Charly Caruso, Sam Roberts and Pat McAfee hosted the NXT TakeOver Brooklyn IV Pre-show. Most of the show was the usual mix of promos and chat, but towards the end, William Regal joined the panel for an interview about the attack on Aleister Black. He said he has ruled out Undisputed ERA and they are no longer suspects. No-one else has been eliminated from the enquiry. It sounds like whoever is guilty of the attack will be fired.
Undisputed ERA def Moustache Mountain
Velveteen Dream def EC3
Ricochet def Adam Cole
Kairi Sane def Shayna Baszler
Tommaso Ciampa def Johnny Gargano
Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness were the commentary team and the show got underway with the first of four title matches.
Undisputed ERA (C) vs Moustache Mountain – NXT Tag Team Championship match
TakeOvers generally start with a high energy match to get the crowd really involved (ok, so I know they’ve already had a couple of matches, including a UK title match this time, but still). This was definitely the right match to start with.
Great match, heavily focused on the teamwork. Undisputed ERA, in particular, were very skilled in keeping their opponents trapped in their corner.
Tyler Bate’s knee was injured this time round, courtesy of Kyle O’Reilly, and they focused on it heavily while they had Bate trapped. Bate had to take both of them out, literally out of the ring, to get to Trent Seven. He got there, but not before Seven had been pulled off the apron and climbed back up.
Trent Seven came in fired up and after a flurry of offence, got a two count on Roderick Strong, but a stroke from each of Undisputed ERA put them back in control.
Trent Seven kicked out of a brainbuster and an Olympic Slam. Tyler Bate broke up Strong’s Stronghold on Seven in an impressive manner. Kyle O’Reilly had Bate in a triangle and Bate picked him up, still in the hold, and dropped him on Roderick Strong.
I think there were three or four people in the ring more often than there were two.
Roderick Strong kicked out of the Tyler Driver 97.
Kyle O’Reilly attacked Bate’s knee again, slamming it into the ringpost while Roderick Strong distracted the ref. O’Reilly got Bate in tied up in a heel hook with all the pressure on his knee while Seven looked helplessly from the corner.
When Seven got into the ring to try to break things up the ref turned to deal with him and Roderick Strong dragged O’Reilly closer to their corner. Seven got the towel from the timekeeper’s area and looked like he might throw it in. Instead, he threw it into the crowd and yelled encouragement at Bate instead. When Roderick Strong tried to knock Seven off the apron, Trent Seven tossed him over the top rope to the floor. The tag was made and in came Seven. For some reason, he chose to tag Bate back in for the double team, despite the fact Bate could hardly walk. It only got a two count and, when Tyler Bate bounced off the ropes to deal with Roderick Strong who was about to get involved, Strong kneed him in the face.
With Bate down, a high and low double team combo on Seven kept him down for the three and Undisputed ERA retained the NXT Tag Team Championships.
After the match, War Raiders appeared behind O’Reilly and Strong and decimated them. There’s no other word for it. Roderick Strong was thrown out of the ring and took a suicide dive, Kyle O’Reilly was nearly put through the ring, twice.
Velveteen Dream vs EC3
Dream Over or NX3, that is the question of this match. I had high hopes for this one, and it didn’t let me down. I saw some negativity online, and I don’t think it was quite at the level of the Aleister Black and Ricochet matches that Velveteen Dream had, but it was still entirely TakeOver-worthy. Velveteen Dream always has interesting gear for TakeOver, this time he had ‘Call me up Vince’ written across his butt – a reference to the rumours circulating that this is Velveteen’s last TakeOver as he’s off to the main roster.
Mind games and posturing to start, could you really expect anything else
Velveteen Dream got crotched on the top rope so EC3 kicked him up and down a couple of times then bounced him.
Velveteen Dream tried for a sunset flip, but EC3 stayed upright. While EC3 was gyrating above him, Velveteen Dream grabbed a handful of trunks and tried to pull them down. It worked, EC3 moved away, fast.
EC3 took a twisting DDT on the ramp and looked dazed for a while. Velveteen Dream ensured he stayed that way by throwing him into the ringpost. He rolled him back into the ring, but only got two.
