For the second year running, NXT took over Brooklyn on SummerSlam weekend… they lived up to the hype. And then some!

#TLDR: Like last year, Takeover: Brooklyn gave us some of the best WWE matches of the year, with a show-stealing tag team title match, and a memorable end to what may be Bayley’s final match in NXT.

The Full Review: We opened with a callback to last year’s Takeover with Triple H doing the speech in the ring. It was only a video package though, but we saw Jushin “Thunder” Liger again. Cue a load of sit-downs with guys remembering where they were a year ago. Yep, Takeover: Brooklyn is their WrestleMania… until SummerSlam moves away from Brooklyn, that is!

Tom Phillips and Corey Graves are announcing from the “Raw announce position”, and we’re underway with Jose!

No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries
My word, the Brooklyn crowd are singing along – this is going to be a hot night! Jose even gets a conga line around the ring! Austin Aries gets an even louder pop, but then we cut to a Jolly Rancher ad masquerading as a recap of the night when Aries attacked Jose as he danced with him.

Jose stalks Aries at the bell, but Aries grabs a waistlock and takes him down before ruffling his hair. The annoyed Jose goes after Aries, but he heads for the ropes, and Jose slaps him – to some boos! Aries misses a strike, and gets taken down as Jose stands on his head, before Aries slides out of the ring to avoid another strike.

A game of cat and mouse ends with Aries kicking away a back body drop, before rolling outside yet again and into the path of a double axehandle from Jose off the apron. Jose shoved Aries into the ring apron, before Jose catches Aries on the top rope, only to be hotshotted across the top strand by the veteran.

Aries takes over from there with some leaping knees to the chest of Jose, then goes to the middle turnbuckle for a leaping elbow to the back of Jose for a two-count. Jose fights out of a rear chinlock, but gets taken down and has to kick out at two from another Aries elbowdrop. Some chops from Aries are blocked, with Jose then tossing him to the floor, before running Aries between the top turnbuckles on one side of the ring.

Ric Flair got caught on camera making his way into a front row seat – thus distracting the crowd in the process – and when the crowd looked back at the match, they saw Jose take a kneebreaker, a facebuster and then a Last Chancery, with Jose making the ropes to release the hold.

Aries lights up Jose with some forearms, but a roaring elbow’s missed as Jose countered with a TKO for a near-fall. Jose goes for a full nelson slam, but Aries runs him out of the ring, then sends him into the barriers with a tope. A neckbreaker against the middle rope stuns Jose, as he takes a dropkick into the corner, but Jose counters a release suplex for a near-fall.

Aries lands a roaring elbow, but Jose rebounds off the ropes with a lariat, before Aries blocks a second attempt at the full nelson slam. A third attempt was countered into a crucifix bomb, before a dropkick sends Jose to the mat for a near-fall. Jose catches Aries as he climbed to the top rope, and looked for a superplex, but Aries nailed a sunset flip powerbomb into the Last Chancery, as Jose was forced to tap. A good opener, both guys kept it basic, but everything here worked, but you’d have to ask where Aries goes next from here. ***¾

Post-match, Aries kept attacking Jose, and put the Last Chancery back on No Way Jose… and out comes Hideo Itami! Well, that’s my question answered as Aries goes all googlie eyed to the sight of Itami in a suit. Aries just kicked Itami low, but Itami replies with a series of kicks and punches… and then the Go To Sleep! Well, we waited two years for that on TV, and we got it!

Wonder what happened to the last guy who used that move?

They show Ric Flair at ringside… and hey, the guy from EVOLVE with the giant Dusty Rhodes head is here too!

Billie Kay vs. Ember Moon
Well, Billie’s getting thrown to the wolves. Ember Moon’s entrance features a blood moon, and she’s still got the Mortal Kombat entrance. She rips off the Sub Zero mask and all of a sudden the mysterious entrance dies and she starts dancing to the ring. Very odd…

Kay starts with a headlock, but Moon reverses into a hammerlock, and then a headscissors takes down Kay. Kay blocks a hiptoss, but Moon finally gets it and sends her into the corner. A crucifix is blocked as Kay ends up dropping Moon with a forearm to the chest for a two-count.

Kay misses a clothesline, but a springboard cross body gets Moon a two-count, before Kay goes for the Eat Defeat for a near-fall. Kay loses a Gory stretch on Moon, then gets it a second time, before turning it into a Gory Bomb for another near-fall.

Moon kicks out again as Kay went for another cover, then Moon got a one-count from a roll-up. Moon elbows out of a Fireman’s carry, and follows up with some axehandle blows, before a neckbreaker and a suplex takes Kay into the corner.

