Gleed’s NXT UK TV Review: Premiere edition with Pete Dunne vs Noam Dar for the WWE UK Championship, Mark Andrews vs Joe Coffey, Dave Mastiff vs Sid Scala, and Toni Storm vs Nina Samuels

By Haydn Gleed, Staffer (@haydngleed)

Aired October, 17, 2018 on WWE Network
Filmed July 28, 2018 in in Cambridge, England at Cambridge Corn Exchange

Following the usual then, now, and forever video package, they had a narrator talk over a video showing a number of landmarks in the UK and showed highlights of SummerSlam at Wembley. The narrator said that when this Kingdom meets a universe a new history will be unearthed. They showed a number of the top stars of the brand as dramatic music played. It ended with Triple H saying we are NXT. The official NXT UK opening video played, with some form of London East End rapper providing the music…

Gleed’s Take: I actually got some chills during that opening video. It’s no secret that I am incredibly passionate about the UK indie scene and have been for many many years so this was really cool for me, but it will also work for first time viewers of this show. It was a very professional opening video albeit I’m not down enough with the kids to know who the artist of the song is.

They showed the inside of the Cambridge Corn Exchange and the fans were chanting NXT passionately. Play-by-play voice Vic Joseph introduced himself and then introduced Nigel McGuinness as his color commentator. Vic asked Nigel what this meant to the UK. Nigel said it was huge and they will now be building on the foundation laid the last 18 months. They announced the main event tonight will be Pete Dunne vs. Noam Dar…

My fellow Welshman Mark Andrews was introduced first and came out to his bands Junior song “Fall To Pieces”. As he stepped in the ring he got a good reaction from the crowd. His opponent, who was booed immediately was Joe Coffey, who was accompanied by his brother Mark…

1. Mark Andrews vs. Joe Coffey (w/Mark Coffey) Before he match they showed the Coffey brothers taking out Mark Andrews, Flash Morgan Webster, and Travis Banks at the Royal Albert Hall. The bell rang and both men circled each other. Coffey gained the advantage by using his power superiority. Andrews eventually came back and gained the offence himself with his speed advantage. Andrews spring boarded from the top rope into a huracanrana and the crowd roared their approval.

Coffey came back with a huge shoulder charge which sent the artist formerly known as Mandrews halfway across the ring. He grabbed Andrews and performed a swing type maneuverer which transitioned into a hooked suplex. Coffey remained on the advantage for a number of minutes with the crowd trying to get behind the Cardiff lad. He had a hope spot but got thrown to the outside where Mark Coffey was stalking him. The referee stopped Mark attacking Andrews but the distraction allowed Joe to hit Andrews from behind. Joe screamed “this is my kingdom” (insert your ROH/Matt Tavern/Melvin joke here).

Andrews came back late in the match and struck him with a number of slaps and a kick to the mid section. He ducked a clothesline attempt and came back with a kick to the back of the head. Andrews unloaded with a number of crowd pleasing moves in a row. He charged at the Scotsman who hit an uppercut and followed up with a battering ram into the corner. He then hit a big powerslam for a close two count.

The end of the match came with Andrews attempting his finisher, but Mark pulled his brother out of the ring. This allowed Andrews to switch position and hit a beautiful moonsault from the top rope. He attempted to go to the top rope again but Mark grabbed him by the ankle. This distraction allowed Joe to grab Andrews and chuck him from the top rope over his head. He followed this up with his discuss lariat clothesline finisher for the victory…

Joe Coffey defeated Mark Andrews.

After the match the brothers stood mid ring together celebrating before stomping on Andrews. This allowed Flash Morgan Webster to come out swinging with his mod helmet to clear the brothers from the ring. He checked on Mark Andrews while the crowd chanted “Oh Flash Morgan Webster” to the tune of “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes.

Gleed’s Take: This was a match with a purpose and some story behind it which if you read my preview is exactly what I wanted. They further established the Coffey brothers as the asshole heels while also protecting Andrews in the process. Webster logically would come out to save his fellow Welshman and did so in a convincing manner by swinging an object to clear two men. On top of all this I really enjoyed the match, so for the first match of the new era, a definite thumbs up.

They showed Tyler Bate and Trent Seven walking into the Corn Exchange earlier in the day with their bags…

Gleed’s Take: Meant to say that Cambridge Corn Exchange looks great and is very well lit. I went there several years ago for a *cough*Wheatus*cough* gig and loved the building then, it looks even better than I remember.

A video package on Eddie Dennis was shown along with photos of his ten year career. He brought up the fact that he’s been good friends with Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne over the years. He said when he started it wasn’t about the money it was about making the best stories. He said he has a lot of stories to tell…

Gleed’s Take: I enjoyed this introduction to Eddie Dennis. There is a legit great story behind him in terms of him being a head teacher in a school making a lot of money and wrestling on the weekend part time, until about 18 months ago when he decided to quit his job to become a full time professional wrestler. I don’t know if that’s where WWE are going but it’s a great story to tell about his passion. From his opening ominous warning that he has a lot of stories I’m wondering if they are bringing him in as a heel which he has been for the last year on the UK scene after turning on Mark Andrews.

