SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT TAKEOVER BROOKLYN II PRIMER
AUGUST 19, 2017
BROOKLYN, N.Y. AT BARCLAYS CENTER
By Joey Galizia (@RamJam89), PWTorch contributor
Coming to you from the Barclays Center… it’s NXT Brooklyn 3!!! Can the developmental brand continue its streak of fantastic specials? I have faith that they can. Let’s take a look at tonight’s card as I make my Takeover Predictions.
Hideo Itami vs. Aleister Black
The tale of Hideo Itami continues to become one of the most interesting stories of NXT. When he first debuted back in 2014 he was considered one of the biggest signings for the brand and it looked as if he would race straight to the main event scene. With the addition of superstars like Finn Balor and Kevin Owens, NXT wasn’t looking like a development program anymore. It was becoming revolutionary.
Then injury struck for Hideo… and then another. For over a year he sat on the bench watching NXT catapult to the stars and its superstars achieve massive success on the main roster. Hideo came back with an added fury to his personae, and challenged Bobby Roode to a championship match at Takeover Chicago. A great match, but Hideo couldn’t get the job done. His frustrations with his failures have pushed him to a much more vicious streak. He’s been putting Oney Lorcan to sleep well after the bell and even attacked his buddy Kassius Ohno after a routine match a few weeks back. Hideo may not have found the success in the U.S. like he wanted, but he’s still prepared to do whatever it takes to leave his mark. Unfortunately for him…
His opponent tonight is the deadly Aleister Black, a man whose very presence is threatening enough to throw you off your game. While both men possess a mean striking game, Black has the advantage with how quickly he can hit the Black Mass. Besides, nothing seems like it will derail his eventual NXT Championship shot. As for Hideo, we’ll see where he goes from here.
PICK: ALEISTER BLACK
Andrade Cien Almas vs. Johnny Gargano
The fact that Johnny Gargano is wrestling at all is a statement to his passion for the business. After the events of NXT Chicago a much weaker man would have remained on the shelf, mending a battered body and broken spirit after the betrayal of the century. Johnny Gargano is no normal man though. Fighting is in his blood, and he’s ready to make a run as a singles star.
Andrade has had a disappointing tenure in NXT. I’ve always enjoyed the man’s incredible in-ring talents, but he’s been struggling with an identity crisis. For a while he tried to be the white-meat babyface he assumed everyone wanted before shifting to a man who partied too much and stopped caring about whether he won or lost. Then out of nowhere, Zolita Vega, a woman from Cien’s past showed up. She scolded him for forgetting who he was, and since has rebirthed a competitive nature in the former luchador.
Both of these guys need a win, and it’s a toss up to who they decide to give it too. I’m picking Andrade, simply for the fact that he has someone in his corner for shenanigan purposes. (Or perhaps the interference of a certain Sicilian Psychopath.)
PICK: ANDRADE CIEN ALMAS
SANITY vs. Authors of Pain: NXT Tag Championship
Authors of Pain have decimated every major tag-team thrown in their direction: American Alpha, TM61, DIY, Revival. SANITY is probably too busy focused on beating up Breezango to care enough about the NXT Tag belts.
I would give this one more analysis except it doesn’t really need it since the outcome is pretty apparent. Another chapter will be added to the book of pain.
PICK: AUTHORS OF PAIN
Bobby Roode vs. Drew Mcintyre: NXT Championship
It should be noted that Bobby Roode is having one of the great runs with the NXT Championship. While he may not be on the Finn Balor/Asuka level he has successfully defended his belt over a slew of worthy opponents. However, none of those former opponents match the sheer size and strength of Drew Mcintyre. Drew may have failed as the chosen one all those years ago, but his time in the independent circuit won him the hearts of the wrestling universe, and he seeks to continue his redemption story by claiming NXT’s biggest prize.
What really makes this match sort of interesting? Roderick Strong. Roddy has been DYING to get his hands around the neck of the Bobby Roode ever since the Glorious One made some uncomfortable statements about his wife and child. William Regal guaranteed Strong a matchup against Roode if he could defeat Mcintyre in a singles matchup on this past week’s NXT. However, no winner would emerge since the champ took that opportunity to lay the smackdown on both men.
So does Roddy interfere? My money says no seeing how there is no real benefit for him to do such a thing. Besides, NXT has established it self without throwing screwy finishes into their Takeover specials and I don’t see them doing one in an NXT Title match. If any swerve comes, it could be that they make this match a triple-threat on the spot. Assuming they don’t, I’m going to go with my gut on this one, and say that the big Scotsman takes his prize after landing the big kick.
PICK: DREW MCINTYRE
Asuka vs. Ember Moon: NXT Women’s Championship
I’m picking this one last, because in my mind this is the main event. To say I’m conflicted would be an understatement. I’M STRAIGHT UP ANXIOUS TO WATCH THESE TWO GO AT IT. Asuka has run through this division with a sharp toothed comb and brushed away all her challengers with a ferocious intensity, but she needed to break the rules in order to defeat Ember the last time they fought in Orlando. They were supposed to square off again in a multi-woman match with Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross in Chicago, but Ember was sporting a shoulder injury handed to her by the Empress of Tomorrow and had to sit that one out. Asuka would win in dominant fashion.
So tonight these two goddesses will clash again. Ember has proven that if she hits the Eclipse it will leave the champ on her back, but the trait that makes Asuka so successful is her willingness to adapt to her opponent. That’s why she’s been undefeated for nearly two years. That’s why she is a record breaker. Is it the Empress’s time to move to the main roster? Absolutely. And to do that, she has to pass the torch to the new head of the division.
PICK: EMBER MOON IN DRAMATIC FASHION.
NOW CHECK OUT THIS NXT ARTICLE: NXT TAKEOVER REPORT 5/20: Ongoing coverage of event headlined with Itami vs. Roode live from Chicago