Two weeks on from Takeover: Blackpool – NXT UK trundles on again as we finally got Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin!

If you’re wondering “hey, wasn’t the last regular TV NXT UK #24?”, well, you’re right. For some reason the WWE Network counts NXT Takeovers as an episode of NXT, so “technically” Takeover Blackpool was episode 25 and last weeks’ “Takeover Plus” special episode 26 of NXT UK.

So we begin on episode 27, taped from the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool… but first, there’s a recap of Jordan Devlin’s attack on Travis Banks at Blackpool as we build to tonight’s main event. Nigel McGuinness and Vic Joseph are on commentary as usual,and what the blazes is this… they’re in the room too?! We open with Pete Dunne coming to the ring, doing the rah-rah “we made history” speech that you’d have seen Triple H giving previously. Dunne says that he’s the constant of NXT UK… and out come Gallus to interrupt. Oh yay. They’re finally not wearing their NXT UK t-shirts (or “prison uniform” as some dubbed it), as Joe Coffey still declares NXT UK to be “his kingdom”.

Gallus surround the ring as Coffey told Dunne to enjoy his title, because “we all know whose waist it’ll be around come the end of this war”. Ooh, I belt it’s an Austrian waist. Sure enough. Coffey tells everyone to go to the back of the line and… out go the lights. We then see the silhouette of WALTER on the entrance way (a hell of a visual) as the Austrian made his way to the ring. Joe Coffey tries to go after WALTER again, but Wolfgang and Mark Coffey restrain him briefly. They let go as Joe leaves of his own volition, rather than get booted in the head again, before Wolfgang and Mark Coffey storm the ring. Yeah, they get dispatched as the other Coffey’s kicked in the head, as Dunne and WALTER have another staredown. For a hot match-up, the crowd didn’t make too much noise, not least compared to what we had at Takeover.

The Austrian Anomaly? Oh dear God, please find something else alliterative before that sticks!

Sid Scala’s backstage to make an announcement… it’s that NXT UK’ll be in Phoenix to take three episodes of the show. Johnny Saint isn’t there, but Sid reckons it’s an important thing that they win the Worlds Collide tournament this weekend. He cuts himself off as Zack Gibson and James Drake appear. Scala asks them to give comments to the media, but Gibson’s not impressed and vows he’ll give their “champion’s address” next week.

Yes, it’s actually next week too as we’re finally done with the double-headers!

Nina Samuels vs. Lana Austin
Colour me surprised they didn’t try to rename Lana. For two reasons…

Commentary paints this as a big thing for Lana to show her kids, and we start with Nina getting disgusted at the crowd’s chants for Austin. We start with a wristlock that Austin flips free from in the ropes, only for Austin’s wristlock to get escaped as well. Nina whips her into the ropes, but Austin puts on the brakes before taking Samuels down for a low dropkick for a one-count. Austin takes Nina into the corner, but the tables turn as she’s stretched in the ropes, then met with a dropkick to the back for a two-count as she then went to work on the arm and neck of Austin. The crowd try to get Lana back into it, as she turns an armbar into a side Russian legsweep, before a series of clotheslines had Nina on the back foot.

A knee to the head from Austin and a discus forearm has Samuels down for a two-count, only for Nina to charge Lana into the corner shoulder-first, as an ushigoroshi – called the Prima Donna here – got the win. Well, that was more even than I expected, and with Nina getting the win, I’d not be shocked if she got the first shot at Toni Storm en route to a higher profile defence for Toni… **

Considering how hot the crowd was for Takeover the prior night, and that this was the FIRST MATCH ON THE TAPINGS, this crowd was relatively silent at times for this match. Bad form.

They recap the tag title match from Takeover, including that awesome tope/Doomsday device from Drake and Gibson en route to their title win. We then get a post-match interview with Radzi, as he finds out that Moustache Mountain were disappointed at not meeting their goal of being the first ever NXT UK tag team champions. Tyler vowed to get back up and give it another go.

Travis Banks is warming up… and Eddie Dennis has a match next!

A swooping shot of the Blackpool Tower shows some building work before we get another post-match promo. This time it’s of Toni Storm who’s overwhelmed having won the NXT UK Women’s title. She promises to do everything in her power to step it up and help create the best women’s division possible.

