Days ahead from NXT UK’s first big show of the year, we’ve got a Prime Target preview to get us all hyped…
Of course, this wasn’t mentioned at all on last week’s NXT UK – but something had to fill the time slot given that there were no matches left to air. So, here we go – a preview special. No matches, all talkie, but at least these Prime Targets have a reputation for being great. It’s the Shaun Ryan effect.
It opens with Trent Seven being interrogated, reminiscing over the first UK Championship Tournament that was THREE YEARS AGO. That night was Nigel McGuinness’ first on the job too, and we get more talking heads under the spotlight as Tyler Bate and Toni Storm talk about how their careers have changed since Blackpool. William Regal’s got a soft spot for Blackpool too, which segues into the announcement of NXT UK being created, complete with the sizzle reel… and then… the seaside of Blackpool!
Joe Coffey’s talking about his main event in Blackpool last year, along with clips from the match – including the slip. Coffey must have gotten a PS4 for Christmas because he’s still got the box, as he watches back his main event defeat, before a close up of a violin signified the arrival of WALTER… which Joe took badly as it meant he became the afterthought of that show. He’s not taken it well, and this Sunday is his chance to right the wrongs of 2019.
We flip to Trent Seven and the formation of his feud with Eddie Dennis – over a lingering handshake? Sid Scala tells us that Eddie Dennis’ injury has almost made him an outsider, so his actions are hard to understand. Even him bonking Trent on the head with a microphone.
They take us to an “independent show” in Glasgow, where Joe Coffey’s coming in with his bags… Joe’s talking about his early memories of wrestling, and how dare he call Nailz vs. Big Bossman not “flashy”. Jackie Polo’s in as a talking head, talking about growing up being friends with him, even if some of the timeline’s off. Joe’s mum Freda is next, along with photos of younger, mop-topped Coffeys, and a story of Joe Coffey breaking his mum’s bed doing movez. Jackie Polo tells us how he got Joe into wrestling training in 2009, before Graham McKay – promoter of BCW (that “indie show”) pops up to put Joe’s passion and desire over. They’re doing a LOT to get us to cheer for Joe for intangibles like that.
They then switch to footage from a house show in Vienna, where WALTER’s doing a meet and greet. WALTER’s in the wXw academy for his talking head stuff, as we get clips of his Vienna match with Jordan Devlin, and some fan shots. Hey, there’s a back body drop! WALTER tellingly calls himself a European champion, which I dig, and it’s all feeling a little emotionless as far as the champion goes. We flash to Piper Niven who’s talking about her upbringing in wrestling, standing by Kay Lee Ray through thick or thin. She reminisces over bonding with Toni, then mentions how the big time’s changed her friends. Toni Storm’s back to put over both her opponents, and says that she can’t trust anyone… while Piper feels a little put out over how her friends have changed.
Nigel’s back, telling us that Toni’s still reeling from the mind games of Kay Lee Ray from last year… Piper calls Kay Lee “manipulative”, and the champion doesn’t exactly disagree as we get a flash of a viper (nice touch), and clips of Toni’s meltdowns in recent weeks towards Piper. Toni tells us she needs the title because she’s got nothing else, while Piper tells the hidden interviewer that she’s had so many days where she’s wanted to quit. Hard relate.
They bring up Lionheart and his passing, which brings us tears as Piper saying she’s “living his dream”, which is all the motivation she needed.
More ruthless Kay Lee Ray takes us to the Gallus trio walking in the Barras of Glasgow, but this time it’s the tag team pairing who get the focus. Sid Scala chirps out their catchphrases as we get close-ups of them in a pool hall, while Wolfgang described Ilja Dragunov as collateral damage. Zack Gibson and James Drake are under the spotlight, talking about how they upset the pundits by winning the tag titles at Takeover last year, while James Drake moans about all the multi-way tags they’ve been in.
Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster mention winning the tag titles in Cardiff, but they didn’t hold onto those belts for long, as we circle back to how this four-way ladder match was set-up. Gibson takes offence at being in a “circus act of a match”, while the Welsh lads vow to do anything to take the titles back. Marcel Barthel is similarly nonplussed about being in a ladder match, but they’ll do it if it means they can control a bit more of the NXT UK world.
We jump to Vienna, where WALTER is visiting the Heumarkt – the site of the first wrestling match he saw. WALTER’s a lot less cold here, talking about his memories watching wrestling, before he talked about Joe Coffey representing “hooligan culture”. I mean, the clothing does fit. There’s a joke about William Wallace and wearing “skirts because they’re not smart enough to wear tights”, and I’m beginning to picture Joe Coffey in Braveheart garb on Sunday…
Celtic Park’s next, and Joe Coffey’s on the pitch with Mark Coffey and Wolfgang as they’re doing some pre-match punditry. They’re sticking around to watch Celtic FC too, while parading their tag titles to the crowd at half time. A stark contrast to how they’ve been received in England.
Tyler Bate’s next, feeling sad about losing to WALTER in Cardiff. His wisely elder, Trent Seven, speaks in hushed tones as the background music drowns him out. Tyler’s running on country roads, while Jordan Devlin’s on a treadmill as we cut to Jordan bemoaning how he’s not perceived as a “golden boy”. That justified bitterness is the basis for this match it seems, while William Regal’s back to tell us they’re virtually on the same level.
Regal tells us to throw away our pen and paper as they’re framing this as a match of the year in the making. Hmm. I wish they’d gone for a different build… Devlin reckons he’s better than Bate, as they mix workout footage with clips of action while Tyler’s still being all Rocky in Dudley.
Even more Joe Coffey here making… a cuppa tea and a cup of coffee! Puns! He talks about his workouts, including boxing which he thinks will help against WALTER. He’s still fixated on Blackpool from last year, as he drives to the gym while his brother’s talking head reminds us how he’s reeling from what happened. I’m beginning to think that’s the big reason we’re meant to want to cheer him on… well, that and work ethic. Joe Coffey eventually gets to the gym as WALTER’s voice in the background sounds rather dismissive.
We close with a stirring crescendo of clips to build up the card, and that’s your lot. If you weren’t already invested in the card to some degree, I’m not sure how much these packages would have gotten you more interested. While excellently produced, as is the way with Shaun Ryan’s stuff, they didn’t seem to have enough material to talk about for anything outside of the two singles championship matches, and even then, by the end of the 40 minute, Joe Coffey’s case was beginning to feel distinctly one-note. I can only imagine that this would have been even greater had the top feuds had a meatier story behind them.
This’ll will definitely be better than whatever airs in the pre-show on Sunday, so I’d say that you absolutely should make room for this 40-minute barrage of clips and talking heads… then tune in at 5pm on Sunday tea time for the show!