By Nolan P. Smith
NXT, WWE’s development federation, has shown it can stand on its own two feet in the past. With potential future WWE Superstars and Divas, NXT has grown into a life of its own- which couldn’t be more evident with yesterday’s NXT Takeover- Brooklyn.
This is the largest venue NXT has performed at (Barclay Center), and was the day before one of the WWE’s premiere PPV’s, SummerSlam, so the pressure was on to see what the underdogs of wrestling could do. What they did- they delivered in spades. Here’s a quick breakdown of the highlights of the show:
-The show opened with Tyler Breeze taking on one of wrestling’s most iconic and longstanding stars, Jushin Thunder Liger. Liger has wrestled all around the world, including being a a huge draw in WCW. I was worried on how Liger would look and perform (I saw he was in ROH not too long ago), and what we got was the high speed, high flying greatness Liger is known for. Breeze held his own as well, as both competitors put on an extremely enjoyable match, ending with Liger hitting his patented Liger Bomb. This was a great start to the show, and shows that Breeze is ready to be moved to the next level in NXT.
-The Tag Team Championship Title match put Blake and Murphy with Alexa in their corner against the Vaudevillains, who brought out fan favorite Blue Pants. The match was decent, but to be honest, I have never been completely sold on Blake and Murphy’s ring presence. Some great tag team spots, with a nice finish that crowned the Vaudevillains the new champs. I was pulling for the gentlemen strongmen, so this match went the way I hoped.
-The debut of Apollo Crews was a little underwhelming, but the last few moments of the match showed what I had hoped to see: Apollo can be an absolute monster. I look forward to seeing what Apollo can do in NXT, as you can see this guy is just waiting to cut loose.
-Samoa Joe took on Baron Corbin, the undefeated lone wolf of NXT. This was a physical match, showing each of the powerhouses rights to be in NXT. A long match for Corbin’s standards, as he doesn’t get paid by the hour (as it goes), and ended with Joe showing why he’s called the Samoan Submission Machine. A streak ended and another notch in the belt for the So Cal Samoan.
-Arguably the best match of the night came from the Women’s Championship match, as Sasha Banks defended her title against the underdog, Bailey. Banks has shown over and over that she is the future of the WWE’s women’s division, and this match was no different. Notice I didn’t say this was a great women’s match: this was a great match, period. These two women showed exactly why the NXT women’s division has some of the best and most innovative wrestlers around. Banks, who not only looks amazing, but can out-wrestle anyone she’s in the ring with, put on a clinic when it comes stealing the show. But Bailey is the surprise, as the often overlooked do-good-er showed she is just as talented as anyone in NXT. We saw amazing reversals, submissions, and a reverse hurricanrana from the top rope that tore the roof of. At the end of the day, the torch has been passed to Bailey, and the future of both the WWE and NXT women divisions is in great hands with the likes of Banks and Bailey on board.
-The NXT Heavyweight Title was a ladder match between challenger Kevin Owens facing the reigning champion, Finn Balor. The demon came out in grand fashion, with a mind bending entrance and the war paint to match. This was such a physical, brutal match, with ladders flying, bodies crashing, and moments that make you cringe in disbelief. I believe what we saw was the send off to Owens as he transitions to the WWE full time, and the further proof that Finn Balor is indeed the man to beat in NXT.
Score: I thought this event set the bar for Summerslam to live up to. I give NXT Takeover: Brooklyn a FOUR out of FIVE. This is the future of the WWE, and you should be happy it is.