It took over two years for NXT UK to be announced, gestate, establish itself, start running television episodes and finally have a pay-per-view special of its own, with NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool coming on January 12.
While the card won't feature every star on the NXT UK brand, the lineup does boast some of the most prominent members of the roster because all of the championships will be decided.
Since NXT UK still flies under the radar for many in the WWE Universe, much of the information about this TakeOver event is not common knowledge.
In case you're in the dark, here's all you need to know ahead of Saturday.
Venue: Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England
Start Time: 2 p.m. ET (main show), 1:30 p.m. ET (pre-show)
How to Watch, PPV Live Stream Options
As with all NXT-related events, TakeOver: Blackpool can only be viewed on the WWE Network through a variety of different streaming service platforms, including the following:
- Apple TV
- Kindle Fire
- Amazon Fire TV
- PlayStation 3 and 4
- Xbox 360 and Xbox One
- Android devices with the WWE app
- iOS devices with the WWE app
- Panasonic Smart TV
- Samsung Smart TV
- Sony Blu-ray devices and Smart TV
- Windows 10 devices
The 30-minute pre-show will be available on the WWE Network platforms above, as well as WWE.com, the WWE app, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+.
NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool Card
True to form with TakeOver events, there are only five matches on the card, as the event isn't scheduled to go as long as a typical Raw and SmackDown pay-per-view.
Here is a full rundown of the show's lineup, according to WWE.com:
- Pete Dunne vs. Joe Coffey (WWE United Kingdom Championship)
- Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm (NXT UK Women's Championship)
- Moustache Mountain vs. Grizzled Young Veterans (NXT UK Tag Team Championship)
- Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis (No Disqualification)
- Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin
Predictions and Thoughts
While it won't be the main event, perhaps the most noteworthy thing to talk about is the crowning of the inaugural NXT UK tag team champions.
It's no surprise Moustache Mountain are in contention, as Tyler Bate and Trent Seven are undoubtedly the anchor tag team of this brand and the most preeminent, having won the NXT Tag Team Championship from The Undisputed Era last year at the tournament special.
What's interesting, though, is WWE's decision to go with Zack Gibson and James Drake as their challengers rather than two members of the Gallus stable.
Yes, Grizzled Young Veterans are two-time PROGRESS tag team champions, but WWE could have easily set up Wolfgang to fight Pete Dunne for the United Kingdom Championship and had The Coffey Brothers against Moustache Mountain to balance out those two trios.
Perhaps that gives insight into the victors, with Moustache Mountain winning and Gallus being their next challengers, as well as Dunne retaining over Coffey to free him up for a potential tag team run in the future.
Coffey could well win the United Kingdom title, though, as Dunne has held it for 600 days so far and WWE might want to change things up. Plus, Bate and Seven already defeated Mark Coffey and Wolfgang in the tournament to get to this title match.
Since Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews are the second-most distinguished babyface tag team in NXT UK and they aren't exactly major focal points, the smart bet is on Moustache Mountain winning the titles.
Likewise, Dunne still has Eddie Dennis, Jordan Devlin and other heels who can target his title, as well as possibly Walter, who has yet to debut. Meanwhile, if Coffey were to win the top prize, there aren't as many babyface challengers available.
History is on Dunne's side, so his retaining wouldn't be a surprise.
Rhea Ripley, on the other hand, may be in danger of losing the NXT UK Women's Championship, despite only having held the title shy of 50 days, according to air-date recognition of her original win when she defeated Toni Storm, who is challenging her once more.
Storm won the Mae Young Classic to earn this title shot and may have only been skipped over for the inaugural champion to subvert expectations and allow her to continue in that tournament final at Evolution, anyway.
She has popularity and fan support much more on her side than Ripley, even if the current champion has a winning record between the two.
If Moustache Mountain and Dunne leave with belts and WWE doesn't want all of the champions to be babyfaces, Ripley will retain. However, if Dunne or Grizzled Young Veterans win, watch out for Storm to take the title.
Lastly, the feud between Mastiff and Dennis has been a strange supporting storyline for the brand.
One would think the bigger of the two would be the heel and there wouldn't be much more to go on since Mastiff already beat Dennis on December 12, but Dennis keeps pestering like an annoying mosquito.
If not just to even the score between the two, Dennis winning would make sense, particularly as a No Disqualification stipulation allows for him to be inventive and win via the use of weaponry to balance out the size difference between the two.
A win over Mastiff could even propel Dennis to becoming the No. 1 contender if Dunne retains the United Kingdom title, although Mastiff could do the same to challenge Coffey down the line.
Finally, the match between Jordan Devlin and Travis Banks is somewhat inconsequential, with a rather empty storyline that consisted mostly of Devlin picking a fight and then avoiding a match until now.
It ultimately doesn't matter who wins that, as nothing is on the line, but Devlin has a better win-loss record, so he's the safe pick to be victorious.
All in all, there aren't any true guarantees as far as winners on this card, but for the sake of guesswork, there may be a slight advantage to Dunne, Storm, Moustache Mountain and Dennis to be victorious.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.