SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NXT UK TV REPORT
JUNE 4, 2021
STREAMED ON WWE NETWORK VIA PEACOCK
REPORT BY JOHN GONZALEZ, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentary: Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness
Broadcast from BT Sports Arena, London
-Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness welcome us to another edition of NXT UK and hype up the main event rematch between Rampage Brown vs. Joe Coffey. They also inform us that per the order of NXT UK General Manager Johnny Saint, Pretty Deadly will have to put their NXT UK Tag Team Championships on the line if Jack Starz can find a partner for their match.
(1) ILJA DRAGUNOV vs. NOAM DAR
Ilja Dragunov makes his entrance with no ring jacket and a lot less theatrics. He walks calmly to the ring and acts as the conductor to this theme as the commentary team mentions he is working on controlling his temper. They also bring up how Noam Dar attempted to antagonize Dragunov during the Supernova Sessions, but Dragunov held his composure. They speculate if Dar may have made a mistake in doing so as he makes his entrance.
After some feeling out on the mat, Dar is able to hurt Dragunov with kicks. Dar is able to dodge a strike from Dragunov and begins taunting until Dragunov takes him down, but does not follow up with the brutal violence we’ve seen before. The commentary team seemed impressed with Dragunov being able to control his emotions.
They go to the ropes and Dar kicks Dragunov as the referee broke them up but Dragunov counters with another takedown. Dar fights back and is able to get some slaps to the face of Dragunov, who responds by landing a big boot. He takes Dar back down to the mat and goes for some elbows, but Dar escapes.
Dragunov attempts his Constantine Special clothesline, but comes out awkwardly off the Tiger Feint Kick and sells extreme knee pain and cannot execute the move. Dar takes notice and immediately begins targeting the knee with a Snap Mare that sends Dragunov legs first into the ropes. Despite his pain, Dragunov is able to hit Dar with heavy strikes until he is kicked in his bad knee. Dragunov gets Dar down to the mat and hits a few Knife Edge Chops, but Dar recovers and attempts an Omoplata submission. Dragunov is able to fight out of it, but Dar effectively uses kicks to keep Dragunov from doing more damage.
Dragunov lands a stiff forearm and muscles Dar up for a German Suplex. Dragunov is unable to bridgem but holds the Waistlock and gets in another German Suplex. The commentary team notes that Dragunov is protecting his knee as he hits Dar with elbows and again muscles up Dar with a Gut Lift Overhead Throw. They get up and begin jawing at each other while trading punches, chops, and kicks. Dragunov dodges a Dar strike with a Matrix Move and hits a clothesline, but is unable to make the cover with his knee hampering him. Dragunov is sent to the ropes but is able to use the momentum to hit the Constantine Special clothesline for a Two Count.
Dragunov goes up to the second rope and goes for a Knee Drop, but misses. Dar is able to roll Dragunov into his Champagne super-kneebar submission. Dragunov is able to escape, but can barely hold his weight up, allowing Dar to kick his knee out and lays in more kicks to Dragunov’s chest. Dar taunts Dragunov by calling him boy and tells him he wants to “see the rage” as he continues to slap and kick, which only gets Dragunov fired up to the point that he smiles at Dar. Dragunov lifts Dar and drops him awkwardly with a slam for another Two Count. Dragunov eats an elbow and Dar sets up to hit the Nova Roller, but is caught with a desperation Torpedo Moscow that earns Dragunov the victory.
WINNER: Ilja Dragunov (13:40)
(Gonzalez’s Analysis: Dragunov continues to be one of the best seller-storytellers on the brand. He was able to sell his knee injury very convincingly. The injury angle was really the only way I could buy into Dar defeating Dragunov. Dar continues to be a masterful pest and is someone who could probably start a feud with a wheel of cheese, but until he is able to get more solid wins under his best, he will only continue to be an entertaining jobber to the stars.)
-An Aoife Valkyrie vignette airs as she talks about taking risks. Footage of the match and (only) loss to Meiko Satomura is shown. Valkyrie says that she will return reforged, remade, and ready for what’s next.
-Assistant to the General Manager Sid Scala is shown standing near the entrance to the UK Performance Center to welcome Jordan Devlin, who has returned to the UK. Devlin immediately asks if Scala got his lists of demands that will allow him to commit himself to the NXT UK brand. The demands on the list included a private dressing room, a Ford Mustang as his travel car, and a booking on an upcoming Supernova Session to air out his grievances. Scala assures the Irish Ace that he will clear everything with General Manager Johnny Saint, but the superstars in the PC are excited to welcome Devlin back. Devlin scoffs and says he’s already a finished product and doesn’t require training at the Performance Center.
