Roderick Strong def. Eric Young
Strong moving into the role Tye Dillinger previously held of going up against SAnitY all by himself makes much more sense than the playing field being even given his whole "Roddy vs. World" gimmick. It was refreshing to see him attack Killian Dane and Alexander Wolfe before the bout and then contest a pretty good match with Young. I've never been the biggest fan of Young in the ring, but he fared well here and this was probably Strong's best match in NXT to date. Those video packages highlighting his family from a few weeks ago have definitely paid off and I'm happy he finally has direction.
Pete Dunne def. Tyler Bate to Win the WWE United Kingdom Championship
I knew we would be in for a great match after the instant classic they had in the finals of the WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament earlier this year, but this exceeded all expectations and then some in being absolutely exceptional. Honestly, we might have a new Match of the Year (so far) on our hands. Bate and Dunne have such strong chemistry together and each stellar spot had me on the edge of my seat. The crowd ate everything up and provided this match with an electric atmosphere. Dunne winning was the right move, and now he can reek havoc on the rest of the division. Seriously, seek this out if you haven't already seen it.
NXT Women's Champion Asuka def. Ruby Riot and Nikki Cross in a Triple Threat MAtch
While this wasn't the best NXT Women's Championship match of all-time, they were in a tough spot following the phenomenal U.K. title match. Nevertheless, this was a solid match with all three women having nice showings. It fell victim to the standard Triple Threat formula with one of them staying on the outside at all times, but other than that, I enjoyed it. Obviously, Asuka needed to retain the title so she can face off in a rematch with Ember Moon at TakeOver: Brooklyn 3.
NXT Champion Bobby Roode def. Hideo Itami
Itami didn't receive a ton of television time prior to TakeOver since returning to NXT, so he wasn't the most beloved babyface in this bout, but he delivered his greatest performance in the performance to date. The match started out slightly slow, but they told a spectacular story with Itami desperate to hit Roode with a GTS and fighting valiantly against the arrogant champion. Roode winning clean was a pleasant surprise and the right move considering Itami is likely out of the title picture with Roode defending against fresh faces for the rest of his reign.
NXT Tag Team Champions Authors of Pain def. #DIY in a Ladder Match
It's interesting to note that Authors of Pain were the only homegrown talent on this show, and although they aren't amazing quite yet, they are capable of holding their own and having above-average matches with the right opponents. The string of matches they've had with #DIY this year have been superb and this was no exception as they went all out with some of the spots they pulled off. The David vs. Goliath dynamic once again worked in their favor and there was plenty of suspense down the stretch. Authors of Pain successfully defending the straps was a bit of a letdown... until Ciampa turned on Gargano when fans least expected it (the graphic going up before it happened was a cool touch) and executed this outstanding attack on his now former friend. That should be a hell of a program heading into the summer.
I've been digging NXT since right after TakeOver: Orlando and this was the perfect way to continue the brand's hot momentum. Not all out of the outcomes were crowd-pleasing (four out of five heels won) and it was more of a placeholder show, but that doesn't take away from how excellent the event was. The in-ring action on the fantastic and I'd argue it was the strongest all around TakeOver since TakeOver: Brooklyn 2. This special also left us with several questions as well that should make for compelling programming in the months ahead.
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