he NXT UK brand held its third TakeOver event, Blackpool II, on Sunday at the Empress Ballroom.
Here are some of the talking points from an exciting night of unpredictable action and surprise appearances.
Undisputed Era invade NXT UK
As usual the crowd in Blackpool was white hot during the show. But they saved their biggest pop for the closing seconds as Undisputed Era made a shock arrival.
Led by the NXT champion Adam Cole, the dominant faction on the American brand attacked NXT UK champion Walter and the rest of Imperium as they stood in the ring.
They had been celebrating Walter’s successful title defence against Joe Coffey in the main event, but the four-man group were brutally beaten down by Cole, Roderick Strong, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish.
Now, usually an invasion angle by a foreign force leads to a negative reaction from fans, but not in this case.
The crowd were molten for Undisputed Era, highlighting again the universal appeal of the hottest faction on all WWE programming right now.
The angle sets up the eight-man tag match between the two groups at Worlds Collide in Texas on January 25 in Texas.
It was ideal booking. You had an enjoyable main event with Walter standing tall, before post-match immediately moved the narrative forward.
Expect to see Imperium and a vengeful Walter to be on NXT looking for revenge in the next two weeks.
Toni Storm is turning heel
She did not regain the NXT Women’s title but it is Toni Storm who was the main talking point coming out of her clash with Kay Lee Ray and Piper Niven.
The Australian had the match won after hitting a frogsplash on Niven, but was pushed out of the ring by Ray, who pinned her fellow Scotswoman to retain her title.
Storm had become increasingly frustrated as the match had gone on, even considering using a steel chair at one point.
This would have previously been unheard of for her babyface character, and while she did not use the chair in the end, dropping it after being confronted by Niven, the seeds were planted.
Post-match she cut a heelish promo on the WWE’s social media account, claiming to have been “robbed”.
WWE babyfaces as a rule don’t whine and moan, and this feels like the start of Storm’s turn to the dark side.
She faces her arch-rival Rhea Ripley, the NXT Women’s champion, at Worlds Collide and this could be where the full turn happens.
The two have already had a storied rivalry, but Ripley is now a face and the fresh dynamic of her against an upset Storm has strong potential.
Storm had an underwhelming 2019 after winning the NXT UK Women’s title 12 months ago. Defeat here though may well be the catalyst for an exciting 2020.
Tyler Bate and Jordan Devlin deserve Triple H’s seal of approval
Triple H was keen post-match to point out his public applause of Tyler Bate was also aimed for Jordan Devlin too.
The pair richly deserved the plaudits from the 14-time WWE world champion after a stunning match that lived up to all expectations.
This was simply a great wrestling encounter that was centred around nothing more then pride.
Bate had never won a NXT UK TakeOver match before Sunday and Devlin was 0 for 2 in Blackpool.
The action was seamless and it could have gone either way before Bate won after hitting the Tyler Driver 97 and corkscrew pin in quick succession.
Devlin needed a big win, and still does, but if you are going to lose that is how to do it – in a banger of a match with a number of believable near falls.
The WWE have big hopes for Bate and where he goes from here – to the United States or to a NXT UK title rematch with Walter is going to be fascinating.
More the merrier works as ladder extravaganza pays off
Eight men in one ring with a plethora of ladders always promised to be chaotic and that is what the match for the tag titles delivered.
Champions Mark Coffey and Wolfgang of Gallus stood tall, but it was remarkable that all eight men left the arena under their own steam given some of the brutal spots delivered.
Former champions Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster brought the highflying spots to proceedings.
Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) and Imperium (Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel) gave out and received punishment in equal fashion, with Gallus coming through when it mattered most to prevail.
Given their stablemate Joe Coffey lost in the main event it was probably the right decision to keep the gold on Gallus.
It was a big win for the Scottish faction and hopefully sets them up for an interesting summer programme.
NXT UK TakeOver Blackpool II results
Eddie Dennis defeated Trent Seven in a singles match
Kay Lee Ray retained the NXT UK Women’s Championship in a triple threat with Toni Storm and Piper Niven
Tyler Bate pinned Jordan Devlin in a singles match
Gallus retained the NXT UK Tag Team Championship in a four-team ladder match against Grizzled Young Veterans, Imperium and Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster
Walter retained the NXT UK Championship by submission against Joe Coffey
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