NXT UK – December 26, 2019

Date: December 26, 2019
Hosts: Nigel McGuinness, Tom Phillips

It’s the end of the year and that means we get to look back at some of the better things to go down in 2019. I wouldn’t have believed it when the year started but NXT UK has become one of the better wrestling shows on television and they could have some great offerings on a show like this. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

The hosts welcome us to the show and preview Takeover: Blackpool II.

From Takeover: Blackpool.

Women’s Title: Toni Storm vs. Rhea Ripley

Ripley is defending. Storm goes after her to start and starts firing off the forearms until a faceplant cuts her off. That’s fine with Storm who hammers away even more, setting up a suicide dive onto a bailing Ripley. They don’t head inside just yet though and Ripley kicks her back first into the barricade. Back in and Ripley stomps away as the loud fans continue to be split.

The bodyscissors stays on the weakened ribs and a delayed vertical suplex gets two. A pair of legdrops gives the champ two but the trash talking lets Storm headbutt her for a double knockdown. The slugout goes to Storm and she rolls some German suplexes but Storm Zero is countered. So is Riptide and they go into a pinfall reversal sequence for two each.

Ripley gets the standing Texas Cloverleaf but gets reversed into the hip attack in the corner. Storm gets frustrated at the kickout and gets caught with Riptide for two, giving us Ripley’s great stunned face. A headbutt lets Storm Zero connect for two and they’re both down again. Storm slugs away with forearms and another Storm Zero gives her the pin and the title at 14:49.

Rating: B-. Kind of a flat and out of nowhere finish as they didn’t really build off the near fall from the first Storm Zero. Storm winning the title so soon after Ripley won it for the first time is a bit of a surprise but you can’t go wrong with either of them as the champion. Tyler Bate winning the inaugural title and dropping it to Dunne has gone just fine and Storm is going to be perfectly fine with the title, as is Ripley without it.

Video on Toni Storm.

Video on Kay Lee Ray.

From Takeover: Cardiff.

Women’s Title: Kay Lee Ray vs. Toni Storm

Toni is defending and we get the Big Match Intros. Ray bails straight to the floor so Storm dives onto her, setting up a big forearm to the face back inside. Ray knocks her right back down though and we hit a seated abdominal stretch. Toni goes off with shots to the face and a superkick to put Ray down. A running clothesline can’t set up Storm Zero so its’ a Code Red for two instead.

Now Storm Zero connects for two so Ray is right back with her own superkick. The Gory Bomb gives Ray her own two so they head up top. Neither can hit a super version of their finisher so Toni grabs a release German suplex for two more. Storm gets sent outside so Ray hits a top rope flip dive for a nasty landing, sending the referee down to check on them. Back in and the Gory Bomb onto the top rope sets up a regular Gory Bomb to give Ray the title at 9:58.

Rating: C. This felt sloppy and rushed, the latter of which is probably true due to it not getting that much time. Storm didn’t have a lot of life or fire here and it was causing some issues. Ray winning is a good thing as Storm had held the thing long enough but I was hoping it was in a better, or at least bigger feeling, match.

Video on Piper Niven.

Video on Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin.

We see the end of the Grizzled Young Veterans becoming the inaugural Tag Team Champions.

From Takeover: Cardiff.

Tag Team Titles: Flash Morgan Webster/Mark Andrews vs. Gallus vs. Grizzled Young Veterans

The Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) are defending and it’s Andrews sunset flipping Gibson for two to start. Drake comes in for a double hiptoss into a standing moonsault/standing flip dive from Andrews and Webster. We settle down to Webster not being able to sunset flip Wolfgang so it’s a six man staredown. The champs are knocked to the floor and a hurricanrana/moonsault takes down Gibson and Coffey.

Back in and a moonsault press gets two on Gibson as the champs are in trouble. He’s right back up with a backbreaker on Webster on the floor with Drake slingshotting down into a forearm to Webster’s chest. Back in again and everything breaks down again with Andrews cleaning house, only to get jumped by Gallus. That means stereo flip dives from the Welsh guys to both other teams and the fans are rather pleased.

Back in and Andrews’ assisted 450 gets two on Gibson, only to have Gallus come back in to start cleaning house. A catapult into a Samoan drop gets two on Andrews but it’s a reverse hurricanrana/running knee strike (cool) for two on Wolfgang. Andrews is back up with a shooting star to take out Gallus and Gibson. As the fans again ask about Vince’s viewing habits, it’s Stundog Millionaire into a Swanton from Webster for two on Gibson. Helter Skelter into the 450 gets two on Andrews, with the crowd literally getting to their feet on the kickout.

