By John Moore, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@liljohnm)
NXT Takeover: Brooklyn IV
Aired live on WWE Network
Brooklyn, New York at Barclays Center
The Cold Open of Takeover focused on “history”…
Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson checked in on commentary. The first match was the tag title match…
1. “The Undisputed Era” Kyle O’Reilly and Roderick Strong vs. “Moustache Mountain” Tyler Bate and Trent Seven for the NXT Tag Team Championships. Mauro noted that The Undisputed Era tied the Revival in becoming two time NXT Tag Champs. The extra tan Drake Younger was the referee. Strong quickly took down Bate and Seven with lariats to allow his team to get the striking advantage. They pummeled Moustache Mountain with rapid fire strikes. Bate and Seven created separation and then pummeled the Era with their anime punches. Seven and Bate isolated O’Reilly in their corner with some fun tandem offense. O’Reilly gained control after a roundhouse. Bate gained control after a body slam. Seven hit Strong with an assisted trust fall. Strong turned the momentum back with a backbreaker. Kyle O’Reilly tagged in and used his Muay Thai clinch strikes.
The heels went to the isolation as Nigel McGuinness pointed out the proverbial target on Trent’s leg, the knee brace. Seven managed to get a hot tag in after a snap DDT on O’Reilly. Bate hit a huracanrana and some high flying moves. Strong showed off Cesaro-like strength by getting in a bit of a helicopter spin and Giant Spin on Undisputed Era by himself. He also hit both opponents with a deadlift one-man Samoan Drop-German Suplex. O’Reilly managed to bring things back to the methodical in his favor. O’Reilly punished Bate with MMA rear mount knees. The Era traded quick tags for tandem offense and isolation.
Strong locked Bate in a high angle Gory Special and Mauro noted that Gory Guerrero innovated that move. O’Reilly tagged in and worked on the shin of Bate into a standing heel hook. Undisputed Era did the quick tags and this time they isolated their attack on Tyler Bate’s left ankle and shin. Bate managed to shove away both opponents. Bate fended off both opponents with desperation moves. O’Reilly pulled Seven off the apron for a bit but Bate continued to fight off Strong and he got the tag. Seven cleaned house. Seven hit some cool suplexes on O’Reilly. Strong was able to stagger Seven with an elbow. O’Reilly hit Seven with a strong roundhouse and a brainbuster for the nearfall. The Era went back to their tandem quick tag game plan on Seven.
Tornado madness ensued. Strong put Seven in the Wall of Jericho Stronghold while O’Reilly had Bate in a Gogoplata. Bate deadlifted O’Reilly and power bombed him into Strong like a battering ram. Bate Exploder Suplexed O’Reilly into Roderick Strong. Bate hit both Era guys with a top rope clearing Suicide Dive. Bate hit Strong with a Clothesline from Hell and then hit his finisher, The Tyler Driver 97, on Strong. Roderick Strong kicked out of Bate’s finisher to set the crowd on fire. Bate and Strong fought to the top rope. Strong fell but O’Reilly slammed Bate’s knee on the turnbuckle.
Bate pulled out the BJJ in rolling into a heel hook of Tyler Bate focusing on the injured leg of Bate. Seven showed similar concern over his Kohai by trying to enter the ring. This backfired as a distraction. Seven then milked the crowd by teasing throwing in the towel but he threw the towel at the crowd instead. Bate managed to tag in Seven after Seven backdropped Strong. Bate did this from the submission. Seven hit O’Reilly with his finisher the Rainmaker for a nearfall. Moustache Mountain hit their double team Burning Hammer finisher and O’Reilly kicked out of that finisher too. I love me some burning hammer. Roderick Strong cleared Bate from the ring. This allowed the tag champions to hit Total Elimination for the victory.
The Undisputed Era defeated Moustache Mountain via pinfall in 18:06 to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships.
War Raiders cut the Era’s celebration short by attacking the champions as they promised a few weeks ago. There were some mild boos due to the Era’s popularity but some ofthose boos turned to “War” chants. Hanson and Ray Rowe hit O’Reilly with Fallout… [c]
John’s Thoughts: There we go! This is already a good NXT Takeover and there is no fear that this PPV would suck. That was great. This match had the highest expectations from everyone from us, the fans, and even Paul Levesque and they all delivered. This was nice and different enough with the story around Bate being in the injured role instead of Seven. I thought the towel throw tease was a bit hokey, but the crowd reaction saved it for me. I hope they keep Moustache Mountain in NXT because these guys proved that they are up there as one of the top tag teams in the world through this feud. Trent Seven in particular has finally won me over with his work in this feud.
