It’s a match-heavy week on NXT UK, as we’ve five matches – including an apparent Open Challenge for the Cruiserweight Championship.

Quick Results
Nina Samuels pinned Xia Brookside in 4:53 (*¾)
Joseph Conners pinned Josh Morrell in 5:39 (**)
Ilja Dragunov defeated Tyson T-Bone via referee stoppage in 6:46 (**½)
Joe Coffey pinned Danny Jones in 2:50 (**)
Jordan Devlin pinned Dave Mastiff in 12:05 (***)

We’re back at the BT Sport Studios in London, with Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness on the call… they talk about the changes we’ve all had in the last year, which feels out of place given WWE’s usual handling.

Xia Brookside vs. Nina Samuels
These two have met four times previously on NXT UK, with Xia winning all four of them. This match? It was built up by Nina having a stagehand leave some luggage in the aisle a few weeks ago… and Nina has a stagehand do the same today. Must be looking for a quick getaway.

Brookside throws down Samuels at the bell for some ground and pound, but Nina gets free… and gets tripped as she tried to kick Brooksikde in the corner. Xia’s waistlock leads nowhere, so she trips Samuels and wanders in for a sunset flip that gets a two-count. Some headscissors from Brookside are countered as Nina brutally reverses it into an inverted suplex out of nowhere. Brookside’s thrown into the corners and kicked… but Xia kicks back, then rolled up Nina for a two-count. Nina kicks out and drops a leg on Xia’s knee for a two-count, before opting for a chinlock to try and control the pace. That turns into an armbar, just so Nina could berate Xia as “only good for carrying my bags”. Of course Xia responds, but she’s charged into the corner before she unloaded with some right hands.

Brookside lands those tiltawhirl headscissors at the second try, before landing double knees into the corner, with a flying facebuster following. Samuels responds by tripping Brookside into the ropes, then cartwheeling her way into a dropkick, taking her outside by her bags… Samuels avoids a baseball slide as Brookside came back with a ‘rana on the floor, before Nina kicked back and threw her back inside. Frustrated, Nina grabs her luggage and throws it inside, looking to chuck it off of Brookside’s head, before walloping her in the head with a purse, leading to the roll-up win. Death by purse gets the win, Nina’s first over Brookside on this show. *¾

Backstage, the assistant to the regional manager is asked about the tag title match that’s surely upcoming. In walks another loved figure, who wants to know who he’s got for his open challenge. They don’t know, as they presumably go off to chat about how Tweets on the NXT UK account about them have fared…

Back from break, Jack Starz is asked something… but he’s pulled away by the Assistant to the Regional Manager.

Josh Morrell vs. Joseph Conners
This was Conners’ first match since he was KO’d in the first round of the Heritage Cup tournament back in October… he’s got Jinny with him here, as they reverse roles. There’s something about straightened-hair Conners that reminds me of James Drake. The Grizzled Young Veteran, not the guy who should be signed somewhere by now.

The opening lock-up goes nowhere as Connors then grabbed a cravat. Morrell throws him aside, but gets rolled up for a two-count before Conners grabbed a front facelock. Again, Morrell escapes, then took Conners outside with a dropkick… Jinny gives Conners a pep talk, telling Conners he’s “worthy” and better than “that little boy”. Yep. Back inside, Conners takes down Morrell with a wristlock, then kept him down with a hair pull before throwing Morrell into the bottom buckle. Right hands and body blows keep Morrell in the corner ahead of a clothesline for a two-count, with a crucifix then getting a similar result as Conners was spamming those covers.

