While NXT TakeOver events are often guaranteed to deliver, it was largely unknown whether NXT UK's first crack at a pay-per-view—TakeOver: Blackpool—would be successful.
The roster isn't as bombastic or popular quite yet, the setup for all the matches was recorded months in advance, with tapings going back to July, and many people aren't caught up or familiar with the storylines.
However, the NXT stamp means something, and WWE set the talent up with three title matches—including the crowning of the first-ever NXT UK tag team champions.
Now that it's over and done with, we can assess what was great on the show and what felt a bit more underwhelming.
Let's dive into the results, highlights and low points of NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool.
NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool Results
- Grizzled Young Veterans defeated Moustache Mountain to win the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Championships
- Travis Banks was unable to compete after brawling with Jordan Devlin before their match began. He was replaced by Finn Balor.
- Balor defeated Devlin by pinfall
- No Disqualification Match: Dave Mastiff defeated Eddie Dennis by pinfall
- Toni Storm defeated Rhea Ripley to win the NXT UK Women's Championship
- Pete Dunne defeated Joe Coffey to retain the United Kingdom Championship
The first mention must go to the fans. The crowd was red hot throughout the night. When was the last time a WWE pay-per-view started with the audience taking their shoes off to show how much disdain they had for a heel?
Zack Gibson was the target of the fans' ire:
Setting a great standard to start the NXT UK tag team division off with a bang, Moustache Mountain and Grizzled Young Veterans had a fantastic opening match. This was no surprise, based on Trent Seven and Tyler Bate's previous fights.
Highlights of the bout included Bate spinning both Gibson and Drake at the same time, Bate's standing shooting star press onto Gibson and Drake to the floor and a near-fall after Drake's 450 splash.
For an indicator of the style and energy of this match, check out this suicide dive that took Bate out of the match, allowing Gibson and Drake to capitalize and win the titles.
The next match could have been a low point after Jordan Devlin attacked Travis Banks before the show and the two fought once more prior to the bell ringing, with the latter ruled out from competing.
However, Johnny Saint and Sid Scala had a backup plan: Finn Balor.
Devlin and Balor—pupil and mentor—put on another solid match to keep the momentum of the event going and give fans a babyface pop to offset the heels winning beforehand.
While not the greatest for in-ring quality, the NXT UK Women's Championship match had arguably the best storytelling.
It might not have been difficult, as Toni Storm is so beloved, but she and Rhea Ripley pulled off the tale of giving Storm a fight to overcome.
Ripley—the bigger and stronger of the two—played up her size, while Storm's tenacity kept her alive long enough to score the pin.
Even while some fans were cheering for Ripley, there was genuine happiness for Storm's victory, and it's always nice to see a new champion cry tears of joy:
The main event was a nail-biter. Even after 600 days as champion, it still felt like Pete Dunne's title reign was about to end at various points against Joe Coffey.
This was a knock-down, drag-out fight with both men brawling like their lives were on the line, which made it feel as though the United Kingdom Championship has equal footing to the WWE Championship in the eyes of these Superstars.
That in itself is a good sign for the brand's future in establishing itself as something more than just a developmental spin-off.
Ending with Dunne retaining was a feel-good moment, and the debut of Walter was an excellent way to end things. Staring each other down, the two men have already set up anticipation for a future clash.
Unfortunately, it wasn't all hits.
While not awful, the No Disqualification match between Eddie Dennis and Dave Mastiff left much to be desired.
The two only utilized the standard steps, chair, kendo stick and table, rather than doing something different. There was nothing we don't see on a regular basis with any other Extreme Rules gimmick.
It also would've been good to see Dennis take the victory. Mastiff had already won their previous encounter, so his opponent could have taken the win here to put himself in title contention.
All in all, though, the show was a success.
In many ways, the event needed to impress, as many haven't been won over by NXT UK. If this had been a total dud, it's doubtful the show would be able to gain more viewers.
It's a good start for NXT UK pay-per-views, and while it might not turn the brand into a sensation just yet, it's a boost for its future.
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.