NXT Takeover UK Blackpool 2019 Review

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Grizzled Young Veterans defeat Mustache Mountain to become the First NXT UK Tag Team Champions @23:47 ****3/4
  • Finn Balor defeats Jordan Devlin @11:24 ***3/4
  • Dave Mastiff defeats Eddie Dennis in a No DQ Match @10:49 ****1/4
  • Toni Storm defeats Rhea Ripley to win the NXT UK Women’s Title @14:49 ***1/4

 

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Moustache Mountian vs. Grizzled Young Vets to Crown the First NXT UK Tag Team Champions:

  • Moustache Mountian waring tribute attire to the British Bulldogs. 
  • Really beautiful belts are unveiled. 
  • Tyler Bate and Zack Gibson start the match. 
  • “Shoes off if you hate Gibson” chants happens and delivers another reason why the UK crowd is the best regardless of in Progress or here. 
  • Great chain wrestling from Tyler Bate and Zack Gibson, Gibson tags in Drake but Bate escapes isolation. 
  • Trent Seven tags in and him and James Drake standoff.
  • Tyler Bate flips over Seven to senton onto Drake, Bate gains some momentum but Gibson pulls Drake to ringside to half the momentum. 
  • High Cross Body by Seven gets a pop because of the history of that move in Progress retiring Doug Williams, hits on Gibson for the first near fall.
  • Great low suicide dive by Seven takes out Drake ringside. Trent seems to have tweaked his elbow, Seven chases Drake but Gibson catches him with a lariat knocking Seven down.
  • Grizzled Young Vets isolate Seven and hit him with a diving sidewalk elbow ringside, Gibson rolls Seven back in and continues to isolate Seven with Drake. Drake caught Seven with a stiff discus elbow that busts him open hard way. Tyler Bate begins to look worried on the apron. Draka and Seven strikefest ringside and Seven tries to go for the tag to Bate again but Drake pulls him in with a heel hook. Seven flies over Gibson to tag in Bate. 
  • Amazing hot tag by Tyler Bate with the crowd excited as hell. 
  • Airplane Spin by Bate to Drake into an insane double airplane spin with Drake and Gibson on his shoulders. The crowd keeps the amazing intensity. 
  • Exploder Suplex by Bate off the apron to Drake sending him into Gibson ringside, Bate hits a Standing Shooting Star off the apron to the Vets and pulls in Gibson to attempt the Tyler Driver 97 but fails. 
  • Running Powerslam/Flying Headbutt combo by MM pays homage to the British Bulldogs for a great near fall. 
  • Bate dives out to Drake ringside, Seven hits a Buring Hammer to Gibson for a great near fall save by Drake. 
  • RollUp Batte between Bate and Drake gets a really near fall on Tyler. 
  • Gibson catches Tyler Bate off the rebound lariat with a Ticket to Ride codebreaker, Helter Skelter/450 Splash combo for the Vets hits and they get a great near fall with an insane crowd pop. 
  • Shankly Gates by Gibson locked in on Seven and the tweaked elbow, Drake stops Bate from getting to the save by locking in a Shankly Gates of his own on Tyler. Bate deadlifts up Drake and Death Valley Drivers him into Gibson to end the great double submission sequence. 
  • Rebound Lariat/German Suplex combo by MM on Drake for a crazy good near fall.
  • “Fight Forever” Chants. 
  • Doomsday Suicide Dive by GYV is one of the best dive spots I’ve ever seen. Trent Seven goes for a suicide dive but Drake catches him with a dropkick. 
  • Ticket to Mayhem in-ring by GYV to Seven closes the match. 

Winners: Grizzled Young Veterans First Champions @23:47!

Rating: ****3/4, Peak Tag Team work from some of the best in the game right now. The match built around a great layout on the isolation of Seven building the match up until the insane hot tag by Bate which unglued the match as it diverged into chaos. Mustache Mountain did some of their normal spots but Bate included an insane double airplane spin and the heel work of GYV was amazing. Nothing was better than the Doomsday Suicide Dive from GYV in this match either as that’s probably my favorite spot of the year so far. 

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Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin:

  • A video was shown of a brawl earlier today in which Banks injured his knee. Devlin and Banks brawl before their match and Devlin brutally works Travis’ knee.
  • Jordan Devlin grabs a microphone and cuts a heel promo and calls himself the Greatest Irish Wrestler Alive. You know who is coming out right now. 

