NXT UK – December 26, 2018 (Second Episode)

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

It’s the last show of the year and that means…well very little actually as it wasn’t supposed to be and is just more along the lines of one of the last shows before Takeover. I’m glad we finally have a big shot to build towards as there hasn’t been much going on as of yet, and you can probably see a lot of the card coming from here. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

Zack Gibson/James Drake vs. Jay Melrose/Mike Hitchman

The latter team is better known as Primate and Wild Boar. Why are their names Mike and Jay? Gibson doesn’t exactly get a hero’s welcome here. Hitchman rolls away from a wristlock and Gibson is already annoyed. A pull of the hair is enough to bring in Drake but Hitchman hits a quick backsplash to the back to take over.

Melrose comes in to a nice reaction but gets sent outside for a slingshot/backbreaker combo. Back in and Gibson hits the chinlock as the villains start taking over with shots to the ribs. A missed charge allows allows the hot tag back to Hitchman for the house cleaning, including a powerbomb to Drake. That’s about it though as the Ticket to Ride finishes Hitchman at 4:53.

Rating: C. I’m rather impressed that they’ve managed to keep Gibson and Drake together for so long as Gibson is a far better heel than anyone else on the show. Drake isn’t bad at all but they feel like an actual team instead of Gibson with Drake tagging along. Gibson is better in just about every facet of wrestling, but they’re a good team and that’s a very positive thing.

Post match Gibson says they’re the best tag team in the world and have won everywhere they’ve gone. Gibson rants about the Liverpool fans turning their backs on him as soon as he had his first success. They took to the internet to say Gibson is…..I think he said woolyback. They’re the best tag team in the world and soon to be recognized as NXT UK Tag Team Champions.

Moustache Mountain is ready to go to Blackpool and win the Tag Team Titles. Wolfgang and Mark Coffey are the speed bump on the road but it’s not stopping them. That match is next week.

Dave Mastiff vs. Josh Morrell

Before I can say this match isn’t likely to happen because Eddie Dennis is going to interfere, Dennis comes out and jumps Josh, meaning no match. This is an oddly entertaining feud and I want to see the rematch.

Joseph Conners doesn’t like new toys because he used to be one. Now he wants to break some of those toys. Yeah I still don’t care.

Mark Andrews vs. Marcel Barthel

Barthel was on the regular NXT a few times and looked good. Andrews has to fight out of a wristlock to start and tries a headlock, only to have Barthel flip over his back into a hammerlock for a sweet counter. Back up and it’s an armdrag to put Barthel down, followed by a hurricanrana. A headscissors is countered into a faceplant and Barthel nails a running knee to the face for two.

The stomping in the corner sets up a sliding dropkick to the face so Barthel stops for some posing on the middle rope. Barthel gets two off a running uppercut in the corner and we hit the chinlock. Andrews fights up with some chops and a jumping enziguri, but Barthel rolls away before the standing moonsault. Andrews follows him out and hits a dropkick off the steps but here’s Fabian Aichner for a distraction.

It’s enough to give Barthel a small package for two so Andrews grabs a quick Stundog Millionaire. Fall to Pieces misses and Barthel throws him outside for a running knee from Aichner. Back in and Barthel hits a fisherman’s belly to back suplex (with Andrews being flipped onto his face) for the pin at 9:47.

Rating: F. This match was supposed to be designed to introduce Barthel and make him an interesting character and in that regard, it completely failed. It was long, slow, and didn’t make Barthel look like he could have beaten Andrews without help. I don’t want to see Barthel wrestle again and almost anyone could have been better. Absolutely terrible here and easily the most boring match on the series so far.

Barthel and Aichner pose together after the match. Aichner is better than that.

Video on Toni Storm winning the Mae Young Classic and earning a title shot, which she’s using at Takeover: Blackpool.

Video on Travis Banks.

Women’s Title: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Rhea Ripley

Ripley is defending. Purrazzo hits a pump kick at the bell and a headscissors into an armbar has Ripley in more trouble. A quick rollup gets two on Ripley and Purrazzo ties her up in the middle of the ring for a running dropkick to the hip. Ripley has had it and sends Purrazzo outside for a drop onto the apron.

Back in and a delayed vertical suplex gives Ripley two, followed by a bodyscissors to stay on the ribs. Purrazzo fights up so Ripley kicks her right back down and grabs the standing Texas Cloverleaf. A rope is grabbed for the save and Purrazzo sends her outside for a dive from the apron. Back in and the Lethal Combination sets up a Koji Clutch to keep Ripley in trouble.

Ripley rolls out and hits a faceplant to put Purrazzo in trouble again. Purrazzo is sat on top but slips out, only to have Ripley block a sunset bomb. Instead Purrazzo kicks the knee out and hits a release German superplex. It’s time for the slugout with Purrazzo grabbing a flip Downward Spiral (with Ripley rolling forward to land on her back) for two more. Ripley is fine enough to hit Riptide to finish Purrazzo (with some shouting in her face on the cover) and retain at 12:21.

Rating: B-. This started slowly but got a lot better by the end. The important thing here was Purrazzo felt like she could win, which is hard to pull off when you have what should be a pretty obvious ending. I liked the match more than I was expecting to and Ripley is still getting really good at the little things, like the trash talk at the end. Good main event here and a nice surprise.

Post match Ripley beats on her some more but Toni Storm runs in for the save. Respect is shown between Toni and Deonna to end the show.

Overall Rating: C. That middle match killed the show horribly as there was only so much you can do when there’s a ten minute wreck in the middle of the show. The main event helped a lot though and Gibson is a treat to watch as he gets an entire crowd hating him all over again every single week. This show worked well enough, but that big anchor held it down far too much.

Results

Zack Gibson/James Drake b. Jay Melrose/Mike Hitchman – Ticket to Ride to Hitchman

Marcel Barthel b. Mark Andrews – Belly to back fisherman’s suplex

Rhea Ripley b. Deonna Purrazzo – Riptide

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