Welcome to BT Sport Studios!
And indeed welcome back to "live" wrestling after a couple of weeks of clip shows. It was really nice to see the holiday wishes from the various superstars and see some of their families. Pretty Deadly did not endear themselves to my wife who was in the room while I was watching the New Year's edition.
We've got a great show this week with a massive NXT UK Women's Championship Match between the Ichiban Gaijin Blair Davenport and The Final Boss Meiko Satomura, we have round one of the NXT UK Tag Team #1 Contender's tournament between Ashton Smith/Oliver Carter and Symbiosis, and Xia Brookside looks to start her climb back to the top of the mountain with a match against Myla Grace.
Ashton Smith and Oliver Carter versus Symbiosis -- NXT UK Tag Team #1 Contender's Tournament Round 1
Andy and Nigel start this one taking a rather unfair (but accurate) shot at the Welsh language when discussing Eddie Dennis' fluency in said language. Nigel also bellyaches early on about Pretty Deadly not getting an automatic rematch for the titles. Andy points out that there was no rematch clause in the contract.
This was a pretty darn good match which isn't too surprising given how good both these teams are. I'm a big fan of Ashton Smith because of his amazing strength (he kind of reminds me of Caesaro in terms of build) and Oliver Carter is really fun as a high flyer. The two of them together have a lot of really fun double team moves. For Symbiosis' part I don't particularly like their concept but both Primate and T-Bone are very good at wrestling the way I'd imagine their characters would wrestle so it's a pleasing harmony between look and style.
In the end my favorites got the win via pinfall and will be going on to face the winner of Starz/Mastiff and Die Familie.
This Week's Promos
Pretty Deadly on their loss: they're very agitated about not being included in the tournament when Sam Gradwell interrupts to do what Sam Gradwell does.
Ilja Dragunov Preparing: We cut to Dresden where we see him running up some stairs. He talks about how hard he worked to get where he is but no matter what happens in the match he has one thing that can never be taken away from him -- family. We get heart warming stories about his family until we get Devlin's statements about Dragunov's family overlaid on the scene. Dragunov doesn't need the fancy lifestyle -- he has real riches and is a real person (not fake like Devlin).
Heritage Cup: We get a video package of A-Kid's win over Nathan Frazer 3 weeks ago and then the camera pans out and we see that it was Noam Dar watching it on his phone. Sha Samuels is there discussing the wagering odds with Dar and they're both pretty confident in Dar's chances. We later get a piece from A-Kid about him wanting to get the Heritage Cup back and how hard he's training for it.
Next Week's Tag Team Tournament Match: Die Familie is in front of the NXT UK backdrop telling Jack Starz and Dave Mastiff that they are going to lose. Starz and Mastiff are in a room backstage with some NXT UK banners but Starz gets tripped up because he can't tell if Mastiff is angry at him or happy. Mastiff assures him he's smiling because they're going to win.
Amale's repackaging: We get another promo from Amale and then Andy talking about all the social media acknowledgement of her story. We catch up to her as she arrives at the PC when Jinny comes up and starts trash talking her but Stevie Turner is the one who gets the backlash after saying Jinny had a point.
The Ring General WALTER: OMG! After New Year's Evil he informed Johnny Saint that next week will be his last match in NXT UK as he's moving over to NXT 2.0. So next week we will have WALTER versus Nathan Frazer in a passing of the torch. We then cut to a promo from WALTER talking about his time in NXT UK and his historic title reign.
Myla Grace versus Xia Brookside
This one was fairly short and wasn't in doubt from the beginning. Brookside won it with a pin fall to pick up a much needed win. She's coming off that loss to Satomura before the Christmas break so she needs to rebuild her record to climb back up that mountain. Grace was the first in line to take a loss for that.
Blair Davenport versus Meiko Satomura -- NXT UK Women's Championship
This one was a few weeks in the making. From the minute Davenport arrived she's been rampaging through the women's locker room looking for this match culminating in beating Satomura's protege Emilia McKenzie with Satomura's own finisher. The two never managed to face each other back in Japan so this one's been a while in the making.
Early on Davenport hits Satomura with a nasty kick that appears to injure Satomura's neck. Big mark that I am I couldn't tell if it was a work or she was actually hurt. Satomura is that good at selling it. As the match transitioned into the end phase Davenport landed a flying stomp from the top turnbuckle onto the back of a bent over Satomura. A little later Satomura hits the Scorpio Rising but Davenport kicks out. In the end Satomura is able to reverse a pin attempt into her own cover and retains with the pin fall victory.
During the celebration Davenport blindsided Satomura and proceeded to beat her down. After posing with the belt for a bit the show ends with Satomura laid out in the ring and Davenport walking backstage. I don't think these two are finished just yet!
Reminder/introduction: A+ is a near perfect show, B+ is an above average show, C+ is average, and anything less than that is not good.
This was a pretty decent return to regular shows. The opening match and main event were both good matches but nothing overly amazing and the Brookside match was really a glorified squash match.
Alright Cagesiders, let the rest of us know how you felt in the comments below!