By Haydn Gleed, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
NXT UK TV
Aired October, 24, 2018 on WWE Network
Filmed July 28, 2018 in in Cambridge, England at Cambridge Corn Exchange
Then, Now, Forever and the NXT UK opening videos aired and we were back in the Corn Exchange Cambridge. The fans were once again electric and chanted NXT. The broadcast team of Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness welcomed us to the show and they ran down the card for this show…
Ligero made his entrance wearing a UK flag styled horned mask. Ligero is looking in the best condition I’ve ever seen him in. McGuinness put him over as a veteran of the UK scene. His opponent for the opening match will be Wild Boar Mike Hitchman…
Gleed’s Take: Really, really, small nitpick, but on the UK Indie scene El Ligero is promoted as being Mexican, hence the lucha libre style mask, when he’s actually shoot from Leeds. WWE just announced him as being from Leeds so it begs the question, why does he wear a mask? Wild Boar is from Wales, so you know who I’m rooting for here.
1. Ligero vs. Wild Boar Mike Hitchman. Wild Boar is wearing the “Supernatural Demon Eye” lenses which is actually a good look for him. Boar tried to use his power advantage early, but Ligero came back with a number of crowd pleasing high speed moves. Ligero came off the top rope with a dropkick for a near fall. The crowd chanted “El Ligero”, thank you Cambridge. Boar came back and hit a wicked looking spear in the corner before hitting an exploder suplex for a two count. Boar used this opportunity to slow the match down and get the high flyer on the mat.
Ligero managed to get out of the grasps of Boar and picked up the pace, however Boar came back by picking up Ligero and throwing him across the ring before hitting a back senton for a close count. Ligero tried again to pick up the pace, but Hitchman hit a powerbomb for a near fall. The end of the match came when Ligero managed to springboard off the middle rope and hit a tornado DDT for the three count…
Ligero defeated Wild Boar Mike Hitchman.
Joseph said that Ligero is someone that Johnny Saint should be taking note of as they showed replays of the finish…
Gleed’s Take: I enjoyed this match. It was simply an exhibition and not anything storyline related or anything on the line, but I’m ok with that from an opening match to the broadcast. These two have wrestled each other quite a bit on the independent scene, and they put together a nice, somewhat brief match that would get first time viewers interested in seeing more from them. With Ligero’s horns and Boar’s eye lenses, they certainly stand out visually.
A video package was shown highlighting the two females in the matchup before Dakota Kai made her entrance, followed closely by Killer Kelly…
Gleed’s Take: Perfect placement of the video package to allow first time viewers know who these ladies are in a brief but compelling way.
2. Dakota Kai vs. Killer Kelly. Nigel McGuinness ran through a list of famous New Zealand wrestlers and highlighted the Bushwhackers. He did manage to redeem himself for that comment and the soccer comment last week by telling Vic Joseph, you kick the ball with your foot so its football. Good man! Vic Joseph mentioned that Killer Kelly was a former WXW female champion. Both women locked up and they had a real battle to gain the advantage. They competed in some mat wrestling before Killer Kelly tried to charge Kai in the corner who leapt over Kelly and rolled her up for a two count. Kai followed this up with a lovely looking kick for another two count. Kelly, however, came back with some vicious offence including a kick of her own which gained a near fall.
Kelly continued with some MMA inspired offence before applying a vicious looking Dragon Sleeper which Kai eventually broke but was immediately knocked back to the mat. Kelly attempted a German suplex but Kai reversed for a two count. Both women got back to their feet but Kelly regained the advantage and eventually hit her german suplex on Dakota. Late in the match, Dakota regained the advantage and hit a variety of charging kicks in the corner. As Kelly got to her feet, Dakota hit her finisher where she rolls over her ducking opponent and hits a back breaker for the three count. McGuinness described it as a modified code red into an inverted back stabber…
Dekota Kai defeated Killer Kelly.
After the match Radzi Chinyanganya was in the ring and said to Dakota, you’ve just made your NXT debut with a very impressive victory, how are you feeling? Dakota struggled to get her breath and said it feels pretty damn good. She said she’s been all over the world but nothing compares to performing in front of the UK crowd. She spoke about the NXT UK Women’s Championship and she said she wants it and she’s not afraid to kick anyone’s head off who gets in her way.
Gleed’s Take: Another good match and a good showcase for two female talents who first time viewers may not be familiar with. I’ll look past the fact that this is NXT UK and we had someone from New Zealand against someone from Portugal. If you’ve seen Kelly Klein in ROH, then Killer Kelly is very much in that mold, and Dakota Kai is one of the most underrated women in NXT right now. Radzi seemed a little more happier this week, but he asked exactly the same question last week to Samuels as he did to Dakota. If that’s the only time we see him tonight then that is a little bit weird, but more importantly I want that job!
