Posted in: Mr. Tito
Mr. Tito's PHAT NXT Takeover Brooklyn II Review with Match Ratings plus some WWE SummerSlam Thoughts
By Mr. Tito
Aug 21, 2016 - 12:35:15 AM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Let's turn back the clock to over 1 year ago... On Sunday, June 14th, 2015, I had a dilemma. For most WWE Pay Per Views, I usually went over my friend's house to split the Pay Per Views 3 ways with another friend... Or now that he had the WWE Network, I usually bring the Pizza... But on June 14th, 2015, I wanted to watch 2 things that night. Game 5 of the 2015 NBA Finals was on and I did not want to miss it. After all, I'm a big Lebron James fan and I was rooting for my state's team, the Cleveland Cavs, to finally bring home a championship to that City. However, at my friend's house, I could only watch the WWE Pay Per View, Money in the Bank 2015.

How to revolve this issue? Well, I signed up for the FREE trial of the WWE Network to watch the NBA Finals on my big screen TV while watching Money in the Bank 2015 on my iPhone. Problem solved.

From there, I had to wonder whether the $9.99 was worth it or not. After all, I just spent the past year preaching to wrestling fans in Mr. Tito Strikes Back to BOYCOTT the WWE Network. Why? Simply, I kept hearing 2 things among WWE fans... (a) They were upset about the treatment of Daniel Bryan/CM Punk and (b) they were subscribers of the WWE Network. I argued, and I held firmly on this point, that if wrestling fans are so upset about CM Punk and Daniel Bryan getting screwed, why hand them $9.99 monthly? From the WWE Network's start during Spring 2014 through June 2014, I held off... But a FREE trial just to multi-task viewership of the NBA Finals and Money in the Bank 2015 lured me in...

After binge watching all of the WWE Network documentaries that I missed out on, notably Monday Night Wars and all of the DVD docs, I was pondering whether WWE Network was worth keeping. After the free trial, I gave it a chance... Occasionally, I'd take in the NXT show because many readers kept bugging me that NXT was the "wrestling show you were looking for". I kept laughing and mocking them by calling NXT as "minor league wrestling" which pissed many readers off. I probably watched 1-2 full shows of NXT and honestly wasn't impressed. Heading into SummerSlam 2015 weekend, I was legitimately pondering whether or not to keep WWE Network.

Then, NXT Takeover Brooklyn happened.

What needs to be said is that NXT Takeover Brooklyn almost single-handedly kept me on as a WWE Network subscriber. That single show re-energized me as a wrestling fan and from then on out, I rarely missed an NXT show. And then I got to enjoy more Takeover shows. Holy cow... And the amazing thing about NXT is that the MIDCARD impressed me the most. Women's Wrestling WORKS in this promotion even with the loss of many WWE main roster call-ups. Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Charlotte all leave NXT for the WWE and it's no problem. Bayley takes on a bigger role and Asuka and Nia Jax debut. And then, an amazing Tag Team Division emerges. I could legitimately watch American Alpha vs. Revival wrestle daily.

From that NXT Takeover Brooklyn event, I actually got emotional watching the Bayley vs. Sasha Banks match... First and foremost, I did NOT see either lady wrestle or perform before this show. Seriously... The pre-match promo told the story perfectly that Sasha Banks was "the boss", the heel NXT Champion and that Bayley was the underdog who had to fight her way up to earn a title shot. Even before the match started, the story was already told to me that this match was legit and that the NXT Title meant something. And then they wrestled... WOW. I've NEVER seen a Women's Match deliver in front of a large audience for what could be a legitimate main event on a Pay Per View. I couldn't believe what I saw... And then Bayley overcomes all odds to beat Sasha Banks to become NXT Champion. That finish, holy cow... Bayley vs. Sasha Banks from NXT Takeover 2015 was my 2015 "Match of the Year" and I'm damn proud to say it.

The rest of the show was pretty good... What I noticed about NXT was ATMOSPHERE. Everything I disliked about the over-produced WWE product was toned down or removed from NXT. As many readers told me, NXT proved to be the wrestling product that I have been seeking for years. Treat pro wrestling like a legitimate athletic competition where the emphasis is in the ring and on title belts. WWE has gone overboard with promos and 50/50 booking where nobody can look strong aside from a handful of wrestlers. NXT reminds me of 1980's NWA/WCW where titles mattered and storylines were kept simple. Feels like 2-3 bookers prepare NXT compared to 20+ writers in the WWE with Vince McMahon vetoing everything. WWE has a toxic environment that has become too bloated and corporate... WWE is a television show whereas NXT is an actual wrestling show. It's exactly what I've wanted lately as a wrestling fan. The NXT brand has kept me as a WWE Network subscriber, period.

