We complete the first set of NXT UK shows from Cambridge, as we have trios action with Scotland against Wales (and friends!)
The cold-open shows the Coffeys and Wolfgang arriving at the building in varying degrees of fashion. Jinny wouldn’t be pleased with some of them! Cue titles, and the not-disembodied voices of Nigel McGuinness and Vic Joseph as we have them in front of the green screen! They air a “congratulations” graphic for Toni Storm from the Mae Young Classic, and we’ve clips of her win from WWE Evolution.
Toni Storm vs. Dakota Kai
The commentary here feels different as they repeatedly reference the Mae Young Classic…
Both women come into this on the back of a win in prior episodes of NXT UK, and we start with a heavily pro-Toni crowd, complete with edited chants! We start with a lock-up as the crowd magically chant Evolution without moving their lips! AMAZING. Especially because the Evolution brand name wasn’t a thing when this was taped! Duelling kicks get caught as we reached a stand-off, quickly ending as Kai double stomps Storm and hits a PK for an early near-fall. Storm hits back with some kicks, before getting a near-fall out of a snap suplex, then following up with some uppercuts and a Muta lock-style STF on Dakota.
Kai’s forced to squirm her way towards the ropes, eventually reaching the bottom strand as Storm threw in a stomp on her way out of the hold. Duelling forearms see both women hit each other simultaneously, but Kai lands a Scorpion kick to catch Toni unawares… only to run into a big headbutt! Some more kicks from Kai get her in trouble as Toni catches and switches it into a trapped-leg German, taking the Kiwi into the corner for an uppercut… only for Kai to chase her into the other corner for a Yakuza kick!
Dakota misses a face-washing boot but manages to connect with a pump kick, only for Toni to avoid another kick and throw another German suplex! Double knees in the corner follows, as does the Storm Zero (air raid crash version), and that’s the win. A little out of nowhere, but this was a hell of a competitive match within the limitations of TV. Go out of your way to catch this one! ***¼
Post-match, Jinny attacked Dakota Kai on the stage, making the most out of the already easy pickings. She stared down Toni, and I guess that’s a direction for down the line?
Zack Gibson is going down some stairs backstage ahead of his match… and for once, they don’t buffer it with another promo!
Amir Jordan vs. Zack Gibson
Shame neither Nigel nor Vic can pronounce “bhangra”. Tip, it’s not meant to sound like “Bang-a-Rang”.
This was a rematch from the first round of this year’s UK Championship Tournament – the stuff taped at the Download Festival, anyway. We start with the crowd taking their shoes off, because why not? It distracts a little from the match as Gibson takes Jordan into the ropes, before grabbing a cravat as the Scouser tried to keep Amir grounded.
A wristlock does the job, with Gibson obviously focusing on Amir’s arm ahead of an eventual trip to the Shankly Gates. Jordan gets free and taunts Gibson with some dancing, but Zack’s quickly back to the arm, scoring with a Divorce Court as the pressure continued. Zack, correctly, tells Amir that the crowd don’t care about him because all of the chants have been anti-Gibson, rather than pro-Jordan… and the crowd just prove his point!
Gibson lifts up Jordan by the arm, then suplexes him as this is beginning to look too easy. Amir tries to fight back with some boots, then a missile dropkick, before a crossbody off the top gets a near-fall. He runs into a cross-chop then a lariat as Zack hit back, quickly rolling Jordan into the Shankly Gates for the submission. An abrupt end to a match that Gibson dominated from start to finish – complete with signposts to him looking for another shot at Pete Dunne’s title. **¾
After a commercial, we’re back as Gibson’s still in the ring. Promo time! He vows to be NXT UK’s number one, since he’s again victorious. Of course, the crowd are on his back, but Gibson doesn’t care as he wants to be the guy on top, and the centrepiece of NXT UK. Fair enough. He’s interrupted by Trent Seven, mic-in-hand, who calls Gibson delusional, then spawns “shiny head” chants as we’ve got Story Time With Trent.
Trent goes low as he recalls that Zack wasn’t at the original UK Championship Tournament (cough WOS cough), while throwing in some branding for the heck of it. He goes even lower as he spawned the “Shoes Off” chant again, and long story short, we’ve a challenge for Trent vs. Zack “right now”. Of course, Zack bails as that’s a match for another day.
We recap Jordan Devlin’s TV debut “two weeks ago”, and that bleeds into a Kenny Williams selfie promo. Guess what match is next?
Kenny Williams vs. Jordan Devlin
It’s a TV debut for Williams, while commentary again talks around Devlin’s unbeaten run as the “Irish champion”. When they do that without naming a promotion, you can safely say they’re not on great terms!
Devlin stuffs Williams early, taking him down with a wristlock… but Kenny kips up and gets caught in a side headlock as we broke into a lucha-style series, with Devlin flipping out of a lucha armdrag. A standing uranage and standing moonsault keeps Devlin ahead, but he can only get a near-fall out of it, and then has to rely on an eye rake to stop Williams from making a comeback.