Vic Joseph and Nigel McGuinness spoke about the matchup between Zach Gibson and Travis Banks in the finals of the 2018 UK Tournament while highlights played. We were then told that Zach Gibson would be out to address the crowd next…
The next installment of the Eddie Dennis video played where he said last week he talked about his friendships with Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne. He said there was always an age gap between them. He said as he was approaching his thirties he was forging a career in education and becoming the head teacher of an elite private school, while at the same time those two were living at home with their parents. He said then in January 2017 he had to sit and watch as they competed for the WWE UK Championship. He had to watch as they lived our dream without him. He said ask yourselves, how did that make him feel?…
Gleed’s Take: I am loving these! OK, Eddie Dennis with his Swansea accents sounds like he’s a seagull choking on a piece of bread (banter!), but he’s taking some understandable real emotion which was probably there and amplifying it in a heel way to get across his character. The key line was the fact Andrews and Dunne lived out the dream that the three of them set out together to reach. The fact they are using real photos of the trio growing up together adds to the emotion he’s trying to get across, and for first time viewers they will be intrigued by this man. Great stuff.
Back in the Cambridge Corn Exchange, Zach Gibson made his entrance to a chorus of boos. Gibson stood on the top of the ramp and just stared at the crowd before starting to jaw with them. He eventually climbed into the ring and pointed at himself as Liverpool’s Number One. McGuinness said that he thinks this is a huge sign of disrespect that the crowd are booing him. Gibbo said that he’s Liverpool’s Number One Zach Gibson, soon to be recognized as the world’s number one, but more importantly, soon to be recognized as NXT UK’s number one. The crowd continued to boo all the way through.
Gibson said at the Royal Albert Hall, he beat Jack Gallagher, he beat Flash Morgan Webster, and he beat Travis Banks. He said three matches in one night, no rest, no time to prepare, but yet the next day he went to the ring and faced Pete Dunne. The crowd chanted, you suck to which Gibson told production to turn the microphone volume up. He said despite the lack of time to prepare, he took Dunne to the limit. He claimed that a fresh Zach Gibson could beat a fresh Dunne on any night.
Gibson continued by saying it should have been Gibson against the Bruiserweight, but instead he had to deal with the morons in the crowd waving their shoes around and booing trying to put him off at every given opportunity. The crowd chanted, stand up if you hate Gibson and the whole crowd were on their feet. He complained about Noam Dar getting a title shot last week but despite having weeks to prepare he let the chance go through his dislocated fingers. The crowd took their shoes off and waved them in the air and chanted “shoes off if you hate Gibson”.
Zach told Dunne to ignore them in the crowd because you know the next time it’s me versus you the result will be very different. He said that he is the man to build the brand around, not guys like Noam Dar who is an embarrassment. He said put Noam Dar into a search engine and all you get is pictures of him doing one of his ridiculous poses. With that, Noam Dar’s music played and he came out onto the ramp. He took his shirt off and made his way to the ring.
With that Johnny Saint came rushing out and said “don’t even think about it” to Zach Gibson. He said both of you, back in my office right now. Gibson looked apologetic at Johnny Saint as he walked backstage.
Gleed’s Take: And that is Zach Gibson, ladies and gentleman. I thoroughly enjoyed the promo from the scouser and managed to start what will presumably be a rather short program with Noam Dar and also keep his name in the mix for the championship. The crowd heat for this man is through the roof and always makes for a fun atmosphere. Johnny Saint…….he tries, bless him. It’s clear he’s not comfortable on the mic, which is probably why they restricted him to two lines….which he still made feel quite uncomfortable. On the plus side, at least it feels that we have a fair authority figure on the show much in the mold of William Regal. With Noam Dar, you can mock him for losing, you can mock a dislocation or two of a finger, but you don’t slag off his google image poses. That’s crossing a line, brother!
Vic Joseph setup a video package for Ashton Smith, which again was essentially the same video package from the 2018 UK Championship Tournament.
Following a commercial break, Radzi Chinyanganya was backstage and introduced Travis Banks (he interviews men as well, people!). He asked Travis what has his preparation has been for NXT UK. Travis said martial arts got him to NXT UK so he’s continued with that and he wants to accomplish a lot including being champion, but he can’t forget what the Coffey brothers did to him at The Royal Albert Hall, so they are first on his list. Radzi looked on lovingly as Travis walked away…
Gleed’s Take: OK, I may have made up the part about Radzi looking on lovingly, but I love this guy because he just looks so uncomfortable in this position. Again, this was the first set of tapings, so I’m sure over time he will grow into it, but until then he’s my new favourite person to pick on. As for the Banks promo, it was pretty good. He’s never been the most confident on the mic, but he came across as likable, put over the fact that the championship was important but played into the storyline with the Coffey brothers, so mission accomplished.
