NXT UK returns to its spiritual home of the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool this Sunday with the brand’s third live WWE Network special.
A freezing cold January weekend in Blackpool has become a staple in NXT UK’s growing calendar as TakeOver: Blackpool II emanates from the site of the brand’s first TakeOver event in 2019 and the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament in 2017.
As always, wrestling fans from all over Europe descend upon the UK’s favourite seaside town (in the 1960s) to witness the incredible shows that NXT UK put together on this stage. More than often, the UK brand outshine the US equivalent when it comes to these big shows.
Here is everything you need to know about Sunday’s show; from the match card to the show times, to any shocking events that might occur throughout the show.
NXT UK Tag Team Championship Ladder Match: Gallus (c) vs. Imperium vs. South Wales Subculture vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
To reflect that of NXT US TakeOvers, let’s start off with a huge tag team match. Nearly one year ago to the day, Zack Gibson and James Drake became the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champions by pinning the bookies’ favourites, Moustache Mountain in the opening contest. They would then go on to successfully defend their titles against the likes of Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, the Street Profits and Kenny Williams and Noam Dar.
The Vets were seemingly unstoppable, but continuous unsportsmanlike behaviour on their part led to General Manager, Johnny Saint to book a three-way match for the titles at TakeOver: Cardiff, pitching the Grizzled Young Veterans against South Wales Subculture and current champions, Gallus.
Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster won the NXT UK Tag Team Titles on their home turf by pinning Gallus – a major bone of contention for Gibson and Drake who claim that they lost their titles in unfair circumstances. The division finds itself in a similar situation in 2020 as constant squabbling between all four teams has led to the first ladder match in NXT UK’s short history.
The high-risk nature of a ladder match favours Andrews and Webster. We saw how Webster is willing to throw his body around at TakeOver: Cardiff and a ladder match against Eddie Dennis at PROGRESS’ big show at Wembley Arena showcased what Andrews is willing to do in a match like this.
That said, however; a win for Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner seems to be the likely outcome here. Out of all the tag teams in NXT UK, Imperium seems to have the most momentum behind them as they head towards Worlds Collide.
Trent Seven vs. Eddie Dennis
One of NXT UK’s founding fathers Trent Seven is set to face Eddie Dennis in Seven’s first TakeOver match as a singles competitor. Dennis, who came up short against Dave Mastiff in Blackpool last year, seems to be wasting no time after returning from injury. He was quick to catch Seven’s attention and made swift work of Dereiss Gordon. He even dethroned WALTER to become the PROGRESS Unified World Champion in his return.
Eddie Dennis presents a huge challenge, but Trent Seven is currently on a roll. Recent wins against the likes of Noam Dar and NXT’s Kona Reeves puts the Silver Don in a promising position leading into this match and seems to have found his groove as a singles competitor.
As much as I would love to see a big win for Seven, I cannot help but think that the cold and calculated Eddie Dennis will reign victorious. In the amazing Prime Target documentary that aired on the WWE Network this week, Assistant General Manager Sid Scala highlighted Dennis’ tendency to remain silent and and stand out from the crowd. There seems to be a bigger story being told here with Eddie Dennis, which is why I suspect that he will be the one having his arm raised on Sunday.
Prediction: Eddie Dennis
Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin
TakeOver: Blackpool II sees a highly anticipated match between two of the very best professional wrestlers in Europe. Most WWE fans will be familiar with Bate by now after countless show-stealing matches against the likes of The Undisputed Era, Pete Dunne and WALTER.
Devlin on the other hand might be an unfamiliar face to some of the more casual viewers. He came up short against fellow Irishman Finn Balor at last year’s TakeOver: Blackpool, but since then, the incredible in-ring ability and natural charisma he has become known for on the independent scene has become abundantly clear in NXT UK as well, and I am sure that this match will propel Devlin to new heights.
This match came about due to Devlin’s frustration of missing out of that main event spot at TakeOver: Cardiff to Tyler Bate. Since then, the Irish Ace has been an unstoppable force in NXT UK, picking up wins left, right and centre against Ashton Smith, Dave Mastiff, and most recently in an excellent match against the supremely talented A-Kid.
A high-profile win here for Jordan Devlin would do wonders for his NXT UK career. His unmatched body of work speaks for itself and he is arguably the best all-rounder in all of WWE. It is about time that the company acknowledged that and let him carry the NXT UK brand.
Prediction: Jordan Devlin
NXT UK Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven
This three-way match for the NXT UK Women’s Title carries a long story of friendship, trust and betrayal as Toni Storm attempts to regain the NXT UK Women’s Title from Kay Lee Ray, but also to make sure that her best friend Piper Niven doesn’t get there first.
Since losing to Kay Lee Ray at TakeOver: Cardiff, we have seen a much darker and more aggressive side to Toni Storm. Ray seems to have really got inside Storm’s head, causing her to fall out with her closest friend in Piper Niven. Tensions have been brewing between the two friends for a while, but Storm’s request that Niven steps aside from the match was the tip of the iceberg.
The former champion has become more self-centred in her quest to regain the gold, causing her to lose sight of what really matters. Pushing Niven away has only created a bigger threat for herself in this match, to the point where it looks like the odds are stacked against the face of the NXT UK women’s division.
In the Prime Target documentary that aired this week, reigning champion Kay Lee Ray said that this is her easiest defence yet, stating that she doesn’t have to do anything as Niven and Storm have too many personal issues.
Can Storm overcome the odds and reclaim the NXT UK Women’s Championship as well as prepare for a huge match against NXT Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley at Worlds Collide? It will certainly be the biggest challenge of her career.
Prediction: Toni Storm
WWE UK Championship: WALTER (c) vs. Joe Coffey
Sunday’s main event sees WALTER defend his WWE UK Championship against Joe Coffey, in a match that at first glance might sub some people the wrong way. Trust me, I remember the anger in my notifications as I broke the news that this match is happening.
I must admit, I was not too excited at the prospect of this match initially. The Prime Target documentary changed that. Coffey came across as a worthy contender fighting for those close to him, whilst WALTER displayed a more cold, sterile mindset of respecting the sport. What’s great about this match is that it more a simple feud of good versus evil. It’s a matter of perspective, and that often makes for the best story.
WALTER might have Imperium in his corner, but Gallus and Ilja Dragunov are on Coffey’s side, making this a fair fight. With a more dominant champion than ever before, can Joe Coffey get the job done and become the first Scottish WWE UK Champion, or will he be defeated for the second year in a row?
NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II looks to kick off 2020 with a bang. The card looks incredible from top to bottom and is filled with world-class in-ring potential and deeply rooted storylines. What better way for the UK brand to make an impression at the start of the year?
The show has an early start time of 5pm GMT, 12pm EST. Tickets for the event sold out in record time but some resale tickets may be found through third party sites.