Jordan Devlin was the latest challenger for Pete Dunne as the latest episode of NXT UK had the predictable banger of a main event.
This past weekend’s tapings led to the announcement of a NXT UK Takeover for January – a show that sold out long before anything from those tapings air. So we at least now have something for this show to aim to… but there’s a LOT of episodes to get through before we get anywhere near Blackpool. Nigel and Vic start by telling us that “next week” is the women’s championship tournament final, while tonight we’ve got Pete Dunne vs. Jordan Devlin.
Xia Brookside & Millie McKenzie vs. Charlie Morgan & Killer Kelly
It’s a battle of folks eliminated from the tournament vs. those who were never in it to begin with!
Charlie and Xia start us off, with the latter clinging on with a headlock before she looked to work over the wrist. A kip-up looked to have Charlie free, but Brookside puts her back down as Charlie had to stand on her head to work her way into a counter. Some step-up headscissors take Charlie down before a dropkick led to a tag in for Millie McKenzie, who was easily the biggest star of the four in the match (at least to the Birmingham crowd).
Millie gets a near-fall from a neckbreaker as commentary nicely switched the “Bruisermates” chant into a plug for Pete Dunne later in the night. Shoulder charges take Millie into the corner as Killer Kelly gets a tag in, but she’s quickly ragdolled down with a waistlock as McKenzie worked in a deep armbar. A clothesline from Millie gets just a one count on Kelly, so it’s off for the German suplex attempts… but Kelly charges into the corner to stop it as the tables turned. Using the hair, Kelly pulls Millie up into a curb stomp, but Millie’s right back in with a German suplex as Kelly was forced to tag out.
Brookside’s back in too as she blocks a superkick from Morgan and comes in with a facebuster instead, before headscissors and a running double knees left Charlie down. Kelly provides a distraction as Xia looked to go up top… but it backfired as Millie ran in with a spear to Morgan, allowing Xia to roll her up for the win. A win for the inexperienced pair after a decent tag match, after which Kelly walked off disgusted… will that lead to anything? **¾
Ashton Smith vs. Eddie Dennis
Eddie’s perturbed by the crowd’s whooping for Ashton Smith, which played from the backstage segments of Eddie wanting more competition I guess?
Smith grabs an early headlock, but comes back in with a dropkick after he was shot into the ropes. A leg lariat sends Dennis to the outside, where he catches a tope and turns it into a swinging side slam on the apron as Smith went from offence to defence in a heartbeat. Back in the ring, Eddie puts the boots to Smith, then whips him hard into the corner before a judo throw drew a near-fall for the Welshman.
A cravat keeps Eddie ahead, but Smith fights free and begins to lay some right hands on Eddie, along with a clothesline as Smith began his comeback. Eddie heads onto the apron, where he’s met with a springboard dropkick then a tope con giro – this time there was no catching – before they return to the ring as a leg lariat off the top almost put Dennis away. Eddie looked to get back up, but he’s caught up top… before he counters out of a superplex, slipping down as he took Smith corner-to-corner for the Severn Bridge, as the Next Stop Driver completed the victory. A nice little competitive match, but I’d be said if that little arc with Eddie and Ashton was wrapped up with this. **¾
They replay last week’s events where Joseph Conners attacked Saxon Huxley after their match… and they face off next!
Saxon Huxley vs. Joseph Conners
Rushed, much? This took place live later in the same taping as the split-up, and we start with Huxley jumping Conners at the bell, beating him around the ring as Conners offered little defence to start us off with.
Conners tries to fight back, but he’s quelled with a back body drop… then returns with a clothesline and some ground and pound as a modified stranglehold left Huxley on the mat. Lifting Huxley into the ropes, Conners continues the methodical beating, blasting Huxley with elbows in the corner… but Huxley returns fire with a dropkick, then with a big clothesline as he almost put away his one-time tag team partner.
A back suplex from Conners gets a one-count, as does a sit-out spinebuster, before Conners landed the Don’t Look Down DDT for the win. A functional match, but in this form Joseph Conners did absolutely nothing for me as a villain. **¼
Nigel and Vic are in front of a green screen again as they hype up a video package for “next week”’s NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament final. After we see Jordan Devlin warming up, there’s a video package for Rhea Ripley too.
NXT UK Championship: Jordan Devlin vs. Pete Dunne (c)
It’s another NXT UK special as we have a brief storyline paying off pretty quickly, but at least we get a good match out of it.
Yeah, we got the massive head chants at the start of the match as Dunne looked to go after Devlin’s wrists early, but the Irishman stops him, only to get pulled into an armbar. Devlin moves away as Dunne looked to stomp on the arm, and we reach a stalemate.
The second go around sees Devlin try to work on the arm again, but Dunne monkey flips free as Devlin scoots onto the apron for safety, before he rushed back in to level Dunne with a forearm. That momentum quickly ends with a lariat from Dunne, as he went back to his game plan of working on Devlin’s arms, complete with finger tweaking and other joint manipulation before he stomped on the back of Devlin’s head.
Some clotheslines from Devlin look to be ineffective as Dunne hit back in kind… only for Devlin to hit back with a uranage and a standing moonsault that didn’t draw much of a cover. A series of forearms just drew Devlin into the inevitable response from Dunne, as he was sent flying into the corner, before he was met with a kick to a back after a German suplex to Dunne was just flipped out of. Dunne hits back with a German suplex of his own, then a suplex into a cross armbar, before Devlin rolled him up for a near-fall. The momentum swung back as an enziguiri and a big boot cornered the champion, which led to Devlin pulling Dunne up into a back suplex for a near-fall. Some clubbing blows followed, but Devlin took too long to follow up and misses a standing moonsault, leaving him prey for Peter.
Dunne aims for the arms and fingers again, repeatedly stomping on the Irishman’s hands before a finger snap’s countered with a forearm to the head. A palm strike to the head puts Dunne back in it before he ran into a standing Spanish fly… but again, Dunne hits back instantly with a Koji clutch as Devlin had to roll into the ropes for freedom.
On the outside, Dunne tries to stomp Devlin’s hand on the steel steps, but he’s shoved off as Devlin instead used the steps for another Spanish Fly, this time to the floor. That almost led to a double count-out as both men dove back in to beat the count, before Dunne went back to the hands of Devlin. Stomp, a buzzsaw kick and a Bitter End was attempted… but the latter’s countered with a reverse ‘rana for a near-fall!
Devlin tries to follow up with a springboard, but he’s met with a forearm in mid-air as Dunne lands a Bitter End. The champion can’t follow-up as Devlin wonderfully rolled away every time Dunne looked to drape an arm over him for a pinning attempt… and it’s Devlin who’s back in action first as he took Dunne up top for another Spanish Fly!
Somehow Dunne kicks out at two from that, so Devlin keeps up with the forearms and a headbutt as both men were floored. Devlin removes Dunne’s mouth guard and clocks him with a superkick as commentary sold a knock-out, but it wasn’t to be… and when Devlin moonsaulted into an arm triangle it as the beginning of the end as Dunne rolled him away from the ropes before some finger snaps forced the submission. Not sure how that’s a legal hold, but I think we’re long beyond questioning stuff in wrestling! ****
An excellent main event, even if you struggled to “buy” that Devlin was winning the title on a random TV episode with little build. We’re not dealing with Attitude-era hot potato title changes yet… but apart from that, it was a throwaway episode of NXT. As good as the top tier of talent is, once you get to the midcard and below, there’s a LOT of work to be done in building up this roster beyond the hardcores.