WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II Reaction
By Nicholas Jason Lopez
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
While that cliche can apply to most things in life, it especially applies to NXT, particularly around SummerSlam weekend.
Again, despite efforts to divert attention to the six-hour spectacle that is SummerSlam itself, it only goes to that of its previous-day predecessor, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
Last year, 15,000 Brooklynites held witness to one of WWE’s matches between WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks and Bayley.
While this year’s bouts didn’t capture that match’s emotional whirlwind, just like every previous TakeOver special, we left each contest with a “talking point” of some sort.
– The opening video provided a great mix of nostalgia with the present day. Essentially, it was to bring up that Shinsuke Nakamura, NXT Champion Samoa Joe, NXT Women’s Champion Asuka and Bobby Roode weren’t even in NXT for last year’s BK TakeOver, as they described where they were at the time. It was to emphasize the theme of “then and now.” It worked because almost every match on the card featured somebody recent.
– No better way to keep the high energy going than with the No Way Jose-Austin Aries opener. The crowd was quite receptive to Jose upon his conga line-themed arrival (smart idea, though ironic since the first guy on the line had on an Aries shirt) and then the heel-lovers in BK took to Aries when he came out. Given the feud’s storyline, which was that Jose broke out of his happy-go-lucky side to prove to Aries that he could hang with well-renowned stars. Good action dictated the pace as it went somewhere between a wrestling match and a brawl. Aries was heavily favored early on, but Jose slowly won people over as things progressed. Not sure it was smart to have Ric Flair take his first row seat in the middle of it, as the crowd popped and was distracted. There was also a huge reaction for Aries’ first attempt at his Last Chancery submission finisher. Jose had a close near-fall with the TKO, before Aries hit a solid suicide dive. He’s got the best suicide dive in the game. As things cooked up, they simmered down as Aries elbowed Jose in the face while he sat upon the top rope, then followed up with a sunset flip powerbomb and another Last Chancery to get the win. We liked that Aries went over because they could always go back to this match and Aries needs more wins to sell his credibility, whereas Jose has still developed. The “talking point” here took place in the post-match angle where Hideo Itami prevented Aries from pursuing more damage upon Jose, as he delivered a devastating Go To Sleep (GTS), the move he innovated for a humungous reaction. Itami even looked good doing it, as he was dressed up in a suit. Obviously, this hints at an Aries-Itami feud to come. We approve.
– The attempts to build Billie Kay up as a “Femme Fatale” in recent weeks was decent, yet it still felt like something was missing from her gimmick to truly sell her as a threat. That said, she played a perfect role in the debut match of Ember Moon, who some might remember as Athena on the independent scene in companies like Shimmer. You could almost compare Moon to that of a female Finn Balor of sorts, if you also mixed in the always-energetic Naomi. Moon’s character stuck out in a good way, as her Mortal Kombat-esque entrance and catchy theme got our attention right away. The red eyes on Moon were also sick. She showed off some athleticism and wooed up the crowd at points, while Kay hung in there as best as she could. Of course, the “talking point” here was in Moon’s crazy diving corkscrew stunner finisher. Surely, no one had ever seen that before and the crowd almost collapsed their jawlines. We left the match on a good note with Moon saving the best for last and it’d be exciting to see her compete for the NXT Women’s Championship down the road, after some more development.
– Hold on tight, because things were about to get a bit more… glorious. They tried earlier in the night to have the crowd turn on Bobby Roode based on his opinion of Brooklyn in a pre-show interview as “the armpit of New York City,” but even that couldn’t keep them quiet. Keeping with the theme of over-the-top entrances, it didn’t get more ridiculously so than when we saw Roode atop a tall, oversized throne that lowered him to the stage. He also donned a robe that screamed Flair inspiration. Plus, the crowd was insanely into his theme song. Have you heard it? How could anybody not be? They already set his opponent, Andrade “Cien” Almas, up to fail after hearing that. They probably figured he’d get booed anyway. To Almas’ advantage, he showed off some never-before-seen power as he let go some vicious strikes and kicks. They never let the guy fly around nearly enough. People wanted to hate him compared to Roode, but his athleticism fully prevented that. His impressive corkscrew plancha wowed some crowd members. Of course in the end, the purpose was to put Roode over in his in-ring debut. That was done in a way that was better than we thought it’d be. Plus, Roode’s “glorious” gimmick is ever so over. It’s as if Authority Triple H had a baby with Ric Flair and “The Narcissist” Lex Luger character.
– It’s still too early to gather any thoughts of the hype video that highlighted riot police footage and the word “sanity” spray painted upon a brick wall. We thought for a second it was Authors Of Pain-related, but alas, guess we were wrong there.
– They showed some love to the Cruiserweight Classic, as it was revealed that the Orange County Choppers designed the trophy that the CWC winner would receive at the Finals to be held Sep. 14. They put Triple H and the OCC on camera in a backstage segment to sum it all up. CWC competitors were also acknowledged by commentary in the crowd. They received a nice pop.
– The backstage segment with Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa gave us some nice last-minute hype, as Ciampa tossed his partner their t-shirt that read, “Nobody Will Do It For You” on the back, to sum up their “DIY” way of doing things. Their MO was clear before their opportunity at the NXT Tag Team Championships against Champions The Revival.
