wrestling / TV Reports

Kevin’s NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool Review

January 12, 2019 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool Finn Balor Jordan Devlin
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Kevin’s NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool Review  

NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool
January 12th, 2019 | Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, Lancashire

The weekly NXT UK shows have been fine watches but nothing spectacular. Can they pull off the old NXT trick of giving us okay TV but stellar TakeOvers? Most of the card looks strong, so I’m intrigued. Also, I love this venue. The Empress Ballroom is so pretty.

NXT UK Tag Team Championship: James Drake and Zack Gibson vs. Moustache Mountain
British Bulldogs themed gear for Moustache Mountain. The fans were MOLTEN hot for this. Makes sense given how hated Gibson is and how loved MM are. These teams are no strangers to each other, so the fluid work and chemistry weren’t a surprise. Trent Seven found himself isolated. I always like how the smaller guy in this team usually gets the hot tag. It’s a nice change of pace from what we typically get in tandems. Seven took a rough elbow from Drake and got busted open, adding to the drama of him being in trouble. The hot tag to Tyler was excellent, as he’s an all-time great in that era. His STRONG BOI spot was one of the best he’s ever done. They also threw out a running powerslam/diving headbutt spot to honor the Bulldogs. The Helter Skelter/450 splash combo (I didn’t know Drake did those) gave me one of the best near falls in recent memory. Following a really cool Doomsday Device style tope suicida and some more close calls, Drake and Gibson sealed it with Ticket to Mayhem in 23:46. An awesome way to start the show. So many great moments throughout, well executed tag formula, and a hot crowd. [****¼]

My show stealer pick was Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks. Banks was jumped by Devlin during the pre-show. Banks dove out onto Devlin before the match and it sparked a brawl. Devlin attacked the leg and smashed it into steel steps. Banks couldn’t compete and was taken to the back. Sid Scala and Johnny Saint had a backup plan opponent for Devlin. IT’S FINN!

Finn Balor vs. Jordan Devlin
While I wanted Banks/Devlin, this was a nice surprise. Cue all the mirror image jokes. They managed to book the match around this idea. There were plenty of points where Balor and Devlin would trade similar offense. I appreciated how Devlin had Finn scouted at every turn. If someone trained you, you’d know a lot about them and it showed. I also liked how he remained the cocky jerk who was kind of in over his head. He’d run to avoid Finn offense from time to time. Ultimately, there wasn’t really a way Finn would lose though I did bite on a near fall or two. Finn won with the Coup de Grace in 11:44. I enjoyed this and the spectacle of seeing Finn here was cool. Good pro wrestling. [***¼]

Luke Menzies was shown in the crowd.

No Disqualifications Match: Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
While both men are good, this was the least interesting match on the show for me. They almost immediately went into the weapons, bringing a kendo stick and steel steps into play. Eddie Dennis surprised me with some powerful moves, including how he walked with Mastiff held in Outsider’s Edge position and a ridiculous stalling reverse DDT. It makes no sense that he could do these things. His exploits ended up costing him, as his next power attempt failed. Mastiff took over from there and hit a running avalanche of sorts through a table to win in 10:45. That was a lot of fun. Eddie Dennis was an absolute wild man and this was just a fun No DQ match where they just threw a lot at each other for a short time. [***½]

Kay Lee Ray and Jazzy Gabert were shown in the audience.

NXT UK Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley [c] vs. Toni Storm
My most anticipated match on the show. Like their tournament final, a lot of this was Ripley in control. As the powerhouse, she threw Toni around and looked like the star she is. Toni was the sympathetic babyface. It’s not a spot I’m used to for her. She has been portrayed as an ace and someone who is usually in control. Rhea presents a different challenge for her and I dig that. I do feel Toni’s at her best when she gets to be aggressive, so I would’ve liked her to fire up a bit sooner. Once she does, though, the match gets better. The Storm Zero near fall was great and caught me by surprise. For Toni to win, it takes a second Storm Zero and a slight pull of the hair. The finish came at 14:49. Another solid match, just one that never got into the gear it needed to be great. Still, a feel good moment for Toni. I suspect Rhea makes a big splash over in NXT now. [***¼]

WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne [c] vs. Joe Coffey
I’ve really enjoyed Pete’s reign. He consistently has good to great matches and always feels like a major star. However, Joe Coffey feels as unimportant as anyone. Nothing about this screams main event. Dunne was clearly the superior wrestler here and there were several times when Coffey seemed off. The match ultimately didn’t do a whole lot for the first fifteen or so minutes. IT was easy to lose interest. As it neared 20 minutes, I was thinking it was time to wrap it up. Coffey kicked out of the Bitter End and eventually was hit with about four of them. It was way overkill. They also kept flubbing what seemed to be a top rope Bitter End spot. The match just kept going and going and I just wanted it to end. Eventually, Coffey kicked out of yet another Bitter End, so Dunne turned it into a finger lock and made him submit in 34:11. It felt closer to an hour. This was like the worst kind of NJPW main events, where it just goes on and on for the sake of it. The first 20 or minutes were a bunch of nothing. At 14 or so minutes, this would’ve worked way better. [**¼]

As Pete Dunne celebrated, we got the debut of WALTER to a huge pop. This felt important. He kicked Joe Coffey back to the midcard where he belongs and had a staredown with Dunne. Finally, someone is here to is poised to dethrone him.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This reminded me of TakeOver events from that Brooklyn II to Brooklyn III era. Where most of the show featured good matches, the tag teams stole the show, and the main event stumbled. Other than Dunne/Coffey, these are all matches worth checking out. If pressed for time, watch the Tag Titles, No DQ, and WALTER debut.