The second TakeOver special in NXT UK history takes place today as the Motorpoint Arena hosts NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff.
In a matchup of Imperium vs. British Strong Style, the show will be headlined by WALTER defending his WWE United Kingdom Championship against Tyler Bate. WWE's YouTube account uploaded their "Prime Target: NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff" special that builds up the match.
Two other championships will also be on the line. Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray will clash in a grudge match for Storm's NXT UK Women's Championship. The Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) are putting their NXT UK Tag Team titles on the line in a triple threat match against Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) and Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster.
Travis Banks is set to face Noam Dar, Dave Mastiff meets Joe Coffey in a last man standing match, and Cesaro will be issuing an open challenge.
The main card starts at 2 p.m. Eastern time, with a half-hour pre-show airing before that.
Welcome everybody to this live play-by-play of NXT UK's second ever TakeOver special. Our pre-show tonight consists of Vic Jospeh, Nigel McGuiness and Aiden English. They talked about the tag team title match, pointing out that local heroes Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster might become the first ever Welsh champions in WWE history. They then ran down the rest of the card and showed Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray arrive at the arena earlier tonight.
A video package recapped the story between tonight's NXT UK women's championship match, with Kay Lee Ray getting into Toni's head by using intimate personal knowledge against her. Vic Jospeh wondered, if Toni Storm was broken mentally. Nigel said he wasn't sure but the big question was, "Can Toni come back?".
A pre-tape from earlier today showed Cesaro arriving at the arena and being interviewed by Radzi Chinyanganya. He said what he meant by taking a hands-on approach was that he didn't bring his gear for nothing and would issue an open challenge to the NXT UK locker room tonight.
The announcers then recapped the history between Dave Mastiff and Joe Coffey, after they went to a double count-out three weeks ago, when neither men could continue and they hurt each other and beat the hell out of one another.
Next we took a look at The Grizzled Young Veterans's NXT UK tag team championship reign and Gallus challenging them last month, followed by Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster challenging them and eventually being added to the match after winning in singles matches against members of the other teams.Vic brought up how The Grizzled Young Veterans complained that Andrews and Webster got their way into the match that way.
Imperium were shown entering their dressing room and closing the door. WALTER looked very serious and all business. A video recapped the main event, with the formation of Imperium, Alexander Wolfe joining the group, the subsequent destruction of both Tyler Bate and Trent Seven at the hands of WALTER and Tyler Bate's return and getting the upper hand against WALTER. The announcers then discussed Tyler Bate's chances in tonight's main event.
Main show play-by-play:
A video introduction focused on Imperium's iron grip on the NXT UK brand, then ran down the main matches on the card. Vic and Nigel are calling the show without Aiden English.
1. NOAM DAR BEAT TRAVIS BANKS AFTER THE NOVA ROLLER (13:55)
Dar in the past drew the ire of both Kenny Williams and Travis Banks, making out to be a bigger star than them and claiming he was guaranteed a match at TakeOver. Banks, after not being able to compete in the first NXT UK TakeOver in Blackpool, seems super motivated to get a win here tonight. This was a hot opener, with Dar repeatedly targeting Bank's shoulder and knees and finally capturing the victory.
They locked up with Dar pushing Banks into the corner, but Banks returned the favor right away and Dar smiled as he escaped into the ropes, trying to frustrate Banks.Dar caught Banks off an aerial attack and tried locking in the ankle lock, but Banks quickly escaped. Banks followed up with leg kicks, then hit a running soccer kick on Dar's head from the apron when Dar escaped to ringside. Dar then played possum and crotched Banks on the top rope, then hit a clothesline from the opposite turnbuckle for a near-fall.
Dar somersault slammed Banks into the ropes, which looked to have hurt Banks' previously injured shoulder, which Dar promptly worked over. Banks came back with a basement dropkick into the corner and a German suplex to get a two-count of his own.Banks was dominant, until Dar outgrappled him, then hit reverse kicks to the shoulders from the bottom and rolled into a shoulder lock. Banks escaped and went for a cross-face, but didn't quite get it.
