By Haydn Gleed, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
NXT UK Hits
Rhea Ripley vs. Dakota Kai: Another great showcase for Rhea Ripley but also a good performance from Dakota. What impressed me the most was Rhea’s manipulation of the crowd that was giving her a hard time. She completely bought into it and fired back, therefore creating great heel heat.
Toni Storm vs. Jinny: A great match from two women who have wrestled each other numerous times over the Progress Women’s Championship over the last twelve months. Fundamentally, the action in the ring was great and the right lady went over, but I’m looking forward to when/if they start a prolonged feud. The story they have told in Progress has been great and has created some matches that have been amazing to watch. The story here was your basic battle for a spot in the tournament final, so there wasn’t such an emotional investment as they generated in Progress. Despite that, a thoroughly entertaining match.
Joseph Connors and Saxon Huxley: A minor, minor Hit and more for the way that NXT UK is being booked. Every match has been given a reason for being on the show instead of throwing out random exhibition matches. Either you have a debuting roster member who takes on a local enhancement guy or there’s some storyline reason for the two roster members to face each other, which is what they did here with Connors and Huxley. I also had to put this in the Hit section for the crowds chants of “You’re a sinner” and “Judas” at Connors based on the appearance similarities between Huxley and the guy whose birthday is coming up next month.
The Crowd: The crowd was significantly better on the second show of the evening, which was the first of the second set of tapings from the venue. I imagine a lot of the crowd in the first tapings were part of the video game convention that was going on elsewhere in the venue, whereas this crowd appeared a lot more passionate and knowledgeable about the wrestlers. As a result, it created a much better atmosphere and bumped up the overall entertainment of the show up. It was also great that after all these years of looking I finally got sight of the fabled one Coventry City fan who was wearing his teams football top in the front row. That sighting is rarer than spotting the Loch Ness Monster (how about that for a niche of a niche reference!).
NXT UK Misses
Johnny Saint’s offices: In Cambridge, the sign saying “Johnny Saint’s office” was clearly put over the sign for the public conveniences and in Birmingham on this show we saw his office was essentially a convention booth. I’m not sure if this is a rib on Johnny Saint, but along with having as much charisma as a cactus, it doesn’t make NXT UK look important when the guy who “runs the company” is having offices in a toilet and a half-built convention booth.
Dave Mastiff vs. Tyson T-Bone: A minor Miss because not only was the action in the ring slow and plodding, but I feel they could have stretched this feud out more. I know I praised the booking in the Hits where every match feels that it has some meaning, but beyond the initial setup they are not doing much else. So we get a Hit for the intention but a Miss for the depth.
Dot Net Members have access to the weekly NXT UK audio reviews hosted by Haydn Gleed and Darren Gutteridge. For more information, visit PWMembership.net. If you wish to get in touch with Haydn, do so via twitter (see above) or via email firstname.lastname@example.org
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