February 13, 2019 – Phoenix, Arizona
Toni Storm kicks off the show, and the production crew makes the mistake of taking shots of the crowd that are very unflattering, just stick to ringside angles and the hard cam, fellas; a convention center isn’t very impressive looking. Storm gently says she’s ready to kick Rhea Ripley’s ass in their upcoming Women’s Championship Match. Ripley comes out and replies with a promo in a Mike Pence cadence. Google it, but know you’ll never be able to unhear it from Pence and Ripley. Storm attacks and Ripley bails. This was pretty uninspired stuff, but in the end it doesn’t matter because Storm is pretty over with the crowd anyway.
Noam Dar def. Jordan Devlin
Dar won in 10:18 with a roll up after interference from Travis Banks. This existed more to push the Banks/Devlin issue forward than it was to showcase Dar at all. That’s kind of a bummer, because Dar’s previous two NXT UK matches were great. This started strong but sputtered a bit leading to Banks’s interference. After the match, Devlin tries to injure Dar but Banks brawls with him to the back. **¾
WALTER will face off against Kassius Ohno in two weeks, and the Storm vs. Ripley match will go down next week. Also next week is the Coffey brothers vs. Flash Mandrews.
Jinny def. Mia Yim
Jinny won with a kick to the head and a pin with her feet on the ropes at 7:55. The crowd was pretty dead for this, making the white noise from convention center’s air conditioning sound even louder. That’s a production disaster. Also a disaster is most of Jinny’s offense The exception is some of the stuff she does on the mat, which makes me wish she’d just stick to what she does well. I’ll give these two credit for trying to make the match feel bigger than it was down the stretch, but Jinny just doesn’t have it. **¼
Pete Dunne def. Wolfgang
Dunne beat Wolfgang with a finger-pulling cross armbreaker in 10:44. They threw in a few nice, hard-hitting exchanges, but overall the match lacked depth and build. Wolfgang in the main event continues to baffle me, as he’s consistently the least interesting opponent for the top-tier babyfaces. This match was about par with their NXT flagship match back in 2017, but the quiet crowd made it a less enjoyable watch (and thus it’s Dunne’s worst singles match in WWE). **¾
I’m really hoping that the crowd starts to liven up in the tapings for the next two weeks. The Worlds Collide tournament had a hot crowd, and I can’t quite remember which of the NXT UK matches were filmed at the same time as the tournament. I just hope some of that energy starts to bleed into these shows, because this episode was kind of a tough hang.