Dar slapped Banks, enraging him, but then capitalized on Banks' fury and worked over his knee. Banks went for Slice of Heaven from the second turnbuckle, but Dar again grabbed him frm mid-air and locked in a kneebar. They traded punches and Dar finally was forced to release the hold. Dar followed up with a basement lariat to the back of Banks head for another near fall, then mockingly hit Banks' own trademark kicks to his head. Banks again went for Slice of Heaven but turned it into a foot stomp to the back of Dar mid-move, then followed up with a suicide dive to the outside.Dar once more tried to outsmart him, but was hit with Slice of Heaven from the ringside barrier instead.
Back in the ring, Banks hit a double foot stomp off the top for a close two count. They traded kicks, punches and forearms, with Banks eventually hitting a Shining Wizard. Banks went fo Slice of Heaven again, but Dar kicked his leg out from under him and hit the Nova Roller for the win.
-- Kay Lee Ray was seen backstage, warming up for her title match against Toni Storm later tonight
-- Radzi was backstage with Cesaro again, asking about his open challenge. Cesaro said he didn't care about who it was. Ilja Dragunov walked up to him and got in his face.
2. CESARO BEAT ILJA DRAGUNOV WITH THE NEUTRALIZER (12:26)
This was a great match and Cesaro was greeted like a God of Wrestling here, after being just another face on the card in recent months. People were hot for this match and both men delivered, showing power and aggression as well as brutal strength and determination to deliver a great match on a big show. Cesaro won after catching Ilja off Torpedo Moscow and No Kings of Wrestling reformation and we will have to wait and see if Cesaro will be a regular here or if this was a one-time deal like with Finn Balor in January.
Dragunov right away hit a running kick on Cesaro, but the Swiss Cyborg came back right away. Ilja went for a body press but Cesaro easily caught him, but Dragunov escaped. They traded slaps, but mostly evaded each other and briefly came to a standstill. Ilja finally got a few chops in, hit a senton and went for a cover but didn't get a pin. Cesaro thn nonchalantly dumped Dragunov over the top rope, throwing him head first into the barriers. Back in the ring, Cesaro followed up with a slam and leg drop, then locked in a chin lock.
Cesaro went for the big swing, but Dragunov blocked it, which was booed by the crowd. Cesaro then slingshot Dragunov's throat on the bottom rope. Ilja went for the Konstantin Special, but Cesaro caught him in the ropes and did a 40-rotation giant swing to a massive pop and "Incredible!" chants. Cesaro went for a cover, but then transitioned into a cross face. Ilja looked like he was close to passing out, but then crawled towards the ropes and briefly rolled Cesaro over for the cover. He hit the Konstantin Special, which now is called Six One Line for a near fall. They briefly battled for position, but Dragunov finally managed to hit a crotch-hold driver, then followed up with a dive to the outside which almost came short but Dragunov pulled Cesaro down with him.
Ilja hit a coast-to-coast from the top rope for another near-fall. Dragunov hit a number of chops, but Cesaro then gorilla pressed him into a knee, Go to Sleep style for another close count. Ilja turned a lariat attempt into a back slide for a two count, then hit a Death Valley Driver into the corner to big "this is awesome!" chants. He followed up with a senton frm the top for another two-count, then prepared for Torpedo Moscow, but Cesaro launched him high into the air for a big uppercut, then followed up with the Neutralizer for the win.
Cesaro was already walking down the entrance, but then re-entered the ring and gestured to Ilja to get up. He teased hitting another uppercut, but instead shook Ilja's hand.
-- Adrian Street and Miss Linda were shown in the crowd, following the debut of the Adrian Street documentary on the WWE Network before tonight's TakeOver
-- Tyler Bate was shown preparing backstage, alongside Trent Seven
3. NXT UK TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP THREE-WAY: MARK ANDREWS & FLASH MORGAN WEBSTER BEAT THE GRIZZLED YOUNG VETERANS (C) AND GALLUS (WOLFGANG & JOE COFFEY) WHEN WEBSTER PINNED GIBSON TO WIN THE TITLES (20:17)
This was a crazy match full of high spots and at points, I had no way of keeping up with all action. Very good with the home town heroes of Webster and Andrews overcoming the odds and Webster pinning Gibson clean to win the titles.
