On this week’s NXT UK, Ilja Dragunov takes on Noam Dar, as we get to see what good that therapy dog did.

Quick Results
Ilja Dragunov pinned Noam Dar in 13:37 (***)
Sam Stoker & Lewis Howley pinned Jack Starz & Nathan Frazer in 7:17 to retain the NXT UK Tag Team Championship (**½)
Joseph Conners pinned Flash Morgan Webster in 5:04 (**)
Joe Coffey pinned Rampage Brown in 11:37 (***)

Once again we’re back at the BT Sport studios in London, with Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness on the call.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Noam Dar
You can thank Dar’s chat show segment for this one…

We start with both men looking for takedowns, before an early toe hold from Dar was pushed away. The mind games from Dar quickly explode as Dragunov goes for a takedown, but Dar grabs the wrist… only to get thrown down again. Some kicks from Dar are blocked as Dragunov takes him down again, then again… before Dar took Dragunov to the ropes for some slaps. Ilja escapes and lands a spinning backhanded chop, then a leaping kick to take Dar back into the ropes, before some crucifix elbows from Dragunov were stuffed with a roll-up. A 619 in the ropes from Dragunov is stopped as his knee buckled amid a Konstantin-Spezial, and that opens the door for Dar to hit back.

On the outside, Dar measures up for kicks, before he threw Dragunov into the ropes as he looked to exacerbate the knee injury. A cravat from Dar’s fought out of as Ilja goes back to the wrist, then clobbered Dar in the ropes with a clothesline… only for Dar to kick out the knee again as he went back to the Garvin stomps. Dragunov cuts him off and went back to the wrist, grabbing Dar by the hand for some more chops to the neck. A knee lift’s next, before Dragunov rolled out of an omoplata attempt, only to get kicked in the head by Dar. Noam plays that card too much and gets caught with a punch from above as Dragunov began to build anew with German suplexes, before he rolled Dar back to the mat for some elbow strikes.

A teardrop suplex followed, with Dar being thrown aside, but Ilja’s knee meant he couldn’t capitalise as the pair fought back to their feet and traded right hands. Strikes continue until Dragunov Matrix’s past Dar and lands an enziguiri, before he finally nailed the Konstantin-Spezial for a delayed two-count. Dar runs into a boot in the corner as Dragunov climbed the ropes… but he misses a flying knee and gets caught with a Champagne Super Knee Bar from Dar. Dragunov fights free to break the hold though, only for Dar to kick away the knee again. More kicks wear down Dragunov, leaving him in a crumpled heap on the mat… but Dragunov zombies back up as another strike exchange led to duelling palm strikes.

From there, Dragunov hauls up Dar, but drops him down before a gutwrench suplex drew a near-fall. A back elbow drops Dragunov next, but Ilja’s able to counter a Nova Roller into a Torpedo Moscau for the win. I don’t know what it was, but this match just didn’t land with me at all – whether it was taking away Ilja’s explosiveness so early on, or the forced epic feel in the opener… this may be one for me to rewatch with different eyes down the line though. It ticked someone’s boxes, just not mine. ***

Aoife Valkyrie vignette time. She’s looking to find her limits so she can break them – and find that feeling of failure so she can build again.

The assistant to the regional manager is at the PC, beaming about Jordan Devlin’s return. He’s got some demands before he commits to NXT UK – including a private dressing room, a new Mustang and a match with Noam Dar. I mean a spot on the Supernova Sessions. Huh.

NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Pretty Deadly (Sam Stoker & Lewis Howley) (c) vs. Jack Starz & Nathan Frazer
This was made a tag title match after Jack Starz found a mate… in Nathan Frazer.

Stoker starts by taking Starz into the corner, before a shoulder tackle bounced down Starz. A dropkick turns things around, as did an armdrag, but Stoker grabs Starz and dragged him to the corner as Howley came in to hit a leapfrog elbow drop. Howley hurls Starz into the corner, but Starz tries his luck with a backslide, getting a two-count before tagging out to Frazer. A pop-up ‘rana takes down Howley, as did an armdrag, before a floatover in the corner gets cut off by a kick to the gut. Stoker’s back in, but he’s met with a back suplex, before Howley low bridged Frazer to the outside as he was preparing to hit the ropes. Howley tagged back in to capitalize on it, but Frazer’s able to recover with an enziguiri, before he got tossed outside again.