Jordan Devlin vs. Finn Balor:

  • Insane pop for Finn Balor like the pop of the year material type. 
  • The tension is in the air big time between the mentor and mentee showdown.
  • Devlin tries to leave but Balor brings him back and hits a running forearm ringside. 
  • Devlin kicks the ropes to low blow Balor to knock him off the apron.
  • Double Stomp by Devlin gets boos as he makes fun of Balor and does his signature taunt.
  • Dropkick by Devlin catches Balor on the top rope and Finn takes a rough tumble hitting the apron going to the outside, Balor gets back in at 9. 
  •  Stiff chops by Balor but Devlin fires back with some of his own, Devlin catches Balor with an uranage/standing moonsault combo for the first near fall. 
  • Strike sequence begins and a Pele Kick from Balor puts both down. 
  • Bloody Sunday Driver by Finn Balor for a near fall. 
  • Devlin catches Balor running with a superkick and follows it up with tight Saito Suplex for a near fall. 
  • Devlin keeps Balor down with kicks as he talks trash to Finn and the audience, great heel work. Balor gets him down and turns up the aggression with stomps in the corner. 
  • Running Penalty Kick off the apron by Balor follows by a Coup D’Grace attempt, Devlin runs into the top rope to take him down and rolls him up with his feet on the ropes for a great near fall. 
  • Diving Moonsault by Devlin but Balor gets his knees up. 
  • Balor hits a shotgun dropkick and follows it up with a successful Coup D’Grace for the win. 

Winner: Finn Balor @11:42!

Rating: ***3/4, A really good hard-hitting and high-flying encounter from two wrestlers with very similar looks and styles but the main thing separating them was Devlin’s great heel work selling the dynamic of being the disgraced mentee and Finn Balor being a great bold babyface who got insane crowd support. The match ran at a solid pace and momentarily kicked into top gear with some solid near falls and big moves but the star of the show was how big the match felt. Jordan Devlin really deserves to be the flagship of NXT UK however I feel like he will always be in the shadow of Balor which made me disappointed that he caught the loss in clean fashion in this match. 

20181231_nxttakeoveruk_blackpool_mastiffdennis-0a4aa3c18ce6ddb119627544b75559d0-e1547076531779Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis No DQ:

  • Strikefest out of the gates between the two big guys, Mastiff catches Dennis with a high crossbody. 
  • Mastiff grabs steel steps and brings them in-ring, Dennis rolls ringside and grabs a kendo stick and hits Mastiff twice. 
  • Dennis removes the ringside padding but goes back in-ring to continue clobbering Mastiff with the kendo. 
  • Mastiff catches the kendo stick and turns the tables and hits Dennis with some hard strikes with the kendo, powerbomb by Mastiff takes down Dennis.
  • Dennis catches Mastiff running and shows incredible strength lifting up Dennis and swinging him uranage-style into the steel steps, great spot. 
  • Dennis grabs a steel chair but misses the shot, Mastiff hits him with a rolling slam. Mastiff climbs to the middle rope but Dennis deadlifts him into the Crucifix Bomb and hits it for another great show of strength for a good near fall.
  • Eddie brings in a table while the crowd comes unglued for the table but Dennis can’t do anything with it.
  • Rolling Slam/Running Senton by Mastiff to Dennis on the exposed floor from earlier 
  • Insane split legged moonsault attempt for Mastiff misses. Neck Stop Driver by Dennis hits and gets an incredibly close near fall. 
  • Dennis gets Mastiff on the middle rope and goes for the Crucifix Bomb through the table in the corner but Mastiff rolls off. They club each other with lariats but Dave catches Eddie with a German Suplex.
  • Insane running cannonball by Mastiff sends Dennis through the table and closes the match. 

Winner: Dave Mastiff @10:49!

Rating: ****1/4, These two big dudes just hit each other really hard for 10 minutes. Dennis showed some incredible strength and Mastiff worked the hardcore style really well. This was a smartly worked match with some great spots like the combo onto the exposed floor by Mastiff and the Swinging Uranage by Dennis onto the steps. Big dudes clobbering the hell out of each other on a good pace is always good but throw in two guys who match their size with athleticism and some weapons for some good measure it makes a more than worthwhile 10 minutes.

