The NXT UK Review: Kassius Ohno Makes His Presence Felt (3/20/19)

Kassius Ohno

NXT UK took some time to find its groove, with the first few sets of tapings being rather haphazard in its booking. To be fair, it was somewhat understandable – they’d had a dozen episodes or so in the can by the time they got their time slot on the WWE Network and for the bulk of them, it felt like they were still trying to figure out who to push and how to use them outside of the top stars, such as British Strong Style (Pete Dunne & Moustache Mountain). But ever since the fantastic NXT UK TakeOver: Blackpool in January, NXT UK has finally found its rhythm, pacing and Superstars and it’s been a solid show with plenty of UK-style in-ring action that fits well under the NXT branding. Here’s a look at this past week’s show. Kassius Ohno was the star.

Kassius Ohno Makes His Presence Felt (3/20/19): NXT UK Review

Eddie Dennis defeats Ligero

Photo: WWE

For his first few months, Eddie Dennis fought Dave Mastiff, determined to prove the big Welshman could take on all comers in NXT UK. The reigning 2x ATTACK! Champion and former PROGRESS Tag Team Champion put on a great showing, but ultimately Mastiff emerged victorious at TakeOver: Blackpool. Deflated, Dennis put himself in a self-imposed exile for several months, finally making his return this week. He returned to face a UK indie legend in near 20-year veteran Ligero. Ligero was one of the out of place stars in the shows earlier days. Despite having more wins than losses (he had wins over James Drake, Joseph Conners and Mark Andrews of late), he seemed an afterthought. But he’s been on a good momentum ride of late, and Ligero was hoping to extend that by ruining the much larger Eddie Dennis’ return. Unfortunately for Ligero, that didn’t happen. The size and power advantage was too much in the Welshman’s favor, and despite some strong comebacks throughout a solid match, Eddie was just too much to handle.

The Hunt defeats Lewis Howley & Sam Stoker

Photo: WWE

NXT UK’s newest full time tag team The Hunt made their presence known on Wednesday. Their opponents were a returning team, youngsters Lewis Howley and Sam Stoker. While the two may have appeared like random local talents, the two are actually former IPW Tag Team Champions The Collective (Stoker is also known as Sammy Smooth) and previously, Greased Lightning. Despite a solid look and clear athletic ability, the sheer aggression of the Hunt, featuring “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman and “Primate” Jay Melrose, proved to be too unstoppable. The Hunt worked like a well-oiled machine, with hints of Legion Doom and War Raiders in their chemistry and barrage of tandem moves. While they’re new as a team, both are veterans of the UK indie scene, and this pairing will be a threat in the NXT UK Tag Team division immediately.

Kassius Ohno defeats Ashton Smith

Kassius Ohno
Photo: WWE

A month or so ago in regular NXT, Kassius Ohno grew frustrated with being passed over for William Regal‘s “shiny new toys” (in reference to the newer stars debuting) and declared he would go where he would “be appreciated”. That somewhere was NXT UK. During previous stints on the indies as Chris Hero, Ohno was one of the US stars who helped rejuvenate indie wrestling in the UK, so his style and character are well known and beloved. He made his NXT UK debut as an official roster member this week and put his display of skills on against Ashton Smith. In a previous week’s vignette, Ohno declared he was coming back to the UK to reteach the younger stars the ways of British wrestling from the World of Sport days, that Britain was renowned for, stating that the newer stars were more imitation or tribute acts to international stars, thus letting the true art of British wrestling die. On Wednesday, he made an example of Smith, defeating him with his lethal rolling elbow strike. Following the match, he helped Smith and offered his hand, but just as Ashton accepted his offer, Ohno delivered another knockout blow to add insult to injury. Kassius Ohno is back in the UK and is looking to be the Teacher, punishing one student at a time. Following the second elbow strike, former PROGRESS World Champion Travis Banks – moved on from his feud with Jordan Devlin – came down to help Smith, but Ohno was already gone.

Tyler Bate defeats James Drake

Photo: WWE

The main event saw a singles match extension of the feud between NXT UK Tag Team Champions Grizzled Young Veterans (Zack Gibson & James Drake) and Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate), as Drake and Bate went head to head. It was an athletic marvel, as two highly athletic wrestlers went at it in a solid single showcase. In the end, Bate was a hair too much to handle, and Tyler Bate picked up the win. A fun match that keeps the feud brewing as we look towards the inevitable rematch for the tag team championships.

I Heard The News Today (Oh Boy)

Pete Dunne vs WALTER Confirmed For NXT TakeOver: New York

Photo: WWE

It was officially confirmed on Wednesday that NXT UK was having a UK Championship Match at NXT TakeOver: New York on WrestleMania weekend, and that WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne would be defending it against one of the newest stars of the brand, WALTER.

Toni Storm Turns Sights on Jinny

Photo: WWE

Toni Storm and Rhea Ripley are moving on from each other, and Storm’s attention has now shifted to the fashionista of NXT UK, Jinny. In a backstage interview, Storm stated that while her and Jinny both have an affinity for gold, Storm works hard for hers, while Jinny is more apt to the kind “that her mommy and daddy buy for her”. Jinny has been on a win streak since her debut, and her and Storm are no stranger to each other. They’ve had wars in PROGRESS, Revolution Pro (RevPro) and Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) since 2015, including Jinny’s huge win over Toni Storm for the PROGRESS Women’s Championship last spring. This is a war that could define the NXT UK women’s division.

Kenny Williams & Amir Jordan Start To Get Serious

While at first this random pairing of two UK indie singles stars – Kenny Williams is a 3x Zero-G Champion with Scotland’s Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) and Amir Jordan is a former IPW Z-Force Champion – the two have caught on quite well and developed a solid chemistry in ring and together as personalities. Routinely used as enhancement, they’ve recently found some winning ways, and now the duo looks determined to make more of a presence in the tag division.

Rhea Ripley Turns Attention to Xia Brookside

Photo: WWE

Now that Toni Storm has shifted focus to Jinny, the first NXT UK Women’s Champion is looking elsewhere to re-establish herself as the dominant force. On Wednesday she called out Xia Brookside, the happy-go-lucky young star who has found herself in a bit of a push after her win over Candyfloss last month. Ripley has faced Brookside before – she was one of the women Rhea defeated in last year’s NXT UK Women’s Championship tournament – she’ll be looking to make an example of Brookside in the coming weeks.

Gallus Re-Focuses

Photo: Joe Coffey Twitter

The united Scottish trio Gallus, featuring Joe Coffey, Wolfgang and Mark Coffey, have had some tough battles, but always come up a bit short in the big matches. We saw a short vignette of the three of them collecting their thoughts on this very sentiment, with Coffey pledging that it’s time they re-focused and showed NXT UK why they were the dominant faction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.