Pete Dunne def. Sam Gradwell in a Quarterfinal Match
I really liked how the angle that everyone was talking about coming out of the First Round matches with Dunne blindsiding Gradwell at the end of the night was what kicked off the show here. The video package that preceded the match certainly set up Dunne as the biggest heel in the tournament, so the added bad blood to this bout added to my enjoyment of it. The commentators running down their history as roommates years ago was also a nice touch. The intensity was apparent, though the outcome was never in doubt. Nevertheless, the right man went over and this was an exciting way to open the evening.
Mark Andrews def. Joseph Conners in a Quarterfinal Match
This was a different match than what we saw from Andrews in the First Round, which was mostly just a showcase for him. Here, he and Conners played up the David vs. Goliath dynamic nicely and Conners benefited from being on offense throughout. It made Andrews' victory mean that much more and he deserved to advance. On a side note, I could see WWE hiring Conners for his weird look of only one ear alone.
Wolfgang def. Trent Seven in a Quarterfinal Match
Although Seven was clearly the more popular fan favorite between the two, this was a fun match simply from a crowd standpoint because they were interested in seeing either guy go over. That said, Wolfgang advancing to the semifinals was certainly a surprise. Another thing that made this match stand out was that they worked a unique style with both guys being heavyweights yet they incorporated a handful of aerial maneuvers which was cool.
Tyler Bate def. Jordan Devlin in a Quarterfinal Match
As I said in my review of Part 1, Devlin benefited huge from that injury angle with Danny Burch in the First Round. Whether that was the plan or not, who knows, but Bate was already a fan favorite, so the crowd engagement was there. The commentators providing background on both competitors helped tremendously in keeping me engaged and this was a really nice match on the whole.
Pete Dunne def. Mark Andrews in a Semifinal Match
This was hands down my favorite match of the tournament up to this point and it isn't even close. And that shouldn't be shocking because Dunne and Andrews were the only true "stars" of anyone in the entire tourney. Their ten minute match felt like it lasted a lot longer but I don't say that as a bad thing. Dunne being built up as a ruthless threat and Andrews being the ultimate underdog were two factors that meshed perfectly together, so this was exceptional.
Tyler Bate def. Wolfgang in a Semifinal Match
Dunne and Andrews had the better bout in my opinion, but this was still an enjoyable match with strong showings from Bate and Wolfgang. It was a bit shorter as well, but they made the most of the time they were allotted and the audience was engaged from start to finish with the fans red hot for Bate. The post-match angle with Dunne attacking Bate set the stage for the main event very well.
Neville def. Tommy End
The unadvertised appearance from Neville was awesome, and he was beloved by his hometown crowd. An even bigger surprise was End making his official televised debut. He was given a new name at the NXT live events, but I appreciated WWE allowing him to use his Tommy End name in his native England. They produced a very fun match with End showcasing his skills, though I didn't have an issue with Neville winning considering Neville will be challenging for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at the Royal Rumble.
Finn Balor Addressed the Audience
We haven't heard from Balor since the injury he suffered back in August, so having him make an appearance in front of the crowd was a treat. He didn't give an update as to when he might be back (I'm personally holding out hope for a Royal Rumble return), but he put over this tournament in a major way and made it feel like a historic happening. Fingers crossed we see him again on WWE TV soon!
Tyler Bate def. Pete Dunne to Become the Inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion
The unpredictability surrounding the outcome was outstanding because it very well could have gone either way. The nearfalls were suspenseful and instead of showing fatigue, the crowd was electric for everything they did. From the stellar storytelling to the amazing atmosphere, this was the main event this tourney needed. The crowd lost it for Bate becoming the inaugural champion, but I hope Dunne lands a contract with the company as well because he can be a hell of a heel.
I know fans were skeptical after the First Round matches didn't meet their lofty expectations, but this was a vast improvement. WWE deserves credit for getting me invested in several competitors despite having two days to do so, and they all made their mark in one way or another. The commentary was also excellent with Nigel McGuinness and Michael Cole doing a wonderful job of informing viewers of who these wrestlers were and calling the action. The first ever WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament gets two thumbs up from me and I urge those who have yet to see it to check it out.
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