Gallus and Imperium locked horns in the main event this week, as gang warfare took centre stage on NXT UK…
We’re still in Hull, and we have a cold open that shows Ilja Dragunov joining Gallus from two weeks ago, before they recapped the Wolfe/Dragunov banger from last week. If you haven’t, you should probably go watch it. It’s good. They also show Joe Coffey having a tug of war with WALTER’s title belt, along with footage of them setting up tonight’s eight-man tag main event/ Now we get the titles. Now we get Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness… and now, a match…
Piper Niven vs. Jinny
This was Jinny’s first singles match on TV in FIVE MONTHS… but she’s still getting the Primark Princess chants as she drew Piper into the corner where Jazzy Gabert was.
The German tries to provide a distraction, but it’s no use as Jinny couldn’t capitalise, with her crossbody getting caught and turned into a slam. Gabert distracts again, and this time it works as Jinny catches Piper with forearms, before a trip left her on the mat for a near-fall. Nigel McGuinness screams something on commentary that actually came across on the crowd mics, such was the crowd’s silence here as Jinny tried to stay ahead. A leg sweep took Piper into Jinny’s knee, before Jazzy tried to interfere again… and this time got caught. She’s thrown out, which makes Jinny mad, but all that gave Piper time to recover as she came in with an elbow drop for a two-count. A Piper Driver’s escaped as Jinny grabbed the hair, but Niven fought back with a headbutt as both women fell to the mat.
More forearms from Piper knock Jinny down, before a backdrop driver ragdolled Jinny into the corner. Piper runs into the boot of Jinny in the corner, but manages to catch a flying ‘rana before hauling Jinny up into an electric chair facebuster for a near-fall, thanks to Jinny getting a foot on the rope. Another Piper Driver’s escaped as Jinny comes in with a knee strike for a near-fall… but Niven hits back with a shotgun dropkick and a cannonball, before finally landing the Piper Driver for the win. This was okay, but felt way too sluggish at times. **
Post-match, Piper called out Kay Lee Ray, who appeared and got in Niven’s face… only for Piper to slap back and hit a backdrop driver. I guess this is the Takeover feud… or is it? Toni Storm rushes out to join in the fun.
Dereiss Gordon vs. Eddie Dennis
Commentary tells us Dereiss has been training under Trent Seven lately… which is suddenly relevant because Eddie Dennis is feuding with Trent. This was Eddie’s return after eight months out (his last match was taped in February, but aired in March)…
Eddie starts by working Dereiss’ arm, but Dereiss reverses the wristlock, only for Eddie to neatly move into a cravat. Some misdirection tricks Eddie as Dereiss hits a dropkick, before a second one was caught and turned into a slingshot that sent Dereiss to the outside. A forearm awaits for Dereiss outside as Eddie stalked him, and it’s all one-way traffic from there as an Irish whip took Dereiss into the corner, then back into a cravat. From there, Eddie hits a Rainma… I mean a Seven Star lariat to ape Trent Seven, before a Severn Bridge bucklebomb and a Next Stop Driver put Dereiss away. I do love a bit of squash when I’m not celebrating Thanksgiving. **
Backstage, Radzi tries to hype up the main event, and keeps the levels there when Joseph Conners arrives. He tries to get Radzi to call him “Takeover-worthy”, as he’s all about the affirmations here as he’s about to ask Johnny Saint for a favour.
Ashton Smith vs. Noam Dar
Smith’s not won in 69 episodes of this show. Nice.
Dar stalls to begin, before he was sent in for a shoulder tackle by Smith. A sunset flip’s blocked as Smith just pulls him up for a dropkick, taking the Scotsman outside, but Dar returns to pratfall Ashton, then try his luck with a shoulder tackle. Nothing going there, at least initially, as Dar finally took down Smith. Smith fires back with a stalling suplex, dropping Dar for a near-fall, before they headed outside as Dar took Smith into the guard rails. An attempt to throw Dar back in saw Noam rebound off the ropes and come back with a lariat, before he stomped Smith’s head into the apron.
