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    Friday, February 15, 2019

    NXT in the UK (2/13/19): How To Tame Your Wolfgang

    I'm not going to lie: I felt a bit shortchanged with this week's episode of NXT UK. It might just be because I'm working a tad under the weather at the moment (which was also why I wasn't able to churn out this week's RAW review) but it could also be because there were only three matches this week and two of them featured non-NXT UK talent.

    While it was awesome to see Noam Dar return to NXT UKwhere he truly belongs, no offense, 205 Liveand Mia Yim make her sort-of debut on the brand, they essentially took two of the three spots available for NXT UK talents to shine. If only two NXT UK talents had appeared on this week's NXT episode, then maybe I wouldn't be this nit-picky, but maybe next week? We'll see.

    What I did like about this week's episode, though, was NXT UK Women's Champion Toni Storm opening it. Okay, maybe I would've liked it better if she was in action, but I guess it's a start. Or something. Toni called her number one contender, former NXT UK Women's Champion Rhea Ripley, a bully and expressed eagerness to beat her up again for the title next week. Like a good heel, Rhea didn't take this lying down and instead came out to diss Toni's... stupid hair and stupid face? What? 

    It's a bit hard to buy into Rhea's argument that Storm simply got lucky with her victory at NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool because, like, Toni did win the 2018 Mae Young Classic. I like Rhea's moxie in believing that were the case, but to me, it just bounces back to her because if anyone expected an Australian to become the first-ever NXT UK Women's Champion, they would've gone with Toni Storm. Or so I've heard. 

    What's easier to buy, though, is Rhea hating the comparison between them because that much is painfully obvious. They're both Australian wrestlers with blonde hair, aggressive styles, and comparable power. I'm pretty sure some guy out there even have Ripley and Storm as a tag team in a WWE game. I mean, who doesn't? 

    The brawl was a nice touch, and considering that the last time these two tangled Rhea was the one who got the upper hand, this time, it was Storm who was able to stand tall. I'm pretty sure she'll still be standing tall come that title matchno offense, Ripley. 

    I did also like how Rhea justified her exiting the brawl, so to speak. She does have her rematch, and heels don't need to prove themselves to anyone outside of their scheduled title match. Unless the faces' backs are turned, though, because nothing makes a grand statement than knocking out the champion whose back was turned. That's Heel 101, folks.

    Speaking of title matches, United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne and Wolfgang have gone to war with each other for Dunne's title in NXT. You're welcome. That was a great match, and this one did not disappoint. The only difference this time around was that Wolfgang has his Gallus... wait, they're not even around to watch his match? I'm starting to think Gallus doesn't understand the concept of heels having the numbers advantage. 

    While their NXT title match for the United Kingdom Championship was interrupted by The Undisputed Era playing the role of heels having the numbers advantage, with heel Dunne leaving tweener Wolfgang to fend for himself, this bout had a clear winner after the champ made the Last King of Scotland tap to an armbar. All it took was Wolfgang missing The Howling for Dunne to capitalize. This was an enjoyable back-and-forth match that highlighted both men as formidable competitors.

    Outside of that, though, this didn't really move or progress any current storylines. Dunne has already taken care of Gallus' perceived leader in Joe Coffey, so victories against Wolfgang and Mark Coffey, which I think might happen in the coming weeks, won't really lead to anything. That's just story-wise, of course, since both Wolfgang and Mark Coffey are great wrestlers in their own right.

    FINAL DECREE: By all accounts, this felt like somewhat of a lacking show, though not in action because all three matches were brilliant. This week's show just felt a bit shorter for me, though that might just be the allergic rhinitis speaking. The opening segment was good but it was really nothing special. Although all three matches were, as I've mentioned, quite brilliant, their respective conclusions were sort of expected: A visiting wrestler whose cameo was most likely a one-and-done deal wasn't going to derail the rise of the only real British threat the brand has to the NXT UK Women's Champion, Wolfgang was never going to beat Dunne because Gallus still hasn't figured out what having the numbers advantage means for heels, and Travis Banks won't stop haunting Jordan Devlin until the day they both cease to exist. This week's NXT UK gets a surprisingly weak B.

    The Few Hunky-Dories:

    • 205 Live's Noam Dar made his return to NXT UK at the expense of Jordan Devlin whose ghost came back to haunt him, and by ghost, I mean Travis Banks. Dar was clearly the fan favorite in this back-and-forth match. Devlin played his role really well, though it's sort of sad to me how he still gets "you still suck" chants. Those chants are not even that creative, and clearly Jordan is an impressive athlete, so can't we just chant something else at him? "Stop killing imports" is not allowed? Okay then. Right when Devlin was trying to make Dar's foot suffer the same fate as Travis', the Kiwi Buzzsaw came out and his mere presence was enough distraction for Noam to capitalize on, rolling Jordan up with a pretty interesting pin to get the win. Devlin wasn't amused by the finish, so he attacked Dar and then brawled with Banks. Clearly, the bad blood between Jordan and Travis is just beginning to boil, and I am super excited to where that leads them both.
    • Jinny going over NXT's Mia Yim was the best and only option here. It was great to see Mia in NXT UK, astoundingly receiving a fan favorite welcome, but I don't think she'll be staying for a long while, so a victory for her wouldn't really mean a thing in the long run. I liked how Mia reversed Jinny's huracanrana into a handstand, though, and Jinny locking in a seated wheelbarrow submission on Yim. Some might argue against Jinny's win here being controversial, but I think that sort of thing suits her. She's "The Fashionista," right? Press, paparazzi, controversy... all those similar-sounding buzzwords. Jinny thriving in controversy would be an interesting story moving forward.
    • Oh, WALTER will face NXT's Kassius Ohno in two weeks? My concerns have been addressed then. Carry on. RIP, Kassius' chest.
    • Haven't we seen enough of The Coffey Brothers versus Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews? Apparently not enough because I'm still excited about these four guys fighting each other again and again and again. Fight forever?
    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 has four Wolfgangs, one of which looks like a cross between a panda and a tiny dog.

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    Item Reviewed: NXT in the UK (2/13/19): How To Tame Your Wolfgang Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Pepe Serapio
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