The WWE will soon be heading to Saudi Arabia for the big World Cup tournament, so over the next two days we’re looking back at another big tournament in a foreign country, the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament! Unlike the World Cup, this tournament left a lot of fans not knowing what to expect with a field comprised of almost entirely unknown names, so this is a bit like comparing apples and oranges. However, this one spawned some of the brightest stars in the business and the first steps of the company launching another brand. Let’s jump into the action and don’t forget to peep day two tomorrow!
Open: A video package highlights the relationship WWE has had with the United Kingdom over the years, Triple H explaining the only criticism of the company from fans is that they just weren’t there enough. Tonight, 16 competitors battle to define the legacy of the United Kingdom as we look to crown the first-ever WWE United Kingdom Champion.
In The Arena: Triple H comes out to the stage and gets a big ovation, The Game states that every empire has a beginning and tonight another will be built, wondering if we’re ready. The new United Kingdom Championship is shown on a pedestal in the ring.
Video: We meet Trent Seven, a man who believes himself to be from where British strong style started. Trent believes this tournament is the best showcase to let the world see what he can do, fully thinking there’s nobody that can stop him. His opponent, H.C. Dyer, explains that his fists are what separate him from the competition and when he strikes, he makes sure he won’t have to do it twice.
Match #1 – First Round: Trent Seven vs. H.C. Dyer
The crowd is very behind Seven here, collar & elbow tie-up to begin, Trent pushes Dyer to the corner, breaks clean and twirls his mustache. HC doesn’t appreciate it, looks for a big right hand and instead eats a chop, Trent slaps on a side headlock, gets shoved off to the ropes, Dyer drops down and pops back up with a dropkick. Seven rolls to the outside and HC goes out in pursuit, Trent meets him with stinging chops, Dyer ducks under one and Seven hits the ring post with his hand.
Dyer tosses him back in and Trent staggers to the corner, HC slides in, lines him up for a splash, but Seven side-steps it and delivers more rapid-fire chops. He shoots Dyer across, rushes in for an overhand chop, plants him with a veritcal suplex and makes an arrogant cover for 2. Seven looks for a powerbomb, HC counters out with a back body drop, avoids a clothesline, scores with a pop-up spinebuster and hooks the leg for a count of 2. He hauls Trent back up and Seven scores with a flurry of strikes, misses a spinning back fist, HC pushes him away to the ropes, but gets taken down by a double leg for a single-leg crab.
Dyer kicks him away to the ropes, connects with a haymaker to the jaw, lateral press and a near fall. He drags Trent up for a german suplex, Seven fights it off, tries to hit the ropes, Dyer grabs him by the tights, pulls him in for a blue thunder bomb, but still can’t finish it. HC looks stunned, looks to head to the top rope for a frog splash, Trent rolls out of harm’s way, smacks him with a spinning back fist, scores with the Seven Stars Lariat and gets the win.
Winner: Trent Seven (Seven Stars Lariat)
Video: Danny Burch is a former NXT Superstar for two years, stating being entered into the tournament has been a humbling experience. He speaks about his boxing background and says there’s no plan B for him, believing it’s his time. Jordan Devlin is from Ireland and was trained by Finn Balor, feeling like he was bred for this since a young age and it’s time to make his country proud.
Match #2 – First Round: Danny Burch vs. Jordan Devlin
Devlin avoids the opening lock-up and surprises Burch with a schoolboy for a quick 1 count, they tie-up and Burch gains a wristlock, Devlin countering back to one of his own. Burch rolls out of it to reverse back, Devlin switches to a hammerlock, Burch with another counter out into a hammerlock suplex, then takes a bow. Devlin doesn’t appreciate it and charges in, Burch drops down, pops back up with a shoulder block, goes back into the ropes, Jordan tries to leapfrog over, but Burch picks the leg in mid-air. He hooks him for a snap suplex that gets 1, Devlin pulls himself to his feet in the corner, Burch rushes in, Jordan slips out to the apron to avoid him, buries a shoulder to the midsection and flips over Danny back into the ring.
