Nearly five years ago, WWE made history by launching the WWE Network. The first ever live event on the network was NXT Arrival. It was that show that made NXT the focal and selling point of the network. Two years ago, WWE under Triple H’s vision began his expansion by bringing his ideas to the UK. The first ever WWE United Kingdom Champion was Tyler Bate and he beat current champion Pete Dunne in the process of making history. Over the last two years we have seen the development of the NXT UK brand with network specials and some of the UK talent being featured on NXT in America. Since the start of NXT UK, we have seen new faces, incredible talent and some hard hitting matches. The day before Takeover Blackpool, Triple H announced the opening of the WWE United Kingdom Performance center, which will have the same concepts and training as the one in Orlando, Florida. The WWE is invested in the UK wrestling scene and the expansion of Triple H’s vision shows that. With all of that being said here is what went down at NXT UK Takeover Blackpool:
-Zack Gibson and James Drake defeated Moustache Mountain(Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) to become the first NXT UK Tag Team Champions
-Finn Balor defeated Jordan Devlin
-Dave Mastiff defeated Eddie Dennis in a NO DQ Match
-Toni Storm defeated Rhea Ripley to become NXT UK Women’s Champion
-Pete Dunne defeated Joe Coffey to retain the WWE United Kingdom Championship
The first match of the evening was for the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Championships with two very great teams. You had Tyler Bate and Trent Seven taking on James Drake and Zack Gibson. The only the thing that shocked me about the buildup towards this event is that Moustache Mountain didn’t take on the two member of Gallus. At the same time, had it been Gallus then people would have said it was predictable. From the get go, the crowd was absolutely on fire. There was some innovative stuff in this match and a lot of it came from Tyler Bate. I think Tyler went into the match showing that he should still be champion. I was shocked that Drake and Gibson won the belts, again it wasn’t the obvious outcome. I will be curious to see what happens with Bate and Seven now that they don’t get the initial tag team title run. Originally, Jordan Devlin was suppose to take on Travis Banks, but Devlin beat up Banks earlier in the day and right before their match. Banks was unable to compete so UK management found a replacement. To everyone’s shock and surprise, Banks was replaced by Finn Balor who is the teacher of Jordan Devlin. I was pleasantly surprised how much time Devlin got against his mentor and teacher. I believe this match put Devlin on the map for the long term. He was already getting significantly pushed, but this match put it over the top.
Following the shocking arrival of Finn Balor, we were treated to a NO DQ match between Eddie Dennis and Dave Mastiff. This match was nasty, brutal, and physical. I had my reservations about how well this match was going to go, but both men brought their A Game. I enjoyed watching Dennis show his true strength in this match because I haven’t been able to get excited about him. One match that I was very excited about was the NXT UK Women’s Match between Rhea Ripley and Toni Storm. Both women had a lot of momentum going into 2019 and have shown they are going to be major forces in the Women’s Division for a long time to come. These two are the absolute best the UK Women’s Division has right now. From a booking standpoint, I thought Ripley should have held the title longer. I thought she would hold it until Tegan Nox came back since Nox was rumored to win the Mae Young Classic and was to receive a big push. My issue with Storm’s title win is their are not enough dominant heels in the division. I feel like the division has more faces than heels right, and that could potentially be an issue for short-term booking. With that being said I am happy for Toni Storm, because she has earned it every step of the way. Her run in the Mae Young Classic was incredible, and it has propelled her to this for point in time.
The Main Event was WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne defending against Joe Coffey. Since NXT UK programming started the two main factions have been Gallus and British Strong Style. The foundation of NXT UK has been these two factions so far. Dunne has held the title for 600+ days and has made himself into a superstar who is ready for the main roster. Pete Dunne took everything Joe Coffey had and vice versa. This was match insane and had everything that a main event championship match is suppose to have. Once Dunne won the match and celebrate out came NXT’s newest superstar. WALTER who has been on path of destruction has joined the NXT UK brand and confronted Pete Dunne after the match. I have a feeling this is the match everyone has been waiting for on a mainstream level. The first NXT UK Takeover was absolutely incredible. It was full of surprises, great matches and the booking was not predictable at all. I have to give Takeover Blackpool a 9.5 out of 10. It was a great start to the UK brand have major shows. I honestly cannot wait for the next NXT UK Takeover.