NXT's fourth annual SummerSlam weekend special takes place tonight as the Barclays Center hosts TakeOver: Brooklyn.
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano are set to headline their third straight TakeOver. They'll face off in a last man standing match for Ciampa's NXT Championship after an originally planned triple threat match fell through due to an injury to Aleister Black.
NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler will defend her title against Kairi Sane in a rematch from last year's Mae Young Classic finals. The NXT Tag Team Championship match will also be a rematch, with The Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) and Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven) continuing their rivalry.
Undisputed Era member Adam Cole will put his NXT North American Championship on the line against Ricochet. Plus, Velveteen Dream takes on EC3.
The TakeOver pre-show will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern time prior to the card starting at 7 p.m.
The first televised WWE event of SummerSlam weekend began with the NXT TakeOver Pre-Show. The panel consists of host Charly Caruso alongside Sam Roberts and Pat McAfee. Mike Rome was also part of the broadcast team as a rovering reporter.
Mostly just hype and hard sell on the pre-show so far. McAfee was way over the top -- even by WWE standards.
Ricochet joined the pre-show for a split-screen interview. Caruso asked how he was feeling. Ricochet said his match tonight is the moment he has been working towards during his entire 15-year career. At the end of the day, Ricochet says he knows he can win. Ricochet was all smiles throughout the segment.
Roberts asked Ricochet if he thought he was more special than Adam Cole. This relates to Cole in storyline saying he was more special than Ricochet. Answering Roberts question, Ricochet said he was better than Cole. McAfee then asked a rambling question about feeling pressure. Ricochet admitted he felt pressure. He concluded by vowing to win the NXT North American Championship tonight.
William Regal joined the panel to discuss the Aleister Black injury angle. He was very serious, and so was the rest of the panel -- except McAfee. He joked. Roberts chided McAfee for it.
Mauro Ranallo, Percy Watson, and Nigel McGuinness were on commentary for the broadcast. The live card begins with a tag team title match.
NXT Tag Team Champions Undisputed Era (Kyle O'Reilly & Roderick Strong) defeated Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven) to retain their titles
O'Reilly pinned Seven in a fantastic match. They all had a slugfest at the outset. Moustache Mountain gained an early advantage until Strong cut off Seven. Strong & O'Reilly then targeted Seven. Bate was a house of fire when he tagged in. With O'Reilly on Bate's back applying a sleeper, Bate still managed to suplex Strong in a feat of strength. Strong soon caught Bate with a lariat to change the momentum.
Undisputed Era began to work over Bate. Strong at one point used a Gory Special. The champions made quick tags and cut the ring in half. Bate sent both O'Reilly and Strong sailing over the top rope in a sequence that led to a hot tag. Seven cleaned house and traded near falls with Undisputed Era. Bate tried to make a save to no avail -- not yet at least. He would soon try again.
Strong applied a Boston crab on Seven. Meanwhile, O'Reilly caught Bate with a triangle. Bate then deadlifted O'Reilly into a powerbomb on Strong to break the crab. The crowd popped huge for that spot. Moments later, Bate suplexed Undisputed Era on to each other. Bate followed with a dive over the ropes to the floor. Rolling Strong back in the ring, Bate delivered the Tyler Driver '97 for a two and a half count. Another huge pop.
O'Reilly applied an ankle lock on Bate. This set up a tease of Seven throwing in the towel -- spoofing a finish in the previous match in the rivalry. Seven got a hot tag instead. Moustache Mountain ran wild and hit their double-team finisher of a flying kneedrop combined with a Burning Hammer on O'Reilly -- but he kicked out. The closing moments were wild, and the crowd was rabid.
Strong cut off Bate with a running knee strike to dispatch him. Outnumbered, Seven became prey. Undisputed Era used Total Elimination, and O'Reilly covered Seven for the pinfall. What this match lacked in drama compared to their last meeting on NXT TV, it made up for in action. Great way to start the show.
Velveteen Dream defeated EC3
Dream pinned EC3 with a Dream Valley Driver and a flying elbow drop. EC3 dominated in the early portion of the match. Dream countered the onslaught with a twisting DDT outside on the metal ramp. Dream worked the neck when they returmed to the ring. EC3 eventually made a comeback. The first half was plodding.
They would trade near falls and big moves down the stretch. EC3 superplexed Dream -- but EC3 sold his neck upon impact. Dream countered moments later to deliver a Dream Valley Driver for a two count. Somewhere in there EC3 bled from a cut over his eye. After a Dream Valley Driver on the apron, Dream then dropped a flying elbow. Dream folled EC3 back inside the ropes to cover him for the pin.
Matt Riddle was shown sitting in the crowd. So he has likely indeed signed with WWE.
Ricochet defeated NXT North American Champion Adam Cole to win the title
Ricochet pinned Cole with a 630 splash at the conclusion of an excellent match. They more than delivered. This was breathtaking at times. It is definitely worth going out of your way to see.
Early exchanges relied on basic wrestling holds. Ricochet then started flying around. Cole was backpedaling until he sent Ricochet crashing to the floor. Cole grounded Ricochet -- but not for long. Ricochet would dive outside the ring with a Fosbury Flop. A springboard uppercut followed for a near fall. Ricochet then launched into a flurry of flight. He springboarded into a corkscrew moonsault, and then did another even more spectacular than the first. Cole somehow kicked out.
Cole soon cut off Ricochet with a backstabber. Ricochet retaliated with more of his aerial arsenal. When Ricochet went for a quebrada, Cole cut him down with a superkick out of nowhere. That was an amazing sight. Cole followed with a ushigoroshi for a two count. The crowd was going crazy by this point.
