Ben Carter makes his NXT UK debut this week, as 2021 starts out with a number one contender’s match with Jinny and Piper Niven looking for a title shot.

Quick Results
Jinny pinned Piper Niven in 6:49 (**)
Dave Mastiff pinned Saxon Huxley in 4:43 (*½)
Jordan Devlin pinned Ben Carter in 12:43 to retain the NXT Cruiserweight Championship (***¼)

After a pair of clip shows rounded off 2020, we’re back in the BT Sport Studios in London for a pretty loaded (on paper) NXT UK. Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness are around for the call…

Jinny vs. Piper Niven
“Starting the year out strong” then, we’ve got this number one contender’s match for Kay Lee Ray’s women’s title.

The pair come out all guns blazing to start as Niven clubbed away on Jinny, who returned fire with elbows and knees. Jinny’s knocked into the corner as Niven stomped away on her, before a missed charge in allowed Jinny to retaliate with some more elbows. A leg sweep and a back senton has Niven back ahead, sending Jinny rolling to the outside for a break, but Niven stayed on her, throwing her into the barriers…

…before she broke the count-out at nine?!

Jinny gets a shot in and rolls back inside, before pulling Piper into the post. Piper’s posted again as Jinny went back inside to try and get the count-out win, but Piper rolls in at nine… and gets leapt on by Jinny with some punches. More elbows deck Piper for a two-count, before an Octopus hold trapped Niven in the middle of the ring. Niven tries to escape, but Jinny just reapplies the hold… forcing Niven to power up as an Air Raid Crash broke the hold. And then, Joseph Conners. Yep, he wandered out and stared from the aisle as the match continued. Niven continues her comeback with clotheslines and a diving splash, taking Jinny outside… she tries for a dive, but Conners pulls Jinny away and takes Niven’s cannonball instead.

Jinny capitalises by charging Niven into the ring apron, then back inside as a crossbody off the top’s caught. Niven staggers back into the ropes, and gets tripped by Conners, with Jinny taking the win with a Victory roll. What. On. Earth. I guess Conners found a way to make himself feel worthy, but it says a lot when a heated top contender’s match plays second fiddle to “Jinny gets a male valet”. **

Backstage, Pretty Deadly take shots at Gallus, calling them scared… then we get an Aoife Valkyrie promo. They’re still heating her up as she’s still chasing perfection.

Vignette time as Tyler Bate in a darkened room talks up A-Kid. Of course, A-Kid beat Bate in a Heritage Cup match a few weeks ago, and Tyler’s taking a “valuable lesson” from that loss. A learning experience, if you will. It’s very spiritual and buzzwordy, as Tyler talks about authenticity and “changing the paradigm” as he’s looking for everything to fall into place… and then we see Sam Gradwell watching the rest of the promo on his phone. He had the same sort of reaction I had.

Supernova Sessions
We’ve got the 90s chat show set back as someone’s big into their Channel 4 Nostalgia. It’s not The Word, it’s Noam Dar.

He’s got some wrestle-utions, which I think was a Mike Quackenbush thing. Dar wants to win all the belts and a bunch of awards. Oh, and a spot in The Marine 475. I don’t doubt they’re that far along. They drop the act as he introduces “Ben Carpenter”, who does the elbow bumps, clearly taking covid seriously. Ben Carter introduces himself as not-a-carpenter… then told us why he joined NXT UK. He’s happy to be here… but not happy to be here, as he’s interrupted by Jordan Devlin’s music. Devlin’s offended that Carter was on the show before him, and brings up how he’s got an open challenge. Wait, we don’t have a main event… and I smell a rat.

Dar wants a shot at the “real” champion, but Carter then calls Devlin the “legitimate” cruiserweight champion… and wants a shot at him. Carter’s surprised he’s getting a match tonight because he was “meant to debut next week,” and I guess we have an impromptu main event. The Assistant to the General Manager wanders in to confirm it, and everyone just stands around to end the segment. Is the Supernova Sessions now code for “we’re gonna rush a match we probably should have advertised”?

