The NXT UK Heritage Cup Contenders Tournament wraps the opening round!
While the Heritage Cup Contenders Tournament closes its opening round, relive the ENTIRETY of the NXT UK Championship match from TakeOver 36!
- NXT UK Heritage Cup Contenders Tournament: Sam Gradwell VS Wolfgang; Wolfgang wins and advances to the second round.
- Six Man Tag: Symbiosis VS Saxon Huxley, Oliver Carter & Ashton Smith; Huxley, Carter & Smith win.
- NXT TakeOver 36 – NXT UK Championship: Walter VS Ilja Dragunov; Dragunov wins and becomes the new NXT UK Champion.
PLAY BY BY PLAY
NXT UK Heritage Cup Contenders Tournament: Sam Gradwell VS Wolfgang w/ Mark Coffey!
The Thunderstorm and the Last King of Scotland meet again but with something bigger on the line than just a win. Gradwell still talks a big game, can he back it up this time? Or will Wolfie be howling all the way to the semifinals?
Speaking of talking, Gradwell has a mic as he heads to the ring. “Alright, here we go. The Big Bad Wolf isn’t as scary the second time he comes a knocking. And tonight is about heritage, something a big burly loggerman like you knows nothing about! So this Thunderstorm is going to honorably, prestigiously, rattle your jowls and wobble your kidneys, you deep-fried yogurt!” Big talk all over again, but will Gradwell have to eat those words in six rounds or less?
Round one starts and the two circle. They tie up, Gradwell goes for an arm but Wolfgang gets away. They go again, collar ‘n’ elbow but Wolfgang headlocks. Gradwell gets away and makes sure his tiny mohawk is still okay. Another grapple, Wolfgang waistlocks but Gradwell moves around to get the ropebreak. Wolfgang lets off clean and the two reset again. They tie up with knuckle locks for a test of strength. Gradwell fights up, Wolfgang has the arm for an arm-drag to a wristlock! Gradwell kips up but Wolfgang wrangles him down. Gradwell gets up, chinbars but Wolfgang wrangles him again. Gradwell keeps getting up, powers through to wrench and have an armlock.
Wolfgang powers out and RAMS shoulders, Gradwell falls out of the ring! Gradwell tells Mark to keep back and then walks around the way. There’s trash talking as we are under a minute, but Wolfgang goes out to brawl with Gradwell! Gradwell hits big elbows but Wolfgang keeps him from getting in the ring. Gradwell ROCKS Wolfgang, gets in and then HOTSHOTS the arm! Wolfgang staggers, Gradwell is on the apron and he hits a FLYING FOREARM! Gradwell gets in at 25 seconds and the ring count is climbing! Wolfgang gets in at 7 of 10 and Gradwell stomps him! Final 10 seconds and Wolfgang puts Gradwell in a corner. Wolfgang blocks a slap to throw a haymaker, but the round ends!
Gradwell: 0; Wolfgang: 0
The ref has Wolfgang stop there and he gets a refresher in the corner. Gradwell talks trash even as he should be drinking water, and round two begins! The two tie up, Gradwell headlocks but Wolfgang throws body shots. Wolfgang powers out, Gradwell goes up but into a kitchen sink knee! Wolfgang dares Gradwell to get up but Gradwell scoots to ropes for defense. Gradwell tells Wolfgang to stay back but Wolfgang STOMPS him, then brings him up to EuroUpper him down! And again! Wolfgang clamps his claws into the side, turns Gradwell for a cover, TWO! Gradwell sputters but Wolfgang facelocks. Gradwell wrenches to uppercut Wolfgang’s arm!
Gradwell wrenches and YANKS the arm, then clamps on with an armlock. Gradwell grinds the shoulder, then adds a chinbar. Gradwell fish hooks but the ref reprimands so Gradwell focuses on the arm. Wolfgang fights and throws body shots. Wolfgang gets to his feet but Gradwell grinds the arm. Wolfgang whips Gradwell to a corner then back drops on the rebound! Less than a minute and Wolfgang hits a big corner splash! Gradwell staggers, Wolfgang goes up, FLYING AX HANDLE! Wolfgang runs to BASEMENT SENTON! Gradwell sputters and shouts in pain as Wolfgang poses over him. We’re at 30 seconds, Wolfgang brings Gradwell up slowly but Gradwell SLAPS him!
Gradwell runs away and Wolfgang wants him to return! The last 10 seconds and Gradwell uses the ref’s count to his advantage! The round is over and now Wolfgang is seething.
Gradwell: 0; Wolfgang: 0
A third of the way done and we’re still at zero, but Gradwell has things more in his favor psychologically. Round three begins but Wolfgang is ready with fast hands! Wolfgang fires off forearms, Gradwell shoves away and dodges. Wolfgang runs in, but into Gradwell’s KNEE! The knee brace Gradwell still has helps him here! Gradwell runs for an STO! Gradwell gets the fall!!
Gradwell: 1; Wolfgang: 0
Mark protests but Gradwell brags, “How’s that?!” The knee brace isn’t a weapon when its part of his ring gear, and now Gradwell feels great. Wolfgang gets help with his arm from Markus but now we’re in round four! Gradwell swipes at the bad arm but Wolfgang shields it behind him. Wolfgang blocks the kicks and boots, then knuckle locks. Gradwell shoots in to get the bad arm and WRING it out! Then a SPLASH onto the arm! Gradwell realizes that’s double-edged as he sputters, but he clamps onto Wolfgang’s arm again. A unique grip on the hammerlock but it allows Gradwell to chinbar, too. Gradwell mocks the howling but Wolfgang fires up to fire body shots!
Wolfgang gets Gradwell in the corner for heavy hands! Gradwell can’t get away as Wolfgang throws body shots and haymakers! Wolfgang whips corner to corner hard and Gradwell bounces off buckles! Wolfgang whips Gradwell the other way but Gradwell holds ropes to block! Gradwell YANKS Wolfgang’s bad arm, but Wolfgang blocks the STO! Wolfgang HEADBUTTS, then scoops for a CABER TOSS SUPLEX! Cover, Wolfgang ties it up!!
