NXT is brimming with talent. We saw it when they put on an incredible event on Saturday at TakeOver War Games, which was one of the best -- if not the best -- TakeOver events in history. It will undoubtedly stand as one of the shows of the year in the WWE. There wasn't a weak match on the card, and that's a testament to the compelling rivalries created over the past couple of months and the superstars' abilities to carry them out.
The only issue with the abundance of talent is the lack of space on each TakeOver card. Typically a five-match event, NXT is a bit limited in terms of which superstars are showcased. As a result, matchups like NXT's main event on Wednesday night between U.K. Champion Pete Dunne and Johnny Gargano, which could easily be one of the best matches on a TakeOver card, are omitted.
The last time the U.K. Championship was defended at a TakeOver was in Chicago back in May, when Dunne and then-champion Tyler Bate stole the show and put on a true match of the year candidate. The fact that Wednesday's U.K. Championship match was taped before TakeOver: War Games went on the air speaks volumes to the prominent programs presented at that show.
Granted, the build to Dunne vs. Gargano was virtually nonexistent, but with two of the most talented in-ring performers that the WWE has under contract, we were bound to get something special.
Dunne and Gargano did what they do best by absolutely tearing the house down. Predictably, Dunne held onto his championship, but continued to prove himself a worthy asset to the WWE whether it's in a yet-to-be-created weekly U.K. show, in NXT or on the main roster. In an online exclusive, we got a taste of what might be to come as Bate and Trent Seven approached Dunne, suggesting that they might reunite as the trio known as British Strong Style. Regardless of where he ends up, Dunne is over with every crowd he steps in front of, and he can work an entertaining match with anyone with a virtually unmatched intensity.
As for Gargano, it's another loss on top of a string of others, no matter how incredible the match itself might have been. The more losses that pile up, the more likely it is that we're drawing closer to the inevitable return of Tommaso Ciampa. The story writes itself. After destroying Gargano and the team formerly known as #DIY in Chicago, before going down to a serious knee injury, Ciampa has been given even more ammunition to hold over Gargano's head -- the fact that he doesn't have the ability to win without Ciampa by his side.
Ruby Riot and Sonya Deville get warmed up before their moves to SmackDown and Raw
Two more talented performers who didn't make it aboard the TakeOver: War Games card got the chance to showcase their skills when Ruby Riot went one-on-one with Sonya Deville. Little did the Houston audience know that both superstars were just three and two days, respectively, away from the biggest moments of their careers.
Riot, now on SmackDown and Deville, who's now on Monday Night Raw, proved that they were ready for their respective moves with an excellent performance that saw Riot come out victorious, in one of the better efforts each woman has put on as part of NXT. It would also be their last against one another, at least for the foreseeable future.
As the NXT women's division moves forward with its new champion in Ember Moon, it will do so without Riot, Deville, Liv Morgan, Sarah Logan and Mandy Rose, but the ability to lose five superstars and still remain as strong as it appears truly illustrates the depth of the division.
What's on tap?
• Speaking of the women's division, two of the superstars who participated in the Fatal 4-Way match for the NXT women's championship at TakeOver: War Games, Kairi Sane and Peyton Royce, will go one-on-one next week. One would think that the winner of that match would be in the best position to become Moon's first challenger for that title.
• In a rematch from a couple of weeks ago, the Street Profits will look to win two straight against the duo of Tino Sabbatelli and Riddick Moss next week.