6/11 NXT UK TV REPORT: Wrestlers pick three classic title matches – Bret vs. Bulldog, Regal vs. Finlay, Ripley vs. Toni Storm

By Chad Koenig, PWTorch contributor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

NXT UK TV REPORT (EP. 99)
JUNE 11, 2020
STREAMED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY CHAD KOENIG, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR

Hosted By: Andy Shepherd (from home).

-This week is another “Superstars Picks” episode with the stipulation that a championship had to be defended to be eligible.

-Sam Gradwell chooses William Regal vs. Finlay for the United States Championship from Great American Bash 2006. He chose this match because it was a surprise match and not on the card due to Bobby Lashley being pulled sue to having elevated enzymes.

(1) FINLAY vs. WILLIAM REGAL – United States Championship Match

This match was unannounced. First, Regal went under the ring to see if Hornswoggle was underneath (then known as a leprechaun). As Regal made it back into the ring, Finlay rolled him up quickly for two. The two locked up for a while, going both in and out of the ring in that hold. Regal shot for the leg and held Finlay down, but he countered out with a backspin. They locked up again and Finlay got tossed outside. Regal followed and attacked him on the apron. At this point, Hornswoggle grabbed his ankles so Finlay could roll back inside. Hornswoggle came and chased Regal with a shillelagh before going back under the ring. The ref was preoccupied with Finlay to see this.

Regal came back in and met him with a lariat for two. They proceeded to exchange strikes all over the ring. Regal landed a suplex for a near pinfall. Hornswoggle then came out from the apron again and bit Regal’s hand. Finlay came over and stomped Regal’s hand and started to work on it. Regal responded with some elbows and grounded Finlay with a leg submission into a grounded headlock. Finlay then pulled him outside of the ring and slammed Regal into the apron before both rolling back in.

Regal countered out of a headlock and hit the ropes. Both men crashed into each other and put them on their backs. Regal rolled over to grind his knee into Finlay’s head for nearly the entire five count. Three- two count followed. The two battled some more and Regal got in a near pinfall after a knee to his face.

The men went outside the ring again and Finlay was once again caught in the apron. Finlay laid in vicious strikes before rolling him back in. Finlay tossed him into the post and ran at him. Regal moved andl got the roll up for two. Regal then went to the corner and grabbed the shillelagh. The ref pulled the weapon from his hands while Hornswoggle tossed Finlay a boot. While the ref put the shillelagh away, Finlay hit him with the boot and pinned Regal with his legs on the ropes for the win.

WINNER: Finlay at 13:50

(Koenig’s Analysis: Ill say this- I laughed when the commentary of Cole and JBL mentioned that why the fans were chanting “boring” because they wanted Lashley in that match. A horrible cover-up, obviously. However, if these fans were truly familiar with the style of British wrestling, they would have known that is a fine, brawling match. These were two of my favorites during the mid 2000s. Was this a 5-star classic? No, but it was a good brawl with some humor sprinkled in with Hornswoggle. I also love the way Regal sells.

-Noam Dar was next (and donning his “quarantine hair and beard”) and insulted several NXT UK wrestlers and said he needed to find creative wats to beat them.

-Smackdown commercial

-Piper Niven talked about the 2018 tournament to crown the first women’s champion under the NXT UK brand. She chose the finals match of that tournament as her pick- Rhea Ripley vs. Toni Storm

(2) RHEA RIPLEY vs. TONI STORM

(From NXT UK, November 28, 2018)

At the bell, Ripley tried to intimidate Storm with her impressive size, but Storm came in firing, sending Ripley in the corner before she slid out of the ring. Storm with the obligatory dive through the ropes and put both of them on the ground outside. Storm dove at her, but Ripley moved and she crashed into the barricade. Ripley took advantage of that moment and gained the lead in the match. The two made it to the apron and Ripley gave Storm a vicious backdrop onto the apron. As soon as she made it back into the ring, Ripley continued the beat down and sending her to the corner with an Irish Whip. Storm continued to dominate her all over the ring, continuing to work on Storm’s back.

Ripley then wrapped Storm in a leg hold that Storm wiggled her way out of. She started slugging away but Storm slammed her on her knee and put her in a standing cloverleaf. She made it to the rope, but Ripley kicked her to the mat again. Storm finally put her to the mat with a trio of snap German suplexes, followed by a near pinfall.

