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WWE NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III
August 19, 2017

by Scrooge McSuck

NXT Brooklyn III

- Presented LIVE on the WWE Network on August 19th, 2017, from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, and Percy Watson are at ringside to call all the action, unless otherwise noted. "We are in a New York state of mind."

Takeover: Brooklyn III is headlined by Bobby Roode defending the NXT Championship against Drew McIntyre. McIntyre earned the title opportunity by defeating Killian Dain last month. Roode used his influence to avoid fighting both men, convincing Commissioner Regal into making the match in the first place, and with less than a week before the title defense, convinced McIntyre into accepting a challenge from Rodrick Strong that had future championship possibilities, just to get that slight advantage at weakening his upcoming opponent.

Asuka, the reigning, undefeated champion for more than 500 days, defends the title for the second time at a Takeover against Ember Moon. Moon's first opportunity, at Takeover: Orlando, ended with Asuka's questionable tactics to slither away with the Championship. In the months that followed, Asuka fought all comers, including successful title defenses against Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross. Moon was originally scheduled to be in the match at Takeover: Chicago, but a shoulder injury sidelined her for about month before she was able to reclaim her spot as the top contender. Moon could potential come full circle, with the chance of winning the title a year after making her NXT Debut at the previous Takeover: Brooklyn (squashing Billie Kay).

The Authors of Pain defend their Tag Team Championships against the unlikely challengers of Sanity's Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain. The Authors of Pain have survived a handicap scenario at Takeover: Orlando, a grueling Ladder Match at Takeover: Chicago, and even conquered the super-heavyweight team of Heavy Machinery. In recent weeks, it appears the AOP have been presented as the babyfaces, with Sanity doing a sneak attack where Eric Young zip-tied one of the AOP to the guardrail, giving them a 3-on-1 advantage against each man at any given time.

Underneath the card, Aleister Black takes on Hideo Itami. Itami, feeling disrespected, tried to take over the ring before Black's match, and before being able to attack from behind, was KO'ed with the Black Mass. The following week, both men were involved in a parking plot brawl. Finally, Johnny Gargano makes his Takeover return, this time in solo action, against the rejuvenated Andrade Almas, who is finding his aggression again with the help of his new business partner, Zelina Vega.

Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas (w/ Zelina Vega):

Almas' run could be considered a failure, but his work as a heel has made him worth reinvesting in, and maybe the new attitude will get him over the hump. Unfortunately, he's matched with a crowd favorite that you can't job this quickly into his return from kayfabe injury. Quick exchange of waist-locks. Almas grabs the arm and we get another series of counters. Whip, Almas with a shoulder tackle. Crisscross and Gargano with a flying head scissors, deep arm drag, and a rolling crucifix cradle into a front face-lock. Whip to the corner, Almas traps Gargano in the ropes and connects with a reverse back breaker and DDT. Whip and an elbow, followed by a sliding boot for two. Almas hangs out in the ropes and traps Gargano in a hanging cross arm-breaker. Gargano fights out of an arm-bar and drops Almas face-first into the turnbuckle. Gargano counters a suplex with a knee strike and we have a "malfunction at the junction" with a double clothesline. They trade blows, with Gargano getting the best of it. Almas with a slap, igniting Gargano to strike even harder. Gargano with a roll-up into a roundhouse kick. Slingshot spear for a near fall.

Almas hangs out in the ropes again, but this time Gargano nails him with a Super-Kick and follows with a tope suicida! Slingshot DDT for another near fall. Almas blocks a second slingshot spear and connects with a Tornado Inverted DDT for two. Almas with a brutal open-palm strike across the chest. Gargano blocks a super-plex attempt. Almas counters a sunset Powerbomb, and knocks Gargano into the corner with a forearm. He loads up for double knees, but Gargano with an enzuigiri. Almas takes the charging Gargano into the corner with a hip toss, but misses the knees. Gargano comes off the ropes with a flying head scissors into the Crossface. Almas rolls through and slams Gargano into the corner with a buckle bomb! Almas with the Annihilation (with emphasis on "KNEE") for the nearest near fall in near fall history. Almas with knees into the left arm. Gargano escapes the hammer-lock and connects with a pair of Super-Kicks, followed by a head-first launch into the middle turnbuckle. Gargano loads up in the corner, but Vega tosses a #DIY shirt at him. Almas uses the distraction to connect with a dropkick, and the hammer-lock DDT finishes at 13:13! Upset? **** And we're off to a great start. This was non-stop action with impeccable execution. You could argue the finish was a bit weak, but it worked, protecting Gargano, and gave Almas a much-needed victory.

