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We get a gigantic swerve this week thanks to these uncertain times, a couple of serviceable title defenses and one really good tag match.
WALTER versus Dragunov II hype!!!
Oh my god just inject this straight into my veins right now!!! Triple H actually starts the show as if we didn't already know how big this match is but The Game cuts a good promo here. We then go straight to the ring where a press conference has been set up with live reporters at ringside (does this mean we could have a small group of fans next week? pretty please?).
I'd been taking full notes on this one but honestly, just go watch this, it is well worth the time. Both men do a really good job here. When it breaks down at the end is when we really get to the good stuff. Dragunov calls WALTER arrogant and that just sets WALTER off who stands up and starts yelling at Dragunov in German. Dragunov says that he now hates WALTER after what he did to him 2 weeks ago (the attack after the triple threat match with Rampage Brown and Joe Coffey) and that "I WILL BREAK YOU." A Russian telling someone that they'll break them in the ring? The 80's kid in me loves it!!!
Breaking news: There was an altercation backstage after the press conference. Details are unclear but WALTER suffered an injury to his hand that renders him unable to compete next week.
Well that's one way to draw this out until such time as there can be a raucous crowd (Editor's note: Reports indicate WALTER's injury is legit. But I'm all for having his next clash with Dragunov in front of fans, too). Boris Johnson better live up to his end and give the Brits their "Freedom Day" soon so we can get this match. I'm sad we're not actually getting this but on the other hand it would have sucked without a large, live crowd.
This Week's Promos
Subculture are hanging out somewhere. Luna's tagging a wall as Andrews talks about how history repeating because the first time he and Webster won the belt it was because he won a singles match for the shot. Given that opportunity the two of them won the belts and next week that'll continue. Luna chipped in here to point out that's where history will change because it'd make them the first ever 2 time NXT UK Tag Team Champions.
Later we get Pretty Deadly at a photo shoot with a sideplate check. Lewis had the match in the bag last week but those Subculture weirdos got involved. Pretty Deadly run this tag division. In fact they are the best NXT UK has ever had. Subculture were the champions of the past and they are the past for a reason -- the present is Pretty Deadly.
Sid Scala is being interviewed at the Performance Center about an update on A-Kid when A-Kid comes in with a knee brace and crutches. A-Kid wants Devlin as soon as he's healed but not just any match wants an Ironman match.
Aoife Valkyrie has watched and learned everything she needs to about Jinny. The best competitors have short memories when it comes to failure and Valkyrie's ready to be the best. She says Jinny only picks fights when she thinks odds are in her favor.
Speaking of Jinny, we find out that Noam Dar will be hosting her and Joseph Conners on Supernova Sessions next week.
Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter versus Teoman and Rohan Raja
This feud's been going on for a while now. Originally Teoman broke Raja's shoulder in Raja's debut match. Then Teoman beat Smith and Carter in singles matches. After Teoman beat Carter Raja came out seemingly to protect Carter but in fact Teoman commanded Raja to attack Carter. This week we finally get all four men in the ring together.
Smith uses his raw power to lift Teoman up with no assist then holds him in the vertical suplex position for a 3 count before delivering the suplex. Teoman and Raja do a good job of working this as heels and Carter plays the baby face in peril. Eventually Carter is able to escape and Smith comes in with the hot tage and obliterates everyone. The action really picks up and there's a ton of good stuff here. Eventually the heel shenanigans and distractions come into play and Teoman is able to lock in the crossface crippler for the submission victory!
This is actually my match of the night and given that there was questionable activity at the end there I have a feeling that Smith and Carter are going to demand a rematch. Hopefully we get that because this was top notch stuff from both teams. Hopefully we see one or the other after this feud and the Pretty Deadly/Subculture feud have ended.
Amale versus Meiko Satomura for the Women's Championship
The Great French Hope faces off against The Final Boss in her first Championship defense. Honestly I'm kind of sad this isn't the main event but c'est la vie! Amale's been beating all sorts of folks up to get her opportunity so let's see if she can prove it in the squared circle.
Not a terrible match but honestly given the placement on the card and the short build for this it wasn't a big surprise to see Satomura hit the Scorpio Rising and retain the belt. Amale had one or two hope spots but this was as close to a squash match as we get on NXT UK.
I think that Amale will be hanging around the top of the card now that Piper Niven is gone and we don't know where KLR is.
Mark Coffey versus Tyler Bate for the Heritage Cup
Not a huge amount of build for this main event either. It's actually the continuing friendly competition between Coffey and Wolfgang about who's the better singles wrestler. After Bate's Heritage Cup defense against Jack Starz Coffey came out and gave Bate a playful little jab by way of challenge.
Round 1: We get a fairly typical start to this. Coffey targets Bate's left arm and is in control for most of the round. No score to end the round. Round 2: Coffey's in control to begin again here with a series of hammer locks that Bate is unable to escape. Eventually he uses Coffey's momentum to whip him out of the ring. Twice as Coffey tries to climb back in Bate drop kicks him back out. Bate is able to roll up Coffey for a pin and leads 1-0.
Round 3: Coffey starts in control yet again with a side head lock. Bate escapes but Coffey lays him out with a combination of power moves. Bate goes for an aerial from the top rope but Coffey counters with a kick then a running forearm to the jaw which allows him to score a pin. Tied 1-1. Round 4: The action is fast right from the start of this one. Highlights include Coffey with a side slam for a near fall, Bate with an exploder suplex and a standing moonsault for a near fall, and Bate with a helicopter spin that leaves both men dizzy. The round ends with both men having trouble getting to their corners after an accidental head clash. Still tied 1-1. Round 5: We get a fast and furious start again here but Bate manages to land a Tyler Driver within the first minute for a pin fall. Bate retains with a 2-1 victory.
Okay I'm a big fan of the Heritage Cup format but as someone else pointed out after the last match these are starting to get formulaic. It looked like Coffey could have maybe had a chance after Round 4 unlike Jack Starz but at that point we were into the overrun hence the very fast finish. We'll see what they do with these going forward.
Reminder/introduction: A+ is a near perfect show, B+ is a good show, C+ is average, and anything less than that is not good.
Amale and Mark Coffey both put up decent fights in their title matches but the writing was on the wall for both of them so there wasn't really too much suspense. I briefly thought in round 4 that Coffey might have pulled it out but he didn't. I really enjoyed the tag match and I'm hoping we see those four again. The Walter/Dragunov II conference was great but somewhat overshadowed by the announcement later in the show.
Let the rest of us know how you felt about this week's episode Cagesiders!