NXT 2.0
December 5, 2021
Capitol Wrestling Center
Orlando, Florida

Watch: Peacock & WWE Network (Non-US)

Women’s WarGames
Io Shirai, Raquel Gonzalez, Kay Lee Ray & Cora Jade def. Dakota Kai & Toxic Attraction (Mandy Rose, Jacy Jayne & Gigi Dolin)

NXT WarGames kicked off with the Women’s WarGames match. The uniqueness of fitting two rings and two cages into the Capitol Wrestling Center allowed the crowd to feel a part of the show from start to finish. As each team made it down to the ring, Dakota Kai and Kay Lee Ray kicked it off for their teams with some impressive exchanges for the first five minutes. With the advantage in their grasp, Cora Jade made her splash by aiding Ray in the attack. As time went on, every member made their way down but it was the moments with Jade that were most major. As Io Shirai and Ray loaded up Jacy Jayne onto a table, Jade got to the top of the cage and hit a Senton Bomb, crashing through Jayne and the table.

The story from here on out was the injury to Jade’s shoulder that was sustained on the dive. Jade’s left shoulder was gone and her team did everything to keep Kai and Toxic Attraction away but could not succeed. Mandy Rose got in on the action and hit her signature Running Knee to Jade, but the 20-year-old underdog survived. As the match came to a close, Raquel Gonzalez hit her One-Arm Powerbomb to Jayne and while everyone was seemingly down, Jade was able to snatch the win for her team. NXT did everything in their power to establish Cora Jade as the future in this match, showing her willingness to put it all on the line, ability to survive, and continuing her consistency of overcoming the odds with the win. It delivered where it needed to. ***1/4

NXT Tag Team Championship
Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) (c) def. Kyle O’Reilly & Von Wagner

No one can say that coming into NXT WarGames that they thought Von Wagner would be in the second-best match of the night but here we are. Imperium defended their NXT Tag Team Titles against the makeshift team of Kyle O’Reilly and Von Wagner, showing that they can make nearly anything work in an effort to give an elite pay-per-view performance. Kyle O’Reilly’s ability to mix and match with anyone when it comes to tag team wrestling also needs to be appreciated here. The MVP, however, of this match was none other than Fabian Aichner. A man that can lift with the top heavyweights in the game and fly with the best luchadors in the company — he showed it all.

Aichner’s double rope springboard Moonsault was the spot of the match before the Imperium Bomb that saw him deadlift O’Reilly before Barthel came smashing with an uppercut. Wrestling is best when you can forget what is going on and become fully immersed in the action. That’s what happened here. The only part that might have topped this was O’Reilly avoiding the turn of Wagner after the match, hitting an axe and smash before shooting the Undisputed Era taunt at Wagner as he walked away. ****

Hair vs. Hair
Cameron Grimes def. Duke Hudson

For a match with such serious stipulations, this never got to the point of being a match that felt like someone’s hair was on the line. Set to go down as one of the more forgettable NXT special event matches in history, Cameron Grimes and Duke Hudson did what they could to try and get fans into it. Unfortunately for them, an unimportant Poisonrana wasn’t going to save this tasteless match from its inevitable misery. Grimes won by rolling up the tights of Hudson, getting his chance to get payback on the poker player. Nothing worth taking your time to see and the worst part of NXT WarGames outside of some introductory vignettes to the stars of the new brand. **1/2

NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Roderick Strong (c) def.. Joe Gacy

Roderick Strong is one of the best wrestlers the NXT roster has and can show that no matter the opponent. Joe Gacy is someone who has shown on the independent circuit that he can be a great professional wrestler also. The shame to all of this is that Gacy has been locked up with a gimmick that remains one of the most channel-changing in all of wrestling and that affects him in the ring. There were things to like from this — the hard Strong chops, the responses by Gacy, and for the most part little interruption. But the match’s finish was a cluster as Harland lifting up Ivy Nile just for Gacy to stop him before rolling back into the ring to lose via End of Heartache signified a boring end to a match that should have been a lot better. **3/4

Men’s WarGames
Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Tony D’Angelo & Grayson Waller def. Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne & LA Knight

Old vs. New. Black and Gold vs. 2.0. There wasn’t a second of this match that didn’t feel important or special. It had magic in the air from the launch and maybe that was just due to it potentially being the Johnny Gargano swan song in NXT, but the main event of NXT WarGames gave the fans all they could ask for. Carmelo Hayes would start it off for the new generation as he welcomed the return of “Rebel Heart” Johnny Gargano, who had his original singles theme song back. Hayes and Gargano battled back and forth for the first five minutes, resembling a more traditional opening to a match. As the time counted down, it was rare that the veterans had the upper hand until LA Knight made his way down as the third entrant of Team Black and Gold.

Pete Dunne, Gargano, and Knight were taking it to Hayes, Tony D’Angelo, and Grayson Waller with no end in sight until the final entrant for Team 2.0 entered. Bron Breakker was the ultimate difference-maker, decimating everybody in the match and being the game-changer that would be what eventually won the young guns the match. Tommaso Ciampa’s entry provided some moments with Gargano that were reminiscent of the #DIY days, including them connecting on the Knee and Superkick combination to Breakker. As the match closed, Gargano offered himself to have Ciampa cleanout Hayes and go for the kill. Ciampa set up Hayes for the Fairytale Ending but the only ending from there was Ciampa’s. Breakker would Spear Ciampa through a table in the corner before hitting his signature Powerlsam for the win. A tremendous main event ****1/4

Final Thoughts

NXT WarGames concluded exactly how it needed to—the new generation on top. Breakker got a pinfall over Ciampa and the 2.0 vision of NXT is now fully in motion.