So here I am 1 year later... Heading into this show, I was legitimately worried that the recent WWE Main Roster Talent raid would thin out this show. Plus, this could be the last show for various NXT wrestlers (maybe Samoa Joe and Bayley). The Brand Split compels the WWE to obtain talent and the WWE Corporation cares more about helping RAW/Smackdown whose television revenue contribute 35% to WWE's total revenues than NXT which operates at a loss because it's not on television. But yet, and this is a credit to Triple H as EVP of Talent Relations (Creative & Live Events too), to keep replenishing NXT with depth. Tonight's NXT Takeover Brooklyn II show proved to me that NXT can still matter especially with Shinsuke Nakamura and Asuka remaining for a while as champions.

Yeah, by the tone of my intro, you can clearly see that I was pretty excited about NXT Takeover Brooklyn II... Onto my review.



I did not watch the NXT Pre-Game show, therefore, no comment.

The "1 Year Ago" promo was awesome... Makes a great point about how far some wrestlers have gone or what other promotions wrestlers were in this time last year. 1 Year Ago, I became a big NXT fan... And DAMN I love seeing the Barclays Center filled to the rims for this kind of show.

First match of the night was No Way Jose vs. Austin Aries. I was SHOCKED at how pumped up the Brooklyn fans were for this match and how over BOTH guys were by them. Wow... I've seen No Way Jose's matches and they were OK... The Full Sail University fans liked both guys but not this much. The Jose entrance was hysterical with the fans doing the Loco-motion Train around the ring. This match was a good hot opener with Aries being very crisp on his moves while No Way Jose added some personality and charisma. Lots of good back and forth until Aries commanded the match at the end with a nice sequence to apply his submission hold. Great start to the show. [ *** 1/2 ]

After the match, Hideo Itami arrives in a suit to confront Aries who was attacking Jose. My Twitter feed was blowing their load! Several kicks and then the GTS, Itami is in the ring celebrating over a knocked out Aries. Interesting... I'll reserve further judgment until I see him wrestle a few matches. But many online fans were extremely happy to see him appear tonight.

Up next, Ember Moon vs. Billy Kay... I have never seen Ember Moon perform before and I'm instantly a fan. Wow... Kudos to Billy Kay for selling all of her moves perfectly, as the person putting the other over often doesn't get credit... The finisher of Ember Moon is absolutely SICK... It's like she flips in midair and hits her opponent with the Stone Cold Stunner on the way down. HOLY COW. Match was somewhat short but I liked what I saw. [ **3/4 ]. It's AMAZING how deep the NXT Women's Division is.

Bobby Roode vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas was up next. Holy Epic Entrance, Batman! WWE with its theme music and production just made Bobby Roode look more important than he ever did in multiple years with TNA wrestling. What is wrong with you, Dixie Carter?!? What I liked about Roode and Cien is that both understood the showmanship that the WWE wants. Sure, they hit a lot of spots in this match, but it was the personalities of both wrestlers that stood out for me. That's what the WWE wants, folks... They would rather make money on performers being entertaining without injury than 2 wrestlers working extra hard in the ring. Both Roode and Cien would taunt each other, play up to the crowd, and put a little extra charisma on about every move they did. I loved it... I was DOWN on Bobby Roode before this match and now I'm buying his stock. That entrance and seeing his work tonight, I'm sold. I liked Cien better at this Takeover than last, too... Fun match. Bobby Roode reminded me so much of a mixture between Triple H (looks just like him) and Ric Flair. Their love child? [ *** 1/2 ]

And now, the MATCH OF THE NIGHT between the Revival vs. Johnny Gargano/Tommaso Ciampa... Holy cow... First and foremost, can the Revival ever have a bad match? They are AMAZING in the ring and have impressive chemistry as a heel tag team. They remind me so much of Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard but much more athletic in this modern age. This match was non-stop action. These guys were in amazing cardio shape and kept going back and forth. The finish was a tad controversial but it works... In my opinion, I think Gargano/Ciampa will benefit from a rematch because now fans really know who they are now. This match was GOLD. Lots of near finishes but the heels prevail. Foot on the ropes caused a false finish but I was OK with that. The Revival's charm is that they escape losing often in their matches... Curious, if the match was restarted here because of a foot on the ropes, explain SummerSlam 2011 again between CM Punk vs. John Cena? Bah, why be negative about a 5 year ago match when GREAT tag matches like this can still happen. GIVE ME MORE! Lots of rematches, please. [ **** 1/2 ]

