WWE Worlds Collide: NXT vs. NXT UK
January 25, 2020
We’re in Houston, Texas. Which in itself a strange decision for this kind of show. The idea is to expose the American audience to some remarkably talented Brits (and British based talent) and yet this would do gangbusters in the UK where everyone would be over. Hosts are face fucker Tom Phillips and Nigel McGuinness.
Finn Balor vs. Ilja Dragunov
Balor doesn’t do anything for me but it’s wild to see Dragunov out in the USA where I knew he’d eventually end up. They both do weird cute stuff and blow an early faked dive spot. A prime example of a lack of familiarity is in evidence with Dragunov, the fiery Russian, who the crowd aimlessly boo. WWE audiences have been conditioned to hate foreigners for so long it’s hard to alter that mindset. It’s a real pity because only one of these men look motivated and it’s not Balor. They do some neat stuff with last gasp countering of spots with strikes that works for me but they also trade on strikes that feels perfunctory. Coup de Grace sets up 1916 and Balor wins.
Good showing for Ilja here. We’ve known for a while how talented he is and how he was always going to be in this position but to actually see him there and killing it makes me happy.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Post Match: Grizzled Young Veterans and the Broserweights get interviewed about the final of the Dusty Classic and considering the NXT vs. NXT UK theme of this show why isn’t this on this show? Instead it’s randomly on NXT this week.
NXT Cruiserweight Championship
Angel Garza (c) vs. Isiah Scott vs. Jordan Devlin vs. Travis Banks
This what happened to the cruiserweight classic. An afterthought now. There are generally so many cruiserweights that there’s no real point to the belt existing anymore. I actually had no idea Garza was the champion. Whenever I see the name “Isiah Scott” I wonder what was wrong with Shane Strickland as a name.
This is four dudes having a laugh and showing off. It’s very spot heavy but who cares? It’s ideal for cruisers to get over by doing all the flips and whatnot. This allows Banks and Devlin to get over with the wacky high spots. Both received a lukewarm reaction but are proving their worth. I’m especially pleased for Devlin who’s finally recovered from that terrible showing in the original NXT UK title tournament. I’m surprised at how over Garza is but he’s incredibly handsome, does stripper pants and is a fun worker. The match is well constructed with each man getting moments to shine and them working some clever spots. There’s some dumb stuff in here too. So many Spanish flies. The match is relentlessly fun though so I’ve not major complaints. Devlin pulls out the slight upset win with Devlinside. This was tremendously fun.
Final Rating: ****
Moustache Mountain vs. #DIY
This has been billed as a dream match of sorts. The two acts that are most over in each brand.
Tyler and Gargano do a lot of parity work. Trent brings the comedy, making a point of not doing the bodyguy pose off with the ripped Ciampa. In the space of a minute Ciampa gets to rip BritWres for a lack of conditioning and a lack of height. He really got us there, man. The character work is good here. Tyler and Ciampa both doing their patented waves is fun. As is DIY doing the sit down pose thing. It’s a combination of playing the hits and blending the two teams highlights. I’m not completely sold on everything but there a lot of very good counters where one attempted signature move is countered into something else. Which you can put down to both teams having done their research. The Airplane Spin/Gargano Escape spot is particularly good. They do a lengthy ‘breaking down’ sequence that seems to peak and then keeps going! Trent Seven is a fantastic ideas guy and I’m sure he had a lot of input into how this was put together. DIY put together a run of moves to finish and double superkick Tyler out of the ring to give them time to finish Seven. They went in for a huge hot sequence to end the match and all of it landed. Great match.
Final Rating: ****1/2
Post Match: Dakota Kai is shown at ringside and Tegan Nox blindsides her! This is another match that’s happening on NXT this week. It’s a great weekly TV show because they’re building feuds and making me care about the outcomes of stuff.
NXT Championship (the Women’s one)
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Toni Storm
I’ve always liked Toni and I’m pleased she’s getting the chance to wrestle on this level. There’s no doubt WWE has greater interest in Rhea due to her presence. Toni, at 24, is virtually a grizzled veteran at this point and has done everything there is to do on the Indies. This match is in a rough spot; in the cool down after that ridiculous tag. They limit expectations with a relatively slow paced contest. Toni looks unusually sluggish and her bumps have no snap on them. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and suggest she’s carrying an injury of some kind because I’ve been watching her for years and she’s usually much crisper. Riptide finishes.
Final Rating: **1/2
Post Match: Bianca Belair is out here to banter with Rhea. Both of been built well on NXT and it’s tough to say who you put over there and who you call up to the main roster.
Undisputed Era vs. Imperium
Imperium, aka WALTER’s Horsemen, is a solid group. UE is obviously over huge. I have a few issues with them as a unit but KOR and Roddy are both fantastic. Fish stiffs Wolfe and knocks him out cold about a minute into the match. Another sloppy moment from an abject dickhead who will probably blame someone else. Wolfe ends up being escorted out and the referee made a fantastic call because I guarantee you he’s been told to count people down if they don’t kick out and there was no kick out at all. They end up improvising and running heat on Barthel until WALTER gets in there and kills everyone. The better talents in UE have a wild time here. Strong vs. WALTER is excellent. I really want that in singles. Roddy bringing the pluck, determination and strikes and WALTER smashing him in response. It’s the kind of WALTER match I’ve been wanting since he signed. It ends with WALTER getting Angleslammed through the announce table.
They do a break down sequence Aichner, Barthel and Cole all kill in a great sequence. Aichner is the absolute star of it. The power in a dead weight Brainbuster. The agility in a springboard right into a superkick. Great stuff. From a storyline point of view UE do an incredible job of taking out members of Imperium. From a work point of view they do an unreal job of finishing the match with Wolfe completely out of action. I can only assume they called an audible and had Barthel take the majority of Wolfe’s spots as he’s in there an awful lot of the match. They also do a fine job of making WALTER feel special. Bringing back that aura that he’s been missing. WALTER powerbombs Fish for the win. This was a great match. All of Imperium killed it after Wolfe went out injured. WALTER looked the best he has in any WWE match, Aichner demonstrated a wonderful mix of power and flying and Barthel slayed it subbing in for his injured buddy. In modern wrestling so much is pre-planned and being able to re-work a person on the fly is so hard. Kudos all round here.
Final Rating: ****1/4