Cardiff’s quickly approaching as NXT UK continued to build to Takeover in a little over a week…

We’re still at the Plymouth Pavilions, with Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness on commentary – and we’ve a cold open as it’s straight to Imperium on the ramp.

Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner) vs. The Hunt (Wild Boar & Primate)
I’m not quite sure why Boar and Primate’s team name is encapsulated with quotation marks. I mean, it’s not “Imperium” or “Gallus” is it?

Primate and Aichner start us off, snarling at each other and trading shoulder tackles. A kitchen sink knee to the gut stops Primate, who’s roughed up a little on the mat before Primate responded by biting the ear… all while Barthel watched on, rather nonplussed about it. Tags took us to Barthel and Boar, with the latter getting taken down in an armbar, holding on with a chinbar as Boar fought back to his feet. A thrust to the jaw takes Boar back down though, as Imperium looked to wear him down in their corner, using plenty of stomps. Aichner uses Boar as a human dumbbell, curling him ahead of a backbreaker for a two-count, before some double-team led to a Barthel PK for a near-fall.

Primate gets the hot tag in, tossing Aichner with an overhead suplex for a two-count before a back body drop sent Barthel into the lights. Boar’s back too, but Aichner slips out and shoved Primate into him. There’s a back body drop from Boar to send Barthel to the outside as my screen goes out (cheers new-look Network!), recovering as Barthel got a blind tag in, dropkicking Primate off the apron as Imperium quickly worked to a finish with the powerbomb/uppercut combo for the win. Pretty solid stuff, with Imperium easing to victory. **¾

Backstage, Sid Scala announces Noam Dar vs. Travis Banks is happening at Cardiff.

We then get Radzi between two doors as he’s looking to catch WALTER. Instead, he tries to hassle Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner who are going into their locker room as a commotion broke out. We get a test card as we see Barthel laid out, and someone in socks walks by. Tyler?

Kay Lee Ray vs. Shax
Kay Lee’s sporting the Lionheart band on her knee pad, and started by locking up to take Shax into the corner for a clean break.

Shax returns the favour, but gets cheapshotted by the Scotswoman as the crowd chanted for Toni Storm. Kay Lee goes after the arm of Shax, rolling her down into a cross armbreaker before picking up a two-count, following that up with a suplex attempt that got blocked. Another suplex is countered into a small package, but Shax gets wiped out with a clothesline as Kay Lee looked to get back on top. Another black screen means I miss thirty seconds or so, recovering as Shax’s springboard is countered with a superkick, before Kay Lee Ray put her away with a Gory Bomb. By the numbers stuff to keep Kay Lee strong into Takeover. **½

After the match, the crowd keep chanting for Toni, as Kay Lee Ray promised to take the NXT UK women’s title from her. That’s the cue for Toni to come out, as Kay Lee took some shots, saying that Toni didn’t like “home” because she didn’t have anything to return to. She digs up the past too, saying that Toni’s past sob stories were all her own fault – and that Toni’s the reason she’s on her own. That went down well…

We get a video package recapping the Mastiff/Coffey match from a few weeks back… then we’re told that Oliver Carter debuts on NXT UK next week. Radzi’s with Jordan Devlin next, as the Irishman’s unhappy that he’s not on the card for Takeover… Kenny Williams interrupts and offers a match for TV, and I guess that’s on, as WALTER and Alexander Wolfe argue in German over what happened earlier.

Mark Andrews vs. James Drake
If Drake wins, Andrews and Webster are out of Takeover…

You know the score whenever Gibson’s around… shoes off. We start as Drake ties up with Andrews into the corner, which gives us Drake’s first words in forever as he tells Andrews he’s not going to Takeover. Drake goes in for a wristlock, flipping Andrews to the mat, before Andrews got free and almost snatched the win with a roll-up. Andrews keeps up with a rana and a standing moonsault for a two-count, before Drake got back into it, cornering Andrews with some right hands as Gibson urged his partner to “hurt him”. Clinging onto the ropes gave Andrews a chance to fight back with an enziguiri out of the corner, but he heads up top and got pulled back onto the top turnbuckle by Drake.

A backbreaker keeps Andrews down as Drake picks up another two-count, before a cobra clutch prompts another “stand up if you hate Gibson” chant. Poor James. Apart from “arse face”, it’s never about him. Andrews gets free, but Drake goes in with the clutch again, until Andrews rolled through into a stomp. The fight-back continued with Andrews knee sliding and returning with an enziguiri to take Drake outside for a tope, following up with a satellite DDT back inside for a near-fall. A wheelbarrow bulldog’s next as Andrews heads up top, but Zack Gibson trots to the corner to provide a distraction… and of course, Andrews falls for it.

Drake capitalises with the dropkick in the corner for a near-fall, which seemed to build up some frustration on top of those “arse face” chants. Andrews responds to some trash talking with some clubbering blows, only to get taken down with an enziguiri… a reverse ‘rana out of nowhere gets Andrews a near-fall, before Gallus ran down to attack Flash Morgan Webster. They go after Gibson too, which in takes the attention of another easily distracted man in Drake, whose suplex got countered into a Stundog Millionaire and a roll-up as the Welshmen are going home! This was perfectly fine fare to get us to the three-way tag match, but I’m really not sold on the distraction tropes. All we were missing here was Gallus’ music hitting… ***

Trent Seven comes through the crowd as commentary’s stunned that he’s here. WALTER hits the ring, as does Alexander Wolfe… but Tyler Bate cuts him off in the aisle with a chair as WALTER’s left on his own. Tyler goes nuts with a chair, but hits the ring post before recovering to lay out the champion. Neither Trent nor Tyler were wearing the socks and sandals combo we saw earlier, by the way…

Bate hits a rebound lariat on WALTER, then teased a Tyler Driver… actually hitting it tooas Tyler picks up the belt and stood over WALTER to close the show. Hey, a 47 minute run-time, you say? Start the conspiracy theories…

A perfectly serviceable episode of NXT UK then – nothing particularly great in terms of the bell-to-bell, but at least the closing angle had the crowd going nuts, but that does make me wonder… what’s the go home angle?