As a brand within WWE, NXT UK is often overlooked. The weekly show has been running since October 2018, and this is only their third TakeOver, after the first TakeOver: Blackpool last January and TakeOver: Cardiff in August. On the other hand, the stars of NXT UK have been getting more exposure in the States, with NXT Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray participating in WarGames, Toni Storm in Survivor Series, and the four top UK tag teams competing in the current Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. However, it still seems like not as many people watch the UK show as its US counterpart, so this preview will get you ready for TakeOver even if you haven’t watched the weekly build.
NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II Card:
1. WWE UK Championship Match: WALTER (c) vs. Joe Coffey
2. Triple Threat Match for the NXT UK Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven
3. 4-Way Ladder Match for the NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Gallus (c) vs. Imperium vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster
4. Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin
5. Trent Seven vs. Eddie Dennis
Trent Seven vs. Eddie Dennis
Stately GM Johnny Saint may be the father of NXT UK, but Trent Seven is the daddy. It’s hard to imagine him holding the UK Championship (although I’d love it if he did someday) but his unique charisma makes him one of the brand’s most likable stars. Eddie Dennis is… somewhat less likable. He’s a tattooed schoolteacher who was out with an injury for a long time and came back just in time to get in Trent Seven’s face and build this match. I’m not really won over to Dennis, but if anything can make him a star, it’s a solid match with Seven. So we’ll see how this goes. I think Trent Seven has to win, though. If Eddie Dennis goes over clean, it means they definitely have big plans for him. More than likely, though, he just has a solid showing and then loses. What I’m interested in is how solid that showing will be.
Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin
Good ol’ Tyler Bate is beloved by just about everybody. He’s such a good guy and such a likable performer that he can win over pretty much anyone. Even noted nasty piece of work Pete Dunne considers Bate a close friend and trusted ally. But then there’s Jordan Devlin, a young man with only hate in his heart. When Devlin looks at Bate, all he sees is a man who keeps getting more opportunities than him even though their in-ring work is comparable and Bate’s years younger. The concept of charisma is lost on Jordan, and he wants to beat Tyler up about it. Both of these guys are virtuosos in the ring and at their physical peaks, so this could be the show-stealing match of the night. As for who wins, it might go either way. Bate for the feel-good story, or Devlin if it’s leading somewhere.
4-Way Ladder Match for the NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Gallus (c) vs. Imperium vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster
This ladder match incorporates every team that matters in the UK Tag Division, and literally half of the competitors from this year’s Dusty Classic. The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) were the inaugural UK Tag Team Champs, and lorded it over the division while defending as infrequently as they could get away with. Then at TakeOver: Cardiff, lovable hometown boys Andrews and Webster won the belts only to quickly drop them to the chaotic Scottish rednecks known as Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang). Then Imperium (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel), the haughty Europeans who are fascistic specifically about wrestling, came for Gallus out of a desire to dominate the entire brand.
So now the champs have to face both ex-champ teams plus the heir apparents all at once. While that doesn’t look good for them, they have turned face since beating Mark and Flash, so there may be some newfound solidarity between the former rivals in facing the threat of Imperium. Heck, even the villainous Gibson and Drake aren’t nearly as evil as Aichner and Barthel, so who knows how things might go? Plus this is a ladder match, so chaos is inevitable. I don’t see the belt going back to either of the teams who’ve held it before, but it may well end up in Imperium’s hands if Gallus can’t manage to retain.
Triple Threat Match for the NXT UK Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven
Kay Lee Ray didn’t just defeat Toni Storm to win the NXT UK Women’s Championship at TakeOver: Cardiff, she emotionally destroyed her former best friend. Toni disappeared for months after that, and by the time she came back looking for her rematch, Piper Niven had already worked her way up in the division to become the clear Number One Contender. So now Toni can’t get the match she thinks she deserves, and she’s about as mad at Piper about that as she is at Kay Lee for beating her in the first place.
It’s hard to say exactly what’s going on with Toni right now. She’s either on the verge of a heel turn, or getting ready to leave NXT UK altogether. I don’t think her newfound edge is going to help her regain the Title, but it may help KLR hold on to it (intentionally or not). That will leave Toni still wanting her one-on-one rematch, and Piper wanting a direct shot at Kay Lee as well, plus a chance to fight Toni on general principle.
WWE UK Championship Match: WALTER (c) vs. Joe Coffey
WWE UK Champion WALTER is the leader of Imperium, a faction from continental Europe that believes there’s only one right way to be a wrestler, and everyone who doesn’t conform to their ideal is inferior. Joe Coffey is the leader of Gallus, a faction from Scotland that believes wrestling is a pretty fun way to pass the time when the football pitch is a mudhole and the pub keeps kicking you out for starting fights. They’re natural enemies.
I don’t know who’s going to end WALTER’s reign of terror (I was really rooting for Tyler Bate back in August), but it will be a huge upset if it’s Joe Coffey. I think what’s more likely is that WALTER retains after Aichner and Barthel have won the Tag Titles, making Imperium even more dominant. But make no mistake, Joe is going to go down swinging, and he’s probably going to come out of this match with more fans than he had going in, which will surely be some compensation for the enormous bloody red handprint on his chest.