Welcome to the last episode before TakeOver! Tonight, our main selling point is a face-to-face interview with Samoa Joe and Shinsuke Nakamura. This is not ending well for someone – probably whatever interviewer gets sandwiched between them, poor darling.
MATCH: Hideo Itami vs. Mustafa Ali
And we’re straight into the first match of the night – Hideo Itami is coming out to squash yet another person.
And that ‘yet another person’ is Mustafa Ali! Does Hideo just have some huge issue with the Cruiserweight Classic competitors? So far, he’s beaten up Sean Maluta and he’s about to beat up Mustafa Ali. Did the competitors all get together and smacktalk him behind his back? What’s up?
I got say, I fucking love Mustafa Ali’s aesthetic. That black leather jacket of his, with his checkered scarf, makes him look boss. And the black and white ring gear looks really good, too. Honestly, Seth needs to consider changing his color scheme to black and white instead of black and grey.
- Mustafa Ali is really bloody gorgeous, to be entirely honest. His appearance and the way he moves.
- Hideo bounces Ali off the ropes and when he goes to pick him up, Ali instead dropkicks him in the face.
- Ali does a kip up and, shit. Man’s gorgeous. I’m not done saying that.
- Ali bounces off the ropes, going to attack Hideo, but instead gets caught with a hip toss. Hideo then bounced off the opposing ropes to kick Ali in the face.
- This put Ali in the perfect place for Hideo’s little trick. He rolls down his knee pad, like he’s going to do a knee drop, and he jumps. But instead of dropping his knee, he jumped over Ali’s head. Then you know how you scrape something off your shoe? You pull your foot backwards? Hideo did that to kick Ali in the face. It’s very dismissive.
- Hideo tosses Ali into the corner and charges in. Ali pulls himself up into a tight ball, then rolls down Hideo’s back. It’s beautiful, he’s very agile in the ring.
- Ali is now in the opposite corner. Hideo runs in, Ali dodges. He swings his feet through the second and third ropes, then glides out of the ring with perfect timing.
- Ali walks around the ring to the ramp and suddenly there’s movement off to the side and Hideo Itami hits a beautiful baseball slide to dropkick Ali into the ramp.
- After some fighting in the ring, Ali covers Hideo for two.
- Ali ends up in the turnbuckle and Hideo charges in. Ali does his same dodge from earlier, which he slid through the second and third ropes. After that, he gets Hideo in the face with a kick.
- As Hideo stumbles back, Ali dives through the second and third ropes and rolls up to catch Hideo with a neckbreaker.
- Ali covers Hideo for two.
- Ali’s not happy. Even when he’s angry, he’s gorgeous.
- Hideo drops Ali with a beautiful dragon screw leg whip.
- While the tide has never really been in Ali’s favor this whole match, he’s now bloody drowning in it. Hideo gets him with a kick in the face when he’s trapped in the turnbuckle, then pulls him into the center of the ring for multiple strikes.
- A back kick sends Ali tumbling into the turnbuckle, which sets him up for Hideo’s hesitation dropkick.
- High knee to the face from Hideo Itami leveled Ali for the three count.
- Hideo Itami wins by pinfall.
Not very surprising of an end, but still a good match. I like Mustafa Ali. He’s fucking gorgeous.
We get a shot of our commentary table and, man. Corey Graves is still fucking making me sad, damn it. Dude, what happened to all of your fashion sense? But Tom looks damn good. Go Tom.
Bobby Roode is talking. Why is Bobby Roode talking? Ahhh. Build up to TakeOver. Just a head’s up: I’m fairly certain that this episode is going to be 80% build up, 20% actual wrestling. (Fine, it may be more 70/30, but tonight is probably gonna be more talking than wrestling.)
Bobby Roode is still being his ultimate heel self. Corey Graves is still being his ultimate fanboy self. And Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas still looks like a very charismatic guy who I do not want to piss off.
This is my first shot of Bobby Roode’s wrestling gear and, to be honest with you, I’m not really a fan of the red trunks. He wore black trunks a lot in TNA – in Beer Money, as a singles competitor, etc. – and he looked good in them. Admittedly, he also wore red trunks, but I truly prefer the black trunks.
