We’ve got two NXT UK title defences on this week’s show, featuring Ilja Dragunov against Wolfgang.
Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs pinned Mark Andrews & Wild Boar in 9:03 to retain the NXT UK tag team championship (**½)
Blair Davenport pinned Amale in 5:46 (***)
Ilja Dragunov pinned Wolfgang in 15:55 (***)
We open with a video package hyping the two title matches, as back in the day this show would have at least been given a subtitle to make it stand out. Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness are on commentary trying to weave this into SummerSlam…
NXT UK Tag Team Championships) Mark Andrews & Wild Boar vs. Brooks Jensen & Josh Briggs (c)
Boar and Andrews were the first team eliminated in that four-way for the title… so it’s funny they got the first shot on NXT UK. Pro-tip for the cowboys – wear your boots OVER your jeans. Else you just look like you’ve not returned the shoes from the bowling alley…
Jensen and Boar start us off as commentary tries to tie together SummerSlam, SummerSlam 92 and Clash in the Castle. They just about got that tenuous link. Andrews tags in and took Jensen to the corner, before a 619 to the knee and a Dragon screw in the ropes allowed Boar to land a Dragon screw of his own. Jensen hobbles across the ring to tag in Briggs, who scored with his half of a double shoulder tackle, before the champions slid out and hit Boar from the floor. Andrews tagged in as Briggs was too busy celebrating, but Andrews had to make do with a dropkick and a wristlock before Jensen got in and helped with a double-team slam.
Andrews is kept down with a chinlock as commentary brought up Brooks’ masturbatorial past and some other things. Jensen and Brooks keep Andrews cornered, leading to a forearm to the back of Andrews for a two-count. Eventually Andrews avoids a Jensen charge, but Briggs tagged in… only for his release X-Plex to get countered into a Stundog as Andrews made the tag out to Boar. Clotheslines from Boar caught out Briggs, before Boar shrugged off an elbow and got a one-count from a sit-out splash. A back senton adds a two-count, before Andrews’ blind tag allowed him to hit a dropkick to aid Boar’s German suplex. Boar’s back quickly for a frog splash, but it’s not enough as Jensen nearly took off Boar’s head with a lariat seconds later.
Briggs boots down Boar, who tagged Andrews on the way down… a stalling suplex helps Andrews into the ring, but it’s countered into another Stundog before Andrews went up top for a shooting star press. Briggs rolls away as Jensen tagged back in to help with a high/low for the win… I struggled to get into this one, but this was always going to be the title defence of the month type of match, and the crowd’s non-reactions showed that it wasn’t just me. **½
Ilja Dragunov is warming up backstage…
“Last week, after the show,” Tyler Bate’s backstage as he corrals a cameraman. He’s all lovelorn and vowed to come after Trent. Once more with feeling, eh?
“Earlier this week,” there was a fake press conference that was kept hidden until now. The media covering this stuff are doing a horrible job, eh? It’s building up Sarray vs. Meiko Satomura for the NXT UK Women’s title next week, with two statements and photo op…
Amale vs. Blair Davenport
This one got two weeks’ of build, if you count the Davenport commentary stuff…
The opening lock-up’s broken paper as Amale scores with armdrags to start… Davenport misses a dropkick and almost lost to a roll-up, before she caught Amale with a knee. Amale’s back with a back elbow and a front kick, leading to a two-count before Amale missed a kick in the corner and ate a gamengiri. Davenport’s back with a slam that took Amale into the ropes, kicking her outside before a trip to the guard rails. Back inside, Davenport gets a two-count, before she threw Amale into the ropes for a shoulder tackle. A cobra clutch from Davenport keeps Amale grounded briefly, but Amale breaks out… and eats a dropkick for her troubles.
