NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn was a professional wrestling show and WWE Network event in the NXT TakeOver series that took place on August 22, 2015. The NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn event was produced by WWE, showcasing its NXT developmental brand, and streamed live on the WWE Network. The event took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York - the first night of what was billed as a WWE "triple-header" at the arena, with SummerSlam taking place the following evening, and Raw the night after that. This was the first NXT TakeOver held outside of Full Sail University; WWE promoted it as NXT being "on the biggest stage yet". Starting with NXT Arrival on February 27, 2014, WWE's developmental league NXT has held major shows broadcast live on the WWE network, with the August event being the seventh event in the series and was sold out.
|NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn|
Promotional poster featuring various NXT wrestlers in matches
|Date||August 22, 2015|
|City||Brooklyn, New York|
|Tagline(s)||The Battle For Brooklyn|
|WWE Network event chronology|
|NXT TakeOver chronology|
|NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn chronology|
There were two main events for the show, a ladder match for the NXT Championship with reigning champion Finn Bálor defending the title against former champion Kevin Owens, in a rematch from The Beast in the East show from Tokyo, Japan where Bálor won the championship, and a singles match for the NXT Women's Championship, where Sasha Banks defended her title against Bayley. A match for the NXT Tag Team Championship was also part of the show with The Vaudevillains capturing the championships. NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn was the first WWE promoted event appearance of Japanese Jushin Thunder Liger who was making a one-time appearance on the show, facing off against Tyler Breeze. The show also marked what was billed as the NXT in-ring debut of Apollo Crews, formerly Uhaa Nation, who started working for WWE/NXT during the summer of 2015.
The NXT TakeOver series of professional wrestling shows started on May 29, 2014 as the WWE developmental league NXT held their second WWE Network exclusive live broadcast billed as NXT TakeOver. In subsequent months, the "TakeOver" moniker became the brand used by NXT and WWE for all of their NXT live specials as they held NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way, NXT TakeOver: R Evolution, NXT TakeOver: Rival and finally NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable at three to four month intervals.
In July 2015, WWE announced that their latest NXT TakeOver show would take place on August 22, 2015, the day before the 2015 SummerSlam show and would be in the same location as SummerSlam, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This would make the first NXT TakeOver held outside of the Full Sail University arena in Winter Park, Florida. WWE promoted the show as "featuring the next generation of WWE... on the biggest stage yet" referring to the 13,000+ capacity of the Barclay Center compared to the 400 seat Full Sail University or the various the arenas NXT had held shows at in the United States that generally could accommodate a couple of thousand spectators at most.
The card consisted of eight matches, including one of the preshow, that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches, with results predetermined by WWE's writers. Storylines played out on the NXT television program.
The main event of the show saw Finn Bálor defending his NXT Championship against Kevin Owens in a ladder match. The storyline between the duo started in February 2015 at NXT TakeOver: Rival, when Owens captured the NXT Championship while Bálor won a tournament to become number one contender. Bálor got his title shot on the March 25 episode of NXT; despite claiming that he did not need 'the Demon' to beat Owens, the champion prevailed over his unpainted challenger by taking advantage of a storyline leg injury. However, Bálor once again became number one contender at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable in May when he beat Tyler Breeze. This earned Bálor another title match against Owens, set for July 4 at The Beast in the East. After using body paint to transform into 'the Demon', Bálor defeated Owens to become the new NXT Champion in his 'second home' of Japan. At the 2015 San Diego Comic-Con International on July 9, a title rematch was announced as the main event for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. On the August 5 episode of NXT, Owens requested for the stipulation of a ladder match, claiming he did not want to suffer NXT General Manager William Regal costing him the title in a situation alike the Montreal Screwjob; this was accepted by Bálor, and made official the next week.