Gradwell: 1; Wolfgang: 1
Another refresher for Wolfgang but Gradwell focuses on just breathing smoothly. Gradwell snarls as round five begins and the two stare down! Wolfgang mocks the talking and throws haymakers! Gradwell staggers, Wolfgang throws more hands but Gradwell wrenches the bad arm! Wolfgang still throws body shots as Gradwell grinds the shoulder. Gradwell BOOTS then ROLLING ELBOWS! Cover, TWO!! Wolfgang survives and Gradwell can’t believe it. Mark coaches Wolfgang up but Gradwell pulls Wolfgang up by his hair. Gradwell throws heavy hands, then fireman’s carries. Wolfgang slips off and throws body shots into Gradwell’s ribs!
Wolfgang runs but Gradwell ducks the spear! And then hurdles it on the next try! Wolfgang comes back again and SPEARS Gradwell out of the air!! Cover, Wolfgang wins!
Winner: Wolfgang, by pinfall (advances to the next round)
A fast and furious five rounds from these two tanks, but the Howler is moving on! Will Teoman and his family be ready for the Gallus boy?
Sid Scala has a decision on Blair Davenport’s behavior.
“This is the Assistant to the NXT UK General Manager, Sid Scala. At this time, it is my unfortunate duty to inform you that due to the… actions of Blair Davenport last week, NXT management have had no choice but to suspend her from competition with immediate effect.” A logical move, but with no time window given, how long will the ruthless goth warrior have to wait on the sidelines?
NXT UK hears from Kenny Williams and Noam Dar.
Mr. Supernova 11 starts by saying, “Kenny Williams! The cockroach of NXT UK. Everyone knows you and I will do whatever it takes to get the job done.” But Dar knows Kenny thinks roaches are invincible. But Dar is “an elephant in this game.” And that means Dar will stomp Kenny out. But Kenny says that he knows Dar. And Dar isn’t willing to stoop to the levels Kenny is in order to win. That creates doubt, “like a little worm, gnawing its way through an apple, rotting it from the inside out.” So next week, the Supernova will be in the ring, but Kenny will already be in his head, living rent free.
Dar reminds us that he showed Kenny the ropes, and led the “dumb horse” to the water. Dar is everything Kenny wants to be. Dar is a standout, Kenny is just standing around. But Kenny says things are going to come crashing down for Dar, all thanks to the scum of the Earth. A couple of Chancers face off in the semifinals, but who pulls the more underhanded tactic and takes the win?
After the incident between Pretty Deadly and the Coffey Brothers at a fountain last week, the two teams will collide in the ring! And bigger still, it will be for the NXT UK Tag Team Championships! Will Sam Stoker & Lewis Howley be able to prove Gallus Boys aren’t on top anymore? Or will Joe & Mark Coffey finally reign together in their kingdom?
Gallus regroups backstage.
For one, they’re celebrating Wolfgang’s big win in the Heritage Cup Contenders Tournament. But NXT UK Media walks over and asks how it feels. Gallus sings a song, “We’re havin’ a party~ when Wolfie wins!” But the Irish Ace gets upset by all this noise and barges out of his private locker room to tell them to stop. He was trying to get a massage, y’know. OoOoO~, a massage~! Fancy. Devlin says they can be all excited and all for Wolfgang, but the Coffey Brothers have a tag match to be getting ready for, they shouldn’t be making a ruckus in the hall. Pfft, whatever, man. Enjoy your massage.
Devlin says to Joe that maybe after the masseuse finishes with Devlin’s neck, she can work on Joe’s ego, seeing as how he got knocked out last week. Joe stares Devlin down but Devlin says take it easy, he’s wearing his housecoat (robe for non UK fans). Joe steps and Devlin flinches, which also hurts his neck. Joe chuckles at the pampered Ace and continues partying with the Gallus boys. Will things be golden for Joseph, Markus and Wolfie these next few weeks?
Six Man Tag: Symbiosis VS Saxon Huxley, Oliver Carter & Ashton Smith!
Eddie Dennis and his pack challenged the Divine Beast of the Astral Plane to find some tag partners on this plane of existence, and it turns out he did! The Predator Killer and the Prestige don’t much like the Welsh Dragon, Primate or Tyson T-Bone, either, but will they and the raving mad Huxley be able to work as a trio?
The trios sort out and Huxley starts against Dennis. But then Dennis tags to Primate and Primate runs in. Huxley KNEES and CLUBS Primate, but Primate headbutts back. Primate CLUBS and hammers away, but Huxley fires up! Huxley headlocks, Primate powers out but Huxley runs Primate over with a big shoulder! Primate falls out of the ring but gets up in a rage! Dennis keeps him from reentering and has him calm down. They need to use logic against Huxley’s manic ways, so Primate gets in to tag in T-Bone. T-Bone eggs Huxley on and the two circle. They used to tag together so T-Bone knows Huxley’s madness well.
They tie up, go around in a deadlock, but they break to snarl. They tie up again, go around more, and Huxley puts T-Bone on ropes. The ref counts, Huxley lets off fast but they tie up again! They go around more, ropes and a corner, then back to center to break again. T-Bone kicks, throws haymakers and heavy hands, but Huxley reverses the whip. T-Bone holds ropes to then elbow Huxley away and run him over with a shoulder. Things speed up, Huxley springs up for a BIG Thesz Press! Huxley headlocks, tag to Carter and they mug T-Bone. Carter fires off hands then tags in Smith, and Smith gets his shots in.