Next week: WALTER vs. A-Kid for the title… but first, Kay Lee Ray’s talking backstage about how Jinny’s her next challenger. Ray mocks Jinny’s privileged upbringing, and says how the women’s title “can’t be bought”…

They replay the stuff from three weeks ago when Saxon Huxley lost a handicap match… then attacked his opponents afterwards as Dave Mastiff made the save. This should be easy for Big Dave, if two men can beat Saxon, right?

Dave Mastiff vs. Saxon Huxley
Huxley starts out on the offensive, clubbing away on Mastiff, who replied in kind as the pair traded shots in the opening thirty seconds.

Mastiff takes down Huxley for a back senton that gets a two-count… but Huxley returns fire with a Thesz press and some punches. An elbow drop is next, before Mastiff was cornered for a face-washing boot. Huxley then heads outside for a running boot from the floor, before a clothesline off the top took Huxley back inside for a near-fall. Some crossface punches keep Mastiff down ahead of an armbar, but that’s eventually countered with a back body drop as Mastiff begins to respond with forearms. An overhead suplex dumps Saxon for a two-count, before a clothesline cut off Huxley’s attempted comeback. It takes him into the corner for a cannonball, and that’s your lot. Unremarkable. *½

Vignette time. It’s a highlight reel for WALTER, who reminds us that from day one here, he’s been a top guy. A-Kid’s in too to show us his credentials for his title shot next week, which WALTER seemed to respect. Also next week: Tyler Bate vs. Sam Gradwell. Yep.

NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Ben Carter vs. Jordan Devlin (c)
They’re looking to give this plenty of time, as we get the Big Match Introductions.

We open with a lock-up as Carter’s taken into the ropes by Devlin… and we get a clean break too. Devlin throws down Carter, then took him down in a wristlock, controlling the pace until Carter cartwheeled free. A side headlock’s clung onto as Devlin couldn’t push away the newcomer, before they head to the corner… Carter flips away and took Devlin into the ropes ahead of a leapfrop/dropkick. Devlin’s outside, but slides back in to cut off a dive, hitting an Air Jordan uranage/standing moonsault instead for a two-count. Staying on top of the debutant, Devlin lands a sliding legdrop, then a slam, before some hair-pulling forces the referee to break them up. Carter snuck in a roll-up for a two-count, before a leaping sunset flip got another near-fall… but then Devlin just flapjacks Carter to turn the tide.

Carter fakes out a springboard dropkick, forcing Devlin to miss a dropkick of his own before Carter hit his… but Devlin instantly replies, lifting Carter up top to knock him down to the floor. Devlin follows him outside, throwing Carter into the ring steps before a brainbuster planted the challenger for a two-count, but Devlin starts to get a little mouthy, and that creates an opening for Carter… when the pair collide into each other with dual crossbodies. Carter builds anew, but gets punched out by Devlin… before he suckered the Irishman outside as a backflip off the apron turned into an Eye of the Hurricane on the floor. Devlin’s thrown back inside, with Carter hitting a twisting suplex for a near-fall. Carter heads up top, but misses a Phoenix Splash… with Devlin instantly countering with a Spanish Fly for a near-fall.

A Devlinside looks to follow, but Carter counters with a sunset flip for a near-fall, before he went back out for a springboard… but Devlin caught him and turned it into a Cloverleaf. Carter toughs it out and gets to the rope, but Devlin pulls him away, forcing Carter to redo it as he finally got the break. Kawada-style kicks from Devlin pepper Carter, as a second Devlinside ragdolls the Jersey native… and that’s it. Devlin retains, clean as a whistle, as Carter showed some flashes of what we saw on the indies… hopefully they don’t wait too long to give him that big showcase match. ***¼

Post-match, Devlin challenged “Mister 205” to test himself as they went off the air. I love how non-specific they’re being here in addressing the other Cruiserweight champion…

A somewhat hyped-up show going in, but this was a bit of a letdown. The much-hyped women’s match became a backdrop for something else, and while I’m always happy to see Ben Carter, I’d much rather have him come in and build up a few wins to establish himself rather than them hotshot a title match in this fashion. Next week’s WALTER vs. A-Kid match should be pretty good if they get time – and don’t use it as a backdrop for the next feud…