Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT UK: Eddie Dennis defeated Jamie Ahmed, Travis Banks and Jordan Devlin refused to stop fighting, and Walter looked at people very menacingly.
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And now, the Best and Worst of NXT UK from January 30, 2019.
Best: The Tolkienization Of Pro Wrestling
I’m way into Dave Mastiff right now. He’s got a fantastic look, he moves like like lightning, and he’s bursting with a unique charisma. He’s also pretty much a J.R.R. Tolkien/Dungeons & Dragons dwarf. He’s under six feet, seems about as wide as he is tall, has a mighty beard, and he’s an unstoppable warrior. I’m just saying, if Dave Mastiff invited me on a quest to drive a dragon out of his father’s mountain, I’d probably come. And I’m not even much of a thief.
So if you have an undefeated dwarf prince on your wrestling brand, who can you bring on to challenge him? That’s where the Primate Jay Melrose comes in, because that guy’s totally an orc. Admitted, his actual gimmick is being an ape man, as the nickname implies, but when you’re a scary-looking bald man with a fighting style that places him a few steps down the evolutionary ladder, it comes out pretty orc-like. I don’t mean any of this to disrespect Melrose, who looked great here despite a predictable defeat. I’m just saying he’s a bit of a monster, and that’s clearly on purpose. The scary ape mask he enters in plays into that too.
This match was as hard-hitting and brutal as it needed to be, and I love that Jay’s hubris in attempting and failing to lift Dave led to his defeat. Mastiff’s certainly not the biggest or heaviest wrestler around, but his whole thing is being extremely solid and compact (like a dwarf), so I’m willing to buy that he ways twice as much as he looks like he does. I’m excited to see more of Jay Melrose in NXT UK, but I’m even more excited to watch Dave Mastiff rise higher on the card.
Best: Every Tag Team Should Have A Name
James Drake and Zack Gibson have already been the Grizzled Young Veterans for a while on the UK indies, but for some reason they became NXT UK Tag Team Champions under the name “James Drake and Zack Gibson.” That changed with this promo, where they officially claimed the Grizzled Young Veterans name for this brand. They also learned from Assistant to the General Manager Sid Scala that they have an upcoming title defense against Danny Birch and Oney Lorcan, in a crossover with NXT US. Scala was deliberately vague about when that will happen, which I assume has to do with complicated taping schedules.
Zack Gibson and James Drake are in the process of steadily winning me over to their work. Zack is a great promo, and Drake is ready to sit back and let him do that. Or maybe James Drake is good on the mic too and they’re just taking turns. I’m not sure I’ve seen Drake try to talk yet. Also Gibson looks like a mighty warrior, but also very much like a 2019 wrestler, while Drake looks like a guy who would have been a star 20 years ago, but in a good away.