Date: January 12, 2019
City: Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Venue: Empress Ballroom
Attendance: 2100 (Unspecified maybe less or more but they did sell out.)
Nxt Uk while having little hype behind it, likely due to being sandwiched between Wrestle Kingdom and Takeover Phoenix/Royal Rumble, ended up being a fantastic night of wrestling. With a classic match that may end up being WWE match of the year when december comes around. Along with that we got a shocking appearance, a fun no dq match and really good final two matches to close the show. Blackpool more than lived up to the Takeover moniker and delivered a show that the U.S branch will struggle to top and may not be able to come Takeover Phoenix. We didn’t expect to be saying that!
1 .The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zach Gibson and James Drake) def The Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) from Nxt Uk Takeover Blackpool (Nxt Uk Tag Team Title)
I was a bit shocked to see that the first ever Nxt Uk Tag Team champions would be crowned in the first ever Takeover match for the Uk brand but ultimately this will go down as a classic tag team match in the panels of Nxt Uk. A match many will recall in their future years of the promotion to indicate the time and point where Nxt Uk was on the same level as its American counterpart. This will be remembered in the same vein as Sami Zayn vs Cesaro, in the fact that it was so much better than everything else and has now set a stage for what fans can expect from the brand.
Tyler Bate is absolutely phenomenal, every aspect of his character is beloved by the fans and beloved he was. The crowd shouted many chants during the match including a “Are you watching Vince” chant. An electric crowd that was having a little too much fun at times but also was very captivated as the match went on. The double Shankly Gates onto Tyler and Seven were a page right outta The Revival vs DIY. Bates double spinning aeroplane on Zack and James is an absolute astonishing spot and creative as all hell. Many many times we were lead to believe the match would end, once Bate and Seven managed to survive for so long it was starting to seem that the duo would be overcoming the heelish duo.
After a brilliant fast paced exchange between the two teams it was Tyler who would finally be taken out by a suicide dive from an electric chair position. Seven soon after would also eat a tag finisher from The Grizzled Young Veteran’s for the three count. The choice was the absolute right one as Tyler Bate is already the first ever WWE Uk Heavyweight champion and doesn’t need the accomplishment of being the first ever WWE Uk Tag champion. Now James Drake and Zach Gibson are built up by beating one of the best tag teams in Uk to be the first ever champs. That’s a huge accomplishment and now Moustache Mountain have a storyline for the future few months and that the chase. If this was the initial match I fully expect these guys to try and put on an even better performance for the rematch. Will be shocking if this isn’t a top 5 tag match of 2019.
2. Finn Balor def Jordan Devlin from Nxt Uk Takeover Blackpool (Singles Match)
This was smartly and perfectly placed here, Finn Balor’s debut at Nxt Uk had so much weight on it because of the history he has with Jordan Devlin, for those who know Balor helped train Devlin. Devlin took out his original opponent prior to the start of the event with a backstage attack and again before the match began. Devlin would declare himself the best wrestler from Ireland and that would be his undoing. Finn Balor came out to a huge pop and the bell was rang. The crowd was so behind Balor and Balor teased the match being a squash as the start as he nearly hit the Coup De Grace.
Balor going toe to toe with Devlin for 11 minutes is a great way to really get Devlin over in defeat as now he’s tested himself against the first ever Universal Champion. Pushing Balor to the limit allows Devlin to continue a strong push while also keeping him from damage. The match was very strong and Balor did a lot more than he is usually allowed to do, Balor pulled out moves from his Nxt days like 1916 and a Bloody Sunday which would lead to a Coup De Grace and pin. Very very solid match as you’d expect from these two.
Seeing Balor was great but the negative must be mentioned, which was that sadly Travis Banks became an afterthought and ultimately forgettable. Hopefully Travis and Devlin can continue their feud so Travis gets exposure and hopefully him being out of the first Takeover leads to a storyline.
3. David Mastiff def Eddie Dennis from Nxt Takeover Blackpool (Singles Match)
This was an overly fun match between these two. Definitely exceeded any expectations most had for this. The outcome shocked me as I had predicted Eddie to reclaim his lose and Mastiff didn’t seem to catch my interest. By the end of this match I was quite intrigued by Mastiff, he is one athletic guy for his size. I mean the guy can do a springboard moonsault which just doesn’t seem to comply with the laws of motion.
