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Hawke’s NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool Review

January 14, 2019 | Posted by TJ Hawke
WALTER NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool
5
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Hawke’s NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool Review  

My list of Five Star Matches.

My reviews of every G1 Climax Final.

My (ongoing) reviews of all Wrestlemania Main Events

 

January 12, 2019
Blackpool, Lancashire, England, UK

Commentators: Nigel McGuinness & Vic Joseph

 

James Drake & Zack Gibson vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)

This was for the UK Tag Team Championship.

They probably had 15-18 minutes worth of story here told over the course of 30 minutes or so. It may not seem obvious on first glance because the idea of NXT:UK is still fresh enough that the fans were mostly hot from beginning to end.

The structure of the match was largely formulaic. Bate and Seven had some success early on. The heels got the advantage for the bit. Then there was this back-and-forth stretch that took up the majority of the contest. With lots of kickouts. It was all fine obviously. Bate is one of the most gifted wrestlers in the world, and the other three were doing their best to deliver the performance of the lifetime. These guys are just the wrong combination to work a match like this.

This type of epic tag team wrestling was (and often is) done with the best of intentions and can be received well by the crowd (as it was here), but there really was not anything in here that could not have been done better in half of the time. (**3/4)

 

Finn Balor vs. Jordan Devlin

This was supposed to be Devlin vs. Travis Banks. Devlin had attacked Banks in the hotel earlier in the day though. That caused Banks to jump Devlin on the ramp during the latter’s entrance. The brawl that ensued led to Devlin injuring Banks’ knee and the match being cancelled…only for Johnny Saint to provide a new opponent for Devlin.

Balor and Balor Jr. are both perfectly fine professional wrestlers. They are incredibly limited though in very similar ways which basically means they need the right opponents to shine their best. A clone of one another is not the correct answer to the “right opponent” quandary.

The match itself was solid though despite it having a very basic in story and execution. Balor ran wild a tad. Devlin cut him off and acted like a jerk. Closing sequence. WWE main roster guy goes over UK roster guy on UK show. Aight.

Balor has really gotten this whole WWE thing figured out. He’s just gotta do his cool entrance, simple music that fans interact with, flash his abs, highlight his hog, John Woo kick, tope con hilo (if the match is getting taped), and the ghetto stomp. It’s a great way to make a living. (***)

 

Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis

This was a no disqualification match.

There was once a point in the somewhat early 2010s where it seemed like Mastiff was one of the best prospects in the UK scene due the combination of his size, athleticism, and unique look. That never really materialized though despite the scene around him exploding and only getting bigger year after year. This kinda seemed like a good opportunity for him to make up for last time.

Unfortunately, it was a rather mediocre contest. The plunder around them did not enhance the contest beyond the final spot (more on that in a second) and instead just felt like cheap props to cover for what would have otherwise been a completely uninteresting match.

They did at least build to a great final spot where both men were trying to drive each other through a table propped up in the corner. Mastiff eventually managed to do the deal when he connected on his cannonball splash to finish Dennis for good. A strong ending helped this for sure. (**1/4)

 

Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm

This was for Ripley’s UK Women’s Championship.

Yikes. These two tried very hard, but the match really did not work out all that well. The biggest issue was that Ripley had an extended control sequence that really killed the match before it even had a chance to get good. Ripley clearly still has a ton of work to do to become that top heel she was seemingly positioned as coming into this show. Toni has some charisma though and kept this from being a complete bore. Storm will be a much better champ based on this contest. (**)

 

Pete Dunne vs. Joe Coffey

This was for Dunne’s UK Championship.

Pete Dunne really knows when to turn it on for important matches and how to add layers of nuance to those important matches to really make them stand out. Joe Coffey on the other hand does not really seem like the kind of opponent that can do much on his end to make extended main events interesting. They tried to compensate for their lack of nuance by selling this sense of exhaustion that the battle was causing on both of them, lots of kickouts, and a couple of “big” moments.

The big moments in question were Pete Dunne forcing Coffey to the floor from the top rope and then Coffey going right back to the top rope only for Dunne to meet him up there again which led to both men crashing to the floor this time. Doing those back to back was either a fuck up of some kind (I didn’t think so but who knows) or a really neat idea. They did not really capitalize on them enough though truly make them impactful.

Anyway, this was fine. Joe “Cup of” Coffey’s main event appearance can basically be summed up by the post-match segment where WALTER debuted and kicked his head off and sent him out of the ring. No one cares about you Joe Coffey. (**1/4)

5.0
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
The weakness of the UK roster really was on full display here. Hopefully, the next show will be better.
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