WELCOME back to Column time with Larry. With the implementation of the NXT UK series on the WWE network, it is time to look at the final of the WWE UK Title 2017. I thought I would take a look back into a column and see where the competitors on this card are now. The only rules are: "Act, respect the opinions of others, and do not be foolish." We all have opinions, we will not agree, just be cool. Let's work …
* Where are you now, Cruiserweight classic finalists
* Where are you now, The 2017 Mae Young Classic Elite 8
Special Guest –
Special Guest – Neville : On the second night of the tournament, Neville defeated Tommy End in a good and entertaining match. Neville would then win the Cruiserweight Championship and reign as king of the cruiserweights. Neville left WWE during the Enzo era, reportedly dissatisfied with his position and treatment. WWE left him sitting at home for almost a year before he was finally released and he just returned to Dragon Gate. THE VERDICT : This is no longer the cruiserweight you're looking for, which is a pity on the one hand because it would be great in the new 205 live, but I absolutely love that he's free and returns home  Sam Gradwell : Sam Gradwell defeated Saxon Huxley the first night, at the end of the night Pete Dunne kicked the shit out to close the show, and NXT UK dad William Regal was not pleased. On the second night, Pete Dunne easily defeated Gradwell in a fun little sprint to keep going and eliminate Gradwell. Unfortunately, Gradwell suffered an injury and received a knee MRI in early September that had a complete ACL tear, requiring surgery and probably six to nine months on the way. He's been in a couple of NXT UK shows, but his actions have been limited. THE VERDICT : Not enough sample size to work with, I will re-evaluate when he returns.
Joseph Conners : On the first night, Joseph Conners defeated James Drake in a pretty good match and moved to the second night, where he lost to Mark Andrews in a good match. On the whole, Conners were good, had good energy and a sense of urgency, and looked better than many in the competition. He has done well overall in the tournament, with a pretty good run, but nothing to see or impress. THE VERDICT : Conners impressed enough to make two 205 post-tournament live appearances and was inducted into the 2018 WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, losing to Ashton Smith in the first round. He is a solid hand, but not someone who is too impressed or that I would be in a hurry to sign, mainly because everything they ever talk about is his LOST PART OF HIS DAMAGED EARS. For God's sake, he's not Mick Foley, it's so interesting if you talk about it all the time. He is a part-time / special appearance, best for me. He is solid but unspectacular.
Jordan Devlin : Jordan Devlin defeated Danny Burch on the first night and then lost to eventual winner Tyler Bate on the second night. Devlin performed well, looked beyond his years and composed more than many in the tournament. The thing is, I feel bad for him. He is a Finn Balor protégé who is both good and bad. It's good because he's obviously learned a lot from him, but bad because everyone expects him to be a mini-balor or Balor 2.0 instead of making him his own man. He returned for the second UK tournament and beat T-Bone before losing to Flash Morgan Webster. THE VERDICT : Devlin was pretty good in his WWE appearances, but did not make a big statement that he's not a guy who does not miss him. In 2018, I saw more of his work outside of WWE, and he has delivered some really great games and is constantly growing as a performer. After these performances, I'm more than just on board, as I'm signed up, relying solely on his WWE work.
Mark Andrews : Prior to the 2017 tournament, Andrews received his release from TNA and scored his place in the tournament. Personally, I was thrilled that Andrews should have been a star of the X Division, but was completely exploited and abused. I absolutely love Mark Andrews as a performer. He's a great high flyer, an incredibly funny baby face and just delivers when given the chance. He defeated Dan Moloney on the first night and Joseph Conners on the second night before falling to Pete Dunne in the semifinals. The Dunne vs. Andres Match was one of the best matches of the tournament. He has appeared on both NXT and 205 Live and has always brought freshness to the product. THE VERDICT : I'm thrilled that the NXT UK TV show is now aired because Andrews is a star and needs to be on TV as much as possible. He was great (but not fully utilized in TNA), he was great in the original tournament and delivered his NXT & 205 live performances. If used regularly, it will give me great pleasure because he is a good brother who deserves it.
