WWE Review: NXT TakeOver Brooklyn 4 (August 18, 2018)

NXT Tag Team Championship Match: Kyle O’Reilly & Roderick Strong (c, Undisputed ERA) vs Tyler Bate & Trent Seven (Moustache Mountain, vegans!) I feel like TakeOver shows of late have had somewhat rushed-feeling openers (and NXT TV matches are often very quick as well), but this match was paced well (maybe even too slow) and had some great spots. ****

EC3 vs Velveteen Dream (vegetarian!) I’m really not sure how to feel about Dream’s “Call Me Up Vince” tights. I can dig some postmodern touches in my pro wrestling, but there’s something off-putting about that detail. (Maybe it’s the fact that Velveteen Dream could really use some more time to develop in the ring.) More broadly, I feel like this feud never really got too far off the ground in its build, and “yet another flawed Velveteen Dream undercard match” is becoming kind of a tired TakeOver trope to me. This match got an extremely cold and pretty awkward start, and too much of it felt stilted to me. Probably one of the weaker TakeOver matches in some time… but there were some good spots, too. ***

NXT North American Championship Match: Adam Cole (c) vs Ricochet Really smooth action from start to finish, even if the matchup led to kind of an awkward dynamic where heelish Adam Cole seemed to have more crowd support than ostensible babyface Ricochet. This match ramps up in intensity pretty brilliantly, with some fantastic peaks. ****1/2

NXT Women’s Championship Match: Shayna Baszler (c) vs Kairi Sane There’s a ton to like here technically and psychologically, but I think NXT has really been dropping the ball on developing Kairi as a character. NXT TV just hasn’t done enough to get her over as a babyface, and as a result I think the crowd was colder on this match than they could have been. ****1/2

Last Man Standing NXT Championship Match: Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs Johnny Gargano I felt like something was missing from this match in its first five or ten minutes. There were some super creative and otherwise impressive spots as it went, but I don’t think it was their best. I don’t think it matches their Chicago bout emotionally, and I felt like there were a lot of unproductive lulls in the action and a borderline horrible finish. ***3/4

Photos of the products in the Meatless Rib Store.

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