NGW produced an early Christmas present this week, in the form of a title match between Nathan Cruz and Doug Williams.
The show featured highlights from the build-up to Williams’ title match, including a promo from last year where Mark Haskins and the rest of the Control portrayed Williams as someone who was “past it”, leading to a four-on-one chairshot-assisted beatdown by the Proven, Haskins and Rampage Brown.
They segue to the Destiny Rumble where Williams won his title shot by coming out despite injury and eliminating Rampage – who thought he’d won – after Zack Gibson gave the assist with a chairshot to Rampage.
After ten minutes of recaps, we have a commercial break, and then some sit-down interviews with Matt Myers reminiscing over Doug Williams’ career. I think they played these a week or two ago. They then re-air the Nathan Cruz sit-down promo, before we go back to the Hull City Hall, where Katarina Leigh (formerly Winter/Katie Lea) comes out to act as timekeeper for this match… which has a handily timed commercial break after the introductions.
NGW Championship: Doug Williams vs. Nathan Cruz (c)
Early in the match, Alex Shane on commentary refers to the injury that Doug Williams picked up in WCPW (against Aron Stevens/Rex) where he effectively fell on his head because of a trapped nerve… Cruz starts with some headscissors, before working a leg-stretcher a la Jack Gallagher on the Anarchist.
Williams swivels out of the spreader, but then struggled to shake off a wristlock as Cruz keeps the veteran at bay. Cruz keeps up on top with a high knee strike for a one-count, but Williams shrugs off a series of hiptosses to pop back up repeatedly, then take down Cruz with a shoulder tackle. A dropkick takes Williams to the outside, and Cruz quickly rolls him back in to give the veteran no chance of recuperating, whilst keeping the pressure up.
A chinlock keeps Williams grounded, but he eventually elbows free and drops Cruz with a release belly-to-belly suplex. Williams blocks Cruz with a big boot and dives off the middle rope with an uppercut to pick up a near-fall, before working an abdominal stretch over Cruz. Doug keeps working over Cruz with a series of short strikes, but Cruz found a way back after popping up Williams into a flapjack in the corner.
After another break, Williams is selling his knee as Cruz launches a comeback, dropping Doug with an enziguiri, then flies in with a forearm smash and a slingshot back suplex for a near-fall. Again, Williams works back and tried for the Chaos Theory, before Cruz blocked that and a Tiger Driver, turning it into a jack-knife roll-up for a near-fall.
Williams had to elbow out of the Show Stolen, as Cruz blocked a Chaos Theory in return, but had no answer for an Exploder suplex. Doug hits the Chaos Theory at the third attempt, but his hamstring stops him from making a cover, as the match descends into a striking battle with champion and challenger exchanging forearm strikes. Out of nowhere, Cruz ducks a forearm and picks up Williams into a Fireman’s carry for the Show Stolen – but he too couldn’t make the cover.
Cruz finally gets up and goes for another Show Stolen, but Williams turns it into a Chaos Theory, only for Cruz to roll through the German suplex portion and turn it into an inverted cloverleaf… and that makes Williams instantly tap out. That’s a new move for Nathan’s arsenal, and him beating a big name with it instantly adds to his threat. A great technical match – and a match that lived up to expectations. ***¾
Williams and Cruz hugged after the match, before Doug needed to be helped to the back as Alex Shane plugs next week’s line-up: Liam Slater vs. Screwface and El Ligero vs. Joseph Conners. That first one would have been nicer had Screwface’s NGW career not been “show up as mystery man at the end of the season, then get a name and a backstory assumed the following season”.
Speaking of, they replay Screwface’s debut after this, complete with the “who is that?” commentary, before a sit-down promo with Liam Slater (again, they seem familiar, like we’ve had it a few weeks ago) brings the show to a close.
NGW’s one-match shows are usually pretty good – and this was no exception. I could have done without the repeated sit-down promos, but given how NGW puts together their TV, it’s understandable. It’s a matter of preference – I’d have preferred a warm-up match, rather than the boxing-esque big match build-up, but at the end of the day, we got our big match, and it didn’t let us down.
Hunt this match down and watch it – you won’t be disappointed!