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NXT UK TV REPORT (EP. 97)
MAY 28, 2020
STREAMED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY CHAD KOENIG, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosted By: Andy Shepherd (from home) and Tom Phillips
-This is another “Hidden Gems” episode of NXT UK, highlighting some of the unaired matches from NXT UK’s history.
(1) FINN BALOR vs. KENNY WILLIAMS (From March 7, 2020)
They circled each other at the bell before Balor tossed him into the ropes and chopped him down for the first two near pinfalls of the match. Balor aggressively kept Williams grounded in a long headlock before countering with a jawbreaker and freeing himself. Williams hit the ropes and springboarded onto Balor, knocking him down while Williams clasped an armbar onto him. Balor got up and kicked Williams in the gut before tossing him into the corner and pounding away. They hit the ropes again and Williams connected with a hurricanrana. A knee to the chest gave Williams his first pinfall attempt.
Balor’s aggression picked up here and he took down Williams and stomped away on the apron. A two count followed. They run the ropes some more and a hard knee gives Balor another two count.
Finn stood up and address the crowd that he “killed Johnny (Gargano), killed Matt Riddle, and is going to kill Walter”. The crowd erupted with a mix of cheers and “Walter’s gonna kill you”. In the midst of his gloating, Balor was taken down by Williams as he caught his second wind. Williams with a sloppy lariat followed by two. As Williams went to the corner to attack, Balor hit a slingblade. Just as it looked like Balor was going to finish him off, Williams sent him out of the ring and connected with a basement dropkick. The obligatory dive through the ropes followed. He rolled Balor back in and went to the top and met Finn with a great Macho Ma-esque elbow drop for two. Williams went for a flying body scissor but Balor caught him with a hard elbow to the gut. Balor ran at him with a dropkick, then went to the top for a coup de grace. A 1916 DDT gave Balor the victory.
WINNER: Balor at 8:13
(Koenig’s Analysis: This match right before the world was shut down due to COVID-19. A match with Walter vs. Balor for the championship was supposed to occur in an upcoming Takeover. However, that was all sidelined. I really liked Balor’s addition to NXT UK and was hoping to see him float between the two brands. This match was fine. Good action, fast paced, and gave Balor a solid win before his battle with Walter which has been put on hold.
-“The Last Ride” Undertaker documentary commercial
(2) RHEA RIPLEY vs. NINA SAMUELS (From October 5, 2019)
They lock up and Ripley took an early lead, grounding Samuels by grasping her arm. Ripley switched to a headlock before placing Samuels on the top turnbuckle and mocking her. She set Samuels up for an impressive standing suplex. Samuels rolled out of the ring. Ripley came out to attack her but Samuels rammed Ripley’s head into the canvas. She rolled Ripley back in for a near pinfall. A second pinfall attempt followed.
Samuels grounded Ripley and drove her knee into her back. Ripley powered out and dropkicked Samuels before tossing her into the corner and drop kicking her for two.
In a last ditch effort, Samuels tried to take her down again, but she was met with a riptide that gave Ripley the win.
WINNER: Ripley at 4:32
(Koenig’s Analysis: Samuels isn’t great. I’ll say that first. Ripley did her best to work with her and she shined. However, this would not be the first Ripley match I showed someone.)
(3) KILLIAN DAIN vs. TRAVIS BANKS (From Download Festival in Derby, England, June 16, 2019)
Dawn pushed Banks in the corner immediately to display his power. Banks got some kicks in and cornered Dain before Banks hit the ropes in a failed attempt to take down the big hoss. However, he was able to after taking out his knees with a dropkick, acquiring the first near pinfall. Banks lit in with a series of kicks but was taken down by Dain. A two count followed.
Dain really started to take over here by forcing his weight onto the fallen Banks. A suplex followed for two. Dain would go on to put Banks in a long headlock that he was able to escape. That breath of air was short-lived however, as Dain flattened him with a couple of bodyslams.
