Nathan Frazer and A-Kid return to Heritage Cup rules on NXT UK this week as they look for a shot as Noam Dar’s trophy.

Quick Results
Charlie Dempsey defeated Joe Coffey via referee stoppage at 12:29 (***½)
Kenny Williams pinned Danny Jones in 3:49 (*¾)
Heritage Cup Rules: A-Kid beat Nathan Frazer by 2 falls to 1 at 2:28 of Round 5 (***½)

Five years ago this week, the WWE did their big announcement for the UK Championship Tournament – the precursor to NXT UK after several ums and ahs, and not at all recorded and conveniently released to go up against another promotion’s TV debut in the same week. Of course, the British scene isn’t what it was, and we’re quite some ways away from an indie promotion getting on TV again… so NXT UK is… NXT UK. If you’ve seen all 169 of the prior shows (and those specials they aired in the early days of covid) you’ll know.

Anyways, Nigel McGuinness and Andy Shepherd are on the call as that crowd really has a hard time clapping along to the NXT UK theme…

Joe Coffey vs. Charlie Dempsey
This is Dempsey’s first outing since he joined Die Familia…

We open with a lock-up as Coffey took Dempsey into the ropes, before Coffey escaped an attempted wristlock. Coffey grabs a wristlock of his own as he muscled Dempsey to the mat, but Dempsey returned with a headlock takedown, which almost segued into that ugly tie-up hold… but Coffey escapes. Dempsey keeps on the side headlock but Coffey pushes free and hits a crossbody in return, before he ran Dempsey into the corners. A sidewalk slam’s next for a two-count, then a Corning hold, which was kept on despite Dempsey’s attempt at a hiptoss. Headscissors worked from Dempsey, but Coffey pulls free and stomped Dempsey amid a deathlock.

Coffey stays ahead with right hands and uppercuts, but Dempsey fight back and pulled Coffey into almost a cannonball in the corner. More uppercuts from Dempsey lead to a gutwrench suplex for a two-count, before Coffey slammed his way out of a wristlock. A hammerlock from Dempsey looks to force a stoppage, but instead he drops Coffey with an uppercut, before the pair struggled over a backslide. Coffey looked to inch ahead, flipping Dempsey out before he had his eyes raked. It led to a leapfrog from Coffey getting caught into a slam as he had vision issues, before Dempsey pushed Coffey’s nose in on itself to further cause issues. A guillotine followed, but Coffey suplexes free, only for Dempsey to wriggle out as the pair ended up clashing heads in the corner.

Getting back to their feet, the pair trade strikes, with body blows from Coffey seeing him pull ahead, while a discus lariat left both he and Dempsey laying. After breaking a hold, Coffey heads up for a springboard crossbody out of the corner – and that’s the cue for Rohan Raja and Teoman to run out and save Dempsey. Cue Mark Coffey and Wolfgang for a mini West Side Story stand-off, but Dempsey ignores the fight as he took Joe into the ring and caught him with a Dragon sleeper for the stoppage win. This was a really good TV match, even with the storyline stuff creeping in. I really like Dempsey on this show as he offers something completely different to the rest of the roster – I just wish he’d had a body of work visible elsewhere because he’s going to take an age to build one up in this company. ***½

We’ve a video package recap of Moustache Mountain winning the NXT UK tag titles from last week, which led to the assistant to the regional manager announcing that in three weeks, Symbiosis will face Ashton Carter and Oliver Carter… Teoman & Rohan Raja vs. Dave Mastiff & Jack Starz the following week… the winners of those two matches face off in a mini-tournament finals to get a title shot.

Jordan Devlin gets a vignette to big himself up for his upcoming match with Ilja Dragunov, and made me wonder who’s angling for aftershave for Christmas with that ad.

Moustache Mountain head to the ring for a promo to celebrate their title win… cue “you deserve it” chants, as Trent tells us how the title win was something “he needed.” They admit they’ve fallen short before, and now the talk goes to “where does Trent go if they lose these?” Tyler’s not said a word, as Trent’s in the “this is my last run” spiel, and then Tyler speaks in Del Boy.

Tyler hypes up how they’ve won the tag titles in NXT proper and NXT UK now, and they’re the only ones who’ve done that. Oh, and Tyler’s the only Grand Slam champion in NXT UK. This is starting to grate on me. Us British don’t celebrate victories well, right? Anyway, it’s onwards and upwards as Trent wishes us a Merry Christmas… which means he’s not whitening his beard more and donning the Santa outfit this year.

