NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool
January 12, 2019
Blackpool, Lancashire, England
Venue Empress Ballroom
Watch: WWE Network
Meet our previewers
- Joe Gagne (@joegagne): Game show host for the Voices of Wrestling network. A good family man. Not from the UK but loved Danger Mouse as a kid.
- Joe Lanza: Disingenuous (at times). Subscribe on Patreon at voicesofwrestling.com/patreon.
Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks
Joe Gagne: Devlin is mad at Banks because he…moved to England? Something like that. I’ve watched every episode and can’t really remember why they started beefing. Build aside, this has a shot to be excellent. You can argue Devlin has been the MVP of the NXT UK show, and he’s been a top 15 wrestler in the world the past year. Banks hasn’t really done a lot of note on the television show proper but he had a very good run in this year’s UK championship. I still feel Devlin is the one to unseat Pete Dunne for the UK Championship, so I picture this as a high-profile win for him. Prediction: Devlin
Joe Lanza: This has a real good chance at being the match of the night, on a show that should have good competition for that honor. Devlin was the low key worldwide bell-to-bell breakout wrestler of 2018, and he’s going to have a monster 2019 when everyone else catches up. To me, he’s been the standout performer of the TV, similar to Pentagon Jr in the early days of Lucha Underground in that it was too late to change course with him because everything was pretaped and already in the can. If I’m running things, he wins this and moves back up the card as Pete Dunne’s next challenger, and eventually is the one to end the long title reign. Prediction: Devlin
Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
Joe Gagne: Mastiff handed Dennis his first pinfall loss (episode #16), which did not sit well with the former headmaster. He attacked Mastiff the next week, leading to a rematch that ended in a double DQ (episode #22), which in turn lead to this no DQ showdown. This will likely be the worst match on the show, but it will certainly be different from the rest of the card, and if they utilize the plunder well it might be a pleasant surprise. Either one of these two could be a viable future challenger to Pete Dunne, but the stipulation has me thinking someone debuts and attacks Mastiff during the match. Prediction: Eddie Dennis
Joe Lanza: Initially I didn’t like the decision to have Mastiff beat Dennis on TV, but in the long run I’ve changed course because this has turned out to be an excellent mid-card feud. I have my gripes with NXT UK, but to me, they’ve done a better job with a guy like Mastiff than any of his previous stops. Dennis has carried over his tremendous bitter heel work from PROGRESS and figures to be a guy that gets pushed here long term. This has good momentum and the stip leaves room for plenty of shortcuts. Hopefully, the tables break. Prediction: Dennis
NXT UK Women’s Championship
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm
Joe Gagne: Ripley beat Storm in a tournament final to become the inaugural NXT UK women’s champion on episode #12. Storm had previously won the Mae Young Classic (the title tournament actually took place before the MYC but ended up airing afterward because of the screwy schedule) and earned a title shot of her choosing, so this was her choice. The tournament final was good, and they’ll likely get more time so this will likely be very good to excellent. It feels far too early to take the belt off of Ripley, but Storm’s promos really make me think she’s winning the title. This could go either way, but I’ll go with the champ retaining. Prediction: Ripley
Joe Lanza: This should be good, but on a loaded show, it could wind up being the “worst” match on the show. Storm gets a ton of hype and well deserved, but it’s Ripley who has been the breakout on the women’s side on the brand. It feels too soon to beat her, but it also feels like a coin flip match. I’m not sure where you go with Storm if she loses, and I feel like the next line of challengers are heels (Jinny). It wouldn’t be my call, but I think Storm wins. If that’s the case, it wouldn’t shock me if Ripley is fast-tracked to the main roster sooner than people think. Prediction: Storm
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals
Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake and Zack Gibson)
Joe Gagne: In a four-team tournament to crown the first champions, Bate and Seven defeated the Gallus duo of Joe Coffey and Wolfgang (episode #21), while Drake and Gibson defeated Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster (episode #23) to advance to the finals. Moustache Mountain is coming off a very strong 2018 where they had one of the year’s best feuds against the Undisputed Era. Gibson has done the promotion’s best interviews and his matches have great heat. James Drake will also be there. I do think this will be the consensus match of the night. Bate and Seven chasing Gibson and Drake for the titles make too much sense to me, although some have also predicted Seven turning on Bate. Either way, I’ll go with the GYV. Prediction: Grizzled Young Vets
Joe Lanza: Mustache Mountain doesn’t need this. They are already the most over act on the brand, and as faces, I think they work better as chasers than champions. Gibson is someone I’d groom for the top, but a tag title run is a good placeholder before we turn that up. Prediction: Grizzled Young Veterans
WWE United Kingdom Championship
Pete Dunne (c) vs. Joe Coffey
Joe Gagne: Gallus (a stable comprised of Joe Coffey, his brother Mark, and Wolfgang) has been a heavy focus during NXT UK’s run, so this title match felt fairly inevitable, if not exciting. Coffey had a fun TV match against El Ligero (episode #19) but nothing else really stands out. He wouldn’t crack the top five wrestlers I’d want to see challenge for the title. Dunne has been certifiably great the last several years and has already had great defenses on television against Jordan Devlin and Danny Birch. They’ll get time and I’m sure there will be interference aplenty, but there is a chance this match just doesn’t work with the live crowd. Dunne has held that title for nearly two years and I have a hard time believing Joe Coffey will be the one to unseat him. Prediction: Pete Dunne
Joe Lanza: They did everything right with Coffey in terms of his push, but it just hasn’t clicked, with Devlin and Gibson coming off as hotter acts on the heel side. Coffey also isn’t the best choice in terms of bell-to-bell opponent, but I have faith that Dunne can deliver with almost anyone. A Coffey win feels like it would be a terrible move, but for some reason, I can’t totally discount it. Dunne is in the midst of a great title reign, one that’s approaching 600 days in an era where bookers have conditioned fans to be impatient with long title runs, and it should not end here, and not to this opponent. On a brand starving for any semblance of buzz, Coffey isn’t the answer. Dunne should win. Prediction: Dunne
Joe Gagne: There’s not much buzz for this show – dropping two episodes a week has made following the product a slog, and there is genuine ill will from NXT UK’s effects on the independent scene. But I do think this will be a good show – the matches could all go one way or another, the effort will be there, and I imagine we’ll get some nice surprises. NXT Takeovers in the US have all been good, and that tradition should continue across the pond.
Joe Lanza: The problem with the perceived lack of buzz for the brand could be solved by a killer show. On paper, every match should be good, and all have a chance to be great. Devlin needs to be a focus moving forward, while Gibson should be the long term play. The wildcard here is WALTER, who in NXT tradition, everyone expects to be sitting ringside ready to go nose to nose with Dunne. If the show delivers to potential, the right booking moves are made, and WALTER shows up, NXT UK’s buzz problem could be solved.