NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 results, recap, grades: Two title changes and an epic main event
Surprise, surprise: NXT TakeOver delivered once again from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn
BROOKLYN, N.Y. -- As they do five nights a year, the superstars of NXT once again put on an amazing show at TakeOver, this time the fourth incarnation in Brooklyn. With two massive title changes, five tremendous matches and a main event that will have wrestling fans talking for ages, Saturday night's NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 is one that will be remembered for quite some time.
Let's jump right to the results from the latest NXT TakeOver. Be sure to keep on scrolling after reading the grades for our live feed during the show, including additional highlights and screen shots from the event. CBS Sports will cover WWE SummerSlam 2018 live on Sunday night. Be sure to check back in with us all day long and throughout the entire show.
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NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 results, grades
NXT Tag Team Championship -- Undisputed Era (c) def. Mustache Mountain to retain the titles: Talk about a hot opener. Then talk about an even hotter crowd. In an epic title match in which it felt like those inside Barclays Center were attempting to will it to the level of five stars, Roderick Strong and Kyle O'Reilly retained their belts following a whirlwind finish. The storytelling continued to shine in this trilogy of matches as Trent Seven threatened once again to throw in the towel as teammate Tyler Bate was on the wrong end of a leg lock from O'Reilly but instead tossed it into the crowd before nearly rallying to victory.
Bate produced the biggest pop of the night when his run of spectacular moves produced a standing ovation and nearly a victory after a Tyler Driver 97 on Strong produced a two count. Bate also popped the crowd earlier by showing his tremendous strength by holding up Strong to spin him as he carried O'Reilly on his back before German suplexing both of them. The finish came when Strong knocked Bate out of the ring with a knee to the head. They then went High-Low with a superkick and leg sweep on Seven to get the pin. During their celebration, the crowd booed lustily as the War Raiders snuck up from behind to take out The Undisputed Era and hit a tandem leg drop on Strong from the top rope. Grade: A-
Velveteen Dream def. EC3 via pinfall: Let the Dream's path to stardom continue. At just 22, Dream continued to show why he just might be a future WrestleMania main event talent in waiting by outlasting EC3 in a battle of big high spots and showcasing his brash persona and creative charisma. Dream entered the ring wearing tights and a jacket that were largely a tribute to the late rapper and Brooklyn native the Notorious B.I.G. But the words "Call me up Vince" written on the backside of his tights produced the biggest pop as he used his clothes to get the attention of WWE chairman Vince McMahon (and later mocked Triple H's famous water spit after pouring a bottle over the head of EC3).
The match paired two bombastic personalities but ultimately failed to deliver consistently despite a series of big spots late which included a superplex from EC3 and a Dream Valley Driver on the apron by Dream followed by the Purple Rainmaker elbow from the top rope and onto the apron. Dream rolled EC3 into the ring to land the 1-2-3 and earn a huge pop from the crowd in this rare battle between heels. Grade: B-
Matt Riddle joins NXT: After the match, the Brooklyn crowd let out a wild ovation as independent star and former UFC fighter Matt Riddle found his ringside seat before the cameras panned his way on the broadcast.
NXT North American Championship -- Ricochet def. Adam Cole (c) via pinfall to win the title: What a night, what a finish and what a rising star NXT has on its hands in Ricochet. With if the drama and intensity inside the Barclays Center already at a fever pitch thanks to the start of the card, Ricochet found a way to raise it even higher as he captured his first title since joining WWE and did so thanks to a series of absurdly athletic moves. Attempting to list them all would be a futile attempt but Ricochet's sublime creativity was perfectly offset by the facial expressions and technique of Cole in yet another match which made a run at the best of the night.
Ricochet wowed the crowed early with a corkscrew tope onto the floor. Shortly after, he hit a standing moosnault before landing a twisting one off the top rope for two. But Cole rallied and thought he had the match won after a lionsault attempt from Ricochet was met with a stiff kick to the face. Cole then hit an ushigoroshi and the Last Shot for two as the crowd exploded and Cole was left shaking his head in disbelief. A stiff exchange of kicks in the center of the ring later brought a "Mama Mia!" chant from the crowd as a tribute to NXT announcer Mauro Ranallo.
The insane finish came after Cole rolled out of the ring with a smile on his face to prevent Ricochet from hitting his finishing move off the top rope. But as Cole stood up with a smile, Ricochet ran across the ring and leaped over the top rope to hit a spectacular hurricanrana from the apron to the floor. After throwing Cole into the ring, Ricochet hit his 630 splash off the top rope for the pin to become the new champion. Grade: A
NXT Women's Championship -- Kairi Sane def. Shayna Baszler (c) via pinfall to win the title: Each time it seemed that Sane was on the verge of having her moment, Baszler had a stiff reversal to crush her hopes. Then, when it mattered most, Sane had one of her own. In a match that escalated from average to spectacular over a short period of time in the second half, Sane and Baszler combined to produce a standing ovation following a match that was soaked in drama, intensity and passion. Much of what made this match great was the storytelling and tiny attention to detail, which included entertaining bullying from Baszler early on as she routinely mocked Sane's sailor mannerisms while systematically working over her leg.
Sane's seemingly best chance at victory came up empty, however, when she hit a spear and a second-rope elbow to Baszler's back. Sane then climbed to the top rope but after Baszler deftly rolled outside the ring, Sane hit a splash onto the floor and then her big elbow finisher inside the ring for a wild near fall. After Sane applied her Anchor finisher, Baszler reversed into a Kirifuda Clutch and nearly forced Sane to pass out before she dramatically extended her hand to the rope to break it. One final attempt at Sane's top-rope elbow saw Baszler stick up two feet for a stiff shot to the face. But Sane instantly reserved Baszler's Kirifuda Clutch into a pinning combination to set off an explosion of cheers. Grade: B+
NXT Championship (Last Man Standing) -- Tommaso Ciampa (c) def. Johnny Gargano to retain the title: From the standpoint of drama, attention to detail and physicality, the Ciampa-Gargano soap opera just might be the best piece of storytelling going in wrestling today. The third chapter in the current singles feud between the former NXT tag team champions (not counting their one-off in the 2016 Cruiserweight Classic) left the crowd speechless thanks to the shocking ending. With one hand handcuffed to a video screen on the stage and Gargano incapacitated, Ciampa rolled off the stage with one second left in the referee's 10 count to avoid a double countout and retain his title simply because the handcuff kept him standing.
The commitment NXT continues to show in making this epic blood feud a consistent main event has been incredible, especially considering it was forced to shift plans last minute after former champion Aleister Black's recent injury forced him out of what would've been a triple threat match. Instead, this last man standing match had all the big spots one might expect in terms of violence. But it also was fueled by a maniacal amount of next-level intensity from both wrestlers and creative ideas including the padding on the ring being removed and Ciampa being super kicked through a pair of tables stacked on top of one another (including one that was upside down).
The finish saw the storytelling pushed to the next level after Gargano handcuffed Ciampa to the video screen but hesitated in finishing him off as his bitter enemy begged for mercy and apologized profusely. Eventually, Gargano decided to proceed forward and after removing his knee brace, hit a running knee but spilled off the stage and onto a table, knocking himself out. The best part of the finish was how it leaves open room for yet another match in this epic rivalry. Grade: A
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 analysis, highlights
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