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    Saturday, March 27, 2021

    NXT in the UK (3/25/21): Wheel-Spinning Before the Prelude

    Ilja Dragunov and Sam Gradwell on WWE NXT UK

    NXT UK is getting something to do at WrestleMania week, even if it doesn't have two champions (including its biggest). So what does it have left to do?

    Trust in the Heritage Cup Championship

    For all intents and purposes, this week's episode of NXT UK is a wheel-spinning episode. What else could it do, when WALTER is off gallivanting in the US to participate in NXT Takeover: Stand and Deliver and Jordan Devlin is off to unify the two Cruiserweight Championships? They try to put out bangers every week, but not everything is going to be super interesting and compelling, even if you put in a very game Ilja Dragunov in the main event.

    It was a decent match as all NXT UK matches go, but it was just tough to really sink my teeth into. It didn't feel like a main-event matchup, as Sam Gradwell is just there to facilitate Dragunov's descent into berserkness, which happens in the final minutes of the bout. Not really anything to get out of your way for, and I'm not even sure what it truly accomplished, other than proving that Dragunov can't not go crazy when provoked.

    So for NXT UK Prelude, the big episode that'll be happening on WrestleMania week before Stand and Deliver night two, the main event match will be Tyler Bate vs. Noam Dar for a shot at the Heritage Cup Championship. That should be good, and putting the British Rounds rules front and center on an episode where you can't have your top champion is a great idea.

    I guess it's a problem the brand is doing well to solve with the creation of this particular midcard championship. With a top champion that is well in demand across the world, you're going to need someone to stay at home, and while I want to keep the UK Champion in the UK at all times, I've accepted that that's really not going to happen at this point. It's okay. NXT UK has it figured out.

    NXT UK 3/25/21 Grade: B

    Bits and pieces

    • I approve of this little Isla Dawn push, even though she's likely not going to beat Kay Lee Ray for the women's title.
    • First-time viewers will absolutely find Sha Samuels coming to Noam Dar's defense totally random—they'd need to have been watching the show regularly over the past few months to understand why he came out just like that.
    • Poor Rampage Brown stuck in limbo while WALTER's in the US.
    • Are Kenny Williams and Amir Jordan breaking up next week? Stay tuned to find out.
    • I wonder what the backstage reason for Wild Boar getting axed from the Hunt is? Either way, the T-Bone pairing also makes sense and he and Primate have some chemistry.
    Photo from WWE


    Romeo Moran (@roiswaris the Editor-in-Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three 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 (3/25/21): Wheel-Spinning Before the Prelude Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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