By Haydn Gleed, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
NXT UK TV
Taped January 17-18, 2020 in York, England at the York Barbican
Streamed January 23, 2020 on WWE Network
The usual music and video opened the show for the first show from the York tapings (York’s a beautiful place by the way)… Sid Scala and NXT UK general manager Johnny Saint were in the ring. The lights went off and the usual Imperium music played. All four members of Imperium were standing in the aisle.
Tom Philips and Aiden English checked in on commentary with no mention of Nigel McGuiness. Sid Scala said that himself and Mr. Saint want to say a big thank you to the fans for making NXT UK the biggest growing brand in WWE history. He said that they are immensely proud to present the brand new NXT UK Championship. They unveiled the belt, which was pretty much exactly the same except the NXT UK logo was in the middle of the belt instead of the WWE logo.
Walter grabbed a microphone and said thank you for finally listening to him and getting rid of the belt that had been touched by Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne. From now on, the NXT UK title will be the biggest title in Europe. He said they have a champion they can respect. Talking of respect…with that he pushed over the title. He addressed Undisputed Era. He yelled at them for what they did to them at NXT UK Takeover. He said at Worlds Collide it is personal and they will hurt them for disrespecting them. He said we are Imperium and to us this mat is sacred…
Phillips English were shown at ringside. Tom said that Nigel McGuiness will be back in March (i.e. the next tapings). They promoted Worlds Collide and highlighted the four way for the cruiserweight championship including the two spots up for grabs on this show…
1. Jordan Devlin defeated Ligero to qualify for the four-way NXT Cruiserweight Championship match at Worlds Collide.
Gleed’s Ramblings: Considering the outstanding performance from Devlin at NXT UK takeover and the seemingly genuine reaction from management, there wasn’t any real doubt as to who would be going to Worlds Collide. This was a somewhat back and forth match and both worked hard, but is not some a match I’ll remember in a few weeks. If I was going to pick one big surprise at Worlds Collide, considering the reaction to Jordan at Blackpool, I can see him winning the NXT Cruiserweight Title and staying in NXT. There is not really anything left for him to do in NXT UK so it would make sense.
Radzi was backstage with Kay Lee Ray where he asked how her preparations have been going for Worlds Collide against Mia Yim. Radzi wished her luck to which Kay Lee Ray took offence. Imperium showed up and Marcel Barthel told Radzi you should be interviewing the most dominant force in NXT UK. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster turned up and pointed out that they had never been NXT UK Tag Team Champions. Imperium looked like they were going to go after the Welshman, but they started talking to each other in German (presumably saying how bad a name the South Wales Society is)…
Eddie Dennis will speak out next week, hopefully I’ll start getting on board with this gimmick…
There was a sit-down interview with Finn Balor saying that he sees a lot of himself in Ilja Dragunov. He said he sees belief that he belongs in the ring with him. Finn said one piece of advice, when you come at the prince make sure you don’t miss.
Gleed’s Ramblings: That’s the match I’m looking forward to the most at Worlds Collide.
2. Ilja Dragunov defeated Josh Morrell.
Gleed’s Ramblings: A relatively easy win for the Russian which you would expect three days before his big match against Finn Balor. The crowd love him and understandably so. Josh looked good here and is someone I’m going to keep my eye on.
After the match Ilja gabbed a microphone and said he’s a man of a few words. But the words he uses he uses very carefully. So Finn Balor, prince, he will make you realise….with that Gallus music played. All three members walked out. Joe Coffey called Wolfgang and Mark Coffey back, telling them to give him a moment with the mad Russian. He said at NXT UK Takeover they retained their NXT UK Tag Team Championships. He said that he didn’t get the job done and he feels like he let the boys down. Ultimately he’s to blame. He said but you, pointing at Ilja, are partly to blame as well. He said he doesn’t know if it’s a language barrier but he appreciates what he’s done for Gallus. He said but he couldn’t speak for him and he’s not part of the Gallus firm and ultimately Ilja cost him the biggest score in Blackpool.
Coffey continued by saying that soon Ilja will be going to Houston to face Finn Balor to represent NXT UK and the Gallus kingdom. He said for now he is safe, but once he deals with the prince, he then has to face the Iron King. Both men stared at each other as the Gallus music played…
Imperium members Alexander Wolfe, Fabian Aichner, and Marcel Barthel walked up to Johnny Saint’s office. Saint and Sid Scala came out. Aichner said that after the way Mark Andrews and FMW talked to them they want a tag team match. Saint that’s not a bad idea, all the while pointing at them. He then whispered something in Sid’s ear. Sid said next week, because Alexander Wolfe can’t abide by the rules, it will be a six-man match with Marcel, Fabian and Alexander facing Andrews, Webster, and a partner of their choosing…
3. Travis Banks defeated The Brian Kendrick to qualify for the four-way NXT Cruiserweight Championship match at Worlds Collide.
Gleed’s Ramblings: Although with the involvement of Kendrick it wasn’t 100 percent obvious who was going to win, considering Travis Banks was the first person from NXT UK to be part of the Worlds Collide build up it would be weird if he wasn’t at the event. This took a little bit away from the match but not a lot. As someone who’s always enjoyed Kendrick it was a lot of fun seeing him in the ring with someone who is one of my favourites from the last six years on the UK Independent scene and the expectation, I had for this match wasn’t unfounded. Good stuff.
The show concluded with an advertisement for Worlds Collide on Saturday…
Gleed’s Ramblings: A middle of the road show with the focus being more on Worlds Collide more than anything else. The renaming of the WWE UK Championship to the NXT UK Championship is pretty cool for someone like me with OCD and hated the different names for the NXT UK belts, but in the big picture doesn’t mean much. We were given the seeds of a feud between Joe Coffey and Dragunov, which is to be expected if you watched the main event of NXT UK Takeover.
Although the outcomes of the matches were predictable it doesn’t mean they were bad. The main event was great for me on a personal level, but is a good main event for anyone who hasn’t really watched Banks before to see what he’s all about. I could have sworn they advertised Jazzy Gabert against Killer Kelly for this week but I must have mis-heard so I apologise for putting that in my review last week.