We’re still in New York, as this week’s episode of NXT gives us a taste of one of the hottest matches Ireland’s seen in years.
There’s no opening video as it’s straight into the titles… and straight into action too. Nigel McGuinness and Vic Joseph remain on commentary…
Travis Banks vs. Mansoor
Perhaps more notorious for his Twitch than his NXT work, this was the NXT UK debut of Mansoor, who barely lasted 90 seconds on his main NXT TV debut in February against Jaxson Ryker.
Banks takes Mansoor down to the mat from the off, working the arm as Mansoor cartwheels free… only for Banks to come back with a diving knee. Kicks to the leg keep Mansoor on the back foot as the Kiwi Buzzsaw kicked his leg out of his leg, only for Mansoor to take him outside for some chops. Back inside, Mansoor works an overhead arm bar on Banks, only to get taken into the corner for a dropkick as Banks found a second wind. An apron PK has Mansoor down and out, as does a tope, before an inverted suplex almost shocked the former PROGRESS champion… only for Banks to come back with a Slice of Heaven and a Kiwi Krusher for the win. A perfectly fine TV match, but on the face of things Travis Banks having a competitive match with a guy whose prior TV experience was a 90 second loss to Gunner isn’t a good thing. **½
We’ve a video of Xia Brookside in the Harry (in Enfield). She’s got the early Alexa Bliss sparkle gimmick and a load of Facebook/Instagram stickers on her promo, as she tells us she’s going to try and rebound from her loss to Rhea Ripley. There’ll be some who’ll wonder out loud “how did this ever get approved for TV?”
We’ve a promo for Ilja Dragunov, set to what I swear is music wXw’s used before. He’s coming to NXT soon…
More B-roll for Nina Samuels, who’s in front of a changing room mirror talking about “leading roles” – or the victories she’s been building up. Well, just the three, but that’s apparently enough for her to gun for Toni Storm’s title. I’d have liked that to have been for a match that’s not already been taped, but… you know.
Piper Niven vs. Reina Gonzalez
Hey, Reina’s got a cowbell and utter silence for her entrance. Just like the New Blackjacks!
Gonzalez towers over Niven, and seemed to be more than a match for her when it came to power as she took the Scotswoman into the corner from the opening tie-up. From there, we go to shoulder tackles, which Gonzalez uses as a way to sneak in a hair-pull before she backs Niven into the corner.
A clothesline to the back of the head takes Niven down ahead of a grounded chinlock, before she tied up Niven in the ropes by her hair. It’s all underhanded, but it all seems to be working, before Viper sent Reina to the outside. The crowd starts to get behind Niven, who just waited for Gonzalez to get back in to start a battle of forearms, before she followed in with some Polish hammers and a crossbody to take Gonzalez down. A back senton’s next for a near-fall as Niven was on the ascendency, which led to the win with an as-yet unnamed Michinoku driver. Solid enough, but again, why the hell are the leading lights of NXT UK having competitive matches with NXT folks who barely make TV? **¾
“Earlier today” Amir Jordan and Kenny Williams are in a corridor talking about their struggles so far. They reckon that Zack Gibson and James Drake are their biggest doubters, and addressed them having their gear thrown out of the locker room. Williams issues a challenge for Gibson and Drake for a title match in Glasgow… and they’re going to bend Johnny Saint’s ear to get it done.
Gallus are outside the intu Braehead in Glasgow. A little early for the Glasgow shows (kayfabe!) – they talk about how ugly Glasgow is, but they like it… next week, NXT goes to Glasgow, and they’re relishing the fight on home turf.
Jordan Devlin vs. WALTER
If you were expecting a reaction to be in any way comparable to Dublin… are you not paying attention? Still, the Brooklyn crowd gave WALTER the biggest pop of the show so far as a wacky edit job to his music sounded like someone’d played his music twice with a second’s gap.
This one’s non-title, with WALTER coming out heavily marked from his title win over Pete Dunne earlier in the ‘Mania weekend. Devlin plays keepaway with WALTER at the start, as this wonderful crowd piped up with chants of “baby Balor”. WALTER responds by taking Devlin into the corner for a chop, but it’s the Irishman who was able to land some before he scurried away. Back in the ring, Devlin’s quickly smashed with a big boot after WALTER leapfrogged over him, following up with a STF as the Irishman was muscled down to the mat. A crossface follows, but Devlin heads outside… and this time is followed out by WALTER, who pulled him off the apron before he threw him into the ropes, tying him up as that perhaps could have gone a lot better.
Devlin tries to fire back with chops, but it’s kicks to the legs that prove more successful, as Devlin finally had an opening: WALTER’s legs. A single leg crab keeps WALTER at bay, with Devlin dragging him away from the ropes for good measure, but WALTER hits a desperation sit-down splash which seemed to aggravate his leg some more. From there, he goes to his not-so-secret weapon – a chop! It woke up Brooklyn, as Devlin then kicked away a German suplex attempt before he got hurtled into the air with a big back body drop. Devlin tries to come back with a crossbody, but he’s just caught and thrown with a release German suplex for a near-fall, before a back suplex onto the side of the apron continued WALTER’s march of terror.
Devlin nearly upsets the champion with a Code Red out of a powerbomb for a two-count… but WALTER goes back to the chops and forearms as Devlin again kicked WALTER’s leg away. A headbutt has WALTER down, but Devlin can’t get him up for the Saito suplex… unlike WALTER who just drills him with one for a near-fall. From there, WALTER heads up top for the big splash, but Devlin cuts him off and eventually hauls him into the Devlinside (the horrible, horrible pun of a name given to that pull-up Saito suplex). Devlin can’t quite finish off WALTER though, and moments later he eats a powerbomb and a folding pin as the champion retained. Easily one of the better TV matches this show’s had in it’s short history, but my God, this felt soulless in comparison to the other matches in Ireland. WWE absolutely could have gotten so much more mileage out of this had it been fully built-up and paid off closer to home. ***¾
WALTER celebrates with his title, only to be interrupted by Pete Dunne. Hey, we get all the stars this week! Dunne’s got a mic as he demands his rematch. Remember when those weren’t automatic in WWE? WALTER nods, and his music plays to end the show. at under 45 minutes. I guess they couldn’t tape more matches to pad out to the hour, huh?
Next week: no matches announced, but we go to Glasgow for the first NXT UK tapings in Scotland… hopefully with a more invested crowd!