There are no bad TakeOvers. There are less-good TakeOvers, sure, but in the 4 years since WWE started running live specials for what is still ostensibly meant to be their developmental brand, NXT, I have yet to see a single outright bad or even middling TakeOver event. Whilst the main roster continues to frequently flounder through absurd booking choices, an inability to read and react to crowd responses, majorly inept storytelling decisions, and succumbing to an evermore exhausting bloat in PPV lengths – SIX GODDAMN HOURS FOR SUMMERSLAM, WHY – NXT instead puts together logical, exciting, tightly-paced and narratively-fulfilling specials that effectively act as a concentrated microcosm of why professional wrestling is so goddamn good. You could show TakeOvers to wrestling neophytes and turn them into full-blown converts by the time it’s gone off the air. I don’t keep up with wrestling as much as I used to, but you’re damn straight that I will still clear my schedule every single time a TakeOver comes around.
NXT has been on a roll this year and that honestly still feels like I’m underselling it. You want to know how good TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 was? The show opens with the best tag team match in all of WWE this year, a white-hot pulse-pounding masterclass of grappling, storytelling, near-falls and feats of strength… and it’s only the third-best match on the card (maybe the second if you’re not as into Gargano/Ciampa III as their previous encounters). TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 was inches away from equalling April’s TakeOver: New Orleans, which was genuinely one of the best PPVs I have ever seen. I was on the edge of my seat, my heart was often in its mouth, multiple times I was legitimately shocked by some of those physical feats, and I genuinely jumped out of my seat with my fist pumping wildly in the air at the conclusion of Shayna Baszler vs. Kairi Sane. Just top-to-bottom absolutely magnificent viewing that reminded me why I slog through 7-hour post-shows masquerading as Biggest Parties of the Summer; because, sometimes, wrestling is fucking awesome.
Rather than adhere to our usual site policy of a generalised round-up, we’re gonna take this card match-by-match because anything else would be doing a disservice to everyone involved. Christ, the show’s weakest match would have been a show-stealer on the main roster! (Also, because we’re going to cover SummerSlam as well in a few days and, need I remind you, SIX HOURS AND 13 MATCHES so it helps to have a format in place.)
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