NXT Takeover events are almost always the best show of that weekend. WWE main roster will have a hard time beating NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III when they have Summerslam later today.
Every match was competitive and you can tell every guy wanted to steal the show. Even the guys who lost looked like a million bucks. No one got buried, and a surprise debut, made the show fresh. NXT is in a better place than it was after Shinsuke Nakamura and a few others were brought up to the main roster a few months ago.
On paper, there have been better NXT Takeover shows, but this one kept the crowd’s attention the entire night. The crowd didn’t have any chants that made me think they were bored. I’m sure we will hear a few tonight at Summerslam.
Before the actual show, NXT had some dark matches that will appear on this Wednesday’s NXT show. The matches were No Way Jose vs Lars Sullivan, Peyton Royce vs Sarah Logan and Pete Dunne & Wolfgang vs Tyler Bate & Trent Seven.
Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas pinned Johnny Gargano
Almas has a new manager Zelina Vega (Thea Trinidad) and he is more focused on his in-ring performance, no more partying. Gargano looks like he’s in the best shape of his life.
They had a great opening match. I didn’t have high hopes going in, but Almas was looking like his old self. He went through an adjustment period and he finally looks comfortable in a WWE ring.
There were so many near-falls and each guy showed off their athleticism and also hit huge power moves. I actually believed every time someone was pinned, late in the match, they were going to win. Vega interfered when she threw a DIY shirt at Gargano and distracted him. Almas hit a hammerlock DDT for the finish (I’m not sure if he has a name for it yet).
Gargano was supposed to be in a program with his ex-tag team parter Tommaso Ciampa, but he’s out with a torn ACL. This feud felt rushed, but the match paid off. Johnny Wrestling could have a nice singles run until Ciampa is ready to return in 2018.
Alexander Wolfe & Eric Young (SAnitY) pinned The Authors of Pain to win the NXT Tag Team Championship.
I didn’t think SAnitY was going to end up with a win here. It took all four members of SAnitY to beat The Authors of Pain.
I need to start off by saying the Authors of Pain have been hitting the weights and dieting. They look so much better than when they debuted. They’ve also improved in the ring after months of working with DIY and The Revival.
There was a spot near the end of the match that took Akam out of the match. There was a table leaned against the guardrail behind Akam. Nikki Cross tried a crossbody off the top rope onto Akam on the floor, he caught her. Killian Dain then speared both Nikki and Akam into the table. SAnitY took over at that point and pinned Razar to win the NXT Tag Team Championship.
After the match, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly jumped both tag teams. They laid them all out. Fish and O’Reilly was once a dominant tag team in Ring of Honor when they were called reDRagon. I’m glad they paired them up, even though I think both will have nice single runs at some point.
Aleister Black pinned Hideo Itami
Itami came to the ring first to below average heat. Black got a rock star entrance (literally). He came up like he’s a vampire and the band Code Orange played his theme song live. Black looked like a SUPERSTAR. He has huge potential and think he could be a game-changer once he’s on the main roster. I know comparing him to CM Punk is a bit overdone, but he has tattoos, has his star power and has similar offense based on kicks.
The match starts off and it instantly felt like a Japanese strong style match in the Tokyo Dome. So many hard kicks and a slapping spot popped the crowd. These two guys showed off their legit kickboxing background with an array of kicks by both guys.
The match was moving so fast and Itami got in a lot of offense, but never hit a Go To Sleep. These guys were reversing so much stuff and the finish came out of nowhere. Itami ate a Black Mass kick from Black. He has such good timing with that kick.
Asuka submitted Ember Moon to retain the NXT Women’s Championship
Asuka has held the NXT Women’s title for over 500 days. She has never been beat in NXT and is the most dominant female WWE wrestler of all-time. She has a Goldberg-esque presence, but can work. They’ve tried to turn her heel, but she’s an ass kicker. As long as she keeps being an ass kicker, the crowd will love her. It’s one of the reasons why Stone Cold was so great.
NXT creative has done enough to make Ember Moon feel like a legit contender for Asuka’s title. This storyline has been building for months. Asuka did a cheap shot at the end of their last match at Takeover Orlando (she pulled her off the ropes).
Ember was smokin’ hot last night. The crowd was behind Asuka, but they didn’t boo Ember at all. They also felt like this could be her night against Asuka. This match was bonkers. Asuka bumped a lot in NXT, but she’s also amazing at that.
Ember Moon hit her eclipse finisher on Asuka and only got a 2 and 9/10ths count. Asuka barely kicked out. Asuka tried to use some heel moves the rest of the match. She tried to use the ref to shield her from another eclipse. They had an awesome grappling exchange that led to Asuka flipping her over for an Asuka lock on Ember. I thought Ember was going to get to the ropes, but it was just too much and she tapped.
The crowd gave Ember a standing ovation after Asuka left. She earned that standing ovation.
They kept showing a lot of the NXT alum in the crowd, but no debut tonight. I thought Adam Cole would be shown, but there was a reason for that.
Drew McIntyre pinned Bobby Roode to win the NXT Championship.
I didn’t think Roode would lose his belt against McIntyre. I just assumed that Roode would retain and it would lead to some sort of three-way against Roderick Strong and McIntyre for the next Takeover.
The crowd wasn’t hot at the start of the match. The last match could have burned them out. I have seen these two guy wrestle before and it was always good. I need to re-watch it cause my mind was so blown by Itami/Black and Asuka/Ember Moon at that point.
Roode and McIntyre had an above average main event that saw McIntyre hit the Claymore and won the NXT Championship. This could be a sign that Roode is getting called up or he is headed to a program with Strong…because McIntyre was laid out by reDRagon and ADAM COLE BAYBAY!
Cole superkicked McIntyre and the rumor was true that an ex-Ring of Honor stable will be a group in NXT. There’s plenty of other ex-ROH guys in NXT right now, so this threesome could add someone else.
This show was so damn great. One of the best shows in WWE this year.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.