Welcome to the battle of the brands. WWE decided against a TakeOver this time to bring us some NXT vs NXT UK action. It was borderline dream match territory as we got factions fighting for dominance, champions taking on champions and more as both the US and UK contingents of NXT brought their best out to play. We’d get Imperium taking on Undisputed Era, Rhea Ripley taking on Toni Storm, Finn Balor taking on Ilja Dragunov and a tag team dream match as Moustache Mountain took on DIY. There was all this and more on offer so let’s see what happens when Worlds Collide.

Pre-Show Match: Kay Lee Ray defeated Mia Yim via Dirty Roll-Up

The pre-show decided to entice viewers in by giving us the head baddie of NXT taking on the Queen of Insanity and NXT UK. This one had the potential to get nasty since neither woman is afraid to fight dirty. It would be a big deal for Yim to get one over on the top woman of NXT UK. This was the ultimate warm-up match. It was fast and furious with Yim attacking straight out of the gate. She scored several near falls with a series of strikes and kicks. Kay Lee Ray withstood this and flattened Yim with a massive DDT. The pair continued to trade with Yim hitting a Code blue early on and capitalising when Ray’s daredevil style backfired. Ray would come back with vicious strikes, a Swanton to the outside and nearly ending Yim with her own move, the Eat Defeat. Yim retorted by nearly ending Ray with the Glasgow Destroyer. However, it would be a simple roll-up that would win the match. The pair, both tired from the match, started trying for roll-ups with Ray grabbing the jeans of Yim and using the ropes for leverage, stealing the victory. Score: 1-0 NXT UK.

Finn Balor defeated Ilja Dragunov via the 1916

So, this was a contest I’d never have thought of. Balor, the prince of NXT taking on Unbeseigbar Ilja Dragunov. It was a match no one really expected but had all the potential in the world to be great. It was a wise decision to open the show with it. This was brutal. It became a back and forth slugfest with Dragunov being made a star by Balor. This was the best we’ve seen Dragunov since he joined the NXT UK brand, leaving most of the European Indies behind. He really took it to Balor, having the advantage in technical exchanges and managed to escape several of Balor’s key moves. The pair had a penchant for hitting each other in the face and going for as many over the top spots as they could. One, in particular, a coast-to-coast dropkick, appeared to break Balor’s nose. Balor didn’t slouch though as he kept battering down Dragunov whenever he got too ambitious. He would end up winning by reversing a super senton into his finishing combo of the Shotgun Dropkick, Coup de Grace and ending it with the 1916. The action was intense and it was nice to see NXT finally treat Dragunov like the star we know him as, even if the crowd in attendance didn’t really seem to appreciate him. Score: 1-1

Cruiserweight Title: Jordan Devlin defeated Travis Banks, Isaiah ‘Swerve’ Scott, and Champion Angel Garza via Devil Inside

Nothing makes a title match more intense than having more than one person to beat. Angel Garza would have to best three hungry challengers from both brands to retain his title. He had Isaiah Swerve Scott from NXT and Jordan Devlin and Travis Banks from NXT UK to contend with. What they made was pure insanity. This was a masterpiece of near neck-breaking spots at ironically breakneck speed. These guys put on a spot fest for the ages as they continuously tried to one-up themselves. Garza and Scott ended up teaming up on more than one occasion to pull off some ridiculous combo moves whilst Travis Banks probably looked the best he has looked in forever, going on a rampage against all three other men in the match. They went all out to make themselves look like stars with Devlin getting the shock win off of Garza. He now holds the Cruiserweight title and should be taking it back to NXT UK. This was the clear show-stealer up to this point and to describe it in full would be an injustice. Go and find it, it’s 20 minutes of amazing action and some truly master crafted spots. Score: 2-1 NXT UK

DIY (Tommaso Ciampa & Johnny Gargano) defeated Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) via Meet in the Middle

