SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
WWE UNITED KINGDOM CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT 2018
AIRED VIA THE WWE YOUTUBE CHANNEL 6/13-6/19
REPORT BY URSIN DEROCHE (@UrsinDeRoche), PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuiness, Percy Watson, Vic Joseph
(1) Jack Gallagher vs. Drew Gulak.
They tied up and fought to the ropes twice but broke clean each time. Gulak grounded things with a headlock but Gallagher countered into a head scissors. Gulak impressively escaped the head scissors and countered into a submission. Gallagher escaped and applied an ankle lock. Gulak escaped and they were at a standoff to the applause of the crowd. Gallagher took Gulak down and applied a knee bar. Gulak tried to escape but Gallagher applied a spinning toe hold. Gulak fought his way out and applied a Dragon Sleeper but Gallagher quickly made the ropes. Gulak grounded Gallagher and applied a Cloverleaf but Gallagher was able to roll to the ropes. They traded strikes and Gulak made a rolling pin attempt that received a two count. Gulak laid in some hard chops but Gallagher fought back with a headbutt to advance via pinfall.
WINNER: Jack Gallagher at 7:12
(2) Flash Morgan Webster vs. James Drake
They tied up and fought to the ropes and then a clean break. Drake began to work the arm of Webster. Webster reversed into a side wrist lock before Drake took him down with a forearm. Webster hits a spinning Japanese style arm drag and then another from the second rope. Standing senton from Webster received a two count. Webster looked for a guillotine choke but Drake made the ropes. Drake didn’t give a clean break and took down Webster with a forearm. Drake hit another forearm shot and grounded things with a reverse chinlock. Webster tried to fire back with strikes but was taken down again with another forearm that received a two count for Drake. Drake went back to the reverse chinlock. Webster fought out and rolled Drake up for a two count. Webster hit a kick and then a flipping dive from the second rope. Webster hit a knee and Drake rolled to the floor. Webster hit a Tope Con Giro and then a high cross but Drake rolled through and got a two count. Drake went to the top rope but Webster hit a Frankensteiner for a two count. Drake hit a facebuster for two. Drake hit a dropkick in the corner and then attempted a 450 but landed on his feet and was caught in Webster’s finisher The Eton Rifle (Asai DDT) to advance via pinfall.
WINNER: Flash Morgan Webster at 8:38
(3) Ashton Smith vs. Joseph Conners
They fought into the ropes to a clean break before Conners started to work a headlock. Smith fought out and hit a dropkick that received a one count. Smith hit a spinning heel kick and then up and over in the corner and hit a backdrop on Conners before dumping him to the outside. Smith tried for a dive but Conners tripped him with the ring apron skirt and began to pound him on the outside. Conners slowed things down by ramming Smith’s head into the turnbuckle and stomping on Smith. Conners tried to pin but only got a one count. Lariat by Conners received a two count. Smith fought out of a chinlock and hit a sunset flip for a two count. Conners hit a backbreaker for two. Conners pounded on Smith in the corner and then hit a floatover suplex for two. Smith fought his way out of another chinlock but Conners tripped him and dropped a a couple elbows for a two count. Conners began stretching Smith across the ring post before dropkicking Smith in the back. Conners dropkicked Smith to the floor. Conners threw Smith back in the ring and went for a pin but only got a two count. Conners stomped on the chest and pulled at the ear of Smith. Smith tried to fire up but was caught in an abdominal stretch by Conners. Smith escaped the ab stretch but took body shots from Conners. Smith fired up with a clotheslines, a chop, and a neckbreaker on the knee. Smith hit a knee strike in the corner and then a leg lariat from the second rope for a two count. Smith fought out of a razor’s edge attempt and hit Conners with a ripcord DDT to advance via pinfall.
WINNER: Ashton Smith at 9:45
(4) Dave Mastiff vs. Kenny Williams
Does Kenny Williams know that Kushida has been working the Back To The Future/Marty McFly gimmick for years? Mastiff outweighs Williams by a lot. Williams tried to use his speed to his advantage. Mastiff tried to sit on Williams but Williams escaped and hit a PK for a one count. Williams tried a cross-body but bounced off Mastiff who hit a senton for two. Mastiff grounded Williams and laid in a series of elbow strikes for a two count. Mastiff stretched out Williams and hit more elbow strikes for another two count. Mastiff hit a dropkick and then tossed Williams hard into the corner. Williams tried to fight back with a chinbreaker before a springboard off the inside second rope. Mastiff caught Williams in mid-air with a forearm to the back. Williams got Mastiff on the outside and hit a Tope Suicida. Williams hit a back elbow from the top rope for a two count. Mastiff hit a shotgun dropkick and then a canonball in the corner for the win via pinfall.
