NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 3 continued the long-standing tradition of NXT pulling out all of the stops for their TakeOver special events. I have to admit that by no longer watching or writing about the twice a month main roster PPVs, this does make “TakeOver Saturday” feel like a much bigger deal (and less like ‘one more thing I have to watch’). Needless to say, WWE brought it once again for the yellow brand tonight.
NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 3 Recap – Kickoff Show
Apparently, part of “Bobby Roode’s NXT” is a Kickoff Show that somehow expanded to one hour but still has zero matches on it. Granted, this Kickoff Show wasn’t totally terrible but I hope this isn’t a trend and (spoiler alert) “Drew McIntyre’s NXT” goes back to 30 minute TakeOver Kickoff Shows.
I finally figured out tonight that WWE tape delays the TakeOver Kickoff Show as I wondered how they managed to film two to three matches before the main show started. That was made abundantly clear on Twitter when people were talking about people booing Corbin on the panel at least 25 minutes before he actually appeared on the panel.
Anyway, it’s a WWE Kickoff Show. Your hosts are Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, Corey Graves, and Lita. Renee Young is also working tonight and she’s got backstage interviews for us. Renee interviews Kurt Angle, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Becky Lynch & Bayley. Nothing is really noteworthy beyond Angle calling Asuka “Asooka” and the crowd booing Bayley because wrestling fans are terrible.
The panel was visited by Big E, Neville, Baron Corbin, Carmella, and Sasha Banks at various points. Neville is doing a great job as “stoic, broken man” Neville and having every mic they offered him during his segment break was a (likely unintentional) nice touch. Also, having Neville bring up Graves turning on him years ago was awesome. Bringing Big E back was cool too, his being a former NXT Champion and all. Also, when Carmella and Sasha Banks joined up, it was with Charly and Lita. So, for however briefly, we had an all-female WWE panel.
The only people we see arrive “earlier today” are Ember Moon (w/ family) and Asuka (w/ no one but her damn self).
The final panel guest was Corbin, who seemed to be not too concerned over losing his MitB cash in match in such an idiotic fashion just days ago.
NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 3 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever.
We cold open on the band Code Orange performing a song on a makeshift stage set up near the entrance area. Visually, we get imagery from the various feuds we’re seeing on tonight’s show mixed into the live band footage. Kind of a nice touch to have a show open up with something rather unexpected like this.
After the live performance, Mauro welcomes us to the show.
Johnny Gargano’s music hits first and he’s out. Zelina Vega (w/ Andrade Cien Almas) is out next.
Match #1: Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Cien Almas (w/ Zelina Vega)
Well, this one didn’t go the way I expected it to. From the way I’ve seen Gargano booked so far (both on TV and at live events) I expected NXT to go one way with him. However, it appears we’re going the “Sami Zayn underdog” route with him – and tying that to the still fresh DIY break-up wound. It works. These guys really set the bar high in the opening match. Cien does “tranquilo” a little bit, but it never really puts him in peril. Things build up to a fever pitch and it looks like Johnny is going to put Cien away. But, nah. Zelina Vega produces a DIY t-shirt out of thin air and tosses it into the ring. This freezes Gargano long enough for Cien to dropkick him. One Hammerlock DDT later and Almas picks up a much-needed victory and Gargano loses his singles debut at a TakeOver.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Not the story I expected them to tell, which is actually a good thing. Almas’ association with Vega needed to mean something and this accomplished that. Painting Gargano as still being haunted by his past works for me also. The match was killer and we got great storytelling in the finish. Well done.
Meanwhile, we pan up to a luxury box. Kurt Angle is chatting up Roderick Strong and the Iconic Duo are talking the ear off of Daniel Bryan. In the background, No Way Jose is partying. Seems like that rumored “post-SummerSlam Shake-Up” might just have some legs to it.
Next, Drew McIntyre prepares backstage by brooding.
Greg Hamilton lets us know that #NXTTakeOver is trending worldwide right now. Some kid watching this show in 2057 is going to have no idea what that means. I mean, I’m sure Twitter won’t be a Tout, but remember MySpace? Anyway, Graves gets announced because he’s being added to the commentary team for the next match – the NXT Tag Team Championship match.
SAnitY’s music hits and all four of them are out. Paul Ellering is out next… with… yeah. So, the Authors of Pain are wearing reptile masks and green BDU pants – which inevitably launched a million Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle references on my Twitter feed. A VERY odd choice of TakeOver attire. As I expected, a brawl breaks out before the bell can even ring. It appears that SAnitY is going with Wolfe & Dain. Eric Young sets up “Chekhov’s Table” on the barricade before order is restored and the bell finally rings.
Match #2: Authors of Pain (c) (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. SAnitY (w/ Nikki Cross) (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)
The trend of incredible NXT Tag Team matches at TakeOver shows continues here. Things kick off crazy when Dain still hasn’t tagged in and Eric Young takes off his jacket, calls an audible, and inserts himself as Wolfe’s partner. This makes complete sense as NXT has been teasing Dain as a main event level singles player AND the Young / Wolfe team is what typically has been working the house show loops. Both teams deliver the goods here and SAnitY definitely have the right vibe to match the brutality we’ve come to expect from AoP. Things break down here, as they’re wont to do, and we get a face off between Cross and Ellering in the ring while everyone else is on the outside. Cross launches herself off the ropes into Akam’s arms on the outside. From there, Dain puts both Cross and Akam through the table that EY leaned up against the barricade at the beginning of the match. The tide now effectively turned, Young and Wolfe isolate Rezar in the ring and hit a double team finisher to become the new NXT Tag Team Champions.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – I did not expect to see AoP lose here and have been hoping for a long time to see SAnitY with some gold. The faction has a ton of, as yet, untapped potential. It’s going to be really weird to have the Authors of Pain be the ones behind the Breezango beatings on SmackDown though. Maybe they can wear their Ninja Turtle masks and we can get a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles themed episode of Fashion Files. I kid, but really… stranger things have happened. It’s the WWE After all. I fear for how AoP will be booked on the main roster.
