WWE United Kingdom Tournament Review

Last year's tournament was a highlight of the wrestling calendar so I have hopes that this will be able to live up to those standards.

Night 1

1/4 Final Match - Zack Gibson vs Jack Gallagher

To those that have been following the UK scene, Gibson is one of the very best heels in wrestling at the moment. These two have wrestled each other numerous times and have developed a great chemistry so this looked like it would be a good way to kick off the tournament, and that is exactly how it transpired. A really good back and forth match that got the crowd immediately invested in what was to come. It was great to see Gibson advance. ***3/4

1/4 Final Match - Dave Mastiff vs Joe Coffey

This was two big boys throwing bombs at each other and showed a different side to the UK scene than has been seen from WWE's UK efforts. It wasn't as good as the first match but it did its job well enough. Coffey progressed with a lariat. ***

1/4 Final Match - Jordan Devlin vs Flash Morgan Webster

Two more good wrestlers on show here and they put on a very good match. Both men have had interesting years and they couldn't really go wrong with either man winning. Webster picked up the win with the Eton Rifle but Devlin was impressive once again. ***1/2

1/4 Final Match - Travis Banks vs Ashton Smith

This match suffered a little bit as I never had any doubt that Banks was winning. Primarily because I don't know a great deal about Smith, and Banks is great. Banks did inevitably win with the Kiwi Krusher. **1/2

NXT Women's Title #1 Contenders Match - Toni Storm vs Killer Kelly vs Isla Dawn

Storm's music is roughly 100 times worse than her PROGRESS music. Going in I knew very little about Dawn and she is definitely the one of the three that needs the most work to be TV ready. Having said that, this was a fun match that did a great job of establishing Storm for her title match with Baszler. ***

Semi-Final Match - Zack Gibson vs Flash Morgan Webster

A really good match that did a great job of putting across how dangerous Gibson, and the Shankly Gates, are. Both men managed to look good and they both did a good job of getting their personalities across. Good stuff. ***1/2

Semi-Final Match - Travis Banks vs Joe Coffey

More great storytelling was on offer here. Coffey beat the piss out of Banks but Banks was able to pick up the flash pinfall with a roll-up. After the match, Coffey continued his attack on Banks, sending him into the ring post and hitting the lariat. This nicely sets up Banks as the underdog babyface in the final, having to face the Shankly Gates. ***1/2

British Strong Style vs Undisputed Era

This was superb. I never really had any doubt that it would be but it's always nice to see it come to fruition. Everybody came out of this looking a million bucks. The crowd was magnificent throughout too, pushing this even higher. They built on the brilliant Dunne vs O'Reilly match from NXT TV and set up the tag title match for the next night. Oh yeah, there was also a ton of superb wrestling and some nifty tag moves. Go out of your way to watch this. ****1/2

Final, UK Title #1 Contenders Match - Zack Gibson vs Travis Banks

This was a great way to end the first night of action, with both men putting it all out there. Banks played his role brilliantly, never giving up fighting through injury, but it was Gibson who picked up the win with the Shankly Gates. Both men established themselves as forces in the new NXT UK brand going forward. A great match to end a great night of action. ****1/4

Night 2

NXT Tag Titles - Undisputed Era vs Moustache Mountain

Well, this was a delightful way to kick off the second night. These two teams seem to work effortlessly against each other and they produced an excellent match here. The crowd was fully invested and it produced a great moment when the boys from the Black Country picked up the win to become the new NXT tag champs. I would love a more in-depth feud between Undisputed Era and British Strong Style. ****1/4

Charlie Morgan vs Killer Kelly

This match never really got going for me. It didn't go nearly as smoothly as I think they would have hoped. Morgan picked up the win with a roll up. *1/2

UK Title #1 Contenders Match - Mark Andrews vs Travis Banks vs Flash Morgan Webster vs Noam Dar

Dar was announced as a late addition to this match by GM Johnny Saint. This was his return after 6 months out and he looks in great nick. This was a fun sprint that saw Dar pick up the win on his return. Following the match, Joe and Mark Coffey hit the ring and cleaned house, paying particular attention to Travis Banks. ***1/2

NXT North American Title - Adam Cole vs Wolfgang

This match was pretty good but it suffered from the same thing that Banks vs Smith did on night 1, I never for one second thought that Wolfgang stood the slightest chance of winning. And he didn't. ***

Aleister Black & Ricochet vs Velveteen Dream & EC3

This was a fun tag match that ended in the somewhat expected way of Dream walking out on EC3, leaving him to get his head kicked off. Dream is the new Bad News Brown. This was very good for what it was. ***1/2

NXT Women's Title - Shayna Baszler vs Toni Storm

This was a very good title match that had good structure and somewhat protected Storm in the finish. Baszler looked dominating and Storm looked valiant. Good stuff from both women. ***1/2

UK Title - Pete Dunne vs Zack Gibson

An excellent main event and another example of how Pete Dunne has the highest hit rate of anyone on the WWE roster. This is due to only being featured in meaningful matches but it is still impressive. This was an engrossing back and forth match that did an excellent job of pushing Gibson as a potential champion and establishing Dunne as the very top of the mountain. The crowd was fully invested throughout and 'Shoes off if you hate Gibson' is an all-time chant. Gibson worked his way to utilizing the Shankly Gates but Dunne was just too good and retained his title. ****1/2

Overall Grade - B+

A great follow up to last year's shows that feature a number of great matches, containing a ton of British Strong Style. I look forward to what the NXT UK brand will bring in the future.