NXT UK
TakeOver Cardiff
August 31, 2019
Copperbox Arena

Watch: WWE Network

NXT UK are back on the big stage for only the second time. TakeOver Cardiff was announced as a sell out despite having just over 4,000 people in attendance. Headlined by a pair of title matches involving WALTER defending his WWE UK Championship against former champion Tyler Bate and Kay Lee Ray looking to dethrone NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm. 

NOAM DAR DEF. TRAVIS BANKS

In the preview for this show I said there probably isn’t a combination of wrestlers I care about less than Noam Dar and Travis Banks, this match didn’t change my opinion. Dar would get the win via a Nova Roller (awful name) and his push towards the top of the card continues to baffle me. 

Banks is fine for this spot of mid card face who puts over those that are moving upwards. Dar would use attempt to work on Banks neck and shoulder area, oddly utilizing a snapmare into the ropes and the ringsteps to weaken the Kiwi Buzzsaw. Banks would attempt his killshot, the Slice of Heaven multiple times to no avail and it was his failure on one of those attempts that would lead to his downfall. It was nice to hear Nigel give a mention to the recently departed Lionheart during the match at one point also. Dar for some reason that I cannot fathom is extremely popular and is not going anywhere anytime soon ***¼ 

CESARO DEF. ILJA DRAGUNOV

This was hard hitting straight up wrestling and I loved it. Cesaro and Ilja just hit each other hard and kept getting back up. Please give me more of this and less of Gallus and Noam Dar. 

This was an open challenge that Cesaro issued to anyone in NXT UK and bizarrely Ilja would come out to the ring before Cesaro, just an odd way to do things. Cesaro would get a true superstar reception and that would continue throughout the match. A Cesaro Swing that lasted to a count of 40 would get a pop that only the end of the tag title match could compare to. The “Are you watching Vince McMahon” chants annoyed me immensely as these would not want Vince getting involved with their show. The match would end when following a DVD into the corner Ilja would attempt his Torpedo Moscow but Cesaro would reverse into a pop up uppercut followed quickly by a Neutralizer. A great example of what both Cesaro and Ilja are capable of when given the chance to go all out ****

NXT UK TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
SOUTH WALES SUBCULTURE DEF. GRIZZLED YOUNG VETS & GALLUS

The one feel good result of the night. The hometown boys returning to their nations capital to become the first Welsh WWE champions ever. Their victory really was a great moment and it wouldn’t have felt half as big if they didn’t have the Grizzled Young Vets to face off against. 

While most will talk about the Welsh guys coming home to win, James Drake and Zack Gibson were absolutely magnificent in this match. They played their part in escalating this match minute by minute until the crowd were molten and aching for MAndrews and Webster to win. Speaking of Webster, this was by the far the best performance I have ever seen from Flash Morgan Webster, long may he continue to perform like this. Just when it appeared that GYV would retain their titles after a phenomenal looking Ticket to Mayhem on Flash, MAndrews would hit a Shooting Star Press on Gibson as he attempted to cover Flash and the Welsh crowd would unglued. A great match with some insane action and a great closing stretch ****

Oh and the Gallus duo of Mark Coffey and Wolfgang were also in this match. They brought nothing to the match other than killing the crowd anytime they were involved. I still fail to see why they are so heavily featured on NXT UK at the expense of other much more interesting talent 

LAST MAN STANDING
JOE COFFEY DEF. DAVE MASTIFF

These two just tried to beat the piss out of each other. Cricket bat’s, pool cues, tables, chains, more tables were utilized in this. The match began with a cool visual of Mastiff whipping Coffey into the turnbuckle and the force of Coffey breaking the turnbuckle. Its not often you see WWE willingly “breaking” a ring. The ring breaking would almost be the end for Coffey as for some peculiar reason he would attempt a springboard maneuver out of one of the corners and almost land on his neck. 

The match would move to the outside and all the weapons and plunder would come into play. They would so suplex one another on the ringside floor and show little consideration for their own health just flinging themselves all over the place. The end would come when both men would fight atop a platform at the back of the arena and fall through a pair of tables that were strategically placed below them. As both men struggled to their feet using rolling freight cases to support themselves, at the count of nine Joe Coffey would kick Mastiffs case away and “The Bomber” would fall leaving Coffey as the Last Man Standing. A WWE troupe finish to what had been a standard WWE Last Man Standing match **½  





NXT UK WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
KAY LEE RAY DEF. TONI STORM 

I had very high hopes for this and unfortunately it fell short of my expectations. A badly executed step up senton to the outside by Kay Lee Ray which could have ended even worse than it did seemed to bring the match to a close much sooner than planned as a combination of a Gory Bombs gave KLR the victory and the NXT UK Women’s Championship. 

Sadly even before the botched dive the match seemed to be struggling to connect with the crowd as both women appeared to have an off night. Toni showed a bit more fire and aggression than we are used to seeing from her in NXT UK but still things just didn’t seem to quite click. I hope we get a rematch at some point as these two are capable of much better together **¾ 

WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP
WALTER def. TYLER BATE

Let me begin by saying I appreciate both wrestlers put 100% effort into the match and both were clearly exhausted by the end. I cannot knock the effort. However I can knock the structure of this match and I’m going to. WALTER spent 90% of this match dominating Tyler. The match went over forty minutes when really the same story could have been told in twenty. Excessive kickouts. Tyler just repeating exploder suplexes over and over again. 

After a brief flurry at the beginning from Bate a duo of powerbombs onto the apron and into the ringpost would put WALTER in command. He would not cease control for the remainder of the match except for some very rare moments. WALTER targeting the previously injured back made sense but it just went on and on and on and on. Despite WALTER spending so much time destroying Bates back, all of Bates brief offense was power based moves. There is overcoming and then there is plain ridiculousness. 

The closing stretch would have the fans in attendance on their feet but honestly did anyone really believe Tyler had any hope of winning? A Burning Hammer, a Tyler Driver and a Spiral Tap would fail to put away the champion. A sleeper suplex on the apron by WALTER would lead to the end for Bate as in spite of kicking out of a Powerbomb at 1 as Nigel McGuinness obnoxiously screamed FIGHTING SPIRIT, a WALTER lariat would follow for the winning pin. I did not like this match. Too long and too excessive **½