The SmarK Rant for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn – 08.22.15
Live from Brooklyn, duh. HHH opens the show with a very cool in-ring intro, where he brings up the lights on the sold-out arena.
Your hosts are Rich Brennan, Byron Saxton & Corey Graves
Tyler Breeze v. Jushin Liger
Amazingly, they actually hit a pretty decent ripoff version of Liger’s music. This crowd is unbelievably hot. They trade poses in the corner and Liger quickly wraps Breeze up on the mat with a pair of submission holds. Monkey flip out of the corner as Breeze is just bumping all over for him as much as possible. Liger goes for the selfie stick, but walks into a Supermodel kick for two. Breeze stomps away in the corner and a legdrop gets two. Backcracker gets two. And now the New York crowd lets us know that Full Sail sucks. Hey now. Breeze works a facelock, but Liger hits with him with the koppo kick and goes up, but a flying splash hits knee. Breeze with a crucifix for two. He slugs away in the corner and argues with the ref, allowing Liger to hit him with the palm strike and then put him on the floor for a dive. Back in, Breeze takes another Shotay and the Liger Bomb finishes at 8:39. Nothing special, but Liger is 50 and this was totally fine for a one-off attraction. **1/2
Nia Jax is coming soon. Well good, they pretty much stripped the division bare for the Divas Revolution.
NXT tag team titles: Blake & Murphy v. The Vaudevillains
Thank you to whoever brought the Dubstep Cowboys sign. The mystery woman for the challengers: BLUE PANTS! I guess the Vaudevillains wearing blue probably should have given that away. Gotch wrestles Blake down for two as the crowd comes up with “Blue Pants City” for this. Gotch works an armbar and English comes in with a low kick for two while Corey rages against hipsters who listen to vinyl. VINYL IS AWESOME. English works on Murphy’s arm, but gets caught outside and hit with a cheapshot, and the champs take over. Blake with a chinlock and the champs use more shenanigans to cut off the tag, and a double neckbreaker on English gets two. That was kind of like the Dudleyz’ secondary neckbreaker. Heel miscommunication allows the hot tag to Gotch, and the STRAP COMES DOWN. Elbows in the corner on Murphy, but Gotch gets dumped and the champs set up for a double superplex, which Gotch turns into a Tower of Doom instead. English follows with a swanton on Murphy for two. Bliss gets involved and we get the brawl with Blue Pants (“She doesn’t even work here!” Graves rages) , but Murphy cradles Gotch for two. English comes back in with the Whirling Dervish, however, and we have NEW champions at 10:21 as the crowd goes nuts. I can only imagine what the pop for Enzo and Cass winning here would have been. Good for the Vaudevillains, they deserve this one. ***1/4 Good payoff on the surprise, hot finish to the match.
Apollo Crews v. “The Perfect 10” Tye Dillinger
Crews has a great wrestling name, which is always a good jumpstart. Dillinger tries a headlock and Crews flips out of it like a gymnast, but Dillinger dropkicks him in the corner to take over. Tye gives himself a ten and goes to the sleeper, but Crews reverses to a cradle for two. Dillinger with a high kick for two. Crews comes back with an enzuigiri and a discus lariat to make the comeback. Gorilla Press into standing moonsault finishes at 4:44. Impressive finish, but they should have let him super-squash some geek for maximum effect instead of going back and forth with Dillinger. He’ll get every chance looking like he does, however. **
Meanwhile, William Regal announces the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, which will culminate at the next Takeover in October.