Frazer’s sunset flip on Howley is stopped with a tag out to Stoker, but he’s able to get free and tag out to Starz before anything could happen. Starz clears house, landing a back body drop and a hiptoss on the way, before a guillotine from Stoker got countered into a suplex. Frazer returns the favour, low bridging Howley to the outside before a moonsault off the apron almost went awry… In the ring, Starz nearly nicked the win with a suplex, but Stoker’s able to knock Frazer off the apron before a blind tag allowed Howley to kick out Starz’s knee. From there, the dead leg allows Pretty Deadly to hit a Hart Attack neckbreaker, and that’s your win. “Aggressively fine,” but this left me reminiscing over the days when ¾s of this match were red hot… **½

Tyler Bate’s meditating in a garden. Sadly, without his Heritage Cup trophy. Wait, there it is, with some nunchucks. Tyler’s going to destroy the trophy with them. I kid.

Flash Morgan Webster vs. Joseph Conners
Webster gets the nWo-ish Subculture entrance video treatment… and they don’t colourise the lower-third this time. Yes guys!

I’m disappointed that Conners didn’t call Subculture Subhuman, at least not via commentary. We get going with snapmares and escapes, before Webster found a way in with some armdrags. The Special Brew Flip imploding standing senton gets a one-count, before a missed charge in the corner allowed Conners to rough up Webster. A chin bar from Conners keeps Webster down, before his attempted comeback ended as he ran into a backbreaker. Conners’ roll-up neckbreaker gets a two-count, before Webster blocked him in the corner and found a way back in with a chops. Clotheslines keep Conners down, as did a back body drop, then a Quebrada… before a springboard dropkick took Conners to the outside.

The referee decides to block a dive, so Webster just goes over him for a tope con giro, but back inside Conners’ inside cradle nearly nicks the win. Webster’s back with a headbutt, prompting Jinny to snatch Webster’s helmet. No, not that one. Conners gets thrown the motorcycle helmet, but the referee intercepts it… allowing Jinny to push Webster off the top rope before a Hangman’s Neckbreaker gets the win. Just as Mark Andrews and Dani Luna hit the ring a little too late. **

Remember WALTER? He’s got a promo video here, featuring him wrecking fools throughout the years. He’s back next week for the first time in two months.

Promo time as they build up Kay Lee Ray vs. Meiko Satomura 2 for next week.

Rampage Brown vs. Joe Coffey
Hey yeah. Oh no. Rampage already has a win over Coffey, beating him back in February when he was en route to a title match… and with WALTER back next week, I have a feeling this may be a defacto number one contender’s match.

We open with a lock-up that ends in the ropes, but Rampage goes right back to the tie-up before Coffey found a way in with some body blows. A dropkick from Rampage cuts that off as Coffey rolled onto the apron, where he’s joined as the pair trade strikes, before Rampage’s running kick missed, hitting the ring post in the process. On the outside, Coffey charges Rampage into the guard rails, before he hung him up in the ropes as their return to the ring was short-lived. A baseball slide dropkick keeps Rampage outside as Coffey unloaded with kicks to the ribs, before they hit the ring for Coffey to focus on that midsection some more.

A sidewalk slam out of the corner gets barely a two-count, so Coffey grounds Rampage with a reverse bear hug that ended as Rampage backed into the corner. Coffey quickly knocks Rampage back down with a running elbow, then with an overhead belly-to-belly, before a diving elbow and a springboard Vader Bomb off the top rope led to a near-fall. Coffey headbutts the ribs of Brown to keep the direction going, with more body blows taking Rampage to the corner as a superplex attempt was cut off with a headbutt. Rampage flies with a shoulder tackle off the middle rope, before the pair traded strikes again… until Coffey missed the springboard crossbody out of the corner.

Coffey has more luck with a second crossbody that turned into almost a Cactus Clothesline that sent both men to the outside. Despite beating the count, Coffey rolls back outside so the pair can stare each other down at ringside, charging at each other with shoulder tackles before Coffey pounced Rampage into the ring steps. Back inside, Rampage eats a missile dropkick, but blocked a German suplex… only to get headbutted in the back. A splash followed in the corner, then a German suplex out of it, but Rampage kicks out at two, then swatted away Awra Best for the Bells and came back with a faceplant.

Rampage tries to add to that with a Doctor Bomb, but Coffey slips out and hits a pair of Glasgow Send-Offs… then a clothesline to the back of the head. Awra Best for the Bells follows, and that’s the rather one-sided win for Coffey. If this was a defacto number one contender’s match, then I guess that’ll be Coffey’s annual title shot – just a little later in the year, and not in Blackpool, unless they go to a rubber match first? ***

The show ends with a respect handshake between Rampage and Coffey… who tease that rubber match, only for Ilja Dragunov to appear to interrupt as the trio stared each other down. A three-way number one contender’s match may well be on the cards… After last week’s return to form, this week’s show felt decidedly “meh.” Nothing bad, but nothing stand-out as the show treaded water ahead of next week’s big title match. By the way, despite having a deeper women’s roster than SmackDown (at time of writing), that’s now two weeks in a row without a women’s match on “our brand.” Needs improvement.