After slamming EC3 into the announce desk, Velveteen Dream threw water over him, just because. There were a few instances of Velveteen Dream not taking EC3 seriously enough, and it could easily have cost him the match. EC3 got a strong two count after planting Velveteen Dream face first into the mat, but it was still only two. He got another two from a powerbomb, and both of them started to look frustrated.
EC3 superplexed Velveteen off the top turnbuckle, but they both took similar levels of damage which seemed fairly counterproductive. EC3 kicked out of a Dream Valley Driver and failed to get a pin from a suplex.
In what looked like an act of desperation, Velveteen Dream delivered a Dream Valley Driver on the apron and followed it up with a Purple Rainmaker onto the apron. Desperation or not, it worked. He dragged EC3 into the middle of the ring and pinned him.
Adam Cole (C) vs Ricochet – NXT North American Championship match
Adam Cole talks too much. He spent the early part of the match telling Ricochet he’s not special, which got intensely irritating. His game plan in the early stages was clearly to try to keep Ricochet on the ground, the only sensible thing to do, and it did work for a while.
You can’t keep Ricochet grounded forever though and he was soon interspersing the match with high flying moves that had commentary calling him a human video game, amongst other things. To be fair to both Ricochet and Cole, the match was impressive on just about every level.
Adam Cole got a two count from a backstabber. Ricochet caught Cole’s foot as he went for a superkick and landed a discus forearm. He went for a moonsault and Cole caught him mid-move with a superkick to the throat. He followed up but only got two.
The exchanged kicks until they both fell down, with Cole lying on Ricochet, luckily Ricochet kicked out because that would have been a horrible finish.
Ricochet got Cole down with a reverse hurricanrana but didn’t cover him. Instead, he went to the top turnbuckle for the 630. He took too long and Cole rolled away and out to the apron. Ricochet hurricanrana’d him off the apron to the floor then threw him back into the ring.
This time he hit the 630 and Cole stayed down. Ricochet is the new North American Champion.
Shayna Baszler (C) vs Kairi Sane – NXT Women’s Championship match
Ronda Rousey, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir were shown in the crowd to cheer on their fellow horsewoman of MMA. And just to remind everyone that the four horsewomen versus four horsewomen match could still happen.
Shayna Baszler was considerably more emotional than usual during the early part of the match. Something about Kairi Sane had really gotten under Baszler’s skin.
Baszler took Sane’s leg out from under her and that was the start of her choosing a limb to destroy. She kept going back to it and knelt across Sane’s thigh while twisting her knee in all kinds of unpleasant looking directions. She followed that by stomping Sane’s foot in a hugely awkward position.
Something about the pain, and Baszler mocking her, woke Kairi Sane up. She started screaming and striking, and worked herself some momentum up, albeit one-legged momentum.
Sane went up for the InSane elbow but took too long because of her injured leg. Baszler joined her in the corner and superplexed her off the second turnbuckle.
A knee strike to the face from Baszler, after an exchange of strikes, only got two. Sane came back at her with a spear.
Kairi Sane landed an Insane Elbow on Baszler’s back. She didn’t cover though, she went back up for another on and Baszler rolled out of the ring. Sane just changed direction and delivered a cross body from the top turnbuckle to the outside.
With Baszler back in the ring, Sane delivered another InSane Elbow, and Baszler kicked out, the first time anyone has kicked out of the finisher. Sane went for the Anchor but Baszler countered into the Kirifuda Clutch. Kairi Sane reached for the bottom rope and it looked like it was a close-run thing between her getting there and passing out. She made it and the hold was broken.
Baszler got her feet up for the next InSane elbow and went for the Kirifuda Clutch. Sane flipped over before Baszler could get her legs wrapped and pinned Baszler’s shoulders to the mat. Baszler didn’t let go in time. Kairi Sane is the new NXT Women’s Champion.
Tommaso Ciampa (C) vs Johnny Gargano – NXT Championship – Last Man Standing match
I’ve got to admit, I love Ciampa coming out to just the jeers and chants of the crowd. It just works. Gargano started the match by attacking Ciampa in the middle of his introduction, the bell rang, and chaos ensued. I’m not going to attempt to document half the stuff that happened in this match, we’re all busy people and they packed a lot into the half-hour long match. Here’s the gist (and it’s still long).