Ember pulls off a handspring lariat into the corner, then goes up top for a twisting Stunner off the top rope for the finish. Billie Kay did well, but it looks like NXT are done with giving debutants squash matches. Personally, I could have done without this being so much back and forth, but that finishing move is what they wanted to get over with the character, and my word they did it. **½

They replay Bobby Roode’s arrival – which was shown during the Takeover show – and Roode gets a loud pop as some fans try to sing the Glorious song. We know what’s next… Well, first we get the same video package for this match from NXT.

Bobby Roode vs. Andrade Almas
Yes, the fans sung along… and Roode descended from above on a platform for his entrance. This was great! Wrestling, when done right… right here! Almas got booed the second his music played, but apart from that, very little reaction.

The Brooklyn crowd chant “this is Glorious”, which is an improvement on the usual stock chant, and Roode looks impressed by it. Roode goes for a headlock, and tosses Almas to the mat, before going for a wristlock. Almas briefly reverses, but misses a dropkick after Roode hooked the ropes from an Irish whip.

Roode backed away from Almas, before kicking him in the midsection and tossed him into the ropes. Almas laid there and re-entered the ring before he chopped away at Roode and connected with a low dropkick. Some headscissors send Roode outside, and Almas follows up with a slingshot baseball slide dropkick, then fakes out a dive.

Roode runs into a shoulder charge to the midsection, but he dives into the ropes as Almas gets crotched so hard he falls back into the ring. A brief flurry ends when Roode chops Almas again, then drops him with a hanging suplex for a near-fall. Almas stays grounded as Roode locks in a rear chinlock, but Almas fought free and dropkicked Roode to the outside as he’d climbed the ropes.

Almas followed Roode out with a springboard corkscrew plancha to the floor, then a twisting crossbody off the top for a near-fall inside the ring. Roode cut off Almas with a clothesline for a two-count, before Almas blocked a German superplex with some elbows. Almas kept climbing, but he flipped out of a German superplex and dropped Roode with a strait-jacket German suplex for a near-fall.

A quebrada into a moonsault saw Almas land on Roode’s knees, before a Fisherman’s suplex was countered into a small package for another near fall by Almas. Cue the boo/yay punches, which Almas wins out on and follows with a double knee strike to Roode in the corner. The hammerlock DDT from Almas was countered by an uppercut, but Almas struck with a big boot before Roode connected with a spinebuster, as a pumphandle bomb – rebadged as the Glorious Bomb – got Roode the win. A really good match, but that finishing move isn’t going to last, I feel. Almas got a lot more than I expected here, but he’s in real danger of being dead in the water. ***¾

A vignette played for “Sanity”… my only guess given the signees so far… Alexander Wolfe?

They go back to an “earlier today” spot with Triple H unveiling a trophy made by the Orange County Choppers crew. It’s going to the winner of the Cruiserweight Classic, and it’s a really nice globe on a chrome plinth. It’s also probably going to get smashed to pieces by the end of the year. Mauro Ranallo, Brian Kendrick, Noam Dar, Rich Swann and Kota Ibushi are in Ric Flair’s old seat, applauding the trophy.

Backstage, Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa are backstage unveiling their new team name – and a shirt – #DIY.

NXT Tag Team Championship: Johnny Gargano & Tommaso Ciampa vs. The Revival (Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson) (c)
Ciampa and Dawson start with a tie-up, and Ciampa gets taken into the corner from the off. Dawson grabs a wrist, but Ciampa reverses into a headlock only for Dawson to escape and connect with a chop before sliding out of the ring.

Back inside, Dawson kicks Ciampa in the knee as he goes for a headlock, but Ciampa’s headlock takedown is quickly escaped before he lights up the champions with some chops. Gargano tags in and takes down Dawson with a clothesline for just a one-count, as Dash Wilder comes in and gets dropped with a toe-hold before a low dropkick from Gargano gets him another one count.

Dawson returned and missed an elbow before taking a couple of armdrags. A back elbow off the ropes gets Dawson back into things, as Wilder’s brought back in. Gargano outsmarts some attempted double-teaming from the champions, and this descends into a four-way fight. Gargano drops Wilder with a tope, as Ciampa does the same to Dawson with a knee strike off the apron (albeit one missed by the cameras).

The champions combined as Dawson hit a back suplex for a two-count on Ciampa, who started taking a lot of punishment as the champions cycled in and out of the ring with quick tags. Ciampa fights out of a chinlock, before narrowly missing out on a hot tag to Gargano as once again the champions rushed the ring to prevent the tag.

