Sunday, August 21, 2016

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn II

Not even a wrestler, and this guy stole the show.
Like most sequels, Brooklyn II didn't live up to the original. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad show. It was a very good show. Frequently a great show. But for only a few moments was it a special show. There was a lot of solid work by veterans, a lot of great work by established mainstays, and some surprisingly effective work by newbies. But most of this show had me saying "Heh, that was funny", when I wanted to be laughing.

The curtain is jerked by No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries in a solid opener that goes on a bit too long for Jose's ability. It breaks down towards the end, the crowd starts to get lost, and Aries eventually wins by submission. And then the important thing happens. Aries' post-match beatdown is interrupted by a suit-wearing Hideo Itami, and after a bit of initial miscommunication, Itami hoists Aries up on his shoulders and BAM GO TO SLEEP! I believe I mentioned two weeks ago that this should happen, and certainly Brooklyn was the place to do it. Awesome. (Predictions: 1/1, except Aries is clearly done with Jose.)

Next is the debut of EMber Moon against Billie Kay. Good entrance. Ember Moon goes to the same contact lens doctor as Mil Muertes. Hard-hitting, stiff match, not the kind of thing I usually see from Kay. Botched spot in the middle, and the crowd lost interest, but Ember gets the crowd back with her big final comeback, and her finisher is spectacular. Unnamed as yet (in the indies it was the O-Face), but spectacular. (Predictions: 2/2)

OK, fine, Bobby Roode's theme and PPV entrance was pretty fucking spectacular, with the Barclay Center singing it (despite his heel status) and him starting on a platform that lowered to the ground. Poor Andrade "Cien" Almas had to follow that, and all he had was his dumb hat and suspenders but in red. This is another match marred by awkward execution. It was entertaining when it had momentum, but it couldn't always keep the momentum. Roode doesn't show me anything I didn't see from him in TNA, except a new finisher, a sort of pumphandle powerbomb that doesn't do much for me. (Predictions: 3/3)

We get a video promo for someone or something that may be called "Sanity", and it mostly looks like all the Aftereffects filters they bought for Solomon Crowe are getting some use.

They got the Orange County Choppers to craft the Cruiserweight Classic trophy, and it's, um, a globe on top of a pillar. So there's that.

The Revival and Ciampa-Gargano put on one hell of a long match that by the end, had the entire Barclay Center on its feet. By the end even I was convinced they were building up to a title change, but the Revival heeled their way to a win and man, have they set up an explosion for when these guys beat The Revival. Don't know when it's gonna be, but the crowd reaction is going to be off the charts if they keep the momentum up between now and then. Best match of the show. (Predictions: 4/4)

Asuka-Bayley II! Ringside tubemen! This is a beast of a match. Bayley stepped up to Asuka's style and held her own. It wasn't perfect, and the match story wasn't as clear as I expected it to be, and the finish surprised me. Asuka pins Bayley after kicking her fucking head off to retain. In NXT, two consecutive losses to the champion means a callup, so odds are good Bayley's heading to the main roster. (Predictions: 4/5)

And finally, Joe-Nakamura. Going in, I'm confident in my prediction of Nakamura, because the other two title matches did not give the fans what they wanted. Nakamura's entrance is amazing, with a violin player playing him in live. Joe's entrance is normal. The match is mostly good, occasionally great, but never really special. I was expecting WAY more rage out of Joe, and looking forward to the emotional contrast of Joe's anger and Nakamura's infuriating casualness. But there wasn't enough of that, and what we got instead was a title match very much like the last half dozen NXT title matches - solid work from everyone involved that still ends up being overshadowed by the other matches on the card. I'm hoping that they change up the formula with Nakamura as champ and have him actually appear regularly on the Wednesday shows and build up some good opponents for him. They'll probably just put Roode against him first, though.

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