Abe Odeh applies his expertise to the WWE NXT UK roster to see who has potential to excel on the main roster shows like Raw and Smackdown.
Since the first United Kingdom Championship Tournament in January of 2017, we have yet to see a single UK star make a full-time jump to the main roster. Although the official WWE NXT UK brand didn’t kick off until October of last year, there are just some superstars whose proper introduction to the world is long overdue.
We can all agree that the main roster is a bit crowded and some superstars still need to be given a defined role. However, we’ve seen underutilized guys in the past like Jinder Mahal and Mustafa Ali get a push out of nowhere. If another opportunity arises, these men and women will be ready.
The Obvious from WWE NXT UK
I don’t understand what’s taking so long. From the moment he won the NXT United Kingdom Championship two years ago, fans have seen his astronomical potential. Pete Dunne has been apart of multiple TakeOvers as well as produced some of the best WWE matches of this generation. He lost his rematch with Walter on WWE NXT UK this week so hopefully there’s already plans for his future in place. There’s really nothing left for him to do in developmental.
I’d say she’s one of the most universally adored wrestlers in the whole world. Every time she performs it’s like we’re watching the future of women’s wrestling. Toni Storm is a Mae Young Classic winner, current WWE NXT UK Women’s Champion, played a big part in the Evolution pay-per-view, and she’s only 23 years old. There’s nobody like her on NXT or the main roster so she’s sure to make a big splash whenever they’re ready for her.
The great thing about Tyler Bate is that he’s capable of being used in a variety of ways. He has the talent to compete on the main shows, could elevate 205 Live, or get over as a tag team with Trent Seven and Moustache Mountain. This is a great time to remind you that he won the inaugural UK Championship Tournament at age 19. He just had a birthday and he’s still younger than Toni Storm.
Lesser Known, All the Potential from WWE NXT UK
There is nobody in the entire company that attracts heat like Liverpool’s Number One. It’s rare to find a guy that can incite a riot just from breathing on a microphone. Gibson is another former UK Tournament winner and would have been my pick to dethrone Pete Dunne if Walter didn’t do it. Back in 2016, he caught my attention just from one triple threat match I watched of his on YouTube. Fast-forward to the 2018 tournament, I was pleasantly surprised to discover he’s even better than I remembered. Making him the inaugural tag champ on NXT UK was 100 percent the correct decision because there’s sure to be even more gold in his future.
The Fashionista from Knightsbridge is currently one of my favorite female wrestlers in the business. Where other narcissistic wrestlers are obsessed with themselves, Jinny is different because she carries herself like everybody else is beneath her. Her promos are top-notch. And you’d never be able to tell by watching her but she’s somehow only been wrestling for four years. On NXT UK, Jinny’s recently become a manager to Jazzy Gabert which she’s sure to knock out of the park.
He’s such a fantastic wrestler but I don’t see him prospering in Vince’s WWE. Unless Triple H gets more creative freedom, Andrews’ size and style will always limit his ceiling. Andrews would have been a star among the original cruiserweights where Paul London and Brian Kendrick ruled Smackdown’s tag division. That all sounds contradictory to the point of this article but it would have been a crime not to mention him. There should always be a place in wrestling for someone with his talent.
Dar is the only guy on this list that got to have an extended role on Monday Night Raw back when the cruiserweights were featured on the main roster. Him an Alicia Fox were always entertaining together and looks like a million bucks every time he’s on screen. Noam Dar would have already competed on the main roster’s midcard if it was up to me.
WALTER & Rhea Ripley
If you asked any UK fan, they’d tell you that they could both flourish on the main roster. And I agree – just not right now. I feel they’d both be better served running the NXT UK brand. WALTER just began what should be a lengthy title reign, especially since there is no foreseeable competition in his way.
Rhea Ripley should win the belt back from Toni Storm and become the first two-time champion. Although she’s just as young as Storm and Bate, she hasn’t been wrestling as long and just came into her new metal persona last year. She’ll always be bigger and stronger than most of the other girls so her future is bright, regardless.
NXT UK Chuffed and Buzzin’
Brad hits us with some NXT UK highlights!
