This Sunday at Worlds Collide, we will see a Title Unification match featuring the two champions of NXT 2.0 and NXT UK, Mandy Rose and Meiko Satomura, in a triple threat that includes the wild card of Blair Davenport.
This unification comes as NXT UK formally comes to an end this week as we prepare for the debut of NXT Europe in 2023. To send off the brand that has been home to some of the most consistent, albeit overlooked, stellar women’s wrestling I will be revisiting my top five favourite moments.
Nearly four years of programming.
Over 200 episodes.
And four outstanding NXT UK Women’s Champions. #ThankYouNXTUK
Moment Number Five – The First NXT UK Women’s Champion is Crowned
In a two-day special event that featured talent from NXT and the upcoming brand of NXT UK, a special announcement was made that introduced a new Women’s Championship for the women of WWE, more specifically NXT UK.
The men had held a United Kingdom championship for sometime at this point but with the news of a brand new program, it was logical to give the women a prize to fight for.
The tournament itself included matches featuring women who have still been active within WWE even recently such as Dakota Kai, Nina Samuels and Isla Dawn. The finals ultimately came down to current RAW Superstar, Rhea Ripley and AEW star, Toni Storm.
Both women were recent participants in the second Mae Young Classic that year with Storm actually winning the whole thing at Evolution by defeating Io Shirai, a woman who had earlier defeated Ripley to advance. This added to their upcoming match as Storm was riding a massive wave of momentum while Ripley, although only 22 at the time of the episode airing, had already proven herself a dominant force in the ring.
In a match that truly could have gone either way, delivered across all fronts. The women had the crowd behind them in what would be the first of many times the women would Main Event the NXT UK shows. The Women’s Evolution had long begun by the time this brand debuted but this match was the start of showing what else could be done.
From the closer proximity between the crowd and the competitors to the rough brutality in the match as Storm and Ripley seemed to legitimately be fighting for their lives just for the honour of calling themselves the first-ever NXT UK Women’s Champion.
The fight happened in and around the ring with Ripley and Storm launching each other against the barricade and on the ring apron but it would be Ripley who came out with the win. After the targeted assault to her back, Storm lacked the core strength to hit Storm Zero on her opponent and the pain caused her to double over, setting her up for a vicious Riptide and crowning our first champion.
Ripley would be joined by Triple H and the NXT UK General Manager, Johnny Saint, as she celebrated her win, embracing her opponent out of respect as well.
Both Toni and Rhea would meet again at the first-ever NXT UK Takeover event held in Blackpool but this match would always serve as the precursor to what the NXT UK Women’s division would deliver.
Rhea Ripley held the title for a recognized 44 days but it is worth acknowledging that she held the title for 139 days as this match had been taped earlier in the year. This marks her as the champion with the shortest reign but Ripley was crucial to the early beginnings of NXT UK.
Tune in tomorrow for Moment #4! What do you remember of this match? What moments do you hope to revisit this week? Let me know in the comments!