wrestling / Columns

Csonka’s Top 13 NXT UK Matches

May 1, 2020 | Posted by Larry Csonka
WALTER NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff 20193

WELCOME back, back to the column that makes lists and hopes that you enjoy them. This week’s column will look back on NXT UK and the top 13 matches the brand has produced. I always hear a lot of people saying that they can’t decide what to watch because they do not have enough time to follow everything, so maybe this will help those of you short on time find some stuff to check out. With Takeover: Dublin cancelled and the brand running out of first run material, I wanted to look back and highlight the very best of the brand. Everything on the list is OVER 4 stars, and had to take place on an NXT UK show or be a sanctioned NXT UK match of some kind; is the best baker’s dozen from NXT UK in my opinion. Have fun, and always, thanks for reading. It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.”

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13. From NXT UK Takeover Blackpool: Moustache Mountain vs. The Grizzled Young Veterans [****¼]: NXT UK Takeover Blackpool I wasn’t a blow away event, but this opener kicked ass and was the best thing on the show. It had a hot crowd, great spots and near falls, with Moustache Mountain delivering once again, The Grizzled Young Veterans stepping up their game and proving that the choice to have them take the titles was a good one to really establish them to newer fans. Somehow, Moustache Mountain still haven’t captured the belts, which is puzzling.

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12. From NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff 2019: The Grizzled Young Veterans vs. Gallus vs. Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster [****¼]: This was a match I wasn’t sold on going into, I thought it had potential, but it ended up being a really great overall, with Mark Andrews & Flash Morgan Webster being great babyfaces, and the crowd being really into their possible title win and reacting huge to them finally overcoming and winning. There were some really great teases and near falls down the stretch and the title change was the right call. Gallus were fine here as the bullies, but were really the afterthought in the match. But this actually came off much better than I had anticipated. I greatly enjoyed this one.

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11. From The WWE UK Championship Tournament (1.15.17): Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews [****¼]: This was the best match of this particular tournament to that point, with both guys going full throttle and coming away looking like stars. Dunne is a badass, and had to use everything at his disposal to finally put away the underdog, Andrews. Beautiful stuff that smoked everything on night one. Andrews was a great pick up for the brand, and a guy I wish TNA/Impact had done more with when they had him.

10. From NXT TV 11.22.17 – WWE UK Title Match: Champion Pete Dunne vs. Johnny Gargano [****¼]: This ended up being a great match, and showing that you don’t have to work a marathon/Takeover epic styled match in order to have a great wrestling match. The work was extremely clean and smooth, with a deliberate pacing that kept the crowd interested and very invested down the stretch. Both guys are so good, Gargano is a spectacular babyface, and Dunne a smug bastard as well as a guy they just needed to feature more at the time.

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9. From WWE UK Title Tournament 2018 Night Two (6.26.18): Pete Dunne vs. Zack Gibson [****¼]: This was a great main event that was a success thanks to the build from night one. Dunne was going to be over as the babyface, as they locked that in with the previous day’s BSS trios match. On the other side, Gibson was put over well as the hated heel with a submission that took out three men in one night. The work on night one was essential to create the dynamic we had here, which was the popular UK champion (who can be very devious when needed) put into position he’s not used to, having to fight from behind and overcome. He did very well in the role reversal due to Gibson being built up so strongly, and to his credit, Gibson again stepped up and in two days, became a viable star for the brand. This was simply great work from both men.

8. From The WWE UK Championship Special 5.19.17: Tyler Bate vs. Mark Andrews [****¼]: This was a great match, worked in a completely different style than Seven vs. Dunne from the same show. Face vs. face matches can be really rough to pull off, but I thought that they made it work excellently here. The hot crowd helped, and they just worked the right pacing, layout and peaked at the right time. Andrews more than held his own and came off great here, and is a guy I wish we’d see more on WWE TV. Bate is amazing to watch, the kid is 20 (yes I am old enough to call him a kid he could be my son), but works with such confidence and poise that you’d think he was a 10+ year veteran.