Smith facelocks but T-Bone powers Smith to the Symbiosis corner. Dennis again calls the shots, he has Primate wait and T-Bone back off. Primate tries to get a cheap shot in but Smith hits him first! Smith swings on Dennis but misses, and turns around into T-Bone’s EXPLODER! T-Bone gets Smith up to ROCK him in the back with a forearm, then pushes him off ropes to ROCK him again! Tag to Primate, T-Bone has Smith draped on the ropes for Primate’s SPRINGBOARD AX HANDLES! Cover, TWO! Primate tags Dennis and they mug Smith. Dennis brings Smith up but Smith throws hands! Dennis bobs ‘n’ weaves to ROCK Smith, then scoop for a swing, only for Smith to slip out!
Smith ROCKS Dennis in the back with a EuroUpper! Primate tags in to grab Smith, but Smith powers up to TOSS Primate away! Hot tag to Carter and he rallies on Primate! Slide and KNEE, then a LEG LARIAT! Carter fires up, Primate blocks the whip to whip Carter instead, but Carter QUEBRADAS! Cover, TWO! Carter runs in at the corner, WHEEL KICK! Dennis takes a swing from the apron but Carter ducks to sweep the legs! T-Bone gets in as Dennis falls, Carter kicks but T-Bone blocks! T-Bone throws the foot down but Carter uses that to handspring AX KICK! Primate returns and whips Carter hard into a corner! Carter tumbles up, out and to the floor!
Primate roars while Smith check son Carter. Dennis demands the tag and gets the tag, to then fetch Carter into the ring. Dennis aims from a corner and runs in for a basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Dennis is furious but he keeps Carter down with an armlock. T-Bone tags in, Symbiosis mugs Carter and then T-Bone reels Carter in for a back suplex BACKBREAKER T-Bone then gut wrenches and dead lifts to a CANADIAN RACK BACKBREAKER! T-Bone gets Carter up, throws hands then tags Primate. Dennis tells them what to do, and they whip Carter backwards into the buckles! And then again! And then they throw him down by his hair!
Primate and T-Bone get an arm each and DOUBLE STOMP Carter down! Primate covers, TWO!! Carter survives but Primate scowls as he throws down elbows. Tag to T-Bone, he keeps between Carter and his corner while stomping the fingers. T-Bone scoops, Carter fights free but T-Bone trips him up! T-Bone throws Carter away but Carter SUPERKICKS! Both men are down but crawling, hot tags to Dennis and HUXLEY! Huxley rallies on Dennis with big elbows and shoulders! Dennis staggers up into a KNEE, then a whip and KNEE! Huxley keeps that going, kitchen sink knee to a running ELBOW DROP! Cover, TWO!! Dennis survives but Huxley fires up!
Huxley goes to a corner, Primate runs in but Huxley kicks him down! FLYING CLOTHESLINE to Dennis! Cover, TWO! Huxley hauls Dennis up, tags Smith in, and Smith joins him in a DOUBLE SUPLEX! Smith fires up as he gets Dennis up with both hands! Pop-up to a fireman’s carry but Primate gets in! The ref is busy with Primate as Dennis slips out and shoves Smith into T-Bone’s SHOTGUN DROPKICK! Dennis picks Smith up, SWINGING SIDE SLAM! Cover, TWO!! Smith survives and Dennis is furious! Tag to T-Bone, he hurries to DECK Huxley! T-Bone scoops Smith and then tags in Primate.
Primate goes up, T-Bone hits OKLAHOMA STAMPEDE, to the DIVING HEADBUTT from Primate! Cover, Carter breaks it in time! Dennis gets back in but Carter throws him out then PLANCHAS! Huxley gets in to CROSSBODY T-Bone and himself out of the ring! Primate staggers up and over to Smith but Smith shoves him away. Smith runs in, Primate pops him up and over. Smith dodges Primate to send him into the buckles, then CLOBBERS him with a clothesline! Tag to Carter, Smith gets Primate up in an Electric Chair. Carter springboards, DOOMSDAY CUTTER!! Cover, Carter’s team wins!
Winners: Saxon Huxley, Oliver Carter & Ashton Smith, by pinfall
Who could’ve seen these three making it work?! Smith was reluctant going into things, but Huxley kept his word and they definitely could count on him! But is this fight with Symbiosis far from over?
NXT UK Media catches up with Stevie Turner.
They ask the Fourth Dimensional star how she feels about her loss to Meiko Satomura. Well in just her fourth match here, she got an opportunity for the NXT UK Women’s Championship. And through that loss, the Final Boss gave Stevie the “blueprints for her defeat.” Stevie speaks to Meiko through this interview, saying that, “Final Boss or not, I am still and always be two levels-” But then Emilia McKenzie interrupts and says it is rather interesting how Stevie can still stand here and badmouth the champion, when she beat her already. And Millie will beat Stevie, too, actually. Anything else? No? Bye.
Millie leaves and Stevie mocks her behind her back. “Classic Emilia, you’re just so two-dimensional.” Stevie huffs and puffs, but will she be able to defy time and space by overcoming #SuplexMillie on the way back to the NXT UK Women’s Champion?
Pretty Deadly speaks.
“Is that deja vu?” “Deja vu?” Hmm… Well, six months ago, they were in this exact spot! Heading into a championship match against the Gallus boys! But what’s changed, really? This time, Pretty Deadly are the champions! So they can try and embarrass Sam & Lewis all you want, but the truth is, Gallus just doesn’t scare them! Last time, Pretty Deadly looked better than Gallus. And they will again. Last time, they punched harder than Gallus. And they will again! And last time, they outsmarted Gallus. And they will again, because now and every other time it is Gallus Boys not quite on top. But will it be very different when it’s the Coffey Brothers in the ring, not just Gallus?
NXT TakeOver 36 – NXT UK Championship: Walter VS Ilja Dragunov!
Here it is! The highly anticipated rematch between Ring General and Moscow Madman from all the way back in 2020! Dragunov now watches this back for the very first time, and he remembers exactly how that walk to the ring felt. There was really only one thought on his mind. Given all the intensity he had last time, he wanted to top that. No one else knows how many hours Dragunov trained day in and day out, five days a week, thinking about everything he could to game plan this rematch. After the first match, where he gave everything then, he needed to have more in his back pocket. He got into the right shape, the right mindset, and had the weight on his shoulders.
