By Haydn Gleed, ProWrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
NXT UK TV
Taped March 6-7, 2020 in Coventry, England at Coventry Skydome Arena
Streamed March 12, 2020 on WWE Network
The opening music and video aired and we were in the midlands, more specifically in the Coventry Skydome. Nigel McGuinness introduced the show and he also introduced Andy Shepherd as his co-commentator…
Gleed’s Ramblings: With Tom Phillips back on Raw, I assumed that Vic Joseph was going to return to NXT UK, but they are using long time ring announcer Andy Shepherd, which is an interesting move. Not to get too sidetracked, but the early success of NXT UK was built on a commentary team with the chemistry of Joseph and McGuinness, and with all this chopping and changing it’s starting to feel that NXT UK doesn’t have a voice anymore. Anyways I digress.
The lights went out in the arena and Finn Balor’s music hit surprisingly. He made his entrance with the crowd mimicking his usual ring entrance. Nigel recapped the storyline between Balor and Imperium that’s been playing out on NXT U.S.
Gleed’s Ramblings: Well, I certainly wasn’t expecting that and the live crowd loved it. I was once at a Progress show when Finn Balor came out unexpectedly. It was during the stretch when he was out with his shoulder injury and played musical chairs in the ring. Anyways I digress again.
Finn grabbed a microphone while the crowd chanted his name. He told the crowd he’s Finn Balor and he didn’t come here to boast the ratings, he came here for Walter, only if Walter has got the balls to face the Prince. The lights went down and Imperium’s music hit. The silhouette of the NXT UK Champion was on the entranceway with Shepherd noting that he was coming out on his own.
Before Walter climbed in the ring, Alexander Wolfe, Marcel Barcel, and Fabian Aichner came out. Wolfe had a microphone and welcomed Balor to NXT UK and said that this is the domain of Imperium. He said please let us show you a proper welcome. The four men surrounded the ring and attacked, but Balor took out Barthel, Aichner and Wolfe. With Walter climbing into the ring, Balor made a quick exit to safety…
Piper Niven was backstage and was asked why she got involved in the Kay Lee Ray against Toni Storm match. Piper said she and Toni are like sisters, and like all sisters they fight. But at the end of the day she couldn’t stand by and let Kay Lee Ray break her neck. She said Kay Lee is another matter. When she was in the ring and was holding Toni not knowing if Storm could move, she looked up and saw Kay Lee Ray and she saw evil…
Gleed’s Ramblings: Again, a nice surprise for the live crowd and it pushed the Balor/Imperium feud along a bit. Wasn’t the most dynamic use of all five men but it was decent. I think this is the first time we had heard from Piper Niven on a promo since her bout with Bell’s palsy, and you would not know she had had any illness. The promo was great and continued the story that they are telling at the top of the women’s division in NXT UK and it’s one that is moving along nicely.
1. “Pretty Deadly” Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley defeated Dereiss Gordon and Dan Moloney. A squash match with the heels going over strong and winning with their Deadly Pretty End finisher…
Gleed’s Ramblings: This all but confirms that the top rated UK tag team Pretty Deadly are now NXT UK contracted talent and I’m certainly all for it. They are essentially Breezango but taken seriously and are allowed to look good and not goofs. They are definitely a team to be on the look out for in the future. Dan Maloney is a journeyman on the UK independent scene and is from the local area, so it was nice that they gave him a little something in this match.
NXT authority figures Johnny Saint and Sid Scala were shown backstage talking. In a funny moment they were clearly told to look like they were talking and with no script but you could hear Saint mumbling the same word over and over again. Bless him. Alexander Wolfe charged up and demanded a match against Finn Balor tonight. Saint said okay and, of course, awkwardly pointed.
Jordan Devlin came into the picture and asked what Wolfe’s problem was. He moved and told Sid you can stop blowing up my phone now, Jordan Devlin is here. Sid told him that in two weeks time he will be defending his NXT Cruiserweight Title against Travis Banks…
Gleed’s Ramblings: I rag on Johnny Saint so much, but I get a kick out of how bad he is on camera. He is so awkward and cringe that it’s like watching David Brent in the UK version of The Office.
Video was shown from earlier this week, where Dave Mastiff, Flash Morgan Webster, and Mark Andrews were stood around talking (and did a much better job of looking like they were in a proper chat than Johnny Saint did two minutes ago). Gallus walked up to them. Joe Coffey asked Mastiff if he remembered when he was last man standing? Mastiff asked if he remembered when he hit your ribs for six?
