So in addition to Summerslam, there was NXT’s biggest show of all time as they had roughly the same crowd as Summerslam in the same building for Takeover: Brooklyn. As usual I was way more excited for this than for whatever WWE was putting on as NXT actually knows how to build a full card. Let’s get to it.
We opened with HHH introducing us to the show and showing off the huge crowd. It never ceases to amaze me how much cooler HHH is on his own than when he’s on Raw. This feels like the closer thing to a real version of the guy and he’s a lot more enjoyable like this. Also his speech was like two minutes long, not twenty. Do that more on Raw.
The opening was a surprise as Jushin Thunder Liger pinned Tyler Breeze. I’ve been waiting for Breeze to be pushed towards the top of the promotion but Liger getting the win is far from the worst thing in the world. Above all here: I have full confidence in NXT’s ability to build Breeze back up. In WWE, or almost any other promotion for that matter, he would be finished for all intents and purposes. The match was good and Liger is a charisma machine so the fans ate this up.
The Vaudevillains brought in Blue Pants to help deal with Alexa Bliss and finally won the Tag Team Titles. As usual, Blue Pants was the perfect choice (save for maybe Lita) and the place was going insane for this. Bliss has a spot as the insanely petty and stuck up girl who can also be an evil mastermind so once you get her away from a dead end act like Blake and Murphy (they’re fine but this is almost guaranteed to be the peaks of their careers), she could do some awesome stuff.
My biggest takeaway from this match was how hot the crowd was. The match was just good instead of great but the people were all over the near falls. It’s what happens when they’re given a reason to care about something instead of being beaten over the head by the company saying how awesome it is. The Vaudevillains have earned the fans’ respect and they were rewarded for it with a great reaction here. It’s such a simple formula but almost no one gets it.
Apollo Crews debuted and beat Tye Dillinger. There isn’t much to say here but Crews looks like a shorter Ahmed Johnson but with more athletic ability. As long as he doesn’t get caught in bed with his goat lover while doing cocaine off an underage prostitute corpse, he’s going to be fine.
We’re going to have the Dusty Classic Tag Team Tournament. No idea what that is but I fully trust NXT to pull off something cool with it.
In what we’ll call the pleasant surprise of the night, Samoa Joe beat Baron Corbin with the Koquina Clutch. Joe is a likely candidate for the next title shot and this was a very good performance to get him there. This was two power guys beating each other up for ten minutes and it was all entertaining stuff.
I’m going to keep this separate from the next match: Stephanie came out to introduce the next match. Stephanie is officially the annoying mom who doesn’t get that her kids don’t want her around all the time because she’s going to make it all about herself instead of letting the kids have fun. Unfortunately there’s no way around her so we’re stuck with her ego and obsession with being there for every cool moment.
Next up was Bayley challenging Sasha Banks for the Women’s Title. This was good. Go watch it. Seriously what else do you want from me here? I’ll give them this: that sequence of the Bank Statement and the hand stomp is as good of a back and forth as I’ve seen since Benoit vs. Angle in 2003. The post match scene with the Four Horsewomen posing one last time was perfect too.
The main event saw Finn Balor defending the NXT Title against Kevin Owens in a ladder match that shouldn’t have gone on last. It’s a really fun match and all, but there was no way these guys were going to match what we saw beforehand. I’ve heard a lot of people say it wasn’t very good, but I think those opinions might change with this match in a vacuum instead of right after the classic beforehand.
These two ran into the problem that so many have with ladder matches: what else can you do in them? There have been so many ladder matches over the years and it’s almost impossible to come up with something fresh. Still though, they did what they were supposed to do and the match was a success. It just shouldn’t have gone on last, though I understand the mentality behind it.
So yeah, Takeover rocked, because that’s all NXT knows how to do. It’s such a well build promotion with good to great wrestling, well done stories and an assembly line of fresh talent coming in to restock the shelves when these people are taking up to the main show and wasted because Kevin Dunn and company have to teach them how to be wrestlers because of some grudge with HHH or whatever. Awesome show, watch it again, it’s better than Summerslam.
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