Is there a more ruthless stable in WWE currently than Imperium? The hellacious beating they dished out to Moustache Mountain, ruining an entertaining NXT tag title match against the Grizzled Young Veterans was the most vicious gang style attack seen on the upstart brand.
Trent Seven and Tyler Bate thought they were on the verge of becoming tag champions, after Seven had set Zack Gibson up for his burning hammer finisher, the pan European group hit the ring. Imperium quickly made their numerical advantage count, handcuffing Seven to the bottom rope, forcing him to watch Bate take two apron power bombs from WALTER, before the NXT champ added insult to injury by launching the big strong boi into the ring post.
Seven's anguished screams for his fallen tag team partner was the soundtrack to the end of the show. With Pete Dunne missing the taping, Imperium have dominated NXT UK like no other faction.
Another star who was dominant was Piper Niven. Her eagerly anticipated clash with Rhea Ripley kicked off the show when the impetuous Aussie refused to wait for their allotted slot and called out Niven.
This clash has been months in the making, and the women wasted little time in getting physical, starting the match with a high intensity brawl. Niven showed impressive agility, connecting with a high cross body which forced the former NXT UK women's champion outside.
Ripley took advantage, slipping out of a powerslam attempt, and ramming the Scot into the ringpost. The moshpit kid, who had received a rare warm welcome from the festival goers, somewhat surprisingly slowed the paced down, but could not put Niven away.
Rhea grew frustrated as the match went on. She attempted to get Piper to submit to the Inverted clover leaf, but Niven was able to get to the bottom rope. This led to a huge strategic error. Enraged, Ripley caught Niven with a huge slap. This awoke the beast, who countered with a belly to back suplex which knocked the stuffing out of Ripley.
Knowing the tank was running low, Ripley tried to end the match. She tried to get Niven up of the Riptide, but was unable to. Becoming more desperate , Ripley went for a shoulder charge in the corner, which Piper avoided, sending Rhea into the corner. This allowed Niven to connect with a cannonball splash, then hit the Piper Driver for a clean as a sheet pinfall victory.
Niven can claim the bragging rights as the most physically dominant woman on NXT, and is now positioned as a top contender in the division. She's possibly the next woman in line for a title shot after Kay Lee Ray, but may have to worry about Jazzy Gabert, who's stock continued to rise with another powerhouse performance.
Jinny's muscle decimated recent NXT UK tryout talents Mercedes Blaze and Dani Luna in a handicap match in the second of two squash matches on the show. The first saw Imperium's Alexander Wolfe punisher former WALTER victim Jack Starz.
Outside of the opening bout and main event, the best segment on the show was Kassius Ohno's interview. The wrestling genius continued to brag about being the best 'British' Wrestler. He heaped praise on four of the NXT UK original five, British Strong Style and Wolfgang, but turned his ire towards the last member of the group, Mark Andrews. Ohno assassinated Andrews character, explaining how Andrews has taken influence from american starts like Shawn Michaels, when he's ignorant that Michaels moves were inspired by British wrestler's like Gentleman Chris Adams. This was a compelling segment, as everything Ohno said felt correct. It interesting that he's targeted the smallest member of the NXT five. This looks opportunistic, as maybe Ohno sees Mandrews as an easy stepping stone to the top.
Overall thoughts - NXT UK continued its trend of good shows, which are well booked, and have an eye on the future. The two major matches delivered. The main event was a step down from the instant classic at NXT Blackpool, but was still one of the best bouts on WWE TV this week.