Gibson and Andrews started off. Gibson ground him to the mat among chants of "Shoes off, if you hate Gibson". Nigel said he didn't want the people of Cardiff take off their shoes. Drake tagged in and Andrews got the better of him. Andrews and Webster double teamed him, including hitting a joint moonsault/somersault on him. Wolfgang tagged, but Gibson pulled Drake to safety at ringside.Drake smartly tagged Webster and it was Wolfgang and Webster next, but this quickly led to a three-way standoff with all three teams.
Wolfgang took out Drake on the apron but Gibson ducked him, then blind-tagged Wolfgang just as Andrews was going for a springboard but he noticed it and hit Gibson with a springboard drop kick. Webster and Andrews then hit stereo moonsaults on Gallus on the outside as the action moved on faster than words can describe (or I can type, at least) . Drake and Webster ended up back in the ring and the Grizzled Young Veterans worked him over with a few dirty tricks they had up their sleeves.
Webster was in peril for a while, with Drake applying a nerve hold. It was Whack-a-Webster, as Drake, Mark Coffey and Zack Gibson all got to beat him up, until Webster finally managed to tag in Andrews. He hit a wheelbarrow roll-up on Gibson, then transitioned into a spinning DDT on Drake and hit a double Pelé kick on Gallus, before him and Webster hit stereo dives on both opposing teams on opposite sides of the ringside area. Andrews hit a 450 on Gibson, but Drake made the save.
Mark Coffey then took out Webster and Andrews, then him and Wolfgang double teamed Andrews for a two-count. After some more action, Wolfgang ended up taking a reverse rana by Andrews after Webster provided some assistance with a kick to Wolfgang's face. Gibson foiled an aerial attack by Andrews, then Mark Coffey and Andrews fought on top with Andrews first head-butting Coffey off the top, then it a shooting star to the outside on everyone.
Back inside, Andrews and Gibson fought, with Andrews hitting Stunt Dog Millionaire, followed by a senton from Webster but Gibson narrowly kicked out at 2.9. Drake was back inside, hitting a Shotgun dropkick on Andrews, followed by Helter Skelter from Gibson and a 450 from Drake but this time it was Andrews's turn to kick out at 2.9 to a big pop. After Gibson and Webster got involved, all four men were down, just as Gallus re-entered the ring. Gallus took out everyone, then Wolfgang launched Coffey over the top onto everyone. Wolfgang hit a Coffey-assisted power slam on Andrews, but Webster narrowly made the save during the pin.
Everyone was back in the ring and for a moment it looked like the other teams teamed up on Gallus. In the melee, Webster hit a Welsh Destroyer before The Grizzled Young Veterans hit a Doomsday Device on Wolfgang with Gibson hoisting him up on the outside and Drake diving through the ropes with w clothesline. At that point, it was Webster & Morgan vs. Drake & Gibson. They trhew out Webster, but Andrews turned Helter Skelter into a double Stunt Dog Millionaire and Webster hitting the 450 on Drake, but Gibson pulled the referee out of the ring.
The Veterans hit Ticket to Mayhem on Andrews and Gibson went to cover him, as Drake took out Gallus with a dive. Webster at this point hit a shooting star press on Gibson to break up the cover and pinned Gibson for him and Andrews to become new NXT UK tag team champions.
Andrews and Webster then celebrated with family and friends at ringside.
-- Toni Storm was shown getting ready for her title match later
4. LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: JOE COFFEY BEAT "BOMBER" DAVE MASTIFF AFTER HITTING HIM WITH A CRATE, PREVENTING HIM FROM GETTING UP BEFORE 10 (16:03)
This was a crazy brawl, where they virtually broke the ring in the first minute, with the top turnbuckle coming off a whip-in. They did all kinds of weapon shots and table spots and brawled all the way to the announce table through the arena, crashed off a platform through that table and still didn't have enough. Coffey won, by pushing a box into Mastiff just as he was about to get up before the ten count.
