Welcome back to NXT UK. This week we’re promised a proving your worth match between Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Coffey, Travis Banks taking on Kenny Williams, two members of the women’s division trying to make an impact and the main event saw Ilja Dragunov in a match against “The Wrestling Genius” Kassius Ohno. It looked like a strong show but did it deliver? Let’s stop stalling and get into it.
Flash Morgan Webster w/ Mark Andrews defeated Mark Coffey w/ Wolfgang via Small Package
NXT UK opened this week with a technical bout between Mark Coffey and Flash Morgan Webster. The whole crux of the match was that if Webster won, he would be considered for a Tag title shot at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff. Mark and Wolfgang were there to make sure it wouldn’t happen. Wolfgang and Coffey tried to work together to continuously distract Webster from the match and the injured leg of Mark Coffey. This interference would be costly as both Andrews and Wolfgang would start fighting on the outside. Mark destroyed Andrews but fell victim to a Small Package from Webster. The Welsh natives now look to be in the title picture. It was a nice little opening match and it was good to see Webster back from injury and competing again.
Travis Banks defeated Kenny Williams via Kiwi Crusher
This was already a strong match on paper but was made even better by Noam Dar taking to the commentary table to call everyone a dafty and make a bunch of jokes at the expense of everyone except Nigel McGuinness. Since Dar and Banks are rumoured to have a match at TakeOver, it was only natural for Dar to make some inflammatory comments. In-ring, this was a match that saw Williams have the crap kicked out of him and try to come back. He took everything Banks threw at him and fought on, hitting a faceplant, rebound Lariat and dives to the outside. It wouldn’t be enough though as Banks too withstood Kenny’s comeback and murdered him with The Slice of Heaven Kick and a Kiwi Crusher. William’s tried to pick a much-needed win but once again fell to a better opponent. It’s a compelling story but I feel Kenny would benefit more by adopting Dar’s rule-breaking ways instead of trying to win fair all the time.
Nina Samuels defeated Isla Dawn via Ninagoroshi
This was a shame. A nice little exhibition match was had here but Isla Dawn was the better competitor by a mile. She had Nina Samuels on the ropes so many times and looked to be the dominant competitor in the match. There were plenty of great moments between the two and back and forth momentum shifts until Nina Samuels used a rope break to level a Forearm into the face of Isla Dawn setting her up for the Ninagoroshi. It was a fun, if pointless, match for sure. I just wish that we could have an Isla Dawn win for once. She’s a talented wrestler, great character and people clearly enjoy seeing her in action. I couldn’t help but be a bit disappointed with another heel win at the expense of Dawn even if Nina Samuels needs more momentum. Could you not use someone else instead of Isla Dawn? At least she got some TV time and offered a strong performance.
Kassius Ohno defeated Ilja Dragunov via Rolling Elbow
What a shock. No one has seemed even close to putting down Dragunov for a one-count let alone a three-count. But Kassius Ohno did it. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t clean but Ohno outsmarted Dragunov, stole the victory and broke the undefeated streak that seemed unbreakable. Ohno didn’t have a strong start as Dragunov out-wrestled him and seemed to have every advantage until Ohno worked the right shoulder. From here he was able to grind down Ilja and drain the energy from him. The often overly energetic Russian was constantly on the defence until given an opening where he always took full advantage. There was a lot of technical grappling and stiff strikes in this match with Ohno eventually using more dubious methods to keep Dragunov down. He ended up throwing Dragunov into the ring post and then finishing him with the Rolling Elbow. It was a shock ending to a very gripping match.
So, there you have it, another episode of NXT UK put to rest. It was a mixed episode suffering from pointless match syndrome but the first and last matches carried the show. The Banks vs Williams match was also fun but again felt more like a filler match to get to Dar vs Banks. That being said we also got glimpses at more Rhea Ripley vs Piper Niven, Mastiff vs Joe Coffey set for TakeOver as a Last Man Standing and it’s always good to see Isla Dawn on TV. Hopefully, NXT UK have more substantial shows on the closing stretch to NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff. Now I’m off to sit in a corner and ponder how Dragunov could have lost.
All images courtesy of wwe.com