A tag team dream match for the NXT age. It was a battle of the hottest tag teams of their time as the former hottest team in NXT took on the founders of NXT UK. Gargano and Ciampa put differences aside and Era/Balor problems aside so they could accept one final challenge as a team. This final outing for them definitely didn’t disappoint. This was tag team wrestling at its best. Well-paced, well-plotted and without a doubt oozing with drama. It started with a stretch of both teams feeling each other out and swapping technical ability before DIY ramped up the viciousness and we got a reminder of why they were at the top of NXT’s tag division. We got a best of DIY compilation mixed in with the best of Moustache Mountain. Both teams killed it and each other. We got double Bop and Bangs, double submissions, double Airplane spins and more. It was completely controlled then complete anarchy. The final stretch especially saw everything but the kitchen sink thrown in to see who could keep the other down. DIY cleverly kept using Moustache Mountain’s offence again them, causing them to attack each other. It was also nice to see battles of roles as Gargano mixed it up with Bate and Ciampa battled Seven in the muscle department. Ciampa kicked out of both the Tyler Driver 97 and the Burning Hammer combo of Moustache Mountain. In the end, DIY were able to eliminate Bate and hit the Meet in the Middle on Seven, winning the match. This was bloody brilliant. Score: 2-2

NXT Championship: Rhea Ripley defeated Toni Storm via Riptide

So, these two have a lot of history. Rhea Ripley was the former NXT UK champion who was dethroned by Toni Storm. Now she would have to deal with Storm again for another title on an even bigger stage. Would history repeat itself again here or would Ripley once again best Toni Storm? The answer is yes. This match was much more slow burn than the previous ones as Storm and Ripley put on a much more personal bout. Since she lost her title, Storm has gained a new, more ruthless attitude. This came out in the match as she went after Storm hard, unleashing barrage after barrage of strikes and throwing Ripley neck first into the turnbuckles. This bothered her the rest of the match as she would keep clutching at her neck as she pulled out attacks. It was a constant test of strength between the pair as Ripley’s usual power advantage was often challenged by Storm. However, it would be Rhea who won with Riptide. It was a nice change of pace and the crowd was definitely into it. Rhea successfully exorcized and old demon and managed to retain her title. The pair have amazing chemistry together and it showed here tonight. Score: 3-2 NXT

After this match, there was a clip of a backstage assault on Johnny Gargano at the hands of Finn Balor. He took out Gargano during an interview and had to be held back by Tyler Bate and security. Balor warned Bate his fight was not with him but I get the feeling we’ll see them square off before NXT TakeOver: Portland.  

Imperium (WALTER, Alexander Wolfe, Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) defeated Undisputed Era (Adam Cole, Kyle O’Reilly, Bobby Fish & Roderick Strong via Golden Bomb

Last but not least was the big faction warfare match. NXT’s best in the Undisputed Era taking on NXT UK’s best in Imperium. The Golden Prophecy taking on the ring is sacred philosophy. Imperium and Undisputed Era had been sniping at each other for weeks now and it was time to finally see who would stand tall. The match got ugly quick with Alexander Wolfe being taken out of the match following a kick to the head. From here it was a three-on-four match as Era found they had a numbers advantage. That will only get you so far when Imperium can turn around and say, “yeah but we have a WALTER.” He was perfect at tearing down individual members of the Era and bringing everyone to their knees with chops and fists and kicks. It was brutal from start to finish as the match just kept getting stiffer and stiffer. We got to see the best sell of a chop ever thanks to Kyle O’Reilly. The Era took him out with an Olympic Slam through the table courtesy of Roderick Strong. Elsewhere Aichner and Barthel carried the match elsewhere through being the victim and being the saviour. Barthel probably spent the most time in the match as he was continuously worked over by the Era. In the end, though, numbers be damned, Imperium stood tall. Everyone else was eliminated by dives leaving WALTER and Fish in the ring. Fish missed a Moonsault allowing WALTER to fold him up with a Golden Bomb for the win. Dvorak’s New World Symphony played out the show and Imperium got their revenge on the men who ruined WALTER’s moment. This was pure chaos in the best way. A lengthy, messy, painful-looking match where WALTER killed. This went part of the way to making up for the disrespect shown to him at Survivor Series. Final Score: 3-3

So, there you have it, Worlds Collide 2020 reviewed for your reading pleasure. This was an absolute belter of a show. It had star-making moments for NXT UK stars, proved that NXT UK can hang with regular NXT and hopefully brought some new eyes to just what the UK brand is capable of. It was awesome to see a fraction of what WALTER vs Adam Cole could be like, Jordan Devlin finally get a title in WWE and see DIY back in action together. WWE seem to want to make this a permanent thing so expect to see more of these shows in the future. I mean, if they’re going to stay at this quality then I won’t complain. Now after resisting the urge to make Powerman 5000 references all review, I’ll end it with this. I guess this is what it’s like when worlds collide.

All images courtesy of wwe.com, TDE Wrestling

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