After an extremely well-received inaugural tournament to crown the first ever United Kingdom Champion, there hasn’t been a standalone WWE U.K. division show in the U.K. since last May. There have been tentative plans for a U.K.-centric show, to be taped in the U.K., ever since the division was put together, but those plans have been more or less in limbo without a television deal secured across the Atlantic.
Last we heard, things were finally moving forward (a bit), as WWE reportedly secured a venue for some U.K. division tapings, which is likely welcome news to the “big five” of Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, Wolfgang, and Mark Andrews, who have been moved to the WWE Performance Center and have been spending time on and off on both NXT and 205 Live television.
On Friday, WWE.com officially announced that the division will return to the U.K. for another two-night tournament in June.
The first night, June 18, will feature an eight-man tournament for the right to challenge Pete Dunne for the United Kingdom Championship the following night, June 19. What’s more: the events will take place in the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London. And the events will be packed with NXT Superstars a well as U.K. division wrestlers.
The events kick off with a United Kingdom Championship Tournament on Monday, June 18. Though the competitors have yet to be revealed, it is now known that the winner of the tournament will earn an opportunity to challenge WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne the following night inside London’s most vaunted venue.
The BruiserWeight will also be in action on June 18, teaming with Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven) to face NXT’s Undisputed ERA. This match announcement comes on the heels of Roderick Strong’s betrayal of Dunne, and subsequent joining with Undisputed ERA, at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans. Will Dunne lead his fellow proponents of British Strong Style to victory against the black-and-yellow brand’s most controversial faction?
In addition to Dunne’s title defense against the tournament winner, the event on Tuesday, June 19, will feature three NXT Championship Matches, including an NXT North American Championship Match, an NXT Women’s Championship Match and an NXT Tag Team Championship Match.
Amazingly, this is the first time WWE has run a show at the Royal Albert Hall since 1991. The latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that this sudden movement might be because there’s sudden movement on the ITV/World of Sport end as well.
If you recall, just about every talent in the U.K. that wasn’t snapped up by WWE was signed by ITV for an attempted World of Sport reboot. The pilot was filmed ages ago, but there’s been no further word until recently, when ITV talent were told to prepare for upcoming tapings in May. This could potentially be for a limited series, rather than an ongoing concern, but the movement is there. There is also a “belief” that WWE may finally be close to a U.K. TV deal of its own, and that the tournament in June will be the launch of regular tapings.
Currently, the U.K. division wrestlers under contract to WWE earn a good amount, but are also able to control their own U.K. and non-televised bookings, as long as WWE has first dibs on dates. If ITV begins moving forward, you can expect those contracts will tighten up.