The co-main event was for the NXT Women's Championship, contested between champion Sasha Banks and challenger Bayley. It was described as the "arrogant and ultra-talented champ" taking on the "lovable ... ultimate underdog" by The Baltimore Sun. This was the culmination of a rivalry between the duo and a long storyline for Bayley which began over two years prior. In June 2013, both Bayley (debuting an innocent character) and Banks participated in the tournament to crown the first NXT Women's Champion, but both exited in the first round. Banks allied herself with Summer Rae from September, morphing into the character of "The Boss", while Bayley allied herself with Charlotte. Despite Rae and Banks attempting to woo Bayley to join them, it was Charlotte who turned on Bayley in November 2013 to join the BFFs (Rae and Banks). In early 2014, Bayley, now backed up by Natalya, scored multiple wins over Banks while feuding with the BFFs, but Banks (who was later eliminated) defeated Bayley in May during the first round of a tournament for the vacant NXT Women's title. In July, the BFFs went their separate ways, and Bayley failed to defeat Rae for a title shot. Bayley finally became the number one contender for the NXT Women's title by beating Banks in August, only to lose to champion Charlotte at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way in September, and again in a title rematch the next month. After the first match, Charlotte saved Bayley from an attack by Banks; after the second, the duo shook hands. In October 2014, Bayley's friend Becky Lynch turned on her to ally with Sasha Banks, so Bayley again allied with Charlotte to feud against Banks and Lynch. An attack by Banks and Lynch caused a storyline knee injury for Bayley in November, while Charlotte beat Banks at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution to retain her title in December 2014. Bayley returned in January 2015, saving Charlotte from Banks and Lynch. Charlotte then snatched her title belt from Bayley, resulting in Bayley attacking her. This caused a fatal-four way match to be set up between the quartet at NXT TakeOver: Rival, where at the event, Banks won the match and the NXT Women's Championship. When Bayley refused to turn her back on her supporters despite her failings, Emma slapped her to start a feud in March 2015. In April, Becky Lynch beat Bayley and Charlotte in a triple threat match for a title shot. Bayley's woes continued when she lost to Emma in May, as well as being ruled out of action with a hand injury for which she blamed Emma for. Meanwhile, Sasha Banks racked up successful title defenses in singles action against Charlotte (twice), Alexa Bliss, and at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, Becky Lynch. Bayley returned on the July 22 episode of NXT, where she defeated Emma and announced her championship aspirations, but first challenged Charlotte to prove her credentials. After Bayley bested Charlotte on the August 5 episode of NXT, she earned a title shot by beating Becky Lynch on the August 12 episode of NXT, earning a title match for Sasha Banks' NXT Women's Championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
On the undercard, the NXT Tag Team Championship was defended by Blake and Murphy against The Vaudevillains. On the January 28 episode of NXT Blake and Murphy defeated the Lucha Dragons to win the NXT Tag Team Championship for the first time. Over the summer of 2015 the team known as the Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) started to push for the team to get a match against Blake and Murphy for the tag team championship, strengthening their argument when they defeated Colin Cassady and Enzo Amore to be named the number one contenders. They would later lose the match to Blake and Murphy.
In the weeks following the announcement of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, Tyler Breeze would often complain to on-screen NXT General Manager William Regal that he "wanted competition", which Regal later announced in the form of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) wrestler Jushin Thunder Liger. The unusual deal between the two promotions had come about when WWE approached NJPW about bringing Liger in for the event as a special guest, which was accepted by NJPW.
The wrestler known as Uhaa Nation signed a WWE contract in early 2015 and on April 6 he reported to the WWE Performance Center, the home of NXT. Uhaa made his first televised appearance on the May 6 episode of NXT, presenting him as signing an NXT contract, at the result of NXT General Manager William Regal. This was followed by a vignette promoting his upcoming debut. Uhaa started working NXT house shows the following month, retaining the Uhaa Nation ring name. On August 5, it was announced that Uhaa would be known under the ring name "Apollo Crews", and that he would be making his televised NXT debut on August 22 at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. His opponent was later identified as Tye Dillinger and the match was announced as the sixth match of the actual NXT TakeOver broadcast. Crews, however, made his actual NXT in-ring debut at the August 13 tapings, defeating Martin Stone. The match against Stone was not aired, and WWE showed the first four matches taped in Brooklyn prior to the live broadcast instead.
Next, Blake, and Murphy defended the NXT Tag Team Championship against The Vaudevillians (Aiden English and Simon Gotch). Before the match, Blue Pants appeared to support The Vaudevillains. Gotch and English executed the "Whirling Dervish" on Murphy to win the title.