Wolfgang : For me, Wolfgang was the big surprise of the UK tournament. I had no idea what to expect from him, but I was impressed. He defeated Tyson T-Bone in the first round in a good match, Trent Seven in a shock and a very good match in the second round and then lost in the semi-final against eventual winner Tyler Bate in the semifinals. He later appeared, losing a UK title shot to Pete Dunne and then a North American NXT title game against Adam Cole, both with good will. THE VERDICT : I like Wolfgang very much, he is different, has charisma and is a pretty good worker. He came with absolutely no expectations in the mix and delivered good performances. He will never be a top star of the British brand, but he will be a useful and entertaining gear on the machine, which I will be happy to watch.
Trent Seven : Trent Seven is 37 years old, coach and mentor Tyler Bate, partner of Mustache Mountain, and a man who would have never been signed a few years ago. However, thanks to a change in attitude and the British project, he receives a contract. He defeated H.C. Dyer in the first round before falling to Wolfgang in the second round. He even had a brief NXT tag run with Mustache Mountain's tag team partner, Tyler Bate, and delivered great matches with Undisputed Era this year. THE VERDICT : Seven has a lot of experience and familiarity with much of the British squad and can and will probably be an important veteran influence on them. In addition, he can be used as part of the Mustache Mountain Tag team and the British Strong Style trios, and he is a great signature.
Finalist / Winner – Tyler Bate : Tyler Bate defeated Tucker in the first round In a very good match, he defeated Jordan Devlin in a good second game before beating Wolfgang in a good semi-final. All this led to the finale, where Bate was injured, but he overcame the odds of beating Pete Dunne in a superb match to become the first British champion. I thought Bate was the first champion to be the first champion as a young "big strong boi" baby face and gave the inaugural competition a nice ending. He ruled for 125 days before losing a rival to Pete Dunne in an absolute classic at NXT Takeover: Chicago 2017. Bate would see again on NXT TV, where the two guys brought another absolute blast. There were rumors that the management at Bate was abating, which left him in limbo and suffering losses at NXT & 205 Live. Eventually, however, things turned around and he enjoyed a brief NXT tag run with Mustache Mountain Tag Team partner Trent Seven, while delivering great matches with Undisputed Era. THE VERDICT : The signing of Tyler Bate was an absolute gimmick, he is only 21 years old and is constantly improving. A great individual artist, he can become a successful UK title challenger anytime and can be used as part of the Mustache Mountain Tag Team and the British Strong Style Trios. If he is not in the mix for the UK title, he and Seven will be a great choice to anchor the tag department when he starts. Everyone welcomes the "big, strong Boi".
Finalist – Pete Dunne : Pete Dunne defeated Roy Johnson in the first round, attacking Sam Gradwell before the second round and then beating him. There followed a victory against Mark Andrews in the semifinals, which led with Tyler Bate to the final. Dunne lost but the match was excellent and he showed he had star potential. I think it's safe to say at the time that Pete Dunne was the top star of the tournament. Although he was not the first champion, he was an extremely dominant champion who has ruled this writing for over 500 days as a champion. THE VERDICT : Simply put, Pete Dunne is the damn truth. In terms of WWE matches, there is no one on Match-by-Match basis who brings in as much quality as he (you can claim Ciampa to some degree) and has proven to be a champion. He's a huge heel, but he's also turned face-to-face this year, but most importantly, he has not changed at all. He's still bad because Pete Dunne wants to rip your fingers off when he pleases and leads to a win. The scary thing is that Dunne is absolutely amazing and is only 24 years old. Pete Dunne will be a spectacular lead actor for NXT UK, but if he's not a main roster star for the next five years, WWE has completely failed him. Which is very likely to happen. Increase the Triple H NXT universe and set off to earn this "Native Land" license.
– End Scene.
– Thank you for reading.