|Seriously, how awesome is this?
This is the last show before Takeover Brooklyn II, and unlike Raw and Smackdown, there's no way all the participants could be involved in the hour. So I'll weave predictions through as seamlessly as I can manage, but it won't be very seamless.
We open with Hideo Itami, who wrestles Mustafa Ali from the CWC. It's an OK match, with Itami showing off a bit of new hard-hitting offense, including a baseball slide to the outside that looked amazing. HIs running knee finisher is still a problem with the KINSHASA ruling the promotion, though. And the match doesn't lead to anything for Itami at TOB2, so it's just a re-establishing match.
A Bobby Roode's video package is as close as I'm gonna get to a tie-in for predicting his TOB2 match with Andrade "Cien" Almas. It's Roode's debut match, so there's no way he's not winning. Poor Almas. I hope Roode is as good or better than he was when I was watching him in TNA years ago.
A video package for Asuka-Bayley means it's time for my least comfortable TOB2 prediction: Bayley gets her belt back and becomes the first two-time NXT Women's Champion. Nobody deserves that honor more than Bayley, and she can take that stat with her to the main roster in a month or two. It makes sense, but so does WWE's traditional "winning the rematch means you're the real champion" booking. So we'll see.
Another video package includes some Austin Aries vs. No Way Jose promo work. Austin desperately needs to be booked strong and win a big PPV match, but the story of the feud so far really points towards Jose winning. I'm gonna predict Aries and let Jose get his big victory at the next Takeover.
The video package continues with The Revival vs. Gargano and Ciampa. The smart thing to do would be to put the belts on Gargano and Ciampa and immediately draft The Revival to Smackdown. But my gut tells me they're going to keep it on The Revival for a bit longer.
Billie Kay demands a match at TOB2, and now we know who's going to lose to the debuting Ember Moon. Awful name, awful-looking gimmick, but if YouTube is anything to go by, she's a hell of a wrestler.
Alexa Bliss and Carmella return to elevate the new women's midcard win a six-man tag. Liv Morgan and Nikki Glencross join Carmella for the faces, and Daria Berenato and Mandy Rose join Bliss for the heels. Apparently both new heels were on Tough Enough, but I don't remember which ones they were because, well, Tough Enough sucked. The Internet tells me it was The Hot One and The MMA One. Glencross, the non Tough Enough one, looks insane in a good way. They get a lot of time, and it's a decent match. Carmella taps Mandy with a nice reversal of a bridging pin into the Code of Silence.
And finally, we have the big interview with Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. I have to believe they're giving Nakamura the win and the belt on Saturday. Joe's title run hasn't done anything (like a lot of NXT title runs) and I don't think Brooklyn is the place to break Nakamura's unbeaten streak. Plus I have an ungodly amount of mark love for the King of Strong Style and can't bear to see him lose here. The interview isn't as good as last week's pullapart for promoting the match, but it's solid stuff to close the show.
Three matches in the second round this week, which is good - I was worried the second round would drag on too long at two matches per round.
First up is Akira Tozawa vs. Jack Gallagher. Of the two, Gallagher is the one I remember most from the first round. The first segment is all mat-based chain wrestling that ends with an incredible spot where Gallagher allegedly locks Tozawa into a ball with Tozawa's own limbs, so Gallagher can just stand around the ring while Tozawa struggles to escape. The commentators are fond of saying they've never seen anything like the stuff in the CWC before, but this is totally new to me and the perfect level of pro wrestling ridiculousness. They move into a striking sequeence that Tozawa dominates, then into a submission chunk where Gallagher again takes over. They keep on like that, with Tozawa's strikes being countered by Gallagher's submissions, but ultimately Tozawa hits the bridging German for the win. Kind of a weird ending, and Gallagher is way more interesting to watch than Tozawa, but Tozawa really worked the match story well.
Noam Dar vs. Hoho Lun is up next. This match is fine, but it doesn't really have the oomph of the other seconod round matches. At one point the Full Sail Crowd sings The Imperial March as "Dar dar dar dar da-dar dar da-dar", which I have to admit is pretty nerdy even for a nerdy wrestling crowd. The story of the match is that Hoho Lun Sometimes Remembers His Knee Is Hurt. Dar wins with his knee bar submission.
Brian Kendrick's weird heelish redemption story meets up with Tony "Black Tighs And Beard Guy" Nece. Nece dominates with lots of power and acrobatics, intterrupted occasionally by Ethically Dubious Tactics from Kendrick. An overlong submission sequence in the middle of the match leads to a slower big move segment as they both sell the length of the match and the punishment. It's a solid match that would probably have a lot more impact if it had a story behind it. Kendrick wins after a missed 450 by Nece lets Kendrick slap on the Bully Choke.
Keeping track of countries, we have Japan, Mexico, Japan, Scotland, and the US. The final three will be Mexco or America, Britain or America, and America or Filipino.