Johnny Gargano was shown being introspective in the locker room. The commentators cut to the Velveteen Dream vs. EC3 vignette that aired during the preshow…
John’s Thoughts: Can we get EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream in the Velveteen Dimension? It will be as epic as Jason vs. Goldar in the Dark Dimension!
Velveteen Dream made his entrance first in the Barclays Center. Much to my dismay, he did not have Dixie Carter on his booty. Dream wore a crown to the ring and what looked like an African patterned vest. Dream had the words “Call me up Vince!” on his tights?
John’s Thoughts: I hope we don’t see a Dream callup.
2. Velveteen Dream vs. EC3. Mauro Ranallo made a “Crazy Rich Asians” reference by calling EC3 a Crazy Rich American. Dream chucked his nice vest at Ethan but Ethan chucked it at stronger back. Dream dominated the collar and elbow with his sheer power. Dream tried to mitigate the power with a wrist lock but EC3 countered with his own wrist lock. EC3 hit Deam with a few wristlock slams. EC3 crotched Dream by punting him a few times in the air. EC3 then followed up with a series of stiff lariats. EC3 used his core to block a sunset flip. EC3 tried to do the Rick Rude hip gyration but Dream stopped that by exposing some EC3 buttcrack. EC3 maintained control and hit an EC3 elbow on Dream.
EC3 spilled Dream to the outside. Dream managed to gain a window of opportunity with a twisting DDT on the steel ramp. This invoked a “holy s–t” chant. Dream gained control and got a nearfall. The crowd seemed a bit distracted, I think. They then went back to Dream and Dream hit a high risk clubbing blow on EC3. Dream followed up with a series of gut punches in the corner. Dream initiated some of his own methodical offense on Ethan. EC3 escaped a Rude Awakening attempt but Dream countered back into the neckbreaker. Dream grabbed a water bottle and splashed it into EC3’s face. EC3 ended the momentum a bit with a standing STO.
EC3 and Dream had a strong style exchange with EC3 which EC3 won. EC3 caught Dream with a rolling blockbuster. Dream escaped a TK3 attempt with a rollup. EC3 hit Velveteen Dream with the One Percenter (Facebuster) for the nearfall. Dream fired up EC3 with a face brush strike. EC3 pummeled Dream. EC3 launched Dream off the top rope. EC3 went to the top rope and hit a clunky crossbody that Dream reversed into a rollup. EC3 hit Dream with a sitout power bomb for a nearfall. EC3 hit Dream with a Superplex and Nigel noted that EC3 couldn’t get the cover since the Superplex hurt EC3’s injured neck from the ramp DDT earlier.
Dream blocked an apron TK3 and hit EC3 with a cartwheel DVD for a nearfall. Mauro noted the move was called the Dream Valley Driver by Dream. Dream countered EC3 into a German Suplex. Mauro and Nigel talked about how EC3 has been handicapped due to the neck injury from the ramp DDT. Velveteen Dream hit the Dream Valley Driver on EC3 on the ring apron. Dream hit the Purple Rainmaker on EC3 on the ring apron for the pinfall win.
Velveteen Dream defeated EC3 via pinfall in 15:03.
Mauro and Nigel made “When Doves Cry” references. Highlights from the match aired. EC3 started to have a shiner form on his left eye…
John’s Thoughts: These men had a though act to follow. It didn’t surpass things of course but they didn’t disappoint. EC3 has been putting in good workrate in WWE since his return that has surpassed everyday Impact Wrestling work. This match had the odd perception due to Dream being the heel of the feud yet the crowd treated him like the biggest babyface in the world. What made it awkward was they didn’t boo EC3 either. He was just the lesser cheered babyface. I wonder if EC3 gets called up and NXT uses that as a storyline to make Dream livid due to him wanting the callup as messaged through his ring gear.
Mauro Ranallo announced that NXT has signed Matt Riddle as Riddle was shown leading a “Bro” chant from the celebrity section in the crowd. The Adam Cole vs. Ricochet pre-match vignette aired…
Ricochet made his entrance wearing his royal cape. Adam Cole did his usual Bay Bay thing. Mauro Ranallo did an ad for an FX show (they’re already advertising Fox shows?)…
John’s Thoughts: Random side thought, they aren’t coming out with the elaborate entrances this year. Usually the wrestlers treat the Barclays show like WrestleMania. Again, are they going to try to pull that out in Los Angeles now?
