‘Give Me Walter.’ A simple demand from a Champion who now knows he has a title match. That was one of the several highlights from this week’s NXT UK. There were four small matches that featured returns and debuts from Superstars most people will be familiar with. Eddie Dennis returned to fight a UK favourite and a former NXT star made his official debut for the UK Brand. Throw in a grudge match between two men from teams that hate each other and you have the recipe for a very good show. Let’s get into it.
Pete Dunne is going to New York City
This week’s episode opened with an announcement from Johnny Saint and Sid Scala. They started the show in-ring and announced that Pete Dunne will be a part of WrestleMania weekend as he will defend the United Kingdom Title at NXT TakeOver: New York. Dunne came to the ring and said three words, “Give me Walter.” If that is his NXT TakeOver opponent then New York is going to get rocked. Walter responded to this on Twitter with, “Come On Then.” Following that, it was confirmed at the end of the show that the match had been set. We have our NXT TakeOver title match, ladies and gentlemen. It’s going to be amazing.
Eddie Dennis defeated Ligero via Next Stop Driver
The first match of this week’s NXT saw the return of Eddie Dennis. He had been in exile since his loss to Dave Mastiff at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool. He hoped to regain momentum by defeating the crowd adored luchador Ligero. His opponent did not make it easy for him though. Ligero started fast, chopped at the legs and pulled off a Springboard Stunner. He tried to follow up with a Springboard to the outside but was caught and slammed into the ring apron. From that Dennis bullied Ligero with strikes and holds until Ligero managed to wrap a leg around the rope to stop an Irish Whip. Ligero then managed a comeback taking down Dennis and sped up the match. He appeared to have tweaked his ankle so he couldn’t follow up on a diving attack. Dennis started getting more offence in and eventually caught Ligero as he wanted to go for a Springboard DDT.
Ligero used the catch to his advantage and hit a Code Red/Sunset Flip Powerbomb on Dennis. The two traded a little more offence until Dennis kicked Ligero on the turnbuckle and hit him with a Stalling Superplex from the second rope. He then picked up the dead weight of Ligero, hit him with the Severn Bridge and finished the match with the Next Stop Driver. Dennis got his momentum back and Ligero tried to topple the big man but couldn’t deal with the power advantage Dennis had. This was a strong opening match and an excellent way to re-establish Dennis as a threat in the UK division.
The Hunt (Primate & Wild Boar) defeated Sam Stoker & Lewis Howley via Pop Up Belly to Back Suplex
This was quick and it was vicious. After being teased for the past few weeks we finally saw the Hunt in action. The partnership between Primate and Wild Boar took on the unlucky duo of Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley. Stoker and Primate started the match as Stoker tried to hit Primate. He no sold it and launched Stoker overhead. Primate dragged him to Boar and tagged out. Boar worked him over then quickly tagged out again. A lot of the Hunt’s offence mainly relied on Primate throwing Boar at or onto their opponents. Howley tried to mount some offence but couldn’t move Primate at all or stop the Boar. Instead, he was rocked by the Pop-Up finisher and pinned for a three count. It wasn’t much of a match but it definitely established the Hunt. They showcased some offence and chemistry but kept a lot under wraps for when they get meatier competition.
Kassius Ohno defeated Ashton Smith via Ripcord Elbow
Kassius Ohno had his official NXT UK debut next. He hoped to make an impact by putting down Ashton Smith. The two started with a fist bump and Ohno started working the arm. He trapped Smith in a Wristlock and a Hammerlock until Smith escaped. From there the match got more strike-heavy as both Ohno and Smith caught each other with either kicks or boots. The two kept clashing as Smith hit Ohno with a Samoan Drop. It didn’t achieve a three count though so Smith tried to follow up. Instead, he ate another Big Boot, a pair of Seated Sentons and the Ripcord Elbow to finish the match. After the match, Ohno appeared to be sportsmanlike with Smith. Ohno helped him up and offered him a fist bump despite the fact Smith was completely out of it. When this went ignored Ohno hit him with another Rolling Elbow, this time to the face. Ohno swaggered off and Travis Banks came out to attend to his friend, staring down Ohno as he passed.
Whilst the match was short, it must be nice to for Ohno to feel valuable again. Across the pond he has gone unnoticed and grown bitter, the UK welcomed him with open arms. He received a positive response from the crowd despite his heelish actions. It’ll be interesting to follow his UK exploits and who he gets under the skin of next. Especially since he claims he’s more of a UK wrestler than anyone on the roster.
Tyler Bate defeated James Drake via Diving Corkscrew Senton
The main event was a clash between tag team rivals in a singles competition. Since Zack Gibson is “injured” at the moment, Tyler Bate challenged James Drake to a match instead. The two started technically until Drake took the lead and worked the arm. He held down Bate until the Moustache Mountain member escaped and trapped Drake in an Airplane Spin. Bate tried to follow up by going to the top rope but was pushed to the outside and rammed into the barricade. Drake continued the assault on the lower back in-ring with a series of holds and a Gutwrench Suplex. He also hit a Backbreaker and he went for it again but Bate managed to reverse it.
He then hit the Bop and Bang as a way of coming back. The two continued to trade moves, eventually taking the match back outside. Bate got some revenge by slamming Drake into the barricade. The two continued to fight and trade as Bate continued to strike and Drake was able to hit a Tombstone Facebuster. When Drake had been weakened, Bate tried to go for the Tyler Driver 97 but wasn’t able to pull it off. Instead, he went to the corner but was hit by a vicious Dropkick from Drake. He tried to continue the offence by going for a 450 Splash but no one was home. Instead, Bate was able to hit a Diving Corkscrew Senton and put the match to rest.
This was an excellent display from both men. Bate made the comeback of a lifetime after spending half the match being bullied by Drake. James Drake played his part perfectly, trash talking and mocking Bate as he was in control, even managing to ignore the “Arse face” chants from the crowd. He felt credible even if he lost. This match proved that the tag rivalry is still very much alive and Moustache Mountain could still take those belts if they are given another match.
So there you have it, another week of NXT UK in the bag. We had returns, debuts and a very big announcement. There is a gigantic NXT Takeover match to look forward to now as Dunne vs Walter has been confirmed for NXT Takeover: New York, we got some more teasing for Xia Brookside vs Rhea Ripley, and the potential title feud between Toni Storm and Jinny. This was a fine hour of TV but we now have so much more to look forward to. The brand is hot and will only get hotter.
All images courtesy of wwe.com