The Story So Far: NXT UK (10/31/18)

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Photo: WWE

The second episode of NXT UK was quite similar to the debut edition, in that it mostly focused on showcasing these new talents to a wider audience. Although some of the names featured were already known to those who only watch WWE, such as the inaugural United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate and occasional NXT star Dakota Kai, there were still some who weren’t that recognizable to those that didn’t follow the UK scene. This episode allowed them to see these faces in action for possibly the first time…

Showcase: Main Event

The second ever NXT UK main event featured original members of the division facing off, as Tyler Bate squared off against Wolfgang in a true David vs Goliath bout. Between the pair, there’s a difference of 80 lbs (37 kg) in favour of the big Scotsman. Would that come as a disadvantage to young Tyler Bate? Of course not.

WWE’s resident B i g S t r o n g B o i has made a name for himself as not backing down from any and all challengers that come his way – a prime example of this statement is his recent PROGRESS match with WALTER for the World Championship, a match he very nearly won. While Wolfgang may not be as big as WALTER, he still proved to be quite the challenge for Mr Bate. Despite being hit with a big spear that may as well have been a bus, Tyler picked up the pieces of a Wolfgang missed diving senton for a Tyler Driver ’97 that gave him the three count he so desired.

The match has received a bit of criticism for the fact that on the previous episode, Tyler and Moustache Mountain pal Trent Seven set their sights on the NXT UK Tag Team Championships, only for Tyler to wrestle a singles match on the following episode. In reality though, you could class this as Tyler building momentum towards them going for the tag straps. If Tyler can knock down big Wolfie by himself, who knows what he and Trent can do in tag team competition.

Shoes Off If You Hate Gibson

Zack Gibson is easily the most hated man in British wrestling today. He can draw heat for days, but that doesn’t put his mind off the goals he set himself. His goal right now – the WWE United Kingdom Championship. If you ask him, he’ll tell you he is sooooooon to be recognized as NXT UK’s number one.

His promo from last week’s NXT UK had some very interesting points. The Liverpudlian noted that because he had to beat three other men in one night to earn the right to challenge Pete Dunne just 24 hours later was the reason for his loss, and that a fresh Zack Gibson would’ve been able to beat The Bruiserweight on any given night. Looks like he forgot about the match from the post-Takeover: Brooklyn IV episode of NXT. Noam Dar interrupted him, but was immediately followed out by general manager Johnny Saint. Before any brawling could take place, Saint ordered them to his office.

It was a bit of an anticlimax to what could of been a chaotic brawl. Nevertheless, though, Gibson continued to be the most despised man on the NXT UK roster. Plus, it set up perfectly to this week’s main event!

Evolution

NXT UK’s women’s division is looking like quite the pool of talent, with names like 2018 Mae Young Classic winner Toni Storm, current PROGRESS Women’s Champion Jinny, and the ever-dangerous Rhea Ripley being just some of the big stars. Last week’s episode however featured none of those names, instead featuring two women not actually from the United Kingdom squaring off – Portugal’s Killer Kelly and New Zealand’s Dakota Kai.

Despite neither woman hailing from any region of the lovely UK, they still deserve to have their spots on the roster. Both have excelled in their outings in WWE thus far, especially Kai, who has competed in some pretty prolific matches as shown by her WrestleMania 34 pre-show appearance in the women’s Battle Royal. Killer Kelly, despite not being signed exclusively to WWE like Dakota, has shown she has more than earned her rightful spot. Just last December, she bested Melanie Gray to be crowned the inaugural wXw Women’s Champion, a promotion that WWE seem to have a keen eye on at the moment. It wasn’t her night here though, with Kai using her patened Kaio-Driver to gain the victory.

Seeing as it’s already been taped and we know neither Kai nor Kelly became the inaugural NXT UK Women’s Champion, you’d have to imagine both are in the running to be future champions. They have the ability to carry the women’s division, not that it needs to be that way though of course, and can put on impressive match after impressive match on any night. One final note – expect it to be sooner rather than later that Killer Kelly starts appearing on regular NXT too, at the very least making sporadic appearances.

New Talent Impress

When the second United Kingdom Championship Tournament rolled around, it brought with it some new additions to WWE’s UK division. Two of those names are Ligero and Ashton Smith, both of whom were in singles action last week where both were victorious over Mike ‘Wild Boar’ Hitchman and Tucker, respectively. In another similarity, both won their matches with DDT variations as Ligero used a twisting springboard tornado DDT (known as the C4L) while Ashton used an innovative ripcord DDT (referred to as the Ash Cloud).

Ligero has been a stalwart of the UK scene for years now, and never fails to complain when he has a day away from the ring. As of writing, he is at almost 300 matches so far this year alone, maybe even more. He’s an incredibly motivated guy, and is one of those names that just deserves to be where he’s at. Ashton Smith is also a deserving man. As an agile powerhouse, he fits in perfectly with the rest of his NXT UK colleagues. Although he may have been someone fans weren’t expecting to see on the roster, we can see why WWE chose to have him.

We’re only coming into week three of episodes airing, meaning there’s still plenty more talent that we’ve yet to see, such as Kenny Williams and Amir Jordan. But if the previous two episodes have taught us anything, it’s that the bar has been set to the highest possible level.

This Week

Two brand new episodes are set to hit the WWE Network tonight from 8pm GMT onwards. Episode three will see the aforementioned bout between Noam Dar and Zack Gibson headlining the show, as well as Trent Seven taking on Saxon Huxley, and Danny Burch going one on one with Sam Gradwell. Meanwhile, the following episode sees Mark Andrews battle Wolfgang, Nina Samuels taking on 2018 Mae Young Classic competitor Isla Dawn, and Moustache Mountain in tag action against Sam Gradwell and Saxon Huxley.

 

Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.

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