METZGER’S MARCH-THROUGH – “NXT Takeover: Brooklyn” delivers Joe vs. Nakamura, plus Gloriousness…


Metzger’s Marchthrough – “NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II”
August 20, 2016
Aired Live on WWE Network
Report by Mike Metzger (@md0uble), PWTorch contributor

1 – AUSTIN ARIES beat NO WAY JOSE

Hot opener. Aries did his thing right away with some cowardly heel tactics, before he began picking apart Jose. Aries winning was a surprise to me, as I thought he was destined for the role of a good hand that has solid matches with the true main roster prospects. The crowd reaction proved that the “indy darlings” will continue to overshadow the more desirable WWE big men, but NXT seems to have anticipated that as they matched-up Aries and Hideo Itami afterward. (***)

2 – EMBER MOON beat BILLIE KAY

The crowd didn’t seem to be as familiar with these women as they are with other indy stars. They did seem to favor Moon over Kay, so at least NXT is on the right track with their positioning. Ember’s finisher was very impressive. The fact that it came out of nowhere put an exclamation point on it. Not a bad match by any means, but just too short for a non-squash match. (*3/4)

3 – BOBBY ROODE beat ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS

With one ring entrance, NXT has made Bobby Roode more interesting than he ever was in 13+ years with TNA. This match was very similar to the opener in that the crowd was heavily behind the former TNA star, despite Roode clearly being positioned as the heel going into it. The match felt like standard fare for Roode, until the later portions when Almas hit some aerial offense. Successful debut for Roode, although the match quality didn’t live up to NXT: Takeover standards, in my opinion. (**1/2)

4 – THE REVIVAL (SCOTT DAWSON & DASH WILDER) beat JOHNNY GARGANO & TOMMASO CIAMPA to retain the NXT Tag Team Titles

Opening moments had an old-school feel. Things picked up when Gargano and Ciampa took to the air around the 5:00 mark. It soon broke into the traditional tag formula, the positives of which were accentuated by small touches like Ciampa and Gargano extending their fingers to try and make the tag. Gargano has a huge following, and could fit that Sami Zayn/Finn Balor archetype that NXT pushes to the top of its cards. The false finish where Ciampa had Dawson in the armbar brought this match to another level. It only got better from there, and the crowd heat was the icing on the cake. (****)

5 – ASUKA beat BAYLEY to retain the NXT Women’s Title

They went for an injury bump early to draw sympathy for Bayley. Asuka was relentless in targeting the face and head of Bayley afterward, which was good storytelling. Things picked up as Asuka and Bayley traded a hip attack and a running knee, respectively. They recovered quickly from a botched spot with some compelling submission drama. When all was said and done, they worked hard to get to three-stars, but this didn’t live up to the high standard set in previous NXT Takeover women’s matches. (***)

6 – SHINSUKE NAKAMURA beat SAMOA JOE to capture the NXT Title

This had “big fight feel” written all over it. Joe had Nakamura’s number early-on. This was very different from a typical WWE main event-style match, as both men relied on strong-style and MMA-like offense throughout the match. I wasn’t sure if the crowd was sitting on their hands and waiting for highspots, or if they were just captivated by the hard-hitting action in the later portion of the match. Regardless, this match delivered and sent the fans home happy. (****1/4)

FINAL REAX

It was a gamble to open the show with the ode to NXT Takeover: Brooklyn I, as that was a landmark event that may never be topped. While this show didn’t surpass its predecessor, this was still pro wrestling at its best- elaborate entrances with larger than life characters who are fighting for glory and championships. The first hour was just-okay, as NXT needs to rebuild its undercard. The second half of the show more than made up for it, though. Despite Asuka-Bayley not living up to Sasha-Bayley from last year, I think it helped the main event because the show didn’t peak too early like it did last year. Fun show that was to-the-point and worth watching. (8.0)

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