With everyone’s Christmas turkey settled down, it’s time to embark on a new set of NXT UK tapings – will these be turkeys too?

The show opened with Sid Scala, introduced as the assistant to the NXT UK General Manager. Ah, he’s the regular Gareth of NXT UK. I can’t wait for Trent Seven to hide his stapler in jelly. All he does is introduce Johnny Saint. We’ve got new NXT UK turnbuckles… does this mean that we’ve got more new merch?

Johnny Saint has an announcement for us all – it’s the announcement of NXT Takeover: Blackpool on January 12th. Gareth fills in the blanks for Uncle Johnny, as Liverpool pops loud… but they’re then interrupted by Toni Storm, who tells us about her year, before asking for a title shot at Takeover. It’s granted by Johnny Saint, and I’m now dreading Johnny Saint singing a la David Brent.

Nigel McGuinness and Vic Joseph are in front of the green screen telling us what we just saw, before Nigel trails Zack Gibson’s “guide to Liverpool”.

Kenny Williams vs. Jordan Devlin
Oh dear. We’re already into rematches, as these to met back on episode 6 of NXT UK.

Amir Jordan’s ringside with his tag team partner, who starts up by having to fight a knuckle lock as Devlin took him to his knees. A monkey flip counters it though, with Williams taking Devlin outside, with a springboard back elbow keeping the Irishman outside. Kenny tries for a through-the-ropes dropkick, but Jordan catches him and pulls him into an apron powerbomb. OW.

Back inside, Devlin lifts Williams up into a backbreaker for a near-fall, ahead of a double arm stretch on the mat as Nigel McGuinness reminisced over his ROH match with the current Daniel Bryan in this venue. Williams gets up and flips out of the stretch, but is quickly dumped with a uranage before his standing moonsault’s cradled for a near-fall by the Scotsman.

Williams tries to fight back, kicking Devlin outside for an eventual tope, before Williams rolled back in and dropkicked Devlin in the ropes. An O’Connor roll gets a near-fall too as the “Lucky Ean” was pushing Devlin further than many expected, before a wheelbarrow attempt’s countered into a nasty half-nelson suplex. A missed uppercut from Williams left him open for a forearm to the head from Devlin, who quickly polished off Kenny with a pull-up Saito suplex and the Ireland’s call. A fun TV match, with Devlin clearly on track for something while Williams got enough to not be considered cannon fodder in future. ***

Radzi interviewed Jordan in the ring after the match… he’s cut-off as Devlin took over the promo. Shauna boos.

They play a trailer announcing the arrival of Marcel Barthel to NXT UK. “The impeccable German”, formerly Axel Dieter Jr, is coming soon.

From there, Radzi is backstage beaming over the NXT UK Takeover announcement. He’s stopped by David Brent and Gareth Keenan, who say they’ve been discussing match-ups… Rhea Ripley’s there too, crowing over her NXT UK title. She wants to defend it “next week”, so Johnny and Sid go back into their office as Radzi’s attempt to interview is again interrupted. Johnny found a quick opponent: the debuting Deonna Purrazzo.

Dan Moloney vs. Eddie Dennis
We’re reminded of Eddie attacking Dave Mastiff last week, as those two still have something going on.

Moloney jumps Eddie at the bell, going for a kick and a suplex for an early one-count, before some shoulder charges are ended with Eddie’s Judo-like throw. Eddie throws him outside, but he followed him out as he absorbs chops then dumped Dan with a forearm… and we don’t go much longer before Dave Mastiff runs out and attacks Eddie for the DQ. Eh, Dan wasn’t exactly looking hot before Mastiff interfered.

Mastiff takes Eddie in the ring for a German suplex, but Eddie scoots away to avoid a cannonball. Moloney shoved Mastiff after the match, and gets knocked into the corner as Big Dave hit his cannonball anyway. SPLAT.

Backstage, Ligero is warming up as Sid Scala tries to give a pep talk. It still sounds odd hearing Ligero speak. Gallus interrupt wearing their NXT UK shirts, so they still don’t have merch, as Joe Coffey says this is all about “his” NXT UK. Sid tells the rest of Gallus that in two weeks’ time they’ve got Moustache Mountain in the NXT UK tag team tournament semi-final.

