Photo Credit: WWE
All good things must come to an end, including the NXT UK Tag Team Championship reign of Pretty Deadly. Lewis Howley and Sam Stoker had their run ended by Moustache Mountain on last week’s episode of NXT UK. So, that’s that, the babyfaces triumphant, the heels despondent. However, I believe that this is just the beginning for Pretty Deadly, hopefully leading them to pick up more recognition. As well as this, the long-term storytelling for Moustache Mountain has been sublime. So, here’s why Moustache Mountain vs Pretty Deadly is my tag match of the year.
Coming into this match we had Moustache Mountain as the babyface underdogs. Despite Trent Seven and Tyler Bate being the more experienced tag team, Pretty Deadly already held a win over them. That, combined with Trent and Tyler’s struggles this year (Trent costing Tyler the Heritage Cup, Trent’s loss to Jordan Devlin) and Trent’s desire to finally win a title in NXT UK made this a must win match for the Men from the Mountain.
On the other side of the ring, the Dandy Highwaymen have held onto their title belts with a vice-like grip. They’ve put on solid matches with performers of every style, powerhouses like Gallus and high-flyers like Subculture. They’ve managed to keep their opponents looking strong through cheating and underhanded tactics whilst not relying on them. Their character work has also been excellent. The arrogant, condescending upper-class pretty-boys are old-school heels you love to hate. Pretty Deadly, particularly through their use of catchphrases and gesture, annoy me every time they pop up on my screen. It’s the perfect match-up. Beloved veteran crowd favourites against the obnoxious up and comers.
The match itself was as phenomenal as I’d hoped. Both teams made the other look very strong. The storyline was very simple- Pretty Deadly were trying to isolate the older, injured Trent Seven, who just would not stay down. Trent was almost pinned after a Spilled Milk (Pretty Deadly’s double-team finisher), but Bate was able to make the save. Trent later kicked out of a series of powerbombs and a belt-shot, indicating that this match was about his redemption story. This was not the Trent who lost to Jordan Devlin and cost Tyler the Heritage Cup. This was a determined veteran, fighting for his protegee, his fans and himself.
Pretty Deadly were also protected in defeat. Even though he ended up taking the pinfall, Lewis Howley kicked out of the Tyler Driver ’97, the Seven Star Lariat and a nasty looking knee drop. It took three finishers to put away Pretty Deadly:
- A second Tyler Driver ’97 to Howley
- Trent then hitting the Birminghammer (a modified Burning Hammer) on Stoker, dropping him on top of Howley.
- Tyler’s Big Spiral Boi off the top rope on top of both members of Pretty Deadly, before pinning Howley
If that’s not protection, I don’t know what is.
I don’t know what’s next for Pretty Deadly, but this title run has cemented them as ones to watch for the future. Both men are in their late 20s and have long careers ahead of them. I would love to see them on a bigger stage, but even if they stay in NXT UK, the Dandy Highwaymen are set
For the new champions, defences await. Most fans expected Trent to turn on Tyler had the result not gone their way, and although this wasn’t the case, I don’t believe that this story is quite over yet. Tyler was the one who got most of the offence in, saved Trent from the Spilled Milk and scored the winning pin. Howley kicked out of the Seven Star more easily than the Tyler Driver. The seeds are still there for one of the Men from the Mountain to turn. Will Trent, jealous of his protegee, turn on Triple Crown Tyler? Will Tyler decided he needs to transcend the old school? Who knows? What I do know however, is that this match is my tag match of the year, due to the excellent storytelling throughout.
My Tag Matches of the Year
- Pretty Deadly vs Moustache Mountain
- The Young Bucks vs Lucha Brothers (Steel Cage)
- The Briscoe Brothers vs The OGK (Final Battle)
- Dangerous Tekkerz vs Los Ingobernables de Japon
- Pretty Deadly vs South Wales Subculture