When WWE announced the reutrn of the United Kingdom Championship tournament, fans were excited and now the Universe has a preview of who will be in this year’s tournament.
In a news release, WWE announced the first eight participants in the U.K. tournament and fans who follow the British wrestling scene may see some familiar names.
Zack Gibson – Liverpool’s No. 1 wrestler, Current Progress Tag Team Champion with James Drake as a part of the Grizzled Young Veterans.
Joe Coffey – two-time ICW World Heavyweight Champion, Scottish Wrestling alliance titleholder, and What Culture Pro Wrestling/Defiant Wrestling alum.
Gentleman Jack Gallagher – WWE superstar in the 205 division, 2016 Cruiserweight Classic competitor.
Dave Mastiff – inaugural World of Sport Wrestling Champion and Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Champion
Kenny Williams – three-time ICW Zero-G CHampion, BCW Openweight titleholder.
El Ligero – journeyman who has won titles all over the world among them, the WCPW Internet title and Magnificent 7 Briefcase holder.
Joseph Conners – former WCPW CHampion, current British Wrestling Revolution Heavyweight Champion.
Amir Jordan – has wrestled in Europe and is the current 3CW North East Champion. Although Jordan is from Pakistan, he primarily wrestles in the U.K.
WWE had success in 2017 with the first tournament, which introduced several United Kingdom wrestlers who have become popular with WWE fans, including tournament winner Tyler Bate, who became the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion, and current U.K. titleholder Pete Dunne.
Originally the tournament was going to lead into a show showcasing U.K. talent, but those plans are delayed for now. Despite no permanent show, several talents from the U.K. tournament have gone on to wrestle at WWE events, and some have even become – unofficially – a part of the NXT brand.
This year’s U.K. tournament is different than last year and WWE is making this year’s tournament a bigger event with NXT taking the forefront.
On May 14, 2018, WWE announced the first-round matches in the tournament will take place at the 2018 Download Festival on June 8–10 and the rest of the tournament will continue on June 18-19 at Royal Albert Hall.
In addition to the conclusion of the tournament,fans will have the opportunity to watch a dream as Dunne teams up with his British Strong Style mates Bate and Seven to take on the Undisputed Era’s Roderick Strong, Adam Cole and Kyle O’Reilly.
On June 19, the winner of the tournament face Dune for the United Kingdom Championship.
According to Live Nation, which is selling tickets for the event, the card will also feature NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler defending her title against an unarmed opponent – there’s speculation that it could be Toni Storm, who according to reports is advertised for WWE’s UK Tournament.
The website also lists the NXT North American and Tag Team titles will be defended.
Some may see the addition of more NXT talent as taking away from the U.K. competitors, but it’s a chance to bring in more members of the WWE Universe.
Personally, I like WWE having the first round of the tournament at the Download festival, then holding a two-day event. It’s akin to what New Japan Pro Wrestling does for their big tournaments.
With the tournament’s first round being weeks away, WWE should reveal the remaining eight competitors in the day to come.
Donovan Dijak Suffers Injury at NXT Vengeance Day
NXT Vengeance Day was a rousing success for WWE on Saturday which saw a number of headlines come out of the event that was well-received by fans, including an injury suffered by Donovan Dijak during his match with Wes Lee for the North American Championship.
Dijak suffered an apparent broken finger during the match, which was seen on camera and shared on social media.
Following the event NXT general manager Shawn Michaels provided an update on Dijak, stating he did not suffer a broken finger – “Yeah, everybody is good” Michaels said. “I announced it at gorilla, it’s got to be a miracle, It’s not broken.
“We got him x-ray, they said it’s not broken and so yeah, I guess what you do is you kind of numb it and put it back in place and that’s what’s happening now. But it is, again, a modern miracle because we all saw it, it was pretty gnarly looking. But, apparently, he’s going to be okay, which is obviously fantastic news for us and him.”
William Regal’s New Title in WWE Return
William Regal has made his return to WWE following his brief stint with AEW and now has a new title that is much different than what he had prior to his release from WWE during budget cuts last year.
Regal was Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting prior to his release. Regal was also the former General Manager for NXT and also had an on-screen role before he made his way to AEW.
According to PWInsider, Regal is now the Vice President, Global Talent Development for WWE.
Ahead of his return to WWE and amid his exit from AEW, Regal issued the following on social media:
“Yesterday was my last official day with @AEW. I’d like to thank @TonyKhan, Megha and all the hard working crew. Contrary to people who’ve never spoken to me or have their information from people who don’t know me or are trying to make themselves noticed, I had a lovely time working there and had a great time. Lots of talented Wrestlers, and lovely people to work for. To my fellow BCC members, it was a special, albeit brief few months but it cemented our already strong friendship. To everyone there, thank you for welcoming me. Best wishes.”
Ex-NJPW Star Karl Fredericks Signs with WWE
Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Karl Fredericks has officially signed with WWE following the conclusion of his four-year tenure with NJPW. Fredericks announced on social media back in summer 2022 that he would not re-sign with NJPW.
Fredericks was initially linked to WWE last September, when he was reportedly spotted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
According to PW Insider, Fredericks has officially signed with WWE and will be a part of the NXT brand initially.
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