It’s good to see we’ve retained the usual shonky lighting on this brand in a new venue.

Nigel McGuinness adopts a funny accent as we lead into… Zack Gibson’s guide to Liverpool! He’s with James Drake as he gives the tour, an the “truth behind Liverpool”. He reckons that Liverpool’s been over-run by “entitled leeches” “not prepared to put in the graft”, then bemoans how Liverpool turned their back on him. Once we get past the squawking seagulls, this became a pretty good promo piece for Zack… as James Drake I guess got to stand there.

Jack Starz & Tucker vs. Saxon Huxley & Tyson T-Bone
Good God, NXT UK Lethal Lottery in full effect here!

T-Bone starts by hurling Starz into the ropes, before Starz fought back with a dropkick… then ran into the arms of T-Bone. Tucker thought he’d come in to help out, but he’s caught with a double-team chokeslam for a near-fall as I get flashbacks to Kronik. Saxon Huxley (who’s mis-named by Vic Joseph) throws some knees to Tucker, who tried to fight back… but not for long.

An enziguiri finds its mark as both men tag out, with Starz flying into Huxley with a crossbody as he had to fight the numbers game. That fight quickly ended badly for him as T-Bone ran through him, before a right hand left him easy prey for Saxon Huxley to get the pin. SPLAT.

That’s the match they should have had in their debut as a team for crying out loud.

Radzi’s backstage with Isla Dawn. She’s blowing out the white balance again and recognises that her loss last time against Rhea Ripley means that things weren’t meant to be. She promises to dust herself off and fight back up again… but she’s interrupted by a slightly out-of-focus Jinny, who tells her about the opportunity she’s wasted.

Ligero vs. Joe Coffey
Nigel goes all weird with the accents again as he tries to clue up Vic Joseph on collectives.

Ligero started by being taken into the ropes by Coffey, who was forcing him to stick and move early on. Instead, Coffey wrestled Ligero to the mat as he… pulled the horns on his mask. Ligero’s back up and shoved down as he tied himself up into a ball a la Johnny Saint, before finally scoring with a roll through… only for Coffey to roll through too.

Coffey tries for a Boston crab, but Ligero elbows free and finally lands his flying ‘rana. Ligero slides outside, then uses the ring steps as he tried for Sliced Bread on the floor, only for Coffey to avoid it and spear Ligero into the barriers. The punishment continued as Ligero was shoved into the ring apron.

Back in the ring, Ligero fought back with forearms but Coffey goes for a full nelson instead, before he rotates Ligero into a butterfly lock. He scissors Ligero for extra pressure, before swinging him around ahead of a butterfly suplex for a near-fall. Ligero was more avoiding moves than anything else here, fighting out of a suplex before going for a stomp as Coffey goes for a spear. That didn’t quite go to plan, I feel…

Coffey rolls outside and gets met with a tope con giro, before another senton in the ring sees Ligero crash into Coffey. The Scotsman rolls into the corner and ends up taking a Sliced Bread as Ligero mounted his comeback for a near-fall. Another senton misses from Ligero, who gets caught with some pop-up uppercuts, then a splash in the corner before a pop-up slam from Coffey drew a near-fall.

Coffey stands over Ligero and pulls him up for a deadlift German… but Ligero elbows free before Coffey headed to the apron and pulled his foe by the mask into the corner. From there, Coffey heads up top, but Ligero catches him with a gamengiri, only for his top rope ‘rana to get stopped as a powerbomb countered it, with the following Boston crab forcing Ligero to crawl to the ropes. After that rope break, Coffey looked for Awra Best For The Bells, but Ligero kicks it away and rolls him up for a near-fall, before he springboarded into the discus lariat as Coffey took the pin. An enjoyable main event with Ligero showing some fight, only to be outdone by Coffey’s size difference. ***½

This wasn’t a great episode of NXT UK. Too squash-heavy in the middle with decent matches bookmarking the show – although we’ve got a clear focus in the rapidly-approaching Takeover show… I’m hoping that the show’ll feel special for more reasons than “it’s the first one”.