Worlds Collide 2020 is shaping up to be an exciting addition to the NXT and NXT UK pay-per-view chronologies. #DIY will reunite to take on Moustache Mountain, Rhea Ripley and Toni Storm will fight for the NXT Women’s championship just over a year after their last clash for the UK Women’s title, and The Undisputed Era will attempt to justify their flying all the way to England for a two minute beatdown on Imperium at the end of Takeover: Blackpool II by following through and defeating their opponents.
Unfortunately for Adam Cole and the boys, this probably wouldn’t be the best outcome (sorry, baybay). NXT UK needs to look dominant and come out on top on January 25th. Here’s why.
Following their strong display at Survivor Series, NXT has finally been solidified as WWE’s third brand in the eyes of casual and hardcore fans alike. Lio Rush, the NXT Women’s team, and Roderick Strong all secured wins for the black and gold brand, with Keith Lee giving a star-making performance in the men’s elimination match, and then-NXT women’s champion Shayna Baszler coming out victorious in the main event of the night.
Meanwhile, NXT UK Champion Walter certainly didn’t look like a dominant champion as he was first eliminated from the men’s Survivor Series match just shy of three minutes into the contest. Because of this, NXT can afford to lose this upcoming battle to their sister brand with the different accents and better-looking title belts. NXT UK needs to be legitimised in the same way, and a clean sweep at Worlds Collide would achieve this.
It’s no secret that NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live have always been viewed as being on similar levels of importance to the casual fan – that being not as crucial viewing as the main roster shows. But two major recent developments have shifted this dynamic. First, the merging of 205 Live with NXT has brought the show a whole new division with dedicated talent, and another title belt to boot. Then, we had stars like Johnny Gargano claiming there will be no moving “up” to the “main” roster for them, and NXT alumni Finn Balor returning to the brand, showing that some stars wish to be NXT for life. This has all culminated in NXT feeling like less of a developmental brand in general, and more like a bona fide third brand with different divisions featuring both new talent and former championship holding veterans.
NXT UK on the other hand comes across as a developmental brand; granted that brand just put on a fantastic pay-per-view in Takeover: Blackpool II, but with the lack of “big names”, and with UK alumni like Rhea Ripley, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne “graduating” to NXT rather than the main roster, the UK show can’t help but feel like the first stepping stone in the WWE brand hierarchy.
So, if NXT were to do the job to UK it would have a significant impact. Of course, having a developmental brand is not a bad thing, in fact it’s an absolutely necessary thing; but with the recent legitimacy reinforcement of NXT, a definitive victory against the brand whose yellow shadow they stand in would undeniably help show that NXT UK needs to be taken seriously as well.
As mentioned, at the climax of Takeover: Blackpool II, The Undisputed Era jumped Imperium in anticipation for their match at Worlds Collide. By showing up unannounced and entering through the crowd they committed the ultimate heel move of depriving the very vocal UK fans of singing along to their entrance theme, and also beating up everyone’s favourite chest chopper Walter. Nevertheless, this was a great thing to happen and could lead to something even more tantalising in the near future.
Since brand competitiveness will be high following Worlds Collide, regardless of the results, we could have continuations of the feuds on NXT and NXT UK TV, with stars from both brands crossing the line between shows to get revenge on their international, inter-brand opponents. But imagine if NXT UK shutout their opposition at the event; NXT being definitively defeated would provoke a big reaction. There’s only one suitable next step – say it with me, it’s everyone’s favourite “battle of the promotions” trope and most disappointing 2000s WWF storyline: Invasion.
With either NXT invading UK out of vengeance or UK following up their victory by taking the fight straight to their opposition by invading NXT, an invasion and ongoing storyline under the booking decisions of Triple H is what needs to happen to bring NXT UK into the spotlight in 2020. With the potential to offer five-star calibre matchups like Walter vs Keith Lee, Jordan Devlin vs Finn Balor, and Kay Lee Ray vs Shayna Baszler, an NXT/UK war would certainly get people talking about both brands in the same breath.
Plus, even at their respective ages, wouldn’t you like to see Johnny Saint vs William Regal? Maybe in a loser leaves their role as GM / USA work visa on a pole match? I would. And it would all start with NXT UK reigning supreme at Worlds Collide.
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