Kenny Williams and Amir Jordan def. Dan Moloney and Jamie Ahmed
As I've mentioned before, Williams and Jordan have largely been positioned as enhancement talent in NXT UK's tag team division up to this point, so it was refreshing to see them showcased and not be stepping stones for a change. They have really good chemistry together and their matches are always fun, so this was a nice way to kick off the show. Perhaps my favorite part was when Williams and Jordan acted ecstatic afterward upon realizing they actually won.
Gallus Addressed British Strong Style
Coffey already sent a message to Dunne when he laid him out during their recent contract signing, so this segment merely served as last-minute hype for their upcoming clash for the UK title, as well as for British Strong Style vs. Gallus on next week's episode (that has the potential to be a barn-burner). He's grown on me as the lead heel on the brand and he might have a real shot of taking that title from Dunne come TakeOver: Blackpool.
Tensions Rose at the NXT UK Women's Championship Press Conference En Route to NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool
The aforementioned contract signing with Dunne and Coffey took place in the middle of the ring, so I loved that this was a press conference (which are rare in WWE) and how it had a totally different feel to it. They simply went back and forth with each other and answered questions in an empty arena. Both ladies brought their A-game here with Ripley alluding to what happened during their last encounter and Storm mentioning how much has changed since then (including her winning the Mae Young Classic). Needless to say, this more than did its job in getting me excited for their TakeOver match.
Isla Dawn def. Xia Brookside
I could have sworn Dawn was a heel, and if she isn't, she should be. I just find it difficult to root for her, especially since she isn't terribly exciting in the ring or as a character. Meanwhile, Brookside is a much better babyface, and in time, she can be a real player in the NXT UK women's division. This was a well-wrestled affair, though Brookside did more to impress me than Dawn did.
Jordan Devlin def. Damien Weir
Devlin has been on quite the roll as of late, and as talented as he is between the ropes, I believe promos have become his strong suit. I figured this would be a straightforward squash for Devlin, but this ended up being way more competitive than I thought it would be. Devlin still went over decisively, mind you, but this definitely did not need to last as long as it did. Travis Banks emerged afterward and challenged Devlin to an impromptu match, only for Devlin to bail. Look for those two to go one-on-one at TakeOver.
Zack Gibson and James Drake def. Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews in an NXT UK Tag Team Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
Webster and Andrews have spent the last month or so feuding with Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel, so I assumed the heels would factor into the finish here and lead to a win for Gibson and Drake. Well, Gibson and Drake did win, but they accomplished that feat all on their own. That was a pleasant surprise, and as a match, this was terrific. It had a great pace and sense of urgency, with the right tandem advancing in the tournament.
This was Part 1 of NXT UK's go-home show for TakeOver: Blackpool, and with the card virtually complete, this edition was fully focused on selling viewers on the event and building anticipation. It was certainly successful in that respect with the whole hour holding my interest. The three glorified squash matches weren't anything to write home about, but Coffey's promo was solid and the main event was excellent. However, the press conference was easily my favorite thing on the entire episode.