Welcome back to NXT UK. Once again, the action comes to us from the muddy fields and tents of Download Festival. The crowd still had plenty of energy and the show had more to offer. We saw both Ilja Dragunov and the NXT UK Women’s Champion in action and a main-event guaranteed to be a mess of brawling and bodies. Plus, it was time to see what the repercussions and blowback from last week’s Imperium attack would be as Trent Seven was set to respond to the violence that ended last week’s episode. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Ilja Dragunov defeated Ashton Smith via Torpedo Moscow
After a heart-breaking recap of last week’s closing moments, NXT UK opened with a bout better the underrated Ashton Smith and the Enigmatic powerhouse, Ilja Dragunov. They had a quick, hard-hitting bout focused mostly on strikes and the occasional power move. It was a simple but effective bout that made Smith look good and once again showed off the dominance of Dragunov who continuously fought back or no sold Smith’s offence. There’s not much more to say about this match other than it did its job and gave a good showing to both the men taking part. However, I do hope we get a proper feud for Dragunov soon as he can only do exhibition matches for so long before it becomes a waste of his talent. He is a special calibre of wrestler who needs a bigger showcase than one throwaway match every few weeks.
Toni Storm defeated Candy Floss via Storm Zero
Two for two on the short matches showcasing lesser valued talent with a higher- value talent. Candy Floss again is a surprisingly underrated technical wrestler who had fun bending the arm of Toni Storm and playing around with Storm before losing the match. She was being respected by Storm who was willing to play along and be sportsmanlike to her opponent. However, when the match grew serious, Storm treated Candy Floss like any other opponent and withstood the attacks of Floss and put her away with the Storm Zero. This match also furthered the title feud as Kay Lee Ray attacked Candy Floss as she tried to leave the ringside area and stood over the wounded loser, egging Storm on to attack her. Storm started to give chase but relented and went to tend to Candy Floss instead. This was another strong if kind of meaningless to describe match that successfully showed off the talents of the women in it.
Trent Seven Responded to the Imperium Attack
Trent Seven is scary when he’s angry. He wasn’t mopey or sad about his friend and partner being hospitalised. He instead swore vengeance on the group and said regardless of the time or place will be going for “The head of the snake” Walter. He said he didn’t even care about the title; he just wanted the chance to fight and put Walter down. To him, NXT UK was built on the back of British Strong Style, so the mat may be sacred but it’s “ours.”
His and the fans, not Imperium’s to twist to their will. Seven was fired up and ready to kill as Imperium have hospitalised Bate and forced him to watch, walking around bearing the consequences. I have a feeling that we have our NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff main event brewing here and it will be in the name of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and the Trent Seven Army.
Gallus defeated The Hunt & Dave Mastiff via All the Best for the Bells to Wild Boar
Well, this was a fight from start to finish. The Jim Ross style SlobberKnocker was a total masterclass of brawling and tag team wrestling. Gallus kept The Hunt under control for about 70% of this match, cutting them off every time they looked set to make a hot tag. They bullied Primate and Wild Boar until some Mark Coffey overconfidence led to the hot tag to Mastiff who completely cleaned house. Mastiff was the MVP of this match destroying everyone in his path with power, speed and even flying ability. It was a fairly standard format elevated through the talent in the match. Wild Boar and Primate were excellent at selling despair and mounting comeback offence, Gallus were perfect as calculating dastardly heels and Mastiff was the ultimate weapon. The Hunt and Mastiff only lost because Wolfgang shoved Wild Boar out of the double team Flying Headbutts, giving Joe Coffey the chance to lay him out. It was a strong main event and a chaotic way to end the show.
So, there we have it, another NXT UK episode leaves us behind. It was fun enough and featured Ilja Dragunov but not enough happened to make it a must-see episode. The main event was a ton of fun and it shone a light on some lesser-seen talent but bar that, it was all a bit forgettable. Trent Seven’s quest for vengeance will be fun to watch unfold and we know a Mark Andrews vs Kassius Ohno match is on the horizon. Other than that, it’s anyone’s guess as to what might happen next. I hope we start to really see the build towards NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff and some new storylines brewing. It’s time to play the waiting game and see.
All images courtesy of wwe.com