For the third straight year the WWE and NXT heads back to the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York, as NXT presents TakeOver: Brooklyn III. The NXT Championship will tke the spot light in the main event as the GLORIOUS champion, Bobby Roode, has to contend against the former Chosen One of the WWE, Drew McIntyre. McIntyre has been on fire since his return to NXT, and Roode will have to use all of his tricks to retain his precious title. Both of NXT’s other championships are on the line, as the undefeated Asuka does battle with Ember Moon for the Women’s Championship, and the Authors of Pain are set for a big-time fight with Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain of SAnitY. Aleister Black is also in action against Hideo Itami, the latter of which seems to be letting out some frustration on the NXT roster, while the recently returned from injury Johnny Gargano has to try to take control of the ungovernable Andrade “Cien” Almas.
+ Bobby Roode (c) vs Drew McIntyre (NXT Championship): I’m not sure how I feel about McIntyre coming back straight into the title scene, but damn if that doubt wasn’t put to rest in this match. McIntyre looked huge compared to the Champion, so Roode was forced to play the underdog which added an interesting dynamic to this title defense. This was a back and forth affair, and it ended up being a damn good match. And, as we’ve come to expect, there are some huge post match shenanigans which promise big things for NXT
+ Asuka (c) vs Ember Moon (NXT Women’s Championship): I was not really sure what to expect going in, but this was another amazing match for the show. Ember more than managed to hold her own against the undefeated champion in terms of strikes. There was numerous callbacks to Asuka’s past defenses, as well as the only previous Ember/Asuka match, which worked really well. Ember may not be the best promo (which is saying a lot, considering that Asuka still doesn’t speak great English) but damn if both of these women are not incredible wrestlers
+ Aleister Black vs Hideo Itami: Itami returning to his absolute asshole, dickhead persona was the best thing he could have done. Black has been on a tear lately, and god damn, this was another incredible match. All you need to know is that they kicked the absolute shit out of each other, and Black ended up with a busted face. This was probably Itami’s best match since his few with Tyler Breeze some years ago, though I admit I wanted it to go for longer than it did
+ The Authors of Pain (Akam & Rezar) (w/ Paul Ellering) (c) vs SAnitY (Alexander Wolfe & Eric Young) (w/ Killian Dain & Nikki Cross): I’m a real sucker for bad guy vs bad guy matches, and for hosses just wailing on each other, so I was very disappointed that Dain was not in the match. Thankfully, Alexander Wolfe was able to fill in for the big boy moments. This was a really good tag team match, without the underdog crowd reactions of teams like D.I.Y. Any and everything about this match played it’s part well, and a HUGE aftermath just set me off completely. Holy crap I love Nikki Cross. She’s just adorable
+ Johnny Gargano vs Andrade “Cien” Almas (w/ Zelina Vega): gosh darn Gargano is good. Almas seems to be the ‘we have no story but we want a good match’ guy, as he has had these sort of matches every show in recent memory. Either way, this was the great match it was always going to be, and a fantastic way to start the show
+ NXT’s pre-shows always feel more important than the main roster WWE shows. Maybe it’s the smaller number of matches, but this was also special for the return of former NXT stars. Big E and Neville, both former NXT Champions, were two of the panel guests, and they both were very entertaining, especially as Neville’s microphones kept cutting off mid sentence
– it seems petty to say, considering the quality of the matches on this show, but something needs to be done about weekly NXT shows, or these takeovers, because on this show, there were no matches for: No Way Jose, Kassius Ohno, Roderick Strong or the recently debuted Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish. In the tag team division, there was no Heavy Machinery, TM-61 or the recently debuted Street Profits. Asuka’s dominance continued over the women’s scene, as we saw no sign of The Iconic Duo, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay, or Ruby Riot or Nikki Cross (outside of the Latter’s involvement in the tag team title match). It just felt like there were a lot of missing faces
Should you watch this event: The only issue I had with this show was the order of the matches, as I firmly believe Asuka/Ember Moon should have gone on last. The opening match was fantatic, the tag team title contest was incredible, Itami/Black kicked the piss out of each other, Asuka/Ember was, as mentioned, amazing and then the main event was everything it needed to be. Do not miss this show.