WWE held their WWE NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn PPV on Friday night, ahead of WrestleMania 35 and — once again — NXT gave WrestleMania a high bar to reach.
Two titles changed hands on the show. WWE NXT UK title holder Pete Dunn dropped his belt after a record title reign.
Finally, Johnny Gargano fulfilled his lifelong dream and went from the Ultimate Underdog who always lost the big one to the top of the mountain and the new WWE NXT Champion.
The WWE NXT TakeOver Matches
- NXT Tag Team Championship: War Raiders [c] beat Ricochet & Aleister Black (4 stars)
- NXT North American Championship: Velveteen Dream [c] beat Matt Riddle (4 stars)
- NXT UK Championship: WALTER best Pete Dunn [C] (4 stars)
- NXT Women’s Championship: Shayna Baszler [c] beat Bianca Belair, Io Shirai and Kairi Sane (3 stars)
- NXT Championship – 2/3 Falls: Johnny Gargano beat Adam Cole, 2 falls to 1 (5 stars)
The matches, from top to bottom were fantastic. The two new champions were both well done.
WWE NXT TakeOver recap and review
The NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn show opened with the tag team title match — the one that most people knew ahead of time who would win.
Ricochet and Aleister Black are battling on Sunday for the SmackDown Live tag titles at WrestleMania 35, so winning the titles on NXT didn’t seem likely.
Despite that, the two teams had the fans in the palm of their hands the entire match. This match had completely insane action from start to finish, The War Raiders won to continue their reign, while Black and Ricochet proved they were good enough to win on Sunday.
— WWE (@WWE) April 5, 2019
Up next, North American champion Velveteen Dream battled the undefeated Matt Riddle. The fans love both men, so the important thing here was to give them a reason to care despite splitting the crowd.
Welcome to The City of D.R.E.A.M, @SuperKingOfBros.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) April 5, 2019
This was Riddle’s best match since coming to NXT but Dream won the match by pinfall, despite being locked in the Bromission — making both men look strong with the finish. Brilliant ending to a hard-hitting match.
Japanese legend KUSHIDA was in the crowd and he has signed to join WWE NXT.
We’re making history tonight…
…and the show hasn’t even started.
— Triple H (@TripleH) April 5, 2019
When it came to Pete Dunne, he had held the title for 685 days so it was important that, when he lost the belt, it was done right.
WALTER came in as a monster and the match was set up to show that Dunne had a never say die attitude but the monster was too much for him to overcome. By the end, fans who loved Dunne were all chanting for WALTER, as he won over North America.
— WALTER (@WalterAUT) April 6, 2019
The women’s match was next with champion Shayna Baszler defending against three other women in a Fatal Four Way. Both Io Shirai and Kairi Sane have wins over Baszler but Bianca Belair has yet to beat the champion.
The end came when Baszler locked Bianca in the Kirifuda Clutch and the “undefeated” Belair tapped out. It was the least enjoyable match on the NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn card, but was still really good.
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) April 6, 2019
The main event was the big one.
Tomasso Ciampa had to relinquish his NXT title when he underwent neck surgery and the match he was supposed to have with Johnny Gargano was canceled.
Instead, Gargano battled Adam Cole (BAY BAY) from The Undisputed Era to fill the vacated title. Cole is the leader of NXT’s best faction and Gargano is the underdog who had lost every big-time match he competed in.
This match was insane and there is a good chance nothing at WrestleMania 35 comes close on Sunday.
This was two out of three falls. Cole got a pinfall for the first fall and then Gargano made Cole tap out for the second fall. Tied up, the next fall wins.
The two men then pulled out all the stops. They kicked out of each other’s best moves and refused to tap out to submission holds. Cole laid out Gargano on the announcer’s table but Gargano made it back before getting counted out.
Finally, The Undisputed Era ran down and ran interference. When the referee was knocked out, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish hit Total Elimination on him — but Gargano kicked out. Gargano took out all three Undisputed Era cronies and returned to the ring.
Finally, Gargano dodged a kick to the back of his head and locked in the Gargano Lock. Cole almost made the ropes but Gargano pulled him back to the middle of the ring and Cole finally tapped out.
Johnny Gargano, after 15 years in the business and too many shortcomings in NXT, finally won the biggest title of his career — the WWE NXT Championship.