So here we are. WWE’s United Kingdom Championship Tournament reaches its conclusion, as the final eight men compete to fight for glory. With a place in history and lots to be excited about, who would rise up in Blackpool’s Victoria Ballroom and claim their spot in WWE history and become the first WWE United Kingdom Champion?
Pete Dunne def. Sam Gradwell
Mark Andrews def. Joseph Connors
Wolfgang Trent def. Trent Seven
Tyler Bates def. Jordan Delvin
BOOM: Pete Dunne vs. Sam Gradwell
Great opening match. Thanks to Dunne’s heel turn yesterday, it added some spice to proceedings. Gradwell appeared to be getting over his assault with an impressive arsenal of moves. Yet as the match progressed, and Dunne targeted the back; it became clear that the injury was playing a big part. The assault after the pinfall was a really nice touch, setting Dunne up as one of the standout names of the tournament so far.
BOOM: Mark Andrews vs. Joseph Connors
Another solid match, if slightly less intense thanks to the absence of a true story. Andrews did a good job selling Connor’s offence, making Andrews look good throughout. Connors never really looked like he could win it though, his offense was more reserved. It should be also noted that the crowd seemed a little more reserved this match.
BOOM: Trent Seven vs. Wolfgang
Really great match – it’s clear these two are used to facing off against each other. They weren’t afraid to push the boundaries, using the outside of the ring for various high-flying moves. I’m amazed Seven lost in honesty, as was the live crowd, who seemed to be genuinely shocked. Sad really as these two seemed to have the biggest followings and some of the biggest hype heading into proceedings. This could easily have closed out the entire show and it would have been worthy.
BUST: Tyler Bates vs. Jordan Delvin
Arguably the biggest wimper of a highly stacked quarter-final block. Good little match, if slightly hard to follow everything that came before. I wasn’t sold on Delvin throughout the competition, so his departure didn’t do much to frustrate. Bates though is a standout performer – with a huge number of great spots during this match and really highlighting his ability.
Pete Dunne def. Mark Andrews
Tyler Bate def. Wolfgang
BOOM: Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne
What an amazing match. Seriously, these two should be given their own show on the WWE Network. Andrews high-flying style was perfectly complemented by Dunne’s more rough approach. The two just had the kind of rapport that makes audiences scream – and they were all over the arena here. The story of the match was simple, Andrews was the underdog and throwing everything in his arsenal while Dunne fought to work him down. The audience was on the edge of their seats – what an absolute show stealer.
BUST: Tyler Bate vs. Wolfgang
Completely different match to what came before. They played up the weight difference between Wolfgang and Bate. The biggest surprise here was that the match didn’t go nearly as long as the other semi-final, with Bate overcoming Wolfgang. Fairly bog-standard sadly, even if Bate was impressive throughout. It was the beat down afterwards that would prove more important, with Bate being attacked by Dunne, putting into question if he could head to the United Kingdom Championship Tournament Final.
Tyler Bate def. Pete Dunne
BOOM: Pete Dunne vs. Tyler Bate
A great final match, that really carried the story of the show overall. Dunne’s heel antics came to roost here, as he struggled to keep Bate down throughout. Bate played up his injury, affording vulnerability to his offence. In the end, the crowd were begging for Bate to win, and he did so in style, with a Tiger Driver to become the first United Kingdom Champion.
What a great two nights of wrestling. WWE really did a good job making this entire production feel important, and while much of the audience won’t have known who these guys were entering the show – there’s no doubt that people made impressions along the way. I feel they made the right decision in having Bate win. Dunne was a fun heel, but the live audience were too self-aware for it really go over well.
I don’t know what WWE has planned next for it’s UK guys but if this tournament is an indication, we’ll be happy to go along with WWE’s United Kingdom brand.