Date: March 17, 2022
Location: BT Sports Studios, London, England
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Andy Shepherd
We have a guest start this week as Roderick Strong is coming over from NXT. That isn’t something that happens very often and I’m curious to see where it leaves. It very well may be a one off match, but it’s a little weird to see WWE suddenly caring about this show after years of indifference. Let’s get to it.
In Memory Of Scott Hall.
Oliver Carter vs. Tyler Bate
Ashton Smith and Trent Seven are here too. Bate works on a wristlock to start but Carter slips out and grabs one of his own. They go to a quick pinfall reversal sequence and it’s off to an early standoff. Carter takes him down with an armbar and then does it again to show off. Back up and Bate hits a running dropkick out to the floor for a crash.
Bate starts in on the ribs but gets taken down by a quick crossbody. That doesn’t see to bother Bate, as he is right back with the airplane spin into a gutbuster for two. An abdominal stretch with an elbow in the ribs has Carter in trouble and Bate turns it into an octopus to make it worse.
Carter falls down for the escape so Bate small packages him for two. A half nelson backbreaker gives Carter two of his own and they trade strikes to the head. The Tyler Driver 97 is countered into a hurricanrana for a VERY close two and the seconds get in a fight on the floor. The distraction is enough for Carter to backslide bate for the huge upset at 10:11.
Rating: B-. Now that is an upset and they actually surprised me with the clean (enough) finish. Beating Bate means a lot more than beating Seven so this is the way to go if you want to make Carter and Smith feel like a threat. If nothing else, Seven has been paranoid about keeping the titles and the loss might have Bate doing the same, which could get interesting.
A-Kid asks a raving Saxon Huxley to be his tag partner against Die Familie and gets a shouting yes.
Wild Boar looks at a mask and says he blames Eddie Dennis for everything that happened to him last year. Vengeance is sworn.
Nina Samuels vs. Emilia McKenzie
Samuels slips out of a headlock to start and they trade wristlocks. Some armdrags put Samuels down and McKenzie goes up for a middle rope hurricanrana. A slam cuts McKenzie off though and things slow down. Samuels kicks her into the corner to set up the chinlock, which is broken up as per expected.
McKenzie hits some clotheslines and a belly to back suplex and Samuels is sent outside. That means a big suicide dive to knock Samuels into the barricade for the crash and they’re right back in. McKenzie goes up but gets pulled off the top (by the hair, to make it even worse) for two and Samuels is frustrated. Samuels misses a moonsault though and McKenzie hits a quick spear for the pin at 9:43.
Rating: C+. McKenzie continues to be good for some nice performances and beating Samuels is a solid win for her. I don’t know if she goes anywhere with Meiko Satomura as champion but building for the future is a wise move. Samuels continues to be herself: a character that is easy to dislike who has been in the same place on the card for years now.
Mark Coffey leaves Sid Scala’s office and has gotten himself a Heritage Cup Title shot. Joe Coffey seems happy for him.
Someone, possibly Sam Gradwell, has left Kenny Williams a note saying he has made a lot of enemies. Williams isn’t too worried, but does seem a bit nervous when someone shuts the locker behind him.
Symbiosis comes in to see Sid Scala, as Wild Boar wants a match with Eddie Dennis. That’s not going to work for Dennis, who suggests Primate instead and then leaves before Scala can make a decision. Scala has to make a call as I try to get my mind around the idea of someone named Wild Boar making a formal request.
Aleah James vs. Stevie Turner
They fight over wrist control to start until Turner shoulders her down and glares a lot. A running headscissors gives James two but Turner hits a boot to the head. Another running kick to the head and a forearm get two more and we hit the chinlock with a knee in James’ back. James finally fights back but a Side Effect gives Turner two more. Back up and James grabs an O’Connor roll and bridges back for the pin at 4:11 for the clean pin.
Rating: C. I’m still not sure what they’re doing with Turner, who seems like she should be a bigger deal than she is and just never gets there. James is hardly a star and she beat Turner clean without as much as a fluke mishap. Maybe James is on her way up, but Turner seems to be falling lower and lower with every match.
Sha Samuels is now taking bets on Mark Coffey vs. Noam Dar. Someone calls in and Coffey takes a bet on Coffey…..at nearly 1700-1. Oh this isn’t going to end well.
Video on Meiko Satomura vs. Isla Dawn, who meet for Satomura’s Women’s Title next week. Dawn looking more and more insane makes her feel extra evil.
Roderick Strong vs. Wolfgang
Strong gets a nice reaction and there are no seconds here. Wolfgang powers him to the apron to start so Strong goes for the leg. That just makes him have to bail back to the floor as they’re firmly in first gear to start. Back in again and Strong goes after the arm but gets reversed into a headlock. Wolfgang lifts him up by the arm but Strong gets it back to the mat and grabs a chinlock.
That’s broken up and Strong is sent outside, where Strong drops him onto the barricade. Strong takes it into the corner back inside and strikes away, only to stop to yell at some chanting fans. Wolfgang gets taken down into a reverse chinlock but fights up and drives in some shoulders to the back in the corner. A powerslam gives Wolfgang two and the Caber Toss sends Strong flying again. The spear only hits buckle though and Strong scores with a jumping knee for the pin at 9:51.
Rating: C. I wasn’t feeling this one as it wasn’t exactly a barn burner. Strong is a much bigger star and there wasn’t much drama, which left Wolfgang feeling like he was just there to take a fall. Odds are Strong has a big match before heading back stateside and that is a good use for someone who has more star power than most of the NXT UK roster.
Post match Strong, who is bleeding from the eye, challenges Ilja Dragunov to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. The slightly disappointing Strong match aside, I had a good time with this show as the other matches were entertaining. It continues to be a positive sign that NXT UK can put on engaging shows without a lot of its top stars around. I’m curious as to why Strong was brought over though, as NXT UK has been almost completely isolated for the better part of ever and now, here’s a guest star. Just please don’t let the people with authority remember this show exists. I can’t take another loss.
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