Welcome back to NXT UK, one of the only wrestling shows to have any semblance of a crowd right now. Once again, WWE has put together a stacked show featuring Imperium taking on Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter, Aoife Valkyrie taking on Nina Samuels, A Kid squaring up to the Dafty Hunter Noam Dar all while being headlined by Jordan Devlin’s first Cruiserweight title defence in the UK against an all too familiar foe, Travis Banks. Let’s get into it, shall we?
Imperium (Fabian Aichner & Marcel Barthel) defeated Oliver Carter & Ashton Smith via European Bomb
The first match of the night would be some tag team action as Imperium took on Carter and Smith in an exhibition match. Currently, there is no number one contender set for the tag titles so this would be an excellent way for either team to prove their worth. Carter and Smith had new entrance music to show off. Barthel started by completely dominating Carter in a technical showcase, locking Carter up with a leg lock. Carter escaped with a roll-up but Barthel quickly recovered and punished Carter with a kick to the back. Carter once again surprised Barthel but a sneak tag to Aichner saw him put back down again. Aichner got too cocky and ended up losing hold of Carter and had to deal with a fired-up Ashton Smith. He slammed Aichner down and tagged in Carter for a double team rebound splash. Carter gave both members of Imperium the runaround and peppered them with his unique brand of strikes. At least he did until Barthel pulled him off the ropes. Barthel and Aichner then took their time torturing Carter until Aichner once again lost control of Carter and faced the wrath of Ashton Smith. He took both members of Imperium out and assisted Carter into a 450 Splash. Barthel broke up the pin and both him and Aichner turned on Carter. They tried for the European Bomb but Smith knocked Barthel off the ropes and Carter rolled up Aichner with a Dragonrana for two. Barthel quickly re-entered took out Smith and finished Carter with the European Bomb. The match got a bit more competitive than I’d have expected but I don’t think anyone saw Imperium losing. It was a nice enough opening match though once it got going. Things got embarrassing when Pretty Deadly thought they could square up to Smith and Carter after their loss.
Aoife Valkyrie defeated Nina Samuels via Top Rope Axe Kick
That was followed by Nina Samuels trying to regain the spotlight after showing her distaste for the new talents entering the women’s division. Especially one Aoife Valkyrie. Now she would have to back up her threats and take on Valkyrie in one on one competition. Valkyrie started by locking Samuels in a headlock only for Samuels to float over and pose. Valkyrie went for it again and knocked Samuels down with a shoulder tackle and locked in a grounded headlock. Nina reversed into a leg trapped headlock but Valkyrie floated over and posed. Samuels didn’t like that and instantly went on the attack but nearly ended up losing to a roll-up. The pair traded pinfalls until Samuels threw Aoife throat first into the ropes and started to grind down Valkyrie. She started with a leg lock and transitioned into a bow and arrow but Valkyrie escaped and started striking down Samuels. She hit Samuels with a series of kicks, a very athletic arm drag of sorts and ended it with a flipping neck breaker for two. Samuels bailed to the outside and got hit with a Wrecking Ball dropkick and another pose. Samuels bailed to the apron again and nailed Valkyrie with a head kick over the ropes and a twisting springboard senton. She had an advantage but got too cocky, taunting Valkyrie with a slap and ended up getting murdered by a vicious forearm and spinning heel kick. That was all the set up for the Diving Axe Kick (it has a name but I cannot spell it) and won in pretty dominant fashion. Samuels bit off way more than she could chew and got beaten badly for it. Valkyrie continues to be a dominant force in NXT UK.
Noam Dar defeated A Kid via Nova Roller
Noam Dar continues his dafty hunting, this time taking on El Dafty after pissing him off during an interview segment. Dar has been gaining momentum and getting the best of his opponents despite the odds. They went for some chain wrestling and Dar was surprised and maybe grudgingly impressed to see Kid take the advantage. Whenever it would look like Dar had Kid locked up, Kid would escape and trap him instead. Kid went for a kick but Dar dodged and gave Kid an earful of trash talk. Once again Kid took Dar down into a headlock and transitioned it into an Octopus then entered a technical one-up game with Dar and pinfalls. Dar ended up crumpling Kid with a back elbow in the ropes and began to take his time beating up Tyler Bate’s protégé. Kid escaped Dar and picked up the pace, kicking Dar out of the ring only to get caught into a Fujiwara from Dar. Kid reversed and locked Dar in his own armbar. Both men got to their feet, Kid kicked Dar in the head so Dar kicked him in his other head with a nutcracker. That stunned Kid for the Nova Roller and the win. This was a great little match populated with swagger and technical excellence. He may be a nob but I love Dar. I hope we get another match between the pair since Dar won like a dafty.
Jordan Devlin defeated Travis Banks via Rope Grab European Clutch
Last but not least, the main event in which Jordan Devlin would have his first NXT UK Cruiserweight title defence. He would have to take on his former rival Travis Banks, a man who was part of the match that saw him snatch the title in the first place. These two have had some wars in the past so it would be interesting to see what would happen with a title on the line. Banks instantly went to work on the injured elbow of Devlin then shifted focus onto Devlin’s legs. Banks went for a series of pinfall attempts, forcing Devlin to bail. Devlin forced Banks to get impatient and slung him out on the ropes, then when Banks went for a dive, Devlin caught him and sent him shoulder-first into the barricade. Devlin got back into the ring and started taunting as the ref counted. Smelling blood in the water, Devlin got to work dissecting an injured Banks. Banks started to mount a comeback but Devlin extinguished it with a one-man Spanish Fly. When Banks kicked out, Devlin just went back to punish him. Well, until Banks chopped the hell out of him. Again though, it wouldn’t stop Devlin regaining control. Devlin taunted with some Kawada kicks but they only ended up firing up Banks, who clipped Devlin, sending him to the corner. He ran a train on Devlin in the corner and hit him with a Cannonball for two. Banks hit the Yes kicks on Devlin and kept the pressure on with a series of running strikes and another dive. He rolled Devlin back into the ring for a Double stomp but again only got two. Both men reversed each other’s finishers and traded more roll-ups. The pair went for strikes and ended up knocking each other out with headbutts. Devlin went for a Moonsault but was knocked into the tree of woe and hit with another double stomp. Banks went top rope but was kicked in the head. He fought with Devlin but was dropped with a slingshot cutter of the second rope. Devlin missed the Moonsault and ended up getting Lariated out of his boots. Banks hit Slice of Heaven but Devlin escaped the Kiwi Crusher and locked Banks up with a European Clutch and grabbed the ropes for leverage. Devlin retained with screwy circumstances. Once again, the pair put on a great match. Devlin is going to be a great champ if he puts on more matches like this.
So, there you have it, another episode of NXT UK reviewed for your reading pleasure. It was a massive episode this week with 4 great matches and some interesting things to look out for going forward. Dani Luna will be tagging with Piper Niven next week against Kay Lee Ray and Jinny and we’ll see the 20-man battle royal to determine who gets the next crack at WALTER’s United Kingdom Title. There are several top candidates including Noam Dar who is still undefeated though seems to have interests elsewhere, Alexander Wolfe, who is Imperium’s insurance policy and many other wildcard options. Plus, the women’s division and tag divisions are all showing new promising stars. Next week will certainly be one to watch.
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