8/19 Zim’s NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III live review – Bobby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre for the NXT Title, Asuka vs. Ember Moon for the NXT Women’s Title, Authors of Pain vs. Sanity for the NXT Tag Titles, homecoming

By Zack Zimmerman

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III
Aired live on WWE Network
Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center

Inside the arena, a live band “Code Orange” played a song to accompany a video package opening the show…

The crowd chanted “NXT” and things kicked off with Johnny Gargano making his entrance to his new theme and new video graphics featuring his trademark wink face. He got a big pop and there were a bunch of people in the front rows of the crowd with paper signs featuring his logo.

Andrade “Cien” Almas was out next, accompanied by his “business associate” Zelena Vega. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson briefly checked in from the commentary booth.

1. Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas (w/ Zelena Vega). The crowd loudly chanted for “Johnny Wrestling” at the bell. Almas grounded Gargano in a head scissors early and showed a bit of his signature arrogance with a pose. They worked back up and went back-and-forth with a very nice exchange.

Things began to settle into a nice pace for Gargano, until Almas hung him up in the corner and drove him down across Almas’s knee and then down to the mat. Moments later, Almas feigned the tranquillo pose in the ropes but turned it into a rope-assisted hanging triangle on Gargano.

Almas established the game plan of targeting Gargano’s shoulder and settled into a grounded armlock. Gargano worked back to his feet and used a drop toe hold to send Almas face-first into the middle turnbuckle. The two collided with a double clothesline mid-ring and both guys were slow back to their feet.

They exchanged shots mid-ring, and it got stiffer and stiffer with Almas letting out slaps and Gargano firing off short clotheslines. Gargano got the better of the exchange and began to heat up with a rolling kick and the slingshot spear for a two-count. Once again Almas hit the tranquillo pose in the ropes, but this time Gargano caught him with a super kick and then flew out to ringside with a high-speed dive through the ropes.

Back in the ring, Gargano hit a slingshot DDT for a near-fall. He looked to follow up, but Almas reversed another slingshot spear attempt into a DDT of his own. Almas wasted no time following up with a wicked tornado reverse DDT, but Gargano kicked out at two.

The two battled to the top turnbuckle where they traded headbutts and slaps. Gargano looked for a sunset powerbomb, but Almas performed a back flip and landed on his feet. They both avoided and landed some signature high-impact offense until Gargano did a tilt-a-whirl into the Gargano Escape.

Things looked to be all but over, but then Almas rolled through and hit a schoolboy powerbomb into the turnbuckles. He ran across the ring and charged back with the double knee strike in the corner, but once again Gargano managed to kick out before the three-count.

Gargano fought back and connected with a couple of superkicks. He followed up with the lawn dart throwing Almas hard into the middle turnbuckle. Gargano retreated to the corner and set up for the death blow, but Vega threw a #DIY shirt at him from ringside. The momentary distraction allowed Almas to charge in with a dropkick to rock Gargano and then he connected with the hammerlock DDT to score the pinfall.

Andrade Almas beat Johnny Gargano in about 13:30.

Replays aired and Almas celebrated his way up the ramp with Vega. In the ring, Gargano looked at the shirt and back away like he’d seen a ghost…

Raw GM Kurt Angle and SmackDown GM Daniel Bryan were shown sitting in a skybox. Angle was sitting with Roderick Strong, while Bryan was being pestered by Billie Kay and Peyton Royce…

Drew McIntyre was shown warming up backstage…

Zim Says: Excellent opener. It went just the right amount of time at just the right pace. The back-and-forth was great, as were the near-falls. I had high hopes for that one and it delivered.

A graphic and video package aired for the tag title match…

The ring announcer stated over the live mic that Takeover was trending #1 worldwide on Twitter. Woohoo. He also introduced Corey Graves, who got a good reaction and joined the commentary booth. Sanity was out first, followed by the Authors of Pain who were wearing new came gear with wild looking masks. They charged the ring and began brawling before the bell could ring.

The brawl went out to ringside and Eric Young took a table out from under the ring. The referee finally managed to get things back into the ring and the match was underway.

2. Sanity (Killian Dain and Alexander Wolfe w/ Nikki Cross and Eric Young) vs. The Authors of Pain (Akem and Rezar w/ Paul Ellering) for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Initially it appeared as though Dain and Wolfe would compete for Sanity, but after the first minute, Wolfe looked to tag out and Young jumped up onto the apron to take the tag while Dain jumped down to the floor.

