UK Championship Tournament Review, 6/26

NXT TAG TEAM MATCH: MUSTACHE MOUNTAIN VS. THE UNDISPUTED ERA (c)

So I saw a headline that said “SPOILER ALERT: CHAMPIONSHIP CHANGES HANDS IN LONDON”. Maybe don’t put that in the fucking headline, because that’s a god damn spoiler, and I don’t read spoilers. I didn’t read the article so I don’t know which championship it is, but I feel like it’s going to be this one. And if it is, I didn’t see it say MULTIPLE championships change hands, so that spoils the other championship matches for me. And if we get to the final match and no championships have changed hands, guess what? SPOILED! Douche bags. Roddy and Kyle O’Reilly go for Undisputed Era, as usual. Thankfully O’Reilly’s parents signed the permission slip for him to come on this trip. It’s weird that O’Reilly is a heel, because he is the definition of baby face. HEYOOOOOOOO!

I really dig Mustache Mountain’s tag team moves, and they are incredibly over with the London crowd. They should hold a psychological edge of the champs are defeating them in six-man action yesterday. Surprisingly, the crowd actually seems split on their allegiance here, as we get dueling “Mustache Mountain” and “Undisputed” chants. They’re setting up Tyler Bate for a huge hot tag as the crowd gets on its feet in anticipation, but that damn punk kid O’Reilly expertly ruins the moment. Trent Seven hits a DDT in the middle of the ring and we finally get the hot tag as Bate explodes all over Strong. Bate counters O’Reilly’s sleeper hold by picking up Roddy for a German suplex with O’Reilly locked in on his back, slams them both. Incredible strength. O’Reilly nails Strong by accident and Mustache Mountain hits O’Reilly with their dragon suplex/springboard clothesline finisher, but at the absolute last possible moment Roddy is able to knock Seven into Bate to break up the pin. Awesome moment, huge pop, really thought it was gonna be over there.

It certainly feels like the match is about to hit its climax. We get another miscommunication by the Undisputed Era, O’Reilly is down on the outside, Bate takes out Roddy on the outside, Seven Stars Lariat, Bate hits a kneefrom the top rope with Seven holding O’Reilly up in a torture rack, 1.. 2… 3! NEW CHAMPS!

Awesome moment in front of the British crowd, tons of drama and false finishes in this match, incredible action. It could not have been better.

Match Rating: Ten Gold Medals

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Johnny Saint announces a triple threat match to determine the number one contender for the UK Championship. The match is Flash Morgan Webster vs. Travis Banks vs. Mark Andrews, and it’s TONIGHT! I LOVE Mark Andrews. I’m pumped for that match.

 

KILLER KELLY VS. CHARLIE MORGAN

I only know Killer Kelly from the terrible triple threat match yesterday, and I don’t know anything about Charlie Morgan. Mauro calls her one of the best women wrestler’s on the planet, and I can tell the crowd definitely knows who she is, so I feel like this will mostly be a squash to showcase Morgan to fans like myself. Wrist locks arm bars early on and the crowd shows appreciation for the technical proficiency of both women. As they start to run the ropes and go for more timing moves, it’s pretty obvious that these women don’t have their timing down with each other and the match feels a bit off. Kelly stands in the middle of the ring and just continues to kick a prone Morgan until she locks in a dragon sleeper. God that move looks painful. Morgan is able to break the grip and gets more kicks from Kelly, including a bicycle kick that sends her out of the ring. Kelly is definitely a kick specialist, which you know I love. The crowd is pretty reserve for a lackluster match thus far.

Morgan hits a superkick followed by a rolling springboard Senton that was pretty exciting but barely got a reaction. Kelly hits a German suplex to retake control of the match, then a dropkick in the corner for a two count. Morgan does a couple weird reversals into roll-up pin attempts, and is successful on the second one. Aside from the dragon suplex, the senton, and the German suplex, this match was really basic and boring.

Match Rating: One Gold Medals

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UK CHAMPIONSHIP NUMBER ONE CONTENDER TRIPLE THREAT MATCH: MARK ANDREWS VS. FLASH MORGAN WEBSTER VS. TRAVIS BANKS

Johnny Saint comes out to announce this match is now a Fatal Four Way and NOAM DAR RETURNS! THE SCOTTISH SUPER NOVA! I really dig this guy.

 

UK CHAMPIONSHIP NUMBER ONE CONTENDER FATAL FOUR WAY MATCH: MARK ANDREWS VS. FLASH MORGAN WEBSTER VS. TRAVIS BANKS VS. NOAM DAR

Well at least in this match, there’s at least three guys in the ring at all time, even if one of them is laying under the ropes. At least he’s there. Andrews hits an awesome springboard-sault to the outside taking out everyone. He hits a Sliced Bread on Banks while Banks hits a DDT on Webster. If this match turns into a bunch of spots I’m totally cool with that. If Dar wins this, or even if he doesn’t, I wonder if he’ll move to the NXT UK brand instead of returning to 205 Live. I think that would probably be the best move. Webster htis a Frankensteiner on Andrews but Andrews LANDS ON HIS FEET then his a reverse-rana. He’s incredible and shines in matches like this.

