On Sunday 12th January, NXT UK returns to Blackpool for NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II, a show that will see all NXT UK Championships on the line as WWE United Kingdom Champion WALTER takes on Joe Coffey, NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray faces Toni Storm and Piper Niven in three-way action, and the NXT UK Tag Team Championship is contested in a ladder match with Grizzled Young Veterans defending against Gallus, Imperium and Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster.
Elsewhere on the stacked card, Trent Seven finally faces Eddie Dennis in the ring after their ongoing war of words comes to a head, and Jordan Devlin wants to prove that Tyler Bate isn’t the golden boy that NXT UK hold him up to be.
In his recent media call for the event, Triple H spoke proudly of NXT UK and the upcoming NXT UK TakeOver show, especially with the extended exposure that NXT UK will receive through BT Sports.
“Since we launched NXT UK, it has been a remarkable ride, and the rise of it has been incredible,” Triple H said, highlighting the performance of the brand on the WWE Network and the talent that the show has brought to NXT itself, in the form of Rhea Ripley and Pete Dunne. The “BT Sports partnership will take (NXT UK) to the next level,” he claims, highlighting that the critical response and talent response to NXT UK has been positive, with the brand having its own aura with many fans watching in the US.
The establishment of not only NXT UK but also the WWE UK Performance Centre has been at the core of the evolution of the WWE UK concept. Triple H went onto say that “every place in the world, there are athletes with dreams,” and the WWE UK Performance Center gives “the ability to help these young talents… achieve that dream. It’s been part of the goal, from the beginning, to offer a pathway to WWE. There were people like Finn Balor, Pete Dunne, Rhea Ripley, and Toni Storm who probably thought this was a pipedream. To anyone who has the dream, don’t take no for an answer. It’s about overcoming those setbacks.” There’s a lot to be said for watching the talent grow under Triple H’s stewardship: “It’s like watching your kids. The pride level you have is hard to match.”
With Shawn Michaels added to the equation, Triple H is even more upbeat. “I’ll tell you that (Shawn Michaels) has been chomping at the bit. NXT UK has become a passion project for him. He’s taking a guiding hand and a controlling voice with that brand. He’s very close to a lot of the talent, and he’s excited about all the matches. We take great pride, the entire team. We really feel that the brand is synonymous when we say: “We are NXT.”
The BT Sports deal has given NXT UK a massive boost, adding it to the schedule that includes all other major WWE brands and shining a spotlight on a roster that Triple H describes as “incredible.” “NXT UK is a phenomenal in-ring product and a great show. I want to show it around the world and replicate it in other places around the world.”
With the new deal comes many new opportunities, including the potential for more NXT UK TakeOvers. “We absolutely will (have more NXT UK TakeOvers), though, with close to 600 live events around the globe, it’s a difficult process. There are plans for more NXT UK TakeOvers this year. We’re trying to spread out where we go, hitting particular pockets where we know where it’ll be good. Absolutely, London has always been a massive fanbase. It’s on a priority list. Dublin, as well. Cardiff is one of my favourite places. I don’t want to rule out anywhere; I’d love to go to Germany, France, Italy… so many markets.”
In the meantime, with Triple H promising that “anything can happen” at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II and Worlds Collide taking place shortly between NXT and NXT UK, the future is bright for the British brand as Triple H plans to make it a fully functioning brand, bolstered by the strengths of BT Sport.
NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool II begins at 5 pm in the UK on Sunday 12 January on the WWE Network, and fans without an account can sign up to the WWE Network for a free month.
Images and videos courtesy of WWE