Welcome back to the BT Sport Studios, wrestling fans!
This week we’re treated to a showdown between two OGs of the NXT UK brand in the main event to determine who is the true Founding Father of the brand. Along the way we get the continuing feud between Nathan Frazer and Naom Dar/Sha Samuels, a good match between Ashton Smith and Teoman, and a slight reformat to a scumbag heel.
Nathan Frazer versus Sha Samuels
This is the continuing fall out from the Heritage Cup match Nathan Frazer and Naom Dar had 2 weeks ago. Last week Frazer confronted Sha in the kitchen and now we get this match. Naom accompanied Sha to the ring so Nathan had better watch his back!
Frazer is able to get most of the offense early, using his athleticism and gymnastic ability to counter everything Sha tries. Frazer climbs to the top rope but Dar distracts him so that Sha can recover and launch Frazer halfway across the ring with a toss. This starts an extended period of offense by Sha. He lands some big elbow drops for a near fall then lands a butcher’s slam at Dar’s urging. After another near fall Sha fish-hooks frazer. Why is Sheamus allowed to do this on RAW? Glad to see the referee start the 5 count here.
Frazer tries to mount some offense but Sha stops his momentum with a big shoulder tackle after Frazer comes off the ropes. Sha continues with the illegal holds and strikes making full use of the 5 counts. Sha lets Frazer stand back up and calls him a one trick pony. This was a big mistake as it kicks off a period of Frazer being on offense.
Frazer gets a cross body using momentum from the ropes and then puts Sha down again with a ura-nage for a near fall. Frazer got ready fro a springboard crossbody on the apron but Sha stops him and distracts the referee. This lets Dar pull Frazer to the floor and get some strikes in. Dar follows Frazer as he gets back in the ring which gets the referee’s attention. To the ref’s credit he immediately bans Dar from ringside but it lets Sha get a rollup for almost a 3 count. Luckily Frazer kicked out.
After some more action Frazer is able to clothesline Sha over the top rope sending him to the floor. This lets Frazer do a cool looking somersault dive over the top rope. When the action gets back into the ring Frazer tries a springboard crossbody again but Sha catches him and counters into slam for another near fall. Finally after some more back and forth Frazer is able to hit a springboard crossbody to lay out Sha then goes to the top rope for a frog splash for the pin fall!
This was a pretty good match but considering how many times I made notes about "N goes for springboard crossbody but gets countered" I’m wondering if maybe Sha Samuels is right about the one trick pony thing. I guess it only needs to work once?
We get Joseph Connors calling out Flash Morgan and the rest of Subculture. Jinny was actually looking very fashionable in this segment. Honestly my eye for fashion is not great but the fashionista sports a lot of items I see in the older ladies’ clothing shops around here. Anyway my bet’s we’re going to see an intergender match in the next couple weeks.
Next we see Naom Dar during the break as he comes backstage. The cameraman asks him what happened and Dar is furious that a star like him was tossed out of ringside after only 2 strikes. He can’t believe this treatment and someone needs to pay so he claims Ilya Dragunov will be the one he punishes! Should be a good match but surely if you just want to vent find a jobber to take it out on not a Mad Russian.
Ashton Smith versus Teoman
So this comes out of Teoman taunting Ashton last week about where Ashton’s tag partner Olive Carter has disappeared to. We then get treated (?) to a replay of Teoman breaking Rohan Raja’s arm during the crossface crippler during Raja’s debut. Don’t injure wrestlers I’m interested in Teoman! Ashton Smith just looks so tall and lanky compare to Teoman.
The match starts with Smith giving Teoman a huge back body drop and Teoman trying to shoot for Smith’s legs but Smith just picks him up and gives him a nasty gut wrench toss. Smith eventually hits Teoman hard enough to send Teoman flying out to the floor. When Smith tries to slide out of the ring Teoman just pulls the ring skirt away from the apron and lands brutal strikes on Smith as he’s hung up in the skirt.
