It’s SummerSlam weekend, so that means that NXT invades Brooklyn for the fourth time to bring us NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 4. It’s another stacked card, so let’s just jump right into the recap.
NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 4 Recap – Pre-Show
TakeOver pre-shows always feel a bit long when they are a one hour special like tonight’s. Our panel is Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts, and Pat McAfee. We get the standard hype video packages, “earlier today” footage of talent arriving at the building, and panel discussions.
Guests on this TakeOver’s panel include Ricochet (who appears via feed from backstage for some reason) and a rather flustered William Regal who joins the panel live. Regal is out to discuss the “who attacked Aleister Black” situation which got a decent chunk of the time allotted to it for the Pre-Show. We don’t really learn much beyond Regal has cleared the Undisputed Era as suspects. Also, McAfee compliments Regal’s hair which Regal totally no sells.
NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 4 Recap
WWE. Then. Now. Forever.
We get a dramatic TakeOver Brooklyn 4 hype package and we’re live from Brooklyn. Mauro welcomes us to the show and Undisputed Era’s music hits to kick things off. Champs enter first because… crowd reaction? Strong and O’Reilly are out without Cole or Fish and Kyle plays the title like a guitar on the way to the ring. Moustache Mountain’s music hits and they’re out next.
Match #1: Undisputed Era (c) vs. Moustache Mountain (NXT Tag Team Championship Match)
What a great choice for the opener. One of the better tag team championship we’ve seen on the yellow brand. Instead of the standard “guy goes in peril” to lead to “hot tag sequence” template we get a few “warm” tags instead as both teams trade offense almost equally. Finishers be damned tonight, because both the Tyler Driver 97 and the Seven Stars Lariat get kicked out of. The final sequence of the match got so insane with the near falls it seemed like Kyle O’Reilly could have kicked out of a shotgun blast to the head! Just when it looks like it may be curtains for the Undisputed Era (or yet another O’Reilly kick out at 2 7/8), Strong hits Bate with a knee lift. After a chop block to Seven, Undisputed Era hit a “high / low” to retain the titles.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – The outcome here seemed obvious considering the launch of NXT UK, but at least these four guys put on one Hell of a match. Also, it’s great any time we get to see Bate’s incredible feats of strength and are reminded of just how young he is.
Post-match, Undisputed Era celebrate in the ring – only to turn and be facing the War Raiders. Strong gets dumped and O’Reilly gets hit with a double team. Hanson takes out Strong with a dive to the outside. O’Reilly eats a Fallout back in the ring. No worries, he’ll kick out before three!
Meanwhile, Johnny Gargano is in the locker room and he’s… pacing!
Velveteen Dream’s music hits next. He rises up from a hole in the stage and he is wearing tights with “Call me up Vince” on the ass. No one ever accused Velveteen of being subtle. EC3 is out next. Dream tosses his vest at EC3 before the bell and EC3 tosses it back at him.
Match #2: Velveteen Dream vs. EC3
I expected great things from this match and got just about what I expected. We got a nice call back to the “pool side” vignette when the action goes out of the ring and Dream douses EC3 with a bottle of water. Just a small amount of payback for Dream getting dropped into the pool! EC3 hits some power moves but Dream is able to kick out. Dream can’t convert after hitting a “Dream Valley Driver”, but is later able to position EC3 on the apron to hit said Driver on the apron. Dream follows that up with a Purple Rainmaker to EC3 – also on the apron! That’s enough for Dream to pick up the victory. EC3 is left bloody and without a TakeOver win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Both guys needed a win here, but Dream arguably needed it more. It’ll be interesting to see where EC3 goes from here since it seems like a waste to have him lose all of the time. As for Dream, please don’t call him up yet, Vince. The idea of a 23-year-old (oh hey, Happy Birthday, Velveteen Dream!) on the main roster right now is terrifying when one thinks of the myriad of ways WWE will screw that up. I know he’s been touted as the “next Cena”, but I remember when Bayley was touted the same way and well… she’s not even booked for SummerSlam this year.
Oh, hey there Matt Riddle!
Meanwhile, Ciampa is in the back staring at the NXT Championship.
Next, Ricochet’s music hits and he’s out. Cole enters last and he’s alone.
