wrestling / Columns

What Is Going On With WWE NXT UK?

July 8, 2022 | Posted by Ian Hamilton
WWE NXT UK Logo Image Credit: WWE

Let’s be honest here. From day one, NXT UK has always been a weird endeavour. Set up to fend-off ITV’s WOS Wrestling series in the UK, and debuting some weeks-old tapings conveniently in the same week Rev Pro’s own short-lived TV series debuted… from the off, it’s always felt like a project set up to stifle more than to grow.

The pandemic saw NXT UK fully press pause on production – with the ability to tour across the UK on hold, the Thursday weekly show turned into a clip show for six months, digging up archived content from NXT UK tapings (unaired or otherwise), “chosen” matches featuring British and European talent, and a series of character profiles.

September 2020 saw the show return with first-run content, taped from the BT Sport Studios in London, initially without anyone in attendance for obvious reasons, with crowds returning by the end of 2021. So, everything’s back to normal, right? Well… no. NXT UK’s not toured since March 2020’s tapings in Coventry, and that scheduled (and awkwardly-titled) NXT UK Takeover: Dublin ended up getting cancelled, with no replacement show ever announced.

That leaves NXT UK as perhaps the worst thing you can be in wrestling: content for the sake of content.

While they do build up to big matches, they’ve moved away from having Takeovers, or even showcase events – like how AEW subtitles a lot of Dynamites to make them stand out from the pack. So unless you’re one of those who watch weekly, chances are you have no idea what they’re building to, nor when it’ll happen, until you see it in the reviews. What that means for those watching from afar, just about every week of NXT UK is interchangeable… and unless you’re in those top level matches, that’s mostly the same for the roster too.

Taping for two days every six weeks means that you’ll probably see wrestlers appear in matches once a month… and perhaps in one or two additional video packages too if they’re in a push. Unfortunately, for those that aren’t, the win-loss records don’t make for good reading… and yes, I have gone back and scanned records for those who remain on NXT UK (or at least, haven’t become NXT/main roster regulars), since that first episode in the BT Sport Studios (listed as NXT UK #110 on Cagematch) back in September 2010, through to the last NXT UK in June 2022:

Aleah James – 3-3
Amale – 6-9
Angel Hayze – 1-7 – typically used as enhancement talent, Hayze’s only win was via DQ due to “too much arse kicking” from Isla Dawn
Aoife Valkyrie – 6-3 – buoyed by a string of wins that set her up for a match with Meiko Satomura in April 2021, before an injury on a match that aired in August 2021 put Valkyrie on the shelf
Ashton Smith – 5-13 – a lot of losses in tag matches, with key wins setting up tag title matches… only for a recent injury to force him to vacate the newly-won tag title.
Blair Davenport – 5-2 – was on a good run to set herself up as a challenger for Meiko Satomura in the second half of 2021, but an ankle injury in early 2022 derailed things.
Charlie Dempsey – 8-1 – his only loss has been as Bailey Matthews in his debut to Tyler Bate, but has yet to taste defeat under the new name. That caught me by surprise…
Dani Luna – 6-4 – a spotty start was overturned as Dani was on a strong run towards the end of 2021 before injury struck…
Danny Jones – 0-12 – no surprise, given Danny’s typically an “already in the ring” opponent…
Dave Mastiff – 8-10 – similar to his tag partner Jack Starz, Mastiff’s had more luck in the tag ranks, but has the distinction of being one of few guys to ever win a Heritage Cup without it being a 2-1 finish
Eddie Dennis – 1-7 – not much of a surprise given Eddie’s typically a manager these days…
Eliza Alexander – 3-1 – that loss was an unaired dark match, so technically Alexan
Emilia McKenzie – 6-6
Flash Morgan Webster – 2-9 – curtailed by an injury at the end of 2021,
Ilja Dragunov – 14-2 – not surprising given he’s the champion, with losses to WALTER and Sam Gradwell of all people…
Isla Dawn – 8-12 – a long losing streak characterized Dawn’s 2021, with a turnaround in 2022 en route to (yep) two title shots…
Jack Starz – 10-10 – including an unaired match against Sha Samuels, Starz is batting .500 here, to borrow a baseball analogy, having more success since he started tagging with Dave Mastiff after being a ceiling light inspector beforehand.
Jinny – 10-6 – strong runs to set-up title shots (are you seeing a pattern here), of course gave way to losses in title matches, while a brief feud with Subculture didn’t end well for Jinny.
Joe Coffey – 9-10 – a strong start to life in the BT Studios was mirrored by a crash in form as 2021 turned into 2022, which has led to a storyline hiatus
Josh Morrell – 0-11 – see Danny Jones, no surprise given he’s an “already in the ring” guy
Kenny Williams – 11-11 – characterised by losing runs in a tag team with Amir Jordan (who he turned on, then beat in a loser-leaves-town affair), and the current storyline getting distracted by masked men…
Mark Coffey – 8-8 – buoyed by holding the NXT UK tag team titles at the start of the BT era, the Gallus slump affected him equally, as did two unsuccessful runs at the Heritage Cup.
Meiko Satomura – 15-1 – having had her entire NXT UK run in the BT studio, Satomura’s only loss was to Kay Lee Ray in an early title match. Second time was the charm, and since then Meiko’s pretty much run through the entire roster.
Myla Grace – 2-6 – those two wins have been in unaired dark matches as Grace is currently part of the “already in the ring” club…
Nina Samuels – 3-10 – seen more frequently for her Nina Samuels Show skits/segments online, this shouldn’t be a shock, as Nina is almost at the one-year mark since her last win
Noam Dar – 9-6-1 – the run towards, then as Heritage Cup champion certainly helped here, with Dar’s losses being against guys usually in main event slots (Trent, Tyler, Ilja)
Oliver Carter – 6-12 – a late run of wins towards he and Ashton Smith’s short-lived tag title run boosted this, otherwise the BT run to date would have been a LOT of light-counting…
Primate – 7-11
Rampage Brown – 8-5
Rohan Raja – 6-6
Sam Gradwell – 6-12 – virtually his entire run in NXT UK has been in the BT Studios, having been on the shelf for two years with injury. One of the more entertaining parts of the roster, even if the win/loss record doesn’t back it up.
Saxon Huxley – 5-13
Sha Samuels – 4-10
Stevie Turner – 4-8
Tate Mayfairs – 1-2
T-Bone – 4-10
Teoman – 11-5
Tiger Turan – 2-0 (under that name…)
Trent Seven – 13-4 – decent runs in the inaugural Heritage Cup tournament, then the run as tag team champions absolutely buoyed this number…
Tyler Bate – 14-5 – similar to Trent, the run as Heritage Cup champion and tag team champion boosted that number somewhat…
Wild Boar – 5-5 – spent a year out with a knee injury, Boar’s been trading wins with Symbiosis on his return and has just formed a partnership with Mark Andrews
Wolfgang – 8-10 – the Gallus slump…
Xia Brookside – 7-9

Now, this list doesn’t include the likes of WALTER/Gunther, Kay Lee Ray/Alba Fire, Piper Niven/Doudrop, JD McDonough, Pretty Deadly, Nathan Frazier, or the soon-to-debut Axiom/A-Kid… nor those who’ve made flying visits from NXT 2.0… but with only Ilja, Meiko, Trent and Tyler have “overwhelming” winning records, while the rest of the roster are nowhere near. Take out the “already in the ring” crew, and you’ve got 17 roster members with a losing record, six who’ve evenly traded wins and losses, and nine with those “just above 50%” runs.

So… what that means is if you’ve just got a core of four who have consistently been presented as a big deal, and everyone else is (to varying degrees) are much the same… you could well end up with a problem should anything happen to one of those four… and going by recent spoilers, we’re looking to be close to hitting that mark right about now.

NXT UK was seen as a promotion set up to stifle. After four years spent servicing the same “stars” that had been selected on day one, supplementing them with new names from the European scene (rather than build from within), it seems like the Enfield crew that’s been largely spinning their wheels may now be the ones really stifled.

article topics :

NXT UK, WWE, Ian Hamilton