Ilja Dragunov defends his NXT UK title on the first show back with fans, as A-Kid becomes his first challenger.
Blair Davenport pinned Stevie Turner in 4:42 (**¾)
Sha Samuels pinned Flash Morgan Webster in 8:18 (***¼)
Ilja Dragunov pinned A-Kid in 19:21 to retain the NXT UK Championship (****½)
We’re back at the BT Sport studios in London… and what’s this? A new theme song? Oh, and there’s humans in the crowd? Socially distanced, and wearing masks, but that’s a crowd to me. Glory be!
Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness are on the call… and we’ve a new ring announcer in the form of Kirsty Bosley.
Blair Davenport vs. Stevie Turner
Blair’s suspension in NXT UK ended after Turner campaigned for this match…
Davenport stomps away on Turner as she hit the ring, but a Thesz Press turns it around, as did a front kick from Turner. A running knee lift drops Blair for a two-count, but Stevie took too long going for mounted punches in the corner and gets taken down with a shotgun dropkick. Turner’s cracked into with a low dropkick, but finds a way back with clotheslines and a clothesline… holding on as she rolled Davenport up for some more, before Blair tried to get back in. A Side Effect from Turner lands for a near-fall, but Davenport’s back with a Kamigoye and a Falcon arrow, doing the deal for the win. A decent TV match, with Turner getting in plenty of offence, but Blair – even after a few weeks off – still has that rocket pack on her back. **¾
Post-match, Davenport threatens the locker room again.
Backstage, Ilja Dragunov is warming up… and then it’s off to the UK PC “earlier this week” as Sha Samuels has arranged a celebration for Noam Dar. Al the PROGRESS cameraman was one of two there, but they’re chased away as Noam fires a party cannon and some silly string…
Vignette time. Teoman’s at the table having wine poured as Rohan Raja’s commiserating him on not winning the Heritage Cup contender’s tournament. Raja complained that the family was outnumbered, but Teoman promises that the family “will grow soon.” Strength in numbers, and all that.
“Earlier this week,” the assistant to the regional manager’s on the phone. He tries to announce something for three weeks’ time, but Jinny interrupts… and gets told she’ll get her NXT UK Women’s title match with Meiko Satomura in three weeks.
Flash Morgan Webster vs. Sha Samuels
This one was set up when Webster slapped Sha (to the chorus of a laugh track) last week…
Webster baits Sha into the corner, and sidesteps him, before attempts to swarm Sha ended with him getting pushed off. A gamengiri from the apron knocks Samuels down as Webster played stick and run, only to get knocked down with a right hand from the former butcher. Elbow drops from Sha wear down Webster, who then took an uppercut to the back of the knee as Samuels continued to dominate. A clothesline sends Webster outside, but Sha followed to drop Webster onto the apron, then into the guard rails, before the one-sided beating continued in the ring… until a clothesline from Webster sparked the comeback.
Sha eats some dropkicks, then a Rude Boy moonsault press out of the corner, before he low bridged Sha onto the apron. A springboard dropkick a la Jericho takes Sha to the floor for a tope, before a crossbody off the top back inside was rolled through as Sha nearly stole one. Webster’s sick kick resets things, sending Sha outside as a Shadows over Malice senton awaited him on the floor. Webster rolls Samuels back inside, but can only get a two-count, before a Tiger Driver was back body dropped away. A wheelbarrow roll-up nearly gets the win, as did a headbutt, before Sha countered a springboard into a neat spinebuster… and that’s the win! Sha dominated for large portions, and while Webster fought back in well, it’s yet another loss for SubCulture. ***¼
A-Kid is walking with headphones… as he’s preparing for his title shot next.
Except first, we’ve a Nina Samuels skit… she’s at the Performance Centre, harassing Xia Brookside. Remember their long feud? Nina clearly hasn’t learned from cleaning toilets as she aggravated Xia, then set up a match between Brookside and Aleah James for the future.
They replay the happenings from two weeks ago with Symbiosis, Dave Mastiff & Jack Starz… and we’re told that next week, those two pairs will meet.
Backstage, Gallus interrupt the assistant to the regional manager and Jordan Devlin. That’s quite a gathering. They bicker, and set up another match between them in the not-too-distant future.
