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    Friday, January 25, 2019

    NXT in the UK (1/23/19): No More Bálor

    While most of us believe in Bálor, or at least are trying to, someone in NXT UK just doesn't want anything to do with Finn Bálor any more. I mean, I guess I'd be salty, too, if my mentor stole my thunder during my first-ever PPV appearance for the WWE. NXT UK's first-ever PPV, TakeOver: Blackpool, was bloody damn good, and that continues to reverberate throughout the brand's only episode for this week. It's just the second episode after that PPV, so I guess that should really be expected.

    Nonetheless, the main event wasn't the only gift from Blackpool, as United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne, Joe Coffey and his Gallus brethren, and of course, WALTER resumed their three-way rivalry. Where have I seen this standoff before? Hmm.

    Ah, I remember now. This was basically the same stuff from after the main event of TakeOver: Blackpool, except that here no one was in their wrestling gear and Joe Coffey wasn't alone. 

    United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne went out to the ring to celebrate his victory at NXT UK's first-ever PPV. The Scottish boys, however, interrupted this opening segment. Joe claimed that NXT UK is still his kingdom and that inevitably, he will become its rightful king. Dunne might have won the battle at Blackpool but Joe will win the war. Or something along those lines. Considering what happened after the PPV title match, he should've expected the same guy to come out when he declared that anyone else who wanted a shot at the United Kingdom Championship should wait in line presumably after him.

    WALTER again emerged to glare at Joe, whose fury was held back by the rest of Gallus, and then Pete. The Austrian Anomaly did boot the Iron King off the apron the last time they were in the same ring together, which was mostly humiliating. Despite having the numbers advantage, Gallus retreated, only for Mark Coffey and Wolfgang to suddenly charge the squared circle, only to get fended off by the Bruiserweight and his silent new nightmare. 

    I have yet to hear WALTER cut a promo, so I'm not sure if this helps him or not on that area. What I'm sure of, though, is his frightening presence. He didn't even need to talk. He just had to glare at everyone, and I was made to believe his power. I can't wait to see him in that ring with the best UK has to offer.

    Speaking of the best UK has to offer, Eddie Dennis is back on track after that brutal No Disqualification match against "Bomber" Dave Mastiff. Man, that was a pretty great match.

    Dennis showed a lot of fury and dominance here, probably because his ego was bruised twice now by Mastiff. First, Mastiff beat him in that streak versus streak match on an episode of NXT UK and then Dave made it two-for-two by also taking the win at Blackpool. What a greedy but fantastic athlete. 

    Jamie Ahmed tried to survive Dennis, throwing those great punches and even avoiding the Severn Bridge, but a brutal deadlift superplex (Mama Mia!) and neck-stop driver later, and the former headmaster came out triumphant. I guess he's going on another streak of victories? What else is there for this impressively strong monster of a mental man.

    Travis Banks and Jordan Devlin were supposed to settle their differences at Blackpool. However, two different attacks prior to their match on the same day, just hours and minutes before their actual bout, Banks found himself injured and unable to compete, with Finn Bálor taking his spot to give Devlin a loss. Last week, Banks hyped this match by cutting an impassioned promo against Devlin. This week, the hype was real. 

    The Kiwi Buzzsaw and The Irish Ace laid the hurt on each other, taking everyone on a brawl crawl (a brawl tour?) even before the match actually started. Devlin used his head here, going after Banks' already-injured knee. His attack was systematic, dismantling his opponent like a pro. Randy Orton would be proud. Devlin's Spanish Fly from the apron to the floor took both men out, with both barely able to beat the count back into the ring. Banks resiliency was on full display when he got up right after a second Spanish Fly and took Devlin's head off with a lariat. This didn't feel like a match at times. This was more of an actual fight. 

    Banks almost had the win with the Kiwi Crusher after getting his knees up to counter Devlin's moonsault. I've got to admit, that almost had me. The match ended in what felt like an actual controversy, something that wasn't just a gimmick even though it was because of how real and logical it was. After evading Banks's Slice of Heaven kick, Devlin lifted his opponent but exhaustion rendered control null, leading to both competitors collapsing through the ropes and back out into the floor. Neither of them was able to beat the 10-count, so the match was declared a double count-out. Despite that, however, the animosity between Banks and Devlin couldn't be contained, and they continued fighting into the crowd as the episode ended. 

    I'm not a fan of gimmick endings where no one gets the win or at least any sort of momentum, but this, I believe, was nicely done. Banks and Devlin are talented wrestlers, and this feud really needs a grand stage like another PPV. I'm wary that this might now get stretched until the next TakeOver with Banks versus Devlin every other week, but I have high hopes that NXT UK is smarter than that. Nothing has shown me otherwise.

    FINAL DECREE: I'm honestly not sure if the opening segment was good. I mean, I do like seeing all those men involved in that ring and under that spotlight, but this was basically the same exact staredown from a few nights ago. It did, however, continue to pique my interest regarding WALTER, and I do hope Joe Coffey does get his hands on him eventually. Joe doesn't have to win against WALTER. He just needs to show him why that boot from Blackpool was disrespectful. The main event was obviously the best part of this episode, even with that gimmick of an ending. Logically speaking, it was a great idea in that it protected both Banks and Devlin who deserve a PPV card to settle their differences. This week's NXT UK gets a B.

    The Few Hunky-Dories:

    • Nina Samuels got herself a win this week against Lana Austin, whose tenacity was pretty admirable. That forearm looked nasty. Samuels, however, wasn't going to just lie down for the newcomer, pinning her opponent with a fireman's carry into the Primadonna. That's a pretty cool name for a finisher.
    • It was revealed by Assistant to the GM Sid Scala that three episodes of NXT UK will be taped in Phoenix, Arizona this weekend. He also plugged the World's Collide Royal Rumble AXXESS Tournament, and I'm with himan NXT UK superstar should win that thing. He then tried to speak to the first-ever NXT UK Tag Team Champions, the Grizzled Young Veterans in Zack Gibson and James Drake but the pair denied him the opportunity, disgruntled that they weren't talked about enough before their title win over Moustache Mountain. That was a little weird to me because if memory serves me correctly, Drake and Gibson had more promo time, I think? All that while Moustache Mountain was getting manhandled by Gallus. This might've been just Gibson being a dick, though.
    • Next week, WALTER debuts and Moustache Mountain will face The European Union in another match where I will once again make tons of Brexit references. It's not my fault it works that well. Moustache Mountain stated backstage that even though they failed their goal to become the first-ever NXT UK Tag Team Champions, their sights are still set for those twin pair of gold. I guess EU's losing that match next week. Sigh.
    • New NXT UK Women's Champion Toni Storm appeared in an interview where she said that winning the Mae Young Classic changed her for the better and that she chose to use her Mae Young Classic victory stipulation on the NXT UK Women's Championship because she wants to make NXT UK the best women's division in the entire world. Isn't that already the truth?
    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. I'd bank on Travis Banks any day.

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    Item Reviewed: NXT in the UK (1/23/19): No More Bálor Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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