Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT UK: Jinny defeated Isla Dawn, while in tag team action Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel got the better of Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster.
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And now, the Best and Worst of NXT UK from January 23, 2019.
Best: Beware The Large Long-Coated Lad
I suppose you could say that I have a double standard, because I get annoyed when an episode of Raw starts with one guy in the ring cutting a promo, then he gets interrupted by some heels, and then a second interruption throws a monkey wrench into the storyline. On Raw I get annoyed because it’s always a bunch of guys we already know, and the story they’re telling is never as surprising or suspenseful as it seems like it should be. On NXT UK it works, because I don’t feel like I know these people yet. Even Pete Dunne, who’s been lurking around NXT as UK Champion for a long time now is only able to really come into his own as a character now that the UK division has its own show.
So I was here for Pete, slightly sleazy babyface that he is, expressing his pride in the brand after their first TakeOver. And I was here for Joe Coffey and Gallus interrupting him menacingly. I was 100% here for Walter coming out in his long coat and looking at people. I’d heard of him, but I wasn’t familiar with Walter before his arrival in NXT UK. Yet somehow he’s winning me over, just by being big, wearing a coat over his wrestling gear, and looking at people. He doesn’t even stare menacingly. He just glances nonchalantly, and it’s somehow menacing. Next week he’s due to have his first match since joining the company, and I’m really excited to see what he’s like in the ring.
Worst: Don’t You Have a Whole Division?
I love women’s wrestling; people know this about me. The women’s division is my favorite part of most of the wrestling shows I watch, and the presence of the division is the main reason I chose to recap this show instead of 205 Live. If you haven’t guessed, the point I’m leading up to here is that Nina Samuels does nothing for me. It’s not even that she’s bad, she just strikes me as pretty generic and I have a hard time finding much to latch onto with her character. The visiting jobber, Lana Austin, was actually a bit more interesting as a character based on the fact that she apparently had multiple kids before deciding to become a wrestler.
I’m open to learning to like Nina in time, and I hope I do, but in a match like this I couldn’t find much to latch onto. It just felt like two women you don’t really know, in pretty generic gear, having a midcard match at some random indie wrestling show.
Best: An Authentically Dangerous Gentleman
The hardcore match between Eddie Dennis and Dave Mastiff at TakeOver really won me over to both guys, and Dennis really built on what he showed us about himself there by beating the crap out of Jamie Ahmed here. I’m not sure how a former education professional like Eddie Dennis because the most dangerous street-tough in NXT UK, but Eddie’s great at making it seem true, and at this point I’ve fully bought in.
The story seems to be that Dennis is unstoppable by anyone other than Mastiff, and at this point I’m not sure if that means that Dave’s going to have to come stop him again, or if it’s some other hero’s turn to rise up against the meanest teacher in town. I’m still getting to know the UK brand, including how long their feuds last. In any case, Eddie Dennis has become one of those guys where watching him fight makes me want to watch him in more fights, which is pretty much the ideal for a wrestler.
Best/Worst: Wild Colonial Boys
Neither of these two guys in the main event of NXT UK are actually from the UK. Travis Banks (the Kiwi Buzzsaw) is from New Zealand, and of course Jordan Devlin (the Irish Ace) is from Ireland. Like Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley, these guys are from countries that were once colonized by the British Empire, but aren’t ruled by Britain anymore. Sometimes NXT UK seems more like NXT Every English-Speaking Country Outside The US, but then you also remember they have folks from non-English-speaking countries like Killer Kelly from Portugal and Walter from Austria. So maybe it’s NXT Europe And Oceania, more accurately.
This match gets a Best because these guys are both excellent in the ring, and they really give it their all here, going at each other as hard as they can. It’s definitely a “fight forever” situation. This match also gets a Worst, however, because Banks and Devlin actually do fight forever. After a long, intense battle the match ends in a double count-out, and then they get up and keep brawling with each other. And then the show ends! This is obviously heading somewhere, and if it’s to more matches between these two guys nobody’s going to complain. Still, when it comes to a weekly wrestling show I like a little more resolution than, “These guys are going to keep hitting each other, but we have to go.”
That’s all for this week. Join me next time when Mustache Mountain fights Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel, and Walter makes his in-ring debut.