Tom and Corey give us a verbal rundown of Asuka vs. Bayley and how it’s been “a long time coming”. I swear, each man said that exact phrase twice in the very short time they were talking. C’mon, mates. You have to have more words in your arsenal than that.
Now it’s a video package and, man, that blacklight is not flattering to Asuka. The first shot of the video package is panning up her from behind while she stands under a blacklight and, well. It didn’t do much for her outfit or for her, unfortunately.
But the rest of the shot is really cool, we slide up over her shoulder to see the NXT Women’s Championship sitting on a pedestal. It cuts to another shot and she’s looking at it and, damn. I’m not a fan of the blacklight, but I am a fan of the framing and camerawork.
This is all interspersed with desaturated footage from TakeOver: Dallas and after we get the shot of Bayley fading and the crowd losing it, Asuka grabs the belt off the pedestal. It is fantastic footage and I truly hope someone has gif’d it already.
I love Asuka as champion. I really hope she’s still champion after Brooklyn – hell, if she’s still champion when she gets called up, that’d be great. But I do feel really bad for poor Bayley. Poor darling. She doesn’t even have a damn belt and she’s still not on the main roster with her friends. Poor sweetheart.
Tom informs us there will be a six woman tag team match tonight. One of the teams is Carmella, Liv Morgan and the debuting Nikki Glenncross – we can see them preparing backstage. Nikki can’t stop smiling and she’s just so goddamn cute. I wanna pinch her cheeks.
Tom also tells us that the opposing team is Alexa Bliss, Mandy Rose and Daria Berenato. The last two women are having their on-screen debut.
We are now covering the rest of the men’s matches for TakeOver: Brooklyn’s card, set to Of Mice & Men’s song ‘Relentless’. I get the very sad feeling that if you – like me – want a Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa or No Way Jose fix, this is all you’re gonna get this episode. That makes me sad. (Oh, well, time to go watch Gargano vs. Ciampa for the fourth time today!)
Everyone who makes an appearance, in the order of their little interview segments: Johnny Gargano, Scott Dawson, Dash Wilder, Bobby Roode, Austin Aries, No Way Jose, Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas, and Tommaso Ciampa.
They’re basically talking about how important it is to have a match in Brooklyn for a bit, then it breaks down into each individual match. The matches are covered in this order: Aries vs. Jose, Almas vs. Roode, and The Revival vs. Gargano and Ciampa (who are apparently announcing their official tag team name soon! That’ll be nice).
This was all interspersed with footage of Of Mice & Men performing, making it feel like a music video. The music wasn’t very loud, though. You could still hear all of the men speaking.
When the video package/music video wraps up, Tom informs us that we can’t miss Samoa Joe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – which, really, I can’t because that’s why my sister has agreed to watch Brooklyn with me. Slowly converting her to a wrestling fan. Slowly.
Tom also tells us about the upcoming interview, where some poor interviewer will get absolutely mauled to death as Joe tries to murder Shinsuke before Brooklyn.
Now it’s another backstage segment, where we can see the other team of ladies preparing. Alexa Bliss is telling Mandy Rose to stretch.
“I am stretching.”
Alexa is such a tiny, badass boss. She also tells Daria that she’s not wrapping her hands right and then fixes it for the other woman. God, I love Alexa. I’m ninety percent certain she’ll absolutely murder Eva Marie on Sunday if she no shows SummerSlam. You do not lose Alexa Bliss a match and live to tell the tale.
Before the six woman tag team match, however, we get a backstage segment in Regal’s office. He’s talking to the camera about last year’s TakeOver and how much of a success it was. He also says that due to all of the new talent that’s been signed, this year’s TakeOver will be the best ever.
Cue Billie Kay. She asks him how this TakeOver could be the best ever if she’s not on the card. She mentions her debut on Smackdown and recent string of wins, then tells Regal that this TakeOver could only be the best ever if she has a match.
And so she gets a match! Billie Kay will be the opponent of the debuting Ember Moon, who looks to be an utter badass. Seriously, her eyes glow red in that promo package and the overlaying narration mentions the “prophecy of fire”. I am so excited to see her debut, guys.
