8/20 NXT Takeover – James’s Report on Joe vs. Nakamura, changing of the guard; Overall Reax


WWE NXT Takeover Report
August 20, 2016
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Report by Justin James, PWTorch NXT reviewer

Pre-event video takes us back to Brooklyn a year ago. Shots of the various wrestlers sitting in interview chairs, reminiscing on a year ago. Nice package to establish “Takeover: Brooklyn” as a yearly event with as much meaning as at least the Royal Rumble as a “not quite WrestleMania” event, particularly with the imagery of the “II” in the logo. 15,671 is the attendance that Tom Philips claims.

The booking for this event is going to be a real trick. None of the champions have had the length of reign that NXT likes to have before changing titles. In two of the non-title matches we have an obvious “needs to win” heel. At the same time, the challengers and non-title faces really need big wins. The only obvious match here is Ember Moon vs. Billie Kay.

Video packages remind us why Austin Aries and No Way Jose are fighting.


Aries takes Jose down, then embarrasses him, then mocks him. Aries runs to the ropes to avoid retaliation, then holds out a hand. Jose smiles, takes the hand, then slaps Aries, then takes Aries down and gives him some payback. This crowd is very big on Aries, no shock. Aries grabs the ropes to avoid the baseball punch. Big right sends Aries outside the ring, then a double axe handle from the apron sends Aries up the ramp to run. Jose chases Aries back to the ring. Aries tries to climb the barricade. Aries begs for mercy, but eats boots.

Back elbow from the corner caches Jose. They tangle on the turnbuckle, then Aries hot-shots Jose on the ropes from the top. Aries with pitbull offense on Jose. Flying elbow to Jose’s neck gets a two count for Aries. Leaping elbow drop drops Jose for two. Jose with rights to rally, then throws Aries over the top rope. Jose tosses Aries through the air. Sudden suplex, Last Chancery, but Jose crawls to the topes and makes it.

Jose ducks a rolling elbow, hits a TKO for a nearfall. Jose tries the spinning full nelson slam but Aries shifts his weigh to send Jose through the ropes and follows with a suicide drive. Neck breaker through the ropes and Jose is reeling into a corner. Dropkick, Jose blocks a brainbuster and hits one of his own for a super-close nearfall.

Jose wants the full nelson slam, but Aries escapes. Rolling elbow, but Jose counters with the baseball pitch. Full nelson slam try, Aries into the corner, another attempt, Aries shifts it. Dropkick in the corner gives Aries a two count. Aries to the top, Jose clobbers him with a big punch. Jose looks for a superplex but Aries is fighting. Aries with a sunset flip powerbomb, rolls over into the Last Chancery for the win.

WINNER: Austin Aries in 10:39. Aries just gave No Way Jose the Gift of Jericho. Aries made Jose look like a mega-face, they had good chemistry in the ring, and had some sweet nearfalls without needing to kick out of finishers.

Post-match, Aries snaps and attacks Jose again, slipping on the Last Chancery. Hideo Itami’s music is enough to cause Aries to break the hold. Itami struts out on a suit, Aand ries seems to invite him into the ring. Aries with a kick as Itami removes his jacket. Itami weathers it then goes on the attack. Stiff kick to Aries’s head, and the crowd calls for the Go To Sleep. Itami nails it. Goosebumps. Itami has caught fire big time and Aries-Itami will be a super solid match. Great for them to save the GTS for Takeover.

Ric Flair is shown in the front row.

Backstage, Samoa Joe is shown warming up. Shinksuke Nakamura is warming up with Kota Ibushi and Funaki in the back.

Ember Moon with a lot of energy on her entrance as Graves plays her up. She has red contacts in.

2 – EMBER MOON (f/k/a Athena) vs. BILLIE KAY

Lock-up and they demonstrate some wrestling. Crucifix from Ember Moon, but Kay won’t fall down and knocks her off. Kay gets vicious with a brawling offense. Springboard cross-body gets Ember Moon one. A kick-out frustrates Kay, who punches Kay around on the mat. Kay wants a powerbomb or Styles Clash or something, but Ember Moon blocks.

