From open to close, NXT’s WarGames was a show built entirely around the future.
This was NXT’s first Sunday night special since airing its traditional TakeOver event in August. It followed the NXT 2.0 blueprint of taking steps to develop its next collection of stars, particularly with Bron Breakker and Cora Jade.
Breakker led Team 2.0 to victory against Team Black and Gold in the men’s WarGames match, while the entire women’s WarGames match was built around Jade.
Breakker teamed with Carmelo Hayes, Grayson Waller, and Tony D’Angelo against NXT champion Tommaso Ciampa, Johnny Gargano, Pete Dunne, and LA Knight, and won the match by pinning Ciampa. With the contracts of NXT hallmarks Gargano and Kyle O’Reilly soon expiring, this WarGames could also serve as a changing of the guard for the brand.
Wrestling in his signature Steiner singlet, Breakker is Bronson Rechsteiner, son of pro wrestling great Rick Steiner and nephew of the iconic Scott Steiner. Since his arrival in September, the 24-year-old has been positioned as the future of NXT—and he lived up to the billing at WarGames. The finishing sequence of the main event, which took place 38 minutes into the affair, saw Breakker put Ciampa through a table, then hoisted up the reigning champ in a gorilla press powerslam for an emphatic victory.
“It’s a night I’ve dreamed about for a long time,” said Breakker. “WarGames was an unbelievable opportunity, and I put absolutely everything I had into it.
“I want to be the best in the world, as I’m sure others do, as well. This is a very competitive sport, but I’m up for the challenge. Tonight was just the beginning.”
Breakker always intended to perform on Sundays. The original goal was pro football, and he signed as an undrafted free agent in April of 2020 with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. Yet it appears that he has found his calling, just like his father and uncle, in pro wrestling.
“The path that my family has paved for me is something I have always wanted to do,” said Breakker, who has now competed in the same WarGames match as his father (1991) and uncle (’91, 2000). “I’m very blessed and privileged to be in a spot where I can look to my family for advice. They always give me great advice and pointers of where I can improve.”
The men’s WarGames match also represented an opportunity for Breakker and his teammates, especially the sensational Hayes, a chance to work with Gargano. And if this was Gargano’s farewell to NXT, it added an extra level of importance for those wrestling with him.
“To be in a WarGames with Johnny Gargano, that means the world to me,” said Breakker. “Johnny is a fantastic performer, among the best in the world. He’s so great out there, as tough as nails. He’s gone out of his way to help and give me advice. He’s a fantastic human being and performer, and I can’t say enough good things about Johnny Gargano.”
In traditional TakeOver form, there were a total of five matches on the WarGames card. The opener saw Jade emerge victorious with her team of Io Shirai, Raquel González, and Kay Lee Ray in a WarGames match against Mandy Rose, Gigi Dolin, Jacy Jayne, and Dakota Kai. Results also included Cameron Grimes defeating Duke Hudson in a hair vs. hair match, Roderick Strong successfully defending the Cruiserweight title against Joe Gacy, and tag champs Imperium outlasting the team of O’Reilly and Von Wagner, who will now square off against each other this Tuesday in a cage match on NXT 2.0.
Jade effectively introduced herself to the wrestling world in her WarGames match. The 20-year-old delivered the moment of the match when she came off the top of the cage for a senton bomb, which she hit on Jacy Jayne.
In an exceptionally realistic manner, Jade sold the physical toll that the move took on her, and the rest of the match was built around her injured left shoulder. Following the match, Jade broke into tears as she was hit with the realization that she has finally arrived to a place of prominence in the industry, one that for over a decade had only existed in her dreams.
“I started crying and it was such raw emotion,” said Jade, who is 20-year-old Elayna Black. “I fell in love with this when I was eight. It’s what I’ve wanted and worked for over the past 12 years. To go into the back after the match, after a WarGames match, and have people like Shawn Michaels and Road Dogg shake my hand, it’s the craziest, most amazing thing.”
The story of the match was Jade fighting through an onslaught of adversity. Clearly, the goal was to make Jade a star in the WarGames cage, and she did exactly that in a performance that showed grit, skill, and heart. She closed out the 31-minute match with the winning pin fall on Jayne.
“I wrestled on the indies before this, but there is nothing that can ever compare to tonight,” said Jade, who made her debut three years ago in December of 2018. “And I’ll always remember standing up on top of that cage. It’s pretty high and scary. But when opportunity arises, you go get it.”
Jade wants her WarGames moment to serve as the opening act of a brilliant run in NXT, one that is only getting started.
“The ‘Generation of Jade’ is here in NXT 2.0,” said Jade. “It’s a new generation, a new time, and that dive off the cage symbolized that.”
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