NXT UK – December 26, 2018 (First Episode)

NXT UK
Date: December 26, 2018
Location: Liverpool Olympia, Liverpool, England
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Vic Joseph

Christmas is over and that means it’s time for the good things to come to an end. Therefore, it’s back to a double shot of NXT UK, though that should be coming to an end early next month. We’re also in a new taping cycle and that means Zack Gibson might be….egads….cheered around here. Let’s get to it.

Sid Scala is in the ring and introduces Johnny Saint for an announcement. The big announcement is that on January 12, it’s NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool. This brings out Toni Storm (with a rather different hair style) who says that she’s lived here in Liverpool for four years now. Also, as the winner of the Mae Young Classic, she can have a title shot anytime she wants. Therefore, she’ll be taking that at Takeover. Saint approves to wrap the segment. Nothing wrong with this and they were done in short order.

Kenny Williams vs. Jordan Devlin

Devlin is on this show more than anyone else. Williams sends him outside in a hurry and a springboard back elbow to the jaw knocks him outside. A dropkick through the ropes is countered with a drop onto the apron and it’s a reverse chinlock back inside. Williams’ comeback is cut off by a release Rock Bottom but his standing moonsault hits knees. Back up and Devlin gets dropkicked in the back, followed by a kick to the chest for two. A wheelbarrow rollup is countered into a half nelson suplex for two on Williams and Ireland’s Call gives Devlin the pin at 5:17.

Rating: C-. As usual, Devlin is the kind of guy that they should want to push but at the same time, he’s already lost to Pete Dunne, which makes this a little less interesting. Devlin has gotten a lot better and I buy him as a big villain, but I can’t imagine seeing him face off with Dunne again, at least not so soon. That doesn’t leave him much left to do and that’s a problem.

Post match Devlin says don’t bet against him.

Marcel Barthel debuts next week.

Scala and Saint are in the back for a chat about what’s coming up at Takeover. Rhea Ripley comes in to say she wants to defend the title next week. They go into their office and come back out a few seconds later, saying she can defend against Deonna Purrazzo next week.

Dan Moloney vs. Eddie Dennis

Moloney goes right after him to start but gets thrown down for his efforts. That earns him a toss to the floor and Moloney follows him out with a hard elbow to the face. The spinning backbreaker onto the apron makes things worse but here’s Dave Mastiff to jump Dennis for the DQ at 1:13.

Post match Dennis bails before the Cannonball can hit him. Moloney isn’t happy with Mastiff costing him a match so Mastiff knocks him into the corner for the Cannonball. I’m still trying to get my head around someone like Mastiff as a face.

Ligero thanks Scala for an opportunity tonight against Joe Coffey. Gallus comes in and Joe says tonight is about a step towards his NXT Championship. Scala also gives Wolfgang and Mark Coffey a spot in the Tag Team Title tournament against Moustache Mountain.

Zack Gibson takes James Drake on a tour of Liverpool to explain how important the city is to England. He’s Liverpool’s #1 but as soon as he became a success, the city turned on him. They’ll be Tag Team Champions.

Saxon Huxley/Tyson T-Bone vs. Jack Starz/Tucker

T-Bone shoves Starz down to start so it’s quickly off to Tucker for a double dropkick. Tucker gets thrown down onto his face and Huxley comes in for a running knee to the stomach. It’s already back to Starz to fight off both monsters with a double knee to the ribs, followed by T-Bone’s right hand for the pin at 2:43. Total squash and I still don’t care for Huxley and T-Bone at all.

Isla Dawn agrees that her last match wasn’t the best performance against Rhea Ripley. She’s ready to rise back up again though and become champion. Jinny comes in to say no one cares about her.

Ligero vs. Joe Coffey

The much bigger Coffey drives him into the corner and we actually get a clean break. Coffey takes him down and pulls at the horns but Ligero ties himself up in a ball. That goes nowhere so Ligero tries a sunset flip to no avail. A faceplant sends Coffey to the outside but he blocks a Sliced Bread off the steps. Instead Coffey tosses him into the barricade for a running headbutt to the ribs for a unique shot.

Back in and the full nelson goes on, followed by a double underhook neck crank to keep Ligero in trouble. Ligero knees his way out of some vertical suplexes and sends Coffey outside for a suicide dive. Back in and Ligero hits a top rope cannonball, followed by a springboard Sliced Bread for two. That would be the big spot that served as Ligero’s last chance to win here.

Coffey hits another running headbutt to the back and a pop up powerslam gets two. Ligero’s top rope hurricanrana is countered into a powerbomb into a Boston crab but Ligero makes the ropes. A rollup gives Ligero two but he springboards into the discus lariat to give Coffey the pin at 10:08.

Rating: B-. I wasn’t expecting this to turn into a competitive match again after Ligero’s big offense but it worked out rather well here. Ligero is a good choice for a luchador like this as he can do all the flying but being from England is more than enough to make the fans care about him. Coffey is a good choice for a monster villain, though every time he’s out there he shows low unimportant Mark and Wolfgang really are.

Overall Rating: C+. The two matches in the middle weren’t exactly required viewing but the first match gave us another step forward for Devlin and the main event was good. Having a goal like the Takeover card is going to help but this show still isn’t one of the better things that WWE does. Getting it back down to an hour a week will help them a lot though and it’s not like this show is terrible by any stretch. I’m just not connected to it and that hasn’t changed in the slightest.

Results

Jordan Devlin b. Kenny Williams – Ireland’s Call

Eddie Dennis b. Dan Moloney via DQ when Dave Mastiff interfered

Saxon Huxley/Tyson T-Bone b. Jack Starz/Tucker – Right hand to Starz

Joe Coffey b. Ligero – Discus lariat

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