Eddie Dennis def. Trent Seven
I remember liking Dennis' matches with Dave Mastiff last year, but we haven't seen him at all since he returned from injury recently. However, he was very impressive here. It wasn't the flashiest, but they worked well together and produced a super solid opener. That spot where Dennis chucked Seven over the top rope down to the floor below looked nasty, and whoever Seven landed on deserves a raise. I like the decision for Dennis to go over as it establishes him as an important player on the brand.
NXT UK Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray def. Piper Niven and Toni Storm in a Triple Threat Match
They started out slow, but once they picked up the pace, this turned into a very fun Triple Threat. They created excellent suspense down the stretch and made everyone in the audience want to see a title change. The storytelling was strong too with Ray at one point letting Niven and Storm fight among themselves (playing off how they're no longer friends) before they teamed up on her. I'm slightly surprised Niven was pinned and not Storm, as I figured Storm was on her way out of NXT UK (to NXT) and that Piper would be protected for a future title shot. Either way, Ray retaining the title was the right call.
Tyler Bate def. Jordan Devlin
William Regal went so far as to say during the Prime Target special that aired on Thursday that he thought this would be the Match of the Year, which is incredible high praise coming from him. We'll have to see about that come December, but for now, it definitely is the best WWE matchup I've seen this year to date (yes, I realize it's only January 12th). I had high hopes for this and they did not disappoint one bit. I loved how they acknowledged their history from the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament three years ago (something they failed to mention in the buildup to the event), Bate was a brilliant babyface, and Devlin had a breakout performance. If they don't push him after this, something is seriously wrong. I would have preferred to see him win here, but I understand why he didn't, as the story was that Bate needed to bounce back from his loss to WALTER from TakeOver: Cardiff and prove that he still has it. The post-match standing ovation for Bate from the crowd and the officials in the balcony was well deserved. This was on another level.
NXT UK Tag Team Champions Gallus def. The Grizzled Young Veterans, Imperium and Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster in a Fatal 4-Way Ladder Match
We've seen so many Ladder matches over the last year in WWE that it's difficult for the competitors to continue to innovate, but I thought they did a hell of a job of keeping the crowd engaged and going all out. The crowd sounded exhausted by the end and I don't blame them, but they were still lively for a majority of the match and went wild for all the big spots. This was terrific from start to finish, even though I wish Imperium walked away with the titles so they could hold all the gold.
WWE United Kingdom Champion WALTER def. Joe Coffey
Of the three NXT UK TakeOver main events to date, this was easily the weakest, but I still enjoyed it on the whole. It was a weird dynamic with both guys being heels (unless Coffey is considered a face now?), but the crowd provided an electric atmosphere and gave this a big fight feel. It was a hard-hitting affair, but I wasn't a fan of the interference at all. Maybe they wanted to include Ilja Dragunov and Alexander Wolfe on the show and further their feud, but it was totally unnecessary and made WALTER look a little less dominant (especially after Coffey was shown getting a visual pin over him). Coffey would have been the wrong person to finally beat WALTER, so I was glad WALTER won. They closed out the show on a high note with Undisputed Era ambushing Imperium to a raucous reaction ahead of their encounter at Worlds Collide in two weeks.
This was yet another stellar, must-see show from the NXT UK brand. The main event was my least favorite match of the night and even that was a war. Those first four matches were fantastic and Bate vs. Devlin in particular was phenomenal. Although no championships changed hands, the Blackpool crowd was on fire and the two and a half hours flew by. I can't stress enough that if you aren't already tuning into NXT UK on a weekly basis, you are missing out big time.
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