NXT UK Inclination 2/20/20 (Coffey vs Dragunov)

In the words of my fave ring announcer…HIYA! Welcome to your Sunday supplement, the NXT UK Inclination! After last week’s mediocre edition of the show, this week sees a return to solid hours worth of wrestling entertainment. Two bloody good matches on this card including our main event – Joe Coffey vs Ilja Dragunov. I’ll stop hyping and begin reviewing right about…now!

We see a determined-looking Joe Coffey backstage watching his loss to WALTER at Takeover: Blackpool II. He blames Dragunov for hs loss and will take out his frustrations on him in the main event. Nice to see the spotlight shined on the main event at the very start. It doesn’t happen often on NXT UK.

Joseph Conners vs Tyler Bate

Mr. Bland (Conners) is looking to show why leaving him off the last Takeover was a mistake. He is “Takeover worthy” and prove that by defeating NXT UK’s golden boy, Tyler Bate. This match started super quick, possibly to keep the crowd energy high after however many hours of TV taping by this point. Either way, it looked good. Reversal after reversal from both men, before Bate sent Conners outside. With anger and frustration in his eyes, Conners went to grab a chair but thought against it and instead slid back into the ring. Whereupon entering he was once again thrown around like a rag doll.

Too many Monkey Flips from Bate meant that Conners had a chance to grab a foothold in the match. Keeping the match at a methodical pace, he began to keep Bate on the mat with some solid strikes and good old fashioned slams. Slapping on a few reverse chin locks to slow the pace even more. Old fashioned heelwork. Has Conners been reading my work? I’ve been asking for this kind of performance from him for quite some time.

Tyler gets back to his feet and sends Conners flying with the now-famous Bop and Bang (still hate that name). But Joseph shows his grit by replying with a great twisting Bulldog. And followed it up with a Moonsault. Which missed…Doh! Technicality went out the window as both men began to beat each other around the ring. Strike Central City baby (may have to copyright that). Back to the outside and Bate is sent into the steel ring steps face first and rolled back into the ring.

A Don’t Look Down attempt by Conners was countered into Bate’s rebound lariat and the Tyler Driver 97 for the win. Without a shadow of a doubt, that was Conner’s BEST match I’ve ever seen him in. I asked last week for a standout match from him and he duly delivered. Carry on like that son, and you are most definitely “Takeover worthy!”.

Winner – Tyler Bate

We’re taken backstage to find Dave Mastiff and NXT UK Champion WALTER sat across each other. WALTER announces that he’s doing them both a favor by accepting Mastiff’s challenge. And in two weeks’ time, he will stand tall in the ring, still the NXT UK Champion as he is the best Heavyweight in the world.

The Queen of NXT UK (don’t mix her up with Queen Charlotte!) is in the arena, mic in hand. She announces – while standing on the announce table itself –  that her previous associate Jazzy was dismissed for not following orders. She’s been barking orders ever since she was a little girl and nothing will change now. Jazzy had her “15 minutes of fam” off Jinny’s back but no-one will disrespect her again. This was a nice way to bookend the relationship after Jazzy left the company last month.

Noam Dar vs Josh Morrell

I said at the top that we had two bloody good matches on this week’s card. Guess what? This wasn’t one of them I’m afraid. Unfortunately, this was a glorified extended squash match. I say glorified as usually in a squash, the squashed opponent gets hardly any offense in. Josh here comes out of the match pretty well. You’ll remember him for what he did, which never happens really. That said, Noam did bully him around “squash style”. Now if there’s ever a phrase for a t-shirt, that’s it right there surely!?! Anyway…

Dar took control early doors, screaming at Morrell and the crowd that he wasn’t at his level, just go home. Typical heel fare that always works well. A test of strength followed but when Dar realized that he was losing, he slapped the taste out of Morrell’s mouth and went for his arm. Josh began to duck dip dive and dodge all around the ring and I was thinking to myself “Bet Cornette would love this right now”. Morrell took Dar down with some strike work and then hit a beautiful Arabian Moonsault for a two. And then Dar upped his intensity level and was back in the match.

Of course, it didn’t happen in the middle of the ring. Nope, it was outside where Dar would gain control of the whole match. A nice driven faceplant to the ring apron was all it took. After that, and just a few minutes later, it was all over. A Nova Rolla for the win, and Dar had yet another win under his belt. Can we please see Dar vs Devlin for the Cruiserweight title?!?

Winner – Noam Dar

The Hunt (Wild Boar and Primate) cut a quick promo and call out the Grizzled Young Veterans for a match next week. We can look forward to that match and the I Quit NXT UK Women’s Championship. Really looking forward to that Women’s match. I have a feeling that it could be something really special.

Joe Coffey vs Ilja Dragunov

This has been brewing for quite some time now. I remember seeing these two beat the living s**t out of each other in ICW a few years ago and was hoping for something similar here. Obviously less of the brutality, more PG, but the same intensity. What we got was something very close in my opinion. It wasn’t AS good, but for the time they had and the environment they were in, the boys did good.

Perfect pacing. That’s exactly what this match had. A slow build, ramping up the energy in the middle part, and explosive finish. That’s how you use your 15 minute match time folks!

A hard feeling out process to begin here as both men trade stiff strikes. Breaking off only to mug off to the crowd. More strikes and Coffey powders to the outside to get some separation. Joe misjudged the situation though as Ilja went to the top rope and dived to the outside on him. Dragunov didn’t last long outside though as Coffey soon was in charge once more. Those steel steps took a battering today as once again they were used. Here Coffey whipped Ilja into them and rolled him back into the ring.

For tow big guys that can hit damn hard, there wasn’t a lot of striking action. Which made a nice change. It certainly opened up my eyes as to how technically sound both men are. Russian suplexes, Overhead and normal Belly to Belly suplexes, Death Valley Drivers. Both men went all out with some great offensive work in this match. Heck, Dragunov even hit a Coast To Coast to bring the crowd to it’s feet!

And it was that Coast To Coast that led to Coffey’s demise. Ilja quickly followed that up with his Torpedo Moscow finisher for the win. this was a different kind of match that I was expecting. But I’m pleasantly surprised. Sometimes folks, you don’t need to go back to what you did last time. Incorporate parts of the past but show the world that you’ve grown. Which is exactly what these two did. Hat’s off to you guys, great match.

Winner – Ilja Dragunov

Wolfgang and Mark Coffey raced to the ring to beat down Ilja after the bell. Seemingly Dragunov’s debt hadn’t been settled. But the Gallus boys were waved off by Joe Coffey, saying that he and Ilja were good now. As Gallus leaves the ring to let Ilja soak up the crowd’s ovation as the show fades to black, I’m wondering if Gallus could be turning face soon?

And there endeth another NXT UK Inclination. A nice return to form I think. Although I do have a few questions, so indulge me if you will…

WALTER will retain over Dave Mastiff in a few weeks. Well, that’s my feelings anyway. But I’m wondering if NXT UK bookers are leaving their options open as to who he will face at Takeover: Dublin. Could it be Jordan Devlin? He has publicly stated he wants WALTER in Dublin. The two have a storied history going back to their OTT days. But…

Could Ilja Dragunov take that spot? He’s seemingly finished his feud with Gallus and he’s on a roll. Could he step up and face WALTER? And speaking of storied histories? Check out the wars both men had in wXw back in the day!

Or…could they just make it a triple threat and possibly have a Match Of The Year candidate match on a sold-out and super hot Dublin show? I’m excited for either and all of them to be honest. But what about you? Don’t be shy, let me know what you think could be the main event!

Until next week amigos…TA TA!