Dragunov continues as he watches Walter’s entrance. This was the biggest moment of his life, and to be honest, he didn’t know what he’d do. He just put everything he could into the strengths he already had, and added to those. Performing at this level needs ridiculous levels of strength and stamina to lift a man as big as Walter, to endure the strikes from a man as big as Walter, and so he realized there was no one way to prepare, just that you had to be mentally ready. Not just mental intensity but actual intelligence. But this time, he at least knew something had to be different from before, so he relied on that experience and knowledge here.
The introductions are made, the title is raised, and the encore of this epic begins!
Rhea Ripley speaks on this match, how she’d seen them work in person in NXT UK. “They always, always bring the brutality and absolutely batter each other, and it’s so intense to watch.” Walter hip tosses, clinches Dragunov at the ropes, and the ref counts. Dragunov avoids a chop to give a CHOP! And dodges again to CHOP again! Cesaro says this is what most people expected, Dragunov with his game plan based on the first match and very much in control. But could he stay in control while Walter brought the aggression? Walter facelocks and grinds Dragunov down but Dargunov slips around. Walter counters back to get the facelock again.
Walter throws in knees as Drew McIntyre says, “I love a match that I can show to anybody in the world, especially new WWE fans. Say whatever you think about wrestling, and I’ll show you this, tell me what you think after. And their preconceptions are, certainly were vastly changed after watching a match like this. Dragunov fights the German Suplex to hook a leg and rolls Walter to then keep the leg. Walter kicks free of the Crab but Dragunov comes back with a BIG shoulder tackle! Dragunov keeps moving, Walter leaps but into a SPINEBUSTER!
Finn Balor remembers being in the ring with Dragunov before, “everything he does has impact.” Walter and Balor haven’t had a match yet, but he can tell, “neither of these guys pull punches, man.” Dragunov hits a headlock takeover and fans are fired up as he keeps Walter down. Walter fights up, pushes with a forearm but Dragunov hits another takeover. Fans rally and duel as Walter fights and Cesaro says it was so great this match got to be in front of a crowd, especially a TakeOver crowd. That’s a good headlock, too. “That’s how you ground a big man.”
Walter fights to get up again as Sheamus says he does love the physicality. This is something that as the business is changing, more and more people expect. Both lads bring it, especially Dragunov given the mismatch in weight and size but has plenty of heart. Walter fights up again, puts Dragunov in a corner, and the ref calls for the ropebreak. Walter lets off but throws a cheap shot forearm! Dragunov comes back with forearms of his own! And again and again and again! Dragunov ROCKS Walter, then catches the chop! Walter tries to get free but Dragunov hits another arm-drag!
Rhea says she’s seen Dragunov multiple times backstage just headbutt a wall until he bled from his forehead. “Um, he’s crazy. So he’s definitely the right person to be in the ring with Walter.” Dragunov has the short arm scissor but Walter moves around as fans rally and duel. Dragunov drags Walter back down and Dragunov says that this was the first moment in this match he realized he was in trouble. “You ride the bull here. One of the best in the world and you allow yourself one little mistake, you pay for it.” Walter dead lifts Dragunov to put him on the top rope, Dragunov knows he pays for it here with the CHOP that sends him off the top and to the floor!
Dragunov says you can’t make even one mistake with a man like Walter. “And if you do, you got to have a game plan on how to turn it around.” Dragunov winces watching his past self take an APRON POWERBOMB from Walter! Walter had Dragunov there for a moment, taking a shot like that. Walter puts Dragunov in the ring, kicks him around and puts on a sleeper! Dragunov fights it off and pulls the arm down! They end up on ropes, Walter SLAPS Dragunov’s arms to then GERMAN SUPLEX! Dragunov staggers but falls into a corner! Walter stalks over, stomps Dragunov down but lets off as the ref counts. Walter drags Dragunov but Dragunov resists the Boston Crab!
Walter tries turning the other direction, kicks Dragunov over and has a DEEP Boston Crab! Cesaro says Walter can make even the simplest holds extremely effective. But that’s why Walter still uses those standard moves, from elbow drops to body slams. Boston Crab is a well known hold, and that’s why it is so effective. We all know the pain of being bent back like that, and Walter makes it so much more effective. You see it in Dragunov’s body and how easily Walter can just transition. It is a testament to the nature of wrestling. Walter toys with Dragunov as fans rally and duel and Walter throws a forearm. Dragunov throws a forearm back and we have a brawl!
Dragunov CHOPS, Walter CHOPS! Then puts on the SLEEPER! Toni Storm says, “It must be the closest thing to wrestling a bus, is going toe to toe with Walter.” Dragunov holds off Walter’s piledriver and back drops Walter up and over! Fans are thunderous for the feat of strength but Walter ROCKS Dragunov with a forearm! Dragunov JUMP KICKS then runs to LARIAT and LARIAT and into a knee! Whip and CONSTANTINE- NO! URENAGE!! Cover, TWO!! Rhea says that after what Dragunov’s gone through, she can only imagine the pain he is in.
“Walter’s just battering him and all he’s doing is fighting back. He’s got so much heart, he’s so strong, it’s just absolutely incredible.” If Rhea was in this position, she isn’t sure she could even stand. She can go through a lot of pain, but it’s props to Dragunov, “he’s just an animal.” Cesaro says Dragunov will fight from any position, even being on the mat and in pain. Walter is doing Walter things but Dragunov refuses to stay down. Walter CHOPS Dragunov back down, and Cesaro says the ref does a good job checking on Dragunov. Dragunov drags himself up the ropes, Walter BOOTS him! Dragunov wobbles then falls, but keeps himself up with his hands.