Brad hits us with some NXT UK highlights!
6. It is time for Johnny Saint to retire and officially promote Sid Scala to General Manager. Saint is a beloved figure in British wrestling (and a technical in-ring wizard), so I understand why they brought him in. Truth be told, he’s never done much and when he is around he isn’t a strong presence. Scala is there every week and has earned the job. Give Sid the job!
5. It is only right to send Mr. Saint out with a proper farewell. This is a gem from at least 1985, the last year for the original World of Sport Wrestling. It’s easy to see his influence on British wrestling and safe to say Tyler Bate studied and stole every one of Saint’s moves. Added bonus: some youngster named Dave Finlay has a mullet that would make Eddie Guerrero jealous.
4. Isla Dawn’s character keeps getting better. For months, she hasn’t cared about winning and losing, only taking trophies from her opponents. This week, she beat Aleah James then returned the hair scrunchie she stole from her. That is a seriously cool twist & one I hope they continue until Dawn returns all her stolen goodies. It’s like she took everything she needed from her opponents in order to build herself up to challenge Meiko Satomura. I don’t know if she’s championship material, but I’d love to see her and Satomura try and top their first encounter.
3. I like the idea of Teoman’s family, but the execution is lacking. There is no reason for Rohan Raja or Charlie Dempsey to be with him. There’s nothing that ties them together. NXT UK has been running blazing hot this year, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it works. Maybe it won’t. Either way, Charlie Dempsey is a star. When the time is right, he and Tyler Bate can have the 5 star Heritage Cup match we’ve been waiting for.
2. Pretty Deadly versus Mustache Mountain feels like a MOTY in the making. Can the Dandy Highwaymen defeat the forefathers of British Strong Style again and officially claim to be the best tag team in the brand’s history? Can Mustache Mountain finally capture the titles that surprisingly have evaded them since the brand’s inception? If they keep it clean with no outside interference, there is about a 1% chance this match won’t live up to the hype.
1. Gallus’ theme music is bad ass. That is all.
Steve Cook’s Fave Five: November 2021
It’s Thanksgiving week, and you know what that means!
This is the time we give thanks for our favorite professional wrestlers. And other things, I’m sure. Many of you reading this have other things to be thankful for. I don’t know what those are, but I do know which wrestlers I’m thankful for here at this moment. Let’s dive into the Fave Five!
5. Eddie Kingston
As somebody that was into the independent wrestling scene back in the mid-2000s, I’ve been aware of Eddie Kingston’s existence for a long time. I’ve known that the man was a better talker than almost anybody in the wrestling business. I’ve also known that the man was his own worst enemy, much like Buddy Landell was his own worst enemy back in the 1980s & 90s. If Eddie could somehow find the right place and right time, nothing could hold him back.
This seems like Eddie Kingston’s right place & time. He got a spot with AEW, and he kept getting over. His piece with The Player’s Tribune got him even more sympathy than he already had. The feud with CM Punk heading into Full Gear was perfect. It got Punk into the state people wanted him in. The match at Full Gear was great, even if Punk ended up winning. The only issue? The feud isn’t continuing. But that’s AEW. Feuds don’t last long unless they’re on BTE. Punk & King have already moved onto other things, and we can only hope they get back to each other in a year or two.
4. Bryan Danielson
I know that Bryan’s biggest run came when he was the underdog going against The Authority, and many folks took to him as that underdog. I was one of those guys that followed Bryan during his indy career, and his best run came when he was a total dickhead heel in Ring of Honor. Yeah, he was still short or whatever mainstream fans complained about at the time, but he could out-wrestle anybody put in the ring with him, and he was supremely confident about that fact. Not over-confident, supremely confident. He’d tell the referees the rules, because he was the Best in the World.
AEW fans are now getting that side of Bryan Danielson, and fortunately he has the right opponent to do it against. Hangman Adam Page has been accepted as a folk hero by hardcore AEW fans. They won’t turn against the Hangman for anybody, even when it’s really tempting since Bryan Danielson is a pretty amazing professional wrestler. One of the best I’ve seen! He’s getting to be a total dickhead again while he runs through Page’s Dark Order friends, and it’s amazing.
