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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3 Pay Per View Review with Match Ratings & Show Grade
By Mr. Tito
Aug 20, 2017 - 2:36:11 AM

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Welcome back to the column that possibly gives you an escape from reality, MR. TITO STRIKES BACK exclusively here at / What I like about NXT and Takeover Pay Per View events is the ability to just sit back & chill to watch a wrestling event. For the WWE main roster, my expectations are always high because I lived through the Hulkamania and Attitude Eras where the WWE was at its peak. NXT feels like an entirely different promotion probably due to very little involvement from Vince McMahon. I commend Triple H for the job he's doing with NXT.

And it's good to relax and enjoy something right now. I'm not sure what the hell is wrong with people these days, but they need to chill... If I cut each and every person open with a knife, everyone bleeds red regardless of your race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, or whatever difference that you want to qualify. Instead of spending so much time worrying about other people, many would be amazed of what they could accomplish if they worried about themselves. Additionally, clinging to the past will never let you look forward. The governments that many people worship of the 1860s and 1930s-1940s are gone... There's a reason why waiving their flags or displaying their symbols pisses off large groups of people. CHILL... There's so much on this planet to enjoy in life and so many places to hide if something in particular offends you. Like, just chilling on a Saturday night and watching NXT Takeover Brooklyn 3.

I worry that everything in our world "peaked" through 1999 and we've had bad leadership and poor examples set since then. After 1999, the economy was becoming over-saturated with too much technology (dot com bust coming) and energy prices were about to rise. The 2000s would see many military efforts and high levels of Debt. Then, that rough 2007-2009 recession that I believe we've never recovered from and the economic stress is heightening other problems in society. Meanwhile in the WWE, Steve Austin was done by Survivor Series 1999 and WWE became a publicly traded corporation. The Creative Team was beginning to change and WCW & ECW destroying themselves in 2000 hurt the business. By 2001, the WWE lost their touch with a bad Steve Austin heel turn, too much reliance on Triple H, and the WCW/ECW Invasion was a total failure. WWE went form 6-8 million viewers of RAW per week to barely hanging onto 3 million now with thousands less in seats at live events.

It's all about leadership... If you're guys at the top and their surrounding cast lack ability, you'll struggle. I'd argue that we haven't had good Presidents since 2000 and Congress has been either too inept, incompetent, or corrupt to do their jobs adequately. See that $15 Trillion Debt and bad foreign policy. Meanwhile, Vince McMahon ditched many great wrestling minds (Ross, Briscoe, Patterson, Cornette, etc.) for family, producers, television writers, or corporate/marketing types. The result is a lesser quality WWE product and more of a culture that takes a look at Roman Reigns's look alone and point to him as "the guy" regardless if he can talk or walk.

BUT, NXT is an escape from that WWE culture. It's Triple H's toy even though it operates at a loss, particularly now that the houseshows aren't drawing thanks to the depleted roster. For ANYONE that tells me that "television ratings don't matter", then explain NXT operating at a loss. WWE's main roster generates up to $250 million per year on television revenues alone through their various television deals. The United States deal with Comcast alone nets between $175-200 million per year and that was signed during 2014 when the WWE had 4 million viewers. NXT airs on WWE Network exclusively with very little revenue coming from its Hulu re-airing. For anyone that tells me "ratings don't matter", then tell me how NXT which is NOT on television anywhere but streaming services is operating at a loss. Yeah, being popular on Social Media does NOT bring in revenue. That's why WWE will be dependent on television deals for the time being.

When I heard that the WWE might send several NXT call-ups from 2015-2016 back down to the NXT roster, I was excited... To me, NXT had a great thing going during those years and the RAW/Smackdown brand extension of 2016 ruined what was becoming a great brand. Take Emma, for example... She was a legitimate heel star on NXT and in my opinion, gave Asuka her best matches. Goes to the WWE main roster and what happens? She's easily destroyed by Nia Jax. Apollo Crews was still learning how to operate in the WWE environment and he was called up to the main roster. He's clueless there. Tyler Breeze is totally undersized to work in the WWE and Vince has jobbed him out since his debut. And Bayley... GOOD LORD! She was the #1 female merchandise seller through 2015-2016 and that's despite her being on NXT and only having a few items on WWE ShopZone. The Bella Twins, for example, had many more items for sale and yet Bayley outsold their merchandise by a margin.