Walter paces, gives toying kicks, but Dragunov gets up to CHOP! And CHOP! Walter CHOPS, the hands fly and Dragunov eggs Walter on! Fans are thunderous as Walter ROCKS Dragunov again! Dragunov catches a clothesline and goes Matrix as he arm-drags Walter into a wristlock! Dragunov keeps hold of that arm but Walter fights up to his feet. Dragunov KNEES away on Walter’s chest then fires off BACK HAND after BACK HAND! Dragunov roars, fans roar with him and he BACK HANDS again! Walter SLAPS, Dragunov SLAPS! Wrench and leg hook, and Dragunov just rains down elbows! Walter fights up to a fireman’s carry but the elbows keep coming!
Walter tosses Dragunov but Dragunov still has the arm! Dragunov reels Walter in for another KNEE! Both men are down but fans are thunderous again! Dragunov staggers up and leaps at Walter, only for Walter to CLOBBER him out of the air! Sheamus says that clothesline, then the follow up LARIAT, “zero air between these shots.” Sheamus isn’t sure how Dragunov was feeling after the match, but he’s a younger guy, surely he was feeling alright. The CWC is thunderous for “N X T! N X T!” as Walter sits up first. Dragunov slowly follows and the rallying and dueling are as hard as ever! Walter aims as Dragunov drags himself up the ropes, and he CHOPS Dragunov on the back!!
But that was a mistake! The berserker within is unleashed!! Walter is a little worried, but he goes to boot! Dragunov blocks that and reels Walter in for a LARIAT! Dragunov is a madman for sure as Sheamus says that some people don’t like the physicality. Sheamus admits he can’t take shots to the back of the neck but those who are comfortable in any situation, that physicality shown, “it’s good for business.” Dragunov hits Walter hard with just an enziguri then gets Walter up for a T-BONE SUPLEX! Cover, TWO!! Walter survives but the CWC is electric! “This is Awesome!” as Dragunov crawls to a corner.
Dragunov climbs up but Walter begs for mercy? NO MERCY as Dragunov goes COAST2COAST! Dragunov gets up the other corner, SUPER SENTON!! Dragunov aims from a corner, runs in, but Walter catches the torpedo to a SLEEPER! SLEEPER SUPLEX!! But Dragunov is right up for a BLINDSIDE TORPEDO MOSCOW!! Fans are losing their minds over that one as both men are down again! “UN! BE! SIEG! BAR!!” TORPEDO MOSCOW to the face!! Cover, TWO!??! Balor says the crowd is eating this up, wanting to see Walter fall and Dragunov win. “I think it’s… His energy is just captivating.”
Dragunov thinks of what he has to do when two shots from his best haven’t done it. Fans chant “Fight Forever!” as Dragunov gets up. Balor loves seeing the colors Dragunov’s chest and back have become from these shots. Dragunov CHOPS, CHOPS and then spins to CHOP a leg! Walter hobbles, Dragunov runs in but into a CHOP!! Cover, TWO!!! Walter hurries to a corner, climbs up top but Dragunov springs up to get him! SUPERPLEX!! Walter flounders up as Dragunov goes back up top, COAST2COAST! Both men are back down and Toni says this is a different breed of human. She doesn’t know anyone who can take as much punishment and still get up. “It’s superhuman!”
Dragunov runs in but into a SHOTGUN DROPKICK from Walter! Walter gets Dragunov up, WALTER BOMB!! High stack, TWO?!!? Toni again says that seeing Walter just do his thing is absolutely terrifying. But knowing Dragunov’s strength to keep going… She saw him training in NXT UK, and as scary as it is to watch, she’s also not surprised. Walter SLAPS and SLAPS Dragunov around then hits a RUNNING KNEE! ANOTHER WALTER BOMB!! McIntyre says Walter going up top here, bigger guys like them, sometimes you do it because you can. WALTER SPLASH, TWO!!! This match is all about bringing out your best stuff and other stuff because you have to.
McIntyre speaks to his own moments where he flies out of the ring. He sees his opponent, or many opponents, outside and thinks, “The risk is worth the reward.” Or in the case of Walter, it’s “I don’t know what I have to do to beat this guy,” so pull out all the stops. You might see things from certain superstars when they get desperate, as Walter is throwing heavy forearms and haymakers on Dragunov on the mat. Walter turns Dragunov over to get the SLEEPER, but Dragunov arm-drags free! Walter BOOTS, Dragunov stays up and he dodges the clothesline to go up and up in a corner! FLYING HEADBUTT!
Sheamus says, this is almost like UFC or something, just both men pounding away on each other. Dragunov fires down elbow after elbow then puts Walter in a sleeper! Walter endures, fights back up, and goes to a corner! Walter climbs, fans go nuts as Walter SUPER BACKPACK SENTONS! Dragunov lets go, but he comes back with more furious elbows!! SLEEPER!! Walter is fading and Dragunov says that he knew he had Walter here. Dragunov knew and told himself to not let go at all. Walter gets up to BACKPACK SENTON again, but Dragunov still holds! This was Dragunov’s only option and shouted he was not letting go. The crowd knew Dragunov was never giving up, too.
Dragunov does let go of the hold in the match so that he can KICK away on Walter’s head and shoulders and CLUB away on the back. Dragunov says he wasn’t even really feeling anything other than the thought of giving it his all. CHOP to the back of Walter’s back, receipts as far as Dragunov is concerned. The SLEEPER is back on, and Walter taps! Dragunov wins! “What a moment.”
Winner: Ilja Dragunov, by submission (NEW NXT UK Champion)
“That is exactly the result of a lot of years of hard work, struggle, pain. So pure, so real, it’s unbelievable.” Dragunov will never, ever forget this. It is the best moment of his life, second to the birth of his son, because this is the birth of Dragunov’s legacy. We will all see how the Czar builds upon this legacy as NXT UK moves into the future.
