NXT UK has come to the Download Festival. Whilst the show may be coming to you from a tent in a field, that didn’t stop the show from being exciting and packed with quality matches and moments. The crowd were hyped as the sound of heavy metal could be heard in the background. The show featured another match in Kassius Ohno’s assault on the UK roster, a slice of revenge for the Hunt and a number one contender has been set for Toni Storm’s UK Women’s Title. Plus, we got the first statement from Imperium following the reveal of their next member. Let’s get into it.
Kassius Ohno defeated Kenny Williams via Rolling Elbow
NXT UK started with Knockout Artist vs Escape Artist as Kassius Ohno set his sights on another fan favourite in Kenny Williams. Both men lived up to their names as Ohno brought power but often couldn’t keep up with William’s speed or craftiness. Williams was able to escape holds on multiple occasions and use his speed to give him a fighting chance over Ohno. Unfortunately, Ohno was able to power through and once Williams was caught up in the ropes, battered him in the back of the head with a vicious Rolling Elbow. It was a fun and frantic match that started the show off right by being more than a squash match. Williams looked believable as a man who could beat Ohno considering he is the “Lucky One.” Unluckily for him, Ohno was resilient and refused to stay down for the two-count. He left the ring victorious and Williams left with a limp after trying to reverse a Senton with his knees. Later in the show, Noam Dar offered to take Williams under his wing after running into him “backstage” in the festival grounds.
Imperium’s New Order
Next up is Imperium who took to the ring to assure the audience that they are not there to entertain them, but to restore the honour of their sport. To stand on their sacred mat, be respected and talked out being obeyed as their numbers had increased. They passed the mic down the line with Barthel starting, Wolfe making his first promo with group and WALTER made his feelings about Travis Banks loud and clear. They stood tall and proud as the crowd did their best to get under the skin of the Imperium members and shake their confidence. Wolfe fought of Sanity chants to praise Imperium for their respect to the sport and NXT UK for not being a playground. It was also announced that Banks vs WALTER will take part next week as WALTER bashed his chances at winning. However, all the mentioning of his name brought out Banks who reminded the audience of who he was, how hard he’d worked and told WALTER to bring it all if he hoped to beat him. It was an act of defiance in the face of such unbeatable odds.
Mark Coffey & Wolfgang defeated The Hunt (Wild Boar & Primate) via Enziguiri/Powerslam combo
This match was meant to be vengeance for the Hunt after being attacked by Gallus. Instead, it saw the animalistic tag team look strong but ultimately fall to the Scottish powerhouses. The match started chaotically as all four men fought but after an interfering ref and unclean break, Gallus worked over Wild Boar. He took a load of punishment but managed to launch both members into each other and made the hot tag to Primate. He came in hot and took the fight to Wolfgang but was thrown out of the ring and his partner was taken out of the equation by being launched into the steel steps. From there it was academic as Wolfgang and Mark Coffey hit their double team finisher and pinned Primate to win. The Gallus group, who had been joined by Joe Coffey, then posed and continued to beat down the Hunt after the match. Dave Mastiff came to the rescue and the ring was cleared. Something tells me these two have a common enemy and the Bomber will join up with the Wildlings.
Kay Lee Ray Outlasts the NXT UK Women’s Division
Kay Lee Ray is probably the smartest woman in the Women’s division right now. Whilst Jinny had some backup in Jazzy Gaber, Rhea Ripley and Piper Niven had power and Xia Brookside had heart, Ray had the brains to take a middle rope throw-out and use it to rest and pick her moment to strike. She crushed the dreams of Xia Brookside once the ring was empty and usurped the winning place from Brookside without having to do too much work. It was smart and a fun little surprise way to give us a match NXT UK has been teasing for a while. Also in the mix, we saw Gabert being shown as a monster as she eliminated women with ease and saved Jinny from elimination, Jinny’s enemies took turns beating the hell out of her and we finally got some fighting from Piper Niven and Rhea Ripley. It was a nice change of pace and a decent way to set up the next number one contender. It was an excellent main event and the perfect end to a pretty strong overall show.
Elimination Order: Rhio – Kanji – Candy Floss – Jazzy Gabert – Jinny – Killer Kelly – Isla Dawn – Nina Samuels – Rhea Ripley and Piper Niven – Xia Brookside
So there you have it, another NXT UK show has passed by and, oh boy, was this a fun one. No squash matches, no filler, just fun matches and story threads. The hyperactive crowd may have helped but there is no denying how much better this episode was in general. Everything had a reason, it wasn’t rushed and it gave satisfying conclusions. Kay Lee Ray is challenging for the belt, Gallus and the Hunt have a feud brewing that should involve Dave Mastiff and we now know that Banks vs WALTER will happen next week. What could have easily been a phoned-in episode for a festival turned into one of the best consistent episodes in recent memory. Let’s hope that momentum continues next week when we get the next big title match.
(All images courtesy of wwe.com)