August 19, 2017 in Brooklyn, NY
A bit late getting this finished but I still wanted to share my thoughts on what ended up another great Takeover in Brooklyn I was lucky enough to see live. I thought both the first NXT Takeover Brooklyn and last year’s were excellent.
The previous formula appeared to continue with a big fan favorite opening the (pre) show as No Way Jose came out and the crowd erupted, but he was jumped and laid out by Lars Sullivan to enormous heat. Effective segment to start, even without an actual match.
Peyton Royce vs Sarah Logan was a decent little match from both. Royce has been improving lately. I was a bit surprised at result considering Logan was part of the Mae Young Classic, which was just about to start airing.
It was particularly great to see Pete Dunne recovered enough to wrestle after he missed Progress in Queens due to being busted open the night before. He teamed with Wolfgang against Dunne’s regular stablemates in Progress Trent Seven & Tyler Bate. Crowd was over the moon when it became clear who was coming out and these guys are fantastic.
The Takeover show proper then started with Johnny Gargano vs Andrade “Cien” Almas. Cien has really found new life as a heel, owning it so much more than his bland babyface character, and the angle with his renewed success and focus due to manager Zelina Vega is great. Gargano is of course the classic overachieving babyface, and perfect at it. This started a trend for the evening, as literally every match from here on was good for around the first half or so, then reached another gear late and became incredible.
Here the turning point was an INSANE counter from Cien as he flipped out of a top rope sunset bomb attempt and landed on his feet. They built to a clever finish in which Vega threw a DIY shirt at Gargano, which distracted him just enough for Cien to pull out the victory. It gave Gargano an out without halting Cien’s needed momentum.
The NXT Tag Title match between the Authors of Pain (c) and Sanity was quite honestly better than I expected, with all four members of Sanity getting involved to make it exciting and memorable yet still somehow playing solid de facto babyfaces. The brawl based action was comfortably in AoP’s wheelhouse too and they more than held up their end. The title change was a nice moment, AoP is now free to move up, and RED DRAGON (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) make a big statement laying out the new champs afterward.
Hideo Itami’s another wrestler who seems to have new life and more motivation thanks to a heel turn, and he’s growing into the character nicely. He did his best to mock and frustrate Aleister Black in a match that as expected built into a great striking battle, but Black eventually came out triumphant with his signature kick.
This was the most uncertain I’ve been going into one of my favorite wrestler’s title defenses, as if there ever was a time to end Asuka’s reign in NXT it was right here. Ember Moon was set up not only as a threat but as the person Asuka needed to stretch the rules to beat last time, and it was totally believable that she’d unseat the dominant champion and Asuka would move on to the main roster. On the other hand having Asuka’s record breaking undefeated streak intact as she was called up also had numerous advantages.
So I was mildly surprised at Asuka’s victory, but I was actually much more surprised at her kicking out of Moon’s deadly finisher. That moment alone made this feel like a goodbye for Moon and not Asuka, and that feeling intensified when Ember seemed to have a bit of a farewell moment after the match. Of course since then it’s been revealed that Asuka was hurt during the match (and finishing and having the great match they did with a broken collarbone is crazy tough), she’s surrendered the title, and is headed to RAW.
Getting back to this match, I really enjoyed it. It built well and got crazy towards the end. Probably the best NXT work I’ve seen from either, and though they didn’t know it at the time they put on a fantastic farewell match for Asuka’s time in NXT.
In any of the given title matches for this show I slightly favored the challengers, but didn’t expect all the belts to change hands. Once Asuka retained I was fairly sure Bobby Roode would end up losing in the main event against Drew McIntyre for the NXT title. That feeling didn’t take anything away from the drama of the match, as when done right even a predictable outcome can be highly satisfying.
Again, this got great late and Drew eventually landed the Claymore to become the new NXT champion. The Glorious One would go to Smackdown a few short days later, and it was certainly time. As big as the celebratory moment was for Drew, a bigger one would follow with the debut of Adam Cole, who used a distraction from Red Dragon to ambush the new champ the way they did earlier and the ex-ROH trio stood tall to end the show.
Takeover Brooklyn is one of my favorite events of the year, and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all three. Everything ended up excellent here, and I can’t recommend the replay enough.
4 replies on “NXT Takeover Brooklyn III Live Thoughts”
Wow, you are so lucky you got to see this event live, awesome! I am a bit jealous 😀 We don’t get so much here in Australia, but we always go to the WWE events and NxT last year.
My favourite match on the card was definitely Gargano vs Almas. I agree with you that Almas makes a great heel. I was bored by him as a face and am happy to see he’s doing so good right now. Johnny Wrestling is my favourite in NxT right now and I am just sad that Ciampa is injured cause that story was HOT. They sure will pick it up again and it will be great!
Always happy to see Pete Dunne, he’s a star. I want to see much more of him!
AOP vs Sanity was much better than I expected as well! As a German, I was especially happy to see Alexander Wolfe doing so well.
All of the other matches on the card were great as well. Especially Asuka vs Ember Moon. As much as I like both of them, I wanted Nikki Cross to get the title off Asuka. Love watching Nikki!
And now I have to admit something that’s probably not a popular opinion. I don’t care about Bobby Fish, Kyle O’Reilly or Adam Cole. At least not yet. They kinda expect everyone to know all of their indie work but for me, who doesn’t watch anything apart from WWE, NXT and sometimes NJPW, it doesn’t work. They are just some guys to me.
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Yeah, I’m really lucky to be in this area. Hope they come out by you more often in the future!
Glad you enjoyed the show. 🙂
I can totally see that – the debuts came across as a big deal because I knew who the guys were. Although to be honest myself Cole generally bores me in the ring and I’m not as high on him (or O’Reilly for that matter) as most. From seeing the recent NXT tapings results it seems like they’re doing a good job trying to put heat on the three with constant attacks so hopefully the story will pull you in more as it goes, but in the end it will all depend on what happens when they actually start having matches.
[…] seemed the champion had to resort to shortcuts to fend off her challenges and keep the title. As NXT Takeover Brooklyn III approached it seemed conceivable that Ember would finally hand Asuka her first loss and take the […]
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