After a good showing at Worlds Collide, NXT UK is back as Imperium looked to take on some former tag team champions.

The show opens with recaps from World Collide, and then we’re back to the Barbican in York, with Tom Phillips and Aiden English on commentary. I wonder if they’ll replace Tom from March, seeing how he’s moved up to Raw? But first, we see muted footage of Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster talking to Dave Mastiff. I think he’s their man.

Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch vs. The Hunt (Primate & Wild Boar)
This was Oney’s first WWE match sign he re-signed…

Boar forces Burch into the ropes from a waistlock… but Burch replies with a wristlock on the break as I’m amazed Tom Phillips knew what Yum Yums were. A headlock takedown has Boar on the mat, before Primate came in and tried to turn things around… only for his leapfrog to get pulled down by Burch. Lorcan tags in and chops through Primate, then tagged back out as we got some double-teaming by the ropes. Primate’s down, but he’s able to elbow free and bring in Boar, who ran into a knee from Lorcan as the Hunt were struggling. More chops from Lorcan keep Boar down, as the Hunt remained on the back foot, with Lorcan using an abdominal stretch to keep Boar restrained.

Primate’s back in, catching Burch and Lorcan with clotheslines in the corner, before an errant charge from Burch hit his own man. That left Lorcan prone for a clothesline from Primate for a near-fall, only for another double-team, in the form of an assisted powerbomb, to almost get Burch the win. From there, Primate has to escape what looked to be a Doomsday Device attempt before catching Lorcan with an overhead belly-to-belly. Tags bring us to Boar and Burch again, and after a spear and a cannonball, Boar’s on top… until he’s cracked with a headbutt. Boar stumbles into the corner, tagging in Primate… but instead Boar pulls Burch outside to miss a frog splash on floor.

There’s no better luck for Primate either as he springboarded into an uppercut, before falling to the 1-2 elevated DDT. Thanks for coming… remember when the Hunt had some steam? Now they’re falling to what I presume were this taping’s imports. Ah well. At least it was a solid match, even if the crowd barely sounded like they cared. **½

An interview follows with Toni Storm after Worlds Collide. She blames Kay Lee Ray still being in her head for that loss to Rhea Ripley… and it looks like Toni’s got work to do to get rid of her.

Eddie Dennis comes out for a promo next. Someone’s keen on Wales. Oh hey, they’ve re-added Twitter handles to the name plates. He pitches to footage of him tossing Trent Seven onto some poor sap on the outside at Takeover, and they loop it… and loop it… and loop it. Eddie brags about taking out a “founding father” of the brand, then said he was forced to dump Trent to the outside… cue the interruption, and Trent’s already got a mic. Trent calls Eddie a liar, then removes a turnbuckle pad to give his excuse for his loss. While also showing how cumbersome that Takeover name was. Trent challenges Eddie to a rematch: with no turnbuckle pads. Ah, the Yano special! It’s gonna be a street fight, before Eddie tries to cut off Trent Scott Steiner impression (hah)… but he’s sent packing.

Post-produced Tom pitches to Tyler Bate at the UK PC… he’s interrupted by A-Kid, and they arrange a friendly match for next week. A-Kid seemed like a nervous, erm, kid asking for a date here…

Vignette time… someone’s walking up hills with some feathery shoulder pads. It’s announcing the debut of Aoife Valkyrie – she arrives in two weeks! I notice Tom chickened out of that first name…

Nina Samuels vs. Isla Dawn
This is the fourth time these two have met on NXT UK – that’s got to be one of the most-frequent matches, no? Isla’s won two of their prior three meetings too…

We start with a lock-up, but Dawn pushes Nina away as we rushed through takedowns, escapes and more armdrags. Nina cartwheels away from the ropes, then avoided an O’Connor roll as Dawn showed off a splits… but Nina just throws her head into the mat. A lucha roll gets Isla a near-fall, before a dropkick took Samuels down… she’s back, throwing Isla outside, before a handspring kick knocks Isla to the floor. Ouch. Nina followed her outside as new referee Artemis began a count… while Nina tripped Isla into the ring apron. Tom finally tries – and nails – the pronunciation of Aoife, as Nina used a chinlock to hold Dawn back. A slam looked to follow, but Isla slips out only to get pulled into the turnbuckles. Slingshot knees from Nina eventually backfire, as Dawn responds with a back suplex, then with some clotheslines, before a kick was caught and almost turned into a Ninagoroshi.

