Welcome one and all to a special edition of the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn 4 event that took place Saturday night. This won’t necessarily be my normal play by play as I know John took care of that for the site last night. If you want to know what kind of hell I was in that caused me to miss the show, it made national news. (Husband duties call sometimes.) Alas, here I am and I have somehow made it spoiler free! So I will just be watching the show and jotting down my thoughts as the matches go on, almost in a running blog format. John and I clearly had big expectations of this show and I’m excited to see what we both thought of it once the show is over and I see how he rated the matches. Thanks for joining me on this excursion and let’s get right to it!
What a fantastic opening video package. The emphasis being good vs evil, which is what pro wrestling is at its very core. Even in this day and age, you can have true heels and true babyfaces. (Yes, I know everyone cheers Adam Cole.)
Sell out crowd of over 14,000 announced. Great to hear! This card was can’t miss, so not surprising.
NXT Tag Title Match
The Undisputed Era (c) vs. Moustache Mountain
I had a feeling this would be our opener. It’s a guaranteed hot opener as the crowd is invested in all participants. Kyle O’Reilly doing the air guitar on the tag title is probably my favorite thing in wrestling right now. It just cracks me up every time. I am so happy Undisputed Era got a new shirt & logo to incorporate Strong finally. Mauro put it perfectly in the first couple minutes, “no feeling out process here.” Tyler Bate is so good in the ring. Having O’Reilly on his shoulders for an airplane spin and then Strong in a swing at the same time, then follows that with a bridging German Suplex on Strong while O’Reilly has a sleeper on him. Just incredible! Roddy cut him off beautifully though with that nasty lariat out of the corner. Interesting dynamic that Bate’s knee was the one worked on first, as opposed to Seven’s, which is what caused Moustache Mountain to lose the titles. The more I see of Trent Seven in the ring, the more he grows on me. Much like his partner and Pete Dunne did as well. Seven especially is so unconventional, but I love so much of what he does. Killer brainbuster by O’Reilly on Seven to get a near fall. Tyler Bate just deadlifted O’Reilly with one freaking arm and tossed him in a powerbomb into Strong. Does he realize he’s maybe 200 pounds soaking wet? Amazing. First, “This is awesome!” chant of the night. Roddy kicked out of the Tyler Driver! Wow! O’Reilly’s ability to hook a submission from any position is second to none. The reversal of fortunes now as Seven is debating throwing the towel in for Bate now. Then he throws the towel in the crowd. So great. Another great nearfall with the Seven Star Lariat on O’Reilly. And then a 3rd one with O’Reilly kicking out of the double team Burning Hammer/Knee Drop. I don’t know that I like Undisputed Era kicking out of everything that Moustache Mountain has, but can’t deny how great this is. And then just like that, Undisputed Era hits the Total Elimination to retain the titles. I go right back to that line I just wrote, Undisputed Era kicked out of everything, Moustache Mountain went down with one move. It’s total nitpicking, but just something that bothers me. I had the same issue with Miz vs. Seth Rollins at Backlash this year. This put the bow on a tremendous trilogy though and both teams should be commended for what they’ve done over the last couple months. And now after the highlights are shown, here comes the War Raiders behind Undisputed Era and they absolutely lay waste to the champions. That’s not exactly a babyface move and the crowd booed them at first. They did say they were coming though, so it’s not all that surprising.
Winners: Undisputed Era retains
Velveteen Dream vs. EC3
I can’t decide if the winner or loser of this match is the one that will move up to the main roster after this weekend. It’s gotta be one or the other, right? Both are absolutely ready. Not that the main roster needs more people right now, but you know it’s coming. Another fantastic video package, with both men talking back and forth while in the “Dream Experience”. The Dream with a special entrance coming up from under the stage. Almost looked like he was going to fall off a step up. The back of Dream’s tights say, “Call me up Vince”. Wow. That’s bold. Where does EC3’s theme rank for you currently? It’s in my top 3-5 for sure. The crowd is SOLIDLY behind Velveteen early. Velveteen telegraphed a spot in the corner a little too much, when EC3 kicked him off the top turnbuckle and Dream ended up crotching himself. No reaction from the crowd for it. Dream landed a nasty DDT on the ramp to get control of the match. The crowd is watching something else besides the match. Ugh, I hope it’s not a beach ball. These guys are trying, but the crowd just isn’t into this match. Perhaps with it being the only non-title match, that has an effect on the crowd. There could be a myriad of reasons. EC3 landed what could be the worst cross body ever off the top rope. You could tell he wasn’t comfortable up there. The crowd is booing EC3 now as he does a deadlift sitout powerbomb for a two count. We’re now calling the Carthwheel DVD, the Dream Valley Driver. EC3 is bleeding from the bridge of his nose. Not sure if he got scratched or something along those lines. Dream Valley Driver on the apron! Man, the margin of error there is so slim! Dream to the top as EC3 is still on the apron and Purple Rainmaker on the apron! Damn, what a finish for Dream there as he rolls EC3 in and finally gets a big win on Takeover.
