For the first time ever, the WWE United Kingdom Championship is defended in the UK at a non-WWE event. At Shugs Hoose Party IV, Pete Dunne defends his title against BT Gunn, Wolfgang, and his British Strong Style compatriot, Trent Seven…
Pete Dunne (C)
Fatal-4-Way Match for the WWE United Kingdom Championship
(Winner via pinfall: Pete Dunne)
If anything gets me riled up about WWE‘s United Kingdom division, it’s that many online fans don’t seem to actually understand what is happening with it. I couldn’t tell you the amount of times I’ve seen people write that the title is worthless, that WWE haven’t done anything with it, and that they should ditch the championship and talent.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
You see, the WWE United Kingdom Championship might just be the most prestigious one in that company, currently. It appears at different shows each night, with both Pete Dunne and former champion Tyler Bate taking it to the various promotions they were booked for, and wrestling fans love seeing it up close. When Bate was champion, there were even chants at some of his matches asking him to defend it. As it happens, Bate did defend it at a non-WWE event (PROGRESS: Orlando), but that was on US soil, not UK.
Those who say the belt doesn’t mean anything, and that nothing is happening with the division, are those who live inside a WWE bubble but consider themselves to be know-it-alls. A lot has been done with this championship already, you just have to branch out from WWE programming to see some of it (even then, four title defences have aired on WWE television since the initial WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament). One such example was ICW Shugs Hoose Party IV, a two-day event that saw its first day headlined by Pete Dunne’s title match.
That WWE allowed Insane Championship Wrestling to put on this match says a lot about their relationship with the British wrestling scene at this moment. Combined with the fact that they also recently allowed their own signed talent to wrestle for PROGRESS Wrestling, which would have included another WWE United Kingdom Championship defence away from WWE were it not for an injury to Pete Dunne, WWE are clearly doing their bit to help the wrestling scene in this country. Some question their motives, but I see nothing wrong at this time, and truthfully it’s just a shame that they haven’t done similar things with North American promotions yet.
Getting to the match itself, there were a few surprises going into it. Firstly, this was the first time that the championship was defended in anything other than a two-person head to head. Secondly, it featured a wrestler in BT Gunn who is not actually contracted to WWE, unlike the other talent in the match. I’d be curious to find out if WWE were aware of his inclusion in the match prior to it happening, but one must assume that they were.
The match was very good, and moved at a slick pace. Multi-man contests rarely slow down too much, particularly in todays wrestling, but it was the level of competitiveness that surprised me a little. You could argue that there were moments when it clearly seemed that any one of the four men could win the match. I wouldn’t expect to see Dunne drop the title at this point in his run, but having it change hands at a non-WWE show will happen as WWE will want to generate some buzz, so there’s always that part of you which wonders if this could be the moment it happens.
Some big moves went down here, some you’d likely not see in a WWE ring given how safely they make their talent work now. I’m curious as to whether they have any control over how the the matches and/or talent are presented whenever their championship is involved, but the action here suggested that if they are, it’s minimal and not something they are really enforcing.
Truthfully, I would’ve enjoyed another five minutes to the match. The pre-match and post-match activities were entertaining, but I’d have happily sacrificed them for more action. Irregardless of that, this was a match that I very much enjoyed, and keeps up the hot streak of quality WWE United Kingdom Championship matches we’ve had since it was introduced. ICW‘s coverage of the match too was great, and I do wonder if it will ever find itself on WWE programming or on the WWE Network.