This may be a hot take but when NXT UK is really on their game there’s not a better wrestling promotion out there. The way they can marry great move heavy matches and great story telling into classics is second to none and they did that again with tonight’s main event. So let’s get to ranking this week’s show!
Honorable Mention: Amale, Ivy Nile and Emilia McKenzie. Amale confronted Xia Brookside and Eliza Alexander. She called Alexander Brookside’s “babysitter” and said if Alexander is living in her head she’s going to make her pay the rent. Nile said that she’s the hardest worker in any time zone and that nobody will outwork her. Satomura is a living legend but she has 26 years of tape to study and she’s taking the title home to Diamond Mine. McKenzie apologized to Satomura for losing to Lash Legend but Meiko told her she should “Be more strong” and “Work harder” before closing with “Be Better!” I’m starting to doubt a full blown Moustache Mountain implosion but a McKenzie match with Meiko, either via turn or just straight up, is feeling more set in stone than ever.
5. The Masked Bozo. Mark Andrews was stopped in the parking lot and asked about his thoughts about his match with Kenny Williams when he saw Williams’ messing with his tires. They started to brawl only to be pulled apart but as they were separated we saw “The Masked Bozo” who has been haunting Williams’ squatting in the distance. I love Williams. I love the “Masked Bozo” Run this into the ground!
4. Noam Dar and Sha Samuels. We had another East End Bookie segment in the back when Dar said they couldn’t let people bet on their upcoming match with Damon Kemp and Wolfgang because it’d be stealing their money. They are real friends unlike their opponents. Sha knew Dar’s favorite food was haggis and falafel and Dar knew Samuels’ was “Lager, sometimes cider” which got a laugh from me. They’re the best. They run this place. And if Wolfgang was a real friend to Kemp he wouldn’t put him in front of them for target practuce. They’re “the wrong ones to send for” We then got the board reveal when they left which listed Noam & Sha at 1/11 favorites and Kemp & Wolfgang at “Ha Ha Ha Ha HaHa!” These 2 are always enjoyable and the perfect credible comedy act.
3. Stevie Turner. Turner finally turned things around with a win over Angel Hayez. Turner told us before the match that “All (those) mundane, 2D worms need to watch carefully. The future is here and the future is 4D” and then she backed it up with short-cut after short-cut. She complained to the ref that Hayze used her armband on an early arm drag and then threw the arm band at Hayez to get the jump on her. She also pulled Hayze’ hair behind the ref’s back to break a headlock. Commentary talked up the idea that Stevie “downloads” data from each match and learns from her opponents for potential rematches. She then grabbed the tights as Hayze went to hit the ropes and came off the ropes herself with a pump kick for 3.
2. Sam Gradwell. Von Wagner still isn’t good. So even though he won I’m giving the man he beat, “The Thunderstorm” the slot. I’ve said before Gradwell has the best forearm shots in the game and thar was on display tonight when he took Wagner off his feet with a series of them that was closed with a flying one off the middle rope. Shepherd had a great line on commentary. When Nigel mentioned Gradwell becoming more serious lately Andy said “Maybe that Mohawk (that he recently lost) was connected to his funny bone” In fairness this did feel like Wagner’s best showing to date. He hit Gradwell with a fall away slam and nice looking End of Days-ish Flatliner for 2. Wagner “raised the roof” and teased a Gorilla Press Slam like the one he used to toss Jiro into the crowd but Gradwell dropped out of it and into a backpacksleeper. Wagner muscled him up and into his falling TKO type spinning Samoan Drop/suplex thing that he does that doesn’t have a name for the win.
1. Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter. The “Hottest Tag Team Under The Sun” solidified that moniker when they finally captured the elusive NXT UK Tag Team Championship in a triple threat match against Die Famile and Moustache Mountain. From the opening bell I knew this was going to be non-stop as within a minute we got a series of quick pin attempts from Tyler Bate, Oliver Carter and Teoman. This was great foreshadowing of the match ending and the finishing stretch was helped by Bate helping Carter with an assisted corkscrew splash early on. Smith & Carter hit an assisted moonsault that Rohan Raja broke up. Bate popped Teoman up and into a helicopter spin which Teoman then turned into a crossface but Carter nailed them win a Lionsault to break up the submission. As that was happening Seven and Smith exchanged shots in the corner and Seven immediately nailed an Emerald Flosion off the 2nd rope but only managed a 2! Carter came back and tried another Lionsault but Seven nailed him with a spinning back fist. Moustache Mountain then nailed their Burning Hammer/flying knee combination but Teoman slid in, nailed Seven and tried to snatch the cheap win with a cover but Bate broke it up. Teoman came in with one of the title belts and dumped a charging Bate over the top. Smith tagged in and hit Teoman out of the ring with a lariat only to turn around and eat a Seven Star Lariart from Seven but he could only get a 2 again! The ref went to remove the belt from the ring but Seven put his foot on the belt to stop him. The Handsome Granny then grabbed the belt and as he cocked back to smash it across his opponent Bate on the floor grabbed the other end of the belt through the ropes. Carter then flew out of the ring and took out Bate with a Suicide Dive as Smith rolled up Seven for the win! The best matches have great moves and tell a great story. This did both! Die Famile’s involvement seemed to be solely to add to the Smith and Carter v. Moustache Mountain story by being the victims of the face foes teaming up and then being the reason the belt came into play but they played their parts perfectly. The call backs here to to the singles clashes with Bate and Carter clearly being less angry with each other than Smith and Carter were great and the tension between Bate and Seven coming to a head was nice too. Then Smith and Carter getting their much deserved crowning moment that Smith’s daughter can mention in her eulogy one day was just the icing on the cake! After the match the camera lingered on a dejected Seven and he told Bate he was done. Bate tried to reason with him but Seven said he said before if they lost he was done and they lost. He’s done. I thought I knew where this was going. I figured we’d get the old wrestling trope of the team coming to blows and having a match. But now I’m thinking we may instead get Bate seeing what being the good guy cost him, turning heel and Bate targeting Dragunov and the NXT title. That match would break every possible rating system! One very minor complaint is this belt finish coming in a match with no DQs but in a way it only adds to the idea of Bate having integrity. Go watch this!