The NXT UK scene has been bustling over the past few months leading up to TakeOver Cardiff. From the departure of Pete Dunne to the formation of Imperium, not to mention numerous feuds with bad blood, such action demands a major platform. WWE’s United Kingdom brand will receive this on Saturday, as NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff will be held from Motorpoint Arena Cardiff. Much like TakeOver events in the past, this will feature five matches, but each one holds significance.
Before getting into recaps and predictions, it’s important to note a recent development. In a recent video, Cesaro said that he would be making a trip out to Cardiff. The purpose of said trip, according to Cesaro, is to get a first-hand look at NXT UK. He also mentioned that he may take a more “hands-on approach” while there. Whether this means he will get physically involved at TakeOver remains to be seen, but viewers should keep an eye on the Swiss Cyborg heading into this show.
Now let’s get into the meat and potatoes of this show. Here are the matches set to take, how they came about, as well as predictions prior to Saturday. Let’s begin!
Travis Banks vs. Noam Dar
Cardiff will be NXT UK’s second-ever TakeOver, but what new fans may not know is that Travis Banks was initially scheduled to wrestle in the first. At TakeOver: Blackpool, Banks had to pull out of his match against Jordan Devlin due to injury. This didn’t deter Banks, as the Kiwi Buzzsaw pressed on. Though he may not be competing for a championship on Saturday, he will face off against Noam Dar, who made it a point to get under Banks’ skin as only he could. Though there are no title implications, these men will be no less driven to fight.
Prediction: Banks has a sympathetic story heading into Cardiff. As someone who dealt with the aforementioned injury, not to mention an unsuccessful United Kingdom Championship match against Walter, Banks’ never-say-die attitude endeared him to the NXT UK faithful. One can argue that Dar is one of his biggest obstacles toward another championship match. As much as I enjoy Dar and his antics, I see Banks coming away victorious.
“Bomber” Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey (Last Man Standing Match)
As of late, “Bomber” Dave Mastiff has raised the ire of Gallus. The impetus of this match occurred during an NXT UK taping, when Mastiff and Joe Coffey fought to a count-out. Neither desired to back down, which makes sense given the powerful, brash demeanors of both men. They look to settle the score in Cardiff, where they will face off under Last Man Standing rules. There will be no pinfalls, submissions, or disqualifications – perfect for these two bruisers. Neither man will stay down easily, so pulling out a victory will be easier said than done.
Prediction: In terms of sheer intensity, this will be the match to anticipate. Mastiff and Coffey have proven that they aren’t inclined to back down, which is the hallmark of a good hoss fight. Coffey may have come the closest to incapacitating the otherwise immovable “Bomber,” which adds another wrinkle in this already intriguing match. In this battle of powerhouses, I see Mastiff coming away the victor, adding another win to his record.
Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) (c) vs. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster vs. Gallus (Mark Coffey and Wolfgang) (NXT UK Tag Team Championship)
Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster are a relatively new addition to NXT UK’s tag team division. As such, going into this storyline, they were treated as beneath other teams. Thus, Andrews and Webster had to fight from underneath. After scoring singles victories for themselves, they punched their ticket to NXT UK, where they will face off against fellow challengers and champions alike. TakeOver: Blackpool’s tag team match pitting Grizzled Young Veterans and Moustache Mountain was the match of the night; it’s fair to expect a high level of quality from this bout as well.
Prediction: Grizzled Young Veterans, as the inaugural NXT UK Tag Team Champions, have held the straps for well over 220 days. This is a solid reign, to say the least, and they have more than established themselves as a dominant team. With that said, every reign must come to an end and I believe that this will be the one title that changes hands on this show. Andrews and Webster can make for an excellent babyface tag team that isn’t afraid to take risks and fly high. I won’t be surprised to see them emerge the new champs, so I’ll go with them.
Toni Storm (c) vs. Kay Lee Ray (NXT UK Women’s Championship)
This is the one feud, heading into TakeOver: Cardiff, that has been nothing short of personal. Kay Lee Ray hasn’t been shy about playing mind games with Toni Storm, verbally defaming her for being everything from a disloyal friend to an awful family member. This feud has also shown the otherwise confident Storm as rattled, with fans wondering if she can hold onto the NXT UK Women’s Championship. Will Storm retain, or will Ray’s mind games pay off with her becoming only the third NXT UK Women’s Champion?
Prediction: To say that Ray has been heavily featured would be an understatement. Not only can she get it done between the ropes, but she’s one of the most effective villains on the show, able to make fans despise her with a single promo. I believe that Ray has the potential to be a great champion, but I don’t see it happening on Saturday. I believe that NXT UK will continue to push Storm as their champion, ultimately dropping it to the next budding star in line. Meanwhile, I firmly believe it will be Toni Time at TakeOver.
Walter (c) vs. Tyler Bate (WWE United Kingdom Championship)
Since his debut at the end of TakeOver: Blackpool this past January, Walter has been nothing short of dominant. After defeating every opponent set in front of him, he went on to claim the WWE United Kingdom Championship at TakeOver: New York in April, ending Pete Dunne’s 685-day reign in the process. After forming Imperium, Walter developed an eviler side, leading to his incapacitation of former titleholder, Tyler Bate. Now recovered, Bate goes into this match with two goals: to exact revenge and become the first two-time UK Champion.
Prediction: At 22 years old, Bate has accomplished so much, including becoming the first, not to mention youngest, UK Champion. Furthermore, he’s an accomplished tag team wrestler, winning multiple tag team titles across different promotions. The sky is the limit for Bate, but it’s difficult to see him winning at Cardiff. It would make for another historic moment in his young career, but Walter’s title reign is in its infancy. I expect him to go over in the main event, continuing to hold the brand’s top title for the long haul coming out of NXT UK TakeOver Cardiff.