Takeover: Brooklyn is kind of like WrestleMania for NXT in that it is their only show that takes place every year. It has historically (well, twice) been a good show and I expect the same here.
Johnny Gargano vs Andrade 'Cien' Almas
What a way to kick off the show this was. Almas sometimes goes underappreciated when people think of the best that NXT has to offer but he shouldn't because he is incredible. Johnny Gargano is pretty fucking good too. They start off with some quality chain wrestling with Gargano taking control, to loud 'Johnny Wrestling' chants. From there the match just keeps going through the gears, getting better and better. This is two excellent wrestlers at the top of their game. The finishing stretch is also brilliant as the crowd buy in to every near fall and it makes this feel special. Gargano fights through everything Almas has to offer and has him on the ropes only for Zelina Vega to distract him by throwing a DIY shirt at him, allowing Almas to pick up the pin. These men are stars and Almas can be the Hispanic star that the WWE has been looking for. This was excellent. ****1/2
NXT Tag Team Titles - Authors of Pain vs SAnitY
Corey Graves comes out to do commentary for this. AoP start off by having the better of Alexander Wolfe only for SAnitY to pull a last minute switcheroo by replacing Killian Dain with Eric Young. There is plenty of brawling on the floor here and the match is all the better for it. I was surprised that if they were going to insert Young in the match that they would have him replace Dain rather than Wolfe but it worked out well as Wolfe put in his best performance to date here and was the MVP of the match. The German suplex he hit was great. In the end the numbers game was too much for even the Authors of Pain to deal with. Nikki Cross gets involved towards the end. First she stops Young getting superplexed and then she dives to the floor but is caught. Dain then hits a crossbody to put put both her and whichever Author it was through a table. This left the other Author alone to be hit with the double team combo neckbreaker and SAnitY are your new champs. This was really good, much better than I had expected. ****
Following the match ReDragon (Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish) come out, take out the Authors and destroy SAnitY. We have our next tag title feud and it should be good. ReDragon are an excellent team.
Aleister Black vs Hideo Itami
Jim Ross joins the commentary team for this one. This is as hard hitting as you would expect and that is sold even better by the fact that Black gets his nose busted early on. It was a good match, and one that I enjoyed quite a bit, but it did lack some drama to me as I never felt like there was a chance that Black would lose. The strike exchange towards the end is some good stuff though. Black won with the Black Mass, obviously. Jim Ross was much better on commentary here than he was in New Japan last month. ***1/2
NXT Women's Title - Asuka vs Ember Moon
Ember Moon attacks at the bell, catching Asuka off guard. Asuka stops her onslaught though and they slow things down for the first half of the match. Asuka works over the previously injured arm and shoulder of Moon, looking to set up the Asuka Lock. It's in the second half of this match that it really shines though. As the pace picks up the crowd becomes more invested, leading to an absolutely wonderful closing stretch. Following a sequence of near falls Ember Moon finally hit the Eclipse and everyone, including me, thought that it was over and the crowd reaction to the near fall was fantastic. Now that the fans believed Asuka might lose the excitement kicked up a notch. Moon hit a tremendous looking super kick for another great near fall and as she went on the attack she got caught in the Asuka Lock and despite trying to fight it off she had to tap. The finish was a standout this year for it's great storytelling and wonderful near falls. Ember Moon got a great reception after the loss and she deserved it. ****1/4
NXT Title - Bobby Roode vs Drew McIntyre
I think that it is probably pretty obvious that I have enjoyed this show quite a lot so I don't want to be negative but I'm going to have to be a little bit downbeat about this. Roode is a wrestler that has a great look, tremendous entrance, great promo skills and carries himself like a champion, however his in ring output is not up to the standards of a lot of the NXT roster. I'm not saying he is bad, in fact he works an old school 80s heel style down to a tee, but as NXT champion he hasn't managed to hit the really high notes in his matches. This is more of that. While all of the mechanics are there and none of it is done poorly it does feel overly long and ultimately forgettable. Roode did some solid work on the back and neck but it didn't really hook me. The crowd were noticeably less enthused by this match too. The most memorable moment of the match was a dive to the outside that McIntyre ate shit on. In the end McIntyre kicked out of a Glorious DDT, countered a second one, dropped the nut on Roode and hit the Claymore for the win. Your new champion is Drew McIntyre. ***
Following the match ReDragon makes another appearance and distracts McIntyre so that Adam Cole BAYBAY can make his debut and attack him. ROH faction kicking the shit out of people.
Overall Grade - A-
I ummed and arred over the grade, going between an A- and a B+, because the main event was underwhelming. The first four matches are well worth a watch for any wrestling fan though. You may well like the main event more than me too. I would say that there is a chance that Roode, Ember and AoP are all in line to be called up to main soon. It's safe to say that the crowd is up for some Adam Cole too, judging by this video.