NXT UK Power Rankings: Shortcuts to the Mountain Peak

This week’s episode of NXT UK had one of my favorite tag matches I’ve ever seen and yet another “Match of the Year” contender to me so let’s jump right in to this week’s rankings! 

Honorable Mention: Eddie Dennis. In a video package, while holding the same collar used during the beatdown of Boar the Symbiosis mastermind said “Wild animals need to be broken before they can be of any use. And thar’s exactly what they were doing until (Mark Andrews) came along and stuck (his) nose in (their) business.” and “Boar, seeing as you found yourself a new ally what I propose is a tag team match. You 2 and your newfound friendship against my symbiotic soldiers T-Bone and Primate. They will run your vehicle clean off its road to revenge before you ever meet your destination” This was a nice callback to Boar’s return segments with the truck driver. Dennis is great on the mic and the NXT UK video production continues to be top notch.

5. Saxon Huxley. We found out Ivy Nile, Lash Legend, Von Wagner and Damon Kemp (the only 1 of the group I’ve yet to see on U.S. NXT) were all in the UK and will be competing in the coming weeks. The foursome was signing autographs for fans in a lobby when Wagner said “I’m not signing that” and walked off. Saxon on the other end of the group was saying “Saxon signs autographs!” before Wagner ripped up his signatire and bumped into him walking past. Huxley then started repeating “Big stupid man!” over and over. Huxley is a fun throwback similar to Wild Boar but on the opposite end of the spectrum. Maybe we can team these 2 down the road as a fun odd couple pairing?

4. Emilia McKenzie. She beat Stevie Turner with a German Suplex and spear. This was largely one sided as McKenzie hit a shotgun drop kick and rolling neckbreaker early on and a high angle suplex for 2. Turner did hit a side effect but she stacked McKenzie so high that Emilia was able to roll back out of the pin in a fairly creative escape. With Satomura and Dawn set to meet in a “World of Darkness” match in 2 weeks McKenzie may finally be heading towards another title shot in the not too distant future. But I could go for a #1 conteders tournament eith McKenzie, Brookside, Amale and a few more contenders.

3. Sam Gradwell. Both he and Kenny Williams came to the ring in jeans with taped fists to start the night so we immediately knew this back alley brawl would be legit and it was! This clash had plenty of chairs, trash cans and even a fire extinguisher used. Andy Shepherd had a funny line when “The Scum of the Earth” grabbed a tool box and he suggested Williams may be looking for screws because his are loose. The crowd was equally amusing offering up a very PG “Mess him up Gradwell! Mess him up!” chant. Despite NXT UK having the best fake crowd noise in wrestling it’s nice to have live fans back. Throughout the match Williams was haunted by a mystery man in the crowd dressed in all black wearing a mask that waa half luchador style mask but covering the remainder of his face in black cloth. The assumption is this is the person leaving the notes for Williams. Williams’ demise was ultimately met when he climed to the top rope, got distracted again by the masked man and “The Thunderstorm” hit him with an Attitude Adjustment off the apron through a table on the floor and then being rolled back in for the pin. After the match the masked person walked Williams down as he fled to the back. I’m curious who this could be.

2. Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter. “The Hottest Tag Team Under The Sun” came within an eyelash of leaving the BT Sport Studio draped in gold and if the match ended after 1 fall like a traditional title match they would have. This was one of the best tag team matches I’ve ever seen with creative spots, clever pin break-ups and callbacks. The only thing that would have made it better would have been the feel good moment of Smith and Carter taking the titles but after tonight I’m more convinced than ever that it’s only a matter of time. They scored the first fall with an assisted moonsault from Carter off Smith on to Seven. This was such a brilliant little detail because with the story being Seven so desperate to retain the titles the visual of him having been the one to cost them the belts in any other match type added to his insecurity. I could recap all the moves here, and I’ll do my best in the next spot on this list but just watch this for yourself because I’m bound to miss something!

1. Moustache Mountain. Before Smith and Carter got the first fall Seven nearly got a 1-0 lead for his team but this time, unlike in their singles clash, the ref caught Seven putting his feet on the ropes and stopped the count. Bate had a clever counter when Smith had him on his shoulders for the cutter combo but Bate punched Carter off the corner and landed a victory roll for 2. After too many moves to recap Moustache Mountain evened the score with their rebound lariat/dragon suplex combination. They tried the move again but Carter pulled down the top rope sending Bate crashing to the outside. Smith followed up with a spinning sit-out slam to Seven for 2. They then went for the assisted moonsault that got them the first fall but Bate pued Seven from the ring. Unphased Smith then walked Carter closer to the rope and he flew outside crashing on to Moustache Mountain standing on the floor with that same moonsault. Inside the ring Smith hit a combination flying leg lariat off the top while Carter hit a leg sweep on Seven but Bate spring boarded in and over to break up the pin. Smith then vaulted Carter up for a standing 450 but Bate got his knees up and caught Smith with a school boy pin for 2. Smith and Seven then hit simultaneous lariats on each other and fell into each other but Seven hit a 7 Star Lariat and Emerald Flosion for 2. The Moustached men then nailed the combination burning hammer/flying knee drop but Carter vaulted off his prone opponent to break up the pin. Carter then sent Bate to the apron and dodged an incoming Seven sending him crashing into Bate while Smith rolled him up for a 2. Seven then backdropped Smith to the apron before sending Carter into Smith before finally rolling up Carter and getting his feet on the ropes again away from the official’s view for the 3 and another successful retention. This time Bate saw the feet on the ropes as the pinfall took place and looked none too pleased with the result. After the match he reluctantly celebrated with Seven but clearly unhappy with the lows Trent stooped too.

This is art. The story they told to get here and throughout the course of the match with Bate clearly being the better of the duo and having to constantly bail out Seven was genius. And Seven continually being desperate and looking for short cuts while Bate maintains his dignity was great. And Smith and Carter come out looking like the better team and more like stars than ever. Seriously, watch this match!

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