What an awesome episode, especially because of the TakeOver 36 NXT UK Championship encore. Great to see this awesome match again, and with commentary from Dragunov, as well as now RawDown wrestlers who were either in NXT UK or are just from the UK and Europe. I will say: Couldn’t we get reactions from like The New Day or AJ Styles? Just saying that being badass and brutal is universal, and it’d show that others in this company are aware of what NXT UK is doing. But anyway, a great way to close off this chapter for NXT UK and enter into the next, since we’re also seeing changes in NXT prime starting next week.
The new material tonight was also still great stuff. The Six Man was a lot of good stuff, and I’m actually glad they kinda skipped the possible dysfunction between Huxley and Smith to give their team the win. I feel like Symbiosis is either going to fall apart of go through another transformation. Something about the interactions with Dennis and Primate might make Primate come off as the unruly weak link that Dennis will remove, same as they did when Wild Boar failed (and got injured for real I think). Then we got a very good promo vignette from Dar and Williams, hyping up their Heel VS Heel dynamic that I am going to love seeing play out in their British Rounds match.
Gradwell VS Wolfgang certainly felt like one of the faster moving, harder hitting and overall shorter British Rounds matches, but in a good way. We got to five rounds fast and in the end, it was a fast and furious finish with that final spear. Wolfgang makes sense as the one to move on, as he’ll be the only real Face in the final four. Plus, it is a great tease that each of the Gallus boys could have something soon enough. Getting Pretty Deadly VS Coffey Brothers next week in the main event and for the titles is going to be great, but I fear they’re already looking past it with Joe Coffey and Devlin starting beef.
My Score: 8.9/10
Andrew’s G1 Climax 31 FINALS Day Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
Kota Ibushi looks to 3-Peat, Kazuchika Okada looks to win his first G1 in 7 years! Who will win?
So we get a fairly basic card. A few undercard tags, the semi-main contains Shingo and most of the main players not in the Finals. Jeff Cobb goes from a shot in the Finals to the opening match, that’s a big blow to the ego.
There’s a few interesting threads that can be pulled at, but the major draw is the G1 Climax 31 Finals. So let’s get to it!
- Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru: Kanemaru wins via Boston Crab @8:40 – **
- United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata: Yano wins via Roll-Up @8:29 – **
- House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii: EVIL wins via Everything is Evil @11:20 – * ½
- KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi: Chase wins via Package Piledriver @10:41 – ** ½
- 5 Minute UWF Rules Match::Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr: Time Limit Draw @5:00 – *****
- TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @12:17 – *** ½
- G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada: Okada wins via Referee Stoppage @25:37 – *** ¼
Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Commentary doesn’t even really try to hide the fact that these Young Lions are very early in their careers and have no real chance. They are in this match to learn, build endurance and get experience.
Nothing special in this match, they give the Lions a few flash pinfall attempts but again, we all know better. More just moments of surprise cause the Suzuki-Gun duo were playing with their food. Still far too fresh in their training to show anything more than basics, and all I’ll say is, they didn’t embarrass themselves, so that’s a positive.
United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs Toru Yano & Yuji Nagata
So one of the most successful teams and singles wrestlers this year, against a clown and a veteran. I mean Nagata is no slouch, but he’s not in a position to be upsetting two rising stars. Maybe Yano pulls off some thievery, but I’m not really intrigued.
Early on we see the usual Yano stuff of shenanigans and turnbuckle pads going missing. Nagata gets tagged in and we get some real wrestling. However, Cobb and Nagata square off outside when they aren’t the legal men, and Yano executes the miraculous shot to the Ding-Ding, and Rolls-Up O-Khan for the win!
This does continue the weird story between O-Khan and Yano, so at least there’s a thread of story, but it does definitely leave Cobb in a weird spot.
House of Torture (EVIL, SHO & Yujiro Takahashi) w/Dick Togo vs Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
Early on SHO starts with the mind games having a CHAOS towel in the ring and wiping his body with it, and being generally mocking. Things start quick, turnbuckle pads are taken off, people get wrapped into ropes and I suppose this is a more tolerable usage of EVIL. House of Torture can torture the 6 man division with bad wrestling and cliché paint by numbers heel work.
Togo uses the garrot on HASHI, but HASHI and Goto manage to hit GYR on EVIL, but Dick Togo of course gets involved to distract the referee. Chairs lay out the CHOAS members, Everything is EVIL on HASHI and yeah yeah, House wins and challenge for the six mans. Ugh.
KENTA, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens w/Jado vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroshi Tanahashi
So wait, we get all Bullet Club members against the veteran Hontai Squad? I mean Tanahashi has looked extremely mortal lately, and he’s not really bringing a ton of back up. When Makabe is the second best one on your squad, and he’s barely wrestled this year…you gotta wonder.
Makabe starts things off and we can see his back and waist heavily taped. So it looks like Makabe’s part time schedule could have something to do with injuries. Injured or not, Makabe gets the most of Loa, brings in Honma, then Honma eats some offense from Tama, until Honma counters and lands a big suplex. Tiger Mask IV comes in and actually cleans house, it takes a little bit before Tama does the Double Leapfrog Haku Chop to start taking control.
Bullet Club smacks around Tiger Mask until KENTA eats a Tiger Driver (ironic, I’m aware) and then Tanahashi gets tagged in. Tanahashi works to get a measure of revenge on the Bullet Club, but then we get some spam moments. G.o.D. tries to take out Makabe, but Makabe wipes out G.o.D. easily. Makabe brings in Honma, Honma takes it to Chase Owens, but no avail. A missed Kokeshi, a blocked Brainbuster attempt, and then C Trigger into Package Piledriver gives Chase the win.
Chase looks to be setting up a challenge, but KENTA blindsides Tanahashi with the belt. KENTA and Chase play tug of war a little, Chase tells KENTA he pinned him, KENTA says he doesn’t care, and Chase relents. He says KENTA can get the first shot, but he got next.
5 Minute UWF Rules Match: Katsuyori Shibata vs Zack Sabre Jr
This…this is amazing. Shibata gets his first match in 4 years, and it’s against the most perfect wrestler for Shibata to have a technical and safe exhibition match.
