Previously on the Best and Worst of NXT UK: The Grizzled Young Veterans defended their titles against Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch, Walter faced Kassius Ohno, and Tyler Bate fought Jack Gallagher.
Click here to watch the show on WWE Network. 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 March 6, 2019.
Middling: These Guys
I feel like there’s some growing pains with this brand, because on a show that’s still this new, it’s hard to establish stakes for the folks who aren’t anywhere near the title picture yet. Joseph Conners wanted to prove himself against Ligero, but why? Ligero’s just a mid-carder with silly horns. If Conners wants to prove himself, he should be fighting a different guy every week, not getting caught up in his resentment of this one guy.
On the other hand, Ligero’s look was greatly improved here. The black and silver version of his mask is definitely the best one I’ve seen. He looked great in the ring as well, keeping Conners off balance with his speed and athleticism to keep him from getting any offense in at the start of the match. Then Conners, heel that he is, took the first opportunity to catch his masked opponent and just threw him out of the ring. Once he was able to get some control back in the match, he worked Ligero’s back, leading to a submission hold where he yelled “What do you say? What do you say?” but of course Ligero refused to give up.
Conners also hit a brutal-looking facebuster, but just when he was about to secure his win with another submission, Ligero countered by rolling the hold into a pin. Then he offered his opponent a handshake, but Conners refused. Clearly this rivalry isn’t over yet.
Best: Behind Toni’s Back
NXT UK Women’s Champion Toni Storm cut a quick promo backstage about how she’s finished with Rhea Ripley, and doesn’t know who she’ll be facing next, but she’s ready in any case. The cool part is that while she was talking, you could see a figure slowly approaching behind her, who turned out to be Jinny, entering the arena with her suitcase and smartphone. After Toni walked away, Jinny (who was wearing a really great dress, of course) stared meaningfully after her. We already knew she was next, but this was a fun bit of foreshadowing all the same.
We also got a marginally intimidating Gallus promo, where all three were dressed up nice, and none of them looked comfortable that way. Then Walter refused to speak to Radzi, and Pete insisted that it doesn’t matter whether or not he and Walter can get along when they tag against the Coffey Brothers, because Pete could beat them on his own if he had to.
Worst: Euro-Bullies Versus The Leather Pants Mafia
Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley were two guys in black leather pants and shirts that Xander from Buffy the Vampire Slayer might have worn. You could pretty much tell just from their names that they’re jobbers, so it was no shock when most of this match was just Fabian Eichner and Marcel Barthel brutalizing them to show how formidable they are. I get the need to do it, I just don’t care much while it’s happening.
Best: Sign Charlie Morgan
I’m still a little iffy on Nina Samuels as a character, but they’re working on establishing who she is (basically a glamorous would-be stage performer who also wrestles), so that helps a bit. I have to confess, I was a lot more interested in Charlie Morgan, her opponent who’s not even signed. As Morgan entered, Nigel McGuinness on commentary called her “a proud member of the LGBTQ community.” In most contexts, I’d probably be the one to say “Nobody identifies as LGBTQ; she’s a lesbian, you can just call her a proud lesbian,” but in WWE I’d never heard an announcer acknowledge a queer person’s sexuality at all before — not Sonya Deville, and not Darren Young before her — so it’s actually pretty cool, grading on a WWE curve, that we’ve finally reached that point. And don’t try to tell me that’s a distraction from wrestling and not a relevant detail: Charlie Morgan often enters with a pride flag, and came out publicly as gay in the Pro Wrestling Eve ring. Being a lesbian is part of her character, as well as her real life, and acknowledging that is a plus.
Unfortunately, other than the fact that I already knew Charlie, this was a lot like the tag match before it. It was all about making Nina look strong so she can eventually fight some of the women who actually work here. Meanwhile I was just thinking about how I want to see Charlie Morgan become one of those women in the future. The various holds in which Samuels catches Morgan looked pretty legit, and I did like the moment when she pinwheels out of Morgan’s hold. Charlie gets a bit of offense in, including some intense-looking kicks, but inevitably Nina catches her mid-jump and slams her to the mat for the pin.
Best: Making Lucha Underground Choices
I’m still not entirely clearly what actual personalities or characters Travis Banks and Jordan Devlin have — beyond the fact that they’re from New Zealand and Ireland, respectively, and Jordan’s a bit of a jerk — but watching them brutalize each other is still pretty fun. This was a Falls Count Anywhere Match, and they took it into the crowd immediately. As if they were in the Lucha Temple, they made their way up a staircase onto the mezzanine, and when Banks backed Devlin into a corner surrounded by closely packed fans, Devlin ended up going over the railing and hanging on by his fingertips. Naturally Banks struck his hands until he fell to the floor, and then jumped onto him. As these kinds of spots go, it was a good balance of looking real without making me fear they would actually die (of course pre-taping shows helps allay that fear as well).
Later on, Travis hit Jordan with a dropkick, which accidentally knocked him into the ref, who fell out of the ring and stayed down. Then of course the Kiwi Buzzsaw pinned the Irish Ace for like 20 seconds with nobody around to notice except the crowd, who just about lost count because of how long the pin went on. Then Jordan headbutted Travis and hit a moonsault just as the ref reappeared, but Banks narrowly kicked out. Somewhere along the way there was a table set up outside the ring, but I for one had forgotten it was there until Devlin hit a Spanish Fly to send Banks through it. He got the pin, and then they both just laid there on top of each other, both too beaten to move. That’s how a match like this should end.
That’s all for this week. Join me next time when the Coffeys of Gallus fight the team of Pete Dunne and Walter, and Kay Lee Ray makes her NXT UK debut.