NXT UK – January 20, 2022

Date: January 20, 2022
Location: BT Sports Studios, London, England
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Andy Shepherd

We are officially in a new era now as Walter (er, Gunther) is officially gone from NXT UK. I’m not sure how much of a difference that is going to be, but we do have a big match around here this week. The Heritage Cup will be on the line this week as Noam Dar will be defending against former champion A-Kid. Let’s get to it.

Opening sequence.

We see some clips of Sam Gradwell trying, and failing, to find a mystery partner to face Pretty Deadly. He even sent tweets to Steve Austin, Elon Musk and Paul McCartney. Gradwell also had to beat up Kenny Williams for laughing at him. This was funny, as they just had some fun with the idea and went a little out of the box. Do more of that.

Pretty Deadly vs. Sam Gradwell/???

Gradwell does has a mystery partner in the form of…..Saxton Huxley. Gradwell locks up with Howley to start but can’t get very far. A shoulder sends Howley into the corner for some more success and it’s Stoker tagging himself in for a cheap shot. Gradwell doesn’t mind, as he grabs Stoker by the ear (ow) and slams him down. It’s off to Huxley (with Shepherd getting in an accurate Berzerker comparison) to shoulder Stoker down as well.

A very long run of the ropes sets up a running elbow so Howley gets in a cheap shot. It’s back to Howley to send Huxley into the post as we move into a new phase. Pretty Deadly starts taking turns on Huxley, including a double drop onto the top rope. Howley drops him again and we hit the abdominal stretch…which makes Nigel sing. That’s broken up with straight power though and the hot tag brings in Gradwell to clean house.

Everything breaks down and Stoker BLASTS Gradwell with a forearm for the double knockdown. Cue Kenny Williams for a distraction though and Huxley is knocked off the apron. Williams runs him over on the floor, meaning there is no one for Gradwell to tag. Howley comes back in and it’s Spilled Milk to finish Gradwell at 9:21.

Rating: C+. Pretty standard tag match, but the part that I like here is how old school the booking felt. Williams had a logical reason to want to mess with Gradwell after the pre-match stuff and now we probably have something to do after this match is over. That is something you don’t get early often enough in WWE today and it was nice to see it happen again here.

Jinny doesn’t see hope when she looks at Amale, but instead, pity. The two of them are very different people, because Jinny doesn’t exploit her past to get the fans to cheer for her. The fans are just like Amale: nothing. Now Amale wants to get famous off of Jinny and that isn’t happening.

Video on Die Familie vs. Gallus, as the two teams are ready to destroy each other. Next week.

Blair Davenport unlocks a gate at what appears to be her family estate. She is the latest in a long line of Davenports and everyone who isn’t one of them is an enemy. You can hate and reject her all you want, as long as you fear her. Meiko Satomura should fear her, because it is time for Davenport to show how she can be.

Emilia McKenzie vs. Isla Dawn

This is fallout from Dawn taking McKenzie’s watch for her special box. McKenzie takes her down into a hammerlock to start and then cranks on a wristlock. That’s broken up but Dawn blocks a sunset flip with a quick stomp to the chest. There’s the Saito suplex to send McKenzie flying but she blocks a superplex attempt. A middle rope sunset flip gives McKenzie two and an enziguri staggers Dawn again. The spear gives McKenzie two so she sends Dawn outside for a big suicide dive. Back in and a high crossbody misses for McKenzie, allowing Dawn to hit a fireman’s carry spun into a side slam for the pin at 5:32.

Rating: C. This started off a bit slowly and then picked up a lot for a little while. McKenzie put up a good fight before going down, though I’m curious to see where this whole thing is going with Dawn. She has been doing this for a little while now and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The good thing though is she is doing something with the witch stuff rather than just talking about it over and over. McKenzie put up a fight but lost, as she should.

Post match, Dawn returns McKenzie’s watch, leaving McKenzie rather confused.

Amale doesn’t think much of Jinny and suggests bringing it.

Video on Ilja Dragunov vs. Jordan Devlin, with Dragunov being angry over everything Devlin has said. Devlin wants the title and Dragunov wants revenge, so next week it’s an empty arena title match.

Heritage Cup: A-Kid vs. Noam Dar

Dar, with Sha Samuels, is defending. Round one begins with a feeling out process, including A-Kid taking him to the ropes, where Dar needs a breather. A headlock takeover works a bit better for Dar so it’s time for some early grappling. Dar can’t very far with his escape attempts and the round ends with A-Kid cranking away.

Round two beings with A-Kid grabbing a cravate and taking Dar down to the mat to crank away even more. Back up and Dar goes after the arm before grabbing a headlock of his own. Dar cranks him down by the arm again and puts on a reverse chinlock, only to get reversed into a European Clutch for two. A-Kid grabs a front facelock and cranks away until the round ends.

Round three begins with Dar striking away for a change and sending a charging A-Kid over the top. A kick to the face rocks A-Kid though and some knees to the face make it worse. The Nova Roller is blocked so Dar kicks the leg out instead. Now the Nova Roller can finish A-Kid for the first fall at 1:36 of the round and 8:32 overall.

Round four begins with Dar going right after him but getting pulled into an armbar. That’s broken up and Dar hits him in the face, setting up a rollup with feet on the ropes for two, as the referee catches the nefarious cheating. Back up and A-Kid sends him outside, only to have Samuels break up a big dive.

They both beat the clock back in, where Dar elbows him in the face for two more. A-Kid fights back so Samuels gets on the apron, only to have A-Kid springboard up and hit a moonsault DDT to plant Dar for the tying pin at 2:34 of the round and 11:48. Samuels screams a lot though, as he just lost EVERYTHING because of his bets, even as Dar is barely able to stand.

Round five begins with A-Kid missing a charge and getting knocked down again. He’s fine enough to catch Dar on top though and it’s a butterfly superplex for two. They trade attempted armbars until A-Kid grabs a German suplex. Dar blocks another one though and pulls him into an armbar, only to be countered into a rollup for two. The kneebar doesn’t work so Dar pulls him into a sleeper, which is flipped into a cradle for two. A running kick to the chest rocks Dar but the round ends before a count.

Round six (the last round) begins with a slugout as they’re both pretty spent. A-Kid has to kick Dar off the apron before grabbing a kneebar. Dar is in the ropes in a hurry though, meaning it’s time to kick him in the head instead. Back up and Dar hits his own kick to the face for a near fall and they’re both down. The Nova Roller is cut off with a jumping superkick to give A-Kid two and it’s time for another strike off with thirty seconds to go. Dar hits him in the face for two but gets pulled into the Omoplata as time expires to end round six at 19:00 overall, meaning Dar retains the cup.

Rating: B. This match did a great job of setting up the drama and making me want to see how this was going to play out. That’s how this kind of drama is supposed to go and these two are rather good at the whole thing. Dar is one of those somewhat cowardly champions who manages to survive, but there are enough moments where he fights back to make him believable. I had a good time here and it felt like a showdown, with a rematch likely down the line.

Post match Samuels is crushed over being poor but celebrates with Dar to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. The wrestling was good, but what made me happier here was how they continue to set things up for the future. There are stories on the show that have me wondering where they are going and that is not the case with even the midcard on most WWE shows. Throw in an intriguing main event and I have more and more fun with this show every week. Pretty awesome week here as NXT UK is the best thing going in WWE by a wide margin.

Pretty Deadly b. Sam Gradwell/Saxon Huxley – Spilled Milk to Gradwell
Isla Dawn b. Emilia McKenzie – Fireman’s carry swinging side slam
A-Kid vs. Noam Dar went to a 1-1 draw



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