WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn Reaction

Photo courtesy of Top Rope Press.

Photo courtesy of Top Rope Press.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

It speaks volumes when a brand like NXT can sell out Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

The brand’s organic growth is uncanny, and a hot crowd provided a unique atmosphere that met even the highest of expectations headed in.

Better yet, on this show, we got some shifts in creative direction and it should make for interesting television in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 8/22/15)

The Breakdown

– Loved the opening shot of Triple H standing in a spotlight in the dark. It was obvious when the lights went up that it’d be a rabid Brooklyn crowd. His telling of the crowd “making the future now” was much true. Who knew at the beginning of the year we’d be talking about an NXT live special the night before SummerSlam? NXT touts itself as “the place to be,” but with the roster it boasts and caliber of entertainment provided in its marquee matches, it’s hard to argue the point. NXT makes wrestling feel cool again.

– Clever idea to quickly transition the Triple H introduction into Tyler Breeze’s “NYC”-inspired entrance, which as you could imagine, was Fashion Week-esque, as models donned dresses reminiscent of the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings. Jushin Thunder Liger’s entrance was also visually pleasing, as the ramp also acted as a video screen the whole night, revealing a “fire” graphic. This was a good choice to open the show with and was almost a throwback to WCW’s cruiserweight days. Liger can still go at his older age, as we saw him unafraid to take to the air, but Breeze met him every step of the way. In addition to the high-flying, we also saw a battle of technical submissions worked in, presenting it as an even-sided affair. Liger was also entertaining in the way he openly mocked Breeze’s mannerisms (laying across the top rope, hoisting the selfie stick in the air, etc.) and it added positively to the match. The running Liger Bomb made an appropriate finish for an opener that didn’t overstep its boundaries. In the end, it wasn’t “standout” but even the biggest of diehards had to find themselves mesmerized at the very idea of Liger working a WWE match. It’d be cool to see Liger brought into NXT in a veteran role but given his age and ties to New-Japan Pro Wrestling, this still worked as a one-off appearance. The question for Breeze is where does he go from here? He asked for a worthy challenge, got it and now lost.

– The Nia Jax hype video came out of left field, but she seemed to have a demanding presence about her and she was well-spoken for the few sentences she uttered. She gave off a Tamina-esque vibe and rightfully so, coming from the esteemed Anoa’i Samoan family. She doesn’t have much of an indy background, but given her upbringings, she should have no problem getting over.

– The Tag Team Championships match between The Vaudevillains and Blake and Murphy (w/Alexa Bliss) match had the first surprise factor in Blue Pants being in the corner of the challengers, garnering a big pop and “Blue Pants City” chant. The match itself was well-wrestled on both ends. Loved the initial false finish and how it transitioned into Blue Pants and Bliss fighting, leading into the final finishing sequence to give Vaudevillains the Tag Titles to a big pop. Don’t know if the partnership with Blue Pants is long-term, but we hope so.

– Interesting to see Finn Balor riding with Neville and Cesaro to the show. Will that develop into something further?

– It takes some balls to really live your gimmick and thus, we can applaud Tye Dillinger for shaving “10” into his head. Nevertheless, it was a good opponent for the debuting Apollo Crews, who got the crowd on his side with a swift ten seconds of cartwheels and backflips early on. It was by no means a squash since Dillinger put in a lot of offense and played the “veteran” role (ironic) well and made Crews look great, ending with the Standing Moonsault finisher. He definitely made a good impression.

– The September 2-October 7 shows would feature an ongoing NXT Tag Team Classic Tournament to honor the late “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, as announced by General Manager William Regal. It’s an awesome way to pay tribute to Rhodes and also puts an emphasis on tag team wrestling, which can often get lost in the shuffle in NXT. Classy as always. Who will be in it? Will it be a yearly tradition?

– The Baron Corbin-Samoa Joe match was actually throughly entertaining, living up to the “knock-down, drag out” brawl style. Joe actually carried Corbin to perhaps his best performance to date. It wasn’t slick, but that was by design. Joe was most likely going to win this either way, but it was an even-ended contest that ended with Joe winning with the Kojita Clutch, choking out Corbin. Where do both men move on to from here?

– Stephanie McMahon coming out felt very un-NXT. However, it had its purpose in introducing the NXT Women’s Championship match. And what a match it was… Easily the best of the night. All the little things like Sasha Banks coming out of a Ford Escalade in “Boss” fashion, her constant verbal jabs to Bayley, the back-and-forth momentum and the brilliant storytelling of Bayley making the comeback with Banks trying to keep her down just made this a classic encounter. Just think: these two had 15,589 people eating out of the palm of their hands, with excellent near-falls and agility. Show us a finishing exchange better than this one. The reverse Frankensteiner spot was insane and a perfect lead-in to the Bayley-To-Belly Suplex finisher. The crowd’s pop for the Title change was by far the loudest to that point. Easily both ladies’ best match to date and a strong consideration for the Match Of The Year list. Also loved the pure emotion brought out when Paige and Charlotte came down to congratulate Bayley, ending up a celebration of the “Four Horsewomen.” Though Naomi/Tamina were shown in the crowd at several points, kayfabe was put to the side for a brief few minutes, as opposite faction members embraced.

– Triple H’s recent hints at an NXT UK Tour are actually coming to fruition this December. Even more sweet. Love the little seeds being planted to show NXT’s overall growth and planning for the future.

– The NXT Championship match between Balor and Kevin Owens also lived up to the hype. Though not as crisp as their July 4th match, this felt like a “hardcore” throwback to Owens’ earlier career work and worked in that aspect. Both men worked hard and used two ladders for some inventive spots and the crowd was hot for Balor from the start of his bone-chilling entrance to the finish. Owens was also great in the way that he trolled and played the crowd as they chanted for Sami Zayn during the match. While Owens winning the belt back would’ve been a nice way to bring his momentum back, perhaps it was still too early to take the belt off of Balor, as he is still growing as a Champion. The question coming out of this is who will be the next challenger? Also, Owens was shown wearing the NXT Championship at the next set of tapings. Does he attack Balor backstage and steal his belt? Guess time will tell. Either way, this was an above-average main event that lived up to the hype working a more hardcore style.

 

 

 

 

 

Results

  • Jushin Thunder Liger def. Tyler Breeze via pinfall
  • NXT Tag Team Championships – The Vaudevillains (w/Blue Pants) def. Blake and Murphy (Champions) (w/Alexa Bliss) to become new Champions
  • Apollo Crews def. Tye Dillinger via pinfall
  • Samoa Joe def. Baron Corbin via submission chokeout
  • NXT Women’s Championship – Bayley def. Sasha Banks (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion
  • NXT Championship – Ladder Match – Finn Balor (Champion) def. Kevin Owens to retain 

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 27-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on August 23, 2015, in NXT, WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

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