Instead, they switch up as Nina’s met with a 619 as she was in the corner, knocking her down ahead of a Meteora as Dawn proceeded to get the win with a nice bridging half nelson suplex. Decent enough, but ice cold as a match I’m afraid. **¾

Ilja Dragunov’s interviewed after his loss to Finn Balor last weekend… he’s looking to learn from defeat, and took pride in what he did. Talk then turned to Joe Coffey back home, and that’s going to be a match.

Radzi’s interviewing Oney and Danny about their win… they want to take on Gallus, and I guess because they’re bigger stars, there’s no negotiating.

Tyson T-Bone vs. Ridge Holland

Holland got a pop for being from Yorkshire… but Tom, Yorkshire’s a county, not a town!

From the opening lock-up, T-Bone’s taken into the ropes before the pair slugged it out with forearms. Hey, is that Tommy Cannon in the front row again?! T-Bone edged ahead, but Holland kept scrapping, only to have his knee kicked out from under him. He’s back with an overhead belly-to-belly, then a short-arm clothesline, before we’re back to the scraps. A suplex from T-Bone gets nary a one-count, so he throws more forearms before headbutts from Holland led to an Alabama Slam, before the Northern Grit – Emerald Fusion – got the win. A very different kind of squash, but I do wish the taping format allowed for Ridge to be featured more often than monthly. **

They confirm Bate vs. A-Kid for next week… while Trent Seven vs. Eddie Dennis in a street fight is also on that show.

Flash Morgan Webster, Mark Andrews & Dave Mastiff vs. Imperium (Marcel Barthel, Fabien Aichner & Alexander Wolfe)
Big Dave’s managed to sneak the SPLX logo onto his ring jacket. To be fair, referee Joel Allen’s brand has been appearing a lot for a non-WWE brand…

Barthel and Andrews start, as Andrews’ wristlock was slapped away with Barthel switching into an armbar of his own. Aichner’s in, but that signals a turnaround with Webster tagging in also… only to get overpowered as his ‘rana’s caught and turned into a toe hold from the Italian. Wolfe’s next, who reapplies the toe hold, only for Flash to get free as he hits an armdrag then a dropkick. The Special Brew Flip lands for a near-fall, before Dave Mastiff tagged in to try and charge through Wolfe with uppercuts. Now the crowd comes alive… but Wolfe tags in Aichner, who runs into an armdrag as we keep going with the quick tags. I think that’s the Ogdens making the noise as Andrews satellites around Aichner with headscissors, before an enziguiri waited for Barthel ahead of the Stomp 182.

More flips follow with an assisted, then a standing moonsault from the former tag champions, before Mastiff returned to drop Barthel with a stalling suplex that held him for so long his fringe stood on end! Andrews is back for an assisted corkscrew senton for a near-fall, before Webster stepped up off of Barthel’s back for a ‘rana to Wolfe. A springboard moonsault is next for Barthel, as Webster continued to clear house, only for Wolfe to dump Flash on his head with a release German suplex. That looked nasty. Aichner’s back as he broke Webster down with a single chop, then with an Irish whip into the corner. A double-team dropkick continued the focus on Flash’s neck, as he was sent outside… and came back up with Aichner’s handprint still glowing on his chest!

Flash fires back with chops, only to get double-teamed with a spinebuster and a PK for a two-count. Eventually Flash got free and tagged in Mastiff who ran riot, driving through Aichner with a forearm before Wolfe took a back body drop… a Finlay roll awaits Aichner, then a back senton, before Andrews returned… but he’s quickly overwhelmed as Imperium looked for the hand-off suplex, which he turned into a Stundog Millionaire. Dives follow as Flash and Morgan went outside, followed by a cannonball off the apron from Big Dave… who then did the WALTER pose. That drew out the Austrian, who got tried to interfere… but he’s knocked down while Andrews finally took the impressive press-slam/hand-off suplex in the ring, and that’s enough for Imperium to get the win. A really good trios match to wrap up the show, even if it did feel a little too mile-a-minute compared to the rest of the show. ***

If you’re following the trajectory of NXT UK shows, this was the “eh” comedown show, with a lot of the lesser lights of the brand being featured… to the usual reactions. At least they’re still developing and building up storylines in these tapings, but I have a feeling that the tease of WALTER vs. Mastiff isn’t going to do much to capture the interest of the cynics. The arrival of Valkyrie in a few weeks will be adding to a division that’s in dire need of a second storyline, but at least a fresh face will spark some interest.