The final episode of NXT UK before Takeover: Blackpool saw British Strong Style and Gallus come head-to-head!

For the last time (for now) we’re inside the Liverpool Olympia, as Nigel McGuinness and Vic Joseph hype up the main event for tonight.

Ligero vs. Joseph Conners
Commentary tells us that Conners reckons he’s been “sold a lie” about NXT UK. There’s a joke to be had here…

Conners starts by charging his former tag team partner from the indys into the corner, only to get taken down with some headscissors before Ligero rolled him up for a near-fall. A leg lariat catches Conners next, as the pair wound up on the apron, where Conners shoved Ligero into the ring post.

On the apron, Conners lays into Ligero with forearms to the back, then with a short-arm clothesline as we barely reach a one-count. Stomps to Ligero’s back follow as Conners stays on top with a chinbar, which he used to keep Ligero down for some trash talking. Commentary talks over Conners’ verbal assault though, and Ligero eventually gets free for a big back body drop!

Clotheslines from Ligero find their mark, as does a head kick which gets a near-fall. There’s another thrust kick as Ligero looked for Sliced Bread, but he’s shoved away ahead of a push-down stomp from Conners, who seemed bitter about Ligero’s very existence on the roster. Out of nowhere though, Ligero catches Conners with an armdrag and the C4L tornado DDT for the win. An okay match, but I’m starting to wonder how much of a repackage job Joseph Conners may need if there’s any plans to do anything serious with him on this roster? He’s technically sound, but the “boring” label is a serious millstone around his neck… **½

Backstage, Radzi’s interviewing James Drake and Zack Gibson with a big light in his face. Seriously WWE, this is like four tapings deep – why is this indy-level production still a think? Drake’s offended at Radzi’s question (“how are you feeling…”), while Gibson is so confident they’ve already cleared their mantlepiece for the title belts, and they’re arranging a Facebook Live session to celebrate early. That can only go well.

We’ve a video package from Dave Mastiff in response to Eddie Dennis’ piece on the prior episode. He basks in the label of the “undefeated monster” and remains softly-spoken about it all as he showed little emotion, compared to Eddie at least.

Travis Banks vs. Tyson T-Bone
Wow, we’re so late into the tapings that Liverpool doesn’t even bother with the “one fall” shtick.

T-Bone came out with Saxon Huxley, so their lower-card tag team is still a thing, and I swear the crowd’s been sweetened. Either that or Liverpool’s learned to boo in a different tone without moving their lips.

Banks gets hurled across the ring early on as T-Bone tried to assert himself, but Banks responds with some body blows and knees. There’s a shotgun-ish dropkick as Banks headed into the corner for the springboard stomp before he’s interrupted by Jordan Devlin’s music. Jordan’s out wearing Travis Banks’ New Zealand flag a la the Kiwi Buzzsaw, but Travis turned around in time to stop T-Bone’s attack from behind.

Kicks to T-Bone, then a diving knee leaves him down, before a Slice of Heaven puts paid to the traveller. Well that was a bloody squash.

Jordan Devlin stormed the ring straight after the match, but he’s beaten down and scurries away before he could eat a Slice of Heaven. Something tells me this late build for the “I love my country more” feud is being done for a reason…

Nigel and Vic are in front of the green screen before we get a video package of the NXT UK Womens’ Championship tournament final, focusing on Toni’s back injury, complete with the sound effects from Dana Brooks’ theme. That segues into Rhea Ripley’s reign as champion, and Toni Storm’s “cash in” of her Mae Young Classic win to get another shot at the belt.

They trail a Nigel McGuinness documentary that’ll be airing after Takeover on Saturday. By the look of it, they more than touch on the contents of the documentary he crowdfunded a few years back; and this looks like a must-see.

Screamy music runs us through the Takeover card:

NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. James Drake & Zack Gibson
Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin
No DQ – Eddie Dennis vs. Dave Mastiff
NXT UK Women’s Championship: Toni Storm vs. Rhea Ripley (c)
NXT UK Championship: Joe Coffey vs. Pete Dunne (c)

That’s a pretty loaded card, and sticks to the usual Takeover “five match” format. Will this live up to the “full fat NXT” standards though?

Gallus (Joe Coffey, Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs. British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
Our main event is British Strong Style up against Joe Coffey and his two mates who aren’t on Takeover. That’s certainly the haves versus the have nots.

We’re barely halfway through the show, so this’ll be a LONG main event. Bate and Joe Coffey start us off, beginning with a knuckle lock as Joe wrestled Bate down to the mat for an early two-count as Tyler bridged out, and held firm as he stood back up and tried to force Joe down to the mat. Instead, Coffey slips out and goes for the arm, before Tyler flipped free as we led to all six men staring each other down a la West Side Story.

Wolfgang and Trent Seven tag in next, with Trent landing his retiring crossbody before we… West Side Story again. Pete Dunne and Mark Coffey come in, and since there’s a clear differential there, Pete knocked down Mark as the ring again filled up with all six men brawling into the corners, as British Strong Style ultimately stood tall again.