Amale makes a comeback with clotheslines, then sidestepped a stomp as Davenport was concerned about her ankle. Amale wasn’t, and hit a bulldog for a near-fall, only for Davenport to strike back with a head kick for a near-fall of her own. A German suplex from Amale took Blair to the corner for a running kick, which nearly wins it, before Davenport rolled up out of a Hopebreaker for a near-fall. A knee strike followed, almost like a trigger, before a Michinoku Driver ended a pretty decent match as Davenport continues to build her claim for a title shot. ***
Wolfgang’s shadow boxing as the Coffey brothers watch on and nod approvingly…
Oliver Carter’s taking a seat at the table, having invited himself for a “die Familie meal.” He’s left a note for them to read, vowing to run through die Familie, continuing with Rohan Raja next week. These die Familie bits are always filmed well…
We’ve more from Sha Samuels as he’s hiding from his debtors. LJ Cleary’s gone from AEW Dark to looking for another pay-off, which comes by way of him taking Sha’s trainers and socks. Danny Jones has something to cash in too, so he takes Sha’s tracksuit… one of the refs takes a flat cap and another jacket off of Sha, who’s layering up, while Shaun Ryan literally takes the shirt off of Sha’s back. Okay, that was a funny punchline.
Chase U’s coming to NXT UK next week… along with Rohan Raja vs. Oliver Carter… and the aforementioned Sarray/Satomura title match, although I have my doubts on that one…
NXT UK Championship: Wolfgang vs. Ilja Dragunov (c)
So far, the Gallus theme has been one of the most over things on the show.
We open with a tie-up as Wolfgang took Dragunov into the corner… then again as the Scotsman broke both times. A headlock takedown from Wolfgang’s quickly escaped, while Ilja’s returned kept Wolfgang down, only for Dragunov to get pushed into the ropes. He hits some shoulder tackles, bouncing off Wolfgang, before the challenger charged him down, then landed a slam for good measure. Ilja kicks Wolfgang away ahead of a headlock takedown off the ropes, but couldn’t score with an overhead throw as Ilja’s back “gave way.” Wolfgang starts to pick his spots on Ilja, landing some right hands before the champion retaliated… knocking Wolfgang into the corner before he was caught and thrown into another set of buckles.
Wolfgang stretches Ilja, then dropped an elbow across the back before Ilja Matrix’s away from a clothesline, hurting himself some more. A diving back senton capitalises as Wolfgang gets a two-count, before the pair opened up with elbows. We’ve a lot of posing as Wolfgang snapmared and kicked Ilja in the back, giving Ilja time to recover as he peppered his challenger with strikes. Even hitting the ropes bothers Ilja, as his back gave out again… and it gave Wolfgang ideas. An elbow drop gets Wolfgang a two-count as he just didn’t stay on Dragunov, who tries for a bodyslam, only for Wolfgang to fall back on him like he were Andre. A series of backfists from Ilja weaken Wolfgang, who elbows out of a German suplex before resuming strikes to the back of Ilja.
An enziguiri took Wolfgang down, as Ilja adds a running knee into the corner as he was trying anything… he took a bad landing on that leaping knee, and remember that in the coming weeks. Dragunov keeps going for the slam, but had more luck rolling Wolfgang down ahead of some hammer elbows and a back senton. He adds some clotheslines to the front and back of Wolfgang, only for a single lariat to turn things around for a near-fall. Wolfgang racks Ilja and threw him down with a knee to the back on the way down… but still Ilja kicks out. He tries for an inside cradle out of a suplex, eventually getting it before he threw a falling forearm for a near-fall. Ilja picks himself up and climbs to the top rope, landing a back senton off the top, which did more damage to him than Wolfgang, judging by the screams.
He can’t immediately follow up and sees a Torpedo Moscau elbowed away ahead of a caber toss suplex from Wolfgang that nearly won it… Wolfgang goes up top himself, only to get caught as Ilja met him in the buckles. A headbutt takes Ilja down, before Wolfgang slingshotted himself into a knee strike. From there, Ilja finally hauls up Wolfgang for a suplex, before the Torpedo Moscau cracked into Wolfgang for the win. This picked up for the final few moments, but felt very plodding – as the back injury story didn’t exactly help things, nor did Wolfgang’s lack of a “killer instinct.” ***
After the match, Ilja offers Wolfgang a handshake – because respect – as we wait to see what’s next for Ilja and the title.
An improvement on the last few weeks shows, but you still can’t shake the feeling that NXT UK is still on a fast track to go nowhere fast.