Kay with the Widow’s Peak, and Graves name-drops Victoria. Ember Moon starts to pry out, but Kay throws herself backwards. Cover for two, then re-covers for two. Ember Moon rolls up Kay for one. Kay wants a Samoan Drop, but Ember Moon pries herself out. Ember Moon heads to the top, then hits a flying/spinning stunner or neckbreaker from the top ends it.

WINNER: Ember Moon at 4:32. Not sure what to make of that. Billie Kay got a lot more offense than I expected, and looked pretty good. I like Ember Moon in the ring, but I have real doubt on the presentation.

“Earlier today” – Bobby Roode gets out of a limo but gets ambushed with an interview. New York City is his type of town, but not Brooklyn, which is a dump. Brooklyn gets to experience a night where Roode takes NXT to the “next level” and makes it glorious.

[ J.J.’s Reax: I swear, all of this “next level” talk is a subtle dig at TNA from Roode. ]

Replay of the Almas-Roode video package from Wednesday’s NXT.

Roode emerges in a robe, standing on a massive pedestal on the top of the ramp. The whole crowd is singing his song. The pedestal slowly lowers. Huge reception for Roode in heel-friendly Brooklyn. Weak response for Almas, sadly.


“This is glorious” from the crowd. Maybe Brooklyn was the wrong place to debut Roode. Roode looks cocky at the chants. Roode puts Almas to the mat then gives us a “Glorious!” “Bob-by Roode” to the New Day rhythm. Graves calls Roode a “gentrification project for NXT.”

More gloating from Roode, then he hides in the corner. Almas forces him back into the corner, but Roode take a ref break to land a cheap shot. Roode throws Almas into the ropes, but Almas hammocks there. Roode want to duck under Almas, but Almas hits a low dropkick. Almas continues to frustrate Roode, finally getting a positive reaction. Roode into the ropes to knock Almas off, then on the attack.

Delayed vertical suplex gets Roode a two count. “Let’s go glorious!” in the crowd. Almas finally rallies. Roode to the second ropes, but a springboard enzigui knocks him down, then a springboard corkscrew plancha to the outside. Top rope spinning crossbody for a nearfall on Roode. Wheelbarrow DDT gets two on Roode.

Almas fires up, but Roode bounces out of the corner with a big clothesline for a nearfall. Roode looks for a superplex, but Almas elbows out. Roode tries again, but Almas flips over, hits a suplex of his own, and bridges for a super close nearfall.

Almas wants a springboard moonsault, but Roode dodges, he flips over again, and Roode gets knees up. Almas rolls through a cover for a nearfall. They trade bombs, Almas drives Roode to the corner. Running double knees, but Roode punches way from the hammerlock DDT. Almas with a big boot, but he runs into a spinebuster. Roode calls for the end, then hits the “Glorious Bomb” for the win.

WINNER: Bobby Roode in 10:26. Really well executed match that lacked emotional impact. Combine a debuting heel getting cheered, a face who has never really cut a promo, and a feud started two weeks ago and there just is no way to connect to the match.

Vignette of people rioting, people in NBC suits, and the word “Sanity.”

Backstage, Triple H introduces the CWC trophy made by the Orange County Choppers team and they all talk about it. Triple H talks up the trophy and why they wanted this to be special. It will be presented live September 14. Some of the CWC folks are on the front row as well as the Orange County Choppers team.

Quick backstage with Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. Package on The Revival retaking the titles and dominating the Tag Team division. Then, Ciampa and Gargano’s NXT history.


