Wrestling Review: NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff (2019)

The second ever NXT UK Takeover show will come to you live from Cardiff, Wales, inside the Cardiff International Arena. In the main event, the dominant, big daddy WALTER will defend the NXT UK Championship against the smaller, but unbelievably tough Tyler Bate, in a match where Bate will look to be the first ever two-time NXT UK Champion. The NXT UK Tag Team Champions, the Grizzled Young Vets (Zack Gibson & James Drake) will have to defend their titles against two teams; the high flyers of Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster and the dominant powerhouses of Gallus, Mark Coffey and Wolfgang. The third man of the Gallus trio, Joe Coffey, will have his hands full when he faces the Bomber, Dave Mastiff in a Last Man Standing match, while NXT UK Women’s Champion, Toni Storm, will have to defend against Kay Lee Rae. Noam Dar will take on Travis Banks in the opening match, whilst WWE superstar, Cesaro, will be on hand to put out an Open Challenge, at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff.

+ WALTER (c) vs Tyler Bate (NXT UK Championship): this was incredible. WALTER is one of the best big men in the WWE at the moment, perhaps even in all of wrestling, and Bate has such phenomenal skills for his young age. I love WALTER, but seeing him as the bad guy is something I’ve always thought he excelled at, especially against the eternal fan favourite in Bate. This was a long match, but unlike the many Gargano/Cole matches, this never leant into its length as a selling point, and that made the match fly by, but still be full of unforgettable moments. I loved this
+ Dave Mastiff vs Joe Coffey (Last Man Standing): an early turnbuckle moment was interesting, and soon meant that no more action took place in the ring, which was potentially unintentional, but made for a unique match thereafter. These two chunky bois were holding nothing back as (potentially gimmicked) pool cues and (defintiely not gimmicked) cricket bats were smashed over and onto each other. Truthfully, this did go perhaps a few minutes longer than it should have, but I admired the unique ending
+ Grizzled Young Vets (James Drake & Zack Gibson) vs GALLUS (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster (NXT UK Tag Team Championships): holy cow, this was really good. It really was a speed/power/technical sort of rock/paper/scissors match, as the high-flying Welshmen, Andrew and Websters, tried to out run the power of the Gallus boys, while Gibson and Drake played bad-guy spoiler throughout. I really enjoyed this match, and the crowd was super into everything that happened
+ Cesaro’s Open Challenge: if there is a wrestling god, Cesaro will be sent to NXT UK where he can wrestle like this, against competitors like his opponent here, instead of the filth he goes through on Raw. This was incredible
+ Noam Dar vs Travis Banks: this was a surprisingly long opening match, and at the few times I thought it may have gone long enough, it picked up and finished on a really high note. The crowd was hot, both men looked good, and I enjoyed this


Toni Storm (c) vs Kay Lee Ray (NXT UK Women’s Championship): this was short and awkward, and frankly not very good. One particularly scary dive signalled the end of the match, I think, as there was just a few more short sequences before the abrupt ending. I know both Storm and Ray can go, when they want to, so I have to assume somebody was injured

> That Gallus theme song is a low-key banger.

Should you watch this event: This was my third preference of the three shows from last weekend (after AEW All Out and NJPW Royal Quest), but this show was probably the best of them all. It was a succinct three hours altogether, with five of the six matches being good to great. Go out of your way to see the main event, and and Cesaro fan needs to see what he can do against a competent opponent in the WWE.


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