NXT continues to find ways to take the brand to the next level, and a blockbuster announcement on Wednesday night solidified that notion. For the first time since the September 4, 2000 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, the War Games match stipulation will make its return when SAnitY, the Undisputed Era and the Authors of Pain with Roderick Strong clash at the aptly named TakeOver: War Games later this month.
The War Games match, which was utilized regularly by the NWA and WCW in the 80s and 90s, becoming a staple of the Fall Brawl pay-per-view event, typically features multiple teams inside two rings surrounded by a large steel cage. It remains to be seen whether there will be any variations in NXT's version.
How did we get here?
It started with the Authors of Pain getting their NXT tag team championship rematch against SAnitY. Coming off their excellent match at TakeOver: Brooklyn III, both teams came through with another solid effort, but one that did not offer a resolution.
As they've done often since their NXT debuts, the Undisputed Era made their presence felt when they ambushed the Authors of Pain as they were on the verge of their second title reign, causing a disqualification.
Adding to the mayhem, Roderick Strong appeared which created the perfect element of uncertainty to add to the situation. Over the past month, Strong has been pursued by the Undisputed Era, who has attempted to recruit him as the group's fourth member. After his loss to Andrade "Cien" Almas last week, Adam Cole presented him with an Undisputed Era armband. He had the armband with him this week and put it on, but only briefly.
Strong removed the armband and revealed his decision by attacking Cole, and chaos ensued. However, before the brawl shifted into the next gear, general manager William Regal emerged and announced that the aforementioned triple threat War Games match would take place at TakeOver.
"This won't be any normal triple threat match, though," Regal said. "There's only one match that can contain this chaos. One match so brutal that it hasn't been seen in 20 years. At TakeOver: Houston, these three teams will be in two rings, in one cage. In War Games!"
As Regal made the announcement, the "TakeOver: War Games" logo appeared on the screen behind him as the crowd erupted and began chanting, "Yes!"
This match figures to be can't-miss. In fact, the entire TakeOver card is shaping up to be that way. The main roster talent performing at Survivor Series the next night better bring their A-games because they'll likely have a tough act to follow.
NXT championship contract signing
Another central piece to the excellent TakeOver card is the NXT championship match where Drew McIntyre will defend his title against Andrade "Cien" Almas. One week after Regal made the match official, the two combatants, along with Zelina Vega, were set to meet face to face and sign the contract.
Almas made sure they met, but it wasn't face to face. Instead, Almas attacked McIntyre on the stage and gained the initial upper hand from this rivalry's physicality perspective. After the beatdown, he signed the contract.
This was a good preliminary altercation. With Almas striking first, it promoted the perception that he is legitimate threat to the championship, and it progresses the meteoric rise he has experienced ever since he began being paired with Vega.
While it would be surprising to see McIntyre drop the NXT Championship in his first TakeOver title defense, stranger things have happened. It's important to keep Almas looking strong in order to create that sense of uncertainty.
Gargano continues to stumble
In one of the surprises of the night -- and match of the night for that matter -- relative newcomer to NXT, Fabian Aichner scored a pinfall victory over Johnny Gargano, who was looking to rebound after losing a couple of high profile matches to Almas.
This was more about the downfall of Gargano than it was about the elevation of Aichner, who looked tremendous. As Gargano continues to lose, his potential for success as a singles competitor dwindles, raising the obvious question: When will Tommaso Ciampa return to drive that point home? The continuation of that story, whenever it happens, will be fascinating.
Less than three weeks before she takes part in the fatal 4-way for the NXT Women's Championship at TakeOver, Nikki Cross saw action against Taynara Conti. Cross was looking to exact revenge on Conti, who cost Cross her first opportunity to advance to the championship match and she did just that with a relatively quick pinfall victory.
Sticking with the women's division theme, Kairi Sane will face Billie Kay next week.
In clip on WWE.com, The Street Profits were seen in the parking lot area admiring a white Maserati convertible parked right outside of the building. The car happened to belong to Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss, who didn't take too kindly to Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins approaching the car. The two teams did a bit of trash-talking, which will likely lead to match in the near future.
Finally, the matchup pitting the Velveteen Dream against Aleister Black at TakeOver has been made official.