Dave Mastiff and Eddie Dennis had another go at each other as the latest round of NXT UK had implications for Takeover: Blackpool.

We’ve another “in memory” graphic for Mean Gene, and we’re onto a new day’s tapings in Liverpool as Nigel and Vic address us from the green screen. There’s a contract signing tonight, which is bound to be civil… They recap what happened with Toni Storm saving Deonna Purrazzo two weeks ago, then “last week” when Deonna challenged Toni for that Takeover match.

Toni Storm vs. Deonna Purrazzo
We get a handshake before the bell as Toni and Deonna lock up, but it’s Purrazzo who looked for an arm early, before she’s tripped with a drop toe hold from the Aussie.

Purrazzo returns the favour, but we stay on the mat as neither woman was giving (nor expecting) any quarter. Grounded headscissors from Purrazzo are eventually escaped by Storm, whose offer of a handshake’s kicked away as Deonna seemed to be losing her early sportsmanship.

Storm hits back with a low dropkick to catch Deonna unawares, before she wrapped the American up in a STF. A knee stomp from Storm keeps Deonna down, but a hip attack in the corner misses as Purrazzo instead worked her way into an arm snap for a near-fall, keeping up the pressure in the corner to boot. Another arm snap followed as she wrenched Toni’s arm between her feet, before a Koji clutch looked to catch Storm in the middle of the ring. Toni forces a break as she rolled Deonna back for a near-fall, but Purrazzo’s right back on the arm. A running kick’s awkwardly caught by Toni, who gets back to her feet and pulls Purrazzo down with a back cracker, following up with a hip attack before a Storm Zero attempt is blocked. Storm responds with a headbutt, then falls onto Deonna for a two-count, before another Storm Zero attempt is blocked.

A hiptoss and a dropkick gets Deonna a near-fall, as she then transitioned into a Gargano Escape on Storm, switching it into a double armbar, only for Storm to get her feet to the ropes. Another crack at a Fujiwara armbar from Purrazzo ends up getting blocked though, as Toni hit back with a German suplex and the Storm Zero Tiger Driver for the win. An enjoyable match to kick off the show, although I’m beyond done with the “back and forth, hit a finisher and win” template that’s the norm here. ***½

Rhea Ripley comes out at the end of the match – and rather than a staredown, she gets onto the apron and waves her belt in Storm’s face. BUILD!

Wild Boar is NEXT!

Radzi is backstage with David and Gareth from The NXT UK Office. Sid Scala does the talking this time, as he tells us that next week we’ll see Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews vs. Zack Gibson and James Drake to decide who faces Moustache Mountain at Takeover.

Josh Morrell vs. Wild Boar
Unlike a few shows ago, Morrell actually makes it to the ring for his match.

Morrell’s thrown around the ring by Boar early, who went to work on his arm, only for Morrell to flip free and… get stuffed when he went for a wheelbarrow. Boar responds with a back senton onto him for a near-fall, before he began to pull away at Morrell, using a pair of nerve holds to keep him grounded. Eventually, Morrell gets free and lands a standing flip senton for a near-fall on Boar, before taking him into the corner for an uppercut. A second one misses, so he goes for a springboard sunset flip, only for Boar to kick out and take him into the opposite corner with a Fireman’s carry. From there, a cannonball squashes Morrell, before a frog splash from Boar gets the win. A competitive squash, but a squash nevertheless.

Joseph Conners has another bitter promo about how he’s no longer the “shiny new toy” in NXT UK.

Backstage, Travis Banks has a selfie promo as he says “everything he does, he does for New Zealand”. He pretty much says “I love my country as much as you love yours”, before we cut to Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel berating Sid Scala for not being in the NXT UK tag title tournament. There’s more than a hint of nervousness in Scala’s voice, as he threatened to banish Barthel and Aichner if they got involved in Andrews and Websters’ match next week. Where to? FIP?!

Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
We’ve got the shaky cam back for Dave Mastiff’s entrance as we’ve a rematch from “two months ago” (well, just the four weeks given the double-headers!)

Eddie charges into Mastiff early on, whipping big Dave into the corner repeatedly as he tried to wear down the “Bomber”. Boots follow in the corner as Eddie ends up charging into an elbow as Mastiff hit back, landing some uppercuts before an attempt at a German suplex ended with Eddie scrambling into the ropes. After hitting the ropes, Eddie runs into a dropkick as Mastiff gets a near-fall, following up with a series of Danielson elbows to the head as Eddie scrambled to the outside. Mastiff tried to follow him, but he’s caught off the apron as Eddie looked for a Severn Bridge crucifix bomb to the floor, only for Mastiff to escape and land a Finlay roll on the outside.

For, reasons, Mastiff charges at Eddie, who moves as the Bomber ran into the ring steps with both men then having to beat the referee’s count. Back-and-forth forearms follow as they fought from their knees… and we have a hideous finish as the pair exchange forearms until they shoved away the ref as he tried to separate them. Instant double-DQ, and they fight to the back. That is such an awful finish, I’m tempted to call this a dud, but this was quite a good big lads’ match before the finish. **¾

Sid Scala and referees are out until Headmaster Johnny Saint gets his music. He books Eddie vs. Dave for Takeover: Blackpool in a no-DQ match. You know, because his referee was ultra strict…

We see recaps from “last week” as Joe Coffey and Pete Dunne got into it during and after the main event… and next week, it’s British Strong Style vs. Gallus “days before Takeover Blackpool”.

Our main event segment is straight out of Raw, it’s the contract signing for the NXT UK title match in Blackpool. Sid Scala does the talking because they don’t trust Johnny Saint, as out comes Joe Coffey in his winter coat. Pete Dunne follows in his fancier suit jacket, which was quickly followed by a jealous side-eye from Coffey. Coffey cuts a promo as the two men sit down by the table. His soliloquy’s “what”’d, while Pete looked vaguely bored by it. Joe orders Sid and Johnny away as he wants “a moment with Pete Dunne” (oo-er), during which he asks why Dunne is still the NXT UK champion… to which he says “it’s because I’ve not been here”. Coffey says that everyone else is just a pawn compared to the “Iron King”, who’ll claim his throne in Blackpool.

Coffey signs the contract, before Pete snatches his hand mid-signature and snaps the fingers away. Dunne pulls a pen of his own out and signs the contract, before giving Maffew of Botchamania a new intro. Cue the riff, and we’re done? Except Gallus appear on the stage to distract Dunne as Joe Coffey attacked him from behind, powerbombing the champion through the table as the segment (and indeed, the show) ended with Joe Coffey holding the belt above Pete Dunne.

This episode was brief, weighing in at under 50 minutes, and it was more about putting solid build for Blackpool, with the women’s title match set in stone, while we were given the storyline reason for Eddie Dennis and Dave Mastiff’s big match. Easily the better of the two shows this week, but we’re going to need some crackers next week if Takeover: Blackpool is to get any hype for reasons other than “it’s the first one”.