This is NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II
Or: “Maybe this should have been hours 1+2 of SummerSlam’.
The opening video looks back at last year’s show as some of the participants tonight talk about where they were one year ago before talking about how ready they are tonight. Bayley finishes with “Tonight, I take over Brooklyn….again.”
LIVE from the sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Your commentators are Tom Phillips and Corey Graves.
No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries
Jose gets a conga line going around ringside with everyone conveniently wearing WWE shirts (and hilariously, the guy in front has an Aries shirt on). He gets a good reaction but the crowd pops huge for Aries as well.
Aries tries to be the nice guy and asks for a handshake but Jose wants nothing of it. He controls leaving Aries bailing to the outside, but Jose follows him out with an axehandle off the apron and keeps up the agression as Aries tries to find any avenue of escape and the fnas chant “Si, se puede” (Yes, we can). Aries necks him on the top rope on a superplex attempt and goes aggressively on the attack, dropping an elbow on the back of the neck for a 2 count. Jose makes the comeback and dumps Aries over the rope as suddenly the crowd sees Ric Flair going to his seat and breaks into “Wooooo”s. They couldn’t have waited for after the match to bring him out there? Seems completely disrespectful to the guys in the ring. Aries catches Jose in an inverted suplex and transitions right into the Last Chancery, but Jose gets the ropes. Aries fires off elbows and goes for the rolling elbow, but Jose catches him and hits a TKO (my e-fed finisher many moons ago) for 2. Jose goes to finish, but Aries slings him out to the floor, following with a dive that smashes Jose into the barricade. He looks to hit the brainbuster, but Jose counters into a falcon arrow for a close 2. Aries hits the rolling elbow, but Jose answers by turning him inside out with a clothesline and looks for the full nelson slam, but Aries turns it into a crucifix bomb and a corner dropkick gets another 2. Aries goes up, but Jose cuts him off and they fight on top with Aries hitting a sunset bomb and transitioning into the Last Chancery for the tap.
A great opener, probably Aries’ best match in NXT and No Way Jose was no slouch either. He’s similar in gimmick to Adam Rose but where that was a great gimmick that had very little going for him once the bell rang, Jose showed here that he could go pretty well against a veteran like Aries. They’ve done a great job both establishing Aries’ heel bonafides and giving Jose much needed depth with this feud.
Aries jumps him after the bell and locks in the Last Chancery again, but Hideo Itami’s music hits. Hideo sheds his jacket and Aries brings the fight, but Itami quickly takes control and takes him down, following by officially taking back the Go 2 Sleep and I guess we have our next feud, which should be tremendous.
Samoa Joe shadowboxes in his locker room while Shinsuke Nakamura hangs with his entourage of Funaki and Kota Ibushi.
Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon
I’m going to have to get used to those red contacts on Moon. She does look like she took a wrong turn going to the Temple and ended up in Brooklyn. This isn’t a complete squash for Moon as Kay gets some offense in, including a stiff elbow and the Eat Defeat, but this is definitely a showcase for Moon’s impressive as hell agility. Kay locks in a Widow’s Peak and plants her on her face for 2. Moon makes the comeback and hits a handspring splash in the corner before finishing with a corkscrew stunner off the top for the pin. And so the rebuilding of the women’s division continues as Moon will quickly become a big part of the show.
Earlier, Bobby Roode cut a promo slagging off Brooklyn to try and turn the crowd against him, bless his heart.
GLORIOUS Bobby Roode vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
JUST LOOK AT THIS ENTRANCE!
Poor Almas has to follow that to near nothing. And he is STILL wearing that stupid hat and suspenders!
