NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn II had a tough task ahead of itself, outdoing the first Brooklyn event. A lot was riding on the night, the potential to crown a new champion or continue cementing a reign and putting the building blocks together to make sure the division continues to foster strong competition.
Both women make their entrances, with Billie recieving yet another theme song. This one is a little bit more suitable for her femme fatale character, even though I liked the classic violin piece. Anyway, Ember makes her enterance like nothing we’ve ever seen before, with very low lighting and showing up before the backdrop of a moon.
They both tie up and trade holds for hot minute, outmaneuvering the other with reversals. Ember takes Billie down with a low headscissor but then Billie takes Ember down with strikes. Ember comes back with a flying cross body off the ropes. Billie takes her down again with a boot chin lock to the face. Billie then pays homage to Victoria with a widow’s peak submission and then plants her.
She attemps pinning her twice but Ember won’t go down easy. Ember comes back with a back elbow and axehandles, a kick to the mid section into a jawbreaker which turns into a suplex.
Ember hits Billie in the corner with a handspring back elbow. Then she makes her way up to the turnbuckle and takes Billie down with her beautiful signature diving stunner for the win.
Next up is our co-main event, Bayley vs Asuka II. We’re taken to that emotional video package hyping the match where Bayley vows to take back what is hers and become the first two-time NXT Women’s Champion. But Asuka remains a tough foe to beat.
Both women make their entrances. Bayley with some special guests in the addition of wild wacky inflatable arm waving tube men at ringside and her fellow 4 Horsewomen who sit gather in the front row to watch the bout. Asuka makes her entrance donning a long cape and new face paint.
The match begins with Bayley and Asuka circling each other. Bayley stands toe to toe with her as they tie up. They trade blows, reversals, and hold attempts. Bayley matching Asuka at every turn. Dueling chants reign throughout the areana.
Asuka tries all her signature moves on Bayley, tying her up in the ropes with an octupus hold, hip attacks, ankle locks, multiple submissions, the Asuka lock, she throws everything at Bayley but Bayley withstands her at every turn.
Bayley fights harder than she ever has before with strikes, dives, reversals, and slams. She counters a move into a Bayley to Belly but it’s not enough to put Asuka away. The match continues to be a very competitive back and forth bout with Bayley completely coming back from a stiff hit to the face before Asuka is able to put her down with a series of fast strikes and kicks.
After the match Asuka celebrates and brings a broken Bayley to her feet. They embrace. Bayley is showered with accolades from the crowd as she makes her way to Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch in the ront row to hug them and then hugs Charlotte (props to the person that kept faces Sasha and Becky away from Charlotte, nice touch). She walks up the entrance way and turns to bow to the crowd. “Thank you Bayley,” chants send her off in what might be her last match for the brand.
WWE.com catches up with Bayley after the match where she laments her strategy going into the match. Ember comes by to tell Bayley that she should be proud of herself for taking Asuka to the limit. She says she’s here because of Bayley and wants to be like her. Bayley thanks her for the compliment and says Ember has a bright future ahead of her and she can’t wait to watch her grow.
Thoughts: On second viewing, because I was at the event last night I had to see how everything translated, both matches did a lot for the division. I’ll start with Ember and Billie.
I’ve never seen Ember’s matches from the indy’s and her reputation definitely proceeds her. The match did wonders for both women, showcasing Ember’s potential and putting Billie’s strength on display. Some may argue or say Billie is now “buried” or her momentum is lost. I don’t think that’s the case at all, she looked good in defeat. She got a ton of offense in and showed us new moves that we haven’t seen before. An array of power moves is in her, she just needed a platform to show it off. I think she’ll definitely come back for revenge and begin further sowing the seeds for much needed side stories in the division.
Ember’s O-face, which they’ll probably rename, was a thing of beauty to see in person. I highly recommend seeing her live. It was really stunning, pun intended. She’s fast on her feet, acrobatic, and mischiveous. If this fallout video is any indication, she will be our face leader moving forward for the division, grabbing the torch here from Bayley. I don’t think she’ll be a sympathetic baby face like Bayley, she’ll be a face with a mysterious edge. She may lose some matches here or there but she won’t be a complete underdog and I think she’ll be undefeated going into the title chase somewhere down the line.
She’s going to shake up the division and I’m so excited that she’s finally here.
Meanwhile, the Asuka/Bayley match on second viewing got even better. I’m so proud of Bayley for taking the fight to her. It was gratifying to see Asuka get matched hit for hit. There’s no one right now who can legitimately step up to her so squash matches that aren’t as competitive are getting old, I know we’re all feeling it.
Bayley continues to be a delight in the ring. Just watching her gets you emotional, you wanted her to win even though it just wasn’t going to happen, that’s not how her story ends here. She is such a talent, she can tailor her skills to fit her opponents, she makes others comfortable in the ring and brings out the best in everyone. She’s really, really special. This loss is good for continually building the Bayley character, she’s just like all of us guys, constantly overcoming, always reassessing for the good of herself and all of us.
Asuka carries the same magic Bayley does, so some may argue they don’t have chemistry like Bayley does with her fellow 4HW peers. While that may be the case a little bit, with some of the magic they bring being canceled out with each other, the match worked really well here. Asuka is still a threat and she’s not a full heel. Asuka is just Asuka, a ruthless champion that respects her opponent if they match her. I believe Asuka will eventually become heel and someone will have to end her reign.
Now that she’s still champion, her being a ghost on NXT is NOT acceptable anymore. Like I’ve said before, she doesn’t have to have a match every Wednesday, she should be scouting her competition now, taunting them, training, doing something to make her presence felt because she’s above everyone right now. I look forward to seeing who dethrones her.
Last night the company also hit a great milestone, two of NXT’s top champions, Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura, are both Japanese! This is very encouraging, NXT continues to make history where it counts.
What did you think of last night’s matches? Who do you think will dethrone Asuka? Now that the new era is here, who do you think will step up to the plate and stand out? Where do you think the division goes from here? Sound off in the comments below!