Bayley vs. Asuka had to follow that Tag Team match... BUT, they delivered. Pretty physical match between the two and Bayley took yet another beating from Asuka. Asuka is just on a different planet compared to other female wrestlers and Bayley looked overmatched. She tried her best and sold to fans her passion to overcome this marvel, but it just wasn't in the cards tonight. NXT is keeping Asuka strong and maybe it will be someone like Ember Moon who can beat her? So long Bayley, as I fully expect you to join RAW/Smackdown this upcoming week. [ *** 1/2 ]

Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was the Main Event. Started off slow, as I was worried that I'd be writing like a hater tonight about how "Samoa Joe was past his prime, his mid 2000s stuff was better, blah blah blah"... Match took a while to heat up, notably as Joe controlled much of the early match. Then, Nakamura unleashed some offense and it was more back and forth. Match kept heating up by the minute and it earned a real main event feel for me. Amazing near finishes at the end that made you legitimately question who was going to actually win this and in my opinion, the loser would appear in the WWE soon. Devastating finish with Nakamura striking Joe and it appears that Joe may have been legitimately hurt during the match (broken jaw, some of my pals on Twitter suggested). [ **** ]

SHOW THOUGHTS: NXT Takeover shows are why I remain a WWE Network subscriber, period. It's actual WRESTLING and tonight's show assured me that depth still remains on the roster while the 2 champions, Nakamura and Asuka, are 2 individuals that I want to keep watching. NXT has an environment where Japanese wrestlers can be appreciated in the United States. As the Brooklyn fans said tonight, "THIS IS GLORIOUS". [ A+ ], go watch this show if you haven't already!!



And we still have SummerSlam 2016 to go... What a gift.

Storytime again... I just want to say that SummerSlam 1988 is probably the main reason I began watching WWE regularly. That show inspired me to want to watch more WWE product as 2 specific things happened:

(a) Ultimate Warrior wins the Intercontinental Title quickly

(b) Miss Elizabeth tears off her dress to distract the Mega Bucks to lose to the Mega Powers.

I became a wrestling fan during late 1988 by watching a tape of NWA/WCW's Clash of the Champions #1 which was headlined by Ric Flair vs. Sting in the famous 45 minute draw. I watched lots of NFL, NBA, and NHL back then but nothing had me at the edge of my seat than Sting almost winning that big gold belt. I was HOOKED and wanted more... I watched all things WCW on the TBS station moving forward.

But I wasn't that big of a WWE fan... I was aware of Hulkamania back then and was casually watching All American Wrestling on Sundays... But it wasn't until I saw SummerSlam 1988 at my neighbor's house during late 1988 that enticed me to want to watch more WWE. I never saw something like the Ultimate Warrior coming down and destroying the Honky Tonk Man. As an 8 year old kid, I was totally marking out and thought that it was 100% real. I loved seeing Sting with his face painted up but Warrior was much more. Holy cow. He was CRAZY as he ran down to the ring, obliterated Honky Tonk, and celebrated afterward. I could not believe what I saw... From then, Warrior would become my favorite WWE wrestler and I would even get his Wrestling Buddy.

Then, the Main Event of Hulk Hogan/Macho Man Randy Savage (Mega Powers) vs. Andre the Giant/Ted Dibiase (Mega Bucks) happened. Before this event, I had never seen Miss Elizabeth before... I was in awe of her... I think along with Wonder Woman Lynda Carter and Vanna White turning letters on Wheel of Fortune, Miss Elizabeth easily helped young Mr. Tito to think "YEAH, I LOVE WOMEN!". She was soooo pretty and of course, WWE's cameras were all over her. Then, the finish... Mega Bucks were about to win the match when Elizabeth tore off her skirt for an impressive distraction. Yeah, those red panties... Soon thereafter to start 1989, me and my brother BEGGED our parents to stay up late and watch the Main Event where the Mega Powers would take on Hakeem/Big Bossman. I was SHOCKED to see Hogan and Savage fully break up and Savage attack Hogan afterward. I was HOOKED!

SummerSlam holds a special place in my heart as a wrestling fan... And throughout time, it has proven to be "Wrestlemania Jr." as the event proves to either validate the Wrestlemania winning WWE Champion or to start fresh, resetting what happened at Wrestlemania. WWE sort of takes it easy during the Summer and SummerSlam always seems like it's the WWE starting up business again. Usually, SummerSlam has legit "Match of the Year" candidates to boast about.

This year's SummerSlam 2016 has some nice potential in-ring match-ups that will be sure to entertain and add to SummerSlam's legacy. My hope is that the World Title matches exceed their hype, as I figure Styles/Cena will put on a clinic and Orton/Lesnar has a real big match feel. Some of the other undercard matches could shine as well... I just hope that the show's length doesn't wear fans out.

But damn, I LOVE WWE's idea to have NXT Takeover and SummerSlam/Wrestlemania shows on back-to-back nights. Makes you feel GREAT to be a wrestling fan!


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