NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III
August 19, 2017
Barclays Center
Brooklyn, New York

Watch: WWE Network

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Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas

Barry Hess: I’ve always enjoyed a good losing angle. Andrade Almas being positioned as the blue-chip talent with his priorities mixed up as been quite good. It’s a simple story but one that feels real to viewers, especially sports fans. It’s easy for a character like Almas to look foolish or even slip into comedy mode if the concept isn’t executed properly. Thankfully that has not been the case. The backstage segments combined with Almas’ portrayal of the character in the ring has managed to avoid the angle from becoming too ‘pro wrestlingy’ for its own good. In the meantime, Johnny Gargano’s character has a huge cloud looming over his head in the form of Tommaso Ciampa. I don’t think it’s logical for Gargano to continue on with business as usual while Ciampa recovers from his injury. I’d like to see him begin a bit of a losing streak of his own as he struggles to navigate a post-DIY world. Giving Almas the win on the TakeOver stage allows for the blue-chip side of his character to remain plausible in the mind of the audience, which is important if he is to be taken seriously. Prediction: Andrade Almas

Lee Malone: Johnny Wrestling is getting a huge opportunity to prove himself as a singles star to those who may only be familiar with his NXT run alongside Tommaso Ciampa. It is pretty obvious that the Full Sail crowd are fully behind Gargano since the #DIY split at Takeover Chicago and this match should really be his coming out party. Almas has been fantastic since Zelina Vega has been in his corner. The story of the party boy finally finding focus and a reason to care about his win loss record is rather simple but it has been really well done. Both men could benefit from a win but I think it Johnny Gargano’s time to begin to slowly climb the mountain leading to the NXT Title. Prediction: Johnny Gargano

Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami

Barry Hess: And now for the Strong-Style portion of our program, ladies and gentlemen. This is my match of the night prediction (along with everyone else I’m sure). That said, I can’t help but feel like Kassius Ohno should be in this match instead of Aleister Black, or at the very least it should be a triple threat. It’s nothing against Black, he’s a phenomenal performer, but for me the more interesting story for Itami’s character is with Ohno. If I’m reading between the lines this match feels more important for Black than Itami. Black has been booked super strong since his debut. A win over an established name on a major show is the next logical step to his progression up the card. Prediction: Aleister Black

Lee Malone: Can you say Match of the Night?! This match is going to be hard hitting, it is going to involve plenty of stiff chops and even stiffer kicks. There is a very real possibility that these two may just beat the absolute piss out of each other. While Kassius Ohno vs Itami seemed to be the logical Takeover match, I did enjoy the angle that led to these two colliding. Itami being a dickhead and demanding respect from the crowd and not caring about who was due to have a match and Black simply walking out and without even a seconds thought putting Itami down with the Black Mass was again so simple but incredibly effective. Itami has had title shots recently so logic would say Black takes this one and continues to move on up the NXT ladder. Prediction: Aleister Black

NXT Tag Team Championship
The Authors of Pain © vs. SAnitY

Barry Hess: I honestly don’t get why so many folks are down on AOP. I love this team. I’ve always loved monster tag teams so maybe I’m biased. They’ve been booked strong, they understand what their strengths are as performers and they never stray too far from the bruising style that makes sense for them. Paul Ellering, on the other hand, has always been one of the most overrated performers in the history of wrestling in my view. I can’t say his work has been all that bad of late though. Overall this team feels like the big deal they are portrayed to be, so come on guys hop on board and let’s ride this beef train together! Contrarily, I can’t say that I really get the SAnity gimmick. I don’t really know what it is that they represent or what it is that motivates them as a unit. They seem to be tucked somewhere between The Shield and Wyatt Family but with less substance. SAnity feels a little too much like the ‘villain of the week’ to be taken as credible threats. Prediction: Authors of Pain