Teoman starts on offense now and gets some good technical locks and wrenches. After a takedown, Teoman drags Smith to the corner and slams Smith’s shoulder into the ring post. Teoman drags Smith back to the middle of the ring for a crossface but Smith is able to counter out and holds Teoman up for a good 2 count before powerslamming Teoman into the mat.
Ashton Smith really does a good job selling the damage to his arm throughout the later stages of the match. It starts hampering his ability to execute moves. He manages to get an Iron Clutch on Teoman but Teoman is able to get to the ropes. There’s some back and forth offense in the middle of the ring before Smith is able to get on top and start some extended offense. He lands some forearms with his damage right arm and a stiff spinning clothesline. This gives him the chance to hoist Teoman up on his shoulders for a fireman’s carry but Teoman is able to elbow him in the head several times to get out.
There’s some more 50/50 action before Teoman gets a stiff shot to Smith’s gut and is able to lock in the crossface for a submission win! Jerk that he is Teoman then beats on his fallen opponent and locks in the crossface again before Oliver Carter comes running in to chase him away.
I’m still not sold on Teoman’s character (not sure if it’s because I’m not a Berliner, a Turk or a Turkish-Berliner) but he’s pretty good in the ring. I also really like Ashton Smith’s look. I don’t think he’s enough of a monster to be a singles big man on the Main Roster but hot damn would he look good in the tag division. Given that’s his focus I hope that catches Hunter’s eye.
We go backstage for an interview with Ilya Dragunov for his response to the match with Naom Dar (which I guess Sid Scala booked off camera). Following up on his great performance on Supernova Sessions Ilya cuts another really good interview here. He says that the match is no problem and he’ll handle Dar. Ilya opened up about a difficult period in his life after his loss to WALTER but Ilya’s a changed man now. But if anyone tries to trigger him, or manipulate him then Ilya will get violent with you.
We cut to Jack Starz on the phone and just as he hangs up and the camera man starts asking him a question, Pretty Deadly interrupts!!! Pretty Deadly are rocking some 90’s era Marvel harnesses with pouches -- someone call Deadpool and let him know he’s been robbed! Pretty Deadly start in mocking Jack and using those high pitched whiny voices that drive Jack crazy. He tells them they're so full of themselves and egotistical thinking they can just go around teasing and bullying people. Pretty Deadly told him that if he wants to do something about it go arrange a match with the general manager.
Kenny Williams versus Andy Wild
Andy Wild is already in the ring when Williams’ music hits and Nigel McGuinness points out Wild is a newcomer. Uh-oh looks like a squash match. I looked up Andy Wild and based on his PBW page it seems like he has a pretty good resume. But it was definitely a squash.
The big "news" out of this one is that Kenny has shaved off his beard to show that he is a new man who doesn’t care about a good guy image. Sure, you were pure as driven snow before. This was an entertaining match as far as these things go since Wild is so much larger than Williams. That meant Williams had to really focus on Wild’s legs before he got the pin. Wild had some really fun power offense early on but yeah...
Last Batch of Promos
We get the usual top-notch WWE produced video package hyping up the Meiko Satomura versus Kay Lee Ray championship match in 2 weeks. Kay Lee Ray talks about how she started off trying to be nice and friendly but it got her nowhere. Now she doesn’t care and she’s beat everyone and she’ll beat Satomura as well. She respects Satomura’s career (and we get footage from WCW and various other promotions here) but no one can take her belt. For Meiko’s part she says she’s on a mission to get the belt. Things didn’t work out in her first match but she had lots of respect for Kay Lee Ray...until Ray suckered Satomura into a superkick when bowing to her. Satomura ends the package telling Ray to "be prepared."
We get another top notch video package hyping up the Joe Coffey versus Rampage Brown match. Pretty standard stuff here as well but should be an absolute banger of a match.
