The eagle-eyed among you may have noticed that I missed last week’s NXT UK and there was a good reason for this.
Plain and simple.
My apologies for that, but with everything going on in the world I’m hoping that you can forgive this wrestling faux pas and if you can’t, well, bloody sod ya then.
But I’m back on track now and I’m bringing with me the NXT UK Review: Apr. 2 Edition.
So let’s lace up our boots and head to the ring and see what this week’s episode had to offer.
Tag-Team Match: Kay Lee Ray And Jinny vs. Piper Niven And Dani Luna
No messing about this week, NXT UK kicked off with a pure fire match between Kay Lee Ray, Jinny, Piper Niven, and Dani Luna.
This was about as violent as it could be without it descending into a Hardcore bout, as all four wrestlers went to town on each other with the express intention of inflicting as much hurt as possible.
And I bloody loved it.
I said a couple of weeks ago how impressed I was with Dani Luna, she has to be one of the strongest competitors, pound for pound, within the WWE and that immense power was on show again as she threw both Ray and Jinny around the ring at will.
When the planet reverts to normal, I’d really like to see her get a push in the NXT UK Women’s Division as I truly believe that she could become Main Event talent given the right guidance.
The three other wrestlers involved played their parts to perfection as well, with special mention going out to Jinny who held her own and then some among, arguably, the top wrestlers on the British branch of the show.
The end would come with Kay Lee Ray hitting the Gory Bomb to pick up the 1-2-3, but if it hadn’t been for the Battle Royal that closed out the show, this would’ve easily been my Fight of the Night.
Winners: Kay Lee Ray And Jinny
Xia Brookside vs. Amale
With Xia Brookside returning from what the commentators called a “hiatus”, there was only going to be one ending to this match.
It was alright, nothing to write home about and it won’t go do in the annals of wrestling history as a five-star rip-snorter, but it did reintroduce the WWE Universe to the Leicester native and they seemed genuinely pleased to have her back in the fold.
She would eventually pick up the win after she hit The Broken Wings and that was that.
Nice and easy does it, every time.
Winner: Xia Brookside
NXT UK Championship #1 Contenders Battle Royal
I’ve said on a few occasions, to anyone that will listen, that I’m not a huge fan of Battle Royals.
They’re usually quite messy affairs, with far too much happening between the ropes to be able to follow what’s going on and it takes until the crowd has been thinned out to the last few wrestlers before the match really gets going.
It’s just the way of the beast and normally the whole thing would be better off as a Fatal Four Way to decide who becomes the #1 Contender for whichever belt is on the line.
Fortunately, the good people at NXT UK never listen to me as this was a fricking awesome example of a much-maligned format.
It probably had something to do with this being a pre-taped show, allowing the company to work its magic in the editing room, but I didn’t get lost once through-out the 30-minute run time and with some clever cuts and camera angles, I really felt part of the madness that was happening in the ring.
Everybody involved should’ve not only been proud of the display they put on but should’ve automatically been given a raise the second they walked back through the curtain after they were eliminated.
Especially Jordan Devlin who had a minute-long blast that had me out of my seat, trying not to scream at the top of my lungs as I didn’t want to wake up the Gray Family who were all still asleep.
And that ending, that was pure gold.
I would’ve been alright with Tyler Bate picking up the victory, but my heart was set on Ilja Dragunov from the moment he made his entrance. This is because I’ve started to believe more and more over the past few months that if anyone could dethrone Walter, then it’s The Mad Russian.
He’s a fantastic in-ring worker who has a never say die attitude that makes him the perfect foil for the dominant NXT UK Champion and seeing as how circumstances have put the Walter/Prince Balor feud on the back burner, this would be the perfect time to have the leader of Imperium drop the belt.
And I can’t think of anyone more deserving than Ilja Dragunov.
Winner And New NXT UK #1 Contender: Ilja Dragunov
If the rumors are true that the WWE is going to be closing its doors for the foreseeable future due to the global pandemic, then I can’t think of a better way for NXT UK to say au revoir.
This was a sensational show that had two matches that would’ve graced any PPV and one that served its purpose well.
I hope that they can carry on in such difficult circumstances, but I’m under no illusions that life is far more important than wrestling at the moment, even though it means I’m going to have to work twice as hard to find things to write about to help keep you all entertained.
If this is it for now, then I hope that when they return they pick up with the Walter/Dragunov storyline and not let it fall by the wayside as they’ve done on more than one occasion when it’s taken their fancy.
I can’t be the only one who wants to see Dragunov with the belt around his waist, can I?