Takeover: Blackpool II

Takeover: Blackpool II
Date: January 12, 2020
Location: Empress Ballroom, Blackpool, England
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Nigel McGuinness

It’s almost weird how infrequently these things take place as this is only the third edition ever. The good thing is they have followed the regular NXT formula and the show, with its five match card, looks rather good. They might not have the trickiest card to predict but that doesn’t mean it is going to be boring. Let’s get to it.

The opening video looks back at last year’s Takeover: Blackpool with everyone talking about why they do this. It’s their kingdom.

Eddie Dennis vs. Trent Seven

Dennis has what looks like a dragon’s helmet on during his entrance. Eddie charges at Trent in the corner but walks into a powerbomb for an early two. Trent chops away but gets caught with a toss Razor’s Edge out of the corner instead. The cravate goes on and Dennis hammers away at the head for his own two. A DDT is blocked though and they head outside with Trent hitting a suicide dive.

Back in and Trent misses a dive off the top, allowing Dennis to hit a swinging Side Effect for two more. Another Razor’s Edge is countered but Dennis ducks the Seven Star Lariat. The Birminghammer is blocked with a grab of the rope so Dennis goes for the turnbuckle pad. That takes too long as well and Trent hits a top rope superplex for another near fall. Seven shoves him into the exposed buckle and it’s a toss Razor’s Edge over the top onto a well placed production worker. That’s only good for two so Eddie hits the Next Stop Driver for the pin at 8:03.

Rating: B-. They didn’t waste time here but it made Dennis look like a killer, which was exactly the point. Seven getting sent into the buckle leaves them an opening for a rematch if they want to go there and odds are they will. What mattered here though was Dennis and he looked a lot better than he did before the injury. Good match and a solid opener that served a purpose.

We recap the Women’s Title match. Kay Lee Ray defeated Toni Storm to win the title at Takeover: Cardiff but Storm has gotten a lot more focused. At the same time, Piper Niven is hunting for the title, setting off some issues between the challengers.

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

Ray is defending and Niven jumps her during the Big Match Intros. Niven sends Ray outside for the suicide dive and then Cannonballs both of them in a row. That earns her a whip into the steps so Toni and Ray can fight, only to have Niven drop a backsplash onto both of them. Ray superkicks Niven and chokes Toni, who is right back with a release German suplex.

Storm suplexes Niven as well but gets planted by Ray, who is suplexed by Niven to put all three down at once. It’s Toni and Piper slugging it out but Ray shoves them together in what might not have been the smartest move. Ray grabs a chair and wraps it around Storm’s neck but Niven breaks up the Pillmanizing (and near death). Storm picks up the chair and Niven says hit her, only to have them both go after Ray instead.

With Ray and Storm on the floor, Niven hits a Cannonball off the apron to crush the champ. Back in and Niven breaks up the superplex by powerbombing Storm but Niven breaks it up with a top rope Swanton. Niven’s Michinoku Driver gets two on Ray, who somehow gets Niven up for the Gory Bomb and the same near fall.

Niven busts out a Canadian Destroyer on Ray (because she can) but Storm breaks up the cover and hits Storm Zero for two more on Ray with Niven making the save this time. Storm Zero doesn’t work on Niven so Toni settles for something like a Pedigree instead. A frog splash hits Niven but Ray steals the pin to retain at 13:24.

Rating: B. They didn’t really stop moving here for the most part and Ray winning that way makes sense. I’m a little surprised they pinned Niven, but it makes a little sense given that Storm is coming up on the big match with Rhea Ripley at When Worlds Collide. All three worked hard here though and it was good stuff with the logical ending.

Travis Banks is here.

We recap Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin. Bate beat him in the first United Kingdom Title Tournament and Devlin has wanted a chance for revenge ever since. Devlin has said he’s better than the big star in Bate and tonight is his chance to prove it.

Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin

They circle each other to start as the fans are almost all behind Bate. Devlin wins an early battle over wrist control until Bate flips around and grabs his own wristlock. A battle over a rollup goes nowhere and Devlin is ready for Bop and Bang. There’s a backdrop to Devlin and a gorilla press makes it even worse. Devlin is sent to the floor but catches a charging Bate with a release Rock Bottom.

