Date: October 24, 2018
Location: Cambridge Corn Exchange, Cambridge, England
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness
It’s week two and there’s a good chance we’ll be seeing a lot of new faces again this time around. Last week was mainly about introducing the top stars and some of them might be back this time around. I liked the first week a bit more than I was expecting, but it’s hard to say where things go from here. Let’s get to it.
Ligero vs. Mike Hitchman
Ligero looks like a luchador (complete with horned mask) and Hitchman is a rather hideous man called the Wild Boar. Ligero kicks him down to start and mostly misses a standing moonsault for two. Hitchman sends him to the apron but Ligero bounces right back in for a dropkick. That earns him a whip into the corner for a good looking running shoulder into the corner.
An exploder suplex sets up a neck crank but Ligero comes up with some running clotheslines. A running big boot gets two on Hitchman but he’s right back with a fireman’s carry faceplant. Hitchman hits a running backsplash to the back and another one in the corner for two more as Ligero is in big trouble. The fans get behind Ligero as he avoids a charge in the corner and hits a springboard tornado DDT for the pin at 4:49.
Rating: C. Not too bad at all here with the power vs. speed formula, which is one of the most tried and true ideas in wrestling. Every promotion can use a smaller guy like Ligero and the fans certainly took to him early. Hitchman didn’t stand out all that much, but at least the match was entertaining while it lasted.
Video on Dakota Kai.
Video on Killer Kelly.
Dakota Kai vs. Killer Kelly
Both of them like to kick. Kai starts in with the kicks but gets caught with a jawbreaker to slow her down. Kelly rains down the right hands and grabs a surfboard with a dragon sleeper to bend Kai in a few painful looking directions. Since Kai is about to break, Kelly lets her go and hits a basement dropkick for two more. A release German suplex keeps Kai in trouble but she’s right back up with some kicks to the face. The running kick in the corner is followed by a running seated version and a somewhat botched sunset flip Backstabber (a hard move to be fair) finishes Kelly at 4:11.
Rating: C-. The sloppiness hurt this one a good bit but at least Kai won. She could be a star in the Bayley sense, though that didn’t quite work in NXT. Maybe the weaker talent pool around here will serve her better, but she’s definitely got something. The kicks looked good as always and Kelly looked better than she did in the Mae Young Classic.
Post match Kai says she wants the NXT UK Women’s Title.
We look at Zack Gibson winning the UK Title Tournament over the summer.
Video on Eddie Dennis, who knew Mark Haskins and Pete Dunne when they were kids. He became a school principal and isn’t happy with their success. This guy could be interesting.
Here’s Gibson for a chat. He’s Liverpool’s #1 and that’s soon to be the world’s #1, as well as NXT UK’s #1. At the Royal Albert Hall, he beat three men in a row and won the tournament. Then the next night, he fought Pete Dunne, though the fans aren’t impressed. Gibson wants Dunne right now because the Royal Albert Hall fans weren’t fair to him over the summer.
The fans chant something at him so Gibson rants about Noam Dar getting a title shot with weeks to prepare but he failed anyway. Gibson is the kind of guy you can build a brand around and if you look up Dar, all you’ll see is someone doing a bunch of stupid poses. Cue Dar for a fight but GM Johnny Saint comes out to tell Gibson to come to the office RIGHT NOW. Gibson looks scared, which is the point of a good boss.
Video on Ashton Smith, who will do anything he has to do to win.
Travis Banks is coming for the Coffey Brothers, who attacked him in the Royal Albert Hall.
Ashton Smith vs. Tucker
Smith knocks him down for two to start so Tucker comes back with some superkicks to take over. A running headbutt drops Smith again and they hit a pinfall reversal sequence. Tucker begs off in the corner but comes out with some shots to the head and a suplex for two. The Super Duper Kick doesn’t work so Smith sends him into the corner for some running hip shots. The ripcord DDT (Ash Cloud) is good for the pin on Tucker at 4:16.
Rating: C. I think I remember liking Smith back in the summer and I liked him again here. He has a good look and moves well in the ring so I can easily see why they’re giving him a spot here. Tucker…I’m still not sure. The name doesn’t do him any favors but his in-ring stuff is fine enough. Nice little match here as they’re keeping things short and sweet this week.
Video on Danny Burch, who debuts next week.
Also next week: Gibson vs. Dar.
Wolfgang vs. Tyler Bate
Wolfgang hasn’t impressed me much so far but maybe this will be better. Feeling out process to start with Wolfgang taking him up to the ropes for a howl. The much smaller Bate gets sat on the apron as the fans call Bate (I think?) a big strong boy. Bate wants a test of strength but gets taken down, only to spin out and nip up for a dropkick. Wolfgang slips out of an airplane spin attempt and starts in on the ribs.
Some stomps set up a waistlock into a bearhug but Bate punches his way out. A middle rope elbow to the jaw sets up Bate’s bouncing off the ropes into the clotheslines. Three in a row finally put Wolfgang on one knee and Bate is able to do the airplane spin. The running shooting star gets two but the Tyler Driver 97 is broken up. Wolfgang flips him over with a release German suplex and gets two off a spear. The Howling (Swanton) misses and the Tyler Driver 97 finishes Wolfgang at 10:26.
Rating: C-. Bate was trying here but he needed someone better than Wolfgang. I know he’s a bigger guy, but that’s about all Wolfgang has going for him. I’ve seen him a few times now and nothing he’s done has really impressed me. Bate is the kind of guy who should be on the main roster one day and when you consider how young he still is, it’s downright impressive.
Overall Rating: C. There isn’t much to say about these shows, but that’s how the early episodes should be. You need to set these things up over the course of a few weeks so that the stories have more of an impact. They’ve done a good job of establishing some basic characters though and that’s the important thing so far. I’m still not sure that this show really needs to be there, but at least they’re doing an acceptable job so far.
Ligero b. Mike Hitchman – Springboard tornado DDT
Dakota Kai b. Killer Kelly – Code Red Backstabber
Ashton Smith b. Tucker – Ash Cloud
Tyler Bate b. Wolfgang – Tyler Driver 97
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