Takeover: Back to Brooklyn
Date: August 20, 2016
Location: Barclays Center, New York City, New York
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves
This might be NXT’s biggest show of the year, especially after last year’s amazing double main event that really turned Bayley into a star. This year’s main event could be even bigger with Samoa Joe defending the NXT Title against Shinsuke Nakamura and Bayley trying to get the Women’s Title back against the monster champion Asuka. Let’s get to it.
We open with a look back at the opening of last year’s show with HHH in the ring and the lights showing the huge crowd. That shot told you there was something different with this show and it was going to be something special.
Various people sit down for interviews, all looking a bit nervous. They all talk about where they were a year ago and how cool it is for them to move this far forward in such a short amount of time. Almost everyone says they take over Brooklyn. Bayley: “Tonight, I take over Brooklyn. Again.”
Austin Aries vs. No Way Jose
Jose loves to have fun and Aries is serious. In the traditionally big NXT entrance, Jose comes out with a huge conga line around the ring. Aries hides in the corner to start and the very vocal crowd is all the way behind him. Jose accepts a left handshake but slaps Aries in the face. A BIG right hand knocks Aries outside and Jose follows with an ax handle off the apron. Aries finally gets an opening by dropping Jose throat first across the top rope but a few chops take him down again.
The Last Chancery out of nowhere has Jose in trouble but he crawls over for the break. Jose grabs a TKO for two, only to have Aries send him outside for the suicide dive. Back in and Aries’ suplex is countered into something like a falcon arrow for a very close two. Jose punches him down again and is showing some great fire here. The running corner dropkick gets two for Aries and another Last Chancery makes Jose tap at 10:40.
Rating: B-. I think this is proof that Jose is just waiting on a serious gimmick to go somewhere. Jose felt like someone doing a serious version of a comedy gimmick and looked great here, including the more than good enough wrestling abilities. Aries needed this win a lot more though as he really hasn’t done anything special since debuting way back in the spring.
Aries puts on another Last Chancery after the match but Hideo Itami comes out for the save and uses the GTS for the first time on NXT TV. That’s a good idea as they both need a feud.
Ric Flair is here.
Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon
This is Moon’s debut. Ember starts fast and shows off some awesome agility with a headscissors and a hiptoss before showing off red eyes. A spinning cross body gets two for Moon but she gets caught in an Eat Defeat to give Billie two. Billie bends her over the shoulder and chokes at the same time (picture a Gory Stretch but with a choke). Ember makes her comeback with a kick to the ribs and a butterfly suplex followed by a top rope Stunner (it looked better than it sounds) for the pin at 4:32.
Rating: C. I go back and forth on how much offense someone should get on a debuting wrestler here. You don’t want it to be a squash but at the same time you want the newcomer to look like a threat. The eyes and the finisher looked great (though if that’s botched, it’s going to look HORRIBLE) and that’s all that matters though. Moon could be the fresh blood that the division needs and that’s a great thing going forward.
Earlier today, Bobby Roode insulted Brooklyn and said he was more Manhattan.
We recap Bobby Roode vs. Andrade Cien Almas, which basically means Roode debuted and needed a first victim.
Bobby Roode vs. Andrade Cien Almas
Roode’s entrance gets the pop of the night and he comes out on a high podium which is lowered down to the stage. Oh and the entire crowd sings his entrance before starting a loud BOBBY ROODE chant. Poor Almas has to follow that and the lack of caring is just painful to see. Fans: “THIS IS GLORIOUS!” Roode takes him down a few times to start and the fans cheer him to no end with a GLORIOUS chant.
Almas finally gets to do something by knocking Roode to the floor and posing on the apron for a cute bit. That just earns him a crotching on the top though and we hit the chinlock. Back up and Almas dropkicks him off the top to set up a springboard corkscrew plancha. Almas has to backflip out of a German superplex but his Lionsault into a standing moonsault hits knees.
Andrade wins a slugout and kicks Roode into the corner to set up the running knee strike. Not that it matters as Roode kicks him in the face and scores with a spinebuster. A pumphandle slam (the Glorious Bomb, a good name for a not great move) puts Almas away at 10:28.
