Trent Seven’s made weight, so he gets his shot at the NXT Cruiserweight title this week.
Nathan Frazer pinned Ashton Smith in 7:04 (**¾)
Meiko Satomura pinned Dani Luna in 6:02 (**¼)
Jordan Devlin pinned Trent Seven in 17:35 to retain the NXT Cruiserweight title (**¾)
…but first. Going into this week’s show, all we knew was that WALTER and Ilja Dragunov would be making statements. They announced weigh-ins for the Cruiserweight title match for The Bump yesterday. You know. WWE’s The Bump – that show that most of us have to be reminded exists? So unless you consume EVERYTHING WWE related, you’d likely be tempted to skip this week’s show on the basis of them announcing zero matches for it. Instead, it was the usual Thursday afternoon tweet from referee Chris Sharpe that gave away the line-up, since, you know, advertising stuff on the show is so passe! They open with clips from the weigh-in, with Devlin weighing in at 195lbs and Seven… at 204.25lbs. So on just over 24hrs notice we get the title match. It’s back to the BT Sport studios in London, as Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness are on the call…
Nathan Frazer vs. Ashton Smith
Frazer, the former Ben Carter, was making his debut under the new name, which must be some sort of homage to someone’s Dusty Rhodes impression while saying Viscera’s shoot name.
We start with a lock-up, but Smith rushes in at short notice to charge down Frazer. A side headlock turns into a hammerlock as Smith looked to control proceedings, but Frazer gets free before he turned up the pace. A leg sweep and an elbow drop has Smith in trouble for a two-count before side headlock kept Smith down. Headscissors from Frazer take Smith into the ropes, but a Fireman’s carry takedown turns the tables, before a clothesline out of the corner after Frazer misses a charge in almost ended things. Bodyscissors on the mat give Frazer something else to think about, as he rolled back to try and pin Smith in his own hold.
Twice. In fact. After a kick-out, a low dropkick from Frazer has Smith in the corner, but Smith lifts him onto the apron before a crossbody back in was caught… with Smith rolling through before a suplex dumped Frazer for a two-count. Frazer heads to the apron and almost gets suplexed back in… he slings himself over Smith before a DDT attempt was pushed away. A shotgun dropkick fires Smith into the corner ahead of some boots and a Coast to Coast dropkick for a near-fall, before Smith avoids a back senton and nearly wins with a Blue Thunder Bomb. From there, Smith goes for a reverse DDT, but Frazer counters out and hits a springboard moonsault into an Eye of the Hurricane, before the frog splash gets the win. Decent for a TV match, but the new name hasn’t brought any fresh dominance as Smith took a LOT of that match for his slot in this roster’s singles division. Yes, I did type “Carter” way too many times in that one by mistake. **¾
Ilja Dragunov has a promo backstage. He apologises for his recent behaviour… but gets interrupted by Sam Gradwell, who gloats about the win, and talks himself into a no-DQ match. For once, Sam’s speechless.
Vignette time! Isla Dawn’s still playing with candles and ouija boards…
They announce NXT UK Prelude on April 8 – so not quite a Takeover-special.
We then get Johnny Saint telling us that Noam Dar’s been asking for a title match with A-Kid… but he needs to beat Tyler Bate in a Heritage Cup rules match at Prelude to get the shot.
Promo time for Seven vs. Devlin…
Dani Luna vs. Meiko Satomura
Surprisingly these two have met once before, under the PROGESS banner when Meiko beat Dani in a title defence in October 2019. That’s aeons ago.
Meiko stings Luna with kicks to start with, but one’s caught and pushed away as Dani takes down Satomura in a wristlock. It’s broken as Meiko… fades out and fades in. They put in a fake ad break here? We’re back as Meiko has Luna on the mat, but Dani gets up and takes her to the corner, only to get caught with some knees. A Test of Strength sees Meiko kick Luna ahead of a takedown, with an elbow drop following. Satomura’s side headlock is broken up by Dani, but more kicks just take Luna into the corner ahead of a running forearm. An uppercut drops Luna for a two-count, but a suplex has Luna ahead. Dani hits a fallaway slam, but can’t avoid a spinning heel kick as Satomura drops her.
Luna cuts Satomura in the corner, but back in the ring it’s back to the kicks as Satomura and Luna trade strikes. A clothesline from Dani lands for a near-fall, before Meiko took down Dani with a bicycle kick, following up with the Scorpio Rising kick for the win. This felt a little plodding, despite it being short at six minutes. It’s a shame they don’t do squashes here because a big squash could have worked better. **¼
Jinny has a vignette moaning at how Piper Niven “broke the rules” – so she discounts the loss last week because of Niven hitting a Piper Driver to Conners. THEY. ARE. STILL. DOING. THIS. Except it’s Starz vs. Conners as a singles match.
