Quick thoughts --
In place of a new episode of NXT UK, a Prime Target premiered aired on the WWE Network tonight. I can not recommend watching this enough, as it was tremendous and really hyped all the matches for TakeOver, especially the WALTER vs. Joe Coffey WWE UK title match and the Kay Lee Ray vs. Toni Storm vs. Piper Niven triple threat for the NXT UK Women's Championship.
I was not too hot on the main event up to this point, but after seeing this, I really am looking forward to the match. They told a great story of Coffey losing against Pete Dunne one year ago and finally getting another chance. They also had great clips of WALTER in his home town of Vienna and the traditional wrestling grounds in the city and of Coffey hanging out in Glasgow, preparing with boxing training and being interviewed at Celtic Field stadium.
They also did a great story of hyping the Women's title match, focusing on the real-life friendship between all three competitors. All three of them were great while being interviewed.
KLR came across as ruthless and like she would do anything to keep the title, while Storm came off almost obsessed and desperate about winning the title back, saying there was no one that it meant more to than her. The star of the segment was Niven, who was so sympathetic and also bewildered about what became of her two friends. She also got very emotional at one point, bringing up Lionheart, the British wrestler who died in June of 2019 and was her best friend, stating that she lived his dream too by competing in WWE.
There also were segments on the four-way ladder match for the NXT UK Tag Team titles, with Gallus also being featured during the WALTER/Joe Coffey clips, and the Eddie Denis vs. Trent Seven and Jordan Devlin vs. Tyler Bate matches. Between all of those, this could be the best NXT UK TakeOver yet.
The Prime Target special is available to watch below:
Full rundown --
The special opened with a number of NXT UK wrestlers and officials looking all the way back to the first-ever WWE UK Tournament in January 2017. Trent Seven, Tyler Bate, Toni Storm, Nigel McGuinness, and William Regal all talked about the tournament and the city of Blackpool.
Joe Coffey then talked about being in the first NXT UK TakeOver main event in Blackpool and how fond his memories were, as he watched back clips from the match. He said he found respect for Pete Dunne that night.
The scene then switched over to the debut of WALTER at the end of that TakeOver and WALTER booting Coffey in the face. Coffey discussed becoming an afterthought of that match and how it nagged him that he couldn't get the job done. He said he needed to prove himself and discussed how he might be able to sleep better once he lets the ghosts of that night behind himself.
The next scene then was of Trent Seven and Eddie Dennis grabbing his hand after a match at the recent set of tapings. Sid Scala talked about Dennis being an outsider and people not knowing what he was up to. The next clip was of Dennis decking Seven with a microphone.
Joe Coffey was filmed at an independent show in Glasgow and talked about first seeing wrestling at about four or five years old. He said the first match he ever saw was Nailz vs. Big Boss Man from Survivor Series 1992.
Coffey's best friend, Jackie Polo, was then shown, talking about them being fans and Coffey once telling him he had a chairs match against Kane the night before when he was about eight years old. Coffey's mother then talked about him breaking beds by trying wrestling moves on them. Graham McKay, the promoter for British Championship Wrestling, mentioned Coffey telling him he would be a WWE superstar one day.
WALTER was then shown at the SmackDown house show in Vienna last November, where he met some fans and signed autographs. He said he wasn't emotional about competing in Vienna, but he was proud because of the rich history wrestling had there. He said he wasn't just representing the UK but all of Europe. He said he would return to Vienna as the WWE UK Champion.
Next up was Piper Niven, who discussed her friendship with Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray and how much of their careers went in parallel all over the world. They ended up in WWE, and Niven said it looked like Storm and KLR drifted apart.
Storm then said she couldn't trust KLR, so why should she trust Niven? All she had was herself. Niven said these two were not her friends anymore -- she would be in the ring with two strangers.
Nigel McGuinness talked about the triple threat and how KLR got into Storm's head when she won the NXT UK Women's Championship from her. Niven said ever since Storm lost to KLR, she was not the same person anymore.
KLR said she didn't have to do anything, as Storm and Niven took each other out. Storm said nobody needed this as much as she did.
Niven talked about how she at times wanted to quit, but then she thought about her best friend who passed away ("Lionheart" Adrian McCallum) and who's dream it also was to make it to WWE. She now lived the dream for both of them.
