WALTER vs. Pete Dunne 2 was on tap this week as NXT UK presented the biggest rematch in its short history.
We’re back at the intu Braehead Arena in Glasgow, but first we’ve a video package recapping the events from Takeover: New York.
Travis Banks vs. Joseph Conners
Winner gets the last spot in that four-way to crown a new contender.
The crowd’s pro-Banks to get us going, as he grappled Conners to the mat early on. Some arm work’s slapped away by Conners, but Banks quickly takes him down for a diving knee as he followed up by kicking his leg out of his leg. Yep, I was going to make that reference this week. Conners catches a kick and takes Banks outside, then into the ring steps, as he made a comeback, clattering into Banks with a shoulder charge for a near-fall. A back elbow keeps Banks down, as does a slam, then a suplex as Conners built up two-counts amid a dead crowd. So of course, a chinlock slows the pace down some more.
Banks makes a comeback, taking Conners into the corner for a dropkick, then following him outside with a running PK on the apron… which Banks went back inside from as he added to that with a lowpe. Back inside, Banks goes for a Slice of Heaven, but it misses as Conners launches in with a slingshot bulldog and a sunset bomb into the corner. Alas, it wasn’t enough, and after a bunch of back-and-forth two counts, Conners hits back with a clothesline. And still, the crowd cared more about cheering Banks than anything Conners did. I feel bad for him. Some ground and pound has Banks covering up, but yelling at the Kiwi proved to be a mistake as Banks had one last comeback, rolling through a sunset flip attempt before landing a Slice of Heaven and a Kiwi Krusher for the win. Far from a comprehensive win, but a win nonetheless. As for Joseph Conners, well, he feels dead in the water, in spite of whatever he does. Perhaps a proper repackaging would help? ***
Radzi interviews Travis after the match. He brings up Joe Coffey injuring him at the Albert Hall, to a huge cheer, and vows to be the new number one contender. We’ll find out in a fortnight.
In her dressing room, Nina Samuels is in talking to a mirror again. She’s crowing over being given a title shot after pushing the right buttons. Of course Nina vows to win the title next week. These promos work for the character, but after a while they sure do make Nina come across as delusional. If these continue, I’m half expecting La Diablesa Rosa to appear in the mirror a la Warrior…
They replay clips from the last Noam Dar/Mark Andrews match from a few weeks ago, which ended in both men being carried out.
Mark Andrews vs. Noam Dar
Dar’s the natural favourite here, as commentary tried to paint that both men weren’t anywhere near 100%. Anyway, they shake hands, as the early exchanges saw both men avoid armdrags before they reached a stalemate.
Andrews edges ahead with a double armbar stretch… but after getting sent into the rope he whiffs on a crossbody as Dar dizzies Andrews with a windmill backslide for a near-fall. An enziguiri from Andrews led to a 450 splash that he had to abort, knee sliding under a clothesline before Dar caught him with an ankle lock. Andrews gets free, but is quickly downed again with a pump kick as Dar picks up a near-fall. Another knee slide helps Andrews avoid another Dar clothesline, but a cross-chop to the throat and an uppercut has the Welshman rocked, before he countered a suplex into a Stundog Millionaire. Dar rolls outside and gets caught with a tope con giro… and clutches his knee after the impact too.
As the referee checked on Dar, Andrews backed up a little as the match ground to a halt, playing off the prior injury history of Dar. Of course, it was a ruse though, as the match wasn’t rung off, as Dar attacked Andrews from behind, with the crowd cheering for him hoodwinking Andrews, before a Nova Roller diving knee put Andrews away. A weird match in some ways, and yeah, the fake injury stuff will annoy some, but it at least established Dar as someone who’ll win by any means necessary. ***
Backstage, Radzi’s with Zack Gibson and James Drake arriving… he tells them Moustache Mountain called them out, and for once, James speaks! Mark tape, James Drake says some words! Zack says way more though, saying that neither the fans nor Moustache Mountain make the matches, as they dismiss Radzi.
In the arena, Rhea Ripley appear, albeit not dressed to wrestle. She mocks the crowd for wanting to see her wrestle, as she addressed Piper Niven. Yeah, call out the local lass. Rhea tells the crowd that when you wrestle her, nightmares become reality. Since Rhea’s injured, this was a good way to remind you she’s around, and keep the story with Niven simmering.
Kassius Ohno hijacks a cameraman backstage. He’s trying to get hold of Johnny Saint and Sid Scala, because they have news for him. He storms their office, but only Sid is there. Did he lock Johnny in a toilet? Sid’s got an offer for Kassius – a match against Jack Gallagher next week. It’ll be a first time meeting, and that should be good if it’s a straight match.
WALTER is doing Hindu squats. Peter is punching his own hand. They fight next!
