WWE UK Championship Special review: Pete Dunne becomes No. 1 contender

Credit: WWE on Twitter
Credit: WWE on Twitter /

Taking a look at what went down on the WWE UK Championship Special on the WWE Network.

This show presented us some of the action that took place a couple of weeks ago during the WWE UK events that went down in Norwich, England. It featured several of the men who took part in the WWE UK Championship Tournament earlier in the year.

One of the big highlights for many fans will have been seeing legendary WWE announcer Jim Ross, alongside Nigel McGuinness on commentary. It’s good to hear that familiar old voice back on WWE programming.

Now, let’s get into it right from the beginning.

Joseph Conners vs Wolfgang

Both men put in good showings during the tournament that crowned the first UK Champion, and had a solid match here. Conners is a good mid-card heel, while fans love Wolfgang and he should have a decent career on the future UK Championship TV show.

Conners looks like your typical WWE Superstar, while Wolfgang is just a brute of a man who looks like he’s more used to bar fights. Having said that, Wolfgang can fly around the ring like a much smaller man.

The Scottish Wolfgang had the better of things in the early going, with Conners looking unable to keep up with his opponent. Conners took control outside the ring and took apart Wolfgang with kicks and punches back in the ring. One of the highlights of the match had to be Nigel McGuinness explaining why England and Scotland are still natural enemies, using the analogy of the blockbuster movie Braveheart.


Conners is solid inside the ring and stretched Wolfgang as he continued to have the upper hand. Both men were left down and then traded near falls for several minutes. This wasn’t a technical classic, but a solid showing from both men. Conners was taken down with a spear from the top rope and a following senton to rival Jeff Hardy’s from the bigger man to give Wolfgang the win.

TJ Perkins and Brian Kendrick vs Dan Moloney and Rich Swann

Several members of the WWE Cruiserweight Division took part in these tapings, and three of them took part in this match. The solitary Brit in this match was Dan Moloney, the man who informed us he’s “seen things” during his promos at the UK Tournament. We still don’t know what he’s seen but it must have been traumatic or he wouldn’t be talking about it so much.

The crowd was well behind Moloney and Swann at the outset, with Moloney getting beaten down by Kendrick and then TJP … and then Kendrick … and then Perkins again … and then Kendr … you get the picture. The younger Moloney tricked Perkins into attacking Kendrick and then knocked down TJP several times.

Both Swann and Moloney mocked the favorite move of TJP, the Dab, and then threw him out of the ring. Moloney was massively over with his native crowd, and they lapped up everything he did. TJP took advantage but Swann pulled out some impressive high-flying moves. I really hope Randy Orton was watching. The match ended with Moloney on the wrong end of a Kendrick (pant holding) roll up for the win.

We saw the tremendous Trent Seven interviewed backstage, and then attacked by his opponent, Pete Dunne.

No. 1 Contenders Match
Pete Dunne vs Trent Seven

This is a battle of two men who are right at the pinnacle of the British wrestling scene at the moment. In most places they are teammates in the heel group known as British Strong Style, alongside Tyler Bate, but here Dunne is the mega heel and Seven is the mega babyface.

Dunne came out with his customary Progress Wrestling Championship belt in his mouth, and this has to be the first time in decades that another company’s title has been shown on WWE television. Seven came out with his injured arm well taped up.

Let’s not go any further until I tell you that Pete Dunne needs to be on RAW as soon as is humanly possible. He is the finest heel you’ll come across in the world right now, up there on the same level as Kevin Owens at his peak a couple of years ago.

This match was all about Dunne attempting to destroy the arm of Seven, and Seven trying to stop Dunne from doing that. An easy task for two men so talented in the ring. Both men threw some wicked strikes at each other. Dunne trapped Seven’s arm behind the ring steps and then kicked them as hard as he could, and this is peak heel work from the best in the world.

Seven showed his heart by repeatedly telling the referee he didn’t want to quit, despite the vicious attack from Dunne. These two men are such great opponents for each other; they know their roles so well and are just about perfect together. Despite his injury, Trent managed to hit a Lariat but couldn’t put Pete away.

Several attempts from the bigger Seven were thwarted by Dunne, and some big power moves gained him several near falls. Dunne got the better of the match outside the ring, even pulling out a good old finger snap. Seven fought back with a Dragon Suplex on the ring apron. Yes, you read that correctly — a Dragon Suplex on the ring apron. Both men made it back in the ring at the count of nine, as the crowd broke out a “This is Awesome!” chant.

Seven attempted a Dragon Suplex from the top rope, but Dunne landed on his feet. They traded big strikes then Seven took down Dunne with a massive Lariat. Dunne kicked out at 2 9/10. Seven was trapped in the Kimura, but managed to Hulk up and smash his way out before hitting a huge back fist. To end things, though, he ate a Bitter End to lose the match.

With that Dunne becomes the No. 1 contender to the UK title, something this writer expects him to win at NXT TakeOver: Chicago. Pete Dunne really is someone special in the world of pro wrestling,  and if you’ve not experienced him much thus far make it your job to look up some of his matches.

Following the match Dunne took the microphone and told the crowd that people would get hurt, and that his goal remains the same: he’s going to walk out of TakeOver with the title. By any means necessary.

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WWE UK Championship Match
Tyler Bate (c) vs Mark Andrews

A battle of two babyfaces, but two vastly differing styles. Bate won the WWE UK Championship after the grueling two-day tournament earlier in the year and has a hard-hitting but technical style. Andrews, on the other hand, is one of the best high flyers in the entire world right now. At 20 years of age, Bate is the future of the WWE main roster down the line, and right now he has that beautiful United Kingdom Championship on his shoulder.

The match started off with the crowd behind both men, and the champion looking to ground his challenger. They traded submissions and grappling until Andrews managed to up the pace and give himself an advantage. When you can fly so well, why not use that to your advantage?

The first big dive of the match got a big pop from the live crowd, though it’s unknown what Rip Rogers or Randy Orton thought of it.

After more back and forth, Bate took a leaf out of Andrews’ book and flew through the ropes onto a shocked Andrews. This quickly seemed to be turning into a war of attrition, with Bate seemingly in control, only for Andrews to hit a reverse ‘Rana for a long two count as the crowd chanted “British Wrestling”.

In a result that spoilers had already told most of us watching, Tyler Bate defeated his challenger with the Tyler Driver 97 and goes on to TakeOver: Chicago to defend the belt against Pete Dunne.

Dunne came out after the match to apparently attack Bate, only for William Regal to step in and stop him. If you ever want to see what true hatred looks like, just have a look at the face of Regal whenever he’s around Pete Dunne. Dunne and Bate stared each other down to end the show, with Dunne looking at the UK Championship belt with love in his eyes.

The UK title match at NXT TakeOver: Chicago no doubt has a chance to steal the show from everyone else.