NXT Takeover Blackpool II
January 12, 2020
“The movement that became a brand” – get fucked Tom Philips.
Trent Seven vs. Eddie Dennis
“The Artful Dodger meets Charles Bronson” – Nigel McGuinness just throwing words out here. He then compares Trent to Bobby Moore or Geoff Hurst. What are you on about mate?
Eddie has a swanky new mask.
There are two Trent Seven’s. One is a hard-hitting, hard-working badass who fought his way out of the dingiest venues in the UK and onto the world stage. The other is an aging comedian who fills his matches with memes to avoid taking bumps. I have no problem with the second one. Adapting that kind of persona is what prolongs careers. Which one will turn up here? Dennis is a great talker but I don’t much care for his in-ring. This isn’t an ideal way to start the show. WWE are probably hoping that Seven’s charisma can drive the match but the work is merely ok. There’s certainly effort but a lack of chemistry. The crowd make a lively start by chanting for “VAR” when Trent ‘accidentally’ gets thrown into an exposed buckle. There’s a ridiculous near fall here where Trent gets hit with a Razor’s Edge out of the ring onto a young boy at ringside. How is that not your finish lads? Anyway, the Next Stop Driver finishes and Eddie wins. That Razor’s Edge out of the ring was insane.
Final Rating: ***
NXT UK Women’s Championship
Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven
The last I saw of this belt it was around Rhea Ripley’s waist. I have no complaints about the three women being involved here. Two made their names in ICW, the other in Progress. Along with Jinny they’re the four pillars of recent BritWres women’s divisions. I’m amazed that Piper, who recently was hospitalized by Bell’s Palsy, is wrestling here. She looks a little sluggish as a result but she works really hard. Piper is top of the list of ‘I can’t believe how short they are in real life’ list. These three have chemistry and also a tidily planned out three-way match. The crowd have a weird disconnect here though, which hurts the match. Nigel is at it again, calling KLR the “Glaswegian Sabu”.
When they pick up the action with dives and such it kicks into another gear and the crowd investment is there. While Toni has been a known commodity at this level for some time the star here is KLR. She throws herself into this match and gives it her all. She’s out there taking all the big spots, hitting all the big dives. The only bad thing about the stretch is a dodgy finish where Toni hits a Frogsplash and KLR superkicks her and steals the pin. I’d have preferred a definitive finish. Good match though. Good effort all round but this was 100% Kay Lee Ray’s match.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin
Devlin is out here to put the memories of his terrible Blackpool debut to rest. The crowd is very pro-Tyler but as the match starts it’s very clear that Devlin is the story here. He’s benefitted massively from being in the WWE system and has improved his smoothness and technique to a level where he’s almost unrecognisable. He’s sensational here, putting those NXT UK title tournament ghosts to rest. The pace and intensity of this match are majestic. Tyler’s career has certainly stalled because of his WWE involvement but every time he’s tasked with stealing a show he goes out there and fucking does it. The Airplane Spin/Brainbuster stuff is beautiful. The whole work is a combination of speed, accuracy and athleticism. There’s maybe just a touch of emotion missing but otherwise it’s golden.
The boxing bit is awesome because Devlin has been training hand speed and Bate did this last year. There’s a great spot where Tyler goes for Bop and Bang and Devlin just sneaky punches him. Unfortunately this leads to the dumbest spot in the match with Tyler rebounding off the ropes into a Spanish Fly. This is the spot that WWE chose to showcase this match. The crowd seem to dig it but hey.
This is right before Tyler hits the Phoenix 720 DDT, paying tribute to Jody Fleisch. Oh, please break out a Fleisch cameo! Have them wrestle on the next Takeover. Devlin kicks out of the Tyler Driver but the Spiral Tap finishes. The wrong guy probably went over here but Devlin should be made by having a blowaway match, finally, on a big WWE show.
Final Rating: ****1/2
NXT UK Tag Team Championship
Gallus (c) vs. Grizzled Young Veterans vs. South Wales Subculture vs. Imperium
This is a weird combination of guys. You really need a big babyface duo in there somewhere but I guess that’s supposed to be Andrews & Flash. I’ve not seen Webster wrestle in a while and he seems to have deteriorated in WWE. His timing is worse and he’s still too skinny. My lack of investment in anyone means this is just a bunch of stuff happening. Barthel does a few logical things that I appreciate but he’d be better off in a match that would showcase his technical skill. GYV’s are also very good and do clever spots but there are so many dumb things happening in between. There’s such a rush to get spots in so everyone gets over but it’s just a bunch of stuff happening with no rhyme or reason to it. They do some stupid building with the ladders and people continually do stupid things instead of winning the match. Even Drake, of the usually sensible Vets, decides to do a 450 Splash off a ladder when he could just grab the belts instead. Then Imperium waste time removing ladders from the ring. What the fuck are they doing? Just get the belts. Morons. The idiocy continues and the match just drags on and on and on. The reference to TLC makes me wish that stupid match had never been invented. They keep fucking things up too, making it even worse. The “stereo Stundogs” or the broken table for Coffey. The spots that do land are stupid, reckless and nonsensical. “Are you watching Vince McMahon?” I fucking hope not. This never-ending disaster of a match just won’t stop being terrible. It just won’t stop. Only Imperium offer anything of a reprieve from a stream of awful spots. Gallus pull the belts down to end my misery.
Final Rating: *1/4
NXT UK Championship
WALTER (c) vs. Joe Coffey
This is not the main event I was hoping for on this show. The obsession with Gallus is perplexing. I don’t understand why, if you want to establish a new brand, would you push Joe Coffey as a consistent high card act?
WALTER is clearly the right choice as champion although his stock has fallen thanks to WWE being incapable of booking him like he’s booked on the Indies. For me this should be an extended squash. Have WALTER absolutely bully Coffey. Put him in his place. Instead we get a 50-50 contest with commentary claiming Joe is a bigger man than WALTER’s other opponents. No, he isn’t. The claim that Joe is 5’11” is laughable. He wants to be Ishii badly but he’s not there yet.
WALTER dominates a largely dull match on the mat and he brutalizes Coffey. It doesn’t make any sense that Joe is able to power his way into the ropes. It’s pretty clear he’s a WWE fan because the structure has all the trademarks of WWE. The biggest issue the match has is that its simply too long. It’s not even a major issue with Coffey’s work, like the Dunne match was, but that there’s not enough content to fill the time. Not enough meat on the bone. I do really like Coffey gets pasted at every turn. Tagged with big boots (sort of), chops and powerbombs but WALTER should have this in the bag a lot quicker.
Where they completely lose me is with the ref bump, visual pin, run ins bit. Ilja McDragunov especially. They also try to run a knee injury angle, which is unnecessary. There are too many cooks in the kitchen. They could have kept this simple and it would have rocked. There is a great match hidden in here with WALTER being vicious and Joe taking the abuse and keeping going but its almost concealed by all the bullshit. Plus Joe whiffs a few spots and that doesn’t help. Just lay it in there lad. WALTER is a tough guy. He can take it. WALTER finishes with a crossface. This was just too long but bits of it were great.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Post Match: Imperium pose but Undisputed Era run in for a brawl. Crowd are suitably jazzed about that. WWE have stupid money. They can fly over four guys for a post match brawl.