Last time in the last Best and Worst of NXT UK: Trent Seven defeated Noam Dar, Gallus confronted Imperium, and Xia Brookside vlogged on a camcorder. If you’d like to read previous installments of the Best and Worst of NXT UK, click right here. Follow With Spandex on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter if you want.
And now, the Best and Worst of NXT UK from October 31, 2019.
Best, With Reservation: Jinny And The Bets
Rhea Ripley just had an amazing week, career-wise. On Wednesday she showed up on NXT Domestic, in the wake of her fantastic match with Bianca Belair last week, to set up the first ever Women’s War Games Match, which she’ll get to be a part of. On Friday she and Tegan Nox invaded Smackdown and dominated Fire & Desire. In between (albeit filmed weeks ago), she tagged with Piper Niven in Essex in a victorious effort against Jazzy Gabert and Jinny. That’s three days in a row of Rhea Ripley looking strong as hell on our TVs, although only NXT UK lets her take bumps as bananas as this one:
I suspect this is Rhea’s farewell to NXT UK. It looks like she’s happy to leave Piper Niven in the Big Strong Woman position at UK while she goes off to Domestic to make her fortune as a super-over tweener. That puts Piper in a good position for the future, but sadly it bodes much less well for Jazzy Gabert, whose size and physique just don’t seem to come with enough character and English-language promo ability for her to become the star she looks like. Either that or it’s just bad booking. Either way, I hope they redeem her eventually, although it may take her turning on Jinny and becoming the babyface that crowds tried to make of her way back when she was in the original Mae Young Classic.
Then of course, that leaves Jinny. Recruiting Jazzy as a partner/lackey hasn’t panned out for her as well as she clearly thought it would. Not to mention, Jinny can wrestle, despite weighing about as much as Riho and standing considerably taller. But booking her as a cowardly heel with a much larger henchwoman has meant she never gets to look like she can work anymore. She’s become unwilling to fight her own battles for obvious character reasons, but I hope UK Creative remembers that fighting is actually something she can do.
But that’s a lot of worrying about booking and the future. For now, in this episode, this was a fun women’s tag match in which the eternal question of “Can they co-exist?” was finally answered with an all-too-rare “Yes, they totally can.”
Best: ‘Ey, Kid!
A-Kid, a Spanish wrestler with a deliberately generic name, made his much-hyped debut in this match against embittered gatekeeper Kassius Ohno. It was a pretty short match that ended in a count-out, but that worked pretty well. It gave us a taste of what A-Kid can do, and then left us wanting more. It also set up future stories by having Ohno, angry that he lost by countout after being knocked to the floor, beat up on the Kid until Tyler Bate made the save. Tyler previously cut a promo about how excited he was to see A-Kid in NXT UK, so it makes some sense that he’d get involved. It sets up a Tyler/Kassius match, as well as another Kassius/Kid match, and maybe some kind of excuse for Tyler and A-Kid to tag together. He and Trent Seven probably have a polyamorous partnership, right? Anyway, after this recap let’s head over to Archive Of Our Own and see how many Tyler/A-Kid stories have already been posted.
This Week In Promos: Looking For Trouble
Killer Kelly is back from injury, and looked gorgeous backstage with her hair down. She said she’s looking to pick a fight, and then followed Isla Dawn into the locker room, so I think we can guess where that’s going. I was just sad the camera didn’t follow them in. I was hoping to see Killer Kelly walk in and announce, “You know what I hate? Witches.”
Kay Lee Ray cut a promo in the ring about how Toni Storm has gone missing from NXT UK. I was sort of surprised to hear her even mentioned on this show, since this doesn’t seem like where she’s likely to turn back up, but I guess the current Women’s Champion can’t completely ignore the woman she won it from. Kay Lee moves on to talk about Xia Brookside, who she’s not impressed by and calls a little girl. This is two weeks in a row where we’ve had promos about how Xia Brookside needs to prove herself before she gets a title shot. Hopefully by next week she starts the proving herself process, so we can eventually get to the actual match.
Gallus turns up for just long enough to remind us that they’re cool and Imperium drools. I’m still hear for the feud, but Gallus talking about it isn’t nearly as fun when they’re not in Imperium’s faces.
Speaking of Imperium, Alexander Wolfe is caught actively trying to recruit Ilja Dragunov backstage, so nobody can deny that’s what’s happening anymore. I don’t know where this story goes next, but what I’d like to see is for Ilja to have a beef with someone else, and for Imperium to show up and demolish that person without being asked to. That might make Ilja feel morally compromised, and maybe push him toward the dark side a bit.
Worst: Joseph Connors Is So Fetch
Oh hey, remember Big Wavy Roy Johnson? I’ll be the first to admit, I kind of didn’t. But I was happy to see a black wrestler on NXT UK who wasn’t Ashton Smith or Oliver Carter, whose booking I was just complaining about last week. Then Johnson was soundly defeated by Joseph Conners, who I don’t get at all. I’m a known fan of weirdos, but this build-up they’re trying to give Conners is not working for me. Change my mind, NXT UK.
Best: The Flying Ace And The Bomber
Sometimes I worry that as wrestling writers go, I’m just too much of a mark at heart. This was a great match between Bomber Dave Mastiff and Jordan Devlin, but there’s a part of me that wants to be mad at it because I love Bomber Dave, and he lost. But really I know that doesn’t make the match bad, and the fact that I have a negative gut reaction to a heel victory is further evidence of how good it was. Moreover, Jordan’s the bigger star right now, and he needs wins like this to keep him viable for bigger matches to come. I know all this, but I just really like that bearded round man, and I like it when he wins at the wrestling.
And to be clear, it’s not like Bomber Dave didn’t get some solid offense in along the way. He looked great in the match, and he made Jordan look that much better by being formidable. Sometimes it feels like NXT UK treads a lot of water, with these long waits between TakeOvers and TV episodes with midcard-ish Main Events like this one. I think that’s a valid criticism for sure, but when the main events are as good as this one, it’s hard to be too upset.
That’s all for this installment. Join me next week when Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster face the Grizzled Young Veterans, and we learn all about Piper Niven and her spectacles.