Dawson and Ciampa with a very physical lock-up. Dawson starts to work the arm, then Ciampa reverses. Dawson can’t get the tag. Huge chop from Dawson, but he has to duck a shot from Ciampa. The crowd is behind Ciampa. Dawson risks a count out to annoy Ciampa. Kick to the middle instead of a test of strength from Dawson. Super physical match here, these guys are going to be bruised bad. Dawson gets double teamed. Wilder holds onto Dawson to keep him from being dragged to the corner, then legally tags in.

Gargano and Wilder tussle. Low dropkick gains only one for Gargano. Bodyslam, but Wilder sells his arm and tags Dawson. Gargano grounds Dawson with an armbar. Back elbow puts Gargano on the mat hard. Wilder in, Gargano avoids being thrown into Dawson. The Revival wants an illegal double team, so Ciampa comes in to even the score. Indies style “do the rules matter?” moment. Wilder rolls outside, then plays opossum after tagging Dawson so Dawson can ambush Ciampa. Brutal work from The Revival. Double team gets two on Ciampa.

Ciampa fights out of the corner, but Dawson knees him out of the corner. Ciampa slides down for two Wilder interferes, Dawson keeps Gagano off the apron, double team suplex for a nearfall. Dawson and Wilder are so good at playing the heel team. Jawbreaker breaks Ciampa free of Wilder, but Wilder grabs his arm, then finally takes him back to the corner.

Body scissors and Dawson grinds his arm into Ciampa’s face. Wilder pretends to fall into the ring to distract the ref, so he misses a tag to Gargano. Double team move gets a nearfall. Ciampa is struggling to get to his feet. He fires up in Dawson’s face and takes a lariat. Dawson clears Gargano from the apron. Ciampa sends Dawson onto the turnbuckle, and finally makes the tag.

Hot tag action from Gargano as he packs his entire arsenal into what feels like ten seconds. Gargano kicks Wilder from the apron, spear through the ropes to Dawson, cover, nearfall. The crowd is going nuts. Blind tag to Wilder, DDT from Dawson, Wilder covers, and nearfall.

Ciampa stops a double team. Tag, and Ciampa with an armbar to Dawson. Gargano tries to keep Wilder out of the ring, fails, and Wilder breaks up the tag. They want a double team suplex on Ciampa, Gargano with a spear, and Ciampa covers for a nearfall. Double count from the ref.

Ciampa and Dawson trade blows. This crowd loves Ciampa. Slap, then a high-knee, but Dawson retaliates. Shatter Machine, Gargano with a superkick, nearfall, Ciampa kicks Wilder, and they hit their team kick finisher, but Wilder has a foot on the ropes. Everyone in the building thought it was over.

Gargano is bleeding from the mouth. Dawson takes the double team, and Wilder alone in the ring. Dawson stops a double team and posts Ciampa, distracts Gagano so Wilder can hit a chopblock. Tag to Dawson. Dawson holds Gargano’s knee, then Wilder lands right on it. Reverse figure four from Dawson. Gargano is a mess of a sight bleeding from his mouth and screaming until he taps.

WINNERS: The Revival in 19:08. That was an amazing match. The Revival are such a great heel team, with all of their mannerisms. I love how they shout instructions at each other from the apron. And they really cheat in every way possible. Such a good team.

Post-match, The Revival cheer up the ramp as Ciampa and Gargano recover in the ring. This feels like a “heading to Raw” or “leaving NXT” ending. Ciampa has to hold the ropes for Gargano, who can barely walk.

Sasha Banks is shown in the front, then Becky Lynch. Charlotte is in a different part of the crowd, coming off as very not heelish.

Replay of Wednesday’s video package on Asuka-Bayley. This match is the toughest booking of the night and it will depend on if Bayley is going to the main roster or not. Bayley is getting stale on NXT, and another title match loss will be a problem for her. But Asuka just seems so incredibly unstoppable. A heel turn would freshen up Bayley but that should be saved for the main roster, if ever.

