The SmarK Rant for NXT UK Takeover Blackpool II – 01.12.20

The SmarK Rant for NXT UK Takeover Blackpool II – 01.12.20

That feels like a lot of subtitles.

Live from Blackpool, England

Your hosts are Tom Phillips & Nigel McGuinness

Trent Seven v. Eddie Dennis

Dennis, who is apparently a dragon of some kind, charges in with a big boot in the corner, but Seven catches him with a powerbomb for two.  Dennis ducks a chop and Trent gives him a DDT and sets up for a superplex, but Dennis reverses out to a Razor’s Edge to take over.  Dennis slugs him down and whips him into the corner and follows with a back elbow for two.  Dennis slugs him down again for two and follows with a delayed suplex for two.  They trade chops while the crowd is busy singing stuff, but this time Seven tries the DDT and Dennis blocks him.  So Seven hits a dragon suplex to put Dennis on the floor, then follows with a dive, and hits another dragon suplex on the floor!  Back in, Seven goes aerial and misses a senton, showing why he doesn’t usually do that sort of thing, and Dennis hits him with a spinning uranage for two.  Dennis with another Razor’s Edge attempt, but Seven slips out of that and hits an Emerald Frosion for two.  Dennis escapes to the apron and undoes a turnbuckle, but Seven cuts him off with a superplex for two.  Seven tries his Rainmaker, but Dennis reverses him into the exposed turnbuckle to escape, and then follows with a powerbomb to the FLOOR after teasing a buckle bomb onto the exposed steel.  Back in, that gets two.  And then Dennis finishes with a neckbreaker drop at 8:23.  I gotta say, when you powerbomb someone from the ring onto the floor, you don’t need another move to finish on top of that.  Dennis moves kind of awkwardly in the ring, but this was all action and a good opener.  ***1/4

UK Women’s title:  Kay Lee Ray v. Piper Niven v. Toni Storm

Everyone attacks KLR and she runs away, but Storm chases and gets sent into the railing.  Piper follows with a dive onto Kay Lee and then hits Storm with a cannonball into the railing, obviously recovering well from her Bell’s Palsy attack.  Back in, Storm and KLR slug it out on the mat, and then Piper squashes them both with a senton and gets two on Ray.  Storm stomps Ray down in the corner and tries Storm Zero, but Piper saves with a crossbody.  Toni gets a german suplex on Ray, but Kay Lee gets a tornado DDT for two.  Piper escapes the Gory Bomb from Ray, but Storm gives her a german suplex instead, and then Piper hits Ray with a Saito suplex and everyone is out.  Storm and Piper slug it out with forearms, but KLR grabs a chair and chokes both Piper and Storm with it as the match kind of stalls out.  She tries to Pillmanize Storm’s head, but Piper saves.  Storm gets the chair and thinks about turning on Storm with it, but then they go after KLR instead and Piper cannonballs her off the apron.  Ray recovers and hits her own dive onto the other two.  Back in, Toni tries a superplex on Ray, but Piper breaks it up with a powerbomb Storm and then Ray hits Storm with a senton.  Piper powerbombs Ray and follows with a Michinoku Driver for two.  She tries another one, but Ray reverses into the Gory Bomb for two, as Storm makes the save.  KLR takes her out and tries again, but Piper reverses her into a Canadian Destroyer.  Storm gets rid of Piper and hits Storm Zero on KLR, but Piper saves now.  Toni tries it again, hitting a second one onto Piper’s back, and then tries it on Piper and ends up with a Pedigree for two.  Toni goes up with a frog splash, but Ray steals the pin to retain at 13:11.  Finish was kind of a wishy-washy TV ending but they were having a hell of a match leading up to it.   The bit in the middle with the chair kind of took it down a notch but it was great otherwise. ***3/4

