By Laurence Gibbons, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@Gibbonsgob)
NXT UK TV
Taped in London, England at BT Sport Studios
Streamed March 25, 2021 on WWE Network and Peacock
Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness were the broadcast team…
NXT UK kicked off with Noam Dar’s chat show SPRnva Sessions. His guest was Trent Seven, who he welcomed as a failure. Seven revealed that he had been through an ‘incredibly hard regime’ to prepare for his Cruiserweight title match which he failed to win, last week. Dar poked fun at Seven, which he took in good humour until the host called him a ‘part-timer’. As Seven got heated, Sha Samuels came out to defend Dar. Seven said if Samuels was going to be in Dar’s corner for his match against Tyler Bate at NXT UK Prelude, he would be there to support his Moustache Mountain partner.
Gibbons’ Opinion: As SPRnva Sessions segments go, this was one of the better ones. The addition of Samuels and Seven at ringside for Dar vs. Bate at NXT UK Prelude will add a level of volatility to proceedings which should be fun.
Sid Scala told Jinny that she and Piper Niven were both banned from ringside for Joseph Conners bout with Jack Starz. She was not impressed…
We saw a hype package for Walter’s United Kingdom Championship defence against Rampage Brown in two weeks’ time…
1. Jack Starz vs. Joseph Conners. The two locked up to start the in-ring action. Conners worked the wrist in the early going. Starz sent Conners to the outside and followed it up by leaping over the top rope and hitting a crossbody.
Back in the ring, Conners hit an impressive rolling neckbreaker but it only scored a two count – despite him going for a succession of pins. Starz looked for a few rolling pins. Conners eventually hit the hangman’s neckbreaker on Starz for the win.
Joseph Conners defeated Jack Starz in 6:52
Gibbons’ Opinion: This was a decent opener that did the job in making Conners look good. Starz was randomly pulled into the rivalry when he walked past Niven as she was told she couldn’t take on Jinny and Conners alone a few weeks’ ago. With this showing it looks like he’s out of the rivalry now. Niven my need to find someone with more muscle if she is to complete with Conners and Jinny.
Pretty Deadly cut a promo ahead of their first Tag Team Championship defence at Prelude…
Backstage, Niven consoled Starz about his loss and said she was still proud of him. Guess she has more faith in him than me…
Eddie Dennis led his new look team of Primate and Tyson T-Bone to the ring, having dismissed Wild Boar a few weeks ago…
2. Josh Morrell and Danny Jones vs. Tyson T-Bone and Primate (w/Eddie Dennis). T-Bone started the match by showing what Dennis sees in him, tossing Morrell around the ring with ease. Primate and T-Bone executed quick tags and took turns throwing Morrell around the ring.
Morrell eventually had enough and tagged Jones in but he failed to offer any more attack. Primate and T-Bone hit a big double team move but Jones kicked out. The Welshman hit a lung blower and tagged Morrell. T-bone sent Morrell over the top rope and Primate beat on him on the outside, whilst “The King of The Travelers” distracted the referee. T-Bone hit a Powerslam on Jones to set up Primate for the Diving Headbut for the victory.
Tyson T-Bone and Primate defeated Josh Morrell and Danny Jones in 6:26
Gibbons’ Opinion: This was a good introduction to Eddie Dennis’s new look team. They certainly look like more of a physical threat than Primate and Wild Boar. Fair play to Morrell and Jones, they took a hard beating and a lot of big power moves during this match.
Aleah James made her entrance whilst Shepherd hyped her up. Isla Dawn made her way to the ring.
3. Aleah James vs. Isla Dawn. Dawn hit first with a wrist lock, but James acrobatically reversed this into a wrist lock of her own and took control of the match. This infuriated Dawn, who rained down a flurry of knees and strikes. Dawn locked on a submission but James freed herself and hit a diving dropkick from the middle rope. James hit a springboard crossbody from the top rope but only scored a two. Isla Dawn hit her half nelson suplex Call of the Quarters for the victory.
Isla Dawn defeated Aleah James in 4:17.
Gibbons’ Opinion: With the help of the commentators, a good story was told of Dawn changing since her match with Satomura. She looked tougher and was hyped as someone that had fought “The Best in the World” and come out of that match better for it. I’d like to see similar things from everyone Satomura faces. James continued to look great too. She’s so athletic and lively and has a growing arsenal of diving attacks. A very enjoyable match.
Xia Brookside forced Nina Samuels to clean a filthy men’s bathroom…
Backstage, Dawn seemed to be having some sort of demonic possession when she was interrupted by Kay Lee Ray. Dawn used her witchcraft to intimidate Kay Lee Ray by making the lights flash…
Sam Gradwell made his way into the BT Sports Studios for the main event. Ilja Dragunov made his entrance…
4. Sam Gradwell vs. Ilja Dragunov in a No DQ match. As Dragunov entered the ring, Gradwell blinded him with his entrance jacket and took him down before stomping on the Russian. Dragunov worked his way into the match while constantly trying to stay calm. He hit a massive Coast to Coast on Gradwell that sent him rolling out the ring. Gradwell grabbed the ring bell and hit Dragunov across the arm. He whipped and choked Dragunov with the camera cable before sending him back in the ring. Gradwell used a chair to good effect, first with shots to the stomach of Dragunov before slamming him on the chair.
Gradwell struck Dragunov with a forearm that sent him from the ringpost to the outside, connecting with the barricade. Dragunov chose not to hit Gradwell with the stairs when ‘The Thunderstorm”pleaded with him not to hit him. Gradwell missed a chairshot and Dragunov hit a number of German suplexes on the outside. Gradwell apologised and begged Dragunov not to hit him anymore. When Dragunov again stopped his attack, Gradwell slammed him onto the steps.
Gradwell built a pile of chairs in the ring but Dragunov wriggled off his shoulders as he looked to drop him on them. Dragunov sent Gradwell into the exposed turnbuckle. “The Moscow Madman” put Gradwell on the pile of chairs and dived off the top rope, but Gradwell moved and Dragunov landed on them. Gradwell chopped the back of Dragunov, forcing him to snap and slam him into the pile of chairs. He unleashed a devastating succession of chair shots to the back. Dragunov hit one more slam onto the chairs and multiple strikes until the referee called for the stoppage.
Ilja Dragunov defeated Sam Gradwell in 14:48.
Gibbons’ Opinion: That was certainly better than anything in the first hour of Fastlane. A great intensity from the beginning that remained throughout.It was nice to have two wrestlers with totally different approaches to the same match. Gradwell was constantly looking for weapons and utilizing them to good effect. Whilst Dragunov looked to use his fists and stay calm. The last time they met Gradwell was awarded the victory because Dragunov refused to stop the strikes. With no DQ in play, when Dragunov snapped and hit the constant strikes he got the win. That ties them at 1-1 and I would be happy to see the rubber match.
An enjoyable NXT UK that did well to hype up Prelude. I find it a bit deflating that Walter will defend his title against Tomasso Ciampa the night after he fights Rampage Brown. It feels a bit like we already know the outcome from the NXT UK Prelude main event.