Ilja Dragunov’s NXT UK title is on the line in this week’s main event, as Roderick Strong gets his shot at the title.
Primate pinned Wild Boar in 3:37 (**)
Charlie Dempsey pinned Wolfgang in 7:20 (***)
Ilja Dragunov pinned Roderick Strong in 14:40 to retain the NXT UK Championship (***¾)
It’s been another notable week within NXT UK… away from the show, that is. Hot on the heels of A-Kid’s move to Florida, Pretty Deadly made their debut on “full fat” NXT, complete with some new names – Elton Prince and Kit Wilson. If I need a new moniker, I too should scour my Spotify for inspiration…
After the obligatory opening video package for tonight’s main event, we’re back at the BT Sport Studios in London, with Nigel McGuinness joining Andy Shepherd on commentary.
Primate vs. Wild Boar
Eddie Dennis had Primate and T-Bone on chains for their entrance, just because…
Boar unloads on Primate as we’ve a hockey fight to start, but Primate takes Boar into the corners, only to get met with a back elbow. Boar recovers to hit a back senton as he clubbed away on Primate, following up with a uranage-like takedown… before he got distracted and went after Eddie Dennis. Primate tries to capitalise, only to get clotheslined instead before they went back inside. The distracted Boar gets caught with a Sky High powerbomb, but manages to get back in it with a German suplex that flung Primate towards the turnbuckles. A shoulder charge and a cannonball senton keeps Primate there, before T-Bone’s distraction allowed Eddie Dennis to punch Boar with a chain for the pin. Very brief as they got in and out in rapid order… **
Post-match, Eddie Dennis puts the dog collar on Boar, as Primate and T-Bone held him so Eddie could whip and tear at Boar with a chain. Out of nowhere, Mark Andrews makes his return and cleared off Eddie Dennis with a swinging chair… and I guess we’ve got some Welsh rivalries re-emerging here?
Backstage, Ilja Dragunov is doing hand-stand push-ups. Show-off.
Earlier in the week, Sam Gradwell’s interviewed at the UK PC as he talks about what he did to Kenny Williams last week. He opens up his bag and recoils in horror. No, nobody’s shit in it, but there’s a load of maggots in there…
Another vignette with die Familie, as Teoman, Rohan Raja and Charlie Dempsey are in their bolthole. Dempsey’s facing Wolfgang later tonight, but seems to take him lightly, saying he’s already tapped him out once before, before he asked Teoman “what does the eye see” about A-Kid. Teoman reckons A-Kid’s focus is elsewhere, and this match looks to be how they write A-Kid out of the territory.
“Earlier this week,” Jack Starz is bigging up Dave Mastiff as he’s doing weights… meanwhile, Mark Coffey nearly killed himself doing bench presses. Luckily, Joe Coffey’s there to spot him. The bravado ends with them putting Gallus vs. Starz/Mastiff into place, you’d assume…
Wolfgang vs. Charlie Dempsey
Dempsey made Wolfgang tap in that trios match late last year… and the direction now seems to be Gallus are on the wobble. There was no Teoman with Dempsey, as Rohan Raja accompanied him instead…
Dempsey opens up with a cravat, rolling Wolfgang to the mat as he tried to escape, before Wolfgang finally threw his way free. A shoulder tackle has Dempsey down ahead of a Corning hold that Dempsey tried to escape, but to no avail as Wolfgang rolled through a rebound hiptoss attempt. A front facelock from Dempsey helps him take Wolfgang into the corner as the match descended into strikes. Wolfgang kicks away a knee bar attempt, then got kneed in the gut as Dempsey took it to the mat, looking for a cobra-ish clutch, only for Wolfgang to throw his way free once more.
Uppercuts from Wolfgang are returned in kind, before another Corning hold trapped Dempsey. An attempted escape’s thrown aside by Dempsey, as he then had to kick out from a double sledge off the top… he knees Wolfgang mid-spear to turn things around, leading to a toe hold. Wolfgang tries to kick away a half crab, and instead gets taken down for another toe and ankle hold, but a Caber Toss from Wolfgang helps him get free again. Out of nowhere, the Evil Eye appears on the NXT UK Tron, and I’m getting flashbacks to when Lucky Kid distracted himself… the distraction works, as a half-hatch bridging suplex from Dempsey caught Wolfgang out, and that’s enough for the pin. ***
Meiko Satomura’s interviewed about Isla Dawn stealing her title. She invited Isla Dawn to a face-to-face meeting next week about it…
Then we go back to the UK PC as Kenny Williams comes out of a shower. The cameraman asks Kenny about what happened with Sam Gradwell’s bag, before Kenny walked into the locker room and found another sign on his locker.
