NXT UK Power Rankings: Tournaments and Teachable Moments

This week’s NXT UK was an overstuffed, bursting at the seams suitcase of wrestling goodness with comedy gold, 2 tournament matches and poor Sid Scala being run ragged so without further ado let’s get to this week’s rankings! 

Honorable Mention: Amale, Noam Dar and Tyler Bate. Nina Samuels interrupted an interview with Amale to get the scoop for The Nina Samuels Show. She asks the questions around here. Samuels said after her loss Amale must be embarassed as she proved she’s of no hope to the French. Amale grabs the mic and says something in French. Amale translated her own words and told us that Samuels isn’t really the pride of her country and she has no interest in spiking the viewers of Nina’s little show. Amale doesn’t care if it’s Isla, Eliza, Blair or Nina Samuels, she is prepared to go through anyone to get to the NXT UK Women’s Championship. Elsewhere, after we saw footage of Sid Scala trying to separate the women in the back after last week’s show went off the air his busy week continued as he formally congratulated new Heritage Cup Champion Mark Coffey. Dar barges in Scala’s office and says he wants the contract now when he sees Mark. Sid says he’s gotten Dar’s mail and thousands of emails about the Coffey rematch. Dar claims that was from fans. He’s the greatest Heritage Cup Champ of all time and deserves his rematch! Coffey says they’re 1-1 so he’s fine making it a Heritage Cup rules match and they can make it best 2 out of 3. The hardest working man in wrestling Sid Scala also managed to find time to stop Tyler Bate in the back and tell him not to get involved in Seven’s match tonight. Bate promised he wouldn’t and said he knows Seven seeing him win the NXT UK Championship would bother Trent so much worse and he’d still coming for that.

5. Andre Chase. Chase U class is in session and Chase says “That ladies and gentleman is why we don’t spell color with a U” which got a chuckle out of me. He’s cut off by Eddie Dennis looking much less menacing and much more like the head master we were told in the past he was prior to wrestling. Dennis slaps Chase’s hand away and says he’s questioning the integrity of his entire institution. They are a country with Oxford and Cambridge. Andre Chase is besmirching the good name of academics! He runs down Chase for thinking he’s a teacher just because he found “a neanderthal” and taught him how to comb his hair and tie his shoes (as a dejexted Hayward touches his hair) but that doesn’t make him a teacher. Chase says this is a teachable moment as the class goes wild! If it’s so easy why doesn’t Dennis try taking “that guy” under his wings. The camera pans over to reveal a shirtless Saxon Huxley grunting and eating chicken bare handed over newspaper. Dennis sighs and holds his head in frustration and disgust. This was comedy gold and the perfect use of all these guys. This was a fun twist on the Eddie Dennis character and Saxon Huxley is a perfect foil for what Dennis is now shown as being. It’s not quite Corbin and Sha Samuels interacting but it may be the next best thing and I didn’t know I needed Chase and Dennis in segments together until I saw this.

4. Thea Hail. Hail was accompanied by Andre Chase and the flag-bearer for Chase U, Bodhi Hayward as she squared off with 1/4th of the chaotic ending to last week’s show Eliza Alexander. Hail hits Alexander with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors followed by a wheelbarrow arm drag and a dropkick. The crowd is hugely into Chase U. Alexander stopped another wheelbarrow attempt by forcing Hail against the ropes before taking her down with a lariat. Alexander tossed Hail by her hair. The crowd pulls the “Give me a C…” chant all the way through to “What’s that spell?! CHASE U!” But Alexander is able to ignore them and lock Hail in a camel clutch. Hail powers out of it to her feet and drops Alexander backwards to break the hold. Hail hits a rolling neckbreaker that Alexander seemed to mess up by rolling towards the direction Hail was coming from not going, for a 2 count. Hail tried a standing moonsault but Alexander got her knees up and hit a running boot to the side of the face of Hail for 3. Alexander got the win but Hail showed a lot of potential and athleticism in the ring and she may have some of the highest upside of any woman in WWE.

3. Sam Gradwell. Teoman came to the ring with Rohan Raja for his match with “The Thunderstorm” Sam Gradwell. Considering Teoman was in his street clothes less than 15 minutes ago he must dress for work very quickly and efficently. But dressed he was as he took on “The Thunderstorm” Sam Gradwell. Andy Shpherd says he can’t believe he’s saying it but Gradwell has become the unlikely enforcer for the brand who brings people who get too cocky back down to earth. I’m with him. Gradwell’s transition from bully to defender has been well down. After an opening exchange Gradwell clotheslines Teoman over the top. Raja gets between Gradwell and Teoman which allowed Teoman to grab the leg of Sam and trip him on and with the ring apron. He sends The Thunderstorm back first into the apron and tries to cover him for 2.They go back and forth but Teoman nails Gradwell in the back of his neck with a forearm and is able to lock in a Million Dollar Dream but Gradwell manages to break it with multiple ripcord elbows followed by just tossing Teoman in the air up and away from him. He gets Teoman on his shoulders but the Die Famile patriarch rakes his eyes out of view of the official. Teoman fakes a leg injury and as the official is checking on him Raja pulls Gradwell by the back of his neck and snaps him over the top. Teoman immediately follows it with a sliding forearm to Gradwell but only gets 2 out of it. Teoman tried to land The Evil Eye but Gradwell escaped and backdeopped Teoman. Gradwell followed one of his great forearms by hitting a release butterfly suplex but as he tries to follow up Teoman again distracts the ref as Raja pulls him arm first over the top rope. The ref catches a glimpse of the end of that sequence and ejected Raja to the chagrin of Teoman. Teoman tries The Evil Eye again but Gradwell catches him in the face with his braced knee as he’s being set-up for it. Gradwell follows up with his Samoan Driver for the win. Die Famile taking their 2 biggest singles losses tonight to their 2 most important members makes me question if their time as a family is coming to an end which, despite my love for factions and NXT UK and WWE on a whole’s lack of them, is something I can understand that should lead to awesome matches with Dempsey and Teoman.