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Rhea Ripley(c) vs. Toni Storm for the NXT UK Women’s Title:

  • Toni Storm’s first big match back since her photo scandal. It is great to see her shrug it off and step back into the spotlight unphased. 
  • Storm chases Ripley around the ring but eventually catches her with a suicide dive.
  • Ripley begins to dominate and keeps Storm down with stomps in the corner. Ripley gets Storm back in the middle of the ring and keeps her down with a body scissors hold, Storm hits Ripley with forearms to escape but Ripley slams Storm with a stalling Vertical Suplex for the first near fall. 2 Bodyslams by Ripley for another near fall. Ripley has been dominate for 3 minutes now but Ripley goes for the Cloverleaf and Storm kicks her off into the post. 
  • Ripley takes Storm down with a dropkick for a near fall and gets back to dominating. 2 Leg Drops consecutively by Ripley for another near fall. Headbutt by Storm catches Ripley running and both are laid out. 
  • Strikefest gets fast as both send strikes at 100 MPH but it slows down then speeds up again, German Suplex by Storm but she holds on and hits the 2nd one then holds on again but Ripley fights out of a 3rd. Storm goes for Storm Zero but fails, Ripley goes for RipTide but Storm shifts her weight to come down on Rhea for a near fall. 
  • Inverted Cloverleaf by Ripley applied on the weakened lower back on Storm, Toni fights out and applies an Ankle Lock but Ripley gets to the ropes.
  • Cannonball in the corner followed by a 3rd German Suplex into a Bridge by Storm for a near fall. 
  • Storm looks desperate as she starts to strike at Ripley but Rhea slams her down and follows it up with a RipTide for a very close near fall. 
  • Arm Control Lariats by Ripley 2 hit but Storm counters it with a headbutt and hits Storm Zero successfully for a great near fall.
  • RipTide fails as Storm flies over and hits Storm Zero to close the match. 

Winner: Toni Storm New Champion @14:49!

Rating: ***1/4, While much of the match was slow and Ripley was dominating there was a very good story in Storm beating the odds and becoming champion. Storm looked amazing for her first match back from her troubles and Ripley played a great dominant heel but Storm kept fighting with some great near falls and the speed gradually increasing over time. The match was played out really well but lacked some of the drama it could’ve had and the crowd seemed the least invested for this match of any tonight but that still means the crowd played a big role because this crowd is amazing. 

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Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey for the NXT UK Championship:

  • In my opinion, this is Dunne’s first formidable challenger in the 600 days he has held the title. He’s kind of been a flagship champion in a company that didn’t exist for a while so now that the company exists he actually has to act like a champion. 
  • Staredown as soon as the bell rings and they start the collar and elbow tie up with aggression. 
  • Coffey absorbs a forearm strike from Dunne and they go back to the stand-off, Dunne gets Coffey down and wrenches on the fingers. Very solid technical start to the match. Dunne gets in an inverted Figure 4, Coffey escapes by grabbing in a headlock and bringing Dunne to his feet. Coffey catches Dunne running and brings him back to the mat to trade submissions. Discus Lariat by Coffey sends a warning shot to Dunne but clearly misses.
  • Dunne lays out Coffey with a side lariat and gets in the Regal Stretch on Coffey but Joe grabs the ropes. 
  • Coffey pops up Dunne but Pete comes back down and tries to get in the Bodyscissors Kimura, Coffey gets Dunne into a stalling vertical suplex but Pete rolls back into the Bodyscissors Kimura, Float Over suplex by Coffey gets Dunne off finally.
  • Coffey throws Dunne to ringside and he clips his head on the apron on the way out. Dunne flips off the steps over Coffey and hits an enzugiri ringside. Pop-up Bodyslam by Coffey slams Dunne onto the ramp. Joe lets the ref count Dunne out but Pete fights to get back in. 
  • Backbreaker/Sidewalk slam combo by Coffey for the first near fall.
  • Coffey begins to dominate and locks in a bearhug but Dunne fights out and regains the match. 
  • Belly to Belly suplex by Coffey for a near fall. 
  • Great forearm by Dunne knocks Coffey into the corner, Dunne flips off the top rope over Coffey and hits an enzugiri. German Suplex by Coffey but Dunne flips off that too and hits a snap kick to a kneeling Coffey. Amazing moonsault off the corner to the outside by Dunne takes out Coffey with precision. 
  • Stiff elbow by Coffey catches Dunne back in-ring but Dunne reverses into an Explex for a near fall and both are laid out. 
  • Dunne flips over Coffey off the top rope again but Coffey fires back with a diving crossbody, Coffey hits a powerbomb for a near fall. Dunne is starting to sell a back injury. 
  • Piledriver Bend hold by Coffey which is really innovative but he transfers it into a Boston Crab wrenching the hurt back of Dunne, Joe steps on Pete’s head and he looks to be knocked out but Coffey still has the hold in Dunne wakes back up to grab the bottom rope.
  • Dunne wrenches the fingers of Coffey but he holds on as the two tradeoff headbutts until both get knocked down great strike sequence. 
  • German Suplex by Dunne but Coffey gets back up immediately, Pete catches him with a Koji Clutch, Coffey deadlifts Dunne up for a Tombstone attempt but Pete rolls through and locks in an Ankle Lock, Coffey gets back up and drops Dunne with a German Suplex. 
  • Coffey flies at Dunne for a spear but Pete knocks him with a knee strike. Diving Crossbody attempt by Coffey caught mid-air with a forearm strike. Bitter End by Pete Dunne hits for a great near fall.
  • Coffey sends Dunne into the post on the apron and hits a Powerbomb on the apron with Coffey driving himself into the apron too, crazy spot. Both get in at the ring count of like 9 3/4.
  • Coffey sends strikes to a downed Dunne but Pete grabs his arms and strikes on his head from the ground then gets him down and continues to stomp away as the crowd becomes unglued again. Pop-up uppercut by Coffey, enzugiri by Dunne, and Coffey finally hits the Discus Lariat for an amazing near fall and both stay down as the crowd gives a standing ovation. 
  • Another Discus Lariat from Coffey is caught by Dunne as he pulls him to the ground and tries to work the fingers but Dunne gets in a triangle, Coffey pulls Dunne up and to the top rope. Dunne keeps in the triangle on the top rope but Coffey lifts him up and super swinging powerbombs him. Amazing innovative spot. 
  • Both stare down from opposite corners as the crowd erupts and they strike off in the middle of the ring, they strike each other into the ropes until they’re exhausted. 
  • Pop-up German Suplex off the corner by Coffey for a great near fall. 
  • Coffey keeps striking at a downed Dunne, Coffey went for the Bitter End but Dunne reverses with a DDT. Dunne hits a Bitter End but can’t immediately capitalize as Coffey rolls away from the one-arm pin. 
  • Discus Lariat by Coffey from the apron to Dunne in-ring. They climb to the top rope but Dunne pushes Coffey to the outside. Coffey gets back up though and hits a Discus Lariat ringside. Bitter End uranage in-ring by Coffey for another great near fall. 
  • Coffey climbs to the top rope again and they pull each other both to the outside into the barricade.
  • Ducking Discus Lariat by Dunne hits and he follows it up with another Bitter End for an amazing near fall.
  • Dunne taps out Coffey with the finger wrench to end the incredible match.

