As you probably gathered from the last “Match This!”, I’m a big fan of the WarGames format and was quite excited about the NXT show featuring it. What I didn’t know then was that my favorite match wouldn’t be the main event or either title match.
As a member of the most recent Tough Enough cast, Patrick Clark was portrayed as a somewhat bland upstart. Yes, he had more in ring experience than most of his cast mates, but came off as a bit egotistical because of it. As we know, this type of behavior is encouraged (if not outright scripted) in reality television. Though he did not win, Clark was signed to a developmental contract of his own. He made a few appearances as Clark, but would not be a consistent television figure until debuting his Prince-like Velveteen Dream persona.
Tom Budgen, better known as Tommy End, built a reputation in Europe as one of Professional Wrestling’s greatest strikers. His arrival in NXT was promoted as an attraction itself, and the crowd soon agreed. Even with an elaborate entrance, the man now known as Aleister Black is portrayed more as a no non-sense bad ass.
Pairing the stoic and brutal Black against the arrogant and flamboyant Dream was a logical move. Being two characters completely different in both persona and visage, the angle always felt right. As Dream would continue to torment Black, attempting to get him to say his new name as opposed to calling him by what’s written on his I.D., the androgynous warrior was able to show more and more of his personality. As he did, the audience realized it was something he has in droves. Though Aleister retained his fan-favorite status, the Dream was gaining the respect of the crowd. Entering this match, I knew it would be solid. Clark has proven to be an exceptionally fast learner and Black is a consummate professional. The Dream was a nice road block for the dominant bad ass, and surely a satisfying victory on his way to the belt. Well, I thought it was that simple. What the crowd ended up getting was a near perfect match both in narrative and in-ring action. The Velveteen Dream proved that he is the real deal, and with a constantly mentioned three years experience, was able to perform at a level that few in the industry could. Pair this with the logical premise and some beautiful, subtle in-ring storytelling, and we were treated to one of the best WWE matches in recent memory. Though I started the match confident that Aleister Black would have his hand raised, by the match’s mid point I began to believe in The Dream. Here, Clark went from a rookie to Velveteen Dream: NXT Superstar. You can’t ask much more from a match, and if you haven’t checked it out, you really should. Oh, and don’t stop there, the rest of the show was fantastic as well.
NXT Takeover: WarGames is exclusively available on the WWE Network.