Somehow Izzy managed to get her FSU corner spot in Brooklyn. Bayley seems to have her big match jitters out. Huge reaction for Bayley, of course. But Asuka gets just as big of a reaction. Upgraded entrance for Asuka as she trails cloth. Very cool visual here. Bayley gets her game face on. Crowd noise is 50/50 here.

5 – NXT Women’s Champion ASUKA vs. BAYLEY – NXT Women’s Championship match

Pacing, lock-up, a break. Lock-up, then armbar attempt, break. The crowd is exploding. Test of strength, then Bayley with a schoolgirl for one. Another cover for one, and a third for one. Clothesline in the corner shifts the pace. Bayley wants a turnaround cross-body, but eats a knee straight to the nose. Bayley rolls out of the ring clutching her nose as Asuka laughs at her. Bayley jumps in the ring and takes immediate battering from Asuka.

Hip attack in the corner, and Asuka looks so cocky. Asuka eventually covers for two. Bayley smashes Asuka’s face into the turnbuckle but Asuka turns it around. The tussle on the apron, Asuka gets the upper hand and kicks her head through the ropes, then does it again and covers for two. Asuka is just destroying Bayley here. Bayley gets her face smashed over and over, hulks up, and returns the favor.

Suplex followd by the diving elbow, then diving clothesline, and a knee drop for two. Bayley does the wiggle, hits the back elbow. Asuka with an elbow, hip attack but Bayley was luring her in, dodges, and Asuka gets stuck in the ropes. Bayley capitalizes with a cross-body for two. Bayley heads up as Asuka recovers. Bayley kicks Asuka away, whiffs a cross-body, and eats a Shining Wizard in response.

Asuka thinks superplex, but Bayley slips through and sets up a Tree of Woe, hits an elbow drop into a two count. They fight from their knees, to their feet. Clothesline cuts off a hip attack, then a hip attack connects, Bayley with a running knee. Bayley gets tripped, then Asuka wants a stretch muffler, but can’t get it in. They trade covers. Ankle lock from Asuka. It is in deep. Bayley can’t roll away. She kicks free. Huge right sends Bayley down. Yes! kick to Bayley, but she catches one, screams at Asuka to hit her in the face and gets it. Backslide for a nearfall for Bayley. Forearms and forearms from Bayley. Asuka takes it all, wants a kick, it gets caught, then Bayley’s leg collapses.

Bayley with a face-first powerslam, then a slow cover for two. Asuka Lock attempt, but Bayley is near the ropes. Asuka has it now mid-ring. Bayley fades out. She screams and sits up, the crowd is exploded. Bayley elbows out. Bayley to belly, kick-out at two-and-a -half! Sasha and Becky in the background bought the nearfall.

Bayley to belly attempt, but Asuka transitions to an Asuka Lock. Bayley gets to her feet, but Asuka brings her down, and Bayley transitions into a cover for two. Bayley slaps Asuka, who responds with the knockout roundhouse, then with a kick to a kneeling Bayley for the end.

WINNER: Asuka in 14:09. That was a sick, physical, brutal, and intense match. Asuka just did not hold back one bit.

Post-match, Asuka approaches Bayley, then drags her to her feet. They hug it out. Bayley looks shattered. “Thank you Bayley” from the crowd, and long shots from the top of the arena emphasize the “goodbye” vibe. Bayley gets her headband back outside and hugs Sasha and Becky, then Charlotte. Then her mom. Then Izzy, who is just torn up. Bayley definitely seems to be on her way out.

Video package on Joe – Nakamura. Reminders of what Joe can do. Nakamura is so exciting.

Mick and Noelle Foley are in the audience, and so is Finn Balor.

Live violin player on the ramp plays some frantic music. Which leads to Shinsuke Nakamura’s music, played by the violin player. Pure excitement here. Goosebumps watching. Super extended entrance for Nakamura. No special entrance for Joe, other than him talking himself up to the camera. The ref has to work hard to keep the separated before the introductions, thanks to Nakamura’s mind games.