Banks again powered his way out of Dain’s grip. Back on their feet, Banks weakened the big man with some kicks to the knee and a dropkick to the corner. Dain rolled out of the ring and Banks flew through the ropes to take him down and roll Dain back into the ring. Banks went to the top for a double stomp and a near pinfall.
Banks lifted Dain back up to his feet but was met with a cross-body for two. He took out Dain’s knees again for another cover and two. Banks ran to the top rope, but Dain came from underneath and put him up on his shoulders. Banks countered out for a roll up pin for two. Dain got up, dumped banks, went to the top for a Vader bomb and got the win.
WINNER: Dain at 8:27
(Koenig’s Analysis: Two great athletes but the match fell a bit flat for me. There wasn’t a whole lot to it story wise, but that’s probably because they were performing at a festival Nothing against the two Just wouldn’t consider this match a “hidden gem”.)
-Next we see an in-ring interview from July 19, 2019, when NXT UK tag team champions Grizzled Young Veterans joining with Joseph Connors. Zack Gibson held the microphone and insulted the English crowd. They said that they like to stay conditioned and wanted to prove a point. He passed the mic to James Drake and it cut to a WWE Network commercial. Upon the return of the show, Connors actually had the mic, and called out for a match. The Street Profits came out said they would take the challenge and brought out Matt Riddle.
(4) THE STREET PROFITS (Montez Ford & Angelo Dawkins) & MATT RIDDLE vs. GRIZZLED YOUNG VETERANS (James Drake & Zack Gibson) & JOSEPH CONNORS (From July 19, 2019)
At the bell, the Street Profits and Grizzled Young Veteran’s stood toe to toe, both holding up their respective tag team titles. Riddle and Drake started the match and Drake immediately tagged in Connors. Riddle tossed him to the mat quickly and the two exchanged leg holds. Connors got a quick roll-up in for two. He got up and laid in some strikes to Riddle’s back. Riddle and connected with two Germans and a one count. He rolled out to get a tag in to Gibson, who was met with an immediate arm bar. He then tagged in Drake, and he fell victim to a quick ankle lock. He kicked Riddle away and got a tag from Dawkins. Gibson jumped in and prevented Dawkins from charging at his partner. Ford jump in and some double teaming onto GYV ensued. Ford became the legal man and cornered Drake, laying in heavy chops to the chest. Drake tossed him to the ropes and Gibson held the rope down, sending Ford outside. GYV double-teamed on him outside. They put him into their corner back in the ring and pounded away on him. Tag to Connors and back to Gibson who brought Ford to the middle of the ring to hold him in an armbar. He escaped to tag in Drake again, who show-boated a bit before pounding on Ford. Tag back to Connors. He went in for a quick shot to Ford and a two count. Ford started to power back up but Connors got a quick tag into Drake as Ford got a pin on Connors that Gibson broke up. Gibson held him in a long headlock. Tag in to Drake to went to punch Ford, but he dodged the fist that ended up connecting with Drake. Ford crawled over for the tag to Dawkins, and a quick tag to Riddle. During this, Connors was also tagged in.
Dawkins got Connors on his shoulders and Riddle went to the top and stomped him down. All six men came into the ring and chaos ensued. After the ring cleared, Ford and Drake became the legal men. The two exchanged blows before Gibson tagged himself back in. GYV double-teamed a bit, but a slip-up occurred and Ford hit a superkick on Drake, followed by a near pinfall. Tag back to Connors. He and Gibson attempted a double clothesline. Ford leaped over and kicked the two, sending them out of the ring. Ford over the rope on top of two, tagging Dawkins in as he went over. Dawson slammed Connors, tagged in Riddle, he went to the top and connected with a double stomp. Riddle for the pin.
WINNERS: Street Profits and Matt Riddle at 13:40
(Koenig’s Analysis:A fun match but the complaint I have the GYV are the fact that they tag each other in way too much. I would really like to see them in the ring longer one on one. They are great heel tactics from a great team, but I think they overdo that concept. Most of the match was them trading tags and cutting the ring and half, beating down Ford. That said, still a fun, fast-paced match.)