The NXT UK Matches of the Year 2021

Travis Banks NXT UK Logo

As the year winds down, we take a look at the NXT UK matches of the year for 2021. Independent megastars Rampage Brown, Meiko Satomura, Blair Davenport, and Teoman all signed with the brand. But aside from new signees, NXT UK has been quietly putting on some incredible contests inside the BT Sport Studios. Here is our selection of the NXT UK matches of the year.

Best NXT UK Matches of 2021

Mark Andrews vs. Nathan Frazer (11/11/21)

When discussing the NXT UK matches of 2021, here’s your hidden gem. No title on the line. No major blood feud. Just two incredibly good wrestlers wrestling for 10 minutes.  The first minute involved Nathan Frazer performing a front flip, kip-up, and cartwheel to reverse Mark Andrews’s wrist lock. Andrews immediately proved Frazer had little on him when he cartwheeled out of the hold. The live audience within the BT Sport Studios was treated to a contest full of flips and fast-paced move combinations. Frazer went for a hurricanrana but Andrews again cartwheeled out of the move. 

Andrews attempted to springboard into the ring but Frazer leaped from the center of the ring to the ropes and hit a Spanish Fly. This still didn’t put Andrews away, who then hit Stundog Millionaire. Andrews missed a shooting star press and Frazer rolled him up. But Andrews reversed the pin for the victory. High-octane action aside, the two told a wonderful story of seasoned pro Andrews outsmarting the up-and-coming Frazer.

Kay Lee Ray vs. Meiko Satomura for the NXT UK Women’s Championship (6/10/21)

As soon as the “Final Boss” Meiko Satomura arrived on NXT UK, people were anticipating her taking on Kay Lee Ray for the NXT UK Women’s Championship. Satomura failed to win the title in her first crack at “The Forever Champion” KLR on February 28. Satomura won a gauntlet match to earn another shot at the NXT UK Championship and set up this match.

This near-20-minute showdown was the perfect reflection of the effort a challenger should have to put in to dethrone a champion such as KLR. KLR had held the NXT UK Women’s Championship for almost two years. The champion didn’t want to take her time in this match and almost immediately started to try and hit Satomura with her Gory Bomb finisher. Eventually, she stole Satomura’s own Death Valley Bomb but it wasn’t enough to win.

Satomura retaliated by hitting KLR with her own Gory Bomb but there was life in the champion yet. When KLR did hit the Gory Bomb clean, Satomura kicked out. The champion chose to grab her title and retreat to the back but Satomura stopped her and hit a devastating Death Valley Bomb on the outside. As Satomura tried to send KLR back in the ring, she rallied and hit a Gory Bomb on the challenger on the apron.

Both women made it back in the ring, but it was Satomura that found the energy to hit her Death Valley Bomb one more time. Satomura followed this up with the Scorpio Rising to win the gold.

The win marked a crowning moment for the 41-year-old Satomura. Satomura has since seen off all challengers. Her latest match with Jinny was particularly good. KLR soon showed up on NXT 2.0 where she is continuing to shine.

Tyler Bate vs. Noam Dar for the NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship (10/28/21) 

When Tyler Bate defended his NXT UK Heritage Cup Championship for the first time, most people expected him to win. But a shocking climax to an intense bout saw Noam Dar come away as the new champion. Dar had claimed Bate was more focussed on Pretty Deadly’s NXT UK Tag Team Championship than holding on to the Cup and he was proved right.

After an even first two rounds, Dar sent Bate crashing into the steel ring steps. He rolled him back in the ring and applied his Nova Roller submission to score the first fall. 

Dar started the next round strong by continuing to attack the knee of Bate. But “The Big Strong Boi” rallied and hit a rebound lariat and Tyler Driver to draw level. The next round was full of fast-paced back and forth and nearly ended with a Bate victory. The final seconds of the round ticked down as Dar refused to tap despite Bate holding him in his own Champagne Super Knee Bar.

In the final round, Bate went for a rebound lariat and got caught by Dar, who locked on the Champagne Super Kneebar. Bate refused to tap but out came NXT UK Tag Team Champions Pretty Deadly. As Trent Seven tried to fend them off, he inadvertently threw in the towel forcing the referee to award the fall, match, and championship to Dar.

William Regal took to Twitter to throw praise on the match. 

A-Kid vs. Jordan Devlin in a 30-Min Iron Man Match (8/5/21)

A-Kid and Jordan Devlin put on a wrestling clinic in NXT UK’s first-ever Iron Man match. An early high spot came when both men held onto each other’s hands to attempt a test of strength. A-Kid launched his whole body over Devlin’s, but “The Irish Ace” managed to catch him on his back and lock on a stretch. A-Kid missed a kick, which left him open to Devlin, who wrapped his leg around the ring ropes. Like a shark to blood, Devlin attacked the leg and picked up the first fall with a single-leg crab. Devlin continued to target the leg. 

This moved the match from wrestling clinic to the ultimate comeback story. A-Kid, at times barely able to stand, fought back to draw things level through an armbar with 20 minutes gone. 

