The finish line for these NY tapings is finally in sight. This episode was the last one to come from New York City and clocked in at a shorter run time than usual. It featured three matches including WALTER’s first match since winning the UK Title and also saw Travis Banks and Piper Niven in action against some surprising NXT competition. Let’s get into it.
Travis Banks defeated Mansoor via Kiwi Crusher
This week’s episode opened with an exhibition match for Travis Banks. He squared off against NXT signee Mansoor. The commentary team made sure to remind us that Mansoor was the first Middle Eastern signee for NXT; however, he was now an arrogant heel. He came out to anger the crowd and Banks worked him over with technical holds and strikes. Mansoor would get offence in by using the ropes but was unable to capitalise as Banks came back quickly and continued to bully Mansoor. The turning point came when Mansoor pushed Banks off the ropes to the floor then followed him out so the pair could fight outside. Banks continued to seem un-phased and gave back the strikes Mansoor aimed at him. Back in the ring Banks looked to hit the Slice of Heaven but Mansoor blocked, hit a Throat Thrust and followed up with a Twisting Facebuster type move. This only got a two count allowing Banks to fire back up and end the match with a Slice of Heaven Kick and a Kiwi Crusher. It was a fun enough opener that let Mansoor shine a little bit whilst keeping Banks relatively strong.
Also after the match, we got the first official teaser trailer for Ilja Dragunov, one of the most popular wrestlers on the indie scene. No date was given on his debut but the trailer did more than enough to hyper him up to anyone watching. NXT UK will soon get a taste of the Unbesiegbar.
Piper Niven defeated Reina Gonzalez via Michinoku Driver
The next match was a bit of an odd pairing as a battle of the brand’s big women took place. Piper Niven took on Reina Gonzalez in a fight that saw the Scot on the receiving end of a lot of offence. Reina used a slew of underhanded tactics to remain on top of Niven, stooping low by using the hair of Niven against her. She’d also mash the face and make liberal use of the five-count on the ropes. Niven wouldn’t get back into the match until she drove Reina out of the ring with a Schoolboy through the ropes. She’d attempted some power offence earlier in the match but was unable to follow through with anything as her lower back had been worked over throughout the match. After she had thrown Gonzalez outside, Niven was able to win a strike exchange, hit a Running Crossbody and got a two count with a Diving Senton. She quickly followed up with a Michinoku Driver and the match was over. It was interesting to see no Rhea Ripley after the match as it would have been the best time to strike since Niven was weakened. The match was fine but there was very little benefit in Niven having an underdog bout with a newer NXT signee. This should have probably been a squash match to achieve the desirable benefit of making Niven look strong rather than able to take a beating.
After the match, it cut to Kenny Williams and Amir Jordan who talk about NXT UK going to Glasgow next week and their team getting a tag title shot. It was soon confirmed with a Twitter graphic that they will indeed have a tag title match next week.
WALTER defeated Jordan Devlin via Powerbomb
First things first, WALTER looks glorious with the UK Title. Second things second, this match was bloody awesome. It started as you’d expect with Devlin trying to avoid being chopped down and pummelled. He used his speed and stalling tactics to rile up the big man and avoid taking a chop to the chest. Unfortunately for Devlin, WALTER corned him and the strikes began. WALTER would dominate until the match went outside and Devlin was able to catch his opponent in the ropes and repeatedly kick the leg. He finished his flurry by kicking the middle rope into WALTER’s Hamstring, painting a very clear target for the rest of the match. From here it became a much more open affair as both WALTER and Devlin were able to lay into each other. Whenever WALTER seemed too in control, Devlin would attack the knee. There was an extended Single Leg Crab sequence where WALTER stained the canvas and his torso with his blood. I’m not sure where in the match he got busted but he was bleeding a lot. The chops finally came out and echoed around the arena however Devlin would strike back with kicks that were just as loud. In the end, there was a battle to pull of the Devil Insider Backdrop Driver that was won by both men. First by WALTER then by Devlin. Both only got two counts. In the end, WALTER put Devlin down with the Powerbomb and the match is over. It was a fast, hard-hitting affair that saw Devlin try to ruin the Dunne/WALTER rematch by crippling the champion.
After the match, Dunne came out with a mic in hand and walked up to the exhausted WALTER. He basically demanded his rematch and WALTER obliged him with a simple nod. It would appear that Glasgow will be the home of their rematch.
So there you have it, a shorter episode of NXT UK is behind us. It featured two semi-meaningless exhibition matches, a killer main event and a whole lot of hype towards the Glasgow tapings. Now that the NY shows are done we can hopefully start to get more story focused episodes and more exciting matches. Glasgow is Gallus’ home turf so it’ll be intriguing to see how they factor in for these tapings and if we get the eventual Dunne/WALTER rematch. Plus there’s a Tag title match to look forward to. It’s time to get excited again.
(All images courtesy of wwe.com)