With the black and yellow version of NXT no-showing this week, at least on the wrestling front, it was over to NXT UK to give me some much-needed escapism.
But before we get to that, a little housekeeping is in order.
I said yesterday in my review of AEW Dynamite that’d I’d still be using the 10 Count Rating system when looking back over the major companies shows, but that was then and this is now and considering what’s going on in the world, I’ve decided against it.
The reason for this is simple.
Any organization willing to put on wrestling in this current climate deserves our utmost respect and even if some matches don’t go to plan, I’m willing to cut them some slack until all this blows over.
Instead of focusing on the negatives, for the foreseeable future, I’m going to accentuate the positives.
So, with all that in mind, it’s time to lace up our boots and head to the ring for the NXT UK Review: Mar 19 Edition.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Dani Luna
Holy crap, Dani Luna’s strong.
The way she threw Kay Lee Ray around the ring as if she was a rag-doll was one of the more impressive things that I’ve seen in an NXT UK ring for quite a while, and even though she was never walking out of here with the win, she did walk away looking like a complete strength monster.
Overall this was a really good match, considering that it only lasted about five minutes, and both Luna and Ray put in hard-hitting performances, with Kay Lee picking up the 1-2-3 after she hit the Gory Bomb, but that wasn’t the end of the story.
Turning her attention back to her fallen opponent, she laid on a beating and set her up for another finisher to the face, only for Piper Niven to rush the ring to make the save. This led to a face of between the two in which Kay Lee Ray didn’t back down.
This was a refreshing change as the usual trope would be to have the Heel turn tail and run, but this just went to show that she doesn’t fear anyone and that it’s going to take a monumental effort to get the title off of her.
Winner: Kay Lee Ray
Joseph Conners vs. Ridge Holland
Last month I covered Joesph Conners match against Tyler Bate and was very impressed by the performance he put in, in what I assumed would just be a squash match.
This time out he was up against Ridge Holland, a man who’s been burning through lower card cannon fodder like an out of control Yorkshire wildfire, so there was no way that he could put in the same kind of showing, could he?
Well, yes, actually, he could.
This was a great example of enhancement talent getting another over and Conners did that by gaining the upper hand, focusing on Holland’s hurt knee, and keeping up the pressure until the inevitable comeback happened and he got pinned.
This was the first proper test that Ridge Holland has faced in NXT UK, and though he passed it after hitting The Northern Grit, the sustained beating he took before his victory made it seem even more impressive than if he’d just gone out there, squashed Connors and headed to the back.
Good booking, good wrestling, and good work from both men involved made this far more enjoyable than you may have expected it to be.
Winner: Ridge Holland
Kassius Ohno vs. Kenny Williams
Am I the only person who finds it odd seeing Kassius Ohno on NXT UK?
Here was someone with the wrestling world at their feet not so long ago, but for whatever reason that you care to believe, they found themselves hitting the proverbial glass ceiling and never achieving the greatness so many, your friendly neighborhood wrestling writer among them, had predicted.
Such a waste.
I’m not sure about this “Wrestling Genius” gimmick that he’s got now either. I think I like it, but I like it in the same way that I liked Mick Foley turning his back on his hardcore style after the fans demanded his son be caned.
This means it annoys the hell out of me, but I get what it’s doing.
As for Kenny Williams, he did pretty well considering he was always going to lose, but this match never really got going for me and won’t live long in the memory.
Winner: Kassius Ohno
6 Man Tag-Team Match: Gallus vs. Dave Mastiff, Flash Morgan Webster, and Trent Seven
I love Gallus.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Imperium, as well as the Undisputed Era, but if it came down to picking sides if the three factions ever met, then I’d stand on the Gallus line before either of the other two.
They are glorious bastards and, being a little bit of a bastard myself, I can’t think of any other firm I root for more than Joe Coffy, Mark Coffy, and Wolfgang. Even when they’re facing the likes of Flash Morgan Webster, Trent Seven, and- one of my all-time favorites -Dave Mastiff.
Sometimes, you just want the bad guys to win.
This was a brilliant match with all six men clicking instantly in the ring in quite a fast-paced, chaotic, and frenetic bout that had bodies flying everywhere and some seriously stiff-looking shots being exchanged.
Out of them all, the lariat that The Bomber hit Joe Coffy with sent a shockwave out of my TV that set off all the car alarms in my street, it was that goddamn nasty.
The end would come when Gallus connected with the Up and Under, followed by an All The Best For The Bells that must’ve rung Flash Morgan Webster ears for the next six hours, giving them the win and making me very happy in the process.
The more NXT UK that I watch, the more I appreciate the level of skill and dedication that the British branch of the brand has to improve itself, week by week.
Unlike the American version, this doesn’t have the added funding of TV syndication, nor does it have a two-hour-long run time, all it has at its core is some fantastic talent, raw or polished, and the urge to one-up itself whenever the opportunity arises.
Some of the wrestlers on the roster can go a month, sometimes more, without TV time, but when they’re called upon like Joseph Conners was here, they’re ready to give it everything they have to put on a fantastic show.
And that really is going above and beyond the call of duty.
I’m going to finish up this review the way I’ve been finishing up everything I’ve been writing over the past week or so and that’s by reminding you that during this crisis we all find ourselves in, don’t forget that you can play your part.
If you love wrestling then support those whose livelihoods are going to be affected by this outbreak. Head over to Twitter and say hello, buy their Merch, donate to the companies with Go Fund Me pages who are trying to raise the cash to put on no audience shows to keep their people in work and all of us entertained, because now is the time we need to stick together.
Look out for each other, spare a brother or sister a dime and, most importantly of all, stay safe, Wrestling Community.