Unfortunately after I praised the logic earlier, they’re keeping just two men at a time in the ring now with the two on the outside just laying there. Andrews ends up in Noam Dar’s knee bar and Banks’ crossface or arm bar or something, but Webster grabs Andrews’ arm to keep him from tapping. Andrews reverses Banks’ Kiwi Crusher (Michinoku driver) finisher into his own Stun Dog Millionaire (stunner) but misses a huge high diving Shooting Star Press that could have won him the match. Noam Dar takes advantage of Banks’ injured shoulder and takes him out with a high jumping kick to win the match. The finish seemed anti-climactic.

After the bell, Joe and Mark Coffey come down and beat the hell out of Travis Banks, likely setting up a feud for NXT UK, as Dar thinks better of helping Banks out. The match was pretty good with some awesome spots but ultimately did not meet my expectations. Not enough four-man action and a bad finish.

Match Rating: Four Gold Medals

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NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: WOLFGANG VS. ADAM COLE (c)

Mauro says just like Warren G and Nate Dogg back in the day, Wolfgang is here to regulate. Been saving that one, have you? Mauro is pretty good but god damn, I really think most of the time he’s trying to get himself as much as the talent. I don’t get Adam Cole’s “cool heel” persona. As is my issue with guys like Miz and Samoa Joe, he does way too much to get cheered. I would imagine it’s an indie/ROH thing, I guess it works there. I’m really confused as to why Wolfgang is the one getting booed. Maybe he’s a big heel in Britain? He did wrestle heel when I saw him at last year’s TakeOver Brooklyn. He gets some crowd backing here but this is definitely a pro-Cole crowd. Whether it was the original plan or not, Cole and Wolfgang are playing into the crowd’s perception, which, if that’s a change they made on the fly, is pretty awesome and impressive. Early on in the match it seemed Cole was wrestling heel but Wolfgang has definitely taken on that role, so I would believe it if they said they made the change on the fly.

Wolfgang is such a big thick brawler and uses his strength advantage to keep wearing Cole down with strikes and high-impact moves. He wastes a lot of time taunting the crowd and it’s gonna cost him. He goes for a double axe handle of the top rope and instead eats a super kick. Cole takes full advantage with a flurry of strikes and an impactful back breaker that definitely slows Wolfgang. Now it’s Cole hitting the high-impact moves, which is smart by Cole if he knows he’s got the strength to get the bigger man up. Wolfgang gets a reversal on a suplex attempt but misses a moonsault. Not the smartest time for Wolfgang to attempt that move with Cole mostly rejuvenated, as he easily rolled out of the way.

Wolfgang his a nasty lariat then goes to the top rope again. Apparently he didn’t learn from the first two times, and his senton bomb attempt gets him two knees to the back, followed by a running knee to the back of the head as Adam Cole gets the pin. Color me impressed with this match. Not an instant classic but very well done, and I’m pretty sure they did adjust to the crowd which made the match even better because it gelled with the crowd.

Match Rating: Eight Gold Medals

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VELVETEEN DREAM & EC3 VS. RICOCHET & ALEISTER BLACK

Mauro can’t wait to get his rap references out. Just stop dude. All four of these guys get cheered, even the heels, so I wonder what the dynamic is gonna be like. Nigel points out that Dream & EC3 could both want to pin Black to put themselves in NXT title contention, so there’s a storyline to watch for in this match, it could ultimately cost them the match if they focus too much on that. The match starts with a “VELVETEEN” chant from the crowd. Dream rips off his shirt to reveal a shredded Aleister Black shirt. At such a young age he’s already a master of psychology, he really gets the business. He throws the shirt at Black and tags in EC3. Nobody has touched anyone yet even though we’ve had two tags. The crowd appreciates the psychology with a THIS IS AWESOME chant before a single move is done.

Black does his cross-legged thing in the middle of the ring. I love when he does that and the opponent tries a kick, because Black always counters it. Ricochet rolls all over EC3 and plays to the crowd, who eats it up. Both he and black sit in the middle of the ring and wait for their opponents to get back in the ring. The crowd is way into this match. EC3 distracts the ref while Dream plants him face first on the apron. The heels take over, which was expected after the early domination and theatrics by Ricochet and Black.

Dream goes to the top rope and the entire crowd comes to its feet, but he steps down to troll them. Excellent. Dream doesn’t want cheers. He grabs a chair and distracts the ref so that he doesn’t see Ricochet’s tag to Black. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dream this good with his heel psychology. He has done a terrific job to make sure he and EC3 are the true heels in this match and it sets up a big hot tag to Aleister Black, who takes down both guys with a springboard moonsault off the middle rope. Dream retakes control with a beautiful spinebuster and heads to the top rope, but EC3 knocked him off balance climbing back up onto the apron. Interesting.