They show Devlin winning the NXT Cruiserweight title at Worlds Collide in January 2020. And then stuff happened. You got two cancelled folk in one shot.
“During the break,” Dani Luna’s approached. She shrugged off the “inevitable” loss, as Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster brought her her ring jacket and some water.
Promo Time With WALTER
Well, he was on “full fat” NXT last night… what’s he got to say here? He gets golf claps as he runs down the list of names he’s beaten… but he’s here for competition. WALTER asks Johnny Saint to find a new challenger for him, and that’s the cue for Rampage’s music. Rampage comes out for a staredown as he puts himself up as a challenger. I guess that’ll be it for Prelude. Especially since Rampage shoved down WALTER…
“Earlier this week,” Xia Brookside has Nina Samuels help her out in the gym. It continues the dogsbody stuff, which I think has maybe a week left to run? Xia kicks the bucket and makes Nina clean up the chalk she spilled. They’re not playing this up for comedy anymore: Xia’s gone from being portrayed as “funny” in these skits to being a brat. Yer da’ will be ashamed of you…
Kenny Williams is at the UK PC “earlier this week” to explain himself to Amir Jordan after last week. They apparently have a tag title match in two weeks’ time, and Amir tells Kenny to behave himself as they go into the ring to spar.
Next week: Ilja Dragunov vs. Sam Gradwell in a no-DQ match… and they confirm for Prelude in three weeks: WALTER vs. Rampage Brown.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship: Trent Seven vs. Jordan Devlin (c)
When you all-but-advertise Jordan Devlin defending his version of the title over WrestleMania week… it kinda threatens to give away the result here, but we’ll go with it.
Trent charges at Devlin to start, but ends up having to land a series of chops before he lifted the champion out to the floor. Joining him, there’s more chops before Devlin’s dropped across the barriers. Devlin rolls back inside to beat the count, but he’s dragged outside for more chops, before Devlin made it back inside… he plancha’s back outside and eats a snap Dragon suplex on the floor. Seven picks up Devlin to roll him back inside, but can only get a near-fall from it. Devlin’s sent into the ropes for a hiptoss, then a slam, before a Hogan-ish legdrop gets Trent a two-count. A DDT from Seven’s countered as a uranage and standing moonsault puts Devlin in control, with a backbreaker following as Devlin opted not to go for a cover.
A derisive kick has Seven in pain, with him getting stretched around the ring post for more of the same. More focus on the back sees Trent stretched in a chinlock with a knee jammed in, before a face-washing stomp left Trent down. Eventually Trent fires back with more chops in the corner, but Devlin just grounds Trent with another slam and a snap legdrop for another two-count. Devlin looks for a Four Leaf Clover, but Trent escapes and hits more chops, ducking punches as he then suckers Devlin into a DDT as we get another fake ad break. There’s a Diamond Dust out of the corner, then an Emerald Flowsion as Trent goes all puro tape trader on us. A clothesline takes Devlin outside ahead of a tope, before Trent came back in to to a corkscrew senton off the top.
Trent crashes and burns, and is instantly put in the Cloverleaf by Devlin. He drags himself to the ropes, eventually getting there before a small package and a half crab turns the tables. A rope break saves the match for Devlin, but Seven grabs Devlin’s wrist in search of a Seven Star lariat, only to get cracked with a headbutt. Devlin grabs the wrist for a Devlinside, but Trent grabs the ropes to block it and hits some strikes to try and change the grip. Kawada-ish kicks from Devlin looked to lead to a Devlinside, but Trent slips out and hits the Seven Stars for a near-fall. A Birming-Hammer’s blocked, before Devlin hits an Emerald Flowsion for a near-fall.
Heading up top… Devlin’s caught by Seven, who brought him down with a release Dragon superplex… before a Birming-Hammer plants Devlin, but he’s too close to the ropes as he stuck his foot under the rope to save the pin. Commentary shouts because it’s meant to be important, as Trent goes for another Seven Stars, but the referee breaks it up as Devlin thumbs Trent’s eye, before a Devlinside gets a near-fall. Devlin heads up top again for a 450 splash to Seven’s back, and that’s it. This was… I don’t know. At times it read like the finish of a **** New Japan special, what with the big moves and near-falls, but was executed without much energy. This really would have been boosted with a crowd, but then again, going by how any WWE tweet about Devlin goes, maybe this was the best we’d have gotten in the current situation? **¾
Saying that main event was a bit of a disappointment is putting it lightly. After so many weeks of what threatened to be this show treading water, the announcement of a Prelude special on WrestleMania week finally gives NXT UK some much needed focus. Unfortunately, the left and right hands don’t quite seem to be in sync, as we saw with them building stuff on “regular” NXT just a day earlier that makes you ponder “did they give away plans?” with later announcements.