In 2015, the first TakeOver: Brooklyn gave us the iconic Banks v Bayley. Last year, TakeOver: Brooklyn II had The Revival v DIY. What does the third installment have in store?
NXT’s TakeOver shows have for a long time now been the best shows that WWE produces. The depth of talent and more focused story telling means that even when the roster is gutted by call ups and injuries, the TakeOver shows always deliver. This weekend, NXT TakeOver returns to Brooklyn for a third time. It’s a show that promises to be an alternative to SummerSlam – even if just for the fact that it is a 2 hours show with just 5 matches, as opposed to a 12 match show spread over a 4 hour PPV and 2 hour pre-show.
Bobby Roode and Asuka both face big threats to their NXT Championships, Paul Ellering’s Authors of Pain take on Eric Young and Sanity, and there are two mouth watering singles matches featuring some of the best talent in the world. With all of that being said, let’s get to it!
Actually… just one more thing. My predictions for Battleground and Great Balls of Fire we terrible, so I’ve brought in a tag team partner for this event. Let me present the newest Bubblegummer: “Hollywood” Kev Hearne! Here we go…
BOBBY ROODE (Champion) v DREW McINTYRE
After a series of “Glorious” performances, Bobby Roode defeated Shinsuke Nakamura to win the NXT Champion at TakeOver: San Antonio in January. He retained against Kassius Ohno a few weeks later, then at TakeOver: Orlando he beat Nakamura again. Hideo Itami was the next unsuccessful challenger at TakeOver: Chicago, before Roderick Strong was despatched on NXT a month ago. With Roode needing a new challenger, NXT General Manager William Regal made a number one contenders match between two undefeated wrestlers, Killian Daim and Drew McIntyre.
Former Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre was spotted in the crowd at TakeOver: Orlando in April, after 3 years away from the WWE. Outside of the WWE, McIntyre won titles all over the world, becoming a champion in TNA, Evolve, ICW, WCPW and many more. His return to NXT saw him beat Oney Lorcan, Andrade Almas, and Wesley Blake, with a more vicious and brutal style than he had displayed back when he was the Chosen One. After a hard fought match, McIntyre managed to best Daim, and so set up his first NXT title shot.
Roderick Strong was not finished with Bobby Roode however, constantly threatening the champ, leading to Roode hiring a security detail for his face to face meeting with Drew McIntyre. This did not stop Strong, leading to Roode granting Strong another title shot if he could beat McIntyre. NXT General Manager William Regal agreed to the match, which happened just last Wednesday at Full Sail University. It was a back and forth encounter before Roode ran in and beat down both Strong and McIntyre, leaving the NXT Champion standing tall as the show went off the air. But will the same be true at TakeOver: Brooklyn III?
Prediction: James – BOBBY ROODE – Roode still has more mileage as champion, ruling over “his” NXT that gets more and more gritty every week while he becomes more and more corporate. By keeping Roderick Strong involved in the feud, it would seem like he is the next challenger for Roode. Although the NXT Championship recently has been defended in singles matches, I think there is a multi-man match in the future for Bobby Roode, perhaps a fourway also including Aleister Black. In the early days of NXT, both Adrian Neville and Charlotte Flair regularly faced multiple opponents in title defenses. Of course, this could be a red herring!
But for me, it’s Bobby Roode’s NXT for a little bit longer. McIntyre and him have got a few more twists and turns to go yet, and might even have a new superstar to face off with, baybay.
Kev – BOBBY ROODE – It’s been great to see McIntyre return to WWE and look as dominant as he ever has, but I don’t see him as the man to dethrone the glorious one. I’ve been intrigued by the continued involvement of Roderick Strong. I see him interfering in this match, and inadvertantly costing McIntyre the title, setting up a feud between the two.
NXT Women’s Championship
ASUKA (Champion) v EMBER MOON
For a long time now, Asuka has been my favourite wrestler. Not favourite female wrestler, not favourite NXT wrestler, my favourite wrestler. She has brutal strikes, kicks, and submission holds, and her entrance makes her look like a rockstar. She was in the crowd for the first TakeOver: Brooklyn in August 2015, and went on tear through the roster before beating Bayley for the NXT Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Dallas in April 2016. Since then she has defended the title against Nia Jax, Mickie James, Nikki Cross, Ruby Riot, Peyton Royce, Billie Key… pretty much everyone on the NXT roster. She went past Goldberg’s 173-0 streak back in May, and has now gone past Rockin’ Robin’s WWF Women’s Title record of 502 days. Asuka has dominated them all, but…
She had to take a shortcut against Ember Moon. Moon made her debut last year at TakeOver: Brooklyn II against Billie Key, and was very impressive, looking like a strong, quick athlete with some good wrestling skills. And then she hit her finishing move, The Eclipse:
A thing of beauty, the type of move you make on a video game, but Ember Moon does it in real life! Ember Moon steadily built to a title shot against Asuka at TakeOver: Orlando, where she took her to the absolute limit, and only when Asuka pushed the referee into the ropes to stop Moon hitting the Eclipse did the Empress of Tomorrow sneak the win. Asuka then attacked Moon, Ruby Riot, and Nikki Cross after a battle royale, injuring Moon and forcing her to watch TakeOver: Chicago from the sidelines as Asuka defeated Cross and Riot in a triple threat.
