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Notes In Observance – WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament – Part 2

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

 

“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post.

 

 

 

 

 

(Aired 1/15/17)

WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament – Part 2 

– The opening video replayed Night One’s spectacular happenings, as we went from Triple H’s epic intro to a brief run-through of the current competitors and how they came to be. To this point, we had Trent Seven, Joseph Conners, Mark Andrews, Wolfgang, Jordan Devlin, Pete Dunne, Sam Gradwell and Tyler Bates. It finished with Dunne’s sinister attack on Gradwell to end the show, as he rushed across the stage to deliver a forearm and hit the Bitter End on the ramp. Everything about this was great and the attention to detail to further establish Dunne as a renegade heel went over well. These final eight are about right too, with some great personalities here.

– The Quarterfinal match between Gradwell and Dunne reeled from last night’s angle, which was fine for the story. Gradwell was pumped full of emotion from the attack and wanted revenge on Dunne in his hometown. Their attributes were strikingly similar with a seven-pound difference. The Referee barely held Gradwell back as he had his lower back covered in kinesio tape to sell the injury. Loved how Dunne poured on the heel mode as he smugly offered his hand. This led to an intense exchange of clotheslines, before Gradwell hit a suicide dive for a big pop. He also hit a double underhook suplex on the ramp while “10” chants became a thing again. Gradwell’s adrenaline rush told us that he didn’t think, he just did. He hit a missile dropkick and landed on the bad back. Dunne took control again as he hit a snap German suplex and kicked out of the Michinoku Driver. Dunne sat Gradwell on the top rope and shoved him over so that his back landed on the apron. Just ouch. An upside down powerslam in the corner eventually ended Gradwell. That was like a sick dissection and Gradwell had the injury out already. Based off this, we figured Dunne would make the Finals, hands down. How could he not? As far as Dunne’s post-match promo, he used great heel logic as he claimed that what he did wasn’t controversial, but rather got people talking. The Bitter End after the bell added a nice touch too.

– The Quarterfinal match between Andrews and Conners was probably the best way to get Andrews to that tasty inevitable bout against Dunne to get to the Finals. If you can book that, just do it. There were some chain wrestling exchanges as Andrews’ athleticism was a highlight. It should be noted that Conners stood out in a good way, as he was comparable to the likes of ROH World Champion Adam Cole in how he carried himself in the ring, with his long brown hair and confident facial expressions. He drove Andrews face first into the apron. An impressive spot was Andrews’ somersault senton off the barricade. Conners continued to play mind games, as he trash-talked throughout the contest. A pretty near-fall where Conners hit a variation of the Don’t Look Down, with a slingshot over the top rope. Andrews countered another DLD attempt with the Stundog Millionaire and transitioned into the Shooting Star Press to get the win. Gosh, that was gutsy, but we loved it.

– The Quarterfinal match between Seven and Wolfgang made sense as it seemed to favor Wolfgang in strength, but Seven had the more devastating finisher. Guess it was cool that the camera panned to Fit Finlay at this point in the card. Cool spot where the 255-pound Wolfgang landed a moonsault off the barricade as his knee slammed against the mat, which he smartly sold. Loved the psychology brought into it as commentary discussed the fact that Wolfgang tried to hide the injured knee, but that set him up for Seven’s wild suicide dive that walloped him into the barricade. Also loved that they said on the air that they preferred pinfall and submission victories in this kind of tournament, to justify the Referee’s leniency to count out of the ring. Seven teased a Superplex to go to the floor, but ended up getting one where he was in the ring. This was definitely the “brawl” bout, as it could’ve actually gone either way. Seven hit a dragon suplex as Wolfgang landed on his neck. Seven hit the Seven Stars Lariat for a close two. Nice. Seven even teased a top rope piledriver (that they could even tease that, that’s crazy), but we got back to reality when Wolfgang landed the Swanton Bomb (The Howling) onto Seven’s back to advance. The reaction to this was set up as a big upset and rightfully so. Wolfgang benefits and he looked badass as he bled from the nose.

