Although NXT UK didn't officially launch as a full-fledged brand and begin airing on the WWE Network weekly until October 2018, the United Kingdom competitors had been making the rounds in WWE for a lot longer than that. They popped up on Raw and 205 Live on occasion, but most notably, they had a home in NXT (and still do to this day).
Of course, it was the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament in January 2017 that started it all. One bout during the tourney I remember being particularly impressed by was Pete Dunne vs. Mark Andrews, which took place in the semifinals. Although Dunne went over decisively and advanced to the next round, I was hoping for an eventual rematch, and luckily, it wasn't long before they did battle again on the Feb. 22 episode of NXT. That match was won by Dunne as well.
Soon after, Dunne captured the U.K. title from Tyler Bate and kicked off a record-setting reign as champion. As of this writing, he has yet to be beaten, thus making the outcome of his clash with Andrews in June 2017 (I believe from the annual Download festival in England) fairly obvious. Despite the predictable result, this match proved to be every bit as entertaining as their previous encounters, with Dunne dominating early on and Andrews battling back in the second half.
Dunne came across like a star as soon as he made his entrance, but despite Dunne being a fan favorite, Andrews had the crowd solidly behind him throughout this bout. It wasn't an overly lengthy outing by any means, but they did manage to make the most of the time they had and produce a fun matchup. As noted, their chemistry together is terrific, so the counters being so seamless was hardly a surprise.
As expected, Dunne successfully retained his title, but only after an admirable performance from Andrews. I'm not sure if they have squared off one-on-one in a televised setting since then, but whenever they do meet again, it's bound to be a blast. I still find Andrews to be fairly underrated, but at least he always shines when given the opportunity to like he did here. The filming of this matchup was also unique and different than most live events, so it's worth checking out for that alone.
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