The NXT UK championship is on the line this week as WALTER defends against current Heritage Cup champion A-Kid.
Joe Coffey pinned “Ed Harvey” (Sha Samuels) in 6:39 (**¾)
Tyler Bate pinned Sam Gradwell in 7:12 (***)
WALTER pinned A-Kid to retain the NXT UK Championship in 13:50 (****)
We’re back at the BT Sport Studios in London, but first a highlight package to tell us how we got from A-Kid winning the Heritage Cup… to challenging WALTER… to tonight. Cue titles, cue Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness… and a debut!
Ed Harvey vs. Joe Coffey
“Ed” (or Sha Samuels – I’ll keep that name for reasons you’ll see) got the “in the ring” treatment… and faces a man he’s never beaten before on his NXT UK debut.
Sha sends Coffey into the ropes for a shoulder tackle as they yell catchphrases at each other. A missed elbow drop gets Coffey back in as he bulls down Sha, before turning a floatover into some headscissors out of the corner, as he then clotheslined Sha to the outside. Samuels is enraged, and grabs the mic to bellow his better known name…
Back inside, Sha hits a spinebuster and a back body drop on Coffey, before an armbar kept the Scotsman down. My feed drops… it’s back with Sha having grounded Coffey with a chinlock as commentary’s taken on his new name. Coffey makes a comeback with a leaping shoulder tackle, then an overhead belly-to-belly off the ropes for a near-fall, before he began to outbox Sha and take him into the corner. A crossbody out of the corner is caught and turned into a slam by Sha for a two-count, as the referee’d donned the black gloves of doom. The Butcher’s Hook followed, but Coffey tries to roll through… Sha holds firm, but second time’s the charm, as Coffey hits the double-jump crossbody at the second try for a near-fall.
Coffey grabs Sha’s suspenders and headbutts his back, then lands a diving headbutt into the corner before Awra Best for the Bells got Coffey the win. Not sure what the deal was with the dropped-like-Seven-in-WCW name for Sha at the start, but this was a decent little TV match to start the show with. **¾
We’re told that Kay Lee Ray vs. Jinny is next week… then The Assistant to the General Manager has news for us… but he’s interrupted by Pretty Deadly, who still want their tag title shot. There’s snivelling, as they announce Pretty Deadly vs. Oliver Carter & Ashton Smith vs. Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews vs. The Hunt in a four-way elimination match to determine the top contenders. In two weeks’ time.
“Earlier this week” Rampage Brown is lifting weights when Dave Mastiff decided to indulge in some friendly competition. Mastiff offers a match, and it’s accepted. Okay!
Tyler Bate vs. Sam Gradwell
We get the golf claps and crowd for Tyler… while Gradwell mocks Tyler as a “plant-based yogurt” in his inset promo.
From the lockup, Gradwell went to work on Bate’s arm and wrist, but Tyler rolls free and reverses the hold. An arm whip takes Gradwell down, before Tyler kicked away a back body drop attempt, then hit a crossbody for a two-count. We’ve another armdrag as Bate grabs an armbar, then again… Gradwell tries to rake Bate’s nose, and eventually frees himself as a slam dropped the former UK champion hard. He followed up with clubbing strikes and stomps as he looked to dominate Bate. A right hand gets a two-count ahead of a nerve hold, following up with an elbow to the lower back as Bate finally fought back with headbutts and uppercuts.
Bate’s swatted down quickly by Gradwell seconds later, but an up-kick from Bate keeps him in it. A sunset flip from Bate’s stopped as Gradwell grabs the ear, but bop and bang gets him free, following up with a kneelift and a diving European uppercut. Gradwell leaps in, but gets caught with an Exploder out of the corner, with a running shooting star press next for a two-count. Bate looks for a Tyler Driver, but he’s back body dropped… Bate lands on his feet, but eats a STO for a near-fall as Gradwell went back in with ground and pound. Bate’s free and hits a Koppo quick, before another Tyler Driver actually lands… and there’s the win for Tyler. Some decent back-and-forth for Gradwell, who’s still looking for that win – but is hanging with some of the bigger names on the roster here. ***
Back at the UK Performance Centre, Oliver Carter and Ashton Smith are chatting. They’re told about that four-way tag thing, as Amir Jordan and Kenny Williams were loitering in the background, seemingly having a disagreement as Carter and Smith ran through their catchphrases.
