3. Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne: NXT Takeover: Chicago; Meltzer Rating: 4.75/5
I’ll be the first to admit, I was skeptical about the United Kingdom Championship Tournament. This was mainly due to my lack of knowledge of the British indy scene. Luckily for me, I took the time to watch it and I was captivated by the methodology and brutality of the Bruiserweight and the technical pedigree of the then-19 year old Tyler Bate. When they met in the finals to decide the inaugural UK Champion, it was a masterclass. Even more impressive was despite their age (Dunne was barely in his 20’s at the time) the both were experts in their craft. And wouldn’t you know it? They blew that match out of the water at Takeover: Chicago. They showed the entire WWE Universe what British Strong Style and “catch as catch can” wrestling is all about. Where to begin? Every time Bate defended the UK Championship, Dunne was in the crowd with that trademark scowl and a demeanor that made it seem that the loss in the finals was literlly killing Pete Dunne. The match began with an excellent technical sequence. Eventually, Dunne countered a standing Shooting Star Press into a triangle choke, which Bate powered out of and turned into a powerbomb. Bate then pulled off the best Airplane Spin these eyes have ever seen. Some more stiff strikes, false finishes, a crazy Spiral Tap by Bate, and a slugfest showing the duo’s exhaustion and determination followed. An incredible rope spot by Bate was the last highlight of the match before Dunne hit the Bitter End to become the second-ever UK Champion. Two more stars were made in this match and I will bet money that, sometime in the near future, these two will main event WrestleMania.