Mastiff attacked Coffey as he came down the ring with a chain and things were on! They traded hard punches in the ring, with Coffey getting the upper hand, but Mastiff was no worse for wear. A hard whip by mastiff into the corner broke the turnbuckle, which Mastiff immediately went to clubber Coffey with. He then shoved the metal part between Coffey's teeth and slammed his face to the mat. Coffey tried to go for a springboard, but the turnbuckle had no support and he crashed to the mat.
Mastiff hit a German suplex on Coffey and threw him outside, but Coffey got back to his feet at 3. Coffey came back with a pool cue, then produced a bag labeled "Gallus" from under the ring and emptied a bunch of weapons on the floor. He also propped a table up on the barrier, but Mastiff back body dropped him onto the pile of weapons. Coffey against got up at three and Mastiff tried to attack him with a cricket bat but Coffey evaded him and broke the pool cue over Mastiff's back.
Mastiff got the bat and clobbered Coffey's back, but it wasn't enough to keep Coffey down. Coffey then jumped over a charging Mastiff, who tried to drive him into the table, then speared him through the table himself, which kept Mastiff down until eight. Coffey tried to hit Mastiff again with the chain, but got German suplexed for his troubles, which kept him down until five. Mastiff then started whipping Coffey with the chain to "Fuck him up, Mastiff, fuck him up" chants.
Mastiff got another table and again propped it up on the outside. Mastiff and Coffey had a tug-of-war with the steel chain, until Mastiff smartly released it, sent Coffey tumbling back and hit a running cannonball on Coffey through the table. Coffey got up at eight and fled into the crowd over the barricade. Mastiff stalked him with a chair as he crawled away, then beat him up with said piece of seating furniture.
Coffey then hit Mastiff again with a chain-wrapped fist and sent him down for an eight count. Mastiff then tossed Coffey a chair and had one himself, then they proceeded to run at each other with their chairs, wall-of-death-style, which sent both men down to the floor, but both narrowly got back up at nine. They brawled over to the announce table at the edge of the entrance way and Mastiff put Coffey up on the table, then picked him up for a Finlay Roll on the table, which didn't even budge under the weight of the two large men.
Both men brawled up onto the pre-show platform over the announce table and stared each other down, before trading punches, with each trying to send the other man down. Coffey grabbed mastiff by the beard, who proceeded to head-butt him, sending both men crashing down the platofrm and through the announce table. Both men wer down for the count, struggling to get back up. They were staggering to their feet at nine, but Coffey managed to push a traveling case into Mastiff to send him back down before the count of 10, winning the Last Man Standing match.
-- they showed WALTER prepare for his match, surrounded by his Imperium brothers
-- Teagan Nox was shown in the crowd
5. NXT UK WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP: KAY LEE RAY BEAT TONI STORM (C) WITH THE GORY BOMB TO WIN THE TITLE (9:52)
Kay Lee Ray won the title clean after hitting two Gory Bombs (one of them into the ropes) in just under 10 minutes. Toni looked strong, but coudln't KLR away and the story was that Kay lee knew her very well and got in her mind. Thy had a good match otherwise that had a lot of intensity.
Toni was ready to fight, but KLR immediately fled to ringside. She repeatedly backed away, enjoying her mind games being successful, until Toni dove at her and unleashed on her, then threw her into the barrier. KLR slapped her, in retaliation for the slap Toni had dished out a few weeks ago, but Toni quickly took over again. KLR came back with a savate kick through the ropes right on Toni's nose, then proceeded to choke her over the middle rope. She followed up with a seated abdominal stretch, then hit a front face suplex for a two count. Toni ducked a number of slaps, then hit a German suplex after a failed attempt.
Storm tried for Storm Zero, but KLR countered into an attempt of her Gory Bomb, but Toni reversed into the a reverse wheelbarrow position and hit a sort of Candian Destroyer for a two count, Toni then hit Storm Zero, but KLR managed to kick out, which stunned the crowd and the announcers. Toni looked flustered and KLR hit the Gory Bomb for a two-count herself.
