Published Nov 21 2018 By Andre Corbeil:
Match 1: Xia Brookside vs. Rhea Ripley (NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament) Summary: Rhea Ripley used her power and height advantage to dominate the majority of the match. Xia Brookside finally gained some offence when she reversed a submission and hit several moves on her opponent, including double knees into the corner and a headscissors takedown. In the end, Ripley caught Brookside following a leap from the top rope and advanced in the tournament after landing a pump handle powerbomb (aka The Riptide). Ripley will face Dakota Kai next in the semi-finals.
Verdict: This was a good way to give the WWE audience another glimpse of Brookside while making Ripley look like the dominant force of the women’s division in the process. Unfortunately, the majority of fans already know who wins this tournament, so these matches feel largely pointless.
Match 2: Jack Starz vs. Eddie Dennis Summary: Former headteacher Eddie Dennis mocked his much smaller opponent by patting him on the head at the start of the match. He then dominated much of the contest, with the exception of a brief rally from Jack Starz, before getting the win with his trademark Neckstop Driver.
Verdict: Dennis has one of the most intriguing characters that we’ve seen on NXT UK so far. This was a squash match designed to show that he is the real deal after several weeks of promos. So far, so good.
Match 3: Mark Andrews vs. Mike Hitchman Summary: “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman repeatedly slapped Mark Andrews in the face midway through the match, prompting his opponent to chop him multiple times in the chest. Andrews showed off his high-flying ability from the top rope but Hitchman soon took control and landed an inverted senton into the corner, getting a 2-count. The finish came when Andrews hit the Stundog Millionaire, followed by a shooting star press, to get the win.
Verdict: Well, Hitchman is intense — he was tearing his hair out (literally) at one point. It’s difficult to get invested in the storylines in these early weeks of NXT UK but Hitchman’s character is definitely one to look out for.
Match 4: Isla Dawn vs. Toni Storm (NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament)Summary: Isla Dawn immediately went after Toni Storm, taking control with several kicks and knees to her opponent’s face. Storm then countered a lengthy submission before following up a series of kicks with her Storm Zero finisher to pick up the win. Storm will face Jinny in the semi-finals.
Verdict: This match felt like it ended far too quickly. Dawn dominated 90 percent of it and then Storm rallied, hit her finisher and won. It wasn’t a bad match by any means but the finish was very sudden.
Match 5: El Ligero vs. Jordan Devlin Summary: After a back-and-forth five minutes, El Ligero came close to picking up the victory with a Code Red before Jordan Devlin nearly earned a 3-count with a backdrop driver. Devlin got another near fall after a Spanish Fly before he was suplexed from the top rope by Ligero, who got a 2-count following a splash. In the end, Devlin landed a moonsault to the outside and hit a knee strike, followed by his finisher, to get the win.
Verdict: The problem with NXT UK is that almost all of the matches are of good quality, just like this one was, but there isn’t much storyline behind them. Thankfully, although there was nothing riding on this match, there was a development at the end when Devlin made it clear after his victory that he wants to face Pete Dunne. It was confirmed later in the show that he will challenge for the United Kingdom Championship next week.
Second episode, Match 1: Dakota Kai vs. Rhea Ripley (NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament) Summary: Like the Xia Brookside match, Rhea Ripley dominated much of this against the increasingly popular Dakota Kai. The match turned around when Kai connected with several punches and kicks, including two into the corner. Ripley kicked out of the second kick and gained momentum when she planted Kai’s face into the ring apron. In the end, Ripley withstood several kicks to the face before hitting her Riptide finisher on Kai for the win.
Verdict: Very good. The fans gave Kai a Bayley-esque welcome before the match started, replacing the words “Mahna Mahna” from The Muppets song with “Dakota Kai”. Both of these women are destined to be huge stars on the main roster one day.
Match 2: Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrews vs. Saxon Huxley & Joseph Conners
Summary: Saxon Huxley looked set to tag in Joseph Conners when he was in control towards the end against Flash Morgan Webster. However, he decided against it and he paid the price moments later when Webster hit the Eton Rifle and tagged in Mark Andrews, who landed a shooting star press for the win. Following the match, Conners attacked Huxley and the fans chanted “Judas!” at him as he walked up the ramp.
Verdict: Decent match. Interesting storyline development. What’s not to like?
Match 3: Dave Mastiff vs. Tyson T-Bone Summary: Tyson T-Bone connected with some strong strikes early on but the massive Dave Mastiff took control when he sat on his opponent and landed an athletic cross-body. Mastiff then hit a cannonball into the corner to get the win.
Verdict: This was an impressive showing from the 322-lbs Mastiff. With no secondary title on the NXT UK brand, it’ll be interesting to see how long it takes before he challenges for the United Kingdom Championship.
Match 4: Jinny vs. Toni Storm (NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament) Summary: Jinny began well but Toni Storm soon gained momentum when she locked in a lengthy submission. One of the biggest moments came when both women caught each other with a headbutt at the same time, prompting an “NXT! NXT!” chant from the fans. Jinny then kicked out of a fisherman suplex and Storm kicked out of a brutal facebuster in the corner. In the end, Storm hit a suplex and the Storm Zero to not only get the win but also receive a standing ovation.
Verdict: If you watch one match from this week’s NXT UK, this should be it. Rhea Ripley, Dakota Kai, Jinny and Storm are all very good performers who have bright WWE futures. Roll on Ripley vs. Storm in the final.
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