Holy S#!* – NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III

Sometimes you ask yourself if it’s possible for NXT to one up themselves, even as they seem to consistently do it, and even in the midst of asking the question, you are in the middle of watching them do it one more time.  NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III lived up to every ounce of expectation set by its predecessors and then some.  So let’s not waste time, let’s talk about how they accomplished it.

Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Johnny Gargano via pinfall

You want to kick off an NXT show and get the crowd going, opening the show with Johnny Gargano and the “Johnny Wrestling” chant had the crowd by the balls, and the show didn’t let up for two hours.  These two went back and forth in one of the most amazingly fast paced matches I’ve ever seen.  It was, as Jeremy mentioned, a “barn burner”.  In the end, Gargano would eat a loss here on distraction by Almas’s manager Vega, who threw a DIY shirt at Gargano as he was setting up for the kill shot.  Won’t hurt his momentum, just always important to toss little reminders of the DIY breakdown in periodically so the commentary team has a few opportunities teed up for them.

These two worked so well together I almost wish there was a logical way for them to wrestle every time I turn on an NXT show.  Jeremy has already got this one in his short list for match of the year.  I can’t argue with it.  It feels like every time Gargano is part of anything at a Takeover it goes that way.  TakeOver: Toronto is still one of my all time favorite matches.

SAnitY (Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe) are your new NXT Tag Team Champions

Yes, they threw us a curveball here, as the entire SAnitY crew was on hand for the entrance and involved in the pre-match brawl.  But when the match finally got underway and Wolfe went to make his first tag, it was Young who was standing on the apron to receive it and not Dain.  I’m totally cool with this, as I was having a bit of trouble wrapping my head around Killian going from a Number One Contenders opportunity right into the tag team championship match here.

Also, let’s take a minute to point out just how good Nikki Cross is at her job.  She took a big bump through a table here, but we’ve seen her do that before.  She just plays her role so well.  I hope she stays in the Women’s Championship picture going forward, especially now that Sanity has broken the seal and gotten themselves some gold.

Following the match, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly (team ReDRagon) emerged from the crowd and laid waste to everyone anywhere close to the ring before disappearing back through the NXT Universe from whence they came.

Aleister Black gets his ass kicked, but lands Black Mass Outta Nowhere for the win

I don’t know if I’ve said it out loud, but I find Hideo Itami incredibly boring.  Granted, I have limited experience with his as he’s been injured a significant portion of my time with NXT, but he’s just nothing special to me.  That said, I finally started to see shades of what people kept telling me.  Itami can be great, both with his ring work and his ring psychology.

It didn’t take long before Aleister Black was bleeding heavily from his nose, but they let them continue.  It wasn’t Samoa Joe in Dallas bad.  Itami carried the vast majority of the offense in this one, but that’s become pretty common of late for these Aleister Black matches.  He takes a bit of a beating but then he lands Black Mass for the kill, just as he did here.

This match was a little bit slower than Gargano-Almas, and nowhere near the chaos of SAnitY-AoP, but it was still a pretty good showing from these two.

Things to watch:  JR is on Commentary.  Falcon Arrow off the top rope.  Aleister Black recharging with a sit up like he was channeling The Undertaker.

I guess Asuka will be Women’s Champion forever, as she retains here

In a match where Ember Moon gets suplexed onto the entrance ramp, we also saw Asuka work varying submission maneuvers on the previously injured arm of Ember like she was Dean Malenko.  It’s easy to look at Women’s Hell in a Cell and No Disqualification matches like we’ve seen and think they’d have to do some kind of gimmick to have the same effect.  In a way, you’re right.  There wasn’t a giant steel cage involved, but sometimes it’s really great to see the women get to legitimately wrestle.  They train right alongside the men, so for these two to work a match where they trade submission moves is great.

The story here was the ending sequence though, as we saw false finish after false finish.  Asuka kicked out following an Eclipse.  The referee caught Asuka attempting to cheat with a handful of tights.  Asuka kicked out after a Superkick.  Then she played possum to draw Ember in for an armbar.  When Ember spun it into a pin attempt, Asuka spun out of it into the Asuka lock again and finally picked up the tap out.  That was chaos, and I loved it.  I don’t necessarily think I like the ending, but I very much enjoyed all that controlled chaos to close it out.  No, it wasn’t a Banks-Bayley, but it was a damn fine showing out of these two great athletes.

A new Champion, and a new roster member

Bobby Roode isn’t the only one who can get a grand entrance, as Drew McIntyre is is played out by a Celtic Marching Band, bagpipes and all.

This was a slower paced match than anything else on this card through the first half, but that doesn’t mean it was without it’s bigger spots, and picked way up as it kept going.  I bet it’s tough for these bigger guys to have to close out a card like this, with such fast pace and chaos and excitement throughout, when you’re used to working long, slower matches.

I’m glad Mauro called them out on it, because Bobby Roode did the exact same thing that Asuka did and played dead in the middle of the ring to draw McIntyre in.  He didn’t get the win during that sequence, but still.  It just happened guys.

McIntyre would later land a diving flip over the top rope to the outside.  Roode would avoid a second Claymore and land a Glorious DDT for a two count.  Roode would land a second Glorious DDT, and rather than going for the pin, he lifted McIntyre to attempt a third, taking a headbutt and a second Claymore for his troubles, and Drew McIntyre is your new NXT Champion.

Celebration wouldn’t last long though, as just like with the new tag champions Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly would emerge again to lay waste, this time accompanied by the much anticipated Adam Cole.  The show closed with Adam Cole holding McIntyre’s newly claimed title, and the three of them standing tall in the ring.

Final Thoughts

This was another great NXT TakeOver event.  I am actually surprised that the one belt I expected to change hands is the only one that didn’t, but that’s cool.  I love surprises.  Really excited for Summerslam tomorrow night, but I’m pretty sure Gargano-Almas is going down as match of the weekend.