NXT UK Championship: Pete Dunne vs. WALTER (c)
There’s a big fight feel for this Takeover rematch – but the fact it’s on a regular NXT UK TV show kinda tells you the plans for this brand. Takeover was a one-off.
We’ve a split crowd as the bell rings, but neither man shoots out of the gate as they instead take a more measured approach. Commentary notes that WALTER’s taped up his fingers, perhaps to guard against some of Dunne’s playbook, but instead Dunne torques away on the other hand, before he tried to take the champion to ground… only for things to reach a natural stalemate. Dunne traps a hand and goes for an armbar on WALTER, grounding him with a Fujiwara-style armbar, only for the Austrian to get free and tease a chop as Dunne begged off into the corner. Some rope running led to WALTER trying for a leapfrog and a boot, but Dunne had it scouted as he came in with a Dragon screw, taking WALTER outside… only to get cracked with a chop when he followed the champion there.
More chops from WALTER led to the inevitable post-chopping moment as Dunne found himself a target. The hand of WALTER’s’ thrown into the ring post, then stomped on on the floor, before Dunne found himself booted down as his attempts to break the count just gave WALTER more time to recover. An uppercut rocks Dunne, before he’s met with a shotgun dropkick into the crowd barriers… with some boot choking on the ring steps following for the challenger. Another boot keeps Dunne on the apron, as does a chop as Dunne tried to go back to WALTER’s arm. A kick to the back keeps Dunne on the mat as a chinlock has WALTER wrenching away on him, before the Austrian just toyed around with Dunne with kicks and forearms. A single forearm from Dunne knocked the champion down, but Dunne couldn’t immediately capitalise, as he takes WALTER into the corner for an enziguiri.
A missile dropkick off the rope targets WALTER’s left knee, before a punch has WALTER wobbly, allowing Dunne to roll through into a knee bar attempt. When that doesn’t work, Dunne goes for an Octopus stretch, removing WALTER’s tape to torque away at the digits some more before a crucifix bomb led to a near-fall. Dunne keeps up with stomps to the fingers before he sized up for a Bitter End… but WALTER just counters out with a clothesline. A retaliatory forearm from Dunne just earns him a Sambo suplex as you sensed we were getting towards the end, with WALTER rolling Dunne into a Boston crab for good measure. Dunne snaps back with a PK as he proceeded to stomp on WALTER, then rolled him through into the double-arm armbar, looking to roll through into a pin… but WALTER gets a foot to the rope to break the hold instead.
Dunne takes WALTER into the corner as he tried to wedge his hand in the turnbuckles, but the Austrian fought free, then went up top… where he’s caught with a thrust kick to the hand as he’s left sat on the turnbuckles. That’s followed up with a hanging armbar on the top rope, which WALTER tries to counter with a powerbomb… but Dunne ‘ranas out and gets a near-fall on landing. The struggle continues as both men go for a German suplex, but Dunne lands his before he got flipped with a diving clothesline by WALTER… again, for a near-fall. A Bitter End from Dunne comes next, but the triangle armbar looked set to get him the title back, especially when he tweaked the fingers… but then out of nowhere, Fabian Aichner comes out to push the rope so WALTER can make the break.
The referee tries to dispatch Aichner, but misses Marcel Barthel coming out – and the subsequent belt shot from the German. All that’s left is for WALTER to hit a powerbomb, folding Dunne in half and there’s your win. A really good main event, but one hurt perhaps by nobody really believing that WALTER was losing the title weeks after winning it, on TV. ***¾
Post-match, Aichner and Barthel stare at WALTER, as the three silently celebrate with the RINGKAMPF pose. Remember that segment after WALTER debuted on #28? Where Aichner and Barthel offered help, but it was turned down. I guess the help’s being accepted after all, as the show comes to a close.
While the bell to bell of this show was solid, this was an example of what we feared with NXT UK TV. As a brand without any specials, the temptation to throw out big matches to shift tickets is great… but can also lead to big matches coming across as throwaways to a fanbase that’s gotten used to not having any title changes taking place on TV. Sure, if you missed this week’s episode, you missed the first steps of WWE’s version of RINGKAMPF, which creates a natural “whatever they’ll be called” versus British Strong Style feud as the can’s kicked yet again on the Moustache Mountain tag title reign. But really, what else of note did you miss on a show that was promoted as having the biggest rematch in the brand’s history?
Some may see BSS vs. WWE-KAMPF as a less than inspiring direction, particularly as, without a Takeover, a more casual, time-poor fanbase won’t get invested. For those who are watching though, the saving grace is that this product has improved… even if the buzz has disappeared. If and when a second UK Takeover comes, that’ll be the time to look to reignite things. Until then, it is what it is.