NXT Tag Team Championship Match:
The Authors of Pain (w/ Paul Ellering) vs. Sanity (w/ Eric Young & Nikki Cross):

With the AOP's dominance, it wouldn't make sense to lose the titles here in a throwaway challenge, but stranger things have happened. Corey Graves join the commentary team for this match because "we are NXT". The AOP come out in new military fatigues and Alien masks. BROOKLYN! Brawl in the ring before the bell, with the AOP clearing the ring. Wolfe and Dain pull them out as well while Young sets up a table. Akem tosses Wolfe across the ring as we officially start. AOP take turns driving knees into the midsection. Eric Young has officially taken over in the match, since Dain has never officially been legally in the match. He sends Akem to the floor, but gets clotheslined over the barricade. Akem meets a security rail on a failed charge, but has enough in him to toss Young back to the ringside area. Rezar with the blind tag and they execute a perfect back-drop into a dominator for a near fall. Back breaker/flying stomp combo for another two count. Akem with a hip toss into a triangle lock. Young escapes, but gets held back from tagging. Rezar catches Young on a slide and plants him with a choke-lift and slam.

Young avoids an avalanche and "hot" tags Wolfe. He nails Akem off the apron with a boot, and hits Rezar with forearms. Akem runs in and gets thrown with an exploder. Boot to the face of Rezar, followed by a German Suplex. Wolfe to the top rope with a flying clothesline for two. The AOP try to cut the ring in half on Wolfe. Suplex into a sit-out Powerbomb for two. Wolfe takes Rezar off the top rope with a Frankensteiner and "hot" tags Young. Jumping neck breaker to Rezar. He gets straddled across the top rope. Cross saves Young from an interesting Tower of Doom spot from AOP, and Young hits the flying elbow on Rezar for two, with Akem pulling Rezar to safety outside the ring. Young with a tope suicida on Akem, and Wolfe with a somersault senton on Rezar. Cross hops in the ring, as does Ellering, but the referee gets between them. She climbs the top rope while the referee gets caught up with Ellering, and jumps into the arms of Akem. He catches her easily, but Dain makes the save for her (mostly), slamming them all through the table set up before the match. Back inside, and the double team neck breaker on Rezar gets three for NEW CHAMPIONS at 12:08! What is with all these finishes I didn't see coming? *** This started off slow, but turned into an entertaining car wreck. I would've preferred a more traditional face vs. heel dynamic, but the crowd was getting behind Sanity, so it worked out for the better.

- Post match, Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly hit the ring without notice and attack anything that moves. I still don't know who's supposed to the babyfaces of the situation. Both men recently appeared on NXT TV in losing efforts against Aleister Black, pushing Black to the limits each time.

- A comatose Neville, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Kalisto are sitting at ringside. WE ARE NXT!

Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami:

We'll set the over/under for leg slaps at a meager 26. Both are pretty good about masking it, though, so I don't know why I open with a joke about it. Jim Ross gets to join the commentary for this match as our parade of guests continues. Black gets played to the ring by a live band. If he loses, I give up on predictions. Both come charging out of the corner with boots. Itami with the first good strike, but all it does is lead to a shoving match. Black sends Itami to the floor and poses in the center of the ring. Itami rushes back in, but Black catches the boot and lands a kick to the chest. Black with a whip and elbow. Black with a series of a strikes, ending with a jumping knee to the side of the head for two. Itami hangs Black out to dry and comes off the top with a guillotine knee drop. Itami with a whip and elbow for a one count. Black's got a bloody nose. Itami with a knee to the midsection and the Spinal Tap. Itami asks if the fans want more and grabs a chin-lock instead. Itami pulls down the knee pad for a knee, but lands on his feet, kicks the face, and taunts Black with his own pose. Itami with a DDT for two.

