The NXT UK tag team titles are put on the line in an elimination main event.
Isla Dawn pinned Myla Grace in 5:03 (*½)
Sarray pinned Nina Samuels in 5:34 (**¼)
Josh Briggs & Brookes Jensen won a four-team elimination match to win the NXT UK Tag Team Championships in 18:15 (**½)
It’s the start of a new set of tapings from the BT Sport Studios in London, and hopefully the in-ring fare doesn’t sink as low as it did last week. Of course, we open with a recap of what happened last week with Trent Seven faking retirement before low blowing Tyler Bate. Cue titles, cue Andy Shepherd, and cue Nigel McGuinness.
We go straight to ringside as Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter have an announcement. They were meant to be defending the NXT UK tag titles against Brookes Jensen and Josh Briggs, but that’s not happening. Smith’s out in a knee brace, and is on the shelf. Proverbially, of course. That made the “you deserve it” chants all the more awkward, as Smith talked about the times he couldn’t buy a win, but his mood changed when he started tagging with Oliver Carter.
However, while they hit their peak, they’ve quickly hit a big valley. During that tag title win, Smith ruptured a medial cruciate ligament, and needs surgery… so the titles are being vacated. Smith reckons he’s let everyone down, but Carter cuts him off… as we’re given Carter’s nicknames, and I guess he’ll be getting a singles run in the next little while. The assistant to the regional manager comes out to collect the belts… before an announcement for the vacated titles drew out Die Familie. Yep, we’re rushing to crown replacement champions. Rohan Raja claimed they should be given the belts because they never lost in the three-way. Thursday Night Raw continues with Josh Briggs and Brookes Jensen coming out to dubbed crowd noise… then Mark Andrews and Wild Boar (who’s now in a leather jacket, expressing his subculture)… and finally Dave Mastiff and Jack Starz. Yep. RUSH RUSH RUSH. We’re getting a four-way.
Earlier today, Sarray meets Meiko Satomura and Emilia McKenzie. They greet each other, before Meiko tells Emilia that Sarray’s not the only visitor – and McKenzie’s got to face Fallon Henley. Poor sod.
Sha Samuels is getting interviewed, but collars the assistant to the regional manager to claim that Wolfgang cheated. Getting the tag match from last week stricken from the record isn’t happening, as Wolfgang rocked up to a screaming Sha… and we’ve got a singles match coming up.
Myla Grace vs. Isla Dawn
Grace lost to Lash Legend in a match we’d all rather forget last week… this was Isla’s first match since she lost to Meiko Satomura nearly two months ago.
Dawn throws down Grace from a lock-up, before a wacky floatover cradle only drew Myla a one-count. Dawn’s backslide keeps the pins going, before Grace rolled through to trip Dawn ahead of a low dropkick. Isla’s double knees in the corner catch Grace out for a near-fall, before a surfboard stretch kept Grace down. Grace kicks her way free and mounts a comeback with clotheslines, leading to a sorta-splits legdrop. A varied headscissors and a 619 follow ahead of a tornado DDT to Dawn, who returned with a step-up knee into the corner… then ducked a leap off the middle rope from Grace. A thrust kick followed, then a half-and-half suplex from Dawn… and that’s all folks. An improvement on last week. *½
We’re told that Tyler Bate’s taking a leave of absence…
A video package recaps Kenny Williams’ freakouts over the masked Tiger Turan.
Earlier this week, the assistant to the regional manager is interrupted by Noam Dar and his Heritage Cup trophy. Dar reckons he’s a victim of his own success because there’s nobody left to face, and teases “retiring on top.” Dar’s got an idea for one final match… in a stadium (LOL) and for double pay as well.
Nina Samuels vs. Sarray
Of course, this was Sarray’s European debut… and she gets the Stars in Your Eyes transformation entrance here too.
Sarray tries to win with a roll-up out of the gate, before a half crab instantly ended in the ropes. Nina tries her luck with an arm wringer, but Sarray rolled free and hit a single-leg low dropkick. Samuels catches a crossbody, turning it into a backbreaker, before a series of kicks took her into the corner. Irish whips bounce Sarray into the corners, while some stretching in the ropes and a dropkick to the back almost won it for Nina. Sarray’s legs are tied up by Nina, ahead of a bow-and-arrow hold, but Sarray flips out for a two-count, then got knocked back into the ropes.
Samuels kicks out of a roll-up, then got met with some forearms and a low dropkick to the thigh. Sarray can’t follow up with a suplex, and instead gets charged into the corner… but she shoves Nina down out of a superplex, following with a stomp, then a dropkick in the ropes, before a modified Exploder suplex got Sarray the win. Decent, but expected. **¼
Next week: Blair Davenport returns from injury.
