More unaired goodness from prior NXT UK tapings hit your screens this week, as the Wheel o’ Formats continued to spin!
Finn Balor pinned Kenny Williams in 8:00 (***¼)
Rhea Ripley pinned Nina Samuels in 4:30 (**¼)
Killian Dain pinned Travis Banks in 8:30 (**½)
Matt Riddle & Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford) pinned Joseph Conners & Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) in 13:30 (***½)
Cue titles, and Andy Shepherd’s still hosting the show from his living room. Complete with a sweet Undertaker mug in the background. He and Tom Phillips voice over commentary for this show again.
Finn Balor vs. Kenny Williams
This came from the last set of tapings in Coventry, back on March 7, 2020 … it’s one of the matches from the “unaired” show, which they’re now using to hype Finn Balor vs. Damien Priest at Takeover: In Your House.
The pair circle each other to begin, but Balor lays into Williams with kicks before nailing him with a running back elbow in the ropes for an early two-count. More elbows follow as a chinlock keeps Williams down, but Kenny manages to get onto his front, which didn’t help too much as Finn wrenched it in before Kenny finally got to his feet… and freed himself with a jawbreaker. Going into the ropes, Kenny hits a springboard back elbow, then an armdrag to turn the tide, as he trapped Balor with an armbar… following that up with a legdrop to the arm. Balor’s’ back up, taking Kenny into the corner for some chops, before Kenny returned fire with a ‘rana. A forearm knocks Balor down ahead of a PK, which gets Williams a near-fall, but a leg sweep turns it right back around as Williams got stomped on by the ropes.
More stomps force the referee to separate Balor from Williams, with Kenny rolling outside… and into the path of a dropkick through the ropes. That got Finn a two-count, as the Irishman keeps up the pressure by whipping Kenny into the corners for more chops. I think this may have been meant to be a shot at WALTER at the time… A kick gets Balor a two-count, as the crowd chanted “you killed Kenny.” Balor replied “I’m gonna kill WALTER,” which I’m sure would fly well if it got heard in Titan Towers. Balor keeps on top of Williams as the crowd mocked Balor with “WALTER’s gonna kill you” chants, and the distraction forged a brief opening for Williams, who struck back with elbows. He bulldogs Balor into the turnbuckle ahead of a springboard missile dropkick, before a see-saw lariat a la Nigel McGuinness almost led to the upset.
Williams measures up Balor for something, but he’s caught with a Slingblade instead… Balor’s then thrown outside as Kenny went for his own dropkick through the ropes, before skinning the cat back into the ring so he could follow up with a tope. A flying back elbow back inside gets another near-fall for the Scotsman, but Balor quickly turns the tide with a shotgun dropkick, John Wooing Williams into the corner before the Coup de Grace and the 1916 DDT was enough for the win. Pretty good stuff with Williams looking good on offence, but he was always going to be fodder here. ***¼
Rhea Ripley vs. Nina Samuels
This previously-unaired match comes from the Brentwood tapings on October 5, 2019…
They’re using this match to hype Ripley’s NXT Women’s title match against Charlotte Flair and Io Shirai next weekend. We start with Ripley taking Samuels into the corner, before the Aussie worked over Samuels’ wrist, blocking a pair of reversal attempts by taking Nina down to the mat. Nina manages to break free with a cartwheel, but she’s hiptossed back to the mat as Ripley locks in a side headlock. A hair pull helps Nina free, but Ripley just takes her to the corner and pats her head on the top rope. Nina tries a crossbody, but it’s caught and turned into a suplex as Rhea showed off her power, forcing Samuels to roll to the outside.
Rhea’s drawn outside, and gets charged into the side of the ring as Samuels capitalised, but could only get a near-fall despite rushing things back into the ring. She takes Rhea to the corner for an elbow, following up with a snapmare and a Curt Hennig neck flip for just a one-count, so she decides to tone down the pace with a Japanese strangle hold. Ripley throws her away and hits a dropkick after powering out, and it’s all Ripley from here as she tosses Samuels into the buckles. A cravat and some knees takes Nina down for a low dropkick, which nearly ends it, but Nina fights back, heading onto the apron before kicking down Ripley as she returned fire with a slingshot corkscrew splash for a near-fall. Shrugging it off, Ripley ducks a kick and catches Nina with the Riptide out of nowhere for the win. By the numbers stuff for NXT UK TV matches as Ripley was being kept hot at the time. **¼
Killian Dain vs. Travis Banks
We’re going back to the Download festival last year, from June 16, 2019, so prepare for a muted crowd, especially given that Dain was a matter of weeks away from being hyped for a return on NXT – firmly away from the SAnitY act.
Dain starts by shoving Banks into the corner before he checked some kicks from the New Zealander. Banks sticks and moves, ducking a charge before kicking Dain into the corner, as more kicks took the Northern Irishman down. A low dropkick gets a two-count, and Banks keeps going on those as Dain invited the kicks on… but he pops up to give Banks a flapjack and a back senton to turn the tide. Dain clubs away on Banks’ back, then whipped him hard into the buckles. Draping Banks across the corner, some running double knees gave the Kiwi nowhere to go but down, as a chinlock keeps Banks on the mat. More clubbing forearms keep Dain on top, as he just proceeded to stand on him ahead of a release Fisherman suplex that almost won the match.
