Booking ladder matches for WarGames advantage is a mistake /

By now, everyone understands that WWE’s version of WarGames is nothing like the version that Jim Crockett Promotions/WCW made famous, likely because doing so would mean that Vince McMahon would have to admit that the former bane of his existence came up with at least one good idea.

Between the cage not having a roof and the weapons that are often introduced during the proceedings (which makes it more reminiscent of TNA/Impact Wrestling’s Lethal Lockdown matches), this match is more or less WWE’s own thing aside from the name and the team elements.

Even the way that WWE determines which teams get the advantage in WarGames differs from the norm. Instead of doing the kayfabe coin flip, the promotion decided to use ladder matches as a — in their minds — suitable replacement.

WWE plans on using ladder matches to decide the WarGames advantage again this year, something that the company should’ve avoided.

With WWE gearing up for NXT WarGames on Dec. 5, it has already finalized the men’s and women’s matches inside the structure. All that’s left now are the ladder matches, with Kay Lee Ray facing miscast heel Dakota Kai for the women’s and the men’s participants being decided by a fan vote.

Sigh, these unnecessary ladder matches.

Look, most people get how simply announcing that a team won the advantage via a coin flip (or straw drawing, or whatever other game of pure luck there is) can be anticlimactic, and WWE does deserve some credit for trying to mine a high-stakes match out of something so formulaic, but the attempt comes with its share of pitfalls.

The main one is the idea of having two wrestlers participate in a taxing and dangerous match days before they take part in another taxing, dangerous match. But even if these weren’t ladder matches, putting the WarGames advantage on the line in a match, at best, makes the contest feel anticlimactic given that most fans expect the heel to win. At worst, it opens the door for WWE to book some nonsense, specifically, having the babyfaces win.

This idea of giving the babyface team the WarGames advantage to “shake things up” is an enticing one, but as we saw in last year’s women’s WarGames match, doing so puts the heels in a situation where it’s impossible to generate heat without making the babyfaces look like idiots.

To be fair, if the coin flip option were WWE could just as easily book a scenario where the babyfaces win one of the coin tosses (because even coin flips aren’t immune to WWE’s 50/50 booking), but doing so in a match comes with the added bonus of wasting everyone’s time for 10-15 minutes before enacting the poor decision.

Knowing all of this, is it really worth putting wrestlers in a ladder match an then asking those same people to take part in WarGames?

Now, none of this means that the matches themselves won’t be entertaining, nor should is this meant to dissuade anyone who is looking forward to Ray vs. Kai or whoever faces off in the men’s match; no one’s here to ruin anyone’s good time. Chances are that Kai and Ray will put together a great ladder match, as will whoever gets the draw for the men.

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But knowing what’s on the line and how WWE tends to write things, the company would’ve been better off leaving this idea in the previous iteration of NXT.