8/17 Zim’s NXT TV Live Review: The final push for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II

Logo_NXT_dn_crop600By Zack Zimmerman

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NXT on WWE Network
Taped July 13 in Winter Park, Florida at Full Sail University

A brief video promoted a face-to-face interview with NXT Champion Samoa Joe and his challenger Shinsuke Nakamura for later in the show… The opening video played… Inside the arena, Tom Phillips plugged Takeover Brooklyn II for this Saturday before Hideo Itami made his entrance. CWC competitor Mustafa Ali was out next.

1. Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali. Ali hit a flapjack dropkick early and taunted a bit before Itami caught him with a knee to the gut and penalty kick. Ali used his quickness to evade Itami and escape to ringside, but Itami followed closely with a hard baseball slide. As Itami rejoined Ali in the ring however, Ali caught him with a swinging neckbreaker to take control. He hit another running variation moments later for a two-count.

Itami made his comeback a short time later. He hit a dragon screw and a running kick in the corner before teeing off with shots in the ring. Itami hit the hesitation dropkick and the Bicycle Knee for the win.

Hideo Itami over Mustafa Ali in about 3:21.

Replays aired before the segment closed with Itami standing in the ring confidently declaring “I am back.” The commentators turned things to the women’s division where they hyped a 6-woman tag for later in the show with Carmella returning to NXT to team with Liv Morgan and Nikki Glencross against Alexa Bliss, Mandy Rose, and Daria… Asuka vs. Bayley for the Women’s Championship at Takeover was plugged… [C]

Zim Says: Ali was one of a few guys who went out in the opening round of the CWC but made a very positive impression while they had the chance. He’s someone I’d like to see brought in so using him here is a good sign. Is Itami a cruiserweight? Size-wise I’d say yes. That also might not be bad for his ceiling in the big picture. Regardless, fine showing here but I’d like much more for and from both guys in the near future.

A Bobby Roode vignette aired. He said that NXT is the hottest brand right now and it’s where he has to be. Soundbytes from his debut promo played, as well as his challenge to Andrade Almas before his Glorious music hit to close… The Takeover theme was plugged… At the commentary booth, Tom Phillips and Corey Graves checked in and turned attention towards Asuka vs. Bayley at Takeover.

A video package played with clips of Asuka beating Bayley in Dallas while Asuka stared at the Women’s Championship in a foggy room. Bayley spoke about how she let everyone down. She said Asuka had a counter to everything she had and Asuka is on a different level. Bayley’s slow journey back was shown alongside Asuka’s title reign, from losing Nia Jax to her “injury” comeback to the contract signing. The video closed with the two in a staredown… The match was plugged one more time for Takeover…

Carmella and her rookie teammates were shown warming up backstage… [C]

A music video aired to hype up Takeover Brooklyn. Guys like Scott Dawson, Bobby Roode, and Austin Aries spoke about what it means to compete in a place like New York City, which they called the Mecca of wrestling. There were brief back-and-forth promo bits to build up Austin Aries vs. No Way Jose, Andrade Almas vs. Bobby Roode, and Gargano & Ciampa vs. The Revival for the tag titles… Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was plugged as the main event for Takeover and their interview for later in the show was promoted… Alexa Bliss was shown with her rookie partners backstage ordering them to “stretch harder…” [C]

Another Takeover Brooklyn theme song was plugged… Backstage, NXT GM William Regal spoke about the growth of NXT since the initial Takeover Brooklyn. He was interrupted by Billie Kaye who asked how big this Takeover can be without her, after all, she was on Smackdown last month. Regal agreed to give her a match in Brooklyn against the debuting Ember Moon, and Kay looked quietly satisfied…

Back in the arena, Liv Morgan made her entrance. Scotland’s Nikki Glencross (f/k/a Nikki Storm) was out next. The team was rounded out by Carmella, who didn’t do her promo on the way to the ring. Daria Berenato was out next trying to look like an MMA fighter with a boxer’s robe. Mandy Rose was out next and Corey Graves lost his mind over her looks so that’s the gimmick. Alexa Bliss was out next, but the camera was busy on Daria shadow boxing in the ring.

