Date: November 21, 2018
Location: NEC Arena, Birmingham, England
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness
It’s time for another double shot as we continue to try and get through all the old tapings, even though there’s another taping scheduled for this weekend. Apparently I’m not allowed to complain about such things though so we’ll move on to what’s on tap this week, which includes to more first round matches in the Women’s Title tournament. Let’s get to it.
NXT UK Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Xia Brookside vs. Rhea Ripley
Ripley throws her down by the face to start so Xia tries to grapple her down as well. The hurricanrana is countered into a buckle bomb though as the much smaller Brookside can’t do much with the much bigger Ripley. A delayed suplex and a dropkick to the back of the head give Ripley two and it’s off to a standing Texas Cloverleaf. Brookside fights up and snaps off a headscissors before going up top. The high crossbody is countered into the Riptide to give Ripley the pin at 5:14.
Rating: D+. Just a step above a squash here with Ripley looking dominant. That’s not at all surprising as WWE clearly thinks something of her and wants her to be a big deal. She’s got the stuff to be a big deal and pushing her makes a lot of sense. Brookside certainly has potential with a good look and natural abilities but at 20 years old, she needs some experience. There’s nothing wrong with that and I’m sure she’ll be around in the future.
James Drake and Zack Gibson have known each other for a long time and no team can challenge them. Last week was just a friend helping a friend. This interview is over.
We look back at Wolfgang and the Coffey Brothers attacking Moustache Mountain last week. The beating continued after the show ended with Trent Seven’s leg being crushed under an anvil case.
Eddie Dennis vs. Jack Starz
The fans are behind Dennis, who is nearly a foot taller than Starz. Dennis takes him to the ropes to start and blasts Starz with a forearm to the face. Some choking keeps Starz in trouble and a spinning Rock Bottom backbreaker gets two. Starz actually tells him to bring it on and hits some uppercuts. That just earns him a Razor’s Edge buckle bomb though and the lifting inverted DDT is good for the pin on Starz at 3:19.
Rating: D. Starz got in more offense than he should here but I still like Dennis’ work. He looks like a monster and has a better backstory than most around here, which is something that helps him stand apart. If nothing else just having his size is going to make him that much more interesting. Just a squash here for the most part though, with Dennis dominating.
Next week: Tyson T-Bone vs. Dave Mastiff.
Mark Andrews vs. Mike Hitchman
Hitchman (also known as the Wild Boar) takes him straight down by the arm but gets armdragged down a few times. Andrews gets knocked down onto the apron though and a big backsplash crushes him again. Another backsplash gets two but Andrews comes back with a series of strikes, including an enziguri to send Hitchman outside. A moonsault from the apron…bounces off Hitchman in a weird landing but it puts him down anyway.
Back in and Hitchman scores with a half and half suplex and a running backsplash (he loves that move) in the corner for two. A frog splash misses but Hitchman turns him upside down off a clothesline. That just earns him Stundog Millionaire and the shooting star (headbutt version) gives Andrews the pin at 5:27.
Rating: D+. I wasn’t feeling this one for the most part as Hitchman was too fond of that backsplash and the match was a little sloppy at times. Andrews is a good little underdog though and someone who could be a nice guy to push around here. Hitchman…well his nickname is good, even if his stuff in the ring isn’t great.
Eddie Dennis is happy to be undefeated when Ashton Smith comes in to say he could handle Dennis. That sends Dennis over the edge so he promises to take care of Smith.
NXT UK Women’s Title Tournament First Round: Isla Dawn vs. Toni Storm
Dawn dropkicks her into the corner at the bell and hits a belly to back suplex for two. Toni is rocked early and some elbows to the face make things even worse. Some forearms have no effect on Dawn, who scores with a pair of jumping knees to the face for two. The Rings of Saturn go on and Toni has to turn around several ways to finally get to the rope for the break. Dawn talks some trash and gets kicked in the face, followed by a running hip attack in the corner. A hard German suplex sets up Storm Zero for the pin on Dawn at 4:06.
Rating: C+. That was short but Dawn looked way better than she has in a long time. She beat up the much bigger star for a few minutes, which is quite the feat in a match that should be the most obvious ending on this show so far. You know Storm is getting a deep run in this thing after winning the Mae Young Classic so the win wasn’t exactly in doubt, but it was still cool to see Dawn make a go of it.
Storm helps her up.
Here are the semifinals, which will take place next week:
Not bad at all.
Jordan Devlin vs Ligero
Feeling out process to start with Ligero working on the wrist and armdragging him to the mat into a rollup. That earns him a SI chant, even though Ligero is from England. A headscissors down gets two and we get what sounds like an Elite chant. Devlin is right back with a release Rock Bottom into a standing moonsault for two and it’s off to a neck crank. Back up and a heck of a back elbow gets two on Ligero and Devlin says Ligero isn’t on his level.
A crossbody gets Ligero out of trouble but Devlin grabs his leg in a smart move. Ligero knees his way out of a suplex and gets two off a Code Red. That’s enough of this nearly getting pinned thing for Devlin, who knees him hard in the mask. In a cool spot, Devlin pulls him up from the mat into a belly to back suplex, all in one motion with a hard landing. Ligero is somehow alive enough to send him to the floor for another headscissors and it’s time to go back inside.
The top rope splash hits Devlin’s raised knees though and a Spanish Fly gets two with Devlin not believing the kickout. With nothing on the mat working, Devlin ties him up in the Tree of Woe for a double stomp but Ligero does a situp into a belly to back superplex. Now the top rope splash connects for two and they’re both down. They head to the apron for a slugout but Devlin sends him face first into the steps. That means a moonsault to the floor, followed by Ireland’s Call for the pin at 11:44.
Rating: B. I still don’t quite like Devlin as much as some do but he was looking solid here and Ligero was just a step behind him. I’m not entirely sure why Devlin felt the need to beat him up, but at least they had a good match to close out the show. Pete Dunne needs challengers and Devlin wouldn’t be bad as an option. Rather good match here, which is a good sign with none of the top stars involved.
Post match, Devlin calls out Pete Dunne to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This show got a lot better as it went on with some of the earlier stuff being pretty weak, but the last two matches were both strong with the main event being a quite good match. They’re starting to develop some stars around here, which has to be the case sooner rather than later because British Strong Style can only carry you so far. Good show here, as things are getting easier to watch.
Rhea Ripley b. Xia Brookside – Riptide
Eddie Dennis b. Jack Starz – Lifting inverted DDT
Mark Andrews b. Mike Hitchman – Shooting star press
Toni Storm b. Isla Dawn – Storm Zero
Jordan Devlin b. Ligero – Ireland’s Call
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