Kay Lee Ray won the NXT UK Women’s Championship back on August 31, 2019 at NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff but the global pandemic turned what could’ve been a star-making reign into months (and months) of not defending the championship and then, later, into a series of awesome matches to reestablish Ray as a main player within the WWE.
Kay Lee Ray’s 649 day title reign was ended by Meiko Satomura on last week’s edition of NXT UK and this appears to be the perfect time to go back and review some of the best matches out of the six titles defenses Ray was able to achieve during her near-two year long run.
— WWE (@WWE) June 11, 2021
Triple Threat Match: Kay Lee Ray vs Toni Storm vs Piper Niven (NXT TakeOver: Blackpool II)
The first match in our list is also Kay Lee’s first defense. This was, potentially, the first time we saw what she was capable of, since her previous matches – and even her title win against Toni Storm – ran under the 10 minute mark.
As well as the time bump which would result in this match being around 22 minutes, Piper Niven’s introduction to the title picture also improved the match by adding an aura of physicality into this frenetic title match only made better by the fans in attendance – as they were never once silent throughout the match.
Like we said, this match – at the time – seemed to be what finally made the fans appreciate Kay Lee Ray after her title win, as well as her participation in WarGames just a few months prior.
I Quit Match: Kay Lee Ray vs Toni Storm (NXT UK)
In her first defense and in the main event of one of the first editions of NXT UK to have no live audience, Kay Lee Ray made Toni Storm say the infamous words by ultimately jumping from the second rope into a chair positioned on Toni’s neck.
This match was a brutal end to their feud and it showed as they went all out for about 13 minutes, even applying the use of chairs and tables – making this the most violent match involving women in NXT UK up to that point.
To put a few exclamation points on this match, it took place mere weeks before the world went into lockdown – which made this match the final title defense for Ray for months. It also ended with interference from Piper Niven trying to protect Toni Storm, which would be the beginning of Ray and Niven’s feud – concluding in September.
Falls Count Anywhere: Kay Kee Ray vs Piper Niven (NXT UK)
After already losing to Kay Lee Ray in the triple threat match back at Takeover: Blackpool II – and in a singles match a few weeks prior to this one – Piper Niven had her last shot at the belt with the added stipulation of Falls Count Anywhere added in. This match felt like the biggest threat to Ray’s reign at the time.
This match was not pretty but it makes it into this list due to its brutality and physicality as it featured all the standard weapons in a WWE match like the chairs, kendo sitcks, even a steel chain made an appearance somewhere in between all the bumps and concrete.
Although the match itself wasn’t typically spot heavy, what most people remember from this match is the horrible botched final spot where Kay Lee Ray was supposed to fall on top of Niven through a couple of tables from a few feet up in a scaffold but missed the tables and had a potentially dangerous landing.
Disregarding the final spot, this match still needs to be looked at when remembering Kay Lee’s reign as it puts an exclamation point on the lengths she was willing to reach to defend her championship.
Singles Match: Kay Lee Ray vs Meiko Satomura (NXT UK)
After months of rumors and speculation as to whether Meiko Satomura had or hadn’t signed with the WWE – and how she would be used – Meiko was revealed as Kay Lee’s next challenger for the NXT UK Women’s Championship. Suddenly, it felt as though the biggest threat to Kay Lee Ray’s reign to date had arrived.
The first of two matches between these two, this match feels like the better match primarily because of Meiko’s technical offense; Kay Lee Ray’s reversals throughout the match and a few false finishes near the end of the match.
This match was one of Kay Lee’s biggest defenses as it put her in a category of being capable to defeat one of the best technical wrestlers in the world – it basically made her feel unbeatable inside the NXT UK roster, even if she lost the title in her very next defense against the same woman.
What’s special about this list is that every single match is extremely different. Kay Lee Ray’s historic championship reign was filled with all kinds of matches possible that showcased her ability to adapt and excel in anything from technical masterpieces to wild brawls and we should all feel grateful we witnessed this run. No doubt, she is in for one heck of a career.
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