WWE UK Championship Tournament Quarter-Semi-Finals
Hopefully with most of the scrubs out of the tournament, we can actually get a good show out of this. After Pete Dunne's actions at the end of the show last night, a decision was made: He would not be disqualified from the tournament, and his match would open the show. WHAT A PUNISHMENT! I'm fascinated at the insistence that Nigel McGuinness is a UK wrestling legend, when he in fact moved to the United States to train and spent at least 95% of his career wrestling in America.
Pete Dunne vs Sam Gradwell
Gradwell has his back all taped up after Dunne's attack last night. Dunne desperately needs to grow a beard. To cover up both his baby face and his acne. This starts much the way you'd expect: Gradwell being pissed and going after Pete, and Pete trying to scamper away. Sam gets his revenge by suplexing Pete on the ramp. This crowd is bugging the shit out of my counting one ahead of the ref while these guys are on the floor. What's the point of that? Anyway, Sam hits a missile dropkick and hurts his already hurt back. Nigel tries to cover for why he'd make that mistake, but then Sma goes up to the top again and he does a cross body to the floor. Dunne slams Gradwell into the corner to get the win. After the match, Pete attacks Sam again, brags about HHH not thinking what he did was controversial, and is leaving with the title.
Mark Andrews vs Joseph Conners
Andrews tries to win with multiple roll ups to start the match. I can't believe how small his arms are. Andrews has a really stupid spot where he teases that he's going to do something like Ibushi's triangle moonsault, but then just does a standing moonsault off the apron. There is no reason to run to the corner like you're going to springboard for that, man. Conners hits a drop toe hold into the steps to start his heat segment. I wish I knew what the fuck Cole saw in this guy, because he continues to hype him up as incredible. The camera work here is worse than normal, with every impact being cut to a different, worse angle. EVERY SINGLE TIME. That and Mandrews' "great high flying" moves being the most basic shit that Evan Bourne was doing in 2004. Maybe he'd have been better off riding skateboards in TNA. This is similar to Connors' match last night, where it is back and forth, but it doesn't feel like anything is HAPPENING. But it gets a THIS IS WRESTLING chant for a finisher kick out and Andrews going straight into offense after it. Andrews won with a SSP to advance.
Wolfgang vs Trent Seven
No thanks. Why are you booking three matches in a row to have most of the opening take place on the floor, with the first big spot to dictate the match taking place out there? And why does the biggest man in the tournament have better flippy shit than the high flyer in the tournament? It's all backwards. Wolfgang does a moonsault off the apron, but hits his knee on the floor. Now dudes go into a full on strike battle, and Trent actually calls for a LARIATOOOOOOOO. Not a lariat. He actually said LARIATOOOOOOO out loud. His strikes are so shitty. Why is this dude using strikes as his primary offense when they look so bad? This is just two kind of fat dudes cosplaying a NJPW match. But their strikes suck. For the second match in a row, a finisher kick out and chants. Wolfgang won with a swanton to the back.
Tyler Bate vs Jordan Devlin
Hopefully Bate smashes this little shit in a hurry. Devlin's head is at least 3 sizes too big for his body, and it's creeping me out. I don't like this guy at all. Reminds me of Noam Dar. The fans sing and all that dumb shit, Devlin keeps trying all these slick heel moves but messes all of them up. If Noam Dar and Finn Balor had a baby. Awful. Tyler thankfully wins with a tiger driver and hopefully I'll never have to see Jordan Devlin ever again.
Mark Andrews vs Pete Dunne
These guys debuted together, so in theory, they're familiar with each other. Pete immediately goes after Mark's bad neck. It's really amazing how dull Andrews' flips are. His selling also really bothers me. Very, "look at me selling" type of selling, if you're buying what I'm selling. Tell me if this makes sense to anyone else: Andrews takes too long to do his standing moonsault, which was countered earlier in the night, so his way around it is to step forward and do a standing reverse 450. Because somehow that wasn't counterable? All he did was take MORE time and add half a rotation. How weird, another match where the big tide turner takes place outside of the ring. There really should have been some oversight in the lay out of these matches to keep them from being so similar in structure. Pete suplexes Mark on the apron and the ramp. Pete's mean mugging looks like he's trying not to cry. His face in general looks like he's trying not to cry. Actually, he looks like Roger Klotz. Roger Klotz if he was on the verge of crying and throwing up at all times. Mark has a stunner counter out of a suplex that seems to be one of his signature moves, but he only uses it like...once per match? He'll get hit with 5 suplexes in a match, but only do this fool proof counter once. Dunne gets his knees up on the SSP, Andrews counters the stupid ass flatliner, then counters a suplex with a rana. Why don't you do that shit every time, man? Pete again avoids the SSP, hits a corner German suplex, EZ Money suplex, and pumphandle flatliner in succession to head to the finals. I think I've had my fill of both of these guys.