There’s a neck crank on the mat as the Scotsman was left in trouble, but he makes a comeback, taking Devlin outside, following up with a dropkick through the ropes and a tope onto the ramp. Back inside there’s a huge flying back elbow as Williams leapt high… but only gets a near-fall for his troubles. A wheelbarrow facebuster nearly gets Kenny the upset, before Devlin countered out of a satellite DDT and hit back with the fireman’s carry side slam for the win out of nowhere. These abrupt finishes are becoming quite the motif in NXT UK – as was the match style. This was good, but way too short as it had to fit into the TV template. ***
Next week we’ve got a “huge announcement” from Johnny Saint. It’s regarding the future of NXT UK. No, it’s not getting cancelled!
Mark Andrews, Ashton Smith & Flash Morgan Webster vs. Wolfgang, Joe Coffey & Mark Coffey
Webster and Wolfgang start us off, with Flash having to use his speed to evade the bigger Glaswegian… and he succeeds early on too, at least until a sunset flip’s countered out of.
A forearm decks Webster and sends him scurrying into the corner for a tag. Joe Coffey and Mark Andrews are in, but the Scotsmen initially kept the upper hand, countering a wheelbarrow from Andrews into a Giant Swing facebuster. Mark Coffey’s in next to keep up on Andrews, but he flips out of a back suplex and tags in Ashton Smith, who’s got some Rock-like right hands for Mark and flying clothesline for another one-count.
The ring fills and clears quickly, as Smith gets lifted onto the apron by Mark Coffey, before he returned in with a double axehandle smash. Coffey returns with a double-handed chop before tagging his brother in, with Joe unleashing some body blows to Smith, knocking him down to the mat. Ashton’s picked up for a front facelock Giant Swing, then a butterfly suplex for a near-fall. Smith manages to get free and leap over Wolfgang to tag in Andrews, who’s quickly grounded by Wolfgang’s strength… before a leaping ‘rana took him across the ring. Mark Coffey provides a distraction that Wolfgang capitalises on… and that turns into a mugging as Andrews is attacked on the outside as Webster and Smith did the babyface thing of accidentally tying up the referee.
Joe Coffey comes back in with a Japanese strangle hold on Andrews, who can’t quite power free as a reversal’s instantly reversed. A back elbow keeps Andrews on the mat, before Wolfgang just knees Andrews in the head for a near-fall as the pace was slowed down somewhat. Eventually Andrews fights back, catching Mark Coffey with a Stundog Millionaire, before he got the hot tag to Webster, who clears the apron before focusing on Wolfgang.
There’s a bicycle knee to dispatch Joe Coffey, before Webster flips over Wolfgang and lands a Rude Boy moonsault press for a near-fall. Flash looks to go for the Eton Rifle, but Wolfgang fights out before lifting Webster from the ring to the floor. Not to worry, Ashton Smith’s legal, and he keeps up on Wolfgang with some shots before the distractions return… allowing Wolfgang to flapjack Ashton. The Coffeys come in on Smith, scoring with a pop-up uppercut for a near-fall. Smith avoids a double back suplex and tags out to Mark Andrews, who comes in with an enziguiri to Joe as Ashton Smith had been wiped out by an earlier spear. Wolfgang’s back too, and quickly takes a 720 DDT, sending him to the outside with the Coffeys, who eat duelling topes from Andrews and Smith.
Webster looked for a dive on Wolfgang, but the Scotsman interrupts it with a lariat. A powerbomb on Webster to the floor’s countered as Flash ‘ranas free, then goes outside with a Pinball Wizard cannonball senton to the floor, before he rolls Wolfgang back inside for a near-fall. The Coffeys pull Smith and Andrews off the apron as Webster’s left alone, as Wolfgang’s spear left him flat ahead of Joe Coffey’s All The Best For The Bells discus lariat as the Scotsmen get the win. A decent trios match, but this felt like it outstayed its welcome – at least given how far this crowd had gotten themselves invested in the “evil” Scotsmen. ***¼
The show goes off the air as the Coffeys and Wolfgang stand tall… and that’s it from Cambridge! Next week sees the start of the Birmingham tapings! I’m not sure how long they plan to keep up with these double-headers, but two episodes of NXT UK is a little much in this current form. Until we have a flagpole event – whether it’s a Takeover-like special or even a “special edition” like how Impact are doing – these weekly shows are quickly settling into a groove of having matches and storylines that are almost entirely self-contained within individual tapings.
Speaking of those double-headers, we’re quickly seeing stories that should have had some build get paid off in the same evening (in “real time”), along with some humorous scheduled tweets that go awry. Don’t get me wrong; NXT UK is not a bad show… it feels different to pretty much anything else WWE puts out, but I’m hoping that the next blocks of tapings manage to find another gear and stop this being “yet another WWE B-show with good matches”.