Since its UWF this is usually done in a points system like the old IMPACT Grand Championship. But a 1 round exhibition doesn’t allow for anything beyond a Draw, but this is wonderful. It’s a technical marvel with counters, submissions, references to Inoki’s classic on the ground pose that we saw Great-O-Khan reference back to during the G1. This is just a great moment, and hard to do any real play by play, but it’s a technical marvel. Hell, Shibata looks better than he ever has.
WAIT – After the match Shibata says “Next time I’m in the ring, I will be in my ring gear”. He punctuates the line with a hard flat back bump and a kip up. …Shibata is back? SHIBATA IS BACK?!
TenCozy, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi
Taguchi and Hiromu start off with a good bit of comedy, before everyone not named Tenzan starts doing the Mongolian Chops, much to Tenzan’s chagrin. Wato has some nice spots early before LIJ do their wonderful Bum Rush. BUSHI comes in, uses the shirt and then LIJ starts dominating Wato. Wato manages to get a little space and get Kojima in and we get Machine Gun Chops on SANADA in the corner!
Hiromu tries to block it, gets shoved in the corner for his own chops, BUSHI tries to stop it, and gets put in the corner for the Triple Stacker of Chops. Shingo looks, and then drops off the apron and decides he’s just gonna let them play. Shingo does cut off Kojima before he does his signature Elbow, so Shingo didn’t ignore his team, just decided he wasn’t gonna fall into the dumb spot.
Signature spams, LIJ pain train, signature spam again, and then we get solid call backs. Shingo and Tenzan are the last two, Shingo uses Mongolian Chops, Tenzan responds in his own way. Some haymakers thrown, a Headbutt from Tenzan, the attempted Flying Headbutt, but Shingo cuts him off, Pumping Bomber, and Shingo wins!
G1 Finals: Kota Ibushi vs Kazuchika Okada
So they feel each other out early, and have the usual fast pace wild swings that get dodged and end in a small rest moment where they just smile and absorb the energy of the match. Before Ibushi can really get anything going, the arrogance of the Rainmaker returns. Very deliberate shots, perfectly rolling through his Slingshot Senton, and his single foot Dropkick. It’s really interesting to see Okada reverting back to his old self. The 2017 form is further exemplified by Shibata’s return since it helps to bring everyone back to “brighter days”.
Okada goes for his corner Hip Attack, but now Ibushi gets to start a comeback. Dropkick, Roundhouse Kicks, Standing Moonsault and Okada powders. After some fighting on the outside, Okada takes control again and hits a DDT on the ramp, which has Ibushi pretty much out. Okada waits in the ring until about 18, before he decides that’s not how he wants to win. Drags Ibushi in, tries the Money Clip, Ibushi won’t go in comfortably, Okada rocks him, whips him into the ropes, hits the Million Dollar Dropkick, and finally gets the Money Clip sunk in. Okada is in a different aggressive form that we haven’t seen since 2018 when his nearly 2 year title reign ended and he went balloon crazy.
Savage Elbow, Rainmaker Pose, Zoom Out…Wind up…Rainmaker misses and Ibushi returns with his own Lariat turning Okada inside out. Now they stand up for the strike exchange. Okada falls into an old Nakamura trap, where he starts winning the exchange, taunts the challenger and gets rocked. Ibushi grins, hits the Frankensteiner sending Okada to Powder. So now it’s Moonsault time for Ibushi, and lands perfectly on Okada.
Going back inside, Ibushi looks for Kamigoye, Okada blocks and then ducks the Round Kick, goes for a Backslide, but Ibushi rolls through and kicks Okada. Okada then eats a V Trigger and a Kamigoye…but it’s only 2! Okada flips Ibushi over when he attempts another Kamigoye, Double Legged Cradle, but ibushi kicks out. They lay each other out, Ibushi crawls to the top rope, Phoenix Splash and…Ibushi lands weird. He immediately grabs his arm, Red Shoes goes over to Ibushi, and after a few moments Red Shoes calls for the bell.
Okada wins the G1 off of Ibushi missing the Phoenix Splash and possibly dislocating his right arm.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
There’s a dark poetry in the ending to this year’s G1. Starting with Naito’s injury and ending with Ibushi’s injury, just makes this a fairly cursed year which plays into the cursed aspect of this World Heavyweight Championship. In a way, this works out for the best since if this tournament was supposed to make a newer wrestler and ended the same way, there would always be an asterisk. But it’s Okada, he’s a proven commodity and no one will really question his victory. I really appreciated the fact that he always loomed close while Ibushi was struggling with the doctor and through his injury. He held his hand many times, even seemed to tell him it’s fine, we’ll do it correctly 1 more time in the future.
Katsuyori Shibata returns, Kazuchika Okada returns to the a level of prominence by winning the G1 Climax 31 and this is a nice way to remind people of the names that many of the current crop of IWC fans know. New Japan grew quickly because of AJ Styles and Kenny Omega’s Bullet Clubs, but in the last few years we’ve seen many of the names we know fall to the back or go to different companies. This could be a return to form finally for New Japan.
Even if it ended off a failed Phoenix Splash, it could help New Japan rise from the ashes of community favor like a Phoenix.
Andrew’s IMPACT Results & Match Ratings: 10.21.2021
Bound for Glory is on Saturday! How does IMPACT! hype us up for one of their crowning PPVs of the year?!
We get to see Mickie in an IMPACT ring for the first since 2015, Heath tries to get answers out of Rhino and we’ll probably see a lot of Josh Alexander and Christian Cage fleshing out the last little bits of the World Title match.
Aside from that, do we get anything of note to talk about, or is it just an appetizer for the real show on Saturday?