Winner: Velveteen Dream
Matt Riddle is in the crowd! Mauro puts it perfectly again, “The rich get richer.”
NXT North American Title
Adam Cole (c) vs. Ricochet
This ought to be something special. I said in our preview I think this will be match of the night. Great opening sequence where Cole almost caught Ricochet with a superkick and does not look impressed with Ricochet’s athleticism. These guys aren’t disappointing early. Ricochet with a great front dropkick while Cole was in midair for a leapfrog. Ricochet with an impressive twisting moonsault over the top rope to the floor. He missed Cole completely, but they made it look ok. Ricochet just did a moonsault, landed on his feet and in one motion landed a standing shooting star press. Then, rolled through to go back to the second rope and landed a Pheonix Splash. My God. Ricochet tried a Lethal Injection type move and Cole caught him with a Backstabber instead. Great counter. I have no idea how this match didn’t just end after Cole hit a picture perfect superkick as Ricochet was upside down on a moonsault. Then immediately hit the Tye-Breaker. That was an insane near fall. These guys are trading insane blows and the crowd is eating this up. What a battle. Ricochet nailed Cole with an enziguri, but Cole landed on Ricochet for the pin and another great nearfall. A reverse hurricanrana from Ricochet! WHAT DID HE JUST DO?! He basically pole vaulted the top rope as Cole is on the apron and in one movement, hooked a hurricanrana and flipped Cole to the floor! HOW?! Cole back in the ring, 630, new champion!! I thought they’d go a little longer than they did, about 17 minutes by my count. But to steal a Jeff Hardy phrase, that was poetry in motion. Let us hope that this is a long, incredible reign for Ricochet.
Winner: New North American Champion, Ricochet
Kevin Owens and Mark Henry are in the crowd.
NXT Women’s Title Match
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Kairi Sane
There’s just under an hour 15 minutes left in the show as the video package begins, and with two matches left, even if you give Gargano/Ciampa 30+ minutes again, this match should be getting a decent amount of time. The rest of the Four Horsewomen are in the crowd. Ronda is the only one not wearing Shayna’s shirt. I wonder if that was HHH call. Kairi looks timid early, a lot of her shots aren’t connecting very well. Baszler just dropkicked Kairi’s knee out from under here and Kairi spiked herself falling down. Baszler’s offense looks so vicious, especially with the size discrepancy she typically has. I wonder how it would look when she’s in the ring with someone like Charlotte Flair. Nice gutwrench suplex off the second rope by Baszler. Kairi with a great spear on Baszler and then an InSane Elbow off the second rope to the back of Baszler. Baszler rolled out of the ring before Kairi could land a second but Kairi just took her out with a cross body to the floor instead. Kairi’s offense has gotten much better as the match has gotten better. She just needed to get into the flow of things, it happens. Baszler kicked out of the InSane elbow drop, did not see that coming. Baszler countered The Anchor into the choke, amazing! The crowd thought that was it, so great call to have Kairi get to the ropes. Kairi was able to land an Alabama Slam. That’s impressive. Shayna blocks another InSane Elbow and goes for the choke… Kairi reverses it into a pin! WOW! New Champion!! What a perfectly booked finish. No one saw that coming and the crowd went insane for it. Kairi is overcome with emotion, and rightfully so. Wow. They got about 14 minutes so at least they were able to tell a great story in that match. Once Kairi got her feet under her, that was a fantastic battle.
