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    Sunday, December 16, 2018

    NXT in the UK (12/12/18): Game of Tags

    The NXT UK Tag Team Championships are here, and lads, do they look beautiful! Right away, a couple of tag teams not only laid claim to these pair of beauties but also rose to inch closer to championship glory. Meanwhile, a witch sought to do the same. Topped off with two undefeated streaks colliding, this week's NXT UK was another brilliant go at British wrestling. Man, Dave Mastiff is horrifying and awe-inspiring at the same time. Will anyone not named Pete Dunne be able to stop his smashmouth streak?

    Who was the witch who sought to inch closer to championship glory? Why, it was none other than the resident White Witch, Isla Dawn. I've got to admit, they need to do more to really make sense of that moniker. As it stands, Dawn's just calling herself that at the moment but there's nothing really emphasizing her character. Nikki Cross was crazy even before they started calling her Twisted Sister and the Pirate Princess Kairi Sane wears a pirate hat. I'm not saying Isla Dawn should start riding a broom to the ring and hexing her opponents—I just want to get more connected to her character. 

    That said, getting a victory over a game Killer Kelly was an impressive way to make a statement. Kelly has always had this dangerous aura about her, and truth be told, I wouldn't have minded it if she was the one who ended up with the win here. Isla's post-match declaration of her championship aspirations was interrupted by the current NXT UK Women's Champion Rhea Ripley who told her that she'd only walk out empty-handed. If she could even walk out, right, Tegan Nox? What? It's a heel thing to say. It's fine.

    What was not fine was the encounter between "The Bomber" Dave Mastiff and Eddie Dennis. Both men have been holding on respective undefeated streaks, but this week, one was to give way to the other. This match was not fine because it was amazing! Well, the in-ring action was. I'm not quite sure where Dennis will go from here, but I suppose I just need to have faith that he'll one day attack either Mark Andrews or United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne for getting to WWE before him. Kevin Owens would approve. 

    This wasn't just a match, too. This was more of an actual war, a human demolition involving two titans who wouldn't budge without good reason. Mastiff pulled out a Superplex that almost broke the ring. In response, Dennis picked him up and swung him around before dropping him on the mat. I have no idea how Dennis managed to lift all of Mastiff off the turnbuckle, but he should've just ended the match right there with his finisher. I don't care how fierce of a clothesline you throw at Mastiff. That monster can't be put down by such a basic move. Mastiff ended up with the win after smashing Dennis' face in with that Cannonball Senton, letting his streak continue to live. What an epic teaser to the next Godzilla movie.

    The highlight of the week, though, has to be the unveiling of the NXT UK Tag Team Championships, with COO Triple H, GM Johnny Saint, and Assistant to the GM Sid Scala (note the difference between "Assistant to the GM" and "Assistant GM," poor Sid) doing the honors. All ambitious tandems were challenged to impress GM Saint for a shot at the golden pair, and the "Young Grizzled Veterans" wasted no time in doing just that.

    Zack Gibson and James Drake shattered the championship dreams of Amir Jordan and Kenny Williams, who continue their losing streak despite an impressive performance. I can't lie: I do enjoy Jordan and Williams as a pair. Their offense is fast and furious, they're both pretty creative—and I'm going there—these two young guns have great charisma. 

    Unfortunately, experience just wasn't on their side, with the brutal Vets taking out the legal man first in order to neutralize his partner before going back after Williams for the finish. What a brilliant strategy. In part two, the same victors cut a hateful promo on becoming the first-ever NXT UK Tag Team Champions. I guess my concern regarding Gibson's brilliant promos getting wasted while working tags has been taken care of. Thanks, NXT UK.

    Another tag teamor stable, if you want to be technical about itto proclaim their dominance was Gallus. While Mark Coffey and Wolfgang dealt with Ashton Smith and Ligero in another fantastic match, Joe Coffey made sure to punish Trent Seven first. If you've been living under a rock, Gallus and Moustache Mountain have been feuding for weeks now. Gallus launching a vicious backstage assault on Trent Seven and his knee did not help matters.

    I thought it was brilliant when the effects of that attack factored into the match, with Seven's leg buckling beneath him. Trent wasn't alone, though, because as soon as the other members of Gallus climbed up the apron, the other half of Moustache Mountain, former United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate made the save. Bate chased Mark Coffey and Wolfgang to the backstage area, letting Seven and Joe settle things between themselves. What followed was a great match with a great story: Trent heroically fought through the pain of Joe's offense, including an excruciating Boston Crab and a belly-to-belly suplex from the apron to the floor, until his leg ultimately gave out, with Joe capitalizing with his finisher to come out on top. What a match!

    Gallus's dominance didn't end there, however, as Mark Coffey and Wolfgang continued their trio's winning ways in the second part of this week's NXT UK. Ashton Smith is a gift. He really is. Ligero isn't bad, either. Although I was pretty sure Gallus was winning this, I had doubts when Smith hit that crescent kick. Damn Wolfgang for pulling him off Mark Coffey! Ligero came in to take out Wolfgang but it did little, as Mark Coffey kicked Smith right in the jaw to get that sweet, sweet tag team victory. Hail Scotland.

    FINAL DECREE: As expected, NXT UK did not disappoint once again. While this week was supposed to be dominated by the NXT UK Tag Team Championship reveal, other storylines still continued to move forward such as Rhea Ripley's next NXT UK Women's Championship defense and that collision between Dave Mastiff and Eddie Dennis. The tag team matches alone makes this week's NXT UK worthy of another A.   

    The Few Hunky-Dories:

    • Fabian Aichner reminds me of a Basham Brother. I'm so sorry. Aichner might have won against Mark Andrews last week, but could've been a fluke, so Andrews' best bud, Flash Morgan Webster, beat him this week... in a manner that could also be argued as a fluke. I'm thinking this is going somewhere? I love watching Aichner's aggression, so I'm all for it. Andrews coming out to foil Fabian's plot was great for continuity and so was Webster's victory that was very much like karma working its magic against Aichner. Might be time to get a bud, Fab.
    • Jack Starz is Robbie Brookside's "star pupil"? Brookside? Xia Brookside? So, Starz is my future father-in-law's prized student? Well, that didn't do Mr. Starz any good, as he was pretty much destroyed by Joseph Conners. That Don't Look Down finisher looks nasty. RIP, Starz. 
    • Speaking of my future wife, Xia Brookside was in action this week but she was beaten by the Fashionista, Jinny. Damn Jinny. Both of these women were in that NXT UK Women's Championship Tournament, so a victory here could propel them back on the championship track. Xia, and I'm trying to not be biased here, showed off her wonderful athleticism but it was no match for Jinny's ruthlessness. Damn Jinny. A Touch of Couture isn't a bad finisher, though. Hmm. I guess you could say it's even a fashionable finisher.
    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. He's going to tweet Isla Dawn if she graduated from Hogwarts and quite possibly get blocked.

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    Item Reviewed: NXT in the UK (12/12/18): Game of Tags Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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