Back inside, Dar keeps up the offence, trapping Smith with kicks before he rolled him down into an omoplata, before he instead pulled at the nose. Dar kicks back, before he got pulled up into a death valley driver, but a leg sweep takes Smith back down… he recovers to counter a Nova Roller into a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall, but Dar rebounds and hits the Nova Roller for the win. They gave this one time, and the crowd actually got into it… but it’s yet another loss for Smith, who I feel may well be heading into the tag team ranks soonish. **¾
Backstage, Imperium are walking as James Drake heads into the toilets…
Next week, we’re getting A-Kid vs. Jordan Devlin… and also, Joseph Conners takes on Travis Banks and Ligero in a triple-threat.
Imperium (WALTER, Marcel Barthel, Alexander Wolfe & Fabian Aichner) vs. Gallus (Joe Coffey, Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) & Ilja Dragunov
Gang Rulz, this ain’t. Poor Chris Roberts is the ref, so expect stuff to break down sharpish!
Joe Coffey tries to incite stuff before Ilja Dragunov had even appeared, and we get going with a little over 15 minutes left in the hour. At least it’s not an elimination match! Wolfe and Wolfgang start in someone’s idea of a funny, as it’s the Scotsman who’s on the defensive, with Aichner tagging in to work over the arm. Barthel’s in to land an armdrag, then lock in an armbar as Wolfe returned to grind his fist into Wolfgang’s ribs. Wolfgang responds by whipping Wolfe into the Gallus corner as it was their turn to get some payback, exchanging quick tags as Joe Coffey hit a backbreaker and a facedrop.
Ilja’s in with Wolfe, landing a leaping forearm before a crossbody got caught… he wriggles free, and began to pepper Wolfe with body blows, before Wolfe punched his way free and took Ilja into the Imperium corner. Aichner’s back to throw some boots, but Ilja’s back with a back chop and a back senton before he poked the bear that was WALTER. Joe Coffey hits the ring as we had the inevitable 8-man face-off, and ad break? Nah, Chris Roberts actually maintains order and clears the ring, as Ilja hit a knee and an enziguiri to Aichner… but Ilja keeps poking the bears on the apron, which led to him getting low-bridged to the outside by WALTER.
A proverbial mugging happens on the outside as Imperium took control, and WALTER finally tags in as Ilja was down in the corner. An uppercut drops Ilja, as a knuckle lock forced the Russian to the mat, with WALTER just stomping apart the neck bridge. Imperium take some cheap shots as Dragunov tried to fight back, but he’s taken into the corner as Barthel dominated once again, ringing Ilja’s bell. Some backbreakers from Aichner get a near-fall, before Barthel returned to lock in a chinbar. Another backfist is blocked, but Ilja hits the clothesline anyway as a tag’s made to bring in Wolfe… who cleared the ring before tags brought in Mark Coffey and Aichner. An uppercut from Mark clears the decks as a big back body drop began something of a Parade of Moves, including a nice slingshot Samoan drop on Barthel.
The ring clears as Wolfgang peppered Aichner with rights in the corner, before they laid each other out. Only two men remain: WALTER and Joe Coffey, and they get the tags in, charging into each other like bulls before WALTER clung to the ropes to avoid a German suplex. He couldn’t avoid a Tim Thatcher-like belly-to-belly off the ropes, before WALTER responded with a massive shotgun dropkick. A piledriver’s teased, but Coffey back body drops free before he sent WALTER outside… Ilja heads out with a tope to Wolfe as things well and truly broke down. Joe Coffey shoves WALTER into the railings, as Wolfe and Ilja brawl into the crowd… and all of a sudden the bell rings. It’s a double count-out, but like hell that bell was going to stop things, as all eight men continue to brawl until the show went off the air. Well, they brought the pandemonium and eventually dragged the crowd into it, but this felt like the first chapter of the “gang warfare” rather than anything close to a finale. ***¼
Well, the two-week run was good while it lasted. Perhaps stuffing the show with squashes (glorified or otherwise) wasn’t such a good idea – but it is an example of the formula that’s hamstrung this show so far. Gallus and Imperium’s eight-man tag got the crowd going towards the end, but for my liking they rushed the match, almost to tease a “Survivor Series-like” match on Thanksgiving Thursday, without actually doing the elimination rules. Still, at least we’re getting the big names back on with some degree of regularity, so you know we’re getting close to Takeover season. Well, once we get past Christmas, anyway…