3. Adam Cole vs. Ricochet for the NXT North American Championship. Cole used basic chain wrestling while Ricochet countered with his agility. Cole teased hitting Ricochet with a superkick and taunted Ricochet by calling Ricochet “not special”. Mauro noted that Cole may be jealous due to Ricochet getting headlines over the North American champion. Ricochet caught a flying Cole with a front dropkick. Ricochet taunted Cole with his superhero landing. Cole tossed Ricochet to the outside. Cole grounded Ricochet and tossed him into the barricade. After some methodical offense, Cole hit Ricochet with the ushigoroshi Last Shot for a nearfall.
Ricochet ended Cole’s rally with a rolling dropkick. Ricochet caught Cole with a Fosbury Flop. Ricochet hit Cole with the Tiger Feint Kick for a nearfall (he used to call this move the 323 when they kayfabed him from Los Angeles). Ricochet hit Cole with a stepup enzuigiri. Cole dodged a moonsault but Ricochet quickly went into a standing Moonsault and reverse Red Arrow. Mauro said Ricochet is a video game cheat code (but I thought the New Day finisher was the Konami cheat code). Ricochet went for a Lethal Injection but Cole countered into a backstabber. Ricochet staggered Cole. Cole tried to call his shot with a superkick but Ricochet caught it. Cole managed to hit the superkick when Ricochet went for a lionsault.
Adam Cole hit Ricochet with the Ushigoroshi Last Shot for a nearfall that made the crowd go nuts. Ricochet reversed a Shining Wizard attempt. Both men then traded blow for blow. Ricochet nosold strikes with Fighting Spirit. After more blows, Cole fell onto Ricochet for a nearfall. Ricochet got up dazed while Cole went for the Last Shot kick. Ricochet was playing possum and hit Cole with a reverse frankendriver. Ricochet went the 630 but Cole rolled to the opposite apron. Mauro noted that it may have cost Ricochet for going high risk. Ricochet caught Cole with a sick inside-to-outside huracanrana. Ricochet then successfully hit the 630 for the win.
Ricochet defeated Adam Cole via pinfall in 15:19 to become the new NXT North American Champion.
Replays were shown including many slow motion angles of Ricochet’s impressive 630. Ricochet did a celebratory pose under is smoke and laser lights… [c]
John’s Thoughts: The match started off slow with a battle of WWE style vs. indie style. Cole is a master at the WWE main event style of basic wrestling. I felt like the previous match had harder work imputed throughout the entire match. By the end of this one though, Cole and Ricochet managed to pull out just the right moves to make this a fun match. The Ushigoroshi spot in particular made that crowd wake up like that hard shot of espresso. Ricochet winning gives me what I wanted to see initially with Ricochet as the weekly television champion. It will be cool to see if they allow him to be the king of the hill champion that he was in Lucha Underground where he had a good run in that first season.
Kevin Owens and Mark Henry were shown standing in the celebrity section of the crowd. The show cut to the Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane pre-match vignette…
Kairi Sane made her entrance first with her pirate gear. Baszler made her usual entrance. Kayla Braxton handled the formal ring introductions and Jessika Carr was the referee for the match.
4. Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane for the NXT Womens Championship. Sane locked in an early heel hook but Baszler was able to lock in a heel hook on Sane from the same position. Sane went into some rollups and teased Baszler with a Stretch Muffler attempt. Baszler and Sane traded forearms. Sane took down Baszler with a huracanrana. Sane hit Baszler with a flying forearm from the apron to the outside. Baszler surprised Sane with a basement dropkick to Sane’s calf. Baszler stompped a mudhole in the right calf of Sane. Baszler toyed with Sane with simple low kicks. Sane tried to fight back with elbows. Baszler countered with a roundhouse while using the second rope as a lever on Sane.
Baszler slowly twisted Sane’s leg in disgusting ways (sold greatly with the slow motion and flexability). Baszler then smashed on Sane’s ankle like she smashed Dakota Kai’s elbow. Baszler mocked Sane’s plank walk and then punted the right hamstring of Sane. Sane showed her fighting spirit with no sell roars to Baszler’s offense. Sane responded with left and right punches. Sane caught Baszler with a knife back fist and a series of blockbusters. Sane did her walk plank but sold the injured right leg. Baszler hit the sliding forearm and got a two count off it. Baszler staggered Sane on the top rope with a step up enzuigiri. Baszler hit Sane with a superplex.