Post-match, Young and Wolfe have zero time to celebrate as they’re bum rushed by Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. The (don’t call them… I guess) reDRagon beat down spreads to involve the AoP as well. That was unexpected.
Meanwhile, hey, it’s angry, stoic Neville… and he’s angry… and he’s stoic. Oh hey, it’s Shinsuke Nakamura with Kalisto. They’re in a much better mood than Neville and do the “lucha lucha” dance.
Bobby Roode is in the back getting ready.
Hey, because wrestling is awesome let’s have Jim Ross randomly come out to call the Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami match!
Hideo enters first. Candles are set around the “Code Orange stage” area and they begin to play Black’s entrance theme. He emerges from behind the band. Black no sells them playing his song and calmly walks through them to the ring. Great stuff.
Match #3: Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami
Well, within a few minutes Black is bleeding from the nose and I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a WWE match with this many kicks in it. This is another outstanding affair that delivered nearly the exact match I expected from these two. Most notably, Itami finally looks solid in this new heel role he’s found himself in. Sure, Black goes over here – telegraphed by the detail put into his presentation on this show. But, definitely don’t count Itami out at NXT just yet. Hideo looked like he could realistically have been the one to end Black’s undefeated streak here. Alas, he does not. After a failed GTS attempt, Black is able to hit the Black Mass out of nowhere and pick up hands down his hardest fought victory in NXT thus far. A+ match that really made both men.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Both guys looked incredible here and having JR call the match likely didn’t hurt things. Hideo can be taken seriously as a dangerous heel going forward and Black continues his rocket to the top. No complaints.
Back from break, three of the four horsewoman are sitting ringside. I imagine Charlotte is absent due to the scary health stuff going on with Ric Flair right now. This means that it’s time for the NXT Women’s Championship match.
Ember Moon enters first. Asuka enters last.
Match #4: Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
So, this is my match of the night. Once again, TakeOver Brooklyn had a women’s title match that didn’t go on last, but really outshone the proper main event. Both women bring their A game here and Asuka continues her tricks she’s been relying on at this point of her record-setting title reign. Asuka works Moon’s shoulder wearing her down, but still does some cowardly heel stuff like hiding behind the ref. The difference maker in this match is Asuka becoming the first person to kick out of Moon’s “Eclipse” finisher. Once that happened I had a strong feeling we weren’t seeing “the streak” end here, despite WWE drawing so much attention to it by having this match’s official hashtag be “#TheStreak”. At any rate, Asuka plays possum after the near fall and is able to work a cross armbreaker into an Asuka Lock. Moon faces the inevitable and taps.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – We got all aspects of what has made Asuka a great champion here. Moon looks as strong as anyone could possibly look against Asuka. The real question now is if Asuka gets called up soon or if WWE goes carny and calls up Moon instead on this week’s Raw to coincidence with the eclipse happening that day. Considering the post match “Thank you, Ember” crowd ovation we got – Moon being called up wouldn’t surprise me too much.
Back from break, hey, it’s Kevin Owens in the crowd! Hey, it’s Samoa Joe in the crowd!
Next, some NYPD officers come out playing bagpipes. Big Roddy Piper vibes here. The bagpipe players end up playing Drew McIntyre to the ring. I guess the budget cuts at WWE have spread to NXT as their “top guy” recycles his “automated piano graphic on the stage” entrance. Anyway, “Glorious” and all of that.
Match #5: Bobby Roode (c) vs. Drew McIntyre (NXT Championship Match)
Man, this match. I came to two determinations here.
One, I think 2 hours is the cutoff for my attention span when watching a wrestling show. It’s why Raw used to bore me about 2/3 of the way through and why main roster PPVs are a chore for me to sit through. By the time this match is underway, we’re past the allotted 2 hour point.
Two, I feel like Roode’s “self-important / cowardly heel” shtick works better in person. On TV it’s just lacking something, but literally one week ago I saw him headline the local NXT live event and his heel heat was strong. Here, not so much.
Either way, this match just didn’t do a whole lot for me until it was over. Your mileage may vary, but Roode’s reign at NXT has felt flat to me. I feel like he should be a bigger deal than his matches always turn out to be. Regardless, Drew McIntyre goes over here after Roode hits two Glorious DDTs, but his hubris makes him attempt a third. One “out of nowhere” Claymore later and we have a new NXT Champion. Somewhere in Brooklyn, a single tear rolls down Heath Slater’s face.
Verdict: Thumbs Down – Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed seeing McIntyre go over and the post-match angle was compelling stuff for the future of NXT. But, for a while now I’ve felt the NXT Championship matches have been the weakest thing on a TakeOver card and this one was more of the same.
Post-match, Drew McIntyre celebrates with the title. I bet you expected Roderick Strong to come out now because of the way they built that up the past month or two on TV. But nah, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly are back out… with Adam Cole, who superkicks Drew and the new faction poses over his body to end the show.
I mean, we all knew Cole was likely to be here, but I’m not sure how many people expected him to debut this way instead of the standard “hey, Adam Cole is here in the crowd tonight – what does that mean?” thing they’ve done in the past.
All in all, NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 3 was another strong TakeOver with a top-notch undercard, incredible tag and women’s title matches, and a so-so main event.