This week, NXT UK takes a look at some more hidden gems, featuring Adam Cole, Pete Dunne and Nina Samuels.
After four weeks of “the best of NXT UK”, and ten weeks since we last dug into some hidden gems, the bods behind NXT UK are switching up their format.
– From NXT at Download in June 2019: Adam Cole pinned Zack Gibson to retain the NXT Championship in 10:00 (***½)
– From NXT UK in Coventry, March 2020: Xia Brookside pinned Nina Samuels in 5:15 (**¼)
– From NXT UK in Plymouth, July 2019: Pete Dunne pinned Alexander Wolfe in 9:25 (***½)
We still only have the abrupt title screen. Clearly, nobody’s been able to make time to cobble together a new clip reel set to the Asteroid Boys’ “Dusted”… Andy Shepherd’s in his living room again, and pitches to the first match today.
NXT Championship: Zack Gibson vs. Adam Cole (c)
This one was taped as part of last summer’s NXT at Download Festival – they’d met one time previously, but I doubt there’s broadcast-quality footage of Cole’s North American title defence on a house show in Belgium… This wasn’t taped with the intention of broadcasting, so Andy Shepherd is covering it all here to start with – ring announcing and commentary.
Cole looks a little bemused at the “where’s my car stereo?” chants at the bell… Vic Joseph joins commentary in progress, as Cole and Gibson trade holds. The wristlock from Cole is punched away… but the then-NXT champion strikes back before landing a leaping neckbreaker. Gibson tries to scramble out through the ropes, but Cole pulls him back and ends up getting chopped in the throat for a two-count. Gibson uses right hands to knock Cole into the corner, before he took Cole down with a wristlock of his own. A stomp to the elbow follows, then a low dropkick at the crowd stood against Gibson, which initially proved to no distraction as Zack managed to bounce Cole into the corner with an Irish whip.
The crowd slowly got to Gibson, as he proceeded to ground Cole with a cobra clutch, only to let go as his attempt at a charge into the corner was cut off with a superkick. Back-and-forth shots keep both men on an even keel, before a pair of pump kicks let Cole edge ahead further with an ushigoroshi for a near-fall. A waistlock from Cole’s broken as Gibson went back to the wrist, but an enziguiri stops him… as does a back cracker for a near-fall. Cole couldn’t get off a front suplex, and ends up taking a teardrop suplex as Gibson tries to fight back in. The crowd again distracts as he looked for the Shankly Gates… Cole rolls free and hits back with a superkick, hitting a second one after a Ticket to Ride looked to have Zack back ahead. That second superkick gets Cole a near-fall, before he went to the middle rope for a Panama Sunrise… but Gibson hits a Divorce Court to take him down.
A Ticket to Ride follows, but Cole kicks out… a Helter Skelter gets a second near-fall, as Cole looked to be resorting to desperation swings. It leads to a slugfest, before an arm whip took Cole back down, with Gibson looking to get a stoppage victory. He heads back up for another Ticket to Ride, but he leaps into a superkick, before an over-the-knee brainbuster drew a near-fall… from there, the Last Shot connected for the win.Commentary called this a Takeover-level match – that might have been hyperbole, but this was a pretty damn fun little outing. ***½
It’s the second match, so it’s gotta be a women’s match. I wonder where that idea came from…
But first, another Aoife Valkyrie vignette as she’s still gunning for the title, whenever things resume. Then, a promo from the Hunt, as they’ve been training like mad while they’ve been “unable to feed.”
Xia Brookside vs. Nina Samuels
This was taped as part of the last NXT UK tapings in Coventry this past March…
There’s a lot more crowd interaction than you’d expect, and we open with a dropkick from Brookside, before she took down Samuels with an armbar. Nina tries for a hair pull, but instead flips free and into a wristlock of her own, only for Xia to repeat the feat… and get pulled down to the mat by the hair. Samuels keeps the wristlock on tight, but Xia flips free and goes to the mat with a side headlock. Brookside sinks it in, but Nina uses headscissors to free herself… only for Xia to head stand her way free. A pratfall trips Nina for a near-fall, before Samuels tried to repeat the trick… but Xia springboards into a stomp instead. Nina heads outside, and gets dropkicked into the barriers, before she got rolled inside.
