NXT Brooklyn [2015] PPV Review

NXT’s biggest event to date started out rough but soon become a wonderful night for wrestling fans. In this review, I will go match-by-match, give my opinion/review, and finish with a letter grade for each match. At the end of the review, I will give a letter grade for the entire event. This is a little different from my film reviews, but that’s because this is a different medium.

Tyler Breeze vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger

This was the second-most promoted match, next to Balor vs. Owens. Jushin “Thunder” Liger has been a legend in the professional wrestling world. With a career that has showcased him throughout the world, this 50-year-old cruiserweight was a perfect advisory for one of the best gimmicks and talents in NXT, Tyler Breeze.

I was EXCITED for this match. I can’t say I’ve seen every “Thunder” Liger match, but I’ve seen enough to consider him a legend and future Hall-of-Famer. Tyler Breeze has been one of my favorites since I first tuned into NXT. His gimmick is fresh, his talent is on par with a young Shawn Michaels, and his charisma is through the roof. So, this was a match made in heaven for me, even though I knew Jushin was 50 years old.

The match itself was a disappointment. Yes, it was great to see Jushin “Thunder” Liger in his first WWE match, but a debut match still needs to be a match worth watching. I’ve seen Tyler Breeze do incredible things to bigger and more dangerous foes, but he literally didn’t do anything against Jushin. All his talent and charisma turned into screaming at the referee and made me cringe with confusion. But NXT seems to have put Breeze on the shelf in the past couple months, and this match further solidifies it.

Jushin’s age was evident during the match, creating a slow and boring experience. I know I can’t say he was “terrible” because of his age, and he wasn’t terrible, but there was enough of a contrast between the two opponents that made the match implausible. I didn’t understand why Tyler Breeze didn’t just destroy Jushin with his quickness and agility like he’s done many times before. But, it’s because it was a debut match. Debut matches almost always promote the “new blood” by showing their dominance. This makes sense if the “new blood’s” opponent is some scrub but not when the opponent is a well-established talent like Tyler Breeze. I sat there and knew exactly what was going on, which took away from my suspension of disbelief and immersion.

I know some will still argue by saying, “It was a Debut match. You have to accept he was going to win.” Oh, trust me, I knew Jushin was going to win, but that isn’t an excuse to not have a good match. There was another debut match later in the night, and it didn’t disappoint because the match was great despite the predictable outcome.

Breeze vs. Liger was full of hype but a complete disappointment.

Match Grade: C+

Blake & Murphy vs. The Vaudevillians

In my opinion, the worst thing NXT could’ve done to The Vaudevillians was allowing them to talk. They aren’t bad on the microphone; I actually thoroughly enjoy them, but talking doesn’t fit with their gimmick. The silent film aspect was great, but they abandoned that early on. This is just a thought and doesn’t hold any weight on the match.

Alexa Bliss reminds me of a Trish Stratus when she was with T & A (Test and Albert). Her looks, her talent, and her managing style make her a fierce heel that you love to hate. So, who is the perfect adversary for this evil woman? It’s the one and only Blue Pants, who has become a favorite by always being the scrub for the NXT Women’s Division. Blue Pants’ awkwardness and surprising talent makes her a wonderful addition to The Vaudevillians, so I hope they remain a trio for a little while.

The match itself was great, but that was expected. Blake & Murphy might not be the greatest when it comes to promos, but they get it done in the ring every time. They are an awesome gimmick-less tag team who will be a wonderful addition to WWE’s main roster. The Vaudevillians have been a favorite of mine since their debut. I loved the silent film gimmick that seems non-existent now, but their in-ring abilities haven’t faltered.

There are plenty of tag team matches I would label as “Examples of Great Tag Team Matches,” and I will happily add this match to that list. The energy, the story, the excellence of execution, and the drama were all components that made this match memorable. I had a lot of fun seeing two talented tag teams prove they will do great things in this industry. This match also benefitted from not being as predictable as some championship matches in the past.

It’s great to see the belts around the waists of The Vaudevillians, but usually when the former champions lose the belts they head up to the main roster. I don’t think that is the case for Blake & Murphy right now. I believe this is just the start to one of the best rivalries NXT has ever seen.

This was a great, energized match from two talented tag teams.

Match Grade: A

Tye Dillinger vs. Apollo Crews

Another debut match, but unlike the Breeze vs. Liger match, this match did what every debut match should do. It put the “new blood” up against a talented opponent, and the “new blood’s” abilities were tested appropriately.

Apollo Crews reminds me of Bobby Lashley, but Apollo is much quicker and more agile. I like what he and Dillinger did in the ring, and I’m excited to see what they do for the NXT/WWE brand. But, while this was Apollo’s showcase, Tye Dillinger has further solidified that he will soon be a force to be reckoned with in NXT. He’s gotten stronger/tighter since he went solo, and the “Perfect 10” gimmick is perfect for him.

The match was decent with nothing special to remember. The predictable ending was overshadowed by the balanced production of the two talents, and the match showcased not one but two talents that I cannot wait to see dominate in the future. I would’ve liked to see more than the normal back and forth/reversal of fortunes that plague a lot of matches these days, but it’s the way to tell a decent story in the ring. And that’s all this match was; decent.