Winner: Pete Dunne New Champion @34:12!

Rating: *****, Yeah okay this wasn’t a perfect match. The botch towards the end is not as close to as bad as people are saying it is. Coffey falling off the top rope is absolutely no big deal and it looked like Dunne pushed him and they shrugged it off and continued the incredible incredible match. There’s so much to talk about, this was an all-around amazing technical, striking, and high-flying match with too many amazing spots to talk about. The crowd was incredible here too adding so much intensity and urgency to the breakneck speed these guys were going. The near falls were absolutely bloody incredible and both sold the match as it was a life or death scenario. I like this better than Dunne vs. Bate from Takeover Chicago, and all Progress matches other than Walter vs. Tyler Bate that I’ve seen so far. Also, might be a bit of a stretch but I also like this better than Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi. This was a more entertaining and electrifying match than the Wrestle Kingdom main event even though that meant much more to the wrestling landscape in 2019. Incredible work and sets the tone for NXT UK to run wrestling in 2019. Progress, the ball is in your court. 

Show Grade: A-

Last Word: As an idea, I don’t love NXT UK as a promotion. WWE doesn’t need to create more content as they are right now with the Main Roster and 205 Live and NXT US they are stretching themselves too thin. Also, NXT UK kills a promotion I love in Progress, WWE takes their main wrestlers like Walter and British Strong Style and forces Progress to almost die in silence unless they can find a new wave of talent that can have banger matches and not want WWE money just yet. However, the wrestling fan in me is willing to forgive sin if it is to be for a good wrestling future. This show made me forgive NXT UK for what they have done to the UK scene and WWE itself. Starting off, the show had one of the tightest cards I’ve seen in a while with every match delivering quality which is what we’ve come to expect from a Triple H produced show. Coffey vs. Dunne is my MOTY so far, GYV vs. Mustache Mountain is one of the peak tag matches I’ve ever seen, and the rest of the card delivered fun moments like Balor’s appearance, Dennis vs. Mastiff, and Storm winning the title coming back from adversity. Truly, an incredible show for the risks it took, however, it doesn’t rank in the top Takeovers from 2018 which is just a testament to how good NXT US is. Hopefully, NXT UK doesn’t stretch NXT US too thin and suicide both companies. 

 

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