By Big Red Machine
From August 31, 2019
NOAM DAR vs. TRAVIS BANKS - 7.5/10
A hell of a way to start off a show. A good clean match between a valiant babyface and an arrogant heel, telling a good story of working over body parts.
RADZIE INTERVIEWS CESARO - He’s making an open challenge right now. Ilja Dragunov walked by and snorted at him, killing the surprise of who is answering the open challenge.
ILJA DRAGUNOV vs. CESARO - 8/10
This was everything I hoped it would be. Hard-hitting strikes, power moves, and bodies flying. Hand holy sh*t that finish! Ilja looked strong in defeat and got a nice show of respect from Cesaro after the match.
NXT UK TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Grizzled Young Veterans(c) vs. Mark Andrews & “Flash” Morgan Webster vs. Gallus (Mark Coffey & Wolfgang) - 9/10
Take a team of underdog high-flyer babyfaces and put them in a title match against the two meanest heel teams in the company, add in an extremely hot crowd, and you’ve got a recipe for something special. There were so many great spots in this match, but the thing I’ll remember most about this match was the atmosphere. This crowd was ready to see their countrymen win the titles, and you could sense the buzz in the building getting even louder every time the big moment seemed to be near. This is a match you should go out of your way to see.
LAST MAN STANDING MATCH: Dave Mastiff vs. Joe Coffey - 7.25/10
The top rope broke early on when Mastiff whipped Coffey into it HARD. That being said, my guess is that this was gimmicked because Mastiff went to using the turnbuckle (by which I mean the actual thing, not the pad) as a weapon WAY too quickly. They brawled all over and hit each other with stuff. The finish saw Mastiff almost get back up but Coffey kicked away the wheeled equipment case he using to hold himself up. I assume this was done as some kind of protection for Mastiff, but in my opinion if you can’t stand up without leaning on something, you don’t deserve to be counted as “standing.”
NXT UK WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Toni Storm(c) vs. Kay Lee Ray - 6.5/10
These two definitely felt like they got shortchanged on time, going only ten minutes, but I thought the action was very good. My biggest knock on the match is that they didn’t do anywhere near enough to play into the “Kay Lee Ray is in Toni Storm’s head” idea, which was the big angle going into this match.
WWE UK TITLE MATCH:
WALTER(c) vs. Tyler Bate - 9.75/10
WALTER worked the back over and Bate sold very well. Both men sold the wear and tear of this long, grueling match, and I thought Bate’s homages to the other members of British Strong Style were a very nice touch. The crowd was extremely hot for the whole match and was dying to see a title change.
That being said, there were two things I have against this match. The first was the length. This definitely started to drag, and I think would have worked just as well at 32 minutes instead of 42 (and give those other ten minutes to the women’s title match). The other was the fact that Bate succeeded in lifting WALTER up every time he tried. Yes, he sold every time and had great difficulty doing so, but the fact that he never once failed undermined the story of WALTER working over his back.
One other problem I had with this match was more with the announcers and the framing of it. They had this whole narrative that Bate was fighting for “everything British Strong Style has worked to build” and for the future of the NXT UK brand, as if Imperium were some sort of threat to it. I don’t understand where this sentiment is coming from. Imperium aren’t some sort of outside invaders, or even an internal group with a philosophy of wrestling that is incompatible with what the brand is like the Prophecy was to ROH. They’re just no-nonsense guys who seem to be just as much Johnny Saint’s type as Pete Dunne does.
This was a f*cking FANTASTIC show from NXT UK, with a crowd that was on fire all night. Do I think one or two things could have been done better? Yes. But on the whole this show was phenomenal, and definitely in the top echelon of TakeOvers.