NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III – Preview

NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III – Preview

Matches

Bobby Roode (C) vs Drew McIntyre – NXT Championship match

Asuka (C) vs Ember Moon – NXT Women’s Championship match

Authors of Pain (C) vs SAnitY – NXT Tag Team Championship match

Aleister Black vs Hideo Itami

Johnny Gargano vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

 

Preview

NXT’s return to Brooklyn looks great. The card is stacked, and it’s got a feel to it that suggests it might be the biggest show of the year for NXT. Even the preshow is getting the hype treatment this year, with Shinsuke Nakamura, Sasha Banks, Carmella and Neville being advertised as special guests.

Johnny Gargano vs Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

This is Johnny Gargano’s first TakeOver match as a singles star in NXT, so he has a lot to prove. He’s only had one match since his ex-tag partner, Tommaso Ciampa, attacked him after TakeOver Chicago, and that betrayal must still weigh heavy on the ever popular Johnny Wrestling. That should have led to a feud between the two, but Ciampa is out injured and not due back for quite a while.

Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas has been on a losing streak, and seems to have developed something of a bad attitude. Recently though, his old business manager Zelina Vega has reappeared and tried to restore focus to Almas. It is Vega who is responsible for getting him the match with Gargano.

Both superstars are supremely talented, but their crowd reactions couldn’t be more different. Gargano is one of the most popular superstars wherever he goes. Almas gets crickets. He got nothing at all in his brief babyface run, and as a heel he is met with mild boos and heaps of indifference. I’m not sure why, he’s great in the ring, but I guess his lack of promo skill and limited English has hurt him. The match is likely to be the opener and, thanks to Gargano, it should get the TakeOver crowd warmed up nicely.

If it wasn’t for the Aleister Black vs Hideo Itami match, I would suggest this could take match of the night, but it’s still going to be fabulous. I’d like to see Johnny Gargano set up a winning streak on his new singles run by taking this one, but I don’t think that will happen. I think Gargano will be in the ascendency, heading towards certain victory, when something happens. Either Zelina Vega will interfere to save the match for her associate, or Tommaso Ciampa will organise some kind of distraction. I doubt we’ll see Ciampa himself, all accounts suggest he is months from being allowed near a ring, but his music or a video could play, anything to knock Gargano off his stride long enough for Almas to take advantage.

Johnny Gargano is a perfect sympathetic babyface, wonderful in the ultimate underdog position. I think this match repositions him there, and gives him even more to come back from. I’d rather see him win, but I suspect NXT TakeOver Brooklyn II will start in controversial fashon.

Prediction: Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas

 

Aleister Black vs Hideo Itami

This is my pick for match of the night. I’ll admit to a slight bias, Aleister Black is currently one of my favourite wrestlers, but I stand by the prediction.

Black is currently undefeated in NXT. He’s been the reason two huge indie names lost their debut matches, and has defeated Kassius Ohno, on his journey to this match with Itami. Itami is on something of a losing streak, and he hasn’t been dealing with it well. That’s how we got this match, Itami was sounding off in the ring when Black was due for a match, and when he went to attack Black he got taught some manners via a Black Mass kick to the head. Later that night, Itami tried to attack Black as he left the building.

This match could be the epitome of hard-hitting, or hard kicking. Both these superstars like to use their feet, and they’re both incredibly skilled. It could be a technical masterpiece, or it could be two guys kicking seven bells out of each other. It is likely to be a combination of the two, and that’s great.

Attitude could be the difference maker in this one. Itami has become increasingly volatile as his run of bad luck has lengthened. He’s prone to temper tantrums, and that could affect his focus. Aleister Black, on the other hand, is the personification of calm and measured aggression. If things aren’t going his way he will be calculating and zen-like in his approach. If things start going badly for Itami he may lose control, and that will be all Black needs to deliver the Black Mass.

I don’t expect Aleister Black’s undefeated streak to end with Hideo Itami on Saturday, I think the plans for him are much bigger. I do expect it to be a compelling contest, and an epic battle. Don’t take your eyes off it.

Prediction: Aleister Black

 

Authors of Pain (C) vs SAnitY – NXT Tag Team Championship match

This is a tough one to call, mainly because there are so many outside factors to consider. Authors of Pain have their manager/handler/mastermind Paul Ellering, who hasn’t been shy about getting involved on the extremely rare occasions his monsters have needed him. SAnitY’s Alexander Wolfe and Killian Dain have the rest of their stable behind them, leader Eric Young and Nikki Cross must surely be factored into the match as a threat.

Even without the external factors it’s not the easiest of matches to predict. Authors of Pain are not use to dealing with teams who can equal them in size and power, and SanitY may just have the edge in speed and agility. I can predict this will be big lads wrestling, more big hits and bodyslams than high flying and technicality. I can predict there will be chaos. I just don’t have any confidence in my prediction of a winner, there are just too many variables.