2. Carmella, Liv Morgan, and Nikki Glenncross vs. Alexa Bliss, Daria Berenato, and Mandy Rose. Corey Graves called this the greatest collection of talent he’s ever seen in an NXT ring with a tone of pure facetiousness, which came across pretty poorly. Glencross looked impressive clearing Bliss from the ring in the opening minutes before Daria tagged in. She took off her gloves and squared off with Glencross, but they went to a commercial the instant they locked up. [C]

After a very brief commercial, Liv Morgan had Daria grounded in a headlock. Liv did the Matrix dodge but took a right hand from Daria and the heels began the heat on Liv. All of the heels got a turn on offense though nothing was particularly impressive. Daria hit some knees and grounded Liv in a bodyscissors as the match screeched to a halt.

Daria locked in a choke with the bodyscissors, but her MMA skills don’t match her MMA gear because Liv survived and escaped. Still, the heat carried on as Bliss tagged in and cut Liv off. Just shy of the seven-minute mark, Carmella took the hot tag and ran wild on Mandy Rose. Carmella hit a ‘rana out of the corner and a superkick. Bliss looked to run in, but Glencross cut her off with a Regal Cutter. Daria speared Glencross and the two brawled out of the ring. Rose looked for a jackknife pin on Carmella, but Carmella turned it into the Code of Silence and forced the submission.

Carmella, Liv Morgan, and Nikki Glencross beat Alexa Bliss, Daria Berenato, and Mandy Rose in about 7:52.

Backstage, William Regal instructed security to not let Joe and Nakamura touch each other under any circumstances. They will be present for the face-to-face interview which is up next… [C]

Zim Says: That match was very slow for about seven minutes, and picked up a bit in the final minute. Realistically it went about 3 minutes longer than it needed to. Morgan tries really hard but still needs to keep improving. Glencross looked good and brought some real intensity when she was in the ring. Daria looks like she’s trying too hard, but theres something there if she hones it right. And Mandy being blonde Eva Marie for Graves to gush over feels like too quick of a turnaround for that gimmick. Still, I like the idea of this match in that they put the talent they needed to introduce out there with some established NXT ladies and everyone was able to show off a little of who they are. The match itself wasn’t very good though.

The final Ember Moon vignette aired. This time her hooded and half-masked face was shown for the duration of the promo and “the prophecy of fire” was hyped for this Saturday at Takeover… The commentators ran down the lineup for the Brooklyn show featuring Ember Moon vs. Billie Kay, Andrade Almas vs. Bobby Roode, Austin Aries vs. No Way Jose, The Revival defending the NXT Tag Championships against Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, Asuka defending the NXT Women’s Championship against Bayley, and Samoa Joe defending the NXT Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura…

Backstage, Byron Saxton conducted an interview seated between NXT Champion Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura with a row of security lined up behind them. Joe said he’s very excited for Brooklyn, and Nakamura said the same. Joe said he took issue with the lack of respect William Regal has showed him. He complained about having to jump through every hoop and beat everyone on the roster multiple times in addition to the Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic just to get a shot at the title, whereas Nakamura strolled in with a win over Sami Zayn and Finn Bálor and was gifted a shot. Joe said Asuka is shown more respect as a champion than he is.

Nakamura was accused of not taking the match seriously, but Nakamura said that he’s serious but “calm is my style.” Joe talked about how they crossed paths when Nakamura came to “my dojo” in LA in the early 2000s and Nakamura laughed at the idea that the New Japan Dojo was Joe’s dojo. Joe said he’s not sure he respects Nakamura and Nakamura punked Joe out with faces and Joe got hot and in his face. Regal ordered security to remove Joe and with that, the segment and the show were promptly closed…

Zim Says: Fun little go-home segment from these two. It wasn’t really memorable but I really like the way the two characters naturally play off each other. This is a pairing that I’d really like to see again down the road because there are some fun stories to tell. As a wrestling show, there wasn’t much going on this week. All of the focus was on Brooklyn and rightfully so. In that respect, I think this was a successful show. Anyone who watched it comes away having a clear picture of the matches and stories set for Saturday. They’ve put together a show with a couple of really strong matches and a couple of matches that feel up-in-the-air, but there’s yet to be a bad Takeover and especially in the Barclays I don’t expect this to be the first.

Unfortunately, I’m an idiot and committed to a real-life thing on the night of Takeover and so I will not be here for coverage, but fear not because Jason Powell will be. In addition, he and I will be getting together for a special live audio show available to everyone on Sunday afternoon and we’ll discuss the show. Tomorrow’s NXT audio review and Takeover preview will also be All-Access and available to everyone, so be sure to check back frequently over the next few days as it’s a very busy weekend in the wrestling world!

Throw comments, questions, criticisms, or corrections @DotNetZim or DotNetZim@gmail.com; always happy to discuss.

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