Fresh from the fall-out from Takeover: Blackpool, we’ve got a fresh batch of NXT UK action!
A late addition to the WWE Network schedule, as recently as Tuesday night this wasn’t even in the plans – but instead, we’re getting a “post-Takeover” episode that’s much like the “full fat” Takeovers, with a few extra matches. Of course, we open with a recap of Takeover, showing the new faces (Kay Lee Ray, Jazzy Gabert & Luke Menzies), along with highlights from all of the matches. It’s a really good package, as WWE tend to do with these recaps… and yes, they did edit out the flubs from the end of the main event. The package ends on WALTER’s debut, and the staredown that really closed NXT UK Takeover…
Cue the TV show titles, as this show’s apparently being called NXT UK Takeover Plus! Feels like the old days of Shotgun all over again. Anyway, Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness are live in Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom as we’re straight into the action…
Ligero vs. Saxon Huxley
Commentary notes how Huxley’s on his own after his recent tag team with Tyson T-Bone…
From the opening lock-up, Huxley took Ligero into the corner as he roughed up the masked man, who responded with some dropkicks to take the Hartlepool native to his knees. A charge into the corner sees Ligero end up on the apron, as he outpaced Huxley… only to leap into a bodyslam for an early one-count. Ligero’s taken to the ropes again, where he blocks Huxley with his boots, before an uppercut and a Thesz press caught Ligero off guard. Knees to the midsection follow for an eventual two-count, before Huxley used a Japanese stranglehold to keep Ligero on the mat, ending the hold with an uppercut as Ligero was kept on the back foot.
Huxley tries to whip Ligero, but he clings onto the ropes… and gets met with a knee before fighting back with some kicks to the leg. An enziguiri finally takes Huxley back to his knees, before a leap in the corner sees Huxley charge himself into the turnbuckles, allowing Ligero to follow with a missile dropkick for a near-fall. Huxley uses his power to charge Ligero into the corner, but he can’t follow up as Ligero’s sent onto the apron, where he catches Huxley with a gamengiri then a slingshot stunner before a C4L DDT finds its mark for the win. A bit “out of nowhere” for the finish, but this was the best Huxley’s looked on NXT UK TV so far. **¾
Isla Dawn vs. Jinny
Remember when Isla Dawn was being pushed as the first challenger for Rhea Ripley – which coincided with her getting a brief push in PROGRESS? That was fun times – even if it may well mean that she’s now become a defacto “gatekeeper to a title shot” until Toni Storm loses the title.
Jinny’s aggressive from the off, charging into Dawn before throwing her down to the mat for some ground and pound, some of which looked to be a little extra snug. Yep, Jinny’s got a point to prove, but she’s caught out with a gutwrench suplex and a running Meteora from Dawn, who gets a near-fall before going after Jinny with a grounded hammerlock. Dawn keeps the hammerlock on despite Jinny’s attempt to reverse. She switches it into a wristlock before pelting Jinny with forearms, sending the Fashionista to the outside… and when Jinny returns, it’s more of the same as Dawn takes her into the corner, before she gets pushed away. Jinny’s back with a ‘rana, taking Dawn into the ropes ahead of some stomps, but Isla fights back with a low dropkick for a near-fall.
A Flatliner into the turnbuckles sees Jinny turn it around for a near-fall, before Jinny locks in a Million Dollar Dream. Dawn escapes and nails a Saito suplex for a near-fall, then traps Jinny in a Gory Special… but Jinny sits up and goes for a Victory roll, only for Dawn to sit down on it for a near-fall. From there though, Jinny traps Dawn in a seated surfboard, but Isla gets free and tries another Victory roll, but this time Jinny stops it at the source before she caught Isla in the turnbuckles, finishing her off with the middle rope X-Factor for the pin. An excellent little TV match, and a dominant result which may indicate where they’re going for their next “tentpole” women’s match… ***
Vic and Nigel talk about Travis Banks, and pitch to a selfie promo from him… that front lens is a little blurry, but Travis is annoyed that Devlin took away his big opportunity, and challenges him to a match next week.
Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews vs. Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel
Our main event seems to be the culmination – or at least, the first big stop – in the feud between Wales and the team that’s dubbing themselves the European Union.
Aichner and Bartel have new trunks that pitch their initials and their hometowns, which is a nice touch – especially if the group grows. The match starts with Aichner just shoving away Andrews mid-armdrag attempt, before scoring a simple shoulder tackle as some trash-talking earned the Italian a slap… and some dropkicks. Andrews grabs an arm and takes Aichner into the corner as Flash Morgan Webster tags in… and gets slapped. Barthel tags in next, and tries to slam Flash, only for him to escape and take down Aichner with a springboard dropkick. Flash seemingly has the Euros’ number, as a ‘rana catches Barthell off guard, before more headscissors are shoved away. Aichner’s back in with a sweet pop-up tiltawhirl backbreaker to Flash, then some body blows that trap Webster in the corner.
Barthel keeps up the stomping, as he proceeded to ground Webster with a side headlock, wrestling him back to the mat when he tried to escape, but Flash somehow backflips away as both men tag out… and we’re back to Andrews getting revenge on Aichner with chops. The Stomp 182 follows from Andrews, before he’s lifted onto the apron… but Andrews cuts off Barthel on the apron before a wheelbarrow bulldog took down Aichner back in the ring ahead of an assisted 450 splash for a near-fall. Barthel comes back in with an inverted slam – David Starr’s Pretty Pumped – for a near-fall, before a double-team spinebuster/PK combo gets Aichner a near-fall on Andrews. Flash broke it up and gets thrown onto the apron by Barthel, before a low bridge sent both men to the outside… meaning that Aichner’s in by himself with Andrews, but a suplex is countered into headscissors, sending the Italian outside as the Welshmen landed on them with topes!
Back inside, Aichner overpowers Webster’s Eton Rifle and lawn darts him into Andrews in the corner… Barthel impressively throws Andrews into Aichner, who catches him in a brainbuster in an absolutely SUBLIME move that took my breath away. Somehow, Andrews mounts a comeback with a tornado DDT, before Webster’s Shadows Over Malice senton forces Barthel to break up the cover. A Stundog Millionaire from Andrews dispatches Barthel, but Aichner trips Andrews to the outside and charges him into a barricade, following up with a knee to the head – just like their feud started way back when. That left Webster on his lonesome against Aichner and Barthel, and when his Rude Boy moonsault press whiffs, Barthel tags in and hits a low dropkick as Aichner had Webster held in the ropes. All that’s left is for the spinning powerbomb/diving European uppercut combo, and the European Union get the win after a fantastic sprint of a match that you could have argued should have been part of Takeover – especially if they trimmed that long main event! ***½
Compact, at around 40 minutes, this was a great “in and out” program that recapped Takeover and gave us some decent matches to boot. Dare I say that Takeover Plus was one of the better matches in NXT UK’s TV catalogue? Yeah, I guess I do… if only every episode of this show could be this pacey, or at least, lacking filler!