne (since Priest will be taking on Cole in my version of events), and that could make for some very entertaining matches. He could also surprise everyone and go for Roderick Strong's title, breaking up their Championship Gold and proving he's really out for himself and not affiliated with babyfaces or heels, just Finn.prevnext
Do You See Raw or SmackDown Getting Involved in the Show in Any Way?
Connor: Barring a surprise in the men's WarGames match, I think they got all of the invasion stuff out of their system on television this week.0comments
Ryan: I hope not but it would seem pretty darn likely. We've had our fill of it in recent weeks and they should save it for the main event of the weekend (Survivor Series). I'll say yes but I'd rather just see NXT do their thing on Saturday night.
Matt: I think you'll see at least one interrupt from SmackDown or Raw during the pay-per-view, most likely after the last match to help build some hype for the next day's events, but I don't see it being a constant thing during the whole show.prev