Ashton Carter and Oliver Smith are backstage, not making New Year’s Resolutions. You’ve got a few weeks yet lads. They say now’s their time to win those titles…

Vignette time for Meiko Satomura… which bleeds into one for Blair Davenport as they build up for an eventual title match. Meiko’s fed up of Blair wanting to fight her, and they’ll get that… in three weeks’ time (January 6).

Danny Jones vs. Kenny Williams
Kenny doesn’t want to fight Danny Jones… he wants Mark Andrews instead. Danny stands his ground, and so we have our match anyway.

Williams takes Jones down for a front facelock, but Danny grabbed a wristlock and kept on with some shoulder blocks before a Kitchen Sink knee spun Williams down for a two-count. A chop block puts Williams back in it, before he slapped Jones in the face. That fires up Danny, who hits back with an Exploder for a near-fall, but Williams goes back to the leg, stomping on the knee before a headlock driver landed. Williams doesn’t go for the pin, instead picking up Jones to hit a second one… and that’s the pin. Standard squash fare. *¾

Vignette time with Symbiosis by the fence. T-Bone and Primate talk about this being a new beginning… and I assume we’ll get more of these ahead of the mini tournament.

Next week is a “special holiday edition” of NXT UK, by which I guess they mean clip show. They didn’t have a voiceover for that…

During the break, Jenny Williams’ beaten down Mark Andrews off-screen and I guess that’s all three members of SubCulture down?

Heritage Cup Rules: Nathan Frazer vs. A-Kid
This one’s for a shot at Noam Dar’s trophy, presumably in the new year…

Round 1: We’ve a friendly start as A-Kid’s ribs are taped… headscissors and an escape lead to A-Kid going in with a grounded side headlock, then a chinlock, before A-Kid got free and hit a dropkick. That gets a two-count as A-Kid worked a wristlock, before a missed enziguiri from Frazer led to the time winding down.

Round 2: A-Kid starts with a waistlock takedown, but Frazer gets free and nails a dropkick. An armdrag takedown continues the focus on A-Kid’s left hand side, with a grounded wristlock being rolled out of, before Frazer flipped his way into a seatbelt pin for a two-count. A-Kid keeps the pinning attempts flowing, but it’s Frazer who nicks the first fall at 1:48 of the round.

Round 3: Frazer ducks A-Kid’s charge out of the corner, but the Spaniard manages to find form with a German suplex, following with a cross armbar that ended in the ropes. A-Kid followed with a chop, only to run into an overhead belly-to-belly, before Frazer’s quebrada into the Eye of the Hurricane nearly won the match. The pair trade elbows from there, with a sleeper from A-Kid following ahead of a diving kick for a near-fall as the third round ended with Frazer hanging on in an armbar.

Round 4: The pair square off to start as A-Kid’s sleeperhold gets thrown off… Frazer heads up top for a stomp, but A-Kidd moves away, only to get caught with a Slingblade. A twister suplex is next for a near-fall as we almost had a Christmas miracle (a 2-0 win)… A-Kid keeps pushing but gets caught with a roll-up Boston crab, which he rolled out of for a two-count, ahead of a NICE baseball slide German suplex. Returning to the ring. A leaping superkick lands… and that’s the equaliser at… I don’t know because they’re not putting the clock on-screen.

Round 5: A Fisherman suplex from A-Kid gets us going for a near-fall, before an O’Connor roll from A-Kid got stopped with a superkick for a near-fall. Frazer goes back up top, but A-Kid played possum and caught him with a gamengiri, before a switcharound saw Frazer go for a moonsault fallaway slam, which doesn’t get the win. Frazer returns to the top rope but misses a moonsault… an attempted follow-up doesn’t come up, and he’s pulled into a double armbar at 2:28 of the round as A-Kid gets back into title contention. This was a good, even match, but in the end A-Kid’s killer instinct gets him back to Noam Dar in the New Year. ***½

The opener got this show off to a really good start, but then a really soft middle period kinda turned me. Overthinking that opener, NXT UK is really aggravating in that you’ve got some good wrestlers and guys I want to see, but them wrestling (on average) a match every 4-6 weeks does nothing for me as a wrestling fan, and I guess less for the young’un’s development. That’s the way it is, I guess.