Written By Ryan Hollen
This past Saturday was the second NXT Takeover: Brooklyn WWE Network special. Last years was arguably the best NXT show to date. We saw Finn Balor and Kevin Owens compete in a great NXT Championship match, the long awaited in-ring debut of Jushin “Thunder” Liger, and an amazing NXT Tag Team Championship match between Blake & Murphy and The Vaudevillians (I miss Blue Pants - Leva come back!). More importantly, we saw the match of the year between Sasha Banks and Bayley that cemented the much talked about “Divas Evolution / Now Women's Evolution”.
So this year a rather big shoe to fill. The hype for the show has been a bit lacking but on paper, the lineup is as good as ever. Here are my quick thoughts and grades for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II.
Austin Aries d. No Way Jose
Solid opener. Austin controlled most of the contest with No Way not backing down and giving Aries a run for his money. I like the more serious side of No Way Jose - it was something that the similar character of Adam Rose was missing. It’s going to help keep Jose around much longer. I think this was the right decision for the opening contest. Aries gets the win.
Rating - 3/5
Ember Moon d. Billie Kay
Quick match to showcase the debuting Ember Moon. Nothing fancy as Kay worked over Ember for most of the match with Ember hitting a few decent spots before delivering the big finisher. On the independents, it was called The O Face but I’m sure that’s going to change for NXT. I’m not sure if the commentators mentioned a name for the move or not but for now we will call it a top rope twisting stunner. Ember Moon is going to be the star NXT builds the women's division around with Bayley moving towards the main roster any day now. Billie Kay is also someone to watch for. She has the look and is only going to get better with time.
Rating - 2/5
Bobby Roode d. Andrade Almas.
It took a three-minute entrance to make Roode a bigger star than he ever was in TNA. That is the power of WWE and the reach it has compared to other promotions. Roode’s entrance was amazing and his theme song is so catchy. The “Glorious” thing is going to work for him. The match was given around 10 minutes and it was a nice showing for Roode with him getting the win with “The Glorious Bomb”. Almas is really struggling and not connecting with the NXT fans and that is sad because he really is a good talent. He just needs a repackaging and a new look, the name could be tweaked too.
Rating - 3/5
NXT Tag Team Championship Match
the Revival d. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa
Match of the night and it wasn’t even close. It has been said a million times but The Revival are special. They’re old school through and through. Simple things like cutting the ring off from their opponent and distracting the referee so their partner can get a cheap shot in are tricks of the trade often lost in today’s wrestling scene. Gargano and Ciampa are stars also and this was their best showcase on NXT to date. I think the title switch is coming but tonight wasn’t the night. Hopefully, this isn’t the last time we see these teams compete.
Rating - 4/5
NXT Women's Championship
Asuka d. Bayley
The swan song for Bayley? I think so. Bayley has been the heart and the soul of NXT for so long that the emotion was there. It was nice having Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in the front row to help drive home the emotion in the match. It wasn’t nearly as good as last years match with Sasha but Asuka and Bayley gave a great performance with Bayley taking the pin after almost 20 minutes of action. I think we see Bayley on Raw or Smackdown as early as this week.
Rating - 3/5
NXT Championship Match
Shinsuke Nakamura d. Samoa Joe.
Bobby Roode had the entrance of the night until Nakamura showed why he is the best thing going today. What an entrance! Nakamura came to the ring serenaded by a violinist playing a rendition of his amazing theme song. It was a magical moment and something we will remember for a long time. It also reminded me I can not wait to see a Nakamura Wrestlemania entrance. The match delivered but to be fair, it was probably Nakamura’s weakest NXT Takeover match thus far. Joe and Nakamura traded strong-style blows until Nakamura delivered three Kinshasa’s in a row for the win. Joe was checked on after the match by the referee as we celebrated Nakamura as Champion just 5 months after making his debut. Crazy.
Rating - 3/5
Verdict: NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II was a great show and continued the trend of NXT outshining the main roster as far as live specials go.
Overall - 4/5