The Scottish trio regroup on the floor, but Mark Coffey’s attempt to jump Dunne from behind failed as he ran into a drop toe-hold and some small joint manipulation too. A surfboard looked to be next from Dunne, but instead British Strong Style exchanged some frequent tags as Moustache Mountain had their way with Mark.

A distraction from Wolfgang opened the door for a suplex from Mark, who then tagged in his brother as the Scotsmen found their way back in. Wolfgang stomps on Tyler Bate as referee Joel Allen distracted himself with fixing a turnbuckle, and Tyler’s quickly back on the mat as he’s held in a butterfly lock by Joe Coffey.

Coffey tries to turn it into a suplex, but instead he just grounds Bate further, turning the hold into a run of the mill armbar and then a dreaded nerve hold. Bate tries to fight free, but he’s again cornered as Wolfgang returned… and lost track of Tyler, who went all World of Sporty before leapfrogging over him to tag in Trent! Chops follow from Trent, along with another back body drop and a surprise tope to take Wolfgang into the crowd barriers.

Back in the ring, Trent’s got an avalanche clothesline for Wolfgang as he allowed Mark Coffey to twice accidentally take down his own man. A sit-out side slam’s good for a near-fall for Trent, before a figure four attempt’s pushed out, with Trent face-planting himself into the guard rails as he was taken outside. Joe Coffey capitalises by throwing Trent into the ring steps too, as Gallus have a new target… which sees Joe’s attempt at a front facelock escaped by Trent pretty quickly.

Trent tries to fight out of the Gallus corner, but Wolfgang holds him in by the trunks as the Scotsmens’ onslaught continued. Joe Coffey grabs hold of Trent by the hair on the top rope, but Trent counters back with a superplex as Pete Dunne gets a hot tag in. He’s got enziguiri for Mark Coffey and Wolfgang, before he kicked away Mark’s hand en route to an X-Plex. Dunne rolled through into a knee bar on Wolfgang, but he dragged himself into the corner to tag in Mark Coffey…

…who falls straight into a triangle armbar that Mark escaped by… tagging out? Wolfgang’s legal, but he senton bombs into a cross armbreaker as the Scotsmen were looking more like the Keystone Cops here. They bumble their way into a mounted keylock (apt) but Wolfgang suplexes his way free as they finally do SOMETHING right.

Tyler Bate tags back in, as does Joe Coffey, who’s wiped out with a diving European uppercut off the middle rope, before following in with more of those in the corner. Coffey finally lands a back elbow before missing a double-jump cross body as Tyler instead responds with a running shooting star press for a near-fall. An airplane spin’s next as Liverpool got to their feet in appreciation. It tuckers out poor young Tyler, but he’s back up in search of a Tyler Driver, which Coffey evades, only to get slapped in the face as tags brought us back to Trent and Mark Coffey.

A Seven Stars lariat from Trent quickly takes Mark down, but he has to tag Tyler back in as the arm was injured… and British Strong Style worked into a triple-team powerbomb for a quick two-count. Bop and Bang from Tyler gets rid of Wolfgang, who’s kept down on the floor with a tope, while Pete Dunne kicked Mark Coffey. He’s quickly distracted as Joe holds up the NXT UK title belt, allowing Mark to tag out as Joe finally gets some offence in on the champion, landing a powerbomb for a delayed two-count.

Trent barely broke up the cover on that, as a rebound lariat from Tyler took Mark to the outside as we were clearing the ring. We’re left with Joe Coffey and Pete Dunne in the ring, wheeling away on each other with punches until Dunne took Joe down for some stomps to the hands.

A spear-like headbutt from Joe stops Dunne in his tracks, before a second one was countered in mid-air with a kick. Wolfgang tags in, but Dunne doesn’t realise it as he hits Joe Coffey with a Bitter End… and we’re back to the quick tags as an elbow from Wolfgang sent Dunne towards his corner and a tag to Tyler Bate. With everyone outside, Tyler heads up and lands a Spiral Tap to the pile.

Back inside, a Tyler Driver’s countered with a back body drop, but Bate’s attempt to follow up just ends with him running into Joe Coffey’s Awra Best for the Bells, as the discus lariat gets the win for Gallus. A hell of a main event by NXT UK standards, but this felt overly long, even as a “go home” match. I get having a strong champion, but it’s really jarring within WWE when Pete Dunne is the only one who’s playing the old “Super Cena” role – where he’s head and shoulders above everyone else. That sequence with Wolfgang and Mark Coffey was almost comical, and perhaps did a bit more damage than you’d think… ***¾

Post-match, Joe Coffey did the universal belt symbol as the show hurriedly rushed off the air.

This weekend’s Takeover is more of a turning point for this brand than you may realise. While we’ve moaned about how “beige” NXT UK is, especially when compared to the “black and yellow” NXT, but with any luck Takeover: Blackpool should see the start of a new chapter. One where characters at least have something to shout about in terms of their accomplishments on the NXT UK show itself, rather than nebulous and vague achievements from before the show existed that often have to be talked around.

Nothing was announced for next week, but you’d have to think that it’ll be a recap show a la “normal” NXT with perhaps a taped match or two sprinkled in from Blackpool.