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NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II Review

Saturday, August 20th, 2016

Barclays Center
Brooklyn, NY

The show opened with a video package with clips of last year’s Brooklyn Takeover show. Sit downs with several key NXT players commenting on where they were 1 year ago were shown. I’m giddy.

Official show begins in the arena with a slight production upgrade.
Tom Phillips & Corey Graves are shown on camera at the announcing desk that is by the entrance stage & introduce the show.

Match 1:
No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries
Jose enters first to a flattering reaction that included a damn conga line! Nice touch. The No Way Jose character has really grown on me, and I like how he balances having fun with turning on the seriousness when it’s needed. Aries out next to a decent pop while they cut to clips of Aries turning on Jose weeks ago on NXT programming. I loved Aries dancing along with Jose for what seemed like forever, to finally take out Jose. Good slow build up.
Jose displayed great fire early, but Aries took over offense and largely dominated the match. Good match that saw Aries making Jose tap to the Last Chancery submission, after a reversal into a powerbomb from the top turnbuckle. ***
Post-Match had Aries applying Last Chancery again to Jose to prompt Hideo Itami to make the save. After some strikes & kicks, Itami hits the GTS on Aries, per the crowd’s request, making this the start of his next feud. Should be good.

They show Ric Flair in the crowd, with his fiancé Wendy (AKA Fifi the maid of WCW fame).

Samoa Joe & Nakamura are shown in their respective locker rooms warming up. Kota Ibushi is shown on camera with Nakamura, much to the delight of the crowd.

Match 2:
Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon
This is the debut of Moon (formerly Athena on the independent scene).
Moon has a good entrance, including a crimson moon displayed on the tron. Nicely worked match that was designed to showcase the agility and athleticism of Moon, which it did. Her finisher is a jumping off the top twisting stunner, which looked cool. Ember Moon wins. **
Good debut, and a nice touch with Moon wearing red contacts to make her look unique.

A clip is shown of Bobby Roode arriving earlier and is interviewed by the new female brunette correspondent that isn’t Kathy Kelley (her name escapes me). Funny line had Roode saying that he is definitely more Manhattan than Brooklyn.

Match 3:
Bobby Roode vs. Andrade “Cien” Almas
Roode out first, and his entrance truly is something to behold. Almost as if he was descending from the sky on a hydraulic lift with his “Glorious” theme music. Seemed like a religious experience. It kinda was. I have always liked Roode, and I am just pleased he is in a promotion I actually watch now.
Almas is wearing his red male stripper gear tonight. Some impressive moves by Almas, and a great story told early on with Roode trying not to get frustrated with Almas’s speed and move set. Good near falls in the closing moments, but the end came when Roode hit his Glorious Bomb pump handle slam on Almas for the win.
** 3/4

A vignette aired with clips of rioting & anarchy for what I can only assume is a forthcoming debuting wrestler. I haven’t the slightest clue who though.

Triple H was in the back with the Orange County Choppers crew to unveil the new Cruiserweight Classic trophy. It was pretty slick (shout out to Daniel Bryan) & legit looking. The live finale is September 14th on the WWE Network. Can’t wait!

Match 4-NXT Tag Team Championship:
Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. NXT Tag Team Champions The Revival
The middle of the match featured the first “This is Awesome!” chant of the night. Likely, not the last though. It was much deserved as the sequences and near falls in this match were truly awesome. A “Dusty finish” gave us all false hope when Dash’s feet were on the ropes, but the referee counted to 3 regardless, but noticed it right away and reversed the decision. The Revival double teamed Gargano’s knee. Gargano eventually succumbed to Dawson’s reverse figure four leg lock and tapped out.
The Revival wins & retains the tag team titles. Screw it, I’m going all the way for this one *****
Now that IS tag team wrestling! I could have swore on multiple occasions that it was over. The whole crowd bought in as well. I think the consensus was that Gargano & Ciampa were taking those titles tonight. Great stuff all around. The best tag team match I’ve seen in years…which is saying a lot considering the high standards set by NXT. The tag division is in good shape indeed.

Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch & Charlotte were shown in the crowd. This of course, transitions into a video package detailing the history of the next match.

Match 5-NXT Women’s Championship:
Bayley vs. NXT Women’s Champion Asuka
Both women have great entrances with their normal schtick having a few tweaks. Bayley had additional waving tube men at ringside opposite hard camera, and Asuka was wearing a long cape, that turned into a carpet of sorts. Both got a great reaction as the introductions took place. I loved the dynamic between these two. They have such a contrast in styles, but it works. Bayley was her typical, fighting from underneath self, but towards the end, perfectly picked up the intensity, showing more aggressiveness than normal, with Asuka being the most vulnerable than she’s been to date. The crowd came unglued, and I will give diversity points to them for the “This is Wrestling” chants this time. Good psychology. Bayley had the upper hand in the end, and countered the Asuka lock a few times, but she came up short when Asuka got the better of her with some strikes & kicks. When Bayley went to her knees, one last kick was enough to end it & Asuka gets the 1-2-3 and retain the NXT Women’s Title. ****
An emotional send off of sorts for Bayley as the fans chant “Thank you Bayley” and she fights back tears. Bayley leaves the ring and hugs Becky & Sasha which receives cheers, and she then hugs Charlotte, which draws boos. Well done, Brooklyn. She hugs her mom & then super fan, Izzy, heads up the ramp and waves goodbye. I’m guessing Bayley debuts on RAW this Monday. Don’t screw it up WWE.

A video montage chronicling the events leading up to the main event. The 2 pull aparts that Joe & Nak had as part of the buildup were stellar. To me, Joe in particular is on a completely different level right now. I also feel that Joe will be guy that will closely match Nakamura in the strong style department.

Match 6/Main Event-NXT Championship:
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. NXT Champion Samoa Joe
There is a big fight feel here, and I’m hyperventilating! Excuse me for a second while I get a paper bag to breath into…
Ok, I’m back. Where was I? Oh yeah. Nakamura gets a spectacular entrance with a live performance of his music. His strobe light effect makes me feel like I’m at a rave. Maybe I am? I do feel tingly. Seriously though. Joe enters and gives a shove to Nak and Nak sends a kick back Joe’s way, while the ref separates them so formal ring introductions can begin. A feeling out process starts this match and they counter each other. As the match rolls along, Joe was the one with the advantage for most of it, with Nak on defense, only to get locked in another hold by a determined Joe. The ending sequence was beautiful. Joe was able to get Nakamura in the muscle buster, only to have Nakamura kick out barely before the 3 count. Joe sold frustration and went for it again. This time Nakamura fought out of it and Joe lost his balance, landed on his arse, leaving him susceptible to Nakamura’s Kinshasa, which Joe kicked out of at the last second. A knee to the back of the head to Joe, followed by another Kinshasa to Joe’s noggin, earned Nakamura the pinfall & the NXT Championship. ****1/2
Great match that built perfectly to a dramatic crescendo. Another almost flawless Takeover produced by the NXT brand. Each show just gets better and doesn’t disappoint. This makes me look even more forward to NXT’s stop here in Des Moines at Hy-Vee Hall on Sept. 16th. The main roster and Summerslam once again have their hands full only 24 hours later.

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