The WWE UK Championship Tournament: Will It Succeed?
With just two weeks until the WWE UK Championship Tournament hits our screens on the award winning WWE Network, wrestling fans are waiting to discover whether the show – with it’s new format and shorter schedule – will be as good as 2016’s CWC, and what could potentially happen should the show succeed.
Let me start off by saying that the UK Wrestling industry is BOOMING right now, with promotions like Progress, RevPro, WCPW and many more taking the indie scene here to a whole new level. Being a UK Wrestling fan myself, it’s great to see the WWE venture out over the pond and televise a special event (It’s been too long). However not everyone has responded positively, with some claiming that the WWE has come out here to squash any chances of UK promotions becoming bigger than they are in this country. Some people are under the impression that WWE will hurt the UK indie scene, and that’s got the tournament some bad PR before it’s been given a chance to shine
So, who’s competing. Well for any wrestling fans outside of the UK, just about every decent up and coming wrestler working the indie circuit right now in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. There are some missing names though. Huge Japan stars Zack Sabre Jr, Will Ospreay and Marty Scurll are all absent from the list of names competing in the UKCT. Some British fans see this as a bad thing, but in my opinion giving other UK wrestlers a chance to become as big as Sabre Jr, Ospreay and Scurll can only be good for the UK scene. With Wolfgang, Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and Joseph Connors there are plenty of names for the fans to get behind. Don’t forget that Nigel McGuinness will be on commentary too!
Which takes me on to the venue! The Empress Ballroom, AKA ‘Winter Gardens’ in Blackpool. It’s an iconic venue. Most importantly though, it’s an intimate venue. Much like the NXT Arena at Full Sail, Blackpool’s Winter Gardens is a small venue. That’s why US fans may never have heard of the place, WWE don’t produce RAW or Smackdown in Blackpool, because the arena doesn’t hold enough seats. The show sold out in under a day, which is a credit to the market that’s there for the consumption of WWE wrestling in the UK. I expect the UK Championship Tournament to succeed with flying colours, and would be extremely surprised if the intimate venue, crazy Blackpool fans, amazing UK talent and the CWC formula don’t equate to two of the best nights of wrestling in 2017.
What Happens When The WWE UK Championship Tournament Is Over?:
What happens next? Should the UK Tournament succeed, the idea is for there to be a weekly show, televised, here in the UK. Much like 205Live spinning off of the CWC, Triple H set out at his press conference last month that the long term aim for the company is to set up a weekly WWE promotion in the United Kingdom. How far away that long term goal is is yet to be known, but should the UKCT compete on the levels of the CWC, we could be seeing a weekly episodic UK wrestling show, produced by WWE. Would that be good for UK wrestling? In my opinion yes. I’m sure some people would disagree, but surely a TV show produced solely in the UK, with UK talent for a UK audience is what the fans in Britain want to see. It’s going to be a big night.
What This Means For US and UK Wrestling:
If it goes well, we could see a turn for UK Wrestling. If not, it could mean another deterioration for wrestling here in Britain. ITV recently produced a one-night-only revival of ‘World Of Sport’. (http://www.itv.com/hub/world-of-sport-wrestling/2a4817a0001) The show was a huge deal back over thirty years ago, but the UK wrestling scene slowly faded away. The UKCT gives UK wrestling a chance to succeed. Some people see it as a risk, but it may be a risk worth taking. You live in America, don’t know any of the wrestlers involved and don’t think it’s worth paying $9.99 for… Well you might be right. However the show was built for a UK audience, and while it would be nice to get some American fans onboard this product – WWE’sclear aim is to grab the UK market. What I would say to the generic fan I just created is that you only have to look at the successes of the CWC last year to see that unknown, indie talent can become popular with an intimate audience. It’s going to be a good show.