“That could literally go all over Coventry” was a line used to hype up the next chapter of the heated rivalry between “The Irish Ace” Jordan Devlin and “The Kiwi Buzzsaw” Travis Banks. The two have been feuding for months and cost the other matches on the build-up to this main event war. Alongside this, we got another chapter of a budding rivalry between two British stalwarts and two other matches to fill up another action-packed episode of NXT UK. Let’s get into it.
Ligero defeated Joseph Conners via Roll Up
The show opened with a rematch between fan favourite Ligero and the fast-rising Joseph Conners. Conners was trying to avenge a loss Ligero gave him, citing that he had an off day when they fought. Ligero took it to Conners early on but lost all momentum once Conners dumped him over the top rope. From there, it was a case of Conners working over Ligero’s back with attacks and holds. He would hold control for a lengthy portion of the match until Ligero fed off the crowd and get out of a hold. Ligero then picked up the pace and would hit flurries of offence to bring the bigger man down. The final act of the match featured both men hitting a series of big moves to try and keep the other down. Ligero would try to put Conners down with a Slingshot Stunner, but could only get a two count. Conners got the same when he hit a vicious DDT and a high angle Facebuster. Despite all these big moves, it was a crafty roll-up from Ligero that won the match. He tried to offer a handshake after the match but Conners was having none of it.
What a starting match. Both men started relatively slow but built up the tension to the point that any move could signal the end. Ligero had the crowd behind him the whole time and managed to pull out the underdog win. Once again, it felt like the perfect show opener as both men are strong workers and would garner a strong response.
Marcel Barthel & Fabian Aichner defeated Sam Stoker & Lewis Howley via European Powerbomb
Next was a trip to squash match city as we had a tag match to continue building the momentum of the European Union, Marcel Barthel and Fabien Aichner. They were taking on the team of Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley who were endeared to the crowd but never really stood a chance. Aichner dominated early on, showing off his power to knock about the smaller team. The only offence the face team ever got was when Barthel was tagged in and they managed to briefly overpower him. This was cut off quickly and the European Union punished Howley and Stoker with a whole list of double team moves including stereo Corner Dropkicks and a Stalling Powerslam. In the end, it would be a European Uppercut/Powerbomb combo move that would finish the job.
This was another solid outing for the European heels. Whilst this type of team is somewhat cliché, it’s hard not to admit the two have chemistry and their own in-ring style. They are fun to watch and will always bring out the best in their opponents, even if it is just their selling ability. The commentators made sure to note that they may be in the running for the NXT UK Tag titles in the near future. If so, that is going to be one hell of a match.
Nina Samuels defeated Charlie Morgan via Hell to the Knee-na (Ushigoroshi)
Continuing the squash match train was a match between Nina Samuels and Charlie Morgan. This was the debut of the Nina Samuels show, a rebranding for Samuels. She instantly went after the arm of Morgan using holds and a stomp to the arm. When this started to fail she reverted to dirty tactics and used Morgan’s hair to launch her around. Samuels would maintain control for most of the match until Morgan was able to mount a minor comeback and finally hit some offence of her own. She had Samuels stunned and attempted a Springboard Crossbody but was caught and hit with Samuels’ finisher the Hell to the Knee-na or Ushigoroshi for more those more familiar with that name. The Neckbreaker over the knee put away Morgan and cemented a successful debut episode of the Nina Samuels Show.
Two squash matches in a row is a tough act to pull and, whilst this was not as good as the match that preceded it, it was enjoyable enough. It was relatively short and by the numbers. The heel dominated for most of the match then the underdog is willed to action by the crowd but can’t hit the big finish. Once again, it seemed like commentary was trying to hint that there may be bigger things ahead for Nina Samuels, so she’ll be one to watch.
Jordan Devlin defeated Travis Banks via Spanish Fly through a table
Lastly was the main event and oh boy, was it a war. Travis Banks had his entrance, then literally started fighting once Devlin appeared. The two brawled on the ramp to the ring where Banks took control. Devlin was then thrown into the barricade, where a fan almost lost their beer. The two fought into the crowd resulting in Devlin falling from the stands and Banks diving after him. This only got a two-count so the fight finally made its way back to the ring. Devlin tried and failed to use a chair and took some more punishment in the ring. He fell to the outside and used a chair to block a Suicide Dive from Banks. From here, the pace slowed down as Devlin deliberately worked over the injured limbs of Banks. This continued until he tried to replicate the Apron Spanish Fly that ended their last match together. Banks reversed this and Devlin ended up smashing his knees into a chair. Banks decided to indulge the crowd here and bring out a table but it’s ignored as the pair got back in the ring. A referee bump occurred a couple of minutes later which caused a Kiwi Crusher to achieve a ten count from the crowd.
The two continued to fight, throwing Moonsaults and a Superplex to Kiwi Crusher combo but neither could keep the other down. The match descended into strikes before a Slice of Heaven kick sent Devlin to the outside. The two had one more brawl on the outside that saw Banks get some payback on Devlin by stamping Devlin’s leg into the steps after the Irish Ace accidentally threw himself into them. The two looked to end the match on the apron when Devlin drove Banks into the ring post and finished him with a Spanish Fly through the table.
As you can see, there was a lot to this match. It was a Balls to the wall slugfest that saw both men exhausted by the end. Whilst the match may not have gone all around Coventry, it certainly went all the way around the arena. These two believably hate each other and were certainly not afraid to cause the other bodily harm. The mix of storytelling, callbacks and vicious spots provided a masterclass in match construction. The Ace succeeded but, at what cost to his own body? By far the most must-see match of the night.
So there you have it, another episode of NXT UK down. A strong show from top to bottom with the main event standing head and shoulders above the rest. Even someone new to the brand could enjoy that match as it was simple, here are two guys that hate each other, watch them try to kill each other. Elsewhere we got future teases of tag teams in action and the promise of new stars on the horizon. This brand is showing no signs of slowing down. If it’s going to keep offering matches like Devlin vs Banks (spoiler alert it will), then please maintain full speed ahead.
All pics courtesy of WWE.com