The NXT Championship takes a step back as the War Games in NXT Takeover: War Games will be the main attraction, but that doesn’t mean that Drew McIntyre vs Andrade Almas will be bad match.
In one side we have the returning son of Scotland, Drew McIntyre, who came back to WWE after almost 3 years of killing it the indie scene as Drew Galloway. The man who entered the WWE in the late 2000 and was billed, by Vince McMahon Jr. no less, as “The Chosen One”, has shown his real potential in WWE’s third brand. After some victories at the start of the summer – one that includes a victory over Killian Dain for the #1 contendership for the NXT Title – McIntyre defeated Bobby Roode at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III to win the NXT Championship. Immediately after winning the title, the attention shifted to the debuting Adam Cole, who, with the help of his colleagues of the Undisputed Era, attacked Drew McIntyre to plant the seeds that now take us into Takeover: War Games. WWE knew that they couldn’t put McIntyre vs. Cole immediately, so instead we get the title match that we are presented this Saturday. McIntyre has been on a roll and taking on Almas is a way to show that he is the man of the brand and that he will take any challenge that wants a piece of his title.
In the other side of the ring, we get a “Ingobernable” who has had a very rocky ascension to this Saturday’s stage. When Andrade “Cien” Almas debuted in NXT – previously known as La Sombra in CMLL and New Japan Pro Wrestling – his character seemed awkward with fans at Full Sail University. The man was given a generic baby face gimmick with an attire that didn’t even fit the bill of those who have heard of former IWGP Intercontinental Champion La Sombra. The man quickly learned that he had a long way to go, with a late heel turn in 2016 in a move that woke up his arrogant style that got him to the dance.
The heel turn started with Almas being an overconfident bravado who put priority on his life style outside of the ring rather than inside of it. NXT showed lots of vignettes of Almas leaving the arenas to go hang out with women, with him often not caring if he lost or if he put 100% in the ring. This sequence would change on August, when Almas was paired with his new manager (and the reason for his rise in the NXT ladder), Zelina Vega. With Vega – formerly known as Thea Trinidad – at his side, Almas started to pick up wins. Almas always had the looks and the ability, but always seemed to fall short in the ring when it came to deliver the final blow – Vega gave him that final touch to his character.
Andrade quickly delivered alongside Vega in NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III, where he beat Johnny Gargano thanks to mind games played by his new ally at ringside. It wasn’t long before we started seeing the complete puzzle for Almas. The title opportunity tonight represents a level of success that we thought we never see from Almas, as at times, he even seemed to want to get back to Mexico and leave this nightmare known as WWE developmental. Now, he is challenging for the main title of the place that he never saw himself fit to conquer.
Prediction: This is a sure win for Drew McIntyre. As much as we’ve seen of Almas’ development, it’s obvious that is time to move him to the main roster – probably to 205 Live – and that the money match for NXT is Adam Cole vs. Drew McIntyre. In comparison, this match looks like Hideo Itami’s match against Bobby Roode in NXT Takeover: Chicago. Both guys – Itami and Almas – showed some development, but we knew who WWE was going with. But even if the result is obvious, the match at will definitely still deliver.