Lee Malone: SAnitY are not the most popular faction amongst our corner of the wrestling world. Yes they haven’t been given a real reason to exist. Yes they haven’t exactly lit up our screens and yes Eric Young still has a bit of that TNA stink about him. But I fully bought Dain and Wolfe as equals to the AOP who have been utterly dominant since last year’s Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. They have faced and beaten pretty much the entire NXT tag team division and it seems now is the perfect time with the rumoured mini draft for a new team to “Take Over” their place atop the NXT tag team mountain. This match should be a total contrast to everything else on the show and should hopefully be a great exhibition of big lads wrestling. Prediction: SAnitY

NXT Women’s Championship
Asuka © vs. Ember Moon

Barry Hess: Asuka is one of the best performers currently employed by WWE on any level. Her title reign has been one of the most compelling title reigns in recent history for me. Her character reminds me a lot of Zack Sabre Jr. in terms of her extreme talent mixed with just enough self-confidence to come off as cocky, but not enough to be considered an outright heel. Ember Moon is the right choice to dethrone the queen of NXT. TakeOver: Brooklyn is not the right choice to book that title change. Moon’s injury prior to TakeOver: Chicago was unfortunate, but the silver lining was the added drama that was gained by properly exploiting that injury through Mon’s empty arena promo and the backstage segments on NXT TV. Moon needs to fall just short of victory, as she did the last time these women met. The chase needs more time to breath. Prediction: Asuka

Lee Malone: Asukas NXT Women’s Title reign is going to go down as one of the greatest title reigns in WWE history. More than any other previous or current NXT Champion male or female she has delivered great match after great match with a variety of different opponents. Asuka beating an opponent in less than 2 minutes or Asuka needing to cheat to beat an opponent is utterly believable because she is just that good at what she does. And Ember Moon is not the right person to end Asukas run. Ember has just never quite connected as well as everyone wanted her to. Asuka finally losing is a special moment and is an opportunity to make somebody seem extraordinary and in my opinion Ember should not be the one to get that opportunity. This will be a good match and Ember should push Asuka to her limit but ultimately come up short as she just isn’t on Asuka’s level. Prediction: Asuka

NXT Championship
Bobby Roode © vs. Drew McIntyre

Barry Hess: When Bobby Roode is on my television screen I feel like I’ve been sent back to 1987 in a time machine…and that is a great thing. What I wouldn’t give for the chance to see this guy paired up with Bobby Heenan in the old Philly Spectrum going against somebody like Ricky Steamboat for the Intercontinental title back in the day. Roode plays the beatable champion role to perfection. He’s just good enough to maintain credibility as a competitor, but flawed enough to where he must rely on backhanded tactics to retain his coveted title. I love it. In an era where hard-hitting strong style and fast-paced, heavily choreographed matches are the desired standard (and that’s certainly not a complaint), it’s quite refreshing for an old school fan like myself to watch Roode work. On the flip side, Drew McIntyre has never been a performer that I could get excited about. Watching him on the independent scene was such a vexing experience. He’s a huge, but wrestles like he’s just another average-sized guy.. He’s tremendously talented and crazy athletic, but I feel like he should be booked like an unstoppable machine but he never is. If McIntyre is set to win the title it should be in dominating fashion, in such a way that prevents Roode from deploying any of his usual tricks. It feels like Aleister Black is waiting in the wings for a major title run. I’d prefer to see him go through Roode rather than Drew, so I’m hoping the title stays right where it is for the foreseeable future. Prediction: Bobby Roode

Lee Malone: I am done with Bobby Roode. I don’t want to see these two have a 17-25 minute 1987 NWA house show main event. Having seen Drew from the very beginning of his career I have always had a soft spot for him even if he hasn’t always delivered so my dream for this one is a sub 10 minute brawl where none of Roodes usual shit works and McIntyre Claymore Kicks his head off. Do I expect that to happen? Absolutely not! We are going to get a 17-25 minute 1987 NWA house show match with Roode retaining due to some bullshit shenanigans. Roddy Strong getting involved will probably be the key to Roode somehow retaining and everyone will groan. Prediction: Bobby Roode