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    Friday, November 16, 2018

    NXT in the UK (11/14/18): Queens of the Ring

    Finally! Fina-bloody-lly, we finally get some updates regarding the much-awaited NXT UK Women's Championship, and it's a marvelous one. NXT UK continues with its two-episodes-a-week scheme this week in order to catch up to its backlog of episodes from the summer and I can't really complain.

    After all, we got both Dakota Kai and Jinny in action during part two of this week's two-for-one episode. Considering it would have been too early, Kai did not get to avenge herself against Jinny for last week's attack. We also had Tyson T-Bone debuting and making menacing grins at "Bomber" Dave Mastiff, Wolfgang hunting Ashton Smith, and Moustache Mountain competing in individual singles competition. What a packed week.

    Part one of this week's two-for-one episode opened with NXT daddy Triple H and NXT UK GM Johnny Saint announcing the first-ever NXT UK Women's Championship as well as the bracket for the eight-wrestler "Queen of the Ring" tournament. Nope, they didn't really call it that  (which was a missed opportunity in my humble opinion) but having fan favorites like Xia Brookside, Dakota Kai, and Toni Storm in this tournament, along with top heels like Rhea Ripley and Jinny, make up for that waste of a great tournament name. That belt also looks beautiful.

    That said, part two of this week's two-for-one episode featured two tournament quarterfinal matches, with Team Kick Captain Dakota Kai going over the voluptuous Nina Samuels and evil fashionista Jinny beating the youngest member of the NXT UK women's division, Millie McKenzie. I honestly thought the whole "youngest" schtick was Xia Brookside's, but I guess I heard wrong. 

    Kai's Kairopractor finisher seems to be an acquired taste, as some days I like it while some days it looks weird to me. Samuels' strong showing included a magnificent backbreaker in the middle of her match while 18-year-old "Suplex Millie" dished out some pretty good punishment on Jinny with a spear and consecutive suplexes. I'm not sure what to make of Jinny's rolling axe kick finisher. I am, however, very sure that "Suplex Millie" McKenzie is a hot prospect, and I'm not talking about her looks, my fellow basement-dwelling smarks. 

    Tyson T-Bone made his debut by annihilating MMA guy Jake Constantinou, taking his head off with a massive lariat. It wasn't a pretty finisher but it got the job done, which I'm assuming is going to be Tyson's thing. He's going to be all about getting the job done, screw looking pretty, right? 

    After the match, T-Bone mocked Constantinou, asking if he was the best NXT UK could offer. Cue "Bomber" Dave Mastiff who made way down to the ring for his match, staring down T-Bone as he walked past him. Despite Dan Moloney's efforts, Mastiff destroyed him withand this is in ordera dropkick, a senton, a headbutt, a German suplex, and then that scary corner cannonball. Did you get the message, T-Bone? This possible feud actually reminded me of Bull Dempsey versus Baron Corbin from 2015 NXT. Good times.

    Wolfgang came out with the Coffeys for his match with Ashton Smith. Last week, Smith teamed up with the Modfather Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews to take on Wolfgang and the Coffeys. Smith and company lost that match, so I thought he was redeeming with this singles bout against The Last King of Scotland. I thought wrong. Wolfgang dominated this match and pinned Smith surprisingly quickly. This was supposed to be the main event of part one of this week's two-for-one episode and it served to do nothing but continue to make the Wolfgang/Coffeys alliance look dominant. 

    Tyler Bate had a nice back-and-forth match with James Drake who almost got the win with that corner dropkick. Unfortunately, fan favorite Bate would not be denied, proving victorious after a rebound lariat and then that pesky Tyler Driver 97. Tyler seems incapable of having a bad match and it may not even take him long to get back in that UK title picture. Now that that's set-up, let's proceed with part two's main event: Bate's Moustache Mountain tag team partner Trent Seven versus Liverpool's #1 most hated person, Zack Gibson.  

    This was, simply put, an amazing main event. The wrestling was great, the ringside shenanigans were great, and the post-match development was also great. Bate only came out after Gibson looked like he was walking out of the match, forcing Liverpool's #1 to get back in that ring. Thank you, Tyler. I have never seen such a great slap fight post-ChristianOne More Match!and the near falls were astounding. 

    Gibson hit his Ticket To Ride but Seven kicked out. Seven hit a powerful lariat but Gibson kicked out. Now comes the set-up we made with Bate versus Drake, with the latter appearing at ringside to take out Bate and distract the referee. What a sore loser. The distraction allowed Gibson to roll Seven up for the win and the crowd's intense hatred. Drake even helped Gibson secure that pinfall by grabbing his hand. That was amazing. After the match, Wolfgang and the Coffeys attacked Moustache Mountain, which I took was the precursor to a feud with British Strong Style.

    Let me just say that Gibson is a gem to watch. His interactions with the crowd are always wonderful. They seem to just naturally hate him. And the chants! Don't get me started on the chants. "Shoes off if you hate Gibson" is my favorite but "if you hate Zack Gibson clap your hands" is a close second. "Stand up if you hate Gibson!" is great if, like me, you can't afford shoes. I can't wait for him to feud with United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne.

    FINAL DECREE: I'll admit, if you already know who becomes NXT UK Women's Champion, you might find it hard to get invested in the tournament... at least when it comes to its bracket. Rest assured, however, that with the amount of talent featured in this tournament, you won't be disappointed. "Suplex Millie" is the must-watch this week, though Gibson, Moustache Mountain, Wolfgang and the Coffeys, T-Bone and Mastiff, and of course Dakota Kai all made for great arguments to watch both episodes from start to finish. From yours truly, this week's NXT UK continues to get itself an A.

    The Few Hunky-Dories:

    • Finn Bálor's protege, Jordan Devlin, continued his winning streak this week by going through and beating Sid Scala. This gave Devlin a 3-0 streak while Scala is apparently 0-3 now. Yikes. Scala almost took home the win, too, with that surprise roll-up but Devlin wasn't in the mood to taste his first defeat. After countering a top-rope move from Scala, Devlin proceeded to hit a dropkick and then his wicked finisher to get the job done. Devlin cut a pretty great promo after the match, taking a stab at Ligero appropriating Mexican luchador culture when he's actually from Leeds. Damn. I was waiting for someone to talk about that and Devlin seems like the perfect heel for this. Or is he the face? I mean, appropriating someone else's culture... isn't that a heel move? 
    • I am a huge Amir Jordan fan for reasons I cannot even personally comprehend. Joseph Connors, however, is not, and he made that clear by going after Jordan, knocking him off the apron and then planting Kenny Williams on the mat for the tag-team win. I'm not sure if either of these teams will feature prominently moving forward, but I'm definitely sad that Saxon Huxley didn't stay with Sheamus look-a-like Sam Gradwell. Damn you, Connors, for putting a stop to my Sons of Sheamus fantasy booking
    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. He continues to DM a fake Johnny Saint Twitter account about bringing Sheamus in for his stupid Sons of Sheamus idea.
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    Item Reviewed: NXT in the UK (11/14/18): Queens of the Ring Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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