Back in the arena, Moustache Mountain made their entrance to their “not Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer but sounds a lot like it” music. They posed on the top of the ramp with the crowd on their feet applauding them. They walked around the ringside area with smiles and high fiving the crowd. They were given microphones and the crowd applauded them again and serenaded them with loud Moustache Mountain chants.

Trent Seven said thank you Cambridge. The crowd continued to chant loudly which made the guys smile at each other. Trent said tonight is a very special night and is arguably the biggest day in British Wrestling History. The crowd chanted “UK”. Trent said it’s not about everyone in the back, it’s about the fans as you all witness the birth of NXT UK. Trent said cast your minds back to earlier this year at the Royal Albert Hall when they were crowned NXT Tag Team Champions.

Tyler Bate said that although they may no longer be the champions, Triple H did mention something about NXT UK Tag Team Championships. Tyler said that’s when it occurred to them that there isn’t any other tag teams in NXT UK. He said as a former WWE UK Champion he knows there’s a boat load of talent back there itching for a chance. Trent said that they should be talking to each other in the back and ready to tag with each other, because when Moustache Mountain win the tag team championships they want to beat the very best. He said that this is our brand, this is our NXT UK…

Gleed’s Take: Well delivered and well received promo from the Midlands pair, and I always feel that Tyler looks more comfortable when standing next to Trent, however it didn’t really go anywhere. It certainly hyped the crowd, and it brought the passion out for the brand but when you knuckle down to the content it was them saying there are no tag teams so the single stars need to buddy up and rar rar UK. Still, nitpicking aside, the passion that is usually missing these days from UK Raw and Smackdowns was certainly evident with the crowd for this segment.

They showed shots of Pete Dunne warming up backstage as they went into a video package of Darren Gutteridge’s neighbour and favourite wrestler Dave Mastiff. It was essentially the same video as they showed during the UK Tournament earlier this year…

Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness reset the show and showed highlights from the UK Tournament earlier this year, more specifically Noam Dar’s return and defeating an injured Travis Banks. They showed Noam Dar in a random corridor warming up for the main event…

Sid Scala made his entrance in the arena. Joseph asked McGuinness what he knows about Sid, to which McGuinness made my laugh by saying he’s a plucky individual. His opponent will be the previously mentioned Dave Mastiff, who came out with heel mannerism’s and got the reaction he wanted from the crowd. He walked slowly to the ring stalking his pray…

2. Dave Mastiff vs. Sid Scala. Scala walked straight up to Mastiff and started jawing in his face. He went for a punch but the man from the Black Country knocked him straight down. He held him in a vertical suplex with one arm for approx. ten seconds. He chopped Scala in the corner before he threw him around the ring. McGuinness joked that Mastiff eats the same weight as Scala in food everyday. Scala had some hope spots but when he bounced off the ropes, Mastiff hit him with a lovely dropkick which Joseph cooed over. He hit his running cannonball in the corner and got the three count…

Dave Mastiff defeated Sid Scala.

Gleed’s Take: Total squash to establish Mastiff as the monster heel. Unfortunately, it was too convincing and entertaining a squash as the crowd really got behind Mastiff. I hope they address that sooner rather than later if they want Dave to be the big badass heel. Sid is a fun act that can be found on the B tour of UK Indie shows as well as the development division of Progress. Obviously didn’t see enough here to see if he’ll be anything more than a glorified enhancement guy in NXT UK….but he does have some cool entrance music.

The announcers setup for the women’s match between Toni Storm and Nina Samuels for after the break… McGuinness thanked Astroid Boys for the official song of NXT UK and threw to Radzi Chinyanganya who was backstage with Nina Samuels. He said with about as much enthusiasm as a kid who is forced to brush his teeth, Nina you are about to make your debut for NXT UK what’s going through your mind. Nina said she’s delighted to be making her mark on this stage, and she will be the first NXT UK Women’s champion. She questioned what better way to make her name by beating Toni Storm… Nina made her entrance to some really cool music to no reaction as she’s relatively new on the UK independent scene, but this was followed by Toni Storm who gained a great reaction…

Gleed’s Take: So far I’ve loved all of the music on this show.

3. Nina Samuels vs. Toni Storm. The crowd were firmly behind the Australian to begin with as the women locked up. Storm gained the early advantage but Nina managed to apply a headlock on the Mae Young Classic veteran. Somebody started an Ogi Ogi Ogi chant which filled my heart with happiness. The action heated up after both women slapped each other. Toni Storm charged at Nina but got tripped and she went headfirst into the turnbuckle.

Nina gained the advantage for a significant amount of time and mocked the former Progress champion to a great heel reaction. Nina continued to do a great job in inciting the crowd by jawing at them and the popular Australian. Storm eventually won the match by firstly hitting a lovely snap German suplex and a double knee charge in the corner. She hosted up her opponent in a Storm Zero and hit her finisher for the three count…

Toni Storm defeated Nina Samuels.