Match Grade: B

Baron Corbin vs. Samoa Joe

Out of all the matches on this card, this one was probably the one I was least hyped for. It’s not that I don’t like Baron Corbin or Samoa Joe, but I just wasn’t feeling it. Maybe it’s because I knew Joe was going to win, finally dethroning Corbin from his throne, or maybe it’s because Corbin has fallen off my radar in the past months. It’s the Goldberg syndrome. Goldberg defeated MOST of his opponents in one minute or less, just like Corbin, but Goldberg’s matches that last longer than five minutes are atrocious (Goldberg Syndrome). Corbin has proven to be dominating in a minute or less, but every time he has a match that lasts longer than five minutes, he doesn’t do anything special. It’s there though. In this match, Baron should huge glimpses of promise, but it just wasn’t enough.

Regardless, this was a good heavyweight fight. Samoa Joe did his thing, and Baron Corbin further proved he’s been diagnosed with the Goldberg Syndrome. I hope this rivalry isn’t over and eventually evolves into Joe and Corbin becoming a tag team for a little while. I believe it’ll be good for Joe to take Corbin under his wing, teaching him little tricks and giving him advice on how to become a decent heavyweight.

There really isn’t much to talk about when it comes to this match. It was nothing special and had a predictable ending. Plus, the referee not doing the “three arm raise” to clarify Corbin being knocked out kind of ruined the match for me. A match’s credibility is ruined when rules that have been implemented for decades seem to be thrown out the window.

If they want Corbin to be one of the next great big men, then they will have to show that he can have a great match that lasts longer than five minutes. This will only happen if they put him in more lengthy matches because he will get better and better as he practices.

Match Grade: B –

Bayley vs. Sasha Banks

Best match of the night. Period.

I’m not going to refer to Charlotte, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Alexa Bliss, or any of the NXT females as “Divas.” For months and months, the females of NXT have proven they are Women Wrestlers who deserve to be in a “Women’s” Division and are too good for a “Divas” Division. Match after match, with a few hiccups here and there, they have become the main event of the entire NXT brand. I just want to congratulate them for all their hard work, and I believe I speak for all wrestling fans when I say, “Thank you. Seriously.”

This match was balanced, had great counters, and had a great story. Bayley has come a long way since a year ago, and she will be an awesome Women’s champion. Sasha has also come a long way and showed why she was the champion during her reign. What set this match apart from most female matches are the risks they took. This honestly reminded me of a Trish vs. Lita match, but even better. From Sasha flying over the referee and out of the ring to Bayley’s insane hurricanrana off the top rope, these women proved they can play with the big boys and had the best match of the night.

Because of the shift of Charlotte, Becky, and Sasha to the main roster, it was kind of expected that Bayley would win, but just like the Crews/Dillinger match, the incredible match overshadowed the predictable ending. But that doesn’t excuse the fact that the NXT superstars making such an impact on the main roster takes away from the immersion of NXT championship matches.

While the hugs and joy shared between Becky, Charlotte, Bayley, and Sasha kind of ruins the credibility for the Divas match at SummerSlam, it was a great “final goodbye” for three out of the four women who have started a revolution. Now it’s Bayley’s time to shine and lead the way until she joins her fellow “HorseWomen” on the main roster.

Match Grade: A+

Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens

I’m not the biggest fan of Finn Balor. I do not deny that he’s talented and has an awesome gimmick, but there’s something about him that doesn’t intrigue me. I loved it when Seth Rollins, Big E Langston, Bo Dallas, Adrian Neville, Sami Zayn, and Kevin Owens were champs, but Finn Balor doesn’t have the same “power” they had. When I say “power,” I mean ring presence and champion presences. It might be different than I’m used to, but it’s kind of non-existent for me. But still, there is no denying that Finn Balor will one day be a WWE Hall-of-Famer.

Kevin Owens has made the biggest impact on the WWE than any of the current and former NXT superstars, even more so than the members of The Shield. It has been a pleasure to have another awesome heel around who can talk on the microphone and showcase in the ring.

The problem I’ve always had with Ladder Matches is the logic the wrestlers’ seem to lose or forget about. The objective of the match is to climb the ladder and grab the belt/briefcase/whatever. Yes, beating your opponent to a pulp so they are unable to get in your way is important, but it’s not the most important thing in a stipulation like this. What I’m referring to are the several moments during this match where one wrestler destroys the other, throws him out of the ring, and then, instead of setting up a ladder and grabbing the belt, they proceed to go OUTSIDE the ring to beat up on the guy some more. Instead of the wrestler doing this out of “motivation,” it seems like the only reason they are doing it is to prolong the match.

The only way to justify these actions is if every time the wrestler throws the other out of the ring and tries to climb the ladder, the other climbs back in and stops him, causing the wrestler to make sure his opponent is definitely “DOWN” before climbing the ladder. But this didn’t happen in this match, and it made the wrestler’s look like idiots who have no logic, which isn’t true.

Regardless of that fact, the match was brutal and fun to watch. It had a predictable ending, but that’s because of Owens’ presence on the main roster kind of destroyed any chance he had of winning the NXT title. There’s no reason for him to have it, especially if he hasn’t had a presence on the NXT show in the passed month.

It’s great that this rivalry ended with a bang, and I cannot wait to see who will be the next #1 contender.

While this was the final match of the night, I consider the Bayley vs. Sasha match the actually main event. But still, this was a great ladder match.

Match Grade: A

Show’s Overall Grade: B+

Thank you,

-Matt Brunhofer

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