They traded more near falls with dazzling highspots. Ricochet did a reverse rana that spiked Cole. A moment later, Ricochet leapt over the ropes for a Frankensteiner from the apron to the floor. Ricochet rolled Cole back into the ring to set up his finisher. Ricochet hit the 630 splash to score the pin and win the title.
Kairi Sane defeated NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler to win the title
Sane pinned Baszler while countering a choke into a cover. They told a great story in a match that was arguably better than their previous bout last year in the finals of the Mae Young Classic. Baszler looked strong despite losing. Sane looked like a superstar in winning. The Horsewomen -- including Ronda Rousey -- were front row ringside to cheer on Baszler.
Sane was out-wrestling the submission specialist as the match began. Baszler turned vicious to counter Sane. Baszler would then target a leg. She twisted and stomped on the leg. Baszler briefly stopped to mock Sane. Showing fighting spirit, Sane fired up with strikes. A spinning back fist led to two rolling neckbreakers. Baszler caught Sane on the top rope for an avalanche gutwrench suplex. A knee strike by Baszler got a two count.
Sane countered a suplex and speared Baszler. Sane jumped off the top with a flying elbow drop onto the back of Baszler. Baszler rolled outside. Sane leaped off the top to the outside with flying body press. Baszler kicked out after a flying elbow drop from Sane. Baszler countered The Anchor by applying the rear naked choke. Sane escaped. Baszler applied a leglock -- then a counter led to Sane applying The Anchor. Baszler got a rope break.
For the finish, Sane went for another flying elbow drop. Baszler blocked the elbow and applied a choke. Sane fell backwards to cover Baszler for a pinfall to win the title. The last spot was similar to the finish Bret Hart vs. Roddy Piper at WrestleMania VIII -- or Hart vs. Steve Austin at Survivor Series. Great finish to a trememdous match.
NXT Champion Tommaso Ciampa defeated Johnny Gargano to retain the title in a last man standing match
Ciampa retained when Gargano failed to answer the ten count. The rules -- or lack thereof -- were from the old school Texas Death Match playbook. At the finish, Gargano hit a running knee strike only to injure his knee in the process. Therefore, he was unable to stand. They had a great match much like their previous matches. They had callbacks that played on their rivalry.
Gargano attacked Ciampa before the bell. They brawled on the floor. Ciampa rammed Gargano into the ring steps. For a receipt, Gargano threw Ciampa into the barricade. Gargano pulled the mats off the concrete floor. Ciampa gouged the eyes and went for a draping DDT. Gargano countered by ramming Ciampa into the ring post. Gargano then cleared off an announce desk. He went to give Ciampa a piledriver on the desk. Ciampa instead scooped him up for an Air Raid Crash through an adjacent desk.
A chair came into play. Gargano cut off Ciampa by hitting him in the knee with the chair. Gargano repeatedly hit Ciampa with chairshots. Ciampa was able to counter by applying a sleeper hold. Ciampa put Gargano to sleep. Gargano was able to stand and break the count at six. Ciampa quickly swooped in to again apply the sleeper. Gargano escaped to send Ciampa like a lawn dart into a chair wedged in a corner.
Gargano rolled out of the ring for some DIY remodeling. He stacked two tables on top of each other -- with table legs sticking upward on one table. Ciampa rained down chairshots on him. Ciampa followed with a trifecta of Project Ciampas. He then sat down in a chair while the referee began counting. Gargano broke the count and superkicked Ciampa out of his seat.
A "yay/boo" slugfest developed. That led into a wild exchange of strikes and highspots. They both went down only to rise again for another slugfest. A second double down saw them stay down longer as the ref counted. They both broke the count as the fight soon spilled outside the ring. Gargano crashed and burned on an attempted senton cannonball. Ciampa executed a Devil's
Wings on the ring steps. Gargano miraculously got to his feet to break the count.
In a callback to their last match, Ciampa removed the padding covering the ring to expose the wooden planks underneath. Gargano blasted Ciampa with a fire extinguisher. Gargano then grabbed a crutch and beat Ciampa with it. Sprinboarding into the ring, Gargano delivered a draping DDT on the wooden planks. In a clever way to get back on his feet, Ciampa broke the ten count by rolling outside the ring into a standing position on the floor. A similar situation would play into the finish later on.
Gargano twice did a tope suicida as he ran wild. Ciampa sidestepped -- causing Gargano to superkick a member of the production crew. With the added effect of also using a chair, Ciampa delivered a running knee strike that sent Gargano crashing through the timekeeper's area. Ciampa piled debris and the prone production crew member on top of Gargano trying to bury him so he could not answer the count. Gargano still broke the count nonetheless.
Ciampa got a pair of handcuffs. Gargano wrestled them away and cuffed Ciampa by one arm. Ciampa would wear the handcuffs on one arm the rest of the match until the finish. Gargano superkicked Ciampa off the apron -- and Ciampa went through the stacked tables. Ciampa got to his feet with the help of a crutch to break the count. Ciampa backpedaled up the ramp. Gargano gave chase.
They fought on the stage in a callback to the angle where Ciampa turned on Gargano. This time, Gargano was the person administering the beatdown. Gargano handcuffed Ciampa to the stage. Ciampa pleaded and begged for forgiveness as Gargano rained down strikes. Gargano pulled down his kneepad before delivering a running knee strike. Upon impact, Gargano tumbled over production equipment and fell in a heap.
With both down selling, the ref started a double count. Gargano was unable to stand as he sold an injured knee. However, Ciampa rolled off the stage to land on his feet. Therefore, Ciampa broke the count and was declared the winner. Ranallo put over a narrative that Gargano had dislocated his knee. So, he cost himself the match in the end. Ciampa retains to fight another day.