SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
•Opening Video Package – HIT: The opening video package was clearly a highlight of this welcome back show. NXT seems to go all out on these video packages. This video showed off the passion and excitement these NXT UK wrestlers had after being off for six months. Also, it showed off a lot of moments from the history of the show, showed off the BT Sports arena, and it showed of a few of the NXT UK wrestlers. Letting them speak and re-introducing them to you after the six month layoff.
•Look of the BT Sport set up – HIT: The look of the arena was amazing. It seems BT Sport help them put together a nice set up. They must have put money into it with all the HD video screens surround the ring and the arena.
•Feel of the arena — MISS: Even though the arena itself looked great, it still felt dry and lacked energy. With them not having any fans in attendance, nor anyone on the HD video screens or just people from the NXT UK Performance Center, it had no real life to the show. Now, after these months, I’m used to it. And since this is the first show, I’m hoping they will do something other than piping in some low sounding crowd noise which they put in during sometimes on the show.
•Sid Scala, Ilja Dragunov, Noam Dar Talking Segment – MISS: They opened the show with a talking segment. Sid Scala, the Assistant to the Genreal Manager of NXT UK, came out welcomed us back. Before he could go further, Ilja Dragunov interrupted him. Dragunov came out to talk about how he has been waiting months to come back for this moment to be here for a fight. Then Noam Dar came out to showed up which lead to a brawl. Sid set up this as a main event for the show, even though he said he was going to switch the planned line-up to make these guys the main event. It still felt like one of the main roster set-ups where they have people come out just to set up a match. I don’t like that they brought it here for the NXT UK.
•Gallus vs. Kenny Williams & Amir Jordan – HIT: This tag team match was a nice start to the show. Being that NXT UK build themselves as having the deepest tag team division. An their tag team division have been a big selling point of the show before the break. So, having them as the first match out was good and it was a good match from the champs against one of the lower card teams they were building up before the break. Giving the champs a nice showcase win.
•After match angle to set up for the Tag Team division – MISS: After the match they tried to set up a angle having all the top teams come out to make a claim for the title and being next to face the champs. Those teams where: The Hunt, Flash Morgan Webster & Mark Andrew (SWSC, a/k/a The South Wales Subculture), Carter & Smith, and Pretty Deadly. The announcer added that Imperium is also in the loop. Again, I understand why they did it, but I just feel like this way of setting thing up feels old and played out.
•Promo package from Saxon Huxley – HIT: I liked this quick package from Saxon Huxley. It was a fast way for him to tell how the time off affected him and now, with them being back, where he is going. He also told us that he will use his match against the champ next week to show the world where he’s heading.
•Kay Lee Ray & Piper Niven in ring Segment – HIT: Kay Lee Ray came out to do an in-ring promo to talk about her match next week against Piper Niven for the NXT UK Title. Ray is one of the top heel performers in all of wrestling to me. She was quick and to the point. She told us how it would be a good day, but she had to face former friend Piper for Kay Lee Ray title. That led to Niven coming out and telling Ray she’s been talking too much. And this led to a quick back-and-forth where Ray tried to sneak upon Niven but she couldn’t catch Niven leading her to back out the ring a leave. This match next week will be a highlight of the show.
•Isla Dawn vs. Aoife Valkyrie – HIT: Before the match started, they gave us a video package to introduce the women. It explained to viewers who they are and showed some highlights of past matches. The match itself was okay, something to show off both women but to put over Valkyrie who was the winner. I also think this match was a way to start some type of rivalry between the two women. We will have to see because if so it will keep this a Hit, but if not, this could be a Miss.
•The Heritage Cup Video Package – HIT: They showed a video which introduced their new tournament, The Heritage Cup. The video explained the rules and the terms of engagement. Six rounds, three minutes each, two-out-of-three falls, falls can occur by pinfall, submission, knockout (immediate match stoppage). Also, it showed us the people in the tournament which was described as seven unique competitors, one wildcard contender, but there can only be one champion. This then went to list the seven unique competitors and said the one wildcard contender will be shown later. The seven are A-kid, Dave Mastiff, Noam Dar, Flash Morgan Webster, Joseph Conners, Alexander Wolfe, and Trent Seven.
•Ilja Dragunov vs Noam Dar – HIT: This match was the best match on the first show back. Dragunov’s style is so different. It’s fast, hard-hitting, throwing his body everywhere, high energy, and more. The match started of fast with Dragunov taking the lead at first, but Dar took over when it looked like Dragunov hurt himself with landing on the ropes. Dar then started to focus on the injury which made Dragunov have to fight back which he did and started to takeover even though Alexander Wolfe of Imperium came out to try to cost Dragunov the match. It didn’t work and helped lead to the end of the match where Dragunov scored the win. After the bell, the NXT UK Champ Walter came out at the top of the stage to face Dragunov in a staredown that ended the show.
RECOMMENDED: 9/17 NXT UK TV REPORT: First new content since pandemic started, Shawn Michaels and Triple H introduce show, Noam Dar vs. Dragunov, Gallus vs. Williams & Jordan, Valkyrie vs. Dawn
I thought they did a bang-up job of reintroducing the brand and key players EXCEPT – – – British Strong Style and Jordan Devlin – — – who were oddly absent. What’s up with that????