Gleed’s Take: Good showing by both women and I was really impressed with Nina Samuels cocky arrogant persona that drew a nice amount of heat from the crowd. There were a few spots Nina performed which showed she’s still a bit green, but at the same time this was a pretty good showing for her first time on this stage. I also liked the fact they interviewed her backstage before the match and established that the women are looking to make a name for themselves to get to the NXT UK Women’s Champions. I enjoyed this interview despite the Blue Peter presenters lack of charisma which strangely is the complete opposite to when he’s presenting the popular children’s show. I don’t know if he’s being produced that way but he just looked disinterested.

Following a commercial break, NXT UK Commissioner Johnny Saint was mid-ring and was introduced. This was followed by Noam Dar and Pete Dunne making their entrances. The crowd chanted for Dar when he was in the ring, but rose to their feet when Pete Dunne entered the arena with the title hanging from his mouth. The crowd chanted “Bruiserweight” over and over again…

Gleed’s Take: I like the idea that for the NXT UK Championship matches, Johnny Saint is in the ring as it gives an extra layer of importance to what should be the most important championship on the brand. Damn Cambridge loves them the British Strong Style trio as well by the way.

4. Pete Dunne vs. Noam Dar for the WWE UK Championship In the ring, Dunne held the title in the face of the Scotsman. Full introductions were given to both guys, with the crowd booing the fact that Noam Dar is from Scotland. Johnny Saint shook hands with both guys before the match started. The referee held the belt in the middle of the ring as the competitors jawed at each other. They circled each other before locking up. Dunne got the advantage and pushed Noam to the ropes. Dar mockingly clapped the champion. He went for a handshake but took his hand away when Pete went to shake it.

Dar gained the advantage and spun around him before getting a two count. The speed of the match picked up with both men running the ropes, before Pete Dunne hit a devastating looking and sounding clothesline. He got Noam on the ground and worked on the fingers of Dar before then focusing on the knee which the commentators acknowledged had been injured and kept Noam out of action for a year. Pete went to the top rope but Dar knocked him down with a shot to the knee. This gave Dar a prolonged period of offence. Vic Joseph described a FOOTBALL kick as a soccer kick and instantly I hated him. Dunne eventually came back with a release suplex and both men were down.

Dunne attacked Noam with a number of punches with the referee counting to five, Dar came back with an attempted German suplex but Dunne landed on his feet. He hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall. The crowd chanted “British Wrestling”. Dunne went after the nose of Dar who came back with a kick to Dunne to knock him off the ropes. Nigel McGuinness called a FOOTBALL kick a soccer kick and I instantly hated him too. Dar then had another sustained amount of offence gaining a number of two counts.

Both men battled with forearms on the apron, before Dunne caught one hand and bent Dar’s fingers back. Dar managed to break the hold and hit a fisherman’s suplex on Dunne with the champion landing on the apron which they replayed. Both men struggled to break the ten count but both men jumped into the ring at nine of a half. Both men stared at each other from across the ring and crawled over to each other and then battled back and forth with both men trying to apply submission holds on each other. Dar came out on top by applying an ankle lock on Pete Dunne who quickly rolled out of it. Again they exchanged forearms and clothesline before Dunne hit an enuigiri with Dar coming back with a blow to the back and both men were down with the crowd chanting NXT and UK loudly.

Dar charged at Pete Dunne and chopped him down with a kick. He setup for his finisher but Dunne came back with a forearm. He attempted a bitter end but Dar rolled through to an ankle lock. Dunne teased tapping and sold being in tremendous pain but just about got to the ropes. Dunne again went for the fingers of Dar and they showed a sickening shot of the finger being bent right back. He followed this with the bitter end for the victory…

Pete Dunne defeated Noam Dar to retain the WWE UK Championship.

After the match, Dar sold that his fingers were really damaged as they showed replays of the highlights of the match. After the replays both men were on their feet. Dunne offered a handshake, which Dar refused to shake but showed him his pinky which is a sign of respect, according to McGuinness. The show went off the air with Dunne celebrating on the ramp…

Gleed’s Take: A very good match from these two that was simply two men battling for a championship and had a great amount of drama and story told during the actual match. I really enjoyed that and gave the show the instant bang that it needed right out of the gate. Before this match, I was enjoying the show and thought it was really well put together but it was missing that sizzle to the steak, as Jim Ross would put it, but this match was the sizzle. Because of that, I must commend the producers of this show as the pacing was perfect with the hot opener, the squash match, the decent women’s match and the exciting main event.

Overall, this was a good show and a good start. It’s not re-inventing the wheel but it has a definite NXT feel to it. Every match served a purpose from the storyline Coffey brothers against the mid-card babyfaces, trying to build Mastiff as the monster of the brand, the women’s match was established to be about gaining the respect of the fans and positioning themselves ready for the NXT UK Women’s Championship and the main event was for the top title of the brand. I would like to know more about the guys as I think some of the fans may not remember someone like Mastiff or Coffey having only briefly seen them nine months ago, but that’s a small criticism for now but something I will be keeping an eye on.

Any comments? Feel free to get in touch via email or twitter @haydngleed

Check below for the latest Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell and guest Chris Harrington.


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