Gallus had a chance to win some gold as they challenged for the NXT UK tag team titles in the main event!
We’re still in that room in Brentford, as with Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness renewing their partnership from the NXT of old. The show opens with a recap of Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews winning the tag team titles almost two months ago at Takeover: Cardiff, and what’s happened to get us to this week’s main event. It’s telling when the establishing crowd shots feature the same guy (the town crier) in half of the angles… and when we don’t even get the “one fall”ers.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Saxon Huxley
Ilja was meant to face Huxley a few weeks back, but was subbed by Alexander Wolfe due to injury. Will Saxon get his first singles TV win?
Ilja charges into Huxley at the bell, taking him down for a back senton, before a scoop slam drew a near-fall. Heading up top, Ilja has to roll through as Huxley moves away, before the Hartlepool native hit a slam as we had the customary “opening match guy gets his offence in”, including a nice crossbody that just bounces Ilja off the ropes. Huxley goes for a chinlock, but Ilja backs him into the corner to break free, before unloading with chops and forearms. A knee lift rocks Huxley, as does a spinning back fist as Huxley was on the ropes, allowing Ilja to suplex him in from the apron. Alexander Wolfe appears in the entrance way to watch, as Ilja prepared for a German suplex… but Huxley blocks it, only to get caught with a bridging teardrop suplex for a near-fall.
A Konstantin-Spezial’s caught as Huxley takes Ilja into the corner for a lariat of his own, which almost gets the win, before Dragunov sent him outside, meeting him there with a body press as Wolfe got out of the way. Back inside. Dragunov head up and crushes Huxley with a back senton off the top, before he finished Saxon with Torpedo Moscau. I know this is “house style”, but Ilja going 50-50 with a guy who’s never won a singles match on TV does not help him one iota. Especially as they’re hinting at Ilja/Wolfe down the road… **
Ilja goes to stare down Wolfe, but he’s stopped by the RINGKAM… I mean Imperium music, as Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel come out to complete the reserves. There’s a knowing nod from Wolfe, as Bartel and Aichner hit the ring, leaving Ilja befuddled and short of a fight as Wolfe called him to the back.
Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) vs. The Hunt (Primate & Wild Boar)
We still don’t know why The Hunt has quotes around their team name. Meanwhile, Barthel and Aichner have new gear that’s much like their old, except their names are in bigger print for those of us with eyesight issues.
Primate and Aichner start off slugging away at each other, but it’s the Italian who’s ahead first, only to get whipped from corner to corner as Primate fought back. Boar’s in too, but he’s quickly caught by Aichner. A chop block from Boar and a back senton turns it back around as Barthel came in… and toon a slam as this remained even. Primate hits the crossbody to Aichner – the same one that Saxon Huxley had trouble with earlier – as the pair end up outside… and in deeper trouble. A slam from Barthel dumps Boar on the floor, before Aichner pushed him aside so he could catch a diving Primate and take him into the steps. That left Boar on his own as Barthel stomped on him in the ring, as it was virtually one-way traffic, with Aichner landing a clothesline for a two-count.
Aichner hands Boar in the ropes for the Imperium double dropkick spot, getting a two-count out of it, before a chinlock from Barthel kept Boar down as Primate slowly got back onto the apron. Boar gets himself free with some biting and a back body drop, before he sat down on Barthel as the tag finally came. Primate’s remarkably sprightly given how long he was down for, and he quickly dumps Barthel with an Exploder before tagging Boar back in. I HATE when tag teams do that. Like there’s been an energy power-up taken off camera. At least it backfires here as Barthel knocked Boar off the top, and almost it led to the finish too as an Aichner spinebuster and an Air Raid Crash from Barthel drew a near-fall.
Primate fought back with a spear to Aichner, before Boar cannonballed into Barthel, as the duelling swandive headbutts almost got the win… but Barthel pulls Primate out of the ring! Boar’s fuming, and gets caught with a backdrop suplex by Aichner, before Primate’s rolled back in for the European Bomb as Imperium got the win. See, I don’t mind competitive matches like this, as both teams have been around the same level – and this was a delight to see on TV. ***
Commentary talks about collusion between Ilja Dragunov and Alexander Wolfe as we’re thrown to stuff after last week as Piper Niven caught up with Rhea Ripley after Niven’s match. Ripley says she dislikes Niven less than Jinny and Gabert, and offered to team up if they can get that match. O-kay…
Nina Samuels vs. Xia Brookside
Happy Birthday, Nina. It’s a shame the crowd didn’t seem to give a toss for this match… I’m guessing the set-up videos don’t get shown?
