Tonight saw another matchup made for Takeover: Brooklyn III and a face-off between NXT Champion Bobby Roode and his next challenger. Danny Burch and Oney Lorcan also took the crowd on another intense ride, and the Street Profits finally made their debut.
What Was Best
Last year at Takeover: Brooklyn, Andrade Cien Almas was essentially a jobber to the stars. He did the honors for Bobby Roode that night, putting over The Glorious One in Roode’s NXT in-ring debut. Almas continued to flounder for much of the past year, but the arrival of Zelina Vega has helped give the Almas character some purpose over the last couple of months.
In kayfabe, we know Almas as a very talented wrestler who is more concerned with clubbing than wrestling, likely holding himself back from accomplishing greater things. Vega, for whatever reason, has gotten in Almas’s head in a very beneficial way. She brings discipline and a mean streak out of Almas that we haven’t seen. As a result is Almas looks more threatening than he’s ever been and must be taken seriously as a legitimate contender.
After defeating No Way Jose on Wednesday, we saw Vega demand a match for Almas against Johnny Gargano, who set his sights on a Brooklyn match earlier in the episode without an opponent. And just like that, we have another intriguing matchup set for Takeover.
One minor detail I especially liked was Vega referring to Almas as her “associate.” We still haven’t gotten an explanation of what their relationship is exactly or what exactly compels Almas to listen to Vega, and this only adds to the intrigue. The use of “associate” somewhat dismisses the possibility that they’re romantically linked, though it doesn’t diminish it entirely. And the way their characters act certainly don’t suggest that.
Regardless, this is one of the best benefits of NXT’s one-hour weekly format – it leaves you wanting more. Nearly everything is a time-necessitated slow burn, which is not exactly afforded to the weekly three-hour broadcast of Raw, or even the two-hour Smackdown broadcasts.