The NXT brand played a massive role in last year's Survivor Series, invading both brands en route to beating Raw and SmackDown in the "battle for brand supremacy." But the Black & Gold Brand was nowhere to be seen for this year's November event and no explanation was ever given as to why. In a media conference call for NXT TakeOver: WarGames on Thursday afternoon Triple H was asked about the decision. And as has been the case with most of WWE's decisions since March, the choice was made because of COVID-19.
"To be honest, I'm not in every aspect of creative decisions, but I also believe for the creative teams, as they're trying to build individual talents, they're not combining things too much," Triple H said (h/t Wrestling Inc.). "I also believe that COVID and the pandemic situation took a role in that We tried to keep thing somewhat separated between brands, between Performance Center, between things just to limit that exposure."
"It's still taking place [the pandemic] right now," he later added. "There's been a lot of time that has gone by, but the situation is still the same, and that was a big factor in that as well. You don't want to just do that out of the blue. You need to build to it. You need to have a lot of crisscrossing and promotional time together, and it just didn't seem like the right thing to do in a lot of ways."
Raw wound up winning the most matches during this year's show, though the "brand supremacy" angle was noticeably underplayed compared to the past few installments. NXT has been operating out of the Capitol Wrestling Center (aka the Performance Center) since NXT TakeOver: 31, while Raw, SmackDown and the monthly pay-per-views have been held in the ThunderDome in downtown Orlando.
TakeOver: WarGames takes place this Sunday. Check out the full card below:
- The Undisputed Era vs. Pat McAfee, Pete Dunne, Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch (WarGames Match)
- Team Shotzi (Shotzi Blackheart, Ember Moon, Rhea Ripley, Io Shirai) vs. Team Candice (Candice LeRae, Dakota Kai Raquel Gonzalez and Toni Storm) (WarGames Match)
- NXT North American Championship: Leon Ruff vs. Johnny Gargano vs. Damian Priest
- Dexter Lumis vs. Cameron Grimes (Strap Match)
- Tommaso Ciampa vs. Dexter Lumis