The pandemic has certainly been rough on the world of professional wrestling in terms of running shows. Some company’s have adapted very well, some haven’t. Then you have NXT UK.
One of the biggest talking-point of this weeks show was that the NXT UK Women’s Champion, Kay Lee Ray was set to defend the Championship that she had held since NXT UK TakeOver Cardiff, way back in August 2019. Ray’s challenger on this weeks show was Piper Niven and the match was set to be Falls Count Anywhere.
NXT UK really does spoil us.
Get ready for an epic FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE Match as @Kay_Lee_Ray puts the #NXTUK Women's Championship on the line against @viperpiperniven tomorrow on an all-new @NXTUK, 3PM ET/8PM BST on @WWENetwork! pic.twitter.com/88aqXQQqLK
— NXT UK (@NXTUK) November 18, 2020
My name is James from Sports Obsessive and I will be here every week to give you the run down of all the action that takes place within the ropes of NXT UK. Now that we have been given a glimpse of what was to come, let’s lace up our boots and head down to the ring.
Joe Coffey vs Sam Gradwell
Talk about staring the show off with a bang – that bang was Coffey’s fist smashing into his opponent, Sam Gradwell’s scull. This match was interesting from the beginning as it was Coffey’s first singles match in over seven months and Gradwell’s first singles match in over two years, both competitors felt they had something to prove. From the first grapple in this match, the intensity was at an all time high. Both men had recently returned to NXT UK but amazingly showed no signs of ‘ring-rust’. However, it was interesting to hear the announce team mention and to watch Coffey targeting the surgically repaired knee of Gradwell, one Coffey locked onto the knee, he was like a moth to a flame. Coffey dominated the first half of the match with Gradwell getting hardly any offence in whatsoever.
Gradwell was doing his best not to to tweak his knee but it’ next to impossible to stray away from the present when you have a wild, Joe Coffey, hot on your trail. As the match went on, Coffey was relentless on Gradwell’s knee but Gradwell finally managed to get some offence in, momentarily. Coffey instantly met Gradwell with a sharp drop-kick directly to the clearly re-injured knee of Gradwell. The Gallus boys don’t mess around. Coffey ended the match on a high note as he put a stop to Gradwell with his signature ‘Best For The Bells’ clothes-line.
All due respect to Sam Gradwell but he didn’t stand a chance once Coffey sank his teeth into the knee. Gradwell may very well be back on the shelf after this one.
Winner: Joe Coffey
The Passion and Drive of Ilja Dragunov
A video package played next, documenting Ilja Dragunov’s battle’s with Imperium leader, WALTER. Sports Obsessive writer, Andrew Stewart recently wrote a piece on how special the pairing of Dragunov and WALTER is. You can read it here.
This package reminded me of how talented Dragunov is and I for one, cannot be more excited to see what is next for Dragunov. Check out the package for yourself, don’t just take my word on it.
Pretty Deadly (Lewis Howley and Sam Stoker) vs Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter
Sam Stoker and Ashton Smith started things off for their respective teams. The NXT UK commentary team were quick to remind us that Pretty Deadly have been rising up the ranks as of late and have build up a lot of momentum in the process, so this was already going to be an interesting match. There were a couple a quick tag’s back and forth between Howley and Stoker – making great use of the tag-team rules. Stoker found his way back into the match and despite being as athletic, agile and as naturally talented as he clearly is, Smith was just one step ahead each time and his power and size-advantage came into play. As the match went on, Carter made the tag and holy s***, he blew me away. What an impressive wrestler he is. Carter’s agility is next level.
Carter and Howley found themselves as the legal men in the match but a sly tactic from Howley gave Pretty Deadly the advantage that the needed. Howley slipped away from Carter for a moment and shoved Smith off the apron. Howley hit Carter with an Irish-Whip into the corner, and as he did, the referee was busy with an irate Ashton Smith, which left an opening for a cheeky bit of double-team, courtesy of Pretty Deadly. As the match approached it’s end, it seemed that Pretty Deadly were going to steal the victory, that was until Carter finally got the tag to Smith. Smith came charging into ring with some ‘Road-Warrior’ type vibes – he ploughed through both Howley and Stoker and made it look effortless. What happened next? Carnage. Stoker took out Carter out Carter on the outside. Inside the ring, Smith was about to get a roll up victory but Howley managed to push Smith close enough to the ropes for Stoker to hit smith with a flying-uppercut to assist in Pretty Deadly picking up the win.
Talk about an intense match. This was nothing short of incredible.
Winners: Pretty Deadly (Lewis Howley and Sam Stoker)
Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster: Out For Blood
Literally my two favourite people to watch on NXT UK, and British Wrestling in general. The camera’s cut backstage where Mark Andrews and Morgan Webster were pissed off and rightfully so. Andrew’s had a message for Eddie Dennis. Andrew’s shouted that he did not know whether or not he would ever be able to step into the ring again and Eddie Dennis was to blame.
It’s taken me weeks to wrap my head around why Wild Boar would rip our 15year friendship apart.
