Hot on the heels of WALTER winning the UK title at Takeover, NXT UK returned for the last of their Coventry shows.
We have a recap of Jinny’s jealousy of Toni Storm, along with clips of their matches from the Garage, to the Electric Ballroom, to the States. Cue titles, cue Vic and Nigel, and cue a crowd supposedly happy at the new champion.
Travis Banks vs. Kassius Ohno
A first time match, which would have had people salivating… had it not been a TV show opener.
Commentary sounds different than usual, almost like it was done at short notice or redubbed, as things started slowly. Ohno does the whole “you’re an indy midget” thing as he claimed he couldn’t see Banks, which just angered him into throwing some wild kicks. Some actually connect before Banks does his dives. They backfire as he’s sent into the steps as Ohno looked to be a step ahead, at least until he misses a moonsault off the top. Kicks from Banks spark a comeback, but Ohno catches one and turns in with a knee to Banks’ injured shoulder. The crowd tells Ohno to sod off, but commentary talks over most of it as Banks remained on the defensive. To be fair, it was about the only noise they made for Ohno.
Another Banks comeback saw him dropkick Ohno off the apron for a lowpe, before he gave himself a long run up down the aisle for a diving knee. Banks sells his shoulder repeatedly, but not constantly as the shoulder would be fine for a move before aching some more. A Kiwi Krusher, for instance was fine to get a near-fall from, before Banks somehow kicked out of the Rubik’s Cube – an electric chair driver – before a series of roll-ups from Banks nearly led to the win, with a folding body press doing it. Decent match for TV, but file this one firmly in the bucket marked “could have been so much better had they not had to tell stories” ***½
There’s a recap of Piper Niven’s debut appearance two weeks ago, complete with the less-than-convincing audio track. Piper debuts next…
But not before a recap of WALTER beating Pete Dunne for the NXT UK title… then an interview with Radzi and Jordan Devlin that talked about a possible rematch. Devlin reckons he’s the next contender, which is right if NXT UK is going with the “no automatic rematches” deal.
Killer Kelly vs. Piper Niven
Kelly’s first match on NXT UK since #18 that aired just before Christmas last year. She’s still waiting for her first win… and, it seems, a Titantron. Black screens ahoy!
On paper, this was always going to be a squash for Niven, who did have to fight off a cravat from Kelly early on, but she got free and worked her way into a back senton, then a diving splash for a near-fall. Kelly sold a cobra clutch for grim death, but was able to get free and boot her way back in, before countering a counter into a mounted sleeperhold. Niven backs into the corner to break it up though, following in with a cannonball and a Viper Driver for the win. Exactly what you’d expect – a squash, with a small glimmer of hope for Kelly on the way to the loss. **
Post-match, Rhea Ripley tries to sneak attack Piper, but she’s caught before the Aussie backed down.
I swear they’re in New York from the background noise here… Trent’s dyed his hair as Radzi’s interviewing them about wrestling at Axxess. They’re wrestling Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster soon.
Zack Gibson cuts a promo backstage with James Drake, who still doesn’t say a word. Gibson’s moaning about leaving Liverpool to wrestle in the States, when he’d rather watch Liverpool. There’s a non-title challenge issued for the NXT UK roster… and again, I’d bet this was filmed on the other side of the pond.
Jack Starz vs. Joseph Conners
Starz is alive after having been killed by WALTER back in January… and after he was seen in the Paige movie as a referee. True story.
Utter silence greeted Joseph Conners’ entrance, and a lot of this match two… because why would you care, really? Everyone saw Starz killed by WALTER, and nobody’s buying Conners right now. He does at least get charitable boos after a shoulder tackle off the top. I swear someone in the crowd said “I can beat you” when Conners trash-talked Starz. A release back suplex dumped Stars by the ropes as I struggle to recall anything vaguely resembling offence here… save for a few hopeful body blows, and in the end Conners rolls through a crossbody before catching him with the Don’t Look Down DDT. Very squashy. Conners yells at a turnbuckle as we fade away… *¾
Dave Mastiff has a promo lifting weights with a comical filter over it. It’s like this was a seventh gen tape trade copy of an old promo. Mastiff’s now apparently bitter over his dad never saying he loved him. I’m dead serious.
The Not Pirates of the Caribbean WrestleMania 2010 Promo airs… and we find out the Grizzled Young Veterans will be in action next week. Perhaps James Drake may accidentally say a word in a microphone?
WWE NXT UK Women’s Championship: Jinny vs. Toni Storm (c)
A rematch from the early days of NXT UK – throughout their careers, Toni just about holds the edge when it comes to singles encounters… and I doubt that’ll change here.
It’s a strong start with a hockey fight, but Jinny’s quickly having to fight out of submissions as Toni looked to end this early. Jinny got free and replied with her seated surfboard… only for Toni to come back with one of her own. Another escape lets Jinny get back on top, but there’s little threat of a killer blow as Jinny continued to wear down the champion. Slaps from Jinny eventually fire up Storm, who comes back with rolling Germans, before an attempt at Storm Zero was charged into the corner, with Jinny looking for that X-Factor out of the corner. It lands for a near-fall, before another fightback from Toni ended with her being pulled into a facebuster… before she caught a ‘rana from Jinny and turned it into a powerbomb.
One Storm Zero later, and that’s your lot. Decent, but very WWE-style in that it was a “hit your finish and win”, which in theory works… but not when Jinny had been on offence for a long spell prior. They’ve had many better. ***
A by the numbers episode – bookmarked with decent matches. The problem is, only nine months in, they’ve already established a decent chunk of this roster as dead wood, and it’s hurting the show in these “enhancement weeks”. The next few weeks’ll be from the New York Axxess shows, which, if they’re anything like the Royal Rumble tapings, will be hell in front of silent crowds. I pray.