Preview by Joseph Currier
Following yesterday's first round matches at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, WWE returns to the building today for the conclusion of the United Kingdom Championship tournament.
Today's show will feature the tournament quarterfinals and semifinals, along with the final match to crown the inaugural UK Champion. The quarterfinal matchups are:
- Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin
- Trent Seven vs. Wolfgang
- Mark Andrews vs. Joseph Conners
- Pete Dunne vs. Sam Gradwell
The winner of the Bate vs. Devlin match will go on to face the winner of Seven vs. Wolfgang, while whoever comes out on top of Andrews vs. Conners will take on the winner of Dunne vs. Gradwell in the semifinals.
WWE shot an angle with Dunne attacking Gradwell at the conclusion of yesterday's show, which continued after it went off of the air. They also later uploaded a video advancing the angle where Triple H and William Regal took a different approach to handling Dunne's actions. Dunne vs. Gradwell will be today's opening match.
Our live coverage begins at 3 p.m. ET.
PETE DUNNE VS. SAM GRADWELL
Dunne won in less than 5:00 with a bodyslam into the turnbuckles. He then gave him the bitter end, a pump handle flatliner after the match. This was more wide open than any match last night. The story is that Gradwell had a back injury from the angle last night so Dunne worked over the back. Gradwell used a nice tope and plancha and came out fast until Dunne shoved him off the ropes and he fell to the floor. They teased a count out and went to the finish. Really good action for the time they were given.
Dunne did an interview with Charly Caruso. He said that HHH told him what he did yesterday made a name for himself.
JOSEPH CONNERS VS. MARK ANDREWS
Good match, also kept short, probably keeping this short since the winners have to come back. Andrews won by reversing a suplex into a stunner and then hitting a shooting star press. Andrews did more in his match last night,but and Pete Dunne may tear the house down later tonight. I've seen them against each other before and it could be special.
WOLFGANG VS. TRENT SEVEN
Another good match, best of the night so far. Wolfgang won with a swanton which is an upset, but not really since the winner faces Tyler Bate and Bate & Seven are tag team partners. Wolfgang busted up his nose. Again these guys were allowed a lot of latitutde. Wolfgang did a moonsault off the barricade and then sold like his knee was injured, which may play into his next match. Seven used a dragon suplex, a move not favored in WWE. He also teased a piledriver off the middle rope. Wolfgang definitely has some charisma.
JORDAN DEVLIN VS. TYLER BATE
Bate won as expected with a left jab and the Tyler driver 97. Devlin had hit the same enzuigiri that cut open Danny Burch yesterday. Bate came across more as a potential superstar than anyone so far although Dunne and Andrews were the best wrestlers. Devlin was sloppy in some moves so I can't say the match was as good as the others, but still Bate's charisma and crowd made it entertaining.
MARK ANDREWS VS. PETE DUNNE
Easily the best match of the tournament. Great flying by Andrews. Dunne looked great. There was a spot where Dunne went for an X plex and it was turned into a huracanrana where the whole place came up with a standing ovation. The finish saw Andrews miss a moonsault and Dunne used a German suplex into the turnbuckles, followed by the X plex and then finished with the bitter end, the uranage into hte flatliner. Dunne goes to the final.
TYLER BATE VS. WOLFGANG
Match was short with Bate winning with the Tyler driver 97. Wolfgang may have had a broken nose or they may have been running tight on time. Wolfgang missed the swanton, but still came back with a spear. The action was fine but the finish came out of nowhere, not like the crowd wasn't super hot when it happened.
Dunne attacked Bate after the match and threw his shoulder into the post. They are clearly positioning Bate as a big time face for the finals. William Regal came out and was furious and shoved Dunne to the back. You may think this sets up Dunne vs. Regal at some point, but Regal won't wrestle again after his neck problems which are very serious.
Michael Cole and Nigel McGuinness are doing a great job announcing. They really need to get McGuinness on one of the main shows as soon as possible.
They showed Eorl Crabtree, a rugby star who is Big Daddy's nephew and has had a tryout with WWE.
NEVILLE VS. TOMMY END
Neville was super over. Then cut a heel promo about how the fans have forgotten about him. He said he should be the U.K. champion. Everyone cheered that. Then they loudly started chanting his name. He said they wouldn't let him in the tournament because they wanted a competitive tournament and if he was in, it wouldn't have been competiive. He said he was the greatest talent this country has ever produced which got a mixed reaction. End worked last night for Progress Wrestling.
This was a good match, far from theri best as they kept it short. Neville won with the red arrow whichwas the only flying he did other than a top rope super Frankensteiner. End did some flying incuding a moonsault off the middle rope to the floor.
They are playing up that Bate was injured. They said has a partially separated AC joint, so that's his excuse for selling the shoulder in the next match. They are pushing that Dunne is an expert at the Kimura so that's the story of the match.
If you're wondering, there has been no mention of Jimmy Snuka during this broadcast, not that I expected there would be.
Finn Balor is out now. He put over the fans and that they are the reason this has happened. Fans started chanting "We deserve it."
TYLER BATE VS. PETE DUNNE
They were out here to make a superstar and did it with Bate. Dunne did a great job of working the shoulder and Bate did hsi comebacks. This was an excellent match that tore down the house. Among the highlights were a Fosbury flkop dive by Bate, Dunne used his bitter end which everyone bought as the finish but Bate kicked out. The move that turned the match around was Dunne getting a triangle and Bate used a one arm power bomb using his bad shoulder. Later Dunne used a Kimura and Batae powered out with a brainbuster. After trading forearms, Bate used koppo kicks and hit the Tyler drive r97 to win the tournament.
They've got a 19 year old champion who can be the local hero you wanted out of this. Even if he lost it would have worked the way the show was booked.
Finn Balor, Fit Finlay and Regal celebrated with Bate when it was over.