This Saturday, the WWE Network’s spotlight shines on NXT UK as the brand hosts its second ever TakeOver event, this time emanating from the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
Following the success of TakeOver: Blackpool back in January that exceeded all expectations, NXT UK’s difficult second album boasts a substantial card that is built on eight months of programming. Let’s take a closer look at the matches.
Travis Banks vs. Noam Dar
Ever since Noam Dar returned to NXT UK back in February, he has consistently proven his worth as one of British wrestling’s finest by having fantastic TV matches with Mark Andrews and Kenny Williams. Going head-to-head with the Travis Banks who has a point to prove after having his TakeOver: Blackpool opportunity taken away from him by Jordan Devlin, the Kiwi Buzzsaw and the Scottish Supernova are sure to have a match that stands out amongst the rest. I predict a victory for Banks as he edges closer to the WWE UK Championship.
Prediction: Travis Banks
NXT UK Tag Team Championship – Grizzled Young Veterans (c) vs. Gallus vs. South Wales Subculture
For those like myself that watch NXT UK weekly, this match is full of story and makes a lot of sense. Reigning champions Zack Gibson and James Drake have proven their worth in their hometowns of Liverpool and Blackpool respectively, as did Gallus in Glasgow. Now, on the biggest stage possible and in their hometown of Cardiff, Mark Andrews look to become the very first Welsh-born champions in WWE history, and that is exactly what I think will happen. I’m aware hometown winners are rare, but I’m hoping for a pleasant surprise here.
Pencampwyr Cymraeg cyntaf!
Prediction: South Wales Subculture
Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey – Last Man Standing
In a hard-hitting showcase of brute force, brutality and two big beef-eating bastards, NXT UK’s Bomber meets its Iron King in a battle of survival. Dave Mastiff is no stranger to a match of this nature after his victory over Eddie Dennis in a no-disqualification match at TakeOver: Blackpool. Coffey on the other hand was less fortunate, losing to then-WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne in the main event. I believe that Joe Coffey will render Dave Mastiff unable to answer the referee’s count of ten and run roughshod over NXT UK.
Prediction: Joe Coffey
NXT UK Women’s Championship – Toni Storm (c) vs. Kay Lee Ray
An elongated personal rivalry between former friends culminates this weekend as Kay Lee Ray finally challenges Toni Storm for the NXT UK Women’s Championship after winning a #1 contendership battle royal at the Download Festival back in June. The heated feud has produced some excellent vignettes and sit-down interviews between the two competitors on TV, leading to what is possibly the best-built match on TakeOver. Storm’s newly-gained confidence seemed to have taken a noticeable nosedive as Ray has been hitting her where it hurts for weeks with personal comments about Toni’s family, really taking the reigning champion’s head out of the game. Despite Ray’s aggressive approach, I believe that Toni Storm will prevail and leave Cardiff with her ‘Shiny Shiny’.
Prediction: Toni Storm
WWE United Kingdom Championship – WALTER (c) vs. Tyler Bate
The main event of the night sees a healthy Tyler Bate finally take the fight to the leader of Imperium following the group’s vicious attack that rendered the b i g s t r o n g b o i defenceless as Moustache Mountain partner Trent Seven watched on, handcuffed to the ring post. Bate finally got his hands on the Ring General a couple of weeks ago when an all-out brawl ensued. Tyler gets his one-on-one opportunity to become the very first two-time WWE UK Champion this Saturday – and I cannot wait. The two had an absolute clinic in the main event of the biggest PROGRESS Wrestling show of 2018 in front of nearly 5,000 people at Wembley Arena, in a match that played off WALTER’s commanding of the ring and Bate’s superhuman strength.
Unlike the result at Wembley, I believe that Tyler Bate will be triumphant in the main event of NXT UK’s biggest show to date and put the WWE UK Title back on the mantlepiece in the log cabin at Moustache Mountain.
Prediction: Tyler Bate
But what about Cesaro?
Just as we thought everything was set in stone for TakeOver, WWE published a video on social media where RAW superstar Cesaro said that he will be paying a visit to Cardiff, taking a “hands-on” approach. As one could imagine, speculation of his opponent became a hot topic as fans took to social media. With former tag team partner Kassius Ohno having his hands full with Jack Gallagher on the TV taping earlier in the night, two names spring to my mind. One being Pete Dunne who is still advertised to appear on Saturday, and the other being Jordan Devlin who expressed his discontent with being left off the TakeOver card in a WWE.com video. I think it’s fair to say that whoever Cesaro shares the ring with is going to put on an excellent match and I cannot wait to see what happens.
A busy weekend of wrestling lies ahead of us, with AEW’s All Out and NJPW’s Royal Quest both happening on the same night as NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff. We live in a time where even within our little wrestling bubble, there is something to satisfy everyone’s taste and that is definitely worth celebrating – what a time to be a wrestling fan.
You can find the author of this article on Twitter @DeiOwen. Thanks for reading!