Rating: C+. I’ll give Almas some credit here for trying to make something out of a match where he had no chance. The fans only wanted to see Roode here and it was clear that this was his showcase instead of anything else. It’s easy to imagine Roode or Aries as the next challenger to the NXT Title as it’s not like there’s a better option for a non-Takeover challenger.
We get a video of a riot and anarchy with the word SANITY spray painted on a wall.
HHH and the guys from Orange County Choppers unveil the Cruiserweight Classic trophy. It’s a black column with a globe on top. Uh, yeah. The finals will be on September 14.
Tommaso Ciampa throws Johnny Gargano a Do It Yourself shirt. I guess that’s their official name.
We recap Gargano/Ciampa vs. Revival. Gargano and Ciampa beat Revival and then Revival won the Tag Team Titles a few weeks later, meaning Gargano and Ciampa were the obvious first challengers.
Tag Team Titles: Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa vs. Revival
Dash and Dawson are defending. Dawson works on Ciampa’s wrist to start but Tommaso sends him to the floor for a breather. Back in and the challengers take over with some double teaming (your heroes) until Gargano grabs an armbar. A chase sets up a four way staredown with the champs being knocked down to reset things a bit. The breather is short lived though as Gargano and Ciampa dive onto both of them to keep the champs in trouble.
Ciampa finally gets pulled into the wrong corner and Graves calls is clubberin. Wilder grabs a chinlock for a bit until Ciampa kicks both champs down. That’s not enough for a tag though as Wilder is smart enough to pull Gargano off the apron. I love it when teams show thinking like that. We hit a bodyscissors on Ciampa with Dawson rubbing a forearm across his face. The referee doesn’t see a tag to Gargano and the distracted referee also misses something like a Demolition Decapitator on Ciampa.
Dawson misses a charge into the post though and Dash crotches himself, allowing the hot tag to Gargano. Johnny cleans house and spears Dawson through the ropes for a near fall. Some heel chicanery allows Dawson to grab a DDT (which works more because he got a pin with it recently) for two. It’s back to Ciampa though and Dawson gets caught in the flip over armbar, only to have Dash dive in for the save.
Everything breaks down and Gargano breaks up a double suplex to let Ciampa get two more off a small package in the very hot near fall of the match. Ciampa knees Dawson in the head but the Shatter Machine is broken up, leaving Dash to take the knee/superkick combo for three but Dawson put the foot on the rope. That earns Dawson a superkick to the floor but he pulls Ciampa outside, allowing Dash to chop block Gargano. That middle rope stomp to the leg that got rid of Big Cass wrecks the knee even worse and a reverse Figure Four makes Johnny tap at 19:06.
Rating: A-. It’s not quite their classic with American Alpha but the Revival is looking more and more like the best team in a long time every time they get in the ring. They just can’t do anything wrong at this point which is even more important when you consider how basic they are. This leaves either TM61 or the Authors of Pain as the next challengers, assuming Gargano/Ciampa don’t get a rematch due to the false finish. Great match.
Ciampa and Gargano get a standing ovation.
Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte are here.
We hear about the third official theme song for the show. I’m not even sure I get the idea of an official song for a show, let alone three for a show that isn’t going to run two and a half hours.
We recap Asuka vs. Bayley in a rematch from their match in Dallas. Asuka was way too much for Bayley, despite Bayley dominating the first half of the match. It’s taken some time to set up the rematch as Bayley wasn’t ready to fight either mentally or physically. Tonight we’re in the place where Bayley made magic once before and now she has to do it again.
Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Asuka
Bayley is defending and there’s a Hugger Section. You know that’s killer spelled backwards (some of you might not get that one). Bayley expands the entrance this time with tube men at ringside, giving us a great surprised expression from the referee. The fans are split here as we’re told Bayley’s headband is from part of her gear at last year’s Brooklyn show.
Bayley tries a rollup but dives into a knee to the face to send her outside. Back in and Asuka hip attacks her down, followed by more shots to the face. Asuka is hardly taking this seriously as she kicks Bayley in the face for another near fall. Bayley comes back with ten rams into the buckle though and a running knee drop gets two. The running hip attack is blocked for a change but Bayley misses a high crossbody.