Tyler Bate vs Wolfgang
Definitely had my fill of Wolfgang as well. The crowd breaks out into a song and dance, because England is always one step away from being a musical. Wolfgang is now working heel. He's also working with a possibly broken nose. It's kind of a power vs speed match, but Bate is really strong himself. Wolfgang takes ludicrously long amounts of time before hitting his moves. Big shocker that he misses them afterwards. When you take a minute and a half to climb the ropes, you're not going to hit the move. The fans continue to literally just dance for most of the match, then Tyler hits the tiger driver OUTTA NOWHERE to hit go to the finals. Pete Dunne hit the ring and ambushed Bate. Regal gets in his face, and Pete literally ran away like a scalded dog. Am I supposed to believe he's a real bad ass when he's clearly terrified of old, retired, post-neck surgery Regal beating his ass?
Neville vs Tommy End
A special surprise match! Neville is a heel, comes out to his heel music, but of course is recieved like a returning hero. Even when he cuts a heel promo, they chant for him. Lmao, Neville cutting "the powers that be are holding me back" promos. Tommy End is making his WWE debut, after having been signed several months prior. Neville being a pissed off little dick head with a huge chip on his shoulder is good for him. ANything to give him some kind of edge and character in the ring. Neville basically is doing everything better than End, including strikes, which are Tommy's specialties. Just outclassing him entirely. And then, Tommy End does Mark Andrews spots better than Mark Andrews did them. Tommy has some dope combos. Neville wins completely clean with the Red Arrow. After he mostly outstruck the guy most known for his strikes.
Finn Balor comes to the ring, the fans sing some more. Balor sucks up to the fans, then the fans start chanting for themselves. WE DESERVE IT! WE DESERVE IT! WE DESERVE IT! You don't deserve dick, you fucks. The only reason this is happening is because WWE got spooked about the World of Sport revival. But now you have main eventers encouraging and endorsing WE DESERVE IT chants. That's not going to come back to bite them in the ass. Cole also endorsed the chant, saying the fans were DEAD ON with their chants all weekend.
Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne WWE UK Championship
Bate had a separated AC joint. Partially. So his shoulder is heavily taped up, and he looks much more serious/nervous, and he'll likely need to come up with a new finisher for this match. Dunne actually was a trainer of Bate, despite Dunne only being 23. Very slow opening minutes. When the match gets started, Dunne goes after the shoulder. Some nice World of Sport spots, and Bate is full of fire. Are you kidding me, another pivotal swing on the floor? Dunne continues to stalk Tyler and attack the shoulder every chance he gets. Bate sends Dunne shoulder first into the post. These fans seem like they should have just gone to a concert if all the wanted to do was sing and dance. Bates does a koppo kick and Rampage bomb, so he's A-okay in my book. Not sure why the triangle was treated like a shoulder hold. It's a choke. Yo wtf, Fosbury Flop OUTTA NOWHERE from Tyler! 450 DOUBLE STOMP. The fuck is going on here? I don't know if that was intentional or not, but nothing in his previous matches would lead one to believe that Tyler had anything like that in him. Bate kicks out of Tyler's stupid ass finisher. THIS IS WRESTLING. Tyler gets stuck in kimura variations for quite a while, then hits a disgusting brainbuster. Tyler Driver 97! Tyler Bate is the first ever WWE UK Champion! HE'S ONLY 19. That title is gigantic on him. Fuck, Finn Balor towers over him.
Certainly a much better show than night one, but only "good". I had a real issue with every match being structured the same, with a short opening and then a big spot on the floor dictating the rest of the match, then a finisher kick out before leading into the real finish. This happened in every match except Neville/End, which had it's own weird booking issues of Neville out striking the guy known for dangerous strikes. Coming out of this, the only guy I have any interest in seeing again is Tyler Bate, who has tremendous potential for being as good and collected as he is at only 19. There is an issue that he's very, very short, but so are a lot of guys in modern WWE.
I feel like Pete Dunne was the only guy with any real hype coming into this, and I was completely done with him by the second time I saw him. Felt like I'd seen everything he can do, and had no interest in seeing any more of it. His face looking like he was trying not to cry or throw up, while simultaneously being full of acne makes him impossible to take seriously as some cunty bad ass. He just looks like a slimy dude you won't want to be around your daughter.
Overall, a massive step down from the CWC on all levels. The best match of the tournament, Dunne/Bates, was a mid tier match in the CWC. The whole thing felt very last minute, even down to preview show, which was almost entirely about WWE praising itself for moving into the UK, where they've been running shows for 30 years. At least half of the talent involved were basically rookies that had no business being in it, and since it wasn't a gigantic tournament that went on for weeks and weeks, all the weak talent just shined brighter. None of the top names of the UK scene were involved. Cole seemed to spend most of the show talking about how great the crowd was, while the crowd itself was just singing and dancing all weekend and seemingly not paying much attention to the matches so they could chant for themselves. If the goal was to produce a weekly UK show coming out of this, I don't see how you could possibly do so with the talent in this tournament.