They fought on the top rope and Storm tried for Storm zero, but didn't get it, She vaulted over KLR, then hit a second turnbuckle German suplex on KLR for another two count. Toni dove through the ropes onto KLR on the outside, but KLR kneed her in the face as she re-entered the ring, then followed up with a launching somersault off the top, which she looked to have landed awkardwly on but seemed to be OK.
Back inside, KLR actually hit another Gory Bomb close to the ropes, launching Toni into the ropes, then followed up with another Gory Bomb for the victory and title win.
-- they are really pushing the NXT debut on USA on September 18, as they aired the same hype video three times during this show alone
-- Junior, the band that Mark Andrews is a part of were shown in the audience. Their song "Brick by Brick" is an official theme song for this show
6. WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP: WALTER (C) BEAT TYLER BATE AFTER A LARIAT TO RETAIN THE TITLE (42:12)
This was an unreal, epic 42-minute battle that took everything out of both men and may have been the best match I ever saw from either of them. They pulled out all of their big moves and then some. The crowd was livid and super into the match and both men left everything they had in the ring. WALTER repeatedly smashed Bate into the apron, as he had done weeks ago, and Bate came close to winning a number of times and performed some great feats of strength, which the crowd ate up. These two were artists and the ring was their canvas, as they painted a dramatic picture like few ever seen in NXT or WWE in general over the years. Go out of you way to watch this, as it just might be the match of the weekend.
The crowd was firmly behind Bate, chanting and singing his name. Bate evaded a WALTER chop in the ropes and countered with a leg kick. Tyler tried working over WALTER's wrist, but quickly found himself in a chin lock before resorting to leg kicks. WALTER used his size advantage to push down on Bate during a test of strength. WALTER pinned Bate down and umped on top of him, but bate bridged out, pushing WALTER up in the process, which always in an impressive spot. They traded forearms, but Bate quickly was trapped in a headlock on the mat. Bate actually worked back on his feet, but quickly got taken down again. Meanwhile, the crowd chanted "WALTER is a wanker".
Bate actually managed to pick up WALTER off the headlock, but WALTER quickly tried to go for a power bomb. Bate escaped, tried to go for Tyler Driver '97, which WALTER escaped from. bate then actually managed to stagger WALTER of a shoulder block then slammed the big man to a big pop. Bate followed up with a dive, but WALTER caught him and threw him into the apron, then followed up with a power bomb on the outside, sending Bate into the edge of the apron.
WALTER followed up with a big boot as Bate tried entering back into the ring. The big Austrian threw bate into the barrier, followed up with a running boot that bent Bate in half, then threw Bate head-first into the ring post with another power bomb. The doctor checked on Bate as WALTER paced the ring. Bate got back on his feet and signaled that he was ready to go on. Back in the ring, WALTER body slammed Bate, then kicked him in the back.
WALTER got out the chops, turned Bate's chest into a platter of ground meat, then bent him over the top turnbuckle for good measure, using his foot to bend Bate almost all the way down to the apron. He tried to follow up with a power bomb on the apron, but Bate blocked it, then gave WALTER a massive exploder from the apron to the outside. He smashed WALTER into the barriers, then gave him a series of leg drops in the ring, before charging him with elbows. He followed with a spinning European uppercut from the second turnbuckle, but WALTER chopped him out out of mid-air, then locked him in a Boston Crab to vanquish any momentum that may have been there.
He planted his knee high on Bate's spine, then transitioned into a neck crank.Bate actually blocked a suplex attempt by WALTER, but couldn't get him up for a suplex of his own and got the receipt in form of a chop right away. Then, after blocking another attempt, he actually got WALTER up for a suplex of his own as the crowd erupted. Bate staggered the champ with a number of uppercuts, then hit three clotheslines and a kappa kick to stagger WALTER. He followed up with an exploder, after failing to hit a German, kipped-up and hit a running shooting star press for a two-count.
Bate went for the Tyler Driver '97, but WALTER escaped. Bate went for another attempt off a reversal of a back slide, but once more WALTER escaped. WALTER hit a Shotgun dropkick to Bate's back, shooting him into the corner, but Bate managed to get a sunset flip off a power bomb attempt for a very close near-fall.
