It’s not long for this world, but NXT UK finishes up the first round of the title tournament on this week’s show.
NXT UK Championship Tournament First Round: Joe Coffey pinned Mark Andrews in 7:40 (**¾)
Amale pinned Nina Samuels in 6:31 (**½)
Andre Chase & Bodhi Hayward pinned Eddie Dennis & Saxon Huxley in 6:49 (***)
NXT UK Championship Tournament First Round: Tyler Bate pinned Kenny Williams in 13:19 (***½)
“This feels like WCW 2000,” I said last week. I was only a year and a few months out at most… If you’ve been under a rock, WWE announced today that NXT UK is going away in just a few weeks time, and is slated to return at a non-specified time in 2023 as NXT Europe. At least, that’s the plan. Wrestling shows always come back strong from hiatus, right? Especially against a backdrop of a steady stream of releases and expiring-contracts getting announced today.
I have my doubts over NXT Europe spinning up – at least while there’s foundational questions like “do you keep Enfield open and have a mainland Europe PC?” (and shoulder the extra costs when the opposite has been the MO in WWE as of late). As for today, we’re live via tape from the BT Sport studios… and if you saw NXT 2.0 this week, then the culmination of these next few weeks of shows have all been given away for you! Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness are on the call once more…
NXT UK Championship Tournament First Round: Joe Coffey vs. Mark Andrews
I’m going to avoid going “HMM” throughout these shows, especially since WWE gave away the winner and a lot of names on these shows have left…
Oh, those “can Mark Andrews walk around his home town as NXT UK champion at Clash at the Castle” trails aged horribly, huh? Andrews tries for an armdrag early, but it’s blocked… as was his headscissors as Coffey took him down with a slam. Andrews clings onto the corner to kick away Coffey, then hit the ropes for a ‘rana off the middle rope, only for another slam to drop the Welshman for a two-count. Coffey stays ahead, blocking more armdrag attempts before he missed an elbow drop… Coffey’s back with an overhead wristlock, then a full nelson, before uppercuts were countered into a backslide attempt. It’s eventually blocked, so Andrews tries a roll-up for a two-count, before he lands some dropkicks.
Andrews runs into a headbutt to the chest, but recovered with a pop-up DDT. Leaping forearms follow, knocking Coffey to the outside as he was left hanging against the bottom rope, with a flying stomp from Andrews finishing the job. An overhead belly-to-belly back inside puts Coffey back in it, but a Stundog Millionaire derailed things briefly as Andrews sought to recover. Coffey swats away another springboard from Andrews, then charged him into the corner before Awra Best For The Bells got the win. Decent enough for the time, but it’s hard to not see these as inconsequential now, eh? **¾
Backstage, Joe Coffey’s crowing over his win in his first match back after time off… he vows NXT UK is going to be his Kingdom. Shame, eh?
Amale vs. Nina Samuels
Amale starts with a side headlock, rolling down Nina to the mat as Samuels tried for an escape.
A crucifix from Amale gets a two-count amid a series of pinning attempts, before a headlock takedown put us back to square one. Nina’s leapfrog is avoided as Amale hits a pair of low dropkicks, then a shotgun dropkick to the corner for a two-count. We’ve a kick out of Samuels in the corner as she began to put the boots to Amale, taking her into the ropes for a dropkick to the back for another two-count.
Samuels’ chinlock eventually ends in the rope, before she dropped Amale with a slam. Amale fights back with right hands, but gets caught with a tiltawhirl backbreaker for a two-count, then got taken into the ropes and stretched again. Another dropkick misses as Nina bounces off the ropes as Amale connected with forearms and clotheslines, before she took Samuels into the corner, then out of it with a bulldog. After the kick-out, Samuels tripped Amale into the ropes, but she returns the favour, cornering Samuels for a running kick… before a Hope Breaker ended things. **½
After the match, Amale called out Eliza Alexander and Isla Dawn for future matches…
“Earlier this week,” Oliver Carter’s at the doctor’s to check on his knee. He claims he’s okay, but Trent Seven’s there to try and bait him into forfeiting their semi-final next week. Of course that doesn’t happen…
Ilja Dragunov’s got a pre-recorded message for those left in the tournament… he hopes everyone’s willing to give everything for the title, because he’ll be back to take his place and his title.
