If you ask any WWE fan, most will say that the must watch brand from the company is NXT, with many considering the TakeOver events to be far superior to the main PPV that follows. And with good reason. So as we enter SummerSlam weekend you could be forgiven for being a little more excited for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II, with the event more than living up to my expectations.
WARNING! There will be spoilers beyond this point.
The first match on the card sees Austin Aries take on No Way Jose and given the tension that has been building between these superstars, it was clear that fans wanted to see this. Showcasing the talents of both individuals perfectly, this was the perfect way to set the stage for the event as a whole, as despite not being the best bout on the card, it was better than most PPV matches from the main roster. When all was said and done, however, it was Austin Aries that left with the win, making No Way Jose submit to the Last Chancery.
Next up we got the debut match for the enigmatic new signing to the women’s division as Ember Moon took on Billie Kay. What I loved most about this debut match for Ember Moon was that it was far from a squash match, as despite giving us a look at this new talent, there was plenty of impressive moves from Billie Kay, with the match being very balanced. The way the match ended, on the other hand, was nothing short of phenomenal, with Ember Moon hitting a diving, corkscrew stunner to pick up the 1, 2, 3.
The third match on the card was probably the one I was most anticipating, as Bobby Roode made a glorious (couldn’t resist the pun) debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas. Anyone who’s watched TNA at some point over the last ten years is bound to know how good Roode is, with the man once known as the “It Factor” bringing some new moves and a more flamboyant ring entrance. Much like the Ember Moon debut this was far from a walk in the park, with Almas giving us some explosive and exciting moves. It was never in doubt, however, that Roode would pick up the win, pinning Almas following his new finisher, the Glorious Bomb (a pumphandle drop).
One of, if not the, best match on the card came as The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder) put their NXT Tag Team titles on the line against Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa in a bout that I no one could predict the outcome of. Showing the raw talent of both teams, there were many moments when I thought that one team or the other had picked up the win, only for either a last minute kick out/escape or save from their teammate. Some of the most entertaining moments, however, came when all four superstars were in the ring, with the double team moves and set-ups keeping me glued to my television set. When all was said and done, it was The Revival that retained, with Dawson making Gargano submit to the reverse figure four.
The penultimate match on the card saw Bayley try and regain the NXT Women’s Championship, taking on current champion Asuka. Much like their match earlier on in the year at NXT TakeOver: Dallas this was another reminder at why NXT is the place to look at for future top WWE women’s wrestlers, with there being some monumental moments from both superstars. That said, there was a part of me that felt there was something missing, and though I’m not quite sure what, it did downplay the overall tempo of the match a little. Nevertheless it was still better than 90% of what we get from the women’s division on the main roster, with the close calls and eventual win for Asuka being rather impressive (whether you were happy with the outcome or not).
The main event was probably the match everyone was most eager to witness, as Shinsuke Nakamura finally got his title opportunity, taking on Samoa Joe. Given the different styles of these two superstars, I wasn’t sure whether this would be the spectacle that everyone expected. I was, however, quickly proven wrong as both Joe and Nakamura showed us why they’re the top two wrestlers in NXT at the moment. What made this match so exciting, was the constant back and forth action, with the exchange of momentum and finishers leaving me on the edge of my seat. When all was said and done, it was Nakamura that picked up the win, becoming the new NXT Champion after hitting the Kinshasa twice on Samoa Joe.
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II was simply phenomenal, giving SummerSlam a lot to live up to. Not only did we get two amazing debuts from Bobby Roode and Ember Moon, but we also got some amazing action from every superstar involved in the event, with three sensational title matches. Simply put, there wasn’t one bad match to feature on this event.