Welcome back to the weekly TJRwrestling review of WWE NXT UK. Last week, we had an average show that had a strong promo by the Grizzled Young Veterans and a good tag team match in the main event between Gallus and Danny Birch and Oney Lorcan for the NXT UK Tag Team Titles. Outside of that, there wasn’t much else of note on the show. It was also announced this weekend that the NXT UK brand will be getting another Takeover event in April in Dublin, Ireland. This will mark the first time the event will take place in a different country and we should start to see the buildup for the show in the coming weeks. Let’s get this party started.
WWE NXT UK from York, England 2/20/2020
The show opens with Joe Coffey watching the video from the events that transpired at Takeover: Blackpool 2 between him and Ilja Dragunov. The package does a good job building up the match between the two later on tonight. Coffey says this ends tonight.
We are inside the NXT UK arena as Tom Phillips and Aiden English welcome us to the show and go down to the ring for the opening match of the night.
Tyler Bate vs. Joseph Connors
This is a match that has had a little bit of history to it, with Connors feeling like Bate has taken all the spotlight and he has been overlooked and passed over for opportunities.
They lock up and Bate takes him down to the mat. Both men exchange some counters but it ends in a stalemate. Bate grabs a headlock and follows that up with a hurricanrana and a series of dropkicks that knocks Connors to the outside. Connors is frustrated and grabs a chair but heeds the referees wanting and doesn’t bring it in the ring. He jumps back in and Bate locks in an armbar. Connors fights out, but Bate stays on the offensive and hits a Monkey Flip. Bate climbs to the top rope but Connors knocks him off and he falls to the floor. Connors capitalizes and continues to beat on Bate on the outside. He rolls him back in and covers Bate for a near fall. Connors hits a clothesline followed by another near fall. He hits an elbow and covers for a 2 count. Connors continues with the advantage and outs Bate in a neck lock. Bate fights his way out and hits some European Uppercuts but Connors recovers and both men have a test of strength backslide. Bate gets to his feet and climbs to the top and hits a flying elbow, followed by another elbow strike in the corner. Bate hits an Exploder Suplex and a standing shooting star press and gets a near fall. Bate picks him up for the Airplane Spin but Connors counters into a roll-up for two. Bate comes back with an uppercut and gets another near fall. Bate is back to his feet and attempts the Tyler Driver but Connors reverses it. Connors comes back with a bulldog for a two count. He goes for a moonsault, but Bate rolls out of the way. Bate goes climbing to the top but jumps down and is met with a slam by Connors. Both men exchange blows and Bate is knocked out of the ring. Connors follows right behind him with a suicide dive and hits a slingshot Flatliner for a two count. Connors works him into the corner and hits a series of shots that knocks Bate down to the mat again. Connors tells Bate that he took everything from him, and both men start to exchange shots in the middle of the ring. Bate hits a Cartwheel Kick and goes for the Tyler Driver again, but Connors fights out and rolls to the floor. Bate follows him out with a senton. Connors recovers and hits a drop toe hold on the chair he brought out earlier. Connors rolls him in and hits a move and gets a two count. Connors goes for the Dublin Down but Bate reserves it into a DDT. Bate hits some strikes and finally hits Connors with the Tyler Driver ‘97 and picks up the win in about 10 minutes.
Winner: Tyler Bate
Match Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a strong opening match between two guys that can really go. Tyler Bate is impressive for how young he is, and is a good mix of athleticism and power. He isn’t the biggest guy in the world but he stuff looks great. Joseph Connors looked strong here as well and really showed that he can hang with the top performers on the brand. The match was a perfect length and didn’t feel like it drug on forever. Great way to start the show.
There is a package hyping up the submission match next week for the NXT UK Women’s Championship between Kay Lee Ray and Toni Storm. The match has an added stipulation that is Storm loses, she will never be able to challenge for the title again as long as Kay is the champion. The package was good and the match next week should be a good one.
Backstage, Walter and Dave Mastiff are face to face and it is announced that in two weeks, Walter will be defending the NXT UK Championship against Mastiff. Walter says that he is the best wrestler in all of Europe and Mastiff is going to find that out the hard way. Walter says the belt isn’t going anywhere and he walks off.
Tom Phillips and Aiden English talk about the upcoming title match in two weeks but are cut off by Jinny, who climbs on top of the announcer’s table and has a mic in hand. She says that she is the queen of NXT UK. She says that ever since she was a little girl every command she had given had been obeyed. She says she doesn’t tolerate unprofessionalism and that she gave Jazzy Gabert her 15 minutes of fame and she wasted it. She said she might do it again if someone is lucky enough to be in her presence. She says that no one will ever disrespect her again.
Noam Dar vs. Josh Morrell
The bell sounds and both men circle each other in the ring. They lock up, and Dar works him into the corner. He lets up and works him into the corner again. Dar taunts him and Morrell pushes him away. They start to wrestle, but Dar continues the mind games. They lock hands and have a test of strength with Dar slapping Morrell and Morrell slaps him right back. Dar locks on an armbar but Morrell fights out and both men exchange counters before Morrell hits a dropkick. He continues to work on Dar in the corner and throws him into the opposite side and follows it up with a stiff elbow. Morrell hits a springboard moonsault but only gets a two count. He rolls Dar up and gets another near fall. Dar recovers and tosses him to the outside. He kicks his legs out from under him and brings him in the ring by the arm. Dar hits a forearm and covers for a two. Dar continues to pound on Morrell and locks in a sleeper but breaks the hold. Dar hits some strikes and elbows but as he goes in to keep the advantage, Morrell hits an elbow. He tries to mount some momentum but Dar recovers and hits a kick to the face. He follows that up with the Nova Roller and picks up the win in about 5 minutes.
