Date: April 9, 2020
Commentator: Andy Shepherd
Wrestling has entered a new stage of the Coronavirus pandemic as a WWE show has officially run out of new material. For the foreseeable future, NXT UK is going to be nothing but Best Of shows. This could be interesting, but I’m not sure how long this is going to work given the promotion’s limited history. They’ve surprised me before though so let’s get to it.
We open with the introduction of NXT UK with HHH and William Regal being very happy.
Shepherd gives us a quick welcome and we’re ready to go.
From the NXT UK Championship Tournament Day One (January 15, 2017).
Quarterfinals: Jordan Devlin vs. Tyler Bate
Bate tweaks his mustache instead of shaking hands, earning himself a forearm to the back of the head to start us off. That doesn’t last long as Devlin is knocked to the floor for a suicide dive, only to have Devlin start in on the arms. A monkey flip gets Bate out of trouble and a middle rope elbow to the jaw gets two. Devlin actually hits Bate in the face with the rope, only to miss a moonsault. The Tyler Driver 97 is countered with a hurricanrana but the second attempt sends Bate to the semifinals at 6:06.
Rating: C. Bate is very up and down but the time issues are causing problems on this show. There’s only so much that can be done in a six minute match, especially with people we have less than ten minutes of time with in the first place. Devlin going out this early is a surprise but at least the fans are responding to Bate and he has a great finisher.
We look at Bate winning the tournament.
From the UK Title Tournament (June 25, 2018).
United Kingdom Championship Tournament Quarterfinals: Jack Gallagher vs. Zack Gibson
Gibson, a bald guy with a beard, is loathed by the crowd. They go straight for the wrist battle and Gallagher bounces out of a headscissors. The fans sing a song that I can’t understand and Gallagher turns into a conductor before being taken down by the arm. That goes nowhere so Gallagher spins him down into a rollup for two, much to the fans’ amusement. Gibson gets serious with a hard clothesline as the chants continue.
We hit a cobra clutch for a bit before Gibson goes with right hands to the face instead. A crossface chickenwing keeps Gibson in control until Gallagher fights up and actually wins a slugout against the much bigger Gibson. Gallagher’s suplex and knee shot get two but he gets caught on the ropes, setting up a middle rope Codebreaker for two. Gibson counters the running corner dropkick into a powerbomb but gets pulled into a triangle choke.
That’s broken up with a toss to the floor so Gallagher slingshots back in, landing with a sleeper on Gibson in a sweet sequence. Gibson makes a rope so Gallagher goes with the running corner dropkick for two more. That’s not cool with Gibson, who sends him shoulder first into the post to cut him down again. Gallagher hits another dropkick but a Swan Dive hits the shoulder, setting up a seated armbar (Shankly Gates) to make Gallagher tap at 13:28.
Rating: B. They were starting to roll with Gallagher as the scrappy face (a role he could use again back in 205 Live) against the rather nasty Gibson with all of the submissions. Gibson won clean here too, which is a smart way to put him over as a big threat around here. That’s the point of putting main roster people in there and it worked quite well.
Gibson would go on to win the tournament.
Then NXT UK expanded with different divisions.
From the NXT UK TV debut (October 17, 2018).
Mark Andrews vs. Joe Coffey
Coffey is a big guy who has his brother Mark in his corner. The brothers were rather violent back at the UK Title Tournament shows back in June so they’re certainly villains. Coffey powers him to the mat to start and gets two off a test of strength grip. The much smaller Andrews gets in a shot to the face and a springboard hurricanrana has the fans right back into things.
Coffey is right back up with some hard shots to the face and just plows through Andrews with a shoulder. A swinging butterfly suplex gets two and we hit a cross arm choke to keep Andrews in trouble. Mark Coffey is about to get in a cheap shot but gets caught, leaving Joe to run Andrews over instead. Back in and Andrews slugs away for all he’s got, capped off by an enziguri to put Coffey down.
A double stomp to the ribs sets up a standing corkscrew moonsault for two and Andrews is running out of steam. Coffey has had it with Andrews and hits a pop up powerslam for two of his own but the Stundog Millionaire gets Andrews out of trouble for the moment. Mark Coffey saves Joe from the shooting star so Andrews dives onto both of them for the big crash. Back in and Mark Coffey offers another distraction, allowing Joe to hit a hard belly to belly into a discus lariat for the pin at 7:37.
Rating: C+. Good choice for an opener here as you need something entertaining to get the fans into the feel of the show. The Coffey Brothers are going to be solid heels as they’re bigger than most of the people on the show and work well together. On the other hand you have a high flier like Andrews, who is always going to be worth a look. Nice match here and it even sets up some stuff going forward. Not bad at all and a smart move to put Joe over someone who has been on the main roster.
Post match the double beatdown is on but Flash Morgan Webster makes the save with his helmet as payback for the brothers beating him down back in June.
From the UK Championship Special (May 19, 2017).
Trent Seven vs. Pete Dunne
The winner gets a UK Title shot at Takeover: Chicago. Dunne comes out with his Progress Wrestling Championship but it’s not on the line here. The fans are split here between Mustache Mountain and the Bruiserweight before going with BRITISH STRONG STYLE instead. Pete starts on the good arm in an interesting strategy but Seven goes to the ropes.
One heck of a chop with the bad arm drops Dunne but he kicks Seven in the arm to send Trent outside. The arm gets crushed between the steps and the post before it’s back to working on both arms at once. A kick to the mustached head gets two but he sends Pete outside for a flip dive.
Back in and another shot to the arm looks to set up the Bitter End, only to have Trent nail a hard left armed lariat for two. A suplex into a powerslam gives Trent two more but the arm is sent into the post. Pete can’t quite grab a Kimura (which sends JR into a mini rant about how it’s a double wristlock and NOT a Kimura) so he sends the bad arm into the barricade instead.
The arm is good enough for a dragon suplex onto the apron and both guys are left in a heap on the floor. They both dive in at nine and Dunne manages to flip out of a dragon superplex, only to eat a huge lariat for a very delayed two. The Seven Star Lariat is broken up though and we hit another double wristlock. Trent slips out again but walks into the Bitter End to send Pete to Chicago at 14:47.
Rating: B+. This was all about the arm and Dunne being one of the most evil wrestlers around because he’ll do whatever it takes to win. The fact that the match was another brutal back and forth fight makes Dunne look great all over again. Seven seems like a comedy guy with the mustache stuff but he’s more than capable of backing it up in the ring.
Video on Pete Dunne’s UK Title reign, capped off by Walter’s debut and the WHOA moment.
Overall Rating: A-. I never know what to say for something like this as they can pick and choose their better stuff here. What we got was certainly good and it was an entertaining selection of choices, but it wasn’t like there was any real flow to it, with matches kind of jumping all over the place instead of being in chronological order. Either way though, it was a fun hour and twelve minutes so what more can you want?
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