Last time in the last Best and Worst of NXT UK: Kay Lee Ray became the Number One Contender to the NXT UK Women’s Championship by winning a battle royal.
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And now, the Best and Worst of NXT UK from June 26, 2019.
Worst: Trapped in the Midcard
There’s some good stuff in this match, to be sure. Mark Andrews and Joseph Conners are both extremely fast, and I doubt they could have a match that’s boring in its execution. I’m not that into Conners as a character, but they really put over his vampiric viciousness here, particularly when he’s stomping on Andrews’ head or grabbing his jaw and bending it back over the ring apron. Andrews I actually really like, even if Stundog Millionaire is a really stupid name for a stunner.
The problem is that these guys are terminally stuck in the midcard with nothing to do. With Imperium, Gallus, British Strong Style, Dave Mastiff, Jordan Devlin and everyone else on this hour-a-week brand, there’s just no space for guys like this to get anywhere beyond show-opening matches over nothing anytime soon. And yes, I know that’s a problem on every WWE show, but this is the one I write about. I like watching Mark Andrews wrestle, especially when he soars through the air. And I like when the crowd all does his one-armed rock concert wave thing in unison. It just gets me down a bit that he’s got nowhere to go.
Dave Mastiff finds Wild Boar and Simian outside at Download Festival, and recruits them to fight Gallus with him, which we find out later will happen in two weeks. The Hunt don’t talk during this segment, they just make feral animal noises. David “Masked Man” Shoemaker frequently talks about how certain wrestling characters need managers, because managers answer questions like “Do the Road Warriors book their own hotel rooms?” The Hunt could really use a manager, because there’s no way these guys book hotel rooms. I hope Bomber Dave doesn’t get stuck with that job, but I am looking forward to their trios match.
The Grizzled Young Veterans come out onto the stage wearing suits with plastic bags over their shoes. They talk about how the Download Festival is disgusting, full of “dirty, sweaty goths,” and they’re going back to their nice hotel until it’s time to fight Mustache Mountain. These guys have really mastered the art of the heel promo (especially Zack Gibson), and I’m glad they get to cut them so often.
Toni Storm says Key Lee Ray’s unwilling to commit to a specific time for the title match she earned in last week’s battle royal, but that it really doesn’t matter because any time is Toni Time. Then she implies that Kay Lee must be all talk or she’d let the match be made, an accusation that I’m sure Kay Lee will react to with calm subtlety.
Best: Women’s Sadism Champion
There’s not much to this match, but it’s good character building for both Xia Brookside and Killer Kelly. Xia’s an underdog not just because she’s small, but because she’s young. She may be from a wrestling family, but she hasn’t yet learned from experience that she shouldn’t, for example, turn to the stage and yell back when Jinny and Jazzy come out to taunt her, because that’s when her opponent will attack her from behind, which is exactly what happens. It’s clear that NXT sees Xia as somebody with main event potential, but I like that she’s allowed space to not quite be there yet. Of course, that raises the question of why she still snuck out a win in this match despite the distraction spot, but it’s fine.
As for Killer Kelly, she’s just mean. More than mean, she loves inflicting pain. Just viscerally loves it. The way she grins around her mouthguard as she’s twisting Xia’s limbs and making her hurt as much as she can is just a delight. She’s like Nikki Cross without the hyperactivity and the redeeming features. Kelly’s just nasty, and it rules.
Worst/Best: The Actual Devil Versus The Guy With Horns
A couple of weeks ago I was saying that I’m getting tired of Ligero because his whole character seems to be an ill-fitting mask with horns. So naturally, like the Star-Burns of wrestling, Ligero has added more horns. Now he has them on his shoulders too! Cool horn guy over here.
What saves this match is whatever’s going on between Noam Dar and Kenny Williams. Kenny brings a folding chair out and sits on it at ringside to watch Dar and Ligero’s match. After Mr. Shoulderhorns starts to get the upper hand, Noam Dar tries to get Kenny to hand him the chair. Faking an injury to trick the ref to turn away, Dar really really wants that chair, and Williams almost gives it to him. The chair is in Noam’s hands, but then Kenny pulls it away. While Noam’s reacting to that, the UK’s horn-iest wrestler rolls him up for the win. Dar’s going to be looking for revenge against Williams soon, and that match should be better than this one.
Best: Taking It To The Banks
The worst thing about Travis Banks up to this point has been that every time I see him, I have to remind myself what his name is. I think that probably won’t be true anymore after this match, where he comes out looking pretty great, despite losing like we knew he would. As soon as the match starts, Banks is delivering quick kicks to WALTER’s legs, trying to knock the giant off balance. He also dodges WALTER’s chops, because damn, it turns out this Kiwi Buzzsaw guy is really damn fast.
That doesn’t stop WALTER from catching him, planting him atop the turnbuckle, and then standing on his neck. As soon as he gets back to his feet, though, Banks starts back in with the kicks. Eventually WALTER does go down, but Banks is so exhausted by that point that he fails to capitalize. At that point it seemed like WALTER might have an easy win, but Banks just wouldn’t stay down! He kept popping back up and getting in more offense long after most guys would have given up and let the freight train run them over. Banks manages to hit the Slice Of Heaven, but WALTER rolls under the ropes to avoid the pin. That leads to some fighting on the outside, with neither guy able to get the upper hand for a surprisingly long time. Eventually WALTER does hit a powerbomb for the pin to retain his title, but Travis Banks came out of this match looking like a hero.
That’s all for this week. Join me next time when Piper Niven faces Rhea Ripley, and the Grizzled Young Veterans defend their Tag Team Titles against Mustache Mountain.