Friday, January 20, 2017

WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament

Will also somehow lose to Brian Kendrick.
The WWE held its United Kingdom Tournament last weekend, and it largely succeeded where the Cruiserweight Classic failed, and failed where the CWC succeeded.

The CWC excelled in highlighting a variety of styles, characters, and backgrounds. The UKC, on the other hand, featured sixteen dudes and what seemed like 23 hardscrabble upbringings on the streets. Lotta beards, lotta punching, two whole different ethnicities. The CWC was also packed to the gills with talented wrestlers, while the UKC had more of a... smattering. Nobody was particularly awful, but despite the field being half the size, I don't think there was a single first round loser who made me wish I could have seen more from them.

But where it succeeeded, and ultimately surpassed, the CWC, was by establishing a few key faces and heels early on and carrying their stories trhough to the finale, so that by the time we hit the semifinals, I was totally invested in the narrative. Pete Donne made a great villain, Mark Andrews a charismatic high flier, Wolfgang a surprisingly appealing big guy, and Tyler Bate a sort of young, less affected Jack Gallagher. The final between Bate and Donne was supercharged, and Bate's ultimate victory was both a great match and really effective storytelling.

I'm not sure how interested I'd be in an hour a week of this, though. Even with its many, many fuckbotches, 205 Live still has the character variety thing going for it. A UK show, on the other hand, would have a hot crowd who, even when they're bored, make a lot of noise, something 20 Live has never had.

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