MATCH: Liv Morgan, Nikki Glenncross & Carmella vs. Daria Berenato, Mandy Rose & Alexa Bliss
And here comes the six woman tag match! First comes out one of my favorite women on NXT – which isn’t saying as much, since I love pretty much all of them – Liv Morgan!
And we have Nikki Glenncross’ entrance and – thank god! It’s not blue and it uses a different font from everyone else! It’s a bloody miracle! She’s a tiny, adorable, (presumably) murder machine from Glasglow. I like her already. She also calls herself the “best in the galaxy” and, yes. I am down for this.
And for – presumably – the last time in NXT, Carmella’s entrance. I’m gonna miss recapping her for NXT, not gonna lie. Jess gets to recap her now, lucky duck. When Carmella gets into the ring, she high fives Liv. Nikki assumes Carmella is going for a high five and gets a hug instead. Aw.
Daria Berenato is apparently the only person from New Jersey who scares Corey enough that he doesn’t say anything about it around her. He hates on everyone else who’s from New Jersey (not that he’s much better. He’s from fucking Pittsburgh, for god’s sake), except for her. Probably because she’d actually murder him and drop him in a dumpster.
Instead of walking down the ramp, Daria Berenato just steps off to the side for Mandy Rose’s entrance and – dear god, Corey, you are married! MARRIED! Mandy Rose’s gear is the most like lingerie I have seen on any woman currently wrestling. It kinda looks like she’s wearing gold lingerie. Well.
Mandy Rose also just steps off to the side for Alexa Bliss’ entrance. Another person I’m gonna miss recapping for NXT. Jess is one lucky recapper, I’m telling you. Alexa Bliss is here to commit murder from the look on her face and, shit, I’m kinda rooting for her to do so (but I’m mainly rooting for Liv, Carmella and Nikki).
Alexa tells her girls “Let’s go” and they start stalking down the ramp.
Before the bell rings, the referee throws Daria’s wrap out of the ring and there’s a funny moment – if you’re watching him and not the six women standing in front of him – when he notices that the tie to her wrap got left on the mat. There’s a cut to a different camera angle and when we come back, we see the tail end of him tossing the tie out of the ring as well.
Ahh, referees. They get all of the fun jobs in life.
- The first legal women are Nikki and Alexa. There’s a “Women’s wrestling!” chant and they haven’t done anything yet.
- Alexa whips Nikki into the turnbuckle. Nikki dodges up and over her, letting Alexa run face first into the turnbuckle – ow, being short is not an advantage in a wrestling ring. Alexa comes back and goes straight into a crossbody from Nikki.
- Nikki covers Alexa for two.
- Alexa stands up, right into a dropkick from Nikki. Nikki screams a lot, by the way. There is much Scottish screaming going on right now.
- Alexa scampers out of the ring, trying to avoid Death By Screaming Scotswoman. Daria and Mandy Rose both climb off of the ring apron to talk to her.
- Nikki is now standing on the ropes, screaming at Alexa to “Get back in!” Alexa’s response? “Fine!”
- They’re still screaming at each other (“You wanna go? We’ll go!” “I heard you!”) as Alexa climbs back into the ring.
- Nikki surges forward and Alexa immediately tags in Daria. I get the feeling Nattie is going to spend a lot of time in the ring on Sunday.
- Daria steps into the ring wearing grappling gloves. This last two seconds, as she immediately takes them off and throws them away. This time, she does land her gear outside of the ring, without the referee having to throw it out.
- The two women jump towards each other as we cut to a commercial about the least interesting match on the SummerSlam card. Really. Really. I miss Nikki Glenncross beating the shit out of Daria Berenato for Lesnar and Orton? C’mon, y’all. C’mon.
- We come back in from the commercial – really, y’all. Really. – to find that Liv Morgan has been tagged in. She currently has Daria in a headlock.
- Daria manages to shove Liv off into the ropes. Liv catches herself, so she doesn’t bounce back, then immediately bends backwards to avoid a cheapshot from Alexa. Go, girl! Fast and flexible.
- Liv knocks Alexa off the apron and immediately turns around into a clothesline from Daria. Aw. Sorry, love. You did get Alexa good, though.
