NXT UK heads to a new location as Johnny Saint delivered a “big announcement”.
Yeah, we’re still dealing in double-headers – as the tapings moved to Birmingham’s NEC Arena – a venue that’s more in keeping with the WWE aesthetic than the brick work of Cambridge’s Corn Exchange.
The show opens with the “women of NXT UK” on the stage, awaiting Triple H and Johnny Saint to make the “big announcement” – the creation of the NXT UK Women’s title! The eight women on stage will be in a tournament to crown the first champion: so that’s Millie McKenzie, Xia Brookside, Isla Dawn, Dakota Kai, Jinny, Toni Storm, Nina Samuels and Rhia Ripley. The NXT UK Women’s title is a smaller version of Pete Dunne’s belt, with a white strap…
Maybe it’s me, but the creation of a title that was already announced didn’t feel as earth shattering as perhaps it should?
Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness are still in front of a green screen as they pitch back to “three weeks ago” when Ashton Smith was jumped by Wolfgang and the Coffeys. That sounds like a soul band. It also wasn’t “three weeks ago”, but hey, we’re getting Smith vs. Wolfgang tonight!
Sid Scala vs. Jordan Devlin
I sense a squash, given Scala’s form.
Devlin takes Scala into the corner from the opening bell, as he screamed at his foe that he “doesn’t belong here”. That led to a brief fightback before a standing uranage and a standing moonsault dropped Scala, as did a simple Irish whip into the corner as Devlin roughed him up some more. Scala gets a boot up in the corner, but Devlin comes right back with a slingshot cutter for a near-fall. A roll-up keeps Scala in it, as does a neckbreaker, but he looked to head up top to score the upset and… leaps into a big dropkick from Devlin, who finished him off with a fireman’s carry slam. A competitive squash, and Scala’s getting closer… but not close enough. **¾
Radzi’s in the ring to interview Devlin, who pushes the Irish Ace nickname. Devlin tells him to interview the “posers” in the back, before exposing Ligero. I guess that’s on tap for a few weeks time!
We get a recap of Moustache Mountain talking about the NXT UK tag titles. That’ll be the next EARTH SHATTERING ANNOUNCEMENT I bet. But first, we need to establish some more tag teams!
There’s a vignette to reintroduce Tyson T-Bone, complete with that accent.
Kenny Williams & Amir Jordan vs. Saxon Huxley & Joseph Conners
Oh boy. Going by their prior outings, this is going to be a tough sell. It’s a NXT UK TV debut for Conners, as all four men get separate entrances.
Jordan and Huxley start, with the latter having the obvious size advantage… but Amir breaks out into some dancing before scoring with a crossbody! Williams tags in and takes Huxley to the mat ahead of a legdrop to the arm, before Joseph Conners slapped Jordan in the back for a distraction. A standing gutwrench suplex from Huxley nearly puts Jordan away, before Conners tagged in and rocked Amir with a back elbow and a clothesline. Those are good for a two-count, as Huxley returned to continue on Amir, who took a fireman’s carry faceplant and a kick to the ribs for good effect.
Jordan manages to make a comeback, scoring a diving clothesline off the middle rope, but Conners rushes into the ring and knocks Williams off the apron to prevent a tag. An enziguiri from Jordan gets himself free as Williams got the tag in anyway, as he sends Huxley onto the apron and eventually to the floor with a springboard back elbow. A dropkick through the ropes connects with Conners as Williams was on fire… but a dive off the top misses and he’s again faceplanted by Huxley.
Conners tags in and nails a sunset bomb into the corner on Williams, before the Don’t Look Down DDT scored the pin. Pretty standard stuff to establish all four men here – but neither of these pairings looked to be any threat for Moustache Mountain in any impending tournament. **¾
They run through the brackets and give us flash cards for all eight women in the title tournament…complete with references to unaired dark matches for Millie McKenzie. The women’s title tournament starts next week (cough)…
Glen Joseph plays an interviewer backstage for Trent Seven, asking about Zack Gibson… Trent says that Zack’s got a sharp tongue, and that turns into a challenge for “next week”. Thank God this aired after last weekend’s PROGRESS show… God, I’m sick of having to use air quotes.
Tyler Bate vs. James Drake
Drake already gets the “arse face” chants in Birmingham, but he’s more focused on Bate as they looked to trade wristlocks early on. Bate clings onto it though, frustrating Drake for a while.
There’s a reversal as Drake trapped Bate in a chinbar, before getting a wristlock of his own, only for Bate to escape and land a dropkick. The back-and-forth continues with Bate going for a German suplex, before Drake suplexes him onto the apron… where he’s met with a bop/bang punch, replying to it with a forearm as Tyler’s knocked down to the floor. A chinlock keeps Drake on top, but the crowd seem to be more pro-Bate than anti-Drake here as he beat down on Tyler. Birmingham seemed to think that Drake looked like Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger (come on, it’s clearly Jerry Lynn who deserves that comparison), but we’re back to the chinlock as Bate again had to fight from the ground up.
Bate eventually stands up and backs Drake into the corner… but he can’t get himself free on the first attempt. Second time’s the charm, and despite Drake reapplying the hold, Tyler breaks free and hits back with a ‘rana! Clotheslines from Bate keep Drake down, as does a diving back elbow off the middle rope, ahead of a Northern Lights suplex… Tyler keeps up with a standing shooting star press for a near-fall as he catches Drake low.
Tyler goes for a deadlift back suplex, but Drake escapes and gets sent onto the apron… then drops to the floor and into the path of a Tyler tope! The backdrop driver’s next… but Drake kicks out at two, and after taking Tyler into the corner, we get the Grit Your Teeth dropkick as we almost had the relative upset. Drake keeps up and looks for an implant DDT, but Bate slips out and begins another fightback, avoiding another dropkick before nailing a rebound lariat then a Tyler Driver for the win. Pretty good stuff, even if the crowd sounded dead throughout. It’d be nice to know what Tyler’s focusing on here though: is it a crack at the NXT UK title, or the tag belts?? ***¼
Ashton Smith vs. Wolfgang
There’s a little over five minutes left on the show when the bell rings, so you know this’ll be quick!
They lock up, with Wolfgang getting pulled into a cravat early on, but the Scotsman escapes and lands an uppercut as Smith was trapped in the corner. Smith comes back with a dropkick and a headscissor takedown, before a double-jump axehandle chop left Wolfgang on his knees. Smith heads up again for a crossbody, but Wolfgang countered that with a gutbuster before he put the boots to Smith, and the roughhousing begins with the Scotsman putting the boots to his foe. A punch drops Smith to the mat, but another comeback with clotheslines and pump kicks has Ashton back in control.
We saw an impressive leap over Wolfgang into a rebound crossbody out of the corner to get Smith a near-fall. Ashton keeps up with some right hands, a la the Rock, but Wolfgang manages to hit back with a flapjack before a back senton squashes Smith… ahead of a modified suplex that stopped Smith in his tracks for the win. A bit of an abrupt finish, but a solid, if not spectacular main event. ***
The show ends with the Scotsmen standing tall… and that’s it for episode seven. Pretty non-descript really aside from the opening segment (which felt rushed and overblown in fairness), but we’re still on the same path with regards to these shows filling time with little significance or purpose for their existance. They’re not building to any big shows (save for further TV tapings)… so it all feels a bit… there, and will continue to do so until the next phase of plans come into fruition.