Noam Dar puts the NXT UK Heritage Cup on the line, as former champion A-Kid looks to regain the trophy.
Lewis Howley & Sam Stoker pinned Sam Gradwell & Saxon Huxley in 9:22 (**¾)
Isla Dawn pinned Emilia McKenzie in 5:30 (**¾)
Heritage Cup Rules: Noam Dar and A-Kid drew 1-1 after 6 rounds (18:00) – Dar retains the NXT UK Heritage Cup (***¾)
Well, it’s only been a week since WALTER had his NXT UK send off… and I bet the seven days after that were completely uneventful… anyway, we’re back at the BT Sport Studios via tape, with Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness on the call.
Pretty Deadly (Sam Stoker & Lewis Howley) vs. Sam Gradwell & Saxon Huxley
Gradwell had to recruit his own tag partner, and after some skits – including him nagging Nathan Frazer, James Mason, Finlay, room service, and the McDonalds drive-thru – his “grappling co-operative” involved Saxon Huxley. Shame. Elon Musk would have been a good punchline to this bit.
Cheers to Andy Ogden for reminding me – Gradwell was Huxley’s opponent in the first round of the UK Championship tournament some five years ago this month. Gradwell started by charging down Howley, while Stoker came in and found himself taken into the corner before Gradwell grabbed him by the ear.
A slam has Stoker down as Huxley comes in, hitting the ropes for a shoulder block before the Pauper’s Elbow kept Stoker loopy. There’s a crossbody awaiting for Stoker in the ropes as Howley needed to break up the cover, then made the tag… but he’s taken to the corners too ahead of a body press from Huxley. Double-teaming from the former champions has Huxley in trouble in the corner, leading to an abdominal stretch with some extra help from Stoker on the apron. Eventually Huxley hiptosses his way free, but couldn’t get to the tag as he had to break free of Stoker’s clutches before Gradwell got the tag in. Clotheslines and elbows clear the way, as a double underhook suplex sent Stoker flying.
Gradwell heads up for a shoulder tackle, but it’s swatted out of mid-air with an uppercut… and now here’s Kenny Williams walking on the guardrails to distract. Saxon Huxley gets knocked off the apron as Huxley’s stomped on by the Scotsman, leaving Gradwell on his own… and it’s not long before Gradwell fell to the Spilt Milk as the former champions leave with the win. This was fine, but was really a backdrop for Kenny Williams. **¾
Jinny vignette time. She’s taking shots at Amale, noting that she too is the daughter of immigrants and has had success… Jinny’s really gotten to by Amale “exploiting her past for pity,” as she vowed to destroy Amale’s hope. A good promo – and nary a sight of “stupid girl.”
They recap the Gallus/Familie stuff from last week’s tag match, mixing in some promos as they set up a trios match between the two units next week.
Vignette time – with Blair Davenport holding keys to unlock a park. She’s apparently from a long line of Davenports, and doesn’t care if she’s hated and rejected… only if she’s feared. Hey, is she related to Lindsay? It’s building up the Davenport/Satomura rematch, and this pseudo-royalty stuff looks like it’d be at home on the other NXT.
Emilia McKenzie vs. Isla Dawn
NXT UK’s resident kleptomaniac has her box of goodies out with her, and we get a recap to LAST SUMMER of Isla nicking McKenzie’s watch. I’m surprised they remembered. There’s also SPOOKY SHIT during a pre-taped promo they don’t air as Isla makes a neon sign flash.
McKenzie starts with a waistlock takedown, trapping Isla in a hammerlock before she rolled her over for a one-count. A wristlock’s next, as was a plug for the Royal Rumble, while Dawn countered with a side headlock. Dawn’s quickly back on the defensive before she threw McKenzie outside… only for Emilia to return with a sunset flip that’s stomped away. Dawn chokes McKenzie in the ropes, following up with a suplex… a superplex is countered with another sunset flip, this time for a near-fall, as McKenzie fought back, hitting a side suplex and a spear for a near-fall. A head kick from Dawn stops McKenzie, who flipped out of another side suplex, before dropkicking Dawn to the outside.
A tope from McKenzie finds its mark, but a big splash off the top did not… Dawn returns with a fireman’s carry into a swinging side slam, and that’s the surprise win for Dawn. A decent match, but at least McKenzie got her watch back from last year… **¾
Amale responds to Jinny’s promo – saying her video a few weeks ago wasn’t about exploiting, it was about representation, then reiterated that she is hope, and that hope never dies.
