Date: January 23, 2020
Location: York Barbican, York, England
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Aiden English
We’re back to normal after Takeover: Blackpool II and last week’s recap show. There isn’t much time to rest though as it’s also the go home show for Worlds Collide. Hopefully things can get going as well as wrapping up the build towards Saturday. That’s a hard balance to find but maybe they can make it work. Let’s get to it.
Sid Scala and Johnny Saint are in the ring with something underneath a blanket. Cue Imperium before anything can happen and it’s a presentation to them. Walter is presented with the new NXT United Kingdom Title, which the fans think he deserves. He approves of finally being honored as he should have been. This is now the top prize in European wrestling and he is glad to have destroyed Gallus. On Saturday, the Undisputed Era will get the same treatment.
Cruiserweight Title Match Qualifying Match: Ligero vs. Jordan Devlin
Devlin messes with the mask to start so Ligero hits him in the face. Ligero hammers away in the corner and grabs a rollup for two, followed by a kick to the jaw. A release Rock Bottom into a standing moonsault puts Ligero down and Devlin can take the jacket off. Back up and Ligero hits a running clothesline to put Devlin on the floor, only to get superkicked for trying a headstand on the apron.
Back in and Ligero gets sent into the corner and a backbreaker makes it worse. A seated abdominal stretch with some shots to the ribs have Ligero in even more trouble but he fights up for the escape. Ligero dodges the slingshot corner and hits a bottom rope springboard Stunner for two.
Devlin hits a standing Spanish Fly for the same and a half nelson suplex plants Ligero again. The moonsault misses so Devlin grabs a rollup with feet on the ropes for two. The Devil Inside is countered into a DDT, setting up Ligero’s top rope splash for two of his own. They slug it out from their knees until Devlin is sent to the apron. The slingshot cutter plants Ligero and the Devil Inside is enough to finish him off at 11:08.
Rating: B-. Devlin continues to grow but he probably isn’t going to be involved in the decision on Saturday. I can’t imagine him winning the title but at the same time he isn’t going to be taking the fall. Ligero continues to be the kind of guy who can go out there and lose in style, which is a valuable thing to have around.
Kay Lee Ray isn’t worried about Mia Yim on Saturday.
Imperium talks about how awesome they are when Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews come in. They don’t know how dominant Imperium can be without ever being Tag Team Titles.
Finn Balor is ready for Ilja Dragunov.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Josh Morrell
Dragunov takes him down by the arm and cranks on it a bit before standing up for the bring it pose. A shot to the face rocks Morrell and there’s a backsplash to make it worse. Morrell gets dropped with a running clothesline and a release pumphandle slam. Torpedo Moscow finishes Morrell at 2:25. Exactly what it should have been.
Post match Dragunov says he’s ready for Balor but here’s Gallus to interrupt. Joe Coffey wants to talk to Dragunov on his own so Mark and Wolfgang stay at the ramp. Joe talks about losing at Takeover but part of that is due to Dragunov. Yeah he helped against Imperium but he isn’t Gallus. That’s all well and good at the moment and they’ll let him deal with the Prince, but after that, it’s time to deal with the Iron King.
Imperium goes to the bosses and asks for a match with Andrews and Webster. That’s made but it’s going to be a six man tag with Webster and Andrews getting to pick a partner next week.
Also next week: the Hunt vs. Danny Burch/Oney Lorcan.
Cruiserweight Title Match Qualifying Match: Travis Banks vs. Brian Kendrick
They stare at each other for a bit until Banks kicks away at the leg and pulls him down into a rollup for two. A dropkick puts Kendrick on the floor and Banks hits a running kick off the apron. Back in and the chinlock goes on but Banks gets bored and sends him outside instead. This time around it’s Kendrick sending Banks’ hand into the steps and then raking it across the ropes for a unique move.
Back in and Kendrick works on the arm with some nasty looking bending, plus a hammerlock for a bonus. Banks gets twisted down by the arm but Kendrick misses a knee drop. Kendrick’s leg gets kicked out and Banks hits a running dropkick in the corner. Another dropkick puts Kendrick on the floor for a suicide dive. Back in and Banks hits a double stomp in the corner, followed by the Kiwi Crusher.
Kendrick rolls outside though and catches a charging Banks with a suplex. That’s only good for nine so Kendrick slaps on the Captain’s Hook back inside. Banks breaks that up in a hurry, earning himself a kick to the face. Kendrick is right back up with Sliced Bread #2 for two and the shock is on. Back up and Banks hits a quick Slice of Heaven into the Kiwi Crusher for the pin at 12:37.
Rating: C+. Kendrick is still good for a solid midcard heel role and he made Banks work here. That being said, Banks was hardly a surprise winner here and there’s nothing wrong with that. I like him when he gets to be in the ring, which unfortunately isn’t all that often these days.
Overall Rating: B-. This show was built around two matches and they both worked out rather well. I’m curious to see how things are going to go in the next few weeks and they’ve done a good job of making me believe it’s going to keep working. NXT UK is a rather solid show these days and I really can’t say I’m surprised anymore. When did that happen?
Jordan Devlin b. Ligero – Devil Inside
Ilja Dragunov b. Josh Morrell – Torpedo Moscow
Travis Banks b. Brian Kendrick – Kiwi Crusher
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