Banks remains in trouble as he’s locked in a STF-like chinlock, before he got slammed as he tried to fight free. It’s all one-way here, with Banks having issues against the giant Dain, who keeps trading slams and stretches. Travis finally gets free, as he caught Dain with a boot in the corner, and it’s back to the kicks as he ended up tripping Dain into the corner. A shotgun-ish dropkick keeps Dain there, ahead of an apron PK as Dain rolled outside… Banks keeps moving with a low-pe, then rolled Dain back inside for a flying stomp off the top, which almost wins the match. Dain comes right back with a crossbody after Banks had gone up top, and in true WWE template fashion, after the kickout Dain goes for his finish… but Banks wriggles out and hits more kicks to take Dain into the corner.
Banks follows in with a springboard stomp for a near-fall, before a Slice of Heaven was caught, as Dain looked for an Ulster Plantation, but he’s countered with a Victory roll for a near-fall. A quick slam and a Vader Bomb gets the win for Dain not long after, as we get to hear the SAnitY music one last time. This was okay, but way too plodding for this crowd. **½
We’re taken to Plymouth last July as Zack Gibson and James Drake have the NXT UK tag team titles. They’re in the ring with Joseph Conners, and I’m sure the spirit of Larry would make a dig here about Zack having to speak for three men. It’s the usual tremendous delivery from Gibson, who issues an open challenge. They cut to commercial just before James Drake was about to speak… and when they come back…
We get a Gallus promo video? Oh no. The Wheel o’ Formats lands on “Best of Gallus” next week.
Joseph Conners speaks as I was typing that out. He’s cut off by the Street Profits, who have the NXT tag titles (how’s that for dating this show!) Montez Ford fake-marvels at the (then) NXT UK tag team champions, then announced their third man is Matt Riddle. We have a main event!
Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) & Joseph Conners vs. Matt Riddle & Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins & Montez Ford)
This was the “dark match” main event from the tapings in Plymouth on July 19, 2019… and who knew that the three “full fat NXT” names who were advertised for the show would answer the open challenge?
Last time Matt Riddle was in Plymouth, he won 5* Wrestling’s Tap or Snap title. The less we say about that promotion, the better, I feel… So the bell rings as the two tag teams parade their belts. Personally, I’ve always liked the look of the NXT UK straps. Drake and Riddle start us off, but first the crowd get in the “arse face” chants, that commentary recognise. Drake tags in Conners as the mere threat of Riddle made him back off, while Conners tried to get chants of “Joe” going. It sorta worked? Finally they start wrestling as Riddle took down Conners with a waistlock, before a headlock takedown had Conners on the mat again. Headscissors get Conners free, but Riddle escaped before Conners caught him with some right hands. Riddle responds with a pair of gutwrench suplexes for a one-count, before he tried to tie up Conners in a submission.
Conners scrambles out and tags in Zack Gibson, who instantly gets caught with an armbar… he wriggles out and tags in Drake, who instantly falls into an ankle lock before he pushed away. Riddle. Angelo Dawkins tags himself in, but before he can charge at Drake, Gibson gets involved… and ends up eating part of a splash in the corner. Montez Ford is in for the old Beverly Brothers leapfrog splash to both Drake and Gibson, before he caught Drake in the corner with a chop. A low bridge from Gibson took Ford outside, where Gibson fell into/kicked Ford as he was down. The double-teams continue with a slingshot backbreaker on the floor as Drake and Gibson pushed on, keeping Montez away from any kind of tag.
The Plymouth crowd revolt with chants against Gibson, while Ford was taken into the corner and stomped on. Conners is back with elbows to Ford in the corner, before he distracted the ref to allow Drake to cheat with some choking. All very solid, old-school fare that worked well here. Gibson’s back with a snapmare and a cobra clutch, as they replay Riddle’s gutwrenches from earlier and the Street Profits’ leapfrog splash for some reason. Back to “live” action, and Drake lands a ripcord forearm on Ford, while Conners took over the domination on Ford. A snapmare leads to a chicken wing’d chinlock on Ford, who finally fought back with a nice sunset flip, but Conners tagged out to Gibson, who reapplied the hold as the “home team” retained control. The crowd chant against Gibson again, as the cobra clutch almost put Ford away, but he powers up… and avoids a forearm as Drake’s aim was off!
Ford finally breaks free of Drake and tags in Angelo Dawkins, who clears house with clotheslines to Conners ahead of a back body drop. Riddle tags in next as Conners is lifted up for a Doomsday Knee… but Gibson breaks up the pin early on. Gibson gets knocked out with another knee before Conners hit a bulldog as a Parade of Moves broke out. An enziguiri and a neckbreaker leaves Ford down, before Drake and Gibson were caught by Dawkins’ spear. We pick up again with Ford clubbing away at Drake, but a blind tag from Gibson catches him unawares as a Drake dropkick caught him in the corner before a Doomsday something or other was shoved off. Ford catches Drake with a superkick before a small package nearly put Gibson away… Conners tags back in, but Ford hits a dropkick instead after he leapt over the pair of them.
A tope con giro follows, with Ford tagging out to Dawkins in mid-air, with the Street Profits hitting a spinebuster and a frog splash before a tombstone slam from Riddle got the win. A decent post-show main event, with the Montez Ford looking good in peril – but in the end, the visiting stars left with the win. ***½
Riddle and the Street Profits celebrate as Andy Shepherd wrapped up the show with a “you’ll never know who can show up on NXT UK.” That’s us for another week – next week, it’s all about Gallus! Much like the prior Hidden Gems, this was an enjoyable hour of TV with a quartet of solid, if unimportant matches as we continue to wait for news of NXT UK’s return.