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7. From WWE Worlds Collide 2020: DIY vs. Mustache Mountain [****½]: I loved the playful beginning, working to get the crowd interested until they amped things up, It was also a good buffer period from the previous match. From there, they beautifully escalated the action, the crowd was completely drawn into it, DIY didn’t miss a beat, Mustache Mountain continued to be great, and the little things they did from basic saves to miscommunications to cut offs to pappa Trent protecting Tyler with his own body all worked. Overall this was a tremendous piece of business and beautiful tag team wrestling that stole the show.

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6. From NXT UK Takeover: Blackpool II – Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin [****½] : Heading into this show, this was the consensus pick for MOTN and they delivered an excellent piece of professional wrestling here. The work was so clean and effortless and their execution was head and shoulders above anything on the show so far. They built the match beautifully, the story of Devlin trying to overcome the ghosts of his past and loss to Bate was played well, the action consistently escalated and they went home at the right time, peaking perfectly as it never felt long. Bate picks up a huge win, while Devlin finally got to really shine in NXT UK.

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5. From The WWE UK Championship Tournament (1.15.17): Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne [****½]: They let these guys go out there to deliver a star making performance; if Bate had lost, due to the angle and high quality match, he was still a made man. But this was a clear effort to make a star out of him, and with all they had done with Dunne, he is also a star coming out of this, performing as a top notch heel and delivering in two awesome matches. I can be picky when it comes to selling, but outside of the two big powerup spots, Bate sold the arm and shoulder very well, and those power up/desperation spots added to the drama and did not take away from the match.

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4. From NXT TV 12.20.17: Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate [****½]: Fucking hell that was excellent. We all know that these two have amazing chemistry, but doing it three times in the same year is usually really hard, but 2017 we have had some excellent trilogies (Okada vs. Omega, Naito vs. Tanahashi, Ishii vs. Omega) and added Bate vs. Dunne to that mix. This started slowly, and did a great job of slowly and consistently building throughout the match, while also paying tribute and properly playing off of their previous two matches like all trilogies should. They had an absolutely tremendous homestretch, as they just kept upping the intensity, the drama and hitting the climax at just the right time. This was a late addition to the year-end match listing with this bad boy. These guys kick ass.

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3. From NXT Takeover New York: Pete Dunne vs. WALTER [****½]: And the near 700-day title run of Dunne ends as the Big Fucking Daddy WALTER takes the crown. This was really excellent, and completely different than anything else on the show. Dunne asked for WALTER and he got all of the Big Daddy and more here. This was raw, violent, hard-hitting and felt like a fight. This was the right time, right guy, and right kind of match to finally make the title change. The king is dead, long live the king; a tremendous piece of business.

2. From NXT Takeover Chicago 2017: Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate [*****]: I loved every second of this. They took everything that they did in their UK tournament final match (which was excellent), streamlined it and made it even better in front of an absolutely insane crowd, with great action and pacing, both men doing everything in their power to win; it felt really special. This was easily one of the best matches in NXT’s history and a perfect example of what a sprint can be. These men are special talents. Easily the WWE match of 2017, and a must see match. For a time, this was my greatest match in NXT UK history, until…

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1. From NXT UK Takeover: Cardiff 2019: WALTER vs. Tyler Bate [*****]: They had a great angle coming into this match, and just kept it simple to play off of that. They did callbacks to the Bate injury angle, WALTER was the perfect bully, Bate an equally amazing resilient babyfaces. Bate with odes to Dunne & Seven, who WALTER brutalized and beat, were beautiful little touches that really added to the story and match as a whole. The work was absolutely top notch, the drama spectacular, and the crowd was amazing and added a ton to this. The closing stretch was scintillating, dramatic, and really put it over the top for me. This was everything I wanted and more as they delivered a certified MOTY contender, and for me, the greatest match in NXT UK history.

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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 111. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Steve Cook talk the news of the week, breakdown AEW vs. NXT (4.29.20), while Kevin Pantoja joins for a retro NXT Arrival review. The show is approximately 137-minutes long.

* Intro
* News Roundup (Rumored WWE Sale, More Release News, AEW Taping Schedule, More): 2:15
* AEW Dynamite (4.29.20) Review: 36:55
* NXT (4.29.20) Review: 55:55
* The Head to Head Comparison: 1:14:20
* Retro NXT Takeover: Arrival Review: 1:24:43

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– End Scene.

– Thanks For Reading.