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    Saturday, September 26, 2020

    NXT in the UK (9/24/20): Face Turn From Outta Nowhere

    Piper Niven and Kay Lee Ray in WWE NXT UK

    Picture this: it's the main event for the NXT UK Women's Championship. Kay Lee Ray, the villainous champion, is fighting her former best friend Piper Niven. Ray has the upper hand, taking the match to the outside until all of a sudden, a well-timed dodge from Niven sends Ray's right knee crashing to the steel ring steps.

    The accident all but takes Ray out. Officials come to her aid, concluding that she isn't fit to continue the match. As she gets escorted backstage, Ray decides the match isn't over yet, facing her former best friend and slapping her right in the face. This vicious gesture causes Niven to drag Ray all the way back to the ring and continue the match, targeting the injured knee—and where the match should have ended, Ray bravely fights back to eventually steal the victory in spite of her condition.

    If you've kept up so far, you've likely already realized there's one major thing that's wrong here.

    Wrestling psychology 101 teaches us that babyfaces are the ones that go through hell and high water just to win, or at least give their opponent a damn good fight. Heels are supposed to take all of the shortcuts and easy ways out. What Kay Lee Ray did was a babyface-making performance, so much that I was quite confused about what the intention of all this was. Why such a spot? Was I supposed to start rooting for KLR? Was it a double turn? Or was it just to build another babyface in the NXT UK women's division?

    It seems as though Piper Niven is kept intact, even though by all angles she should've just gone ahead and won. No, the clue lies in who was present after the match: Jinny, another clear-cut heel on the women's roster.

    I'd like to believe that they've planted these seeds to grow them later on—this is an NXT brand, after all—but if they wanted someone who was a good enough face, Niven really should've just won instead. Choosing this moment to suddenly begin a turn for KLR feels a little disjointed; I would've preferred that it happen as a result of some post-championship introspection. 

    That said, once Ray started fighting for her title, it did make for a better match. Whether you found yourself on her side or Niven's, the drama of the injury signaled that something big could happen at the end of this episode. I found myself sticking with it all the way after not being tuned in that much in the beginning. Props to these women for telling a damn fine story, and if Ray does end up turning good, she'll make a great face.

    NXT UK 9/24/20 Final Grade: B+

    Bits and Pieces

    • I understand the need to build everyone back up again, but WALTER bumped around too much for my liking. Saxon Huxley is a huge man, I'll admit, so maybe they shouldn't have been paired with each other? Times like these you miss someone like Travis Banks, but Travis Banks is a nonce, so...
    • Pete Dunne refereeing Alexander Wolfe vs. Noam Dar pretty much takes him out of the running to be in the Heritage Cup, but with a triple threat to determine the wildcard entrant, you can never say never. I have a feeling this might be Tyler Bate, though; I'm not sure who else they've got to fill in the two other slots in that match.

    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 publishing. 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 (9/24/20): Face Turn From Outta Nowhere Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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