Jordan Devlin v. Tyler Bate

They trade wristlocks to start while the crowd sings their tribute to Bate, and then Tyler snaps off a headlock takedown and they reverse off that until Bate hits him with BOP but is unable to get BANG.  Bate gives him a huge monkey flip into the ropes and follows with a backdrop, then a military press and dropkick to put him on the floor.  Bate should use that press slam more often, it’s a classic.  Devlin hits him with a slingshot moonsault on the way back into the ring, and that gets two.  Devlin with a knee to the gut for two as the crowd is increasingly split and getting louder.  Devlin with a backdrop suplex for two and he chokes away on the ropes.  Butterfly suplex and he stops to mock the moustache, and you just don’t do that.  Bate fights up and launches him out, then follows with a dive.  Back in, Bate goes up and lands on a codebreaker, and that gets two for Devlin.  Devlin starts working on the back to set up a surfboard and he’s just bending the shit out of Bate’s neck, but Bate escapes that.  Bate with a rollup for two and they collide on a crossbody attempt and both are down.  Bate comes back with a flying uppercut and catches Devlin with an exploder and standing shooting star for two.  Bate charges and hits the corner, but Devlin springboards and lands in Bate’s spinning aeroplane hold.  Nigel notes that it’s akin to playing the game where you put your head on a stick and run around and around.  What the fuck kind of games was Nigel playing as a kid?  Did they not have Battleship or Monopoly in his house?

Bate goes extra long with the spinning and then follows with a brainbuster, for two.  Someone should combine those and do a stalling suplex where you spin around like an airplane spin and then fall into a brainbuster.  Bate tries the Tyler Driver, but Devlin reverses to a rollup for two.  Bate reverses that for two, but Devlin gets a german suplex for two.  Devlin charges and gets backdropped to the apron, but he slingshots back in with a cutter that sends Bate to the apron.  Devin then slingshots out with another cutter, this time onto THE HARDEST PART OF THE RING, but Bate blocks it and they’re both down on the floor.  Devlin kicks him in the face to beat the count, but then Bate does the countout tease and then slides in at the last moment.  Back in, they trade HARD shots and slug it out like REAL MEN, showing fisticuffs for days, but Devlin catches him with a Spanish fly off a handspring attempt.  And they punch each other out from the mat too!  Devlin goes up and they throttle each other on the top rope before Devlin brings him down with a Spanish Fly from there, for two.  Devlin batters him with short kicks and gives him his own version of BOP and BANG, but then tries a Tyler Driver and that’s too far. Tyler escapes to the apron and cracks him with a headbutt, then springboards in with a DDT and gets the Tyler Driver 97 for two.  Since that didn’t work, he bounces to the top and finishes with a corkscrew senton at 22:22 instead.  Didn’t need the kickout of the finisher, but this was a STONE COLD CLASSIC.  I just never see bad Bate matches or even average ones.  *****

Ladder match, NXT UK tag team titles:  Gallus v. The Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) v. Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster v. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel

Everyone brawls to start and the Veterans clear the ring, but Imperium double-teams Mark Coffey.  Webster and Andrews double-team Aichner with standing moonsaults, but Drake and Gibson bring chairs in and beat on the babyfaces with those. Gallus hangs Drake in the Tree of Woe, but Imperium breaks it up and then dropkicks chairs into Drake themselves.  Imperium goes for the ladder and it’s stolen by Andrews & Webster, but Imperium breaks up the climb and goes up themselves.  Gallus saves and we get a ladder duel with them and Imperium.  Webster gets involved with that and it goes pretty badly for him, as Imperium smashes him into a ladder in the corner and dumps him out of the ring.  Andrews steals the ladder and tries to climb, but now the Veterans trap him in the corner with the ladder and beat on him.  Coffey chokeslams Gibson on the ladder and then gives Drake a samoan drop on it.  Imperium fights with Gallus on the floor and Andrews and Webster sneak in for the climb attempt, but Gallus breaks it up.  Andrews actually gets to the top, but stops to hit Coffey with a shooting star press off the ladder and Nigel freaks out.  Tom is like “Oh, well, he could see that Coffey was moving, so why not take him out?”  Screw that, just grab the belts and win.  It was a daft move!  Daft I say!  Cor blimey!