Dawson pulled Gargano off the apron to keep Ciampa in the ring, with a double team pop-up front suplex then getting them a near-fall. A jawbreaker got Ciampa some separation from Wilder, but Dash quickly dragged Ciampa away from Gargano and the hot tag. Dash Wilder faked falling into the ring to prevent Ciampa’s tag from being seen by the referee – some absolutely fantastic heel tag team work here from the champions!

A backbreaker/elbow drop got the champions a near-fall, as Dawson again knocked Gargano off the apron. Ciampa avoided an avalanche, before finally making the tag to Gargano as he cleaned house with clotheslines and a belly-to-belly suplex. Dawson sent him into the corner with a back elbow, but Gargano followed with a leaping reverse neckbreaker for a two-count. Gargano kicks Wilder on the apron as he prepared for a slingshot spear through the ropes to Dawson that got yet another two-count for the challengers.

Scott Dawson drilled Gargano with a DDT after a blind tag to Wilder. A schoolboy nearly got Gargano the win, but then Ciampa got tagged in and caught Dawson in an armbar that was broken up by Dawson after breaking free of Gargano. The champions went for a double suplex, before a spear from Gargano helped Ciampa get another near-fall.

Ciampa and Dawson trade the yay/boo punches, with Ciampa throwing in some knees as well, but a Dawson punch cut-off a roaring elbow. Ciampa avoided the Shatter Machine, and landed a knee strike to Wilder, before the sandwich superkicks almost got the win, as Wilder got his feet on the rope at the last minute! Ciampa and Gargano celebrated in vain, but they kept on top of things, until Dawson shoved Ciampa into the ringpost on the outside.

That created a distraction as Gargano took a chop block, and set-up for the stomp to the knee as Gargano’s legs were tied up. Dawson then tied up Gargano in the reverse figure four, and eventually got the submission to retain the titles. That finish seemed a little rushed, btu this was a phenomenal tag team match, the likes of which you rarely see unless the Revival seem to be in action on a big stage. ****¼

Good luck to everyone else wrestling this weekend in following this!

After the match, Gargano and Ciampa sat in the ring together. Ciampa pulled up Gargano to his feet, as they took the applause from the crowd as they headed to the back. Despite how much they signposted it, thank God they didn’t push the turn through today.

Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch were shown at ringside, as was Charlotte. Cue mixed reactions!

NXT Women’s Championship: Bayley vs. Asuka (c)
There’s an insane number of “Hugger Section” signs in the crowd… and hey, Bayley got some XXL Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm-Flailing tube men behind the ring as well! Something about Bayley’s face seemed to indicate sorrow – perhaps this is her farewell to NXT?

They start with a test of strength, which Bayley breaks as she tries for some near-falls. Bayley leaps out of the corner and takes a knee to the nose. Asuka keeps on top of Bayley with some hip attacks, before tying up Bayley with an Octopus hold in the ropes. Bayley fires back by ramming Asuka’s head into the top turnbuckle, but the tide turns as Bayley’s sent into the middle buckle.

Asuka ducks Bayley’s shoulder charge through the ropes, and kicks her from the apron, before pulling off a run onto a dropkick on the apron for a near-fall. Bayley blocked the “thrown into the turnbuckle” spot, then dishes it out to Asuka. A suplex takes Asuka down, as does an elbow to the back, then a clothesline and a knee drop, which finally gets Bayley a two-count.

Bayley sidesteps a hip attack on the apron, then counters with a neckbreaker/hot shot across the middle rope, before a cross body back into the ring gets her another two-count. From the top rope, Bayley kicks Asuka down, before missing a cross body as Asuka follows with a Shining Wizard for a two-count.

Bayley blocks a superplex attempt, and hangs Asuka in the tree of woe before an elbow to the upside-down Asuka gets her a two-count. Another hip attack cuts off Bayley briefly, before she rushes into Asuka with a Yakuza kick, only for the champion to trip her up and try for the Stretch Muffler. Bayley rolls through for a series of near falls as she channelled Zack Sabre Jr’s bridging pin.

An ankle lock sees Asuka go for another submission, and she held on as Bayley rolled through, before Bayley caught a kick from Asuka… and took a flurry of shots to the head. Bayley snatches a two-count from a backslide, then runs into a spinning backfist from the champion, before a kick got countered into a short powerbomb. A second powerbomb turned into a Dominator by Bayley, but from the kick-out, Asuka went for her eponymous submission hold. Bayley gritted through and finally elbowed free, then landed the Bayley to Belly out of nowhere for a two-count.

