NXT UK Takeover Blackpool
January 12 2019
This is the very first NXT UK Takeover show. It’s not a strong card, which is quite disappointing but at least in Pete Dunne WWE have a genuine flag bearer. Moustache Mountain have done a good job getting over in the USA too. The potential showstealer is Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks but they’ve done a pre-show angle where Trav has a knee injury.
Hosts are *blank looking American guy with pleasant demeanour* and Nigel McGuinness.
WWE NXT UK Tag Team Championship
Moustache Mountain vs. Zack Gibson & James Drake
New gear for Moustache Mountain; British Bulldogs inspired but still in line with a certain panache we expect from Tyler Bate.
To foreign audiences this is not a fresh match up at all but should be solid based on their previous encounters.
Shiny new belts on the line. The crowd is all fired up, dancing for Tyler and then taking their shoes off because they hate Gibson. Tyler Bate is your star here. He’s developed a new range of bridges and is so impressive; doing things you don’t think humans can do.
As with the match in the real NXT Trent gets isolated and worked over, giving off sympathy vibes while Tyler looks on concerned. An accidental cut over Seven’s ear adds to the atmosphere. Tyler eventually gets the hot tag and his offence is ideally suited to it. Especially the double airplane spin. From there the match loses structure a bit, deviating from the classic tag team formula. I like how they make it blatantly obvious that the GYV’s are going over and then Trent kicks out of the Helter Skelter/450 Splash combo. Drake probably shouldn’t have done that stupid little fist shake before pinning. The match gets a bit ragged and probably runs long but the crowd keep biting onto the near falls so it’s working. The Doomsday tope spot is amazing and it’s enough to eliminate Tyler from the finish so Ticket to Mayhem puts Trent away and the Grizzled Young Vets win the straps. Showstealing opener with great near falls and killer high spots to go with a great storyline regarding Moustache Mountain. Tyler constantly having to save his mate until the new champs kill him on the floor.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin
Devlin attacked Trav earlier and continues to assault his knee here giving this a very injury driven storyline. Travis is too hurt to wrestle so Devlin has a new match…
Jordan Devlin vs. Finn Balor
On paper this is a stunning prospect and an opportunity for Devlin to get as over here as he is on the Indies. Given their similar backgrounds this is a hard match to get into as they work similar styles. I like a bit of contrast in my contests. The weird thing is that Devlin looks by far the more complete worker. His bumps are better. He’s tidier all round. Of course Balor is a household name and having Devlin generally out wrestle him is a bonus for Jordan. Ultimately there’s nothing here to make Devlin as the star he’s been in Ireland over the last year, which is a pity and Balor wins with Coup de Grace.
Final Rating: ***
Shout out to Luke Menzies who’s at ringside. He cut his teeth on the UK Indies after capturing attention from WWE. He was in Florida but I guess he’s being relocated to the UK.
Eddie Dennis vs. Dave Mastiff
Nobody cares about either guy so they decide to go no DQ on this and do a load of plunder stuff.
Mastiff decides to throw caution to the wind, hoping for a herniated disc on WWE TV so he can cash those sweet, sweet medical paycheques. I jest, of course. Big Dave throwing caution to the wind is a lot of fun and he takes several sickening bumps considering his size. Those big flat backs are fine but a wind up urinage on the steps? Also Lucha Mastiff is quite the sight. Eddie pulls out a table, showing he either remembers nothing about Wembley or has blocked that experience out. On the plus side Mastiff is way heavier and will probably break the table by glancing at it. Cannonball through the table finishes for Mastiff. They tried hard here and certainly ended up winning the crowd over.
Final Rating: **3/4
NXT UK Women’s Championship
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm
Toni Storm legitimately hurt her back in the tournament leading to the women’s title. It’s a bit strange that WWE couldn’t even find one UK competitor for this UK Women’s title match, instead pitting an adopted Brit in Toni against a flat out Australian in Rhea.
The booking interests me as Toni is a logical ace who’s been champion everywhere she’s been but Rhea is clearly a WWE pet project here and her losing in her first major defence might be damaging. The match is passable. Rhea isn’t far enough along to do better and try as she might Toni can’t sell the back enough to drive the focus of the match. The match has decent pacing but Rhea is the wink link in spite of her coming in as the champ. Luckily her size and power advantage makes sense and gives Toni sufficient grounds to be the plucky underdog. This setting does take away from Toni at her aggressive best though. They also shoot high with both women kicking out of each others finishers. The match never feels that important. It’s critical that Toni grabs the hair before the finish to give Rhea an out. She can claim cheating. Storm Zero finishes.
Final Rating: ***1/2
WWE United Kingdom Championship
Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey
Pete has held the belt for 600 days and there’s not a lot left for him to do here. He’s been teased as being headed to America for a long time. NXT UK’s attempt to build him a significant challenger has led us to Joe Coffey. Nothing against Joe, he’s a solid hand, but do I rate him as one of the tippy top wrestlers in the UK? I do not. Pete is the more interesting guy and he’s the better wrestler. Throughout Pete is the one taking more interesting bumps and too often Coffey is off the pace. His whole approach is intensely mediocre. Dunne out does him with minimal effort and it’s only towards the conclusion that Coffey gets a little fired up and looks like a threat. The match rarely ever comes to life and at times is downright dull, which is surely not what WWE wanted from the situation. Basically Joe Coffey shouldn’t be here and everyone involved should have figured that out before the show. The spot where he charges into Dunne’s knee is dumb.
Then they try and play this as an epic with Coffey kicking out of the Bitter End and I’m not feeling it. The crowd are, which is bizarre to me but they’ve tried to be hot all night in spite of what they’ve been presented with. After the Bitter End kick out the match does feel more urgent, although that’s because beforehand it was a slog.
Eventually they have a narrative I can get behind. That Coffey tried to wear Dunne down but he failed and Pete has more in the tank than Coffey imagined. The trouble is that Joe’s execution is so patchy that he goes from being a legitimate challenge to being someone who’s a bit clunky who makes Pete look like shit. Including a tumble to the floor where they have to repeat the spot. Joe kicks out of the Bitter End again and then Pete breaks his fingers for the submission. Small joint locks are illegal in wrestling lads. This was boring, dumb and at times wildly entertaining. All at once in some sequences! The crowd biting on the match not being shit is what got me invested as they hit the stretch but it wasn’t a good match by any stretch of the imagination. I’ll give it points for efforts and then take them away for going 30 minutes.
Final Rating: ***1/4
POST MATCH: WALTER arrives and dismisses shitty Joe Coffey back to the midcard.
The show started so hot that it felt like a special night and then it just wasn’t. Everything after the first match felt unimportant until WALTER strolled out here. Underwhelming if you were expecting the usual NXT level.