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Posted in: The Eternal Optimist
The Eternal Optimist Presents - A Summerslam Preview Spectacular - Part I: NXT Takeover Brooklyn
By Dave Fenichel
Aug 12, 2017 - 8:44:48 PM

Hi kids.

Summerslam is one week away, and I couldn’t be more excited. Many of you already know but some may not – The Doc and I are heading to both NXT Brooklyn and Summerslam. It should be a great time. The atmosphere surrounding this weekend over the past two years has been electric, and I cannot wait to be a part of it.

I have been knee deep in my column series ranking the previous Summerslam main events. As a result, I haven’t been able to write about the current product much. Now that the series has concluded, I am going to make up for lost time.

With that in mind, I’m going to drop a daily column for the next seven days detailing a different part of Summerslam weekend. As usual, I’ll be giving my ever-so-optimistic spin. Without further ado, here we go with part I:


Question of the Day: What match are you most looking forward to at Takeover and why?

The Eternal Optimist Presents – A Summerslam Preview Spectacular Part I: NXT Takeover.


I’m pretty excited for NXT Takeover Brooklyn. I went to an NXT House Show earlier this year and had a blast. It was my first experience with NXT live, and I’d highly recommend it to anyone. Attending an NXT Takeover has been high on my wrestling “To Do List” for a while now, so I’m ecstatic to be able to check that box off.

Much like Summerslam itself, this year’s version of NXT Takeover Brooklyn is lacking the “blockbuster” matches that previous editions have had. Nonetheless, I think we’re in for a very entertaining card. There are reasons to like each match on the show. Here we go:


Johnny Gargano v Andrade “Cien” Almas

Johnny Gargano is in an interesting position right now. He had been a key part of what was an amazing last twelve months for the NXT tag team division. The last NXT Takeover special ended with his tag team partner turning on him. It looked like Gargano and Ciampa’s rivalry was set to be the focal point of NXT going forward. Unfortunately for Gargano, Ciampa blew out his knee and Johnny Wrestling was left without a dance partner.

Alas, the fact that he’s paired with Cien Almas for Takeover this weekend should be encouraging. Almas is as reliable as they come. He is the guy on the roster that they pair you with when they want you to look good. The powers that be are putting Gargano in this match because they want to ensure that he continues to be showcased. I think it’s safe to say that this match will be the beginning of Gargano’s push up the card as a single’s star.

The Doc and I had an interesting conversation about Gargano recently. He looks to be the Sami Zayn of this group of NXT’ers. It’s unlikely that he ever sees any sustained success on the main roster, but he can be the guy that many NXT Takeovers are built around for a long time to come. This should be the first step in the right direction for him. I’m expecting a stellar effort between these two, and a convincing win for Gargano.


Aleister Black v Hideo Itami

This is the match that really sold me on this card. The original plan was for Itami to square off against Cassius Ohno. I couldn’t have cared less about that match. I’m sure that Chris Hero was something at some time, but he’s nothing in today’s landscape.

On the other hand, Aleister Black is a red-hot up and comer on the brand. He’s a much better worker than Ohno, and I’m expecting an excellent match out of these two. Make no mistake about it – Hideo Itami has been an absolute failure since he came over to the states. He’s been riddled with serious injuries, and his matches have been lackluster since he regained his health. He’s dangerously close to becoming irrelevant, if he’s not already there.

With that said, Hideo has long been considered one of if not the BEST worker in the world. Now that a lot of the pressure is off and expectations of him have been lowered, Saturday might be the night where he finally shows what all the hype was about. I have high hopes that this ends up being the match of the night. I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s amongst the best NXT matches all year. For that reason alone, I’m extremely excited to see it. My prediction? Aleister Black wins. He’s the rising star and the ship has probably sailed on Hideo.


The Authors of Pain v Sanity

This is the match on the show that I’m both looking forward to the least and have the lowest expectations for. It’s not through any fault of either team involved. With DIY, the Revival and American Alpha putting on absolute classics over the past twelve months and their subsequent departures from the NXT tag division, they left behind an impossible standard for the remaining tag teams to live up to.

Both The Authors of Pain and Sanity are solid, but their in-ring work is nowhere near the level of the abovementioned tag teams. In addition, the dynamics between the two teams don’t make for great entertainment. The Authors of Pain are absolute monsters and are generating a ton of heat. The problem is that when you have that dominant of a heel tag team, you need a face tag team to oppose them that the crowd wants to see overcome the odds and emerge victorious.

Sanity doesn’t fit the bill. They are tweeners at best that lean far more towards the heel side than face. A monster heel team v another borderline heel team doesn’t make for great storytelling. Nonetheless, the sheer size of both teams presents an opportunity for a change of pace here. I’d recommend this match go the route of Goldberg v Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 33. It should be hard hitting, contain some big spots, and be done in six minutes. It can work, but needs to be booked very carefully so as not to lose the crowd. AoP will retain, as Sanity isn’t the team to knock them off the mantle.


Asuka v Ember Moon

The reason for my anticipation in this match is obvious. Saturday looks like the night where Asuka’s undefeated reign of terror comes to an end. Her title run has been amazing and she’s been an absolute killer. Unfortunately, being that dominant has its price. You eventually run through all possible challengers, and the intrigue behind the outcome of your matches disappears. That’s where we are at with Asuka.

Ember Moon is literally the only female on the roster that has been established enough to take the title. We thought this would happen during their first encounter at NXT Takeover Orlando, but instead Asuka came out on top. As each subsequent NXT Takeover has been built up, we’ve continued to wonder when the trigger would be pulled on the rematch.

We finally have our answer. There is absolutely no way that this match is being booked with the intention for Asuka to go over a second time. Ember Moon is the future of the NXT Women’s Division. The future is now. This will mark the end of Asuka’s tenure in NXT, as she surely will move up to one of the main brands. This match could EASILY main event the show. Even if it doesn’t, Moon’s victory will be one of the incredible moments in a weekend sure to be filled with them.


Bobby Roode v Drew Galloway

I’m psyched for the main event for the same reason that I’m excited about the Women’s Title Match. I have no doubt in my mind that Bobby Roode’s incredible title run has reached its finale.

Much like with Asuka, Roode has run rough shot over everyone in NXT. He has turned back every challenger that has come across his path. Much like with Asuka, he’s run out of credible opponents. Much like with Asuka, he’s long overdue for a promotion to the main roster.

Enter Drew Galloway. Much like with Ember Moon, he’s the only guy on the roster credible enough to take the strap from Roode. He was moved along to the main event rather quickly. He wasn’t even featured in a match on the last NXT Takeover Special. He isn’t being hot shot to the main event to put over The Glorious One. If the intention was to use NXT Brooklyn to continue to make Roode look strong, his feud with Roderick Strong wouldn’t have been cut short without a PPV blow off match. It is obvious to me that NXT Takeover Brooklyn will mark the beginning of the Drew Galloway era.


Final Thoughts on NXT Takeover Brooklyn.

On paper, this show is lacking the five star caliber match that we’ve come to expect from previous NXT Takeovers. Nonetheless, I think NXT brings both quality and spectacle on Saturday. NXT Takeover Brooklyn appears to mark a changing of the guard. I’m expecting a pair of incredible moments resulting in the end of dominant title reigns, and a show that we will remember for a long time to come.

That’s a wrap kids. Tune in tomorrow for Part II of my Summerslam Spectacular Preview: The Pre Show. Thank you for reading. Sound off below!


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