In the penultimate match, Sasha Banks defended the NXT Women's Championship against Bayley. During the match, Banks applied the "Banks Statement" on Bayley, but Bayley countered the hold to apply the "Banks Statement" on Banks, with Banks touching the ropes to force Bayley to break the hold. Bayley executed a "Bayley-to-Belly Suplex" on Banks for a near-fall. In the end, Bayley executed an inverted frankensteiner off the top rope on Banks and a second "Bayley-to-Belly Suplex" on Banks for a pinfall to win the title. After the match, Becky Lynch and Charlotte celebrated with Bayley. Banks hugged Bayley and after that, Bayley, Lynch, Charlotte, and Banks posed for the audience.
In the main event, Finn Bálor defended the NXT Championship against Kevin Owens in a ladder match. During the match, Bálor and Owens fought in the crowd, where Bálor performed a back body drop over the barricade on Owens. Balor ran across the broadcast table to perform a running front dropkick into a ladder on Owens. Bálor executed a "Coup de Grâce" on Owens and attempted to retrieve the title belt, but Owens pulled Bálor off the ladder, executing a powerbomb on Bálor. Bálor dove off the ring apron on Owens but Owens avoided and executed a powerbomb onto the ring apron on Bálor. In the climax, Bálor smashed Owens's face into the ladder, who fell onto another ladder, as Balor executed a "Coup de Grâce" off a ladder on Owens and retrieved the title for the win.
"NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn" received widespread critical acclaim. Nick Tylwalk of Canoe.ca rated the event 8 out of 10, stating that "while it might not have been the best NXT card to date, it didn't disappoint, as it was headlined by two title matches that matched great in-ring action with solid build-ups." Tylwalk's best-rated match was the NXT Championship ladder match at 9.5 out of 10, and the worst rated match was Corbin-Joe at 4 out of 10. He also highlighted the progress of NXT, writing that it "would have been unthinkable even a few years ago" that "as many people in the same venue that will take in SummerSlam" would pay to "watch the developmental arm of the WWE". Overall, Tylwalk felt that with NXT, it "sure looked" like "WWE has finally manufactured for itself what it's lacked since the heyday of WCW: real competition".
Benjamin Tucker of the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter attended in person both NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn and WWE SummerSlam (a day later in the same venue). He gave Brooklyn a 9.0 score, noting that it was "met with near-universal praise", higher than SummerSlam, which rated 6.5 and "was met with ridicule and scorn by the night's end". Apart from approving of its "excellent wrestling", Tucker praised and contrasted the superior writing of Brooklyn with SummerSlam: "NXT provided simple stories, but they were easy to follow and made the viewer root for the good guys to prevail", in addition to "no chicanery". Yet SummerSlam had convoluted stories, "confusingly-presented characters" and "terrible" swerves. The NXT Women's Championship match, a "grueling 20-minute match that put over both competitors and the title they were fighting for", was said to be a "serious Match of the Year contender" and a cut above all the SummerSlam matches a day later.
Darren Gutteridge from Pro Wrestling Dot Net described the event as "fantastic", while declaring that the "brand didn't look out of place on the bigger stage of the Barclays Center, and that is truly remarkable given how young NXT is." He felt that the Women's Championship match was the match of the show and a "perfect crescendo of build, character, and in-ring work", the NXT Championship match was a "very admirable effort" with high "storytelling value" for a ladder match. Gutteridge praised the tag title match as "both teams put forward some of their best work to date". For the remaining singles matches, he felt that the quality of Joe-Corbin was a pleasant surprise, declared that Crews "looked liked he belonged from the second he walked out", but wrote that the Breeze-Liger opener "felt a little ordinary".
Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer Newsletter rated the Women’s Championship match as the best of the show at 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the NXT Championship match 4.25 stars. The worst rated match was Crews-Dillinger at 1.5 stars, with the three other matches on the live special episode rated between 2 and 3 stars.
It was later announced that WWE would have similar NXT: TakeOver/SummerSlam/Raw triple-headers at Barclays Center in 2016 and 2017.
|1||Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Tyler Breeze||Singles match||8:42|
|2||The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch) (with Blue Pants) defeated Blake and Murphy (c) (with Alexa Bliss)||Tag team match for the NXT Tag Team Championship||10:16|
|3||Apollo Crews defeated Tye Dillinger||Singles match||4:43|
|4||Samoa Joe defeated Baron Corbin by technical submission||Singles match||10:21|
|5||Bayley defeated Sasha Banks (c)||Singles match for the NXT Women's Championship||18:22|
|6||Finn Bálor (c) defeated Kevin Owens||Ladder match for the NXT Championship||21:45|
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