Tonight in Cardiff, NXT UK took over and like the Takeover’s in the states, they are must shows. The lineup for this card going on looked great. With the NXT going to two hours on USA Network in a few short weeks, this was a way for the UK stars to show their abilities and value as a way to possibly come over to Full Sail University and crossover to NXT in America. Before I begin with my thoughts, here are the results for Takeover Cardiff:
-Noam Dar defeated Travis Banks
-Cesaro defeated Ilja Dragunov
-Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster defeated Grizzled Young Veterans and Gallus to become the new NXT UK Tag Team Champions
-Joe Coffey defeated Dave Mastiff in a Last Man Standing Match
-Kay Lee Ray defeated Toni Storm to become the new NXT UK Women’s Champion
-WALTER defeated Tyler Bate to retain the NXT UK Championship
The opening match of the night was between Noam Dar and Travis Banks. These two have been at each other for a while now and it was finally settled in the ring tonight. It’s great to see Noam Dar being used a prominent star on NXT UK. I feel like when he was on 205 Live, they put him in some really silly situations and he never reached his fullest potential among the Cruiserweights. From a WWE perspective, they haven’t even scratched the surface with Travis Banks. I’ve seen a lot of work pre-NXT UK and he can go with the best of him. Dar got the win but both men set the tone for the night. Earlier this week, Cesaro made his intentions known that he was coming to NXT UK and issued an open challenge before the show started.
Ilja Dragunov accepted the challenge and gave Cesaro everything he had. It was so great to see Cesaro showcased properly among the European crowd. I will say after watching this match, Ilja Dragunov’s stock to definitely went up after his performance against a veteran like Cesaro.
Speaking of veterans, The Grizzled Young Veterans put their tag team championships on the line against Gallus and the team of Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster. NXT UK has done a really nice job of developing an excellent tag team division and these three teams tore the house down. The one team to beware of is Aichner and Barthel from Imperium. At some point, they are going to want gold like their leader WALTER. It was a real feel good moment to see Webster and Andrews become the new Tag Team Champions. Two people who aren’t feeling too good are Dave Mastiff and and Joe Coffey. The beat the leaving tar out of each other in a Last Man Standing Match. This match could have gone either way, but at the end of the night it was Joe Coffey barely standing to win the match. It will be interesting to see where Gallus goes from here, because at some point I feel like thy have to feud with Imperium. Both are heel factions in the brand, so I’ll be curious if one of the factions turns at one point.
One of the more personal matches was Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray. These two have a storied history together prior to coming to NXT UK. I love the story that took place during the match, because it’s almost like Storm didn’t want to fight Ray. It gave Ray a distinct advantage and allowed her to capture the NXT UK Women’s Championship. The Main Event of Takeover Cardiff was WALTER defending the NXT Championship against the inaugural champion Tyler Bate. The size difference in this match is what made this match so much fun to watch. You wouldn’t think that Bate should be able to hang with WALTER, but Bate his some crazy strength of his own that always seems to amaze everyone. Even though WALTER retained his championship, Bate left everything in the ring. I think WALTER is the long-term face of NXT UK. I really feel that all of British Strong Style has done everything they could possibly do in NXT UK right now. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them on the USA Network real soon.
No matter if it’s NXT UK or NXT in America, they always deliver and you never feel disappointed after watching what they do. They bring everything they have every time they’re in the ring. With the NXT going to the USA Network as a two hour show, this was a perfect showcase of international talent that could possibly get national exposure on a major network. The future of NXT UK is bright and if they can keep putting on great shows it’s only going to get bigger. Tonight, they took over Cardiff and left their make. Where in the UK will the take over next?