NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn
August 22, 2015
Barclays Center – Brooklyn, New York
Watch: VoicesofWrestling.com/WWENetwork

This Saturday, WWE’s developmental brand NXT storms into Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for their largest and perhaps most important show to date. NXT was able to quickly sell out a major arena in a major market. Is this something sustainable for a developmental brand, especially one who may be losing two of their biggest stars after this event? Was the intrigue simply a byproduct of a busy wrestling weekend and working a show the night before WWE’s SummerSlam 2015?

It’s hard to say right now — will TakeOver: Brooklyn be the peak or the start of something even bigger?

Either way, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn is a relatively stacked card with plenty of intriguing encounters. The double main event features four of NXT’s biggest stars, two of which (Sasha Banks and Kevin Owens) could be making their final NXT appearance.

The men’s end of the main event sees Finn Balor defending his NXT Championship against former champion Kevin Owens in a Ladder Match. Owens, who’s had an up and down tenure in WWE thus far, remains one of NXT’s biggest stars while at the same time, one of their most hated. Finn Balor, the former Prince Devitt of New Japan Pro Wrestling fame, continues to ascend up the ranks of WWE, winning the title at NXT’s Beast in the East special event. This should be the definitive title defense for Balor as he looks to solidify his top atop the NXT brand. Or maybe they go back to the friendly confines of Owens’ stardom as they use him to continue building their brand for the road.

The women’s end of the main event again should produce a different kind of ascension, this time fan favorite Bayley looks to reach the pinnacle of her career and defeat Sasha Banks for the NXT Women’s Championship. Banks, like Bayley, ascended months back but has outgrown NXT and is quickly making her mark on the main roster. The ascension of Bayley has been a long journey (as our very own Joey O’Doherty wrote this week) that’s almost three years in the making. All signs point to her finally proving her doubters wrong and winning the title. That moment could be something tremendously special in front of the massive Barclays Center crowd.

Oh yeah, and Japanese legend Jushin Thunder Liger, some 30 years into his pro wrestling career, will make his WWE/NXT debut on the show taking on Tyler Breeze. That’s pretty cool, huh? “Lone Wolf” Baron Corbin faces off against former ROH superstar Samoa Joe, the Tag Titles are on the line with Blake & Murphy defending against The Vaudevillains and the former Uhaa Nation, Apollo Crews makes his much-anticipated NXT debut.

Tye Dillinger vs. Apollo Crews

Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes): Watch this one closely, as you’ll be seeing the debut of the NXT flag bearer in 2016. Yes, Sami Zayn will be back next year, but Apollo Crews has everything to become the guy in NXT.

Prediction: Apollo Crews

Alex Wendland (@AlexWendland): Apollo Crews probably doesn’t need the gimmick, but he probably fits the “Perfect 10” gimmick better than Tye Dillinger. Dillinger is going to “get there” with this gimmick. It has gold written all over it, but someone needs to decide if the “Perfect 10” will be ironic ala Dillinger’s match against Solomon Crowe or if they’ll work towards selling him as a technical worker.

Prediction: Apollo Crews

Joey O’Doherty (@AwesomeOJoe): Feeding Tye Dillinger, who has just debuted his new ‘Perfect 10’ gimmick on TV, to Crews on his debut doesn’t appear to be a wise move. Dillinger’s gimmick is only 2 weeks old on television and to this wrestling fan it appears to have legs, and a quick squash defeat to Crews will surely cut the legs from under Dillinger before he has a chance to show what he’s got. I feel the could of easily had another person like Marcus Louis or Sylvester LeFort in this position.

The former Uhaa Nation will most likely use Dillinger as a chew toy and I have no doubt he will make quick work of his opponent in impressive style. Apollo Crews has huge potential and hopefully he will put his best foot forward by showcasing his ability in probably a short amount of time. We won’t see the best of Crews in a squash match but we will hopefully see a glimpse of the future of NXT and WWE

Prediction: Apollo Crews

Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin Thunder Liger

Rob McCarron: Jushin Liger debuted in wrestling four years before Tyler Breeze debuted in life. The Japanese wrestling legend has been a big hit in the US over the past decade in Ring of Honor, and even bigger in WCW before that. Now, Liger makes his highly anticipated, and surprising, WWE debut on Saturday’s NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. You bet Tyler Breeze is excited, and he’ll do everything he can to steal the show. Breeze, arguably NXT’s male MVP this year, can have a star making performance here. I have faith in the two of them to blow us away.

