Segunda Caida

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

NXT UK Worth Watching: Ohno! Scala! Grizzled Young Vets!

Kassius Ohno vs. Sid Scala NXT UK 8/31 (Aired 9/4/19)

ER: This was part of a cool storyline, where Ohno was calling himself the greatest British style wrestler and was supposed to have a showdown with Jack Gallagher for that self-proclaimed title. Gallagher wasn't cleared to compete, Ohno demanded someone step up and take Gallagher's place, and out came Sid Scala in his dress clothes. Scala was on a handful of the very first NXT UK episodes and has been used exclusively as Johnny Saint's right hand man backstage ever since. This is his first NXT UK match in one year, and as Ohno is an excellent match for literally any wrestler, I like him going up against a "non-wrestler". Scala is perhaps the smallest male wrestler on the UK roster, and Ohno was amusing laughing off Scala's early attempts to get one over. Scala goes for a cravat and Ohno merely lifts him up and tosses him off. Uh oh. Scala has a bunch of great feints, a couple cool tricks around the ropes that keep Ohno off balance, and his ducking and dodging peaks with a really well done sunset flip nearfall. Ohno is really good at being a dickhead who will bail to the floor when things momentarily don't go his way, and then always knows how to make his way back into a match with something unprofessional. Here he hooked Scala's leg from the floor, hopped up to the apron, and stomped the ankle over the bottom rope. 

Scala did a great job of limping around on that ankle, throwing nice back elbows and appropriately sold shots to Ohno's jaw, while Ohno battered him with chops and strikes and stepped a few times on that ankle. Scala manages to tangle Ohno around the ringpost and ropes and then flings himself over the ringpost when a rad pescado, great body-as-weapon work. But Ohno finishes things quick back in the ring with one of my favorite reversals, using his size to block a Scala tornado DDT and crash him down with a wicked kneebreaker, then a hip dislocating outside dragon screw. The disgusting KO elbow to the back of the head is academic. Ohno is the master at working with any wrestler of any size and any ability, and here's another feather for him as "Sid Scala's best match". Scala more than held his own and knew exactly what role he was playing. Ohno matches just do not miss. 

James Drake/Zack Gibson vs. Mark Andrews/Flash Morgan Webster NXT UK 9/1 (Aired 9/11/19) (Ep. #59)

ER: This was a nice, quick paced tag, and I think the best actual Grizzled Young Vets performances AS A TEAM on NXT UK. For a pair of guys I like, who I think are a good team, I don't think they've really been a part of any truly memorable tag matches this entire NXT UK run. My favorite matches of theirs have all been singles matches (Gibson vs. Dar, Drake vs. Ligero, Drake vs. Bate) and while they've had many enjoyable tags on the brand, this was the one where they felt most like a killer team. The match is a little off the rails and they lose complete sight of who is the legal man and really abuse the blind tag, and it had a couple egregious kickout that would have worked better as a save, but I liked the chemistry a lot and that's what kept the floor high. Gibson and Drake are really good at basing for Webster and Andrews, good at setting up their double teams, and the babyface champs are good at taking punishment. GYV hit this nasty spike shoulderbreaker on Andrews that lead to a couple good moments of Gibson tearing at Andrews' arm until Webster came in with fun saves (like a great swanton while Gibson had his Shankly Gates arm submission locked in). 

Webster had a cool tope suicida and got nuked on a doomsday device, the whole match felt like we were constantly seeing new pairings. The timing on the finish was really strong too, with Drake accidentally hitting Gibson with a superkick under the chin (in a way that wasn't really telegraphed) and Andrews nailing the shooting star press. This was like an NXT UK grab bag of a match, giving you a condensed 12 minutes of some of the better things the promotion has to offer. It had some good flying, some stiff work from the heels, strong double teams, while also not being next level great. I'm still waiting for the absolute banger GYV match and assume it will come, but I will take tags like this all day. This all feels like a very boring, generic review of this match, and I think that's honestly because this is the good match I expected from these two teams. It didn't disappoint, and it also didn't exceed expectations. But it hit the mark in satisfying ways, while presumably honoring the WTC first responders. 

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