Black fights out of a chin-lock, snapping the arm of Itami across his shoulder. Itami misses a charge and Black with a pair of roundhouse kicks, followed by a sweeping leg sweep and running knee to the side of the head. Black with an almost botched springboard moonsault for a near fall. Hard elbow to the side of the head, but a charge meets Itami's boot. Itami climbs the ropes and hangs Black across the top rope. Itami with a flying clothesline for two. Fisherman Suplex for two. Itami with a flurry of strikes. Black surprises him with a victory roll for two. Black with a roundhouse kick out of nowhere. Black to the top rope, but Itami catches up with him. Black fights him down with elbows, but Itami pops back up and takes Black down with a Super Falcon Arrow for two. They trade forearms, kicks and slaps. It's ON LIKE DONKEY KONG. Itami with a spinning back fist and Black with a jumping knee. Itami comes back with another Falcon Arrow for two. Itami with the hesitation dropkick in the corner. Black escapes GTS, but takes a knee to the midsection. Itami keeps screaming about respect. Charge to the corner, Black avoids a clothesline and Black Mass finishes at 12:20. **3/4 Strike heavy matches seem to be hit and miss. This never really picked up, sometimes dragging, and at times being wonderfully brutal.

- Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Bayley are at ringside now, because... I've already beaten the joke into the ground.

NXT Women's Championship Match:
Asuka vs. Ember Moon:

Will we see our second title change of the night? Based on timing and predictability, this is the first time since Orlando where Asuka losing seems likely. Moon has green contact lenses tonight... I've got nothing to follow that up with. Asuka just surpassed ROCKIN' ROBIN for longest modern era women's title reign. Does a reign count if it wasn't defended for a year before it was abandoned? Moon meets Asuka at the bell with a dropkick and a sliding boot for a one count. Moon catches a kick and takes her over with a suplex. Asuka bails and Moon follows, missing a baseball slide. Asuka with a roundhouse kick to the midsection. Moon strikes back and comes off the second rope with a cannonball. Asuka uses a leverage throw to send Moon's left arm into the steps. Asuka with strikes and a hammer-lock suplex onto the steel ramp. Back inside, Asuka keeps working the arm, bending the elbow in every direction. Moon can't get a hip toss to go her way and Asuka takes her down with a modified STO. Asuka hooks both arms and stomps repeatedly across the back. Asuka with an octopus stretch into a seated Fujiwara arm-bar.

Moon lifts Asuka up onto her shoulder and slams her backwards to finally create breathing room. Moon ducks under a back-hand and connects with a step-up enzuigiri for two. Asuka catches a dive into the corner and drops Moon's head on the turnbuckle with a release German suplex. Asuka goes for the Asuka-Lock, but Moon escapes with an elbow and hooks the hold instead. Asuka counters, but Moon rolls her over into a cover for two. Asuka ducks under a strike and comes off the ropes with the running hip attack for two. Moon with a tornado suplex for a near fall. Moon with knees to the midsection, followed by a running knee lift. Asuka comes back with palm strikes and a back-hand blow. Asuka with boots to the face. Moon counters with a modified back suplex for two. They fight on the ropes, with Moon kicking the leg from under and driving her down with a stomp across the chest for two.

Moon climbs the ropes again and hits a picture-perfect Eclipse, but Asuka kicks out at two! First person to kick out of that move, if memory serves correctly. Asuka is dead on the canvas while Moon climbs up again. Asuka recovers and hides behind the referee. Moon changes plans with a flying body press, but Asuka rolls through and hooks the tights. The referee saw the tights and stopped the count at two. Moon back up with a Super-Kick for two. Asuka plays dead on the canvas before going for a cross arm-breaker. Moon fights it off and stacks up her, but Asuka catches Moon in the Asuka Lock in the center of the ring, and Moon is forced to tap at 14:43. The reign continues. ***3/4 Started a bit slow, but another match that really picked up in the second half. It came off like they were going for an epic, and under-delivered, but the last 4-minutes really felt like they were getting there.

- Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe are in the crowd, too. NXT, we are.