6 – NXT champion SAMOA JOE vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA – NXT Championship match

They pace the ring a bit as the crowd sings Nakamura’s song. Lock-up, then Joe easily gets Nakamura to the corner. Test of strength, they break and trade kicks. Nakamura tries a takedown, and succeeds. They wrangle on the mat, then Joe tries to force a cover and Nakamura seems to want a triangle. They break. Joe uses his strength to win the mat game. Nakamura finally gets out of the wristlock. Nakamura wants a cover but Joe is too fast. Lock-up, Joe goes for a side headlock. Nakamura grabs the nose to get Joe to the corner, break, Nakamura tries the head to the middle routine. Knees back Joe into the corner until the ref breaks it. Vibration kicks.

Joe rolls to the outside. He grabs Nakamura’s legs and drags him outside the ring, they smash each other into the apron. They trade hard shots outside. Nakamura gets rolled in at 8. Nakamura with knees, but Joe whips him into the corner, enziguri but no cover. Joe gloats. Pele kick from the apron knocks Joe down, running knee to the face, then Joe dodges a knee drop on the apron and Nakamura sells the knee. Suicide dive from Joe creams Nakamura.

Slow cover in the ring gets Joe two. Nakamura tries to rally but Joe cuts him off, big elbow drop for two. Joe with a hold on Nakamura and working the arm. Nakamura gets to the ropes. A kne finally breaks Nakamura free but Joe attacks the knee, powerbomb into a cover, two, Liontamer, transitions into a crossface. Nakamura isn’t tapping, rolls over into a cover for two. Enziguri off the mat stagger Joe. Joe with a sick kick, then Nakamua responds with his double roundhouse, ref starts a double count.

They get up at 4. Nakamura clobbers Joe to the mat, then sends him to the corner. Shinsuke manages to drape Joe across the ropes, knee to the middle. Nakamura wants the exploder, but Joe gets away. Joe hits an Atomic Drop, but whiffs a senton. Nakamura responds with a guillotine, but he can’t lock it in. Joes gets up, collapses, Nakamura drops knees to the head. Nakamura runs into the one arm sllam but it looked weak. Nakamura sells head damage as Joe looks evil. Joe wants the Muscle Buster, but Nakamura fends him off, jumping kick to Joe and they are both down.

They trade bombs. Huge left sends Nakamura flying upside down, Joe wants it again, Nakamura catches the arm for a cross arm breaker but Joe locks hands. Nakamura transitions to a triangle. Joe folds into a cover for one, then a crab, but Nakamura reaches the ropes.

Conquina clutch, but Nakamura backs into the corner. Clutch again back to the corner, but Nakamura flips out and takes a knee for a nearfall. Joe immediately lands elbows, clutch again, but Nakamura gets a foot to the ropes. Joe sets up the Muscle Buster but Nakamura is fighting from the top. Headbutts, Nakamura off, and Nakamura hits a German suplex. Nakamura fires up, Joe beats the Kinshashe with a scoop slam for a tight nearfall.

Jow lands strikes in the corner, enziguri, and Musclebuster mid-ring. One, two, no three, and Nakamura is still somehow in the match. Nakamura is rolling around mid-ring trying to revive himself. Musclebuster again, but Nakamura escapes. Kinshase, but Joe kicks out, and sells his jaw. Nakamura with the knee to the back of the neck. Kinshase again! Cover, new champ!

WINNER: Shinsuke Nakamura in 21:12 to capture the NXT Title. Wow. So much better than Joe’s matches against Finn Balor. They had so much chemistry and didn’t do it as the usual big man vs. little man match.

Final Reax: This Takeover will be well remembered in history as a top event, and compares well with the original Takeover Brooklyn. All three title matches were excellent in their own right and in their own way. With Nakamura as champion, Joe can go to the main roster, and free some space in the men’s division for some of the newer talent.

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