By Haydn Gleed, Prowrestling.net Staffer (@haydngleed)
WWE UK Tournament Hits
Roderick Strong and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven for the NXT Tag Titles: A great match and a great moment for the duo known as Moustache Mountain and the live crowd. And, boy, did they milk it (justifiably). The action in the ring was great, and as someone who didn’t know the spoilers going into the show I bought into the near falls, as I fully expected The Undisputed Era to retain. This was a great way to kick off the second night of the specials.
Pete Dunne vs. Zack Gibson for the WWE UK Championship: Lets get the negative out of the way. WWE didn’t do a great job of encapsulating the reasons why the crowd hated Gibson so much, however I will give them a pass. With the NXT UK brand TV show coming up that might be a better place to fully flesh out his personality, but that’s something to talk about in the future. This match was a great way to not only demonstrate Gibson’s outstanding ability in the ring but also continue to make Dunne look like the deserving champion that he is going into the NXT UK television series. There were plenty of impressive spots in the match, but it wasn’t just a crash and burn style, as theh match it had a lot of psychology and great selling of the arm throughout by Dunne, which made his escapes from Gibsons submission finisher seem all the more impressive. On a quick side note, huge props to the fans in the building for their “shoes off if you hate Gibson” chant which is a staple of many soccer matches I’ve attended.
Shayna Baszler vs. Toni Storm for the NXT Women’s Championship: Another thoroughly enjoyable championship match that made both wrestlers look stronger coming out then going in. I know there’s some grumbling online about the finish of the match, but I thought it really put over both women. Baszler couldn’t put the gutsy and determined Toni Storm away in the ring so the only thing she could do to retain was leave Storm lying outside the ring. It made Shayna look smart while at the same time made Storm look strong in defeat in that she had so much heart she wouldn’t give up. I would love a full on feud between these two down the line.
Flash Morgan Webster vs. Mark Andrews vs. Travis Banks vs. Noam Dar in a four-way to become No. 1 contender to the WWE UK Championship: One thing I enjoyed about night two of the special was the fact that no matter what type of wrestling you enjoy, it was catered to one way or another during the night. This match was the crash and burn style match with impressive spots and fast paced action but perhaps a little low on psychology and selling. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this with three of my personal favorites in the match and a surprise return by Noam Dar, which the crowd popped big for. Judging by the fact that Dar was standing on the stage at the end of the show, it implies to me that he may be coming back permanently for the NXT UK brand and I think that’s a smart move, as I don’t think he’s been utilized to his full potential on 205 Live. The post match attack by the Coffey brothers continues the story they told the night before with Banks and presumably Mark Andrews (and possibly Flash Morgan Webster) having a ready made feud for the start of the TV series.
Aleister Black and Ricochet vs. Velveteen Dream and EC3: A minor Hit. I seemed to have enjoyed this a lot less then my peers. I felt there was a lot of miscommunication in the ring between the wrestlers and I don’t think the story they were trying to tell with EC3 and Velveteen Dream really made a lot of sense. Half way through the match EC3 seemingly knocked Dream off balance when he was on the top rope, and there was no reaction to it, but yet six minutes later Dream then decided to walk out. I can’t deny that the crowd were electric for the three huge American NXT stars and the former darling of the UK scene Aleister Black, and that created an atmosphere for a mostly decent tag match.
WWE UK Tournament Misses
Adam Cole vs. Wolfgang for the NXT North American Championship: The match itself was OK, but didn’t really feel that it ever got out of second gear in comparison to the other very strong matches on the card. The Miss is mostly for Cole’s continued use of “Adam Cole Bay Bay”, which is something I’ve been carping about every since he started doing it as part of The Kingdom in ROH. It’s great that people enjoy his work so much that they want to chant along with him, but The Undisputed Era are supposed to be heels. Even earlier on this show, Rodrick Strong and Kyle O Reilly worked as great heels against Moustache Mountain, which helped the strong reaction that the finish of the match received. Their leader on the other hand was encouraging the fans to chant along with him in babyface style. Not only that, but when asked to do it “one more time” he obliged and even got the crowd worked up in anticipation for it. It simply doesn’t make any sense to me.
Killer Kelly vs. Charlie Morgan: A minor Miss. I’ve seen Charlie’s work over the last twelve months and she has certainly has a lot of potential and has continually shown improvement in every match I’ve seen her in. This match was hurt by the fact that outside of people who follow the UK Indie scene closely, nobody really knew who these two wrestlers are. As a result, the crowd was somewhat flat and with the work in the ring being solid but not spectacular, it was a missable match.
Agree or disagree? By all means let me know either through Twitter @haydngleed or via email email@example.com
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Richard Holliday discussing The Dynasty faction in MLW, MJF's departure, the addition of Gino Medina, training under Paul Roma, and much more. Check out MLW Fusion Saturdays on beIN Sports and on the MLW YouTube Page...