The first ever NXT UK Women’s champion was crowned as the latest double-header came to a head.
We start with a video package recapping the tournament, set to the music that Mills & Mayhew use in PROGRESS… then it’s into the NEC in Birmingham, while Nigel and Vic are in front of that green screen.
Joe Coffey vs. Tyler Bate
Wolfgang and Mark Coffey still don’t have a stable name here… Sid Scala was meant to have been Coffey’s opponent, but he’s out in a suit as he’s “not medically cleared to compete”. He’s got a replacement though: Tyler Bate.
Bate lights up Coffey at the bell as the pair trade body blows and chops early on, before Bate dropkicked Coffey to the outside, where he crashed into the Scotsman with a tope. Tyler keeps up with a leaping uppercut off the ring steps as Wolfgang and Mark Coffey returned from the back, providing a distraction as Joe Coffey ended up throwing Bate into the guard railings. Back in the ring, Coffey puts the boots to Bate, before a giant swing from a butterfly position led to a suplex for a near-fall. A Japanese stranglehold followed as Bate was on the mat, keeping the hold on as Bate tried to reverse out… before Tyler eventually powered out and reversed the hold.
Coffey quickly backs up into the corner to break it up, before he caught Tyler with an overhead belly-to-belly off the ropes for a near-fall. A modified stranglehold followed, but Bate fights out that with his free arm as commentary tells us that Trent Seven’s MIA due to a backstage assault a few weeks ago. The bop/bang punches from Bate catch Coffey into the corner, before they go tit-for-tat with corner charges… but Bate can’t get the Exploder going. He can get a ‘rana off, then a standing shooting star as he almost claimed the win. An attempted Tyler Driver’s broken up when Bate got distracted by Mark Coffey on the apron, allowing Joe to hit a pop-up powerslam for a near-fall.
Trent Seven suddenly appears, hobbling down to the ring as commentary’s made to look like fools. Trent’s playing cheerleader, and it almost worked as Bate tried to lift Coffey up for an airplane spin… but his back gives out. Coffey tries to capitalise with a springboard crossbody, but Bate ducks that and came straight back with an airplane spin, complete with a squat in the middle! After dropping Coffey to the mat, Bate grabbed his back before landing a Koppo kick. Another crack at the Tyler Driver brings Wolfgang and Mark Coffey in, while Trent tried to break it up… and there’s the DQ. This was a pretty good match until the finish, but given the ability on show you’d have been shocked if this hadn’t been good. ***½
The crowd calls for Pete Dunne to make the save, but in NXT UK, he’s not aligned with them though… or is he? Dunne’s music hits as he evens the odds, eventually sending the Scots packing. This was the first match that played off a storyline from an earlier taping – but luckily it was with a big name, so there was none of the awkwardness of “next to nobody getting it”. That being said, I did wonder why “last week” hardly played up the original Scala/Coffey match…
Dan Maloney vs. Ligero
Guess what was chanted here… Go on!
Ligero starts by being pie-faced as Maloney walked into some kicks. A headlock from Ligero ends when Maloney lifts him up and puts him on the apron, but Ligero slingshots back in and lands a dropkick to regain the upper hand. A chinbreaker stuns Dan, who manages to block a ‘rana, only for Ligero to slip free and land a flying version off the middle rope instead. Maloney comes back with a spinebuster as the pair traded near-falls, while Maloney clubbed away on the chest of Ligero.
Chops follow as Ligero sought refuge in the corner, and Maloney leaving his usual game plan cost him as he misses a legdrop off the middle rope. Ligero tries to go up top, but has to stop himself as Maloney tried to cut him off… a flying seated senton finds its mark as Maloney swung wildly, before a springboard sliced bread almost got Ligero the win.
Another ‘rana from Ligero’s blocked, but he’s able to send Maloney to the outside for a flip plancha, before they returned to the ring for the C4L DDT as Ligero got the win. A competitive squash, with Ligero getting back in the winner’s circle with what ended up being a relatively comfortable victory. **¾
Kenny Williams & Amir Jordan vs. James Drake & Zack Gibson
They’re not officially being called the Grizzled Young Veterans here, as they instead get the ULTRA GENERIC “throw both your names on” titantron that makes them look like an upmarket bar. Or a crime solving duo who have a TV show…
The bell rings and off come the crowd’s shoes, but Gibson ignores that as he begins to work over the arm of Williams in the early going. Kenny gets free when Drake tags in and gets a pin off from a springboard back elbow, as Amir Jordan too comes in and helps with a hiptoss. Amir shows us he plays Fortnite as he danced at Drake, but a blind tag brings Gibson back in to thrust a double chop at Jordan’s throat. Gibson keeps up the pressure with a grounded version of the Million Dollar Dream as the unofficially Grizzled Young Veterans were dominating the pair who were, to be quite frank, out of their league.
