Welcome back to NXT UK. It’s been a while eh? The company has once again released more dark matches from previous taping sessions and once again, looking at them on paper, I’m surprised these never made it to air. We will see Finn Balor vs Kenny Williams, Nina Samuels taking a crack at Rhea Ripley, Killian Dain trying to kill Travis Banks and the former NXT UK Tag Champs, The Grizzled Young Veterans, teaming with Joseph Conners to tackle the Street Profits and Matt Riddle. Let’s get into the action, shall we?

Finn Balor defeated Kenny Williams via 1916

NXT UK’s loveable loser Kenny Williams got the chance of a lifetime in Coventry. He was booked to take on Finn Balor in a singles match whilst Balor was distracted by his urge to kill Imperium. If the “unlucky un” could best Balor then it would go a long way in raising his stock within the company. Things didn’t start well as Balor baited Williams and tried to quickly finish him with a flurry of running strikes. Balor locked on a grounded side headlock and continued to keep Williams grounded. Williams broke free and stunned Balor with a springboard back elbow and locked in an Arm Bar on the mat. That didn’t last as Balor got free and pummelled Williams in the corner. Williams held on, escaped with Hurricanrana, and hit Balor with a PK for 2. An angry Balor tripped Williams against the ropes and started raining down stomps, nearly getting disqualified twice for ignoring the ref’s warnings. Williams bailed so Balor dropkicked him through the ropes and tossed him back into the ring. Balor punished Williams with more corner chops and a brutal PK to the chest. He spent too much time jaw-jacking at the crowd though and got hit with some stiff forearms, a missile dropkick, and a rebound strike from a recovered Williams. The duo traded counters through Slingblades and Thrust Kicks until Williams threw Balor to the outside and hit a Wrecking Ball dropkick. That was followed by a dive and a diving back elbow but only got 2 again. Williams tried for his finisher but Balor reversed it into a Hangman’s Elbow. Balor went for the kill and ended the match with the shotgun dropkick, Coup de Grace, and 1916. He had claimed another victory and demanded that WALTER better be watching. The Prince was looking unstoppable on NXT UK. This was a nice little sprint of a match with a predictable outcome.

Rhea Ripley defeated Nina Samuels via Riptide

Our next match comes from Brentwood last year as Nina Samuels looked to steal the spotlight from Rhea Ripley. The pair locked up and Ripley instantly pushed Samuels into the corner and mocked her lack of strength. They tried again and Ripley easily started manipulating the arm of Samuels and threw her to the mat. Samuels tried to escape with a cartwheel and trip Rhea up but got caught and thrown once again. The pair traded side headlocks until Ripley placed Samuels on the top turnbuckle and suplexed her to the mat. Samuels bailed to the outside and baited Ripley into missing a baseball slide. She capitalised by slamming Ripley face-first into the ring apron and dumping her back inside. She continued with a neck snap and locked in a straight jacket on Ripley. This didn’t last as Ripley broke free and caved Nina’s chest in with a dropkick. She then bounced Samuels from corner to corner and hit a low dropkick. Samuels took the advantage again by dropping Ripley against the ropes, hitting a hook kick, and hitting a springboard twisting senton. At that point, Ripley had enough and caught Samuels into the Riptide for the win. This was a pretty easy win for Rhea Ripley here but I’m never going to turn down see more of her.

