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The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III


They finally got him. The rumor mill has been predicting this for the past year, but Adam Cole is now under the WWE umbrella, and life is good. It’s not a surprise by any means, but it was great.

TakeOver: Brooklyn III was the kind of show NXT needed it to be. The weekly show had been up and down for the past year and a half, but you could feel it building up to something big. Adam Cole’s arrival might be the very thing that leads to another renaissance.


Cole’s debut was well-booked. There’s no playing coy about it; Triple H and his writers knew they have a main eventer on their hands and sent him straight to the top. By gunning for the biggest, baddest dog in the yard, newly-crowned NXT Champion Drew McIntyre, all eyes are immediately on Cole. Judging from his run in the independent scene, you know he’ll thrive under the spotlight with his mix of in-ring skill and charisma. That’s what you want out of a star. He’s the young stud that you can build the brand around. Without a doubt, he’s the most important WWE signee this year.


The yellow brand wasn’t done with pushing a new star, though. Cole’s put immediately in a stable with fellow Ring of Honor alumni Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly. With this, both Fish and O’Reilly immediately avoid getting lost in the mess we call the NXT midcard scene and are put in a position to thrive. The two men were a great team in the indies, and while I’m not sure they’ll get to use their reDragon name, they’re the big name team that can bolster the admittedly shallow tag team division.

NXT feels exciting again, and that’s a good thing for a brand that feels like it’s been stuck in neutral for ages. Cole’s debut and new stable was just the right thing to shake up the formula. The main event and tag team scenes are restocked with an influx of great talents, and if that makes you want to watch NXT again, then TakeOver: Brooklyn III had done its job. It gets a grade of A.



*****

The Rest of the Show:


  • Andrade Almas defeated Johnny Gargano in a great opener. Almas is good, but Zelina Vega completes him. Gargano is one of the best babyfaces in the company right now, and this match showcased that. The finish did a great job to further the stories of everyone. Almas and Vega got their big win, and Gargano’s story with Tommaso Ciampa continued even without the latter’s involvement. Great stuff.

  • SAnitY won the NXT Tag Team Championship from the Authors of Pain in a fun car wreck of a match. This was an overbooked mess, but that’s something both teams are great at. It was a brilliant call to have SAnitY work as faces, since they’ve gotten insanely over with the NXT Universe. If you weren’t a fan of Alexander Wolfe before, then this match should turn you into one. It was a great touch to pull the switch with Eric Young at the start of the match. Young's a great face-in-peril because he sells so well. Nikki Cross and Killian Dain was great in that insane table spot. All in all, this was a great coming out party for SAnitY. Also, massive props to have Corey Graves on commentary. He has great chemistry with Mauro Ranallo and the rest of the commentary team, and it adds a touch of history with Graves being a former Tag Team Champion. If you want a match to feel big, presentation is key.

  • Aleister Black defeated Hideo Itami in a stiff match. This was the stiff strikefest that people expected, and it didn’t take long for someone to bleed. That said, it didn’t stand out from the previous Black matches, which is a shame. Itami needed a great outing even if he was eating the pin, but this match didn’t feel special. Black did his thing and nailed Black Mass outta nowhere, but at this point it felt formulaic. It was still a good match, but that feels shallow when you expect more from this pairing. On the commentary side, it was great to hear Jim Ross again. I think they only brought him in to say “slobberknocker,” but when JR is on point, the man really knows how to sell a match, even if the match itself was disappointing.

  • Asuka retained the NXT Women’s Championship against Ember Moon in the surprise of the night. I understand Asuka is important to the division, but we’re getting the point of diminishing returns. Yes, Moon looked like a star, but at some point, it starts hampering the division when the champion is too dominant. When everybody’s trying to compete for second place, then it becomes to hard to get invested in them. That said, this was the best match both women have had and easily the best match of the night. Moon won the crowd over with her work in this match, and that’s really important when the gimmick is a bland mess. A bit more tweaking with her gimmick, and she should be ready for a title run.

  • Drew McIntyre won the NXT Championship from Booby Roode. While this was a good match, it didn’t get me as excited as the other matches on the card. I honestly had to rewatch this because it lost me midway through the live stream. The NXT Championship match should feel big, but time and time again, it’s failed to hook me in. Technically, both guys had a well worked match and told a good story. It was Roode’s hubris that caused his end, and McIntyre’s tenacity got him the win; but I highly doubt you’d remember this match outside of the post-match run in by Cole. Hopefully, this trend of mediocre NXT Championship matches ends with Cole's insertion to the title scene.

*****

Did you enjoy NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III? Let us know by dropping a comment below.

Photos from WWE.com


Jocs Boncodin (@caboncodin) is a Managing Editor of Smark Henry. He answers tweets by day and watches wrestling by night. An aspiring writer, Jocs spends most of his idle time fantasy booking angles and overthinking wrestling storylines. A big fan of the WWE, his introduction to the local online wrestling community Smark Gilas-Pilipinas has opened his eyes to the wonders of puroresu and lucha libre. He currently handles Smark Hen-XT, smarkhenry.ph's weekly NXT review.

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