2. Trent Seven. During the pre-match picture-in-picture promo Seven told us he got rid of Bate for opportunities just like this, so he could stand on the top of the mountain. Commentary reminded us that Trent Seven and tonight’s opponent Wolfgang actually met in the quarterfinals of the inaugural NXT UK Championship tournament. Early on Wolfgang spent time working over Bad Grandpa’s arm. He pulled Seven from the ring and tossed him into the barricade but when he went to mount the barricade Seven swept his leg out and sent him falling torso first into the barricade. Seven wisely followed up by hammering Wolfgang’s back inside the ring and trying to stretch him out. Wolfgang powered out and tried for a fireman’s carry but his back gave out and Seven dropped out and nailed a spike DDT for 2. Wolgang countered a Seven Star Lariat attempt into a German suplex followed by his corner crossbody up and over the top, a double axe handle off the top, a scoop slam and his falling side senton but all of that only scored a near fall. Wolfgang tried to loft Seven again but once again he dropped out and was able to land a quick snap dragon suplex but when he tried to suplex Wolfgang again the best member of Gallus was able to stop him and hit the caber toss (which I only in this show realized is the official name for that twisting suplex I like) for another 2 count. Wolfgang hit a double knee gut buster for 2 and climbed to the top. Seven attempted to cut him off but Wolfie sent him to the mat with a headbutt. Wolfgang went for a swanton bomb but Seven got his knees up to the bad back and ended things with a Burning Hammer for the pinfall win. This was a strong match between 2 of the most tenured NXT UK roster members and a good way to end the show.

1. Oliver Carter. Carter faced off with Charlie Dempsey in the first round of the NXT UK Championship tournament to start our night but they had a match that could have just as easily closed the show. Dempsey entered with Die Famile at his side. Carter immediately jumps Teoman and shoved Dempsey into Raja as the music is still playing and Dempsey’s picture-in-picture promo was still playing. They exchange strikes before Carter clothelines him over the top. Carter follows it up with a crossbody to Dempsey on the floor. Back inside Carter tried to whip Dempsey into the corner but Charlie stopped him and bridges back to send Carter flipping leg first into the corner. Dempsey started to work over the bag leg with holds and strikes. Dempsey whips Carter who tried to springboard off the middle rope but his leg gives out and he tumbled off the middle rope. Dempsey locks the leg up in his own leg and drops back twice. Dempsey with a bridging Northern Lights suplex for 2. Charlie tries for a kneebar but Carter kicks him off. Dempsey with mounted slaps to Carter on the floor and Carter gets out with slaps of his own. Dempsey grabbed the leg of Carter and he climbs to his feet. Carter tried to kick with his other leg but Dempsey ducked and maintained his hold even as Carter tried to mule kick out of it. With Carter’s leg now trapped against Dempsey’s Charlie was able to transition to a dragon suplex for 2. Dempsey tried for a Fujiwara armbar but Carter rolled through and Dempsey rolled with him and switched to a kneebar attempt but Carter was able to avoid it before it got locked in and land a Superman punch before clutching his knee, a second one and a back drop befoee collapsing to the canvas. He hit Dempsey with a eurinagi for 2. Back on their feet Carter whipped Dempsey towards the ropes and tried a superkick but Charlie held the ropes and Carter’s leg gave out on him. Dempsey tried a modified single leg crab but Carter kicked out of it, got back to his feet, tried a pump kick that Dempsey caught and turned it into a wheel kick that took Dempsey down but again hurt Carter’s knee. Carter used the ropes to hold himself up but clutches his leg as he goes to hit a prone Dempsey. Charlie dragonscrew leg whips Carter and gets the single leg crab but Carter rolled through for the pinfall win. He quickly escaped the ring as Raja and Teoman hit the ring. Carter limped off as the ref raised his hand and he moved to 3-0 against Die Famile. Commentary said it may be a career definind match for Carter and if he has a long enough run in this tournament I can see that. Carter was great with Ashton Smith but has been equally as good a solo act. I enjoyed both first round matches tonight and appreciate that now Carter has a bad leg that Seven can target and Seven has an ailing arm that Carter can try to capitalize on.

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