For the third year in a row, NXT returns to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York for Takeover: Brooklyn.
Unlike the past two years though, the buzz for this show is quite low coming in. A combination of cold feuds (Sanity vs. AOP), feuds cobbled together in the past few weeks (Roode/McIntyre in favor of Roode/Strong, Itami/Black in favor of Itami/Ohno), and a general cooling of the NXT brand left the show with tickets still available the week of the show. However, the match lineup looks great on paper, which should make for a fun show.
NXT TakeOver Brookly III
August 19, 2017
Brooklyn, New York
Watch: WWE Network
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness and Percy Watson are on the call.
ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS (W/ ZELINA VEGA) DEF. JOHNNY GARGANO
Vega, formerly known as Rosita from TNA, is Almas’s business manager who wants Almas to focus more during his matches. Her influence was apparent when Almas went for his tranquilo pose in the ropes, but quickly got down and hooked Gargano in an armbar. Both men looked sharp here, with the fired up crowd firmly behind Gargano. Almas lifted Gargano out of the Garga-No Escape and hit his double knees for a hot nearfall. Gargano fought back and was ready to put Almas away before Vega threw a DIY t-shirt at him. Almas then hit his hammerlock DDT for the win. A red hot opener. The finish was questionable, but I’m fine with the story being that Gargano isn’t truly over the DIY breakup. ***1/2
NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
SANITY (W/ KILLIAN DAIN AND NIKKI CROSS) DEF. THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (c)
Corey Graves joined the announce team for this match. Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe were representing Sanity. Young was the face-in-peril here, getting thrown around by AOP for a few minutes before tagging in Wolfe. Wolfe looked as impressive as he ever has, hitting several power moves on both Authors. AOP set up Wolfe for a top-rope powerbomb, but Wolfe hit a rana on Akam to get down. It broke down quickly, and both Sanity guys hit dives to the outside. Nikki Cross went for a dive as well, but Akam caught her. Killian Dain then put both of them through a table that was set up ringside. Young and Dain hit a double team elbow for the win and the titles. This match had a real chance to crap the bed, but both teams brought their A-games here and really surprised me. ***1/2
After the match, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly laid out both teams and held up the belts. reDRagon is a great addition to the tag team division, and after this match, I’m very excited to see them against both of these teams.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) August 20, 2017
ALEISTER BLACK DEF. HIDEO ITAMI
Jim Ross joined commentary for this match. JR had his picture book with him today, as he didn’t make any egregious errors. However, Percy Watson did say that “Alexander Black” needed to pick up the pace when he was down. This was Itami’s best performance in his NXT career. He looked so much more confident here than ever before, just being a dick to Black when he had the advantage.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) August 20, 2017
These two kicked each other hard as hell and didn’t let up. Itami broke Black’s nose about a minute into the match. Itami screamed for respect before going for a lariat, but Black ducked and hit the Black Mass back kick for the win. Itami’s best performance of his career, but I’m not sure that back and forth matches are what you need to do with Aleister Black. He feels different to everyone else in the company, let his matches be different. Despite that, this was fun and hard-hitting. ***1/4
NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
ASUKA (c) DEF. EMBER MOON
This match was excellent. Ember had the early advantage before Asuka threw her into the ring steps. Asuka then picked Ember’s shoulder apart, twisting her up like a pretzel at times. They built the tension very well, with Ember fighting back and taking Asuka down more and more. Ember kept going for the Eclipse, but Asuka kept cutting her off. Then, Ember finally got to the top rope and landed the Eclipse. It was the one move that she couldn’t hit in Orlando, but she hit it tonight.
Asuka kicked out. Ember thought that all she needed to do was to hit the Eclipse, and that would end it. But the biggest shot she had still couldn’t put Asuka down. Ember went for the Eclipse again, but just like in Orlando, Asuka got desparate. She tried a rollup with the tights, but the ref caught it this time. That allowed Ember to hit a superkick that got a close nearfall. Ember went to pull Asuka up, but Asuka yanked her into an armbar and transitioned into the Asuka Lock for the tapout win. This was the match of the night when it was all said and done. Ember got more in defeat than she would’ve in victory, and the best title reign in WWE today continues. ****
DREW MCINTYRE VS. BOBBY ROODE (C)
Roode came to the ring doing his best to cosplay as Ric Flair. Actually, he looks like Triple H while he was in his Ric Flair cosplay stage. No wonder Triple H loves him. Speaking of Triple H, he recently described Takeover: Brooklyn as NXT’s WrestleMania. If that is the case, then this match is the equivalent to Triple H vs. Randy Orton from Wrestlemania 25. A boring match with a crowd that burned themselves out on an awesome match before hand.
I will give them this, the last three minutes were pretty good. McIntyre was going for his second Claymore kick, but Roode cut him off with a spinebuster. He hit the Glorious DDT, but McIntyre kicked out. Roode hit a second one, and was going for a third when McIntyre spun out and hit the Claymore for the win. Nice finish, but three good minutes at the end of a dull 23 minute match don’t make much of a difference. McIntyre being champ does do a lot more for me than Roode ever did. **1/2
After the match, the crowd started rumbling as Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish came back to ringside. As McIntyre approached them, Adam Cole attacked him from behind. Thus confirms the worst kept secret in pro wrestling today. Cole, O’Reilly and Fish laid out McIntyre as we fade to black. I don’t know how big a step up Adam Cole is from Bobby Roode. At the very least, this gives NXT a desperately needed direction going forward.
— WWE (@WWE) August 20, 2017
Lackluster main event aside, this show was fantastic. From the red-hot opener, to the awesome tag match, to the stellar women’s match, this show was a whole lot of fun and has the highest of recommendations. Never bet against a TakeOver.