Weapons were introduced as were expected, Eddie is much stronger than he lets on. The guy Celtic Crossed Mastiff for a 2 count and was even able to power slam him. Eddie shaking his legs when lifting Mastiff was a cool spot as it showed the difficulty one would experience lifting such a man. However Eddie slammed Mastiff maybe a few too many times to the point it may not be as impressive when someone else does so.
A cannon ball to Eddie through a table that was set up on a corner turnbull would do Eddie in for the 3 count. Real fun match.
4. Toni Storm def Rhea Ripley from Nxt Takeover Blackpool (Nxt Uk Women’s Title)
Much like the opener Rhea Ripley was pushed by the fact that she’s the first ever Nxt Uk women’s champion. Toni could’ve realistically been the first ever Nxt Uk Women’s champion but having her win the Mae Young classic was a big enough deal for her to chase for a bit while also bringing up another star in the women’s division. Rhea Ripley did enough to get her name across as a star in the Uk division. Toni Storm just seems like the natural face of the Uk Women’s division, she has gone through the entire Mae Young Classic without a lose and even beat the acclaimed Io Shirai, so you know that WWE wants to push her.
The match itself was pretty good, the action was technical and well paced for the most part. Going nearly 15 minutes seems like a good time for the two, however my disdain with the match is that towards the end the work done by the two was replaced by trying to hit their finisher over and over. The problem wasn’t nearly as bad as the main event but it was a slight hiccup that held the match down slightly.
This feud has enough steam to continue on for a little while longer, maybe another Takeover build or maybe transitioning feud onto someone else. Nxt Uk has some great talent but they gotta have more compelling stories if they wanna be compared to the U.S Nxt. Toni is someone that the majority of fans will get behind if she is booked correctly, she’s already super over.
5. Pete Dunn def Joe Coffey from Nxt Takeover Blackpool (Nxt Uk Heavyweight Title)
This went long! Like very long, to the point where is came close to the length of the Omega vs Tanahashi match. While comparable length to that match the feeling of epic was certainly not there. The match was actually really good in fact fantastic in places but the final 8 to 10 minutes really hurt the match, honestly after a certain point it felt like yeah the match should end now, and that’s not a good feeling to be had. Pete winning was never in doubt so idk why they felt the need to go 35 minutes. At the 25 minute mark I really thought this was as good as any Nxt Takeover match but man those last 8 to 10 minutes.
Like in the previous match this just turned into a finisher spam and most the match for the most part ended up meaning very little to nothing. I’m sorry but Joe Coffey didn’t deserve to kick out of 3 Bitter Ends and vice versa. The end sequence was also weak as their seemed to be a botch and they went back and did the spot again which really took me out of the match. Pete tapping Joe out with a finger snap hold was refreshing but it was at the expense of his finisher now being just another finisher. I won’t be expecting 1 bitter end to hold someone like Walter down for the 3 count. Walter made his presence felt at the end of the show and booting Joe into tomorrow and staking his claim for the Uk title.
With all that said the match was actually really good for the first 25 minutes. Joe used his body to push and man handle Pete around while Pete used his technical prowess to overcome Joe’s strength. Pete worked Joe well and the first bitter end was actually quite good, heck even the second where Joe rolled out was satisfying but after that all big moves felt like just moves and them kicking out of them just wasn’t exciting anymore. If you don’t like long matches than you probably won’t enjoy this for the whole 35 minute run time but if your a fan of these two than you’ll likely enjoy this. This match varies from bad to moty contender depending of who you ask but it really is a tale of two halves. These two can do better and let’s hope they go a right amount of time next time but still a very good match.
Overall Show: 8.2
This was a really good show and definitely on the level of any Takeover so far. It could’ve been even better but the main event left a little to be desired, everything else was as good as I had expected it to be. Mastiff vs Dennis was better than expected and so was the opener. There were some real great moments on the show but it feels like they’ll be forgotten within a few weeks. The show while great seems to be in a bad spot as its right between Wrestle Kingdom and Takeover Phoenix and Rumble. With better placement these can become the talk of the time by the time of the next Takeover.