This report is dedicated to the "King of Catchers" Karsten Beck, a former two-time wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion and wXw Hall of Famer, who sadly passed away this morning after a lengthy battle with brain cancer at 33.
He was one of the most hard-working and entertaining wrestlers in Europe and would have fit right in at NXT UK had fate taken a different turn. It was fitting to see four of his former wXw brothers main event this episode. Rest in Peace my king, and all the best to his family, friends, and fans in these trying times.
- Dave Mastiff advanced to the semifinals of the Heritage Cup with a third round knockout of Joseph Conners
- Jordan Devlin is back and still considers himself the NXT Cruiserweight champion
- Piper Niven defeated Isla Dawn
- Ilja Dragunov & Pete Dunne beat NXT UK Champion WALTER & Alexander Wolfe, setting up Dragunov's title challenge in two weeks
Heritage Cup opening round match: Dave Mastiff beat Joseph Conners by knockout in 0:25 of round three (7:05)
This was the third of four Heritage Cup opening round matches. Noam Dar qualified against Alexander Wolfe (with the finish of that match leading indirectly to tonight's main event) while A-Kid beat former NXT UK tag team champion Flash Morgan Webster to advance.
As a refresher, the Heritage Cup is an approach at traditional British Wrestling with a special set of rules:
- All matches consist of six three minute rounds with 20 second breaks between each round.
- All matches are 2-out-of-3 falls.
- Falls can be won by pinfall, submission, or countout.
- Once a fall occurs, the round ends.
- The match ends once a wrestler has won two falls.
- In the event of a disqualification or countout, the match instantly ends without the need for two falls.
- If all six rounds are completed, whomever is ahead on falls wins the match.
Mastiff has mostly been dominant in singles competition on NXT UK, only sporting losses against Joe Coffey, Jordan Devlin and WALTER on his record. Conners, who gives off somewhat of a Jake Roberts vibe, has been going down a Raven-esque "What about me?" path with a huge chip on his shoulder, claiming to be TakeOver worthy over and over again but with mixed results. Both men went into the match with something to prove.
Mastiff dominated most of the first two three minute rounds until Conners got under his skin with two slaps to the face as the ref looked to separate them. Mastiff answered with a slap of his own that sent Conners tumbling to ringside as round two ended. Conners went at it with slaps again and Mastiff answered with two big forearm strikes that sent Conners to the mat. A few seconds later, the ref ruled that Conners had been knocked out and awarded Mastiff the win.
Mastiff now goes on to face the winner of the upcoming Trent Seven vs. Kenny Williams match in the semifinals. While the match itself was nothing special, it established Mastiff as someone with knockout power which may play into a future match. It was also the first match in the tournament to end with a knockout instead of a two fall finish.
Jordan Devlin promo
A video aired where Devlin called himself the real NXT Cruiserweight Champion. He said he would consider himself the champion until someone under 205 could pin or submit him. This was a really great video and instantly made me care about the championship, which mostly was an ill-fated prop on 205 Live, NXT and PPV pre-show matches since its inception.
As a refresher, he won the title at January's Worlds Collide in a four-way over champion Angel Garza, Isaiah Scott and Travis Banks. He defended it on both NXT and NXT UK until the pandemic shut down international travel and NXT UK tapings for six months. He was initially still billed as the champion and a tournament to crown an interim champion was held in NXT in April and May. At some point during the tournament, they dropped the "interim" designation, which Devlin pointed out here, asking if NXT officials thought he wouldn't notice.
His name wasn't brought up again after the #SpeakingOut movement hit the UK wrestling scene and a woman came forward on social media claiming she had been sexually assaulted by Devlin, providing some graphic pictures which showed bruises that she allegedly got from Devlin. WWE promised to look into the matter and as Devlin was back for this video, it seems that matter is closed.
-- Oliver Carter and tag team partner Ashton Smith bantered backstage about what the other was wearing. They brought up Pretty Deadly, who had been talking to Eddie Dennis recently with the contents of said talks still being a mystery. Carter said he'd face Dennis next week and looked forward to it as he always wanted to kick a head teacher in the face (Dennis was the youngest headmaster of a school in the UK in his previous career).
Piper Niven beat Isla Dawn (8:17)
This match stemmed from the brawl that featured the whole NXT UK women's division during last week's Kay Lee Ray State of the Union address. Dawn bumped into Niven, who took offense and they got into it.
