Tonight, on a very special NXT, we’re treated to the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn undercard featuring a women’s fatal four way and the much-anticipated entrance of Enzo & Big Cass to the Barclay’s Center.
Enzo & Cass & The Hype Bros vs. Dash and Dawson, Jason Jordan & Chad Gable
Enzo (in Yankees pinstripes, which is the best idea I wish I’ve ever had) & Cass opened the show with, definitely, the loudest pop I heard through SummerSlam weekend. Honestly? I got goosebumps from their entrance. It was that good and Enzo & Cass were that affected by it.
Then the Hype Bros came out and the four dudes in the front row cared. Dash and Dawson, as I noted last week, have the greatest red windbreakers I’ve seen since the Brainbusters — a comparison Rich Brennan made at the outset of the match. Either he’s seen their windbreakers as well, or he’s an avid reader of this series of reviews. Just in case, hi, Rich!
This match quickly broke down into a schmozzy mess, but Cass launched Enzo over the top rope onto the four opponents outside. Shortly thereafter, unfortunately, WWE cut to a commercial. On the undercard of their once-live special on their own network, less than 15 minutes into it.
Once again, WWE owns the network they’re broadcasting on, yet they cut to a commercial during a match that had the crowd as hot as they would be all weekend for a full minute of commercials that could have (and should have) been placed in between matches. There’s no excuse and I’ll continue to ride WWE until they rectify the situation. To top it off, the entire match was back under control and Enzo was, predictably, being beat up by Jordan.
In all honesty, this was an Enzo & Cass match with four extra guys in it. The Hype Bros hardly did anything. Enzo & Cass hit their assisted top rope splash for the win.
William Regal is on! He reminds us all about the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Adrian Neville doesn’t want to interrupt, yet couldn’t wait for his promo to be over. He asked for a spot in the Dusty Rhodes tourney, and it was granted to him.
After the Regal promo, there were about 10 minutes of recaps, commercials and interviews that didn’t advance any stories. It makes you wonder why this episode needed to be 90 minutes, but the 75 minute NXT special doesn’t sound as good. Perhaps I’ve answered my own question.
Eva Marie vs. Carmella
Our Lady in Red was half ignored, half booed. Eventually she’ll need to turn full heel or WWE will have to pack it in on the Eva Marie Era. There’s still time, but she isn’t digging out of this hole she’s in as a face — I think WWE already knows this though.
Carmella’s entrance was…not as well received as her tag team counterparts.
The match was unmercifully lengthy and was highlighted by Carmella doing the Moonwalk. Marie won with a modified Sliced Bread No. 2.
After the match, Brennan and Corey Graves did a “live” (aka, when the undercard was filmed) lead-in for a recap of the Breeze-Liger match which, in non-WWE reality, occurred four days before this aired. Good luck to those trying to keep up with NXT live/taped continuity. I see you carrying that title on Twitter, Kevin Owens From the Future.
After the Liger recap, we were treated to both a Dana Brooke interview segment and promo video. In between there was an exquisitely placed commercial. Unfortunately, there was Dana Brooke content bookending the commercial.
The juxtaposition between Brooke and the Four Horsewomen of NXT was highlighted by the NXT Women’s Title Match recap from TakeOver and the truly touching interview with Bayley and her family that followed Brooke’s promo video.
More Regal! (Why is this 90 minutes?) Regal was, once again, interrupted before he can give his news. Baron Corbin asks for a spot in the tournament as well. Regal pairs him with Rhyno and sets them up against the Ascension for next week’s opening match.
Bull Dempsey vs. Elias Sampson
BULL-FIT! Are you Bull-Fit? You probably are.
Elias Sampson, who was a jobber last week, is now “The Drifter” Elias Sampson. He’s got a guitar and, according to Graves, he’s “sad and mopey.” So that’s a gimmick now, too.
Hometown boy Bull Dempsey came out looking, as expected, exactly the same as when we last saw him. He did have an awesome boxing robe though.
Dempsey showed off his slimmed down, efficient technical prowess that included an arm drag counter to a headlock. The match itself was surprisingly long for a character reboot. Dempsey eventually won the match with a sit-out splash from the top rope.
Samoa Joe has a promo and states his intention to go for titles in NXT. Presumably the NXT Championship. After Joe’s interview there was a teaser video for Nia Jax. Hopefully Jax will keep the momentum going in the NXT women’ division. Blue Pants can only do so much.
In the theme of every match getting a recap, we had a little chat with Apollo Crews after his match and he debuted the phrase “Apollo Nation.” Not a bad replacement. Blake, Murphy and Bliss got the next recap/interview and the ex-champions were despondent about their loss. The standout in this interview, however, was Bliss calling out Blue Pants for next week’s NXT.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Emma vs. Dana Brooke
The match started as mostly a one-on-one between Charlotte and Lynch, but just as Brooke and Emma were getting into the action, WWE cut to a commercial. YUP. They did it twice in their 90-minute NXT special that had approximately 30 minutes of recaps and 4-day-old interviews. Couldn’t add a few more commercials in there, no sir.
Brooke and Emma went from double-teaming Charlotte to double teaming Lynch. Eventually, Brooke went to put the Chuck Taylors to Charlotte on the outside and Emma went for a quick win. That was the end of that teaming up business. The two faux-reconciled, but Brooke hit one of the slowest enziguris I’ve ever seen (almost as slow as she speaks) while the crowd chanted “Day-Na Sucks” to the tune of our favorite New Day chant.
The end of this match was one of the oddest I’ve seen in awhile and was pretty clearly a botch. Emma hit both Charlotte and Lynch with Emma sandwiches and went for a quick fall on Lynch…and she got it. Lynch was clearly late on the kick out. Good on referee Drake Wuertz for not faking a near fall, though. Charlotte gave Emma the natural selection after the match and counted her own pin — apparently she was supposed to get the win. NXT closed with Charlotte and Lynch awkwardly pinky promising at the top of the ramp and saying “PCB” back and forth to each other, presumably forever.
These were decent-to-above-average NXT matches, but they had no place on the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn card proper. This was a good way to use the extra time in the Barclay’s Center for a lot of talent who are far away from being called up, but there was nowhere near 90 minutes of content here.
The lack of content — especially the ending of the women’s fatal four way — made for a disjointed program.
All that said, I love tournaments and I love Dusty Rhodes. The next two months of tag team tournament matches are going to be great for NXT, the lower tier guys who need to get the reps in and for all of us. Despite the nature of tonight’s show, NXT is still in good hands.
Tonight’s NXT review is dedicated to the memories of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and WDBJ cameraman Adam Ward. I planned on writing a memorial here about the surprising smallness of the media community and how, even though I didn’t know Alison or Adam, their tragedy hits close to home for young journalists across the country. The words aren’t coming. Their loss is stunning and tragic. My thoughts, and those of the entire Voices of Wrestling staff, are with those who knew and loved Alison and Adam.