WINNER: Dave Mastiff at 6:33
(5) Ligero vs. Travis Banks
They worked a lockup before Banks threw a headlock and then worked a wristlock. Ligero reversed into a headlock. Banks hit a superkick for a two count. Banks chopped Ligero before Ligero hit a headscissors takedown. Ligero kicked Banks in the knee after a series of reverses and counters. Ligero hit a suplex for a two count. A standing moonsault by Ligero received a two count. Banks hit a knee strike and then a cannonball in the corner for a two count. Ligero dumped Banks to the floor and hit a Tope Con Giro. They traded a series of quick near falls before Banks hit Slice of Heaven second rope springboard enzuigiri) for a two count and then The Kiwi Crusher (Fisherman Driver) for the win via pinfall.
WINNER: Travis Banks at 5:12
(6) Amir Jordan vs. Zack Gibson
They locked up and worked to the ropes. Gibson applied a wristlock and grounded Jordan but Jordan made the ropes. Gibson got a one count with a backslide. Jordan performed a headscissors takedown. They worked some fast moving rope running before Jordan hit a cross body. A hip toss by Jordan received a one count. Gibson hit a Ki-Lock Driver and then a basement dropkick. Gibson hit a lariat and then started to stomp on Jordan. Gibson applied a wristlock and then stomped on the elbow of Jordan. A European uppercut by Gibson received a two count. Gibson applied a knuckle lock. Jordan tried to fight back but Gibson took him down with a suplex. Gibson hit another suplex for two. Jordan fought back with a desperation chinbreaker. Jordan got Gibson in the corner and started to lay into him with strikes. Jordan hit a dropkick that dumped Gibson to the outside. Jordan hit a Tope Suicida on Gibson and rolled him back into the ring. Jordan hit a high cross from the top rope for two. Jordan hit a flatliner for two. Gibson hit a gutbuster for two. They traded blows in the center of the ring before Jordan hit an enzuigiri that took Gibson down to both knees. Jordan tried for a tornado DDT but was caught in a spinning brainbuster. Gibson applied Shankly Gates (Grounded Wristlock) for the submission victory.
WINNER: Zack Gibson at 10:08
(7) Tucker vs. Joe Coffey
Coffey applied a wristlock that was reversed by Tucker. Coffey reversed the wristlock and grounded Tucker. Coffey nailed Tucker with a shoulder tackle. Coffey definitely had the size advantage. Tucker hit a back elbow that sent Coffey down to the mat and only got a one count. Coffey hit a pump kick then a double underhook swing into a double underhook suplex for two. Coffey put Tucker in the corner and laid into him with closed fists. Coffey used his strength to send Tucker hard into the opposite corner. Coffey applied a straightjacket. Tucker tried to counter it but Coffey was able to keep the hold applied. Coffey took Tucker down with a shoulder tackle. Tucker fought back with kicks and chops but Coffey grounded Tucker and delivered a knee to the back for a one count. Tucker hit a hurricanrana and then a flatliner for a one count. Tucker went for a swanton bomb but Coffey was able to get his knees up. Coffey hit a shotgun dropkick that drove Tucker into the corner. Tucker was up but Coffey hit a discus lariat for the pin to advance.
WINNER: Joe Coffey at 7:04
(8) Tyson T-Bone vs. Jordan Devlin
Devlin goes on offense first with chops against the much larger T-Bone. Devlin hit an enzuigiri and a double knee strike for a one count. T-Bone rolled out of the ring to regroup. Devlin tried for a dive but T-Bone slid back into the ring and hit a clothesline. T-Bone hit a backbreaker for a one count. T-Bone laid in some strikes to Devlin in the corner and made a pin attempt that got a two count. Devlin tried to fire up but was cut off and hit with an elbow drop for a two count. Devlin ate some strikes from T-Bone but fired up and delivered a kick to T-Bone’s knee. Devlin hit a slingshot cutter for two. Devlin sent T-Bone into the corner and T-Bone’s shoulder hit the post. Devlin then hit an enzuigiri for the pin to advance.
WINNER: Jordan Devlin at 6:31
Overall Opinion and Analysis: I thought it was a great idea by WWE to release Round 1 of the tournament for free via their YouTube channel. Good for marketing and good for the fans. However, most of these matches suffered from being too short. Also, there were a lot of slips, falls, and botches with guys just not on the same page. We’ll chalk that up to being outside (seven of the eight matches were taped outdoors at The Download Festival) or simply nerves. Gallagher and Gibson came out of this looking the best in their matches. I expect the final rounds next week on the WWE Network to be much better than Round 1. For the discerning work rate fan, you may want to pass on this and wait for the Royal Albert Hall shows next week. But for the fan interested in getting familiar with this talent and looking forward to NXT UK, this is a good place to start.
Be on the lookout for another report next week on the final rounds from Royal Albert Hall as well as audio coverage of the entire tournament from start to finish. You can follow me on Twitter @UrsinDeRoche
NOW CHECK OUT UK TOURNAMENT SPOILERS HERE: 6/18 WWE UK Championship Tournament (Night 1): Match stopped due to injury after dive, new NXT UK G.M. revealed, plus Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Aleister Black, Ricochet