The second half of the NXT UK double-header saw Wolfgang in the main event – but not against Travis Banks as advertised.
We’re into the double-headers, which was awkward on episode three as we were chock full of “next week” shout-outs for a show that aired… minutes later! There’s no pre-show video package, as we’re onto the second day of those July tapings from Cambridge! Nigel McGuinness and Vic Joseph remain on commentary from afar, and it’s straight to the action…
Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Sam Gradwell & Saxon Huxley
Man, the decision to do double headers of this show’s already aging the commentary badly. Gradwell and Huxley have the most generic Titantron in WWE history, sub NXT jobber level, and they’re seemingly cannon fodder for the first tag match in NXT UK history.
Huxley and Seven start us off, with a throwback to… minutes ago (as this aired), and Huxley takes Trent into the corner straight away ahead of a shoving match. A slap takes Trent down to a knee, but some more chops don’t lead to a DDT as Huxley scouted it and instead throws Trent to the outside.
With Huxley distracting the referee, there’s some cheapshots from Gradwell, but it backfires as the referee’s still tied up as Huxley only gets a one count as Trent was rolled back in. Gradwell tags in as they continued to isolate Trent with some classic bad guy tactics, but Gradwell almost gets distracted by the crowd as Trent nearly got free. A slam and a falling headbutt gets Gradwell a two-count, before Huxley returned to keep Trent down on his knees.
Thanks to the wacky taped time/space continuum, Trent’s got a knee brace to help an injury that’s since healed, by the way… Trent manages to sidestep charges from Huxley and Gradwell before tagging in Tyler… who instantly throws himself to the outside with a nice hands-free plancha, before going after Huxley back in the ring. Bate’s clearly being made to look the star of this team, as he humps Huxley with an Exploder suplex ahead of a standing shooting star press for a near-fall. Trent tags back in, perhaps too soon… and we’re proven right as he looked for an assisted Dragon suplex, but Huxley evades it as Gradwell returns to help dump him with a spinebuster/back cracker combo. That looked like a nasty landing, and Trent’s instantly rolled over into a single leg crab, which gets broken up as Saxon Huxley’s charged into the pile by Tyler Bate.
Trent recovers with a spinning backfist to Gradwell, before he tagged in Bate… but Tyler assists with a rebound lariat for the Dragon suplex, and that’s enough for the win! A fun tag to kick us off, but like I said… Tyler’s clearly the star of this team. So, if this is going down the classic WWE booking, let’s set the clock ticking on the split! ***¼
We’re taken backstage as we’ve the aftermath of an apparent attack on Travis Banks. GM Johnny Saint shoos away the referees as he demands to find out who did it. That camera was there eerily quickly mind you… was it the cameraman?
We’ve a video package next on Isla Dawn, who’s in action tonight… but not until we’ve had another Jinny vignette. For anyone who’s not seen her, these are real good at introducing you to the character while being subtle.
Radzi’s backstage with Johnny Saint, who asks Saint about the attack. Mark Andrews walks up and tries to politic his way into replacing the injured Banks. Saint ponders it as we return to live action…
Nina Samuels vs. Isla Dawn
Samuels is back just “weeks” after a loss to Toni Storm on the debut episode, while Isla Dawn’s on this after appearing in the Mae Young Classic (in real life, but this was taped before then. Ah, that infernal time/space continuum!)
We start with the customary lock-up, with Nina taking Isla into the corner repeatedly as she tried to rough up the Scotswoman. The crowd’s not really familiar with either woman, and it shows in their reactions as Dawn clocks Samuels with a running knee, but Nina rolls onto the apron before hanging Isla on the top rope.
Nina’s back in with a suplex for a two-count, as she tried to wear down Isla in the corner, whipping her in hard into the middle turnbuckle as that shoulder looked to be causing problems. Another suplex from Nina’s countered into a small package as Dawn began to fight back, clocking Samuels with a roundhouse kick before a floatover suplex got the win. This didn’t feel like much of a match, not helped by the crowd’s general lack of reactions. Give it a few weeks of vignettes and character work and things should pick up. **¼
Back in front of the green screen, Nigel and Vic recap “last week” as they throw to a sitdown promo with Radzi and Pete Dunne. Did they only have one interviewer?! Radzi, who’s looking up towards Dunne for some reason, addresses Danny Burch’s challenge, but Dunne isn’t fazed by Burch or his experience. This was a good promo, but filmed really weirdly, with Radzi coming across more like a Mastermind quiz host by the end!
They confirm that Mark Andrews faces Wolfgang in the main event, since Travis Banks is out hurt… then we go to another Jordan Devlin video, as he debuts on NXT UK next!