The Arabian press gets two and we have a split crowd for a change. A butterfly suplex lets Devlin mock the Moustache Mountain pose but the Devil Inside is blocked. Devlin drops him on the arm/back and stands on Bate’s neck to make it worse. The surfboard works on almost all of Bate, with Devlin pulling back on the head to add a little extra pain. Since that can’t last long, they’re both up and stereo crossbodies give us a double knockdown.

Back up and Bate catches a charge in the corner to slam Devlin. A running kick to the head sets up the standing shooting star press for two. Devlin gets up an elbow in the corner but the slingshot cutter is countered into a ridiculously long airplane spin. Even Bate is dizzy off of that one but manages a brainbuster for two. The Tyler Driver 97 is countered into a rollup for two before Devlin hits a half and half suplex for his own near fall.

Now the slingshot cutter connects, only to send Bate out to the apron. Another slingshot cutter onto the apron drops both of them on the floor and Devlin’s kick to the chest makes Bate dive back in to beat the count. They slug it out with Devlin getting the better of it until the rolling Liger Kick gives Bate a breather. The Devil Inside is blocked but Bate’s handspring clothesline is countered into a Spanish Fly for another double knockdown.

Bate crotches him on top but a super Spanish Fly into the Devil Inside connects for a VERY close two. Devlin punches him in the face and loads up his own Tyler Driver 97, only to get reversed into a headbutt. Bate hits a springboard tornado DDT into the Tyler Driver 97 for two, but Bate is right back up top with a Spiral Tap for the pin at 22:41.

Rating: A-. Yeah this was great stuff with both guys beating the heck out of each other. Devlin knew a lot of what Bate was going to do but got just a bit too cocky and slipped up in the end, allowing the better Bate to win. That being said, I’m not sure how much sense this makes as Devlin needed the win a lot more than Bate. Either way, this was the blow away match the show was looking for and it’s excellent.

Post match Bate gets a standing ovation, including from HHH, William Regal and Johnny Saint.

We recap the Tag Team Title match. Gallus, the champions, were defending against Imperium when the Grizzled Young Veterans interfered to steal the titles. Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews cut them off so there was only one solution: a ladder match.

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

Gallus, Mark Coffey and Wolfgang, are defending and it’s Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel for Imperium in a ladder match. There’s something about the referee ringing the bell and getting out of the way that makes this seem a lot more violent. It’s a brawl to start with Gallus and Imperium heading outside, leaving the Veterans to take over on Webster and Andrews.

Coffey and Imperium take their places in the ring but Webster and Andrews come back in to pick up the pace. The Veterans pulls them down by the arms though and some chair shots make it worse. Gallus ties Drake in the Tree of Woe but Imperium saves him from having his face crushed. Imperium tries to grab a ladder but Webster and Andrews hit big flip dives to knock it away. Imperium brings the ladders in and clean house, making sure to stop to pose.

The Veterans clear them out and tie Andrews in the corner for a running dropkick. Gallus is back in for a slingshot Samoan drop to put Drake onto a ladder but Imperium breaks up a climb attempt. Webster DDTs Wolfgang and Andrews goes up, only to dive onto Coffey instead of grabbing the titles. Andrews is laid over a ladder and it’s Aichner hitting a springboard moonsault onto Andrews onto the ladder for the big crash.

The Veterans are back in with the big ladder and set it up next to two regular ladders, only to have Webster bridge a ladder into one of them. Another, unopened ladder, is pressed against Gibson’s back but everyone gets knocked down before we get the big disaster. Drake is up there alone but hits a 450 on Andrews instead of grabbing the titles. Gibson helps Drake up so Aichner makes his own save.

The European Bomb hits Drake and Imperium is smart enough to get rid of the rest of the ladders, leaving just one to climb. Gallus grabs some more ladders and make the save, setting up a powerslam/enziguri combination to Drake. Webster and Andrews pull the ladder away from Gallus and drop them with a double Stundog Millionaire. The really big ladder is set up at ringside and we get some tables for the bonus (maybe it can shut the fans up for a bit).

One table collapses under Coffey’s weight, leaving Wolfgang on the other table. That doesn’t last long either as Andrews and Webster go up the same ladder at the same time for a double Swanton to crush Wolfgang in a hurry (cool spot, but not the brightest move). Andrews and Webster go up but the Veterans make the save this time.

