The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover Brooklyn II
Finally saw Suicide Squad this afternoon, and it was…OK. Not the disaster that I’d read about or anything, but the plot was really weird and confusing in a lot of places and they seemed to just want to cover it up with a lot of special effects and gunfire. It felt like the initial mission served no purpose, for example. And Boomerang was just kind of there. They made a big deal about how they were working with metahumans, but really the only one with any kind of powers is El Diablo. Like, they had to break Harley Quinn out of solitary so she could hit demons with a baseball bat? I guess I was hoping for a more entertaining car wreck if it was going to be bad, and instead it was just kind of competent and dull most of the way.
Live from Brooklyn, NY
Your hosts are Tom Phillips & Corey Graves
No Way Jose v. Austin Aries
Kind of weird that Andrade was supposed to be the one to get over as the big Latino star, but Jose is carving out that niche in the midcard for himself instead. I kind of feel like they should have switched up the matches and had Jose doing the quick job to Roode while Aries faced Andrade. The crowd is very divided on their loyalties here as they trade takedowns. Aries bails and they fight on the floor for a bit, but Aries necks him on the top rope on the way back in to take over. Aries with the middle rope elbow for two, and an elbowdrop gets two. We hit the chinlock and Jose tosses him to escape as the initial energy kind of dies down. Jose makes the comeback with chops on the apron, but Aries catches him with a kneecrusher into the Last Chancery out of nowhere, forcing Jose to make the ropes. The crowd is pretty much 100% for Aries now. Aries with the rolling elbow, but Jose turns it into a TKO for two. Aries dumps him and follows with a tope suicida, and a nice neckbreaker on the apron to set up the brainbuster, which Jose reverses into a falcon arrow for two. Aries with another elbow, but Jose fires back with his own forearm, so Aries takes him down with a crucifix and corner dropkick for two. They fight to the top and Aries brings him down with a sunset bomb into the Last Chancery to finish at 10:42. Hey, no shame in that loss. *** Fun opener and Jose hung in there with him most of the way. Aries shows respect by beating on Jose again afterwards and giving him another Last Chancery, but Hideo Itami returns to make the save. Aries decides to attack him and Goes To Sleep as a result. That HAD to be a message.
Billie Kay v. Ember Moon
Hopefully Moon is the one who can revive the division now that it’s been gutted. I feel like “Ember Moon” really shows how badly the NXT name generator needs an overhaul, though. They’ve been super-weak for a while now with that stuff. Kind of a weird entrance for Moon, as she got the big Mortal Kombat buildup and then just did the happy babyface deal. Ember glides around Kay with gymnastics for a bit, but Kay slugs her down for two and gets Eat Defeat for two. Over the shoulder backbreaker follows and gets two. Moon makes the comeback with a handspring clothesline and then finishes with a crazy dive off the top rope into a stunner at 4:32. Disappointing debut match where she just kind of sold and sold for Kay, but the finisher was INSANE. **
Bobby Roode v. Andrade Almas
Despite their best efforts to make people boo him, the crowd still sings along with Roode’s awesome theme song and cheers his entrance. This is gonna be a rough night for Almas. Roode works the arm and evades Almas while the crowd cheers everything he does. Graves goes off on t-shirts and cargo shorts, which is like 90% of my wardrobe, so I guess we wouldn’t get along. Long as he doesn’t hate on the classic Canadian Tuxedo. Almas dumps Roode with a headscissors, but goes up and gets crotched, allowing Roode to take over. Delayed suplex gets two. We hit the chinlock and Almas fights out and dropkicks Roode to the floor on a mistimed spot. He follows with a dive that was also kind of mistimed, and back in with a crossbody for two. Bulldog gets two. Roode counters the running knee with a clothesline for two and they battle on top, leading to Almas flipping down and hitting a german suplex for two. A sloppy Lionsault hits knees, but Almas recovers with a small package for two. They slug it out while the crowd continues cheering Roode, and Almas hits the running knees on his second attempt. Roode blocks the DDT and catches him with a spinebuster, and a pumphandle slam finishes at 10:24. Apparently that’s his new finisher. This one didn’t really work and the finish was anticlimactic. Like, a pumphandle slam? Really? **1/4 Almas is a total disaster as a babyface character, he’s not getting over at all.
Meanwhile, there appears to be anarchy in the streets, and someone writes “Sanity” on a brick wall.
Meanwhile, HHH unveils the trophy to be presented to the winner of the CWC on September 14.
So that first hour was pretty much a throwaway, hopefully the big matches can deliver.
