Up this week on NXT UK – Gallus in the main event as Kay Lee Ray looked to show why the brand’s women’s division was all about her.
It feels like a whole different world – and for the foreseeable, NXT UK is about the only new wrestling we’ll be able to see with a crowd. Well, that, MLW and Impact. We open with a recap of Finn Balor’s win over Alexander Wolfe last week. That feels like ages ago. We’re still in Coventry, with Nigel McGuinness and Andy Shepherd on the call…
Kay Lee Ray vs. Dani Luna
This one played off of last week, where Kay Lee Ray interrupted Dani’s match with Amale…
Luna’s on the front foot with waistlock takedowns early on, before a leg sweep and a gutwrench suplex threw Ray into the corner. A thrust kick to the knee stops Luna, but she’s right back with a roll-up… only to get taken down for an armbar and some clubbing shots on the mat. A missile dropkick from Kay Lee lands for a near-fall, before a superkick to the back of the head led to a Gory bomb for the win. A little squashy, but Dani at least got something in at the start. **
Post-match, Kay Lee continued to attack Luna before Piper Niven ran out to make the save. I guess that’s the direction, and I’m not about to complain. Especially since their eventual match probably isn’t going to be all friendly like their EVE match was last year…
They show footage from “last week” of Finn Balor telling WALTER “I work Wednesdays”. Everyone in the back’s staring at Finn like he’s a leper, except for the lads at catering, while Tyler Bate squared up to Finn. Speaking of Tyler, he meets Johnny Saint and Sid Scala in what looked like a hotel lounge. He’s being put in a battle royal for a shot at the NXT UK title at Takeover: Dublin. If that happens.
Vignette time for Valkyrie. Except it’s not. We see Nina Samuels watching it on her phone, and it segues into some jealousy as Nina seems a little mad that she’s not got much buzz. She’s facing Valkyrie next week.
Joseph Conners vs. Ridge Holland
A big test for “Ridge the Fridge,” who may well be what inspired “Sergeant Shiggy” at ATTACK… while I marvel at the “RH Clubbing Services” logo on the jacket. Sadly, not the kind of clubbing he thinks…
We start with a lock-up, before Conners backed himself into the ropes. Conners tries a cheapshot, but his floatover out of the corner’s met with an uppercut before a tiltawhirl slam had Conners on the deck. Crossface punches follow, before Conners looked for a crossbody, which gets caught. Conners manages to take Holland outside for a tope, which finds its mark, as did another crossbody off the top rope, which gets Conners nary a one-count. Some body blows sees Conners wear down Holland, as he began to target the knee of Holland as his rugby past suddenly became more than a one-liner for his character bio.
Holland has to shove away Conners, but he gets pulled into the ropes as Conners continued to kick at the knee. A head and arm choke sees Holland try to fight back, before a small package led to nothing but a chop block to the knee. Conners takes it outside as he wraps Holland’s knee around the ring post, then around the ropes as the focus was perhaps a little too one-dimensional. A single-leg takedown has Holland on the mat. More kicking to the knee led to a toe hold attempt, but Holland pushes away before countering a crossbody into an overhead suplex. Holland follows with a capture suplex, then a short-range clothesline before a POUNCE took Conners outside.
Conners recovers to hit a slingshot DDT from the apron back into the ring, as he began to get frustrated again… and it ends up being his downfall as he ran into the Northern Grit as Holland got the win. I liked the tactics on show, but it was way too one-dimensional in terms of “work the knee”. At least Ridge is getting longer matches, I guess. **¾
Backstage, everyone standing around as Mark Andrews is on the floor injured. Maybe it was the Hunt? Gallus appear in their clobber to survey the scene, and demand the match continues, even if it’s a handicap deal.
Vignette time for Ilja Dragunov…
Kassius Ohno vs. Kenny Williams
Whatever happened to Williams and Amir Jordan as a team? Apparently this is because both men are in the battle royal in two weeks’ time…
Ohno doesn’t seem too thrilled at the crowd chanting for him, as he focused on wearing down Williams with holds, going for armdrags… but Williams rolls free. A knee to the gut stops that, before Williams found a way back in with headscissors. Williams falls short on a springboard crossbody, but manages to fight his way into a crucifix for a near-fall before Ohno tossed him into the ropes from a cravat. Ohno pushes the ropes with his feet to stop a springboard, as he brought Williams back inside with a version of the Iconoclasm, before Williams tried to fight back… but Ohno just wrapped the arm in the ropes.