Brookside and Samuels trade wristlocks early on, but it’s Xia who frustrated Nina early, clinging on despite Nina’s attempts to break free. Eventually the reversal comes, as Nina began to edge ahead, dropping Xia with a tiltawhirl backbreaker as the crowd muster up some half-hearted “Nee-Nah” chants. Nina’s full nelson sees her ragdoll Xia around, before a suplex dropped Xia for a near-fallas more of the crowd decided to do their impersonation of a police siren. At least it’s a reaction, and it built up into “let’s go Xia” chants, right as Brookside tried to win with a roll-up… Brookside looks to work the leg, but Nina got free, only for Brookside to suddenly get the win by spinning and sitting down on Nina as we got a World of Sport-style flash pin! **½
There’s a promo video for A-Kid, complete with footage of his matches against Will Ospreay and Mark Davis. He’s coming soon, so forget his previous squash duties here!
Backstage, Webster and Andrews are warming up and sharing a resistance band between them…
Jordan Devlin’s out next, taking the Tony Kelly route of loafers with no socks. He’s heckled as he talks about getting feedback about being “too arrogant”. He powers through the “what’s” as they’re clearly pushing for time, and Devlin tells us he’s not arrogant because he knows he’s the best. I genuinely thought Devlin wasn’t pausing for breath as he ranted on, before he was interrupted by Dave Mastiff, who took the mic so Jordan could actually breathe. Devlin punches Mastiff out, but couldn’t get him up for a Devlinside, as Mastiff just pulled him down instead ahead of a back senton. Yep, Devlin’s next feud is definitely with Mastiff… and I’d have liked that segment to not have felt so rushed.
They recap the Noam Dar/Trent Seven feud to date, starting with the fake press conference, to Noam antagonising Trent with a loudhailer, to their match (with Dar stealing Trent’s towel) and their scuffle last week. They rematch next week…
Also next week: Travis Banks vs. Ligero…
NXT UK Tag Team Championship: Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs. Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster (c)
Remember when people thought Gallus might go away after Joe Coffey’s loss to Pete Dunne in Blackpool? Ah, they’re trying with the other arm of Gallus now…
We get the big match intros as we start with barely 15 minutes left in the hour. The champions jump their challengers, sending them outside with dropkicks as duelling topes con giro greeted them on the floor. Andrews tries to add in chops, but instead has to make do with another tope after he got thrown back in, before Wolfgang took a nasty spill as he was low bridged to the outside. Mark Coffey offers resistance before a pop-up dropkick from Webster put him down as the champions pushed on. Things start going sour though when Andrews’ crossbody is caught and turned into a slam by Coffey, before a flying back senton from Wolfgang left Andrews in agony.
Wolfgang keeps up the pressure by whipping Andrews from corner to corner, getting a near-fall in the process, as Andrews continued to take a pounding. Andrews gets charged into the corner from a shoulderbreaker position, before Coffey continued to work over him with forearms. Joe Coffey wanders out into the aisle as Andrews tries to elbow out of a chinbar. Webster’s back in, taking Wolfgang outside with headscissors before meeting him on the floor with more headscissors after swinging around the post… there’s even a hotshot for Mark Coffey as Joe looked on worried, but Wolfgang pulls Mark to the outside… and into the path of a Pinball Wizard cannonball off the ring post. Ah, that backfired on the Scots.
Coffey’s rolled back in as Webster hits the Eton Rifle, before helping Andrews on an assisted standing 450 splash, getting a near-fall out of it all. A standing uranage from Coffey gets rid of Andrews, but Webster’s legal… and takes a chokeslam before Wolfgang tagged in to slingshot Flash into a Samoan drop, with Wolfgang’s moonsault completing the set for a near-fall. Andrews moonsaulted off the apron onto Coffey as Webster and Wolfgang stayed in the ring… a tag brings Andrews back in as referee Chris Roberts lost all control. Wolfgang flips into a knee from Webster, who was legal, and it looked like the champions were on their way to a win when a headbutt decked the Scotsman, only for Wolfgang to rebound off the ropes for a double clothesline. Tags mean we get all four men in the ring for a slugfest, ending when Webster’s decked with a forearm… but a Stundog Millionaire keeps the champions in before a reverse ‘rana spiked Wolfgang on his head!
Webster’s tagged back in for Shadows Over Malice onto Coffey, but it’s not enough, as Wolfgang fought back, propelling Andrews into the ring post before Coffey ran into another Webster headbutt. Flash tries to go up top again, but his 630 splash crashes and burns, and with no Andrews to tag out to, it’s elementary as Wolfgang speared Flash, ahead of an enziguiri/slam combo as new champions were crowned! Hey, this actually got the crowd going, so I’ve got to give them that… and if you thought they were going to stop trying to make Gallus work, well, I’ve got news for you. Flash and Andrews’ tag title reign lasted less than seven weeks in TV time, but with no big “good guy” teams on the horizon, I don’t see who’s around to challenge Gallus? ***½
In terms of matches, this week’s NXT UK felt like it was paced better, but I worry greatly about how dead this crowd was at times given it was only the second show of the night. Apart from that, this was fine… we’ve no Takeovers or anything to build to, so you know what you’re getting – a show that continues to spin its wheels, and probably will do into 2020 as WWE has bigger fish to fry.