“Sixteen competitors with an amazing opportunity to showcase their skills internationally on all of WWE’s global platforms, I believe this is going to supercharge the United Kingdom and Irish wrestling scene but more importantly this is going to bridge the gap between independent wrestling and WWE something that has never been done before”.

Those were the words from the former WWE Universal Champion, Finn Bálor as he stood before the multiple members of the UK press team from various wrestling outlet eager to witness who would be included in the first ever WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament. While there were some surprise faces, there is no denying that every single one of the wrestlers chosen in the Tournament has the ability to awe and excite fans who will witness the event from all over the world.

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image by WWE.Com

In this three part article I take brief look at the sixteen competitors and the two alternates, who fans will see on January 14 and 15th in Blackpool, England on the WWE Network.

Tyler Bate.

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image by The Ringside Perspective

Trained by the exceptional Dave Mastiff and Trent Seven, it’s easy to say 2016 has been an incredible year for this man and not just in the UK. Having dazzled fans in multiple promotions across the UK and Ireland, this nineteen year old (let that sink in) has captured the Relentless Division Championship in Kamikaze Pro Wrestling as well as the
CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas Championship (with fellow WWE competitor Trent Seven known collectively as Moustache Mountain and across in the fantastic wXw promotion in Germany he seized the Shotgun Championship.

But Championships tell only one side of this competitor, his unique and excellent connection with the fans is something to see, across at Over The Top Wrestling in Ireland, the rowdy fans stood in unison waving at him in appreciation for his wrestling talents. And this isn’t the only time he had this effect, fans of Attack, Fight Pro, ICW, Progress, Rev Pro and WCPW can say without a doubt he is certainly one to watch.

Dan Moloney.

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image by The Ringside Perspective

With a nickname like “Superbeast” you would wonder what exactly are you getting with this man, and within watching several of his matches you get the picture that he lives up to that name. Also fans may know he was also known in Chikara as Los Federales Santos Sr.

This year, Moloney has established his name wrestling against former WWE wrester, MVP, TNA Heavyweight Champion Eddie Edwards and Lucha Underground star, Shane Strickland to name a few. Having proven that the can mix wrestling styles with practically any wrestler pitted against him, wither it be high flying, mat based or brawling, Maloney has shown before any audience he will always give fans something to remember, even they aren’t please with how he gets his results.

Saxton Huxley.

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image by Tony Knox

Standing at 6ft 4, this man cuts an impressive shadow against his rivals. Trained by the legendary Marty Jones and Brian Kendrick, Huxley brings an extensive amount of wrestling knowledge and experience to any wrestling match along with raw aggression to match.

A key figure in the Rise:Underground Championship picture, as well as cementing himself as a destructive force in Grapple Wrestling and Main Event Wrestling, and while it is clear that he may not be as well known as the other stars in the Tournament, anyone underestimating his ability and his enjoyment at inflicting damage would certainly pay the price at their own detriment.

Wolfgang.

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image by David J Wilson

He is the current Insane Championship World Champion, and while he is potrayed as a brawler, that isn’t even half the story of a man who began his wrestling career during 2002. He can match wrestling with any opponent, he has the strength and has even many occasion flew from the top turnbuckle or top of a cage to perform electric swanton dives to inflict maximum impact on opponents.

Being a Wrestler in the ring is only one aspect of a range of talents Wolfgang excels at, in GPWA (Glasgow Pro Wrestling Asylum) he is one of five trainers who has helped shape the new trainees that being developed for the future within UK Wrestling.

Fans have seen this man metamorphosis from crowd pleaser to a ruthless and duplicitous destroyer. This year alone though, fans who has witnessed any of his matches against his opponents have not been disappointed, wither it being defending his ICW World Championship, performing across the country in Premier Championship Wrestling or Preston City Wrestling, his is a key favourite in any match.

Tyson T Bone.

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Image by Tony Knox

He is a man who destroys his opponents. Ruthless and with no nonsense attitude, T-Bone is one of the finest heavy hitters within the UK. His style while on the surface may appear smash mouth style, but when the situation calls for it, displays why he’s one of the most respected wrestlers in the country.

In PCW (Preston City Wrestling) alongside Rampage Brown they both held the Tag Team Championships for 1211days defeating reDragon, War Machine, Steiner Brothers, The UK Hooligans and many more during their historic reign. The man himself has enjoyed Title reigns in Grand Pro Wresting, Southside Wrestling and captured the PCW Heavyweight Title itself twice.

And entering this Tournament, he stated he wants to “win that shiny new belt and fill my pockets with money”, with his vast amount of experience and desire to make an impact, fans won’t be disappointed.

James Drake.

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image by Tony Knox

Hailed by many as “The Next Big Thing” in British Wrestling and one of the most under rated wrestlers in the UK, trained in XWA Academy and by Dave Rayne, Drake is certainly one of watch out for in this Tournament
Having held the FutureShock Adrenaline Championship for over a year with Futureshock Wrestling, Drake made sure that fans would take notice of his intentions for what was to come in that promotion as he defeated opponent after opponent by any means necessary. It soon became apparent its was something that all fans would have come to realise in any promotion that he would be apart of, wither it be Alpha Omega Wrestling or in Progress Wrestling that if you were going to see James Drake wrestle you wouldn’t just have to combat his expertise in the ring but his desire to bend the rules to braking point to get that elusive win.