He hits the ropes and ducks a clothesline, connects with a dropkick, pummels Burch in the corner with heavy forearms, the official stepping in to force the break. Burch takes the opening to score with a boot to the jaw, goes to the 2nd rope, Devlin sweeps the leg to send him crashing to the mat and covers for a 2 count. Jordan applies a rear chinlock to wear Burch down, Danny tries to gain his footing, but gets ripped back down to the mat and has some words for the fans. Devlin puts the boots to him and goes back to the rear chinlock, Burch works to a vertical base, breaks free and hits the ropes, but runs into a back elbow and Jordan gets a 2 count. He unloads with forearms from the left and right, has some more comments for the crowd, Burch finds his footing and fires away with big chops.
Devlin rakes the eyes to stop the onslaught, grounds Danny with another chinlock, Burch battles back up and escapes with a jawbreaker. He stumbles to the corner, catches Devlin charging in with double boots, comes off the 2nd rope with a dropkick, they double down and Danny kips back up. He unleashes a series of uppercuts, hits the ropes and runs into a flying forearm, Jordan goes into the ropes now for a head of steam, but Burch follows him in with a clothesline. He hits the ropes and turns Devlin inside out with another clothesline for a near fall, looks to set for a suplex, Jordan counters to a schoolboy for another 2 count, both guys up quick and Devlin charges into a spinebuster. Burch rolls him up for a big knee to the face, follows with a stiff headbutt for a count of 2, hooks on a crossface off the kick-out, but Devlin makes it to the bottom rope to force the break.
Burch dead-lifts Jordan for a german suplex, Devlin fights it off initially, backflips to his feet to counter the 2nd attempt, runs in and hooks a victory roll, but still can’t put it away. He gets to his feet in the corner, Burch rushes in and gets double stomped to the mat, Devlin lines up for a spinning roundhouse kick, lateral press and the referee counts 3, but Danny kicked out. Burch is busted open on the back of the head and the trainer comes out to look at him.
Winner: Jordan Devlin (Spinning Roundhouse Kick)
- After The Bell: Burch presses a wad of gauze to the back of his head, offers Jordan a handshake, Devlin goes to accept, but instead superkicks him. Charly Caruso grabs him for comment on top of the stage, Devlin states that defeating Burch so decisively that it gives him a confidence boost, but he doesn’t need it and will go to the end regardless.
Video: Saxon Huxley talks about his mind being what will lead him to victory in this tournament, saying he’s the only guy who meditates twice a day and exclusively reads books. Sam Gradwell didn’t have an easy upbringing and his home was a warzone, using WWE as his escape when he was a kid. The only thing he’s got in common with the competitors in this tournament is the ring they share and everyone will know who he is when this tournament concludes.
Match #3 – First Round: Saxon Huxley vs. Sam Gradwell
Collar & elbow lock-up to start out, Huxley works Gradwell to the corner and breaks clean, they tie-up again, Sam pushes him way, third lock-up and Saxon gets pushed off trying for a side headlock. Another collar & elbow and Gradwell goes to a wristlock, Huxley breaks out of it, they tie-up once more and Sam hooks in an armbar this time around. Saxon tries to switch out of it, Gradwell snapmares him over for a chinlock, Huxley quickly spins out for a wristlock, Sam rolling out for a side headlock, but it’s blocked. Gradwell works his way back up and gets out with an arm drag, locks on an armbar, Saxon gets to a standing position and pushes him to the ropes, both guys pushing and shoving off the break.
Huxley ducks a wild right hand and clubs Sam to the mat, hits the ropes, Gradwell runs a misdirection, delivers a dropkick and gets a 1 count. He hauls him back up for a front facelock, Saxon drives him into the corner to break out, Sam jumps right back on it, plants him with a butterfly suplex and hooks both legs for 2. He looks to go up top an Huxley rolls out of the ring to get away, Gradwell gives chase outside and back in, buries a shoulder to the midsection from the apron, tries another and gets dragged into the ring for a double underhook backbreaker and a near fall. Saxon beats Sam down with forearms, posts his knee into the spine and wrenches back on the arms, Gradwell battles to his feet, but takes a knee to the ribs.
Huxley fires off right hands, Gradwell starts to absorb them and returns the favor in the corner, hits a flurry of uppercuts, then powers Huxley up onto his shoulders. Saxon slips out of it, tries a kick that’s blocked, Sam clocks him with a forearm, runs him into the ropes for a short knee to the ribs, then attempts to shoot him to the ropes. Huxley puts on the brakes, they exchange right hands, Gradwell flattens him with a clothesline, goes upstairs for a diving headbutt and that’s all she wrote.
Winner: Sam Gradwell (Diving Headbutt)