– The Quarterfinal match between Bate and Devlin was unique on its own as a hot matchup on paper. The camera panned on Radzi and we nearly mistook him for the former Carlito. That’s not cool. In true heel fashion, Devlin attacked from behind when Bate refused to shake hands. The crowd got into Bate and sang his name like the song, “Saturday.” It must be seen to be believed. Bates performed the Airplane Spin with success, but wasn’t ready for Devlin when he flung the top rope into his face. Talk about ring awareness. Devlin hit the enziguiri that struck Bate in the back of the head, similar to how he busted Danny Burch open. Somehow, Bate recovered well enough to execute the Tyler Driver ’97 to get the win. That was awesome.

– The Semifinal match between Dunne and Andrews was awesome already on paper. Odds probably would go to Dunne given how fast he had made his name. It was also cool how commentary mentioned that both men’s first matches were against one another. In Dunne fashion, he targeted Andrews’ neck. We thought it was funny how Andrews was more over here than at any time in TNA, but that’s just us. Did his tights have to read “Mandrews” though? It brought back a lot of bad memories. Dunne tried to step on Andrews’ hand on the steps and got huracanrana’d off them to the floor instead. Andrews hit a moonsault with an extra rotation for two. That was too cool. Dunne caught another Andrews moonsault attempt and hit a vertical release suplex that saw Andrews land on the apron with his ribs. Dunne followed up with another onto the ramp. Painful. Nice drama as Andrews got in the ring to barely beat the 10-count before Dunne got back to work and stomped on his neck. Cool spot as Andrews countered the X-Plex with the Stundog Millionaire for a two. Andrews hit the Shooting Star Press, but Dunne got his knees up and rolled him up for a two. Some dramatic near-falls here as the crowd was heavy into it. Andrews leaped off the top rope and into a wicked right hand by Dunne. Another close call as Andrews countered the X-Plex into a huracanrana for a two. Closest one yet, had the crowd convinced. With the finish in play, Dunne hit a German suplex into the corner, the X-Plex and then the Bitter End, all in rapid succession to finally finish off Andrews. Damn. What a great match. Andrews easily did more in WWE in two days than his entire time in TNA that spanned a few years. Sad, right? Meanwhile, Dunne retains the interest in his character in that he can back up his bold claims.

– The Semifinal match between Bate and Wolfgang was good in that either outcome would’ve been acceptable, but Bate going over would be slightly smarter. The crowd digs Wolfgang, but the way Bate has gotten the crowd to pull for him, how could they not do a Dunne-Bate Final? Some intrigue headed in that Wolfgang may had broken his nose in the end of the first match. This was more intense than your general babyface-babyface match and you could tell both men wanted it bad, as it should be presented in a Tourney. They also explored the option that Wolfgang could be more heelish given Bate’s popularity. Pretty spot as Wolfgang hit a variation of the Pop-Up Powerbomb for a two. He also hit a big flying shoulder tackle for a near-fall. The crowd got behind Bate and danced as he quickly hit the Tyler Driver ’97 to get the surprise win. The quick finish was probably for shock value if nothing else. Commentary also buttered up the finals as they stated that Bate would go on to face his own trainer. Dunne’s post-match attack on Bate was awesome, as it continued Dunne’s wreak of havoc. Didn’t even see that one coming. He ambushed him from behind and threw him shoulder-first into the post. Dunne had an altercation with William Regal on the stage too, as he was angry that his six-month long Tournament build nearly got ruined. Dunne’s continued terror actually adds to the show. Big props for Michael Cole for actually selling this idea too.

– The Neville-Tommy End match was a nice way to push the new heel Neville in his home country, debut the well-known End to casual viewers and provide a chance to build drama for the Finals, since it was debated if Bate was cleared to compete or not. Smart stuff. Neville appeared to take in the crowd chants in stride and posed on the corners like he used to, though he still had the angry face. His logic made sense as he voiced frustration at management “once again” leaving him out of a Tournament like they did with the Cruiserweight Classic and 205 Live. This set up End’s appearance, which was sold by commentary as a big happening. It was also noted that End had recently signed with NXT and was the “Anti-Hero.” His bearded, burly and tattooed appearance certainly helped accentuate this. As far as “Burning Down NXT,” guess we’ll have to see that to believe it. Neville leaped off the top rope into a stiff kick by End. Neville took a knee to the ribs and then End hit a moonsault to the outside. A roundhouse kick/German suplex combo got a two for End. Neville responded with a Frankensteiner with added height to lead in to the Red Arrow to get the win. Guess the Red Arrow will be just a U.K.-exclusive thing now? We won’t argue with that, as he had resorted to other finishers in the States.

