Wrestling Review: WWE NXT UK, April 17 2019

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This episode was a little different, emanating from Brooklyn, New York in the midst of WrestleMania weekend.

Gallus vs. Raul Mendoza & Humberto Carrillo

The show opened with Gallus and their awesome entrance theme. Joe Coffee and Mark Coffee represented the faction here to take on the combination of Raul and Humberto, in something of an inter-brand contest. Nigel McGuinness on commentary said he felt sorry for Mendoza, saying that he is handsome but that his looks pale in comparison to those of Carrillo. This followed the usual formula of the bigger heel tandem working with a slow pace, setting up a fast-paced comeback by the babyfaces. After Joe broke up a pin by Raul after he hit a 450 splash on Mark, Gallus won when Joe tagged in and struck Mendoza with a huge lariat.

Kassius Ohno was interviewed, where he noted that things haven’t gone as planned but he still wishes to make an impact, as well as trash-talking El Ligero (bringing up his routine of having multiple Butlin’s matches at different locations in one day) to set up a future match between those two. We also had various personalities discussing Pete Dunne vs. WALTER at TakeOver: New York, with a tease of a future bout between WALTER and Jordan Devlin.

Kona Reeves vs. Dave Mastiff

Kona represented the main NXT brand here against UK star Dave Mastiff, whose exploits earned him a fair few cheers in Brooklyn. The hard camera shaking as Mastiff poses in the ring is still a cool effect. It felt like Kona was overmatched here, and so it proved despite Reeves’ attempts to punk out his larger opponent. Kona did have Dave in momentary trouble after a hard running knee to the side of the head, but otherwise this was pretty much domination from Big Dave. As one fan repeatedly reminded Kona that he sucks, Mastiff nailed a running crossbody, a release back German suplex, and a huge Cannonball to claim victory.

A selfie promo with Flash Morgan Webster and Mark Andrews aired to discuss a forthcoming bout against Moustache Mountain. Also, Mastiff had a backstage interview interrupted by Wolfgang which led to a pull-apart, with Dave shouting “Come on lad! I’ll have you for dinner!” Such threats never grow old, especially in an alien environment like New York.

Kacy Catanzaro vs. Rhea Ripley

This represented an opportunity for Kacy to garner attention, as well as being a rematch from last year’s Mae Young Classic, but it was hard to envision Rhea losing here despite Kacy’s best efforts, including a handstand on the ropes into a headscissors which got a good reaction. But not too dissimilar to the previous match, the more powerful competitor – Ripley – was in control for the majority of the contest, including a delayed vertical suplex for two. Kacy came close with a roll-up, but Ripley rebounded with the Riptide. Afterwards, Rhea attacked Kacy with an inverted cloverleaf to stand even taller, though that shouldn’t discount Kacy’s performance here. Ripley insulted Catanzaro again in the trainer’s room, though she was shooed away by Toni Storm.

We also had comments from earlier in the day by Jinny at Axxess (while The Undertaker’s music played), but she had nothing to say regarding her loss to Toni last week. Kassius Ohno vs. El Ligero and Moustache Mountain vs. Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster were also confirmed for next week’s edition.

The Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Kenny Williams & Amir Jordan

Zack Gibson and James Drake had made the challenge for a battle in New York last week, and so we got this match in response, though not before some pre-match comments from Liverpool’s Number One (to chants of “Shoes off if you hate Gibson!”). Zack said that no matter where they are, their mission remains the same, and that their NXT Tag Team Titles would soon be considered the most important in WWE, though he confirmed this would be a non-title bout despite the implication from the open challenge made that this would be for the gold. In a well-worked back-and-forth doubles match (with Gibson repeatedly describing it to Drake as an “exhibition”, only to turn up the heat when the faces began troubling the champions, which of course only led to an even stronger babyface comeback by Kenny and Amir), the GYV looked dominant and confident, until Gibson appeared to suffer a head injury which essentially turned it into a handicap match (James: “You okay, lad?”). Zack did get back into the action, but the faces had momentum by this point, and a senton bomb by Amir required Gibson to drag Drake out of the ring (resulting in chants of “You’re a w—ker!” The boos really rained down when the champs walked out and intentionally took a countout loss. Four straight wins for the faces culminating with this victory means that a future title shot is inevitable.

In a promo that doubled as a video package, Pete Dunne was aghast at questions about his next move. Reminding people of the chase he had to get to the United Kingdom Championship before his historic reign, and of his other high points in the past two years, he vowed that because he now knows what to expect from WALTER, he will regain the UK Title in a rematch. “Give me my rematch!” said Dunne to close the show.

The US location and inter-brand action made this episode of NXT UK stand out. I still preferred last week’s edition, but it was entertaining enough, and the two matches announced for next week also sound promising.