Sunday, August 23, 2015

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn (Aug. 2015)

Some generally quick thoughts on the recent NXT Takeover show from Brooklyn. Apparently, Summerslam (featuring a bunch of matches I don't care about) is also eminating from Brooklyn Sunday night... don't expect a write-up until Tuesday, since I'll be gone for the whole day.

Jushin "Thunder" Liger defeated Tyler Breeze with a Liger Bomb. Breeze's entrance is a fashion show type set-up while Thunder Liger's entrance is... well, apparently WWE couldn't afford the Japanese drummers from Mania 31 so Liger gets a standard entrance. I guess this was fine for the appeal of a rare appearance by Thunder Liger in a WWE event and certainly a perfectly acceptable opener, all things considered. A little on the weak side because I generally don't care for Tyler Breeze (the selfie stick is a turn-off), but I gotta say; if this was the worst that this show had to offer, things are already looking up because this was fine.

So we got cameo appearances from Vinnie Vegas, the Diamond Studd, and the Lightning Kid in the audience. There's a bunch of these shown every so often.

The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch w/ Blue Pants... seriously, that's her name?) defeated NXT Tag-Team champions Blake and Murphy to win the titles. I like the Vaudevillains gimmick; it's something refreshing and comical without being cartoonish or ridiculous. It's the kind of thing that could work as a tag gimmick if done right and I like what they're doing gimmick-wise, which is a rarity because I normally don't care for that sort of gimmick type because they're usually poorly done, but the Vaudevillains are a nice little tandem. As far as the match goes, it's fine. Nothing amazing, but perfectly acceptable fare in which, again, if this was the worst this show had to offer, no worries, right?

Apollo Crews (the former Uhaa Nation) defeated Tye Dillinger in a relatively brief match that delivered the goods. I concede that I've never seen Uhaa Nation before in any prior engagement and as such, this match needed to sell me on what the redubbed Apollo Crews was offering and it did just that. The guy's not only got a great look and a power set to match, but he's got plenty of enthusiasm, as shown in his amazement over how many people there were in the show. Tye Dillinger, with his perfect 10 schtick, is also pretty decent here, so...

Samoa Joe defeated Baron Corbin via submission. It's two big, strong guys hitting each other for a good bit before the eventual Joe win via Koquina Clutch for the submission. No complaints here; I enjoyed this one quite a bit.

More guest cameos from Ric Flair, Sgt. Slaughter, female joshi Kanna, and... oh look, Stephanie's come out to take credit for the so-called "Divas Revolution" taking place on RAW... which apparently means taking three talented NXT women and dumbing them down to the level of the worthless WWE Divas. Joy.

Bayley defeated NXT Women's Champion Sasha Banks to win the title and there goes Sasha Banks on a one-way trip to the main roster where she'll part of a team with two other worthless WWE Divas (I don't care who they're related to) instead of being paired up with the other two NXT ladies... so goddamn stupid, kids.

I'm not going to say a whole lot about the match itself other than that this was one of the better wrestling matches - not women's wrestling - just wrestling, one of the better matches I've seen. And honestly, you look at this match and then Summerslam rolls around and they put out some homogenized half-assed attempt at a so-called Divas Revolution. I'd want to be proven wrong on that count, but I don't think I will. Unfortunately, the best attempts at women's wrestling in WWE... is still taking place in NXT and this match serves as a harsh reminder of this. Believe me, anyone expecting THIS LEVEL of booking and excellent from the usual Divas piss break at Summerslam - despite possibly featuring some NXT laidies - is severely deluded.

NXT World Champion Finn Balor defeated Kevin Owens in a ladder match to retain the title. The match was good for what it was - had a few good spots here and there - but I honestly felt that this ladder match between Balor and Owens wasn't quite as good as the match they had in Japan. I think, if anything, the ladder stipulation kinda dilutes the whole thing because it's a ladder match; there's not much new you can pull out of a ladder match that will wow the spectators without going into injuries and things of that nature. This was a very pedestrian ladder match with all the familiar spots and cliches that you'd see in a whole bunch of ladder matches. Again, I thought the match they had here was pretty good, but the match they had in Japan was better.

At the end of the day, though, I cannot levy a bad thing towards NXT Takeover Brooklyn other than the one bit featuring Stephanie. Aside from that one bit, I thought this was an excellent showing; something that is being a common thread with the NXT brand in general, but is entirely accurate. It was only a two-hour show... but those two hours flew by quickly. The top-level matches delivered the goods, the weaker matches held their own just fine, and I enjoyed watching tremendously this event on the WWE Network.

So that's it, then. NXT made their mark and hit it out of the park.

Your move, Vinnie Mac.

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