Much like the opening round, the quarterfinals were a little annoying to watch, because of where WWE decided to put the matches. The first quarterfinal (Jordan Devlin vs. Drew Gulak) is on the WWE Network, while the other three were on the same YouTube video that had the majority of the first round. Fortunately, the rest of the tournament is on the network, so once you get to the semifinals, there’s no need to jump around anymore.

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament
February 2nd, 2019
Phoenix Convention Center
Phoenix, Arizona

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament – Quarterfinals
Jordan Devlin def. Drew Gulak

Of course, Jordan Devlin comes into this match fresh, as he earned a first-round bye after winning the battle royal. In terms of structure, this was very similar to Gulak’s opening round match with Mark Andrews. A fair amount of technical wrestling in the first half, with the pace picking up in the second half. The turning point seemed to occur (oddly enough) after both men tried to cheat by putting their feet on the ropes during some pin attempts. The final few minutes featured some really solid action between these two, with a number of close nearfalls (including Gulak trying the same sunset flip that he used to beat Mark Andrews earlier), but eventually, Devlin came out on top after hitting Ireland’s Call. A pretty solid match overall. ***1/4

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament – Quarterfinals
Adam Cole def. Keith Lee

In some alternate reality, these two would be wrestling over the ROH World Title on a big ROH PPV, but alas, they’re wrestling in a giant convention center as part of Royal Rumble Axxess. In the opening moments, Keith Lee used his power to gain control, but that didn’t last very long, as Cole soon targeted the knee. From there we got a few minutes of Lee’s knee being worked over by Cole until Lee managed to mount a comeback in the closing stages of the match. Although he managed to rock Cole on a few occasions with some big moves, Lee was never able to mount a sustained flurry. In the end, several superkicks and a Last Shot punched Adam Cole’s ticket to the semifinals. Not as good as the previous bout, but still good for what it was. ***

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament – Quarterfinals
Tyler Bate def. Dominik Dijakovic

The possibility of seeing matchups like this are what made this tournament so interesting on paper. This was probably the best match of the quarterfinals. Bate targeted Dijakovic’s arm right away (which was smart, since TJP had already worked over the arm in his first-round bout with Dijakovic), but Bate was soon on the defensive as Dijakovic used his power to take control. This was a pretty standard affair early on, but once Bate managed the fight back, the pace really picked up. We got good back and forth action between these two, and Dijakovic got the chance to show off some of his more athletic offense (including a Fosbury Flop to the floor). It seemed like Dijakovic was on a role in the closing moments, but his previously injured arm came back to haunt him. Bate targeted the arm to escape a Feast Your Eyes attempt, and followed up with a Tyler Driver 97 for the win. It’s only his second match, but thus far, I would say that Bate has been the MVP of the tournament. ***1/4

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament – Quarterfinals
The Velveteen Dream def. Humberto Carrillo

The Velveteen Dream became the final competitor to clinch a spot in the semifinals, but earning that spot wasn’t easy, as he had to go through Humberto Carrillo to secure that spot. This proved to be a good showcase for Carrillo (as he got to showcase some of his high-flying offense), but in this case, he came up just short of getting the win. Velveteen Dream had the advantage after the opening exchanges, and even though the crowd was cheering him on, Dream appeared to act like a subtle heel towards Carrillo at points (mainly through some trash talk). The middle portion of this bout wasn’t that interesting, as Dream cut Carrillo off every time he tried to break out. After a couple of minutes, Carrillo finally managed to mount a comeback, and the last few minutes ended up being solid. While Velveteen Dream did come out on top, a key moment in the match saw Dream crash and burn on the barricade after attempting a double axe handle from the top rope to the floor. This would come into play later on in the tournament. As far as this bout goes, it certainly wasn’t the best of the quarterfinals, but it was perfectly fine. ***

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament – Semifinals
Tyler Bate def. Adam Cole

