The opportunities keep coming for NXT Superstar Roderick Strong. On the Jan. 30 episode of 205 Live, it was announced Strong would face Hideo Itami in the Cruiserweight title tournament.
On the Jan. 31 episode of NXT, Strong defeated former WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate to earn a title shot at current titleholder Pete Dunne. There isn’t a set date for their title bout, though it’s unlikely it will take place while Strong is wrestling on 205 Live.
— WWE (@WWE) February 1, 2018
It was a solid match between two of the best workers in NXT that kept the crowd enthralled throughout the contest. In the end, Strong hit Bate with the End of Heartache and pinned him for the win.
If Strong defeats Dunne in their title match, not only will it be his first title in WWE/NXT, he will be the first American to hold the U.K. Championship.
The Bruiserweight has been a remarkable champion since winning the UK title from Bate last year in one of the most acclaimed matches of 2017.
He has defended his title on several occasions, including a bout against Johnny Gargano on Nov. 18, a rematch against Bate on Nov. 29 and Jack Gallagher on Dec. 30. Most recently against Joseph Conners at PROGRESS 61 earlier this month. He’s also made numerous appearances with the U.K. title in WWE and in numerous independent shows.
Dunne is willing to face all challengers. During an appearance on the Royal Rumble panel, he called out all challengers, including current WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar.
Strong is one of the most talented and popular wrestlers on NXT’s roster. He has a heartwarming backstory and a brutal arsenal of moves. It’s good to see him get a shot at Dunne and the UK title – and it could be a Match of the Year candidate.
Strong has excellent mat wrestling ability and his backbreakers are the stuff of nightmares. He also specializes in submission wrestling.
Dunne has a similar style to Strong in that he is physical and will brutalize his opponents. He aims to beat up and torture his competition in route to a victory.
A match between Strong and Dunne will be physical and stiff – fans can expect to be both wrestling punishing each other and taking punishment as well. It’s a match that NXT – and wrestling fans in general – will love and talk about for days.
On one hand it seems like it would having an American like Strong challenge Dunne for the title. It is specifically the U.K. Championship, why have someone from the U.S. fight for it – or win it.
However, this could be the first step in WWE/NXT showcasing the championship on a more frequent basis. Having Strong hold the title could result in Dunne chasing him back to win the title, or having other UK competitors come to NXT and challenging him for the title. It would also give Strong his first taste of WWE gold, which is something fans have been waiting for since he came to NXT.
Donovan Dijak Suffers Injury at NXT Vengeance Day
NXT Vengeance Day was a rousing success for WWE on Saturday which saw a number of headlines come out of the event that was well-received by fans, including an injury suffered by Donovan Dijak during his match with Wes Lee for the North American Championship.
Dijak suffered an apparent broken finger during the match, which was seen on camera and shared on social media.
Following the event NXT general manager Shawn Michaels provided an update on Dijak, stating he did not suffer a broken finger – “Yeah, everybody is good” Michaels said. “I announced it at gorilla, it’s got to be a miracle, It’s not broken.
“We got him x-ray, they said it’s not broken and so yeah, I guess what you do is you kind of numb it and put it back in place and that’s what’s happening now. But it is, again, a modern miracle because we all saw it, it was pretty gnarly looking. But, apparently, he’s going to be okay, which is obviously fantastic news for us and him.”
William Regal’s New Title in WWE Return
William Regal has made his return to WWE following his brief stint with AEW and now has a new title that is much different than what he had prior to his release from WWE during budget cuts last year.
Regal was Director of Talent Development and Head of Global Recruiting prior to his release. Regal was also the former General Manager for NXT and also had an on-screen role before he made his way to AEW.
According to PWInsider, Regal is now the Vice President, Global Talent Development for WWE.
Ahead of his return to WWE and amid his exit from AEW, Regal issued the following on social media:
“Yesterday was my last official day with @AEW. I’d like to thank @TonyKhan, Megha and all the hard working crew. Contrary to people who’ve never spoken to me or have their information from people who don’t know me or are trying to make themselves noticed, I had a lovely time working there and had a great time. Lots of talented Wrestlers, and lovely people to work for. To my fellow BCC members, it was a special, albeit brief few months but it cemented our already strong friendship. To everyone there, thank you for welcoming me. Best wishes.”
Ex-NJPW Star Karl Fredericks Signs with WWE
Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Karl Fredericks has officially signed with WWE following the conclusion of his four-year tenure with NJPW. Fredericks announced on social media back in summer 2022 that he would not re-sign with NJPW.
Fredericks was initially linked to WWE last September, when he was reportedly spotted at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
According to PW Insider, Fredericks has officially signed with WWE and will be a part of the NXT brand initially.
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