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    Saturday, January 16, 2021

    NXT in the UK (1/14/21): A-OK Kid

    WALTER and A-Kid on WWE NXT UK

    It's Saturday, and you know what that means—it's time for the NXT UK review. This week on the show, we get a main event that should've kicked off the year, but better late than never, I always say.


    After the NXT United Kingdom Champion WALTER tried to duck this match, it still went on, and God, was it good. A-Kid proved that he's really championship material by wrestling a match that was only a step less intense than Dragunov in their Match of the Year-worthy bout from October—and a step down is still pretty fucking intense.

    I know he earned it in the Heritage Cup Tournament, but A-Kid truly does deserve that trophy, and if the brand ever gets around to putting the UK Championship on people who aren't WALTER, he's definitely earned that opportunity too. I can foresee A-Kid heading to US NXT by the end of the year (or whenever travel is allowed, which is pretty much anytime considering they flew Pete Dunne in from the UK) and eventually making it to the main roster in 2022.

    Speaking of WALTER... at this point, after almost two years, are we exhausted of him as champion? The good thing is that NXT UK is set up in a way that naturally extends his reign, because you're not always going to see him as champion. I can't say I'm tired when I still demand to see the guy if he doesn't show up for more than one week in a row. What I am concerned about is that he's running out of contenders he hasn't destroyed yet.

    I do think they're building Ilja Dragunov up as the eventual next UK Champion, but we're not going to get that anytime soon as he's still in the upward climb part of his hero's journey. So while that's happening, feed WALTER all the midcarders he can have great matches with. Maybe even bring over some people from the US. Throw him Rampage Brown. Who would have thought that they could still make a Sammartino-like title reign work in the 21st century? Twice?

    Fuck the WWE name

    One other thing I would like to touch on from this week is the deliciously subversive NXT UK debut of British veteran Sha Samuels. 

    The guy comes in with a frustrating NXT name generator moniker of Ed Harvey (take note that his government name is Shaaheen Hosseinpour, effectively whitewashing him Russell Peters style). In the middle of the match, Harvey takes the mic and declares that he's already sick of his slave name, telling the whole world that he's really Sha Samuels. To their credit, Andy Shepherd and Nigel McGuinness quickly back him up by saying he's a veteran.

    Guys... this is great. Longtime WWE fans know how the company is notorious for branding wrestlers with generic-ass ring names, especially since the mid-to-late aughts. Actually playing on the trope they built for themselves is genius and a remarkable way to debut a new Superstar, and now I can't help but wonder what would've happened if they did that for a bigger indy star in the US. Imagine if they did this for KENTA? Might not have changed much, but at least it wouldn't have turned people off.

    That said, Samuels still lost to Joe Coffey, which is a weird move. Let's see what happens next, but I can tell you I already will be keeping an eye on him.

    NXT UK 1/14/21 Final Grade: A

    Photo from WWE


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the four hosts of the Wrestling-Wrestling Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in advertising. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, and he likes taking your wrestling questions over on his Curiouscat account.

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    Item Reviewed: NXT in the UK (1/14/21): A-OK Kid Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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