Young brawled out into the crowd with one of the Authors, but back in the ring the Authors used an insane back body drop caught and turned into a Dominator. They continued with the tag team offense with a side slam and diving stomp combo for a two-count.

Rezar worked Young over with a side head and arm triangle choke through most of the fourth and fifth minute. They continued to isolate Young until he avoided a body avalanche in the corner and Wolf got the luke warm tag.

Wolfe ran through both Authors with huge suplexes and them came off the top with a diving uppercut. The Authors knocked Young to ringside and then got the better of Wolfe with a neckbreaker/sit-out powerbomb combo for a near-fall.

The Authors set up Wolfe for a super powerbomb off the turnbuckles, but Wolfe turned it into a frankensteiner and tagged in Young. Young flew in with a neckbreaker and looked to rally, but he got crotched on the top rope. The Authors set him up for a tower of doom, but Nikki Cross held onto Young and one of the Authors power bombed the other.

Young came flying off the top rope with a diving elbow drop for a near-fall. Things broke down as both members of Sanity hit dives to the outside. Then, Nikki Cross decided to go up top and dive onto one of the Authors at ringside. The size difference was too much as the Author caught her, but Killian Dain was right there to even things up with a wicked running crossbody that sent himself, Cross, and the Author through the table that had been set up against the guardrail earlier.

In the ring, Sanity followed up with a combo back suplex and diving neckbreaker, and they scored the clean pinfall on the undefeated champions.

Sanity defeated The Authors of Pain in about 12:00 to win the NXT Tag Team Championships.

Replays aired and Sanity celebrated their title win. It looked as though the segment was about to wrap up when two attackers ran in. Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish took out the members of both Sanity and the Authors of Pain one by one to a huge reaction from the crowd. They picked up the tag title belts and looked at them briefly before dropping them and walking out; damage done…

Zim Says: That was better than I expected in several ways, but it was also ass backwards. From the build, it seemed to me that the Authors were the de facto babyfaces, but the story of this match was the exact opposite. Then, you have a big babyface team debut, but they attack worn-down heels after a hard-hitting match. All of the strange logic aside, the match exceeded my expectations and the tag division is instantly hot with the arrival of ReDragon.

Neville was shown sitting ringside, as were Shinsuke Nakamura and Kalisto…

NXT Champion Bobby Roode was shown warming up backstage…

A graphic aired for Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami…

Back in the arena, Jim Ross was introduced to a huge reaction as the guest commentator for the following match. Video Itami made his entrance. The lights cut out for the entrance of Aleister Black. He had a live band to play his theme as he embarked to the ring. Itami got right up in his face before the bell and the ref had to physically hold them apart.

3. Hideo Itami vs. Aleister Black. The kicks began to fly right out of the gate, with some landing but more being caught or avoided at the early point in the match. Black faked a dive to ringside but sprang off the ropes with a moonsault into a seated position instead.

They continued to trade strikes and counters in the opening minutes until Itami hung Black up on the top rope and hit a diving knee strike to establish control. He yelled that he wants respect. He continued on offense with a stiff kick to the spine and several knee drops.

Itami began to show disrespect as he washed his boot across Black’s face and then sat out in Black’s pose. He continued on offense with a DDT. Black came up bleeding from the nose. Black tried to build momentum with several kicks. He continued with a legsweep and sliding kick before connecting (barely) on his springboard moonsault for a two-count.

Black gave the first hint of a Black Mass kick, but Itami fought out and hit his tornado hangman out of the corner, followed by a springboard clothesline for two. He connected with a fisherman’s suplex for another two-count.

Itami teed off with slaps, but Black got a quick near-fall on a victory roll attempt. Black followed up promptly with a hard roundhouse that dropped Itami. They battled on the top turnbuckle where Itami connected on a high knee strike and a super falcon arrow off the middle turnbuckle. Itami sold his back after hitting the move and took too long, enabling Black to kick out at two.

Suddenly, Black fired up and got right in Itami’s face. They traded a wicked sequence of strikes and Black hooked for a suplex, but Itami took it over and hit another falcon arrow for another near-fall. Black tried to work his way up in the corner, leaving him vulnerable to a big hesitation dropkick from Itami.

Itami hoisted Black for the Go To Sleep, but Black wormed free. He was still reeling as Itami was fuming and carrying on demanding respect. He allowed Black back to his feet and charged, but Black ducked and struck with the Black Mass kick out of nowhere for the win.

Aleister Black pinned Hideo Itami in about 12:40.

