NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff is in the bag, meaning it’s time to look back on what happened and assess the damage, praise the positives and talk about what went down.
Per usual, at the end of this post, you’ll see my regular Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast, which reviews the event in more detail, but for those who want a more condensed version of my thoughts, I present to you my “quicker than a hiccup” reactions to the different parts of the evening:
Noam Dar vs. Travis Banks:
- It makes sense for this to be the opening match. It should be good, but leave room for everything else to be better and build, rather than peak at the start.
- I’ve been a fan of Noam Dar from the start. I think he has a lot of potential he hasn’t yet tapped into. It wouldn’t shock me if he were to win the UK title from whoever beats WALTER, or become a bigger name in NXT, depending on what happens with NXT UK and 205 Live going forward. Unless that spot goes to Jordan Devlin.
- Slower start than I expected.
- To be honest, I’m a little disappointed with what’s happened so far, but I’ll admit that I’m also quite tired and that may be making this harder for me to get into.
- Dar def. Banks by pinfall, which is the right move.
Cesaro vs. Ilja Dragunov:
- Why wouldn’t they announce something like this ahead of time in the hopes to get people to tune in? It’s practically the biggest draw of the card!
- Very cool to see Cesaro here, similar to Finn Balor at the last one. Now I’m curious if Drew McIntyre will show up at the next or something else like that.
- A win here will do wonders for Dragunov, who I think may be the next real challenger for WALTER after Dave Mastiff.
- 40 rotations on the Cesaro Swing?!!!?! JEEZ. Highlight of the night. I loved the crowd counting along. That should become a regular thing and Cesaro now has to hit 60 seconds.
- Very solid near-fall with that GTS of sorts.
- I have no idea what the crowd is chanting. “Are you Russian?” “Are you bullshit?” “Holly Woodshed?”
- Cesaro def. Dragunov by pinfall with the Neutralizer. I guess there goes my whole “a win for Dragunov will mean a lot” thing, right? This was a better match than Dar/Banks.
- The post-match tease of a beating that turned into a handshake was a nice sendoff to counter-balance the loss.
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match: Grizzled Young Veterans (c) vs. Gallus vs. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster:
- Cool matching gear for Andrews and Webster.
- It’s so basic, but I really dig the Gallus theme.
- So what is James Drake’s deal? Does he have a character? A style? I don’t dislike him, and he seems to be as solid wrestler, but he’s “just some guy” to me still. I can’t pinpoint what he’s all about and if someone asked me to describe him, I’d say “Zack Gibson’s partner.”
- Nice 450 assist. Shame it didn’t feel like a potential finish and the near-fall was brushed aside so easily.
- The crowd is SO into Andrews and Webster and are really making this match.
- There are no disqualifications in a Triple Threat match, so Gibson can’t be DQ’d.
- Andrews and Webster win the titles by pinfall and the crowd erupts! Very cool! Admittedly, I wouldn’t have cared about this 1/10th as much if it weren’t for this crowd.
Last Man Standing Match: Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey:
- I maintain that “The Bomber Dave Mastiff” should instead be called “Massive Dave Mastiff” and I’ll die on that hill.
- Nice touch with Joe Coffey starting off with a chain in his hand, ready to go.
- VERY cool the Irish whip broke the turnbuckle. I guess nobody is going up to the non-existent top rope now.
- Dave-on, get the tables! (That was bad, I know.)
- “Holy shit” from the crowd about the fall onto the table from the stage, but I felt rather meh about it. Of course, I wouldn’t want to do it, but if this is the end, that will be underwhelming.
- Coffey wins by kicking a travel case from underneath Mastiff so he falls at the 9-count…which is a decent way to win, but the spot before it wasn’t good enough for me to feel completely satisfied. I’m also surprised Coffey won, as now, I especially feel that nobody is remotely close to a credible enough challenger for WALTER.
NXT UK Women’s Championship Match: Toni Storm (c) vs. Kay Lee Ray:
- Yeah I’m not into this.
- I’ve noticed my attention drifting away from my screen multiple times during this match and I’m struggling to keep watching. It’s not atrocious, it’s just flat and uninteresting so far.
- Why does everybody do suicide dives now? There’s 100 of them on every show. Way to kill a move that used to be fun.
- Kay Lee Ray wins the title by pinfall? Woof. Not a fan of this. Toni Storm is the bigger deal and the only way I can imagine this makes sense is if they plan on moving Storm to NXT and had to get the belt off her. Ray will be a transitional champion and drop it to Tegan Nox or Piper Niven by potentially the end of the year or at least early 2020, I think.
United Kingdom Championship Match: WALTER (c) vs. Tyler Bate:
- I really wish I had even the slightest bit of doubt that WALTER would retain so that I could get more into Bate as a challenger here. That air of certainty over WALTER keeping the belt means they’re climbing uphill for me to be invested.
- This match isn’t holding my attention, either.
- Bate is very good in a lot of ways, particularly for being so young, and has a lot of potential for a major future. Right now, I can’t help but to feel like he’s in a weird spot where he’s a big fish in a small pond on NXT UK and being so close to the ceiling is preventing him from achieving more success by not having anywhere to go other than the top again, which WWE doesn’t want him to do. He might benefit from a move to NXT or 205 Live where he can win the cruiserweight or North American title.
- Is it impressive Bate picked up WALTER for a vertical suplex? Sure. Was that good enough to have built up to after such a long amount of time? Nope. I expected more than what is mostly WALTER doing a flip and Bate helping guide him.
- Bate being able to match strength with a standing shooting star press is what helps him stand out as a big star to come.
- Wow, I stand corrected with the show of power from the Tyler Driver 97. That was impressive, and they really picked up the pace and turned this around to make me enjoy it a lot more.
- A clothesline ends it? Okay. But hey, this was a good match, so I’m cool with it.
- Anything happening?…..Nope?…..Okay…
Stay tuned for the post-show review, which will be added below!
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