NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III (Review)

Bobby Roode defends his NXT Championship against a man who has returned to NXT with the goal of taking the brand to the next level: Drew McIntyre. After 500+ days as NXT Women’s Champion, Asuka puts her title on the line once again against Ember Moon, who seeks to make up for her earlier loss in 2017…


Johnny Gargano
vs.
Andrade “Cien” Almas
3half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Andrade “Cien” Almas)

Akam & Rezar (C) (“The Authors of Pain”) (with Paul Ellering)
vs.
Eric Young & Alexander Wolfe (“Sanity”) (with Nikki Cross & Killian Dain)
NXT Tag Team Championship
4star
(Winner via pinfall: Sanity)

Hideo Itami
vs.
Aleister Black
4star
(Winner via pinfall: Aleister Black)

Asuka (C)
vs.
Ember Moon
NXT Women’s Championship
5star
(Winner via submission: Asuka)

Bobby Roode (C)
vs.
Drew McIntyre
NXT Championship
4half_star
(Winner via pinfall, and new champion: Drew McIntyre)


Review

After NXT‘s last live event, the incredible TakeOver: Chicago, this show had a tough act to follow. Throw in the history of the TakeOver: Brooklyn event, which is essentially NXT‘s Wrestlemania each year, and Brooklyn III really had a lot of raised expectations going into it. Thankfully, any nerves that might’ve been created as a result, were soon put to bed.

TakeOver: Brooklyn III was a superb wrestling event. As has become the case with NXT live specials, the focus was entirely on the in-ring product, and this is where NXT‘s greatest strength lies. The brand has assembled some of the best talent from the independent wrestling scene, and when they are allowed to just go out and wrestle, they tear the house down.

Johnny Gargano showed he can be a solo star in this company, which anyone who knew him prior to NXT already knew. The use of a DIY t-shirt to distract him, ultimately causing his defeat, was a nice way to continue the build towards his inevitable showdown with Ciampa when he returns, but this was the show where Gargano made it clear that he will be fine going it alone.

The switch with the tag titles came as a surprise, given how the Authors of Pain have been built. One suspects that the now former champions might be headed to Smackdown or RAW and, if they are, they’ve ended their NXT Tag Team Championship run with an ultimately typically great TakeOver match. The insinuation in the past has been that better opponents is what has carried the Authors of Pain to their classic matches this past year, but they showed that not to be the case here. Sanity as a whole were booked great here, and Nikki Cross continues to be one of the most exciting things about the brand when she is on TV.

I took a few things away from the Asuka/Moon match. Firstly, Asuka is likely dropping the belt to Kairi Sane, and no one else. Secondly, NXT may have finally given us a Women’s Championship match that is better than the Sasha Banks and Bayley match from NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn I. If not better, certainly on a par with, anyway!

Ember Moon finally looks like a star, and might even be headed to the main roster following this match. The talent is there, and NXT is about to get an influx of talent from the Mae Young Classic, so it makes sense to take Moon up. I just hope she gets better treatment than many of the current women on the man roster.

The main event was a typical Bobby Roode NXT main event. Slow build, with lots of grappling, with the pace and energy building and building until a chaotic final five minutes that have the crowd on the edge of their seats. It’s a formula that has worked for the brand in 2017, and certainly gives off that old school main event vibe, so I’d expect to see it continue more in Drew McIntyre’s new reign. Speaking of, whilst it was somewhat expected that he would win the strap, I genuinely didn’t expect them to move on from the Roode feud as quick as they did, with Adam Cole debuting and beating down the new champion to close the show. Roode headed towards the main roster shortly, perhaps?

This was a very strong show. TakeOver: Chicago has the edge because there were so many WOW moments that night, but this definitely ran it close and top to bottom might be the best TakeOver: Brooklyn show to date.

Roode has probably had the best run with the title since Finn Balor, and his 7/8 months with it have helped steady the ship following a little bit of hot potato with the strap in 2016’s second half. McIntyre might not be champion for long, given Adam Cole could be a superb top champion for this brand, but he deserves his moment and he should enjoy it for as long as it lasts. A McIntyre/Cole feud in NXT will be bloody superb, and that seems to be exactly where we are headed.

If you enjoy wrestling, watch this show.

Match of the Night

Asuka vs. Ember Moon

Rating

4star

You can watch this entire event at WWENetwork.com or via the WWE Network app.
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