Eddie Dennis vs. Jamie Ahmed
I sense a warm body on the horizon. Ahmed’s done a few enhancement matches, and he’s laughed at as Eddie charges into the corner with chops and forearms.

Ahmed tries to fight back, landing a hiptoss out of the corner before Eddie switched out of a waistlock and lands a clothesline instead. Dennis whips Ahmed from corner to corner again before a cravat keeps the South Shields native grounded. Eddie keeps the cravat on tight despite Ahmed’s attempts to roll free, but eventually he heads outside with Dennis as a slam dropped Ahmed hard onto the floor. Ahmed’s rolled back inside before he slips out of a Severn Bridge. Some body blows take Eddie down, as does a buzzsaw kick to the head… but it’s shook off as Eddie boots Ahmed on the top rope and brings him down with a superplex. From there, it’s just a matter of a Next Stop Driver as Eddie took home the relatively easy win. It’d have been nice if the crowd cared, but so far this seems like a dead crowd. The polar opposite of Takeover. **

Next week: Moustache Mountain face Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel!

Also next week, WALTER debuts! I hear it’s a doozie…

Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks
Banks storms to the ring to start the match off, and the pair start like you’d expect them to – wheeling away on each other with forearms before Banks clotheslines Devlin to the outside.

A low-pe from Banks catches Devlin in the aisle, then again on another side of the ring as Devlin climbed over the guard rails and into the crowd. Banks joins him, chopping him through the crowd as a kick in the front row flipped Devlin back over the guard rails.

Banks makes his way back into the ringside area with a Thesz press off the railings, before he puts on the brakes as Devlin tried to send him into the ring steps. Not to worry, Devlin chops out the knee again as he then tried to stomp on it on the steps a la Takeover. Banks avoids that and finds his way onto the apron for a double stomp to Devlin’s back. Back in the ring, Banks lights up Devlin with kicks to the chest, despite Devlin’s attempts to block them away, as a superkick left the Irishman laying. An attempted Slice of Heaven is blocked as Banks is instead brought down with a back cracker out of the corner as Devlin followed up with a backbreaker for a near-fall.

An elbow to the top of Banks’ head is next, as is the uranage and standing moonsault that gets Devlin a near-fall. Devlin keeps the pressure on with an armbar, as Banks tried to fight back into things, only for him to get whipped hard into the corner. The pair end up on the apron, trading shots as Devlin escaped a suplex and shoved Banks into the ring post, before a Spanish fly off the apron dumped both men back on the floor. Banks looked to beat the count-out, but Devlin pulls him into the guard rails… which was moot as both men beat the count anyway. A Victory roll from Banks has him close to a win, before he pops up from a Spanish fly and lands a clothesline, leaving both men down as the Kiwi’s shoulder looked to be causing fresh problems.

Banks gets wrist control of Devlin, but forearms from the Irishman fail to break it up, as Banks waffles Devlin with forearms and knees, before a headbutt left them both back on the mat. Except Banks still has the wrist! Devlin quickly reverses the grip and pulls Banks into the Saito suplex for a two-count… a moonsault off the top s blocked by Banks, who gets the knees up ahead of a shotgun dropkick, as a Kiwi Crusher followed for a near-fall. Devlin’s lifted back up, but he collapses to the mat as he serendipitously avoided a Slice of Heaven, before an attempt at Ireland’s Call ended with both men crashing out of the ring out of exhaustion… and they can’t beat the count as they slip, leading to the referee declaring a double count-out. Given the match didn’t go that long (compared to say, Coffey vs. Dunne, which some say is still going), that felt a bit cheap, especially given the pair fired up and kept on brawling with renewed vigour! ***½

The show goes off the air as referees failed to separate them in the crowd… and that’s all!

Until the main event, this was every bit the opposite of last week’s show. Two squashes that were eminently skippable and a long promo lifted out of the format sheets of Raw? While the main event didn’t have a conclusive finish, at least it was hot and had the crowd’s attention, but this episode just seemed to be business as usual after last week’s stormer of an episode. Can we have more of THAT format, please?