-Pretty Deadly make their entrance as footage is shown of them taunting Jack Starz about not having a friend to team with. Jack Starz makes his entrance and awaits the arrival of his mystery partner, revealed to be Nathan Frazer. Frazer’s entrance to the match now makes this a Championship Match
(2) PRETTY DEADLY (c) vs. JACK STARZ & NATHAN FRAZER – NXT UK Tag Team Championship
Nigel notes that Starz getting Frazer as a tag partner was a great choice, but both men are used to wrestling as singles competitors, so they’ll be at a natural disadvantage.
Starz starts off against Sam Stoker, who immediately establishes his size and power advantage over Starz. Starz is able to hit a dropkick as the commentary team ponders if Starz would have benefitted from having Piper Niven in his corner. Stoker tags in Lewis Howley who sends Starz hard to the corner. Starz is able to catch a charging Howley into a Backslide pinning attempt for a Two Count and tags in Nathan Frazer. Frazer hits a flurry of high flying offense and frustrates Howley with an Arm Drag. Pretty Deadly gets a blind tag, but Frazer readjusts and begins taking it to Stoker. Stoker is able to distract the referee enough for Howley to lower the rope as Frazer runs the ropes and gets dumped to the outside.
The champs use quick tags and double team tactics until Frazer hits an Enziguri on Howley, who tags out to Stoker. Frazer finally reaches his corner and Starz gets the hot tag. Starz runs wild with a big Backdrop and Butterfly Suplex. He gets caught in a Guillotine Choke, but powers Stoker up and Suplexes him. A miscue by Pretty Deadly sends Howley outside and Frazer hits an ugly moonsault off the apron. Starz hits a big slam for a Two Count as the action is breaking down. Pretty Deadly again uses their tag experience to take advantage with Howley holding Frazer’s legs while Stoker shoulder tackles him off the apron and into the guardrail. Starz stays in the fight, but Pretty Deadly overwhelms him and hits their Spilled Milk double team Elevated Neckbreaker to retain their Titles.
WINNERS: Pretty Deadly (7:15)
(Gonzalez’s Analysis: It’s hard not to look at past NXT UK Tag Team Champions and think that Pretty Deadly are a pretty sharp decline from former prestige. They’re not un-talented and may have some charisma, but I wonder how a live crowd would receive them. I also think they suffer from a very shallow pool of tag team competition, as there are very few other established tag teams and they all seem to be occupying separate feuds currently.)
-New NXT UK Heritage Cup Champion Tyler Bate is shown meditating in a field that seems to be adjacent to the back of the UK Performance Center. He says the mind is like water, and when it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see, but when it’s calm, it’s clear. He begins practicing with nunchucks blindfolded and implies that he will defend the Heritage Cup against any challenger, but ultimately, he is the Heritage Cup Champion, and ends with saying, “I am.”
-Subculture makes their entrance together and wish Flash Morgan Webster well for his singles match. Subculture have their own custom TV entrance with a black and while screen and ‘Subculture’ scrolling on all corners of the screen. Joseph Connors makes his entrance with Jinny by his side.
(3) FLASH MORGAN WEBSTER vs. JOSEPH CONNERS w/Jinny
They lock up and perform some mat wrestling with Webster showing off some of his agility and craftiness to get the better of Conners. Webster hits an inverted moonsault from the mat for a One Count, visibly frustrating Conners and Jinny. Conners reverses Webster’s momentum and puts him down, following up with a chin lock into a pin attempt for a Two Count. Conners maintains control after a hard Backbreaker over his knee and a snapmare. Webster is able to run Conners into the corner and both men engage in a chop-fest that Webster wins, leading him to hitting a Springboard Moonsault and forcing Conners to the outside.
Webster motions going for a Tope Suicida, but the referee intercepts him to check on Conners. Morgan backs up only to jump over the crouched ref and hits Conners with a Tumbleweed Moonsault. An enraged Jinny grabs Webster’s Mod scooter helmet and tosses it to Conners as both men get back in the ring. The referee sees it and wrestles the helmet away from Conners. Webster capitalizes and hits a Pump Kick. He ascends to the top rope, but Jinny swoops in as the ref is removing the helmet from the ring and pushes Websterm who tumbles throat first onto the top rope. Conners seizes the opportunity and hits his Hangman’s Neckbreaker for the win.
WINNER: Joseph Conners (5:05)
-Mark Andrews and Dani Luna of Subculture storm the ring incensed at the cheating by Conners and Jinny.
