NXT UK recap and reactions (July 24, 2019): The age of Imperium

The motto from this show is simple - Be careful what you wish for. Trent Seven wanted revenge for his fallen friend Tyler Bate, and probably ended up joining him in the hospital. Toni Storm wanted to get her hands on Kay Lee Ray, who been playing mind games with the women's champion. This didn't happen and she ended up on the losing side of her match. Kenny Williams thought he could beat some respect out of his former friend Noam Dar, and took a kick to the balls for his troubles.

The main event between WALTER and Seven was every bit as heated as expected. The former NXT tag champion couldn't wait for the bell to get his hands on the UK titleholder, and dove through the ropes before he could hit the ring. Seven appeared to injure his knee, when connecting with a dive underneath the bottom rope.

In the last match of the Download festival taping, the vocal crowd were treated to some classic big lads wrestling. Both guys chests were probably beetroot red following the number of stiff chops delivered throughout the match. WALTER has shown himself to be a consummate heel through these shows. He was blasted with some non PG chants whenever he surveyed the damaged he had inflicted upon Seven.

The verbal bile thrown at WALTER fired him up. He delivered his now patterned apron power bomb to Seven, which led to the rest of Imperium heading to the ring. The strategic move to block any potential assistance for the Moustache Mountain man was clever. The big Austrian refused to be moved by the referee's pleading, and delivered powerbomb after powerbomb before the match was stopped.

On commentary, Vic Joseph stated this is the Age of Imperium for the NXT UK brand. Since the four men have teamed up they haven't suffered a loss, and WALTER looks unbeatable. His run is reminiscent of Brock Lesnar's 'Next big thing' initial platform when he first arrived in WWE in 2002. Who or what will stop them remains to be seen, but they are a must see act at the moment.

Various feuds in the ultra competitive women's division came to a head in an entertaining six woman's tag match. These type of matches are often seen as throwaway on the main roster. Not only was this clash a great showcase for all six participants, it furthered current feuds, and gave a mouthwatering glimpse at a potential future storyline.

Storm started the match off for the babyface trio, eager to face of against her opponent at Takeover: Cardiff. KLR had other ideas and quickly tagged in Jinny, thus avoiding confrontation with the champion. This continued throughout the match, and was one of many interesting subplots interwoven into this contest.

Fans were treated to a brief hoss showdown between Jazzy Gabert and Piper Niven. It was the German who got the better of the brief exchanges. Her partnership with Jinny continued to bear fruit as well. As usual, Knightsbridge's favourite daughter made opponents offense look fierce bumping like a madwoman. Whenever she was in trouble she'd tag in Jazzy, and once she'd done her damage, Jinny would return to put the boots in.

Young Xia Brookside continued to wow the fans with some high risks attacks. Her leap to the outside of the ring onto her opponents helped garner a 'This is awesome' chant from the crowd. Her numerous fans were dismayed shortly afterwards when Gabert grabbed her leg causing her to slip from the turnbuckle. This allowed the wily Jinny to hit her with a facebuster to pin her for the third time.

While she didn't make Storm's life a living hell as she claimed she would, Lee Ray's mind games are adding an interesting wrinkle to the story. She's shown over the tapings that she recognises her weaknesses and is prepared to take the easiest route possible to victory. She had team mates on her side this week, and circumstances in the Number one contender's battle royal. She'll need all her smarts to overcome Storm in Cardiff, but she's shown that she is capable of cooking up a plan.

Her fellow countrymen Noam Dar and Kenny Williams battled in the night's opening contest. Initially I was disappointed they started the match with a collar and elbow tie up, giving the personal nature of the feud. In hindsight, with the intense nature of the main event, I can understand why they were told not to bring the fire early on in the match.

Both men attempted to one up each other, and when Williams patronisingly ruffled Dar's hair, echoing a move the 205 Live stalwart had previously performed, this fired up Dar into giving the Lucky One a firm slap.

Dar controlled most of the contest, but could not put Williams away. He attempted multiple submissions, such as the Rings of Saturn, an ankle lock, and the knee bar, but there was no quit in Kenny. To get the win, Dar had to perform some underhand tactics.

The Supernova ripped off Williams' trainer, and threw it outside the ring. This caused the referee to try to return it. With the official's back turned, Dar aimed a kick to the groin, then performed the Nova roller knee to get a somewhat tainted victory.

Whilst Dar picked up the win, this didn't feel like a feud-ender. Williams came across as valiant, and withstood everything his mentor could throw at him within the rules. Dar however showed himself to be more ruthless. Maybe Kenny needs to take a leaf out of Noam's book to improve his win/loss record?

Overall thoughts: This was a great end to the Download tapings. The match quality ranged from good to great, and there was plenty of storyline progression. Imperium continue to run roughshod over the division, and there are multiple feuds ongoing in both the men's and women's division. All the pieces are in place for some interesting developments at the Plymouth tapings on the road to Cardiff.

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