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    Saturday, October 3, 2020

    NXT in the UK (10/1/20): Finally British Enough

    Pete Dunne, Alexander Wolfe, Noam Dar in NXT UK

    Those who haven't seen traditional "British rounds" matches on old World of Sport videos on YouTube will likely find the idea of rounds a little disorienting, but there's no need to worry. If you've ever seen at least one boxing or MMA match, the flow is the same: the action builds up and gets hot, then the round ends and the wrestlers take a quick break, then it manages to escalate fairly quickly. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    And, well, Alexander Wolfe and Noam Dar, with their skill and experience, manage to put the format over. There's that, too. I appreciate that they didn't go the full six rounds, opting to showcase all the possibilities instead of maxing it out (even though they did go 2-1).

    One of the bigger worries I had when NXT UK first started up last year was whether the brand would be allowed to flourish under its own identity. NXT as a whole managed to carve its own niche within the WWE Universe as the "indy" brand, but with that even splitting up into its own regions, I wondered if it would just all be the same, just with different countries or continents slapped on. (Imagine if the eventual NXT Japan would just be the WWE wrestling style in Japan? Talk about a recipe for failure.)

    Although it had been evolving into something different in more recent times—something more, well, American indy—people would always associate the catch-as-catch-can style with British wrestling. I'd always wanted NXT UK to honor that legacy, even when it was quickly becoming clear that NXT UK really meant NXT Europe. Don't get me wrong; the wrestling is as good as it can be, but it just didn't offer anything too unique.

    This is why, after having seen what they can do with it, I'm glad the Heritage Cup and British Rounds now exist in NXT UK. It finally feels like they've got something that's British enough to contribute to the WWE pantheon. According to WWE, it's going to be a midcard championship, so I fully expect British Rounds to happen all the time.

    I can't wait to see the rest of the tournament and the other creative decisions they're going to pull off with the format.

    Kenny Williams is the wildcard

    Just a quick note on this: Kenny Williams is good, but I wanted to see Ashton Smith on there. Smith is the 2014 Roman Reigns of NXT UK: decent size compared to most of the roster, good look, physically intense, athletic as hell, not to mention the triple threat made him look so competitive going up against an actual tag team in Williams and Amir Jordan. I'd say half of the field are small-to-medium-sized dudes that would've made Smith stand out from the pack.

    Williams might have been the best wrestler among the three, but I don't see him standing out too much, especially with the likes of Noam Dar, A-Kid, and Flash Morgan Webster already in the brackets. Let's see where being the wildcard would lead him, but I can't imagine it'll be by much, more so if your first-round opponent is the veteran Trent Seven.

    NXT UK 10/1/20 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 (10/1/20): Finally British Enough Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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