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NXT in the UK (11/21/18): Australia Conquers (NXT) UK



Last week, Dakota Kai and Jinny both advanced in the NXT UK Women's Championship Tournament Quarterfinals. This week, two more women advanced, and the tournament finals will apparently be a duel between two Australians. I can't wait for that. I honestly can't.

Of course, if you're like me who reads spoilers because they're fun and can never stop you from watching what you already know because words are different from images, then you probably already know that much. You also probably already know who becomes the first-ever NXT UK Women's Champion. Still, it wouldn't hurt to witness that champion's journey with this week's two-for-one edition. Plus, the clashes between Ligero and Jordan Devlin as well as Dave Mastiff and Tyson T-Bone were fun to watch.


Holy. Freaking. Hell. I was a bit concerned when Tyson T-Bone and Dave Mastiff got into each other's faces a week ago, but that concern was immediately replaced by delight when these two behemoths faced off in the ring this week. T-Bone's stiff striking seemed to put him on equal footing against Mastiff's massive frame in the early goings of the match. 

Mastiff still ended up the victor after pancaking T-Bone's face with a cannonball in the corner. How is Mastiff this athletic?! He's too wide to be this athletic, it's so unfair. With such dominance, I've no doubt Mastiff will be challenging for the United Kingdom Championship soon enough.


Jordan Devlin, also known as The Import Killer (which is hilarious because Ligero is technically not an import, but his gimmick is) beat up his masked adversary in the main event of part two of this week's two-for-one edition. 

It was a close fight, though, as the entire bout was a pure back-and-forth clash, with both men eager to get ahead of the other. From Ligero's Code Red to Devlin's backdrop driver, from Devlin's Spanish Fly to Ligero's superplex and splash combo, this was a pretty exciting bout that only ended after Devlin's knee prepped Ligero for the finish. 

Some might argue that NXT UK is all high-quality matches over actual storyline, but Devlin using this victory to catapult himself into a United Kingdom Championship match for next week is as logical and coherent as it gets. No one needs to get diarrhea from a burrito in NXT UK. These wrestlers just need to prove themselves worthy of a title shot through countless victories.


The last two quarterfinal matches of the NXT UK Women's Championship Tournament saw both Australians Rhea Ripley and 2018 Mae Young Classic Winner Toni Storm advance to the finals. Ripley murdered my favorite rainbow-haired cutiepie, Xia Brookside, while Storm dampened Isla Dawn's fiery determination to join Dakota Kai and Jinny in the final four.

These matches were more entertaining than I had truthfully expected. Both Xia and Isla were impressive in defeat, though I really wanted Xia to advance as the plucky underdog. I suppose Kai's already got that covered. Kai, Ripley, and Storm can be considered veterans by WWE standards, though, with all three women featuring in Mae Young Classics, and in Kai's case, NXT, where she made that scaredy-cat angle against NXT Women's Champion Shayna Baszler somewhat interesting. Jinny's technically the only fresh face in this scenario, unless of course Kai gets her hands on that face. Getting attacked for a statement was not cool.

Unfortunately, despite Dakota's best efforts, Ripley wasn't Seth Rollins and this wasn't League of Legends, so Kai couldn't survive her. Rhea is a giant of a woman, and she's not the bumbling slowpoke kind of a giant, too. That low dropkick she hit Xia with was pretty darn amazing. If Rhea still has ill feelings towards Kai eliminating her during the first Mae Young Classic, then this victory most certainly made her feel good.

Probably as good as the feeling Toni Storm got after beating the last UK-born competitor in the tournament, Jinny. Toni did not look amused when the Fashionista attacked Kai from behind to make her statement last week. This victory served as Storm's opportunity to bounce back from that NXT Women's Championship loss to prove that she does have what it takes to be a champion after winning the 2018 Mae Young Classic against Io Shirai and countless others. 

This week made me look back on that match from Evolution because while RAW and SmackDown both seemingly failed to capitalize on such a historical victory, NXT UK did not. With either babyface Storm or heel Ripley leading the charge, this brand's women's division is going to flourish. IICONIC!

FINAL DECREE: This week's NXT UK out-Evolution-ed Evolution, giving us more women's matches in a short amount of time than we're used to seeing under a WWE banner. The in-ring action was pretty entertaining as well and moved a story forward, that story being who becomes the first-ever NXT UK Women's Champion. The back-and-forth bout between Jordan Devlin and Ligero also led to an interesting development while Tyson T-Bone versus Dave Mastiff was a big-man fight done right. With Eddie Dennis continuing his winning streak, Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster bolstering the growing NXT UK tag team division, and Joseph Conners making Saxon Huxley pay, I'm giving this week's NXT UK another A.  

The Few Hunky-Dories:

  • I am not a fan of Jack Starz's last name, so I enjoyed the beating former headteacher Eddie Dennis gave him. You're spelling Stars wrong, Jack! I bet it's not even your real last name! I mean, uhm, Dennis is pretty arrogant, isn't he? Patting his smaller opponent to patronize him? I chuckled and shook my head at that. The streak lives! 
  • Mark Andrews was in both parts of this two-for-one edition of NXT UK, so can I say he pulled double duty this week? Nope. Probably not. In part one, Mark Andrews faced "Wild Boar" Mike Hitchman in a victorious effort, hitting that patented Slumdog Millionaire and a beautiful shooting star press. Hitchman is growing on me. I'm loving his intensity. Those repeated slaps and when he tore his hair out at one point? This man is a star in the making.
  • In part two of this two-for-one edition of NXT UK, Mark Andrews teamed up with fellow Coffey Brothers victim Flash Morgan Webster to take on Saxon Huxley and Joseph Conners. It's easy to think Andrews and Webster can coexist just by looking at them. Both represent subcultures, if not cultures in themselves, with their respective gimmicks. Webster's Eton Rifle followed by Andrew's shooting star press was a great tag team combination finisher, the Coffeys and Moustache Mountain better watch out. An interesting storyline development occurred after the match when Conners attacked his own tag team partner. To be fair, Huxley looked like he was about to tag Conners in earlier in the match, but when he didn't, he was pinned and they lost the match. That was a pretty logical reaction for a heel. The crowd calling Conners "Judas" was hilarious.
Images from WWE
*****

Jofer Serapio (@ShawarmaJoereviews WWE RAW & NXT UK for Smark Henry. He has been an avid professional wrestling fan since grade school. These reviews are as close to professional wrestling as he can get. According to him, Kevin Owens is his best friend in the whole wide world. Dakota Kai cosplaying Miss Fortune is his idea of a great PPV entrance.

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