Trent Seven versus Sam Gradwell
Alright fans strap yourselves in because here comes the main event. The Mustache versus the Motormouth. This has been building for several weeks and I love Gradwell getting right up in the camera screaming about being the true founding father of NXT UK as he enters the ring.
It doesn’t take long for the pace to pick up in this one as both men try gaining momentum off the ropes to land some big strikes. Seven gets the upper hand by landing a crossbody putting Gradwell down on the mat. He follows this up with a running leg drop for a 2 count. Gradwell manages to muster some offense after this but then we get a really weird spot. Both men were going for clotheslines at the same time but Gradwell does what Nigel calls a leg sweep for what looks like a ura-nage but I think Gradwell and Seven miscommunicated about their next moves here.
We get a bit of a rest break here with some locks and a bit of back and forth but then the action picks back up again as Gradwell cuts Seven down with some elbow strikes to his shoulders and upper back before landing a butterfly suplex for a near fall. Gradwell taunts Seven as he punishes him with some strikes and grinds his knuckles into Seven’s face. Gradwell then scoop slams Seven for a big bounce and into a rear chin lock.
At this point we needed a live crowd as Seven was going a little old school psyching himself up to power out of the chin lock. He’s able to regain his feet before Gradwell takes him down again and back into the chin lock. Seven fights out of it again by hitting Gradwell’s knee with his elbow forcing Gradwell to loosen his grip. Both men deliver huge chops in the middle of the ring. Seven manages to drop Gradwell with a DDT for a near fall leading to some sustained offense by Seven.
After another bit of a rest break Seven is the first up and clotheslines Gradwell over the top rope. Seven then does a suicide dive through the ropes but lands awkwardly on his knee while doing so. As the action transitions back into the ring we can see Seven struggling with his knee but Gradwell doesn’t. Seven climbs to the top rope for a corkscrew but Gradwell rolls out of the way and sees the injured knee buckle under Seven. He takes advantage of this by quickly putting Seven into a half Boston crab and really locking it in. Seven is able to wriggle his way free and counters into a half Boston crab of his own on Gradwell’s surgically repaired knee. Gradwell’s able to counter the submission in almost the exact same fashion and then lands several kicks knocking Seven out of the ring.
As Seven gets back up onto the apron Gradwell lays him out with another big punch. As Seven recovers on the floor Gradwell gets out onto the apron and gives him a flying punch as Seven stands back up. Gradwell stomps Seven a few times for good measure before getting both of them back in the ring before the ref finishes the count. The action transitions to the top rope as both wrestlers vie for positioning for a big move but Seven comes out in control and does a superplex on Gradwell from the top rope! His cover only gets a 2 count!
After that big spot both wrestlers take a short break but Seven is up first and gets a rear waist lock. Gradwell gets out of it and absolutely wrecks Seven with a forearm (I thought I saw Seven’s tooth go flying) for a near fall. After a bit more action we get another weird looking spot. Gradwell gives Seven a power bomb but leans way back during the cover, letting Seven kick out. It just looked weird like Seven wasn’t even really pinned. The action continues with The Motormouth doing some more trash talking before heading up to the top rope. All the trash talk gave Seven time to recover and get his boot up in Gradwell’s face as he jumped off the top rope.
Both men get up and start yelling at each other about who’s the founding father while trading blows but it leads to Seven landing a big spinning clothesline softening Gradwell up for an over-the-shoulder facebuster for the 1-2-3! Trent Seven, the Mustache, the true Founding Father of NXT UK.
Reminder/introduction: A+ is a perfect show, B+ is a great show, C+ is average and enjoyable and anything below that is not good.
I would have rated this a little higher but we didn’t get a single Women’s division match. We instead got that squash match to introduce Kevin Williams "new" character which is mostly just him shaving his beard. Odd choice. But I thoroughly enjoyed the rest.
As usual let your thoughts be known in the comments below fellow Cagesiders!