On this week’s NXT UK we see Pete Dunne team up with Ilja Dragunov against Imperium’s WALTER and Alexander Wolfe…
Heritage Cup Quarter-Final: Dave Mastiff defeated Joseph Conners via knock-out (0:35 of Round 3) (**½)
Piper Niven pinned Isla Dawn in 8:16 (**)
Ilja Dragunov & Pete Dunne pinned WALTER & Alexander Wolfe in 19:02 (***¾)
We open up with Andy Shepherd inside the BT Studio to run down tonight’s main event – it’s the first time Pete Dunne’s been on NXT UK in over a year… but first, the Heritage Cup opens up the show.
Nigel McGuinness joins Andy Shepherd on commentary.
Heritage Cup Quarter-Final: Dave Mastiff vs. Joseph Conners
These guys have met at least three times on the indies, with Cagematch showing Conners actually has won twice of them. He’s still doing the “I am worthy” gimmick, although without a Takeover on the horizon, that aspect’s not being shouted as much.
Round 1: Conners doesn’t want a handshake, as they instead lock-up with Mastiff taking Conners into the corner for a clean break. Wash, rinse and repeat, before Mastiff looked to work a wristlock on Conners, but it’s countered in kind as Conners ends up getting armdragged into the corner. Conners avoids a sit-down splash and almost gets the pin with a roll-up, before getting flipped with a back body drop. A dropkick from Mastiff gets Conners down for a near-fall, before Conners got bounced back into the corner, as he then ended the round trying to get away from Mastiff.
Round 2: Conners circles Mastiff to start, but gets drawn in to a side headlock. He pushes it away, but bounces off of Mastiffs shoulder tackle, before he found a way in with a body blow. Not to worry, another shoulder tackle from Mastiff gets him a two-coint, before a Corning hold from Mastiff forces Conners to try and counter free, only to get taken down into the same hold. Eventually Conners gets free, but gets taken into the corner, where he floats over… he baseball slides under Mastiff, before leaping into a powerslam for a near-fall. Uppercuts from Mastiff take Conners into the ropes, but he refuses to break cleanly, slapping Mastiff… who slaps back as Conners rolls outside to wind out the clock once more.
Round 3: Conners comes out swinging, but he’s instantly knocked down into the ropes as the referee forces a break… and that’s the match! I liked how they went to a different finish, but this was largely Conners playing keep away until he got KO’d. **½
They play a video package on Jordan Devlin, talking about winning the NXT Cruiserweight title at Worlds Collide in January. He’s still got the belt. A graphic of the world on fire signifies the pandemic as Devlin recalls hearing about the Interim NXT Cruiserweight title tournament… that became just the NXT Cruiserweight title tournament. He calls out everyone “under 205 on (the NXT) roster”, and declares his title to be the real one, challenging someone to come over to the UK to take it from him.
Earlier today, Oliver Carter’s getting interviewed when Ashton Smith rocks up. Carter’s got a match with Eddie Dennis next week…
Isla Dawn vs. Piper Niven
Yup. They’re basing this on a disagreement during last week’s main event brawl where the two got shoved into each other…
They lock-up to start, with Niven working an armbar early on before she moved into a wristlock. Dawn swivels free to counter with one of her own, but Niven goes back to the arm as a Test of Strength gets reversed, with Dawn rolling back to stomp on Piper’s hands. Isla tries for a top wristlock, but Niven breaks it by throwing her towards the corner, only for Dawn to come in with a side headlock. Some forearms from Isla keep Niven at bay, but Piper switches out with an overhead wristlock of her own to take Dawn down. A grounded Million Dollar Dream is fought out of by Dawn, who stands up and eventually breaks out of the hold to hit a ripcord roll-up… before Niven just bulled her away with a shoulder tackle.
Dawn gets rolled to the mat, then gets charged down with more shoulder tackles before Niven telegraphed a back body drop that allowed Dawn to leapfrog over her and club her down. Niven shrugs off a dropkick and comes back with a crossbody, before Niven looked for a Piper Driver, but Isla slips free. More kicks from Dawn get caught, but she’s able to knock Niven down for a two-count. A Meteora off the top from Dawn knocks Niven down, eventually getting a two-count from a lateral press, before a Dragon sleeper from Dawn (a la ZSJ with the hands behind the back) forced Niven to elbow free.
Niven pulls back in with a Saito suplex, taking Dawn into the corner for a cannonball before a Piper Driver gets the win. The first half of this was all wristlocks and shoulder tackles, picking up by the end… but this just seems to be Piper treading water as she’s out of the title picture. **
They’re definitely piping in more sporadic crowd noise this week.
Jim Smallman bugs Kenny Williams at the Performance Centre about his match with Trent Seven next week. He’s pushing weights and training hard.
They replay last week where Mark Andrews was called to the scene of Flash Morgan Webster having been laid out. We’re told Flash is not cleared to compete, and continue to not hit us over the head with Eddie Dennis also being in that shot.
