After yesterday’s NXT left me feeling kind of “Meh”, it was over to NXT UK to see if it could convince me that WWE‘s development brands were worth the time I put into them.
Would the British iteration convince me that the company still had room for wrestling in their programming, or would it hammer the last nail into its coffin and bury any love I once held for their shows?
Well, there’s only one way to find out. It’s time to lace up our boots and head to the ring for the NXT UK Review: Mar 5 Edition.
Travis Banks vs. Alexander Wolfe
10 Count Rating: 7
I’ve been a fan of Alexander Wolfe for a while now and I think the best move he ever made was getting drafted to NXT UK.
Everyone knows how badly the company botched SAnitY, which was the kiss of death for everyone involved except Nikki Cross, so teaming him up with Imperium has saved a very talented wrestler from becoming a member of the J.O.B Squad and that’s just fine by me.
Here he was up against Travis Banks and along with the New Zeland native, he put on a pretty damn good match.
It wasn’t the squash that I initially thought it might be, with Imperium being such a hot commodity at the moment it wouldn’t have surprised me to see Wolfe come out and get the 1-2-3 in record time, instead, we got a really good, really hard-hitting bout that almost ended with Banks getting his hand raised when he hit The Slice Of Heaven, only for Wolfe to roll to the outside to deny him the pin.
The end would come shortly after, when Wolfe hit a Twisting Neckbreaker onto the floor from the fricking apron, then rolled Banks back in and finished the job with a SitOut Power Bomb.
It may have been Wolfe that stood tall at the end, but Banks did his standing within NXT UK no harm with this performance.
Winner: Alexander Wolfe
Ridge Holland vs. Saxon Huxley
10 Count Rating: 6
As soon as Saxon Huxley made his way out to the ring, it was obvious what was going to happen here.
Ridge Holland was going to beat him up and pretty quickly as well.
Normally, I’ll rate a match like this quite low but I’m willing to give it the benefit of the doubt as it did what it was meant to do and that was put over how big a threat Holland should be seen going forward.
It also taught us a very valuable lesson, don’t try and bum-rush the man when he isn’t looking, or you’ll get your ass-whupped from pillar to post and you might find yourself on the end of a couple of Northern Grits for your troubles.
Winner: Ridge Holland
Aoife Valkyrie vs. Isla Dawn
10 Count Rating: 7
All the way back in January, I reviewed Isla Dawn vs. Nina Samuels and walked away from it very impressed by both wrestlers.
It wasn’t a match I was expecting anything from, but after the bell had rung I had a greater appreciation of the women involved and I’ll be damned if lightning didn’t strike twice.
This was my Fight of the Night as it allowed Aoife Valkyrie and Isla Dawn to display their skills to great effect, showing that they are as just as adept at mat-wrestling as they are bouncing around the ring like a couple of Mexican Jumping Beans.
It’s was obvious how this was going to end, the company is very high on Aoife Valkyrie and it’s not hard to see why, but Isla Dawn played her part to perfection and could’ve easily picked up the 1-2-3 after she nailed The Flying Meteora for a two count.
Sadly, this time, it wasn’t to be as Valkyrie would rally and get the win with a brutal looking Flying Scissors Kick, but I’m so on board the Isla Dawn train right now that I’m going to have to buy a ticket.
Winner: Aoife Valkyrie
NXT UK Championship: WALTER vs. Dave Mastiff
10 Count Rating: 7
The only reason this doesn’t get an 8 out of 10 and my Fight of the Night award is that it didn’t get enough time on the show.
A match of this magnitude should really have been saved for NXT UK: TakeOver Dublin but as WALTER is going to be busy that night, going toe to toe with Prince Balor, it found its place on this week’s show.
This was a shame as both WALTER and Mastiff beat the blue hell out of each other, but I would’ve loved to have seen this go about 20, maybe even 30, minutes so they could’ve really gone to town.
Another problem here was as we all know what the Main Event is going to be in Dublin, there was never really any danger that WALTER would drop the strap tonight, and even though The Bomber put in a very, very good performance, you knew it would be all for naught in the end.
It was close though, closer than you’d have expected, but that’s the beauty of two wrestlers so good at what they do, they can tell the story and hook you in even if you already know the ending.
Winner And Still NXT UK Champion: WALTER
It’s not been the best seven days for me when it comes to weekly shows.
Both AEW and NXT were average overall, though both had some pretty epic moments, so it was nice to close things out with a pretty damn good show and one I’ll quite happily raise a beer to.
I have only really had one complaint and that is I think it’s about time for NXT UK to either pish or get off the pot where Ridge Holland is concerned, after all, there’s only so many times you can watch him come out and squish someone in about three minutes before it gets boring and there’s a chance that we’re currently on that precipice.
Outside of that, I really hope they start to give Isla Dawn more time as she’s rapidly becoming one of my favorite performers on the show and even though she lost tonight, she’s got enough momentum behind her to shake it off and carry on moving up the card.
And let’s face it, someone’s gotta take that belt off of Kay Lee Ray eventually, right?