This coming weekend will see history made in the WWE as the promotion are set to crown the very first WWE UK Champion. The two day tournament features sixteen of the very best talent from across the UK and sees them compete across two nights in Blackpool, England. But as a proud Brit and a huge advocate of all of the men involved, how can the WWE ensure that the Belt holds its value post the tournament? Let’s take a look.
First and foremost for me is how they decide to keep interest in the belt after the tournament. The press conference to announce the tournament was made into a big deal with Triple H, Finn Balor, William Regal Robbie Brookside & Neville flying halfway across the world to announce it. They then announced Nigel McGuinness’ involvement following his departure from ROH and all of a sudden it felt that this Title is really going to mean something. So it is imperative that they continue to add focus when the tournament is done and dusted.
The Belt and the accompanying roster need to be kept relevant and not left to sink on the ever expanding readily available on the Network. Whether that focus comes in the form of regular television time or PPV appearances, the WWE simply cannot just put a weekly/monthly show on the Network and expect fans to care about it. The Cruiserweight division is therefore a clear example of how not to handle things. Following a red hot Cruiserweight Classic tournament, the division was dropped onto the Network with the expectation that fans would go out of their way to find it and stay engaged. It doesn’t quite work like that and hopefully through the lessons learned with the Cruiserweight division, the WWE can alter their stance when dealing with the UK Championship.
The next thing which I think they need to address early on is exactly who can compete for the Belt. In keeping it British and only allowing Brits to compete for it they open themselves up to issues. But if like the US Championship they open it up to everyone then there is much more breadth given to it which will enable them to drive the Title in the future. That said, I absolutely support the initial tournament being an all British affair but there simply isn’t the depth on the roster to enable them to carry that on for the foreseeable future and if the Title is going to be a stable name then it needs to attract the attention of bigger International stars. In my eyes the UK Title needs to be held in the same regards as its US counterparty which is another important thing to consider when booking its future. If it is run in similar fashion to the old European Title then it is likely to be devalued by granting Title reigns to wrestlers not currently on any Title/relevant programme.
Moving away from the actual Belt itself and on to the talent, I think it’s really important that they are left untouched and able to run with their existing characters/gimmicks/move sets. Let’s all be honest that is why they have been selected after all. Compared to the hard hitting powerful American style, the origins of British wrestling is much more focused on grappling and technical in-ring ability and the sixteen men who have been selected to represent Britain in the tournament are a testament to this. If all of a sudden they are rebranded and moulded into the “WWE style” then the whole thing is going to lose its appeal and fans along with it. If it’s not broke then don’t fix it and there is certainly hope in them keeping to the British style with the influence of William Regal & Robbie Brookside who both made a sterling (pardon the pun) career embracing the British style of working.
The WWE have all the tools available to make the WWE UK Championship a roaring success and everything that they have done in the build-up strongly supports how important they view it. Only time will tell as to how successful the WWE UK Championship will be but if they are able to continue the buzz which they have created then there is absolutely no reason as to why the Belt cannot be a major asset to the roster and the promotion. Rule Britannia!