A video package shows Trent Seven preparing for his Heritage Cup match. He acknowledges age isn’t on his side, and says that he needs this. The winner of Trent vs. Kenny faces Dave Mastiff in the semis.
Imperium (WALTER & Alexander Wolfe) vs. Ilja Dragunov & Pete Dunne
Wolfe and Dunne start us off, with Wolfe floating down Dunne in a Fireman’s carry… but Dunne gets free and tweaks the arm and hammerlocks the German before some finger tweaking. A clothesline off the ropes knocks Wolfe down, as WALTER tags in, taking Dunne into the corner before WALTER took him down for an armbar.
Dunne gets free and lands some headscissors, before some short arm scissors had WALTER in bother. A roll-up from Dunne gets a two-count, before a missed step-up enziguiri led to him tagging in Dragunov, who’s instantly taken down in a side headlock. Dragunov gets free, but another headlock takedown has him on the mat… which he powers out of an into the corner. WALTER switches Ilja into the corner and slaps him… and of course Ilja fights back as the pair trade palm strikes. Another headlock takedown neutralises Ilja, before WALTER launched out, knocking Dunne off the apron before a bit sit-down splash squashes Ilja for a two-count.
Wolfe’s back in with uppercuts before a cobra clutch backbreaker ragdolled Ilja to the mat for a two-count. A chinbar follows, as did an Irish whip that saw Ilja get yanked to the mat by the arm. Repeatedly. Ow. Frequent tags ensure that Imperium continue to wear down Ilja, but he eventually comes back with a spinning back fist before he back senton’d onto Wolfe’s knees… then ate a twisting suplex for a near-fall. A deadlift German suplex is next, but Dragunov gets free to chop Wolfe as the pair trade lariats ahead of an enziguiri by Ilja. Pete Dunne tags back in, as does WALTER, with those two laying into each other… a corner enziguiri and a missile dropkick to the knee from Dunne has WALTER staggered ahead of a rebound German suplex. Another head kick from Dunne has WALTER down for a near-fall, with a triangle armbar following as Dunne pushed on. Overhand chops take WALTER into the corner before Dunne’s backflip led to him taking a massive shotgun dropkick across the ring.
Dragunov and Wolfe tag back in, with Ilja knocking Wolfe down for a knee drop off the middle rope… but an uppercut delays things as Ilja Matrix’s away from a clothesline. A teardrop suplex hauls Wolfe down for a two-count, but Wolfe’s back with a dropkick and another uppercut… sending Ilja into the ropes for the Konstantin-Spezial for a near-fall. Dunne tags back in to hit dualling enziguiri to Wolfe in the corner, before an X-Plex from Dunne and a back senton off the top almost got the win. More stomps to the hands from Dunne annoy Wolfe, who’s back with a pump kick before WALTER tagged in and chopped Dunne into a German suplex.
WALTER heads up top for a big splash – because callback – but he leaps into an arm triangle from Dunne. Dragunov goes in to restrain Wolfe, but WALTER just powerbombs Dunne onto that pile. A step-up enziguiri from Dunne led to him diving onto Wolfe outside as Dragunov tagged in to go for a Coast to Coast… but WALTER chops him out of the air and folds him with a powerbomb for a near-fall, with Dunne breaking up the pin in time. Dunne and Wolfe spill back outside again, as WALTER kept pushing on for the win. A seemingly-nonchalant kick blasts through Ilja, as does a slap and some blistering chops, but that just woke up the Russian as Ilja chopped back… then rebounded off the ropes with a lariat that almost won the match.
Dunne takes care of Wolfe with a Bitter End, but a big boot from WALTER sends him outside as Ilja tries for a teardrop suplex on WALTER… it’s blocked as more chops mark up Dragunov’s ever-reddening chest, but Ilja chops his way free with blows to the shoulder and a double sledge. The teardrop suplex follows, but Ilja can’t bridge it… and so as the crowd noise pipes up, he tees up for a Torpedo Moscau… but Wolfe grabs the ankle to stop him. That gives time for Dunne to snap Wolfe’s fingers before WALTER countered the Torpedo Moscau into a rear naked choke… following up with a chop to the back and a goddamn sleeper suplex. Somehow Ilja’s right back up to land a Torpedo Moscau, and that’s the win! This one started a little slow, but it hit its stride beautifully as WALTER and Dragunov played some of their greatest hits – although Ilja pinning WALTER may raise some eyebrows. I mean, Wolfe was right there! ***¾
Commentary makes a big deal of Ilja being the first man to pin WALTER in NXT UK as we fade to black…
Another week, and another show from NXT UK that ticks boxes but mostly doesn’t deliver much in the way of excitement. I dig how the Heritage Cup match this week ended via a knock-out from the man most likely to deliver that. The main event was an enjoyable change of pace as the show builds up it’s only other remaining long-term storyline. Although that choice of finish might sour some folks knowing how WWE tends to book title feuds…