British Strong Style and Imperium locked horns for the first time as NXT UK continued its residency in Glasgow.
The opening video package recaps how British Strong Style are seen as the “pillars” of the brand, but are having their position challenged by not-RINGKAMPF…
Xia Brookside & Isla Dawn vs. Jinny & Jazzy Gabert
We’ve recaps of how this match came to be, as they’re clearly positioning Jazzy as the Diesel to Jinny’s Shawn Michaels. The opening stages were pretty even, but as soon as Jinny was in trouble she dove out to tag in Jazzy, who used her strength to outmuscle Xia and put her in the corner. Isla Dawn manages to get in, but she too gets a taste of Jazzy, who quickly put her away with a Dominator… only for Jinny to demand that she be tagged in to take the pin. Well, they established Jazzy as a monster here, and Jinny as the dominant one… even if this may be tipping off way too much for match #1. **
There’s a Ligero promo where he tells us that he wears his mask to help with his shyness… then we have Media Glen asking Kenny Williams about Noam Dar’s behaviour recently. Kenny’s taking on Kassius Ohno soon, and apparently the behaviour of his ONE TIME tag team partner isn’t going to affect him. Whatever happened to Amir Jordan?
Joseph Conners vs. Ilja Dragunov
Ilja got a semi-Goldberg entrance as we hear him slapping and grunting from the back…
It’s all Ilja from the start as he clubbed away on Conners, keeping on top of him before a mistake opened the door for the former Southside champion to get in and wear down Ilja with a semi-strait jacket choke. Conners makes an error of his own, going for a single leg takedown as Ilja cracks him with a knee, before Conners rebounded with a sunset bomb. A slingshot DDT’s caught and turned into a death valley driver into the corner by Ilja, who quickly went to the finish with a Torpedo Moscau. I get the WWE mantra is rarely to go one-sided squashes, but to a certain group of fans, Ilja being on the defensive for a guy like Joseph Conners (in this form, anyway) in an even match… that’s not a good read. **
Media Glen’s back praising Toni Storm’s run as champion… she’s heard what Kay Lee Ray has said about her and her “shiny shiny”. Toni’s either a little goofy or arrogant here as they’re really overdoing the media scrum format to these backstage bits.
Next week: a number one contender’s battle royal for the NXT UK Women’s title… featuring Candy Floss, Killer Kelly and some more regular faces like Rhea Ripley, Kay Lee Ray and Piper Niven.
We’ve a Travis Banks sitdown promo as he tells us recapped his run in last year’s UK Championship tournament – eventually losing in the final to Zack Gibson – as the shoulder injury would cause him trouble through the early days of NXT UK. His feud with Jordan Devlin’s recapped, as Banks has a big eye on beating WALTER for the title at a date TBC. This was a pretty cool package.
“Earlier today”, Primate and Wild Boar are at the UK PC, challenging Gallus to a match before they throw down the cameraman.
British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Imperium (WALTER, Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner)
Tellingly, Pete Dunne started out against one of the “supporting cast” of Imperium, allowing him to shine early on against Aichner. Ditto Tyler Bate against Marcel Barthel, albeit briefly, before Moustache Mountain found a groove as they wore down Barthel for a spell.
WALTER comes in and gets chopped by Trent, but he tried to shrug them off as Trent cleared house all by himself… until he got felled like a tree. Thanks for coming! That single chop from WALTER proved to be a turning point as the Imperium trio isolated Trent, who had limited and brief opportunities to get back into it. Knees from WALTER kept Trent down as the crowd were more behind BSS than against the European trio. We’re eventually back to Dunne and WALTER, with the former champion blasting through WALTER with a missile dropkick to the knee, before a chop to the back led Dunne into a Gojira clutch. If you’ve seen RINGKAMPF, you can guess what’s next… but Dunne flips out of the German and issues one of his own.
WALTER manages to reply with a German to flip Dunne inside out, before tags got us back to Aichner and Bate. Much like Trent earlier, Tyler damn near clears house by himself, using Aichner as a ladder for a Terry Funk Airplane Spin, before doing the same with Barthel… except WALTER makes a save. Neither side could grab an advantage until Tyler chained together a Koppo kick with a rebound lariat as British Strong Style built up the momentum, until a Bitter End and a Spiral Tap almost got them the win. Things get perhaps a bit too hectic until WALTER’s chop on the outside was redirected into the ring steps… and then a masked man wanders down to the ring. The ref’s laid out as a Cactus Clothesline took care of Trent and Fabian… and before long the masked man reveals himself as Alexander Wolfe!
Wolfe powerbombs Bate, leaving him for Barthel to claim the easy win. Not-RINGKAMPF gets another ex-RINGKAMPF member as Nigel busts out some German on commentary to close out the show. That was a fun trios match, but one that perhaps was a little *too* loose in places… but hey, the addition of Wolfe to the group means that the Europeans now outnumber British Strong Style, without any obvious permanent additions for the other side. ***½
A one-match show, NXT UK was all about continuing the rise of Imperium. Travis Banks not having a date for his title shot could mean they’re waiting until Takeover: Cardiff for the match… but they could just as easily throw it away at the Plymouth tapings in July. Still, it does mean that we could get some fun/strained tags between BSS/Banks and Imperium until then. Whereas last week’s NXT UK – for me at least – was bland, at least this week’s offered direction as they subtly teased some matches for this weekend’s tapings at the Download festival. For the last knockings from the Glasgow taping, the crowd weren’t too bad, but it’s going to be interesting to see how much the Download festival crowd reacts for the next batch of tapings. I’m going to go “not much different from Axxess” and hope for some nice surprises in the coming weeks!