On the 26th April, WWE aired the 245th episode of NXT, taped at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida on 5th April. Now that we've tied up all the loose ends of the previous era, we can move into a new one for NXT one with more than one women's story happening! This week's main event saw the two-time Futureshock Champion Jack Gallagher get his shot at Tyler Bate's United Kingdom Championship. The show also featured, Andrade Almas, Drew McIntyre, Ruby Riot, Nicky Cross, Aleister Black and the first part of the answer to the question 'Who is Roderick Strong?' Let's see what delights NXT had for us this week.
We open on a wild segment when Nikki Cross calls out Ruby Riot, Ruby doesn't back down, so they try to beat the piss out of each other. What follows is a brawl outside of the ring where the two of them beat quite a lot of the piss out of each other. This segment did more to showcase Nikki Cross as a competitor than any number of squash matches have with special notice being given given to her jumping off the ringsteps onto Riot to deliver a Sleeper Hold. After a sufficient amount of piss had been beaten the two women were separated. Good stuff that made Cross look insane and dangerous and held up Riot's never-say-die Babyface attitude.
- Kayla Braxton is talked to Bobby Roode about him going to sleep in the ring last week. He says that if Hideo Itami wants a shot at the title, in his NXT you have to earn it.
McIntyre def. Almas
This wasn't great. I'm not sure if they've started turning down the crowds or if they just weren't into the show tonight on the whole but there was a subdued feeling to the whole affair. Almas seemed at first like he was a man setting out to cause an upset by hitting strikes on McIntyre all over the place but then McIntyre remembered he was a big lad and doesn't need to sell for Con Hilo Midgets, he got up, hit a powerslam and a big boot (now called The Claymore?) for the win. Almas seems to be partially sleep-walking through his role as new Jobber-in-chief and McIntyre was if anything less engaged. At most I will say that McIntyre is begin made to look like a threat so that's good. McIntyre ends the match atop the ropes pec-pumping, what a treat.
- William Regal confirms Ruby Riot vs Nicky Cross for later tonight. Looking forward to those two wrestling a nice, clean match with no shenanigans.
Who Is Strong - Part1
Black def. Reeves
Black's entrance is longer than the match. Quick squash mate. Black looked like a murderer. Good stuff.
- Christy St. Cloud interviews Ruby Riot backstage. She says that she doesn't like the enforced doctrine of ideals of SaNItY and is going to show Nicki her way of doing things. Agreement on being an opposition but disagreement on quite how that opposition should be formed, I never expected this story to become a metaphor for divisions in the Labour Party.
- Kayla something tries to interview Almas about getting kicked in the head by McIntyre but he wants to go party with some lady-friends. He offers for Kayla to come to. Lad.
Riot v Cross Never Officially Started
Shenanigans happen, Nicki attacks Ruby during her entrance and yet more piss is beaten out of the two of them. This time round, it was Riot's chance to be the controlling aggressor. It's worth saying that these two quite cleverly kept their previous fight to ringside allowing this one to spill out onto the ramp and further with lots of lovely moments like a brutal Suplex on the ramp and later a Crossbody off the stage by Riot. Cross continued to showcase her no nonsense character by doing nothing flashy but showcasing some nasty, vindictive striking. Somehow in these two segments, these two have done more to sell their feud than pretty much any non-title women's story in recent memory. The final image of this as the two women are literally carried a man to a limb apart was oddly humourous but very appropriate.
- William Regal tells Asuka that next week there is to be a Number One Contender's Battle Royal for her title because Ruby and Nicky couldn't even make it to the ring to settle their differences. Asuka has a confident snort. Pride before a fall per'aps...
Bate def. Gallagher to retain WWE United Kingdom Championship
This was for the most part, a very pretty technical match with lots of different locks and holds being traded between the two men with Gallagher playing the controller for a large portion of the encounter. While a match like this could have encountered a lot of boredom from the audience, they seemed to actually get into it, popping for monkey-flip sustained Wristlocks, Jim Breaks Specials and trading Leverage Pins. The story of Gallagher as the underestimated 'comedy' wrestler trying to school the younger Bate allowed for some interesting development but sadly for these two, there was almost a feeling that the match didn't stop being 'gentlemanly' for the longest time. It never felt like Bate was treating Gallagher as a threat until a suicide dive was interrupted by a big Headbutt on the outside and then another inside the ring. The best moment of the match came late in it when Tyler would pick up Gallagher for a Stalling Suplex only for Jack to reverse into a Jim Breaks only for Tyler to finish off the Suplex. Eventually, Bate would hit a Rolling Heel Kick and the Tyler Driver '97 for the pin. Very crisp, technical work with an interesting narrative but undermined by a lack of animosity. If nothing else, worth watching for a bridging German Suplex where Tyler seems to hate his own spine. Wolfie, Mandrews, Peter and Trent were watching on, delivering me the photo I now want to end all articles with.
NXT continues to go strength-to-strength building up multiple contenders to both of their singles titles in the form of Itami, Strong, Black, McIntyre, Young & Dain for the Mens and Moon, Cross, Riot, Royce & Kay for the Womens, though it must be acknowledged that beyond #DIY, I can't see any real Contenders in the Tag Division and in an episode without any focus on said division, it seems neither do WWE. On a pure in-ring basis, the only match worth a watch is the Main Event but the episode more than justified itself between the Riot-Cross interactions and a fantastic video for Strong. Hopefully NXT can continue this positive build as it heads towards Takeover: Chicago.