Gibson slams Drake onto Jordan for a near-fall, but Jordan fights out of a grounded chinlock only to be thrown back into the lion’s den as he was left in the wrong corner. A low dropkick gets Gibson a two-count as the usual chants were aimed at him… something that’s totally no-sold by the wrestlers or the commentary. The WWE effect! Another grounded Million Dollar Dream has Jordan on the mat. He gets free, but is quickly dragged back into the opposite corner as Drake and Gibson remained effective… at least until Drake whiffed on a corner dropkick! Drake chose to tag out, which allowed Jordan to make the hot tag to Williams, who rushed in with a wheelbarrow facebuster for a near-fall to Zack.
Jordan makes a save from a double-team suplex on Williams, who recovered to hit a baseball slide dropkick before a pair of topes left Drake and Gibson down and out. Back in the ring though, Drake catches Williams with a forearm as he looked to climb the ropes, which led to the finish as Drake scooped up Williams to throw him for a Ticket to Ride, as the newly-minted team (here at least) got the win. A bit of an elongated squash, but we’ve got to establish Drake and Gibson in NXT UK ahead of the impending tag title tournament. ***
Johnny Saint comes out ahead of the main event with the NXT UK Women’s championship belt.
NXT UK Women’s Championship Tournament – Final: Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm
Once again they dub in Toni Storm’s new theme ahead of the battle of the Mae Young Classic semi-finalist and the eventual winner.
These two had met once before, in a previous life in 2014 when Ripley won a three-way. We get the main event introductions, and the Undertaker lights, which left a weird glow around both finalists, as the NXT UK women’s champion was being fought between two Australians.
Ripley shoves Storm and poses at the bell… Toni just replies with a barrage of forearms as she looked to make short work of things. We’re quickly into the corner for a hip attack, as Ripley rolls outside and into the path of a low-pe as Storm found her mark. After putting the boots to Toni, Ripley seemed to aggravate Storm’s back from a swivel on the apron that ended with a kick.
On the apron, Ripley looked to make things worse, but Storm broke free of a suplex as she instead took a back body drop that left her in tears. Ripley returned to the ring as Storm had to beat the ten-count to keep the match alive, but the bruising on her back was visible as Rhea kept up the beating, whipping Toni into the corner as commentary brought up Ripley’s stoppage victory over Tegan Nox. Yeah, I was getting vibes of that here, especially with the knowledge that Storm’s selling was realistic for a reason here.
Ripley kicks out the legs of Storm, before some grounded body scissors forced the Mae Young Classic winner to swivel out and throw some punches to get free. More shots ended with a shin breaker as Ripley pounced with an inverted Cloverleaf, forcing Storm into the ropes for relief. Storm tries to fight back with right hands before an attempted deadlift German suplex couldn’t come off… so Ripley instead goes for a suplex of her own, only for Storm to land the German afterall!
A headbutt from Storm leads to another German suplex, getting a near-fall, before more hip attacks and some double knees drew a near-fall. Storm puts some more boots to Ripley as she seemed to measure up for something, but a dropkick cuts her off as the pair seemed to scramble for more and more pinning attempts.Storm comes close with a Euro clutch, before a Storm Zero’s countered with a backdrop to the floor, as Rhea adds more pain by throwing Toni into the guard rails. That gets a near-fall back in the ring, before Ripley’s attempt at Riptide as avoided. Storm can’t get the Storm Zero off afterall, which leaves her easy pickings for Riptide as Ripley gets the win. You could hear the audible gasps in the room on that result – as Ripley picked up her first gold in WWE. A really solid match, especially considering that Toni gutted through an injury seemingly picked up early on to ensure the final didn’t end in short order. ***¼
Triple H and Johnny Saint present the NXT UK Women’s title to Rhea Ripley as you could see the entire roster on the stage to celebrate the moment.
All in al, this was a decent show – which is pretty much the norm for the NXT UK brand. While some may question Ripley getting the title, it certainly made it feel different from what many expected, with Storm winning the title (on top of the Mae Young Classic) perhaps being the “safe bet”. Nothing was announced for next week as we enter another round of tapings this time from Plymouth.