After a bit of a lacking episode last week, NXT UK kicked it into another gear and gave us an hour of stacked action that saw some new feuds and old rivalries settled. It was a night that saw Xia Brookside take on UK Women’s Champ Kay Lee Ray, Tyler Bate face off against Kassius Ohno and the second round for Travis Banks and Ligero. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Kay Lee Ray defeated Xia Brookside via Dirty Bomb
So, our first bout saw Xia Brookside try to avenge the title opportunity she felt Kay Lee Ray stole from her. Let’s not forget that Xia looked to be the winner of the Download taped Battle Royal to see who would face Toni Storm when Kay Lee Ray re-emerged and threw her out. Now was her chance at vengeance and to strike a blow at the pride of the champ. What we got was a bout of technicality, taunts and striking. What started as a technical bout went into another gear with a shot to the mouth from Ray. From there we got Brookside showing off her technical ability and British tinged style whilst trying to cope with Ray’s hard-hitting brutality. It looked to be a successful effort until Xia got caught with a Dirty Bomb, going face-first into the canvas. Xia put up one hell of a fight but it was not enough to best the veteran champ, who had nothing but disrespect for her. Also, she has one hell of a Dragonrana.
Travis Banks defeated Ligero via Slice of Heaven
These two had one hell of a bout a couple of weeks ago. However, it did not have a conclusion as the match ended in a double pinfall, resulting in a draw. Neither man was happy with this so there was only one thing to do, a rematch. That rematch was a total strike fest. There were chops, kicks, elbows and forearms galore as these two seemed content to pummel the life out of each other. These two were well versed with one another so they craftily avoided the others shots for a while and both went for throwbacks to the first bout with near double pinfalls and a near double count-out. The pair took their opponents hardest knocks and kept going with Ligero kicking out of the Kiwi Crusher and Banks surviving a C4L on the floor outside. This came after a long list of vicious spots including a Fisherman Suplex on the apron and a Superplex. It was vicious. Yet again though the pair had a tainted match as Joseph Conners attacked Ligero outside the ring, setting him up for the Slice of Heaven then attacked Travis Banks as he celebrated. After using both men as kick bags, he cut a promo stating he was TakeOver worthy and showing bitterness over not being the first UK Champion or being on any TakeOver show.
Tyler Bate defeated Kassius Ohno via Tyler Driver 97
So, remember how I said the last match was a brutal slugfest? Well, this took that, multiplied it by 100 and kept ongoing. It was a very physical, very exhausting bout between the wrestling genius and the best prodigy on NXT UK. Both men are proficient in striking and submissions whilst also being specialists in the British style of wrestling. Putting these two in a match together, with a story to tell and half an hour at their disposal was only going to yield positive results. This match was something special. It started slowly with both men going through a feeling-out process til Ohno went for some dirty tactics and battered Bate off a ring post, giving him a target to go after and a long period to soften up Bate. Here he unleashed some awful looking attacks utilising the Cravate and plenty of stiff shots to the already breaking body of Bate. Obviously, it couldn’t last like this forever so, feeding off the crowd, Bate came back and started getting some shots of his own in. The turning point came when Bate was able to hit a shock Exploder Suplex and the match evened out. This led to some flinch worthy exchanges, shock reversals and excellent near falls. I won’t say too much more as once again this is a main-event worth viewing. Hell, the whole show was. Ohno is one of the best at bringing out the best in his opponents. He was perfect at breaking down Bate and trash talking him into action. I really want to keep seeing Ohno feud with big stars, he’s the perfect villain.
So, there you have it, another episode of NXT UK reviewed for your reading pleasure. As you can see, this episode was way better than last week, consistently offering top quality match quality across its three matches. In between, we got more motivational speaking from Piper Niven who honestly doesn’t feel like a forced role model. Her attitude to wrestling and her experiences as a plus side athlete come across as genuine and she seems happy to be an inspiration to others like her. We also know that Ridge Holland will be debuting next week so that could be exciting and most importantly Ilja Dragunov will go one on one with Alexander Wolfe… that is going to be one hell of a fun match.
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