NXT tag team titles: The Revival v. Johnny Gargano & Tomasso Ciampa
Dawson works on Ciampa’s arm to start, but gets chased out of the ring. Back in, they trade holds on the mat and Dawson gets pinballed in the corner and Gargano hits double knees in the corner for two. Dash comes in and Gargano works on the arm, but Dawson elbows him down to take over. The babyfaces toss them and hit stereo dives, but the Revival uses “classic tag team chicanery” to take over on Ciampa and add some clubbering in the corner as well. They cut off the tag by taking out Gargano and an assisted suplex gets two on Ciampa. Ciampa fights for the tag again and fails, and Dawson dropkicks him for two. More tag team greatness as Dash takes a fake bump off the apron, distracting the ref long enough for them to hit a Demolition elbow for two on Ciampa. OK, that was great. Finally it’s hot tag to Johnny Wrestling, and he hits a jumping neckbreaker on Dawson for two. Slingshot spear gets two. Dawson catches him with a DDT and Dash gets two off that. Back to Ciampa, who bridges into an armbar on Dawson until Dash makes the last second save. Gargano spears Dawson to break up a suplex and Ciampa cradles for a heart attack inducing two count off that. The baldies slug it out and Ciampa puts him down with a knee, but Dawson recovers for Shatter Machine, which Ciampa counters into a superkick for two. Stereo superkicks on Dash get the pin, but his foot was on the ropes and the ref calls it off immediately. They get rid of Dawson again, but he pulls Ciampa out from the floor and posts him, allowing Dash to clip Gargano, and Dash comes off the top with a double stomp to the knee. Kneebar finishes at 19:09. Quite a night for the heels so far. Started slow, but the finish was incredible, with some amazingly timed spots. ****
NXT Women’s title: Asuka v. Bayley
I’m very torn here because the story is building to Bayley regaining the title, but I want Bayley to go to the main roster, and I don’t want to see Asuka lose. Bayley tries some clotheslines in the corner and immediately gets smacked down with a knee to the face that puts her on the floor. Back in, Asuka takes over with the hip attack in the corner and works on the arm for two. Bayley gets hung on the middle rope and beat on with kicks, and that gets two. Bayley fires back with a suplex and the kneedrop for two, and she manages to dodge an attack from Asuka, as a crossbody gets two. Another attempt misses and Asuka goes to work with a Shining Wizard for two. They fight to the top and Asuka gets hung in the Tree of Woe, and Bayley drops an elbow on her for two. They take turns throwing bombs at each other, but Asuka trips her and goes for the submission hold, which Bayley turns into a bridge for two. Asuka goes to the anklelock off that, but Bayley rolls out. Asuka pounds her with kicks, but Bayley is PISSED and wants to be hit in the face, then backslides her for two when she obliges. Bayley throws her own elbows, but Asuka just wallops her with a backfist. They kind of mess up a spot, with Bayley trying to block a kick with a powerbomb and failing, but they just fight through it and Bayley gets a Dominator instead. Asuka catches her with the choke, but Bayley fights up with the belly to belly for two. Bayley dives in and Asuka catches her with a crazy flying Asuka-lock, and this time Bayley rolls over on her for two. Asuka puts her down with kicks this time and finishes at 14:07. Good, wasn’t time for Asuka to lose yet, and it’s time for Bayley to move on. As Corey notes, not every story can have a happy ending, and sometimes people are just better in the ring. ***3/4 Of course, now Asuka has cleaned out the division in dramatic fashion and has no challengers left.
NXT title: Samoa Joe v. Shinsuke Nakamura
After all the bummer finishes tonight, they HAVE to be building up to a big babyface win here. They fight over a wristlock while the crowd goes crazy for Nakamura. Joe grabs a headlock, but Nakamura threatens with kicks to escape and throws knees in the corner. Joe hauls him out for a fight on the floor, and back in with the enzuigiri. Nakamura bails to the apron, but misses his kneedrop out there and splats on the floor, and Joe follows with a dive. Back in, that gets two. Back elbow gets two. Joe wraps him up in a hold, but Nakamura makes the ropes, so Joe goes to a surfboard instead. Joe goes to the knee and follows with the powerbomb into the crab and into the STF. Nakamura rolls him over for two and comes back with a high kick, and an enzuigiri puts Joe down as Nakamura takes over. Knees in the corner, but he walks into an atomic drop, and Joe misses the senton. Nakamura grabs a facelock and throws knees from there, but walks into the uranage in the corner. Joe tries the Muscle Buster, but Nakamura fights him with a missile dropkick. That looked awesome in slow mo, like something out of a kung fu movie. They slug it out and Joe levels him with a forearm. Another one is rolled through into an armbar by Nakamura, but Joe powers out of it and into a Cloverleaf, before Nakamura makes the ropes. Joe manages to wrap him up with the choke, but Nakamura makes the ropes and comes back with the german suplex. Joe counters the Kinshasa with a powerslam for two. Joe tries another Muscle Buster and hits it this time, but it only gets two. A second one is escaped, and the Kinshasa gets two. Nakamura keeps coming with a knee to the back and another Kinshasa gives him the NXT title at 21:18! Took a while to get going, but they’ll probably have other, better matches. ***1/2
It was looking like one of the weaker editions of Takeover, but the crowd atmosphere was ELECTRIC and really made it an entertaining show despite the lower quality of in-ring product tonight. Too many heels going over tonight, but it was still an easy thumbs up show despite the negatives.