It’s off to Plymouth as the latest double-header of NXT sees Jordan Devlin take his first steps back on the road to another title shot.
We open with a graphic “in memory of the Dynamite Kid”, before we’re taken inside the arena as we’re told this week’s main event is Jordan Devlin vs. Flash Morgan Webster.
Joe Coffey saunters down to the ring with Mark Coffey and Wolfgang for promo time. He pulls the mic away from Wolfgang as they spout off single words. The Coffeys still only have NXT UK shirts, which for three tapings deep is real bad going from the WWE Marketing Machine. Coffey declares that NXT UK is their kingdom, before naming their trio GALLUS. Wolfgang keeps moving the mic away from his mouth as he talks, before Joe talked about “last week”.
Travis Banks interrupts them, making his first appearance since the early shows when he was “attacked backstage”. His shoulder’s still somewhat taped up, and when Gallus threatened to attack him the crowd chant “Moustache Mountain”. Well, the booking’s clear at least! Coffey challenges Banks to bring it, and of course Trav hits the ring and gets mugged… and yes, Moustache Mountain make the save. The crowd really is booking this, huh? I hope those leather trousers are fake or at least vegan, Tyler!
Backstage, we see Fabian Aichner ahead of his NXT UK. Radzi interviews him in the shadows. Jesus guys, could you not afford proper lighting, or were you really in a broom cupboard with a torch?
After a break, Radzi’s in a much better lit environment with Jordan Devlin. They talk about how close Devlin took Pete Dunne last week, and Devlin’s confident he’ll be getting another title shot soon.
Mark Andrews vs. Fabian Aichner
Would it be harsh to say that I don’t rate Mark’s chances?
We start with the headlock/shoulder tackle stuff that I’ve seen so much of in New Japan lately, before a caught leapfrog from Aichner is escaped, as Andrews began to flip around the ring. A satellite headscissor takedown sends the Italian outside, where he’s met with a tope. Back inside, Aichner turns it around as he grounded Andrews in body scissors, only for the Welshman to roll back and claim a near-fall, before a chin breaker gets him free.
There’s a superkick from Andrews as he fought back, knee sliding past Aichner ahead of an enziguiri, following through with the Stomp 182 and a standing corkscrew press. Aichner powers back, shoving Andrews into the corner before watching as his suplex attempt is neatly countered into a ‘rana as Andrews showed he had plenty of juice left.
Another springboard back into the ring ends badly when Aichner dumps Andrews with a back suplex, but it’s still even as Andrews lit up Aichner with chops before another knee slide just led to a big lariat. From there, Aichner takes a Stundog Millionaire as this remained insanely even… right until Andrews headed up top and leapt into a brainbuster (?!) as Aichner took another near-fall. That counter looked awkward but when it completed it was a thing of beauty. Another flip from Andrews finds its mark as he moonsaults into a flip DDT for another two-count, before a shooting star press missed as Aichner rolled to the outside.
Aichner rebounds by pulling Andrews outside, as he threw him into the ring steps, before a running knee trapped Andrews against steel. The count-out’s barely beaten by Andrews, but a spinning powerbomb quickly puts him away for the win. A nice, competitive TV match, but given Andrews hasn’t exactly been dominant on NXT UK, this just slots Aichner as a midcard guy in my mind. ***¼
There’s an Isla Dawn video package, then we’re backstage as Johnny Saint is with Radzi, He appoints Sid Scala as his assistant General Manager, before they’re interrupted by Rhea Ripley who brags about winning the title last week.
Nina Samuels vs. Isla Dawn
If Glen Joseph was on commentary, he’d be howling about this match being in 1978…
Dawn starts with a side headlock, which she clings onto Nina with, but Samuels gets free and comes back with a chinlock, which is fought out of, only for Dawn to stagger into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a near-fall. Samuels misses a charge in the corner, which opened it up for Isla who scored with a series of kicks, before a Saito suplex and a knee left Samuels open for a floatover suplex for the win. This was pretty similar to Nina’s TV debut back on show one – and adding the promo piece to this, you have to think they’re readying a push for Isla? **¼
Tucker vs. Eddie Dennis
Tucker’s “impressive” run so far hasn’t seen him pick up wins, and I’m not expecting that to change here.
Eddie’s all over Tucker early on, whipping him into the corner before catching a crossbody and turning it into a swinging backbreaker for a near-fall. A snapmare and a knee drop keep Tucker down, as Eddie has a cravat, only for Tucker to roll out… and follow up with a springboard back elbow off the top rope. A corner-to-corner clothesline followed from Tucker, but his springboard flatliner back in is caught as Eddie lets him go and lariats him. The Severn Bridge buckle bomb is next, before a Next Stop Driver puts Tucker away. Thanks for coming to this slightly jumped-up squash! **
They show a tweet from Johnny Saint which builds up Travis Banks vs. Joe Coffey for “next week”. That tweet went out a day early in real life…
Flash Morgan Webster vs. Jordan Devlin
Devlin’s entrance video had a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to him being the Import Killer, and he starts with a wristlock over Webster, but Flash counters back with a hammerlock as the pair keep it on the mat.
An armdrag from Webster takes Devlin into the ropes… and an attempt at a cheapshot’s blocked when Webster hits another one. Finally Devlin blocks an armdrag, but he’s quickly caught again before Devlin hit back with a rope-hung backcracker for a near-fall. Some desperation shots from Flash just earn him a uranage and a standing moonsault as Devlin looked to ease in, following in with a backbreaker for another two-count.
Some choking in the ropes follow for Flash, as does a clothesline, before a grounded abdominal stretch has Flash in agony. Webster begins to fight back, but a back elbow decks him, before Devlin just throws him to the outside. Back in the ring, Webster’s desperation becomes evident, but he manages to connect with some slaps before an eye rake. Devlin berates Flash, who responded with a leaping knee before some misdirection in the ropes led to a clothesline. A couple of dropkicks follow, then a top rope ‘rana for a near-fall, before Devlin mounted a comeback of his own, taking Flash into the corner for a face washing boot, and a pull-up into an overhead belly to belly for a near-fall. From there, Devlin looks for an Ireland’s Call, but Webster slips out and lands a hand’s up headbutt, sending Jordan to the outside.
Flash followed up on that with a run-up and a baseball slide to the outside, before he moonsaults off the ring steps! They return to the ring where a Shadows over Malice senton bomb meets nothing but knees, before Devlin struck hard with Ireland’s Call for the win. A solid match, but one that lacked any kind of urgency and seemed to be there for the sake of keeping both men strong. ***¼
We’re onto the third set of tapings, and finally the first set of shows since NXT UK began to air… but the problems are evident. The production values are slipping a little (Radzi in a broom cupboard, anyone), and for some reason a lot of the guys on the roster don’t have any kind of spice to them. Unless you’ve come into this with massive name value (see Pete Dunne and the rest of British Strong Style), and perhaps the likes of Eddie Dennis and Jordan Devlin, there’s a lot of “just guys” here padding out the card with no real direction. If/when the roster expands, that’s a problem that’s only going to get worse with this current format, I fear…