What a weekend of wrestling we’ve just witnessed. Cardiff is still recovering after NXT UK rocked it for the second of their Takeover events, whilst AEW continued their revolution where it all began in Chicago for All Out.
Add in New Japan coming east to England and you have some memorable evenings for fans. Whilst I’ve been assured by many that the latter was an epic event, I can’t fully judge it for myself without seeing it.
As a result, I thought it was best to look back on the two shows I watched live on TV. Combining for a total of eight hours of wrestling, there was plenty of moments in there which excelled.
Whilst it is difficult to narrow them down to a few, here is my favourite moments from NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff and All Out.
The Swiss Cyborg arrives
The excitement for Takeover intensified just days prior when a main roster star announced his intentions to attend.
It has been long rumoured that Cesaro has wanted to appear in NXT UK. So when he announced he’d be coming to Cardiff, speculation began as to what he might be doing at the show.
These questions were answered early in the show when he was challenged by one Ilja Dragunov. A fresh face on the brand himself, this was Dragunov’s coming out party in NXT UK.
The Russian matched Cesaro for 12 minutes, with each man going hell-for-leather. The match was highlighted by a 40 count Cesaro swing, which even made this writer slightly dizzy.
In the end, it was the Swiss Cyborg that came out on top. But it was Ilja that won the respect of the crowd, and his world class opponent.
The home town heroes achieve their dream
The only Welsh representation on the card came in the Tag Team Championship match. Standing in the way of Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster were not just the champions Grizzled Young Veterans, but also the formidable duo of Mark Coffey and Wolfgang.
It is somewhat of a Takeover tradition these days that tag team matches tend to steal the show. This contest continued that pattern in a battle filled with thrills and near falls. On numerous occasions in the bout, the hometown boys came within a whisker of victory, adding to a belief that tonight wasn’t the night.
This looked to be confirmed when the champs hit Webster with Ticket-To-Mayhem and surely another win. But out of nowhere, a shooting star press from Andrews ensure that a dream came true.
WWE has their first Welsh champions, and it was a victory that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Their boys had done it. The perfect way to inject some mid show energy into the building.
It’s gold for Scotland
There be a bit of bias in this one, but an entire country beamed with pride as a new NXT UK Women’s Champion was crowned.
Like the Grizzled Young Veterans, Toni Storm had held the women’s gold since NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool. It was at that event that Kay Lee Ray debuted with the brand sitting in the front row.
Fast forward nearly eight months and two Gory Bombs later, the lass from Johnstone was champion. Whilst it came to the shock of the crowd in attendance, it was one that popped this writer and the group from the podcast I watched the show with.
Having watched Kay Lee evolve for so many years in ICW, it was a moment that truly showed that Scottish wrestling is where it’s at.
A battle for the ages
Fans of PROGRESS will remember Walter and Tyler Bate delivering an epic last year at Wembley Arena. Saturday saw them not only match that, but take it to whole new levels.
It is often said that good wrestling matches can have you doubting an outcome you thought was a certainty pre-match. That is what Tyler was able to do in this contest. There was numerous points where it looked like he has the upset in the bag before just falling short. How he is only 22 and still that good is unbelievable.
Give Walter credit as well though, as he continued his reputation as a big match player. Where he goes from here remains to be seen, but this was the best possible way to end what was an awesome Takeover.
The dream match delivers
When Jon Moxley had the pull out of All Out with injury, many questioned how they could fill the dream match void with Kenny Omega.
Coming in second on the main All Out card, these two had the jobs of keeping the crowd hot. They did that in shades with a flurry of their signature high octane offense. Omega was laying into the Newcastle star with V-Trigger after V-Trigger that would have put away a normal man.
But PAC is no ordinary man, and he showed his ring prowess as he contained the One Winged Angel into a Rings of Saturn variation for the win.
Hopefully now this is the beginning of a regular run in AEW for the Geordie.
Havoc isn’t the only crazy man in AEW
It’s fair to say Jimmy Havoc is a fan of pain. Not many a man would happily put tacks into his mouth and have it taped shut.
But would he have even took that Coffin Drop onto steel chairs that Darby Allin did? Maybe not (or maybe yeah, it is Jimmy after all).
The pair, along with Joey Janela, put on a fun hardcore match that continued the tone set by Pac and Omega. To this date, the sight of Havoc giving his opponents paper cuts still makes me grimish.
Good to see the Englishmen pick up his first AEW win as well.
It will be no surprise that a Bucks-Lucha Bros match is amongst the best All Out moments. The only question going in was simply if they could top their previous outings.
In what could be described by some as a spot fest, these teams beat the living day lights out of each other. And it was UNBELIVABLE.
We saw a Canadian Destroyer on Matt Jackson through a table. We saw Nick Jackson nearly die after hitting a rope as he fell from a ladder to the floor. There was even the audacity from one of the Bucks to remove Pentagon jr’s mask as he went for the titles.
Absolute madness. Hats off to each of these four men.