Dawn impressively outwrestled Niven early on, using technical prowess to keep the larger and more powerful Niven at bay. Niven eventually took over, grinding Dawn down and using her power to ragdoll her around the ring. At one point, Niven bounced off the ropes from a dropkick and hit a crossbody on a sitting Dawn for a near fall.
Later in the match, Dawn hit an impressive top rope meteora on Niven for a near fall of her own. Niven eventually won after a backdrop driver, cannonball senton in the corner, and Piper Driver.
The match was OK but dragged at times. Dawn looked better than in most of her matches and the story was that she got to Niven repeatedly. Niven lost her feud with Ray and needs a new program. Since it looks like Jinny will be going for the women's title next, it made sense she got a comeback win here. Niven acknowledged Dawn after the match who gave a Minoru Suzuki-like smile after taking a beating.
- Kenny Williams was interviewed in the NXT UK Performance Center as he prepared for his match with Trent Seven in the Heritage Cup next week. He was there with Amir Jordan and said he had never trained so hard for a match in his life.
- A video recapped last week's mysterious backstage attack on Flash Morgan Webster as Mark Andrews rushed to his partner's aid. Before the pandemic, Andrews had similarly been laid out. We were told that Webster was currently not cleared for in-ring action. Suspiciously, The Hunt were there as first responders for both attacks.
- A great video looked at the aforementioned Seven as he talked about the Heritage Cup. He said he never wrestled rounds matches before, but he needs to write his name on the trophy.
Ilja Dragunov & Pete Dunne beat NXT UK Champion WALTER & Alexander Wolfe (19:05)
Since this recent set of tapings, Imperium have been given a new version of Antonín Dvořák's 9th symphony which sadly sounds inferior to the version they had been using previously. I guess WWE wants to own the rights to that particular recording. This also was Pete Dunne's first match back on NXT UK in over a year as he last wrestled Wolfe on TV in July 2019 and had a dark mach against Fabian Aichner in September 2019.
This was mostly a vehicle to build to the WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov title match in two weeks. Those two had some legendary battles in wXw and PROGRESS over the past five years and if they bring this match to NXT UK, people are in for a treat (and probably at least one bloody, raw chest).
This was an excellent main event featuring four of the best workers in Europe on their a-game.
Dragunov and Imperium had been having problems ever since Dragunov turned down recruitment atempts by his former mentor and trainer Alexander Wolfe. Dragunov then won a 20 man battle royal to earn a title shot back in March, but the pandemic put a stop to him cashing in his title shot.
Dunne got into it with Wolfe after being the special referee in a Heritage Cup match pitting Wolfe against Noam Dar and Wolfe taking offense to his officiating. A brawl ensued which saw Dragunov and WALTER chime in, leading to this tag team battle. Of course, Dunne and WALTER also have a storied history with WALTER being the man to finally dethrone Dunne as NXT UK Champion at the WrestleMania weekend TakeOver back in 2019.
Dunne looked ripped here as he clearly used his time away from the ring to get into the best physical shape of his career. He had great exchanges with both Wolfe and WALTER early on. After a few minutes, we finally got a first glimpse at WALTER vs. Dragunov, which mostly consisted of the most intense side headlock battle you'll ever see. It's amazing how much WALTER can accomplish with the most basic stuff.
Imperium took turns working Dragunov over as Dunne had to watch from the apron. One hot tag later, we were back with WALTER vs. Dunne as the former champ ran wild on the current titleholder until both men were exhausted. Dragunov and Wolfe were in toward the final stretch of the match when Dragunov took off his former teacher's head with the Konstantin Special lariat. Wolfe almost was done for after an X-Plex/top rope senton combo.
A major plot point in the match was Dragunov refusing to succumb to WALTER's brutality, surviving a ton of stiff chops (to the point his chest was beet red) as well as numerous sleeper attempts and a power bomb. He also hit an impressive deadlift Gotch lift suplex on the 300+ pound WALTER.
The finish came when Dunne took out Wolfe on the outside as he looked to stop Dragunov, leading to "The Mad Russian" hitting Torpedo Moscow on WALTER to pin the champion clean in the middle of the ring. This was WALTER's first pinfall loss in NXT UK and only his second since signing with WWE with the first coming to Drew McIntyre at Survivor Series).
Trent Seven vs. Kenny Williams in the final Heritage Cup opening round match