It’s time for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, or NXT TakeOver II: Electric Boogaloo, and this time it’s headlined by a battle between Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Championship. Joe is in a much better position than he was this time last year: He was battling Baron Corbin in a decent fight last time in Brooklyn, but now he’s had a heel turn, a decent rivalry with Finn Balor and the win of the NXT title.
Nakamura has been a dominating force since joining NXT at TakeOver: Dallas. He’s been on a roll since joining the NXT universe. Will the top prize in the company on the line, can he fulfill his meteoric rise to the top of the company?
Two other titles are on the line, including a battle of Asuka & Bayley for the second time. Can the Hugger reclaim her title that she lost back in April, or will Asuka assert herself as the dominant woman of NXT?
The Revival made history by becoming two-time tag team champions, defeating American Alpha. Can they hold off the duo of Cruiserweight Classic competitors Tomasso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano? The two had arguably the match of the tournament so far against each other, and they work even better as a squad. They may be the toughest match for the Revival so far.
In two more matches, Austin Aries takes on the dancing sensation No Way Jose, and Bobby Roode makes his NXT television in-ring debut against Andrande Almas.
All this, plus the debut of Ember Moon against Billie Kaye, at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II.
1. Austin Aries vs No Way Jose
This was a good showing for No Way Jose. A relatively green guy, this was a big moment for him and either it would take off or he would flop. And I think it went really well. Granted, Austin Aries is great so naturally that helped, but all around I thought this was a really successful opener. The crowd were definitely pro Aries for a good portion of the match, though I don’t think they were anti-No Way Jose. Instead, the crowd just absolutely love Aries, which is funny if you take into account that the crowd was slow to get behind him at the start of the year. Aries just has a cockiness that takes time to really get behind, so him being a heel for now who will eventually be the arrogant babyface works perfectly. Pleased with this match, and pleased with the winner. Hideo Itami’s surprise appearance was a thing of beauty. Why is Aries considered one of the very best in the world? Just look at Aries face when Itami’s music hits. What a moment. The prospect of an Itami/Aries match is like waiting for Christmas. I can’t wait. Winner – Austin Aries
2. Billie Kay vs Ember Moon
A strong win for Ember Moon with the O-Face (I forgot what the WWE calls it) and this went exactly as I expected. The match was good too. Billie Kay is a talent who hasn’t gotten much due until recently, but she is good, and hopefully she continues getting more attention going forward. Meanwhile Ember Moon coming in was bound to be great, and she delivered big time. The crowd wasn’t as hot for her as I would have hoped, but they got behind her and got really loud for her finish, and rightfully so. Good match, Ember Moon versus Asuka eventually will be a killer match. Winner – Ember Moon
3. Bobby Roode vs Andrade Almas
I feel bad for Andrade Almas. He is very talented, but the WWE debuted him with a beloved talent like Tye Dillinger, then had him beat him twice at the following tapings along with another match and the Florida crowd burned out on him. WWE smartly pulled back on him a bit, but now we have Roode who is very popular due to his history and his absolutely fantastic entrance theme. But the match itself was really good. Andrade impressed with a lot of really fun high spots and some unique offense, while Roode delivered in his own right. My only issue here is that the Roode Bomb is a really weak finisher. Maybe he isn’t using the Perfectplex because of Curtis Axel, but he really could use something else. A lot of fun, though. And while I thought we might get a surprise Almas win, the right guy did go over.
Winner – Bobby Roode
4. The Revival (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) vs. Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Tag Team Championship
Match of the night, hands down. I, for one, never once thought the titles would change hands before the event. Once the match started, however, I wasn’t so sure. This was an old school NWA tag team match for sure. The only thing missing in this match were the mullets. Otherwise this could have happened at a Starrcade in the ’80s. It was that good. I never expected it to be as good as it was, but this was a masterpiece. They teased a breakup at the end, and Ciampa is doing his very best to sell himself as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Titles and heel turns aside, this was one of the greatest tag team matches in WWE in a very long time. While this is my match of the night, it had some stiff competition for sure.
Winners – The Revival (still champions)
5. Bayley vs Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship
While I enjoyed this match, something didn’t click. I’m not sure if it was Bayley being off because it was her final NXT match, which it most certainly appeared to be, or Asuka being amped up but it felt as if the women were on two different wavelengths. So while the match worked and was better than good, it didn’t click for me and the match felt flat for the most part. I think the tag match should have been third on the card with the Roode match in-between to give fans a chance to catch their breath. If it turns out to Bayley’s swan song in NXT, it was a more than fitting way to send her off. I’m not sure we have to wait until Monday night to see her, either. Winner – Asuka (still champion)
6. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Samoa Joe for the NXT Championship
I loved this match. Nakamura’s entrance was bad ass and the German suplex late was just sick. I can’t say I agree 100% with the decision to put the strap on Nakamura, but I can see why they’re doing it. I still feel that hot-shotting someone to the title when it’s not exactly necessary is a bad idea, but I don’t think that’s going to be a big deal here. I worry more about how this makes Joe look as opposed to what it does for the title after seeing the match. It’s not easy to have a classic match with Nakamura, as Austin Aries and Finn Balor can attest to, but Samoa Joe not only had a classic match with Nakamura, but a match of the year candidate. The story was amazing, the pacing and psychology were amazing, and the two seemed to be linked at the brain for this one. I can’t say enough about this match. What sealed it for me was Joe selling the “broken jaw”. A very tiny touch that just put that match over the top.
Winner – Shinsuke Nakamura (new champion)
Overall show – What a show. I felt like every match was good-great, with some of the big matches really delivering. What was my favorite match? It has to be the tag title match for sure, but really, any of the last three matches could be the right choice. I can’t wait to see what’s next for NXT. I have a feeling that Joe (if he does not fight Nakamura again) and Bayley are certain to be on the main roster now after their loses so NXT will need to start building their lower ranked starts if we are to be interested in big title matches for the future.