- Daria covers Liv for one as Nikki starts to climb into the ring. Nikki Glenncross has been on my screen for most likely a combined total of five minutes. I still bloody love her.
- Daria drags Liv back into her team’s corner and tags in Alexa.
- As Alexa stands on a prone Liv – she’s about to do that thing where she smashes her opponent’s head into the mat over and over again with her foot – I feel the need to screenshot it and show it to everyone who tags Liv as Alexa. No, they’re two completely separate people. They do actually look different. Unless Alexa has cloned herself and decided to beat the shit out of her clone, they are two different people. Minor rant over.
- Alexa then covers Liv for one. She is very displeased at Liv’s kickout. Damn, I am going to miss that blissed off expression of hers.
- Alexa shoves Liv back into her team’s turnbuckle, then tags in Daria. Daria hits Liv with two knees to the midsection, then tags in Mandy Rose.
- Corey Graves. You. Are. Fucking. Married. Chriiist. It’s like Eva, but worse. Yes. Mandy Rose is hot. Yes. Mandy Rose is basically wearing golden lingerie. Could you stop screaming? Not everyone needs to know what you sound like when you orgasm.
- Mandy hits Liv in the face, then gives her a snapmare and a kick to the back, all the while Corey sounds like she’s the wrestling demigoddess love child of Lita and Trish Stratus. Liv is trying to crawl back to her corner while I am more and more tempted to mute the video. Stop it, Corey. People are trying to sleep in my house right now.
- Mandy just pulled Liv into a submission. It’s unusual – as far as I can remember, I haven’t seen it before. Mandy has one leg wrapped around Liv’s leg and one hand holding Liv’s face, with the other pressing down on the back of Liv’s neck.
- Liv fights out and Mandy reverses it into a pin attempt. Liv kicks out at one.
- Mandy gets up first and runs to Liv’s corner. She knocks Nikki off the apron and Carmella jumps off, out of the way, to make sure that Liv can’t make the tag.
- Liv manages to stand up – stand into a knee off of Mandy. Mandy then covers Liv, who – once again – kicks out at one.
- Mandy seems either shocked or really bloody annoyed that Liv kicked out. Possibly both.
- She pulls Liv up by the hair and drags her back to Mandy’s corner, then tags in Daria. Daria’s thing really seems to be kneeing people, because she immediately knees Liv twice. Then she bounces Liv off the ropes and gets her with a kick.
- Daria covers Liv for two.
- Daria gets Liv into body scissors and starts yelling at her.
- Liv rolls Daria back into a pin attempt – she’s still in the body scissors, by the way – and gets an one count before Daria kicks out.
- Liv keeps reaching for her teammates and Daria just keeps punching her. Stop it, Daria. Stop mistreating my girl like that.
- Full Sail is now chanting “Let’s go, Liv!” as she tries to fight out. Daria is wrenching Liv’s head all over the place now, adding a headlock to the body scissors. C’mon, Liv. You’ve got this. You’ve got this.
- Liv rolls Daria back again. Daria kicks out at one, but lets go just enough for Liv to escape. C’mon, girl, you’ve got this. Just go! Nikki and ‘Mella are waiting for you.
- Liv is crawling across the mat, but Daria’s got her by the ankle and she’s not letting go.
- Liv Morgan is very squeaky, by the way. Like, incredibly squeaky.
- Daria dragged Liv back into her corner, then tagged in Alexa. Alexa tries to go for an elbow drop, but Liv rolls out of the way.
- Alexa grabs Liv by the ankle and Liv is hopping on one foot. Liv turns around and gives Alexa a crescent kick – which, lemme tell you, that rotation is a huge pain to pull off, even without being on one foot, then crawls to her corner to make the tag to Carmella.
- Offscreen, Alexa made a tag to Mandy. Poor Mandy. She’s about to get demolished.
- Carmella is just destroying Mandy. She even paused to knock Alexa and Daria off the ring apron, before coming back to beat on Mandy again.
- Carmella gives Mandy a hurricanrana, then kicks her in the face. She covers Mandy and Alexa comes in to break up the pin.
- Nikki gets into the ring. Alexa grabs her by the throat – looking pissed off as all hell – but Nikki gets her into a wristlock, then knocks Alexa to the ground. She gets up and immediately gets speared by Daria.
