Last week on the Best and Worst of NXT UK: Piper Niven made her in-ring debut, and Toni Storm successfully defended her championship against Jinny.
Click here to watch the show on WWE Network. If you’d like to read previous installments of the Best and Worst of NXT UK, click right here. Follow With Spandex on Twitter and Facebook. You can also follow me on Twitter if you want. And now, the Best and Worst of NXT UK from April 17, 2019.
Worst: Hey Yeah, It’s WrestleMania Axxess, Oh Huh
I just don’t know that recording NXT UK at WrestleMania Axxess is a good idea. First of all, the crowd looks extremely small compared to their UK shows, and yet much of the show features a low background rumble that sounds like a huge crowd. But not a huge crowd that’s excited to see Gallus. Just a huge crowd that’s murmuring to each other as they stand in line of a photo-op with the New Day. Plus what crowd there is isn’t a British crowd, so they’re probably not going to sing any songs, and if they do they’ll be bad at it.
Plus you get matches like Mark and Joe Coffey versus Raul Mendoza and Humberto Carrillo. Nothing against Raul and Humberto, and this show can always use more people of color, but let’s face it, these guys aren’t exactly big stars yet on NXT Domestic, and this isn’t even their brand. So this whole thing felt a lot like filler on a weekend when everybody was pretty busy. Obviously the Coffeys dominated, as they should, although Mendoza and Carrillo got a nice moment where they hit a moonsault immediately followed by a 450 splash, briefly giving them the upper hand. As strong as they looked when that happened, though, the Coffeys’ victory was inevitable.
Best: This Asshole
This is Kassius Ohno getting mad because a British interviewer called him “Kass-ee-uss” instead of “Kash-us.” This guy was born to play a big boorish American heel on a European roster and it’s obviously the most fun he’s had since signing. I could not have been more wrong when I was annoyed the first time he showed up.
Worst: Bomber Deserves Better
I might be one of the few American WWE fans who gets excited every time I see the Bomber Dave Mastiff, but let’s be real, nobody’s excited to see Kona Reeves. Still, Dave carried the match admirably, and made it pretty fun to watch, except for the bit in the beginning when Kona trapped him in a hold for a while. Once the Bomber got back to his feet, he got to show off his impressive agility. If there’s one thing you can say about Kona Reeves, at least he’s a guy you can do all your moves to consecutively with no fear of consequences.
There was also a great gag on commentary where Nigel McGuinness (the British announcer) kept talking about Dave Mastiff weighing 21 Stone, and Vic Joseph (the American announcer) not knowing what that means. “A stone is 14 pounds, Vic. You do the math!
After the match, Wolfgang got in Dave’s face and they brawled, so that’s going to be a fun match to see.
Best: Brick Versus Rubber Band
I love matches between big scary brawlers and little flippy babyfaces, and this delivered on that. Kacy’s still pretty new to wrestling, but her gymnastic Ninja Warrior skills make up for a lot. Her hurricanrana is great, she can do handstands on the rope, and she sells like she was born for it. Meanwhile Rhea’s pretty much got wrestling figured out (which is not to say she won’t get even better with age), and her thing isn’t so much flipping as just beating the hell out of you. So naturally, Kacy spent the first part of this match trying to keep Rhea from catching her, but you can only do that for so long.
Kacy did get some offense in, including the aforementioned hurricanrana, but she was never really a contender. She may be great at doing flips, but Rhea’s great at kicking ass. She’s also a bully, so you buy it when she beats the crap out of somebody this much smaller than her. This is their second match, after Rhea eliminated Kacy in the second round of the second Mae Young Classic, and I hope they have third match in 2020, just to see where Kacy is then. I won’t be surprised if she’s a big star by then, or if she’s able to make short work of someone Ripley’s size. For now though, despite some impressive moves and a near fall or two, Kacy eats the Riptide and gets pinned. Then Rhea puts her in that nasty inverted cloverleaf just to be mean. This match put over both women as great performers, but it also put Rhea over as a huge bully, and Kacy was the perfect woman to help with that.
Best: The Worst
The Grizzled Young Veterans had previously offered an “open challenge” for the NXT UK Tag Team Championship, but before the bell Zack Gibson took a mic and declared this a non-title match, claiming Kenny Williams and Amir Jordan aren’t ready. Then something cool happened: Kenny and Amir spent the entire match proving how incredibly ready they are to fight for, and quite possibly take, those tag titles. They were on fire from the first moments, taking turns dominating an increasingly angry James Drake. At one point Gibson pulled his partner out of the ring and told him to calm down.
The dynamic between Zack and James was really interesting here. Zack clearly realized Kenny and Amir had the upper hand and might win this match, but James didn’t catch on to that. He just wanted to swat those annoying flies, never realizing they had a serious bit. Things got worse when Zack took a kick to the eye at ringside and couldn’t tag in for a long time. How messed up he seemed to be was also a distraction for James, as things kept going worse for them. Gibson eventually returned to break up a pin on Drake, and they looked strong for a while after that, with both teams getting some very close near-falls.
When Amir Jordan pinned James Drake, however, it looked like the end. And even though this was a non-title match, everybody knew that if Amir and Kenny won, they’d get their title shot. So Zack Gibson pulls his partner out of the ring a second time, and this one also broke up a pin. James wanted to get back in and fight, but Zack clearly knew that was the path to losing the belts. But now that the champs took a count-out loss the title match is inevitable. Zack made his own fear come true by acting on that fear, which is always a great story. And bring on that match, because after this I can’t wait to see it.
That’s all for this week. Join me next time when Kassius Ohno fights Ligero and Moustache Mountain face their friends Mark Andrews and Flash Morgan Webster.