Asuka caught Bayley again in the Asuka Lock – this time in the middle of the ring – but Bayley stood up and tries to get the ropes, before flipping backwards into a pinning predicament. After the kick-out, Asuka kicked her, which was no-sold… then two more kicks to the head was enough to put the challenger out. That was phenomenal, but surely now Bayley has to go up? Two fantastic matches in a row, and this show is living up to the hype that it came in with. ****¼

Post-match, Asuka stalked Bayley before lifting her up… Bayley was in tears as they hugged it out, and this has to be her graduation party, right? Bayley got a standing ovation from the Brooklyn Centre crowd – even from the floating Dusty Rhodes head.

NXT’s heading Down Under – Australia and New Zealand are getting the tour that the UK got last Christmas. They’re even getting a Takeover special, it seems…

They showed the Foley family at ringside. Just because. And Finn Balor!

NXT Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe (c)
Nakamura got a live violinist for his entrance, and now we know… wrestling fans will pop for a violin solo! Three words: Best. Entrance. Ever. And all it was, was a guy with a violin! In contrast, Samoa Joe’s entrance was rather staid!

Joe shoved Nakamura as the referee tried to hold them apart before the official announcements, and the crowd started off by singing Nakamura’s theme as the bell went. We start with a tie-up as Joe takes Nakamura into the corner, before the two tease each other with strikes, which prompts Nakamura to go for a double leg takedown on the champion.

Joe tries for a leg grapevine, but Nakamura fought free, before Joe grabbed a wrist and took him to his knees. A headbutt to the wristlock added pressure for Joe, but Nakamura flipped around and reversed the hold, then grabbed a headlock takedown, before eventually standing-off. Another headlock from Joe was countered as Nakamura grabbed the nose, before a break lead to them attempting some more kicks.

Nakamura knees Joe’s midsection in the corner, but Joe drags Nakamura to the outside and lights him up with chops, before Nakamura counters and rams Joe’s head into the apron. More chops stagger Nakamura, who gets dropped with an enziguiri in the corner after returning to the ring. Nakamura returned the favour with a knee strike on the apron, before Joe moved away from a leaping kneedrop on the apron as Nakamura crashed and burned onto the apron, then got squashed with a tope from Joe.

Joe drops Nakamura again then lands an elbow drop for a near-fall, before more kicks to the chest set up Nakamura for a version of the Dragon sleeper. Nakamura finally reaches the ropes for a break, before he gets taken down again with a barrel roll leg sweep. Joe lands a powerbomb for a two-count, then switches it into a Boston crab, and then the STF – just like the old days!

An enziguiri from Nakamura staggered Joe, but he came back with a kick to the leg as Nakamura hit a roundhouse kick to take the champion down again. Nakamura drops Joe across the top turnbuckle and lands a running knee strike to the midsection, before he’s caught in an inverted atomic drop, and then takes a big boot. A back senton from Joe missed, and was immediately leapt on by Nakamura who was looking for a guillotine choke, which Joe countered, only to be taken down and kneed repeatedly in the head.

Joe drops Nakamura on the top rope as he set up for a Muscle Buster, but Nakamura fought back with a dropkick, then some forearms for the latest yay/boo exchange. Joe replies with some shots of his own, before a lariat turned Nakamura inside out. Another clothesline from Joe was caught as Nakamura tries for a cross armbreaker, which got turned into a triangle choke attempt, but Joe stood up and turned it into a Texas Cloverleaf submission.

Nakamura broke via the ropes again, before he backed into the corner to break a Kokina clutch attempt. A Judo throw broke a second clutch, before a stiff knee to the chest got Joe a near-fall. Joe locked in the Kokina clutch, but was too close to the ropes as Nakamura forced yet another break.

Some headbutts from Nakamura finally set up for a German suplex that dumped Joe onto his neck, but a Kinshasa attempt was countered with a powerslam for a near-fall. Nakamura was taken to the top rope for another try at the Muscle Buster, which Joe finally pulled off, but Nakamura kicked out at the last possible moment.

The crowd resumed singing Nakamura’s song, as they sensed a win, but Joe instead went for a second Muscle Buster… but Nakamura slipped out and landed the Kinshasa for a two-count! Joe sold the Kinshasa like death, and took another knee to the back of the head as Nakamura hit a second Kinshasa and won the title!

That match started slow, but picked up when it needed to, and left the fans with a memorable moment… right as Samoa Joe was left on the outside, presumably with the doctors trying to fix whatever damage that first Kinshasa did to Joe’s jaw. ****

From top to bottom, this was probably the best Takeover of the year, with a blow-out tag team match, a memorable farewell to Bayley, and the crowning of a new champion. Well, SummerSlam has a LOT to follow-up tomorrow!