Morrell tries to fight back, but gets caught with a back elbow and a backbreaker in one before a chinbar keeps Morrell down. A sunset flip from Morrell led to him firing back with a leg lariat and a flip senton, before a hiptoss out of the corner led to a near-fall. Conners dives under a dive from Morrell, but can’t avoid a ‘rana that nearly puts him away. Conners slides under a second hiptoss though, then spikes Morrell with a DDT before a strait-jacket neckbreaker got the win. They’re re-establishing Conners with Jinny, but otherwise it’s business as usual. **

Vignette time now, for Sha Samuels. He blew my speakers out. They show weird colourised footage of him as a butcher back in the day, with plenty of meat slapping, and other types of meat slapping with old PROGRESS and wXw and not-so-old ICW footage. He talks about going to the limit with Joe Coffey, but make no mention of Ed Harvey. Wise. A great way to introduce a guy to a new audience.

During the break, Xia Brookside’s looking for the Assistant to the Regional Manager. She wants a rematch… they’re destined to do this forever.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Tyson T-Bone
After having a moment against Jack Starz a few weeks ago, Ilja’s continuing his crawl back up the ladder as NXT UK emphasise the pecking order. T-Bone gets an inset promo to keep up the whole 90s WWF Superstars vibe, as he says he’s not scared of Dragunov.

T-Bone takes down Ilja early, sending him into the ropes for a punch to the gut, before Dragunov caught a kick. T-Bone clubs free and goes for a slam, but Ilja blocks that as he then wound the arm up and caught T-Bone with a backfist chop. A front facelock has T-Bone down as Sam Gradwell wanders out… he’s next. Dragunov goes for a sunset flip, but transitions into a head and arm choke on T-Bone as Gradwell continued to watch. T-Bone powered up, slammed his way free then dropped a knee on Dragunov, before he blocked a hiptoss. T-Bone keeps going though, pushing down Dragunov before throwing him into the ropes… Ilja clings on and rebounds with a waistlock, looking for a German suplex.

T-Bone blocks in the ropes, then comes back with a shoulder tackle as a leaping forearm from Dragunov dropped him to a knee. Dragunov tries to follow back with a teardrop German suplex as Gradwell mouths off… just in time for Ilja to get flung. Gradwell brings up Dragunov’s son a few times as T-Bone threw headbutts, then went for a full nelson. A forearm to the lower back just annoys Ilja as he hit a Judo throw to get free as Gradwell raised a smile. Dragunov seemed to go for a Torpedo Moscau, but T-Bone countered with a back suplex, before Dragunov Matrix’s away from a clothesline and hit an enziguiri. Gradwell urges calm, as Dragunov tries for the teardrop German again… only to get flung outside with a half-and-half suplex.

Gradwell mouths off and distracts Ilja… giving T-Bone time to attack, but Dragunov snaps and fights back with lariats on the floor, rolling T-Bone back inside for some short-range stomps before a Torpedo Moscau caught T-Bone. Crucifix elbows follow, and that’s the referee stoppage – and the afters. **½

After the match, Gradwell asked Ilja if he “needed a cuddle”… and Ilja kicks him to the outside. Gradwell’s broken me. Easily the star of these shows, and they’ve made me interested in seeing Ilja killing him in a few weeks’ time.

Vignette time for Meiko Satomura. She’s here in NXT UK, and we get the talking heads again looking forward to seeing her in the ring. Meiko debuts next week. I pity the poor sod opposite her…

Backstage, the Assistant to the Regional Manager is trying to convince Amir Jordan into something. Presumably that open challenge.

Danny Jones vs. Joe Coffey
This wasn’t Danny’s first go around in NXT UK – you may remember him from being squashed by Marcel Barthel and Fabian Aichner nearly 18 months ago after the Cardiff Takeover…

Coffey takes Jones into the ropes from a tie-up, then got slapped on the break. Coffey returns the favour as he clobbered the Welshman away, before a misdirection shoulder tackle knocked Jones down. A rebound takes Jones into a backbreaker as Coffey wasn’t getting paid by the hour, following up with body blows as the ringside mics got turned up for Coffey’s banter. Another slap enrages Jones, who hits back with rights and uppercuts, before a bicycle knee rocked the Scotsman… who responds with an overhead belly-to-belly. Jones responds with a sleeperhold and an enziguiri, then reapplied the sleeper… only for Coffey to back into the corner. Jones eventually gets thrown off, then charged into the corner before Awra Best for the Bells completed the squash. **

Coffey gets a promo afterwards, addressing Rampage Brown and their brief chat backstage last week. He tells Rampage that to make a name for yourself, you’ve got to hit someone hard… and that leads to Rampage coming out, and yeah, they’re facing off next week presumably.

