Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: August 31, 2019
Location: Motorpoint Arena Cardiff, Cardiff, Wales
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Vic Joseph
It’s been a long time since we’ve had one of these things and that might be best. NXT UK is getting the hang of things but they’re still a long way away from being ready to do regular big time specials. This time around we have a big main event in the form of Tyler Bate challenging Walter for the United Kingdom Title. Let’s get to it.
The opening video shows a shot of Cardiff but the feed is cut off by Imperium, who run this place. The rest of the matches get the regular attention.
Travis Banks vs. Noam Dar
They’ve been glaring at each other lately. Banks takes him into the corner to start but gets taken down by the arm. It’s too early for the ankle lock and they both miss some kicks to the face. The threat of a kick to the face gives us a standoff as the fans are behind Banks. A hard kick sends Dar outside as Banks takes over for the first time but the threat of a running shot in the corner has Dar rolling around.
Dar starts going after the arm and snapmares him into the ropes to mess up the shoulder even more. A bridging German suplex gives Banks a fast two but Dar is right back with some more kicks to the head. They fight for arm control on the mat until Banks gets in a cobra clutch/Crossface combination, sending Dar over to the rope. Dar slaps him in the face to sucker Banks in, allowing him to get in a kick to Banks’ leg.
A very spinning Unprettier gets two but the Nova Roller misses. The Slice of Heaven does as well and Dar grabs the ankle lock. Banks rolls over and slips out so Dar hits a basement clothesline to the back of the head for two. Back up and another Slice of Heaven attempt misses as Dar ducks so Banks hits a double stomp instead.
The suicide dive connects and Banks hits most of the Slice of Heaven off the barricade. Back in and the top rope double stomp gives Banks two more. The slugout goes to Banks with a discus forearm and a running knee to the face but Slice of Heaven misses again (dude, get the hint already). The Nova Roller finishes Banks at 13:55.
Rating: C+. I know they really want to push Dar but this was another case where I was waiting on his match to end. It was good enough (though you can only take so many Slice of Heaven attempts) and the fans were into Banks, but the story wasn’t that strong and it felt like something that belonged on the Kickoff Show.
Cesaro is here with an open challenge and we have an answer.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Cesaro
Works for me. Dragunov hits a running boot in the corner to start but Cesaro is right back with some chops. A powerslam doesn’t work for Cesaro so he dodges a chop and it’s a standoff. Dragunov chops away and hits a backsplash for two so Cesaro picks him up and tosses him outside. Sometimes the simple approach works best, such as dropping Dragunov throat first across the barricade.
Back in and a legdrop sets up the chinlock on Dragunov, which is broken up in short order. Dragunov reverses a belly to back with a crossbody but Cesaro grabs him for a 30+ second swing to make Dragunov’s eyes even screwier. A Crossface doesn’t last long and Dragunov scores with the 61-Line. Dragunov gets fired up and throws Cesaro with the suplex for a roll to the floor.
That means the big suicide dive and a Coast to Coast as Cesaro gets back in. Cesaro is right back up and knees him in the ribs, setting up a running seated uppercut for two. Fans: “ARE YOU WATCHING? ARE YOU WATCHING? ARE YOU WATCHING VINCE MCMAHON?” Dragunov hits a Death Valley Driver into the corner. Dragunov hits a top rope backsplash for two and it’s Torpedo Moscow time. That’s broken up with Swiss Death and Cesaro Neutralizes him for the pin at 12:31.
Rating: B. This was the Finn Balor appearance from Blackpool and I’m not sure they needed to go this way. Dragunov is still recovering from the bizarre loss to Kassius Ohno and Cesaro doesn’t need the win. At the same time though, Dragunov might not have been ready to beat Cesaro here. Hopefully Cesaro sticks around here as he seems a lot better suited to the UK than whatever they’ll have him do next on Raw or Smackdown.
Post match Cesaro teases hitting a clothesline but sticks out his hand for the handshake instead.
Adrian Street and Miss Linda are here. That documentary does sound good.
We recap the Tag Team Titles. Grizzled Young Veterans are the first champions but Gallus want the titles. Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews, both from Wales, won singles matches to get into the match.
Tag Team Titles: Flash Morgan Webster/Mark Andrews vs. Gallus vs. Grizzled Young Veterans
The Veterans (Zack Gibson and James Drake) are defending and it’s Andrews sunset flipping Gibson for two to start. Drake comes in for a double hiptoss into a standing moonsault/standing flip dive from Andrews and Webster. We settle down to Webster not being able to sunset flip Wolfgang so it’s a six man staredown. The champs are knocked to the floor and a hurricanrana/moonsault takes down Gibson and Coffey.
