By Zack Zimmerman
NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III
Aired on WWE Network
Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
The crowd was shown arriving at the Barclays Center… Inside the arena, the pre-show panel of Charly Caruso, Corey Graves, Sam Roberts, and Lita checked in. Lita noted that the Barclays is the best smelling arena they run in.
A 30-day free trial of the WWE Network was advertised for anyone not subscribed to gain access to Takeover and Summerslam. The panel ran through the lineup for Takeover as graphics accompanied each match mentioned.
Graves said he’s most looking forward to Hideo Itami vs. Aleister Black. Lita and Sam Roberts said they’re most hyped for the NXT Women’s Championship match. They then threw to Renee Young backstage; making her triumphant return to NXT. She said she’s happy to be there to conduct some special backstage interviews.
Renee welcomed Raw GM Kurt Angle to an NXT show for the first time. He said he’s there to take in the big matches and perhaps do some scouting while he’s there. Back in the arena, Corey Graves noted that last year’s Brooklyn show involved Nakamura and Samoa Joe, both of whom are involved in world title matches at this year’s Summerslam.
The NXT Tag Team Championship match was the first to be spotlighted. The same video package shown on this past week’s episode of NXT aired. It recapped the Authors’ reign and subsequent brawls with Sanity.
Back at the panel, Big E had joined the team; temporarily replacing Lita. A highlight video showed Big E beating Seth Rollins to become the second-ever NXT Champion back kin 2013. He recalled how important NXT was in him getting his start and said it all started with the number “five.”
Big E spoke about how NXT felt more big-league than its predecessor FCW and helped prepare him and many others. He put over the Usos and their title match tomorrow, noting that he wasn’t bummed to be in the Kickoff as it’s a chance to kick things off strong.
E predicted the Authors of Pain to retain the tag titles because he likes the big “meat.” They bantered a bit more and E put his feet up on the desk in protest of being wrapped up… [C]
Backstage, Renee Young welcomed former NXT Champion Shinsuke Nakamura onto the interview set. Nakamura said he loves the NXT vibes and feels back at home. The crowd chanted his name. Nakamura said he’s calm and ready going into his title match with Jinder Mahal tomorrow. Nakamura said he’s pulling for Drew McIntyre in tonight’s main event…
At the panel desk, former NXT Champion and Cruiserweight Champion Neville had taken the Lita/Big E seat. Neville entirely ignored Charly, bit responded to Graves. He said he’s in a bad mood after losing the title and it’ll be about 24 hours until he regains it.
Neville said that he looks back at his time in NXT with nothing but resentment. He noted that it prepared him for success, but didn’t prepare him for the reality of what he faced on the main roster. he said he’s proud of what he achieved, but he looks back and sees nothing but a boy with a lot to learn.
A replay showed him winning the NXT Championship from Bo Dallas at NXT Arrival in 2014. He was asked for his prediction on Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami, but he said he has no investment one way or the other aside from watching two guys kick each other really hard.
Neville noted that he beat Aleister Black on the WWE UK Championship tournament show, and suggested Itami play strike defense and capitalize from there. He was also asked for his take on Andrade Almas vs. Johnny Gargano. Neville said it’s Gargano bouncing back after being betrayed by a tag team partner and things got awkward when Neville equated it to what Graves did to him when they were partners in NXT.
Ember Moon was shown arriving to the building with her family. Asuka was shown arriving alone… [C]
A graphic advertised Asuka defending the NXT Women’s Championship against Ember Moon. It was followed by a video package recapping Asuka’s dominant undefeated run, shoving the referee into the ropes to beat Ember in their first title match, and the ensuing injury comeback story. It closed with the voice over of Moon declaring she’ll win and become the new champion..
Back at the pre-show panel, an all-women panel had taken over as Charly welcomed Carmella, Sasha Banks, and Lita. Carmella noted that she actually had never wrestled on a Takeover but it means a lot to be there. Sasha said she attributes all of her success to NXT as do this whole generation of ladies wrestlers in WWE.
Sasha predicted that Asuka will retain, but said Ember is good too. Carmella called for a title change tonight. Lite took a few moments to put over the Mae Young Classic tournament and promised it will not disappoint. She also plugged the bracketology show coming up after Takeover…
Backstage, Renee Young was standing by with Becky Lynch and Bayley. Becky put over the event tonight and Bayley said emotionally she never really left NXT. She hopes to have an injury update on her shoulder in a month or so. Becky predicted a title change, while Bayley noted that Asuka ran her out of NXT so she can’t bet against Asuka retaining… [C]
The commentators plugged the Network and the free trial option… A graphic advertised Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade Almas. Others aired for Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami, Sanity vs. The Authors of Pain for the tag titles, Ember Moon vs. Asuka for the women’s title, and Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Roode for the NXT title…
A video package promoted the main event title match. It showed Bobby Roode’s title run and then McIntyre’s old WWE theme began to play over it. It showed McIntyre’s first run and his transformation to the guy he is now. The face-offs and altercations between Roode and McIntyre were shown andRoode declared he is “the one…”
Back at the panel, Baron Corbin had joined Charly, Corey Graves, and Sam Roberts. Corbin recalled wrestling on the first Takeover Brooklyn show against Samoa Joe, and noted that it got some eyes on him backstage from guys like Undertaker and Scott Hall. He put over the Performance Center and how it helped him become a star from scratch.
Corbin said he owes John Cena a beating and he’ll deliver it tomorrow night. Corbin was asked for his thoughts on the main event tonight and Corbin said he relates to Bobby Roode and the way he views himself. They were rushed off-air and promptly threw to the start of the Takeover show…
Zim Says: The tease for McIntyre’s old music almost made it worth me watching this hour-long plug. It was a cool touch for them to bring back some familiar faces from NXT’s past. I don’t think an hour-long pre-show is necessary at all, but at least they kept it fresh by bringing in some different names to get their take and make it feel more big league. Also, if you’re the type of person who stand at the pre-show panel and yells obnoxious shit: you’re the worst. Now head on over to my Takeover Brooklyn 3 live coverage report. Thanks for reading!