Winner: New NXT Women’s Champion, Kairi Sane
NXT Title Match – Last Man Standing
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Johnny Gargano
I’m not happy that Ciampa got a shirt on WWE Shop. Everything he was doing was as a true heel. Now there’s Ciampa shirts in the crowd and just feeds into the ability to cheer him. It’s the little things. I don’t begrudge anyone making money, because he’s clearly going to sell a ton, but it just bothers me they didn’t stick with no merch. Speaking of little things, Ciampa kisses his nameplate instead of the actual title plate. That made me laugh. Gargano didn’t wait for the introductions to end and we’re off! It’s Iron Man for Ciampa and Venom for Gargano in terms of ring gear, for those that are interested. We’ve got stairs tossed around and the concrete floor exposed at ringside before our first attempt at a 10 count. Just pure brawling for the first few minutes. Gargano just chunked Ciampa into Percy Watson at ringside and now the announce tables are coming into play. Ciampa just gave White Noise from one table to the next on Gargano. Gargano up at 7. Gargano definitely landed on one of the TV monitors. That couldn’t have felt good. Ciampa with running knee strikes in the corner and tells Gargano, “We’re not done yet by a long shot.” Great camera work there. Great heel work by Ciampa, trying to end this with a sleeper hold. Might be the first sleeper hold in Last Man Standing history. Ciampa has a huge welt down his arm already. Gargano just lawn darted Ciampa through a chair. Gargano sets up a table upside down on top of another table, so the top table has the legs sticking up in the air. It’s set up on the area where the concrete floor is exposed. I’m already feeling sorry for whoever is taking that bump. Man, Ciampa just killed Gargano with a trio of Project Ciampa. Gargano up at 8 and Superkicks Ciampa sitting on a chair, before collapsing again. The pace definitely just picked up in this match. Both men go down at the same time but then get up at 1 and do it all over again. Amazing. Gargano goes for a cannonball off the apron and Ciampa just swipes him away. That’s not gonna end well. Ciampa gets Gargano un on the steel steps, hooks in the Angel Wings (he’s calling it the Fairy Tale Ending) and drives Gargano into the steps! Wow. Gargano is up at 9.5. Ciampa is exposing the wooden boards under the canvas again, just like the finish for their last match in Chicago. Gargano blinds Ciampa with a fire extingusher, and then literally shatters a crutch over Ciampa. Talk about a rock and a hard spot. Gargano is on the apron over the tables and Ciampa is in the ring on the exposed wood boards. Gargano just DDT’d Ciampa on the boards. That’s how Ciampa won the last match. Ciampa is able to roll to the floor to be able to stand. Gargano just superkicked a production guy at ringside when Ciampa moved. Ciampa now just did a running knee lift, with a chair, through the barricade! Gargano is out as Ciampa uses literally everything he can, including the producer, to bury Gargano. Gargano pushes his way from under at the very last moment and the match continues! These guys are just incredible. Ciampa now wants to handcuff Gargano. Gargano avoids it and now one cuff is on Ciampa but he can’t get it fully cuffed. They’re back to the tables on the floor. Gargano finally superkicks Ciampa through the tables. Somehow Ciampa avoided the exposed legs. Ciampa pushes himself up with what’s left of the crutch to get up at 9. I’m scared to ask what else these guys can do. Gargano realizing that they have to go to another level. Gargano Escape on the stage and Ciampa is tapping out but doesn’t matter of course. Gargano has now fully handcuffed Ciampa to one of the side LED boards and Gargano is superkicking his head into the LED. Ciampa is trying to apologize for everything now but Gargano says it’s too late. Ciampa is basically pleading for his life. Gargano with a kill shot knee but Gargano also drives his knee through a metal rolling case. Both men are down at 8, at 9 Ciampa slides off the stage he’s on and technically is on his feet as Gargano can’t get up and Gargano loses again. Unbelievable. I don’t mean that in a negative sense either. These guys are just literally unbelievable. Mauro is stating that Gargano has dislocated his kneecap. You definitely aren’t going to have an injury report that quickly, but I get why they’re saying that for the story. (Update: Apparently Triple H did a media call after the show and implied that the injury was legit and they had to change the finish a bit. Man, I really hope that’s not true because that’s going to put Gargano out for a long time. That would be an awful break.) The slow motion video of the last knee by Gargano doesn’t exactly make it look good, but it’s still a great story told. Ciampa gets his arm raised high and walks to the back as Gargano says he needs a stretcher. They decide to walk him out instead though. He’s in total disbelief as Ciampa comes back out and raises the title again as our show ends.
Winner: Tommaso Ciampa Retains
K-Tank’s Final Take:
Now that the show is over, let’s go back to John’s review and see if we agreed on this show. He’s giving 5 stars to the tag match. I was nitpicking it, so I don’t know that I can go 5 stars. I’d say 4.5. The trilogy as a whole is 5 stars though. 3.25 stars for the Dream/EC3 match and I think I’d go an even 3 stars. His analysis of that match is dead on and makes me a little concerned for EC3. I hope they see this match and reaction and realize he needs to be a heel. John went 4.25 stars for Ricochet/Cole, I’m going 4.5. I enjoyed this as much as the tag title match and some of those spots they did defy logic. He went 3.5 stars for the Women’s match and I would give it the same score. A few more minutes maybe gets it in the 4 range, but maybe also makes the match drag a little and drop to a 3. As for the main event, they couldn’t quite get a 3rd 5 star match and we also agree on this match with a 4.5 rating. Last Man Standing matches are tough, but these guys made the absolute best of it. Again, I hope the Gargano news isn’t as bad as it seems and they can just keep him off TV until the next Takeover in LA. The story HAS to end with him winning the title.
That’s it for me! Thanks again for reading and enjoy SummerSlam! Until next time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do, but if you do, name it after me!