When I heard WWE was planning another UK tournament this June, I was ecstatic. The inaugural two night show was one of my favourite Network events in all of 2017, and made me proud (possibly for the first time) of my home nation.
Anybody as invested as I am in British Wrestling, has seen the competitors for this year’s WWE UK tournament and is already planning two viewing parties! For everyone less invested in our little island of grapplers, allow me to introduce you to some of our finest talent. I have scoured YouTube for the perfect matches to showcase each of the entrants, so get ready to meet your new favourite wrestlers.
We begin our journey, with one of the greatest antagonists in wrestling today. “Soon to be recognised as WWE’s number one,” Gibson is a man who is booed like nobody else in the UK. One half of the Progress Tag Team Champions (to mention but one of his accolades) with an array of moves carefully selected to cause the most harm to his opponents. Zack could be the man to win the whole tournament.
“The Iron Man” Joe Coffey is easily one of the biggest names in Scottish Wrestling. A former ICW World Heavyweight Champion (an elite group that includes WWE superstars Killian Dain, Drew McIntyre & Wolfgang) Joe is a powerful and intense individual who could believably destroy anyone else in the bracket.
A name you are much more likely to be aware of, an extraordinary gentleman with a vicious streak. With a great Cruiserweight career and Royal Rumble performance already under his belt, the tournament could be Gallagher’s biggest victory to date (especially if we could steal him for the potential weekly UK show).
A YouTube match is less necessary to familiarise yourself with Jack, but he’s had plenty of great WWE matches. My personal favourite being versus Neville at Fastlane 2017.
The award for the man least likely to keep his current nickname in WWE goes to “The Bastard” Dave Mastiff. This agile brute is a 16 year veteran, and (for trivia fans) was the inaugural World of Sport Champion in the 2016 reboot – if only for a couple of hours. A highly respected name on the UK scene.
The runner-up for the previously made up “Inappropriate Nickname” award, is definitely “The Bollocks” Kenny Williams! With a love of Back to the Future and a unique high-flying moveset, this young Scot was my personal favourite wrestler when I first got into British Wrestling. The multiple time ICW Zero G Champion (a belt previously held by Finn Balor) is fan favourite with the potential to steal the show.
Why is the “Mexican Sensation” in the UK tournament? Because kayfabe is dead and buried everybody! The UK’s premier luchador will finally be on WWE programming. Incredibly popular – and with fans of all ages, Ligero has probably wrestled more matches in the UK than anybody else ever has. The man of few words certainly has the experience to take him far into the tournament.
A rare example of an understated wrestling villain, Joseph Conners has a quiet menace about him that he backs up in the ring. After a good performance in last year’s tournament took him to the quarter finals, Conners will be looking to kill the competition and prove himself as a dominant force in the UK division.
With only 3 years of experience in the profession, Jordan was a pleasantly surprising entrant into the WWE UKCT. The Bhangra Bad Boy may be the rookie of this tournament, but you wouldn’t guess it from his in ring ability. A fantastic young talent, incredibly athletic and immensely likable. It may seem unlikely for Amir to progress to face Pete Dunne, but everybody loves an underdog story!
Travis Banks (pictured)
There are very few (if any) wrestlers in the UK who are having a better 2018 than Travis Banks. The Kiwi Buzzsaw is the current Progress World Champion (defeating Pete Dunne for the belt) and it’s hard to imagine that changing any time soon. With his unmatchable pace and his unbeatable spirit, I think it’s very likely that he could win the whole tournament.
Flash Morgan Webster
The Modfather of professional wrestling has arrived in WWE. With his beautiful high-flying style, and his charisma in and out of the ring – it’s easy to love Morgan Webster. After injuries sustained during a Cruiserweight Classic qualifying match took him out of action for 10 months, Flash was unable to compete in the inaugural UK tournament. Will this year’s “gathering” lead him to gold? It’s more than possible!
A returning entrant, Devlin is sometimes (because of his nationality and who trained him) overlooked as “Finn Balor Lite”; he is so much more than that. Incredibly athletic and able to seamlessly work as a heel or face, the current OTT World Champion has been “Killing Imports” and proving he’s a future WWE mega star since last year’s performance. Jordan could easily pull off an upset victory and win the chance to face Pete Dunne.
The only competitor representing Northern Ireland, the returning Tucker is a dynamic performer who is yet to reach the peak of the UK Indie scene. After an elimination in the first round (courtesy of the eventual winner Tyler Bate) last year, Tucker has another chance to show the world his talent and potential.
Proving that nationality is no longer important in the UK tournament, 205 live standout Drew Gulak joins the competition. A surprising entrant, but one so popular that few will complain about his inclusion. With his PowerPoint prowess and submission speciality, anybody facing Gulak will have a tough lime advancing to the next round.
As with Jack, a YouTube match is less necessary to familiarise yourself with Drew, but he’s had some amazing matches on 205 live. My personal favourite being Vs Mustafa Ali from 205 live episode 69.
A hot-headed veteran who has been overlooked for far too long. Ashton Smith is an intense competitor, who has found great success as a singles and tag wrestler around the UK. Recently losing the ICW Tag Team Championship, Smith will now have spare room in his trophy case for another prestigious belt.
Grit your teeth for another returning UK tournament entrant. James gets a chance to show the world how much nastier a year has made him. The other half of the Progress Tag Team Champions (meaning we may get the chance to watch the Grizzled Young Veterans implode). Don’t let his beautiful hair fool you, Drake is not a competitor to take lightly.
Tyson T Bone
Last but not least, we have one final returning entrant. “The King of the Travelers” Tyson T Bone. An imposing man who is not afraid to crack some skulls. Although perhaps lesser known than some of the other competitors, T Bone is one of the toughest brawlers the UK has to offer. The current and 3 time PCW champion (a promotion local to me!), Tyson would love to add another belt to his collection.
So now you are hopefully feeling more familiar with all 16 men, and are even more excited for the upcoming two night event. With some extra matches revealed (including The Undisputed Era Vs. British Strong Style) and others still to be announced, there is so much to look forward to.
I’ll be covering both nights here at FightBoothPW, so come and join me on the 18th & 19th of June for one of the most exciting events in British wrestling.
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