I still don’t understand it, but I atleast I now understand what my next step is…
…LET THE HUNT BEGIN! pic.twitter.com/BXadpca3Aj
— Flash Morgan Webster (@Flash_Morgan) November 19, 2020
Andrew’s also commented that he never thought that The Hunt (Primate and Wild Boar) would stoop as low as they have. If Andrews wasn’t giving off enough passion, Webster then chimed in. Webster went on to say how he’d been pal’s with Boar since he was 12 years old and that they used to build wrestling rings together. Webster vowed to break his former friend after he’d broken 15 years of friendship.
This is bound to get ugly.
Levi Muir vs Saxon Huxley
How aggressive is Huxley? If you have not seen him wrestle until now, you’re in for a treat. Muir’s not a small man by any definition of the word but Huxley’s attitude and aggression made it look that way from the offset. Muir wasn’t given even a second to catch his breath, which resulted in a brutal beatdown from Huxley. Muir did eventually managed to hit a couple of picture-perfect drop-kicks but Huxley somehow responded as if nothing even happened.
Huxley then closed the book on this match with what I could only imagine is a John Bradshaw Layfield approved clothesline, laying out his opponent, Levi Muir for the three count.
Winner: Saxon Huxley
Kay Lee Ray vs Piper Niven for the NXT UK Women’s Championship
If I was Bruce Buffer, I’d record an audio version of this write-up and do the whole ‘This is your main event of the evening..’. Unfortunately for you, I’m not, so the text format will have to suffice for now. Regardless, this was the Main Event and it was for the NXT UK Women’s Championship for the first time ever on NXT UK television, in a Fall’s Count Anywhere match. The question before this match was ‘Has Kay Lee Ray taken things too far’, The answer, is yes. It is thanks to Ray that we have seen a new side of Piper Niven, a side that may have possibly factored in becoming the new NXT UK Women’s Champion. The physicality started in this match before the match had even started. Ray had barely made her way down the ramp and Niven brought the fight to the Champ – the bell hadn’t even rung. The two participant’s got inside the ring, the bell sounded and Ray fled the ring on cue. Niven was having none of that and delivered a damn Suicide-Dive through the ropes, without even a though – this version of Niven is the real deal and ready to reign supreme as the brands Champion. Niven continued with the brutality outside the ring and grabbed a steel chair with every intention of denting Ray’s scull with the weapon before delivering a belly to belly suplex on the outside. Speaking of denting sculls, Ray launched the ring bell and a downed Niven, who luckily dodged – she’d be 6ft under otherwise (or maybe not, Triple H made a living of beating the crap out of people with a sledgehammer and they were just a little bruised the next week). Niven followed up with a plan of her own, Niven grabbed the steel bar used for the turnbuckle, and drove it into Ray’s knee. As the match went on, it got more and more brutal. Niven wrapped a chain around her fist to clock Ray with but Ray managed to get a shot of a Kendo Stick in, just in time. Ray then took the chain Niven had and wrapped in around her opponents face and incorporated it into a a submission move. It was clear that this match was for all the marbles in NXT UK’s women’s division.
While these two combatants were brawling on the ramp, and this point, barely able to stand, Jinny made an appearance and ran down the ramp, to scream ‘never disrespect me’ to Niven’s face before attacking the challenger of this Championship match. The story here being that Niven injured Jinny weeks ago after Ray had awoken something inside of Niven that allowed a killer instinct to run though her blood. Jinny was simply out for retribution. Niven managed to shove Jinny out of the way and continued the match with Ray. The fight was brought to the backstage area of the BT Sports Studio, where Ray channeled her inner, Elias Sampson, and smashed a guitar, that just happened to be there, over Niven’s back. Soon after, Niven somehow gained a burst of energy and hit Ray with her signature ‘Piper-Driver’ onto a steel chair on the concrete. Niven then retrieved a led pipe and drove in into Ray’s knee, that she was working on in the beginning of the match. Towards the end of the match, it was still impossible to guess who would be waling out as Champion as both women drove each other into the hardened shells of the production boxes backstage. It all came to an end when Niven scaled the production boxes, dragged Ray with her, by the head. Niven had the plan to throw Ray from atop the production boxes and send her crashing through tables and electrical equipment below. However, Niven wasn’t quick enough as Jinny had re-emerged in the background and hit Niven with a steel chair, sending both Champion AND Challenger crashing through tables and electrical equipment below. As luck would have it, Kay Lee Ray landed with her right arm over Piper Niven’s chest, allowing the referee to count the three-count pin fall.
Despite this being an all out brawl, Kay Lee Ray managed to leave the building, STILL the NXT UK Women’s Champion.
Winner: Kay Lee Ray
Was this a pay-per-view? I know it wasn’t but it really felt like one. From the jump, we had the hard hitting style of Joe Coffey and Sam Gradwell to the fast paced antics of Pretty Deadly vs Smith and Carter (amazing match). Then we had Mark Andrews and Morgan Webster, pissed as can be, we can only imagine what’s going to happen when they get their hands on Eddie Dennis and The Hunt. Who could forget the actions of Saxon Huxley? Dangerous, dangerous man. And finally, a main event that was worthy of an NXT UK: TakeOver Main Event, Kay Lee Ray vs Piper Niven, with them both giving everything they had in a Championship match with Jinny being a massive contributor to the final result. How will all of this play out next week on NXT UK? Let me know what you think – I’d love to hear it. Drop us a message in the comments below. I’ll be back here next week with more NXT UK coverage. Thank you for joining me here at Sports Obsessive.