Gutteridge’s WWE NXT Takeover: Brooklyn Hit List - Finn Bálor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Title, Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the NXT Women’s Title, and Blake & Murphy vs. The VaudeVillains for the NXT Tag Team Titles
By Darren Gutteridge
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NXT Takeover: Brooklyn Hits
Finn Bálor vs. Kevin Owens for the NXT Title: To say a Takeover main event "met expectations" can actually make it seem like the match underwhelmed, as most Takeover main events surpass their set expectations. But I had high standards for this going in, so the statement is a compliment. By leaving out any really insane bumps, they actually put together a match with more storytelling value than most ladder matches. When you factor in this being Bálor's first ladder match, and Owens' need to leave something in the tank for Summerslam, this was a very admirable effort.
Sasha Banks vs. Bayley for the NXT Women's Title: I'm likely to run out of superlatives before I can fully put across how good this match was. A perfect crescendo of build, character, and in-ring work. The post-match hug and "Four Horsewomen" pose felt a little wrong from Sasha's perspective, and smacked of the hand of Stephanie McMahon trying to present a united "We're all in this revolution together" front to me, but it didn't take away a damn thing from what was the best match on this show.
Blake and Murphy vs. The VaudeVillains for the NXT Tag Titles: I feel I was in the minority of people anticipating a really good match, but I'm happy to say I feel justified in my presumption. Both teams put forward some of their best work to date, and some of the near falls got me hook, line and sinker. Plus who doesn't love a Blue Pants cameo?!
Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin: The surprise of the show by a long stretch, Corbin really upped his game on the big stage of the Barclays Center. Joe clearly played his part in getting the best out of Corbin, but I didn't get the impression that Joe was doing all the heavy lifting. The ending is a very big glowing positive coming out of the show. For one, Corbin lost nothing in the loss, as he got "caught out" by an experienced hand as opposed to beaten. And now both men are better positioned - Corbin will hopefully start having actual matches going forward, and Joe now seems primed for an NXT Title feud.
Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger: Though Dillinger got in more offence than I expected, the match was better for it, and Crews still came out of his debut impressing to the highest degree. The biggest compliment I can pay Crews is he looked liked he belonged from the second he walked out. Time to get excited people.
Overall Show: Yet another fantastic NXT special. The brand didn't look out of place on the bigger stage of the Barclays Center, and that is truly remarkable given how young NXT is. As someone whose been there from day 1, I can't tell you how blown away I am by everything right now. I even get to see NXT live when they tour the UK in December! I'd have never have guessed that was a possibility when I wrote my first NXT report way back in 2012.
NXT Takeover: Brooklyn Misses
Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Tyler Breeze: I'll go on record by saying this wasn't a bad match by any stretch. But grading on a curve, it was certainly the weakest on the card, and it just felt a little ordinary. Historical given the fact that it was Liger's first WWE match, certainly, but not memorable from an in-ring perspective.
Thanks for reading. If you have any thoughts or opinions on this article, share them with me via Twitter.com/TheGutteridge. You can also check out my website, TheGutteridgeLog.co.uk
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