Killian Dain defeated Travis Banks via Vader Bomb

Next up we headed to Download Festival for a big match between Travis Banks and Killian Dain. Banks was on a hot win streak and Dain was the returning monster so this match looked to have some high stakes. The size disadvantage quickly became apparent so Banks started going for the legs early with some stiff kicks to the hamstrings of Dain. He got some kicks on Dain in the corner but failed to knock the big man down, instead just pissing him off. Banks kicked him down instead but was instantly shoved off a cover. He hit the Yes kicks and a superkick but found that Dain was instantly back up and planted him into the mat with a flapjack then crushed his back with a running senton. Dain continued by lobbing Banks into the corner and posing as the ref had to check on him. He picked Banks up and hit doubles knees to the gut then once again stopped to survey his handiwork. Dain locked in a choke then opened the Tongan Massage Parlour onto Banks’ back when he made it to the ropes. That transitioned into a Fisherman Suplex and a two count. He went for a Camel Clutch and slammed Banks to the mat when he tried to escape. Dain slammed him again and locked in a grounded Abdominal Stretch. Banks finally broke free and caught Dain with a series of kicks before tripping him into the turnbuckle. He followed that with a Hesitation Dropkick in the corner and a PK on the outside that sent Dain fleeing around ringside. He dived onto Dain then hit a double stomp from the top but couldn’t connect it all, resulting in a two count. Banks tried for the Slice of Heaven kick but Dain ducked and hit him with the Divide. Banks fired back by knocking Dain into the corner and double stomping onto his chest in the corner. Banks tried for another Slice of Heaven but was caught in an electric chair. He fought out of it and rolled-up Dain. That just pissed Dain off more and resulted in Banks getting hit with the Wasteland and Senton combo. He quickly scaled the turnbuckle and hit a Vader Bomb on Banks for the win. This was yet another great match I’d have loved to see from the actual televised shows based on these tapings. This was Dain’s big return and he looked like a beast.

Matt Riddle & The Street Profits (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) defeated Joseph Conners & The Grizzled Young Veterans (James Drake & Zack Gibson) via BRODerek 

Last but not least, we headed to Plymouth where the former tag champs were insulting the crowd for their ridiculous chants and general disrespect. They wanted to prove a point so they brought out Joseph Conners and dropped a challenge to the whole of NXT. Enter the Street Profits making a surprise appearance as they were in their NXT Tag Title reign. As you can expect, they dropped a promo of their own, brought out Matt Riddle and the challenge got underway. James Drake and Riddle started the match. I say that but Drake got scared off by Riddle and the crowd and tagged in Conners. He came in and found himself slammed to the mat. He scurried into the corner, tried to lock up again, and found himself stuck in a side headlock. Conners broke out, ducked a kick and nearly won with a roll-up. He started pummelling Riddle but Riddle retorted with a duo of Gutwrench Suplexes and locked in a choke. Conners flailed away and tagged in Gibson. Riddle locked an armbar on him so Gibson panic tagged in Drake. He fared no better as Riddle reversed a sunset flip attempt into an Ankle Lock. Drake kicked him off and Dawkins tagged himself in. He knocked down Drake and looked for the splash in the corner but Drake stepped in front and stopped him. Dawkins decked both men and set them up for a double team hip attack with Ford. He started chopping Drake but was low bridged by Gibson and dumped to the floor. Gibson tagged in and the vets performed a double team backbreaker on the floor. Gibson threw some punches and mocked Dawson as he did so, but at the same time, Ford was fighting out of the corner and was trying to escape. Gibson caught him and drove him into the enemy corner and Conners tagged in. He drove Ford into the turnbuckles and worked with the vets to break the rules. They kept tagging in and out and beating down or locking down Ford. They always made sure to piss off Dawkins and Riddle as they did so, eliciting a ton of boos from the crowd. Ford eventually escaped by making the vets attack each other and tagged in Dawkins. Conners also tagged in and immediately regretted his decision. He beat down Conners and sent him flying with a back body drop. Dawkins tagged in Riddle and they set up a Doomsday Final Flash knee Device. Gibson broke up the pin but received a Final Flash of his own for his troubles. Conners flattened Riddle with a Bulldog but was KOed by a dropkick from Ford and Dawkins took out both of the GYV after they took out Ford. Drake and Ford were the legal men and started slugging it out. Ford once again got caught by a sneaky pin and was hit with more double team offence from the GYV. He struck back by kicking Drake out of the air and nearly won with a roll-up on Gibson. Conners was tagged in again and got instantly kicked out of the ring by Ford. They all picked on Conners and ended the match with a compilation of all their finishers. That put an end to a match that was pretty dry until the final stretch. This didn’t really feel like a main-event to me but it was enjoyable enough, I guess.

All images courtesy of Kenny Williams Twitter, Chris Sharpe Twitter, NXT UK Twitter, Video courtesy of WWE YouTube