An Unlikely Opponent – NXT UK – 04/09/19 Review

Today’s shorter episode was the follow on from the massive NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff from Saturday. Despite some stiff competition it still managed to be one of the best shows of the weekend and the results of it has led to a new era for the company. Those will be addressed next week as we have some unfinished business to settle between Rhea Ripley and Piper Niven and the battle of Gentleman vs Genius to enjoy. Except that second part didn’t technically happen. Let’s see what this smaller episode has to offer and get into it.

Rhea Ripley defeated Piper Niven via Riptide

The women opened the show with what can only be described as a hard-hitting grudge match. Both had learned a lot from their last bout where Niven won. Ripley refused to lose a second time and happily took advantage when a back tweak early on gave her a bullseye to work over. This pushed Niven to work even harder and she seemed to have Ripley’s number for a lot of the match. This had a mix of the greatest hits, shocking counters and some savage strikes. It was enjoyable to watch and will probably hurt a lot in the morning. The feud gets to continue as it’s one a piece now in the wins department. We may have to wait a while as Rhea Ripley has officially laid down a gauntlet to current NXT Women’s champion Shayna Baszler. I hope she shows the Queen of Spades just what the UK brand is capable of. If this match is any indication of what she can do against a strong opponent then we’re in for a treat.

Kassius Ohno defeated Sid Scala via Dream Crusher Elbow

So, remember how I said at the start the Gentleman vs Genius didn’t technically happen? Well, we got Kassius Ohno vs Sid Scala instead of Kassius Ohno vs Jack Gallagher as Gallagher was unable to compete. What ensued was about seven minutes of oddly compelling wrestling as Ohno bullied the assistant to the GM. However, despite his small size, he had technique and ended up getting one over on Ohno multiple times. He wouldn’t just lay down for Ohno and take a beating. He fought, in shirt and slacks no less, dodging, weaving and locking up Ohno. He tried but ended up failing as Ohno was just too strong and had worn out a knee of Scala’s leaving him limping. All it took was one Dream Crusher (as Nigel so nicely called it) Rolling Elbow later and he was out. It was a valiant effort and an entertaining way to give the audience a main event but ended up being all for naught. I can’t imagine Ohno will take this well.

So, there you have it. It was a short but punchy episode with two fun matches and no filler. There wasn’t the full-on usual NXT TakeOver recap fest treatment so it was refreshing enough to watch. The main event was a fun surprise and the rematch between Ripley and Niven probably should have been the main event but hey, it is what it is. We are at the dawn of a new era. We have new factions in power and new teams in two divisions as Kay Lee Ray holds the Women’s title and Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster are your new Tag Titles. That doesn’t mean the old champions will come back for more. James Drake and Zack Gibson have already tried to set a rematch. Plus, Tegan Nox comes back next week so that is there to look forward to as well. It’s an exciting time to join in on watch NXT UK and I hope they continue to succeed going forward. There is a lot of talent here that deserves to be further recognised.

All images courtesy of wwe.com

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