WWE UK Championship Tournament 2018: Winners, Grades, Highlights from Day 2

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2018

WWE UK Championship Tournament 2018: Winners, Grades, Highlights from Day 2

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    Shayna Baszler looks unimpressed by Toni Storm.
    Shayna Baszler looks unimpressed by Toni Storm.Credit: WWE.com

    Monday featured the quarterfinal, semifinal and final rounds of the 2018 United Kingdom Championship tournament along with two bonus matches, one of which helped set up one of night two's title bouts.

    Zack Gibson bested three other competitors to earn a shot at Pete Dunne's UK Championship on Tuesday, but we also saw four contests from all of the champions in NXT and a No. 1 contender's match.

    Toni Storm challenged Shayna Baszler for the NXT Women's Championship after defeating Isla Dawn and Killer Kelly on Monday in her first WWE match since the Mae Young Classic.

    We also saw Adam Cole battle Wolfgang, The Undisputed Era took on Moustache Mountain, and Ricochet teamed up with Aleister Black to face Velveteen Dream and EC3.

    Johnny Saint wasted no time in exercising his right as NXT UK general manager when he booked Mark Andrews vs. Travis Banks vs. Flash Morgan Webster to see who would be the next challenger for the UK title.

    Let's take a look at everything that happened on night two of WWE's trip to Royal Albert Hall.

The Undisputed Era vs. Moustache Mountain (NXT Tag Titles)

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    WWE kicked off night two the right way by having the popular tag team Moustache Mountain challenge Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong for the NXT Tag Team Championships.

    Tyler Bate and Trent Seven received the kind of reception you would expect in England. The Undisputed Era had an equal amount of heat.

    This match had all the physicality you could hope for from four outstanding competitors. Seven may have been the biggest competitor in the ring, but he kept pace with his smaller partner and opponents from start to finish.

    Bate was especially exciting once he got on a roll. His wrestling IQ is much higher than it should be for a man of his age, which should, hopefully, lead to a long and fruitful career.

    The final sequence was a masterfully performed series of exchanges involving all four competitors. Either team looked like it could have won multiple times, but it was Bate and Seven who prevailed to become the new NXT tag team champions.


    Grade: A-


    Notes and Highlights

    • Is it just me or does O'Reilly look a little like Seamus Finnigan from the Harry Potter films all grown up?
    • He also shares a lot of qualities with Daniel Bryan. His focus on strikes and submissions give them similar move sets. That would be a great matchup some day.
    • Mauro Ranallo is an incredible announcer, but sometimes it sounds like he pulls out his word-of-the-day calendar a little too often. There is nothing wrong with using five-dollar words as long as you don't overuse them.
    • Bate hitting Strong with a German suplex while O'Reilly was on his back with a sleeper hold was one of the most impressive things we have seen during this entire two-day event.

Killer Kelly vs. Charlie Morgan

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    The WWE Universe was introduced to Killer Kelly on night one, and we met another new face when Kelly battled Charlie Morgan in a singles match.

    With WWE launching new tag and women's divisions for the NXT UK brand, it was smart to bring in some of these Superstars to get the crowd familiar with them before the show officially launches this summer.

    They kept the pace steady while exchanging takedowns, strikes and counters to show off their technical prowess in the early minutes of the match.

    Both competitors showed a lot of promise, but Morgan was able to pull off the win with a beautiful counter to a vertical suplex into a small package for the pin.

    Kelly did a lot to establish her personality over the course of two matches. Hopefully, Morgan gets the same opportunity in the future. 


    Grade: B-


    Notes and Highlights

    • Kelly has a similar energy to most MMA fighters when she walks to the ring. She doesn't play to the crowd or dance around. She is all focus.
    • Kelly's mother apparently competed in the Miss Universe pageant as Miss Portugal in the same building as this show. She was never shown to be in attendance, but she has to be proud of her daughter for reaching this stage in her career.
    • Morgan showed some great flexibility by fighting out of a dragon sleeper/surfboard combo.

Mark Andrews vs. Travis Banks vs. Flash Morgan Webster vs. Noam Dar

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    In a bit of classic booking, WWE chose to name a new No. 1 contender to the UK Championship on the same night the title was being defended in a different bout.

    Before the Triple Threat could get underway, Saint came out and announced he was turning this into a Fatal 4-Way. The returning Noam Dar received a hero's welcome from the UK crowd as he made his way to the ring.

    Fatal 4-Way matches can be tricky, but the four men in the ring did a great job of spacing out their big spots so it looked like each move had a real impact.

    Banks continued selling his shoulder injury from Monday's matches while also putting on an impressive performance against three guys who should theoretically be much quicker than he is.

    Dar was able to pick up the win and escape before Mark and Joe Coffey rushed the ring to attack Banks. The Coffey Brothers decimated him while Dar watched from the stage, refusing to help.


    Grade: B+


    Notes and Highlights

    • Christian was given a great reception by the crowd when he was acknowledged at ringside.
    • Does Webster drive a motorcycle or scooter? If not, why does he carry a helmet to the ring?
    • Saint's entrance music sounds like it was sampled from the Rolling Stones.
    • Dar has been working out during his time off. He looked shredded.
    • Webster doesn't lock his ankles when he hits a hurricanrana, which makes it look less realistic.

