NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn Review

-This is the sixth NXT live special airing on the WWE Network and it might very well be the biggest one yet.

-This is the first NXT TakeOver to take place outside of NXT’s home base at Florida’s Full Sail University.

-The larger crowd and palpable atmosphere as we begin with a opening from Triple H really makes this feel like a huge event.

-Triple H and his development team deserve high praise for making the calculated risk of taking NXT out of  Florida to tour. This is something they’ve never really done before.

1. Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin Thunder Liger


-Scratch another name off the list. Sting, Samoa Joe, and now Jushin Thunder Liger have now all had at least one official match in a WWE ring. 2015 has been one hell of a year for debuts in the WWE.

-This is the match I was expecting to open the show, and it’s the right fit in my opinion. There is nothing really on the line, and it will be a fun lighthearted expose of what Liger and Breeze are capable of in the ring.

-This match came about after Breeze asked NXT General Manager, William Regal, for more competition. Regal responded in kind.

-Liger mocked a few of “Prince Pretty’s” signature poses which drew the ire of Breeze and shook his focus.

-Breeze’s frustration eventually catches up to him and we get a Liger Bomb for the victory!

-A perfect opener. Breeze played his part well and Liger delivered and seemed to be right at home in a WWE ring despite never have to wrestle “their style” before.

2. Blake & Murphy vs. The Vaudevillians for the NXT Tag Team Championship

-Straight out of an old episode of WWE Velocity! It’s your NXT Tag Team Champions, no gimmicks Blake and Murphy.

-The heel champions, cut the ring in half and keep Aiden English from tagging in Simon Gotch. They wear down English with several double-maneuvers, but English eventually gets the hot tag allowing Gotch to get some offense in on the champions.

-After a double power-bomb off the top rope English is back in and almost wins the title after his “That’s a Wrap” senton bomb. Gotch is tagged back in and Murphy tried to steal a three count as he is distracted by Bliss and Blue Pants scuffling on the outside.

-Gotch gets the better of Murphy and The Vaudevillians hit the Whirling Dervish for a three count on Murphy. The Vaudevillians are the new NXT Tag Team Champions!

-The Vaudevillians gimmick is awesome, and they will hopefully have a much more eventful reign with the titles than Blake & Murphy did. Some new competition is hopefully on the way for them. Good tag team action here.

3. Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger

-Tye Dillinger, a man who has legitimately spent a decade (off-and-on) in WWE developmental. Tonight he took on the debuting Apollo Crews. Crews is better known as a well respected independent talent Uhaa Nation.

-Crews gets over his unbelievable athleticism for his size as he mocks Dillinger’s “Perfect 10” gimmick.

-Tye DIllinger slows the pace and uses his array of “perfect” moves to try and make Crews debut, an unsuccessful one. However, Crews is too strong and athletic an a guerrilla press and a standing moonsault are enough to Make Apollo Crews the victory here.

-I went into this match only hearing about Crews and his accomplishments in Dragon Gate. I was afraid he was going to be nothing more than another Batista or Bobby Lashley type of impressive physical specimen. However, after watching Crews in his debut, I could not have made a wronger assumption.

-You can skip this match, but definitely keep an eye on Crews in the future after the move into stories with other marquee NXT performers.

4. Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin


-Two big ass dudes in what is sure to be an ugly match. Hopefully, Joe can help Corbin have his best match ever.

-I’m still in awe of seeing Samoa Joe in a WWE ring. He looks to be in the best shape he has been in years. Awesome to see him in an arena with 15,000+ wrestling fans.

-The beginning moments are a bit awkward and the two seem unsure how to go about the match. After this Joe gets into his groove and locks in several impressive submissions on Corbin.

-The two find a nice pace and trad momentum for awhile before just giving up and walling one each other in the middle of the ring. Punches, slaps, and forearms everywhere.

-Corbin goes for his finish, but isn’t able to get it. He slams Joe to the mat and goes for a pin, but Joe pops in the air and pulls him in for the Kokina Clutch. Corbins fades and the referee calls for the bell.

-Definitely the best work Corbin has done yet, but I think Joe deserves a lot of credit.

5. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship


-We got a video package selling the story of Bayley being stuck in NXT as her peers move on to the main roster. Compelling story.

-They do a perfect job of making this match feel “big time” and its still so refreshing to see this after decades of watching women scarcely being given more than five minute segments on TV or Pay-Per-View on WWE broadcasts.

-The two commence to have a long championship match filled with excellent pacing, smooth exchanges, and perfectly placed false finishes. They still all make sure to hammer home the story of rivalry.

-The crowd are eating out of the palm of their hand as the go into their finishing maneuvers. Bayley looks to be ripe for the picking as Banks spent the entire match wearing down her arm, but Bayley finds a prone Banks on the second rope and delivers a reverse hurricanrana before sealing the deal with a Bayley-to-Belly.

-That might just be the best women’s match I’ve ever seen in the WWE.

-Becky Lynch and Charlotte hit the ring and embrace Bayley. Sasha gets to her feet and joins the others as they pose as “The Four Horsewomen” one last time.

-This match has been everywhere since it absolutely stole the show at this event. It is unquestionably the reason to rewatch this event. They set a new benchmark for all the women in the WWE.

6. Finn Bálor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Championship

-How many times can it be said that I’m glad I’m not the one who has to follow a women’s wrestling match? Owens and Bálor better be ready to impress.

-I say it constantly, but this is the most over ring entrance since The Undertaker’s. Bálor sets the tone every time he enters the ring as “The Demon.”

-Early on, Corey Graves did an admirable job of putting over the fact that Kevin Owens is well versed in Ladder matches and requested this match to embarrass Bálor and prove his victory at Beast in the East was a fluke.

-Owens goes mental in this match and just waylays Bálor with ladders to the torso all throughout the first half of this match. Finn later turns it around and finds the opening to land the Coup de Gráce! He scales the ladder, but the challenger is able to recover in time and pull “The Demon” from the ladder into a Power-Bomb!

-The two jostle to stay in control, but it seems Owens has all but bested Bálor in this match and taunts the champion as he inflicts punishment

-Owens sets up a ladder bridge from one of the steps to the ring ropes and scales the ladder with Bálor, looking to suplex the NXT Champion and then retrieve the championship. Bálor is able to come to his senses long enough to block the move and knock Kevin Owens, back-first, onto the ladder-bridge.

-A second Coup de Gráce seals the deal for “The Demon.” He has defeated Owens twice and has cemented himself as the man to beat on the NXT roster.

-Ladder matches are great and all, but I would have preferred this rematch to be maybe a 2 out of 3 Falls match or a Last Man Standing match. Even so, these two managed to top their so-so championship match in Tokyo and really had me thinking Owen’s might regain his NXT title. Awesome main event. Very physical. Must watch.

-While I’ve said that NXT’s Rival special from this past February was their best, the show here in Brooklyn might have just eclipsed that one.

-Airing outside of the intimate Full Sail University crowd was a calculated risk and it paid off in spades. The crowd was happy and appreciative of almost everyone on the card. It gave the entire show a great atmosphere.

-The action from top to bottom was awesome. This was a very brisk two hour event with almost no lulls. There was almost nothing worth skipping, but the Women’s & NXT Championship matches are must watch. They are without doubt two of the best matches of the year.

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