What I liked most about the entire UK Championship Tournament was the story itself that came to full conclusion in the final match. In retrospect, everything else have been strings leading towards this fabulous finish. And Tyler Bate vs Pete Dunne very much lived up to the hype and intensity that was created previously. So, this is my little take not just on this very match but also on the whole tournament. Enjoy!
Episode: UK Championship Tournament / FINAL
Aired live: 15 January 2017
Match duration: 15:12 minutes
The Tale of the Tape
I have to confess that I was slightly annoyed by something prior to this tournament. Because of all the hype around Jordan Devlin, I didn’t like his match-up against Danny Burch for the very first round. That’s why I like Danny Burch since his days in NXT (always thought he deserved better) and was pretty sure that he was there to put Devlin over. And what shall I say: Danny Burch didn’t do a great job here. Because he made himself even more likeable and enjoyable for me.
Which brings me to my very own Top 3 and Flop 3 of the UK Championship Tournament. As it is always the case, there have been the usual hypes prior to the first show. So, I always pay attention to the most hyped guys to see if they can live up to all the praise. Me liking or disliking certain lads usually doesn’t have anything to do with their babyface or heel status. It’s purely based on the fact if they are originals, if they are entertaining, funny, vicious etc. – simply: all around enjoyable. So, I put together the following small lists, also just to see if and when we are seeing those guys again.
The Top 3 of the UK Championship Tournament
- DANNY BURCH
Like I said, I already liked Danny Burch when he was in NXT. But he always had been underutilized. Which is a shame because he’s the whole package basically. He can fight, he’s got a great style / gimmick, he can talk and he interacts great with the audience. I never understood why WWE released him. But hopefully he comes back and maybe William Regal is able to get him a better standing in NXT. He’s not the youngest any more but when a guy like Bobby Roode at forty years of age can be pushed to hell, Danny Burch can get an equal treatment.
- PETE DUNNE
I first heard his name when William Regal praised the boy in an interview prior to the tournament. And he very much lived up to the praise. He’s a born and natural heel, who’s already so good at just 23 years of age. The fact that he basically carried the whole storyline of the tournament on his own shoulders and that William Regal was heavily involved in it, speaks volumes about how high the lad is already rated. And with reason. He’ll certainly have a great future as a nasty and vicious character ahead of him.
- TYLER BATE
What amazes me the most about this boy is, how someone can have such a great, fitting and working gimmick at just 19 years of age. He’s definitely unique and stands out, the crowd connects with him in an instant and he also fights to his gimmick – a rare art these days when matches become so generic that there is hardly anything outstanding going on these days.
The Flop 3 of the UK Championship Tournament
- JORDAN DEVLIN
This man has been hyped that much prior to the tournament that it hurt. Trained by Finn Bálor and doing nothing else in the ring than Finn Bálor does, this lad doesn’t have an own personality. And he needs one if he wants to become his own person. Otherwise he’ll always be compared to Finn Bálor and he can only lose here.
- JOSEPH CONNERS
Yes, he lost half of his left ear in a pub fight. We already got that when we heard and saw it first. Referring to it basically every half a minute doesn’t make it look more evil. It makes me wonder if he cut it off himself to have something outstanding because his look is just basic. Then, his trunks say that he’s the leader and everyone else follows him. I was annoyed in an instant. And I tried to find him interesting because he was trained by Robbie Brookside. Believe me, I really tried! But unfortunately he not just misses half his ear but also personality and charisma. Nothing special about him.
- SAM GRADWELL
The man is from Blackpool, and he looks like a hooligan. That’s all I can say about him. Maybe he just had been nervous in his hometown. Maybe he overdid things because of those stupid Jesus chants from the audience for his opponent in the first round. But what’s his gimmick or back story? I have no idea. There is just this pale guy whom I don’t want to meet in a dark corner. He really messed up his chance.
So, I won’t do an analysis for all fifteen matches that took place in the tournament but at least I’ve got the results up to the final captured for a nice and easy overview:
While the eight first round matches basically took place to make first impressions of all sixteen competitors, there needed to be some cliffhanger towards Day Two of the tournament. And it came in the presence of Pete Dunne who attacked his opponent for the second round, Sam Gradwell, while all eight participants of the quarter finals have been presented at the end of Day One.
Pete Dunne managed to get some kicks to Sam Gradwell’s body before William Regal went for him furiously and, really, I haven’t seen the man looking that mad since Dean Ambrose attacked him in FCW. Brilliant! After the show went off the air, WWE still came up with backstage footage of Pete Dunne being confronted by both, William Regal and Triple H, and then those two giving statement about considering punishment for the rebellious boy.
Of course, there wasn’t any punishment but the intensity was there for the first match of the quarter finals being Pete Dunne vs Sam Gradwell. Unfortunately, Sam Gradwell as the local lad didn’t get the same amount of love as Pete Dunne has been hated. Actually, there have been many people in the audience still chanting Bruiserweight for the lad.
But that changed when Pete Dunne as the first finalist attacked Tyler Bate right after the boy won his semi-final against Wolfgang. William Regal came out to the ramp to throw Pete Dunne out and that just intensified the heat for the final match-up. After a little filler match between Neville and Tommy End, William Regal was inside the ring holding the UK Championship belt and both competitors entered the ring as well for their fourth and final match in two days.
Just to remind everybody, Tyler Bate is just 19 and Pete Dunne also only four years older. Two of the youngest competitors of the tournament and they both threw a match to the mat that was just spine-tinglingly fantastic. It had this brilliant build-up over those just two days, the storytelling within the final match itself with the left shoulder of Tyler Bate, it had the perfect face vs heel scenario that can’t be any better plus two charismatic and unique opponents who already know what they have to do to entertain the audience – every pause well placed, every facial expression fitting.
Simply, I don’t need to write a huge explaining analysis of that match. I you haven’t already, just watch it again and enjoy!
Winner: Tyler Bate
For Tyler Bate winning the UK Championship Tournament certainly came as a little surprise. Guys who have been hyped and praised before, failed to live up to it. But there have been others who certainly made an impression at a very young age. First of all, the two finalists. But I also liked Mark Andrews and Trent Seven. Tucker might have been still a bit shy in front of this huge crowd in the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool. But if he works on being a little more open and interacting with the people outside the ring, he can still make a name for himself.