Backstage, Sarray’s interrupted by Xia Brookside and Eliza Alexander, who mock her. They’re threatened by the visitor from NXT 2.0, but Meiko Satomura appears as the bullies back off. Expect Emilia McKenzie to get jealous soon enough.
Next week: Trent Seven speaks to the crowd again.
Elimination Match for NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Mark Andrews & Wild Boar vs. Brookes Jensen & Josh Briggs vs. Dave Mastiff & Jack Starz vs. Die Familie (Teoman & Rohan Raja)
Of course, the titles were vacated at the start of the show… NOBODY gets an entrance here as we come back from break to all four teams in the ring, getting gameshow-like introductions. They’re making these guys look, as Norm would say, ALL THE STARS.
Andrews and Starz start us off, trading wristlocks and escapes before Rohan Raja tagged in forcibly on Starz. He kicks Andrews down, before Wild Boar tagged in and scored a Dragon screw on Raja into and out of the corner. Raja backs off to tag in Brookes Jensen, who ends up taking some right hands from Boar, returning with a powerslam and an elbow drop for good measure. Briggs tags in and hits a Hart Attack boot, before Teoman came in to keep up the offence on Boar. Raja tags in too for some mudhole stomping as die Familie ganged up on Boar… who shot out of the corner with a clothesline. A tag brings in Dave Mastiff to change the pace with a bodyslam, following with a pair of back elbows with Starz for a near-fall.
Starz and Mastiff trade quick tags as Starz got thrown into Teoman for a two-count. A chinlock follows, as Mastiff tagged back in as Teoman tried to escape. Teoman’s hauled up for a stalling suplex, before Charlie Dempsey distracted. Teoman tries to capitalise, but ends up running over to tag in Briggs… Teoman and Raja try to attack both from behind, but they get dumped to the outside as the two big lads clear the aprons to make sure it’s just them fighting. Die Familie clear the way, but get knocked off the apron by Briggs, who chokeslams Teoman into the pile. Mark Andrews adds to the dives with a shooting star press to the floor, with no bugger catching him. Dive classes clearly aren’t a thing in Enfield or Orlando. Back in the ring, Boar’s charging shoulder to Teoman, then a dropkick from Andrews had Teoman on the back foot… he tags in Starz, who’s met with a sit-out splash from Boar, then a hammerlock’d lariat for a near-fall.
A shooting star press from Andrews to Starz gets a near-fall as Mastiff broke up the pin… before an inside cradle from Starz eliminated Andrews at 9:35. Teoman comes in, and blind-tags out as Starz went for an O’Connor roll… allowing Raja to chuck him outside for Charlie Dempsey to take his shots at. Starz is left in die Familie’s corner, but dropkicks his way free as Teoman fell into Jensen to tag out… Mastiff’s in too with a back body drop and some Dusty punches, then a crossbody for good measure. Briggs is in too, but gets taken down for a back senton, before a German suplex took Jensen into the corner.
Dempsey attacks Starz again, while Raja’s leaping Flatliners left Mastiff down as he’s pinned and eliminated at 12:13. We’re down to die Familie and “the new Smoking Gunns” as some call them, as die Familie put the boots to them. Briggs is knocked into the post, forcing Jensen to go it alone as die Familie had their fun. A Raja suplex gets a two-count, before a Sky High added another near-fall… before Teoman went to the crossface. Jensen powers out with a back suplex, before tags bring in Raja and Briggs. Briggs’ big boot has Raja down, as did a sidewalk slam and standing splash to Teoman. He even swipes away Dempsey, but the distraction allowed Raja to hit a back cracker, before a double-team slam forced Jensen in to break up the pin. Teoman measures up for a stomp to Briggs’ back, then another, before going back to the crossface… but Briggs clawed his way to the ropes, only to be rolled back into the middle of the ring.
Briggs rolls up Teoman for a near-fall, then scored a lofty back body drop… Jensen’s in with the hot tag, then quickly tagged back out as Dempsey and Teoman are knocked off the apron, allowing the NXT 2.0 lot to hit a high/low to win the titles. This just didn’t land with me – from how rushed the match was made, to how much of a non-entity the four teams were presented in the entrances alone. The crowd liked the result, which is more than I can say for most of the NXT 2.0 imports from the last tapings, but the death by a thousand cuts continued – I mean, who else on this roster as a tag team is a viable challenger that weren’t beaten here?? **½
Briggs and Jensen celebrate with Fallon Henley to close out the show… Take one home-grown roster, let it simmer for a few years, then remove the top of the card. Don’t replace them, nor promote from within to fill those spots, then add in some names from abroad that the locals don’t care about. As much as the regulars are trying, this NXT UK roster has got more than the feeling of stagnation, and with the show not touring, holding steady is a best-case scenario.