By Laurence Gibbons, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@Gibbonsgob)
NXT UK TV
Taped in London, England at BT Sport Studios
Streamed January 28, 2021 on WWE Network
The broadcast team was Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness… The show started with NXT Cruiserweight Champion Jordan Devlin making his entrance to cut a promo. Devlin claimed to be the ‘Ace of the Cruiserweight Division’ and bragged about being the longest reigning champion so far. He called for someone with excellence to challenge for his title and was interrupted by Trent Seven.
Seven admitted Devlin’s title run had been impressive. Seven said they both needed a challenge and claimed he would drop the weight required to fight for the Cruiserweight Championship. Devlin said if Seven ‘quit the vegan kebabs and dropped at least 30 pounds’, he would welcome his challenge. Seven hit Devlin with a right hand and said he was coming to his division.
Gibbons’ Opinion: This is a perfect storyline for Trent Seven. If he manages to drop the weight it will be an extremely impressive transformation. If he doesn’t it will be hilarious to watch.
The broadcast team hyped the number one contender match for the NXT UK Tag Team Championships as we saw The Hunt and Eddie Dennis backstage…
A hype package aired for NXT UK Women’s Champion Kay Lee Ray, who demanded the best in the world step up to be her next opponent. The video package then revealed Japanese wrestling legend Meiko Satomura had signed with NXT UK…
Pretty Deady were shown working out in the hallway…
Ben Carter made his entrance. Sam Gradwell entered the BT Sport Studios and belittled Carter for being from the Channel Islands, claiming he would send the Jersey-born wrestler back across the sea in a catamaran…
1. Ben Carter vs. Sam Gradwell. Gradwell worked the arm of Carter in the early going of the match before Carter used his speed and agility to turn the tide of the contest. Late in the match, Carter sent Gradwell to the outside with a spinning kick. He then hit a topé before sending Gradwell back in the ring. Gradwell rolled back out the ring and Carter hit him with a somersault over the top rope. Back in the ring, Carter hit the Frog Splash for the victory.
Ben Carter defeated Sam Gradwell in 07:21.
Gibbons’ Opinion: This was an enjoyable opening match. Gradwell is becoming more and more entertaining each week on the mic and remains solid in the ring. It looks like Carter will be pushed hard on us in a similar way to A-Kid. Carter is clearly a talented high flyer but he could do with adding more to his character.
Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster were shown preparing for the main event tag match. Also in the backstage area, Noam Dar gave Sha Samuels advice… Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter worked out backstage ahead of joining Andrews and Webster, The Hunt, and Pretty Deadly in the main event…
2. Josh Morrell vs. Sha Samuels. Samuels controlled the bout with a methodical approach. The “East End Butcher” hit Morrell with a huge stiff kick to the back. With a calm Samuels seemingly in control of the match, Morrell used his agility to gain the upper hand. A springboard crossbody helped Morrell score a close two count. Enraged, Samuels hit Morrell with a massive clothesline and followed it up with a spinebuster before he forced him to tap out to his sleeper hold.
Sha Samuels defeated Josh Morrell in 05:58.
Gibbons’ Opinion: Although this was a fun match it was never in doubt that Samuels would pick up the win. Surely there was someone else on the NXT UK roster that could have offered more of an opposition? It was a good showing for Samuels’ physicality and helped to build him up. Hopefully next time we see him it will be against more of a challenge.
Ilja Dragunov was working out in the gym when he was asked about his actions last week. We saw a recap of him flipping out against Jack Starz. The camera cut back to Dragunov, who struggled to provide an answer…
Rampage Brown was giving an interview backstage when he was interrupted by Gallus arriving. He challenged Joe Coffey to a match. Coffey said he’d think about it…
Andy Shepherd announced Nina Samuels vs. Xia Brookside for next week. Nigel McGuinness revealed that Jordan Devlin would take part in a NXT UK Cruiserweight Championship Open Challenge next week…
Pretty Deadly and Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter were shown in the ring. The Hunt made their entrance.
3. Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster vs. Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter vs.“The Hunt” Primate and Wild Boar vs. “Pretty Deadly” Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley in a four-way elimination match to become number one contenders to the NXT UK Tag Titles. Smith and Andrews started the match after Stoker immediately tagged out. We saw Gallus watching from the BT Sports Studio sky box. With Andrews and Morgan Webster now alone in the ring, they performed stereo dives to Pretty Deadly and Primate on the outside.
Smith hit a massive double top-rope suplex on Andrews and Stoker. With Smith holding Howley across the top rope, Carter used Howley’s back to perform a springboard backflip onto Andrews and The Hunt on the outside. At about 12 minutes, Carter hit a cutter on Primate as he was on Smith’s shoulders to score the first pin and eliminate The Hunt. A few minutes later, Andrews and Morgan Webster hit their combination knee strike into a Poison Rana on Smith to pick up the second elimination.
Andrews hit a number of high-flying moves on both members of Pretty Deadly until they launched a double team assault on his previously injured knee. Stoker worked the knee with a couple of submissions. With Andrews on the verge of tapping out Webster made the save. Both teams traded close two counts. Webster hit a topé senton on Stoker and Hawley. With Andrews alone in the ring, Eddie Dennis snuck to ringside and hit him in the knee with a foreign object. Howley and Stoker entered the ring and hit Spilt Milk for the finish.
Pretty Deadly defeated Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster, Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter and “The Hunt” Primate and Wild Boar in 22:06 in a four-way elimination match to become number one contenders to the NXT UK Tag Titles.
Pretty Deadly posed in the ring when NXT UK Tag Team Champions Mark Coffey and Wolfgang entered the BT Sports Studio. The show closed with the two teams taunting each other.
Gibbons’ Opinion: NXT UK just can’t stop churning out fantastic main events at the moment. From bell-to-bell this was fast-paced, chaotic and a lot of fun. Multiple quick tags throughout the match helped give every team decent exposure. Giving Pretty Deadly the win was 100 percent the right decision to make. They have good in-ring ability, look great and are a fresh alternative. We know they can work heel but given the opportunity I’m sure they have the charisma to be face tag champions as well. Either way, they should be given the titles as soon as possible. I’m not sure if I can buy them beating Gallus clean so they might have to score a dirty victory.
On a whole, it was an interesting and exciting NXT UK. A final mention for Meiko Satomura. I was lucky enough to see her live when she wrestled a tour of the UK and she is exactly what the women’s division needs. She will provide a very credible challenge to Kay Lee Ray and help elevate the women’s roster.