Andrews and Flash asked Gallus if they remember when they beat them in Cardiff? Joe asked if they wanted to sort it out right now? Wolfgang and Mark Coffey held him back and they said they would wait until next week in the ring…
Gleed’s Ramblings: It’s such a small small thing, but I love the fact that there was callbacks to previous feuds. It doesn’t usually happen in WWE. Unfortunately, these are the six worse guys at delivering promos (Johnny Saint excluded, as he’s on his own pedestal) so this was a little awkward, but the match will be fun next week.
2. Noam Dar defeated Ligero. Noam won with a NovaRoller.
Gleed’s Ramblings: This is the match that was set up in such a forgettable manner that I can’t remember if it was set up on TV or on social media. Still, this match was a lot of fun. These two have probably faced each a hundred times on the UK independent scene before Dar went to 205 live and you could tell they were comfortable with each other. This was definitely Ligero’s best match since being on NXT UK. My biggest negative about the match is that although it was good and there was a sliver of storyline going into it, it still felt ultimately pointless. Neither Dar nor Ligero are not going to have a serious feud with Walter, so ultimately what was the point in the match? What are both men fighting for and why do they care if they win or lose? Nigel McGuinness put that thought in my head on commentary by talking about win/loss records, which I think was a mistake as it highlighted the fact that neither will have a real opportunity at a title.
Travis Banks was interviewed by a new backstage interviewer who’s name I didn’t catch because I was shocked and appalled that it’s not RADZI. Not only that, he said said Banks will be facing Devlin in a few weeks and then asked how does that make you feel? Radzi should be pissed at the gimmick infringement. Banks said he can’t wait to beat Devlin for the title in a few weeks. He said they certainly have history with Devlin and history in Coventry with Devlin because he dove off a balcony to get to him last time. He promised that he would be the new champion.
Gleed’s Ramblings: #bringbackradzi
The usual video highlighted that we are 24 days away WrestleMania..
3. Dani Luna vs. Amale ended in a no contest. Dani Luna is now being listed as being from Camden, London instead of Cardiff. I’m not happy. Kay Lee Ray came out two minutes into the match and destroyed both ladies.
Ray grabbed a microphone and said now that I have successfully got rid of Toni Storm, I am here to let every girl in NXT UK know that it doesn’t matter if you was here from the beginning or just got your foot in the door, this is my division. Luna attacked Ray from behind, but Ray eventually came back and hit a Gory Bomb on Luna…
Gleed’s Ramblings: Nigel noted that both ladies are now full time NXT UK PC students and I’m certainly happy about Luna getting the chance (despite her defection across the border), as I really do see big things for her. Both ladies looked good before Ray came out, and it looks like they are going to go down the route of Ray in a TV feud with Luna, and I’m certainly all for that.
A video package was shown on Aoife Valkyrie, and had dramatic lighting and clips of her in the ring…
4. Finn Balor defeated Alexander Wolfe. The other members of Imperium tried to interfere during the match but the referee sent them backstage. Balor eventually won with the Coup De Gras followed by the 1916 DDT.
Gleed’s Ramblings: This match begged the question as to what the main event of the first show in Coventry was going to be if Balor hadn’t made a surprise appearance. Is Johnny Saint that inept that he and Sid Scala hadn’t booked any main event for the first show?! I digress again. It was clear to see the difference in the overall quality of the two wrestlers in the main event, as this was a highly entertaining match without having to take a lot of risks. The storyline continues between Balor vs. Imperium, which is going along nicely, but Balor will need to get some assistance soon.
As for the show overall, there was definitely a fresh energy about them which you get for all first tapings from a batch and the surprise of Finn Balor certainly started the shows off with a bang. I am loving what they are doing with the NXT UK Women’s Division at the moment and is a great turn around from a month or so ago where it seemed like with Rhea Ripley gone the division was starting to get stale. As for the rest of the roster, it feels that there aren’t many stories going on and certainly nothing noteworthy in regards to NXT UK Dublin at the end of April (if it goes ahead). For me this is a simple case of the crossover between NXT’s being good for NXT U.S. in terms of fresh talent, but at the expense of telling compelling stories within the NXT UK bubble, but that’s another subject for another time.
Please, please, please stay safe and well out there. Wash your hands thoroughly and if you do feel unwell follow the advice of medical professionals in your area.