I haven't been that high on the last 2 NXT Takeover events... Simply put, the RAW/Smackdown talent raids have hurt this brand and Triple H can't restock the NXT roster fast enough. What we're left with is smaller wrestlers and some remnants of TNA/Ring of Honor promotions. Besides the big hoss tag team and Bobby Roode, I worry what could impress Vince McMahon from this current roster... And I agree with Vince on this one. HOWEVER, despite the weaker roster, these guys work their asses off and put on a decent enough show.

Good enough to "chill" for a Saturday night.

Onto the show review. Handled some family stuff for the day so thus I did not watch this show LIVE as it happened. Thus, it was not an "insta-column" type review.

But I'm still watching and reviewing this show late Saturday/early Sunday and posting a column for you to enjoy... Maybe I'm warming up in the bullpen for covering the marathon known as SummerSlam 2017 tomorrow?


Opening match was "meh" to me between Johnny Gargano vs. Andrade "Cien" Almas. There was a lot of hype for Cien upon his debut but I can say with multiple NXT Takeover events, I just don't know... And I don't know about Gargano outside of the DIY tag team which was fantastic. Match just didn't click and it didn't leave me wanting to see more from both guys as singles wrestlers. That's a problem. [ ** ]

But then that's followed up with the NXT Tag Title match between Authors of Pain (c) vs. SAnitY and this match was a ton of fun. This is what NXT absolutely has nailed since late 2015 and that's tag team wrestling. Whether it's the more athletic brand or just the fun chaotic style, the Tag Team division is almost always a surefire asset to Takeover events. The Authors of Pain are really growing on me, too... That feud with DIY taught them better teamwork and how to optimize all of their movements as a tag team. They are legit and both wrestlers are getting better at selling. The SAnitY member usually bring something wild to the match and it seemed to inspire the Authors to get a little crazy too. Fun spot when Nikki Cross dared to jump off the top rope for a cross body but was caught by Akam... However, Killian Dain knocked both Akam and Nikki into a table nearby. Just crazy. That spot left the Authors vulnerable to allow Rezar to eventually lose the match. NEW Tag Champions! Excellent tag match that was just all around fun. [ ***3/4 ] If the rest of the show is bad but you get one good to great match out of the deal, I'm fulfilled. After the match, SAnitY can't celebrate for too long because Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly attack (I've heard lots of praise for Bobby Fish, so we'll see how he does).

I just didn't know about Aleister Black vs. Hideo Itami. Just spot after spot, kick after kick... Not much selling. What, are they watching too many New Japan tapes lately? Again, how many times has Vince McMahon pushed a guy who wrestled like these guys? You could argue Daniel Bryan and maybe CM Punk to an extent, but Vince destroyed both with his Creative Teams. Just hitting spots and kicks with no rhyme or reason why won't get you anywhere. It's just delivering sugar highs to the live crowd for the FIRST time they see it and then their expectations are too high for future events. I'm sure Vince seeing multiple kicks when the wrestlers slap their legs doesn't impress him much and I agree with him. Furthermore, when wrestlers work a bit stiff and it leads to a bloody (or broken) nose... That doesn't impress him much either. Then, you do a botched moonsault that Itami has to move in and sell despite the legs barely catching him. How Black kicked out of that top rope slam, I'll never know. Sorry guys, [ ** 1/2 ]. I'm starting to notice a trend for whenever Mauro gets excited, it's usually a match that does nothing for me. He likes to show off by calling as many spots possible. I wonder if he gets paid by the spot called? Must be why he returned to the WWE after Vince terminated him. Aleister Black won the match, by the way.

