NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 4 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights
Brooklyn, New York, has been the setting for some of NXT's most epic encounters, and Saturday night the brand invaded Barclays Center for the fourth time in its history with another explosive live special, exclusively on the WWE Network.
Tommaso Ciampa defended the NXT Championship against Johnny Gargano in a Last Man Standing match, the perfect conclusion to their epic, yearlong rivalry. Speaking of long-running rivalries, Shayna Baszler put her NXT Women's Championship up for grabs against Kairi Sane, rekindling their program that began at last year's Mae Young Classic.
The Undisputed Era defended the North American and tag team titles in separate matches, and EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream rounded out the card.
Find out who emerged from the epic broadcast victorious, which Superstars were golden and how it resonated with this recap of Saturday's show.
NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Mustache Mountain vs. Undisputed Era
The knee of Trent Seven was instrumental in Mustache Mountain's loss of the NXT Tag Team Championships a few weeks ago, and Saturday night it was again the downfall of the popular babyface team, courtesy of champions Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong.
It was Seven who brought on the comeback sequence late, exploding into the match off a hot tag from Tyler Bate.
The first United Kingdom champion shook off the punishment he endured throughout the bout and delivered a big dive to the outside before scoring a near-fall on Strong off a sit-out powerbomb.
Late in the bout, with Bate neutralized following a leaping knee from Strong, the champions wiped out the previously established injured knee of Seven and scored the successful title defense.
After the match, O'Reilly and Strong were introduced to their next challengers, The War Raiders, who left the champions in a heap.
The Undisputed Era defeated Mustache Mountain to retain the titles
The chants of "fight forever" and "NXT" are indicative of the in-ring chemistry these two teams have with each other and the extraordinary product they deliver when matched up together.
Crisp, hard-hitting and dramatic thanks to perfect timing and dramatic near-falls, the match was everything fans hoped for in the wake of their five-star classic from a few weeks back.
Was this on that level? No. The storytelling in that match was better, but the crowd was red-hot and the result was another NXT Match of the Year candidate between the lads from the U.K. and the Ring of Honor alumni.
EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream
EC3 sought his first, high-profile victory in NXT Saturday night, while Velveteen Dream hoped Brooklyn would be home to his breakout win.
Dream would turn out to be a nightmare for EC3.
The enigmatic showman scored the first "holy s--t" chant of the match, delivering a tornado DDT to his opponent, onto the steel entrance ramp. Dream would capitalize on his opponent's predicament, working the head and neck for the majority of the match.
EC3 fought back, but Dream cut him off at nearly every turn.
The Death Valley Driver by Dream to EC3 on the ring apron set up an elbow drop to the prone, former TNA world champion and scored the win seconds later.
Dream defeated EC3
This was a really solid match that was not quite up to par with Dream's TakeOver matches against Ricochet and Aleister Black but was still really well-wrestled and featured a strong performance by EC3.
While it is essential that Dream wins a big match if he is expected to stay in NXT, one has to wonder if officials have any longer-term plans for EC3, who appears to be floundering thus far in his run.
The sudden switch from heel to babyface does not help matters.
NXT North American Championship Match: Ricochet vs. Adam Cole
Adam Cole defended his North American Championship for the first time since winning it during WrestleMania weekend, battling the massively popular Ricochet in singles competition.
The match, a back-and-forth battle that captivated the fans in Brooklyn, saw Cole attempt to slow his opponent and keep him grounded, realizing the path to victory was to limit Ricochet's flying opportunities.
The dazzling underdog babyface, though, utilized his aerial arsenal to keep Cole off guard. At one point, he attempted a springboard but flew right into a backstabber by Cole for a quality near-fall.
An intense exchange late in the match popped the crowd. A hurricanrana that sent the Superstars to the arena floor only enhanced the raucous reaction.
Back inside, Ricochet delivered his trademark 630 splash to win the match and his first title under the WWE umbrella.
Ricochet defeated Cole to win the title
What. A. Match.
