The inaugural NXT UK: TakeOver was mostly very good, writing subjectively.
The opening match, the tournament final to determine the first NXT UK Tag Team Champions, was outstanding. Pulsating. Ludicrously dramatic. Wrestled at times inside of a volcano, it was that heated: Tyler Bate performed like a megastar, Trent Seven sold expertly, Zack Gibson fought as obnoxiously as he talks, and James Drake performed insane moves we haven't seen yet, even in this era, where there is more great wrestling than there is time to watch it.
Persuading the U.S. audience to pay attention to NXT UK going forward, in mid-'90s "Anything can happen!" style, Finn Bálor's surprise appearance was a very clever ploy, and it manifested as a very good match. Eddie Dennis and Dave Mastiff fashioned something fierce from something unfancied.
As the show dragged on, the returns didn't quite match the expectations; Rhea Ripley Vs. Toni Storm was more good than it was great, and the booking department woefully exposed Joe Coffey by making him go 35 minutes in a wildly uneven match marred by hesitation and two badly, badly blown spots. Aiming for the elite level of critical acclaim, the layout was more Davey Richards than Kenny Omega.
If nothing else, this was mission: accomplished: the insane heat and grand spectacle convinced more people to watch the brand in the weeks and months to come.
Even Vince McMahon!
5. "Are You Watching, Vince McMahon?"
"As long as there are no further questions, then yes. Yes I did. I did the Iggy, damnit!"
As rabid fans took in the divisive main event of NXT UK: TakeOver Blackpool, they chanted "Are you watching, Vince McMahon?" In response, the guy who runs his Twitter account tweeted "Yes, I watched #NXTUKTakeOver. Yes, it was awesome." What's brilliant about the wording is that it captured McMahon's disdain unintentionally - the repeated "Yes" painted a picture of a henpecked Vince writing any old sh*te to get these dorks off his back. Of course, Vince did not tweet this out nor watch the show, we can be certain of that: Triple H revealed last year that Vince doesn't even bother to watch the domestic NXT brand that features the guys he's meant to promote imminently.
But what if he did? What would he make of it?
Moustache Mountain Vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
"Bulldog needs to get back on the juice, but it's good to see Dynamite back on his feet."
Finn Bálor Vs. Jordan Devlin
"Hey, that guy is cool. And listen to that pop! But, since he doesn't have much beef on him, have him smile."
Eddie Dennis Vs. Dave Mastiff
"Can we...can we mush 'em up? Make one tall, beefy abomination? And warehouse the remaining flesh on seven figures so that Cody can't have it?"
Rhea Ripley Vs. Toni Storm
"Something's leaking...my c*ck! HAHAHAHAHA!"
Pete Dunne Vs. Joe Coffey
"I should feel some sympathy. I botched both legs in January 2005. But I won't, quite frankly: have Rhyno killed."