TV Reviews

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 – Wrestling Review


Let’s get this out of the way up front so that you’re not left with the false impression that I disliked Ricochet vs. Adam Cole for the North American Championship: either that throat kick counter by Adam Cole needed to be the finish, or Ricochet needed to actually sell the effect of it for more than 10 seconds before just shaking it off.  Adrenaline is a hell of a drug, obviously, and it can always be used as a shorthand for why certain wrestlers aren’t straight-up dead or hobbling around like The Black Knight after more devastating moves, but there’s a limit, y’know?  You still have to at least look like you’re suffering from the effects of having a foot slammed right into your trachea whilst you were flipping backwards through the air every now and again (our next match is a masterclass in this but I’m getting ahead of myself).  Otherwise you end up looking and acting like when the WWE 2K games decide they’re sick of the player and effortlessly reverse any action taken after a finisher hits like they’re goddamn Terminators.

OK, we all got that?  All on the same page?  Good, glad we can understand each other.  After all, other than that one perfectly valid criticism, this was still Adam Cole vs. Ricochet so of course it was brilliant.  Adam Cole is a guy who understands the value that consistent trash-talking can bring to the story of a wrestling match, so even though it’s relatively basic – revolving around repeated assertions that Ricochet is “not special” – it backs up and adds to the story in the ring on both the mental and physical levels, particularly when he starts doing things like countering handstand-backsprings into backstabbers.  Ricochet, meanwhile, despite his issues with selling and the lack thereof, is still Ricochet and therefore the mark-ier side of me completely forgets about them when he’s doing absolutely gorgeous hurricanranas on the ring apron to the outside from inside the ring that are clean as a whistle.  These two have excellent chemistry with one another and, when you combine that with a crowd that’s pretty evenly split but also fully recovered from earlier, that leads to the kind of ringwork where, for the moment at least, it’s easy to ignore the logic loopholes and just lose yourself in the sheer thrill and drama of the match.

Ricochet winning is also the absolute right choice, since, much as I love me some Adam Cole, nothing’s really been done with the title since it was first introduced at TakeOver: New Orleans other than as decoration around Cole’s waist.  It’s time to elevate that belt and give it some action which is something Ricochet can absolutely be counted on to deliver.  As for Adam Cole, he can get the rematch out of the way and then move on to feuding with Alistair Black when the latter returns from being the victim of NXT’s equivalent of Who Shot Mr. Burns? since it was definitely him and the rest of Undisputed Era that (kayfabe) took Black out.  I mean, it’s that or Candace LaRae.

The Undisputed Era (c) vs. Moustache Mountain – NXT Tag Team Championship
EC3 vs. Velveteen Dream
Adam Cole (c) vs. Ricochet – NXT North American Championship
Shayna Baszler (c) vs. Kairi Sane – NXT Women’s Championship
Tommaso Ciampa (c) vs. Johnny Gargano – NXT Championship (Last Man Standing)

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