"Bomber" Dave Mastiff def. Kona Reeves
I was fine with Trent Seven beating the crap out of Reeves a few weeks ago, but I really hope this doesn't mean Reeves is becoming a regular on NXT UK because he's already lost to everyone in NXT. In case you couldn't already tell, I'm no fan of his and can't bring myself to care about his matches. On the bright side, this was designed to be a total squash for Mastiff, so in that respect, it worked. He needed to get back on track and this win accomplished that.
Toni Storm and Piper Niven Came to Blows
Is it just me or has Storm come across as completely unlikable since her return? Although she apologized for the recent beef between her and Niven in this segment, she asked Niven to bow out of the NXT UK Women's Championship match at TakeOver so she can handle her business with Kay Lee Ray. Niven took exception to that, and rightfully so, and they brawled as Ray watched from the stage. That should be a really fun Triple Threat in Blackpool.
Kassius Ohno def. Ligero
I liked how a replay was shown of Ohno nearly unmasking Ligero during their Worlds Collide match last year, which was won by Ohno. This was another enjoyable encounter from them and their vastly different in-ring styles meshed nicely. Ligero was a great resilient babyface while Ohno was an even better bully heel. Ohno has taken his character work to another level, so it's smart to protect him with wins such as this. Based off that backstage segment that aired later in the show, it seems Ohno vs. Mastiff is the direction they're headed in.
Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter def. The Outliers
These teams are basically the scraps of NXT UK's tag division. I hate to say that, but Smith and Carter have proven nothing as a tandem yet while The Outliers have a long way to go. Smith and Carter were put together because they'd be floundering on their own otherwise. Their win felt like a fluke and the match that preceded it was average at best. Honestly, I'm not really sure why this existed.
Ilja Dragunov def. Alexander Wolfe in a No Disqualification Match
No Disqualification matches are a rarity in NXT UK, so this had a special feel to it. Both guys delivered and made excellent use of their extreme environment. I loved their intensity and Dragunov desperately needed a star-making performance, which I thought he had here. Dragunov winning was the right call and the post-match angle with Imperium attacking him only for Joe Coffey to make the save was well done. This was a wonderful way of ending the episode all around.
That main event is absolutely worth going out of your way to see. This wasn't the most amazing edition of NXT UK to ring in the new year, but at least they closed out the night on a high note. Although the tag team match was whatever, everything else was largely solid and served as hype for TakeOver: Blackpool II next weekend. Speaking of which, it was announced that Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin and Eddie Dennis vs. Trent Seven have since been added to the card.
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