The Road to WrestleMania is unarguably the most important time of the year for WWE as it not only holds within it the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania itself, but in turn, it showcases just who is important to WWE officials in the biggest scope.
If you’re someone they care about, you will be featured prominently unless you have some sort of an injury that prevents you from doing so. If you’re not actually a big enough name to them for them to care, then no matter what you’ve done throughout the year, you’ll be relegated to something like a spot in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal or worse, off the card entirely.
It’s also a time where WWE likes to promote some of their pet projects they have going on, whether it be the launch of the WWE Network, the culmination of the Brawl for All, the renaming of the Divas Championship to the Women’s Championship, or even The New Day’s ice cream reveal. Rest assured, if it’s important and/or new and exciting, WWE will find a role for it at WrestleMania.
So why is nothing going on with the United Kingdom Championship?
We all know that there isn’t room for everything on the card, but as it stands right now, there’s absolutely zero representation for an entire division in either NXT TakeOver: Orlando or WrestleMania itself. In fact, I don’t remember coming across a single thing about a house show in the area featuring these guys, any scheduled appearances at Axxess (whether it be matches or autograph signings), or anything at all.
This is strange, considering the division is brand new and one would think WWE would want to do something to bring attention to it while they try to create interest in house show circuits and possibly even a television program, according to the rumors that have persisted since its inception.
All that has happened so far is an announcement of “WWE Presents: UK Championship Live” which will be a two-day event on May 6th and May 7th—over a full month after WrestleMania has passed, which is a clear indication that it has no ties to WrestleMania weekend itself and is just as much of a separate entity as Payback and Backlash are.
Why would WWE create this division a few months ago and then put it on the backburner almost immediately? Is it a sign that there is very little faith in the concept at its core or is it a matter where it is so low on the priority list that it just perpetually falls short of being given any attention? It’s doubtful that this is a purposeful decision to try to benefit the division or its talent, as the absence of presence does nothing for anybody. After all, WWE’s motto of late is that it doesn’t matter if Roman Reigns or John Cena is getting a boo or a cheer so long as they’re getting some kind of a reaction, so if the lack of response is the worst thing out there, surely the oblivion the United Kingdom Championship currently exists in does nothing but harm for it.
Since the tournament, its champion Tyler Bate has wrestled two matches on NXT (defeating Oney Lorcan and Trent Seven), Pete Dunne and Mark Andrews have wrestled each other, and Wolfgang has been promoted. That’s hardly anything noteworthy, and none of them are even factored into the mix for NXT TakeOver: Orlando unless you count the possibility that they will wrestle in a match ahead of time which will serve as part of the tapings for the following episode of NXT, which is hardly something to steer your eyes toward.
None of these guys even showed up in the Royal Rumble this year, which would have been a perfect opportunity to put a tiny bit of spotlight on at least Tyler Bate, seeing as he is an official champion in the company and everything. Jack Gallagher was able to compete in there despite being in the cruiserweight division, so there’s no excuses why Bate couldn’t be an entrant as well.
Perhaps WWE will remedy that situation by putting Bate or one of the other guys in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, but since those wrestlers don’t get individual entrances, he would have to last until the very end if not win it in order to get any sort of actual focus put on him—and even then, it would have to take place on the main card, not the pre-show. The chances of all those factors happening are very slim, so you can count that out.
WrestleMania is stacked. It’s starting to even look as though the SmackDown Tag Team Championship is of so little importance that it could get bumped from the show entirely, and several big names still aren’t locked into a match that does them justice. By no means should WWE take time away from the main roster stars in order to put Jordan Devlin vs. Sam Gradwell on the card as nobody would care about that. However, it’s definitely strange that they would create an entire division and then do basically nothing with it for three months.
It will be interesting to see if any sort of niche is carved out for the UK roster in any fashion during WrestleMania weekend or if not, how WWE manages to build up some anticipation for the upcoming May shows. If WrestleMania has passed by with not even a peep and another week or two after is silent as well, we should start to worry that this might be a failed endeavor that WWE officials are viewing as a lost cause they don’t want to sink any kind of investments into. Those signed wrestlers could very well be folded into the NXT roster and nothing comes out of it whatsoever.
It’s not a death knell to not be featured at WrestleMania, but it definitely isn’t a good sign in the slightest bit. When you’re a champion in the company and you’ll have less time dedicated to you than Tinashe doing America the Beautiful, you can’t exactly consider yourself a pet project anymore, but more on par with how WWE looks at its YouTube content rather than the shows on the WWE Network—a side piece that isn’t cool enough to hang out with the rest of the gang.
Do you think this is a slight against the UK division or is this just an oversight that needed to be? How would you like to see these guys utilized, if at all? Drop those comments below and tell us what you’re thinking!