NXT UK moved to Brentwood as the new era of WWE began to show its effects on this side of the pond.
We’ve a slight change at commentary, as Vic Joseph’s promotion to Raw means that Nigel McGuinness is now paired up with Tom Phillips.
The Hunt (Primate & Wild Boar) vs. Pretty Deadly (Lewis Howley & Sam Stoker)
Nigel makes a throwaway line about how NXT UK is turning into gang warfare. Ooh, like 1997 WWF? Pretty Deadly were taken off of a Riptide booking the same weekend to do this, so… let’s see how long they last.
Wait, Sam Stoker’s from Newcastle?! We start with Howley getting dropped by Boar, who followed up with a log roll and a clothesline before Primate came in with a double sledge. It’s all one-way traffic, before Stoker caused a distraction with a deliberately dodgy tag… it worked too, as the distraction allowed him time to fight out before Stoker tagged in.
Clotheslines trap Boar in the corner as Howley took a cheapshot on Primate… it costs him as Boar’s back up to throw a German suplex, before Stoker got log rolled ahead of Primate getting the hot tag in. An Exploder from Primate has Stoker cornered, before a back body drop almost went all Sabu-like on Howley, as the Hunt proceeded to wipe out Stoker with duelling swandive headbutts for the win. A nice TV squash to get us going. Now, will this lead to anything for the Hunt? **¾
Actually, yes. The Hunt’s celebrations were interrupted by Imperium’s music. Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel head into the stage, with Barthel condemning them as “animals” that “defecate on the mat”. Primate just jumps on them, as does Boar, as the ground camera kinda exposes how small the building is. Alexander Wolfe comes in to give Imperium an advantage, as they threw Boar and Primate into the ring steps.
Jazzy Gabert is shadowboxing backstage… and then it’s adverts for the WWE Draft. I wonder if anyone’ll get drafted to NXT UK? Ilja Dragunov gets a vignette… he’s back next week.
Jack Starz vs. Jordan Devlin
This one maaaaay be one-sided.
Last week, Starz was attacked by Gallus before his match, so getting going is an improvement here. Speaking of Gallus, we’re told Wolfgang and Mark Coffey go for the tag titles next week. Starz starts out hot, almost dropping Devlin in a gorilla press slam early on. He has better luck second time around as I thought they were going the 1-2-3 Kid route, but Devlin stomps him into the corner, then made a further comeback with a shoulder breaker and the Air Jordan for a near-fall. Brentwood’s still harping on about Devlin being “Balor in disguise”, as someone who looks like a town crier who’s gotten lost sits in the front row.
Devlin slows down the pace with an overhead wristlock, before Starz tried to box his way back in, dropping Devlin with an uppercut only to miss a charge into the corner. A slingshot cutter from Devlin gets him back in… and should have won it, as he pulled up Starz, before some Kawada kicks and a Devlinside won it for the Irishman. Nice and competitive, but as long as Jordan’s going 50-50 with enhancement guys like Starz, there’ll be plenty of people complaining about how he’s being used. ***
After the match, Devlin took the mic and called himself the biggest star on the roster… and he’s interrupted by Dave Mastiff. Jordan instantly powders, and there’s our next feud, especially as Mastiff calls him out for a match down the line.
Dave Mastiff vs. Kenny Williams
Since Dave’s out, he may as well do a wrestle.
There’s the obvious size difference here, but Mastiff tries to neutralise it by staying at close quarters, tempting Williams into a lock-up that saw him thrown across the ring. A springboard elbow from Williams finds its mark, but he’s quickly tossed outside by Mastiff, jarring his ankle in the process, which hurt with the springboard stuff, as he slipped off the top rope. Perhaps you should trade the sneakers for boots? At least, that’s what a gruff veteran would say…
Mastiff charges through Williams as the microphone on Chris Roberts gets turned up loud enough so we can hear him. And a few heckles in the crowd. A grounded cobra clutch keeps Williams at bay, before a big back body drop continued to keep this squashy. Kenny’s able to roll away from a back senton, before a springboard stunner went a little wonky. A slingshot slingblade finds its mark, but Kenny having a bad leg is having too much of an effect, and it ends up being his downfall too as Mastiff took him into the corner for a cannonball for the win. I mean, Kenny losing because of an injury keeps him strong, I guess, but man, he’s not doing good since Amir Jordan got injured. **¼
Xia Brookside’s backstage… and getting interrupted by Nina Samuels. It’s a bog standard set-up for a match challenge, and I don’t quite understand what Xia was meant to be doing. Blogging?
Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster come out for promo time next. Andrews thanks the crowd. Webster issues an open challenge, and it’s answered by Gallus. I mean, commentary already told us they’re challenging next week, so this is no surprise. Gallus are at commentary though, and promise to take the tag titles when they face next week.
Backstage, Alicia Taylor’s interviewing Noam Dar. Hey, she’s replaced Radzi? Dar’s interrupted by Trent, who’s still a little salty over their match, and more importantly, because Noam stole his towel. There’s a sucker punch too, which led to Sid Scala booking the rematch in two weeks’ time.
A replay from last week shows Jazzy and Jinny attacking Piper Niven… which leads to our main event this week.
Alicia chases Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster to ask them about their tag title defence… but Zack Gibson and fake James Drake instantly appear to say they’ll be getting the belts back soon enough. O-kay. Whatever Mark said in response was damn near inaudible.
Piper Niven vs. Jazzy Gabert
Again, they expose how short the aisle is in the Brentwood venue… Jazzy’s got almost-superhero like music, which is somewhat fitting.
The two hosses lock up, with both women pulling hair before they clattered into each other with shoulder tackles. Gabert powders outside, as she winds down the ref’s ten count before Jinny got on the apron to distract… and it worked too, as Jazzy’s able to attack Piper from behind. Clubbering forearms to the back and shoulder charges follow, before Piper elbowed her way free, ahead of a big bodyslam for a two-count. Forearms from Jazzy continue, before Piper clung onto the rope to stop an Irish whip… following in with headbutts instead before she slammed the German. A diving crossbody splash would have gotten a pin, but Jinny distracts… and gets dragged into the ring.
Another headbutt drops Jinny as Rhea Ripley charges to ringside to attack Jazzy, then rolled her in so a back senton could get Piper the win. Uh. Okay? I mean, it was good while it lasted, but another truncated episode of NXT UK left me wanting more, especially from the main event. **½
Jinny seemed annoyed by Jazzy after the match, as I guess this naturally leads to a tag match down the line, as this week’s show comes to a head. How long do we go before these NXT UK tapings actually manage to time out four, hour-long shows each night (including pre-tapes, etc)? NXT UK was, as usual, by-the-numbers this week, with some decent stuff… but as always, without anything major to aim for, this brand continues to drift aimlessly as the “least important brand” under the WWE umbrella. Until someone else makes a move in the UK, at least, then there’ll suddenly be a Takeover or something announced, given past form.