Winner: Noam Dar
Match Rating: 2.75/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a fun match that was a little on the short side. Both men showed great athleticism with Dar being the standout in the match. Dar used some power moves in there as well, and it was the right move for him to pick up the win here. Josh Morrell came off strong even in a loss, but Dar was the focal point. He should stay on this brand for a while and if he does, I could see them pushing him significantly.
There is a promo by The Hunt who has a bone to kick with the Grizzled Young Veterans. They said they should watch their backs because now they are the hunted. It is announced that the two teams will go head to head next week.
They talk about NXT UK having a special start time next week of 10 AM EST and also mention the Takeover: Dublin event coming up in April.
Jordan Devlin is being interviewed backstage. They ask what he has been up to lately, and he says since he has been champion everyone has been asking him to come in. He said he has been working hard, so a little relaxing won’t hurt him much. He says that he will be back when he is ready. It’s time for the main event.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Joe Coffey (w/Gallus)
Gallus leaves Coffey at the entranceway and he comes down to the ring alone. Last week, Gallus left Dragunov laying as the show went off the air.
The match begins with both men looking for an early advantage. They lock up and both men exchange moves and counters. Coffey with a shot to the midsection. Coffey locks in a front face lock, but Dragunov fights out and locks in one of his own. Coffey regains the advantage and gets a headlock locked in. Dragunov throws him into the ropes, but Coffey hits a shoulder block. Both men meet in the middle of the ring and we have a standoff. Dragunov tells him to bring it, and he hits a splash for a two count. He hits Coffey with a kick to the face that sends him to the outside. He climbs to the top and hits Coffey with a splash to the outside. Dragunov rolls him back in the ring and climbs back to the top but misses a stomp. Coffey comes back with the Glasgow Sendoff that knocks Dragunov to the outside. Coffey follows him out and hits some punches to the head and midsection. Coffey sends Dragunov into the stairs but as he comes in Dragunov hits a chop. He climbs up on the apron but Coffey pulls him down and he comes down hard on his knee. Both men exchange stuff shots and chops in the ring. Coffey kicks out the bad knee of Dragunov and continues to work on it as Dragunov is on the mat. Dragunov gets a boot up and climbs to the top rope but Coffey follows him up and hits a shin breaker from the top. Coffey continues the assault and locks in a leg lock, followed by a Boston Crab. Dragunov uses all the power he had and gets to the bottom rope to break the hold. Coffey continues stomping on the leg but Dragunov fights out and gets back to his feet. He tries to mount some offense, but Coffey goes back to the leg. Dragunov kicks him off with the other leg, and they both duck under attacks and Dragunov hits a clothesline. He charges in and hits a high knee in the corner. Coffey fights out of a waist lock, but Dragunov hits an Enziguri followed by a Russian Suplex for a two count. Dragunov goes to the top again and hits a senton but only gets a two count. Dragunov goes to the top but he can’t put pressure on his leg and he falls down. Coffey takes advantage and hits multiple uppercuts. He goes up top and attempts a Belly to Belly but Dragunov fights out temporarily, but Coffey eventually hits the move. Both men charge each other and Dragunov hits a high knee. Coffey comes off the rope and Dragunov catches him but Coffey fights out. Dragunov hits a Death Valley Driver sending Coffey into the corner. He makes his way up top again and hits a Coast to Coast a Dropkick. That was impressive. Both men get back to their feet and charge in but Dragunov hits the Torpedo Moscow before Coffey can hit the Best of the Bells and he picks up the win after about 15 minutes.
Winner: Ilja Dragunov
Match Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Collective Thoughts: That was a fast-paced main event that was back and forth for the entire thing. Coffey tried to hit the Best of the Bells throughout the match but Dragunov always had an answer. Both men hit a slew of power offense but also had moments for the athletics to the shine. They also had some great counters to each other and the whole match was entertaining and it didn’t really slow down all that much. They had a lot of sequences of each man getting shots in and it just came off as an evenly matched contest. Great way to end the show, and presumably, end the feud as well.
After the match, Gallus hit the ring and Coffey and Draganov have a staredown. Coffey says that they are square now and they leave Draganov in the ring as the show comes to an end.
Overall Show Rating: 7.25 out of 10
This show was a perfect example of quality over quantity. There were only three matches, but all three had their place and were quality wrestling matches. The opener between Bate and Connors really set the tone and had a lot of back and forth action. Connors proved he can wrestle with the top of the NXT UK brand, and Bate proved that he is in the conversation for being a top star in NXT UK. The match between Noam Dar and Josh Morrell served its purpose and did a good job putting Dar over while not making Morrell look like a total goof. The main event between Dragunov and Coffey was a great match that had some spots in it that really impressed. I think that is Joe Coffey’s best match to date. Overall, it was a strong show that really put an emphasis on wrestling and got us hyped about the upcoming weeks of television and started the road to NXT UK Takeover: Dublin.
What did you guys think of this week’s episode of WWE NXT UK? Loved it? Hated it? Still haven’t checked it out? Either way, keep the conversation going over @collectiveheel on Twitter and let me know your thoughts. Support the site. Support each other. I’ll be back soon enough with some more Collective Thoughts.