It is necessary for me to pick someone, it’s not much of a preview without the predictions. I’m truly intrigued to find out who comes out on top. I think the fact SAnitY potentially have two people on the outside could be the difference maker. Nikki Cross can easily be a distraction for the ref, or occupy Paul Ellering’s attention, while Eric Young helps out his stablemates. That could be all it takes.

Prediction: SAnitY

 

Photo credits: wwe.com

Asuka (C) vs Ember Moon – NXT Women’s Championship match

I have considered Ember Moon to be Asuka’s natural successor since before she even debuted. Something about the hype videos which preceded her arrival just suggested she would be the one. I never changed my mind, even after her first defeat at NXT TakeOver Orlando. The time wasn’t right then. It is now.

Asuka has broken many record as NXT Women’s Champion. She broke Goldberg’s record for longest undefeated streak, and she has surpassed all the notable records for length of title reign. She is now the longest reigning champion in modern-day WWE (making her 8th in the history of the company). It’s an important milestone, and an honour she fully deserves to have been given. However, it also means there are no more records left for her to break. There is nothing to be gained from keeping her as champion any longer.

The main roster is beckoning to Asuka. She’s been ready for a long time, and both brands would benefit from her presence. I’d love to see her go to SmackDown, but I suspect she will end up on RAW. My only worry is we’ll essentially end up with replays of the NXT title picture from the last couple of years played out on RAW, but that is a worry for another time. Asuka’s arrogance, and her demands for worthy competition, have increased through her reign, and she now needs the challenge of the main roster women.

Ember Moon had to sit out the last TakeOver, in Chicago, due to an injury cause by Asuka throwing her from the ring into a barricade. She’s looking for payback as well as a title. She managed to hit, an inattentive, Asuka with an Eclipse a couple of weeks ago, and proved it was enough to put the champion down. That’s more than most of Asuka’s opponents have managed. The comeback from injury, and missing out on an opportunity, have given Moon a new focus and a new hunger for success. Asuka’s ‘no-one is ready for Asuka’, comes across as complacent, although she’s been correct so far. I believe that might make the difference.

Asuka’s championship reign will be talked about for decades to come, and rightly so. But all things must come to an end. The time is right for a new NXT Women’s Championship. It’s time for Ember Moon to step up.

Prediction: Ember Moon

 

Bobby Roode (C) vs Drew McIntyre – NXT Championship match

The main event for NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III, and the match I personally have least interest in. I’ve not made a secret of my dislike of Bobby Roode as champion. I’m not trying to say he’s bad, just that his style does nothing for me, I find him dull. You can’t like everyone. Drew McIntyre, on the other hand, is far more entertaining to watch.

McIntyre hasn’t been back in NXT long. He was released from WWE, improved his skills and attitude on the indie circuit (by his own admission), and now he’s back. He’s made it quite clear he came back for one thing and that’s the NXT Championship. It hasn’t taken him long to get his opportunity. He’s talked about Bobby Roode exuding entitlement, and he’s determined to knock the smug out of him (a massive task in itself).

Roode has agreed he has a sense of entitlement. He thinks it’s justified. As far as he’s concerned he’s the greatest thing to ever set foot in NXT. I guess champions have to have that attitude. But Roode hasn’t exactly been the type to take on all comers, in fact, he’s hardly been seen in NXT in the last few months. On top of that, Roode is already engaged in another feud, with Roderick Strong, which must be occupying part of his mind.

I’m not sure Roode is the fully confident champion he appears to be. Drew McIntyre and Roderick Strong had a match this past week on NXT, and Roode felt the need to interfere. If he was confident he could beat McIntyre without resorting to dirty tactics then he could have just let his two biggest rivals beat each other down. They were doing a pretty good job of that when he interfered and caused the match to be declared ‘no contest’. Roode may be rattled by McIntyre, and he has good reason, he gives up significant size and strength to him.

Bobby Roode has been NXT champion for a while now, and there is a large influx of talent at the moment. His reign has been solid, but he hasn’t set the world on fire with it. NXT needs to keep growing and moving forward. I think it’s time for a change.

Prediction: Drew McIntyre

 

So there you have it. My preview and predictions for NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III. I fully expect at least one or two of them to be wrong, for a couple of reasons. First, my track record on predictions is not so good, a full house of correct ones would be nothing short of miraculous. Second, when I look at the big picture, I can’t see all three titles changing hands on the same night, it just doesn’t seem likely.

Whatever happens on the night, check back here, on Rear View Reviews, shortly after NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III for a full review of the show.

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