Black runs into a devastating clothesline by EC3, and it looks like Ricochet will get the next hot tag. Even though Black is the popular face champion I think Ricochet will get a better reaction on his hot tag. But instead of the hot tag, we get all four men kicking each other’s heads off in the middle of the ring. After Ricochet hits an awesome dive to the outside. Dream hits a beautiful spinning DDT on Black for a near fall, and the match is obviously nearing its climax. Dream hits his rolling DVD on Ricochet and tags in EC3, who whiffs on his finisher and eats a standing Shooting Star Press by Ricochet. Ricochet misses something that looked like a Phoenix Splash and both men are down. Dream supposedly injured his leg and walks out as EC3 tries to tag him. EC3 walks into a Black Mass and Black gets the win for his team. Terrific match. I can’t express just how great Dream was in establishing the heel/face dynamic. I really hope WWE hangs on to him for a long, long time.

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: TONI STORM VS. SHAYNA BASZLER (c)

No way Storm wins. Massive heat for the champion. Feeling out process with a lot of mat wrestling early on. Some of the crowd tries to start a Shayna Baszler chant but it gets eaten up by a Toni Storm chant. Boring match early on, looks more like a high school wrestling match. Storm lands a kick then hits a suicide dive to step up the action and she knocks Shayna around a bit on the outside. It looks like she might have busted up Shayna’s nose a bit. After a missed kick by Storm, Shayna takes control and works on Storm’s legs.

Slow action and mat stuff but it’s much better now with Baszler effectively taking out Storm’s lower body with strikes and submissions. The ref asks Storm if she wants to continue as she can’t even walk. She recovers and counters Shayna with a release German suplex but pain is obvious, so it was not very smart of her to climb to the top rope. Shayna beats her up there and hits a gut buster suplex form the top rope, but Storm kicks out at two. Ground and pound from Shayna into a knee bar, and I think this one is gonna be over soon.

Storm valiantly fights out with some punches then stops Shayna with a head butt. she drops Shayna on her knee but injures herself in the process, and can’t get over to cover Shayna immediately and only gets a two count. After a knee strike from Baszler, Storm kicks out at two again. Great action. Storm reverses the Kirafuda Clutch into a pin attempt for a two count, then Baszler locks in the Clutch and Storm seems to be going out, but she rolls to the bottom rope to incredibly keep the match alive. Shayna rolls to the outside with Storm and locks it in on the outside, hoping to get a count out. Smart move by Shayna. Storm is just getting to her feet as the ref counts 10, and Shayna retains. The action in this match picked up tremendously and had me on the edge of my seat by the end. Great job by both women. Shayna runs back down into the ring and puts the choke back on Storm to a chorus of boos. As she leaves she says “This is the reality. Get used to it.”

Match Rating: Nine Gold Medals

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WWE UK CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: ZACK GIBSON VS. PETE DUNNE (c)

In a pre-taped interview shown before the main event, Dunne says of the UK Tournament, “I don’t think it’s much of a prize to be the winner when Pete Dunne is waiting for you.” Bad ass. I’m a sucker for promos like that. Lots of heat on Gibson as the crowd boos the hell out of him and chants BRUISERWEIGHT. This really is a tough one to call. I can see either man winning. I think Dunne is great at champion but I wonder if they’d want to kickstart the NXT UK brand with him having a rematch against new champ Zack Gibson. I really don’t know. I’m picking Pete Dunne because I really want to see him retain, but this can go either way. I really enjoy having no idea who will or should win. It’s much better to be surprised. Gibson’s finisher has been a submission, and I really can’t see Dunne tapping out.

Dunne immediately goes to work with his famous finger joint manipulations. Gibson attempts some of the same but misses a stomp on Dunne’s hand. The crowd is all over Gibson when he takes control of the match. No question who the heel is. Gibson works hard on Dunne’s wrist which he is already favoring, definitely setting up the Shankly Gates submission at some point. Dunne certainly earns his Bruiserweight moniker with a nasty head butt. I would not want to meet this guy in an alley. He’s got such an incredible mix of technical expertise, agility, and strength. After a bunch of bruising strikes and painful submissions, he hits a moonsault from the top rope to the outside into an inverted DDT. Amazing wrestler.

Their battle outside the ring is great, and Dunne reverses Gibson’s Helter Skelter finisher into his own X-Plex on the ramp as Gibson screams in pain. Both men barely beat the ten count. Gibson tries to stand toe to toe in the middle of the ring with Dunne. Big mistake as he eats a flurry of punches. After both guys hit clotheslines both are down, and both get up twisting each other’s fingers and headbutting each other. Really great action. Dunne lands his Bitter End finisher but it looked like he didn’t get his full body weight on Gibson for the pin and only gets a two count. The crowd was on its feet for that.

Gibson hits his Ticket to Ride finisher for a two count and then locks in Shankly Gates but Dunne makes it to the ropes. Gibson hits another finisher from the top rope and locks in Shankly Gates in the middle of the ring. Dunne starts to tap but stops just before his hand hits the mat and makes it to the ropes to break the hold. What a hell of a match. Great back-and-forth action with Gibson unable to keep Dunne down. Dunne hits his Bitter End again and retains his UK Championship. I will certainly watch this match again, I loved it.

Match Rating: Ten Gold Medals

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Triple H brings out the NXT UK Roster for well-deserved recognition.

Overall Show Rating: Eight Gold Medals

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