Thumbs In The Middle
Thought the show was okay. Found it rather underwhelming, but didn't think it was bad. Seen over half the participants wrestle before, four of them are based and wrestle local to me (Seven, Bate, Dunne, and Moloney), and no one showed their full capabilities.
Everyone looked severely handcuffed. They were clearly instructed/under the impression they were to wrestle WWE style matches, which of course meant certain moves and sequences were banned, and a particular structure was adhered to, which in the case of the style, to a degree I expected and is fine, and I understand the thinking, with the thought that theirs is "a style for the masses" and they want you to wrestle in a manner that is fairly simple, understandable, and easily digestible, and not overwhelm or ostracize any of the potential audience, and make it accessible. Plus, of course, they feel some of what they ask is simply the right way to do things, as well they're other aspects to it, but I digress.
However, what we saw for the most part was a greater degree of simplicity, slower (which isn't necessarily bad), less spotty, and more low-impact with a steep curve than you're accustomed to on WWE TV, when they were capable of far more. Excluding a few matches, they seemed to just want guys to try and have what they saw as good solid matches, and leave plenty in the tank for tomorrow, and to be fair -- perhaps some adhered to instructions a little too much and/or were afraid of getting in trouble, either way the action was disappointing.
Also in the case Tyler and Trent (Seven), their full level of showmanship/charisma didn't come across, I feel. In the case of Trent, I'm suspicious this was down to what they like, in the sense of they like you to keep the action moving, and they also don't like too much playing to the crowd.
In the case of Tyler, as well as the playing to the crowd aspect, some of his showmanship spots they might see as hokey, and some are comedy driven, neither of which they really like, and also some are implemented during his scientific/technical work, which they don't like a lot of with their guidelines of keeping the action moving -- excluding the obvious exceptions, and some of it may've been a personal choice, to not invite further comparisons to Jack Gallagher, as they're similar in that regard.
With all that said, I'm delighted they clearly like him (Tyler), wanted to showcase him and have the best match. In addition, I was surprised how much Pete Dunne got out of Roy Johnson. That may not be fair because I don't see a lot of Johnson's work, but he's pretty green and limited, and that match exceeded my expectations. On other matters, I thought the presentation was good & Cole and McGuinness did well.
- Best Match: Bate vs. Tucker
- Worst Match: Huxley vs. Gradwell
- Best: Tyler Bate vs. Tucker
- Worst: Trent Seven vs. HC Dyer
If the cruiserweight title tournament was 31 flavors then this show was one big ol' scoop of vanilla. The action was fine but completely forgettable in every way. No one stood out as ready for a big stage, although I could see Sam Gradwell being a star if he improves his in ring skills. Tomorrow's show should be better as much of the fat has been trimmed, but these local tournaments aren't going to work if they don't have the talent to back it up. Revolution Pro Wrestling has never seemed so professional.
Side note: Michael Cole was the best on commentary he's been in ages. I don't know if it was being paired with Nigel or being away from Vince producing him but it reminded me of how much promise he had back during his first big run on SmackDown with Tazz.
- Nick Randall
Nothing stood out. Felt like watching SmackDown midcard matches.
Can't spend another show listening to Michael Cole. The guy just has zero instinct for this. Since he's been lead Raw announcer how far have the ratings gone down? Who wants to spend three hours listening to Michael Cole? Does Vince listen back to the show? It defies all logic he's lead announcer.
- Yale Hannon
I've just finished watching the first night of the UK tournament show. I thought on the whole it was pretty good, but not a great show. There was no one on the show who blew me away in their matches or who I thought could be a major superstar in WWE. I liked Michael Cole a lot more on tonight's show than usual and he gelled fairly well with Nigel McGuinness on commentary.
Of the matches, I liked Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, and Mark Andrews on the show. I'm hoping for Tyler Bate vs. Trent Seven and Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne in the semifinals culminating with Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne in the final match.
I have to say that I was not all that impressed by Jordan Devlin and Joseph Conners. Michael Cole described Conners as a "legit main eventer." I really didn't think there was much to him or his performance, but maybe he'll be better tomorrow. During Jordan Devlin's match, the crowd sang "you're just a sh*t Finn Balor." That pretty much tells you about everything about him and his performance. I don't think either guy should get anywhere near the final tomorrow. It should be Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne.
Overall, I'd give the show a 6/10, maybe a 7/10
- Kevin Timmins
Just thought I'd pass along some thoughts on last night's WWE UK Title tournament night one show. I was there live and have also since seen the whole thing again on the Network, and I also have a ticket for tonight's show too. I heard your analysis of night one on Observer Radio and I think you were very fair. I agreed with pretty much everything you said about the show.
I enjoyed it, probably more being there live than watching it back, although I also thought it was good watching it back. It was an easy thumbs up for me. Match of the night was definitely Tyler Bate vs. Tucker. Worst match was Saxon Huxley vs. Sam Gradwell. I think Saxon got the Jesus chants not only because of the way he looked, but because very few knew in attendance knew him, and this was clearly a very smart UK crowd with many attending UK shows all the time.
There were virtually no children there at all. It was really astonishing how few there were, even compared to NXT shows I've been to in the past. The atmosphere was fantastic, up there with the very best shows in a small venue that I've ever attended. The setting and the building was great, probably the best small building I've ever watched wrestling in, and I've been to quite a few in the US such as the Manhattan Center, Hammerstein Ballroom, and Center Stage.
One weird thing was when I got to the building, I had East Balcony seats right in the centre, and there were no seats there, with a hard camera situated there instead. The building manager profusely apologised, said it had been a late decision by WWE to situate the camera there, and upgraded us (I was with seven others) to fifth row ringside, in the centre directly opposite the ring and big screen entrance. So none of us were disappointed.
As mentioned, the atmosphere was great. People leaving the building afterwards all seemed very pleased with the show and there didn't seem to be any complaints. You were correct in saying that certain guys perhaps were being held back, but then again it was night one and in WWE's eyes maybe they want to build to night two and save all the good stuff for tonight.
I don't know if you saw the post show angle with Pete Dunne but it was terrific. He continued to attack Gradwell and threw him off the stage. Then WWE released a backstage video on YouTube with everyone disgusted with Dunne's actions including Nigel McGuinness. Triple H sort of shrugged and said "Make a name for yourself kid." Regal was absolutely furious, after helping Gradwell backstage he launched into a tirade at Dunne warning him not to mess this up (shades of Vince with Steve Austin immediately after the Tyson angle in 1998, trying to play it off as a bit of shoot that Dunne went too far).
They then showed Regal and HHH going into HHH's office, with Regal demanding that Dunne be disqualified from the tournament and Triple H calming him down. I thought it was really effective.
There was a dark match before last night's show, with Chris Tyler & Jack Starz beating Ringo Ryan & Prince Ali. Standard opener, babyfaces going over. At the same level of the most of the other matches on the card.
- Stephen Lyon