Brooklyn occasion from worst to finest
NXT started out as the third reality show brand replacement for the defunct ECW, and no one would have thought how far it would get since 2010. NXT is now an integral part of WWE and it’s impossible to imagine a scenario where NXT isn’t as big as it got. It has changed the WWE system in extremely positive ways and has brought us most of the entire current list of celebrity wrestlers. It just took a vision and a platform. It got both.
When Triple H took over NXT in 2012, he completely reworked the entire structure of the show and made it the WWE development brand. It has grown immensely since then when we saw the WWE Performance Center in Orlando being built. The future has shaped itself perfectly for the company. One of the biggest moves was the introduction of semi-regular WWE Network special events. They were later branded as takeovers. These shows would be held at NXT’s home, Full Sail University, roughly every three months.
But it grew and grew that WWE decided to book a takeover at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn the night before SummerSlam 2015. This was monumental as it would be the very first NXT takeover event in an arena. The first edition was a resounding success, as were the Brooklyn Takeovers that followed. New York City is the home of WWE, and Barclay’s Center has become the site of NXT’s own WrestleMania. They stole SummerSlam weekend three years in a row, along with other big four pay-per-view weekends.
As NXT prepares for its fourth summer in Brooklyn (and the fifth before WrestleMania 35), here are all three of the NXT takeovers from the Big Apple, ranked worst to best.
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# 3 Acquisition: Brooklyn 2016
DIY vs. The Revival
To be honest, bottoming out on this list doesn’t mean the show is definitely not bad. Each and every one of these shows was superb in many ways, but there are some small differences between the high quality of each of these three shows. In this case, the second time NXT took over New York fell into this unfortunate position. While we’ve seen some incredible things on this show, there is a significant difference between the first three games and the last three games of this show.
The first half of NXT Takeover: Back 2 Brooklyn focused on nurturing some of the talent that needed to be overcome. Greats like the freshly minted Austin Aries, the latest addition Bobby Roode and the debutante Ember Moon took easy wins in some decent, if unspectacular wrestling matches. We saw the return of Hideo Itami after more than a year and his creation, the Go 2 Sleep.
However, the fun increased tremendously when we got to an NXT Tag Team Championship match between The Revival and DIY. Johnny Gargano and Tomasso Ciampa fought the good fight and some more, but they just couldn’t topple the size of the old school tag team of Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson.
In the last two games, the NXT Women’s Division torch was passed from Bayley to Asuka, in the former’s NXT swan song. Bayley had a history with Brooklyn, as we’ll see, and this match was the perfect farewell for the Huggers as they made their way onto the WWE main list.
The main event saw Shinsuke Nakamura, who made his grand entrance in the cute, violin styles of Lee England Jr., dethroned Samoa Joe to become the NXT Champion in a great match. It came after a long and busy night of action, but the Brooklyn crowd broke up when their favorite Japanese hero reached the top of NXT Mountain.
However, the show was completely stolen by the exciting tag team title match. The 2016 edition of NXT’s WrestleMania couldn’t compete in any way with its predecessor, but it still held its own as a fabulous wrestling show.
Edited by Shiven Sachdeva
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