Jordan Devlin Won a 15-Man Tri-Branded Battle Royal
The winner of this Battle Royal received an automatic bye into the quarterfinals. Furthermore, it was cool that the order of eliminations actually determined what the brackets would look like. Thus, that made things a bit more interesting, and it's always cool to see talent from different brands in the same place at the same time. No one brand was more dominant than the others and it was a pretty par-for-the-course Battle Royal on the whole. I liked how Devlin furthered his feud with Travis Banks halfway through by attacking him at ringside and the interaction between Keith Lee and Dominik Dijakovic was fun while it lasted (give those guys 15 minutes and watch them kill it). The final four with Devlin, Velveteen Dream, Tony Nese and TJP was well done and Devlin was the right choice to go over.
Humberto Carrillo def. NXT UK Tag Team Champion Zack Gibson in a First Round Match
We haven't seen too much of Carrillo so far, but between NXT and 205 Live, he has impressed me every time he's been in action and this was no exception. Gibson was a fantastic foil for him, and despite having two very different styles, they worked well together and produced a nice little match. This had to be considered an upset given Gibson is one-half of the NXT UK Tag Team Champions while Carrillo is still a relatively fresh face.
Drew Gulak def. Mark Andrews in a First Round Match
These two had a pair of matches on 205 Live last year and both bouts were excellent. I don't think Andrews has ever defeated Gulak, so this was his shot at redemption. Unfortunately, he fell short of beating Gulak yet again, but this was another enjoyable encounter from them. I know Andrews is doing his own thing right now on NXT UK, but he'd be a welcome permanent addition to the Cruiseweight division eventually, especially if it meant we'd be getting more matchups like this.
Keith Lee def. Travis Banks in a First Round Match
Both Lee and Banks have potential to be breakout stars on their respective brands. Despite having never facing each other before, they had good chemistry here. They didn't have a ton of time (and it didn't help that they had to follow Gulak vs. Andrews), but it was decent for what it was. Devlin ambushing Banks earlier in the evening during the Battle Royal gave Banks an out for losing to Lee, not to mention Lee should have advanced, anyway.
Adam Cole def. Shane Thorne in a First Round Match
I wouldn't be surprised if there were some people watching this who forgot Thorne was employed. His tag team partner in The Mighty, Nick Miller, actually requested (and was granted) his release from NXT back in December, leaving Thorne to fend for himself. In fact, if my memory serves me correctly, we haven't seen him on NXT TV since Miller left the company. Most viewers probably didn't take Throne seriously against Cole, but he pushed the inaugural NXT North American Champion to his limit in a match that went longer than expected. Cole advancing was obvious, but Thorne definitely gained something with the outing he had here.
Dominik Dijakovic def. TJP in a First Round Match
Sometimes I forget TJP is a part of 205 Live still. Seriously, he is rarely on the show these days. However, he remains a highly skilled competitor and that was evident when he went one-on-one with Dijakovic here. This was heel vs. heel, but the crowd didn't seem to mind because the wrestling was terrific. TJP was back in underdog mode and did his best to pull out the victory, but Dijakovic's unparalleled athleticism combined with his hard-hitting arsenal was too much to overcome.
Tyler Bate def. Cedric Alexander in a First Round Match
There were some well-wrestled matches in the first round, but this was undoubtedly the strongest of them all. Bate is basically a Cruiserweight, and Alexander thrives against virtually everyone he is up against, so I figured this would be wonderful and they didn't let me down. There were so many innovative reversals and the crowd ate up everything they did. I wished Alexander would have gone further in the bracket, but he has nothing to be ashamed of after that performance. On a side note, it's high time he followed in Mustafa Ali's footsteps to the main roster.
Velveteen Dream def. Tony Nese in a First Round Match
If you haven't been tuning into 205 Live lately, you likely aren't aware of Nese's transformation into a much more compelling competitor than he was when he originally joined the Cruiserweight division. His character is still one-dimensional, mind you, but he's been allowed to let loose recently and he's been ripping it up with a variety of opponents. Meanwhile, Dream's brilliance is well documented, so this ended up being an unexpected gem in the first round.