We get a video package to recap last week’s tag team main event. Something’s changed on this show as they’re actually connecting weeks together, rather than everything being vaguely isolated – like that person you know who is bending lockdown rules. It morphs into a vignette promo for Pretty Deadly, teasing the eventual tag title match.

Another vignette – this time for the Hunt. They’re recapping the Hunt vs. Andrews/Webster feud once again… and we learn that next week they meet in a street fight… along with a Supernova Sessions with Sha Samuels for those of you who love 90s British chat shows.

Devlin’s out for his open challenge, but apparently there’s no opponent. So he reissues it himself, calling out “anyone under 205,” and it’s answered by Dave Mastiff. Devlin claims it’s a Cruiserweight challenge open, but Mastiff jokes that Devlin’s keeping the belt warm for Trent Seven.

Jordan Devlin vs. Dave Mastiff
Of course, this is non-title.

Devlin tries to restrain Mastiff with a side headlock early, but shoves off Mastiff and gets taken down with a shoulder tackle. Mastiff cartwheels away from a drop down, then back sentons Devlin for a near-fall, before he locked in a chinlock. A chinbreaker from Devlin gets him free, but Mastiff strikes back and hurls Devlin into the corner. Mastiff follows with a German suplex for some two-counts, before a forearm to the lower back led to Devlin flipping out of another German suplex.

Mastiff blocks a uranage attempt, but Devlin slips out of a suplex and came back with a chop block to the knee. Mastiff fell on top of Devlin after that, but Devlin keeps going with a Dragon screw on the mat, then another chop block before he continued to stomp away on the big lad. The pair trade right hands as Mastiff got back to his feet, but Devlin’s able to hoist Mastiff up top as he tries to pull him off into a Devlinside. Instead, Mastiff leaps off the top with a shoulder tackle to send the Irishman rolling. More elbows lead to Devlin getting taken into the ropes for a back body drop, before he begged off.

Mastiff pulls him up for a Beele throw, then a splash into the corner before he hurled Devlin to the outside. Rather than take the count-out, Mastiff jogs outside after Devlin, and the Belly Hill-ish chase ends with Devlin trying to catch out Mastiff. It led to nought though, as Mastiff slaps Devlin again, before a floatover from Devlin led to him using a Victory roll headscissors to take Mastiff outside. Devlin tries to follow up, but his plancha is caught and turned into a Finlay roll on the floor. Mastiff looked to land badly on that, but he beats the count… and breaks it at the count of 9. So he can go after Devlin, but a cannonball misses as Mastif breaks through the no-crowd barrier. I HATE that kind of spot… except Mastiff gets back his feet and beats the count again, this time opting to go up top for a swandive headbutt… which lands!

Mastiff rolls onto Devlin for a near-fall for that, before a second Finlay roll was blocked as Devlin held to the ropes. A low dropkick takes out Mastiff, before a slingshot cutter from the apron in left the big man down, as a 450 splash from Devlin finished off the match. A solid TV main event, but a lot of this was Mastiff dominating Devlin before that leg work (and Mastiff wanting to win “properly”) being his undoing. ***

Not the blow-away show we’ve had in recent weeks, as this felt more like a 90s episode of Superstars, packing in a LOT – varying between squash matches, vignettes and promos. It was almost starting to feel like that show a few weeks back that had way too many segments with little landing (and by my count, it at least matched that, with sixteen segments in an hour), but this didn’t feel like crash TV.