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WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT REPORT (NIGHT 1)
JUNE 19, 2018
LONDON, ENGLAND AT ROYAL ALBERT HALL
REPORT BY DAVID GREEN (@dagreeno), PWTORCH CORRESPONDENT
This was a really fun show with some huge moments and nice surprises.
(A) Ligero defeat “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman in a dark match.
Boar is a personal favourite of mine and I was happy to see him debut for the WWE tonight after the rumours of him signing an extended try out deal. These guys meshed really well and had a match worry of the main show itself. Ligero hit the C4L DDT for the win.
(1) Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) defeated Undisputed Era (Roderick Strong & Kyle O’Reilly) to win the NXT Tag Team Titles.
You’ll no doubt have seen this result online already, but trust me when I tell you that you need to see this match. Awesome stuff in front of a loud crowd. Both teams had the match won at various points. After Strong accidentally clotheslined O’Reilly, Bate took Strong out of the ring and hit a huge plancha. Seven blind tagged and hit O’Reilly with the Seven Star Lariat. Bate then went up top and they hit a combination knee drop/Burning Hammer to win the titles to a HUGE pop. No one in the building thought we were getting a title change, but it happened. Moustache Mountain celebrated with the crowd for a good 5-10 minutes.
On a side note, it’s always interesting to me to see the offscreen direction going on. Here, referee Drake Wuertz was off camera instructing Trent and Tyler to go into the crowd and celebrate, then instructing them to do their signature pose. I don’t often attend tapings, so it’s an area of interest to me.
(2) Charlie Morgan defeated Killer Kelly.
Both got a nice reaction in their introductions, with Morgan getting a nice pop for her WWE debut (like Hitchman, she too was rumoured to have signed an extended tryout). This was a fine encounter, with Kelly dominating until Morgan caught her with an inside cradle for the win.
We then got another face appear at ringside watching the show and it was only Christian! He got a tremendous reaction, including a “one more match” chant.
The next match was announced as a Triple Threat Match for the number one contendership to the UK title. Mark Andrews, Travis Banks and Flash Morgan Webster were all announced, but before the bell could ring, GM Johnny Saint made his way out. He made the match a Fatal Four Way (or as he put it, a “Four Way Fatal”. Poor Johnny, he didn’t have many of those match types in his day). Familiar music played and out came Noam Dar, making his return from injury to a huge ovation. You could tell he’s been putting in the work during his absence, as he looked ripped!
(3) Noam Dar defeated Mark Andrews, Travis Banks, and Flash Morgan Webster to become No. 1 Contender to the UK Title.
This was an all action encounter. Banks set up for something against Andrews, but Dar grabbed his injured arm and yanked it across the top rope before hitting his running enzeguri to get the win
After the match, yesterday’s sore loser Joe Coffey made his way out with his brother Mark. They decimated Banks, Andrews and Webster. They posed to boos, while Dar was nowhere to be seen.
(4) Adam Cole defeated Wolfgang to retain the NXT North American Championship.
The crowd were fully on the side of Cole in this one, so much so that the combatants switched roles, with Cole being the face. The match was fairly decent, but the crowd’s devotion to Cole made this a fun experience. Cole hit a kneeing brainbuster, followed by the Shining Wizard to get the pin.
(5) Aleister Black & Ricochet defeated EC3 & The Velveteen Dream.
This was a tremendous match, with all four men receiving huge ovations for their entrances. Black & Dream renewed their rivalry through the match, with Dream nearly scoring the win with his DDT. After planting Ricochet with the cartwheel dvd, Dream went for the Purple Rainmaker, but was accidentally stopped by his partner, as EC3 grabbed the ropes to pull himself up to the apron, so Dream fell off the top rope onto his feet where he seemed to be injured. They carried the match on for a long while, despite Dream constantly selling something wrong with his leg. He did this so well, I thought it was legit. EC3 needed a tag some time later, but Dream left ringside making out that his injury was too much. At the behest of the crowd telling him to turn around, EC3 turned straight into Black Mass for the win.
Post match, Ricochet made it known that he was interested in taking the NXT Title from Black.
(6) Shayna Baszler defeated Toni Storm to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.
A fine match, though I couldn’t get into it for some reason. Baszler stomped on Toni’s ankle at various points, bending it in all kinds of angles. Storm would not be defeated, hitting her Strong Zero neck breaker, but she used her bad leg to execute the move, costing Storm time on the pin. Baszler kicked out and locked in her rear naked choke finisher. Storm managed to make the ropes, and then fell to the floor, where Baszler followed her and choked her out on the outside. After letting Storm go, she re-entered the ring to win and retain by count out. Storm was again choked out after the match had finished. She received a standing ovation for her efforts and must surely be on the short list for the first NXT UK Women’s champion.
(7) Pete Dunne defeated Zack Gibson to retain the WWE UK Championship.
This was a great main event, with no definite winner to predict. Gibson controlled the flow of much of the match and kept finding new ways of keeping the champion down. Dunne fought out of the Shankly Gates and refused to be pinned, even after a middle rope Helter Skelter, while Gibson showed great strength by surviving a Bitter End. Eventually though, a second Bitter End was enough for Dunne to retain.
After the match, Triple H led the entire UK Division out to the stage with a declaration of intent for the future of NXT UK. Most faces in the group were familiar, alongside a couple of surprises including Nina Samuels and Eddie Dennis, who were also rumours but not confirmed to have signed until now. The roster took a curtain call to end the show.
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a great show with a tremendous atmosphere. Of the two shows, tonight’s was probably the best from a variety standpoint, and had great moments and surprises.