Roode is absolutely in his element as he drinks in a “that was glorious” chant, but there honestly isn’t all that much I want to say abnout this match. Graves gets a good line about Roode’s “gentrification plan” for NXT, saying “it’s big in Brooklyn!”, but Roode wrestles like a heel with not much flash to allow Almas to show off some, which he does with some nice dives which gets the crowd behind him by the end, but Roode is definitely the crowd favorite here. Almas was already floundering in NXT, but after watching the Cruiserweight Classic, he becomes even less interesting as I’ve been watching guys with more charisma and skill than Almas has been showing so far every single week. I’d much rather see someone like Gran Metalik, Cedric Alexander or GENTELMAN Jack Gallagher in this spot. Roode hits a spinebuster and hits a most unglorious pumphandle slam to finish. Almas truly needs a complete overhaul as his NXT stint can’t be called anything more than an abject failure so far.
Scenes of anarchy lead to the word “SANITY” being sprayed on a wall.
The Cruiserweight Classic trophy is unveiled and it totally doesn’t look like a penis. No, absolutely not. It seemed like Orange City Choppers just whipped that thing up in an afternoon; it’s a granite shaft with a globe stuck on top.
The Revival (C) vs. Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa (NXT Tag Team Title Match)
Gargano and Ciampa now call themselves #DIY with shirts that say “Nobody will do it for you” on the back.
The match starts slow with Ciampa and Dawson feeling each other out until Ciampa gets control and tags Johnny Wrestling who keeps both Dawson and Dash grounded until a back elbow from Dawson gives the champs the advantage. Gargano avoids a double team and both teams end up in the ring for a brawl, won by the challengers who send the Revival to the ouside and follow with a dive (Gargano) and a flying knee the camera completely misses (Ciampa). Dash tries to keep his distance and lets Ciampa chase him around which leads to a tag and a double team hotshot into a suplex for 2. They blatantly beat on Ciampa in their corner before they go to work with their trademark “pick their opponent apart” offense. Ciampa fights back but Dawson stops the tag and draws Dash in for a cool spot as Dash catches a kick and Ciampa turns it into an enzigiri on Dawson who was standing next to him. He goes for the tag, but Dawson yanks Gargano off the apron and the Revival hit an awesome assisted gourdbuster for 2. Ciampa stops a sleeper with a jawbreaker and tries another tag, but Dash desperately tries to hold him back as the camera gets a great shot of Ciampa and Gargano’s hands reaching out, but Dash pulls Ciampa back in the heel corner to resume the punishment and tags Dawson. Ciampa comes back again but in a BRILLIANT Revival spot, Dash purposefully falls into the ring to draw the ref away so he misses the hot tag and the Revival use the ref’s distraction with Gargano to hit DEMOLITION DECAPITATION for a close 2. Dawson levels Ciampa but eats turnbuckle on a charge and Ciampa finally makes the hot tag. Gargano does a .8 or so Jordan as he hits a rolling kick on Dawson and a jumping neckbreaker for 2. Dawson backdrops him to the apron and Gargano takes Dash out with a kick before shooting through the ropes with a spear on Dawson for another near fall. Dash makes a blind tag and Dawson does his awesome feint into a DDT for another 2. Gargano escapes another double team and tags with Ciampa not falling for the feint and locking Dawson in the bridging armbar, but Dash breaks it up as they have the crowd rocking and rolling in the aisles right now. They try a double suplex but Gargano bowls over Dash and Ciampa rolls Dawson up for another really close 2 that the crowd totally buys as a finish.
Ciampa and Dawson slug it out which turns into them slapping the piss out of each other and The Revival go for the Shatter Machine but Gargano superkicks Dawson and Ciampa gets ANOTHER near fall that the crowd totally thinks is it. They meet in the middle on Dash’s head and get the pin….but Dash’s foot is on the rope and the ref immediately waves it off. The replay shows Dawson putting his partner’s foot on the ropes just before the pinfall. Ciampa and Gargano are dumbfounded the match isn’t over but recover and take out Dawson before Ciampa goes for the finish, but Dawson yanks him out and shoves him into the post. Gargano takes Dawson out, but Dash uses it to take Gargano’s knee out and they hit the Cass Killer on it before Dawson wraps him in the reverse figure four. Gargano seems pretty close to the ropes, but the pain is too great and he taps to break the Brooklyn crowd’s hearts.
