WWE U.K. Tournament Day 1 Report

Jan 14, 2017 - by Steve Gerweck

source: John Pollock

The U.K. tournament kicks off from the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool for the two-day tournament to crown the first U.K. champion with a 16-man single elimination tournament.

Michael Cole and Nigel McGuinness are the broadcasters for the show.

Triple H comes out to start the show and asks if they are ready. The title is set up on a podium inside the ring.

Cole says “Greetings, grapple fans” as a nod to Kent Walton and welcomes in McGuinness.

Andy Shepherd is the ring announcer.

The first round matches have a 15 minute time limit.

TRENT SEVEN VS H.C. DYER

No surprise as the crowd is rabid as the bell ring and begins singing and chanting “Mustache Mountain” for Seven.

Seven misses a chop on the floor and chops the steel post.

Dyer is in control, hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count and misses with a frog splash from the top. Seven recovers and hits the seven-star lariat and pins Dyer.

Winner: Trent Seven at 5:27

Aside from a very hot crowd, this felt like a Cruiserweight match you would see on Raw with the same time allotment. Given there are four rounds, this will likely be structured like the CWC with the big matches in the final two rounds where they will get the lion’s share of the time and the opening round are designed as showcases.

DANNY BURCH VS JORDAN DEVLIN

The pre-match video featured Burch discussing his time in NXT while Devlin was trained by Finn Balor and did a pre-match interview with Charly Caruso and is tired of people always mentioning Balor when speaking about him.

Finn Balor is shown in the crowd with Joey Cabray of OTT Wrestling out of Ireland.

Devlin is the only Irish wrestler in the tournament.

Devlin worked a rear chin lock for a while and then dropped elbows from top position. Devlin cut off Burch with a rake of the eyes. Burch connected with a great looking lariat and showed tremendous fire.

Burch locked on a crossface and Devlin got his foot to the bottom rope.

The finish was all messed up with Devlin cutting open the back of Burch’s head, Devlin hits a spinning roundhouse kick and the referee counts three despite Burch getting his shoulder up. The finish was awkward as hell but kind of worked as Devlin is legitimate disliked by this crowd.

Burch wanted to shake hands after the match and Devlin superkicked him.

Winner: Jordan Devlin at 8:52

Charly Caruso interviews Devlin and he calls it a “hard fought victory”.

SAXON HUXLEY VS SAM GRADWELL

Both spent time being trained by Marty Jones and have that backstory.

Michael Cole described Huxley’s interest in philosophy and stated that “he believes society is a trap and an illusion”, alright then.

Huxley applies a double underhook into a back breaker. They crowd is singing the “Hey Bayley” song replacing with Bayley with “Jesus” in reference to Huxley.

Gradwell won with a flying head butt off the top.

Winner: Sam Gradwell at 6:03

Huxley got off very well to the audience and they were enamored with the guy all match long.

Dave Taylor is shown in the crowd.

ROY JOHNSON VS PETE DUNNE

Dunne yanks out Johnson’s leg on the edge of the apron and the stomps his hand on the steps and stomps the edge of his elbow on the floor.

Dunne hyperextends the arm of Johnson and twists Johnson’s fingers. All of Dunne’s focus is on the injured wrist and fingers.

Johnson fights back, he hits a shoulder tackle off the turnbuckle and hits a Samoan drop for a two-count. I don’t think there is a person in the arena that buys the thought of Johnson winning. Johnson leaps off the turnbuckle and into a forearm from Dunne.

Dunne hit the Bitter End, which is a pump handle into a flatliner and wins the match.

Dunne was tremendous in this match and the standout so far on the show.

Winner: Pete Dunne at 7:45

Dunne will face Sam Gradwell in the next round on Sunday.

Caruso interviews Tyson T-Bone, he emphasizes he is not a wrestler but a fighter and has travelled all over the world over the past decade.

Jon Briley and Jim Smallman of Progress Wrestling are show in the crowd with Cole and McGuinness putting over Progress.

TYSON T-BONE VS WOLFGANG

T-Bone doesn’t shake hands and suckers him with a head butt before the bell rings and this turns into a brawl.

The two trade uppercuts and T-Bone pokes him in the eye. Wolfgang hits Wasteland and follows with a moonsault off the second turnbuckle for a two-count. T-Bone comes back with a German suplex and superkicks Wolfgang.

Wolfgang blocks a superplex and hits a Swanton for the win.

Winner: Wolfgang at 6:15

Wolfgang will meet Trent Seven in the next round and he told Caruso the championship is coming to Scotland.

JAMES DRAKE VS JOSEPH CONNORS

Cole says Connors is his dark horse pick to win the tournament and thinks this match will steal the show.

Drake is from Blackpool.

Connors bounces Drake off the ropes and slams him to the mat before attacking the back with strikes.

Drake attacks with axe handles in the corner and then lands an enzuigiri.

Connors won with the DLD, the Don’t Look Down, which was a belly-to-belly into a flatliner.

Winner: Joseph Connors at 7:17


MARK ANDREWS VS DAN MOLONEY

Andrews rolled through and came down with a double foot stomp and running knees into the corner. Andrews rolls through on a Northern Lights suplex and gets a two-count with a standing moonsault.

Moloney is sent to the floor with a hurcanrana and Andrews hits a moonsault off the apron and connects on the floor.

Moloney slams Andrews down off his shoulders and hits a hard knee to the face and gets a t3wo-count.

Andrews hits the stun dog millionaire, goes to the top and hits a shooting star press for the win.

Winner: Mark Andrews at 6:43

Andrews looked great here and he and Dunne have been the big standouts on the show so far.

Mark Dallas and Duncan Gray of Insane Championship Wrestling are shown in the audience.

TYLER BATE VS TUCKER

Bate is only 19 years old.

The crowd is singing for Tyler Bate at the start of the match.

Bate lands a left hand out of nowhere and drops Tucker.

Tucker came off the ropes with a huracanrana and running forearm in the corner. Tucker hit a spinning downward spiral and Bate kicks out. Bate comes off the second turnbuckle with an uppercut as the audience cheers.

Tucker attempts a suicide dive and is caught with an uppercut in mid-air from Bate on the floor. Tucker leaps off the steps and lands a huracanrana as both are down on the floor.

Tucker went for a springboard crossbody and Bate had to rotate over and dead lift him up and finally did, he used an airplane spin on Tucker, teased tiring and then continued and slams Tucker down.

Tucker landed a crazy looking superkick, he brought Bate back to the ring and got a two-count. Tucker went to the top and landed on the knees of Bate with a Swanton. Bate hit a koppo kick off the ropes and then the Tyler Driver ’97 and wins the match. This was a very good match to close the show.

Winner: Tyler Bate at 10:37

After the final match, William Regal and Nigel McGuinness were at the entrance for a presentation. The crowd chanted for Regal and he shut it down. McGuinness brings out all of the remaining members of the tournament for stare downs with their opponent.

They were all set to go off the air with everyone on the stage and Dunne attacked Gradwell and Regal was furious as they went off the air. It was the lone “angle” on the show and therefore had so much more impact and was unexpected for this ceremonial nature of the closing segment.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

This was a super easy show to watch, great introduction to the major players with the key standouts being Pete Dunne, Mark Andrews and Tyler Bate.

The commentary of Michael Cole and Nigel McGuinness was very good with tons of research into the backgrounds and key maneuvers for all of the talent.

Below are the second round matches for Sunday:
*Tyler Bate vs. Jordan Devlin
*Trent Seven vs. Wolfgang
*Mark Andrews vs. Joseph Connors
*Pete Dunne vs. Sam Gradwell

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