The champion has the challenger down
Rhea defeated Toni to become the inaugural NXT UK Women's champion back in August. This is their second title match.
Few things in wrestling today appear to be as polarizing as Toni Storm's selling. If you ask Dave Meltzer about Toni's selling, he'll tell you that he loves it. To him, it's one of her best qualities. If you ask certain fans that are highly critical of Toni's work, they will tell you that her selling sucks. That she's not believable enough. Personally, I'm a lot closer to Meltzer in this case. I' not sure that I would go as far as him, but I've always liked the way that Toni sells. It's not too over the top while projecting pain well. She's also improved over time when it comes to projecting frustration while showing that she's in pain. I wouldn't call her one of the best in the world at selling, but her selling is very solid. I felt this match was a good showcase for that. They played off the story of the first title match with Toni's back pain. And generally, I felt like Toni's selling really kept the fans invested in the match.
I think like Rhea has a longer way to go when it comes to her in-ring work. She's a fantastic ass kicker look. She knows her character well on social media and in interviews, and she's a good athlete. But some things keep her from being truly great in the ring. For one thing, I feel like she lacks a mean streak in the ring. It doesn't come across like she's enjoying hurting her opponents. Which undermines what she's supposed to be as a character. You never question if Minoru Suzuki enjoys his work. I can't say the same for Rhea. I also think that some of her brawling, especially her strikes could use a lot more intensity. In a world where Hazuki and Dash Chisako are active, and in a company that also has Kairi Sane, you need to have a lot more venom to your strikes. It doesn't mean that you need to throw forearms like you are trying to chop down a tree per se, but they should look like they have cruel intentions. Especially when you are a badass ass kicking brawling heel.
I didn't like the finisher kick outs in this match. This is the second match in what could potentially be a relatively long series of matches over the next few years as both of these women navigate the waters of WWE. They don't need to be killing the effectiveness of their finishers this early in their WWE careers. Especially when they have good looking finishers. Learn from Kazuchika Okada. You can get a lot more miles out of getting creative with counters than you can out of shortcuts like finisher kick outs. If you must do finisher kickouts, at least it should be in a longer match where you exhaust all other possibilities first. They could have upped the ante a lot in this match.
Toni Storm won after hitting her second Storm Zero. Overall, I thought this was a good match with some flaws that kept it from really being a great match. They told a good story that played off the first match, and the crowd was into it, but I think these two will end up having better matches than this together over the next few years.