NXT UK Championship: A-Kid vs. Ilja Dragunov (c)
These two had a cracker of a match at the last tapings before the pandemic, and I’ve every faith they’ll reignite that. This was Ilja’s first appearance in the BT Sport studio since winning the NXT UK title back at TakeOver 36 in August, and a LOT has changed to NXT since then…
The early going has A-Kid tripping up Dragunov, but the champion locks in some headscissors that are spun out of before we reached a stand-off. Ilja slams his way out of a front facelock, but the Spaniard goes back to the hold, only for Dragunov to get free and hit a chop. A-Kid pops up and throws some kicks, only for Ilja to chop back. More kicks are eventually cut off as Dragunov checks one, before the pair traded waistlock takedowns. A Dragon screw focuses on that checked leg, but A-Kid tries to surprise Dragunov with an omoplata, only for Ilja to get free and swivel in the ropes for the Konstantin-Spezial. Ilja stays on A-Kid, kneedropping the Spaniard’s shin and ankle, before an attempted leg lock was fought out of.
Dragunov Matrix’s out of an enziguiri as he stayed on top, before he went back to the spinning toe holds on A-Kid, ending each one with knee drops. Wrenching back on A-Kid’s leg gets a near-fall, as did Dragunov pulling A-Kid leg-first off the top rope, leading to a teardrop suplex for another two-count. Despite the bum leg, A-Kid tries for the omoplata on Ilja’s bad right arm, but it’s blocked… as Dragunov hits the ropes to swing a clothesline with his good left arm. Ilja tries another Konstantin-Spezial, but he can’t hold onto the ropes, crashing and burning in the process before he skid into a knee strike from the challenger.
A German suplex throws Dragunov across the ring, but A-Kid can’t follow-up immediately, and when he did, he’s slapped back down. Dragunov tries to Matrix out of another roundhouse, but he can’t bridge, and that’s got A-Kid back in it again… until Dragunov went back to the leg. Both of those body parts are problematic, but A-Kid’s able to land a Fisherman’s suplex – with one leg in the air – for a two-count as the challenger threatened. Dragunov instinctively throws clotheslines with the bad arm, weakening himself more… but an armdrag yanks the Spaniard down for a knucklelock, trapping A-Kid for some chops to the neck… but with the bad arm. A-Kid tries to kick free, but it’s his bad leg that’s being used, as Dragunov’s able to pull him forwards into a knee strike.
Commentary’s starting to shout – but the crowd’s watching quietly – as Dragunov tries to roll German suplexes together… only for A-Kid to grab the arm again. Ilja tries another German suplex, but A-Kid clings to the bad arm of the champion, before Ilja used his good arm to throw some Danielson elbows ahead of a suplex for a near-fall. Heading up top, Ilja has trouble climbing with his arm, eventually whiffing on a back senton as A-Kid rolls away, returning with a PK before a cross armbar was blocked. Dragunov tries to dive in with a punch, but he’s met with a sleeperhold before another PK drew a two-count. A-Kid’s back in with a sleeperhold, only for Dragunov to back into the corner… then run into a front kick in the corner. This time, A-Kid goes up top, catching Dragunov with a hanging armbar as the Russian tried to stop him, before another swipe left A-Kid on the ropes.
An avalanche Exploder chucks A-Kid to the mat, then teed up for a Torpedo Moscau… only for A-Kid to catch him in mid-air with a superkick for a near-fall. The pair trade strikes, but A-Kid edges ahead with a roundhouse as he maneuvered into position for a triangle armbar… Dragunov can’t powerbomb free at first, as A-Kid repositioned into an omoplata, only for Dragunov to roll out. Strikes from above have A-Kid covering up, before a Torpedo Moscau to the knees spun A-Kid down. Another one follows, in a more traditional fashion, and that’s enough to secure a hell of a first title defence. Well, that was a fitting main event for the first show back with fans, as the Dragunov era gets underway in style. Who’s next? I guess we’ll see in a while… ****½
I am absolutely not going to miss that crowd track. Especially not on a week where the main event like this would have been harmed by the canned noise. After seeing their friends on the indies wrestle in front of crowds for months, you can tell the NXT UK roster were thrilled to have an audience to bounce off of – however, the product remains the same, and while there’s a novelty bump to having crowds, unless the product itself changes, things’ll likely settle back down soon enough.