This week’s NXT UK didn’t fall into the same post TakeOver tradition that affects its American cousin. This match only featured one recap of the UK Title match and four matches of varying length and quality. The main event featured Toni Storm defending her title against a long standard foe and we got the debut of a new powerhouse to the women’s division. Elsewhere we got Kassius Ohno putting his money where his mouth is when it came to Travis Banks and Joseph Conners trying to regain some lost momentum. Let’s get into it.
Travis Banks defeated Kassius Ohno via Fold Over Pin
NXT UK started with a bang, well a slow fuse explosive as Travis Banks and Kassius Ohno had an excellent slow burn match. It saw Banks fight through a size disadvantage and an injury to get a crafty win over his opponent. It started with an exchange of holds but broke down when Banks failed to knock down Ohno with a Shoulder Block. Ohno then taunted and stomped the feet of Banks, angering the Kiwi Buzzsaw. Banks then retorted with a series of kicks but was caught out of a dive and took a boot to the face. Ohno couldn’t capitalise as Banks wiggled out of an Apron Bomb attempt and hit Ohno with a PK. Momentum shifted again as Ohno threw Banks into the steps, stomped him in the ring and landed a vicious Leg Drop.
Banks kicked out of that and tried to mount a comeback so Ohno raked his eyes. One missed Moonsault later and Ohno was back to eating offence. Ohno returned fire with a knee strike to the shoulder and continued working the limb. After a while Banks got off a dropkick that sent Ohno to the outside and followed up with a Suicide Dive and running knee. Once in-ring, he hit a Double Stomp in the corner and a Kiwi Crusher but only achieved a two. Ohno made a comeback with a Boot and hit the Rubik’s Cube but he too only got a two. Desperate for the win, Banks started going for pinfall attempts and managed to roll up Ohno on the third attempt. He got the surprise win and Ohno was left with egg on his face again. He had the advantage for a lot of the match and successfully wound up the crowd with his blatant disrespect. In the end, he lost because he took his opponent too lightly.
Piper Niven defeated Killer Kelly via Michinoku Driver
This was another debut squash match. Piper Niven started strong and barely ever lost steam unless she got sloppy. Killer Kelly is an accomplished opponent but she wasn’t able to handle the power advantage on display. She only got a couple of strikes in and a Sleeper Hold when Niven went for a slam. Other than that the match was all Niven as she would hit strikes, slams and a Cannonball before finishing her opponent off with the Michinoku Driver. It was entertaining for what it was and Niven looked impressive in her debut. It’s a shame it was Killer Kelly they chose to sacrifice as she has barely racked up any wins on NXT UK TV despite being a highly talented performer. After the match, Rhea Ripley looked set to ambush Piper but changed her mind once she was spotted and skulked away before Piper could get close. She refused to fight fairly until she has to. It’ll be a fun match when those two finally clash.
Joseph Conners defeated Jack Starz via Don’t Look Down
Once again this was a fairly straightforward match as Joseph Conners was looking to regain some steam after a string of losses by beating up a smaller opponent. That was what happened for a large portion of the match as after an exchange of lockups and holds Starz fell victim to a corner double stomp. From there he bullied the smaller man with strikes, holds and eventually finished him off once Starz attempted to mount a comeback. Once the possibility of a loss took hold Conners caught Starz and finished the job with the Don’t Look Down DDT. It wasn’t flashy but it got across the fact that Conners is back and means business once again.
NXT UK Women’s Championship match: Toni Storm defeated Jinny via Storm Zero
The main event of this week’s episode was a battle for the NXT UK Women’s title between two storied rivals. Toni Storm and Jinny have fought across different promotions over the years and now bring their war to the NXT UK. It was a short but sweet bout that got to the point pretty quickly and felt like a personal fight. It started with a brawl but soon transitioned into Jinny being locked in a Half Crab then an STF. Jinny came back into the match with a Dragon Screw and locked in a Modified Surfboard Stretch which I’m going to call the Row Boat to save time. Storm managed to break out of the Row Boat so Jinny transitioned into a Camel Clutch. Storm escaped and was able to lock in a Row Boat of her own on Jinny. Jinny made it to the ropes so the hold was broken. Jinny made a comeback by throwing Storm face first into the turnbuckle and following up with a Flatliner to another turnbuckle. She used the impact of these moves to work over Storm, mostly targeting the lower back.
She delivered a series of axe kicks and a Back Breaker. There’s a Face Crusher reversal and Jinny locked on a Sleeper and Body Scissors. Storm escaped and was gradually fired up by slaps and trash talk from Jinny. She then took Jinny to Suplex City by delivering a trio of German Suplexes. Storm followed up with a Hip Attack but ended up taking a Makeover Lungblower/Face crusher in the corner. This achieved a two count and a frustrated Jinny looked to maintain control but ate a head butt that also achieved a two count. The two got up and slugged it out with Storm coming out on top and hitting a Power Bomb into Storm Zero. She retained her title but went through a war to do so. This was a strong opening match to what will probably be a lengthy feud for the women’s title. It provided enough drama and gave Jinny enough pathos to avenge the loss. If this is what could be achieved with ten minutes, I’d love to see what they manage with twenty.
So there you have it, another week of NXT UK has gone. There will obviously be more addressing the WALTER era in the coming weeks and new storylines going forward. The company is heavily teasing Jordan Devlin as a potential title competitor so I’m looking forward to seeing his first interaction with WALTER. It’ll also be fun to see if Rhea Ripley gets braver when it comes to facing Piper Niven. Right now NXT UK seems like it’s in open season so it’s anyone’s guess who steps up next. Only time will tell, so let’s see what next week brings.
(All images courtesy of wwe.com)