Chase U (Andre Chase & Bodhi Hayward) vs. Eddie Dennis & Saxon Huxley
This was set up via a backstage segment last week with the former teacher Eddie Dennis and Andre Chase…
Chase works the arm and wrist of Eddie early on, before Eddie took him down with an armdrag. Chase returns the favour, slapping Eddie in the head for good measure, before we get a catchphrase and a side Russian legsweep. Audience interaction stomps follow from Chase, before Hayward tagged in for a sunset flip that just about got Eddie down for a two-count. Quick tags keep the Chase U duo fresh, before Saxon Huxley tagged in and accidentally double-sledged Eddie. Chase follows with an uppercut on Huxley, before he punched Eddie off the apron after he took a knee in the ropes. Huxley adds a Thesz press as he tries to turn it around, throwing in an elbow drop for just a one-count.
Dennis tags back in to keep control, working an armbar before Huxley’s back to charge Chase into the corners for some clotheslines. More whips into the buckles wear Chase down, but Eddie’s call for an elbow drop sees Huxley miss as tags bring us back to Hayward and Dennis. Chop blocks spin Eddie down, while a leaping shoulder tackle and a splash gets Bodhi a near-fall… Eddie’s back suplex frees him to tag in Huxley again, as he came in with a flying clothesline for a near-fall. Eddie tags back in, but he clearly upset Huxley who stormed off, leaving Eddie alone as a wacky Flatliner for Chase off of the back of Hayward got the win. ***
Post-match, Eddie Dennis berated Huxley, and eats a tree slam for the hell of it as Huxley then celebrated with Chase U.
We’ve a video package to build up the Noam Dar vs. Mark Coffey Heritage Cup match that’s next week. You know the kind they do for these – sit-down promos interspersed against each other… I wonder if the winner of this gets a Rounds Match on NXT 2.0, since they’ve ported the format over there? Interestingly, in the promos, Dar seemed to confirm his split from Sha Samuels in storyline after the whole betting farce…
Next week – we’re getting both NXT UK title tournament semi finals, which is Oliver Carter vs. Trent Seven, plus Joe Coffey vs. the winner of our main event… plus the Heritage Cup match.
NXT UK Championship Tournament First Round: Kenny Williams vs. Tyler Bate
Williams is clearly the underdog here, and that’s just looking at those win/loss records…
Bate works the arm early on, then blocked an attempted whip into the corner as Tyler went all World of Sport on him going for a roll-up for a two-count. Kenny tries the same, but to no avail…
A slap from Williams earned him a right hand, as Tyler boxed him into the ropes… we’ve a show of strength from Bate before he slapped back, taking Williams into the corner as a back body drop and a dropkick took the Scotsman outside. Williams avoids a tope and hits a springboard back elbow to knock Tyler outside… but Kenny’s dive is avoided as Tyler instead went for an airplane spin around ringside. A shoulder charge sees Tyler hit the ring post as Kenny hits an arm whip… and headed back inside in search of a count-out. It doesn’t materialise, so Kenny goes a-stomping. Covers from Williams only gets him two-counts, before an attempt to punch apart a sunset flip backfired as Bate returned with more whips into the corner.
Tyler telegraphs a back body drop, allowing Williams back in with a suplex, before Tyler powered out of a chinlock, turning it into an electric chair drop. Uppercuts follow as Williams unsuccessfully tried to snuff out Bate’s comeback, leading to Bate hitting an Exploder suplex out of the corner, then a standing shooting star press for a near-fall. Williams tries to block another airplane spin, but ends up getting knocked into the ropes… he rebounds with a backslide for a near-fall, before a diving tackle to the knee led to a death valley driver. Bate kicks out at two from that, then scored with that airplane spin, before a clothesline off the ropes from Tyler left both men laying.
Bate’s back up swinging, but Williams kicks away a bop/bang punch, only to have his rebound lariat stopped with the bop/bang. It knocks Kenny to the outside, allowing Tyler to hit a plancha for a near-fall… then a German suplex back inside for a near-fall. A Tyler Driver looks to follow, but Williams escaped and tries for a headlock driver, before he ran Tyler into the ropes. Williams’ roll-up with the feet on the ropes doesn’t get it done, before he leapt out of the corner into a release German suplex. From there, Bate hits a rebound clothesline… then the Tyler Driver, and would you Adam and Eve it, Tyler’s in the semis! ***½
A better than usual show, as without the main event it would have been notable only for it having aged like milk left outside in a heatwave this week. The final two weeks of shows are going to be curious to see what (if anything) they do to call out the closure, particularly since it’s meant to build to a Worlds Collide show days after the final episode… and just will the short-notice closure feel obvious, or will they have actually have filmed stuff to prepare for a reboot in the new year?