Here we are and in record time. Back in the summer of 2012, NXT moved down to Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida. This was the start of the new way around developmental, which would be the permanent case going forward. For about a year and a half, the only thing NXT had was regular television, which is still the case today. They finally got a live special called Arrival in February 2014, nearly two years after their first regular show. NXT UK is getting its first live special two and a half months after the TV show debuted. That’s quite the different path but hopefully with the same results. Let’s get to it.

Travis Banks vs. Jordan Devlin

This was added to the card last but could be quite fun. It’s the battle of the midcarders in search of something better to do and in this case you have two guys who could move up the ladder with a win here. Banks hasn’t been back from his injury for that long while Devlin has been built up pretty well over the last few weeks. In other words, it’s Ireland vs. Australia for what is probably a future shot at the (currently) British champion.

I’m going with Devlin here as he’s been built up better so far, even though Banks seems like someone who could be a star with the right push. The only problem is Devlin has already lost to Pete Dunne so there isn’t as much of a reason to see them fight again. Devlin is someone who has a lot of the necessary skills and would seem to be a better option at the moment, even if Banks comes off as the more complete package.

He looked good enough here:

Jordan Devlin vs. "Wild Boar" Mike Hitchman: NXT UK, Dec. 19, 2018

Jordan Devlin vs. "Wild Boar" Mike Hitchman: NXT UK, Dec. 19, 2018

Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis

Now this is more my speed. These are the resident monsters of the promotion and have been billed as exactly that. They’ve already met on TV twice with a win for Mastiff and a double DQ in the rematch, making me wonder why they didn’t do a pair of draws to set up this big match. I’ve been a big fan of Dennis since he debuted on this show and hopefully he can live up to that on the big stage.

That being said, I’m taking Mastiff here as he seems to be the bigger prospect at the moment. Dennis is the kind of guy who can bounce back from a loss better as he’s a better talker and has a stronger backstory. Mastiff on the other hand is someone who is going to lose a lot the first time he’s beaten, and that doesn’t need to be the case just yet. Mastiff wins in a short and entertaining fight.

How did you like the first try:

Eddie Dennis vs. Dave Mastiff: NXT UK, Jan. 2, 2019

Eddie Dennis vs. Dave Mastiff: NXT UK, Jan. 2, 2019

Women’s Title: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm

This is another one where I’m not sure where to go. Ripley defeated an injured Storm to become the first champion. Storm is healthy now and, in theory at least, is the person that WWE would want to push to the moon and back. She’s young, energetic, looks great and can go in the ring. Where more can you ask for? Well perhaps a younger, taller, arguably more unique looking near prodigy from the same part of the world.

I’ll take…dang I guess Ripley to retain here, as I can’t imagine them putting the title on Ripley, only to take it off of her so fast, even if it’s to Storm. The problem here is they’ve done exactly what they should do here: make a match where I can’t imagine either of them actually losing. That takes talent and they’ve pulled it off here, which makes for a heck of a match. In theory they don’t change the title here, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they did either.

Pick your prodigy:

Toni Storm vs. Rhea Ripley - NXT UK Women's Championship Tournament Finals: NXT UK, Nov. 28, 2018

Toni Storm vs. Rhea Ripley - NXT UK Women's Championship Tournament Finals: NXT UK, Nov. 28, 2018

Tag Team Titles: Moustache Mountain vs. James Drake/Zack Gibson

This is the tournament final to crown the first champions and they’ve got a heck of a match. There isn’t much of a division around here but these two teams are the best around the whole promotion. Both are regular teams around the UK and now they’re getting a chance on the big stage. The fans can’t stand Gibson, love Moustache Mountain and….well they notice that Drake is rather good as well. That makes for a hot crowd and hopefully the match lives up to it.

They’ve both been built up very well, but Gibson and Drake makes more sense here. Moustache Mountain are the biggest stars in the promotion and don’t need the win. Having already won the real NXT Tag Team Titles, there’s no need to have them win here and get built up even further. Let the other team win and become stars, so that the big moment of Moustache Mountain finally winning the titles means more than just beating a team that hasn’t been around very long.

I guess this is proper grooming:

Moustache Mountain vs. Saxon Huxley & Tyson T-Bone: NXT UK, Dec. 19, 2018

Moustache Mountain vs. Saxon Huxley & Tyson T-Bone: NXT UK, Dec. 19, 2018

NXT Title: Pete Dunne(c) vs. Joe Coffey

Dunne has been champion over 600 days now and, to quote an old WWF poster, somebody has to stop him. The thing is, I’m not sure if Coffey is the guy to do the stopping. He’s a big guy with a good finisher, but Dunne is just on another planet. The win over Dunne is going to be the biggest thing to ever happen to the promotion and I don’t know if they want to waste that on someone like Coffey. He’s good, but I don’t think he’s that good.

I’ll go with Dunne retaining the title, followed by some kind of a big attack to set up the next challenger. There are a lot of options to come after the title and Dunne is going to lose the title….eventually. Coffey is the kind of guy who can be right back in short order and while he’ll have a very good, and likely long, match against Dunne, it’s not going to be enough to end the historic reign.

At least Coffey put him down once:

Dunne stands face-to-face with Coffey WWE UK Title Contract Signing: NXT UK, Jan. 2, 2019

Dunne stands face-to-face with Coffey WWE UK Title Contract Signing: NXT UK, Jan. 2, 2019

Overall Thoughts

I know I’m harsh on the TV show (the scheduling, not the wrestlers) but they’ve done a very good job of setting up a show where I don’t know who is going to win a lot of these matches. That’s good booking and with the right kind of execution, this could be awesome. The live shows are usually pretty good and while I haven’t been a fan of the build, the show itself looks strong. Now if only they can live up to the hype.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 28 wrestling books. His latest book is the the Complete 1997 Monday Night Raw Reviews.

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