– Finn Balor’s in-ring promo was cool as he put the crowd over for their passion and set up the Finals well. In actuality, we assumed the heartbeat rhythm of Balor’s intro was Dunne tapping the microphone perhaps about to speak because it interrupted the broadcast team when the camera was on them as they analyzed the show thus far. The “We Deserve It” chants could be looked at as “hijack”-esque, but that’s silly talk. It fit the moment for what it was.

– The Finals match between Dunne and Bet to crown the inaugural Champion already had a sports movie-like set-up headed in. Bate was almost taken out with an injury with a separated shoulder joint, but was cleared to compete. Bate came to the ring with little smiles and a nervous expression, as Commentary discussed that the injury would affect Bate’s ability to hit the TD97. The two teamed together and fought in the past, but not with these stakes. How much more dramatic could it get? Certainly had a big fight feel with this crowd. We also liked there being no time limit. Dunne slapped Bate cold as he refused a clean break in the corner to set the tone. It was also noted how this was fourth match in 24 hours for both men and it had to take a toll. To complement his style, Dunne worked over the injured shoulder whenever possible and even leaned his elbow on it for added effect. Bate replied with an energetic burst that ended with a dropkick. The two gave each other crazy forearms outside as Dunne used the barricade to further hurt the shoulder. To echo his post-match attack, he tried to push Bate into the corner once more, but this time, ended up there himself. Bate continued with a cringe-worthy forearm and a springboard uppercut, even landing on that injured shoulder as it simply didn’t matter. After he was knocked to the canvas by a Dunne forearm, Bate did the airplane spin in three different directions. Guarantee that’s a first somewhere. Crazy spot as Dunne locked in a triangle chokehold with added strikes to the shoulder before Bate lifted him up and dropped him with a spinebuster. It didn’t stop there, as Bate hit a jumping moonsault plancha and a 450 Splash/Double Stomp for a close two. A “This is awesome” chant broke out and rightfully so. This was fantastic. To sell the intensity, Dunne took out his mouth guard and hit the Bitter End for a near-fall. That was insane, because nobody kicked out of it before. Dunne had Bate in an armbar and Bate refused to give in. Dunne locked in the body scissors submission and Bate countered with a brainbuster. Two count. Incredible stuff. After some strikes on both ends, Bate managed to get the TD97 and hit it to win the bout. 15 days in and that’s a Match Of The Year candidate right there. As Bate was presented the belt by Triple H, Balor, Finlay and Regal, we couldn’t help but think about how successful this experiment turned out to be. Guys like Wolfgang, Devlin, Andrews Bate and Dunne made themselves in these two nights. We’re excited to see what else comes of the U.K. Title and where it’ll be shown.

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Results

  • Quarter Final Match – Pete Dunne def. Sam Gradwell via pinfall to advance 
  • Quarter Final Match – Mark Andrews def. Joseph Conners via pinfall to advance 
  • Quarter Final Match – Wolfgang def. Trent Seven via pinfall to advance 
  • Quarter Final Match – Tyler Bate def. Jordan Devlin via pinfall to advance 
  • Semifinal Match – Pete Dunne def. Mark Andrews via pinfall to advance 
  • Semifinal Match – Tyler Bate def. Wolfgang via pinfall to advance 
  • Neville def. Tommy End via pinfall 
  • Finals – Winner Becomes Inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion – Tyler Bate def. Pete Dunne via pinfall to become Champion 
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About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 25 year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently Freelancing for The Bensonhurst Bean website in Brooklyn, he has also been published on sites such as Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, BrooklynFans.com and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on June 6, 2017, in WWE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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