The road to Cardiff continues as Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Coffey tried to earn their spot on the card.

What’s that? A 58 minute run-time? Proves me wrong… although man, the Network badly needs to update their generic NXT UK blurb. This week we’ve got an angry WALTER staring at us like he’s just caught a cameraman spying on him… perhaps that’s how they get the exclusive training footage from Germany?

Mark Coffey vs. Flash Morgan Webster
Both men’s regular tag partners are out with them as Webster’s been forced to prove they deserve to be on Takeover: Cardiff for a better reason than “we’re Welsh”. Not sure what was going on in Flash’s intro… “in mod we trust, we”… that might not catch on!

Webster struggles in the early moments to take Coffey off his feet, but found himself getting ragdolled before managing to send Coffey outside. A missed pescado led to a stare-off with Wolfgang, which just turned out to be a distraction as Coffey attacked Webster from behind, which began a period on top for the Scotsman.

Coffey grounds Webster in a cobra clutch, before using a half nelson slam after Flash had fought back to his feet. That’s good for a near-fall as a chinbar’s applied, but Webster gets free and began to kick away at Coffey’s leg before he got awkwardly thrown outside. I’m half expecting Chris Roberts to yell about the hair as he tries to calm things down, but instead Webster hits a tope before throwing Coffey back inside for a Rude Boy moonsault press.

A leaping kick from Coffey connects as he follows back in with a chokeslam to try and put Webster away, but Flash manages to kick out before he headed up top. Wolfgang appears on the apron to distract as Flash crashes and burns on the Shadows Over Malice senton… which proved to be the last straw as Andrews leapt into Wolfgang on the floor. Coffey took care of Andrews with a double sledge on the outside, before he wandered into the path of a small package as Webster got the win. A bit of a banana peel finish, but this was a decent enough TV match for what they had. ***

Toni Storm is backstage with Radzi… she’s asked about Kay Lee Ray, who apparently knows about her secrets. I’m not touching that one with a barge pole. Toni seems… not excited. Perhaps it’s the Welsh people who’ll be there? Kay Lee’s clearly living in her mind rent free, or perhaps someone didn’t learn their script, as Toni walks off.

“Moments ago” during the break, Jordan Devlin was going to be interviewed by Media Jim when Piper Niven and Rhea Ripley threw a bin against the wall before they started brawling.

Kenny Williams vs. Travis Banks
Apparently Amir Jordan is on the injury list, which is why Kenny’s getting a lot of random singles matches. Like this one. Noam Dar interrupts before the match to join in on commentary…

Noam bamboozles Vic Joseph with his dialect early on, as Banks tried to put Williams away with roll-ups and backslides at the start of the match. Dar’s waffling on about his NXT UK contract that I thought got debunked last week, as Williams looked to find a way through, only to get caught with a diving knee for a near-fall. Banks chops Williams in the corner before scoring with a knee drop for another two-count. A jawbreaker gets Williams back in it, as does a sunset flip, before Banks got sent outside… with Williams missing his dropkick through the ropes as a low-pe from Banks successfully connected. Back inside, a double stomp gets a near-fall as Dar continued to badmouth-Banks, while a small package nearly put the Kiwi away.

Williams smashes Banks with a headlock driver, but it’s still not enough, as Banks eventually hit back with a superkick… only to get caught with a rebound lariat. A springboard back elbow takes Banks off the apron as Williams keeps up the momentum with a tope, then with a back elbow off the top. Another headlock driver’s shoved off as Banks ran right back in with a Slice of Heaven and a Kiwi Krusher… and that’s it. Some nice, competitive stuff, even if it came across as Williams’ best didn’t seem to be enough. ***

After the match, Dar slow-claps Banks and cheers him like a dog. Heel, boy. Kassius Ohno is lacing his boots…

Nina Samuels vs. Isla Dawn
Samuels starts with the upper hand as commentary seemed to use this as a backdrop to build up the Storm/Ray title match.

Dawn reverses a wristlock, taking Samuels down… but a cartwheel helps Nina free ahead of a grounded stranglehold on the mat. Another cartwheel saw Nina try to counter the counter, but she’s just met with a dropkick before Dawn looked for a roll-up – almost winning the match in the process. Things switch around as Dawn’s taken into the corner, with Nina catching her with knees to the back for a near-fall. Another dropkick to the back keeps Isla in trouble, as does a drop toe hold and a STF, but she’s able to avoid a charge in the corner as a Saito suplex put Nina back on the defensive. Kicks stagger Samuels, as does a bicycle knee, but Nina kicks out at two, before she began a fightback.