Match #3: Adam Cole (c) vs. Ricochet (NXT North American Championship Match)
Another classic where we’re reminded just how good these two guys are. Cole’s moment comes when Ricochet shoots himself into the ropes, does a back flip, and Cole hits him perfectly in the neck with a superkick. Ricochet’s moment comes towards the end of the match when he casually runs across the ring, clears the top rope with ease, and hurricanranas Cole to the floor. The whole build to this match was Cole alleging that Ricochet isn’t “special”. Well, that clearly appears to be WWE’s reverse psychology way of saying “Wow, Ricochet is really, really special”. Because he is and this match was just another example of that. Needless to say, after the crazy hurricanrana to the floor spot, Ricochet hits the 630 and becomes the 2nd NXT North American Champion.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – Another spectacular match on what is sizing up to be the best TakeOver ever. Yes, I realize I say that almost every time I do one of these recaps.
Oh, hey there Mark Henry and Kevin Owens!
Next, it’s time for the women’s championship match and Kairi Sane is out first. Shayna’s music hits next and she’s out. This time around the other three MMA Horsewomen (yes, even Ronda!) are at ringside. Hmm. I think seeing that is where I learned my prediction of a Baszler win was not going to come to pass.
Match #4: Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Kairi Sane (NXT Women’s Championship Match)
There was not much build to this match – Hell, there wasn’t much build to Kairi Sane as a character until last week’s show. The total shift in Sane’s persona led me to believe it was too little too late and Baszler would go over strong yet again in Brooklyn. Instead, these two had one Baszler’s more competitive matches under the WWE banner and proved these two have some great in-ring chemistry. Kairi shocks everyone and pulls it out here, but Baszler is protected somewhat as she endures two Insane Elbows and as she said it in her post-match interview “I lost” implying that Kairi didn’t really “win”. True to Baszler’s statement, Sane’s victory doesn’t come from a finisher or a submission – but from rolling through a Kirafuda Clutch attempt and pinning Shayna’s shoulders long enough to pick up the win.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – A brilliant finish to one of the better NXT Women’s Championship matches we’ve seen in a while. Sure, Kairi’s win (while great) didn’t meet the emotional level that Bayley’s win over Sasha Banks had in the first TakeOver Brooklyn. However, I must say that this is the one part of this TakeOver event that actually surprised me.
Now it’s time for the main event. Gargano’s music hits and he’s out first. Ciampa is out to no music.
Match #5: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Johnny Gargano (Last Man Standing Match for the NXT Championship)
An outstanding match – especially when you consider they had to come up with this on just a few weeks notice after planning for a triple threat with Aleister Black. Considering these two just had the Street Fight a few months ago I wondered how they’d make a similar match feel fresh. We did get the expected call backs, but they weren’t gratuitous and it never felt exactly the same. Ciampa pulls up the mat again, but it doesn’t factor into the finish this time. The crutch gets involved in a key moment, but only as a plot device when Ciampa uses it to brace himself getting up to beat the 10 count. Familiar beats were all over this match, but it was never overdone to the point the Last Man Standing match felt like a carbon copy of something we’ve already seen. And, they did mix in some new spots as well. I mean, we get a spot where Ciampa takes out Gargano with a running knee through the barricade and then piles junk (including a WWE production crew person) onto Gargano in an attempt to “bury” him for the ten count. Ciampa gives away the finish part way through the match when slides from the mat to the floor to force himself to stand and thus beat the ten count. The finish sees Gargano beat Ciampa up onto the stage and handcuff him to part of the lighting rig. After kicking him repeatedly and Ciampa actually telling Johnny he was “sorry”, Gargano sets up for one final running strike. Gargano connects, dropping Ciampa, but the follow through sends Johnny flying into a speaker stack. Gargano is now (shoot?) injured and selling a knee injury on the ground. Ciampa is out on the stage. Ciampa manages to fall from the stage, feet first, onto the floor so he’s technically “standing” when the ref’s count hits ten. Ciampa retains. The crowd is speechless.
Verdict: Thumbs Up – These two gave it their all and they clearly are one of the greatest feuds of all time. I’m not sure where we go from here, especially if Gargano is shoot injured, but if this is the end of the story – for now – it’s a solid tale.
Post-match, Ciampa poses over Gargano and officials attempt to help Johnny leave to the back. We linger on Johnny at the ramp for a bit, the copyright logo hits, and Ciampa is back out. But, he only holds up the title again as we fade to black. Nice fake out there, WWE!!