Jordan Devlin def. Drew Gulak in a Quarterfinal Match
As noted, Devlin didn't have to wrestle in the first round thanks to his bye, so Gulak losing was only academic. This was another heel vs. heel match, so although the audience wasn't as into this as they were for other matches in the tourney, I loved the aggression and intensity Devlin and Gulak brought to the table and therefore they held my interest. These two are a lot alike, and I wouldn't mind a rematch down the road.
Adam Cole def. Keith Lee in a Quarterfinal Match
The commentators noted how this marked the first time these two have clashed in a match on television, and I certainly hope it won't be their last. Lee hasn't had the chance to work with a ton of established names. up to this point, so here's hoping his strong showing against a top talent such as Cole will lead to him getting more opportunities to shine on NXT going forward.
Tyler Bate def. Dominik Dijakovic in a Quarterfinal Match
Dijakovic hasn't been on NXT for very long, but in such a short span of time, he has been made out to look like a real dominant force. Bate clearly has more exposure and experience on WWE TV than him, yet there were several points I wasn't sure if Bate would be able to topple Dijakovic. The layout of this was smart with Dijakovic scoring plenty of offense before eventually eating the loss.
Velveteen Dream def. Humberto Carrillo in a Quarterfinal Match
I don't think the outcome of this match was ever in doubt, but that didn't make it any less entertaining. Carrillo is a treat to watch in the ring, as his aerial abilities are unbelievable and you never know what he'll do next. This honestly belonged in the first round, but Carrillo put up enough of a fight that I didn't mind the length of it. Carrillo will have a high ceiling on 205 Live, assuming he can speak English and can cut a passable promo. That might be one area he has to improve upon that we didn't see at all in this tournament.
Tyler Bate def. Adam Cole in a Semifinal Match
Bate vs. Cole was a match I didn't know I wanted until it happened here. It just made a ton of sense given the roles they both portray. If Cole wasn't going to make it to the finals, at least he went out in spectacular fashion against Bate following a hell of a run in the tourney. They created magic here and everything seemed so spot-on and fluid. Those critical of their smaller size should take a look at this match and what they're capable of.
Velveteen Dream def. Jordan Devlin in a Semifinal Match
Dream "hurt" his ribs during his last match in the tournament against Carrillo, so Devlin targeted that injury throughout and was on offense for a majority of the bout as a result. It then turned into an absolute barn-burner in the second half when the pace picked up as Dream battled back and they went all out. Devlin has evolved into an outstanding heel over the past year, so it was easy for the crowd to rally behind Dream and invest in the exciting action. As I've said before, Devlin will be one to watch out for in the years to come, so I was glad he looked credible in defeat.
Velveteen Dream def. Tyler Bate to Win the Worlds Collide Tournament for a Future Championship Opportunity
After already watching so many matches over a four hour period, this felt like a lot of the bouts that preceded it, but that isn't to say it wasn't superb. It could have been more special as a standalone outing on a TakeOver special or even on an episode of NXT TV. That said, it was an above-average encounter that was everything I was hoping for from them and featured a great final stretch. Dream can now contend for any championship of his choosing, and something tells me he has his sights set on the NXT North American Championship.
As cool of a concept as this was (and as much as I want it to be brought back as an annual occurrence), I wasn't a fan of how the matches aired out of order. WWE put up most of the first round and quarterfinals on their YouTube channel on Saturday afternoon, only to air everything else on the WWE Network later that night. It was a tad bit confusing, and I don't understand why the Battle Royal and the seven first round matchups weren't all included in the YouTube video/live stream. Nonetheless, this was a blast of a tournament that showcased the tremendous talent on WWE's three best brands (sorry, Raw and SmackDown Live). I wouldn't recommend watching the full four hours, but at the very least, cherry-pick a few of the matches (Alexander vs. Bate, Dream vs. Bate, and Cole vs. Lee come to mind) on YouTube and on the Network. You won't be disappointed.