NXT UK – May 7, 2020 (Rise Of Imperium)

NXT UK
Date: May 7, 2020
Host: Andy Shepard

It’s an Imperium show this week and that means we are going to be in for an interesting night. The team has been one of the most dominant forces ever in NXT UK and anywhere in WWE in recent memory. Walter has built a heck of an army and there is no sign of them being stopped anytime soon. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

We open with a look at Walter’s debut at Takeover: Blackpool for the staredown with Pete Dunne.

From NXT UK, January 30, 2019.

Walter vs. Jack Starz

This is Walter’s in-ring debut and he starts with the chops. They head outside for a drop onto the apron as Walter is already looking like a monster. Back in and a knee to the face sets up a heck of a powerbomb to complete the squash of Starz at 2:30. Walter not only looks like a star but he has the all important star power, which is lacking around here.

Various wrestlers were impressed by Walter.

We look at Walter vs. Dunne at Takeover: New York.

From NXT UK, May 22, 2019.

United Kingdom Title: Pete Dunne vs. Walter

Pete is challenging and gets powered into the corner to start. That’s reversed into a series of rolls on the mat into a standoff. Dunne takes him to the mat this time and tries for the arm stomp but has to duck the chop. Back up and Pete grabs a headlock, which is reversed into one from the champ as they’re firmly in first gear. The sleeper is blocked and Dunne grabs the leg to send Walter outside.

Dunne follows though and this time it’s the big chop to give Walter his first real advantage. A kick to the arm doesn’t do much for Dunne as Walter kicks him in the face to take over again. There’s a whip into the barricade and Walter stomps him on the steps. Back in and Dunne is in trouble but he sneers up at the champ anyway. That just earns him some hard stomps and a reverse chinlock as things stay rather slow.

Dunne fights up and drops Walter with a single forearm as the fans are behind Pete (or Peter actually). A middle rope dropkick to the knee takes Walter down again and it’s off to a kneebar. Dunne can’t get it in all the way so he kicks Walter in the arm instead and hooks something like an Octopus hold while pulling on the finger. A crucifix bomb gives Dunne two and annoys Walter so much that he hits a rather hard clothesline.

The Boston crab stays on Dunne’s back but Dunne gets out again. Some stomps to the head have Walter in trouble this time and a double arm crank is broken up as well. Walter’s fingers are tied in the buckle and Dunne dropkicks the hand for a bonus. Dunne’s super hurricanrana brings Walter back down for two but he’s back up with a chop between the shoulder blades.

A German suplex rocks Walter, who is fine enough to explode into a clothesline for two on Dunne. The top rope splash is punched out of the air and Dunne grabs the Bitter End. The fingers are bent back….and here’s Fabian Aichner to push the rope toward Walter. With the referee on the floor with Aichner, Marcel Barthel runs in to hit Dunne with the belt. Walter’s powerbomb retains the title at 16:33.

Rating: B+. It’s good and a hard hitting brawl but it was a far cry from what they did in New York. The problem here was they went from the slow start to beating the tar out of each other in the span of a few seconds and it didn’t have the smoothest transition. The ending is a good way to move things forward while also keeping Dunne strong for the future. It’s a very good TV match, but not a great, classic one.

Walter, Aichner and Barthel post to end the show.

Aichner and Barthel think the team is a good fit.

Then British Strong Style stood up to the team.

From NXT UK, June 12, 2019.

British Strong Style vs. Imperium

Dunne goes right at Aichner for some stomping in the corner to start but Aichner comes right back out with a hard clothesline. Bate comes in and it’s time for a double arm crank on Aichner. Barthel comes in and gets dropkicked but Bate takes too much time messing with the mustache, allowing Barthel to take over. That doesn’t last long though as Bate brings him into the corner for the tag from Seven.

Trent gets taken into the wrong corner though and Walter comes in to a lot of booing. Seven’s chop just annoys Walter so Seven does it again to a bit of success. Walter’s one chop puts Seven down though and it’s back to Aichner to keep Seven down in the corner. A swinging Rock Bottom gives Walter two on Seven and it’s back to Barthel to start in on the arm. Seven slugs away but walks into a spinebuster from Aichner to take him right back down.

A jawbreaker and enziguri get Seven out of trouble and it’s Dunne coming back in for an enziguri of his own. Dunne’s middle rope dropkick to the knee takes Walter down but he has to backflip out of the sleeper hold. The German suplex drops Walter again but he’s right back with a suplex of his own. Bate and Aichner come back in with Tyler taking over off a knee out of the corner.

An exploder suplex sends Barthel onto Aichner and it’s time for the airplane spin to various villains. Bop and Bang staggers Walter but Aichner saves him from an airplane spin of his own. A brainbuster gets two on Bate with Dunne making the save. The Backstabber into the top rope double stomp combination is good for the same but it’s back to Seven for some fresh strong style blood.