- Nikki and Daria roll out of the ring, still punching each other, as Mandy bridges into a pin on Carmella, who then kicks out at two.
- Due to Mandy’s position, where her head was between Carmella’s legs in the pin attempt, Carmella just rolls them over into the Code of Silence. Daria and Nikki are still brawling on the floor. Alexa’s MIA. Mandy has no choice but to tap.
- Carmella, Liv Morgan and Nikki Glenncross win by submission.
Carmella walked over to her corner, gesturing for her girls to get in with her, and Nikki helped Liv up so she could roll into the ring. That was very nice. It would probably be a weird tag team – a ferocious Scotswoman and a bouncy girl from Jersey – but I think it’d be a good one, to be entirely honest.
But that would require a women’s tag division and that’s probably my biggest WWE pipe dream.
Carmella helps Liv stand up when she makes it into the ring. Carmella, Liv and Nikki stand victorious in the ring while we get the nice contrast of Alexa losing her shit at Mandy ringside. I see Eva Marie’s fate at SummerSlam, should Eva, Alexa and Nattie lose.
‘Mella, Liv and Nikki all hug each other and yes. I approve. More ladies getting along and hugging each other, please.
Oh. Fun times ahead.
Not for Byron Saxton, who I think is our interviewer for Shinsuke and Joe, but fun times for the rest of us. Poor man. Who did he piss off?
Regal is telling the security guards to not let Joe and Shinsuke come close to each other at all. I recognize several of them from last week – actually, they may be the exact same six dudes from last week. At least they have experience with this.
Regal tells Joe he’s not going to let this become a free-for-all and Joe snorts. He’s amused. Ahh. This will be good. Hopefully no one ends up dead before TakeOver – this match is the main reason why my sister wants to watch.
Byron is going to get absolutely murdered. He is so dead. Poor man. Did Corey suggest him for this? I think Corey suggested him for it.
Joe looks nice in a lovely blue polo shirt, while Shinsuke is dressed in…A plaid top – with all of the primary colors on a white background – with camo pants. Oh, dude. What happened? Who just showed up at NXT to suck all of the fashion sense out of everyone else? Was it Bobby Roode? Who was it?
Joe is also utterly expressionless, which is kinda terrifying. Did they tranquilize him or something?
Byron asks Joe if he’s excited and, yes, Joe is. He’s going to main event Brooklyn as the NXT Champion. Byron then asks Shinsuke if he’s excited. Shinsuke is also excited – it’s his first PPV main event in NXT, his first challenge to the title.
Byron asks Joe about his anger over the match. Oh. Byron. That can of worms you just opened. Holy shiiit. Joe’s problem with Regal is still over the disrespect. “And with the women, when Bayley wanted her shot, [Regal] checked with Asuka first.” True. Yewoch.
Byron asks if Joe’s suggesting that Regal doesn’t want him to be champion. “I’m starting to wonder, Byron. I’m really starting to wonder.”
Byron asks Shinsuke about his reaction to the match. Calm is Shinsuke’s style, apparently, and that’s why he’s been so calm ever since the match was announced.
Byron asks if they’ve ever crossed paths before NXT. Joe says they have, with Shinsuke having trained at his dojo in LA. Shinsuke says he doesn’t remember that. This is where things are starting to become less and less civil.
Byron asks Joe if he respects Shinsuke. Joe respects Shinsuke’s work – but not the man.
Byron asks Shinsuke if he respects Joe. “Of course, I do.”
“You respect me? You’re gonna respect me, come Brooklyn.” This is where the shit hits the fan. Joe is now getting off of his chair and – just as Regal asked – the security guards swoop in.
But the far funnier bit is Byron’s mad scramble to get the fuck out of dodge. That was hilarious. My sister actually made me rewind the episode just so we could watch that again. Man, he was gone in seconds.
Joe is screaming that Shinsuke doesn’t know what respect is as Regal tells Shinsuke the interview is over.
And that’s the end of it! We had a lot of previews and video packages, but two good wrestling matches as well. We’ve got new female heels coming in, which is good. Brooklyn should be fun! See y’all then!