Glorious. Yes. That is the word to describe NXT TakeOver II from Brooklyn, New York.
During the show, Triple H and members of the Orange County Choppers unveiled the trophy which will be presented at the Cruiserweight Classic tournament final. Hopefully it isn’t destroyed in a bad gimmick angle.
In the preshow, Tye Dillenger defeated Wesley Blake. Poor guy. Also Paul Ellering’s Authors of Pain defeated TM61.
The show kicks off with a great match between No Way Jose and Austin Aries. I have to say, crowd was back and forth on this one. No Way Jose’s theme definitely popped the crowd huge to kick off the main show. Despite some flaws, I believe he is very talented and appeals to a large audience. During the match, you might have noticed the crowd getting distracted, due to the arrival of RIC FLAIR taking a front row seat. Cameras did not acknowledge it, but it was pretty obvious if you got a good look. Aries put away Jose with his Last Chancery submission following a crazy top rope reversal. Great match.
Post match, Aries attacked Jose again, until HIDEO ITAMI shows up to beat the ever-loving crap out of Aries. My lord did the crowd jump.
Second match, short but sweet featuring the debuting Ember Moon defeating Billie Kay. Billie Kay doesn’t seem to have quite polished her skills, something seemed off about her, and to be honest, she seems to fit more of the old “Diva” style than the current Women’s Wrestling. Moon earned the win with an astonishing corckscrew blockbuster into a Stunner for the win.
Match #3 was GLORIOUS. Bobby Roode defeated Andrade Almas. Poor Almas, had some cheered during his entrance, but ultimately 15,000 people sing, cheer, and chant Roode’s epic Glorious theme music. Roode’s entrance. My Lord. Atop a giant pedestal, the entire arena singing his theme song. CFO$ must be very proud. Roode and Almas had a few miscues, but nothing major. The Roode could have sat in the ring and done nothing, the crowd still would sing his song all night long. Instead of chanting “this is awesome” we are now introduced to “this is glorious” and all the variations one can conjure up.
We got an odd video promo for something called Sanity. Odd.
In a heartbreaking loss, but fantastic match, The Revival defeated Johnny “Wrestling” Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa to retain the NXT Tag Team Championships. The crowd makes these matches more exciting, when either Gargano or Ciampa get in the ring, they light up. Corey Graves comparing Gargano and Ciampa to the likes of the Bushwhackers, “appeals to the crowd but can’t get the big one.” While Revival continue to channel teams like The Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Steiner Brothers, and other teams of yesteryear. Such great fluid action between the two teams, lots of teases for the hot tag, making the hot tag even more dramatic. Great spot with Gargano superkicking Dash on the outside and second rope slingshot spearing Dawson for the near fall. Ciampa locked in his submission, and a dramatic tussle between Garagno and Dash added to the anticipation. A countered Shatter Machine, a double superkick, foot on the bottom rope, Holy Primus, the number of false finishes drove us all insane. Revival are perfect as the heel champions. It killed me and the crowd to watch Ciampa get KO’d on the floor, while Dawson and Dash bust Gargano’s knee, forcing the submission. I hope this is not the end of Gargano and Ciampa. They are just so good together. Gargano is so energetic and Ciampa is intense.
Asuka retains the NXT Women’s Championship against Bayley
Bayley did it again. She is so good at drawing emotion and drama from the crowd, despite the crowd loving Asuka and the intense physicality she brings to the NXT women’s division. Bayley showing a bit more of a vicious side tonight, which will serve her well once she is finally brought up to the main roster. The crowd chants of “Bayley’s gonna hug you” never get old. Some slow spots during the bout but the pace picked up towards the end with some close near falls and Bayley striking with Asuka. Final moments saw Bayley counter out of numerous Asuka locks, a Bayley to Belly Suplex, but ultimately a buzzsaw kick to the head ended it. Nice touch having Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in the front row.
NXT Championship Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Samoa Joe
If you thought Bobby Roode’s entrance couldn’t be topped… How about world-famous violinist Lee England Jr. playing Nakamura’s theme while walking to the ring? This might have been the most eloquent, beautiful, and goose-bump skin-chilling entrance I have ever heard. Samoa Joe comes down to the ring like the gangster beast that he is. No nonsense look. The things about Joe which make him Joe. Match was nearly 30 minutes of jawdropping (and breaking) action, hard-hitting, furious and vicious. I should also point out, there were a number of slow points during the bout, not a negative, but something I do not think the live audience expected. Mat wrestling is good for the sport too, not everything has to be big hits and “ooh” or “ahh” moments. Can’t always be high impact. Joe had a great counter of a guillotine into a cloverleaf submission. Later on, Joe took Nakamura out of his boots with a huge standing clothesline, then Nakamura, fighting out of the Coquina Clutch, LAUNCHED Samoa Joe with a German Suplex, but then was immediately grounded by a powerslam, and crushed with the Muscle Buster! Nakamura kicks out of it all! Nakamura fights out of another Muscle Buster and nails Joe with the Kinshasaaaaaa which appears to have BROKEN HIS JAW. Referee threw up the X, which means something bad happened. Joe kicked out, but a second Kinshasa was all the challenger needed, knocking out Joe, and after a three count, Shinsuke Nakamura has become the NXT Champion.
What happens next in NXT is anyone’s guess.