WWE this week announced the bracket for the first ever UK Championship Tournament set to take place this weekend at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, England.
The tournament features some of the best performers on the British scene and here are (in my opinion) the top four men who are likely to go all the way and become the first ever WWE UK Champion.
Pete Dunne (known affectionally to PROGRESS fans as ‘PETER’) had the biggest year of his career in 2016. His stellar year included a spot in PWG’s BOLA tournament, facing Yuji Nagata in Rev Pro, winning the PROGRESS Tag Team Titles with Trent Seven and to cap it off he secured the PROGRESS Championship by pinning Jimmy Havoc at Chapter 39.
Dunne has been in the industry around a decade and has established himself as one of the top acts in the UK scene, nicknamed the ‘Brusierweight’ he has a hard hitting style and works predominately as a heel for multiple companies across Britain, he possesses a natural ability to rile up a crowd that harks back to William Regal in his prime. I would absolutely consider Dunne to be the favourite going into the tournament in Blackpool.
Trent is one of the most experienced performers in the tournament. He too has had a breakout year in 2016, highlighted by his PROGRESS Tag Team title run with British Strong Style partners Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate (more info on Tyler below). Having worked the majority of the year as a firm crowd favourite both as a singles star in Fight Club Pro and as a tag team specialist in Moustache Mountain, his heel turn in PROGRESS set the stage for a huge tag team title win at Chapter 36. After the win a new cocky, arrogant side of his character shone through and brought out a different more focused Trent. I expect that he will work as a crowd favourite in the tournament and turn more than a few heads in the WWE fan base.
Projection: Loss to Pete Dunne in Final
Tyler is one of the youngest performers in the UK tournament however he too had a hugely successful 2016. As one half of Moustache Mountain he performed around the country as a firm fan favourite, in the latter part of the year he finally joined forces with ‘British Strong Style’ and became one of the top heels in PROGRESS. His style and work in the ring are similar to WWE Crusierweight star Jack Gallagher and I fully expect Tyler to work as a charismatic good guy who will be extremely well liked by the fans inside the Empress Ballroom. I’m expecting Tyler to lose in the semi-final against longtime friend and tag team partner Trent Seven.
Projection: Loss to Trent Seven in Semi-final
Known as ‘Mandrews’ during his stint in TNA, Mark Andrews is easily the most world renowned of all of the performers in the competition. He has been a mainstay in PROGRESS since its inception and has worked for companies such as PCW, ATTACK! Pro, wXw and Chikara.
Andrews is an extremely talented in ring worker and he easily has a shot at taking the title this weekend. He was a late addition to the tournament having recently cut ties with TNA and for that reason I am expecting that he will eventually lose to Pete Dunne in the semi-final.
Projection: Loss to Dunne in Semi-final
DISCUSSION: Who do you see winning the tournament?