Date: January 30, 2019
Location: Empress Ballroom, Blackpool, England
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Vic Joseph
We’re still in Blackpool and that means we could be in for some fun stuff. The fallout from Takeover is still in effect and we’re probably on the verge of seeing Walter make his in-ring debut. He’s a heck of a monster and if he does things well, he can be the top star around here in a hurry. Let’s get to it.
We open with a video on Walter, who makes his debut tonight.
Dave Mastiff vs. Jay Melrose
They trade shoulders to no avail to start so the huge Mastiff goes with a crossbody to really take over. Melrose is right back up and grabs the beard (NOT COOL!) to hammer away. An armbar doesn’t get far on Mastiff so they trade forearms to no effect. Melrose blocks a suplex though and it’s right back to the armbar. Of course he can’t fireman’s carry the huge Mastiff, who crashes onto him and hits a running backsplash. A German suplex sets up the Cannonball to finish Melrose at 4:59.
Rating: C-. Not much to see here, though well done by having Primate (just call him that and drop the Melrose thing) get in some offense. Mastiff having to fight through some adversity is a nice touch and the match was far from bad. They need something for Mastiff to do though and this is only going to do so much for so long.
We look back at Zack Gibson and James Drake becoming the first Tag Team Champions.
Video on Xia Brookside.
Here are Gibson and Drake for a chat. The fans still hate Gibson, who talks about how they told everyone they would win. They stole the show in Blackpool because they were focused on their goal. You can take your shoes off and wave them all you want but they are Grizzled Young Veterans and Tag Team Champions. This brings out Sid Scala, who says their first title defense will be in Phoenix against Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan. Sounds good to me and it’s a match that makes perfect sense.
Walter vs. Jack Starz
This is Walter’s in-ring debut and he starts with the chops. They head outside for a drop onto the apron as Walter is already looking like a monster. Back in and a knee to the face sets up a heck of a powerbomb to complete the squash of Starz at 2:30. Walter not only looks like a star but he has the all important star power, which is lacking around here.
Post break, Trent Seven yelled at Walter, who was backed up by Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel. They’ll be his friends, though he didn’t seem interested.
Jinny vs. Kasey Owens
Owens hangs upside down in the ropes during her entrance for a nice touch. Jinny easily takes her down by the arm to star and scratches her nails into Kasey’s arm. There’s an ax kick to the back to keep Owens in trouble but she pulls Jinny into a bodyscissors for a nice counter. That’s countered into an ankle lock but Owens is in the rope in a hurry. They forearm it out until Owens avoids a charge in the corner.
Jinny takes her outside anyway and sends Kasey ribs first into the barricade, followed by an abdominal stretch back inside. You know a regular abdominal stretch isn’t enough though as Jinny scratches the ribs for a bonus. Jinny puts on a modified surfboard before just kicking her in the back. Kasey is right back with an armbar over the ropes, which can only last for a few seconds. Back up and Jinny pulls her out of the corner with the Makeover for the pin at 5:11.
Rating: D+. The fingernails stuff was a good idea as Jinny looked vicious but it still feels like she’s having trouble breaking through to the next level. That being said, Jinny vs. Storm is a big rivalry in Progress and it would work just fine in NXT as well. Owens was fine, though just another person who doesn’t stand out on a big roster.
Earlier today, Rhea Ripley demanded her rematch with Storm in Phoenix, which takes place in three weeks.
Next week: Walter vs. Mark Coffey.
Moustache Mountain vs. Fabian Aichner/Marcel Barthel
Bate and Barthel start things off in the traditional battle over the wristlock. It’s a headlock to put Barthel in control so Bate walks on his hands to escape. He’s not only big and strong but he’s agile. Barthel grabs an ankle so Bate pulls himself up and flips away again. An armdrag into an armbar has Barthel in more trouble so it’s off to Seven to stay on said arm.
Aichner comes in and starts uppercutting in the corner but Seven takes him down for Bate’s middle rope assisted Swanton. Seven is back in again and it’s a blind tag to bring Barthel back in for a pop up faceplant. We hit the chinlock for a bit, followed by a backbreaker from Aichner for two. It’s off to a bodyscissors to keep Bate down, triggering the comeback and a diving tag off to Seven. A powerbomb out of the corner rocks Aichner and it’s a sitout slam for two on Barthel.
The dragon suplex/clothesline combination is broken up and it’s an enziguri into a rollup for the near fall on Seven this time around. Barthel is sent outside and knocked off the apron by a missed charge from Aichner, leaving Seven to hit the Seven Star Lariat for two more. It’s back to Barthel to clean house until a Stunner cuts him off. Everything breaks down and a double Liger Kick takes the villains down. The dragon suplex/clothesline combination gets the pin on Barthel at 13:07.
Rating: B. I’m not much of a Barthel fan but this was a heck of a match with both teams looking great. The Grizzled Young Veterans are a great team and now we need some teams to come after the titles. Either of these two would be fine though having Moustache Mountain as the first challengers would make sense. Very good match here with all four feeling it.
Overall Rating: C+. It’s another show where the main event carried things and there’s nothing wrong with that. They had a good hour of television here and things are looking good going forward. Walter alone made this worth seeing and with the proper build, his eventual showdown with Pete Dunne could rival some top level NXT matches.
Dave Mastiff b. Jay Melrose – Cannonball
Walter b. Jack Starz – Powerbomb
Jinny b. Kasey Owens – Makeover
Moustache Mountain b. Fabian Aichner/Marcel Barthel – Dragon suplex/clothesline combination to Barthel
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