Moon is now back and ready for her title shot. Asuka survived a last woman standing match against Nikki Cross a few weeks ago, while Moon has recently beaten Peyton Royce and Ruby Riot. But who will come out on top at TakeOver: Brooklyn III?
Kev – EMBER MOON – I would love to see this close the show. This has been one of WWE’s best built feuds all year. They started the build-up to this at Takeover: Orlando, and I expect Asuka’s incredible reign to come to an end. She has done everything she possibly can in NXT, and it’s finally time for her to move up to RAW or Smackdown, while Moon becomes the new face of NXT’s women’s division.
Prediction: James – EMBER MOON – After over 500 days, it’s time. Asuka has been a phenomenal champion, and has beaten everyone on the roster – but needed to “cheat” to beat Ember Moon. Let Moon, and the Eclipse, carry the title and set up some great programmes against Ruby Riot, Nikki Cross, and the Iconic Duo. Plus with the Mae Young Classic just around the corner, there will be new talent to fill up the division. Let’s get Asuka brutalising people in front of a bigger audience. Why put some much work into building Tamina or Nia Jax when you could have Asuka?
NXT Tag Team Championship
THE AUTHORS OF PAIN (Champions) v SANITY
Ever since The Authors of Pain made their debut, sending American Alpha packing from NXT, no-one has been able to figure out a way to stop Akam and Rezar. With legendary manager Paul Ellering masterminding their rise, they defeated TM61 to win the second Dusty Rhodes Memorial Classic in November, and continued brutalising teams on their way to a title shot against DIY in January at TakeOver: San Antonio. They successfully defended against over Wrestlemania weekend against The Revival and DIY, before retaining in a ladder match against DIy at TakeOver: Chicago. A big man battle against Heavy Machinery on the NXT TV show then led to a stare down with Sanity, and after repeated attacks, we now have this title match.
Sanity made their debut around the same time as The Authors of Pain, but have not quite had the same success. Alexander Wolfe and Sawyer Fulton lost to TM61 in the semi final of the Dusty Rhodes Classic, but Fulton was replaced by the impressive Killian Daim. Eric Yung beat Tye Dillinger back in January, but when Kassius Ohno teamed up with Dillinger, Roderick Strong, and Ruby Riot, the numbers game was no longer in their favour. They won that match though, but Roderick Strong beat Young one-on-one match in the opening match of TakeOver: Chicago. Eric Young returned to NXT last week to orchestrate an attack on the Authors of Pain, and so now we have this match. Are we reaching the last chapter of the Authors of Pain as NXT Tag Team Champions?
Prediction: James – THE AUTHORS OF PAIN – The Authors of Pain are THE team in NXT right now. Does anyone know when TM61 are due back? Although Heavy Machinery, The Street Profits, and Tino Sabbatelli & Riddick Moss are all entertaining in their own way, they are all very inexperienced, and that is one of the reasons for this Sanity v AoP TakeOver match seemingly getting pushed ahead of schedule. Sanity have the physical prowess (Daim is a BEAST!) and with Eric Young, perhaps a mastermind to match Paul Ellering. But I see Ellering finding a way for AoP to hang on to the titles, perhaps with a non-finish, which NXT can probably get away with because they don’t do it very often.
Oh, and either of theses teams could be the people attacking Fandango and Tyler Breeze over on Smackdown, if they aren’t making it all up. I think Sanity would be a really good addition to the blue brand, as Nikki Cross would add another element to the women’s division as well.
Kev – SANITY – I could see this one going either way, but I’m going to go with Dain and Wolfe. They have the size and strength to match AOP, and the numbers game is on their side. I was surprised this week to see the injured and largely forgotten Sawyer Fulton announced as a character in the upcoming WWE 2K18 game. Perhaps he makes his return tonight to help his former Sanity teammates.
