NXT TakeOver WarGames Takeaways: Io Shirai’s next challenger

WWE NXT, Io Shirai (photo courtesy of WWE)
WWE NXT, Io Shirai (photo courtesy of WWE) /
2 of 3

Kyle O’Reilly deserved that moment

Kyle O’Reilly and Finn Balor put on the most hard-hitting match in WWE this year. They didn’t need to leave the ring or do anything fancy at TakeOver 30. All they needed to do was beat the living hell out of each other to win admirers among wrestling fans.

So WWE had to capitalize on that past TakeOver appearance with O’Reilly in this main event. We’d already seen Adam Cole get a huge moment at the first NXT TakeOver WarGames, which served as a “you’ve been put on notice” moment for the rest of the roster.

And now, we can rest assured that we have been put on notice regarding O’Reilly. This man is the next big babyface on the Black and Gold brand. Beyond the great match with Balor or even the winning pinfall on Oney Lorcan in this hellacious WarGames match, O’Reilly’s babyface work throughout this match was great. I particularly loved his trash-talking to Pat McAfee.

He was the right man to get the winning pinfall, there can be no doubt about that.

Leon Ruff has serious babyface potential, too

Kyle O’Reilly already put himself on the radar this year at NXT TakeOver as a major babyface, and now Leon Ruff looks like a guy who has legitimate babyface potential on the Black and Gold brand. Ruff is far from just a flash in the pain or a one-hit wonder who lucked his way into beating Johnny Gargano for the North American Championship. This man is a great pro wrestler who has the entire NXT Universe behind him.

He didn’t win at TakeOver, as Johnny Gargano received an assist from Austin Theory (ugh) to win the title back. And that result disappointed so many fans, which tells you both all you need to know about Theory’s place among fans but also all you need to know about Ruff’s standing in the opposite direction.

The fans love Ruff. He’s good in the ring, he proved himself on the mic in this rivalry with Gargano and Damian Priest, and we had better not see the last of him in an important NXT storyline. Ruff has talent.