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NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III: Asuka vs. Ember Moon play-by-play

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The big fight feel is real in the Barclay’s Center as the greatest streak in WWE history will either continue or be broken on NXT’s most prestigious stage.

Ember Moon, the challenger, a former 3-time AIW Women’s Champion and accomplished star in her own right entered first sporting green eyes and appropriate warrior armor. She’s ready for a battle and a chance to dethrone the NXT Women’s Champion after returning from an injury that kept her from her first attempt at the title. The Moonlighters, Ember’s fans, are ready to see the American eclipse come two days early.

Asuka, the Empress of Tomorrow, the woman with the longest championship reign in the company’s post-national expansion era made her way to the ring sporting a golden mask and majestic head-dress. This event marks Asuka’s 504th day as champion, her second NXT Takeover: Brooklyn as champion, and a record 10th appearance in a Takeover event.  

I have had no trepidation in stating, this is what I’ve been waiting for. The champion is literally writing history in the ring. This is what main events are all about, yet, sadly, the match is before Roode vs. McIntyre.  Judging on entrances and crowd hype alone, the guys are going to have to work really hard to match the caliber of the NXT Women’s Title match.

Introductions are made and Asuka fabulously passes off her belt for the referee to present.  It’s finally time.  The bell rings and Ember Moon immediately hits Asuka with a dropkick, wasting no time at all.

Moon continues putting the pressure on Asuka with strikes, suplexes, and a baseball slide to the outside. The challenger climbs to the top rope and hits a beautiful senton to Asuka, but the tables turn as the champ jams Moon into the steel steps. Asuka then puts Ember down with a hard suplex on the steel entrance ramp, seeming to aggravate Ember’s shoulder injury. Asuka brings Ember in before the count out and goes to work on the injured arm. This type of focused aggression is what makes the champion so effective. A sickening STO and a methodical breakdown of Ember’s shoulder in the ring are absolutely cringe worthy. Asuka’s dominance and arrogance are one of a kind. 

Ember finally finds some offense in a series of kicking strikes and a perfectly executed enziguri. Asuka ends her momentum full stop with a nasty Germany suplex into the turnbuckle. The champ then looks for the Asuka Lock that has won her so many matches, but Ember reverses, attempting her own version of the submission hold. The assault quickly returns to Moon’s arm. A sick reversal and a big lariat finally slows down Asuka for a moment. The champ has never appeared so desperate as she digs and finds two running hip attacks for Ember.

A thunderous tornado suplex from the 2nd turnbuckle puts Asuka in a dangerous position. An exchange of strikes level the playing field for a moment as Ember tries to readjust for her wounded arm. Ember pulls a desperate fall away sidewalk slam. Moon gears up for a top rope attempt, using her patented high risk offense, only to nearly be superplexed. Fortunately, she turns the attempt into a killer impact stomp in the corner. Out of nowhere, Moon hits Asuka with the Eclipse, her version of a corkscrew stunner, from the top turnbuckle, and it looks like we may have a new champion right then and there. Somehow Asuka kicks, but it’s definitely the closest we’ve ever seen her to defeat.  

Asuka hides behind the referee as Moon climbs to the top turnbuckle yet again, but the ref is in the way of a second Eclipse attempt. Asuka rolls Ember on the mat trying to steal a win by pulling Moon’s trunks. Luckily the referee is on his game and catches the champ’s desperate maneuver, quickly ending the count. Ember comes up with a killer superkick, and you don’t get any closer to a three count without winning the match. A near fall exchange shakes the arena that culminates with an Asuka lock reversal.  The challenger is caught dead center of the ring in the brutal submission hold.  Moon is forced to tap and the champion retains.

The epic reign continues, but I’ve never seen Asuka come so close to a loss in the ring. This was a big time fight and all eyes should be on what comes next as the most historic streak goes on. Who can possibly dethrone Asuka if not Ember Moon? Even though she didn’t win the match, Moon received a massive standing ovation from the NXT universe. She seems to have a special gift for turning the crowd around from barely interested to fully engaged. These two competitors are outstanding, and it’s going to be interesting to see where they go from here.

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