The steps and barricades came into play immediately, and the concrete on one side of the ring was exposed for later. Johnny Gargano sent Ciampa over the announce desk and nearly took out Percy Watson. Moments later, Ciampa drove Gargano through the other announce desk.
Johnny Gargano made good use of a chair, taking out Ciampa’s leg with it then hitting him with it a lot before propping it between the top and second ropes in a corner.
They took the pace down for a minute or so while Ciampa had Gargano in a sleeper hold which eventually kept him down for six, then Ciampa slapped it straight back on again. This time Gargano fought out of it. He struggled into the corner then lawn-darted Ciampa headfirst into the chair propped between the ropes.
Gargano set a couple of tables up over the exposed concrete, one upside down on the other making it double thickness. He failed to suplex Ciampa onto them, but I’m sure they won’t go to waste.
Following a brutal chair beating with three Project Ciampa’s in a row kept Gargano down for nine, and he delivered a superkick as he got to his feet.
They slugged it out until they knocked each other down, and both sprang up at one and started again. The next time they both ended up on the mat Ciampa was up at seven, Gargano took until nine.
Gargano’s cannonball off the apron missed and he crashed to the floor. Ciampa delivered a Fairytale Ending on the steps. Again, Gargano barely made it up at nine and flung himself at the barricade to keep himself up.
Ciampa pulled a toolbox from under the ring and cut the ties holding the apron down. He sent Gargano face first into the steps to give himself time to peel back the canvas and the padding, but Johnny Gargano sprayed him in the face with a fire extinguisher. Gargano beat Ciampa with a crutch in and around the ring.
Ciampa had to roll out of the ring to get to his feet on nine and was almost immediately hit with a suicide dive from Gargano. A second suicide dive on the other side sent Ciampa over the announce desk again.
Gargano accidentally kicked a member of the crew when Ciampa moved and in the momentary distraction, Ciampa smashed Gargano’s head into a monitor.
Tommaso Ciampa ran Gargano through the barricade holding a chair in front of him then he piled barricades, the fallen crew member, timekeeper’s table, a chair, and anything else he could find on top of him. Somehow Gargano unburied himself and beat the count.
The handcuffs came out and Gargano managed to get them onto one of Ciampa’s wrists.
Remember those tables? Tommaso Ciampa went through then courtesy of a Gargano superkick. Ciampa still got up at nine, using what was left of the crutch as support.
Ciampa hobbled backwards up the ramp with the crutch and Gargano followed. Gargano sent Ciampa into the backboard, just like Ciampa did to end #DIY. He locked in the Gargano Escape and let Ciampa tap for a while, then handcuffed him to a metal part of the stage build and superkicked him in the face while Ciampa apologised and pleaded for mercy.
It looked like the apologies were getting to Gargano but he uncovered his knee, and ran through Ciampa, catching his knee on a box and taking himself out in the process.
Ciampa managed to roll off the stage and put his feet on the floor, Gargano failed to get up.
Tommaso Ciampa is still the NXT Champion.
There was talk of a possible dislocated knee in the aftermath, and officials tried to call for a stretcher, but Gargano hobbled as far as the ramp, with assistance, and sat down.
The final shot of the show was Gargano sitting on the ramp looking distraught as Tommaso Ciampa walked back onto the stage and held the title aloft.
My predictions ahead of the show were Undisputed ERA, Velveteen Dream, Ricochet, Shayna Baszler, and Tommaso Ciampa. I was less than confident, so I’m pretty happy with four out of five.
Triple H had nothing but praise for all of the wrestlers in his post-show Facebook live interview. He did have a cautionary, be careful what you wish for, message for Velveteen Dream though. He talked about the talent not on the show and how any one of them could have stepped into a match and still made it a spectacular show, the standards are that high and the competition for spots is fierce.
On the subject of Gargano and Ciampa, he said that Johnny Gargano appears to have dislocated his knee, and he commented that Gargano trying to fight Ciampa Ciampa’s way wasn’t working for him. He also said that Tommaso Ciampa will consider this feud done now and be looking to move on. There was mention of the Aleister Black attack, and some talk about Matt Riddle. It was a nice positive interview, as well it should have been after that show.
TakeOvers always seem to live up to their potential and this one was no exception. There might be one match, or even two, that you weren’t psyched about, but there is always the feeling of having watched a good show by the end. Already looking forward to the next one.