Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D, Sebastian, and other friends write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Thursday, June 16, 2022

NXT UK Worth Watching: Brian Kendrick vs. A-Kid!

Brian Kendrick vs. A-Kid NXT UK 1/18 (Aired 2/27/20) (#81)

ER: I have a feeling that whenever I get all caught up on NXT UK (which will likely only happen when the program ceases to exist, giving me an actual finite endpoint), I'm going to look back on the days of Ohno and Kendrick's tours as the true salad days of the brand. I don't think that's a contentious statement, and through the first 80 episodes (and a few TakeOvers) there are several regular UK roster members that have become real favorites of mine, far more than I assumed there would be when starting this project. Ohno and Kendrick really felt like they took a lot of the UK regulars out of their comfort zones, but they also have the skills to not just make the UK guys do new styles of match, but a different kind of match really suited to their abilities. 

Kendrick and A-Kid were a cool pairing that I wouldn't have thought to ask for, but I'm glad we got. A-Kid's biggest strength is his fast matwork and quick attacks, and Kendrick is a guy who knows how to do cool things against that and with that. Their fast early exchanges were really good, starting with a hard Kendrick shoulderblock and going through some quick but snug work, A-Kid working Kendrick's arm and Kendrick always finding crafty reversals, and A-Kid surprising him with a slick armdrag and dropkick. Things really pick up when Kendrick starts working a disgusting cravat, locking his knuckles around Kid's windpipe. Kendrick is really great at keeping a thread going through a match, and great at making opponent's offense look meaningful. 

It's always tough to say what my favorite part of any given Kendrick match is, because he's so good at taking familiar spots and making them work slightly different. A great example in this match was when A-Kid grazed Kendrick on a fast tope and spilled deep into the entranceway. It was really light contact and shouldn't have been sold as offense, and Kendrick instinctively notices that. Instead of selling the tope, Kendrick sold the bump he took from the tope and sold pain in his arm and shoulder from earlier. Not many wrestlers have the ability to think on their feet like that, and it's just one thing that makes Kendrick stand above. Kid hits a nice heavy high crossbody, and Kendrick faceplants hard on Kid's La Mistica, really making it look like Kid could come away with his arm. Kendrick is probably the best rope worker on the roster, as he's so great at working submissions around ropes and making distance to the ropes part of the drama in smart ways, and his escapes and struggles to get to the ropes really validate opponent's submissions. The home stretch is hot (but the whole match was worked at this pace, so it was really more a culmination of everything), with Kendrick cruelly leaping from the floor to grab the top rope, knocking Kid crotch first on the top and then hitting a great butterfly suplex. When Kendrick locked in the Captain's Hook (my favorite submission in wrestling) right after, I thought Kid was sunk. Instead, Kid somehow works in a springboard DDT and Kendrick absolutely spikes himself on it. NXT UK improbably became my favorite weekly wrestling show, and it was never better than when Ohno and Kendrick were there.  

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home