We’ve a “holiday special” on this week’s NXT UK as Nina Samuels runs down the best of 2021.

Quick Results
From August 5, 2021 – A-Kid beat Jordan Devlin 2:1 in a 30:00 Iron Man match (***½)
From June 10, 2021 – Meiko Satomura pinned Kay Lee Ray in 18:25 to win the NXT UK Women’s Championship (****¼)

Nina Samuels is hosting this week – and it’s a recap show, so there’ll be a lot of CTRL C and CTRL V out of me here.

They show the video package for the iron man match between A-Kid and Jordan Devlin from this past August…

Iron Man: A-Kid vs. Jordan Devlin
We’re running with a 30-minute time limit… I’m not going through to see what was edited. My match review below is from the full airing.

A-Kid’s coming in with the dodgy knee, and we’ve a cagey start as A-Kid picked Devlin’s leg. They look for a hold on the mat as commentary tells us Pretty Deadly vs. Moustache Mountain is in two weeks’. That was a quick turnaround from “under advisement” to confirmed…

A-Kid rolls out of a wristlock and dropkicks Devlin to the outside. Back inside, A-Kid escapes headscissors, before the search for a hold led A-Kid to try an omoplata, but it ends quickly in the ropes. Devlin’s knuckle lock leads to some pinning attempts, before he countered A-Kid’s escape into a Gory stretch, sliding A-Kid back to the mat for some pinning attempts en route to A-Kid powering himself back up as he went back for the armbar. Devlin’s back in the ropes and powders outside to take the sting out of things. When he returned, he went back after A-Kid, ground him in a front facelock, before a side headlock on the mat kept the Spaniard grounded. Things head into the ropes, where Devlin snuck in a cheapshot, but A-Kid shrugs it off and went back to the side headlock, before Devlin hung A-Kid in the ropes and started to work over the previously-injured knee, forcing a submission at 9:41 in the match.

Going 1-0 up, Devlin stays on A-Kid’s bad knee, driving it into the mat before A-Kid leapt over a chop block and rebounded back into a rear naked choke as Devlin rolled into the ropes to force a break. Rolling outside, Devlin throws A-Kid’s knee into the apron, then around the post, before a ringpost Figure Four exacerbated the bad wheel. A kneebreaker follows back inside as Devlin went for another submission. It ends in the ropes, but A-Kid chops back before Devlin floored him with more kicks. A-Kid snaps in with a German suplex, holding on so he could roll some of them together as we crossed the halfway mark. Devlin clings to the ropes to avoid an O’Connor roll, before the Dynamite Kid inside-out suplex dumped both men to the floor.

A-Kid rolls back inside, while Devlin narrowly beat the count… only to get caught in an omoplata that ended with Devlin backing into the ropes. A slingshot cutter from Devlin’s countered into a rear naked choke, but A-Kid lets go of the hold and instead runs for a big PK to get a near-fall. Back to his feet, Devlin lands a forearm before an exchange of strikes put A-Kid ahead, getting a near-fall that led to a Fujiwara armbar… then a cross armbar for the rapid tap at 18:14 to level things. Hey, do you think this ends 2-1? Like a Heritage Cup match, without the rounds?

Devlin rolls outside and tries to run away from A-Kid, looking to protect the draw. A-Kid throws Devlin outside when he did engage, and that seemed to annoy the Irishman, who charges back in, and gets thrown outside, including with a hard Irish whip that bounced Devlin out of the ring. That wound him up to the point where he grabbed a chair, but A-Kid kicks the chair into Devlin on the floor to stop the DQ. Back inside, a crossbody gets A-Kid a two-count, before a dropkick’s caught by Devlin, who then looked for a Cloverleaf, but A-Kid countered out with a ‘rana for a two-count. Another PK gets the Spaniard another two-count, as Devlin stuck close to the ropes to frustrate any further offence.

Kicks send Devlin crashing outside again as we enter the final 7 minutes. Back inside, Devlin nearly lucks into a fall after a headbutt saw him knock down and land on A-Kid for a two-count. Another exchange of strikes sends Devlin onto the apron, but A-Kid gets punched out when he tried for something on there, leading to Devlin teasing a Devlinside to the floor, only to get met with an up-kick instead. Devlin twangs the ring apron into A-Kid to stop hiom, then pulled him off the edge of the ring to the floor with a Devlinside. A-Kid dives in in the nick of time to avoid a count-out, before A-Kid managed to hit a superkick for a slow near-fall. It’s back to the cross armbar as A-Kid looked to eke out a fall, but he rolls back in for an omoplata instead… and eventually Devlin submitted at 28:30!