In a way, this was an extension of the larger British Strong Style/Undisputed Era feud that took place during the summer of last year. The match itself was relatively good, but as a whole, it was really a microcosm of this entire tournament (bouts that had a ton of potential on paper not fully living up to expectations). That’s not to say this was bad, by any means. The action throughout was entertaining, and the crowd was certainly behind Bate in this one. The final two minutes were particularly strong. Cole managed to hit some his signature offense, but it ultimately wasn’t enough, as Bate got the win after hitting the Tyler Driver 97. I would say this was in the upper half of matches in this tournament (though that’s not saying a ton, when you look at my ratings for most of the bouts), and once again, Tyler Bate delivered. Out of everyone in this tournament, he’s clearly the guy that’s working the hardest. ***1/4

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament – Semifinals
The Velveteen Dream def. Jordan Devlin

Velveteen Dream came out with his midsection taped up, after landing hard on the guardrail during his quarterfinal bout against Humberto Carrillo. Despite coming into this match with odds stacked against him (dealing with injured ribs and going up against the guy who had that coveted first-round bye), Dream actually managed to gain the early advantage. However, that didn’t last long, as Jordan Devlin took control as soon as he went after the injured midsection. Devlin (who was great in his role as the heel) did a lot of damage, but he wasn’t able to put away Dream. The second half featured some very solid exchanges between these two, and a couple of cool spots (such as an attempted sunset flip bomb off the apron to the floor by Devlin turning into a moonsault off the apron from Dream). In the end, Velveteen Dream was able to overcome the injured ribs, and managed to come out on top after hitting the Purple Rainmaker. While this wasn’t the best match of the tournament, it was certainly in that upper echelon. There was good action mixed in with a fine story that saw both men played their roles well. If you’re looking for matches to check out from this tournament, I would definitely recommend this one. ***1/4

WWE Worlds Collide Tournament – Finals
The Velveteen Dream def. Tyler Bate

The story of Velveteen Dream’s rib injury continued into the Finals of the Worlds Collide Tournament, as he took on Tyler Bate. The crowd was certainly behind both guys, and when the dust settled, this ended up being one of the best matches of the entire tournament. Initially, it didn’t seem like it was going to reach that level after the first few minutes, as Bate immediately went to work on Dream’s midsection after the opening exchange. Bate’s offense at this point was relatively simple (abdominal stretch, body slam, body scissors, and so on), but it was definitely effective, given the story of Dream’s rib injury. After a massive back body drop that nearly sent Bate into the ropes, Dream started his comeback, and the match really picked up from there. The standout moment of this one saw Dream survive a long Boston Crab after managing to kick out of the Tyler Driver 97. That sequence was the thing that really helped lift this match above the rest.

Dream later connected with the double axe handle to the floor that caused his injury earlier in the tournament, and secured the victory shortly thereafter after the Purple Rainmaker. It was great to see that the Finals ended up being one of the tournament’s best matches. Tyler Bate cemented his place as the MVP of the tournament, while Velveteen Dream overcame the injured ribs once again. If these two were given the chance to have a singles match on a TakeOver, I’m sure they’d have a bout that would blow this one away. However, given the unique environment (a tournament inside a big convention center at Axxess), this was probably the best we were going to get. ***1/2

Final Thoughts

The Worlds Collide Tournament was an exciting concept, and while it did lead to some unique matchups, we didn’t see anything that was truly stellar. Joe Lanza was right on the money with his prediction on the VOW Flagship a few weeks ago. The lineups for these Axxess shows always have some incredible stuff on paper, but they never live up to their potential. That’s not to say there was bad wrestling in this tournament, however. Out of all the matches in this thing, I would say that only one was subpar. Everything else landed in the ***-***1/2 range. The fact that almost every match went around ten minutes meant that most of them followed the same general formula, but still, when you go the right combination of guys in there, they generally delivered. Tyler Bate was easily the MVP of the tournament, and I would say his matches with Cedric Alexander and The Velveteen Dream are well worth checking out. Beyond that, nothing else stood out. I appreciate the fact that WWE put something like this on the Network (they should’ve been doing stuff like this years ago), but it just served as a reminder that WWE is more about quantity than quality, when it comes to in-ring content.