Devlin grabbed a steel chair and looked to take A-Kid out for good, but the Spaniard kicked it into his face. With both men trading blows on the apron, Devlin hit the Devlin Side to the floor. Both men barely made it back into the ring before the referee’s count of 10. 

In the ring, Devlin went for one final Devlin Inside but A-Kid countered it into a destroyer. After much work, A-Kid finally locked Devlin in a double armbar. With 90 seconds to go, Devlin tapped out. Devlin hit a final strike that looked sure to draw things level but the clock ran out before he could pin A-Kid to the mat. 

This time, it was Triple H who took to Twitter to praise this selection of many NXT UK matches.

WALTER vs. Tommaso Ciampa for the NXT UK Championship at TakeOver: Stand & Deliver (4/7/21)

WALTER had antagonized Tommaso Ciampa so much in the build-up to this match that it awoke the old “Psycho Killer”. The match was part of WrestleMania week and was heralded by many as being the match of the week. 

Ciampa controlled the start of the contest with his speed and intensity until WALTER leveled him with a devastating chop. WALTER took Ciampa to the outside and looked to chop him on the announce desk. Ciampa moved and WALTER chopped the top of the desk in two.

An evenly-weighted slugfest broke out. Ciampa was relentless in targeting the hand of WALTER as he looked to take out one of WALTER’s most devastating pieces of offense. WALTER used stiff kicks and knees to inflict pain on the challenger. Ciampa came closest to winning first when he hit a Fairy Tale Ending. WALTER had trouble locking on a sleeper due to his injured hand but managed to hit a massive German suplex.

Ciampa hit the over the shoulder belly to back piledriver from the top rope, but still couldn’t put WALTER away. When a double powerbomb from WALTER wouldn’t keep Ciampa down, he put his own pain to one side and used his injured hand to chop down Ciampa to pick up the victory.  

Incredibly, a day later WALTER took on Rampage Brown for the NXT UK Championship at NXT UK Prelude. It was a phenomenal match that could easily have featured more on this list of NXT UK matches.

“Pretty Deadly” Sam Stoker and Lewis Howley vs. “Moustache Mountain” Tyler Bate and Trent Seven for the NXT UK Tag Team Championship (12/9/21)

Moustache Mountain and Pretty Deadly feuded for most of the year. This match seemed to be the last chance Moustache Mountain would get to finally win the championship that had eluded them for three years. Seeds of doubt were sown as to whether Trent Seven could go on if faced with a loss. 

Pretty Deadly’s performance in the match was a perfect reflection of their nine-month title reign. They were flashy and flamboyant, worked perfectly in tandem, and cheated at every opportunity. But it was also the perfect reflection of the heart and bond that Trent Seven and Tyler Bate have.

After an even contest, Pretty Deadly attempted Moustache Mountain’s rope-assisted lariat to German suplex, but Bate ducked and Stoker hit Howley. Seven tagged in and hit the Seven Star Lariat, but Howley kicked out. Pretty Deadly rallied and hit Spilt Milk on Seven. They looked to have the match won until Bate made the save. Pretty Deadly took Bate to the outside and hit Spilt Milk.

Then came a real test of Seven’s reserve. He fought hard to kick out after Pretty Deadly’s slingshot to knees and powerbomb to knees. Not even a cheap shot with the title belt could keep Seven down. Bate came back into the ring and hit the Tyler Driver on Howley and went to the top rope. Seven dropped Stoker with the Birming-Hammer onto Howley. Bate hit the top rope Spiral Tap for the win.

WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov for the NXT UK Championship at NXT TakeOver 36 (08/22/21)

In no particular order, but saved until last for a reason, here is the gem of all NXT UK in-ring content. A match deemed so big it was moved from the then closed-set BT Sport Studios and held at NXT TakeOver 36 in front of actual fans in Orlando, Florida. The match was the climax of Ilja Dragunov’s nine-month quest for redemption after WALTER had beaten him so badly he’d lost his mind in their 2020 Match of the Year candidate. Sanity-restored, Dragunov challenged WALTER.

The match itself was physical, intense, and brutal. WALTER struggled to get a hold of the match early on. Dragunov out grappled WALTER on the canvas and managed to avoid his chops. This proved the challenger was coming into this rematch with a well-constructed game plan.

WALTER eventually reversed an armlock by hoisting Dragunov onto his shoulder and placing him on the top turnbuckle. WALTER then chopped Dragunov so hard he fell off the top rope to the floor outside. “The Ring General” hit a powerbomb on Dragunov onto the apron before chucking him back in the ring and continuing a vicious beating. 

WALTER split Dragunov open and chopped his chest time after time until visible welts appeared. WALTER unleashed a chop to the neck of Dragunov that awoke a rage within “The Moscow Madman”. Dragunov hit a deadlift suplex on WALTER followed by a top rope dropkick and senton. Dragunov rocked WALTER with a Torpedo Moscow and got the Capitol Wrestling Center fully behind him.

WALTER fought back to give Dragunov two massive powerbombs and a splash but he still couldn’t put him away. Dragunov rallied and rained down elbows on WALTER before locking on a sleeper. Try as he might, WALTER couldn’t escape and was forced to submit. Dragunov ended to 870 day reign of WALTER to become the NXT UK Champion.