Nina jumps Xia with stomps back in the ring, before a short Irish whip smashed Brookside into the middle buckle for a near-fall. A chinlock comes to nought as Xia fought free, taking Nina into the corner for some running double knees to the back that nearly win it, before Samuels tried to nick it with a roll-up – but the ref notices Nina pulling the tights, and stops the count. Samuels protests her innocence, but gets caught with a head kick from Xia, who then heads up top for a flying crossbody that’s enough for the win. Pretty straightforward fare – in and out in five minutes that warmed the crowd up nicely. **¼
Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews get another vignette. I swear we’ve had this one before, as it summed up their rise to the top in 2019, and their downfall… Mark Andrews is still looking to go after whoever attacked him before the shutdown.
Amale has a new vignette, (re)introducing herself. They’re going for her bringing a (French) revolution to the NXT UK women’s division. They show a photo of her in the crowd, which is a cool touch, but they turn it around into her leading, not following. She’s going after the NXT UK women’s title of course, is the French Hope.
Next week: We’re back with Superstar Picks. I’m pretty sure there’s at least one person in the VT they used there who’s not under contract…
Alexander Wolfe vs. Pete Dunne
We’re going back to July 2019 for this unaired outing from Plymouth in the early days of Wolfe as part of Imperium…
We start with Dunne and Wolfe wheeling away on each other with hockey punches, before leapfrogs and dropdowns from Dunne allowed him to clothesline the German to the outside. A plancha follows, as Dunne goes after Wolfe’s left hand, stomping the elbow onto the ring steps for the hell of it. A second try followed after he raked Wolfe’s eyes, as it seemed that all four corners of the venue would see the sight. Instead, Wolfe headed up the entrance ramp as they do a third stomp. Wolfe turns it around though, connecting with a flying clothesline back inside for a near-fall, before Wolfe raked Dunne’s face with his boot. Irish whips keep the former NXT UK champ in the corner, before a scoop slam dumps Dunne in the middle for a two-count.
Wolfe misses a leaping elbow drop as Dunne began to get back in, landing a rebound German suplex off the ropes. Chops light up Wolfe, before Dunne flips over him en route to an enziguiri in the corner. Wolfe tries a German suplex, but Dunne flips out and hits a punt kick, before an X-Plex landed for a near-fall. Dunne aborts a flying knee off the top, and quickly ends up on the defensive as he’s suplexed into the ropes as Wolfe tries to make fresh inroads. Except he leaps into a forearm from Dunne for a near-fall. The pair exchange stomps and up-kicks, before Dunne’s attempt at a flying cross armbar ended with him getting powerbombed into the corner.
A death valley driver’s next from Wolfe for a near-fall, as the pair begin to trade more strikes from the mat. They fight back to their feet, but Dunne’s enziguiri earns him a pump kick before he went back to Wolfe’s wrist. A finger snapper stops the German before a Bitter End is slipped out of… with a German suplex bridging for Wolfe to almost win things. Wolfe tries again, taking Dunne to the top rope… but Dunne lands on his feet again before busting out Tyler Bate’s bop/bang punch, then the Koppo kick off the ropes before the Bitter End landed for the win. Another fun sprint to bookend this week’s show – but let’s be real, there’s no way Dunne was losing this one! ***½
While the brand as a whole may be in a zombified state, thanks to an ongoing lack of clarity over if/when/how they restart, these clip shows can be hit and miss. Going for three matches a show means they’re short, and you can get more mileage, but these remain very missable shows for the most part. A shame, because the unaired matches were for the most part pretty good for the time they got.