A head kick dropped Isla ahead of a slingshot corkscrew body press for a near-fall, but Isla’s got a kick of her own as a German suplex nearly put Nina away. Another German suplex is resisted as Nina clung to the ropes, before cheapshotting Isla with a forearm as a Nina-goroshi picks up the win. This was fine, and the very epitome of “that extra match to fill the hour” that I advocated for a few weeks back. **¾

They recap last week’s main event that saw Dave Mastiff and Joe Coffey go to a double count-out. That led into a segment where Sid Scala spoke for an ashen Johnny Saint, as they announce that Mastiff and Coffey will rematch in Cardiff under last man standing rules.

Ilja Dragunov is warming up and stretching…

We’ve an overhead shot in Essen of the wXw Wrestling Academy. WALTER is doing drills and being a bit of a bully, in particular going after a guy whom everyone thought was the Rotation. “If you want to train like little kids, go to England”. I mean, we’re a little late in needing that kind of shade as summer’s over. One of the trainees tries to lay into WALTER, but he’s dropped with a chop. WALTER picks another one out, and has the same results with “Tyler Bate”, as this turned into WALTER calling out Tyler for next week.

Next week: The Hunt face off against Imperium’s Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel.

Kassius Ohno vs. Ilja Dragunov
We open with a lock-up as Ilja tried to take Ohno into the corner… only for Kassius to break free as commentary told us about Ilja’s career defining match with WALTER in Germany. Just the one, eh?

Ilja restrains Ohno with a cravat, even though it’s a hold Ohno’s familiar with as he rolled free before catching a crossbody from Dragunov… who just wriggled back to the mat for an early two-count. It’s back to the cravat, but Ohno escapes with a chop as Ilja responds with a knee, a back senton… and another cravat!

Ohno makes it to the ropes as he suckered Ilja in with a knee before taking him onto the apron as he used that top rope to choke Dragunov in. I swear we got a “what the hell” out of Chris Roberts there, as a boot on the apron almost took Ilja to the floor. Instead, an armdrag through the ropes brings Ilja back inside as a Corning hold – a modified armbar if you want to simplify it – and a standing wristlock had Ilja in trouble.

Ilja takes a nasty spill as Ohno threw him into the ropes, causing Dragunov’s head to rebound off the ropes and the mat… and of course Ohno was going to capitalise. A legdrop followed for a two-count, as Ilja tried to get some feeling back into his arms. Ohno tries for a Jim Breaks arm-lift, but Ilja forearmed his way free only to get booted in the ropes as he went for a Konstantin Spezial… allowing Ohno to go back on that arm. The crowd tries to get behind Ilja as Ohno looked for wrist control… instead switching in for a hammerlock suplex. Ilja sandbags as he got clubbered before he landed a deadlift suplex of his own. A spinning back chop and an arm whip keeps Ilja in it, as he took Ohno into the corner for clotheslines… but those clotheslines weren’t having much effect as Ohno began to block back. Finally a swivelling left-arm clothesline has Ohno down ahead of the Konstantin-Spezial for a near-fall.

Ilja looked for a Gotch piledriver on Ohno, only to get shoved down as Ohno stomped away on Ilja’s leg, before a backbreaker/spin-out facebuster combo nearly got the win. Ohno mocks the unbesiegbar call as he ran into some boots from Ilja, before Ilja overpowered him with a German suplex. Ohno goes outside as he’s caught with a tope, then a Coast to Coast dropkick back inside for a near-fall. Ohno’s back in with a right hand as Ilja was climbing the ropes, before he followed up with a… cravat superplex?! Ilja fought free and went for a sunset bomb, only for Ohno to stare at him after he thought he’d blocked it… but Ilja gets the powerbomb off anyway for a near-fall! Ilja heads up again, but Chris Roberts got in the way as Ohno found his way through to shove Ilja down to the outside.

Ilja’s thrown into the ring post for good measure, before a rolling elbow to the back of the head back inside gave Ilja his first loss. A real good TV main event, but in a vacuum it meant little as the crowd was tepid throughout. If you want to be cynical, this was a bone thrown for the “smart” fans that probably weren’t watching… ***½

We’re two weeks away from Cardiff, yet it it feels like this is a show being promoted on the down-low as right now we only have three official matches: WALTER/Bate, Kay Lee Ray/Toni Storm and Mastiff/Coffey (with the make-up of the tag title match yet to be fully confirmed). Maybe it’s the new WWE way, but even in spite of a “line-up we’ve aleady seen elsewhere”, there’s precious little hype for this show. Yet.