The Seven Star Lariat into the Bitter End into Spiral Tap gets two on Barthel with Walter making the save this time. Walter gets sent into the steps though and we’ve got a masked man. With the referee getting knocked to the floor, the masked man unmasks as Alexander Wolfe (formerly of Sanity). He knocks Bate out with a powerbomb and Barthel steals the pin at 14:03.

Rating: B. This felt like a big brawl and having Imperium grow in size at the end is a great touch. Wolfe was rumored to be leaving WWE and technically he did, though this was quite the surprise that helped everyone out quite a bit. Now I wonder who British Strong Style could find to help even the odds.

The now four man Imperium poses to end the show.

Then it was time for the Undisputed Era in an NXT table battle.

From Worlds Collide.

Undisputed Era vs. Imperium

Aichner throws O’Reilly around a bit to start so O’Reilly goes for the arm. That’s broken up so it’s a kneebar instead, with Aichner making the rope in a hurry. Back up and O’Reilly hammers away in the corner, only to walk into a powerslam. Barthel comes in for two off a pop up uppercut, only to have O’Reilly knee him in the chest. It’s off to Strong, who gets chopped into the corner for a bit. That’s broken up so Fish comes in for half of a double gordbuster on Wolfe. Fish and O’Reilly hit stereo kicks…and Wolfe is down.

The medics come in and take him to the floor so it’s Walter vs. Cole instead. Walter throws him down so Cole decides to slap him for some reason. The threat of the big chop sends Cole bailing into the corner but Walter gets knocked into the Era’s corner. Walter is right back up with a leapfrog over Strong into a big boot, meaning Aichner can come in to stand at attention. Cole saves Strong from a powerbomb and takes over on Barthel with some elbows to the head.

It’s O’Reilly unleashing the strikes in the corner and Strong blasts Barthel so hard in the jaw that it brings Walter in for a few seconds. There’s the slingshot hilo from Fish and Cole slaps on the chinlock. O’Reilly kicks Walter on the apron and Walter just glares at him. The distraction lets Barthel get in a Russian legsweep though and it’s Walter coming in, meaning O’Reilly hits the panic button. The strikes are countered into a German suplex but O’Reilly reverses the powerbomb into a guillotine.

Just to show off, Walter suplexes Strong and O’Reilly at the same time. Barthel elbows O’Reilly in the face for two and it’s Aichner putting on a chinlock. It’s back to Walter for a running seated senton and the LOUD chop takes the spirit out of O’Reilly’s eyes for two. The running double dropkick in the corner rocks O’Reilly again but he dives around Walter for the tag off to Strong. He chops it out with Walter and actually knocks him into the ropes for the running elbows.

That’s broken up with a single clothesline so Aichner comes in. A heck of a tiger bomb sets up the Strong Hold but Aichner is out in a hurry. White Noise gives Barthel two but Fish gets away and brings in Cole to pick up the pace. The Panama Sunrise is blocked so it’s a fireman’s carry neckbreaker for two on Barthel instead. Walter comes back in so everyone but Cole pounds him down at the same time.

The announcers’ table is loaded up but Walter fights them off and loads up another table. O’Reilly and Strong have to break up a powerbomb and it’s the Angle Slam to put Walter through the table in a huge crash. Back in and it’s an exchange of strikes to the face, including Cole superkicking Aichner out of the air. Cole hits the brainbuster onto the knee to Barthel for two and the running knee to the face gets the same. Aichner comes back in and gets kicked down in a hurry.

O’Reilly gets Barthel in a kneebar but a crawl makes the rope. The hold is still on so Aichner moonsaults in to break it up. Aichner gets beaten down on the floor but Walter is back on the apron. An enziguri allows the hot tag to Walter to wreck everything in sight. Cole hits a superkick but the Last Shot is broken up with the huge chop.

The powerbomb hits Strong and the frog splash crushes him but Cole breaks it up with the Last Shot. Aichner and Barthel break that up at two and everyone is down again. Everyone gets up for the staredown and the fight is on. Walter gets taken down by High/Low and Strong flip dives over the top onto Cole, O’Reilly and Barthel. Aichner follows that with a dive of his own but Fish’s moonsault misses Walter. The powerbomb finishes Fish at 29:53.

Rating: A. Even with one of the eight people out of the match, these guys put on a clinic with great drama throughout with the Era using a strategy of divide and conquer. The problem with that is they had no answer for Walter, who came back up and wrecked the place, which is how you should have presented him here. It’s going to take a monster to take the title from Walter and I’m not sure who that is right now. This was a showcase for everyone involved though and the match was great up and down. Hopefully Wolfe is ok though because that’s the most important thing.

Walter says he’s proud and is ready for Finn Balor.

Overall Rating: A-. Yeah this worked, as Imperium continues to be one of the coolest things in WWE at the moment. They look great, their matches are usually awesome and Walter sounds very intimidating. The team could be around for a long time to come, assuming they can get back in the ring anytime soon. Great show here, especially if you don’t know the team.

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