Saturday night, NXT returned to Brooklyn for SummerSlam weekend for its landmark TakeOver series. The event, which is the equivalent of a pay-per-view in main roster standards, features the best and brightest talent in NXT, and many of the bouts are championship matches.
In the main event, Shinsuke Nakamura completed his ascension to the top of the ladder in taking the NXT Championship off Samoa Joe in a Match of the Year contender. It was yet another classic including the “King of Strong Style” and was the crown on top of a successful, awesome NXT Takeover event. It continues to show why NXT is the best brand in wrestling today.
Asuke and the Revival were able to defend their titles in their respective matches. Asuka fended off Bayley in a marvelous match, while the Revival won an exciting, back-and-forth affair against Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa. Both matches helped add to the great event that TakeOver Brooklyn II was.
Plus, Bobby Roode and Ember Moon made successful debuts, in addition to Austin Aries earning a win in the opening match.
With that, let’s hand out the awards from NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II and make some notes and observations from the event.
Wrestler of the Night: Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura is your new NXT Champion and did so by cashing in another phenomenal performance. Nakamura has come into his own on NXT and is proving that WWE’s past indiscretions with Japanese performers in the company is just that, in the past. They are treating Nakamura as the star he is, and the more he puts in matches like this, the more his star power will shine. He is the guy people will be talking about on a weekend that includes SummerSlam. That’s important and special.
Match of the Night: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe
I hate to give one guy both awards, but it is necessary here. I do that because it’s necessary to recognize Samoa Joe as well. As good as the other matches on this card were, none held a candle to Joe-Nakamura. It was a stiff, bone-rattling match that saw both guys take each other’s biggest shots and hand them right back. Both men told a story in the ring and had great animosity throughout. It is another Match of the Year candidate to include Nakamura.
Notes and Observations
Austin Aries vs. No Way Jose
- No Way Jose is way over in NXT, but can that translate to the main roster? Guys like him fizzle when brought to the main roster. If he can maintain the aggression that he’s had in this Austin Aries feud and mix it with his fun-loving personality, he has a chance to succeed.
- Austin Aries really does play the sniveling heel extremely well. He would be a massive addition to the main roster. The crowd loves him, but he is so good at getting them against him.
- That suicide dive by Aries was nasty. I went through the first and second ropes and absolutely torched Jose. A lot of guys who do the suicide dive don’t make it look nearly as effective.
- I am happy they decided to have Aries go over. I like this version of No Way Jose, but Aries needs to be established as a top guy. That was a great match to start off Takeover with.
- What a great way to end that segment. Hideo Itami coming out to save Jose, laying out Aries and hitting the Go to Sleep was amazing. Aries and Itami are going to have an amazing match down the road.
Ember Moon vs. Billie Kay
- Ember Moon is very athletic. That’s a great quality to have, seeing as a lot of the women in WWE are not as athletic as they are good looking. Moon is both. Not only that, but she can work. She is going to catch on quickly in NXT, especially since the NXT women’s division is in rebuilding mode.
- WHAT!??! That top rope stunner from Ember Moon was insane! That was one of the coolest finishing maneuvers I have seen in a long time. That’s going to be her signature going down the line.
Bobby Roode vs. Andrade Almas
- Bobby Roode’s entrance was pretty awesome. Having him above the crowd, especially because he sees them as below him figuratively, is a nice touch. The problem is that he’s a heel that they love, just like Aries. But again, he’s so good he can get the crowd against him.
- If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: Andrade Almas needs new entrance attire. He looks like Latin Godfather. At least he lose the suspenders.
- That rope-assisted corkscrew plancha by Almas was awesome. He needs to do more stuff like that to get over with the fans, since he obviously can’t do it with his words (doesn’t speak English). Even more impressive, he landed on his feet. Also, that straight jacket German suplex with the bridge was also impressive.
- That was a great debut for Roode, but I think he needs a different finisher. That Pump Handle Slam was not that impressive. I’d rather him use the Spinebuster as his finisher. It has a lot more impact and it can be more spontaneous.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: The Revival (c) vs. Tomasso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano
- The Revival are a great old school heel team. That’s what make them so fun to watch. I also loved how when they made their entrance, Scott Dawson pushed Tommaso Ciampa off the turnbuckle. It’s little things like that which make them a good heel team.
- Johnny Gargano’s through-the-rope spear into the ring is always cool. Even with a minimal amount of momentum, it still looks better than Edge’s spear, which was a finishing move by the way.
- I have to give credit where credit is due. Some of the best tag team matches of 2016 have involved The Revival. Their matches with American Alpha were amazing, and this match with Gargano and Ciampa was no exception. They put on a great tag team match. The near falls and false finishes made things even more crazy. The crowd was electric for this one.
- Many people probably wanted Gargano and Ciampa to take the tag titles in this one, but this was the right call. It will set up a rubber match between the two, because if you remember, Ciampa and Gargano won the first match in this series. I expect to see Gargano and Ciampa win the titles at some point.
NXT Women’s Championship Match: Asuka (c) vs. Bayley
- I can’t believe it’s been a year since Bayley won the NXT Women’s Championship. I remember it like it was yesterday. And now, she’s likely heading to the main roster. What a ride it’s been for arguably the most popular wrestler in NXT history.
- I really liked the elbow drop by Bayley when Asuka was in the tree of woe. Usually people just throw a drop kick, but that was a nice variation.
- Asuka works that stiff Japanese style of wrestling, which is always fun to watch. However, Bayley worked to her style and was stiff in her own right, which was refreshing. Too many of the women on the roster work soft, which is why their matches fizzle out (I’m looking at you Carmella).
- The fans chant “Asuka’s gonna kill you!” and then follow that up with “Bayley’s gonna hug you!” Well that is certainly a dueling chant.
- Asuka does the chicken wing cross face better than Darren Young, who was bequeathed that by Bob Backlund. Maybe Backlund should be Asuka’s coach.
- What a great match between Asuka and Bayley. I could watch them wrestle every TakeOver. When they both go to the main roster, they should feud again. Fired up Bayley is fun to watch.
- The mutual sign of respect between Asuka and Bayley after the match was great. We know Bayley is on her way out and Asuka is going to be the face of women’s wrestling in NXT. Giving Bayley a proper send off is a no-brainer. She has been the face for over a year.
NXT Championship Match: Samoa Joe (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
- The live performance of Shinsuke Nakamura’s entrance song was amazing. It really made him feel like a special wrestler and a true star in wrestling.
- The near brawl before the match started by a pissed off Samoa Joe and a responding Nakamura was a nice touch to show the intensity of the feud. I laughed when Joe pushed Nakamura and Nakamura responded by trying to kick him from a distance.
- Nakamura’s boot to the throat in the corner while he has a semi-seizure is one of the most entertaining spots in wrestling today. It’s so weird, but so fun to watch.
- You have to be a brave, tough SOB to let Samoa Joe do a suicide dive on you. A man that size coming full speed out of the ring is going to do some major damage.
- Samoa Joe’s STF > John Cena’s STF. Joe’s actually looks like it does damage. Cena’s looks like something you might do to your girlfriend when you’re play wrestling.
- Oh my God! That German Suplex by Nakamura was so nasty. It looked like Joe legitimately landed on his head.
- What a match. Joe and Nakamura beat the hell out of each other and Nakamura is finally the NXT Champion. He is truly one of the best in the world.
- Joe appears to have been legitimately hurt. After the match, the ref threw up the dreaded “X” to the back. He was holding his jaw, so he might have a head injury. The trainers walked him to the back as well. Hopefully he’s OK.
- That was a great TakeOver. These are always must-see events.