Anyway, Aichner moonsaults Webster onto a ladder and Imperium tries for the climb now, but the ladder is in the wrong place and isn’t tall enough anyway.  So we get three ladders set up and everyone climbs and slugs it out in the air, but everyone peels off and only Andrews is left and Gibson hauls him down for a jackhammer.  Drake has a clear path to the belts, but he also decides to do a 450 off the ladder instead of climbing.  What is WITH that tonight?  Just climb the damn ladder!  Gibson puts Drake on his shoulders and tries to get him to the top of the short ladder, but Imperium saves and hits Drake with the European bomb, and make the climb.  Gallus stops that and beats on Aichner with a pair of ladders, and everyone winds up on the floor with no ladders in the ring.  Andrews and Webster find the giant ladder on the floor, but Gallus takes them out and finds tables.  Those get set up in a bridge on the railing and one of them just breaks from Coffey laying on it, so Andrews and Webster team up for a stereo swanton to put Wolfgang through the other table.  So they recover first and make the climb in the ring, but Drake & Gibson save and dump Webster.  But then Andrews finds a kendo stick from somewhere and beats on them with it, but Imperium cuts him off and Barthel climbs until Coffey awkwardly pulls him down with a german suplex attempt that just kind of brings the ladder down.  Wolfgang charges in and spears Aichner through a ladder in the corner, and Gallus climbs to retain the titles at 24:50.  Yeah, this was kind of messy and unfocused and WAY overstayed its welcome.  Obviously everyone worked hard but they missed the peak by about 10 minutes.  ***1/4

United Kingdom title:  WALTER v. Joe Coffey

They trade shots to start and WALTER goes for the sleeper, but Coffey suplexes out and puts WALTER on the floor.  Coffey with a shoulderblock off the apron to send him into the railing and they brawl out there, with Coffey diving over the railing with another shoulderblock.  Back in, Coffey slugs away in the corner and follows with a belly to belly for two.  Coffey goes up with a tornado DDT for two.  Crowd isn’t buying Coffey as a challenger here and you can tell.  They fight over a suplex and Coffey gets that for two.  He follows with a nasty chop and WALTER is not pleased, and tells Coffey to hit him harder.  And then he hits back.  YIKES.  Coffey retreats to the floor and WALTER follows him out and somehow hits him even harder.  Back in for the butt splash, and that gets two.  WALTER bends him in various ways on the mat and then batters him down and twists the neck.  Coffey bails to escape and manages to catch WALTER’s forearm, but he goes up and lands in WALTER’s Boston crab.  WALTER calmly turns that into an STF and just cranks on the neck with a crossface, but Joe makes the ropes.  WALTER goes back to the chops, but Coffey fights back and WALTER cuts him off with a suplex for two.  WALTER tries a sleeper and Coffey slams out of it and follows with a german suplex for two.  Coffey with a moonsault for two.  Coffey makes a comeback and WALTER chops him into a powerbomb for two and goes for the sleeper, but Coffey escapes and the ref gets bumped by a WALTER dropkick.  WALTER orders him to wake up and swears in German, but amazingly that doesn’t revive the ref.  Coffey with a powerbomb for the visual pinfall, but Alexander Wolfe runs in and takes out Coffey, and then Ilya Dragunov comes down and takes out Wolfe, accidentally hitting Coffey’s knee in the process. WALTER runs Coffey into the stairs and hits him with a powerbomb on the apron, but that only gets two.  WALTER goes up to finish, but Coffey chops him down, only for the knee to give out.  He tries again and gets an overhead suplex on WALTER, and both guys are down.  Coffey comes back and slugs away in the corner, but WALTER calmly kicks him in the knee and goes up with the flying splash for two.  WALTER tries a powerbomb and Coffey escapes and hits a lariat for two as this is going way too long now.  Another lariat, but WALTER hooks the sleeper and Coffey makes the ropes.  WALTER pulls him off the ropes with a sleeper suplex, then finishes with a powerbomb and another sleeper at 27:30.  I wasn’t buying Coffey as a challenger and they went way too long with it.  All the stuff with the ref bump and interference wasn’t needed, either.  I’d call it “good” but not much more than that. ***1/4

And then as we’re about to hit the credits and Imperium is celebrating, the Undisputed Era hit the ring and destroy them to set up When Worlds Collide in two weeks.  Good surprise finish there to an otherwise nothing-happening show.

Anyway, all the matches were at least good and one was a blowaway classic, so this was definitely worth a look, but not an all time great show or anything.  On the scale of Burn It / Avoid It / Skim It / Watch It / Binge It, I’d go with a solid WATCH IT.