Williams uses his boots to get free as he dropkicks Ohno to the outside, following up with a dropkick through-the-ropes and a tope as well. Ohno social distances, but Williams hits a Coffin Drop off the top rope instead, before a missile dropkick back inside just staggered Ohno. A diving boot works for a near-fall, but Ohno blocks a handspring and kicks out Williams’ arm before a rolling elbow KO’s Williams. From there, Ohno rolls him over for a Kassius Clutch, and the referee just waves it off. A cracking match with Ohno once again bringing it – and Williams more than played his part in a match that could have been a bit of a clash of styles. ***¼
A-Kid’s interviewed backstage… Noam Dar walks in and claims he’s got his own interview. It annoys A-Kid so much he speaks Spanish. Dar does the “shout in English slowly” thing, which leads to a challenge for match for next week. They’re really picking stuff at random from these tapings. Dar knows some Spanish too: “tranquilo” and “el dafty”. I’d have to check Google Translate for that second one.
More ‘Mania adverts that haven’t yet been updated to reflect how (as of writing) they’re doing two days at the Performance Centre. I’m not joking.
They recap Jordan Devlin winning the NXT Cruiserweight title at Worlds Collide, and the build up to Banks vs. Devlin next week. They’re stacking up that episode, eh?
Gallus (Joe Coffey, Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) vs. Flash Morgan Webster, Dave Mastiff & Trent Seven
Trent was the replacement for Mark Andrews, who’ll be the centre of a “whodunnit” over the coming weeks.
Wolfgang and Seven start us off, with Trent hitting a crossbody and a hip toss before tagging in Webster, whose Special Brew flip shows we’re flying through the hits here. Mark Coffey’s in, but Webster keeps going for Wolfgang with a ‘rana and a tope before hitting a Rude Boy moonsault press to Mark for a near-fall. Webster keeps on Gallus with a springboard dropkick to take down Joe Coffey, but Mark’s still the legal man as Gallus began to find a way through. A clothesline from Joe gets a near-fall as Flash was getting worn down… as was my sound as an elbow drop gets a near-fall right as the sound from it hits.
Wolfgang returns to hit some body blows while Mark Coffey used a chin bar to keep Flash at bay. Flash tries to kick back, but they barely register as the chinbar’s reapplied, before Flash fakes out for a headbutt and tagged in Mastiff. Here come the big lad shoulder tackles, and a big back body drop as Mastiff clears house. We get a stand-off between Mastiff and Joe Coffey, echoing the Last Man Standing stuff from last year. Mastiff’s swivelling clothesline barely gets a one-count, before Trent Seven came in. He’s instantly outside for a low-pe, that’s caught and turned into a chokeslam on the floor, while Mastiff went for a Samoan drop on Joe.
The pair clatter into each other as Mastiff staggers into Webster in the corner. That counts as a tag as a Finlay roll from Mastiff and a Shadows Over Malice senton bomb almost got the upset on Joe Coffey. Webster went for an Eton Rifle, but gets distracted before finding a way through with a roll-up… Wolfgang gets a blind tag in as Joe’s springboard crossbody out of the corner flattened Webster, and after an enziguiri-assisted slam, Webster’s put away with Awra Best for the Bells as Joe Coffey got the win. Surprisingly more one-sided than I thought, but then again they sure do love their Gallus here. ***
All in all, a decent enough episode of NXT UK – but much like the rest of WWE programming, the wider world isn’t acknowledged, not even in passing. It’ll be interesting to see what they do (if anything) as the planned WALTER/Balor match seems to be going by the wayside as WrestleMania weekend Takeover gets rescheduled… and of course, how they handle the assumed cancellation/postponement of Takeover: Dublin. Still, as an hour’s escape from the real world, NXT UK more than provided that this week. Cheers lads.