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
- Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice: NO CONTEST/Double Pinfall – ***
- Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve: Tenille wins via Spotlight Kick – ***
- Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James: Mickie wins via Mick DDT – *** ¼
- Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel: Miguel wins via Meteora – ** ¾
The Insiders Stream on YouTube didn’t start until about 9:00pm, I’m not sure why IMPACT constantly has issues, but YouTube is not a hard platform to utilize. These delays are inane and embarrassing.
Bullet Club (Chris Bey & Hikuleo) vs FinJuice
Bey and Leo try some trickery early, but Finlay keeps pace. When Leo gets back into the match he starts throwing Finlay around a bit, which opens up opportunity for Bey. Bey looks to get flashy, but Finlay manages to get Juice in and Juice comes in hot. He nearly flips Bey out of the ring, takes Leo off the apron and tags in Finlay for some tandem work.
Leo breaks up the pinfall and then throws out Juice. Finlay grabs Bey in a Backbreaker/STO combination but Bey’s feet bump the referee. Leo chokeslams Finlay, puts Bey on top, but it takes the new referee too long to show up and it’s only a two count. We see Hikuleo trying to finish things, while the new referee tries to wake up the original referee. Leo gets double teamed, Juice Rolls Up Leo and then Bey Rolls Up Finlay, both referees count a 3 count for the different pinfalls. So we get a little call back to Beer Money and Motor City Machine Guns if we’re staying within TNA Universe.
This will probably end up a triple threat, unlike the MCMG/Beer Money double pinfall which ended in overtime.
There’s a long segment with Josh Alexander giving us his story. It’s not a bad segment, but the only advantage to the show starting late means I got to rewind for the match and speed through most of this. Alexander is a great story, but I already mostly know it, and would really like to see him win at Bound for Glory. Get the title back on a wrestler on the actual IMPACT roster.
Jordynne Grace & Fallah Bahh vs Tenille Dashwood & John Skyler vs Chelsea Green & Crazzy Steve:
This is a Digital Media Championship preliminary match. I find it interesting that there’s 3 men and 3 women. So instead of one or two for “inclusion” it’s actually an even spread. The way the teams are broken apart is interesting too where it’s Power vs Crazy vs Opportunistic.
The gimmicks actually paid off in the match. Jodynne massacred kids, but then things started to get a little messy. Fallah gets a handle on things, squishes the world, and then looks to BAHHnzai Drop on Tenille but Kaleb gets involved. A little more confusion, Steve hits King Kill 33 on Fallah, but Skyler pulls Steve out of the ring. Tenille hits the Spotlight Kick and the Opportunistic team win because well…there was an opportunity.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Pick Your Poison: Savannah Evans w/Tasha Steelz vs Mickie James
Mickie takes a moment to absorb the accolades from the crowd first, and then we see a quick strategy twist. Savannah looks for a few Haymakers and using her reach to her advantage, where Mickie just finds a few quick strikes and interesting angles to land some offense. Mickie looked to be building some momentum, and then Tasha got involved.
Savannah starts to dominate after the assist from her second. Big Bear Hug in the middle has Savannah just ragdolling Mickie until she can land a few choice Forearms. Mickie fights out, Sole Butts, a few nice attacks and Mickie hits the Avalanche Thesz Press, but only a 2 count. Deonna’s music plays as Savannah kicks out, Mickie is distracted and then we see Savannah lay in some big shots. The Full Nelson Bomb only gets Savannah a 2. Mick Kick rocks Mickie and then Mick DDT for the win. Hardcore Country wins the match.
Deonna walks down, mouths off…actually pushes Mickie…so I’m confused about the no contact clause…but then Rehwoldt shows up behind Mickie and wipes her out.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) October 22, 2021
Alex Zayne vs Trey Miguel
The Sauce against the other guy who can’t speak but likes to try to use food analogies and sucks at it, aka, Trey Miguel. He’s like a Young Will Ospreay with less ability to talk…so no upside at the moment cause Ospreay was pretty awful up until a year or two ago.
So this is just a lot of counters, blocks, Arm Wringers, not much direct offense, just a lot of choreographed spots. This feels like a much slower paced version of a Ricochet/Ospreay match from 2016. Zayne is a more fluid wrestler, and he just makes everything look good. Miguel does a weird Cradled Octopus but Zayne responds with a Handspring Frankensteiner, as an early highlight spot.
Miguel in Ospreay fashion hits the Cheeky Nandos, into the corner stuck Tiger Feint, Meteora and Trey wins.
Thankfully Maclin attacks Trey after the match so I feel generally better. Bullet Club comes out and take out both Maclin and Trey. El Phantasmo just baby faced himself in my house.
Show ends with the usual talking segment hyping the World Title match. Alexander gets a “You Deserve It” from the crowd and portrays himself as the everyman fighting for his boys. Christian’s music hits and Captain Charisma vacuum shows up to stir a pot that doesn’t need to be stirred.
Christian taking the experienced thrives under pressure condescending veteran angle is…annoying. Like I said a few weeks ago, the boxes they are trying to play in, I don’t love. Alexander does flip the script nicely talking about how people classified him as nothing more than a Tag Team guy, and “sounding familiar” strikes a chord with Christian. Small scuffle as Christian tries to snip back, but it’s fairly paint by numbers.
Overall Score: 5/10
Low key? This was a pretty lame episode for an Impact Go Home. The matches weren’t really anything special, with the most happening during Pick Your Poison, but it effectively being a non-issue. The YouTube delay of course hurt my enjoyment of the show, but even without the delay, I don’t really feel like this would’ve registered much higher on my scale.
I am looking forward to Bound for Glory because of who’s in the matches, but this episode didn’t help sell it. Thankfully it’s already sold out, and most people probably decided if they were purchasing it by now.
When it comes down to it, I’m expecting quite a few title changes, even though I’m figuring that Mickie’s involvement is more of a one off to give the rub to younger talent and cement her dominant reign. Alexander I would love to see win the belt and The IInspiration would do wonders and put an immediate spotlight on a division that has floundered behind a lack of real teams and no real direction.
So I’ll see all of you on Saturday for Bound for Glory!
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