Biggest Takeaways from WWE NXT WarGames 2021 Results
The battlegrounds for NXT WarGames saw the remnants of the black-and-gold era against the new breed of names from the 2.0 reboot.
Not only was it an event to establish kayfabe dominance, it was also a means to let fans know the direction of the show going forward.
This was an important pay-per-view for WWE to prove to fans that NXT is in good hands and we should continue to invest in it on a weekly basis. But was that the biggest talking point, or were there other things worth mulling over?
Let's look back on what transpired at WarGames and run down the biggest takeaways from the night.
Full Match Results
- Women's WarGames match: Raquel Gonzalez, Cora Jade, Io Shirai and Kay Lee Ray defeated Dakota Kai, Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne by pinfall.
- Imperium defeated Kyle O'Reilly and Von Wagner by pinfall to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
- Hair vs. Hair match: Cameron Grimes defeated Duke Hudson by pinfall.
- Roderick Strong defeated Joe Gacy by pinfall to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship.
- Men's WarGames match: Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Grayson Waller and Tony D'Angelo defeated Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, LA Knight and Pete Dunne by pinfall.
Cora Jade Gets Big Stamp of Approval
With so many releases happening this past year, some Superstars barely wrestled a handful of matches before they were gone. WWE has been a tumultuous environment where if you don't impress the right people quickly, your time may be up before you know it.
That's why it's such a big deal that Cora Jade was given a big spotlight by not only having the most interesting story to track during the women's WarGames match but also by scoring the pinfall for her team.
Jade crashed through the table and took out Jacy Jayne but injured her arm in the process. This could have easily been how she was written out of the match to give the heels an advantage or to excuse why she would be the person who took a pinfall or tapped out.
Instead, Jade was booked to kick out of what should have been a strong pinfall attempt from NXT women's champion Mandy Rose, then catch Jayne off guard with a pin of her own.
Being the star player among three former women's champions may just mean Jade is here to stay and WWE sees big things for her in the future.
Is Kyle O'Reilly Staying with NXT?
Kyle O'Reilly and Von Wagner failed to dethrone Imperium for the NXT Tag Team Championships but the bigger story isn't their failure, it's what happened after the match.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, KOR's contract is set to expire soon and it's unknown if he's going to sign a new deal with WWE and stay in NXT or move to the main roster, or if he's leaving the company. Speculation suggests he could follow fellow Undisputed Era members Adam Cole and Bobby Fish to All Elite Wrestling, but that may not happen just yet.
As fans chanted "Thank you, Kyle" to him, Wagner tried to attack his tag team partner from behind. O'Reilly saw it coming, though, and took him out in retaliation. He's played that game before with Cole and developed eyes in the back of his head as a result.
Is this a sign O'Reilly is sticking with WWE and will start a program with Wagner following this? It seems at least one match should be guaranteed to follow up on what happened on Sunday night.
Or is this just a tease and O'Reilly will do the favors to Wagner on this week's NXT, putting him over on his way out, and the angle here was simply to get people talking prior to the next episode?
Even if it's just the latter, that mission has been accomplished.
Is There Something to Duke Hudson Cutting His Hair?
Normally, a Hair vs. Hair match comes about because a Superstar has a film role coming up where they need shorter hair or WWE specifically wants to go in a new direction with their character.
Had Cameron Grimes lost, it would have made sense for him to get a haircut, since that is a defining element of his character.
However, it was Duke Hudson who came up short here, which begs the question "Why?"
He's a good-looking guy, but his gimmick doesn't warrant an "I'm so ugly now" story. He's not going bald to justify getting ahead of it as happened with Baron Corbin. This shouldn't have anything to do with his gimmick about being a master poker player, either.
If Hudson has lost his hair because WWE never had anything in mind and did this on a whim, even that is interesting as another example of how chaotic the creative has been recently.
Good for Roderick Strong, but Cruiserweight Division Might Well Be Done
The WWE cruiserweight division had an amazing start with the Cruiserweight Classic tournament, which was one of the most entertaining programs of 2016.
Some of the best wrestlers under 205 pounds battled it out and showed off skills that hadn't been seen before, setting up a great foundation for the brand.
Over the years, nearly everyone who had been part of this and 205 Live have left WWE and the division has gone through numerous changes, but WarGames seemed to be the final nail in the coffin.
At this point, 205 Live hasn't been live or limited to the 205-pound limit, for several months. Roderick Strong seemed as though he'd restore some credibility to the title by taking it seriously, but he fought a challenger who not only was above the weight limit but also specifically pointed out alternatives to make the division different.
Joe Gacy called for it to have no height or weight limit and to be open to the female Superstars, too.
Curiously, he didn't win to start implementing those changes, but Strong's victory felt hollow rather than triumphant. Instead of seeming like a statement that the cruiserweight division is here to stay, it was brushed aside as just a win and nothing more.
It would be no surprise if WWE took more steps in getting rid of the division and the championship in 2022.
Thank You, Johnny
Johnny Gargano is arguably Mr. NXT. He represented the heart and soul of the brand during the years when it was considered the top spot for professional wrestling. He was the first Triple Crown champion and has put on more Match of the Year candidates than any other Superstar.
The 34-year-old signed a contract extension to work Sunday's event as he had never taken part in WarGames before. It was one of the very few things left for him to cross off his list. Naturally, he started the match and was one of the biggest focal points.
Of course, it took all parties to put on a great showing here, but while much of the spotlight was on Bron Breakker for scoring the victory for Team 2.0, a special shout needs to be given to Johnny Wrestling (or in this case, Johnny WarGames) for possibly going out with yet another fantastic match.
Here's hoping Gargano will continue to be one of the most talented professional wrestlers in the business, no matter where he goes next.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.