Back in and a moonsault press gets two on Gibson as the champs are in trouble. He’s right back up with a backbreaker on Webster on the floor with Drake slingshotting down into a forearm to Webster’s chest. Back in again and everything breaks down again with Andrews cleaning house, only to get jumped by Gallus. That means stereo flip dives from the Welsh guys to both other teams and the fans are rather pleased.
Back in and Andrews’ assisted 450 gets two on Gibson, only to have Gallus come back in to start cleaning house. A catapult into a Samoan drop gets two on Andrews but it’s a reverse hurricanrana/running knee strike (cool) for two on Wolfgang. Andrews is back up with a shooting star to take out Gallus and Gibson. As the fans again ask about Vince’s viewing habits, it’s Stundog Millionaire into a Swanton from Webster for two on Gibson. Helter Skelter into the 450 gets two on Andrews, with the crowd literally getting to their feet on the kickout.
The champs and the Welsh guys are all knocked down but it’s Gallus coming back in to clean house. Coffey hits his own big dive to take everyone out, followed by the enziguri into the powerslam for a delayed two on Andrews. Everyone gets back in and Gallus gets beaten down until Webster is catapulted into a Canadian Destroyer on Coffey. Gibson takes Wolfgang to the floor for an electric chair, with Drake adding the suicide clothesline for a Doomsday Device.
That means the big showdown between the champs and Andrews/Morgan with the Welsh guys getting the better of it. Webster hits a 630 on Drake with Gibson making the save. Andrews tries to dive on him but gets hit in the throat on the way down. Back in and Ticket to Mayhem hits Webster but Drake goes to deal with Gallus. That lets Andrews come in with Fall to Pieces to Gibson to give Webster the pin and the titles at 20:10.
Rating: B. This was WAY too long and felt like it just kept going and going. That being said, there were some very good near falls and some awesome near falls before the perfectly done feel good moment at the end. If you cut off five minutes, it’s even better, but the length held it back a lot. Andrews and Webster winning is completely the right call though and it felt like a special moment.
Post match the champs celebrate in the crowd in a pretty cool moment.
We recap Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey. They’re both big monsters and went to a double countout before. Therefore it’s Last Man Standing so they can beat on each other a lot.
Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey
Last Man Standing. Coffey brings in a chain but Mastiff comes straight at him anyway to start the brawl in the aisle. They get inside with Coffey hammering away but Mastiff whips him into the corner….and the top rope comes off the buckle. Mastiff shrugs and hits Coffey in the back with the turnbuckle rod before putting it in Coffey’s mouth. Coffey slugs back with some liver shots and a belly to back suplex.
That doesn’t even get a count as Mastiff is right back up with a German suplex of his own. They head outside with Coffey busting out a pool cue to knock Mastiff down. There’s a bag of weapons under the ring but Coffey goes to set up a table. That lets Mastiff hit him in the back with a cricket bat but Coffey is right back up with a headbutt to the ribs to put Mastiff through the table.
It’s chain time again so Mastiff hits another German suplex on the floor. Another table is set up against the barricade and, after giving up a tug of war over the chain, Mastiff cannonballs him through the table. They fight into the crowd with Coffey’s chain shot getting eight. Mastiff has two chairs so he throws one to Coffey, who backs way up. They both get running starts and collide in the aisle for a double knockdown.
With that not working, they wind up by commentary with Dave hitting a Regal Roll onto the announcers’ table for eight. Just to mix it up a bit, they go to the balcony and slug it out before crashing down onto some tables. They both use anvil cases to get up but Coffey kicks Mastiff’s away for the win at 15:59.
Rating: B-. I hit you, you hit me, we do a big spot and get up until the big spot at the end. That’s precisely what they should have been doing here and Mastiff is protected a bit by the ending. I’m a bit surprised by Coffey winning but it’s hardly the worst idea. You could easily put him in as a challenger of the month for Walter and that’s a good spot for him. That could go for either of them and Mastiff can easily be built back up.
Tegan Knox is here.
We recap the Women’s Title match. Toni Storm has held the title for months now and Ray won a battle royal a good while ago to become #1 contender. Ray made it personal by talking about their previous friendship and how Toni drives everyone away. Toni hasn’t been as focused coming into this but she was fine in the last showdown so we could be in for a good fight here.
Women’s Title: Kay Lee Ray vs. Toni Storm
Toni is defending and we get the Big Match Intros. Ray bails straight to the floor so Storm dives onto her, setting up a big forearm to the face back inside. Ray knocks her right back down though and we hit a seated abdominal stretch. Toni goes off with shots to the face and a superkick to put Ray down. A running clothesline can’t set up Storm Zero so its’ a Code Red for two instead.
Now Storm Zero connects for two so Ray is right back with her own superkick. The Gory Bomb gives Ray her own two so they head up top. Neither can hit a super version of their finisher so Toni grabs a release German suplex for two more. Storm gets sent outside so Ray hits a top rope flip dive for a nasty landing, sending the referee down to check on them. Back in and the Gory Bomb onto the top rope sets up a regular Gory Bomb to give Ray the title at 9:58.