The Veterans climb but Andrews busts out a kendo stick and destroys Drake. Imperium makes the save and climb as well, only to have Coffey make the save. Wolfgang spears Aichner through a ladder and Barthel gets shoved off the top onto a pile at ringside, leaving Gallus to retain the titles at 22:54.

Rating: A-. This was a blast and somehow managed to not get too jumbled with everyone and all of the ladders involved. They had some big spots and kept things moving, with a few unique spots to make things all the better. I liked this way more than I was expecting to and it was pretty well structured throughout. Heck of a match here and one of the better ladder matches I’ve seen in a good while.

Ridge Holland is here.

We recap Joe Coffey vs. Walter. After winning the title last April, Walter needs some competition so Coffey said this is his kingdom. This stems from last year’s Takeover: Blackpool where Walter debuted and laid out Coffey after his long match with Pete Dunne. It has turned into Gallus vs. Imperium and it should be a heck of a hoss fight.

United Kingdom Title: Joe Coffey vs. Walter

Walter is defending and tries a big boot at the bell in a flashback to last year’s Blackpool. The early sleeper is countered into a spinning belly to back suplex so Walter gets a breather on the floor. Coffey follows and hits a big diving shoulder over the barricade as Walter can’t get going so far. Back in and Coffey stomps away, setting up a belly to belly for two. There’s a tornado DDT for two more and it’s time for the slugout, with Coffey seemingly rather pleased. A stalling suplex gives Coffey two more but they chop it out, and that’s just a bad idea against Walter.

Some big chops put Coffey on the floor and that means a big boot against the barricade. Back in and a half crab into the STF have Coffey in more trouble but Walter lets it go. More forearms just fire Coffey up…so Walter knocks him right back down. Some forearms to the chest set up a Boston crab and then a modified Crossface has Coffey in more trouble. A rope is grabbed so they ram into each other a few times until Walter suplexes him for two more.

The sleeper is broken up with a drop backwards and they’re both down. That doesn’t last long as Coffey spears Walter in the back to set up a German suplex for two. Walter is right back up with a powerbomb for his own near fall but the ref gets knocked VERY silly (and sells it like he fell out of a building).

All The Best For The Bells connects for no count so here’s Alexander Wolfe to go after Coffey. Ilja Dragunov makes the save but knocks Wolfe into Coffey’s leg. Walter clotheslines Dragunov to the floor and kicks him down before sending Coffey into the steps. We have another referee as Dragunov and Wolfe fight to the back. Coffey catches him on top and manages a belly to belly superplex to put them both down again.

Walter is up first for his awesome top rope splash and another near fall. The powerbomb is escaped and All The Best For The Bells connects (after the first one grazed the top of Walter’s head) for two so Walter slaps on a sleeper. The sleeper suplex drops Coffey on his head and there’s the powerbomb. Walter hits another powerbomb and puts on the Crossface to make Coffey tap at 27:40.

Rating: A. It’s the second best NXT UK Takeover main event ever and that’s not bad at all. This was exactly what it should have been with both guys beating the heck out of each other as only a pair of monsters can do. I had fun watching them hit each other really hard and that’s how it should have gone. Heck of a fight here and Coffey continues to have a great role around here. It’s going to take something special to beat Walter and you can probably pencil in Dragunov for the next shot, which could be fascinating.

Post match Imperium comes out to pose but it’s the Undisputed Era running in to lay them out, including a four on one beatdown of Walter. A High/Low and the Last Shot leave Walter laying and the Era poses to end the show. This was really well done and got a huge reaction. They’re making When Worlds Collide seem like a huge deal and I want to see how things go.

Overall Rating: A-. This felt like a Takeover is supposed to feel: one awesome match after another with even the worst being rather good. The main event was great and the big angle at the end was nearly perfect. NXT UK has figured it out in recent months and I’ve liked it more and more as the weeks go on. Another awesome show here and while it didn’t have the incredible match like Takeover: Cardiff, I never once got bored or wanted the show to speed up, leaving this one as a better overall experience. Heck of a show.

Results

Eddie Dennis b. Trent Seven – Next Stop Driver

Kay Lee Ray b. Piper Niven and Toni Storm – Frog splash to Niven

Tyler Bate b. Jordan Devlin – Spiral Tap

Gallus won a ladder match

Walter b. Joe Coffey – Crossface

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