Samoa Joe v. Baron Corbin
Thank god they changed Joe’s music. A sign notes that he has an 8 1/3% chance of winning, which is a wonderfully obscure reference. Joe quickly goes for the choke and Corbin bails to escape. Back in and Joe pounds him with elbows and dropkicks him to the floor, but Corbin blocks a dive with a forearm. Joe slugs away and rolls him into a half-crab, and into a crossface from there. Corbin makes the ropes and dumps Joe, but Joe has had enough and tosses Corbin into the railing. Back in, Corbin surprises him with a heel hook, but Joe makes the ropes. Corbin catches him with a black hole slam for two, but Joe puts him down with an enzuigiri. Joe slugs away, but Corbin actually hangs with him and they have an impressive slugfest. Corbin fights off the Muscle Buster with a big boot and puts him down with a front suplex for two. Joe escapes the End of Days and tries the choke, but Corbin powers out and hits a tree slam for two, which Joe then turns into a choke to finish at 10:20. I’d call this shockingly great by Corbin’s standards, with Corbin hanging in there impressively. ***1/2
NXT Women’s title: Sasha Banks v. Bayley
Bayley is wearing Dusty polka dots, so they CAN’T possibly job her. The crowd is deeply torn here, given how awesome that Sasha is. Bayley pounds her down with an elbow for two and hangs her in the Tree of Woe, and drops an elbow for two. Bayley with a flying armdrag and Sasha bails, so Bayley hits her with a dropkick through the corner. Back in, Bayley escapes the double knees in the corner, but Sasha boots her to the floor and then takes over in the ring with a straitjacket hold. Bayley escapes the double knees a second time, so Sasha puts her on the top rope this time and hits it for two. Sasha with the quality trash talk in the corner, but Bayley takes her down and pounds away, only to get caught with a neck on the ropes. Sasha gets mean and pulls the wrist brace off of Bayley, and works on the broken hand. And now suddenly the crowd hates her because she’s a big meanie. And then she hits Bayley with a plancha by diving over the referee and all of a sudden she’s a hero again. Back in, that gets two. Sasha walks the ropes and gets dumped, but she heads back in and they slug it out. Bayley makes the comeback with a suplex into the corner and a rollup gets two, but Sasha puts her down into the Bank Statement and the crowd is freaking out. Sasha stomps the broken hand to keep her off the ropes, but Bayley reverses to her own Bank Statement and Sasha has to make the ropes. That was great. Bayley to Belly gets two. To the top, but Sasha blocks the superplex and then blocks a rana. Jesus, Bayley nearly broke her own neck taking that bump. Sasha comes down with a senton into a cradle for two. To the top again and they slug it out up there, which leads to Bayley hitting an inverted rana off the top and Bayley to Belly to win the title at 18:08. What a finish to yet another classic! ****1/2 Godspeed to the Boss on RAW. How can the parent company be so petty and stupid and yet put on a show like this where they get all the booking exactly right? And then we even get the Four Horsewomen group hug and Curtain Call! This was truly something special.
NXT title, ladder match: Finn Balor v. Kevin Owens
How the hell are they gonna top that last match? Finn finally getting to do his entrance for a full arena audience is something to behold. And Owens does indeed behold it, lounging in one of the chairs at ringside with a bored look on his face. There’s one bonus star right there. Balor with running chops to start, but Owens puts him down for a senton while the crowd gets seriously distracted by something going on off-camera. Owens with a cannonball while the announcers note that the show is already running long, but we’re not on PPV so whatever. They fight to the floor and battle over the ladder, which results in Owens setting up an elaborate spot…and then just walking up and punching him in the face instead. Balor fights back and they head into the crowd for a brawl, where Finn gets tossed around like a ragdoll. Owens hits him in the face with a piece of the announce table and retrieves another ladder, but Balor dropkicks it back in his face. He follows with a dive onto Owens and makes the first climb, but Owens sends him into the ladder and tosses him. Balor grabs another ladder and boots Owens into it, but charges into an clothesline from Owens. Senton onto the ladder and he tries to follow with a powerbomb, but Balor backdrops him onto the open ladder instead. That’s sick. Balor climbs, but Owens throws him into the other ladder, but then misses a cannonball. Balor with the Coup De Grace and he climbs, but Owens powerbombs him down from the ladder. Owens climbs, but Balor pushes the ladder over and they fight on the floor again. Balor escapes the apron powerbomb, but misses a double stomp to the floor and Owens gets the powerbomb on the second try. Back in, Owens climbs again, and stops to kick Balor IN THE FACE. Damn. Owens warns him to stay down, but somehow I doubt he’ll listen. So Owens puts a ladder into the corner and wedges it into the main one, then sets up for the fisherman’s buster off the top of the ladder, which of course backfires on him. Balor is left on top of the ladder, but Owens keeps fighting, so Balor hits the Coup de Grace off the top of the ladder to finish him off, and climbs to retain the title at 21:45. This was excellent, a crazy brawl that happened to involve the ladders. ****1/2
Good luck to Summerslam topping this one.
Tags: apollo crews, Finn Balor v. Kevin Owens, Jushin Liger, NXT, NXT Takeover, NXT TakeOver Brooklyn, Sasha Banks v. Bayley, SmarK WWE Network Rant