But first, another video! It’s an Eddie Dennis piece, with a little more focus on Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis – his childhood friends – and how he vows to be the guy NXT UK is built around. Like with virtually all of the vignettes on NXT UK, this was exceptional, and I can only wonder how new fans are taking these pieces. Eddie Dennis debuts next week!
Jordan Devlin vs. Tucker
Tucker’s got a slightly different entrance video, and he starts out on offence, trying to snapmare Devlin… but Jordan’s more than a match, at least until Tucker surprised him with an enziguri that got him barely a one-count.
Devlin instantly responds with a standing uranage and a standing moonsault, before he simply throttled the Northern Irishman on the mat. A stomp to Tucker’s elbow quells the few in the crowd poking fun at his cranium, as did some chops as Devlin looked to take an advantage.
There’s an overhead wristlock as Devlin tried to go after the shoulder of Tucker, who replies with a Slingblade for a couple of pinning attempts as his arm seemed to give way. A Miz-like corner clothesline from Tucker catches Devlin unawares, before a slingshot Flatliner from the apron nearly gets the upset. Tucker tries to win with a senton bomb, but Devlin gets the knees up before a back elbow and a modified death valley driver gets the win. Not a convincing win, but a good first step for Devlin on the brand – although that finisher may need some work though! **¾
In “two weeks” we’ve Dakota Kai vs. Toni Storm. If there’s a double-header next week… that may be next week. Who knows with this timeline?!
Radzi’s still backstage, staring up at Danny Burch who’s spotlit like he’s being interrogated. They have ways of making him talk. He recounts all the times he’s been knocked back in his life, before he puts over Dunne’s ability. We’ve still got the odd (for WWE style) line of questioning from Radzi, who finishes off by asking Burch what it’d be like to become champion… Burch asks him to ask that again in two weeks if he wins the title. Yeah, we’ve got that match next week!
Wolfgang vs. Mark Andrews
Andrews was subbing for the injured Travis Banks, who’ll have missed a lot of episodes with a shoulder injury he picked up literally the day before these tapings started.
When the bell goes, we start with Wolfgang taking Andrews into the corner as the Scotsman looked to impose his size difference on the Welshman. Wolfgang easily lifts Andrews onto the top rope, but Mark replies by gripping into a side headlock, holding tight as Wolfgang tried to throw him off, before he scored with a wheelbarrow armdrag.
A regular armdrag’s delayed as Wolfgang was left unsteady and in the corner, where he’s met with a gamengiri and a ‘rana as the Welshman took Wolfie outside. Andrews dives on him with a tope, but he’s caught and press slammed into the apron as there’s a reminder of the size difference on show here. Wolfgang keeps up on Andrews with strikes and another Gorilla press slam… but Andrews slips out as he was about to get launched into the crowd. There’s chops from Andrews as he strikes to strike back, but a clubbing lariat knocks him loopy. Andrews is able to slide on his knees through Wolfgang’s legs before scoring with a kick, then a 619 to the back and a roll through off the apron into the Stomp 182. A standing twisting senton’s good for a near-fall, but more kicks eventually get caught as Wolfgang ends up countering a crossbody into a gutbuster.
Wolfgang keeps up the offence with a rugby tackle-like spear for a near-fall, before a Fireman’s carry takedown looked to lead to a springboard moonsault… but Andrews rolls away! Andrews tries for a moonsault of his own, but he has to counter it into a satellite DDT as Wolfgang rolls outside… and into the path of a tope con giro! A Stundog Millionaire follows back inside from Andrews, leaving Wolfgang on the mat ahead of a shooting star press… and that’s enough for the win! The differing styles didn’t quite mesh for my tastes here, but the win sees Andrews come through as an underdog who can actually get the job done against bigger foes… something that’ll be useful if the Eddie Dennis feud bleeds over into NXT UK. ***¼
Post-match, Andrews and Wolfgang shake hands, before the Coffey Brothers storm the ring and mug Andrews. Wolfgang’s watching on from the stage as Flash Morgan Webster comes in to make the save… but he too is double-teamed as Wolfie continues to watch on. He eventually returns to the ring to chase away the Coffeys, but it’s a ruse as he helps Flash back to his feet and lays him out with a short-arm clothesline! We’re in for Scotland vs. Wales in NXT UK then, as the show came to an end with Wolfgang and the Coffeys standing tall…
I’ll admit, I came into this show with a bit of skepticism based off of the mood around the spoilers… but the addition of the WWE production has made this a show that is just about worth your time, even if you do consume all the graps. While the addition of double-headers may have seriously confused things on the commentary time-line (and made this a little trickier to get two reviews out on the night), we’ve still yet to have a real bad match, while we’ve gotten plenty of tantalising build – if only to see how WWE will handle the likes of Eddie Dennis and Jinny when they debut.