It’s back to the Download Festival as WALTER put his title on the line against Travis Banks in this week’s main event.
We open up backstage as Travis Banks is putting his tape on ahead of his title shot against WALTER… and then it’s into the titles. Vic Joseph and Aiden English are here for all of your commentary needs, and probably some you didn’t ask for.
Mark Andrews vs. Joseph Conners
Well, this is certainly a match. Conners has traded his trunks for tights, as commentary started this match by bigging up the main event. Well, it’s a bit like WCW to ignore what’s in the ring, eh?
After having his hair pulled, Andrews managed to flip away from harm, only for a reverse neck flip – almost like a snap Muta lock – put Conners back on top. It’s aggressive stuff, but not helped by the crowd falling silent until Andrews began to fight back. Conners snuffed that out as he continued to go for the neck. The slingshot DDT from Conners turned into a lungblower of sorts as Andrews began to fight back, building up to a standing moonsault that almost ended things. Conners is back in with a sunset bomb into the corner, then a facebuster, but Andrews kicked out… and managed to cut off Conners with a Stundog Millionaire before heading up top for a match-winning shooting star press.
As much as we jump on Conners, he was excellent in his role here – albeit coming up short. I just wish they’d give him a bone here, rather than being “that good hand”. ***¼
Backstage, Imperium are with WALTER as they sent him off for… the main event. Albeit way too early.
Outside, the Hunt are smashing walls before Dave Mastiff came up. The three of them have a mutual enemy in Gallus, and they vow to team together. As long as Primate doesn’t wreck that security wall and get himself evicted from the site, that is.
In the arena, James Drake and Zack Gibson appear on the stage for a promo. They moan about being dragged into a muddy field to wrestle in front of “dirty, sweaty Goths”. I mean, Drake’s got a point there, that is a nice suit jacket. Some of Gibson’s material feels like it was recycled out of those Dean Ambrose promos, but at least we got something new as Gibson bemoaned the lack of music. God, he really is a crotchety old man, calling the music at Download “noise”, before saying that they’ll go back to their posh hotel to relax with some proper music. I dug the Tesco Bags for Life over their shoes… shoulda been Waitrose though!
We’ve a video package to recap the Piper Niven/Rhea Ripley encounters to date, as we’re told they wrestle next week.
We’ve a screenshotted Tweet of Johnny Saint – who’s been found – booking Gallus vs. The Hunt & Dave Mastiff.
Killer Kelly vs. Xia Brookside
Whatever happened to Kelly’s Titantron? This one was set up in Scotland when Kelly threw Xia to the proverbial wolves when Jazzy Gabert appeared on the scene.
Both women brought the strikes from the bell, as Xia caught Kelly out of the corner with some headscissors, only for her wheelbarrow to get caught and turned into a German suplex for a near-fall. The background hum of neighbouring acts pervades the crowd here as Kelly went to work on Brookside, trapping her in a modified abdominal stretch, before gouging her eyes… Xia gets free and made a quick comeback with a facebuster, then some headscissors as the camera caught Jinny and Jazzy appearing on the stage. The distraction doesn’t work though, as Xia quickly put Kelly away with a Codebreaker… which they don’t call by name. This was fine for what it was, but it felt way too short for my liking. **½
Outside, Media Glen’s got a microphone as he interviews Toni Storm about her future challenger Kay Lee Ray. This “shiny shiny” talk is getting grating, as Toni is going to be back in action in a fortnight.
Noam Dar vs. Ligero
A rematch from PROGRESS’ first ever match back in 2012, we’ve got a match between two guys who’ve been stuck in the middle of the card here in NXT UK.
Dar tries to play matador early on with his ring jacket, as Ligero… is sporting some shoulder pads what have horns on. He’s a wrestling Bowser! He’s actually wrestling with those things on too, as he sent Dar scurrying to the outside in the opening stages. Back in the ring, Dar escapes an armdrag, then pratfalls Ligero as he began to wind up the Leeds native. It almost cost him as Ligero sat down on a sunset flip to pick up a near-fall as Dar manages to get back into the match by clutching onto Ligero’s mask. Dropkicks from Ligero put him back in it as he picked up a near-fall, just as Kenny Williams hit the ring with a chair. He just uses it to take a seat for now as Ligero gets kicked in the shin, before an uppercut dropped Ligero for a near-fall. A clothesline from Ligero stops the Scotsman again, as does a modified Fireman’s carry, before Dar came right back with a Fisherman buster for a near-fall of his own.
The even match continues as Dar lands a clothesline to the back of the head, only to run into a big boot and an enziguiri as both men were left laying. Ligero’s back up, but gets hooked in the ropes after missing a kick, only for Dar to jar his knee again after he misses a flying stomp off the top. Ligero backed off as Dar obviously was faking it… he tried to get Kenny to pass him the chair, but his fellow countryman refused as Ligero snatched the win with a roll-up. A perfectly fine match, with Dar’s gameplan getting exposed as his attempt to fake injury backfired. More like this please! ***
They replay WALTER’s promo from last week, calling Travis Banks a fool as we’re getting close to our main event…
Next week: Moustache Mountain challenge the Grizzled Young Veterans for the NXT UK tag team titles…
NXT UK Championship: Travis Banks vs. WALTER (c)
The tale of the tape shows that WALTER has over 100lbs on Travis Banks. Yup.
WALTER’s out on his own as we get the Main Event Entrances here. Banks starts by kicking away at WALTER, who just responded by throwing him around from a headlock. Banks’ next gameplan ended badly as his crossbody was caught, which in turn led to him getting stamped on the top turnbuckle as the Kiwi challenger was sent to the floor. In the ring, WALTER booted Banks to the mat, before using a knuckle lock to keep him on his knees. A neck twist gets a near-fall as Banks was firmly in danger… but he’s able to fight back, taking the Austrian down as those kicks finally paid off. WALTER tries to leapfrog over Banks as the Kiwi built up steam, but he jarred the knee on the landing as Banks quickly followed in with a shotgun dropkick… then sidestepped WALTER’s return.
That left WALTER down as Banks scored with an eventual double stomp… but he’s taking too long and could only get a near-fall. Banks tries for a Slice of Heaven, but it’s caught and turned into a Boston crab that quickly ends in the ropes… so of course, WALTER keeps up the pressure with some crossface punches. Banks makes a comeback, going back to the legs before the Slice of Heaven sent WALTER crumbling to the outside. That just left WALTER in place for a low-pe from Banks, who began to build up steam, only to get met with a boot as he wore himself out getting WALTER back in the ring. Things quickly go south when Banks got powerbombed onto the apron, before a second powerbomb back in the ring led to the elementary three-count. This was pretty good, with Banks coming close, but I struggled to get beyond the “no way is WALTER losing the belt at Download”. There’s juice in a rematch, hopefully on a bigger stage as the question at the end of the show was “who’s next?” ***¾
I’ll be honest, these shows at Download have been much, much better than I was expecting. This particular episode could have been a one-match show, but everything here landed well, including the opener with Joseph Conners and Mark Andrews that could easily have been brushed off as fodder.