Adam Cole vs. Wolfgang (NXT North American Title)

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    Adam Cole about to kick off Wolfgang's head
    Adam Cole about to kick off Wolfgang's headCredit: WWE.com

    Wolfgang returned to the WWE ring after coming up short in last year's tournament to challenge Cole for the NXT North American Championship.

    Despite being the bad guy in this match, Cole was as over with the UK crowd as anyone we have seen during this event, but Wolfgang had his fair share of fans in the arena.

    Wolfgang works a stiff style, so Cole was forced to adjust his usual game plan slightly. The leader of The Undisputed Era is good at working with a variety of opponents, so this was no challenge.

    The pace was a bit slow at times, but that is not always bad when they are using the time between moves to sell the severity of the last maneuver effectively.

    Wolfgang was a worthy challenger, but Cole was still able to put him away with his finisher for the victory.


    Grade: B


    Notes and Highlights

    • Some pro wrestlers are only pretending to be tough guys. Wolfgang looks like the kind of wrestler who is actually someone you don't want to cross.
    • It's funny when the crowd treats the bag guy like the good guy and vice versa.
    • Seeing a guy the size of Wolfgang attempt a Swanton Bomb will never get old.

Velveteen Dream and EC3 vs. Aleister Black and Ricochet

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    Despite this entire event being built around the tournament, this match was one of the most anticipated leading up to the show.

    EC3 is still building his post-Impact Wrestling reputation, but Ricochet, Dream and Black have already established themselves as some of the best NXT has to offer.

    Dream tore off his shirt to reveal one of Black's shirts to play some mind games with him, but the NXT champion is not easily shaken. He caught the shirt when Dream tried to throw it at him, so Dream tagged in EC3 to start the match.

    The crowd chanted "This is awesome" before anyone even threw a punch just because everyone was so excited to see these four men in the ring at the same time.

    This was a fun tag match, but it didn't quite live up to some of the recent singles bouts we have seen from these Superstars. Part of the problem may be a lack of chemistry between Dream and EC3 as partners with no experience working together.

    Dream ended up abandoning his partner toward the end of the match, which may have started a feud between them since it led to Black hitting EC3 with his finisher for the win.


    Grade: B+


    Notes and Highlights

    • Dream has taken all of the best parts of Prince, Rick Rude and Goldust to create a unique and entertaining character. His star continues to rise with every match.
    • WWE seems happy to ignore EC3's past as Derrick Bateman. Maybe Vince McMahon forgot he used to work for the company like he did with Luke Gallows when he was Festus.
    • One of the most impressive things in this match was Dream's ability to keep his headband on the entire time.

Shayna Baszler vs. Toni Storm (NXT Women's Title)

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    Storm and Baszler kept things technical during the first few minutes of this match by focusing on mat wrestling and submissions.

    The pace played to Baszler's strength as an MMA fighter, so Strom kicked things up a notch by incorporating more kicks and punches into her offense.

    Baszler is no stranger to striking, so she quickly asserted her dominance again after Storm took control momentarily outside the ring.

    Watching The Queen of Spades act like a villain is always fun, especially when her opponent gets to make a comeback like when Storm sent her flying with a German suplex.

    The New Zealander put up a valiant effort, but Baszler was able to retain her title by count-out in a great match. The champ poured salt in the wound by coming back to the ring and choking out Storm after the bell.


    Grade: B+


    Notes and Highlights

    • The announcers acknowledged a non-WWE match between these two in order to establish a history of Baszler seeking redemption for a past loss.
    • Baszler's nose was bleeding a few minutes into the match, but she never let it affect her performance.
    • The scream Storm let out when Baszler stomped on her ankle was almost too convincing. She is great at selling for her opponents.

Pete Dunne vs. Zack Gibson (WWE UK Championship)

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    Pete Dunne defended the UK title against Zack Gibson.
    Pete Dunne defended the UK title against Zack Gibson.Credit: WWE.com

    The entire reason for this event was to find a new contender for Dunne's UK Championship, and WWE found a good one in Gibson.

    The crowd was hyped as both competitors made their way to the ring for the main event. The two British brawlers wasted no time getting physical instead of sizing each other up with some basic wrestling.

    They took the action in and out of the ring several times as they beat each other senseless. Gibson put a heavy focus on Dunne's arm, while the champion focused on punishing every part of his opponent's body.

    They took each other to the limit to make sure the crowd got more than its money's worth. Gibson tried his best to make Dunne tap out, but the champion prevailed to retain his title in a classic encounter.

    Triple H, Saint and the rest of the UK division came out to congratulate Dunne on his big victory and close the show with an NXT chant.

    In some ways, this event exceeded the first UK title tourney. We saw a greater variety of wrestlers and some real progress with the formation of NXT UK.


    Grade: A+


    Notes and Highlights

    • It's a little strange to see Dunne playing the babyface. He is so good at being a villain.
    • Dunne's headbutt is one of the most brutal in the business today.
    • Knowing he only had to compete in one match on night two allowed Gibson to show off more athleticism than he did Monday when he was pacing himself.
    • Dunne is one of the few people you can't easily classify. He can brawl, fly through the air, make an opponent tap out or wrestle them on the mat. Few Superstars are as versatile as he is.