The Revival celebrate as Gargano is heartbroken in the ring. The crowd gives the challengers a much deserved standing ovation as Johnny apologizes and there’s a sense that Ciampa is about to take him out, but he just helps his partner up the ramp though you can definitely tell he is not happy with him.
I know The Revival’s big catchphrase is “the greatest tag team on this planet”, but I can’t see how that isn’t 100% the truth right now. They have their formula, but it is executed so well and so flawlessly that they can be in the ring with ANY tag team right now and have one of — if not THE — best match on the card. Obviously Gargano and Ciampa did plenty to make this match great on their own, but The Revival just ooze old-school tag psychology so much that they couldn’t have picked a more apt team name if they tried. This match was better than any of their matches with American Alpha aside from maybe their match at The End….but it is DAMN close. A definite match of the year contender for sure.
WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch are at ringside (and have been for every match since at least Roode/Almas; you can’t miss that hair) and, in a nice nod to kayfabe, Charlotte is at another part of ringside to keep them separated. She gets boos which makes her the most effective (purposeful) heel in all of WWE right now.
Asuka (C) vs. Bayley (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
Bayley naturally gets one of the pops of the night on her entrance and RINGSIDE TUBE MEN (that scare the shit out of the ref and the ring announcer). Her headband is a piece of Sasha’s gear from last year. Asuka is as loose as can be as the struts to the ring, absolutely confident that she’s going to knock Bayley’s ponytail into Sasha’s lap.
Bayley immediately shows she has no fear of Asuka, shoving her away as she tries a few holds and gets a few pinfall attempts, but Asuka knees her in the side of the head to remind her who she’s in the ring with. Asuka keeps up the attack, smiling all the way. Bayley tries to fight back but Asuka rams her into the buckle, frustrating her and follows with a series of kicks to the head with Bayley trapped in the ropes. Bayley fires up and sends Asuka into the buckles before going to work with a suplex and strikes before dropping a knee for 2. She goes to the apron on a whip and avoids a hip attack, pounding away on Asuka as she is hung up before snapping her on the middle rope and hitting a double jump crossbody for 2. She goes up but crashes and burns on another crossbody and Asuka hits a running knee for another 2. She puts Bayley back on top but Bayley fights out and escapes, turning it into a Tree of Woe and dropping an elbow on her for 2. They take turns just running really hard into each other until Asuka trips her up and locks in a stretch muffler, turning it into an anklelock after they trade pinfall attempts. Bayley uses her good leg to kick herself free, but Asuka slugs her down and commences with the kicks, but that just unleashes PISSED OFF BAYLEY as he catches one and screams at her to “HIT ME IN THE FACE!” Asuka obliges and Bayley catches a backfist to turn it into a backslide for 2 before they just start to WAIL on each other. Bayley catches another kick and goes for a powerbomb, but they mess up the spot with Graves expertly covering it up by saying Bayley’s ankle gave out. Bayley tries to pick her up again but can’t do it so she turns it into a Dominator instead in another nice improv.
Asuka tries to slap on the Asuka Lock and gets it on for a moment, but Bayley lets out a roar and gets to her feet, fighting herself free and suddenly hitting a Bayley to Belly (that has Sasha and Becky leaping to their feet in the background, but only gets a 2 count. Bayley charges in again but Asuka catches her in a FLYING ASUKA LOCK (!) but Bayley turns it into a pin for 2. Asuka hits a kick, but once again PISSED OFF BAYLEY rises and slaps her in the face, but that just earns her a roundhouse to the face and she wobbles like a Mortal Kombat character until Asuka hits one more fatality kick to the head for the pin to retain, leaving Sasha and Becky slumped over on the barricade.
Asuka pulls a dejected Bayley to her feet and they do the Hug of Respect as Asuka is on the brink of tears. She gives Bayley the ring so she can get the farewell ovation she has deserved for at least six months. Hugs are given to Sasha and Becky, Charlotte (still getting booed),her mom and Izzy before she makes her final walk out of NXT and onto RAW to become the biggest women’s star of all time.
