With the 2018 WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament concluded, it’s time for the reaction and Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast review!
As far as my initial reaction to this tournament, I hate to say it, but it wasn’t super enthusiastic.
Having to read and report on the spoilers ahead of time severely hurt the impact all of these matches had on me, forcing them to start with a handicap. Instead of having the element of the unknown to hinge upon, they had to captivate me entirely by presence alone, and since the vast majority of the people competing here just felt like generic indie wrestling guys to me, that wasn’t accomplished.
There were some people who I would keep my eyes on, though. Flash Morgan Webster continued to show me that he is trying to make a name for himself, Dave Mastiff and Joe Coffey moved well for their sizes, and I’m not uninterested in the future of Travis Banks, but I’m not putting any of these guys down on my list for my favorite newcomer of the year by any means.
It’s weird that the highlights of the whole tournament in my mind were the matches featuring the superstars who have already been established in NXT and mostly aren’t from the UK, like The Velveteen Dream doing his thing and The Undisputed Era continuing to prove why they deserve to be a focal point of that brand.
I also acknowledge that there’s a cultural gap from my perspective, which didn’t help, as I’m not the type of person who likes things just because they’re different or foreign. I attribute no intrinsic value to the United Kingdom division, and I have no personal investment in it as a brand, as I feel it’s somewhat redundant and unnecessary.
Since the UK division might as well be the Mexico or Asia division, or anything else, it all starts from the ground up and has to win me over—every particular wrestler starts with no negatives or positives and needs to make an impression, as does the overall presentation and all other aspects.
This includes Johnny Saint. I’m completely ignorant of his career, so I don’t have any fond memories or any inherent respect outside of a “standard stranger built-in benefit of the doubt” respect for him, and my gut reaction after watching his performance as general manager was that he is boring to listen to and doesn’t quite seem entertaining.
Overall, I thought this special was somewhat pointless. It introduced me to new people in the division, but none of them wowed me, and it established that they’re going to call it NXT UK, which could have been announced in any other types of formats, as could the announcements of the women’s and tag team titles.
The matches were either okay or boring—nothing horrible, but nothing special—and I sincerely hope all of this that I’m not thrilled about changes as soon as possible. Otherwise, I can’t imagine wanting to tune in to NXT UK every week, particularly if I know all the results ahead of time, which will certainly be the case.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews United Kingdom Championship Tournament with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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