NXT Championship Match:
Bobby Roode vs. Drew McIntyre:

Final match of the card. It seems like the big picture, at least for now, is Roode vs. Strong, but who knows if that needs the title or not. McIntyre gets played out by a live performance with bagpipes and drums. Lockup to the corner and McIntyre with a clean break. Roode with chops (to no effect) and a side headlock. Whip to the ropes and McIntyre with a shoulder tackle, sending Roode to the floor for a breather. Whip reversed and McIntyre slips out of the Glorious DDT. McIntyre catches Roode in a leap frog with a punt to the face. Throw to the corner and chops, followed by another shoulder tackle and big boot. McIntyre with a suplex throw and clothesline, sending Roode over the top rope. McIntyre follows and drops him across the barricade. Roode tries a dive from the apron, but McIntyre catches him. Roode escapes a battering ram but meets the elbow, followed by a tilt-o-whirl slam onto the apron.

Back inside, McIntyre climbs the ropes, but Roode hooks the ankle to stop his ascent. Roode blocks a suplex from the apron with the knee to the head usually only seen in WWE games, and hangs McIntyre across the middle rope with a neck breaker. Roode from the apron with a Bronco Buster. He drives an elbow across the throat and works McIntyre over in the corner. Whip across the ring and Roode with a bulldog. Hangman's neck breaker for two. McIntyre offers a comeback, but Roode whips him hard into the turnbuckles. Roode with a missile dropkick for two. McIntyre fights out of a chin-lock, but Roode transitions into a sleeper. McIntyre powers up again, driving Roode into the corner to force the break, again. McIntyre catches Roode coming off the ropes with an over-head belly-to-belly suplex. Roode gets dropped face-first across the buckle and McIntyre charges in with a clothesline. McIntyre from the top rope with a flying clothesline.

Roode fights out of a fireman's lift with elbows across the back of the head. Roode with an inverted atomic drop and knee lift. He comes off the ropes, but McIntyre catches him with the Celtic Cross for a near fall. Roode hangs the arm across the top rope, escaping to the floor. Roode to the top rope again, but McIntyre meets him up, only to get his eggs scrambled. Roode takes advantage with McIntyre, trapping him in the Tree of Woe, but showboating opens the door for McIntyre to sit up and hurl Roode to the canvas. McIntyre sets up, but Roode is playing dead. Roode sweeps the legs and rolls over for two. Back stabber for another near fall. Roode with a flurry of strikes in the corner, followed by a clothesline. McIntyre fights out of a neck breaker and takes him over with a back slide for two. Future Shock DDT for two. McIntyre climbs the ropes with Roode on his back, but Roode slips out of his grip and hits a running Powerbomb for two.

Both men trade blows, battling from their knees to their feet. McIntyre eventually gets the better of the slugfest until Roode surprises him with a step-up enzuigiri. McIntyre from out of nowhere with the Claymore (running one-foot dropkick), but Roode gets a foot on the bottom rope at two. Roode escapes to the floor, and the referee won't let McIntyre pursue him (crowd boos). McIntyre with a tope con hilo to wipe Roode and himself out. McIntyre rolls Roode back in and sets up in the corner once again. Roode counters the Claymore with a spine-buster. Roode hooks a front face-lock and goes for the Glorious DDT, but McIntyre blocks and sits down on a sunset flip attempt for twp. McIntyre catches Roode off the ropes, but Roode spins out and hits the Glorious DDT for two! Roode with another Glorious DDT. He rolls through to lift McIntyre off the canvas, but McIntyre escapes with a headbutt and hits the Claymore to win the NXT Title at 22:23! ****1/2 Match of the Night. Probably Roode's best NXT performance, quickening his pace to cut-down on lulls while still working a conservative, but believable style, while McIntyre brought his hard hitting offense and showcased extraordinary athleticism.

- Post-match, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish are on the apron to distract Drew McIntyre as Adam Cole (whose arrival was telegraphed by the crowd distracted by something happening off camera) runs in for a beat-down on yet another newly crowned Champion.

Final Thoughts: Another Takeover event that you can't find much to complain about. I was a bit surprised to see title changes with the Authors of Pain dropping the titles to Sanity, and Bobby Roode dropping the NXT Title to Drew McIntyre. Does this signal calling them up to the Main Roster, with new "smark" darlings arriving to take their places in each division? I'm a bit surprised Asuka retained, but at the same time, there's still some story to tell before taking the belt off her. No bad matches to speak of, just one underwhelming effort, with that honor going to Black and Itami.

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