In the arena, Ashton Smith came out to a rather muted reaction. His opponent for this match will be Tucker from Belfast Northern Ireland…
3. Ashton Smith vs. Tucker. Both men battled to gain control as McGuinness put over Tuckers finisher. Smith gained the early advantage, but Tucker came back with a knee to the mid-section. Ashton went flying over the top of a ducking Tucker and grabbed the Irishman for a rollup for a two count. Tucker came back with an aggressive kick to the bread basket. This allowed Tucker to gain the prolonged advantage.
Ashton whipped Tucker into the corner and played as if he had injured his ribs. The referee pushed Ashton back, but then when he went back to Tucker, he showed that he had faked the injury and again regained the advantage. The finish of the match came when Ashton was on a charge. He hit a number of crowd pleasing maneuvers before hitting his rip chord finisher for the three count…
Ashton Smith over Tucker.
Gleed’s Take: Another decent match, but no more than that. It wasn’t long enough to be anything memorable, but what I did find impressive was the reaction to Ashton was rather muted when he made his entrance, but he won the crowd over. Ashton predominately wrestled in the North East of England before NXT UK so the crowd may not have been that familiar with him so to win them over was a good sign.
A video package played on Danny Burch, who sounded like a proper East End of London hard nut. He said nothing has come easy for him. He said he’s always scratched and clawed for every opportunity. They used footage from Progress Wrestling and he said this business is all about experience and NXT UK is another opportunity and he will take it. He said he wants to be the UK Champion. A graphic showed that Burch would be making his debut next week…
Gleed’s Take: Another great character profile on someone that some viewers may not be familiar with, and another wrestler putting over the importance of the UK Championship. Love it.
After a commercial, they showed a tweet from Johnny Saint announcing that next week it will be Zack Gibson against Noam Dar…
Gleed’s Take: Again, can’t complain. So far for next week they have promoted Danny Burch’s debut and setup a match with a reason between Zach Gibson vs. Noam Dar. Another two ticks in the right way to promote a wrestling show column.
Tyler Bate and Wolfgang made their entrances for the main event, with Tyler Bate getting a great reaction. He came out to his “not Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer but it is really” music.
4. Tyler Bate vs. Wolfgang. Vic Joseph said that Wolfgang was trained by Jake The Snake Roberts and Drew McIntyre. Wolfgang was frustrated and didn’t look happy with Bate’s usual pre-match routine. The crowd were singing loudly for Bate. Bate had Wolfgang in a headlock, which Wolfgang broke by picking up Bate and placing him over the top rope onto the apron. Tyler challenged Wolfgang to a test of strength which the Scotsman accepted. Wolfgang got the early advantage, but Tyler came back and had Wolfgang down but Wolfie came back. Tyler then broke the hold and hit a dropkick. Tyler charged at Wolfgang but was thrown across the ring. He then got kicked in the mid-section allowing the Glaswegion to get the advantage.
Wolfgang picked up Bate in a suplex but dropped him onto the top rope. He continued to stalk the boy from Dudley who came back with a number of forearms but was knocked back to the mat with a single forearm. Wolfgang whipped Bate into the corner with force with Jospeh saying that Bate’s ribs are being targeted. Wolfgang then attempted to wear down Tyler on the mat. When Bate made a brief comeback, Wolfgang applied a bear hug to continue to put pressure on the rib section of the former UK Champion.
Down the stretch, Tyler hit an airplane spin on the Glasgwegion followed by a standing shooting star for a nearfall. Tyler attempted a Tyler Driver 97 but Wolfgang reversed. Wolfgang threw Tyler over his shoulder and hit a spear for a very nearfall. Wolfie climbed to the top rope as the crowd chanted for Tyler Bate. Bate hit a flying headbutt on Wolfgang who was on the top rope and attempted a superplex but Wolfgang broke free. He attempted a sommersault from the top but Bates moved. One Tyler Driver 97 and this match is over…
Tyler Bate defeated Wolfgang.
The announcers described this as an impressive win and spoke about how Tyler should be in line for a title match. Tyler celebrated in the ring as the show went off the air…
Gleed’s Take: That was ok. I’m not the biggest fan of Wolfgang as I find some of his matches somewhat repetitive, but this was alright. Tyler has such a massive arsenal of offensive moves that its always fun watching him, and he performed well here. This was nowhere near as good as last week’s main event, but again it was acceptable.
Overall, this show flew by and looking back I can’t believe they fit so much into an hour. It completely flew by. All of the matches were entertaining although there wasn’t a stand out like last week. But in terms of character and storyline development, they managed to develop Eddie Dennis, Danny Burch, Dakota Kai, Zach Gibson, and, to some degree, Noam Dar on the one show. They also made the WWE UK Championship to be the centerpiece of the whole promotion on multiple occasions, so overall a really enjoyable hour of wrestling and made me look forward to next week’s show.
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