Sane showed off her fighting spirit again. Baszler pulled out a scissors high knee strike on Sane for a two count. Sane reversed a brainbuster and hit Baszler with her signature spear. Sane hit Baszler with a InSane elbow to the back of Baszler. Sane went for a second one but Baszler rolled outside. Sane hit Baszler with a diving crossbody on the outside. Sane hit Baszler with the InSane elbow and Baszler kicked out at two. Nigel noted that this is the first time someone kicked out of the InSane Elbow. Baszler reversed The Anchor into the Kirafuda (trump card) Clutch. Sane started to fade but made it to the second rope. Baszler went back to the submission with a heel hook. Sane reversed into an Anchor attempt but had to settle for a death lock. Baszler got the rope break.
Sane used the ropes to lock in an illegal anchor for five seconds. Sane hit Baszler with an Alabama Slam. Baszler blocked the InSane elbow with her knees. Basz;er attached the Kirafuda Clutch on Sane but Sane pressured Baszler’s shoulders on the mat for the surprise win.
Kairi Sane defeated Shayna Baszler via pinfall in 13:37 to become the new NXT Women’s Champion.
Kairi stumbled to the floor with the belt to sell the emotion… [c]
John’s Thoughts: This may have killed my LeRae prediction for War Games. That said the women (as most people on Takeover cards) had a tough act to follow with Cole and Ricochet and managed to get the crowd into it in a unique way. NXT is usually good at making sure there is something for everyone. I liked the different and unorthadox finish because it was practical and it protected the hell out of Baszler. Random note for tonight, we are getting a ton of finisher false finishes tonight where the ones in this match made that more evident. Will they go with Baszler vs. Sane at Evolution or will they rush Baszler into a program with Ronda Rousey as soon as tomorrow? Maybe both somehow?
An NXT UK ad aired that said NXT UK was “coming soon” (these shows have already been taped). Nigel McGuinness advertised Triple H’s usual post show Facebook Live interview. The commentators moved on to the Gargano vs. Ciampa pre-match vignette that aired this past Wednesday…
John’s Thoughts: Update from the pre-show, William Regal absolved Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish, and Roderick Strong from suspicion of attacking Aleister Black. I like the slow approach that WWE is taking by crossing off the names and giving the viewers a nice clue game to play along with. My love for Arthur Conan Doyle books approves of this move.
Johnny Gargano came out first to his Rebel Heart music. Tommaso Ciampa came out to his usual faux-theme music of a chorus of boos. Kayla Braxton tried to handle the formal ring introductions. Kayla also explained the rules of the match before the match started.
5. Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing Match for the NXT Championship. Johnny Gargano attacked Ciampa before the bell and the bell rang to start the match. Gargano reversed a Tiger Driver attempt. Ciampa gained control by pushing Gargano into the steel steps. Gargano tossed around Ciampa into the barricades. Gargano exposed the concrete floor early in the match. Mauro noted that “Gargano has gone to a dark place in his rebel heart”. Ciampa turned the tide by clawing Gargano in the face. Ciampa accidently hit a security guard by suplexing Gargano into the barricade guard. Gargano countered and hit Ciampa with the apron cannonball. Johnny Gargano tossed Ciampa into Percy Watson.
Ciampa recovered and smashed Gargano through the Spanish announce table with a diving Celtic Cross. Things slowed down with brawling in the ring. Ciampa brought a chair into play. Ciampa hit Gargano with two corner face wash knees. Ciampa tried to con-chair-to Gargano with the buckle and chair but Gargano blocked Ciampa’s knee with the chair and started to take down Ciampa with the Chair. Ciampa countered Gargano with a sleeper hold. Ciampa used the bottom rope for leverage and added pain due to no rope breaks. Ciampa let go and then put Gargano back in the move when he woke up from the ten count.
Gargano made it to a vertical base and then shot Ciampa like a lawn dart into a chair he set up in the corner earlier. Ciampa broke the ten count at six. Gargano introduced a table to the area with the exposed floor. Gargano stacked a second table on top of it face down. Ciampa blocked a suplex attempt and then brought the action back inside of the ring with a German Suplex. Ciampa worked on Gargano with a chair. Ciampa hit Gargano with three Project Ciampas.
Ciampa sat on a chair leisurely to watch the ref give the ten count. Gargano got to his feet and caught the calm Ciampa with a superkick. Ciampa and Gargano traded fatigued strikes. Ciampa caught Gargano with a listo kick. Ciampa blocked Gargano’s signature slingshot spear. Gargano blocked a Tiger Driver. more reversals ensued. Both men made it to their feet after trading German Suplexes. Both men got up at one after taking each other out with punches. More clean strike exchanges ensued with Gargano knockout out himself and Ciampa after a takedown lariat.