A series of replays aired and Black left the ring. The commentators thanked JR for being with them tonight and he signed off… [C]

Zim Says: That was another match that I thought delivered up to expectations. I wouldn’t said it exceeded them like the first two, but it was a stiff, hard-hitting encounter and I think that is what people wanted out of it. Black continues to ascend while Itami can’t catch a break. Poor guy. That said, he put on one of his best NXT performances here.

Sasha Banks, Bayley, and Becky Lynch were shown sitting at ringside…

NXT Women’s Champion Asuka was shown backstage… Ember Moon was shown walking towards the Gorilla position…

A graphic and video package aired to build the NXT Women’s Championship match…

Back in the arena, Ember Moon made her entrance. Asuka was out next wearing an ornate mask and headdress. Both ladies received formal in-ring introductions.

4. Ember Moon vs. Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship. Moon charged and connected with a pair of high impact single-leg dropkicks right at the bell. She followed up with a suplex and then the fight went out to ringside where Moon hit a unique kick and a cannonball senton from the middle turnbuckle onto Asuka on the floor.

Just shy of the two-minute mark, Asuka sent Moon crashing into the ring steps to slow the momentum. She followed up with an armlock suplex onto the tamp, targeting Moon’s recently recovered shoulder. Back in the ring, she teed off with kicks and elbows to the bad shoulder to further set up her Asuka Lock.

Moon tried to mount a comeback, but Asuka drove the bad shoulder into the mat and stayed in control. She took ahold of Moon’s arms behind her back and stomped away at the back of her head. The crowd chanted for both ladies, seemingly even but perhaps favoring Asuka slightly.

Asuka grounded Moon in an armlock, but Moon deadlifted her into a teardrop suplex to begin her comeback. Moon fired off shots and kicks while avoiding strikes from Asuka. She looked to follow up, but Asuka sent her flying backwards into the corner with a German suplex.

Once again, Asuka worked for the Asuka Lock but Moon reversed and looked for her own version of the hold. Asuka reversed right back however, and wrenched Moon’s arm before settling back into the hold in a standing position. Moon fell backwards to break it and then rolled back into a quick near-fall when Asuka tried to re-apply the hold on the mat.

Back on their feet, the crowd was split as Asuka flew across the ring with a hip attack for a two-count. She charged at Moon in the corner, but Moon reversed and used a tornado snap suplex for a two-count of her own. Moon fired off a series of knees, but Asuka came right back with a series of slaps.

The fight went to the top turnbuckle which ended with Asuka getting hung in the tree of woe and Moon springing off the ropes with a huge knee stomp for a near-fall. As Asuka made it back to her feet, Moon dove off the top rope and connected with the Eclipse. She made the cover, but Asuka managed to kick out before the three-count.

Thirteen minutes into the match, Moon went back up for the Eclipse but Askua hid behind the ref. She rolled through a crossbody attempt and held the tights on the pin, but the ref caught her and stopped his count before three. Asuka went back to the ref, but Moon struck with a hard super kick for a good near-fall.

Moon waited a while to follow up, which proved fatal as Asuka slipped in a surprise cross armbar. She transitioned into the Asuka Lock from there and after a great struggle, Ember Moon was forced to submit.

Asuka retained the NXT Women’s Championship over Ember Moon in about 14:50.

Replays aired. Asuka was handed her title and her hand was raised in victory, though more than perhaps ever she was selling the effects of the match. The commentators reiterated that we’ve never seen anything like Asuka and this unstoppable reign. Once again, replays aired.

Asuka left the arena with her title held high. Meanwhile, Moon was slow back to her feet in the ring with tears in her eyes and clutching her damaged shoulder. The crowd let out a huge applause for her and she made her way out of the arena as well… [C]

Zim Says: I thought that was a really fantastic match. Super heavy on both the work-rate and dramatic storytelling. I’d have to go back and look but that was probably one of Asuka’s top couple of matches in NXT and Ember Moon earned herself some big points in my eyes with that performance. It’ll be very interesting to see what’s next for both ladies.

Kevin Owens was shown sitting front row, as was Samoa Joe…

The commentators transitioned to the main event, which was spotlighted with the same video package that aired on the pre-show…

Back in the arena, The FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums group came out onto the stage playing a tune. It led into Drew McIntyre’s music and entrance.

An LED keyboard appeared across the stage and played an intro to Bobby Roode’s entrance. He came out on a rolling and revolving platform wearing a bright red robe. The crowd sang along as he made his lengthy entrance with a few more Nature Boy-esque struts than usual. There was a rather large group of fans with paper “Glorious” signs.

