SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT UK TV REPORT (EP. 111)
SEPTEMBER 3, 2020
STREAMED ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY CHAD KOENIG, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Hosted By: Andy Shepherd (from home).
-This week’s episode was titled “The Champion and the Challenger”, referencing that it will be discussing one of the storylines that was hot at the time COVID hit, which was between NXT UK champion Walter vs. Ilja Dragunov. I can assume that they are showing this now because new tapings of NXT UK will be airing in the coming weeks.
-Andy Shepard starts the show off proving my obvious hunch, saying new episodes will be starting in two weeks and these shows will be meant to catch everyone up. he then introduces an unseen match.
(1) WALTER (c) vs RIDGE HOLLAND (from March 7, 2020)
The two beasts lock up at the bell. Walter cornered him but Holland escaped. They exchanged blows before he ran the ropes to try to knock down the champion but to no avail. However, after an Irish whip, Holland slammed Walter to the mat before he escaped out of the ring. Holland followed behind and Walter sent him spine first onto the apron. Holland rolled back in and Walter followed and took him right to the mat and in a headlock.
Holland was able to stand back up and the two tested each others strengths. Walter got the best of him and took him to the mat again and worked his arm. “Walter” chants followed.
This was starting to look like a squash at this point as Walter kept him on the mat. Holland tried his best to “Hulk up”, but Walter kept laying in blows. He grabbed his arm again as Holland’s chest became pink from the chops to the chest. However, a lariat from Holland took down the champ.
While Walter was a bit dazed from that, Holland got in a little offense before Walter got in a sleeper. Holland countered into a torture rack that he wasn’t able to execute (pardon the pun). An overhead belly to belly did however, and Holland acquired the first pinfall attempt of the match. Walter got up and connected with a double dropkick. The two countered each others powerbombs and Norther Grits. Walter went up to the middle rope and Holland came from underneath and landed a piledriver followed by a two count.
Both men made it back to their feet and Walter slammed him down for two. He then put Holland on the apron and lit up his chest. Holland grabbed his arm and reversed the move, laying in a few strikes of his own. The fists took Walter down for a moment, but Alexander Wolfe came down for a moment to distract Holland outside of the ring. He rolled back in but Walter attacked and took him down almost immediately, hooked the leg and got the win.
WINNER: Walter @ 8:59
(Koenig’s Analysis: I first thought this was going to be more a squash, but it made Ridge Holland look strong. He took down Walter at times and looked much more experienced than his incredibly short career has shown so far. A good hoss fight.)
-William Regal, Drew McIntyre, Timothy Thatcher and Adam Cole were compiled in an interview segment to hype up Walters strength and abilities. He was dubbed a throwback of champions past. Regal called him “a great champion”.
-Return of NXT UK commercial
-NXT UK commercial emphasizing the tag team division and their countries of origin.
-Vignette on the rise of Ilja Dragunov, including footage from Progress Wrestling. He talked about growing up during the break down of the Soviet Union and moving to Germany. He said how his mother was a teach in Russia but her credentials wouldn’t work in Germany and had to work several jobs. Dragunov explains that he never fit in and school because he initially didn’t speak the language and kids wouldn’t play with him. He told a story when he was beaten up by three teenagers as a child and how he was beaten up by them and told that they didn’t want him there. The challenges that he endured growing up made him want to fight and learned the art of wrestling. It was the place he felt like he fit in.
-WWE Network commercial
-Walter in a vignette saying that he will destroy Dragunov.
-An introduction to the battle royal that gave Dragunov his number one contendership.
(2) 20-MAN OVER-THE-TOP BATTLE ROYAL – Winner becomes number one contender for NXT UK championship
Note: This match was edited from the original airing. This was my initial review of that match.
-As wrestlers were coming to the ring, starting with Trent Seven and Tyler Bate, the network cut to WWE commercials as the ring filled, including two for this weekend’s WrestleMania 36.
The three biggest men in the battle royal, Dave Mastiff, Kassius Ohno and Ridge Holland, started in the middle of the ring with the other 17 staring them down. Ohno backed away and everyone bombarded him, throwing him over the top tomato him the first elimination. Everyone then went after each other. The order of eliminations went as followed: Saxon Huxley by Kenny Williams, Flash Morgan Webster by Joe Coffey and Huxley by Jordan Devlin. A-Kid got thrown over but landed on Huxley who A-Kid forced to carry him to get back into the ring.
Tyson T-Bone was then eliminated by Travis Banks, who was clotheslined over by Mastiff a couple of minutes later. The next to go over, in order, were Amir Jordan by Mastiff, Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter by Ridge Holland, Ligero by Mastiff, Ridge Holland by Ilja Dragunov and Joe Coffey (after a distraction by Joseph Connors, Trent Seven by Joe Connors, A-Kid by Jordan Devlin via a headbutt, Devlin by Noam Dar, and Mastiff by everyone else in the ring.
Chants of “Big strong boy” filled the arena to show love for Tyler Bate, but Noam Dar knocked him to the mat. They battled on the ropes and Seven eliminated Dar, leaving us with our final four: Wolfgang, Tyler Bate, Joe Coffey and Ilja Dragunov. The four took their corners and prepared to battle. The final four wrestlers went after everyone with no camaraderie. Coffey was thrown over by Wolfgang but was left dangling by one arm. Wolfgang grabbed Dragunov and tossed him at Coffey, ending his impressive run int he battle royal. As the three men remain, Dragunov and Bate teamed up on Wolfgang, but an accidental kick to Bate left him dazed as Wolfgang went to work on Dragunov, hitting him with a DDT. Bate went to the top and dove onto Wolfgang but kicked Bate in the face and suplexed him across the ring. Bate hit the ropes and connected with a clothesline and then sent Wolfgang over the top rope, leaving just Bate and Dragunov – two of the best in NXT UK. As one would assume, they had a hell of a 50/50 battle. Chants of “This is awesome!” then filled the arena, as I am sure that they shared the same sentiment that I do, which is wanting to see a full match between these two. The two battled up from their knees and exchanged intense, fast blows. Bate lifted Dragunov onto the top turnbuckle but he escaped and the two started to exchange blows on the corner apron. Bate brought him up again but was knocked back into the ring. Dragunov went to the top and connected with a high senton. Back to their feet, Bate hit a blue sky and went up for the Tyler Driver. Dragunov countered and flipped him over the rope, hanging on outside by only the top rope. Dragunov ran at him with a Torpedo Moscow as Bate was flipping himself back in and was knocked to the ground.
WINNER: Ilja Dragunov at 28:47
(Koenig’s Analysis: This was a fantastic battle royal. Just enough humor with the A-Kid spot, great fighting and exciting spots. Tremendous, and I picked Dragunov to won as an assumption and a want. He has been feuding with Imperium a lot recently and this match seemed inevitable. The ONLY disconnect that I had was that I didn’t understand why Mustache Mountain willingly fought against each other while the ring was still relatively full. That took out Trent Seven prematurely when Bate and he could have been a good tandem unit, but that’s knit-picking. Really a fun match.)
-NEXT WEEK: A huge announcement on the future of NXT UK and a recap on women’s champion Kay Lee Ray.