Tyler Bate finds out his next Heritage Cup challenger on NXT UK tonight, as Wolfgang and Noam Dar face off in the contender’s tournament final.
Jinny pinned Emilia McKenzie in 7:29 (**¾)
Sam Gradwell pinned Mark Andrews in 8:46 (***¼)
Heritage Cup Contender’s Tournament – Final: Noam Dar beat Wolfgang by 2 falls to 1 at 2:20 of Round 6 (***)
By jove they’ve done it. NXT UK welcomed back fans last night (and tonight) for a taping – but they’re going to be based out of the BT Sport studios in London for the foreseeable future with clap crowds. Oh boy. For now though, we’re still drawing out the final matches from the year-plus empty arena era of the show.
Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness are on the call, as ever, but first, we’ve a brief video to hype up the Heritage Cup main event.
Jinny vs. Emilia McKenzie
Jinny’s got her eyes on Meiko Satomura’s title… as usual.
Jinny and McKenzie trade wristlocks to start, but it’s McKenzie who’s ahead early on before an arm whip from Jinny took her down. More wrist work takes us back to square one, with Jinny rolling and tripping McKenzie down, before some hair pulling took Jinny back in for a side headlock. Eventually McKenzie’s back with an armdrag and a dropkick, before a spinning neckbreaker led to a one-count. A deadlift German suplex from McKenzie ends with Jinny charging her throat-first into the ropes, before another arm whip resumed the focus onto McKenzie’s left arm.
An Octopus stretch wears out McKenzie, while a kneeling half crab ended in the ropes. Out of nowhere, McKenzie leaps in with a cutter, then a German suplex, but Jinny’s up at two before Joseph Conners distracted McKenzie. That’s the prompt for Meiko Satomura to jog out with her belt for the save (I guess there’s too many untrustworthy folk in the back to leave it there!) McKenzie’s able to take advantage, but she misses a shoulder charge into the corner… of course, Jinny capitalises with a ripcord Koppo kick, and just like that, the match is over. Satomura almost looked disappointed in the result, which didn’t do McKenzie much favours, but her time will come. **¾
Post-match, Jinny took the mic and mocked… before calling Meiko out for a title shot. They face off, and that match took place on the tapings today…
Backstage, Sha Samuels is geeing up Noam Dar…
After adverts, Blair Davenport’s meeting the assistant to the regional manager, and his framed photo of Johnny Saint. She’s being reinstated, and has a match with Stevie Turner next week, while being given a warning about future behaviour. What, she’ll be suspended again and brought back when someone asks nicely?
A-Kid’s got a vignette ahead of his match with Ilja Dragunov next week… he needs the NXT UK title to start his legacy…
Mark Andrews vs. Sam Gradwell
A feud that started over graffiti and broken skateboards…
Gradwell starts early with wristlocks, but Andrews gets free and grabbed an armbar. They head into the ropes, where Andrews scored with a right hand, before he baited Gradwell into a 619 and some headscissors, leading up to a leaping enziguiri that took Gradwell outside. Andrews leaps outside, aborting a dive as he stayed on top of Gradwell, only for a running crossbody to get turned into a slam. Back inside, Gradwell clubs down Andrews for a two-count, but mouthing off gives Andrews an opening… even if his floatover was caught in the corner.
Andrews ends up getting dumped onto the apron, before he slapped free as Gradwell’d gone to the ear. A flying DDT out of the corner drops Gradwell, as did clotheslines, before a push-down stomp to the bent-over Gradwell nearly won it. Gradwell’s forearm turned it back around for a near-fall. My feed drops badly here, but recovers with Gradwell rolling to the outside after a Stundog Millionaire, Andrews following with a moonsault to the outside too…
…but Gradwell grabs the ear again from the apron, before picking up Andrews’ springboard and turning it into a Samoan Driver for the win. I was absolutely stunned that Gradwell won this, in a good way, too. An enjoyable TV match as Gradwell picked up what should be counted as a high-profile win. ***¼
Mark Andrews is left shocked in the ring afterwards… while backstage, Flash Morgan Webster slaps Sha Samuels. It apparently triggered a burst of canned laughter, as this is how Flash gets matches these days. Samuels looks like he’s a changed man since he was last in the ring…
Wolfgang is sparring, and you know what that means.
Next week: Ilja Dragunov vs. A-Kid for the NXT UK title. They’ve not said anything about fans being there for it, which is curious. We then get an Ilja Dragunov vignette,
Heritage Cup Contender’s Tournament Final: Noam Dar vs. Wolfgang
My God, the name of this tournament’s a bloody mouthful isn’t it?
Round 1: Sha’s coaching Dar from ringside, and my word you can hear him. Wolfgang locks up, but Dar melts into the ropes, before he grabbed hold of a front headlock… only for Wolfgang to break it by lifting Dar and depositing him on the top rope. Dar tried to work Wolfgang’s left arm, yanking it over his shoulder, before the bell sounded as Wolfgang was mid-powerbomb on Dar.
Round 2: Wolfgang comes out of the blocks, but he telegraphs a back body drop as Dar dropkicked him in the head. Recovering, Wolfgang boxes Dar into the corner, then hit a diving crossbody ahead of a double sledge off the top… which drew in Mark Coffey and Sha Samuels to argue. Except Jordan Devlin attacks Joe Coffey from behind, because that’s what this match needed… a distraction as Dar rolls up Wolfgang at 1:26 of the round to win the first fall.
Round 3: A spear from Wolfgang ties it up in five seconds. OF COURSE THIS ENDS TWO ONE.
Round 4: Dar’s on the back foot as Wolfgang took control with uppercuts… my feed drops, and recovers with Dar hitting a low dropkick that nearly snuck out a win. Wolfgang’s caught on the top rope as Dar kicks him to the floor, but rather than take the countout, Dar goes after Wolfgang, eventually kicking the ring post in error while Wolfgang’s errant spear hit the guard rails as the round ends.
Round 5: Wolfgang can’t get going, as he’s met with a running kick in the corner from Dar. Smelling blood, a diving elbow drew a two-count, before a leaping elbow into the corner was countered into a backbreaker by Wolfgang. Dar kicks the knees of Wolfgang before he went back to the arm, which was just a fake out as Dar rolled into Wolfgang with the Champagne Super Knee Bar as commentary got extra shouty, but Wolfgang punches his way free, only to get elbowed as Dar ends up getting speared as he was saved by the bell.
Round 6: Dar homes in on Wolfgang with kicks, but Wolfgang just walks through them before flinging Dar with a T-bone suplex. Everyone is shouting, as Dar kicked Wolfgang’s leg out of his leg, then hit a flying stomp to the knee… only to run into a clothesline. Even Andy Shepherd’s tired of the shouting as he told Nigel to shut up, right as Dar went for a roll-up, before a head kick drew just a one-count. More shouting. The Nova Roller drops Wolfgang, but Dar hits a second one to make sure of the win.
Take out the Devlin/Coffey stuff and this was fine for the rule set. Dar nearly losing at the end of the fifth round was a good usage of the rounds structure, but my God, this commentary really takes you out of it. Hopefully they at least stop shouting at you when they get the (clap) crowds in. ***
Tyler Bate comes out with his trophy as Dar was celebrating… and we’ve an obligatory staredown to end the show. If this is the end of the empty arena era, they at least went out on a relatively good show. They only showed “important” stuff and didn’t ram a billion segments down your throat – which usually make for the more coherent episodes of this show.