Date: November 28, 2018
Location: NEC Arena, Birmingham, England
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness
You can always get something out of a guaranteed new champion and that’s what we have tonight. We’ve got the finals of the NXT UK Women’s Title tournament with Rhea Ripley facing off with Toni Storm for the title. After Storm won the Mae Young Classic, it would make sense to have Ripley get the title here but you never can guess what you might see. Let’s get to it.
We open with a recap of the tournament, which might have had more impact if it hadn’t taken place over the course of two weeks.
Joe Coffey vs. Sid Scala
Joe has his brother Mark and Wolfgang head to the back as he has this. Actually hang on as Scala is in a suit because still injured. He has a replacement though.
Joe Coffey vs. Tyler Bate
This works. Tyler slugs away to start and hits a knee to the face out of the corner. A dropkick sends Coffey to the floor for a suicide dive and Tyler hits a diving uppercut for good measure. Cue Mark and Wolfgang for a distraction though and Joe drives him into the apron to take over. Back in and Tyler can’t get the fireman’s carry as Joe slips off and headbutts him down. Joe even mocks the Moustache Mountain pose so you know it’s serious.
The swinging butterfly suplex has Bate in more trouble and it’s off to the nerve hold. That’s switched over to a crossarm choke but Bate eventually reverses into one of his own. Bate’s doesn’t last as long though as he gets caught in an overhead belly to belly for two more. Bate is too banged up to grab an exploder suplex so he settles for the standing shooting star instead.
With Joe in trouble, Mark gets up on the apron for a distraction so Joe can grab a powerslam for two. Cue a limping Trent Seven (What took him so long?) to help even things up a bit as Bate still can’t get a fireman’s carry. Joe misses a spinning high crossbody and Bate scores with a lariat. Now Bate can get the fireman’s carry into the airplane spin and even gets in the reverse version. The rolling Liger kick looks to set up the Tyler Driver 97, drawing in Mark and Wolfgang for the DQ at 9:47.
Rating: B. That was this close to being a great match but the finish kept them just a bit short. You can see the six man from here and that’s a fine way to go. Bate might not be as good as Dunne (But who is?) but he’s more than capable of having a very good match with just about anyone. Joe wasn’t bad either and this was a rather entertaining start to a big show.
Post match the brawl is on until Pete Dunne makes the save. Did we ever get an explanation for why Dunne is friends with Seven and Bate around here?
Dan Moloney vs. Ligero
The bigger Moloney puts Ligero on the apron to start but gets kicked in the face for one. Ligero gets out of a sitout powerbomb and another dropkick gets two more. Moloney’s spinebuster is good for one and it’s off to a seated abdominal stretch. Back up and some chops keep Ligero in trouble as the fans are singing something about Sin Cara. Ligero fights out of the corner and hits a top rope seated senton, followed by a springboard Sliced Bread for two. Moloney gets sent outside for the running flip dive, followed by a springboard tornado DDT to put Moloney away at 5:13.
Rating: C. Ligero isn’t anything that hasn’t been done better before but he’s fine for a role like this. You always have room for a good luchador and that’s what Ligero can do just fine. Moloney was just a guy here putting Ligero over and didn’t exactly show off all that much. That’s not a bad place to be either though as every promotion needs some long term jobbers.
Kenny Williams/Amir Jordan vs. Zack Gibson/James Drake
The fans are already taking their shoes off in protest of Gibson. Speaking of Gibson, he takes Williams down to start and then into the corner for the tag off to Drake. Williams has some more luck with him in the form of a springboard back elbow to the jaw. It’s off to Jordan, who throws Drake down and stops to dance, because that’s about all his character has going for him. Nigel and Vic get in an argument over Vic’s dancing abilities as Gibson comes back in for a double chop to the throat.
The chinlock goes on and now the fans are standing up because they hate Gibson so much. Seriously that’s an awesome status to have. Drake’s chinlock doesn’t last long and it’s back to Gibson to dodge some lame right hands. The chinlock goes on all over again as the fans sing about Gibson again.
Jordan can’t get anywhere on his comeback as Gibson takes him down with a leglock so Drake can come back in. Drake misses a charge in the corner though and that’s enough for a hot tag to Williams. A very quick faceplant gets two on Gibson and the good guys hit some dives. That’s about it for the offense though as Drake and Gibson shrug it off, setting up the Ticket to Ride to finish Williams at 8:26.
Rating: D+. Sweet goodness Jordan is worthless. He’s like the nothing jobber partner on an episode of Superstars when you have a jobber to the stars doing everything he can against a good team. Gibson has brought Drake up by sheer force of being a crazy over heel, and that can make for a nice team in a promotion that doesn’t have very many of them in the first place.
Johnny Saint brings out the new Women’s Title.
NXT UK Women’s Title: Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm
For the inaugural title. Storm wastes no time in slugging Ripley down into the corner for the running hip attack. Ripley falls to the floor and eats a suicide dive but another hip attack hits the barricade. They head to the apron and Storm Zero is countered with a backdrop, leaving Toni nearly in tears from the pain.
Back in and a hard whip keeps Toni in trouble, followed by the shoulders to the ribs. The fans are behind Storm, even as she gets caught in a bodyscissors to stay on the ribs and back. Ripley switches over to the standing Cloverleaf, sending Storm over to the ropes for the break. The back is fine enough to roll some German suplexes, followed by a headbutt into a bridging German suplex for two.
A running knee attack in the corner gets two and the fans chant Evolution, not realizing that this wouldn’t air for a month after that show because…I have no idea actually. Storm Zero is countered with another backdrop over the top with Storm’s back hitting the apron again. Riptide is escaped but Toni’s back gives out on Storm Zero, setting up Riptide to give Ripley the title at 9:27.
Rating: B. This was good stuff with Ripley getting to win clean in the end with her finisher instead of having the cheating finish to set up a rematch. They went with the right call here of having a definitive winner and that’s the way they should have gone here. Storm already has the bigger honor anyway and can come back to win a regular title later on.
Post match Saint and HHH present Ripley with her title.
Overall Rating: B+. The two big matches here were more than enough to make the card work well and the other two matches weren’t bad enough to bring the show down. This was a show they needed to do and the Women’s Title being won is a good stepping stone. They built it up as a big deal and it came off as a big deal. Now just build up some more names and see where they can go from here.
Tyler Bate b. Joe Coffey via DQ when Mark Coffey and Wolfgang interfered
Ligero b. Dan Moloney – Springboard tornado DDT
Zack Gibson/James Drake b. Amir Jordan/Kenny Williams – Ticket to Ride to Williams
Rhea Ripley b. Toni Storm – Riptide
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