Kairi Sane vs. Aliyah: Right before the match started, Shayna Baszler came out and joined the commentating team as Kairi Sane put on a clinic sending a message to the NXT Women’s champion in anticipation of their match at Takeover: Brooklyn 4. This was really evident at the end of the match when Sane gave Aliyah three Insane Elbows, the last time she stopped the count herself really setting Baszler off. Sane then put Aliyah in an Anchor submission move showing Baszler that she is skilled in submission moves herself. This all served well as it continued the momentum going into Saturday’s match. The build of this rivalry culminating in this rubber match (it’s great to see Baszler emphasizing that she has beaten Sane since her loss to her at the Mae Young Classic) to where now the championship is at stake. This will definitely be a match to watch.
The “Special Edition” of WWE Now: This was an entertaining segment of whodunit due to the mysterious attack on Aleister Black. This attack lead to the main event now being a Last Man Standing match between Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano. One funny aspect was when the possible suspects that could have performed this attack, it was basically everyone who was there in the arena that night. It seems that with this storyline, Aleister Black will remain on the roster and not be moving up to the main roster any time soon. It’s time for him to move on, actually been overdue so hopefully this eventual feud will be his last.
Tomasso Ciampa-Johnny Gargano Segment: This segment served as “closing argument” so to say between these two best friends to their feud that now has the NXT Championship at stake. It showcased the quest of Johnny Gargano trying to get back to the person that he was by defeating the person that was responsible for his change all the while trying to save the NXT universe from a diabolical madman. This is what super hero stories are made of and it is only fitting because Gargano is NXT’s super hero. But every super hero has an arch nemesis and this is what Ciampa is, the evil villain that strives and continue to cause chaos and spread havoc. The segment told that story well as Ciampa relished in the accomplishment of winning the championship and Gargano has not, saying, “Boy, I done passed you…” This match is another installment to a great feud that not once has been a letdown, neither in match quality or storytelling. There is no telling where this could go after Saturday, but it might be time to bring it to a close. Every great thing comes to an end and in the long run, it might be good as Ciampa can begin to become his own person outside of the feud with Gargano.
Tyler Bate vs. Roderick Strong: Great match with nonstop striking action. There was no love lost as they battled from the onslaught of the bell being rung. Bate truly showed that he could hold his own with moves that were both based in speed and power. Roderick Strong was good as well with his usual magnificent display of backbreakers and well timed horrendous chops. Kyle O’Reilly tried to lend a hand during the match but was thwarted by Trent Seven, leading to what could have been anticipated in a distraction to Bate and he would lose, but he ended up picking up the win in the end, creating great momentum for Mustache Mountain for their tag team championship match against the Undisputed Era in Brooklyn.
Solid go home show that served its purpose in building anticipation for Takeover: Brooklyn 4. We also saw the Street Profits pick up the win against the Mighty as they continued to solidify the second tier of the tag team division. Velveteen Dream and EC3 came to blows during the Dream’s segment with the Top 1% getting the upper hand. Also a great video segment of Adam Cole and Ricochet to which promises to be a great match as well. Great episode that sets up for Saturday. In the meantime, I wanted to list some of my predictions for this Takeover, as seen below:
- Velveteen Dream vs. EC3: This one is hard as both men need a win, but I am going to go with the Velveteen Dream as I think he is in need of a win more and EC3 has been getting the better of him as of late, so it’s only fitting.
- Adam Cole vs. Ricochet (North American Championship): This is going to be a great match, possibly the match of the night depending on the main event between Ciampa and Gargano. I see Adam Cole picking up the win with possible shenanigans involved that will help to continue the feud. Cole is too hot right now to take the belt off of him at this time and a win of this caliber will strengthen his reign as champion. This is not to take away from Ricochet, but he can take the loss at this moment, possibly becoming champion down the line.
- Mustache Mountain vs. Undisputed Era (NXT Tag Team Championship): Undisputed Era will retain, once again, too hot right now to change the titles.
- Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler (NXT Women’s Championship): This will be a great match as well, but I can see Shayna Baszler retaining, setting up a future feud with Bianca Belair down the line.
- Johnny Gargano vs. Tomasso Ciampa (Last Man Standing Match for the NXT Championship): This is a hard one to pick as well, but I will go with Johnny Gargano winning the championship, but this one could go either way as there are great potential storylines for both as they move forward with other challengers on the roster because it is time to end this feud (for now at least) and this rubber match for the title is the best way.