Asuka (c) vs. Ember Moon was up next... I could easily say that Asuka is my most favorite thing about the WWE Universe right now. Seriously... In and out of the ring, she's awesome. Despite the language barrier, she's able to communicate through her looks and actions. On the last NXT show, she looked so professional in her dress like she was a serious champion and that's completely contrary to her wrestling gear which is more warrior like. Ember Moon needs to learn from Asuka on look, swagger, and actions... Plus, wearing different colored contacts just looks weird. And Ember Moon's music is AWFUL! Please, please change that! The new NXT Women's Title is badass and it replaces the former belt which could be scanned by a black light... However, these two are doing the same things as Black and Igami... Kicks and spots. Then again, the psychology of Asuka is that she kicks as hard as a man and the women on the receiving end of it cannot withstand it... She's won with just kicking the heads off her opponents. When you're established, it works better than when you're not. But then why Asuka is great, she attacking Ember's arms because Asuka has various submission holds that she locks in. That's now it works and there's your difference. Ouch, those kicks to the back of Ember as Asuka is holding both of her arms. And then, Asuka locks in the OCTOPUS (or a variation). Older readers can remember when I marked out when Tajiri used to lock in that move (move found on Wrestlemania 2000 for the N64 which you can block from rope breaks). Asuka is aggressively attempting submission or sleeper like holds and it works because that's what Asuka has sold for a while now. Ember moon hits what Mauro called a "Tornado Suplex". Fascinating. Never saw that before. Until that move, Asuka was dominating the match. Ember even hit her finisher (the Eclipse, like a stunner hit from Ember jumping off the top rope) and Asuka sold it perfectly... 2 count only. Wow. Ember tries another but Asuka blocks it with the referee. Cross body instead but somehow Asuka rolls that over for a pin and Asuka holds the tights! HEEL MOVE! Referee catches it and then Ember moon DESTROYS Asuka with a superkick. 2 count only? What? Asuka then catches Ember off guard for various armbars and then the Asuka Lock. Ember tapped out. [ ***3/4 ] Match was very one-sided for about 3/4 of the match by Asuka and that last 1/4 was chaotic with near falls. In my opinion, Ember hit 2 moves (Eclipse & Super Kick) that should have been finishers. However, I like Asuka dominating. Not sure what else Ember Moon can do at this point if she can't beat the champion. But we'll see... I'd be OK if they kept this feud going, as Ember could argue Asuka's referee interference stalled her momentum. Nice round of applause for Ember Moon afterward. See, you can look good in losing.

See, folks... This is HOW YOU DO A PAY PER VIEW! If you can make the Midcard Titles look good on the undercard of the show, the Main Event doesn't have to "save" the show. As a wrestling consumer, I'm already satisfied with 2 solid matches. Considering how thin the NXT roster has become, that's quite an accomplishment to have a solid midcard by Triple H. Good job!

The MAIN EVENT was Bobby Roode (c) vs. Drew McIntyre for the NXT Title. Love the bagpipe entrance for Drew. Cool stuff. Based upon the look and athletic talent, he should have been a major WWE superstar already. But nope, Drew was placed in 3MB with Heath Slater and Jinder Mahal to be complete jobbers instead. Not to be outdone, Bobby Roode was absurd with a piano, smoke, and effects. This guy is so WWE-ready with his persona and perfect theme music (if only he was just a little bit taller). Roode looks like a mini-Triple H, wears Ric Flair robes, and has that classic over-the-top entrance that the WWE is known for to make wrestlers look like a million bucks before they get close to the ring. Funny thing about this match is that both guys have serious experience as performers and yet they are headlining the NXT developmental system's show. Very polished match. Maybe its only disadvantage is that neither guy was a clear cut babyface, as both are heelish or at least resemble heels with their look and styles. Good back and forth match between two veterans. Drew McIntyre gets the win and becomes the NXT Champion! [ ***1/4 ] After the match, Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish appear and they distract McIntyre... Then, Adam Cole also debuts to attack Drew! He holds up the NXT title in front of Drew and then stands with Fish/O'Reilly to end the show. Holy cow! With Roode losing, we'll see if he ends up on a WWE main roster soon (join Smackdown, PLEASE).

LAST WORD: Good lord, Takeover does it again! Unlike the WWE main roster, NXT maximizes the use of their roster. Those 2015-2017 raids have hurt but they can still put on a legitimate wrestling show that was highly entertaining. And it gave you a mixture of everything... I could imagine that Itami vs. Black satisfies a style that the internet enjoys but the tag match was very entertaining with its chaos, Asuka vs. Ember delivered a high impact match, and Roode vs. McIntyre actually resembled the kind of polished main event that Vince McMahon looks for. It had everything. Considering how thin the roster now is (see the first match), this match goes to show you how important BOOKING can be. WWE had the most stacked roster from 2001-2003 but that didn't necessary deliver great shows and the lost audience is a result of that. Nice debuts of new talent, too, which will help push storylines forward and give you something to look forward to. Triple H killed it tonight, good for him. [ A ]


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