Not that it matters as Bayley puts her in the Tree of Woe for a running elbow but Asuka grabs a Brock Lock of all things. An ankle lock makes things even worse for Bayley and Asuka fires off some kicks to the chest. Bayley goes with the Sting vs. Vader formula of telling the monster to hit her harder, earning herself a spinning backfist. A powerbomb doesn’t quite work so Bayley switches to a Dominator (good save).
Asuka grabs the Asuka Lock out of nowhere but it’s reversed into a Bayley to Belly for a very near fall. You could see Sasha and Becky jump to their feet on the counter. Back up and Bayley charges into the Asuka Lock in the middle of the ring but she flips over into a cover for two. That’s fine with Asuka who kicks Bayley in the head to retain 14:10.
Rating: B. Good match here, assuming you can get by the referee telling them how much time they had left (happened in the previous match too) and telegraphing the finish. Asuka winning here makes sense and can we PLEASE send Bayley to the main roster already? There’s nothing left for her to do down here and there’s no reason to keep her down here, including helping to grow the division or whatever they’ve said for months now. Just let her go up there where they can have her babysit their “star” Eva Marie.
Asuka helps Bayley up and Bayley raises the champ’s hand. Asuka leaves and Bayley gets the big THANK YOU chant which really feels like the sendoff. Bayley hugs her fellow Horsewomen before leaving.
We recap Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe. Nakamura debuted back in April and has taken the promotion by storm. Joe on the other hand is the NXT Champion and basically unbeatable. That sounds like a recipe for a big showdown. This gets the music video treatment.
Mick and Noelle Foley and Finn Balor are here.
NXT Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe
Joe is defending and a violinist plays Nakamura to the ring. They go right at it to start with Joe taking it to the mat but Nakamura holds him off before Joe can get in anything major. Joe’s headlock keeps Nakamura in trouble but he comes back with knees to the chest. Good Vibrations gets on Joe’s nerves and they head outside for a chop out before barely making it back in.
Back in and Nakamura kicks him in the head, only to miss a knee drop on the apron to send the knee straight into the floor. That earns him a suicide elbow from the champ, followed by more heavy kicks and stomps to the ribs. We hit a dragon sleeper of all things as this really hasn’t been the match I was expecting. It’s not bad mind you but when you’re expecting a knock down dragout fight and get a hard hitting match, it’s a bit surprising.
Joe does the powerbomb into the Boston crab into the STF into the Crossface but he lets Nakamura up. Nakamura kicks the champ in the head and loads him onto the top rope for the running knee to the ribs. More knees to the head have Joe in trouble as we’re getting into the hard hitting part now. The Rock Bottom out of the corner drops Nakamura but a middle rope kick to the chest puts the champ down again.
Nakamura grabs a triangle choke but can’t get it on full, allowing Joe to reverse into a Cloverleaf. The Koquina Clutch goes on without the legs fully wrapped, allowing Nakamura to get to the ropes. The referee says go to the finish as Kinshasa is countered with a snap powerslam. A quick Muscle Buster gets two, followed by Kinshasa for the same with Joe holding his face. The middle rope knee to the back sets up another Kinshasa for the pin and the title at 21:14.
Rating: A. Was there really another option here? This wasn’t quite the war I was expecting but they nailed the ending and went with the best possible choice to wrap up the show. Nakamura taking the title and remaining undefeated makes sense to give the show a special feeling. Joe likely stays around for a well deserved rematch but he’ll be on the main roster by the day after Wrestlemania at the very latest, if not in the Rumble.
Joe has to be helped up the ramp as Nakamura celebrates to end the show.
Overall Rating: A-. Somehow that’s on the lower end of this series’ spectrum. The main event and Tag Team Titles matches are both worth seeing and bring this one up into the realm of greatness though and that’s what NXT is all about. Nothing on here is bad, they set up some stuff for the future and gave us some great wrestling to go with it. Above all else though is the crowd. They basically had the same attendance that Summerslam will have tomorrow and that’s impressive no matter how you look at it. I would tell you to check this out but does anyone not watch these shows? Great stuff, as expected.
Austin Aries b. No Way Jose – Last Chancery
Ember Moon b. Billie Kay – Top rope Stunner
Bobby Roode b. Andrade Cien Almas – Glorious Bomb
Revival b. Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa – Reverse Figure Four to Gargano
Asuka b. Bayley – Kick to the head
Shinsuke Nakamura b. Samoa Joe – Kinshasa
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