Ricochet and Cole delivered big time, despite lackluster creative, and the former's star was enhanced significantly as a result of the victory.
While it is easy to see where Ricochet heads from here, with a roster full of intriguing challengers, one has to wonder where this leaves Cole.
Fans have been largely receptive to the former Ring of Honor world champion. Could his loss, at a time when the rest of Undisputed Era is rolling, be the impetus for his dismissal from the group and babyface turn?
One would hope not this early in the group's run, but it would be of no great surprise to anyone if that was the case given sudden changes in direction throughout the brand's history.
NXT Women's Championship Match: Kairi Sane vs. Shayna Baszler
Kairi Sane defeated Shayna Baszler to win the 2017 Mae Young Classic.
Baszler returned the favor on an episode of NXT television.
Saturday night, the two wrestled their rubber match, The Queen of Spades' NXT Women's Championship up for grabs.
With Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke supporting her at ringside, Baszler's title reign would come to an end, courtesy of The Pirate Princess.
Baszler targeted the knee of Sane, hoping to keep the challenger grounded and unable to deliver her Insane Elbow finisher. A spear out of nowhere, though. sparked a Sane comeback. The Insane Elbow to the back followed and a second attempt at the finisher was halted by Baszler rolling to the arena floor.
Back inside, another elbow followed, as did Sane's new submission hold.
The champion reached the ropes, breaking the hold.
A third Insane Elbow was thwarted by Baszler getting her knees up. The overconfident champion fell prey to a roll-up by Sane, who scored the win and the championship.
Sane defeated Baszler to win the title
This was the match it needed to be.
Sane showed more aggression than ever before, and Baszler's confidence and assuredness cost her.
Sane had the champion's number, and Baszler paid dearly for underestimating her. The result was a clearly told story, a damn fine match and an outcome that needed to come for the sake of the women's division.
Baszler had become so dominant that there was no one else to challenge her. Sane winning sets up new matches and programs while freeing Baszler to jump to the main roster and join Rousey if and when the time comes.
Last Man Standing for the NXT Championship: Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa
A yearlong story culminated Saturday night in a Last Man Standing match, as Johnny Gargano challenged former partner-turned-hated enemy Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT Championship.
The Superstars told a familiar story, battling around the ringside arena and removing the ring mat to expose the wood beneath it. Both were callbacks to their previous two encounters, both of which were among this year's best matches.
The match culminated at the top of the entrance ramp as the Superstars revisited the moment that forever broke up DIY and sent them on their current paths. Gargano trapped a beaten, battered Ciampa in the Gargano Escape, drawing screams from the champion and cheers from the Johnny Wrestling faithful.
With Ciampa cuffed to the stage, Gargano delivered a superkick. The cowardly Ciampa, realizing his career was in jeopardy, tried apologizing to his former partner, but Gargano would have none of it.
His knee exposed, Gargano rushed Ciampa, delivering a knee strike but falling from the stage in the process. Writhing in pain and teasing a dislocated kneecap, Gargano was unable to get to his feet by the referee's count of 10. Ciampa, though, merely rolled off the stage and barely onto his feet to score the win and successful title defense.
Commentator Mauro Ranallo asked what was next for Gargano while expressing real concern for his injured knee. Ciampa, the consummate heel, returned to the stage just to rub in the loss as the show faded to black.
Ciampa defeated Gargano to retain the title
Gargano and Ciampa have somehow managed to wrestle three hardcore-style brawls in a row and make them each different while simultaneously recalling spots and moments from the other matches. That is what has helped make their series one of the best in WWE history.
No, that's not hyperbole.
Gargano and Ciampa have delivered pure artistry, and the result is a series of bouts fans have been emotionally invested in. The character work, the brutality and the emotion demonstrated by both men have been masterful. The outcomes clever. The calls by the announce team spectacular.
The presentation is suitably epic.
Not up to the par of New Orleans or Chicago, but it was still extraordinary.