ALEISTER BLACK v HIDEO ITAMI
Hideo Itami made his return from injury in April to confront NXT Champion Bobby Roode, and unsuccessfully challenged for the title at TakOver: Chicago. Since that event, Itami’s frustrations (he has spent a combined 18 months out injured during his three years under contract) have gotten the better of him, leading him to get more and more vicious with opponents. At one point, Itami repeatedly hit Oney Lorcan with a series of brutal Go To Sleeps until his friend Kassius Ohno came out to stop him. This lead to a match between Ohno and Itami that led to a DQ and Itami leaving Ohno beaten down.
When he was cut off during an interview segment, Itami furiously made his way to the ring, delaying the next scheduled match. Aleister Black made his entrance anyway, and confronted Itami in the ring. Itami eventually showed respect to Black and agreed to leave the ring, but when he decided he wanted one last word with Black, he was on the receiving end of a devastating Black Mass kick that left him looking up at the lights.
Aleister Black has made a blistering start to his NXT career. At TakeOver: Orlando the former kick boxer beat Andrade Almas in impressive fashion, and his brutal kicks have become a hall mark of the NXT weekly show. Recently he has faced Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly in brutally violent matches that are spearheading a new style in NXT, with the likes of Kassius Ohno, Oney Lorcan, and even Itami himself. When the Japanese superstar interrupted Black last week, NXT General Manager William Regal was quick to make a match between the two.
Kev – ALEISTER BLACK – While I’m disappointed not to see Itami continue his feud with Kassius Ohno, I expect this to be an intense, hard-hitting bout that will likely steal the show. Black has been a breath of fresh air since he debuted at Takeover: Orlando, filling the void left by the loss of Nakamura, Dillinger and others. I fully expect his undefeated streak to continue, leading him to be the next challanger for Roode’s NXT title. As for Itami, I see him being called up the main roster in the rumoured Superstar Shakeup after Summerslam. He would be a valuable addition to the struggling 205 Live.
Prediction: James – ALEISTER BLACK. Black has adapted his strong-style, strike heavy, in ring work to longer matches that are closer to the WWE main roster style. I could see him skipping the NXT Championship scene entirely and going to the big leagues very soon. Genuinely, genuinely Black would be a legit opponent for Brock Lesnar. Or maybe the guy Nakamura needs to face to underline just how much of a badass “The Artist” really is. Itami is finally hitting his stride in NXT, and could be the next heel title challenger. A feud between a bullying Itami and never give up Gargano could be great.
JOHNNY GARGANO v ANDRADE “CIEN” ALMAS
After failing to reclaim the NXT Tag Team titles at TakeOver: Chicago, Tommaso Ciampa brutally attacked his DIY team mate Johnny Gargano, putting him through a table. Ciampa knew he needed surgery on a knee injury, which was actually much worse than he thought and he is looking at at least being out for the rest of 2018. Gargano made a successful in ring return to NXT three weeks ago, and then sent out a challenge for TakeOver. This was taken up by Zelina Varga, on behalf of Andrade “Cien” Almas.
After some sloppy performances led to a shocking loss to Cezar Bonini, Almas seen around the Performance Centre being chastised by a mysterious woman, for his lack of dedication. She was revealed as Zelina Varga, and since their partnership started, Almas has cut down on the nightlife and out of the ring destractions. His in-ring work has sharpened up as well, notably in a match against No Way Jose which saw him cut out his signature taunts and deliver a vicious beating to the One Man Fiesta.
Almas and Gargano both have something to prove here. Can Almas’ new application bring him the success he has been lacking? Or will the rebirth of Johnny Wrestling begin in Brooklyn?
Prediction: James – JOHNNY GARGANO. Unless I’m very mistaken, Almas hasn’t actually won a TakeOver match since beating Tye Dillinger in June last year, and I don’t think his record gets any better here. Gargano is a thoroughbred, white meat baby face coming back from an injury, and his wrestling style will make up for some interesting match ups with the hard hitters on the NXT roster. But I expect a good performance from Andrade Almas, and this could a sleeper hit for the weekend.
Kev – ANDRADE ALMAS – For a while now Almas has been the one to put over NXT’s bigger stars (and he has done a great job in doing so). But he needs the victory more. I expect him to win here, with a little help from his new valet Zelina Vega. Gargano will always be over with the NXT crowd, and he will not be damaged by taking a loss tonight.
And those are our predictions for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III. It should be one hell of a show! We’ll have our Summerslam predictions tomorrow.
Until next time, stay gold, Ponyboy, stay gold. See you soonish.
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