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

A raucous sold-out Barclays Center witnessed biggest show to date for WWE’s developmental brand, NXT. If NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn is merely the breakout for the brand or the pinnacle remains to be seen. Regardless of the future business ramifications, TakeOver: Brooklyn was everything hardcore and casual NXT fans were looking for: guest spots from legends like Jushin “Thunder” Liger, well-protected characters throughout the card they generally cared about and more than anything, great matches.

Our Reviewers:

  • Bryan Rose (@br26 / @PuroUniverse): Former WWE Raw reviewer at VoicesofWrestling.com, currently pinch hitting on major and minor New Japan Pro Wrestling reviews and the author of the acclaimed Depths of Mania series looking at WrestleManias throughout history. View Bryan’s archives at https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/author/br2k62/
  • Warren Taylor (@TeddyNoir): Voices of Wrestling’s independent wrestling PPV reviewer: Evolve, FIP, …CZW? He’s got you covered! View Warren’s archives at https://www.voicesofwrestling.com/author/wtaylor248/

Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger

Bryan Rose: This was a good opener. I liked Liger’s ripoff music, though it’s not as good as the SNES music ripoff music they use on New Japan World. The crowd was hot for this the entire match, though honestly I could have made do without the “FULL SAIL SUCKS” chants. I mean that was funny one, but it’s going to lose its luster if it’s heard throughout every match. Match wise this was a good, solid opener. Liger did all of his trademark spots and was super over with the crowd. Breeze got a cool entrance and looked fine here too. Sort of surprised Liger won, but I guess that’s fine for a one time appearance. I always think Breeze is due for a call up soon but it doesn’t seem to be materializing here.  **3/4

Warren Taylor:  WWE’s treatment of Liger was superb from the great ripoff music to how the commentary team was practically gushing about him the entire match. Speaking of the match it was solid. Liger got all his shit in and Breeze hung with him every step of the way thus proving once again how underrated he is as a worker. Liger-san getting the win was a bit of a surprise but a nice one. **3/4

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

Bryan Rose: So the special surprise that the Vaudevillains had in store for Blake and Murphy was Blue Pants, who got the biggest pop of the night so far. Keep in mind Jushin Thunder Liger was in the previous match. This was a typical WWE style tag match, but nothing looked off. The crowd were totally into this match and were into the Vaudevillians, who won their match after hitting the whirling dervish. I think as far as performances go Alexa Bliss is terrific as a heel manager, something I didn’t even think was possible a few months ago. Simon Gotch is also great for what his gimmick is. Nothing extra out of the ordinary, but the crowd and its reactions made this match feel like a lot more special than it should have been.  ***1/4

Warren Taylor:  The crowd made this match. Throw it on an NXT taping with the usual Full Sail Crowd and it is a 2 star special. Brooklyn went bonkers for The Vaudevillains and made their title win feel special which is great for both those guys. I didn’t love the ladies getting involved near the end but otherwise this was a fine tag contest. **1/2

Tye Dillinger vs. Apollo Crews

Bryan Rose:  Basic match, but that’s what it was supposed to be. I kind of wish this was shorter and much more of a highlight reel for Crews, but they went the usual WWE route of Dillinger getting heat, then Crews making a comeback and pinning him quickly. Crews looked perfectly alright for what this was designed to be, but it wasn’t much beyond that. The crowd were really into Crews though, so he should be pretty over as a babyface from day one.  **

Warren Taylor: The crowd loved Apollo Crews and while he looked great I’m not sold on his “I’m super happy to be here gimmick” yet. Tye Dillinger’s control segment brought this one down which is a shame because the guy seems like a competent worker but this was a match designed to showcase his opponent not him. **

Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe

Bryan Rose: This was a great hoss type of match. My feeling with Corbin is that he has a good presence about him, but needs to be more physical the way that they are pushing him. There were instances here where he could have looked better, for sure, but this was probably the best match he’s been in up to this point in his career. Granted, it was due to Samoa Joe being in the other corner, but this was still pretty good. They went with the right finish as it protects Corbin and they can go from here. Exactly what it needed to be, and for me it exceeded expectations. ***1/4

Warren Taylor: I am still in shock at how much I enjoyed this match. At its core this was two huge guys going to war on each other, a formula that rarely fails. Corbin looked beyond competent and broke out a Heel Hook. Baron F’n Corbin broke out a submission hold! The finish was perfect because the right man, Joe, went over but Corbin looked strong by refusing to submit and passing out. ***½

NXT Women’s Championship
Bayley vs. Sasha Banks (c)

Bryan Rose: I don’t know if this was better than the other great women’s title matches we’ve seen on NXT, but it was on par. There were some parts of the match that looked off, like when Bayley fell off the top rope and nearly injured herself something fierce, but overall this was a fantastic match that told a great story.

Sasha worked on Bayley’s arm (I believe the injured one) early and it played into the rest of the match. At one point Sasha had her in the Bank Statement and was smashing on her injured arm to prevent her from grabbing the ropes but it didn’t work. Just little things that you don’t even see men do that much in WWE were in this match, and that made this feel very special. The celebration after the match, which Bayley won after a crazy reverse rana off the top rope then the Bayley to Bayley, was also awesome with Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha embracing her and celebrating her big win together, the Four Horsewomen of NXT. Not to mention in all this that the crowd was completely into the match the minute the bell rang. This is how you need to present these women, because given the chance they can do something like this and it’ll end up being awesome. Just tremendous in terms of presentation, and a very well worked match to boot. ****1/4

Warren Taylor: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the opening portion of the match. It was slow and sloppy, especially the part where Sasha botched the double knees spot on the top rope. Business picked up when Banks channeled Timothy Thatcher from EVOLVE 48 and went after the protective bandaging around Bayley’s hand. As Banks worked over the injured hand, sold beautifully by Bayley, I marveled at how skilled she is as a technician. Her opponent has a ways to go in the ring but here babyface fire was undeniable. Bayley’s ability to connect with the crowd is light years ahead of most her counterparts either male or female, The hot Brooklyn crowd aided an incredible closing stretch complete with dramatic near falls, a thrilling battle of Bank Statements and the Belly-to-Belly Suplex that gave Bayley her moment in the sun. Kudos, to both ladies for working hard to overcome a slow start to produce one of the best NXT matches of the year. ****1/4

Ladder Match – NXT Championship
Finn Balor © vs. Kevin Owens

Bryan Rose: Good main event, but I didn’t think it was even close to the level of the previous match. They both worked hard and took a ton of crazy spots (Owens especially, falling off the ladder and right onto another one hitting the back of his head) but overall it felt like something was missing. The crowd was into it, but not like the previous match. I think the biggest pop was when the guys who were kicked out for using streamers during the ring entrances were allowed back in. It was very much a brawl, with them fighting into the crowd, then eventually going back to the ring and using a bunch of ladder spots. It’s every ladder match you’ve seen in the WWE for the last couple of years, and if that is a good or bad thing depends on your thoughts of a WWE ladder match. I was fine with this match, didn’t think it was bad and they worked hard. I wouldn’t consider it a classic or anything, though. ***1/2

Warren Taylor: The manner in which the main event was worked was better suited for a street fight or falls count anywhere stipulation. Balor and Owens brawled all over the ring side area and both men took some nasty bumps. When the ladder came out the match devolved into a game of who could knock the other off the ladder first. Aside from the Double Stomp from the top of the ladder at the end and Owens catching Balor from a dive and Power Bombing him the ladder felt like a distraction. Other than that this was a solid main event. ***1/2