NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 3 results, recap, grades: New champions and a huge debut
The 17th NXT TakeOver was one for the history books as two of the brand’s three champions changed hands, a new faction was formed and a big-name performer debuted in WWE. The Barclays Center crowd was on fire throughout Saturday night’s event as NXT once again took center stage in Brooklyn, New York.
CBS Sports was with you the entire way updating this story with results, grades and highlights.
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 3 results
Andrade “Cien” Almas def. Johnny Gargano via pinfall: Talk about a physical and high-energy match to get the Brooklyn crowd going wild early. Did I mention physical? Gargano’s aerial tactics were perfectly complimented by Almas’ stiff strikes throughout. The two put on a fun sequence of near falls late in the match that had the crowd on its feet. After Gargano kicked out of Almas’ running knee finisher into the corner, he countered by launching Almas face first into the second turnbuckle. But just as Gargano went for the finish, Almas’ manager, Zelina Vega, perfectly distracted him by tossing a #DIY T-shirt at his chest. Gargano’s momentary lapse of attention gave Almas an opportunity to take him down and hit the La Sombra hammerlock DDT for the 1-2-3. Grade: B+
In the skybox — Kurt Angle and Daniel Bryan: The general managers of Raw and SmackDown Live were shown hanging out with some NXT superstars not on the TakeOver show. Presumably the wrestlers were pitching their services on the main roster.
NXT Tag Team Championship — SAnitY def. Authors of Pain (c) via pinfall to win the titles: The run of destruction from Rezar and Akam throughout the NXT tag team division has come to a violent end. In a predictably physical affair between heel tag teams that led with a scuffle before the bell, the duo of Eric Young and Alexander Wolfe used the helping hands of the rest of their stable to get the victory after a huge spot late. Young and Wolfe hit back-to-back suicide dives on AOP, and Nikki Cross followed with an attempted splash while the referee was distracted. She was caught by Rezar, and Killian Dain took that opportunity to hit a running splash that sent all three crashing through a ringside table. Wolfe then lifted up Akam as Young hit an elevated diving neckbreaker to get the pinfall. Grade: B
After the match, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly hit the ring to lay out both SAnitY and the AOP in aggressive fashion. The former tag team champions specifically concentrated on Young, leaving him laying flat in the middle of the ring before holding up the NXT tag team titles.
Aleister Black def. Hideo Itami via pinfall: Black walked to the ring as his theme song was played by a live band. He then joined Itami in slapping the taste out of each other’s mouths multiple times. Although this match had plenty of MMA-inspired strikes (including Black taking a hard-way to the nose and mouth) it failed to build consistent momentum. Itami landed the biggest spot of the match with a modified Michinoku driver from the top rope but could only get two after crawling on top of Black. In the end, Black escaped from a Go To Sleep attempt and hit his Black Mass spinning kick to get the 1-2-3. Grade: C
NXT Women’s Championship — Asuka (c) def. Ember Moon via submission: Asuka’s title reign was pushed to the limit in a dramatic finish that did well to showcase Moon’s rapid growth. But in the end, Asuka’s unbeaten streak within NXT lived to see another day in a superb match that continued to build momentum over time. Asuka ultimately proved why she’s arguably the top female talent in the entire company by selling Moon’s offense so consistently, including barely kicking out of Moon’s Eclipse finish from the top rope. Moon’s second attempt of an Elcipse was blocked when Asuka shoved the referee in the way. Instead, Moon hit a splash off the top rope that Asuka reversed into a pin attempt for two. That opened the door for a frantic close as Asuka applied an armbar and twice nearly succumbed to rolling pin attempts. But the champion never let go of her submission attempt and transitioned into the Asuka lock to force the tap out. This was the best NXT women’s match since the original four Horsewomen still ran this territory. Grade: A-
NXT Championship — Drew McIntyre def. Bobby Roode (c) via pinfall to win the title: In a slow-moving main event match that failed to live up to the buzz from Asuka’s title defense which proceeded it, McIntyre survived a blown spot late to capture the NXT title. Luckily for WWE, the well-planned run-in after the finish nearly succeeded in saving the day. The match was deliberately paced early on and failed to live up to the expectations of a TakeOver main event. To make matters worse, McIntyre showcased incredible athleticism late in attempting a Tope Con Hilo over the top rope but Roode failed to properly catch him and absorb the fall. McIntyre landed hard and favored his back the rest of the way.
Roode hit his Glorious DDT finisher but was only able to get a two count on McIntyre. He soon hit it again but got greedy and picked McIntyre up for a third instead of going for the pin. McIntyre countered with a head butt and his Claymore finisher (a running single leg front dropkick) to score the 1-2-3. Grade: C-
As McIntyre celebrated in the ring, Fish and O’Reilly once again appeared to create chaos. Rather than attacking McIntyre, they distracted him as Adam Cole, a former Ring of Honor champion, ran in from the crowd to make his NXT and WWE debut. It certainly appears as if the three former ROH wrestlers are a faction, and they got a huge pop from the crowd as they took down McIntyre..