Last week on the Best and Worst of NXT UK: Trent Seven lost in a hard-fought match against Joe Coffey, and Kay Lee Ray fought Isla Dawn.
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 April 10, 2019.
Best: Pure Work
I suspect that a lot of Chris Hero/Kassius Ohno fans probably haven’t realized that he’s doing some of his best WWE work ever on this show, but hopefully they catch on and start watching. As you probably remember, I was really skeptical when he first showed up, assuming he was just here to job (which is mostly what he did in NXT Domestic, to be fair). Now he’s come to feel like a real part of the roster, the big rude American heel in England. Even in a losing effort like this one, he really shows off what he can do, and makes a guy like Travis Banks look great as well.
Now on the other hand, was there story to this match? Certainly not much of one. Was there a reason it went fifteen minutes, longer than the women’s title main event? Well, probably so these guys could show off everything they can do, but it still seemed a bit excessive for a regular episode. Still, if you like watching Ohno wrestle, or you just like great wrestling in general, this match definitely had what you’re looking for.
Best: Time To Pay The Piper
Not that you needed to be told this if you follow UK wrestling or watched the first Mae Young Classic, but Piper Niven is really good at this. She’s a plus-sized powerhouse who manages to still be likable while beating much smaller women, and who carries herself with a self-confidence that’s not in spite of her size, it’s because of her size. Because her size gives her power, and power gives her confidence. The fact that she also happens to be gorgeous is beside the point.
Killer Kelly carries herself like she’s tough as nails, but she couldn’t even pretend to stand a chance against Piper. Kelly even accepted moments of kindness from her opponent that she would have probably thrown back in the face of almost anyone else, but here she’d already figured out she’s overmatched. She got a little offense in, don’t get me wrong, but she never really stood a chance. And let’s be clear, that’s not because Kelly’s a weak opponent, it’s because Piper’s a superhero.
Naturally, as soon as Piper took Kelly out with a Michinoku driver, Rhea Ripley showed up to start some shenanigans. She never even got in the ring however, because as tough as Rhea is, she’s intimidated by Piper. After all, Rhea’s not used to fighting somebody bigger than her. She usually gets to beat up girls Xia Brookside’s size. When she and Piper Niven have their inevitable match, it’s going to be a whole new ballgame.
Worst: Extraneous Squash Match
There were literally fifteen minutes left in the show and they’d just said that the women’s title match was coming up. Then suddenly two men appeared and fought for less than five minutes. Don’t get me wrong, Joseph Conners and Jack Starz are fine at their jobs, but this felt a bit like NXT UK just didn’t want to have only three matches in an episode. I did like Conners yelling at the ref “Ask him if he’s okay!” after working Starz’s neck, and I can see how Conners needs some wins right now to make him look intimidating. Ultimately though, there just wasn’t much to this match.
Best: I’m Gonna Run This Nothing Town
I’m still kind of mad this NXT UK Women’s Championship match didn’t happen on NXT TakeOver New York, alongside the UK men’s title match. I realize that would probably make the show a little longer, but I think it would be worthwhile. In any case, this was a great match no matter where it happened, and in New York there probably would have been less singing.
I love Jinny, but it just wasn’t time for Toni Storm to lose that belt, and Jinny’s heelish overconfidence made her think she was ready for Toni, when she clearly just wasn’t. At least NXT Jinny wasn’t as ready for NXT Toni as Progress Jinny was for Progress Toni when they fought last year, something I was surprised commentary brought up, despite the relationship between Progress and WWE.
A cool thing about Jinny is how submission-based (or, if you prefer, British) her wrestling is, which makes her seem like a worth opponent despite how skinny she is. She’s not barreling through people knocking them over, and we’re not asked to believe she’d be capable of that. Instead she twists people in knots, a style that meshes far better with her physicality. She’s also resilient, as we saw in this match when she got up after three consecutive German suplexes. She even came close to hitting Toni with a hurricanrana, which might well have made her the new champion, but Storm reversed it into a powerbomb to retain. I’d be up for seeing more between these two in the future, but honestly I’d be just as excited to see them each fight everyone else on basically every WWE women’s roster.
That’s all for this week. Join me next time, when we see what the NXT UK roster was up to at WrestleMania Axxess.