Last night WWE presented NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II from a sold out Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
The show, which is already the front runner as WWE’s best of 2016, was anchored by three tremendous championship matches: Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Revival for the NXT Tag Team Championship, Bayley vs. Asuka for the NXT Women’s Championship, and the main event of Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the NXT Heavyweight Championship.
You will be hard pressed to find any WWE show with three matches of this caliber in succession.
Gargano & Ciampa vs. The Revival was easily best tag team to take place in a WWE ring this year. The work from all four was on point. Gargano’s performance was particularly noteworthy in that he proved he has the potential to be an underdog babyace in the same vein of a Daniel Bryan or Sami Zayn. The Revival’s old school style often draws comparisons to the legendary team of Arn Anderson & Tully Blanchard. Their performance proved these comparisons to be completely valid.
Bayley lost again to Asuka in a match that was a vast improvement over their previous outing in Dallas. Both worked a believable style full of strikes, kicks and submissions. the post match saw Bayley get a standing ovation and say her symbolic goodbyes to the NXT Universe. If this was indeed her last major NXT match then at least she went out with a bang. Bayley, more than anyone else, has embodied the heart and soul of the NXT brand over the last three years.
The biggest story of the night was Nakamura dethroning Joe for the NXT Heayweight Championship. The match was as hard hitting of an affair as you’d expect from these two. It was so hard hitting that Nakamura may have broken Joe’s jaw while delivering his Kinshasha finisher. Just four months after his debut Nakamura now stands atop the mountain in NXT.
In other big news we got the in-ring debuts of Bobby Roode, who is already the second biggest star on the brand behind Nakamura, and Ember Moon, who delivered one of the sickest looking finishers in wrestling today. Hideo Itami confronted Austin Aries and brought the crowd to their feet when he delivered his patented GTS.
Once again, NXT has set the bar high for tonight’s SummerSlam to follow.