Pete Dunne vs. Sam Gradwell from WWE 2017

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This was a quarterfinal match in the Paul UK tournament thing.

This was a amazingly well-done tournament match. So much of UK wrestling feels like dicking around as the crowd drunkenly sings and chants that it was downright jarring to see such a subtle match executed here.

(That’s going to come off like a HEAVY SHOT, but it’s really just a matter of tastes. A lot of UK wrestling is targeting to the live audience which is an understandable decision. There was a clear difference in the way this match was worked, and it deserves attention/analysis/discussion/whatever.)

Dunne ended night 1 attacking Gradwell to make a name for himself. Gradwell, not happy with that, came into this match guns blazing. It was such a simple story, but that was why it was effective.

Gradwell really had all the momentum early, and it seemed like he was well on his way to victory. Every time Dunne managed to fight back a little, Gradwell kept firing back.

Dunne’s immoral actions the night before paid off in spades though. Dunne managed to just drop Gradwell to the floor though. What happened on that move? Gradwell crashed on the apron and re-injured his lower back…which Pete Dunne had injured the night before on his unwarranted attack.

From there, Dunne gave him a Michinoku Driver into the turnbuckle, and it was all over for Pasty BJ Whitmer.

This was very fucking good and one of the best Pete Dunne performances. He sold a ton to make Gradwell look good but managed to win by being smart instead of just hitting more movez.

This was a great match to make Gradwell look far more talented than he actually appeared to be. He’s a bit awkward in the ring, but he showed a ton of fire and consistently sold his back in key moments to set up the finishing sequence.

Between all of that, the fun environment and excellent commentary by Michael Cole and Nigel McGuinness, we had ourselves a bloody great start to this show. My gawd. (****)

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