The Battle of Halloween – NXT UK – 31/10/19 Review

Welcome back to NXT UK. I’m going to try to avoid singing the whole of This is Halloween through the power of words and focus on bringing you the details of this episode of NXT UK. Despite falling on the scariest day of the year, there was nothing Halloween themed to this episode. That’s the downside of the taping system. There weren’t even any scarily bad matches to comment on. So, instead, I bring you the debuts of two new stars, Rhea Ripley and Piper Niven teaming up against Jinny and Jazzy Gabert and the long-awaited match between Dave Mastiff and Jordan Devlin. Let’s get into it, shall we?

Piper Niven & Rhea Ripley defeated Jinny & Jazzy Gabert via Michinoku Driver

If you have enemies like this then you need friends. That is the mentality Jinny has had ever since she hired Jazzy Gabert as her enforcer. However, since that acquisition, she has managed to get on the bad side of Rhea Ripley and Piper Niven, two mega powers who forged an uneasy alliance to batter the Fashionista and her hired muscle. Jinny decided to start the match and ended up being beaten down by her much bigger opponents. They had no problem picking her up and throwing her around. Despite their very fragile alliance, they worked exceptionally well as a team. It wouldn’t be until Gabert caused a distraction that Jinny actually got any form of advantage. From there Ripley had to fight through the numbers game and get back on top. The pair managed to withstand and Ripley hit one hell of a painful-looking dive to the outside before throwing Gabert into the ring for Niven to finish. The deadly duo of Ripley and Niven stood tall, exchanged respect and Ripley left Niven to celebrate. It seems competition can breed some very strange, yet powerful, alliances.

A-Kid defeated Kassius Ohno via Count Out

A-Kid made his NXT UK against a very difficult opponent. The Spanish superstar and darling of the European wrestling scene had to overcome and with a strength and experience edge over him, as well as a tendency for breaking new toys. Commentary put over the fact A-Kid idolised Ohno so this was technically a dream match for him. To everyone’s surprise, this was a very technical bout. Ohno tried to do what he always does by bringing his British inspired technical grappling and submission style but was challenged by A-Kid who returned the same style back at him. They traded submissions and strikes with A-Kid throwing in the occasional flippy move to show what he was capable of. The match ended in a count-out with a cocky Ohno failing to break a ref count. It wasn’t a definitive win by any means but Ohno felt robbed and brutalised A-Kid post-match, busting out the Kassius Clutch. Tyler Bate, who had not stopped singing A-Kid’s praises, came out to save the new debutant. It would appear we have a new feud or alliance on the horizon.

Joseph Conners defeated Roy Johnson via Don’t Look Down

The debuts continued next as “Big Wavy” Roy Johnson made his NXT UK debut and his return to the company since the first UK Tournament. He would be tasked with taking on one of NXT UK’s nastiest in Joseph Conners. The duo went at it and Johnson brought the fun through some dancing and power moves. I hope Johnson sticks around as the brand could use another fun person. He had the upper hand on Conners for a lot of the match but Connors was a dick and went for the eyes or used the ring post to aid his offence. He had to rely on a lot of shifty tactics to overcome the power imbalance Johnson brought. He won with the Don’t Look Down but Johnson definitely made a mark and should hopefully have made a big wave with the NXT UK Universe.

Jordan Devlin defeated Dave Mastiff via Avalanche Devil Inside

This was fun. I know it seems to be a common trend of mine to inflate the value of NXT UK main events. This time I won’t do that as it was good but not quite as good as previous weeks. The match had a ton of tension and creativity as both Mastiff and Devlin wanted to kill each other. Devlin was clearly at a loss when it came to power so he had to be smart in how he did things. He started off by targeting the arm of Mastiff and using that to cut down his power-based attacks and giving him an opening to control Mastiff. This gave Devlin free reign to do whatever he needed to do. Mastiff came back, hit Into the Void but Devlin rolled outside forcing Mastiff to come to him. Mastiff ended up on the top rope and Devlin used this to drag Mastiff into the Devil Inside. It was a clever way for Devlin to get the win. On paper, this match sounds a lot duller than it actually was. It had a lot of drama to it, there was a lot of nice wrestling but it just felt like it was missing something. After the match, it cut backstage to end the show with Ilja Dragunov being recruited by Alexander Wolfe for Imperium once again. Though he wasn’t forceful in his approach, Wolfe was clearly sick of waiting for Dragunov to decide. I’m sure we’ll find out soon enough.

So, there you have it. This week’s NXT UK was fine. I want to say more about it but find myself just repeating the phrase “it was good” or “it was fine” to myself trying to find the words to talk about what I’d seen. I’m glad it wasn’t a terrible episode full of awful gimmick stuff at least like we’d have seen on a Halloween episode of RAW. There’s plenty to look forward to in the future too as Dragunov must make a choice, Killer Kelly is back and the Grizzled Young Veterans will be taking on Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews. Plus, it looks like Kay Lee Ray has added Xia Brookside to her hit list. It’s going to be fun next week.

Images courtesy of wwe.com Video courtesy of WWE YouTube

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