SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Tribute to Pat Patterson
A somber tribute to one of the greatest in professional wrestling, Pat Patterson, kicked off tonight’s show. Set to “My Way” by Frank Sinatra, it was a wonderful slideshow and showcase of Patterson’s career. Patterson was not only a successful wrestler, but also spent a majority of his later life as one of Vince’s right hand men. Patterson will be sorely missed within the industry.
Verdict: THANK YOU PAT! THANK YOU PAT!
Damian Priest & Leon Ruff vs Raul Mendoza & Santos Escobar
Johnny Gargano joined Vic Joseph and Wade Barrett on commentary for this match. Before the match, Legado del Fantasma attempted to attack Priest backstage, setting the story for this match. Gargano, Ruff and Priest will be in a triple threat for the North American Championship at Takeover War Games this Sunday. Priest said he insert himself in this match to protect his vested interest in Leon Ruff and his title. It all sounded a little farfetched, but whatever. It worked well enough.
Gargano called out a fan dressed as Ghostface in the crowd. This immediately spooked Priest. During the first commercial, Escobar & Priest fought on split screen. Throughout the entire break, the larger Priest was being dominated by the much smaller Cruiserweight Champion. Cruiserweight’s are consistently booked to be smaller and “less than” than the larger members of the roster. It was refreshing to see a smaller, yet capable grappler keep the upper hand.
I liked the finish, Ruff getting the pinfall. Priest comes off as a good guy to a certain point, wanting to help Ruff. However that caveat of the North American Championship makes you wonder what will happen this Sunday.
Mens War Games Preview Video
Wow. That may have been one of the best video packages I’ve seen in recent memory. It mostly focused on Undisputed Era’s perspective, told by all four men as they sat at a restaurant. Brilliant segment and it immediately sold me on the unity that UE shares together, and the hell that is the War Games match.
Cameron Grimes vs August Grey
Grey, the former student of Thatcher, actually got more offense than I originally expected, yet ultimately fell to Cameron Grimes. This was a match mostly to hype his strap match with Lumis at War Games and keep Grey relevant. After the match, Grimes used the strap to tie himself to Grey and began beating him with it. Lumis snuck his way into the ring, rolled Grey out of it and attacked Grimes to end the segment.
As much as I like Cameron Grimes, this whole feud seems lackluster to me. Perhaps it’s my souring on Lumis, but I’m ready for Grimes to move on to bigger and better things. This segment served its purpose and progressed the story, so I won’t give it a miss. But I would like to see something better in the near future for Grimes.
Jake Atlas vs Tony Nese
When you need to bring out a jobber who has an itty bitty bit of name value, look no further than Tony Nese. He has a great look, is perfectly mediocre in the ring and can make the other performer look like a star. That’s exactly what we saw here. Atlas looked fantastic during this match and Nese certainly assisted in making him look great. Plus, where Nese is a former Cruiserweight champion, they can say that Atlas now has a win over a former champion adding credibility to the rising star.
McAfee & Crew Address The Crowd
Pat started by addressing Pat Patterson and his legacy before going on to diss the crowd, audience, and Undisputed Era. McAfee continues to shine on the mic, knowing how to captivate an audience and bring them for an emotional ride. This was nothing special or anything of the sort. But it was a good way to continue the hype for War Games. I think the segment may have lasted a minute or two longer than it needed to, but it served its purpose.
We were shown a bizarre skit where Boa and Xia Li were being forced to drown themselves in large metal basins. I’m not sure if this is chinese water torture or not? But, it seemed pretty gruesome. After, they were shown bowing to the same elderly gentleman from a few weeks ago and caned by an unknown woman. This is really creepy and weird, and I want more.
Grizzled Young Veterans vs Ever Ri… Nope. Imperium.
Before the match could even get underway, Imperium came out and laid out Ever Rise as GYV were making their way to the ring. Imperium then took Ever Rise’s spot and the match was underway. Why bother with this? Why not just book GYV vs. Imperium in the first place?
This was the first time that GYV have been in action since the start of the pandemic and it was certainly a treat to see them against old rivals, Imperium. This was a classic British strong style tag match brought into the WWE style. With the Tag Titles tied up in the main event, I’m not sure where these two teams go after this feud. Either they continue it after WarGames, or perhaps Oney and Burch move on from the McAfee/UE feud. I was glad to see Ever Rise interfere, hopefully giving them a bit more of a story than just “Jobbers”.
Tommaso Ciampa Visits Thatcher’s School of Wrestling
As Thatcher was explaining what he was going to show his student tonight, Ciampa entered the ring to “teach”. Thatcher and Ciampa went at it, with Ciampa taking him down pretty easily. It took Thatcher and one of Thatcher’s students to finally take Ciampa down for good. I like this feud and the 50/50 booking has worked so far with Ciampa getting the upper hand last week and Thatcher this week. These two are very similar in the ring, and seeing them finally clash should be amazing.
Shotzi Blackheart vs. Raquel Gonzales – War Games Advantage Ladder Match
Shotzi Blackheart is clearly someone that NXT is looking to build the brand around. One of her teammates, as of this writing, is still unnamed but considering that Ember Moon and Rhea Ripley are the other two women on the team, naming it “Team Shotzi” is big.
Gonzales and Shotzi had great chemistry together. Gonzales can sometimes come across a little green, but she seemed to have the “big woman” persona down perfectly. Shotzi was spunky, spry, and poured her heart and soul into the match for her team.Where the heel team won the advantage last week for the male team, I had a feeling Shotzi may take the win here. That feeling was cemented when Io Shirai came down to help Shotzi, Moon and Ripley.
Assuming Shirai will be the unnamed fourth, the 2nd Women’s War Games is shaping up to be just as chaotic and awesome as last year’s.