The special two-day tournament to determine the inaugural WWE United Kingdom champion has concluded with Tyler Bate coming out on top. This is the kickoff of what should be a new division and possibly some major changes to how WWE operates in the future with the possibility of territories opening up in other countries down the line. With that being said, how good of a start was this and what were my major takeaways from the tournament as a whole?
First off, it’s nice to see that there is always more talent ready to go. Every time it seems like WWE has tapped the wrestling industry and there are no other names to bring into the mix, they scour the globe and come across more stars.
The Cruiserweight Classic showcased 32 names that man wrestling fans might not have been aware of, particularly if they were new to the game and strictly followed WWE. As someone who personally doesn’t go out of his way to look up independent promotions on a regular basis, a good portion of those were unheard of to me, and the same thing applied here with the 16 men in this tournament.
Mark Andrews, Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Sam Gradwell and plenty of other names looked as though they could have been signed to NXT at any given time and fit in perfectly, as opposed to being outsiders not used to the WWE style. Whether there was some coaching involved to get them to follow certain guidelines or they happened to be fans following the product long enough to have it in their minds already, the end result was a tournament that felt like a true extension of WWE and not some random other federation.
It prompts the question of just how many other fantastic wrestlers across the world are going unnoticed at the moment and could potentially have big careers in WWE if they made the jump and, likewise, WWE gave them a chance. Over the course of four hours, the stock of each and every one of these men has risen dramatically, so imagine what WWE could do with everybody going forward if they keep up the same trends.
If the fan base doesn’t have a strong enough enthusiasm to embrace a weekly television series as rumored, WWE has other options they can go with for how to get the most out of this experiment—not the least of which being a more understated live event tour with highlights showcased in a special on the WWE Network once in a while—but if it boils down to it, they can simply sign a good portion of these guys to NXT and the main roster as is.
Unfortunately, there were definitely times that I felt like things were lost in translation and I certainly didn’t connect with this at the same level as many of my friends from the UK. It’s great to see the passion brought out by those fans as everybody should get a chance to get swept up in the same emotions of representation us from the United States are privy to on a weekly basis, it’s disappointing to see the poll results from WWE’s Facebook page (which have since been removed, but you can see below) where an overwhelming majority of the people voting said they didn’t bother to check out the first round at all.
Does this mean WWE needs to appeal less to particular markets and try to streamline things a bit more? The Cruiserweight Classic didn’t seem to have that kind of issue, but it was presented as an all-inclusive event with a stylized theme as opposed to targeting a specific region. If positive word of mouth didn’t spread fast enough to get more people to tune into the second round and day two was met with similar apathy, it can be surmised WWE won’t bother investing in this idea not just for the United Kingdom Championship, but the future of the rumored Asia Championship and Latin America Championship as well.
The dust has not yet settled on that in one way or another, though, so for now, we just have this particular tournament to talk about, and if you’re interested in 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. Be sure to tell us your thoughts in the comments below!
Hosted by Anthony Mango along with Shaun Walker
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