More vignettes for the Ilja Dragunov/Jordan Devlin match as we see Ilja training in Dresden, and clips of Jordan Devlin’s pseudo-aftershave advert. Devlin demanded that the match be in an empty arena match, and Dragunov accepts for next week, which certainly makes me wonder if they’re switching the title and were looking to avoid any backlash?
NXT UK Heritage Cup: A-Kid vs. Noam Dar (c)
A-Kid beat Nathan Frazer just before Christmas to get this shot…
Round 1: We’ve a tentative start, as a Test of Strength pushed Dar to the mat for a quick one-count before he headed for the ropes. A side headlock from A-Kid’s clung onto as Dar tried to roll free, eventually doing so as the pair resumed with a lock-up. Dar works the left arm of A-Kid, taking him down for a two-count before a waistlock takedown from the Spaniard wound out the clock.
Round 2: Dar comes out with a waistlock takedown, but the pair went tit-for tat on the mat, before a cravat from A-Kid looked to put him in front. He rolls with Dar’s attempt to break it, then came back with a side headlock as Dar pulled ahead. A-Kid pushes free, but got charged down before he mounted a comeback… getting a near-fall off of a dropkick before a front facelock ended with A-Kid lifted into the ropes… Dar tries for a running kick at the bell, but missed and sent himself crashing over the top to the floor.
Round 3: Both men came out swinging, but A-Kid’s thrown onto the apron before Dar pulled him through for what looked like a draping DDT. He lets go so he could just kick A-Kid in the head for a near-fall, before an attempted Nova Roller was stopped. A-Kid’s still on the defensive though, and eats the Nova Roller seconds later as he falls 1-0 down at 1:35 of the round.
Round 4: A-Kid’s tripped up to start, but quickly gets up and looked for a cross armbar… then an omoplata. Dar rolled his way free for a two-count, despite a handful of tights, then rolled up A-Kid with his feet on the ropes for another two-count. Roll-ups from A-Kid get a two-count, before an overhead kick knocked the Scotsman to the outside. A-Kid crashes and burns on a tope… Dar’s back in, but A-Kid manages to beat the 10-count, only to run into a Judas Effect-like back elbow that nearly won the match. An overhand chop has Dar on the defensive, forcing Sha to get involved, but he couldn’t stop a springboard/moonsault DDT as A-Kid tied it up at 2:34.
Round 5: Between the rounds, Sha was upset that he lost his 2-0 bet. I mean, 2-1 is easy money, Sha… A-Kid tries to charge at Dar, but gets hung up in the ropes and has his leg kicked out. He recovered with a gamengiri to Dar up top, with a superplex bringing the Scotsman down for a near-fall, before Dar went in with a Champagne Super Knee-Bar… they counter back-and-forth, with A-Kid going back to the omoplata out of an armbar, then a triangle armbar as Sha bounced around at ringside, cheering on every move. The tit-for-tat moves into German suplexes from A-Kid, only for Dar to pull A-Kid into an omoplata of his own. A-Kid rolls out for a two-count, then countered a knee bar… only to get pulled into a sleeperhold… he rolls out for a near-fall, as the round ends with a PK from the Spaniard.
Round 6: We’ve an early backslide from Dar as the round starts with pinning attempts. A-Kid dives on Sha to end the distractions, then returned to apply a heel hook that Dar breaks via the ropes. Kicks from A-Kid in the ropes end with Dar hitting him in the throat… another Judas-ish Effect nearly wins it for Dar, before a superkick saw A-Kid come close as we were in the final minute. Dar’s backfist rocks A-Kid for another two-count, only for the Spaniard to come back with an omoplata from the kickout… but Dar holds on to ride out the time limit, and holy hell, they didn’t end it 2-1! It’s a six-round draw – the first time we’ve had that – and Dar retains in a cracker of a main event that started with Dar perhaps taking A-Kid too lightly, and then escalated. ***¾
A really good show from NXT UK – with an enjoyable main event capping off things. They’re doing a good job building up a Jinny/Amale feud – which is a surprise to my cynical soul… and again with the Devlin/Dragunov match. While a lot of the product as of late has been flat, NXT UK has been excelling in building up the big stuff – it’s just a shame that the show flies below a lot of people’s radar.