Ciampa made it to his feet and recovered on the outside. Gargano kicked Ciampa but missed wildly after Ciampa sidestepped Gargano’s apron cannonball. Ciampa hit Gargano with a Tiger Pile Driver on the steel steps. Gargano ended the count in a daze by diving to the front row of fans. Tommaso found some garden sheers which he used to unhook the ring apron and exposing the wooden canvas by removing the foam. They’ve hit the 21 minute mark.
Gargano blased Ciampa in the face with a fire extinguisher to blind him. Gargano whacked Ciampa in the back several times to cause the crutch to shatter into pieces. Gargano and Ciampa were sandwiched between the double table and expose floor. Some words were censored. Gargano hit his finishing slingshot DDT on the exposed floor boards which was the same move that beat Black. Ciampa broke the count by rolling to the ground. Gargano didn’t relent with a Tope Suicida. Ciampa retreated to the opposite corner and Gargano followed up with a pursuing Tope Suicida. Gargano accidentally hit a production crew member to cause him to freeze. Ciampa recovered and smashed a chair into the head of Gargano and the barricade.
Ciampa threw chairs, backpacks, briefcases, roadie boxies, crew members, and other stuff on top of Gargano to start another ten count. Gargano fought his way out and broke the ten count. A “Johnny Wrestling” chant ensued. Ciampa tried to handcuff Gargano but Gargano stole the handcuffs. Ciampa stole them back with an elbow. Both men loomed over the stacked tables. Gargano waved goodbye at Ciampa and superkicked Ciampa into the double tables. Ciampa used the walking crutch for its purpose by using it to get to his feet. Ciampa walked around ringside with the crutch. Gargano pursued Ciampa as Ciampa backtracked up the ramp. Gargano tripped Ciampa by kicking away the crutch and did the ground and pound.
Gargano mimicked the Takeover Chicago DIY betrayal scene by tossing Ciampa into the LED video wall. Gargano tapped out to the GargaNo Escape but there were no submissions. Ciampa was handcuffed to the stage scaffolding. Ciampa made it to his feet and begged for life. Gargano superkicked Ciampa. Gargano cut the ten count short and yelled “you did this”. Ciampa yelled “I’m sorry”. Gargano was about to let Ciampa get counted out but Ciampa scrambled to his feet from the awkward handcuffed position. Gargano hit Ciampa with Ciampa’s DIY facewash knee but he wiped out crashing to the floor. Ciampa rolled to the ground while Gargano was selling a knee injury.
Tommaso Ciampa defeated Johnny Gargano in 33:40 in a Last Man Standing match to retain the NXT Championship.
Replays aired from the match. Mauro Ranallo then announced that Johnny Gargano may have (likely storyline) dislocated his knee. Gargano got out of the cuffs and stood tall on the stage over the prone Gargano celebrating his title defense. Gargano was being treated on by the medical staff. Ciampa walked to the center of the Takeover emblem on the ramp and demanded that the referee hold up his hand in victory which the ref did. Ciampa exited but came back once Gargano was helped to his feet. Mauro Ranallo went into somber mode calling the end of the segment. The NXT signature flashed on the screen and the camera stuck a little longer to show Ciampa in the distance taunting Gargano by holding up his Championship belt…
John’s Thoughts: Yep, they did it. While their other two enocounters had much more emotion behind it, Gargano and Ciampa continue to innovate within the confines of WWE with new hardcore matches. Indie workers should look at the work that Ciampa and Gargano are doing and try to employ the same techniques of hardcore matches without risking unnecessary injury. This was a good story and different enough from the other matches. The story in the end here is Gargano defeated himself as opposed to Ciampa beating him but it didn’t make Ciampa weak on his end. They even brought the handcuffs that I expected but they didn’t have that play into the finish in a fluky way. This was a good match and I’m expecting it leads to Gargano returning to the babyface role to challenge at the next Takeover where he might win the title.
Takeovers continue to deliver and each match delivered in a different way. I feel bad discounting any single match since every match was good. If you put a gun to my head and made me choose I would probably pick the tag team match, but the closing match was good too. EC3, Velveteen Dream, Shayna Baszler, and Kairi worked really hard and their hard work showed in the match. Ricochet and Cole had show steeling moments in their match. Takeovers continue to be the best events in pro wrestling with their five match limit and short/efficient timing. They also taped Pete Dunne vs. Zack Gibson which is advertised for Wednesday so if that match couldn’t make the show then this had to be good. Jason Powell will be by in a bit with his audio review of the show. I’ll be by later with an NXT Takeover hit list.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Brian Fritz of Sporting News and Between The Ropes discussing WrestleMania 36, WWE television from the empty WWE Performance Center, his own travel woes, NFL free agency, and more...