It’s going to be a rush against the clock, but Devlin tries it with a jack-knife cover for a two-count, before the pair swung with forearms as A-Kid looked for another submission, while Devlin went for flash pins. Another headbutt dumps A-Kid into the final 30-seconds, but he kicks out at two, while Devlin looked to snatch a fall via KO, eventually decking A-Kid… but time runs out as the ref could only make a two-count before the 30 minutes expired. A heck of a sprint finish, with Devlin perhaps costing himself by going for a pin rather than a KO – but this was a pretty good iron man match, hanging on to the A-Kid knee injury story without it being the sole story in the match. ***½

We get Christmas messages from A-Kid, Amale, Oliver Carter, Ashton Smith, Kenny Williams (who took a dig at SubCulture via the medium of song). Jack Starz and his cat pops up too, as did Wolfgang, Chip Danning (formerly Chris Sharpe – that’s the first time they’ve used the new ref’s names), Rohan Raja, Dave Mastiff… and this year all of these looked like they weren’t filmed on a potato!

Next week is a New Year’s Edition of NXT UK, looking over the NXT UK and tag title divisions…

Nina’s back to pitch to a non-specific match from the NXT UK Women’s division… instead, we get the vignette for the second Kay Lee Ray vs. Meiko Satomura title match from this past June.

NXT UK Women’s Championship: Meiko Satomura vs. Kay Lee Ray (c)
Satomura’s last crack at the title aired in March, where she fell short against Kay Lee Ray… after winning a gauntlet match a month ago, Satomura gets her second shot at Ray, whose 649-day title run has already seen six title defences as she comes increasingly close to hitting the two-year mark.

Commentary notes that Meiko’s “never held WWE gold.” I mean, yeah, if you’ve only worked there for less than a year, that’ll probably happen. We get the big match intros, and we start with Meiko stinging Kay Lee Ray with kicks, taking the champion back into the corner. Forearms keep Kay Lee there, but the champion runs back with a quick Gory bomb attempt… Meiko tries for a death valley driver, but the early finishers lead nowhere as the champion spilled outside. Where she’s kicked again repeatedly. Kay Lee’s rolled back inside, but suckers Meiko with a superkick in the ropes as Ray took over, rolling Satomura back in for a two-count. A chinlock’s escaped as Satomura goes back to the kicks, including a mule kick as she faked out an armbar. A wristlock’s next to set up for mid kicks and a leg sweep, before Ray broke a pin from a knee drop by pulling Satomura by the hair.

Chops from Ray follow, but Satomura blocks a suplex, only to get rolled to the mat for a low kick. A front suplex gets a two-count, with Ray rolling in for a Koji clutch… but Satomura escapes and looked for a STF, eventually tying up Ray, who needed the ropes to make the save. Ray manages to turn it around with a springboard knee drop from the apron back into the ring, before she punched out Satomura’s attempt to springboard out of a whip into the corner. Again though, Satomura kicks out at two as the champion looked to get frustrated. More finisher teases lead to a roll-up from Kay Lee for a two-count, before a short DDT spiked her. The cartwheel knee drop just about clips Kay Lee for a two-count, but she’s back up for a death valley driver… but couldn’t follow up as Satomura replied with Ray’s own Gory bomb, again with an inability to follow up.

Satomura shrugs off a superkick as the pair begin to trade right hands. An uppercut drops Ray for the cartwheel knees, but it’s only good for a near-fall as Kay Lee returned with a tornado DDT. Again, it’s a two-count as Satomura’s right back up and into superkicks as commentary shouted themselves hoarse. More superkick spamming took down Meiko, but a Saito suplex turned it right back around in a heartbeat. A death valley driver’s next, but Ray’s up at two and hits another superkick, before a Gory bomb left Meiko down for a senton bomb… which lands flush for another near-fall. Again, Kay Lee gets frustrated and heads outside, grabbing her belt as she teased a walk-out… but Satomura followed and ducked a belt shot before hitting a death valley driver on the floor.

Ray’s thrown back inside, but she heads back to the floor as she proceeds to hit a Gory bomb onto the edge of the ring, really upping things here, but it’s still not enough to put Satomura down. After that, Ray looks for something, but Satomura back body drops free before she climbed the ropes… and got caught. Satomura’s able to respond with a sunset bomb that nearly wins it, before a rear naked choke was quickly thrown away. Satomura goes right back to it though, but Ray falls into the ropes to force a break. From there, Ray goes for another Koji clutch, but Satomura rolled her up for a two-count, before a diving spinning heel kick and another death valley driver left the champion down, with the Scorpio Rising kick finally getting the win. Exceptional stuff as NXT UK pulls out another big time main event – and without any of the other stuff like the Brady Bunch stuff we’d seen in prior women’s title matches, all of the focus this time around was on the wrestling… and it was exactly as you’d expect. Just turn down the commentary if the house style isn’t your thing, and wish, like I did, there was a crowd for this. ****¼

We get the vignettes for Meiko Satomura vs. Blair Davenport in two weeks…

…and then we close out with more cameos for the season, this time featuring Nathan Frazer, Saxon Huxley, Eddie Dennis, Xia Brookside, Sha Samuels, Sam Gradwell(‘s son), and Ilja Dragunov.

Nina signs off by wishing us a Merry Christmas, and that’s your lot! If you’ve kept up with NXT UK this year, you’ll have seen these matches, but if not, it’s a perfectly harmless best-of show with two of the better matches from the show in 2021.