He’s not lying either. He wrestled the day after he won the WWE Championship at WrestleMania! Bryan Danielson has never lied. Maybe you don’t like what he says, but he’s always been honest. And the second he mentioned WrestleMania, those hardcore AEW fans were ready to jump on him. Bryan didn’t bury WWE like other folks that previously worked for them did. He had his reasons, and this was one of them.
3. The IInspiration
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) November 21, 2021
I was asked to be part of 411’s Fact or Fiction this week, since this week was decided to be the blowoff for a tournament from way too long ago where Len Archibald & myself made it to the finals. Bad news for me, as Len is much better with the written word than I am. 411 readers will sacrifice me at the temple of the Tribal Chief that is Len Archibald. I can’t blame them. One of the questions of this particular Fact or Fiction column asks us if underutilized people are better off getting released. Two of the most underutilized people in the history of WWE were Cassie Lee & Jessie McKay. WWE never knew what they had with them. Not the slightest idea. The only time they ever put them over was to spite Bayley & Sasha Banks for reasons. They never followed up on that because they didn’t care.
Cassie was supposed to be the breakout single star, except they never followed through with it. Jessie had the personality, and she had the look too but WWE did the best they could to take the look away from her. It was so weird. That’s why I’m so happy they found a place to let them be them. Impact Wrestling is a strange place. Certain people find their place there. The IInspiration seem to fit like a glove.
2. Dalton Castle
The Party Peacock was somebody that original Ring of Honor fans would have rejected in an instant. Some will try to tell me I’m wrong about that, but they in fact are wrong. The very first segment on “The Era of Honor Begins” featured the Christopher Street Connection getting squashed by Da Hit Squad because their sort of flamboyance wasn’t what ROH was going to be all about. It was 2002, a different time. I remember it well, as I graduated from high school. Way too many things have happened since then and I feel way too damn old.
Dalton Castle would not have been a favorite to original ROH fans in 2002. By the time he came around, he was just what the promotion needed. He had a personality the likes of which hadn’t been seen in pro wrestling for quite some time, which was great because the main knock against ROH was that their wrestlers didn’t have personality. Dalton Castle was ROH’s answer to that criticism. Unfortunately, Dalton’s body broke down at the same time he won the company’s World Championship. He fought through a broken back to have a reign worthy of the championship, but nearly killed himself in the process.
Castle wasn’t the same for a long time afterward. Only recently, we started to see shades of the old Dalton Castle. The man was revitalized by the promise of Television. He wanted to make Ring of Honor the best show on TV, even though he was a very busy man. Very busy. We’re lucky to see him when we do. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with him now that Ring of Honor is letting their people go. If he’s back to being the Dalton Castle we remember from a few years ago, the sky’s the limit. Any company would be lucky to have his talent & personality.
1. Cora Jade
I realize that I am in the minority of people around here when it comes to NXT 2.0. I can’t really say it’s a good wrestling show, but I do find it interesting. You have to know a little bit about my rasslin fan background. I ended up in Louisville during the time when Ohio Valley Wrestling was WWE’s developmental territory. While I never got the chance to attend a show at Davis Arena until years afterward, I enjoyed getting to watch the future stars of WWE on television learning their craft before they made it to Raw or SmackDown. Some were really good in the ring. Some were not. But it was all interesting to me.
Here in 2021, I have more interest in seeing the people that WWE thinks is going to be their future than seeing people I saw in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago having great matches just like they did in Ring of Honor more than ten years ago and having no chance of making it any bigger than “NXT TakeOver main eventer”. Which is fine if you’re into that kind of thing. Me…not so much.
I’m looking for the next big thing. Always have been, always will be. So when I take a look at Cora Jade, the youngest person under WWE contract, I see the potential. I see her work against Mandy Rose, who WWE wants to be the next big thing. I see Cora Jade get over, and I see the future, which is Cora Jade. People will try to tell me I’m wrong. They’ll be proven wrong eventually, but since they’re a lot louder, followers will act like the fools were right all along, even though they had the wrong opinions back in the day. That’s America for ya.
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