Ilja Dragunov’s at the PC next, chatting to Jack Starz… Ilja’s still dejected from his loss to WALTER, and wants to start from the top. You know what that means. Backhanded compliments!
Jinny and Kay Lee Ray’s Face-to-Face
With the women’s title match next week, we’ve got the competitors out. Jinny’s out first with Joseph Conners, a pairing I still cannot fathom. At least he’s in a dry suit and not a wet t-shirt this week…
Jinny’s cutting a promo and addresses Joseph’s presence. “With money comes power… comes connections.” That’s all the background we’re getting! She says she’ll win the NXT UK Women’s championship next week, and of course that draws out Kay Lee Ray. It’s another rapid-fire promo segment, much like the one with the Welsh lads a few weeks back as dead air is the enemy… Jinny laughs at the idea that Kay Lee Ray is championship material, which almost turned things violent, before Jinny took the credit for Ray keeping her title a few weeks back. End scene. Vignette time with Eddie Dennis and the Hunt. He’s still besotted with Webster and Andrews, particularly because his lads have to beat them again to get a title shot.
They show a tale of the tape, with WALTER having almost 130lbs advantage in weight over A-Kid, and tag WALTER as having a 650-day reign right now…
NXT UK Championship: A-Kid vs. WALTER (c)
The table’s out at ringside so A-Kid can leave his Heritage Cup trophy there.
A-Kid stumbled early as he tried to kick WALTER, but he’s quickly taken to ground as WALTER tried to defend. A-Kid got free and annoyed WALTER with some overhand chops, before a lock-up led to A-Kid getting taken down in a side headlock. Some headscissors got A-Kid free as we reset, this time with A-Kid stinging WALTER’s leg with kicks. WALTER backs away from more kicks to the thigh, then took down A-Kid in a knuckle lock as he went for some pins. A neck bridge is broken…. then re-established, before A-Kid went back to the kicks, only to get taken into the corner by WALTER, who lifted him to the top turnbuckle. The attempted chop is knocked away as A-Kid went for a hanging armbar on the apron… and then came back in with more kicks as he tried to soften up WALTER for a half crab.
Eventually A-Kid had WALTER rolled over, but he relents so he could boot WALTER some more before a shotgun dropkick from the Spaniard… EARNED HIM A CHOP. Ow. A-Kid gets back up and eats a second chop, flipping in half, before a Boston crab had WALTER firmly on top… as did a STF. Somehow, A-Kid counters the STF with a wristlock, but just got booted back down, as WALTER began to bully the Heritage Cup champion. A snap bodyslam drops A-Kid in the middle of the ring, but A-Kid’s back with more kicks as WALTER didn’t follow up. There’s another boot, which gets the Austrian a two-count, before a chinlock looked to suffocate A-Kid.
A neck crank keeps WALTER ahead, before he picked up A-Kid and took him across the top rope for another chop. Crossface punches follow in the ropes, but A-Kid counters and hits a Dragon screw in the ropes, then a low dropkick, as he focused on that left leg. A springboard missile dropkick sees A-Kid bust out his Robbie Eagles tapes ahead of another armbar, but WALTER gets a foot to the rope before A-Kid could lock anything in. A punt-like kick to the back just annoys WALTER, as does a low gamengiri… so WALTER slaps A-Kid down. He ragdolls A-Kid up, but an armdrag gets the Spaniard free as WALTER’s taken into the corner… and comes back with a murderous shotgun dropkick! A powerbomb’s next, folding A-Kid in half as WALTER raises a leg too to get a near-fall. This is heating up!
Chops keep A-Kid on the deck, as he faked out a striking contest so he could draw WALTER in… he pulls him down into an Omoplata. He has to make do with a triangle armbar, but WALTER rolls the pair to the outside and breaks up the hold by powerbombing A-Kid onto the side of the ring. A-Kid tries to fight back back inside, throwing strikes and a overhead kick, but he’s killed with a lariat as WALTER kept control. A Hidden Blade-like chop and a lariat follows… and that’s the win for WALTER. This was much more competitive than I expected – A-Kid’s not at WALTER’s level on this show yet, but this match elevated him here – and seemingly earned some respect from WALTER. ****
A better than expected episode, with the undercard pulling it’s weight. The “Ed Harvey” stuff with Sha Samuels totally threw me, given it was an unannounced debut, but nothing should surprise me anymore here. That main event absolutely didn’t surprise me, as they lived up to the hype – and with it being relatively short, opens the door for rematches down the line.