Date: April 26, 2017
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators; Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson, Tom Phillips
The British are here tonight as the big featured match will see WWE UK Champion Tyler Bate defending against Jack Gallagher. I like the idea of throwing those guys out there for some filler as it keeps the regular roster fresh and gives us a bit of a treat. That being said, I could go for a bit of a better story than “You’re British, here’s a title shot.” Let’s get to it.
Here’s the creepy Nikki Cross to call out Ruby Riot by leaning over and shouting into the microphone being held in the ring announcer’s lap. Riot comes out and the brawl is on with referees barely able to break it up.
We look back at Hideo Itami hitting Bobby Roode with a GTS.
Roode says Itami has to earn a title shot.
Andrade Cien Almas vs. Drew McIntyre
Drew doesn’t waste time by kicking Almas in the face as the announcers accuse Andrade of not focusing on his wrestling enough. Back up and Almas takes him into the corner for the running slap to the face, only to have Drew unload on him with right hands. A top rope forearm to the head makes things even worse and they chop the heck out of each other. Drew gets the better of it and the running boot to the face gives him the pin at 3:54.
Rating: C+. McIntyre is a completely different worker than he was in his first run as he’s wrestling like a 6’5 monster with one heck of a hard finisher. I’m surprise about Almas losing clean this fast but at least they beat the heck out of each other before the finish. Maybe they’re setting up something with the story about him not taking things seriously enough but the quick loss doesn’t bode well.
We get a feature on Roderick Strong, who grew up as an athletic prodigy and had no competition on almost any field. At the same time though, his family was a mess with his dad having substance issues and abusing his mom. One day she shot his dad though and that seemed to take care of some issues.
Strong walks around his mom’s backyard as we hear about how she’s been there for his entire career. Jim Neidhart of all people saw him wrestle as a kid and knew there was potential there. Strong had his own ring in the backyard, which actually looked like a (very crude) wrestling ring instead of something thrown together. More next week, though this already did Strong a lot of good.
Aleister Black vs. Kona Reeves
Kona charges into the corner and gets kicked in the ribs for his efforts. A series of strikes set up a kick to the head, followed by Black Mass for the pin on Reeves at 1:17.
Riot talks about how she goes against the norm. Tonight she’s going to take her first step towards the NXT Women’s Title. Next up, we start a riot.
Almas leaves with a host of good looking women and doesn’t seem to mind his loss.
Ruby Riot vs. Nikki Cross
And never mind as Cross jumps her from behind and the brawl starts on the floor. A suplex onto the ramp has Cross in trouble until the referees try to break it up. Riot dives off the stage to take everyone out and referees literally drag Cross away. This made Riot look like a star and showed Cross’ intensity all over again. The match is going to be a lot of fun and should give the division a shot of adrenaline.
William Regal tells Asuka that there will be a battle royal for the #1 contendership. This doesn’t seem to sit well with the champ.
UK Title: Tyler Bate vs. Jack Gallagher
Bate is defending and has grown a bit of a beard to make him look like he’s in his 20s for a change. Gallagher hand walks out of a headlock to start and Bate can only smile. Back up and Tyler does an interesting walking forward counter to a full nelson. They trade some near falls and a standoff takes us to a break.
Back with Gallagher taking him down with a wristlock and stomping on the hands. Gallagher keeps him on the mat with a variety of armbars and wristlocks, including pinning one arm down and stepping on the other arm to push it all the way down as well (a bit hard to describe but it looks like the shoulder is about to be torn apart).
Tyler finally gets in a few hard punches and a German suplex is good for two. Gallagher’s Jim Breaks Special is reversed into a suplex for two but one heck of a headbutt knocks Bate silly. Another headbutt is good for two but a second Jim Breaks Special is countered, setting up the Tyler Driver 97 to retain the title at 13:31.
Rating: B. This is the kind of different style that makes the UK wrestlers valuable. We had McIntyre wrestling a hard hitting style earlier but this was mostly submission wrestling and arm work before the power finish. It felt like something different and that makes it stand out more, which is the whole point of something like this. Good match as Bate continues to perform beyond his years. They’re also setting up a way to get the title off of him as he keeps getting outperformed but hits his one big move to win every time. That’s going to catch up to him eventually and it’ll make the new champion look that much better.
Overall Rating: B-. It’s a very easy to watch but entirely skippable show this week without any required viewing. The Strong video stands out as NXT is always good about setting something like that up to help you care about a performer. Overall the show felt like it was setting the table for later and there’s nothing wrong with something like that.
Drew McIntyre b. Andrade Cien Almas – Running boot to the face
Aleister Black b. Kona Reeves – Black Mass
Tyler Bate b. Jack Gallagher – Tyler Driver 97
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