Xia Brookside’s with Eliza Alexander, showing off her new friend – the former Lizzy Evo. Eliza tells us she’s living rent free in Amale’s head, and next week she’ll make her debut. In Scouse.
We’re back at the UK PC as the assistant to the regional manager is with Moustache Mountain, Trent Seven and Tyler Bate. They recap what’s happened, and they announce a best two-out-of-three falls match for the NXT UK tag titles between the two teams in two weeks’ time.
“During the break,” Wolfgang flustered, then annoyed with what happened – especially because the Coffey boys weren’t with him at ringside. They apologise, and reconvene in their dressing room…
Next week: Teoman vs. A-Kid, plus Jack Starz & Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey & Mark Coffey.
NXT UK Championship: Roderick Strong vs. Ilja Dragunov (c)
This was set up a few weeks back when Roderick Strong called out Ilja after beating Wolfgang… and if you’re flag watching, neither Roderick or Ilja got theirs on their lower thirds. Meanwhile, Ilja got the same music they dubbed into his entrance last time out. “March Madness” by Emanuel Kallins and Stephen Teller, if you look for it on YouTube…
Strong pulled ahead early with a wristlock as he had Dragunov on the mat, before things broke in the ropes. Dragunov returns the favour, taking Strong into the ropes, but an attempted backfist on the break was ducked as Ilja’s side headlock was pushed off… leading to him grabbing the ropes as Strong went for a leaping knee. Back to the wristlock, Strong rolled Ilja down… but Dragunov’s right back with a toe-hold that’s pushed away before the pair exchanged chops. Back-and-forth elbows follow, with Ilja pulling ahead, before an (unnamed) Torpedo Moscau from Dragnunov missed. That took him outside, with Strong throwing Ilja shoulder-first into the ring steps, then back into the ring, where he went for a short arm scissors.
Stomps target Dragunov’s arm, as Strong then followed with a Papa Shango-ish shoulder breaker, while dubbed in claps played over a crowd that was barely moving. Dragunov’s able to break free of Strong in the corner, but the retaliatory chops did about as much damage as they dished out, allowing Strong to push through with a backbreaker for a two-count. Dragunov’s kept grounded as Strong went for a chicken wing, before a chop to Strong off the ropes targeted the leg – and had the challenger down. Ilja keeps going with a Dragon screw, but wandered into Strong’s trap as the one-armed Dragunov was pushed into the ropes. The Torpedo Moscau came out of nowhere, targeting Strong’s leg again, but the follow-up half crab was a struggle… so he locked in a heel hook instead.
Strong kicks it away, but Dragunov is right back with a falling elbow smash for a near-fall, before a Stretch Muffler almost led to the stoppage, but Ilja lost grip right as Strong was about to tap. More forearms from Dragunov weaken Strong ahead of some rolling German suplexes, rolling it into a Gotch-style German suplex to complete the set. Dragunov drops down to avoid a telegraphed Torpedo Moscau, then pulled Ilja to the outside – with the shoulder again taking the brunt of the impact before he used the ring steps for a uranage backbreaker. Back inside, Dragunov is lifted up top as Strong hit a backbreaker across the top turnbuckle. Ilja manages to recover though, dropping Strong with an enziguiri… before a discus slap earned him a leaping knee from Strong. Determined, Ilja pushes on, hitting the Torpedo Moscau as he rebounded off the ropes, and that was enough to edge out a hard-fought win. Just don’t transpose this against Roderick Strong losing to Solo Sikoa on NXT 2.0 recently, and this was a fantastic main event. ***¾
A rather more compact episode of NXT UK than normal, which felt odd, because the last few weeks, these shows have been over-running if anything. NXT UK’s really found its level, but with names slowly leaving the show for sunnier climes, it’s going to be interesting to see if they replace, or just make do and mend on the roster.