Both men received formal in-ring introductions. McIntyre didn’t get much of a reaction one way or another. Roode got some cheers and applause.

5. Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT Championship. McIntyre backed Roode into the corner and overpowered him in the onset. Roode avoided and took a powder to get things to his pace. Roode looked for an early attempt at his finisher but McIntyre escaped and regained control.

Power was the advantage for McIntyre as he lifted Roode right off the apron and tossed him with a suplex; never leaving his feet. The fight went to ringside where they battled back-and-forth until McIntyre hit a big tilt-a-whirl slam onto the edge of the ring.

Back in the ring, the crowd was split with chants before Roode caught Drew with a neckbreaker across the middle rope to send McIntyre to ringside. Roode followed up moments later with a running blockbuster off the ring apron to the floor. Roode established firm control when things continued in the ring.

Roode used a missile dropkick from the middle turnbuckle, which was only good for a quick two-count. He settled into a sleeper hold which proved to be McIntyre’s chance at a comeback. He drove Roode backwards into the corner and then tossed Roode overhead with a belly-to-belly throw.

McIntyre continued to roll with a diving clothesline sledge off the top rope. He hit a Celtic Cross (air raid crash/white noise) for a two-count around the twelve-minute mark. They battled to the top rope where McIntyre was crotched and hung up in the tree of woe, but he sat up as always and tossed Roode to the mat with a choke toss suplex.

McIntyre called for the Claymore in the corner, but Roode laid out limp in the middle of the ring. McIntyre went to lift him up but Roode shot in with a jackknife pin attempt for a quick two-count. Roode followed up with a backstabber to the bad neck of McIntyre for another near-fall.

Roode looked to follow up, but McIntyre struck with the Future Shock undertook DDT for a good near-fall of his own. McIntyre looked to follow up in the corner, but Roode took advantage and powerbombed him. He made the cover, but McIntyre kicked out at two.

The two traded chops and shots mid-ring before Roode struck with an enzugiri. He thought he had rocked McIntyre, but McIntyre charged and struck with the Claymore. It sent Roode flying towards the ropes, and he was able to get a foot on the bottom row before the ref counted three.

The match continued with McIntyre sending Roode out to ringside and then flying over the top rope with a tope con hilo. The move “connected,” but McIntyre still went splat hard. After a moment to recover, McIntyre tossed Roode back into the ring and set up the Claymore. He charged, but Roode planted him with a spinebuster.

Roode came up empty on a DDT attempt, but performed an impressive tilt-a-whirl and connected with the Glorious DDT. He made the cover, but McIntyre kicked out. Roode wasted little time following up. He hit another Glorious DDT and then hung on with the intention of hitting another, but McIntyre struck with a straight headbutt and then hit the Claymore kick for the clean win.

Drew McIntyre won the NXT Championship from Bobby Roode in about 22:25.

The new champion looked at his prize with a mix of pride and disbelief. Replays aired and McIntyre celebrated his win. The commentators told the story of a matured Drew McIntyre being a worthy main eventer and the new NXT Champion.

The graphic appeared in the corner to signal the end of the show when suddenly the duo of Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly appeared on the apron. They got the attention of McIntyre when suddenly the crowd popped huge. Someone ran in and blindsided McIntyre from behind as ReDragon looked on.

Adam Cole rained punches down on the prone new champion as the crowd went nuts. The Dragons entered the ring and lifted McIntyre back to his feet, only for Cole to put him back down with a superkick. Cole stood tall in the ring over McIntyre, flanked by Fish and O’Reilly, to close the show as the crowd chanted “holy sh*t…”

Zim Says: Well that’s something! I know people were expecting Cole to appear on the show in some capacity, but I don’t think most expected it to be this big of an impact. The match itself was very solid and a worthy main event. I was half expecting McIntyre to win and Roode pair off with Roderick Strong in a grudge feud, but the missing part of that was who that leaves for McIntyre. Cole fills that void wholly and in a way that I think is going to bring a lot of buzz to NXT.

This was a super strong show befginning to end within itself, but it was also a big success in terms of bringing a spark back to NXT and getting people talking and excited again. I’ll have more to say for DotNet members with Jason Powell in audio form tonight, so be sure to check out membership and give a listen! Thanks for reading along!

Comments? Questions? Criticisms? Corrections? Reach me on Twitter @DotNetZim.


Readers Comments (1)

  1. Pack up and go home everyone. You wont follow Gargano/Almas.

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