Preview: NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool (January 12th, 2019)

The next chapter in the history of WWE‘s NXT UK brand will be written this Saturday evening when the stars descend upon the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool for the very first NXT UK TakeOver. It’s a fitting venue, seeing as it’s the same place NXT UK all kicked off back in January 2017. That weekend would see Tyler Bate best British Strong Style pal Pete Dunne in the tournament finals to be crowned WWE’s inaugural United Kingdom Champion, a title which will main event the show here. As well as that, the NXT UK Women’s Championship will be up for grabs, two of the UK’s finest tag teams will do battle to crown the first NXT UK Tag Team Championships, and there’s a No DQ Match between two of the heaviest hitters on the roster. It’s set to be a history-making night in Blackpool!

Travis Banks vs Jordan Devlin

Photo: WWE

Over the past number of NXT UK weekly episodes, there’s been a slow rivalry developing between Travis Banks and Jordan Devlin. The latter has been on a mission since arriving in the division, picking up wins over Ligero, Kenny Williams, and Flash Morgan Webster, as well as taking Pete Dunne to the absolute limit in an unsuccessful attempt at capturing the United Kingdom Championship. The Irish Ace is quite patriotic for his home country, having been one of the leading charges for the wrestling boom in Ireland. One thing that he’s not so certain about is how proud Travis Banks is to be from New Zealand. Sure, he comes out with the country’s flag as part of his entrance gear and calls himself The Kiwi Buzzsaw, but does he actually care about being a New Zealander? A war of words has broken out between them now, including a brawl on the most recent episode of NXT UK following Banks’ bout with Tyson T-Bone. As a result, a match was added to the card for Saturday’s historic event. Time to see who the most patriotic member of the NXT UK roster is.

Prediction: Jordan Devlin

No Disqualifications Match: Eddie Dennis vs Dave Mastiff

Photo: WWE

Once the weekly episodes of NXT UK got underway, one rivalry that came about was that between “The Pride of Wales” Eddie Dennis and “The Bomber” Dave Mastiff. Both men have been running through the names on the lower end of the roster, showcasing exactly what they’re capable of. It wasn’t going to be long before the two finally came to blows – after all, there’s only room for one true big lad on the roster. On the first episode of 2019, the pair finally faced off but the match was eventually thrown out as the referee was simply unable to separate the two from brawling at ringside. Thus, general manager Johnny Saint ordered a rematch for the Empress Ballroom with no disqualifications. The British wrestling legend may have gotten himself into a nasty situation by signing this bout. Who knows what these two can do when the rule book’s thrown out the window. If there’s anything you can expect to see from this, it’s surely not a Neck Stop Driver. There’s simply no way Dennis can lift up Mastiff for the move. Not a chance.

Prediction: Dave Mastiff

NXT UK Tag Team Championships Tournament Finals: Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake)

Photo: WWE

A third championship is set to be added to NXT UK as the tag teams finally have something to fight over. There have been a few guys just randomly thrown together as teams as of late, with the likes of Kenny Williams & Amir Jordan, Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster, and Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel being in the tag division with no real backstory. They’re not the main point here though, as the finals of the championship tournament will pit Moustache Mountain against The Grizzled Young Veterans. Trent Seven and Tyler Bate are the obvious fan favourites coming into this one and are an accomplished tandem, having held the doubles gold in NXT, ATTACK! Pro Wrestling, PROGRESS Wrestling, and Fight Club: PRO, amongst others. There’s no need to speak about how good they are because everyone and their dog knows what The Don and The Big Strong Boi are capable of when they step between the ropes. As much as the fans will be cheering them on, they’ll be equally as loud with the boos directed towards Zack Gibson and James Drake. The GYV haven’t been on the go for as long as their opponents, but they’ve made a lasting impression since arriving. Gibson is, of course, the winner of last year’s United Kingdom Championship Tournament, while also being a 2x PROGRESS Tag Team Champion alongside Drake. The easiest option here would be to predict a Moustache Mountain victory but when things are just too obvious, it’s surely not happening. That’s usually how it works, right?

Prediction: The Grizzled Young Veterans

NXT UK Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs Toni Storm

Photo: WWE

When the NXT UK Women’s Championship was first introduced, fans probably weren’t expecting Rhea Ripley to be the first champion. She didn’t exactly make a name for herself on the UK scene, but she’s made for one heck of a starting champ. Using her signature Riptide pumphandle powerbomb, the Australian native has bulldozed her way through anyone that stands in her way. Her challenger here is the woman she defeated in the tournament finals to become the champ, Toni Storm. As a result of winning the second annual Mae Young Classic, Toni was allowed to choose which championship she wanted to challenge for. Of course, she chose the NXT UK Women’s Championship. She’s made a name for herself all over the UK (and the rest of the world for that matter), but will her strong strikes and wonderful German suplexes be enough to dethrone Ripley and add this championship to her ever-growing trophy cabinet?

Prediction: Rhea Ripley

WWE United Kingdom Championship: Pete Dunne (c) vs Joe Coffey

Photo: WWE

The main event for the evening, and what a main event it is. British Strong Style’s Pete Dunne against GallusJoe Coffey. As of writing, The Bruiserweight has held the championship for over 600 days so far and has defended against all-comers. Johnny Gargano, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly, Noam Dar, Jordan Devlin, you name it. They’ve all stepped up, and they’ve all fallen back down at the feet of Dunne. This challenge, however, is something much different. In his reign, Pete has never faced someone quite like Joe Coffey. One of the most powerful in all of British wrestling but at the same time, he’s still fairly athletic for a man of his stature. Dubbing himself “The Iron King”, Joe formed Gallus right from the offset in NXT UK alongside Wolfgang and brother Mark Coffey. The trio has terrorised anyone they so wish. Moustache Mountain thwarted Wolfgang and Mark’s chances at the Tag Team Championships by eliminating them from the tournament, but there’s nothing standing in the way of Joe Coffey getting his hands on the United Kingdom Championship. It’s the first TakeOver in NXT UK history and it’s back where it all began. It just makes sense to have a title change, which would end Pete’s reign at just over 600 days. Astonishing.

Prediction: Joe Coffey


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