– The NXT Tag Team Championship match between Champions The Revival and Ciampa/Gargano might’ve been the best wrestled bout on the show. The crowd was hot for Gargano/Ciampa from the start, not a surprise given their status among the IWC faithful. While Gargano/Ciampa relied on their speed and technical maneuvers, Revival stuck to their usual game plan of “talk heavy, hit hard,” as they bent the rules to get the advantage. Case in point, the spot where Dash Wilder purposely fell over the ropes to divert the Referee’s attention from a hot tag between Gargano/Ciampa. That’s just intelligent no matter how you sell it. This match’s key was the close near-falls for both sides, as everything was well-timed. The crowd was actually out of their seats for the second half of this match. That tells you how badly they wanted Ciampa/Gargano to go over and it actually could’ve happened and it would’ve been fine. The exchange between Ciampa and Scott Dawson was energetic and simply awesome. They’d make a killer one-on-one feud. Another key spot down the stretch where Gargano/Ciampa received a three-count, but was quickly nullified when the Referee noticed Wilder’s foot on the rope, not actually noticed that Dawson physically put it there. The crowd was so pumped, only to groan. It was as if at that point, we all knew the heels would go over. Low and behold, Revival targeted Gargano’s knee and he had no choice but to eventually tap out to an inverted Figure Four. Still an excellent match with an exciting chemistry. Plus, we liked that the belts remained on Revival, who’ll probably battle TM61 next. We thought the post-match sportsmanship between Gargano/Ciampa would lead to a turn by Ciampa, but they opted to have Ciampa escort his hurt friend to the back. We wouldn’t count it out in the future though.
– As if you needed any more reminders of last year, Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte were all shown sitting in the crowd. Banks/Lynch received nice pops, while Charlotte got booed. Guess her character is over as a heel. This was a nice lead-in to the NXT Women’s Championship match between Champion Asuka and Bayley. The story headed in was that of Bayley looking to repeat history twice in her contractual rematch ever since she lost the belt to Asuka at TakeOver: Dallas and then suffered an “injury” to be able to build up a comeback story. Meanwhile, Asuka has been positioned as nearly unstoppable. Bayley posed her biggest threat yet and we were excited to see what the two could do when they didn’t have to follow the madness that was Sami Zayn and Nakamura back in April. Bayley’s entrance had wacky inflatable tube men galore, including big ones in the ring itself. How appropriate. On the other side, Asuka donned a traditional Japanese garb that made her look even more menacing. As far as an in-ring “story,” this was probably done the best here in that regard. Bayley’s early strategy was to come at Asuka hard, but that was derailed when she got kicked on the bridge of the nose. There was a good exchange of strikes as the crowd was definitely for Bayley. Things got better as the match went on, as we saw Bayley hang in there with Asuka as she got out of the Asuka Lock and even had her down for the Bayley-To-Belly, but only got a two-count, which almost sent BK into a frenzy. The finishing exchange was quite enjoyable, as we saw Asuka simply overcome Bayley’s resistance and had her out with a stiff kick to the head. History wouldn’t repeat itself twice here. While Bayley will always be held to the standard of last year, she didn’t have to do much to match that same intensity. Another hearty performance in a losing effort. Asuka also remains positioned as the strong Champion, still undefeated. We can only assume bigger and better things for Bayley. We also liked how Bayley-Asuka embraced each other after the match. Perhaps Asuka will go back to face status?
– More WWE personalities were shown in the crowd, such as Raw General Manager Mick Foley and Balor, both advertised for SummerSlam the next night. Big pop for Balor, as it was pointed out that he fought in last year’s NXT Championship match. The NXT Championship match between Champion Joe and Nakamura was well-hyped months before the show even became reality. On paper, it sounded like gold. Plus, it was the first time the two ever fought in their careers. Nakamura’s entrance received the “over-the-top” treatment with a live violinist and everything just felt right. Definitely liked the intensity to start things out, as the two nearly came to blows even before the pre-match in-ring introductions. As for the match itself, it seems like fans expected more of a hard-hitting affair, as they were tame early on, though commentary was smart to note that Joe had the advantage with constant rest holds. Things luckily began to pick up around the time that Nakamura kicked out of the Muscle Buster, a feat accomplished by nobody previously. Then, to sell Joe, he kicked out of the Kinshasa, also never before done. It wasn’t long before he hit another Kinshasa after he countered a second Muscle Buster attempt. Before we knew it, BK erupted into Nakamura glory, as they popped huge for the Title changing hands and began to echo his theme song through the arena. Definitely came across as a big moment and if Joe was going to lose to anybody, Nakamura’s surely the exception. Still, despite the marquee match, it never quite felt like it reached its full potential. Nevertheless, the time felt right to make the move and it sets up even better scenarios down the road. Joe can go bonkers looking for his rematch and NXT remains refreshed with Nakamura on top. He could carry the brand on his back even.
- Austin Aries def. No Way Jose via pinfall
- Ember Moon def. Billie Kay via pinfall
- Bobby Roode def. Andrade “Cien” Almas via pinfall
- NXT Tag Team Championships – The Revival (Champion) def. Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa via pinfall to retain
- NXT Women’s Championship – Asuka (Champion) def. Bayley via pinfall to retain
- NXT Championship – Shinsuke Nakamura (Champion) def. Samoa Joe (Champion) via pinfall to become new Champion
Posted on October 4, 2016, in NXT, WWE and tagged Andrade "Cien" Almas, Asuka, Austin Aries, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Billie Kay, Bobby Roode, Charlotte, Corey Graves, Cruiserweight Classic, Ember Moon, Hideo Itami, Johnny Gargano, Lita, Mauro Ranallo, No Way Jose, Orange County Choppers, Renee Young, Ric Flair, Samoa Joe, Sanity, Sasha Banks, Shinsuke Nakamura, TakeOver: Brooklyn II, The Revival, Tom Phillips, Tommaso Ciampa, Triple H. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.