This match told a tremendous story as Bayley showed no fear at all and gave it to Asuka almost as well as she took it, but Asuka is the single most dangerous female wrestler that has stepped into a WWE ring and it took Bayley’s best shot to come even close to beating her. There really is no other woman on any WWE roster that can conceivably beat her now, but it will be interesting to see how they build up the one that DOES finally dethrone her (Ember Moon is my guess) because that moment will be something else.
Mick & Noelle Foley and Finn Balor join the luminaries at ringside as Sasha and Becky are still there (they were probably told they would only be there for Bayley but they said “fuck no, we wanna watch this whole show!”)
Samoa Joe (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NXT Championship Match)
Nakamura’s entrace needs no words. Just watch:
Joe and Nakamura immediately get into it before the introductions as this match has the UFC-style big fight main event feel. Even Greg Hamilton does his best Bruce Buffer impression as he introduces both guys.
They start striking early and Nakamura gets a takedown, trying to wrestle the monster down, but Joe grabs a wristlock. Nakamura gets free and tries a quick pin but we have a stalemate. Nakamura punishes Joe with strikes and gives him Good Vibrations in the corner. They slug it out on the floor and back into the ring with Joe cracking him with a jumping enzigiri in the corner, but Nakamura answers with kicks of his own, but Joe avoids the kneedrop on the apron and rumbles through the ropes into him, still maybe the single scariest sight you can see as a wrestler in NXT. He goes to work on Nakamura back in the ring, slowing the pace down so he can pick him apart as Nakamura does a much better selljob than his match with Balor. Joe takes his leg out when he tries to fight back and hits a powerbomb, transitioning into a high angle crab and then a crossface but Nakamura shifts his weight to get a 2 count and staggers Joe with a kick, following with a wheel kick to take him down. He goes to work with strikes, driving a knee into Joe as he’s draped on the top, but Joe escapes the exploder. He misses a senton and Nakamura commences with the ground and pound, driving knees into his head and shoulder, but Joe catches him (kinda) in the corner and (kinda) hits the STO. He sets Nakamura up for the Muscle Buster, but Nak fights free and hits a gorgeous flying karate kick.
They slug it out, just pounding the ever-loving shit out of each other until Joe turns him inside out with a lariat, but Nak catches an elbow and spins into an armbar attempt, turning into a triangle but Joe turns it into a cloverleaf, causing Nak to scamper to the ropes. Joe goes for the Clutch, but Nak uses the corner to break free but Joe NAILS him with a knee for a 2 count. Joe rains down elbows and locks in the Coquina Clutch, but Nak gets his leg on the rope to break. He goes for the Buster again but again Nak fights free and hits a high angle German suplex, folding Joe up. He looks for the Kinshasa but Joe catches him in a powerslam for another 2. He sets Nak up again and stops another comeback with a jumping kick, but the Muscle Buster only gets 2, shocking Joe. He goes for another one but Nak wriggles free and sends Joe off balance onto his butt, following in with a Kinshasha for 2. Joe grabs his jaw in agony as Nakamura hits a knee to the back of the head off the top before another Kinshasha gets the pin and the title. Nakamura celebrates as trainers walk Joe to the back to put his face back together and we fade.
What an absolute fight these two had. Just two guys beating the bejesus out of each other for 15 minutes, just like I (and probably everyone else) wanted. Pretty much as Strong Style a match you can get from these guys. It’s not quite as great as the match he had with Zayn in Dallas, but definitely Nakamura’s best match since then.
OVERALL: This was a better show than even Dallas was for one major reason: the flow and pacing of the card. Dallas may have had one or two better matches, but Zayn/Nakamura kind of hurt the crowd reaction for Bayley/Asuka and the constant blood stoppages in the main event really hurt the flow of that match. Here, they couldn’t have paced this show any better. You start with a great crowd pleaser in the opener to get them going right, followed by a few matches to showcase new characters, a hot as hell tag match and finish with two main event matches that everyone was there to see, finishing with the big babyface star getting the big win. That’s how you put together a show. NXT is still in a bit of a transition, but Brooklyn II has showed that they have plenty of new talent to keep the train going.
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