-A WALTER promo video is shown highlighting the length of the NXT UK Champions reign. WALTER will make his return to NXT UK next week!
-A video is shown hyping next weeks NXT UK Women’s Championship match between Kay Lee Ray and Meiko Satomura.
(Gonzalez’s Analysis: I’m happy they’re promoting the match between Ray and Satomura, because so far, the only TV time the women’s division has gotten has been an Aiofe Valkyrie vignette, Jinny at ringside, Dani Luna pre-match and post-match, and this championship hype video. This is on top of having no women’s division matches last week.)
(4) RAMPAGE BROWN vs. JOE COFFEY
McGuinness runs through the recent injury history of both men, noting that Coffey sustained a wrist injury the last time he faced Rampage and Rampage himself may not be fully healed from a recent match with Gallus member Wolfgang.
Both men jockey for control until Coffey hits a Crossbody after some good big men rope running. Rampage responds with big punches and a dropkick as both men end up taking the fight through the ropes and onto the apron. Coffey is able to make a quick dodge by jumping off the apron as Rampage ends up kicking the post. Coffey pulls Rampage down by the leg and begins a focused attack on the ribs and midsection.
Back inside, Rampage targets Coffey’s injured wrist. He tries to power Coffey up, but the pain to his ribs is too much. Coffey is able to get a lift on Rampage and drops him ribs first onto the top rope and lays in a big kick as Rampage tries getting back in the ring. Coffey hits a Side Slam for a Two Count.
Coffey lays in punches directly to Rampage’s ribs and goes in for a bear hug. Rampage breaks it by backing Coffey into the corner but Coffey follows up with a stiff forearm shot to the ribs again, leaving Rampage gasping for air in pain. He tries to fight back, but gets caught in a Belly to Belly Suplex. With Rampage down, Coffey takes to the ropes and has to make an adjustment to hit a Reverse Splash.
Coffey continues his attack on the ribs and gets Rampage weakened enough to take him to the top rope. Coffey attempts a Superplex, but Rampage uses a headbutt to put Coffey down. Rampage hits a big Shoulder Tackle, but is too injured to make a cover. Both men fight to their feet, with Coffey getting a slight advantage until he misses a top rope Crossbody and gets up nursing his knee. Coffey is able to get another Crossbody that takes both men over the top rope. Coffey rolls in at Six to break the count and rolls back out to take the fight to the floor. He yells “unfinished business” at Rampage, who is on the other side of the floor and the two collide with each other multiple times. Coffey is able to dodge another collision and sends Rampage to the steps with a Glasgow Sendoff.
Coffey gets Rampage back inside and hits a Missile Dropkick from the top. He attempts a German Suplex, but Rampage is able to break it. Coffey uses a headbutt to the injured ribs and a corner crossbody to finally hit a German Suplex that earns him a Two Count. Coffey sets up for his for All The Best For The Bells Clothesline, but Rampage catches him and puts him down with a Samoan Drop. He goes for a Doctor Bomb, but Coffey is able to escape, hits two big Glasgow Sendoffs and hits All The Best For The Bells to earn a hard fought victory.
WINNER: Joe Coffey (11:38)
-After the match the two men get up and have a tense handshake. Rampage appears to acknowledge his loss, but holds up a finger and tells Coffey they are 1-1 against each other, implying this needs to be settled with a rubber match. Just then, Ilja Dragunov’s music hits and Dragunov comes out to stare both men down from the entrance as the show comes to a close.
(Gonzalez’s Take: A decent big man match, but far from the best both men could offer. That said, the storytelling here is how injury adversely affected both wrestlers and Coffey was able to win this one. It sets up an obvious and necessary rubber match. The interjection of Dragunov is interesting. Will he face the inevitable winner of the Rampage/Coffey feud, or will he get inserted in some kind of triple threat? The good news is that with WALTER returning, we will get our answer soon. The bad news is that WALTER has already beaten all of these competitors to retain his championship, so the championship matches won’t feel fresh. That said, nobody on the NXT UK Roster comes as close as Rampage, Coffey, or Dragunov to be a viable challenger.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This week again felt like a paint by numbers episode with nothing of real remark happening. The biggest issues I had was not having a women’s match for the second week in a row and having an uninspired tag team title match in the middle of the card. It is hard to say how the two divisions are moving progressively forward when they seem so low on the priority scale. At minimum, we should expect an excellent match between Kay Lee Ray and Meiko Satomura next week.)
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S NXT UK REPORT: 5/27 NXT UK TV REPORT: Nathan Frazer vs. Sha Samuels, Trent Seven vs. Sam Gradwell, more