NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn Review
August 23, 2015
Review by: Jason Namako of Wrestleview.com
Last night, NXT had the biggest show in their history in front of 15,000 fans at the sold-out Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York live on the WWE Network, a culumination of Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s 4+ years of hard work into turning developmental around and building towards the future of WWE. This show will be remembered for years to come as a timestamp onto the ascension of Triple H succeeding Vince McMahon in running WWE. Let’s get to it.
Jushin Liger vs. Tyler Breeze – Great way to start the show. Breeze’s NYC Fashion Week entrance was a lot of fun and it was surreal to see 50-year old Jushin Liger on a WWE show. They put on a real fun match and this was Breeze’s best outing since his breakout performance last September in the Fatal 4-Way Match. Breeze loses nothing in defeat to the Japanese legend and even if it was just the one time, was a cool treat to see Liger in WWE as he is the Julio Franco of wrestling, a complete and utter ageless wonder.
The Vaudevillains vs. Blake & Murphy, NXT Tag Titles – A match that superceded everyone’s expectations going in. The surprise of Leva “Blue Pants” Bates as the Vaudevillains way of negating Alexa Bliss was a real sight to see and the reveal got one of the biggest reactions of the night, for someone who is not fully contracted to WWE. This was both teams’ best outings in the ring to date by a country mile. Vaudevillains work a lot better as babyfaces and their presentation as a team thrust out of a time machine is very well done. Haven’t been a fan at all of Blake & Murphy and since Bliss has been added as the valet, its really felt like its Alexa Bliss and these two other guys. However, those two really stepped their game up and put on a very good heel team performance. Finish was real well done of Blue Pants thwarting Bliss’ interference, leading to the title change. This did wonders for both teams going forward, especially Blake & Murphy in defeat and now with the advent of these two teams and other newly-formed teams that worked the pre-show TV Tapings, for the first time since its inception, the NXT Tag Division is now something to pay attention to just as much as the main title and the women’s title.
Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger – Good debut for Crews as he was over with the Brooklyn crowd. Kept a lot of his prior mystique as the Uhaa Nation, just sans the name. Liking more and more Dillinger’s new Perfect 10 persona and its over as well with the Brooklyn crowd, even if its comedy fodder. Crews is gonna get over to a great degree with his look, his size, his personality and his power-speed hybrid. Nice debut.
Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin – The best Baron Corbin outing to date by a country mile, as well as Joe’s best outing since arriving to NXT. They worked a different dynamic then anything else on this show, using a lot of brawling, a lot of strikes and some nice submission attempts. Joe gets a good win, Corbin puts on a good performance that might have silenced some detractors as he continues to break out of his shell with his new heel persona. Definitely enjoyed this more than most.
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, NXT Women’s Title – One of the best matches in pro wrestling all year and a match that looking back in the years to come, is a defining moment in the revamp of how women are preceived in WWE. The video package beforehand was incredible, telling the story of Bayley and how her naiveness and being the “nice” girl as led to Charlotte and Lynch and Sasha turning on her and garnering them great success after the fact, as well as the threat of newer Divas to jump Bayley on the pecking order. From the Wrestlemania-like entrances with Sasha coming out in an Escalade and flanked by bodyguards, as well as Bayley with numerous wacky waving inflatable tube men, to the story told in this match with Sasha under-estimating Bayley, disrespecting her at every turn, including Bayley’s tribute to the late Dusty Rhodes with the polka-dotted headband and gauntlets, to the work done by Sasha on Bayley’s previously-injured wrist, showcasing a lot of Zack Sabre Jr. style arm work, to how into this match the Brooklyn crowd was, to the great false finishes off the Bank Statement tease and reversal by Bayley, as well as the Belly-to-Bayley falsie, to the scary bump Bayley took off being shoved off the ropes, to the insane ending with the Super Reverse Rana into the second Belly-to-Bayley, this was one of the best matches in NXT history, one of the best women’s matches in WWE history, the career match for both Sasha Banks and especially Bayley for their personas going forward and in many years’ time, one of the most important matches in both NXT history and WWE history because of how this match speaks to what one side wants in the change in how the women are perceived and how another side has been conditioned to see it is and how its going to change, one way or another, whether that other side likes it or not. Then we get to the post-match, with all of the NXT 4 Horsewomen celebrating and crying in the ring, seeing all their hard work pay off and giving that Brooklyn crowd their own variation of the infamous Curtain Call from 19 years ago. It was an honor to cover this match and it will be one to be remembered in the annals of women’s wrestling and WWE history.
Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens, NXT Title, Ladder Match – Real fun main event and would be the best match on this show, had it not been for the prior match. These two had a hard time following the prior match and they did the best they could, given the circumstances. These two had about as safe of a Ladder Match as you could ask for, while still throwing in enough sequences to make it entertaining and make it feel like a modernized Ladder Match. Balor gets a big win in his first title defense and Owens had what I feel was his NXT swan song for now as he is fully main-roster invested at this point. However in hindsight, I would have swapped this match and the Women’s Title match because this was really good, but couldn’t all the way follow the prior match, especially with the lesser crowd reactions, but still, a good Ladder Match main event.
Overall, NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn was the best NXT live special to date, thanks a great deal to the super-hot Brooklyn crowd and also, this was one of the best shows of 2015. Go out of your way to see this entire show, not a bad match on it and moreso, especially go out of your way to see Sasha Banks vs. Bayley. My favorite show to cover in my nearly 4 years as a recapper for Wrestleview.com and its gonna be a while for it to be topped. This show made me proud to do what I do on a daily basis for you, the readers.
What did you think of NXT TakeOver, as well as this review? Please comment below.
Jason Namako recaps the weekly NXT TV, as well as all NXT TakeOver live specials for Wrestleview.com