Prediction: Tyler Breeze

Alex Wendland: No pressure here, Jushin, you’ve only been waiting 30+ years to debut in WWE. Liger wouldn’t get the recognition he deserved if he appeared on the main roster, but he’s going to get a hero’s welcome at the Barclay’s on Saturday, as well he should. This is the perfect spot for him to cross WWE off of his list, and the match will be a perfect lift to either open the show or add a spark in the middle. We’d all like to see Liger get the win, but the one-timer has to lose.

Prediction: Tyler Breeze

Joey O’Doherty: Breeze taking on Liger will be a fun match to possibly kick off the show and the first thing I wonder is what music Liger will come out to. (I’ll mark out if it’s to the Orient Express theme, just kidding).

We know both men can perform and the spectacle of seeing Liger in a WWE ring will be a special moment. Not sure who will snatch the victory here, I’ll guess Breeze to get a cheeky win via roll up and both men to look great when the final bell rings.

Prediction: Tyler Breeze

Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe

Rob McCarron: Some on Twitter have been calling me crazy for some of my stances on projected results heading into Takeover. This has been one of the more highly contested. Samoa Joe, with much pyro and ballyhoo, entered NXT seemingly ready to be the next big star of the brand. However, after the infamous reboot TV tapings a couple of months ago, Joe took a massive step down from an Owens program to work with Baron Corbin. While for Corbin, this is a massive step up. Corbin has shown excellent ring presence and attitude lately, and I think this could be the match that gives more credibility to Corbin in hardcore fans’ eyes. The potential with Corbin is there, you just have to quit ignoring it. I think Corbin wins this one, to massive crowd heat, and I don’t think it’s a toss up.

Prediction: Baron Corbin

Alex Wendland: So this is what Samoa Joe is going to be used for in WWE. I have a very bad feeling about this. Not in the sense that it’s going to be a bad match, I fully believe that Joe will carry Baron Corbin to 3.5 stars, but that he’s going to have to carry a once-NFL lineman over the finish line and then take a major L before even really getting his feet under him in NXT. Remember, Joe debuted at the last Takeover. Its too soon to require the torch passing I requested in the women’s four-way up top unless Joe is going to the main roster, but I fear WWE will simply pass out as many of Joe’s torches as they can before he leaves.

Prediction: Baron Corbin

Joey O’Doherty: Before Joe popped up to challenge The Lone Wolf, I feared that Baron Corbin character was falling by the wayside as he was being exposed as being extremely inexperienced. This is Barons chance to show what he can do and Joe is the perfect man to get the best out of him.

With the crowd surely firmly behind the Samoan Submission Machine, this match could be sink or swim for Corbin, but he has the chance to show if he has what it takes to make the step up from squashing jobbers to showcasing any skills he may have in his wrestling locker. Not sure who will win, but my gut is telling me it’s Corbin.

Prediction: Baron Corbin

NXT Women’s Championship
Sasha Banks © vs. Bayley

Rob McCarron: It’s Bayley! Her time is now, more than it ever was before. With Sasha, Becky, and Charlotte close to gone, and a new crop of women ready for the NXT stage, Bayley winning here should be a formality. We know Sasha has wanted this match for over a year, and Bayley has been earning fans’ respect in droves the last few weeks. While I don’t expect it to be one of the better Sasha matches we’ve seen on Takeovers prior, this should be a hell of a presentation in a hot atmosphere.

