NXT UK – December 5, 2018 (First Episode)

Date: December 5, 2018
Location: Plymouth Pavilions, Devon, England
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness

We’re finally out to the third set of tapings and the road to getting this down to one show a week continues. Last week saw the crowning of Rhea Ripley as the first ever NXT UK Women’s Champion, meaning we might be hearing something from the new champ. With some luck, she’ll live up to the expectations on her. Let’s get to it.

In memory of Dynamite Kid. Rather appropriate given the show.

There’s also a crawler included offering condolences to Kid’s family.

Opening sequence.

Here are Wolfgang and the Coffey Brothers to get things going. Joe talks about being called ruthless, devious and underhanded. Whoever called them that is absolutely right because NXT UK is their kingdom. The three of them are Gallus and now they want British Strong Style. There are no more Big Strong Boys because now it’s all about Gallus. This brings out…Travis Banks, who was put on the shelf by the three of them back in Cambridge. Joe calls Travis in for a fight and Banks is stupid enough to do, meaning he earns that three on one beatdown. Moustache Mountain runs in for the save.

Fabian Aichner likes the idea of facing some of the British talent because he’s used to facing the best in the world. In other words, “we don’t have room for you on NXT so go to England for a bit”.

Jordan Devlin is ready to earn another shot because he got so close last week. Picture the NXT UK roster like a deck of cards. He’s the ace and tonight, he’s facing the joker in Flash Morgan Webster. Just remember: ace trumps all. Unless it’s being played as the low end of a straight and then it’s not worth much but I get the idea.

Fabian Aichner vs. Mark Andrews

They shake hands to start and Andrews has to slip out of an early gorilla press. Andrews spins around his head into a headscissors to send Aichner outside, followed by a suicide dive. Back in and a backbreaker plants Andrews, which isn’t the most surprising strategy given how big Aichner is.

Back up and Andrews slides on his knees to duck a clothesline and nails an enziguri. A standing Whisper in the Wind splash gets two, followed by Andrews flipping out of a suplex into a hurricanrana (cool) for two more. Andrews scores with a 619 to the ribs and a victory roll gets two. That’s enough for Aichner so he clotheslines the heck out of Andrews, only to get caught with the Stundog Millionaire.

Aichner catches a Blockbuster and reverses it into a brainbuster (that’s some impressive power) for two but takes too long setting up a double springboard moonsault (which someone his size can just do). A very twisting DDT drops Aichner for another near fall but he moves before the shooting star can connect. They head outside with Aichner crushing Andrews’ head against the steps with a running knee for nine. Andrews is done so Aichner hits a helicopter bomb for the pin at 9:17.

Rating: B. Aichner is one of those guys with all the natural tools and Andrews has more than enough charisma and underdog status to make something like this work. He’s very good at making you believe that he can beat someone like Aichner, even as he comes up short in the end. Aichner could be a big star just with his natural look and skills alone so give him some kind of a character and he’ll be fine.

Video on Isla Dawn.

General Manager Johnny Saint has named Sid Scala as his assistant but Rhea Ripley comes in to interrupt them. She wants some suitable competition and grabs the much smaller Scala by the cheeks to mock him.

Isla Dawn vs. Nina Samuels

Dawn headlocks her down to start and then trips Nina down to make it even worse. That’s reversed into a chinlock as they’re certainly sticking with the mat work early on. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker mixes things up and gives Nina two before it’s off to the required arm work. Isla comes back up with a hard belly to back suplex though and a running knee to the face, followed by something like a snap Jackhammer for the pin at 3:18.

Rating: D+. Neither of them are doing much for me but they have to build someone up to face Ripley sooner or later. Dawn’s witch thing is better than nothing and it’s not like the rest of the division has much going for it. Samuels is pretty much just there and you need people like her around. Not a bad match, but neither exactly showcased themselves.

Video on last week’s Women’s Title match. Ripley brags and Toni Storm says she’ll be back.

Tucker vs. Eddie Dennis

Dennis wastes no time in using the side and power, including a heck of a backbreaker for an early two. The cravate goes on and Dennis throws in some knees to the face for good measure. Tucker spins out and jumps to the top for a back elbow to Dennis’ jaw but gets blasted by a clothesline. The Severn Bridge sets up the Next Stop Driver for the pin on Tucker at 2:28. Just a squash.

Next week: Banks vs. Wolfgang.

Flash Morgan Webster vs. Jordan Devlin

They start with the battle over arm control with Morgan grabbing an armdrag into an armbar to take over. Devlin will have none of that though and Rock Bottoms him down, setting up a standing moonsault for two. A backbreaker gets the same and it’s off to a seated abdominal stretch. He even pulls on the leg and then drives an elbow into the ribs for some bonus pain.

Webster falls out to the floor for a bit before coming back in to rake the eyes and slap the face. A running knee to the face drops Devlin again and the pace picks up, including a running clothesline to Devlin. Webster gets two off a super hurricanrana but the Baba O’Reilly Buster (seriously) is countered with a backdrop.

Devlin’s running knee in the corner sets up the pull into the snap overhead belly to belly for two and frustration is setting in. A hard headbutt to the chest puts Devlin on the floor and a Whisper in the Wind off the steps drops him again. Back in and Webster’s Swanton hits knees, setting up Ireland’s Call for the pin at 12:04.

Rating: C+. Devlin is growing on me but after last week’s loss, a lot of his momentum is gone. You have to give him a win like this to build him back up, but there’s only so much you can get out of beating Webster. I’m still not big on Webster though, as his work is just ok. As usual, that’s the case with a lot of people around here and that doesn’t seem to be changing.

Overall Rating: C+. There was good stuff on here, but it’s more of the same thing: a lot of people that I don’t care about having matches for the sake of having matches. Most of them aren’t advancing anywhere and the feuds they have aren’t the strongest in the world. It’s not a bad show by any means, but it’s nothing that I look forward to and nothing that I remember the next week. There’s talent around here, but without the spark and connection to them, it’s just a show that comes and goes.

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