Bate got on the top rope, but WALTER rolled to the apron. They fought back and fort, until WALTER climbed the ropes as well, with Bate looking to suplex the champ to the outside. WALTER escaped, then chopped Bate off the ropes and climbed them himself once more, looking to go for his big splash that won him the title against Pete Dunne in New York. Bate stopped him with a head-butt, They fought in the top once more, with Bate doing Pete Dunne's finger snapping spot, then hit another exploder off the top for another 2.9 count.
They traded chops and leg kicks while both were down on the mat. WALTER clobbered him down a few times with chops and forearms, but Bate kept getting back up for more. Bate actually hit him with a hard forearm and WALTER crumbled, but landed on Bate who had trouble struggling out from under the giant. They dramatically slugged it out on the mat once more. They were back up and WALTER hit some palm strikes. Bate went for his slingshot clothesline, but this time WALTER caught him in an exploder. Bate kicked WALTER's face off a power bomb attempt, then actually got him up on his shoulders for an airplane spin.WALTER grabbed the ropes in the corner and climbed them, but Bate grabbed him and hit Trent Seven's Burning Hammer. which left both men with very little left on the mat.
WALTER rolled to ringside and collapsed, but made it back on the apron. bate hit him with a running soccer kick, then dove onto him with a sort of DDT or bulldog., then launched himself at tha champ once more, this time flying high over the top rope. WALTER was on his kneed and Bate actually dead lift German suplexed him for another close count. Bate went for Tyler Driver '97, but WALTER reversed out, then Bate actually hit it but still could not pin the Ring General's shoulders down for the three count. bate followed with a corkscrew senton, which didn't lead to victory either.
Bate got out some dirty boxing and had the champ hurt, but as the ref told Bate to back off, WALTER struck him down, then locked in the sleeper. Bate actually got up from under him and picked the big man up on his back, then drove him back down on the mat.WALTER locked in the choke once more, with Bate narrowly making it to the ropes. WALTER stroke him in the chest and locked in the move once more, but Bate actually pulled him over the top rope until both were on the apron once more. WALTER then actually hit a sleeper hold suplex onto the apron that flipped Bate over. WALTER then hit the big splash from the top, but Bate managed to kick out of that. WALTER hit another sleeper suplex in the ring, but Bate was an immortal god that could not be kept down. Another power bomb also yielded no desirable results, as Bate KICKED. OUT. AT. ONE!
WALTER then finally hit a desperation lariat that might as well have taken Bate's head off and finally pinned his opponent's shoulders to the mat for the one-two-three. Unreal match.
After the match, the rest of Imperium came out to pose with WALTER and congratulate their general on his successful title defense.
Bate was devastated and exhausted as Pete Dunne and Trent Seven entered the ring and helped him to the back. bate actually managed a smile, knowing he survived the battle to fight another day and also knowing that he came closer to beating WALTER than any other man in NXT UK to date. British Strong Style did their salute in the ring to a big pop and raised Tyler's hand as the show went off the air.
A great TakeOver, with a number of very good to great matches. WALTER/Bate was a legit match of the year candidate and possibly the best match of either man's career. Tyler Bate has future superstar written all over him and along with Johnny Gargano should probably have been in the main event mix on the major rosters two years ago. WALTER is tremendous as well, both as a performer relying on basic but effective moves and has tremendous ring psychology. In a way, he comes across as a more legit Brock Lesnar, whereas Lesnar's offense nowadays looks often cartoonish while still brutal, WALTER is the real deal with his no-nonsense approach. Still with things being the way they are, a future in the U.S. as a full-timer seems not to be in the cards for him and that is according to his own wishes. It will be really interesting who they build up as his next challenger, as the Imperium vs. British Strong Style saga, while yielding incredible matches, seems to be told for now and things should move to a new direction until the end of the year.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Cesaro was a lot of fun, very hard-hitting and a nice bonus to the card. Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey was an all-out brawl with a number of spots and weapons usually not seen in WWE. The three way tag team title match was full of action from beginning to end and the crowd ate up the local heroes winning. The women's match told a good story and Toni Storm really should be on the main roster every week. Noam Dar vs. Travis Banks was a good opener that set the proper mood for the rest of the show.