Rating: C. This felt sloppy and rushed, the latter of which is probably true due to it not getting that much time. Storm didn’t have a lot of life or fire here and it was causing some issues. Ray winning is a good thing as Storm had held the thing long enough but I was hoping it was in a better, or at least bigger feeling, match.
We recap Tyler Bate vs. Walter for the United Kingdom Title. Walter took the title from Bate’s friend Pete Dunne and then formed Imperium to clean up NXT UK. The team attacked Bate and Trent Seven so Bate is back for revenge, his friends and the title.
United Kingdom Title: Tyler Bate vs. Walter
Walter is defending and there are no seconds here. Bate ducks an early shot and starts going after the knee as the fans sing a lot. A test of strength goes to Walter but Bate powers up to send him into the ropes. Walter’s headlock grinds Bate down a bit as the songs are now rather anti-Walter. Bate is right back up with a delayed slam though and Walter needs a breather on the floor. The suicide dive is blocked though and Walter’s big chop sets up an apron bomb.
A big boot rocks Bate hard and a toss powerbomb….is left short, sending the back of Bate’s head into the post. After a check from a trainer, Bate is back in to get beaten up more as his back is giving out. As the fans chant some rather mean things about Walter, Bate collapses while trying a fireman’s carry. Walter pulls on the arms and puts a boot in the back as the slow grinding down continues.
A running seated splash gets two on Bate and the big chops knock him into the corner. Bate looks a little dead but manages to pull himself up, only to get laid on the top turnbuckle. Walter knocks him to the apron but Bate gets him up for a fall away slam to the floor in an impressive toss. Back in and Bate’s middle rope uppercut is chopped out of the air, setting up the big Boston crab. Make that a Liontamer into a Crossface, with Walter pulling backwards for a change of pace.
Bate finally makes the rope and somehow manages to block a suplex, setting up one of his own to bring the fans back into it. A bunch of clotheslines don’t put Walter down but a rolling Liger kick staggers him into an exploder suplex. Bate nips up and Nigel can’t believe what he’s seeing as a standing shooting star press gets two. The Tyler Driver 97 is blocked a few times and a running dropkick sends Bate into the corner.
Bate manages to counter the powerbomb into a sunset flip for two more. They get to the top with Bate loading up a superplex….and looking down at the floor. Walter isn’t having that and chops him down but Bate is back up with a finger snap. That means an exploder superplex for two as the fans are dying on these near falls. The slugout goes to Walter but he charges into Bang and falls onto Bate…..who is face down on the mat so there is no cover.
Walter is back up with an exploder suplex of his own but Bate manages the airplane spin until Walter makes the rope. That’s fine with Bate, who puts him into a torture rack for the Burning Hammer. Bate can’t cover so Walter rolls outside, meaning it’s a suicide dive from behind. The no hands dive drops Walter again and Bate manages a bridging German suplex for two. The Tyler Driver 97 is countered into a backdrop for two but Bate bridges up into the Tyler Driver 97 for two, sending Nigel over the moon in shock.
Spiral Tap gets two more so Bate unloads with rights and lefts, sending Walter into the corner to cover up. A chop cuts him off and a big boot knocks Bate silly, setting up the sleeper. Bate stands up with Walter on his back (because he just can) and drops back but Walter puts the hold right back on.
Bate gets up AGAIN and gets to the apron where he pulls Walter over the top and elbows his way out. Walter grabs him right back for a sleeper suplex onto the apron to kill Bate dead. The top rope splash….gets two and the fans are alive again. Another sleeper suplex gets another two and Walter powerbombs him….for one. Walter chops him down and hits a heck of a lariat to FINALLY finish Bate at 42:11.
Rating: A+. And that’s your match of the weekend with Bate looking like he could somehow survive out there until finally coming up short. This felt like it was half as long as it was and even though I didn’t buy Bate as having a chance coming in, I was buying that he might hang on and survive in the end. It’s going to take something special to take Walter down and as special as this was, I’m not sure who is going to do that. This was an incredible story that made you believe the impossible could happen, which is as hard of a thing to do as you can get. Watch this and have some fun.
Imperium comes out to pose and leaves Bate to get the big hero’s ending with Seven and Dunne coming out to help him up.
Overall Rating: B+. The main event pulled this one up several notches and somehow made me forget about the great moment off the Tag Team Title change. The rest of the show was good but the main event completely stole the show (and weekend, if not year). Watch that one for sure and the Tag Team Title match if you have time. It’s not as good as the regular NXT Takeovers, but it’s an incredible main event that holds up with anything NXT has done for a long time. Outstanding main event and I’m looking forward to seeing what is next around here.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 60,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 6,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books.
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