The champs and the Welsh guys are all knocked down but it’s Gallus coming back in to clean house. Coffey hits his own big dive to take everyone out, followed by the enziguri into the powerslam for a delayed two on Andrews. Everyone gets back in and Gallus gets beaten down until Webster is catapulted into a Canadian Destroyer on Coffey. Gibson takes Wolfgang to the floor for an electric chair, with Drake adding the suicide clothesline for a Doomsday Device.

That means the big showdown between the champs and Andrews/Morgan with the Welsh guys getting the better of it. Webster hits a 630 on Drake with Gibson making the save. Andrews tries to dive on him but gets hit in the throat on the way down. Back in and Ticket to Mayhem hits Webster but Drake goes to deal with Gallus. That lets Andrews come in with Fall to Pieces to Gibson to give Webster the pin and the titles at 20:10.

Rating: B. This was WAY too long and felt like it just kept going and going. That being said, there were some very good near falls and some awesome near falls before the perfectly done feel good moment at the end. If you cut off five minutes, it’s even better, but the length held it back a lot. Andrews and Webster winning is completely the right call though and it felt like a special moment.

Video on Dave Mastiff.

Video on Dave Mastiff vs. Jordan Devlin in their Falls Count Anywhere match.

Devlin promises a bigger 2020 because he’s the MVP of 2019.

The announcers talk about Devlin.

Video on Ilja Dragunov vs. Cesaro.

We look at some of the rising stars.

From October 24.

Noam Dar vs. Trent Seven

They’ve been annoying each other for weeks. Dar’s towel says RIP STRONG STYLE. Dar jumps him on the floor during Seven’s long entrance and uses the towel to tie Seven to the post. That means a dropkick to drive the arm into the post as we’re still waiting on the opening bell. Seven gets in and insists that he can go so Dar charges at him, right into a hard lariat for two. A legdrop gives Seven two but Dar slips out of a Burning Hammer and snaps Seven’s bad arm across the top rope.

The arm is fine enough to snap off a Rock Bottom out of the corner but Dar kicks him off the top. The crash makes Seven scream in pain and a fisherman’s suplex gives Dar two. A snapmare into the ropes gives Dar two and it’s time to start stomping at the leg. With the fans chanting something about Alicia Fox, Dar grabs something like an STF with a bend of the fingers and a shout about how much he loves Pete Dunne.

Back up and Seven blocks a Tyler Driver 97 but gets his leg kicked out again. Something close to a snap dragon suplex sends Dar outside for a change and Seven nails the suicide dive. The spinning moonsault misses though (partially due to the knee being banged up) but Seven’s Michinoku Driver gets two instead. Dar is right back with the ankle lock, sending Seven rolling over to the rope.

They fight to the apron with Seven getting in a DDT to drop Dar on his head. That’s only good for two as well so Seven dedicates this one to Tyler, setting up the Seven Star Lariat for two more. Seven is fired up but Dar kicks the knee out and hits a top rope double stomp to the leg.

The ankle lock with the grapevine goes on so Seven has to flail a lot, eventually making it over to the rope. Dar grabs the towel before kicking Seven in the head, ala Pete Dunne, for two more. The trash talk goes on so Seven bends the finger back, gets in the punch to the face and hits the Birminghammer (if that’s not what Tom said, it should be) for the pin at 13:10.

Rating: B. Yeah that worked. This is the kind of match that Seven hasn’t had very often so giving him the fighting from behind win, which also tying in the stuff with the rest of British Strong Style, worked very well. Dar is very easy to dislike and it’s even better watching Seven literally hit him in the face and drop him on his head for the win. This felt like a definitive win and a statement win for Trent, which was exactly what he needed to do.

Video on Pete Dunne vs. Walter.

Video on Tyler Bate vs. Walter. That’s still my Match of the Year.

Joe Coffey is ready to take the title from Walter at Takeover.

One more Blackpool rundown wraps us up.

Overall Rating: B. This is the kind of show that works very well in this spot. Takeover is coming up soon and WWE needs to promote it as well as they can. Giving us a look at the show and looking at everything else while saying “here’s what you can expect” is a smart move and I liked this show rather well. Good stuff here from a very good promotion.

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