Ripley crept to the corner and was met with several attacks before Storm went for a pinfall attempt for two. Ripley answered back with a dropkick for two. Ripley tossed her into the corner and charged before Storm moved and went shoulder first into the post. A bridged pinfall for two. Storm went for a Storm Zero, but Ripley countered and sent her outside of the ring. Ripley tossed her back in and went for a pin but only made it to two. Ripley connected with a Rip Tide to win the championship.

WINNER: Ripley at 9:33

(Koenig’s Analysis: This match was definitely more of a display of Ripley’s strength than it was for Storm, who is a great competitor herself. You could see early on that Ripley was a star, and giving her this title solidified that thought.)

-Noam Dar in a video again- this time while he was brushing his teeth. He went on to say something about Quiz Nights, followed by him saying that he feels sorry for whoever he faces in the ring.

-Valkyrie vignette (Hopefully she has used this time to better her in-ring skills)

-Noam Dar again saying that”he doesn’t like to complain”, but he feels he should be considered an essential service and that he should be getting back to work.

-Amir Jordan picks the classic 1992 Summer Slam match between the British Bulldog and Bret “The Hitman” Hart for the Intercontinental championship that was held at Wembley Stadium. He said that it was great to have a match like this in England that could be talked about for decades to follow.

(3) BRET “THE HITMAN” HART” (c) vs. “THE BRITISH BULLDOG” DAVEY BOY SMITH /w/ Lennox Lewis

Note: This is an abridged match

Smith pushed Hart to the corner after a lengthy stare down. They hit the ropes a bit and Hart was was stopped dead in his tracks when he ran into Smith. Hart was sent rolling out of the ring.

-Commercial Break for Undertaker- The Last Ride

The match was now back in the ring and the two hit the ropes again, with Hart kneeing Smith in the gut to send him to the mat. Hart attempted a head lock but Smith powered out of it. Hart sent him back down with a reverse pile driver. A count of two followed after Hart countered a rope attack. Hart kept him down in another headlock but again, Smith slowly powered his way up. The hit the ropes once again and Smith flipped Hart to the mat. He got up and went to the corner, Smith charged, but was kicked in the face. Hart used Smiths Bulldog finisher on him, and went to the top. Smith got up and threw Hart halfway across the ring. He went up to the top himself and pancaked. Hart threw Smith out of the ring and the boos poured in. Hart rolled out and rammed Smith into the post before rolling him back in.

Hart laid in some strikes when they were both on their feet. Hart with a neckbreaker for two. Hart was really dominating this match, getting in a couple of near falls while continually bringing Smith up and knocking him down before Smith countered a maneuver with a backslide for two. The crowd erupted.

While the match was going on, a picture-in-picture came up with a live shot of Smith’s wife, Diana (Bret’s sister), and her reaction from in the stadium. Hart went up to the top and dropped an elbow for two. Hart latched in a sleeper in the middle fo the ring and Smith fell to his knees and crawled to the rope. Hart latched in a second one and it looked like it was over for Smith, but he powered up started to gain control. Smith connected with a clothesline for two before slamming him down for a couple more near pinfalls. The crowd was loudly behind Smith at this point. He put Hart on his shoulders and slammed him down for another near fall. Smith attempted to lift him again but Hart countered with a suplex for two. Smith lifted Hart and put him up on the corner turnbuckle. He set him up and suplexed Hart from up there. Kickout at two, Everyone was on their feet.

The two ran the ropes again and both were grounded from a double clothesline. Hart applied a sharpshooter and made his way to the rope. Hart went for a sunset flip, but Smith kneeled on his shoulders and pinned Hart to win the title, and all to the adoration of 80,000 fans in the stadium.

WINNER: Smith at 22:00 (including commercial break and match edit)

(Koenig’s Analysis: A clinic. This brought me back to 1992 and when I watched the pay-per-view. I remembered how great the story was that being told in the ring. This was when the IC Title had prestige and could headline Wembley. If you’ve never seen this match, do yourself a favor.)

-NEXT WEEK: NXT UK’s Most Brilliant – Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate


CATCH UP… 6/4 NXT UK TV REPORT: Theme show focused on Gallus (Mark Coffey & Joey Coffey & Wolfgang) in matches against British Strong Style, Imperium, Grizzled Young Veterans, Ladder Match

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