Kay Lee Ray said the name plates on the title don't read "Toni Storm" -- they read "Kay Lee Ray" and they would never say "Piper Niven." She said she would continue to cement her legacy on top of their broken dreams.
Gallus were shown walking around The Barras, a major market in Glasgow, and then working out together. Sid Scala talked about how they considered NXT UK their kingdom. Wolfgang talked about how they couldn't wait to get their hands on Imperium. Mark Coffey discussed their recent attack and how it took weeks away from him and he was in physical therapy. They also talked about Ilja Dragunov stepping up and taking a beating by Imperium.
Scala discussed the tag team scene exploding and The Grizzled Young Veterans chimed in, talking about how they were the best tag team on the brand. They said the three-way tag match at TakeOver: Cardiff was an excuse by Scala and Johnny Saint to get the titles off them.
Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster then discussed winning the titles, followed by Gallus talking about beating Andrews & Webster for them. They then cut to the announcement of the four-way ladder match and had clips from some of the classic ladder matches in WWF/WWE history and even a clip of Razor Ramon talking about "not just your precious gold being on the line, but your body and your career."
Webster and Andrews said they would win the titles at any cost. Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner were next and Barthel said a ladder match had nothing to do with what they stood for, but if this was what they had to do to change the NXT Universe, so be it. It would just be a matter of time until they had all the gold.
WALTER next discussed going to the Heumarkt in Vienna the day after the house show. This is the famous open-air ice skating area in Vienna where wrestling tournaments took place during the summer months for decades. WALTER said he saw his first-ever wrestling match there.
Clips were shown of WALTER being at the ice skating rink and talking about his match with Joe Coffey. He said this was inspiring to him and reminded him what was important for him on a professional level.
WALTER said the wrestlers back in that day were gentlemen and not drunk hooligans. He said he didn't care about being in street fights, as he is a professional athlete. He said Joe Coffey represented hooligan culture and WALTER said if he was a teenager and wanted to impress his friends, that's what he would do. He said he couldn't blame Coffey, as he had no idea of the rich history of the sport as WALTER did.
WALTER asked about famous historic figures in Scotland and came up with William Wallace, calling him a wild barbarian who ran around in a skirt. WALTER said he had been to Glasgow and the place was wild, so he really couldn't blame anybody growing up there for acting the way Coffey did.
Coffey then was shown at the Celtic Park football stadium, being interviewed during a football match on the field with his Gallus brethren. They interacted with some of the players and the interview was shown on the big screen at the stadium.
Next up was Tyler Bate, talking about his WWE UK title match against WALTER at TakeOver: Cardiff. They showed clips of the speech he made at the tapings after the show, talking about how he felt he let the fans down.
This was followed by Jordan Devlin cutting a promo on Bate, telling him that Devlin was the only one who would be able to defeat WALTER. Devlin sang his own praises and said he would show the world how good he was at Bate's expense.
William Regal then talked about how Devlin vs. Bate would be the match of the year. Bate said he was tired of letting the people and himself down. Devlin said he knew how good Bate was, but he was better. Bate said it was time to see if Devlin could live up to his own hype.
Joe Coffey was back for the next segment in his kitchen and talked about having a boxing match in preparation of his bout with WALTER. Mark Coffey and Wolfgang then once more talked about Joe's match against Pete Dunne and how he needed a year to get another shot.
While Joe was shown warming up in the boxing gym, WALTER said Joe spent too much time thinking about how WALTER would react when he hit him, calling Joe naive for thinking he could dictate what would happen in their match. He then said Joe should rather worry about WALTER hitting him.
The special then concluded with a great video package running down all of the matches scheduled for Sunday's NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II show, using highlight clips and quotes from all the performers.
NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II --
TakeOver airs this coming Sunday, January 12 at noon ET/5 p.m. GMT on the WWE Network. You'll be able to read my rundown, thoughts, and analysis on the front page, starting with the pre-show that begins 30 minutes earlier.
- WWE United Kingdom Champion WALTER defending against Joe Coffey
- NXT UK Women's Champion Kay Lee Ray defending against Toni Storm and Piper Niven in a triple threat match
- NXT UK Tag Team Champions Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) defending against The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake), Imperium (Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner), and Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster in a fatal four-way ladder match
- Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin
- Trent Seven vs. Eddie Dennis