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Lea Riveccio

Who will be Britain's king of the ring? WWE to crown UK champ

16 British bulldogs enter the WWE ring in January, but who will be the big daddy towering above the competition in Blackpool?

Irish wrestler Finn Balor will soon be joined by the UK's first WWE champion.

John Giamundo/WWE

Attention British grapple fans: The WWE is crowning its first UK champion.

The World Wrestling Entertainment UK Championship Tournament will be held at the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool across the weekend of 14 and 15 January 2017. Tickets go on sale today, or you can watch online at, wrestling's biggest streaming service.

WWE executive vice president Paul "Triple H" Levesque announced the news at London's O2 Arena today. The Blackpool event is set to boost UK subscribers for WWE programming. It's a smart move for the US-based WWE, as competition for fans is hotting up in the UK, with more British wrestling coming to TV at the end of the year.

WWE's head scout William Regal and trainer Robbie Brookside chose 16 wrestlers from across the UK and Ireland to hit the ring for the single-elimination tournament.

Competitors from the UK wrestling scene include Trent Seven, Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate, stars of independent wrestling promotions including Progress. Also hitting the mat are up-and-coming Londoner Roy Johnson and Irish high-flyer Jordan Devlin, who hails from the same home town as WWE superstar Finn Balor.

English former wrestler Nigel McGuinness will be one of the announcers for the big event.

It's a good time for British wrestling fans: the WWE announcement follows news that broadcaster ITV will resurrect "World of Sport." In the 1960s, '70s and '80s, "World of Sport" brought British wrestling superstars like Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks to the nation's living rooms. ITV will show a one-off extravaganza on New Year's Eve, featuring today's stars of the country's thriving independent wrestling scene.