Prediction: Bayley

Alex Wendland: As I said last week: the narrative is clear, now we’re just waiting to see the performance. Sasha Banks has been the best NXT Women’s Champion since Paige and arguably the best ever. Her defense against Becky Lynch at the previous Takeover was probably the best women’s match I’ve ever seen. Bayley hasn’t reached those heights, but she came close in the four-way in which Banks won the title. On her end, Banks has to be looking to shake the stench of the main roster off of herself and get back to longform, in-ring storytelling. This could be a classic.

Prediction: Bayley

Joey O’Doherty: While Sasha has stolen the show on previous NXT specials, I feel that while she will have a good match with Bayley, it won’t be the match of the night. That being said the build up to this bout has me more interested in it than the Ladder match, as Bayley portraying the fiery little-engine-that-could-like underdog has me emotionally invested. If done correctly, this match could finish with a great super touching moment, with Bayley finally winning the big one over her rival Sasha.

Personally I’m rooting for Bayley, though I wonder can she be the focal point of the division now that the other 3 horsewomen have moved on, especially as a Champion rather than chasing the championship.

Prediction: Bayley

NXT Tag Team Championship
Blake & Murphy © vs. The Vaudevillains

Rob McCarron: Zahra could debut. Or Miss Daddio. Or Braun Stowman in a dress. Who will contain Alexa Bliss? That’s the only matter of any import in this story.

Prediction: The Vaudevillains

Alex Wendland: When Blake & Murphy won the titles, I called them the greatest tag team of all time. Hyperbole? Only in hindsight. Their heel turn title reign has been uninspired and the manic double-team moves that won them the title have been replaced by shenanigans and straightened hair. THAT’S NOT THE BLAKE & MURPHY I SO RIGHTEOUSLY DEFENDED. The Vaudevillains have been endlessly entertaining for months, but they seem destined for an eternity in NXT or to be Adam Rose’d on the main roster. I’d like to see them get the win and have Blake & Murphy use every underhanded technique to chase the titles.

Prediction: The Vaudevillains

Joey O’Doherty: I don’t see the appeal of the Vaudevillains myself and I fear this match will be their peak. Though I will credit their originality and I enjoy their entrance, It’s not a gimmick I can see taking off on the main roster.

With the challengers teasing that they will some how counteract the Alexa Bliss factor, I wonder will another female debut to even up the odds. That being said, I firmly believe the champs will retain regardless of who’s in the Vaudevillains corner.

Prediction: Blake & Murphy

NXT Championship Ladder Match
Finn Balor © vs. Kevin Owens

Rob McCarron: Call me crazy, but current dual-citizen of NXT & WWE, Mr. Kevin Owens, might be back here to stay for a bit. Would they possibly change the title to Owens, in the main event of an NXT show that should be built around branding Finn Bálor as the current best of NXT, just for the shock value? I suppose when all the evidence is presented, there should be no logical reason for projecting an Owens win. However, me not know how evidence works.

Prediction: Kevin Owens

Alex Wendland: I don’t know what it was about Beast in the East, but the NXT title match didn’t hook me the way so many before it have. I’m hoping that the rematch gets to me in a way the first one didn’t. Honestly, I think it will. The crowd is going to be blazing for this match and could drive the action to a frantic pace. Balor and Owens know that NXT sold out the Barclay’s Center on their backs and they’re game is going to be on point. Balor’s work is always tight, and, combined with Owens’ fluidity and history in ladder matches, this main event is going to have that prizefight feel we rarely get in domestic pro wrestling.

Prediction: Finn Balor

Joey O’Doherty: The former Prince Devitt has had an unmemorable run as champion thus far and this first real defence of his Championship since beating Owens for the strap in Tokyo.

Owens, while delivering good matches on the main roster, has been spinning his wheels to some extent after his feud with Cena ended and this match can help him regain some momentum, whether he wins or not. The build up has been substandard when compared to the quality of previous Takeover main event builds but it hasn’t been awful either.  I’ve no doubt that these men will have a great match, especially with Kevin’s history in Ladder matches even though the result appears to be a forgone conclusion in my eyes with Balor retaining, but it won’t take anything away from the match.

If this doesn’t deliver I’ll be shocked.

Prediction: Finn Balor