Wrestling Review: WWE UK Championship Tournament (Part 2) (2017)

[This review will contain full spoilers for Round 1 of the tournament. The non-spoiler review of the opening round is available here.]

After an explosive, controversial and shocking first round, the WWE UK Championship Tournament is set to conclude with, the quarter finals and the grand finale ready to go, once more from Blackpool, England in the iconic Empress Ballroom. The quarter finals wil see four matches: first up the grudge match between Sam Gradwell and Pete Dunne, followed by Mark Andrews going up again Joseph Conners, with the winners meeting in the first semi final. On the other side of the bracket, widely marked favourite Trent Seven goes against the powerful Wolfgang, before Tyler Bate looks to outshine Jordan Devlin, with the winners of these matches going to the second semi final match. The winners of the two semi finals will face off, with the winner of this final match becoming the first ever WWE United Kingdom Champion. Once again, all the action will be called by WWE Raw’s Michael Cole and UK wrestling legend Nigel McGuiness.

+ Tournament finale (WWE United Kingdom Championship): thankfully, and by a wide margin, this was the best match of the entire tournament. With the championship on the line, both competitors pulled out all the stops to put on an absolutely fantastic match. The crowd was going completely bonkers for every move, which has cemented this as a historic match for more than just the championship outcome
+ Semi final #1: another fantastic match, with each match seemingly better than the one which came before. Though the crowd was chanting nearly non-stop for this match, both participants received all the love from the Blackpool crowd, and deservedly so
+ Semi final #2: another clash of styles, featuring some incredible moves I don’t know that I have ever seen before. The crowd was wild from start to finish, and the commentators put over one of the competitors very, very heavily, which made the match, and the tournament in full, seem very important
+ Neville vs a surprise opponent: in a non-tournament contest, the self proclaimed King of the Cruiserweights had one hell of a fight on his hands. Neville is just so incredibly good it is hard to find fault in his claims of being overlooked for the Cruiserweight Classic, 205 Live and now the UK Championship Tournament
+ Trent Seven vs Wolfgang: the weight and power advantage was always on Wolfgang’s size, but Seven being the favourite of many meant this was a battle which could have gone either way. The winner was always going to show the wounds of war, and rest assured the winner certainly did
+ Tyler Bate vs Jordan Devlin: following the controversial ending to his first round match, Devlin made sure the audience found him as unlikeable as perhaps even Pete Dunne. Going against the youngest competitor, but arguably the most beloved in Tyler Bate, Devlin was able to work the crowd into a frenzy with his bad guy tactics. An interesting finish drew some parallels to the ending of the Devlin/Burch match from round one

The tournament brackets for Round 2.

– Pete Dunne vs Sam Gradwell: following on from Dunne’s attack on Gradwell at the end of part one, the Bruiser Weight Pete Dunne made some fans in the crowd, but one large enemy in the ring. This was relatively short, and not particularly good, but hopefully it’s no spoiler to say it went the way it always was going to
– Mark Andrews vs Joseph Conners: a contrast in styles, high-flying vs hard-hitting, this was a much more classic wrestling match than many others so far. Andrews is a great, underdog good-guy, but I personally found Conners just too bland to be interested in this match
– the non-stop football style chanting from the crowd, a staple of British wrestling, did start to overstay it’s welcome towards the end. Sometimes I do wish they had reacted to the in-ring action, rather than complete their round of chanting

> Nigel McGuinness looks so much like Tom Hiddleston, now that McGuinness has a full head of hair
> It is so jarring to hear Michael Cole mention ICW and PROGRESS wrestling promotions by name
> all this teasing for a William Regal match we’ll never get just makes me sad. Regal has always been one of my personal favourites, so highlighting the fact we won’t see him ion the ring again is a bitter pill to swallow

Should you watch this event: After a somewhat shaky start, the tournament really heated up in this second half. As the good guys got better, and the bad guys became even more despicable this ended up being a great two-day event, and rest assured the winner certainly deserves it.

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